How Arizona summer impacts your plumbing

When most people think about the weather damaging their plumbing, they picture freezing pipes in the winter. Surprisingly, summer impacts your plumbing, too. This is a big issue in states, like Arizona, where the summer months are blistering hot!

Clogged Toilets

While you can’t blame the triple-digit temperature for your clogged toilets, there are reasons plumbers see more toilet trouble during the summer. With the kids out of school and summer BBQ season in full effect, your toilets are getting more use.

Remind children about what can go down the toilet as well as to be aware of how much toilet paper they’re using. Make sure all of your toilets are in working order before you host your next party. If you end up with a clog that’s no match for the plunger, it may be time to call in the professionals.

Expanding Pipes

As the temperature climbs, your house, including your pipes, expand a little. Oppositely, in the winter everything contracts slightly. Most pipes can go through this annual routine without any damage. However, if you hear rattling or banging coming from your walls, you’ll want to call a plumber to look for any signs of damage. A little prevention can save a lot of time and money if you catch a problem before a pipe leaks or bursts.

Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can happen year round. Expanding tree roots or even slight foundation shifts are some more ways summer impacts your plumbing.

While your decades-old tree provides you with ample shade during your BBQs, its root system could be the cause of a leaky pipe below ground. Another way summer impacts your plumbing is by giving the roots a recipe for growth, sunshine combined with the monsoon rain. Eventually, roots can wrap around pipes causing cracks or fractures. This leads to low water pressure, leaks, and broken pipes.

As your home settles, it’s normal to have slight foundation shifts. However, if your home shifts too quickly it can create issues in your plumbing system. If your home inspector notices a major shift, repair your foundation first. Next, contact a trusted plumber to inspect your plumbing system for any cracked pipes or joint issues.

Ignoring a leaky pipe can turn into a much larger issue. From wall damage to mold, a little extra water can leave you with big headaches. If you suspect your home has leaky pipes, our plumbers are here to help.

Sun Damage

You may think of sun damage in regards to your skin, car’s paint, or even your pool chairs. However, the sun impacts your exposed plumbing, too. Pipes that are left to bake in the summer heat can crack, break, or even burst. While this problem usually takes years to happen, it’s a good idea to have a plumber inspect your exposed pipes and protect them before an issue arises.

Depending on the exposed pipes, your plumber will most likely add insulation or special water-based paint to protect them. This will help block the dangerous UV rays from the sun. One bonus of insulated pipes is more protection year-round, even when the temperature dips below freezing on a few chilly Arizona nights.

If the extreme summer impacts your plumbing system, call Forrest Anderson for an inspection or repair today.

5 tips before calling an air conditioner repair expert

Living in the Phoenix area, you know that when the thermostat starts climbing, it’s time to consider turning on the air conditioner before the paint begins melting off your living room walls. However, if your unit requires maintenance, the instant gratification of cool flowing air may be denied.

Not all air conditioner problems require professional assistance to keep your home comfortable. Here are five issues that may be going wrong, as well as tricks to try before calling an air conditioner repair expert.

Five Air Conditioner Issues and Tips

1. Blowing Hot Air

This is the last thing you want to have happen in the face of triple-digit Phoenix weather. The good news is that there’s a chance you have simply tripped a breaker. To fix that issue, all you need to do is reset it.

If resetting the breaker doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to bring in a professional air conditioner repair technician to find the root of the problem. You should never open up your air conditioning unit to see if you can fix the problem as this could cause serious injury.

2. Frozen Air Conditioning Coil

One of the primary problems consumers have with their air conditioning unit is a frozen coil. It’s also one of the easiest problems to fix. There are several reasons why your coil might be freezing, including restricted airflow, low refrigerant level, or broken components.

Turn off your AC and set the fan to auto to help melt the ice around the coil. Check to ensure that the filters are clean and empty of debris. If the problem continues, it’s time to call your air conditioning repair expert to inspect your unit.

3. Refrigerant Leak

If your air doesn’t feel as cold as it should, you may have a refrigerant leak. This is one of the more common service calls HVAC companies receive. In addition to the air not feeling as cold, you may hear a hissing sound or notice an increase in your electric bill when this problem is ignored.

Your air conditioning repair expert will be able to find and repair the leak in your AC unit. However, if there are multiple or major leaks, they may recommend replacing the refrigerant coil. Be aware that simply “topping off” your refrigerant will not solve the problem if you have a leak. Routine maintenance can help prevent minor issues from turning into costly replacements.

4. Short Cycling

Short cycling occurs when your AC unit starts and stops repeatedly every few minutes. The problem could be as simple as a bad thermostat, dirty filter, or a leak. For example, if your AC has always done this, a poorly placed thermostat could be the root of the problem. Be sure to check for clogged filters before calling an air conditioner repair expert.

5. Smelly Air

When your air conditioning unit starts blowing foul smells throughout your house, you need to get to the bottom of the problem right away. Stagnant water accumulating in your attic could cause a bacterial buildup. The resulting odor might be similar to the smell of urine or vinegar. With a regular service plan, your air conditioner repair expert will be able to help you keep your unit maintenance up to date and running as efficiently as possible.

Call the Air Conditioner Repair Experts

Don’t risk melting into a pile a goo when the temperature gets hot. If your air conditioner is giving you problems, contact Forrest Anderson for a free quote today.

What you should know about plumbing issues in older homes

Looking through magazines might convince you that purchasing a “fixer-upper” is the beginning of an amazing adventure. However, that doesn’t mean you should strap on your tool belt and dive in to your first project. Older homes often have secret charms and hidden problems. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting into until you’re in too far to stop. One of the major problems often involves plumbing issues in older homes.

Common Plumbing Issues in Older Homes

The plumbing issues in older homes tend to fall into two categories. The first is because today’s building codes are strict. This may mean that the material used when your dream home was built needs a substantial upgrade. The second factor can be found in decades of successive ownership, which likely led to many DIY fixes.

Galvanized Piping

Galvanized piping is common in homes built before the Kennedy Administration. Made from steel piping coated with layers of zinc, this was an improvement over the lead piping used during the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately, galvanized piping came with its own set of problems.

Corrosion is a concern with galvanized piping. It can impact your water pressure or negatively affect your water quality with discoloration from iron seeping into the water. Worse, old corroded galvanized pipes can allow traces of lead to leak through into your drinking water.

Polybutylene Piping

It’s hard to believe that the decade that brought shag carpet also brought something called polybutylene piping. Often used in homes built beginning in the mid-1970s, they remained popular throughout the 1990s due to the relatively low cost of the material.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. These new plumbing systems began to deteriorate due to the chemical pressure of how the piping reacts to oxidants that naturally exist in water molecules. The water damage caused by a failed plumbing system can lead to extensive damage to homes.

Former Owners

Plumbing doesn’t last forever. Over time, any type of pipe is subject to leaks or damage. During the lifetime of a home, there are probably times when former homeowners tried to get “creative” with failing plumbing systems to save a few bucks. Needless to say, a patchwork of repairs will only increase the plumbing issues in older homes. A thorough home inspection can help you understand the state of your plumbing system before you take the plunge and purchase your dream home.

Call the Experts at Forrest Anderson for Plumbing Help

When you need professional help dealing with plumbing issues in older homes in the Phoenix area, contact Forrest Anderson. We explain what you can expect from the plumbing in your home. We also offer annual plumbing maintenance service contracts to help spot things before they become bigger (and messier) problems.

5 common HVAC problems in Scottsdale

While many Arizona residents live for the beautiful winter weather in the Valley of the Sun, most people are ready for a long vacation once the temperature starts to climb. Arizona is a beautiful state, but you must admit the desert heat is a challenge. Luckily, air conditioning helps people manage their comfort during the summer. If you have HVAC problems in Scottsdale, it can be an emergency.

HVAC Problems in the Valley of the Sun

There are a few common HVAC problems in Scottsdale. To name a few:

  1. AC “freezes up.” It’s hard to imagine anything being too cold in Arizona in August. However, a dirty evaporator coil can slow down airflow and make the temperature fall too low. This can lead to a thick crust of ice forming over the evaporator coils and cause your AC to freeze up. There are several causes and it should be inspected and repaired by a technician as soon as possible.
  2. Broken fan belts. Air conditioners with blower fan belts are subject to breaking. Over time, the belts can come loose or begin to fray and rip. If your fan belt isn’t spinning, you have a problem. Warning signs might include a clanging or clicking noise. If you hear something unusual coming from your HVAC system, call for an inspection.
  3. Clogged filters. One item on your to-do list that can go a long way toward preventing HVAC problems in Scottsdale is to replace your filters regularly. You should replace disposable filters about once a month during the summer. Replace your filters again, about every other month the rest of the year. In addition to helping your HVAC run smoothly, replacing your filters can improve your indoor air quality.
  4. Damaged AC capacitor. During the summer, your AC probably turns on frequently. The capacitor is the part of your unit that stores energy and sends a jolt to start your AC. When your AC capacitor wears out, replacement is the only option. This will require a trained technician.
  5. Problematic AC condensate drain. This is a busy part of your HVAC system, especially in summer. The drain pan can rust and break, or your condensate drain line can overload. This problem will require professional replacement.

Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance

One of the easiest ways to prevent HVAC problems in Scottsdale is by signing up for a maintenance agreement. Forrest Anderson’s Comfort Club gives you the satisfaction of knowing your system is reliably maintained by certified professionals. As a Preferred Customer, your service orders will receive priority status and you’ll also enjoy a 15% discount off of all air conditioning and plumbing repair costs (discounts don’t apply to a new system purchase).

Being a part of the Comfort Club includes two inspections per year, one in the spring and the other in the fall. Your technician will inspect different aspects of your HVAC unit during each of the visits. After all, the best way to deal with HVAC problems in Scottsdale is by not letting them become a problem in the first place.

Your Local Resource for Plumbing and HVAC Problems in Scottsdale

Have you ever wondered why plumbing and HVAC companies are often combined? Clean air and clean water are a priority for good living. Indoor air pollutants can be a cause of allergies and illness. Forrest Anderson cares about your health and quality of life.

If you suspect you have HVAC problems in Scottsdale or other Phoenix-area communities, contact Forrest Anderson. We offer free quotes and flexible payment options when you need plumbing and HVAC repairs or replacements.

Handling a sump pump failure

Phoenix is warm and dry most of the year. However, there are times with excessive amounts of rain, during which crawl spaces or basements can flood. Even though most people living in Arizona may not think they need a sump pump, there are some homes that have them. They can be easy to take for granted until you have a sump pump failure.

You may need a sump pump if:

  • Your home has a basement.
  • Your home sits on a shallow water table. You can view the interactive map on the Arizona Department of Water Resources’ website to learn about your groundwater levels.
  • Your home is on a slope and has “negative grading.” This means that storm water may flow downward, toward your house. This can cause water damage if ignored.
  • The city sewer line is above the exit of the sewer for the property.

How a Sump Pump Works

The majority of homes in the United States experience below-ground wetness. Business properties may even have basements that can experience water collection. It doesn’t take much water to cause thousands of dollars in damages.

Installing a sump pump at the lowest point of a property helps prevent flooding. After the water goes into the sump pit, it’s pumped away from the building.

Types of Sump Pumps

One type of residential sump pump installation is external. If your home experiences high water levels and you’re concerned about your foundation, this may be a good option.

Internal sump pumps can be either pedestal or submersible. A pedestal sump pump sits above a hose that descends into the pooled surface water. Submersible sump pumps are located where the action is, in the area where water accumulates.

Installing a sump pump is not a do-it-yourself job. The installation has risks for the untrained person ranging from electrical dangers to potable water contamination.

Sump Pump Failure

One of the most common causes of sump pump failure is improper installation. Avoid this by hiring a professional to install your system. Other causes of sump pump failure include:

  • Clogged discharge line. If the water can’t make it through the discharge line, it can’t be pumped out. Dirt, sticks, rocks, and debris can block the discharge pipe. You can protect the pipe’s exit point with a grate. You can also include other openings that can divert water flow if there’s a blockage between the sump pump and the exit.
  • On/off switch problem. Similar to a toilet, a float mechanism triggers the action in a sump pump. If the float arm is stuck, the on/off switch can’t operate properly.
  • Power surges. You probably have a surge protector on your television. A power surge can damage the electrical components of your sump pump, too. Consider protecting your system with a surge protection device.
  • Power failure. It’s not uncommon to lose electricity during the heavy rains of the monsoon. Have a backup generator with a manual activation to keep your pump running.
  • Wrong size. If your sump pump is too small, it can’t handle the floodwater. If your sump pump is too large, it has to work harder, which limits its longevity. Your sump pump should be installed by a plumbing professional who can determine the proper size.
  • Manufacturer defect. It’s rare, but it does happen. Always register new product warranties when required. Be sure your plumbing professional explains the parts, product guarantees, warranties, and maintenance.

Call the Professionals

Your sump pump’s purpose is to keep your home dry. If you notice something isn’t working correctly, call a local plumbing professional as soon as possible to inspect your system. Using someone you trust can give you peace of mind that the job, from installation to maintenance and repair, is done right.

Our team of plumbing professionals lives and works in the Phoenix area. We care about our community and our neighbors. Most importantly, we will be here when you need us. Contact us with any questions about the plumbing system in your home or business.

Signs of a major plumbing clog

A plumbing clog is a common, yet annoying, issue in a home. People often think of clogs in the bathroom, in toilets, sinks, or shower drains. Although they may seem like a minor inconvenience, ignoring a plumbing clog can lead to issues in the plumbing system throughout your home.

Paying attention to signs of a clog can help you fix the problem as soon as possible. Be on the lookout for the following warning signs throughout your home.

Slow Drains

Over time, the accumulation of soap scum, hair, or food particles can lead to a clog. One of the most common signs that you have a plumbing clog is when the water drains slowly out of the sink. If the water completely stops going down the drain, that’s a big red flag! Drain cleaners can cause damage to some pipes when used too often.

Using excessive amounts of toilet paper can clog your drain. If you have young children at home, monitor what’s going in the toilet – from too much toilet paper to experiments with toys! While the pressure of a plunger may dislodge a clog, it won’t usually remove it entirely.

Pungent Stench

If you start to smell something stinky, this is another sign that you may have a plumbing clog. If the smell is musty, you may have mold growing. However, if it smells more like rotten eggs, you may have a layer of biofilm beginning to line the drain pipe. Worse, you could be smelling sewer gas creeping through your pipes. If you aren’t sure, call a professional to sniff out the problem.

Trapped Air

Another sign of a plumbing clog is trapped air. This can be difficult for a homeowner to recognize. Have you noticed your toilet gurgling while you’re in the shower? If so, the drain or vent may be blocked. In addition to your shower draining slower, it can also make the toilet flush inefficiently. Although air may seem harmless, in this case, it can shut down your bathroom if ignored for too long.

Material Coming from Fixtures

Another sign to look for is debris, gunk, dirt, or other materials coming from your water fixtures. This includes your showers, sinks, and toilets. If you have debris coming out of your fixtures, this is a serious sign of a plumbing clog.

Dampness Indoors or Outdoors

Dampness or wet spots inside and outside of the house are another warning sign of a potential clog or other plumbing issues. You may begin to notice water spots on your ceiling, walls, floors, or even under your cabinets. You may also see signs of prolonged dampness outside, including:

  • Visibly blocked sewer grates. Mud, dirt, and leaves can muck up the sewer grates on the outside. Over time, they can also cause plumbing clogs on the inside.
  • Mushy Grass. Noticing new soft spots in your yard can be a sign that you have a plumbing problem. If the pipes below the ground burst or are leaking, the water will eventually seep into the ground, below your lawn.
  • Weird Smells. If you smell something pungent, this could be a sign that something is wrong.

Like with electricity, plumbing issues are better left to the professionals. A plumber will have knowledge about plumbing and clogs, as well as access to advanced technology that can pinpoint the origin of the clog or leak. They will also be able to help you figure out what steps to take in order to resolve the problem efficiently.

If you notice signs of a plumbing clog in your home, call Forrest Anderson to schedule an appointment.

8 reasons for water pressure problems

Chances are if you’ve owned a house, you’ve dealt with water pressure problems at some point. This can make the simplest tasks like washing clothes, doing dishes, or even taking a shower, incredibly frustrating. The good news is, there are some common reasons for water pressure problems, and most of them are easy to resolve when working with a plumber.

Clogged Aerators

Do you have one specific fixture that has low pressure? If yes, you may have a clogged aerator. These are usually connected to a faucet to ensure that they won’t splash water when they are turned on. Over time, the screen can become blocked by sediments, debris, or calcium deposits.

Corroded Plumbing

Usually, when you’re dealing with corroded plumbing, it’s in an older house. If your home is over 20 years old, you may need to replace the pipes. While this can be expensive, it’s better to handle it when you first notice an issue rather than wait for it to turn into a bigger, more costly, problem.

Leaks

Believe it or not, leaks can also cause a water pressure issue. Underneath your house, there is a maze of pipes. If one of those pipes is leaking, corroding, or bursts, it can limit the water from reaching its destination.

Master Shut Off Valve

Accidentally adjusting the master shut off valve is one reason for water pressure problems. This is something you may be able to fix on your own. Simply find your master valve and make sure that it’s open enough for the water to run freely. As always, if you aren’t sure what you’re looking at, it’s time to call the professionals.

Mineral Deposits

This is one of the most common water pressure problems. Mineral deposits can build up in your pipes and reduce the amount of water flow to your home. A plumber can assess the situation to determine if cleaning the pipes can improve the situation. In more severe cases, you may have to replace the pipes to fully resolve the issue.

Pressure Regulator

A pressure regulator is a mechanism that controls the flow of water and pressure. A fault in the regulator can cause water pressure problems. If you think yours needs to be fixed or replaced, call the professionals to determine if that is the issue in your plumbing system.

Shared Pipelines

Another reason your pressure might be low is due to a shared pipeline. Whether you’re sharing your pipes with one neighbor or many more, this can cause a significant loss of pressure. Unfortunately, ripping up the entire network to make a dedicated pipeline to your house is cost-prohibitive.

One way to work around this issue is by using water when your neighbors are not. For example, if you work second shift and most of your neighbors are at work in the morning, this may be the ideal time to do laundry, wash dishes, wash your car, and so on. You can also ask your neighbors about any plumbing problems they’re experiencing to determine if it’s an issue greater than just your home.

Water Softener Mechanisms

Some homes have a water softener installed. This treats the water before it is supplied to the house. A water softener shouldn’t decrease the water pressure in your home unless the unit is too small or was installed improperly. Call a technician to inspect your water softener if you think it may be the cause of your water pressure problems.

Call the Professionals

Contact Forrest Anderson if you’re experiencing water pressure problems. A trusted plumber can assess the situation and guide you to an efficient solution.

How to choose the best air conditioner for Phoenix

Most people imagine Phoenix as an intolerably hot place to live. Residents know the secret to being comfortable in the desert is having a reliable air conditioner during the extreme heat. In addition to keeping us cool, the best air conditioner will also be energy efficient and long-lasting.

Best Air Conditioner Choices for Extreme Heat

Let’s face it, we live in Phoenix for the quality of life, including abundant sunshine. However, that sun can heat it up to be life-threateningly hot. To stay as comfortable as possible during the summer, you want the best air conditioner you can afford. There is an overwhelming number of brands with various options for each.

When your local HVAC professionals conduct a home air conditioning assessment, one of the things they will consider is the HVAC load calculation. It’s based on the building’s square footage, but every property is unique. Sunlight, shade, number of windows, levels in the building, and more can impact the best air conditioner option for you.

Quality, Cost, and ROI

Buying the right cooling system for your home is an investment that can increase the value of your property. You will also want to consider your ROI (return on investment) by energy savings. You can save money on air conditioning and even eliminate many of the indoor air pollutants by understanding what to look for in an air conditioner system.

Central Air Conditioning

Ninety percent of new homes install central air conditioning systems. Since this system is quite costly, you’ll want to buy the best air conditioner for your home at the best price. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Cooling capacity. During your home assessment, your professional will calculate the square footage to cool and guide you to choose the appropriate BTUs (British Thermal Units).
  • SEER rating. Energy-savings are calculated using the SEER rating. The best air conditioner has a high SEER number. This can help lower your monthly bills and increase your ROI.
  • Thermostat. Programmable thermostats can reduce cooling costs by up to ten percent. Keeping the temperature higher while you’re away is one way to save money. You can even program it to cool your home a few minutes before you return from work.

Mini-Split (Ductless) Air Conditioning

Mini-split systems have one unit inside the home and one unit outside. The indoor units can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. In addition to BTUs, look for:

  • Area coverage. Typically, you’ll need one system per room. A large room may require more than one unit.
  • Installation. Wall units can have front panels that look like picture frames. Ceiling units can be suspended or even hidden behind the ceiling.

During your home assessment, your HVAC professional can help determine if this type of system would be useful in your home. These are typically used in room additions, such as a sunroom, where the HVAC system wasn’t continued. They could also be used upstairs if the air conditioner isn’t cooling effectively enough.

Portable Air Conditioners

Some people react extremely to heat. This can leave them at risk for heat-related illness or even death. Portable air conditioners are one solution. In addition to BTUs and SEER, consider:

  • Plug type. Most rooms have 125V/15A plugs. You may need a professional electrician to determine if you need an upgrade.
  • Water condensation. Some units have a self-evaporating system that recycles water back into the air. Some have a condensate pump, requiring you to manually drain them every two to eight hours. Failure to drain can lead to overflow, water damage, and mold problems.

Window Air Conditioners

The best window air conditioners depend on SEER, BTUs, and noise level. Like all air conditioner systems, test it for sound. You can select from sizes that cool small spaces, large rooms, and entire apartments.

Arizona’s Air Conditioning Pros

The best air conditioner is quiet, efficient, and should serve you for many years with proper maintenance. To avoid coming home to no air conditioning when it’s 110 degrees outside, schedule regular inspections. Contact us for your home assessment, ongoing maintenance, or to upgrade your system.