Martinsburg Plumbing Question: Why Does My Garbage Disposal Leak, Grind Poorly and Make a Lot of Noise?

It is definitely convenient to have a garbage disposal in your Martinsburg kitchen. They make doing the dishes and getting rid of food waste much easier. But just like any other appliance or piece of equipment in your home, your Martinsburg garbage disposal can sometimes develop a problem that causes it to leak or perform inadequately.

Leaky garbage disposals are certainly no fun to deal with. There are several reasons why garbage disposals can develop a leak. There could be an inadequate amount of putty or sealant at the joint where the garbage disposal connects to the drain pipe from the sink. A leak can also spring from that area simply because the bolts holding the two pieces together are not securely tightened.

The point where food and waste exit the garbage disposal and move into the main drainage system is another spot prone to developing leaks. These types of leaks are similar to those that occur between sink drain and garbage disposal and can be remedied in the same way.

In general, the key to dealing with a garbage disposal leak is to locate the source. This will most often be where two pipes come together or where the pipes join the unit. However, as your garbage disposal ages, it is more prone to developing cracks in the body of the unit itself. When this happens, leaks can develop anywhere there is a seam or break in the body of the garbage disposal itself. With this type of leak, the only thing to do is to replace the garbage disposal with a new one.

Leaks are not the only problems that can develop in a garbage disposal either. Sometimes you may notice that your garbage disposal is making an unusual amount of noise when it is turned on. This is often the result of something getting in there that should not have, so you should not continue to run your garbage disposal. Turn off all power to the unit and see if you can see into the garbage disposal to determine what is causing the problem.

If your garbage disposal is not grinding well even though it seems to be rotating fine, you may not be running enough water into it when it is turned on. The water is necessary to facilitate the grinding process, so be sure to keep it going at all times. If that does not solve the problem, you may need to have a plumber in Martinsburg WV come out and take a look at your system to find out what is going on.

Hagerstown HVAC Tip: Different Types of Refrigerants

We have all heard the phrases like “save the planet” or “save the ozone layer.” Up until the 1960s there wasn’t a lot of attention paid to the disintegrating protective ozone layer around the Earth’s surface. Since then, ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) have been seen as the ozone-depleting culprit and new laws regulating the use of CFCs have had a direct impact on heating and cooling (HVAC) systems.

The “lifeblood” of any air conditioning and heat pump system is its refrigerants – a chemical used in the refrigeration cycle. For several decades, the “refrigerant of choice” in HVAC systems has beenHCFC-22, also known as R-22. The problem is, HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) are harmful to the ozone layer because they contain ozone-destroying chlorine.

Because of this, the use of R-22 is being slowly phased out from usage in HVAC systems. The Clean Air Act of 1970 has provisions in it to phase out HCFC refrigerants. As a result, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce, and companies will no longer be able to import, R-22 for use in new air conditioning equipment (effective this year),  but they can continue production and import of R-22 until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. So, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require R-22 for servicing for many years to come.

But the “new kid on the block” replacing R-22 has been getting up a head of steam for several years now. Among the new alternative refrigerants recommended by the U.S. EPA is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contributes to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®,SUVA410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®.

There are several other substitute refrigerants going by the names of R-407C, HFC-134A, and R-422C. A complete list can be found at www.epa.gov.

According to the U.S. EPA, homeowners with existing units using R-22 can continue to use R-22 since there is “no requirement to change or convert R-22 units for use with a non-ozone-depleting substitute refrigerant.” And it is important to note that R-407C is allowed for retrofits but R-410A is not, due to its higher working pressures. Substitute refrigerants would not work well with existing components unless a retrofit was made or in the case of using R-410A, a complete system changeout.

One of the leading causes for air conditioner and heat pump failure are lower levels of refrigerant. If you are working on your own equipment, it is important to note that replacing refrigerants like R-22 and R-410A should only be done by certified HVAC professionals. You must show EPA certification to purchase these refrigerants.

If you are interested in “saving the planet” you might do well to give the boot to your HCFC-consuming appliance. To find out what type of refrigerant your Hagerstown AC uses or to schedule a replacement, give Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call today!

Hedgesville Heat Pump Guide: What to Do About Ice and Snow

It’s very common for heat pumps in Hedgesville to ice over in the winter time. It can be due to freezing temperatures and icing outside or it could be due to constant running of the heat pump or excess moisture on the coils. However, while a bit of ice on the heat pump is relatively normal, the entire unit should never be covered in ice – such a thing is not only hard on the machinery; it can result in no heat for your home.

How to Handle Ice and Snow on the Heat Pump

Should your heat pump become covered in ice or snow in the winter time, there are a few things you can do and some things you should not do. First, check to make sure the problem isn’t related to a broken defrost cycle timer. The heat pump should go into a defrost cycle every 30-90 minutes to keep excess ice from building up. If this doesn’t happen, it should be inspected for a thermostat or sensor problem.

To actually remove the ice from the unit, never use a sharp object to pick the ice clear. You can easily damage the coils or another part of the unit and leave it permanently broken. The best way to remove ice from your heat pump is to rinse it off with a hose – even cold water will remove ice. Just be sure the defrost cycle is ready to come back on so the water used to rinse away the ice doesn’t freeze.

Remember to check your emergency heating source and make sure it is switched on while this is happening. Your heat pump likely won’t work properly while iced over and if it is left in the on position, excess stress on the device will cause damage.

To avoid this kind of damage, turn off the heat pump and turn on your emergency heating source, then clear away the ice and check the defrost timer. If everything works properly, turn the heat pump back on, but if you find any problems, call a professional to do a more thorough inspection of the device before you use it again.

How Effective is Geothermal Heating? A Tip from Hedgesville

Geothermal heating is an efficient way to use the Earth’s natural resources to heat a building’s interior in Hedgesville. But is it an effective way?

Let’s consider the cost of geothermal heating. Once you get past the initial installation costs of a geothermal heating system, which are higher than other conventional heating systems, its operating costs are much lower because of its use of a natural, renewable heat source – the Earth. If you plan to stay in your home for many years, a geothermal heating system will likely pay for itself because according to International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, geothermal operating efficiencies are 50-70% higher than other heating systems, which represents a substantial lowering of energy costs.

And according to a leading electric utility company, the cost of electricity for operating a geothermal heat pump is lower than any other heating system which includes natural gas, propane, and oil.

Beyond lower energy costs, geothermal heating leaves a smaller carbon footprint than other heating systems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the average U.S. home is 17%, most of which comes from burning fossil fuels for electricity. Geothermal uses natural heat from the ground and therefore uses 30-60% less energy than more conventional heating and cooling systems. Using less energy equals less carbon dioxide production.

A geothermal heating system is only as effective as the equipment used to deliver it throughout the building. The most common delivery method is through a ground source heat pump. This pump pulls the heat from the earth and distributes it. When properly installed and maintained, a ground source heat pump can last 15-20 years and provide an excellent source for heating – and cooling.

The components of a geothermal system also include a compressor, air handling unit, and duct system. When all are installed and maintained correctly, a geothermal heating system will be just as effective in heating a building’s interior as any other heating system. Just be sure you hire a qualified heating and cooling professional to install and service your geothermal heating system.