FAQ

Please take a look over our frequently asked questions. Have a question that does not appear here? Feel free to give us a call. We are always happy to help.

HVAC

#1 Replace or clean your filter(s)

A clean filter is vital for your system to work properly and safely through the cold season.

#2 Properly set your thermostat

With most systems having cost-saving programmable thermostats, it’s important to set the proper temperature setting & times of operation. This will keep your home comfortable only when you’re there and efficient while you’re away, to save’s you money on your monthly heating bills.

#3 Seal doors and windows

Check to ensure weather stripping and molding are in good shape. Replace if needed. These seals can account for a large heat loss in many homes, driving your heating bills higher.

#4 Clean around outdoor unit if you have one

Outdoor systems will accumulate leaves, debris etc…over the summer months, which can cause the system to labor, driving your heating bills higher. Clean all material from around the unit.

#5 Think about adding additional insulation in attic and basement if possible

These areas are a common problem for heat loss in many homes. These improvements will keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in the summer (even if you do not have an AC system in your home).

#6 Vacuum your vents/registers

A simple vacuum can remove summer dust collected on the supply and return grills.

After you have taken care of these basic items, be sure and have your yearly systems health and safety check up done on your furnace. Component check and cleaning of your system will identify potential problems, avoid expensive emergency repairs, and keep you comfortable through the winter.

When the 1st chill hits in fall, it is common to have a burning odor from your forced air heating system, and in most cases, it is not a concern.

Dust in your system

When your heating system has been in standby mode over the summer, dust will have settled in the furnace and air distribution (ducting) system. When the system calls for heat in the 1st few cycles, the dust will burn off from the burner in the furnace causing the unpleasant odor. The dust in the ducting system may also blow into the home causing a dusty or musty smell as well. This it is not usually a health or safety concern.

Possible other causes

If the odor continues for more than a few cycles, it may be an issue that needs a qualified technician to perform a safety inspection. This ensures the system is functioning properly and is not a potential hazard to you or your home. Most manufacturers require a yearly inspection to ensure safe system operation going into the heating season.

So if the system is running well after a couple of hours of operation with no smelly burning odor, you are good to go. If not, call a qualified HVAC service company for your yearly safety check.

There are a few reasons for hissing from your water heater.

If you drain the water heater of all the hot water making the tank is completely cold, the heater will drip condensation on the burner plate, and when the heater fires, it can cause hissing. Or, if there is a restriction of some kind at the water heater supply line, it will make a hissing noise as the water travels through it.

Have someone run water while you are standing at the heater when it is at full temperature. Does it make the noise? If so, it’s not a condensation issue.

If your increased water flow is causing more noise, it is likely a restriction issue with the supply lines.

Of course, there are other possibilities as well, so a qualified service technician would need to complete a safety inspection to be sure of any issue before a repair is completed.

The most common breakdown issue is a dirty filter not allowing proper airflow through the system. The filter should be cleaned (if washable) or replaced before each season. The second thing to check is to make sure the outside condensing unit is free of growth from leaves and debris from trees, bushes, weeds etc. This will make the system work harder than it should to cool the home properly. All the trees, bushes and weeds should be cut back a minimum of 12” from all sides of the unit to allow for proper air circulation, with all debris also removed from inside the unit. Other issues are as simple as the power being turned off or the thermostat is not set properly or needs batteries. These are the simple things you can check yourself, or have it done on an annual basis by your HVAC contractor.

The first thing you can safely check is to make sure the thermostat has power and is calling for cooling. The second thing would be to check if the outside condensing unit is running. The third is to check the filter to make sure it is clean and allowing free airflow to the system.

Most other checks would require an experienced service technician to diagnose the problem. The reality is that most problems will start small and are unnoticeable at first, until the problem impacts your comfort. Of course, this happens on one of the hottest days of the summer when service is the most challenging to schedule.

Fortunately, AC maintenance is generally simple and cost effective. In most cases, proper cleaning and tune-up of your system will save you from breakdowns with your systems and cost of operation. A new system can lose up to 25% of its efficiency by its second year without proper maintenance.

AC systems are designed & built to last for up to 20 years with proper attention. For the best use of your buying dollar, have your HVAC system serviced every year. Your system & bank account will appreciate it!

Replacing your air filter on a regular basis can help keep your energy costs down. When your dirty clogged up air filter is working harder, more energy is being used, which can cause your bill to skyrocket. When you consistently change your air filter, you can save from 5 to 15 percent on your utility bill. Check your air filter monthly and change it every three months. Regularly replacing your air filter is an easy, inexpensive way to save money, extend the life of your HVAC system and improve indoor air quality.

Plumbing

First, check the emergency shutoff under your sink to make sure it’s fully open. If rubber washers or seals have begun to deteriorate, you’ll also lose water pressure, so check those. Calcium and lime buildup will also cause low water pressure.

Even small drips can waste thousands of gallons of water; as much as 150 gallons a day! Be sure to check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. Always repair leaky faucets right away to avoid paying for wasted water, and also to avoid water damage to your fixtures and pipes. Remove and clean your faucet aerators annually to ensure an even flow of water. Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanities are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings.

Usually, faucet dimensions and sink openings are standard throughout the plumbing industry, so the answer is typically yes. There are a few exceptions, so check the size of the sink opening before you buy new fixtures.

Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs. To help prevent clogs, fit all of your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.

In most homes, the kitchen and laundry drains are connected. When the lint from the laundry drains meets the grease buildup from soap and food products, a nearly solid substance is formed, causing a blockage.

Using filters and strainers will help, but you’ll need to get the drains snaked periodically as well.

Yes. You want to make sure they’re not stuck in the open position, just in case you have a water emergency! Do the same periodic check for the shutoff valves on your sinks, tubs and toilets, too.

Noises can be fairly common in plumbing supply lines. If a washer in a faucet or valve is loose, you’ll hear it rattling or knocking. If the sound occurs when you open and close faucets rapidly, it generally means pipes are loose and can be corrected by anchoring pipes more securely. If it really bothers you, you can add air chambers at the end of long pipe runs. Their installation will probably require a plumbing professional.

The main culprit is tree roots, and once they’ve blocked the line, there is very little you can do. A plumbing professional can snake the line to get it as clear as possible, and then use copper sulfide products to kill the remaining vegetation. But odds are the sewer line will most likely need to be replaced.

For minor clogs, they’re fine, but never use them on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients can become trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can’t snake the drain yourself, contact a professional to do so. Never use caustic drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.

This is usually due to a sediment buildup in your tank. As water heaters grow older, they accumulate sediment and lime deposits. If these deposits are not removed periodically, the sediment will create a barrier between the burner and the water, greatly reducing the water heater's performance level. At least once every three months, drain water from the tank. Draining a gallon or so on a regular basis helps remove the sediment.

You should also periodically inspect your water heater burner. The flame under the heater should appear blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow, or if it’s sooty under there, your flue may be clogged, which is a dangerous situation. Contact a professional to check it out. At least once every two years, have your water heater inspected by a service technician. He or she will also check the drain valve for signs of leakage, and the anode rods for corrosion.

Always use plenty of cold water when running your disposal, and avoid overloading it. Never dispose of very hard items like bones or corn husks. And never use a caustic drain opener. You can extend the life of your hands by never using them to remove items dropped inside – use tongs instead!

Before calling a professional, be sure to try the reset switch located on the bottom of most disposals.

Toilet leaks can be wasteful and expensive. At least once a year, check your toilet for leaks by adding a small amount of red food coloring to the tank, and then check the toilet bowl later. If the toilet bowl water is colored red, water is seeping through from the tank. If it is leaking, you should replace the tank ball.

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