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How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink (5 DIY Fixes)

If you’re anything like most homeowners, you probably use your bathroom sink at least once per day. It’s there for hand washing, face washing, teeth brushing, and more. To prevent problems of the most inconvenient and pleasant sorts, you’ll need to keep an eye out for seasonal plumbing problems. Your sinks can get a lot of extra use thanks to hot, sweaty family members and houseguests, and this heavy-duty workload can open the door for some genuinely unpleasant situations. You might walk in any time and notice: my bathroom sink is clogged.

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

Your bathroom sink is clogged and keeps reclogging, over and over again. You dump some Drano, the clog goes away and a week later, it’s back. Why? Or maybe you’re familiar with this scenario: you’re running late. You hit the bathroom before you run out the front door. You’re running the water to rinse the toothpaste out of the sink but it doesn’t drain. It only keeps filling and filling and filling. 

Learning how to fix a clogged bathroom sink can save you a lot of trouble. Sometimes, a quick jiggle of the plug does the trick and allows the collecting water to drain, but other times this does nothing. It depends on the kind of clog you’re dealing with.


Fixing a clogged bathroom sink

What Causes a Bathroom Sink to Clog?

Typically, a clogged bathroom sink is the result of accumulated dirt, skin flakes, and hair. This nasty trio bonds to soap scum inside of your bathroom plumbing. Over time, this accumulation reduces water flow — or dams it altogether. If you walk into your bathroom and notice, “Hmm.. my bathroom sink is clogged,” then here’s what you could be dealing with:


Whether or not you personally have long, luscious locks of hair to brush out every morning, someone in your household might. Even short hair or beard shavings can collect enough to cause a clog in your drain. Over the course of time, this hair glues together with other waste sent down the drain like toothpaste, face wash, makeup, and more to cause a blockage in the drain and prevent the water from going down the sewage pipes.

Clogged P-Trap

If your P-Trap is clogged, a backflow of water and other grime can occur. The very first sign you’ll see indicating that you may have a clogged P-Trap is when the water takes much longer than usual to drain. The P-Trap might even leak. If this is the case, you’ll need to shut off the water, place a bucket under your P-Trap, and use a large wrench to loosen the nut on the base of the trap to disassemble the P-Trap and unclog any blockage. Dirt, grime, jewelry, and anything else that’s been dropped down the drain could cause a P-Trap clog.

Soap Scum

Have you ever left a bar of soap on the counter for too long? It can glue itself there, leaving behind a line of soapy gunk when you remove it. Additionally, soap can leave a thick scum after it’s used, resulting in a hard build-up. This can occur inside your drain, causing a clog and preventing water and other waste from draining.

If you find yourself dealing with a clogged drain, here’s how to tackle these problems: 

How to Remove Sink Drain Stopper

If your bathroom sink isn’t draining, pull up and remove the pop-up stopper (if you have one). You may have to do this from beneath your sink. Hold the body of the stopper with one hand to keep it from moving. Unscrew the knob of the stopper counter-clockwise with the other hand, loosening it. If the knob won’t unscrew, try using a rag to hold the knob, or even use pliers to remove the knob. 

Once you’re removing the stopper, you’ll need to tug slowly just in case a glob of hair and soap is stuck to it. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to clear the obstruction that’s been trapped here, solving your problem without any additional work. If that’s not the case, then here are ways to proceed:

How to Fix a Clogged Bathroom Sink

Boiling Water

Boiling a pot of water and pouring it slowly down your drain can help clear out some clogs, especially if they’re caused by built-up soap scum, grease, or other oils. The hot water can cut through some of these types of clogs and clear your drains, but if your bathroom sink is clogged due to larger objects, it may not help.

Baking Soda or Vinegar

Drano or even sulphuric acid can eat through a clog fairly well, but regular use of caustic products can be expensive, time-consuming, and even dangerous. Probably not the best idea to regularly torch your plumbing, either! There are several home remedies for clearing a clogged bathroom sink, including pouring baking soda or vinegar down the drain along with some hot water.

Snake Your Pipes

Snaking a drain is another way to clear a clogged bathroom sink. There are a couple of inexpensive options that homeowners can try: a drum auger, which is a plumbing snake that you attach to a drill. The drill spins the snake slowly but surely down the pipe and, hopefully, through your clog.

Some homeowners swear by a drain-cleaning tool called the Zip-It to force through and break up bathroom clogs.

Clean the Elbow Joint

If the first steps don’t work, you may start feeling adventurous. You can remove the drain’s elbow joint and clean it out. This could be a good thing to add to your regularly spring cleaning list to help your plumbing last longer. Our own team wrote about this plumbing solution a while ago, and offer some important advice:

Be prepared for some unfamiliar smells when you actually go about untwisting the trap, as the main function of this piece is to literally “trap” water in a way that will block unpleasant plumbing odors.

Use a Plunger

While you’re likely used to using a plunger on a toilet, you can actually use it to clear some sink clogs. If you’re dealing with a clogged bathroom sink, try filling it with water and using the plunger to create a seal around the drain. Plunge up and down vigorously, rolling the head of the plunger into the water so you’re forcing water and not air down into the drain. Do this for a good 20 seconds and then test the drain.

How to Keep Your Sink Clear

One of the best things you can do for your plumbing and your bathroom ease is to simply prevent clogs from happening before they become inconvenient. You can manage this by implementing only a few good habits.

  • Run hot water down the sink after every use. This helps keep oils, soaps, toothpaste, and more from building up and developing into a clog. 
  • Throw a handful of baking soda into the drain weekly, followed by hot water. Baking soda is an amazing cleaner and will help keep any bad odors from developing in your drains. The hot water following it will help it from clogging up.
  • Wipe out any hairs/large objects and keep them from going down the drain. Hair and other large objects have a tendency to cause clogs, so preventing as much as possible from going down your drain will help keep it clear.
  • Baking soda, salt, and vinegar. Usually, baking soda and vinegar don’t mix very well, but if you typically have stubborn clogs in your drains, try tossing in some baking soda and salt, then add a generous dose of vinegar to your drain. Let the concoction foam for a minute or two and then follow with boiling water. 

Contact a Plumber

Sometimes, DIY solutions don’t work. You may feel uncomfortable doing the work yourself because you’re worried about breaking something. Maybe you just don’t want to deal with gross, sticky hairballs or tinker with the guts of your sink — fair enough! 

In those situations, call the plumbing experts. You can schedule service with us online at your convenience.

The post How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink (5 DIY Fixes) appeared first on John C. Flood.

HVAC Humidity Control: 5 Reasons Your AC Is Ineffective

ineffective air conditioner causing HVAC humidity control problems

Isn’t air conditioning supposed to remove humidity? So why is yours not doing the job?

Controlling humidity indoors is now more important than ever due to COVID, because the virus thrives in both very high and very low humidity conditions. It’s just one more reason (beyond comfort) to keep humidity between about 40 and 60 percent for most spaces.

If you’re sweating your way through another muggy August (and concerned about health conditions), read on to learn more about HVAC humidity control and why your AC might not be up to the task.

Then we’ll tell you 4 ways you can get an older unit to remove more moisture so your space doesn’t feel like a tropical jungle.

HVAC humidity control problem #1: Your AC unit is too large for the space

First of all, when we talk about AC size, it’s about cooling capacity, not the physical size of the unit. That’s not the only part that people misunderstand about AC size.

If you’re not an HVAC expert, it may seem counter-intuitive to say that your air conditioner is too big to do the job effectively. Wouldn’t a bigger system be able to provide better HVAC humidity control as well as cooling?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The fact is, an oversized AC system does a poor job of controlling both temperature and humidity. That’s because the powerful compressor turns on and off frequently, so the system never runs long enough to remove humidity from the air.

Your AC size needs to be carefully calculated using a load calculation process. If your AC was chosen and installed by a builder rather than a qualified HVAC company, there’s a good chance that it was done incorrectly. That’s how many homes and businesses end up with oversized units that provide poor HVAC humidity control.

You may actually need to install a smaller capacity AC system to fix this problem.

Related article: New York HVAC Systems: 8 Reasons Bigger is Not Always Better

HVAC humidity control problem #2: Your AC is limited to a single speed

An air conditioner that’s only capable of running at one speed— basically, on or off—can have the same problems as one that’s too large when it comes to HVAC humidity control.

When the unit can only run at one speed, it turns on and runs full blast until the air reaches set temperature. Then it turns off until the temperature once again goes above the thermostat threshold. That often means the unit doesn’t run consistently enough to remove humidity.

That’s especially true at times when the temperature isn’t too high, but the air is very humid.

When it’s time for a new AC system, think about investing in a modulating HVAC system such as a VRF system. A VRF system can run longer at a lower capacity, so it does a much better job of HVAC humidity control (and providing more consistent temperatures). Another plus: you’ll notice lower energy bills as well.

Related article: 7 Reasons to Choose VRF Technology for Your New Air Conditioning

HVAC humidity control problem #3: Negative air pressure in your space

Negative air pressure is the result of a poorly designed ventilation system. In a nutshell, it means that you are venting too much air from the space.

That can happen, for example, in a restaurant with a powerful kitchen exhaust system.

When you have negative pressure, the air tries to balance itself by drawing in more outside air any way that it can. For example, whenever someone opens an outside door, a gust of wind seems to enter the room. Outside air is also drawn in through every little opening in the building.

So what happens when the relative humidity outside gets into the 70’s, 80’s and above?
You guessed it, all that muggy air is being drawn into the building. If the problem is bad enough, your AC may not be able to keep up, and HVAC humidity control is compromised.

Changes to your ventilation system design may be needed to correct this issue.

HVAC humidity control problem #4: You’re using the wrong thermostat setting

You may think you’re getting rid of more humidity by using your thermostat’s FAN ON setting. When you use this setting, the fan runs continuously even when the AC is not running.

The fan does move air even without the AC running, so you might feel like you’re getting some cooling benefit. But you’re making the humidity conditions worse. You can end up blowing the moisture your AC has removed back into the space before it has a chance to drain away.

HVAC humidity control problem #5: Your older unit simply can’t handle the load

As your air conditioner ages, parts wear and it may not run as efficiently as it used to. That tendency is increased when the system hasn’t been regularly maintained. In addition to inconsistent temperatures and inadequate cooling, you’ll start to notice poor HVAC humidity control.

At this point, you may be facing a repair or replace decision. Can some system tweaks be enough to restore adequate performance, or is it time to bite the bullet and invest in a new one? Here’s a resource that can help you decide: Repair or Replace? A guide to making an informed choice when your HVAC system is down.

Repair-vs-Replace CTA

If you’re not quite ready to replace your air conditioner yet, you can try these measures to boost your system’s ability to fight that indoor mugginess.

4 strategies for enhancing HVAC humidity control in an existing system

1. Clean the coils
This is the easiest thing to try first for getting better HVAC humidity control from your older system. Humid air outdoors is rough on your AC’s condenser coils, and they can get grimy in a hurry. That layer of dirt and debris hurts the unit’s ability to release heat. As a result, the AC does not operate as efficiently and may have more trouble removing humidity from the air inside.

2. Get a preventative maintenance plan
Cleaning only the coils may not be enough to restore performance and better HVAC humidity control if the rest of the system hasn’t been properly maintained.

When you invest in a preventative maintenance plan for your air conditioner, you get a regular inspection, tune-up and cleaning of system components. Doing so keeps it running as efficiently as possible to provide better HVAC humidity control.

Your tech will also be able to spot and fix impending problems before they worsen and cause the system to fail completely.

Related article: 8 Ways AC Preventative Maintenance Keeps the Repairman Away

3. Adjust the airflow
It’s sometimes possible for a qualified HVAC technician to adjust your system’s air flow in a way that makes the evaporator coil colder when humidity levels increase. That can result in more moisture removal and better HVAC humidity control.

This is possible only for certain types of AC systems, and it does carry some risk of ending up with a frozen evaporator coil. Talk to your AC professional to see if this might work for you.

4. Add a dehumidifier to your system
If all else fails, and you’re not ready for a complete new air conditioner, you can add a dehumidifier to your air conditioning system for better HVAC humidity control.

A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air before it travels through your ductwork and into your space. Ask a knowledgeable HVAC professional to recommend a dehumidifier that’s compatible with your air conditioning system.

The post HVAC Humidity Control: 5 Reasons Your AC Is Ineffective appeared first on Arista.

Service Champions for The Top HVAC Repairs in Laguna Niguel

Identify When You Need HVAC Repairs in Laguna Niguel

Identifying when you need HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel is very important. It is during the early stages of repair that you can do the most to minimize trouble. If you can recognize when you need HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel, you can:

  • Reduce service costs
  • Minimize damages
  • Stop repairs from spreading
  • Restore health of the equipment
  • Preserve service quality
  • Preserve equipment lifespan

How can you tell if you need HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel? Look for the signs.

Is the utility bill higher than normal?

If the utility bill is higher than normal, it may indicate that you need HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel for a few different areas. It is possible that you have frozen evaporator coils, which causes major energy spending. You may also have leaks in the air ducts, which allow cooled air to empty into the attic rather than the home. You might also need HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel for incorrect or compromised insulation. This happens when insulation wears down and sustains leaks, which in turn causes energy spending to rise.

Because energy leaks cost money, it is important to have these HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel made as quickly as possible to stop waste. If your energy bill is higher than normal, and it has nothing to do with increase usage or rise in price from your provider, contact your HVAC specialist for help.

Are there funny or unusual noises during heating and air conditioning cycles?

Any loud, unusual or bothersome noises during the heating and air conditioning cycle result from parts that have moved, shifted or have come undone. This is likely to happen to furnaces and air conditioners that have aged or withstood years of use.

Micro-vibrations during the normal cycles move and shift parts over time and pieces are likely to wear down in certain places. For example, rubber belts may stretch and grow loose, fray at the edges or come apart. As a result, the loose belt creates a slapping noise during air conditioning cycles.

Some noise during HVAC cycles is completely normal. However, if there is enough noise to compromise your home comfort or cause worry, contact your specialist for HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel.

Are there bad or unfamiliar odors coming from the vents?

Do you smell foul doors from the vents or registers when the heating and air conditioning runs? Any unusual smells indicate potential HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel.

You might have microbiological growth or frozen evaporator coils causing those bad smells. It can also be leaks resulting in foul odors. Though less likely, small rodents or insects may have died inside the furnace, air conditioner or air ducts. If the smells are coming from the air ducts, it is more likely that the air ducts themselves have sustained tears. These tears and leaks allow dirty attic air to enter the home, resulting in those bad smells.

Call your technician for HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel. Bad smells almost always happen because something within the system has gone awry, so it is nothing to ignore.

Typically, anything out of the ordinary signals an underlying issue. Even if you have trouble pinpointing the problem, if you feel that something about your home comfort is off, it is a good indication that trouble brews inside the central air system. The best course of action is to contact your specialist. He or she can investigate the issue and deliver the mend necessary. In the best case scenario, early service prevents HVAC repairs in Laguna Niguel completely.

How to Buy the Best Air Conditioner for Your Phoenix Home

Buying the Best Air Conditioner for Your Phoenix Home

If you already live in Phenix (or even if you’ve ever visited), you already know why it’s important to find an excellent air conditioning system. Choosing a good option now can save you a lot of problems down the road, so installing new HVAC equipment is definitely worth doing the right way. This short guide will tell you everything you need to know about buying a new A/C for your home.

What Makes the “Best A/C System”?

First and foremost, your air conditioner should be able to keep your home comfortable even here in the Valley of the Sun. That’s a big job, so it’s also important to think about how much energy your unit will require on hot summer days. Finally, it’s good to consider the durability and reliability you can expect from your system so you don’t have to buy a new one too soon.

Unit Size

There’s a big difference between an air conditioner for a luxury garage and what you’d need to keep a whole home or business cool. Beyond building size, the number of windows in a space will affect the air conditioner capacity required. Pick the right unit for the job.

Efficiency and Features

Homeowners near Phoenix often keep their homes 30° than the outside temperature on the warmest days of summer. That means an efficient A/C system can save you a lot of money. Look for high SEER Ratings and features like dual-stage or multi-stage capability.

Brand Reputation

Simply put, some brands are more reliable than others. When you buy from a premier air conditioning brand, you can expect your equipment to last longer and run more reliably. Here at Howard Air, for example, we’re proud to sell and install high-efficiency Trane systems. These HVAC systems are tested rigorously to ensure they’re ready for conditions like the Arizona desert.

Best A/C Systems in Phoenix

At Howard Air in Phoenix, we know what it takes to choose the best air conditioner for Phoenix. Our experts will help you select the right unit for your home or business, then we’ll get you up and running with a fast installation. If you want to see options in person, we’ll welcome you at our showroom and design center in Deer Valley. Contact us today to get started.

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What Size A/C Unit Do I Need?

What Size A/C Do I Need

Buying a new air conditioner can be stressful because there are so many different factors to consider. If you live near Phoenix, there’s some extra pressure because you know just how important it is to have the best air conditioner for your home or business. Buying an oversized system can be a waste of money, but your home will be hot all summer if your air conditioner is too small.

Professional HVAC contractors are skilled at calculating the perfect air conditioner size for a home or business. They take a number of different factors into account. For example, the style and quality of the ductwork will impact how large of a unit you need. If your home has a lot of windows, you may need a larger air conditioner, especially if the windows aren’t very well insulated. Other factors include the amount of shade your property gets, how much heat you generate by using appliances, and even how many people use the space.

How Many Square Feet Will an Air Conditioner Cool?

The size of an air conditioning unit is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). It’s also important to keep in mind that the size of a property isn’t the only thing to consider when shopping for a new A/C unit. 

With that in mind, though, here are some general guidelines about what you can expect if you’re wondering how many BTU you need by square foot:

  • A 500 square foot space will need about 12,000 BTU.
  • A 1,000 square foot space will need about 22,000 BTU.
  • A 1,500 square foot space will need about 25,000 BTU.
  • A 2,000 square foot space will need about 34,000 BTU.

Finally, keep in mind that you’re likely to need a larger air conditioner if you live in or near Phoenix because the weather here is so hot.

Where Can I find and A/C Unit in Phoenix?

At Howard Air in Phoenix, our entire team lives and works in Peoria, Surprise, Tempe, and the surrounding areas. In other words, we’re experts on finding the right air conditioner for homes and businesses near Phoenix. We proudly supply Trane air conditioners because we believe this brand builds superior products for tough climates like ours. Contact us today, and we’ll help you find the right A/C size.

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Sounds Your AC Should Not Be Making

covering-earsThere are noises that you may be used to hearing when you turn on your air conditioner, like a steady whoosh of air or a brief clicking as the system kicks on. There are other noises, however, that you may notice concern you–and they should too! Not every noise your AC makes is a good thing, some sounds are a sign that you need central AC repair in Miami.

If your air conditioner doesn’t sound quite right, you shouldn’t try to ignore it. Instead, you should reach out to our team as soon as possible to get your repairs scheduled.

5 Sounds Your Air Conditioner Shouldn’t Make

When it comes to a noisy air conditioner, sometimes the sounds aren’t much to worry about. Sounds like a heavy whoosh of air might be a little too aggressive for your liking, but they are normal. On the other hand, there is more than one noise you don’t want this home comfort system to make such as:

  1. Continuous clicking: Clicking at the beginning and end of your air conditioner’s cooling cycle can be normal but if you are noticing that your system clicks continuously, it is likely something is off with your thermostat or your AC unit. Get it checked out.
  2. Screeching or screaming: One of the more obnoxious noises that your system may create is a screeching or screaming noise. These sounds are going to be a warning sign of problems with a motor belt or a loose/broken fan blade that is scraping around its housing.
  3. Rattling: If your air conditioner sounds like it is going to shake apart, it may mean that there is something loose within the system. From a loose bolt to rattling ductwork, this noise should prompt you to reach out to a professional.
  4. Hissing: This one may be a little tougher to pick up on but if you hear hissing you will want to reach out to a trained technician ASAP. One cause may be a clogged air filter while another may be a refrigerant leak.
  5. Buzzing: Last but not least, buzzing noises are also a sign of a problem. Buzzing can indicate trouble with the electrical components of your AC, or it can mean there is trouble with your evaporator coil.

Professional Repairs to Restore Your Comfort

If you hear any of the noises above, you should reach out for professional central air conditioner repairs as soon as possible. Some noises may be more serious than others but trust us when we say that early service is better than delayed service. Even if you hear a noise you simply aren’t sure about, reaching out to our team is always your best bet.

The team at Air On Demand is your go-to resource for your air conditioning system repairs. From funky noises or smells to a lack of reliable cool air, whatever the problem is, we can identify if and get it fixed.

Contact Air On Demand to schedule your next repair or any other AC service you may need. 

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Are Home Generators Actually Worth the Cost?

The wind is howling outside, you can hear the rain beating against your roof and windows and then, *click*, the power shuts off. No lights, no refrigeration, no hot water, no heat. What’s your plan? How long can you last before you need help or electricity? Hurricane activity and winter storms can wreak havoc on the DC area’s power grid, despite our city planners’ best efforts. A home generator can alleviate concerns like these and allow homeowners to sit out a storm in relative comfort.

If you’re in the market for this emergency power source, we’re here to give you the scoop on home generators.

home generators


Reasons to Buy a Generator

If you’re here, then you’re probably wondering, “Should I buy a generator?” The top reason to have a home generator at the ready is to keep your refrigerator and freezer running smoothly. In areas that suffer from frequent power loss, having a generator keeps food spoilage to a minimum.

When you’re shopping for a home generator, consider the situations that you are buying it for. If you want preparedness for a hurricane, how many days would you expect the power to be out? What are the necessities you need power for and for how many days? Thinking about what is truly necessary and what can you do without will determine which type of home generator to get.

If you’re still wondering, “Why do I need a generator?” then here are 5 specific reasons to consider:

1.) Powering Your Sump Pump

So why buy a generator? One reason is for your sump pump. Sump pumps work to help prevent flooding in your home. They gather excess water collecting into a sump pit. If water rises to a predetermined level, the sump pump automatically disposes of the water by transferring it out and into a local sewage drain. Without power, however, a dump pump isn’t able to work. A generator would help keep your sump pump running, even if bad storms and rain have caused an outage, thereby protecting your home from flooding.

2.) Powering Your Home Business

Many people have some sort of home business that runs on wifi and power. If you’re in this group of people, then you probably shouldn’t be wondering, “Why do I need a generator” since your business needs one. A power outage throws an obvious wrench in the workings of such a business. A generator can keep your power steady so you don’t need to worry about hiccups in your business’s success.

3.) Powering Electric Medical Devices

If you or anyone in your home relies on electric medical devices to survive or live comfortably, then a generator could very well be a necessity for you. Any type of medical device that requires electricity to operate is at risk in the case of a power outage. Having a generator, however, will keep these devices working smoothly regardless.

4.) Powering Your Well Water

If your home’s water is supplied by well water, then you might already know that the water stops flowing when the power is out. It might even get brown and rusty. To make sure you always have running water that’s drinkable (and flushable!), try getting a generator.

5.) Use for Camping/Boating Equipment

Why buy a generator if you don’t need it for your home? Because they’re incredibly useful in so many other scenarios. A generator can be the perfect solution if you have a boathouse, camper, or any other equipment you need power but don’t want to power all day, every day. With a generator, you can control when a machine or appliance gets power and when it doesn’t, meaning you could use it just for your camping trips and save power all other times.

Need generator repairs today? Schedule service with John C. Flood.

Permanent Standby Generators

Costing in the thousands and requiring installation by a licensed electrician, standby generators are a permanent upgrade to your home. The idea of getting one can cause many homeowners to question, “Should I buy a generator?” Located outside of the home, these appliances are similar in look and size to a central AC condenser. If your home regularly loses power, you may find life running smoother with this backup power option.

Immediate Power Restoration

Are home generators worth it? Well, if your home is equipped with a permanent standby generator, you might not even notice when the power goes out. Usually plugged directly into a natural gas line (or else a propane tank), these home generators work with your home’s existing transfer switch and will activate mere seconds after detecting a power outage. Once installed, you won’t need to lift a finger to activate this appliance, whether you’re home or not!

Fuss-Free Fuel

Standby home generators don’t require fresh fuel or any external fuel storage at all. Because most options will connect to your natural gas line, you don’t have to worry about keeping fresh fuel around or the dangers that come with it.

Predictable Performance

Another advantage of a permanent standby generator is that they turn on and do a test run every 30 days and will alert you to any issues. If you never get an alert from your generator, you know that it will be ready to go when your household needs it. Permanent generators are also obviously not portable and are quite complicated to disconnect, thus are not a common target of theft.

Powered by a Furnace

With a permanent standby generator, a licensed electrician can easily choose the furnace as one of your appliances to receive generator power when your electricity fails. For a gas or diesel-powered portable generator, using it to power a gas furnace is a riskier proposition. It is possible and indeed one of the primary uses of portable generators during the winter months, but it has a high-risk factor for carbon monoxide poisoning if you don’t take every safety precaution.

Portable Generators

With prices beginning near $100 and up, portable generators are the appliances flying off hardware store shelves when a huge storm is headed to the Mid-Atlantic. Equipped with rubber tires and literally ready to roll, these home generators are powered by gasoline or diesel, which should be stored separately. You don’t need to be an expert of any kind to get these machines to work.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

The Achilles heel of portable generators is that they must be run outdoors, which makes them vulnerable to theft and risk of electrocution in the event of a big storm or natural disaster. The temptation to run them indoors is a strong one for too many owners, making carbon monoxide poisoning a very dangerous and fast reality. Even when run properly outdoors with the connection feeding through a window or door, you should always have a carbon monoxide detector nearby so you know if this odorless gas is leeching into your home.

Volatile Fuel Storage

When preparing for the potential use of your portable generator, you’ll need to stock up on fresh gas or diesel. Because these fuels rely on volatile particles to get the engine firing, and these particles are the first to evaporate, having non-stale fuel on hand for emergencies can be a challenge. Follow government-approved guidelines for safe fuel storage and backup generator use.

What To Look for in Buying a Generator


If you’re questioning, “Should I get a generator?” then you should look first into what purpose you’d need it to serve. To find the appropriate generator for you and your home, you must first figure out what you need the generator to do. Must it only serve emergency loads or do you need it to power the entire house? This information changes what size generator you need and can also have an effect on where the switch should be located. It affects how the generator should be installed and more.

Installation Requirements

When it comes to buying a generator, you not only want to make sure there’s enough space for installation but it should also be installed in an accessible area while being out of reach from any water. There are some code requirements for generators with minimum distances from walls and buildings when installed outside since most generators need ventilation. Talk with a licensed HVAC professional to understand the best place for your generator installation and to see what size unit you’ll be able to install.


It goes without saying that the generator you purchase needs to fit within your budget. When purchasing a generator, it’s important to be clear on the details and duration of the warranty that comes with your unit. Some generators may appear to have a better price but have a far inferior warranty, or have some other issue with the unit.

It’s possible to find a reasonably priced residential generator with a five-year warranty that will last you many years. Determine what needs your generator needs to fulfill and don’t just go with the cheapest option. Otherwise, you may end up spending more in the long run.

home generators


Which Generator Should You Buy?

So, are home generators worth it? It honestly comes down to your own needs. Convenience comes at a premium (we’re looking at you, standby generators!), but is often worth the price for safe and simple operation if you can afford it. In terms of safety, ease of use, and convenience, the standby generator wins in all categories. However, while fuel storage, proper ventilation, and risk of theft all work against the portable generator, but it will usually win out on price.

If you’re still asking yourself, “Should I get a generator?” then it’s probably time to consult a professional for more specific details. If you need a standby generator installed or repaired on your property, call the licensed electrician experts at John C. Flood to schedule service. Our courteous professionals will get your generator in tip-top condition, so you’re never left in the dark. Schedule service today!

The post Are Home Generators Actually Worth the Cost? appeared first on John C. Flood.

Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Which Whole House Water Filter is the Best?

July 24, 2020

Service Champions Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is the only Diamond Certified HVAC provider for Orange County. We deliver the absolute best AC service for the homeowners of Mission Viejo. Plus, we lead in customer service.

Each Service Champions expert:

  • Passed drug tests and background checks
  • Trains every year for 150 hours with a master technician
  • Arrives on time to your appointment
  • Is friendly and courteous
  • Arrives in a fully stocked company van
  • Completes your service in one visit

Our goal is to make air conditioning service in Mission Viejo completely easy for you. For the best result from the top technicians, work with Service Champions. We guarantee your total satisfaction.

When Do You Need A Replacement Unit?

The average air conditioning unit lasts between 10 and 15 years. As it reaches it maximum age, the unit will decline in health, efficiency and reliability. Consequently, you may need more repairs and emergency calls from unexpected problems. It becomes more cost efficient to replace the unit altogether.

This is also a wise choice if you:

  • Experience expensive cooling
  • Are generally unhappy with your unit
  • Have renovated to enlarge your home
  • Have developed new needs from your AC unit

The current air conditioning unit in your home has been measured to work for your specific home. Subsequently, renovations that enlarge the space of the home do impact the energy efficiency of the AC unit. Consult your Service Champions technicians to see if your current unit will suffice. Otherwise, cooling is likely to cost more while falling short of your expectations.

What Do You Want From Your Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo?

At Service Champions, we have our own approach to installation air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

First, we work with you to determine your preferences, needs and wants. At minimum, we take into consideration the size, build and location of your home.

Then, we figure out what you want from your new air conditioning service in Mission Viejo. To do this, think back to what you didn’t like about your previous AC unit. Today’s HVAC technology allows homeowners more features and more control over air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

Think about:

  • Cooling quality
  • Indoor air quality
  • Home comfort
  • Energy efficiency
  • Economy
  • Humidity

Don’t hold back! The more you know what you want from your AC unit, the more your technician can do to find it for you. It’s the best way to get personalized air conditioning service in Mission Viejo.

Elevate Your Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

AC units can also feature attachments and additional systems that improve other areas of living. For example, if you need or want pristine indoor air quality, you can use add-on systems such as:

  • AirScrubber Plus
  • UV lights
  • BioCide Chamber
  • Super filters

These work alongside the air conditioner and require little to no additional maintenance. Best of all, these solutions completely destroy up to 99.9 percent of all airborne particles and germs.

Likewise, for optimal energy efficiency, you can ask for solutions such as:

  • Zoning
  • Air duct insulation
  • Attic insulation
  • Humidifiers

Talk to your technician about your worries, and he or she can find you a practical solution that delivers the results you want most.

Choose Service Champions for Superior Air Conditioning Service in Mission Viejo

Service Champions Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is committed to delivering superior service to all homeowners of Mission Viejo. We want to improve your home comfort and indoor air quality through excellent cooling services.

To schedule an appointment, please complete the form linked here. You can also speak to our friendly call center representatives.

Leland Smith

Why and How to Change an AC Filter

how to change an ac filter

Why change your AC filter?

The air filter’s job is to keep dust and debris out of your HVAC equipment. You’d be amazed how much debris builds up on there in a very short time.

Recently, AC filters have gotten a lot of attention due to the pandemic. With the uncertainty about airborne transmission of the virus, some experts are recommending the use of higher-efficiency filters to trap virus particles. If that’s why you’re looking to change your AC filter, read this first.

In this article, we’ll cover more reasons why air conditioner filter replacement is so important, and how to take care of it safely.

When your AC filter gets clogged, dust and dirt start getting into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. You probably know what that means: the more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and you’re dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.

Watch this quick video to learn what happens when you don’t change the AC filter:

It’s helpful to know when to change your air conditioner filter. According to ENERGY STAR, you should check and change the AC filter every month during peak season. That’s probably more often than you want to call your trusty HVAC service guy. We love to see you, of course, but this is a job that you can probably handle on your own if you choose to do so. It’s helpful if you know how to change the AC filter yourself.

How to change an AC filter

Follow these easy steps to change the AC unit filter and keep your system running reliably.

How to change the AC filter: LOCATE THE FILTER

AC air filter replacement is a quick and easy task. Before you can do it, though, you need to know where the AC filter is located. That can be the tricky part, because there are several places it could be.

In some systems, the filters are located in the return air duct. This is the one that pulls air from your space back into the air conditioner’s air handler system. If you have a large system with multiple air handlers and return ducts, finding the filters can be a challenge.

If both your heating and air conditioning systems share the same ducts, it’s also possible that the air filter for both systems is located in or near the blower system for the furnace. If so, it’s usually in the front of the furnace near the bottom. You may be able to see and access the filter without opening anything, or you might have to open a metal panel (marked FILTER) on the front or the top of the blower. The panel may be attached with hooks or screws.

Your best bet is to ask your HVAC service tech. Just let him know that you want to learn how to change the AC filter, and he’ll be able to show you where the filter is located, how to remove the old one and insert the new one, and how to get the right filters for your system.


The other potentially tricky part is making sure you use the right filters. The filter size is usually printed on the side of the filter. When in doubt, the easiest solution is to ask your HVAC tech to get you a supply of the right filters, or show you the size information on the filter so you can order them yourself.

Also, keep in mind that you might want filters that do more than just keep dust out of your air conditioner. If you want to improve air quality in your space by removing pollen, mold and other harmful contaminants, you need to invest in HEPA filters with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

IMPORTANT: Consult with an HVAC expert before purchasing higher efficiency filters for your system! In some cases, the decreased air flow can lead to a decline in performance, and even repair issues. Also, your system might not be able to accommodate the size of the filter.

Related article: Alleviate Spring Allergies: Air Filters and MERV Filter Ratings.

How to change the AC filter: STEPS TO REPLACE

FIRST OF ALL: If there’s any chance coronavirus particles might be present within your space, they could end up trapped in your AC filter. So when changing the filter, wear a mask and gloves.

1. TURN OFF THE POWER. This is important for two reasons. First, there’s your safety. Don’t risk touching live voltage! The second reason is the safety of your equipment. If the unit is still running while you’re removing the clogged filter, dust and debris can get sucked into the unit. It’s important that you switch off power at the unit itself, and also at the circuit breaker.

2. Remove the old filter. Simply slide it out of the slot that holds it in place.

3. Check the condition. Once you’ve taken out the AC filter, check the condition. Does it look clogged with dirt and dust? If you hold it up to the light, you probably can’t see much light coming through. This filter needs to be replaced or cleaned, depending on the type of filter you are using. Even if it’s been in use less than the time recommended by the manufacturer, replace it anyway. Many factors can impact how fast your filters get clogged. If you’re in New York City, the smog alone can shorten the life of an air filter.

4. Dispose of the old filters safely. In case there may be contaminants on the filter, place it inside a plastic bag and throw it away in a trash receptacle outside your space.

5. Grab a new filter (or clean a reusable one). Are you using disposable filters or reusable ones? A disposable filter typically has a cardboard frame and a paper or fiber mesh surface. A permanent, reusable filter is made of a more sturdy material with a metal frame and a special coating to make it washable. If you’re cleaning a reusable one, check the manufacturer’s instructions for washing. You’ll probably just need to rinse with water and let dry completely. Or in some cases, you can just vacuum away the dust.

6. Insert the new or cleaned filter. Now you just need to put it back in the right way. An arrow on the filter’s frame shows you the direction that air should flow through the filter, which is always away from the return air duct and toward the air handler mechanism. When you insert the filter back in the housing, make sure that arrow points away from the return and toward the air handler.

See, wasn’t that easy? Now that you know how to change an AC filter, set a reminder for yourself so you remember to do it every month. And, don’t forget about your furnace if its filters are separate from your air conditioner: Fall Furnace Maintenance: How to Change Your Air Filter.

Step up your HVAC maintenance

If, by any chance you don’t have a regular HVAC service tech to ask about how to change an AC filter, it’s likely that you’ve been neglecting other important maintenance tasks besides changing AC filters. Regular maintenance keeps your equipment in top working condition so the parts last longer and work more efficiently. That means the system uses less electricity, needs fewer costly repairs, and has an extended life span.

The best way to get the most from your HVAC equipment is to get a preventative maintenance agreement. It’s a relatively small investment that pays off in lower operating costs and more reliable comfort. Plus, you can get an agreement that’s customized to your specific needs, your equipment, and your budget. If you’re in the NYC metro area, let’s talk.


The post Why and How to Change an AC Filter appeared first on Arista.

Ways to Beat the Heat Without Breaking the Bank

When it comes to beating the searing summer heat, you want to find effective ways to cool your home without breaking your bank account. So whether you’re looking to install a new air conditioner or repair the existing sustem in your Spring Hill, FL home, it is crucial to find professional and experienced technicians to help you make a wise decision. if your existing system is fine, you can use the following simple ways to keep your home cool.

Cover Your Windows

This might sound basic, but covering your windows can help prevent sunlight and heat from coming in. If you leave your windows uncovered, it will allow the sun to come in, which will make the house even warmer. Ensure you find window covers and other products that are fit for the purpose, such as the blackout curtain.

Insulate Your Home

Insulation can help keep your windows, walls, and roof as tight as possible to help prevent the heating and sun rays from entering the house. A window or any other opening without shutters, blinds, protective film, or curtains can become a source of heat. So ensure you improve airtightness in your home, and shade screens.

Focus on Your Body Temperature

Controlling the heat within your body can help you feel better. You can do this by wearing appropriate clothes that repel heat, sipping cold drinks, and using a cold cloth to cool highly-pulsed areas such as the wrists and neck. Dipping your legs in cold water can also work to keep you cool.

Managing the summer heat can be a daunting task, especially if you’re working on a budget. Following the tips mentioned above can help keep your home cool during the summer season. However, if it’s time to install a more efficient AC system, don’t hesitate to call the team of experts at Senica Air Conditioning for quality, convenient, and professional services.

Image provided by iStock

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