Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog : Archive for April, 2012

How to Clean a Fiberglass Bathtub in Hopkins

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Fiberglass bathtubs are very durable, and they have a look that can add a lot to the design for any Hopkins bathroom plumbing arrangement. However, they require special care to keep clean and avoid discoloration. The methods and products that work well on porcelain or enamel tubs will not necessarily be successful on fiberglass, and can actually cause permanent damage. Follow these plumbing maintenance instructions to keep your fiberglass clean and shiny for years to come.

Word of Warning

First of all, never use an abrasive or harsh cleaning product on fiberglass, as it can destroy the finish. When selecting a product to use on your tub, read the indications on the label to make sure it can be used safely and successfully on fiberglass. If you’re in doubt, pass on that product in favor of one of the products mentioned below, as most consumers have found them to be safe for fiberglass.

What to Use

There are a few options for cleaning a fiberglass tub. The simplest is to use something you probably already have around the house– baking soda. You can use a solution of baking soda and water on a wet rag and wipe the tub. This should remove soap scum and other minor stains without damaging the finish. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. You can also take advantage of some elementary chemistry by sprinkling baking soda around the tub, then spraying with white vinegar. The fizzy reaction dissolves stains, and you can just wipe it off with a warm rag or sponge.

Another suggestion is to try oxygen-powered cleansing powders, like OxyClean. Fill the tub with water, add some cleaning powder and let it sit for a bit before draining. You may need to scrub a bit with a plastic brush to get everything loose.

One final suggestion is to try Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product. Although they require some extra elbow grease to really be effective, they are powerful and can remove the tougher stains from fiberglass more easily than you think.

Try one of these strategies or a combination of them to keep your fiberglass tub clean and fresh, which of course helps keep you clean and fresh.  Please call Air Mechanical with any questions.

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Spring Newsletter

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Check out our Spring Newsletter for informative articles, along with promotions, a highlighted client testimonial, a “did you know” fact, and a delicious spring recipe for you to try!

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What You Need To Think About Before Going Geothermal in Ham Lake

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

With energy costs rising and supplies dwindling, people are taking much more serious looks at alternatives that in the past have seemed unfeasible and too “weird” to realistically contemplate.  After recent upgrades in efficiency, geothermal energy in Ham Lake, is a terrific option.

Plentiful beyond imagination just ten feet below the surface, geothermal is being used to provide more than 30% of Iceland’s electrical needs and it is fast becoming a viable option to provide heat and electricity for your home as well.  Before digging straight down, however, it is important to look around and consider some important points.

Geothermal 101

Thermal energy is a force that is produced from the movement of warm temperature to cooler.  The term “geo” is from the Greek word for Earth.  Geothermal energy is the unlimited resource of power that is the result of the formation of the Earth billions of years ago (20%) and the on-going process of melting rocks nearing the core of that heat (80%).

From harnessing the energy of hot springs in ancient times to technological advances to create electricity today, geothermal has long been considered, but often was ruled out as an expensive and unnecessary alternative to other cheaper forms of energy.  Now that those are harming the environment, more expensive and harder to get, geothermal has grown attractive.

Location, Location, Location

Difficult to retrieve from deep within the Earth, geothermal is most often considered for large production where natural breaks in the crust such as volcanoes, hot springs and faults are close to the surface.  Just ten feet below the surface, however, there is enough temperature difference to make available enough to efficiently supply a home.

Still, it’s not a guarantee of success, however.  The density of the bedrock, the water table and the balance between extreme hot and cold temperatures with the temperatures of the thermal energy are all factors to be considered.

Dollar for Dollar

After the geothermal installation project, the cost from month to month can produce enough savings to quickly pay for the system.  The savings are potentially so significant, there are situations where the cost of replacing an old inefficient conventional system can be neutralized by the savings in just two to ten years.

Beyond cost and feasibility, the comfort level is a major consideration.  One of geothermal energy’s major attractions is that to help save the Earth, it offers a better way to tap into the Earth.  Learn more by calling Air Mechanical Inc.

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Can Blaine Residents Use Geothermal Heat Even if the Ground Freezes?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Geothermal heat pumps in Blaine are able to extract heat from the ground, even when outdoor temperatures are well below freezing. The geothermal installation goes in the ground below or around your home to collect this heat and then return it to your home where it can then be used to heat the air. While these types of heating systems are certainly more efficient the warmer the ground is, they can be effective even in very cold climates.

This is true even in areas where the ground freezes from time to time or for parts of the year because the frozen layer does not typically extend more than three or four feet below the surface. As long as the pipes for your geothermal heating system are below this level, they will still be able to gather plenty of heat from the warmer ground below the frozen layer.

In fact, there are two different ways that the pipe loop for a geothermal heating system can be installed. Most geothermal systems have a horizontal pipe system which sits about four feet below the surface and extends out from the house. This type of installation is typically cheaper than the alternative, but it also usually needs to be larger. Plus, you need to have the space for it to stretch across.

On the other hand, a vertical installation goes straight down into the ground below your home. With a vertical installation, you can usually get away with less pipe overall, but you will probably pay more for the installation because it is harder to drill straight down than it is to dig out a relatively shallow trench to lay the pipe in.

However, if you live in an area that has particularly harsh winters when the ground can be frozen for significant periods of time, it may be worth it to opt for the vertical installation. That is because the further below the surface the pipes go, the farther away they will be from the frozen layer of ground.

With a vertical pipe installation, a geothermal heating system can work quite well in a climate in which the ground usually freezes in the winter. While you will always want to have a backup heating system in place in case of emergencies, this type of heat pump should be all you need under normal conditions.  Call Air Mechanical with any questions.

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Andover Plumbing Q and A – Why is the Sewer Line Blocked?

Monday, April 9th, 2012

If you have dealt with a blocked sewer line in Andover, you know all too well that it can be a nightmare. Sewer lines are made out of especially sturdy materials for a reason: because we collectively want to keep their contents inside. So, when a sewer line gets blocked and starts backing up or seeping — or even cracks under the stress — it can be a real mess.

If you have never had encountered a sewer line block, count yourself lucky.

Whichever category you fall into, it is important to know about causes of sewer blocks lie, so that you have an idea what you are up against should you ever encounter (another) one, as well as being able to take some reasonable prevention measures. Read on to learn about some of the common culprits that block up sewer lines.

Flushed Objects

The most preventable common cause of a blocked sewer line is the flushing of objects that should not be flushed. Sewer lines in your bathroom plumbing are not meant to handle solid objects like diapers, sanitary napkins or other garbage, so if these get flushed down the toilet — either intentionally or by accident — it can cause an ugly block.

Even smaller objects or bits of debris that seem to move fine through the sewer line can build up over time to cause a block. Paper towels, hair, grease or dirt can collect on the walls of the line and cause a block as well.

Tree Roots

It may seem like nothing happens beneath the ground of our lawns, where the sewer line runs. In fact, there is quite a bit of life going about its business under there, including the root systems of the trees in your yard. These roots can grow right into your sewer line, infiltrating it and causing a blockage.

Defect

The last main cause of a sewer link blockage is shoddy materials. Although sewer lines are meant to be made of high quality material because of the stress they perform under, it is still possible for one to collapse or bulge with use.

To repair a blocked sewer line call Air Mechanical for a professional’s assistance. To avoid having to make that call, the best thing you can do as a homeowner is keep solid objects from being flushed down into the sewer line. It can save you a huge headache later on.

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Happy Easter Weekend!

Friday, April 6th, 2012

From your Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing specialists at Air Mechanical, we hope you enjoy your weekend! If you are celebrating Easter, check out these family friendly Easter Egg decorating ideas for a little inspiration. Enjoy!

Easter Eggs

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Geothermal Contractor Tip: The Growing Popularity of Geothermal Heating and Energy

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It’s no secret that use of alternative energy sources is on the rise in Blaine. Solar panels, windmills and hybrid cars have been heavily publicized over the past several years as people and governments try to employ energy strategies that are more efficient, friendlier to the environment and more cost effective.

One alternative energy option that you may have overlooked amid the press that the above topics have received is geothermal heating and cooling. That is, using the existing energy of the Earth as a means to heat and cool your Blaine home.

If you have in fact been unaware of geothermal heating and energy thus far, it is rapidly growing in popularity as an alternative energy source. According to an article in GOOD Magazine, there are projects currently underway that would double the United States’ capacity to produce electricity from geothermal energy. In the summer of 2011, the U.S. Congress approved $70 million in funding to research geothermal energy.

It’s not just the government getting in on the act, either. Some contractors report anecdotally that over the past five years or so, demand from customers for geothermal heating installations has risen noticeably.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, for starters, geothermal heating can lower heating costs dramatically by reducing reliance on electric or fuel-based heat. Anyone that has received a staggeringly high home heating bill knows that any relief would be welcome.

Additionally, geothermal heating has the advantage of being hidden from sight. Unlike solar panels that have to be mounted on your home or a towering windmill that dominates your property, geothermal pipes run underground. Once they’re installed, no one even knows they’re there.

It’s not all great news about geothermal. You’ll need some extra land to house the underground coils, and the cost of installation is usually higher than other Blaine heating systems.

So, geothermal may not be for everyone, but if you are looking for an alternative energy solution, you have some land and you can invest some money upfront to see savings each month, then it might just be for you.

For more information, give Air Mechanical a call today!

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