air conditioner ready

Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer?

Now that summer is unofficially here in Michigan, we can look forward to sunshine and warmer days. It’s a relief to finally turn the furnace off, open the windows, and get some fresh air into the house. Right around the corner is the heat of summer, though. Is your air conditioner ready for it? 

It’s Time to Check Your Air Conditioner

Before you turn your air conditioner on, there are a few steps you should take to make sure it’s functioning properly. First, turn the power to your A/C unit off. This will prevent any risk of electrocution while you inspect it. The exterior power circuit should be in a small box that is mounted to the side of your home near your unit. Lift the cover and flip the switch to the “Off” position and close the lid. 

If you covered your A/C unit for the winter, remove the cover and look it over carefully. If it’s surrounded by leaves or other debris, clear those off. You can wash off dirt, dust, or bird droppings with a wet cloth and some water. Then allow it to dry completely. If you have plants or vines growing too close to your unit, remove them. You do not want your air conditioner to get clogged with vegetation and stop working right when you need it the most. 

Examine your air conditioner for any cracks, rust, leaks, or other issues. If you find loose or cracked seals, call a licensed HVAC contractor like Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating. A small leak may not seem like much of a problem, but replacing coolant is expensive. You want to fix that as soon as possible. 

This is a great time to switch out your air filter. Remember, if you have central air, your furnace fan is operating all year round. A dirty filter will make your air conditioner work harder to cool your home. If you want your A/C unit to operate efficiently and keep dust, pollen, and other pollutants out of your air, change the filter regularly. 

When you are finished with your inspection, you can turn the power to your A/C unit back on and operate your air conditioning from your thermostat. 

What Did You Find? Is Your Air Conditioner Ready for Summer?

If you do see problems with the unit, your air conditioner fails to perform to satisfaction when you turn it on, or you notice an unusually high electric bill, call your HVAC contractor right away. Many people will find that their air conditioner is not working properly, and the sooner you call, the sooner you will have service performed. 

Weinkauf also has air filters available, so if you need a supply of them, call us. We offer discounts when buying filters in bulk. 

Currently, due to issues with the supply chain, there can be delays in receiving equipment which is another reason not to delay calling. If your air conditioner is an older model, more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. We would be happy to discuss the condition of your heating and cooling system with you and make recommendations based on your preferences.

At Weinkauf, we are here for all of your heating and cooling needs. If you live in the Alpena, Hillman, Posen, Hubbard Lake, or Mio areas, we want to be your one-stop shop for plumbing and HVAC, so if you have a problem, call us! Our professional technicians can take on any task, either commercial or residential. 

 

plumbing emergency

What Is a Plumbing Emergency?

Working plumbing is such a necessary part of modern life that any plumbing problem can seem like a plumbing emergency. Some problems are less urgent than others, however. In this blog we’ll list issues that are truly emergencies. This way you will be able to tell the difference between what is an unhappy inconvenience and what will cause you more problems if it doesn’t get fixed immediately. 

What Is a Plumbing Emergency?

A Burst Pipe

Water can cause a great deal of damage in a short period of time. The more water, the more damage it can cause. A burst pipe can release many gallons of water in a few minutes. If you have a pipe break, it’s an emergency, and you should call your plumber immediately. If you can find the stop valve for the water at the break, use it. If you cannot isolate the leak, turn the water off at the main water supply. Then mop up any water you can and dry out any carpeting. Mold and mildew will result if you do not properly remove all water, and that’s a health hazard. 

An Overflowing Toilet 

Any clogged pipe or drain paired with running water can result in the same kind of damage that a burst pipe does – except the water will not be clean. You should shut off the water at the valve (located near the back or base of the toilet) to stop the water flow and attempt to plunge the toilet. If you cannot get the blockage cleared and this is a necessary toilet or the only toilet in the house, that’s a plumbing emergency. 

A Broken Water Heater

Hot water is necessary for cleaning and washing, so if your hot water heater breaks, it causes real inconvenience, especially in the colder winter months. A noisy hot water heater can also signal that there’s something seriously wrong. If you have a leak in the main tank, it can cause water damage to your home. Depending on the urgency of any of the above situations, it may be time to call out the emergency plumber to drain, repair, or replace your water heater. 

Frozen Pipes

In February of 2021, many southern states and much of the state of Texas experienced a sharp freeze that ultimately resulted in a cost of 18 billion dollars in home damages. The average insurance claim for frozen pipes is more than $25,000, in fact. This is because it involves burst pipes in multiple locations and often the water runs for some time before it’s noticed and addressed. In that time it can cause damage to ceilings, floors, walls, and wiring, all of which are expensive to repair or replace. If you think your pipes have frozen, you will need to turn off the water at the main water supply and call your plumber. 

A Sewer Backup 

The water you use that you flush or drain exits your house via your sewer/wastewater line and from there goes into the municipal sewer system. A sewer backup means that that water or waste cannot leave or comes back up from the clogged line into your home. When this happens, it’s not good. The most common sewer backup situation involves pipes that are clogged with toilet paper, wet wipes, sanitary napkins, hair, or grease. 

If you notice that you have noises or bad smells coming from multiple sources, you may have a sewage issue. You will need to call your plumber immediately before it gets worse and causes damage or creates a biohazard.  

Should You Call an Emergency Plumber?

If you are not sure if you have a plumbing emergency, you can always call and discuss your situation with your plumbing company. In some cases, if it’s only a matter of inconvenience, you may be able to wait and avoid calling in a plumber after normal business hours, reducing your costs. As a rule of thumb, if you have to shut off the water at the main supply, it’s an emergency. Also, if you feel there is something wrong with your water supply, if it looks or smells funny, you should immediately contact a plumber as well. 

At Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating, we have a 24-hour emergency line for service. If you are in the Alpena area and have an urgent plumbing problem, call us. We will diagnose the problem and get your plumbing back in working order for you right away. 

 

 

no hot water

No Hot Water? It Could Be Time for a New Water Heater

It’s never a good time for your hot water supply to fail. If you’ve tried to turn on the hot water in your shower or at your kitchen faucet and gotten only cold, that’s frustrating. You need that water for cleaning, bathing, and doing laundry. In the wintertime, a hot bath or shower can be especially relaxing and comforting. What is the underlying cause of your hot water failure? It could be one of a number of things. We will go through the possibilities in this blog. 

Why Is There No Hot Water? 

A water heater has a number of inputs, electricity, gas, and water, and also mechanical aspects. If something goes wrong with any one of these, your hot water output will be impacted. 

If you have a smaller water heater, you may find that it cannot keep up with your household use, so you’ll run out of hot water frequently. It may also cost more to run because of lower energy efficiency. This is the simplest hot water problem to have because you can either decide you’d like to install a larger hot water heater to better meet your needs, or you can wait for it to heat up more water. Ask your plumber if you’re not sure which size or model of hot water heater would best suit your use pattern

Another potentially simple-to-fix malfunction is an electrical issue like a tripped breaker or a high-temperature cut-off switch on your water heater. To determine if it’s a breaker problem, turn off your water heater and then check your circuit breaker to see if a breaker has tripped. You can then turn it off and then on again. If that does not solve the problem or your breaker trips again, you will need to call an electrician for assistance. 

Gas Problems

If your water heater is gas powered, there are several potential problems that involve gas. One of them is a gas leak. If you smell gas in your home for any reason, you need to contact your gas company immediately. Gas leaks are dangerous, especially during the winter when your house is closed up and there is no way for gas to escape outside. 

You may have a leaky supply line or a failing gas valve. If your water heater runs on gas, it will have a pilot light and a burner located at the bottom of the heater behind an access panel. Check that your pilot light is on. If it’s not on, relight it. If it goes out again, you have a problem with your gas line, and you will need to involve a trained technician to examine your heater and determine what is wrong. 

A Malfunctioning Water Heater

There are a number of ways the water heater itself could fail. You may notice that the water temperature swings or is inconsistent. It heats but unpredictably. It could have a bad thermostat, a failing or broken heating element, or sediment buildup. 

The tank could also have a leak. If the water leaks out of the unit, it won’t heat, of course, but it will also make a mess. You may not be able to determine the source of the leak yourself. If your water heater is leaking, turn off the water to your tank, and call your plumber. An experienced technician will be able to inspect the tank, the pipes, connections, and valves, diagnose the problem, and let you know your options for repair or replacement. 

If you are in the Alpena, Michigan area and experience the problem of no hot water when you turn on your faucet, call us at Weinkauf Plumbing and Heating. Our trained technicians will be able to diagnose your problem quickly and find a solution to get your hot water running again. Contact us at (989) 354-5427 for help. We’re here to make sure you can be safe, warm, and comfortable in your home this winter. 

 

furnace checkup

It’s Time for Your Furnace Checkup

Fall is here, the leaves have turned, and a chill is in the air. For most people in Michigan, this is the point in the year when their furnace starts to make a very important difference in the quality of their lives. How confident are you that your furnace will work consistently for you through the winter? If you have doubts or would like to avoid a furnace breakdown in the middle of a polar vortex, now is the time to get a furnace checkup. You’re going to want to have the peace of mind regular HVAC maintenance can give you this winter season.

What Happens When Your Furnace Fails

It’s easy to take your heating and cooling systems for granted. When they work the way they are supposed to, your home or business is comfortable – a pleasant place to work or relax. When they break down…that’s when you realize how much you depend on them. 

When your furnace fails, the air temperature in your home or business will slowly begin to equalize with the temperature outdoors. If it fails in October, you will be chilly until you can get a professional out to repair it. If it fails in January, you’re going to get very cold, and you may have to find somewhere else to sleep or stay until it’s fixed. The average high temperature in Alpena in Michigan is between 18°F and 26°F. A portable heater or two is not going to keep you and your family warm. 

An even more dangerous possibility with a furnace fail is a carbon monoxide leak. This can result in symptoms such as lethargy, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. In the middle of winter, no one has the windows open to let in fresh air, and carbon monoxide poisoning can be a real threat. 

The above reasons are why HVAC professionals recommend having your furnace inspected and maintained every fall. 

Benefits of a Furnace Checkup 

There are many benefits of having your furnace inspected and maintained. First and foremost, there’s the safety aspect. A blocked vent or a cracked heat exchanger can cause a carbon monoxide leak. Prolonged exposure to sub-zero temperature can also cause health problems, particularly for medically fragile people, older people, and young children. 

Secondly, having maintenance performed on your system regularly will save you from more costly repairs. A smaller mechanical issue that goes unfixed can lead to larger, more expensive repairs down the line. Regular maintenance can reduce the risk of furnace breakdown by up to 95%. A furnace is an investment in your own comfort. It’s not a cheap piece of machinery. If you can add to its lifespan by performing annual service, it will save you money overall. 

A furnace that operates efficiently will also lower your utility bills. The more build up your furnace has, the harder it has to work to do its job. In an era of rising energy costs, you want to keep those costs down in any way that you can. Who doesn’t want to save money?

If you neglect your furnace maintenance, you are courting problems. Michigan has long winters, and your furnace is your friend. Take good care of it, and it will perform well and keep you warm and cozy for many years. If you are concerned about how reliable your furnace will be in the coming months, call Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating to schedule a furnace checkup. We will be happy to take care of any of your HVAC needs.