We’re entering the dead of the hot Utah summer, and if your air conditioning system is in need of replacement, now is the time. No one wants to be stuck in a hot summer without proper air conditioning, and it’s best to get to this task before demand rises with peak July heat – but what are some of the top air conditioner characteristics you should be considering while you’re searching for an ideal replacement?

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help. We offer numerous air conditioning installation and AC replacement services throughout Utah, and we’ll help inform you of all the important features and characteristics of the models you’re considering to help you make the right choice for your home. Here are some of the top elements you should be thinking about when selecting a new air conditioner for your home.

Model and Stage Types

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the model type you’re purchasing. There are three common designations to choose from among today’s AC units:

  • Single stage: This refers to an AC model that has just two options: On and off, with nothing in between. The system either is not operating, or is operating at full capacity. There is no option for partial operation.
  • Two-stage: This is a model that has additional controls for temperature, typically one mode for high-stage cooling and another for low-stage cooling. It allows for much-improved comfort control over a single-stage model, plus saves energy.
  • Variable-speed: This refers to a model with multiple different cooling stages, any of which can be accessed at any time to meet your cooling needs. From a comfort and efficiency perspective, this is the best type of AC model.

Cooling Capacity Measurements

In addition, you should be aware of the measurement type being used to describe your unit’s cooling capacity. There are two units often used here: BTUs (British Thermal Units) and SACCs (Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity), the latter of which was only introduced to the market in the last few years. Most AC units still use BTUs to define their capacity, with a general rule that you need 20-25 BTUs for each square foot of living space you plan to cool.

Now, this is one area where our pros are great resources when you’re selecting a new AC. We can explain exactly how BTUs work and why you need a requisite amount, plus help you with some of the ins and outs of finding the precise BTU rating you need given your space and cooling needs.

Comfort and Humidity Control

While elements like efficiency and others are very important, and we’ll go over each of these in just a bit, it’s also vital that your AC unit keeps you comfortable. For some, this may include the purchase of improved features within the unit – our team is happy to detail some of these features if you’re wondering.

One that deserves specific attention, and is a constant feature across all of today’s air conditioners, is humidity control. All AC units remove some level of humidity from your air as they cool, but advanced models offer specific humidity controls that can extend this theme much further. One desirable element if humidity is a big concern for you is the variable-speed compressor, which we went over above – this offers far better humidity control than other models, including while operating at lower speeds that cost you less money to operate. Variable-speed units also pull more humidity out of the same air than single- or two-stage compressors.

Warranty Considerations

For nearly all new AC units, you will be provided with a manufacturer’s warranty. These are usually roughly similar – most last either one or two years, and they cover both parts and labor. There may be some manufacturers who offer greater warranties, but these also tend to come with increased up-front costs.

One important theme here: Ensuring you never void your warranty if you purchase a given model. There are usually some pretty basic requirements for maintaining your warranty, such as having the unit inspected once a year and repaired if issues come up. Be sure you know these requirements in detail and are never breaking them during the warranty period.

Energy Efficiency

Another important rating to be aware of is SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The higher this number, the more efficient your unit will be in its daily operations. As you might imagine, units with higher SEER ratings tend to cost more – but they also provide fantastic value and are usually worth this cost.

In addition, some modern units have a specific energy-saving mode. This mode turns off the fan when the compressor turns off, which conserves energy compared to other models, which run the fan continuously even when the compressor is off.

Noise During Operations

Finally, you want to at least consider the noise level your new unit will create, especially if your bedroom, office or any other important area is situated near where the unit will go outside your home. Most modern AC units have multi-stage compressors that operate in virtually complete silence, but single-stage compressors are significantly louder – if you’re going with the latter option here, you should consider a sound blanket that will reduce noise during AC operation, all without interrupting airflow.

For more on the characteristics to look for in a new AC unit, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

Conservation is an important concept for many homeowners, both for practical reasons (lower bills, etc.) and to support sustainability and eco-friendly themes. And within this realm, one of the most important conservation areas for many homeowners is their water, and specifically how they utilize several different plumbing fixtures and avoid any wasted water risks.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help with numerous plumbing repair and maintenance services, from basic themes like limiting water usage from your fixtures up through major jobs like replacing a water heater or installing a water softener. What are some of the top areas of plumbing fixture use (or misuse, in some cases) that tend to lead to water being wasted, causing both an increase in your bill and an impact you’d prefer not to make on the environment? Here are several of the most common culprits, plus what you can do to avoid them.

Improper Toilet Use

One of the top sources of wasted water from your plumbing system is the improper use of toilets in the home. Toilets use about a third of the average home’s plumbing water, the single largest source of any fixture, and you have to be careful about how you use them.

The top theme here is simple: Your toilet is only meant to flush down human waste and toilet paper, and nothing else. If you’re flushing items like wipes, paper towels or anything besides those two materials down the toilet drain, you’re creating two negatives at once: First, you’re wasting water that does not need to be flushed. Second, you’re increasing the risk that your pipes will become clogged by non-approved materials that build up over time, often resulting in the need for expensive drain or sewer line cleaning or repairs. For both these reasons, limit your toilet usage and flushing to only bodily waste and toilet paper – throw everything else into a traditional garbage.

Pipe Leaks

Another of the top causes of wasted water in your plumbing system is one or more leaks taking place. In some cases, these leaks might be visible in areas like hose bibs, toilets, faucets (including under sinks) and even water heaters. If this is the case, call our pros for assistance as soon as you notice any such leak.

However, in other cases, leaks will not be visible. They may be occurring in pipes that are behind walls or in ceilings, for instance. You might see related signs, such as water marks on your walls or even bubbling, but even these don’t always show up. One other potential indicator of leaks: If your water bill is increasing significantly without any other explanation, this could be the cause.

Shower and Bath Issues

One other common waster of water is a bit simpler: Those in your household who take long baths or showers. While this sort of thing is fine every so often, doing so every day or even several times per week will cause lots of additional water to be used – do you really need to use this much? It’s a fair question to ask yourself.

However, there’s also a simple plumbing approach you can use to limit these risks and allow people in your house to shower for longer: Install a low-flow showerhead. These use far less water than a conventional showerhead, but provide similar or even identical levels of pressure and quality. Their costs aren’t even very high up-front, meaning they return value on your investment quickly.

Half Loads

Another simple usage area you should be keeping an eye on if you want to conserve water is the various water-related loads you use in certain fixtures. We’re mostly talking about laundry loads and dishwasher loads here, though there may be a few other fixtures in your home that perform tasks involving water usage as well (such as a humidifier).

Whenever you’re doing laundry or running the dishwasher, do your best to run as close to a full load as possible. Running partial loads on a full cycle will waste lots of water that isn’t really needed. An exception here is if you have a laundry machine or dishwasher that allows for half or partial cycles and also diminishes the water used during these, in which case you can plan for these sorts of cycles. Older machines, though, tend to come without these features, so if you have one of these in your home, you have to be careful.

Lawn Overwatering

One area that’s been particularly noticeable in the news recently, especially in places like Utah due to major drought taking place, is lawn watering. Not only should you be limiting the water you use to what’s legitimately needed to keep your lawn alive this summer, you should also be smart about when you water: Running sprinklers in the evening or at night, when the sun isn’t out to create fast evaporation, is the way to go. If you’re currently running your system in the middle of the afternoon, you’re wasting water plus killing your grass, both in one fell swoop.

Running Water

Finally, two simple recommendations in terms of dishes:

  1. Using the dishwasher is generally preferable to hand-washing, if you have the choice. The latter uses more water.
  2. If you must hand-wash certain items, don’t leave the water running the entire time. Rinse them off, then turn water off before applying soap and scrubbing. Once you’re finished, turn water back on to rinse them off.

For more on how to conserve water within your plumbing system, or to learn about any of our plumbing, HVAC or other services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

While you may not think of it in the same ways necessarily, your home’s garbage disposal is absolutely part of your plumbing system – and requires care just like other elements of this system. In particular, a simple task homeowners can attend to on a regular basis is cleaning their garbage disposal, but many homeowners aren’t sure how to do this or how often it should be done.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer numerous residential plumbing services and areas of assistance, including with basic maintenance and cleaning of any important plumbing component. We’ve helped clients with a variety of garbage disposal needs, including those who are wondering about simple upkeep and cleaning. Here’s a primer on how often this should be done, the equipment you’ll need, and a couple different well-known methods for DIY cleaning on your home’s garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Cleaning Frequency

First and foremost, how often should a garbage disposal be cleaned anyway? This is a tougher question than you might think to answer, in large part because part of a garbage disposal’s basic operation involves self-cleaning – by chopping up food and other particles, the disposal itself prevents too many buildups or other issues from taking place.

That said, some problems may develop over time. For instance, a form of slime may be found on the areas that are not involved in the grinding action of the disposal, such as underneath the rubber drain baffle and on the smooth slope at the top of the grinding chamber. If you use the disposal regularly, we recommend cleaning these areas roughly once a week, then deep cleaning once every few months.

Equipment and Materials Needed

Here are all the items you’ll either definitely or potentially need for a basic DIY garbage disposal cleaning:

  • A sink stopper
  • Rubber gloves
  • A kitchen sponge that has at least one abrasive side
  • Dish soap
  • Ice (for one particular method)
  • Half-cup of both baking soda and vinegar (optional, used for a specific method)
  • Full cup of rock salt (optional)
  • Third-cup of bleach (optional)

Sponge Cleaning Method

First off, we’ll detail how to clean your garbage disposal using nothing but the simple materials above, primarily your dish sponge. This is usually considered the simplest method, and the one you should take as your primary cleaning method for weekly or standard cleaning. Here are the basic steps:

  • Power off: This is a safety theme – you need to turn the power to the garbage disposal off so there’s no chance of injuring yourself by turning it on while you’re reaching down it. Don’t simply rely on your ability to not hit the button; accidents happen, and the results here could be horrific. Unplug the disposal from under the sink, or turn off the disposal’s circuit breaker in your electrical panel.
  • Baffle cleaning: Apply soap to your baffle, or the plastic element that sits in the disposal drain. Rinse the sponge regularly as you pull out sludge and grime.
  • Grinder cleaning: Next, move your sponge carefully around the top of the grinding chamber, continuing to clean it and rinse it off regularly. Continue doing this until the sponge is no longer dirty when you pull it out, a sign that you’ve properly cleaned the interior.

Now, for general weekly cleaning needs, you can stop after you’ve finished these three steps. However, for deeper or periodic cleanings, there are a couple additions you can make to this process that will not only keep the disposal clean, but will also remove odors, clean the drainpipe and perform a more comprehensive cleanup overall.

There are two such methods, described in our next two sections.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This method involves two simple household items that you’ll usually have around. It follows the steps above, with basic phases that go as follows:

  • Pour a half-cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal, then slowly but surely pour in a half-cup of vinegar to follow it up, coating the entire disposal interior.
  • Place your sink stopper over the opening of the drain and ensure it’s created a good seal. After a period of time, the baking soda and vinegar will combine, fizzing up and beginning to eat away at clogs or buildups – and your sink stopper will ensure none of these reactions take place near you or your skin.
  • After a few minutes once the reaction has subsided, you can pull the sink stopper off and flush the disposal with hot water from your sink. Simultaneously, you should be running the disposal several times to clear any remaining debris.

Ice and Rock Salt Method

If you prefer it, you can use ice and vinegar or rock salt for this cleaning process instead. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill your disposal up with ice cubes from your ice machine.
  • Pour a full cup of either rock salt or vinegar into your disposal.
  • Run the disposal for several seconds with water turned on, allowing it to grind up the ice. If needed, repeat this process several times.

Smell Concerns

If you’ve tried the above methods and you’re still dealing with poor smells coming from the garbage disposal, bleach should be your next resource. Combine one part bleach with two parts warm water (never using more than one-third cup of bleach total), then wear gloves and pour this solution into the drain. Then run hot water down it for several seconds.

For more on how to clean and maintain your garbage disposal, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

As we approach the hottest part of the year in Lehi and other parts of Utah, many homeowners are naturally focused on their air conditioner and related components. From basic inspections up through simple maintenance and perhaps even minor seasonal repairs, homeowners and their trusted HVAC specialists will spend the early spring and summer periods looking to prevent issues with the air conditioner over the hot summer, including AC failure.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to offer numerous air conditioning tune-ups, air conditioning repairs and other services to keep your home cooled and comfortable throughout the year, including AC replacements when necessary. However, there are also steps you can take on a day-to-day basis to reduce the chances of any kind of AC issue, including AC failure – and many of these relate to simply understanding what causes air conditioner failure in the first place. Here are some of the most common causes, some tips on how they can be prevented, and also some expertise on what to do if you notice any of these concerns taking place.

Leaking Refrigerant

The substance that actually provides cooling to your home from the AC unit is known as refrigerant, and it’s one of the most important components of the system. It allows for your AC to remove hotter air and humidity from a given room, then expel it from the outdoor unit.

However, there are some cases where, usually due to wear-and-tear over time, your AC’s refrigerant is leaking, often from the condenser coil. Not only is this a problem for the efficiency of your system, refrigerant is harmful to the environment and will increase your carbon footprint if it’s leaking. And due to these environmental risks, a licensed HVAC technician must be the one repairing any refrigerant leaks.

However, this is one area that drives home the importance of regular HVAC maintenance. Refrigerant level is something our HVAC technicians will check for you during a standard seasonal inspection, and they’ll also check for any leak risks or poor connections that might create losses of refrigerant. If you have your AC serviced each spring by our team, your risk of these kinds of issues is virtually nonexistent.

Frozen Coil

Another possible issue that will cause the AC to fail is when its condenser coil fails. You will usually be able to see this issue specifically, as the coil is visible on the outdoor AC unit and will be noticeably frozen around its exterior. When this happens, refrigerant that needs to pass through the coil will be unable to do so, and the system will not cool properly.

The primary culprit in frozen coils: Air filters that aren’t changed often enough, and related issues of dirty ducts. These issues lead to problems with air flow, which in turn causes the frozen coil and stops the AC from working. For this reason, changing HVAC filters regularly – at least as often as recommended by their manufacturer – is the right move throughout the year.

Circuit or Fuse Issues

Another area you should be checking early on if your AC fails is the connected circuit breaker and fuse associated with this item. Most air conditioners will have their own dedicated circuit, and it’s possible there’s been a short or some other electrical issue that simply requires you to reset the breaker. In these cases, do this and then give the system 15 minutes to cool down.

If this doesn’t solve your issue, however, you may have tripped a high-pressure limit switch – or there might be something else going on. At this point, it’s time to call in our team for assistance, which may also involve the help of an electrician if there are circuitry issues.

Interior Component Wear

If your air conditioner unit is more than five years old and performance issues aren’t due to anything else we’ve already been over here, the issue could be one of the components inside the system wearing down. These components include fan blades, the AC compressor, AC pads, electrical connections and many others. One sign of this kind of damage will frequently be a system that cycles on and off too frequently, a phenomenon known as short cycling.

Again, this issue crystallizes the importance of regular HVAC maintenance. Our inspections will catch worn-down parts or components, allowing us to repair them in a low-stress setting before they fail and require emergency repair in the middle of the night.

Thermostat Issues

Another possible issue that might be taking place if your system is short cycling regularly: Thermostat problems, whether they’re in the form of connection issues or an aging, worn-down thermostat itself. If you’re still using an older manual thermostat and you’re having these issues, we strongly recommend an upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat – not only are these modern forms of thermostat technology that make your life simpler and more convenient, they will also reduce any concerns with sending signals to your AC unit and causing failure.

Ignoring Maintenance Needs

As we’ve noted several times so far to this point, many of the issues that lead to AC failure can be prevented with simple, yearly HVAC maintenance. This should be done twice a year: During the spring and during the fall, the two transitional periods for home heating and air systems. For a very low cost, our techs will come in and perform a full inspection that will pick up many of the issues we’ve gone over to this point well before they become major concerns, allowing for low-cost or even no-cost repairs in many cases.

For more on dealing with AC failure and its common causes, or to learn about any of our HVAC or plumbing services in Lehi, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

There are a few areas of your home’s plumbing or related water connections that may see some small impacts or wear-down over the winter period, and some good examples here are outdoor features that are exposed to colder temperatures. One such feature is your outdoor hose and hose bibb, which may experience some leaking or related issues over the winter that you’ll want to address before you get your outdoor water flowing again during the spring and summer.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re proud to offer assistance with numerous plumbing maintenance areas, including several transitional themes for moving from winter to summer (and vice versa later in the year). What exactly is a hose bibb, what role does it play on your outdoor hoses, and how can you both inspect this item for damage and remedy any minor issues that have taken place over the Salt Lake City winter? Here are some basics.

Hose Bibb Basics

First of all, for new homeowners or anyone who hasn’t dealt with this area in the past, let’s go over the basics on the hose bibb. This is the name for the small faucet attachment on the outer wall of your home, the one that allows you to connect a hose and receive water you can use outside.

The hose bibb attaches directly to a garden hose or other hose types. Some homes have more than one hose bibb, such as setups where there will be a separate bibb for the front of the home and the back of the home. There are also several materials hose bibbs may be made from depending on when they were manufactured, and this might also play a role in their long-term quality and the maintenance required for them.

Winter and Bibb Risks

And because hose bibbs, unlike many other water or plumbing components, stay outside throughout the year and are not protected from the cold winter temperatures we see in Utah, they may be exposed to some risks. Specifically, certain hose bibb models may crack as a result of cold weather – and if you don’t spot this issue quickly enough, water may leak from the outdoor faucet and result in significant water damage, mold growth or even foundation issues.

In addition, frozen water may cause issues here. While you should have taken the time to empty your hose and bibb area of any standing water back in the fall before winter got going, you may have missed some water here or forgotten this step – and frozen water may actually be the issue causing cracking or other hose bibb concerns.

Luckily, our next few sections will go over some basics for turning on your water in the spring and testing your hose bibb for quality, plus what to do if you discover issues here.

Water Turn-On Steps

When you go to turn on your outdoor water for the spring or summer, here are the basic steps to follow to determine whether your hose bibb was damaged or whether it remains in good condition:

  • Place your thumb over the spigot of the hose bibb, or perhaps your entire hand if you have small fingers.
  • Turn the water on using the hose bibb.
  • If a single thumb or finger allows you to hold the water in without much trouble, this is usually a sign that there’s a crack somewhere in the piping of the hose bibb, causing water to leak out and reducing the pressure that hits your finger.
  • If, on the other hand, you feel significant pressure and can’t hold the water back with just a single finger, this is a sign that your pressure is adequate and there are no significant leak issues anywhere in the bibb.

Remedying Issues

If the above test indicates that you have a hose bibb issue taking place, we recommend calling our team of plumbers – both to confirm the issue and to help remedy it. Our team will get down to the specific details of the issue, as there are several different components that may be involved in the leak and we want to pinpoint the culprit before we get to work.

In some cases, we may repair a specific component within the bibb, or the pipes leading to it. In others, damage will be significant enough to major components that the entire setup will need to be replaced. Repairs usually cost less up-front, but there are cases where leaving worn-down components in place will just lead to the same issue again the following year, and we’ll help you avoid that. We’ll only recommend a full-on replacement of the hose bibb if we’ve exhausted all realistic repair options without success.

Water Leak Concerns

Unfortunately, especially if your hose bibb was already worn down from previous seasons and then began leaking this past winter, it’s possible these issues will also impact several surrounding areas. For instance, if your hose bibb begins to leak just a month or two into winter and continues for months, there’s a real chance of water damage taking place to surrounding areas: Your pipes, for one, but also the materials below any leaks, especially the foundation of your home itself if the leaks are in this area.

This is another part of the reason why yearly plumbing maintenance and upkeep are so important, including inspections from our team. Hose bibb leak issues are the kinds of things we’ll spot during these appointments, so instead of you dealing with a high-cost repair project after months of leaking, the issue will be identified ahead of time.

For more on dealing with hose bibb maintenance this spring, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in Salt Lake City or other parts of Utah, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

Air quality is an important consideration for many homeowners, and often particularly so for those who own shedding pets like cats or dogs. Due to the hair and dander these furry friends release on a regular basis, air quality can be a bit lower on average in homes where such pets are present – but with the right HVAC themes and assistance from our quality team, this will be no concern for you at all.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help. We offer a number of indoor air quality solutions for all our clients, from filters and duct cleaning services up through UV lights, home humidifiers and several other services or products to help keep your air healthy and clean, including for homes with pets. What are some of the top themes such homeowners should be keeping in mind for their pets and related air quality, whether on their own or with the assistance of our HVAC professionals? Here are some basic areas.


The single simplest and most important theme we’ll hit on here is that of filtration, specifically your HVAC filter. This filter is in charge of trapping small particles and contaminants that would circulate into your air, instead holding them in so they don’t make it into your lungs or those of anyone else in the home. Filters aren’t only valuable for air quality, either: Clear, clean filters allow for seamless air flow, while clogged filters force the system to work harder to pump the same amount of air into the home, raising your monthly costs significantly in some cases.

One particular area filters are great for: Trapping pet hair, pet dander, allergens connected to pets, and any other contaminants they may carry or promote. Filters should be changed or cleaned at least as often as manufacturer recommendations, or even slightly more often for those with dogs or cats who shed excessively.

In addition, consider the type of filter you’re using and whether it’s robust enough. If you’re unsure here, speak to our HVAC technicians about HVAC filters and MERV ratings, and we’ll guide you in the right direction for the proper air filter level for your home.

Pet Grooming

One major non-HVAC theme to hit here: Ensuring your pet receives regular grooming, whether professionally or carried out by you on a regular basis. One of the biggest areas to remember is brushing, especially for high-shedding pets – you might be shocked at how much hair and dander you can remove on a weekly basis, something that should be done outside so hair doesn’t recirculate into your home.

In addition, we recommend cleaning out kennels, liter boxes and other common areas your pet spends time in. Not only will cleaning up messes improve the general air quality in that room, this practice will lead to less strain on the air filter. We also recommend using a high-powered vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean common pet areas, not only for carpets but also for drapes, rugs and even couches – all areas that are common collectors of pet hair, dander and related allergens.

HVAC Upgrades

For those who are particularly interested in high air quality, there are several different HVAC upgrades you might consider:

  • UV lights: Modern UV lights are known to help kill bacteria, mold and various other contaminants before they spread in the home. These are installed into ducts or near the evaporator coil of your unit, and will not directly impact any people or animals in the house while keeping air clean.
  • Additional filtration: We offer products like boxed media filters to improve indoor air quality in specific areas.
  • Home humidifiers: For some, clean air also involves moisture that limits its dryness and makes it easier to breathe. Depending on the area of your home and its needs, we can install large or small humidifiers to improve air quality – or dehumidifiers in certain areas to limit the potential for mold or mildew.

Duct Inspections

Another major area our HVAC professionals are happy to assist with is duct inspections, which should be done regularly on any home – especially those with pets or other indoor air quality concerns. Ducts are known to be a breeding ground for mold if they aren’t properly cleaned and maintained, for instance, and mold can have several negative health impacts on people. In addition, damaged ducts will be far less efficient and will cost you money on your monthly bill.

For the areas where it’s possible without any assistance, we recommend general visual inspections of your ducts, vents and registers on a regular basis. Check for any buildups, strange odors or especially signs of mold buildup. In addition, however, we strongly advise calling our team for professional duct inspection and cleaning, as we hit the entire duct system – including areas homeowners without training will not be able to reach.

Overall HVAC Maintenance

In addition, overall HVAC maintenance is an important theme here. From inspections of your components and ductwork to minor repairs or upgrades in certain areas, your system’s lifespan will be improved significantly if you see to its care. For those with pets in the home who may strain the system slightly more than it normally would be under standard circumstances, such maintenance and tune-ups are of even greater importance. Call our team for an inspection and maintenance appointment today.

For more on how to manage air quality and HVAC themes in a home with shedding pets, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

If you’re a long-time homeowner or even an involved renter, chances are you’re well aware of your home’s HVAC filters and the role they play in everything from air quality to air flow, system efficiency and more. And if you’re someone who suffers from allergies, or if such a person lives in your home, filters take on even greater importance.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to offer numerous furnace and air conditioner tune-up, repair and replacement services – many of which involve your filter in some way, whether it’s for a simple replacement or a recommendation of a different filter type. We’ve assisted many homeowners who deal with allergy concerns in their home, whether themselves or someone else, and how filters and related HVAC needs might differ in these homes. Here’s a primer on everything you should know about air filters and allergies, plus a few additional tips to ensure you’re in a good spot throughout the year, particularly during seasons like the spring where allergy symptoms are high.

Air Filter Basics

Firstly, let’s quickly define HVAC air filters for those who have not become familiar with them to this point. HVAC filters are usually made from a spun fiberglass material that will be framed in a cardboard setup, though some lesser versions will also be made from cloth or pleated paper. The final appearance will be a thin, rectangular box shape with cardboard around the outside.

The goal of this fiberglass material, or the cloth/paper in other settings, is to catch contaminants and particles that are harmful to health before they enter your breathing air. These contaminants include dirt, dust, mold spores, lint, hair, fibers, bacteria and several potential others, each of which can create or exacerbate respiratory issues or other health concerns in some cases. And as those who suffer from allergies are well aware, several of these contaminants are also primary allergens that tend to cause symptoms.

Not Created Equal

Now, it’s vital to note that not all air filters are created equal. Specifically, filters will be separated in quality using a metric called MERV rating, or minimum efficiency reporting value – the MERV scale ranges from 1 to 16, with higher numbers indicating that the filter catches a higher range of contaminants.

For most homes, MERV ranges for ideal filtration will be in the 6-8 area. Those in the 9-12 range will capture even more; anything above 12 is really not necessary in a home, even for those with severe allergies, and will just cost you more for benefits you don’t really receive (these kinds of filters are used in certain industrial applications). If you have allergy sufferers in your home, it’s generally good to go with a higher-MERV filter.

Filters for Allergies

In addition, many HVAC professionals will recommend that you purchase air filters specifically designed to fight allergies. Some common allergens are microscopic particles, the kind that might even be able to sneak through normal filter sizes – but there are also air filters designed to block these allergens as well, typically those with higher MERV ratings. If allergies are a major concern for someone in the home, ask our HVAC pros for recommendations on an ideal filter.

Filters That Won’t Work

On the flip side of this coin, there are certain filter types that absolutely will not work for preventing allergy risks. Particularly, paper filters that might be used in some furnaces or ACs are only meant to prevent larger particles, like dust, from getting into components like the motor, fan, and others – they are not meant to block allergens.

On the flip side, filters known as HEPA filters – high-energy particulate air filters, that is – trap much smaller particles, including allergens. These are the fiberglass filters we referenced above, and when allergies are a concern, these are usually the ones you should be targeting. Again, our HVAC pros will be happy to recommend the best option here depending on your needs.

Replacement Considerations

Another important theme to keep in mind if you or someone else in your home has allergies is the frequency with which filters will need to be replaced. The key here: Frequency will increase.

Compared to standard paper filters, which we went over above, HEPA filters require being changed out more often. This is especially true during specific allergy season like spring and fall, at which points more allergens might collect that clog up the filter over time. A clogged filter is not only less effective, but it will also create issues with air flow and make your system less efficient overall. For this reason and for optimal air quality, you should be changing filters at least once a month for HEPA options, and maybe more often during allergy season itself.

Maintenance Themes

Now, filters aren’t the only important factor for homeowners looking to limit allergens in their air. Another major factor: Cleaning and updating your HVAC system at least once a year, and more commonly twice a year during transitional seasons (spring and fall). This is one area that’s generally included in our seasonal inspection services, which also include basic maintenance and upkeep – ensuring the system is in great shape throughout the year will stop allergens like dust, mold and pollen from building up on equipment over times. In addition, our pros can recommend basic DIY inspection or other use areas that you can follow through the rest of the year.

For more on the importance of air filters in homes with allergy sufferers, 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 potential plumbing-related issues in a Salt Lake City home or building that represent both annoyances and a potential sign of more underlying problems, and a good example here is a situation where your water pressure has become too low. This is a practical frustration due to the inconvenience of a poorly-flowing water supply, but also is often an issue that signals a problem somewhere within the system that must be addressed to remedy the problem.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help with a variety of plumbing services, from basic plumbing maintenance up to specific jobs like drain cleaning, sewer line repair, water filtration and much more. What are some of the common culprits in low water pressure issues in homes or other buildings, and what can be done about each of these? Here’s a primer for SLC residents.

Shut-Off Valve Concerns

In some cases, the water pressure issues taking place in your home or building are due to an issue with your main water shut-off valve. You should already know where this valve is, but if you don’t our plumbers will be happy to inform you.

Many shut-off valves appear in the form of a wheel or crank, one that must be twisted fully open. In other cases, this will be a level handle that must be parallel to the main water pipe entering your home. If this is not the case, you could be cutting off part of your water supply, and this might be the reason why your pressure is insufficient. Be sure the valve is fully opened at all times.

Clogged Aerator

If you’re not sure what we’re referring to, the aerator is the little screen you find on the end of every faucet in your home. It’s meant to filter out minerals or other bits of sediment so there’s no chance of water contamination.

However, the aerator may become rusted or clogged up over time. If, for instance, you’ve noticed pressure-related issues in a single faucet only, but such issues are not present in other plumbing fixtures, there’s a good chance the aerator simply needs to be removed, cleaned and reattached. If it has rusted, you may need to replace it – but these items are very cheap and easy to find.

Sediment Buildup

In other cases, a buildup of minerals and other forms of sediment will be the culprit in your water pressure issues. There are a couple locations where sediment may build up: The most common and well-known is probably within the water heater tank, where sediment buildup may take place over a period of years and eventually collect at the bottom of the tank, creating a pressure-related slowdown.

In other cases, buildup will take place in various plumbing fixtures or pipes themselves, slowing the flow of water in these areas. In both these cases, regular inspection and maintenance of your plumbing system by a licensed plumber like ours is one of the top tools you have at your disposal for avoiding these risks: Water heater maintenance is part of a standard inspection, as is a basic evaluation of pipes and a confirmation that water is flowing properly between them. If you have not had your system inspected by a professional this year, contact our plumbers right away to get this done.

Softener Issues

One other potential culprit in water pressure concerns may only take place if your home has a water softener, which not all do. However, in cases where one is present, there are certain issues that might change or decrease your water pressure based on the way the softener interacts with your system. We won’t get too technical on you here, but if you’ve eliminated a couple of the other potential causes we’ve gone over here and you’re still dealing with low pressure, plus you have a water softener in your home, call our plumbers about potential service needs.

Pressure Regulator

Another important component of the plumbing system is known as the pressure regulator, which is the specific device in charge of controlling water pressure as it enters your home from your public service line. While this is only one major line, issues with this regulator can lead to pressure concerns throughout the entire property.

This is another area where if you think a regulator might be the concern, the job must be left to our pros. Our plumbers will first evaluate whether the pressure regulator is indeed faulty, then will recommend either repair or replacement and carry this job out safely and effectively. Without specific plumbing training, this job would be both unsafe and a risk to the system’s integrity.

Cracks or Leaks

Finally, maybe the single most common reason behind droppages in home water pressure: Some kind of water loss, which is generally due to a crack or leak somewhere in the system, typically a pipe. Especially if this leaking or cracked pipe is located behind your walls, in your foundation or in any other area where it isn’t easily noticed, you might go weeks or even months where your water pressure slowly decreases before you eventually notice the problem. This is an area where a plumber will be able to perform some basic tests to detect leaks – and also one where standard maintenance, which we went over above, will help prevent these kinds of issues from ever happening to begin with.

For more on determining the cause of lowered water pressure in your home, or to learn about any of our plumbing services in Salt Lake City and nearby parts of Utah, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

In previous sections of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over everything you need to know about a burst pipe in your plumbing system. Burst pipes can be very serious plumbing issues that warrant emergency plumbing services in some cases, so knowing both how to spot them and how to respond if you do identify one is important as a homeowner.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to offer a variety of emergency plumbing services to all our clients, including those dealing with a burst pipe or any other concern that risks major flooding and water damage, plus a variety of separate concerns as-needed. In today’s final entry into our series, we’ll go over the final steps our plumbers will help guide you through if you’ve sustained a significant pipe bursting issue, including finding the culprit and remedying the damage so there’s no future risk.

Locate the Burst Pipe

In some cases, such as if it’s the pipe under your sink or a visible pipe in your basement, the culprit pipe will not be hard to find. In most situations, though, the burst issue takes place in a pipe that’s behind walls or concealed somehow.

In these situations, once we’ve assisted you with shutting off water and other power sources and stopping the immediate risks of water damage, we’ll locate the pipe that’s causing the issue. Some of the pieces of evidence we’ll use include bulges in the ceiling, pools of water in certain areas, water under the sink, or certain others we’ll be happy to inform you of.

Assessing and Documenting Damage

Next it’s time to figure out how much damaged was really caused, and this area can vary widely. Some burst pipes that are found and remedied quickly will lead to only small cracks, the sort that can be repaired using commercial tape or a chemical bonding agent, plus perhaps some minor water damage cleanup.

In other cases, the damage will be much more severe. It could include huge cracks and gaps, or even the need to completely replace pipes in some cases. Regardless, we’ll document the damage and give you and idea of what’s needed for repair.

Cleaning and Remediation

Along with repair for the actual pipe in question, we’ll assist with other areas of cleanup and remediation. One major area here is potential water damage, which may require wet-dry vacs or related solutions. Another is the potential formation of mold or mildew, which can take place if water damage and other conditions are severe enough – heavy-duty fans and other ventilation methods might be needed here, possibly alongside professional mold remediation if mold has already formed.

For more on how to deal with a burst pipe in your plumbing system, or to learn about any of our plumbing repair, furnace repair, air conditioner service or other solutions, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we’ve gone over some of the red flags that might signal a burst water pipe in your home. These events are often significant plumbing issues or even plumbing emergencies when they cause major flooding and water damage risks, and being able to spot the early signs that this has taken place might save you a lot of time and money.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to offer a wide variety of 24-hour emergency plumbing services, including for a burst pipe you’ve discovered plus a variety of other potential issues. While our first sections went over how to spot a burst pipe, our upcoming ones will look at what you should do if you’ve confirmed the presence of a burst pipe within your plumbing system.

Turn off Main Water Valve

The first and most important step, which you can perform even before calling our team for assistance if you know how, is to turn off your home’s main water valve. This will stop the flow of water through the burst pipe, limiting the extent of water damage and remediation needs.

Performing this task as quickly as possible is vital when you find a burst pipe. Main water valves are usually located in the basement or under the kitchen sink – it pays to know where your valve is ahead of time in case any issue like this does take place, as this will allow you to shut it off much faster.

Call our Team

Once you’ve turned off the main water valve, or if you need assistance with locating it or turning it off, call our plumbers for 24-hour emergency plumbing assistance in any case where the burst pipe is causing a significant leak. Not only will we assist you with the main water valve if needed, we’ll also provide expertise and direction on several other potential areas while you wait for our plumbers to arrive, some of which we’ll go over in our subsequent sections.

Drain Pipes

Once the main water valve has been shut off, our plumbers may walk you through the pipe-draining process to remove any leftover water. This is usually very simple, involving nothing more than just flushing each toilet in the home and running the cold-water side of every faucet until it runs dry. If further steps are needed here, our plumbers will walk you through them.

Other Turnoff Areas

There are also a couple other important turnoff areas to be aware of if you have a plumbing pipe burst:

  • Hot water heater: Once the system is shut down, our plumbers will show you how to bleed the hot water from all faucets in the home plus shut down the hot water heater.
  • Electricity: If there’s any pooling water risk at all, shut off your fuse box quickly to avoid electricity risks.

For more on how to respond if you’ve identified a plumbing pipe burst in your home, or to learn about any of our plumbing repair, furnace replacement or other services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.