Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Colmar’

Types of Drinking Water Filters

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

There are not many things more important than making sure that your home drinking water supply is safe and free of contaminants. All kinds of things can appear in your drinking water, and it is helpful to know exactly what types of contaminants are prevalent in your area so that you can make the best decision about what type of water filters to buy.

Some water filters work well at removing certain types of contaminants but not others. However, there are some good water filters that can get rid of almost all contaminants on their own. One such type is a distiller. Water distillers operate by heating the water coming into your home until it turns into steam. When water evaporates like this, it leaves behind anything it was carrying with it when it was in liquid form. The steam rises and moves into another chamber, and when it condenses back into liquid form again, the contaminants are no longer present.

Another type of water filter that removes the majority of contaminants is a reverse osmosis filter. These are excellent for removing things like asbestos, minerals, metals, salts and nitrates. For best results, however, you will want to purchase a system that incorporates some type of carbon filter as well. Carbon filters, placed either before or after the osmosis filtering system, are better at removing things like pesticides and radon. The combination of these two water treatment types into one filter system makes the solution more complete.

If you do not think you have a serious contamination problem but just want to get rid of bad tastes or smells in your water, activated carbon filters are a good and economical choice. However, you will want to make sure that you know exactly what contaminants the filter you purchase is designed to remove, as not all carbon filters are equally as effective against certain types of contaminants.

The most important thing to do before you go out and purchase a water filtration system, however, is to determine what exactly you are trying to remove from your water. The types of contaminants found in your water will vary a great deal depending on where you live and what types of pipes you have in your home, and that will directly affect the type of water filter that is right for you.

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Water Filtering Faucets

Monday, June 20th, 2011

The last thing you want is to be drinking or cooking with contaminated water. Of course, you can always opt for a full house water filtration system, but these are often expensive to install and maintain. If you are not prepared to make this kind of investment, you may want to consider purchasing a water filtering faucet instead.

Unlike large point of entry water filtration systems, a water filtering faucet treats the water at one particular sink or other outlet. These types of faucets typically employ carbon filters that effectively remove many gasses and particles suspended in the water as it moves through the filter.

Just like any other type of water filtration system, there are various types of water filtering faucets and they are not all equally effective at removing contaminants. Before you purchase anything like this, however, you should make sure you know exactly what contaminants are present in your water. This is the only way to ensure that you purchase a product designed to treat exactly the problem that you have.

If you do decide to go with a water filtering faucet, make sure you know how often to replace the filters inside it and what type of replacements to get. Your water filter will only work properly when it is correctly maintained, and there is no point in using it if you have not been able to keep up with proper filter maintenance and replacement.

Another nice feature of water filtering faucets is that you can usually switch them on and off. When you need water for cooking or drinking, you can send it through the filter, and when you are using water for other things, you do not need to use the filter at all. This can cause the filter to last longer and it is also more convenient on models that have a reduced water pressure when the filter is employed.

You may initially balk at the cost of a water filtering faucet, preferring to purchase bottled water for drinking instead. But you have to take into account the fact that once you purchase a water filtering faucet, you will not have to spend the money on bottled drinking water any more. This will translate into a significant savings over time, making the initial investment well worth it in the end.

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How Much Will a High Efficiency Air Conditioner Save You?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

When it comes to your air conditioning system, the energy efficiency rating really does matter. While you may be paying a bit more for products with higher energy efficiency ratings to begin with, you will certainly save a significant amount on your monthly cooling bills in the years to come.

Before you can evaluate your options in terms of energy efficient air conditioners, however, you will need to know how their efficiency is represented. Most air conditioners come with what is called a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). A higher SEER means a more energy efficient model, and likely a higher price tag as well.

But how much more energy efficient is a SEER 10 air conditioning unit as opposed to a SEER 11? Well, the truth is that it is about 7% more efficient. However, a SEER 14 will be 23% more efficient than a SEER 10, but only 5% more efficient than a SEER 13 model.

While all of these numbers can help give you some context in which to evaluate the various air conditioners out there, they can only go so far. Turning these percentages into dollars is what you really have to do when you are trying to figure out what your monthly or yearly savings will be.

So to give you a bit of perspective, imagine that your annual cooling costs come to around $480 with your current SEER 10 air conditioning system. If you choose to upgrade to a SEER 13, you will save somewhere in the neighborhood of $110. But if you opt for the SEER 14 instead, you will gain an annual savings of closer to $140 compared to your current bill.

Of course, the SEER of a particular air conditioner is not the only thing that will cause the price of the unit to rise, nor is it the only thing that can cause your monthly cooling costs to rise. Air conditioners also need to be matched to the size of the space they will be asked to keep cool.

If the unit you have is too small to effectively cool the area in question, you are likely paying more than necessary in terms of cooling costs for less than ideal results. Similarly, if your unit is too big, you will be paying too much no matter how high a SEER rating it has.

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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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No Heat in the House? Things to Check and Do

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

In general, when your heating system stops working, you’ll need to call a professional to come out and take a look. However, before you do that, there are likely a couple of things you can check on your own to ensure that there really is a problem with the system itself.

For instance, if it’s cold in your house and your heat isn’t coming on, check to make sure that the thermostat is set to a high enough temperature that the heating system would be triggered. Particularly if this is the first really cold day of the season, it’s entirely possible that your thermostat was turned down at some point and left there. And if the thermostat isn’t turned up high enough, the heat will never come on.

Also, it’s worth just taking a second to check and make sure that the power switch on the heating system itself is actually in the proper on position. For the most part, there would be no reason for you to turn this off, but it’s always possible it could have happened in any number of ways and it only takes a second to check.

Depending on the type of fuel source your heating system uses, it’s probably a good idea to check to make sure the supply is still available as well. If you use natural gas, check to make sure that the gas line is open, but don’t try to repair it yourself if it seems to be compromised. If you find something like that, be sure to call your gas company right away.

However, if you use oil as a heat source, take a quick peek at the levels in your tank. There’s always the possibility that you used more than you thought you did or that a delivery was missed for some reason and so your heating system simply has no fuel to run on. Similarly, if your heating system runs on electricity, make sure that the fuse wasn’t blown or that it’s not just too loose to provide an adequate power supply.

If you’ve covered all of these basic troubleshooting bases, it may be time to take a closer look at the heating system itself. On just about every type of system there should be some type of reset switch or button. Follow the instructions to press this button and engage the reset process, but be sure to only try this once. If that resetting doesn’t work, it’s time to back off and call in some professional help.

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Furnace vs. Heat Pump

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

If you’re preparing to replace your existing heating system, you may very well be struggling with the question of whether to go with a furnace or a heat pump for all of your future home heating needs. Each of these systems have their own advantages and drawbacks, and once you’ve narrowed it down to one type or the other, you’ll still have a pretty wide variety of products to choose from.

Furnaces are still the most popular type of home heating equipment on the market. You can get furnaces that run on gas, oil or electricity, although gas furnaces are by far the most common type of furnace around these days. The latest models are extremely energy efficient, with AFUE ratings reaching into the high 90%s.

Like heat pumps, furnaces use ducts to transfer heated air throughout your home. They typically require regular maintenance once every year or two depending on the type of furnace you have, and they can be expected to last anywhere from 15 to 25 years when properly maintained. Most modern furnaces are also made to be compatible with a central air conditioning or cooling system as well.

Heat pumps, on the other hand, don’t generate the heat that they circulate throughout your house. Instead they are able to extract the heat from the air outside and pump it inside. This means that they use much less energy than even the most energy efficient furnaces.

However, heat pumps are only capable of heating your house comfortably when the outside temperature is above freezing. If you live in an area with particularly long and frigid winters, you’ll probably find that you need to supplement your heat pump with another heat source. Because of this, it actually makes little sense to use a heat pump in more extreme climates.

On the other hand, if you live in an area with relatively mild winters, heat pumps can be a great option. They provide a constant flow of warm air to all parts of your home and can also keep you house cool during hot summer months. To cool your home, heat pumps simply reverse the process they use to warm it. They take the heat out of your indoor air and pump it outside. This is a very effective home cooling method and makes heat pumps a great solution for year round comfort.

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How Efficient Is a Heat Pump?

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Heat pumps are actually remarkably efficient when compared to some of the home heating alternatives out there. Especially if you’re already using electricity to heat your home, you can get generate huge savings on your monthly energy bills by switching to a heat pump system.

As their name suggests, heat pumps remove heat from the air and transfer that heat from one area to another. That means that in the winter, your heat pump will remove the heat from the air outside your home and pump that heat in to heat your home. During the summer months, that process is actually reversed, and heat pumps are able to cool your home by collecting the heat from your indoor air and pumping it outside.

Since heat pumps are actually just moving heat from one place to another rather than generating it all on their own, they don’t require much energy at all to operate. While you can buy furnaces that are as much as 97% energy efficient, they’re still using more energy than a heat pump would. The fact that the furnace is turning the vast majority of the energy that it uses into heat doesn’t mean that it still doesn’t require more energy to operate.

Just because heat pumps are more efficient than many other types of heating systems, you can’t just assume that all heat pumps are equally energy efficient. Just as different types and models of furnaces have different energy efficiency ratings, so too do the many types, sizes and models of heat pumps. Make sure you thoroughly compare your options before you settle on the right system for your home.

The energy efficiency rating of a furnace is easy to recognize, as each of them comes with a standard AFUE rating. If you’re looking to switch to heat pumps, however, it’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to compare the energy efficiency of various models.

Heat pumps actually have two separate measurements for energy efficiency. These are the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Energy efficiency measurements for heat pumps reflect both the cooling and heating efficiency of the system, and so what’s best for you may vary depending on what you’re more likely to use your heat pump for.

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