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

The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance

Monday, January 21st, 2013

You work hard to keep your home safe and working well. That’s why many homeowners have decided to put in a sump pump in their basements. Sumps pumps are a great way to make sure that your property is safe in the event of a flood or a burst pipe. One of the nice things about sump pumps is that they are a pretty robust piece of equipment. However, like all things, they do require regular maintenance and check-ups. At Carney Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we provide complete sump pump maintenance and installation as well as sump pump repairs in Lansdale. We want our customers to be comfortable in their homes and to know that their property is safe. Check out some of the benefits to getting your sump pump regularly maintained in Lansdale.

Common Sump  Pump Problems

  • Stuck float – One of the most common reasons why your sump pump might not turn on.
  • No power – Unless you have a water-powered sump pump, yours probably runs on electricity. If you lose power, if the wires get corroded or if the plug gets accidentally unplugged, your home will become vulnerable to flooding.
  • No water in sump pit – This is usually associated with bad sump pump installation.
  • Sump pump won’t turn off – This can sometimes be from a stuck float, but it could also be that your sump pump is just overworked. This can be because the check valve is letting water from the discharge pipe get back down into the pit. It could also be that your sump pump pit is too low or that your home is on an area with a high water table or a natural spring.

Benefits of Sump Pump Maintenance

Here are some of the major benefits to getting regular maintenance for your sump pump.

  • Reliability – Because your sump pump is designed to work during emergency situations, you absolutely need to know that it will work when you need it to. Regular sump pump maintenance in Lansdale is a great way to make sure that it will come on and do its job when you need it.
  • Efficiency – When your sump pump does come on, you want it to work as efficiently as possible. You need to know that it will have the ability to successfully evacuate the water in your basement. Without regular maintenance, your sump pump may become worn out. While it may turn on, it might not be working well enough to do the job it needs to do. With regular inspections and tests, your plumbing technician will be able to tell if it is up to the job.
  • Extended life – Often, we see that small problems that were left unattended ended up destroying one of our customer’s sump pumps. When you have your sump pump regularly inspected, you can make sure that those small issues get resolved quickly.

If you’re interested in sump pump maintenance in Lansdale, just call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We’ve been providing fast and reliable sump pump maintenance throughout the Lansdale area for many years.

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What to Check If Your Furnace Isn’t Lighting

Friday, January 13th, 2012

If your furnace isn’t lighting properly and your family is starting to suffer because of it, there are a number of possible problems you should check for before calling a Harleysville professional. Some of these issues can be fixed quickly by you while others may be signs of a serious problem that needs professional attention right away.

Checking the Pilot Light

If you have a gas furnace, the first step is to check the pilot light and ensure it is still working properly. If the pilot light is still on but goes out when you try to light the furnace or simply won’t stay on when you relight it, you may need to have the gas valve replaced. In some cases, it is as simple as the pilot light not being large enough and the gas blowing out the light.

This happens when gas enters the chamber and doesn’t ignite right away. When it does ignite, which happens after more gas enters the chamber, the extra force of the ignition will blow out the light. This is still a problem and should be inspected to ensure you don’t have any potential gas related issues.

Still Not Lighting

If you don’t have a pilot light or the unit still isn’t lighting, it may be an electrical issue. Electrical ignitions for gas furnaces should spark when the thermostat is turned on, so if it doesn’t you know that the switch or relay are bad.

If you smell gas or anything similar in the room where the furnace is located, you should immediately turn off the unit and call your gas company, followed by a technician. There could be a leak causing low pressure that results in your pilot light going out. Whatever the case, you need someone to look at it immediately.

Your furnace should always turn on when you flip the switch and if it does not, assume there is a problem. If you cannot find the problem yourself and easily fix it, you should call a Harleysville professional. The risk inherent in an improperly working furnace (especially gas or oil) is too high to ignore.

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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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Five Important HVAC Maintenance Tips

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Do you have a “mental checklist” of chores that need to be done a regular basis around your Solebury home, such as cleaning the window treatments, washing windows, shampooing rugs, etc.? There are various areas of your home that need regular maintenance and cleaning – and that list includes your heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment. Do you know a poorly operating furnace can cost you in increased energy usage and higher utility bills? That same poorly operating furnace can be discharging harmful carbon monoxide gas into your home, creating a health risk.

So, it is important to keep your furnace in peak operating condition and the best way to do that is by making a checklist of HVAC maintenance tasks. Let’s look at five of them.

  1. Check your filters. Routine replacement of your furnace filters should be every 1-3 months, depending on the indoor air quality of your home, number of occupants, size, etc. You can purchase disposable filters online, at a local “big box’ retailer, or from your local HVAC contractor. A visual inspection of your filter is the best way to determine if it needs replacing. If you have a removable electronic filter, it should be cleaned every few months using soapy water and a hose. Any restrictions to air flow through the filters can lead to poor indoor air quality and will cause your furnace to work even harder to circulate warm air through your duct system.
  2. Clean and insect the blower assembly and motor. You can do this with a vacuum. Also check the fan belt to make sure it is not too loose or if it has any cracks or splits.
  3. Look for any obstructions in vents and returns. Believe it or not, your furnace needs “help” to operate. Any build-up of dirt or debris around the grilles of your ventilation system will just make your furnace work a lot harder. Do a visual check inside and outside and pay special attention to flues and chimneys, where indoor air is exhausted. Any blockage can result in an accumulation of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
  4. Keep the area clean and clear around your furnace and water heater. Never store flammable liquids near your heating equipment. Your furnace room is not a storage closet.
  5. Revisit your home’s insulation. When was the last time you checked out the insulation in your attic or crawlspace? Is it securely in place or drooping down? Are there bald spots where the insulation has deteriorated? Is the insulation sufficient or should it be upgrade?

Tips 1 and 2 relate directly to furnace maintenance but tips 3 to 5 are equally important, having a direct bearing on how your furnace performs and its ultimate efficiency. If you follow all five tips and have an annual inspection from a qualified HVAC contractor, you should enjoy a fall season of comfort, warmth, and safety.

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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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Water and Energy Saving Tips

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The cost of the heat, air conditioning and water supply to your Solebury home continues to rise – it’s no wonder you want to cut your bills so much. But, how can you do that without cutting into the creature comforts and conveniences you’ve gotten used to over the course of the last few decades? Here are a few simple energy and water saving tips to make your life easier.

  • Patching Leaks – Two of the biggest wasters of water are dripping faucets and leaky pipes. The amount of water wasted by a single drip every second could provide for multiple baths per year – it adds up fast. Not only are leaky faucets and pipes easy to fix; they tend to develop into bigger problems as time passes.
  • Drains and Flushing – If you put a piece of toilet paper in the toilet used to clean an eye or wipe the counter, don’t flush. It’s a waste of water. If you notice some extra toothpaste in the sink, don’t rinse yet. You can always use the water from brushing your teeth or washing your face to clean it out. Multi-task and minimize how much water goes down the drain to save water.
  • Fully Loaded – A partially filled washing machine or dish washer is a huge waster of water. Fill it up and wait to run the device until it’s at the brim – the same amount of water is used no matter how much is in the device.
  • Compost vs. Disposal – A garbage disposal wastes a tremendous amount of water (if you want it to run properly). So, instead of churning the disposal up, create a compost pile and save a great deal of water/energy. If you have a septic tank, a garbage disposal is especially bad for your home as it can fill the tank up quickly with solids.
  • Lower Water Flow – Don’t crank your faucets up to the max just to get a glass of water or to check for hot water. It’s a waste of energy and it’s often unnecessary, especially when waiting for water to hit the right temperature.

If you’re interested in getting the most out of your home’s water supply, there are hundreds of little ways to save water that will add up over time. These are just some of the easiest ways to get started. If you need more tips, contact your plumber.

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Important Remodeling Tips From Solebury

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Remodeling your Solebury home is a big step. As you plan the layout of your new bathroom or the size of the bedroom being added to the second floor, make sure you take into account the effects your changes will have on the indoor air quality of your home. Here are some specific things to keep in mind:

  • Water and Moisture – When you build on to or remodel your home, one of the most common problems is excess moisture. The grade may not be built to handle the extra space or you may find that moisture is harder to block from your home than expected. However, it’s vital that any additions are as water tight as the original construction. Mold and mildew, as well as dust mites and other humidity and moisture borne pollutants are major health concerns.
  • Ventilate Properly – Most people assume that the best thing they can do is close their home up tightly to block out pollutants. But, indoor air can be as much as 100 times more polluted than outside air if it isn’t properly ventilated. Stagnant, stale air filled with dust, pollen and dander among other things is not healthy, so extend your ventilation system to support your new addition.
  • Proper Flooring – The floor you choose when remodeling has a major impact on indoor air quality. You want to ensure any water that gets on the floor, especially in bathrooms can be removed without it penetrating to the wood underneath. Properly sealed tiles and fixtures are a must.
  • Unsafe Building Materials – Modern materials are generally safe, but if your home was built before 1978, consider the risk of flaking paint or old insulation before you start demolishing a room for remodeling. Lead paint in window frames and doors can be a major risk if it flakes and enters the air and asbestos can be found in insulation in walls, wiring and pipes.

Remodeling is a big step, and likely you have a lot of things on your mind, but don’t forget to include the air quality in your calculations, both during and after the construction. The EPA has a fantastic resource on indoor air quality in home remodels to help you determine what things you should watch for in each room of the house as you make changes.

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What Is Mini Split Air Conditioning?

Friday, June 10th, 2011

If you are in the market for a new air conditioning system, you have probably heard about the mini split systems that are becoming more and more popular these days. However, without more information, it can be difficult to determine whether or not this type of air conditioner is what you really need to keep your home comfortable all summer.

Mini split air conditioners, like most other conventional home air conditioning systems, are made up of two components. They have an outdoor condenser and an indoor unit that manages the airflow throughout your home. But the main thing that sets mini split systems apart from other types of home air conditioning systems is that these two component parts are connected by refrigerant lines rather than air ducts.

In a conventional air conditioning system, the outdoor condenser cools the air and then transfers it through air ducts to an indoor air handler. That air handler then takes care of distributing the air throughout your house via a larger series of air ducts.

Mini split systems, on the other hand, do not require air ducts to get the job done. Instead, these types of air conditioners make use of a wall mounted unit indoors to both cool and circulate the air after receiving coolant from the compressor outside. These wall mounted systems can typically handle the cooling load for one or two rooms and there can be more than one indoor unit hooked up to the same outdoor compressor, allowing you to cool your entire house in this way.

What makes mini splits attractive to many people is the fact that they do not require the installation of complicated ductwork to function. If your home does not already have ducts in place, adding them can dramatically increase the cost of putting in a central air conditioning system. Plus the work will take longer and is likely to be a larger disruption in your life.

Putting in the refrigerant lines for a mini split system, on the other hand, is much easier and cheaper. Plus, refrigerant lines can often reach into places that larger ductwork cannot. This allows you to provide air conditioning to parts of your house that previously did not have access to it. Also, mini split systems allow you to control the temperature in the various areas of your house independently of one another, making it possible to save quite a bit on your cooling bills every month.

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How a Garbage Disposal Works

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Garbage disposals are becoming more and more prevalent in homes across the country. So the chances are pretty high that you have one in your home. Garbage disposals definitely make getting rid of food waste easier. Instead of scraping all those plates and dishes into the garbage first, you can simply flush it all down the drain, run the garbage disposal and it magically disappears.

But do you really know what is happening when you turn on that wonderful garbage disposal and where all your food is really going? The truth is that a garbage disposal is not a particularly complicated piece of equipment. There are some variations, but in general your garbage disposal has a motor attached to rotating blades which are located in a chamber below your sink that is attached to your drain.

When you put food down the garbage disposal and turn it on, these blades shred the food into small enough pieces that it can pass safely through your drain pipes and out into the sewer system. The shredded food then runs with the water back into your main drainage system and passes out of your house.

This is a pretty simple operation, but there are some things you should be aware of if you use a garbage disposal in your home. First of all, it is important to never reach into the garbage disposal when it is running. If you need to reach in, make sure the unit is switched off. It is even a good idea to shut off the power to the garbage disposal entirely so that it cannot be turned on by accident while your hand is in there.

You may notice a foul odor coming from the garbage disposal after a period of time too. This is common and easy enough to fix, but you will have to get down into the garbage disposal to get rid of the smell. The smell simply comes from residue of the food you have put down the garbage disposal and that needs to be cleaned off so the smell will go away.

Again, make sure you have the garbage disposal turned off completely before you reach in to take parts out to clean them. You can also put baking soda, vinegar or half a lemon down the garbage disposal and run it in order to combat a persistent smell or to keep one from developing.

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