Category Archives: HVAC

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning are the components of HVAC. With such a wide range in services, we have seen a lot of things that can help homeowners. These articles will show you all the tips and tricks needed fro HVAC maintenance. Why should you get an AC tune up each year, setting up multiple zones in your home, and ductless cooling benefits are a few of the articles that can help your home HVAC system. My Plumber CA can help customers in all categories of HVAC. Weather you are in need of AC repair, furnace repair, or air filter replacement, give us a call! We offer free estimates and can schedule appointments today.

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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.

Why You Need an AC Tune Up Each Year

Your air conditioner is probably the most important piece of machinery in your home. If you’re not convinced, just think about how you’d feel if your AC unit puttered out on the hottest day of the summer. Opening windows and turning on fans just won’t cut it. You’ll be sweating and miserable in no time.

To make sure your air conditioner is humming all season long, you need to get it serviced each year. A San Diego AC tune up will make sure that everything is working properly, the air filter and condenser coils are cleaned, and the refrigerant is at a healthy level.

Even small problems with your air conditioner, such as a dirty air filter, can reduce its efficiency. The unit will have to work harder, and you’ll start getting bigger energy bills. The energy savings alone will pay for the cost of the tune up and then some.

Protect Against AC Repairs

In addition to lowering your energy bills, a yearly AC tune up can protect you from potentially expensive Air Conditioner repairs or replacement. Your technician will be able to identify small issues before they become major problems, saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

San Diego Air Conditioning Tune Up, Repair, and Instal

My Plumber provides a comprehensive yet affordable tune up that will keep your air conditioner in top shape all season long. Our basic tune up includes:My Plumber CA HVAC Tech does AC Tune Up in San Diego

  • Checking the refrigerant levels and pressure
  • Checking and cleaning air filters
  • Diagnosing the source of leaks (if leaks are present)
  • Cleaning the condenser coils
  • Inspecting the fan blade
  • Measuring the temperature difference from the supply to the return

We also offer a full HVAC tune up that includes 21 points of inspection. In addition to the services provided in the basic tune up, you also get:

  • Full check up of all electrical connections
  • Complete inspection of all coils, drains and duct work
  • Full inspection of the capacitor
  • Calibration of the thermostat
  • Lubrication of all moving parts

The experienced professionals at My Plumber will make sure that your air conditioner is in fighting shape for the summer. We’ll identify any issues before they become major problems, helping you to save money and ensuring uninterrupted service all summer long for your San Diego AC.

Call us today to find out about our current specials and learn how we can save you even more money.

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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Why Zoning May Not Be the Best Option for Your Home

With humidity and temperatures on the rise each summer, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated. Your home may be difficult to cool down, especially if you live in the inland or desert areas of California. Luckily air conditioning, better known by the acronym AC, allows for the ventilation of cool, clean air throughout your home with a touch of a button. Most air conditioning units allow you to control the temperature, intensity, and duration of operation. The EIA reported that air conditioning systems are present in 87% of homes in the United States alone. Certainly, AC has become a luxury many people aren’t willing to forgo.

What is Zoning?

Replacing an air filterEver since modern air conditioning systems were invented in 1902, manufacturers have attempted to modify units to be energy efficient and friendly to the environment, with relative success. The Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling amount to 40 percent of the average home’s utility costs, so energy efficient air conditioning systems will not only help the environment, but your wallet too. Some energy saving features that are present in current air conditioning systems are being able to detect when a set temperature is reached, powering off automatically to reduce energy waste, and running for a certain time period, which eliminates the problem of overuse.

A popular method that companies advertise will save you money is called zoning. Zoning involves the installation of multiple air vents and thermostats that wire to a universal control panel. The consumer can determine what rooms or zones (depending on the home’s layout and needs) receive cool air. This system may be attractive to people who feel some rooms in their home are stuffier than others and wish for more ventilation in those rooms as opposed to their entire house. For example, you may not want to waste money and energy air conditioning the guest room in your home if that room is empty. Depending on the size of your home, multiple air conditioning units may be necessary to keep up with the energy demand and delegate air to the different zones. Essentially, zoning does allow for more control over the distribution of air conditioning throughout your home, but may also require a costly installation and energy bill, if not used properly.

Zoning in on Energy Inefficiency

Woman needs more air conditioningWhile the concept of zoning is certainly a step in the right direction for energy efficiency, the way zoning is currently being implemented in homes is contradictory to the promise of energy efficiency.  The main problem with zoning is the need for multiple AC systems. Having multiple air conditioning units responsible for cooling one home is excessive and will result in a costly upfront installation fee. Furthermore, what happens if one unit breaks before the other? Do you only fix one unit or replace them both at the same time? It’s a vicious cycle of replacing and reinstalling that will eat up your wallet. Instead of adding more air conditioning units to cool your home, it may be more effective to update other areas of your home to allow better ventilation and circulation. For example, poor ductwork and insulation in your home prohibit the cool air to flow from your AC system and through your vents. In other words, the route that the cool air travels through is not adequately sealed to allow the air to flow through your vents and reach you. Updating the ductwork and insulation is usually a one-time expense that can have a major impact. An alternative to multiple units is installing adjustable vents that you may close in certain rooms. These vents will prohibit air from flowing into rooms you don’t want and allow more air to flow in the rooms you do want. Finally, something as simple as closing your blinds and windows while running your air conditioning will allow the air to stay in your home more effectively. Zoning may not be the best option for every consumer, so be sure to investigate other options before purchasing or updating your current AC system.

 

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The Ductless Mini Split – Heating and Cooling for the 21st Century

If you are looking for a way to bring your heating and cooling into the 21st century, the ductless mini split might be exactly what you are looking for. It is a great solution for those of you who are putting on additions or looking for a way to turn a sun room into a year round paradise.

What is a Ductless Mini Split?

A ductless mini split system is composed of both an outdoor compressor and condenser system and one or more indoor evaporator and blower units. The indoor units may be mounted on any wall or in the ceiling. There are even hidden units available that fit in seamlessly with your décor.

How is it different than a window or portable air conditioner?

Mini splits don’t have to be mounted inside a window casing or through an exterior wall. They can be mounted anywhere within the living space. Additionally, because the compressor is located outdoors, the mini split is much quieter than a window or portable air conditioning system.

Why is it better than a central air system?

Most central air units are set to cool an entire home. Unless you have a zoned system, ductless mini splits are the best way to condition individual portions of the home as needed. Multiple indoor blower units allow you to only cool the areas that are occupied and not waste cooling power on vacant spaces.
Ductless systems also save energy by putting the cooling source directly in the room instead of in a centralized location. Up to 30% of all cooling energy can be lost in the ductwork of a traditional system. This waste is eliminated in the ductless system. This has made it possible for some ductless units to achieve SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) values of 27 and higher, making them some of the most efficient HVAC options available.

Do I Need an Inverter System?

Units with an inverter system run a variable speed motor. This allows them to deliver cooling at the rate necessary for the conditioned area. This can lead to a saving of up to 30% over older units without an inverter system. Inverters aren’t necessary, but they will lower your cooling bill significantly while also keeping the humidity in your home at a comfortable level.

What About Air Filtration?

One of the first questions we get about ductless systems is “where is the air filter?” The answer – there is an ion filer in each blower unit. These ion filters are similar to those on window air conditioners and remove odors, pollen, dust and dander just like traditional filters.

Can a Ductless Mini Split Be Used for Heating?

Since it doesn’t get too cold here in San Diego, units with electric heaters are often the mini splits of choice. There are also heat pumps that work with mini split systems. These forced air systems are often used instead of older baseboard heaters in the area.

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Indoor Air Quality is Nothing to Sneeze At

In the rush to make all of our homes ultra efficient by sealing air leaks and creating an air-tight home environment, we have run into an unintended consequence – indoor air quality problems. The air quality inside our homes can be up to six times worse than the air outside. That’s six times the number of potential allergens and respiratory irritants.

Amber Wood, a program manager at the National Association of Home Builders Research Center puts it in layman’s terms, “You don’t have as much fresh air coming in, plus you’re bringing in all kinds of chemicals that are part of your furniture or are tracked in on the bottom of your shoes.” We’re bringing it in but it can’t get out.

Listen to the EPA

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the immediate effects of indoor air pollution can include, “irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.” Most of these will cease once you have left the polluted area. This is how you can tell the difference between an indoor air pollution problem and a head cold. The EPA also suggests that long term exposure can be linked to certain types of cancer, respiratory illness and heart disease.

People with asthma, humidity fevers or hypersensitivity pneumonitis can have their symptoms flare up after being in a home with poor indoor air quality. There is good news, though. A few changes to your monthly routine can lead to much better indoor-air quality and fewer days of sniffling and sneezing.

For Better Indoor Air Quality Buy a Better Furnace Filter Today

The first place to start to control indoor air pollution is with your air handler system. Consider purchasing a furnace filter with a MERV rating of 13. This will filter out over 90% of all allergens on a single pass. Higher rated filters are designed for commercial air handlers and can compromise the air flow in your residential system and lead to poor air filtration. Filters with lower ratings will not collect as many airborne particles and could even allow certain smaller irritants to pass clean through.

Vacuum With the Furnace Fan On

If you have an older vacuum or one without HEPA filtration, make sure you have your furnace fan turned on when you vacuum. The act of vacuuming stirs up dust in the carpet and sends it airborne. Not all of it gets sucked in by the vacuum. When you turn on the fan only mode of your furnace, the fan will suck dirty air through the return vents to the filtration system.

Purchase a New Vacuum

Consider a canister style HEPA filtered vacuum with both hard floor and carpet modes. The hard floor mode will turn off the spin brush while you are on hard surfaces so the dust won’t be kicked up into the air and reduce your indoor air quality. The HEPA filter will collect even the smallest debris and eave little, or no airborne particles. Empty the canister outdoors to prevent dust clouds from hovering in your home.

Use a Dusting Spray

If you dust with a dry rag all you are doing is moving dust from one place to another. Instead of letting it get airborne, use an electrostatic dusting spray or a misting bottle to create an adhesive surface on the dust. You’ll pick up more dust that way and less of it will be floating around to attack your nose.

Wash Your Sheets Every Week

If you are like the typical American you spend almost a third of your day in your bed. That means you are dropping skin cells on your pillow and bed sheets there more than anywhere else. This is food for dust mites. Dust mite excretions are one of the most prevalent lung irritants in the home and causes horrible indoor air quality in the bedroom. Washing your sheets and pillow cases in hot water once a week will keep the concentration of dust mites to a minimum and leave you sleeping more soundly.

Corey K is a very knowledgeable technician

My Plumber CA
Written by: Cory K
Date Published: 02/11/2015
Corey K is a very knowledgeable technician. Over a three day period, he went above and beyond the call of duty. He thoroughly assessed our plumbing and gas leak problems, plainly explained and discussed the options, completed the work as directed in a very timely manner, and cleaned up after himself at the end of each shift. He took great pride in his work, and was highly personable while retaining a superior level of professionalism. He gained my confidence to such a degree that I also asked him for a second opinion about our water heater tank, which a former My Plumber employer had diagnosed as problematic. It turned out that the situation was more seriously dangerous than we realized. With Corey's expert guidance we picked a new tankless heater as a replacement and decided on its location. After making a few trips to gather the new equipment, he installed the heater in record time with minimal complications. During the course of the three days Corey worked for us, my husband and I also brought up the topic of our air conditioning and heating situation, which was being handled by another company. He explained the benefits of a coordinated maintenance plan for plumbing, cooling and heating, and explained how My Plumber could help us with such a plan. He asked his colleague in charge of cooling and heating to visit us while Corey was still working. His colleague analyzed the situation and clearly talked with us about options.. Again we were very impressed with the professionalism, knowledge, and good nature of yet another My Plumber staff member. We ultimately decided that it would be in our best interest to shift A/C and furnace maintenance to My Plumber. My Plumber is not the least expensive of plumbing, heating and cooling companies available in San Diego, but the fees are reasonable considering the high level of technical and public service that Corey and his colleagues provide. Kudos to the company for hiring such able employees!! I highly recommend them without hesitation.
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