HVAC Protection & Tips for Extreme Cold

We all know that it can get incredibly cold around here in the winter. At Larry & Sons, we want to make sure that your heater works well, no matter how cold it gets. Here are our top tips for keeping that heat on all winter long, even on the coldest days.

Turn the Thermostat Down

Reduce strain on your furnace by turning down the temperature 3-5 degrees. Sure, you’ll be chillier at home, but you will have a lower risk of a heater failure, which can end with frozen pipes. Use space heaters or put on extra layers to make up the difference.

Keep Exhaust Vents Clean & Clear

Your furnace vents outside your home. Find these vents, then keep them clear of snow, ice, and other debris. Clogs in these vents lower the efficiency of your furnace and can, eventually, stop it from working at all. If you can’t find your vents, contact us and we’ll come find them for you!

Check Your Filter

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: change your furnace filter regularly. It’s even more important when your furnace is under extra stress because it’s colder than normal outside. Reduce strain on the unit by changing your filter more often or at least by checking it regularly.

If your furnace is struggling to keep up this winter or you’re worried about what might happen if it gets colder than usual, reach out to us at Larry & Sons. We’ll come take a look at your furnace, fix anything that isn’t working, and get you the peace of mind you need this winter.

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Protecting Your HVAC System From Extreme Cold

During normal cold snaps, your HVAC system should work just fine. But if the temperature changes drastically or the outdoor unit gets covered with ice and snow, you can face an emergency shut-off scenario. This can cause temps to drop significantly in your home and could result in frozen pipes and other problems. Avoid this by taking the following steps.

Build a Wall

If your outdoor HVAC unit isn’t protected enough by the structure of your home, build a wall around it so snow can’t drift up against it. Make sure you leave plenty of room for airflow, though.

You may also be able to solve drifting and snow buildup problems by putting your HVAC unit on a platform. This keeps it above normal snow accumulation levels.

Get Out the Shovel

Dig around your HVAC unit and continue to do so as long as the snow falls. Even a small trench can save you quite a bit of hassle and money later on.

Look Out Below

Make sure that your gutters aren’t overflowing or emptying onto your outdoor HVAC unit and that icicles or snow dams aren’t building up over it. These can all fall and damage the unit, or cause it to get encased in ice.

Taking a few minutes a day during extreme weather can help keep your HVAC system running well and your home warm. Contact us at Larry & Sons if you have any questions or if, despite your best efforts, your HVAC system has problems this winter.

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Minimize HVAC Strain This Summer

It’s time to think about turning your Hagerstown air conditioning on again, if you haven’t done so already. As you move into using your AC unit again, make sure you’re thinking about minimizing the strain it suffers. By reducing the issues that cause your AC to work harder it should work more efficiently and last for a long time.

ac maintenance hagerstown md

Change That Filter

You’ve heard us say it before and we will keep saying it: change your AC filter regularly. Our HVAC technicians can tell you how often to do this, based on several factors about your home and your AC use. A dirty filter is one of the top causes of AC strain. Sucking air in through a filthy filter means your air conditioning has to work a lot harder.

Check Windows and Doors for Leaks

If your home is leaking air out of windows and doors, then your AC has to run longer and harder if it wants to keep up. If you’re not sure how much air you’re leaking, our experts can tell you. Extra caulk or new windows and doors can make a huge difference to keeping cool air inside.

Make sure you aren’t leaving your doors and windows open while your AC runs, too! This lets cool air out and makes life harder for your cooling system.

Improve Your Insulation

If you don’t have enough insulation, your AC will work extra hard. Get a professional to assess your insulation levels, then improve the situation at their recommendation. Your AC will thank you over and over again!

Hagerstown, MD AC Professionals

If you need help assessing your home or making your AC work better, contact us at Larry & Sons today! We can keep your cooling system running for longer and find any issues before they become expensive problems by providing regular AC maintenance. If you notice that there’s a problem with your air conditioning, give us a call ASAP! We’ll send one of our expert HVAC technicians to handle your AC repair in Hagerstown or the surrounding area fast.

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Kitchen & Bathroom Drains

Do you have fruit flies that seem to be living in your kitchen or bathroom drains? These flies are annoying and they can transfer bacteria from your drain to your food. Here’s what you need to know so you can get rid of them fast.

Clean Your Drains

Start by cleaning out your drains. This destroys the food source for the flies. Run your garbage disposal in your kitchen until it is completely clear. You may even want to reach down inside your drain with a cloth to remove any gummed-up debris that may be stuck within easy reach.

You can also pour boiling water down your drain to loosen any rotting debris in the drain. Then, use a pipe brush to remove it or loosen it further. Follow up with more boiling water to wash everything away.

Sanitize Your Drains

Next, sanitize your drains. Pour a half-gallon of water, then a half-gallon of vinegar down the affected drains. You may want to do this several times to make sure that you get your drains as sanitized as possible. This should kill off the fruit flies.

Trap the Flies

You may need to trap any flies that were not in the drain. Heat 1.5 cups of apple cider vinegar mixed with a few drops of dish soap for 15-30 seconds, then set the bowl by the drain. It should attract the flies and kill them so they don’t bother you anymore.

If you believe that you have ongoing drain problems that might be causing your fruit fly issues, contact us at Larry & Sons for professional drain cleaning in Hagerstown, MD and the surrounding areas today.

What to Do When Your Dishwasher Won’t Drain

If you open your dishwasher to find a puddle of standing water inside, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to solve this problem.

  1. Before you panic, run the dishwasher again. Sometimes, the washing cycle gets interrupted and the unit doesn’t finish draining.
  2. Run your garbage disposal. Your dishwasher drain hose and your garbage disposal are connected, which means that a clogged garbage disposal can make it hard for the dishwasher to empty.
  3. Check the detergent. Did you accidentally put regular dishwashing soap into your dishwasher instead of the usual detergent? This can cause the dishwasher to produce so many suds that it can’t drain properly. Just run it again to clear everything out.
  4. Clean out your drain basket. Every dishwasher has one of these. It’s where larger chunks of debris collect so they don’t get into your pipes. However, a clogged drain basket can make it hard for the dishwasher to drain effectively, too.
  5. Check, clean, and/or replace your drain hose. You’ll need to slide the dishwasher out from under your counter. Unplug it, put towels under it, and disconnect the small hose. Test it for clogs and kinks. If it isn’t clear, get a new one from your local hardware store and replace it entirely.

If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting your own dishwasher, that’s ok! Reach out to us at Larry & Sons and we’ll fix it fast. Before you know it, your dishwasher will be draining normally again. Our expert plumbers at Larry & Sons are ready and well equipped to handle any plumbing service you may need, even when you have late night emergencies. Call us for leak detection or drain cleaning in Hagerstown, MD right away, don’t wait!