Humidifiers Can Help Relieve Your Allergy Symptoms

If you suffer from allergies, you know their symptoms can make life miserable. Obviously you’d be interested in anything that can bring you relief, and that’s why you may want to seriously consider buying at humidifier for your home.

What Is a Humidifier and How Does it Work?

Humidifiers are electrically-powered machines that use various methods to turn liquid water into vapor. The vapor is spread across adjacent rooms, moisturizing the air and raising relative indoor humidity in the process. Humidifiers are commonly employed during the winter time in cold climates, where excessive dryness of the air is a constant problem, and all year round in arid or desert climates where the air is chronically lacking in moisture.

Point-of-use humidifiers are portable devices that can be moved from room to room and are generally appropriate for any house or apartment. But another type of unit, known as a whole-house humidifier, disperses much larger quantities of moisturized air from a centralized location. Whole-house humidifiers are used in both commercial and residential settings.

How Do Humidifiers Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Allergy attacks can dry out the throat or nasal linings even as they clog sinuses. Excessively dry air will only exacerbate the trouble, making this type of allergic reaction more severe than it otherwise might be.

Boosting indoor humidity can help eliminate most of this unpleasant dryness, and humidifiers are extremely efficient at doing this. Good-quality units usually include a control device called a hygrometer, and if you set it to produce relative indoor humidity of somewhere between 40 and 49 percent it should bring you almost instant relief. Colds and the flu often manifest in the same way as allergies, so humidifiers can also make you feel better when you’re sick.

Some allergies cause rashes or itchiness, which is also related to excessive dryness (of the skin in this case). People who suffer from eczema also experience much more intense and frequent outbreaks of this disorder when the air is dry. But higher humidity levels works as a remedy to skin allergies and eczema; comfortably humid air can moisturize the skin even more effectively than many over-the-counter topical creams designed to treat dry skin conditions.

One word of caution: if you let your indoor humidity get too high (50 percent or more), it can encourage the breeding of dust mites and the growth of mold, both of which are frequently responsible for allergic reactions. When using a humidifier for allergy relief you have to be careful not to overdo it.

Common Types of Humidifier

Evaporative humidifiers rely on the forces of nature (evaporation, in other words) to moisturize a home’s air gradually, while vaporizing humidifiers use an extra energy input to convert water directly to steam. Point-of-use and whole-house units both require the regular replenishment of water supplies in order to keep functioning, as do impeller and ultrasonic humidifiers, a couple of other options you may want to investigate.

Fighting Allergies with Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air

If you or a family member suffers from allergies, adding a humidifier to your home’s climate management system may be the perfect solution.

In Palo Alto and surrounding cities, we encourage you to visit Palo Alto Plumbing, Heating and Air if you’re in the market for a humidifier. We offer a complete line of outstanding humidifiers from Bryant, the preeminent name in the HVAC/air quality management industry. Contact us today and we’ll help you choose the best style, size and model of humidifier for your home—or for your place of business, if that is where you need it.

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Troubleshooting Water Heater Problems

Most of the time the cause of water heater problems is revealed with little or no troubleshooting. For instance, if your heater is not heating the water, there is a leak around the heater or it makes a strange gurgling or popping sound when opened, its evident that there is something wrong with your water heater. Gas utility companies will normally makes a free house call if the problem has to do with supply of gas to the tank or the gas water heater’s burner, but you are on your own when it comes to other problems with the water heater. So you should do yourself a favor and learn as much about solving basic water heater problems as you can. For those intricate and technical problems you should definitely call a qualified water heater person to assist you.

One of the most common problems with water heaters is that it doesn’t heat water. In other cases, it either heats the water up too much or doesn’t heat it hot enough. The first and most obvious solution in this case would be to adjust the temperature dial. If this fails to solve the problem, then you should try a few more potential solutions. Usually the culprit when it comes to not enough hot water, is a undersized or small water heater. If you enjoy soaking in the tub and taking long showers you may need to invest in a larger water heater. If you notice that the water is too hot, you should attempt to adjust the temperature dial. Wait a few hours and see if there is a change in the water temperature. If hot water starts shooting out of the faucet,or you can hear the water boiling inside the heater, it could mean that the heater is not switching off at its required or set temperature.

There are many ways in which you can keep an eye on your water heater. You may attempt to adjust the temperature dial and do certain things to fix the problem with your water heater, provided that it is safe to do. Follow us for more useful information on how to save money.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Water Heater

Modern household water heaters are expected to operate for 8 – 12 years. Unfortunately, many water heaters never last this long due to lack of water heater maintenance. This means many people never get the most out of their water heaters. The following tips may help resolve this problem.

 

i) Flush the Water Heater Regularly

Flushing is the process of removing sediments, impurities and dirty water that may settle at the bottom of the water heater tank. It entails draining water through the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, running more cold water into the tank and repeating the process until clean water comes out. Flushing can be done as a DIY project, but hiring a professional is recommended if you know little about water heaters.

 

ii) Insulate the Heater Properly

The efficiency and performance of your water heater depends on the type of insulation you have. The insulating material reduces heat loss to the surrounding, so your heated water can stay hotter for longer. In addition to insulating the water tank, be sure to also insulate hot water pipes running from the heater to faucets and shower heads. Proper insulation can save you a lot of money in the long run.

iii) Inspect the Anode Rod Regularly

The anode rod in your heater is responsible for maintaining cleanliness in the water heater. It is normally located in the upper section of the water heater. Ideally, you should check the anode rod annually and replace it if necessary.

 

iv) Adjust the Temperature Setting Accordingly

Water heaters normally come with a default setting of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is just too hot. In fact, most homeowners would live comfortably with a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering the temperature setting will not only lower your energy bill, but also improve the performance of your water heater.

 

v) Check the Rated Life Expectancy

Knowing when your water heater is expected to expire is crucial as it will enable you to start making early preparations for a replacement.

Water heater maintenance can help you get the most out of your water heater. It will also reduce your monthly heating bill as well as extend the lifespan of your water heater. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Water Heater

Water heaters are one of the larger and more expensive appliances in a home. They are typically placed in an inconspicuous location within the home, such as a corner in the basement. The location can be the root of an “out of sight, out of mind,” attitude that often results in neglecting the ongoing condition of a water heater.

Homeowners typically get a wake-up call when a shower turns cold due to an irreparable water heater that needs to be replaced. The silver lining will generally be the purchase of a much more energy efficient model that will, in the long run, save money to the homeowner. There are other elements to consider before making a water heater shopping trip.

Tank Or Tankless

Tank or tankless water heaters can operate with gas or electric, and both are available in sizes that are dependent on the water capacity that is needed for a particular home. Conventional tank water heaters should coincide with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms within a home. Tankless models are purchased on the basis of a predetermined flow rate measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The flow rates for fixtures or appliances that are primarily used in a home are combined with the expected water temperatures for each function to determine the necessary size of a tankless unit. Hybrid water heaters operate with electric and are more expensive at the time of purchase, but save money over the course of a year. Modern technology allows a heat pump to draw in surrounding air and use extracted heat to provide water at warmer temperatures.

Energy factor

Energy efficiency should be a primary concern to save on cost and overall energy use. Water heaters with an energy factor (EF) closest to 1 will be the most efficient.

Other Desired Features

Once a water heater is chosen, its dimensions should be taken into consideration for an ideal fit. Larger units might need additional plumbing. Remember to pay close attention to other options such as self cleaning, which will promote the longevity of a water heater. A quick recovery speed indicates how quickly a tank of water will be heated and an auto shutoff valve can prevent a catastrophic fire when using a gas-operated water heater. Take time to thoroughly research available water heaters while contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of each model.

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Tankless Water Heater Installation

If you are planning on installing a tankless water heater, it is important for you to learn more about the system and what the installation will entail. Many people may have questions about the tankless water heater installation process, whether to know what to choose or determine what questions they need to ask HVAC professionals. Consider some of the following things that you can learn more about to help you with the process.

To begin, many people will want to know what the tankless water heater is in the first place. A tankless water heater is a compact, powerful device that provides your home with a steady flow of hot water. It will provide this for as long as your home needs it. There are many different types of tankless heaters that you can purchase based on the way that they operate. Some are powered by electricity, while others by a different heating process. Electric models are among the most popular purchased for homes of all sizes.

Another question that many people have is whether the heating system can be installed in the same place as the old hot water heater. The truth is that the installation place does not matter so long as there is enough provided combustion air. Most tankless water heaters can be installed in places such as utility rooms, basements, attic,s garages, or even simply around an outside wall. They can be installed in more compact locations, where other storage water heaters may not fit. This makes them invaluable in smaller homes, as the digital display can be installed anywhere, and still be functionally connected to the unit itself, providing you with the control you need.

Finally, people will typically ask about the costs that come with installing such a heater. While these heaters may cost more at the initial purchase, one of the top reasons for their purchase is the fact that they can save you money in the long term. Contact us today to see how these systems can help you save on your energy bills, while enjoying a faster, more efficient service.

How To Know If You Need A New Hot Water Heater

If you’ve never had to purchase a hot water heater for your home, you may not know when to replace your water heater. Home water heaters that are built with a traditional tank have an average lifespan of 10-13 years, so if yours is within this range, it may be time to have it replaced.

Other signs to help you know when to replace your hot water heater include:

Water Heater is Leaking
If your hot water heater is leaking, it will need to be replaced. Modern hot water heaters are designed with insulation between the tank and the outer shell. If a substantial amount of water is leaking from this inner tank, the heater cannot be repaired easily

Low Volume of Hot Water
If you find that you frequently run out of hot water in the middle of a shower, or that you don’t have enough hot water for more than one person in your home to shower, you may need to have your water heater serviced or replaced. In some cases, the problem may be an element or thermostat. In this case, your heater may be able to be repaired. However, depending on age, it may be simpler and less expensive to just replace the unit.

Circuit Breaker is Tripping Frequently
Older hot water heaters may pull too much electrical current as they begin to wear out. This malfunction can increase your electrical bill, but it may also cause the circuit breaker that the heater is on to trip frequently. If you notice that your hot water heater is frequently tripping your circuit breaker, it may be time to look into having a new one installed.

It can be difficult, as a homeowner, to determine when to replace your water heater. If you have any doubt about whether your heater is working correctly, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You don’t have to live with a limited supply of hot water, high electric bills, or a breaker that trips constantly. Instead, call us for all of your water heater maintenance and replacement needs. We’ll evaluate your heater and help you make the choice that’s right for your individual situation.

3 Ways to Clear a Dishwasher Drain Line

The reasons why homeowners install dishwashers in their home are obvious. They provide you with freedom from the monotonous and arduous job of washing dishes many times a day. People, however, forget the importance of properly maintaining their dishwasher though. Of all the conveniences in the modern home today, the one that makes life the easiest and saves a great deal of time is the kitchen dishwasher. Life can be really great when your dishwasher is operating as it should. However, when it malfunctions or loses efficiency in cleaning, this can really have an impact on your personal efficiency.

There is a filtration system to dishwashers that do require frequent cleaning, specifically if you do not pre-rinse or scrape your dishes. Your dishwasher maintenance will depend on how you use it and treat it. If you do not scrape or pre-rinse your dishes, you should clean the filter once monthly. If you look at the floor of your appliance, you will locate the filter and can remove it to clear away any debris or food particles with a soft brush. Then simply rinse and reinstall it. For the dishwashers that have bigger clogs that are stubborn and require more than just an easy filter clean, you need to take other steps. Your sink drain, garbage disposal and dishwasher do the majority of your dirty kitchen work and to keep them running efficiently and smelling fresh you can take a few simple steps.

1. Clear Garbage Disposal

Many times, your dishwasher’s water drains from the garbage disposal. In this case, you will need to clear your disposal often to allow the water to pass through it freely. If you have a full disposal, it can make the water back up and results in standing water inside the dishwasher. Be sure to loosen all clogs and completely run the garbage disposal.

2. Clean Air Gap

Many people have air gaps installed on their kitchen counters next to the sink faucets which will prevent sink water from backing up into dishwasher. If there is buildup in this air gap, it may cause improper draining from your dishwasher. One way to spot an air gap that is clogged is if water floods on your countertop. You ca simply take the cap off of your air gap and remove all debris.

3. Use Homemade Solution to Break Up Clogs

If you see a clog in your dishwasher drain and it causes the water to back up, try some baking soda, vinegar and hot water to loosen up and break the clog. First, add the vinegar and baking soda solution to the dishwasher basket at the bottom. Let it sit for around 15 minutes and then pour in some hot water (boiling) to the basket to clear away the clog.

Regular dishwasher maintenance is important to get good operation from your dishwasher and extend its lifespan. You should set up a weekly and monthly maintenance schedule. Preventative care, even in small amounts, will help save on expensive repairs or even a dishwasher replacement later on.

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3 tips to clear a clogged toilet

 

A clogged toilet can ruin one’s day, especially if the clog continues to stop up your toilet. Sometimes a clogged toilet can remain stopped up and if you only have one toilet in your home, this can be a major problem. It is important for home owners to have access to many different methods of clearing a clogged toilet as different items can cause different clogging issues. Below are three different options for clearing a toilet, so you can quickly have a commode that is back in action!

Plunger Method

The most common option that home owners use for a clogged toilet is the plunger method. Every home owner should have a plunger in the home to use for a clogged toilet. To use the plunger you will need to carefully place the open end on the inside of the toilet. If the toilet is full of water, do this as easily as you can so that little to no water moves from the inside of the toilet to your floor. Once you have the plunger over the opening inside the toilet bowl, use pressure to push down on the plunger and then pull up slowly. Do this several times until the clog becomes unstuck and the water rushes down the drain.

Toilet Auger

Another option is a toilet auger. An auger can be purchased from a home department store and has a very minimal cost. Auger is the technical term but is more commonly known as a drain snake. This option is a cord like apparatus and is placed inside the drain. You then use a crank and push the snake up the drain to remove the clog. This snake can move up the drain and pull or push the clog to clear the way for the water to be removed from the toilet.

Wet Vac Method

Another option that can be tried is the wet vac method. A wet vacuum can be used to suck the water out of the toilet and then be placed down the opening to try and remove the clog. This will work if the clog is hair or paper. Simply turn the wet vac on and try this method if you do not have luck with the other options.
These are just a few of the unclogging methods which can be used to remove a clog from your toilet. Always practice caution and if all else fails, contact your local plumber to take care of your plumbing needs!

How to maintain your plumbing system in the winter months

If you are not prepared, the winter can hit your family hard and cause massive problems to your home’s plumbing system. It is best to be ready for that temperature drop so you do not experience frozen pipes and broken water lines.

Leak Problems

The first step to winterizing your plumbing is fixing any leaks. What might seem as a small problem, can end up cause big problems when the temperatures drop. This includes lines that just seem to have water seep out slowly. When the temperatures drop, that water will then freeze. It will also freeze on the hose and cause it to become brittle. Even if you insulate your pipes, check for any and all leaks prior to winter arrival.

Insulation

The next step is to make sure all of your lines have been insulated. You will need to go up in your attic and under your crawl space to make sure those lines are insulated, as they are at the greatest risk to freeze. Insulating is very simple, just wrap insulation foam around the pipe and you are good to go. The foam is inexpensive and is found in most retail locations.

Sprinkler Systems

If you have a swamp cooler or sprinkler systems, these will also need to be dealt with prior to the cold weather coming. With swamp coolers, you will want to turn off the water and power, the drain all the water out. Do not forget to drain the supply line as well. Then simply cover the cooler and wait for spring. With sprinkler systems, you will want to turn off the water and then turn on each valve to release any collected water in the line.

Water Main

You will want to make sure you know where your water main is in case you do have a water line break. If you do not know where this is, you will be left panicking when you have a burst pipe and cannot shut the water off. The longer it is before the water is turned off, the more damage the burst pipe can do.

One great preventative measure you can take is by insulating the pump house. This will prevent your lines from freezing. To insulate the pump house, you will want to make sure that all exposed pipes are insulated and to install a heat source to keep the temperature of the pump house above freezing all winter long.

With these simple steps, the likelihood of you having winter problems with your plumbing lessens. This is never a guarantee, but you will have protected yourself against anything catastrophic. The most important thing during the winter is if you experience a burst pipe, do not panic, but rather shut the water off and locate the source. Winterizing your house to protect your plumbing does not mean you do not need to take precautions before going on trips, such as having your faucets drip. You do not ever want to turn the water off prior to vacations because it will cause the lines to freeze.