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Frequently Asked Home Service Questions

Top Plumbing & HVAC Questions and How To’s

After serving the Metro Detroit community’s plumbing needs for over 90 years, there have been a few questions we see most often. If you have questions about your plumbing, air conditioning, heating system, or anything else causing issues in your home, browse our answers to these commonly asked questions here.

Browsing our selection of plumbing Q and A could prevent costly repairs needed in the future. Be sure to browse the information below, or contact us now and have one of our plumbing or HVAC specialists investigate your issue today.

What is Plumbing?

Plumbing is a system of pipes installed in a building or home for the distribution of clean water for consumption and the removal of dirty contaminated water. A plumber installs or repairs piping systems, plumbing fixtures and equipment. Faucets, toilets, garbage disposals, water heaters and backflow preventers are all items that a plumber would install or repair. Plumbers will also install gas piping and repair gas leaks. The word “plumbing” is derived from the Latin word for lead — plumbum. This is because plumbing pipes used be made from lead.

What are common plumbing problems?

Common plumbing problems are running toilets, drippy faucets, leaking pipes, and clogged drains and sewers. Many of these items are directly related to use. This means that over the course of time you will repair your kitchen faucet more often than a rarely used faucet. You will repair your master-bath toilet more often than the basement toilet. Regular maintenance and some preventative measures will extend the life of all your plumbing fixtures. Chlorine will break down rubber and other sealants in your toilets and faucets. Whole house water filtration systems will remove the chlorine from city provided water. Thus extending the life of those fixtures. It is also healthier for you to not ingest the chlorine. High blood pressure is not good for the human body just like high water pressure is not good for your plumbing system. The pressure will shorten the life of every fixture in your home or business. Installing pressure reducing valves and expansion tanks will help to solve high water pressure problems.

My basement is flooded, what do I do?

The first step is determine where the problem is coming from. The three most common causes of basements flooding as follows:

  • Sump pump failure
  • Sewer line plugged
  • Foundation leaking

A plumber can help you with the first two but not the third.

How do I change my sump pump?

Once you have removed the old sump pump you need to thoroughly clean the sump pit. Any debris in the pit may jam the motor impellers causing pump failure. After the pit is cleaned, you need to determine the activation point of the new pump. You will then want to adjust the pump level to account for the switch activation point. This will ensure the pump is turning on at an appropriate level. If it turns on too early, the pump will run more frequently, thus shortening its life. It will also be more of a noise nuisance in the home. If the pump does not activate soon enough, you run the risk of flooding.

How do I know how deep my water table is?

The only way to really know is to dig a hole in the ground. If you want an approximate depth you can contact the Department of Water Resources in your area. They can get a well survey done for you. If wells are common in your area you can ask a neighbor how deep is their well. These methods will get you close because there can be a lot of variation over short distances depending on the sub-surface stratigraphy.

When do I need a plumber?

You need a plumber whenever you need to fix or replace a part of your plumbing or gas system. You will also need a plumber if you are unable to make a repair yourself or figure out what repairs needs to be done. We would also recommend a plumber when you work with gas piping or any underground piping that will later be covered up.

Why do I need a plumber?

A plumber protects the health and wellness of our nation. Plumbers ensure safe drinking water and safe removal of contaminated water. Only a licensed plumber is up to date on the latest codes and safe practices to ensure the integrity of your plumbing system. Licensed plumbers are held to the highest standards of the plumbing codes while non-licensed handymen or do-it-yourselfers are not.

Where do I find a plumber?

There are many ways to finding a plumber. You can find one from the Yellow Pages, the internet, or a local supply house. We believe the best way to find a plumber is to ask your friends and neighbors for some plumbers that they have been happy with. The best plumbers are the ones who stand behind their work. Too often people choose based on priced alone. You should look for a plumber who has been in business at least 10 years, has up to date tools and equipment, will provide written estimates for all work to be done, covers liability insurance to protect you in the event of error, and has a written warranty for all work performed.

Here are a few online plumbing directories you can use:

How do I know if my plumbing is up to code?

The only way insure your plumbing system is up to code is to have an inspection performed by a licensed LOCAL plumber. A licensed plumber will be up to date with all the codes and will know all the codes your city/county requires.

Why do I have plumbing noises?

Some plumbing noises are normal like the sound of a toilet filling up, faucet running, shower or bathtub draining. However, If the noise is new, it means there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

How do I clean my plumbing fixtures?

There are many different finishes that different manufactures use. These finishes may need special cleaners. For best results, you should always follow manufacturers’ recommendations.

How do I winterize my plumbing?

Here are some simple steps to winterizing the plumbing in your home.

  • Shut-off the main water valves on both the house and street side.
  • Disconnect your water meter.
  • Open all faucet in the house, leaving them open
  • Flush all toilets
  • Open all outside hose faucets
  • Putting a bucket underneath the house side shut-off valve, open the valve and collect any drainage
  • You can either turn water heater to vacation setting or turn off and drain water completely out of the water heater.
  • Plunge all sinks and toilets to remove as much water as possible from the traps
  • Put in RV antifreeze into drain traps (sinks, toilets, etc.)
  • Leave faucets open and meter dropped

How do I replace my plumbing?

We do not recommend you do any major replacement without first consulting a plumbing professional who can look at your specific jobsite to give you guidance and recommendations. Always remember to shut off the water first!

How do I prevent plumbing problems?

There is no way to prevent plumbing problems from happening. We recommend an annual visual inspection of your entire plumbing system. If you see a problem, address it immediately. Plumbing problems do not get better, they only get worse. You could preventatively change out properly working fixtures based on life expectancies but is no guarantee.

How do I maintain my plumbing system?

The best way to maintain your plumbing system is to:

  1. Install a pressure reducing valve. This will limit how high the water pressure gets in your home
  2. Install a thermal expansion tank. This will prolong the life of faucets, toilets and water heaters.
  3. Do not flush harsh chemicals or put grease down your drain line. Also, do not use your toilet as a garbage system. Only flush toilet paper and . . . you know!

How much should plumbing cost?

Of course it depends on what you need done but you should expect to pay a reasonable service call fee. This will cover the expenses incurred to drive to your jobsite (wear and tear on the service truck, employee wages, etc.) Then after the Service Technicians diagnoses the jobsite, he should be able to give a written quote with the exact price for the total and complete job.

My water line is clogged, what do I do?

When you do not have water flow in your home, you need to first determine where the problem starts. For example, you may only have no flow to one faucet or you may have no flow to your entire home. If the problem is isolated to one faucet, you need to unscrew the Aerator (the tip of the faucet with the screen) and remove any debris that has built up. If there is no debris or if your problem is in a general area of your home, then you need to make sure that all emergency shutoff valves are open and operating. Sometime the valve may fail and close on its own. If your piping is galvanized, then it is most likely deteriorating from the inside and restricting flow (just like plaque building up in the arteries). In that case you would need a repipe of those affected sections. If you have no water to your home, you need to make sure the main water shut-off valves are open and operating. If they are, then you should call your city to determine if there is a problem with the supply.

Tree roots grew through my clay pipes, what do I do?

You have a few options: 1) You can have your main line cabled to help keep your pipes flowing. This is a very short term solution. 2) You can have your sewer line jetted. This is a process where high pressure water is used to remove all the tree roots in the line. The is a mid-term solution because eventually the tree roots will grow back. 3) The best solutions are to replace the clay piping by digging up the old pipe and installing new pipe or having the main sewer relined. This is a process where one seamless pipe is installed inside the existing sewer line without any digging. If you have extensive landscaping, porches or decks over the sewer line then this is the preferred solution.

What is a hydro-jetter?

This is a large piece of equipment that sprays a fine stream of water through a special nozzle at extremely high pressure. Water at this pressure can cut though a piece of wood just like a knife. This water stream is used to cut out roots from the inside of your sewer line. It will completely remove roots, calcium and other build up in your sewer line.

What’s the difference between copper pipes and galvanized pipes?

Water lines used to be run with galvanized piping but because galvanized deteriorates from the inside it causes too many problems in the plumbing system. Copper is now the piping of choice for water supply piping.

How do I rerun water lines?

Rerunning water lines is a time consuming process. If you are using copper water lines, you need to measure and cut the piping to an appropriate length. If “runs” are long you will need pipe strapping or hangers to prevent sagging. Once you have your piping cut and measured out you will need to solder them together using a lead free solder. You do not want lead leaching into your water.

If you are using plastic piping (PEX) this will be much less labor intensive but you will need to invest in specialized tools to secure the piping together. If the “runs” are long you will need to strap them to the walls/ceiling.

What is a water line?

A water line distributes water throughout a building or home. The water line that delivers water to the building is called the “Main Water Line.”

Why did my pipes freeze?

Pipes freeze because they are not insulated well enough from extremely cold temperatures. Pipes that are on outside walls of a home or building are most susceptible to freezing. When cold temperatures are predicted, we recommend that you allow water to slowly trickle from the faucet where the pipes usually freeze. Moving water requires much colder temperatures to freeze solid. If your drain line usually freezes, you should refrain from using the drain until the temperatures moderate.

How do I prepare my pipes for winter?

Make sure piping on outside walls are properly insulated. Any pipes that penetrate to the outside, like a garden hose faucet, need to be shut down and drained for the winter and the hose should be unscrewed from the hose faucet.

How do I run a water line for my dishwasher?

  1. Turn off water supply to house
  2. Drain system down
  3. Cut in new copper tee into hot supply water line in kitchen sink cabinet
  4. Install new emergency shut-off valve dedicated for the dishwasher
  5. Drill hole through side wall of cabinet into area where dishwasher will be housed
  6. Install supply line from new shut-off valve to new dishwasher
  7. Turn on water supply, run dishwasher, check for leaks

How do I unclog my toilet?

First try using a plunger. If the plunger does not work then a toilet auger will be needed. The auger can reach further and will mechanically break up the blockage. If the clog is further down the drain line, the toilet may need to be pulled off the floor and a drain machine will need to used.

My toilet flooded, how do I fix this?

In the future, use as little toilet paper as possible. We recommend flushing twice if you like the really thick paper. Once before you use the paper and once after you are done with the toilet paper. Flush after every use, even #1. Because urine has a high salt content and can form deposits if allowed to sit for too long. You may also want to clean the rim holes of the toilet with a wire brush.

How do I fix a leaky faucet?

Of course it depends on what the problem is, such as, dripping, broken handle, etc. The first step is to identify the faucet make and model number. Then you can look at a parts diagram and figure out what needs to be replaced.

How do I fix a running toilet?

There could be few items causing your toilet to run. The usual suspects are the flapper, fluid level control valve, and/or trip lever. We recommend you change all 3 at the same time. If one item is deteriorated to the point of failure it means the others are not far behind. Save yourself some time and aggravation and change them out at the same time.

My shower is leaking, how do I fix this?

If your shower is leaking from the shower head it means that the shower faucet is not shutting off properly. You will need to determine the model you have and either change the cartridge or rebuild the stems and washers in the faucet. If you have a tile shower and it is leaking below the shower you may have a leaking drain, a failed shower pan, or you may have a caulking issue.

How do you clean your shower head?

To clean the spray holes you would remove the showerhead and soak in a “CLR” type solution for at least an hour (longer if needed). After soaking, rinse with clean water. Also flush the inside of the spray head with water to clean any debris that had accumulated inside the head. The screen inside may need to be gently agitated with a screwdriver.

How do I get more pressure to my shower head?

First check the emergency water shut-off valves to the shower, making sure they are fully open.If they are open, then clean the shower head. If you clean the shower head and that does not help then you may want to disassemble the shower faucet and make sure your screens are not plugged and port openings are fully open. As a helpful hint, lay parts out in order as you remove them and reinstall them in the same order as they came out.

Why do I hear water running?

Because water is running! If water should not be running, it means you have a leak. Start by checking the obvious sources, dripping faucet, running toilet, looking for water on ceiling, floors and walls. If you have a water powered back-up sump pump, it may be running because of a problem with your primary pump. If you still can’t find the source of the running water is may be leaking in a wall or underground.

How can I increase water pressure?

The first step is to determine where the source of low pressure water pressure stems from. If your city supplied water is low pressure then you may install a booster pump (get approval from the city first!). If you have a well system, then you would call your well service company and have them address the issue. However, if the pressure supplied to your home is sufficient (approx. 60-80 is normal), then you will want to make sure all your shut-off valves are fully open, any old galvanized piping is replaced with new copper or pex piping.

How do I clean my faucets?

There are many different finishes that different manufactures use. These finishes may need special cleaners. For best results, you should always follow manufacturers’ recommendations.

What is the difference between cast iron and china fixtures?

China is a lighter, less expensive product that is less prone to chipping than cast iron. However, cast iron is a longer lasting product. Due to the baking/finishing process cast iron product colors tend to be more vivid and vibrant.

Why would I want a stainless steel sink?

When you are choosing a sink you need to balance functionality with how the sink looks. Stainless steel sinks are the most popular style but that is driven more by the fact that they are generally less expensive. One of the main benefits of a stainless steel sink is that there is nothing to chip or break like a china or cast iron sink.

Why do I get hot water in my shower when someone flushes the toilet?

This is caused by a pressure drop in the cold water line. Toilets use only cold water so when you flush the toilet, it calls for cold water and thus causes a drop in cold water pressure to the shower. You can fix this by installing a pressure balanced shower faucet which limits the change to +/- 2 degrees. These types of fixtures are code in all new homes.

How do I replace my faucet?

  1. Shut-off water supply to faucet
  2. Disconnect supply lines to faucet
  3. Loosen retainer nut that tightens faucet to sink
  4. Remove faucet
  5. Place new faucet in sink holes
  6. Tighten retaing nuts to secure faucet to sink
  7. Reconnect supply lines
  8. Restore water supply to faucet
  9. Check for leaks and proper operation

How do I replace my sink?

  1. Shut-off water supply to faucet attached to sink
  2. Disconnect faucet, all supply lines, and drains connected to sink
  3. If sink is caulked in use a razor knife to cut the seal
  4. Remove sink from counter
  5. Clean old caulking off sink
  6. Reverse steps above (ie place sink, hook up faucet, drains and supply lines)
  7. Caulk into place

How do I replace my shower head?

Shower head replacement is fairly easy. You must unscrew the current shower head from the pipe it’s attached to, called a shower arm. Make sure to not put too much pressure on the shower arm when unscrewing the shower head. Excessive pressure could break the shower arm in the wall causing a bad water leak. After removing the old head, simply screw the new head back onto the shower arm making sure to treat the threads with teflon tape.

What would happen if everyone in the US flushed at the same time?

This is one of life’s little mysteries. We can only guess without a real word experiment. Some people hypothesize that our streets would be overrun with sewage from the drain system and our supply pipes would explode from the introduction of pressurize air into the system. Levine and Sons believes that any problems would be localized since each metropolitan area has its own water supply system. We also believe that most systems could handle extremely high usage and the main problem would be low pressure to refill each toilet resulting in a delay of a few minutes at most.

How do I replace my toilet?

  1. Shut off water supply to toilet
  2. Disconnect supply line to toilet
  3. Flush toilet and plunge out excess water from the bowl
  4. Loosen the bolts that connect the toilet to the floor
  5. If toilet is caulked, but the seal with a razor knife
  6. Pull toilet off floor
  7. Clean off old wax off toilet flange and floor
  8. Check flange for cracks
  9. Install new was seal and toilet bolts into flange
  10. Install toilet bowl (making sure toilet bowl settles into the wax).
  11. Tighten down toilet bolts. Make sure it is tight enough to hold bowl into place but not too tight where you may crack the porcelain
  12. Install toilet tank
  13. Reattach supply line
  14. Restore water flow to toilet
  15. Flush several times checking all connections for leakage
  16. Trim toilet bolts down and cover with decorative caps that are provided
  17. Install toilet seat
  18. Caulk base of toilet to the floor

My water heater is leaking, what do I do?

The first step is to determine where the water is coming from. If your water heater is leaking from below (the storage tank leaking) there is no fix. You must replace the water heater. If the relief valve is leaking you should turn the temperature down on the water heater and try to “reseat” the relief valve. Sometimes they will not reset and need to be changed. Sometimes other appliances, the furnace, humidifier, backed up drain, etc. are nearby and give the impression that the water heater is leaking. That is why it is important to determine where the leak is coming from.

Why is my water bill so high?

If you receive an unusually high water bill you need to immediately address the issue. The first step is check the water meter. When you know that no water is being used look at the dials on the meter. If the dials are not moving then your meter may be broken, misread or you may have just used a lot of water in that billing cycle. However, if the dials are moving, you have a water leak somewhere in your plumbing system. After checking obvious areas for leaks (basement, underneath sinks, faucets dripping, etc.) you should dye test your toilet. Place a few drops of food coloring in the tank of each toilet in your home. After 30 minutes has the dye migrating onto the bowl? If so, you need that toilet repaired. Even a small leak can add up to big money over the course of time. If the toilet test is negative, then you may have an underground leak, which would require underground leak detection equipment. The leak could also be in a sprinkler system or crawl space area.

How do I set my water heater for the best temperatures?

ALWAYS start with the manufactures recommended setting. Setting the temperature too high can result in severe burns! From the manufactures setting slowly increase or decrease the temp as desired. The optimal temp will be different for each person and household.

What size water heater do I have?

There is most likely a sticker on your  water heater that will tell you the tank size.

What are the pros and cons of tankless water heaters?

Tanked water heaters are the least expensive style of water heater to install and maintain. If sized correctly, they will provide plenty of hot water for you and your families needs. Eventually tanked heaters will leak and need to be replaced. We recommend all tanked heaters to be installed in a drip pan. Tankless water heaters are getting better every year. Their main selling point is that they will provide an endless supply of hot water–if sized correctly. Tankless water heaters require annual maintenance that is not easy for the typical homeowner to perform and much more expensive to install.

Where do I buy a water heater?

You can buy a water heater from a home center (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) or a licensed plumber. Both will offer installation services.

How do I install a water heater?

The steps to install a water heater are pretty basic, however the actual installation is not as easy as the steps make it seem!

  • Shut-off water and gas/electric supply to the existing water heater and start draining the water out of the tank
  • Disconnect the existing water heater from the water, gas/electric supply and remove the vent
  • Move the old water heater out of the way and replace with the new water heater
  • Reconnect the water supply, gas/electric supply, vent system
  • Turn the new water heater on and check for any leaks
  • When complete go each faucet in the home and open to remove air from the water lines

Why is my water heater not working the way it used too?

As water heaters age they develop mineral particles which settle into the bottom of the water heater. You are supposed to flush your tank to remove these particles. However, many people do not do the recommended maintenance. In this case, the minerals form a barrier between the water and the burner. Thus it takes a lot longer to heat the water. Try flushing your water heater tank. If this does not solve your issues, then it may be your gas control valve starting to fail. We recommend tank replacement instead of part replacement if this is the case.

What causes a big rise in my water bill?

Water bills can skyrocket when you have an unknown water leak or you do not address a leaky toilet or dripping faucet.

How do I fix a clogged drain?

There are two ways to fix a clogged drain. Using a plunger or a mechanical cable to breakup the clog.

My sewer line is clogged, what do I do?

Stop using the water and toilets in your home! All drains lead to the main sewer. You do not want to add any more to a backed up sewer. Call us for help. Some local tool rental companies will rent you a sewer machine but we do not recommend you attempting this on your own. The machines are heavy, unsanitary, and dangerous to operate if you’ve never used one before. You can cause bodily harm and even break your plumbing fixtures if used improperly.

How do you snake a drain?

Snaking a drain is dangerous if you’ve never done it before. We do not recommend you attempt this yourself. And NEVER snake a drain that you’ve put Draino or Liquid Plumr into. If these products get on your skin or in your eyes, it can cause a lot of problems.

Why does my sewer smell?

Make sure all your drains are filled with water. When the drain traps dry out they allow sewer gases to flow into the living space. If the traps are filled with water, you may have a cracked, broken, or separated pipe in a wall or underground. If this is case, the best way to pinpoint the problem is to have a smoke test performed. A smoke test is where you fill the piping with smoke. If the piping is broken smoke will escape at the point of the break.

How do I replace my sink drain?

After getting the correct size replacement drain (usually 1-1/2″) you will place an empty bucket underneath the area you are working to collect any water that leaks out of the drain when you disconnect it. When the old drain is removed you will put in the replacement drain making sure to tighten the plastic nuts “hand tight”. Over tightening can crack the drain and cause future leakage. After the drain is in place, plug the sink and fill to the top. Then release the plug and look underneath for any water leakage. If there is leakage, slightly tighten the connections more and retest.

Why do I need a drain catch?

A drain catch is important if the drain is prone to having items go down it that should not. For example, women with long hair may choose to use a drain catch because long hair that comes out during the washing process will clog a drain very quickly. A drain catch would also be useful in a utility sink where work tools/buckets are cleaned. Sometime screws, stones, larger pieces of debris can get washed down a small sink drain and cause a backup. It is much better to catch this items before the enter your drain system.

Where does my sewer line go?

Typical sewer lines run out on the side of the house that faces the city main line or septic tank. Usually the front of the home and in certain communities out the back. However, we have seen main sewer lines that leave the back of the house make a turn and run back along the side of the home and run to the city main that is in the front of the house. The only way to know for sure is to have your main sewer line located by a company with video or radio detection equipment.

What’s the best way to clear a clogged drain?

For small drains, such as sinks and toilets, plunging is your first step. There is a potential for the clog to be pushed further into the drain, rather than actually breaking it up. If the plunging method is unsuccessful or if you need to clear a larger drain, such as a floor drain, stack drain or a main line you may need to try a different method. Plumber snakes or drain augers can help break a clog that’s located deeper into the drain. We typically use a drain cable machine, which uses a rotating head attached to a cable to punch a hole directly through the drain blockage. This method can be used on a smaller scale for other drains, such as kitchen sinks and shower drains. However, this type of machine and method should only be used by professionals. If you have a clogged drain that you cannot seem to break up, call Levine & Sons for help! We will have your drain unclogged in no time and can help advise you on how to avoid such clogs in the future.

There are steps you can take in order to avoid clogs in you home’s drains:

  • Stay away from store-bought drain cleaners that can be harmful to your family’s health as well as your pipes.
  • Instead, create homemade, natural drain cleaning products.
  • Do not put things down the drain, such as, food remnants, eggshells, grease, fruit pits, seeds, coffee grounds or actual garbage!
  • Utilize drain screens to ensure items are not going down the drain.

How do I replace my drain line?

We do not recommend that you attempt to do this unless you have extensive plumbing experience. There are too many potential health and property damaging issues if done incorrectly. Call Levine & Sons for help replacing drain lines! 

How do I fix my garbage disposal?

If your disposal is jammed, you can use the tool provided with the unit and try to manually crank the blades to free them up. You would insert the tool into the hole in the bottom of the disposal unit.

How do I know I need a new garbage disposal?

If the garbage disposal unit is leaking, clogs or jams frequently (and you can’t get it unjammed) then it is time for a new unit. Also if the unit becomes very noisy, it means your current model is on its way out.

How to replace a garbage disposal?

  1. Unplug current unit
  2. Disconnect the drain trap (make sure to put bucket underneath!)
  3. Loosen the clamping ring (this hold the disposal to the disposal flange)
  4. Remove disposal
  5. Remove split ring (this hold flange to top of the sink).
  6. Remove flange
  7. Clean old putty from sink
  8. Install new flange using putty for stainless steel, cast iron, and china sinks and silicone for most others.
  9. Install upper retaining bracket with retaining split ring
  10. Tighten screws down in an alternating fashion
  11. Hang new disposal making sure to lock into place
  12. Reconnect drain lines and plug in electrical.
  13. Fill up sink and run unit checking for leaks

How often do I change my air filters?

This depends on the type of air filter system you have. If you have a removable media filter (looks like a cardboard box) then it depends on the width of your filter. 1″ width should be changed very month. 2″ Every other month. 4″ or 5″ Every 6 months. If your home has a lot of dust, or a lot of activity (the outside door opening a lot), or pets you may want to change your air filter more frequently.

Why should I change my air filters?

If you do not change your air filter it will become clogged. A clogged air filter will cause your furnace to stop working. And in some cases result in costly blower motor repairs. It is also important to note that your furnace is used all year long, even during air conditioning season. The furnace blows the cooled air through the ducts into your home or office. It is critically important to make sure the air filter is changed year round.

How do I know if the duct work is the right size for my home?

Duct size is very important for your indoor air comfort. You can have the best furnace in the world but if your system to deliver the conditioned air throughout your home is wrong, you will not be comfortable. You need to have a professional load calculation done to determine your heating/cooling needs then you can determine if your ductwork can handle the size of equipment needed.

How do I save on heating?

The best way to save on your heating costs is to insulate your home. This will keep the cold weather outside resulting in your furnace operating less often. Another strategy would be to turn your thermostat down.

What are the average savings of programmable thermostat?

Studies have shown that programmable thermostats installed in older heating systems saved an average of 6.8%. Since new equipment was not installed, these studies only took into account the difference the programmable thermostats made.

Is it best to turn my thermostat off if I travel?

No. In the winter you need to maintain a minimum house temperature of 55 degrees. This will help to insure that your pipes will not freeze. In the summer time you will want to control the humidity in your home so that mold does not grow and any hardwoods in your home do not become warped. During the spring and fall seasons it is probably ok to turn your thermostat off.

Why is my thermostat clicking?

Don’t worry about the clicking. This is relay turning your system on and off. It means it is working properly.

What side effects of bad heating units?

A bad heating unit that has stopped working will leave the house cold and if you do not have another source of heat, your plumbing pipes may be at risk of freezing and breaking. If your heater works but your heat exchanger is bad, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and even death.

Where do I buy a furnace?

Any licensed Mechanical Contractor will be able to sell you a new furnace system.

My furnace is making noise, what is this?

Furnace noises can be caused by many things. Some noises are meaningless and others can indicate a future problem. Easy fixes include improperly installed air filters and loose ductwork. More serious noises can come from an out of balance blower wheel or a motor going bad. The first step is to determine where the noise is coming from.

My thermostat is broken, what do I do?

You need a thermostat to operate your furnace and/or air conditioner. If your thermostat is broken, it must be replaced. Today’s thermostats are designed to be replaced instead of repaired.

How long is a thermostat good for?

At a minimum your thermostat should last the life expectancy of your furnace — 20 years.

How much money should a new heating and cooling system cost me?

At least a few thousand dollars. However, there are so many different variables in size of units, type of motors, type of thermostat required, multi stage firing systems, etc. That the range can be from a few thousand dollars to $10,000+

What is included in a diagnostic/service charge?

The diagnostic and service charge fee will depends on what you need done in your home. However, you should expect to pay a reasonable service call fee. This will cover the expenses incurred to drive to your jobsite (wear and tear on the service truck, employee wages, etc.) Then after the Service Technicians diagnoses the jobsite, he should be able to give a written quote with the exact price for the total and complete job.

How long should a furnace last?

The life expectancy of a furnace is about 20 years.

Why did my furnace break?

The three main factors which contribute to furnace failure is

  • Poor Installation by the contractor
  • Poor quality equipment
  • Lack of proper maintenance by the homeowner

How much does a new furnace cost?

How do I tell if I have the right size AC unit?

A professionally performed heat load calculation will tell you the size equipment you need to properly cool your home.

How do I save on AC?

The best way to save on your air-conditioning costs is to insulate your home. This will keep the outdoor weather outside and not allow it to infiltrate into your home forcing your air conditioner to keep running. You can also turn your thermostat up so that your air-conditioner has a warmer point to cool to.

What is r-410a?

R-410A is a replacement for R-22. It is now the refrigerant of choice for use in residential and commercial air conditioners. R-410A is not ozone depleting like R-22, which is being phased out. However, it has a high potential for global warming (2088 times the effect of carbon dioxide), similar to that of R-22.

How do I know if I should fix my AC or buy a new one?

Anytime the repair costs are at least 25% of a new unit you should consider replacing the unit. As a general rule, if the unit is 10 years old and you have not replaced any parts then you should opt for a new unit. This first repair is just the start of the repair and breakdown cycle. You are better off saving the future repair dollars now and investing them in the new air conditioner. If you have a 10 year old unit that you have already made a lot of repairs to then it may be better to just repair the unit since many of the parts have already been changed.

Where do I buy an AC unit?

Any licensed Mechanical Contractor will be able to provide you with an Air-conditioning unit.

What are side effects of bad AC units?

Your home will not cool and will leave you uncomfortable. If it is really humid out you run the chance of warping wood floors and furniture. If you have mold issues, the warm humid environment may exacerbate the problem.

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