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.
When 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.
After 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 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.
Flood 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/.
Your sink, toilet or bathtub is clogged. Is the problem at the trap, or the main line, or somewhere in between? The plumbers on our drain remediation team have the tools to quickly analyze your situation and get your drain open and flowing. Our drain remediation trucks carry state-of-the-art video cameras and drain opening equipment so we can diagnose and solve your “drain pain” quickly and professionally.
Diagnosing an Impending Clogged Drain
The best way to handle drain clogs is to avoid them altogether through our annual plumbing inspections, where our plumbers diagnose issues with your pipes that will lead to clogs and solve them before clogs can form. Unfortunately, there are not many warning signs of impending clogs, but if you experience any of these signs you should call in our drain remediation team right away:
Your Drains are Slow
A slow drain is usually the first sign of an issue. As soon as you start to notice your sink, bath or shower draining slower than normal, call us.
Odors are Coming out of Your Drain
Sometimes you will notice an odor due to waste backing up before you actually can see the fluid build up.
Water “Rings” Near a Floor Drain
Sometimes fluid backs up from a floor drain and then goes back down slowly. You may only see the “ring” around the drain since the fluid has already subsided.
How to Open a Clogged Drain
You can treat slow drains with hot water or baking soda and vinegar and hopefully keep clogs at bay, just never use chemical drain openers, and never pour boiling water down PVC pipes. But once a drain becomes fully clogged, there are only two basic ways to open it: plungers (evacuators) and augers (snakes). Occasionally a homeowner can successfully open drains themselves using these tools, but it often takes a professional plumber to remove drain covers, stoppers, traps and clean outs in order to access the clog and remove it.
Plungers and Evacuators
In order for a plunger to work, a tight seal must be formed between the plunger and the sink, tub or toilet to build up enough suction to dislodge the clog from the walls of the pipe. In order to know if the plunger to working, there must be standing water; if the water level goes down you can tell that you are having success. Not all plungers are created equal; if your dollar-store plunger is failing you might try a more expensive version from a home supply store. Plumbers have access to high-suction evacuators that are even more effective than traditional plungers.
Augers and Snakes
There are many types of augers and drain snakes. For bathroom sink and tub clogs, a flexible plastic stick with prongs to grab debris can be effective. For bigger jobs like a clogged toilet, a drain snake can be used. These devices come with hand cranks or motors, and work by swirling a flexible metal cable around in your pipes until the clog breaks up.
The pipework beneath sinks, showers and bathtubs can be very intricate, and it is possible to damage the components using augers or snakes, especially in older homes. Even toilets can be damaged by the use of drain snakes. It is best to have a professional plumber snake your drains rather than risk expensive plumbing repairs.
What Happens During a Drain Remediation Visit
Depending upon where the clog exists, our experts will remove hardware to access the clog. Sometimes this means removing a drain cover, clean out cap, p-trap or sink stopper pop-up mechanism.
Depending on the severity and placement of the clog, the drain remediation expert will either use a high-suction evacuator or auger to dislodge the clog and open the drain. Hot water will then be used to flush the drain and make sure it is running smoothly. A camera will be utilized for major drain pipes to check the integrity of the system. Once the drain is opened and water is flowing freely again, the hardware will be replaced as it was.
How to Avoid a Clogged Drain
There are a variety of different drains around your house that need to be kept open so they work properly and conveniently. Some are easier to maintain than others. Always make conscious decisions about what you put down your drains!
Don’t Treat Your Kitchen Drain and Garbage Disposer Like a Garbage Can
Grease, soap and food waste can take their toll on kitchen drains, clogging them slowly (or quickly) over time. Garbage disposers do not prevent clogs, and they can become clogged or jammed themselves with improper usage. Never put grease down a drain. And even if you have a garbage disposer, use it only for tiny bits of food that cannot be gathered and thrown away in a waste can. Put a strainer on each of your kitchen drains to keep the majority of food waste out of your drains and garbage disposer. And always have cold water running when you turn on your garbage disposer; this keeps oils hard and moving through your pipes instead of coagulating in them.
Put Strainers on Shower and Tub Drains
Hair is biggest danger with shower and tub drains, so make sure there is a strainer on your tubs and shower drains. Regularly remove the hair that builds up on the strainer. Even if you have no hair or little hair, strainers will stop small items like soap pieces, shampoo caps or jewelry from slipping down the drain. There are many different types of strainers, so keep looking until you find one that works for your drain.
Only Flush #1, #2 and Toilet Paper
There are only two items that should be placed in a toilet: toilet paper and human waste. Clogged toilets are often the result of flushing facial tissue, cat litter, feminine products, baby wipes or other products that don’t disintegrate the way toilet paper does.
Protect Bathroom Sink Drains
Clogs in bathroom sinks can result from toothpaste, soap, hair, styling products and other grime. And bathroom sinks with drain stoppers do not accommodate strainers, so extra care must be taken to keep clogging substances out of these drains. Run water the entire time you are brushing your teeth. Consider spitting into a tissue instead of the sink, and use paper towels to wipe styling products and hair from your hands before you rinse them off. And if you get sick, run to the toilet, never to the sink.
Keep Debris Out of Floor Drains
Floor drains capture soap from cleaning products and laundry detergent that can build up scale over time. They are also susceptible to receiving any kind of dirt, debris or trash that kind finds its way to the floor, which can clog them up quickly. Never sweep anything into a floor drain other than water.
Get Your Sewer Drain Snaked Regularly
If water backs up in your floor drains or toilet after using large amounts of water, it probably means your sewer pipe is clogged. These are the pipes that run from your house to either the city sewer or to your septic tank.
Sewer drains are at risk of being clogged by the same items that clog your interior pipes. But an additional risk to sewer drains is plant roots that seek an easy way to water sources through your sewer pipe. Trees and bushes in your landscaping can clog sewer drains quickly, depending upon the growing season, so regular snaking of outside drains is recommended to keep roots from taking over. Also pay attention to where your sewer pipes are buried; driving over them or parking on them can cause them to collapse and require them to be replaced.
Get your septic tank inspected regularly. Opening up your sewer drain will do you no good if your septic tank is not operating properly. If you have a septic tank, make sure that the motor is running correctly, the laterals are in good shape and the drain pipe is open all the way to the drainage area on your property. Septic tanks on a routine inspection plan with a qualified septic tank specialist should run properly for years with no major issues.
Install a Water Softener
Hard water is a big contributor to clogged pipes. Minerals in the water from our public water sources build up in pipes over time and is difficult to get rid of this scale once it is deposited. There are many types of water softeners; the tanks that require bags of salt are just one of the many options. Some filters can be placed easily and affordably on your main water intake that will lengthen the life of your plumbing significantly.
Get an Annual Plumbing Inspection
We cannot stress enough how much an annual plumbing inspection can save you money. Preventing drain clogs is just one of those ways. Professional plumbers can assess the condition of your pipes, faucets, toilets, water heater, water softener, water filtration system, sump pump, exterior hydrants and even the hoses attached to your washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator, and implement preventative steps to save your home and your plumbing from expensive repairs.
Opening Drains vs. Cleaning Drains
There are two solutions to getting rid of clogs; opening drains and cleaning drains. Our drain remediation specialists are fully equipped to provide both drain opening and drain cleaning services.
Opening drains is a fast and affordable solution that most homeowners choose, but it may not be the best long term solution. Opening drains removes all the clogs from a drain, so water can pass freely through your plumbing.
When drain clogs are a more constant problem, we sometimes recommend a full drain cleaning. Cleaning drains involves removing all sediment from the walls of the pipes instead of just opening them. Though cleaning a drain is more time-consuming than opening a drain, it generally keeps your drains running smoothly for a longer period of time.
Call Us Any Time of the Day or Night
You are too busy for clogged drains, we get it – that’s why we are here 24/7 to respond, and have plumbers and drain remediation specialist in your neighborhood until midnight, even on weekends. And remember, we are the “Technicians You Can TRUST with your House Keys!®”, so you don’t even have to be at your home when we visit.
Call us anytime at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO; that’s 913-268-4669 or 816-268-4669. Or complete our Online Scheduling form at https://www.anthonyphc.com/schedule-service/ and we will give you a call.
In 1957, inspired by the famous Kansas City stockyards and the locally headquartered American Hereford Association, the Hereford House restaurant opened. The restaurant has grown on the steadfast principle of serving the finest beef available in an atmosphere of elegant simplicity and has truly positioned itself as a Kansas City icon.
Since 1951, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has served Kansas City area residents with the same commitment to quality that has positioned itself as a Kansas City icon for trusted, highest quality plumbing, heating and cooling services.
These two Kansas City traditions have teamed up to provide a sizzling offer for area residents. Anthony now provides it’s customers an opportunity to dine on what many call America’s finest steaks whenever they meet with a comfort advisor to obtain an estimate for a new heating and cooling system. After going through the process of choosing the finest system for their home, Anthony gives homeowners a Hereford House gift card to enjoy the finest steak dinner in a Kansas City.
Known for generous cuts of steak, Hereford House serves locally sourced Certified Hereford Beef®, raised on family farms and ranches, then aged for a minimum of 21 days. This naturally tender beef is hand-cut in-house every day, then grilled to perfection over a charcoal flame by the area’s most talented grill masters.
For anyone wanting to experience a true Kansas City tradition, dinner at Hereford House is sure to be the recommendation. With a no-obligation estimate for a new heating and cooling system, Anthony customers receive a Hereford House gift card to enjoy. The tradition of quality in which Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling and the Hereford House have been a part of over a half-century continues together, ensuring their shared reputation for great service and the finest quality.
Anthony customers can dine at any of the four convenient Hereford House locations: Leawood’s Town Center Plaza, Independence by the Hilton Garden Inn Convention Center, Zona Rosa in the Northland, and Shawnee west of Midland Drive and I-435.
We at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are proud to have earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award for 2018. This is the 12th year in a row that Anthony PHC has earned this esteemed award.
The Angie’s List Super Service Award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List for the year, and reflects our consistently high level of customer service.
“Service pros that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award represent the best in our network, who are consistently making great customer service their mission,” says Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”
As an Angie’s List Super Service Award 2018 winner, we have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List and undergo additional screening.
Anthony PHC has been listed on Angie’s List since 2005, and we have won the Angie’s List Super Service award every year since 2007.
Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. We are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. At Anthony PHC Kansas City, we are honored to be considered a top-rated service professional by Angie’s List, and we extend our thanks to the thousands of homeowners who have rated us highly on Angie’s List. To visit us on Angie’s List, click here.
Keeping your home warm is an essential part of preserving a comfortable living environment, but it can also represent many hazards such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution.
The National Fire Protection Association reported a total of 54,030 home structure fires involving heating equipment between 2011 and 2015. Central heating units and water heaters accounted for 21 percent of those fires.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 150 Americans die every year from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that is not caused by fires. Known as a silent killer, CO has no smell or taste, so neither people nor animals can tell when they are breathing it.
Get your furnace checked for safety by a highly-trained heating specialist
It’s a smart idea to have a highly-trained heating specialist like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling perform a safety inspection on your furnace. Their technicians will do the following:
- Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks with a state of the art inspector camera.
- Test for any dangerous gas leaks such as CO.
- Test the ignition system for safe and proper operation.
- Test the safety and control circuits.
- Ensure the exhaust is venting properly.
We often run coupons for safety inspections during the winter months. Check our coupons page for our current specials.
Watch for signs of a cracked or non-functioning heat exchanger
A gas furnace’s heat exchanger is the furnace component that actually heats the air. A cracked heat exchanger is a serious safety issue, as the gases being burned off, such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide, could leak into your home, causing illness or, in extreme cases, death. Getting an annual furnace safety inspection will help spot cracks in heat exchangers. But homeowners should always keep an eye out for these warning signs of an improperly working heat exchanger:
- black carbon buildup (soot) inside or outside the furnace cabinet, a sign of incomplete combustion
- Excessive moisture in the space and on the windows (water is a byproduct of combustion)
- unpleasant odor similar to formaldehyde
- water on the floor at the base of the furnace
- flu-like symptoms experienced by family members
Clean your furnace
Like other appliances around the home, a furnace will function more safely and efficiently if it’s clean. Check the pilot light and main burners on your natural gas furnace to ensure they are burning blue. If they burn orange or yellow, contact a heating specialist to have it serviced.
You can also call a highly-trained heating specialist like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to have your furnace thoroughly cleaned before the winter months when you’ll be using it regularly.
Install and/or check carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a “silent killer” because you can’t see, taste or smell it in its natural form. If it is inhaled in high concentrations or slowly over time, it can cause drowsiness, dizziness, loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.
If you have natural gas heating in your home, it’s important to install CO detectors on each floor to ensure your family’s safety. Since CO doesn’t rise like smoke does, safety experts recommend installing CO alarms at knee level, which is about the height of a sleeping person’s nose and mouth.
Also consider installing “smart” detectors that will send alerts to your phone when you are away, so your pets and elderly family members stay safe when you’re not at home.
Change your furnace filter
Clean filters allow your furnace to run more efficiently and help prevent dust from circulating through your home. If you don’t know how to change your filter, schedule a visit from a heating specialist or check for videos online that walk you through the process.
Keep area around furnace clear
Garages and closets are prone to gathering clutter, but it’s important to keep the space near your furnace clear of boxes, trash, open laundry soap, paint thinners and gasoline containers or other combustible items. Keep this up year-round, whether you regularly use your furnace or not.
Keep supply registers clean and open
While it may make sense, in theory, to close supply registers to unused rooms to save on heating bills, heating specialists suggest otherwise. A furnace needs constant, consistent airflow to function properly, or it may use up the oxygen in your home. Closed supply registers can allow water pipes to freeze even though the frozen pipe is not in the room with the closed supply register.
“It’s also possible to damage your furnace by closing too many air registers,” according to Angie’s List. “Closing off registers creates less airflow, which forces the furnace to work harder. It’s also possible that limited airflow may cause the furnace to blow air that is too hot and trip the limit safety switch in the furnace.
Replace older furnaces
Like an old car, an old furnace that requires costly repairs is signaling that it’s near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced soon. Even if your furnace has a few years left in it, it may not be cost efficient to keep it if your energy bills during the heating season are high due to the furnace’s poor efficiency.
Newer furnaces are cleaner, operate more safely, produce less pollution, and are built to meet modern building codes. If your furnace is over 18 years old or if it is requiring frequent repairs, it may be time to replace it.
In addition, after July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, which are expected to save homeowners significant money on electricity bills.
ECM motors are also expected reduce carbon pollution and keep occupants 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.
For more information on how to safely maintain your furnace or to determine whether it’s time to replace it, contact us today at 913-268-4669 or submit our contact form.
Do you have a Gas furnace for Back Up Heat?
Shut off your Heat Pump if you have a Gas Furnace for the Back Up Heat
Homeowners that have what has been called a hybrid heating system ( a heat pump with a gas furnace back up) should operate only with the gas furnace for the winter if gas prices are low. Natural gas prices have been very low in past years, caused by an abundance of gas available and mild fall temperatures. On the other hand electric rates continue to climb. The beauty of having a hybrid heating system is the ability to choose which source of heat is more economical to use and for this winter it certainly is natural gas.
With a typical operation of a hybrid heating system, the heat pump will operate with ambient temperatures above 32 degrees. When temperatures are below 32 degrees the gas furnace would operate. To lock out the heat pump from operating, homeowners should switch their thermostats to “emergency heat” mode. Don’t worry about the word “emergency” – think of it as auxiliary heat which is the gas furnace.