At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Blog: Archive for January, 2015

How Energy Efficiency Factors Into Furnace Installation

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Saving money is important to many homeowners when it comes to installing large appliances, but when it comes to saving money on furnaces, inexpensive units may actually come with a price tag later on. When you want to save money on a furnace installation, it’s best to think about the cost benefits over time. An electric furnace is cheaper and less time-consuming to install, but the cost of running an electric unit is a bit more than running a gas furnace. And a gas furnace can still run inefficiently if it does not have a high AFUE.

Learn about how to get the most out of heating installation in Salt Lake City with our guide to furnace efficiency ratings, and be sure to schedule service with the knowledgeable professionals of At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air.

AFUE and ENERGY STAR

You can find out how efficient your unit is by checking the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency), a measure of how much energy a heating system uses to heat a given space. A higher percentage indicates greater efficiency. An AFUE of 80%, for example, uses 80% of the energy it consumes to heat your home, while the rest of the energy escapes elsewhere. Many furnaces today have an efficiency rating of 90% AFUE or more, and the most efficient units receive the coveted ENERGY STAR label.

Schedule Professional Installation

ENERGY STAR seals and the AFUE number are a great starting point in determining your environmental impact and how much you can save from month to month. However, these energy ratings will mean almost nothing if your unit is not installed correctly. Proper installation involves some complicated factors that often include some difficult equations and professional expertise. If your furnace is too big or too small, it may waste energy trying to get your home to the proper temperature. If the venting system does not allow combustion gases to vent properly, it will shut off frequently, also wasting energy. Even a loose screw can have an impact on the operation of the furnace.

At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air provides professional heating installation in Salt Lake City by professionals with years of experience. Call us today!

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What Kinds of Tools Are Used for Drain Cleaning?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Tough build-up and clogs can be hard to reach and hard to remove; this is why plumbers have a range of professional-grade tools at their disposal to clear substantial build-up and clogs. If you’ve tried some home remedies, such as baking soda and vinegar, or boiling water, but are still hearing the gurgling of a slow drain, it may be time to call for professional drain cleaning services in Salt Lake City.

What Can Cause Dirty Drains?

There are a few ways your drains can become slow or backed-up. One of the biggest culprits is FOG: fasts, grease and oil. Fats, oil and grease do not disappear from your piping, no matter how much hot water you run down the drain. In fact, hot water can make the situation worse as it melts these items, allowing them to go further into your plumbing system. The problem comes when they cool because they are materials that congeal and stick to your piping. Another culprit is food particles.

Even a small piece of food lodged in your drain can cause slow draining or clogging. Sometimes you can plunge these items, but many times they’ll stay lodged. Lastly, hair and soap scum can be a big problem, especially in bathroom plumbing. Soap scum hardens on the inside of piping and when you add hair to it, you can have a hard, solid mess on your hands. So what do professionals use to remove these items? Let’s take a look.

Professional Tools

  • Motorized drain snakes – drain snakes use cables that have varying widths and lengths to accommodate all kinds of piping. Motorization comes from either an attached drill or an actual small motor. It takes training to use motorized drain snakes as they can cause damage to your plumbing if mishandled.
  • Scour jetting/hydrojetting – scour jetting is akin to power washing your home: powerful water jets remove clinging debris in your pipes and flush it from your plumbing system without causing damage.
  • Video equipment – video pipe inspection allows the technician to see the problem in its entirety and choose a tool that will work best for the problem.

Professional tools should only be handled by professionals, so don’t run out and purchase a motorized drain snake for yourself. Instead, call the experts you can always count on for professional drain cleaning in Salt Lake City: At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air.

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Common Furnace Repairs

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Furnaces have a lot of moving parts, so they can sometimes be more prone to repair than other types of heating systems. However, there are some furnace repairs our At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air technician see more than others here in Salt Lake City. But just because they may be common doesn’t mean that you should handle them yourself. Heating repairs require training and certification, particularly with combustion-based systems, so if you are experiencing any kind of heating issue, call us today.

Blower Issues

The blower of your furnace is the large fan that pushes the warm air through your ductwork and into your living spaces. Problems that can develop with your blower are motor issues, problems with corroded and/or frayed wiring, worn or torn fan belts and loose or bent fan blades.

Ignition Problems

There are 3 types of ignitions for furnaces: standing pilot, intermittent pilot and hot surface ignition. With the two pilot ignitions, a dirty nozzle can affect whether or not the pilot lights and if it does, dirt can affect the viability of the flame, which can cause the safety mechanisms to shut down the ignition process. Hot surface ignitions can be prone to cracking due to their constant exposure to very hot temperatures. Ignition problems can usually be solved fairly quickly by a trained professional, so if your furnace is having problems igniting, call for help.

Problems with the Burner

The burner is the component responsible for heating the heat exchanger. One of the most common problems with a burner is when it is dirty. Dirt can greatly inhibit the operation of the burner, resulting in failure of all the jets to light and a lack of heat. If rust has developed on the burner, it can block the nozzles of the manifold. Lastly, a dirty flame sensor won’t be able to properly sense the flame of the last burner and as a result, will kill the entire ignition process.

Furnace repair takes training, expertise and experience, so don’t leave your heating repair in Salt Lake City to just anyone: call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Reasons a Boiler Can Leak

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Boilers are made to work effectively with water and are equipped with safeguards to ensure that the water in the system doesn’t adversely affect the metal and components. As such, if you see leaking, it is an indication that something has gone wrong. There are several reasons why a boiler will develop leaks, and we’ll outline some of these scenarios below. If you are experiencing leaking now, don’t wait to call for heating repair. The experts at At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air are available for heating repair around the clock, so call us today!

Reasons for Leaking

Here are some of the more common reasons why your boiler may be leaking:

  • Poor initial installation – if you purchased a home that already had a boiler in it and are seeing a lot of leaks, particularly from joints in the piping, you may have inherited a system that was installed poorly and has poor soldering. It most likely won’t be necessary to replace the system, but you may have to have a professional re-solder the joints.
  • Scaling inside pipes – water has minerals in it, particularly hard water, and sometimes a hard build-up known as scaling can develop on the inside of the piping. If thick enough, scaling can seriously restrict the water in a pipe and cause enough pressure on the water that a leak can develop. A simple acid flush conducted by your technician can remove any scaling inside your pipes.
  • Issues with circulator pumps – the circulator pumps are responsible for pushing the heated water from the boiler through your pipes. There are seals in these pumps that can wear down, crack or break; if this happens, leaks can develop. Having a trained professional replace the seal should take care of this problem.
  • Rust/corrosion – as mentioned above, care is taken to ensure that your boiler doesn’t fall prey to rust and corrosion, but it can happen. Rust eats away at metal, making it very easy to crack and develop leaks. If the corrosion is limited to a specific area, it may be remediated, but if the corrosion is widespread, you may have to consider replacement.

Any kind of leaking from your boiler should be repaired right away to prevent further potential damage from the water. If your boiler is leaking, call At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today and schedule an appointment for heating repair in Salt Lake City.

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When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at At Your Service you have a wonderful 2015!

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