Category Archives: General

pumpkin in the drainAh the ooey gooey feeling of sticky pumpkin innards that cling to your hands when pumpkin carving.  Think cleaning up after that is a nightmare?  What’s worse is what could happen if you wash the pulp and seeds down your drain.

Oh but you are putting them in the garbage disposal you say?  Bad idea!  Despite popular belief, garbage disposals are not meant to be garbage “dispose-alls.”  We refer to these handy appliances as garbage “disposers” for this reason.

Some food items should never be placed into a garbage disposer, and the fibrous, sticky flesh and hard seeds like those in pumpkins innards are two biggies that should be avoided.

Garbage disposers work by spinning your food waste against a grind ring on the side of your disposer wall.  Fibrous foods like pumpkin flesh and potato peels can stick to the sides of the grind ring before they can pass through and become pulverized, and that can clog your disposal.

The stringy flesh of certain vegetables and pasta should also never go into your garbage disposer.  These stringy food items can wrap around the spinning impellers at the bottom of your garbage disposer and jam them.

Hard foods like pumpkin seeds should also stay out of your disposer, as they are too hard to be completely pulverized by the grind ring, as are the tough rinds of pumpkins and other melons.  These food items that don’t get pulverized can still pass through your garbage disposer and get stuck further down your drain pipes.

Even pumpkin flesh that gets shredded adequately in a disposer can clog your drains.  The sticky goo of pumpkin innards dries quickly once it attaches itself to the walls of your pipes, and becomes a clog in the making.  If you have ever tried to pick a dried pumpkin seed off of a plate then you can understand the glue-like consistency of pumpkin guts.  Add a few errant pumpkin seeds to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a Halloween nightmare only a call to our plumbers will fix.

Before you begin your pumpkin carving adventures, have a “pumpkin disposal plan” in place that does not include putting pumpkin innards in your sink.  If you do end up with a garbage disposer problem or a clogged drain, call our expert plumbers at Anthony PHC right away at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.

tech with water heater We all take our plumbing for granted when it works, but when it doesn’t work it can be inconvenient, frustrating and costly.  Did you know that you can keep your home’s plumbing in great shape and avoid costly problems with a plumbing tune up?  What is a plumbing tune up, you ask?

There are many steps that can be included in a professional plumbing tune up, but we will cover the more important steps here.

Check water pressure and adjust if needed

Several factors can cause your water pressure to change, including leaks, clogs, or issues with municipal water suppliers.  Water pressure that is too high can damage seals, cartridges, faucets, appliances and water heaters.  Having your water pressure checked once a year by an expert Anthony PHC plumber safeguards these items and prevents expensive repairs and replacements.  But if you hear your pipes banging don’t wait, have your water pressure measured right away – this is called water hammer, and it can happen when water pressure is too high.

Remember that high water pressure also increases your water usage and costs you more on your water and sewer bill.

Check for leaks and repair if needed

Even a small leak can increase your water bill significantly, not to mention damage your walls, cabinets and floors.  Leaking faucets are easy to spot, but our expert Anthony PHC plumbers check for hidden water damage caused by leaking water behind cabinet doors and appliances.  They also check washing machine hoses for bulges – a bulging washer hose can burst and cause a lot of money in water damage, especially if you are away from home for an extended period and not around to notice the leak.  If you leave your home for extended vacations, consider having our plumbers install an Anthony Water Guardian water leak detection system that will alert you of damaging leaks via your cell phone, and automatically shut the water off to your home, preventing damage.

Unclog faucets, drains and sewers

Over time, faucets can get clogged by mineral deposits and debris which restrict water flow.  Cleaning the aerator in your faucets regularly prevents this.  Fixtures that don’t have aerators will benefit from a good vinegar soaking to help remove mineral scale and improve water flow.

Remember that mineral scale deposits build up in drain pipes as well, along with hair, grease and other debris.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will inspect slow moving drains cabled them to release partial blockages.  Some homeowners find a periodic sewer mainline rodding helpful to prevent blockages caused from tree roots.

Condition or soften your water

As mentioned above, mineral scale build up from hard water can clog your faucets and drains, but it can also damage your water heater, dishwasher, coffee pot and other appliances.  If you haven’t yet incorporated a conditioning of softening system into your home’s plumbing, you should consider doing so.  “Tuning up” your water by removing hardness can extend the life of your pipes, fixtures and appliances and save you money and plumbing problems.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will test the hardness of your water and review the best water conditioning options for your home and your family.

Inspect and test your sump pump and battery back up sump pump

Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will inspect and test your sump pump as well as your battery back up system.  Alignment of each pump’s float is critical for proper operation.  Any debris in the sump pit will be removed and the discharge piping will be properly secured as well as tested.  Systems that infrequently operate are subject to clogs in the discharge piping which renders the pump useless.  Neglecting to provide periodic maintenance to a sump pump can void your sump pump endorsement on your homeowners insurance, leaving you with no coverage for water damage caused if your sump pump fails.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will perform these inspections and maintenance for you, and document their work to satisfy your homeowners insurance.

Water heaters need a yearly tune up

Your water heater will live a long life if it is tuned up annually.  Traditional tank water heaters need to be drained and flushed to remove mineral deposits.  Tankless water heaters must have yearly maintenance to remove scale build up.  Our expert Anthony PHC plumbers will perform both of these tasks, as well as check and clean the burner, make sure the combustion bi-products are venting properly, and test your gas pipe connections to make sure no gas is leaking.

Anthony PHC’s A.S.A.P. plumbing membership adds peace of mind

As you can see, caring for and maintaining your plumbing is a big job, and an important one, to save your money and your family’s health.  The best way to stay on top of your home’s plumbing needs is with an Anthony Service Agreement Program low-cost plumbing membership.  Anthony PHC customer care staff will call you to schedule this yearly service so you don’t have to think about it, and your expert Anthony PHC plumber will take care of all the maintenance and inspections for you.  We have heating and cooling memberships available as well.  Call us today at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.

The Anthony PHC’s A.S.A.P. plumbing membership includes the following annual maintenance steps:

10-point water heater tune up:

  1. Check water shut-off valve for proper operation
  2. Test temperature and pressure safety relief valve
  3. Drain water from tank to flush out sediment and replace drain valve if necessary
  4. Inspect anode rod if accessible
  5. Check water pressure at the tank and install expansion tank if needed
  6. Clean burner or lint chamber on FVIR water heater
  7. Check thermocouple and clean if necessary
  8. Check for gas leaks
  9. Check for proper drafting of vent gases and integrity of venting system
  10. Check for visible corrosion and stability of tank base

Dye-test all toilets and check all toilet connections and seals for tightness

Check all faucets for proper operation and clean faucet screens

Test sump pump and battery back-up sump pump for proper operation

Inspect all exposed drain pipes and floor drains

Inspect all gas piping and valves

Install safety identification labels on plumbing valves and piping

Check garbage disposer, dishwasher, clothes dryer and washing machine connections

girl prepping her lawn for fallWeather can change quickly, so it’s best to be prepared for season changes before they arrive.  Fall marks the dawn of the heating season, and your home requires special attention to maintain a safe and healthy indoor environment when you turn on your furnace.  Your plumbing needs special preparation for cold weather, too.  By preparing for fall early, it can save you time, trouble and money.

Your Air Conditioning Still Needs Attention

Fall doesn’t mean the end of hot weather – you may still need your air conditioning well into the season.  If you haven’t had your cooling system tuned up this year, then it is smart to get it done before the season ends.

As the fall weeds grow and leaves fall, keep an eye on your outside air conditioner to keep the coil clean and unobstructed so it will be ready to go for next season.  When you no longer need cooling, you may consider covering your air conditioner to protect it from yard and tree debris.  Air conditioners do not require covers to protect them from winter precipitation however, and heat pumps should never be covered.

Did you know that fall is a great time to purchase a new air conditioner?  Prices for cooling systems are lowest in the fall and spring when HVAC contractors are not as busy.  Look for good deals on air conditioners, and on furnaces, too.  Consider replacing these items in the slow fall and spring seasons to take advantage of lower prices.

Furnace Safety Checks are Critical for Health and Safety

Fire, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and indoor air pollution are potential hazards of heating your home.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 170 Americans die every year from accidental CO poisoning alone.  Furnace safety checks, CO detectors and smoke detectors are your main defense against heating system hazards.

Furnace safety checks should be done by highly-trained heating technicians like those at Anthony PHC. A partial list of tasks that should be performed during a safety inspection include:

  • Examine the heat exchanger for cracks with state-of-the-art inspection cameras
  • Test for any dangerous gas leaks such as CO
  • Test and clean the ignition system for safe and proper operation
  • Test the safety and control circuits
  • Ensure the exhaust is venting properly

CO and smoke detectors only work if they are functioning correctly.  Change the batteries in your CO and smoke alarms at the start of every fall, and make sure there is at least one of each on every level of your home.  Also consider installing the new WiFi smart alarm systems that will alert you to trouble via your phone when you are away from home.

Furnace Tune Ups Done Annually Save Energy and Satisfy Warranties

Safety comes first, but saving money and optimizing the life of your heating system is important, too.  While your Anthony PHC technician is performing your furnace safety inspection, have them perform your annual furnace tune up.  It is important to know that many air conditioning and heating components require annual maintenance to keep their warranties in effect.  And before you turn on your furnace, check your filter and replace it if needed.

Humidifiers Need Annual Maintenance, Too

Heating system humidifiers require annual maintenance, too.  Have your Anthony PHC technician clean and check your humidifier and replace the water panel.  Before turning on your furnace, make sure your humidifier is turned on, then turn your humidistat to 35% relative humidity, or the #4 setting, for optimal humidity.  Proper humidity levels can prevent the growth of viruses and bacteria and keep your nasal passages healthy.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions Could Save Your Life

Indoor air is up to 100% more polluted than outdoor air, which becomes a real concern as we close windows up for the winter.  Luckily there are several solutions available to vastly improve the quality of your indoor air.  Air scrubbers are a popular option.  UV lamps placed in your heating system can cut down on mold and allergens significantly.  Mechanical and electronic filters which replace your standard 1” filter are a great option, too.  Polluted indoor air has been linked to lung, cardiovascular and allergy problems.  Discuss the best solution for your family’s unique health needs with your Anthony PHC technician.

Don’t Forget the Fireplace

At some point you may decide to have a nice cozy fire in your fireplace.  But before the weather gets too cold or inclement, have your fireplace, flue and chimney checked for fire and gas hazards.

Protect Against Frozen Pipes with a Plumbing Inspection

Avoid broken pipes due to frozen water caused by garden hoses left attached to outside faucets.  Remove all hoses from outside faucets, drain them, and place them in storage.  Or even better, replace your outside hose faucets with frost-free versions, and you will never have to worry about forgetting your hose, because they will not freeze even with the hose attached.

Before freezing temperatures settle in, take a good look at your plumbing to determine where frozen pipes might happen, and insulate them where possible.  Any pipes in a wall adjacent to the outside or garage are at risk for freezing.  Fall is an excellent time for a plumbing inspection and safety check.  Your Anthony PHC plumber will be able to advise you on plumbing insulation tips while making sure your water heater is ready for the increased demand for hot water due to cold weather.

Natural Gas Infrared Garage Heaters Are a Great Winter Defense

One way to protect against frozen pipes is to install a natural gas infrared garage heater.  Garage heaters that run on natural gas can heat your garage for pennies a day, and warm up adjacent rooms at the same time.  Because they use no electricity, they are a great back up if your furnace stops working due to electricity outages caused by winter ice or windstorms.

Garage heaters are a wonderful way to extend your usable living space during the winter when the outdoor areas become unusable.  They help extend the life of your vehicles, too.

Your Fall Prep Checklist

In summary, to make your transition into fall easier, perform these fall preparation tasks as soon as possible in the season:

Cooling System Prep

  • Check and clean your outside air conditioner coil
  • Get a cooling system tune up
  • Consider purchasing a new air conditioner (with ozone friendly refrigerant) or furnace during the fall

Heating System Prep

  • Check your furnace filter
  • Test your CO and smoke detectors and replace the batteries
  • Get a furnace tune-up and safety inspection
  • Turn duct system dampers to the winter position
  • Schedule a fireplace, flue and chimney inspection

Humidifier

  • Turn the bypass air humidifier damper to the on position and turn thermostat on
  • Schedule to have the humidifier cleaned and checked

Indoor Air Purification

  • Install an air purification system to protect against indoor pollutants and allergens

Plumbing

  • Remove garden hoses and consider purchase of frost-free outdoor faucets
  • Insulate pipes against freezing in suspect areas
  • Consider purchasing a natural gas infrared garage heater to keep pipes from freezing

Call Us Today to Schedule a Fall Prep Visit

Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has highly trained technicians and plumbers available to come to your home and answer all your questions about preparing your home for the coming fall and winter seasons.  Call us any time of the night or day at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO to schedule fall prep service.

boy drinking water

Unfiltered water?  You’ve got that covered with your reverse osmosis (RO) system with the expensive filters that you have to change, and the mineral drops that you add back into the water, ugh.  Hard water?  You’ve got that covered with your water softener and its heavy and expensive bags of salt, yikes.  Stop!  These are old technology.

New Catalytic Water Conditioning Technology Removes Hardness without Removing Minerals

There is now an easier and healthier way to take the hardness and contaminants out of the water in every faucet and appliance in your home, with a whole home water conditioning plus filtration system.  Water conditioning softens your water not by removing the minerals that your body needs, but by changing their molecular structure through catalytic treatment.  This new catalytic treatment technology requires no maintenance, no electricity, no bags of salt and no expenses, and can be installed in your home quickly.

Water Conditioning plus Non-RO Filtration Makes the Healthiest Drinking Water

Water conditioning alone does not filter contaminants out of your water.  That is where whole home water conditioning plus water filtration systems come in.  Unlike RO systems that filter only the water that comes to your sink or refrigerator, whole home water filtration filters all of your home’s water, including the water you shower in and spray on your vegetable garden.  And unlike RO systems, they leave in the important minerals that your body needs.  While whole home RO systems do exist, they are expensive to maintain and waste a lot of water.

Catalytic Water Conditioning Plus Filtration offers Many Benefits over Reverse Osmosis

The NaturalSof water conditioner plus filtration system is a great example of a water conditioning plus water filtration system that installs easily at your home’s water source and softens and filters your water all in one.  It also offers the following benefits over water softening and RO:

  • requires no maintenance, no salt, no filter replacement
  • requires no electricity like traditional water softeners do
  • doesn’t leave your hands feeling oily or soapy like traditional water softening
  • removes the hardness from water without removing the health benefit of the minerals
  • filters all of your home’s water, not just the water going to your RO tap
  • wastes no water
  • adds no sodium to your water

The NaturalSof 6L removes the following contaminants from your drinking water:

  • chlorine
  • ammonia
  • sediment
  • chloramines
  • chemicals
  • disinfectant byproducts
  • metals
  • trace pharmaceuticals
  • bacteria

Removing Hard Water Keeps Your Plumbing and Appliances Healthy

We all know that water filtration is important for the water you drink.  But did you know that removing the hardness from your water is just as important to your home and appliances?  The mineral scale build up from hard water does damage to your home in the following ways:

  • clogs your home’s plumbing and appliances like dishwashers and washing machines
  • leaves scale on heating elements in tankless water heaters, coffee pots and vaporizers
  • increases maintenance needed on whole home and stand-alone humidifiers
  • damages and clogs plumping fixtures
  • leaves spots on shower doors and glassware
  • causes you to use more detergent and soap

No home or family should be without a whole home water conditioning system and a drinking water filtration strategy.  Traditional water softeners and RO systems are still right for some, but there are many options available to suit the needs of every home and family’s particular needs.  Call our plumbing experts at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to analyze your options at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

hvac zoning for hot and cold roomsMaestro HVAC Zoning Solves Your Home’s Hot Zones and Cold Zones

You have 2 or more thermostats in your car, so why should you be content with only 1 thermostat in your home?  If you want it warmer in some areas of your home and cooler in others, then an HVAC zoning system is for you.  Or if you have rooms that are always too hot or too cold compared to the rest of your home and you want to even out the temperatures, you also can benefit from an HVAC zoning system.

Most homes have areas that suffer because a single thermostat located in one area controls the temperature in all parts of the home. The thermostat only knows the temperature where the thermostat is actually located. You simply cannot achieve whole home comfort with one thermostat, just like you can’t control all your lighting with one light switch.  Our Maestro Zoning system lets you control the temperature in all areas of your home by allowing you to send conditioned air when and where it is needed.  You will feel more air than you have ever felt before out of your system.

Maestro Zoning Allows You to Control Which Rooms Get Cooled and Heated Air

An HVAC zoning system consists of 2 or more thermostats placed in problem areas in your home, and an electronic monitor which activates dampers in your ductwork to move conditioned air directly to those rooms where a greater supply is needed.  Anthony’s Maestro Zoning system can be installed quickly and easily in your home, to make every room a Goldilocks room, that is “just right” temperature wise.

By giving homeowners more control over how they heat and cool their home, Maestro Zoning enables the creation of comfort zones that are customizable, which keeps all family members happy while saving money on energy bills at the same time, by sending conditioned air only to the zones that need it and only when they need it.

How Zoning Works

Zoning is a simple, economical way to gain better air flow to problem areas without adding an additional heating and cooling system. Using automatic dampers (which are pneumatically activated so there are no motors that eventually fail) in your vent work, a zoning system allows you to control the temperature independently in separate areas of your home by opening some dampers and closing others.

The brain of the zoning system is an electronic monitor which activates the dampers as ordered by the individual thermostats in the areas served.  It can even be used with wireless thermostats that can be carried from room to room to ensure the desired temperature in that room.  You can also control thermostats with your cell phone.

Maestro Zoning is Right for Any House

Zoning is all about the comfort of the homeowner, and any home can benefit from zoning if the homeowner wants more control over the temperature in different areas of their home.  Homes with hard to cool or hard to heat areas, or with multiple levels that require more than one thermostat are perfect for zoning. These include homes with:

  • multiple levels, like two stories or split levels
  • rooms over the garage or added onto the back
  • finished areas in the basement or attic
  • expansive glass areas that let in ambient heat
  • family members who prefer different temperatures than others
  • home offices
  • portions of the home built over a concrete slab floor
  • wings extending off the main living area in multiple directions
  • large, open areas such as vaulted ceilings or lofts

Zoning Beats the Heat in Two Story Homes or Bedrooms over the Garage

Since a thermostat only knows the temperature of the area it’s located in, your home can suffer from stark temperature variances in different rooms.  Because thermostats are normally located on a home’s first level, rooms on upper levels can be unbearably hot because of the “stack effect” of warm air rising.  Also, second floor areas have more heat gain because the ceiling is the hot attic. And if you are the unlucky one who’s bedroom is over the garage, you know that no matter how much the AC is cranked in the house your room is always hot in the summer.  Rooms over garages are always cold in the winter, too.

Maestro Zoning is a great option for homes with these configurations.  Rather than install window units in your upstairs bedrooms or keep your lower levels uncomfortably cool in an attempt to accommodate the upper levels, zoning has become a must-have solution for any two-story home.

Zoning Eliminates Arguments Over Temperature

No more arguments over temperature in the house – with Maestro Zoning you have control of the temperature in your room, and your family members have control over theirs.  The dampers in the ductwork are activated by the electronic monitor depending on the set temperature from individual thermostats in the areas served.  These dampers allow cooled air to be sent into warmer rooms while restricting air flow to other rooms.  Since each room, or “zone” has a different thermostat, one person can enjoy a warmer room while another luxuriates in their own much cooler zone.

Call our Maestro Zoning Experts for a Free Estimate

Call our Maestro Zoning experts today for a free estimate, and we will come to your house and explore the many options available to customize a zoning system to meet your needs. Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO or click here to submit your information and we will contact you at a time that is convenient for you.

sewer camera

Where Does your Responsibility End, and the Local Water Authority’s Begin?  Your Plumber Must Determine

Maintenance of your sewer main is shared by you and your local water authority.  If a back up occurs on your part of the sewer main, or “on-property,” it is your responsibility to fix it and to pay for it.  If it happens on your local water authority’s part of the system, or “off-property,” it is their responsibility to fix it and to pay for it.

It is up to the homeowner’s plumber to make the determination on whose part of the sewer main the back up is located and to let the local water authority know if there is a problem with their part of the sewer system.  So it is important to make sure you hire a plumber who specializes in diagnosing sewer backups.

How Can You Tell if Your Back Up is “On-Property” or “Off-Property?”

The place where your responsibility ends and the local water authority’s begins is in your lateral sewer main.  The lateral is the sewer main that runs from your house and connects to the local water authority’s sewer main.

Every home on your block has a lateral sewer main that connects to the sewer main of the local water authority, which is also called a sewer main, so differentiating between the two in conversation can be confusing.

So at what spot in your lateral sewer main does your responsibility ends and the local authority’s responsibility begin?  It is different in every home, and it is up to your plumber to determine whose portion of the lateral main the back up resides on, yours or the local water authority’s.  That is why it is important to choose a plumber who specializes in diagnosing sewer backups.

A Sewer Back Up is an Expensive Problem, Unless it is Not Your Problem…

Your plumber should be able to tell you which main is affected, your lateral main or the local authority’s sewer main.  And if the back up is in the lateral main, your plumber needs to be able to tell you if the back up is in the “on-property” portion of the lateral, or in the “off-property” portion.

Your local water authority relies on the plumbers hired by homeowners to let them know when there are off-property backups so they can send the proper teams out to correct the problems.

Camera and Diagnostic Equipment are Critical to Determine where the Back Up is Located

Luckily Anthony’s plumbers have cameras to make the job of diagnosing and repairing sewer backups easier.  If your plumber finds that your back up is off-property, they will be able to take pictures to prove where the blockage is.  These cameras also have receivers and digital location systems which identify the location and depth of pipes.

In some cases, it may cost extra for a plumber to use this diagnostic equipment, but it is well worth the money for homeowners if it can determine that backups are off-property.  Cameras allow plumbers to make better and faster repairs to your pipes which can also save you money in labor.

They can quickly tell you where the blockage is, and determine if there are sewer pipe repairs are needed as well, and where, to minimize digging.

The Benefits of Opening vs. Cleaning

There is a difference between opening a sewer main to temporarily resolve a backup, and cleaning a sewer main completely, especially in price.  Many plumbers will advise homeowners to opt for opening a pipe, which involves punching a hole in the back up with a snake, leaving only a partial opening, rather than completely cleaning the pipe.

It is much easier and more affordable to open a pipe than clean it out completely, and homeowners appreciate the cost savings.  To avoid the need for repeated drain openings and to provide a more permanent fix, a sewer main needs to be thoroughly cleaned, not just opened.

When Your Plumber Fixes Off-Property Back Ups, They Need to Tell the Local Water Authority

If your plumber determines that your back up is “off-property,” they will still fix the back up for you and have the local water authority reimburse you for the work.  Even if your plumber is able to correct a back up that is off-property, the local water authority still wants to be informed by your plumber so they can keep an eye on it and make further repairs if necessary.

A sewer main backup can cause devastating damage to multiple homeowners if left unchecked, even so as to require a house to be condemned if waste backs up and ruins electrical and HVAC equipment.  Water levels can rise quickly during a sewer main break before there is time to intercede.  So the role of the plumber in diagnosing and reporting sewer main problems is a critical one.

How Do I Know if My Back Up is in the Sewer Main Lateral or Just the Floor Drain?

Sewer main backups require much heavier snakes to open your 3 to 4 inch lateral than snakes that can negotiate a 2-inch branch line to your floor drain, so it is important to know where your back up resides, so you can call the right plumber.  The easiest test is to check to see if toilet paper or human waste is present in the standing water.  If no waste is present, have a spotter watch the floor drain while you run cold water into a bathtub somewhere else in the house for several minutes.

If the spotter never sees any water rise, then the back up is in the floor drain.  If water does rise, then the back up is in the sewer main lateral or local authority’s sewer main.  Sometimes sewer main backups can cause water to back up in your toilet or bathtub instead of your floor drain, even though the floor drain is lower.

How Do You Clear a Back Up in the Lateral Sewer Main?

You can never clear a lateral sewer main back up through the floor drain, so if the plumber you call attempts to do so you have not chosen the right plumber.  Lateral backups can only be cleared through your home’s main inside clean out which is located on the lower level and capped by a screw on plug.

Occasionally homeowners make the mistake covering up access to clean outs during remodeling; if that is the case, laterals backups must be cleared by removing a toilet and snaking from there.  If worst comes to worst a lateral back up can also be cleared from the stack which extends above the roof where the sewer gases escape, but the cost of hoisting equipment to the roof can be great.

Choose Wisely, and Seek Professional Advice

Sewer backups put your life on hold, but don’t get in a hurry and hire the first plumber available or the cheapest one you can find.  Be patient and qualify plumbers carefully; you will save a lot of money and time and aggravation.  Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO and we will help you through this process.  For more information on fixing and preventing different drain issues, click here to read our blog on “Easing Drain Pain.

 

sump pumphaga click para la version espanol
Your sump pump system is your main line of defense against indoor flooding, but only if it is working! If you have a finished basement, or if you are storing valuables in an unfinished basement, you should take regular steps to ensure that your sump pump system is working.

To be well protected against the devastating financial losses associated with indoor flooding, you need to do the following:

  • Test your sump pump now, before the torrential rains and power outages do it for you, AND
  • Invest in a Battery Back Up Sump Pump if you don’t already have one.

How do I know if my Sump Pump is Working?

Sump pumps get a real workout during the rainy season, and they can stop working at any time. But sitting idle without regular use can also cause them to fail. You should test your sump pump frequently by taking these easy steps:

Step 1:  Test the Pump

Fill the pump pit with water and watch to see if the pump activates. If it doesn’t, and you know you have power to the outlet, then the pump needs to be replaced.

Step 2:  Watch the Drain

Watch the pump drain water out of its basin. Make sure there are no leaks in the discharge pipe. Go outside to ensure that water is terminating where it is supposed to.

Step 3:  Test the Shut-off

Stay until the pump turns off, so you know its shut-off feature is working properly. A pump that won’t shut off will eventually overheat and may stop functioning altogether.  If the pump does not shut off automatically, it will need to be repaired or replaced.

If my Sump Pump is Working, Do I Still Need an Additional Battery Backup Sump Pump?

In order to fully defend against indoor flood damage, you need a battery backup sump pump in addition to your regular sump pump. Sump pumps can fail at any time, and they do not warn you ahead of time when this has happened, so a backup pump will provide just that – a second chance at stopping the flood if the primary pump fails. Also, battery backup sump pumps work whether or not the electricity has been lost due to storm activity, and in the Midwest electrical outages are common during the stormy seasons.

A battery backup sump pump will also pump along with your primary pump when there is more water than your primary pump can handle. A backup pump will typically handle 1000 to 2200 gallons per hour. It also has a maintenance alarm to notify you when service is needed.

How Do I Test My Backup Sump Pump?

A battery backup sump pump should be tested in the same way as your regular pump. With the primary sump pump unplugged, run through steps 2 and 3 from above and make sure the pump drains the water and shuts off.

During the testing process, keep an eye on the battery indicator light. If it remains green, it is a good indication that your battery is strong. Fortunately, battery backup sump pumps have alarms that alert homeowners when the battery is nearing the end of its life.

Does the Battery in my Backup Sump Pump require Maintenance?

Some do. Maintenance-free batteries are aptly named, and shouldn’t need maintenance as long as they are being charged. Some backup sump pump batteries are not maintenance-free however; these batteries need to have the water levels checked in their cells every 6 months. If your battery has removable caps on the top of its cells then you will need to keep the water level up. The batteries used for this application are special standby batteries and not car batteries or deep cycle marine batteries. Standby batteries last approximately 5 years.

How Often Should I Replace My Sump Pump?

The average sump pump lasts for about 7 to 9 years. You should replace or repair the pump if it fails any of the tests above.

Here some warning signs that your sump pump might be failing:

  • Makes strange noises
  • Vibrates excessively
  • Infrequent pump usage
  • Runs all the time
  • Irregular cycling
  • Visible rust
  • Seven years or older
  • Motor sometimes gets stuck
  • Motor failure
  • Installed by the builder
  • Frequent power outages

Check Homeowner’s Insurance

Not all insurance adequately covers damaged valuables or the costly repairs necessary to undo water damage and the mold growth that occurs afterward. Flood insurance riders may not cover damage caused by malfunctioning sump pumps unless you have a sump pump rider, and it still may not cover sump pump failures unless you can prove regular maintenance was done on the unit.

Call Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

A qualified plumbing professional can best make the assessment of whether a sump pump system needs to be repaired or replaced and when, and our plumbers are trained to do just that. Anthony stocks both sump pumps and battery backup sump pumps on all trucks to be available whenever you need them. So don’t hesitate to contact us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO or click here to schedule a visit.

frozen AC coilWhen your central AC blows hot air, it often means you have a frozen coil.  Frozen may sound like a good problem for an AC to have, but your system cannot cool your home if the coil is iced over.

It is important to know that AC technicians cannot fix your frozen coil problem until the coil thaws.  So if your AC is not producing cold air, take these steps before you call your technician:

 

1.  Check your filter

A dirty filter could be the only issue preventing your AC from cooling your air, and that is an easy fix. Turn off your furnace fan by turning your system to OFF on your thermostat.  Locate your return vent, unscrew the cover (if any), and pull out your filter. If it’s dirty, simply replace it. Write down the size indicated on the edge of the filter, and purchase a new one at a home improvement store.  With your system still OFF, pull out the dirty filter, paying attention to which way the air flow arrow points on the edge of the filter, and put the new filter in facing the same direction.

2. Thaw out your AC

If your filter is not dirty, try thawing out your AC coil.  First, switch your thermostat to OFF and your fan to ON. This will start defrosting your coil, which is located inside the air handling unit next to your furnace.  Call an expert technician from a reputable heating and cooling company and set up an appointment to have them come look at your AC unit after the coil thaws.  Give your unit a few hours to fully defrost, and head to a movie theater or restaurant to stay cool.

To see if your coil is thawed, locate your air handler and the frozen coil.  Check the condensate pan underneath the coil to make sure it is draining properly, and not leaking and causing damage to your floor.

3. Turn your AC back on

After a few hours, check your coil.  It should be dry and free of frost or ice.  Switch your thermostat back to “cool” to turn your AC back on. If the air comes out cooler than room temperature, you have fixed your AC problem!  If not, it is now ready for your technician to make any necessary repairs.  Even if your AC is working again, it is good to have your technician inspect the system, as a frozen coil usually a sign that something is wrong.

Don’t be stuck with a non-functioning AC system on a hot day when the demand for technicians is high, and the wait for service is long.  Get your checked annually, before trouble starts. Call Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO, (913-268-4669), or click here to schedule a service call.

ecm fan motor being added to furnaceAfter July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated low-wattage motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, instead of the permanent split capacitor (PSC) induction blower motors normally used.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has updated their Furnace Efficiency Rating (FER) standards, mandating that these energy conserving motors be used starting July 3, 2019 in all new furnaces, with the expectation that these new standards will result in significant conservation of energy and reduction of carbon pollution.

For homeowners, this means the initial price of residential furnaces will be increasing due to the higher cost of the ECM motors.  But though the initial cost for a new furnace will be going up, the DOE estimates these motors will save an average consumer about $340 to $500 over the lifetime of their furnace, even after accounting for the increased upfront cost, due to significant savings in energy costs.

ecm high efficiency motorECM motors are expected to keep homeowners more comfortable, too.  First, they provide more efficient airflow. Second, they reduce temperature swings in the home by allowing the fan to run for a longer time at a reduced speed.  And homeowners will be more inclined to operate their furnace fans all the time, therefore cleaning the air consistently.

The net effect on the homeowner’s energy usage by the ECM motors may be reduced by as much as 46%, which depending on the home and the furnace model, could result in as much as $67.00 per year in energy savings.

Although the old furnaces with PSC induction motors may still be in stock for a short time after July 3, they will only be available while supplies last.  Some homeowners may opt for repairing an old furnace, but it can be a costly decision when compared to the energy savings of replacing it with an energy efficient furnace.  The question then is, “how expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth it?” Even for less expensive repairs, depending upon how old your furnace is, replacement may be a more cost-effective option.

To help you make the best choice possible, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will help you assess when and if you should replace your furnace.  Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.

sump pump claim deniedFlood Insurance Does Not Cover Sump Pump Failure

For Midwest homeowners adding flood insurance is common practice, but they might not know that neither flood insurance nor a homeowner’s policy covers sump pump failure. Sump pump failure riders or endorsements are available, but even they won’t protect against sump pump failure if the post-flood inspection finds the pump wasn’t maintained properly.

Sump Pump Riders Don’t Cover Damage if Pump is Not Maintained Properly

When submitting an insurance claim for sump pump failure, claims adjusters look for ways to prove your due diligence so they can prove your case to underwriters. Your pump will be inspected. If it isn’t found to be in good working order or you failed to keep it operational, your claim could be denied based on improper, or lack of, maintenance. You could also face an insurance premium increase.

What is Proof of Proper Maintenance?

Having your pump regularly inspected and maintained by professional plumbers like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling eliminates sump pump operational issues, and gives you the proof for insurance companies that the pump was inspected by a professional.  Maintenance is critical to a sump pump’s function. But even a properly maintained pump can fail at any time due to age or inactivity, so regular inspections are needed.

Does My Sump Pump Need a Battery Back Up to Satisfy Insurance Companies?

Even the best maintained pumps will cease to run during power outages typical of Midwest storms, therefore battery backup sump pumps are needed as well. Not only do battery backup sump pumps act as added “insurance” during power outages, but they also help carry the load of the regular sump pump if it is unable to pump water quickly enough during heavier rains.  If you have a Sump Pump rider with your insurance company, call them and clarify whether your sump pump has to have a battery backup in order for water damage claims to be paid.

Sump Pump Failure Claims are a Big Burden to Insurance Companies, and They Will Try to Avoid Paying Them

The reason insurance companies will try to avoid paying sump pump failure claims is because of the tremendous financial cost attributed to them. Fixing the damage caused by an indoor flood is a complicated and time-consuming process. Besides the repair or replacement of the sump pump, several steps must be taken before and after the repair to get your home back to normal. All electrical items in the vicinity of the flood will have to be unplugged, and if they cannot be accessed safely, the main electrical supply will have to be shut off. Then a water extraction service may have to be contracted to remove standing water before repairs can begin.

After standing water is extracted, damage to floors, walls and household items must be repaired. Flooring, furniture and electronics that cannot be repaired will have to be replaced, and irreplaceable keepsakes that are damaged may be lost forever. Then the moisture remaining even after the standing water has been removed must be eradicated, by opening windows, running fans and setting up dehumidifiers. Finally, homes must be tested for mold and mildew growth that the invasive water may have caused, and replacement of drywall and insulation might be needed to stop the spread of mold and mildew throughout the home.

Automated Flood Detection Cell Phone Alerts are Extra Insurance

Installing an automated flood detection and prevention system to your home is an easy and affordable way to receive alerts on your cell phone or tablet when flooding starts while you are sleeping or away from home. Flood prevention systems utilize water sensors placed near sump pumps and other water sources that activate an automated system when water is detected sending alerts to your phone, emitting an audible alarm, and providing an electronic water main valve shut-off feature that engages automatically or allows you to do it remotely.  The home automation experts at Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling can install our Water Guardian system, which will equip your home with water sensors that will alert you of a possibly failing sump pump.

Don’t Take Chances, Call Us Today

The professional plumbers at Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling can take the guesswork out of your Sump Pump Maintenance and handle all your Indoor Flood Prevention and Plumbing needs. For more information Call A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO 913-268-4669. www.AnthonyPHC.com.  And check our Coupons page for specials on sump pump inspections and replacement at www.AnthonyPHC.com/Coupons/.