Gibson's Heating and Plumbing
Serving Northeast Indiana,
Northwest Ohio & Southeast Michigan


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Many homes have rooms that go unoccupied for long periods of time. Guest rooms, bedrooms and basements make up a large percentage of the air volume in the average home. So it seems like a simple question: if the room is unused, why not close the air registers? The reality is that closing vents can actually waste energy, harm your furnace and air conditioner, while also making occupied rooms less comfortable.

When your central heating and cooling system was installed your HVAC technician carefully measured the volume of air in your entire home, then matched the size of your furnace and air conditioner to provide the best performance. Reducing the air volume by closing vents will not make your AC cool less or the heating system heat less, it will simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout your home. In addition, during normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks. Closing vents will simply cause more conditioned air to leak, wasting energy.

Closing air vents also increases the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to push the air through. The result is an increased risk of the AC evaporator coil freezing or the furnace's heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished.
A lot of homeowners like to save money by tackling home improvement projects themselves. However, there are some projects that are definitely not DIY – including most central heating and air conditioning repairs. For your safety, and to ensure that HVAC equipment is working properly, always have a qualified, licensed professional install and repair air conditioning and heating equipment.

Consider These Facts and Statistics:
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 15% of consumer-product related electrocutions are related to contact with large appliances. These electrocutions occur most commonly while someone is attempting to service or repair the appliance.
  • In 2006, an estimated 33,500 injuries were reported to hospital emergency rooms as involving air conditioners, fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and heat pumps. The leading types of injuries were laceration (14,890), contusion or abrasion (6,110), and strain or sprain (4,430).
  • In 2006, air conditioning or related equipment was involved in an estimated 7,400 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 270 civilian injuries and $200 million indirect property damage.
  • In 2003-2006, the 7,000 reported home structure fires per year involving air conditioning and related equipment included 2,400 per year involving central and room air conditioners specifically and 3,700 per year involving fans.
  • In 1995-2003 (excluding 1999, which was not reported), there were 11.5 electrocution deaths per year involving air conditioners and 4.3 electrocution deaths per year involving fans.
So the next time you need help installing or maintaining your home's air conditioner or furnace, call the pros at Gibson's Heating and Plumbing, we're here to help keep you safe and comfortable.
Even if your home looks clean and the air smells fresh, there can still be harmful pollutants lurking inside that can be harmful to your health. In fact, the EPA reports that the air inside can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as the air outside. The problem gets worse in newer homes that are well sealed and insulated. Because most of us spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors, it's important to understand the types of indoor pollution that exist in most homes and how to reduce their impact on your health.

Here are some of the most common sources of indoor pollution:

1. Dust Mites - Furniture, carpet and bedding provides an ideal environment for dust mites to thrive. Wash or vacuum carpets and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Change your furnace air filter at least once a month and have your ducts professional cleaned when needed.

2. Mold and Mildew - Damp bathrooms and basements can harbor mold and mildew that can reduce air quality. Ensure that there is good ventilation in bathrooms in the form of windows or vent fans. Aim to keep humidity levels in the home between 30-50%.

3. Carbon Monoxide - Gas appliances can emit odorless, deadly carbon monoxide. Install carbon monoxide detectors near every bedroom and test them regularly.

4. Smoke and Pet Dander – If there are pets or smoking in the home, consider limiting smoking to outside and installing a whole home air cleaner.

5. Radon - Radon a invisible, odorless form of radiation that can enter the home from the ground and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Purchase a radon detection kit and follow the instructions for testing radon in your home. If problems are found, proper radon mitigation techniques should be performed to reduce exposure to safe levels.

As summer winds down and our central air conditioners are turned off for the season, there are a few maintenance tasks that you can perform to keep your air conditioner in good condition during the winter months, while also having it ready to go the first hot day of spring.
  1. Shut-Off Power to the AC Unit - First, and most importantly, always turn off power to the AC unit before performing any cleaning or maintenance tasks on your air conditioner. There are electrical and moving parts that can easily injure you, so always use caution. On the outside of the home near the condenser/compressor, there should be an exterior shut-off box. Also turn off power to the unit at the breaker box.
  2. Clean the AC Unit - Remove the fan cage on top of the condensor/compressor. You will need either a screwdriver or wrench to remove the fasteners. Next, lift the fan grill off the top of the unit and set it aside. Using a wet/dry vacuum or gloved hands, clean away leaves and debris from the interior of the unit.
  3. Clean The Fins - Using a garden hose – NOT a pressure washer – gently spray through the fins from the inside out to blast away any built up dirt or debris from between them. If the water from the hose is not able to remove dirt that has built up, there are commercial sprays available at most home stores that can safely loosen the dirt so it can be sprayed off. Never use unapproved detergents or solvents to clean the air conditioner.
  4. Straighten The Fins - bent fins can restrict airflow and reduce efficiency. One way to straighten fins is with a butter knife. Fin straightening tools are also available. Be careful not to damage the tubing that is embedded within the fins.
  5. Clear the Area Around the Air Conditioner – Cut away tree branches and shrubs in all directions within two feet the unit. Rake away debris and leaves. If the unit will be unused for a period of time, cover the top of the unit to protect it from falling debris. Enclosing the entire condensor unit in a plastic cover can reduce ventilation and cause corrosion, and is not recommended.
Have questions about maintaining your central air conditioner? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we are here to help.
Water leaks around the home can be more than a minor irritation, they can lead to expensive damage to your home and furnishings. Undetected water leaks can also cause mold to grow inside the walls of your home, which can cause health problems. While a leaking faucets can add up to many gallons of water over the course of a year, there are other ways water leaks can cost you much more.

1. Washing Machine Hoses

One of the most damaging water leaks that can occur in the home is a burst washing machine hose. If the washing machine is on the main floor or upstairs the damage can be even more extensive. Check the hose connections to make sure they are tight. If the hoses are over 5 years old, or show signs of cracking or buckling, they should be replaced. Consider installing braided stainless steel hoses, which can withstand more pressure than rubber hoses.

2. Leaking Toilets

Leaking toilets are often the most overlooked leaks in the home because they are the least likely to be noticed. To test for leaks add a few drops of food coloring to a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet tank. Without flushing the toilet if the coloring appears in the bowl there is a leak.

3. Water Heater Leaks

Water heaters that a beyond their life expectancy (typically 8-10 years) are most susceptible to leaks. Rust and corrosion inside the tank will eventually cause water to start leaking. To keep your water heater working reliably and reduce the likelihood of corrosion, flush sediment from the hot water tank annually.
Having hard water in the home can range from the inconvenience of water spots to more serious problems with reduced performance and shortened lifespan of your plumbing fixtures. Here are some of the plumbing systems that are most affected by hard water.

Laundry Room

Doing laundry with hard water can make clothing look dull and feel rough and scratchy. The minerals in hard water combine with soils to form insoluble salts, making them difficult to clean. It often takes more detergent to get clothing clean when washing in hard water. Over time, laundering with hard water can damage clothing fibers, causing premature wear.

Bathrooms

Bathing in hard water can prevent the removal of dirt and bacteria on the skin, leaving it less clean feeling. Soap scum can also interfere with the skin's natural PH balance, aggrevating conditions like eczema and dermetitis. Soap scum on hair can make it dull and more prone to damage.

Kitchen

Hard water may cause spotting and filming when washing dishes, especially in the dishwasher. This is because the minerals from hard water are released more quickly when heated, increasing the likelihood spotting and filming.

Other Hard Water Problems

Hard water also contributes to inefficient and costly operation of many appliances. A scale of calcium and magnesium minerals (limescale deposits) can build up in water heaters, coffee makers and other appliances. Pipes can become clogged with scale that reduces water flow and ultimately requires pipe replacement. Limescale can increase energy consumption by as much as 25%.
Ecobee Smart ThermostatA traditional thermostat works by detecting the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the heating or cooling system to turn on when the temperature drops above or below the preset temperature.

A smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your smartphone or tablet. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control the thermostat from any location. Alerts can even be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn a household's routine and adjust the temperature to optimize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort.

Have questions about connecting your home's heating and cooling system to the latest smart thermostat technology? Give us a call, we can help.
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 06:00

Inexpensive Bathroom Remodel Ideas

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Homeowners typically renovate or remodel their bathrooms to either improve their home's resale value or increase style and comfort. According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of a bathroom remodel is $16,500. If you aren't ready to spend that much money on your bathroom, here are some ways you can make improvements for less then $1,000.

1. Update the Walls and Floors.

Fresh paint can make a drab bathroom come to life. Most bathrooms can be repainted with just 1-2 gallons of paint. Be sure to use a paint designed for bathrooms.

If you're willing to do some work yourself, adding a new tile of vinyl flooring is something you can tackle with a little research. Many home improvement stores offer free classes to customers on replacing tile and other flooring materials.

2. Install a New Shower Door

Because it's a large surface in the bathroom, replacing an old, bland shower door can make a big impact. Designs with patterns or frosting can add style to a bathroom.

3. Replace a Shower Enclosure

If you're shower has a old enclosure, it's pretty simple to have a new enclosure installed.

4. Install New Plumbing Fixtures

Replacing old faucets, shower heads, and tub fixtures with the latest designs and finishes can dramatically improve the look of any bathroom.

Need help with bathroom plumbing upgrades? Call Gibson's, we can help.
Gibson's Heating and Plumbing would like to thank all our customers for choosing us for their plumbing, heating, air conditioning and geothermal needs. Here are are few comments from our loyal customers this month!

"Shane and Paul were awesome! Both very professional and polite. Explained everything they needed to do and then showed me everything they did! They answered all of my questions and they left everything as neat as it was when they arrived! Both were personable and easy to communicate with. This company is the only one we turn to for heating/ac/plumbing issues! Thanks guys!!!!"
– Facebook Review By Kelli Martin A. on 06/22/17

"All staff have been awesome! Heath, Dave, Paul and Shane! Very professional and courteous. All are friendly and easy to communicate with. Always leave areas clean and tidy."
– Review Buzz on 06/24/17

"Gibson's is always on time, and very professional. They give you several options when quoting the repairs you require...one that will get you through, or the complete repair and the total cost on the spot. I appreciate honest and up front communication. Tom B. did a great job, and left my house just as clean as it was before the repairs!"
– Google+ By Lee G. on 06/19/17

"Air conditioner needed some serious help.....called and Kevin/ Austin came fixed it within a short time....very polite and professional guys.....Thank you so much......your help was appreciated..."
–BBB By Joyce B. on 06/13/17

Click here to read more customer reviews!
During the summer months, does the upper level of your home feel hot and stuffy while the lower levels are freezing cold? In multi-level homes it's not uncommon for there to be an 8-10 degree difference between the lowest level and the highest level in the home during the summer months. Here are some steps you can take to even out the temperatures.

First, it's important to leave all of the air ducts open throughout the house. Central heating and cooling systems are designed to work with the air volume of every room. Closing air ducts can reduce the performance of the system and waste energy.

Leaky Ductwork
Even minor leaks from poorly aligned or uninsulated ducts can dramatically reduce airflow, making it difficult for conditioned air to reach the outer reaches of the home. An HVAC professional can help find and seal leaks with with special pressurizing equipment.

Check Insulation Levels
Improving attic insulation can mitigate air leaks and can reduce the effect of environmental factors on the temperature inside of the home. The US Department of Energy has some great tips for installing insulation here.

Consider a Zoning System
A zoning system allows you to control the temperature on multiple levels of the home independently using thermostats installed on each floor. The thermostats are rigged to control panels that adjust dampers installed inside your ductwork.

In addition to balancing the temperature on different floors, a zoned system will allow you to heat or cool individual rooms on demand, or close off unused rooms entirely.

Have questions about maintaining even temperatures throughout your home? Give Gibson's Heating and Plumbing a call, we can help.


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