While we get a number of questions on a daily basis, here are a few that we often here that we hope you find helpful.
1Why Does My Faucet Leak?
There are 7 common causes for a faucet leak:
- Problem in the O ring – The handle of the faucet is held in place by what is called a stem screw. Within the stem screw contains a small disk called the O ring. This is often a place that dripping occurs due to the O ring becoming loose or wearing out due to regular use, resulting in a drip that originates at the handle. By replacing the damaged O ring, the leak will discontinue. This is a problem that is frequent within cartridge faucets (faucets that typically use an up-down motion instead of two separate knobs)
- Corroded Valve Seat – Within the compression mechanism of a faucet is a valve seat that connects the faucet and the spout. In the event water sediments build up, this can cause the valve seat to corrode, resulting in a leak from the spout area. By routinely cleaning the valve seat, this issue can be avoided.
- Worn Out Washer – Whenever a faucet is used, there a small washer gets pushed against the valve seat (see #2 above) which within time becomes worn out due to the friction. Once the washer becomes corroded, it will typically result in leaking around the spout. By replacing the washer, this leaking can be resolved. This is one of the most common reasons for a leaking faucet.
- Improper Installation of Washer – If the washer (see #3 above) is not correctly installed or it does not fit appropriately, this can cause leaking around the spout area. To resolve this issue, a professional plumber will need to correctly install the washer.
- Loose Parts – Within the steam screw (see #1 above) is an adjusting ring and packing nut that through regular use can become loose. This can result in a leak around the handle. To resolve this issue, the packing nut might need to be tightened or completely replaced.
- Worn Out Seals – If you have a disk faucet (single lever faucet over a wide cylindrical body) it will contain both inlet and outlet seals which can build up sediment and wear them out. This will result in a dripping faucet that can be resolved by cleaning the water sediments often and replacing those that are worn out.
- Broken Plumbing – In the event of a broken pipe or fitting, the crack could interfere with the water pressure, thus resulting in a dripping faucet. To resolve the issue, replace the broken pipe or fitting.
2What Are The Different Types Of Heating Systems?
- There are a number of different heating systems, but 6 more known heating systems are:
Furnaces and Boilers – Most homes are heated using one of these two systems. Furnaces heat air and distribute the heated air through the house using a duct system. Boilers will heat water and use either this hot water or steam to heat the home. Hot water can be distributed through baseboard radiators as well as radiant floor systems and through coils that heat the air. If steam is used, it is distributed through a pipe system that goes to steam radiators.
2. Wood and Pellet-Fuel Heating – Pellet-Fueled heating systems use biomass and waste sources, like wood pellets made of sawdust or small wood chips, to heat the home. These systems will require electricity for use. Wood stoves are essentially fireplaces that use wooden logs to heat the home and are completely void of any electrical requirements.
3. Electrical Resistance Heating (ERH) – This is considered a 100% energy efficient way of heating the home, since it uses electrical energy to convert to heat. Note that often electricity is generated by coal, gas or oil generators that convert only 30% of the fuel’s energy into electricity – so unless you’re using solar, wind, water or some other form of renewable energy, it’s not typically 100% energy efficient and can often be more expensive than combustion appliances or heat pumps.
4. Active Solar Heating – This is exactly as it sounds, heating that is created through active solar energy via flat plate collectors typically mounted to the roof that converts solar radiation into a fluid (water or air), which is then heated and pumped through a system of pipes to heat the home or building.
5. Radiant Heating – These systems rely on a radiant transfer of heat from a hot surface to infrared radiation that then supplies heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of the home.
6. Small Space Heaters – Small space heaters, also called portable heaters, are most often used to heat small spaces when the central heating is inadequate or too costly to install. These units are typically 100% electric and typically range in output of 10,000 to 40,000 Btu’s (British Thermal Unit – one BTU is equal to the amount of energy used to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit).
3What Are The Different Types Of Cooling (AC) Systems?
There are a number of Cooling (AC) Systems, but the most commonly known are:
- Central Air Conditioners – Central air conditioners are used to circulate cool air through a system of supply and return ducts located throughout the home or business. These supply ducts and registers are typically in the floors, ceilings and walls and they are used to transport the cool air from the air conditioner to all the desired areas of the home. As this same air warms through the circulation within the home, return ducts and registers take this warmer air and return it back to the central air conditioner to then go through this process again.
- Common Central AC Systems are Split-System Central Air Conditioners and Packaged Central Air Conditioners.
- Split-system air conditioners contains two separate parts, the outdoor unit and the indoor unit, which is why it is called a split-system. The outdoor unit is a metal cabinet that is installed near the wall outside of the space that you want to cool and contains a compressor, condenser coil and an expansion coil or capillary tubing. The indoor unit has an evaporator and might also contain a furnace or heat pump. This system is commonly used in homes that already have a furnace but no air conditioner.
- Packaged central air conditioners place all of the above mentioned parts (evaporator, condenser, compressor and potentially an electric heating coil or a natural gas furnace) in one container, hence the name “packaged central air conditioner” – I know, genius naming convention. These systems are often used in small commercial buildings or are placed on the roof or a concrete slab originated near the home’s foundation.
- Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners – Ductless, mini-split systems are systems that do not use ducts to distribute the cold air to the area it wants to cool. These systems do still have two main parts like split-system central air conditioners (an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit), as well as a connector between these two units that contains the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing and condensate drain.
- Room Air Conditioners – Room, or window, ari conditioners are smaller air conditioners that are stand alone and are typically used to cool small spaces like a room, a loft, or a garage office. They provide cooling when turned on and are less expensive to purchase and operate than a central air conditioner. These units run off of electricity, often drawing 7.5 amps or less so can be plugged into a standard outlet. If they pull more than 7.5 amps of electricity, they will need their own dedicated 115-230 volt circuit instead.
4Why Do I Need To Do HVAC & Plumbing Maintenance?
Without the maintenance of your heating, air conditioning or plumbing systems, what are smaller problems now could lead to larger problems.
- More often than not, a low-cost pre-season heater or air-conditioner maintenance will catch potential future problems and ensure that unit runs smoothly all season long – preventing more costly emergency problems.
2. Also running an efficiency test of your heating or air conditioning units can help diagnose potential problems in your current systems that could either lead to a bigger problem or simply higher utility bills.
3. With plumbing, having a routine plumbing maintenance of your main systems and plumbing can avoid future problems that may arise, again avoiding more costly emergency problems.
5What Is A Hood Vent?
A hood vent is a metal hood-like vent that contains a mechanical fan and typically hangs above the stove or cooktop within a kitchen to remove airborne items like smoke, odors, heat, steam, fumes and even grease or combustion products. These systems allow these airborne items to leave the home or building while also filtering them. Some examples are exhaust hoods, extractor hoods and range hoods.
6What Is A Make-Up Air Unit?
A make up air unit is a system that allows you to replace air when the existed air in an interior space has been exhausted. An example of when these would be effective is in a building or room that doesn’t allow air recirculate or the existing HVAC system has no way of providing fresh outside air. By using a make up air unit, you’re essentially “making up” for the lack of fresh air in a room or building, allowing improved air quality and regulation.