What is Chinese Drywall Syndrome?

For many homes built in the US in the mid to late 2000’s problems, damage, and smells started to manifest. Many homeowners complained of a sulfurous, rotten-egg smell, failing HVAC systems, corrosion to plumbing, and failing appliances, all amounting to perhaps billions of dollars across the country. What could cause such an issue?

Chinese Drywall

Due in part to the mid decade housing boom, and the large number of hurricanes that assaulted the Gulf Coast in the same time period, the available supply of domestic drywall became scarce.

Contractors, home builders, and supply houses had to source drywall from somewhere else. China quickly became the source of choice due in part to the ability to meet the demand but also due to the drastic difference in price from domestic-sourced drywall.

Concentrated in the Southeast, but spread across the US, the drywall was installed in newly constructed and rebuilt homes. It was not long before homeowners began to complain first of a bad smell, caused by toxic and corrosive sulfurous compounds like hydrogen sulfide, and then of failing equipment within the home.

Hydrogen sulfide can wreak havoc in a home. It will corrode any exposed copper and can even lead to complete failure of systems, machines, and appliances within the home such as the HVAC system, smoke alarms, refrigerators, and wiring. There are other, corrosive and potentially hazardous chemicals that have been known to leech from the drywall into the air in your home as well. Gasses like carbonyl sulfide and carbon disulfide. If you suspect your home has the problem drywall, it’s imperative to have it checked out by a qualified inspector.

The inspector will perform a cursory inspection first – checking for the characteristic smell and a black corrosion on exposed copper. If those two conditions are met they will issue you corrosion coupons to place around the home, and then examine and take samples of your drywall for further testing.

If you have any questions about Chinese Drywall and your HVAC system, give us at William G. Day Company a call and we will gladly handle them.

When Should I Replace My Air Conditioner?

As a summertime life-saver it has served you honorably. But eventually the intense mechanical demands and the ravages of Father Time will take their toll on your air conditioner, leaving it unable to perform its traditional cooling duties.

It isn’t easy to know when the time is right to replace an air conditioner. But there are some clear warning signs that can help clue you in.

Signs of Air Conditioner Failure

If your malfunctioning air conditioner gives out suddenly in the middle of a long, hot summer you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle, suffering in the sweltering heat without the funds needed to make a quick replacement purchase.

To avoid such a scenario it is better to be proactive, to begin planning your purchase of a new air conditioner a few weeks or months ahead of time. In order to do this you’ll need to recognize when a final, catastrophic breakdown may be approaching.

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • Age: Your air conditioner was installed 15 years ago or more.
  • Escalating repair bills: You’ve had your AC fixed more than once and each time the cost of the repairs is greater.
  • Repairs coming late in life: If your air conditioner is between the ages of 10 and 15 and suddenly needs multiple fixings, you are unlikely to reach that 15-year milestone.
  • R-22 (Freon) leaks: When an air conditioner begins leaking refrigerant it is an early indicator of total equipment failure.
  • Rising energy bills: Are your summer utility costs increasing relative to past years? A struggling air conditioner on its last legs could be the cause.
  • Home comfort is compromised: Your air conditioner has been running constantly, and yet your family has been complaining just as constantly that your home is too hot.

These signs are your air conditioner’s way of letting you know it is time to start thinking about the future—a future that could include a brand new central air conditioning system.

William G. Day Company—Delaware’s Air Conditioning Experts

Before you make any final decision about replacing your current air conditioner, you should have your entire HVAC system inspected and analyzed by a skilled technician. Feedback from an informed source will help you create a rational air conditioning plan of action.

In the Wilmington area William G. Day Company has gained a reputation as the go-to source for expert analysis about issues related to heating and cooling technology. If the future of your air conditioner is in doubt contact us right away, and we will send a certified HVAC technician to your home to inspect your equipment and make a final report on its continuing viability.

Follow our blog for a wealth of insights about your true heating, cooling, plumbing and indoor air quality needs.  

 

Solution for Cleaner Indoor Air Quality

Solution for Cleaner Indoor Air Quality

Making sure the Air you breathe in everyday is vital to having a Healthy life, let us come to your home or office so we can make sure the HVAC system you have it working perfectly. We service Hockessin, Newark and Wilmington. Give us a call and we will make a appointment to come to you ASAP.

Heat Pump Freezing Up? What Do You Do?

481723049-compressedAt some point, a heat pump may develop ice or frost on its outdoor coils. There are a number of factors that could cause heat pump freeze up. Though some of the problems are easy to fix, it may be necessary to have the equipment repaired by a technician for more complex issues.

What Causes Heat Pump Freeze Up?

Though heat pump coils can withstand light frost, a thick buildup of ice points towards a bigger problem. When ice accumulates on the coils due to restricted airflow, it prevents the unit from working properly, leading to the freeze up. This is caused by blockage of the unit by debris, clogged filters and blocked ducts.

Other factors that could cause a heat pump to malfunction include faulty valves, insufficient refrigerant, worn-out motors and operational wear and tear to other mechanical and electronic components. Airflow could also be blocked by freezing rain or leaking gutters which allow accumulation of ice on the unit. One thus needs to ensure that the ducts remain unobstructed by debris or other items.

Remedies

If a heat pump gets covered completely with ice or frost, the unit should be shut off before calling an expert for help. There are however some troubleshooting tips one could take before help comes. The unit’s air filter should be checked to ensure it’s not damaged or clogged, and replaced if dirty. The indoor air vents and registers should be checked to ensure they’re not blocked by clothing, furniture or other items.

One also needs to regularly clean away any accumulated debris in the form of leaves, grass, sticks, dirt and snow. This is vital to prevent blockage of the unit’s airflow or obstructing the outdoor coil. Overflowing gutters should also be checked to ensure they don’t drip into the outdoor unit.

A heat pump freeze up is a serious problem which needs to be addressed by a HVAC professional. If left unrepaired, it could cause further damage which leads to an eventual break down. The HVAC expert will address various problems and restore the unit to its normal working condition. Follow us for more articles that will keep your heating and cooling systems running efficiently.

Why Choose A Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer?

You are in a fix. You want to buy an expensive HVAC system for your home and you are wondering where to buy it from. The local dealer is offering a great rate. In fact, he has several companies and products and the discounts on the products are impressive. On the other hand, you also know that the Carrier Company offers great HVAC systems. You have found a local authorized dealership and they are offering great rates along with several amenities. You are wondering which one to choose.

 

We can help you out.

Pros and Cons of Buying From a Retailer

Buying from a retailer sounds great. The company or store is located close to your home. It has several brands and products. In fact, you can easily see a tremendous saving due to the sheer variety of products available on sale. You know that you can contact the company easily and they have their own installers who will put the HVAC system in at no extra cost. However, there is a problem as well. The company has so many brands that they might not brand-specific technicians to do maintenance, installation, and repair work. At the same time, in case they have imported brands, what is the guarantee that these products will have readily-available spare parts? Even if the products are discounted, this seems like a tremendous future problem.

 

Pros and Cons of Buying From a Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer

Authorized dealers deal only with a specific company. For example, if you want a Carrier HVAC system, the dealership will offer you available models and they can also order unique models to suit your requirements. The technicians at the dealership are also trained by Carrier to meet their exacting standards and they are equipped to deal with any Carrier-related issues. All you have to do is call the dealership and they will send a technician over in less than 12 hours. For large purchases, the dealership may also offer you discounts and freebies. These freebies may include products, maintenance contracts, free servicing, reduced-rate spare parts, etc.

As you can see, buying from a dealership seems much more practical and affordable. In case you are not still convinced, get in touch with us and we will help you find the right Carrier factory authorized dealer in your area.

Follow us for more articles about heating, cooling and other services for your home.

Think Twice Before Closing Interior Doors In Your Home

We have probably all done it from time to time — closed the door to one or two rooms that aren’t in use in order to increase energy efficiency.

After all, why heat or cool a room if no one will use it regularly? Yet, is it really a good idea?

The answer is no, but not for the reasons you think.

Closing a door reduces air flow into the room along with air flow in your entire house. Air becomes trapped behind the closed door and pressurizes the room, which, in turn, forces cooled air out of the house through any opening the air finds. Each cubic yard of air forced out of a building requires an equal amount to be drawn in to replace it. The number of doors closed off in a house increases the exchange rate of outside air entering the home by a rate of 300 to 900 percent. The more interior doors are closed, the higher the percentage.

What does this mean for the average homeowner? Very simply, utility bills increase while comfort decreases and the potential for health problems suddenly appears.

Why does all that happen? Air follows the path of least resistance. In your home, the biggest and straightest holes are usually the chimney or flues for your water heater and furnace. These openings have smooth surfaces that make it easy for air to slide down in the same way that it slid outside. Reverse air flow from these openings is called a backdraft and can bring in carbon monoxide (CO) and other combustible gases, outdoor pollutants and humidity. Negative effects of reverse airflow can include cold drafts, high humidity, increased mold or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

Another factor is the presence of new windows and doors that provide tighter seals to the outside and hold warmed or cooled air inside more efficiently. Measures such as these and making sure that HVAC ducts are airtight also further seal the building, but sometimes can exacerbate interior air quality problems.

If you need to close off rooms, try to do so for only a portion of the day so that air flow is adequate.

To learn more about optimum HVAC use and indoor air quality, continue following our blog for new posts.

Air Conditioner Types For Small Spaces

Space is becoming an ever more precious commodity. Rooms are shrinking in size especially in the cities which leads to poor air circulation and a warmer feeling. Air conditioners can be tapped to cool things down. Below are a few air conditioner types that are suitable for small spaces:

Window AC

These compact boxes can provide much needed comfort without adding clutter to the room. Place them at a window so that the back can blow hot air out while the front blows cold air in. The units have everything inside them including the compressor, condenser, evaporation coils, and so forth. Setup couldn’t be easier and maintenance is a breeze as all the parts are within reach. The downside is that a portion of the window will have a permanent obstruction.

Split AC

Tiny rooms are probably going to have tiny windows. Maybe you would like to keep yours open and unblocked by an air conditioning unit. After all, bright open windows make rooms feel bigger and offer a good view of the outside. In this case, installing a split type AC is more appropriate as only a small tube needs to pass through the window. The two main components can each be placed at opposite side of the wall beside it. The interior component is even smaller than the window type AC so it shouldn’t be hard to find space for it inside.

Portable AC

In case the installation of an air conditioner on the walls of the place isn’t feasible, a good option is to purchase a portable unit instead. These are freestanding air conditioners that can be placed anywhere you wish. The wheels underneath make it effortless to move from one location to the next. You can lend it to a housemate if you are going out or take it to the living room if you’d like to watch TV. The downside is that they tend to be a bit noisy and take up some floor space.

Do you have any questions regarding your HVAC system? Call us for all of your heating and air conditioning needs.

Replacing A Furnace? 5 Things To Think About Before You Do

Replacing a furnace can make the difference between a person paying high utility bill without sufficient heating and getting proper heat at reasonable costs. Before making a furnace replacement decision, every furnace user must consider several aspects to help him/ her make a financially-sound and HVAC-sound decision. Below is a list of things to consider before replacing a furnace.

5 things to think about when thinking of furnace replacement

Performance of the current furnace

If your current furnace ceases to perform as efficiently or energy-efficiently as it once did, it might need a replacement. Other performance issues you can look for include rattling, grinding or knocking noises, leaking fuel, and smoke whenever the furnace is functional. The age of a furnace, especially, if it has exceeded the manufacturer’s warranty age, can be an additional factor to consider especially when the efficiency of the furnace has regularly failed.

What do you know about your system?

Before you decide to replace your furnace, find out how much you know about your current system. Some brands have a higher efficiency and other performance issues than others. Do not schedule a furnace replacement just because you feel it is making a little too much humming noise than other systems you have seen; some brands operate noiselessly.

Confirm your suspicions

Just because you have gathered some facts about your furnace and have identified some performance issues does not mean that you know, for sure, that you should replace it. Request a professional HVAC technician to do a furnace tune-up. It may be that some issues can be fixed, and you can postpone the furnace replacement.

Consult a professional about your new furnace

Soon after an HVAC technician confirms your findings and supports a furnace replacement, you should do some research to find out the best furnaces in the market. Consult HVAC professionals to give you unbiased information on the most efficient furnaces, as well as government-funded programs. Use the information provided by professionals to choose the best furnace for your premises.

Act promptly

The best time to replace your furnace is before winter. HVAC technicians are almost always fully booked for furnace repairs and replacements during winter. Your best bet is to have the furnace replaced before winter commences so that you do not become inconvenienced.

Making a furnace replacement is an expensive and time-consuming affair. However, it is a move that can save the furnace owner much hassle, inconvenience and money, in the long run. Consider the performance of the current system, have an HVAC technician check it, and gather information on the best furnace. Call us today for all your heating and cooling needs.

Energy Saving Tips For Winter

You do not have to spend a fortune on your electric bill this winter. There are many ways you can cut your energy usage during the colder months. Below is a list of energy savings tips for winter:

Cut Your Shower Time In Half

It is estimated showers make up about 66 percent of the water heating costs. If you cut your shower time in half, you can cut your water heating costs by up to 33 percent.

Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water

You can also cut your water heating costs by washing your clothing in cold water. The amount of money that can be saved by washing clothes in cold water can vary from household to household. However, the average household can save $30 every year on their hot water heating costs.

Clean Your Lint Trap

Before you place a load of clothes in the dryer, you will need to clean out the lint trip. This can help you save $34 per year on your energy bill. Cleaning out the lint trap also helps reduce the risk of dryer fires.

Adjust The Temperature On The Thermostat

You can save a lot of money on your electric bill by adjusting the temperature on your thermostat. If you can comfortably keep the temperature in your home at or below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consider doing so. You may want to consider turning the temperature down even lower when you leave your home. Reducing the temperature on your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours per day can help you save between five and 15 percent on your heating bill per year.

Avoid Over-drying Your Clothes

If your dryer runs for an additional 15 minutes per load, this could cost you $30 extra per year. That is why it is important to avoid over-drying your clothes.

Making simple changes in your routine can help you cut your energy usage. This will help you save money on your electric bill. If you enjoyed reading this article, you should check back with us often for more HVAC and energy saving tips.

What Is FVIR (Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant)?

Your water heater is a source of heated water for cooking, washing clothes and dish washing, as well as taking relaxing showers or comforting, luxurious baths. The last thing you expect it to do is to kill you. Yet the Consumer Products and Safety Commission was extremely concerned to discover that water heaters were involved in thousands of burn injuries, fires and even fatalities. They also learned that most of these incidents involved the improper handling, storage and/or spillage of gasoline around a water heater.

In 2003 steps were taken to ensure that such accidents, injuries and deaths would no longer occur. New standards for the design and construction of water heaters were developed that year. The new standards have since been successfully phased in to production on all Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) water heaters. The Commission thus ensured that your water heater could no longer ignite any flammable vapors occurring outside the water heater due to the spilling of gasoline on the floor surrounding it.

There are three key components to every FVIR water heater. The first is a device installed to prevent any ignited vapors inside its combustion chamber from passing out of it. The second is the heater’s one way intake system. This controls the movement of the air into the combustion chamber so it does not back flow. The third is a sealed junction with the combustion chamber. This is created by installing a burner assembly/inner door. This apparatus prevents flammable vapors and combustible air from getting in the chamber through the water heater’s front.

When shopping for a new FVIR water heater, it’s important to know that all FVIR tanks have three things in common:

• The thermal cutoff switch:
is designed to shut down the water heater tank if the switch senses excessive temperatures inside the chamber. Such temperatures are caused by having an inadequate amount of combustion air in the chamber due to poor venting, inadequate makeup air or the accumulation of dust, oil and lint on the screen.

• The flame arrestor plate:
is made of metal and located under the heater’s burner. It lets air into the combustion chamber but contains the flames so they don’t ignite flammable vapors below the chamber.

• The dust, lint and oil screen:
keeps these contaminants out of the combustion process. When the tank is located in a utility room or basement, it is common for these screens to get clogged and need cleaning.
If your water heater predates 2006, it’s time to have it serviced and consider replacing it with a FVIR water heater. This is particularly important for your family’s safety if your unit is located in your garage. Call for your maintenance check today.