Blog

20 11, 2013

Water Heater Fire

By |Wednesday, November 20th, 2013|Safety, Water Heater|Comments Off on Water Heater Fire

Recently one of our plumbers came across a water heater that had actually burned up the controls and wiring.  This was caused by a loose connection where one of the power wires terminates on the high limit.  It is important to make sure the screws that hold the wires in place are very snug to keep this from happening.

See corresponding pictures

20 11, 2013

Water Heater Maintenance

By |Wednesday, November 20th, 2013|Water Heater|Comments Off on Water Heater Maintenance

We started performing water heater flushes as a service to our clients recently.  It has been interesting to see how much we have been able to get out of most of the water heaters.  Most water heaters in this area that are not using softened water are quite gross inside.  Some of them will not flush because there is so much build-up of sediment inside.  Those that would flush, had a great deal of nasty brown water that came out.  We try to flush it until the water comes out clean.  With a good softener, this was usually only a gallon or two of nasty stuff and then it was clean.  Without a softener, there has been 20 to 30 gallons of nasty brown water that came out before it cleared up.

Some people have been frustrated that we could not flush their heater, and tried to blame the problem on us.  Everyone in Southeast Idaho should be aware of the fact that without a functioning, properly sized, water softener, a water heater will build up with sediment rather quickly.  Within one year, there is likely to be so much sediment inside that it cannot be flushed because the drain is plugged with sediment.  Having this sediment build up is costing more electricity and or gas to heat the water because it first has to heat the sediment.  Sediment acts somewhat like an insulator keeping the water from heating as quickly and efficiently.  The sediment also becomes a breeding ground for disease that can make people sick.   It is important to keep a working water softener in areas with such hard water as ours.

20 11, 2013

Humidifier

By |Wednesday, November 20th, 2013|Humidifier|Comments Off on Humidifier

In our dry climate, an in home whole house humidifier can be very helpful. The only draw-back to humidifiers is that they require maintenance. Most humidifiers are what is called a bypass humidifier. This means pressurized warm air from the supply plenum is brought through the humidifier and run across a wet pad that introduces moist air into the return plenum. This moist air is then distributed throughout the home. Bypass humidifiers work effectively except they really only work when the furnace is heating. A better (although more expensive) approach is a steam humidifier. A steam humidifier actually converts the water (liquid) to steam (vapor) which is then introduced into the air duct system. With a good steam humidifier a person has to be careful to not over humidify their home since this can create mold. With proper maintenance, a humidifier can help to alleviate many of the health issues that come from living in a dry arid climate. See Pictures of a non-maintained humidifier and new steam humidifier.

16 11, 2013

Changing Furnace Filters

By |Saturday, November 16th, 2013|Filters, Furnace|Comments Off on Changing Furnace Filters

One of the best things a homeowner can do to help their furnace last longer is to keep the air filter clean.  In most homes the filter needs to be changed monthly during the winter months of heavy usage.  A plugged or dirty filter keeps the furnace from breathing and moving enough air.  This then causes it to overheat, which uses more energy, and causes the equipment to fail prematurely.  If you choose to use 1” pleated filters like you can get in the big box stores, be aware that while they are great filters (maybe too good) they tend to restrict the air even when they are new and clean.  As they “load up” (get dirty) it makes the problem even worse.  They will need to be checked even more frequently.

You can now buy filters from us online at www.firstcalljewel.com/shop

 

15 11, 2013

Annual Tune-Up (Carbon Monoxide)

By |Friday, November 15th, 2013|Safety|Comments Off on Annual Tune-Up (Carbon Monoxide)

It is important to have a good quality, functioning, carbon monoxide detector.  This week we had an elderly customer who had us come out for her annual furnace tune-up.  Her furnace was a 18 year old 90% efficient Carrier.  It appeared to be working just fine but there were some signs of a potential carbon monoxide leak, that only an experienced technician would have noticed.  Upon further investigation, it was in fact leaking and was putting low levels of C O inter her home.  After we made her aware of the problem, she indicated she had been getting unusual headaches lately.  Fortunately for her, we caught the problem before she got really sick.  The problem was in the secondary heat exchanger, and was not worth repairing.  She now has a new TRANE 95% 2 stage variable speed gas furnace that will help her home to be more comfortable, and more efficient.

15 11, 2013

Are Plug-in Electric Heaters Safe?

By |Friday, November 15th, 2013|Electrical, Safety|Comments Off on Are Plug-in Electric Heaters Safe?

Recently we were out to a home where the homeowners were very lucky. They had been using an expensive “super efficient” “very safe” heater. The receptacle where it plugged in had burned up, and had shot sparks out. Fortunately the homeowner happened to see it happen and got it shut off. Plug in heaters in and of themselves are relatively safe. What is not safe is the cord connection where it plugs in to the wall. Plug in portable electric heaters should only be used as a temporary heat source and only in an area where they can be observed. See the corresponding pictures.