Air Mechanical, Inc. Blog : Posts Tagged ‘New Brighton’

Rogers Plumbing Q/A: Why Is There a Sewer Smell in Our House?

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Detecting a sewer smell in your Rogers house is never pleasant on a number of levels. Of course, the main thing you are most likely concerned about is that the smell makes it hard to be in your house. But there are other reasons to be concerned when you smell something like this as well. For one thing,  it likely means that there is a problem somewhere in your sewer, drainage or venting system.

In most cases, you will need to call in a Rogers  plumbing professional to determine the exact cause of the sewer smell and eliminate it. This can sometimes be expensive if the problem is widespread or difficult to locate, but it does not have to be. Some causes of a sewer smell in your house are relatively easy to remedy, particularly for an experienced professional.

For instance, the smell may be the result of leaks in certain pipes and can be eliminated when those leaks are repaired. Or a low water level in your toilet could be the culprit. The constant presence of water in your toilet bowl is actually what keeps those sewer gasses from seeping up and into your house. So if the water level in the toilet bowl drops for some reason, the gasses can be allowed to escape into your house. This is especially likely if you have a toilet that does not get used often and where the water may have evaporated over time.

Another common reason that a sewer smell can develop in your house is that the vent pipe has become clogged. Since it is the job of this pipe to vent sewer gasses out of your home, it is not surprising that a blockage in this system could cause the odors to build up inside. What ever the cause, the Rogers plumbing professionals at Air Mechanical Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are ready to help 24 hours a day!

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Problems Roots Can Cause Your Sewer Lines in Minnetonka

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Your sewer line in Minnetonka is a major component for your home’s plumbing, but because it is buried, rarely needs maintenance and almost always works as intended, most people forget about it. However, a sewer line can quickly become a much bigger problem if you allow tree roots to grow close to it. Here are some of the problems an errant tree can cause for your sewer line and what to do about them.

What Roots Do to Sewer Lines

Trees actively seek water at all times. They grow slowly, but when they grow they move their branches toward sunlight and their roots toward water. On most developed properties attached to a city sewer system, the best source of water is the sewer line.

If allowed to continue, tree roots grow toward the sewer line and eventually infiltrate the line. It may take time, but eventually those roots will find seams and cracks in the pipe and break into it seeking water.

Over time, this will result in leaks, cracks and clogs in your line that can flood your lawn, back up in your home or cause problems for your neighbors.

Solving the Tree Root Problem

The first thing you should do is ensure there are not trees or shrubs growing close to your sewer line. If you don’t know where your sewer line is, check your property assessment or have a plumber help you find it. Remove any trees in the vicinity to avoid such a problem.

If you suspect a tree root problem, have your plumber perform a video camera pipe inspection to check for roots and other blockages. If they find roots, high pressure jetting can often remove the problem completely.

Keep in mind that if the damage is advanced enough, you may need to have parts of your sewer line replace or relined. The actual work required will depend on the severity of the damage and the opinion of your plumber. Talk to a professional to learn more about what options are at your disposal.

A sewer line is vitally important to the operation of your home’s plumbing system. If you even suspect that a tree’s roots are infiltrating your pipes, contact Air Mechanical right away for a full inspection.

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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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How Heat Pumps Can Reduce Humidity in Anoka County

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Humidity is a big problem for a some families in Anoka. When not properly controlled, excess humidity can lead to damage to your furniture, excess mold growth and dust mites. In the warmer months of the year, this is a big problem. Fortunately, if you have recently had a heat pump installation, you have a strong weapon against excess humidity.

Heat pumps have both cooling and heating modes. In the winter, when your heating mode is active, you likely don’t need dehumidification. In fact, you may need a humidifier to keep it from getting too dry in your home. However, in the summer, excess humidity can make everyone uncomfortable.

Air conditioning has long been a natural dehumidifier. Because the process works through evaporation and condensation, water can be extracted from the air by the device whenever it is on.

However, for your heat pump to truly provide the dehumidification you need to remain comfortable, it must first have a dehumidification setting – often called the “dry” cycle. During this cycle, the device will dehumidify your home, pulling air from inside the house and extracting moisture from it through the indoor evaporator coils.

Dry cycling is effective because it doesn’t draw new air in from outside to cool your home. It uses the same air already in your home and can therefore remove humidity over time. While new air is draw into your home through vents, the system is designed to continuously cycle the humidity out of the air and keep you from being uncomfortable.

Choosing the Right Heat Pump for Humidity Control

Not all heat pumps offer humidity control settings, so you should talk to a professional about your needs before selecting a new model for your home. Make sure it offers the dehumidification options you’re looking for and can cover the full area of your home.  If you have any questions about this please call Air Mechanical.

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Heating Contractor Guide: Which Fuel is Right for Your Home?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Homeowners in Linwood all want to save money on household expenses and utility bills. We turn off lights when we leave the room, take shorter showers and make sure the kids don’t keep the refrigerator door open. These small habits help, but still we all want to save a little wherever we can, right?

One area where people are constantly looking for ways to save money is home heating. Everyone wants to be comfortable and warm in their homes, but that costs money, so homeowners are always on the lookout for the most effective and cost efficient way to keep the house warm.

What is the most cost effective fuel for home heating?

Is it gas furnaces, electric, fuel oil or propane? How about less conventional heat sources like wood or geothermal pumps?

We all wish there was one easy, all-encompassing answer to this question, like a heating magic bullet that would keep every family warm and happy for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, there isn’t. It depends on too many factors for any one solution to work for everyone.

Probably the biggest factor that plays a role in the cost of a particular fuel is its local availability. Resources are available differentially, so that while one option might be cheapest for a family of five in Andover, Massachusetts, the analysis is entirely different for a single person in Kearney, Nebraska.

What is the most cost effective option for you?

That is a better question, but still not one that is necessarily easy to answer.

To figure it out, you need to carefully analyze several factors:

  • Local availability (see above)
  • Local climate
  • Size of your home
  • Your family’s needs
  • Existing heating equipment
  • Your budget

Armed with this information, you can do a careful comparison of the options available to you. For assistance you can use an online calculator to compare fuel costs, such as this one from the Energy Information Administration or this one from Hearth.com. Or, if all else fails, call a contractor for a professional assessment.

Comparing fuel costs and choosing the right solution for you may take some time, but the savings can be well worth it, so call Air Mechanical with any questions.

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Heating Replacement Tip: Signs You Need a New Furnace

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Replacing your Brooklyn Center home’s furnace is probably not something you want to think about. After all, a new furnace is a big investment and not something you probably have too much experience with. And sometimes having your current system fixed or tuned up is all you need to get your home heating situation back on track. But there are certain situations in which it makes more sense to just go ahead and get a new furnace rather than simply patching up the old one.

For instance, if you have to call for either minor or major repairs to your furnace on a regular basis, it’s probably time to consider investing in a replacement. All of those repairs cost money and chances are that the furnace you’re paying repeatedly to replace isn’t going to last that much longer anyway.

Rather than continuing to dump money into a furnace that just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ll be better off making the investment in a new unit. The truth is, you’re going to have to do it sooner or later and by buying a new furnace now, you’re actually saving all of the money you would have spent on repairing the old one for another year or so.

Also, a furnace that requires such frequent repairs is probably not functioning all that efficiently either. When you replace it with a newer model, you won’t just save money on repairs. You’ll also likely notice a considerable savings on your monthly energy bills because of how much more efficient your new model is.

Even if you haven’t been repairing your furnace often, you may be able to notice some signs that the old unit isn’t quite up to the task anymore. If you’re suddenly having some significant humidity problems in your house or if your home isn’t being heated evenly, there’s a good chance your furnace is on its way out.

And, in fact, even if your furnace is functioning just fine but is more than 10 years old or so, it’s very likely you’d benefit by replacing it. That’s because the newer furnaces available now are so much more energy efficient than their predecessors that the savings you’ll incur monthly will quickly make up for the initial installation investment.

Of course, you don’t want to get rid of a good furnace if you don’t have to. But if your Brooklyn Center home’s furnace is getting close to the end of its expected lifespan, you may very well benefit by putting out the money for a new one now so you can start saving right away on your monthly energy bills.

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HVAC Contractor Tip: 5 Reasons to Replace Your Furnace

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Many Blaine homes are heated with furnaces, since they generally provide safe and efficient heat.  Furnaces have also improved dramatically over the years as manufacturers find ways to make them more efficient. Even if your furnace has been reliable for many years, it may be worth the money to replace your old furnace with a newer, more efficient model.

Here are five major benefits to upgrading your furnace.

1. Lowering Your Utility Bills

Whether you realize it or not, your current furnace could be costing you more than it should in heating bills. If your furnace is 15-20 years old, it’s probably not heating your home as efficiently as the newer models with higher AFUE ratings. Even if your heating system has been replaced within the last ten years, the technology has advanced enough to consider an upgrade.

2. Fewer Repairs

Repair costs can add up if you are constantly repairing your furnace. Routine maintenance for your furnace can help reduce the need for repairs, but as furnaces age, they tend to need more repairs and replacement parts. If you need frequent repairs for your furnace, it may be time to replace it with a newer one.

3. More Consistent Heat

While maintaining consistent temperatures throughout your home involves several factors, such as insulation and thermostat control, your furnace could also be the reason you aren’t getting enough heat to all parts of the house. If some rooms are colder than others, or if your heating bills have recently gone up, it may be time for a furnace replacement.

4. Reduce the Chances of a Breakdown

When a furnace breaks down, it not only leaves you without heat, but it is also a major expense. Budgeting for a new furnace before it breaks down will put less financial burden on you than needing an emergency furnace replacement. Newer model furnaces are also more reliable and less likely to give you problems if maintained properly.

5. Safety

There’s higher potential for safety concerns with older or poorly maintained furnaces. In addition to fire hazards, carbon monoxide poisoning is another serious threat. When the heat exchanger stops working because it’s corroded or faulty, carbon monoxide can leak into the home. If you’ve had your furnace for more than 20 years, it could create safety hazards that you may be unaware of.

No matter how long you’ve had the furnace in your home, it’s always wise to speak with a qualified Blaine HVAC technician about furnace upgrades, particularly if you have expensive heating costs. Call Air Mechanical today to talk with one of our heating experts about furnace upgrades.

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Plumbing Tip: How to Use a Plumber’s Snake

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Your Cambridge home’s kitchen sink is backed up and you can’t prepare dinner. Or your toilet is plugged and even the plunger isn’t fixing the problem. It may be time to call for the snake – plumber’s snake that is.

For those of you who are intimidated by tools, take note: you have nothing to fear from the snake. It is easy to operate and is an effective alternative to plumbing repairs.

Okay, so you’ve decided to use a snake to unclog your pipe. Do you have one? If you rarely use a snake in your home you might want to consider renting one. Most tool rental shops have snakes in varying sizes for rent – from hand-held to electric. But it is a good idea to have one around for emergencies and you can find hand-held snakes for under $10 (often named “augers”).

The first thing you need to do is prep for the job. Make sure you have cleared out an area to work on the plumbing and that you have plenty of rags to mop up any spills or drips. It is a good idea to lay down some newspaper or plastic to keep the floor and cabinets dry, too.

Make sure you have access to the pipe by removing any drain covering. Obviously you will have directly access to the toilet drain. Before operating the snake you should put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from the metal coils of the snake and any debris that might be in the pipe.

Next, slowly feed the snake into the pipe. You may have to turn the snake in a clockwise direction to move it along. Once you have reached the clog – and you can usually tell when the snake stops feeding – it is time to rotate the snake into the clog and loosen it up. The head or tip of snake should be able to grab on the debris so that you can pull it back out and dispose of it. In the process, some of the debris may wash away down the pipe and that’s okay (well, as long as it doesn’t accumulate further down the circuit). You really want to use the snake head to “chew up” the debris for removal, rather than just pushing it further down the pipe.

Once you have removed the debris clogging the pipe, run hot water down the pipes to wash away any remnants. Replace the drain cover if necessary and clean up your mess. Voila!

If you have a stubborn clog that won’t snake out or if you just aren’t comfortable using a tool, call a Cambridge plumber to save you the effort.

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Heating Contractor Guide: Components of a Geothermal Heating System

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

A geothermal heating system in your East Bethel home has three basic components and some add-on ones as well.

Its most distinguishing feature is the ground loops. The most common is the closed ground loop system, which is a series of pipes that are buried underground. These pipes contain a heat transfer fluid, comprised of antifreeze and water. This fluid absorbs heat from the ground and carries it to the home. This fluid also absorbs heat from the house and sends it into the ground to keep the home cool.

Examples of closed loop systems include the horizontal closed loop, which can be used in larger parcels of land (over an acre for example). The loops are placed typically placed horizontally 6-to-10 feet below the surface. A vertical closed loop design is recommended for smaller parcels of land and loops are often buried vertically approximately 20 feet underground. Other types of ground loop designs use well water to transfer heat in an open loop configuration, or have a closed loop submerged underwater in a pond or lake.

The next component is the heat pump, which draws the fluid from the ground loop. In a heat pump, heat energy is exchanged with the ground to heat or cool the home. In the heating mode, fluid warmed from underground flows through the heat pump. A fan blows across the pipe warmed by the fluid. Because the fluid is much warmer than the air inside the heat pump, heat energy is released into the cooler air. The cool air is warmed and distributed inside the home. The process is reversed for cooling. Cool fluid in the pipe absorbs heat from the warm air inside the home. Once pumped underground, the excess heat in the fluid is absorbed by the cooler earth.

The final component is the air handling or distribution system. Here, a fan in the heat pump’s furnace blows air over a fan coil and the heated cooled air is distributed through the home’s ductwork. Some distribution systems are hydronic, where hot water is circulated through radiators or radiant floor heat tubing. This water absorbs heat from the heat pump and then distributed throughout the home.

In some homes, both a forced air and hydronic system, often referred to as a “hybrid system” work together.

Optional components include a heat pump “desuperheater,” which is used to help with domestic hot water heating. In warm weather, the desuperheater recovers some of the heat – that would otherwise be sent to the ground loop – to help produce hot water. In cold weather, some of the heat pump capacity may be diverted from space heating for the same purpose. Desuperheaters save approximately 25% on domestic water heating costs.

Another component is an auxiliary electric heater, which is built into the geothermal heat pump. This auxiliary electric heat is installed to allow East Bethel heating and cooling technicians to size – or resize – a home’s geothermal heat pump system to assist the system during the few coldest days of the year. Auxiliary electric heat is also an emergency backup heat source if there are any operational issues with the geothermal heat pump system.

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Troubleshooting Thermostat Issues: Is it the Thermostat or Something Else? A Tip from Andover

Friday, October 21st, 2011

If your the room temperature in your Andover home is too hot or cold, what is the first thing you check? Probably the thermostat. If you are a homeowner, you probably have played around with the setting on a thermostat, much to the chagrin of other occupants who don’t share your same comfort level. And if you try and adjust a thermostat at work – well forget about it. Most companies now have locking thermostats or “false” ones that don’t actually connect to the heating and cooling system.

So if you have a temperature problem, is it really the thermostat that causes it? Maybe yes and maybe no. One physical characteristic to check is the location of the thermostat. If it is in a drafty hallway or near a heat source, it only reads the temperature for that area and other parts of the building are neglected. You will often find more than one thermostat in a home that is tied into more than one furnace or air conditioner.

The older more popular round thermostats are manually controlled and do not adjust to any conditions in the home. They simply control the heating and cooling functions based on a human turning a dial. It’s as simple as that. So if you use this method to adjust the temperatures, blame yourself and not the thermostat. You might want to consider installing a digital, programmable thermostat.

With that in mind, let’s look at some typical ways to troubleshoot a thermostat.

  • Check the anticipator, which is a small metal tab on the front of the printed scale. Give it a light push in either direction. It may be stuck.
  • Clean the interior of the thermostat housing and clean the contacts (small metal plates)
  • Check loose wires or wires that may be corroded.
  • Read the thermostat manual (if not available, look online) for other tips such as ensuring there is voltage to the terminals.

If you have checked everything and the thermostat seems to be in working order, look for other things within the heating & cooling system. These include blocked or restricted registers and vents, leaks or cracks in ductwork, and dirty air handling filters.

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