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Grilling Safety: Propane BBQ Edition

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Grilled food can really hit the spot on nice Arizona days. Before you use your BBQ, make sure that you keep these grilling safety tips in mind. This helps ensure that you and your family can enjoy grilled dinners without any trouble.

Store Propane Tanks Properly

Grilling safety involves storing propane tanks properly. Tanks for gas grills can easily become a hazard. Store these tanks in a vertical and upright position. Also make sure they are kept far away from any heat or ignition sources, such as lighters or matches. If you have a gas line for your grill, you don’t have to deal with propane tanks at all.

Turn the Grill on Safely

Another important grilling safety tip is to make sure that you turn the grill on correctly. This involves opening the lid and turning the propane on. After this is done, turn the knobs for the burners, then push the ignition. Doing this the right way lowers the risk of fires and other accidents.

Never Use Lighter Fluid

Never use lighter fluid to ignite a gas grill. Lighter fluid is a major fire hazard when it isn’t used properly. You will avoid having to worry about this if you have a gas grill with its own natural gas line installed.

Check for Leaks

Gas leaks can occur when you use propane tanks for your grill. You should check for leaks by putting a solution of water and light soap on the gas tank hose. If you see bubbles, this means you have a gas leak that needs to be fixed by a professional right away. Grills with a gas line have a lower risk of ending up with these leaks.

Don’t Reignite Right Away

If your grill doesn’t ignite, don’t light it again right away. You could have gas in the air that needs time to clear out. Lighting it again immediately could result in a fire and serious injuries. Wait for 5 minutes before you try to ignite your gas grill again.

Keep Your Grill Clean

Grilling safety includes making sure that your gas grill stays in good condition. Grease and other debris can build up over time, which can increase the risk of a fire. Clean debris off your grill and from the tray under it. You should wait for your grill to cool before cleaning it. Getting into the habit of doing this after using your grill each time means you won’t have to scrape a lot of debris off later on.

Turn Your Grill Off Properly

When it comes to grilling safety, it’s important to ensure that you turn your grill off the right way. This reduces the risk of injuries and accidents. You’ll need to turn the gas tank off before shutting off the gas burners. Make sure that your propane cylinder valve is fully closed to prevent gas from leaking. With a gas line grill, all you have to do is shut it off without having to deal with any tanks.

If you’re ready to install a gas line for your grilling area, contact Forrest Anderson. We can ensure that this is done properly for your safety.

Benefits of a leak detector in your home

Because Phoenix has such a mild climate, it’s easy to think that water damage to your home is a remote possibility. We may not have to worry much about frozen pipes, but it’s open season for all other kinds of plumbing leaks. Placing a leak detector near each plumbing fixture will prevent the significant damage that unchecked water can do.

Water is the universal solvent and inside your home it will:

  • Crumble or rot drywall
  • Warp wood, including subfloors
  • Promote mold growth
  • Ruin furniture, carpeting, and laminate flooring
  • Destroy the adhesives that anchor ceramic tile to the floor

Fixtures and appliances like these can develop leaks at any time:

  • Water heaters
  • Washing machines
  • Sinks and dishwashers
  • Around toilets
  • Inside the air handler

Why Each Fixture/Appliance Needs a Leak Detector

  • Water heaters. Water heaters are often inside the garage or near the laundry room and most hold at least 40 gallons of water. These appliances give few signs of failure, and when a pipe or the tank springs a leak, the leak can cause severe flooding. The water could gush unrestricted from the appliance itself and the pipe that fills it.
  • Washing machines. A clothes washer can leak from the tub and the fill and drain hoses. Like the water heater, it holds substantial amounts of water that could cause extensive damage if it goes unchecked.
  • Beneath sinks and dishwashers. Much of your home’s plumbing is tucked inside the walls and hidden inside cabinets where it’s largely out of sight. When you do open cabinet doors beneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks, it might be to grab something quickly and shut the door. By the time you notice it, the damage may be severe and require a cabinet replacement or a complicated repair.
  • Toilets. Besides leaking between the tank and the bowl, a toilet can leak at its base, creating a slow, damaging leak that can contaminate the subfloor and ceiling beneath it.
  • Air conditioning systems. The air handler may not seem like a logical place to have a leak detector, but it could save you a good deal of discomfort and money if you place one nearby. When the air conditioner or heat pump runs, extremely cold refrigerant flows through an evaporator coil inside the air handler.If this coil is excessively dirty, the air filter clogged, or the system is low on refrigerant, the coil can freeze over. When it melts, the water could overwhelm the drain pan and flood the areas around the air handler.There’s always the chance that the drain line from the air handler to the outdoors will clog, which will cause the condensed water to flood the drain pan that sits just below the evaporator coil.

How Leak Detectors Work

A leak detector senses the presence of water and will sound an alarm. Many incorporate humidity sensors, as well. Some use plugs, while others use long-lasting batteries. High-tech models can send Wi-Fi alerts to your phone or computer so that you take action immediately regardless of where you are. They’re a practical device to have if you:

  • Are away from home during the day.
  • Have a two-story home with plumbing fixtures on the second floor.
  • Have an indoor air handler for the A/C or heat pump.
  • Go on vacations and need to leave the water on.
  • Have a winter home in the Phoenix area.

Getting Help

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning can help you choose and install the best leak detector to use inside your home to prevent costly water damage. We’ve provided trusted services for Phoenix homeowners for nearly 70 years.

Thermostat Vacation Setting in Phoenix, AZ

Many people forget that thermostat vacation setting is an important way to save energy and money while they are away from home. The same principles can even be applied while you are away at work. However, you will notice the savings most of all when you are away for a week or more at a time.

Keeping the System Running

A lot of homeowners think turning off the system entirely will save the most energy. This is technically true, but there are problems with this. Primarily, turning off your air conditioning can cause your home and its contents to suffer heat-related damage from the blistering Arizona heat. In addition to this, your AC also filters and circulates air throughout your home. After a while, this can lead to a stale smell and the accumulation of dust more quickly. As well, most AC units actually function better and more efficiently when they operate over long periods of time. Because of this, turning up or down the temperature with your thermostat vacation setting is better than turning off the system.

Heat: Rarely a Thermostat Vacation Setting Issue

It is important to remember that even if you do leave during the winter months, Arizona is not known for excessively cold temperatures. The area rarely freezes, even in the depths of winter. When you consider your thermostat vacation setting, nine times out of 10 you will only be concerned with ensuring that your home stays reasonably warm in the winter.

A Few Degrees of Temperature Separation

When you think about your thermostat vacation setting, you need to think about the golden mean. On the one hand, adjusting too high can leave your home sweltering. Further, it can put the system through a difficult time when it is time to cool your home back down. Because of this, only adjusting the temperature upward four to 6 degrees is the ideal thermostat vacation setting. This keeps the system from over-working while keeping the system functional throughout your time away from home.

Pet Concerns While You’re Away

One issue that some people forget until it is too late is their pets. Often, having furry friends that you may not take on vacation leads to a dilemma about the settings. Keeping the temperature in your thermostat vacation setting only a few degrees warmer keeps your pets from sweltering while continuing to save you money on cooling. It may be wise to put out extra water or ask your house-sitter to do so. It’s important to ensure your pets do not become dehydrated in the higher temperatures.

Smart Options for Your Thermostat Vacation Setting

Programmable thermostats were one of the best money-saving inventions of the 20th century. They allowed you to set your thermostat based on a plan for when you would leave and come back. However, they have been eclipsed by the newer technology of smart thermostats. A smart thermostat is a way to both pre-set your thermostat and to be able to adjust it from anywhere in the world using your smartphone. If the vacation plan changes, your thermostat vacation setting can also change.

Getting Help When You Need It

Sometimes the issue of thermostat vacation setting can get confusing. If you are not up on smart home technology and using smart thermostats, you may need some help. Getting in touch with Forrest Anderson can be a wise move, as the professionals can walk you through all of it.

Package System vs Split System Air Conditioning

Knowing something about your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system will help you understand and manage your energy costs and comfort better. In Arizona, HVAC equipment is either a package system or a split system. Both provide cool air, but they do differ slightly.

What is a Split System?

You will very commonly find a split system in the southwest. They offer the highest levels of energy efficiency and convenience for the homeowner. In a split system, the two main components of all air conditioners and heat pumps are separate. The condenser sits outdoors, and the air handler (or furnace/coil) is inside the home, either in the attic, a closet, or in your garage.

The outdoor condenser contains the compressor, a large fan, and a condensing coil. The compressor changes the pressure of the refrigerant which makes it extremely hot. As it passes through the outdoor coil, it removes the heat, and the refrigerant begins to “rain“ within the coil. This continues until it exits the outdoor unit as a liquid.

When the refrigerant enters the air handler inside your home, it flows through a metering device which lowers the pressure of the now liquid refrigerant. As the air in the home blows across the evaporator coil, the refrigerant begins to evaporate and remove the heat from the air. This works just like water evaporating from your skin cools you off on these hot summer days. A properly working system should remove the heat (cool down) the air about 20 degrees. The gaseous refrigerant then flows back to the outside unit to be compressed all over again. The larger refrigerant line coming back is cool to the touch and normally has insulation. This cool refrigerant also acts as the coolant for the compressor. (Which is really a very powerful electric motor which connects to a pump.) This is one of the reasons that a proper refrigerant charge is so critical.

What is a Package System?

A package system works just like a split system, except that all the components that make the air conditioner or heat pump work are in one unit. These are typically on the roof, depending upon how your home design.

The Advantages of Each Kind of System

The most important advantage a split system offers is that it is more energy efficient options than are available in a package system.

A package system provides these benefits:

  • A package system doesn’t take up any room in your home since all the system’s parts are outside.
  • Installation is simpler because everything is in one box.

Identifying a Package System or Split System

Just look up, if the unit is on your roof, it is more than likely a package system. (There are exceptions to every rule.) If your system is on the ground outside your home and the only connection to the home is the refrigerant lines and the wiring, you absolutely have a split system. You’re more likely to find a package system in older homes around the valley, typically installed on the roof of the home. You’re likely to find a split system inside newer homes of all kinds.

If your split or package system needs seasonal service, please contact Forrest Anderson, providing trusted HVAC services for Arizona homeowners.

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Things to know before you turn on the Air Conditioning

Summer will soon be upon us, and before you know it, we will be in the midst of dust storms and high temperatures once again. Our homes can serve as a sanctuary from the blistering summer heat, offering refreshing air conditioning after a long day. But, there are a few things you should be doing regularly to make sure your A/C runs efficiently and lasts for years to come. Forrest Anderson is here to help. Here are a few tips to help you with your air conditioning maintenance before, and during, the summer.

Air Conditioning Spring Cleaning

Before you turn your A/C on for the first time, it’s important to check a few things first. Checking and changing the filters is an essential part of air conditioning maintenance that you can do yourself. This will make sure that your system won’t be adding more dust and debris to your home. In addition, making sure your filters are clean will help your unit work more efficiently by providing an unrestricted air flow, giving you and your family clean and cool air all summer long.

Spring cleaning is also a great time to take your garden hose and give the outside portion of your unit a good cleaning. Set the nozzle to a fine spray and rinse the unit from top to bottom.* This will remove any debris and dust that may have built up inside the unit during winter.

*Be careful to only spray the coil section of the unit. There are electrical items near the outside that should not get wet. If you’re unsure of what part to spray call Forrest Anderson.

Get a Professional’s Help

It’s common for the interior portion of your air conditioning system to need some maintenance and minor repairs from time to time. It’s always a good idea to have a professional complete some routine air conditioning maintenance and perform any minor repairs before you turn your system on for the first time.

Forrest Anderson offers a great Comfort and Convenience Club™ to provide you with the best air conditioning maintenance throughout the year. This plan offers two inspections per year, to make sure your system is ready, regardless of the weather. Our mission is to keep small problems from becoming bigger problems.

During your spring air conditioning maintenance visit, our certified professionals will check various areas of your system including:

  • Refrigerant levels
  • Electrical connections
  • Amp draws on every motor
  • Evaporator and condenser coils
  • Wash condenser coils
  • Drain pan and pipe
  • Thermostat operation
  • Indoor air flow
  • Air filters
  • Duct connections
  • And more!

Your certified Forrest Andersen technician will be able to spot any potential problems during your air conditioning maintenance and offer the best solutions to ensure these minor issues don’t turn into major problems. We firmly believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and take every step to make sure your air conditioner is well maintained, regardless of the weather or time of day.

Forrest Anderson offers a variety of services and maintenance plans to meet your specific, individual needs. With regular air conditioning maintenance, you can rely on a dependable, working system for years to come. In addition, this routine air conditioner maintenance will help your system to run more efficiently, which helps lower your electricity costs.

Quality Work, Exceptional Service

Forrest Anderson has been serving Glendale, Phoenix and the surrounding areas for more than 68 years. In our 3rd generation now, we remain committed to the beliefs of our founder. Dedicated to exceeding your expectations, our technicians provide a consistent, high-quality experience with every service call.

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Green Stuff on a Faucet: What Is It?

Is your home being invaded by something green? Cleaning bathroom and kitchen faucets in Arizona can be a constant battle. That’s because you’ll find green stuff on a faucet. What the heck is that stuff? And why can’t you get rid of it easily, even when you scrub?

What Green Stuff on Faucet Could Be

We in Arizona have to deal with hard water on a daily basis. While it might help you feel cleaner in the shower, hard water causes a host of issues. It’s considered hard because it has more minerals in the water. The minerals include magnesium, calcium, and copper. And as copper oxides, it turns green. Just one reason you could have green stuff on a faucet.

Another option is limescale. This is a thick layer of chalky stuff that covers anything where water has been. Limescale can be white, yellow, or green. It might be white on the bottom of your tub, yellow at the back of the sink, and green around the faucets. Another reason for green stuff on a faucet.

Why Green Stuff on a Faucet is Bad

Sure, it’s unsightly to have green stuff on a faucet. There’s no doubt about that. But that limescale and copper can be nearly impossible to clean or remove. Plus, limescale can cause permanent damage to fixtures, leading to a costly problem.

All of this green stuff on the faucet is a strong indicator that you, indeed, do have hard water. Of course, being in Arizona, nearly all of us do, so you’re not alone. So you have two choices to address the problem: clean up the green stuff or get the minerals out of your water.

Tricks to Clean Up the Gunk

There are three good ways to get rid of the green stuff on the faucet:

Trick 1: Commercial Cleaner and a Lime

First, clean your faucet and sink with your normal kitchen cleanser and then wipe it dry. Next, cut a lemon in half and use it to wipe down and scrub the surfaces again. The mild acid in the lemon helps to dissolve the limescale and buildup. After you are done lemon scrubbing, rinse everything off and wipe it dry.

Trick 2: Baking Soda Paste

To make the paste, mix three parts baking soda with one part water. Take your paste and rub it all over the green stuff on a faucet. Leave the baking soda paste on the faucet for one hour (or until it’s fully dry). Afterward, rinse and dry completely.

Trick 3: Deep Vinegar Soak

One of the best ways to beat lime scale and hard water deposits is with vinegar. Fill a plastic bag with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinegar and secure the bag around your faucet with a rubber band. Let the vinegar soak deeply into the limescale for 3–4 hours then scrub off the green stuff on a faucet. Rinse and dry when complete.

Rid Your Water of Minerals

If hard water is at the core of your green stuff on faucet problem, you need to do something to get rid of all of those extra minerals. Here are two options:

1. Install a Water Softener

The best way to beat hard water and stop limescale buildup forever is to install a water softener. Soft water has far fewer minerals in it than hard water. Therefore, when soft water dries on your faucet and inside the sink, it leaves behind much less calcium carbonate. That results in pretty much no green stuff on the faucet.

2. Have Your Home Re-piped

Old pipes in your home might be a source of minerals feeding the hard water into your home. As pipes age, water tends to become harder. Having modern plumbing installed in your home, along with a water softener, is the best way to defeat limescale.

Get the Help You Need

If green stuff on a faucet is an issue for you and your home, it’s time to contact Forrest Anderson. We can suggest the best water softener (and install it) if that’s your choice. And if you’d prefer to re-pipe your home, we can manage that project as well.

Stop cleaning your faucets every day. Ban the green stuff!

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Reverse Osmosis Makes Drinking Water Safer

Buying and maintaining your home takes a lot of care and effort, and the rewards are priceless. Feeling relaxed and safe in your little nest is something we all need, and many households spend a lot of their budget on alarm systems or video surveillance. While this can help us feel secure, there can be other dangers lurking inside your abode that are not so apparent.

Think about your drinking water.

Most Americans drink directly from their tap, and generally the EPA considers this to be safe. But nearly 70 million Americans are believed to have a toxin called hexavalent chromium-6, or chromium-6, in their drinking water. Chromium-6 is no joke.

It is considered a carcinogen and has been linked to kidney and liver damage, asthma, and cancer of the lung, stomach, and throat.

When Art Imitates Life

In Julia Robert’s portrayal of Erin Brockovich in her namesake’s film from 2000, Brockovich uncovers the dangers of this toxic chemical that was disposed of improperly by a manufacturer in Hinkley, CA.

The toxin leeched into the groundwater and spread, causing clusters of health problems in a nearby town.

Brockovich was able to expose this particular case, but chromium-6 still pervades many areas. Though cities and towns work hard to keep drinking water safe, there are levels that exceed the EPA’s public health goal of .02 parts per billion and Arizona was noted to have some of the highest levels of chromium-6 in the United States, with Phoenix being specifically impacted.

While our government allows such toxins in places like steel and thermal cutting factories, the public must rely on the safe practices of manufacturers to keep our water clean. Unfortunately, with the rising costs of labor and materials in our world today, many safety measures are overlooked as businesses struggle to produce products faster and cheaper.

Reverse Osmosis Can Protect Your Family

Fortunately, as a homeowner, there is something you can do to directly protect yourself and your family. The most effective way to reduce chromium-6 from your drinking water is by installing a filter that uses reverse-osmosis technology.

Reverse osmosis has been around since the 1970s and works by pumping water across a membrane at high pressure. The membrane filters the water of chromium-6 and other chemicals you don’t want to be drinking like lead and even arsenic. Buying a reverse-osmosis filter is easy—and you could be drinking safe water right away!

Forrest Anderson, your HVAC and plumbing company in Phoenix, will safely install the best reverse-osmosis system for you. We know we have the best technology to protect you, and we can work within your budget to get you the top system at the best value.

While many people use carbon filters, which remove a small amount of chemicals, using a reverse-osmosis system will give you the purest results by removing the most toxic particles that can result in serious health issues.

Water is our most precious resource, and our well being depends on the supply to be as pure as possible. Why not consider taking some simple steps to protect you and your family from the environmental hazards that are out there?

Reverse-osmosis filtration systems are the best way to make your household water safe so that you can relax and enjoy all the comforts of home. Forrest Anderson can provide you with a reverse osmosis water softener and protect your family.

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5 Hacks for Keeping Your Holiday Guests Comfortable

Summer is a great time to host parties and get people together at your house, especially for the Fourth of July. But more people means more heat circulating in your home, which could lead to uncomfortable guests. Here are five tips you can implement to keep your holiday guests cool this summer:

  1. Cool Down Proactively

If you know that a gang of friends and family is headed to your house, then you can avoid that “Whew, it’s hot in here” complaint by dropping the temperature 30 minutes before the first guest is scheduled to arrive.

If you normally keep your home at 75ºF, for instance, then pop it down to 72ºF. It might feel a little cold at first, but once you have a lot of bodies in there, it’ll be perfect!

  1. Service Your Sliding Doors

If you have French doors leading out to your pool, you can skip over this section, but if you have sliding glass doors, keep reading! Those puppies can become hard to open and close or even come off the track. Oil them up, replace the rubber, and add some stickers on them so people don’t walk into them.

Easy-to-close sliding doors mean they’re less likely to be left open when guests are going in and out, and that means the house will stay cool.

  1. Bring on the Mist

A little water can go a long way during hot summer days. Patio misters are inexpensive additions that make a huge difference in the temperature and comfort level of your guests.

If you’re a DIY person, then you can buy a mister system at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Otherwise, find someone to install them for you. Your guests will most definitely thank you.

As an added bonus, add some ceiling fans to the patio while you’re out there!

  1. Change A/C Filters and Clean the Unit

A clean air conditioner is a more efficient air conditioner. Schedule a service appointment with the professionals at Forrest Anderson. Our helpful technicians can change filters, clean the unit, and inspect it for any issues. It would be pretty awful to have your A/C stop working when you have 50 people in your house for the pool party of the summer.

  1. Reduce the Cooling Load on Your Air Conditioner

Although the A/C unit carries the lion’s share of weight when it comes to cooling your home, there are other factors that play into its effectiveness as well. Granted, these are longer-term solutions. If you do them now, then you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

First, check your insulation, and add more if you need it. Make sure it’s high quality, of course. Next, check ductwork, both at the unit itself and throughout the home. Improvements can save you16% on cooling costs.

Review potential air leakage, particularly around windows and doors. And then you can add shade screens to windows to further reduce passive heat from entering the home.

Naturally, for some of these suggestions, you’ll need a reliable HVAC company to come and manage them for you. Forrest Anderson is committed to saving you energy costs through our comprehensive, proactive service schedules.

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