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FAQ | Cleveland Air Conditioning Installation Services
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FAQ | Cleveland Air Conditioning Installation Services
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Frequently Asked Questions

Which heating system is most efficient for my home?

Reduced to its most fundamental level, a heating system has three component parts:

  • The heating plant your furnace, boiler or heat pump
  • The distribution system your ducts or pipes
  • The control system namely, your thermostat.

Two types of heating systems we often recommend when only new will do are:

Gas Furnaces & Boilers

Gas furnace technology has progressed by leaps and bounds during the past decade. Heating efficiencies have jumped from about 65% to as high as 95%.

Gas furnaces are also called forced air heating systems, where the air is heated and then supplied through your ductwork or baseboard units. If your home is equipped with radiators, then you'll want a gas boiler which heats water instead of air.

Plus, with a gas boiler, you can eliminate one home comfort appliance with a combined gas boiler and water heater system.

Electric heat pumps

An electric heat pump produces 2-3x more heat per kWh than an electric furnace.

There are two main types of heat pump: air-to-air, and ground source (also known as geothermal). Air-to-air heat pumps work fine in warmer climates, but once the outside temperature falls below 35.5 degrees Fahrenheit, they rapidly lose efficiency. In colder climates, geothermal systems work better since heat is extracted from deep within the ground where the temperature remains constant all year long.

Air-to-air or geothermal, you can heat and cool your home with a heat pump system. That's right: central air and central heat, all within a single, highly efficient system.

So... Is a new heating system in your family's future? Then allow the experts at Fred's Home Services to recommend what's best for you.

What is the proper humidity level for my home?

Too much humidity is a bad thing, right? After all, it creates and promotes an environment where bacteria, mold, various fungi, and dust mites not only grow but flourish!

But doesn't dry air cause its own fair share of problems? You bet. In fact, excessively dry indoor air can weaken your immune system from harmful viruses and respiratory ailments.

The fact is, dry air and damp air both have their fair share of problems. So what's the answer? A whole-house, combined humidification, and dehumidification system where you can control and maintain the proper levels of relative humidity, which most experts agree are between 40%-55%.

Before going any further, let's define the very term this article is all about:

Relative Humidity is the moisture content in the air as a percentage of the total amount of moisture air can actually hold. So, at a relative humidity of 40%, air is holding 40% of its full potential.

With a whole-house humidifier from Fred's Home Services, you can maintain ideal levels of humidity all year long. In the process, you can save as much as 5% on your annual fuel bill. More importantly, you'll add immeasurably to your family's indoor comfort while helping to ease skin and breathing reactions caused by dry air.

Where do the energy savings come from? Cold air is dry, and in dry air, moisture evaporates from your skin. That, in turn, tends to cool you off. So, by setting the thermostat at 69 degrees with a relative humidity of 35%, you'll feel just as warm as you would in 72-degree air with 19% relative humidity.

Bottom line, you want to dehumidify your home in warm weather and add humidity when it's cold.

Is there anything I can do to extend the effective lifespan of my water heater?

Ask anybody in the know, and they'll tell you the average effective lifespan of a water heater is 8-11 years.

And new water heaters aren't cheap! So it makes complete sense to prolong the life of your existing unit, and here are a few ways to do just that:

  • Water alarms go off when your water heater leaks, allowing you to take corrective action before the problem grows worse.
  • Pressure regulators keep water pressure from exceeding a pre-set limit. That protects the unit and connecting pipes from leaking or bursting.
  • Expansion tanks- reduce the pressure exerted on the liner of your water heater reducing the possibility of a pressurized water leak.
  • Timers cause your water heater to draw power only when you need hot water. That saves you save money on energy and prolongs the life of your unit. Still, what happens when it's time for a new water heater? You'll want to do your homework, because today, you have more choices than ever, such as:
  • Storage tank water heaters are the most common and are available in electric, propane and natural gas models. Natural gas and propane models tend to use less energy. *
  • Tankless or on-demand water heaters are also self-contained units, but without a water storage tank. Rather, internal coils heat the water as it passes through. But these also produce limited water volume, so they might not be the best choice if you typically run two or more hot water sources at once.
  • You can also purchase an on-demand accessory for your existing storage tank unit. That way, you get the best of both of the above options, including reduced energy consumption.

As you can see, tending to your family's hot water needs is no simple matter. Which is why Fred's Home Services is always on hand to assist you, no matter what the plumbing need.

If my water pressure is too weak, how do I restore its power?

Water pressure. When it's right, you don't think about it. When it slows down and stays slow you want corrective action, and you want it now!

Let's say, for example, that you can't wash your dishes at the same time that you water your lawn because the water pressure is too weak. Or, more commonly, two people can't take a shower at the same time, or someone flushes a toilet while another family member takes a shower.

Water pressure may be low for a couple of reasons. If the experience is common among your several neighbors, then call your local water company and report the problem, especially if you experience low water pressure throughout your home. Perhaps a supply valve is closed that, when re-opened, can solve the problem immediately.

Calcium and other mineral deposits inside your pipes will certainly have an effect on water pressure, and might even require a water treatment solution. This is a job for a professional plumber and should be looked at sooner or later, as the problem will only grow worse with time.

Your home might also have been built with undersized pipes. Many homes, in fact, were built with galvanized pipes, when it would have cost only a little more to have installed copper pipes. Upgrading to copper pipes can actually double the amount of water pressure flowing from any fixture in your home. Plus, copper pipes last longer and resist calcium and other mineral build-ups.

Pretty amazing, don't you think? Well, so is our ability at Fred's Home Services to help you obtain all the water pressure you'll ever want or need.

What can be done to protect against frozen pipes?

Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during sub-zero weather up north. They tend to plague Southerners from time to time as well. Piping generally gets placed well inside the bowels of buildings in the north. Designers of southern buildings generally don't pay much attention to the location of water piping, and on those rare occasions when temperatures drop a little below freezing, occupants pay the price.

Pipes that have frozen in the past are obvious candidates for special attention. Insulation is an obvious benefit, but won't by itself prevent pipes from freezing if they are too exposed to the elements.

It's also important to keep a heat source close by. In the case of bathroom pipes enclosed in vanities or cabinets, leave the doors open during frigid weather so the heat from the room can penetrate the enclosures. Pipe wrappings embedded with electrical coils will provide an outside source of heat. This is okay, but if you forget to plug in the device with the approach of a cold front, or if there's an electrical power interruption - as often occurs during severe weather - the product won't work.

How do I keep my drains and toilet from clogging?

A drain line has only one purpose in life. To move water from point A to point B.

But when water starts returning to point A or bursting through an underground pipe to points C, D, E and beyond, the result can be unpleasant, to say the least.

So what can you do to prevent clogs in the first place? For starters:

  • Check your sink and tub stoppers at least four times a year for hair and bio-film buildup.
  • Once a week, fill each sink in your home to the brim and then pull up the stopper. The volume and weight of the water will help flush the drain lines.
  • Once a month or so, pour an organic drain cleaner down each of your drains. Products like Bio-Clean work much better than the chemical drain cleaners and won't damage your fixtures or pipes.
  • Never pour oil or grease down a drain. Instead, use a jar that you can later discard.