Posts tagged ‘Water Conservation’

10 Ways to Keep Your Cool!

HomeServiceCorp.comThe recent issue of Money Magazine had a list of 10 ways to cut your cooling costs. Although it is not a complete list it contained some very good information. We have added additional thoughts that the article did not consider but will add to your comfort.

  1. Clean The Condenser Make sure shrubs, plants and ground cover are at least a foot away from the unit outside. Wash down the unit with a hose but be sure not to force debris between the coil fins.
  2. Replace Filters Replace the filter in your furnace at least twice a year. If you have pets or a lot of activity in your home it may be necessary to replace it much more often
  3. Plant a Tree If you plant a larger tree on the West or South side of your home, the shade can reduce cooling costs.
  4. Tighten Ductwork If your basement is considerably cooler that the rest of your house, it could be the ductwork in the basement is leaking the cool air into the basement and not allowing it to flow into the main areas of the home.
  5. Install Ceiling Fans Air movement helps us to feel cooler. Installation of ceiling fans can help circulate air in your home and provide more comfort. Just be sure to turn off fans in rooms you are not using and save energy.
  6. Use the Shades Closing window treatments on the South and West side of your home on sunny days can reduce solar heat gain. It can also reduce fading of carpeting and furnishings.
  7. Keep the Air Flowing Leave doors between rooms open to allow air flow. Also be sure vents are open and not covered with furniture or other stuff.
  8. Open Windows On cool nights or cool days it may make sense to open windows in your home. There are some risks here for home security and allow airborne allergens into your home.
  9. Upgrade If your unit is 10 years old or more replacing it with a new high efficiency unit can save you bucks this year.
  10. Get a Checkup Having a semi-annual checkup of your system by a qualified Technician can assure your unit is operating at the maximum efficiency for your unit.Home Servoice Corp. Heating and Cooling

 

If you need service on your system or are thinking about a replacement, call us today!

It’s a good time of year to have our trained experienced air conditioning Technicians solve your cooling problems whether you live on Grosse Ilse, in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Melvindale, or Oak Park.

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

Home Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

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Ouch! It’s Too Hot!

Home Service Corp Water HeatersThere is no easy answer to the how hot your water should be. It depends. It depends on the makeup of the family, the usage of the family, and safety for the family.

When I say safety, this is a two way street. If you look at the chart below, you can see it does not take a high temperature to cause burns especially for the elderly and the young. On the other hand water that is too cool can cause Legionnaire’s disease to form in the water. When a person is exposed to the vapor or water droplets the disease can form in their lungs as pneumonia. Each of these consequences are dire for a family. So what is the best option for the average family?

Let’s look at what the maximum temperature at a faucet where a child, an elderly individual or an adult may be scalded. These would be shower, bathtub, and combination bathtub/shower faucets. Very few faucets with separate hot and cold handles can be set for a maximum temperature so the solution for these would be to replace the faucet with a single handle faucet with a temperature limit built into it. The temperature limit must be set for each home since the incoming water temperature to the faucet can vary. The maximum temperature should be set below 120° F, preferably at 115° F. The faucet should also have at least a pressure balance feature. This feature reduces the flow of hot water when it senses a reduction of flow from the cold water supply. This could be caused by a toilet flush, a faucet turned on to cold, or a sprinkler operating.

Sinks do not require a maximum temperature on residential applications since higher temperatures may be desired and the thought is that a person could quickly remove their hands from the flow of water if it was extremely hot. In commercial application the code requires a maximum temperature of 120° F at sinks to protect handicap individuals. If you have a concern or a need to control the hot water temperature at a sink, there are controls which can be installed at individual sinks.

If you keep your water heater at 130° F or lower you are increasing the chances of Legionnaire’s Disease developing within the tank or piping. A water heater set at 120° F can have water inside of it as low as 100° F. The Department of Energy recommends 120° F set point but OSHA recommends 140° F to minimize the formation of the Legionnaire’s Disease bacteria.

Table of Hot Water Scalding Temperatures & Times

Water Temperature Setting

Exposure Time

Effects of Exposure to Hot water at These Temperatures

Water at 100°   F or below See safety   note. Most   water heaters are unlikely to scald an adult occupant;
Water at 120°   F 5 minutes 2nd & 3rd   degree burns on adult skin
Water at 130°   F 30 seconds 2nd & 3rd   degree burns on adult skin
Water at 140°   F 5 seconds 2nd & 3rd   degree burns on adult skin
Water at 150°   F 1 1/2 seconds 2nd & 3rd   degree burns on adult skin
Water at 160°   F 1/2 second 2nd & 3rd   degree burns on adult skin
Safety Note:   Hot Water Scald Burn Warning for Infants, Children, Elderly: great care must be taken when   exposing infants or children to warm or hot water as they can be badly burned   quickly and at shorter exposure times.
Source: A.O. Smith

Our recommendation is to set you tank at a temperature no higher than 140° F also be sure your shower and bathtub faucets are set at 115° F as the maximum temperature. This will provide reasonable protection from scalding and Legionnaire’s Disease. As stated above, if you still have concerns about sink faucet temperatures, a control can be added to the sinks in your home.

Contact us for more information or visit our website at www.HomeServiceCorp.comHome Service Corporation serving our Michigan customers Heating & Air Conditioning , Plumbing and Electrical needs since 1980.

OH-Oh! No Hot Water!

Water HeaterWe often receive calls from homeowners with gas hot water heaters who are without hot water. Like many appliances, your water heater will need occasional servicing to maintain peak performance. Sufficient air flow is crucial to the proper operation of your water heater. If the water heater is in a small tight area, a source air for combustion is needed. If the area around the water heater is large and a source for combustion air is available from the space, there may be other causes. The signs of restricted air for combustion are yellow flames, pilot outage, soot, unstable flame, or no hot water. Before starting any service or repair, consult the sections of your owner’s manual dealing with condensation, air requirements, gas supply, venting, and cleaning the air intake screen. Also, make sure that your heater is properly sized for your home. An undersized heater may result in condensation which can drip onto the flame causing a pilot outage.  Your water heater is built to the current industry safety standard and meets all FVIR (flammable vapor ignition resistant) requirements. This assures that any flammable vapors drawn into the combustion chamber and ignited cannot ignite remaining flammable vapors on the exterior of the heater causing a fire or explosion. This design includes a flame arrestor and one or two air intake screen(s). These screen(s) prevent larger particles of dust or lint from entering the heater, thus restricting air flow and causing improper combustion.  The owner’s manual asks you to visually check and clean the screen(s) as necessary.  Smaller particles may pass through these screens and lodge in the flame arrestor.Hot Water Burner Assembly

A second cause of many of these calls is a direct result of the hot water tank corroding and a leak developing in the tank. The appearance of water on the floor around the hot water heater is a visual symptom of a leak. It’s just time for a replacement.

Tankless heaters also require periodic maintenance. This includes deliming of the internal heat exchanger. This will be a more significant issue if you have a water supply with a high mineral content.

If you have an electric hot water heater, the answer could be a burned out heating element. There would not be water on the floor around the tank if an element has burned out.  There may also be a circuit breaker tripped or malfunctioning.

We are so used to just turning on the faucet and having hot water, that it’s a real surprise when the water flow is only cold. Most of these Issues require training and expertise to properly repair so be sure to call a professional. Our Technicians are factory trained to service all types of hot water heaters.

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.

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.