How Long Does an Average Toilet Last in a Home?

Theoretically, a toilet can last until its porcelain cracks, which could be 50 years or more. That doesn’t mean that you as a homeowner want it to last that long, however. A number of factors may influence you to replace your toilet. These factors include environmental sensitivity, economics and personal taste. Eco-Friendliness Older toilets use as much as six gallons in a single flush. That means that a single person who uses the toilet five times a day is going to waste approximately 30 gallons of water unnecessarily. The new standard set by the federal government dictates that toilets should use no more than 1.6 gallons in a single flush. A number of low-flow toilets are on the market today. These include the following: WaterSense-certified toilets Dual-flush toilets Composting toilets Sink/toilet combos WaterSense is an EPA program that assesses the efficiency of water-using equipment much the same way that ENERGY STAR programs evaluate electrical efficiency. A WaterSense logo on a toilet indicates that the device uses only 1.28 gallons per flush. Dual-flush toilets have options that allow you to select how much water you want to use with each flush. Composting toilets use no water at all and aren’t practical...

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What Are the Different Types of Furnaces?

Over our 70 years in business serving homes and businesses in the Puget Sound region, our customers have come to trust us with all things related to their HVAC systems. We are often asked the key differences between the types furnaces that are most often found in households. The following will outline the three types of furnaces and key features of each. Central Warm-Air Furnaces Central warm-air furnaces have a fan that blows and circulates the warmed air throughout the ducts that lead to the rooms in your home. These furnaces can be further classified into three types, based on the type of fuel they use: natural gas, oil and electric. Most furnaces in North America are powered by natural gas, though many homes have oil and electric furnaces. Natural Gas Furnaces Natural gas furnaces are powered by fossil fuels that flow to your home through a municipal line. Combustion takes place in the furnace to convert gas to heat. Next, heat exchangers and blowers complete the process by warming air inside the furnace before the furnace fan circulates the warm air into your home. Oil Furnaces Some households do not readily have access to natural gas. Homes in these...

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What Causes Heating Repairs?

is a heating company in Puyallup, and we respond to a wide range of repairs. Customers often ask us what caused the problem and if it could have been avoided, and with that in mind, let us consider the leading causes and what you can do about them. Normal Wear and Tear Your modern furnace or heat pump is a complex piece of equipment with moving parts and finely calibrated electronics. It is subject to vibrations and other wear, and over time, that deterioration will lead to a fault or failure. This is the reason seasonal tune-ups are so important. Tune-ups can undo that wear at a reasonable cost, before it manifests into something more serious. Unnecessary Wear and Tear Heating equipment can be subject to undue wear and tear as well. A furnace that is improperly sized for a home, for instance, will be overworked and thus have a shorter life span. Likewise, if you have a fixed-speed blower and disrupt the pressure balance, the blower will work harder and fail sooner. Inadequate Filtration Not replacing air filters on time is another way that you can increase pressure. Dirty air filters present another problem. They become compromised and allow...

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Common Reasons Your Heating Bill is Too High

Your heating bills will naturally rise during the fall and winter, but there’s a reasonable limit to that change. When that limit is exceeded, you know that something is wrong. Below are some common reasons for unusually high utility bills. Blocked Airflow It could be that you’ve neglected to replace your air filters or clean your air ducts. A piece of furniture may be blocking a vent. Whatever the case, an airflow problem will put stress on the heater and raise your bills. One way to detect an airflow problem is to check for cold spots and other signs of uneven heating. An Overused Heater The more you run your heater, the higher the bills will be. The problem is that many run it when it’s not really necessary; for example, some people keep the heat on when sleeping or out of the house. Programming the thermostat and keeping the temperature at a moderate 65 degrees or so will help you save on your bills. An Old or Oversized Heater Whether you own a packaged system, heat pump, or furnace, it will decrease in efficiency the older it gets. This tends to have an impact on heating bills. In addition,...

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Why Are Some Rooms Colder Than Others?

There are a number of factors that could explain why some rooms in your home are colder than others. While these types of issues can usually be resolved, you may require professional help. Obstructions to Airflow Some rooms may be cold because there are obstructions to the flow of warm air. For example, the ductwork leading to those rooms may have built-up dirt and other debris. Air filters, if they are not replaced (they should be changed every three to six months), will also get dirty and reduce airflow. The problem could be as mundane as an article of furniture blocking an air vent. Lack of Insulation Poorly insulated rooms will naturally be colder because the warm air will more quickly escape from them. You’ll want to ensure a good amount of insulation in the attic and wall cavities. The insulation should be highly resistant to heat penetration; the higher its R-value, the more resistant it is. A Poorly Maintained Unit Packaged systems, heat pumps, furnaces, and mini-splits all wear down over time, and this can lead to uneven heating. The technicians at in Puyallup, WA, can provide yearly tune-ups that cover all the basics. Among these are duct cleaning...

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3 Tips for Maintaining Your Furnace This Winter

The winter months, especially in the northwestern region of the United States, can be brutally long and cold. It will also be very taxing on your home’s furnace. Your furnace is going to run a lot through these frigid months, which is why it’s important to provide the special attention and care it needs to be ready to work through the long haul. 1. Have It Ready to Go When You Need It You will have great peace of mind knowing that your furnace is in tip-top condition the moment it is needed. For a thorough inspection and maintenance regimen, hire professionals for the job. This is a cost-efficient way of ensuring the long life and efficiency of your furnace. General maintenance might include: Inspecting and testing all important components Lubricating mechanical components Thoroughly cleaning the equipment Checking fuel supply Looking over all elements of the system (i.e. ducts, vents, registers, etc.) Preparing your furnace can make for smooth sailing in the winter. 2. Clean Your Furnace and Monitor Its Performance You can take measures to keep your furnace running efficiently through the winter. For instance, always make sure to replace the air filter once every couple of months. Your...

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How to Locate Cold Air Leaks in Your Home

Most homes have leaks in them that can let in cold air during the winter. These leaks can cool down your house and drive up your winter energy bills. At in Puyallup, WA, we believe that it’s important to find and fix these leaks so that you can stay comfortable and save money in the long run. We’d be happy to assess the source of any potential cold air leaks in your residence. Use Your Hands The skin on your hands can be used to find some of the larger air leaks in your home. Choose a cold day when the inside of your house is warm. Run your hand around the edges of any doors or windows that open to the exterior of your home. If you feel any cold air, it’s likely an air leak. You can also use your hand to check air vents, fans, and electrical outlets. Light a Candle A flickering candle flame is an excellent indicator of an air leak. After turning off your central heating system, light a candle and move it along any electrical outlets, baseboards, or phone jacks. Use an Air Leak Detector For a more accurate assessment of air leaks,...

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3 Thermostat Best Practices for Fall

Fall can be a confusing time for your home’s heating and cooling system. As the daily temperature jumps from warm to chilly and back again, you may find yourself constantly adjusting your thermostat. To make things easier, the technicians at recommend following a few thermostat best practices this season. 1. Stick to a Schedule If you have a programmable thermostat, it’s beneficial to program the temperature settings early in the fall and stick with them. A consistent schedule helps your control system work at peak efficiency and comfort. This is because your thermostat has a chance to gradually rise to your desired temperature as opposed to having to accommodate a sudden, drastic change. 2. Get a Programmable Thermostat If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, fall is the perfect time to upgrade to one. Fall and winter are the most active seasons for your furnace, and adding a new thermostat will reduce your energy consumption and utility bills. Plus, you’ll have more control over your home’s heating needs to maximize your comfort during cold weather. Newer “smart” units have additional features like Wi-Fi connection, so you can update your settings on the go. 3. Replace the Batteries Most wall-mounted thermostats...

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What is Balanced Ventilation?

Is Balanced Ventilation Right for Your Home? How good is the air quality inside your home? According to experts, the air inside a building that’s sealed from outside crosscurrents can be up to 10 times as polluted as the air outside. Air pollutants you may find inside a building include: Excessive moisture Dust particles Carbon monoxide Mold and mildew spores Viruses and bacteria Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Radon Balanced ventilation is a method of improving the air quality inside your home. It works by channeling fresh outdoor air into your home at the same time that polluted indoor air is being expelled. How Do Balanced Ventilation Systems Operate? Balanced ventilation systems rely upon a combination of fans, filters, dampers, ducts and controls. They may also use a heat recovery ventilator in drier, cooler climates or an energy recovery ventilator in moister warmer climates. Balanced ventilation systems are specifically designed to provide a stream of fresh air to common rooms and bedrooms where household residents spend most of their time. They dispel air from kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms where pollutants are most likely to collect. The system is managed through the use of a single supply point and a single...

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New Home AC System: Your Checklist

What You Need to Know Before Buying a New AC System Buying a new AC system can be a stressful experience. After all, it’s an expensive piece of equipment that controls the comfort of your home. This checklist will give you the knowledge you need to choose the AC system that’s right for your home. Size It may seem logical to purchase a new unit that is the same size as your old system. However, there are many reasons why that size may no longer work for your home. Have you added any rooms or replaced any windows? Has your insulation deteriorated from age? It is crucial to have a licensed HVAC technician to do a load calculation to get the right-size unit. This will tell you what size unit you need to cool your home correctly. SEER Values SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is how an air conditioner’s efficiency is evaluated. The higher the SEER value, the higher the efficiency of the system when it is tested in a lab. Values start at the federally mandated 13 SEER and go up to 21. Which one you need in your home will depend on several factors...

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