Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Willow Grove’

Common Reasons to Call a Plumber

Monday, April 15th, 2013

While most homeowners can appreciate the value of a good plumber, it is not always obvious to our clients when they should call us. Is the job too small for a pro? Am I just being finicky with this leak? These are common concerns, and while we appreciate the sentiment, even seemingly minor plumbing problems can often develop into major problems. Leaks, clogs, and other issues do not simply go away—they tend only to worsen with time, as they damage the surrounding materials and surfaces. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of common reasons to call a plumber. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. For more information, or to schedule a plumber in Lansdale, PA, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

  • Clog: Because of the relatively small diameter of plumbing pipes, it does not often take much to cause a clog. It’s imperative to ensure that you monitor what goes down your drainpipe. No grease, fats, oils, hair, non-organic waste, and no toys. While a plunger may assist the intrepid DIY homeowner, serious clogs require the skills and expertise of a pro.
  • Leak: Your plumbing is an engineered set of piping, joints, connections, valves, and appliances that distribute and remove water from your home. Keeping in mind all the various twists, turns, and directions that your plumbing undergoes, it’s no wonder that it will develop leaks at some point during its life. For the most part, leaks are simply part of general wear and tear, and can be professionally repaired in a straightforward manner. But when they’re left to linger, or when they occur frequently, they can indicate serious problems.
  • Poor water quality: If you’re concerned about the quality of your home water supply, whether it comes from a well or a municipal source, you should have your water tested by a professional plumber. A system analysis and consultation can help you figure out what water treatment option is best for you so that you can enjoy fresh, great-tasting water in your home.

These are just a few reasons to call a plumber in Lansdale, PA. When you need excellent service, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling! 

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Why Replace Your Heating System in the Spring

Monday, March 18th, 2013

While most homeowners are considering cleaning out the garage or arranging their patio furniture when spring comes around, many are quick to forget about their heating system. That’s too bad, because the off-season is an opportune time for replacing your heating system, without incurring any unpleasant downtime without heating. There is a host of heating options on the market today, and if your heating system is over 10 years old, or requires frequent repairs, it’s probably an ideal time to invest in the future of the home, rather than its past. When you’re ready to replace your Blue Bell, PA heating system, count on  Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for exceptional heating installation. Call us today!

Here are some things to consider for heating replacement this spring:

  • Energy-efficiency. Technological advances have made the heating efficiency of heaters over 10 years old obsolete. Today’s gas furnaces can reach AFUE ratings of up to 97%. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency measures the amount of heating output against the energy input. This means less waste and increased energy savings. Often, upgrading to a new system will pay for itself in a few years, depending on your heating needs.
  • Prevent heating downtime. If your heater is on its last legs and you’re weighing your options, consider this: do you really want to keep paying to keep that old furnace alive, when you could save money in the long-term by investing in a new heater? Moreover, delaying the inevitable may catch up to you during the coldest months. Spring is a great time to upgrade because you can avoid heating downtime when you really need it.
  • Switch to natural gas. Not only can upgrading save you energy and hassle, making the switch to natural gas from oil also has its benefits. Natural gas is eco-friendly, highly efficient, and available without the associated costs of foreign importation. Gas is known to burn cleaner than oil, with less energy going to waste.

As you tidy up your attic or perform various spring cleaning duties, think about upgrading that old heater in the basement. Doing so can help you save money. For heater replacement in Blue Bell, PA, call Carney Plumbing Heating Cooling today! 

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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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What Is an Electronic Ignition on a Heating System?

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Gas furnaces are very complex pieces of equipment to have in your Doylestown home. Modern ones in particular are designed to use as little gas as possible, and to recapture as much of the heat generated from burning that gas as can be done safely. One of the many safety and energy-efficient advances in furnace technology in the least twenty years is the electronic ignition.

 The Purpose of Electronic Ignition

In older furnaces and boilers in Doylestown, a pilot light would stay lit continuously whenever the heating system needed to be available. That meant continuously burning gas throughout the fall, winter and spring months for those times when heat was needed. It was inefficient and unsafe, especially in older devices that didn’t have safety valves.

Today, furnaces are built with electronic ignitions – small devices that only ignite the gas supply when the thermostat is on. there are two types of electronic ignition used in boilers and furnaces today.

  • Intermittent Pilot – An intermittent pilot is unique in that it releases a spark through an electronic component to the gas pilot, lighting the gas burners.
  • Hot Surface Ignition – Hot surface ignition uses an electronic filament (like a lightbulb) to heat up and ignite the burners when the thermostat calls for heat.

Both devices are designed to use a very small amount of electricity and reduce the amount of gas needed for continuous operation of your furnace.

Safety Benefits of an Electronic Ignition

While gas efficiency was a big part of the transition from pilot lights to electronic ignition, safety was an equally big component. Whereas before, the pilot light was continuously lit, meaning gas was continuously flowing into the furnace, today’s furnaces are essentially off when not in use. This means less of a chance that gas will flow unburned or that the pilot will get dirty or burn too soft, releasing carbon monoxide.

If your furnace or boiler still uses a traditional pilot light, consider having it upgraded to electronic ignition, not just to save gas but to keep your home and family safer.

For more information about new Doylestown heating system features, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Heating Tip: Simple Steps to Prevent Heat Loss

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

There are two fundamental ways to make your Fort Washington house warmer. One is to generate heat, which is the job of your furnace or boiler. The second is to keep the warm air in — and thereby keep cold air out — which is the job of your system of insulation.

The idea that the physical structure of a home can be a component of the HVAC system is one that is often overlooked, but when you think about it, it makes sense. The insulation, windows, doors and building materials that comprise your home are designed to keep the place warm against the cold and vice versa.

So, when bolstering your HVAC system to promote efficient heating, it is important to also consider heat loss and how to prevent it. This is a process that can get out of hand if you go overboard, so it is important to prioritize. Let’s look at the top 3 places to start when trying to prevent heat loss.

  1. Doors and Windows:  If you have older doors and windows, they could be a source of heat loss in your house, even if they are always closed. Replacing your windows and door with Energy Star rated ones will make sure that you are not losing heat to the outside AND still getting all the heat energy from the sun. Installing storm windows or putting up heavy curtains in winter can also help cut down on your heat loss.
  1. Seal off drafts. If any opening to your house, such as windows and doors, is improperly sealed, improperly installed or if the surrounding construction is deteriorating, you can lose a lot of heat. Check any drafts that you notice that might indicate a problem, and also if your vents and air ducts are leaky.
  1. Start at the top. If you want to go farther in sealing your house up against the cold, it is time to work on the insulation. When installing new insulation, remember that heat rises, so you get the most bang for your buck by starting at the top. If you only have the budget or time to insulate one space, make it the attic. You can work down from there.

These areas should be your top three priorities on your mission to prevent heat loss in your Fort Washington home. If you start here, you will get the best gains with the least effort. If you have any questions about how to keep your house warm this winter, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today!

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How to Check if Your HVAC System Is the Right Size

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Do you ever feel that your Chalfont home just doesn’t get cool enough during the warm months or warm enough during the cold months? You have tried to adjust your thermostat to the right comfort level but it just never seems right. And on top of that, you notice that your utility bills keep going up and up. Even when you dial up the thermostat in the summer and dial it down in the winter to saving on energy usage, your bills are still about the same.

You could try adding fans and shedding clothes during the warm months or wearing sweaters and crawling under a pile of blankets in the cold months. But do you really enjoy living that way? There must be another solution as to why your heating and cooling (HVAC) system is just not keeping you comfortable – and affordable.

That air conditioning condensing unit sitting in your backyard and the furnace in your basement should be making your home as comfortable as possible. But in many cases, they are not.  That’s because whoever installed those HVAC system components didn’t do their homework on your home. The components were sized incorrectly. If a furnace or air conditioner is sized incorrectly, it usually cannot keep up with the demand for heat or cold and often puts such a burden on the equipment. As a result, regular failures and repair bills are commonplace.

And it may not be the fault of the installing HVAC contractor. Over the years your home may have undergone renovations including additions and new windows, which have increased the square footage or demand for more heating or cooling. Those renovations may not have included upgrades to your home’s HVAC system.

All of these factors are considered when determining the equipment size. In air conditioning jargon, you will hear about tonnage of cooling capacity. An example may be a 2.5 ton air conditioning unit for a 2,000 square foot home. In furnace jargon, you will learn about Btu ratings, which are British thermal units. Most furnaces are sized in 20-25,000 Btu increments. Each is matched to the cooling or heating needs of your home. Your HVAC contractor will likely recommend using a programmable thermostat, too. That way, you can set the temperature of one or more zones in your Chalfont home to when each zone is occupied.

To have a load calculation performed on your home, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call today!

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Basic Home Heating Safety Tips

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

While you should schedule a yearly maintenance visit with a qualified HVAC technician to check for any safety concerns, you can also reduce potential safety hazards in the heating system of your North Wales home. Whether you have a furnace, heat pump, or boiler, you can substantially decrease the chances of dangerous situations with a few minor routine tasks.

If you have any questions about how to better maintain your heating system, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call to speak with one of our expert HVAC technicians. Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

Ventilation in Forced-air Systems:

  • Regularly vacuum and clean out your heating vents and fan blower.
  • Check the condition of your chimney and vent pipe to make sure that none of the parts are damaged or show signs of deterioration.
  • Test the thermostat occasionally to make sure your heating system is working at optimal levels. There could be a safety concern if your heater is not properly heating your home.

Heat Exchangers:

  • Heat exchangers should be inspected often to prevent carbon monoxide leaks. Check for any obvious issues, such as rust or other damages.
  • The heat exchanger for furnaces should be inspected by a professional once a year in case there are hidden problems with the equipment, or if any of the components need to be replaced.
  • Check the pilot light in gas furnaces for any flickers or changes in color. Have someone turn up the thermostat while you watch the light, but turn off the system for five minutes first. If there are any changes, there could be a problem with the heat exchanger. Call a professional if you suspect issues with your heat exchanger.

Heating Equipment Inspections and Adjustments:

  • Boilers should be drained regularly to reduce sediment buildup, in addition to testing the water level safety controls. It’s best to have a North Wales professional perform these tasks if you aren’t sure how to do them on your own.
  • Adjust the temperature settings if you suspect that the heater isn’t working properly, and if it doesn’t work call a professional heating technician, or if you aren’t sure how to locate or adjust the controls.
  • Check the overall equipment for cracks, rust, or any other obvious signs of damage or deterioration that could create safety hazards.

In addition to performing these tasks, call a licensed heating contractor to inspect your heating system at least once a year.

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Heating Installation Guide: System Ventilation 101

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Maintaining Proper Ventilation for Combustion Systems

Anytime you maintain, retrofit, or replace a gas heating system in your Buckingham home you also need to be concerned with air quality. Combustion air is needed by all oil and gas heating systems to support the combustion process. This air is provided in some homes by unintentional air leaks, or by air ducts that connect to the outdoors. The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards, as well as maintain energy efficiency, by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases, installing a sealed-combustion furnace can also help.

Chimneys

Properly functioning chimney systems will carry combustion byproducts out of the home. Therefore, chimney problems put you at risk of having these byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, spill into your home.

Most older gas furnaces have naturally drafting chimneys. The combustion gases exit the home through the chimney using only their buoyancy combined with the chimney’s height. Naturally drafting chimneys often have problems exhausting the combustion gases because of chimney blockage, wind or pressures inside the home that overcome the buoyancy of the gases.

Atmospheric, open-combustion furnaces, as well as fan-assisted furnaces, should be vented into masonry chimneys, metal double-wall chimneys, or another type of manufactured chimney. Masonry chimneys should have a fireclay, masonry liner or a retrofitted metal flue liner.

Many older chimneys have deteriorated liners or no liners at all and must be relined during furnace replacement. A chimney should be relined when any of the following changes are made to the combustion heating system:

When you replace an older furnace with a newer one that has an AFUE of 80% or more. These mid-efficiency appliances have a greater risk of depositing acidic condensation droplets in chimneys, and the chimneys must be prepared to handle this corrosive threat. The new chimney liner should be sized to accommodate both the new heating appliance and the combustion water heater by the installer.

When you replace an older furnace with a new 90+ AFUE appliance or a heat pump. In this case, the heating appliance will no longer vent into the old chimney, and the combustion water heater will now vent through an oversized chimney. This oversized chimney can lead to condensation and inadequate draft. The new chimney liner should be sized for the water heater alone, or the water heater in some cases can be vented directly through the wall.

Other Ventilation Concerns

Some fan-assisted, non-condensing furnaces, installed between 1987 and 1993, may be vented horizontally through high-temperature plastic vent pipe (not PVC pipe, which is safely used in condensing furnaces). This type of venting has been recalled and should be replaced by stainless steel vent pipe. If horizontal venting was used, an additional draft-inducing fan may be needed near the vent outlet to create adequate draft. Floor furnaces may have special venting problems because their vent connector exits the furnace close to the floor and may travel 10 to 30 feet before reaching a chimney. Check to see if this type of venting or the floor furnace itself needs replacement. If you smell gases, you have a venting problem that could affect your health. Contact your local utility or Buckingham heating contractor to have this venting problem repaired immediately.

Chimneys can be expensive to repair, and may help justify installing new heating equipment that won’t use the existing chimney.

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Energy Efficiency Tips Everyone Should Know

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Before you decide which upgrades will make your Willow Grove home more efficient, it would be best to get a home energy audit. You can do this yourself with a few simple tests, or you can hire a professional auditor. The auditor will use advanced equipment and techniques, such as blower doors and infrared cameras, to detect air leaks and places that need more insulation.

When your home is properly insulated and sealed, here are some upgrades you’ll want to think about to make your home more efficient.

High-Efficiency Furnaces & Heat Pumps

If you have an old single-stage furnace, it is time to upgrade. These furnaces were designed to run on two settings—either off or on, and when they are on, they run at full speed. Not only do they lose heat this way, but they also take longer to warm up your home. The new two-speed and multispeed models run at lower speeds to maintain a constant temperature. You can also buy ones with variable-speed blowers that operate on various speeds, which are the most efficient. Heat pumps are a good option if you need both heat and A/C in your home. While most heat pumps are manufactured to be efficient by design, the newer models are the most efficient way to heat and cool your home. If you have a heat pump older than 15 years, talk to an HVAC technician about a heat pump replacement.

Solar & Tankless Water Heaters

When you’ve upgraded your heating system, it may be time to install a more efficient water heater. Solar water heaters are gaining popularity, and they are the most efficient way to save hot water if certain factors are in place, such as sunlight exposure and high fuel costs. Tankless water heaters heat your water with individual units located near hot water applications. You also have the option of installing a single, whole-home tankless water heater, or for appliances that use more hot water, such as dishwashers and washing machines, you can install tankless models just for their use.

Water-Saving Toilets & Low-flow Plumbing Fixtures

Duel flush, or water-saving toilets are an excellent choice for an upgrade if you want to save water. These toilets use less water overall, and you have the option of using more or less water each time you flush. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can also provide up to 60% in utility savings. Low flow plumbing fixtures reduce the flow rate for each fixture or application, which reduces the overall amount water used in the home. These are a good option if you’ve installed a tankless water heating system. Your tankless water heaters will be more efficient if the sum of the flow rate total for every fixture in the home is lower.

Don’t hesitate to call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling if you have any questions about upgrading your Willow Grove home.

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Plumber Tip: How to Replace a Bathroom Vanity

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Because it looks something like a dresser combined with a kitchen counter, you may think of your Jamison home’s bathroom vanity as being a piece of furniture, and therefore that it is simple to replace. Well, there’s good news and bad news there.

The bad news is that because of the sinks and pipes involved, your vanity is part of your plumbing system, so it’s a little trickier than getting a new sofa.

The good news is that it is still something you can do on your own – or at least with a friend – in a few hours or so. After you have measured the space and purchased the new vanity, here is how you can go about replacing the old one:

  1. Shut off the water supply. This is always the first step when undertaking any sort of plumbing work. Put a bucket beneath the sink to catch any water that drips from the supply lines after you disconnect them.
  2. Using a putty or utility knife, loosen the caulk that is sealing the countertop. Gently remove the countertop.
  3. Detach the vanity from the wall. Most vanity units are screwed in place to the wall, so just spot and remove all the screws.
  4. Mark the studs in preparation for positioning the new vanity. Hint: the old one was already drilled into the studs, if it was done properly.
  5. Put the new vanity in place, making sure it is flush to the wall.
  6. Attach the new vanity to the wall, taking care to screw into the wall studs that you marked in step #4.
  7. Put a bead of caulk along the top of the vanity base to hold the countertop in place. Carefully set in the new countertop.
  8. Reconnect the plumbing that you disconnected as part of step #1.
  9. Put down a thin bead of caulk along the edges of the countertop below the lip. Smooth the caulk in place with a damp rag.

Now your new vanity is all set. Allow the caulk to dry before getting moisture near it, and don’t forget to turn the water supply back on! And if you need any help, talk to your local plumber.

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