10-Point Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

Spring HVAC Maintenance

10-Point Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

  • Plumbing

10-Point Spring HVAC Maintenance Checklist

It’s time to start thinking about Spring HVAC maintenance. Most folks think about Spring cleaning as a time to get rid of useless stuff you’ve been accumulating over the winter, a time to brush away the cobwebs, and to finally get rid of the dust bunnies hibernating under the couch. It’s also time to start thinking about some other chores that are a crucial part of your Spring cleaning routine such as the need to do a little HVAC maintenance to make sure your heating and cooling systems are running properly and efficiently for those cooler spring days, and soon to come warmer summer weather.

 

A properly running and maintained HVAC system is one of the most important things you as a homeowner must achieve to ensure the comfort of your family and the lowest possible utility bill each season. Many folks don’t think they need to call the HVAC company to come out unless they are having a problem with their system. That is truly not the case. Think of HVAC maintenance as a tune up for your unit. You would not go without tuning up your vehicle, and you should not go without tuning up your  HVAC unit! Why should you have the Spring HVAC maintenance performed on your system? Here’s what might happen if you don’t take care of your HVAC system with regular maintenance:

If You Don’t Have Spring and Fall HVAC Maintenance You Put Yourself at Risk For:

  • Wasting money on utility bills because the system isn’t clean and is forced to work harder
  • Systems may fail just when you need them most if they are not properly maintained
  • Water lines may become clogged causing major damage to your home

Why Spring HVAC Maintenance is Important

The old adage is true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having your HVAC System maintained in the Spring before the hot summer days require it to work hard all day long is imperative to keeping your system in peak condition. Following a scheduled HVAC maintenance routine will not only save you tons of money on utility bills, it will give you peace of mind knowing that your HVAC system will work properly and efficiently when you need it most (cool spring nights and hot summer days.) It is not a good feeling when you need your home to be heated or cooled only to find your system is not working properly. In many cases, these issues can be identified during a preventative maintenance inspection before they become a major issue. Not familiar with what a preventative maintenance visit for your HVAC unit entails? Here are the services performed and a little insight as to the importance of the task at hand.  

Spring HVAC Service Includes:

  • Clean and lubricate indoor HVAC components such as blower fans and coils so that the unit is working efficiently and keeping your utility bills low.
  • Check AC’s refrigerant levels to ensure your AC is blowing cold air. If the technician notices the level is low, this could indicate a possible leak in the system.
  • Changing the air filter during the Spring visit will help your unit run more efficiently and will keep down dust and allergens in your home.
  • Tighten electrical connections as well as inspect the fan blades and motor for damage and normal wear.
  • This is also a great time for the technician to lubricate the parts as needed and inspect safety devices for proper operation.
  • Check the operation of all HVAC units (heating, cooling) to make sure everything is in peak running condition for the upcoming season.
  • Clean out the outdoor unit to remove any leaves, twigs, grass, dirt, etc. that might have gathered during the winter months.
  • Test thermostat for proper operation, calibrate and level to ensure your home is heating and cooling to the right temperature.
  • Most air conditioners have a drainage hole on the base of the cabinet. This hole needs to be kept clear so that the air conditioner works properly. The technician will remove any obstructions during the inspection as he flushes and treats the condensate drain.
  • Inspect ductwork to check for leaks.

 

Ideally, you should have your air conditioning and heating equipment checked before the beginning of a new season. This routine preventative maintenance will help ensure that your system is working properly and ready for the new season of heating or cooling your home. Taking care of this important part of your home is a great way to save money and rest assured that your family will be comfortable no matter what Mother Nature brings.

Call Papalia Home Services today & take care of any plumbing problems before spring arrives!

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By admin

8 Common Plumbing Repairs You May Need Before Spring

plumbing problems before spring

8 Common Plumbing Repairs You May Need Before Spring

  • Plumbing

Plumbing problems happen all the time and the harsh weather conditions from the winter season will only contribute to more problems. The frigid temperatures put your plumbing at risk of freezing, which if left untreated can result in costly damages. Your plumbing requires proper maintenance no matter what time of year, which is why it’s time fix some much-needed plumbing problems before spring comes into bloom.

What Could Potentially Be Wrong with Your Plumbing

Leaks and clogs are common plumbing nuisances that happen at any time, but the problem is that most of them can happen unnoticed until it’s too late. While you may have winterized your plumbing for the worst, plumbing problems before spring arrives can still arise and it’s best to catch them before the snow melts. While winter puts your plumbing at risk of freezing, spring can overwhelm your pipes and sump pump. It’s always better to be proactive versus reactive when it comes to your plumbing. To spare yourself a plumbing catastrophe, here are eight common plumbing repairs you may need before spring.

  • Low water pressure. If you’ve ever experienced a disappointing shower, it’s probably because your plumbing has low water pressure. If water doesn’t gush out of your faucets like it used to, it could be because of a clogged aerator. If cleaning the screens of your faucets does nothing, however, then the issue may have to due with a leak or clog in your plumbing. On rare occasions, low water pressure can also be a sign that’s something is wrong with the main water line. While less pressure may be nothing more than a nuisance, it shouldn’t be ignored, as it often indicates another issue with your plumbing.
  • Slow drains. One of the most common signs of a clog, if you experience slow drains, it’s important to clear the clog immediately. While clogs anytime of the year are problematic, clogs during the winter season can be especially dangerous as it makes your pipes more vulnerable to freezing. Most clogs can be solved with a drain cleaning, but if the slow drain still persists, the issue may be much deeper inside your plumbing. Stubborn clogs usually stem from a damaged sewer line and will require a licensed plumber to repair it.
  • Running toilet. Your toilet is one of the most used water fixtures in the house, and it’s prone to leaking which could cost you in your next water bill. A constantly running toilet is a common, but costly problem. Since there are several culprits for a running toilet, it’s important to have a plumber check the problem right away. Some issues such as a faulty flapper or fill valve, can be an easy fix, other problems, however, will require professional help.
  • Busted garbage disposal. While it may be tempting to put aside the cost of repairing the garbage disposal later, a damaged garbage disposal harm your plumbing. Most culprits for a busted or damaged garbage disposal usually also clog the drain, and are an invitation for unwanted pests like drain flies.
  • Dripping faucets. Often it’s easier to ignore that one annoying dripping faucet, but a dripping faucet wastes water and costs you money. While it’s encouraged to let your faucets drip during the winter season to avoid a freezing, a faucet that drips on its own usually indicates something is wrong with the faucet. Faucets come with a water-tight seal that prevents water from escaping, but over time those can wear down and the result is the notorious annoying drip. Replacing the washer is a common solution for a dripping faucet and is best down by a plumber who has specialized tools.
  • Leaky pipes. Leaks are a problem no matter what time of year, but they can be especially problematic during winter when it’s still below freezing. It’s best to catch a leak as soon as possible as it can lead to costly water damages and mold. Watch for water spots, bubbling paint or discolored wallpaper, and puddles of water. If you smell something foul and musty, call a plumber immediately.
  • Damaged sump pump. Your sump pump is an important appliance that can often be forgotten during the winter season, but it still works to keep your basement flood-free. While you may experience little to no rain before spring, it’s important to inspect your sump pump for damages. Test to see if it works by filling the tank to the top with water. If it doesn’t start immediately, it may be time to schedule a repair.
  • Old water heater. The winter season can put a lot of strain on your water heater, which is why it’s a good idea to inspect your water heater. Over time, mineral deposits can form inside the tank and will require a flush to remove them periodically. Since water heaters require little maintenance, it’s easy to forget about them, but a water heater in need of maintenance can result with a busted tank flooding gallons of water in your basement.

Take Care of Your Plumbing Before the Snow Melts

While you may be counting down the days until spring, it’s best to take some precaution with your plumbing. A clog or leak, if left untreated, can result in costly damages, or worse, a flooded home. Any plumbing problem is best repaired as soon as possible, but some issues are difficult to detect without professional help. If you want to start the spring season right, make sure to schedule one last plumbing inspection before it’s too late.

Call Papalia Home Services today & take care of any plumbing problems before spring arrives!

By admin

7 Common Signs That You Need a Holiday Drain Cleaning

holiday drain cleaning

7 Common Signs That You Need a Holiday Drain Cleaning

  • Plumbing

Clogged drains can be a frustrating nuisance, but having a dirty drain during the holidays could mean bursting pipes in your home. The winter season already puts enough strain on your plumbing, freezing your pipes and wearing down your water heater. No homeowner wants a home flooded from a burst pipe, which is why it’s important to keep your drains clear this holiday season. Here’s our list of signs to watch for that you need a holiday drain cleaning.

When You Should Clean Your Drains

Plumbing problems can be frustrating, and a dirty drain can disrupt your daily activities. It might be tempting to overlook one clogged drain, but a clog left untreated can result in costly damages. Your plumbing is complicated, but you can avoid most plumbing catastrophes by thoroughly cleaning your drains and routine maintenance. The more you clean your drains, the better, as it never hurts to be proactive with your plumbing. Clogs however, can happen despite how often you clean your drains, which is why it’s important to know the warning signs of a dirty drain. To avoid needing holiday drain cleaning here’s what to look for:

  • Water starts to back up. When using the faucet, bathtub, or shower, the water should always drain. Water should never go up your drains, but if you notice after flushing a toilet or running the faucet that water starts to back up versus drain down, it could be a clogged drain.
  • Foul odors. One of the most unpleasant warning signs of a clogged drain is the foul odor of sewage. A drain that’s clogged accumulates all the waste that’s flushed down the drains until the odors come back out the drains. Kitchens with garbage disposal can also be notorious for foul sewage odors, especially when enough food particles build up inside your drains.
  • Odd sounds. Listen carefully to your drains. When a drain is blocked, water is then forced through small spaces or to change course which can result in bubbling or gurgling sounds. If you start to hear odd gurgling sounds from your drain, it’s time to clean your drains. 
  • Frequent clogs. Clogs can be a common plumbing problem, but if they happen often enough, it could be caused from a clogged drain. Some clogs can be resolved with a plunger or drain cleaner, but if you notice the same fixture keeps clogging regardless, you’ll need a plumber to professionally clean your drains.
  • Multiple clogs at the same time. Not all clogs require calling in a plumber, but multiple clogs at once is problematic. If you notice multiple different fixtures have clogged all at once, it means there is a clog deeper inside your sewer line and requires a professional drain cleaning.
  • Slow drains. A slow drain is one of the most common signs of a clogged drain, as no water fixture should have a slow drain. Watch your sinks and water appliances. If you notice it takes more time than usual to drain the sink or your washer or dishwasher is still full after the cycle, it’s time to clean your drains.
  • Fruit or drain flies. Any buildup of food or waste inside your drains will attract flies. Tiny fruit flies are more than just an annoying pest; they can become a health risk, and are usually attracted to the scent of a clogged drain. Drains flies are another pest to watch out for, as they like to breed in drains and sewer lines. If your home has some clogged drains, you might start to notice drain flies buzzing in your bathroom.

How to Clean Your Drains and Keep Them Clogged Free

Knowing when to clean your drains is a good place to start, but it’s best to start habits that keep your drains clean and prevent future clogs. A clogged drain left untreated can result in costly plumbing problems, but luckily they can be avoided with proper care and cleaning practices. Here’s what you can do to keep your drains clean this holiday season.

  • Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Although chemical drain cleaners can be an easy and instant fix for some clogs, they’re incredibly toxic and eat at your pipes over time. There are several non-toxic drain cleaners available such as vinegar and baking soda, which work naturally well to eliminate odors and flush down any stuck waste.
  • Avoid flushing down food waste. Garbage disposals are great if you have them, but contrary to what you might think, it’s to flush down as little food waste as possible. Most foods will clog your drains and break down the blades. Kitchen sinks without a garbage disposal are even less equipped to handle any food waste that goes down the drain. Do your best to avoid flushing food down by scraping and rinsing your plates. Avoid flushing down fats, greases, and oils, as well as starchy foods.
  • Use drain strainers. It’s not just food waste that clogs your drains, but hair, soap scum, and other random debris, which is why it helps to place drain strainers on top of your drains. Make sure to periodically clean out your drain strainers so that your drains can drain properly.

Keep Your Holidays Fun and Festive with Clean Drains

A clog can be a frustrating, if not common plumbing problem, but the winter season adds the additional threat of your pipes freezing. No homeowner wants a flooded home in the dead of winter, that’s why it’s important to keep your drains clean and clear this holiday season. Not all clogs, however, can be cleaned yourself, and that’s where the professionals come in. Papalia can treat your drains and guarantee your holidays stay dry and happy. Don’t wait until you smell sewage, call a Papalia Plumbing today for holiday drain cleaning!

By admin

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

  • Heating
  • Plumbing

Hot water is essential to your well-being and your health. And during the holidays, you need it for everything from cleaning pots and pans after a festive meal to taking a long, luxurious bath once all your guests have gone home again. But if your boiler is not working properly, then your life suddenly becomes a whole lot less comfortable. That’s why we’ve put together a list of boiler maintenance tips for the holidays:

  • Check the gas light. The gas light should burn a steady blue. If it’s yellow or some other color or if you notice soot marks around it, then it’s a sign there’s something wrong with the combustion. Call a professional immediately instead of trying to fix it yourself.
  • Remove any clutter. You need to maintain at least two feet of clearance around the appliance at all times. During the holidays, this can be more challenging, especially if you’re looking for extra storage for gifts, decoration boxes or other holiday-related items. Nevertheless, since this is about safety, you still need to keep the boiler free of clutter.
  • Perform a visual inspection. Inspect all sides of the appliance for dings, dents or leaks. If you notice serious damage, corrosion, or a leak, you’ll need to get it fixed. You should also carefully check the valves and pipes for leaks or other damage.
  • Make sure the boiler has the right pressure. While your boiler is properly calibrated for the correct pressure when it’s first installed, it will lose pressure over time. This is completely normal, so there’s no need to worry. However, you do need to maintain correct pressure. The best way to go about doing this is to review the manufacturer’s manual for the correct pressure and follow the instructions on how to adjust it.

More Advice for Safe Boiler Ownership

In addition to these tips, you need to keep your and your family’s safety top of mind. When a boiler malfunctions, it can release carbon monoxide — an odorless, clear and tasteless gas that can be fatal for people and pets. Because it’s basically impossible for humans to detect, you need to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detection system installed. It’s the only way to guarantee you and your family will be alerted in time in the unfortunate event of a carbon monoxide leak due to a malfunctioning boiler. 

Finally, even if you’re good at maintaining your boiler yourself, you should also schedule annual tune-ups by a professional technician. He or she can perform a good cleaning of all the appliance’s parts, check to make sure they’re in good working order and replace any that aren’t. Your technician will also advise you about your options when it’s time to replace your current boiler. 

Call Papalia Home Services Today!

If you need boiler service after reading our boiler maintenance tips for the holidays then contact Papalia Home Services today and keep you house warm through the season!

 

By admin

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

  • Plumbing

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

The winter season is almost here, which means it’s time to prepare your home for the snow and frigid temperatures. You’ve insulated your plumbing, cleared your gutters, and prepped the standby generator, but there’s one appliance you can’t forget. Just like the furnace, homeowners will rely on their gas water heater during the winter season, but your gas water heater is just as strained from use due to the drop in temperature. Proper maintenance for your gas water heater not only ensures you can enjoy heated water throughout the holiday season, it prevents a plumbing catastrophe. Check out our winter guide to gas hot water heater maintenance now!

How You Can Prepare Your Gas Water Heater this Winter

A damaged gas water heater poses a lot of problems beyond the frustration of a lack of hot water. Over time and use, your gas water heater can wear down, especially for homes that run on hard water. Pipes can rust and contaminate your drinking and bathing water, a leak can cause costly water damage, and even worse, your gas water heater tank can explode. Luckily with proper maintenance, you can enjoy your heated water without a plumbing catastrophe. Here’s how you can stay warm and dry this winter season.

  • Flush your gas water heater. Your water heater works the hardest during the winter season, and over time mineral deposits can settle at the bottom of the tank and break down the water heater. Mineral deposits prevent your gas water heater from operating efficiently and it can clog your water lines. That’s why it’s important to flush your gas water heater at least twice a year to clean out the mineral deposits.
  • Check the pressure valve. Your gas water heater has a pressure valve called the TPR valve that releases pressure whenever the tank becomes over pressured. To test your TPR valve, life the trip lever on the valve and release it again. You should see some water exit or hear a faint hint of air exiting the valve. If you don’t see anything exit the valve or water just keeps flowing out, you might need to replace the TPR valve. It’s a good idea to check your gas water heater’s pressure valve every six months to check for clogs or leaks.
  • Check the filters. Some gas water heaters have a filter to catch any problematic debris. Your water heater works best when it’s clear and clean of sediment and debris, which is why it’s important to routinely clean or replace your filters if your gas water heater has one.
  • Inspect the thermostat. Some heating problems aren’t caused by the appliances themselves, but a malfunctioning thermostat. A functional thermostat is important for all your heating appliances, as it prevents your gas water heater from overworking itself to keep up with inconsistent temperature settings.
  • Check the anode rod. The anode rod is another important component of your gas water heater that works to capture any corrosive material in the water. Your gas water heater tank is susceptible to rust and corrosion, which is why it’s important to occasionally check the anode rod. Watch for any calcium deposits, missing parts, or if the rod itself has dissolved to less than half inch thick. Anode rods can last up to 5-10 years, but they can last longer if routinely cleaned.
  • Adjust the temperature. The winter season makes it difficult to be energy efficient, especially when you heavily rely on your heating appliances. Adjusting the temperature setting on your gas water heater, however, can save in energy costs and prevents your gas water heater from overheating.
  • Insulate your tank and pipes. Just like the rest of your plumbing this winter season, a little insulation can go a long way. Covering the tank and attached pipes with an insulated material can help to keep the hot water in the pipes warmer for an extended period of time.
  • Clean out air intake and exhaust vents. Like your furnace, your gas water heater needs proper ventilation in order to function. Snow is a common issue for your gas water heater’s air intake and exhaust vents during the winter season. Snow and other debris can clog inside the vents and cause damages to your gas water heater. Fencing off snow and installing a metal mesh to keep pests out helps to keep your vents clear and water heater running efficiently.

Stay Warm this Winter by Taking Care of Your Gas Water Heater

A home with a damaged gas water heater makes for a miserable holiday season. A poorly maintained gas water heater is more than a nuisance, but a costly plumbing problem. Luckily you can stay warm and dry thing winter with routine maintenance. Proper maintenance however, can only help so much; sometimes you’ll need professional help. A licensed plumber can help guarantee your gas water heater is fully functional and prepared for the incoming winter season. Don’t wait until there’s water in the basement, call a Papalia Home Services Today.

Follow our winter guide to gas water heater maintenance and don’t lose your hot water when it’s cold out. Call Papalia Home Services Today!

By admin

A Homeowners Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

kitchen sink drain

A Homeowners Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

  • Plumbing

As a responsible homeowner, you probably know that it’s equally crucial to keep those parts of your home that you can’t see in just as good a shape as the parts that are visible. One of those important parts that you can’t see is your plumbing system. If you don’t properly maintain it, all sorts of issues can occur, ranging from leaking pipes and clogged sewer lines to sediment buildup and blocked drains. One of the most important things you can do to prevent some of these issues from occurring is to keep your kitchen and bath drains in good working order. Here’s what you need to know.

Keeping Your Kitchen Drain in Good Shape

If you’re like most households, you make heavy use of your kitchen drain. You use it to wash your hands, wash dishes, and do food preparation. You might even have a garbage disposal you use to get rid of organic cooking waste. However, this heavy use can easily clog up the drain over time.

To prevent this from happening, you should avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain. Instead, you can dispose of this by pouring it into a bottle and throwing it away. Also, don’t throw any food waste down the drain unless you run the garbage disposal, and never throw anything made of metal, glass, or plastic into the drain.

In addition, you should clean the drain around once every two weeks. You can do this with a simple, homemade drain cleaning solution. Boil a kettle of water and pour it into the drain. Then pour in half a cup of baking soda and let it work for about 5 minutes. Next, mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of hot water and pour it into the drain. Cover the drain with the plug, and wait for five to 10 minutes. Finally, flush the drain with another kettle of boiling water. To clean your garbage disposal, you can fill it with ice cubes, cover it, and run it for a couple of minutes. The friction from the ice cubes will remove any grease and sediment buildup. Then rinse the drain with boiling water.

How to Keep Your Bath Drain in Good Working Order

Your bath drain might not be as heavily used as your kitchen drain, but it can still get clogged, especially due to hair and soap. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning it once a week. If you have a bath drain with a stop, remove the stop and clean it. Then use the same method as above to clean out the drain itself. You can also use a commercial drain cleaner, but be sure to wear protective gloves and follow the instructions to the letter.

Of course, it’s always possible that despite your best efforts, you can experience a clogged drain or other issues. If you can’t resolve the issue yourself, you’re best advised to call Papalia Home Services as soon as possible. Remember: Paying a little bit of money for some repairs right now can save you a lot of hassle and expenses instead of waiting until the issue gets out of hand!

If you are experiencing drain problems in your home, call Papalia Home Services today! 

By Dan Burrows