Grand Lake Plumbing
Grand Lake Plumbing Grand County CO
Wednesday, 07 September 2022 22:19

Air Duct Maintenance Tips

Are Your Air Ducts Wasting Energy?

Air Duct Repair

Your home's air duct system is a network of metal tunnels in the walls, floors, and ceilings that carry conditioned the air from the furnace and central air conditioner to each room. If the air ducts are poorly sealed, or have holes and gaps, you're energy bills are likely to be higher than they should be. Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces such as crawl spaces, basements or attics can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills.

The good news is you can effectively reduce this energy waste by sealing and insulating your ducts. Insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost-effective.

Air Duct Sealing

Sealing your home's ducts is important to prevent air loss, especially if the ducts are located in an unconditioned space such as an attic or crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air will be forced out and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints.

Minor duct repairs can be made by homeowners, while an HVAC professional should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces or make any necessary modification or additions to existing ductwork. In addition to sealing your ducts, it's important to ensure that objects are not blocking the your registers, including furniture, rugs, drapes, etc.

Here's how to seal your ducts.

1. Inspect the ducts for air leaks by looking for sections that should be joined but have separated, then look for holes.

2. While duct tape seems like the most obvious material to use for duct sealing, duct mastic is a better choice for sealing seams and joints. While mastic is more durable than duct tape, but should not be used to cover gaps over ¼ inch. Larger gaps must be first bridged with a special mesh tape or a high quality heat approved tape. Butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes are also a good choice for sealing ducts.

3. If you're sealing or insulating air ducts in the basement, it will make the space colder, increasing the risk of frozen pipes.To prevent burst pipes ensure that the basement walls are well insulated or use an electric heating tape on the pipes.

4. If the basement is finished, ensure that there are both supply and return registers in all rooms.

Have questions about your home's air ducts? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we can help answer all your home heating and cooling questions.


Published in Heating Tips
Tuesday, 07 August 2018 16:36

Energy Saving Heating Tips

Home Heating Energy Savings

Heating makes up the largest percentage of a typical household's energy use, about 42% of the typical utility bill. You can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining your heating system. But even the most energy-efficient heating system won't have a significant impact on your heating bill if the whole-house isn't energy efficient. Good insulation, duct sealing, and programming your thermostat can save about 30% on your energy bill.

Here are some home heating tips to reduce energy use and make your home more comfortable:
  • Replace your furnace filter once a month or as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Program your thermostat to the lowest comfortable level, and lower when you're away from home or sleeping
  • Keep your air ducts clean and make sure they are nit blocked by furniture, rugs or drapes
  • Seal holes and gaps in air vents
  • During the winter keep shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill.
  • Use ceiling fans to improve the circulation of warm air in your living space
  • Replace worn weather sealing around windows and doors
  • Ensure your attic has sufficient insulation
Have questions about saving energy this heating season? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call. From furnace tune-ups to duct sealing to radiant floor heating, we can help you stay comfortable and save energy.
Published in Heating Tips
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 12:35

How Often Should a Water Heater Be Drained?

Water Heater Maintenance
One of the best ways to ensure that your tank-style water heater runs reliably and efficiently is to regularly drain the tank. Flushing the tank removes sediment build-up that can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of the unit. Sediment is caused by minerals in the water that can accumulate at the bottom of the tank. This buildup makes the burner work longer to heat water and increases the risk of corrosion. 

So how often you should flush the tank? This depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household and how hard your water is. Here is a general guide for how often you should flush your tank.
  • 1 or 2 person household - Inspect the water heater every 6 months and flush the tank every 12 months.
  • 3 or 5 person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 8 months.
  • 6 or more person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 6 months.
Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we can help with all you home pluming maintenance needs.
Published in Plumbing Tips
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 14:07

How To Inspect a Gas Furnace Pilot Light

How To Inspect a Gas Furnace Pilot Light

While electronic ignition furnaces have been around for a while now, you may still have a gas furnace with a standing pilot light that remains lit all the time. The standing pilot light works in conjunction with a thermocouple to control the ignition of the burners and the flow of gas. The thermocouple senses if the pilot flame is hot enough to ignite the fuel to the burner.

If you have an old furnace that uses a pilot light, it needs to be kept clean burning and properly adjusted to ensure that the furnace operates safely and efficiently.

Inspecting a Gas Furnace Pilot Light Flame

Remove the furnace cover panel to expose the burner assembly and pilot. You should be able to clearly see the flame of the pilot light.

The first thing to check is the color of the flame. A natural gas flame should be a bright blue color with a small amount of yellow at the very tip. A propane flame will have more of a bluish-green flame with a tinge of yellow at the tip. The flame should strong enough to cover about 1/2 inch at the end of the thermocouple tip.

If the flame is too strong and not adjusted correctly, it will be blue and may make a hissing sound as the flame crosses the thermocouple. The pilot should be adjusted to reduce the intensity of the flame.
  • A yellow flame is caused by lack of oxygen and incomplete combustion. If the pilot light is a weak yellow flame it will not get hot enough to heat the thermocouple to the temperature needed to enable the gas valve to open. This is often caused by a dirty pilot tube tip.
  • A split flame is usually caused by debris inside the pilot tube.
  • A flickering or wavering flame is usually caused by a draft. Check to see if there are sources of drafts in the room and take steps to reduce the effects on the furnace.
Have questions about your gas furnace or boiler? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we can help answer all your home heating questions.
Published in Heating Tips
As fall nears in Colorado, it's time to start thinking about winterizing your home's plumbing system to prevent damage and to ensure that the little problems don't become big repairs. If your mountain home is unoccupied for part of the winter season it's especially important to check for issues that could lead to frozen pipes and water leaks.

Here is a checklist to help you get your home's plumbing system ready for winter.
  1. Before freezing weather arrives, disconnect outside hoses and repair any outside faucet leaks.
  2. If the house has an interior shut-off for outside lines, close them and drain the water outside lines.
  3. Have your sprinkler system blown out and turned off.
  4. To prevent frozen pipes, seal cracks in the foundation and exterior walls and insulate pipes in crawl spaces.
  5. Have your tank water heater flushed to remove any sediment buildup.
  6. Check washing machine hoses for damage. Replace hoses if cracked, bulging or showing other signs of wear.
  7. Check that your sump pump is working properly.
  8. If the home will be unoccupied for long periods of time, call Grand Lake Plumbing to schedule a winterization check of the plumbing and heating systems.
Need help preparing your home for winter? Call Grand Lake Heating & Plumbing today, we can help with everything from leaking faucets to complete mountain home winterization.
Published in Plumbing Tips
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 21:51

Water Heat Inspection Checklist

Whether your buying a home, or just trying to keep your existing water heating in top condition, keeping an eye out for potential plumbing problems before they become expensive repairs is a good idea. Water heaters have a life expectancy of around 10-15 years. The following checklist can help you ensure that it is in good working order.
  1. Is the hot water heater consistently producing hot water? Sudden drops in hot water supply could signal a problem with the burner, or a build up of sediment in the tank.
  2. Is it making unusual sounds? Gurgling sounds coming from a hot water heater are often a sign that sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank regularly can prevent sediment build up.
  3. Are there burn marks at the base of the water heater? This is often a symptom of back drafting. Because this is a safety issue, have the water heater inspected by a professional plumber.
  4. Check for proper ventilation. Ensure the draft hood is securely connected. The flu should be properly connected using a minimum of three screws per joint. Flues that are run into a chimney should be properly lined and connected to prevent carbon monoxide from re-entering the home.
  5. Is there a drain pan under the water heater? If the tank is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan will ensure that water leaks do not cause damage to the floor and ceiling below.
  6. Ensure a drip pipe is in place and is not leaking. The T&P or pressure relief valve should have a pipe that extends 6 inches from the floor.
  7. Is the anode rod is good condition? Anode rods are designed to attract corrosive elements in the water, thereby reducing corrosion to the steel liner. Replacing a worn anode rod can extend the life of the water heater.
Need help with your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing, we can help.
Published in Plumbing Tips
Tuesday, 11 January 2022 17:58

How To Drain Your Water Heater Tank

Draining a Water Heater

Most water heater manufacturers recommend draining the water heater tank every 6 or 12 months. Flushing the tank helps to remove sediment that can accumulate over time at the bottom of the tank. The sediment is mostly made up of minerals and other particles. If your home has hard water, sediment is likely to accumulate faster.

As the sediment builds up it creates an insulating layer between the burner at the bottom of the tank and the water. The burner has to run longer to heat the water, reducing the water heater's efficiency and shortening its lifespan. Flushing the water heater tank regularly will remove the sediment before it can significantly reduce the the efficiency of the burner.

Flushing a water heater is straightforward process, but you should always consult with the owner's manual for details on your particular make and model. It's also a good idea to know where your home's main water shut-off valve is located, should there be a problem during the process.

Steps to Flush the Water Heater Tank

1. Shut off the water supply - Locate the cold water supply valve at the top of the water heater and turn it to the off position.

2. Turn off the water heater - If you have a gas water heater, simply turn the thermostat knob to the “pilot” setting. If the water heater is electric, turn off the power at the breaker panel.

3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain, in a bucket (have several large buckets to empty into and rotate them if needed) or outside the home.

CAUTION: Even though a water heater may be off for hours, the water in the tank may still be hot enough to scald.

4. Open a hot water tap - Open a hot water tap on a floor above that is nearest the water heater. This will relieve pressure in the system, helping the water drain from the tank.

5. Open the drain valve - After all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply at the top of the tank back on for a moment. This will clear out any remaining sediment. Repeat this step until the water runs clear.

When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:

1. Close the drain valve.
2. Remove the hose.
3. Turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank.
4. Return to the hot water tap you opened earlier. Once cold water begins to flow from the tap, turn it off.
5. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn electricity back on to the tank.
6. Check the valve opening to ensure it's not leaking.

IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks must be completely full to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing, we can help.

Published in Plumbing Tips
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 15:06

How To Drain Your Home's Plumbing System

In the Colorado mountains, it's common for home's to be left unoccupied for long periods of time. To prevent damage to the plumbing system, it's a good idea to drain the plumbing system. Here are the steps to take:
  1. The first step is to locate the main water shut-off valve. This is usually located near the water meter.
  2. Next, go to the highest floor in the house and open the sink faucets.
  3. In the basement or lowest level of the home, open the laundry tub faucet.
  4. Return the the top floor of the house and turn on the shower and tub drains.
  5. Next, flush the toilets on every floor.
  6. All the faucets should be left open and the water should be drained now.
Need help with your home's plumbing system? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating. From water heaters to sump pumps, we can help with all your plumbing needs.
Water jetting is one of the most effective tools a plumber has for cleaning and maintaining home sewer and drain lines. While cable machines (also known as drain snakes) can remove tough clogs and obstructions, they are not as effective at removing residue like grease that can cling to the inside of sewer and drain lines. Cables also can't completely clean out the debris that they break up inside the pipe.

The water jetting process uses advanced pumps and flexible hoses to propel water under pressure into the sewer or drain lines. The key to effective water jetting is a special nozzle that directs water jets both forward and backwards to "scrub" the pipe walls and cut through the toughest residue.
  • Clears away hardened scale
  • Breaks up sludge
  • High-pressure water jetting is a safe, environmentally-friendly sewer and drain cleaning method that offers the following advantages:
  • Penetrates and emulsifies grease
  • Pulverizes tree roots
  • Thoroughly flushes out a plumbing system
Have questions about water jetting? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we're here to help.
Published in Plumbing Tips
The average tank-style water heater will last approximately 10 years. But the reality is it can last much longer with regular maintenance. By following these simple tips you can increase the lifespan of your water heater while also improving its efficiency. 

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Flushing the tank will remove sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce the heating efficiency of the burner, which in turn will make it run more often, shortening its lifespan. Accumulated sediment can also cause premature rusting of the bottom of the tank. 

2. Inspect the Anode Rod

Because most water heater tanks are made of steel coated with a thin layer of glass, the lining will eventually crack and begin to rust. To head off corrosion a metal "anode rod" is used to increase the life of the tank. The anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that encapsulates a steel core. The rod is screwed into the top of the tank and suspended in the water. An electrochemical process causes the exposed steel of the rod to react with the corrosive elements in the water. By causing a primary corrosive reaction inside the tank the rod sacrifices itself to help protect the steel tank from corrosion, greatly extending it's life.

One of the most important plumbing maintenance task is to ensure the anode rod is still working inside the tank. The rod can be accessed from the top of the water heater by unscrewing it and sliding it out. If the rod has significantly eroded away it should be replaced with a new rod. Replacing a worn out rod is far less expensive then replacing an entire rusted out water heater!

3. Use a Water Heater Blanket

This isn't a maintenance task, and you only have to do it once. Wrapping the water heater tank in an insulated blanket will reduce heat loss and reduce the time the burners are running, increasing the lifespan of the unit.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. We're here to help.
Published in Plumbing Tips
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