Don’t Be a “Jimmy Rig” Plumbing Expert

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Doing plumbing fixes on your own can many times lead to more problems. You may have performed simple plumbing tasks like fixing a leaking faucet- but this does not qualify you to do bigger plumbing jobs. Bigger plumbing issues should be performed by a certified and highly-trained plumber.

Plumbing projects you shouldn’t Jimmy Rig

  • Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom. Rooms without plumbing are a lot easier to renovate than rooms with. To ensure that you and your home are safe during a kitchen or bathroom remodel, hire a plumbing contractor. They will be more familiar with building codes and permits; and will be more prepared if/when complications arise.
  • Installing a major appliance. Water heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines all require a plumbing hook up. To make sure that they are installed correctly, leave it to the expert.
  • Leaking pipes. Tightening up the pipe yourself might be for your first impulse; but an incorrect repair on a leaky pipe would not only result in continuous water loss, it can become hazardous to the environment. Mold starts to grow as the water leaks and household surfaces get moisture residue.

 

Plumbing projects you can DIY

  • Replacing a faucet. Many times, when you move into a new house, one of your first projects is to replace outdated faucets. This is a relatively easy project. A new faucet can be purchased at any hardware store, and some even come with directions.
  • Changing the hose of your washing machine. The hose of modern washing machines is susceptible to bursting, and that could lead to a flooded basement or home. These should get replaced every 5 years. If you’re feeling confident, this is something you can do yourself.
  • Unclogging a drain. Whether it’s hair in the shower, food in the kitchen sink or a full toilet; there are items you can purchase to unclog your drain. If your first few attempts fail, you are most likely dealing with a bigger issue and it’s time to call a professional.

 

Trying to be a Jimmy Rig expert may be your initial reaction, but you need to think again. Ask yourself – Are you confident enough to fix the problem? Do you understand anything about plumbing? If not, don’t attempt to fix the plumbing problem. Call American Air instead and you get the assurance of having a qualified plumber to fix your plumbing problems.

The 411 on Geothermal Heating & Cooling

geothermal heating and coolingHeating and cooling comprise almost 50% of your home’s total energy costs. This is a big chunk of your monthly utility bills, and a big chunk of your carbon footprint! If you’re building a home and would like to make it green and energy-efficient, consider hiring American Air to install a geothermal system.

How do Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems Work?

Geothermal systems utilize the natural temperature of the soil to heat and cool your home. The soil is cooler than the air above it during summer while it is warmer during winter. Depending on your area, the actual soil temperatures range from 450 to 750. Geothermal systems use the heat coming from the ground to heat and cool your home. A series of pipes are placed underground around your home. This underground system of pipes, known as the ground heat exchanger, is attached to a heat pump inside your home.

The system absorbs the water during summer and cools it before transferring into your home for air conditioning. Alternatively, water is absorbed and heated from the soil and transferred to your home through the ground heat exchanger heat during the cold seasons.

The ground heat exchanger should be installed during the early phase of your home construction, as it is a big project that involves the whole building structure.

What are the Advantages of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

  • Energy Savings. Compared to oil furnaces, high-efficiency geothermal systems offer an estimated 75% energy savings and 48% savings compared to gas furnaces. This reduces your monthly electric bills and is also advantageous to the environment.
  • Environment-friendly. Geothermal systems do not use fossil fuel but use the natural temperature of the ground instead, so it does not emit greenhouse gasses. This system does not have any negative effects on the air quality or environment.
  • Durable and Longer Lifespan. Geothermal systems are durable and have a longer lifespan, lasting for up to 30 years while conventional heat pump systems may last for about 10 years.
  • Convenience. Geothermal systems transport air into your home in a homogenous manner, decreasing the risk of hot blasts or cold air that are common in conventional systems. These systems reduce the amount of humidity that builds up in the home during the summer months. They also enhance the quality of indoor air and levels of comfort.
  • Home Value.  Installing a geothermal heating and cooling system in your home will automatically raise the value of your home. While these types of systems are becoming more common, there are not many houses on the market that have them.  

 

Putting together all these advantages offsets the initial investment of installing a geothermal system. Call American Air for a free estimate!

Why to Consider a Tankless Hot Water Heater

tankless hot water heaterTankless water heaters give hot water ONLY when needed, which is the reason why they are also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters. Unlike storage water heaters, they do not produce standby energy loss, thus saving you money on electricity bills.

Reasons Why You Should Consider Buying a Tankless Hot Water Heater:

  • Cost Efficient. Compared to a traditional storage tank water heater, a tankless water heater saves you 24 to 34% of energy if you consume 41 gallons or less of hot water. If your family uses around 86 gallons of hot water a day, you saved 8 to 14% on energy costs. Installing a tankless hot water heater at every hot water outlet saves you save as much as 27 to 50% on energy costs. With these savings, it is estimated that a regular family can save $100 or more in a year by installing a tankless water heater that is Energy Star® qualified.
  • Long-lasting. Although the initial investment of buying a demand water heater is more compared to a traditional storage water heater, it will last you longer than traditional water heaters. Most tankless hot water heaters last for over 20 years. Their components are replaceable and available that extend their life for several years. Storage water heaters usually have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. They also have minimal operating and energy costs so they prove to be more cost-saving in the end.
  • Avoid Standby Heat Losses. The traditional water heaters offer a ready supply of 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. When you turn your hot water tap, it releases hot water from the top of the tank. Cold water enters the bottom of the tank to replace the hot water so you have your tank filled with hot water always. Water is continuously heated even when hot water is not needed, known as standby heat loss, where energy can be wasted. Standby heat losses are a big issue with storage water heaters. Not with tankless water heaters! You get hot water only when you need it, and get it immediately so energy is not wasted.
  • Convenient. A tankless hot water heater allows your family to enjoy the continuous hot water, so you do not need to schedule bath times.
  • Space-saving. Demand water heaters are more compact than the storage heaters, saving you on space. They can be mounted on walls whether indoors or outdoors. They have an anti-freeze kit so mounting them outdoors is not a problem. Some smaller models can even be installed under cabinets, in a closet or near the point of use.
  • Environment-friendly. The electric tankless water heaters are 30% more energy-efficient and do not produce greenhouse gasses. This is not only good for your pocket but also for the environment, as you contribute to having cleaner air for a healthier environment.  
  • Safe and Clean Water. You get clean water all the time because your tank does not accumulate rust and scale caused by stored water. Tankless water heaters are built with excellent features to avoid boiling water from reaching your tap.

 

Call the plumbers at American Air if you’re interested in installing a tankless hot water heater in your home.

Preparing Your Furnace for Winter

furnaceWith the cooler weather upon us, it’s important to have your furnace ready to keep you and your family warm. A non-functioning furnace or a breakdown is the least that you want to have during this season.

Prepare Your Furnace for Winter by Following These Steps:

  • Clean the Furnace Room. The furnace is usually found in a storage room that gets too dusty and dirty for not using the furnace for the past months. Sometimes the room gets filled with clutter. Remove the unnecessary items and put those that you still need in boxes or a cabinet to store them. Keep the space around the furnace clean. Use the vacuum to remove cobwebs and dirt on the outer surface. The furnace should be visible, particularly all the pilot or control lights.
  • Clean or Replace the Filter. Filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. It is easy to forget, but if possible, try to do this once every 30 days. A blocked filter will affect the function of your furnace, taking longer to heat or warm your home. You can also expect your electricity bill to increase when this happens. A washable filter can get hosed down, while a  paper or cardboard filter will need replaced.
  • Clean the Vents or Ducts. The vents or ducts need cleaning, too, because the hot air is blown out through them from your furnace. It should be free of any barriers for your furnace to function well. Thoroughly wipe the exterior surface of the vent and remove any blockages that got caught in the insides of the vents.
  • Check the Fan Belt. The furnace will not work without the fan or blower belt. Examine the tension and look for any signs of deterioration. The room will take time to heat if the fan belt is loose and will use more electricity or gas, which means high cost of utility bills. Remove the cover of the air handler to access the fan belt. Any worn out areas or cracks are signs of changing the belt. If the tension bends a little less than three-quarters, then it is a sign that it has loosened and needs tightening. To tighten the tension, slacken the attachment bracket and change the motor assembly to increase the tension on the fan belt. Fasten the attachment bracket tightly once you can feel the correct tension.
  • Lubricate the Bearings. Bearings need regular lubrication, particularly those in the older furnace as the bearings have several moving components. The bearings will depreciate quickly if these are not oiled regularly affecting the function of your furnace and leading to expensive repairs. To oil the bearings, look for the oil caps over the bearing shaft. Do not over lubricate the bearings to prevent it from being a fire hazard.
  • Close the Blower Doors Tightly. Ensure that the blower doors are closed tightly to prevent heating products like carbon monoxide from getting mixed with the warm air that circulates all over your home.

 

Get your furnace ready for winter. Follow the above steps and you’re guaranteed of getting your home warmed up on a chilly night. If you are having problems with your furnace, call American Air so have your furnace serviced by a professional.  

4 Great Reasons to Have a Wall Mounted TV

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Modern flat screen TV’s are built to be displayed, not hidden in a cabinet. Simpler HDMI cables and the universal VESA mounting standard are found in most modern TVs, making them easy to use, and very popular.

If you are one of those people who are not convinced that you should have a wall mounted tv, this article will help you understand why it’s a great idea.

Reasons to Have a Wall Mounted TV

  • Saves on Space. Especially if you live in a small home and you’re short on space, mounting your television on the wall is the most practical thing to do. A wall-mounted TV offers you an opportunity to create a valuable space on top of your entertainment unit or on any furniture. Mounting your TV on the wall is also a great way to accentuate its slim, sleek design. With all the cables and wires out of sight, it gives your room a cleaner, modern look. It adds to your room’s décor. You can also explore your creativity by creating photo slideshows and play it when nobody’s watching TV. This makes your unit a great wall photo album and a superb way to entertain guests.
  • Safety. Mounting your TV on the wall is the safest. It prevents accidents, such as tipping or bumping. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that emergency rooms in the U.S. reported that approximately 20,000 injuries in 2010 were caused by the instability of TV sets. Thousands of injuries and deaths from fallen TV involving children are recorded every year.
  • The Best Viewing Angle. Mounting your TV on the wall is not done haphazardly. You need to choose the height that will provide you the best viewing angle when watching TV. Getting the ideal viewing angle maximizes your viewing experience. This helps prevent eye or neck strain from watching at an inconvenient height. It also allows you to enjoy the full capability of your high-definition TV.
  • Enhanced Performance. Mounting your TV on the wall enhances its performance. A study showed that picture quality is reduced significantly when watching a flat-panel TV off-course or off-center.      

 

The market offers various styles and designs of wall mounts. A big number of wall mounts feature a tilt and swivel, so you can easily find the optimal viewing angle and minimize the brightness from lights coming from outside.  

To wall-mount your television, you need to put four bolts in the wall that will hold a bracket, where you hang your TV. Although the process seems simple, putting the four bolts into a wall is no joke! Also, you should not attempt to wall-mount your TV if you are not sure of your walls. Attempting to do so can damage not only your TV but also your walls and home.  

If you are not confident doing the job yourself, call American Air. Our qualified electricians can hide the TV’s cords and cables behind the wall, giving your living room that sleek/clutter-free look.

What You Need to Know About Knob & Tube Wiring

knob and tubeKnob and tube wiring is a common technique used in homes and buildings built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Ceramic knobs support the wire and the ceramic tubes that protect the wire as it crosses the wood framing elements like the floor beams.  

Common Issues Associated with Knob and Tube Wiring

  • Rubber Insulation. The rubber insulation can become fragile. Mechanical abuse or overheating wears out the rubber, making it brittle in high heat spots, even connection above your ceiling lights. This requires replacing the wires
  • It is inclined to stretch and sag over time.
  • No Ground Wire. Ground wire makes an emergency trail for stray electricity so the risk of electrical fire and damage to sensitive appliances and equipment is reduced.
  • Common Hazardous Modifications. The fact that knob and tube wiring is quite old opens the possibility of improper modifications. The age-old systems have insulated wires with varnish and fabric materials that are inclined to deteriorate easily leading to an overheating or short circuit.

If you’re renovating your home, now’s the best and most appropriate time to replace your knob and tube wiring. Doing so will cost you less as the ceilings, walls, and floors are open and accessible. Home remodeling includes adding more receptacles or electrical outlets, ground- and arc-fault circuit interrupters, as well as knob and tube replacement.

Always have a yearly knob and tube wiring inspection to evaluate if it requires changing. Call a licensed electrician at American Air to address any concerns that surround your knob and tube wiring.

Do You Have a Clogged Shower Drain?

clogged shower drainHow many women are annoyed with hair loss in the shower? How many men feel the same way about the women who share a shower with them? A normal amount of hair loss  every day is completely normal for men and women, although it can quickly cause problems in your shower drain. Women tend to have longer hair than men, which is why they are often the ones blamed for clogged shower drains.

Why wait for a clogged shower drain when you can easily prevent this problem by following these tips?

  • Buy a hair catcher. Place the eye catcher over your drain. Get the catcher after every shower and throw the hair into the bin. A hair catcher is just a small item and is very cheap. You can buy it at any hardware store or even in supermarkets.
  • Place one or two rags a few inches before the shower drain. The rags will catch your hair so water can go down easily and freely down the drain. Pick the rags after showering and gather the pieces of hair and throw them into the trash can.
  • Hair on fingers. It is normal to see a few strands of hair on your fingers when you wash your hair. Don’t wash it off with water, as this will only clog your drain. Get a paper towel instead and use it to wipe the hair out of your fingers. Thrown the paper towel into the bin.

If there are already a good amount of hair in your drain, see if a do-it-yourself task will solve the clogged shower drain problem. Try these DIY tricks.

  • Get a metal hanger and bend it to create a hook. Use the bent hanger to pick the hair up and gather them all on a paper towel. This technique works and is effective if there are only a few hair, although it will take time.
  • Use your fingers to pick the hair out the drain. (that is if you have a strong stomach) Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly if you try this.
  • Run or pour hot water down the drain. If there are still a few hair strands left, pour or run hot water down the drain. The hot water will push the strands to run down the drain but do this ONLY if there are just a few hairs left.

Letting hair down the drain is like throwing money down the drain. Standing water on your shower floor is unhealthy, too! So make sure that you implement the above tips to prevent hair from going down the drain and leading to clogs. 

If the problem is worse, then it is time to call a professional plumber. Call (614) 851-0099 to request an estimate from American Air Heating and Cooling!