A Brief Guide to Heat Pumps

Frequently Asked Questions About Heat Pumps

When installing a new HVAC system, homeowners have several different options to choose from. The choice can be challenging with the variety of air conditioning and heating systems on the market. But one type of system is becoming increasingly popular for its energy efficiency and other appealing advantages over other systems – the heat pump.

However, many homeowners are unsure what heat pumps are and what makes them different from other heating and cooling systems. This article will lay out everything homeowners need to know about heat pumps, from how they work and the benefits they provide to how homeowners can tell when their heat pump is malfunctioning.

What Is a Heat Pump – And How Does It Work?

heat pump system A heat pump is a type of heating and cooling system that extracts heat energy from the surrounding environment and amplifies it to heat a home rather than producing heat outright from fuel or electricity. A heat pump can also use this process in reverse to extract heat from the indoor air, cooling the home. For this reason, a heat pump can serve as both a heater and an air conditioner.

There are three main types of heat pumps, which collect heat from different sources outdoors. An air-source heat pump transfers heat between the inside of a home and the outside air and is the most common type of heat pump. A water source heat pump uses water instead, and a geothermal heat pump uses the ground outside to collect heat. 

What Are the Advantages of a Heat Pump System?

One of the biggest benefits of installing a heat pump system is its energy efficiency. Traditional heaters and furnaces use gas, oil, or electrical resistance to generate heat, which can consume a lot of energy. Since heat pumps pull existing heat energy from the air or other sources and use less electricity, they can save homeowners money on utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat pumps can reduce electricity use for heating by around 50% compared to electric resistance heating systems like furnaces or baseboard heaters.

But the heat pump benefits don’t stop there. Since a heat pump system can handle the home’s heating and cooling needs, homeowners won’t need to install a separate heater and air conditioner. The U.S. government even offers tax incentives and rebates for qualified homeowners who get heat pump installation due to their energy efficiency!

What Are the Signs a Heat Pump Needs Repairs?

energy billOnce homeowners have upgraded to a heat pump, the next step (aside from enjoying the comfort and lower energy bills it provides) is to take good care of the system. That means keeping up with regular maintenance and knowing how to spot signs of trouble when they arise. Here are a few indicators that heat pump repair may be needed:

  • Little to no air coming out of the vents
  • The home isn’t getting warm enough (in the winter) or cold enough (in the summer)
  • The system is short-cycling (running for a short time and then switching off)
  • The system runs constantly or switches off only for brief periods
  • Strange sounds coming from the unit, such as rattling, banging, grinding, scraping, screeching, or rumbling
  • Strange smells coming from the air vents (musty smells, burning smells, etc.)
  • Spike in energy bills without explanation

Any of these issues can indicate a variety of problems with the system. In some cases, it may just need a tune-up, but heat pump repair may be necessary for others. Regardless, catching issues as early as possible will help prevent them from spiraling into larger problems that require more costly repairs. So, if homeowners notice any of these signs, they should call their local HVAC company immediately.

About RCL Mechanical

RCL Mechanical is a locally owned and operated plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company serving Taunton and the surrounding areas. They offer flat-rate prices, financing, and prompt arrivals. Call them today for heat pump services in Taunton, MA.  

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Common Causes of Burst Pipes and Tips to Help Prevent Them

How to Help Avoid Some Common Causes of Burst Pipes 

Burst pipes can wreak havoc on a home. Common areas can get flooded, and property can get damaged. But what’s a homeowner to do? Are these issues inevitable? 

Not quite. There are many things homeowners can do to help prevent the common causes of burst pipes from costing them time, money, and frustration. Here in this mini-guide, homeowners can learn how to protect their homes from severe water damage and other inconveniences of a burst pipe by preventing their causes. 

Tips to Avoid Clogged Pipes 

clogHomeowners should watch for the warning signs of clogs to get them cleared as soon as possible so they don’t lead to a burst pipe. This includes changes in water pressure, slow draining, and foul odors emitting from the drain. Aside from being vigilant, homeowners can also help prevent clogs by: 

  • Schedule regular maintenance visits: Homeowners should consult plumbers around once a year to have their plumbing systems inspected. A plumber can check for clogs and risk factors for clogs. 
  • Get mesh drain screens: These items cost less than ten dollars and go a long way in preventing clogs. They prevent food residue, hair, and other things from entering the drain and causing clogs. 
  • Routine drain cleaning: Plumbers may use methods like hydro jet drain cleaning to blast through hard-to-reach clogs and clean the inside of pipes to prevent clogs from forming. 
  • Be careful what goes down the drain: People should only flush toilet paper down the home’s toilets and prevent cooking grease, oil, and most food waste from going down the drain, even ones with garbage disposals. 

Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes 

The best way to prevent frozen pipes, another common cause of burst pipes, is to winterize the home before the seasons change. This means insulating any exposed pipes or checking the condition of existing pipe insulation to ensure it doesn’t need to be replaced. There are many types of insulation for lines, like rubber, foam, or another material that retains heat. 

Some other ways to help prevent pipes from freezing include: 

  • Leave interior doors and cabinets open to allow warm air to circulate.
  • Disconnect the garden hose, close any shut-off valves serving the outside tap, and open the outside tap to drain the line. 
  • Find and seal any cracks or air leaks in the home that let cold air in. 
  • Keep the home warm enough to prevent freezing with a consistent temperature. 

Methods for Stopping Decay and Corrosion 

corrosionDecay, rust, and corrosion can threaten a pipe’s structural integrity and cause them to burst. Corrosion essentially eats away at a line, making it more likely to burst or start leaking. Thankfully, there are ways to help prevent this from happening. Some considerations include: 

  • Install corrosion-resistant pipes: Certain pipe materials don’t rust or corrode. A plumber may suggest replacing or lining pipes with these materials. 
  • Apply protective coatings: Plumbers could spray a protective coating or line pipes to avoid rust and decay. 
  • Avoid chemical drain cleaners: Many store-bought drain cleaners contain chemicals that can hurt plumbing systems and lead to corrosion and rust. 

About RCL Mechanical 

RCL Mechanical is a locally owned and operated company serving Taunton and the surrounding areas. They offer flat-rate pricing, a beneficial membership plan, and the latest technology. Call them today for plumbing services in Taunton, MA

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Air Duct Essentials: Everything You Need to Know About Your Home's Ductwork

Understanding When Air Ducts Need Service

Air ducts are an essential component of any home’s central air conditioning and heating system. While the HVAC unit itself is responsible for heating or cooling indoor air, it cannot complete its purpose without the air ducts, which deliver the temperature-regulated air all throughout the house in order to maximize comfort. However, there will be times when the ductwork needs professional attention, such as air duct repair, replacement, or cleaning. This post will discuss some vital information for homeowners to know to help them know when their air ducts need service

When Is It Time to Replace the Ductwork?

replacementAir ducts are sturdy equipment built to last for at least the better part of 2 decades. With a life span of up to 25 years, most ductwork can withstand the ups and downs of life and the many changes in seasons without requiring a complete overhaul. However, most air ducts can start to experience issues at around 15 years old. 

At the very least, homeowners can expect to not need air duct replacement until year 15. Right around this time, the wear and tear of daily use can start to show and become more apparent as older ductwork may increasingly need more frequent air duct repair, which indicates duct replacement may be necessary. A professional can assess the condition of the air ducts to determine whether repair or replacement is beneficial. 

Signs of Damaged Air Ducts in Need of Repair

While air ducts have a long life expectancy, ductwork can become damaged and require repair. One of the most common signs of damaged air ducts in need of duct repair is high energy bills resulting from inefficient operation. The ductwork in need of repair can also cause uneven temperatures in different rooms or areas in the house, poor airflow, dirty air vents, strange noises from the ductwork, and more frequent allergic reactions. 

All of these signs, especially if more than one is evident, could point to damaged ductwork, in which case, homeowners should contact a professional to inspect the air ducts for the issue and perform the appropriate air duct repairs to fix it. Once the problem is fixed, the sign that had alerted homeowners to the issue should go away. 

How to Tell if the Ductwork Is Dirty

ductLike all things at home, ductwork does get dirty and can benefit from air duct cleaning when needed. But with the air ducts tucked away and out of sight, how can homeowners know they are already dirty and need duct cleaning? There are also signs that can alert homeowners to this issue. 

Some signs of dirty ducts are if the air vents or ducts are dirty and covered in dust or mold, and musty smells and foul odors from the ducts and vents. Additionally, worsening allergy symptoms can indicate duct cleaning may be needed. If air filters clog with dust and debris earlier than usual or when recommended to be replaced, this can also signal that the air ducts are dirty and need cleaning.   

About RCL Mechanical

RCL Mechanical is a locally owned and operated plumbing, AC, and heating business serving Taunton and the surrounding areas. They offer flat rate pricing, on-time service, and the latest technology. Call them today for air duct services in Taunton, MA

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Protect Homes From Flooding With a Sump Pump

What Is a Sump Pump and Why Is It Important?

A sump pump is designed to protect the home from water damage and flooding. By transferring water from low elevations to the outdoors, this device removes excess water before significant damage can occur. This post will discuss sump pumps, the different kinds of sump pumps, and their benefits.  

How Does a Sump Pump Remove Water?

pumpA sump pump is typically installed inside crawl spaces, underground basements, or another low point of the home. Part of the installation includes a sump pump basin or pit where water will collect. Sump pumps are installed in these pits and are designed to direct water away from the home. Sump pits are usually two feet deep and 18 inches wide to hold enough water from inclement weather. 

Once water has found its way into the sump pump pit, the pump directs the moisture away from the home. A one-way valve keeps the water from flowing back into the pit once it is funneled into a remote location or drain. This prevents the basement or crawl space from flooding and costly water damage. A sump pump is essential for areas that experience snowfall and heavy rain and are prone to flooding. 

Which Sump Pump Is Best?

There are several types of sump pumps. While they work differently, all sump pumps have the same primary goal: defending the home against water. Submersible sump pumps include both the pump and the motor in one system. The device is submerged inside a sump pump basin and is often quieter than other types of pumps. Although they are less likely to clog, water submersion may reduce their life expectancy. For areas with significant rainfall, submersible sump pumps are ideal for their effectiveness. 

Pedestal sump pumps have a long life span and are easily accessible for maintenance since the motor rests over the basin. This sump pump directs excess water through the hose and into the drainage area to keep water out of the home. Although it may be noisier than the submersible units, it is reliable and easy to repair.

A battery backup sump pump is used for extra protection. This device will work during heavy storms even if the power goes out. The sump pump float switch is vital because as the water rises, the switch can be triggered regardless of home electricity. Water-powered backup sump pumps rely on increased water pressure. These devices do not require batteries and are considered low maintenance. Water bills may increase since extra water is necessary to run this backup. 

A combination sump pump combines both a primary and backup battery pump. Instead of using a sump pump that relies solely on battery power, a combination pump allows the battery to turn on only after the home electricity has shut off. Depending on the unit, some of these pumps have performance apps with diagnostic statistics available. 

The Benefits of Flood Defense Systems 

benefitsInstalling a sump pump system in the home is the first line of defense when it comes to flooding. Regardless of the type of sump pump, these devices can save homeowners significantly on home repair costs. Sump pumps help prevent flooding, water damage, structural integrity and foundation problems, mold growth, high humidity, and poor indoor air quality.

By installing a sump pump, indoor air quality in the home can be improved by helping to keep humidity levels low, the risk of mold and mildew growth is reduced, and it prevents flooding, water damage, and the associated costs. With all the advantages they provide, installing a sump pump is a no-brainer and an excellent form of protection for the home.

About RCL Mechanical 

RCL Mechanical is a locally-owned and operated business serving Taunton, MA, and the surrounding communities. They provide flat-rate prices, financing, and the latest technology. Call them today for sump pump services in Taunton, MA.

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Three Signs That It's Time for Air Conditioner Replacement

Warning Signs It May Be Time for a New AC 

With summer's arrival, the biggest season for the air conditioner is about to begin, and in many homes, the air conditioner may fail to keep up. When that happens, it may be time to install a new air conditioner. Here are three signs that AC replacement may be necessary to stay comfortable through the summer. 

Unusual Noises and Bad Smells 

smellStrange noises and bad smells from an AC unit can signal that it's time to replace or repair the system. Some noises that may be heard include loud rattling, banging, screeching, humming, or grinding. These sounds could indicate many issues, such as misaligned parts, mechanical problems, or a broken fan motor. 

Foul smells coming from the AC unit can also indicate potential problems. Musty smells can indicate mold and burning odors can indicate electrical problems. If someone notices any of these symptoms, it’s important to call an AC professional to diagnose the issue and determine whether repair or replacement is needed.

High Energy Bills 

billIf homeowners notice energy bills going up and it's not due to a change in AC usage, it could be time for AC replacement. Air conditioning systems can become less energy-efficient over time, resulting in higher energy bills. Inefficiency due to old age can indicate replacement is needed, but the lost efficiency could also be from a malfunctioning component of the air conditioner that may require repair or replacement. 

AC replacement can reset the clock and even improve it when it comes to energy efficiency. In addition to getting back lost cooling power and efficiency, homeowners can also choose to install more energy-efficient cooling systems that can save additional money over time. 

Inadequate Airflow 

Another problem indicating replacement may be needed is a loss of airflow from the air conditioner. Many issues can cause airflow issues, including leaking ductwork, clogged filters, broken blowers, etc. It’s essential to have the cause determined by a professional HVAC contractor.  

If hot or cold spots and airflow around the home are a problem, repairs may be sufficient enough to restore cooling power, or replacement may be needed. Consult with professionals once issues are noticed to determine whether now is the right time to replace the air conditioner. A new air conditioner will save money on bills and restore comfort by providing sufficient airflow. 

About RCL Mechanical

RCL Mechanical is a locally-owned and operated business serving Taunton, MA, and the surrounding areas. They offer flat rate pricing, the latest technology, and a satisfaction guarantee. Call them today for AC installation and replacement in Taunton, MA.