Annual HVAC Inspections – Have to have or have to heave
Annual HVAC Inspections: Have to Have or Have to Heave
You wouldn’t drive your car every day for years on end without performing routine maintenance such as changing the oil and checking your tires and fluid levels. Many people, however, use their HVAC system daily for years without performing routine maintenance. Proper maintenance of your HVAC system can save you money, protect your home and your family, and prevent inopportune breakdowns.
Can I Maintain My HVAC Unit Myself?
Just as you can change your car’s oil and check the inflation level in your tires, there are routine maintenance tasks that you can perform on your HVAC unit. Items such as:
∙ Trimming weeds and shrubbery around the unit
∙ Ensuring that there’s about 18 inches of clear space around the HVAC unit
∙ Changing the filters monthly
∙ Keeping the unit clean, hose it down if necessary
∙ Making sure the supply and return vents are free of blockage
These simple maintenance tasks will help your unit function better between professional maintenance visits and reduce the cost of your service visits.
Why Do I Need A Professional?
A professional HVAC technician will perform services other than just check out your HVAC unit. The technician will:
∙ Check out your thermostat
∙ Tighten any loose electrical connections
∙ Clean the blower and adjust it if needed
∙ Clean the condenser and evaporator coils
∙ Clean the condensate coils if necessary
∙ Lubricate moving parts as necessary
∙ Check the controls for the system
∙ Inspect gas pressure or fuel line connections as necessary
∙ Check refrigerant levels and charge if needed
∙ Advise you of any repairs that are needed
Many of these maintenance functions require electrical expertise and/or licensing by the state in order to protect the consumers. Unless you’re a licensed electrician who also specializes in HVAC, you shouldn’t perform these functions; only licensed HVAC techs can service HVAC units
HVAC Service Calls Are Expensive
In order to properly service and maintain your HVAC unit, the technicians have had to undergo extensive and expensive training, and many have decades of experience. This is the type of expertise you need for your HVAC service and all of our technicians are trained and certified in the latest techniques. We value our customers and want to provide them the best service possible.
When your heat fails in the dead of winter or your air conditioning fails in the heat of the summer, you’ll wish that you had placed that service call. No price can be placed on the safety and comfort of your family. Loose wires, leaking connections, and damaged components can be a fire hazard and jeopardize your home and your family.
What Can I Do About It?
Call our office today at 1-888-937-3350 and schedule a service visit. Our rates are competitive, and we’ve been in business for more than 30 years, so you know we’re reliable. We’re family owned and operated, and we treat our customers like they’re members of the family. Our A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau assures you of our integrity and dedication to our customers as does the numerous testimonials we receive.
Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment online by clicking here and we’ll get right back to you.
We know that home maintenance can be expensive, so we offer special financing options and other deals. Click here for our summer special tune up offer on your HVAC unit.
Call Us Today
Winter isn’t over, and summer is fast approaching. Call us today at 1-888-937-3350 and make sure your family stays warm for the rest of the winter and cool for the coming summer. Call us!
Get the most out of your HVAC system
Get the most out of your HVAC system
Keep Your HVAC System Running with Frequent Maintenance Checks
The central-air system in your home is a major appliance. It acts as both a heater and air conditioner whenever you activate the proper switch or button. That’s why it’s referred to as an HVAC or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. It’s a fact that many of the system’s parts are hidden within walls and closets, however.
Don’t overlook this system because it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” Prioritize its care by observing its operations yourself. Supplement these observations with regular visits from Same Day Service Plumbing Heating and Air. You’ll prolong the system’s lifespan as a result of your efforts.
Be aware of these HVAC details: Perform the following tasks only if you feel comfortable doing so. Remember that warranties become null and void if the unit is opened or accessed in any invasive manner. We’re happy to answer your questions about these steps.
1. Indoor Components
∙ Activate the system and stand near the interior unit. Listen for any unusual sounds as the system ramps up.
∙ Be aware of any scents that arise during a system startup. Report the description to your HVAC contractors. Mold and mildew have distinct odors.
∙ Verify if any leaks are present in the ductwork. Listen for whistling or feel a draft nearby where there shouldn’t be one.
∙ Shut off the system. Examine the control-box wiring for any broken or damaged connections.
∙ Inspect your filter. Replace it as necessary. HVAC repair services often focus on these parts.
2. Outdoor Components
∙ Examine the surrounding cabinet and coils for any damages, including penetrations and active leaks.
∙ Lean over and carefully evaluate the fan in its stationary position. Note any rust or wear on the blades or motor box.
∙ Repeat the fan inspection when it’s functioning normally. Document any sounds or vibrations coming from the unit.
∙ Be sure the system is turned off now. Locate the base pan. Examine it for any clogs at the drain openings.
∙ Verify that the exterior control box is clean and free from damage.
∙ Sweep any debris, such as dust and leaves, away from the unit’s exterior surroundings.
Energy Efficiency Tips
Don’t overwork your system because this scenario shortens its lifespan. Try these energy-saving tips as summer and winter challenge your components with extreme temperatures.
1. Heating Strategies
∙ Close and lock each window to trap the warm air within the home.
∙ Invite loved ones over and turn down the thermostat. The body heat makes the home more comfortable in the winter.
∙ Move any obstructions from the heating vents. They operate with optimum efficiency when air passes freely.
∙ Update your insulation to trap the warm air. An HVAC repair professional can suggest an installation that works for your region.
2. Cooling Tactics
∙ Take your cooking skills outside. Hot days call for barbecues so that any generated heat remains outside instead of locking it inside with your air conditioner.
∙ Cut off incoming light by closing your window treatments. A darkened room is much cooler, which reduces air-conditioning costs over time.
∙ Ventilate the attic with vents and proper insulation. You want the hot air to escape.
∙ Create a wind chill in your home with ceiling fans set to a counter-clockwise direction. Your HVAC contractors can show you how to alter the setting.
Contact Same Day Service Plumbing Heating and Air today to schedule your annual checkup. Our team is thrilled to answer any questions that you might have, including replacement and repair queries. Take advantage of our complementary, 40-point inspection on HVAC units ages 12 years and older too. Our team partners with the neighborhood to keep everyone comfortable year in and year out.
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.
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.
When to consider replacing your HVAC system
Is your air conditioner and heating unit on its last leg or will a good tune up do the job? You’re A/C unit is an investment. Not only because of the cost, but because of the savings it can provide. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with newer Energy Star compliance units could cut your annual energy bill by hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year.
Let’s look at the reasons and you might consider replacing you’re A/C unit.
Consider the age of your A/C
Generally, if your equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, consider replacement unit that has a higher efficiency rating than a standard model.
You can also use the 5,000 rule many HVAC technicians use. This is done by taking the age of the equipment and multiplying it by the repair cost. If the result is more than $5,000, then consider replacing it.
For example, an 11-year-old unit that requires a $275 repair cost equals $3,025. As it is under $5k, it’s OK to repair.
The 5,000 rule
Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it.
Is your unit unsafe?
Older furnaces can develop cracks in their heat exchangers, this allows deadly carbon monoxide (CO) to leak into your home. The older the unit, the higher the risk corrosion has caused a crack to form and release CO. A carbon monoxide detector is the only way to tell if you have a leak. They are easy to install and are not overly expensive. If you think you are at risk, have this checked immediately.
Remember that your units are just like any other electrical device, they have fuses that short out and connection points that weaken over time. You may only risk your air conditioner or heater ceasing to operate, but there is a risk of dangerous ﬁre. Get a regular tune-up and make sure you don’t have an electrical issue developing. If you do, consider replacing your unit.
Consider the rating of the unit
Newer, Energy Star compliant units use up to 50% less energy than models not carrying that logo. Not only are Energy Star appliances more efficient and environment-friendly, but the logo is only awarded if the appliance is either priced similarly to other models or if it will recoup additional costs within a reasonable period.
In addition, the SEER rating of a unit may also indicate why you may be having issues and higher energy bills. A SEER rating is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.
If your rating is too low for the size area or is an older unit, you are not getting optimal performance which causes your unit to work overtime to keep you comfortable. This will cause not only temperature issues, but also increase the likelihood of multiple repairs.
A few other points to consider
- Repair bills do add up. If your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up, then your cooling and heating equipment may have become less efficient. Use the 5000 rule mentioned above to evaluate not just the single repair bill, but the bills as a whole. Repairs + energy costs = your true cost of the unit.
- If some rooms are too hot or too cold it may be due to poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork and more can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer. An inspection by a licensed HVAC company can help determine the balancing, insulation needs, duct issues or unit problems that may be causing this.
- If your heating or cooling system is too noisy you could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment. This does not necessarily mean you need to replace your entire unit, but does warrant an inspection.
So when is it actually time to replace?
Look for the above telltale signs that indicate it’s time to consider replacing heating and cooling equipment, or improving the performance of your overall system. Use the formula above and call Same Day to help you make a change.
And, don’t forget to have a contractor do an annual pre-season check-up on your system in the spring and fall to keep your system at peak performance and prevent future problems.
6 Ways Energy Vampires Suck Up Your Energy and How to Stop Them
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to see a vampire lurking in your midst. Wasted electricity costs Americans more than 3 billion dollars every year. Old or inefficient heating systems cost billions more. If you are living on a budget or concerned about the environment, then you need to go through your home and find the energy vampires that are needlessly sucking energy and driving up your bills, saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
1. Electronic Devices
“Standby mode” is not the same as “off”! Putting an electrical device into standby mode leaves it continually using power, even while it seems to be doing nothing. A computer in standby mode can use more than 300 kilowatt-hours a year. Keeping your DVD player in standby to record a show keeps the device powered just so it can keep track of the time while it is waiting. These and other standby mode energy vampires could be costing you as much as $400 a year.
You should shut off all your electronic devices when they are not in use. You should also unplug your phone, camera, and laptop chargers when they are not actually being used. Unplug all your adapters as well. These devices keep drawing power as long as they are plugged in.
2. Windows and Attics
Unsealed windows, doors and attics are also often energy suckers as well. Energystar.gov states that “The attic is usually where you can find some of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home. By air sealing in your attic, you can stop many major air leaks and help to maintain the desired temperature throughout your home. Combined with attic insulation, air sealing can help to alleviate the formation of dangerous ice dams in the winter.”
Seal them with plastic in the winter prevent warm air from escaping through the gap between frame and window. You should also seal your attic entrance with plastic during the winter. Warm air rises, so sealing off the attic will keep it in the parts of your house that you live in.
You should also check that your windows and door are not leaking air. Caulk, weather stripping, and draft excluders at the bottoms of outside doors during weather extremes can help tremendously.
Your furnace may be one of the worst energy vampires in your entire home. Dirty air filters may be impairing its efficiency and wasting power. Check them, clean them, and/or replace them if they can’t be cleaned. You should also run your hands over the heating ducts while the furnace is running, feeling for leaks of warm air. If you find one, seal it with aluminum tape (found at your local hardware store). It is designed for use in hot areas. Never use duct tape for this repair. As many uses as it has, it doesn’t stick very well to warm ducts.
4. Water Heaters
You should also check the temperature setting on your water heater. Chances are, it is set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is higher than it actually needs to be. Setting it to 120 degrees will still give you comfortably warm water and it can also saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
Want to save even more? Turn off electric heaters and turn down gas heaters if you are out of the hours for extended periods of time, like vacations or business trips. You should also wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. By increasing the insulation, you can slow down heat loss through the water heater walls.
Buy a programmable thermostat and set it to save you money while you’re asleep or away from house. Modern thermostats have a pre-programmed energy-saving setpoint that you can use as a guide that allows for setting the temperature back in the winter and up in the summer. It also may have a vacation setting to maintain energy-saving temperatures when you are gone for several days.
If you want to save even more. Ceiling fans can help circulate energy. Also, don’t run your heat or air conditioning when the windows are open.
6. Exhaust Fans
You should try to avoid using exhaust fans unless you really need it. These push warm air outside in the winter, and cool air out in the summer. This makes your furnace or air conditioner work overtime.
Need help with optimizing your home?
With a little effort and the change of a few habits, you can cut your energy bills and leave less of a footprint on the environment. You can use the money that defeating these energy vampires can save you for much more necessary or enjoyable purposes.
Same Day Service Plumbing, Heating & Air can help optimize your heating and cooling, and if needed, replace your entire system with an Energy Star compliant unit that will, in the long run, make your investment pay for itself. Contact us for your help in keeping those energy vampires out of your home.
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.