Category Archives: Heating

My Plumber CA has seen so many different problems and questions with home heating, that we have started posting more information to answer some of your questions. As wth cooler temperature starts in the fall, make sure you check your furnace today. See more information about the dangers of a cracked heat exchange, and the dangers of carbon monoxide. With all of that information, if you still need a professional heater repair technician, call My Plumber CA today. With free estimates, we can get the job done quickly and properly.

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Should I Turn Off My Furnace in Spring?

MyPlumberCA technician preforming Furnace Repair and Maintenance As the weather changes and the air begins to warm up outside, you might have caught yourself wondering – should I turn off my furnace in spring? By turning it off, we don’t just mean setting the thermostat to the off setting. You can also turn off the pilot light itself, which burns gas as long as it is lit.

So why waste gas (and money) all summer long?

Learn more about the benefits and potential drawbacks of turning off your furnace for spring, and how to turn off your furnace for the season if you choose to do so.

The Benefits

Whether you have an electric or gas furnace, turning off your heater in spring has several obvious benefits.

    1. Save cash.

It costs money to keep your pilot light lit. By turning off your pilot light for spring and summer, you can save $50 (or more if you have multiple heating units) per year. While that might not seem like much, $40 is enough to cover a full tank of gas for your next family road trip. And who doesn’t like free money?

    1. Save energy.

Along with consuming your dollars, your pilot light feeds on a steady supply of gas. One pilot light uses about 900 to 1200 BTUs (British thermal units) per hour. Keep in mind that your pilot light doesn’t turn off and on – it stays constantly lit, and therefore is constantly using energy.

  1. Avoid accidentally heating your home.

Furnace repair and Maintenance by MyPlumberCADoes your furnace sometimes have a mind of its own? Or do your kids think it’s “fun” to play with the thermostat? If you turn off your pilot light and gas supply to your furnace, you don’t have to worry about coming home to a house that has warmed itself up to 90 degrees this spring.

The Drawbacks

One potential drawback of turning off your furnace in spring is that you’ll have to relight it again come fall. If your pilot light is easily accessible, this is no problem. If your pilot light has given you troubles in the past, then you’ll have to contact a professional to come and relight it for you.

I Want to Turn Off My Furnace this Spring – How Do I Do It?

So you’ve decided that you want to turn off your furnace for spring. You’ve come to the right place! Follow these steps to safely turn off your furnace and save some dough this season.

  1. Turn off the gas supply. The shut off valve for your furnace’s gas line is usually located near the pilot light itself. Turn the shut off valve so that it is perpendicular to the supply line, forming an L shape. This means that the gas supply to your pilot light is off, and you should see the flame disappear.
  2. Check your air filters. Now is a good time to remove your used air filters and replace with new ones.
  3. Check the surrounding area. Make sure that the furnace is clear of debris and other fire hazards.
  4. Check your carbon monoxide detector. Make sure it is on and fully functioning to ensure your safety.
  5. Have a professional perform a full inspection. It doesn’t hurt to have a professional come and check to make sure your furnace is in good condition before you forget about it all through the spring and summer months.

Remember – if you need any assistance in turning off your furnace this spring, call your local [heating and air conditioning professionals].

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DIY Heater Checkup for Fall and Winter

Do you want to be fully prepared for fall and winter? Then take a look at our tips below for your DIY furnace checkup for fall and winter.

  1. Do you have extra filters? It’s always a great idea to stock up on filters for your furnace. Depending on the filter type, you should change it every 1-3 months to maintain optimum air quality and reduce strain on your heater.
  2. Have you changed the furnace filter recently? Remember that when you first turn on your heater for the winter season, you should change the filter.
  3. Do you have things sitting next to the furnace? Your furnace needs room to breathe, so make sure that you don’t have any boxes, blankets, clothing items, furniture, or other household objects resting up against your heater. There should be a few inches of empty space on all sides of the furnace, and make sure nothing flammable is stored nearby.
  4. Have you checked the air vents or ducts? The air vents and ducts can become packed with debris when not in frequent use. Make sure to have a professional heating and air technician inspect and clean out your air ducts as needed.
  5. Are all the registers open? Your house won’t get any warmer if you have the registers in every room closed. Make sure to check that the registers are open and to clean off any visible debris from the vents.
  6. Do you have a gas furnace? Make sure you have enough gas for the colder months! Try to fill up far in advance to avoid higher gas prices.
  7. Do you have a hot water radiator? Have a heating technician bleed the valves on your hot water radiator. This gets rid of trapped air, which prevents your radiator from heating your home.
  8. Have you updated the schedule on your automatic thermostat? If you plan on leaving your heater on all day, but won’t be home to adjust the temperature as needed, then having a programmable thermostat is a wise choice. You should set the heater so that it doesn’t go on as frequently at night when you are sleeping cozily in your bed. This will reduce your energy usage and save you money on your winter heating bills.
  9. Are you enrolled in a bi-annual or quarterly maintenance program? We ALWAYS recommend that our customers enroll in a regular furnace maintenance program. Our heating and air technicians can ensure that your filters are changed, ducts are cleaned, and everything is in tip top shape for the cold winter months.
  10. Is your furnace malfunctioning? If you’ve completed your checklist but have found that your furnace is malfunctioning, call our experts at My Plumber. We’ll help you to perform your furnace checkup for fall and winter!
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Tips for Your Fall Furnace Checkup in San Diego

We always recommend to our customers that they start up the furnace as fall approaches to ensure that everything is working properly. Because it has been many months since you last ran your heater, the chance that your furnace will malfunction are higher. Below are some common furnace problems you might encounter during your fall furnace checkup in San Diego.

The Furnace Won’t Turn On

If this happens to you, first check that the thermostat switch is in the on position. If it is, then check your temperature setting to make sure that it is set to a temperature higher than the current indoor temperature. Still no luck? Check the date and time of your thermostat – if you are on a program setting, then date and time will determine when the furnace turns on. Lastly, try replacing the battery on the thermostat control. If your furnace still will not turn on, have a professional check your furnace shut-off switch, breaker, and fuse.

The Air Smells Stuffy or Musty

Musty smelling air when the furnace is on is a sure indicator that you should check the air filter and change it as necessary. A clogged air filter can also cause the furnace to shut itself off until the filter is changed out.

The Furnace is On, But Only in One Room

Be sure to check the vents and registers in all rooms of your home, and clean debris from them as needed. Have a professional duct work specialist seal any leaks, which will ensure that air is not escaping somewhere other than into your rooms.

Still Not Sure What the Problem is? Try this.

If none of the above worked, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Have a tech clean out the chimney exhaust and flush the drain lines. Your heating and air technician should also check the pilot light and gas line to make sure they are on and functioning properly.

Remember – our heating technicians at My Plumber are always available to help you with your fall furnace checkup and repairs in San Diego. Call us today to schedule an inspection and get advice over the phone.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

The cold weather is rolling in and that means furnaces all across the county will be kicking on. With houses being tightly sealed, this can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide inside your home. If your furnace vent is working properly, you don’t have anything to worry about. But if there is an issue with the venting or if your furnace isn’t burning properly, carbon monoxide can quickly build up to dangerous – even deadly – levels.

Carbon monoxide is created when the furnace fuel is not completely burned. That means fuel oils, natural gas, coal, wood, kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel and charcoal can all be potential contributors to carbon monoxide. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up around furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and also around gas water heaters, generators and in the garage if you are running an automobile.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. 1,500 people die from it every year and over 10,000 more are treated for symptoms at hospitals. Most of this is because the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of common ailments like the flu.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

If you think you or your family are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, seek immediate medical attention.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The best way to protect your family from this type of poisoning is to install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. If you cannot afford to put one on every level, place one in your sleeping area so it will wake you if there is a build-up while you are sleeping.

In addition to getting carbon monoxide detectors for your home, having a yearly furnace check and tune up is highly recommended. We will check your furnace for carbon monoxide off-gasing as well as for problems in your plenum and heat exchanger units. We’ll also check gas burning appliances like your water heater and dryer to make sure there are no leaks their either. If you have any questions about carbon monoxide, or need your furnace checked call My Plumber CA at (619) 447-5556 today.

 

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It’s Time for that Furnace Tune Up!

It’s September and time to get your furnace tuned up so you can comfortably enjoy the winter months without your heating costs burning a hole in your wallet. The average cost of heating a San Diego home runs about $800 a year. A well tuned furnace can significantly lower that cost.

What is a Furnace Tune Up?

Your heating system consists of three different parts, a thermostat, a blower and the combustion chamber. The thermostat measures the temperature in your home and activates the combustion chamber and blower when necessary. The combustion chamber provides the heating needed and the blower pushes air through the system to bring it into the living areas of your home. Having each of these components inspected, cleaned and repaired now will prevent you from having a breakdown during the cold winter months.

Get a Full Inspection

During our furnace tune up service, we’ll inspect your system looking for soot or other combustion residue in the combustion chamber. We’ll turn up the thermostat and check for steady blue flames (yellow or orange flames indicate incomplete burning and the potential for dangerous off-gasing). If there is a problem in the burn chamber, we will clean out the chamber and the gas delivery system.

Checking The Blower Motor

We will also clean the blower motor and fan blades to remove any built up dirt and debris to return it to optimal efficiency. We will also make sure to oil any moving parts (oil cups at the end of the central shaft) so everything is in working order.

Good Air Flow is Essential

We will inspect your fan belt and determine if it needs to be replaced. Cracked belts, or belts that show signs of slack will be repaired. We will also make sure you have a brand new furnace filter in place. This is one of the most important parts of the system. A dirty filter can inhibit air flow and reduce the efficiency of your furnace.

Heat Exchanger Danger

Our team of specialists will also inspect your heat exchanger for rust or deterioration. These issues are serious because they allow dangerous gases, like carbon monoxide, to build up in your living spaces. Any problems with your heat exchanger or chimney system will be addressed promptly. Even if there are not problems, we suggest that you install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home to protect yourself and your family from potentially deadly gas build-ups.

Call us now to schedule your furnace tune-up before old man winter makes his debut in the San Diego area.

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Don’t Wait on Gas Line Repair in San Diego

As the go-to plumbers in San Diego, My Plumber CA deals with minor annoyances like leaky faucets and running toilets every day. We love to joke about how these things happen, but there is one repair that we never joke about: gas line repair.  That’s because natural gas line leaks can be extremely dangerous. Any build-up of gas in a closed area can lead to a potential explosion. Usually you’ll be alerted to a leaky pipe by the smell of rotten eggs. Natural gas is odorless and colorless, but utility companies add butyl mercaptan to make it smell. The smell may be annoying, but it is extremely important.

Large Gas Line Leaks

If you can smell the gas, the build-up is strong enough to be dangerous. Do all the following to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

  • Don’t attempt to locate the leak.
  • Don’t turn anything on or off.  Flicking a switch can cause a spark that may ignite the gas.
  • Don’t smoke or use any open flames.
  • Leave the house and call the emergency utility line at 1-800-411-7343 for San Diego Gas & Electric  or 1-800-427-2200 for Southern California Gas Company  to get the gas shut off immediately.
  • Call us for a gas line repair service.

Slow Gas Line Leaks

Just because you can’t smell rotten eggs doesn’t mean that you don’t have a gas leak. Slow leaks can develop over time if the initial installation of the gas lines was not done to code or if damage has occurred to the pipes (which happens from time to time in the braided stainless steel pipes used on gas dryers).

We cover all gas line repair & installation in San Diego, including gas hoses

If you and your family members are all suffering headaches and dizziness when in a particular area of the home, you might have a slow leak. Children and the elderly will usually be affected first. Nausea and trouble breathing may also occur in cases of extended exposure. If you notice these short-term effects, have professional plumber come out and use a robotic sniffer to detect and repair the gas line leak. If you don’t catch the leak soon enough, long-term damage can result in epilepsy, pneumonia, memory loss, depression, claustrophobia, seizures and heart problems.

Be proactive. This is a case of better safe than sorry. We want you and your family to be safe in your home. If you have more questions about gas line repair or other plumbing issues, contact the professionals at My Plumber CA right away, or visit our gas line repair page. We’re San Diego’s go to plumbers.

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Why Cracked Heat Exchangers Are A Real Danger

As San Diego’s furnace repair pros, there’s one piece of news we never like to have to give: “You’ve got a cracked heat exchanger.”

A cracked furnace heat exchanger is a costly fix. Very often it’s more worthwhile to replace the whole furnace.

But, as tough as it is to explain to someone that they have a $5,000 problem on their hands, it’s better than the alternative — hearing that the whole family died in their sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A cracked heat exchanger is no joke.

How a furnace works is a set of heat exchangers, or hollow metal tubes, are heated from within by the open flame of propane or natural gas. Then, air is “forced” or blown over these heat exchangers, which warms the air. That air then gets circulated throughout the home, through the furnace vents.

When a heat exchanger gets cracked, the carbon monoxide (the deadly gas produced by combustion) is freed from the hollow tubes and gets mixed in with the air circulating through the house. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and vomiting.

That’s why it’s very important to have your furnace inspected by a professional every year. Not only are you protecting your family from these dangers, as well as the lesser risk of having the furnace conk out, you may be able to catch repairs early enough that you don’t have to replace the whole system.

For all your San Diego furnace repair and maintenance, call the pros at My Plumber, (619) 447-5556

 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Your home is closed tight against the outside chill and the furnace clicks on and off.Running at intervals it is designed to keep your home at a steady temperature.Your home is warm; you are cozy and safe from the wicked cold that whistles past your windows.You don’t realize it yet, but your warm, safe cocoon is slowly poisoning you and your family to death.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible but, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) it is responsible for more than 500 deaths and an incredible 15,000 hospital emergency room visits each year.Carbon monoxide is an insidious thief that steals the health, mental and emotional well being of those who are unlucky enough to inhale it.If it is not detected, carbon monoxide will steal the very life from its victims.
The most common cause for carbon monoxide poisoning is a malfunctioning automobile exhaust system, or a non-electric heat source in a home with an obstructed or malfunctioning exhaust system.Poisonings are most common during power outages when people use electric generators or drag their gas grill indoors and use them in an attempt to stay warm.However health professionals and first responders never forget that gas powered home heating systems can have a cracked heat exchanger.A cracked heat exchanger can cause a most terrible case of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is exhibited through flu-like symptoms headache, nausea and fatigue are all common.These can be followed by shortness of breath and impaired judgment. Like heat, carbon monoxide rises, so a slow poisoning from a small crack in a heat exchanger will affect those who spend the most time in the home or who sleep on the highest level of the home, then affect other family-members later. A major crack in the heat exchanger can put a whole family in a fight for their very lives in a single night.
A yearly cleaning and examination of a gas heating system will reveal a crack in the heat exchanger as well as optimize operations of a home heating system.Convincing people, that they need a pre-season checkup on their heating system, however, can prove difficult.Convincing them that a byproduct of their gas heating system is escaping into their homes and that it will kill them, is even more difficult; but it is an argument that HVAC technicians know that they can’t lose.After all lives are at stake.

A Question About Our Service

A gentleman from Accokeek Md. recently wrote to us and asked:

I am unhappy with the company that I currently have a heating and A/C repair contract with. I was wondering if you offered contracts that for an annual fee provided a heating inspection in the fall and an A/C inspection in the spring and provided a reduced cost for repairs. We have been with the same company for 8 years however the technicians they have been providing have been doing substandard work of late that resulted in our system failing 2 weeks after the inspection 3 times in a row, all due to missing problems. We are looking for a new and reliable company to provide all services for our systems.


Our Answer

Sir, we have the kind of program you are asking about, with some pretty incredible side benefits.Our Priority Club offers three preventive checks a year, one for each of your systems (heating, cooling and plumbing) in addition to a fantastic bundle of services and perks available only to you, as a Priority Club member.

Some of these services include:

  • Extended Same Day Service Hours – Call before 2PM Monday – Friday and before 10AM Saturday and Sunday
  • Waive the Plumbing Dispatch Fee
  • Double your Discounts, up to $200
  • Concierge Service! Each member gets a concierge phone number to call, and receive Priority service
  • Over $2,200 in Coupon Savings – available only to Priority Club members

You can look at our Priority Club online at our website. The address is here and if you have any questions our customer service agents will be happy to help you at 1-866-469-7586