Does Your Water Pressure Need to be Adjusted?

While low water pressure is pretty easy to spot, you might be so enamored with high water pressure that you don’t recognize you might have a problem on your hands.

Water pressure that’s too high can cause serious harm to plumbing fixtures like pipes, faucets, and washing machine hoses which, in turn, can cause leaks and even flooding. But a simple, inexpensive test can tell you whether your water pressure is too high, too low, or just right.

  1. blogStart by purchasing a water pressure test gauge and following the instructions. They’re inexpensive and available at your local hardware or home improvement store.
  1. To get a more accurate reading, keep all indoor and outdoor water sources turned off during the test.
  1. A healthy level of water pressure is somewhere between 40 psi (pounds per square inch) and 80 psi. If you’re reading falls within this range but you’re still convinced your water pressure is too low or high, something else is probably causing the problem.
  1. If the water pressure is below 40psi, check with your town’s water department to see if they’re performing any tasks that might account for a temporary drop in pressure.
  1. If the water pressure is greater than 80psi, the solution could be as simple as replacing rubber hoses with metal-jacketed models on your toilet, sink, and washing machine pipes.
  1. If the water pressure exceeds 100psi, you might need to have a pressure regulator installed to help save you money on potentially costly and recurring plumbing repairs.

If you have neither the time nor the inclination to test your own water pressure, Your 1 Plumber would be happy to do it for you.  Simply contact us today to schedule service, or to report any other plumbing issues you might be facing.

“Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?”

It’s one thing to talk about replacing a frayed table cloth or an outdoor light fixture.  Neither purchase – among countless others – is going to put much of a dent in your budget.

Replacing your furnace is a whole different story.  Depending on the size of your home, a new furnace can represent a substantial investment in your family’s ongoing comfort and convenience.  The question is, when is the right time to replace it?

Well, here are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  • blogYour furnace has been designed to last an average of 10-15 years. If yours is within that range already, replacing it now means you have total control over the replacement process vs. being forced to make a quick and perhaps wrong decision; all too often, that’s what happens when people are forced to buy a furnace because the old one has died.
  • Even if you’ve had your furnace faithfully maintained over the years, it’s still not going to last forever. On the flip side, you can expect an earlier demise if it hasn’t been cleaned and inspected from one year to the next by a qualified home heating professional.
  • Did you inherit your current furnace when you bought the house? If so, a word of advice:  if you don’t know how old it is, jot down the serial number and contact the manufacturer to find out.  Then you’ll have a much better idea of what to expect going forward.
  • How much is too much for a furnace repair? If your furnace is getting up there in years and needs major repair work, is it worth it?  Most experts agree that if it costs close to 50% – or more – of a replacement system to have the old one fixed, it makes more sense to replace than repair.

If you’ve had annual preventative maintenance performed on your furnace since year one, great job and keep up the good work.  If not, and you can’t even remember the last time it was serviced, it’s time to call Eagle Service Company for our very thorough furnace cleaning and inspection service.  In the process, we can determine exactly what kind of condition your furnace is in and if it’s likely to make it through winter without costing you an arm and a leg in repairs.  On the other, if it’s still got some life in it, maybe it’s worth hanging onto.  Eagle Service Company: your partner in year-round indoor comfort, and your source for honest and straightforward feedback.

 

Home Heating Repairs; or What Might be Wrong with Your Furnace?

blogLet’s start with a reality check: we don’t live in Alaska, Montana, Nebraska, or even Oklahoma. We live in Alabama, part of what folks call the Deep South.

Which means that while we have our winters, not many people further north of here feel very sorry for us when we complain about the cold, especially since they have so much more to complain about, and for longer periods of time.

That’s the reality check. And now for just plain getting real. As in, who cares WHERE we live if your furnace suddenly malfunctions or shuts down, and you’re so cold you can barely stand it. When you’re cold, you’re cold. But you don’t have to be for long: not with Eagle Service Company here to again, and on the double just for good measure.

In fact, if you have a repair problem right now, go ahead and contact us by phone or email. If, on the other hand, your furnace is acting up but still providing a sufficient amount of heat, maybe you’re just wondering what might be wrong with it. From our experience, here are the 8 most common causes of home heating repair problems.

  1. Lack of ongoing care. Even newer systems should be professionally serviced once a year. Otherwise, budding problems can go undetected and, before you know it, you have a repair bill on your hands. Not to mention higher utility bills and a shorter system lifespan.
  1. Clogged, dirty filters. Even with annual maintenance, furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced, as needed, at least every other month. That helps keep your system from over-working just to provide the desired amount of heat.
  1. How old is it now? Your furnace wasn’t built to last forever; no heating system was. So if yours is in or getting near the 15 – 20 year range, heating problems small and large are inevitable.
  1. Problem with the ignition or pilot control. Put simply, if your furnace can’t ignite, or ignite fully, it can’t properly heat your home, if at all.
  1. Faulty thermostat: Sometimes the problem is with the thermostat and not your furnace. If you have multiple zones and only one area of your home isn’t getting enough heat, there’s a good chance the the thermostat is the problem.
  1. Frequent “on and off” cycling. If your furnace is turning on and off way more often than normal, chances are you have either a clogged filter, improper airflow or a problem with your thermostat.
  1. The blower won’t shut off. If you hear your blower motor running non-stop, or even suspect that’s what you’re hearing, give us a call. Otherwise it will eventually burn itself out and leave you with an even bigger problem to cope with. If it simply won’t shut off, it might just need a replacement switch.
  1. “Please be quiet!” Furnaces are meant to be felt, not heard. But if you’re hearing rumbling, squeaking or banging noises, guess what? Something wrong. Two such possibilities are reduced airflow or a clogged burner.

And now for the good news: with annual preventative maintenance performed by Eagle Service Company, most heating system problems can be prevented. And then you won’t have to spend time playing furnace detective or facing repair bills that, more often than not, could easily have been prevented. Call us today for service, and place your furnace in our very capable hands.

Why Am I Losing Heat?

Do you need to light candles, burn incense, and make yourself some green tea before opening your heating-related utility bills? Welcome to the club, as you’re far from alone.

Then again, isn’t that a club you would just love to quit and drive those energy bills right back down where they belong? Of course you would, and we’re to help you do just that with some timely tips for keeping the heat in, and the cold air out:

  • plumbing birmingham alCheck windows and doors for air leaks. Here’s how: light a candle and move up, down, and sideways around window and door frames. As long as the flame remains upright, no heat is escaping. If, however, the flame turns horizontal, either heat is escaping or cold air is coming in. And if that’s the case, it’s time for some new caulking and/or weather stripping.
  • Do you have a fireplace? If so, and you use it consistently, it would behoove you to have annual service performed and, while the service company is at it, to be sure the damper is closing properly and snugly. Otherwise, you have a free-fly zone for heat to escape up and out of the chimney.
  • Do you also have a hatchway to your attic? If so, when was the last time you checked the weather stripping around it to ensure heat is not escaping you’re your attic?
  • If you don’t feel qualified and or confident enough to do so yourself, hire someone you trust to check all holes in your attic for pipes, ducts, and vents to be sure they are properly sealed.
  • And while you or someone else is in the attic, how’s your insulation holding up? If it looks pretty beaten down and/or shriveled up, it might be time to beef things up or replace it entirely.

Here’s another common cause of soaring energy bills: an aging furnace, or one that hasn’t been properly maintained from one year to the next. In fact, if it’s been a year or more since you last had your heating system cleaned and inspected, we invite you to contact Eagle Service Company now. That one step alone can take the fear and loathing out of opening your utility bills!

4 Benefits of Annual Heating System Maintenance

When something is working just fine, most of us are inclined to leave it be. After all, isn’t that what experienced has taught us? Such as letting a sleeping dog lie. Or not trying to re-invent the wheel.

And yet key to that age old folk wisdom is one fundamental question: is the object of your attention REALLY fine, or does it just appear that way? Take your home heating system for example. You turn it on at the start of the heating system, it starts up, you and the house get warm pretty quickly, so what could possibly be wrong? Unfortunately, this is a case of what you can’t see can hurt you.

Your heating system, when all is said and done, is a mechanical “thing”, and all things mechanical have a finite shelf life. What’s more, they have plenty of inner workings that you simply can’t see, and bad things could be brewing in there that you won’t know a thing about until your system starts acting up or you lose heat entirely.

blogThat’s why Eagle Service Company strongly recommends annual heating system maintenance. We’re confident you’ll agree, especially when you consider these top 4 benefits:

  • Problem prevention. Annual system maintenance is also called preventative maintenance, and for good reason. By faithfully having your system cleaned and inspected once a year, most common heating system can be stopped before they ever start.
  • Longer system lifespan. The average shelf life of a home furnace is 15-20 years. But just because that’s the average doesn’t mean yours will last that long. Only with annual service by a qualified and licensed home heating technician can you expect to enjoy a maximum return on your investment in reliable indoor comfort.
  • Lower utility costs. The better and more efficiently your system runs, the less it’s going to cost you to operate it: both in terms of lower (if any) repair costs and significant reductions in your monthly utility bills.
  • Added safety. Your gas furnace, for example, can leak gas and carbon monoxide into your home if not properly maintained and inspected. That’s why our preventative maintenance service includes a close inspection of your system’s heat exchanger. And that’s just one of several safety-related steps we perform.

The moral of our story? Don’t let your heating system fool you just because it happens to be doing its job, because tomorrow could be a whole different story. For the best in reliable performance, added safety, and lower utility and repair costs, contact Eagle Service Company today and ask for our heating system preventative maintenance service. You can count on a job extremely well done.

3 Common Furnace Repairs in Birmingham and Mountain Brook

blogIf you’re the superstitious type, you probably take steps not to jinx a certain outcome. You know, like counting down the days to spring, putting absolute faith in the belief that the day spring arrives, life will suddenly become more enjoyable.

Superstitious or not, the heating season isn’t over yet, and no amount of wishing or hoping will quicken the arrival of spring. That means, among other things, that there’s still plenty of time for something to go wrong with your furnace. And how ironic would that be if it’s served you well all winter long, only to “spring a gasket” shortly before the end of the heating season?

At Eagle Service Company, we’re right there beside you cheering on the arrival of spring. In the meantime, however, we’d like to offer you the following 3 most common symptoms that something is not quite right with your furnace. That way, if you notice any one of them, you can call us for quick and dependable problem resolution before things get worse:

  1. A sudden and dramatic hike in your home heating costs. If your latest heating bill left you gasping for air, then chances are something happened recently to negatively impact your system’s performance. The problem could be within the furnace itself, your air distribution system, or even your thermostat.
  1. Hot and cold spots. If you’ve enjoyed an even distribution of heat all winter long, and all of a sudden that’s changed, again it’s a situation well-worth investigating. Perhaps your ductwork has cracked and sprung a leak, for example, making it more difficult to heat a certain area of your home.
  1. Loud noises. Heating systems are meant to be felt, not heard. But if, all of sudden, you’re being treated to loud banging, popping, wheezing, or hissing noises, then any one of several problems could be at work. And none of them are very desirable.

So where does that leave us? Well, you can wait for the heating season to end and hope your system makes it through without causing you even a moment’s grief. And then there’s Plan B, and one that might just apply to you: if it’s been a year or more since you last had your furnace professionally cleaned and inspected, why not take care of it now vs. putting it off until next fall? That way, we can take care of any little problems now before they become bigger and more costly to repair and, at the same time, thoroughly clean and inspect your furnace to ensure optimum performance and energy efficiency. For prompt and dependable service, we invite you to contact Eagle Service Company today.

Heating System Preventative Maintenance in Vestavia Hills & Hoover

blogheatingIn some parts of the country, the first thing people think of when fall rolls around is the start of another cold weather season.

Obviously those folks don’t have ‘Bama or Auburn football (along with our many other college and high school teams) to help keep them warm with the sheer week-to-week excitement of it all. And yet as lucky as we are here in Alabama, college football can’t repair a problem heating system.

That’s why, in between all the hoopla and game day tailgating, it’s a good idea to carve out a minute or two to schedule pre-season preventative maintenance to help keep your heating system in top working order.

Here at Eagle Service Company, we perform multi-step cleanings and inspections that include these vital steps:

  1. Visually inspect capacitors for leakage and rust
  2. Inspect blower wheel
  3. Check and calibrate thermostat as required
  4. Inspect burner ignition system and assembly
  5. Inspect gas burners
  6. Check temperature rise across heat exchanger for overheating
  7. Inspect heat exchanger for soot, corrosion, cracks and deformities
  8. Inspect gas valve for corrosion, leaks, restriction of gas flow and abnormal noise
  9. Inspect entire system for loose or worn parts and abnormal vibrations
  10. Test and adjust the unit for peak operating efficiency

And that’s just part of the process, one that focuses not just on operating efficiency, but your family’s well-being and safety, as well.

So in between checking the latest scores and planning your next college football Saturday, why not give us a call and schedule something no less important: annual preventative maintenance for your heating system, performed by the home heating pros at Eagle Service Company.

How to Ensure Home Heating Safety in Birmingham

Did you know that more home fires occur during the winter months than any other season? Between the additional time spent indoors, more cooking and baking, and the need to keep our families warm, it’s no surprise that the United States Fire Administration reported an average of 108,400 home fires in the winter of 2010.eagle

And with heating equipment being the second leading cause of residential fires, it’s crucial to understand how to keep your loved ones cozy and safe this winter.

  1. First and foremost, install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including every bedroom or sleeping area. And test the alarms once a month to ensure they are working properly.
  2. Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from any heat source, such as a wood burning stove, fireplace, radiator, and portable space heater.
  3. If you must use a space heater as an additional source of heat, do so with caution. Opt for an electric heater over one that’s fuel-powered. And always turn it off when leaving the room or before going to sleep.
  4. Never use your oven to heat your home.
  5. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep once a year. Over time, creosote can build up on the inner walls of the chimney and cause a fire.
  6. Whether you heat your home with gas or oil, be sure to have your furnace inspected annually. Not only will regular maintenance prolong the life of the furnace, it can detect any issues that could cause system failure and prevent home heating fire hazards.

If it’s been a year or longer since your last home heating inspection, contact Eagle Service Company today for prompt and professional results.  And remember:  annual heating service leads to a longer system lifespan and lower utility costs, too.

How to Reduce Your Heating Costs in Birmingham

If you’re like most home owners throughout the Birmingham area, “jumping for joy” isn’t usually what happens after you open your utility bills.  The dead of winter and dog days of summer can be particularly harsh on your budget.

At the same time, you can do a lot to bring those costs down, even as much as 30%.  How?  By eliminating or at least reducing home heat loss.

First, let’s look at the most common exit points for home heat: How to Reduce Your Heating Costs in Birmingham

  • Dropped ceilings and recessed lighting
  • Attics and attic entrances
  • Window and door frames
  • Sill plates
  • Water and furnace flues
  • Plumbing and utility access points
  • Outlets and switches
  • And chimneys and fireplaces

Heat can also be escaping through windows, doors, electrical outlets, and even a tin crack in the wall.  To find out, light an incense stick or candle and hold it over each of those areas. If the smoke travels horizontally, you’ve successfully located an air leak.

And now from our “what you can do to prevent heat loss” department:  sealing, caulking, and locking warm air in.

  • Seal or caulk any cracks around windows and door frames, and add proper weather-stripping to all doors.
  • Cover single pane windows with plastic and then add a second layer of insulation with heavy duty shades or drapes.
  • Insulate walls that face outdoors.
  • Check your attic insulation.  As time goes on it gradually loses its ability to keep heat from rising right through the roof.
  • Keep glass fireplace doors closed.
  • Keep your shades and blinds open during the day to let the sun warm your home naturally.  And then close them at night to keep the heat indoors.

At Eagle Service Company, we have ways of our own to help lower your heating costs.  One of the best is our heating system tune-up and inspection service .  It’s a multi-step process that allows us to improve your system’s operating efficiency.  Annual system maintenance also leads to added home safety plus fewer and less costly repairs.

For a cozier winter indoors and lower utility bills, contact Eagle Service Company today.