What Is The “Stack Effect”?

 Furnaces have long lives

There are many factors that determine how long a furnace will last, but overall, they average lengthy lifespans. Conventional and mid-efficiency furnaces last about 18-25 years. High-efficiency furnaces last about 15-20 years.

 The “Stack Effect” describes how air moves through a building

The Stack Effect principle refers to the movement of air through spaces, most specifically, the rising of heat in buildings. In the cold winter months, the warm air in the building is less dense than the cold air outside. That warm air bubble wants to rise up and out of the building.

This rising air causes cold air to be drawn into cracks at the bottom of the house. This is why your basement is colder than your highest floor. This is also why leaky houses consume larger amounts of energy.

 In Britain, “furnace” has a whole different meaning

In Britain, the term “furnace” only refers to industrial metallurgical furnaces used for smelting iron ore, lead or copper. In America, we call this type of industrial furnaces “blast furnaces”. The Brits call their heating systems “central heating”.

 The word “furnace” has Greek origins

It’s said that the name comes from the Greek word “fornax” which means oven.

 They really do require maintenance

Did you know that a 6 room house collects an average of 40 pounds of dust a year? You can see why regular maintenance of your HVAC is so important! A Well working and maintained furnace will produce cleaner and healthier air.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns call us toll-free @888-315-5564

Protect Your Pipes While You Are On Vacation

Ways to help avoid frozen pipes while on vacation

Traveling in the winter months might be a break in your routine, but don’t forget to think about your plumbing before you leave. What can you do?

  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C). Also, be sure to replace the battery in your thermostat.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.

Your pipes freeze, what might you do?

What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hairdryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of the pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
  • Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Your Essential Furnace Checklist For Very Cold Days

5 ways to help your furnace deal with extreme cold weather

  1. Keep your air filter clean. When it’s freezing cold outside, your furnace needs all the help it can get in order to keep your home warm. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure that you have a clean air filter installed during extreme cold weather in order to stop your furnace from working harder than it needs to.
  2. Hold off on setting back your thermostat. Normally, it’s a great idea to lower your thermostat’s temperature setting. during the hours that you’re away from home in order to conserve energy. However, this can cause more trouble than it’s worth when it’s excessively cold outside because it will be harder for your furnace to bring your home back up to your desired at-home temperature. Keep your thermostat set at a consistent setting until the weather warms back up to normal temperatures for this season.
  3. Be prepared for colder indoor temperatures. Your furnace can only maintain a differential between outdoor and indoor temperatures to a certain degree. During extremely cold weather, some furnaces might not be able to bring your home all the way up to its desired temperature level. Instead of cranking up your thermostat (which won’t help the matter), try wearing warmer clothes and blankets around the house to stay warm.
  4. Keep vents clear in high-efficiency furnaces. The vents that are used in high-efficiency furnaces lead outside of your home and are located near ground level. This leaves them vulnerable to getting clogged with ice and snow. When it’s extremely cold out, check to ensure that those vents stay clear so that your system doesn’t develop performance or safety issues.
  5. Ask a neighbor to check on your house when you’re gone. If your furnace goes out during severely cold weather, it can leave your home more susceptible to other potential problems like frozen pipes. If you’re going to be away from home for a while and you know that we’re expecting colder weather than usual, have a neighbor check to make sure that your heat is working so that you can catch problems before they get worse.
  6. Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll free @888-315-5564

8 signs Your Toilet Needs To Be Replaced

1. Constant Clogging

Nobody likes to deal with a clogged toilet. While they’re not uncommon, random or recurring clogs can indicate an issue. If you have an old, low flush toilet, you may experience stoppages far too often. If you experience clogs more than once a week, or the clogs seem random and odd, you should probably replace your toilet.

If you don’t want to lose the water-saving benefits of a low-flush toilet, simply replace your current toilet with a more efficient and effective commode. Modern technologies have come a long way, and low-flush toilets are much better than they used to be.

2. Cracks

When you notice puddles of water around your toilet, you may want to check for cracks in the porcelain. While the toilet may work fine, leaks can waste a lot of water, and that water exposure can damage your flooring over time. It can also result in mold or mildew growth.

Look for cracks in the bowl or the tank of the toilet. If you notice any, or if you hear constant running from your toilet, replace it right away before the situation gets worse. If you can’t tell if there’s a crack, put dye in the water of the tank or bowl and see if the dyed water makes it to the floor.

3. Plentiful Repairs

Toilets shouldn’t need to be constantly repaired. If you find yourself regularly calling for a plumber to fix the toilet, replace it. Frequent repairs can add up, and you can save yourself a bit of cash over the years if you invest in a new toilet.

Or, if your toilet requires numerous repairs all at once, it may be cheaper to replace the toilet instead. Discuss the situation with your Green Apple plumber, and they can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.

4. Excessive Age

Even if your toilet is a little old, it may work just fine. But older toilets are often more inefficient than the newer models, so it may be a good idea to replace your toilet and save some money and water. Consider a toilet with a dual-flush feature. It allows you to partially flush for liquid waste and fully flush for solid waste. That way, you can maximize your savings both in water use and utility costs.

5. Wobbling

If your toilet wobbles, it may be a simple problem of loose screws. A Green Apple plumber can easily tighten the bolts and ensure everything is properly placed. But wobbling can also signify a bigger problem. The floor beneath the toilet may be rotting away or water damaged, so if you notice wobbling, call a Green Apple professional to check it out.

6. Inefficient Flushing

When you find that your water bills are high, investing in a new, water-efficient toilet can help you keep your bills down. The average toilet uses three to five gallons of water with each flush, while a low-flush toilet uses about two gallons for every flush. If you have a large family or are environmentally conscious, such a change can help lower your water bill and water usage.

7. Surface Damages

If you have a lot of scratches on the surface of your toilet, you may want to replace your toilet for cosmetic reasons. Excessive scratches can make it difficult to keep the fixture clean. This damage is more common with older toilets that have been scrubbed numerous times over the years, so if you find that you’re cleaning your toilet more often than you should, it could be time for a replacement.

8. Built-Up Mineral Deposits

In areas with hard water, the minerals in the water can collect in the inlet holes and siphon tube. Such buildup can keep water from flowing effectively, making the toilet inefficient. In some cases, you may be able to clear some of the deposits away by chipping at the buildup, but this step is not always successful. If the buildup gets bad enough, your toilet may need replacement.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Is Your Furnace Dying?

Are your utility bills rising?

Furnaces often lose efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained. Your utility bills rise because your furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat.

Have you been repairing the furnace lately?

It doesn’t take long to spend a significant amount of money just to keep the old furnace running. Another downside to an older furnace: As it ages, replacement parts get harder to find. While you’re waiting for parts, your house could be getting more and more uncomfortable.

Are you comfortable?

Are some rooms are too cold while others are too hot? Are you constantly adjusting the thermostat to get a good supply of heat? Your furnace may have lost its ability to properly distribute the air to keep you comfortable.

Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?

A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that the furnace is creating poisonous carbon. Other possible signs of carbon monoxide:

  • Streaks of soot around the furnace;
  • Absence of an upward draft in your chimney;
  • Excess moisture found on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces;
  • Excessive rusting on flue pipes, other pipe connections, or appliance jacks;
  • A small amount of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue pipe;
  • Rust can be seen on the vent pipe from the outside.

Does your furnace make strange noises?

Aging furnaces often make some strange noises toward the end of their life banging, popping, rattling, or squealing. Or you may you hear the furnace blower running excessively, turning off and on frequently, or blowing cold air sometimes. These may mean your furnace needs to be replaced.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Heating Tape For your Plumbing Pipes

Apply Heating Tape

Heating tape works like an electric blanket for pipes, supplying heat directly to the pipe to keep it warm during cold spells. This can be a good solution for short sections of pipe that are at high risk for freezing and are easily accessible so you can install the tape and can monitor it for problems.

There are two types of heating tape. One type turns on and off by itself when it senses heat is needed. The other type must be plugged in when the heat is needed and unplugged when not in use; it does not have an automatic or manual on/off switch. Much like a space heater, these products can be dangerous, so you must follow the product’s direction and safety procedures exactly.

 Add Extra Insulation

Pipes that are located in areas that do not have enough insulation such as basements or attics, may need extra insulation to keep from freezing. Pipes in basements or attics are not the only ones that may not be properly insulated from the cold. If you have had a problem with pipes freezing anywhere in your home, extra insulation could be the cure.

Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors, or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.

Insulation can help keep a pipe closer to the temperature of the water inside the pipe, but it does not add heat to the pipe and will not prevent freezing if the pipe is exposed to prolonged freezing temperatures. Green Apple Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free

4 Harmful Things You Are Doing To Your Plumbing

1. Leaving hoses connected during cold weather.

This is a classic plumbing error that one must assume is caused most often by thoughtlessness. Unlike holiday lights, hoses can cause damage when left out all year: they can lead to freezing of the outdoor faucet or its water supply pipe. It’s terrible for your hose, too.

2. Using vent pipes for anything other than venting.

This one falls in the “Why not? I’ll tell you ‘why not’!” category. There are reports of homeowners running things like TV cables down the plumbing pipes that come up through their roofs. It seems like a tempting solution to getting into the house, but vent pipes aren’t just there for their bad looks. They not only provide air to drains inside the house, to prevent a suction effect that inhibits drainage; they also get rid of sewer gases that come up from the city’s sewer main. If you cut a hole in your vent inside the house to run a cable through, you’re tapping into an endless supply of your neighborhood’s sewer air.

3. Using too much drain cleaner.

When used extremely carefully, drain cleaners can be somewhat effective for drains. When used with abandon, they can corrode some drain materials, and they can actually make clogs worse. It’s also not very nice for the plumber who eventually comes out to clear that clog.

4. Pouring chemicals (and other bad stuff) into a septic system.

If you’re used to living with a “private” sewage system, you probably know how to take care of it. But if you just bought a house with septic, or maybe you’re renting a rural cottage for the summer, you might not think twice about using chemicals like drain cleaner, chlorine bleach, paint, and even anti-bacterial soaps. These chemicals kill the essential waste-eating bacteria in the septic tank … and you can guess the result. Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Furnace Replacement Or Repair?

Furnace Replacement or repair? That’s the burning question!

It’s not easy to know whether you should repair or replace your home’s heating system, especially if you’re facing an emergency situation. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, there are some important considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision.

Age of your system

The average lifespan of a furnace is around 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is near that age, expect to experience more repairs in the near future, which may not be covered by the original warranty or service agreement.

Outdated technology

Technology changes all the time. This is as true for your heating system as it is for your phone. By replacing aging equipment, you’ll be able to take advantage of smart features and increased efficiencies that can save you money on your utility bills.

Cost of repairs

As a good rule of thumb, Consumer Reports recommends replacing a product when repairs exceed 50% of the cost of a new one.* Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ is a great resource for current promotions that could significantly reduce the cost of a new system.

Environmental impact

If you’re concerned with your energy footprint, you may be surprised to know that your heating and cooling system accounts for about 50 percent of your home’s energy use. Upgrading to new energy star certified equipment ensures your units meet or exceed federal standards for energy efficiency.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Why You Should Keep You Curtains & Garage Closed

 Curtains are a Great Way to Save Energy

Strategically using your curtains can make a noticeable difference in your energy bill. By closing them at night, you can prevent heat loss to the cold outdoors.

Opening them in the day on the south or west-facing windows allows warm sunshine to enter and heat the inside of your home, just like with a car left in a parking lot. On any north windows, try to keep them closed, even during the day.

Get Regular Furnace Tune-Ups

Make sure you have your furnace inspected and tuned up every year to ensure its running at peak efficiency. One faulty part can place strain on the rest of the system and can lead to sudden breakdowns.

 Use Ceiling Fans

It may sound odd to use a fan in the winter, but they can help even out the overall warmth of your air. Heat naturally rises and tends to collect near the ceiling. Running your ceiling fan on low to push the hot air down to the floor works especially well in rooms with vaulted ceilings.

 Bake More in the Winter Months

Give your furnace a break by using the oven more. It will heat the entire kitchen area and may help heat your entire ground floor. There are other benefits too: not only will you feel better with a nice home-cooked meal, your house will smell great.

 Decorative Insulation

Carpeting and area rugs on floors help insulate against drafts. They also feel great underfoot, help with soundproofing, and make us feel warmer because they’re so cozy looking.

 Keep a Good Humidity Level

Most people notice that the air in our homes tends to be really dry in winter. It’s not only drying on skin and throats, but it can make us feel colder than we really are. Using a humidifier to bring your humidity level up to about 40% will help transfer heat better. You can lower the setting on the thermostat and not notice it. More humidity is also better for wood floors and furniture and can help prevent asthma and allergy attacks.

 Make Sure Your Garage Door is Sealed

The garage is one of the biggest culprits of energy loss in the modern home. Make sure the garage door is touching all the way down and there aren’t any drafts around the sides are top.
By following these tips, you’ll keep your furnace running smoothly all winter long. You’ll also stay cozy and warm for less money.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Furnace Safety Tips

As the outside temperature begins to fall, it is important to inspect your furnace to ensure that it is functioning and operating efficiently throughout the winter months. Many things can negatively affect your furnace during the warmer months when you are not using it, which is why it is so important to take the time now to check that everything is working as it should before something goes wrong. According to the National Fire Asscioation heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths, and half of these fires occur in the months of December, January, and February alone.

This does not have to happen to you. Here are seven simple things to check for after you turn on your heater to improve its efficiency and to keep your family safe.

Use Your Senses

When you first turn on your furnace, pay special attention to what you smell, feel, and hear.

Smell. Most furnaces give off a burning smell, but it could either be just dust burning off or it could be actual smoke from a fire. If there is a fire, turn the furnace off immediately, extinguish the flames with a home fire extinguisher, then call your local fire emergency services or 911. If it is dust, the smell should diminish after a short period of time. If the smell persists, however, and you are sure there is no fire, then it is a clear sign that your system needs cleaning.

Feel. Slide your hands along the walls of the furnace and the ducts. You should not feel any vibrations. If you do, call a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ technician to help identify the source.

Listen. Does the furnace sound like it should? Does it seem unusually noisy or seem as if it is having a hard time functioning? How is the airflow? As systems age, they need to be properly inspected and tuned-up. Call a certified Green Apple technician to schedule an annual inspection. Never attempt to make any repairs on your own if the issue is internal in your furnace as there is a high probability of inadvertent electrocution.

Check the Filter

 

Dirty filters create stress on your furnace, which can decrease its long-term productivity and increase your home heating costs. If you have a temporary filter, some manufacturers recommend that you change it every 90 days while others recommend changing it every 30 days. Follow the guidelines for your furnace. If your filter needs to be changed monthly, consider a pleated filter that can trap dust and allergens for up to three months. Electronic air-cleaner filters need to be cleaned every month as do permanent filters, which need to be washed and rinsed every month. Finally, always make sure that the filter has a cover over its slot opening so that the return-air system functions properly. Regular filter changes and cleanings are the easiest way to prolong the life of your furnace.

Remove Nearby Flammable Objects

A home’s furnace is often located in a garage or basement near where common household chemicals or other flammable objects such as boxes or gardening supplies are stored. Move these items as well as any other unnecessary debris to a safe distance (at least 3 feet) from the furnace in order to prevent a fire hazard.

Clean the Vents

 

Take the time to clean each vent in each room of your home so that they are better able to distribute heat and to improve indoor air quality by removing built-up dust and allergens.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Level

 

The CDC reports that each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings such as from stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, and furnaces. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. This is why it is very important to monitor carbon monoxide levels inside your home, especially when you first turn on your heater.

After your furnace has been running for 10-15 minutes, check your carbon monoxide detector. If the reading is above 30, turn the furnace off and call a certified Green Apple technician right away as there could be a hazardous situation occurring. Open all windows to properly ventilate your home and do not use your furnace again until it has been professionally checked.

Test Your Thermostat

After you have turned on the heat, is your thermostat reading going up? Like many devices, thermostats slow down and can become increasingly inaccurate with age. Check that its readings are correct and that all of its functions are working properly. You might consider replacing it with a programmable thermostat if it seems like your current one is getting old. Programmable thermostats not only reduce stress on your furnace system by turning off when it is not needed, but it also saves you money up to $180 every year in energy costs.

Call a Certified Professional

 

The number one thing you should do every year when you are ready to turn on your heater is to call a Green Apple HVAC professional for a thorough inspection and cleaning. A certified technician from Green Apple will conduct a thorough cleaning plus identify and fix any problems your system may be experiencing. We provide service around the clock and we are happy to give you an exact quote for any issues that need addressing so you know up-front how much it will cost. No matter what kind of system you have, our technicians are fully qualified to provide a wide variety of services to help you maintain your system and ensure that your family is comfortably warm this season.

Preparing for the colder months does not have to be difficult. By following these steps, your furnace system will be safe and ready for whatever weather comes your way. Call us for a thorough and honest inspection as soon as you are ready to heat your home this year. Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical are the experts you can trust. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free at 888-315-5564