Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘New Britain’

Why Cover Your Air Conditioner During the Winter?

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Many air conditioner owners in Maple Glen wonder how best to care for their outdoor condenser units during the winter months that they are not in use. It can be a bit confusing, as everyone seems to have different opinions. Some people claim that wrapping your air conditioner is of utmost importance, while others claim that it can actually harm your air conditioning system. Ultimately the importance comes down to location of your home and the conditions of the environment, but at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling we believe offering some sort of protection over your condenser unit is a good idea. The important thing is how you do it.

If you’re  concerned about debris falling into your unit, such as pine needles, ice or leaves, simply cover your condenser unit with a piece of plywood. Put a brick on top to hold it in place, and you’re all set. This will also keep rain and snow out, as well as corrosive salt water for those that live near the ocean. If you want to further protect your unit you may opt for a full cover, but it is important that you give this some further consideration.

If your concerned about the fins or casing of your condenser unit and must use a full cover, be sure that it is made of a breathable material. Sure, you may have some large trash bags in the garage that would cover it, but this can actually do more harm than good. Using plastic or other non-breathable materials to cover your air conditioner can trap moisture inside the unit. When the sun is shining during the winter the cover will heat up, making it much warmer inside the plastic and creating the perfect environment for rust and mildew to develop. Plus, this warm area makes a tempting place for rodents to spend the winter. Many electricians spend some time in the spring rewiring systems that have had their wiring chewed through.

Before you take any steps in protecting your air conditioner – consult your owner’s manual or as your Maple Glen heating and air conditioning contractor.  Most importantly, protect your air conditioner following the passing of winter in the most reliable way possible. Call a professional air conditioning service provider for regular maintenance service before putting your air conditioner into regular use. This is the best way to make sure that your AC has made it through the winter unscathed by debris, moisture, rodents and anything else. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling  today with any further questions you may have about keeping your air conditioner safe during the off season.

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Steps to Take When Your HVAC System Breaks Down

Monday, September 17th, 2012

If your Chalfont heating or air conditioning system breaks down, there are a few simple steps you should take before calling a professional. Here is a rundown of exactly what you should do and how these steps will ensure the system is fixed quickly and properly to help keep your family comfortable at all times.

  1. Check the Power – First, check the electrical power to your system. Look for a blown fuse or flipped circuit if the system won’t turn on at all. If this is the problem, watch for a recurrence. If it happens more than once, you should call a professional to fix the problem in the future.
  2. Check the Thermostat – Check all of your thermostats to ensure they are not only reading the proper temperature, but that they are set to the right temperature. Often, what seems like a big issue can simply be due to a thermostat being set wrong.
  3. Inspect the Outdoor Unit – Check outside for debris or brush around your condenser unit. This can block air flow and cause the system to shut down.
  4. Inspect the Indoor Unit – Check your indoor units for the same buildup of debris around them and for any other issues like dirt or dust on the coils.
  5. Check the Filters – While a clogged filter would not necessarily shut down an HVAC system under normal circumstances, it could lead to such a problem if it gets bad enough.
  6. Call a Professional – Finally, if you try everything listed above and you cannot get your air conditioner or heating system to turn back on or run consistently, now may be the time to call a Chalfont heating professional for a thorough inspection. This is when it could be a real breakdown which is likely more costly to repair.

If you have a problem with your air conditioner or heating system, definitely check common issues that could have led to the breakdown, but always call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling if real repairs are needed.

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Central Air Conditioning FAQ’s

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Central air conditioning is a great convenience, but it can also generate a number of questions. If you’re experiencing any trouble with a central cooling system or are wondering what to look for in a system, keep reading. We’ve gather some information to keep you informed and confident about the purchase and use of your Perkasie central air system.

What is a Central Air Conditioner?

This is a basic one, but many people are unclear on what exactly makes up a central A/C. There is a central unit containing the compressor which cools the air. This air is then forced through a ductwork system that distributes the cooled air throughout the structure. Blowers push the air through, and they pass through grated vents located in the walls or ceilings of a building.

How Do I Decide What Central System is Right for Me?

The best way to ensure that you are buying a properly sized central air conditioner for your home is to have an HVAC technician come and evaluate your living space. It is just as inconvenient to wind up with an oversized unit as with an undersized one, as this will result in clammy air that was cooled too quickly to be properly dehumidified. Cooled air will be over produced and wasted, lowering efficiency. An HVAC technician’s help will take the guess work out of choosing your system.

Why Won’t My Central Air Conditioner Cool?

There are a number of problems you could be experiencing if your central air conditioner is no longer cooling or is not performing at the level it once did. Checking your air filters is a good place to start. If they are dirty they will not let cooled air pass through efficiently and will need to be replaced or cleaned. Your refrigerant level may also need to be adjusted, or your fan could be running while your compressor is inactive. Another possibility are leaky ducts. Again, the best way to ensure that everything is working properly with your central system is to have a qualified HVAC technician perform an inspection.

When you invest in a central air conditioning system you should plan on protecting that investment. Failure to do so will result in subpar performance and damage to the system. The best way to keep your Perkasie central air conditioner working like new is with regular maintenance. Call the professionals at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling with any concerns you have with your home cooling system.

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What Exactly Are High Efficiency Boilers?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

You have already read plenty about how energy costs are rising. You know plenty well that heating your New Hope home is a substantial expense, and that the cost of running a boiler is constantly on the rise.

But as technology has gotten better, so have boilers become more efficient at providing heat. It stands to reason that a more efficient boiler is one that costs less to run…but what does “efficient” really mean in the context of boilers? What makes a boiler “high efficiency”?

 What Is a High Efficiency Boiler?

All boilers are rated according to a standardized system of rating efficiency, called the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). Essentially, this rating tells you how much heat energy is produced by your New Hope boiler compared to how much energy it draws. The higher a boiler’s AFUE rating, the more efficient it is.

For a boiler to be called high efficiency, it must carry an AFUE of at least 90%. For basis of comparison, older systems carry an AFUE of about 70%, while mid-efficiency systems run at about 82%.

In addition, a high efficiency system has a second heat exchanger for capturing and condensing flue gases, as well as a closed combustion system.

These three things — an AFUE of 90% or above, condensing flue gases and closed combustion – define a high efficiency boiler.

The initial investment in a high efficiency boiler can be costly, but the savings over time in your New Hope heating bills make it well worth the expense.

If you would like a high efficiency boiler installed in your home, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Five Ways to Save Heat That You Might Not Have Considered

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Finding new ways to lower the heating bills for your New Britain home is always a challenge. Maybe you’ve already insulated and sealed every crawlspace and crack, or you might have recently upgraded that old furnace, but there are always other ways to reduce heat loss in the winter.

Here are five ways to conserve heat that you might not have considered.

1. Insulate Recessed Light Fixtures

While recessed light fixtures save space and give you more control over lighting and design, such as task lighting in kitchens, they can be a hidden source of heat loss. Feel around your recessed lighting fixtures to see if there’s cool air or a draft. If you do, they could need more insulation. However, you have to be extremely cautious about what type of insulation you use around electrical wiring and fixtures. Check with the manufacturer, or call an electrician if you aren’t sure what  type of insulation to use.

2. Insulate Water Heater Tanks

Part of your heating bill each month goes to heating the water in your home. Whether you have a gas, electric, solar, or hybrid hot water heater, every water heater tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses. If you have a low R-value, your tank may need more insulation. Call a professional plumber or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of the model you own, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you may need to buy a “jacket” for your water heater. These are fairly inexpensive, easy to install, and can be found relatively anywhere you buy insulation.

3. Open Curtains on South End

The southern end of your home will get the most sunlight in the winter. If you have curtains or blinds on your windows or doors, leave them open during the day, and make sure you close them at night. Opening them will help warm up the home naturally during the day, and closing them will help keep the cold air out and warm air in at night.

4. Storm Windows and Doors

Many homeowners know they have the option of upgrading old doors and windows that leak air, but not everyone can afford to upgrade all the doors and windows at once. You can also install storm windows and doors to help reserve heat. Before you start comparing prices, remember to measure, since measurements will affect the cost.

5. Close Fireplace Flue

Whenever your flue is open, you are losing large amounts of heat. Close the damper if the fireplace or chimney is not being used. You can also consider upgrading to a more air tight damper.

You can always call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling whenever you have questions about lowering your heating costs for your New Britain home.

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Causes of Delayed Furnace Ignition

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Delayed ignition is usually accompanied by a loud banging or booming sound that resembles a small explosion in your gas appliance. In your New Britain home’s furnace, this can be terrifying and should never be ignored.

What Causes Delayed Ignition

Delayed ignition usually happens when you first turn on your furnace, often after a long delay between use, so usually early in the fall or late in the spring when you don’t necessarily have it on every day of the week.

What happens is moisture builds up over the course of a period of inactivity and begins to corrode the firebox in your furnace. That corrosion builds up to the point that it starts to block the ports that feed gas into the burners. When these ports get blocked, the burners down the line cannot light and when you flip the switch, they won’t light immediately.

Of course, while rust and corrosion are a risk, lint and dust can be equally problematic (and are more common if you don’t have your furnace cleaned properly each fall). Sulfur build up is also a possibility, as it is left behind by burning natural gas. It will appear as a layer of white on the surface of the burners or the pilot light.

When all of this happens and the ports are not cleaned properly, gas will build up in the chamber after it is turned on and, when it finally ignites, create the small boom sound. It doesn’t just sound like an explosion – it is one – and if ignored, it can become incredibly dangerous.

Solving the Problem

Delayed furnace ignition is an easy problem to avoid. All you need to do is have your furnace cleaned properly before turning it on each fall. A New Britain heating technician will clean the burners and ports and remove any dust, lint, rust or sulfur buildup that might block ignition and cause a delay.

When replacing your furnace, look for a device with corrosion resistant materials. You can learn more about these when it comes time to replace your furnace from a technician. Most importantly, be careful. It may be a small problem now, but if left to build up over time, that small boom can become a much larger one.

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Why is My Furnace Turning On and Off?

Friday, November 18th, 2011

One of the most annoying things your furnace can do is to constantly keep turning on and off. This on-off cycling keeps your Yardley home from heating up properly. This action – called short cycling – also requires more electricity and drives up utility bills.

Short cycling is caused by an overheated furnace, which triggers safety mechanisms and shuts down the furnace. After a brief interval and cooling down, the furnace starts up again the cycle keeps repeating itself. Not only is it an annoyance, it can also signal more serious problems. A leaking heat exchanger can cause a furnace to overheat – and produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.

If a furnace is working too hard and overheating, it is usually because of airflow in and out. Your home’s ventilation system needs to be clear of dirt, dust, and debris. The more blockage in your ductwork and vents, the more friction is created, slowing down airflow and ultimately ending with an overworked furnace that continues to cycle on and off. And a blocked exhaust vent, such as a chimney or dedicated exhaust vent, can also cause a furnace to work harder. Check for things like leaves or bird’s nests.

The blockage may also be coming from a clogged furnace filter. You should clean or replace your furnace filter after a visual inspection reveals any type of build-up of dust or dirt. Do this at least every three-six months.

If you have a two-speed fan on your furnace, it is recommended that you run the fan in low speed during the cold months and high speed in the warm months. The reason? Warm air is lighter and takes less force to move.

There are other measures to take to prevent short cycling but these usually require a professional heating and cooling service technician to correct the problem. If in doubt, call your local qualified heating and cooling contractor and schedule a furnace inspection. Don’t make your furnace work any harder than it was designed for – and keep your home’s occupants comfortable and safe.

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It’s Time for Fall Maintenance (and Happy Halloween Weekend!)

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Everyone at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling wishes you a Happy Halloween weekend! We hope you have a great time dressing up and eating lots of candy! And after Halloween we all know it starts to get pretty cold, so it is time to start thinking about fall maintenance for your HVAC system.

When it comes to heating equipment maintenance and repairs, it does not pay to procrastinate. The longer you put off the maintenance, the higher the probability that your heating system will break down or your heating and cooling contractor will be unable to make an emergency repair when you need it. That’s why fall is the best time of the year to have maintenance and repair procedures performed.

Consider this: when do most people call a heating and cooling contractor? The answer: when they need a repair. The call could come in the middle of the night when a furnace stops working or during a family party on a weekend – both times when it is hard to find someone to do the repair work. Has this happened to you? If so, there are ways you could have prevented this from happening – and could have saved from cold nights and embarrassing situations with house guests.

You can avoid this aggravation and extra expense by scheduling fall maintenance for your heating system. Fall is often the “slow season” for heating and cooling professionals and many schedule their routine service and maintenance appointments during this time. Contractors expect to be busy during the peak winter months and prefer to spread out the workload as evenly as possible.

During fall maintenance, your heating equipment will be switched on and inspected. That may sound routine but by running your heating system early, you may be spared the expense of repairing your system when it fails to operate or run smoothly during the cold months. If there is a problem, it is better to fix it ahead of time.

There is no guarantee that a furnace that is tuned up in the fall will last throughout the winter without needing service. But a little preventive maintenance ahead of time will save a lot of heartache – and dollars – when a real emergency comes up.

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How to Get My Furnace Ready for Winter

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Being cold in the winter is normal – as long as you are outside. But you shouldn’t be cold inside your New Britain home. If that happens, the first place to look to is your furnace, which may not be working correctly. Furnaces are like any other piece of mechanical equipment. They need to be maintained and serviced on a regular basis to ensure they are working at peak efficiency and warming your entire home at your desired comfort level.

The best time to get your furnace ready for winter is not during the cold winter months – it is before the winter season even begins. There are several way to get your furnace ready for winter and let’s explore some of them.

First of all, check and see when you last had your furnace serviced. If it has been over one year ago, you should schedule and maintenance inspection from your local qualified heating and cooling professional. And when you make that appointment, ask about service agreements and getting on a regular maintenance schedule. Most heating and cooling contractors offer service agreement plans which include furnace and air conditioning check-ups on an annual basis.

Okay, so you know who to call for maintenance but what can you do yourself? First of all, give your furnace a little “help” by checking the vents and returns throughout the house. Ensure that there are no obstructions or blockages such as rugs, clothing, furniture, etc. You need to have unobstructed paths for your heated and return air to flow. The more congested the path, the harder your furnace will have to work. And while you’re at it, make sure your vents are open or closed, depending on how much you use your rooms. For example, if you have an extra bedroom that doesn’t need to be heated, closed off the vent or close the damper in the ductwork. The heated air will be diverted to other parts of your home where it is needed.

You can also help the airflow by vacuuming the vent cover or removing it and vacuuming any of the ductwork that you can easily get to. For a more thorough job consider calling a qualified and professional duct cleaning contractor. Many heating and cooling contractors also offer duct cleaning service, too.

Another maintenance function that you can perform is cleaning or replacing the furnace filter. Depending on the size of your home and its air quality (occupants, pets, etc.), you may want to clean or replace your air filter every one to three months. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and can put contaminants like dirt and dust right back into your air system. If you don’t know how to replace your air filter, consult the furnace owner’s manual or go online to learn more. If your furnace uses an electrostatic air filter, it will need to be removed and cleaned, either by using a hose or with soapy water and a hose. Make sure you let it dry before re-installing it.

You may also want to inspect any electrical wires around your furnace to ensure none are broken or frayed. A visual inspection should be good enough.

Once you have done what you can, let your heating and cooling professional take over from there. They are licensed and trained to inspect your furnace and ensure that it is in peak operating condition. And do it today – while everyone else is waiting.

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Pipe Inspection Camera: When to Use One

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

For plumbers today, anywhere from Maple Glen to Willow Grove, pipe inspection cameras are a huge aide. In the past, it was often very difficult to determine the location of a blockage or a leak, or indeed if one even existed at all. But now with this great modern equipment, it is much easier to get a thorough picture of the exact state of a pipe system and the nature of a potential problem.

These types of inspection cameras are especially useful when a clog is located underground or when an underground leak is suspected. Many types of plumbing problems can have multiple possible causes. But with pipeline inspection cameras, you can know for sure quickly exactly what type of problem you are dealing with.

For instance, even if you know that an underground pipe is leaking, it can be next to impossible to figure out exactly where the leak is. But to fix the leak you will have to unearth the damaged section of pipe and repair it. If you cannot pinpoint the leak precisely, you will be forced to unearth a large section of pipe. This takes a long time and causes unnecessary, although hopefully temporary damage to your yard as well.

However, if you can determine exactly where the leak is, you can dig up only the affected portion of pipe. This saves a lot of time and labor and it also means that you can limit the disruption the work causes in your yard. And the best way to find a leak like this is to use a pipe inspection camera to get a look at the inside of the pipe before you ever begin digging.

You do not need to wait for an emergency situation to develop to make use of a pipe inspection camera either. This technology is also extremely useful during annual drainage and sewer maintenance visits to help ensure that there are no unnoticed problems lurking below the surface. It is perfectly possible that one of your pipes is getting close to cracking but has not done so yet. The repairs can be a lot simpler if you catch this type of problem early, and that is exactly what a pipe inspection camera makes possible.

Pipe inspection cameras are also useful during maintenance visits because they allow technicians to determine which parts of your system need the most work. They can see where the larger buildups are and get the job done quicker overall than they could if they were operating blind.

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