FAQ - Arlington Plumbing Heating & Cooling
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Heating FAQs:

For optimal performance and longevity of your heating system, it's generally recommended to schedule maintenance once a year. Ideally, you should have a professional HVAC technician inspect and service your heating system before the start of the heating season, which is typically in the fall.

Regular annual maintenance helps ensure that your heating system operates efficiently, reduces the risk of breakdowns, and identifies any potential issues early on. During the maintenance visit, the technician will clean and inspect components, lubricate moving parts, check for leaks, test safety controls, and make any necessary adjustments.

However, if your heating system is a part of a larger HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), you might consider scheduling maintenance twice a year - once before the heating season and once before the cooling season - to cover all aspects of your system's functionality.

Remember, the frequency of maintenance may vary based on the type of heating system you have, its age, usage, and manufacturer recommendations. Always refer to your system's user manual or consult with a professional HVAC technician for personalized guidance.

Several common signs can indicate that your heating system might need repairs:

  • Insufficient Heating: If your home isn't reaching the desired temperature despite your heating system running, there could be a problem with its efficiency or components.
  • Strange Noises: Unusual sounds such as grinding, banging, rattling, or squealing can indicate mechanical issues or worn-out parts within the heating system.
  • Increased Energy Bills: A sudden and unexplained spike in your energy bills may point to an inefficient or malfunctioning heating system.
  • Uneven Heating: If some rooms in your home are significantly colder than others, it could signal issues with your heating system's distribution or airflow.
  • Frequent Cycling: If your heating system is turning on and off too frequently, it may be struggling to maintain the desired temperature, indicating a potential problem.
  • Poor Air Quality: Dust, odors, or poor indoor air quality when your heating system is running might indicate a need for maintenance or repairs.
  • Delayed Startup: If your heating system takes longer than usual to start or doesn't start at all, there could be an issue with the ignition or thermostat.
  • Unresponsive Thermostat: If your thermostat isn't responding correctly or isn't accurately controlling the temperature, it might need recalibration or replacement.
  • Pilot Light Problems: For gas-powered systems, a constantly flickering or yellow pilot light can indicate a gas flow or combustion issue.
  • Visible Leaks: Any signs of water, gas, or oil leaks around your heating system should be addressed immediately by a professional.

If you notice any of these signs, it's advisable to contact a qualified HVAC technician to diagnose and address the issue. Prompt repairs can help prevent further damage, improve efficiency, and ensure your heating system's safe operation.

A furnace and a heat pump are two different types of heating systems, each with its own characteristics and functions:

Furnace: A furnace is a heating system that generates heat by burning fuel (such as natural gas, propane, or oil) or through electric resistance. The heat produced is then distributed throughout your home using a network of ducts and vents. Furnaces are commonly found in colder climates and are known for providing quick and consistent heat. They can also be paired with air conditioning systems to provide both heating and cooling.

Heat Pump: A heat pump, on the other hand, is a heating and cooling system that moves heat from one place to another. It can work in two modes: heating and cooling. In heating mode, the heat pump extracts heat from the outdoor air (even in cold temperatures) and transfers it indoors to warm your home. In cooling mode, the process is reversed to cool your home. Heat pumps are energy-efficient and can provide both heating and cooling, making them a versatile option for moderate climates.

Key Differences:

  • Heat Source: Furnaces generate heat by burning fuel or using electric resistance, while heat pumps transfer heat from the outdoor air (or ground) to heat or cool your home.
  • Efficiency: Heat pumps are generally more energy-efficient, as they move existing heat rather than generating it from scratch. However, their efficiency can decrease in extremely cold climates.
  • Function: Furnaces provide heating only, while heat pumps offer both heating and cooling capabilities.
  • Climate Suitability: Furnaces are better suited for colder climates where heating demands are higher. Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates, as their efficiency can drop in very cold temperatures.
  • Installation and Ductwork: Furnaces require ductwork for distribution, which can impact installation complexity and cost. Heat pumps can use existing ducts or operate as ductless systems.
  • Initial Cost: Heat pumps can have a higher upfront cost due to their advanced technology, while furnaces are typically more affordable to install.
  • Operating Costs: Heat pumps generally have lower operating costs, as they rely on electricity and are more energy-efficient. Furnaces' operating costs can be higher, especially if using oil or propane.

When choosing between a furnace and a heat pump, consider factors such as your climate, energy costs, budget, and existing infrastructure. Consulting with an HVAC professional can help you determine the best heating solution for your specific needs.

Cooling FAQs:

Improving the efficiency of your air conditioning system can lead to lower energy bills, extended equipment lifespan, and a more comfortable indoor environment. Here are some tips to enhance your AC system's efficiency:

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule annual professional maintenance for your AC system. This includes cleaning coils, checking refrigerant levels, inspecting components, and ensuring optimal performance.
  • Clean or Replace Filters: Dirty filters restrict airflow and make your AC work harder. Clean or replace filters every 1-3 months, depending on usage.
  • Seal and Insulate: Ensure your home is well-insulated and sealed to prevent cool air from escaping and warm air from entering. This reduces the workload on your AC.
  • Programmable Thermostat: Use a programmable thermostat to adjust temperatures based on your schedule, allowing your AC to run less when you're not home.
  • Keep Registers Clear: Ensure that air registers and vents are not blocked by furniture or other obstructions, which can impede airflow.
  • Use Fans Wisely: Ceiling fans can help circulate cool air and make you feel more comfortable. Turn them off when you leave the room to save energy.
  • Shade and Reflect: Block direct sunlight with blinds or shades during the hottest parts of the day. Reflective window films can also help reduce heat gain.
  • Cook and Shower Strategically: Use heat-producing appliances like ovens and dryers during cooler parts of the day. Run exhaust fans when cooking or showering to remove heat and humidity.
  • Regularly Clean Condenser Coils: Keep the outdoor unit's condenser coils clean from dirt and debris, as dirty coils reduce cooling efficiency.
  • Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Equipment: If your AC is old and inefficient, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model with a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating.
  • Use Zoning: If possible, install a zoning system that allows you to cool specific areas of your home, reducing the workload on your AC.
  • Avoid Heat-Producing Activities: Limit the use of heat-generating appliances, like stoves and dryers, during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Close Curtains at Night: Closing curtains or blinds at night can help trap cool air indoors and block heat loss.
  • Ventilate Attics and Roofs: Proper attic ventilation prevents heat buildup that can affect your home's overall temperature.

By implementing these practices, you can significantly enhance your air conditioning system's efficiency and create a more comfortable and energy-efficient indoor environment.

The ideal temperature setting for your air conditioner during the summer can vary based on personal comfort preferences, energy efficiency goals, and the climate in your area. However, a recommended starting point is to set your thermostat to around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius) when you're at home and need cooling. Here's a general guideline:

When You're Home: Set your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius) or higher. This temperature provides a balance between comfort and energy efficiency. If you find this too warm, consider using ceiling fans or wearing lightweight clothing to stay comfortable.

When You're Away: When you're not at home or during nighttime hours, consider setting your thermostat a few degrees higher. This reduces energy consumption while maintaining a level of comfort. Many people find that setting the temperature up by 7 to 10 degrees when they're away is effective.

Keep in mind that the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures affects your energy consumption. The smaller the difference, the lower your cooling costs. Each degree you set your thermostat below 78 degrees increases your energy usage.

Additionally, if you have a programmable thermostat, you can create a schedule that automatically adjusts the temperature based on your daily routine. For example, you can set the temperature higher when you're at work and lower it before you return home.

Ultimately, finding the right temperature setting depends on your personal preferences, so feel free to make adjustments until you find a balance between comfort and energy savings that works for you.

If your air conditioner is making unusual noises, it's important to address the issue promptly to prevent potential damage and ensure the system's efficient operation. Here's what you should do:

  • Turn Off the System: If you notice unusual noises coming from your air conditioner, the first step is to turn off the system. This can help prevent further damage and allow you to investigate without the risk of worsening the problem.
  • Identify the Noise: Try to identify the type of noise your air conditioner is making. Is it a grinding, banging, rattling, hissing, or squealing sound? Different noises can indicate different issues.
  • Check for Obstructions: Examine the area around the air conditioner's outdoor unit (condenser) and indoor unit (evaporator) to ensure there are no debris, leaves, or other obstructions that could be causing the noise.
  • Inspect the Fan and Blower: Open the access panel to the indoor unit and inspect the fan and blower components. Look for loose or damaged parts, debris, or any signs of wear.
  • Check for Refrigerant Leaks: Hissing or bubbling noises could indicate a refrigerant leak. If you suspect a leak, it's essential to call a professional technician to address the issue.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Some noises may be caused by friction between moving parts. Lubricate any components that require it according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Tighten Loose Screws: Check for any loose screws, bolts, or fasteners in the unit. Tighten them carefully, but do not overtighten.
  • Inspect the Condenser Coil: If the noise is coming from the outdoor unit, inspect the condenser coil for damage or debris. Bent fins or damage to the coil can impact the system's performance and generate noise.
  • Call our Professional: If you're unable to identify or fix the source of the unusual noise, it's recommended to contact a licensed HVAC technician from Arlington PHC. They have the expertise to diagnose the problem accurately and make necessary repairs.

Unusual noises from your air conditioner should not be ignored, as they could be indicative of underlying issues that might worsen over time. It's always safer to have a professional technician assess and address the problem to ensure the proper functioning of your cooling system.


HVAC stands for "Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning." It encompasses the technology, systems, and equipment used to control and maintain indoor environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, and air quality, in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Here's what each component of HVAC entails:

  • Heating (H): Heating systems provide warmth to indoor spaces during colder months. Common heating methods include furnaces (using gas, oil, or electric resistance), heat pumps (which move heat from one place to another), boilers (using hot water or steam), and radiant heating systems.
  • Ventilation (V): Ventilation involves the exchange of indoor and outdoor air to maintain adequate indoor air quality. Proper ventilation helps remove pollutants, odors, and excess moisture, and ensures a continuous supply of fresh air. Ventilation systems can include exhaust fans, supply air fans, air filters, and air exchange systems.
  • Air Conditioning (AC): Air conditioning systems cool indoor spaces by removing heat and humidity from the air. Central air conditioning units, split systems, window units, and ductless mini-split systems are common types of AC systems. Some AC units also have the capability to provide heating during colder periods.

Together, these components work in harmony to create a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. HVAC systems are designed to maintain a balance between temperature, humidity, and air quality, providing comfort for occupants and helping to preserve the integrity of building structures and contents.

Modern HVAC systems often include advanced features such as programmable thermostats, zoning controls, energy-efficient technologies, and smart home integration, allowing users to customize their indoor environments for optimal comfort and efficiency. Regular maintenance and proper operation of HVAC systems are essential to ensure efficient performance, energy savings, and a healthy indoor living or working environment.

The frequency of changing air filters in your HVAC system depends on several factors, including the type of filter you're using, the air quality in your area, and your system's usage. However, as a general guideline:

  • Standard Filters (1" - 3" thick): These filters typically need to be replaced every 1 to 3 months. If you have pets, allergies, or live in an area with high levels of dust or pollen, you may need to change them more frequently, possibly every month.
  • Pleated Filters (1" - 3" thick): Pleated filters are more efficient at capturing particles and may last longer than standard filters. They usually require replacement every 3 to 6 months.
  • High-Efficiency Filters (HEPA, Electrostatic, etc.): These filters can last anywhere from 6 to 10 months or even longer, depending on the manufacturer's recommendations and your specific circumstances.
  • Uneven Heating: If some rooms in your home are significantly colder than others, it could signal issues with your heating system's distribution or airflow.
  • Reusable Filters: Some filters can be washed and reused. Check the manufacturer's instructions for recommended cleaning intervals.

Regularly changing your air filters is crucial for maintaining optimal HVAC system performance and indoor air quality. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow, strain your system, reduce efficiency, and even lead to system malfunctions. It also affects indoor air quality by allowing dust, allergens, and pollutants to circulate through your home.

To determine the ideal filter replacement schedule for your HVAC system, consider the following factors:

Manufacturer's Recommendations: Refer to your HVAC system's user manual or the filter manufacturer's guidelines for recommended replacement intervals.

Allergies and Pets: If you have allergies or pets, consider changing filters more frequently to maintain better indoor air quality.

Home Environment: If your home is prone to dust, pollen, or other airborne particles, you may need to change filters more often.

Seasonal Changes: Consider changing filters at the beginning of each heating and cooling season to ensure optimal performance.

Regularly checking and changing your air filters is a simple but effective way to improve HVAC system efficiency, extend its lifespan, and ensure cleaner, healthier indoor air.

Having a programmable thermostat for your HVAC system offers several benefits that can enhance your comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency. Here are some key advantages:

Energy Savings: Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperature settings for various times of the day or week. This feature helps you avoid excessive heating or cooling when it's not needed, leading to significant energy savings and lower utility bills.

Customizable Schedule: You can create a customized heating and cooling schedule that aligns with your daily routine. For example, you can program the thermostat to reduce energy usage while you're at work or sleeping and increase comfort during your active hours.

Gas FAQs:

Detecting a gas leak in your home is crucial for your safety. Gas leaks, particularly those involving natural gas or propane, can be hazardous and potentially lead to fires or explosions. If you suspect a gas leak, follow these steps:

  • Smell: Use Your Sense of Smell Natural gas and propane are odorless, but utility companies add a distinctive odor (similar to rotten eggs) to make leaks detectable. If you detect an unusual, strong odor, it could be a sign of a gas leak.
  • Listen: Pay Attention to Hissing Sounds Sometimes, a gas leak can produce a hissing or whistling sound. If you hear such sounds near a gas appliance, gas line, or meter, it's important to investigate further.
  • Check Pilot Lights: If the flame on your gas stove, water heater, or other gas appliances suddenly goes out, it could indicate a gas leak.
  • Look for Physical Signs: Check for any unusual signs, such as:
    Dead plants or vegetation near a gas line.
    Dust or debris blowing near a gas line.
    White cloud or mist near a gas line.
  • Use a Gas Leak Detector: Gas leak detectors are devices designed to detect the presence of gas in the air. They can be a useful tool in identifying leaks, especially if you're unsure about other signs.
  • Do NOT Use Flames or Electrical Devices: If you suspect a gas leak, avoid using open flames, turning on lights, using electrical switches, or operating any device that could create a spark, as it could ignite the gas.
  • Open Windows and Doors: If you suspect a gas leak, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate and help disperse the gas.
  • Evacuate and Call for Help: If you are certain there's a gas leak, leave your home immediately, taking everyone with you. Once outside, call your local gas company's emergency number or your local fire department. They will be able to assess the situation and safely address the issue.

It's important to act quickly and prioritize safety if you suspect a gas leak. Prevention is key, so it's recommended to have your gas appliances, lines, and connections regularly inspected by qualified professionals to ensure their proper functioning and safety.

Using gas appliances comes with the responsibility of following safety precautions to ensure your well-being and that of your household. Here are important safety measures to take when using gas appliances:

  • Proper Installation and Maintenance: Ensure that gas appliances are installed and maintained by qualified professionals who follow local building codes and safety standards. Regular maintenance helps prevent issues and ensures efficient and safe operation.
  • Read the Manuals: Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer's instructions and user manuals for each gas appliance. Follow the recommended usage, maintenance, and safety guidelines.
  • Ventilation: Gas appliances require proper ventilation to ensure the safe release of combustion byproducts. Ensure that vents, flues, and chimneys are clean, unobstructed, and functioning correctly.
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection: Install carbon monoxide detectors near gas appliances and sleeping areas. CO is odorless and colorless, making detection challenging without a reliable detector.
  • Gas Leaks: Be vigilant for signs of gas leaks, such as hissing sounds, unusual odors, or dead plants around gas lines. If you suspect a gas leak, evacuate your home, call your gas company or fire department, and do not use open flames or electrical devices.
  • Appliance Placement: Keep gas appliances away from flammable materials, curtains, and combustible items. Ensure proper clearance around appliances to prevent overheating.
  • Cooking Safety: When using gas stoves, turn pot handles inward to prevent accidental spills, and supervise cooking at all times. Keep flammable items away from burners.
  • Flame Observation: Monitor the flame on gas stoves and water heaters. A blue flame indicates proper combustion, while a yellow or orange flame could signify a problem. Seek professional assistance if you notice irregularities.
  • Unattended Appliances: Avoid leaving gas appliances unattended, especially if they are operating or if there is an open flame.
  • Fire Safety: Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and other areas with gas appliances. Regularly inspect and maintain fire extinguishers according to manufacturer guidelines.
  • Children and Pets: Educate children about gas appliance safety and the importance of not playing with knobs or controls. Keep pets away from gas appliances to prevent accidents.
  • Secure Connections: Ensure that gas connections are secure and tight. Avoid using excessive force when connecting or disconnecting gas lines.
  • Professional Inspection: Have a qualified technician inspect your gas appliances regularly to identify and address any potential issues.
  • Emergency Preparation: Familiarize yourself with the location of gas shut-off valves in case of emergencies. Teach family members how to turn off the gas supply if needed.

By following these safety precautions and guidelines, you can minimize risks and enjoy the benefits of your gas appliances while ensuring the safety of your home and loved ones.

Gas line installation involves planning, obtaining permits, trenching (if needed), pipe installation, pressure testing, inspections, and connecting appliances.

  • Do I need a professional for gas line installation?

    Yes, it's essential to hire a licensed and experienced plumber or gas fitter to ensure proper installation and safety compliance.

  • How do I know if I have a gas leak?

    Signs of a gas leak include a strong odor (like rotten eggs), hissing sounds, dead vegetation, or sudden increases in gas bills.

  • What should I do if I suspect a gas leak?

    Leave the area immediately, avoid using any devices that could cause sparks, and call your gas company or emergency services.

  • How often should gas lines be inspected? Regular inspection intervals vary, but an annual inspection is recommended to ensure gas line safety and detect potential issues early.
  • Can I repair a gas leak myself?

    No, gas leaks should only be addressed by qualified professionals due to the risks involved.

  • How is a gas leak repaired?

    Gas leaks are repaired by identifying the source, isolating the affected section, replacing damaged parts, and retesting the system for safety.

  • What materials are used for gas line installation?

    Common materials include steel, copper, and flexible gas piping. The choice depends on factors like local codes and the specific application.

  • Can I add more appliances to an existing gas line?

    Adding appliances may require increasing the gas supply, which should be done by a professional to ensure adequate pressure and safety.

  • What safety precautions are taken during gas line installation?

    Safety precautions include proper ventilation, pressure testing for leaks, using approved materials, securing pipes, and following local codes.

  • How can I prevent gas leaks in the future?

    Regular maintenance, professional inspections, and being vigilant for signs of gas leaks can help prevent issues.

  • Can gas lines be relocated or extended?

    Yes, gas lines can be relocated or extended, but it requires professional expertise to ensure safety and compliance.

  • Is there a warranty for gas line installation or repair?

    Reputable professionals often provide warranties for their work. It's essential to discuss this with your chosen service provider.

Remember, gas-related work should always be handled by licensed professionals to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. If you have specific concerns or questions about gas line installation or repair, it's best to consult with a qualified professional in your area.

Plumbing FAQs:

Preventing plumbing leaks and water damage requires a combination of proactive maintenance, vigilance, and adopting good habits. Here are some effective steps to help you prevent plumbing leaks and minimize the risk of water damage in your home:

  • Regular Inspection: Routinely inspect your plumbing fixtures, pipes, and connections for signs of leaks, corrosion, or deterioration.
  • Check Appliance Connections: Regularly inspect the connections to appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters. Look for signs of wear or leaks.
  • Monitor Water Pressure: High water pressure can strain pipes and increase the risk of leaks. Use a pressure gauge to monitor water pressure and consider installing a pressure regulator if needed.
  • Address Leaks Promptly: If you discover even a small leak, address it immediately to prevent it from worsening and causing water damage.
  • Winterize Pipes: In colder climates, insulate exposed pipes and disconnect outdoor hoses before winter to prevent freezing and bursting.
  • Do NOT Use Flames or Electrical Devices: If you suspect a gas leak, avoid using open flames, turning on lights, using electrical switches, or operating any device that could create a spark, as it could ignite the gas.
  • Proper Use of Drains: Avoid pouring grease, food scraps, hair, and other debris down drains, as they can cause clogs that may lead to leaks or overflows.
  • Regularly Clean Drains: Use natural or commercially available drain cleaners to keep drains clear and prevent buildup that can lead to clogs.
  • Avoid Overloading Fixtures: Don't overload sinks, toilets, or drains with excessive amounts of paper, waste, or objects.
  • Mindful Landscaping: Be cautious when planting trees or shrubs near plumbing lines, as root growth can damage pipes.
  • Install a Water Leak Detection System: Consider installing water leak detection devices that can alert you to leaks and shut off water supply in case of a significant leak.
  • Upgrade Supply Lines: Use braided stainless steel or other durable supply lines for appliances and fixtures to reduce the risk of leaks.
  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule periodic professional plumbing inspections to identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.
  • Seal and Insulate: Seal gaps around plumbing pipes and insulate pipes in unheated areas to prevent condensation and potential leaks.
  • Be Cautious with DIY Repairs: While DIY repairs can be helpful, be cautious not to inadvertently cause damage or worsen existing issues.
  • Know the Location of Shut-Off Valves: Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves for individual fixtures and for the entire water supply to your home.

By taking these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of plumbing leaks and water damage in your home, providing you with peace of mind and saving you from potentially costly repairs.

In case of a clogged drain, you can take several steps to address the issue and potentially clear the blockage. Here's what you should do:

  • Use a Plunger: Plungers can be effective for clearing minor clogs in sinks, toilets, and tubs. Ensure there's enough water to cover the plunger's cup and create a seal, then vigorously plunge several times.
  • Boiling Water:
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