Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Elkins Park’

Testimonial – Lee & Susan in Elkins Park

Monday, November 21st, 2011

With winter well on its way, don’t hesitate to call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling if you need a new heating system. Lee & Susan from Elkins Park recently had their system replaced and here is what they wrote to us about the experience:

“From our very first contact via email, I was so impressed by Carney’s responsiveness and attentiveness to detail. Don [our Comfort Advisor] was the consummate professional. He worked meticulously with us to understand our unique situation. He then marshaled exactly the right resources to solve our plumbing emergency and our urgent need for a totally new heating system. I can’t thank him enough. Kevin L. [our plumbing technician] and his team worked with incredible skill and determination to resolve a complex plumbing problem. Jimmy, Rich and their [HVAC install] crew did a phenomenal job of installing our new HVAC system, leaving our home each day as clean as when they arrived.”

– Lee & Susan H., Elkins Park PA

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Warning Signs: When to Call for an Air Conditioning Service

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The last thing you want is to be without an air conditioner during the hottest days of the year, especially in Elkins Park. Ideally you would never have to call for service to repair your air conditioning system, but just like anything else, your air conditioner will break down once in a while. However, you can dramatically reduce the inconvenience and cost of emergency air conditioning repairs if you are able to spot the warning signs of a problem before it shuts down your system completely.

For instance, all air conditioners make noise, but if your air conditioning system is suddenly making much more noise than it used to, chances are that something in there is not working properly. Calling for repairs when you notice this sudden increase in noise from your system will greatly increase the chances that the repair will be relatively minor and that you will not have to go without air conditioning when you need it most.

Also, it is a good idea to call for service if your air conditioning system does not seem to be doing as good a job as it used to when it comes to cooling your home evenly and effectively. Uneven cooling is a good sign that something is not working right within your system. And even if your air conditioner continues to work, it will probably be using up more energy than necessary for a less than ideal end result.

Along these same lines, a noticeable increase in humidity in all or part of your home is another good indication that something is wrong with your air conditioning system. Air conditioners both cool and dehumidify the air, so if yours stops removing humidity properly, you need to find out why.

In fact, even if you do not notice any difference in the way that your air conditioner is performing, you can still spot a problem if you keep a close eye on your energy bill. If you see a sudden increase in the amount of your bill because of the amount of energy that your air conditioning system is using, it is a good sign that something is not working right.

It may be tempting to put off calling for repairs, particularly if your air conditioner is still able to keep your house comfortable. However, it will likely be much cheaper and more convenient to have the repairs done early rather than waiting until the unit breaks down entirely.

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How a Water Softener Works

Monday, July 18th, 2011

You use water for many things. It is necessary for bathing, cooking, washing clothes and for drinking. But the water we use in our homes is not pure. It has plenty of other minerals and additives suspended inside. While some of these, like fluoride, are intentionally added to the water supplies in certain areas, some others get in by chance.

Aside from actual pollutants, the additives you may be the most concerned about finding in your water are calcium and magnesium. These minerals are picked up by water as it moves through the ground, and the more of them that get into your home water supply, the harder that water will be.

The term hard water is used to describe water with high levels of calcium and magnesium present. These minerals are not actually dangerous to us, but they can cause all sorts of problems for your indoor plumbing and other household systems. For instance, hard water will leave deposits of these minerals on the insides of pipes and on sinks, faucets and bathtubs.

Residue will also build up in appliances like coffee makers, dish washers and washing machines. Over time these buildups can become a real problem and you may have to pay for costly repairs or need to replace large appliances.

In order to avoid these types of complications, your best bet is to have a water softener installed. These systems can be connected directly to your home water source and they are able to remove excess calcium and magnesium from the water before it ever reaches any of your indoor plumbing or appliances.

Water softeners generally remove these minerals by attracting the positively charged calcium and magnesium particles with a tank full of negatively charged polystyrene particles. In this system, the calcium and magnesium are replaced by sodium ions as they move through the water softener, thereby maintaining the overall balanced composition of the water. Once the water has passed through and the calcium and magnesium have been left behind, the water softener will flush them out and prepare to absorb another wave of hard water minerals.

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How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Friday, April 1st, 2011

When we think of air pollution we often think of outdoor “smog”, but the air in your home or office may also be polluted, even if it looks clean. Sources of indoor pollution include

  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaners
  • Household décor and furnishings (like rugs and paint)
  • Household pesticides (like rodent or ant-killers, or plant sprays)
  • Radon
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Building materials (like asbestos and lead)

Indoor air quality is of particular concern in newer, better-insulated homes, or in older homes that have been recently weatherized. The “tightness” of modern houses means that any pollutants that get into the home stay there – and perhaps even increase in concentration over time if the source of the pollution is inside the house.

Indoor air quality problems can cause discomfort and even serious disease, especially in children. The good news, though, is that there are many effective ways to improve indoor air quality.

There are three basic strategies for improving indoor air quality:

  • Air purification. Air cleaners range from small tabletop models to full-house models that are part of the central heating and cooling system. Small air purifiers are typically not very useful, but central air filters can be very effective at removing airborne contaminants. If your heating and cooling system does not include central air filtration, you should consider an upgrade to a new system.

    It is important to note that air purification will not remove gases like carbon monoxide or radon from your home. Gas pollution must be remedied by professionals.

  • Ventilation. Many forced-air heating and cooling systems do not bring outdoor air into the home. Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and attic ventilation fans (when weather permits) can be very important in promoting the circulation of air. Also, opening windows is very important, especially when doing short-term activities such as painting that increase the number of pollutants in the air.

    You should also consider upgrading to one of the newer central heating and cooling systems that bring outdoor air into the home.

  • Source control. This is the most important indoor air quality strategy, and in many cases, the simplest one. Source control is definitely the most cost-effective strategy for improving indoor air quality, because purification and ventilation both require a constant use of energy.

    Switch to all-natural household cleaners, buy household furnishings made of natural fibers (instead of synthetic fibers that can “off-gas” volatile organic compounds). When painting, use VOC-free paint. Quit smoking, if you haven’t already.

    In some cases, source control must be done by a certified contractor. Asbestos should be sealed or enclosed (asbestos is not a hazard unless it is disturbed, at which point it can release a dangerous dust). Radon gas should be mitigated whenever possible by sealing cracks in the foundation where the gas enters, or by filtering the water supply if water is the source. Gas stoves can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. Lead paint can be scraped off or covered with modern, lead-free paint (this is not a DIY job and requires EPA training).

    And, don’t forget to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, ideally next to the sleeping areas.

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Attic Insulation – Does it Save You Money?

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

While you may not spend too much time up in your attic in the winter – or at any time of year for that matter – the conditions up there can end up having a significant impact on the size of your heating bills. Fortunately, if you’re leaking heat out of your attic like crazy, there is something you can do about it. And it won’t even take you a lot of time or cost too much, but it will save you a ton of money in the long run.

So what is it that you can do to magically save so much on your heating bills? Well, the truth is that all you really need to do is insulate your attic properly. Since the attic isn’t typically a space that people occupy often, builders often leave these areas uninsulated. That means that they’re pretty cold in the winter. But if you’re not sitting up there, does it really make any difference?

Absolutely it does. The problem with having an uninsulated attic is that heat rises and so will quickly move to the highest point in your home. This is the attic, of course, and if the attic isn’t insulated, all of that warm air that you’ve been paying to heat will go right out the top of your house. Even if the door to the attic is shut up tight, you will still be losing heat into it.

And if the attic isn’t insulated, chances are that there’s no insulation anywhere above the ceiling of the top floor of your house. With heat continually rising and escaping out of the top of your home, you’ll find that your home heating system has to work much harder to keep the house at a comfortable temperature. And the harder your heating system works, the more you’re paying in energy bills each month.

Fortunately, adding insulation to your attic is relatively easy and won’t cost you much at all. And the savings you start to see immediately on your energy bills will more than make up for the expense of having the insulation installed. Even if your attic does have some insulation in place already, it may be worth checking to make sure it’s still working well. Some types of insulation simply break down over time and you might not be getting anywhere near the protection you thought you were.

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