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Common Plumbing Noises And What They Mean

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Plumbing Noises And What They Mean

When your plumbing is running smoothly, chances are you take it for granted that you can turn on the shower every morning or wash the dirty dishes at night. Once your plumbing begins making strange noises, it can be difficult to diagnose them yourself, especially if you don’t have any plumbing experience. Luckily, when it comes to most noises, it’s actually quite easy to pinpoint the problem. Here are a few common plumbing noises and what they mean: Hissing Sound Coming from the Sink If you hear a distinct hissing noise every time you turn on the faucet, chances are your issue is with the home’s water pressure. When your water pressure is too high, it can actually cause serious damage to your plumbing. Too much water pressure can also hurt you in another way: your pocketbook. This is because you’re utilizing more water than you need, which will run up your bill. Contact your local water company to have your water pressure tested. If this is the culprit, Inspectapedia recommends contacting a plumber to have a pressure regulator installed on the main water line to your home. The regulator will help control the pressure of the water as it enters your pipes, which can help prevent damage to the system and save you big money on your monthly water bill. Clanging or Whistling from the Showerhead Nothing is more comforting than a warm shower in the morning. Unfortunately, all of that serenity can be ruined if you hear a strange clanging or whistling coming from the showerhead. Luckily, there is a simple reason why this is occurring: your showerhead is dirty. To clean your showerhead, remove it and place it into a basin with a mixture of lukewarm water, white vinegar and baking soda. Allow the showerhead to soak for a few minutes before lifting it out of the water and scrubbing away any soap scum with an old toothbrush. If the problem persists, you may need to install a new unit. A low flow showerhead is a great option because it will provide you with adequate water pressure while saving your money on your monthly water bills. Knocking Noise Coming from the Water Heater A strange knocking or clanging noise coming from your hot water heater is most likely caused by sediment build up. When hard water enters your hot water heater, the minerals found inside the liquid can settle on the bottom of the unit. Over time, the minerals will collect, which leads to the strange knocking noise. The best way to solve this solution is to have your water heater flushed by a professional plumber. The entire process is very inexpensive, and having the unit flushed yearly can put an end to the strange noise and extend the life of your hot water heater. Banging Noise Behind the Walls When You Turn on the Faucet Finally, if you hear a banging noise coming from behind the walls whenever you turn on any faucet or spigot in your home, the issue could be improperly secured pipes. If your pipes are loose inside the walls, the water that is rushing through them can cause them to shake, which is turn can lead to an almost rhythmic series of banging noises. The best way to put an end to...

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Troubleshooting An Icy Air Conditioning Evaporator

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Troubleshooting An Icy Air Conditioning Evaporator

If you have an air conditioner that suddenly stops blowing cool air through your vents, then you obviously have a problem with the device. If the evaporator unit in your basement has ice on it, then you may be able to troubleshoot the problem by yourself. If you are handy, then keep reading to find out what you should do and when you should contact a professional. Check The Filter First Almost all air conditioners have filters that help to remove debris and contaminants from the air before it is released into your home. If you have an evaporator unit in your basement, then you have an up-flow device where air flows upwards into the ductwork and out the vents. These systems typically have a device called an air supply plenum. This is a metal box at the base of the air distribution system where cool air initially enters the ductwork. The filter for your air conditioner is typically located at the base of the plenum. If you have never changed your air filter or if you allow your HVAC professional to do it for you during maintenance calls, then look for the filter and check it at this time. Ice will sometimes build on an AC evaporator unit simply because air flow through the plenum has been blocked, and the filter is the likely culprit. If your AC filter looks dirty, then replace it with a new one. Do not make the mistake of purchasing a HEPA filter for the system though. While this type of filter will catch pollen and other allergens, the holes in the filter are too small. This will block airflow and you may continue to experience a cooling problem. Purchase a pleated disposable filter for the unit and make sure to check it about once a month. The filters can last three to six months, but you will want to make sure you replace it as soon as it appears dirty.  Inspect For Signs Of Low Refrigerant  If you change the AC filter and you still notice the ice building, then it is possible that the blower is not working. Turn on the air conditioner and listen for the sounds of the blower as the unit starts up. If you hear the telltale signs of the blower motor working, then you will need to determine whether or not the unit has enough refrigerant. If refrigerant is low, ice will build around the evaporator, even though this seems counterintuitive.  This happens because the refrigerant running through the cooling coils does not pressurize properly. Under normal circumstances, the coolant is condensed and pressurized until it turns into a gas. This gas pulls heat out of the air inside the evaporator unit. The blower then moves the air into the ducts. However, when there is not enough coolant to fill the coils, this leads to a drop in pressure. The refrigerant will then stay in liquid form as it passes through the metal tubes. The small amount of liquid becomes extremely cold and freezes the condensation that builds on the exterior of the coils. The coolant keeps freezing the moisture until a solid layer of ice forms.  The ice is a telltale sign that refrigerant is low. Higher electric bills, bubbling sounds around the outdoor AC unit, and a warm home...

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Get A Paint Job To Protect Your Commercial Refrigerator’s G90 Galvanized Steel Skin

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Get A Paint Job To Protect Your Commercial Refrigerator’s G90 Galvanized Steel Skin

Commercial refrigeration services do more than just repair broken commercial fridges. They also offer preventative maintenance. Specifically, they can paint the skin of a refrigerator, which is the exterior portion of a fridge’s walls. This will extend the life of the refrigerator if the walls are constructed from G90 galvanized steel. Not all refrigerators have G90 galvanized steel walls, but many do. If you own a restaurant with fridges like this, here’s why you might want to get its skin painted. Many Restaurants Have Refrigerators with G90 Galvanized Steel There are four different types of metals used for commercial refrigerators’ skins, each of which has advantages and disadvantages: stainless steel is expensive, but it doesn’t scratch easily or rust galvalume is the second-most-expensive and will eventually rust, but it’s strong aluminum will dent, but it doesn’t rust easily G90 galvanized steel is cheap and strong, but it rusts faster than any of the other three metals G90 galvanized steel is used in many commercial refrigerators simply because it’s the least expensive option. If your restaurant has an inexpensive commercial refrigerator, its skin is probably made of G90 galvanized steel. G90 Galvanized Steel Will Rust G90 galvanized steel isn’t a bad choice for a skin, especially if cost is a primary consideration, but it must be protected from corrosion. When dishes are brought into the refrigerator, they can cause condensation to form on the walls of your restaurant’s refrigerator. The condensed water will react with the unprotected steel and corrode it. Fred Senese explains the chemistry of this process. When Water (H2O) contacts iron (Fe), it reacts to form iron III hydroxide (Fe(OH)3). Iron III hydroxide then dries into iron III oxide (Fe2O3), which is otherwise known as rust. G90 galvanized steel rusts because it’s an alloy of iron and carbon. When it gets wet, the iron in steel begins the reaction with water. In contrast, the other metals won’t rust because they either don’t have iron or have other elements that prevent the iron from reacting with water: stainless steel has chromium added to it that prevents the reaction from proceeding aluminum doesn’t have iron galvalume is a mixture of stainless steel and aluminum, neither of which rust Paint Will Prevent G90 Galvanized Steel from Rusting Having your refrigerator’s G90 galvanized steel skins painted will prevent them from rusting by stopping the water from coming into contact with the iron. A layer of paint, which doesn’t contain iron, will create a barrier so that the chemical reactions that form rust never get started. While any coat of paint will prevent the water and iron molecules from coming into contact, you should have a commercial refrigeration service professionally paint the skins of your restaurant’s fridge for a few reasons. A professional company familiar with commercial refrigerators will know how to paint metal in cold temperatures be familiar with and able to work around restaurants’ schedules make sure the work they do is in line with any warranties you have Because this isn’t an emergency service, you should be able to wait until a convenient time to have the work done. Ask the company you contact if they’ll do the work while your restaurant is closed or during the slowest part of the day to minimize the inconvenience they cause. If...

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5 Ways To Reduce The Number Of Tankless Water Heaters You Need In A Tiny House

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Ways To Reduce The Number Of Tankless Water Heaters You Need In A Tiny House

When you’re trying to live in only 200 square feet or so of space, every inch counts. In most homes, multiple tankless water heaters are installed near the faucets and appliances that draw from them so you can run the dishwasher and shower at the same time. If you’re trying to only use one or two water heaters in your tiny house to save as much space as possible, try these tips for getting more hot water out of fewer units. Arrange Your Schedule Sometimes living in a tiny house means changing your usual routine. Aim to wash clothing and dishes when you’re relaxing after dinner instead of in the morning when you’re showering for work. If you’re sharing your tiny home with another person or an entire family, set up a schedule in a place everyone can see so you can work together to keep hot water chores separate. Since the on demand water heater doesn’t need a long wait to heat up again after a bath, you only need short intervals of a few minutes between different uses. Outsource Your Water When you’re working with such a small space, it makes sense to take out some of the appliances that use hot water too. Heading to the laundromat eliminates the need for a dedicated tankless water heater and gives you more room for more essential equipment. If your tiny house is mobile and you regularly stop in at campgrounds and RV parks, try using their showering facilities so the dishwasher at home can run at the same time. Control Your Flow Reducing the amount of hot water used by each appliance also goes a long way when you’re dealing with the limitations of a tankless water heater. Each model offers a specific amount of hot water per unit of time generally described as the gallons per minute (GPM). Changing your showers so they use one GPM could free up a gallon or two per minute for other demands. Aside from buying the most water-thrifty appliances, you can try easy habit changes like Turning the water off during showering and only running it to wet yourself and rinse off Washing clothing in cold or lukewarm water instead of hot Using a water-saving method for washing dishes, like using wash and rinse bins instead of running water from the tap. Expand To Solar Don’t be afraid to mix and match different water heating options to create a hybrid system. Adding a solar water heater to your roof allows you to take advantage of the sun’s free energy on clear days, resulting in plenty of extra hot water for doing a few loads of laundry and dishes all at once. The tankless water heater remains available all the time so you can still enjoy your daily shower or a soak in the tub on days when the sun isn’t shining. Timing your hot water chores to the weather conditions can be a little inconvenient, but it was the only option for centuries before the tumble dryer was invented. Go With Gas Finally, stick with a model powered by natural gas or propane if you’re looking to squeeze as much hot water out of the unit as possible. The largest models with flow rates of five GPM or more rely on...

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How To “Holiday Proof” Your Home This Winter

Posted by on Nov 13, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To “Holiday Proof” Your Home This Winter

There’s a familiar chill in the air as the end of the year approaches — and with it comes the promise of festive holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. But while you’re preparing the decorations, inviting party guests and creating elaborate menus, don’t forget to keep that chill in the air outdoors where it belongs. Here are some important tips for keeping your “holiday proofing” your home against cold, ice and other unfriendly seasonal tidings. Ask Santa for Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Heating and cooling services receive a lot of calls whenever the seasons force dramatic weather changes. Those aren’t all disaster calls, either — in many cases, they’re requests from homeowners who want to make sure they’re in good shape for the holiday season to come. If you’re wise, you’ll join that crowd by requesting an inspection of your HVAC system before you roll out the red carpet to guests. Your heating and cooling services provider can “holiday proof” your home in a variety of ways. The most obvious benefit is the ability to keep your residence warm and cozy for family and friends without continually throwing logs into the fireplace. If you have trouble keeping out the cold, make sure all parts of your HVAC system are inspected, including the furnace, heat exchanger, and the ducts and filters that transport the heated air to its destinations. Even a simple problem such as malfunctioning thermostat can make all the difference between a happy holiday and an uncomfortably chilly one. Deal with any necessary heating and air conditioning repair issues now — you’ll be glad you did, especially if a white Christmas is in the forecast! One nice fringe benefit of getting your HVAC system thoroughly inspected in cold weather is the fact that it should still be in good shape to handle your summertime cooling issues a few months later. This may spare you the need for additional heating and cooling services during another busy time of year for HVAC techs. Give the Gift of a Safer Holiday Season Even if your home feels reasonably warm, you need to make absolutely certain that your heating system offers a safe holiday for your loved ones and yourself. The biggest cause for concern here is the furnace, especially if the unit is many years old. That’s because older furnaces don’t necessarily have the automatic cut-off devices that deactivate them in case of trouble — and trouble from a furnace can be deadly. Danger signs include soot collecting around the furnace, excessive condensation and/or rust, and a pilot light that burns yellow instead of blue. If you notice any of these symptoms, turn the furnace off and call your heating and cooling services provider. You can help prevent the premature demise of your furnace by taking care of it, not just during the holiday season, but all year round. Schedule annual inspections, clean the unit off every year, and change the filter to allow more efficient operation.  Don’t Just Wrap Gifts — Wrap Your Pipes as Well For many people, cooler weather is a cue to start stocking up on cheery, glittering gift wrapping paper for your holiday festivities. But if your nights dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t forget to apply some wrapping to your plumbing pipes as well....

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Three Causes For A Noisy Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit And What You Can Do To Correct Them

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Causes For A Noisy Outdoor Air Conditioning Unit And What You Can Do To Correct Them

If your central air conditioning system’s outdoor unit is making distracting or unusual sounds, such as rattling or buzzing, then it may be caused by one of several common problems. Fortunately, these problems aren’t serious and can be corrected by most homeowners willing to spend a little time diagnosing and making repairs. Below are three possible causes for a noisy outdoor unit and what you can do to correct the trouble: Loose cabinet A metallic, rattling sound in your outdoor unit may be caused by a poorly-secured cabinet. Loose screws permit the thin, sheet-metal cabinet to vibrate and rub against surrounding metal parts. Since there are possibly dozens of screws used to fasten the cabinet, there is ample room for some to come loose over time. To correct the trouble, find an appropriate-sized nut driver that matches the heads on the screws holding the cabinet in place. Next, begin tightening each screw in a systematic fashion around the exterior of the unit, so you can keep track of which ones you tighten. Most screws will probably not need any tightening, but if you find any, be sure to secure them. Placing a drop of thread-locking compound on the screws’ threads will help the screws stay in place longer, but this is optional if you don’t mind periodically checking and retightening the screws. For screws that won’t tighten, wrap the threads with a couple of turns of sewing thread and use a drop of thread-locking compound to hold everything together. This should help provide extra grip between the screws and cabinet. Trapped debris Another common cause of noise in your air conditioner’s outdoor unit is debris that becomes trapped in between the coils and cabinet or other components. Likely culprits include leaves, twigs, animal nesting materials, dirt and sand, and plant stems. In addition, other objects such as paper scraps or toys can find their way into the unit and create objectionable noises. For some outdoor units, you can remove these objects by simply pulling them out of the gaps between the coils and cabinet or from the fan outlet at the top of the unit. However, you may need to access the interior of the unit to access other items that are deeply buried beneath the wires and parts. In that circumstance, be sure to power off the unit first by flipping the main outdoor switch or by removing the power handle, depending on your unit’s make and model. Next, remove the screws holding the cabinet in place and set them aside in a location where they won’t be lost. Carefully pull the cabinet away from the unit, being careful not to pinch or sever wires. Once you have access inside the unit, remove any debris you find. A shop vacuum is particularly helpful for objects you can’t reach, though be careful not to dislodge any connections or damage the sensitive fins that line the coils. Inadequate foundation Most outdoor units are situated on a hard pad that provides a firm, flat surface for operation. This is important to the well-functioning of the unit because it absorbs vibrations and provides a level base for the internal components. If it the unit isn’t level to within a few degrees of vertical, then it places stress upon the moving components inside the compressor. This can...

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Three Reasons Why Your Home’s Water Pressure Suddenly Sucks

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Reasons Why Your Home’s Water Pressure Suddenly Sucks

When the water pressure in all areas of your home suddenly takes a nosedive, it can turn even the simplest activities, such as washing the dishes, into an exhausting chore. Many times the problem can be easily fixed, but first you have to figure out what the issue could be. Here are three things that could be causing low water pressure in your home. Recent Plumbing or Other Home Repairs When making plumbing or home repairs, especially major ones such as replacing piping, it’s not unusual for technicians or do-it-yourselfers to turn off the water meter. While the water meter’s primary task is measuring the amount of water going through your home, there are often shut off valves on the appliance that can be used to reduce the flow of water or turn it off altogether. Sometimes, though, people forget to turn the valve up all the way after completing the repairs. Similarly, the main shut off valve that controls the flow of water to the entire home may have been turned off. Sometimes this valve will be in the same area as the water meter. However, it may also be situated at the front of the home. If you live in a cold area, the main valve shut off may be in the garage or basement to keep it from freezing. If you have recently had repairs completed on your home, check the water meter and main shut off valves to ensure they are open all the way. There May Be Buildup or Debris in the Pipes Another possible reason for low water pressure is debris or buildup in the supply pipes. While this can happen locally at sinks and tubs, the problem may lie at the main pipe if water pressure in the entire home is affected. The blockage in the pipe prevents the water from flowing freely to its destination, and the farther the outlet is from the main pipe the worse the pressure is likely to be. There are a couple of things that may be impacting the water flow in the pipe. One of those is debris. Dirt and pollutants may find their way inside the supply line via cracks in the water pipes. If you have hard water, some of the excess minerals from the water may attach to the walls of the pipes, causing buildup over time that attracts other debris. Tree roots are another common cause of pipe blockages, particularly if you live in a dry region or it hasn’t rained in a long time. Sometimes plumbing pipes will sweat, attracting trees roots to the moisture. Eventually, the pressure of the roots on the pipes may cause cracks that the roots then enter to access the water flowing through inside. The solution to this problem is to have the pipes cleaned. Since the problem is in the supply pipe, it’s best to have a plumber do this for you as it may require taking the pipe apart to locate the clog or using specialized equipment to clear out the sludge or tree roots. However, if you are mechanically inclined, you can rent an auger and clear the blockage yourself by turning off the water in the home, inserting the tool into the access point closest to the main supply line, and...

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Dealing With Central A/C Air Flow Issues

Posted by on Oct 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing With Central A/C Air Flow Issues

Good air flow lies at the cornerstone of your central air conditioning system’s operation. Without it, the conditioned air your central A/C produces wouldn’t be able to circulate throughout your home. Poor air flow issues can be caused by a variety of common problems. In fact, the following shows how you can resolve your A/C system’s air flow problems by fixing these common issues: Check Your Vent Registers In homes without zoned climate control systems, closing vent registers is often the go-to method for moderating temperatures on a room-by-room basis. However, it’s all too easy to forget that you’ve closed one or more of these vents. So when you suddenly realize there’s little to no cool air coming through these vents, it’s easy to assume that another problem somewhere is causing this issue. So before you do anything else, it’s a good idea to make sure your vent registers are in the fully open position. With all of the vent registers open, you can determine whether there are problems elsewhere within the central A/C system. Replace That Clogged Air Filter Your central A/C system’s air filter serves as the primary line of defense against dust, pet dander, stray fibers and other airborne debris. As air flows through the return air vent, it also passes through the air filter, where various particles and pollutants become trapped within the filtration media. Over time, the air filter slowly but surely fills up with debris until, one day, it becomes completely clogged. A clogged air filter can put a serious crimp in your A/C system’s air flow, making it harder for the blower fan to draw air into and push air out of the A/C system. Solving this problem is as simple as throwing the old filter away and replacing it with a brand-new filter of the same or better filtration capability. If your A/C system happens to be one of the few that relies on reusable air filters, simply wash the filter with some mild detergent and let it dry before putting it back into the air filter housing. Check Your Blower Fan Keep in mind that weak air flow issues could also be the blower fan’s fault. It’s not out of the ordinary for the blower fan’s motor to overheat or even burn out because of various stresses placed on the equipment, including the strained air flow issues caused by a blocked air filter. The fan blades may also be damaged by stress and fatigue or simply be dirty because a relative lack of care. As you inspect the blower fan, there are a few things you’ll want to mark on your checklist: Check the fan blades for chips, cracks and other signs of severe wear and tear Remove any and all dust and debris from the fan blades and assess the blades for chips and cracks Make sure there’s no looseness or play within the blower motor’s driveshaft Check all blower fan belts for signs of aging and wear, including glazing and cracking along the belt ribs Make sure the blower fan motor is well-lubricated and free of any grinding noises A Frozen or Blocked Evaporator Coil Can Also Cause Problems When the evaporator coil freezes, the resulting ice formation blocks air flow through the evaporator coil fins. This can...

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Understanding How Pads Can Be Used To Keep An Air Conditioner Level

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Understanding How Pads Can Be Used To Keep An Air Conditioner Level

If you have recently contacted an air conditioning contractor to have a new central cooling system installed, then you will need to make sure that the air conditioner condenser is secured in the right spot outside your home. The unit should be set in an area away from trees, shrubs, and other constructions that can block the exhaust that allows warm air to dissipate. You also will need to find a completely level area to set the condenser. This can be extremely difficult, since the condenser will weigh quite a bit. Usually, the air conditioner will need to be placed on a construction to keep it level. Keep reading to find out about these constructions and why your air conditioner needs to be kept on a level surface in the first place. Keeping Air Conditioner Level Air conditioning units that sit outside the home need to be kept level for several different reasons. A level unit helps to keep the compressor pump within the device working properly. If the unit is not level, lubricant oil may move away from the pump and cause the seals inside to dry out and crack. Also, the pump is designed to circulate coolant through the copper lines inside. However, coolant can pool and actually enter the pump housing. This is called slugging, and it can result in head gasket damage and broken valves.  Your air conditioner will also need to work harder to force coolant to the evaporator part of the appliance that sits inside your home. This can cause your electricity bills to increase and the coolant lines to become stressed.  Adding a Pad One of the easiest ways to make sure that your outdoor air conditioner is installed on a level surface is to have an air conditioning condenser pad placed outside your house. These pads are often made of plastic, fiber cement, or rubber materials. While all three of these materials can help to distribute weight across the entire surface of the pad, rubber and fiber cement varieties are likely to be more durable. When considering a pad, you will want one that extends at least one foot on either side of the air conditioning unit. This will help to distribute weight over a larger surface so the condenser does not sink in the earth. It is also best to secure a two foot area around the air conditioner where no obstructions sit. This means that the pad should extend two feet along the back if you want the pad to sit up against your home.  Once you have found the pad that works for your air conditioner, ask your contractor to place a layer of gravel down underneath the pad. This will help to add a firm structure to the ground underneath the pad. Limestone or granite crushed rock that is formed into larger pieces is a good choice for this.  Constructing a Concrete Formation If the ground around your home is soft and remains wet long after a rainstorm, then a rubber or cement fiber pad is likely to sink over time. In this case, a constructed cement pad is best. This pad should be secured over gravel just like a purchased pad to add structure and to also allow water to drain away from the concrete. River run gravel that is smaller...

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