Monthly Archives: July 2011

Summer Energy Tips

Summers are short, and we all try to get as much enjoyment out of them as we can. With air conditioners operating in most households and businesses, there is a high level of energy usage during peak hours. If you would like to reduce your energy consumption during the summer, and also reduce your energy costs, here are some tips to help you do that.

  • Clean the coils on refrigerator and freezer. The collection of dust can decrease the energy efficiency of these appliances.
  • Decrease humidity in the home. Use your bathroom fans to send the extra moisture out of the house. Do moisture producing chores like mopping floors, laundry and dishwashing during cooler times of the day. Less humidity during the heat of the day will mean less work for your air conditioner.
  • Set your thermostat a few degrees higher than you do in the winter. 78 degrees is comfortable for most people. It will still feel cool when you come in from a hot humid day.
  • Install awnings to shade your windows. Keeping the heat of the sun out will also cut down on the amount of energy you need to use to cool your house.
  • Use your charcoal grill. Save energy by cooking on your grill as much as possible during the summer months. Experiment and find new ways to prepare a wider variety of meals over the coals.

Just use a little imagination, and you will come up with lots of ways to cut your energy costs during the short summer season.

Qualities of a Good Plumber

It can be a little intimidating to hire an unknown plumber to come into your house. Just like any other profession, not all plumbers will provide the same level of service and integrity. Here is a list of qualities we feel that you should look for in a good plumber.

  • Certified – Certification is the first thing you should ask about when interviewing a plumber. Certification shows that the plumber has gone through the proper training to be working in the field.
  • Experienced – Training can only teach you so much, experience is where the greater lessons are learned.
  • Punctual – A true professional will arrive on time and not keep you waiting and wondering whether or not they are going to show up.
  • Safe practices – A good plumber understands the importance of employing safe practices in his work. He will carry safety glasses for use when needed and keep his work area secure.
  • Respectful – A good plumber will treat his clients and his fellow workers with respect. They will also treat your home with respect by being careful not to leave a mess behind.
  • Reliable – You should be able to trust your plumber to complete the job during the time frame they indicated and finish the job with everything in working order.
  • References – A good plumber will have plenty of happy customers whom he can provide as references before he starts work.

At Derksen Plumbing and Heating, we pride ourselves on meeting all these qualifications.

Choosing an Efficient Air Conditioner

Whether you are purchasing the first air conditioner for your home or replacing an older one, choosing one that is energy efficient will be an important consideration. Almost any new air conditioner will be more efficient than one that is out-dated. The savings you can gain on your energy bills can easily re-coup your cost for the replacement.

You will find that air conditioners come with a SEER rating than can run from 8 to 20 SEER. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This rating relates to the amount of energy your air conditioner uses to cool your home. The higher the rating, the less energy the unit will use. Choosing an air conditioning unit with a SEER rating of 13 or higher is recommended for the best energy savings. A 16 SEER AC unit can save you 30-50% more on your energy costs than a 10 SEER unit. That is a significant difference, if your summer electric bills are high from AC use.

To make sure that you choose an air conditioning unit that is properly sized for your home and provides you with the maximum in energy efficiency, give us a call for a free consultation.

Top 5 Tips to Get Your Plumbing Ready for Summer

The summer season is a great time for having fun with water. Wading pools and sprinklers have been long time favorites with kids. Plumbing issues, on the other hand, are no fun at all. Here are the top five tips for getting your plumbing ready for a carefree summer.

1. Check your washer hoses. Make sure there aren’t any cracks or bulges that could turn into leaks. If there are, replace it. Replacing the hose every three to four years is recommended to avoid these problems.

2. Slow drainage. If your bathtub, shower or sinks are draining slowly, you may have clogs in your drains that are hampering a flow. Don’t let backed up plumbing spoil a perfect summer day. Give us a call and we’ll take care of the problem before it gets worse.

3. Sewer line damage. Tree roots grow during the spring and summer. They seem to be attracted to sewer lines for nourishment. We have the means to inspect and clear your lines from roots that have managed to find a way into your system.

4. Garbage disposal rules. Make sure that everyone at the house knows what should and should not be placed in the garbage disposal. Fats and other greasy items are a big NO, since they can solidify in the pipes and cause a clog. Corn husks are also not recommended for placement in garbage disposals; save them for the trash bin.

5. Water heater replacement. If you have an older water heater, you might want to consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model. This could save you money on your energy bills and summer is always a better time to schedule these types of chores than the cold of winter.

5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Air Conditioning Costs

The cost of cooling your home can be one of the biggest expenses you have during the summer months. Here’s five tips for keep those costs down.

1. Properly Size Your Air Conditioning System
For window units: More is not necessarily better. A unit that is too big will work harder and cost you more. Base your selection on room size and other factors such as number of windows and the direction they face. South facing windows transfer more heat than north facing windows.

For central units: Choose a unit with a minimum SEER rating of 13. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and it denotes how much or how little electricity your air conditioning unit uses to keep you cool and comfortable.

2. Keep the heat out
Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows, and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. Effectively using your windows to keep hot air out and cool air in will also reduce your cooling costs At night when the air outside is cooler, turn off your air conditioner and open the windows to allow nature to do the cooling for you. In the morning, close the windows and the drapes or blinds in order to trap the cool air in your home and keep the heat of the sun out.

3. Use Ceiling Fans and Circulating Fans
Fans use much less energy than air conditioning units. Set ceiling fans to draw heat up in summer, reverse the blades in the winter.

4. Install a setback thermostat
Setback (programmable) thermostats can be used in the summer too. Set the temperature at about 78°F when you are home & higher during your sleep & work hours when you are away from home.

5. Maintenance
Proper maintenance will keep your central air conditioning unit operating at its highest efficiency. This includes keeping the unit free from debris and foliage, changing the filter for the air conditioner frequently and having it tuned up every cooling season. Give us a call if your air conditioning unit hasn’t had its annual checkup yet this season.