Advanced Home Services Blog

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.

When Should I Call for Emergency Plumbing?

December 10th, 2014

Sometimes, trying to decide whether or not to call the plumber is like asking directions when you are lost: is it really time to do so? If you have a hard time deciding when to call for plumbing help in Rigby, here are some helpful tips from our Advanced Home Services plumbing experts:

No Heat

If you have a boiler and you have no heat, not only will your home be uncomfortable from chilly temperatures, it can also put your piping at risk for freezing. While it may be tempting to try and figure out the issue on your own, especially if you have some working knowledge about boiler systems, this is not advisable. Why? There are multiple reasons for a boiler not working, and working with any system that uses combustion requires expert knowledge for repair – not just working knowledge. If you have found yourself with no heat, call your plumber right away.

Sewer/Septic Problems

Sewer or septic issues are serious problems. Typical signs of a sewer or septic problem include multiple clogged drains or toilets at the same time, constant clogging problems and an ever-present foul odor. Finding where a septic or sewer problem is challenging as the problems can be deep inside your system, and repairing these kinds of problems takes a lot of work and expertise. If you choose to operate one of the specialized plumbing tools, you could break the piping, leading to a much bigger issue. The bottom line: always a hire a professional for a sewer or septic problem.

Burst Piping/Big Leaks

We all know that horrible feeling when we hear running water from someplace we shouldn’t: the sprung leak. The best thing you can do as the homeowner when you have a burst pipe is to shut off the water and call for help immediately. Pipes don’t spring leaks or burst spontaneously; some other problem has caused the pipe to leak or burst. It’s important to hire a professional so that he/she can find the reason for the burst or leaking pipe, and repair the pipe properly.

Having plumbing problems repaired as soon as possible is good for you, your home and your plumbing system in Rigby. If you are experiencing plumbing problems, call Advanced Home Services today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

How to Take Care of Your Garbage Disposal

December 3rd, 2014

Garbage disposals can be great tools for your home and kitchen, but if misused, they can cause clogs and costly repairs. Knowing how to take care of your garbage disposal can help you keep it running well. Here are some tips from our Advanced Home Services technicians to help you properly maintain your garbage disposal:

  • Dispose food only – it’s called a garbage disposal, but it isn’t really for all kinds of garbage; what it is for is to pulverize food waste. As such, putting items like glass, cans or paper will cause problems to develop with your disposal.
  • Do not pour grease down the disposal – just as it’s bad to pour grease down your sink drain, it is just as bad to do it with a garbage disposal. While the grease may not affect the disposal very much, it will cling to the piping, and can eventually cause a blockage to develop.
  • Use only cold water – it can seem counter-intuitive, but warm or hot water causes grease and food to liquefy and stick to the pipes, so it’s best to use cold water to wash food down into the disposal.
  • Run water before and after using – it’s recommended that you run water for 20 seconds before and after using the disposal to help with optimal operation.
  • Clean with ice cubes – it is recommended that once a month you use ice cubes to clean your disposal. Simply grind a few ice cubes while running cold water; this has a scouring action and can help clean out sticking debris.
  • Be judicious with potato peels – potato peels can become pasty when they are wet; as such, putting an abundance of potato peels down your disposal can create a situation where the potato peels create a thick paste that can cause the blades to stick.
  • Don’t put “expandable” foods into the disposal – foods like pasta and rice expand when left in water; the same thing will happen with the disposal and can cause clogs to develop.
  • Don’t use drain cleaners – drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can erode both the piping and the components of your garbage disposal.

Your garbage disposal can help you manage your food waste, but only if you treat the device properly. If you are experiencing problems with your garbage disposal or any other type of plumbing issue, call us today. We professional service garbage disposals and offer a variety of plumbing services in the Rigby area.

10 Facts You Should Know about Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as an official holiday in the United States for over 150 years, so you may think you understand all there is to know about this family feast. Most of us have heard the story of the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621 after arriving in North America on the Mayflower. But did you know that only about half of the people on this ship were actually pilgrims? This fact is one of ten things that may actually surprise you about the Thanksgiving tradition!

  1. Although we often consider Thanksgiving a holiday unique to the United States, many other countries and cultures celebrate their own set of harvest-time and thanksgiving traditions. In Korea, Chu-Sok (or “fall evening”) is put on in remembrance of forefathers on August 15th of every year. Brazil celebrates a contemporary version of the U.S. holiday. Chinese, Roman, and Jewish cultures all have a history of harvest celebrations as well.
  2. President Harry S. Truman began the tradition of a ceremony held before Thanksgiving during which the president receives a turkey. George H.W. Bush was the first to pardon the turkey instead of eating it.
  3. In Minnesota alone, farmers raise over 40 million turkeys a year. In fact, U.S. farmers produce about one turkey for every one person in the country.
  4. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American will gain about one to two pounds every year during the holiday season.
  5. On the other hand, turkey is naturally high in protein and has been known to support and boost immune systems to protect against illness and speed up healing. So feast on!
  6. Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” in 1863, but a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale can be credited with the idea. While Thanksgiving had been celebrated at different times of year in many areas of the U.S. for years, it was Hale, prominent magazine editor and author of the rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who urged Lincoln to finally establish the national event.
  7. President Franklin D Roosevelt once tried to change the date of Thanksgiving to the second-to-last Thursday of the month in order to extend the holiday shopping season and boost the economy.
  8. Only about half of the people on the Mayflower were what we would consider today as “Pilgrims.” The other (approximately) 50 people were simply trying to find a way over to the New World.
  9. Gobble, gobble! Click, click? While male turkeys make a gobbling noise, females (hens) do not; it’s often described as a clicking.
  10. Even though we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, the month of June has been declared National Turkey Lovers’ Month by the National Turkey Federation so you can continue the celebration in the summer as well!

From our family here at Advanced Home Services, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Which Kind of Furnace Will Work Best for My Home?

November 19th, 2014

Furnaces are the most common kind of whole-house heating system in the U.S. and have been for many years. However, furnaces do not come in a one-size-fits-all model: there are numerous different types of systems that use a variety of fuel sources. They share in common that they heat air and then distribute it through a home via a blower fan and ductwork. Almost everything else varies from model to model.

This raises a key question: “When shopping for a new furnace installation for my home, which one is the best?” We can’t answer this question in a general blog post, because every home and family has different heating needs and available energy sources. We can help you sort out some of your options and think about what type might do the ideal job for your home. However, to ensure that you end up with the correct furnace to suit all your requirements, call the professionals at Advanced Home Services. We have helped many families with the installation of furnaces in Pocatello, ID, starting with the selection of the right units.

Natural Gas Furnace

This is the most popular kind of residential furnace, and the one that we recommend if you have a natural gas line already connected to your home. These furnaces have among the most powerful heating levels of any heater on the market and can overcome extreme cold weather even in poorly insulated homes. They are also cost-effective because natural gas is a less expensive fuel source than electricity.

Electric Furnace

Since all homes have electricity, an electric furnace is always an option. Although more expensive to run than a natural gas furnace, an electric furnace can still provide high levels of warmth, and have the advantage of costing less to install and having long service lives. They are also good options if you do not want to use natural gas in your home.

Propane Furnace

If you don’t have a natural gas line, but would prefer to have a less costly system than an electric furnace, a furnace that runs off stored propane is a good choice. The new propane furnaces are much more fuel-efficient than the older ones and can generate excellent heat levels.

Advanced Home Services offers high quality installation services for furnaces in Pocatello, ID: we install natural gas, electric, and propane furnaces. In addition to our skilled installation jobs, we also offer 2-year parts and labor warranties on the majority of our services, and our upfront pricing will assure that you know in advance what you will pay before we begin the work. Give us a call today to schedule your furnace installation.