Monday, September 14, 2009
the mechanical contractor for you. Professionals are out there but they do cost more to have them install a job. My opinion is that it is worth the cost to get a quality system that does what it is supposed to do.
One other point that I forgot to mention, often those "professionals" that leave a home with an inadequate system are often not in business a few years later when all of the problems begin to show up. So look for a contractor that is not just builder focused but is also service focused and has been in business for a number of years.
Monday, August 3, 2009
On the clean air side of things, as an American Standard dealer, we have a whole house system that purifies the air. This system is slightly better than a HEPA filter but purifies the air for the entire house as the furnace or air conditioner is running. One of the challenges of air filtration is that the filters air restrictive to the air flow causing the air delivery system to work harder to deliver the same amout of air to the space. Often a really good filter becomes a really bad air restriction. This is not the case with an American Standard Accu-Clean whole house air purifier.
One other side benefit is that the system is totally cleanable and does not need parts or filters replaced periodically, only regular cleaning schedules should be followed. This saves the homeowner money as a good filter is expensive to replace again and again over many years.
Having clean air inside your house is very important as much of the contaminants that we breathe come from air that is stagnant such as that which is inside your home. Most systems are not very difficult to install and provide years of protection. I have many home owners that will testify that they love their Accu-Clean whole house system.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
If your system takes R-22 refrigerant, you may want to consider that this refrigerant is only going to be manufactured until the end of this year and this means that it will become very expensive because the only refrigerant that will be available will be recovered from old systems and returned to like new condition. Leaks on R-22 systems will likely cost a lot more next year.
Sorry for the bad news, but knowing about this now may help to avoid a more costly repair in the future.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
I know that the only way to stay the course and win is to keep your head up and dig in. This is what all of the inspiring Americans do. They don't throw their hands up and quit. We can make it if we continue to fight. Life is not easy. I have concluded that long before all of the economic downturns. But allowing discouragement, has no place in a sucessful person's head. Push forward and create. Think new thoughts. Ask different questions. Never loose hope. I know that this post is really about a pep talk to myself. I hope that if you are reading this maybe in some way it will help you too. When I listen, God always inspires me. He has never told me to lay down and play dead. He is my glory and the lifter of my head. He speaks in the most encouraging ways. At times when I am trying to sit down like a donkey, He is always out in front pulling- no yanking the rope and calling me to get up and move forward. Forward motion seems to be the prefered direction. Why does sitting down and staying where you are always seem like a good idea at first?
These are just my random thoughts and if you are reading them, then you must not have much else to do. Thanks for listening to me blather on and on.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Most of the problems are with the great deal of temperature found between upstairs and downstairs. The easiest way to correct this problem is to install vacuum/pressure actuated computer controlled dampers and separate the upstairs from the downstairs. We could then add an upstairs thermostat to control it separately. We can generally get the temperature closer to 2-3 degrees instead of 10 degrees difference. Each house is different but we would be glad to assess your specific house and give you a free estimate. Let us know what we can do to serve you.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Well obviously these days that is a rarity. I have always treated people the way I wanted to be treated. And I don't want to have a call not returned. But what about doing what you say you will do?
Well, this too seems to be something that is harder to find. When I tell someone that we will do something, we will do it. I don't make false promises. Now this seems to be simple common sense and of course, something that everyone should do but, I find this too to be not so common.
If you struggle to find someone that you can trust with your mechanical systems, there should be no question who to call. We will treat you like we would want to be treated. Our word is as good as gold and you can take it to the bank.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I have been in this business about 20 years and 20 years in this type of service business gives me a vast array of experiences. I am often reminded that I haven't seen it all. And I am continually humbled by the continual learning that I must do to keep on top of my game. We have new products all the time and we are expected to learn them and be able to fix them. Now I will not tell you that I know everything, but I can find out from somewhere the info needed to fix your problem. You have to be like a hound dog on a scent when it comes to fixing peoples problems. That is why they call you. They don't want to think about it. That is exactly what we do. Fix problems!!
One of the many reasons we prefer their products is: They use standardized parts and not something that is special and hard to find. We also have found that their extended warranties are extremely inexpensive proving that they have a very impressive track record of low warranty claims. American Standard has a very full product line which gives us flexibility to offer many various types of equipment from one great manufacturer. American Standard is the same equipment as Trane they have had a great track record for manufacturing for many years.
American Standard uses their own patented and tested compressor which has been around and been proven since Trane bought the General Electric Equipment line. Other manufacturers use third party venders to supply their compressors but American Standard has their own.
Those of you who own a grinder pump and I know you know who you are. This is a very necessary item for you but one that has with it, many frustrations. First of all, any mechanical device that runs in sewage is going to have some difficulty. That being said, I open this subject not to be a place for you to whine, but to be a point for questions to be answered. I have worked on all different types of grinder pumps and the one for residential use that I recommend is Environment One. www.eone.com. This company has been around for more years than most of the other companies put together.
Now for the tech stuff. Most of these systems are installed on what is called a force main. That simply means the main sewer line is pressurized by the pumps that are pumping into them. These force mains are sized by the target load expected. The problem is that once a system is installed more people want to tie into the system than originally planned. This happens all the time in my town. That becomes a problem because the system was designed for "x" amount of gallons per minute and when that amount is exceeded, the pumps (if they are cetrifugal in design) begin to stop working. This is where an Environment One Pump comes in. An E-one pump does not use centrifugal force to pump. It uses a stator and rotor which creates a positive pressure pumping system. What that means is that it will pump up to a mile straight up into the air or a very long way horizontal or against a somewhat high force main pressure. The other advantage is that they only produce 10-12 gallons a minute when pumping. This means that you can install many more of these systems on a smaller force main without overloading it. With standard grinder pumps (the ones that use centrifugal force to pump) you have any where from 30 to 50 gpm or more with a pretty small amount of head pressure. (Head pressure is the pressure exerted against a pump totaled from all friction losses and inches of water column pressure on the outlet side of the pump.) After you reach the limit with standard grinder pumps they will no longer pump. This is what leads to pump stations not pumping during peak times and then when the peak time passes they will then begin pumping again. There is another problem with these pumps that many do not see as a problem. That is that they pump so much so fast that they load the system quickly. The more of these pumps that you put on the system the quicker it is fully loaded. Now you may be able to see why I prefer and use E-one pumps.
There is another reason that I prefer E-one pumps. I will explain, but first I will talk about the other systems. Other grinder pump stations use what are called float switches. (if you have them you know what a pain they are) These types of switches are very prone to getting junk, grease whatever balled up on them and cause them to not operater properly. They also often get tangled up on things inside the pit like piping and the pump. In short they create nuisance failures. This is where an environment one pump outshines them all. They have a very reliable pressure switch that uses a natural air column built into the pump to switch on and off the pump and the alarm. This proves to be a very reliable system. I have had pumps that have gone 15 years without ever being touched. Now tell me that isn't impressive. A mechanical device that functions in sewage for 15 years and never needs service.
Now I am not saying that every one will do that but I have had several that have.
There are some precautions that many owners do not know about. If you own an E-one pump, never run egg shells through it. Do not wash paint or drywall mud down the drain. Do not put fish tank gravel, sand, kitty litter or anything that creates a sandy gritty slurry. The pumping action is made from rubber and will quickly deteriorate. All other types of normal sewer things can be put through them. They do quite well at the grinding and making slurry of it for disposal.
If there are comments or questions, feel free to post them.
Monday, April 6, 2009
1:Your sump pump (if you have one)
Most of the time when a power outage happens it is also raining, which leads to a greater need to have your sump pump. Many people have finished basements that need to be protected so they opt to install a battery back up sump pump. Here is where the technical comes in. Most (or should I say many) of the battery back up sump pumps out there have very poor gallons per minute pumping ablility. But this is very important since the standard (115v) plug in sump pumps pump about 22-60 gallons per minute. On the other hand, the battery back up systems rarely come close to that.
The backup systems range from about 7 gpm (gallons per minute) at 10' of head to 36 gpm at 10' of head. This, as you can see, is a large disparity between pumps. When you also factor in that this comes at a time when the rain is falling and the power is out, this is a big problem. There is yet another problem in that most all of the battery back up systems only run for about a maximum of 8 hours on a battery charge.
This brings me to the next solution: Buy a standby generator.
I have brought on the Generac Guardian line of generators to resolve this problem and it is often a solution to many other situations at the same time. Not to mention the fact that it is extremely convienent. Guardian Generators come in many different sizes and can be easily fitted to each ones needs. The best part about using these systems is that they are completely automatic and switch from grid power to backup power without you having to do a thing. And then when the power returns they switch back. This is to me is the best of all solutions because with a guardian generator you get not just a sump pump that works but also most of the rest of the house or at least the vital systems.
I have had customers that have been on vacation and didn't know the power went out and returned to find their basement flooded. This is when you can see the benefit of an automatic system to protect your basement.
1: Save Money Every Year!
Did you know that the average savings for a tankless water heater is $160 annually. A Navien tankless water heater is an “Energy Star” approved device and qualifies for a federal tax credit of 30% or up to $1500 on your taxes. Even better, if you have Vectren Energy as your natural gas provider they offer $150 rebate for installing this device.2: Never Run Out of Hot Water!
No matter how much hot water you need a tankless water heater is up to the challenge. Large family or small, you will have all the hot water you ever want. You will never need to take a cold shower again…ever!3: Tankless Water Heaters are Better For the Environment!
Because the Navien tankless water heater is 98% efficient, that means only 2% of the gas used is vented as exhaust. This requires less use of our natural resources to do a better job of heating the water for your home. The reason Navien is more efficient than other tankless water heaters is because it uses dual stainless steel heat exchangers instead of copper. Stainless steel is much more efficient and last longer which means less maintenance and expense for you.
These are the reasons I only carry the Navien brand.
A couple of other pieces of information about installing a tankless water heater.
Most of the time when changing from a tank type water heater to a tankless water heater a new vent will have to be run and the gas line will have to be checked and often upsized. A 115v. power supply will have to be run to the tankless as most tank type water heaters do not need power. These are the factors that add to the cost of switching to a tankless water heater and cause the "first cost" to be so high. After installation, however, the benefits start kicking in and you will never want to go back.
One more thing that is very important to add here. If you live with hard water and lime build up is a problem, you will want some type of protection for your new water heater, otherwise it will lime up very quickly. Because a tankless water heater heats the water quickly in one pass the lime precipitates out of the water in a much greater way. In fact anytime you heat water, the faster you heat it the more lime becomes a problem. This is why I recommend adding at the very least a softner, or a Freije water conditioner to keep your new water heater clean and operational.
Don't forget to have fun living with endless hot water.
For more information about this and other products see my website
Sunday, April 5, 2009
This being the first installment of my brand new blog site, I thought I would start by introducing myself. First, My name is Chuck McConnell. I am the owner of McConnell Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning. I have been in the mechanical skills area for about 21 years. Of those years I have had my own company for 17 years. This purpose of this is to post mechanical solutions that I have encountered. I will attempt to be as informative as possible. I am not the best teacher so I will give it my best to make answers as simple but informative. If there are questions, I intend to answer them quickly and completely. Thanks for visiting and I hope this will prove to be a place for answers to your questions.