Is Running Central Air Cheaper Than Running 3 Wall Air Conditioners?

Air conditioning makes the hottest summer days more enjoyable, but rising energy costs and the growing awareness of energy conservation and resource depletion demands you cool your home as cheaply and energy efficiently as possible. Deciding which cooling method will save you the most — three window air conditioners or a central air unit — depends on a few factors. Cooling your home with the proper system saves you money and electricity, and keeps you completely comfortable no matter the temperature outside.

Comparing Energy Usage

Considering that the average home uses more electricity for cooling than for any other appliance or accessory, if you want to save money on your utility bill, carefully consider your cooling choices. A central air unit uses more energy to cool your home. As Mr. Electricity states, a window unit uses anywhere from 500 to 1440 watts to run, while a 2.5 ton central unit (about the size for a typical 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot home) uses about 3,500 watts. It’s not simply about the size of area cooled, but the fact that central air involves the furnace, too. The air does not flow to the rest of the house without the furnace blower — so more running parts equal a larger power draw.

Cost of Unit Installation

It’s simple to see that a central unit uses more power than a window unit, but there’s more to your cost than just the energy draw. Once you factor in the purchase price and cost of installation, your cost per use may rise significantly. Dividing the total price and installation labor cost by the months you use it dramatically illustrates the true cost of just having the air conditioner, without figuring in the utility bill. Window units sell for a lot less than central units, and the installation typically is do-it-yourself.

It’s Not All About the Unit

Another factor when determining which cooling unit is best for your circumstances is the condition of your existing HVAC system. No matter how efficient your central air unit, if the ducts the cool air travels through are full of holes, or poorly insulated and exposed to temperature extremes, the efficiency of the whole system goes down — and the cost goes up. If you choose to run a central air unit, insulating your ducts, and inspecting and maintaining the whole system is important, although it adds to the cost. Compared with window units, which blow directly into the room and need little but occasional cleaning unless they go out, a central unit again costs more.

Verdict

Although it costs more to purchase and install a central unit — and responsible owners also spend more on annual service calls for maintenance and inspection — if you plan to cool three or more rooms, the most cost-effective and energy-efficient choice is the central unit. A central unit has greater resale value, so you recoup more of your investment if you sell your home. The weightiest factor, however, is that three window units typically use more energy than a single central unit. Also consider that three rooms likely is a large portion of the home, and every time you travel between cooling zones with a window unit, you’re leaking cool air, making your unit work harder. However, neither unit will work efficiently and save money unless it is properly sized. Carefully research your choices before purchasing.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at 888-611-7191

Old Plumbing Usually Means Problems

“Any plumbing from the ’60s or older is on its last legs,” says Rogan Springmeld, a long-time home inspector in the greater Tri-State area.
That’s because most of the piping used pre-1960s was galvanized steel, the bane of old-house plumbing. In fact, if you are looking at a house from that era or earlier, chances are it probably has had so many problems that it’s already undergone substantial re-plumbing.
But in case they have not been fixed before, these are the two top plumbing concerns you are likely to find in most old houses.

Old plumbing problem no. 1: galvanized pipes

For a quick test of an old house, turn on the hot water. If the pressure is low, the house probably has galvanized pipes that have corroded and plugged up. The hot-water pipes are the first to go.
The house could have good pressure in the hot-water lines, but still have unseen galvanized-pipe problems. It is possible that only the bad pipes were replaced, leaving lots of old galvanized pipes still in the house and either in need or soon-to-be-in need of replacement.
Experts will tell you to replace the entire piping system when galvanized piping starts to go bad, but that is pricey, and often homeowners opt for the more economical, halfway fix by repairing only the pipe that is the immediate problem. Worse, the bad galvanized pipe may have been replaced with more galvanized pipe instead of copper or plastic pipe, meaning the problem has just been extended, rather than cured.
It’s difficult to determine the entire plumbing picture, since most of the system is behind walls. Maxfield says to look under the sinks to get some understanding — often, plumbers run new pipes up through the floor under the sink instead of through the wall, he says, so you can see where there is new plumbing.
If the house has a crawl space and you’re not too discomfited by going into it, you can get a better picture of the plumbing status.
Anytime copper piping has been attached to galvanized pipes, dielectric coupling is required to stop the corrosion caused by dissimilar metals touching. Unfortunately, these junctions may be hidden inside the walls. If a plumber did the replumbing, it certainly should be correct. If it was a do-it-yourself job, the homeowner may not have included the dielectric coupling.

Old plumbing problem no. 2: sewer line

Plumbing isn’t confined to the house. It begins and ends at the street.
On the supply side, all piping on the house side of the meter belongs to the homeowner, and everything on the street side belongs to the water district. The meter should have a dial that shows minute water flow, so that if you turn off all the water inside the house, and the dial still moves, there is a leak in the system somewhere.
If the house is on a sewer line, the homeowner owns the line from the house to the street, and that line can be worrisome in old houses.
“The sewer line can be root-bound or crushed,” says Springmeld. “It’ll probably cost around $250 to run a camera down the line to check its condition.”
You can probably rent a sewer camera for around $150 for a half-day if you want to check the line yourself, but you really need a skilled eye to understand what you are seeing.
Sewer lines can be cast iron, clay or plastic. A World War II-era product, Orangeburg, was made of tarpaper, and if you have that in the house, there is no question it needs to be replaced. Old cast-iron pipes corrode, and clay is particularly susceptible to root intrusion. Plastic, which became common in the 1980s, is durable, but can be crushed. Of course, all types of pipe material can succumb to an impenetrable plug from grease, tennis balls or diapers.
Old houses, like anything else getting on in years, can be notorious for age-related ills. When it comes to plumbing troubles, you can suspect galvanized pipes and bad sewer lines are the source.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-315-5564

Stores Must Keep Doors Closed if Air-Conditioning Is On

Starting this summer, nearly all shops and restaurants in New York City will be required to keep front doors and windows shut while their air-conditioners and cooling systems are running.

The requirement, which became law on Wednesday, is intended to address a ubiquitous, if environmentally unsound, summer sensation: the beckoning blast of chilled air that lures sweaty passers-by into the cooler confines of an enterprising merchant’s store.

“It’s always been a pet peeve of mine,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a City Hall ceremony on Wednesday before signing the bill into law.

“It’s the middle of the summer in New York City, it’s 90 degrees, you walk by a store, and the door is wide open and the air-conditioning is blasting,” the mayor said. “That’s wasting a lot of energy. That’s having its own impact on global warming.”

Shop owners who violate the rules would face fines, ranging from $250 for a first offense to as much as $1,000 for an egregious violation. The measure is an expansion of an earlier law passed by the City Council, which restricted “the co-mingling of indoor and outdoor air” only in large-scale chain stores.

The new law includes exceptions for restaurants with outdoor space for al fresco dining. Also excluded are sidewalk cafes and counter-type stores, such as the Lemon Ice King shop in Corona, Queens, according to Councilman Costa Constantinides, Democrat of Astoria, who sponsored the legislation.

“This year had the most 80-degree days we’ve had in New York City on record,” said Mr. Constantinides, who is chairman of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee. “Action had to be spurred.”

Enforcement will be provided by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs. The agency began its own campaign this summer to discourage the offending practice, distributing stickers saying: “Shut the Front Door!”

“Clever, clever slogan,” Mr. de Blasio said approvingly on Wednesday.

Still, not every New Yorker was thrilled to hear the news. Robert S. Bookman, a lawyer who frequently sues the city on behalf of small businesses, wondered if the regulation overreached.

“Businesses pay their own electric bill,” Mr. Bookman said. “I think it’s their business, and not the government’s business, about how much electricity they should use.” He suggested that the “extra few hundred dollars a month” that owners might pay in electric fees could be worth the additional business that a cool blast of air could attract.

The mayor, for his part, linked the air-conditioning limits to his administration’s work to significantly reduce New York City’s carbon footprint. Mr. de Blasio has also been urging New Yorkers to compost more of their household trash and to adopt reusable water bottles.

Fines for the new air-conditioning violations will not be issued until July 1, which Mr. Constantinides said would give shop owners time to adjust to the new rules. “Everyone,” the councilman said, “has to be responsible to climate change.”

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your air conditioning needs feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

10 Ways to Prevent a Home-Plumbing Nightmare

When homeowners hoist a wrench to install or repair sinks, tubs and toilets, they risk more than leaks. They risk their sanity, finances and general mechanical disaster. Here are 10 essential principles to avoid plumbing disaster.

1. Don’t go galvanic.

You often see copper and galvanized steel plumbing mixed in residential water systems with nothing separating them other than a little thread sealant or Teflon plumbing tape. The galvanic connection (copper to steel) can be trouble-free for years or the steel plumbing can begin to corrode almost as soon as the connection is tight.

What to do: Use a plumbing fitting called a dielectric union to connect copper pipe to galvanized steel. The fitting uses a steel collar on the steel side and a copper collar on the copper side and isolation bushings to keep the parts separate.

2. Flow out, not back.

Back flow occurs in municipal water systems (or within a house) when there’s a sudden and severe drop in water pressure that causes water to flow back through pipes opposite the direction that it normally flows. When a runaway car severs a fire hydrant, for example, parts of a municipal system will see a flow reversal as water gushes out the hole where the hydrant once stood. The same thing can happen if there’s a massive leak within your house.

What to do: If your house’s water is supplied by a municipal water system and you do a lot of work outside with a garden hose, use a vacuum-breaker fitting threaded onto the end of the hose bib (the valve mounted on the outside of the house). These fittings prevent back flow from a garden hose and attachments in the event of a massive shift in pressure. Some municipalities require their use, and they’re not a bad idea even if you have a well. Suppose you’ve left a garden hose in a bucket of sudsy water and the severed-fire-hydrant scenario occurs. The vacuum breaker prevents water from being pulled out of the hose and bucket and into the municipal water system. If you’re replacing a hose bib, use a freeze-proof type with a built-in vacuum breaker. Common sense measures apply too. For example, don’t leave a hose unattended in a bucket and don’t leave a hose laying in a puddle on the lawn.

Likewise, if you replace or repair the main supply and valves entering the house, you may likely be required to install a back-flow preventer.

3. Use the right connector.

Don’t forget, gas lines count as plumbing too. Connecting a new gas range or dryer to an existing gas line seems simple, but the job can quickly go awry when you try to hook up a flexible gas connector to the line and find that the connector doesn’t fit or you can’t make the connection gas-tight, no matter how tight you make the connection.

What to do: This is a thread compatibility problem usually brought about by a mismatch between the iron pipe supplying gas and the fitting on the end of the flexible connector you intend to use to bring the fuel to the appliance. The simplest solution is to buy a universal connection kit for a dryer or for a gas range. The kit will come with a variety of adapters to help you make the transition from the pipe and fitting supplying the gas to whatever appliance will be using it.

4. Know where your pipes are.

Pounding nails and driving screws is all well and good, until you puncture a copper or plastic supply or drain.

What to do: Buy a stud sensor that also detects pipes and wirings. You can also look around in the attic or the basement (if it’s unfinished) to get a sense of where pipes are hiding. Finally, if the wall will be covered by whatever you’re building or installing, you can always carefully cut a test hatch to find plumbing lurking in the walls.

5. Know the code.

Plumbing is a tricky business, with rules that dictate how far you can place a fixture from the home’s drain-waste-vent line based on the pipe diameter and other arcane matters. The only way you can handle a big job yourself is to know the code and what it calls for in pipe sizing, fixture spacing and related matters.

What to do: There’s lots of reference for ambitious do-it-yourselfers. Buy a copy of the International Plumbing Code or the Uniform Plumbing Code. One of the best references that we’ve used here over the years is Code Check, a handbook that’s updated as building codes are updated. One of its best features is that it’s written to cover common problems and things that even professionals get wrong.

6. Cut right, fit tight.

You can’t make a neat water- or gas-tight joint unless the parts are neatly cut.

What to do: Buy pro-level tubing cutters, reciprocating-saw blades, hacksaw blades and a plastic pipe saw. For example, you’ll be amazed by the difference between a professional tubing cutter from Ridgid, say, and the $5 special from the home center. Likewise, it seems silly to spend $20 for a plastic pipe saw when a standard handsaw works pretty well. The thing is, the plastic pipe saw works better and leaves less of a burr since its teeth have very little set compared to a saw meant for cutting wood.

Remove burrs from plastic and copper and thoroughly clean both types of plumbing materials before soldering or gluing. Copper is best abraded with plumber’s cloth (aluminum-oxide sandpaper on a spool) and plastic requires material-specific primer that softens the plastic so that the adhesive can create an optimal bond. When pipe feels greasy or dirty, use pipe cleaner before applying primer.

A few minutes of preparation goes a long way in ensuring a watertight or gas-tight joint.

7. Seal the deal.

Only a soldered or glued joint doesn’t require sealant; everything else does.

What to do: There are typically two types of sealant tapes in hardware stores and home centers. Tape for sealing water connections (in a blue spool) and tape for sealing gas (in a yellow spool). Yet there’s no need for you to be satisfied with just those choices. Pros often carry brushable types, with variations specially formulated for threaded plastic or galvanized steel. Visit a plumbing supply house or shop online to find these varieties. Professional varieties have a higher percentage of gap-filling solids and better ensure a tight joint—no small matter given the lack of thread engagement that you often find today with badly made plumbing materials, valves and fixtures.

8. Don’t over-tighten.

If tight is good, really tight must be better. Right? Wrong.

What to do: Given what I just said about the hit-or-miss quality of many plumbing components today, you’d think that a generous application of wrench torque is called for. Not so. A clean, properly cut and fitted joint that’s been sealed just doesn’t need to be massively tightened. In many cases, after bringing the parts together firmly hand-tight or using a wrench, often all it takes is another half a turn. In fact, brass–copper gas fittings are particularly vulnerable to wrench damage from over-tightening, while steel pipe is more forgiving.

9. Leak test. Always.

It should be obvious: Make a thorough leak inspection before closing up and moving on.

What to do: When you’ve installed a new valve component (or the valve itself), aggressively open and close the valve as well as running both hot and cold water through it. Do the same when checking drains. Run water down a drain and fill up a sink or tub and then drain it to check for leaks. Check gas lines with a soapy water and detergent solution or spend a few dollars for an 8-ounce bottle of bubble-creating leak detector sold on the Web or at a plumbing supply house. The advantage of this material, as opposed to dish detergent, is that it creates larger, more brightly visible bubbles than detergent does.

10. Be kind. To your septic system, that is.

We get asked this question all the time: “Should I use an additive to improve the performance of my septic system and reduce the need to pump the septic tank?” An additive can be almost anything from sugar or enzymes to a dead chicken (we’re not kidding about the chicken—we get that one plenty).

What to do: Don’t bother with additives, especially the chicken. A properly designed, built and maintained septic system will last for decades, and trying to reduce pumping intervals will more likely lead to a clogged leaching field as solids, not clear effluent, flows out of the septic tank and out into the leaching field. A septic-tank-pumping company can advise you on how often the tank needs to be pumped. It will depend on the tank’s size and how many people live in the home. Likewise, avoid excessive use of chlorine bleach or caustic chemicals that can kill off beneficial digestive bacteria in the septic tank.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Replacing Your Home’s A/C System? What You Should Know.

Frequent repairs, failing performance and increasing utility bills are common situations that get homeowners thinking about replacing their central air conditioning systems. If these problems are becoming an issue for your home’s comfort, begin to research contractors and systems to help you make an educated decision. You can start here with our tips for considering air conditioning replacement.

Selecting the Correct System for Your Home

 
A qualified HVAC professional will assess your cooling needs, based upon guidelines established in the Manual J of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). They should spend time measuring the interior of your home and inspecting the insulation in your attic and other key places.
What to Know:

  • Insist on a full property evaluation to determine the right size. Don’t allow a contractor to make a guess as to what you need.
  • It’s very important to select a system that is the right size for your home. The one thing you do not want is to replace your home’s A/C system with an oversized system. The wrong sized unit will end up cycling on and off too often. This can result in wear and tear on the unit and increased utility costs for you.
  • Air conditioning systems are measured in “tons” — one ton equals the amount of cooling obtained from the melting of a ton of ice.

Selecting a System for Efficiency

 
All new air conditioning systems are required to be minimally rated at 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The air conditioner you choose should be Energy Star rated. Keep in mind that getting a 13 SEER unit is fine, but consider that systems with higher ratings equal greater energy efficiency. It will cost you more up front to go with an advanced rated system, but it will result in greater utility savings over time.
What to Know: 

  • Advanced SEER ratings cannot be guaranteed if you are partially replacing your home’s A/C. You must replace the entire system to take full advantage of the advanced SEER rating.
  • It is important to note that your furnace and air conditioning system share the same air handler during operations and the system you choose should match for efficient operation.
  • During the selection process, ask your HVAC contractor about available energy rebates that may help to lower costs for you.

Advanced Technology for Your HVAC System

 
Newer HVAC systems are using more efficient technology than ever. Many newer systems are being designed with on-board diagnostics to determine heating and cooling inefficiencies. Regulations are currently being upgraded to provide for safer refrigerants.
What to Know: 

  • For superior indoor air quality, you should consider your options for advanced air cleaners such as electrostatic air filters or humidifiers.
  • The market is hot right now for advanced programmable thermostats that you can control with your smartphone while you are away from home.
  • Homes with little or no ductwork can now accomodate central air conditioning through installation of a ductless mini-split system. These systems are highly efficient and offer zoning options for different area of the home.

Choosing a Qualified Contractor

 
Choosing the right HVAC contractor is just as important as choosing your new HVAC system. When searching for a contractor, you should ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. Look into the background of a potential contractor and consider the points below.
What to Know:

  • Will you receive a fully itemized written estimate up front prior to starting work? This blog post will give you some additional important questions to ask during your home evaluation.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program recommends 10 tips for hiring an HVAC contractor.

An Informed Decision for Your Valuable Home

 
Researching your options before replacing your home’s A/C system will help you to make a sound investment when it’s time for a new cooling solution. Remember, your central air conditioning system is part of the investment you have in your home. So, choosing the right HVAC system and contractor is an important decision.
Partner with a contractor who will give you recommendations and advice geared toward your needs for your home.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical toll free at

4 Plumbing Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Did you hear the one about how coffee grounds can be good for cleaning your pipes? Or maybe the old wives tale that ice cubes actually sharpen the blades in your garbage disposal? Nobody is quite sure where some of these plumbing myths got started, but they could end up costing you a lot of money in plumbing repairs and pipe replacement later. Here are four of the most common myths you might have heard about your plumbing system and the truth behind the tall tales.

Myth: You can put anything down the garbage disposal

Truth: The garbage disposal is a great way to break down most foods that you put down the sink so they won’t clog your pipes. But it’s not the right disposal method for every food item. Avoid putting thick skins from vegetables, such as potato skins or banana peels, as well as things like bacon grease that, at room temperature, will thicken into sludge inside your pipes. You may have also heard that lemons or limes can clean a disposal and make it smell better, but you risk clogging and dulling the blades with the thick skin of the fruit and they won’t offer any cleaning power.

Myth: Anything made for bathroom use can be flushed down a toilet

Truth: The only truly safe things to flush down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Even though something is made for use in a restroom doesn’t mean it is safe—that includes items labeled as “flushable” wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and more. Not all of these items will break down after being flushed, so it’s much safer to place them in the garbage near your toilet than flush them down.

Myth: Bleach tablets in my toilet are much better than other cleaning products

Truth: The idea behind a bleach tablet is a nice one—place something in the toilet that will rinse the bowl with every flush—but in actual practice this is harmful to your toilets. This may minimize your need to frequently clean the toilet bowl, but the slowly dissolving tablets that sit on the edge of your toilet are actually damaging many of the working parts of the toilet and could cause significant corrosion in just 6 months. Modern toilets are designed to be anti-bacterial, and you can supplement that with regular cleanings with a temporary bleach product that is flushed within 10 minutes of contacting the toilet.

Myth: Small leaks in a faucet are not a big deal

Truth: Even one small drip stretched over a period of days, weeks, and months can add up to significant wasted water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. households waste about 1 trillion gallons of water every year. It also stresses your plumbing system, so in addition to spending more money each month on water bills, you could end up needing to replace your pipes much sooner than you would otherwise.
Don’t believe everything you hear about your plumbing system, and remember that if you ever have a question you can call a professional Green Apple Mechanical NJ plumber to help you sort out the truth from all the myths.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Springtime Is The Best Time To Service Your Air Conditioning System

Spring has almost sprung, bringing its flowers, budding leaves on the trees, and warmer temperatures. One way to be sure you are ready for those even warmer days of summer is to schedule a spring tune-up for your air conditioner.

Top Reasons For A Spring Air Conditioner Checkup

AC repair repair experts in New Jersey recommend that every air conditioner system should be inspected once a year. Scheduling a check-up in the spring means you will be ready when the time comes that you will be counting on the system to run consistently.
Spring can act as a reminder, and it is a good time to make an appointment with your air conditioning specialist and beat the summer rush. Summertime is when they typically are booked to service those who did not get spring maintenance and are now sweating out a more costly repair job.
A check in the spring will help ensure your air conditioner is in condition to start up. It most likely has been sitting idle for months and could use a jump start, which includes getting rid of the dust and debris that may have built up on important parts.
In addition to reducing the chance that your unit will suffer a breakdown once it is called back into service, getting a tune-up can improve its operating efficiency. Cleaning the critical mechanical parts of the unit quite often will result in lower energy bills throughout the summer months. Regular maintenance also can help lengthen the working life of your air conditioner, saving you the cost of replacement for a few more seasons.
 

What is Involved in a Spring Tune-up?

Given the fact that spring maintenance can be such a good investment and can ensure your system will operate safely, the next step is to schedule a time for a qualified technician to come to your home. On arrival, they should be prepared to perform a number of tune-up procedures that typically are part of a maintenance call.
First and of primary importance, the technician should thoroughly clean the condenser coils and inspect them for damage. This reduces wear and tear on your air conditioner and will help increase its operating efficiency. They should lubricate all the moving parts and evaluate the coolant level, calibrate the thermostat to ensure you are setting the right temperature, and tighten the electrical connections. They also will want to make sure there are no coolant leaks, which are detrimental not just to your indoor comfort but also to the outdoor environment.
Most air conditioning technicians will perform an inspection of the duct work to make sure you are not losing cool air through leaks. Some also will offer to clean the ducts to improve your indoor air quality and cut down on the spread of dust, pollen, and other allergens.
Other maintenance procedures include draining and cleaning the condensate line and making sure the drain pan is mold-free, changing the filters, and checking the performance of the unit’s blower motor and making sure the blower belt is in good operating condition.
Depending on the technician, the tune-up process can involve more than two dozen checks and improvements. Your assignment is to find an air conditioning expert you can trust to do a thorough job.
There are many benefits to having your air conditioner tuned-up in the springtime. Not only will it improve your air quality but it also will save you money in the long run. We offer air conditioning repair in New Jersey. When you are ready for an A/C service,  contact Green Apple Mechanical NJ and, give us a call at

  • 201-300-5554

. We specialize in HVAC equipment of all types and models.
 

How often Should You Replace Your Shower Head

How often should you replace your shower head? Because many types of bacteria thrive in moist areas like your shower, it is recommended that you replace your shower head every 6 to 8 months.
Keeping your shower head clean, especially if you have hard water, can be very difficult to manage.
Below, in this article on how often you should replace your shower head, I want to share some cleaning tips as well as some health related issues you should be aware of if you have a dirty shower head.

Until it is time to clean the shower, the majority of people never even look at the shower head. This is because when you are in the shower, the shower head is constantly spraying water; so many people shower with their eyes closed or squinted.

The top reason why people notice a dirty shower head is a change in their water pressure.
All water that comes into your home through the faucet or shower head is treated with product and chemicals to make the water safe for consumption.
As this water sits in your pipes waiting to escape the next time that you turn on the shower, many of the additives in the water settle and form small pieces of sediment.

The most notorious of all these sediments is calcium. If you look at your shower head up close you will see small, white, rocky looking material within the holes of the shower head.This is calcium and your shower head is likely to be filled with it. All shower heads have small screens within them that are supposed to catch sediments. However, some people wishing to increase their water pressure often remove these screens.

If you are not sure if you have this screen still installed on your shower head, use a wrench to loosen and remove the shower head.
Within the hole at the back of the shower head, you should see a black or white, round rubber gasket. Underneath that gasket, you should see a small round screen.
Does the screen have small rocky looking material on it? If so, remove the gasket and screen with a safety pin or paperclip. Clean the screen and then put it back into place along with the gasket.

  • If your shower head has a hose connected to it do this. Unscrew the hose from the shower head and then unscrew the hose where it is connected to the spout coming out of the wall.
  • Check both ends of the hose for a screen and rubber gasket. If either or both ends of the hose have a screen in place, remove it and clean it.

My brother does demolition and construction of homes. I have been in many of the homes and I want to tell you about one other thing that people don’t often bring up when they are talking about dirty shower heads and that is black mold.
 
If your shower head has hard water staining and you also see a bunch of little black dots all over the shower head, it is black mold. You can use cleaning solutions that you can find at stores or a vinegar mixture to get rid of normal calcium build-up.
However, black mold is extremely tough to get rid of. I know that you don’t want to pay a professional mold remover to come and clean your shower head that just would not be cost effective.
In this case, instead of soaking the shower head in white vinegar as many people suggest, do this instead.

  • Fill a bowl 3/4 of the way that is large enough to fit the entire shower head into it with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Put the shower head into the peroxide.
  • Make sure that the entire shower head is submerged in the peroxide.
  • Do not just submerge the face of the shower head. There is no point in scrubbing away black mold on the outside of the shower head because it is in the inside too.
  • Allow the shower head to sit in the peroxide for an hour.
  • Remove the shower head from the solution and then rinse it under warm water and dry it.
  • Reattach the shower head to your wall or hose.
  • Run hot water through the shower head for 6 minutes to thoroughly rinse out the inside of the shower head.

Vinegar is very effective at removing hard water stains. Hydrogen peroxide is nontoxic to us but it kills bacteria, mold and fungus.
Get rid of the shower head and purchase a new one that is made of metal instead of plastic to help prevent mold growth in the future.
Additionally, after every shower, double check to make sure that the water for the shower is completely turned off. If you have a shower that constantly drips, this also causes hard water build-up and puts you at risk of having another mold problem.

If your bathroom has an exhaust fan, turn it on and leave it on for 20 minutes after you have taken a shower. If there is a window in the bathroom, after you have showered, open the window to allow all of the steam in the bathroom to escape.No exhaust fan or window? Use a small table top fan to circulate the air out of the bathroom after your shower. These 3 tips will help to reduce the chances of mold growing in your bathroom.

How often should you replace your shower head? Cleaning and the type of water you have really determine the shower heads longevity but it won’t last forever.
If you think it’s about time to replace your shower head. Someone may tell you that they have had the same shower head for 30 years. If they do, ask them what brand and where can you get one today.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs please call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

8 Plumbing Tips to Save Money

Remodeling your home can be costly and time consuming. Generally, remodeling is done to boost the value of a home (for example, a small kitchen remodel has been found to return 82% of the remodeling investment via boosting the value of the home). However, not all remodeling projects are just because — about 36% of them come about because of property damage repairs. Plumbing problems can be one of the most damaging, expensive problems to fix in your home. There are a few simple tips and tricks you can do at home to help maintain the system and avoid calling professional plumbing services. Read on for some easy plumbing tips to save money.

  1. Make sure your faucets are not dripping. Check under the sink for leaks.
  2. High efficiency toilets are in high demand because they save on your water bill. About 91% of people planning a home remodel said they were planning on installing this type of toilet, in a recent Houzz survey.
  3. All of the drains in your home should be fitted with strainers to prevent clogging
  4. Adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank can identify a leak- if the color from the tank appears in the bowl in less than an hour, your toilet is leaking.
  5. If your toilet is not flushing properly, you should look into replacing worn parts to save money on your water bill.
  6. Make sure the temperature on your water heater is no higher than 120 degrees to save energy and save your family from hot water burns.
  7. Drain cleaning should be done periodically on slow moving drains and infrequently used ones, especially floor drains, to make sure they can carry water away in the event of an overflow.
  8. Check all yard drains, gutters, and downspouts for obstructions.

While these plumbing tips to save money might seem like common sense, there are so many more proactive plumbing solutions that your local professional plumber can help you with.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191

Replacing Your Old Air Conditioner Can Save You Money

Although repairing your old air conditioner may seem cheaper, replacing it will actually save you much more. With close to 50% of your utility bills being taken up by cooling and heating, it is important to consider a replacement. Old air conditioners tend to be inefficient, thus contributing to a huge energy bill.Moreover, replacing your old air conditioner can save you close to $200 annually while ensuring a comfortable indoor atmosphere. Today’s air conditioners are designed to accommodate a SEER rating of 13, hence their energy consumption is about 30% – 50% less compared to older models.
Some of the things that you need to look out for when you decide to replace your AC include the lifespan, leaking ducts, high levels of humidity in the home, excessive dust, higher electricity bills, and noise.Even then, there are a number of other things that you need to know about air conditioners before attempting to replace your old unit.
Benefits of Central Air Conditioning
If you are desirous of replacing your old air conditioner, consider installing central air conditioning. This is because there are many benefits that are associated with it, like:

  • They produce less noise compared to older air conditioning units.
  • They are not cumbersome, hence they can be positioned out of the way.
  • They are energy efficient and provide better air flow through the premises.
  • They are controlled by thermostats.
  • Their duct work can be shared with that of the heating system.

There are also other benefits that will be derived when you replace your old air conditioner with central air conditioning.
Types of Central Air Conditioners
There are different types of central air conditioners that you can choose from. You will be able to find one that is suitable for your home. The two major types of central air conditioning units are:

  • Packaged Unit – With this type of central air conditioner, the compressor, evaporator, and condenser are located outdoors. For this reason, it takes up less space and is easy to install.
  • Split system – Unlike the packaged unit, it is only the compressor and condenser that are located outdoors while the evaporator is located indoors. Split system central air conditioners have SEER ratings between 13 and 23, making them very energy efficient.

 
Selecting the Right Air Conditioner
Choosing the right air conditioner is a very important decision, yet it can be a challenge if you are not sure what to look for. You should invest in an air conditioning unit that will offer steady and dependable service. Some of the factors to consider include:

  • Energy efficiency – This is the reason you are replacing your old air conditioner, therefore go for a high SEER rating because a higher rating means greater efficiency.
  • Size – You need an air conditioner that will keep your home cool. A small size may be convenient in terms of space but will not necessarily keep your home cool. On the other hand, an oversized system may not be a good investment. The best way to determine the size of the air conditioning unit that is best suited for your home is by understanding your cooling needs in relation to certain features of your home like exposure and window dimensions.
  • Overall built – Pay attention to the compressor, the center of the condensing unit.
  • Noise – An air conditioner that produces less noise will be a good bet as you will enjoy cool temperatures without having to put up with noise.
  • Lifespan – Go for a conditioner that has a lengthy lifespan with low service needs. This means that you will not spend much money on repairs and overall maintenance, hence your electricity bills will be manageable.

Other Ways a New Air Conditioner Can Save You Money
There are other ways in which replacing your old air conditioner can save you money, such as:

  • Maintenance cost – Newer air conditioning units will need less maintenance since they experience less wear and are better constructed.
  • Rebates and incentives – You can also save on your electricity bill by installing a new AC through rebates and tax incentives that are available to those who upgrade their ACs.
  • Control system – you can include control strategies in your AC so that the system is only used when needed, thus saving you money.
  • Energy efficiency and eco-friendliness – Today’s air conditioners use Puron, as opposed to Freon, which is environmentally friendly and energy efficient.

Replacing your old air conditioner is a major step towards making savings on your electricity bills. Doing so also makes you enjoy the atmosphere in your well-cooled home.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-611-7191