Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Blooming Glen’

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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Why Choose a Programmable Thermostat?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

There are many types of thermostats available for your home, but which is the best for your particular needs? It depends largely on how often you are home, how many rooms you have and how people in your house use each of those rooms.

A programmable thermostat in particular is a great option because it allows home owners to control when and how much heat or cooling is introduced to their indoor air. Normal thermostats lack this level of control, largely because they are built as simple switches that flip on whenever your temperature gets too low or too high.

Situations for a Programmable Thermostat

When you leave your home every day, you have two options. Either set the heat and AC so you’ll be comfortable when you return, or turn them off completely and suffer through the first half hour or so when you get home that night.

If you choose the former, you’ll pay a lot more in energy bills to heat or cool an empty house. And if your humidity levels need controlling as well, this may be your only option. Those in the second camp are forced to endure uncomfortable temperatures right when they get home and want nothing more than to relax. Not much better.

That’s why so many homeowners are opting for programmable thermostats to overcome this issue. With a programmable model, you can actually tell your home’s comfort system when to turn on and off each day, depending on when people will be there. Imagine going on vacation for three or four days and coming home to a nice and toasty living room and a smaller heating bill to go with it. That’s the kind of control a programmable model offers.

Zone Control and Beyond

Some programmable thermostats even allow you to section your home off into zones and choose specific temperatures for different areas of the house. This allows a great deal more control over when and how your system will operate each day, depending on the individual comfort needs of your family.

If you’re making dinner and don’t want the heat blasting you while you’re standing over the stove, just set the kitchen temperature lower. And with a programmable thermostat, you can tell it to come back on an hour after you leave the kitchen so that it’s comfortable later when you need a glass of water.

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How Can I Stop My Toilet from Running?

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Nothing is more obnoxious than the constant tinkling sound of a running toilet. When your toilet starts pouring water through at a record rate, it is time to take a peek inside and make sure everything is working properly. Luckily, most of the time, a running toilet is very easy to fix. It may only be that the tank flap or the diaphragm needs adjustment. Here are some quick tips to help you diagnose and repair that running toilet and get back the peace and quiet of your bathroom once and for all.

  1. Going In – Open the tank of your toilet take a close look at the various parts. First, check the ball cock – the valve linked to the large plastic ball that floats on top of the water in your tank. If the noise is coming directly from the valve or you can see obvious issues, the ball cock likely needs to be replaced. Sometimes, it needs only basic cleaning, which you should do first before running out to buy a new part. It also possible that the tank flap is having issues. Look for a small cone in the hole at the base of the tank. Press down on it to see if the sound stops. If it does, the tank flap likely needs replacement.
  2. Turn off the Water Supply – Before doing any more, turn off your toilet’s water supply. Do not worry – you should not need to go hunting for the valve. It is most often located next to the toilet on the floor of your bathroom.
  3. Replacing Your Parts – When replacing any parts for a toilet, always remove the old part first and bring it with you to the hardware store. Almost all toilets have slightly different parts that may not match up universally. By having the part you need, you can give it to an expert in toilet repair and they can quickly find the right replacement.
  4. Careful Replacement – Most of the time, replacement simply involves unscrewing or removing the part and placing a new one in place. However, if you own a low flush toilet or a specialty design that does not have the same parts or layout of a traditional tank-based toilet, you may need the help of a professional to avoid any unwanted accidents or issues in the replacement process.

Ideally, the entire process should only take the better part of a couple hours, including the time it takes to go to the hardware store and purchase your replacement part.

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Compression vs. Cartridge Faucets

Friday, February 18th, 2011

If you are like most people, you probably do not think too much about what goes on inside your faucet when you turn it on and off. All you need is for the water to flow when you want it to and to stop when you do not. But when the time comes to replace or repair one of the faucets in your home, it is helpful to know a little bit about how the different types of faucets work and what the pros and cons of each can be.

The oldest and most common types of faucets are compression faucets. When one of these faucets is in the off position, a small washer inside creates a seal that keeps water from flowing through and into the tap. But when you turn the faucet on, the stem inside raises up, which takes the pressure off of the washer and breaks the seal. That allows the water to flow until you lower the stem back down again by turning the faucet off.

These faucets are generally easy to find and relatively cheap. They are also easy to install or repair on your own, and this is fortunate because they do tend to develop leaks periodically. That is primarily because the washer inside will wear out over time and need to be replaced. This is a rather straightforward and simple process, but if you do not want to have to deal with it, you may want to consider your other option.

The other main type of faucet on the market today is a cartridge faucet. Instead of washers, these types of faucets employ a cartridge which seals to the faucet base with several O-rings. These types of faucets can often be quite a bit more expensive, although you can certainly find some that are reasonably priced. They are also much less prone to developing leaks, and when they do they are quite easy to repair as well.

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Clogged Kitchen Sink? What Should You Do

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Clogs are common in almost every household and place of business. Even if you take special care not to put anything that might cause a clog down the drain, there is a good chance that excess bits of food, grease, hair, or other unsavoury materials and pieces will eventually line and clog your pipes. So, what should you do when a clog takes over your kitchen sink? Here are a few simple steps for quick removal.

1.       Disconnect Your Garbage Disposal – Before you do anything, you will need to disconnect the disposal from the sink so you have access to the drain. Start by unplugging your disposal – never work on your sink or the garbage disposal with it plugged in. If the disposal itself is clogged, turn the blades manually to work free any clogs. If it turns freely, the clog might be past the disposal in the pipes and it will need to be removed for further cleaning. Most of the time, however, the clog will be either in the disposal or in the opposite sink.

2.       Plunging Your Sink – Once you have ruled out the disposal, it is time to plunge the sink. Make sure to clamp off the line from your dishwasher so that you do not push any water back into the machine. If you have two sink drains, make sure to seal up the one you are not plunging so that a good seal is created. Do NOT plunge the sink if you have poured any chemicals down in an attempt to clear the drains.

3.       Cleaning Out the Trap – If a plunger cannot get the job done, it is time to check the P-trap. To do this, remove as much water as possible from the sink and place a bucket under the trap so you do not make too big of a mess. Now, disconnect the p-trap from the trap arm. If you have an older metal sink assembly, you may need a wrench or pliers to get the Slip Nuts free. Plastic is much easier. Check the trap to see if there is a clog in the curve of the joint. If not, you will need to move on to the final possible fix.

4.       Snaking – If you cannot clear the clog with a plunger and your hands, it may be time for a snake. You can rent one from most hardware stores if you do not own one, and it is a lot cheaper than calling a plumber to do it for you. You will need to remove the trap arm from the drain itself and then run the snake down the line until you find the clog. This can be a time consuming process, but most often it will take care of any remaining clogs.

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When Should You Replace Your Existing Heat Pump?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how well your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how we

Nobody wants to think about having to replace a home heating and cooling system. It’s a big job and a new system probably won’t come cheap – not if it’s worth buying anyway. But in the end, you’ll be better off replacing your heat pump sooner rather than later if you start noticing signs that it may be on its way out.

So what are these signs? Well, they’re actually pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. For instance, if your heat pump is suddenly making more noise than it used to, there’s a good chance that something’s going wrong inside. This may only require a minor repair, but if minor repairs like this become a regular occurrence, you should start seriously thinking about looking around for a new system.

The cost of even minor repairs will certainly add up quickly over time, and you’ll have to seriously think about whether it makes financial sense to continue to repair an older system rather than simply replacing it with a new one. Chances are that you’ll have to invest in a new one anyway, and the sooner you do it, the less you’ll have paid for repairs to a system you were just going to get rid of anyway.

Also, if you’re starting to notice humidity problems in your home or if some parts of your house are being kept warmer than others, it may very well be a sign that you heat pump isn’t working like it should. Again, this can sometimes be rectified with repair work, but especially if your heat pump is 10 years old or more, it probably makes more sense to replace it.

Another item to keep an eye on when you’re worried about how well your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.

ll your heat pump is working is your monthly energy bill. If you notice a sudden or even a gradual but steady increase over time that you know isn’t a result of an increase in energy prices in your area, you should suspect that your heat pump isn’t working like it should.

Even if it’s still keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, the fact that your heat pump is using more energy to do it is a sign that there’s something wrong with your system. Plus, newer systems are generally more energy efficient anyway, so you’ll be making up for the initial investment of purchasing a new system when you start paying even less on your monthly energy bills.

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Holiday Emergencies: How to Unclog Your Toilet…Without Your Guests Even Noticing

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

It’s your big holiday party. The carols are playing, the champagne is sparkling, and everyone’s having a great time. But when you step into the bathroom to wash your hands, you discover that one of your wonderful in-laws has attempted to flush the equivalent of a small forest down your toilet. You have a houseful of people and you need to unclog your toilet now. What can you do?

To really handle this situation well, you should stock up on the right tools ahead of time. Along with the veggie dip and spiced wine, add the following to your holiday shopping list: a flange or ball plunger, and a toilet auger (also known as a closet auger). You should be able to get both in your local hardware store.

But wait! you say. I already have a plunger! You probably do, but it may be the wrong kind. The standard “cup plunger” (which is what most people have on hand) looks like a rubber ball cut in half. Contrary to what most people think, these plungers aren’t for toilets – they are for the tub, where the flat edge of the plunger will connect well with the flat bottom of the tub to form a vacuum seal. The right tool for unclogging your toilet is a flange plunger or a ball plunger. These are properly shaped to connect to the curved shape of a toilet bowl and maintain a good vacuum seal while you plunge.

So…back to the party and your emergency. Assuming that you’ve prepared appropriately, you will probably be able to clear that clog quite easily – and if you’re discreet, your party guests will never need to know! The most important thing is to overcome the temptation to flush an already blocked-up toilet (we know, maybe you’ll get lucky, but more likely, you’ll end up overflowing the bowl and making a really disgusting mess and having to clean it up with the guest towels). Instead, start by plunging with your handy-dandy new flange plunger. Gently push the plunger head through the water, allowing the air to escape from it. Then, fit the plunger around the hole in the bottom of the bowl, and push the handle up and down rapidly until you feel the clog release or until the water level in the toilet drops.

Now, test to see if the toilet really is draining. Once again, it’s tempting to flush – but don’t do it. Instead, pour a little water down the toilet from a bucket, or lift the tank cover and slowly lift the flapper seal at the bottom to allow a little water to enter the bowl. (Don’t lift the flapper all the way, or the toilet will flush, and you might end up wading around in something you’d rather not think about.)

If the added water leaves the toilet easily, then the clog is cleared. If not, plunge again.

If the clog won’t clear after repeated plunging, break out the heavy firepower in your freshly-stocked plumbing arsenal. Your new toilet auger has an auger bit (a sharp spiral of wire) at the end that is connected to semi-rigid wire or cable that flexes to thread through the bends in a toilet bowl. The auger bit and the wire are connected in turn to a long handle with a hand crank that you can turn to work your way through the clog.

Start by turning off the water supply to your toilet, to keep any possible mess to a minimum. Then, fully retract the auger cable into the handle and put the auger into the toilet so that the curved bit where the cable comes out of the handle faces the same way the toilet drains. (Some toilets drain to the front and others to the rear – look into the toilet bowl to see which way yours goes.)  Work the cable into the drain with a combination of cranking and gentle pressure until it becomes tight and stops turning, or until you feel resistance. Either one probably means that you’ve hit the clog. Crank the auger quickly to break up the clog, and if you can’t crank any more, stop and start cranking in the reverse direction. Continue doing this until you’ve inserted the auger all the way. If you feel that the auger has grabbed something and is stuck, push and pull gently or crank back and forth while gently pulling up. Never force the auger or you may break the toilet porcelain.

After breaking up the clog, use the plunger again to move the obstruction down the drain line. Then, check to make sure the toilet is draining (remember – do this by adding a small amount of water from a bucket or by lifting the flapper slightly, not by flushing!). If and only if the toilet seems to be draining well, try flushing it. If it flushes, you’ve defeated the clog, and you can turn the water supply to your toilet back on.

Then, don’t forget to clean the auger! Put it in a garbage bag to prevent drips and carry it out of the house. (Okay, you don’t have to do this during your holiday party, but please don’t forget to do it later!) Clean it outside and then bring it to a warm dry place to dry. Spray the auger cable with WD-40 to remove any remaining moisture and protect it while in storage. Don’t store the auger lying down – hang it, handle side up, from a hook in your workshop or shed.

Toilet augers have a reach of about three feet. If your clog doesn’t clear after you’ve tried the auger, it probably means that the obstruction is farther down the drain line. However, don’t try using a drain snake to clear the blockage, because it can damage your toilet.

Instead, call us at Carney: 215-346-7160. Even over the holidays, we’re available 24/7 to help you cope with emergencies. We’ll be glad to fix the problem and get you back to your party.

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