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.

What Does the Thermocouple Do on My Water Heater?

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 14th, 2014

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Without a water heater in your home, the miracle of indoor plumbing (“the best thing since indoor plumbing” is still one of the measuring sticks of progress) will not mean much. You need hot water for many daily activities, so a working water heater is essential.

But you also need a safe working water heater, and that’s where the thermocouple comes in. If you, like many homeowners, use a gas-powered water heater, the thermocouple helps prevent the heater from turning into a danger. But sometimes the thermocouple itself may need repairs and replacement, and for that you’ll need professionals in water heater repair in Doylestown, PA, like those at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We offer same day service, satisfaction guaranteed, so make us your first call for restoring your malfunctioning water heater.

The job of the thermocouple

The thermocouple is a simple safety component made from two strips of different types of metal, joined at one end. The thermocouple is attached near the pilot light along the burner assembly, with the two ends of the metal placed in the flame of the pilot light, and the other end attached to a shut-off valve for the natural gas line that feeds gas to the burner. Should the pilot light fail, the thermocouple will automatically close off the gas line and prevent the combustion chamber from flooding with unburned gas, creating a major hazard of explosion from even the smallest spark.

The way a thermocouple does this task is through a principle known as the “Seebeck Effect.” The Seebeck Effect describes how two different types of metal in proximity to each other will create an electric current when exposed to heat. The higher the heat, the stronger the current. This makes a thermocouple a crude temperature sensor. As long as electric current runs through the thermocouple because of the heat of the pilot light, the current keeps the valve open. If the pilot fails, so does the current, and the valve automatically closes.

Not all water heaters use a thermocouple. Some of the more recent models use a mercury sensor to shut off the gas valve. An electric water heaters don’t use gas at all, and therefore doesn’t need any kind of emergency gas shut off.

Thermocouples can fail and require replacement. To make sure that your water heater remains safe all year long, have a yearly maintenance visit from a professional to detect any troubles such as failing thermocouples.

The experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling can help you with maintenance and any water heater repair in Doylestown, PA that you need. Call us today. 

Upgrades to Think About When Replacing Your Air Conditioner

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 7th, 2014

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When your AC in Warrington starts to fail, it’s probably time to consider air conditioning replacement. While selecting a new system may seem like an overwhelming task, you may be able to upgrade your new system for increased efficiency and comfort. New AC installation can be a positive experience when you upgrade to a high-efficiency system or invest in zone control.

High-Efficiency Systems

If you’ve had your AC for a long time, you have probably seen your seasonal energy bills increase over time. Luckily, new AC systems are generally far more efficient than they once were. When you purchase your new AC system, consider upgrading to a high-efficiency system that will save you more every month.

Look for a system with a high SEER rating or with the ENERGY STAR label. The SEER rating, which is given to all air conditioners, is a measure of an air conditioner’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. All air conditioners sold in the U.S. are required to have a SEER rating of at least 13. A system with a higher SEER may cost more initially but will probably save you more every month on your energy bills. Systems with the ENERGY STAR label must have a SEER of 14 or higher.

Zone Control

Another upgrade to consider when replacing your AC unit is zone control. Zone control can be added to any existing system, but replacing your air conditioner gives you the opportunity to consider whether it will be useful in your home. Zone control allows you to adjust the temperature in specific rooms or areas of your home with separate thermostats in each zone. An AC technician will install dampers in the ductwork of your home that open and close to control the temperature in each room. You should consider this upgrade if you have a large home and often experience varied temperatures throughout the house, or if your family members each have different temperature needs.

Replacing your air conditioner can be a positive experience when you upgrade to a system with higher efficiency or add zone control.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling offers these upgrades and more for your Warrington air conditioning replacement. Contact us today to set up an appointment. 

3 Factors to Consider with Bathroom Remodeling

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 7th, 2014

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The bathroom is a functional room in a house, not a social gathering place like a living room or a kitchen dining room. However, you still spend a good deal of time in this room, so enhancing a stale and lifeless old bathroom with a remodel will provide an enhancement to a part of your life. Remodeling a bathroom can add immensely to the ease of your daily routine, and with the right remodelers working with you, the new bathroom will help you save money as well with efficient appliances.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling is your one-stop contractor for comprehensive bathroom remodeling in Montgomery County, PA. We will handle the remodeling from top to bottom so you will end up with the ideal new bathroom to fit your needs and your personal style.

Here are 3 factors to consider for your upcoming remodel:

1. Have complete repiping done during the remodeling work

Remodeling a bathroom can go below the surface of redesigning the look and adding new appliances. It can also involve the more mundane—yet crucial—step of replacing the plumbing. Since the plumbing will be exposed during the remodeling anyway, this is the perfect time to remove any aging pipes (especially important if you have a pre-1970 home) and put in copper or PEX and CPVC pipes instead. Another advantage of repiping is that it gives the remodelers more freedom to design the new bathroom since the pipes will now work with them instead of something they must work around.

2. Install “green” appliances to save water and money

During a remodel is the best time to find ways to save water in your bathroom, so you will not only reduce your water bills, but also benefit the planet. Ask your remodelers about options for low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets. There are many energy-efficient enhancements available that will also provide you with extra comfort (like heated towel racks to keep your towels dry and remove excess moisture).

3. Indulge in a few luxury items

It’s your bathroom and your comfort: make the most of it! You can install a whirlpool spa tub or steam shower unit, multi-bowl sinks and vanities, showers with multiple shower heads and body sprays, and more. When you have the right remodeling contractor working on the job, you’ll have an easy way to combine functionality with an attractive design and luxury features.

You will be amazed at the possibilities we can provide for you when we enhance your home’s bathroom.

There are a lot of options for your remodeling project, so call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and talk to our specialists in bathroom remodeling in Montgomery County, PA today.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

Posted by Kevin Carney on July 4th, 2014

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If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the singing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on the July 4—although many years later.

Our family at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

Should I Call for Maintenance if My AC Is Having Problems?

Posted by Kevin Carney on June 27th, 2014

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When you’re having problems with your AC, you might have a hard time figuring out what service to ask for from an HVAC contractor. Many air conditioning service providers also offer air conditioning maintenance, but you may not be sure which service you need.

Problems with your air conditioning system require immediate repair. For any issues, an AC repair service is needed to assess the specific problem. Air conditioning maintenance, on the other hand, provides inspection, cleaning, and adjustment services that may prevent such problems in the future. The following guide details the differences between AC repair and maintenance, so you know what to ask for from an HVAC specialist.

AC Maintenance

Air conditioning maintenance is a service offered by many HVAC specialists to check whether your system is running smoothly and to recommend any additional services you may need. We recommend maintenance once a year to check your system for any deficiencies that may drive up your bills or cause issues in the future.

During AC maintenance, your system will be thoroughly inspected. You may not know if you have a loose or damaged part in your system, and it could be reducing your system’s energy efficiency. With a thorough inspection, these issues can be located, and the technician will recommend any additional parts or services you may need. The technician will also check refrigerant levels and perform any necessary adjustments. Furthermore, your AC system will receive cleaning wherever necessary. A technician will clear out any dust or debris that may be affecting the efficiency of your system.

AC Repair

If you’re having problems with your AC, contact a technician immediately for AC repair. If you are experiencing little or no cooling, uneven cooling, short cycling, loud noises, or a broken thermostat, you want a technician to repair the problem as soon as possible to get your system back to normal. It’s important to contact a technician for repairs at the first sign of a problem, because these issues could mean an eventual system breakdown.

Whether you need repairs for problems with your AC or would like to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Warminster, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

What Are Whole House Water Treatment Systems?

Posted by Kevin Carney on June 20th, 2014

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People today are often concerned with the quality of the water entering their homes through the municipal system. Poor water can affect both the health of a household and the health of its plumbing, and also result in poor-tasting and poor-smelling water. To combat this, households resort to using bottled waters and/or store-bought filtration pitchers, but bottled water is expensive and has negative impact on the environment from clogging landfills, and neither bottled water nor filtered pitchers address issues in the pipes and appliances. Water filtration devices placed on individual sinks (point-of-use filters) do a better job of filtering than pitchers, but they still do not address concerns about the plumbing.

The best way to have clean, safe water in your home is through installation of a whole-house water treatment system. These come in a variety of models and types to address different problems in a home’s water supply, so contact plumbing professionals like those at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to find out which water treatment systems in King of Prussia, PA will provide you with the clean water you desire.

The basics of whole-house water treatment systems

A whole-house water treatment system sits on the incoming water line to your home so that all the water you use must pass through it first. How the treatment system works depends on its type and the contamination it is designed to counteract.

A common type of treatment system is the water softener, which adds sodium ions into the water to replace magnesium and calcium ions. Eliminating the minerals that can lead to scale build-up inside pipes is important for maintaining healthy plumbing.

Standard filters are used to remove particles suspended in the water, typically with charcoal filters and anti-chlorine treatments. Reverse osmosis systems are a special type of filter that can more finely strain out particles by creating different areas of pressure inside the pipes to force the water through a semi-permeable membrane.

To destroy viruses and bacteria inside water, UV disinfecting systems are safe and effective: they bathe the incoming water with short-frequency radiation that kills dangerous microorganisms without leaving any chemical contamination in the water.

There are many other types of whole-house water treatment systems available—there’s one that is right for whatever troubles you are having with receiving quality water in your home. Once our plumbers know this information, they can select from among the many different water treatment systems in King of Prussia, PA to provide you with healthy water that will protect your family and your home.

To get started, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and arrange for water testing that will scientifically discover what problems are entering your water supply.

What Is Video Pipe Inspection?

Posted by Kevin Carney on June 13th, 2014

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The technology of professional plumbing continues to advance each year, and the plumbers who handle your repairs today come equipped with high-tech equipment to perform their jobs. One of the innovations in plumbing devices that has improved the speed and accuracy of repairs is video pipe inspection equipment. We’ll explain in this post how this works and the benefits that video pipe inspection can bring you as a homeowner.

If you need a plumbing company capable of handling video pipe inspections in New Hope, PA, then get in touch with Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We are “The Plumber That Other Plumbers Recommend,” and you can trust us to handle your needs for plumbing repair—whatever they are.

The basics of video pipe inspection

The technological developments that permitted video pipe inspection in the first place are miniaturization and fiber optics. A miniaturized video camera and powerful LED light are fixed onto the end of a long and flexible fiber optic cable. This cable is then pushed down into a drain and sent deep into the plumbing. The video camera sends back a feed of the illuminated interior of the pipe to a monitor where a plumber can observe clearly conditions inside the plumbing.

Video pipe inspection has a number of uses that makes the job of the plumber easier and faster. It is indispensable for leak detection, allowing plumbers to pinpoint exactly where a leak is occurring so they can perform the least amount of excavation necessary to reach the leak. The video imagery also permits them to grasp the extent and type of the leak so they will know ahead of time how best to repair it.

Plumbers also find video pipe inspection invaluable for clogging and sewer issues. For extremely tough clogs, it takes a video camera to inspect the clog and find how best to approach clearing it. This takes away from guesswork and trial-by-error that could end up damaging the pipe. It also helps the plumbers know how best to take care of providing the pipe with a thorough cleansing. When sewer lines develop leaking or blockage that threatens a home’s entire wastewater system, strategically uses video inspection will locate what the trouble is (root infestations, aging pipe, etc.) so the plumbers will know the least invasive way to approach repairs.

Look for plumbers with the best equipment

Never rely on amateurs for plumbing repairs. You only want skilled technicians who come with the highest quality equipment and the knowledge to use it.

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today for video pipe inspection in New Hope, PA that will cut right to the heart of your plumbing problems and apply the repair solutions you need.

Why Is a Faulty Compressor Motor a Problem?

Posted by Kevin Carney on June 6th, 2014

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The core of an air conditioning system is the compressor, which is located in the outdoor condenser cabinet. When an AC switches into cooling, the compressor makes a noticeable humming noise that you probably associate with all air conditioners: that’s the indication the process that creates the heat exchange cycle to remove warmth from your home has started. The compressor increases the pressure of refrigerant by decreasing its volume; the refrigerant changes into a hot, high pressure gas and starts on its path through the air conditioning system until it returns to the compressor.

A compressor resembles a motor in the way it operates, but it needs its own motor to run. Compressor motor faults are serious because they threaten to stop the heat exchange cycle. If you suspect a failing compressor motor, contact Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling right away for air conditioning repair in Quakertown, PA. We offer same day service, your satisfaction guaranteed.

Why motor faults are bad news for the compressor

The compressor motor is similar to most motors: it can suffer from excess stress due to overwork, loss of lubrication, and dirty components. Other problems a motor can encounter include loose wires and a bad start relay. When the motor starts to suffer from extra strain, the air conditioner will begin to “hard start”—i.e. the compressor will struggle to turn on, and it may only work for a short period before it shuts off again. This puts stress on the compressor as well, and it drains large amounts of energy that will lead to an increase on your bills.

The biggest threat from a malfunctioning compressor motor is not that the motor will burn out and stop moving the compressor; that’s a serious issue that will require a technician change out the motor. The biggest danger is that the hard starting will cause the compressor to overheat and burn-out. A burn-out compressor can rarely be fixed. Replacing the compressor is costly, and often it means that the whole air conditioner must be replaced.

When you hear a grinding or screeching sound from the condenser cabinet, it probably means a motor is malfunctioning. Call for repairs immediately before the problem spreads to the compressor. Also call for technicians if the air conditioner begins to hard start.

If you act soon enough, skilled repair technicians can often fix the problem quickly and thoroughly so it will not start up again. However, in cases of aged ACs, sometimes a new installation is the best solution when the compressor and its motor have worn down too far.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has served Quakertown, PA with air conditioning repair for over 30 years. Trust us with your AC’s motor trouble.