How Do Storage Tank Water Heaters Work?

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 8th, 2014

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As water flows from the water main to your home through a series of pipes, it’s usually much cooler than what you’d expect from a hot shower. The water heater, then, is an important asset to your home which is vital for many everyday activities around the home. And while there are a few different types of units available today, the storage tank water heater remains the most common type of unit used in homes. Yet many homeowners are unsure of how these systems heat water. Why is the tank so large? How does hot water enter the faucet? To answer these questions, we’ve put together this short guide to hot water heaters.

There are two types of systems that use different heating elements to heat the water: gas and electric. While these systems may look large and complex, they actually rely on a natural process of heat exchange in order to keep water heated. First, cold water enters the tank through a large pipe that leads all the way to the bottom. Here there may be a burner located underneath the tank, or an electric heating element may be located toward the bottom. Here’s where science takes over; hot water naturally rises above the cooler denser water. Another small pipe is located towards the top of the tank. This pipe picks up the heated water and carries it to the faucet. Water continues to re-enter the tank in order to keep a large supply of hot water on hand.

A few more key elements of hot water heaters help keep everything in working order. For example, a thermostat helps monitor the temperature while a pressure valve keeps the water pressure at a safe level. One problem you’ll want to avoid at all costs is rust, but the anode rod can prevent rust from damaging your system, increasing its lifespan. When rust damages the storage tank of your unit, you’ll likely need to replace your water heater. The anode rod attracts corrosive elements that may cause your unit to rust through, so it’s important to replace this rod when it becomes too worn down.

If you’re not sure whether you want a gas or electric water heater, or if you want to talk to an expert about hot water heaters in Lansdale, call the experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today!

The Fashion of Wearing White and Labor Day

Posted by Kevin Carney on September 1st, 2014

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You may have heard about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. In the present, this tradition is usually treated as old fashioned and a joke. Few people will criticize you for wearing white articles of clothing after the first Monday in September, or even take notice of it except to wonder why it was ever a major concern at all.

Where did this tradition of white clothing going out of fashion after Labor Day come from, and why did it fade away like colorful fabric washed in a hot load in the washing machine?

In general, white makes sense for the heat of summer. Light-colored clothing reflects away the radiant heat of the sun, instead of absorbing it the way dark colors do, so for thousands of years of human history people have preferred to wear white clothing during the hotter months.

However, the idea of white as strictly fashionable during the summer season only emerged in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the time when the very concept of “fashion” began to spread across the Western Hemisphere.

It was only the highest level of post-Civil War society in the U.S. that strict and often bizarre rules for fashion controlled whether someone was in with the “in” crowd. Compared to our ideas of what’s fashionable today, the Czars of Style in the 1880s were true despots. Things as trivial as sleeve length could determine whether a woman in high society—no matter her level of wealth—was fashionable or a pariah.

Wearing white during the only summer, when it was common for weddings and outdoor parties, was only of these restrictive society rules. When the U.S. government made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894, the Fashion Czars gained a definite cut-off point for when wearing white was no longer “acceptable” in the upper echelons of wealthy society.

For many decades, this rule only applied to a small number of millionaire socialites in a few big cities, but in the 1950s it reached general fashion magazines that were read around the country and started to affect more people.

But time eventually broke apart this odd rule, and during the 1970s fashion became more individual. Some fashion legends, like Coco Chanel, also purposely rejected the restriction and wore white throughout the year. Today, the “no white after Labor Day rule” is little more than an amusing gag to tease friends, and almost nobody takes it seriously.

Whatever you choose to wear after Labor Day (and if it’s white, we won’t tease!), everyone here at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling hopes you have a happy end of the summer and great plans for the fall!

Furnace Repairs to Take Care of Before Heating Season

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 27th, 2014

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Is it already that time of year again? Or close to it? The end of summer has arrived, and with it comes concerns about keeping homes warms during the fall and into winter. If you haven’t given much consideration to your home’s furnace over the summer—and you likely haven’t—now is the time to ask yourself if the furnace is prepared to handle the cold days that will arrive within a few months.

The best way to know if your heating system can tackle another winter is to schedule a maintenance session for it. A professional technician will inspect your furnace to locate any repair needs that you should have taken care of before the chilly weather arrives. Don’t delay with furnace repairs, since a sudden cold snap could strike and leave you in a freezing house.

We offer same-day service for repairs, satisfaction guaranteed!

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and sign up for our maintenance program so you’ll get a head start on heating repair in Bucks County, PA.

Some repairs your furnace may need:

  • Cleaning the burner – If you have a gas furnace, the burner is the component where the gas jets ignite to raise the temperature. If the burner has developed dirt and grime across it during the summer rest period, it will struggle to draw oxygen and ignite. Technicians can remove the burner and clean it off so it runs at its best.
  • Replacing a malfunctioning igniter – Pilot lights are becoming less common for furnaces, and they instead use electronic ignition to start. If this igniter fails, the furnace’s burners will not activate. During maintenance, a technician will check that the igniter is working and inform you if you need to schedule a replacement.
  • Repairing the blower motor – If you also have a central air conditioner, it likely uses the same blower fan to distribute air as the furnace. The motor can start to wear down and lose lubrication over the summer, or dirt along its moving parts can create strain. If you begin to hear shrieking noises from the AC, you may also have a problem for your furnace; schedule a maintenance session and whatever repair work you may need.
  • Replacing broken heating elements – For electric furnaces, the heating elements are the critical part of creating warmth. If one or more the heating elements burns out, the furnace will lose its heating capacity. Technician can easily replace the broken heating elements.

When you sign up for our maintenance agreement at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, you will receive two yearly inspections and tune-ups: one for your heater and one for your AC. You’ll also receive 10% to 15% off any HVAC service or repair and guaranteed 24 hour service, 365 days a year, so you’ll always have the heating repair in Bucks County, PA that you need to stay warm through to spring.

Ways to Tell You Need Water Line Replacement in Lansdale, PA

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 20th, 2014

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Perhaps the most important part of your home’s plumbing is the water line. Your plumbing system is all about moving water from one place to another, but without the water line from the municipal supply you wouldn’t have any water in your plumbing at all.

Water lines are durable and should last for many decades. But sometimes they can wear down, corrode (especially for pipes made from older galvanized steel instead of copper), suffer damage, or have tree roots infiltrate and block them. Repairs can sometimes restore the water line, but there are situations when you should have the line replaced in whole or part.

Below are some of the signs to look for that it’s time to consider water line replacement in Lansdale, PA.

Call the dependable staff at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling when you need the work done; we can take care of it fast, and we’ll provide a free estimate for the replacement.

Signs you may need water line replacement

  • Drop in water pressure: If the water pressure coming from all taps and fixtures shows a decline that you cannot explain, it may be due to a water line that is blocked or leaking. Make sure that it is not a municipal problem (see if a neighbor is encountering similar difficulties) and then call for plumbers to investigate.
  • Discolored water: When a water line starts to corrode, it will change the color of the water from the taps to a rusty-brown, similar to what you might see when turning on a tap after a few weeks. This could also come from a municipal supply issue, but have a professional plumber look into it to see if the water line is at fault.
  • Water coming up through the yard or sidewalk: Should a section of the water line break, a large amount of water will start to rise to the surface. This will result in damp areas and pools on your yard that don’t come from rain or sprinklers. Sometimes the water will start rising up through the sidewalk. Don’t hesitate when you see this evidence for a severely damaged water line: call for plumbing help immediately.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling offers same-day service for your plumbing needs. When you require water line replacement in Lansdale, PA, make us your first call. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded, and we perform line replacement in accordance with the PA-adopted International Residential Code.

Some of Your Options for Better Indoor Air Quality in Quakertown, PA

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 18th, 2014

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The quality of the air you breathe is intrinsic to your health and comfort. While you may not have a lot of control over the air outside, you certainly have control over your indoor air quality in Quakertown, particularly when you install a whole-home air cleaning solution. There can be multiple reasons for needing to improve the quality of your indoor air, from allergies to asthma to generally better health, and Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has a variety of products that can assist you with your needs.

Options Available for Better Indoor Air

Choosing the right whole-home product for your indoor air quality depends in large part on your needs. It’s best to work with a professional to determine what the best choice will be, but here are a few products to give you a preliminary overview of what is available:

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are square-framed filters that fit into the space in which your standard filter fits. Mechanical filters are made to improve your indoor air quality, whereas the standard mechanical filter is made to reduce the dirt and dust in your system. Mechanical air filters can include HEPA filters, and come in a range of MERV ratings that can help you determine what particles a particular filter will help remove. Mechanical filters typically need to be replaced (some can be cleaned) every 3 months.

Electronic Air Cleaners

There are two types of electronic air cleaners:

  • Electronic precipitators
  • Ion generators

Electronic precipitators create a space known as an ionization section; they do this by charging the air around them, creating a charged section of air. As particles move into this space, they become electronically charged. Electronic precipitators have oppositely-charged, metal plates that collect these charged particles.

Ion generators work in a similar way, but with two distinct differences: one, they do not create an ion section; instead, they send ions into the air, and particles that come into contact with the ions become charged. Two, they do not have collection plates; the charged particles collect on the surfaces of your home instead.

UV Germicidal Lights

UV germicidal lights are air purifiers that kill biological contaminants with over 99% efficiency. UV lights achieve this by killing the DNA of biological cells with the radiation from UV-C light rays. UV lights can be installed over coils and in vent work. One thing to note about UV germicidal lights is that they do not filter anything, so to achieve the best level of indoor quality, it’s advisable to pair UV lights with an air filter.

Wondering How to Improve Your Indoor Air? Call Us!

Better air quality helps keep you, your family and your air conditioner healthy.

Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help you choose and install the right product to improve your indoor air quality in Quakertown. Call us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

 

Which Air Conditioning Services Do I Need? A Question from Radnor

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 11th, 2014

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The modern air conditioner is a complex and intricate appliance. Servicing it requires a technician with special training and professional-grade tools. It isn’t a job you can do on your own, so when you need assistance with air conditioning in Radnor, PA, make sure you call experienced professionals for the job.

But what services should you have for your air conditioning system, aside from the work done to install it in the first place? We’ll go over the two services you should schedule for your air conditioning if you want it to work effectively and efficiently for many years.

To handle all necessary AC services, look to one company: Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We have helped homeowners in Bucks and Montgomery Counties stay cool since 1976.

The 2 key air conditioning services you need

  • Regular maintenance: Similar to car, an air conditioner needs regular “tune-ups” to ameliorate the effects of wear and tear and aging. You need to schedule a maintenance visit from a professional technician once a year. Without this regular work, an AC will start to lose efficiency and be prone to more repairs. A complete inspection and tune-up for an AC should take about an hour, and it will cover all the components of the system: coils, compressor, motors, electrical system, condensate drain, ventilation, thermostat, etc. The technician will handle adjustments and tightening connections, and clean off the coils and the condensate pan. If the technician catches any spots where the system requires repairs, he or she will help you arrange for the necessary repair work.
  • Targeted repairs: Although today’s air conditioners are built to high standards, no machine can ever be 100% repair-free. Eventually, you will need to call for repairs from a specialist. If you have regular maintenance done, the technicians will usually catch the problems in time before they start to cause serious malfunctions. But whenever you sense something amiss with the AC, such as strange noises from the cabinets or a drop in cooling power, you need to call for a repair technician to locate what is wrong and then fix it. Ignoring repair issues will lead to poor performance and likely full system breakdown.

If you combine these two services—maintenance once a year, repairs done promptly as needed—you should have an air conditioner that will exceed its estimated lifespan and deliver you many years of quality cooling.

Call us today to get started with maintenance, and keep our contact information handy for repairs. Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling offers same-day service for repairs as well as maintenance plans for all major brands, makes, and models of air conditioning in Radnor, PA.

3 Types of Well Pumps to Consider

Posted by Kevin Carney on August 4th, 2014

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Not every home can have access to a municipal water system, and these residences will need to access water wells for their plumbing. If your home uses a well for fresh water, one of the essential components of your plumbing is the well pump, an electromechanical appliance to move the water out from the well and into your home. Well pumps need maintenance and occasional repairs like any other hardworking device, and if you need to have a replacement well pump, schedule the work as soon as possible so you don’t get trapped one day with no water in your home at all!

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling provides Doylestown, PA with well pump services, including installation and repairs.

If you need a new well pump, whether as a replacement or for a new home, call our specialists at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling right away and schedule an appointment.

Here are the 3 different types of well pumps to consider:

1. Submersible pumps

As the name implies, these pumps sit down within the well itself. A submersible well pump resembles a long metal cylinder. It draws water from the well through the bottom of the unit using a motor and up through a flow sleeve. The water goes through a grill into a discharge pipe, which pushes the water straight up and out of the pump to a pit-less adaptor, a connector that redirects the water to the horizontal water line that then enters your home. Submersible pumps work best for wells that are several hundred feet, and they can often work for more than 25 years without requiring repairs.

2. Jet pumps (single drop)

Unlike submersible pumps, jet pumps are housed above the well and out of the water, sometimes within your home or in a well house, which makes them easier to service than submersible pumps. Jet pumps use an impeller motor to create suction through a pipe that extends down into the well, and the water passes through a narrow opening, or jet. The constriction of the jet increases the speed of the water and sucks even more water from the well. The “single drop” jet pump, which contains the impeller and jet assembly above ground, is effective for shallow wells (down to 25 feet) since the water does not have a long distance to travel to reach the storage tank.

3. Jet pumps (double drop)

Jet pumps can also work for deeper wells, but the set-up is different. In a “double drop” jet pump, the jet assembly is located down within the well, while the impeller motor is still located above. With the jet down in the well, the pump can draw additional water to assist with the overcoming the distance.

What is the right type of pump for your home’s well? It depends on the depth and location of the well, and how efficiently each type of pump will work. Contact professionals, like those at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, to help you pick and install the right well pump in Doylestown, PA for your home’s steady fresh water supply.

Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 28th, 2014

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Repair versus replace. It’s a conundrum many property owners face when dealing with an aging and/or malfunctioning air conditioner. There are many factors to consider when purchasing an air conditioner, whether it’s for the first time or a replacement system. As such, choosing whether or not to replace your air conditioning system in Lansdale requires time and consideration, and you can greatly benefit from the help of a trained installation professional like the ones at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Here are some questions to review that may help you decide what is best for you, your air conditioning system and your home:

Better Energy Efficiency

The lifespan of your air conditioner is approximately 10-12 years; past the 12-year point, you may start to see a serious decline in your energy efficiency, which can result in a serious incline of your energy bills. In addition to the age, any air conditioner older than 8 years was purchased when the minimum required SEER number was 10; this changed to 13 in 2006. Odds are, if you purchased more than 8 years ago, you may have an AC that is operating at a lower SEER number than is energy efficient. It is estimated that each SEER point you go up can save you up to 5% in annual energy costs – something to review carefully in regard to your current AC.

Too Many Repairs

As a mechanical and electrical appliance, it is expected that you will need to make repairs to your air conditioner at some point. But if the amount of needed repairs is becoming excessive and costly, it may be time to consider replacing. Why? Repairs can add up quickly, and you may find that what you’ve spent on repairs is equal to, or greater, than the cost of a new system.

Uneven Cooling

Hot and cold spots can be an indicator that your aging system simply cannot keep up with the cooling needs of your home. Pushing your air conditioner to cool more by lowering the thermostat only puts more stress on your system, and raising the thermostat can increase your discomfort. If there are no existing mechanical problems and your AC still can’t cool as it should, it may be time to look for a replacement.

Still Not Sure? Call a Professional

As we mentioned above, making the decision to install a new air conditioner is a big one, and professional help can go a long way toward ensuring you purchase an AC that truly fits your needs.

Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment to discuss your air conditioning system replacement in Lansdale.

Tank vs. Tankless: Which Water Heater Is Best for Me?

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 21st, 2014

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The standard water heater, a storage water heater, uses a large tank filled with water to which energy is applied to keep the water inside at a temperature ready for use. For many decades, this was the only type of water heater available for homes. But now technological advances have brought tankless water heaters into the residential world. Tankless heaters use a heat exchanger (electric- or gas-powered) placed along the plumbing to directly heat water without storing it; the heat exchangers come on to heat the water only when a tap calls for hot water. For this reason, tankless water heaters are also called demand water heaters.

But just because a technology is recent doesn’t mean that you should adopt it immediately. A tankless water heater may make an ideal appliance for your home; but a storage water heater might still be best.

To find out which of the two choices for water heater installation in Allentown, PA will serve your family best, call the professionals at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

The advantages of a storage water heater

The standard storage water heater is a less expensive option, and if short-term budget is important for you, it is probably worth it to stay with a tank system. Although storage water heaters can run out of hot water if you place too much demand on them (such as during the mornings when many people may require showers), they have the advantage of providing hot water quickly once a tap comes on, and this means less water waste. They are also easier to repair.

The advantages of a tankless water heater

The biggest benefit of choosing to go with a tankless water heater is that you won’t run out of hot water. Since a tankless system only heats up water as you need it, there is no stored supply to deplete. For large families, this can be a significant advantage. And even though tankless systems cost more to install, they offer energy savings because they do not remain on constantly to keep a supply of water warm at all times. If your tankless system lasts long enough, it will pay for itself with energy-efficiency. Thankfully, tankless system can often last for many years longer than a storage system, since they do not suffer from the wear of holding large amounts of water.

Call our Allentown, PA water heater installation specialists at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to find out more about where you should fall in the tank vs. tankless debate. We will help you calculate water use and energy use to discover if you should upgrade to a tankless model, or if the tried-and-true storage water heater is the better choice.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 21st, 2014

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For people who live in sections of the country that experience mostly dry weather and land with low-water tables, sump pumps are devices that they never need to learn about. However, here in Pennsylvania, sump pumps are often indispensable aids for protecting homes from flooding, excess moisture in the basment, and water damage. If your home has experienced any of these problems before, for whatever reason, you should call a professional plumbing service and arrange for installation of a sump pump.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has installed sump pumps for many years, and if you think you will benefit from a sump pump in Harleysville, PA, make us your first call. We offer both standard sump pumps and battery backup sump pumps.

The operation of a sump pump

What a sump pump does is remove excess water from a lower area of your house, usually the basement. The device is a water pump that uses an electrically-powered impelled motor to draw water from an excavated collection pit—the “sump” of the name—and then places it either into the wastewater system of the house’s plumbing or into a well. Sump pumps can handle flooding, but they are also useful if you live in an area with a high water table that causes moisture to seep down into the basement.

Sump pumps come in two basic models: pedestal and submersible. A pedestal pump sits above the sump and draws up water through pipes. A submersible pump is a watertight device that sits down within the sump itself and pulls water through intakes and then pumps it up out of the sump. Pedestal pumps are easier to service and less prone to repairs, while submersible pumps are more efficient and effective.

Because sump pumps run on electricity, they will shut off in the event of a power outage—which is a common occurrence during major storms that can send flooding down into a basement. To overcome this flaw, you can choose to have a battery backup sump pump installed, which will activate the battery should they lose power from the house. The standard battery backup sump pump can cycle 8,000 gallons of water before its batteries need recharging.

Sump pumps must have professional installation. The technicians who hook up sump pumps will determine the right type and size of pump to handle a home’s needs, and then excavate a sump that will gather the maximum amount of water to make the pump effective. The installers can also recommend whether a battery backup sump pump is something you should consider.

We can also take care if any repairs or maintenance your pump needs with our same day service.

For installation of a sump pump in Harleysville, PA, rely on the more than 30 years of experience at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.