Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Posted by Kevin Carney on February 14th, 2015

215.346.7160

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

What Is a Sump Pump?

Posted by Kevin Carney on February 5th, 2015

215.346.7160

In your home, you may have never experienced a single problem with flooding before. But when a sudden flood does catch you off-guard, you may wish you had taken preventive action sooner. A flood can force you to spend thousands of dollars on repairs, mold remediation, seeking alternative shelter, and replacing lost items. But installing a sump pump keeps you from worrying about the unexpected costs of a flood, whether you’re no stranger to flooding or you’re just trying to protect yourself from future trouble.

For sump pumps or any other installations for your plumbing in Oreland, call on the professionals at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

Two types of sump pumps

A sump pump is a component that is typically installed in a basement or the lowest point in your home. These are recommended for homes in areas with low water tables, but they’re useful additions to nearly any home. If your basement begins to fill up with water, your sump pump should turn on and begin draining this water to the outdoors. And flooding may occur due to a storm or even if a neighbor’s pipe were to burst.

There are basically three major parts to a sump pump. There’s the pump that uses an impeller to pull in water. There’s the drainage system that allows it to drain to the outside. And then there’s the “sump” portion, the pit in which the pump is set. Sump pump installation should always involve a professional plumber to properly install the system, size it for your home, and to choose from the two types of sump pumps: submersible and pedestal.

The difference between the two is in how the pump is set up. A submersible unit is set into the pump in a waterproof encasing. A pedestal pump perches above the sump instead. Your technician will select the sump pump based on the size and shape of the sump, but there are a couple of other considerations that may come into play as well. For example, while a submersible pump is usually safer for children and pets, a pedestal pump won’t need as many repairs.

Calling the experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling is a great way to ensure your new sump pump works properly, especially when you include sump pump maintenance as part of yearly maintenance for your plumbing in Oreland. Contact our team today!

Reasons to Choose a Whole-House Generator Over a Portable Option

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 30th, 2015

215.346.7160

Generators come in two categories: permanent, which are whole-home generators or back-up generators, and portable, also known as standby. The capability of these generators is very different, and these differences should be an important factor when deciding which type of generator to choose for your home. As we have seen over the last few years, weather events, large blackouts and flooding are all possible at any time. Knowing you have the back-up generator you need for your King of Prussia home is critical to your peace of mind. So what are the differences between a permanent and standby generator? Let’s take a look.

Standby Generators

Standby generators quite small and for good reason: they are meant to be portable and support only a few key items in your home, such as your refrigerator, several lamps or a television. They do not connect to a main source of fuel such as a natural gas line or propane tank; instead, they have fuel tank and use either gasoline or diesel fuel for power. The main components of standby generators are the engine, the power generator head and the fuel tank. The engine generates the energy needed for the generator head to produce the electricity. The fuel, which is typically gasoline or diesel (but can also be propane), feeds the engine. To connect to the generator’s power it is usually necessary to have an extension cord that will carry the electricity into your home. Re-fueling is necessary, which means that to have continuous power, you’ll need access to continuous fuel, which can be a challenge during a major weather event or power outage. The bottom line: if you only need to power a single large item for a few hours, a standby generator is the way to go; otherwise, you’ll want to consider a whole-home generator.

Permanent Generators

Permanent generators use natural gas, propane (LP) or diesel for fuel. With natural gas and LP, the generator is connected directly to the main line (gas) or tank (LP); with diesel, there is a large tank that resides under the generator that requires re-fueling should you use it. Whole-home generators are connected directly to your home’s electrical panel; they are equipped with sensors that detect when an interruption in power has occurred. Should the power go out, the generator automatically turns on and starts sending power to the electrical box to keep your home running. When the power returns, the generator automatically turns off. Whole-home generators can provide up to 5,000 watts of power to your home, so not everything can run as usual, but your home will still be comfortable.

Back-up generators can keep you safe, secure and comfortable during any kind of serious power outage. Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today to learn more.

Reasons to Install a Natural Gas Generator

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 29th, 2015

215.346.7160

Your home needs electricity to power the many appliances that help you to get through the day. Some of these electronics include those used solely for entertainment purposes, like the television or stereo, but others are vital parts of your daily life. You need electricity to power your home heating and air conditioning system, as well as the water heater in some cases. Electricity powers sump pumps that prevent flooding in some homes, and the lights that protect household members from injury. For those who work from home, electricity keeps their computers running as needed, and, for others, a lack of electricity would pose a health threat if family members who rely on medical equipment suddenly had to go without.

People in Quakertown are no strangers to power outages, which can happen at any time, not just in severe weather. Gas generator installation ensures a reliable fuel source to power all of the appliances, electrical equipment, and fixtures in your home. When the gas generator senses that there is no electrical current running through the home, it kicks in within seconds. Portable generators can only power select appliances, whereas a whole-home option can power everything at once.

Natural gas is a reliable source of fuel since most homes have access to a gas line. If you’ve been considering a whole-house generator, buying a model that runs on gas is generally a better option than one that runs on propane. Propane generators are best for those who cannot hook a generator up to the gas line. Natural gas is available even during a power outage and is actually a bit more cost effective than using electricity.

The cost of a power outage is too high to avoid generator installation for very long. In the event of a power outage, you can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars replacing spoiled groceries, staying in hotels or alternative accommodations, replacing burst pipes, repairing damage from flooding, and removing mold or mildew. Although the upfront cost is high, a generator pays for itself when you put this into perspective.

At Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we’ve been in the business for over 30 years, so we can make sure new gas generator installation in Quakertown is a success. Call us today!

The Benefits of Whole House Generators in Bucks County, PA

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 22nd, 2015

215.346.7160

We have had our fair share of some very challenging weather over the last few years, and if there’s anything we learned from events like super-storm Sandy, it’s that extended power outages can happen at any time. Extended power outages aren’t just inconvenient; they can damage your whole-home systems and cost you money in lost food and water problems. But having a whole house generator in Bucks County, PA can change all that, and change it with an imperceptible, automatic switch.

How Does a Whole House Generator Work?

Whole house generators are much more powerful, stable and permanent than portable generators. First, a whole house generator is sized to carry the major systems of your home for a long period of time. They are installed outside your home in a highly weather-resistant cabinet and use fuels that are not affected by power outages such as natural gas and propane. Once the generator is properly sized and placed outside, it is connected directly into your home’s electrical panel. Most whole house generators are equipped with sensors that detect any interruption in electrical power to your home, and these generators automatically power your home through the electrical box when such an interruption is detected. When the power returns, the generator will switch back off.

Benefits of a Whole Home Generator

  • Convenience – with a whole house generator, you don’t have to worry about connecting, starting, fueling and monitoring the generator as you do with a portable generator.
  • Whole-home support – a whole house generator is designed to support all the major systems in your home, not just one or two. You can keep living comfortably with a whole house generator even though your grid power may be interrupted.
  • No issues with fueling – a whole house generator uses natural gas or propane to operate, and as such, the generator connects directly to the natural gas line or LP tank on your property; there’s no need to constantly re-fuel as there can be with portable generators.

If you are tired of the effect of unpredictable weather events and power outages, you may want to consider the installation of a whole house generator in your Buck County, PA, home.

Contact Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Choosing a Sink with Bathroom Remodeling

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 15th, 2015

215.346.7160

The bathroom sink is the place that your day truly begins. It’s where you brush your teeth, wash your face, style your hair, and become prepared for the day ahead of you. That’s why selecting a new bathroom sink is one of the most important parts of bathroom remodeling, and why you should work with a contractor to help make your design plan come to life. A skilled contractor will modify the plumbing to help you realize your vision, but first you’ll have to choose from a number of different options for new sink designs.

The number of options you have when choosing a new sink is simply astounding. First, you may want to choose the design of the fixture itself. Do you want a standalone pedestal sink? Or would you prefer a vanity with lots of cabinet space? The design of the sink sets the tone for the style and functionality of the entire room. You should also have a plumber help you to decide how high up you want your new sink installed. Do you want it fairly low to make it more accessible to some members of your household? Or would you rather raise the sink a bit so that you can have more storage space underneath? Pipes may need to be lengthened, shortened, or moved around to suit your needs.

You’ll also want to choose the style of the bowl. You may decide on a vessel sink, a stylish option in which the bowl sits atop the countertop. Or you can choose a traditional bowl style with a drop-in sink design. In any case, you’ll want to choose a material that’s durable and decorative. Typically, you can choose between materials like laminate, tile, marble, and granite.

Finally, the faucet should be functional, and you will probably try to make sure it complements the design of the rest of the room. You may choose from center-set faucets with one or two handles, vessel faucets, and wall-mounted faucets. You’ll have to choose a finish such as stainless steel, brushed nickel, copper, or chrome. You can even decide to install a joystick design handle or a touchless sensor.

At Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we’ll help you with every step of the remodeling process. Call us today to discuss your new bathroom remodeling in Eagleville.

How Long Will My Home’s Water Line Last?

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 8th, 2015

215.346.7160

Having an older home or fixer-upper can be a very rewarding experience, but there is always a concern about the water lines coming into the home. Water lines are quite study, but they do age, and if you have a property that has been around since 1950 or before, you could be looking at a water line that needs replacing. Following are some average lifespans from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the different types of metals used for main water lines:

  • Brass – 40-70 years
  • Copper – 50 years
  • Galvanized steel – 20-50 years
  • Cast iron – 70-100 years
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – indefinite
  • Lead – 100 years

So how do you know if your water pipe has blown? Here are some common signs:

  • Yard puddling – water main lines run under the ground and directly into your home; if a leak has developed in the area of your yard, the ground surrounding the leak will become saturated and the water will rise to the surface, creating very soggy areas or puddles.
  • Very high water bill – if you notice a sudden, big increase in your home’s water bill and haven’t increased your water usage, you may have a water main leak.
  • Significant decrease in water pressure – have you noticed that all the faucets and showerheads seem to have a lot less pressure when the water comes out? A significant drop in pressure means a leak has developed somewhere, and if the water pressure loss is across the board, then it’s likely to be a problem with the main water line to your home.
  • Water discoloration – are you noticing that your water has become brown, or that dirt is in it? This can indicate that soil is getting into your water from a break somewhere in the water line.
  • Water around foundation of your home (slab) – if your home sits on a slab, and your main water line is embedded in the concrete of the slab, a leak can still develop. Because the pipe is encased, the leaking water may escape to the outside of the foundation, where it will puddle.

If you have concerns that the main water line to your home may be aging, or you think you may have a leak, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today.

Are Foul Odors from a Drain a Sign that I Need Sewer Repair?

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 2nd, 2015

215.346.7160

The sewer line is the pipe that runs from your drains underneath your property to carry wastewater from your home into the municipal sewer. When there’s a problem with the sewer line that helps to evacuate sewage into the sewer, you’re responsible for handling any repairs up until your sewer line meets the sewer main. This means that, unfortunately, you’ll have to deal with finding a solution for the foul odors that sometimes go along with sewer repair.

A sewer line in need of repair will often, sadly, bring unpleasant smells along with it. But is this always the case? And are foul odors always a sign of a sewage line issue? We’ll address these questions on today’s guide to drainage problems and sewer repair in Lower Gwynedd.

Sometimes, odors are a sign that your sewer line has sprung a leak. However, if the leak is underneath your property, it’s unlikely that you’ll smell it in the drains. Rather, sewage will leak outside, possibly causing your yard to smell instead. If the leak occurs in a drain line behind the walls, an odor is likely to penetrate your home. If there is a major clog in your sewer line, sewage may backup into the drains, a probable source of unpleasant drain odors. Smells may also be contributed to sewer lines that are improperly vented, which means your plumber will have to install new vents.

Here’s something to ask yourself when you notice a smell from only one of the drains: when was the last time you used it? If it’s been a while since you’ve turned on the faucet or fixture that empties into that drain, there may be a very simple solution. Try simply running the water. The P-trap underneath a drain, the curved section of pipe that fills with water to prevent you from smelling the odors emitting deep from the sewer pipes, can dry out if left unused for a long time. Simply running the water can restore the amount of water necessary to block out the smell.

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to learn whether drain cleaning, leak detection, or sewer repair in Lower Gwynedd can keep away foul odors and any additional plumbing system unpleasantness.

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

Posted by Kevin Carney on January 1st, 2015

215.346.7160

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling hope you have a great start to the year and a fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

Posted by Kevin Carney on December 25th, 2014

215.346.7160

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!