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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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!

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10 Warning Signs of Drain And Sewer Problems

drain and sewer problems

10 Warning Signs of Drain And Sewer Problems

  • Drain & Sewer

Although maintaining a fully functioning drain system is a vital element to the upkeep of any home, this luxury is often taken for granted. Indeed, the literal lifeblood of any home, although most people discount the vitality of maintaining a functioning drain system, its importance becomes evident just moments after it begins to malfunction. Rather than waiting until you are forced to endure mishaps such as leaking, frequent clogging, and more, the following is an overview of 10 warning signs that you have a drain and sewer problems.

1. Water Flooding in the Basement

One of the top tell-tale signs of a drainage problem is spotting standing water in your basement. Given that this is the lowest point of your home, it should come to no surprise that waters from things such as overflowing gutters or a fluctuating water table would convene here. 

2. Strange Gurgling Noises Coming from Drain

Your drain/ sewer system should be virtually noise-free. Although there are certainly some exceptions, for the most part, you should not be able to hear what’s going on in your drainage system. If you hear strange gurgling noises coming from your system, this is a sign of some sort of blockage that should be addressed immediately.

3. Foul Odor Coming from Fixture Drains

In addition to that, if you smell any unexplained, unpleasant odors coming from your drain system, this is also a sign of an issue. You should never be able to smell things such as raw sewage assuming your day-to-day activities. If you notice a foul smell that can be likened to that of raw sewage, you may want to contact a plumbing professional as soon as possible. 

4. Home Came with Older Drainage System

Moreover, as with all elements of the home, your drainage system is subject to regular wear and tear. Perhaps, more so than most other elements of your home, your drainage system is one of the most often used parts of your home. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that having a home with an older drainage system would be subject to occasional to frequent malfunctions. 

5. Unexplained Spike in Water Costs 

When your water bill suddenly has an unexplained increase, there may also be an indication of a drain issue. This is largely due to the fact that sewage system issues are related to things such as leaks and frequent clogs, each of which tends to waste an excess of water which causes an increase in your monthly fees.

6. Poor Water Quality

Has there been a deterioration in terms of your quality of water? This is a serious sign that you should have your drain system checked immediately. Having drain problems can wreak havoc on your entire water supply by introducing an array of toxic materials and other potentially harmful contaminants. If you notice you water supply appears to be cloudy in nature, that it has a foul odor or anything else you feel is a cause for concern, contact a plumbing professional and have your drain system checked immediately. 

7. Low Water Pressure

If you have noticed that the pressure coming from your sink, bath, or toilet, you should definitely have your system checked. Many systems succumb to things such as tree roots or even feminine hygiene products, among other things. Once your system is sufficiently clogged, you will need a professional to remove the obstruction and get your system back in working order. 

8. Multiple Clogged Fixtures 

Although every drain system is subject to an occasional clog, if you have multiple fixtures in your home all clogged at the same time this is a cause for concern. Given that sewage systems tend to get clogged in the most unreachable places, if your drains seem to be moving more slowly than usual, you may have a massive clog in an unseen area of your home.

9. Slow Drainage

Furthermore, even if your system isn’t actually clogged and is just moving more slowly than usual, this is also a warning sign. In addition to potentially being clogged, your system may just begin to become more sluggish as things cease to work as sufficiently as they once did. 

10. Frequent Overflowing of Toilet

Lastly, if your toilet overflows frequently, this can be a massive sign that you need to have your drain system replaced. Indeed, while a well-functioning drainage system does not typically have such issues, a drainage system with issues with having sporadic issues in regards to the random rising and falling of toilet water levels and more. 

Overall, if you do not pay close attention to the early warning signs of drain and sewer problems, you may end up paying dearly in the end. Not only will you be forced to endure hours, days, or even weeks without a properly functioning drainage system, but you will also put your home at risk for water damage, spikes in service fees and much more. 

If you’re home is suffering from drain and sewer problems, then its time to schedule service with Papalia today!

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!

 

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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!

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10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

  • Heating

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

The summer is fast fading and when that happens we know what to expect – shorter days and cooler nights.  If you are a homeowner who lives in a snowy climate, chances are you will be checking your furnace for proper performance.  Now would be a good time to troubleshoot it or you may not have heat during the fall and winter. A furnace that hasn’t been tuned up will run you into high energy costs, not to mention the price you must pay for maintenance or repairs. Getting it done now will give you peace of mind, ensure that you have reliable heat for the winter and save you the risk of replacement later, or having to worry about repair costs.  Here are 10 warning signs that a furnace replacement is imminent.

1. Your Furnace Sounds Like a Monster

No furnace is completely soundless, but if it is making noises like a hungry tiger on the prowl for food -groaning, whining, banging – repair may include replacing a loose belt, priming the ignition, or finding the correct component to replace it with.  Troubleshooting as soon as you hear those noises and you will be on your way to to quickly remedying the situation.

2. Turning Up the Thermostat Doesn’t Do the Job Anymore

Your natural reaction to feeling cold is to turn up your thermostat to a temperature where you feel comfortable again.  Lately, however, this just doesn’t work anymore. Now you won’t have the proper heat during the cold season months.  This suggests that the thermostat may be on the blink, or your ducts might be leaking.  For constant, reliable heat, call in a specialist to see if the problem is your thermostat and he will suggest a replacement.

3. Your Electric Bill Skyrocketed

When you’re paying more than you normally do for electricity it means your furnace isn’t working properly.  Rather than doing guesswork , it is best to call a specialist in so that they can remedy the problem.

4. Yellow Pilot Signal

If you notice that the pilot light on your furnace is glowing yellow you probably think everything is alright. This is just as big a warning as the yellow traffic signs on street corners.  A yellow light indicates that the gas balance of your furnace is not in good condition.  What you want is for the flame to be blue, which means that the gases are perfectly balanced.  Yellow means that carbon monoxide is being emitted, which is dangerous, and lethal to you and your family.

5. You Have Difficulty Starting and Keeping Your Furnace On

This is a sure sign that you need furnace repairs.  Problems can range from improper wiring, a broken fan motor or getting a new pilot light.  Most furnace repair companies will provide easy financing provided you catch the problem before it becomes too severe.

6. Your Family is Experiencing Respiratory Problems

When your furnace needs fixing you may notice that it is linked to frequent problems with breathing such as asthma and chest related illnesses.  A system that doesn’t work properly pours dust, mold and other pathogens in the air which circulate in your home. Diminished air quality is an incentive for getting your furnace fixed as soon as possible.

7. Hot and Cold Spots

If you constantly feel a draft while your furnace is on it means that it is no longer strong enough to heat your entire home.  If you find ice forming on your roof this may indicate that the heat from your house is escaping through the attic rather than keeping place in the living section where it is supposed to be.  Getting your furnace tuned-up will provide greater efficiency by getting rid of those cold and hot spots.

8. Air Condensation

You may not need furnace repairs for condensation, but if it keeps up it could mean you’ll be making constant calls for checkups that could lead to a higher risk of replacement. It is best to only allow two minor furnace issues occur in succession before you call for a maintenance person.  

9. Your Furnace is a Dinosaur

The average furnace last between 10 to 20 years with a good unit lasting into the upper level of that range. If you have had your furnace for over 15 years, now is a good time to begin looking for a new one.  A new furnace gives constant, reliable heat, eliminates repair costs and maintenance visits.

10. Your Furnace Gives Off an Unusual Odor

Your furnace is only supposed to have the scent of fresh gas or oil if you are using it for the first time of the season.  If after several consecutive uses, there is still a strange smell during your generator use, then something isn’t normal. Contact a specialist right away to diagnose the problem.  Strange odors are more serious than you might think.  Not only does it mean your unit is not functioning properly, but it also poses safety hazards to your environment.

Call Papalia Home Services today if you check any of our 10 warning signs that a furnace replacement is imminent!

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