Carney All Seasons Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Abington’

Plumbing Guide: Water Heater Noises and What They Mean

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Does your water heater rumble or produce a popping noise? What does that mean? While water heaters are constructed to last long, water heater noises may be an indication that your water heater needs professional service. To learn more about water heater noises and how they affect the hot water in your Langhorne, PA home, call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.

If it sounds as though your water heater is boiling water, it probably is. When sediment collects at the bottom of a tanked water heater, it can cause overheating. The sediment varies greatly, but can contain lime, water scale, silicates, sulfates, aluminates, or silt and sand. This is a common problem and may require periodic system flushing to clear out the build-up.  Homeowners should also consult with their local water heater professionals to see if installing a sediment filter would help to prevent a large amount of build-up.

If you have hard water, merely flushing the system may not work. Because the minerals responsible for hard water—calcium and magnesium—often bind to the insides of the water heater, they cannot be flushed as easily. Because minerals in the water tend to precipitate at the hottest parts of the system, the bottom of your tank water heater is their preferred location. Regular deliming of your system by manual scraping or by a de-liming agent can greatly reduce the chance of permanent water heater damage, and it will also greatly improve the energy-efficiency of your water heater. If you have an electric water heater, lime scale can build upon the electrodes themselves.

Not only will the regular cleaning of your system reduce any irritating noises, the results will benefit your entire water heating system. Your water heater costs will generally be lower than with a system full of scale, and you’ll be extending the life of your water heater. If left alone, you may find you don’t have enough hot water on some days, or that you have dramatically slowed the heat-up rate.

If your water heater requires frequent repair, or if it is very old, consider replacing it with a new model. Not only are today’s water heaters more efficient, but they also tend to last longer. Schedule a consultation with your local water heater technician to learn more about your options in Langhorne, PA. Call Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today.

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Plumber’s Tip: Types of Water Treatment Systems

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Are you considering a water treatment system for your Quakertown, PA area home? At Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we offer water softeners, acid neutralizers, ultraviolet (UV) lights, and water testing and analysis to help you get the cleanest possible water for your home.  If you are not sure which type of water treatment system is right for your home, call one of our water treatment experts to review the different types of systems with you.

Before we can help you decide which water treatment system is best for your home, we will need to test your water to see what contaminants are affecting your water system. With a whole-home water filtration system, you get more purification than installing a faucet filter or with a filtered water pitcher. Whole home systems also protect your pipes from being damaged by minerals in homes with hard water. Whole-house systems are designed to provide your entire home with clean water, and they require basic maintenance that is easy to do.

Acid neutralizers are also called chemical feed pumps, and like water softeners, they use salts and minerals to remove contaminants that may be in your water system, such as arsenic or sulfur. Acid neutralizers are quite safe and can be a cost-effective way to improve the quality of your water.

While you may have heard of using UV germicidal lights for your HVAC system, they can also be used to treat water. Poor water quality can lead to illness, and UV lights kill harmful microorganisms that cause certain illnesses.

We put your safety and comfort first at Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. That’s why we offer water testing, water analysis, and a variety of water treatment systems for your Quakertown, PA area home. Call today to set up a consultation.

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Water Heater Tip: Reduce Energy From Your Hot Water Heater

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Are you looking to lower the energy use for the hot water heater in your Blue Bell, PA home? While your water heater may not be an obvious source of energy waste, there are small improvements you can make that will add up over time. Feel free to call the energy experts at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling if you have further questions about how to reduce the energy use of your water heater.

Meanwhile, we’ve put together a short list of things you can do to get started today!

Use Less Hot Water

Conserving water in your home is a green practice that the entire family can help with. Once you get into the habit of conserving water, it will be even easier to think about how much hot water you use. Even if you don’t have Energy Star appliances, you can use cold water instead of hot in many instances. For instance, try using cold water to wash clothes. Not only does this save energy by using less fuel to heat the tank in your water heater, but it will also help your clothes last longer. Take shorter showers, or lower the temperature in the shower while you are bathing.

If you own a tankless water heater, consider installing low flow faucets and plumbing fixtures. Tankless models are highly efficient water heaters, but they are even more efficient when used in tandem with low-flow fixtures. Repair dripping hot water faucets and other small leaks. These add up over time, and if you get them repaired as soon as you notice them, the less hot water will be wasted.

Lower the Water Heater Thermostat

While no one wants an ice cold shower, you also don’t need the shower to be scalding hot. Not only is this dangerous, especially for small children, but it is also a waste of energy. You could save up to 5% in water heating costs if you lower your water heater thermostat just ten degrees. Many manufacturers use the default setting of up to 140°F; however, you don’t need to set your water heater thermostat above 120°F to get an adequate temperature for all the hot water applications in the home. Call one of the Blue Bell plumbers at Carney if you aren’t sure where to locate the thermostat or have questions about the proper temperature settings.

Install a Water Heater “Jacket”

If you own a storage tank water heater, make sure that the tank is insulated for maximum energy savings. You can install a water heater “jacket” that fits your specific water heater tank. Call a plumber if you would like to know whether or not your water heater has enough insulation. One of our plumbers can also provide other tips to help you save water and energy.

Start saving water and lowering your energy costs today! Call the Blue Bell plumbers at Carney Plumbing Heating & Cooling for more advice and tips.

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Will Geothermal Add Value to My Home?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

If you are currently considering having a new geothermal system installed in your Abington home you may wonder if that big investment will pay off if you decide to sell your home before the payoff period begins. Because any energy efficient upgrade for your home will take many years to pay off, it is important to know whether it will have a positive impact on the perceived value of your home.

To date, it has been hard to determine if people actually see an increase in home value after having a geothermal system installed. On paper it would make sense for there to be such an increase in value because the system reduces the cost of heating and cooling month after month, year after year. However, geothermal systems are relatively uncommon still so data about such sales is limited. Because most home valuing occurs in comparison to the sale of nearby homes, it would be hard to determine the impact in any one neighborhood unless a nearby home of a comparable size and with a geothermal system installed was sold recently.

Another factor to consider here is the perceived problems that come with a geothermal system. The technology is new and a potential buyer may be nervous about having to deal with a new system they do not understand and that could conceivably break at some point in the future. They may not even realize it is a unique form of heating and cooling or that there are substantial energy savings involved in having such a system.

Despite all these potential drawbacks, however, most realtors believe that green homes have a slightly higher value than those that are not considered green. A study conducted in 1999 showed that home values tended to increase by as much as $20 for every $1 per year saved in energy costs. Recent studies have shown similar interest in energy savings over what is considered the standard and real estate agents are increasingly using tools to pinpoint green energy homes for those seeking such options.

While there is no way to be certain how much a geothermal system will affect the value of your Abington home, it is relatively safe to assume that such an upgrade will have a positive impact on its value. For more information about geothermal installation in Abington, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call!

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Why is it Important to Keep Your AC Condenser Coils Clean?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Condenser coils perform an essential function of conditioning hot, moist air and replacing it with cool, dry air.  During this process the continual circulation of air causes airborne pollutants such as dirt, dust, grass, lint, moisture and other debris to land on the coils, building up until it gets clogged.  A clogged or dirty AC condenser coil is most definitely a problem.

The main problem with dirty coils is that it decreases how well the AC actually cools.  A clogged coil can mean deceased air flow through the coils, which in turn means your Doylestown air conditioning system will be less efficient.

Clean condenser coils can yield higher performance levels, cleaner indoor air, and a longer life expectancy of the unit, while also saving money in electricity costs. Performance levels of air conditioners with dirty coils drop by as much as 30%!

When air passes over a dirty condenser coil and is then pushed into indoor air after being cooled it only stands to reason that some of that dirt and debris gets taken indoors as well.  It can also cause moisture problems on the coils which could result in bacteria or mold spores growing, and might reduce indoor air quality in your home.

Dirty coils can also cause the AC to work at higher temperatures and higher pressure which means the lubricant cannot easily be broken down. This can make the unit freeze over, eventually causing compressor failure.

Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help clean your condenser coil during a regular AC maintenance checkup – give us a call today if you need AC service!

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Air Conditioning Q/A: Why Is My Air Conditioner Not Cooling?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Your Lansdale air conditioner can run virtually trouble free with just a little maintenance annually.  If these little things like changing the air filter and cleaning the drain are not done regularly, the neglected units can really lose their cool.

The Basic Course

Through a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants, air conditioners use compounds that have properties that allow them to change rapidly from gas to liquid and back again at low temperatures.

Heat is absorbed when the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas, making the space around it cooler.  Compressing it tightly together again, the heated gas condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moisture that must be released and is vented usually to the outdoors.

The newly cooled air is distributed through the house by means of ductwork, pushed by fans driven by electric motors.  As the air moves along, it passes through a filter and can be further de-humidified.

Problems in the System

If the filter is clogged, movement of the cooled air is slowed to the point we might think the unit is broken.  If the condensate drain is plugged, the motor can get damaged and stop producing.  Regular maintenance performed by the home owner or as a service of Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can avoid or eliminate these simple aggravations.

When the heat builds, however, and cool relief seems nowhere near the air ducts, it may be time to call a professional to dig deeper to find the reason and suggest solutions.

Back to Cool

If not serviced regularly, the amount of refrigerant in the coils may decrease over time or the coils themselves could get clogged and impede the evaporation/condensation process.  A leak in the coils could drain the system, rendering the unit useless and wholly unproductive.

There are belts on each of the two separate fan motors which may be worn or loose, causing the fans to blow less efficiently.  The motor may need to be oiled or have a broken part that doesn’t allow it to push the air at all.

Most of the time, these fixes are relatively minor and do not threaten the life of the air conditioning unit.  Schedule an annual inspection and service from a certified Lansdale HVAC company like Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today!

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What Professional AC Maintenance Includes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Besides the cool air, what we like most about having air conditioning in Abington is that we don’t have to do anything to still live in a cool climate when it’s boiling outside.  With programmed thermostats adjusting the temperatures automatically, we don’t even have to turn it on.

Therefore, it is very inconvenient (not to mention uncomfortable) when our unit misbehaves and forces us to pay attention.  Our first inclination, suddenly over-heated,  may be to call for help, but often the expensive repair can be accomplished easily or avoided completely by checking the drain line that may be clogged.

When it gets more complicated, it is important to consult an Abington air conditioning professional.

Air Conditioning 101

Air conditioning is a process which involves the rapid evaporation and condensation of chemicals called refrigerants, compounds that have properties allowing them to change from liquid to gas and back again at low temperatures.

Simply stated: when the liquid evaporates and transforms into gas it absorbs heat.  Compressed tightly together again, the matter condenses back into liquid with a residue of unwanted moist heat that must be released to the outdoors.  Over the course of handling the air to cool it, air conditioners are able to filter dust and dehumidify the air as well.

Annual Service

Air conditioning units are designed to last for a decade or two of virtually trouble-free comfort, so long as they are maintained regularly.  A service contract with a reputable company ensures reliable maintenance and establishes a relationship so that if anything should go wrong, your call for help will be at the top of the list with a mechanic who likely knows the details of your particular unit.

You annual maintenance visit will include all of the following minimal tasks:

  • a check for the correct amount of refrigerant in the system;
  • a pressurized system test for any leaks using an actual leak detector tool;
  • a controlled evacuation and disposal of any excess refrigerant instead of an illegal toss in the dumpster;
  • a check for and seal of any duct leakage within the in central systems;
  • a measure of air flow through the evaporator coil;
  • a verification of the correct electric control sequence, making sure the heating and cooling systems cannot operate simultaneously;
  • an inspection, cleaning and maintenance of the electric terminals and applying a non-conductive coating if necessary;
  • a check of all belts for tightness and wear;
  • a check for oil in the motors;
  • a check for the accuracy of the thermostat.

To schedule your appointment today, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call!

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Indoor Air Quality Tip: Air Filters and Mold

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Among the potential problems that can plague Souderton homeowners, mold is particularly frustrating. It is persistent, the spores are tiny and easily spread and it can be hazardous to your health.

Preventing a mold problem involves properly ventilating moist areas, such as bathrooms, to prevent mold from thriving in the moisture. It also means spotting and eradicating any patches of mold that do manage to take hold. Perhaps most importantly, it also means keeping mold out of the air in your home.

Mold particles and spores can readily break off from a mold colony can get into the air. Eventually, they can be drawn up into your HVAC system and redistributed throughout your house. Once airborne, they can settle elsewhere to start new mold growth or wind up in your lungs, potentially causing respiratory problems.

Simply put, having mold in your home is a health risk, so you want to keep it under control as much as possible. The best way to keep out of the air is with an air filter.

The good news is that most mold spores are rather large (relatively speaking), so a HEPA air filter installed in your air handler can remove them from the air pretty easily. They are often 3 microns in size or smaller, so a filter with a MERV rating of 8 should do fine, although some spores can reportedly be as small as 1.5 microns. If you want to be very vigilant, or if anyone is your home has a particularly sensitive respiratory system, you can get a filter with a higher MERV rating of 12 or so.

Also, UV germicidal lights can be a good addition to your HVAC system. These lights emit UV radiation that is safe for humans to be around, but kills many microorganisms, including mold spores. They also kill bacteria and other pathogens that can cause disease.

In addition to proper ventilation, a quality filtration system can effectively eliminate the health risks to your family caused by mold. For information of the benefits of an indoor air quality system in your Souderton home, give Carney Plumbing, Heating & Cooling a call!

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Newtown Furnace Repair Service: Flame Sensor

Monday, February 6th, 2012

A flame sensor is a very small and specific component of a furnace, but when it is malfunctioning, it can completely shut down the operation of your Newtown home’s furnace. To start with, let’s summarize how a flame sensor works.

The flame sensor is a rod that sits directly in the path of one of the burners in your furnace. When the burner is on, the flame passes by the tip of the flame sensor, heating it up. If the furnace is on but the flame sensor is not hot, the furnace automatically switches off to avoid a continuous gas leak. So, the flame sensor is a safety measure.

Sometimes, though, the furnace can be operating just fine, and the burners are firing perfectly, the flame sensor still sends the signal that there is no flame and shuts down the furnace. This is obviously a problem.

Often, this is just a symptom of build-up on the flame sensor that is insulating it and preventing it from heating properly. We strongly recommend that you call a professional to repair it; here are the steps that they will follow:

  • Locate the flame sensor on the furnace. It is a thin metal rod that extends through a bracket and into the path of the flame as it is expelled from one of the burners.
  • Turn off the power to the furnace.
  • Loosen the bracket holding the flame sensor in place and gently withdraw it.
  • Using fine grit sandpaper or emery cloth, gently rub away any combustion build-up that has accumulated on the end of the flame sensor.
  • Making sure all the build-up has been removed, replace the flame sensor in the bracket. Turn the furnace back on to test it.

If all went well, the furnace should remain on now, until the desired heating temperature is reached.  Most often, the problem is as simple as giving the flame sensor a good cleaning up. Since you are dealing with quite delicate equipment, you can understand why it is so important to call in a professional if suspect a problem with your flame sensor.

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Why Do I Need Water Filtration?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Like most Langhorne homeowners, you’re probably asking yourself why you need water filtration – what exactly happens to your water that makes it necessary to install an entire new system in your home to keep it clean? There are a few things that might be an issue here and your specific circumstances will determine which affects you the most.

Common Water Contaminants

While most homes don’t suffer from all of the following, there is a good chance you will have at least some of these contaminants in your home:

  • Sediment
  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Sulfate
  • Viruses

This is only a partial list too – there are a number of other, more exotic substances that might be in your water. Now, this doesn’t mean your water suffers from all or even most of these problems. Many homes only have one or two contaminants and they may not even be immediately dangerous to your health.

But, here’s the issue – and the number one reason that most homes should have a water filtration system. Things change. While your home may not suffer from virus or sulfate infiltration now, it could later. Things happen to the water supply – pipes get old, things get into the water tables and chemical levels change at treatment plants.

The only way to combat these problems is to have a good water filtration system already in place. Specifically, a reverse osmosis system that can remove all of these contaminants through an advanced chemical process.

Testing Comes First

To make sure you have the right system in place to tackle your water contamination problems, make sure you first contact someone to perform full water testing on your home’s drinking water. Because some of these contaminants must be treated with chemical infusions through pumps or special cartridges, it is important to know in advance what you’re up against.

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