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Water Pressure Problems and How to Solve Them

Water Pressure Problems and How to Solve ThemLow water pressure problems are an ongoing annoyance. Showerheads and faucets don’t perform properly when pressure is below specifications. Toilet tanks take forever to refill; washing machine fill cycles are very slow. Because pressure through the water heater tank is reduced, the waiting time for hot water to reach a faucet or other fixture is also extended.

“Normal” water pressure in a residence varies according to the municipal water supply and the size of the house. However, it’s generally agreed that household pressure less than 40 p.s.i. is too low. A qualified plumber can attach a gauge to your system to get an accurate reading of the pressure within the house. Here are some of the common causes of water pressure problems he’ll investigate if the reading is below standards:

  • Shutoff valve not fully open. If the main water shutoff valve was closed for some reason and not fully re-opened afterward, this will reduce water pressure throughout the house. You can try to open it further yourself, but be aware that shutoff valves that are difficult to turn shouldn’t be forced. Report a sticky valve to the plumber.
  • Faulty pressure valve. Because pressure in the municipal water main may be too high for residential plumbing, a pressure-reducing valve is usually incorporated in or near the home’s water meter to reduce pressure to a safe household level. If this valve is maladjusted or defective, it may be excessively reducing water pressure entering the house.
  • Mineral deposits. In locales with hard water, mineral deposits may accumulate in the water supply line over the years, gradually reducing pressure throughout the house. Re-piping is usually required to restore normal pressure.
  • Pipe leaks. Leakage from the water supply pipe may reduce indoor pressure in the house. Signs such as areas of the lawn that are always wet or spots where grass is always very green could indicate underground leakage. Water bills that are unusually high with no other explanation are another red flag.

For professional service to resolve water pressure problems in your home, contact 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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Pros and Cons: Tankless Water Heaters

Pros and Cons: Tankless Water HeatersThe disadvantages of a traditional water heater such as the constant heating of your water supply even when you’re asleep or at work make it worthwhile to look for an alternative. A tankless water heater warms up your water only as it’s needed. But that doesn’t imply it will be perfect for your household. First, take the time to learn its pros and cons.

Pros of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • Efficiency – These units are more energy-efficient than regular tank heaters because they don’t produce standby energy losses.
  • Longer Lifespan – Regular tank water heaters have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years whereas most tankless ones last for more than 20 years with little maintenance. If you’re planning to stay in your current home for long, you’ll save on replacement costs.
  • Reliable Performance – Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a rate of two to five gallons per minute. They can deliver water indefinitely. With a storage tank heater, you can experience the inconvenience of running out of hot water and having to wait for the tank to refill.
  • Compact Size – Tankless water heaters have a compact design that saves space.
  • Clean Water – With a tankless water heater, you avoid the hazard of using water that has been exposed to the rust and scale that can accumulate in a storage tank.

Cons of Using Tankless Water Heaters

  • High Initial Costs – A tankless heater can cost up to thrice as much as a tank heater and usually requires a specialist to install it.
  • Complicated Retrofit – A gas-fired model requires a special ventilation system. You’ll have to hire a professional to handle the task. An electric model may require your electrical system to be upgraded, meaning you’ll have to hire an electrician.

With this basic information, you can now decide whether a tankless water heater is a great investment. If you’re still unsure if this water heater is right for you, please contact us at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, and we’ll be happy to help. 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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Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold Spells

Bundling Up Your Water Heater During Winter Cold SpellsMost homeowners think about their water heaters when they develop problems. Obviously, that’s too late because you’ll not only have to spend money on repairs but also put up with cold showers. Prepare your water heater for the cold season by taking the following steps.

  • Turn off the water valve — Start by shutting off the water valve then the gas valve of a gas water heater. Unplug an electric water heater from its power outlet.
  • Drain the tank — Connect an ordinary garden hose to the heater’s drain then open the drain valve. Direct the water to a nearby floor drain or bucket. After emptying the tank, open all faucets and sillcocks outside.
  • Make an adaptor — A compressor that’s set to 40 pounds per square inch (psi) will help prevent your pipes from bursting due to air pressure. You’ll need to make an adaptor to connect the outdoor sillcock to the compressor. Begin by adding Teflon tape to the threads of a standard sillcock then adding a three-quarter inch hose and one-half to three-eighths inch coupler. Secure the connections with a wrench and slip-joint pliers.
  • Connect the adaptor — Wrap Teflon tape onto the threads of a compressor hose before attaching the adaptor. Tighten the connection with a wrench. Attach the hose to your compressor. Bridge the outdoor sillcock to the adaptor with a washing machine hose.
  • Pressurize your water system — With the valves inside your house closed and the outside ones open, turn on your compressor. Air will occupy the cold water line, move up the tank, and push out all the water.
  • Check your faucets — Open the outdoor sillcock that’s farthest from the compressor. If only air comes out, close the valve and check your indoor faucets one at a time. Open them up until only air comes out then close them tightly.

Protecting your water heater during the winter is an excellent way of extending the lifespan of its components. For more information on how to take care of your water heater, 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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Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need Multiple?

Water Heater Sizing: Does Your Home Need Multiple?When the time comes to replace a water heater or look at water heater placement in new construction or renovations, it’s worth asking the question: “Should we install more than one?”

With new construction, you have more choice about where you place your water heaters. When you’re just replacing your existing model or working with your old floor plan on renovations, your options may be more limited, especially when you’re considering traditional “storage” model water heaters.

Storage models are the old-fashioned water heaters that come with a tank. With this model, you have to dedicate a specific amount of floor space to the water heater. It functions by filling the tank with water and warming it to the set temperature. The water heater continues to keep the stored water warm until it is needed. Then the water travels from the water heater’s location to the point of demand.

Problems With the Traditional Model

There are a few disadvantages to this setup. One of the biggest problems is that any point of demand that’s far away from your water heater results in a wait before you get hot water.

Another issue is capacity. Your water tank can only hold so much hot water. Once it’s used up, you have to wait to get more.

Solutions That Fit Your Home

Tankless water heaters were invented to solve the problems with traditional storage models. Some advantages of the tankless model include:

  1. Installs in different locations. Tankless water heaters are compact and can be placed almost anywhere along a water pipe’s route. They attach to the wall, freeing up floor space. In fact, they can go in attics and crawlways if needed.
  2. Proximity. Since you have more options on installation location, you can place tankless water heaters near your home’s points of demand, reducing wait time.
  3. Energy savings. Tankless heaters “heat as you go” instead of maintaining gallons of heated water for long periods of time. This saves money on your energy bill.

Want to learn more about water heater options in your San Diego-area home? Contact 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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Want Lower Utility Bills? Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature

Want Lower Utility Bills? Turn Down Your Water Heater TemperatureOne of the best ways to give yourself a raise is to lower your energy use. Chances are, even if you’re already super thrifty about saving power, there are at least a dozen more things you can do around the home to trim utility bills. One of the most overlooked is to turn down the water heater temperature.

How Hot Does the Water Heater Need to Be?

Have you ever checked the temperature of your water heater? Manufacturers frequently set thermostats at 140 degrees. The truth is, that’s a bit on the hot side. You can easily scald yourself with water that hot, while mineral buildup and corrosion in your pipes are exacerbated by the hotter temperatures. Turn the water down to 120 degrees, and you’ll have less chance of scalding, while slowing corrosion and mineral buildup.

Water Heater Savings

Turning down the thermostat just 20 degrees also results in substantial savings on your water heating power use. Consider that with a tank-style water heater, you’re paying to maintain hot water at this temperature continuously. Your water heater will have to work extra hard when the weather is chilly, or when you have standby heat loss from the water heater being located in an unheated space such as a garage. Couple these factors with high consumption of that super-hot water in your home, and you’ll find your costs are much higher than they need to be.

Using 120-Degree Water

Most people find showering with water at 120 degrees quite comfortable. Water heated to this temperature is also adequate for washing clothes and, in most cases, for dishwashers. Although there is a slight risk of allowing legionellae bacteria to survive at 120 degrees, this shouldn’t be a problem for anyone except those with a suppressed immune system.

Turning the thermostat down also contributes to maintaining a greener household, in that you’ve reduced your carbon footprint.

To learn more about lowering your water heater temperature, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning. We serve San Diego and the surrounding 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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What Does Discolored Hot Water Indicate?

What Does Discolored Hot Water Indicate?Seeing discolored hot water coming from one of your home’s faucets can be distressing. However, you don’t need to assume that it means your water heater is on its way out: there are several different reasons that you may be getting discoloration in your hot water.

Discolored water can occur as the result of a temporary disturbance in the public water supply. If this is the case, you’ll see the discoloration whether you have the hot or cold water on. In this case, you should contact your utilities company.

If it is a problem with your home’s hot water, it may be the result of a mineral buildup in your tank water heater. Your heater’s tank should be flushed periodically to get rid of any sediment buildup; beyond just discoloring your water, it can also interfere with your water heater’s energy efficiency, and cause hot spots and corrosion inside the tank. Consult your owner’s manual on how to flush your hot water tank, or call your local HVAC experts for water heater maintenance.

Corrosion in your pipes can also cause a discoloration in your water, particularly if your home was built using the less-expensive galvanized steel pipes. If this is the case, the pipes will need to be replaced; continued corrosion can lead to pipe leaks, which can flood your home.

Another cause of water discoloration is the presence of iron-reducing bacteria in local groundwater. If these bacteria enter your tank, they may feed on the iron present in the municipal water supply, discoloring the water and wearing out the inner components of your hot water heater. Slightly chlorinating your water destroys the bacteria, clears your water, and helps to protect your water heater’s tank.

If you’re seeing discolored hot water in your San Diego area home, call up Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning for more information or to schedule service. We’re also happy to help you explore water heating options for 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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Is it Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Is it Time to Replace Your Water Heater?It’s always a disappointment when you can’t get hot water from your taps, but if your water heater is failing, it might not be so obvious – presenting problems such as higher energy use, leaks in the heater itself, or a metallic taste to your hot water, instead. Whether to repair or replace your heater can be a hard decision, but here are some ways to decide if a new water heater is what you need:

What’s the age of your heater?

A water heater will often need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years – and it’s possible that you’ll have a better range of models to consider than what was available then. You should also check to see if your heater is still under warranty.

Does your heater have structural damage?

Rust which compromises the integrity of your hot water tank can be difficult to repair, and may indicate that a replacement is a wise decision.

Have your water use patterns changed?

If you’ve switched to high-efficiency, low-flow showerheads, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines, you may need less hot water. Switching to a smaller tank can help lower your energy costs. If you’ve added on to your home, on the other hand, you may need more – or you may want to replace or supplement your water needs with a tankless heater or two.

What have recent repair costs been?

If you’ve had to repair your heater recently, or if a repair bill is what’s making you question whether it’s time to get a new water heater, take a look at the bill. If it’s more than a third of what you’d pay for a new heater, a new one is definitely worth considering. If it’s more than half what you’d pay, then just take the plunge.

If you’re considering buying a new water heater for your San Diego home, let Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning help you find the heater that suits your needs!

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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Efficient Spring Energy-Saving Tips for Your Vista Home

Efficient Spring Energy-Saving Tips for Your Vista HomeWhile spring cleaning this year, take advantage of some energy-saving tips that can reduce your energy costs and improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Evaluate the Air Conditioner

With warmer weather quickly approaching, now is the ideal time to evaluate your air conditioner. If your A/C is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace the unit with a more efficient model. Replacing an inefficient system can result in energy savings of as much as 20 percent.

Use Ceiling Fans

Try using ceiling fans to help supplement air conditioning. Switching your fans to run counterclockwise can push cool air down. The movement of the air makes you feel cooler while saving electricity costs. Just remember that ceiling fans only cool people, not rooms, so turn them off when you’re out of the room. And be sure to clean fans first to remove dust and debris.

Utilize Exhaust Fans

Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan over your stove when cooking. This both reduces heat from being released into your home. Exhaust fans should also be run in bathrooms while the shower is in use.

Replace Light Bulbs

Replace incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescents. These more efficient bulbs both reduce energy costs and generate less heat.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

Tank style water heaters run continually to keep the stored water hot. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees provides comfortably hot water and drastically reduces the likelihood of scalding.

For additional spring energy-saving tips or information on how to make your home more energy efficient, contact Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning. Our locally owned business is dedicated to serving the HVAC needs of Vista, San Diego and the surrounding areas.

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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Here’s a Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Vista Home

Here's a Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Vista Home As you’re making your spring-cleaning checklist, remember that all home systems are connected. As such, a spring maintenance checklist that combines cleaning, minor repairs and pro maintenance is much more productive in the long-run, so make sure to add these projects to your new list:

Indoor Air Quality

Wash all bedding and drapes to get rid of dust and dust mites, and store away winter clothes in vacuum bags. Then, clean all rugs and scrub wood floors. Be vigilant of indoor humidity during the cooling months. Humidity above 50 percent is ideal for mold growth, bacterial growth and dust mite proliferation.

Check for Air Leaks

A leaky home envelope increases energy costs, creates uncomfortable drafts and burdens your HVAC system. Seal air leaks around windows and doors with caulk and weatherstripping. Then, check your attic access door, and seal it with foam weatherstripping. Next, check your exterior shell for gaps and holes around piping, spigots, vents and any protrusions in the wall, sealing with spray-in foam and caulk.

How’s Your Insulation?

Take a look in your attic and inspect your insulation for water damage and mold. You should replace any damaged insulation. Insulation in your San Diego home should be between R-49 and R-60. This is about 12 to 18 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

Water Heater

You should completely drain your water heater. If you haven’t done this before, leave it task to a professional. Your technician can also check other vital functions and parts, such as the anode rod. The anode rod protects your tank by attracting metals and impurities in the water. It should be replaced every three years.

HVAC Maintenance

HVAC maintenance is vital for enjoying a comfortable home with low energy bills. Heat pumps should be serviced semiannually, and A/Cs and furnaces should be inspected at least once a year. Make sure you complete certain tasks, such as changing the air filter, vacuuming registers and grills and keeping vegetation and other airflow obstructions away from registers and outdoor cabinets (in a central system).

If you need help with your spring maintenance checklist, contact the experts at Sherlock Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. in the Vista 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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Have a Pro Properly Relight Your Gas Water Heater

Have a Pro Properly Relight Your Gas Water HeaterMost homeowners tend to ignore their gas water heaters until there’s an obvious problem. However, water heaters require periodical maintenance to increase its lifespan of operation, as well as to save energy and maintain efficiency. Generally, your water heater is faulty if you notice:

  • Your water heater fails to heat water
  • Your water heater isn’t able to heat enough water
  • Your pilot light fails to stay lit

Before attempting to relight a gas water heater, read the manufacturer’s manual or look for a label attached to the gas water heater, which provides guidance for specific heater models. Depending on the manufacturer, there are several steps to relighting a heater:

  • Use the right tools (barbecue lighter and flashlight) to execute this process correctly.
  • Then, switch off your gas control valve and wait for a couple minutes before switching your gas control valve to “pilot,” while holding it down to initiate flow of gas through the pilot gas supply tube.
  • With the gas control valve is held down, wait for the pilot light indicator display. If the heater has to be manually lit, use a lighter to ignite the gas at the end of the supply tube.
  • Holding the control valve down, wait for a couple minutes after relighting the pilot light indicator. This enables the thermocouple to heat up.
  • Next, release the control valve.
  • If the pilot light malfunctions and fails to light, switch off the control valve, leaving for one to three minutes before repeating the process again.
  • If the pilot light remains lit after releasing the control valve, turn it back on. The burner should ignite depending on the thermostat’s control configuration.

If there’s any gas leakage, never attempt to relight your gas water heater pilot light or perform any maintenance on your unit. Just move away from your house and find professional help.

To seek the help you need, contact Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment in 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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