Super Service Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning of Central New Jersey Newsroom
There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with being a homeowner, but there’s a reason we take on such a burden. It’s because it’s worth it. A house that you make into a home is the biggest investment most people make in their lifetime, so it should be no surprise that it should be cared for. From extreme heat in the summertime to plummeting temperatures in the wintertime, there’s a lot you can do to your home to make it comfortable for you and your family, as well as extend the life of the house itself (and therefore the value of it as well). We hope you find the information here helpful, and that when you need a little extra help, or the time comes that you decide to do a bigger project than you have time or patience for, you’ll give us a call. We’re always here to help!
It’s Not Too Late for Winterizing Your Home
For many homeowners throughout central NJ, winter doesn’t become truly real until one day comes about that you wake up to frozen water pipes or it’s so cold you need a coat indoors because your furnace can’t compete with the chilly wind gusts coming through the window cracks. When the fact the winter is here, and you realize your anything but prepared for it, don’t fret quite yet. There’s still hope, and plenty you can do to make a big difference in how comfortable you’ll be in your home over the long winter months here.
Make a List and Break It Down
First and foremost, you need to determine what is and isn’t done. This list can be overwhelming if you see it as a big to-do list if it gets too long, so it’s a good idea to break it down into groups of tasks, such as those related to the plumbing, others that involve heating issues, and then any having to do with the structure of the house itself, like leaks in the walls or around windows. This will reduce the anxiety many of us have when we see a list that looks more like a healthy start to a full-scale novel, and allows us to get a clearer idea of just what we have to contend with.
We usually like to start with plumbing prep first, just because of the fact that the piping carrying water is especially prone to freezing very quickly. This is more urgent than leaky windows, obviously, though all tasks are important and need to be addressed. It’s never too late to identify the most susceptible spots that are prone to freezing and wrapping these sections of pipe with heat tape. You can also consider insulating your pipes with some sort of foam or other insulation material. Just in case the worst case does come about, and your pipes freeze and actually burst, make sure everybody in your household knows where the main water valve is at, and how to shut it off.
And Now on to the Heater
If you have a fireplace or wood stove heater as the primary source of your heat inside the home in the winter, call the service techs at Super Service Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule an inspection and do routine cleaning. One common cause of house fires during the winter is from built-up soot and such stuck on the walls of the fireplace and chimney catching fire. Keeping these surfaces clean is absolutely critical to maintaining a safe fireplace or wood stove heater.
For those of us with a furnace or boiler heater, give us a call to come out and do an inspection and cleaning as well, even if you are late to do it. We’ll never give you a hard time about it, and make sure things are set for a safe source of heat all winter long. One thing homeowners can do themselves that’s often overlooked is to change out the furnace’s filter routinely as it becomes dirty and to make sure all vents and intakes are cleaned out and not full of dust or dirt. This not only makes for a safer heater but also saves you money since it allows the unit to run as efficiently as possible.
Address the Leaks and Drafts
It’s pretty common for even newer homes to have some degree of air that gets through some tiny cracks or that come through walls and into the house through electrical outlets and such, but you can eliminate these enemies of your home’s heating system. Make sure you’ve put storm window and doors in place, and that you put plastic over all of your windows and over any doors you won’t use in the winter months.
Inspect all of the windows, doors and elsewhere that have weatherstripping, to make sure it is in good shape and is actually blocking out drafts. If not, replace the bad material with new weatherstripping or apply fresh caulk. When you have even a small amount of cold air coming into an area you are trying to heat, it stresses your heater and causes it to work a lot harder than you might think.
Stay warm this winter, and call your friends here at Super Service if you run into any problems. We’re always glad to help out!
Get the Lead Out!
How to Determine if your home has lead pipes and what to do about it…
Lead is something that we might not think about very often, but if you live in an older home, it’s very possible this dangerous stuff is infiltrating your life through the pipes. Lead is nothing to mess around with, as it can cause anger and agitation in smaller doses, as well as mental retardation and even death in larger ones! It’s not a fast killer either, so it’s oftentimes very hard to know if you are suffering from lead poisoning until you have been exposed over a long period of time. By then the levels could be high enough that damage continues to occur even after you’ve discovered what was happening and took measures to stop any more contamination. It’s very difficult, and in fact, many times impossible, to get the lead out of your blood once it is there, except to wait it out and let it work itself out (which takes a very long time).
Identify and Inspect Your Service Line
The service line for water that comes into your home will usually be found at the lowest point in the home, which is oftentimes in the basement. Wherever your main water line comes into the home is where you want to inspect to determine what material the piping is made of. If you scratch the pipe with a piece of metal, look at the color. If the color you expose is gold or brownish or even green hue, this is a good indicator that the pipe is made of copper. If you look at the pipe before even touching it and notice it’s a dark matte gray color, it’s a good candidate for being lead. If you were to use a piece of metal to scrape this pipe, and you get a very shiny silver color, it’s further evidence that the pipe is lead.
Testing Will Confirm Everything
You can always have your water tested for lead and other harmful substances at most city water departments, free of charge. You can call us here at Super Service to test the pipes to confirm if they are lead, and we can also discuss options for replacing the lead pipes and removing them in order to avoid further risks. We will help find a way to make it affordable and work on your time schedule to meet your needs. Your family is in harm’s way every minute they’re exposed to any amount of lead.
10-Point Checklist to Prep for the Hot Central New Jersey Months Yourself
There’s a lot to do if you want to beat the heat to come and actually enjoy some real comfort inside your home. We know life gets busy, so we’ve put together a checklist you can use to make sure your house stays cool and comfy when hot weather gets here. We’re always here to help and will come out for you anytime that works for your schedule to do an annual inspection and any routine cleanings for appliances such as your air conditioner or anything else that’s needed. Just give us a call and we can find a time that works for you to stop out, and it’s not a costly process by any means. You’ll find that you save the money spent on an annual inspection just from the savings of everything running efficiently and from what you’ll save by avoiding potential breakdowns.
- Change the filter in your cooling systems, such as the air conditioner or central air unit. This should be routinely done every one or two months.
- Test the air conditioner or other units by setting the thermostat to the lowest setting. Make sure the unit comes on and is blowing cold enough air, as you would expect it to.
- If your air conditioning unit doesn’t turn on, check the breaker it’s on to make sure it’s not tripped or another power supply issue isn’t to blame.
- If the air conditioner turns on, but won’t blow air or blows air that isn’t as cold as you think it should be, check to ensure the coils are not very dirty or frozen. If dirty, clean them off well. If frozen, you’ll need to call us to repair or replace the unit.
- Inspect your ducts and make sure you seal up any leaks you find and clean them out thoroughly. Ensure no blockages exist.
- If you have blown-in insulation, check it to see if it has settled down and if there is now an empty space where you’ll need to top it off with another helping of the fluff.
- If you have an attic, we recommend installing a fan exclusively for the purpose of pulling the hot air out of the attic through a vent on one end to make it easier to keep the inside of your home cool.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat, mostly to save you money because it will allow you to program it so it won’t run cooling units while nobody is home to benefit from it.
- If you have ceiling fans or other larger fans, you can use these to reduce the amount of time your air conditioner will have to run to maintain its set temperature.
- Make sure you have everything inspected by professionals. Super Service will do annual inspections and recommend anything they believe will be beneficial. They can also answer any questions you may have. It’s inexpensive for these yearly visits and will minimize costly breakdowns of your home’s key appliances and utility systems, etc.
Maybe suggest how Super Service Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning can help with some of these topics: