Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Edina’

Heating Maintenance Guide: Furnace Safety

Monday, January 9th, 2012

There are many advantages to a properly operating furnace, and the most important ones are the safety and comfort of your Chanhassen home’s occupants. There are several things you can do to ensure the safe operation of your furnace.

Here is a checklist of ideas:

  • Clean or change furnace filters on a regular basis. Replace disposable filters and clean permanent filters using water or cleaning solutions. Your owner’s manual or a qualified heating contractor can suggest a regular maintenance schedule.
  • Check the exhaust vent from the furnace. Clear obstructions such as leaves, clothing, or animal nests from the vent pipe or chimney. Keep roof exhaust vents clear of snow. If there is a faulty exhaust system (like a blocked flue), of if there are cracks and leaks in the pipes or improper adjustment of the burner, or if there is lower air pressure indoors than outside, the furnace can create serious indoor air pollution.
  • A clear air intake is important too, since furnaces need fresh air to “breathe” and complete the fuel burning cycle. Again, check for debris, snow, or animal nests in intake pipes.
  • If you have an older gas furnace, you may want to install a supplementary induced-draft fan that reduces the possibility of backdrafting. Some furnaces have automatic shutoff devices that turn off the furnace if it begins to backdraft.
  • Check internal components such as the blower motor and vacuum any dirt. Check belts and pulleys for excessive wear. You should consult your owner’s manual for any suggested maintenance tips on internal working components.
  • You may also want to check the pilot light to see if it is working and if it producing an even, blue flame. If the flame is uneven, it may be a sign of incomplete gas combustion, which can result in the creation of dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
  • Ensure that your thermostat is operating correctly by raising or lowering the temperature settings to make sure the furnace cycles on and off.
  • Install and maintain battery or hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Externally vented natural gas furnaces, when properly designed and installed, will operate safely for years. But if you detect a problem, use the most common solution – contact a Chanhassen heating professional to check out your furnace.

Continue Reading

Where Are My Shut Off Valves?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Whenever you want to do some home repairs on your plumbing, whether it is to change a leaky faucet or fix knocking pipes, you need to shut off the main water supply. But, most home owners do not know where their main shutoff valves are, especially if they have just moved in or are renting a home that is unfamiliar to them. To help, here are some common places you can look for shutoff valves in your home.

  • Water Meter – The Water Meter, which you can usually find in your basement or just outside your home, will have a shutoff valve attached directly to it. Usually there will be two shutoff valves – one on each side of the meter (supply and home). To effectively shut off your water supply, turn the valve located before the meter.
  • Toilet Supply – Sometimes you do not need to cut off the main water supply to your entire house. It can be disruptive and the people in your home may not appreciate not having drinking water or a shower while you are working on the plumbing. So, when working on the toilet, always look for the toilet water valve located behind the tank. Sometimes this valve will be on the floor – other times it will be located on the wall just behind the tank.
  • Finding Wily Supplies – Sometimes the water supply may not be located where you would expect. It might be behind appliances or access panels or above your head somewhere. Most of the time, the water supply will still be in the basement, so start there and look carefully for the root of the pipes. Since most of the pipes in your home will originate at the supply line, you can usually trace them back to a single source.

If you still cannot find your main water supply line and shutoff valve, that does not mean it is hidden in the floor somewhere or outside. Sometimes, the supply lines are just in odd places, either because of strange construction or poor renovations by a past owner. If this is the case, get a second pair of eyes to help you hunt or as a last ditch option, call a plumber who will be able to more easily follow the lines back to their source. Nine times out of ten, you should be able to find and handle a main water supply on your own. But never rule out calling for a professional’s help if things get more complicated than anticipated.

Continue Reading

How Can I Stop My Toilet from Running?

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Nothing is more obnoxious than the constant tinkling sound of a running toilet. When your toilet starts pouring water through at a record rate, it is time to take a peek inside and make sure everything is working properly. Luckily, most of the time, a running toilet is very easy to fix. It may only be that the tank flap or the diaphragm needs adjustment. Here are some quick tips to help you diagnose and repair that running toilet and get back the peace and quiet of your bathroom once and for all.

  1. Going In – Open the tank of your toilet take a close look at the various parts. First, check the ball cock – the valve linked to the large plastic ball that floats on top of the water in your tank. If the noise is coming directly from the valve or you can see obvious issues, the ball cock likely needs to be replaced. Sometimes, it needs only basic cleaning, which you should do first before running out to buy a new part. It also possible that the tank flap is having issues. Look for a small cone in the hole at the base of the tank. Press down on it to see if the sound stops. If it does, the tank flap likely needs replacement.
  2. Turn off the Water Supply – Before doing any more, turn off your toilet’s water supply. Do not worry – you should not need to go hunting for the valve. It is most often located next to the toilet on the floor of your bathroom.
  3. Replacing Your Parts – When replacing any parts for a toilet, always remove the old part first and bring it with you to the hardware store. Almost all toilets have slightly different parts that may not match up universally. By having the part you need, you can give it to an expert in toilet repair and they can quickly find the right replacement.
  4. Careful Replacement – Most of the time, replacement simply involves unscrewing or removing the part and placing a new one in place. However, if you own a low flush toilet or a specialty design that does not have the same parts or layout of a traditional tank-based toilet, you may need the help of a professional to avoid any unwanted accidents or issues in the replacement process.

Ideally, the entire process should only take the better part of a couple hours, including the time it takes to go to the hardware store and purchase your replacement part.

Continue Reading