fbpx

Air Conditioner on the Blink? Five Possibilities to Consider

Mini-Split installation in Ann Arbor, Michigan

As trusted southeast Michigan air conditioning experts, we know how frustrating it can be when the weather gets warm, you need the a/c, and it will not work.  It will not be long before you need to cool your indoor spaces, and there are very limited reasons why a system fails to work as expected when summer arrives.  Problems arise when either your air conditioner is not properly installed, it is not maintained as often as it should be or is poorly serviced.

According to the federal Department of Energy, there are five problems with air conditioning systems that seem to be fairly common; here’s how to troubleshoot them:

Inadequate maintenance.Taking care of something as simple as cleaning the air conditioning coils and changing the filter as necessary can make a huge difference.  When the system is dirty and clogged, it can result in a fan or compressor that fails prematurely because the system has to work too hard.

Refrigerant leaks.Manufacturers specify the recommended refrigerant charge for their air conditioners; when you can match your refrigerant charge to the manufacturer’s recommendation, it will operate effectively.  Leaks not only make your system work harder, but they also harm the environment.  You may think all you need to do is add more refrigerant, but this is not the way to handle the issue.  Call a trained SE Michigan air conditioning technician to repair the leak.  Your technician will test to ensure the leak is repaired, then use the specified amount of refrigerant to charge your system.

Drainage issues.Humidity can cause problems, so check to ensure the condensate drain is not clogged and is draining as it should.  It is also important that window conditioners are level for proper drainage.

Electric control failure.Terminals and wires that are corroded can cause your cooling system to fail, so set up a service call to have your technician check out the electrical contacts and connections. Also, a system that is too big for your home will cycle on and off more frequently than a properly sized system, which can wear out fan controls and even the compressor.

Sensor problems.Have a window air conditioner?  On this type of system, a thermostat sensor in located behind the control panel, and is responsible for keeping the room comfortable.  Your a/c may cycle on and off too often if the sensor becomes knocked out of position; it should be located near the evaporative coil, but not touching it.  You can adjust this yourself by carefully bending the wire that holds the sensor in place.

Recently, Consumer Reports conducted a survey of more than 40,000 readers who purchased a central air conditioning system. Those that required the most frequent air conditioner repairs included York, Amana, and Goodman.  As an authorized Lennox dealer, we know that the system you choose can make a substantial difference in the problems (and expense) you will face down the road!

Keep the tips above in mind if you face problems with your air conditioning system this summer – and give us a call should you encounter a problem you cannot handle yourself.  As reputable southeast Michigan air conditioning professionals, your comfort is our business.

Contact us today!

What All Can You Run on a Standby Generator

Broken Power Lines

If you are a southeast Michigan homeowner curious about what you can expect a Kohler standby generator to run, we’ve provided some information we believe will be helpful. The quick answer to what appliances or electronics your generator will run is that it depends on the power each appliance consumes, and the output capacity of the generator you choose.

It’s important to think about what is most vital when the power goes out.  For instance, powering the sump pump to prevent flooding of the basement would likely take top priority over having the electric range work for cooking.  If the power remains out for hours or even days, you can change which appliances you power, depending on your needs.  Here’s a bit more information to enlighten you regarding electricity and generator capacity.

Understanding Electricity

Amps (A) or amperage and Volts (V) are used to measure electricity.  Amps are current which measure the volume of electrons moving within an electrical circuit.  Voltage measures the volume of force those electrons are under, and generates current.  No doubt you’ve heard of “watts” such as in the wattage of light bulbs or microwaves.  This is how the amount of electricity used by appliances or electronics is measured, in watts.  Essentially, by multiplying the volts by the amperage, you can determine the wattage of an appliance.  For instance, an appliance plugged into a 120-volt outlet that draws 5 amperes of current would use 600 watts.

The power used by motors on larger appliances such as air conditioners or refrigerators is measured in volt-amps, instead of watts.  Often converted to kVA (1kVA = 1,000 volt amps), with these larger appliances it is important to consider not only the running current, but the startup current as well.  Motor-driven appliances generally use a surge of power upon startup, then drop to a steady, lower current while running.  It’s fairly simple to determine startup current.  For most motors, multiply the running watts times three (3); heavy duty motors’ startup current can be determined by multiplying the running watts times six (6).

So that you can determine how much power your standby generator will produce, it is rated in kilowatts.  Standby generators manufactured by Kohler are capable of supplying power in addition to their rated power for support starting motors for a brief time period.  Kohler’s standby generators are available in 14kW and 20kW depending on your needs.  14kW generators are capable of supplying 35kVA, while 20kW models will supply 40.5kVA to support startup currents.

How Much Power Do Appliances Require?

Many homeowners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, and other cities in SE Michigan aren’t aware of starting and running watts of their home appliances.  In most cases, this information is provided on the product tag/owner’s manual.

Managing Standby Generator Power

Your local Kohler dealer will help you choose a load control module and transfer switch for your system.  When the power goes out, the transfer switch will transfer power from the utility grid to your standby generator automatically.  Once the power has been transferred over, however, some systems require that you control the load.  This is critical to ensure your generator does not become overloaded.  A load control module makes it possible for you to access all appliances in your home, just not simultaneously.

You have the ability to prioritize which appliances come on in what order when your generator is installed.  For instance, many homeowners choose to power the sump pump, refrigerator, and freezer, then the heating/cooling system depending on the season.  When prioritizing your appliances, add up the power for each and don’t forget to include the starting watts for appliances with motors.

Flexibility is another advantage of having a Kohler standby generator, as you can manage the power yourself when necessary.  For instance, when the A/C unit does not start and it begins to get stuffy or uncomfortable in your home, you can shut some of the appliances that are running off, thereby freeing up power to turn on the A/C.

While we have tried to explain how electricity works and its importance in determining what can be powered by a standby generator, we understand that it can still be confusing.  If you’re considering a Kohler standby generator and have questions, give us a call at Haley Mechanical today!  We’ll be more than happy to explain it in simpler language.

How to Protect Your Family From Carbon Monoxide

Adorable Baby and Dad

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called “the silent killer.” It is an odorless, colorless gas that’s a by-product of gas combustion. CO can cause illness or death before you’re aware of its presence. Fortunately, with proper ventilation and well maintained, properly adjusted gas and wood burning appliances, the chances are good you will have little to fear from carbon monoxide.

Unfortunately, many homeowners neglect appliance maintenance, which can be fatal. According to the U.S. EPA’s James Raub, CO may cause more than half of all fatal poisonings. “Fatal cases,” claimed Raub in the journal, Toxicology, “Also are grossly under-reported or misdiagnosed by medical professionals.”

Where CO Comes From

To start, background levels of carbon monoxide are always present in the atmosphere. Some occur naturally from volcanic activity and forest fires. Automobile and industrial emissions also contribute to background levels.

In the home, carbon monoxide can come from tobacco smoke, unvented gas space heaters and appliances, an automobile, lawn mower, generator, and other small engine exhaust that enters the home. You can minimize these risks by avoiding the indoor use of unvented appliances, by leaving your garage open when your car is running (and by not leaving the engine on while the car is in the garage), by starting and stopping small gas engines outside of the garage, and by locating gas generators outside away from doors, windows, or vents. Carbon monoxide can also occur in the home when a gas appliance’s flue is improperly sized, becomes disconnected, or the flue becomes partially restricted. A bird nest in the wrong place, for example, may become deadly. Flues should be checked at the start of each heating season.

Another potential source of carbon monoxide is your home’s furnace. Heat sections should be checked each fall to ensure the heat exchanger is leak free. Additionally, properly adjusted burners not only mean more efficient operation, but less risk of carbon monoxide resulting from incomplete combustion.

Back drafting

Back drafting occurs when the pressure inside the house is less than the pressure outside the house, and the exhaust from natural drafting gas appliances is sucked back into the house. Backdrafting is more of an issue today than in the past due to tighter construction standards. A bathroom fan may be enough to create negative pressure in a tightly sealed house.

Back drafting can also result from leaking return air ductwork, wood burning fireplaces (a fire can pull several hundred cubic feet of air out of the house each minute, causing appliances to backdraft), high wind conditions that result in high pressure on the windward side of the house and low pressure on the downwind side, and so on.

You can minimize the potential for back drafting by installing modern, energy efficient gas furnaces, wood stoves, and water heaters that feature sealed combustion systems. Sealed combustion appliances draw outside air for combustion and exhaust combustion by-products outdoors. Since indoor air is not used for combustion, back drafting is not a concern.

Another option is power vented furnaces or water heaters. These products use indoor air for combustion, but use a fan to exhaust combustion by-products outside.

Everyone Recommends Annual Heating System Maintenance

There’s a reason virtually every utility, consumer groups, government agency, and consumer publication recommends annual heating system maintenance. Good maintenance can save the lives of you and your family. A heating professional should check for leaks in the heat exchanger, adjust the burners, clean and check the venting system, and
more.

A heating system combustion safety inspection and tune-up are virtually free. The adjustments that ensure you receive a clean burn also save energy. Over the course of the heating season, the energy savings can easily exceed the cost of the tune-up.

An efficient, well-maintained heating system is also an environmentally friendly system. Since you save money on utilities, tune-ups are like buying carbon credits from yourself.

There are many good reasons for getting a tune-up now and none for waiting. Delaying only delays the energy savings. Call us today.

Water Heater Maintenance – Neglected Over the Winter? Nows the Time!

Hot water from faucet

As trusted plumbing professionals servicing southeast Michigan areas of Howell, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and surrounding communities, we know that homeowners rarely give their water heaters a second thought – unless there is a problem.  If you neglected your hot water-heater over the winter months, now is the time to have your technician perform a little maintenance.

What does water heater maintenance involve?  It’s really not too complicated.  Here’s what you should expect from your technician:

Check heating elements in electric systems.  Your technician will check the elements (which are responsible for heating the water) and replace if necessary.

Check combustion.  The hot water tank must have a good draft to ensure that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are not generated; your technician will check this after cleaning the pilot orifice and burner.

Testing the thermostat.  The most common water temperature is 120 degrees unless a homeowner requests that it be set higher.  Your technician will check to ensure that the thermostat on your system responds to hot water demands, and registers water temperature correctly.

Inspection of fuel connections.  Water heaters that heat using natural gas or other fossil fuels should be inspected to ensure connections are tight.  Your technician will also inspect the fuel lines to make sure there are no potential leaks or other damage.

Flush and insulate tank.  Every six months the storage tank on your water heater should be flushed to remove sediments; your technician will also insulate your tank with a jacket made specifically for the purpose of reducing heat loss if you choose to do so.

Inspect the thermocouple operation.  While you may never have heard of it, this component is a safety device that ensures your water tank will light safely.

Check and test T & P (temperature and pressure) valve.  This is an important aspect of water heater maintenance, as too much pressure or temperatures that rise too high can result in busted pipes or worse, a tank that bursts.  Either could result in injury to your family members or serious damage.  Your technician will open the T & P valve to remove any blockages and sediment and test it to ensure proper operation.

Haley Mechanical has provided outstanding plumbing, electrical, and HVAC services to customers in southeast Michigan 15 years!  Call us today to have your water heater inspected and any necessary adjustments made.

Ann Arbor Residents Can Save Energy (and Money) This Winter Season

Child Watching it Snow Out Window

Between putting up holiday lights and gas/electric usage soaring due to heater usage in Michigan’s frigid winter season, utility bills are often unusually high. The DOE (Department of Energy) claims that each year, families spend more than $1,900 on electricity and other utilities. Much of this cost can be attributed to energy waste during winter months!

Whether you live in Ann Arbor, Dexter, Plymouth, Howell, or another area in southeast Michigan, there are things you can do to save on energy use, and therefore utility costs:

Heating/Thermostats

  • You can enjoy a comfortable, warm home without wasting energy
  • While heat is on, keep windows and doors closed
  • Replace the filters in your furnace often
  • Consider having a programmable thermostat installed
  • Lower the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit on your hot water heater

Lighting

Save energy while improving the lighting in your home

  • LED lights use 90% less energy than standard Christmas lights, so consider them for your holiday decorating.
  • Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used. If you’re still using traditional light bulbs, replace them with compact fluorescent light bulbs; CFL bulbs last about six to twelve times longer.

General Energy Saving Tips

  • Conserve energy throughout your home
  • Water leaks in the kitchen, laundry room, or bath should be repaired as soon as detected
  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans only when necessary
  • If it’s time to replace appliances, choose those that are Energy Star rated; those with the Energy Star logo conserve energy

Make it easier to turn off appliances/devices such as cell phone chargers, televisions, and portable heaters when not in use by using power strips
Low-income families can get assistance with energy bills in the winter months by contacting LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. To learn if you qualify, visit the Office of Community Services website.

Haley Mechanical wants to help you save on energy costs this winter season. We invite all SE Michigan homeowners to contact us today with all of your home comfort questions!

Save Energy, Reduce Utility Bills: 6 Tips for Southeast Michigan Renters

Lightbulb on a Dark Background

Unfortunately, when you rent a home in Southeast Michigan, you are limited to what you can do to save energy and reduce energy bills.  Installing geothermal heat pumps, extra insulation, and highly efficient appliances are all great, but usually not an option for renters.  The good news is that homeowners aren’t the only ones who can enjoy reduced energy costs!

As a renter, there are plenty of things you can do to save energy and lower your energy bills.  Here are some energy-saving strategies you can implement today:

  1. Use the mornings to enjoy the fresh outdoor air and cool your home down.  Raise the windows early in the morning, when temperatures are at their coolest.  This will help lower the temperature inside, meaning the air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your home comfortable for the rest of the day.
  2. Adjust the thermostat.  Many people aren’t aware that adjusting the thermostat higher by just one degree in the summer months can save a substantial amount of money, without compromising comfort.  In fact, you can save 3-5% by doing this one simple thing!  If you do not have a programmable thermostat, set yours to 78 degrees while you’re away in summer, 58 degrees in winter months.
  3. Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs.  Since they were introduced, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs have improved substantially.  While more expensive initially, you will enjoy reduced energy usage – and CFL bulbs have a far longer life.  Choose those with the Energy Star seal for durability and longer lifespan.
  4. Consider a low flow showerhead.  Heating water consumes a substantial amount of energy, which means using hot water zaps power.  By switching from a traditional showerhead to a low flow model, you can slash the cost of hot water usage by a whopping 40%!  Again, pay attention to EPA labeling.  Certain brands such as WaterSense use a maximum of two gallons of water per minute but still offer the water pressure you enjoy.  Many offer multiple settings as well.
  5. Unplug it.  Even when turned off, many appliances and electronics still consume energy.  Televisions, DVRs, and battery chargers are the worst offenders, however when an LED or light is displayed, or a device works via remote control, it continues to draw power.  Unplug those appliances and electronics you don’t use often.  For those devices, you frequently use, consider a power strip so that all can be turned off simultaneously.
  6. Control when and where air circulates inside the home.  Why cool or heat a room that’s empty?  Use ceiling fans in rooms only when they are occupied to circulate cool or warm air (most offer a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades, depending on the season).  Also, be sure that vents are clear and not blocked by furniture, clothes, or other items.  Close cabinet and closet doors, and consider closing off those rooms you don’t use as well.

Even renters can save on energy costs by implementing a few of these tips!  Enjoy a comfortable home and energy savings this summer.

Common Plumbing Mistakes – How to Avoid These Most Unpleasant of Tasks

Toilet in Bathroom

Many Ann Arbor, Michigan area homeowners would rather scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush than face a plumbing issue.  With plumbing, you never know if it’s something minor, or if you’re going to flood the house if you attempt to fix it yourself.  A clogged toilet or sink drain, a bathtub drain that seems to be sluggish – you just don’t want to deal with it.  Unfortunately, nearly every homeowner will face a plumbing problem at some point.  However, if you know the right way to approach these problems, you can minimize them or avoid it altogether.  Here are a few examples.

Common Mistake #1 – Quick Fixes

You have friends over at the house, or you’re in a rush to get out to that new movie, but you have a plumbing job that won’t wait.  Instead of chancing it and not turning the water off, just do it.  By leaving it on while you’re working on the problem, you could end up with a huge (and costly) headache.

Common Mistake #2 – Not using a level during installations

Are you one of those people who can accomplish almost any task?  If you’re able to install a new sink or toilet, do it the right way from the beginning to avoid problems later on.  Use a level to insure your installation isn’t crooked, which could negatively impact the appearance and function of your new toilet or sink.  It really takes no more time, and is worth the effort.

Common Mistake #3 – Not disconnecting outdoor plumbing in winter months

This is a mistake we all make – leaving the water hose hooked up to the outdoor spigot in winter months.  If your outdoor spigots are supplied by a separate control, turn it off to avoid frozen and busted pipes, which can result in a devastating flood inside your home.  Disconnect all of the garden hoses.  Failing to get prepared outdoors before the first hard freeze hits could cause you thousands of dollars worth of damage inside your home.

Common Mistake #4 – Not using the right pipes

Just because two pipes seem to fit together and hold doesn’t mean they will work effectively together.  When it comes to DIY plumbing, the two most important factors are the material the pipe is made of, and size.  To ensure that your pipes are properly sealed (and therefore avoid leaks,) make sure to use the proper connecting piece between the two pipes.  Also, don’t assume it’s okay to use two same size pipes made of different materials, such as copper and galvanized metal.  Different materials often react to the other, which leads to corrosion at the connection point – and thus leaks.  Use a suitable fitting to connect different materials, such as a brass fitting.

Common Mistake #5 – Using drain cleaner frequently

Drain cleaners such as Drano really are as tough as they claim they are – and they can do a number on your pipes if used too often.  While these clog-busters do their job quite well, they contain harsh chemicals that can harm both PVC and metal pipes if used in the same pipe repeatedly on a clog that’s persistent.

Pipes really are tough and not damaged easily, but using harsh drain cleaners repetitively to remove a clog can eventually damage your pipes.  When you have a clog that just won’t seem to budge even when using a snake tool, it’s best to prevent further damage and have the issue remedied for good by calling in the professionals.

Common Mistake #6 – Ignoring (or not knowing) local plumbing regulations. 

Do-it-yourselfers can face all kinds of problems when addressing plumbing issues without checking with city building officials.  Many counties and cities require a permit for larger plumbing jobs, and if you don’t have the proper permit you may face a fine.  Additionally, should you undertake more than you can handle and substantial damage to your home is the result, your homeowner’s insurance may deny your claim because you did the work without the proper permits.

Common Mistake #7 – Tackling plumbing jobs beyond your ability

Just because you have repaired a leaky faucet or unclogged the toilet doesn’t mean you have the skill or ability to tackle bigger jobs that require an experienced professional.  While it’s true most “handy” homeowners can perform many plumbing tasks on their own, there are times you’re far better off hiring a professional.  When you have the slightest suspicion that you may be biting off more than you can chew, don’t do it yourself – call a licensed plumber.  You’ll likely save yourself a bundle of money considering the damage you may cause by trying to do it yourself.

It’s a Good Idea to Buy Indoor & Outdoor Units that Match – Here’s Why

House in Dexter, Michigan

As professional heating & air contractors who cater to SE Michigan home and business owners in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas, we know it is tempting to just replace a failed component when it goes out on your central air conditioner.  However, this may not be the smartest idea.  The main components of your system are the indoor unit (evaporator coil), and the outdoor unit (condenser/compressor).  Why not simply replace the failed part and save money?  There are several reasons which we will explain below.

Increased reliability.  When just one unit is upgraded, both together do not work as efficiently – in essence, they’re incompatible.  This means your equipment will undergo additional strain, putting the older component at greater risk of going out because of the added workload.  Essentially, your central air system could fail you at any time, even during the hottest days of the year.  A system that is entirely new will give you 10 to 15 years of service you can rely on.

Maximum energy efficiency.  Higher SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) models help you save on energy consumption and utility costs.  However, these ratios are based on complete (compatible) systems.  To enjoy the greatest energy savings, it’s important to install compatible indoor and outdoor units.

Reduced lifetime costs.  Over the lifetime of your system, you will spend less by having indoor and outdoor units that are compatible.  By replacing both components, you will spend far less money on repairs, maintenance, and costs to cool your home.  Update only the indoor or outdoor component, and you’ll face more expense down the road when the other unit stops functioning!

Advances in design.  Today’s air conditioners are far more advanced than those of 10 or 15 years ago.  If you only replace one component instead of both, you lose out on technologies such as thermal expansion valves, variable-speed air handling, improved coil designs, and more.  Ultimately, by replacing only one component, you will have less control over comfort and humidity.

Possible void of warranty on the new component.  While manufacturers typically provide a new equipment warranty, this may not be the case when the components of your cooling system are mismatched.  By having matching components installed, you will have peace of mind knowing the entire system is under the manufacturer‘s warranty.

At Haley Mechanical, we highly recommend you buy indoor and outdoor units that match when one or the other component fails.  It’s the smart thing to do regarding comfort, energy and money savings, and warranty on equipment!  Have questions?  Give our southeast Michigan HVAC experts a call today.

7 Plumbing Ideas for Conserving Water in Your Home

Traditional Michigan Bathroom

As trusted service providers to homeowners in Ann Arbor, Canton, Plymouth and surrounding areas of air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems, we understand that having a “green” home not only contributes to a safe environment for future generations, it also helps you save money. Did you know there are many things you can do throughout your home to save on water usage, thus saving on how much you spend on water each month?

Here are seven plumbing features you will not want to be without:

Aerators. Want to reduce the amount of water you use in the kitchen or bathroom, without sacrificing water pressure? Aerators allow the water and air in a faucet to mix. This means that you can still enjoy an invigorating shower without using gallons of water. Look for them at your local plumbing or home improvement store.

High-efficiency washing machine. Washing machines use a ton of water; in fact, regular washing machines may use 25 to 30 gallons per load! A high-efficiency washing machine not only cuts water usage by up to 35%, but it will also reduce energy use by about 20%. Good reasons to consider a high-efficiency model.

Faucets. Think of all the water that runs right down the drain while you are brushing your teeth or washing your hands. WaterSense faucets reduce the volume of water by as much as 30% or more. However, you will not experience a noticeable drop in pressure.

Toilets – essential, but the biggest source of water waste in your home. Did you know that toilets manufactured before 1992 typically use about 3 1/2 to 5 gallons of water per flush? This is huge! To use less water, consider replacing your old toilet with a dual-flush or high-efficiency model.

high-efficiency dishwasher can save you as much as 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime. That is right – dishwashers installed before 1994 will use 10 gallons or more each time you run it.

Consider a tankless water heater. Your water heater accounts for as much as 25% of your home’s total energy usage. By replacing your conventional water heater with a tankless model, you can slash up to 30% off your energy bill each month.

Low-flow showerhead. Regular showerheads or those that are older can use water at a rate of 5.5 gallons per minute! A low-flow showerhead reduces the usage to 2.5 gallons per minute or less, meaning you can cut back on water usage for showering purposes by as much as 60%. Imagine the savings if you have a large family!

Considering that a showerhead can run at a rate of more than 5 gallons per minute and that older toilets can require 5 gallons for every flush, it is easy to see how you could use hundreds of gallons each day – and it is costing you while using valuable natural resources. Keep the above tips in mind, and enjoy a “green” home that costs you less!

At Haley Mechanical, we want to help you make your entire home more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Southeast Michigan homeowners feel free to contact us for more tips on saving energy – and money.

Ann Arbor Homeowners – Top Maintenance Tips for a Healthy Boiler

Lady Relaxing on Couch

With winter well underway, you may be thinking of turning on your boiler, or you may have already taken that step. Whether you live in Ann Arbor, Dexter, or other cities in Southeast Michigan, it is important to maintain your boiler properly not only for proper operation, efficiency, and money savings but your family’s safety as well. At Haley Mechanical, we have a few critical maintenance tips you should pay close attention to!

Know the most common issues with radiators

Has the radiator (and perhaps the valve) been painted? Freeing the valve can be a challenge. Before contacting a professional to resolve the issue, try spraying a little WD40 and applying some pressure to free the valve.

Sludge in the radiator can result in it being hot at the top while still cool at the bottom. Power flushing is the solution to this problem; contact the experts to take care of this task.

Is the radiator failing to heat up? This is usually a valve problem. First, look at the valve located at the bottom of the radiator to ensure it is open. Valves turn in a clockwise direction, and if yours is open, but the radiator fails to produce heat, it may mean an issue with the valve. Should you have to get a new valve to replace the old one, you may want to consider a thermostatic radiator valve as this type is more flexible when it comes to heat settings and providing comfort.

Bleed radiators

Allow your radiator to run for a while you initially turn it on; if you notice that some do not heat up quickly, it may be due to air inside the radiator. This is indicated when the radiator is old at the top, and hot at the bottom. If this is the issue, here are our suggestions:

After protecting carpets or flooring with plastic, get an old cloth or rag and radiator key. After putting the key in the valve, turn it gently in a reverse clockwise direction for about a quarter of a turn while capturing any water that may escape with a cloth held underneath. As the air leaves the radiator, you will likely notice a hissing sound.

Water should begin to exit the radiator, and the hissing sound should cease shortly, at which time you can absorb excess water with a rag or cloth. Once this occurs, turn the radiator key in a clockwise direction to ensure the valve is closed. Once finished, check to make certain the radiator is hot from bottom to top.

Check boiler pressure and ventilation

It is important to check the pressure gauge once the boiler is operating to ensure it is functioning per the pressure levels recommended by the manufacturer. When the pressure is lower than recommended, you can top it up – but do so with caution, as the pressure release valve can easily sustain damage. When this happens, you will need to call a professional for repair.

Sufficient space around your boilers is essential as well, so make certain that the area where the boiler is housed is clutter-free. Your boiler needs to breathe, so remove coats, shoes, bags, and other items. If housed in a box, be sure ventilation requirements are met according to manufacturer instructions and that there is an access panel to make your boiler easily accessible for maintenance.

Overflow pipe dripping

It could indicate a problem if you find dripping water coming from the overflow pipe (typically located outside your property). In many cases overfilling or the passage of time causes the pressure release valve to malfunction. If this is the case, you will need to have an engineer diagnose and resolve the issue.

Balancing your radiator system

While this task is a bit complex, it is worth the time and effort you put in. Upon bleeding radiators, you may notice that some are warmer than others. If this is the case, the cooler radiators will likely warm up by carefully adjusting the radiators so that those that are hotter become less hot. It may be necessary to have an expert come in if your house is large, as this can be a difficult task. Simply contact the professionals at Haley Mechanical if you need assistance bleeding and balancing the radiators.

Is the flame of your boiler blue?

It is critical to consult a professional if the flame of your boiler is not blue, but instead an orange or yellow color. This could indicate your boiler is faulty.

Make sure the flue can be accessed

A joint that is leaking could be emitting carbon monoxide, so it is important to make sure your boiler flue is accessible via access panels installed whether the flue exits through a ceiling or void. Access panels help ensure your family’s safety so that yourself or a professional can spot potential carbon monoxide leaks.

Boiler repairs are not for the do-it-yourselfer

Many homeowners try to take care of all household issues themselves to avoid costs. When there is an issue with your boiler, it is never recommended that you open it and attempt to make repairs yourself. Instead, contact an engineer who is experienced and familiar with boiler problems.

Have your boiler serviced annually

Finally, it is imperative that you have your boiler serviced on a yearly basis to ensure it runs in the best possible condition. Our engineers will make certain that your boiler is running at its most efficient, and in a safe manner. By cleaning all accessible areas and checking the primary components of your boiler, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing your boiler is ready for the cold temperatures to fall and winter bring while operating safely to protect your home and family.

At Haley Mechanical, we know the importance of proper care for boiler efficiency, safe operation, and a warm home during the coldest winter months. We invite homeowners in the Ann Arbor, Dexter, and surrounding areas of Southeast Michigan to contact us today to ensure your boiler is healthy!

Learn more about a Lochinvar Boiler for your Ann Arbor area home.