Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air Blog : Archive for January, 2015

Does Rust on a Furnace Mean It’s Time for Repair?

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Rusting is a term that describes the effect of a chemical process in which water, oxygen, and iron or an iron alloy like steel react to form iron oxide. If your furnace begins to rust over time, it’s never a good sign. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes cause to replace the entire furnace. But at other times, rust is to be expected over time, and replacing a single component may just solve the problem. Read about when a rusty heating component must be replaced and why it’s sometimes best to say goodbye to the entire unit in today’s guide.

The Problem with Rust

The issue with rust on any metal is that rust leads to corrosion. Rust essentially eats away at the iron alloy it covers, to the point that the strong metal becomes more of a flaky powder that chips away and allows the metal to develop holes. It also makes it more difficult for moving metal parts to turn, as they get stuck when they move up against one another. Rust is particularly problematic for a component like the heat exchanger, where holes in the metal could allow for a carbon monoxide leak into the home.

Are Repairs Still Possible?

While it’s not feasible to clean off a rusty spot or try to patch it up, there are some circumstances under which only a single part needs replacement. One common example of this is if the flue pipe rusts. It’s actually quite normal for the flue pipe to become rusty over time, and a homeowner shouldn’t have to replace this pipe very often. Flue pipes rust because of the combustion process. The gases that form as a result of combustion include water vapor, and when this come into contact with the pipe that vents combustion gases to the outdoors, it can cause corrosion in the pipe.

Other times, however, the furnace unit itself will need immediate replacement, particularly if there is a looming safety issue. But it makes more sense to replace a unit with a little bit of rust on it now than to wait for a safety hazard to occur or for parts of your unit to break away and create a mess for your home.

At Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air, our experts can detect rust during a routine maintenance. When you notice problems with your furnace, call for our heating repair service in Elk Grove. Call our experts today!

Ways to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal in El Dorado Hills

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

While a trained professional should always handle any kind of repair to your garbage disposal, there are steps you can take on your own to help maintain it. These steps are fairly simple and don’t require any kind of mechanical work – just consistency and some common sense. If you do have a problem with your garbage disposal in El Dorado Hills, call the experts at Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air for repair.

Ways to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Here are some easy ways you can maintain your garbage disposal and help prevent repairs:

  • Run cold water before and after use – cold water helps lubricate the inside of the disposal before using it, and running the water afterward helps clear the drain of any food that may be clinging. It’s important to use cold water during this process as hot water can encourage sticking debris.
  • Clean with ice cubes once a month – ice cubes in your garbage disposal have a scouring effect which can help remove sticking debris. Simply put 3-4 cubes in your disposal and turn it on.
  • Don’t put potato peels in the disposal –potato peels can have a papier-mâché kind of effect on your garbage disposal because the potato part, when wet, can form a thick paste and stick to the blades of the disposal.
  • No FOG (fats, oil, grease) – FOG is notorious for sticking to the inside of piping and clinging, and it will do the same to your garbage disposal. Washing any kind of FOG down the drain with hot water doesn’t work, either, as hot water only melts it and sends it further down the drain where it will congeal. FOG should never reach your sink for any reason; it should be emptied into a can once it cools and thrown out.
  • Avoid “expandable” foods – foods like rice and pasta act like sponges in any kind of water and expand; they’ll do the same in your garbage disposal, which can cause clogging.

Maintaining your garbage disposal in El Dorado Hills can help you avoid repair and keep your disposal in good working order. Have questions about our garbage disposal services? Call the experts at Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air today.

How Does a Whole-Home Humidifier Work?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Nobody likes high humidity, especially in their own homes. If humidity is high enough, you start to feel clammy and sweaty. It’s harder for you to stay cool, and it can even make it hard for you to breathe. Dehumidifiers solve this problem by removing moisture from the air to make the home more comfortable. What about a lack of humidity, though?

Air that’s too dry is almost as bad as air that’s too moist. If there isn’t enough humidity in the air, it can cause damage to materials like wood and paper. Wood warps and cracks, while paper becomes brittle and fragile. In addition to damaging inanimate materials, dry air can have a deleterious effect on humans as well. Inside your nose is mucus that is almost entirely composed of water. When the air around you is too dry, that mucus dries up. This makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter your system and cause illness. That’s where a whole-home humidifier comes in.

What is a Whole-Home Humidifier?

A whole-home humidifier is a device designed to maintain a comfortable and healthy humidity level in a home. The most common type of humidifier uses steam to accomplish this. The humidifier is hooked up to the central air handler, as well as the home’s water line. As the air handler operates, circulating air throughout the house, the humidifier runs water through an evaporator coil to convert it to steam. The steam rises into the air stream, both warming it and increasing its humidity. This is the easiest way to increase the humidity in a home’s air supply. There are a few considerations to be made before installing a humidifier, though.

As the humidifier is perpetually exposed to water vapor, it can start to grow mold if it isn’t properly cleaned and maintained. Always follow the instructions of the professional that installs the system for you. He or she will know how to best maintain and use the humidifier.

If you are interested in installing a whole-home humidifier, call Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air to schedule an appointment. We install quality humidifiers in the Elk Grove area.

Is Rust on a Furnace a Problem?

Monday, January 5th, 2015

When there is a problem with the furnace, most homeowners will take any steps necessary to prevent replacing it. Often, you don’t need to replace the entire heating unit for a small repair, as only that single part will need repair or replacement from a heating technician. You want to hold onto your older unit as long as possible and a technician can sometimes help you to do just that. But unfortunately, when it comes to rust, there may be too much at stake to hold onto the furnace for too long.

Rust occurs when water, oxygen, and iron react together to form a visible red oxide. All three must be present in order for iron oxide to form, but water is usually the catalyst that finally allows the reaction to take place. Eventually, iron oxide will turn into rust that flakes off and disintegrates from the metal substance, corroding the metal until it becomes brittle.

Rust can occur on a furnace for a couple of reasons. For one, many air handlers contain a coil that can collect condensation as moist air from the indoors blows over it. If there is not adequate drainage to rid the air handler of this excess moisture, it may drip onto the furnace, creating conditions for rust to occur. Another common reason for corrosion happens in the flue pipe, the part that helps combustion gases to vent outdoors. Water vapor is created during combustion and it may damage the vent pipe. The water vapor may affect other portions of your furnace as well.

Unfortunately, rust can be bad news for your furnace. If the unit becomes too rusted, it’s no longer structurally sound and cannot be trusted to contain the poisonous gases created as a byproduct of combustion. As it corrodes, rust can flake off and interfere with the burners, or it may flake off from the heat exchanger which could give gas a chance to leak into the home. However, if it’s only the flue pipe or a very small component that has rusted, you may only have to worry about that part.

Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air can make the repair or replacement process easier by giving you plenty of options and keeping you informed about the damage. Call our friendly technicians today when you need to repair your heater in Sacramento.

When New Year’s Day Was Not on January 1st

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Some holidays fall on shifting calendar days for every year, such as Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Easter (the first Sunday after the first full moon to occur on or after March 21). Other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Halloween, are fixed. No holiday has a more solid calendar date attached to it than New Year’s Day. It has to fall on January 1st because it celebrates the first day of a new year. That only makes sense…

…except that, like most things that at first appear obvious, there is a bit more to the story. The beginning of the year was not always on the first of January. As with an enormous numbers of traditions in the Western World, the establishment of January 1st as the inaugural day of a new year goes back to the ancient Romans.

The modern solar calendar is derived from the Roman model, but the earliest Roman calendars did not have 365 days in a year spread over 12 months. Instead, there were 304 days spread over 10 months. The Romans believed this calendar originated with the mythical founder of the city, Romulus. If Romulus were a real person, we can credit him with a poor understanding of the seasons, as this abbreviated calendar soon got out of sync with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Numa, one of the Kings of Rome (probably also fictional) receives credit for creating a longer year with two added months, Ianuarius and Februarius, bringing the number of days in the year to 355. The new month of Ianuarius, named after Ianus (Janus in contemporary spelling), the god of beginnings, would eventually be known in English as January. But when this new calendar was instituted, January was not the first month. March, named after the god of war, remained the first month, and March 1st was New Year’s Day.

This extended calendar still did not keep in synch with the seasons. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar instituted reforms to align the calendar correctly according to calculations of astronomers, with an additional 10 days distributed across the year. January also became set as the first month, and offerings to the god Janus on this day started the tradition we now know as New Year’s. The date still fluctuated during the ensuing centuries, with a number of Western European holy days treated as the beginning of the year instead. It wasn’t until the next calendar reform in 1582, the Gregorian Calendar, that the date of the New Year was fixed at January 1st.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of the current calendar, everyone here at Bronco Plumbing Heating and Air hopes you have a wonderful 2015!