Hiram Water Heater Guide: What You Need to Know About Water Heater Leaks

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

A leak in your Hiram home’s water heater can be a big or small problem depending on where the leak is, how severe it is and whether it requires repair or replacement. Here are some things you should know about water heater leaks that will help you determine who to call and how to act.

Where Is the Leak?

Step one is to determine where the water is coming from. Look for leaks around the fittings and valves attached to the device. If one of them is loose or if you see water dripping from a connection, it can probably be fixed relatively easily. However, if the leak is coming from the body of the water heater, you may have a ruptured tank which is a sure sign of a bad water heater that needs to be replaced.

Draining Your Tank

Once you identify the leak, turn off the water supply to the tank and prepare to drain it the rest of the way. You should also disconnect the power from the device. If the water heater is gas, I recommend you call a professional who is certified to work on gas appliances. For electric water heaters, you may still want a professional, but the next step here is to simply turn off the breaker to stop electricity from flowing to the device.

Drain the tank next, using the bucket to capture the water as it is released. If you have a floor drain and can angle the tank over the drain, go ahead and do that now. Once the tank is empty, it is time to tighten your fittings.

Fixing the Problem

Assuming this is a fittings or valve problem, loosen any fittings that appeared to have leaked, repair the plumbing thread and retape the pipes, finally tightening the fittings back into place. The pressure valve may need to be replaced as well – do this now if it is necessary.

Before reapplying the electricity to the water heater, reattach the water supply and turn it on to check for leaks. If it holds water, you are lucky and your water heater’s tank isn’t leaking. Reattach everything and turn it back on.

If you notice the leak continues, you should call Cool Air Mechanical as it is likely the glass inside your tank has cracked or is leaking. Most of the time, this cannot be repaired and means you need a new water heater installed.

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Hiram HVAC Contractor Guide: The Goal of Indoor Air Quality Testing

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

If you are concerned about the air quality in your Hiram home, the first step is thorough testing for allergens, pollutants and other potentially harmful irritants in your air. But, what type of testing do you need and how should you order it? Here is a breakdown of what you can test for and why those tests are so important.

Mold Testing

If you suspect mold or recently moved into a new home that had water damage in the past, seriously consider mold testing. While the process is relatively extensive, the benefits are numerous. Most testing involves checking every potential surface and inlet for water sources and mold spores in your home. Dozens of samples are taken and tested in a lab for traces of mold and specific write ups are made of any areas affected by mold so treatment can be done.

Asbestos

Asbestos is most common in old insulation in walls, attics, basements or around pipes. Testing can be done to check if asbestos is present and if it is, the old insulation can be wrapped to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to your family’s health.

Duct Work

One of the most common problems you will find in a home that hasn’t been tested for indoor air quality problems is the ductwork. Dirty ducts can be filled with debris, dust, mold, droppings and dozens of other things that you continuously breathe day after day. Testing involves video inspection and measurement for common allergens and pollutants.

General Pollutants

There are a number of other pollutants that can build up in your home. From lead paint flakes in the air to common allergens like dust, pollen and dander floating freely in your ductwork, pollutants build up over time and need not only to be tested for but removed. Smoke from cigarettes or outdoor pollutants can also be removed from your Hiram home after successful testing with the right air cleaning technology.

A good indoor air quality test will measure the levels of each of these contaminants and provide a clear breakdown of how to go about removing them.

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Question from Hiram: What is Refrigerant Pressure and Why Does it Matter?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Refrigerant is often called the “lifeblood” of mechanical cooling devices like refrigerators, heat pumps, and air conditioners, all equipment you probably have in your Hiram home.  The main function of refrigerant is to transfer heat through a closed loop system. Various heating and cooling (HVAC) components require different operating pressures to move refrigerant and process the “refrigeration cycle.”

In a nutshell, the refrigeration cycle involves refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a vapor and back to a liquid again by the addition of pressure and heat. In a refrigeration system, pressurized refrigerant passed through an expansion valve into an evaporator and pressure is reduced. The evaporator is a tube which passes by the area to be cooled. When the pressure drops, this liquid refrigerant changes into a vapor, which absorbs vaporized heat from the area around the evaporator. After the heat is absorbed by the refrigerant, it flows to a condenser, where it passes over coils, absorbs heat from the hot vapor, and condenses back into a liquid. The liquid is returned to the compressor and the cycle begins again.

Today’s refrigerants – especially those used in residential applications – are broken down into two different types, labeled R-22 and R-410A. R-22 is made up of a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) chemical, which has been found to be damaging to the Earth’s ozone layer. It has been replaced by R-410A, which is made up of a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) chemical and will eventually be phased out by the year 2020. One of the biggest differences between the two are their operating temperatures. HFCs operate at much higher refrigerant pressure.

You don’t have to understand the refrigeration cycle to know that today’s high-pressure HFC refrigerants require different test instrumentation and retrofitted or upgraded mechanical equipment. The change in operating pressure is a small price to pay for a safer cleaner environment.

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Hapeville Heating Contractor Tip: Signs of an Undersized Furnace

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

If you’re purchasing a new furnace for your Hapeville home, you want to avoid buying one that is undersized for your particular space. To do that, here are some common signs that the furnace isn’t powerful enough for the heating needs of your home. These signs might appear for an older furnace as well, especially as it ages and loses its ability to provide adequate heat for your home.

Maintaining Temperature

The most common (and in many cases only) sign that your furnace is undersized is that the device simply doesn’t maintain the temperature in your home properly. This means that when turned on to full and left for a few hours, your furnace doesn’t heat your home to the thermostat setting.

This can be due to an improper load calculation or a load calculation that wasn’t taken at all. The perfectly sized furnace will heat your home evenly on the coldest day your area is likely to have. So, undersizing should be pretty evident – if it doesn’t heat your home evenly and it’s not exceptionally cold outside, you might not have enough BTUs under the hood.

How to Fix the Problem

The problem is one that varies depending on the severity of the undersizing. Modern furnaces are often available with two stages, meaning they can operate at both a low BTU rating (often around 40K or so) and a higher BTU rating (70K or higher). This is the perfect solution for homeowners worried about undersizing because it ensures that your home always has enough heat in reserve should the weather get exceptionally cold.

For example, most furnaces are sized for extremely low temperatures, but if the temperature jumps up to 50 degrees F outside, your furnace is now oversized for that weather. A two stage furnace offers solutions for both common conditions and extreme conditions and will resolve most of the concern you have about undersizing and not having enough heat to offset outdoor temperatures.

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