At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air Blog: Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

Meaning of Various Noises from Your Furnace

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

When a furnace is operating properly, chances are you won’t notice it all that often. When issues are taking place, however, there are often some notable signs – including noticeable sounds that indicate these problems in certain cases.

When you work with the team with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re happy to provide numerous HVAC services, including significant attention to your furnace. This is especially important this time of year, as we move from the cooler fall to the cold winter season and homeowners need a furnace that’s operating optimally. What are some common noises that might indicate an issue in the furnace, and what are they possibly telling you or our HVAC repair pros? Let’s take a look.

meaning noises your furnace


Have you begun to hear a loud, metal-on-metal clanking sound that’s clearly coming from your furnace, chances are this is an issue with the blower wheel. In such cases, you should immediately cut off power to your furnace and contact our HVAC professionals – not only does a blower wheel require professional repair or replacement if damaged, leaving it for even a week or two longer will just increase the damage done, and therefore the cost you pay. Do not delay in calling us if you notice this problem.

Booming or Banging

If you hear a more abrupt banging or booming noise from the furnace, this often means a dirty burner that’s been clogged up by dust and other debris. This is not only a potentially harmful problem to your furnace, but also a dangerous one – in the worst of cases, it can lead to a small explosion in the home.

Unless you have specific HVAC training, we strongly recommend against trying to clean the burner on your own. Mistakes here are both costly and a risk to your safety. Call in our HVAC pros for any gas burner issues or suspicions.


What if your sound is a loud, high-pitched screech? This is usually a malfunctioning blower motor, meaning even though the furnace is producing warm air, it will not be properly circulated throughout the home.

Luckily, this issue is often minor – in these cases, just some basic lubrication might be needed. In others, the fan will have stopped working altogether, in which case you need one of our HVAC technicians to assess the problem (we’re also happy to help with lubrication if you’re unsure how to do this).


Finally, a rattling sound from the furnace may indicate a broken heat exchanger. This will lead to the furnace building up too much heat, which will eventually crack your heat exchanger and lead to major risks, including carbon monoxide poisoning. Any rattling sound should cause you to call our team right away.

For more on what certain sounds coming from your furnace are telling you, or to learn about any of our HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Plumbing and Other Tips for Water Conservation, Part 2

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some general tips in plumbing and related areas for conserving water in your home. Whether to save on monthly water costs, improve your environmental footprint or some combination therein, there are several benefits of conserving water – and several simple methods for doing so without impacting your comfort or convenience.

With At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re happy to provide a wide variety of plumbing services to assist with water conservation, from basic plumbing repair and maintenance to water heater replacement, drain cleaning and numerous other distinct areas. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll look into a few additional home water conservation tips to consider for several areas of the house.

plumbing tips water conservation

Use the Dishwasher

Some may think of the dishwasher as a big waste of water, but this is actually generally the opposite of the truth in homes where regular dishes need to be cleaned. When comparing the amount of water used to properly clean dishes in the dishwasher compared to by hand in the sink, the former comes out far superior in terms of water conservation.

If you have an Energy Star rated dishwasher, which is tested for efficiency, you will only be using roughly five gallons per full load of dishes – and the average dishwasher holds over 200 different dishes. Comparably, hand-washing the same load of dishes will generally use over 25 gallons of water. Not only is the dishwasher more convenient by a long shot, it’s also the best water-saving method.

Running Water or Toilet Issues

A couple areas to watch out for when it comes to running water:

  • Faucets: When washing your hands, brushing your teeth or using the faucet in any other way, never let it run for long periods of time. Instead, turn it off and back on.
  • Toilet: If your toilet is running consistently, its flapper may require replacement or a flush to drain the tank. If you’re familiar with these themes you can attempt them on your own, but if not you should contact our plumbers right away.

Pipe Insulation

One major water-waster, especially in the cold months: Non-insulated pipes that cause the water inside them to take much longer to heat up (or cool down during summer). If pipes are insulated, however, water will not take as long to heat and you won’t waste as much running various fixtures while waiting for a temperature change.

Sprinkler Timing

Finally, did you know there’s a big difference in the impact on your lawn and garden plants depending on when you water them? The ideal time here will be early in the morning, avoiding the heat of the afternoon and requiring less water to adequately feed the lawn. In addition, ensure all your sprinklers are working properly and not wasting any water.

For more on how to conserve water in your home, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Plumbing and Other Tips for Water Conservation, Part 1

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

When you call the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re happy to provide a wide array of plumbing and HVAC services for your home. From basic plumbing repair and maintenance needs to water heater repair or major sewer line issues and everything in between, we’re here to help with numerous themes or problems.

One of the broader such themes many of our clients are highly interested in: Water conservation, which has benefits both in your pocketbook and for the environment as a whole. There are several ways to limit your water consumption in the home, both saving you money and limiting your footprint in this area. This two-part blog series will look at several tips for home water conservation, from daily use areas to fixture upgrades and other hacks.

plumbing tips water conservation

Check for Leaks

One of the single largest culprits when it comes to wasted water in the home is the potential for leaks. Leaks in various household plumbing areas waste almost a trillion gallons of water throughout the US – leaks can be found in toilet attachments, faucets, pipes or valve areas.

Unsure whether you have a leak? Use your water meter and the simple steps you need to follow here to determine whether there’s a leak. If you identify one, call our plumbers for a detailed inspection where we’ll locate it and make the necessary repairs.

Hit the Car Wash

This one often confuses clients, who assume they’ll save much more water if they wash their car using their hose at home. But did you realize this hose uses around 10 gallons of water per minute? That means even for a relatively quick 10-minute wash, you could use 100 gallons of water.

Professional car washes also use lots of water, but here’s the catch: They are regulated and required to recirculate water usage. They also must follow strict water conservation regulations laid out by the state. Not only will you get a better clean at the professional car wash, you’ll be saving water as well.

Water-Saving Fixtures

One great area for water conservation that our plumbers can assist with is installing water-saving fixtures, such as low-flow toilets or water-saving showerheads. Such items can save you dozens or even hundreds of gallons of water per month.

Water Heater Service

Is your water heater regularly taking minutes at a time to heat up for showers or other warm water needs? This is simply wasting water, and a recently-serviced water heater will not have these same issues. If your water heater is very old, you might even consider upgrading to a modern option.

For more on how to conserve water in your home and various plumbing areas, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Common Causes of Furnace Short Cycling Issues, Part 2

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the common culprits associated with furnace short-cycling. Furnace short-cycling, which involves the furnace turning on and off too frequently and failing to provide adequate heating to the home or building in question, can arise from several different possible causes, and can lead to significant strain on HVAC components in addition to substandard heating.

When you visit the team with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, however, any short-cycling risks will quickly be a thing of the past. We offer detailed furnace repair and maintenance services, and have addressed numerous such concerns for Utah homeowners in our many years as HVAC professionals. In today’s part two, we’ll dig into a few additional potential culprits if you notice short-cycling taking place in your furnace.

causes furnace short cycling

Blockage Issues

We noted overheating as the primary cause of many short-cycling issues in the furnace, and one underlying reason the furnace may overheat is a blockage that stops it from letting the proper heat out. There are a couple such potential blockages to watch out for:

  • Heat grates: If too many vents in your home are closed, or if there are blockages somewhere near the heat grates themselves, the furnace will not be able to send heat to enough places. This will build up heat inside the furnace, leading to overheating. Check to ensure at least three-quarters of your grates are open and not blocked by furniture or any other items.
  • Exhaust vent: In other cases, your exhaust vent may be blocked by animals, birds, snow or ice. This stops carbon monoxide from being expelled through the exhaust flue, which can be dangerous while also causing short cycling.

Improper Furnace Size

Another cause of furnace short-cycling actually goes all the way back to installation: If your home has a furnace that’s too large for the space, short cycling may take place. This is because the furnace has too large a capacity and creates more heat than the home needs, leading to overheating.

Thermostat Location

Finally, you may experience furnace short cycling because your thermostat is too close to some kind of warming source, whether a heating grate or the furnace itself. In this situation, the thermostat will think the entire home has reached the proper temperature even in cases where this isn’t true. Luckily, it’s usually simple to relocate the thermostat to a more central location, one that receives an even temperature distribution and is therefore a better representation of the entire home’s temperature at a given moment.

For more on possible reasons for your furnace short cycling, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Common Causes of Furnace Short Cycling Issues, Part 1

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

The last thing any homeowner wants during the cold Utah winter period is a malfunction in their furnace, and one possible such issue is known as short-cycling. Referring to issues with a furnace that is not turning on and off appropriately, short-cycling can be caused by several different possible culprits, and will bring results that range from limited heating capability to major stress on the system that causes it to wear down much faster than usual.

When you visit the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ll provide the kind of furnace repair and upkeep services that prevent short cycling and all other potential issues from taking place within your furnace and overall HVAC system. If you’ve never dealt with short-cycling before, this two-part blog series will dig into what it is and its numerous different potential causes, plus how you can ensure your furnace isn’t at risk of any of these.

causes furnace short cycling

Short Cycling Basics

As we noted above, short cycling is a condition related to the on and off cycles of your HVAC system. When a furnace is short cycling, that means it’s turning on and off far too often, way more frequently than a normal system would be. In many cases, it turns itself on and then off again so quickly that barely any heat is actually provided to the home before it shuts back down. As we also noted, this can lead to not only poor heating and an uncomfortable home, but also major strain on the HVAC components involved that often causes a need for earlier replacement.

Our subsequent sections will dig into the common reasons for short cycling, plus how you can prevent their risks.

Overheating Issues

The most common cause of furnace short cycling, and one that may play a role in certain other sub-causes as well, is the furnace attempting to protect itself from potential damage by turning off ahead of time. When furnaces overheat, they risk cracks in the heat exchanger, which can spread harmful carbon monoxide gas – the furnace is built to protect against this.

For this reason, the key to preventing short cycling is avoiding factors that lead to furnace overheating. The most common such factor is restricted air flow, whether due to poor ventilation or some other cause.

Furnace Filter Clogging

One such potential cause of restricted air flow: An HVAC filter that has gone too long without being changed or cleaned, and is therefore clogged and blocking air from flowing properly. This prevents air from returning into the furnace, which will overheat it and cause it to turn off. Filters should be replaced regularly to avoid this.

Flame Sensor Malfunction

In other cases, the flame sensor or flame rod in your furnace will shut off almost immediately after lighting. This tends to relate to issues in the inducer motor, where flame sensors do not properly register a flame and shut off the gas valve prematurely. Our team will be happy to clean or replace your flame sensor if we discover this is the cause of short cycling.

For more on the potential causes of furnace short cycling, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Factors Influencing Furnace Replacement Costs, Part 2

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the primary factors that will play a role in the price of a new furnace. Furnaces wear down for several reasons, from wear-and-tear to specific damage, and those requiring replacements will want to have an idea of how their costs will break down.

This is just one of many areas we cover when you visit the team with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air. Our furnace installation and replacement services include assisting you from start to finish with this process, including advising you on the best choices for your home and the costs associated with them. In today’s part two, we’ll go over a few more specific factors that will help dictate the final price of your new furnace, including a couple you may not have considered in the past.

factors furnace replacement costs

Furnace Efficiency

One big factor that must be considered here is the efficiency of the furnace, which describes the percentage of energy being used for the furnace that’s actually directly converted into heating power (compared to waste). Furnace efficiency is expressed using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency rating, or AFUE, which tells you how much heat the furnace produces compared to the amount of energy required for this year – the higher the AFUE number, the more efficient the furnace.

As you surely expected, more efficient furnaces are generally a bit more expensive. However, be aware that this higher efficiency will lead to lower operating costs over the life of the equipment, and in many cases this trade-off is well worth it to your eventual bottom line.

Zoned System?

In some homes, a zoned system is in place. This is a setup where multiple thermostats are used rather than a single one, controlling different parts of the home separately from each other and allowing for different comfort ranges by room or area of the home.

Again, zoned systems tend to be on the more expensive side when it comes to the furnace itself – you need one that can stand up to the varying needs throughout the home. But again, the comfort increases and extension of equipment lifespan that often comes with these systems make them a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Rebates, Tax Breaks and Other Incentives

Finally, did you realize that many furnace installations will come with potential financial incentives? These may be immediate or eventual – there are rebates from manufacturers or installers that you’ll usually see quickly, or long-term tax breaks you can often get from the IRS for certain efficient furnaces.

For more on the factors that will go into determining the price of your new furnace, or to learn about any of our heating repair or numerous other services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Possible Sources and Solutions for Black Specks in Water

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

When you work with the plumbers from At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, one of the top areas of service you receive speaks to the quality of your water. We offer numerous related services, from water filters and softeners to water treatment systems and even basic water heater repair or replacement in cases where the primary heater is wearing down.

We help prevent numerous contaminants from entering your water supply, keeping you and your family provided with healthy water at all times. One potential contaminant format that homeowners should always be on the lookout for: Black specks in the water, which is particularly common in older homes or worn-down pipe systems. Let’s look at some of the common sources of black specks in your water, plus the treatment methods you might need to consider if you spot these in your water supply.

sources solutions black specks water

Common Sources of Black Specks in Water

There are a few frequent culprits when it comes to black specks found in water:

  • Corroded water heater: In some cases, the specks you notice will actually be tiny pieces of the inside of your water heater that have broken off due to long-term wear-and-tear. One sign that this is the source could be noticing the specks when you turn on hot water, whether in the tub, shower or sink. In other cases, the water line leading from the water heater to your fixtures could be corroded and leaving the specks in the water. These specks will often remain on the side of your tub or sink even once the water is no longer flowing.
  • Corroded pipes: Another possible area of corrosion is your pipes, especially if they’re older and have been in use for many years. Irregular pieces may break off and wind up in the water. Unlike a corroded water heater, the more common time you’ll notice these kinds of black specks is when you turn on cold water rather than hot.
  • Broken rubber parts: Have you noticed that the black specks are actually slightly rubbery? In this case, they could be disintegrated or broken pieces of a washer, gasket, supply hose or one of the other rubber components used in your system. Rubber breaks down based on disinfectants used in water supplies.

Methods for Removing Black Specks

Luckily, there are several treatment methods that can remove black specks from your water and also prevent them from returning. This depends on the source they come from, with possible solutions including:

If you notice these issues in your water supply at any point, contact the pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air to assist you right away.

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General Tips on HVAC and Optimal Temperature Ranges

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

While HVAC systems cover several specific areas related to air circulation, air quality and overall comfort, perhaps their simplest task is regulating temperature. The furnace keeps you warm during the long winter; the air conditioner keeps cool air flowing during the sweltering Utah summer.

When you work with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, you get a full range of temperature-related expertise, from basic air conditioner and furnace repair and upkeep to quality thermostat service and many other areas in between. Not only will we assist you with maintaining the optimal temperature in your home throughout the year, we can also provide expertise on the proper temperature ranges for several distinct purposes or situations. Here’s a basic primer:

tips hvac optimal temperature

General Temperature Range

On a day-to-day basis, humans are generally comfortable in a relatively wide range of temperatures. We generally recommend keeping the thermostat set between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit – toward the former in the winter, and toward the latter in the summer with energy efficiency in mind.

As you view these ranges, it’s important to remember that thermostat setting isn’t the only factor at play here. During the summer, for instance, you can use fans and window drapes to cool down the home during the day, limiting the strain on your system.

Infants and Babies

If you have any new children in the home, it’s generally best to drop your temperature range just a bit from the above. Babies do best in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees. To get an idea of the ideal number for your child, feel their ears or chest at various temperature settings to track if they feel too hot or too cold.


For owners of traditional home pets, namely dogs and cats, there’s rarely any need to deviate from your day-to-day temperature settings. These animals do just fine within this range, and even within wider ranges in many cases (some homeowners set their thermostat higher or lower when the leave for work, which is usually just fine with dogs or cats at home).

If you have a rarer animal, however, such as a fish, lizard or rodent of any kind, things could vary here. Do some research in advance to find out the specific temperature your species thrives in.

Sleep Temperature

What about at night? Generally speaking, the recommendation here are to lower the temperature range. Research consistently shows that humans sleep best in temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees, mainly because the body’s temperature drops during sleep.

Trips and Vacations

Finally, any prolonged absence from the home is a great opportunity to save some money on heating or cooling costs. If you’re taking a summer trip, you can often shut your thermostat off altogether, or at least set it to a very high number like 85 or 90. During winter, you have to keep the system on just to avoid frozen pipes and related water issues – but you can still lower the temperature to the 50-55 degree range without any issue.

For more on the proper temperature range for various situations, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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How Whole-Home Humidifiers Work and Benefit You

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

As longtime residents of any part of Utah well know, dry climate just comes with the territory when you live in this state. Utah is a desert, meaning moisture is in short supply all over – not just in terms of water for various daily needs, but also in terms of moisture in the air, otherwise known as humidity.

The pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air are well aware of the issues this dryness in the air can cause for many homeowners. For many people, low humidity levels will lead to physical symptoms like a sore throat, dry skin or chapped lips, and these levels also may impact your home itself by cracking floors and furniture or expanding and contracting various wood items.

One excellent solution we’ll offer if this is becoming a concern for you: A whole-home humidifier, which we can both install and maintain as necessary to bring your home back to reasonable humidity ranges and improve everything from comfort to home value. How does this sort of item differ from a standard portable humidifier, and what are the benefits of a whole-home option?

whole-home humidifiers work benefit

Difference Between Single and Whole-Home Humidifiers

A single, or portable, humidifier is one that, as the name suggests, is compact and only meant to provide humidity changes to a single room or area. Most of these options plug directly into a wall outlet, with a removable container you can fill with water that will be converted into steam form and dispersed throughout the room in question, raising the humidity over time.

A whole-home humidifier, on the other hand, does not involve a cord or any removable pieces. Rather, it’s an item that’s installed directly into your HVAC system, connecting to your water supply and allowing you to control the relative humidity of the air in your entire home, top to bottom. When air cycles through your HVAC system, as it does regularly while the system works to heat or cool the home, it’s humidified automatically to the levels you desire.

Benefits of Whole-Home Humidifiers

So what are some of the reasons you might consider a whole-home humidifier? Here are several of their benefits:

  • Breathing quality: For anyone with a respiratory condition like asthma or allergies, or even for those who have occasional breathing concerns, a whole-home humidifier can be a godsend. Many people struggle to breathe properly in low humidity environments, and may see sore throats or related issues more often.
  • Skin and dryness: In addition, better humidity levels will limit the risks of dry skin, chapped lips, and other results of very dry air.
  • Wood floors and furniture: Wood items in the home are also susceptible to cracking, contracting or other damage due to dry climate. A whole-home humidifier helps you attain proper levels and remove these risks.
  • Temperature: Finally, a whole-home humidifier often makes the home feel warmer at a cooler temperature, a big win during cooler parts of the year when you’re looking to warm the space without raising your energy bill.

For more on the benefits of whole-home humidifiers, or to learn about any of our furnace replacement, water heater repair or other HVAC services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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Combining HVAC and Landscaping Areas for Efficiency

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

combining hvac landscaping efficiencySpring is here for Utah homeowners, and that means it’s time to consider a few post-winter HVAC areas to ensure your system is ready to go for the spring and summer. For those who maintain theirs, it’s also an important time of year for landscape design and preparing the property for the growing season.

The pros with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air, though, are here to tell you that this is one period of the year where these two areas might combine briefly. That’s right, our heating and air conditioning pros can offer you some basic expertise on how you can intelligently utilize your landscaping in ways that directly benefit your HVAC system, including saving you major costs on your bill each month. Let’s look at a few themes that are important here.

Natural Shade Options

Are you looking for a way to lower your AC and energy bills in the summer without impacting your comfort or indoor air temperature at all? Your best bet is the natural option available to you: Shade.

Your primary tools here within a landscaping perspective are trees, which can provide major shade and sun cover to huge sections of your property. Many homeowners don’t fully appreciate just how much the sun plays a role in heating your home – simply stopping it from beating down on the outer areas of your house for a few hours a day can save you untold cooling costs, up to 20 percent of your energy bill in many cases. Prioritize tall, broadleaf trees that can reach up to the highest parts of your home, including covering the roof (another major heat transfer area). If possible, look for deciduous options that will show large leaves during the summer but then shed them during the winter, allowing sun to hit the home and assist with your warming needs.

For lower areas of the home, consider shrubs and bushes. These are particularly important for stopping reflected heat, which pings off driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces and shoots into your home. Many homeowners also place shrubs around the AC unit itself to keep it cool and shaded.

Trellis or Pergola

If trees or shrubs are not realistic given your soil or other considerations, or if you simply don’t want to wait for them to grow to the proper sizes, you can consider man-made additions here as well. A trellis or pergola is the perfect choice, an item you can place against the sunniest side of your home to shade it all day long from the sun. For optimal effects, cover this area in vines, leaves or other shade providers.

Water Features

For both ambiance and some cooling effects, consider water features like ponds, waterfalls or others in your landscaping. These will cool an entire yard space by a degree or two at least, making a significant impact on the temperature of air as it reaches your home.

For more on using landscaping to improve your HVAC efficiency, or to learn about any of our heating or cooling services, speak to the staff with At Your Service Plumbing, Heating & Air today.

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