3 Signs You Should Call A Plumber

Plumbing problems are very intrusive and disruptive things that you’ll most certainly want to fix immediately. However, while it might be tempting to do-it-yourself, perhaps you should reconsider. While a clogged drain here and there is an easy enough fix, other problems are best left to the professionals. This is because your plumbing is delicate and you could very well cause more damage that already was there in the first place. So, you should call a plumber if you are noticing…

Your Faucets Have A Constant Drip

You might not even think of this as a problem, after all, aside from being a minor annoyance, how bad can it be? You’d actually be surprised, an unchecked leak can do a lot more than you think. A little drip can a surprisingly big difference in how much you pay a month in water bills. So, if it seems like your water bills have been a bit higher than normal and your faucet is leaking, it most likely the cause. Of course, a leaky faucet can also indicate that there is a problem in your piping somewhere as well. Luckily, this is a very small fix for a plumber that will take them no time at all. 

Your Water Pressure Is Acting Up

Poor water pressure in your home can be a problem. Yet, before you pick up that phone and call for help, try cleaning the fixtures on your sink or shower as it can simply be a mineral deposit. Yet, if these things are clean, you most likely have an obstruction somewhere. It would be wise once you figure out that it is definitely the piping to call a plumber immediately as well, as the problem will only get worse with time. You definitely shouldn’t try to clear the blockage yourself, as you can cause piping damage or leaks to form.

Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes, while you might not see them directly, can often be heard or smelt. So, if you notice any weird damp spots on the wall or perhaps smell a musty smell it’s best to get a jump on repairs. A small leak can spell disaster for your home and dealing with the consequences of water damage can be a lot more costly than any plumbing bill could be. Leaks, while not always complex, should definitely not be attempted by yourself, as you can often cause more a problem then you had to begin with. 

So, if you are having plumbing troubles don’t hesitate to call a professional plumbing services company immediately. 

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Air Conditioning: The Problem With Poorly Insulated Refrigerant Lines

Air conditioning systems usually cool air by absorbing heat from the air before releasing the air back into a given room. It is the refrigerant that performs the absorption function that is necessary for this cooling process to take place. This makes the refrigerant an important part of any air conditioning system.

The refrigerant moves in and out of a unit’s coils by way of refrigerant lines. These lines need to be well-insulated for an air conditioning system to function properly. Any exposure to the external environment usually causes a number of problems. Here are some of them.

Decreased system efficiency

It is at an air conditioning system’s coils that air gets cooled. This usually happens when the refrigerant changes states – from a liquid state to a gaseous state. For this change to happen, the refrigerant has to absorb heat. Some of the heat that it absorbs usually comes from the air that passes over the coils.

However, in cases where the lines transporting the refrigerant are not shielded from the environment by insulation, the amount of heat that the refrigerant absorbs from the air tends to be less. This is because exposed lines cause the refrigerant to absorb some heat from the environment before it reaches the coils. By the time it reaches the coils, it needs less heat to change into gas form.

With the capacity of the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air passing over the coils reduced, an air conditioner will take longer to cool a given space. This is something that usually results in an increase in the size of bills that a homeowner has to take care of.

Increased water damage risks

The pipes transporting a refrigerant are usually cold. Insulation usually helps to keep them from absorbing heat from the area through which they pass.

In cases where these pipes have missing or inadequate insulation, there is nothing to stop them from absorbing heat from the immediate environment. These pipes therefore tend to cool the air next to them, a process that usually has the effect of condensing air moisture. This creates a moisture problem.

If the uninsulated part of the refrigerant lines is in the roof, then the homeowner may have to deal with water damage losses. Moisture in the roofs can also lead to a mold problem. This is a problem that not only takes time and money to get rid of, but which may also affect the quality of air in a home.

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4 Types Of Backflow Protection Devices

Backflow protection devices are essentially the parts of an industrial plumbing system designed to make sure that, should there be any flooding, the water from the flooding is not able flow back into the plumbing system. Industries that rely on clean water, such as hospitals, swimming pools, medical clinics, or spas, all need to be equipped with enough backflow protection devices to ensure that the water is never contaminated. If you are involved with one of these industries, here are some possible backflow devices that you can install in order to make sure that your water remains pure.

1. Air Gap

An air gap is one of the simplest types of backflow protection measures, because it is simply the separation of the water that is used for cleaning or drinking and all other fluids. For example, any used water will be kept strictly separate from clean water in order to make sure that the two don’t mix. If you have the clean water in a basin or other storage area, there will be little chance that contaminated flood water will be able to flow back into it.

2. Double Check Valve Assembly

Double check valve assembly is when there are two valves are located in the plumbing system both upstream and downstream. These are the check valves that ensure that water does not flow in the wrong direction. These reduce the chances of any flood water backflowing into the main system because the check valves only allow water to flow from one direction to the other. 

3. Pressure Type Vacuum Breaker

This type of protection device is a single check valve that closes automatically if it senses that water has begun to flow in the wrong direction. Once the flooding has subsided, an industrial plumber will be able to release this valve by applying pressure in order to restore the normal flow of water and make sure that everything continues to work correctly.

4. Reduced Pressure Principle Device

This is a device that has two check valves with an area of low pressure between them. This is essentially a buffer zone that will maintain control of the water in order to make sure that there is no backflow. This reduced pressure zone is used whenever the water starts to flow in a direction that is not anticipated.

For more information about backflow protection and keeping your water clean, talk to a professional industrial plumber. 

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Two Tips For When Your Garage Door Won’t Fully Open Or Close

There are an almost countless number of problems that a garage door can encounter over the course of its lifetime. In particular, one of the most common is an inability to fully close or open. Unless you are very familiar with the mechanics of your garage door system, you may not understand what is causing this problem or how to start to repair it. Fortunately, there are two tips you can follow to help determine the cause of the issue. 

Inspect The Railing

When your garage door will not fully close, the first thing that you should do is to inspect the railing. Over the course of time, it is common for debris and other particulate matter to accumulate on the rails, and they eventually cause the door to malfunction. If you notice these materials, you should remove them and attempt to close the door again. 

During this inspection, you should also look for signs that the door is out of alignment. The primary sign of this problem is visible grinding between the components of your door. If you notice these issues, you should stop attempting to use the door until a technician is able to repair it to prevent causing further damage to it. 

Attempt To Close The Door Manually

Often, the reason for the door being stuck is due to a mechanical problem in the opener. These problems can come from a variety of sources, but the primary spring is often to blame. When this spring malfunctions, the door will not have the strength to open the door or it may not have the flexibility to lower it. If you are able to easily close the door manually, this is the best indication that this is the cause of the problem. 

Unfortunately, working on the primary spring can be extremely dangerous because this component is under tremendous stress. If it were to snap, it can cause severe injuries to anyone nearby. For this reason, you should always contact a professional garage repair person when you suspect this is the cause of the problem. 

A malfunctioning garage door can be a tremendous hassle to deal with, and this is particularly true for those that have never had to address this type of problem. By inspecting the railing and attempting to close the door manually, you can gain a lot of information about the cause of the problem, which can help you to have it remedied as quickly as possible. 

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Making Your Fuel Oil Burning Furnace As Energy Efficient As Possible

In many rural areas within the northeast U.S., some homeowners utilize fuel oil as their main source of heat. This is because there is limited access to a natural gas supply in these locations. If the furnace that heats your entire home runs off of fuel oil, there are certain measures that you can take to ensure that the unit stays safe and efficient. Here are some things that you can do to get the most out of your fuel oil furnace.

Annual Maintenance

Fuel oil furnaces can be expensive to run. Not only do you have to pay the higher cost of the heating oil itself, but delivery can be expensive, especially if you don’t fill your entire holding tank up when a delivery is made. There is also routine upkeep with a fuel oil furnace. It’s important to make sure that you conduct annual maintenance of your fuel oil furnace so it runs properly during the bitter cold months. Call an HVAC specialist who works on oil burning furnaces to check to make sure that everything is working properly. Some things to consider include:

  • Vent dampers
  • Barometric flue damper
  • Burner replacement
  • Derating the furnace nozzle

Vent dampers need to be checked during routine inspections. Vents frequently accumulate with unwanted soot that can cause a blockage or make the unit work overtime. This can be dangerous and allow carbon monoxide to accumulate inside your home. In addition, a flame retention burner can help stop airflow when the unit is not in use—this can help keep energy costs under control.

A barometric flue damper can also help properly control air flow in the chimney. It detects air pressure and opens and closes as needed—helping to make the furnace work effectively.

Making sure the burner is working effectively is important. If it isn’t firing or holding heat properly, it needs to be replaced.

Derating means replacing the old nozzle with a new one that uses lower gallons of fuel per hour. Upgrading to a nozzle that allows the minimal amount of fuel through prevents fuel usage waste and reduces stress on your furnace unit.

Replacing your furnace filter every three to six months can also help improve the function of your oil furnace and aid in better air quality throughout your home.

Cleaning Ductwork

One of the main culprits of an oil furnace that doesn’t work effectively is a dirty buildup of soot and debris within the duct work. Having a professional duct cleaning contractor clean your ductwork and ventilation system throughout your home can help improve the airflow into each room. This also disinfects your ductwork and can reduce allergens and dust accumulation that would otherwise go into the air inside your home.

Weatherproofing Your Home

Make sure your home is properly sealed and weatherproofed before the cold weather hits. Preventing unwanted airflow and keeping your home free of air drafts will reduce furnace usage. Some helpful tips include:

  • Caulking gaps around windows and doors
  • Adding weatherstripping foam strips around doors
  • Placing clear plastic around drafty windows
  • Installing insulating blinds and curtains
  • Adding insulation to your home’s walls, attic and basement area

Making your home airtight can reduce both heat and electric usage.

When your oil furnace is burning efficiently there is less of a need for an additional heating source such as wood or electric heat. You can also save money and enjoy a warm and clean indoor environment. For more information on making your oil furnace more effective, contact a company like Cash Oil.

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3 Tips For Building Your Own Lakeside Dock

No lakeside cottage is complete without a dock to relax on. If you are a DIY-oriented homeowner looking to build your own dock, there are a few things you should be aware of to make sure your project is successful. Here are three tips that can help you build the dock you’ve always wanted.

Always Use Treated Lumber

As a permanently waterbound structure, your dock will need to have excellent resistance to moisture damage. No amount of waterproofing will compare to purchasing treated lumber. In addition to preventing splitting and rotting, treated lumber is easier to cut, reducing your workload.

Even when you are using treated lumber, it is a good idea to apply a sealer to your dock at least once a year. This will renew the moisture barrier of the wood, ensuring that your dock is protected from rot and has the longest possible life span.

Remember to Create Enough Freeboard

Freeboard is the term for the height of your dock above the surface of the water. Creating enough freeboard is just as important as the surface area and shape of your dock. If you do not have enough freeboard, one end of the dock could begin to dip under water when it is under heavy load, and the entire dock could potentially flip.

The amount of flotation and the weight of the wood that you use will determine how much freeboard your dock has. If you are still in the planning stages, you should choose to use a lighter wood, such as cedar, to have as much freeboard as possible. If you have already chosen a type of wood to work with, keep increasing the size of your floatation drums until you are satisfied with the amount of freeboard your dock has.

Choose a Dock Layout Based on Your Needs

Many homeowners envision a large patio dock with enough room for two to four chairs and a small table. However, there are several different configurations to choose from that could save time and effort while still being functional.

If you are primarily interested in a fishing dock, a T-shape configuration could be an excellent choice. While this shape may not have as much space to kick back and relax, there is still enough room for some folding chairs, a friend or two, and your tackle boxes.

Building a dock is a rewarding DIY project that any homeowner would be proud of. Keep these tips in mind when you are building your dock and you will be enjoying lakeside relaxation very soon. For more information, speak with experts like Abbott’s Construction Services Inc.

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4 Reasons To Clean Your Dryer Vent System

The lint in your dryer does not only accumulate in the lint filter. Despite having a good filter, lint still ends up in the vent. A buildup of lint could prove to be a dangerous situation for your household. Here are some reasons you need to schedule a thorough cleaning of your dryer vent system. 

Saves Money

As your dryer vent system fills with lint, it impacts the efficiency of the dryer. As time passes, your dryer will be forced to work harder to dry your clothes. It could take more than one spin through the dryer to get dry clothes. 

As a result, your energy bills will rise. Since your dryer is most likely one of the most used appliances in your home, the rise in your bill could be significant. 

Your dryer will also wear down quicker since it has to work harder. This can result in a shortened lifespan and the need to buy a new dryer sooner rather than later. 

Removes Fire Hazard

An accumulation of lint in your dryer vent system is a fire hazard. According to the United States Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires occur each year. Over 30 percent of those fires are the result of failing to properly clean the lint from the vent system. 

As the lint builds up in your dryer,  it obstructs the flow of hot air from the dryer. As a result, the hot air starts to heat up the built-up lint, which is very flammable. Over time, the lint can actually catch on fire, which could lead to significant property damage and injuries. 

Lowers Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk

Another risk that occurs with built-up lint in the vent system is a chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. The blockage in the system from the lint can push carbon monoxide fumes back into the home. 

This could prove to be particularly dangerous if your home is not equipped with a carbon monoxide monitor to help detect the presence of the gas.

Prevents Mold Spreading

In addition to heat being trapped in your vent, moisture can also accumulate. The moist lint can encourage the growth of mold, which can then spread into your home. The affected air quality could prove particularly hazardous to people in your household who suffer from breathing disorders.

If you are unable to clean the dryer vent system yourself, contact a professional such as Restoration Klean. Ideally, your system should be thoroughly cleaned twice a year.

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