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

Your Options for a Chimney Liner

Friday, March 28th, 2014

If you have a gas furnace or boiler keeping your house warm, then you have a chimney. You may not think of it as a “chimney,” but this channel that removes the exhaust fumes left over from the heating process and removes them to the outside of your house serves the same function as the chimney on a fireplace.

An important part of the chimney in a home is its liner, which protects the interior of the chimney, helps the gas vent efficiently, prevents the gas from escaping into the house, and keeps the high temperature from the gas from heating the bricks and igniting the combustible material around it. At times, the liner in the chimney can become cracked, and will need replacement. If you change to a new boiler or furnace, your old liner made from clay or tile may no longer be enough to handle it. In both cases, you’ll need to contact professionals to install a liner. Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. can handle installing a new liner that will keep you safe and make sure your gas-powered heating in Springfield, PA is as efficient as it can be.

The different types of chimney liners

  • Clay and tile: These liners were once the most common types of chimney liners, and are still common for fireplaces. However, they are now out-of-date for use with modern gas appliances, and now the two most common choices for chimney liners are stainless steel and aluminum. Whether you go with one or the other will often depend on local codes.
  • Stainless steel: These liners are best suited for wood burning, gas, and oil applications; because of its strength, stainless steel is often required by codes for use over other materials.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a less expensive alternative and works effectively with medium efficiency gas appliances. Aluminum needs sufficient high temperature insulation.

Our staff at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. is here to help you make the decision about what chimney liner to install. We have many years of experience and are familiar with local codes. Call to talk to one of our chimney lining experts and you’ll find out what the best option is.

Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. has more than 35 years of experience providing quality heating to Springfield, PA. Whatever your needs for your heater, we can help you out.

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Plumbing Repair Question: What Does the U-Shaped Pipe Under a Sink Do?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The U-shaped pipe beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks is something that people expect to see but rarely stop to think about. “Why exactly does it have that shape? And why does it seem that every drain pipe has that same shape? It must serve a purpose, but—” And by then you’ve turned your thoughts to something more pressing.

Yes, the U-shaped construction of drainpipes serves a very important purpose, and most of the time it goes about performing it without you needing to worry about it. However, there are times with you’ll need plumbing repair because this precaution built into your sinks has encountered trouble. When you have clogs or leaks in your sinks, call Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. and we’ll provide you a fast and effective remedy.

The P-Trap

The U-shaped bend in your drain pipe is called the p-trap (or sometimes simply the trap, although this can refer to a number of plumbing fixtures that serve similar purposes). The name refers to the shape when viewed at an angle, as there was already a similar fixture called a U-bend.

The p-trap serves the function of capturing a small amount of water inside your drainpipes after the sink is used. This plug prevents sewer gases from coming up the wastewater line and out the sink. It also can trap small objects that fall down the sink, such as jewelry, making it easier to extract them. (Many modern sinks have a valve along the bottom of the p-trap to allow easy access to anything that might have fallen into them.)

P-traps can become trouble spots in some cases. Because they trap water, they can also trap debris inside the water, such as hair and soap scum, and this can eventually cause the p-trap to clog. A plunger might remove the clog, but if it can’t, you’ll probably need a plumber to come out to clear it using a drain snake, hydro-jetter, or by completely removing the p-trap.

The other common trouble with p-traps is when they dry up. If a sink doesn’t see frequent use, the water in the p-trap will evaporate and sewer odors will begin to escape from the drain. If you detect foul odors from around a sink, try running water through it to fill up the p-trap.

The p-trap will quietly do its job for you until something goes wrong with it—and then you’ll need expert plumbers to help. For the plumbing repair to keep your drains running, contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

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How Set-Back Thermostats Work with Your Heating

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Learning the best way to control the levels on your thermostat will help you save money on your heating bills. (And, when used with your air conditioner, will provide similar savings.) It’s a common misconception that if you leave your heating on all day at a set thermostat level whether you’re home or not, you will save money. Although it’s true that maintaining a steady, lower thermostat level instead of cranking it up to high levels and then dropping it down again will prevent energy waste, you should still drop the thermostat’s level when you leave the house.

But this leads to a comfort quandary: you’ll come home each day to a colder home, and you’ll have to wait for it warm up again. You may also forget to turn the thermostat down before you leave each morning. This is where a set-back thermostat can help with your heating in Havertown, PA, saving you money and raising your comfort. If you want to have a set-back thermostat installed in your house, contact our technicians at Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

The Set-Back Thermostat

A set-back thermostat will automate starting and stopping your heater at least twice during a 24-hour period. After you learn the basics of programming the thermostat (which is actually simple, and your installer can teach you how to do it in no time), you program the thermostat to lower the temperature before you go to bed, then raise it about 15 minutes before you get up in the morning. The next set-back temperature comes during the time of day when no one is home, and then it comes on at a time before your return in the evening so you’ll come back to a warm house. How much you should set your thermostat back depends on your heating system, as their are different temperature points for heat pumps, boilers, and furnaces.

All of this applies to your air conditioning as well, since the thermostat will work with both your heating and your cooling systems.

Some models have more complex options, such as settings for seven days of the week, giving you complete control over your system to fit your weekly routine.

How much will you save with a set-back thermostat? It depends on how much you use your heating in the first place, as well as the amount of time you spend at home on average.

Install a Set-Back Thermostat

New homes usually come with a set-back thermostat, but if you live an older home, having one installed is easy with the right professionals on the job. Contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. and schedule an appointment with one of our technicians in heating in Havertown, PA to fix your home with the comfort and energy-savings of a set-back thermostat.

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What Is a Furnace Fan Limit Switch?

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

In this post, we’ll look at one of the important safety devices inside your furnace: the fan limit switch. Whenever you need assistance with your gas furnace, or any other heating system, contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. We’ve helped keep people warm—and safe—with their furnaces for 37 years

The furnace fan limit switch: keeping your gas furnace safe

The limit switch, along with the thermocouple/mercury sensor, is the main safety mechanism in a furnace. The limit switch takes care of preventing the furnace from overheating. The switch is located on the furnace just below the plenum. Should the plenum grow too hot, the limit switch will shut off the burner.

The switch also turns off the blower when the temperature drops to a certain level after the burner shuts off. After the temperature reaches another low, the switch reactivates the blower. This control of the blower is an essential part of how the limit switch regulates the air temperature inside the furnace chamber.

You can adjust the setting of the fan limit switch to change the point at which it turns the blower on and off, although we don’t advise that you tamper with it from its factory settings. This is best left to a furnace repair specialists when trying to troubleshoot problems. The standard settings for most limit switches are 200°F to shut off the burner, 130°F to turn off the blower, and 100°F to turn the blower back on.

Your furnace needs to have regular maintenance—once a year, usually during the fall—to make sure that the fan limit switch is working properly to keep you safe. Maintenance in general will help keep you safe, since the technician will check other safety mechanisms and check for any gas flow problems or cracks in the heat exchangers that might lead to carbon monoxide leaking.

Contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. to sign up for our maintenance plan for heating (and your cooling as well). Our precision furnace tune-up will test and inspect all your furnace’s safety controls, along with providing cleaning and adjustments that will keep the furnace working at its most efficient.

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Options for Whole-House Water Treament

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Although we’d like to believe that the water that runs from our taps, showerheads, and through our dishwashers and laundry machines is clean, this isn’t often the case: water from the municipal supply can suffer from hardness, acidity, and pollutants. Bottled water is an expensive and ineffectual way to avoid issues in your home’s water: bottled water is rarely more filtered than standard tap water, it contributes to landfill pollution, and doesn’t address the trouble that low-quality water can cause to your plumbing and fixtures.

The best choice for clean water in your house is to have a plumber install a whole-house water treatment system. There are many different types of systems, and the one you have installed will depend on the specific issues in your water. Call in a Springfield, PA plumber from Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. with expertise in water treatment to find out which of these systems will help you get the purest water possible:

Water softeners

Hard water is one of the common problems in water coming from a municipal supply. The excess of calcite minerals in hard water causes deposits in plumbing that will lead to spikes in water pressure and damage to appliances like water heaters and dishwashers. Water softeners add sodium into the water to balance the minerals and eliminate the hardness.

Water filters

If your water contains too many large contaminants, then a whole-house filter can remove them. You can purchase smaller filters for individual sinks and faucets, but these cannot do the thorough job of a professionally installed whole-house system. If you have a water softener installed that puts too much sodium into the water, a special filter can help balance it.

Reverse osmosis systems

These advanced treatment systems use different areas of pressure to force water through a thin, semi-permeable membrane. They can remove much smaller particles than standard water filters. Professionally-done water testing can tell you which kind of filtration system—standard or reverse osmosis—will work ideally for your home.

Acid neutralizers

If your water supply has high acidity, it can cause corrosion in your copper pipes. An acid neutralizer injects calcites into the water that counteract the acidity. Because this can sometimes lead to an increase in water hardness, some homeowners opt to have a water softener installed in combination with an acid neutralizer.

To find out the water treatment system(s) that will give you the clean water you want, contact Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc. and make an appointment for water testing from one of our water treatment experts. We can find out what your water supply needs and install the treatment system that will take care of it. You can always put your trust in a Springfield, PA plumber from Wm. Henderson Plumbing & Heating Inc.

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