Ways to Avoid Paying Too Much for Air Conditioning This Summer

Posted by Kevin Carney on April 18th, 2014

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Spring is here and that means summer can’t be too far behind. In Lansdale, air conditioning systems are an absolute godsend in keeping high temperatures at bay. But because you will probably use your air conditioner every day, monthly bills are apt to be higher than normal too. That’s to be expected of course, though the high temperatures might hide some unnecessary waste in the bill. You’re already paying a lot, so you shouldn’t have to pay any more than is absolutely necessary.  Here are some ways to avoid paying too much for air conditioning this summer.

  • Schedule a maintenance session. Air conditioning systems build up dust and debris over time, which can increase friction and wear and tear on moving parts. Loose fittings, low refrigerant levels and unclean filters can also interfere with your air conditioner’s ability to do its job. A maintenance session can address all of that, improving efficiency and helping your unit perform at its very best.
  • Consider a cost-saving upgrade. Smart thermostats and zone control systems can help you cut down on monthly costs considerably, the first by analyzing your cooling habits and helping you make the most of them and the second by allowing you to turn off the cool air in parts of the house you aren’t using. Over time, the savings could very well pay for the cost of the upgrade.
  • Add insulation. Most people think of insulation as something that keeps the heat in, but the same principle works for keeping heat out as well. If you can, add more to your home before summer hits. You’ll be surprised how much you can save.

This comes on top of more straightforward ways to avoid paying too much for air conditioning this summer, such as dressing in light clothes and setting the thermostat for a few degrees warmer than you otherwise might. Here in Lansdale, air conditioning maintenance and upgrades can be performed by the experts at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Give us a call to make an appointment and let us show you what we can do!

Why You Need Regular AC Maintenance

Posted by Kevin Carney on April 11th, 2014

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Here’s something you should have on your spring “to do” list: “Schedule regular air conditioning maintenance.” An annual inspection and tune-up for your air conditioner is vital for it effective and efficient operation, and the best time to have it done is during the spring. That way, the AC is prepared for the upcoming change to summer, and you can take advantage of the slower time of the year for HVAC technicians to schedule a convenient time for uour maintenance visit.

In Blue Bell, PA, air conditioning maintenance from Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling will make sure your AC is ready for summer, and that you receive the maximum value from the system. Our air conditioning technicians are all EPA-certified and have the necessary skills to make sure your cooling system is operating at maximum efficiency.

Why Regular AC Maintenance Is a Necessity

  • Catch potential repair needs: A key part of maintenance is prevention. Many faults inside an AC will not make themselves immediately obvious to you, but maintenance technicians know how to spot them. The technician will discover places where wear and tear in the system is developing into a problem and notify you of it so you’ll have time to fix it before it becomes worse—or before it causes the system to break down entirely and require more expensive repairs.
  • Increase system efficiency: As an air conditioner runs over a season, it will pick up dust and dirt. This will cause the AC to gradually run less and less efficiently, since it will strain to keep your home cool. This will mean higher bills. Here’s something to keep in mind: the average AC system in Bucks and Montgomery County runs for approximately 2,000 hours a year… more than enough time to build up plenty of dust and dirt contamination and deterioration on parts. Unless you have the system regularly tuned-up and adjustments and cleaning done, you can expect a continual decline in energy efficiency.
  • Ensure long system lifespan: Any air conditioning system comes with a manufacturer’s estimated lifespan, which is often in the 12–15 year range. However, this lifespan is only possible if the system receives regular maintenance. If you neglect routine visits to tune-up the system, all those 2,000 hours of work each year will shorten the AC’s lifespan. This is the biggest expense you can encounter with a cooling system: needing to prematurely replace it with a new one.

Sign Up for Maintenance Today!

When you sign up for a Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling maintenance plan, you will get more than regular visits that protect your AC’s operation. You also receive “Front of the Line Service” to assure that during busy times of the year, you’ll receive priority emergency service from your technicians. Our technicians can handle all AC brands, makes, and models. Put your trust in us for your air conditioning maintenance in Blue Bell, PA.

Kitchen Plumbing Components: The P-Trap

Posted by Kevin Carney on April 7th, 2014

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Most of the plumbing in a house remains hidden behind walls, in ceilings and floors, or in rooms people rarely enter. Ironically, a part of the plumbing that people often see, the U-shape in the drainpipes beneath the sinks, is one that few people understand. Perhaps because we are so used to seeing this shape, we don’t stop to think about what it actually does.

That U-shape is called the p-trap, and it serves a key function in your plumbing. Sometimes it will require repairs and unclogging; when that happens, call for experts in plumbing in Blue Bell, PA from Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We offer same day service, satisfaction guaranteed.

The Basics of the P-Trap

The p-trap (so-called because it resembles a capital P when viewed on its side) traps water after it runs through the drainpipe. Water comes to rest in the dip, and this forms a liquid plug against the escape of sewer gas. The decomposition of waste further down the pipe will rise to exit the drain, but the water in the p-trap is sufficient most of the time to block it.

A p-trap can dry up if a sink isn’t used for a long period of time, such as a sink in a guest room. When this happens, sewer gas will start to escape from the waste water lines and enter the room, creating an unpleasant odor. You can fix this problem easily by running water down the drain for a minute to fill up the trap once more.

The p-trap can also trap other items aside from water: hair, soap scum, grease, and small objects like toys that fall down the drain. This will eventually lead to clogging. Sometimes a plunger will do the job of clearing the clog, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a plumber to use a drain snake, hydro-jetter, or even dismantle the p-trap’s pipes to eliminate the blockage.

Problems with the p-trap are simple issues for plumbers to resolve, so don’t let mistakes from do-it-yourself solutions beyond a plunger make the issues worse. Call up professionals to handle your problems with your plumbing in Blue Bell, PA. Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has 30 years of experience to bring to the job.

Am I Responsible for the Sewer Line from My House?

Posted by Kevin Carney on April 4th, 2014

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The wastewater collected from around your home’s drainpipes ends up entering a lateral sewer line (also called the sanitary sewer line) that tunnels beneath your property toward the municipal line that runs down the center of the street. People often assume that anything that connects to a city sewer line—or indeed, anything having to do with a sewer system—must be the responsibility of the utility company and not the homeowner. Is that the case with the sanitary sewer line?

This is an important issue to understand, because damage to a house’s sewer line can turn catastrophic if it isn’t remedied quickly and correctly. The work involved requires extensive digging, and only people experienced with sewer repair in Hatfield, PA should take on this job. Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling handles sewer line repairs and replacements when the responsibility lies with the homeowner…

…which it almost always does.

According to Hatfield Township, the sanitary sewer line that runs from a home to the public sewer system is the responsibility of the homeowner up to the point where it joins the sewer main, after which it is the responsibility of the Hatfield Township Sewer Division, which maintains the 100 miles of sanitary sewers and 7 pumping stations. When you have problems that emanate from breaks, or blockages in the sanitary sewer line, you must call up a plumbing repair contractor to handle the work.

You need to do this as soon as you notice problems: sewer smells coming from your drains, clogging/slow drains throughout the house, low toilet bowl levels, soggy front lawn, noxious odors from the grass, or wet spots around basement drains. Blockage or breaks in the sewer line can lead to enormous problems in your house. Not only will all your drains block up, but sewage leakage can start in the basement or foundations, leading to major damage to your home.

You cannot take care of sewer line repairs on your own: it takes precision excavation and labor-intensive work. Save yourself back-breaking and most likely ineffectual repairs and call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We specialize in sewer and water line installation, and we can restore your plumbing in Hatfield, PA with sewer repair as soon as possible.

How Does a Reverse Osmosis System Benefit My Water?

Posted by Kevin Carney on March 28th, 2014

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If you are looking to improve the quality of the water in your home, you have a number of different options for water filtration, such as water softeners to combat hard water and acid neutralizers to balance pH levels. To increase the quality of your drinking water, you can install filters to remove particles that can enter the municipal water system. However, one of the best ways to have cleaner drinking water in your home is to call in a professional to install a reverse osmosis system. We’ll explain how this works and how it can benefit you.

At Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling, we take the quality of water in the homes of our customers seriously. That’s why we offer installation of many different types of water treatment systems in New Hope, PA. To find out what water treatment system will work best for you, set up an appointment with us today.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

A reverse osmosis water treatment system is a water purification technology that removes much smaller particles than standard filters. The way it works is to create two areas of water under different pressure, with a semi-permeable membrane between them. The water in the high pressure area is forced through the small pores of the membrane to the low pressure area, and the membrane filters out contaminants.

Reverse osmosis can trap particles that would escape standard filters, resulting in healthier water that also tastes fresh… much fresher than you might get from store-bought bottled water, which is not only expensive but frequently is nothing more than regular municipal water run through a gravel filter.

Reverse osmosis can remove bacteria, pesticides, viruses, sulfates (no more smelly water!), sodium (helpful if you also have a water softener installed), chlorine, calcium, and all the other larger dirt particles that can enter drinking water.

Find the Right Purification System for Your Home

Although reverse osmosis systems are excellent for water filtration, they may not match your home’s specific needs. Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to have water testing done. Our analysis will help us find out what problems need addressing in your water supply, and then we can match you with the ideal water treatment system that will take care of it.

Whether you have hard water or acidic water, Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling will find the water treatment system in New Hope, PA that will give you the freshest water supply possible.

Ways to Prevent Drain Problems

Posted by Kevin Carney on March 19th, 2014

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Slow drains and clogged drains are something that most homeowners accept as inevitable, unavoidable hassles. They keep a plunger on hand and maybe a bottle of acidic drain cleaner to fix the occasional plugged-up kitchen sink or shower drain, groan at the inconvenience, and then simply go on with their normal routine. Sometimes, they can’t fix the clog and have to call a plumber to take care of it.

It doesn’t have to be this way, however. Although there’s no way to completely avoid drain troubles, you can reduce them to rare occurrences with a few precautions. For drain cleaning in Blue Bell, PA to help you eliminate most clogs, call up Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling.

Methods that will reduce your drain troubles

  • Don’t pour F.O.G. down the drains: “F.O.G.” stands for “fat, oil, and grease,” three common products of cooking that people often pour down kitchen drains. Although liquid when hot, all three will transform in waxy solids when they cool down, leaving a coating inside drainpipes. This build-up will eventually cause clogging and slow drains. Deposit all F.O.G. into a separate container and remove it to the trash.
  • Don’t pour liquid cleaners down the drains: It sounds like a solution to the problem, but it actually creates more problems. Commercial liquid cleaners are acidic and will damage the interior lining of pipes and can cause drain problems worse than clogs. If you can’t clear a clogged drain with a plunger, call a plumber.
  • Use drain covers on bathroom drains: One of the common troubles that bathroom sinks and showers face is clogging from hair and soap scum. You can reduce this with drain covers that prevent unwanted debris from going down the drain.
  • Have regular professional drain cleaning: Drain cleaning services done either every one or two years, or as necessary, will keep your drains in excellent condition and free from the debris that can build up along the drainpipe walls. Professional plumbers use video inspection equipment to target cleaning and ecologically safe (and non-acidic) additives to help keep the pipes clean in the future. Special hydro-jetting safely washes out the insides of drain pipes with blasts of high pressure water.

You’ll need experts in drain cleaning in Blue Bell, PA to handle the drain cleaning because of the precision equipment required.  Call up Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and talk to our plumbers about scheduling a drain cleaning visit to help you make clogs a “Once in a Blue Moon” hassle.

Pros and Cons of Different Heating Fuels

Posted by Kevin Carney on March 12th, 2014

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For heating, people once had to rely on the most basic choice of fuels: coal, wood, and oil. Modern heaters can still use wood for fireplaces and coal for grills, and oil remains popular for some boilers. But now there is the option for natural gas, propane, electricity, condensed wood pellets, and more when it comes to heating fuel. We’ll look at the three most common fuels for homes today to help you understand your choices.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has over three decades of experience helping people find the heating in Hatfield, PA that will give them the best comfort and value. Contact us today to talk about your options for heating fuel.

Natural Gas

  • Pros: Natural gas is piped directly to your home, so you don’t need to worry about running out of your supply. It’s less expensive than either oil or electricity, so it provides high levels of energy savings. Natural gas systems have powerful heating ability that can handle most winter temperatures.
  • Cons: Your home must have a hook up to a municipal gas supply. Gas heaters require more maintenance and repairs than other systems. There is also a small—but possible—risk of carbon monoxide exposure and explosions.

Oil

  • Pros: Oil costs less on average than electricity, and doesn’t require you have any connection to a natural gas line. It is effective for back-up systems that don’t depend on outside fuel sources.
  • Cons: Oil burns less completely than natural gas, leading to extra waste that increases energy bills and leads to soot and pollution that is bad for both your home and the environment. Oil must be stored, so it may run out if you forget to schedule delivery, and it is generally less convenient than gas.

Electricity

  • Pros: Available everywhere—if you have a home, you have electricity, and an electrical heater will work for you. Electrical heaters usually cost less to install, last longer, and take up less space than other heating systems that use different fuels.
  • Cons: Electrical power is more expensive than natural gas. It also cannot reach the same levels of heating power as either oil or natural gas systems.

In general, we advise that homeowners who currently use oil for heating investigate the possibility of an oil-to-gas conversion. A home with a gas line opens up many more possibilities for heating, as well as hot water and kitchen appliances. And of course, electricity is always an option. Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today to ask about oil-to-gas conversions, or for any other help you need with heating in Hatfield, PA.

What an Acid Neutralizer Water Treatment System Does

Posted by Kevin Carney on March 7th, 2014

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The water our homes receive from the municipal supply can sometimes bring with it some problems. Although you can combat some of these issues with filters on faucets, the best way to deal with low quality water is to have professionals install a whole-house water treatment system that takes care of all the water that flows into your home.

There is no single type of water treatment system, because there are numerous types of problems that can afflict your water. With the help of professional plumbers who specialize in water treatment, you can find out what needs to address in your water supply. Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling has technicians who can help you determine the water treatment system in New Hope, PA that will give you the purest water possible.

One water treatment system we often install is the acid neutralizer.

The basics of an acid neutralizer water treatment system

High levels of acid entering your plumbing can turn into a serious problem. Although usually not dangerous to drink, high acid content water can cause corrosion in copper plumbing, a metal resistant to normal forms of corrosion, and pinhole leaks. Acidity will also cause ugly green and blue stains to form on your fixtures.

High levels of acid in your water can be detected with a pH test (ask your plumber to do this). A low pH number indicates too much acidity. To counteract this, a whole-house acid neutralizer can be installed. There are a number of different types of neutralizers. The most common is the calcite acid neutralizer tank. A calcite system injects reactive magnesium oxide into the water supply which dissolves into the water and neutralizes the acid. The calcite in the tank must be replaced routinely, although this is a simple task.

Using a calcite acid neutralizer may cause an increase in the hardness of your water (increased levels of calcium and magnesium), and some homeowners will also opt to have a water softener, which raises the sodium level of the water, installed to help balance the water.

Have professional water testing done

If you aren’t sure if you need an acid neutralizer, bring in plumbers with experience with water testing. Using samples of water taken from around the house, these water tests will tell you what sort of water treatment system will help you have the best water, whether it’s a water softener, an acid neutralizer, or some other system like a chemical feed pump.

Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling offers many different types of water treatment systems for New Hope, PA homes. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Signs of a Sewer Line Break

Posted by Kevin Carney on March 3rd, 2014

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The wastewater in your home moves through various pipes to a central sewer line, which runs underneath your home and out to the center of the street to connect to the municipal sewer system. And for the most part, that’s all you really need to know about your sewer line—until a break occurs in it and threatens your home with sewer odors, numerous drain clogs, basement flooding, and foundation damage.

Sewer line breaks can occur because of corrosion (a problem for older homes with galvanized steel plumbing), shifting of the ground due to construction or natural disasters, and the pressure from growing tree roots. Whatever the cause, sewer line breaks require professionals to excavate the sewer trenches and replace the damages lines as soon as possible. Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling can deliver fast and dependable sewer repair in Lansdale, PA when you have problems with a broken sewer line.

Here are warning signs of sewer line break:

  • Sewage odors from drains: One of the earliest signs you’ll encounter if the sewer line breaks are foul smells coming from your drains. If the smells are accompanied by gurgling in your drains, it means that sewage gases are being forced up through the water plugs in the p-trap (the curved pipe below a sink) of your drainpipes.
  • Persistent clogs: Along with the sewer odor, you will start finding clogs in drains around the house, none of which react to a plunger or other kinds of clog removal.
  • Foul-smelling lawn: When the sewer line breaks, the sewage will seep into the ground and rise up into your lawn. If you lawn has a similar sewage smell to the drains, it almost definitely points toward a damaged sewer line.
  • Water stains in the basement: If you have a basement, water damage from sewage backflow will start to appear here first. If you notice water stains around drains in the basement, call for professional plumbers.
  • Rats and other pests: The sewer odors will begin to attract pests such as rats. If you begin to notice vermin in your basement or in your yard, look for other signs that you may have a broken sewer line.

You’ll need the best professional help you can find

Sewer line replacement requires extensive digging; it is something you should never delegate to amateurs. The potential for even greater damage to the sewer line is high unless you have professionals handle the task.

Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has years of experience with sewer repair in Lansdale, PA. Our plumbers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help you with sewer line emergencies.

4 Bathroom Remodeling Trends

Posted by Kevin Carney on February 24th, 2014

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A bathroom remodel can enhance your life with more attractive designs and improved functions. A well-done remodel will also increase the value of your home, making it a great place to invest your money. If you are interested in bathroom remodeling in Radnor, PA, call our remodeling experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today. We can design and perform a remodeling job will satisfy all your expectations.

Right now there are a few trends in remodeling that we’d like to bring to your attention. These will help you visualize what you might want done with your bathroom when you schedule a remodeling job.

1. Standalone bathtubs

Once upon a time, all bathtubs were freestanding, but after the middle of the 20th century, this type of design started to vanish in favor of built-in models. But today, freestanding tubs have become a mark of luxury in high-class hotels. Placing a freestanding tub in your bathroom can add an element of class and relaxation to the space.

2. New options for your shower

There’s no reason for you to stay with the same standard shower head you’ve had for years. Take advantage of detachable shower heads, multiple shower heads, and different pressure options like rain and massage jets. You can also install a curbless shower, which will reduce the chance of injury when stepping into or out of the shower.

3. Incorporate relaxing hues

Why should the bathroom in your home have the same bright, bland colors of a public restroom? To create a more soothing and welcoming space, have the bathroom remodeled in earth-tones and use natural stones and tiles.

4. Designer grab bars and safety height toilets

These safety designs are a must if you have people in your home with special access needs. But any bathroom can benefit from their additional safety now that they are designed to fit into the décor rather than appear merely functional.

There are many more fantastic additions and enhancements you can make to your bathroom during a remodel. Talk to your designer about how you can make your bathroom more inviting, useful, and relaxing.

If you use Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling for your bathroom remodel in Radnor, PA, you’ll have a dependable company that only uses reliable “green” plumbing products to do the job. We offer a large range of remodeling services, including ceramic tiles, showers and tubs, whirlpool spas, special showerheads, heated towel racks, and all types of fixtures. Call us today to set up an appointment.