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Tuesday, December 22 2020
Your pipes are a vital part of your plumbing, bringing water into and out of your home. Unfortunately, many of your pipes are exposed to the elements, especially in the winter time.
Failing to properly prepare your pipes can lead to them freezing. Water expands when it freezes, meaning your pipes could burst — causing costly damage and quite the headache.
To avoid this, you’ll want to prepare your pipes for cold temperature by doing the following.
1. Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your pipes helps retain heat near them so they don’t freeze. Areas like your attic, crawl space, or garage are unheated, and thus leave your pipes exposed to cold temperatures.
Pipes in these areas are in the most need of insulation.
However, insulation on its own won’t do the job — in fact, it can make it worse by keeping heat away from these pipes. You’ll want to use heat cable along the pipes first, then insulate them to provide heat and keep it in.
2. Turn Off Your Outdoor Faucets
Make sure to turn off your outdoor faucets. To do so, first open them to drain out any extra water. Make sure the bleeder cap drains — otherwise, your pipes are still at risk of freezing and bursting.
Once you’ve drained them, turn them off at the shutoff valve.
3. Check and Get Maintenance on Your Furnace/HVAC Unit
Getting your furnace or HVAC unit before winter is a good idea regardless of your pipes. However, they do play a role in keeping your pipes in good shape. Should your unit stop working when it’s freezing outside, your pipes can freeze.
With that in mind, make sure you check your furnace or HVAC unit and get it all fixed up before it gets too cold out.
4. Look Around Your Home’s Exterior
If your home’s exterior has any cracks, cold air can slip in and pose a threat to your pipes, potentially even if you do the other things on this list.
Take a walk around your home and scan the exterior. See if you can spot any cracks. If you see any, use caulk or spray foam to close up the crack and keep the pipes safe.
5. Open Your Cabinet Doors
This is less preparatory and more maintenance, but crack open your cabinet doors every so often when it gets especially cold out. Doing so will allow heat from your home to reach your pipes, preventing them from freezing over.
Pipes not prepared for winter yet? Not to worry — you can rely on Barner Murphy to help you out. Our professionals will make sure your pipes are kept nice and warm this winter so you don’t have to worry about frozen or bursting pipes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!
Tuesday, December 08 2020
Wintertime means cranking up the heat for many people. But of course, that means a much larger heating bill hitting your mailbox or email inbox.
Then, there’s the fact that heavier reliance on heat isn’t great for the environment, as most homes use fossil fuels to keep warm.
Consequently, tons of people look for ways to keep energy usage at a minimum without freezing in their homes.
That brings us to the debate of whether or not you should leave your heat on all the time. Is it a more efficient way of keeping your home warm, or not?
Myth: Heating Your Home is More Expensive Than Keeping it Warm
Plenty of people have heard the saying that it takes more energy to heat up a home than it does to keep it toasty. Your furnace has to “work harder” to get back up to the temperature you want, whereas if your furnace is always running, it uses less energy.
Problem is, that’s not exactly how furnaces work. Furnaces put in the same amount of “effort” — the difference is the time involved.
If your house is freezing cold, your furnace will take a long time to bring it to a comfortable temperature. But if it’s one degree below the thermostat, it won’t take long.
Fact: Reheating Your House is Likely the More Efficient Option
With the above in mind, you can save energy by not constantly heating your home. Instead, only do so when you actually need to make the home warmer — such as during the day when people are home.
If no one will be home during the day — perhaps you’re a couple with no children, and both of you have jobs — then no one needs heat. You can set the temperature lower and save plenty on your energy bill.
It’s the same thing at night. You can turn down the heat when you’re wrapped up in warm blankets. Plus, research has shown that the optimal sleeping temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit — so you’ll get better sleep and save money.
Then, even when you do need your home heated, you can simply turn off the heat when the temperature is reached. To save a little more, you can keep your heat set a couple of degrees lower, and layer up. The US Department of Energy estimates this alone can save you 5-15% on your energy costs.
Now, furnaces can become less efficient over time. This can cost you more money, as your furnace has to run even longer to get your home to the same temperature. Cracked or loose parts, air leaks, and a dirty filter are just a few of many ways a furnace can become costlier to run.
If you’ve noticed your energy bill climbing recently — more than it normally does when it’s cold out — it may be time for some maintenance. Call Barner Murphy at 215-945-8560.
We’re happy to help you get your furnace back to running at maximum efficiency!
Tuesday, December 01 2020
Taking care of your plumbing isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. It’s work.
But you can’t avoid proper upkeep. The consequences of neglecting your plumbing system will cost you heavy in time, money, and stress.
With that in mind, here are some common yet disastrous occurrences we see in many peoples’ plumbing systems.
Unfortunately, sickness can sometimes come from your own water supply. In most of these cases, it’s due to water backflow — which happens when contaminated water enters your clean water supply.
Backflow prevention devices can help mitigate this threat. These devices force water to flow only one way.
Installing these devices incorrectly can cause dangerous consequences, though. It’s best to call a professional.
Clogged drains are more than an annoyance. Clogs left untreated can cause a variety of issues.
For one, the water can get blocked up and cause a pipe to burst — leading to an expensive headache.
It gets worse, though. These clogs also provide a breeding ground for bacteria or mold, which can threaten the health of those in your home — especially if any members of your household have breathing issues.
Leaks can be hard to catch, as their results seem innocuous at first. But as the leaks build up over time, they will saturate the wood and drywall in your home. This will create areas where mold can thrive. Additionally, the water may reach your electrical wiring and you could risk an electrical short.
The earlier you spot a leak, the better.
If you see any unexplained wetness or staining in your walls or on your floor, or if either feels warmer or colder than it normally should, you might have a pipe leak on your hands. Fix it yourself if you are 100% confident in your ability to do so; otherwise, call a plumber for help.
Pipes face a lot of threats, as you can see. As the weather gets colder, frozen pipes become more of a danger. The frigid air can reach any under-insulated parts of your home (such as under the sink), and freeze the pipes solid.
Water expands when it freezes, meaning these pipes will likely burst. If you don’t properly insulate your pipes and/or address any frozen pipes as soon as possible, you could lose hundreds of gallons of water.
Make sure all pipes are well-insulated where possible. For your pipes under the sink, consider putting a small space heater in the cabinet to keep warm water flowing through the pipes.
Are you seeing any of these issues yourself? Do you want a plumber to take a look at your plumbing and make sure you aren’t at risk of a plumbing catastrophe? Contact Barner Murphy.
Our professionals work quickly and efficiently to get your plumbing system back on track — with minimal disruption to your life. Call us today!