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Traditional vs. Trenchless Sewer Repair

Posted on July 9th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Just like any other piece of plumbing, sewer lines running to and from a property can fall into disrepair over time. Tree roots, earth movement, and corrosion all play a part in forming cracks and leakages and, without treatment, a broken pipe can quickly turn into a smelly, unhygienic, and damaging mess.

Unlike the regular plumbing in your home, however, main sewer lines are difficult to access and, therefore, much harder to repair. For a long time, the only way of locating and replacing the problem section would often require you to dig a trench and uncover the entire length of the pipe. In the process, this also means you would possibly have to:

  • Dig up large chunks of your garden.
  • Tear up parts of your concrete driveway and sidewalk.
  • Restrict access to a large, potentially hazardous area of your property.
  • Shut down traffic to the road.
  • Obtain time-consuming and expensive permits to dig and disrupt traffic.

Trenchless sewer repair provides a solution to many of the problems that the traditional method faces. For both of the main trenchless repair techniques—pipe bursting and pipe lining—the access required to the pipe is minimal, and an entire sewer line can be replaced without ruining your home and garden.

That isn’t the only difference between the two approaches. To find out more about the advantages and costs of each, just check out this infographic. If you’re not sure which one’s right for you, call us at (512) 246-5400 for a free quote!

Traditional vs. Trenchless Sewer Repair Infographic

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New HVAC Installation: What Does a New HVAC System Include?

Posted on June 26th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

There are several different types of HVAC systems that you can choose from for a new HVAC installation at your home. The type of system you select will be based on several different factors. It is important to review each of these factors with your AC repair and installation technician to ensure the system you select is the best one for your home.

1. Size of Home

The size of your home will determine the size of the HVAC system. It is important to make sure the size of the unit is matched to the size of your home. You want the system to be able to meet your heating and cooling temperature preferences.

It is worth noting that getting a bigger HVAC system than you need is not going to provide any additional benefits. The system will still provide the same heating and cooling as a properly sized HVAC system. The only difference you will see is an increase in your energy bills from operating a larger system.

On the other hand, if the new HVAC system is too small to meet your heating and cooling needs, the system will run more often. On those hot Texas summer days, an undersized unit runs almost constantly to try to keep your home cooled.

Not only is this not very energy-efficient, but it also places a higher level of wear and tear on the system. Since the system runs more often, it will have a much shorter useful lifespan.

2. Duct or Ductless Home

Whether your home has existing air ducts or not is another factor you need to consider when selecting a new heating and cooling system. If your home already has existing ductwork, then you will want to choose a duct-based system.

If your home does not have ductwork, you can either choose a ductless HVAC system or have ducts installed. Just keep in mind that adding ductwork to your home will require you have sufficient space.

In addition, installing ductwork will require removing parts of the walls, flooring, and other areas of the home so it can be installed correctly. The costs of installing ductwork will also increase the total HVAC installation cost. This is why most people without ductwork in their homes will opt for a modern ductless HVAC system instead.

Air conditioner split type embed on wall of living room

3. Current System

Your current HVAC system does have some influence on what type of new system you will get. If you have a split system, then you may only need to have a new AC installation service to replace just the air conditioner. Conversely, you might only need heating installation if your furnace needs to be replaced but the air conditioner is still working.

Types of New HVAC Systems

There are five general types of new HVAC systems you can choose from for your new HVAC installation. Let’s take a look at each one and what is included with the system.

1. Packaged HVAC Systems

Packaged HVAC systems are quite common in Texas and most southern states. They combine your cooling and heating into a single unit that is installed on the exterior of the home. The system is a duct-type system that connects to the existing ductwork.

Common components found with a packaged HVAC system are:

  • Heating Unit: The heating unit can be either gas or electric.
  • Cooling Unit: The cooling unit is electric.
  • Blower Motor: The blower motor helps force the heated or cooled air into the air ducts and the home.

The primary benefit of a packaged HVAC system is that you do not need to worry about losing any indoor space for the system. With everything contained in a single unit outside the home, you will also notice the system doesn’t make as much noise as other types of HVAC systems.

2. Split HVAC System

A split HVAC system has the heating unit inside the house and the cooling unit outside the house. The air handler unit is also installed inside. Each unit is then connected together so that the air handler, blower motor, and ductwork can be shared between the two systems.

The heating unit of a split HVAC system can be either electric or gas. The cooling unit is electric. When you turn on the heat, just the furnace side of the system runs to heat the home. Alternatively, when you turn on the AC, just the AC unit runs to cool your home.

The main benefit of a split HVAC system is you do not have to replace both the furnace and air conditioner at the same time. If you need a new AC, you just replace either the AC unit or the furnace, if that needs to be replaced.

However, it can be beneficial to replace both the furnace and AC at the same time. If your current system is more than ten years old, there have been many energy-efficient improvements made on new complete split HVAC systems. Replacing both parts of the systems would allow you to enjoy these energy-saving features.

Heat pump on a residential home

3. Duct-Type Heat Pump System

A heat pump is similar to a packaged system since it can provide both heating and cooling functions in a single unit. Unlike a packaged system, there is an indoor air handling unit that contains the blower motor which is installed inside the home. A heat pump is also connected to existing ductwork inside the home.

4. Ductless Heat Pump System

Another type of heat pump system you could have installed is a ductless system. This system is well-suited for homes without existing air ducts. There is an outdoor unit that is connected to individual air handling units installed in each room of the home that you want to heat and cool.

One of the benefits of a ductless heat pump system is it allows you to set individual temperatures for each room. For instance, you could have it a bit cooler in the living room and a little warmer in the bedroom. Another benefit of a ductless heat pump system is it heats and cools the home without the need for a separate furnace.

5. Ductless Split and Mini-Split AC Systems

Ductless split and mini-split AC systems are also designed for homes without existing air ducts. The key difference between this type of system and a ductless heat pump system is it only cools the home. There is not a heating component in the system.

The AC installation features a cooling unit installed outside the home. The cooling unit is connected to individual air handler fan units installed on the ceiling or walls in individual rooms of the home. Just like a ductless heat pump system, you can set individual temperatures on each fan unit.

The Difference Between a Single and Multi-Stage HVAC System

If you have already spent some time shopping for a new HVAC system for your home, you probably encountered the option to choose a single or a multi-stage system. Single-stage systems operate the blower motor at a preset fan speed that remains the same during the entire heating or cooling cycle.

With a multi-stage HVAC system, the blower motor fan speed can operate at two different speeds. The system determines which speed is best depending on whether the system needs to operate at full or reduced speed.

A multi-stage system is designed to help reduce energy usage and save you money. For example, on a hot Texas summer day with temperatures blazing in the 100s, a multi-stage system would operate at full speed to keep your home cooled.

On a cooler summer day, when it is in the 80s, a multi-stage system would typically start the cooling cycle at full speed. Then it would step down to the lower speed during the cycle. During some cycles, the system may only operate at the lower speed, as when it needs to reduce the temperature in the home one or two degrees.

Dehumidifier and Humidifier HVAC Systems

Another option found on certain new HVAC systems is the inclusion of a built-in dehumidifier and humidifier. This option is beneficial when you live in very humid and very dry areas of the country. Here in Texas, it can get quite humid during the summertime.

If your new HVAC system has a built-in dehumidifier, it will remove the excess humidity from the inside of the home. This is in addition to the humidity the air conditioning unit removes during the cooling cycle.

The primary benefit of removing excess humidity from the air in summer is it will make the home feel much cooler. This allows you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on your energy usage.

In the wintertime, when the air is dry and lacks humidity, having a built-in humidifier helps add humidity to the air. By adding humidity, it makes the home feel warmer. In addition, humidified warm air helps reduce dryness in the home and helps prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.

Portrait of air conditioning serviceman

Choosing the Best HVAC Installation for Your Home

You have a wide range of options when you need a new HVAC installation. The best place to start is with an HVAC inspection to determine which types of systems would be best for your home.

The inspection process reviews what size system your home requires and your desired heating and cooling needs. Your AC repair and installation technician also reviews whether you could benefit from a multi-stage system and/or a built-in dehumidifier and humidifier system.

To arrange an HVAC inspection or your home, request further information about new HVAC systems. To schedule AC repair or maintenance service, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location today!

We look forward to helping you select the best new HVAC system for your home. We service the Temple, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Austin Metro, and surrounding areas. We also offer 24/7 emergency HVAC service for those unexpected breakdowns.

Keeping Trees from Invading Your Sewer Lines

Posted on June 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Trees are a great way to add beauty and curb appeal to your yard, but even one tree can wreak havoc on your sewer systems. If they end up destroying your main line, you could end up with a costly sewer repair and an even bigger headache.

Sewer pipes are a gold mine for tree roots since they have a lot of water and other nutrients that trees need to grow and thrive. If there’s even the smallest crack or leak in a pipe, the roots can get into it and cause a huge problem.

So, what can you do to preserve the beauty of the trees in your yard while making sure you don’t need to call an emergency plumber if the roots start invading?

a grassy area with sunlight coming through the trees in bellingham

Know Where Your Lines Are

The best thing to do is to locate your sewer lines within your yard. You can go hunting on your own for cleanout caps, but the easiest way to do it is to call your local sewer department. They’ll send someone out to mark the locations of the lines for you. That will make it very easy to see whether or not they’re anywhere near a tree.

If you do have sewer lines next to a tree, call an experienced plumber immediately. Even if you’ve never seen any signs of trouble, a plumber can use a camera to determine whether roots have started to invade the sewer drain. Getting this kind of inspection before you see any problems can end up saving you a lot of money.

If you’ve already had issues with frequently clogged drains or slow-flowing water, and can’t figure out why, it’s even more crucial to check the pipes as soon as possible.

Removing Roots and Repairing Pipes

If the roots are, indeed, a problem to your plumbing, don’t worry! You can take active steps to get rid of them while preserving the life of the tree.

First, you’ll need to cut the roots away from the pipe. Again, this is something a professional should do so you don’t accidentally cause more damage to the pipe (or the tree). When the roots have been cut away from your sewer line, the next step is to use an herbicide that will help to temporarily stop the growth of the roots. This can be reapplied every few years.

Your line will also benefit from a sewer cleaning that will ensure everything is repaired properly and there is no other debris attached to the pipes.

Again, this process might seem like a lot, but it’s a lot less stressful and much less expensive than dealing with a broken sewer line due to tree roots.

pipe hose drain knob tube

Keeping Trees Away from the Sewer Line

You can take preventative measures to make sure any trees you plant in the future don’t affect your sewer lines. Smaller, slow-growing trees will always be a safer bet, while fast-growing trees with widespread root systems are more likely to cause problems. Try trees like Flowering Dogwood, Cypress, and Paperback Maple if you really want to plant near your sewer lines. They won’t be as big, and their root system will grow slowly.

Using different barriers can also be helpful. Metal or wood barriers can be buried beneath the pipes at a vertical angle. They will help to stop the roots from penetrating through the pipes.

If you have a tree planted anywhere near your sewer line and you’re worried about the roots causing a problem, don’t wait until you’re in an emergency situation! Give Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing a call and we’ll be happy to come out for a full inspection. It’s never a wrong time to schedule sewer line maintenance!

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Energy-Efficient Smart Thermostats: How Do They Work?

Posted on May 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Energy-efficient smart thermostats are those sleek and cool-looking devices with the digital LED displays used to control your air conditioning and heating system. They are very different from those “old-school” dial thermostats, where you turn the dial to set the temperature you want inside your home.

They are also an upgrade from programmable thermostats that feature basic LED displays, similar to old cell phones. One of the key differences between smart thermostats and dial-style and programmable models is they connect to the internet. This feature helps you tap into a wide range of features and benefits to further expand the functionality of the thermostat.

Raumthermostat digital - Rund - Hand

Energy-Efficient Smart Thermostats – Features and Benefits

Besides being able to control the thermostat from the interface on the wall like conventional thermostats, smart thermostats also include:

  • Access through a smartphone/tablet app. Each smart thermostat manufacturer offers an app so you can access the settings in your home from anywhere you have an internet connection. For instance, you could adjust the settings a few degrees cooler or warmer than you had programmed earlier in the day before coming home from work. Alternatively, if you happen to leave for a vacation and forget to set the thermostat to “vacation mode”, you could do it from your phone without having to turn back.
  • Smart thermostats integrate with voice-activated personal assistants. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can both be taught the appropriate “skill” to interface with smart thermostats. Imagine you just sat down to eat dinner and you are hot. Instead of having to get up to turn down the thermostat, you just ask Alexa or Assistant to do it for you.
  • Smart thermostats learn your routine. With the right setup, smart thermostats use AI (artificial intelligence) to learn your routines to know when you are home or away. This feature allows the device to adjust temperature levels based on your previous preferences.
  • Smart thermostats can control multiple zones. In larger homes that have two or more separate heating and cooling units, a single smart thermostat can be configured to control the settings for each system or zone.

Additionally, certain models can track your energy usage, as well as build an energy profile for your home. Best of all, smart thermostats can connect to other devices like smart dehumidifiers and smart humidifiers and also control those devices.

remote home control online home automation system on a digital tablet

How Does Smart Thermostat Installation Save Money on Energy Bills?

With a traditional dial-style thermostat, your home is cooled or heated constantly at that same setting. Most people are away from home between 8 to 10 hours each day. Do you really need to keep your home cooled or heated to the same setting all day? Not necessarily.

Just like a programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat can be programmed to change the temperature settings so you use less energy to cool or heat your home when you are away. Unlike programmable thermostats, smart thermostats can automatically make temperature changes even if you forget to program or change them yourself.

Another way smart thermostats help save you money is they can be configured to track your local weather conditions. If the weather ends up being hotter or colder than you anticipated, the thermostat will adjust your home’s cooling and heating settings to match the weather.

To learn more about energy-efficient smart thermostats, installation, or to upgrade to one when getting new AC installation, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in Temple, New Braunfels, San Antonio or Austin Metro today!

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Is It Time to Replace Your Sewer Line?

Posted on May 22nd, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

If you’re having plumbing problems, you might be tempted to fix them on your own. Unfortunately, if your sewer drain is moving slowly, it doesn’t always mean there’s a simple clog you can handle on your own. You may need a sewer cleaning or sewer repair to fix the problem.

Your sewer line is something you should pay close attention to. The longer you let a problem start to build up, the worse it will become—and it can end up costing you more money, in the long run. Plus, if your sewer line is out of commission, you could have quite a mess (and a smell!) on your hands.

However, most people don’t pay much attention to their drainage system until a big problem occurs. By that time, it’s often too late for any “quick fixes.” So, let’s look at a few signs you should be aware of that indicate it might be time to replace your sewer line.

The Water in Your Toilet Bowl Goes Up and Down

water running into kitchen sink drain

Toilet bowl water levels shouldn’t be inconsistent—at least not to the point where it’s noticeable. Because we use and flush toilets all the time, a variation in water levels within the toilet bowl could indicate that you have a clog somewhere in the system.

While this might be something you can ignore for a while, it could also be a ticking time bomb. Think of it this way—the longer you ignore it, the worse the clog could become. You might be able to flush freely one day—and the next day, you’ll experience a backup.

A backed up toilet can lead to even bigger issues, especially when it comes to clean-up. If you notice that the water in your bowl is different all the time, call a plumber as soon as possible.

You Smell Sewage

One telltale sign that there is a problem with your sewer line is that you actually start to smell sewage within your home. This is one of the most noticeable signs, of course, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

Even if you don’t smell sewage in your house, take a trip out to your backyard. Does it smell bad out there? Is there a pool of standing water? You could still have a sewage leak that could be showing up as puddles in your yard. Because of the smell outside, you may even start to attract rodents, bugs, and more. Keep track of where the standing water is, and then call a 24-hour plumbing service to come help right away!

Slow, Noisy Drains

People often assume a slow-flowing drain can be fixed with a plunger or a store-bought drain cleaning liquid. If you have problems with your sewer pipes, those solutions won’t get the job done.

If the drains in your house are consistently moving slowly, it can quickly become an annoyance. If you start to hear gurgling noises from your pipes, it’s time to call a plumber. It’s not always a good idea to keep using store-bought drain cleaners. In some cases, they may cause more damage, especially if there’s already a leak somewhere in your pipes. If your drain is gurgling, it’s trying to tell you something, so be sure to listen and get your pipes repaired as soon as possible.

Your Water Use Is Down, but Your Bill Keeps Going Up

pipe hose drain knob tube

No one wants to deal with astronomical utility bills. More often than not, people can estimate what their water bills are going to be each month. So, if you start to notice that your bill is significantly rising with no real explanation, it could be a sign of a leaking pipe somewhere.

No matter how much you shorten your showers (or yell at your kids to keep them quick!) or keep track of your water use, it won’t make much of a difference when you have a problem with your sewer pipes. The only solution is calling an experienced plumber to repair the leak. Once you do, your bill should start going back to its usual rates, and you can start doing more than one load of laundry per week again.

Mold Growing Inside

If you have a broken sewer pipe behind a wall, it could start to cause mold growth. Your home doesn’t need to be that warm or humid in order for mold to grow and thrive. By the time you see mold forming on a wall or on the ceiling, you could have a world of trouble going on behind the drywall.

Mold can be dangerous in many ways, and it should be taken seriously right away. This is especially true if you have anyone in your house with any kind of respiratory issues like asthma.

You’ll likely notice an odor along with it, so there will be absolutely no mistaking the problem you have. If you do start to see or smell mold in your house, don’t wait to call a professional to not only get rid of the mold but fix your pipes right away.

Keeping Your Pipes Perfect

repairing the plumbing pipes with monkey wrench

As you can see, sewer system damage isn’t exactly a barrel of fun, and it can come with a wide array of different problems. Unfortunately, the longer you let these issues go, the more troublesome they can be for your home. In some cases, they can even affect the structure or foundation of your home!

So, don’t go along with slow drains and high utility bills any longer. The fact is, they could be the least of your worries if you have a damaged sewer system. If you’re in the San Antonio or Austin areas and you’re experiencing any of these issues or other pipe problems that have you concerned, contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing right away. We pride ourselves in offering quality plumbing services—even for emergencies.

Whether you’re dealing with stinking sewage, standing water, slow drains, or stopped toilets, we can find the source of your problem and provide the solution as quickly as possible, so life can get back to normal!

How to Use Your HVAC Unit Efficiently

Posted on May 16th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live without your HVAC? Year after year, these systems provide us with warmth in the winter and relief in the summer. It’s not until they stop working properly until we realize just how important they are, and how important it is to keep them running smoothly. A happy HVAC unit makes a happy family!

The best way to make your HVAC happy is to use it efficiently. Efficiency is a measure of how much energy is expended to produce a result. The less energy used to keep your house warm or cool, and the less the unit has to work, the less strain you’re putting on the system. Parts will last longer before they wear out, your energy bills will be lower, and you’ll have more reliable temperatures, all year round.

If you know what you’re doing, using your unit efficiently is simple. While getting regular, professional maintenance for your HVAC is vital, there are also a number of things you can do yourself. You don’t even need to expend time and effort: just a few minor lifestyle changes are all it takes.

Keep your family happy. Ease the strain on your HVAC unit (and your wallet) and follow these usage tips to get you started!

How to Use Your HVAC Unit Efficiently Infographic

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Why Is My Air Conditioning System Dripping Water?

Posted on April 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

No matter what type of air conditioning system you have on your home—split system, packaged system or window units—they all work in a similar fashion and will produce water. The water they produce is condensation, and this is normal. The condensation is created from the following operations:

  1. When the air conditioner is turned on, it starts to pull the warm humid air out of your home and over the cooling coils.
  2. The cooling coils are colder because they are filled with some type of refrigerant that is circulating through the coils.
  3. The water vapor in the warm humid air starts to condense on the cooling coils.
  4. As more water condenses, it will eventually start dripping off the coiling coils into a drain pan.
  5. As the drain pain starts to get full, the water slowly drains away down a connected drain pipe.

Depending on the type of AC system you have installed, it will determine how the drain pipe is connected. On split systems and packaged systems, where the AC cooling coils are outdoors, the drain pipe is normally attached to the unit and drains directly into the ground away from the unit.

Air Conditioner system next to a home

For indoor AC systems, the drain pipe could be connected to one of your plumbing drain lines. For window units, the drain pipe normally is in a location on the back of the unit farthest from the home, and it drips out of the unit onto the ground.

When Water Dripping from Your Air Conditioning System Is Not Normal

There are a few different cases where water dripping from the AC system is not considered part of its normal operations. If you notice an excessive amount of water on the base of your outdoor unit or have noticed water backing up inside the home near the indoor part of your split AC system, it could be the result of one or more of the following:

  • Clogged Drain Line: If the drain line gets clogged with dirt and debris, the drain pan will overflow.
  • Rusted or Damaged Drain Pan: On older units, the drain pans were made of metal and can rust, allowing the water to flow out of the pan, not down the drain line. On newer units, the pans are made of plastic but could still get damaged from normal wear and tear.

technician inspects an ac unit

  • Dirty Coiling Coils Vents: If the vents on your outdoor unit are full of dust and dirt, the cooling coils can freeze up and lead to excess water. When they thaw, it can cause the drain pan to overflow.
  • Broken or Disconnected Drain Line: If the drain line is broken or becomes disconnected from the drain pan, the water will not drain correctly.
  • Refrigerant Level Is Low: If your AC system is low on refrigerant, it, too, will cause the cooling coils to freeze up.
  • Condensation Pump Broken: Some units have a condensation pump that pumps the water out of the drain pan and into the drain line. If the pump breaks, then the pan can overflow.

In order to determine the exact cause of abnormal water dripping, it is best to call a professional for air conditioning repair service.

The best way to avoid unexpected AC repair calls is by having your AC system inspected, tested, and tuned up before the hot Texas summer arrives. Call the cooling experts at your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in San Antonia, Temple, New Braunfels, or Austin Metro today to schedule AC maintenance!

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Heat Pump Systems vs. Traditional HVAC Systems

Posted on April 19th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

You have a few different options when you are shopping around for a new air conditioning installation for your Texas home. Two of your options are traditional HVAC systems and heat pump systems. Both systems can heat and cool your home, but there are a few key differences in how they work.

You need to understand these differences in order to choose the best cooling option for your home. Let’s take a look at how each one works, how they are installed, and which one is most efficient for those hot Texas summers.

How Heat Pump Systems Work

The name “heat pump” can be misleading because you think it would just heat your home. The name of this system actually refers to how it operates. A heat pump moves warm and hot air from one area to another instead of heating the air.

air conditioning unit

The warm air being transferred through the heat pump will do one of two things. In the summertime, it moves the hot air from inside the home into the unit, and then absorbs the heat from the hot air. Next, it blows the now-cooled air back into the home.

The cooling function on heat pump systems functions in a similar way to those on an air conditioning system. The primary difference is a heat pump can also be used to heat the home, and it does not require a separate furnace or heating unit. During the cooler winter months, a heat pump absorbs the heat energy found in outdoor air and blows the warm air into the home.

How Traditional AC and Heating Systems Work

With a traditional air conditioning system, hot air is drawn out of the house through the return air duct. It is passed over cooling coils inside the outdoor unit. Inside the coils is a refrigerant that absorbs the heat from the air and cools it. After the air is cooled, it is blown back into the home.

If you also want to heat your home, you need a separate furnace inside the home or a packaged outdoor unit. Packaged systems are common in Texas, as they include the AC system and a separate heating system that is installed outside your home. The main benefit of a packaged system is it frees up space inside the home where a furnace and other shared system components would be installed.

Heat Pump Systems Installation

Heat pump systems consist of various parts and components. There is an indoor unit that will have a fan, air handler (blower motor), and cooling/heating coils. There is also an outdoor unit that contains its own cooling/heating coils and a fan to help move air over the coils.

The heat pump is installed in a similar way to a conventional split HVAC system. Once installed, the air handler is connected to the ductwork inside your home. There is a return air vent and an air filter as well. In place of a traditional heating coil, the heat pump has a reversing valve. This valve allows the refrigerant to flow in opposite directions. Which way the refrigerant flows will depend on whether the system is set to heat or cool the home.

There is a variant available with heat pump systems for homes without air ducts, called a ductless system. These systems are typically mounted on the walls in the rooms you want to heat and cool. They are connected to a small outdoor unit.

technician working on a heat pump outside

Traditional Heating and Air Conditioner Installation

With a traditional heating and cooling system, the furnace part of the system is installed indoors while the cooling unit is installed outdoors. These two systems are connected together inside, where they share some similar components like the air handler, blower motor, air filter, and ductwork.

With a packaged HVAC system, the entire unit is installed outside the home. Once installed, it is connected to the existing ductwork. The air handler, blower motor, and heating system are all contained within the outdoor cooling unit. Many homes in Texas have these because our winters tend to be shorter and we rely upon our air conditioning systems much more.

Which Type of System Is More Energy Efficient?

You can find both heat pump systems and traditional HVAC systems which are very energy efficient. Ideally, you want a system with a SEER rating of 13 or more. A SEER rating of 18 is considered very efficient.

Part of the system’s efficiency does depend on your preferred indoor air temperature. This will determine how often the system has to run. In general, and under normal operating conditions, both energy-efficient heat pumps and air conditioning systems tend to cost about the same to operate during the hot Texas summers.

How Long Does Each Type of System Last?

With regular maintenance at least twice a year, heat pump systems last about 12 to 15 years if they are constantly run every day. AC systems, on the other hand, can last between 15 to 20 years since you are only using them for about eight months or so each year.

Heat Pump vs. Air Conditioning Installation Costs

It is important to keep in mind the costs for heat pump or air conditioning installation do vary based on the features, options, brand, size, style, and type of system you choose to have installed. That being said, please remember the following are just generalized estimated installation costs and should not be considered an actual quoted system installation price.

Heat pumps can range in cost from as little as $700 for the smallest systems to around $3,000 for larger or multiple systems. Traditional air conditioning systems can range from around $1,500 for smaller units to around $3,400 for larger or multiple systems.

In addition, ductless systems tend to cost more and have their own range of prices. These will also vary based on the number of rooms you need to heat and cool inside your home. For the most accurate system and installation costs, it is best to request a free quote from one of our qualified heating and cooling installation professionals.

Which System Is Best for Hot Texas Summers?

Heat pump systems are well suited for moderate climates that do not have very cold winters. In Texas, they can work rather well if you do not need to keep your home at lower indoor air temperatures in the mid to high-60s. If you are comfortable with the thermostat set to 76 to 78 or even 80, then a heat pump could be the right choice for your home.

If you like your home cooler, then a traditional air conditioning system could be the better option. This is because traditional systems are able to cool and reduce air temperatures much faster on extremely hot days.

air condioner repairman thumbsup

Other Considerations When Selecting a New System

One of the most important things to consider, aside from efficiency, system cost, and installation cost, is the size of the unit itself. You want a unit that is sized correctly for your home. If you get a unit that is undersized, it will not be able to keep up with your cooling and heating demands. Not to mention, it will not be energy efficient at all.

Conversely, you want to avoid getting an oversized system too. Having a larger system than your home needs will cost more to operate and not provide any noticeable benefits to keeping your home cooled or heated. In addition, you will have much higher heating and cooling energy bills.

In the end, it really comes down to your own personal heating and cooling needs. If you only have a few rooms you need to heat and cool or a small home, a heat pump could be best for you. If you have a larger home or like to keep it much cooler during the hot Texas summers, then a traditional air conditioning system could be perfect.

For assistance in deciding whether heat pump systems or traditional HVAC systems are best for your home, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing location in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or Austin Metro today! We would be happy to discuss your heating and cooling needs and help you find the most cost-effective and energy efficient system for your home.

5 Signs It’s Time to Call a Plumber for Your Bathroom

Posted on March 24th, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

No one wants to deal with bathroom plumbing problems. Unfortunately, they’re often a part of home ownership. If you’re repeatedly dealing with something like a clogged toilet or a clogged shower drain, getting the help you need to fix it quickly is crucial.

While it’s true that there are some bathroom plumbing problems you might be able to fix on your own, it’s important to know when you should call a plumber.

A licensed, professional plumber will not only fix your bathroom plumbing issues right away, but they’ll ensure that everything is working properly so you don’t have to worry about the same issues again.

So, when should you hand over your plumbing problems to a professional?

adjustable wrench and pipes

1. A Leaky Faucet

Sink plumbing issues are often ignored because people think they aren’t huge problems. They don’t want to spend the money or time waiting on a plumber to come and fix a leaky faucet. After all, a little drip here and there won’t hurt, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

A leaky faucet can cause more damage than most people realize. First of all, they are huge water wasters. You might not think that little drops of water would add up to much, but you’ll notice a difference in your water bill as it starts to increase.

More importantly, a leaky faucet can cause the valve seat to corrode over time. Only a professional can fix a valve seat, so why not save yourself the trouble and cost, and get the faucet fixed before it causes more serious damage?

2. A Sudden Pressure Drop

If you’ve noticed your shower and/or sinks have dramatically dropped their water pressure, it’s important to investigate the issue right away. The first thing you can do is to call your water company. They’ll let you know if it’s an issue that’s affecting your whole neighborhood or just your house.

If it’s just your home’s water pressure that is having issues, it’s time to call a plumber. It could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere that needs to be found and fixed. The leak could be anywhere—even in the walls or ceiling! That’s why it’s crucial to call a qualified plumber quickly so they can repair the leak before it has the chance to cause any water or structural damage to your home.

dripping tap

3. Sudden Drop in Temperature

No one wants to take a cold shower in the morning. If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in temperature with your water, it’s likely a problem with your water heater. Sometimes, parts in water heaters can simply be replaced.

Other times, the entire unit may need to be replaced. Either way, it’s always a good idea to call a plumber for this job. Water heaters can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing since they’re powered by either electric or gas. Whether the issue with the heater is big or small, it’s best to let a professional handle it.

4. A Toilet That Won’t Stop Running

A constantly running toilet isn’t an uncommon issue. It’s also an issue that can sometimes be fixed on your own, depending on what the problem is.

If you’ve already tried things like replacing the flapper or float tube apparatus, it could be the sign of something more. A running toilet could mean you also have a leaking toilet. That’s when you know it’s time to call a plumber, so they can identify the real underlying problem, and get it fixed quickly.

5. Clogged Drains

Clogged shower drains or clogged toilets are also pretty common plumbing problems to have. Again, you can sometimes deal with them on your own, but if your drains are consistently slow or clogged and you can’t seem to get them cleared out, a plumber can help.

A plumber will not only clean out the debris causing the clogs but can also install drain screens, which will prevent your pipes from clogging up again.

Fixing the Most Common Plumbing Problems

While it can be tempting to tackle your bathroom plumbing problems on your own, it’s usually much safer and effective to call an experienced plumber like Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

Our years of experience and dedication to customer service shine through in every plumbing job we do. So, whether you have a leak, a clog, or something you can’t quite describe, don’t worry about bathroom plumbing issues yourself. Let us take care of them for you! If you’ve got a plumbing issue or questions, feel free to give us a call today.

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Why Is My Hot Water Pressure Low?

Posted on March 22nd, 2019 by ChristainSon_Admin

There can be several different reasons why hot water pressure decreases. The water that passes through your hot water tank or tankless system should be flowing at the same amount of pressure as the cold water. When it is not flowing at the same rate, then the cause could be from hot water heater problems or problems with the plumbing water supply lines inside your home.

Some of the more common reasons for low hot water pressure could include:

  • Hard water scale and mineral deposits inside the plumbing lines. If your home has hard water, there will be scale and mineral deposits which gradually form inside water supply lines. Eventually, the buildup can become so bad, it will cause the water pressure to drop since water flow is being restricted.
  • Sediment and scale buildup inside the water heater. For homes with tank-type water heaters, sediment and scale problems do occur. The inside of tank-type heaters can corrode and, eventually, this corrosion settles to the bottom of the tank. However, sometimes the pieces of sediment get drawn into the hot water supply line and will create a blockage which lowers water pressure. For tankless heaters, scale buildup does occur and can be an issue affecting water pressure.

defective heating an electric boiler

  • Kinked water supply intake or outtake lines. Most tank-type water heaters have accordion-style copper water pipes which are easy to bend. If the pipe itself is bent too sharply or kinked, the water will not flow through it correctly and could cause a reduction in water pressure.
  • Too many bends in the plumbing lines to reach the faucet. The distance the hot water has to travel until it comes out of the faucet also affects the water pressure. If the water has to go around numerous bends, each time the water hits the elbow in the pipe, it loses some pressure.
  • The shutoff valve is partially closed. If the shutoff valve on the water heater is partially closed, water flow is restricted. This will cause a reduction in water pressure in all hot water supply lines throughout the entire home.
  • The whole house has low water pressure. If both your hot and cold water supply lines have low water pressure, then the problem is often related to the direct main water supply line coming into your home.
  • The water supply lines are not sized correctly. If the water supply lines are too small or have been downsized from the size of the main water supply, then water pressure is reduced. This is because the flow of water is attempting to go from a large pipe into a smaller one.
  • The main house water supply shutoff valve is partially closed. If the water main supply line has been partially closed, it will cause a reduction in the water pressure in both hot and cold water lines.
  • The pressure regulator is not configured correctly or needs to be replaced. On homes with pressure regulators, if it was not set correctly and was left on a lower water pressure, you will not have good pressure inside your home. In addition, if the regulator is defective or has worn out, it could result in reduced water pressure.
  • Your home has old steel water pipes which have corroded inside so badly, it is creating a blockage. On homes that still have steel water pipes, they will corrode and rust inside the water supply lines. Just like tank-type water heater sediment, the corroded pieces can break off and create a small clog that restricts hot water flow and reduced water pressure.
  • The faucet or fixture is worn out and/or has excessive scale buildup. The cause for reduced hot water pressure could also be related to a worn-out faucet or fixture that needs to be replaced. Hard water scale and mineral deposits also build up inside faucets and fixtures.

What Can Be Done to Fix Low Hot Water Pressure?

The first thing you should do is determine whether the problem is isolated to a single sink, bathtub, or shower or is affecting all of the hot water faucets and fixtures in the entire home. Once you have done this, then you can start to narrow down the potential reasons for reduced hot water pressure to fix it. Let’s take a look at how to fix low water pressure from the reasons we stated previously.

  • Hard water scale and mineral deposits inside the plumbing lines. The two options to fix this problem is to either have your plumber clean the water supply lines or replace them with new water pipes.
  • Sediment and scale buildup inside the water heater. If your water heater is not that old, you could have your plumber flush and clean the sediment and scale from inside the tank. If your water heater is more than eight years old you may need to replace the water heater.
  • Kinked water supply intake or outtake lines. You will need to replace the water supply lines that are kinked too badly. If they are just bent too sharply, you could attempt to reduce the sharpness of the bend, but you do need to be careful to not further kink the pipe.
  • Too many bends in the plumbing lines to reach the faucet. You could have your plumber repipe the plumbing lines to the areas of the home that have problems with reduced hot water pressure. If the entire home is affected, another option is to have a pressure regulator installed if you do not have one or to have your plumber adjust the setting to increase water pressure.
  • The shutoff valve is partially closed.  If the shutoff valve to the water tank is partially closed, simply open it up all the way.

male hand turning blue valve on copper pipe

  • The whole house has low water pressure. You could have your plumber install a pressure regulator, if you do not have one, or have the setting adjusted to increase pressure.
  • The water supply lines are not sized correctly. To fix this problem, you could have your water supply lines repiped by your plumber so they are larger. With larger water supply lines, pressure reduction and friction are reduced. In certain cases, you could gain quite a noticeable amount of pressure increase.
  • The main house water supply shutoff valve is partially closed. Open the water main up all the way so it is fully turned on.
  • The pressure regulator is not configured correctly or needs to be replaced. Check the setting on the pressure regulator. If it is set correctly but you are having low water pressure issues in both hot and cold water supply lines, it needs to be replaced. If it is too low, it needs to be adjusted carefully as to not increase the water pressure too much. For both fixes, call your 24-hour plumber and schedule a service call.
  • Your home has old steel water pipes that have corroded inside so badly, it is creating a blockage. The best solution is to get a whole home water repiping completed from a qualified plumber who has experience performing this service.
  • The faucet or fixture is worn out and/or has excessive scale buildup. If the cause for reduced water pressure is the faucet or fixture, have your plumber replace it with a new one.

Please keep in mind, everyone’s home plumbing configurations and causes for reduced hot water pressure can be and are different. In certain cases, your home could have multiple reasons for reduced hot water pressure.

Why You Should Call a Professional 24-Hour Plumber for Help

While determining the reasons for your home’s reduced hot water pressure is something most people can do themselves, when it comes time to do the actual fix, it is often better to call in a professional plumber for assistance.

Tank-type water heaters are under a large amount of pressure. There are safety risks, including the risk of severe burns and potential water heater explosions. Hot water heater problems should be left in the hands of an experienced professional so you do not have to risk injuring yourself or others.

If you need repiping performed, it requires knowing exactly where your water supply lines run in your home. If you attempt to do the job yourself, you could end up with large sections of walls, ceilings, and flooring torn out that should not have been and which will only add to your repair costs.

HVAC contractors standing against a truck

Professional plumbers have access to special equipment to determine the precise location of water supply lines. They also use the latest repiping methods to minimalize the amount of walls, ceilings, and flooring that needs to be removed.

Most importantly, any plumbing work you have done needs to be completed correctly and up to current building codes. This way, if you ever decide to sell your home, you can easily assure potential buyers all plumbing work was completed by a professional licensed and insured plumber.

For help finding the reasons for reduced hot water pressure and hot water heater problems in your home and having them fixed correctly, please feel free to contact your nearest Christianson Air Conditioning and Plumbing location in New Braunfels, Temple, San Antonio, or the Austin Metro Area today!

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