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

Ways to Save Money on Heating in Williston This Winter

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Energy efficiency is always a priority when it comes to heating during our cold Vermont winters. There are a number of small things you can do to help save energy this winter, as we’ve outlined below, but should you need repair, maintenance or installation of a heating system in Williston, VT, call the people you can count on: Red Rock Mechanical.

Energy-Saving Tips for the Winter

Here are some energy-saving tips that our Red Rock Mechanical technicians have put together:

  • Schedule an energy audit – an energy audit allows you to pinpoint exactly where your home is losing energy. Several tests are conducted during an energy audit, including a blower door test. All of the results from an energy audit are put together in a comprehensive report detailing any issues that are found, as well as recommendations on how to repair them.
  • Cover drafty windows – there are a couple of ways to effectively cover drafty windows, such as using a plastic window coverings or winter drapes. Plastic kits are easy to use, widely available and work for any standard-sized windows. The plastic is clear, so you can still see outside without a problem. Winter drapes are usually made of heavy material that helps block drafts, and are available in many retail outlets.
  • Set EPA-recommended temperatures – EPA thermostat recommendations are that an occupied home shouldn’t have the thermostat set any higher than 68 degrees, and, when your home is unoccupied, the temperature should be set 10-15 degrees lower. Following these recommendations can help you save as much as 10% each year in heating costs.
  • Install a programmable thermostat – programmable thermostats allow you to set a program of temperatures for different times of day, different days of the week and even vacation time. This gives you great control over your heating during the winter.
  • Schedule annual maintenance – annual maintenance provides a thorough tune-up for your entire system, as well as the cleaning of components. This allows your system to run at the energy efficiency level it ought to.

Winter energy costs are a large part of your household budget. By utilizing some of the tips above, you can reduce some of your heating costs in Williston, VT this year. Need some additional help? Call Red Rock Mechanical today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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What Happens During Regular Plumbing Maintenance

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Plumbing maintenance can cover a wide range of different procedures and repairs, far too many to encompass in one article. Specific areas of the house that often need plumbing repair are far easier to discuss in short form, though. Let’s examine two of the areas in your home that likely need plumbing services the most often, and what that entails.


Kitchen plumbing experiences some of the most wear and tear of any home system. Chances are you use your kitchen sink, dishwasher, and garbage disposal every single day. This also makes these systems some of the most prone to issues.

The first thing your plumber is likely to do during a visit is check for leaks in your sink, faucet, and garbage disposal. Leaks can lead to all sorts of other issues like rust and mold growth, so it pays to find and fix them as soon as possible. Drains will be addressed next. If blockages are found, they can be cleared by snaking or solvent.


Just like the kitchen, the bathroom is used on a daily basis by homeowners. It is subjected to quite a bit of wear and tear over time, and after the kitchen it is the area that is often in the most need of repair. The first thing a plumber will check in a bathroom during a maintenance call is usually the shower. Shower leaks can waste many gallons of water if not properly addressed, making addressing them a top priority.

Drains are another area that are always addressed. A drain doesn’t have to be completely blocked to be a problem. Debris that collects in sink and shower drains can cause water to drain much more slowly, becoming a quite annoying issue.

Finally, toilets are checked to ensure that they are flushing properly and not running. A toilet has a number of moving parts that allow it to operate properly. Over time, these parts can degrade and cause issues. If your toilet is running constantly or won’t flush, you probably need to have a part in it replaced.

If you are having plumbing issues anywhere in your house, call Red Rock Mechanical. Our professional plumbing maintenance service covers all of Essex, VT.

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My Heat Pump Won’t Switch from Cooling Mode! What’s Wrong?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

The very last thing you want or expect when you turn your heater is for cold air to start venting into your house. In the case of heat pumps, this is an uncommon but frustrating problem. Fortunately, there is a fairly simple solution, though your HVAC technician will need to be the one to implement it. Before we explain what causes this problem, we have to understand how the heat pump switches between modes.

The Reversing Valve

Inside every heat pump is a part called a “reversing valve.” This valve sits at the junction of the central unit exhaust valve, intake valve, and both the indoor and outdoor unit lines. Inside this valve is a slide that controls which direction the refrigerant flows through the system. Depending on the direction, either the indoor or outdoor unit will blow hot air while the other blows cool air. This is what allows the heat pump to change modes.

Attached to the reversing valve is a solenoid, which operates an electro-magnet in the valve itself. The solenoid has two modes: “relaxed” and “energized.” All this really means is whether or not it has an electrical current running through it. When the solenoid is energized it activates an electromagnet which moves the slide from one position to the other and reverses the flow of refrigerant.

Common Problems with the Reversing Valve

Most often, the reason the heat pump gets stuck on one mode or the other is because the solenoid on the reversing valve is bad. If the solenoid is not working properly, it can’t move the slide from one side of the valve to the other. This essentially removes the heat pump’s ability to switch freely between heating and cooling modes.

So how can this be fixed? Often, the first thing an HVAC technician will do is check the solenoid for a magnetic charge. If it is displaying a charge, then something else might be responsible. Often, however, the solution is simply to replace the solenoid.

Call Red Rock Mechanical today if you are experiencing heat pump problems. Our comprehensive heating repair service cover the entire Montpelier, VT area.

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What Ice along Your Heat Pump Might Mean

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

It’s pretty common to walk outside during the winter and find ice on your heat pump. At first, it may seem like a problem you need to address. After all, you don’t want your heat source freezing over while it’s warming your house. In reality, however, you may not have to worry about it. Here is what ice along your heat pump usually means.

The Cause

A heat pump works by absorbing the thermal energy from the air around it. This thermal energy is then directed inside to heat and circulate air to the house. Condensation forms on the outside unit as a side effect of this thermal absorption. The sub-freezing environment then causes that condensation to freeze, forming frost on the outside of the heat pump.

The Solution

Heat pumps were designed to combat this condition by going through a defrost cycle every so often. A heat pump in heating mode will periodically reverse the flow of refrigerant, causing the outside unit to heat up and melt the frost around it. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about a little ice on your heat pump. If the heat pump is operating properly, it will take care of this issue on its own.

The Exception

There are cases where ice and frost can become a problem, however. If the defrost cycle doesn’t occur for whatever reason, ice will continue to build up around the outside unit. The more ice accumulates, the more air is cut off from the unit. This can drastically lessen the available thermal energy for the unit to absorb. If the ice and frost covers enough of the unit, it may stop absorbing heat altogether. If you happen to see ice on your heat pump, wait an hour or two and then check again. If the ice is gone or there is less of it, that’s a sign that your heat pump defrost cycle is working properly. If there is more ice or it doesn’t seem to be going away, you may have a problem with your heat pump. When that happens, call a professional.

If you are having issues with your heat pump, call Red Rock Mechanical. We service heat pumps and provide other professional heating services throughout the Stowe, VT area.


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There Is No Such Thing as a “Small” Plumbing Leak

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Most homeowners know to call a plumber when there is severe damage to their pipes. But occasionally, leaks in your plumbing system are so small that they go unnoticed for some period of time.

At the first sign of a leak, no matter how small it may seem, you need to call for immediate repairs. This is because what seems like a minor leak can actually spiral into something much bigger, causing major plumbing repairs and affecting your daily activities. When you need plumbing repair in Burlington, VT, call the experts at Red Rock Mechanical to prevent major problems from occurring.

First, a leak can reduce your water pressure. Your water is kept pressurized so that it can easily flow from your faucet. Small leaks reduce water pressure, and, if a leak becomes larger over time, you may only feel a trickle just when you need a hot shower. Keep your family happy, clean, and healthy by calling a plumber at the first indication of low pressure.

Second, leaks can attract mold and mildew that seriously affect the living conditions in your home. As water pools in often-hidden areas of the home, mold forms and spores can move into the air. These spores can trigger asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems which may affect some of the members of your household. Pools of water can also damage the structure of your home.

But perhaps the most important reason to repair issues now is that leaks will not fix themselves. Any leak can develop into a larger problem over time, flooding your yard or house and costing far more in repairs, which is why early intervention is key. Homeowners sometimes have a hard time detecting minor leaks. But if you notice any water spots in your home or yard or reduced water pressure, it could be an indication. Catch leaks even earlier by scheduling plumbing maintenance every year to make sure the most important components of your home are free of leaks and other problems.

Remember: any plumbing leak may become an emergency plumbing repair later on. Why wait for a costly fix? If you need plumbing repair in Burlington, VT, call Red Rock Mechanical today. We offer 24-hour emergency service so you can get that “small” leak repaired right away!

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