You can Prevent Costly Repairs with These Monthly HVAC Maintenance Tips

You can Prevent Costly Repairs with These Monthly HVAC Maintenance Tips

The costs of homeownership can be substantial, so you are always looking for ways to save. It’s well worth your time (literally) to roll up your elbows on a regular basis to engage in a little preventative maintenance to avoid bigger costs for bigger repairs.

This is especially true when it comes to your HVAC system. Regular maintenance will also help your HVAC system to be more energy-efficient, which will save you money on your energy bills. It’s a win-win.

Here are some points to include on your to-do list:

Check out the Condenser

For monthly maintenance, start outside of your home with your condenser.

Make sure that all debris is cleared from around the unit. You don’t want it to interfere with air flow. Get out your tool kit and remove the cage fan.

clean-outdoor-ac

You can wipe it down of debris with a cloth, or if there is a great deal of debris, you may need to use a wet-dry vac as well.

Next, carefully wipe down the fins on the exterior of the condenser. Make sure that they are all pointing outwards.

Note: don’t use a pressure washer to clean the fins as they can be damaged under the spray.

It’s important every month to make sure that your system is level. Having it off kilter will cause it to malfunction.

Schedule Maintenance

While bringing in the professionals for a tune-up isn’t something that you need to do every

tune-up

month, it is recommended that you do a tune-up seasonally.

As we are getting closer to summer, if you

haven’t scheduled your summer maintenance, make this the month that you do.

During your tune-up, the technician will clean the parts and inspect for damage.

That will help you identify smaller problems before they have time to develop into bigger ones.

Replace Air Filter if Necessary

It’s important to check your air filter monthly, especially if you or your family have allergies or asthma.

ac-filter

Your filter could have a great deal of grime and dust accumulated on it.

That definitely interferes with its’ ability to operate efficiently.

It will also reduce indoor air quality.

If it’s not too bad, you can wipe it down gently with a sponge and soap and water.

If it is in bad shape, you should buy a new one. It’s recommended that you replace it once a quarter, minimum.

If you have pets or are undergoing renovations, you’ll have to change it more often.

If there is too much hair, dust and dander on it, it will make it hard for that much-needed cool air to reach you during the heat of the summer.

 

Your Going Green Guide

We need to put all our efforts together to conserve the environment. Each of us can help in our own way, and it can start with plumbing and heating. As different conservation organizations look at the status of conservation on Earth Day on April 22, stand to be counted as one of the people that helped make a difference.
Here is what you can do at home.

Reduce unnecessary energy and water waste

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One of the ways to keep the world green is to conserve the resources at your disposal. Such resources include water and energy. You can do that in various ways such as unplugging electrical equipment when they are not in use, not letting faucets run, and regulating consumption.

Change your conventional water heaters to tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters do not have a storage tank. Water is heated and sent directly to where it is needed. They eliminate the heat loss experienced when storing hot water in a reservoir before using it. Most of them also use gas instead of electricity, which is cheaper and more convenient.

Consider eco-friendly plumbing fixtures

Conserve your water resources by purchasing water efficient bathroom fixtures. You can buy water efficient toilets so that you would use less water with each flush and low flow shower heads that help you save when bathing.

Save energy in cooling and heating

Switch off your cooling and heating systems when you are not at home. Moreover, only air-condition the rooms that are occupied. This cuts down on wasting energy unnecessarily.

Lower your carbon footprint

Carbon dioxide levels have been increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity and carbon-footprint_480caused devastating weather effects. You can help reverse this situation by cutting down on your carbon footprint. If allowed in your area, plant a tree in the yard, it sucks up some carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

 
You should also go for green energy rather than fossil types such as wood and oil. Also, consider walking or riding a bike for short distances such as to the store instead of driving to cut down on carbon emissions from your vehicle.

Recycle your water

recycle_480There are gray water sources at home including the kitchen, the bathroom, and washing machines. This water can be filtered and reused in the garden and the toilet. Moreover, if you always buy drinking water with plastic containers, consider purchasing water filtration systems instead of buying water so that you have clean water to use at home. You spend less and keep the environment from being littered with bottles.

Contrary to popular belief, going green is not expensive. All you need are some small changes to preserve the environment.

Contact Albert Nahman Plumbing in Berkeley, CA, at (510) 843-6904 today to learn more.

 

Discover World Water Day - March 22

World-WaterWorld Water Day was first created by the United Nations back in 1993 as an annual event to focus on the world’s water crisis. World Water Day is becoming increasingly important every year, especially as the human population grows and as changes to the global climate become more severe.

And in case you're unfamiliar with this international event, here's everything you need to know about World Water Day, and what you can do to take part this year and in your daily life all year round.

The Beginning of World Water Day: The World Water Crisis

Imagine that over the course of the year, you went to visit 100 different friends. And now, imagine you weren't able to have a glass of water at 10 of their houses because they didn’t have clean drinking water.

Wasting-waterNot only that, but imagine that over 33 of those friends didn’t have a toilet you could use because they didn’t have access to proper sanitation. This is the crux of the world’s water crisis.

Throughout the globe, over 663 million people do not have access to clean drinking water—that’s about 1 in 10 people—and 2.4 billion (1 in 3) don’t have access to a toilet. At the same time, however, people who do have access to water tend to take it for granted, and that’s why the theme of this year’s World Water Day is wastewater.

Water Conservation Measures at Home

World Water Day isn't just about conserving water one day of the year, and there are things you can do around the house every day to save water and reduce wastewater in your house.

This includes when you're cooking, cleaning, in the garden, bathing, and doing other chores and tasks around the house. A few simple things you and your family can do to conserve water include:

  • Turning off the tap when you're washing your hands, cleaning dishes, or brushing your teeth
  • Only running dishwashers when there's a full load
  • Adjusting the washing machine water level according to the load size
  • Taking shorter showers
  • Washing the car at a car wash, or using a waterless cleaner
  • Planting drought-resistant plants that don’t need a lot of water
  • Using a rain barrel for the garden

Plumbing Maintenance and the Conservation of Water

Water-drop

The average American family uses about 400 gallons of water per day, and a toilet alone accounts for about 27 percent of that. That’s 108 gallons of water per day that’s literally flushed down the toilet!

Want a great way to conserve tons of water in your house every year? Adopt the cottage rule about letting it mellow if it’s yellow, or place full water balloons or full water bottles in every toilet tank so that each flush uses less water.

There are also lots of other plumbing-related things you can do around the house to save water and celebrate World Water day, including checking for leaks regularly, installing low-flow shower heads and faucets, and insulating your hot water pipes so hot water gets to the faucets faster.

World Water Day is an important global event that brings attention to the fact that such a large portion of the world’s population doesn’t have access to clean drinking water.

There are lots of things you can do around the house to participate on March 22 this year, including spreading the word to friends and family. And if you do find any leaks in your Berkeley, CA home during your regular inspections, call the experts at Albert Nahman Plumbing at 510-843-6904.

Which way does your toilet bowl swirl 9Have you ever looked down at your flushing toilet and found yourself wondering about the direction in which it swirls? Some have, others have not. But, believe it or not, it is a topic that’s up for debate.

Some people believe that the direction of the swirl has to do with your geological location stating that if you’re in the Northern hemisphere it will flush clockwise and counterclockwise if you’re in the Southern hemisphere.

misconception (5)

That’s right! It’s all in the jets. Although the Coriolis force is real, its effects can usually only be observed in larger scale like hurricanes. The toilet bowl is simply too small.

There you have it! (6)

The experts at Albert Nahman Plumbing, in the Berkley, CA area, are always willing to share their knowledge with you. If you're interested in learning more contact us at 510-394-3748.

myth-or-factCommon HVAC Myths

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system of your home, or HVAC, is an extremely complex piece of hardware carefully integrated throughout your residence.

Most of the time in California, we really only focus on the air conditioning, but your HVAC system, as reliable as it is, is not indestructible.

You need to take care of it, just like the rest of your home, and you can get off to a good start by finding out the truth about common HVAC myths, as we present the problem and the solution.

Myth: Filter Changes Don’t Need Experts

The reality is that depending on the scope and frequency of your HVAC filtration system, this may or may not be true.

You may have some decent technical grounding in filtration systems, but your HVAC filters and the network itself require periodic inspection and maintenance. The filter itself may seem like a simple component to exchange, but if not done right, and followed with an expert appraisal of an entire HVAC system, it can lead to more problems.

Myth: Setting the Thermostat to Max Will Heat or Cool a Home Fasterthermostat-up-or-down

This might seem like common sense, but it actually defies the laws of physics. Putting a thermostat to the maximum setting does not pump more air, or increase the “strength” of that air’s temperature.No matter what you set your thermostat to, your home will rise or fall to the desired temperature at exactly the same rate.

This is just the nature of physics at work, with  the space that needs to be heated or cooled working in tandem with the energy required to hit that temperature, and that math is inflexible, regardless of your thermostat setting.

ceiling-fanMyth: Air Conditioned Homes Don’t Need Fans

While an air conditioner does cool the air, it doesn’t do a great job of circulating it throughout a space.Because of this poor circulation, it usually means AC units need to be put to more powerful settings to achieve comfort. A fan is actually better for that.

This is why when you use a fan, or an integrated system, like a ceiling fan, in conjunction with an AC unit; you can actually use lower settings on your AC. The fan can more efficiently distribute the cooler air throughout a room.

Myth: If You Can’t See Problems, There Are No Problems

Your HVAC system is a large and complex piece of machinery, so it often requires an expert eye with the necessary technical background to truly appreciate what’s going on. Just because you’re not seeing any problems with your heating or cooling, it doesn’t mean that something isn’t going on in the ducts or within the HVAC system itself that may be leading to a serious and expensive problem.

Getting a regular, expert assessment on the state of your HVAC system is the best way to ensure that things that are working smoothly now continue to do so without catastrophic interruption.

We Can Handle It

Albert Nahman Plumbing has been proudly serving the Berkley, CA area for years. If you want to make sure your HVAC system is running smoothly or have a problem that needs addressing right now, you can call us at 510-843-6904. You’ll receive prompt, efficient, professional response that will set everything right.

 

Ways to Cool Down your Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to spend some time giving your home some TLC so that it will not be too hot when the warm weather arrives with Spring. This Valentine’s Day, follow these tips to ensure that your home is a cool sanctuary where love will not wilt.

1. Show Your Unit Some Love

ac_loveWhen the hot weather arrives, you want your AC unit working at 100 percent to keep you cool. Valentine’s Day is a good time to have your AC unit inspected by a professional AC service company.

Our service techs will check out your AC unit from top to bottom to make sure that all of its parts are in good condition. This will ensure that you don’t have to worry about your air conditioner breaking down in the middle of the summer.

2. Give Your AC Unit a Break

These days, it is the responsibility of all of us to try and limit our energy consumption as much as possible to lower our carbon footprints. You do not have to keep your AC unit running 24 hours a day to keep cool when the weather warms up. Think about alternative ways to cool off your house. For example, there are many times when you can simply open up your windows to get a cooling breeze moving through your house to keep your comfortable.

You should also think about adding fans to your home to help keep the air moving. There are many times where you can simply turn a fan on to cool a single room off instead of turning on the AC to cool off the entire house.

3. Love Is in the Air

Many people only think about how insulation helps to keep their home warm in the winter. In fact, insulation helps to keep your home comfortable all the time. In the summer, the insulation keeps your cool air inside the home and the hot air outside. This time of year is a good time to inspect your insulation and make sure your home has enough.

loveisintheair copy

As well as keeping your house properly insulated, you also want to make sure you keep all the doors and windows closed when you are running your air conditioner. You don’t want to waste climate-controlled air by letting cool air flow out the window.

Also, you should think about raising the temperature of your home a few degrees in the summer. As long as you are still comfortable, raising the temperature setting on your thermostat will lower your energy costs and shrink your carbon footprint.

When you want to make sure your air conditioner is working right, turn to Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating in Berkeley, CA. We are here to service all your Cooling needs. Call us at 510-394-3748, and our topnotch Air Conditioning service techs will inspect your system this Valentine’s Day to make sure that your home is ready to handle the summer heat.

how_old_is_your_thermostat.jpg_360One of your best tools you have at home to help with energy efficiency is a programmable thermostat. However, very few people realize that you need to adjust the thermostat settings for indoors, based on what the weather is doing outdoors.

Plenty of people simply leave the indoor setting the same year round. This results in your air conditioner or your heater having to work harder than necessary.

Now that you know you need to change your thermostat based on the weather, how do you know what the ideal settings are? We’ve compiled a handy guide for you to use.

When the Outdoor Temperature Goes Below 55° F

When the thermometer drops below 55° F outside, it’s time for you to take action inside. Program your thermostat to read 68° F. Any higher than that, and you are causing your furnace to work too hard.

Instead of setting the thermostat upwards, look at other possible reasons that your home might be cool; how airtight is it? Caulk around windows and doors. Ensure that there are no gaps in doorways and door frames. Go up to your attic and push insulation back in place with a broom. Run your ceiling fan, which will effectively push hot air as it rises back down into the room.

It’s Above 55° F Outside

check_your_thermostate_480

When you notice that the temperature is creeping upwards outside, it’s time to get your air conditioner ready to provide indoor comfort.

Ideally, you should set your thermostat to 76° F. Even if you are especially warm, resist the urge to crank up your A/C. Given the fluctuations in the weather during the season, you run the risk of freezing your system, which can be expensive to fix.

At 55° F or Higher, Consider Opening the Windows

To maximize on your energy savings, turn off your air conditioner when the temperature is at the 55° F benchmark (or even higher) and open up the windows. The cool breeze filtering through your windows should give all the cooling you need for free!

Don’t forget to turn off your air conditioner before you open the windows! Otherwise you’re just wasting money.

Save Money While you Sleep

If you leave your room temperature the same at night as you do during the day, then you are throwing money away. As long as your family is snuggled in their warm beds, there is no need to heat the home as much.

Feel free to program the thermostat to roll back to 62° F. The key however is to make sure that the furnace remains on.Heating and cooling bills can be expensive, but the good news is that there is a lot that you can do to reduce them as a homeowner.

We hope you found these tips helpful and we have more to share. Call Albert Nahman Plumbing in Berkeley, CA for more information at (510) 843-6904. 

The Recommended Temperature to Keep Your House During the Winter

One of your best tools you have at home to help with energy efficiency is a programmable thermostat. However, very few people realize that you need to adjust the thermostat settings for indoors, based on what the weather is doing outdoors. Plenty of people simply leave the indoor setting the same year round. This results in your air conditioner or your heater having to work harder than necessary.

Now that you know you need to change your thermostat based on the weather, how do you know what the optimal settings are? We’ve compiled a handy guide for you to use.

When the Outdoor Temperature Goes Below 55° F

When the thermometer drops below 55° F outside, it’s time for you to take action inside. Program your thermostat to read 68° F. Any higher than that, and you are causing your furnace to work too hard.

Instead of setting the thermostat upwards, look at other possible reasons that your home might be cool; how airtight is it? Caulk around windows and doors. Ensure that there are no gaps in doorways and door frames. Go up to your attic and push insulation back in place with a broom. Run your ceiling fan, which will effectively push hot air as it rises back down into the room.

It’s Above 55° F Outside

When you notice that the temperature is creeping upwards outside, it’s time to get your air conditioner ready to provide indoor comfort.

Ideally, you should set your thermostat to 76° F. Even if you are especially warm, resist the urge to crank up your A/C. Given the fluctuations in the weather during the season, you run the risk of freezing your system, which can be expensive to fix.

At 55° F or Higher, Consider Opening the Windows

To maximize on your energy savings, turn off your air conditioner when the temperature is at the 55° F benchmark (or even higher) and open up the windows. The cool breeze filtering through your windows should provide all the cooling you need for free!

Don’t forget to turn off your air conditioner before you open the windows! Otherwise you’re just wasting money.

Save Money While you Sleep

If you leave your room temperature the same at night as you do during the day, then you are throwing money away. As long as your family is snuggled in their warm beds, there is no need to heat the home as much. Feel free to program the thermostat to roll back to 62° F. The key however is to make sure that the furnace remains on.

Heating and cooling bills can be expensive, but the good news is that there is a lot that you can do to reduce them as a homeowner. We hope you found these tips helpful and have more to share. Call Albert Nahman Plumbing, serving the Berkley, CA area, today at (510) 843-6904.

Smart Ways to Cut Energy Costs in the New Year!

Energy costs seem to always be on the rise, and it makes sense to cut costs wherever possible. One way to reduce expenses is to cut down on your energy costs. The price you pay varies from month to month, but the fact is that less usage equals a lower bill. Implement these smart ways to cut energy costs in the New Year.

Save on Lighting

unplug-appliances-and-devices

Replace your outdated incandescent bulbs with energy-certified compact fluorescent lights or LEDs. They cost slightly more than older bulbs but last significantly longer and use as much as 70% less energy.

Turn off lights when not in use, utilize sensors for less populated areas and use natural daylight instead of artificial lighting during those sunny days.

Unplug It

Get used to unplugging almost everything. When electronics are plugged in and not turned on they still draw small amounts of electricity. If it’s a hassle to unplug everything, purchase a power strip and turn everything off at once. Keep printers, fax machines, and other office equipment turned off instead of using sleep mode for maximum electricity savings.

Consider Changing Out Your Energy-Wasting Appliances

Using old appliances that aren’t ENERGY STAR certified use more electricity than newer models. The cost of a new appliance is better for the environment and the energy savings allow you to break even. Keep your refrigerator full for best chilling results. Consider switching to a front-loading washing machine that uses less water.

hang-clothes-on-a-clothesline

When doing laundry, consider hanging clothes on a drying rack or a clothesline if it’s nice outside. Avoid the “Heavy Wash” and “Large Load” settings on the washing machine, these consume more water and energy.

It’s useful to only run your dishwasher when it is full since the majority of its energy consumption is from heating the water and drying the dishes. Allow them to air dry or manually dry them to save on energy costs.

Heating and Cooling

Install a programmable thermostat so you aren’t heating or cooling your home when you’re not there and adjust it to a lower temperature at night if you’re in a cooler climate and a higher temperature if you’re in a warmer climate. Most experts tend to recommend no more than 65 degrees at night for cooler climates.

Implement these simple but effective energy saving tips and start to see your utility bill shrink. Contact  Albert Nahman Plumbing in Berkeley, CA at 510-394-3748 to learn more about how to save on your energy costs.

Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking for Your Home’s Plumbing Needs

As a homeowner, there are a few DIY plumbing tasks that you may have mastered, like fixing a leaky faucet or even other, more complex jobs.

hydrojettingvssnaking

 

And if you should happen to have a clogged toilet or drain, chances are you’re pretty handy with that plunger to get the job done.

But what if the plunger doesn’t work?

dont-use-drain-cleanerYou should call the plumber who will come and likely use one of these two methods: hydro jetting or a plumbing snake to get rid of that pesky clog.

Hydro Jetting to Blast Through Tough Stuff

Really, the solution to your plumbing dilemma will rest very much with what caused the clog in the first place. Often, more serious clogs, like those from the accumulation of heavier materials like grease, tree matter or mineral and sand buildup, will require more serious force to get them out of the way.

If that’s the case, you’ll need hydro jetting. It works by applying targeted high-pressure streams of water to break up the blockage and flush it away. This isn’t something you should try on your own though because you could do damage to your pipes.

Get Your Plumber’s Help

hydrojettingIt’s a good idea to call in your plumber for really stubborn clogs. They can run some diagnostics to assess the strength and integrity of your pipes before hydro jet streams apply damaging force.

They can also help you determine which tools you’ll need to get the job done right the first time.

I’ve Heard of a Plumbing Snake, but what is it exactly?

A plumbing snake is a coiled tool that is relatively thin (usually about ¼ inch thick) and can be manipulated and twisted to remove the clog. This tool can be very helpful because it is so long; it can get to clogs that are residing way down inside the pipes, beyond the scope of your plunger’s abilities.

How does a Plumbing Snake work?

It works in the opposite way that your plunger works. The plunger uses suction to try to pull the clog out; the corkscrew tip and the twisting pressure placed by the plumber on the other end work to push its way through the other clog.

The one drawback to the plumbing snake is that it doesn’t necessarily remove the clog altogether. The path it clears is fairly thin (i.e. only the width of the tool) so for really stubborn clogs, you’ll need to resort to other measures.

Don’t let a clogged drain inconvenience you. You can get things flowing again quickly and easily just by giving Albert Nahman Plumbing a call at (510) 843-6904 to schedule your appointment in Berkeley, CA.

 

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