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Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your Home

Tips to Prevent Basement Flooding in Your HomeIf your house has a basement, chances are that basement flooding may already be a familiar issue. Insurance statistics show that the majority of homes with basements will experience some sort of water damage down there, major or minor.

It’s a natural result of the fact that water flows downward and the basement is typically the lowest point in the house. However, this inconvenience and damage need not be an inevitability.

By eliminating the usual suspects in basement flooding, you can greatly reduce the odds that your house will be the next case.

  • Keep gutters clear. Clogged, overflowing gutters during a heavy rain dump literally hundreds of gallons of water on the ground directly below. This pounding cascade penetrates deep into the perimeter of the foundation, often penetrating cracks and joints in the basement wall.
  • Extend downspouts. The rectangular spouts that convey gutter discharge away from the house should ideally be at least three to four feet long. This ensures that roof runoff is released far enough from the house so it doesn’t pool next to the foundation and seep into the basement.
  • Guard against ground water with a sump pump. If your home is in a geographic area with natural ground water pushing upward beneath the house, this high water level may penetrate the basement. Installed in a basin excavated in the basement floor, a sump pump actuates automatically and removes infiltrating water before it accumulates enough to cause damage.
  • Be alert to plumbing leaks. Basement flooding often originates from an indoor source such as a ruptured pipe. Water supply lines are typically routed through the basement and can flood the area with hundreds of gallons of water if a breakage occurs. No leakage from supply pipes, no matter how minor, should be dismissed as “normal.” Even small pinhole leaks or moisture around pipe joints can be a red flag of hidden deterioration inside the pipe which could trigger a catastrophic rupture at any time.

For more about eliminating the common causes of basement flooding, contact the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Winter Safety Precautions for Your San Marcos Home

Winter Safety Precautions for Your San Marcos HomeThe winter months come with the risk of certain safety hazards such as fires. As you think about how to cut down heating costs, you should also consider the additional measures necessary to stay safe at your San Diego home. Here are our best tips for ensuring winter home safety.

  • Change the furnace filter. You should replace your filter every three months, or earlier if necessary, to maintain the efficiency of your heating system.
  • Schedule preseason maintenance. A professional technician will clean your heating system and ensure all connections and components are working safely, reducing the chances of a residential fire occurring.
  • Service your fireplace. A licensed contractor should check and service your chimney at least once every year to get rid of any buildup. Use a sturdy screen to keep sparks away from your living area. Use seasoned woods and not glossy or coated papers to build your fire.
  • Use space heaters with caution. Space heaters are not recommended by Sherlock because of safety and efficiency reasons. However, we understand some clients like to use space heaters. If you choose to use them, always be careful to have a three-foot “safety zone” around the heater that’s free of any objects that could catch fire. Always turn off space heaters before going to bed and leaving the house.
  • Clean the area around heating equipment. The general area surrounding your heat sources should be clean, organized, and clear of boxes and other storage items, flammable materials and anything that can inhibit airflow.
  • Never use oven heat for warming your home. An overworked oven can explode because it’s not built to operate for extended periods.
  • Make a fire escape plan. Practice this plan with all the members of your family.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors. You should have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. These devices will help protect you from CO poisoning, which is one of the most common causes of poisoning deaths.

By following these tips, you’ll keep your home safe and comfortable throughout the winter. For more winter home safety precautions, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the San Diego area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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How to Check the Status of Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

How to Check the Status of Your Carbon Monoxide DetectorsThe Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports 10,000 people become ill each year and 1,500 die because of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Fortunately, you can avoid it by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and checking their status to ensure they’re in good working order.

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that’s produced by common gas or oil appliances such as a furnace, water heater, and oven. The trace amounts generated by these appliances are usually harmless. However, if your home is poorly ventilated or one of the appliances has a problem, it can cause the CO levels in your home to increase rapidly.

Medium exposure to carbon monoxide can cause drowsiness, throbbing headaches, confusion, and a fast heart rate. High exposure can cause convulsions, heart and lung failure, unconsciousness, brain damage and even death.

For all those reasons, it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Follow these guidelines to ensure your detectors are actively protecting your family.

Correct Installation

Install at least one CO detector on each level of your house. You should also have a detector near or in each separate bedroom. A detector will be falsely triggered if it’s too close to fuel-burning sources such as a natural gas furnace. Make sure your detectors are 15-20 feet away from such sources.

Test Each Detector

Ensure proper function by performing the following test – press the Test button that’s on the front of your detector and don’t release it until it sounds. If it doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, it may be lacking adequate power or may need replacement.

Change Batteries Regularly

Replace the batteries in your battery-operated detectors when you’re adjusting your clocks for daylight saving time, or immediately you get a low battery warning.

Having detectors that are regularly tested and maintained should be your first line of defense against CO poisoning. If you need help with installation or maintenance of your carbon monoxide detectors or any HVAC appliances, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve the San Diego area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Storm Season Preparation: Tips to Use

Storm Season Preparation: Tips to UseSan Diego is known for its relatively mild weather, but sometimes in the spring, heavy wind and rain and the occasional ocean storm can produce flooding and thunderstorms that put area homes at risk. Spring storm preparation can help ensure that your home is ready for whatever weather comes your way. While you may already be prepared with a stash of nonperishable food, first aid supplies and a safe place to meet, you probably have not given much thought to your HVAC system. Here are some tips for spring storm preparation specific to your home comfort systems.

Prepare to Secure Outdoor Equipment

Your outdoor units are the most vulnerable during a dangerous windstorm. Purchase tarps, plywood and hurricane-proof straps to cover those when you have a storm coming. Any outdoor equipment that can be moved indoors should be brought in. Make sure that you do not leave any loose items outdoor during a strong storm, as it can be picked up and blown into your home, causing serious damage and putting your home safety at risk.

Turn Off the HVAC System

Before the storm hits, cool your home as much as possible, even beyond your comfort point, then turn off your heating and cooling system. Any window units need to be unplugged and removed, with the openings sealed. If possible, shut off the breaker that goes to the unit, so any power surges do not cause serious damage.

Fill the Tub

Serious storms can lead to an interruption in clean water service. Plug your tub and fill it with clean water before the storm hits. This will ensure you have an adequate supply until your water service is functional again.

If you have further questions about spring storm preparation in San Diego, contact the team at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. With the help of a qualified HVAC contractor, you can be certain that your home and your HVAC system are prepared for whatever weather the spring season will bring.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Make Attic Safety a Priority in Your Home

Make Attic Safety a Priority in Your HomeYour attic can be a hazardous place to work. Heat rises, so spending any amount of time in this unconditioned space poses a risk of overheating. Working in the attic presents a host of other dangers, too, such as tripping, falling, electrical shocks, impact head injuries and exposure to insulation fibers. You can increase attic safety by wearing a respirator mask, safety glasses and head protection, and taking the following precautions in advance.

Create a Walking Path

If you have equipment in the attic that needs periodic maintenance, move any obvious tripping hazards out of the way and create a walking path to make it safely accessible and reduce the risk of tripping and falls. You can use side-by-side 1x4s to make a two-board wide path. Make sure each end is secured and resting on a framing member so it can’t slip.

Reduce the Risk of Electrical Shocks

Have a look around the attic for any potential electrical hazards, such as open electrical boxes, wiring that’s been gnawed on by rodents, wiring that’s hidden under insulation, or damaged or frayed extension cords that need replacement. If you find any issues, have a licensed electrician make the needed repairs.

Add Ample Lighting

Unfinished attics often only have a couple of centrally-located basic light fixtures. You can add more by having an electrician install extra fixtures, or leaving a long extension cord and portable LED work light in the attic to use as needed.

Schedule Attic Work Early in the Day

If you need to do any type of work in the attic, plan it for early in the day. By 10 a.m., your attic temperature will likely be over 90 degrees. By 3 p.m., it can reach 140 degrees or more. If you’re scheduling maintenance for HVAC equipment that’s located in the attic, book the appointment for 9 a.m. or earlier so your technician has time to inspect, tune up and clean the equipment before the temperature rises too high for safety.

For more advice on attic safety, contact the San Diego home comfort pros at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning today.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Have You Completed This Home Safety Checklist?

Have You Completed This Home Safety Checklist?No matter how good your insurance is, staying on top of home safety gives you peace of mind knowing you’ve done all you can to keep your family secure. The preventive measures included in this checklist reduce the risk of hazardous situations from developing indoors and out.

Indoor Safety

  • If you use power strips or surge protectors to supply power several devices, check it periodically to make sure it’s not overloaded. If it feels warm to the touch, it could be fire hazard.
  • Repair or replace anything with a frayed cord and verify that no cords run under rugs. Never use an appliance or device that emits a burning rubber smell when it’s running.
  • Use the correct voltage for extension cords, especially for small appliances like toasters and hair dryers. Even though they’re small, they use a lot of electricity. Match the voltage of the device to the extension cord.
  • Before the cooling season starts, have your HVAC system inspected by a licensed contractor. Although heat pumps and air conditioners don’t use a combustible fuel, their wiring and electrical components can cause fires when they’re neglected, exceptionally dirty, or the cords are frayed. Besides increasing home safety, a tuned-up HVAC system costs less to operate.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detector batteries monthly, especially if you use gas appliances or have an attached garage. CO detectors use more energy than smoke detectors, which should be checked annually.

Outdoor Security

  • Verify that you have working lights by each entry door. If you don’t want them on continually, consider installing a motion sensor switch in the fixture that will turn them on only when they detect movement.
  • Check your door locks. If you have a window or glass panel near an exterior door, put in a double-cylinder deadbolt that requires a key for both sides. Hang the interior key out of arm’s reach from the door.

By taking steps to maintain the security of your home indoors and out, you’ll have a stronger sense of home safety. To learn more, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, proudly serving North County homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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You Should Check and Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors this Fall

You Should Check and Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors this Fall
Along with the standard preventive maintenance you should schedule on your heating system this fall, you should also take the time for another vital safety check on your carbon monoxide detector. These devices, along with smoke detectors, are essential for keeping your family safe if you use any devices that burn fuel to produce heat, such as heating systems.

The Risks of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced as a byproduct of combustion, which means that anything that burns will also generate this highly poisonous gas. What makes CO particularly dangerous is that it cannot be detected by human sensesit is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. If there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home, the gas can accumulate to dangerous or even fatal levels without even being noticed. In most of the recorded CO-related deaths, individuals have died because of being exposed to the gas in their sleep.

Checking and Testing your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide detectors are electronic devices that are designed to sense the presence of CO and sound a loud alarm in response. If your CO detector goes off, you should consider it a serious matter of not just health and safety, but of life and death.

As part of fall HVAC system maintenance, check your CO detector as well.

  • Visually inspect the unit for damage, loose or missing covers, or detachment from any screws holding it to the wall. Replace covers and tighten screws to secure the detector in place. If damaged, replace the unit.
  • Install new batteries during fall maintenance, even if the current batteries are still working. This will prevent a battery failure during the cooler months.
  • Press the “test” button on the outside of the unit and hold it down until the alarm sounds. If the detector fails the test, replace it as soon as possible.

Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning has more than thirteen years of experience providing quality HVAC services to customers in San Diego and the neighboring communities. Contact us today for more information on the importance of a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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Furnace Tune Up Special Just in Time for the Cold Weather in San Diego

sherlock-furnace-maintenance-repairDuring heating season, when you use your furnace the most, you need to make sure that you remember the importance of routine system maintenance and furnace repair for your safety and comfort.

That’s why, this time of year, we have a furnace special that makes getting your furnace inspected, cleaned and ready for the season easy.  Our Sherlock Air Furnace Tune Up is available during this promotional period (now through February 28, 2015) for only $59.  This furnace special includes a twenty-five point inspection, system cleaning and calibration, and a $25 coupon on future service from us.

When Do I Need Furnace Repair?

There are a few signs that signal you may need furnace repair, and we want to make sure all of our local homeowners can spot them.  If you are having trouble maintaining the temperature that you set; if your furnace is making loud sounds like banging, whining or groaning; if you have noticed a spike in your energy bill that you can’t attribute to changes in your usage habits, you need furnace repair.

Other signs that there are problems with your furnace that require repair include a yellow pilot light and poor indoor air quality.  You may suspect changes to the quality of the air in your home if you have noticed that you or members of your household have been sneezing, coughing, or having unusual allergy or asthma symptoms.

If you notice these or other signs, like a furnace that has trouble kicking on or staying on, contact us for immediate furnace repair in Vista, Ca. Continue reading “Furnace Tune Up Special Just in Time for the Cold Weather in San Diego” »

Prevent Furnace Maintenance Fraud and Protect Yourself

Prevent Furnace Maintenance Fraud and Protect YourselfIt’s well-accepted that regular inspection and maintenance of your home heating system can protect you and your loved ones. Yet, you should also be aware that there have been issues related to furnace maintenance fraud, where scam artists try to scare you into believing that you will be subject to dangerous situations, such as a house fire, carbon monoxide leak or loss of heat or cooling. Here, we outline some general guidelines to help you spot shysters and protect yourself from being the victim of furnace maintenance fraud. Continue reading “Prevent Furnace Maintenance Fraud and Protect Yourself” »

The Condensing Gas Furnace: Key Installation Considerations

The Condensing Gas Furnace: Key Installation ConsiderationsIf you’ve decided to unlock energy efficiency with a condensing gas furnace installation in your San Diego area home, you’ll want to make sure you get a professional installation job. This furnace is a long-term investment in both home comfort and energy efficiency. Continue reading “The Condensing Gas Furnace: Key Installation Considerations” »