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

The Ball in Times Square

Monday, December 30th, 2013

New Year’s is a time for parties, fun and great traditions, some of which go back more than a century. Among them is the famous “dropping of the ball” in Times Square, an event which is broadcast to millions of people every New Year’s Eve. With 2014 nearly upon us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look at the history of this popular New Year’s Eve festivity.

The idea began in 1907 at what was then the New York Times building at One Times Square. The newspaper’s owner, Adolph Ochs, had been celebrating the New Year with fireworks since 1903. He wanted make the event even more remarkable, and added the ball in December of 1907 to welcome in the New Year. The first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it out of iron, wood, and light bulbs. It took six men to hoist the ball up the building’s flag pole; once midnight struck, the tremendous ball was carefully lowered, and all were allowed to marvel at it.

Since then, the ball has undergone many changes in materials and design, and even the New York Times has moved to another building. But the tradition remains and the ball has dropped over One Times Square ever since. Today, the ball is electronically controlled, and uses LED lamps for its construction: designed by Waterford Crystal and weighing in at over 1,200 pounds.

A number of television broadcasts have helped carry the event over the years, but by far the most famous is “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which first ran in 1972. The show was created and hosted by Dick Clark, who became a staple of the event as much as the ball itself. Clark hosted the show every New Year’s Eve from 1972 until his death in 2012. Since then, it has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who shared hosting duties with Clark starting in 2005.

Whether you’re watching the ball drop on TV or have some other New Year’s Eve plan in mind, we here at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. wish you nothing but the best for 2014. Have a safe and happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Holiday greetings from Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.! We hope you are having safe and pleasant season, enjoying your favorite traditions for this time of year.  We wish you the very best, and we thank you for your business this year.

In honor of the season, here are some fun facts about one of everyone’s favorite holiday movies: It’s a Wonderful Life.

For years, one of the enduring December traditions in the United States was watching the movie It’s a Wonderful Life playing almost nonstop on numerous television stations. No matter the time of the day, you could turn on the TV set, flip through channels, and discover It’s a Wonderful Life playing. Whenever you needed him, you could find Jimmy Stewart shouting, “Hello, Bedford Falls!”

But now… It’s a Wonderful Life only appears on broadcast television a few times during December, and most families instead choose to watch the movie on video. What happened?

The reason goes back to the film’s initial wide release in January 1947. (That’s right, it opened after the holiday season. It was not even promoted as a holiday film.) It’s a Wonderful Life was a box-office disappointment at the time, and its studio, RKO Radio Pictures, lost more than half a million on it. The movie’s production company, Liberty Films, was sold to Paramount to avoid bank foreclosure. (A bit ironic, considering the movie’s plot.) In 1955, the National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life, which included the television syndication rights.

However, NTA failed to properly renew the copyright in 1974 because of a clerical error, which allowed the film’s images to enter into the public domain. Although the movie’s plot was still under copyright protection because it was adapted from a published story called “The Greatest Gift,” television stations across the world could now broadcast it with only minimal royalty payments.

In 1993, Republic Pictures, which now owned the NTA library, tried to enforce their claim to the copyright of the film, as they possessed the rights to “The Greatest Gift.” Republic Pictures succeeded, and licensed exclusive television rights to NBC. Suddenly, It’s a Wonderful Life vanished from local television stations, and NBC made the movie’s broadcasts—usually twice during December—into major events. As of 1998, Paramount again has the rights to It’s a Wonderful Life… 43 years after they lost them.

It’s still easy to make It’s a Wonderful Life a part of whatever traditions you observe during the holidays, whether through home video or television broadcasts. Despite its lackluster initial reception in 1947, Frank Capra’s film is now an inseparable part of December in the United States.

Have a great holiday week!

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How a Faulty Fan Causes Heating System Problems

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

One of the most common methods of home heating is forced air: furnaces and heat pumps both circulate heated air through ducts and out vents to provide warmth. A critical component of any forced air system is the fan. Furnaces and heat pumps use multiple fans to perform different functions. Both use fans to send out heated air through the ducts. Furnaces also have fans for the process of heat transference, and heat pumps use fans in their indoor and outdoor units to move air across the coils for the purpose of heat exchange.

Fans need to stay in good repair. If they malfunction, they will cause problems with your heating. Here are a few issues you may encounter with your furnace or heat pump. For help with a faulty fan or any other troubles with your heating in Havertown, PA look to Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. for fast and thorough service.

Heating problems from a faulty fan

  • Low airflow: If faults occur with the blower fans responsible for sending heated air from a furnace or the conditioned air from a heat pump into the ducts, it will result in a drop in airflow through the ducts and out the vents. This will cause a plunge in heating effectiveness, and eventually no heat at all should the fan cease working entirely.
  • No heat exchange: For heat pumps, the fans in the indoor and outdoor unit are vital for the process of heat exchange that absorbs heat from the outside and releases inside. If either fan fails, it will make no difference if the compressors are working correctly and the heat pump has the proper amount of refrigerant: the heat pump will not be able to absorb heat along the evaporator coil (if the outdoor fan breaks) and/or release it along the condenser coil (if the indoor fan breaks), resulting in no heating power at all.
  • Noisy operation: Fan blades can become damaged if any debris manages into enter the heating cabinet. If this occurs, the blade can strike striking the casing, causing a loud clanging noise from the heater. This is not only noise pollution, it is detrimental to other components in the cabinet and need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Although malfunctions in any component of your heating system require repairs, faulty fans are issues you will notice almost as soon as they start. This is a positive thing, since you’ll know to act on them immediately. (Some heater repair issues can pass without notice until they cause a larger malfunction, which is one of the reasons you should schedule regular check-ups for your system.) If you have fan troubles in your heater, call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We have more than 36 years of experience maintaining and repairing heating in Havertown, PA.

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Why You Want a Plumber to Snake Your Drains

Friday, December 13th, 2013

As professional plumbers, we love drain snakes (also known as drain augers). These simple devices work on the same principle as a corkscrew: they reach far down into drains, drill into thick clogs, and then extract the clogs or break it up—all without needing to resort to acidic chemical cleaners. Drain snakes work fast, make little mess, and can handle some of the toughest blockages that can plague drainpipes.

You can purchase inexpensive commercial drain snakes through online retailers or at general merchandize stores. However, just because you own one doesn’t make you a plumber: you won’t suddenly be capable of fixing any problem in your plumbing because you have a drain snake. You should still rely on professionals to handle the difficult issues you will encounter in your home’s plumbing.

When you need a plumber in Media, PA who comes equipped with more than a commercial drain snake, look to Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We have 36 years of experience handling plumbing problems—we’ve seen it all, and we can fix it all.

That manual drain snake is not enough

The drain snakes that you can purchase commercially are manual drain snakes: you crank them by hand to drive them down into the clogs in your drains. However, manual drains snakes can rarely do the job necessary for thick clogs, and aren’t much better than a standard plunger. If a plunger cannot handle a clog, then a manual drain snake probably won’t be up to the task either. Also, if you don’t have experience with a drain snake, you may also risk scratching up your plumbing.

Professional plumbers use powered drain snakes, which are connected to motors that turn them with enough force to push through just about any plug. It’s possible for you to purchase a powered drain snake from some retailers, but since they are both costly and require special skill to operate safely, we do not recommend it.

Professional plumbers have many more tools to assist them aside from powered drain snakes. Hydro-jetting is another popular option for cleaning out clogs and drains, and plumbers can always find ways to safely access the interior of pipes without causing leaks or damage.

For a highly-qualified plumber in Media, PA, call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We have all the best tools and know how to operate them to give you excellent plumbing service.

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My Toilet Is Running: Should I Call a Plumber?

Monday, December 9th, 2013

A toilet that keeps running after its last use may seem like a minor annoyance (as long as it’s not flooding). However, the amount of water a malfunctioning toilet wastes will quickly add up. A run-on-toilet can use up to 2 gallons of water a minute. That means in only an hour, you’ll waste 120 gallons of water! Even though a running toilet may not seem like an emergency, you need to get the problem fixed as soon as you can.

But the question you’ll have now is: “Can I do it myself?” That depends. Sometimes, fixing a running toilet requires only a few minutes to check over malfunctions in the tank and make adjustments. Other times, it will need the work of a professional plumber. We’ll walk through a few steps to see what you can attempt on your own.

When it’s time to call for a plumber in Delaware County, Chester County and the Main Line, turn to Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. Our 40 years of experience speaks for itself.

What to do about a running toilet

First, remove the lid from the toilet tank and carefully set it aside. (Replacing a broken tank lid is more expensive than replacements or repairs to any of the components inside the tank!) Look over the mechanisms inside the tank as you pull on the handle to see if you can immediately spot something that doesn’t look as if it’s working right. One common problem is with the chain to the flapper on the bottom of the tank: if the chain is tangled or too tight, it might prevent the flapper from closing all the way. Sometimes you can get it untangled, but otherwise it will need replacement. The flapper itself might have deteriorated and lost its seal, and this will also require replacement.

Check the float, which gauges the level of water in the tank and activates the ballcock to close off the flow. A broken float will cause water to continue to flow. The problem might be inside the ballcock itself, and this is a case where it’s best to leave the job to a plumber.

If you cannot diagnose the problem yourself from looking over the tank, don’t try to tamper with the mechanisms, as you could cause new problems. Plumbers have experience handling all sorts of plumbing problems with toilets, and always have with them the parts to make a quick replacement. Call a local plumber and have him or her inspect the tank and fix the trouble.

Although you shouldn’t panic when your toilet starts running nonstop, you still should get on the phone with a plumber to prevent major water waste. Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. can provide you the service you need so to stop money from going down the drain.

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Bathroom Remodeling Tip: Ways to Improve Your Plumbing

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

If you think of a bathroom remodeling as simply a way to have a more attractive room in your home, there’s a few things you should know. During a bathroom remodel, you can make major improvements to your plumbing that will prevent repairs, give your pipes an extended lifespan, cut back on water waste, and reduce your heating bills. You’ll have a fresh, new looking bathroom—plus a packet of other benefits.

Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. goes beyond the standard plumbing and heating in our company name: we also offer comprehensive bathroom remodeling. We can handle all facets of the remodeling and give you improved plumbing in Springfield, PA.

Here are some of the ways you can improve not only the look of your bathroom, but also the plumbing in it:

Replace old pipes with copper pipes

If you have an older home, it may still have pipes constructed from material prone to corrosion and crumbling over time. With the installation of copper piping, you’ll have pipes that last longer, have natural resistance to corrosion, won’t sag over long stretches, and require very little maintenance. Copper has become the standard in home plumbing for very good reasons.

Upgrade to water-saving appliances

You can stem the amount of water that goes to waste in your home with low-flow faucets and a low-flow toilet. According to the EPA, installing a low-flow faucet can reduce water flow by 30% or more annually. This means an average-sized family can save 700 gallons of water per year, which is the equivalent of 40 showers.

Install a tankless water heater

If you’re interested in lowering your utility bills, consider having a tankless water heater installed when you have your bathroom remodeled. These heating systems provide hot water on demand, so you won’t run out of hot water the way you can with a storage system that keeps the hot water in a tank. Because tankless heaters only use energy when you need water—instead of constantly heating a tank—you’ll save on your utility bills.

Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. has been in business for over 35 years, and in that time we’ve gained experience that cannot be taught. If you are looking to have a bathroom remodel in Springfield, PA, contact us today.

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