What You Need to Know About Backflow Testing

Backflow TestingWe’re not supposed to drink the water in certain countries, we already know that, but did you know you can encounter unpotable water in your own backyard?  Backflow is a term used in the plumbing field to describe what happens when the flow of water reverses in the pipes. This can lead to untreated and undrinkable water to be brought into your home from public water systems. It can also cause the entire pipe structure to become contaminated as well. As a result, many homeowners are faced with the reality of consuming water that may make them very ill.  Here is what you need to know about backflow testing.

Yes, water companies are required to test their water and notify consumers of contamination as soon as possible, but it isn’t always caught as quickly as necessary.   When a public water supply is contaminated, due to backflow, this becomes an incredibly widespread issue, and it’s not something that water company is always able to recognize right away.

You would assume that when you pay a water bill, the company then ensures a safe and clean flow of water into your home.  This isn’t the case, however.  If you think backflow may be an issue in your area, or in your home, you’ll need to call a plumber. The plumber will be able to determine if there are cross connections in your area, as they are typically the cause of backflow.  These cross connections will need to be examined and fixed, and only a plumber can do that.

A plumber can install a backflow prevention device that will block the flow of unusable water back into the public water system. It is installed at the entrance of your water lines, and can provide a reasonable amount of protection for your water supply.

If you have questions or concerns about backflow, we are certified to regulate backflow issues. Learn more on our backflow testing page or contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Prepare for Winter Weather

Winter WeatherPennsylvania weather can be unpredictable as evidenced by the massive fluctuation in temperatures over the past couple of weeks.  However, nothing is more unpredictable than the snowfall in this fine state of ours.  We saw our first snowfall early this year, but there is no telling what is to come for the rest of the winter season, and it’s just getting started.  Here are some tips and tricks to prepare for winter weather.

  • Insulate – Insulate any exposed pipes with pipe insulation sleeves. Exposure to the cold weather will make them more likely to freeze and potentially burst.  Pipe insulators are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at any building supply store.
  • Get a Shovel – If it snows a lot, you’re going to need to shovel out your outdoor HVAC unit. Snow piling up under or around the unit can damage the condensing units and heat pumps because it will restrict the flow of air.  Take care of it as soon as possible and keep up with it once the weather starts.
  • Generator – If you have a generator for your home, make sure you have plenty of fuel for it. Snow and ice can easily cause power loss and your generator may need to sustain you for a couple of days before the power comes back on.
  • Water – If you have issues with your pipes freezing, make sure you leave the faucets running a little bit, even if it’s just a drip. The movement will prevent the pipes from freezing.  Also, make sure you’ve turned off the water to your outdoor supplies. 
  • Inspection – If you haven’t already done it, it’s time to get your HVAC system inspected before the harsh weather hits. It’s already cold enough outside, is your system functioning properly?

If you’re thinking of upgrading your system or you simply need an inspection, contact us!

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How to Tell If You Need a New Water Heater

water heatersIf your heat isn’t working as efficiently, you may not notice it right away.  However, if your water heater stops working the same way it used to, it’s noticeable almost immediately.   Certainly, there are problems with the actual unit that you should be noticing, but there’s nothing that can ruin your day more than stepping into a cold shower than you’re used to.  Before that happens, here’s how to tell if you need a new water heater.

  • Shorter, Colder Showers – If you’ve noticed that the hot water in your house is lasting less and less time, it may be one of two things. The first is that it might be a buildup on silt and minerals in your water heater and it needs to be drained.  However, if you’ve already done that and it’s still getting chillier during your morning shower, the second could be that your water heater isn’t up to par anymore.
  • Age of Your Water Heater – Water heaters over ten to fifteen years old should be considered for replacement; that’s just one of the unfortunate side effects of homeownership. Over the years, your water heater begins to break down and become not as reliable.  If your water heater is approaching the ten year mark, but isn’t causing too many problems, consider it.  If you’re at the fifteen year mark, be proactive and get a new one soon.
  • Leaks – If your water heater is leaking, it’s time to replace it before it does some serious damage. Sure, if it’s tucked away in a corner of the basement where a small leak isn’t really going to hurt anything, it’s easy to forget about.  However, if it develops a serious leak, you’re not going to be able to think about anything else.  Despite the hassles of chilly showers and dishwashers that aren’t working properly, you run the risk of doing serious damage to your home.
  • Discoloration – If your water is coming out brown, the situation is about as good as it looks. Brown water is indicative of rust, and rust means your water heater isn’t cutting it anymore.  If you’re noticing the color, smell, or taste of your water getting worse, it’s time to start looking around for a new water heater. 
  • Noise – Normally, you’ll hear a little bit of feedback from your water heater.  You’ll hear it working, essentially.  However, if you’re starting to hear cracks and pops from it, that’s not good.  It’s usually trying to tell you something at the point that it starts making odd noises, and what it’s trying to say is “replace me!”. 

If you need to put your water heater out of its misery and step into a nice hot shower again, contact us.  We have several options available for new water heaters!

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Prepping Your System for the Winter

Prepping for winterThe temperature has already started to dip below the level to which we’re comfortable and most of us have already turned on the heat in our homes.  However, many homeowners haven’t taken the proper precautions before pumping up the heat in our homes.  Here are some tips for prepping your system for the winter before we head into full time heating.

  • Filter – That’s right, it’s time to change the filter again. As we get into the cold and flu season, a clean filter is very important.  Allergens and dirt from outside tends to build up on our current filter and can exacerbate colds and lead to sinus issues. 
  • Clean Outside – If you haven’t kept up with the outside unit of your HVAC system, use this time to do so. Sweep up all of the leaves and debris that have built up under the unit during the fall.  If there are small sticks or twigs that have made their way into the top vent of the unit, clean those up as well.  It is imperative for the functioning of the system.
  • Find Your Setting – If your heating bills are getting expensive, find the setting at which the majority of your family is comfortable and keep it at that setting. Keep in mind that blankets and layers are also available to the members of the family who are cold.  
  • Seal Your Cracks – If there is cold seeping in through the cracks around your windows and doors, seal them. You may not notice how much of your heat is leaking through those cracks, but it’s significant.  Using some caulk, you can stop the loss of heat and save some money.
  • Inspection – If you haven’t turned on the heat just yet, it’s time for an inspection. There can be a lot of issues associated with broken or malfunctioning furnaces, so call a professional to give it a quick look. 

If you’ve considered upgrading your system, or even if you just need an inspection, now is the time.  Contact us today!

 

 

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How to Host Without Going Broke

HolidaysWith the holiday season kicking off just two short weeks from now, a lot of people are starting to fret over the added costs that will automatically happen.  There’s the gift-giving, the office party clothes, and the cost of hosting guests for the holiday meals.  More people doesn’t just mean more mouths to feed, it means more of everything!  Here are some tips and tricks on how to host without going broke.

  • Dial It Back – With a bunch of extra people milling around your house, all of the body heat is going to cause a natural rise in temperature, plus you’re probably going to be cooking, so cut back on the heating. You’ll save money and you don’t have to hear your aunt complain that she’s too hot to help with the dishes.
  • Set a Shower Limit – If you have a set budget for most of your expenses, even the addition of one shower is going to register with you. If you’re hosting your whole family in your home, chances are it’s going to be a lot more than one additional shower, especially if they’re in town for an extended visit.  Set a shower time limit.  Don’t go crazy with it, but tell people you’d like to keep showers to a certain amount of time in order to ensure everyone has hot water.  However, you’re going to have to stick to it yourself!
  • Use What Is Needed – You don’t have to cook everything in your oven at different times. Cook everything that needs to be baked, at the same time.  If there are things that can be cooked in a smaller appliance like a toaster oven, a roasting oven, or the microwave then use those.  They use a lot less energy than your regular oven does and it will free up your time a bit too.
  • Chock Full – Having people in your house means you are going to have a lot more dishes, laundry, and your food is going to disappear faster. Start their visit with a full refrigerator as a full fridge uses less energy.  Also make sure the dishwasher and the washing machine are full when you’re running them.  If you don’t, you’ll be wasting money.

Hosting family is always a bit of a harrowing experience.  Don’t make it worse with a heating emergency.  Get your system checked out by contacting us!

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The Impact of Carbon Monoxide

ServiceWhat could be more ominous that a deadly substance that you can’t smell, see, or taste that could be permeating the air around your home?  Nothing.  There is quite possibly nothing more terrifying, which is why you need to know if your heating system has any defects or ventilation issues, before carbon monoxide poisons the air you breathe.  There are simple steps to protect your family, but first, know the effects and symptoms!

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer for a reason.  The toxin can cause tissue death in your vital organs such as your lungs and heart.  What happens when your home is inundated with carbon monoxide, your body begins to replace the oxygen in your cells with carbon monoxide thus leading oxygen deprivation in your brain, heart, and lungs.  In serious cases, left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly.

If you have your concerns, you should be looking for headaches, dizziness, and nausea.  Serious and prolonged  exposure can result in vomiting, fainting, or a feeling of tightness in your chest that makes it difficult to breathe.  Should you or a family member be experiencing ANY of these symptoms, contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be treated, if you’re paying attention and catch it early on.  However, without maintaining the safety of your home’s furnace, the health issues will continue.   Get your furnace closely inspected by a professional who knows what to look for in terms of vulnerabilities in the system.  Also, consider purchasing a carbon monoxide monitoring system to alert you if levels rise above what is considered safe.

 Contact us today to come out and make sure everything is functioning properly and that your family will be safe!

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We’ve Extended Our 10 Year Warranty

WarrantyA furnace is a big ticket item for most households, we get that!  Even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, colder days are coming soon and a substandard furnace isn’t going to get the job done.  At least, it’s not going to operate efficiently and therefore, it’s going to cost a lot more to run it.  There’s never been a better time to take advantage of all we have to offer at A.C. Rimmer, as we’ve extended our 10 year warranty! 

If your furnace is hopping along on its last leg – rest assured – we’ve got you covered!  The Amana furnace has been called the last furnace you’ll ever have to buy, and we’re offering an even better backup to that claim.  Through the end of October, we are offering a 10 year service warranty on all Amana units.

Here are the details:

  • The Clock is Running Down – The Amana units eligible for the 10 year warranty must be purchased by October 31, 2017 so don’t wait too long to take advantage of this fantastic deal. Like it or not, winter weather is coming sooner than you think.  Don’t be without heat or suffering with spotty warmth in your home and get your new furnace today. 
  • Coverage – Our 10 year warranty covers parts and warranty for ten whole years. That means if something goes wrong, you’re covered!  Backed by the Amana pledge for longevity, our warranty creates additional surety that if something breaks, we’ve got your back. 
  • Money Back – Utility companies are also offering rebates for people who purchase more energy efficient systems, and therefore you many qualify for some money back. It’s a win-win situation!
  • Free – You can’t beat free and that’s what our ten year warranty will cost you; absolutely nothing! You upgrade your furnace and the peace of mind is on us.
  • Financing – We also offer convenient and affordable financing plans if you require assistance in paying for your new Amana furnace.

 

To schedule your installation before the time is up, contact us today!

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