Regular HVAC Maintenance Matters

You walk in from a long day at the office on a hot summer night and all you want to do is put your feet up and enjoy your cool home. The joke is on you. The air conditioner broke. It’s over 100 degrees indoors and you can’t get help until the next day.

No one wants this scenario to happen to you.

That’s why we recommend a regular maintenance plan to all our customers.

At Forrest Anderson we believe the best you can do for your cooling and heating system is to have it checked at least twice a year.

Why does regular maintenance matter?

No one likes surprises.

We never want our customers to enter a home that is anything less than a pleasant temperature.

And we never want our customers to have the unexpected news that their air conditioner needs to be replaced.

We want you to be prepared.

During regular maintenance, we perform diagnostic tests and inspect the entire system. From the box on the ground or roof to the ductwork and vents, we want to keep the unit clean and fix repairs before they become major issues.

If one part isn’t working, it puts strain on the rest of the unit, making it work harder to keep your family comfortable. When the system is working hard, it’s costing you in higher utility bills.

Parts wear out but they can also be damaged by debris that enters the system. We inspect and clear dust, dirt, leaves, and sticks that are potential problems. This is especially important after Phoenix dust storms.

If your unit is on the ground, we recommend checking and clearing unwanted items.

During regular maintenance, we inspect the unit for parts that are worn and in need of replacement.

We won’t replace parts or the unit until we have your approval.

Working with you, we have a plan to keep your system running safely and efficiently.

There will come a time when regular maintenance isn’t going to keep your system running smoothly or cost effectively. If it’s more than ten years old, it’s time to think about replacement.

Forrest Anderson offers the Forrest Anderson Loyalty Maintenance Plan ™ as well as financing for new units.

We won’t leave you out in the heat (or cold).


Air Filters Keep Your System Running

When was the last time you changed the air filter in your home or business?

If you can’t remember, it probably means it time to change it! It’s not a fun job to grab that nasty, dirty mess but the cost of your time, labor, and a new filter is worth it.

What do air filters do?

Dirt, dust, and pollutants are caught in the filter so they don’t reach your air conditioning and heating system.

If these particles reached the system (the box on your roof or on the side of the house), they could cause damage to major components, costing you in major repairs or even a replacement.

What if the air filter isn’t changed?

When you don’t change the air filter, it becomes filled with dust, dirt, and pollutants causing the system to work less efficiently.

The filthy filter means air isn’t moving as fast as it could through the system which translates into your home or business not cooling or heating efficiently and higher utility bills.

We recommend changing the filter more often than recommended especially during the summer when the air is most dusty and if you have pets. This will keep your family or customers feeling healthy.

Why do air filters matter?

They matter because they keep debris from entering the system. That’s what they were designed to do.

They really weren’t designed to filter the air in the home or office.

Whole home air filters clear the air of pet dander, pollen, and some viruses and bacteria, keeping your family comfortable and healthy.

What size filter is best?

That depends on your system. Choosing the wrong filter, even if you’re changing it on a regular basis, will still create efficiencies in the system. If you’re not sure of the size or type that best for your home, give us a call.

It just takes a few minutes to change the air filter which is worth the effort. It can save you money in utility and repair bills.


Should You Consider a Tankless Water Heater?

Homeowners are constantly looking for ways to cut expenses, especially utility bills.

We can’t exactly turn the A/C off during an Arizona summer but should you consider a tankless hot water heater? Yes, especially since heating water is the second largest expense in the home, accounting for 14-18% of utility bills.

Tankless hot water heaters are energy efficient, long lasting, and space saving.

Seems like a better option to the traditional storage heaters but let’s take a closer look.

Pro: Save money on utility bills.

The amount of money saved on utility bills is only about $100 per year according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s a few dollars a month, not enough to really matter to many homeowners.

Pro: Longer lasting

Tankless hot water heaters last as many as 20 years whereas storage tank models last 10-15 years.

Pro: Saves space

Instead of heating and storing water, the tankless version heats water on-demand eliminating the need for a storage tank, saving space in your home.

Con: Cost of a new model

It might seem like a good choice because a tankless heater lasts almost double the time of the tank storage model but it also costs twice as much. The tankless model runs $800-1,150 and the storage tank model runs $300-480.

Con: Multiple simultaneous users cause low water flow.

If you’ve got a large family with multiple hot water needs throughout the day, you may experience low flow or even a lack of hot water. Tankless users report their system not being able to keep up with demand.

Con: Maintenance frequency and cost

Once a year tankless users have to hire a trained professional to clean and drain the system. If they had a storage tank, they could drain it themselves. In either case, the life of the unit may be shorter due to the build-up of mineral deposits from Phoenix hard water. A water softener is typically recommended to keep deposits minimal.

What’s the right choice?

There is no clear winner in this debate, each decision needs to be made based upon the unique needs of you and your family.

Our team members are trained to help you evaluate whether a tankless water heater makes sense in your house.


Solving Common Household Clogs

Home plumbing issues can cost homeowners hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual repairs.

Pretty much anything can cause a clog, which can be a frustrating experience for homeowners who deal with slow drains that seem like they just can’t be bothered to let all the water out.

And besides being inconvenient, it’s pretty disgusting too. When that water backs up (especially in a toilet – yuck), it can cause health issues for you and your family as bacteria takes advantage of these kinds of situations.

Hair’s the Problem

Sink and shower drains are the most common to get clogged. You can usually tell this is the case because the water seems to take longer and longer to drain out. And if you find at the end of your shower that there’s enough water at the bottom to take a bath, you definitely have a problem.

The good news is that these types of clogs (especially bathroom sinks) are most commonly caused by hair and that this is a pretty easy problem to prevent.

Install drain covers to catch hair in the shower.

Then check the sink trap for debris that could be causing a slowdown. The trap is the long piece in the sink drain that you can plug to fill the sink.

It isn’t all Garbage

Just because it has “garbage” in its name, doesn’t mean you can put anything in the garbage disposal!

First of all, if it’s not food, it definitely doesn’t meet your disposal’s definition of garbage.

This means no cigarette butts, twist ties, pull tabs, papers, napkins, etc.

Second, just because something is food doesn’t mean that your garbage disposal is going to like it.

If you’ve just fried up a big pan of bacon, don’t dump the grease down the drain. Not only is the high heat bad for it but also when it cools off it will become like sludge, collecting in the pipes and the machine itself.

Also, when putting solid food into the disposal, make sure it’s in small pieces. Dropping a whole raw chicken breast into the disposal unit can cause it to get jammed and shut down.

And of course, no bones. Please, don’t put bones in… it’s a terrible noise and it can permanently damage your garbage disposal.

Speaking of putting things where they don’t belong…Let’s talk about toilets.

Flushing it all away

The only things that belong in the toilet are a reasonable amount of toilet paper and human waste. Keep items like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and toys out of the flushing zone. They can’t make it around the toilet plumbing and will get lodged causing a clog.

We know accidents happen. As soon as the sink or shower start running slowly, address the problem.

Don’t let common household clogs go unnoticed. Whether it’s in a drain or toilet, be aware of what’s being put into your home’s plumbing.

If a DIY solution like a commercial drain cleaner, isn’t effective, call the professionals at Forrest Anderson.


How to Care for Commercial Drains

Taking Care of Business – Tips for Healthy Drains

Taking care of business usually means completing tasks related to your products and services. Most of us don’t think about the plumbing system that’s behind the walls but we should.

Clogs are the #1 plumbing issue for commercial properties.

Backed-up toilets and garbage disposals are the most common issues.

The toilet that runs too long, standing water in the sink, and the mystery of why the sink fills when the garbage disposal runs are signs of unhealthy drains.

Regular maintenance and attention to the smallest of plumbing issues will not only maintain healthy drains, it will save you money.

What happens if the drains are clogged?

Dirt, debris, foreign objects, and hard water build-up cause the slowdown of drains.

Leaving a plunger for use in the bathroom and understanding the dos and don’ts of what can be put in the garbage disposal will help keep plumbing running smoothly.

Left alone, stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew that can make your employees and customers sick. Even the most loyal won’t want to be at your business and that costs you in time, money, and resources.

Not only that, but a clog left alone can cause larger problems like a burst pipe or a back-up that leads to costly mitigation and repairs in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Is it a clogged sewer line?

If multiple fixtures are clogged, you may have a clog in the sewer line that needs to be looked at by a professional plumber as soon as possible. If running the dishwasher causes water to back up into the sink, you have a clogged line that may or may not be the sewer. Ignoring it could lead to water backing up into your establishment causing damage to the structure (walls, floors, plumbing).

What can you do to maintain healthy drains?

No one wants to talk about the stopped up toilet or standing water in the sink but reporting these issues could save your business from damages.

Encourage employees and tenants to report slow drains and toilets, backed-up sinks, and other signs of a plumbing issue.

Remember that there are many DIY solutions but none of them are a replacement for professional care and service from a qualified plumber.


Why Does My Washing Machine Stink?

When you think of a washing machine, you think about the fresh scent of clean clothes but there may be a time when a clean odor is not what’s coming out of the machine.

You open the door to the laundry room and the word fresh isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind.

There’s a washing machine stink that stays in your nose all day.

Washing clothes is the last thing you want to do in the laundry room.

It’s time to clean the machine that cleans your clothes!

What we wear needs a refresh on a regular basis. Dust, dirt, and sweat gather and need to be removed but where do they go? Often they gather in the drum of the washer.

When left alone for too long, standing water combined with dirty particles causes a growth of mildew, bacteria, and mold. That’s the stink caught in your nose.

DIY Solutions for Washing Machine Stink

There are a few tried and true methods of making the laundry room smell fresh again.

Let’s try the old science experiment called the volcano.

Yep, baking soda and vinegar aren’t just for your kid’s science experiment.

Add ½ cup of white vinegar into the laundry detergent container. Then add ½ cup of baking soda and run a cycle on hot water. Then run a cycle of just hot water. If you’ve got a clog or stuff stuck, the volcano may remove it. The hot water cycle helps the residue drain from the washer. Leave the lid open and take a sniff a few hours later.

Still smelling not-so-fresh in the laundry room?

Locate the washer’s floor drain. It’s a circular grate near the machine.

The water in the drain may be evaporated causing a buildup and release of sewer gas. Then slowly pour a few ounces of mineral oil. This will slow water evaporation, keeping the drain smelling fresh.

We like to help you save money and have probably told you to use cold water to save on energy bills. While that is true, we also recommend using a warmer temperature water every once in a while. Laundry detergent dissolves better in warmer water so the drain doesn’t get as clogged.

And try to keep the lid of the washer open to dry excess water which will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

It’s worth mentioning that if you use natural gas for heating your water and you smell rotten eggs, call the gas company to make sure there isn’t a leak. If no, call a professional to check your hot water heater.

If you’re still experiencing washing machine stink, it’s time to call to check for a more serious problem.


Effective Commercial Plumbing Keeps Profits Up

Don’t Flush Profits Away

Are you paying attention to the plumbing at your business? If not, you could be flushing profits right now the drain. But don’t worry. The professional plumbers at Forrest Anderson can get you on the right path.

Clogged drains, unidentified leaks, and hard water could be costing you more than a bill from a plumber. It’s costing you in high water bills. The worst part is that it can be prevented with regular plumbing maintenance.

Check for leaks.

If you’re experiencing higher than average water bills, you might have a leak.

It’s not sexy and it’s probably not on your to do list but checking faucets and under sinks and appliances for leaks is a must, especially if you’re the one footing the water bill every month.

Early leak detection will save you hundreds of dollars in repairs and damages.

Left unnoticed or untreated, a pinhole leak can grow into a bigger leak eventually causing damage to the wall and floor or bursting a pipe. And it can get worse (and more costly) when standing water attracts pests and grows mold.

Stop the leak before it costs you too much.

Speed up the drains.

Have you noticed slower drain times, standing water in sinks, or slow running toilets?

You might have a clog that needs to be cleared.

If you’ve tried and failed with drain cleaners and DIY solutions, it’s a sign of a more serious problem.

Toilet paper, paper towels, food, and foreign objects may be lodged in the pipes causing the slowdown.

It’s time to call the professionals to see what’s really happening.

Soften the water.

Do your glasses have spots on them even after they’re clean? That’s evidence of the minerals we have in our Phoenix water.

Also called hard water, these mineral deposits build up causing clogs and blockages in plumbing, not to mention making bathroom and kitchen fixtures difficult or impossible to clean.

Solve the hard water problem when you have a water softener installed.

Don’t flush profits away.