Village Plumbing & Home Services

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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Taking care of the heater’s supply line

Imagine your house being equipped with one of the best water heaters in the market today. A preferred contractor set it up for you and educated you on the finer points of maintaining it. The water heater performs as advertised if it is connected to a well-secured water supply line. However, what if it acts up one day? An expert contractor inspects it and determines that there is nothing wrong with the heater, leaving the supply line as a prime suspect for replacement.

The initial step in the process is to locate the pressure release valve and both hot and cold water lines somewhere on the heater. Measure the lengths of the cold and hot water supply lines, accounting for any flexes or in the tubing, plus their diameter. Show the numbers during consultations with your contractor, who can then quote you for parts and labor after checking the entire system.

When the plumbing crew pushes on with the repair job, lay the groundwork for them by shutting down the power and water connections to the heater. You will also have to pull the pressure release valve to ease the pressure. The team will then proceed to replace the lines. If the water lines are the main reason why the heater’s not performing well, replacing them will help. 

Signs That Your Refrigerator Needs Help

The refrigerator is arguably the most important appliance in existence in the kitchen. It is due to its invention that the idea of storing perishable goods for a considerable amount of time has become more convenient and practical.

However, refrigerators will eventually wear down and cease to function properly. Like any other appliances, refrigerators will not last for a long time if they are not taken care of and are not fixed immediately if these signs show up.

Uncertain Temperatures

Cold temperatures are the defining features of refrigerators, so a refrigerator that freezes food or ineffectively chills the food that you are storing in it should raise some concerns. It is possible that the thermostat and/or the compressor motor are to blame.

Noises

While refrigerators are supposed to make a soft humming noise during the refrigeration process, it should make banging noises when its doors are shut. This problem can be attributed to poor condenser mounting. It is important that you have a professional check out the refrigerator to assess its condition.

High Energy Bills

If the refrigerator is using too much energy just to keep the food chilled, then you can be certain that there is something off with your refrigerator. It can vary from worn down parts to a poor sealing system.

Different Types of Insulation

Families in Houston understand the importance of heat insulation in their homes. The latest winter the city experienced, which brought cold temperatures and snow to different areas in Texas, has brought the importance of proper insulation back to center stage.

There are different insulation options available for households to choose from. Each one has their own benefits, but all promise better insulation for living conditions that are more comfortable. Here are some of them:

Batt and roll insulation

Batt insulation is large pieces of insulation made out of various materials. Two of the most common materials utilized for batt insulation are cotton and fiberglass. This kind of insulation is an easy DIY project, but it can become ineffective if there are gaps in the attic that weren’t expertly handled by a DIY homeowner.

Blown-in insulation

This type of insulation is the polar opposite of batt insulation as it comes smaller pieces. Blown-in insulation is most effective in covering hard-to-insulate spots in the attic, as the installer blasts the insulating material (fiberglass or cellulose) from a huge hose into the attic or other space.

Spray foam insulation

Spray foam insulation stands out from the two types as the installer can effectively move the building envelope from the attic floor to the roofline. This type of insulation works best with homes that have HVAC systems and ducts installed in the attic.

How to Calibrate Your Digital Thermostat

The thermostat is the “genie” that does your will when you’re operating your house’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. It is even better when the system is governed by a digital thermostat, which may or may not be part of a bigger home utility network interface. However, even the digital thermostat can be a bit off in determining the proper temperature settings, and you do not want the utility bill to rise because of bad readings.

Your contractor can teach you about how to take a more active stance in the care of your HVAC system, starting with recalibrating the thermostat.

Unscrew the thermostat’s main housing and look for either a mercury switch, or calibration screw. The mercury switch is a glass vial filled with mercury while the calibration screw is in the middle of a metal assembly. Adjusting both requires different methods.

For a calibration screw, twist it counterclockwise until you see the metal contacts, then you set the system to room temperature. A mercury switch will need adjusting so that its heating element sticks to a metal contact, then close the housing. However, be gentle in doing so to prevent breaking the vial and spilling the toxic liquid on your body.

Digital thermostats are the modern way to control the HVAC system. Learning how to properly calibrate it helps keep the furnace operating at maximum efficiency.

Have a HVAC Contractor Change Your Thermostat to Digital

If you’ve lived in the same house for decades, chances are the place has been set up with a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system that has gradually become less efficient as time went on. You’d have clues about the house’s age if the system has an analog thermostat, with either a slider or rotary knob.

Even when the furnace assembly itself has been replaced, the contractor always interlinks the system with the existing thermostat. However, what if the newest furnace on the block requires connectivity with a digital thermostat? That’s when you need to take the next step to digital.

Digital thermostats are available in a variety of options, and your preferred contractor will educate you on each of their specific advantages. The programmable thermostat is a noted choice among homeowners because they can be preset to different times of the day, while manual users can be comfortable with a simple display with no preset options

A digital thermostat is often touted as part of so-called “smart homes.” Some manufacturers offer thermostats that can be networked into electronic gadgets such as a smartphone or laptop computer. “Learning” thermostats provide flexibility by operating based on specific preferences and can guide you on energy-efficient settings. Going for a digital thermostat will give you the additional flexibility you need for the HVAC system. 

Reasons to Get Sunsource® by Lennox HVAC Systems

It’s an irrefutable fact that solar power is one of the most commonly-harnessed sources of renewable energy in the world today. The improvements in solar technology have allowed homes to take advantage of this affordable energy source to power their HVAC systems. Sunsource® is one such innovation. Read more of this post

Getting On the Budget Trane

Homeowners, who want to keep their homes exceptionally warm this winter and save money, should look at upgrading to a Trane furnace. These high quality furnaces have a particularly high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating. However, if your budget for your HVAC is a bit limited, and you live in a moderate climate, you can opt for a gas furnace of lesser AFUE grades – of which Trane Inc. offers in the form of the XL80.

The XL80’s AFUE has been graded at 80%, which is enough for heating solutions in moderate climates, but not enough for higher latitudes. The core of the system is a four-speed blower motor backed up by a primary heat exchanger with two-stage heating operation and a multi-port burner.

The furnace also has the capability of being interlinked with existing digital thermostats. Product support and reliability are among the hallmarks of the XL80. Like every Trane product, the XL80 carries a 20-year warranty on the heat exchanger and ten years on other parts. The furnace is listed at a cost no more than $1,400 including installation.

If you aren’t living on the North Pole, and you are looking for a furnace that won’t cost an arm and a leg, hop on the budget train, and purchase a Trane XL80! 

The Value of Keeping HVACs in Good Condition

In Houston, one thing you ought to know by heart is to keep your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVACs) in good condition whenever possible. According to the Consortium of Energy Efficiency, the proper maintenance of commercial central air conditioning and heat pumps alone can save up to 50% more energy. This is more or less the same with residential properties.

That in mind, some contractors offer preventive maintenance services that help you save money on functional HVAC systems. Opting for these services can also help you to keep your systems working in the short and long term. More importantly, it prepares your air conditioners and heaters for the changing seasons.

Otherwise, your HVACs might not run as efficiently as they should and cause your energy bills to spike. That is especially true for air conditioners because, say, a broken thermostat forces the former to generate cold air even when that is not necessary. A broken thermostat in your other HVACs can also indicate serious electrical problems, which can result in total breakdown and complete replacement in the future.

All of the above might seem a lot to take in, but they all depend on your initiative. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to contact a Houston HVAC repair service before issues occur.

A Look at Home Savings through Air Conditioning

There are so many ways for you to save on utility costs in your home. For instance: did you know that maintaining your air conditioner can contribute to that?

With the daily grind of home ACs, especially in the summer, these appliances are bound to incur damages and break down eventually. Such damages tend to go unnoticed, accumulate, and lead to the unit’s malfunction. This could well be the reason behind your home’s soaring utility costs. Read more of this post

Get Your AC Repaired Before the Heat Hits

Air conditioning is an important aspect of life for the residents of hot and humid Houston, Texas. The insanely hot temperature that makes thermometers dance around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit is sure to take the wind out of Houstonians and overused AC units. Such heat prompts keen attention to AC repair and maintenance. Read more of this post