What is “PEX” tubing?
It is a type of piping used for domestic water piping and hot water heating systems. PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material. It is flexible, making it easy to install and service. PEX is able to withstand the high and low temperatures found in plumbing and heating applications, and is highly resistant to chemicals found in the plumbing environment. Flexible piping is quieter than rigid piping. The smooth interior will not corrode like galvanized piping will. PEX is also very freeze-break resistant. PEX systems have fewer joints and are easier to install providing a lower cost installation over traditional plumbing materials.
What is an “Anode Rod”?
The anode rod is an aluminum or magnesium rod in a gas water heater tank. Its purpose is to protect against corrosion of the tank. As the anode reacts with substances in the water, it undergoes an electrochemical reaction and draws corrosion to itself rather than to the glass lined metal tank. It dissolves slowly in order to protect the metal tank. Anode rods generally last about five years but it depends primarily on the quality of your water and how much water travels through your water heater. When sodium is added to the water (such as when a water softener is used), anode rods can corrode more quickly. Water softeners can help reduce sediment, but anodes can corrode in as little as six months if the water is over-softened.
Is there anything that can be done to remedy low water pressure and clogged pipe issues?
Replacement of old galvanized plumbing pipes will usually remedy these problems. Galvanized pipes typically deteriorate on the inside causing debris to clog lines and slow the flow of water, resulting in poor water pressure and slow draining pipes. PEX tubing or copper tubing would be used to replace the galvanized pipes.
Why is ice forming at the top of my chimney?
Do I need to be concerned about this?
Flue temperatures are much lower with a high efficiency furnace. The moisture in the flue gases will condense quicker causing the ice build-up. There is no reason for concern with a properly installed vent and chimney. The moisture will be diverted from entering the furnace or water heater.
Is electric radiant heating a possibility in my home?
Yes, there are various methods available including heating cables, woven mats and metal mesh. Once you have experienced radiant floor heating, it is difficult to imagine being without it. There’s no blowing air, you are simply surrounded in comfort. As outside temperatures drop, floors become warmer, providing heat and enveloping the room in comfort. Electric heat is 100% efficient because all of the energy is used to generate heat. Radiant heat creates warmth from the ground up, and that will physically and mentally make people in the room more comfortable.
What factors should I consider when deciding if I should purchase high efficiency heating equipment?
Whether or not spending the extra money for high efficiency equipment is a good investment depends on three factors: how long you plan to live in your home (to get payback of the investment), the cost of energy to run your furnace/boiler, and how much your furnace/boiler is used on a yearly basis. With the rising cost of natural gas and other energy sources, one can justify the investment in a high-efficiency furnace or boiler. The other factor to consider is venting. If your home has no chimney or there are other venting limitations, a high efficiency furnace/boiler may be the best choice. High efficiency furnaces/boilers generate much less waste gas than mid-efficiency equipment. High-efficiency furnaces and boilers can be vented using plastic venting systems and can be vented from the side of a home, so they can be installed in homes that do not have enough ventilation to support a mid-efficiency furnace.
Does the refrigerant in my air conditioner need to be changed?
No, it does not need to be changed. The refrigerant is good for the life of the system.
How often does my air conditioner need refrigerant added?
Never, unless your system has a leak, the refrigerant should remain in the system. If there is a leak, it should be detected and sealed prior to recharging the system.
What are R22 and R-410A and what is the difference between them?
They are refrigerants used in air conditioning equipment. R-410A is the new refrigerant and does not contribute to ozone depletion. R-410A is a more efficient refrigerant which can help to reduce the overall energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. After 2010, R-22 can still be produced for use in servicing existing equipment, but it cannot be used in new equipment. By January 1, 2020, R-22 can no longer be produced. One important thing a homeowner can do for the environment, regardless of the refrigerant used, is to select a reputable dealer that employs service technicians who are EPA-certified to handle refrigerants. Technicians often call this certification "Section 608 certification," referring to the part of the Clean Air Act that requires minimizing releases of ozone-depleting chemicals from HVAC equipment.
Why do some lights and outlets in my home work and others don’t?
There may be a fuse or breaker that isn’t in the “on” position or the fuse or breaker may need to be replaced. There may be a broken or loose wire causing the circuit to not be complete.
Do lighting dimmers save energy?
Yes. Lighting accounts for almost 20% of the average homes electricity bill. Dimming reduces energy consumption and extends bulb life. Dimmers also offer more lighting level options than just “on” or “off”.
Do I need to have a carbon monoxide detector in my home?
The Minnesota Legislature passed a new carbon monoxide law in 2006. Effective August 1, 2008, all existing single family homes are required to be equipped with an approved carbon monoxide alarm. An alarm is required to be installed within 10 feet of each bedroom. If bedrooms are located on separate floors, additional carbon monoxide alarms would be required. Further information is available at www.fire.state.mn.us
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
What maintenance is required on my bath fan?
The vent cover and fan blade assembly should be cleaned at least twice per year. This will keep air circulation at top efficiency and may even quiet the operation of the fan as well as helping to prolong the life of the fan.
What is a MERV rating?
MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is a method of measuring the efficiency of air filtration products. The MERV rating of a filter describes the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating (on a scale of 1 to 16), the smaller the holes in the filter, the better the filtration.
Does my home have an air quality issue?
These are some of the common indications of indoor air quality problems in homes:
- Family members often sneeze, feel lethargic, or have dry skin
- Air fresheners or scented candles are used to improve the smell in the home
- Excessive dust
- Some rooms feel hot or cold when the rest of the home feels comfortable
- Moisture on windows
- A musty smell in the home
- In-room air cleaners are in use in the home
Is there a way to test the quality of the air in my home?
Yes, we can test the air quality in your home by placing a monitor that collects data on the conditions in your home including temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter. You will receive a report to assist you in making decisions to improve your home’s air quality. For more information, go to Air Quality or give us a call.
Why should I have yearly Preventative Maintenance on my heating, cooling and indoor air quality system?
Regular maintenance by a factory authorized dealer is necessary to keep the manufacturer’s warranty valid. A system that is properly maintained overtime is key to achieving maximum savings in utility costs and it will help your system to last longer. Small problems may be found and fixed before they become big problems that may be expensive to repair.
What do the lights on my equipment mean?
These are LED lights on the control board that signal the status of the system and provide diagnostic codes. A qualified, trained technician uses the codes to diagnose problems with the system.
Should I invest in a programmable thermostat?
A programmable thermostat can save you money on your utility bill - up to 33%, if used as directed. A programmable thermostat automates temperature setbacks while you are away from home or asleep (those time periods when optimum comfort is not needed). Your heating and cooling equipment runs less. Plus, your heating or cooling comes back to a comfort level automatically when you come home or wake up.
What does “Green” mean as it relates to heating, cooling, air quality, plumbing and electrical and how does it affect us?
When it comes to mechanical systems, "Green" means maximizing the energy efficiency of existing equipment, choosing the most efficient systems available for the application and the available budget, using renewable and sustainable fuel sources, and conserving water.
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