820 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 6
Chesapeake, Va 23320
- 2646
Office: 757-655-6447 | FAX: 757-523-6530
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How Long Should a Furnace and Air Conditioning Unit Last?

Darren Kincaid - Monday, January 08, 2018

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAToday's heating, ventilation and air conditioning units are more energy-efficient than their predecessors.

New air conditioning and heating equipment lasts longer than ever. The end of a furnace's or air conditioner’s service life depends on more than just chronological age. Energy-efficiency issues and the price of any necessary repairs versus the cost of upgrading to a new unit all enter into that determination.

Furnace Lifespan

The average service life of a new furnace is 16 to 20 years. Most furnace parts that fail during that span are replaceable at a cost that makes repair a better call than replacing the entire furnace. The exception is the heat exchanger, a furnace's single most expensive component. A cracked heat exchanger in a unit that’s already out of warranty is usually a tipping point that means it’s time to shop for a new furnace.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners typically last from 12 to 15 years. The lifespan of a central cooling unit may be reduced if its capacity is not properly matched to the cooling load of the home. Oversized air conditioners “short-cycle,” turning on and off rapidly, inflicting excessive wear and tear on the compressor. Like the furnace heat exchanger, the compressor is the most costly part in the system. A worn-out compressor in a unit that’s outlived its warranty is usually a deal-breaker that warrants upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient air conditioner rather that repairing the existing unit.

For more information on heating and cooling equipment, contact Central Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

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Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Central Plumbing and Heating

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAHappy Holidays from Central Plumbing and Heating. We would like to thank our customers, friends, family, and community for allowing our business to be part of your lives in 2017. We wish all of you a wonderful and prosperous 2018!

If we have had the pleasure of being your choice in providers, we hope that we provided the highest level of customer service and met all of your needs. In the coming months if you find yourself in need of the services we offer, we hope you choose us again in 2018.

It is our sincere wish that in the New Year you are surrounded by warmth, family, and friendship and that 2018 brings you good health and prosperity. From all of us here at Central Plumbing and Heating we hope you have a safe and exciting New Year.

“We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday – the longer, the better…” ~ Charles Dickens

Gas Water Heater Repairs

Darren Kincaid - Monday, December 04, 2017

Home heating systems need maintenance, repairs and upgrades periodically. This is less challenging than a bathroom or kitchen upgrade, but in many cases, these types of jobs often require a specialist.

Most repairs to a gas water heater are made at the burner control. If your heater leaks, the tank is rusted through and the entire unit must be replaced. Call a HVAC specialist to replace a gas water heater.

Below is a quick troubleshooting guide to gas water heater problems:

If the unit suddenly stops heating water, try relighting the pilot. If it does not stay lit, the thermocouple probably needs to be replaced. If that does not solve the problem, you may need to clean the burner.

If the flame is mostly yellow rather than mostly blue, clean the burner.

If water isn't heating sufficiently even though the thermostat is turned up and the flames are blue, drain the tank and refill it.

If you have hard water, unscrew and remove the anode rod once a year. Look for a 1-inch nut in the top of the heater. Loosen the nut; the anode rod will be attached. If it's encrusted with minerals, replace it to get more efficient operation.

For any of the above tasks, if you are uncomfortable, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

Pressure-Relief Valve

A temperature- and pressure-relief (TPR) valve is a safety device that provides an outlet for water in case the unit overheats. To test that it's working, pull up on the little lever; water should flow out. If not, or if water drips from the valve, the TPR valve needs to be replaced. Contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

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Heat Pumps Are More Efficient for Heating (and Cooling) Your Home

Darren Kincaid - Monday, November 20, 2017

Central Plumbing and HeatingIn Chesapeake, VA home owners are considering how to better heat and cool their homes. Homeowners have been seeing and hearing a lot about “heat pumps” but many don’t know what they are. Heat pumps give you an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. In many cases a heat pump is preferred to separate heating and cooling systems.

Heat pumps use less energy to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the winter, heat pumps draw heat from the cooler external air and bring it inside while moving the cooler inside air, out; in the summer, heat pumps move heat from inside your home to the outdoors. They move heat they don’t generate heat, so they can give up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume. They transfer heat, they don’t burn fuel to create heat, and this makes them very efficient.

If you heat your home with electricity, a heat pump can cut down on the amount of electricity you use in your home for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. High-efficiency heat pumps dehumidify your home better than most central AC units. This saves you money in the summer.

One of the biggest advantages of a heat pump over a standard HVAC system is that you don’t need to install separate systems to for heating and cooling. For more information on heat pumps, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

Signs Your Heating System Needs to be Replaced

Darren Kincaid - Monday, November 13, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAHeating systems will always need maintenance and repair over time, but waiting until winter arrives to take action on any noticeable issues concerning your heating unit can be disastrous. Here are some tips to Chesapeake-area homeowners about signs to look for that indicate a heating system is failing.

There is a tremendous difference in cost between a service call and full HVAC unit replacement. However, when homeowners don't stay on top of routine maintenance and acknowledge any warning signs that their heating unit may be malfunctioning, they may end up spending much more over time in repairs than their aging unit is worth.

Signs that a heating unit may be in need of service or replacement include:

Age of the system. The average lifespan of a heating system is 15-20 years. As a heating unit ages, it falls behind in terms of efficiency. A high-efficiency system uses less energy to run than a system that isn't, which typically means a lower monthly gas or oil bill. Band-Aid repairs on old units can easily waste money.

Strange and unusual noises. Noises, particularly metallic or scraping sounds, can be an indicator that a service call is needed for repair. In the event that the homeowner detects such a sound, the unit needs to be turned off immediately for further inspection to prevent any further damage.

Uneven heating of the home. This can indicate a number of things, some of which can be solved by the homeowner. Furniture blocking vents can obstruct air flow, and dirty filters can restrict flow to the entire home. However, if these are checked and the issue still exists, a service call may be needed to clear obstructed ductwork or repair of the unit. When homeowners have one room that gets too hot while another doesn't heat, there is an unbalanced distribution of heat that could be very costly depending on the location of the thermostat.

Increasing energy bills. Once your energy costs increase without a reasonable explanation, chances are your heating system isn't working as efficiently anymore. This is usually the case with older heating systems, but newer systems can also start to fail and become less efficient.

Increasing runtime. If your heating system runs constantly, beyond adjusting for winter temperatures, it can be an indication of loss of efficiency or a thermostat issue.

Excessive repairs. If repairs are becoming more frequent, expenses are increasing, and the same problems are reoccurring, it is most likely time to replace the entire unit. Replacing the entire unit with a current model will not only cut down on time and money spent on repairs and service calls, but will also help save on monthly energy bills thanks to newer energy-saving standards.

Sometimes a solution can be reached with minimal effort by the homeowner, but sometimes scheduling a professional technician for a service call is necessary.

Turning a heating unit on after the temperature has already dramatically dropped puts a tremendous amount of strain on the unit. It can completely compromise a unit that is already in need of repair or replacement. Taking action to prevent heating system failure will help you stay comfortable during the cold winter months.

For Chesapeake homeowners in need of heating system troubleshooting, service calls, replacement options, or immediate installation, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

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Pay Less for Home Energy Bills

Darren Kincaid - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAEvery home owner wants to know how to save money on energy bills. Combined, Americans use nearly one million dollars worth of energy every minute.

Here are some helpful tips that can lead to cutting down on your overall energy costs:

Heating and Cooling

Insulating your home's walls and ceilings and using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks near doors and windows saves 20 to 30 percent on your home heating and air-conditioning bills.

One of the easiest ways to cut down on heating and cooling costs is to simply turn your thermostat's heat down a few degrees cooler than you normally would in the winter and turning your air-conditioning up a few degrees warmer than you normally would in the summer. For every degree that you adjust your home's temperature, you will reduce your home's energy use by 1 to 3% each month and will see a similar price reduction when you receive your monthly bill.

Close the doors of any rooms that aren't being used to contribute to a reduction in the amount of heating or air-conditioning that you will need in your home. Keep large pieces of furniture away from any heating registers or air-conditioning ducts and if you have a chimney, make sure that the flue is closed when your chimney is not in use to keep large amounts of air from entering or exiting your home.

Around the House

Clean or replace air filters every few months since more energy is lost when air conditioners and furnaces have to work harder to push air through a dirty filter. This simple task can cut down on 5 percent of the energy that you use in your home.

For more information, contact Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VA.

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Time for a Heating System Tune-Up

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VABefore the colder winter hits, maximize your heating system’s efficiency and have your heating system tuned up in Chesapeake, VA.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems are an integral part of your home. Unfortunately, we tend to take them for granted when they're working. But, with a little extra help, they could be working better which would save you money.

A heat pump or heating system tune-up is recommended for any system that is over a year old, and it generally only takes about an hour and a half to tune up most systems. Be sure your heating system operates efficiently and without fail during the winter season with a pre-season tune-up.

Contact Central Plumbing and Heating for heat system tune-up.

Prepare Your Home for Cooler Temperatures

Darren Kincaid - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VANow that fall is officially on the way, it's time to prepare your home for the cooler weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.

For about $80 to $100, an HVAC technician will inspect the furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.

If you act soon, you'll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year. Look for a heating and air-conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program. The contractor should follow the protocol for ACCAs "national standard for residential maintenance" (or the QM, short for "quality maintenance").

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan's blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings -- and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings. If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.

Check window-glazing putty, too (which seals glass into the window frame). Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.

For more information on getting you home ready for cooler temperatures in Chesapeake, VA, contact Central Plumbing and Heating.

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Repair or Replace My Air Conditioner?

Darren Kincaid - Friday, September 01, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VACheck these factors before deciding whether your A/C needs to be replaced.

Consider the age of your A/C

Age is one of the most important factors to consider when it's time to repair or replace an air conditioner.

The 5,000 rule

Multiply the age of the equipment by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If less, go ahead and repair it. For example, a 10-year-old unit with a $350 repair equals $3,500. It’s OK to repair.

Energy efficiency matters

Recent advances in A/C technology have greatly improved energy efficiency. Energy Star recommends upgrading to an energy-efficient unit if your current central air conditioner is 10 or more years old. Many HVAC technicians say they typically recommend replacing units if they are 15 years or older. The average lifespan of an A/C unit is about 14 years.

R-22 can influence your options

If an A/C unit requires additional refrigerant it signals there’s a coolant leak.

Topping off a system with R-22 refrigerant, known as Freon, costs as much as $40 to more than $175 per pound — which may also include the cost of the service call. Fixing the leak and putting in several pounds of refrigerant can cost $550 to $1,000.

A unit that takes R-22 that develops a leak should probably be replaced. Once you get a leak, the compressor (which can cost up to $2,000) will usually go out eventually.

Repairing a leak, adding refrigerant and replacing a compressor can cost about the same as buying a new, low-end unit.

R-22 prices, meanwhile, have soared in recent years due to the EPA's eventual phaseout. HVAC manufacturers stopped making units charged with R-22 in 2010. Production of R-22 will end 2020.

Other factors affecting the repair/replace decision

Aside from the unit’s age, a few other signs can signal it’s time to replace your air conditioner, according to Energy Star. Consider how frequently you make repairs, whether your energy bills are rising or if your home is too hot in the summer.

How long are you going to live in the house, and what are your utilities like?. If the unit is older and the repair is a couple hundred dollars, it may not be worth fixing.

If you do buy a new, energy-efficient A/C unit — which costs $3,600 to $7,200 — Energy Star estimates a 20 percent savings on heating and cooling costs.

On the other hand, some HVAC technicians say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If your system shows no leaks and your energy bills are low, there is no reason to replace it.

To gauge the condition of your existing A/C, schedule an inspection with an HVAC technician.

For more information, contact Central Plumbing and Heating in Chesapeake, VA.

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Indoor Air Quality Affect Short and Long Term Health

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Central Plumbing and Heating, Chesapeake, VAAs we breathe in a day, we exchanges between 10,000 and 70,000 liters of air every 24 hours. And yet, air quality is often overlooked, compared to what's in our food and water.

The average person spends 90 percent of his time inside and unfortunately, indoor air is far more polluted than outdoor air. According to the EPA, indoor air contains 2 to 5 times more contaminants and sometimes as much as 100 times more.

Indoor air pollution is one of the most serious environmental threats to your health, and no agency can regulate it.

Poor air quality has been linked to both short-term and long-term health problems. The EPA warns that the following conditions can be caused or exacerbated by poor indoor air quality:

  • Asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems
  • Headaches
  • Eye and skin irritations
  • Sore throat, colds and flu
  • Memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and depression

There are other health problems that can be caused from highly toxic airborne particles and these show up years later and include heart disease, respiratory disease, and even cancer.

Those particularly vulnerable to indoor pollutants include infants, the elderly, and people who already suffer with heart and lung diseases, asthma, or compromised immune systems. Unfortunately, these are also the people who typically spend the most time indoors.

You can't always stop pollutants from coming in, but in some cases, you can prevent pollution from actually happening. Contact Central Plumbing and Heating, Inc in Chesapeake, VA to learn more about how to improve indoor air quality.

EPA


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