Frequently Asked Questions

AIR CLEANERs AND PURIFIERs
Q. What is a MERV rating?
The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is a test designed to reduce the confusion of an air filtration device's performance by looking at the minimum or worst case scenario for a product's performance. MERV tests an air filter's efficiency on 3 size ranges of particles, large particles 3.0 -- 10 microns, medium size particles 1.0 -- 3.0 microns and small particles 0.30 -- 1.0 micron. Two products may have the same MERV rating, however may differ in initial particle size efficiency, initial air resistance, air leakage, bypass air, service life and tested airflow. The standard requires the test to be conducted at 1200 CFM. Not all manufacturers test at 1200 CFM. A reduced airflow will allow the air filtration device to have a higher MERV rating. Since MERV does not look at performance over time, a product may have a lower MERV as it begins to filter particulate. MERV also uses test dust that contains carbon. As a result no Electronic Air Cleaner can be tested under the MERV. The carbon negates the electronic section of the air cleaner.
DRAIN CLEANING
Q. If I need drain cleaning service, do I have to call one of those national rooter chains?
No. We would recommend that you call a qualified, trained and certified plumber.
Q. Why?
The water pipes inside and outside your home can be very delicate. Older style pipes have a significantly shorter lifespan. In an older home, pipes wear thin from the inside out making them appear sound but in fact are very brittle. An unqualified and unskilled rooter company could cause extensive damage to your pipes and your home. The highly trained and certified technicians at Dutch Enterprises will take the time to properly diagnose the problem and utilize the right tools and techniques to solve the problem. Utilizing video technology we'll even show you the problem before the repair even begins. Should there be an issue of a broken pipe or other unforeseen problems after we begin the job, our expert plumbers can immediately take action. Can the other guys? We're not sure...and we don't recommend that you take a chance.
Q. What happens when roots get inside drain lines?
If left undisturbed, roots from shrubs and trees will completely fill a pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. These root masses quickly become clogged with toilet tissue, grease and other debris flowing from your home to the main sewer, resulting in reduced flow, slow running drains and in most cases a complete blockage. Once roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand, exerting considerable pressure at the crack or joint. This increased pressure often breaks the pipe and may result in total collapse, which requires repair or replacement. Some pipe materials are more susceptible to root intrusion than others. Clay tile pipe is easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. Concrete pipe and PVC pipe may also allow root intrusion, but to a lesser extent than clay pipe. PVC pipe usually has fewer joints and the tightly fitted joints are less likely to leak as a result of settlement around the pipe.
Q. How can I prevent clogged drains?
Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs. To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly.
Q. What causes my kitchen sink and washing machine drains to clog?
In most homes, the kitchen and laundry drains are connected. When the lint from the laundry drains meets the grease build-up from soap and food products, a nearly solid substance is formed, causing blockage. Using filters and strainers will help, but you'll also need to get the drains snaked periodically as well.
Q. What can I do about a sewer line blockage?
The main culprit is tree roots, and once they've blocked the line, there is very little you can do. A Dutch Enterprises plumbing professional can snake the line to get it as clear as possible. But odds are the sewer line will most likely need to be replaced.
Q. Are caustic liquid drain openers harmful to pipes?
For minor clogs, they're fine, but never use them on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients are trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them. If you can't snake the drain yourself, call Dutch Enterprises. Never use caustic drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.
Q. What is water jetting?
Water Jetting is a quick, economical and environmentally safe method of clearing drain and sewer lines. Water is propelled under varying amounts of pressure scrubbing away years of built up sludge, grease, grim, scale and other debris on the inside walls of the pipes. There is no better way to get your pipes draining like they did the day they were installed, short of replacing them completely. With a special root cutter jet head we can cut away any roots that have infiltrated the pipe.
EFFICIENCY
Q. How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home's heating and cooling systems? A few quick tips:
Clean and replace your filters frequently.
Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the "on" position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration.
Install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight to keep room temperatures at moderate levels
Q. Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?
No. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the systems' airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.
Q. How long should my air conditioning system run in a cycle?
There is no exact answer for how long your system should run during each cycle. The average air conditioner is sized to remove the heat from your home as fast as it comes in. Therefore, ideally, on a 100° day the system should be able to keep up with the incoming heat, but not gain on it and not be able to turn off. The cooler it is below 100°, the more the system will cycle on and off. So it depends on the environment of each individual home and the condition of the equipment.
Q. Should I try to keep my air conditioning system from running too much?
Generally speaking, a unit that is either on or off is less expensive than one that keeps cycling on and off repeatedly. Every time your system starts up, it will use a lot of electricity and not produce much cooling. That's why a smaller system is often more economical to operate: even though it runs nonstop and may deliver less comfort, it will usually consume less power than a larger system that cycles on and off.
Q. What air temperature should my air conditioner produce?
The air temperature produced by your system depends on the temperature of the air going into it. Generally, the air produced should be 15°-20° below what enters the system. So if the entering return air is 80°, the exiting supply air should be about 60°-65°. However, that only works on a system that is operating properly and has been running at least 15 minutes on a warm, dry day with a home that is about 80° inside. On a milder day, with an indoor temperature 70, the air coming out should be 50-55.
Q. At what temperature should I set my thermostat?
Temperature settings depend on the time of year and your personal preferences. In the summer, the average temperature setting is 75°-80°. In the winter 68°-72° is the norm. Remember, when leaving your house; try to avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not set your temperature back more than 5°; this will cause your unit to work harder to achieve the desired temperature setting.
Q. What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat?
Because they are electronic, programmable thermostats are more accurate and efficient than thermostats that contain mercury. Plus, they allow you to automatically control the temperature in your home at different times of day without ever touching your thermostat.
Q. Is variable speed equipment superior and/or necessary?
Variable speed refers to a furnace's or air handler's indoor blower motor. Different speeds control the flow of air throughout your home. Variable speed blowers automatically change speeds to meet the different airflow needs of the heating and cooling cycles. Variable speed motors can use 1/7th the energy and are excellent for customizing comfort levels in different zones of your home. A variable speed motor can also help clean the air and control the humidity.
Q. What is two-stage heating?
Two-stage heating means a furnace has two levels of heat output: high for cold winter days and low for milder days. Two-stage furnaces start in the first stage, instead of reaching full capacity all at once. That means there is no sudden blast of air. The low setting meets household heating demands 80% of the time, allowing a two-stage unit to run for longer periods and provide more even distribution of heated air. Because the furnace operates mostly in its lower-capacity first stage, it burns less fuel than a furnace that always runs at full capacity and then has to shut off when the heating demand has been met.
GAS FURNACE & CARBON MONOXIDE
Q. What are possible causes of cracks in a heat exchanger?
The natural heating and cooling cycles of a furnace can lead to cracks in a heat exchanger. A furnace that is being overworked or stressed is more likely to have a premature breakdown and potential carbon monoxide leak. Dirty air filters, blocked vents, and burners that are not firing properly and disrupting the combustion process can all contribute to the detrimental stress that may lead to cracks in a heat exchanger.
Q. What are the potential dangers of operating your HVAC system with a cracked heat exchanger?
If a crack in the heat exchanger allows carbon monoxide to escape into your home you may experience dizziness, light-headedness, flu-like symptoms, or even death by asphyxiation. Carbon monoxide limits the body's ability to take in oxygen. This is an extremely dangerous situation to have in the home, because the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning may be gradual and undetected.
Q. Should I be concerned about carbon monoxide in my home?
Very concerned. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced during the combustion of fuels. It's colorless, odorless, tasteless...and can be lethal. Even trace amounts can impair your brain function and impact your health. Cracks, leaks, obstructions and other malfunctions in your heating system can cause carbon monoxide to develop and accumulate. Short-term exposure to carbon monoxide usually results in flu-like symptoms: nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue. Long-term exposure can eventually lead to unconsciousness or death. Dutch Enterprises recommends the following to minimize carbon monoxide risk: Keep heating equipment in good repair by scheduling regular inspection and maintenance. Keep furnaces, chimneys and vents free of obstruction. Watch out for birds, squirrels and other animals who sometimes build nests in these areas. Install a carbon monoxide detector, available at any home supply store. Periodically open windows in winter to let in fresh oxygen-rich air inside and let out any potential carbon monoxide. If you use an older gas stove or heater, look at the color of the pilot light. The flame should be at least 80 percent blue. If the flame is mostly yellow, it could be producing carbon monoxide, so have the unit checked by a professional immediately. Be sure to tune up your gas system at least once a year. Today's modern heating systems burn cleaner than older systems, minimizing or eliminating your risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Contact Dutch Enterprises for more information.
HEAT PUMP
Q. Are heat pumps efficient in our area?
Heat pumps are very effective for homes in this area. They are a good choice whether you rely on electricity or natural gas for your energy needs. A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round for comfort. During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. In colder weather, a heat pump collects heat from the outdoor air and transfers it inside the home. Even when outside air feels cold, there is still heat in that air. On very cold days when there's not enough heat in the outside air to meet the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the indoor air to warm a home. This process is quite efficient as it produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses. A heat pump can also be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas, propane or oil furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective.
Q. During the winter, my heat pump delivers warm air, but not hot air, and will operate for long periods of time. Is that normal?
Yes, this is normal. A heat pump generally produces air that is around 80° and provides even comfortable, heating around the house -- not a blast of intense heat. However, 80° may feel cool to your hand, which is usually closer to 90°.
Q. During the heating season, my heat pump makes a "whooshing" sound and I feel cool air coming from the supply registers. Is that normal?
Totally normal. During the cold weather months, frost can accumulate on the outdoor coil. This can cause the heat pump to go into a defrost cycle anywhere from 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of ice on the coil. This is temporary; the system will return to the heating mode once the ice is gone.
Q. Why does my heat pump system sometimes freeze up?
Several factors that can cause system freezing. First, if running in the cooling mode check your filters; restrictions in air flow can lead to freezing. Next, thaw the system out by turning off the cooling and running the fan. Also, try turning the system to the heat mode until the ice has melted. If the problem recurs after checking for air restrictions and thawing your system, schedule a service call with Dutch Enterprises. Our service technicians will check the refrigerant level. They may also have to clean the evaporator coil, check the blower speed and check for any intermittency in blower operation. A service technician can also evaluate other conditions that may make your system prone to freezing and recommend the best course of action.
HUMIDIFIER
Q.What types of humidifiers are available?
There are both portable and installed units. If you are a renter, you may want a portable. Most homeowners, however, wisely give preference to an installed unit because of its greater capacity and its relatively maintenance-free operation.
Q.Do you have a humidifier for my type of heating system?
Power humidifiers are now available in various models for use with any heating system.
Q.What size humidifier do I need to provide the capacity required by my home?
A 13,000 cu. ft. home (1625 sq. ft.) requires approximately one-half gallon of moisture per hour. A qualified installer can tell you exactly how much humidification you need, and specify a humidifier to deliver it.
Q.Does the humidifier have a control?
Recent advances in technology include a computer-equipped, completely automatic humidifier with an automatic control. This means optimum levels of humidity will be maintained without the need for frequent manual adjustments. Other humidifiers should at least include an accurate humidistat, conveniently located for frequent resetting, based on outdoor temperature changes.
Q.Does the unit's method of humidification require much maintenance?
Water residue is the cause of most humidifier troubles; rust is the second biggest problem. A good quality humidifier is designed to resist attacks from both.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Q. What is I.A.Q.?
I.A.Q. stands for Indoor Air Quality. Today, various products are available as add-ons to your existing heating and cooling system to improve the quality and healthiness of the air inside your home. These items include Electronic- or Media-Type Air Filters: Filtering the air within your home will help eliminate smoke, pollen, odor, dust mites and allergens. This will allow you to breathe easier, sleep better and enjoy your home more. Whole-House Humidifiers: Whole-house humidifiers provide consistent humidity levels throughout the home, and some models even adjust the humidity level automatically. The average heated home has a humidity level of less than 20%. The recommended humidity level in the winter should be between 35% and 45%. Air-to-Air Heat-Recovery Ventilators: These ventilator systems remove stale air from inside the home, while bringing in fresh air from the outside that is warmed during the transfer process.
Q. How important is air quality and what factors need to be considered?
An air quality system can greatly improve both your comfort and your health. The areas of air quality to consider are (1) purification, (2) filtration, (3) humidity control, and (4) ventilation. A wide number of air quality features come standard with many new heating and air conditioning systems; others can easily be added to existing systems. Contact Dutch Enterprises to discuss your air quality options.
Q. Do electronic air cleaners really work?
Electronic air cleaners can greatly improve home air quality and comfort levels. If you suffer from allergies or have pets, they're a must. Some electronic air cleaners can even remove dust particles and pollen as small as .10 micron. Dutch Enterprises offers a variety of air filtration devices. Talk to your Dutch Enterprises to discuss your options.
Q. What happens if I don't change my air filter?
If you are like most homeowners, you know that you are supposed to change your air filters about every 3 months. If you are like me, occasionally, that does not happen! It's very easy to overlook this home maintenance task when you are not face to face with the filters every day.
So what's the big deal? Do I REALLY need to change them that frequently?
In an effort to answer this, let's take a look at what happens if you do not. System Inefficiency & Failure: When your air filter becomes dirty and clogged with debris, air cannot flow through properly. This is the number one reason for system inefficiency and failure. The added strain on the fan motor can cause it to overheat and eventually fail to operate. In the meantime, stressing the system forces more energy consumption leading to higher electricity costs and utility bills. Poor Air Quality: Today's air filters are specially designed to remove many harmful contaminates from indoor air. Allowing your air filters to become dirty decreases contaminate catching efficiency of the filter media. Depending on the MERV rating, the air filter will remove contaminants including: lint and dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, auto emissions, smoke, and bacteria. Dirt, dust and debris from dirty air filters cause heating and air conditioning systems and air ducts to become dirty faster. This dirt and dust will be re-circulated into your home out of the ventilation systems causing a much dustier living space. Bad for the Environment: Dirty air filters increase your carbon footprint because they force the system to work harder using more energy. As you can see there are legitimate reasons why it is necessary to replace your furnace and air filters on a regular basis. Improving indoor air quality by removing harmful contaminants, keeping your house clean longer, saving money on high utility bills and decreasing your carbon footprint are all good reasons to make sure you replace your filters. Most require either monthly changes or every 3 months. This will depend on the type of filter you use. Follow the manufacturer guidelines.
MAINTENANCE
Q. Why is it important to have a Maintenance Agreement?
At Dutch Enterprises, we call our maintenance plans a VIP Savings Club. A Dutch Enterprises VIP Savings Club membership is a great way of protecting you in the event of sudden breakdowns in equipment and is your guarantee that you'll receive regularly scheduled maintenance. With a VIP Savings Club membership, you will receive priority service for plumbing, heating and air conditioning calls (routine or emergency) and a 15% discount on all repairs. And you'll pay no additional charge for overtime or emergency calls. What's more we'll make sure that regularly scheduled tune-ups and filter replacements are done on time to keep your system working at peak performance.
Q. What regular maintenance do heating and air conditioning systems need?
The most important part of HVAC maintenance aspect is maintaining unrestricted air flows. Dust, dirt, and debris are an HVAC system's worst enemies. Whether it's an indoor or outdoor unit, you must keep all filters clean and heat exchangers and coils free of restrictions. We recommend that your heating and cooling system be checked and serviced twice a year; ideally a spring and autumn tune-up. Also we recommend that you change your filter regularly, depending on the type of filter you have. This alone can eliminate many of the most common problems that need fixing and can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious breakdown. A Dutch Enterprises VIP Savings Club Membership is your assurance that these maintenance needs are met regularly and that any potential problems are promptly identified.
Q. Why do I need to change my filter regularly?
Regular filter replacement helps your heating and cooling system operate at peak levels and improves indoor air quality. It is important to change filters regularly to ensure proper air flow and to keep your home free from dust, allergens and germs. Depending on the type of filter you have, you may require weekly or monthly filter replacements. Your Dutch Enterprises service or installation technician will recommend the ideal filters and replacement schedules for your unit(s).
Q. How often should I replace my filters?
In general, Dutch Enterprises recommends that you replace your disposable filters at least once a month. If you have washable filters, they should be cleaned once a month. Your Dutch Enterprises service technician will recommend a replacement schedule that delivers the optimum efficiency and filtration for your specific system. With a Dutch Enterprises VIP Savings Club membership, we clean and inspect your HVAC system twice each year. Part of the service includes changing the filters or servicing your filtering system. Unless you have special circumstances, our service should be adequate. We recommend that you visually check filters and filtering equipment monthly. If filters look dirty, they need to be cleaned or replaced.
Q. In addition to changing my filters, what maintenance should I do on my heater and/or air conditioner?
Most maintenance should be performed only by a qualified service technician. But here are some things that you can do to assure optimal performance: Keep ground mounted outdoor units clear of debris, clutter and weeds; they can reduce the airflow to the unit. Use caution with weed trimmers around the unit to prevent damaging control wiring. Keep pets away from the unit; pet urine can cause expensive damage.
Q. How often should I have maintenance done on my air conditioner?
You should have maintenance done on your air conditioning system at least once a year -- spring to early summer being the best times. This not only ensures maximum efficiency, it enables us to foresee any possible problems that may occur in the near future
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR SINK OR LAVATORY
Q. Plumbing Problem: My sink drains very slowly, backs up or overflows.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Stop using your sink and try to clear the obstruction with a force cup. If necessary, turn off the water supply valves below your sink. Probable Cause: You may have a blocked drain. Permanent Solution: Contact us to fix your sink or lavatory using the proper tools and equipment.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My faucet drips when it is shut off or it won't turn off all the way.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You should locate the water supply valves on your sink and turn them to the off position. Probable Cause: The stems in your faucet may be deteriorating. This is evident when washers, "o" rings or cartridges become worn out or broken. Permanent Solution: The worn parts in your sink need to be replaced, and all of its mechanisms should be checked. You may want to consider replacing your faucets if they are old or inefficient.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My sink or lavatory won't hold any water.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Try looking down your drain to see if you spot hair or any other foreign matter. If you do, remove it from the drain if possible. Probable Cause: The pop-up drain or basket strainer in your sink or lavatory has worn down and become inefficient. The problem may also be caused by a loose lift rod connection. Permanent Solution: The hair and soap scum should be removed as soon as possible. Next, the assembly nut connecting the waste mechanism to the lavatory drain should be tightened. If the waste assembly or basket strainer is inefficient, they should be replaced with new equipment.
Q. Plumbing Problem: There is a leak under my fixture drain at the "P" trap.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: For moderate problems, place a receptacle under the drain or the "P" trap in order to prevent damage to the cabinet. In severe cases, stop using the fixture as a means of plumbing repair. Probable Cause: Your fixture drain has been neglected or is showing signs of age. Permanent Solution: This is a simple repair that can be fixed by simply replacing the drain or "P" traps
Q. Plumbing Problem: My toilet overflows.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: The first thing you need to do is locate the water supply valve on the toilet and switch if to the off position. It is very important that you not try to flush the toilet again. For water that is already on the ground, soak it up with several dry towels. Before you try any plumbing repair solutions, place your bathroom rugs and other objects in another location. You may wish to try using a plunger. Probable cause: There is most likely a septic tank problem or an obstruction in your toilet or sewer line. Permanent Solution: Your septic tank should be pumped out by a professional, and/or your toilet and sewer should be cleaned.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My toilet has a very weak flush or doesn't flush at all.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Try pouring a bucket of water into the toilet bowl to clear the bowl and stimulate flushing. Probable Cause: The parts in your toilet tank may have become worn due to a build-up of foreign matter around the flushing rim. Permanent Solution: The adjustment mechanism needs to be fixed for a permanent plumbing repair solution. If we can't fix your toilet, you will have to replace it with a new one.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My toilet won't shut off or runs for long periods of time.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Try opening the lid of the toilet tank to see if the flapper is seated over the drain properly. If it's not, turn off the water supply valve. Probable Cause: Your toilet's ball cock, flapper or other parts are likely very worn. Permanent Solution: Dutch Enterprises offers a toilet tune-up special that will fix this problem. This complete plumbing repair kit includes a new ball cock, flapper, supply connection and leak test.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My toilet turns on by itself.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Look inside the tank to ensure the ball cock isn't stuck on something. Probable Cause: Your ball cock or flapper is probably defective. Permanent Solution: This plumbing problem can also be fixed by requesting the toilet tune-up special, which entitles you to a replacement ball cock and flapper.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My water heater leaks or shows signs of condensation.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You should turn off the water supply valve, power supply or gas supply to your water heater. Probable Cause: There may be a hole in the tank of your water heater or it may be leaking. Permanent Solution: You may need to replace your entire water heater or at least its broken parts.
Q. Plumbing Problem: I can't get any hot water, or the hot water doesn't last very long.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Locate the circuit breaker in your home and make sure the switch is set to the on position. Probable Cause: Your thermostat or heating element(s) may be damaged due to power surges or lightning strikes. Permanent Solution: You may need to replace your thermostat, replace the heating element or have your hot water heater checked.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My hot water system has very low water pressure.
Temporary Solution: Check your water supply valve and make sure that it is open all the way. Probable Cause: The hot or cold connections to your water heater may be blocked. Permanent Solution: You may need to replace your water heater's plumbing connections.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My hot water faucets have a foul odor coming from them.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: If you must use your hot water, do so sparingly. Probable Cause: There may be an accumulation of iron bacteria in your water heater due to a chemical reaction between it and the anode rod. Permanent Solution: Your water heater should be professionally flushed and disinfected. You may also need the anode rod replaced.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My shower or bathtub drains too slowly.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: To conserve water, use the tub or shower only if absolutely necessary. Probable Cause: You most likely have an accumulation of soap scum and hair built-up in your drain. Permanent Solution: Your drain will need to be cleaned out, or it may need to be replaced entirely.
Q. Plumbing Problem: When I use my wash machine or flush the toilet, water backs up into my shower or bathtub.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You should stop using fixtures and contact us for service right away. Probable Cause: When water backs up like this, it indicates major blockage somewhere within your system. Permanent Solution: You may need to have your main drain cleared out or your septic system checked.
Q. Plumbing Problem: The head on my shower drips or leaks.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Check your faucets and make sure they are turned off tightly. Probable Cause: The washer, seats, "O" ring or cartridge is worn by age. Permanent Solution: You should replace these parts as soon as possible.
Q. Plumbing Problem: There is water on the floor after I bathe or use the shower.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You should only use your shower or bathtub if absolutely necessary. Probable Cause: The drain under the tub or shower pan maybe broken. It's also possible there is grout in the tile. Permanent Solution: You may need to replace your shower pan or tub drain, as well as re-grout the tile.
Q. Plumbing Problem: My garbage disposal won't turn on when I flip the switch.
Temporary Plumbing Problem Solution: Look under the sink for the reset button and press it. You may also want to check your circuit breaker. Probable Cause: Your garbage disposal may be jammed or it could be overly worn. Permanent Solution: Contact us about replacing your garbage disposal. We frequently run monthly specials on sales and installation of new units.
Q. Plumbing Problem: When I turn on my garbage disposal, it makes very loud noises.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You should stop using your garbage disposal and scrape unwanted food into the garbage can instead. Probable Cause: The bearings or blades may be worn out or broken. You may have also dropped a foreign object into your garbage disposal. Permanent Solution: Make sure the garbage disposal is shut off and investigate to see if there is a foreign object in it. If not, your unit may need to be replaced.
Q. Plumbing Problem: There is a bad odor coming from my garbage disposal.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You will need to stop using the dishwasher until you can fix the problem.Probable Cause: There may be blockage caused by a foreign object or the garbage disposal may be filled with food that did not get broken down appropriately. Permanent Solution: Turn your garbage disposal on and run it until everything is clear. You should then request an appointment with our company to have your drain cleaned.
Q. Plumbing Problem: When I run my dishwasher, the garbage disposal, sink or drain backs up with water.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: You will need to stop using the dishwasher until you can fix the problem. Probable Cause: There may be blockage caused by a foreign object or the garbage disposal may be filled with food that did not get broken down appropriately. Permanent Solution: Turn your garbage disposal on and run it until everything is clear. You should then request an appointment with our company to have your drain cleaned.
Q. Plumbing Problem: When I do a load of laundry, it takes too long for the basin to fill with water.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Locate your intake valves and make sure that nothing is preventing them from working. Probable Cause: There is a clog in the hoses of your washing machine. Permanent Solution: The hoses will need to be removed from your washing machine and the screens will have to be cleaned.
Q. Plumbing Problem: I have a flooded floor every time I use the washing machine.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Stop using the washing machine, and turn off the valves behind it. Probable Cause: Your washing machine hose is likely defective. You may also have a blocked drain. Permanent Solution: Consider having the drain professionally cleaned and replacing both hose
Q. Plumbing Problem: It sounds like a hammer is banging whenever I turn off some of my appliances.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Try to block out the sound. Probable Cause: The water in your fixtures is trying to compress itself, but this is not possible. The air chambers are probably blocking the flow of water, so you hear a loud noise instead. Permanent Solution: Contact our company to have new air chambers installed in your water lines or water heater. We will place the air chambers under a vanity, so they are easy to access whenever you have a problem with noise.
Q. Plumbing Problem: I hear water going through my pipes, but I can't see anything and I have shut off all sources of water.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: This could be a dangerous situation, so you are advised to contact us for help at once. Probable Cause: There is likely a leak under the slab of your house. Permanent Solution: We will need to locate the source of the leak and correct it. To prevent the problem from reoccurring, we may recommend that you replace the entire piping system in your home. This procedure may be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy.
Q. Plumbing Problem: The flow from my water filter is too slow or non-existent.
Temporary Plumbing Repair Solution: Turn off the valves on your water filter. Probable Cause: Your cartridge or filter media is probably blocked. Permanent Solution: Your filtering media or cartridge will need to be replaced.
PURCHASING A NEW HEATING & COOLING SYSTEM
Q. How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repaired?
Not an easy question to answer, but here are some factors to consider: The age of the current system. Today, any system that is more than ten years old is probably behind the times in terms of efficiency. Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between "builder grade" and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience. How much will the repairs cost...and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money and the inconvenience? Sometimes you need to know when to cut bait and say goodbye to your old heater or air conditioner. At Dutch Enterprises, we can work with you to prepare a side-by-side cost-benefit analysis so that you can compare whether it is more advantageous for you to keep your current system or replace with a newer one.
Q. It's been years since I shopped for a new heating and cooling system. What changes in technology and equipment do I need to know about?
If you're deciding on a new system and have not kept up with advances in the industry, you will be amazed at the number of choices that you have to make. Today's comfort systems offer a surprising number of options and combinations -- from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or "hybrid" systems. Systems can vary widely in terms of energy efficiency and cost. The ability of systems to monitor conditions and adjust automatically has increased dramatically. There is a wider variety of air quality add-ons available than ever before. These changes make the replacement decision even more complex than ever, so you can see how important it is to find a HVAC company that will work with you to develop a system for your situation and budget. At Dutch Enterprises, our goal is to be a company that will partner with you to not only install a system that is appropriate for your situation, but then help you keep the system operating at peak performance.
Q. When should I replace my existing heating and/or air conditioning unit system?
All systems and units are different. Here are some rough lifespan guidelines to help you decide whether fixing or replacing is the right decision: Average Lifetime of an Air Conditioner: 12-15 yrs. Average Lifetime of a Furnace: 15-20 yrs. Average Lifetime of a Boiler: 15-20 yrs. Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Some units last longer than that with regular maintenance and replacement of parts. But if a unit has been repaired repeatedly, or has been run excessively, it might make more sense to replace it even sooner. Paying for repairs to an old or inefficient system often simply prolongs the inevitable. An older system that breaks down once is likely to break down again...and again. That means more emergency service calls or, worse yet, the risk of damage to your home or to other components of your heating and cooling system. There's also an ongoing cost factor to consider. Restoring your old system will only bring it back to its current level of energy efficiency. After you've recovered from the repair bills and the frustration of system breakdowns, you still won't save on your energy bills. Some replacement systems can cost less than the cost of repeated repairs. And in many cases, installing a new heating and cooling system can actually pay for itself in energy savings within a relatively short time. Also, when replacing a heater or air conditioner, it is usually best to replace both units at the same time. This way, you'll save on installation costs and both units can be serviced on the same maintenance schedule and have the same approximate lifespan.
Q. What should I look for when choosing a new heater, heat pump or air conditioning unit?
Here are some general rules of thumb when you are ready to replace your existing equipment: Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability. Choose a model that with a high efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill. Choose the correct equipment size and system for your home. Don't just buy a unit just because it is on sale and seems like a great deal at the time; do some research on the product or ask the installation representative for more product information. Finally, choose a reliable company with excellent customer satisfaction and a track record of service after the sale. Talk to your friends and neighbors.
Q. If energy prices continue to escalate, what would be most effective in controlling home comfort costs?
Here's checklist of options: Make sure that your home's current HVAC system is properly maintained and adjusted. Change attitude and habits. Rethink your clothing, your appliances and your activities in your home -- anything that can produce lower temperature settings in winter and higher temperature settings in summer can help control energy use. Explore energy-saving add-ons for your current system: thermostats, humidifiers, and zoning controls. Plant trees and landscape for summer shade and winter sun. Add insulation, install weather stripping and plug air leaks throughout your home. If your current system is in need of replacement, your efficiency options are expanded and the potential for savings compared to your existing system can be quite dramatic. Dutch Enterprises can provide the consultation and information about all options and system combinations that might be right for your situation.
Q. How much does a new replacement system cost?
Due to the many different makes, models and customer needs, price is an issue that can only be solved by doing a thorough evaluation of your home and existing equipment. At Dutch Enterprises, there is no charge for an in-house replacement proposal.
Q. What do I do if I can't afford a new HVAC system?
Dutch Enterprises offers several financing options. Your Dutch Enterprise Comfort Advisor can recommend the financing plan that's best for your needs.
Q. If I purchase a new heating and cooling system, will I be eligible for a tax break?
Not anymore. The tax credit expired at the end of 2010. However, our Comfort Advisors always have the most update information on other rebates that are available -- which may include utility company rebates as well as manufacturer rebates.
Q. How are the sizing capacities of heating and cooling systems measured?
Heating and cooling systems sizing is based on B.T.U.H. (British Thermal Units per Hour). Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps are also rated in tonnage. 12,000 BTUH equals one (1) ton. Residential systems can range from 1 to 5 tons.
Q. How important is it to get the right size of heating and cooling equipment?
Sizing HVAC equipment is very important from the standpoints of both comfort and energy use. Heating and cooling equipment that are over-capacity will not run as frequently or as long when it does run. In both cases, this may mean poor humidity control. It could also result in temperature variations or noticeable cycling. Over-capacity equipment will not be as energy efficient as properly matched capacity either. On the other hand, equipment that is under-sized, will obviously result in loss of comfort during temperature extremes.
Q. What size HVAC system should I have?
Unfortunately, there's no simple rule of thumb for determining the ideal size of system for each home. For example, depending upon the construction of your home, one (1) ton of air conditioning can cool anywhere from 300 to 800 square feet of home. The only way to insure the size of the system you purchase will be large enough to heat or cool your home, but not any larger than you need, is to have your home's individual heating and cooling needs evaluated by a licensed professional. A Dutch Enterprises Comfort Advisor will perform a FREE detailed In-Home Energy Analysis to determine a selection of systems that will work best for your home's needs and your budget.
Q. Is a system with more capacity better?
No. A larger heating system with more capacity delivers less comfort and costs more to operate. An air conditioner is at its least efficient when it is first turned on. A system with too much capacity will run in numerous short cycles, turning on and off repeatedly, therefore causing it to be less efficient. Also keep in mind that an air conditioner only removes humidity when it's running, so a system with shorter run cycles doesn't remove humidity from the air very well.
Q. How do I know if my A/C unit is big enough?
Bigger isn't always better; its performance and efficiency that count. Before purchasing a replacement system you should always make sure your system is sized properly to match your needs and budget. Your Dutch Enterprises Comfort Consultant will thoroughly assess your home and comfort requirements to determine the proper size and make the appropriate recommendation.
Q. How important is it to have a quiet heating and air conditioning system?
Extremely important. Sound intensity is measured in units called decibels (dB). A normal conversation is about 60-70 dB A telephone dial tone produces 80 dB; a lawn mower produces 107 dB or more. Sustained exposure to sound levels of 90-95 dB may lead to hearing loss, so it's important to own the quietest heating and cooling system you possibly can.
Q. How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?
When purchasing a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, ALWAYS ask about its Efficiency Ratings. They will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity). The most-frequently used efficiency ratings are: SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): This ratio tells you the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity The SEER rating of any unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be and the less it will cost in the long run to own and operate. HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Similar to SEER, it is a measurement of efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10; high-efficiency units have efficiencies of 7.5 HSPF or above. AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio): A measurement of the percent of heat produced by a furnace for every dollar of fuel consumed. The higher the AFUE rating, the lower the fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78%. Older furnaces (10 -- 15 years or older) may fall below this minimum. Furnaces with AFUE ratings from 78% to 80% are considered mid-efficiency; ones with AFUE ratings above 90% are considered high-efficiency. MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value): A filter rating system relating to the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and the higher the efficiency in capturing contaminants. MERV rating range from a low of 1 to a high of 16. ENERGY STAR: An Environmental Protection Agency designation attached to HVAC products that meet or exceed guidelines for high-efficiency performance above the standard government minimums.
Q. Are there any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment?
Yes. Several manufactures have developed new systems that contain environmentally-friendly refrigerants such as R-410A and similar blends. 410A is a chlorine-free coolant that is safe for the Earth's ozone-layer and delivers superior cooling than traditional refrigerants. In fact, in 2010, systems that used R-22 will be phased out and replaced with 410A systems. And by 2020, no more R-22 can be manufactured.