Air Mechanical, Inc Blog : Archive for May, 2012

Steps for Replacing a Kitchen Sink Spray Nozzle in your Dakota County Home

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Replacing an old or broken spray nozzle in the kitchen sink in your Dakota County home is relatively easy and shouldn’t require many tools. Depending on the style of your old nozzle, you may need to replace the hose, but most models are universal and will work with your current hose. If the package tells you that you need to upgrade your hose, try installing the new nozzle before you buy a hose.

Some brands will also include the tools you will need to complete the project. Don’t buy pipe thread if you are not replacing the hose. For this plumbing repair, all you will need is a pair of needle nose pliers and maybe a screwdriver.

1. Remove the Old Nozzle Head

You don’t necessarily have to turn off the water if you are just replacing the nozzle on your sprayer hose, but it would be a good idea to avoid accidentally turning on the faucet, which will cause the water to shoot out of the hose while the nozzle is off. Simply unscrew the old nozzle and look for a small metal clip that holds the rest of the housing in place (your new nozzle should have the same part and where to locate it in the instructions).

You will probably need needle nose pliers to pull this clip off. It looks like a horseshoe and will be located below the washers. Once you remove the clip, you can take off the base of the old nozzle. Look at how it is assembled as you remove it; your new one will have basically the same construction, so seeing how it is attached will help you install the new nozzle.

2. Unscrew the Mounting Nut and Replace Nozzle Base

The mounting nut is the large nut located under the sink just below the nozzle. It keeps the base of the nozzle in place. Hold down the base of the nozzle as you unscrew the mounting nut. This may be tricky depending on the design of your sink. You might want to get someone to hold the base in place so that you have better access to the mounting nut.

Once you unscrew the nut from the base, you can guide the hose through the opening in the sink to take slide off the old nut and replace it with the new mounting nut. Next, put the hose back through the hole and install the new base by screwing it into the new mounting nut.

3. Install New Nozzle

If you unscrew the top part of the nozzle from the bottom where the metal clip is attached (your instructions should label them with letters), you may find the washers inside or packaged separately with the clip. Slide the bottom part of the nozzle onto the hose and install the metal clip on the bottom ridge of the plastic part of the hose with the pliers. Next put the plastic washer around the tube, and then the rubber one. Then, simply screw on the top part of the nozzle and test it for leaks.

Don’t tighten the nozzle too much, because the parts are delicate and could break with too much pressure. If you can’t fit the nozzle on without leaks, you may need a different style hose.

Whenever you need help with bathroom of kitchen plumbing in Dakota County home, feel free to call the experts at Air Mechanical Inc to ask questions and get advice.

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Geothermal Installation Steps for Andover Homes

Monday, May 21st, 2012

If you are interested in a geothermal installation for an Andover home, you are in the right place. If you are looking for natural a way to heat your home with the natural energy of the Earth, you have found the right heating strategy.

You probably have a lot of questions, not the least of which have to do with the installation process. You may assume that it is complicated, but in most cases it is quite simple. Here is a simple summary of the steps involved in installing a geothermal system:

  1. The very first step, before any kind of installation can even be planned, is to evaluate the ground on which your home sits to be sure it can support a geothermal system. The area must be evaluated for soil and rock composition, availability of ground and surface water and availability of land.
  2. Once you have determined that your yard can handle a geothermal system, it is time to choose the type of system you need. This depends a lot on the evaluation from step 1, as well as some other factors. For one example, if you have very little land available, you may need to opt for a vertical loop configuration. For another, if you are fortunate enough to have a small body of water on your property, you can take advantage of a pond loop installation.
  3. Your contractor will dig and/or drill trenches for placement of the geothermal pipes. Try not to be nervous. This only takes a couple of days and they will disrupt your yard as little as possible.
  4. With the trenches prepared, pipes can be placed in accordance with the configuration you chose.
  5. Your contractor will fill the trenches back in to cover the pipes loosely. You may want to work with a landscaper to fully “re-assemble” your yard where the pipes were installed.
  6. Finally, the installation team will hook up the geothermal system to your home, make any necessary final adjustments, and you are good to go!

If you’re interested in geothermal heating for your home, consider contacting Air Mechanical Inc today to discuss the installation process for your home.

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Plumbing Basics from Anoka: Learning the Parts of a Toilet

Monday, May 14th, 2012

The majority of Anoka homeowners are not aware that they can repair most minor toilet problems and other bathroom plumbing jobs on their own. Whether it’s overflowing or running more than it should, toilets can be repaired often without calling a plumber; however, it is important to know the basic parts of a toilet before trying to troubleshoot toilet issues.

Here’s a guide to learning the parts of a toilet:

Tank: Pictured above (inspectapedia.com) is the tank on the back of the toilet, which holds the water supply for the bowl and the components that you need to know to fix most problems.

Bowl: Holds wastewater and uses the water from the tank to flush the waste.

Flush Handle:  The flush handle is the part that everyone knows, but it’s important to know what happens when you flush: the flush handle is connected to the trip lever, which lifts the flapper and allows the water for the tank to enter the bowl.

Trip Lever: The trip lever is the part that you need to know for a running toilet. It attaches the flush handle to the flapper, and when you flush the toilet, this lever lifts the flapper (sometimes called a flapper valve) and releases the water from the tank into the bowl to force the wastewater in the bowl down the sewer drain. When a toilet is running, you can simply lift the trip lever to lower the water level in the tank.

Float Ball: The float ball basically measures the water in the tank. After you flush, the ball will fall as the water level lowers, and the ball will rise again as the tank fills from the toilet main water supply. When the tank has enough water, the toilet will stop running.

Overflow Tube: This is the tube that will stop the tank from overflowing if the toilet is running. It leads into the drain and pushes out all the excess water. Sometimes you can remove the rubber water supply tube from the overflow tube to keep a toilet from overflowing if you are not able to shut off the main water valve behind the toilet.

Flapper Valve: This is the part to know whenever you have an overflowing toilet or a backup. The flapper is attached to the flush handle by a chain and the trip lever. Whenever the flapper is pushed down, the water cannot leave the tank, so when you flush, it creates a suction to pressurize the water entering the bowl so that it has enough force to flush the waste. If your toilet is overflowing, push the flapper down with your hand so that it stops the water from entering the bowl. Most people are afraid to put their hands in the tank because they associate the tank water with the water in the bowl. The water in the toilet tank is clean because it comes from the main water supply line, which is attached to the stop valve.  If your flapper valve becomes damaged over the years and looses suction in the tank, this is a quick plumbing replacement that any homeowner can perform.

Stop Valve: This is also called the toilet supply valve because it controls the fresh water supply going into the tank. It is usually located behind the toilet near the floor, and turning it off is another way to stop an overflowing toilet because the tank cannot fill once it is turned off.  It is attached to the supply tube, which attaches to the refill tube.

Supply Tube: Although the supply tube and refill tube are connected, they are two different parts. People often use their names interchangeable, but what’s most important to know is that the supply tube supplies the water from the main line and into the refill tube, which refills the bowl.

Refill Tube: When the float ball is down, the refill tube fills the bowl with the water from the supply tube. After a flush, the ball rises, and when it reaches a certain level, the refill tube stops the flow of water into the bowl.

Trap: The trap is a seal that prevents backflow and strong odors from the main sewage line. If you smell sewage in your bathroom, particularly near the toilet, you could have a bad seal or faulty trap. Troubleshooting a trap usually requires a plumber, unless you are familiar with toilet installation.

Wax Ring: Another cause for bad odors is the wax ring, which is a seal between the toilet and the sewage line. A faulty wax ring could also cause leaking at the bottom of the toilet. Call a plumber whenever you aren’t sure about leaking toilets or strong sewer odors; there could be a problem in the main sewer line.

Call Air Mechanical if you have any questions about these components, or if you want to trouble shoot with one of our qualified plumbers.

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No Heat From Your Boiler: Causes and Solutions for Hopkins Homes

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Boiler-driven hot water heating systems are popular in Hopkins because of their reliability and efficiency. But breakdowns do occur, especially as units age, and they can happen for many reasons. The first step is to make sure you’re actually dealing with a breakdown and not something much more simple. If you’ve lost heat from your boiler, check to make sure there’s fuel in your oil or gas tank before making a service call. Also keep in mind that part of the heating system is electrical. A recent power outage or short circuit in the house could have tripped the circuit breaker for the boiler.

Next, check the emergency shut off switch. It looks like a typical wall light switch but with a red cover and bold lettering indicating the off and on positions. It’s usually placed in a convenient spot in the basement. In many Hopkins homes it’s located at the top of the basement stairs. Sometimes the switch is turned off accidentally, but if a repairman or someone else in you house turned it off for a reason, you need to find out why.

If the emergency switch is on and all the circuit breakers are on and there’s plenty of fuel, the next step in diagnosing the problem is checking the boiler. First, understand that most heating appliances automatically shut down when a critical component stops functioning properly. This will require some heating maintenance to fix, but don’t put yourself or your family at risk. Don’t attempt to restart or repair the boiler yourself. But you can help the HVAC technician help you by checking a few simple things before making the call.

A puddle on the floor usually means a pipe or valve is leaking. A drop in the water level inside the boiler could have triggered the shut down. But leaks in joints can also occur when something else shuts the boiler down and the metal plumbing shrinks. Is the puddle getting larger or is it stagnant?

If there’s no leak, carefully touch the copper pipes running in and out of the top. If some are hot and others cold, the boiler is probably working but some of the zone controls or thermostats may be broken.

If all the pipes are cold, carefully touch the metal panels covering the boiler. They usually warm up a bit when the boiler is operating normally. Listen for the faint hissing sound of the pilot light. If the  boiler is cold and completely silent, the pilot light may have gone out, triggering a shut down. Don’t attempt to relight the pilot unless you’ve done so before. The HVAC technician can show you how to do it. Keep in mind that many new boilers in the TOWN NAME area have pilotless electronic ignitions.

If the pilot is lit but the pipes and boiler are cold, and boiler uses fuel oil, the burner motor may have stopped working. The burner motor is a separate, smaller unit attached to the boiler. Most burners have a red reset button that pops up when there’s a burner malfunction. Try to locate the button and decide if it’s popped up, but don’t reset it. Call an HVAC technician first. Restarting a malfunctioning unit may cause further damage. Oil burner motors can stop working for many reasons, including soot blocking the air supply, blocked fuel line, dirty electrodes inside the motor, or seized up bearings. Only a licensed HVAC technician can correctly diagnose and fix such problems.

 

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