Advanced Home Services Blog

Why Your Toilet Won’t Stop Running

February 16th, 2015

Toilets aren’t the most mechanically-complicated products in your home, but they do have to work a certain way. Each component inside your toilet tank has a specific job that allows the toilet to flush and refill, but sometimes certain components can wear out or break, resulting in a leak. When a toilet has a leak, it runs, and a running toilet can waste literally gallons of water. If you hear that familiar constant trickle that indicates your toilet is running, call the experts you can count on for toilet plumbing in Idaho Falls: Advanced Home Services.

Reasons for a Running Toilet

Here are some of the more common reasons why your toilet may start to run:

  • Cracking wax ring – the base of your toilet seals to your bathroom floor with the help of a wax ring. Sometimes the wax can dry out and crack, which can cause leaks to develop around the base of your toilet.
  • Leaks at the back of the tank – at the back of every toilet tank is a slim, slightly flexible metal hose that connects to the tank. This hose is the water supply line, which provides water to your toilet tank. Sometimes the connection between the bottom of the tank and the water supply line can leak, which can cause your toilet to run.
  • Issues with the flapper valve – the flapper is a rubber valve that acts as a gate that allows the water from the tank to rush into your toilet bowl and then stops it when the tank is full. The flapper creates a seal that prohibits excess water from entering the bowl, but sometimes the flapper can be misaligned or broken, and water will continuously run into your toilet bowl.
  • Problems with the float arm – the float arm is the rubber ball that floats at the top of your tank; when the toilet is flushed and the water in the tank drops, the float also drops and as it does, it pulls the lid off the fill valve, allowing water to refill the tank. The float arm has to be positioned correctly in order to work properly; if it isn’t, it can cause the toilet to run.

It can be easy to ignore a running toilet because it still works, but you may be paying for that excess water in your monthly water bill. Don’t let your running toilet take your wallet for a jog; instead, let an expert from Advanced Home Services repair your toilet. We provide quality plumbing repair in the Blackfoot, ID area.

Valentine’s Day: Pagan Revelry, Clandestine Marriage, and 14th Century Poetry

February 14th, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Valentine’s Day? Perhaps rushing off to the stationary store after work to choose the perfect card with which to express your feelings towards a loved one? Dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant? Roses, dark chocolates, and other gifts and confections? Whatever Valentine’s Day may look like to you, chances are that it is a far cry from the history surrounding this holiday – or at least we hope so. Here are a few interesting facts about this most romantic of holidays, from your friends here at Advanced Home Services.

The fact of the matter is that there is no definitive history as to how Valentine’s Day came to be. There are a few different saints with variations of the name Valentine, for example. One of the most prevalent legends, and one certainly in keeping with the romantic nature of the holiday as we know it today, pertains to a priest serving during the 3rd century in Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that young men made for better soldiers if unfettered by marriage, it was illegal for young men to marry. A true believer in love, Valentine would marry young couples in secret. Until, at least, he was found out, and met a very unpleasant end for his crimes.

Like many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day can also be traced back to pagan ritual. Lupercalia, as the pagan festival is known, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, a god of agriculture. As is often the case with Roman celebrations, the details of this celebration are unfit to detail here. Suffice to say that, while there is certainly a touch of the amorous in the proceedings, the festival was a far cry from what we associate with Valentine’s Day today.

How, then, did our modern version of Valentine’s Day come to be? The answer may lie in, of all places, 14th century poetry; particularly, in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. Famed for his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer may well be the very first writer to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love, in the manner of which we are familiar with it today. His The Parliament of Fowls details the dream-vision of a narrator consumed with the idea of romantic love and the natural order of finding a mate. Valentine’s Day is mentioned by name a number of times, as the narrator witnesses a parliament of eagles vying for the hand – or, perhaps more aptly, the wing – of a mate.

Whatever you may think of the holiday’s sordid and convoluted history, we here at Advanced Home Services hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with the special someone in your life.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Different Furnace Types?

February 4th, 2015

Furnaces are so popular in part because of the wide range of fuel types that they can utilize. This makes furnaces some of the most versatile heating systems, able to meet a wide range of needs dictated by climate and availability of resources. Which furnace type would be best for your home, though? Let’s look through the pros and cons of different furnace types, and try to determine which one would be best for you.

Natural Gas Furnace

Natural gas furnaces are the most popular of the furnace types. They operate by burning a steady stream of natural gas, which is piped into the house by the city. They are primarily used because natural gas generates quite a bit of heat in relation to the amount burned, making the system quite efficient. However, natural gas furnaces are limited to places that possess the infrastructure for them. If you want a natural gas furnace and your house doesn’t have a gas line, or if you live in an area where you can’t get one, then a natural gas furnace would not be a good choice.

Electric Furnace

Electric furnaces are another popular choice, mostly for their ability to be used more or less anywhere. If you have electricity (which is needed for almost all furnaces anyway) then you can run an electric furnace. Electric furnaces are well known for their energy efficiency, providing heat output with almost no waste. They are also slightly safer than combustion based systems, since they don’t generate any toxic byproducts during operation. Electricity is a more expensive fuel type than most other kinds, however.

Propane Furnace

Propane furnaces are for those people who want a combustion furnace, but don’t have the inclination or the opportunity to install a natural gas furnace. Propane is a fairly cheap fuel that can be found almost anywhere. It provides a good heat output, though it does have one drawback: it needs to be stored. Unlike most other furnace types, propane needs to be stored in tanks somewhere in or near the home. This can be problematic for people with space limitations.

If you aren’t sure which kind of furnace to get for your home, call Advanced Home Services and speak to one of our specialists. We provide quality furnace services throughout Rigby.

Why You Need Professional Leak Detection Services

January 30th, 2015

There may have been times in the past when you’ve noticed a leak from a faucet or underneath the sink. But any homeowner who has ever needed extensive renovations thanks to a leak behind a wall or underneath the home knows that leaks are not always so evident. There are some signs you should pay attention to that may indicate a leak—such as a drop in water pressure or wet spots on the walls—but discovering a leak at this point often means that you’re too late, and the leak has already begun to cause some serious damage. Professional leak detection service allows you to know about leaks before they occur, or to determine the exact location when you’re unsure.

When you call Advanced Home Services for water leak detection, we’ll examine your pipes thoroughly to look for any problems that may have occurred with your plumbing in Pocatello, ID.

Leaks Can Do More Damage than You May Know

Even very small leak can develop into something problematic. Pipes can burst, leading to thousands of dollars worth of pipe repair, construction, and mold remediation. When a pipe bursts behind the shower, for example, you’ll need someone to pull out the tiling and drywall. You may need to replace floors, walls, the tub, the piping, and even the support beams. If water has leaked through from a second floor shower to the bottom floor, you may need to replace some of the foundation as well.

Professionals Have the Right Tools to Spot a Leak at Any Point

You may think that most leaks will show themselves eventually and that you are relatively attuned to changes in your plumbing system. But tiny leaks often won’t make themselves known until they have done some damage, unless you have the right equipment, that is. Plumbers may use any of several tools to find the exact location of leaks, including hi-tech listening equipment or, in some cases, video cameras. These tools are necessary so that a plumber can decide on the next course of action.

If you call Advanced Home Services, we’ll use top-of-the-line equipment so that you can get peace of mind about your plumbing in Pocatello. Call us today!

Warnings Your Boiler Should Have Repairs

January 21st, 2015

Boilers are remarkably sturdy systems, and are among the most long-lived heating units. There are boilers still in use today that are over a century old, passed down from generation to generation. Still, boilers are not invincible, and part of helping them to live so long is regular maintenance. That includes knowing when your boiler is in need of repairs. Let’s take a look at some of the warning signs that you need to have your boiler repaired.

Kettling

A boiler is said to be “kettling” when it produces a deep rumbling noise during operation, like a giant kettle boiling. This may seem counter-intuitive, but most boilers are not meant to actually boil water. Instead, they heat water to a point just under boiling, then distribute it. The reason this is done is that boiling water produces large amounts of steam, which expands exponentially and creates large amounts of pressure.

When the heat exchanger in the boiler becomes blocked, often by mineral deposits in hard water, water flow becomes restricted and boils in the pipe. The steam buildup quickly reaches dangerous levels, putting an immense amount of pressure on the pipe. That’s what causes the rumbling sound. Most modern boilers have safety measures in place to shut the boiler down before any pipes can rupture. Even so, if you hear your boiler kettling you should call a professional as soon as possible.

Leaking

As with any hydronic system, leaking is never a good sign. There are a couple of common causes for leaking in a boiler system, including faulty valves and pipe connections. If your boiler has been kettling, it’s possible that your heat exchanger has sprung a leak, which is a very big problem. Without expert knowledge, it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to identify the cause of the leak on your own. If you can, see if you can follow the leak back to its source. If not, simply call a professional and let him or her do it. Regardless, a boiler leak is not something that should be ignored.

If your boiler is having trouble, contact Advanced Home Services to schedule an appointment with us today. We provide quality heating repair in the Idaho Falls area.

What Does a Furnace Tune-Up Entail?

January 13th, 2015

Just as you bring your car in to the mechanic for a tune-up every now and then to protect your investment, you can protect your heating equipment with a yearly tune-up as well. Many people are unaware that most heating and air conditioning contractors offer maintenance, while other homeowners are skeptical of just how vital this service is. But a furnace tune-up can actually keep your unit running more efficiently, increase the lifespan of your system, and ensure your continued safety.

We’ll go through the steps of maintenance for you in this guide so that you can see just how important this service is. When you need to speak with experts on furnaces in Blackfoot, ID, call Advanced Home Services.

Cleaning and Adjustment

During a tune-up, a technician will clean up some of the components that could hamper efficiency or proper operation if dirty. This includes parts like the flame sensor (or thermocouple in older furnaces). This part is meant to detect when there is no longer a flame so that it can send out a signal to shut off the gas. If this part is blocked by dust, it may continually shut off the furnace so that it is no longer running efficiently. The burners must also be cleaned for safety and efficiency purposes.

A technician will also adjust some crucial components to make sure these are working exactly as they should as well. This may mean tightening some connections, screwing in some loose panels, or adjusting bent blower fans and safety switches.

Inspection

Not all repairs can be done on the spot, and you’ll likely have to schedule a separate appointment for any larger repairs that are necessary. But a technician will perform a full inspection so that you can stay informed about any problems ahead of time to prevent any sudden breakdowns or safety hazards from occurring. The technician will make sure the venting system is in good condition and that there are no potential leaks in the heat exchanger which could lead to a carbon monoxide leak. They’ll also look for any mechanical issues as well.

Call Advanced Home Services for a thorough inspection, cleaning, and adjustment of the most important parts of your furnace. Our experts have experience with all types, sizes, and setups of furnaces in the Blackfoot, ID area.

Warning Signs of a Clogged Drain or Sewer Line

January 8th, 2015

The wastewater from around your home all heads to the same pipe: the sewer line. This durable pipe runs from your house and under your property until it connects to the municipal sewer line in the center of the street. The city is responsible for the municipal sewer system, but the sewer line from the point it leaves your home until it crosses your property line is your responsibility to maintain and repair. When you encounter issues from a clogged drain or sewer line, you must make a call to professionals to take care of the repairs and cleaning that will restore it.

For fast and effective service in Rexburg, ID for drain and sewer lines, call on Advanced Home Services. We offer drain repair, sewer cleaning, pipeline inspection, hydro-jetting, and trenchless line replacement that will take care of the job quickly and without ruining your yard, gardens, or walkways.

Some Warning Signs You Have a Clogged Drain or Sewer Line

There are a number of issues that can cause a sewer or drain line to become clogged. One of the most common is tree root infestation: roots naturally seek out water and nutrients, and they can grow between pipe joints until they cause blockages. Excess oils, fats, and grease can also cause clogs. Watch for these warning signs that something may be stopping your sewer or drain line:

  • Slow drains around the house: A single slow drain usually means something is caught in the drainpipe. But when slow drains start to occur in sinks, showers, and bathtubs all around your home, it means the problem lies much deeper in the plumbing system—likely in the sewer line. Call for plumbers to investigate and find out the best way to solve the trouble.
  • Sewer odors from the drains: As clogs develop inside sewer and drain lines, sewer gases will be forced back up the pipes and through the drains. If you notice foul smells from the drains, you should have plumbers look into the sewer line. Also listen for gurgling sounds for the drains, which indicates that sewer gas is pushing up through the water in the p-trap.
  • Water spots around basement drains: As sewage starts to backup because of a clog, the first place you will notice it is around drains in the basement. Water spots accompanied by bad odors are a major warning that something has blocked up the sewer line. Don’t hesitate: call for plumbers as soon as possible.

Sewer and drain line cleaning and repair work require trained plumbers with special equipment. Never trust this work to amateurs! Give our Rexburg, ID drain and sewer team a call to schedule an appointment and we will get the job done fast and right. You can reach us 24 hours a day whenever you need service.

The History of “Auld Lang Syne”

January 1st, 2015

There are numerous different traditional songs associated with Christmas—but there is only one song that comes to mind immediately when people think of New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne.” It is hard to find a New Year’s Eve party where people won’t leap into singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot…” as the first stroke of midnight sounds. This tradition encompasses the globe, with almost every culture that celebrates New Year’s on January 1st breaking into song with the same set of lyrics.

Where did this song come from? And what do the words “auld lang syne” actually mean? The best place to ask these questions is Scotland. The Official Gateway to Scotland website calls the song “one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbor’s hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take us into the future.”

The melody of the piece originates from Lowland Scots folk song tradition. It was legendary Scottish Romantic poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) who created the words we know today, however. During the later years of his life, Burns dedicated much of his work to collecting Scottish folk tunes and giving them new life. The first mention Burns makes of “Auld Lang Syne” is in 1788, when he calls the song “a glorious fragment.” Burns wrote new lyrics to the old melody, and used the words “auld lang syne,” which is Scottish for “old long since,” and which can be translated into standard English as “long, long ago” or “days gone by.” The phrase was already known in earlier Scottish poems and folk songs, and appears to be the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” for Scots fairy tales.

Soon after Burns introduced the song to the public, it spread across Scotland as a New Year’s custom, and then to the rest of Great Britain. Scottish immigrants took the song with them as they moved across the globe, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a holiday tradition throughout the English-speaking world. By the close of the 20th century, it was a global phenomenon to ring in the New Year.

We imagine that you’ll end up singing or hearing “Auld Lang Syne” at some point this New Year’s (maybe you’ve already heard it while watching It’s a Wonderful Life).

All of us at Advanced Home Services would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy coming year in the tradition of the song.

5 Facts about Santa Claus

December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  1. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  1. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  1. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  1. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at Advanced Home Services, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

Why Frozen Pipes Are a Serious Problem

December 17th, 2014

While all kinds of plumbing problems can develop at any time, nothing screams winter more than frozen pipes. Frozen pipes aren’t just a nuisance; they can cause some serious damage and multiple problems, which is why frozen pipes need to be repaired right away. There are ways you can help protect your home’s plumbing from the cold, as we’ll outline below, but first, let’s take a look some of the problems frozen pipes can cause.

What Ice Can Do to Piping

It can seem a little incomprehensible that frozen water can crack or break a very strong, durable plumbing pipe – but it can. Why? When water freezes, it crystallizes, which causes it to expand. This expansion inside the pipe causes tremendous stress; with enough stress, the pipe can rupture.

Common Problems from Frozen Pipes

Here are some of the common problems that can develop when pipes freeze:

  • Bursting – as touched on above, the stress the ice puts on plumbing can result in the pipe bursting. Burst pipes can lead to serious water damage. Repairing a burst pipe requires cutting out the ruptured area and soldering a fresh piece into the affected area, so the repair takes some time.
  • Loss of heating – if the pipes that freeze are part of a hydronic heating system, you could temporarily lose heat.
  • Water damage – as mentioned above, burst pipes can cause serious water damage, especially if they aren’t repaired quickly.
  • Damage to your plumbing – even if your frozen pipes don’t burst, the stress the ice puts on the piping material can prematurely age your plumbing.

Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

These are a few suggestions on how you can help avoid frozen pipes occurring in your home during very cold weather:

  • Open any cabinetry under sinks to allow the warm air to circulate to the plumbing
  • Let the cold water faucet run at a trickle
  • Don’t set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees
  • Wrap exposed pipes
  • Fully drain outside water lines before the winter
  • Make sure no plumbing lines run along exterior walls

If you do experience frozen pipes, give us a call and schedule an appointment for our professional plumbing service in Blackfoot, ID. Our skilled plumbers at Advanced Home Services are the people you can trust for all of your plumbing needs.