The Ultimate Guide To Furnace Replacement

A malfunctioning furnace is a major emergency in most households, especially if the furnace stops working during the winter. Depending on the age and condition of your furnace, you may be left wondering whether you should call a repairman or bite the bullet and splurge for a new unit to prevent future breakdowns. Of course, furnaces don’t come cheap, so the decision on whether to repair or replace can be a stressful one. Check out these five tips to help you determine whether you can have your furnace repaired to working condition, or whether investing in a new unit makes sense for your family and your budget.

Consider Its Age

Furnaces last an average of 15 to 20 years, so if you know your furnace was installed close to 20 years ago, it’s generally  better to replace it than to attempt a repair. If your furnace is on the new side, however, compare the repair cost to the cost of replacement to help you make your choice. Generally, a new furnace costs about $3,000. If your estimated repair bill is higher than one-third of this amount, or $1,000, spring for a new furnace and skip the repairs.

Check Its Condition

Just because the average furnace lasts 15 to 20 years, it doesn’t mean your furnace will last this long. If your furnace can no longer keep your house warm enough for your family, it’s time for a new unit. You should also consider a new furnace if the unit is extremely noisy, your family is suffering from excessively dry skin thanks to the dry air in the home, or you’re simply tired of dealing with repair and maintenance issues.

Review Your Bills

If you’re on the fence about repairing or replacing your furnace, pull out your last six months of energy bills and let them serve as a guide. Furnaces tend to get less efficient as they reach the end of their life, which means your bills keep going up, no matter how much you try to conserve energy. If you notice your bills keep climbing, it’s time to ditch the furnace and spring for a new model.

Consider Savings

If you have a standard 80 percent efficiency furnace, switching to one rated at 97 percent efficiency will cut your heating costs by 20 percent each month, according to This Old House. Use old bills to calculate how much you will save each month, then multiply this amount by 12 to realize annual savings. Once you know your annual savings, multiply by 15 to determine savings over the life of the furnace. If this amount if greater than the cost of a new unit, consider springing for a new unit to save money.

Look for Deals

You may be surprised to find out just how many organizations are willing to offer you money to convince you to upgrade to a more efficient furnace. Check for offers through the U.S. Department of Energy as well as national energy-efficiency databases to find offers. A generous tax credit, discount or cash rebate may help make up your mind about repairing or replacing your furnace. Contact a local company, like Wm Jean Electric Co, for any questions.

Posted in Uncategorized

How To Repair A Tub Overflow Drain Leak

If you notice water stains on the floor around your tub or ceiling on the lower level, it is likely coming from a leaky tub overflow drain. The overflow drain is situated behind the cover located right over your tub drain and under the faucet. It removes excess water in case someone leaves the water running or fills the tub too high.

Water leaves your house in two ways: through the overflow pipe and main waste drain. A leaky overflow drain can damage plaster and carpeting. Here are some tips to fix a tub overflow drain.

Shut Off Water

Before you make plumbing repairs, shut off water to the tub. There should be an access panel on the wall near the tub or in the basement. If you can’t find the panel, turn off the main house water which is near your water meter. Turn off the valve and run the tub faucet to drain the excess water from the pipes.

Inspect the Overflow Gasket

The rubber gasket behind the overflow plate drain will crack with time, which causes the water to seep into where the overflow pipe connects with the gasket. Remove the cover plate, which is usually held in place by screws, with a screwdriver and scrape any excess caulking.

If the gasket looks brittle, remove it with your fingers or a utility knife, scraping off excess caulking, and replace it with a new one. You may have to push the pipe slightly to get the gasket in place. Reinstall the face plate, turn the water back on, and fill the tub to test for leaks.

Fix the Leaky Overflow Drain Pipe

If a new gasket doesn’t stop the leak, you will have to remove the pipe. Remove the face plate as before and look for small a sphere that has three or four bolts. Remove these bolts by placing screwdriver between the pipe and tub. Detach the bottom of the pipe using a wrench and wiggling it if needed to remove it.

Next, access any damage on the pipe and clean out any debris. Repair small leaks by using a welding iron and add layers of electrical tape until the hole is solid. A heavily damaged pipe will need replacing.

Reinsert the pipe to the tub, making sure the connections are tight, and apply caulking on the joins to secure. Loose connections are another cause of leaks. Turn on the water and fill the tub to test for leaks.

Sometimes, simple repairs are all that it takes to fix a leaky tub overflow drain. If your repairs failed to stop the leak, it is suggested that you call a plumber.

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Tips To Help You Troubleshoot Gas Furnace Problems When Your Heating Is Out

There are many advantages to using gas furnaces, such as cleaner fuel, fewer repairs, availability of energy and efficiency. Even though your gas furnace may require fewer repairs than oil and other furnaces, it may still require repairs from time to time. Usually, these are things that happen when you least expect them and when you need your heating most. Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot the problems with your gas furnace:

1. Furnace Not Turning On When Heating Is Needed

One common problem with furnaces is the motor not turning on. This can be caused by a power outage, tripped breakers or an overload. First, check to see that the furnace has power and that the breaker and fuses haven’t tripped. If it is an overload, wait to try to reset the motor. You may want to turn everything off for an hour or more before you start troubleshooting the problem. This will give the unit time to cool down.

2. Problems With Pilot Light Starting The Furnace

The pilot light not starting can be another problem you may have. If the pilot light will not come on at all, try cleaning it. The pilot light can also come on and go out, and this may be a sign that it is set too low to stay lit. Try adjusting it to have a little more flame. In addition, check all the valves to make sure your furnace is getting gas.

3. System Running With No Heat And A Lot Of Noise

If your system is running and no heat is coming out, the problem can be something as simple as a dirty filter that you need to change. If it is making a lot of noise, there may be a problem with the blower motor. You can try lubricating the motor to see if the noise stops. The motor also has a control switch on it. If the motor still makes noise after lubricating it, try turning the system off and pressing the reset button.

4. Very Little Heat Coming Out Of Vents When Heating Is On

If your furnace is not heating efficiently, try changing the filter and raising the temperature several degrees. You can also check the blower compartment to see if it is dirty and the motor is clogged. If there is a lot of debris in the blower, use a vacuum attachment to get all the loose debris and dust out of the unit.  In addition, check to make sure all the return vents are open to ensure that the air is circulating through the system.

Checking these furnace problems may solve your heating repair needs. If you cannot find the problem with your furnace, contact a heating repair contractor to inspect your system and do the repairs that are needed.

Posted in Uncategorized

Beginner’s Guide To Retrieving A Ring That Slides Down The Drain

If you are washing your hands and all of a sudden notice that your ring has slid from your finger and down the drain, you will want to work quickly in retrieving it before it becomes pushed further through the piping due to continued water use. Retrieving a ring from the piping system under your sink not that difficult if you have the correct tools and a bit of patience. Here are some instructions for you to use in getting your ring out and back on your finger.

Turn Off The Water

The first step in retrieving your ring is to turn off the water supply to the sink where the incident occurred. You do not want someone to accidentally turn on the water while you have the piping underneath disassembled, or you will end up with a huge water spill to deal with. Find the water supply valve underneath your sink and turn it to the right to shut the water off completely.

Remove The P-Trap

Underneath your sink is a curved pipe where your ring is most likely hiding. This is called a P-Trap. On each side of this pipe are nuts that need loosening to remove the pipe from the area. Before you remove it, place a large bucket underneath. Use a wrench to loosen the nuts and slowly move the pipe towards you. At this time, water may start trickling from the space, so do your best to redirect the pipe end over the bucket to catch spilling water. 

Clean Out The Pipe

When the pipe is free, pull it out from under your sink and shake one end over a clean, dry bucket. Anything inside the P-Trap will spill out, allowing you to sift through it to search for your ring. 

Put It Back Together

After you have found your ring, rinse out the P-Trap in another sink to remove any dirt build-up. Reassemble the piping by sliding the P-Trap back between the two nuts and tighten them on each end of the pipe. Turn your water supply back on by turning the valve to the left. Test the water by turning on a faucet slightly so there is minimal water pressure. Watch the P-Trap for any leaking to make sure you had placed the nuts back on properly. When the water runs through without leaking, you can remove the bucket from underneath the sink.

To learn more, contact a plumbing service company like Bowman’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.

Posted in Uncategorized

Using A Programmable Thermostat To Reduce Monster Mayhem

Remember the old film Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman? All was well until a little extra heat thawed the creatures out from their frozen suspended animation. If you are worried about frozen creatures below your castle thawing and waking, install a modern programmable thermostat and make sure it is properly set to ensure no monster mayhem occurs.

Temperatures Change Unexpectedly

One of the best reasons to install a programmable thermostat to the air conditioning system is to avoid troubles with changing temperatures. Imagine if you are away from the castle on a laboratory equipment buying trip or, simply, working your day job. Setting the thermostat at a fixed number is not always the safest plan.

An unexpected weather change could send temperatures hitting 90 degrees and your castle is not going to be all that enjoyable to come home to—and then there is the little matter of those creatures in the cave thawing out.

Maximizing the Value of the Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat is the first step towards overcoming such problems. Taking the following steps maximizes the benefits of the programmable thermostat:

  • Review the Week’s Temperature Report

Check out the predicted temperatures for the entire week. Do not just look at the expected highs and lows of the temp. Examine all the possible changes of the temperature throughout the day. Doing so ensures the proper consistency.

  • Weigh Other Factors

Looking at changes in the weather or other special considerations for the week aids in making better programming decisions. You likely don’t want to crank up the air conditioner on nights the temperature drops to 60 degrees. What about the night of the full moon? Programming the thermostat to keep the temperature as low as possible on the three nights of the full moon helps reduce the chances you come home to a thawed out Wolfman in your living room.

  • Utilize a Smartphone App

Emergencies can and do arise. Sometimes strange, unpredictable upticks in the temperature can occur at odd times during the year. A programmable thermostat capable of being controlled remotely through an app on a smartphone could prove to be a huge help.

Problems Averted

Not everyone is a mad scientist nor does the average person have to worry artificial humanoids or lycanthropes awaking. Everyone on a budget, however, does have to worry about high energy bills and poor energy efficiency. With a programmable thermostat, you could cut down on those concerns. Contact a company like Wright Total Indoor Comfort for more information.

Posted in Uncategorized

Simple Steps To Unclog Your Window Air Conditioning Unit’s Condensate Line

If water is pooling underneath your window air conditioning unit, there is a good chance that the condensate line is clogged. This problem can cause severe water damage inside of your home and your air conditioning unit may stop working altogether if any of the electrical components get wet. Resolve this problem by completing these simple steps.

Use The Following Materials

  • pipe brush
  • flashlight
  • duct tape
  • shop vacuum cleaner
  • sponge
  • soapy water
  • rubber gloves
  • towel
  • bucket

1. Remove Clogs From The Condensate Line

Disconnect the power to your air conditioning unit at the breaker box and turn the power button off on your unit. Pull the end of the condensate line away from your air conditioning unit. Place a bucket under the end of the line to collect any water that is inside of it. Shine a flashlight into the line. If debris is visible, loosen and remove it with a pipe brush. Move the brush up and down to complete this step. Use the same techniques at the other end of the line that is located outside. You will find the opening of the line near the bottom of your home. 

2. Vacuum Up Any Residue That Remains

If you still see residue inside of the line, connect the hose from a shop vacuum cleaner to the end that is located outside. Secure the hose to the line with a couple pieces of duct tape. Turn the vacuum on high for a couple minutes to remove any water or debris that is stuck inside. After finishing, visually inspect the line to ensure that it is empty. Vacuum the line out a second time if you still see residue inside. 

3. Empty And Clean The Condensate Pan

Remove your air conditioning unit’s front cover.Locate the condensate pan underneath the evaporator coil. Pull the pan forward and empty it into a bucket. If the pan is dirty, clean it out with soapy water and a sponge. Rinse the pan with water once you are finished and slide it back into place inside of your unit. Clean up any water from the floor. Turn the breaker switch back on and the the power button to your air conditioning unit.

If water doesn’t accumulate on the floor in the future, you have successfully unclogged the line. Keep your air conditioning unit working the proper way by inspecting and cleaning the condensate pan and condensate line a couple times each year. For more information or help, contact a repair service like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc.

Posted in Uncategorized

Two Common Questions New Homeowners Have About Damaged Sewer Lines

A functioning sewer line is one of the most important components of a modern home’s plumbing system. This line is responsible for transporting wastewater away from the home. Yet, it is often relatively narrow, which may make it more vulnerable to developing clogs and other problems. Sadly, you may not know much about this part of your home, but learning the following two answers to common questions should help you to know how to proceed when you are suspect that your sewer line is damaged. 

Why Does A Damaged Sewer Line Cause A Depression In The Yard?

One of the most common signs of problems with your sewer line is the sudden formation of deep depressions in your yard. These depressions will almost always form near the location of the problem with the line, and they are usually caused by a leak eroding soil. 

However, it should be noted that the depression will not always form at the site of the problem. This can occur for numerous reasons, but it is often due to the fact that the soil near the damage is too rocky to easily be eroded. When this is the case, the water will flow to another area of the yard where it may erode the soil. 

What Is The First Step In Diagnosing Sewer Line Damages?

Some homeowners may dread this type of work because they assume that much of their yard will have to be excavated to determine the exact location and cause of the problem. While this may have been true in the past, modern technology has made it possible for the cause of these problems to be diagnosed without having to excavate. 

This is done by deploying a small camera into the main sewer line. The camera is connected to a high-definition monitor that allows the plumber to examine the interior walls of the pipe and search for clogs. This camera is usually sufficient for the initial diagnosis, but there may be times where it is unable to determine the cause of the problem. When this happens, it may be necessary for your plumber to use sonar-based systems to examine the soil around the sewer line for clues to the problem. While this may seem like an unnecessary step, it may be the best way to avoid extensive yard excavation. 

A faulty sewer line has the potential to cause major problems for your home and your yard. However, homeowners are seldom highly informed or experienced about these problems. By knowing why depressions form in your yard and how the plumber will identify the source of the problem, you will strengthen your knowledge enough to make this type of repair less intimidating. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit sites like http://robertbair.com.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Top Benefits Of Hiring A Professional For Your Commercial HVAC Needs

Whether you have a furnace or air conditioner that is breaking down, or you need to have new systems installed, you might want to consider hiring a professional. If you find that you are still a little unsure as to whether you want to hire a professional, you need to check out the following benefits. This is how you will be able to make the best decision for your business.

Better Understanding Of Local Commercial Codes

When there is new construction or the remodeling of an old commercial HVAC system, you have to make sure that you are keeping things in line with the current codes for commercial systems. These codes are set by your local authorities and are available for viewing by anyone who asks. However, many people find that all of the various rules and codes can get a little confusing. This is especially true for anyone that has no personal experience with remodeling or tending to HVAC systems. However, with the help of your commercial contractor, your will have an easier time making sure that you are staying in line with all of the rules.

The Job Is Done In A Fraction Of The Time

Even if you are someone that tends to be a do-it-yourself kind of person, it should be easy to see that a professional commercial HVAC contractor will be able to complete the hard jobs in a fraction of the time it would take you. This is because they usually have access to a much wider variety of tools, as well as a much deeper knowledge of a variety of HVAC systems. If you need to shut down your business until the work is completed, you need to consider how long it is going to take. The longer you are shut down, the more money you are losing.

You Might Get A Better Deal On Parts

Some of the busier commercial HVAC professionals do so much work that they sometimes end up with a lot of brand new spare parts because they buy in bulk. Then again, you might be able to save some money because they receive major discounts for their HVAC supplies because of the amount of business they bring to a company. Find a contractor that is able to find great deals and who then passes those savings on to his or her customers as a way to retain more business.

With the previous benefits in mind, you should have no problem deciding if you want to hire a professional HVAC contractor (such as one from Pro-Staff Mechanical Inc) for the job that needs completed.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Do I Winterize My Air Conditioner’s Condenser?

While an air conditioner’s condenser is built to handle the outdoor weather in the winter, there are a couple steps you should take to help minimize the potential damage that can occur. When the cold temperatures of winter come, make sure to do these three things.

Do Not Turn The Air Conditioner On In The Winter

This may seem obvious, but an air conditioner can be accidentally turned on during the winter months. You may have forgotten to change your thermostat settings, and a particularly warm day could activate your condenser. This will cause problems as water runs through the condenser, freezes, and can potentially cause a lot of damage after the temperature falls back down below freezing.

In order to prevent accidental activation from occurring, you should turn off your air conditioner using the main shut offs. It could be located directly next to the air conditioner on the side of your home, or you may need to turn off the circuit breaker inside your home. It takes a few seconds, and it can save you from a costly repair.

Keep The Condenser’s Fins Clear

The condenser may see a build up of snow around it throughout the winter, and the constant thawing and freezing can cause damage to the condenser. Try to keep the area surrounding the condenser as clear as possible to avoid problems. It is important that the fins on the condenser maintain their shape to keep the unit working efficiently. Unfortunately, there is a chance that snow and water can get between the fins, freeze, and cause the fins to become deformed.

Use a shovel and brush to get rid of any snow that collects on the condenser and in the fins. If icicles hang off your roof directly above the condenser, carefully break them off to prevent water from dripping directly onto the condenser.

Purchase A Vinyl or Plastic Cover

The best way to prevent moisture from getting into the condenser is by using a vinyl or plastic cover. Once you have the condenser covered, you need to secure the cover in place using bungee cords or tie rope along the bottom. It not only will prevent moisture from getting in, but will stop animals from creating a nest under the unit as well.

By following these tips, you will be taking some additional steps to help ensure your air conditioner’s condenser makes it through the rough winter. If your air conditioner doesn’t make it, contact a local HVAC technician from a company like McFoy Refrigeration, Inc. to get it up and running for you in the spring.

Posted in Uncategorized

How To Properly Maintain A Central Air Conditioner

A central air conditioning service is made out of two units, the evaporator, which is located in your home usually near the furnace, and the condenser, which is located outside. It works to pull in air from outside and cool it before pumping it throughout your house, cooling it down in the summer months.

You should regular clean your air conditioner to ensure that it stays in the best condition possible, which extends its lifespan and improves its efficiency:

How to Maintain the Condenser

The condenser is located outside your home, and can be more easily clogged than the evaporator as it is exposed to outside debris.

  • Check to make sure that no debris, like leaves or branches, are blocking the grill on top of the condenser. This can block the air intake, and force the air conditioner to work harder, which can cause damage to your system.
  • Use a fine brush to clean the blades of the fan. You may have to use a screwdriver to remove the grill to properly reach the blades. Don’t use any chemicals or water, as this can cause damage to your system and even get into the airflow inside your home.
  • You can use a special coil cleaner, however, which is available at most hardware stores, in order to clean off any stuck on debris or residue. Be sure to follow all the instructions on the bottle to the letter to ensure that you do not damage your system.

How to Maintain the Evaporator

The evaporator is located inside your home, usually next to or above the furnace. As such, it is less likely to become dirty or blocked, as it is not exposed to outside elements. Cleaning the evaporator is simply removing dust from the system.

  • Remove the foil covering over the entrance to the air duct and lay it to the side. This covering is usually held in place with duct tape, and can be easily removed and replaced. Use fresh tape every time that you remove the covering to ensure a complete seal of the system.
  • Use a brush or duster to clean inside the duct, sweeping towards you to prevent any dust or dirt from being pushed further back into the system.
  • Remove the drip tray that is located under the evaporator and dump out any water that may have built up. This is a normal part of your air conditioner, and develops due to condensation. 
Posted in Uncategorized

About Me

Hi! My name is Speedy, or at least, that's what my friends call me. I have always loved rec centers and what they contribute to a community. I am also uniquely interested in how they function, what they need to run and how their HVAC systems work. During the day, I work in investment finance, but in the evening, I love to read about hands on ideas related to everything from building to plumbing to HVAC. If you run or are planning to build a gym, a rec center, a swimming pool or a similar facility, you need a special HVAC system for that project. Please, explore this blog and learn about HVAC systems for those facilities. I hope you enjoy reading and that your questions are answered.

Calendar

July 2015
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031