All posts tagged plumbing

Fall is about to blow into Haverhill, Massachusetts, which also brings an annual reminder to do some seasonal home maintenance. Nothing is worse than having your heat cut out when winter rolls around. So, why not take the time now to check in on your furnace, prepare your pipes, or just have a professional come do a home checkup. It can mean the difference between a comfortable winter and a chilly winter. To help you prepare, the team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has put together this list of common problems to watch out for this fall, as well ways to make sure your house stays safe and ready for winter.

Problem: Frozen pipes
When temperatures drop to extremely cold levels, there’s a serious freezing risk for your water pipes. This can lead to blockages (which can create poor water flow), water that is harder to heat, and most dangerous, bursting water pipes. Frozen water pipes can cause more than just inconvenience, they can cause expensive damage to your home.

Solution: Insulate pipes
Protecting your pipes is the easiest way to prevent frozen pipe issues. Make sure to insulate any pipes that are in non-heated areas. This doesn’t include only those pipes that are outside your home. A crawl space or garage is an area that can present freezing risks to water pipes. Not sure how to best insulate your water pipes? A professional plumber can help best identify pipes that are at risk for freezing and help insulate them.

Problem: Poor room heating
Your furnace and boiler systems have likely been inactive all summer. When fall and winter come along, the sudden strain put upon your heating system can often make it prone to sudden breakdown. While many problems could be minor, continued stress on an already malfunctioning heating system could lead to complete furnace failure.

Solution: Help your heater get up to speed
There are a number of ways to reduce the strain on your furnace while still making your home comfortable as the days get colder. Simple steps include setting your thermostat to 68°F when you’re at home and awake, and as low as 60°F when you’re asleep. Smart thermostats can take the guess work out of scheduling efficient temperatures with set-it-and-forget-it programming. Replacing your air filter on a regular basis will also keep ducts clean and allow your furnace to work more efficiently. Sealing air leaks around doors, adding weatherstripping around any drafty windows, and checking insulation quality in your attic are other ways to make sure that your heater isn’t working harder than it needs to. If your home still isn’t getting the kind of heat you need from your furnace, a home HVAC professional can diagnose any problems your furnace is dealing with and help you identify the best ways to get back to comfort.

Problem: Water heater breakdown
Just as your furnace will be called to do extra work during the colder months, your water heater will also have to work even harder during the long winter months. Problems with your water heater can show up in other ways beyond a lack of hot water. If you hear odd noises, including knocks or whining, from your water heater, that’s a sign that water heater failure might be imminent.

Solution: Water heater maintenance
Some minor steps can reduce the strain put on your water heater, such as spreading out the times that you call for hot water from your water heater (not doing laundry and taking a shower at the same time). While changing your usage behavior can help a struggling water heater, maintenance is the surefire way to make sure your water heater can get back to a full workload. If your water heater hasn’t been serviced in some time, having the tank completely flushed will make a big difference. Flushing the water heater removes sediment buildup that has likely grown over the years. This sediment can block proper heat transfer, and clearing out that sediment will help hot water flow again.

Problem: Proper home air quality
The days of open windows and gentle breezes are fading fast. In its place, blustery days and dropping temperatures that mean keeping the windows closed. Winter often means decreased air quality in your home due to a lack of ventilation and an increase in allergens and other airborne particles that can lead to sickness.

Solution: Make sure your air is clean
While air purification systems and humidifiers provide significant solutions to air quality problems in specific rooms, there are other simple steps you can take to make sure that the air in your home stays healthy. Making sure that you replace the air filters in your furnace is an easy way to capture the particles that would otherwise be floating around your home. If you use any fuel-burning appliances in your home, take care to pay close attention to avoid leakage. These fumes can accumulate in enclosed spaces and can quickly become dangerous.

In the wet days of fall and winter, tracking in rain or snow can create wet carpets or rugs that, left unattended, can accumulate mold or other airborne irritants. Consider disposing of and replacing any items that can’t be cleaned. It’s the best way to make sure that the items in your house aren’t having a negative impact on the air quality and health of your family this winter.

These are just a few of the problems and solutions that your home heating and plumbing can face this winter. The pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone offer years of experience in dealing with HVAC and plumbing issues. They can provide answers to any questions you might have, as well as help you consider some things you hadn’t before. With a goal of making customers happy and comfortable, it’s no surprise that Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone has made a reputation for trustworthy HVAC and plumbing repair in the Haverhill area. Find out for yourself. Give us a call at (978) 912-7677.

Drain problems are one of those common annoyances homeowners in the Haverhill area face too often. Sometimes, these problems show themselves in a sink where the water won’t drain quickly after washing the dishes. Other times, they take the form of a pool of water collecting around the shower drain when getting ready for work.

When confronted with these unexpected problems, most people grab a bottle of chemical drain cleaner, dump it down the clogged drain and hope for the best. While modern chemistry has developed powerful clog busters, the long-term impact on your pipes can be dangerous. Other people just put up with a slow drain, waiting until the problem progresses and creates a plumbing emergency. This could mean an expensive, inconvenient visit from a professional plumber to deal with a dire situation.

Not every drain issue requires a visit from a professional plumber, but there are a few ways to recognize growing drain issues in your home. With your new knowledge, you’ll can take action before problems with your pipes get out of hand and you have to call in the pros at Andrew DiPeitro’s Climate Zone.

Why do drains clog?
It seems like a question with a basic answer: drains get clogged because things like food, hair or grease get stuck in them. While you might think running more water through a drain would prevent build up, frequently used drains also collect more things that clog them.

A bathroom used by many family members might include a sink where everyone brushes their hair. That hair can fall into the sink and clog the drain over time. The same could be said of a kitchen sink in a home where a lot of plates are washed after each meal.

Older pipes need more attention
While a newly-built home offers modern, wider pipes, older homes might have outdated, narrow pipes that can more easily collect debris and result in a clog more quickly. Keeping an eye on the cleanliness of your drains will not only keep pipes of all ages running efficiently but also save you from having to replace pipes that develop leaks, or even burst, due to clogs that have been ignored over the years.

Easy steps for clean drains
Daily upkeep for home sinks and drains can be as easy as a couple of small changes to your routine. Placing a grate or filter over a sink drain can make an immediate impact in preventing clogs. Filters make it harder for large clumps of hair, food or grease to fall down the drain and start to clog pipes. Just make sure to clean the grate as part of washing the sink after use.

If your kitchen sink doesn’t have a garbage disposal attached, you can cut down likelihood of clogs if you avoid leaving excess food on your plate when washing the dishes. Brushing extra food into the garbage before washing plates will keep it out of your drains.

When is it time to call the pros?
While a great deal of drain maintenance and unclogging can be done on your own, it’s a good idea to have drains professionally cleaned once every two years as a preventative measure, especially for high-usage drains. Not only will a professional be able to more thoroughly clean the pipes and areas that other cleansers might not reach, they’ll be able to identify any developing issues in your pipes before they grow into an expensive problem.

While a slow-draining sink or bath might be easy to identify and treat, there are other signs of pipe problems that might indicate it is time to bring in the pros:

Recurring clogs: Are you dealing with stubborn clogs–the kind that keep coming back no matter how many times you clear them? In bathtubs and showers where hair often gets washed down the drain, frequent clogs might mean you’re removing the entire clog. An expert drain cleaning company can use professional tools to eliminate clogs deep in the pipe and solve the problem for good.

Clogged drains in different rooms: Drain issues in the shower and the kitchen sink at the same time could mean you’re dealing with a clog somewhere in your main drain system rather than the individual fixture drains. Rather than deal with the symptoms of the problem as they pop up, a professional drain cleaning can dig deep into your system and get things flowing again.

Drains with a foul odor: Standing water isn’t the only sign of a clogged pipe. Persistent chemical or sewer smells can mean a build-up of material in your pipes or a larger drainage issue—even the early signs of a pipe leak or break. Getting rid of drain odors can be as easy as a drain cleaning but may require looking at pipe replacement. When you call a professional plumbing service, you’ll get an expert who will look at the problem, offer an honest assessment of the situation and give advice on how to proceed.

Sewage Backup: Often associated with foul odor, a sewage backup around a basement or floor drain is another indicator there are drain problems affecting your pipes. Water may have slowly drained, leaving behind a small amount of sewage near your drain after it flooded earlier. When this happens, it may just be a matter of time before the drain stops working completely and you end up with contaminated water all over your floor. Call a professional plumbing service as soon as possible to help prevent the situation from becoming an expensive cleanup.

Keeping your drains clean can be as easy as regular maintenance. Ignoring the signs of drain problems can lead to catastrophic and expensive plumbing problems down the road. Take the time to contact the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone to talk about drain cleaning services to keep your pipes flowing easily and give you peace of mind.

A leaking pipe? A backed-up drain? No hot water?

Plumbing problems like these are never fun to deal with during any time of year. So imagine having to suffer through plumbing problems in the bitter cold of a Massachusetts winter.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone works to make sure that Haverhill homes have pipes and drains that are clear of plumbing issues. Don’t find yourself dealing with broken pipes, a failing water heater or overflowing drains.

Use these 5 Winter Plumbing Tips to keep things flowing this winter, and all year long.

1. Let faucets drip to prevent frozen pipes

High water pressure and freezing temperatures can quickly lead to frozen pipes. This common winter problem, if left undetected, could end in broken pipes.

Noticing sudden light water flow from your shower or sinks? This can be a sign that your pipes are starting to freeze.

Don’t rush to call out a plumber for faucet or pipe replacement just yet. There’s an easy way to stop freezing pipes in their tracks. Leave a faucet on very low, so that the water is trickling out.

This trickle of water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing, especially those on an outside wall. Apply heat to the pipes that might be frozen. A hair dryer can help safely supply the right amount of heat.

If the water continues to flow shorter than normal, or you just want to have your pipes more thoroughly checked, the pros at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can lend a hand.

2. Keep drains clean from grease or other clogs

If water gets stuck in pipes due to clogs, that can increase the chances of freezing and bursting pipes.

A little common sense now will save you from troubles later. Pouring oils, grease, or even coffee grounds down your sink can increase the chances of clogs. The same goes for any drain in your home.

Over time, these clog-makers get caked up in your pipes, coating the sides since their consistency makes it harder for water to wash away the buildup. Before long, a clog is ready to cause problems.

Think you might already be facing clogged pipes? Andrew DiPietro’s Comfort Zone drain cleaning and drainpipe replacement services will keep your pipes clean.

3. Put the outdoor hose away

Unless you think you might need to do some gardening on a Haverhill February weekend, it’s probably best to pack away your garden hose until warmer weather returns.

Leaving a hose connected outside in winter can cause water left inside to freeze and expand, freezing your faucets and connecting pipes as well.

4. Keep your pipes under wraps

Everyone likes a warm blanket during the winter. Why should your external pipes be any different?

You can protect your pipes with insulation wrapping as early as the fall. But even if you’ve waited until winter, protecting outside pipes will help prevent or reduce the chances of freezing in extreme conditions.

5. Don’t set your water heater too high

If you’re finding it’s taking your water too long to heat up in the winter, it might be because your water heater temperature is set too high.

That might seem backwards, but when you set the temperature gauge too high on the water heater, it can have problems keeping up in the cold weather. Never set the water heater higher than 140 degrees.

Set lower than that, but still suffering from hot water issues? Let the team at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone take a look and help you determine if there are issues in either your pipes or with your water heater.

But what happens if your pipes do freeze?

Followed the checklist and still dealing with frozen pipes? Don’t panic.

Before your pipes burst, follow these steps before a bad situation gets worse:

  • If the faucets are on nothing comes out, DO leave them on and call a plumber.
  • DO use a hair dryer to start warming the pipe. Begin as close to the faucet as possible, and work toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • DON’T use a torch or other open flame to try to thaw a pipe.
  • DON’T use electrical appliances anywhere with standing water. You could be electrocuted.

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house and leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it should they need to.

Don’t wait until a pipe or drain emergency leaves you shivering in the cold. The plumbing professionals at Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone can offer further ideas to prevent problems this winter. Give them a call at 978-872-1190 to learn more about their services or set up a consultation appointment online.

Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone offers a wide variety of heating, cooling and plumbing products and services—so many, in fact, that it may be hard to keep track of all of them. We’ve compiled a glossary of these Lennox® products and services to make sure that you are taking full advantage of all that Climate Zone has to offer. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall in Haverhill, Climate Zone is there for all your home comfort needs.

AFUE—This is an acronym that we use often, and it stands for Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It is a measure of furnace heating efficiency. The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the furnace.

Air conditioner repair and installation—We provide routine annual maintenance, repair on all air conditioners, new air conditioner installation and system designing for your home.

Air handlers—An air handler is the indoor part of an air conditioner or heat pump (usually a large metal box) that moves air through your system’s ducts. Climate Zone offers eight different types of air handlers for different home heating and cooling systems.

Boilers—Boilers use heated water or steam to heat a home through radiators or an under-floor heating system. Climate Zone offers a few different gas and oil-fired boiler options.

Comfort controls—Comfort controls are the tools you can use to manage the temperature in your home. Climate zone offers programmable thermostats, digital thermostats and zoning systems.

Boiler and furnace repair and installation—We provide boiler and furnace maintenance, annual maintenance plans, repair on a variety of furnace and boiler models, new installation and heating system designing for your home.

Commercial HVAC repair and installation—Climate Zone works with many commercial systems in the Haverhill area. We offer planning and design for HVAC systems, full installation, ongoing and consistent maintenance, restoration of old commercial HVAC systems, and even modernization of your current system.

Garage heaters—Garage heaters are natural or propane gas units that provide warmth for car garages. Climate Zone’s two garage heater models bring reliable warmth to your utility areas.

Heat pump—This HVAC unit draws heat from the outdoor air and circulates it through your home’ ducts in the winter, and it reverses the process in the summer to remove heat from your house and release it outside. Climate Zone offers repair and installation of seven different types of heat pumps.

HSFP—This is the heating efficiency rating for heat pumps, and it stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. The higher the rating, the more efficient the heat pump.

Indoor air quality products—Climate Zone takes your indoor air quality very seriously. We offer a variety of products including air purification systems, carbon monoxide detectors, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, germicidal lights, and air filters.

Plumbing repair and installation—With Climate Zone plumbing services, you won’t have to worry about leaks. We offer repairs, replacements and installations for: hot water heaters, faucets, all kinds of pipes, drains/drainpipes, food disposals, sump pumps and more. We even offer drain-cleaning services.

Maintenance agreements—A maintenance agreement with Climate Zone establishes a schedule for routine service for your HVAC products. This means you won’t have to worry about furnace or AC breakdowns and can count on our experts to visit your home annually.

Mini-split systems—Mini-split systems are a great way to control temperatures of individual rooms. They usually consist of an indoor evaporator unit and an outdoor condenser unit. Read all about mini-split systems and their advantages in a recent blog.

Packaged units—Packaged units contain all of a home’s heating and cooling systems into one outdoor unit. They are a great way to compact all of your HVAC equipment and keep them in order together.

SEER—Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is an energy efficiency rating for air conditioners. Higher SEER ratings indicate a more efficient AC unit.

Still looking for a product, service or term? Check out the full Lennox® HVAC Glossary for additional information. Make the most informed purchasing decisions and get the most out of your Andrew DiPietro’s Climate Zone products and services by giving us a call at 978-872-1190 or contacting us online.