‘Blog’ Category

Problems with Your Toilet That Need a Professional Plumber

Posted by John Dietz on Friday, April 11th, 2014

Sooner or later, everybody has to deal with a clogged toilet and most of the time, it’s nothing that a plunger and a little elbow grease can’t fix. Sadly, not every problem with your toilet can be solved so easily. The toilet is possibly the most important component of your home and big problems usually can’t be ignored of left unaddressed. However, some problems with your toilet that need a professional plumber aren’t always as obvious as they might appear. Here’s a rundown of a few of them.

  • Cracked surface: Hairline cracks can sometimes appear in the body of the tank of the toilet, leading to leaking water all over your bathroom. You can usually spot it not only form the water puddled around the base of the toilet, but from the low levels of water inside the toilet itself. Unfortunately, such cracks can’t normally be repaired in any lasting or meaningful way, meaning that the toilet will probably need to be replaced.
  • Weird noises: In some cases, you may flush your toilet only to hear a deep moaning sound, or can hear a high pitched noise just when it finishes up its running cycle. You might also hear strange noises while the water refills in the tank. In those cases, you most likely have a problem with your fill valve. A plumber can be contacted to replace it.
  • Clogs: Many times, clogs can be handled by a plunger, but when they can’t they’re likely caused by something very serious. Back-up in your pipes may have created a particularly stubborn clog, while tree roots can wreak havoc with your sewer line outside. A simple plunger won’t solve such issues. You need a professional plumber and the knowledge he or she provides to properly clear the drain.

If you’re facing problems with your toilet that need a professional plumber, call upon JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning to help. Our Raleigh plumbers possess years of experience, and we move quickly to resolve any issues you may be experiencing.  Contact us today and let us show you what we can do for you!

Can a Heat Pump Be Damaged by Clogged Filters?

Posted by John Dietz on Friday, April 4th, 2014

It’s not unusual to see heat pumps in Durham, acting as two-in-one systems handling both heating and air conditioning for a single household. Heat pumps cost less to run by and large than traditional HVAC systems, and they work well in comparatively mild climates like ours (especially when combined with a furnace in a hybrid system). But they still require the same sort of maintenance that air conditioning units do, in particular the filters which need to be swapped out regularly if the system is going to function the way it should.

Can a heat pump be damaged by clogged filters? Most definitely. And the worst part is, that damage can take place invisibly over time.

The filter acts to remove dust, debris and other contaminants from the circulating air. In the process, it also helps keep the heat pump itself clean by preventing dust and dirt from coating the internal components. When the filters get clogged, the heat pump gets dustier, which is where damage can result. The most obvious spot is on the evaporator coils, which excessive dust can serve as insulation between the refrigerant and the air it’s trying to cool. The lost cooling potential will manifest as frost or ice on the coils, which further retards the process and renders your heat pump even less efficient. This will cost you plenty in higher monthly bills as well as increasing the possibility of a more serious breakdown in the future.

The increased amounts of dust also increases friction on moving parts in the heat pump’s interior. Not only does that force the heat pump to work harder (costing you money in monthly energy bills in the bargain), but the stress and strain will further increase the chances of a more serious breakdown in the future.

If you’re concerned about whether a heat pump can be damaged by clogged filters, then the first step is to switch the filter out for a fresh one every 2-3 months. You can also contact the experts at JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning to perform a routine maintenance visit once or twice a year. We handle maintenance for heat pumps in Durham, as well as more serious repair issues. Call us today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

Common Causes of Bad Smells from Your Plumbing

Posted by John Dietz on Friday, March 28th, 2014

There are a number of ways a layman can tell if there’s a problem with the plumbing, ranging from a flat-out leak to a drop in water pressure. Odors are a little more subtle than other signs, but are usually pretty indicative of a significant problem. It’s often more than just food waste passed down your drain and correcting the issue can involve the services of a professional Morrisville, NC plumber.

Here are some of the common causes of bad smells from your plumbing.

  • Dry p-trap. The p-trap is that pipe with the strange bend in it underneath your kitchen sink. This simple piece of design carries water that forms a seal against smells from the larger sewer system beyond it. When the p-trap dries out, the smells move in. This typically happens in vacation homes or in sinks that don’t see a lot of use (such as a in a guest bedroom). You can correct it simply by running the sink periodically to ensure that the seal is maintained.
  • Sewer breaches. A breach or similar problem with your sewer line is a serious issue, which affects not only your plumbing but the whole of your property. You can usually spot a sewer breach because the smell will appear in all of your sinks, not just one or two. When you notice it, you should call in a plumber immediately.
  • Blocked venting pipes. Venting pipes help release trapped gases from your system. Over time, they can become clogged by gunk in the lines or blocked by birds’ nests and snow. That will send the gases back into the system and ultimately out your sink or toilet. A good plumber can clear the blockage and fix the problem.

Here in Morrisville, NC, drain cleaning is offered by JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We have experience dealing with the common causes of bad smells from your plumbing and we won’t rest until you’re completely satisfied. Give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Ways You Can Prevent Blocked Drains

Posted by John Dietz on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Are drain clogs something you just have to learn to live with? Homeowners often accept that they are, and keep a sink plunger handy to unplug blocked drains. If the clog is too thick, they call in a professional plumber to use a drain snake or hydro-jetter to fix the trouble.

Although there is no method to permanently eliminate drainpipe blocks—an object can always accidentally fall down a drain—there are ways to prevent them so they aren’t common occurrences. With some help from a trained plumber, you can make your drains “clog resistant”—which isn’t “clog proof,” but it’s much better than “clogs constantly.”

Here are some tips from JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for keeping those drain blocks away. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you with drain cleaning in Durham, NC.

  • Don’t pour fat, oil, or grease down kitchen drains: Kitchen drains encounter the most trouble with clogging because of the large amount food that gets washed down them. No type of food waste causes more trouble than liquid F.O.G.: fat, oil, and grease. Although innocuous-looking in liquid form, these substances dry into thick, waxy substances that can choke off drains quicker than any other kind of deposit. Always pour these liquids into a separate container and remove them to a trash receptacle.
  • Use drain covers in the bathrooms: Meanwhile, over in your bathrooms, your drains face a different enemy: hair and soap scum. Although there’s little you can do to stop both from getting into the water, you can place covers over the drains that will filter and prevent them from entering the drainpipes. An open drain is an invitation for all sorts of objects to fall down there as well, such as children’s toys and (yes, sorry to bring this up, but it happens) wedding rings.
  • Install a water softener: If you noticed white, crusty residue on your faucets and fixtures, you may have hard water leaving mineral deposits in your pipes. This will start to close off drainpipes and make them prone to clogging. Installing a water softener will eliminate this threat—and it will benefit all appliances connected to your plumbing, especially your water heater.
  • Schedule professional drain cleaning: If you only call the plumber to your home to fix clogs after they happen, consider calling a plumber in as a pre-emptive move that will save you money in the long run. Comprehensive drain cleaning will clear out all the debris forming inside your drains and help keep the build-up from returning.

JD Plumbing offers a whole range of plumbing services, from water softener and other water filtration installation to full drain cleaning in Durham, NC. You don’t have to suffer from constantly blocked drains: call us today.

Some Ways to Tell You Need Heating Repair

Posted by John Dietz on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Any mechanical system can suffer from malfunctions and breakdowns, no matter how well maintained it is, and heating systems are no exception. When you think you have problems developing inside your heater, you need to call for professional heating repair in Durham, NC right away.

For quality repairs for all kinds of heaters, call JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve put together a guide to help you know when it’s time to give us a call:

Signs it’s time for heating repair

  • Strange noises: Perhaps the best “early warning system” for a heater is the noises that it makes during operation. If you’ve lived with your system for a month or more, you should have a good idea of what it sounds like when running normally. When unusual sounds disrupt this harmony, it could mean something has gone wrong, often a mechanical failure (e.g. grinding and screeching noises can indicate motors about to burn out). Because the various noises can have different causes behind them, you’ll need to have a heating technician investigate to find out what repairs need to be done.
  • Upward swings on your heating bills: After a full winter with a heater, you will have mapped out what you can expect to see on your utility bills. (Make sure you keep track of it.) If you notice an unexpected leap in your costs for heating, it might indicate that a malfunction in the system is causing it to work harder than it should. Repair specialists can track down what is wrong and find the remedy.
  • Uneven heating: If you start to notice cold spots in your home when your heater is working (places that usually receive adequate warmth), then a number of different problems might be afflicting your heating system: breaks in the ductwork, malfunctioning zone control dampers, broken heating elements, malfunctioning air handlers, and others.
  • Strange smells from the vents: If you detect an acrid odor coming from the vents of your forced-air system (furnace, air pump), then you may have a motor or heating element that’s burning out, or excess dirt and dust in the cabinet.

Call for the professionals

For every symptom of a malfunctioning heater, there are multiple possible root causes. Unless you have professional training with HVAC technology and the necessary tools, you cannot determine the cause on your own or fix it. For this, you’ll need repair technicians. Don’t risk damaging your heater, or possibly yourself, with amateur repair attempts.

JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has a staff skilled with heating repair in Durham, NC. Whatever your heating troubles, count on us to fix them and restore your warm house.

Common Zone Heating Repairs

Posted by John Dietz on Friday, March 7th, 2014

Zone control systems are a great way to save money on your forced air heating and cooling, and they are quite popular here in North Carolina. They are reliable and cost-saving systems, but they encounter problems from time to time, and it takes expert attention to correct them. Here’s a short list of some common zone heating repairs.

  • Dampers. The dampers installed in your air ducts direct heat to various sections in your home according to specifics determined by the control system. If the dampers become stuck or there is a problem with the controls, you won’t be able to heat your zones effectively. Some areas may be too hot while others won’t be hot enough. A technician will need to determine the source of the problem and correct it.
  • Control system. The control system itself lets you set the temperature in each section of your home. When it suffers malfunctions, it may misread the temperature information or just refuse to turn on at all.
  • Blowers. The fan motor or fan blades themselves may become damaged in your heating system, and lower air flow can effect how well your zone control system is able to control the temperature.

If you need these or any other common repairs, then the Raleigh heating experts at JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help.  If you’re having problems with your zone control system, call us today, and let us bring our knowledge and experience to bear. You’ll be glad you did.

What Counts as a Plumbing Emergency?

Posted by John Dietz on Monday, March 3rd, 2014

If you go looking for a plumber in Raleigh, chances are you’re going to find at least one or two that offer 24-hour emergency service. Not every problem can wait and sometimes you need to correct an issue well before normal working hours kick in. Raleigh is a fairly big city and people here have their lives to lead. So what counts as a plumbing emergency? That is, how can you tell when a problem can wait and when you need to summon someone sooner rather than later? Specifics always vary, but a few general guidelines can be helpful.

No house can go without functioning plumbing for long. You need your system working in order to get water for drinking and cleaning, which aren’t issues that can wait. So the big question becomes, how long can you get by with the problem before you need to call a plumber? If the answer is at least a day or two, then it’s probably safe to wait until normal business hours. If it’s not, then the issue probably constitutes an emergency.

A more specific answer would be to consider how serious the issue is and how much of the house it affects. A leak, for instance, usually means that at least some part of the house won’t work. You have to shut off the water so that it doesn’t spread and then wait for the cavalry to arrive. In some cases, you can shut it off locally while leaving the rest of your plumbing system intact (say if the problem affects one bathroom sink in a three-bathroom household). In that case, the issue probably isn’t an emergency, or at least not an emergency that requires a 24-hour service call. If, on the other hand, you have to shut off water to the entire house, then you need to get a plumber out as soon as you possibly can. Otherwise, people aren’t going to be able to use the toilets, and drinking water and food preparation are going to be severely curtailed.

Regardless of what counts as a plumbing emergency, you need the right kind of plumber in Raleigh to help you out. JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides expert solutions to all kinds of plumbing problems. Give us a call today; you’ll be glad you did!

How Can Ductless Heating Save Me Money?

Posted by John Dietz on Monday, February 17th, 2014

Ductless heating is exactly what it sounds like: heating that operates without the cumbersome ducts necessary for a forced air system. Ductless heating systems divide your home into individual sections, each one with its own separate indoor unit. Some types of ductless systems are heat pumps, which means they can serve as air conditioners in the summer as well as heat your home in the winter. “How can ductless heating save me money?” you ask. Read on for the answers.

For starters, ductless heating doesn’t need to expend as much energy to heat your whole home. A central furnace needs to blow its hot air throughout the entire system of ducts, and even the best duct system will suffer some energy loss as the air is circulated. Ductless heating eliminates that need since the generated heat only needs to reach the area covered by the unit in question. Indeed, once ductless heating systems are installed, they tend to be cheaper to run than most electric furnaces, saving you a great deal on our monthly heating bills.

Even better, because you’re handling multiple unit instead of just one, you can tailor your heating to affect only those parts of the house that you’re using. For empty rooms that aren’t seeing a lot of use, you can turn the heater down. This can save you a lot on your utility bills overtime.

Ductless heating systems cost a little more to install than some other heating systems, but for homes without ductwork, it’s a sensible choice. For other homes, the savings in energy over the lifespan of the system can offset the additional cost. JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning provides excellent Raleigh heating services, and we can install ductless heating systems for your home, as well as go over how ductless heating can save you money. Give us a call to set up an appointment today!

Who Wrote the First Valentine’s Day Poem?

Posted by John Dietz on Friday, February 14th, 2014

The celebration of Valentine’s Day is often seen as a modern institution, even if the roots of the holiday go back to Late Antiquity and the figures of St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni. It’s difficult to separate our view of February 14th from the more recent phenomenon of greeting cards, comical cupids, and specialty treats from candy companies.

However, not only are some of these traditions older than we might think (mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards were an enormous success in early 19th-century England), but the earliest Valentine’s Day love poem comes from none other than the first great English author, Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in the second half of the 14th-century.

Chaucer’s most famous work is The Canterbury Tales, an enormous collection of linked stories in poetry and prose. But his 700-line poem “Parlement of Foules” has the special distinction of being the first surviving record of a connection between Valentine’s Day and romantic love. Chaucer probably composed the poem in 1381–82. At the time, he was a member of the court of King Richard II, holding an important bureaucratic position in London. The date suggests that Chaucer wrote “Parelment of Foules” to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of the English king to Princess Anne of Bohemia.

The poem follows the dream of the narrator, where he walks through Venus’s temple and discovers a meeting of birds where they all choose their mates. This is where the mention of St. Valentine’s Day appears (English modernized):

For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,                                                                         

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.                                                                  

The poem also contains a familiar Valentine’s image, Cupid with his arrows:

Under a tree, beside a well, I saw

Cupid our lord his arrows forge and file;                                                             

And at his feet his bow already lay.

When Chaucer mentions St. Valentine’s Day, is he referring specifically to February 14th? Late winter isn’t a time when birds in England would mate. However, the date for the start of spring—when some birds would have started nesting in England—was on February 23rd in the calendars of the time, certainly close enough for Chaucer to take poetic license and nudge it a bit to match with Valentine’s Day.

Love birds remain a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day even now, and for this we can thank Chaucer. In fact, he may very well have invented the link between love and Valentine’s Day, although we will probably never know for certain.

Whoever started these traditions, all of us here at JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning hope you have a wonderful February 14th!

3 Reasons You May Opt for an Electric Furnace

Posted by John Dietz on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Furnaces tend to come in one of two basic forms. Most people are familiar with gas furnaces, which use natural gas lit by burners to create heat. Electric furnaces are the other type: they rely on coils heated by electricity to warm your home. If you’re thinking about installing a new furnace, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each one carefully.  The right type for you depends on your home and current circumstances, but here are 3 reasons you may opt for an electric furnace. If you need any service for your furnace in Raleigh, give JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call.

  • They cost less to install. Electric furnaces use almost all the electricity they consume to heat your home. They also tend to be less expensive to install than gas furnaces. However, depending on the cost of gas and electricity in your area, they might cost more to heat your home. You should work out with your contractor what is the best decision for your unique situation.
  • They are safe and comfortable. Electric furnaces don’t burn a fuel, which means they don’t produce byproducts like carbon monoxide. They are both a clean and efficient way to heat your home.
  • Fewer repairs. Electric furnaces don’t have a lot of moving parts the way that gas furnaces do. That means they tend to break down less often, and require fewer repair calls than gas furnaces do. Accordingly, they tend to last longer than gas furnaces, giving you more service for the initial investment.

This doesn’t put gas furnaces out of the running – electric furnaces cost more to run every month and when repairs do come, they tend to be more expensive as well – but it does give you some advantages to consider. For more reasons you may opt for an electric furnace, or to schedule an appointment for installation, contact the experts at JD Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Pick up the phone and call us today if you need Raleigh furnace service!