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

Freon and Load Capacity – How Are They Linked?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think too much about how your air conditioning system works. All you really need to know is that when you switch on the system, your house gets cooler. But if you’re looking to purchase a new air conditioner for your home, it’s a good idea to know how to select the right one to fit the space you’re trying to cool.

Air Conditioning Basics

Air conditioners use Freon as a coolant to remove heat from indoor air and transfer that heat outside. To do this, they cycle the Freon through a closed loop of coils. When the cold Freon enters the cooling coil of the air conditioner, it absorbs heat from the air passing by, thereby lowering the temperature of the air. That cooled air can then be transferred into your home and more warm air can be cycled past the cooling coils.

Air Conditioner Sizing

The more air your air conditioner can cool at once, the larger its load capacity. In order to keep a particular space cool, an AC unit has to have a large enough load capacity to accommodate that type of air volume. A unit that’s too small will obviously never be able to keep your room cool enough, but one that’s too big will have a similar problem.

The truth is that when it comes to air conditioner sizing, bigger is not better. It’s best to simply get as good an estimate as you can of what type of load capacity is ideal for the space you’re trying to cool and stick as close to that as you can.

Load Capacity and Freon

Of course, if you want your air conditioner to cool more air at a time, you’ll need more coolant. But simply increasing the amount of Freon in your air conditioner won’t make it cool any better. Freon is simply one of many elements that contribute to effective cooling. And the larger the entire system is, the more Freon is needed.

So more Freon technically contributes to greater cooling capacity, but it’s not enough to accomplish that all on its own. There is really nothing you can do to increase the load capacity of your air conditioner once it’s in place. So for best results, make sure you pick out an appropriately sized unit the first time around.

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Why Is There a Sewer Smell in Our House?

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Detecting a sewer smell in your house is never pleasant on a number of levels. Of course, the main thing you are most likely concerned about is that the smell makes it hard to be in your house. After all, who wants to live in a place that smells like a sewer?

But there are other reasons to be concerned when you smell something like this as well. For one thing, since this is not the way that your house should smell, it likely means that there is a problem somewhere in your sewer, drainage or venting system. Also, gasses that generate that sewer smell can be made up of methane and hydrogen sulfide, both of which are quite dangerous and not the types of gasses you want your family to be breathing on a regular basis.

In most cases, you will need to call in a professional to determine the exact cause of the sewer smell and eliminate it. This can sometimes be expensive if the problem is widespread or difficult to locate, but it does not have to be. Some causes of a sewer smell in your house are relatively easy to remedy, particularly for an experienced professional.

For instance, the smell may be the result of leaks in certain pipes and can be eliminated when those leaks are repaired. Or a low water level in your toilet could be the culprit. The constant presence of water in your toilet bowl is actually what keeps those sewer gasses from seeping up and into your house. So if the water level in the toilet bowl drops for some reason, the gasses can be allowed to escape into your house. This is especially likely if you have a toilet that does not get used often and where the water may have evaporated over time.

Another common reason that a sewer smell can develop in your house is that the vent pipe has become clogged. Since it is the job of this pipe to vent sewer gasses out of your home, it is not surprising that a blockage in this system could cause the odors to build up inside. Depending on your skill level, you may be able to tackle the project of unclogging the vent pipe on your own or you may need to call in a professional plumber to get the job done.

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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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Dear Santa, Please Bring Me Some New Plumbing Accessories (Really!!)

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

When most people think of holiday gifts for their family, chances are they’re not considering…plumbing. But maybe it’s time to think again. Everyone uses toilets, sinks, and showers every day – which means that making improvements to your plumbing will make your entire family more comfortable, every day! The right plumbing upgrades can help your family enjoy mornings more, get fewer colds, savor great European style, and save money on utility bills (money that you can put towards that new car, or a dream vacation).

Plumbing upgrades are also a great green gift. They save water and energy, and they last for years – much better than cheap, disposable stuff that will just wind up in the landfill.

So, while we’re not necessarily recommending that you completely forget about jewelry, toys, and electronics, we do think you should consider adding plumbing improvements to your gift list.

Here are some suggestions for some great, relatively inexpensive plumbing improvements that your family will enjoy every day:

  • Insulate your hot water pipes, and put a blanket over your hot water heater. This is often touted as a money-saving measure (and it is) – but it has the wonderful side effect of making your water hotter as it comes out of your sink or shower. You can’t put this under the tree…but wouldn’t your family enjoy waking up to lovely warm showers on Christmas morning? This is a great gift if you’re strapped for cash, because the materials for insulating your pipes and heater are very inexpensive – the biggest part of the gift is a couple of hours of your time and effort. (Read our blog post on insulating your hot water pipes to find out how easy it is to do.) [Link to: http://www.milani.ca/blog/plumbing/prevent-frozen-pipes/]
  • Replace your old water-saving showerhead with one of the new-generation water-saving showerheads. Those old aerators were virtuous, but they can be chilly and a little prickly.  With the right new showerhead, you’ll never even know that you’re saving water – you’ll just feel like you’re in a luxury hotel. You can get a wide range of fun styles and functions, including rain showerheads, massage showerheads, you name it. (Pair a new showerhead with insulating your pipes to really kick your family’s shower experience up a notch!)

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