Archive for March, 2012

Down The Drain

There has been a lot of talk about water usage in the United States. In some parts of the country water is a very limited resource. This is especially true in the Southwest, California, New York City, and Southern Florida. These areas have severe restrictions on water usage, often limiting outdoor usage to once a week for a few hours. There have been major changes in the residential water usage over the last several decades. These include faucets with restricted flow, shower heads with restricted flow, timers on lawn sprinkling systems, rain detectors on lawn sprinkler systems, water saving appliances, and of course low water needs for toilet flushing. Many toilets in the 1950’s required about 7 gallons to flush. That was reduced by government mandate and code changes to 3.5 gallons and in the last two decades to 1.6 gallons per flush. When the changes came to 1.6 gallons per flush, many of the toilets would not remove the waste or simple plugged up. This was a result of poor design and little research on how to create a toilet the consumer would find acceptable. Well in the wisdom of the government and with little thought to the existing plumbing systems in homes today, the water usage for flushing has been reduced again to 1.28 gallons per flush.

We have been watching these changes and with our field experience have found that the amount of water saved is not what the pencil pushers have expected. Also we have found more issues with systems plugging from waste left behind in the piping due to the low amount of water to move it through the system and into the municipal sewer systems.

Our experience shows that the toilets often need to be flushed twice to remove small bits of waste left behind. Some require scrubbing with a toilet brush to clean waste sticking to the surfaces because of less water in the bowl. Then the toilet needs to be flushed a second time. Neither of these situations saves water for the homeowner.

The other concern is the design and materials used in older plumbing systems. The materials used included cast iron and clay tile. The sizes were determined by the older style toilets which used upwards of 7 gallons per flush. Now with less than 1.3 gallons per flush, oversized pipe, and materials with rougher surfaces more issues with plugging are expected. This is particularly a concern for those systems that may have low spots in the drainage piping, tree root impingement, or long runs to the municipal sewers. On the other hand, those with septic systems may find their systems will last longer before a drainage field needs to be replaced since less water is flowing into those fields.

We are continuously field testing the various brands and models to provide a quality efficient product to our customers. Our experienced technicians can recommend the toilet that we have tested to provide our customers with a unit that will provide the best service and save dollars for you.

As the old Plumber used to say,  ”A royal flush beats a full house all the time.”

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.

Advertisements

What is that big thing in Joe’s backyard?

Lately we have been receiving calls from customers asking what that big thing is in their neighbor’s backyard. There used to be a cute little air conditioning unit (which made quite a racket when it ran) but that’s gone and there is this new big box unit of some sort out there.” What’s going on?” They ask.

Let me explain what has happened in the heating and air conditioning industry over the past few years. We have had a tremendous amount of change within the industry.

First the efficiency of both the furnaces and air conditioners have had a substantial increase. So what has happened, you ask? The furnaces actually have decreased in size with most of them less than three and half feet tall. They have new types of components such as an additional heat exchanger to capture more of the heat for your home rather than it going out the flue pipe. The blower motors are a much newer technology which run quieter and use far less energy than the older motors. Just like your car, the controls to operate the furnace are more complicated and require much more knowledge on the technician’s side and computers (circuit boards) run the furnace for even more safety and energy savings.

Let’s move on to that big box in Joe’s backyard. Believe it or not that is Joe’s new air conditioning unit. Often the units are 50 – 100% larger than the older unit it replaced. If you went into Joe’s home and looked at his furnace and ductwork you would see that the inside portion of the air conditioning system (the indoor coil) is also much larger than the old one. There are several reasons for this. First the new efficiency standards cause the physical size of the units to be much larger. Next because of increasing electrical costs many homeowners are electing to install units with even greater efficiency to reduce the electrical operating costs. So the unit grows larger. An additional reason is in the phase out of the long used refrigerant, R-22, and the introduction of the refrigerant (R-410A) which has replaced it. It also contributes to increase in side of an air conditioning unit. Although they do not contribute to the size of the unit, most have computer controls (circuit boards). Additionally, some will have variable or stepped capacity to save energy but once again it does not add to the unit size.

With homes being tighter, causing less air change from outside, the quality of the indoor air has become increasingly scrutinized.  Many new products have been introduced to humidify the air, clean the air, and replace the inside air efficiently. These can really improve the health of your family especially if a family member has airborne allergies or asthma. Depending on your needs these can be added to an existing system or included on a new system.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.com.

Home Service Corporation

Celebrating our 32nd year serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs.