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Summer Plumbing Woes: Common Issues to Watch Out For

As the temperature rises and summer activities commence, it’s crucial to be aware of potential plumbing problems that can arise during this season. Understanding and addressing these issues promptly can save you from a plumbing disaster. This article will explore the most common plumbing problems in summer and provide valuable tips on prevention and maintenance.

Clogged or Slow Drains: Don’t Let the Fun Go Down the Drain!

Summer is a time for barbecues, gardening, and increased water usage, but it can also lead to pesky clogged drains. Accumulating debris, grease, and food particles can enter the drains, causing clogs and slow drainage. To keep your drains clear, follow these preventive measures:

Use drain covers or strainers: These simple devices catch hair, food scraps, and other debris, preventing them from going down the drain and causing clogs.

Avoid pouring grease down the drain: Instead, let grease solidify and dispose of it in the trash. Grease can harden and create stubborn blockages in your pipes. Save jars so that once the grease/oil has cooled, you have a safe receptacle to pour into.

Periodically flush drains with hot water and vinegar: This helps dissolve buildup and keeps your drains flowing smoothly.

You can use a plunger or drain snake for minor clogs as a DIY solution. However, if the clog persists or is recurring, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They have the expertise and tools to tackle even the most stubborn blockages.

Sewer Line Blockages: Stop Roots from Wreaking Havoc

Tree roots can be a summer plumbing nightmare as they grow faster during this season. They can infiltrate sewer lines, causing blockages and backups. They are attracted to the moisture and nutrients inside sewer pipes. They can penetrate and damage the pipes as they grow, leading to blockages and potential sewage backups in your home. If you have existing trees near your sewer lines, consult with a professional arborist to find the best way to manage root growth.

Slow drains, foul odors, gurgling sounds in the pipes, or sewage backups in sinks, toilets, or bathtubs are signs of a potential sewer line issue. If you notice any of these signs, addressing the problem promptly is crucial to prevent further damage.

Hydro jetting is a powerful technique professionals use to clear sewer line blockages caused by tree roots. It involves using high-pressure water to break apart the roots and clear the pipe. Regular professional inspections and root maintenance treatments can prevent future problems.

Leaky Outdoor Faucets: Saving Water and Money

Outdoor faucets, also known as hose bibs, can develop leaks during summer due to wear and tear or improper winterization. Over time, the seals and washers inside the faucet can deteriorate, resulting in leaks. Freezing temperatures during winter can also cause pipes to crack or rupture, leading to leaks when the faucet is in use.

Check for any visible leaks or drips around the faucet. If you notice leaks, tighten the connections or replace faulty washers. For frozen or burst pipes, it’s best to call a professional plumber to handle the repairs. To prevent leaks and prolong the lifespan of your outdoor faucets, disconnect hoses and drain them before winter, insulate the faucet with a cover or wrap, and regularly check for leaks or damage.

Toilet Turmoil: Handling Bathroom Mishaps

With more guests in your home during the summer, toilets can experience an increased workload and potential problems. More people using the bathroom can lead to clogs, running toilets, or leaks. Remind guests only to flush toilet paper and to avoid disposing of items that can cause blockages.

Clogs can often be resolved using a plunger or a toilet auger. Running toilets may require adjusting the flapper valve or replacing other faulty components. Leaks should be addressed promptly to prevent water waste and damage. Regularly inspect the toilet for any signs of leaks, ensure proper flushing mechanisms are in place, and avoid using excessive toilet cleaners that can damage the toilet components.

You can maintain a smoothly functioning bathroom by educating your guests about proper toilet usage and addressing issues promptly.

Sump Pump Survival Guide: Protecting Your Basement from Summer Storms

Heavy summer rainstorms can overload sump pumps, leading to their failure and potential basement flooding. Sump pumps are designed to remove excess water from the basement, preventing flooding and water damage.

Issues like power failure, stuck floats, or clogged discharge pipes can hamper the functionality of sump pumps. Regularly test your sump pump, clean the inlet screen, and install a battery backup system for protection during power outages. Check the sump pump’s components for proper functioning, including the float switch, discharge pipe, and backup battery. Ensure the sump pump is debris-free and the outlet pipe directs water away from your foundation.

Garbage Disposal Dilemmas: Avoiding Kitchen Nightmares

Summer cookouts often involve food preparation and clean up, putting extra strain on garbage disposals and increasing the likelihood of jams or clogs. Common challenges with garbage disposals during summer: Food scraps, fibrous materials, or grease can cause clogs or damage to the garbage disposal. Avoid disposing of hard items like bones or fruit pits; never pour grease down the drain.

Run cold water while operating the disposal to help flush food particles, cut larger items into smaller pieces before disposing of them, and regularly clean the disposal with vinegar or baking soda to remove buildup and odors. If your garbage disposal gets jammed, use a wrench or an Allen wrench to rotate the blades and dislodge any obstructions manually. Maintain your disposal by avoiding harsh chemicals and scheduling professional inspections as needed.

Embrace a Trouble-Free Summer with Proactive Plumbing Care

Summer plumbing problems can disrupt your enjoyment of the season. Still, with awareness, preventive measures, and timely maintenance, you can minimize the risks and keep your plumbing system in top shape. Remember to address issues promptly, seek professional help, and practice water conservation to make the most of the summer months without plumbing headaches. Stay proactive and enjoy a worry-free summer!

Choosing the Ideal HVAC System for Western North Carolina

Living in Western North Carolina presents a set of climatic challenges. From sweltering, sticky summers to chilly, frosty winters, having a dependable HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) unit is vital to achieving maximum comfort at your residence. This article will delve into the factors singular to Western NC so you can settle on the ideal HVAC system for your requirements.

Consider the Climate:

Western North Carolina experiences a mix of climates, with hot summers and cold winters. The region typically has a humid subtropical climate, meaning summers can be muggy while winters are chilly. Choosing an HVAC system that can handle both extremes and provide efficient heating and cooling throughout the year is crucial.

In the summer, temperatures can soar into the high 80s and 90s, accompanied by high humidity levels. To combat this, a reliable air conditioning system is essential. Central air conditioning units are popular, providing whole-house cooling by distributing cool air through ductwork. This ensures consistent and comfortable temperatures throughout your home.

During the winter, temperatures in Western NC can drop below freezing, requiring an efficient heating system. Furnaces are frequently employed to provide reliable and economical heating to homes and buildings. Gas furnaces can efficiently and quickly heat a living space and retain a comfortable temperature even in chilly climates. Conversely, if an eco-friendly heating method is desired, electric furnaces and heat pumps could be contemplated.

Determine Heating Requirements:

Heat Pumps

When it comes to finding the best and most modern solution for comfortable living in Western North Carolina, heat pumps take the spotlight. These innovative systems draw energy from the outdoor air and transfer it indoors to warm your house during the winter. What sets heat pumps apart is their impressive efficiency and versatility, as they can provide both heating and cooling, making them ideal for year-round comfort.

Unlike traditional heating systems, heat pumps tap into the abundant energy present in the outdoor air. They extract warmth from the environment and seamlessly distribute it throughout your home, creating a cozy sanctuary during the chilly winter months. But heat pumps don’t stop there—they also excel at cooling. By reversing their operation, they efficiently remove heat from your living space and release it outside, ensuring a refreshing and pleasant indoor environment even during the sweltering summer heat.

Furnace Systems:

Given the colder winters in Western NC, a furnace system is an alternative. Gas furnaces provide efficient and cost-effective heating. These systems use natural gas to generate heat throughout your home via ductwork. Gas furnaces are appreciated for their quick response and heat output, which makes them suitable for temperatures during extreme winter conditions. An electric furnace can be an eco-friendly alternative since it depends on electricity to generate heat and exclude the need for gas. While the operating cost could be slightly higher, they provide consistent and reliable heating with no greenhouse gas emissions.

Assess Cooling Needs:

Air Conditioning Units:

An efficient cooling system is crucial in Western NC’s hot and humid summers. Central air conditioning units are widely used and offer whole-house cooling. They distribute cool air through ductwork, ensuring consistent temperatures in every room of your home. Paired with a furnace or heat pump, a central air conditioning system provides year-round comfort and convenience.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems:

Consider ductless mini-split systems if you prefer a more flexible and energy-efficient cooling option. These systems consist of an outdoor unit and individual indoor units installed in specific zones of your home. Each indoor unit can be controlled independently, allowing you to customize the temperature in different areas. Ductless mini-split systems are especially beneficial for homes without existing ductwork or those seeking zoned cooling capabilities.

Evaluate Energy Efficiency:

Given energy costs and the negative environmental impact that energy consumption can have, homeowners should focus on the energy efficiency ratings of their HVAC systems, including modern solutions like inverter heat pumps and air conditioners. These advanced systems are designed to adjust their output based on the demand, significantly improving energy efficiency. To ensure maximum efficiency, homeowners should consider systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings for cooling and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings for heating. Higher SEER and AFUE ratings indicate better energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and reduced carbon footprint.

Investing in HVAC equipment that is energy efficient can provide savings in the future and is beneficial for the environment. Getting rebates or incentives from utility organizations or government bodies may further reduce your expenditure.

Finding Your Perfect HVAC System for Comfortable Living in Western North Carolina:

Choosing the right HVAC system for Western North Carolina involves considering the climate, heating requirements, cooling needs, and energy efficiency. Selecting an HVAC system that can deal with the area’s varied climate and temperature levels all year round is essential. To find a suitable system, it is wise to speak to HVAC professionals about your heating and cooling specifications, and energy performance requirements. This way, you can get an HVAC system that is suitable for you and aids in maintaining your inside comfort. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and together we can figure out the best way to increase your comfort.

Debunking Common Myths About HVAC Systems

When it comes to HVAC systems, there are numerous myths and misconceptions that can mislead homeowners and cause unnecessary worries or improper maintenance practices. Together, we will debunk the most common myths surrounding HVAC systems. By shedding light on these misconceptions, we aim to provide accurate information and help homeowners make informed decisions about their heating and cooling needs.

Myth #1: HVAC systems don’t require regular maintenance

Maintaining an HVAC system is often overlooked, with homeowners assuming that once it’s installed, it will run smoothly without any maintenance. However, this is a myth. Regular maintenance is essential to ensure optimal performance, energy efficiency, and to prevent costly repairs. HVAC systems should be inspected, cleaned, and serviced at least once a year by a professional technician.

Myth #2: Closing vents in unused rooms saves energy

Some homeowners believe that closing vents in rooms they don’t frequently use will save energy. However, this is a misconception. HVAC systems are designed to operate with a specific airflow balance, and closing vents disrupts that balance, causing strain on the system. Instead, consider using zoning systems or programmable thermostats to regulate temperatures in different areas efficiently.

Myth #3: Cranking up the thermostat heats or cools the house faster

Many people believe that setting the thermostat to extreme temperatures will heat or cool their homes faster. In reality, HVAC systems operate at a consistent rate, regardless of the temperature set. Setting the thermostat excessively high or low only leads to wasting energy and potential discomfort. It’s best to set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature and allow the system to work efficiently.

Myth #4: Duct tape is suitable for sealing ductwork

Contrary to its name, duct tape is not an effective solution for sealing ductwork. Over time, it deteriorates, leading to air leaks and decreased energy efficiency. Instead, professionals recommend using mastic sealant or foil tape designed specifically for sealing ductwork. These materials provide long-lasting and airtight seals, ensuring efficient airflow throughout the HVAC system.

Myth #5: Turning off the HVAC system when leaving the house saves more energy

Many homeowners believe that turning off the HVAC system completely when leaving the house for an extended period will save more energy. However, this is not entirely true. While turning off the system can save energy in the short term, it can lead to temperature extremes and humidity issues when you return.

Instead of turning off the HVAC system entirely, consider adjusting the thermostat to a slightly higher temperature in the summer or a slightly lower temperature in the winter. This allows the system to use less energy while maintaining a comfortable environment. Additionally, you can utilize programmable thermostats or smart thermostats to automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule, ensuring energy savings without compromising comfort. By dispelling this myth, homeowners can make informed decisions about energy-saving practices when it comes to their HVAC systems.

Myth #7: Bigger HVAC systems are always better

There is a common misconception among homeowners that bigger HVAC systems will provide better cooling or heating performance. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, installing an oversized HVAC system can lead to several issues.

Firstly, an oversized system will frequently turn on and off, known as short cycling, which can result in inefficient operation, increased energy consumption, and unnecessary wear and tear on the system components. Moreover, an oversized system may not adequately dehumidify the air, leading to a clammy or uncomfortable indoor environment.

It’s important to properly size your HVAC system based on the specific requirements of your home. A professional HVAC technician can perform a load calculation to determine the appropriate size for your system, taking into account factors such as the square footage, insulation, climate, and number of occupants. By debunking the myth that bigger is always better, homeowners can ensure that their HVAC system is properly sized for optimal performance, energy efficiency, and overall comfort.

Takeaways for HVAC Myths

By debunking these common myths about HVAC systems, we hope to provide homeowners with accurate information and promote better understanding of their systems. Remember, regular maintenance, proper usage, and professional assistance when needed are essential for keeping your HVAC system in top shape.

Image of a tankless water heater

The Advantages of Upgrading to a Tankless Water Heater

If you’re in the market for a new water heater, you may want to consider upgrading to a tankless water heater. Unlike traditional tank-style water heaters, tankless water heaters heat water on demand, which can provide a number of advantages for homeowners. Here are the top advantages of upgrading to a tankless water heater.

Energy Efficiency

Tankless water heaters are much more energy-efficient than traditional tank-style water heaters. Tank-style water heaters store and constantly heat a large tank of water, which can lead to energy waste and higher energy bills. In contrast, tankless water heaters only heat water when it’s needed, which can result in significant energy savings over time.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters can be up to 34% more energy-efficient than tank-style water heaters, which can translate to significant cost savings for homeowners.

Endless Hot Water Supply

With a tankless water heater, you never have to worry about running out of hot water. Traditional tank-style water heaters have a limited supply of hot water, and if you use all of it, you’ll need to wait for the tank to refill and reheat the water. With a tankless water heater, you can have an endless supply of hot water, as the system heats water on demand.

This can be particularly beneficial for larger families or homes with high hot water demand, as everyone can shower, do laundry, and use hot water simultaneously without worrying about running out.

Space-Saving Design

Tankless water heaters have a much smaller footprint than traditional tank-style water heaters, which can be a major advantage for homeowners with limited space. Tankless water heaters are typically mounted on a wall, which can free up floor space in your basement or utility room.

Additionally, tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan than traditional tank-style water heaters, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them as frequently.

Improved Water Quality

Tank-style water heaters store and heat a large tank of water, which can lead to sediment buildup and other issues that can negatively affect water quality. Tankless water heaters don’t have a tank, so there’s no risk of sediment buildup or rusting.

Additionally, tankless water heaters have a more precise temperature control, which can help prevent scalding and ensure that your water is always at the right temperature.

Cost-Effective in the Long Run

While tankless water heaters can have a higher upfront cost than traditional tank-style water heaters, they can be more cost-effective in the long run. Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan than traditional tank-style water heaters, so you won’t have to replace them as frequently.

Additionally, tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient, which can result in significant cost savings on your energy bills over time. When you factor in the cost savings from energy efficiency and longer lifespan, tankless water heaters can be a cost-effective investment for homeowners.

Upgrading to a tankless water heater can provide a number of advantages for homeowners, including energy efficiency, endless hot water supply, space-saving design, improved water quality, and cost-effectiveness in the long run. If you’re considering upgrading to a tankless water heater, contact us today to discuss your options and schedule an installation.

HVAC units outside of a home

Should I repair or replace my HVAC system?

Should I repair or replace my HVAC system?

Yes, HVAC cost a lot of money!  We understand. That’s why you need a licensed, professional contractor who:

  • Will be thorough and use proven methods (such as a Manual J load calculation) to properly size your system and design options specific to your home and needs.  Our trained, professional Comfort Consultants will provide you with unparalleled system planning support.
  • Has sophisticated systems in place to assure your installation is high quality and your experience before and during the installation is highly professional. Ward PH&A utilizes state-of-the-art systems and constantly improved processes to assure your new HVAC system is safe, reliable, efficient, and provides you and your family with the comfort you deserve.
  • Will offer a full system warranty of up to 10 years. Most contractors offer a 1 year installation warranty on new systems. You expect your system  to last 10-15 years, maybe even longer with proper maintenance.  Ward PH&A offers up to 10 year installation warranty because we believe in our quality and you deserve better.
  • Will assure top notch professional service, maintenance and support in the event there’s an issue with your system. We set the new standard for 5-Star service in Western NC.  Please take time to read our over 1500 5-star Google reviews and hear what real customers have to say.

Probably the most common question we are asked about HVAC systems is:

Should I repair or replace my HVAC system?

Many people, including many other contractors, use multiple methods to answer this important question. It could be the personal opinion of the technician at your home, or even his or her mood that day. It could be based on how much someone wants to replace your system.

At Ward PH&A, we believe in data, consistency, and being objective. We know without question that spending $ on repairing old systems is a decision many customers later regret. Therefore, our method for advising to repair or replace your system is based on and an industry-accosted formula that helps consider that knowledge:

The $5k rule… If the cost of the needed repairs on a system (in $) X the age of the system (in years) exceeds $5k, we advise customers to consider replacing  their system rather than repairing it.

Calculator for the $5,000 rule

The $5,000 rule is an industry accepted rule for determining whether to repair or replace an HVAC system. Multiply the age of your equipment by its estimated repair cost. If the outcome is under $5,000, you should probably repair. If over $5,000, you should replace.

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Disclaimer: This information is provided as general guideline only. Please contact Ward Plumbing, Heating & Air directly to assure you are making the best decisions about your HVAC system.

The Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your HVAC and Plumbing Systems Running Efficiently

Keeping your HVAC and plumbing systems running efficiently is crucial to ensure the comfort and safety of your home. It can also help you save money on your energy bills and avoid costly repairs down the line. Here are the top 5 tips for keeping your HVAC and plumbing systems running efficiently.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your HVAC and plumbing systems running efficiently is to schedule regular maintenance with a professional. A qualified technician can inspect your systems, clean them, and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. Regular maintenance can also help identify and address potential problems before they become major issues.

For HVAC systems, it’s recommended to schedule maintenance twice a year – once in the spring before the cooling season begins, and once in the fall before the heating season begins. For plumbing systems, it’s recommended to schedule maintenance once a year.

Change Air Filters Regularly

Air filters play a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. Over time, air filters can become clogged with dust, dirt, and other debris, which can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. To prevent this, it’s important to change your air filters regularly.

The frequency of air filter changes will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of filter, levels of usage of the system, number of occupants, and the presence of pets, dust and other factors. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended to change air filters every 1-3 months.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperature settings for different times of the day or week so you can automatically adjust your HVAC system to match your schedule. For example, you can set the temperature to be cooler during the day when everyone is out of the house, and warmer in the evening when everyone is home.

This can help you save money on your energy bills by reducing the amount of energy used when you’re not at home. It can also help your HVAC system run more efficiently by reducing the workload during periods of low demand.

Address Plumbing Leaks Promptly

Plumbing leaks can waste a lot of water and lead to costly water damage if left unaddressed. They can also cause your water bill to skyrocket. To keep your plumbing system running efficiently, it’s important to address leaks promptly.

If you notice any signs of a plumbing leak, such as water stains or mold growth, contact a professional plumber right away. A plumber can diagnose the problem and make any necessary repairs to prevent further damage.

Keep Vents and Registers Clean

Vents and registers play an important role in maintaining the efficiency and performance of your HVAC system. Over time, they can become clogged with dust, pet hair, and other debris, which can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.

To prevent this, it’s important to keep vents and registers clean. You can do this by regularly vacuuming or wiping them down with a damp cloth. This can help your HVAC system run more efficiently and improve the air quality in your home.

Keeping your HVAC and plumbing systems running efficiently is essential to ensure the comfort and safety of your home. By following these top 5 tips, you can help maintain the efficiency and performance of your systems, save money on your energy bills, and avoid costly repairs down the line. If you need any help with HVAC or plumbing maintenance or repairs, contact us today to schedule a service appointment.

“Central Heating & Air” or “Central Air Conditioning”

“Central Heating & Air” or “Central Air Conditioning” is a term for a heating or cooling system that circulates heated or cooled air throughout a home or building using ductwork.  The source of the heated or cooled air, known as an “air handling unit”, “air handler” or “furnace” is located in within the building or near its permitted.  The air handling unit has a system of ducts connected to it.  Using a fan, often referred to as a “blower”, the air handling unit moves conditioned air into the ductwork system to the desired locations in a building. Air is also returned from within the building to the air handling unit using ducts, so that it can be conditioned and returned to desired areas in the home.  This type of central heating &air system is sometimes referred to as a “forced air” system.

The most common type of heating & air conditioning system in homes in Western NC is a heat pump system.  A heat pump system consists of an outdoor condensing unit and 1 or more indoor air handling units.  Heat pumps are very popular and affective due to their ability to efficiently provide heat in colder temps and air conditioning in warmer weather.