Keep Your Cool – Recent Studies Show Air Conditioning is Vitally Important to Brain Function
Ever wonder about the heat’s effect on the human brain?
In a recent article, the UK’s Independent compiled the results of some research regarding the topic of heat’s effect on the human brain – and those results were startling. Does heat really negatively impact brain performance? Is air conditioning a necessity for students and professionals, or just a luxury? The answers collected and shared may surprise you.
Heat Waves May Keep You from Making Waves
In the study cited by the Independent, Harvard scientists examined the performance of college-age students. These students – half living in cool, comfortable dorms while the others suffered the summer in dormitories without air conditioning – were tested in the areas of memory, problem-solving and more. The results were clear: those who went without air conditioning performed poorly in comparison to those who were kept comfortable. The apparent reason? The brain’s functions seem to be negatively impacted by hyperthermia – also known as uncomfortably high temperatures.
For scientists, this suggests more than a simple preference for cool, comfortable air during the summer months. It may prove that our bodies are wired to seek that comfort for the benefit of our brains – and therefore, the rest of our body’s systems.
A Universal Problem
Many Americans do not realize the importance of properly-functioning heating and air, since the use of air conditioning is so common in the United States. While Britons may not be as accustomed to air conditioning as Americans are, the research compiled for this article offers a look at a universal issue. This summer has been one of the hottest on record around the globe. Those without air conditioning are suffering from the effects of that heat; those with systems that are in need of maintenance should take heed.
Living in conditions where temperatures reach unsafe levels can be dangerous to very young children, the elderly, and pets. Those who are unable to remove themselves from a closed room that lacks proper air circulation and cooling can become sick from that heat or worse. This is why adequate maintenance of your heating and cooling system is more important than ever.
Don’t let the second half of this sweltering summer catch you without proper cooling in your office, school, or home. Contact Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating and Air for all of your heating and cooling needs and enjoy the sunny weather without melting!
Tips to Avoid a Sump Pump Failure
If it’s been a while since you checked your sump pump, then it’s probably been too long. It’s easy to take your sump pump for granted, but doing so puts you and your property at risk. It stands to reason: A sump pump can only do its job if it works.
A sump pump’s sole purpose is to keep your foundation dry. Whether your basement is used for living space or serves as an extra room for storage, your valuables can be ruined without a functioning sump pump system in place. This is particularly important if you live in a low-lying area that’s a flood risk. Flooding can also be a result of poor drainage surrounding your property or can happen unexpectedly, such as when pipes burst.
Routine maintenance can prevent unnecessary damage to your home. We recommend you troubleshoot and test your sump pump system regularly, say, once a quarter at least. Periodically clean, examine and maintain it when the weather is dry. Check the valves to be sure they’re working. We also suggest inspecting it prior to a rainy season or when heavy storms are in the forecast. Make sure the pipes to the outside are clear, and when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, make sure no lines connected to the pump are frozen.
The float switch is one of the most common causes for sump pump failure. This device detects when the sump pump’s water level has risen too high and will trigger a signal to activate the pump. This one part alone has saved millions of homes from extensive flood damage. While the sump pump itself is built to last approximately 7 years, the float switch is not. Also, be sure to invest in a sump pump with a float switch that can be replaced, as not all of them do. There are different kinds of switches, including one that doesn’t actually float, so be sure to consult your plumber for the one that’s right for your system.
Electrical failure is another potential cause for concern, and for that reason, many homeowners install a back-up sump pump, just in case. Another issue can be debris, such as leaves, mud and pebbles, which can clog up the system. Make sure the check valve functions correctly so water cannot flow back inside the basement or crawl space, and inspect the pipe that leads from the pump to the outside to make sure it’s clear.
Water near your foundation can seep through the walls. Make sure that the land surrounding your home is graded away so water won’t drain downhill back in its direction. If need be, install gutters with downspouts that lead the water away from your house.
A good time to clean your sump pump and pit thoroughly is when the filter needs to be changed. Start by unplugging the system, then, take the unit outside to hose it down. Disconnect its hose and flush it out with water, as well as the entire unit. Same Day Plumbing Service is happy to help you with this.
One of the simplest ways to minimize foreign objects getting into the system is to invest in a cover. It can also protect you and your family by preventing hazardous radon gas from escaping into the air. The cover may not be able to take care of the gas leakage totally, but it will help minimize the exposure until you can get it fixed. A cover is inexpensive ($20-$35), improves the look for your unit, and is an investment that’s worth every penny.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out your equipment malfunctioned as a result of overdue maintenance. Instead, make sure your sump pump is in proper working order before a catastrophe rains down.
Save $100 on your new sump pump installation by mentioning this article. Call Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today at 888-937-3350 to schedule your appointment.
How Controlling Humidity Can Keep Your Home Comfortable All Year Long
Whether you live in a tropical climate or a temperate zone, controlling the amount of humidity in your home can enhance your comfort and protect your health. While some normal fluctuations in indoor humidity levels are perfectly normal, living in a house that is too humid or not humid enough can be bad for your health and your family.
If you want to control the wild swings in indoor humidity and enhance comfort for yourself and your family, you first need to track those humidity levels. You do not need sophisticated and expensive equipment to do that – a simple humidity meter will do the trick. Once you know much moisture is in your home, you can take steps to optimize the humidity levels and keep your rooms more comfortable.
Dry Air – A Serious Winter Challenge
A lack of humidity is one of the biggest challenges homeowners face when the weather turns cold. The amount of moisture in the air drops with the plummeting temperatures, and indoor heat can dry out the air even further.
Adding a humidifier to your home is the best way to combat those lower moisture levels. When fall turns to winter, it is time to get out your humidifier and turn it on. Be sure to clean the reservoir thoroughly before using it, and fill it with fresh clean water every day.
Excess Moisture – A Danger to Your Basement, and Your Home
Too little moisture in the air can be a real problem, but so can too much water. Excess moisture can be just as big a danger, especially since high humidity levels can aid the growth of mold and mildew.
If your home has a basement, it is important to monitor humidity levels carefully. If there is too much moisture in the air, adding a dehumidifier can dry out the basement and help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
You should also monitor your basement, and the rest of your home, for signs of excess moisture. Unexplained wet spots, stains on the walls and ceilings and a musty odor could all be triggered by excess moisture, so let your eyes – and your nose – be your guide. If you see any signs of excess moisture, it is time to put your dehumidifier to work.
Keeping your home comfortable is important to your health and safety, and that means monitoring and adjusting the amount of moisture in the indoor air. Controlling the amount of moisture in your home is easy enough – you just need the right equipment to get the job done.
Attic Fans as Alternatives to A/C
Many people look for ways to keep cool without resorting to air conditioning when the temperatures rise. While A/C is great, it can also be costly if you have to run it constantly. For those looking to stay cool on a budget, a whole house attic fan is a great option that will likely suffice on all but the hottest days. These fans are able to pull air from every part of the home via suction and replace warm air with cooler air.
1. Getting the Most Out of a House Fan
It’s a good rule of thumb to open some window screens and turn on the house fan whenever outdoor temperatures fall below indoor temps. In these scenarios, your fan will pull the cooler air through the house and force the warm air out through the roof vents.
If you like the way air-conditioning can cool down the house before the day gets started but want to save energy, there’s a way to simulate this feature with your fan. You can run the fan prior to sunrise and trap the colder air inside. This should last you for quite some time in a moderate climate and in the evening you can open the windows again when the temperatures drop.
Whole-house fans are typically ideal for multi-story homes, although they can still work in single-story homes. There are some regions—mostly those with mild climates—that utilize the full potential of these fans more effectively.
2. Choosing a Whole-House Fan Design
Consumers seem to like the ceiling-mounted models best. They’re unobtrusive as they are installed between the living area and the ceiling, as the name suggests.
Another option is to go for a ducted whole house attic fan, a quieter model as they’re placed in the attic proper, further from the living space. You can position the ducts to vent air out of the house directly via flexible ductwork.
A variable speed model works just like it sounds by letting you circulate air at a gentle speed or flush air out of the house quickly at higher speeds.
Fans with programmable thermostats give you added control and convenience but make sure before you use them that your heating and cooling are switched off, windows are open, and there is no fire going if you have a fireplace. There are a few models with insulated doors for an air seal. If your model of choice doesn’t have these doors, remember to cover it up in winter, otherwise, it will be as though a window is open. Just take the covering off in the spring and remember to open at least one window.
3. Choosing a Size
Experts say that a good whole-house fan should be able to exchange all the warm air in your home within three or so minutes maximum.
You can calculate the flow rate by doubling the total square footage of the whole house. Find this number and then find a fan with the same or better cubic feet per minute capacity.
We recommend consulting an expert in ventilation to get a professional opinion on the ideal size of a whole-house fan for your needs.
4. A Cost-Benefit Analysis
On the budget end, whole-house fans are about one hundred and fifty dollars, and five hundred and fifty on the premium end. You should also factor in the cost of installation, which could be as much as one thousand dollars.
There are certain places and companies that will give out rebates for whole-house fans. For example, in Sacramento reports indicate that these fans use only ten percent of the energy that air conditioning uses. Thus, in only a few seasons the fans pay for themselves many times over
What are some reasons to choose a tankless water heater?
If you are currently in need of replacing your water heater, it is a good time to upgrade to a new type. One good type is a tankless water heater. Here are some reasons to consider choosing this among the other options available.
They Last a Long Time
One great reason to get a tankless water heater installed in your home is that they are known to last a long time. When replacing your hot water heater, you want one that is going to last for a while so you don’t have to make this decision again for quite some time. Consider the water heater an investment, so even if the tankless appliance is a little higher than other water heaters, you make up for it by not having to pay for another one for many years. As long as you keep it in good condition, it can last over a decade in many cases.
The Tankless Water Heater is Smaller
A benefit you might not have considered is that a water heater without a large water tank is also going to take up a lot less space. If you already have limited space for placing the appliance in the first place, this can be an excellent benefit for you. Many water heaters are placed in the basement or garage. You might be in need of more storage in these spaces, so being able to save even a little space without a bulky water heater can make all the difference.
You Can Reduce Your Energy Costs
While the tankless water heater might cost a little more in the beginning, you will save money by having a water heater that uses less energy overall. Traditional water heaters require filling up a large tank with water, and keeping it warm so that the water is ready when you turn on the faucet. However, this is uses much more energy than is really necessary. With the tankless water heater, only the water you use after turning on a faucet is going to use up energy. You will notice that within the first few bills after having it installed, your energy and water bills have started to decrease. Not only are you saving money on your investment, but you are helping the environment and lowering your own carbon footprint.
As you can see, there are a wide range of benefits to go with a tankless water heater. Speak to a plumber if you have more questions about tankless water heaters and wonder if it is a good option or your home.
Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Your Home?
A typical water heater has a useful life of approximately 15 to 20 years. Most homeowners will have to replace a hot water heater at least once or twice over the course of their time as homeowners, and some will choose to make an optional upgrade. For example, you may upgrade to a more energy-efficient model in order to save money on utilities each month. Whether your upcoming water heater replacement project is mandatory or optional on your part, you may be wondering if a tankless water heater is a great option for you.
Never Run Out of Hot Water (…Maybe)
You may have heard that you never will run out of hot water with a tankless water heater, and this is true to an extent. A tank-style hot water heater may heat a certain number of gallons of hot water, and when this water is used, cold water will flow through the tap. With a tankless hot water heater, the unit will heat water on demand, but it can only heat so much water. This means that you may be able to take a shower using hot water for hours if you like, but you may have trouble taking a shower, running the dishwasher and washing clothes all at the same time. A solution to this problem in busy homes is to use two tankless hot water heaters piggy-backed on top of each other.
Save on Energy Costs
You may have also heard that you can save money on energy costs, and there is some truth to this. Consider that with a tank-style hot water heater, you are keeping the water in the tank heated at a specific level regardless of whether you use the water or not. For example, even when you are on vacation and do not use hot water for several weeks, the hot water is still being heated in the tank. With a tankless hot water heater, the water is heated only when you need it, and there are energy savings in this.
When you wonder if this is the right model of hot water heater for your home, think about how frequently you need to feed water into multiple different appliances or features at the same time. This will help you to determine if a tank-style or tankless model is better for your needs.
Are you contributing to your own plumbing disasters?
There are so many things that we do to with little thought to how it will affect our plumbing system… until that dreaded day when your pipes burst and your toilet overflows and your shower refuses to drain properly. What a nightmare!
Are you doing any of these?
Using Commercial Drain Cleaners – This seems like the go-to fix when your drains are clogged but it can do way more harm than good. The chemicals that make up the drain cleaner actually erode your pipes, leading to much worse damage down the line.
Mixing Metal Pipes – When two different metals are used in the plumbing of your house, chemicals reactions can cause the pipes to corrode. This is usually the result of an inexperienced plumber or DIYer taking on plumbing repairs.
Using Your Toilet as a Disposal – Your toilet is meant for one use and one use only. Flushing anything but the obvious can result in a flood!
Abusing Your Disposal – One of the biggest problems with a garbage disposal is that people think it’s an all-powerful waste-chopping machine of wonderment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a whole lot to break one. Grease should NEVER be dumped in your disposal and hard food items like popcorn kernels should be avoided as well!
DIY Repair Fails – Plumbing repairs aren’t as simple as tightening joints or popping in a new pipe. It takes proper training and lots of know-how to be able to adequately complete repairs. The best course of action is to call your local plumbing professional (that’s us!) for help.
Contact us online or call us at (888) 937-3350.
Tips for Keeping your Home Safe While on Vacation
It’s hard to enjoy your vacation if you’re worried about what might be happening to your home. Unfortunately, thieves commonly target properties while the owners are traveling. If you’re planning to get away for spring vacation, the following tips can help keep your home safe while you’re away.
- Add Security Lights: Motion-activated lights are a great way to give burglars second thoughts about targeting your home.
- Maintain Appearances: If your house appears uninhabited, it could become a target for burglary. Pay someone to mow your lawn, and keep a vehicle parked in your driveway. You should also make sure newspapers and packages don’t pile up on your porch.
- Go into Lock-down Mode: Secure your home with deadbolts, dowel rods and locking pins for windows and sliding glass doors.
- Don’t Advertise Your Vacation: While it may be tempting to brag about your trip on social media, you could inadvertently tip off a criminal.
- Strategically Position Curtains: Leave your curtains and blinds in their normal daytime positions without directly exposing valuables.
- Disconnect Power Cords: Unplug coffee pots, computers and any other electronics. You should also turn off your garage door in case thieves try to open it with a universal remote.
Inspecting for Leaks
While they may seem like minor issues, plumbing leaks can erupt into a full-blown catastrophe at any time. If you notice leaky fixtures, water stains, warping floors, wet spots or high water meter readings, consider getting a professional assessment before leaving town. The last thing you want is an uncontrolled leak in your home while you’re away. It may seem unlikely, but unchecked water damage can lead to substantial repair bills. Make sure you eliminate any risk by getting a professional leak assessment before you travel.
At Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating and Air, Inc., we have all the necessary equipment to detect leaks of any size. Let our specialists provide you with professional leak detection and repair services, so you can travel with peace of mind. Contact us today.
Preparing for Spring Allergy Season
Most people welcome warmer weather, especially after months of cold temperatures. For people with allergies, however, spring means sneezing, stuffy noses and red, watery eyes. If you’d like to minimize the impact of springtime allergies, consider these useful tips.
To fend off allergic reactions, it’s important to avoid troublesome stimuli that cause or worsen attacks. These include:
- Avoiding alcohol: Because it dilates the blood vessels inside the nose, alcohol can worsen asthma and hay fever.
- Cooking fruit: Many people are shocked to find out that fruit pollen can prompt an immune response. You can minimize this by cooking your fruit.
- Staying inside after storms: Since they stir up pollen, rain storms can worsen allergies in the short-term.
- Going easy on hair products: Sticky hair styling gels behave like pollen-attracting magnets.
- Reducing stress: Research suggests that stress can intensify allergy symptoms by upping the body’s production of allergy-triggering proteins.
- Cleaning fans: Regularly clean the blades of your fans to keep them from propelling dust into the air.
- Showering before bedtime: This rinses allergens from your body and keeps them from building up in your bed.
- Bathing pets: Your pet’s coat attracts a lot of pollen. Be sure to clean it regularly.
- Maintaining your AC: Make sure your air conditioning unit is properly maintained.
Purifying Your Home’s Air
Even the best strategies can’t completely keep pollen out of your home. Fortunately, you can drastically reduce interior allergens with the help of a whole-home air filtration system. Not only do these innovative devices eliminate airborne pollen; they also trap bacteria, mold spores, viruses and other pollutants.
Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating and Air, Inc. can equip your home with an affordable, state-of-the-art air purifier system. Let one of our skilled technicians provide you with a thorough analysis of your indoor air to identify any unseen allergens and pollutants that may be lurking beneath your nose. Contact our office today at 1-888-937-3350 for your assessment and quote.
Helpful hints about your drain line
Many homeowners do not know that their kitchen sink and laundry drains are connected in multiple places and that what happens in one can affect the other. Your toilet, sink and tub all share the same drain. If you have a drain line blockage and not a fixture blockage, it could affect more than one drain. If something like a ring or small toy goes down your kitchen or bathroom sink drain, all is not automatically lost.
You can retrieve it in three easy steps:
- Immediately turn all water off;
- Put a bucket under the drain pipe big enough to catch about a half-gallon of water; and
- Unscrew the two joint nuts near the bottom of the “J” trap.
Your missing item should be there.
Important: Do not use acid-based products to clear grease clogs in your sink drains. At best, they will just melt the grease which will re-solidify farther down the line. A bleach-based product or a product that will change the grease into CO2 + water is far superior, and these types of products are much safer to keep under the sink with small children and pets around.