Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘King of Prussia’

Reasons to Choose a Whole-House Generator Over a Portable Option

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Generators come in two categories: permanent, which are whole-home generators or back-up generators, and portable, also known as standby. The capability of these generators is very different, and these differences should be an important factor when deciding which type of generator to choose for your home. As we have seen over the last few years, weather events, large blackouts and flooding are all possible at any time. Knowing you have the back-up generator you need for your King of Prussia home is critical to your peace of mind. So what are the differences between a permanent and standby generator? Let’s take a look.

Standby Generators

Standby generators quite small and for good reason: they are meant to be portable and support only a few key items in your home, such as your refrigerator, several lamps or a television. They do not connect to a main source of fuel such as a natural gas line or propane tank; instead, they have fuel tank and use either gasoline or diesel fuel for power. The main components of standby generators are the engine, the power generator head and the fuel tank. The engine generates the energy needed for the generator head to produce the electricity. The fuel, which is typically gasoline or diesel (but can also be propane), feeds the engine. To connect to the generator’s power it is usually necessary to have an extension cord that will carry the electricity into your home. Re-fueling is necessary, which means that to have continuous power, you’ll need access to continuous fuel, which can be a challenge during a major weather event or power outage. The bottom line: if you only need to power a single large item for a few hours, a standby generator is the way to go; otherwise, you’ll want to consider a whole-home generator.

Permanent Generators

Permanent generators use natural gas, propane (LP) or diesel for fuel. With natural gas and LP, the generator is connected directly to the main line (gas) or tank (LP); with diesel, there is a large tank that resides under the generator that requires re-fueling should you use it. Whole-home generators are connected directly to your home’s electrical panel; they are equipped with sensors that detect when an interruption in power has occurred. Should the power go out, the generator automatically turns on and starts sending power to the electrical box to keep your home running. When the power returns, the generator automatically turns off. Whole-home generators can provide up to 5,000 watts of power to your home, so not everything can run as usual, but your home will still be comfortable.

Back-up generators can keep you safe, secure and comfortable during any kind of serious power outage. Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling today to learn more.

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When is the Right Time for a Heating System Tune Up?

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Preventative maintenance is always faster, cheaper, and more convenient than replacing or repairing an entire broken system. That is why it is so important to have regular maintenance done on your heating system. The recommendation is that you get your heating system tuned up at least once a year. What is the best time to actually get it done, though? Read on for the benefits of getting your maintenance done during the fall season.

Timing

Fall is the ideal time to have your heating system checked for a number of reasons, timing being foremost among them. Any system is most susceptible to breakdowns during periods of heavy use. Therefore, it is prudent to have your heating system checked right before you plan on using it regularly. Since your need for heat will likely be greatest during winter, it is best to have a tune up shortly before the winter months begin.

Convenience

The benefit of convenience flows directly from the above point on timing. Inevitably, there will be many people who fail to get their heating system tune up before winter. When their heating system begins to have problems, the demand on service professionals in the area will spike. As you can probably imagine, this slows down the rate of service significantly.

If you wait until your heating system begins to have problems, you won’t just have to deal with not having heat during the cold season. You will also be competing for attention with all the other people who are having similar problems. Getting your heating system tuned up in the fall prevents this whole mess from happening.

Efficiency

Of course, you don’t have to wait to get your heating system checked in the fall. In fact, we highly recommend that you have your system checked as soon as possible if you haven’t already done it this year. However, the earlier in the year you have maintenance conducted, the greater length of time between having your heating system in top condition and putting it under heavy use. The closer your heating system tune up is to winter, the more you can be certain that your heating system is ready to face the cold season.

If you have not scheduled a heating system tune up, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling. We’ll make sure that your heating system runs smoothly all winter long.

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What Are Whole House Water Treatment Systems?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

People today are often concerned with the quality of the water entering their homes through the municipal system. Poor water can affect both the health of a household and the health of its plumbing, and also result in poor-tasting and poor-smelling water. To combat this, households resort to using bottled waters and/or store-bought filtration pitchers, but bottled water is expensive and has negative impact on the environment from clogging landfills, and neither bottled water nor filtered pitchers address issues in the pipes and appliances. Water filtration devices placed on individual sinks (point-of-use filters) do a better job of filtering than pitchers, but they still do not address concerns about the plumbing.

The best way to have clean, safe water in your home is through installation of a whole-house water treatment system. These come in a variety of models and types to address different problems in a home’s water supply, so contact plumbing professionals like those at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling to find out which water treatment systems in King of Prussia, PA will provide you with the clean water you desire.

The basics of whole-house water treatment systems

A whole-house water treatment system sits on the incoming water line to your home so that all the water you use must pass through it first. How the treatment system works depends on its type and the contamination it is designed to counteract.

A common type of treatment system is the water softener, which adds sodium ions into the water to replace magnesium and calcium ions. Eliminating the minerals that can lead to scale build-up inside pipes is important for maintaining healthy plumbing.

Standard filters are used to remove particles suspended in the water, typically with charcoal filters and anti-chlorine treatments. Reverse osmosis systems are a special type of filter that can more finely strain out particles by creating different areas of pressure inside the pipes to force the water through a semi-permeable membrane.

To destroy viruses and bacteria inside water, UV disinfecting systems are safe and effective: they bathe the incoming water with short-frequency radiation that kills dangerous microorganisms without leaving any chemical contamination in the water.

There are many other types of whole-house water treatment systems available—there’s one that is right for whatever troubles you are having with receiving quality water in your home. Once our plumbers know this information, they can select from among the many different water treatment systems in King of Prussia, PA to provide you with healthy water that will protect your family and your home.

To get started, call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling and arrange for water testing that will scientifically discover what problems are entering your water supply.

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How Geothermal Systems Can Both Cool and Heat Your Home

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Geothermal systems form an alternative to traditional heating and air conditioning systems, and you often see geothermal cooling in King of Prussia and other nearby towns. The term can be a little confusing, since geothermal cooling systems can often be used to heat your home in the winter as well as cool it in the summer. How does that work? The equation can be confusing for those accustomed to separate units for heating and air conditioning. In truth, the principles underlying the system explains how geothermal systems can both heat and cool your home.

How Geothermal Works Both Ways

The temperature beneath the earth doesn’t change. Once you get past the first five or six feet, the changes in temperature above ground don’t affect it at all. That constant allows a geothermal system to facilitate a heat exchange through the coils buried under the earth. The coils carry a mixture of water and antifreeze which allows the heat exchange to take place. In the summer time, the mixture pulls heat from the air in your house. Then the system pumps it through the coils, where the heat can bleed out into the surrounding earth. In the wintertime, the process is reverse. This time, the cool mixture pulls heat from the earth, then carries it back into your home, where it can be released into the air with a fan. The relationship is basically the same, the only question is which direction the heat is travelling.

That versatility is a big part of the geothermal system’s appeal. It allows you to both cool and heat your home with efficiency and ease. Geothermal systems use very little energy, which means they can save you a great deal on monthly costs. Best of all you can use geothermal cooling in King of Prussia during our hot summers without having to worry about switching systems when temperatures get cool this fall.

The experts at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help you plan and install a solid geothermal cooling system on your property. Give us a call to set up a consultation today!

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How to Plan for Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Scheduling a bathroom remodel is a great way to bring new life into your home. Too often, though, homeowners know that they want a new bathroom but have not taken the time to really think about what they want to change. When you discuss your options with a Lansdale, PA bathroom remodeling professional at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, you will get the information and advice you need to ensure that your new bathroom will suit your style preferences and personal needs perfectly. Contact us today to learn more!

The most important thing to remember prior to your bathroom remodeling project is that you must have a strong idea of what your bathroom needs to satisfy your expectations. There are a lot of factors to consider, including any new tiling, shower and tub enclosures, toilet and sink fixtures, whirlpool and spa installations and even heated towel racks. The first step in any bathroom remodeling project is to think about what you want to achieve with the project. Once you have this general idea, though, you really need to discuss your options more specifically with a qualified professional to ensure the most comprehensive service possible.

Are their older or disabled residents living in your home? You may want to consider the installation of grab bars and seats in your shower or tub area. Are environmental concerns at the top of your priority list? Discuss low-flow toilet options to help cut down on the amount of water you consume. You’ve probably given a lot of thought to the style of shower you’d like, but what about the shower head, knobs and other accents? Your bathroom should not emphasize function alone. Feel at home in your bathroom by giving every facet of your remodel the attention and professional consideration necessary.

Contact Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to learn more about how you can make your Lansdale, PA bathroom remodeling project a complete success. We can help you make all the right decisions about how best to improve your bathroom. Call now to get started.

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Plumbing Basics: Learning the Parts of a Toilet

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The majority of homeowners are not aware that they can repair most minor toilet problems on their own. Whether it’s overflowing or running more than it should, toilets can be repaired often without calling a Willow Grove plumber; however, it is important to know the basic parts of a toilet before trying to troubleshoot toilet issues.

Here’s a guide to learning the parts of a toilet:

Willow Grove Plumbing Tip - Parts of a Toilet

Tank: Pictured above (inspectapedia.com) is the tank on the back of the toilet, which holds the water supply for the bowl and the components that you need to know to fix most problems.

Bowl: Holds wastewater and uses the water from the tank to flush the waste.

Flush Handle:  The flush handle is the part that everyone knows, but it’s important to know what happens when you flush: the flush handle is connected to the trip lever, which lifts the flapper and allows the water for the tank to enter the bowl.

Trip Lever: The trip lever is the part that you need to know for a running toilet. It attaches the flush handle to the flapper, and when you flush the toilet, this lever lifts the flapper (sometimes called a flapper valve) and releases the water from the tank into the bowl to force the wastewater in the bowl down the sewer drain. When a toilet is running, you can simply lift the trip lever to lower the water level in the tank.

Float Ball: The float ball basically measures the water in the tank. After you flush, the ball will fall as the water level lowers, and the ball will rise again as the tank fills from the toilet main water supply. When the tank has enough water, the toilet will stop running.

Overflow Tube: This is the tube that will stop the tank from overflowing if the toilet is running. It leads into the drain and pushes out all the excess water. Sometimes you can remove the rubber water supply tube from the overflow tube to keep a toilet from overflowing if you are not able to shut off the main water valve behind the toilet.

Flapper Valve: This is the part to know whenever you have an overflowing toilet or a backup. The flapper is attached to the flush handle by a chain and the trip lever. Whenever the flapper is pushed down, the water cannot leave the tank, so when you flush, it creates a suction to pressurize the water entering the bowl so that it has enough force to flush the waste. If your toilet is overflowing, push the flapper down with your hand so that it stops the water from entering the bowl. Most people are afraid to put their hands in the tank because they associate the tank water with the water in the bowl. The water in the toilet tank is clean because it comes from the main water supply line, which is attached to the stop valve.

Stop Valve: This is also called the toilet supply valve because it controls the fresh water supply going into the tank. It is usually located behind the toilet near the floor, and turning it off is another way to stop an overflowing toilet because the tank cannot fill once it is turned off.  It is attached to the supply tube, which attaches to the refill tube.

Supply Tube: Although the supply tube and refill tube are connected, they are two different parts. People often use their names interchangeable, but what’s most important to know is that the supply tube supplies the water from the main line and into the refill tube, which refills the bowl.

Refill Tube: When the float ball is down, the refill tube fills the bowl with the water from the supply tube. After a flush, the ball rises, and when it reaches a certain level, the refill tube stops the flow of water into the bowl.

Trap: The trap is a seal that prevents backflow and strong odors from the main sewage line. If you smell sewage in your bathroom, particularly near the toilet, you could have a bad seal or faulty trap. Troubleshooting a trap usually requires a plumber, unless you are familiar with toilet installation.

Wax Ring: Another cause for bad odors is the wax ring, which is a seal between the toilet and the sewage line. A faulty wax ring could also cause leaking at the bottom of the toilet. Call a plumber whenever you aren’t sure about leaking toilets or strong sewer odors; there could be a problem in the main sewer line.

Call Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling if you have any questions about these components, or if you want to trouble shoot with one of our Willow Grove plumbers.

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Problems Caused by Poor Water Quality in Open Loop Systems

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

As geothermal heating and cooling systems go, an open loop configuration can be an excellent choice, provided the environment supports it. Open loop systems work very effectively and efficiently because the deep water is held at an almost constant temperature year round. This property makes it a very good source of heat for the geothermal system.

However, an important factor to consider before choosing an open loop system is the quality of the water coming from the source. Although you won’t drink the water, the quality still matters a great deal, as poor water quality can cause serious problems in your geothermal system.

Let’s take a look at some common water quality problems and the damage they can potentially do to an open loop geothermal system in King of Prussia.

 Mineral Deposits

If the water is filled with minerals — frequently called “hard water” — those minerals can be deposited within the geothermal coils. As they build up on the walls over time, they can slow the flow of the water or even clog it completely.

Hard water does not necessarily preclude the use of an open loop system. It just may call for extra maintenance, such as periodically flushing the system with a mild acid solution to remove mineral build-up.

 Impurities

Impurities in water, especially metals like iron, can also cause clogs. Most frequently this occurs in the return well of the geothermal system. Again, these impurities do not necessarily mean an open loop system can’t work for you, but you should consult with the contractor prior to installation for solutions to this problem.

 Particulate and Organic Matter

If you plan to use surface water such as a pond or spring as the source for your open loop system, make sure to test the water composition thoroughly. An excess of sediment or organic matter can clog up your geothermal system very quickly.

Ideally, these are all situations that your King of Prussia geothermal contractor will anticipate and discuss with you ahead of time, so that your open loop system can be installed in such a way as to preempt any problems with water quality.

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Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution: A Tip from Solebury

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Indoor air pollution is a major problem for millions of homeowners throughout the country each year, including some in Solebury. In fact, the EPA estimates upwards of 20 million households may have problems caused by mold, radon, humidity, exhaust or any number of other pollutant problems. However, not all of the indoor air pollutants out there are so obvious. Some are things you probably have in your home right now and don’t realize it. Here are some of the more surprising sources of indoor air pollution and what you can do about them:

  • Incense – Incense releases both carbon monoxide and benzene, two chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health. Cancer, skin irritation and asthma risks are all increased in people who spend a lot of time around incense.
  • Laser printers – Laser printers that use toner can release a number of harmful chemicals into the air. That toner is very fine and releases particles into the air that are equal to or in some cases worse than second hand cigarette smoke. If you have a laser printer, consider putting it in a well-ventilated, infrequently used space.
  • Kitchen Stove – If you have a gas stove, it releases Nitrogen Dioxide when on, an unsafe gas that is odorless and fills your home quickly. This gas is bad for respiration and can cause asthma attacks. To solve this problem, simply make sure you stove is ventilated properly when cooking.
  • Spackle – Old spackle – the kind used before the 1980s often contained asbestos which can still be there, waiting to be disturbed. Old asbestos, while not inherently dangerous, will become so if you start doing work in your home or if the spackle starts to wear away. To solve this problem either call an abatement firm or cover the offending wall with a new layer.
  • Drapes – Those drapes are filled with contaminants that cling there, especially if humidity is a problem in your home. Dust mites in particular are bad for your health and can cause asthma and other allergies. Blinds are better than drapes for this reason.

Your home is filled with potentially dangerous problems, but you can avoid them simply by taking care to ventilate, clear away unsafe products and keep things like drapes clean (or remove them). If you’re still concerned about your air quality, call an expert to investigate.

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Things to Look for When Buying a Heating System

Friday, October 21st, 2011

If you are in the market for a new or replacement heating system in Abington and don’t know much about heating systems, you are not alone. Many homeowners are in the same boat as you. And many of that number put their trust in their local, professional, and qualified heating and cooling contractor to find the right furnace for their homes.

Before calling for an estimate, there are some things you can do to “prepare” yourself for one of the most important purchase you can make. Here is a checklist of things you should look for when buying a heating system.

Know your energy alternatives. There are lots of options today when it comes to heating your home. Gone are the days when the choices were so cut and dried. Check with your heating and cooling contractor for suggestions.

  1. Know what size your furnace should be. Furnaces are not “one size fits all.” The size of the furnace is determined by its Btu (British thermal unit) rating. For example, a one-story ranch home on a crawl space requires less heating capacity than a two-story colonial with a basement, thus it would require a furnace with a smaller numbered Btu rating. A home with a great deal of heat loss through windows and doors may require various furnace sizes. And don’t forget about insulation. Insulation can affect the furnace size, too. Again, check with your heating and cooling contractor for recommendations.
  2. How much room do you need for your furnace? Some homes have mechanical rooms for furnaces and water heaters while others utilize attics, basements, or crawlspaces for furnaces. If you think you need a big furnace to heat a big home, think again. Furnace manufacturers have been downsizing their heating equipment for years, while maintaining the same heating capacities. One example are wall hung boilers, which utilize water and electric as heating sources and are installed on a wall, making the unit easy to locate and easy to service – while at the same time being off the floor and out of the way.
  3. Will your heating system be “plug and play?” New furnaces can take the place of the ones they are replacing by using the same space. But sometimes a replacement unit may need some altering to fit into an existing duct system. It is almost a given that a new plenum (the part attaching the furnace to the ductwork) will have to be fabricated. But the new furnace may also require some other modifications to an existing duct system. You should understand this ahead of time and be prepared to pay additional costs.
  4. A box is a box is a box. As a rule, most heating systems are made the same. In some cases, one furnace manufacturer may produce several different brand names. The best “brand” is the heating and cooling contractor who installs and services your heating equipment. Do your homework ahead of time and find a qualified and professional contractor. Ask friends and family for recommendations. This is may be the most important thing to look for when buying a heating system

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Unclogging a Floor Drain: A Tip From Buckingham

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

It is never fun to wander down into the basement of your Buckingham home only to find that your floor drain has backed up. This is not a situation that will take care of itself and you want to get it under control as quickly as possible. While there are certainly plenty of things you can do to try and unclog a floor drain on your own, there are quite a few potentially complicating factors to consider as well.

First of all, you should make sure that no one in the house turns on any running water for anything until the drain has been unclogged. The floor drain in your basement is usually the last stop on the line for all of the water used in your house, and so any running water anywhere above will only cause more water to back up in the basement. Of course, if you cannot use any running water anywhere else in your house, it is even more imperative that you are able to unclog the floor drain quickly.

If you happen to have a snake on hand, this may be the best option to try first. However, it can be a bit difficult to get the snake to make the sharp turn typical of these types of drains not long after the pipe descends below the floor. That is not to say that it cannot be done, but you should be aware that you need to make sure the snake turns the corner before it will be useful to you at all.

If you do not have a snake of your own, you may still be able to take care of the blockage without calling in a professional plumber. But first you have to find it. Depending on the layout of your drainage system, this may be easier said than done. You can also make a pretty big mess if you open up various sections of pipe looking for the blockage, so be aware and make sure you have something in place to catch the runoff and debris that may come out of the pipes when you open them.

You may also run into trouble if the blockage is actually outside of your house in the larger sewer line that runs to the street. Unclogging a drain with this type of problem is generally a job for a professional and there is very little you will be able to do on your own.

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