Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. Blog : Archive for February, 2014

How Hard Water Can Affect Your Drains

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Hard water is a problem that crops up commonly in homes. It isn’t the fault of the homeowner: this mineral-heavy water enters a house from the water main connected to the municipal system. The minerals in hard water (mostly magnesium and calcium) are rarely harmful for people to drink, although they can contribute to poor-tasting water. However, hard water poses a problem for plumbing that homeowners should not ignore.

At Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc., we are now entering our 37th year serving Delaware County with experienced plumbing solutions. We can help you with your hard water problems, from water treatment installation to drain repair in Springfield, PA. Call us today to find out what we can do for you.

The problems with hard waters and drains

The first signs of hard water you will usually find are white or yellow flakes around your drains and fixtures. These are calcite deposits from hard water, and they are what will affect your drains. As the mineral-heavy water flows through your drainpipes, it leaves behind these calcium deposits on the pipe interiors. Gradually, the deposits will begin to build up and close the reduce the volume inside the pipes.

It’s extremely rare for hard water deposits to completely plug up a pipe, but they will make it much easier for clogs from other substances to occur. Worse, however, is the affect they will have on the pressure inside the pipes. The restriction on the water flow will increase the pressure throughout your plumbing. High water pressure will lead to leaks and damage to appliances hooked up to the plumbing.

How you can deal with hard water

When leaks or other damage occurs to your drains because of hard water, you need to call for professional plumbers to fix the problem. However, repairing an individual leak won’t fix the hard water problem, but there are ways to address this as well. A plumber can install a water softener onto your water main. This treatment system balances out the minerals in hard water with the addition of sodium. (If the water softener adds too much sodium, there is a filtration device that can balance that as well.)

Call for professional plumbers

You may not be able to stop the hard water from coming through the water main, but you can use water treatment to prevent it from getting into your pipes. And with the right plumbers working for you, it should be no problem fixing the problems that hard water can cause to your drain.

Our trained plumbers at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. can install water softeners and other water treatment systems to your plumbing to increase the quality of your water. They can also handle any drain repair in Springfield, PA you need due to hard water. Contact us today.

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When to Call for Emergency Heating Repair

Monday, February 17th, 2014

No winter for the last few years has made it more clear how important it is to have an effective and dependable heating system keeping your home warm. With proper maintenance on your heater, you should have an easy time making it through to spring without experiencing major malfunctions or a breakdown.

But there’s no way to make any furnace, boiler, or heat pump 100% flawless. At times, you will need to call for heating repair in Havertown, PA. And sometimes, you will need to call for emergency heating repair. We’ll help you tell distinguish the latter, those times when you need to get on the phone no matter the time of day.

Whatever kind of repairs you need for your heater, you can trust to the technicians at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. to do the job.

When to call for repair immediately:

  • Your heating system will not turn on: The alarms in your head will go off when the heater doesn’t turn on. Although it’s possible that a small issue has caused the problem, such as a failed electrical ignition, it could also be a full system breakdown. Don’t wait for the heater to somehow heal itself and hope it will come on in an hour—it won’t. Call for professionals.
  • You hear loud, unpleasant sounds from the heater: Unusual noises are a natural early-warning system for heaters. If you hear grinding, groaning, screeching, clicking, or any other out-of-the-ordinary “-ing” noise from your heater, you need to have technicians look at it. This is especially important for gas-powered heaters, since there might be a gas leak.
  • The circuit breakers trip whenever the heater is running: If your heating system occasionally trips a circuit breaker, it’s usually a minor problem. But if it happens every time the heater is operating, then there is probably a major electrical fault. This needs to be addressed quickly because it could become a fire hazard.

When you need emergency heating repair in Havertown, PA, you shouldn’t rely on any contractor who advertises 24-hour emergency service. You need a contractor with training, experience, and a history of reliability. Call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc., where we’ve maintained a reputation as leaders in home comfort for over 30 years. Our NATE-certified technicians will restore your heater as quickly as possible.

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Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

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Reasons PEX Piping Is Popular for Home Plumbing

Friday, February 7th, 2014

For many decades, galvanized steel was the principle material used for plumbing. However, because of steel’s weight and tendency to corrode over time, copper eventually replaced it. Copper remains prevalent today, but plastics are now equally common. One type of plastic pipe that has become particularly popular with plumbers is cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), which is used for industrial, commercial, and residential buildings.

There are a number of good reasons that PEX pipes are now favored in home plumbing. Our plumbers at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. are familiar with installing and replacing these pipes, and they can explain the advantages of PEX pipes over older metals and plastics. For your plumbing in Springfield, PA, look to us for the most up-to-date materials and technology, as well as the experience that comes from 37 years in business.

The advantages of PEX piping

The creation of PEX pipes was a major revolution in plumbing that made installation of new plumbing systems easier and less expensive than ever before. PEX is different from PVC pipes, the other leading kind of plastic for plumbing, in that it doesn’t require glue at its joints and is less likely to burst because of freezing.

PEX piping is extremely durable yet also flexible. Although copper is also a durable material, it is rigid and lacks the adaptability of PEX. The rigidity of copper means it is more prone to break when put under outside pressure.

PEX pipes are also highly cost-effective compared to metal pipes. For one thing, the material for these pipes is far less expensive than copper. It’s also less labor-intensive to install (lightweight, easy to fit into most spaces), which saves on labor costs. Another way PEX pipes save money is they have less resistance to water flow than metal pipes, and that will reduce utility bills.

Although this advantage doesn’t have an effect on the homeowner, plumbers particularly like the different colors that PEX piping comes in: it makes it simpler to keep track of cold water lines (blue pipes) and hot water lines (red pipes).

It’s not “all-or-nothing” however!

Although PEX pipes are a top choice for plumbing installation, your home’s plumbing doesn’t need to have only one type of pipe. Copper pipes combine easily with PEX pipes, so plumbers can use copper in places where they might work better than plastic, and then switch over to PEX when they need the flexibility.

If you call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. to take care of your pipe repairs, replacements, or other plumbing in Springfield, PA, you can trust to our experienced technicians to know the right pipes to use for the job. We’re here when you need us!

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How High-Efficiency Furnaces Reduce Your Heating Bills

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

For a gas furnace to receive the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR label for efficiency in Pennsylvania, it must score an AFUE rating (“annual fuel efficiency rating”) of 95% or greater. That means a furnace that wastes a mere 5% of its fuel source when creating heat. Not many furnaces can score that high… but with a special high-efficiency furnace, you can have an AFUE of 98%!

With a furnace that wastes that little fuel working to warm your house, you will receive tremendous savings off your energy bill. Although high-efficiency furnaces cost more to install than standard furnaces, they have a short payback period: the EPA estimates that a high-efficiency furnace will pay back its installation cost in 6–10 years. Since the average lifespan of a furnace in 20 years, you’ll have 10–14 years of savings ahead.

How does a high-efficiency furnace achieve this feat? We’ll explain in bit more detail. For additional information about your options for heating in Havertown, PA, call our staff at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

Hhigh-Efficiency Furnace Operation

The reason that a high-efficiency furnace wastes so little fuel creating heat is that it contains a second heat exchanger that converts what would normally be exhaust waste and uses it to provide additional heat.

A standard furnace contains a single heat exchanger. Combustion gas enters the exchanger, where it transfers its heat to the exchanger walls, and then to the air used for heating the house. The process leaves behind a liquid vapor, which vents to the outside through the exhaust flue. This energy is lost.

With a high-efficiency furnace, the vapor moves to the second heat exchanger, which then condenses the vapor (the reason these furnaces are sometimes called “condensing furnaces”), which results in the release of more heat. This heat transfers to the exchanger’s walls and helps raise the air temperature. The liquid from the condensation then drains out through a condensate line. The result is that even less energy is lost.

Call Us Today to Start Saving on Your Heating

Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. is a factory authorized dealer of high-efficiency Carrier furnaces that can provide astonishing savings over a long lifespan. When you want the most powerful and cost-effective heating in Havertown, PA that you can find, look no further than Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

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