At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Blog: Archive for November, 2014

Common Radiant Heating Repairs

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Using radiant heat—heating up objects inside a room with hydronic power so they send out waves of warmth into the space—is an efficient and extremely effective way of maintaining winter comfort in your home. Radiant heating can work through in-floor pipes, baseboard heaters, or the more traditional radiator.

An advantage of radiant heating systems is that they require few repairs because they have only a small number of moving parts compared to furnaces and heat pumps. But they can still incur repair issues, and you will need to call on professionals to handle these problems should they crop up.

For heating repairs in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas, call on At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We can deliver repairs any time of the day or night, so don’t hesitate to give us a call when your home comfort comes under threat.

Some Common Repairs for Radiant Heating Systems

  • Fixing the manifold: For in-floor radiant heating systems, the manifold is one of the most important components: it distributes the heated water to the various pipes that move through the floor boards. If the boiler of your system still seems to be working, but you are receiving uneven heating, the problem may lay with the manifold.
  • Sealing leaks: Leaking is rare for in-floor systems, but still can occur—and when they do they must be taken care of as soon as possible. If you see water seeping up through the boards, call on technicians right away to remove the flooring to access the pipes and seal them. Leaking can also occur in other radiant systems around the boiler and its connections. Any sign of water pooling near the boiler calls for repairs.
  • Repairing/replacing the circulator pump: One of the few mechanical parts of a radiant heating system is the circulator pump, which is responsible for moving the heated water from the boiler and out into the pipes. If the pump breaks, it can either be repaired or replaced.
  • Flushing the tank: If the boiler tank begins to pick up debris or hard water deposits, technicians can flush it out to keep the system clean. Tank flushing is sometimes done during routine maintenance—make sure you schedule a maintenance visit once a year.

Keep your home and family warm and cozy this winter: at the first indication of trouble from your radiant heating system, call up the At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air team. We will handle your needs for heating repair service quickly so you can return to enjoying your winter.

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Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system. Here at At Your Service Heating and Air, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

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Why Does the Pilot Light Keep Going Out?

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The pilot light is notorious for being the most temperamental part of a gas-powered system. It is known for going off all the time for no apparent reason, prompting a relighting procedure either by yourself or your HVAC professional. There is a difference, however, between a pilot light that goes out frequently and one that simply won’t stay lit. If your pilot light doesn’t stay lit for any appreciable length of time, it is very likely that you have a bad thermocouple.

What is a Thermocouple?

A thermocouple is a long metal wire or rod made of two different metal conductors. One end of the thermocouple is installed right next to the pilot light, while the other is connected to the gas valve responsible for feeding the pilot light. When metal is subjected to uneven levels of heat, it generates an electric current. Thus, when the pilot light end of the thermocouple is exposed to the heat of the flame, it produces a current that runs down the wire to the other end, where it serves to keep the gas valve open. This ensures that, once lit, a pilot light will stay lit by consuming a constant flow of gas. Essentially, the thermocouple is a heat sensor designed to regulate the flow of gas to the pilot light.

Bad Thermocouple

When a thermocouple goes bad or is faulty, it loses its ability to generate a current when exposed to heat. This means that when you attempt to light the pilot light, the thermocouple will not be able to open the gas valve to keep the flame alive. When this happens, there isn’t really a way to repair it. Chances are you’ll have to replace the thermocouple. It is possible that part of the thermocouple could have simply been bent away from the flame, as sometimes happens during installation or poor maintenance. The best way to tell, however, is to have a professional look at it for you.

If your pilot light is not staying lit, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. We conduct heating repairs throughout the entire Salt Lake City area.

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What Is a Flame Sensor?

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Safety mechanisms are very important on heating equipment, particularly with combustion heating equipment. Without safety mechanisms, dangerous situations can develop, putting you, your family and your home at risk. There are safety mechanisms for every stage of your heater’s cycle, and today we’re going to talk about flame sensors. However, if you experience any issues with your heater, and need heating repair, call the people who can help you day or night: At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air.

The Flame Sensor

In a combustion heating system, jets of gas are lit in the burner. The heat from the burner warms the heat exchanger, which in turn provides the warm air for your home. The burner is a powerful component, with anywhere from 4-8 jets, depending on the size of the furnace. For the furnace to operate correctly, all the jets in the burner must combust equally. The flame sensor’s job is to monitor the flame of the last burner to ensure that the jets are operating as they should. Like a thermocouple, the flame sensor is constructed of metals that generate an electrical voltage when heated. When the flame of the last burner is burning correctly, the flame sensor allows the system to keep the gas flowing until the set temperature of your home is achieved. Should the last flame of the burner be too hot or too cool, or not lit at all, the flame sensor will close the main gas valve, discontinuing the flow of fuel.

Common Problems with a Flame Sensor

The most common problem with flame sensor is that they become dirty. A layer of dirt on a flame sensor can block the sensor from properly reading the flame; this can result in a shutdown of your system. Should the flame sensor shift position, it may not be close enough to the flame to get a proper reading. Lastly, flame sensors can corrode, in which case replacement is necessary.

When the safety devices of your system malfunction, they can cause myriad problems, so it’s best to call a professional for heating repair in Salt Lake City. At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air has the trained and certified technicians you need, so call us today!

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