Red Rock Mechanical, LLC Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Montpelier’

Preventing the Need for Plumbing Repair

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Plumbing emergencies are never ideal. When a pipe bursts, you may experience flooding to a degree that requires immediate attention. Even a small leak can be a major annoyance and may cost you extra on your utilities. A drain clog is not only an inconvenience; it can also cause waste to backup into the drains in your home.

Take preventive steps to protect your plumbing system today. Call a plumber at the first sign of trouble, and try taking any of the following steps to protect you from the cost of plumbing repair. Speak with the friendly professionals at Red Rock Mechanical for more information.

  • Pay attention to what goes down the disposal. Your garbage disposal helps make your work in the kitchen go a little more smoothly, but it should not be treated as a catch-all for whatever waste you need to get rid of. Of course, this includes non-food items, like cigarette butts, paper, and plastic wrappers. But you should also avoid hard food items like shellfish, bones from meat, and unpopped popcorn kernels. Fats, oils, and grease belong in a separate trash container, and be sure to rip large pieces of food into smaller bits.
  • Purchase a drain trap. In the bathroom especially, hair is a major source of clogging. Keep your locks from clogging the drains by purchasing a simple drain trap from a hardware store and cleaning it out daily.
  • Look for signs of leaks. Learning to spot the signs of plumbing leaks is the best way to schedule repairs in a timely manner, potentially saving you money and protecting you from a big mess later on. Look for any sudden drops in water pressure, water spots on the walls, or pooling water in the yard.
  • Call a plumber at the first sign of trouble. Don’t delay plumbing repair as a small leak can always develop into something much worse.
  • Schedule regular plumbing maintenance. Finally, schedule annual plumbing maintenance with a trained specialist. A plumber will look at every portion of your plumbing system, from the water heater to the drain pipes, cleaning and adjusting some parts and recommending services that may help further prolong their lifespans.

Call Red Rock Mechanical today for professional plumbing maintenance, repair, and advice from professionals you can trust in Montpelier, VT.

Continue Reading

This Is Why a Heater Must Be Properly Sized

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

A lot of people think of heaters in terms of “bigger is better.” This is true, in the sense that larger heaters do have a greater heat output. It is not true, however, that a larger heater is always a better option. After all, if you follow that logic you end up with a commercial heater larger than your basement. In all seriousness, though, a heater absolutely must be properly sized to fit the home in which it is being installed. Let’s take a look at what can happen if you pick the wrong sized heater, either too large or too small.

Too Large

A heater that is too large tends to provoke one major problem, by putting out more heat than the rest of the system is used to. That major problem is short-cycling. Short-cycling is what happens when your heater rapidly turns itself on and off throughout the day. This is caused by the heater’s limit switch, which is designed to monitor the internal temperature of the heater. When the heater’s internal temperature gets above the safety limit, the limit switch shuts the system down to prevent it from overheating. After the heater cools off, it starts up again and provokes the same reaction. This locks the system into a never-ending cycle of on and off that wastes energy and damages the system. Now, the oversized heater isn’t actually overheating, but its heat output is high enough to provoke the limit switch anyway.

Too Small

A heater that is not large enough for the home it’s supposed to be heating will still have a much shorter lifespan, though not from short-cycling. Instead, an undersized heater will simply run indefinitely in an attempt to heat a space that it does not have the output to adequately service. The stress of constantly being on will wear down the heater much faster than one which is properly sized, eventually causing the system to die an early death and require replacement.

If you aren’t sure what size heater to install in your home, call Red Rock Mechanical and let us know. We offer quality heating installation in the Montpelier, VT area.

Continue Reading

How to Tell if You Have a Hidden Plumbing Leak

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

A hidden plumbing leak can mean major trouble for your home. The pipes that make up your plumbing system are installed behind walls, underneath the property, and in the floors or ceilings. Water can slowly leak out and form water spots in the walls that lead to a buildup of dangerous mold and mildew. Or, water can begin to damage the structure of the home, leading to major renovations that may force you to relocate for a period of time.

In any case, you need to be able to sense when a water leak may lead to complications for your home. This may seem easy enough. Oftentimes, there is a pool of water underneath the sink or in the bathtub that indicates trouble. However, usually a plumbing leak isn’t so obvious. When it’s behind the walls or elsewhere in or around your property, you’ll have to rely on the following warning signs to tell you it’s time to call for plumbing services in Montpelier, VT.

  • Dark Spots on the Walls or Ceiling: A dark, damp spot on a wall or ceiling could indicate a pipe leak behind it. Unfortunately, this could also point toward mold or mildew development, so you should be sure to speak with a plumber right away.
  • Grass Growing at Different Rates: If there is a plumbing leak underneath your property, it may cause puddles of water in your yard. Alternatively, you might notice that one patch of grass seems longer or fuller than the rest.
  • Reduced Water Pressure: The water pressure in your home is reduced as soon as there is a leak. Many homeowners tend to ignore low water pressure if showers and other activities are still possible, but this is a problem that deserves your immediate attention.
  • High Utilities: Finally, check your utilities to find any sudden and unusual changes in your monthly water usage.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to speak with a plumber with the right tools for leak detection and plumbing repair. Call Red Rock Mechanical today to make an appointment for professional plumbing services in Montpelier, VT.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Warning Signs You Need Air Conditioning Replacement

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Coming out of a hot summer, air conditioners can sometimes start to malfunction because of the large amount of stress they just endured. Often, a few targeted repairs from experienced technicians will handle the trouble and restore the AC to its best working order.

But there are times when an air conditioning system will start giving signs that it should be shut off for the last time and replaced with a new unit. We’ll look at a few of the ways you can determine that your AC should be retired and a new system installed.

You will want a second option when it comes to the choice to repair or replace. Bring in professionals like those at Red Rock Mechanical to look over your AC and determine if replacement is the best choice. You can also count on professionals to handle either the necessary repairs or installation. Expert installation work should ensure that your air conditioning replacement in Montpelier, VT will give you many future years of cooling.

Watch for these signs of AC replacement

  • System age: The best barometer for air conditioner replacement is how old the system is. Check on the manufacturer’s estimated lifespan for the unit (it is either on the cabinet or in the manual). If the AC is at or beyond the estimate, then you should give serious consideration to replacing the unit, even if it still seems to work adequately. The chance of the AC breaking down when you need it or starting to work inefficiently will begin to increase from this point, and often it’s a wise idea to get ahead of the problem and schedule the replacement when it is convenient.
  • Too many repairs: There’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to knowing when a repair is no longer worth it: if the repairs during a year are equal to or greater than half the cost of a new system, you should leave the repairs aside and invest in the new system.
  • Rising electrical bills: If you keep up with regular maintenance for your air conditioner, it should retain 95% of its efficiency through most of its life. But when age catches up to it, it will begin to rapidly decline in energy-efficiency, and you will see this reflected in your bills. If repairs and regular maintenance do not change the elevation in the bills, you should replace the AC.
  • Loud operation: An air conditioner that has ceased working effectively due to age deterioration will begin make loud mechanical sounds while it runs. An occasional odd noise here and there may point toward a repair issue, but if the whole system has become a noise pollution issue, then it’s indicating it should be replaced.

The team at Red Rock Mechanical that handles air conditioning replacement in Montpelier, VT is NATE-certified and can bring you the quality work that will keep your home cooled efficiently and effectively. Put your trust in our 23 years of experience.

Continue Reading

Signs You Need New Water Line Installation

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The water line is one of the most vital parts of your home’s plumbing, if not the most vital: it brings fresh water from the municipal system into your pipes, pressurized so it comes out of faucets, showerheads, etc. with just a turn of the tap. If the water line suffers from damage and bursts, likely because of wear due to age, you will need to have a new line installed fast.

There are a number of ways to tell that the time has come for a new water line, aside from simply having the water in your house just stop. (This might be an issue with the water department.) Here are some signs to look for that indicate the time has come for a new water line to your home.

Call Red Rock Mechanical whenever you need plumbing installation in Montpelier, VT. We have emergency service available for repairs to your plumbing that can’t wait.

Watch for These Warnings of Water Line Trouble

  • Water flooding onto the yard or through the sidewalk: A serious water line breech will cause the water to gush up through your lawn or yard, or sometimes geyser up through cracks in the sidewalk. Although it’s possible that a municipal line may be causing the problem, don’t assume that: call for plumbers right away to look into it. If it is you water line, it will likely need a full replacement because of the breech.
  • Drop in water pressure: When a water line starts to decay from age and corrosion (this is a problem for older galvanized steel pipes from pre-1970) leaks will begin to occur, and this will lead to a drop in the water pressure throughout your plumbing. When this begins to occur, first check with the utility company to make sure it isn’t a municipal issue. Then call for the professional plumbers to see to the trouble with the water line and advise on whether it should be replaced or not.
  • Discolored water: Corrosion is the main enemy of water lines, and when it happens the pipe will need to be replaced. One way you can detect corrosion is from a discoloration in the water from your traps. If this appears in taps throughout your house, the culprit may be the water line. Breaks in the water line that allow in dirt and soil can also lead to discoloration in the water.

Water line replacement isn’t a task you can delay: you risk losing all of your fresh water because of an aging, leaking, or broken line. Call Red Rock Mechanical at the first indication of trouble, and we will handle the plumbing installation in Montpelier, VT that you need.

Continue Reading

What are the Basic Stages of the Air Conditioning Cycle?

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Your air conditioner is one of the staples of your home, especially now with temperatures rising and summer hitting us with everything it’s got. We all depend on reliable air conditioning systems to keep our homes and businesses comfortable. And when problems arise with your air conditioning in Montpelier, VT, there are qualified repair companies to help you. But how much of the process of air conditioning do you understand? What are the basic stages of the air conditioning cycle? The more you know about that, the more you can understand what happens when repairs are needed.

Air conditioning systems are all based around the same basic system: a closed loop which cycles refrigerant gas through a series of valves and coils. The cycle begins when the gas enters a condenser coil, which subjects it to an enormous amount of heat and pressure. It then moves to a series of compression valves, which bleed the heat out of the gas, reverting it to liquid form. (The heat is then pushed out of the system via a vent, which is why this part of the cycle usually takes place in the outdoor portion of the unit.) It remains under a great deal of pressure, however, which plays a key role in the second half of the cycle.

The liquid moves from the coils to a second valve, an expansion valve, which squirts a set amount of the liquid into a series of evaporator coils. (It functions rather like an aerosol can in this capacity.) Released from the pressure, the refrigerant turns back into a gas: pulling heat from the nearby air in the process. A fan then blows the cooled air through the ducts in your home. The refrigerant gas then returns to the condenser valve to start the cycle anew.

For more on the basic stages of the air conditioning cycle, or to schedule an appointment for AC installations or repair, call upon the experts at Red Rock Mechanical. We treat any issue related to air conditioning in Montpelier, VT, and throughout the surrounding communities. Contact us today for a consultation session. You’ll be glad you did!

Continue Reading

Some Problems You May Encounter with Your Gas Furnace

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

In Montpelier, VT, furnaces are common in many homes. Gas furnaces are inexpensive to operate and very reliable, but like any mechanical system, they will experience breakdowns from time to time. You can call a reliable repair service to resolve the problem, but it helps to spot the signs of those problems as soon as possible, before they lead to more serious issues. Here’s a quick breakdown of some problems you may encounter with your gas furnace.

  • Lack of gas flow. The thermocouple, connected to your ignition system, controls the flow of gas into the heater. If there’s a problem with your ignition system, or indeed with the thermocouple itself, the gas will be shut off (preventing your home from being flooded with the gas but also rendering the heater non-functional until it is fixed). A clogged burner can also disrupt the gas flow, as can problems with the line feeding the gas into the furnace.
  • Lack of heat. A lack of heat usually comes back to a problem with the burners, which push the lit gas through the heat exchanger to warm the air that is ultimately blown into your home. Burners can suffer from a malfunction, and could also become clogged with grime on their surface, which will reduce the levels of heat they generate.
  • Lack of air flow. Low air flow is just as bad as reduced heat, since it forces your furnace to work harder and expend more energy than it should. Low air flow can stem from a faulty motor, a damaged blower fan, or some kind of obstruction in the duct system reducing the space in which the air can move.

The problems you may encounter with your gas furnace don’t matter as much as the service you call upon to correct them. If you need furnace repair in Montpelier, VT, call Red Rock Mechanical today. 

Continue Reading

Recognizing Signs of Trouble with Your Air Conditioning in Montpelier, VT

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

When it comes to your air conditioning, the sooner you can spot a potential problem, the better the chances of dealing with it before it becomes a much larger problem. Problems can arise through lack of use that only become apparent months after they’ve first appeared. Recognizing signs of trouble with your air conditioning will go a long way towards addressing them in a timely fashion, saving you the cost of a big repair.

Signs of trouble can vary widely, but a few of the most common ones can be found below:

  • Higher bills: The first and most obvious sign of an AC problem comes with your monthly electric bill. If you see a spike in the costs and haven’t altered your electrical use habits, it could signal an air conditioning system that is laboring to keep your home cool.
  • No cool air: If your air conditioning is blowing air, but none of it seems to be cool air, it may signal lowered refrigerant levels. (A professional technician can safely recharge the refrigerant for you.) It might also signal a dirty air filter, which you can replace with a clean one fairly easily.
  • Low air flow: Low air flow usually indicates a blockage in the system somewhere, requiring a professional cleaning to fix. It might also indicate a damaged or leaking vent, which would also prevent air from circulating your home.
  • No power: If the AC refuses to turn on at all, it could be a sign of serious trouble. Many air conditioning systems have automatic switch-off features when a particular component gets damaged. They’re intended to prevent any further damage to the system. It may also indicate something much simpler, like a thermostat set too high or an electrical problem elsewhere in the house.
  • Unusual noises: Broken or damaged components within the air conditioning system may create a buzzing or rattling noise. You might also hear a hum or a whistle if air is escaping through leaks in the system, or a grinding noise if broken components are scraping against each other.

Regardless of the exact symptom, you should call in a professional once you recognize signs of trouble. Red Rock Mechanical handles air conditioning issues in Montpelier, VT, including maintenance and replacement projects. Contact us today to see about solving your AC problem. 

Continue Reading