Frequently Asked Questions
WHY IS GREASE SO BAD FOR MY HOME’S PLUMBING?
Throughout your life, you’ve probably heard warnings about pouring cooking oil and grease down your home’s drains. Many of our customers ask us if there’s any truth to these warnings and if it’s still okay to dump grease down the drain if you flush the drain with hot, soapy water afterward.
Grease is a terrible clog-causer, and despite your best efforts to rinse it through your home’s plumbing, you’re unlikely to be successful.
What Happens When You Pour Grease Down Your Drains
Grease might seem harmless enough when it’s still in liquid form. However, the farther it travels through your pipes, the more time it has to cool off and get stuck in the other grime and substances lining the drain pipe walls, such as hair, soap scum, dead skin, and sediment.
Over time, layers upon layers of grease can accumulate to form clogs. Clogs can cause multiple problems for your home, which include:
- Water that takes a long time to drain
- Foul odors that attract flies and other pests
- Sewage that backs up into your sinks, bathtubs, or showers when someone flushes the toilet or runs the dishwasher
- Leaks caused by built-up pressure behind a clog
- Pipe material weakened by acidic standing water that’s trapped by a clog
Unfortunately, grease clogs deep in your home’s plumbing are very stubborn and can be next to impossible to dislodge using a plunger or chemical drain cleaner. To clear the blockage, you’ll most likely need to involve a plumber to cable the drain or clean the pipes with a hydro jetter.
WHY DO ALLERGIES GET WORSE DURING SPRING?
Spring is on the way, and you know what that means: seasonal allergies are going to be back in full force very soon. But what is it that causes a rise in allergies during springtime, and what can be done to ease the problem?
Below, our indoor air quality experts explain what causes “spring allergies,” and provide some tips for reducing seasonal allergens in your home so that you can enjoy the warmer weather without a runny nose and itchy eyes.
What causes spring allergies?
Pollen and mold are the main culprits behind spring allergies. Starting as early as February in some years, the weather slowly begins to warm up. This temperature change puts trees into “reproduction mode.” As spring progresses, trees will begin to pollinate heavily, sending clouds of green and yellow pollen that the wind can carry for several miles. Grass pollination takes place during late spring and early summer, adding even more pollen to the air.
Rain can both help and hurt spring allergy sufferers. While “April showers” can wash pollen away and help remove it temporarily from the air, rainfall can spur rapid pollination immediately afterward, and damp conditions combined with warm weather can foster mold growth.
How can I reduce seasonal allergens in my home?
Did you know that millions of people across the U.S. suffer from spring allergies and experience symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and itchy, watery eyes? For many people, the human body sees pollen and mold spores as harmful invaders, so the body sends out histamines to battle whatever is “attacking” you. Those histamines trigger allergic symptoms, like sneezing.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY WATER HEATER HAS A CORROSION PROBLEM?
Water heaters come equipped with multiple features to stave off corrosion (aka. rust). However, as the equipment ages, a corrosion problem can start developing. Even if the issue is small, it’s something you should solve as quickly as possible to prevent extensive damage.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion is the chemical reaction that occurs between metal, water, and oxygen. It results in a corrosion product, such as rust.
2 Signs That Your Water Heater Has a Corrosion Problem
If you notice these “red” flags, contact a plumber to inspect your water heater for corrosion issues.
Your hot water has red, orange, or brown discoloration. The water looks this way because the rust in your water heater is breaking off into your hot water supply and polluting it.
Your water heater is leaking. When metal corrodes (or rusts), it gets brittle. Similarly, if your water heater develops corrosion, its metal parts will be much weaker and more susceptible to developing leaks. If corrosion has weakened your water heater so much that it has started to crack and leak, you will need to replace the entire unit.
WHY DO WATER HEATERS CORRODE?
If your tank water heater has a corrosion issue, one of these problems is typically the reason.
The sacrificial anode rod needs to be replaced. Usually, minerals and gases in your water would cause the tank walls to corrode fast. The sacrificial anode rod is made of a metal that attracts those minerals and gases, so instead of the tank walls corroding, the rod does instead. Sometimes the rod can wear out after several years, especially if you own a water softener.
The temperature-pressure release valve isn’t working correctly. This valve’s primary purpose is to release water and decrease the pressure inside your water heater tank. This keeps your water heater from exploding. The valve also prevents outside air from getting inside your tank. If the valve isn’t working correctly, oxygen could be entering your tank and causing corrosion.
The water heater’s glass lining has worn out. A layer of glass protects your tank water heater’s interior. As the tank ages, that layer can develop cracks, allowing corrosion to occur.
Unfortunately, any corrosion that occurs in your water heater cannot be reversed. In many cases, you can stop and prevent a corrosion issue by replacing your water heater’s sacrificial anode rod. However, if the corrosion has caused the tank to start leaking, you will need to replace your water heater to avoid substantial leaks in the future.
TANK VS. TANKLESS WATER HEATERS: WHICH SHOULD I BUY?
According to the National Association of Homebuilders, if your tank water heater is around 10 years old, it’s just about ready to retire. The question you may have is whether you should replace it with the same type of water heater or switch to a tankless model. Tankless water heaters have a reputation for being long-lasting and energy-efficient, but are they the best fit for your hot water needs?
SHOULD I SWITCH TO A TANKLESS WATER HEATER?
When trying to decide between a tank and tankless water heater, here are some factors you’ll want to consider.
1. Cost: Tankless water heaters cost more to purchase than a tank water heater.
You might experience a little sticker shock when comparing the price tag of a tankless water heater to a traditional, tank-type model. Because they are more compact, longer-lasting, and typically more energy-efficient, tankless models do come with a higher price tag. That being said, tankless water heaters can make up for that initial price difference with their long lifespan and efficiency.
2. Lifespan: Tankless water heaters last much longer than tank water heaters.
While the average lifespan of a tank water heater is 10 years, tankless water heaters typically last more than 20 years. Tank water heaters will also perform less and less efficiently toward the end of their lifespan due to problems like sediment buildup. A tankless water heater not only lasts longer but provides you more years of energy-efficient service throughout its lifespan. They also have a lower risk of developing catastrophic leaks that end up flooding your home.
3. Efficiency: Tankless water heaters typically save more energy than tank water heaters.
Tank water heaters and tankless water heaters function in fundamentally different ways.
- A tank water heater stores water in a tank and continuously heats that water so that it’s ready for you whenever you need it.
- A tankless water heater only heats water “on demand,” like when you turn on a hot water tap or when an appliance requires hot water.
You don’t need hot water every moment of the day, so in that regard, a tank water heater spends a lot of energy keeping water hot and ready on standby when you don’t really need it to. Because tankless water heaters warm up the water right when you need it, they’re able to reduce wasted energy and result in lower gas or electric bills.
4. Capacity: A single tankless water heater can struggle to provide hot water to multiple sources at once.
If you own a tank water heater, its capacity is essentially however much hot water its storage tank can hold. With tankless water heaters, it’s important to look at the flow rate or gallons per minute (GPM) it can provide.
If you plan on running your dishwasher and washing machine with warm water at the same time someone takes a shower, the flow rate of one tankless water heater might not be able to meet those demands. In that scenario, you may want to install one tankless water heater dedicated to your appliances and another one dedicated to your faucets. Alternately, you might decide that a tank water heater with a large storage tank is the best option.
Don’t Shop for a Water Heater Without an Expert
No matter what type of water heater you’re looking for, working with an expert is essential to find a model that can meet your household’s needs. On the one hand, you don’t want to overpay for something with more capacity than you require. Even more importantly, you don’t want to end up with a model that struggles to give you enough hot water!
At JSP Home Services, our Kingston plumbers have the training and expertise to match you with a quality water heater for your home. Contact us online today or give us a call at (845) 250-6470, and don’t forget to ask us about our financing options!
WHY IS MY AC BLOWING OUT WARM AIR?
Your central air conditioner is running, but the house just isn’t cooling down. In fact, the air coming from your vents feels warm! Now what? There could be one of many reasons why this is happening, but the good news is that you may be able to fix the problem by following just a few troubleshooting steps.
Below are five of the most common reasons why air conditioners blow out warm or room temperature and some tips for what you can do about it.
1. The thermostat is set incorrectly or needs some new batteries.
Make sure your thermostat is set to “on,” rather than “auto.” When your thermostat is set to “auto,” the fan in your system will keep running whether or not the equipment is cooling the air running through it. When it’s set to “on,” your system will be actively cooling air while the fan runs. If your thermostat won’t respond or doesn’t show any of your changed settings, it most likely needs some new batteries.
2. The air filter is clogged.
Manufacturers recommend replacing your air filter at least once every 90 days. However, if you own pets or have been using your air conditioner more frequently lately, your air filter may have gotten dirtier faster than expected.
When the filter gets clogged with dust, it prevents an adequate amount of air from flowing through your air conditioning system, which can cause cooling issues and mechanical problems. Try changing your air filter (or cleaning it, if yours is reusable), and see if that solves the issue.
3. The condenser is too dirty or crowded.
The condenser is your central air conditioner’s outdoor unit. Because it’s outside, shrubs and bushes can crowd it, and dust can cover its metal coils, inhibiting their ability to release heat. If this appears to be the case with your condenser, shut your AC system off and clear away the vegetation around the unit. Next, gently clean the condenser with your hose or a sponge to get some of the dirt off. Just be sure not to blast the unit with high-powered jets of water, as you’ll risk bending the fins or damaging the components.
4. There’s a problem with the evaporator coil.
The evaporator coil sits inside of your home and contains refrigerant. As your AC system blows warm air from your home over the coils, the refrigerant in the coils absorbs heat from the air, thereby making the air cooler. If the evaporator coil goes too long without maintenance, it can become caked with dust and unable to absorb heat as effectively. Before something breaks from overworking or overheating, it’s a good idea to get your AC system professionally maintained.
5. Your AC has a refrigerant leak.
Even a little refrigerant leak can throw off pressure and temperature balances in your AC system. If the evaporator coil has iced over or if you hear a bubbling or hissing sound coming from your indoor unit whenever your AC turns on, then refrigerant is probably leaking. Refrigerant issues should only be fixed by trained professionals. Refrigerant is toxic to humans and harmful to the environment if mishandled.
Is your AC struggling to cool your home?
At JSP Home Services, we are known throughout Kingston and the surrounding area for our professionalism, A rating on BBB, and reliable AC repairs. To schedule your AC service, contact us now at (845) 250-6470.