Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for the ‘Home Maintenance’ Category

Choosing a Sink with Bathroom Remodeling

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

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.

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

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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.

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How Do Electronic Air Cleaners Work?

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The air that you breathe in your home every day may not be as clean as you think it is. Sure, you vacuum and dust whenever you can, but this sometimes just kicks up dust and sends it back into the air. But what about your home air conditioning and heating system’s filter? Most ducted HVAC units contain a filter that can eliminate particles from the air as it passes into your unit. But this filter is only effective at straining out larger particles. A typical home air filter can only remove particles about 5 micrometers in length, while more efficient home air filters with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating may remove particles of 1 micrometer.

This means that your filter may miss hazardous particles in the air that can aggravate allergies or other respiratory symptoms, such as mold spores, smoke residue, and bacteria like legionella. An electronic air cleaner, when installed by a professional in conjunction with your HVAC system, can help to eliminate over 99% of the contaminants that would otherwise pass by. So how do these highly effective systems work?

Electronic air cleaners depend on an ionization process to give a charge to particles in the air. There are two basic types of electronic air cleaners to help improve indoor air quality in Quakertown: electrostatic precipitators and ion generators. It can be difficult to tell whether these systems are operating properly due to their quiet operation, so you’ll want to have a professional install and test it first.

Electrostatic precipitators charge particles as the air is sucked into the unit. Particles are given an electrical charge from ions moving back and forth in the system, and these particles then accumulate on two flat plates in the unit which have the opposite charge. You usually have to clean these plates every month to three months, depending on usage.

Ion generators are a little different, instead sending out ions to charge particles all around a room. Particles receive a charge so that they can cling to surfaces around the room such as a curtain or the walls. This way you won’t have to worry about breathing in contaminants, and they’ll likely be taken care of during your next home cleaning spree.

The professionals at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling can help you make sure you’ve gotten the right type of unit to protect your indoor air quality in Quakertown.

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The Best Ways to Maintain Your Geothermal System

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Geothermal heat pumps are a great way to heat your home efficiently. They rely on a renewable heat source, use less electricity or gas than traditional furnaces, and save you money on your heating bills. Geothermal heating has only recently begun to gain widespread popularity, however. Because of this, homeowners may be unsure about how to maintain their geothermal heat pumps properly. Read on to discover some of the best ways to take care of your geothermal heating system.

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

The air filter is what protect the coil in your heating unit from becoming dirty. If you never clean the air filter, it will eventually become dirty enough that it cannot protect the coil. If the coil gets dirty, its heating capability will gradually decrease. Eventually, the coil may become permanently damaged by prolonged exposure to dirt particles. The solution to this problem is simple: clean your air filter. Some air filters are disposable, rather than washable. If you are unsure which one is in your heating unit, ask your HVAC technician. Cleaning or replacing the air filter is one of the easiest ways to prolong the life of your geothermal system.

Check Underground Piping

The underground pipes that serve to draw in thermal energy are a vital part of your geothermal system. Because it is located underground, it is unlikely that this part will need major repairs. However, it is recommended that you have it checked at least once a year to be sure. Depending on the material and the medium used, you’ll want to make sure that the pipes are checked for leaks and any other possible issues that may require repair. This isn’t really something that you can do yourself, but your HVAC professional should have all the necessary equipment.

Our geothermal heating experts service the entire Hatfield area. Geothermal systems require very little maintenance, but they’re not perfect. Let us ensure your geothermal heating system’s health today.

If you haven’t scheduled maintenance for your geothermal heat pump yet this year, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling before the weather really starts to turn.

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Should I Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

Monday, July 28th, 2014

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.

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3 Advantages to Improving Indoor Air Quality

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Almost as important as the temperature in your home is the overall quality of your indoor air. Air that is free of dust and particles is infinitely preferable to dusty air, and here in Bucks County, indoor air quality often has to address mold and bacteria as well as dust (humidity is a big summer problem around these parts). The existing filters in your air conditioning or heating system can be a big help, but if indoor air quality is a recurring problem in your household – or you have sensitive family members such as newborn babies or people with asthma – you may want to install a whole-house air filter. Here are 3 advantages to improving air quality that you should think about when considering such a decision.

  • Improved health. Cleaner air reduces general irritation in the nose and throat, which translates to reduced risk of picking up colds and other bugs. If you have sensitive family members, it will lower the frequency of allergic attacks, and can prevent more serious health problems in the very old or young.
  • Reduced amounts of dust. Dust in the air can settle on your furniture, as well as within your air conditioner itself, taking time and effort to clean up. Improved air quality means not having to worry about such problems as often, allowing you to focus your time on other things. This is especially the case in homes where you have one or more pets, which can leave dander and shed hair to build up in your system.
  • A more efficient air conditioner. Dust builds up on the interior components, increasing friction and strain on your AC unit. That means it takes more energy to do its job, costing you additional money in monthly energy costs and increasing the likelihood of more serious repairs down the road. A filtration system can serve as an extra layer of defense against that, helping your air conditioner stay free of dirt and do its job more efficiently.

If you’re interested in the advantages of improving indoor air quality, contact Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to install a new system.

Here in Bucks Country, indoor air quality is important, and we’re dedicated to making you completely happy with your new filter. Call us today and let us show you what we can do!

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Reasons to Install a New Thermostat

Friday, May 16th, 2014

We often take our thermostats for granted, and can easily underestimate how valuable they are. They essentially act as a control system for your entire heating and air conditioning unit, allowing you to set the temperature you like and even turn the heat or air on and off at specified times of the day. You can replace your thermostat very easily with help from a trained professional, and when it comes to new thermostat installation, Doylestown has numerous qualified companies standing by. The reasons to install a new thermostat are varied, but usually boil down to one of the two following variations.

The most obvious reason is that your old thermostat is experiencing trouble. Problems with thermostats will cause your heat or air conditioner to turn on at inappropriate times, to run longer or shorter than they should, or to keep you from turning them on at all. It can end up costing you quite a bit of money when your air conditioner runs on and on, or alternately leave you bereft of cool air just when you need it the most. A new thermostat can correct those problems and restore full control of your system to you.

Beyond that, you may want a new thermostat just for the added upgrades that newer models can provide. Most models these days are programmable, but you can install thermostats with even more features, such as the ability to turn it on and off remotely with an app on your phone, or a “smart” system that analyzes your cooling patterns and makes adjustments to help save you money. Such features may be worth the cost of an installation, and since only the thermostat itself is affected, the operation can be completed comparatively easily.

You may have plenty of your own reasons to install a new thermostat, and if you do, then Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is here to help.

When it comes to thermostat installation, Doylestown residents can count on us to do the job right the first time, every time. Contact us today to set up an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

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The East Coast Prepares for Frankenstorm!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy moves towards New England and a winter storm moves in from the West, the east coast needs to prepare for the potential effects of this massive storm.

Hurricane Sandy | Bucks County | Carney Plumbing, Heating  & CoolingCNN Reports, “that Sandy could be a storm ‘of historic proportion’…There is a 90% chance it will hit the American Northeast, said CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, where $1 billion in damage could mount as it rolls inland, even affecting parts of the Midwest.”

Here at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we have already been getting calls about sump pumps and sump pump back-ups from customers eager to prepare for the storm. If current weather predictions are accurate, Hurricane Sandy could be the greatest storm of our time.  With only days left before the storm hits in Bucks and Montgomery Counties now is the time to prepare.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your family safe during the storm:

Before the storm hits:

  • Build an emergency kit, including food, water, warm clothing and other supplies.  Plan ahead for the specific dietary or medical needs of your family.  Pack enough supplies to last at least 72 hours.  Include any items that will help you stay warm and safe in the event of a power outage.  Please view these additional tips that may be helpful when preparing your emergency kit: http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist_1.pdf.
  • Bring pets indoors.
  • Plan an evacuation route taking elevation, existing bodies of water and flood-prone areas into consideration.
  • Take steps to secure your home, including covering windows, trimming trees and shrubs, clearing clogged rain gutters, reinforcing garage doors and bringing outdoor furniture and decorations inside.  Installing a generator is also a great idea for emergencies.
  • Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting to keep items fresh in the event of a power outage.

 

During the storm:

  • Stay indoors and away from windows and glass.
  • Close interior doors.  Keep curtains and blinds closed.
  • Remain on the lowest level of your home in a small room, closet or hallway or lie under a table on the floor.
  • Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.  If you need to travel, use main roads and only travel during the day.  Let someone know when you’re leaving, where you’re headed, what route you will take and what time you plan to arrive at your destination.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for storm updates.

 

We hope your family stays safe and warm this winter!

 

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What Information Should I Keep in My Home?

Friday, July 15th, 2011

There are a lot of important documents you receive when you own a home. You have a deed, a title, tax information, service contracts, warranties, and other paperwork needed to maintain your home and protect it against damage or theft. If there is a fire or something breaks you need immediate access to your documents no matter the situation. So, they need to be close at hand.

Specific Documents to Have

Always have your warranty and insurance documents on hand. If something happens to an appliance or piece of equipment, you don’t want to spent time calling customer service to obtain your policy numbers. You want to take action now and that means you need that information on hand immediately. Keep paper copies of your insurance forms, warranties, service contracts and anything else you may need in the case of an emergency. Additionally, it’s good to have a call sheet with all important information and policy numbers typed up for quick access.

Sensitive Document Storage

For special documents you store at home like your deed, mortgage papers or insurance documents, a fire proof safe is a good investment. If something happens, you want that information to be safe and immediately available. Many homeowners create photocopies of these documents for easy reference and put the originals in a safe deposit box somewhere so they cannot be destroyed in case of an emergency.

Digital Copies

There is also a growing trend to scan and store digital copies of your information on a computer hard drive or in an email account. This ensures that no matter what happens you always have a copy of your most important documents. You can then keep your original signed copies in a safe deposit box and have all the pertinent information for your home available via a computer no matter where you are.

Documents are easy to misplace or accidentally destroy when you’re not careful, but those simple pieces of paper are more important than you can imagine. You may not even look at them for years to come, but when the time comes to do so, you want them to be available and in good condition. So, take proper steps to create photocopies and digital copies, and store the originals somewhere safe to protect from fire and other disasters.

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What to Look for when a Home is 100 Years Old

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Many people like older homes, but at a certain point, the age of a home can be a bit of a turnoff. It’s not the architecture – old homes are magnificently built and tend to have more character in the woodwork and nooks and crannies than any new home. But, when you move beyond how impressive early 20th century (or earlier) architecture is, you might find a number of maintenance and upkeep issues that have only been made worse by the passage of time.

Common Problems to Watch For

As with a 50 year old home, materials are a big issue. You need to have your home tested for lead paint and asbestos – both things that can be incredibly dangerous for every resident, especially children. These are very likely to be a part of the home if it hasn’t been remodeled in the last 30 years. Retrofitting to cover them up or remove them will be an added expense.

Additionally, older homes have much greater ratios of ventilation. If insulation has not been added in the last 25 years to cover those vents and gaps, your home will be very drafty, which is uncomfortable in the winter and costly year round. Make sure to have your home pressure tested and sealed up as soon as possible.

Upgrades You Can Make

Electricity is another major issue in older homes. While most old homes have been owned multiple times and likely upgraded since they were built, occasionally you will run across a house with extremely old wiring. That might mean a low capacity panel box or single strand wiring. Either way, it’s unsafe and unstable – for modern appliances and electronics you’ll need to upgrade that wiring as soon as possible.

The same may be true for your plumbing. If the house has original plumbing and fixtures, not only will they be inefficient, they may be rusty or prone to leakage. Sewer lines in particular are expensive replacements if they decide to break. Make sure you have these thoroughly inspected before a purchase.

The Joy of an Older Home

Despite all of the potential problems an old home might offer, there are plenty of benefits. Established neighborhoods, solid construction, and the ability to alter your home however you want are all positives you can’t overlook when buying a home. Just make sure you’re fully aware of what you’re getting into. Even a well maintained old home may have some issues that you miss on your initial walkthrough – make sure your inspector is thorough.

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