Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Archive for February, 2015

Choosing the Most Efficient Furnace

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The word “furnace” actually represents a wide variety of different heating systems today. Though they all share a basic function (they are all forced air heating systems) the method by which they accomplish that function can be vastly different. For a homeowner looking to install a new home heating system, the sheer number of options that furnaces provide can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here’s a look at some of the factors that you should consider when looking for the most efficient furnace to meet your needs.


“AFUE” stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, and is one of the primary metrics by which furnace efficiency is judged. As the name suggests, the AFUE number is an approximate measurement of how efficiently the furnace uses its fuel over the course of one year. The number is displayed as a percentage, indicating how much of the fuel the furnace burns is converted into heat and how much is lost as waste. Generally, you’ll want to look for a furnace with an AFUE rating of at least 75-80%. Any less than that, and you’ll be spending an undesirable amount of money on fuel that’s not being converted into heat.


The size of a furnace is actually quite important to how well it performs in a home. A lot of homeowners simply go for the largest furnace that they can physically fit in the space, in the mistaken belief that bigger furnaces are more desirable. In fact, if a furnace is either too large or too small it will break down much more often and have a shorter overall lifespan. You should consult a professional if you are uncertain of what size furnace you should install.

Fuel Type

Always be aware of what kind of fuel best fits your situation. Natural gas is the most popular kind of fuel, but it requires a gas line installed in your home by the city in order to work. Electric furnaces will work anywhere that electricity is available, but they are more expensive to operate than other furnaces. Always do your research, and consult a professional if you aren’t sure which furnace is best for you.

If you need to have a new furnace installed, call Red Rock Mechanical to schedule a service appointment. We provide professional heating services throughout Stowe, VT.

Continue Reading

Why Pinhole Leaks are so Damaging

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Pinhole leaks are one of the most dangerous kinds of pipe leaks that can occur in your home. They also happen to be one of the most mysterious. Despite years of research, the EPA has yet to determine the cause of pinhole leaks. This makes them difficult to predict or prevent, with regular professional examinations being the only reliable way to identify and fix them before they cause too much damage. Let’s take a look at what pinhole leaks actually are, and why you should have your pipes checked for them periodically.

What are Pinhole Leaks?

Pinhole leaks are small leaks that exclusively affect copper pipes, which are resistant to almost all other types of corrosion. The type of corrosion that causes pinhole leaks is called “pitted corrosion,” where the pipe inexplicably begins to degrade from the outside in. Eventually, this opens up tiny holes in the pipe, no larger than the end of a pin. The leak is large enough to allow water to drip from the pipe, but not enough to cause a noticeable drop in water pressure. This makes pinhole leaks very hard to detect.

Why Should I Worry About Pinhole Leaks?

Pinhole leaks are a problem both because of their size and location. Most of a home’s plumbing pipes are located in the walls and ceilings, surrounded by insulation and support studs. A pinhole leak in such a location will cause severe water damage to the insulation and even rot out the studs, if given enough time. Wet insulation also provides an ideal environment for mold growth, adding a health hazard on top of the structural damage to the wall.

Most leaks have symptoms that are visible to the homeowner in some way, either through a loss in water pressure or water discoloration from rust travelling up through the pipes. Pinhole leaks have neither of these indications, as the corrosion is from the outside in and the leak is too small to cause a drop in water pressure. As such, the only way to protect your home from pinhole leak damage is to have a professional investigate your plumbing at least once every year.

If you haven’t had your home’s plumbing examined in a while, call Red Rock Mechanical to make an appointment. We provide professional plumbing repair service throughout Burlington, VT.

Continue Reading

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Red Rock Mechanical hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

Continue Reading

Should You Replace Your Furnace with a Heat Pump?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Furnaces are the most common type of heating system in the country, and by a pretty wide margin at that. There are many reasons for this popularity, including versatility and cost. However, being popular does not necessarily mean that a furnace is the best option for everybody. Heat pumps have been gaining in popularity among home owners for their energy efficiency and safer operation. So, should you replace your furnace with a heat pump? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each system and see if that can make your choice easier.


As mentioned above, furnaces are the most popular type of heating system largely because of their versatility and cost effectiveness. There are many different kinds of furnaces available, from electric to natural gas to wood, making it easier for homeowners to find one that fits their needs. Due to their widespread availability, furnaces are also relatively cheap to install and fix, compared to more rare systems.

The downside to furnaces is that they aren’t that energy efficient. A furnace burning natural gas, which is the most common fuel type for furnaces, tends to lose a lot of heat to various factors like duct leaks and combustion gases. Many furnaces still use standing pilot lights, as well, which constantly burn fuel in to stay lit. These cons lead to a lot of wasted energy and money.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are non-combustion heating systems. They don’t burn any kind of fuel to create heat, and only require electricity to run. They don’t use heating coils either, as electric furnaces do. Instead, a heat pump moves heat from one place to another by evaporating and condensing refrigerant. By siphoning heat from the outside air and releasing it inside, the heat pump saves a great deal of energy that would otherwise be spent on combusting fuel.

However, heat pumps do have one big drawback. In areas where the temperature frequently dips below zero, there is not as much thermal energy in the air for the heat pump to draw on. This leads to a decrease in the heat pump’s energy efficiency, as it has to work longer to heat the same amount of space.

If you aren’t sure whether or not to replace your furnace with a heat pump, call Red Rock Mechanical. We provide heating installation in the Williston, VT area.

Continue Reading