It’s not uncommon for a customer to ask for our help finding the source of a bad sewer-gas smell.  It happens quite often because the problem is tough to diagnose and locate for lots of different reasons.  We usually start with a few pointers over the phone to see if they can solve the problem without our help.

First, we ask whether they’re experiencing a real sewer-gas smell…or something else; perhaps a ‘dead animal’ smell?  The difference is fairly easy to discern.  Usually, a dead animal smell has a strong, sickeningly-sweet odor that will almost always bring about a ‘gag response’ in your throat and often ‘rolls your stomach’. A regular sewer-gas smell is just a bad stink with a definite odor of feces and sometimes a rotten-egg (hydrogen sulfide) smell and/or a moldy mustiness too.  We also try to ask what has been happening in the home or business lately in terms of remodeling, pest control etc. to get clues about what direction to go.  Finally we talk to them about P-traps, and the possibility of some fixture’s P-trap ‘drying-out’… because an empty or ‘dried-out’ P-trap is by far the most common cause of all sewer-gas smells.

Each and every plumbing fixture and/or plumbing drain has a P-trap on the drain if it has been installed according to Code, and it’s these P-traps that protect us from sewer-gas.  If a P-trap has become empty of water or dried out for any reason, it will allow the sewer-gas air inside the waste pipes to come pouring into where we live and work.  Every P-trap on every drain needs to have a vent that protects it; that’s what all those pipes are that we see sticking out of our roofs.

DNP P Trap photo 1 DNP P Trap photo 2 DNP P Trap roof vent photo 3

Every time a drain is used, all that water and material rushing down our pipes displaces a lot of air; and it makes our plumbing systems kind of ‘breath’…both in and out.  It’s just like when you stand on the shoulder of a road, and a big truck goes zooming past. That truck is pushing a massive ‘air-wave’ in front of it, and it’s also dragging a big bunch of air behind it that hits us and makes us brace ourselves and turn away.  Every time we send anything down one of our drains, the same thing happens with the air in the system. If that drain pipe can’t ‘pull and push’ air down the drain and out the roof, then it will try to pull and push air right through our P-traps, sometimes making the sewer-gasses go into the room.  That’s why sometimes in older homes or cabins or additions that are not properly vented, when one drain is draining we’ll start to hear a ‘glug, glug, glug’ sound from a different drain because air/sewer-gas is being sucked or pushed through a P-trap.  And if the water in that P-trap gets sucked or pushed enough, it gets so low that the ‘seal’ is lost and it no longer protects us from the sewer gasses.

Some drains have visible P-traps, like those under a bathroom or kitchen sink; and some drains have P-traps that are hard to see or hidden; like on a floor drain, a shower or a toilet.  However, every drain must have a P-trap that is properly vented, and every P-trap must have a regular supply of water going through it to keep the ‘trap-seal’ working properly.

So often after talking about this for a while, the customer will realize something like… “Well, the smell is usually somewhere near the spare bathroom, and nobody has used that shower since my daughter was home last Christmas break”.  The ‘fix’ is easy on those. The customer just runs water for a couple of minutes in the shower, airs things out, and the bad smell doesn’t come back.  Nine times out of ten, a sewer-gas smell problem is coming from a P-trap that has lost its water for some reason; the trap is leaking, something is siphoning the trap empty (Example: it’s full of long hair that is ‘wicking’ the water down enough to break the water-seal), or it’s just drying out from not being used.  In the Pacific Northwest, it takes 3 to 5 months of not using a fixture, before the water in the P-trap dries out enough to let sewer-gasses into the room.

So far we’ve identified the reason and the remedy for various sewer gas smells; whether the source was an unused P-trap in a small rambler or a forgotten, open clean-out that got covered by dry-wall on the 26th floor of a commercial building. Regardless of the cause, it just takes time, patience and a little logical detective work once you know the basics of the system.

###

Bruce Davis Sr.

Licensed Journeyman Plumber

Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R

Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R

Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor

 

Bruce Davis Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington. Contact Bruce at:  Bruce@dayandnite.net

Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc.

16614 13th Ave. W.

Lynnwood, WA 98037

800-972-7000


Having worked in the Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling industry now for almost 40-years, I’ve come to notice a few basic things worth considering when it’s time to choose a heating/cooling system; either initially with a new home, or as a replacement for an existing system.

The most basic thing to consider is what kind of system or systems are you most comfortable living with…
• Do you like the feel and convenience of central air?
• Do you like the warmth of radiant heat coming off a stove, fireplace or radiator?
• Do you want the hard surfaces in the home to be warm to your bare feet?
• Do you need to have good air circulation and filtration due to allergies?
• Is controlling the humidity unnecessary… or an important issue?

After that, it’s best to consider the types of systems that have worked well for people in your area, and the companies that have a lengthy history installing and supporting these systems.

It used to be that only one type of system could be used in a home. That’s not true anymore. Now, it’s possible and often a good idea to use several types of equipment together in order to achieve the most comfortable and economical heating and cooling system in our homes. These ‘hybrid systems’ are becoming more and more common.

As an example, our home in the Pacific Northwest is 35-years old and has several types of systems, although when we built it, all we could afford was a cheap electric furnace with conventional duct work. Over the years we improved and upgraded.

Our primary central heating/cooling system still has conventional duct work under the house in a crawl-space, but it’s now sealed and super-insulated, with a heat pump unit outside that can keep heating our home down to 10-degrees Fahrenheit, without the need for expensive electric ‘back-up’ strip heat. And, since we live in the foothills of the Cascades, and our power goes out frequently, we have a ‘wood stove’ style heater in the main living room, powered by propane, which also heats our on-demand water heater.

Just to bless my wife, we have tapped into that potable hot water system and are warming the floors to the master bedroom with some radiant heat. Since we own pets and allergies, we also incorporated an extremely good quality media air filter, and our variable-speed furnace blower unit now runs 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. Fortunately, it costs less than $35.00 a year to run. We are always filtering the air, and when there is a call for heating or cooling, the fan ramps up to the proper speed until the right temperature is achieved, and then goes back down to a very slow, gentle circulation.

It’s best that Hybrid Home Comfort Systems like ours only be designed, installed, and maintained by a good quality HVAC/R dealer company, that stays abreast of the industry, keeps its people well trained, and in my opinion, is staffed by a team of professionals who have a long history of success with the equipment and the same company.

I also believe it’s best to work with a company that’s been in your community a long time, and installs good quality equipment from manufacturers that have strong distributor networks. This benefits you, because if the company who installed your equipment needs back-up help or training, there is a network in place to make sure you aren’t left ‘out in the cold’.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the equipment manufacturers like Lennox and York who do not have a Distributorship Network to support their dealers, have the lowest ratings by Consumer Reporting agencies.

Unlike simple appliances i.e., dishwashers or washing machines and dryers; Furnaces, boilers, air conditioners, solar heat, geo-thermal heat, heat-pumps and the new ductless heat-pumps, are all very sophisticated systems that run on-demand for months at a time. And it takes a lot of support and on-going training to maintain them properly.

If you’re thinking about getting or replacing your HVAC/R System here are a few things to remember:

• Make sure you have researched a handful of good companies that are dealers for the higher rated equipment like Carrier, American Standard, Bryant or Trane.
• Have them come to your home and spend time with you so they understand what you need and like, and what your structure needs.
• Have them perform a comprehensive Energy Audit and Heat-Cooling Loss/Gain calculation according to Local and Federal Standards and Codes.
• Most importantly…Be proactive! Have these things done before an emergency breakdown forces you to make a rash decision.

A good quality, whole house HVAC/R and Filtration System is not something that you can just buy out of a box and apply generically. It’s a holistic Comfort System that needs to be designed, installed, supported and maintained by professionals who are invested in their trade, and invested in helping you and your family for the life of your home.

###
Bruce Davis Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor

Bruce Davis Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington. Contact Bruce at: Bruce@dayandnite.net

Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000


It used to be, that all water piping was metal pipe. About a quarter century ago we in the U.S. started using a pipe system called P.E.X. pipe, which had been used in Europe for several decades. P.E.X. is simply polyethylene pipe that has been changed by one of three methods, into a ‘crosslinked’ material. Crosslinking alters the performance of the original polyethylene pipe and substantially improves it in several ways so that it can better withstand pressures and temperatures in domestic hot and cold systems, while it remains very stable chemically and very flexible.

We are often asked questions about P.E.X. pipe/tubing…
• What are the differences between the several brands?
• Which P.E.X. is best to use?
• Is there any P.E.X. pipe or tubing I should avoid?

…And the answers to these questions are always governed by the system; what will it carry, and where and how will it be used. Here are the specifics:
1. What will the application be?
• Domestic potable cold and hot water?
• Heating System; radiant and/or baseboard?
• Another, different liquid used for some commercial process?
2. What liquid will be carried by the system?
• Is it clean, soft water?
• Will the water be chlorinated?
• Is it hard, aggressive or acid water?
• Will it be a pressurized static system?
• Does any part of the system need to circulate full or part-time?
3. Where will the system be located?
• Hidden behind the walls of an occupied living space?
• Inside a structure, but not in a heated space?
• Underground?
• Surface mounted and exposed to ultra-violet light; either natural sunlight or artificial from fluorescent lights?

The point is that everything possible needs to be considered regarding the system that is being built, and then the piping/tubing system can be chosen based on those things.

In the United States, any system that’s sold for use as a potable water system (P.E.X. or not) is required to comply with NSF/ANSI 61; Drinking Water System Components. Another organization that tests and rates the systems we use is ASTM International. Founded as the American Society for Testing and Materials, it’s a nonprofit that develops and publishes approximately 12,000 technical standards, covering the procedures of both testing and classification of materials of every sort.

As far as I know, all of the P.E.X. piping/tubing systems that have been approved by every Plumbing Code used in the U.S. have been tested and rated to NSF/ANSI 61 and by ASTM International; so once we know the details and specifics of our system, we need to check and see that it conforms to NSF/ANSI 61, and also see how ASTM has rated the P.E.X. systems we are considering; then we’ll be able to see what system would work best for us. Additionally, I think it’s good to talk with a professional who has used the system being considered, to make sure that both the piping/tubing and the fitting/connection method has held up well in ‘real world’ applications.

For example, over 25-years ago we started to offer and use a brand of P.E.X. piping for domestic potable water that rated very well in every category. We liked offering a P.E.X. system, because in the Pacific Northwest where we live and work, our drinking water is almost exclusively snow-melt, surface waters; not from wells. The water is very clean, but because it’s so pure with extremely few minerals in it, it’s strongly aggressive. We learned that many of our clients who have copper water pipes were experiencing ‘pin-hole’ leaks after about 15- years. It was not due to ‘acid water’; the ph was neutral. And it was not due to improper or non-existent ‘grounding’ from the electrical system; we checked carefully. Sometimes, the water is so clean its ‘hungry’, and it eats into the copper pipe.

P.E.X. was a great solution. However, after several years we found that we started to get a leak or two on houses that we had re-plumbed with the P.E.X. system, and the leak was always in the same place; next to a fitting, where there was a thick band of P.E.X. squeezing down on the fitting to make it watertight. After extensive research, I discovered that wholesale suppliers were not keeping those P.E.X. bands protected from artificial U.V. in storage, and some of them were being exposed beyond what the manufacturer recommended (depending on the type, all P.E.X. is sensitive to U.V. in varying degrees and can only be exposed to it for 30, 60, or 90 days maximum).

Consequently, we changed systems so that all the fittings are made watertight by crimping an S.S. band onto it, and we’ve never had another leak due to a materials issue.

These days installing metal piping for either potable water or heating systems is the exception and not the rule. In our experience a P.E.X. system that is wisely chosen, and carefully and properly installed in accordance to both the manufacturer’s recommendations and the Local Building Code, is a system that will outlast and out-perform any other type of system. It takes a little more careful planning than in the ‘old days’, but the benefits are worth it!

Bruce Davis, Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating,
a 61-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating
business in Lynnwood, Washington.

Bruce can be contacted at:
Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net

Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000

 


Mercury poisoning is very ugly. It can result from exposure to water-soluble forms of mercury, by inhalation of mercury vapor, or by eating food contaminated with mercury. Exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, immune system and nervous system; and often the damage caused cannot be reversed.
In July of 2003, Washington State passed a new law (HB 1002) that would at first restrict, and then ultimately completely ban many things in our homes and business that have ‘Mercury’ in them. Even though most of the environmental contamination from mercury comes from large scale industrial use (like processing in gold mines, etc.), and human exposure and poisoning comes through eating contaminated fish and other seafood, the dangers of getting poisoned by the ‘quick-silver’ form of mercury found in in switches, thermostats, and relays etc. is still very real and we need to be aware of it. Mercury puddleSince January 1, 2006 there has been a complete ban on devices like thermometers and thermostats in our state, if they contained mercury. And, if an existing unit is replaced with a mercury free one, those old units need to be re-cycled in an approved manner as well. Common brands include Honeywell and White Rogers products.

Mercury stat

 

 

 

The typical thermostat or thermometer has only a tiny amount of mercury in it (usually 2 to 4 grams), so how much mercury will these laws actually divert away from our environment and our food chain? In 2001 the amount of mercury used in new thermostats alone was a little over 14.6 tons annually (in the U.S.) … 10 years later that was reduced by over 99%. That means it went from 29,200 lbs. of mercury per year, to 292 lbs. per year. It seems worthwhile to me…
No one really knows how many thermostats containing mercury are still in use right now, but it’s easy to see that since it was the standard solution and used prolifically for decades, millions of pounds of mercury are going to need to be re-cycled over the next 10 to 20 years. Most likely all of these devices will need to be replaced someday.
So, are there options to mercury thermostats? Plenty. These days it seems everybody is getting into the arena of ‘Home Comfort’. Technology is so advanced, we can now wirelessly connect to our appliances by simply getting on our smart phones. Thermostats are no exception. It’s easy to find a thermostat that’s programmable, intelligent, and mercury free. For the most part mercury thermostats for consumer use are virtually obsolete.

New stat 1

If you’re ready to upgrade, and it’s time to “leave” your mercury thermostat behind, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, not all thermostats are the same, so make sure your retailer and/or contractor can advise you properly about your system’s needs and fit you with the right device for your home. Second, and I think just as important, know that not all contractors are ‘plugged into’ an E.P.A. approved re-cycling program.

Mercury recycling

We recycle mercury thermostats through the Thermostat Recycling Corporation. I think it’s the responsible thing to do for our planet, and for the future. I hope that wherever you purchase your new thermostat, you’ll make sure they’re also part of and/or sponsor a mercury re-claim/re-cycling program.

 

Bruce Davis, Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating,
a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating
business in Lynnwood, Washington.

Bruce can be contacted at:
Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net

Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000


One winter, on a Saturday night, it was my turn to cover the phones. A customer called at about 10:00 p.m. and said “everything was backed up” in his house. No matter how many times he tried to fix the problem, he couldn’t stop the downstairs shower drain from overflowing, and he needed help.

When I got there, the customer showed me around the house and the backed up drains, and I asked the normal questions: “How long have you lived here?”…“Are you on Septic or City Sewer?”…“Has this happened before?”…“When was the last time this happened?” I learned that it happened often; at least once a year, and usually in the fall or winter. Finally, the customer showed me the clean-out in the garage and said “This is where they usually run their “snake” from”.

Since this was our first time at this customer’s house, I told him I’d be a minute and that I wanted to look around a little more. This just frustrated him because he was anxious to get things draining in their home, and everyone was after him to get it done. I insisted, and looked around some more, walking around the house, and out front into the street where the lay of the land obviously showed the sewer line drained to. I grabbed my pry bar and went to the first sewer man-hole downstream from the front of their house and popped the lid. Sure enough, the city main was backed up almost to the top of the man-hole and nothing was moving. About that time, a neighbor came out to see what was up saying they were backed up too.

I called 911 right away, got connected to the city’s Public Utility Emergency Line, and had a crew out there within the hour. Since they said they would be quick, I hung around to make sure my customer’s sewer line drained properly once the main got clear. It was a good thing because a couple of his ‘side drains’ were still clogged after the main drained out, due to solids getting backed up into them. So I cabled and tested them all.

After getting paid by my customer I advised him to pass this bill on to the city, because it was their responsibility, and I made that clear on the invoice documentation. My customer was very pleased, and had us give them a price on installing a back-water valve which would protect his home in the future should the city sewer back up again. (A sewer line back-water valve is what we call a big ‘check-valve’ that will help protect the home from city main back-ups).

DNP Backflow check valve

My customer also asked “How come the other guys who cleared my drain didn’t check the city main?”, and of course I didn’t have an answer. I told him I had no way of knowing that any past problems were connected to the city backing up. But I did tell him, “Any licensed plumber who cleared a mainline drain on a home like his should normally look at the whole picture, including the Sewer Main in the street. We strongly recommend calling in a company like ours, who uses licensed plumbers for these kinds of jobs so you have the best chance of getting the most for your money”.

Several times a year, when we help a customer with a clogged sewer or an underground water leak, we find that the responsibility of the problem lies with the city, county, or neighbor, and not with our customer. Bottom line… hire a licensed professional who has the training and expertise to look at the whole picture, and ask all the right questions…because it always pays to check…because it’s still usually true; you get what you pay for…because when you don’t know, what you don’t know; it’s best to let the professionals worry about it.

 

Bruce Davis, Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating, a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington.

Bruce can be contacted at: Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net

Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000


What’s in a name? When the name contains the words ‘Day & Nite’, certain questions always get asked.

“Do you really get called out in the middle of the night?”

Yes! We really do get called out in the middle of the night…several times a week, every week of the year.

“Really? What do people call you on most often?” Well, the most common calls we get are related to a couple of systems we all have in our homes.

Here they are, with a few simple pointers on how to avoid that expensive Emergency Service Call in the middle of the night.

Plumbing and Overall #1 Service Call…”My Drain is Clogged!”

Easily the single most common emergency service call we get is a clogged drain; and it’s usually either a toilet or a kitchen sink.

If the clog is in a toilet, and the owner can’t clear it with a plunger, the tool we use, and recommend, is the elegant, yet simple, toilet auger. A toilet auger is just a drain cleaning cable attached to a rod, including a crank handle, which makes it’s easier to use. It has a rubber boot so it won’t mark up the toilet too bad when cranking. Here’s a picture of one. DNP Toilet Auger

They’re a little bit tricky to use, but there are several good ‘how-to’ videos on You Tube that will clarify what to do. They are sold everywhere from hardware stores to Walmart.

Since the clogs that need clearing with a toilet auger are usually caused by “helpful” small children, I frankly doubt we’ll ever avoid these clogs altogether. My recommendation here; if you have children around, you’d better have a toilet auger around too.

If the clog is in a kitchen sink, then it’s usually due to the fact that someone has put too much too fast down the drain or the garbage disposer. For some reason, when we get busy in our kitchens we often start jamming lots of food waste down the kitchen sink and/or garbage disposer, and it gets clogged. Usually, we plumbers have to pull off the P-Trap and get into the drain with a drain cable and snake it. So, how do you avoid it? Two ways. Either put far less food waste down the drain, or run lots and lots of water into the drain before, during and after trying to get rid of the food waste, so it’s thoroughly diluted.

Heating # 1 Service Call…”My Furnace Won’t Heat!”

Another very, very common call, especially as things start to cool in the fall and the furnace kicks on for the first time in a few months, is that the furnace on the central heating system won’t heat. Either it won’t run, it runs a little bit and quits, or it runs, but it’s blowing cold air. The single most common reason for the problem; no regular maintenance and the filter is clogged. In fact, 4 out of 5 times these ‘no heat’ calls are simply due to the fact that there has been no regular maintenance done on the system.

Often, we show up and pull the old filter and it’s so clogged and matted we have to ‘bag it’ before we carry it out to the trash.

 

DNP Clogged Filter

If our customer is lucky, things run fine after we do a basic cleaning and install a new filter. But sometimes, the clogged filter has been on the unit so long, that it has ruined the safeties or caused the heat-exchanger to over-heat to red hot, and the repairs are extensive.

So, the moral of the story is that our most common Service Calls can be prevented by a little bit of Maintenance or being a little prepared for life’s ‘little’ blessings in surprising places…. I hope these help!

 

Bruce Davis Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce@dayandnite.net

Bruce Sr is President of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating, a 60-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington.
Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc.
16614 13th Ave. W.
Lynnwood, WA 98037
800-972-7000


This last heat wave really made those without air-conditioners want one… and those who did have one …pray that the record breaking heat wouldn’t break the one they had. And so it was with my neighbor.
As I pulled into my driveway on one of those hot days, he came out to meet me. The signs of his failure to stay cool were apparent. Right away I knew his air-conditioner must have quit working. “Bruce, I’ve been waiting for you to come home all day.” He took me to his garage and explained that earlier he had pulled out a completely clogged filter. He hoped this would help his air-conditioner to start delivering cool air to his home again. No such luck.
At the outdoor unit I could hear the compressor humming. It would overheat, trip the limit switch, cool off, overheat… then trip the switch again. “This 18+ year old unit might be at the end of its rope.” He looked at me to see if I would agree. And I did. As old as his A/C unit was, replacement might be a better choice than performing an expensive repair. And being on the edge of the property line, I would much prefer my neighbor to have a quieter unit.
Knowing the brand we carry is leading the industry in efficiency (and noise level) it was an easy option to present. Fortunately I found the compressor was overheating due to a failed capacitor, which is a much smaller repair, and was able to do the job right then and there. The A/C came on and was soon cooling down his home.
Afterwards he thanked me…and like a dentist can tell when you haven’t been flossing, I began to show him that regular maintenance had not been done on this unit. I pointed out a condensate drain that needed to be dealt with and coil fins that were clogging up, and recommended he call our company for a complete maintenance. The whole reason the capacitor failed was because the filter was not maintained. Thankfully it didn’t turn into a major repair. But by simply doing some basic maintenance, the inconvenience of being without A/C could have been completely avoided.
A couple of days later he flagged me down because his A/C quit working again. This time it was a simple condensate problem. I reminded him how important maintenance was and suggested he have one of our HVAC techs come over to take care of this problem, and a few others that were still threatening the operation of his system.
In all fairness to my neighbor, he’s not the first homeowner to neglect his HVAC equipment. Many of the problems our technicians see are often completely preventable. Air-conditioners or Heat Pumps that sit in the heat, rain, and snow year after year are often thought of as bullet proof. But the fact is, under these conditions, premature and more frequent equipment failure is likely to happen when neglected. Without regular maintenance by a professional HVAC contractor, the units waste energy as they become less efficient and try to deliver the same demand for cooling and heating to your home. That’s one reason all manufacturers recommend yearly maintenance.
Professional maintenance varies in price. When choosing an HVAC company to perform a maintenance on your A/C or Heat Pump, make sure it is a maintenance you are purchasing and not just an “Inspection.” Inspections can be less expensive and usually just include a safety and operation check. Basic adjustments and cleaning are typically not included. A maintenance should include a basic outdoor coil cleaning. Replacing the filter is typically left up to the homeowner unless a maintenance was purchased that included a visit every three months to maintain the filter.
If your Air-conditioner or Heat Pump have stopped blowing cold air in your home, here are a few things you can check yourself, prior to calling your HVAC Technician for service.
1. Check the Filter. A clogged filter can cause your indoor coil to ice up and block air flow considerably. If your indoor coil is iced over, replace the filter with a clean one and turn off your A/C. Allow a few hours for the coil to completely thaw before turning on again.
2. Check the breaker. It may seem obvious but it’s a common reason for a service call. If you have an electric air-handler or electric furnace, often there is a breaker right on that unit in addition to the one at the electrical panel.
3. Check your thermostat. Ensure the thermostat is in fact calling for air conditioning. If it is, turn your fan to “on” instead of “auto” and see if your ducts blow air out of them. (“Auto” setting will turn the fan on only when there is a call for heat or A/C, the “On” setting keeps the fan on indefinitely). Then visually check the outdoor unit to see and listen if anything is working. Even if you have to call for service these observations can be helpful to the tech coming out.
4. If nothing is working… turn the unit off. Trying to operate your equipment when something is broken and not delivering A/C or heat may cause more damage.
If you are not mechanically inclined or just unsure of what to do, don’t risk your safety. Call an HVAC company that you can trust. Once on site, most good companies have no problem discussing basic operation, annual maintenance requirements, and what to do in an emergency or when you’re A/C is out of service. Until then, keep cool!

Bruce Davis Jr.
General Manager
Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

Bruce Davis Jr. is a second generation plumber and HVAC technician. He earned his Commercial Plumbing License and later became N.A.T.E. Certified and E.P.A. Refrigerant Certified for HVAC service and repair for commercial and residential HVAC appliances. Bruce has years of experience as an HVAC Technician, Boiler Technician, and Plumber. He is now General Manager for the company he has been with his entire career and oversees the Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning business for Day & Nite Plumbing & Heating, Inc.




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