Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Archive for April, 2014

Why You Should Get a Cold Climate Heat Pump

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Heat pumps are a form of air conditioning system, designed to both warm your home in the winter and cool it in the summer. They are popular in warmer climates because they’re much more efficient than other forms of heating, and they combine the functions of a heater and an air conditioner into one. They do have one large downside, however. When the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, their efficiency drops along with it. Here in Vermont, heat pump technology is looked down upon for that reason. A heater that doesn’t work well in very cold temperatures won’t last long up here. Even so, heat pumps offer a number of benefits to those of us in the Northeast. Here’s a few reasons why you should get a cold climate heat pump.

Heat pumps don’t actually create heat on their own. They simply facilitate a heat exchange with the refrigerant in their system. That means they don’t us gas or other fuel (besides a little electricity to run), and they don’t create any toxic gases the way furnace and other types of heating do. That makes them environmentally friendly, as well as efficient and reliable. We like keep our state green and heat pumps do a lot to help on that front.

But that still doesn’t get around the problem of working on cold days, of which we have plenty. In a number of cases, however, you can marry a heat pump to a smaller electric furnace in a hybrid unit. When the temperature drops, the furnace kicks in, giving the heat pump that extra boost it needs to keep you warm effectively. And because the furnace is so small, you’re still saving money over a forced-air furnace or boiler, while retaining the other benefits that a heat pump offers.

Here in Vermont, heat pump technology can be a viable option, and the experts at Red Rock Mechanical are here to help. We can explain why you should get a cold climate heat pump, then help you find the right system for you. Give us a call today and let us show you what we’re capable of!

For quality air conditioning service in Vermont, call on us for professional installation, repair, maintenance, or replacement of your AC system.

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Cold Climate Heat Pumps: How They Work

Friday, April 18th, 2014

If you’ve done some research into heat pumps, you probably already know about their major advantages: air conditioning and heating power in one unit, low cost heating, and space-saving. But you may have also come across one of their disadvantages: inefficient heating power in extreme cold temperatures.

It’s true that a heat pump will begin to lose efficiency in heating mode when the outdoor temperature falls below freezing. A heat pump must remove heat from the outdoor air and bring it into a home; although there is always some heat available in the outdoor air, no matter how low the temperature drops, it becomes harder for a heat pump to extract it once it dips below the economic balance point, a temperature usually around freezing (it varies due to humidity).

We definitely recommend heat pumps for people when it comes to cooling, since these systems work ideally at this task no matter the outdoor heat. But in Vermont, sub-freezing weather in winter is the reality. Because of this, we suggest homeowners look into cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) so they can still take advantage of the benefits of a heat pump, but without sacrificing comfort. Contact Red Rock Mechanical and our staff of experts on heating repair and air conditioning maintenance in Burlington, VT today to find out more.

How Cold Climate Heat Pumps Beat The Freeze…And Save Money

Cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) are also known as dual fuel hybrids because they combine the heat pump with a second backup heater that uses a different fuel source. You can have the heat pump and the back-up installed at the same time, or technicians can use your existing oil or propane-powered heating system and hook the heat pump to it. CCHPs come in both central and ductless models, so you can have one easily installed without existing ductwork in your home. Professionals can retrofit a home with a ductless system in less than a day.

CCHPs, when professionally installed, delivery three times more heat energy than they consume in electrical power. This is because heat pumps do not generate heat, but instead move it, a less energy-draining operation. In the case of extreme cold weather, the back-up system activates to assist the heat pump when it goes below the economic balance point. With the aid from the oil or propane-heater, CCHPs can deal with temperatures down to sub-zero without suffering efficiency loss.

A study by Efficiency Vermont has shown the difference in costs: A household that uses 850 gallons of heating oil per year (at $4 a gallon) would pay $3,400 for a year of heating. But with a CCHP installed, the same household would use only 170 gallons of oil, plus 7300 kWh of electricity at $.015 per kWh, for a total of $680 (oil) + $1100 (electric) = $1,780 for a year of heating…a savings of $1,620 per year.

Call Red Rock Mechanical today to ask about installation of a cold climate heap pump for your house. We’ll help you determine if one of these systems will work for you. Keep in mind, heat pumps also work as ACs, and you can call us for air conditioning maintenance in Burlington, VT to take care of all aspects of your heat pump.

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Common Causes of Plumbing Repairs

Monday, April 14th, 2014

No one likes dealing with plumbing repairs, but they rank among the most disruptive problems for any household. You can’t just tough it out when your toilet backs up or your sink springs a leak that sends water across your kitchen floor. In Plattsburgh, our plumbing repair techs can handle most issues, from a dripping faucet all the way up to a breach of the sewer line.  In every case, our plumbers look for the source of the problem rather than treating the symptoms.

The common causes of plumbing repairs are fair easy to spot, though fixing them usually takes the services of a trained professional.

Plumbing repairs usually boil down to one of two basic issues: water is blocked from getting where it needs to go or water is leaking out of the pipe. (A few outliers exist as well, such as strange smells, but they don’t arise nearly as often.) In the former case, you’re looking at a blockage in the line, which can be caused by any number of things. Grease and fat poured down the drain can solidify, causing a blockage. Other food particles can do the same thing in the kitchen, while hair, soap and toothpaste can create clogs in the bathroom. Outside the home, tree roots can sometimes infiltrate tiny breaches in the pipe, and even outside damage from shifting soil can result in a clogged pipe.

Speaking of damage, leaks and breaches usually stem from damage somewhere in the system. Plumbers tend to look for them near connectors or links, where an imperfect seal can create a leak. Breaches can also occur because of outside sources, or simply because your plumbing has grown old and corroded.

Luckily, the common causes of plumbing repairs are usually easy to treat, provided you have the training and know how to do the job right. That’s where the experts at Red Rock Mechanical come in. We pride ourselves on our experience and expertise, and plumbing repair is one of the focal points for our business. If you need a hand with your Plattsburgh home’s plumbing, whether it’s a big job or a small one, give us a call to set up an appointment today!

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How a Professional Plumber Unclogs Your Drains

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Sooner or later, every plumbing system gets drain clogs. Whether it’s hot grease poured down your sink, hair and soap trapped in the tub, or slow blockages building up over time, clogs are inevitable. Many people assume they can treat them with store-bought cleansers or snakes, but in truth a professional plumber is your best option. Here in Williston, plumbing experts utilize a number of tricks to get drains unclogged. Here’s how a professional plumber unclogs your drains.

In the first place, plumbers rarely use chemical cleansers, which can be dangerous and don’t always do the job. Instead, they rely on snakes to handle the bulk of the clogs. But plumber’s snakes bear little resemblance to the basic models you can buy at the local hardware store. Many of professional versions are electric, allowing the plumber to bring real power to bear on the issue. They also use removable heads that let the plumber tailor the tool to fit the specific clog.

That’s not the only type of tools that a trained plumber brings to bear. He or she can send video cameras down the drain to ascertain the exact nature of the clog, allowing for an informed decision as to the best piece of equipment of the job.

People often prefer to deal with clogs themselves, but in fact, a qualified plumber can make all the difference. When you look at how a professional plumber unclogs your drains – not just in terms of the tools, but the training and know-how – it’s clear how much of a difference that makes. Here in Williston, plumbing clogs can be treated by the experts at Red Rock Mechanical. If your drains are clogged then give us a call. 

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