fbpx

HVAC efficiency ratings is an important element when considering a new heating or cooling system for your home and is naturally one of your top priorities. You want a system that will keep you and your family comfortable throughout the year without generating a massive utility bill at the end of each month.

HVAC Efficiency Ratings

HVAC efficiency ratings are like a report card for your heating and cooling system. They measure how effectively your system converts energy (electricity for AC, fuel for furnaces) into usable heating or cooling power. The higher the rating, the less energy is wasted. This translates to lower energy bills, a reduced environmental impact, and potentially even greater comfort in your home thanks to advanced technology in high-efficiency systems. Understanding these ratings is key to choosing the perfect balance of efficiency and features for your new HVAC system.

AFUE

For systems that specifically use a boiler or a furnace for heating, the AFUE metric is used to represent the fuel efficiency the system uses. It tracks the amount of fuel used when the unit works, then converts that into a percentage – so if your AFUE number is 90, this means the system used 90% of the fuel for its standard purposes but lost 10% to exhaust and other runoff.

As you might have guessed, this means you want your AFUE number to be on the higher side. The best furnaces and boilers are close to 100, meaning they utilize almost all their fuel efficiently.

SEER

Short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, the SEER rating is a well-known ratio that measures the cooling produced compared to the electricity used in an AC system. SEER ratings range from 10.9 up to 23 within standard systems. Once again, the higher the number, the more efficient the system is.

EER

This is a metric similar to SEER, but without the seasonal output variable. It’s determined by a single outside temperature and a single inside temperature, meaning it doesn’t factor seasonal changes here and is a bit more of a general metric rather than a specific one. It’s commonly used to rate window AC units or single-room air conditioning units, because the SEER rating isn’t practical for these.

HSPF

This metric stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, and is used for heat pumps primarily. It’s found by dividing the overall heat output by the total electricity used, with ratings ranging up to 10 – the closer the number is to 10, the more efficient the system is.

IEER

Finally, a rarer metric used mostly for rate-split systems is the IEER rating, which evaluates the system’s output at varying times based on specific conditions. This is valuable for split systems, which work utilizing multiple air handlers and in different condition ranges.

Contact Action Plumbing for HVAC Efficiency Ratings

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, we’ll assist you with every step of an furnace or AC installation, from selecting the optimal brand and model for your home to installing it safely and efficiently for long-term use. When it comes to understanding how efficient a new system will be, there are a few different efficiency ratings used in the heating and cooling world – let’s go over some of the most common and what they mean for your system.For more on the various HVAC efficiency ratings you might see when selecting a new heating or cooling system, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today.

Anytime you’re moving into a new home, you naturally have a number of factors you’ll be thinking about. And when it comes to ascertaining the quality of the new home, one of the most important areas to keep an eye on as an upcoming homeowner is the plumbing system.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer numerous residential plumbing services throughout Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah, including assistance to new homeowners looking to assess the state of their system and make any required fixes soon after they’ve moved in. While you’re still in the process of finalizing your home deal, the ability to spot potential plumbing concerns might allow you the time to ask the seller to remedy these concerns (or credit you money in exchange for you doing so), so it’s vital to keep an eye out. Even if you don’t have much plumbing knowledge, here are some basic methods to keep in mind when visually inspecting a new home to ensure the plumbing system is in good working order.

Common New Home Plumbing Issues

Firstly, let’s go over some of the most common plumbing issues found in new homes, or homes that have recently been purchased — including those that sellers may try to hide:

  • Leaking issues: Sinks, toilets, showers, and other home fixtures can be an indication of a larger leakage issue. In addition to these lesser-noticed leaks, check for any obvious signs of major water damage or moisture seepage in the basement or crawl space.
  • Fixture issues: You may also want to check out the overall condition of sinks, faucets, and toilets in various parts of the home. If you spot any fixture issues right after moving in, these can also be signs of a larger issue: For instance, if you find a toilet is running with every flush and wasting hundreds of gallons of water each week, this could signify that there’s an internal problem or blockage that will require professional assistance.
  • Potential signs of flooding or other significant water damage: As part of your overall inspection, you may also want to take note of any potential warning signs that an area has suffered major flooding in the past. For instance, if you notice mold on the walls at one point under the sinks or within a crawl space, this could be a sign that there was some sort of water damage in the past.

Our next several sections will go over some simple practices to help you identify these issues before it’s too late.

Visual Inspection

Whether it’s during an initial home tour or any other occasion, you’ll want to closely inspect your new home’s plumbing system. As part of this inspection, you should be looking for issues like rusting pipes, visible cracks or leaks, and other problems that could lead to water damage or severe malfunctions down the line. You might even take some time to familiarize yourself with your house’s various plumbing fixtures so you can detect any problems quickly during an initial walk-through.

Check for Water Leaks

One of the quickest ways to spot problematic pipes or signs of past leakage is to simply turn on all of your home’s faucets and take a peek at the areas around them for any telltale moisture seeping from the corners. This step is especially important to include in your initial walk-through, as you can’t be sure if there have been any recent basement floods or other issues that might lead to serious problems down the road — and if you do spot any moisture on your pipes or fixtures, this is a telltale sign that more work will be needed.

In addition to looking for suspicious wet spots on your home’s flooring (and ceilings), take some time to check for rust along the water lines as well as around your toilets and sinks. This corrosion is often a telltale sign of water damage, and it may be time to call in professional help.

Test Water Pressure

Another excellent way to ensure your home’s plumbing is in good condition is to actually test the water pressure. This can be done simply by turning on a faucet and letting it run for several minutes without interruption. You’ll want to make sure that water pressure remains at a strong level throughout the duration of its operation; if you notice any sudden drops during this test, there’s likely an issue with your home’s water system somewhere that will need to be addressed by a professional.

Look (and Listen) for Clogs

As you move through your house’s plumbing system, you might also want to take a look for any signs of blockage or clog in your sinks and toilets. In particular, if there aren’t any visible sources for this issue — such as visible buildup in the pipes — it may be time to call a plumber just to be safe.

You’ll also want to listen closely to the sounds that various fixtures make as you turn them on and off. We all know that toilets sometimes make weird gurgling or swishing noises when they’re operating, but if you hear any hissing from your sinks, it could be a sign that the water is leaking somewhere else in the line — and this will definitely need to be addressed by a professional.

Beware of Suspicious Odors

On a final note, it’s also important to be on the lookout for any strange smells coming from your home’s plumbing system. Now, the smell of natural gas isn’t anything out of the ordinary when it comes to homes with furnaces or other heating devices installed, but the smell of sewer gas or any other noxious odors could be a sign that your drainage system is having some trouble.

For more on how to inspect the plumbing system of a new home to ensure there aren’t major issues lurking beneath the surface, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in SLC or other parts of Utah, speak to the team at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

When it comes to the functions of your HVAC system, perhaps the most under-discussed component involved is your ductwork setup. Responsible for transporting air throughout the home and ensuring each room is at the appropriate temperature and air quality level, your air ducts play a major role in everything your HVAC system does throughout the year — and which materials are used in your ducts may impact how they perform.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer numerous HVAC services, ranging from standard solutions like AC and furnace maintenance through assistance with your duct system if needed. We’re also here to help educate our clients on the various types of HVAC duct material that might be used in their home, plus some of the designations these materials fall under. Here’s a general primer on everything you need to know.

Flexible Vs Rigid Ductwork

Basically all forms of HVAC ducts fall into two categories: Flexible or rigid. Here are some basics on each:

  • Rigid ducts: The more common option found in homes today is rigid ductwork, which comes in either metal or reinforced fiberglass. Rigid ducts can be shaped into specific configurations to fit nearly any area you need, and this ability to curve the air channel makes them easier to install than flexible ducts. Rigid ducts can easily be fabricated for custom installations, and comes in a variety of sizes. It’s smooth on the inside and outside, ensuring easy cleaning and very difficult circumstances for mold or mildew to form.
  • Flexible ductwork: Flexible air ducts are made of wire coils with a covering typically comprised of plastic. It’s mostly used in smaller HVAC systems when a home has been well-insulated and no longer needs the ductwork to be as rigid. It’s also used in all kinds of commercial applications, like warehouses or clean rooms that demand completely flexible air channels. Because it can bend and twist, it’s perfect for many tighter areas. This is the type of ductwork that might be found in older homes or when retrofitting an older home with HVAC.

Rectangular Vs Round Ducts

Another important designation to think about: Whether your ducts are rectangular or round in shape. The former was the only option for several decades, but round configurations have become more popular in recent years. Both have their own set of pros and cons:

  • Rectangular ducts: These are sturdy, durable options that are ideal for low-pressure HVAC systems and tend to be the more commonly used option.
  • Round ducts: Seen most often in high-pressure systems, these are also good for commercial applications where airflow might need to be cycled back and forth quickly (like in warehouses). They tend to do a better job of redistributing air evenly throughout the home, but they’re harder to clean.

Now that we’ve been over some of the most important air duct configuration templates, our next few sections will go over the most common materials used to create these ducts.

Fiberboard

Referring to a material that’s made of fiberglass strands bonded together with a strong resin, fiberboard is the most common type of duct material used in homes today. Fiberboard is fireproof, inexpensive and easy to cut — plus it works extremely well at preventing air leakage. It’s also one of the best materials for sound absorption, which can be helpful if your HVAC system is running loudly throughout the year.

It should be noted that fiberboard ducts are typically covered by a thin plastic coating to keep them from being exposed to the elements. Fiberboard is highly resistant to mold and mildew, making it an ideal option when considering your HVAC ductwork.

Now, fiberboard isn’t without potential downsides. For instance, its inner sections are textured due to the fiberglass strands we mentioned above — this means dust and debris might stick to it more easily than other duct materials, and this could lower your efficiency if too much debris builds up (luckily, our team is here to help with duct cleaning if this happens).

Fiberglass

In other cases, fiberglass itself will be the primary material used. This is for a range of different reasons, but mainly because it’s easy to work with and widely available. Many homeowners opt for this material when they’re replacing their existing ducts or installing new ones in tight spaces.

Fiberglass has an inner coating that prevents the air moving through the channels from coming into direct contact with the fibers themselves, which could be dangerous if they came loose. Like fiberboard, it’s very resistant to mold and mildew, which makes it an ideal option for homes in warmer climates where this moisture might pose a problem.

Fiberglass ducts do require some pretty detailed cleaning, due to their fiberglass lining.

Sheet Metal

Typically made from galvanized steel or aluminum, sheet metal ducts are also highly popular in HVAC systems — and for good reason. These types of ducts are easy to work with (and thus, fairly inexpensive) and they’re great at reducing air leakage in homes. However, one major drawback is that they tend to be quite noisy when the HVAC system is running; this means these types of ducts might not be the best choice for a bedroom, but they’re ideal when it comes to living rooms or other open spaces.

One of the most common examples used is galvanized steel ductwork. Galvanized steel provides excellent airtightness, which makes it an ideal option if you’re looking for HVAC insulation that will help lower your energy bills. However, one downside is that it’s a rather expensive option, and one that might not be ideal for lower-end HVAC systems.

For more on the different kinds of HVAC air ducts that might be present in your home, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

No one wants to deal with issues related to their toilet, and one of the most common is also one of the most frustrating: The toilet simply won’t flush. Especially when you’ve gone through a simple checklist for minor issues that might be the cause, such as plunging the toilet to remove clogs for instance, and haven’t resolved the concern, this can be a frustrating issue.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help with a variety of toilet repair needs, including for toilets that just won’t flush no matter what you do. We’ve seen every issue that might lead to a toilet flushing problem, and we know what to do to handle it. Whether on your own or with the assistance of our plumbers as-needed, here are some of the steps that should be taken to determine the cause of a non-flushing toilet, plus what can be done once the problem has been identified.

Concealed Clogs

As we touched on above, clogs are perhaps the single most common cause of toilets that won’t flush. While toilet paper generally won’t cause issues here, other items can, such as children’s toys, small items of clothing, and more. If you have a concealed pipe below your toilet – meaning one that runs from the floor up through the wall – this is where clogs are most likely to be found. Of course, every toilet is different here, so what works for one might not work for another.

Generally, though, using a quality plunger – either a cup plunger or an accordion-style – is the best course of action. If you’re not sure which to use, ask our plumber as needed. In addition, if your toilet has a pop-up stopper at the top that needs to be lowered before using a plunger, do so by pushing it from its handle at the side or from below, not from the top. Otherwise, you run the risk of damage to the stopper and a broken seal between it and your toilet flange – which can be a costly repair.

Draining Toilet

If plunging doesn’t work after a few tries, you might need to try draining your toilet. Make sure it’s safe to do so by first checking the water level in your toilet tank. If it’s too high or is becoming too high, shut off the water supply to your toilet. The shut-off valve is generally located either directly behind and above it (this might be a knob where you can twist and/or turn), or along the wall next to the floor behind and below the toilet tank.

Once you’ve ensured it’s safe to do so, flush your toilet and hold the handle down. This will cause any existing water left in the tank or bowl to drain into the waste pipe below, which can help allow for better plunging when you’re done. To finish, turn the water supply back on and try flushing again.

Toilet Tank

If that fails, you might have to remove the toilet tank itself. First, disconnect its water supply line at either the valve behind and above it or by releasing it from the wall where it’s attached near the floor. Then, detach the tank from its bowl by lifting straight up. If you have any problems here, ask our plumber for assistance.

Once the tank is out, you can try using an auger to clear any clogs in the waste line or by removing the one-way valve in the toilet’s supply line to see if that helps move things along. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be removed if your system freezes in winter, however, as doing so will make it impossible to refill your toilet tank in time for use.

Handle and Chain Mechanism

Another possible issue that can be identified when lifting your toilet tank is the handle and chain mechanism that runs between the tank’s handle and flapper valve. If this sight causes you to see corroded metal or other signs of wear, it might be time to replace it with a new one. To install replacement parts, refer back to your owner’s manual for guidance, or just ask our plumber as-needed.

Flapper Concerns

The flapper is an inlet valve that’s responsible for moving water from the tank into the bowl of your toilet, but it may have worn out. If its chain is stretched, corroded, or broken, it might not move properly to open and close the flapper when needed. This can be cause for concern if you notice water leaking from the tank into the bowl below while your system is in use.

If you choose to replace a flapper on your own, be sure you turn off the water to your toilet by first shuttering the one-way valve until it’s completely closed. Then, use a wrench to remove its handle and/or screw cap to access the flapper inside. From there, you can simply put the new part in place of the old one, then adjust its position as necessary before replacing its handle or screw cap.

Overflow Tube

Finally, in some cases a cracked or otherwise damaged overflow tube can cause your toilet not to flush properly. This is due to the fact that the tube drains excess water from your tank in case it doesn’t get moved into the bowl, which can keep your system from overflowing onto the floor if you have a leaky flapper or other internal issue.

If this sounds like what’s going on with your toilet, just replace the broken overflow tube with a new one that’s been designed to fit your specific toilet. If you need help finding the proper part, just ask our plumber for guidance as-needed.

For more on how to handle flush-related plumbing issues in your toilet, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

As any homeowner or even longtime renter is likely already aware, filters are some of the most important components in your HVAC system. Your filter traps contaminants and pollutants before they make it into your breathing air, limiting their presence while also maintaining quality air flow within your system — but they will only perform this job effectively if they are changed or cleaned at the proper intervals.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, while many of our services are in larger areas like furnace installation or repair, we’re happy to help with basic maintenance areas for your day-to-day HVAC needs — including filters. One of the most common questions we’re asked by our clients in this area: How often do I need to change or clean my air filters? Here’s a general primer on this and a few related concepts to help steer you in the right direction.

Air Filter Basics and Importance

For those who are unaware, HVAC air filters are a vital part of your system for a number of reasons. First, they keep dust and dirt from being put into the air you breathe by trapping it within the filter itself — while some particles may pass through this material, the main purpose is to prevent these contaminants from reaching your lungs or having an adverse effect on anyone in the area, including family members or pets.

In addition to this, filters also play a crucial role in the functionality of your system. When a filter becomes dirty or clogged, it can hamper or even damage the quality of air flow throughout your compartment — making it harder for hot or cold air to reach desired locations. This is why it’s important to change or clean the filter frequently, which we’ll dig into further below.

How Often Should Filters Be Changed/Cleaned?

There are a few factors that will help answer this question, including your geographic location, the type of filter you have installed in your system, and the number of people using or occupying the home. These factors must also be considered alongside one another.

Generally speaking, average cleaning or changing frequency for most standard filters is about once a month. However, you may need to do this as often as once every two weeks or as infrequently as once a year depending on your situation. The best way to determine what’s right for you is to combine basic manufacturer information with your own basic inspection — is your filter clearly becoming dirty and clogged after less than a month? Or on the flip side, has your air usage been limited, and is your filter still virtually spotless despite being in place for over a month? These and similar factors will impact how often they’re changed or cleaned.

One general tip here, though: Be aggressive about changing or cleaning filters. If you’re unsure whether a filter needs a change-out, just go ahead and do it — filters aren’t that expensive in the long run, and the benefits your system will see are worth making the change a few days early in some cases.

Specific Signs Filters Need Replacement

Now, in other cases, there will be noticeable signs throughout your home and HVAC system that your filters have clogged up and require replacement (or cleaning, for multi-use models). These include:

  • Trouble heating or cooling: If your system suddenly is struggling to meet your desired temperatures, and you’ve discovered no other readily available culprit, the issue could be a dirty or clogged filter. In this case, you’ll want to inspect the system and filters to be sure.
  • Sudden noises: Strange creaking or popping sounds coming from your HVAC unit may indicate a more serious issue with the motor — but these sounds could also result from a worn-down or damaged fan assembly due to a dirty or clogged filter. Inspecting and changing your air filters regularly will help you avoid this problem in most cases.
  • Excessive dust in vents: If there is a noticeable amount of dust building up inside your ductwork or in the vents throughout your home, it may be time for a change-out — especially if you use the HVAC system frequently and there is no easily-identifiable reason for the excess dust (for example, you recently had construction work done in your home, or a similar event).
  • Unpleasant odors: If an otherwise clean and clear air filter suddenly smells strongly of chemicals or any other foul odors, it may be time for replacement — this generally indicates a chemical reaction between the elements in a dirty filter and the air surrounding it.
  • Increasing energy bills: Have your HVAC bills gone up compared to this time last year, with no other explanation? This could be a sign that your filter is dirty and reducing the efficiency of your system — requiring it to work harder, over an extended period of time, to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Greater frequency of respiratory symptoms: If you or anyone else in the home have begun experiencing more frequent allergy or asthma attacks, it may be time to inspect your HVAC system and filters. This is especially true if these symptoms increase in severity or duration, rather than following a normal allergy season’s schedule.

As you can see, there are a number of factors to be aware of when it comes to your HVAC filters. For more on this, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services throughout Utah, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

Efficiency and energy savings are important concepts for many homeowners, but how you accomplish them may differ somewhat between the time of year. Especially in place like Utah, with such varying temperatures and climate conditions throughout a given calendar year, knowing how to adjust your system for maximum efficiency in every season is valuable.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help. We offer year-round HVAC services that will help keep your system efficient and operating at peak capacity, from air conditioner and furnace maintenance and tune-ups through major system replacement, smart thermostat installation and more. As we enter the fall season, one that’s traditionally used by homeowners to transition their space from the hot Utah summer into the cold, snowy winter, what are some general tips we offer our clients on keeping their systems functioning efficiently? Here are several.

Change Thermostat Settings

When you’ve decided the time is right, one of the big transitional themes during the fall period for your HVAC system is changing your thermostat settings. This takes very little time, requires no HVAC service or maintenance and will save you money on your utility bills.

If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure to change the “hold” function that’s in effect during the summertime. This will keep your system from constantly running when you’re at work or too far away to notice it. If this was not done, and you notice your system is still running during the hours you’re away, even though it’s warm outside and there’s no one home to benefit from it, simply push “hold” for as long as necessary until your next programming session.

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat and would like to invest in one, you’ll receive ongoing energy savings by programming it to adjust the temperature in your home when you’re not there. If you work during the day or tend to be away for long stretches of time, this is a great way to cut big costs on your utility bills.

Change Air Filter

Another huge factor in HVAC efficiency, one that’s present throughout the year, is the presence of clean, high-quality air filters. If one is already present, make sure it’s in good condition and replace it if necessary. Filters do a great job of preventing dust, airborne allergens and other contaminants from entering your system and creating problems for its operation, which will cost you money at best and cause serious damage at worst.

The type of filter you use is also a big consideration. High-efficiency filters will catch more contaminants and reduce the number of times your system must work harder to make up for them, saving you money on maintenance costs over time.

Ductwork Upkeep

If your ducts have not been inspected or cleaned for several years, the fall is often the ideal time to do it. Dust accumulates faster during the fall months, when your system is working harder to cool down your house before winter arrives, and doing this work on a regular basis can save you hundreds on energy costs over time. Call one of our technicians today for more information about scheduling ductwork maintenance.

Baseboard or Radiant Heater Prep

If your home utilizes baseboard heating, radiant heating or any other method that uses something other than traditional air ducts for late fall and winter heating, the early fall is ideal for adjusting your system settings to accommodate the temperature drop. This mostly means ensuring there are no blockages or dirt buildups in important vent areas — remove furniture or any other potential blockers that might interrupt the flow of warm air once the cold weather eventually hits.

Close Fireplace Flue

If your fireplace flue wasn’t already closed during the summer season, it’s important to do this on a regular basis, especially during the fall months. Keeping the flue open is a safety hazard and ensures all heat is lost up into your chimney instead of your living space — meaning you won’t feel as comfortable as you should due to the fact that some of your heat will be escaping, a factor that also puts a strain on your HVAC system and raises your monthly utility bills.

Lower Dishwasher and Washing Machine Temperatures

As the weather gets colder outside, systems that use hot water — such as your dishwasher, washing machine and others — have to work harder. This is because the water they’re pulling into your home begins at a cooler point than it would during summer, causing your HVAC system to heat it as a supplement. If your dishwasher and washing machine aren’t set to lower temperatures, these tough-working systems will have to burn more energy to manage the load.

For this reason, it pays to lower the temperatures for these machines by just a few degrees once the weather turns cold. You’ll still get the same amount of cleaning results while also helping your HVAC system maintain its energy consumption.

Professional HVAC Maintenance

Finally, the fall is a perfect time to have your HVAC system inspected and maintained by a professional. Ensuring your system is in good working order and fully prepared for the temperature drops and changing weather conditions of winter ensures that you’ll end up saving on energy while also enjoying more comfortable living conditions.

To learn more about HVAC fall energy savings or schedule a visit from our team of service technicians, all you need to do is pick up the phone and call us right now. Call the pros at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

As any plumber or even most experienced homeowners can tell you, proper care for your home’s plumbing system involves knowing what not to do just as much as knowing what to do. There are a variety of mistakes some homeowners might make with their plumbing system, even some where they assumed they were doing the right thing — but with a little bit of knowledge, you can avoid these errors and keep your system in great shape.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer a wide range of plumbing services, including 24/7 emergency plumbing solutions in Lehi — but also numerous programs or concepts that will help your home or building avoid any plumbing emergencies or major issues altogether. What are some of the most common mistakes we see made by our clients within their plumbing systems, and how can you avoid these risks through some simple understanding of how your system works? Here’s a primer.

Improper Toilet Usage

One of the single most common plumbing mistakes made in homes today is one that can be made by anyone who lives there: Improper usage of the toilet drain, especially to flush down items that are not approved to go down the toilet.

The most common item we see flushed down toilets is paper towels, which can either get stuck in the system and reduce water flow to the bowl or even get caught up in the flapper and cause it to stop working properly. Paper towels are followed closely by feminine products, which can also create blockages when they catch on tree roots that grow into the line.

The other major issue with flushing items like this comes in the form of drain flies or fruit flies — since their breeding area doesn’t necessarily get cleaned out regularly when flushing things down the toilet, drain flies become an issue where your plumbing system is concerned.

To avoid any of these issues, use the proper toilet flushing-approved items like human waste and toilet paper down the drain. Don’t put anything else in there, no matter how innocuous it might first appear to you. Also make sure that your household members are aware of these rules — especially when you’re away from home and can’t be there to note if someone flushes an inappropriate item.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

While the occasional use of a chemical drain cleaner for a minor clog or blockage is usually okay, you don’t want to make this a regular habit. This is because chemicals can cause problems with the materials used to build your plumbing system over time, causing corrosion or even chemical burns to the skin if you come into contact with them.

If your drains are starting to clog up quite frequently, make sure they’re fully clear before attempting drain cleaners of any sort. You can do this with a plunger or even a handheld auger for minor blockages, but if you want to go the chemical drain cleaner route make sure your drain is clear first.

If you’re starting to notice corrosion issues with your plumbing system, it’s time to call in a plumber. Corrosion can be sign that there are serious organic or other issues going on with your system, and if left unchecked these issues can cause leaks or major damage.

Attempting Fixes You Aren’t Qualified For

While there are certain very basic plumbing areas where you can attempt a DIY fix, such as using your plunger to try and unclog your toilet, there are many other fixtures or components that require professional attention. For this reason, you want to be very specific with what you attempt to fix on your own and what you call a professional for.

For example, you wouldn’t want to try and fix your garbage disposal unit on your own, or even attempt to replace a water heater that’s more than 15 years old. On the other hand, you might be able to change out an older spigot for a new one with relative ease, especially if all it requires is the loosening of some nuts with your fingers.

Leaving Water on Or Dripping

You might not realize just how much water will be wasted if you leave water running in your sink or tub at all times, even if it’s an infrequent event. This is because the average faucet can drip a steady flow of between one and three gallons per minute.

If you notice a draining issue with your toilet, make sure to shut off the water supply before embarking on any repairs. Just to be safe, you might want to leave the water turned off for several hours after your repair is completed just to make sure it’s actually fixed.

In other cases, water losses will be due to cracks or other leaks that aren’t as visible as a small drip from a leaky faucet. If you notice any leaking around your shower, toilet, or sink, turn the water off immediately and call a plumber.

No Plumber On-Hand

Finally, another common plumbing mistake homeowners make is not maintaining a connection with a quality local plumber in case of issues. Even if your plumbing system is currently in tip-top shape, you never know when an emergency might happen — and if you don’t have a plumber on standby you could be in for a world of hurt.

If you need to find a reliable and trustworthy local plumber in Lehi or any nearby area, make sure to contact the professionals at Action Plumbing today.

One of the most common potential plumbing concerns out there is a leak to one of your components, and faucets are a particular type that’s often impacted. While that slow drip from your faucet might not seem like a big deal, it’s wasting more water than you might think — and also may be signaling a larger concern that could eventually pose a much larger problem.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to help with a variety of plumbing services, including faucet repair and several related themes. We’ll also provide expertise on the initial causes of many faucet leaks we see, plus what you can do to avoid these risks ahead of time. Here’s a primer on leaking faucets, how they come about, why they’re a problem, and what you can do about them.

Why Are Leaking Faucets a Problem?

An old saying in the plumbing world is that a quarter-turn of the handle means a quart of water goes down the drain. That’s not an exaggeration — even slow leaks can waste water and money. That said, you may never know you have a leak if it doesn’t make any noise or create any other telltale signs. That could lead to some expensive surprises when a hidden leak starts causing other problems, such as mold or peeling wallpaper from excess humidity.

Leaking faucets also cause sanitary problems, as they allow bacteria to collect along the edges of your sink and countertops while leaving behind mineral deposits on your fixtures or tubs. All these risks combined should be enough to convince you that getting help with a leaking faucet is more than worth the time and expense.

Our next several sections will go over the most common causes of leaking faucets.

Damaged or Worn-Down Parts

Leaks are usually caused by worn-out or damaged parts. In a faucet, that could include the O-rings or gaskets that keep water from leaking out of your fixture, or possibly the packing nut underneath the handle or knob and other various nuts, washers, seals, springs, and other parts that connect to one another.

As your faucet ages, these parts wear out and need to be replaced. You can also tighten or lubricate most of these parts, but in some cases you might have to replace them outright. If you’re dealing with one of the tougher fixes — like a gasket replacement or something else that requires specific training — Action Plumbing is happy to help out to ensure the part is replaced properly.

High Water Pressure

In other cases, the cause of a leaking faucet can be traced back to water pressure that’s too high. Water pressure is a factor in how well your faucet seals around its O-ring or gasket to prevent leaks. The higher the water pressure, the tighter it’s going to need to be for proper operation and efficiency.

How do you know if your water pressure is too high? There are several ways, but one common method is to see if you can feel the water pressure behind your faucet’s handle or knob. If the water feels too forceful — as in it’s pushing back noticeably against your hand when you turn on the faucet — it could be causing a leak by stressing out your plumbing fixture and its parts.

Many faucet pressure issues will require the assistance of a plumber, especially if pressure needs to be restored to a previous level. If you’re unsure about any part of this process, leave this job to us.

Cracks in Faucet Plumbing

In rare cases, a faucet leak can be traced back to a crack in the plumbing lines that are connected to your sink or tub. That usually means you’ll see water leaking down from above your fixtures and dripping off the walls or ceiling near your faucet, which is an obvious sign you’ve got problems.

Once again, this is a job best left to the professionals. Do not try to repair these lines on your own, as they can be hard to reach and even harder to seal correctly.

Problems With Ignoring Faucet Leaks

Perhaps the single most common error among homeowners when it comes to this realm: Ignoring a small faucet leak, simply assuming that because it’s only a small drip, this isn’t really much of a problem.

Simply put, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even a small drip from your faucet can waste a surprising amount of water over time. For instance, if your faucet is leaking at the rate of just 1 quart (32 ounces) every two hours, that totals up to 748 quarts of wasted water per year.

The cost for this kind of leak doesn’t look quite as frightening until you put it in those terms. At a typical cost of $3 per 1000 gallons of water, a faucet leak that’s dripping at 1 quart every two hours wastes as much as $2165 per year on just water bills — probably enough to pay for most repair or replacement jobs in the first place!

This is why it’s so important for faucet leaks to be addressed immediately, either by the homeowner, a plumber or some combination therein. We’re happy to help with any and all faucet issues as soon as they arise, so do not delay in calling us.

For more on the culprits in a leaking faucet, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

In this particularly warm Utah summer, many homeowners are dealing with especially hot homes. And while the HVAC system in your home will take on much of the job of cooling it during the hottest parts of the summer, there are ways you can improve its efficiency while also limiting the monthly bills it creates on your behalf.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to offer a wide variety of services to help keep you cool and comfortable throughout the summer, from air conditioner installation to many areas of repair, thermostat upgrades and more. If your home is getting too hot for certain periods during summer days, what are some of the top areas — both HVAC and otherwise — that you should be checking into to help lower the strain on your AC unit? Here are several to consider, both on your own and with the assistance of our HVAC pros.

Check Your Air Filter

Most of us are more than familiar with the basic concept behind air filters, both at home and at work. We usually have to replace them either monthly or every few months as part of our maintenance schedule. If they aren’t, though, issues may arise, including temperature imbalances.

If you are experiencing any type of problems (such as low air flow, back-up or pressure on the blower, gusts of heat coming from certain vents and so forth), these are possible signs that your filter needs to be changed. A clogged filter simply won’t allow for the same level of airflow as a clean filter, which in turn will cause the system to have to work much harder to create the same level of cooling — and there may even be situations where, due to the extreme heat outside, a clogged filter doesn’t allow the desired temperature to be reached at all.

Clean AC Unit Coils and Fans

Over time, dust and other small airborne particles can accumulate within the coils of your air conditioner, ventilating fans or both. This will naturally reduce their efficiency at cooling the air around them — as grime builds up between the fins or panels, there are fewer places for cold air to travel through, so more energy needs to be used.

To help your AC get the air circulating as quickly and effectively as possible, clean out the coils and fans on a regular basis. Simply use a can of spray that is safe for metal and electronics (such as a window cleaner or compressed-air duster), spraying it into the fins or vents above to clear them of any debris. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to turn on the unit for about five minutes so that it can dry out any moisture that may have been left behind.

Turn Off Lights and Utilize Fans in Rooms

One of the most common mistakes made by homeowners in an effort to keep their homes cool is leaving every light on in every room. While this may keep your home lit up, it will actually only serve to make your air conditioner work harder — during summer months especially, a well-lit home requires much more energy and power to cool than a dimly lit one. By simply turning off as many lights as possible — or, at the very least, using light-spectrum bulbs that create less heat — you can lower your AC’s workload and save on your monthly bills.

In addition to this, it is also important to utilize fans in key areas of your home during hot summer months. By either using ceiling fans in the rooms that you use most often or by installing wall-mounted versions in your kitchen and bathrooms, you will be able to circulate a cool breeze throughout your entire home.

Close Windows and Curtains During the Day

If you are a homeowner who likes to keep the windows open for fresh air during the day, this may be more of an issue than you realize. While it is important to keep your home well-ventilated — especially during summer months when moisture can build up so quickly — it will also cause your AC unit to work harder than necessary. Not only should windows themselves be closed during the heat of the day, curtains should be used to keep hot sun rays from warming up your home.

Consider Insulation Upgrades

If you are a homeowner who has noticed that your home is becoming hotter during the day, and then colder during the night or early morning hours, there may be an issue with the insulation in your attic. To improve circulation of air throughout your home, consider adding additional insulation panels to help cover up any heating/cooling ducts, air vents or other openings which may be allowing hot/cold air to escape.

In other cases, insulation might not be required for HVAC components themselves, but rather for surrounding areas of the home. For instance, if your attic extends over your home’s garage, the heat from the attic will often transfer into the garage — and this process will be sped up significantly if proper levels of insulation are not present between these two areas. And during the winter, this issue will flip around as cold air seeps into the garage or even interior areas of your home. But with a simple increase in insulation, you’ll avoid these issues.

For more on what to do if your home is simply too hot this summer, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

There are a few possible plumbing issues in your home or building that may require both immediate action and some long-term care approaches, and a good example here is a concern no one wants to deal with: A toilet that’s overflowing water. There are some early steps you should take here to prevent immediate risks like flooding and water damage, but once you’ve managed to stop the actual overflowing from happening, there are also a few general steps – including those involving professional plumbers – that are required to fully remedy the situation.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help. We offer not only a wide range of toilet repair services from the best plumbers in Salt Lake City, but also 24/7 emergency plumbing services in cases of toilet overflow or other forms of water damage you’re having trouble mitigating. Whether on your own or with the assistance of our plumbers, what are the basic steps to stopping a toilet that’s overflowing, plus what should you do once you’ve managed to stop the overflow effect? Here’s a primer.

Lid Removal

Before we dig into the specifics here, we wanted to drive home one big theme: Immediate action is very important when you notice an overflow toilet. This is not an issue that can be left until later, as it risks major flooding and water damage in both the bathroom where the toilet is located and the rest of your home, particularly the areas below that bathroom.

The first step to take when a toilet is overflowing is to carefully remove the toilet lid from the tank. This requires no screwdrivers or nails – all you have to do is lift it up. Simply set it aside in a secured location, but don’t worry about laying it down on towels or any other laborious process, as this will just waste time.

Flapper Valve

Next up, you need to reach down into the toilet tank and press down on the flapper valve. This refers to a rubber piece, usually black or dark-colored, that sits in the bottom-center of your tank. The flapper is what opens and closes to allow water into the bowl – by holding it down, you will be stopping more water from entering and, therefore, overflowing.

Some choose to wear gloves while doing this, but this technically isn’t really necessary. While it’s true that sanitation is always important around the toilet, the upper toilet tank contains clean, sanitary water that has not been exposed to any human waste.

Tank Fill Valve

From here, once your flapper valve is secured and will stay closed, you need to lift up on the float that operates what’s known as your tank fill valve. This is the main water supply to the tank itself, and the water levels inside your bowl will change in coordination with this feature. When this water source is cut off, the bowl should begin to see a slow drop in water level.

If this happens within 60 seconds or so, you can usually release the tank fill valve float and let the bowl refill naturally – the issue is usually solved here. However, in other cases, the water level will not drop here; in this case, you need to continue to hold the float while you use the toilet supply valve – which is near the floor or the wall behind the toilet – to completely turn off the water supply. This is done by turning the toilet supply valve as far as you can clockwise. You may need someone to help you with this, as some toilet supply valves will be far enough away that you won’t be able to twist them while also holding down the float.

Actions Once Toilet Stops Overflowing

Once you’ve managed to get the toilet to stop overflowing, meaning you’ve mitigated the immediate flooding and water damage risks that were present, you can move toward diagnosing the actual issue that caused the overflow to begin with. Again, this is often a concern where homeowners will call on our plumbers to assist them with – but if you’re particularly handy and want to take a shot at this process yourself, here are some basic areas to attend to:

  • First and foremost, stop the use of all plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, laundry machines, etc.) while you look to diagnose the issue. You may have solved the flooding concern in the toilet in question, but it’s possible the larger culprit that caused it is still present within your system. Let everyone in the home know they should not use any fixtures for now.
  • One of the most common issues that may cause this sort of overflowing is a blockage somewhere in the drain – for this reason, a first step here is to use a plunger or drain snake to attempt to clear the clog, especially if gurgling noises or other clear signs of a blockage are present.
  • If a toilet clog is not the problem, start moving from fixture to fixture in the home. Start on your fixtures in the bathroom and then work your way upward in the home – if possible, have another person present to see if anything happens on the lower floors while you’re looking at upper-floor toilets and drains.
  • In some cases where these initial methods aren’t solving the problem, you may have a backup in your system drain, a failing septic field, or other issues with your main sewer line. In these cases, you’ll need to contact our plumbers for a more involved remediation.

For more on how to remedy an overflowing toilet, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in Salt Lake City, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.