Jerry's Corner Blog | Williams Home Maintenance

Slab Leak Repairs Can’t Wait

You hear water running when there isn’t a faucet on. You are starting to see mildew on carpet or floors of your home. You are starting to see cracks in your floors or even the walls of your home. You get your water bill and almost faint from how it has skyrocketed. What could it be? You are most likely in need of a slab leak repair, from your trusty plumber.

Just what is a slab leak?
A slab leak is a pinhole leak that has occurred in the copper piping underneath the concrete flooring of your home. They can also be known as foundation leaks and all have some pretty hefty consequences if you do not seek slab leak repairs quickly. Keep in mind even the smallest leak can lead to major damage throughout your home and can not only make it harder to fix in the long run, but more costly. Some symptoms of a slab leak include sounds of water dripping, hot spots on floors, high water bills, cracks in the flooring of your home, and swelling of pipes.

Think you are experiencing some of these symptoms of a slab leak? You need to get a slab leak repair immediately. Waiting can only further problems. Some problems that can arise if you wait too long to repair a slab leak include flooding in your home, water damage to your valuables, damaged floors, ruined foundation, mildew and mold growth, odor throughout your home, and even yard damage. All of these can be very expensive to repair and fix, when instead you could have nipped the problem in the bud quickly by having your slab leak repaired by professional plumbers.

You suspect you have a slab leak problem and want to get it repaired quickly, now what is the next step? The next step is to contact your local plumber to come out and take a look at your meter and see if you are “losing” water. Once that has been identified there are a number of intricate tests to be done that do not require your foundation to be broken to see or find the slab leak. A slab leak repair is important because slab leaks tend to be in hard to reach areas and take a skilled professional to reach them and repair them.

Often times with the right tools and knowledge just a single tile can be removed and replaced to get to the slab leak. The American Leak Detection service strives for plumbers to do repairs with the least amount of destruction. Slab leaks can have detrimental effects on your home and livelihood. Seeking slab leak repairs when you experience symptoms of slab leaks is important, so you do not acquire damage to your property.

Slab leak repairs need to be made by professional plumbers and can be detected with the use of high- tech equipment and education. Slab leaks do not have to stop your life if they are taken care of quickly, not only will costs be lower but so will the potential damage.


Top Ten issues to consider about Duct Cleaning

Air duct cleaningYour ducts have been considered by some as one of the major sources for the introduction of many biological contaminants, not to mention unwanted dirt and dust. The drain pan and particularly the cooling coil should be cleared of any debris, slime, mold and other undesirable obstructions detrimental to your health.

Cleaning schedule

In order to determine the best time to clean your ducts, the responsible team will need to evaluate issues like climate and other pertinent schedules. Look for signs of slime growth, debris that will affect the airflow and any permanent water damage as part of your duct evaluation process.

Verifying the facts

Before you agree that you need duct cleaning, consider whether this is the only cost-effective solution. Does the company appear capable with the latest equipment? Will this cleaning process work towards protecting your HVAC equipment? Are you able to verify where the contaminants are coming from? Unless these answers return a yes, hold off on the cleaning.

Applicable standards

Although there are no specific guidelines for cleaning companies to establish, there are practices that NADCA considers as common sense approaches. With that in mind, they will certify a cleaning company as an approved member. As a potential customer, you should ensure that your duct company is on this list.

Licensing

At the moment, there are no licensing requirements for companies which offer services to clean your ducts; however, that certainly does not mean that you should hire the first company that offers you a business card. Consider the NADCA standards as they apply and make sure that these guidelines are met.

The Process

The average customer has no idea that the cleaner is supposed to protect the duct system during the process. Because of hazardous conditions, cleaning should be done when everyone has left the building. There should also be an appropriate collection process and a filtration system in place for any expected discharge.

Supply guidelines

Most companies that provide you with some sort of cleaning service will use their own supplies. A duct cleaning company is no different; however, before you approve of the use of disinfectants, sealants, biocides or products that you never heard of, you should contact an industrial hygienist near you for an opinion.

Health concerns

There are certain precautions to be used in order to help protect the building inhabitants. If fiber installation exists, keep it clean and dry. Try to have thermal insulation included to the exterior of the duct if you can. As an added precaution, ensure that your filtration system is properly serviced and maintained.

Logistics

It may not always be possible to clean your duct effectively during non service hours, but there are companies that will make themselves available during hours that your place of business is unoccupied. For the health and safety of the inhabitants, choose a flexible company.

Precautionary methods

When the duct needs to be cleaned it should be done, however, there are steps that can reduce this demand. Timely and effective service schedules which include HVAC maintenance, and using the recommended filters are just part of it. It will also help to maintain an environment that is clean and dry.


5 Drain Maintenance Tips For New Home Owners

Williams-Featured-PlumbingDrain Maintenance Tips For New Homeowners

 

Tip #1
Leftover food is one of the top causes of drain blockages in the kitchen sink. However, this can be avoided with simple drain maintenance. If you do not have a garbage disposal installed, avoid throwing any residual food into the sink. Instead, scrape as much as you possibly can off into the trash can before washing the plate or any other dish off in the sink. You can also make sure to have a drain cover that will allow water to run through, but will catch food particles. Make sure to empty the drain cover out once you have finished washing he dishes.

Tip #2
The second tip for good drain maintenance is to avoid pouring any liquids down the drain that have the potential to solidify. These types of liquids include any type of oils or grease. Instead, use a paper towel to soak up any oil or grease and then dispose of them in the trash can before proceeding to rinse your dishes off as you normally would. This also ensures that you pick up any food particles as well contained inside the liquid to prevent it from going down your drain and clogging it.

Tip #3

A hot water flush should be used once a week for proper drain maintenance. A hot water flush is done by boiling a pot of hot water on the stovetop and then pouring the hot water directly into the hole for the drain. Cold water should be run for a minute or two after putting the hot water into the drain. Repeat the process of each drain in the house twice. The hot water flush helps to break up grease and free food or dirt particles that may be clogging the drain. Performing the flush once a week will keep the dirt, food, and grease from building up inside the drain and will also keep the drain from smelling bad.

Tip #4
Another tip for drain maintenance is the use of a baking soda and vinegar treatment.
When you are done using the drains in your home for the evening, pour one half cup of baking soda into the drain followed by one half cup of vinegar. Put the plunger into the hole for the drain and allow the mixture to sit in the drain overnight. In the morning, perform the hot water flush detailed above. This treatment will break up any dirt, grease and food residue and will leave your drains smelling great.

Tip #5
Last, but not least, use a plunger. If you are new to drain maintenance and your sinks are already clogged, use a plunger in your bathroom or kitchen sink and then keep up with the maintenance. To plunge your bathroom or kitchen sink properly, insert the plug into the sink to keep water in. Fill the sink with three to four inches of water and then remove the stopper. Grab the plunger and use it three to four times. Make sure to rinse the sink out really well to avoid the dirt or residue going back into the drain.


What Makes A Great HVAC Service?

HVAC ServiceWhat makes a great HVAC service? There are several things that make up a great HVAC service.

1. APPEARANCE

The appearance of the service person is one of the top things to look at. The service person should be wearing a uniform. On the uniform there should be the name of the business the person is working for. Plus the uniform should have the name of the service person or they should be wearing a name tag.

2. BOOT COVERS

Another important thing to look for are boot covers. The service person may need to go in and out of your home. Before entering your home the service person should slip boot covers over their work boots to protect your carpets and other floor types. If the service person does not have boot covers, they should have vinyl runners they can put on.

3. PUNCTUALITY

When the HVAC service business gives you an time or a time frame, the service person should be at your place at the allotted time or within the time frame given. Punctuality helps show the reputation of the business.

4. PREPAREDNESS

The service person should be prepared when he or she shows up to do the repairs. Most repairs are common, so the service vehicle should have the equipment and parts needed to do the repairs. Sometimes, especially with rare models, the vehicle does not have the necessary parts, but most of the time it will.

5. A CLEAN VEHICLE

The vehicle being used for the service call should be clean, especially on the inside. It is normal to have road dirt or salt from wintertime on the outside from time to time, but the inside of the service vehicle should always be clean.

6. CLEANUP

When the service person is done with the repairs, he or she should pick up all of the tools used and any garbage made during the service call. Any mess the service made should be cleaned up by them. You should not have to clean up after the service person.

7. SERVICE PERSON’S DEMEANOR

The service person should have a friendly demeanor throughout the whole repair process. They should be friendly to you and other people in your home from the beginning to end. The service person should always answer questions you have about the repairs and always make eye contact with you when you are talking with them.

8. EXPERIENCE

Having an experienced service person doing the repairs is a good thing, because it shows the person knows what he or she is doing. It is alright to have someone who has recently entered the HVAC service to work on the repairs, but they should be accompanied by an experienced worker until they get more experience.

9. KNOWLEDGEABLE

The service person should be knowledgeable about the repairs being done. He or she should be able to explain the repairs in terms you can understand.

10. ABILITY TO PERFORM

When the service person looks at the repairs needing to be done, he or she should be able to tell you approximately how long it will take to get the job done. The service person should be able to get the repairs done in the time they said it would take to get it done.


14 Common Misconceptions About HVAC Service

hvac serviceWhile not every HVAC service company is equal, myths and misconceptions have been around since the first air conditioning unit was invented. There’s information that’s not accurate, half truths, or plain wrong. The endeavor of this educational article is to set the record straight.

1. For instance, one of them is that the unit is fine because it sounds fine. Perception isn’t helpful in this case; internally the unit may be showing signs of a breakdown without warning. A qualified technician will diagnose any issues that aren’t obvious to the eye and make the needed repairs.

2. Another one is that the AC unit needs a new shot of Freon every summer or/and winter. If the unit is a closed-type, it should never have any leaks. All things being equal, the unit should always run on the original Freon that was first installed. Most modern AC units have safeguards that prevent any leakage.

3. Maintenance plans aren’t cheap. In the long run, maintenance plans are less expensive than if there was a major repair to be performed in the first place. This is because with a good plan from a reputable company, any preventive work is done to eradicate any future damage. This saves money, time, and plenty of headaches. 

4. For sealing ducts, duct tapes work best. In reality, the opposite is true in that mastic tape, used properly only by HVAC professionals, will effectively seal any duct. Duct tape doesn’t work well in dirty environments.

5. Blocking off some of the air vent will save in the long run. This is an old wives’ tale that has no credibility. Blocking off a vent makes the unit work much more harder, using up more energy. Because the unit has to work overtime, the likelihood of damage is much higher.

6. My home warranty covers any HVAC expenses during construction. Such a warranty only covers construction materials or problems during the construction and installation aspect. Homeowners are on the hook for any HVAC repairs.

7. Fiberglass insulation will keep the heat inside in winter. This is akin to placing a Band-Aid in a major injury. Heat from the unit is still required; it could be dangerous and energy-wasting if an opening where heat escapes isn’t sealed properly. A professional will prove helpful.

8. HVAC systems are inexpensive to operate. Buyer beware! A home’s energy bill is usually around 50% HVAC usage. Depending the time of the year, the type of unit, and square footage of the home, energy usage will vary. Having a maintenance plan will save money.

9. All technicians are male. Over the last 10 years there has been an increase of women who attend HVAC school. They perform the job as well as their male counterparts. Furthermore women homeowners may be more comfortable with a woman servicing their unit.

10. Leaving a fan running in a room when it’s empty will cool the unit faster. A fan will move the air against an occupant. Therefore the air temperature isn’t lowered; rather, valuable energy is wasted. It’s best for fans and AC units to be used when there’s people in a room.

11. It’s best to purchase the biggest unit because they work best. This misconception is so wrong! HVAC units work more effectively if they’re specifically suited for the square footage of a home and the needs of the homeowner. 

12. The temperatures vary from room to room because the main unit is old. In this case, it may be something small, such as replacing a thermostat, or taking measures to improve the air flow so the unit can cool rooms evenly.

13. Price is the most important factor when making a purchase. This is huge misinformation!The majority of HVAC units are affordable; payment plans are created. What’s most important is who makes the installation. Performance is reduced by as much as 30% due to incorrect installation.

14. My old unit isn’t strong enough; it needs to be replaced. This may not be necessary; a technician can do an air duct assessment and correct any issues; a well-running air duct will in turn, improve the efficiency of any old unit and extend its life.

Now the reader has seen the light with the correct information. Truth is really freedom!


How Often Should You Clean Your Air Ducts?

Air duct cleaning is something that not many homeowners concern themselves with. Even though there is no scientific evidence to prove that air duct cleaning has an important benefit, it is agreed that there are good parts to having it performed regularly. Here’s how to tell if the ducts in your house are due for a proper cleaning.

One of the most obvious signs of overdue cleaning is mold. Even if you can’t see it, you can usually smell it or feel it in the air. If your ducts are full of mold, you need to get them cleaned as soon as possible because it’s hazardous for your health! Another major sign is seeing a vermin infestation in your home, coming from or to your air ducts. Don’t let it spread any further because it will get more complicated to get rid of as time passes! Finally, seeing dust being released from supply registers whenever cold air is released from the vents is your cue to set an appointment for air duct cleaning.

As mentioned above, there are several benefits to having air duct cleaning done regularly. Some of the most notable ones, found by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, are:

• Cleaner air ducts lead to a reduced number of microorganisms such as mold or bacteria.
• The dust being formed in return-air ducts is reduced by a proper cleaning.

These may seem like minor benefits, but after living in a home full of mold for five years, I can tell you that this is the last thing you want happening to you! Having bacteria spread all over your home is hazardous for your health, and there’s no reason to let this happen when all it takes to prevent it is a proper air duct cleaning.

If you’re wondering how often you need to have the air ducts cleaned, then here’s some advice to help you make a decision:

• Generally, somewhere between three to five years is recommended. There’s no need to listen to contractors who recommend doing it more. It’s not needed more often than that.
• If anyone in your family suffers from allergies, then air duct cleaning is especially important because allergic people are much more sensitive to the bacteria being spread from poorly cleaned ducts.
• After building, or moving into, a new home. You may have dust or other materials left in the ducts after finishing the construction, or you may not know if the previous owner had the ducts cleaned, if moving in. In both cases, a proper cleaning is essential.
• If you have pets that shed, then you definitely need to get the ducts cleaned regularly. The hair left by pets gets into the ducts and from there, it spreads throughout your entire home. That’s not something you want happening too often!
The three to five year period is an estimate that should be right on if you don’t face any of the things mentioned above. If you have an allergic family member or a pet that sheds, you probably need to decrease the wait from three years to one.

No matter how often you decide to do it, make sure to hire a professional for your air duct cleaning. It’s important to have it cleaned properly, so look for the best! We recommend using members of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association because they know what they’re doing!


Benefits of an HVAC Maintenance Plan vs. a Home Warranty

As a homeowner, you need to be aware of the potential for HVAC problems. The two major ways to prepare for heating and/or air conditioner problems is through either an HVAC maintenance plan or a home warranty plan. The goal of a home warranty plan is to assist the homeowner with problems relating to repairs to the home. The plan may have a deductible which needs to be paid before the work is done or even started. A maintenance plan has several aspects which are more beneficial to the homeowner than the standard home warranty plan.

First, the HVAC maintenance plan is through a company that you most likely already have a relationship with. Therefore, you trust the company. Even if you do not have an existing relationship with the HVAC company, they are looking to provide you with excellent service so the can build a long-term relationship. When shopping for a maintenance plan, you can research available HVAC companies and choose the one that you wish to work with. With a home warranty plan, typically you are not permitted to select the actual service provider. And that service provider knows exactly what the warranty will cover and may strongly suggest that you need additional services which are not covered.

In the event your air conditioner unexpectedly stops working in the heat of the summer, a maintenance plan generally provides for priority or same-day service. And in the middle of a hot and humid summer day, you don’t want to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary. With a warranty company, there is never a guarantee that you will receive prompt service.

The best way to prevent major air conditioning or heating system problems is to maintain your unit and have it inspected regularly to detect potential problems early. Most HVAC companies include regular inspections and cleanings in their HVAC maintenance plans. This is typically not offered through a warranty plan, even though they may reject your claim in the HVAC unit is not adequately maintained. So, you will still need to engage a local company for these inspections. An additional benefit to these regular inspections is an HVAC unit which is running in peak condition can save you on utility bills. In addition, most HVAC maintenance plans provide for some discount on repairs and/or replacements should the need arise.

For peace of mind, your best option to handle possible heating and air conditioning issues would be to obtain an HVAC system maintenance plan from a reliable and reputable HVAC company.


Home Heater or Furnace Not Working?

Is there anything worse than coming back home from work to find your house a frozen wasteland,? How about waking up in the middle of the night with your toes numb and your nose stuffy? If you’re home heater or furnace is on fritz, don’t panic; here are a few easy steps you can take to get back to a comfortable home and a nice warm bed. While going through the troubleshooting process, carefully write down the steps you take and their results.

Troubleshooting your thermostat:

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is important to make sure your thermostat is in the heat position. When you turn the switch to heat, do you hear that satisfying click? Does your thermostat control your heating system and air conditioning? Is your thermostat set to a few degrees above room temperature? Your heating system will not activate without being set to at least three degrees above ambient temperature. If you have an electronic thermostat, do you have display? Are you sure the electronic thermostat’s batteries are charged? Once you have made certain that your thermostat is operational and set correctly, and you are still without heat, it’s time to check the electrical system.

Troubleshooting the electrical system:

Because some homes have a different electrical panel for the furnace.and the rest of the home, it is important to find the appropriate electrical panel in your home before following the following steps. Once you have found the electrical panel, check to see if any of the breakers are tripped. If you’re unsure about what a tripped breaker looks like, the breaker will be caught between the on and the off position. Try resetting the breaker by turning it to the off, and then to the on position. Do you have fuses? Is the furnace fuse blown? Replace the blown fuse; make sure that it is of the same size and type. Does your heating system have an emergency shut-off switch? If so, it should be located near the furnace and you should make certain that it is in the on position.

Troubleshooting the furnace service light:

Find your home’s furnace service panel; there should be a label on the furnace panel door with instructions on what how to proceed depending on the furnace service light’s behavior. Does the light blink? Slow or fast? is the light on without blinking? Is there no light at all? Your light may be flashing you a code, and you should follow the instructions on the label.

Should all of the above instructions fail, we advise you to enlist the services of a qualified HVAC technician for a heating tuneup. Don’t worry, your hard work may still pay off. When you call the technician, tell the technician what troubleshooting steps you took and what measures you tried. This will help the technician make a more accurate diagnoses of your heating system, which means potentially less expensive furnace repair.


Top 6 Drain Cleaning Tips

Unavoidably, all plumbing systems develop blockages. Without the proper knowledge, cleaning your clogged drain can be an exasperating albeit costly experience. However, with the right tools and a little perseverance you can successfully clean your drain without the aid of a professional. These helpful drain cleaning tips will equip you with the know-how to clean and prevent virtually any blockage.

1. Plunger
One of the most trusted household tools—the plunger can generally clear any clog that hasn’t made its way too deep into the main drain. Block the opening and powerfully push the handle down. After several forceful plunges, test the drain to see if the clog has been removed. If water is still sluggishly pooling, try plunging again.

2. Professional Drain Cleaner
You can find drain cleaner solution at mostly any grocery or home improvement store. Be sure to read the label carefully before purchasing. If used wrong, you could cause permanent damage to plastic pipes or garbage disposals. While effective, it is important to remember overtime, harsh chemicals can be damaging.

3. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Never underestimate the power of baking soda and vinegar. These two household regulars are an excellent alternative to harsh chemicals. Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda down your drain followed by half a cup of vinegar. Next, pour boiling water down to create a natural drain cleaner that will dissolve the blockage without fear of damage.

4. Brine Solution
Much like the vinegar and baking soda, a brine solution is another safe alternative to cleaning your drain. A high concentrate salt solution (usually sodium chloride) can be poured down the drain to eliminate odor and clear buildup.

5. Snake
Also known as a toilet Jack or electric ell, a snake can be bought or rented from your local hardware store. The snake works by using the crank to thread the long coil down the drain. The auger end of the wire digs into the blockage, either allowing retrieval of the clogged item or breaking it up.

6. Call a Professional
While these techniques will ordinarily dislodge any clog, it is important to remember that excessive force can cause permanent damage. If after a few attempts the drain is still clogged, it is time to turn it over to a licensed professional.


5 Reasons to Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

Regular cleaning of the air ducts in your home can help with different factors of your HVAC system. The indoor air quality, air circulation, energy costs, system performance, and even health issues can be affected by the cleaning of the air ducts. It is recommended that you clean your air ducts when mold, excessive debris, or pests are cluttering your system.

The Air Quality of Your Home

The air quality in your home can be made better by a thorough air duct cleaning. By getting having a clean pathway for the air to circulate, it will not be able to pick up the excess debris that was there before. If you have lots of cats, dogs,
and kids, you may need to give it a good cleaning even more often to clear out the things that are left behind.

Increased Air Circulation

Increasing the circulation of your system is another good reason to have your air ducts cleaned. As circulation decreases, the performance of your system will be affected. In addition to cleaning the air ducts, changing the filters regularly will help improve circulation as well.

Cheaper A Energy Costs

A dirty heating and cooling system will have to work harder causing it to have a shorter life. In addition, a regularly serviced heating and cooling system can cut energy costs by up to 40%. In the long run having your system serviced will save you money on energy bills and the costs of replacing a system.

Increased System Performance

An increase in performance can be seen when a system that needs cleaned gets it done properly. If your system is not meeting your expectations and you think it should be doing better, have a qualified professional check if possibly a good cleaning is just what your system needs. There could be many other reasons for the system to be not running up to par that a certified technician can diagnose.

Health Benefits

Individuals who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments will also benefit from an air duct cleaning. Some health problems can even be linked to the pollution in the air of your home. Dust, dirt, and cigarette smoke are all pollutants commonly found in homes that directly affect thousands of people’s health issues.

Remember to get your air ducts cleaned every once in awhile to help with the quality of the air in your home, increased circulation, cheaper energy costs, increased overall performance, and possible health benefits for you and your family.