Category Archives: General

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/.

Americans are aware of the dangers of heart disease and stroke and the all the messages encouraging us to eat right and exercise to reduce the risk of these deadly events.  Research is now showing that air pollution is another cause of heart disease and stroke – and it is not something people can control as easily as their diet.  But as the average person spends 90% of their time indoors, eliminating air pollution is a reachable goal.

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drain running clear

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.

 

Hereford House and Anthony PHC sizzle togetherIn 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.

Anthony Plumbing Heating & CoolingThese 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.

Hereford House LeawoodFor 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.

Angie's List 2018 Super Service AwardWe 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.

furnace safetyKeeping 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

heat pumpHomeowners 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.

Note: In all electric homes where the backup heat source is an electric furnace, the heat pump should be operated since it is more efficient than an electric furnace.

frozen pipe burstingPipes freezing and bursting during the winter is a fairly common occurrence.

Most of the time if there’s no water in your home after a deep freeze, it’s due to a frozen pipe. But when a water pipe breaks inside a home it can be devastating, especially if the pipe bursts in an upper story and causes a waterfall to form all the way down to the basement.

No house is exempt from the risk of frozen and bursting water pipes, but fortunately there are things you can do to prevent them.

Preparation is Key to Preventing Pipes from Bursting

“Preparation is key,” says Steve Burbridge, at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. “Learn the location of your main water shutoff valve in case a pipe breaks.”

A plumbing safety inspection  is a good way to identify, and protect against, potential pipe freezing points. Have a highly-trained plumber come out and give your plumbing a fitness check.  They will also check for potential leaks and other looming problems while they are at your home, such as pipe-damaging hard water and carbon monoxide leaks from your water heater vent.

It is important to know the hours your plumber is available, especially if they work evenings.  If yours does not, find one that does, in case your pipes burst at night when air temperatures are at their coldest.  Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has plumbers in the field until midnight every night, and have experts to assist homeowners over the phone 24 hours a day.

Protecting Garage Pipes from Freezing

Water pipes in rooms that are not heated are especially vulnerable to freezing and bursting.  Because most garages are not heated, water pipes running through the garage are vulnerable to freezing and bursting this time of year.  Keeping your garage door closed is one way to keep out the cold.  Placing a UL-listed electric space heater near pipes will also keep them from freezing.

An Auto-Ray infrared garage heater, installed by Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, is the ideal way to protect the pipes from freezing and bursting in your garage, and in the rooms next to your garage.  And, ice and snow brought in on the car the night before will be GONE the next morning and the floor will be dry! The Auto-Ray infrared garage heater heats a 2-3 car garage using inexpensive natural gas for about $10 a month.  And no more getting into a cold car!

Prevent Your Kitchen Sink from Freezing

It’s not unusual for plumbing running to a kitchen sink on an exterior wall to be extremely vulnerable. Open the cabinet doors along that wall to allow heat into the space. Place an electric heater in front of the cabinets for an extra measure of cold protection, or leave the faucet dripping water if extremely cold and windy outside.

Place A Space Heater in Any Non-Heated Rooms

Keep unprotected pipes above freezing by simply placing a UL-listed electric heater near them. Remember, the goal is not to make the space toasty warm and comfortable. It’s to keep the water in the pipe above freezing.

Drip a Faucet Furthest from Your Water Main Valve

Turning on a faucet furthest from your water main valve overnight keeps water running through your pipes while you sleep, and running water is less likely to freeze.

Make Sure the Hoses are Removed from Your Outdoor Faucets

Leaving the hose on your outdoor faucet during the winter can cause water from the hose to back up into the faucet plumbing.  This water will expand inside and split the piping during freezing weather.  Remove and drain hoses used outside, and store them away until spring.

A newer innovation is the one quarter turn valve frost-free faucet, which allow for hoses to be left on all year round.  Not sure if you have a one quarter turn valve frost-free faucet installed? If you’re not sure if your faucet is frost free, call a plumbing expert to make that determination.

Turn Off the Water Main Valve

In the most frigid temps, turn off the main water valve while the house is unoccupied or while you sleep. If a pipe freezes and breaks, the spillage is limited only to the water in the pipe.  Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can install an electric main water shut off valve that you can activate with your smart phone.

Prevent Pipes from Bursting while Away Long Periods of Time

When you are away from home for extended periods of time, cold temperatures inside your home during power outages are a real concern.  The best way to be notified of a power outage is to equip your home with smart home automation technology that will 1) alert you when your power is out or the temperature drops inside your home, 2) notify you if a pipe does break, and 3) allow you to shut off the main valve remotely from any location.

But even without smart home automation technology you can still take steps to prevent frozen and burst pipes while you are away for the winter.

How to Winterize Your Plumbing While You Are Away

If you plan to be away from your home during the winter months, you need to take steps to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting while you are away.  It is best to call a highly-trained plumber to assist you in these steps, especially if it is your first time taking them.  Considering the massive damage a broken pipe can cause, it’s worth it to take a little extra precaution.

  1. Invest in smart home automation technology systems like Anthony MyHome
  2. Turn off the main water service valve.
  3. Turn off the gas valve on the water heater, or if you have an electric water heater, turn off the breaker that supplies power to it.
  4. Open all indoor faucets, both hot and cold sides. This includes sinks, lavatories, showers, and bathtubs. Unhook the washing machine hoses and open these two valves. NOTE: If you have water filters or a water softener, these will also need to be drained.
  5. Flush all toilets to drain most of the water out of the tanks. Pour some propylene glycol (antifreeze — not ethylene glycol which is toxic and used in cars) in the tanks to mix with the remaining water and pour one pint of non-diluted antifreeze into each toilet bowl.
  6. Pour propylene glycol into each drain trap in the home. These include sinks, lavatories, tubs, showers, and the washing machine discharge pipe.
  7. If you have a sump pump, have a battery back-up sump pump which will activate, even if there is no power.

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze, but Don’t Burst

If your pipes won’t deliver water and you suspect they might be frozen, take these steps immediately:

  1. Try all the faucets – is there only one or two that are frozen?
  2. Shut off your main water, to prevent further damage.
  3. Thaw the frozen pipes – use gentle heat from a hair dryer.
  4. Carefully restore water; once the pipe is thawed turn your main water valve back on and SLOWLY turn your faucet back on.

What to Do if Your Pipes Burst

If the worst happens and your pipes burst, turn off your water main and call a highly-trained plumber immediately.  Plumbers at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are in the field until midnight every night, and we have experts answering the phones 24/7 that can help you.  Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y, KS (913) or MO (816), 913-268-4669 or 816-268-4669.

 

 

Brown Bag Friday Photo

While Black Friday may be a hectic day for retailers, it is also the busiest day of the year for plumbers.  But before you laugh, it’s not just because of clogged toilets! Clogged drains and broken garbage disposals make up many of the calls we receive at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

Not to worry, we will be happy to come out to your house if your Black Friday turns into a “Brown Friday.”  But fortunately there are some things you can do to make sure your money goes to more fun things than clogged drains.

Leftovers in the Sink cause Broken Garbage Disposal and Clogged Drains

The No. 1 culprit for plumbing problems after Thanksgiving is homeowners trying to use their sink or garbage disposal as a garbage can. Throw your fruit peels, egg shells, bones, skin and all leftovers in the trash can, not down the sink. This fibrous food material gets trapped in your garbage disposal blades and can cause the motor to overheat or die.

Place fatty oils and grease into containers and place them into your trash.  It is a common misconception that fats, if followed by hot water, are okay to place in the drain.  Even when followed by hot water, fats eventually cool and clog pipes.  However, if you use cold water the fats will float on the water and may not clog the drain.

Place a large garbage can and/or compost bucket in a prominent place in the kitchen, so guests aren’t tempted to place food in the sink.

Flushing Garbage causes Clogged Toilet

Bodily functions and toilet paper are the only items toilets are built to handle.  Never should anyone place cotton balls, swabs, cleansing cloths, dental floss or similar items  into the toilet – these must go into the trash.

plumber clogged toilet

The biggest offender is feminine hygiene products – these should never be placed in toilets, period (no pun intended).  Putting a sign to this effect in your bathroom when you h

ave guests over, along with a large waste basket, might prevent an embarrassing issue from becoming even more embarrassing.

Protect your Bathroom Showers and Sinks to Prevent Clogged Drains

If you have showers and sinks that drain a bit slow, have Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling come in and clean your drains BEFORE your guests arrive.  It is

easier, faster and cheaper to clear a clog in its early stages than after it becomes really stuck.

Make sure the drain strainers in all shower, bathtub and sink drains stay in place and cleared of debris.  It doesn’t take much hair to clog a drain.  Ask guests to wait 15 minutes between showers and dishwasher runs to allow drains to clear.

Again, place large waste receptacles in bathrooms so guests don’t feel the need to dispose of items in the drain.

If in Doubt, Dial A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (913 or 816) for a Whole-Home Plumbing Inspection

The best way to prevent plumbing problems is with a whole-home plumbing inspection.  Our highly trained plumbers will come to your home and let you know what preventative drain cleaning or other measures can be taken to help your plumbing, and your holiday, to “run smoothly.”  Call us anytime at 913-268-4669 or 816-268-4669, or complete our Online Scheduler at https://www.anthonyphc.com/schedule-service/ and we will give you a call.

tech tuning up furnaceThe heating and cooling industry recommends annual furnace and boiler tune-ups for a reason.  Keeping your furnace or boiler running at peak efficiency extends its life, prevents safety issues, and ensures that homeowners enjoy uninterrupted comfort all season long.

What a tune-up entails can vary by company, so homeowners should ensure that their tune-up covers an extensive checklist of both safety and efficiency tasks.  Technicians at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling employ a thorough 17-point tune-up for furnaces and boilers that includes instrument-testing, cleaning, lubricating and adjusting of all interior, exterior components of the entire system, including the system accessories such as humidifiers and air cleaners.

Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Save Money

Lack of maintenance is the leading cause of furnace and boiler breakdown, and repairs can cost hundreds of dollars, and replacement thousands of dollars.  Regular tune-ups extend the life of your heating system significantly and reduce the need for repairs, which can save you a great deal of money.

A furnace running at top efficiency saves money on energy bills, too.  The extensive tune-ups performed by Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling leave your heating system in factory-fresh condition, looking and running at peak efficiency.

Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Save Lives

Keeping your home warm is essential, but it can also represent many hazards such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution.  Heating systems and water heaters account for 20% of house structure fires, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning kills over 150 American each year.

Furnace and boiler tune-ups discover and eliminate potential safety hazards before they create dangerous situations in your home.  Heat exchangers are inspected for cracks that can leak CO and other dangerous gases, exhaust is tested to ensure it is venting properly, and ignition systems and safety shut-offs are tested for safe and proper operation.

annual tuneup check off

Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Provide Maximum Comfort

A properly tuned-up furnace and boiler heats your home faster with less energy, allowing you to place your thermostat setting where it feels best, with less worry about high energy bills and inconvenient heating system breakdowns.  A tune-up will also ensure that your air remains as clean as possible, which is critical as we seal up our windows and doors against the impending cold.

Tune-ups also ensure that the accessories on your system, such as humidifiers and air cleaners, are running at peak performance.  Keeping your indoor air clean and properly humidified will reduce the risk of sickness and allergic reactions as you enter the cold and flu season.

If in Doubt, Tune it Up

Most people wait until the really cold weather hits to call and have their furnace or boiler checked.  Typically, this is when they have heard about unfortunate tragedies associated with heating – fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, frozen water pipes – and are even more anxious to make sure their home is safe and warm.

Furnaces are more likely to break down during cold snaps when they are working overtime, and heating companies cannot always keep up with the demand for emergency repair services during these times.  It is best to tune up your furnace or boiler before the coldest weather hits, and to keep it tuned up to prevent breakdowns during cold snaps, especially if your furnace or boiler is older.  The typical furnace or boiler only lasts 18-20 years, depending on the average winter temperatures of your region.

If you have any doubts to the safety or efficiency of your furnace or boiler system and humidification and air cleaning accessories, you should schedule a tune-up before the bitter cold hits.  Call the highly-trained technicians at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for your tune-up at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO, and check for seasonal specials at www.AnthonyPHC.com/Coupons.