Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. Blog : Archive for November, 2013

The History of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football or the parade, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. Beyond all that, however, there’s a fascinating history to the holiday and its traditions.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than the one we’re used to, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged.

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.”

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941 making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.  

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Reasons Your Heating is So Expensive

Monday, November 18th, 2013

We tend to expect high heating bills here in the Northeast, where winters are cold and a reliable furnace is the best way to keeping a home cozy and comfortable. When it comes to their heating system, people in Havertown PA can’t afford to let even a day go by without running the furnace or boiler. High bills seem to come with the territory. That, however, doesn’t have to be the case. If you can spot the reasons why your heating is so expensive, you can take steps to reduce that expense and save some money in the bargain.

For starters, if your furnace sits neglected for a long period of time, it’s likely to use more energy than it needs to. Dust and dirt will increase friction on moving parts, as well as creating other problems with the furnace’s components. That increases strain when it runs, forcing it to use more energy and raising your energy bills in the bargain. Moreover, it increases the risk of a serious breakdown and the attendant repair costs. You can avoid this by scheduling a regular maintenance visit to keep the unit clean and help identify small problems before they become large ones.

It could also be that your house itself is contributing to higher energy costs. Heat rises, and an attic that lacks proper insulation could be costing you a lot of heat. Similarly, cracks under the doors or around windows can leak out heat, as can windows with aluminum frames or that lack double panes. You can seal leaks yourself and talk to a trained service technician about adding insulation or more heat-efficient windows.

These kinds of additions can cost a little money up front, but you’ll see the difference in lowered monthly energy costs and improved value to your home. Knowing the reason your heating is so expensive is half the battle. Once you spot the culprits, contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. to address them. When it comes to heating, Havertown PA has a reliable resource in our trained professionals. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

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Heating Tip: Should I Replace My Old Steam System?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Boilers earned their name for a solid reason: the earliest models heated the water in their tanks until it turned into high temperature steam. This steam went through the pipes connected to the boiler to heat homes and commercial buildings. Today, however, most boilers do not raise the water temperature past the boiling point and instead use hot water to provide heat.

However, steam boilers are still around in a few places, and if there is one in your home you’ve probably asked yourself a few times if you should have it replaced with a hot water boiler.

The answer is, “Most likely.” We’ll explain in a bit more detail. If you decide to upgrade to a new boiler that uses hot water instead of steam, contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We can handle all your Springfield, PA heating needs.

Old steam boilers

Although steam boilers can provide you sufficient heat, if you have one in your home, it’s probably an old model that’s been in service more than 20-30 years. A boiler that was top-of-the-line three decades ago can have lost much of its heating efficiency no matter the care it has received, dropping from 80% AFUE into the 60%-70% AFUE range—and that means a significant energy waste. If repairs and upkeep aren’t doing anything to stem a rise in your heating bills, then it’s time to consider getting a new hot water boiler.

However, a company that repairs steam boilers, like Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc., can determine if specific repairs can restore your heating system to its best working condition—and if additional repairs won’t outweigh the cost of a full replacement, you may wish to stay with your steam boiler for a few more year.

The best way to know for certain if replacement is the best option is to have HVAC specialists analyze both the boiler and your home to see what your specific heating requirements are and if the boiler lives up to them. The technicians can perform a heat load calculation on your home, which balances various factors such as heat loss due to insulation and heat created by appliances and people, to determine how best to provide warmth to your house. A separate test on the boiler, a combustion test, will give the technicians a snapshot of the boiler’s efficiency. Based on this information, you’ll have a better idea about how well the steam boiler is working for you.

Whether you replace your old boiler with a new system, or if you decide to go the route of repairs and maintenance, you can entrust your heating in Springfield, PA to Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.. We are now moving toward our fourth decade providing people with excellent home comfort.

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The Risks of Loose Connections in Your Plumbing System

Monday, November 11th, 2013

One of the biggest threats to the plumbing in your home—and to your home in general—is leaking along the pipes. Although people tend to imagine pipe leaks as huge gouts of water spraying from holes in pipes and from broken connections, most leaks are small and difficult to detect… but just as serious a problem. Leaking that happens out of your sight will quickly begin to destroy building material, ruining drywall and plaster and warping wood. The leaks will also encourage mildew growth, which will hasten the damage. Along with all this will come much higher water bills. Even a small leak can waste 20 gallons of water a day.

For professional plumbing in Havertown, PA that will stop leaks and the damage and waste they can cause, look to Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

There are a number of reasons for leaks to start: corrosion along pipes, aging piping made from outdated material, and an increase in water pressure from calcium deposits choking off the interior pipes. One of the mains reasons for leaks is poor connections between the pipes and other fixtures. If your pipes received an inadequate installation when they were originally put in, or if they’ve suffered damage from age, the connections can start to come loose and begin leaking. You’ll need these connections secured and the issues that caused the trouble repaired before the leaks grow worse.

However, this isn’t a task that you can do with a box of wrenches and a few twists along the pipes. The principle obstacle you face with loose connections is that it’s difficult to access most of your home’s pipes on your own. And even if you could get to the pipes, trying to make fixes to the loose connections with a standard set of wrenches and without the proper training will likely cause further damage to the connection and break the rubber seal between fittings. This will make it more difficult for a professional to apply the necessary repairs. Amateur tampering is actually one of the main causes for leaks from loose connections, so don’t contribute to an already serious problem: get a trained plumber to work on the issue using the right tools for the task.

Loose connections, like any leaking source, are a major problem that needs remedy immediately. If you notice a loose connection, it may mean other leaks occurring elsewhere out of your sight, so call in the Havertown, PA plumbing experts at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. right away.

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Heating Repair FAQ: Is My Thermostat the Problem?

Monday, November 4th, 2013

In cold places like Havertown, PA, heating repair services are not something you want to put off. The sooner a homeowner can call for repairs – preferably with at least some idea of the problem – the faster the technician can get the heater up and running, and the quicker your home can become a cozy, comfortable place to be again. When heating problems arise, it’s natural to look towards the heating unit itself for the source. But it’s possible that the trouble lies in a different spot, and if you can pinpoint it, you’ll help the repairman do his job that much faster. Specifically, “is my thermostat the problem?”

The thermostat’s job is to read the temperature in your home and activate the furnace when that temperature hits a certain point. Older thermostats use mercury switches, while newer ones utilize digital components (and often feature bells and whistles such as programmable start and stop times). Because it essentially controls the operation of your heating unit, it can affect the heater when it runs into trouble. For instance, if the thermostat misreads the temperature in the air, then it will either turn on the heater when it isn’t supposed to or turn off the heater before it does its job.

There are many reasons for this. Dust and dirt coating the thermostat could affect its sensor readings, as can a faulty thermometer or a bad electrical connection. It might also be that the thermostat is located in a part of your home that gets drafts or excessive sunlight or some additional factor that prevents it from accurately reading the temperature in your home.

Either way, a trained expert can help. If the trouble is a faulty component in the thermostat, he can repair or replace it with little trouble. If the trouble is with the thermostat’s position, he can move it so that it does its job more effectively. If you’re asking “is my thermostat the problem?” contact the experts at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. to help. We handle Havertown, PA heating repair issues of all varieties, and our technicians service most of the surrounding communities as well. Give us a call today!

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