Super Easy Ways To Avoid Plumbing Mishaps

 TIPS ON HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR PLUMBING AND AVOID PLUMBING SERVICE CALLS.

  • Watch what you put down your kitchen sink. Dumping grease, chicken scraps, and tough fruit peels down your kitchen drain is a sure-fire way to clog your sink, no matter how good your disposal is.
  • Use a hair trap. A metal or plastic hair trap that fits over the shower drain is a cheap, effective way to prevent annoying clogs and having to pull nasty hairballs out of the drain.
  • Don’t flush wipes and hygiene products down the toilet. Hygiene products are not plumbing safe, and even the wipes that are supposedly flush-friendly are not. Toss them in the trash.
  • Watch out for leaks. Not only do leaks waste water, they can also cause mold and dry rot. Check your pipes occasionally for any sign of water leaks, and call a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ plumber ASAP if you see one.
  • Reduce your water pressure. For about 8 to 10 dollars, you can buy a water pressure test gauge that twists onto your garden hose. If your water pressure is over roughly 80 PSI, then your plumbing is being strained, and there’s a high risk of leaking and failure. If the pressure is too high, hire a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ plumber to install a pressure reducer (this is not the same thing as the water flow reducers often used in sinks and showers).

We know it can be a hassle to call a plumber. But sometimes, it’s the right thing to do to protect your home and ensure your family’s comfort and convenience. If you’ve got a stubborn plumbing problem, call Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ for help. 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

Are You Sabotaging Your Furnace?

Not turning your thermostat down when you leave. The best way to cut down on energy costs from your heating system in winter is to make it run less while you’re asleep or out of the house. Programmable thermostats make it easy to set a schedule for the temperature to be turned down while you’re out during the workday or on vacation say, to the mid-60s and rise to your preferred temperature just before you come home.

Letting cold air in the house. If you’ve got a drafty house, your heating system is going to be overworking itself to keep the inside warm while cold air keeps coming in. Adding insulation to the walls can help keep the warm air trapped inside, but you should also consider closing gaps in doors and windows with weatherstripping.

And it’s not just the temperature of the air that you’ll find change the air inside will likely maintain it’s humidity better as well. “What causes the air to be dry inside the house is the infiltration of 20-degree outside air coming in.

Cranking the thermostat when you’re cold. When you get home from a cold walk outside, it probably feels natural to turn up the thermostat a few extra degrees to pump out the hot air a little quicker. But the pros say doing so won’t help at all: “Most people tend to think that if they put the thermostat up high, it’s going to get warmer faster.” “If the ideal temperature you want is 70, setting it to 75 is not going to get it to 70 any faster.”

You may have to fight every instinct to keep your hands off the thermostat when you want to hurry the furnace along, but by doing so you’ll avoid the furnace heating your home to a warmer temperature than you’d really like and a higher number than you’d like to see on your utility bill.

Blocking vents with furniture. Sometimes a vent just happens to be in the same location you have to put a couch. But you’ll sacrifice the quality of heating and cooling in the room if you place it there.

You’re more likely to achieve an even distribution of warm air by keeping vents free of obstruction. But if you like your furniture where it is, you may benefit from exploring different heating options. Hydronic heating, which heats rooms with hot water pipes under the floorboards, maybe a better fit to keep your design aesthetic from being dictated by vents. Some vents can be closed individually, but depending on your duct system, closing vents may make your furnace less efficient.  Consult a Green Apple Mechanical HVAC professional to determine what’s best for your home.

Not changing your filter. Most boilers and furnaces in the U.S. are kept in the basement, attic or a similarly out-of-the-way area, so it’s all too easy to forget about regular maintenance on the system. The air filters on an HVAC system need to be replaced periodically, or you’ll likely see it reflected in your energy bills because the furnace is forced to work harder.

How often you need to change your air filter varies based on the type of air filter you purchase, and most will specify the recommended frequency on the package. High-quality HVAC air filters can last up to a year and typically cost around $30. Other filters will need to be changed more often and can go for less than $5.

Skipping annual maintenance. Naturally, we find ourselves returning to the “out of sight, out of mind” issue. All too many homeowners neglect their heating systems until it backfires – and you’ll only notice a nonfunctioning heating system when you need it most. It’s imperative that you have annual maintenance done on your heating and cooling system to ensure maximum efficiency and get ahead of any issues before they become a major problem. Having your heating system serviced prior to the coldest months of the year will likely make it easier to schedule an appointment and lower the probability that you’ll have a problem once the heat is already on.

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

Is 15 Years Old Too Old For A Furnace?

That’s a question that every homeowner eventually asks, usually after another repair bill.

So how old is too old for a furnace? 

On average a furnace that burns natural gas will last anywhere from 15-30 years depending on how well it’s maintained.  If you have neglected annual maintenance to save a few dollars, you will probably end up spending that money and more by replacing the furnace before you normally would have had to. An electric furnace will last about 20 years, with the same maintenance rule of thumb applying.

 

So let’s say that your furnace is in need of major repair.  Factors to consider are the price of repair, the cost of a new furnace and the life expectancy of the furnace you have.   Many people will decide to buy a major appliance if the cost of repair is 50 percent or more of a new unit.  If your furnace is 15 years old and well maintained, it could work for another ten years.  If you haven’t been faithful with regular maintenance the remaining lifespan may not be as long.

Since a new standard furnace starts around $2000 and varies depending on the size of your house it would make sense to buy a new one if the repair bill was approaching $1000.

In general, a furnace should be repaired if it is less than ten years old with a repair bill of less than $500

Another thing to think about is whether to replace your older furnace with a high-efficiency model.  The average cost is around $4500.  That seems like a lot, but if your furnace lasts 15 years, the increased cost comes out to about $11 dollars a month.  If you have proper insulation and a furnace large enough to heat your space without overworking, the savings on electricity and natural gas with a high-efficiency unit should easily exceed $11 dollars a month.  That means that your larger initial investment will more than pay for itself over time.  If your furnace lasts 20 years, the extra cost per month drops to only $8.

Even if your furnace is working fine, there are some signs to look for so that a huge repair or replacement bill doesn’t sneak up on you.

1 A rise in utility costs:  This means that the furnace is operating less efficiently and is using more fuel to get the same amount of generated heat.  This will only get worse over time.

2,  Repairs in the last two years:  Repairs become common in the last two years in the life of a furnace.  If you are making regular repairs, it may be time to bite the bullet and replace it.

3.  Strange noises:  Rattles, bangs or the blower turning on and off too frequently are signs of impending furnace death.

Finally, older furnaces are more at risk to generate carbon monoxide as they age.  A cracked heat exchanger, for example, can allow carbon monoxide to leak into your home.  It’s always a good idea to keep a carbon monoxide detector in your home, preferably near the furnace. 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

Help! My Furnace Isn’t Working!

Why Isn’t My Furnace Heating?

When your furnace stops working, what do you do? Will you need to call for service, or is it something you might be able to fix on your own? How do you know? At Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical, we are New Jersey’s favorite furnace repair experts. We know how stressful it can be when your heating and cooling system is on the fritz. Below are a few common reasons customers call us for heating repair and some steps you can follow to help diagnose the problem before having to call for service.

System Won’t Turn On

If your furnace won’t come on, there are a few things you can check. First, make sure the unit isn’t turned off. Check the service switch that is usually located on the side or just above the furnace to see that it is in the “on” position. If the problem isn’t with the switch, next head over to your home’s main electrical panel. Check to verify that the circuit connected to your furnace isn’t tripped. If it is, reset the breaker and see if this fixes the problem. If not, the last place we recommend you check would be the thermostat. Make sure your thermostat is set to heat and at a temperature higher than the existing temperature inside your home. If none of these steps make your furnace come on, we recommend you call Green Apple for service

Fan Runs But Doesn’t Produce Heat

When you hear your furnace running, but can’t feel any heat coming out there could be several causes. First, if your furnace has a pilot light, check to make sure it is lit. If this isn’t the problem, and your furnace does run on gas, check your water heater. If your water heater is working properly, you can eliminate gas supply as the problem. Next, check your air filter and verify it is clean. Your air filter should be changed every month a dirty filter can cause your furnace to blow cool air as well as perform inefficiently.

The Furnace Shuts Off Before the House Is Warm

If your furnace runs and blows warm air, but cycles frequently or shuts off before the house warms up, there could be a number of issues contributing to this. Again, check your air filter and verify it is clean. If your air filter isn’t to blame, it’s best to contact a Green Apple professional. Your furnace could be employing a safety feature that keeps the furnace from overheating, or you could be losing air somewhere in your ductwork that keeps your home from warming up. A Green Apple professional can effectively diagnose the problem for you.

If you’ve tried troubleshooting with the tips above and your furnace is still not working properly, it’s probably time to call in for help. 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

If You Do Dishes You Need To Read This

It’s important to keep your kitchen appliances functional and looking clean, and one of the most essential kitchen devices that experiences plumbing issues is the dishwasher. There are countless things that dishwasher plumbing problems affect including your sink and flooring. If left unattended, you will not only fill up your sink with dirty dishes but you’ll also have to pay more to fix other appliances. Here are five common plumbing issues that surface when using the dishwasher:

1. Dishwasher Plumbing Problems: Dishwasher Won’t Drain

There are several dishwasher plumbing problems that could be the cause for this, one being a clogged air gap that is shooting water occasionally. Remove the air gap cover and use a wire to clean it out, or pour water down it to wash up the debris. This could also stem from a clogged sink trap, house drain, drain hose, or drain valve, which would require removing the dishwasher and replacing them.

2. Dishwasher Overfills

When your dishwasher runs but doesn’t fill, there’s something wrong with your hot water valve. Check the water intake valve behind the appliance’s bottom front panel and check for debris. If this isn’t the problem, then there is something wrong with your water inlet valve, pressure switch, or timer/selector switch.

3. Dishwasher Doesn’t Clean Dishes

This is because you have a stuck or dirty float switch. This not only requires you to take apart your dishwasher but also to clean the float switch, spray arm, and spray armholes. Also, remove your power panels to get the supply tubes and electrical wires so that you can remove and clean the inlet valve pieces. This can be hard to do correctly without professional assistance.

4. Dishwasher Makes Loud Noise When Running

If you notice a loud banging noise when running your dishwasher, there’s a good chance you need to disassemble everything from the sprayer arm to the motor. There may be food or dish that is stuck at the bottom of the dishwasher. There may also be something wrong with your wash impeller, circulation pump, drain impeller, or drain pump that is causing your dishwasher plumbing problems. Have a professional plumber check it out to determine which piece to fix or replace.

5. Dishwasher Door is Leaking

When opening up your dishwasher, take note of whether the small screw at the bottom is caked with rust or is cracking. Replace or clean your door gasket with detergent according to this observation. You can also adjust the latch plate on top to ensure that your wood floor doesn’t get water damage or become a slippery hazard for family members.

Dishwasher Repair

While dishwashers are definitely beneficial to one’s home, there are clearly many ways that they can be damaged and become a costly fix. If you’ve noticed any leaking or malfunctions with your appliance, don’t wait around for the issue to get worse! 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

When Was The Last Time Your Furnace Was Checked?

You’re Dealing with Gas

The majority of furnaces in homes use gas to heat the air that’s being pumped into the living spaces. When you’re dealing with gas that’s potentially dangerous like carbon monoxide, you really shouldn’t cut any corners. Even if your furnace seems to be working just fine, it could be leaking carbon monoxide into your home. Not only is carbon monoxide a combustion hazard a single spark could set off an explosion if there’s enough of the gas but it is extremely dangerous to your family’s health as well.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and long-lasting health problems, as it impact’s the body’s ability to get oxygen to the brain. In large amounts, carbon monoxide can even cause your organs to shut down and lead to death.

If you’re having your furnace checked annually, an HVAC expert can check for cracks in the heat exchanger or any issues related to the pilot light and igniter. They can also check current carbon monoxide levels around your furnace. Of course, even with regular maintenance, you should still have a carbon monoxide detector in your home for your family’s safety.

Your Furnace Is More Efficient

A furnace that receives annual tune-ups is simply more efficient than one that gets ignored. During annual tune-ups, your furnace’s motors will be oiled to run more smoothly, filters will be checked and replaced, and your thermostat will be checked to ensure it is functioning accurately. All of these things can make your furnace more efficient, which allows it to operate using less energy and lowers your utility costs.

Your Furnace Lasts Longer

Just like performing routine maintenance on your car helps it to last longer, annual tune-ups for your furnace can prolong its life. Any parts that are wearing out can be replaced to prevent breakdowns and other expensive issues. And, because your furnace is working more efficiently, it’s not straining to keep your home warm; less strain on the HVAC unit means a longer life for all of its parts and the unit as a whole. This can save you even more money in the long run, as you won’t have to replace that furnace as frequently as you would without maintenance services.

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 regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

Embrace Regular Indoor Maintenance

Repair drips and leaks without delay

Drips and leaks do more than waste water; they can damage fixtures and cause damage to walls, floors, and furniture. If you can’t stop a drip or fix it yourself, call the Experts. Plumbing is one of our proudest specialties.

Tend to a running toilet

With all the activity a single toilet sees in one month, it’s amazing that the interior parts hold up as long as they do. Still, they don’t last forever, and a toilet that runs is a cue to make a different type of run to the hardware store for some new plumbing parts.

Caulk with purpose

No one is a caulk expert right out of the gate. But with practice, you’ll soon learn how to seal your toilets, sinks, and showers like a pro. Replacing loose or damaged caulk is important before you get started.

Clear slow drains

Clogged sinks, tubs and showers drain slower and slower over time. They’re also easy to ignore, but force yourself to clear them before you find yourself standing in ankle-deep water. You’ll put less pressure on your pipes, too.

Clean faucet aerators

Here’s a fooler: weak water pressure or what appears to be weak water pressure. Many times, it’s calcium that has built up inside a faucet aerator. Simply remove the aerators and clean them with vinegar to get water flowing freely again.

Check your washing machine hoses

Bulges, leaks, and cracks in washing machine hoses can erupt (literally) into some of the most expensive claims insurance companies receive. The hoses should be replaced at least once every three years. And the machine should be set at least 4 inches from the wall to prevent hose damage.

Prevent freezing pipes

We also can’t afford to get complacent about adding insulation to pipes in the garage, crawl space, basement and other rooms exposed to cold weather.

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

How To stay Pro-Active With Your Plumbing

First, get proactive

Become a student of plumbing

You don’t have to pass a licensing exam, but reading information online from the Experts can prepare you to make minor plumbing repairs. So can signing up for plumbing classes at your local home improvement store. Be sure to assemble a tool kit, too, as you begin to navigate your plumbing learning curve.

Know thy shut-off

If you haven’t already, locate your home’s main water valve and learn how to use it. It could be the only way, say, to stop a pipe burst from flooding your home with water. Store any tools you need for a quick shut-off nearby.

Know thy shut-offs, part 2

While you’re at it, learn how to shut off water to your home’s toilets, sinks, washing machine, and other water-reliant appliances. When they act up because they will in time a disconnect could spare you pipe damage and save you hours and hours of cleanup time.

Keep your eyes open for corrosion

Hunting down valves is an ideal time to inspect pipes for corrosion and shut-off valves for yellow, orange or green stains. If you spot them, call Green Apple Mechanical to replace the component immediately.

Maintain your (water) pressure

With a water pressure gauge, ensure that your home’s water pressure hits a range of between 40 and 85 psi. Anything higher will place undue stress on your entire plumbing system. In this case, a pressure regulator installed by Green Apple can bring it down to a safer level.

Develop water-wise habits

 

Avoid toilet clogs

It may be irresistible when you’re rushing, but putting anything besides toilet paper down a toilet usually results in clogs and overflows and damage, too. Baby and hand wipes also should go in the trash. Always.

Prevent sink and shower drain clogs

Install screens over sink and shower drains to prevent hair, food and soap particles from clogging the pipes in your bathrooms and kitchen. Plus, the screens make cleanup a snap.

Sidestep clog-removal products

The commercials can be compelling, but what they don’t tell you is how some of the intense formulas can damage home plumbing. Better to take regular safeguards than resort to some truly explosive products.

Space your showers

Waiting at least 10 minutes between showers helps equalize water pressure. And if someone at home balks? Tell them to put the time to good use by running the exhaust fan to absorb moisture in the room.

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 @888-611-7191

How Long should You Keep Your Furnace?

Your furnace is likely one of the most expensive appliances in your home. It can be expensive to repair or replace when there is an issue so people often scrutinize a furnace a lot when they are purchasing a home or having a new system installed.

One of the most common questions I get is, how long does a furnace last? In this article, we are going to explore those questions and help you get some practical advice for prolonging the life of your HVAC system.

How Long Does a Furnace Actually Last?

Our favorite analogy to use when I answer this question is comparing your furnace to a classic car.

The fast answer to how long will a furnace last is, it can last as long as you want it to. What I mean by that is, there is no date at which a furnace needs to be replaced entirely.

Taking the classic car example, we still see cars on the road from time to time that were made 40, 50, 60, even 90 years ago right? Along the way, those cars needed repairs because no car (and especially older ones) was designed to last forever.

People simply fixed what was wrong with those cars to keep them driving on the road. Some of them probably needed way more repairs than others but the point is, someone wanted to keep that car running so they did.

The same is true for a furnace. It can last as long as you want to keep fixing it and there are really no scenarios (other than a catastrophic accident) where you have to replace your entire system. Typically when there is an issue with a furnace, it’s one part or one assembly of parts that have gone bad and needs to be replaced.

When is it good to get a new furnace?

There are two primary reasons that people replace their furnace systems.

1. It’s not safe to operate.
2. It’s not practical to repair your furnace (it’s no longer reliable, it’s too expensive, etc).

You can technically keep a furnace as long as you want however there are some scenarios where repairing it may not be practical. For example, a cracked heat exchanger is a big issue because it causes carbon monoxide to leak out into your home. The furnace will still function as it should however that deadly gas will be leaking out.

In that case, it makes more sense to replace the unit because swapping out a heat exchanger may be more expensive. If the unit is older, new heat exchangers may not be available for it.

Any other time there is a safety issue or the furnace is just not repairable is a good time to replace the entire unit. Examples of this might be a fire in the home that has damaged the unit, a storm or other act of nature that has extensively damaged the unit, or an earthquake. Anything that has caused so much damage that it isn’t practical to repair the unit.

Your furnace may also be at an age where parts are continually breaking down making it unreliable. If you live in an area where it’s essential to have your furnace working and frequent service interruptions are dangerous, replacement may be a good idea.

What are the benefits of replacing my furnace?

Going back to our car analogy, there are benefits to getting a new car such as technological advancements. Older vehicles were made when we knew less about the air/fuel mixture in the engine, about aerodynamic design, and other fuel-saving measures.

The same is true for furnaces. An older furnace may not burn natural gas as efficiently as a newer model. Aside from any safety issues, if you have an older furnace and you find yourself repairing it a lot, a newer model may come with the added benefit of a lower cost of operation.

You may also get to take advantage of more modern management add-ons like programmable or internet-connected thermostats, more robust climate control settings, and quieter operation.

Final Thoughts

So that’s the truth about how long a furnace lasts. If you take care of it, do routine maintenance, and continue to fix it, you can theoretically make a furnace last a lifetime.

Of course, that may not always be the case and replacing your furnace has a ton of great benefits. The best course of action is to put safety as a priority for your heating system and then make financially-driven decisions after that. Green Apple 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 regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call toll-free @888-315-5564

5 Huge Super Bowl Plumbing Tips

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party this year, you’ll want to start preparing your home’s plumbing for the influx of family and friends. As the second-largest day of food consumption in the United States, Super Bowl Sunday can be especially hard on your home’s kitchen and bathroom plumbing. Follow our 5 tips to prevent plumbing problems during the big game.

  1. Don’t Overload Your Garbage Disposal
    With extra food and snacks in your home, it’s certainly tempting to rely on your garbage disposal to clean up your kitchen. However stringy and fatty foods, or too much food, can cause severe clogs or damage to your garbage disposal.
  2. Avoid Greasy Foods
    Fried and fatty foods are staples for Super Bowl snacking, but the grease from these foods is especially hard on your pipes. Avoid pouring any grease directly down your drain and wipe off greasy plates and pans before washing them or putting them in the dishwasher.
  3. Utilize Your Trash Cans
    Before your guests arrive, make sure your kitchen trash can is empty and easy to locate and add smaller trash bins in any bathroom your guests may be using. Then as your guests arrive, ask them to throw any items or food away rather than flushing them or putting them down the garbage disposal.
  4. Watch What You Flush
    Do a quick check of your bathrooms and remove any small items or decorations that guests could accidentally knock into the toilet. From here either remove items that should not be flushed, like tissues, wet wipes, and paper towels, or instruct guests to throw them away.
  5. Locate Your Water Shut-Off Valve
    In case something does go wrong with your home’s plumbing, make sure you know where your main shut-off valve is located and how to turn it off.

These 5 tips will help prepare your home’s plumbing and keep it in good working condition during the big game.

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