Village Plumbing & Home Services

The Cleanest Techs in Town

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Environmentally-Friendly AC Units

Houston, being located on an arid area, is used to hot temperatures. Compared to the rest of the country, Houston is one of the hottest places to live in. This is why air conditioning units are a hot commodity in Houston, with a lot of Houstonians putting it on full blast when the Sun gets angry.

The use of air conditioning units is fine, but problems for the environment arise when units use refrigerants like Freon that can cause damage to the ozone layer. This made homeowners more environmentally aware, eventually preferring more environment-friendly air conditioning units.

Changing an air conditioner to a more environment-friendly one has various benefits. They consume less energy than older units, reducing demand for energy across the board. The reduced environmental impact caused by a more eco-friendly refrigerant contributes to the worldwide cause of conserving the planet.

Most of these units usually carry an Energy Star mark, meaning they operate for less energy. There are also solar-powered units, which come with their own panels to convert solar energy into power. Despite these innovations being relatively new, this is an exciting prospect for Houston. As a city constantly exposed to the Sun, eco-friendly units can definitely help homes and buildings in reducing their electric bill.

Tips on Maintaining Your Air Conditioner’s Condenser

The condenser is an essential part of every room or central air conditioning system, as it helps air move across the cooling coils, which then lower the air’s temperature. In most AC units, you can identify the condenser quite quickly. Here are some maintenance tips that you can try to keep your condenser functioning effectively:

Clean the Surroundings

If your condenser is set on the ground outside your house, make sure to clear the area of grass, vines and other things that may get inside the unit and cause it to function erratically. Then, use a commercial coil cleaner to clean up the unit itself, taking care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Flush the coil clean and allow it to dry.

Cleaning the Fins

Use a soft brush to remove dirt and debris that may have gathered in the condenser’s fins; make sure that the protective grilles are properly removed (you may have to hose this down, too). Take note that the fins are extremely fragile, as they are made of light aluminum, so hosing it down should be out of the question.

Seasonal Cleaning

Outside condenser units should be protected from the ravages of the weather, particularly throughout autumn and winter. You can find commercially sold condenser covers for this, just make sure that it’s the appropriate size for your condenser.

Signs You Need to Call an AC Repair Service

In warm cities such as Houston, air conditioning units are necessary in the battle against the blistering heat. Frequent use, however, leaves these appliances more vulnerable to wear and tear. With this in mind, here are a few signs your unit needs to be examined by an air conditioning repair professional

Why is my AC so noisy?

Air conditioning units will make a few noises every now and then. However, it isn’t natural for these noises to be excessive or loud. If your air conditioner is making loud or excessive noises, turn off the unit to avoid further damage and call a repair service right away.

Why are my energy bills so high?

When there is a sudden spike in the energy bill, most people are quick to blame an inefficient unit and immediately make arrangements to purchase a replacement. However, be sure to call a repair service first before purchasing a new unit. Inefficient energy consumption can be a sign of clogged filters or low refrigerant levels, a fairly easy task for a professional.

Why isn’t it as cold as usual?

It doesn’t matter what the SEER rating of your unit was when you bought it; as the years go by, your unit will lose its efficiency. Call a professional if the temperature in your house is uneven or if the time it takes to reach the desired temperature is longer than it usually is.

Tweaking the AC for Better Efficiency

It is always a blessing to have an air conditioner at home. When you are living in the great city of Houston, TX, you’d probably be happy to have the cair conditioner going in the harsh heat of summer and in the modest winter. Still, you might wish that the unit is giving you more cold air for the same utility cost. It can be possible through the following steps:

Location is important in the installation of the air conditioning. For instance, the machine should be clear of any vegetation at home and away from sunlight. Flammables such as dry leaves can set off a fire, given the amount of heat it gives off. Set up a regular maintenance program with your provider. The parts of major concern include the filters, coils, and blowers which must be cleaned to achieve optimum power.

Operating time is important; in this respect, your air conditioning system must have a control interface to shut down airflow to unoccupied rooms. A time-control function in your thermostat can preset operating periods during certain times of the day like two hours a night. Afterward, electric fans may help circulate the airflow.

An air conditioner will always be a good investment for your home. Learning how to bolster its efficiency will warrant a longer operating life.

Fixing the Water Heater for Better Health

Bathing or washing with hot water may not necessarily let you kill bacteria. However, having a well-maintained shower system can help you prevent sickness within the household.

Bacteria and other microorganisms can be classified based on temperature. Those that thrive in hot conditions are called thermophiles, as they can live in temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius or higher. In turn, some bacteria, called psychrophiles, can survive and thrive under 20 degrees Celsius.

Generally, bacteria love temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius, known as the mesophilic range. As the temperature of safe bathing water commonly falls within this range, it’s safe to say that hot water isn’t as effective in killing some bacteria. This is why water utility companies make it a point to provide clean water in households and use an extensive disinfection process as part of their treatment plants.

Nevertheless, it’s always safe to assume that bacteria can still thrive in your water heater. The smell of rotten eggs in water is often an indication of bacterial presence; the stench is the result of the bacteria reacting with the anodes in water heaters. Replacing the anodes—frequently made of magnesium or aluminum—with aluminum-zinc alloy ones is often seen as a more permanent fix.

Troubleshooting Amana Fridge Cooling Problems

This year, your close relatives have requested that you host this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. As you want the holiday gathering to go perfectly, you plan the menu in advance, which will include Houston’s favorite side dishes like white cheddar mashed potatoes and glazed carrots, and you buy a quality 15-pound frozen turkey at your favorite supermarket. The problem is though, you came home last night to a puddle in your kitchen, and it turns out your fridge has stopped working.

A refrigerator that doesn’t cool is not the end of the world though, as there are simple fixes you can do. First, check the thermostat and see if it is set correctly. Someone in your household may have crammed a tub of ice cream into it that caused the thermostat to slide to “Off.” Second, check for dirt in the coils under or behind the fridge, as dirt can lead to a cooling problem.

Also check the vents behind the fridge and see if there aren’t any grocery bags or boxes that were left there by mistake. If you didn’t see any problem with the thermostat, the coils, and the vents, consider enlisting the services of a Houston Amana appliance repair specialist to restore your refrigerator to working condition. It may have a system problem that no do-it-yourselfer can fix.

Go Green, Save Money

According to the United Nation’s estimates, the world population will grow to 10 billion people by 2060. If people today are concerned about the rapidly dwindling energy sources, this 40% increase in population will put an even greater strain on the world’s finite fuel supply. Some sources peg that oil reserves will be depleted within 46 years, while natural gas and coal will be used up by 2072 and 2128, respectively.

In response to this, the government has laid out programs like the Energy Star initiative to make the country more energy efficient. If you’ve shopped around for a new refrigerator or dishwasher, you’ve probably noticed the Energy Star logo. Only products that exhibit superior energy efficiency bear this seal, which helps consumers buy ecologically friendly appliances.

Aside from this, the Obama administration is also rewarding people for making their homes more energy efficient. For example, if you add insulation to your Houston home before the year ends, you may qualify for a 10% tax credit on the cost of materials up to $500. Since insulation prevents heat transfer, you’ll benefit from lower heating and cooling costs while helping the country conserve energy.

Since households are one of the biggest consumers of energy in the country, conservation should begin at home. Its rewards go beyond energy savings—it ensures a sustainable future for the next generation.

Restoring Balance: Repairing an HVAC System

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are some of the most used home devices due to their role in controlling indoor temperatures. Valuable in both summer and winter weather, HVACs see plenty of use throughout their service lifespans, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all smooth sailing for these appliances. Like all large home appliances, HVACs will inevitably suffer from wear and tear, and will require maintenance every once in a while to remain in good condition.

Among other things, HVAC systems are susceptible to leaks. These devices work by pumping air throughout a building via ducts, and it only takes a small leak to compromise the whole system. HVAC leaks must be sealed properly in order to restore the efficiency of the whole system. In any case, it can be a challenge to detect where the leakage is coming from.

Sometimes, it’s the HVAC itself that has a problem. If the device fails to turn on properly, makes funny noises, or displays a noticeably weaker performance despite the absence of leaks, then a mechanical problem could be the culprit. Given that HVACs are delicate devices, it wouldn’t be wise to go about tinkering with their mechanisms. It’s better to simply call for a trained technician who can identify the root cause of the problem and fix it.

HVAC Maintenance Tips—Why Hire an Expert

Winter is on its way, which means your home is under threat of freezing. Fortunately, your home heating is fully functioning to provide you a comfortable living environment throughout the cold season, or is it? After several months of infrequent use, your heating system might still be hibernating and you might have trouble running it when winter finally sets in. Have it cranked up by a professional technician to make sure it won’t act up when you need it most.

In choosing and HVAC contractor to do the repairs, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Included in the basic things to ask for are a license and insurance information. This is just to make sure the business you are contracting isn’t shady and have the necessary skills and quality workmanship. A license proves that the contractor has been complying with certain standards set by the state, while insurance protects you from any liability.

The United States government is currently in the business of combating climate change. One of their programs is the widespread use of energy-efficient equipment and materials, which include your HVAC. Make sure that the HVAC contractor uses energy-efficient equipment so that you can save on energy.

Hiring a reliable HVAC contractor will help you survive the winter and save money. While doing your own upkeep and repair will cost you less, entrusting the task to experts will guarantee better workmanship. Besides, good workmanship saves you the trouble of repairing newborn malfunction issues.

Ensure a Comfortable Stay for Wintertime Guests

Some parts of the country have it bad in the winter, while others, like Houston, have it relatively easy. As such, don’t be surprised if close relatives or friends from colder parts of the country request to stay at your place for a couple of weeks to escape from Old Man Winter. However, to ensure a comfortable stay for your guests, your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system must be in optimum condition.

After all, you’ll want to achieve the right indoor temperature levels – neither too hot nor cold – for optimum thermal comfort. While there are some air conditioner maintenance tasks you can easily handle by yourself, such as cleaning or changing the filters, it’s only sensible to hire air conditioning specialists if you need to troubleshoot more advanced problems. These professionals are trained in repairing well-known AC brands like Trane, so you know your AC is in good hands.

AC issues that are best handled by professionals include refrigerant leaks, which is the usual culprit for when the air doesn’t cool at the desired temperature or doesn’t cool at all. Another AC issue that’s within the same ballpark is constant cycling, a problem that can normally be address with an adjustment of the thermostat sensor. Getting these problems fixed professionally will mean a more comfortable stay for your guests this winter.