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

Showerheads that Save Water: Low-Flow Shower Heads

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

If you are looking for ways to save water in your home, a low-flow shower head is a great place to start. There are many different types of low-flow shower heads on the market right now, so you should have no trouble finding one that suits both your needs and your budget. However, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you, so it is best to learn a bit about your options before you make a purchase.

The goal of low-flow shower heads is to use less water. But you do not want to compromise your shower experience at the same time. So you need to find a low-flow shower head that can provide the same feel as a regular shower head with less water. Thanks to plenty of new technological developments, this is quite possible, but not all low-flow shower heads can accomplish this effectively.

The first thing you want to look for in a low-flow shower head is a pressure compensating system. This allows the shower head to provide a consistent stream of water regardless of your water pressure. One of these shower heads makes sure you always have a powerful enough spray for a comfortable shower even when you do not have a lot of water pressure. They do this without wasting water if your water pressure is very high.

You must also decide whether you want a shower head that aerates the water. An aerating shower head adds air to the water spray to make it feel like there is more water than there actually is. Many low-flow shower heads use this technology to enhance the feel of their spray and it can work quite effectively. But aerating the water also tends to cool down the water, meaning that you will have to turn on more hot water (and use more energy) to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Fortunately, there are some low-flow shower heads that do not aerate the water and are still able to provide a comfortable and complete showering experience. You will have to do a bit of digging to find them, but it will be well worth it to you in the long run.

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Quick Tips on Toilets

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Quite simply, everyone needs to have a working toilet in their home. Of course, when we do, we tend to take it for granted. Most people really do not know much about how their toilets work and how much water they use, and acquiring that information can be beneficial to you for several reasons. Toilet tips can help you save money, catch problems early and generally get the most out of your toilet.

Water-saving devices are always useful on toilets. Even if you did not buy a water-saver toilet to begin with, you can convert your regular toilet into one by installing a toilet cycle diverter. These great gadgets actually direct some of the water from each flush back into the tank rather than allowing it to run into the toilet bowl itself.

What this does is allow the tank to fill up faster. Less water goes down with each flush and less water is needed to fill up the tank. These devices are relatively easy to install yourself and they can save you a ton in the long run. In fact, the average toilet cycle diverter can conserve up to a gallon of water per flush.

You will also benefit from learning about how your toilet works because it can enable you to catch problems early when they are easy to correct. You may or may not be able to do the corrective work yourself, but at least you can call out a plumber earlier rather than later.

Fixing toilet problems early hopefully means that you will not have to go without a toilet for very long, if at all. And the repairs that you need should be relatively minor and inexpensive. When toilet issues are allowed to persist, they can turn into a much bigger plumbing problem and cause a great deal of inconvenience to you and your family.

One of the most common toilet problems is leaks. A leaky toilet can have all kinds of symptoms, but the bottom line is that it is probably costing you money on your water bill each month. Also, leaks will only get bigger as time goes on, so you will be much better off if you fix them early. Phantom flushing and continuous running are both signs that your toilet is leaking, and the earlier you do something about it, the better off you will be.

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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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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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Moisture Barrier for Basement Floor

Friday, April 8th, 2011

One of the most frustrating aspects of a basement, even when it’s finished properly, is the sheer volume of moisture that builds up throughout the year. Because of the natural properties of changing temperatures, the shift in indoor and outdoor environments will cause condensation in your basement which can be damaging not only to your home but to the items you store there.

A moisture barrier is designed to block and redirect moisture away from the things you care about. By keeping moisture outside of your basement, a moisture barrier blocks the buildup of condensation on your basement floor.

Signs You Need a Moisture Barrier

Not everyone needs a moisture barrier. Some basements are better insulated than others. However, if you notice that your basement undergoes a severe shift in humidity and condensation as the weather changes, you should act quickly before it causes damage.

Specifically, look for symptoms that your basement has too much moisture. Rust on your appliances is a big sign of excess moisture, especially above the ground where standing water might occur. Another symptom is mold growing on the wood frames of windows or underneath stairs. If you notice damp spots on foundation walls or peeling paint these are also signs of excess moisture in your basement.

Installing a Moisture Barrier

You now know if you have a moisture problem, but how do you fix it? A moisture or vapor barrier can get the job done. While no moisture barrier is 100% impermeable, they will generally stop most of the moisture that passes from outside to inside when temperatures vary significantly. The type of material used will vary depending on the level of moisture problem you have. Aluminum, plastic, asphalt and metallized film all work well for this.

Beyond a moisture barrier, you can take other actions to stop condensation in your basement. If you keep the air moving, it will reduce a lot of the moisture build up. Moving air with fans in your basement keeps moisture from settling and creating problems. You can also improve your insulation so that temperature is better regulated inside your home.

Moisture barriers are a great tool for stopping damage in your basement. This is only for condensation, however. Make sure, if you have a more severe water problem in your basement that you look into the installation of a French drain, sump pump, or drain tile system.

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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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Saving Money by Heating the Crawl Space

Monday, January 17th, 2011

If you’re like most people, you probably focus on how to keep the living areas of your home warm and comfortable in the winter months. Of course, you want to do this with as little expense as possible and so insulating and heating all of the rooms of your home naturally makes sense. The main goal of this is to eliminate any areas where heat might be able to escape, thereby causing you to spend more and run your heating system for longer to keep the temperature indoors at an acceptable level.

What you might not often think about, however, is the fact that the crawlspace under your floors is probably not insulted at all. Of course you and your family don’t spend much time there, but if you’re trying to keep your home comfortable for as small a price tag as possible, this is something you should think about addressing.

There are actually several reasons that heating and insulating your crawlspace can save you money in the long run. For one thing, the ducts and pipes that carry your heated air and water to various locations throughout your house generally run right through these very crawl spaces. Even with an average amount of insulation surrounding those pipes and ducts, you’ll still be losing heat to the outdoors as the air and water travel through the crawl space.

Of course, pumping heat directly into the crawl space would be a waste too, since there is no insulation to keep it there. With the proper amount of insulation, however, you can easily heat your crawl space with very little energy and potentially save a ton in the long run.

When your ducts and pipes are traveling through a heated space, they’ll retain the heat they started with and bring that to the rest of your home. You’ll pay very little to keep the crawl space warm and you’ll save a lot by conserving the heat and hot water that you do generate to keep your house comfortable.

Plus, because your crawl space is generally located directly underneath the floor, you’ll be protecting the actual rooms of your home from heat loss as well. And you floors won’t be so cold to walk on either. Overall, there really is no reason not to take the time and have your crawl space properly insulated and heated.

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