Are You Ready for Summer?

10 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat

Boise CoolingThe dog days of summer are just around the corner, and if your home isn't properly prepared, you could be in for some long, stifling hot days. To make sure you're comfortable in your house during the hottest days of the year, check out our 10 easy tips for preparing your home for the heat:

Change Filters

Fresh filters in your heating/cooling system are essential for high performance temperature control. Make sure you change the filters at least once a month.

Update Insulation

Having new insulation will help keep cool air inside your house, and the hot air outside. You can choose to fully replace existing insulation, or simply add another layer of fresh insulation over the layer already in place.

Ventilate

Ventilation is key in the summer to avoiding boiler-like temperatures in your home. Make sure you have adequate-sized vents in your home, to promote sufficient airflow. This is especially important if you have an attic, where temperatures can quickly soar above 100 degrees on a hot summer day.

Ceiling Fans

If you don't already have one, consider installing a ceiling fan in the most-visited rooms of your house. On days that aren't quite as hot, a ceiling fan may do enough on its own to keep you cool, while on hot days, a ceiling fan will dramatically decrease use of your air conditioner.

Clean your AC

Turn your AC off, and give it a thorough cleaning for maximum performance. Clean the filters on the inside, and make sure all dirt and debris is cleared from the outside of the unit as well.

Open Windows

On cooler summer days with a nice breeze, open your windows to let the outside air cool your house. Don't run AC with the windows open, however.

Close Blinds

Make sure your blinds and shades are drawn during the hottest parts of the day. Keeping the sun out of your house will keep temperatures down.

Keep Electronics Away from AC Thermostat

Make sure nothing that is giving off heat is running nearby your AC thermostat. This may cause the AC to run more than necessary and drive up electricity costs.Boise Air Conditioning

Leave Doors Closed As Often As Possible

Make sure you don't make lots of unnecessary trips in and out of the house. Each time you open the door, hot air and humidity enters your home.

Don’t let cooling costs suck the fun out of summer. Call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling at (208) 466-9447 for greener HVAC services in the Boise area!

 

Brands We Know and Recommend

Top 10 Plumbing Fixture Brands

Boise PlumberWhen looking to get the top plumbing fixtures on the market, you will need to look into the top brands that sell these items. You will want to look into the top brands because this will ensure you that you will be able to get the fines quality plumbing fixtures available. Fortunately there are a number of plumbing fixtures that are available from many different manufacturers.

This will enable you the consumer to find a fixture that will best meet your needs. Among the top brands recommended by plumber include, Kohler, Brizo, Delta and Kingston Brass. These brands are among the best around and will ensure that you get a high quality fixture that will last.

KINGSTON BRASS, BRIZO, DELTA, GROHE & KOHLER

One of the top plumbing fixture brands recommended by plumber is Kingston Brass. This company offers a wide range of fixtures that include faucets and accessories. Purchasing items from this brand is recommended by plumbers because they combine durability, efficiency and affordability. Another brand recommended is Brizo which offers faucets, shower heads and accessories.

Like Kingston Brass, the Brizo brand offers durability, solid construction, and a very nice looking exterior design. Using this brand will enable you to get fixtures that are both stylish and long lasting. Another top plumbing fixture brand that is recommended is Delta.

This is one of the most common brands of pluming fixtures and offers consumers a high quality design, ease of use and also one that is durable and affordable as well. Grohe is also a top brand that specializes in sinks, faucets and accessories.

This brand is ranked among the best due to solid construction, quality designs and also a good selection of items available. When it comes to the top plumbing fixture brands around, the one that plumber recommend the most is Kohler. This brand contains a wide selection of plumbing fixtures that are very well designed, durable, affordable and also easy to use.

ELEMENTS OF DESIGN, WHITEHAUS, LASCO, PFISTER, DURAVIT

Boise FixturesThe other top brands that plumber recommend are Elements of Design, Whitehaus, Lasco, Pfister and Duravit. With these other brands you will enjoy the same features as the other five brands.

With features such as a solid construction, modern high quality designs, a wide selection of items as well as fixtures that are reasonably priced, plumbers will often recommend these brands for you to purchase when looking to get the finest plumbing fixtures available.

If you're in need of plumbing fixtures in your Boise home, these are the recommended best! Call Wickstrom Plumbing Company at (208) 466-9447 for installation.

Indoor Air Pollution 101

How to Identify and Prevent Indoor Air Pollution

Boise Air ConditioningAccording to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the air quality within a building can be worse than the outside air. Research shows that most people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors. Therefore, indoor air quality is critical for health and well-being.

What causes indoor air pollution?

Indoor air pollution is caused from a variety of sources. A primary source is deteriorated building materials, such as insulation with asbestos, damp carpet and pressurized wood products (that contain chemicals).

Moist conditions and poorly maintained air conditioners result in increased mold, mites and bacteria. Hobby items, toiletries and personal care and household cleaning products are also sources.

These organic vapors come in the form of paint cleaners, hair spray and pesticides. The HVAC or ventilation system, if outdated and poorly maintained, is also a source. Certain building materials or products will continually emit pollutants while others, such as a malfunctioning gas stove, will only emit intermittently. Regardless of the source, pollutants can remain in the air for long periods of time.

How can homeowners identify indoor air pollution?

The easiest way to identify indoor air pollution look for internal sources. Make a list of potential sources and see what you can do to reduce or contain them. Be aware of your lifestyle and think about which of your activities could be contributing to air quality.

Pay attention to your health and consult with your doctor if you have any sudden, unexplained physical symptoms. Finally, check the ventilation system to ensure it’s working properly. Confirm if the air is stuffy or smelly and if there is moisture condensation on walls or windows. Make sure there is no mold growing around windows or in moist places.

What are the best ways to prevent indoor air pollution?

The best way to prevent indoor air pollution is through improving the ventilation system. Make sure you are following the maintenance schedule and install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

Consult with a professional to ensure that the system is properly working. Be sure to use fans in areas that need it, such as the kitchen or a hobby room.Boise Air Quality

Reduce exposure to combustion products through installing outside hoods for gas stoves, inspecting furnaces and water heaters and eliminating smoking inside the home. Avoid warming up the car in the garage.

Finally, consider getting a comprehensive air quality test performed in the home.

In conclusion, quality indoor air is essential for health and well-being. Educate yourself on what causes indoor air pollution and how to identify it.

Be proactive and take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the pollution sources. Doing so is good for both your house and yourself.

Make sure you're breathing in the fresh air in your Boise home. Call Wickstrom Plumbing Heating and Cooling at (208) 466-9447, and get the experts to solve the problem.

It's Time to Go Green

We Can Help You Reduce Your Water Use!

Boise PlumberRepairing or replacing your home's plumbing system can be costly and time-intensive. It also inconveniences the entire family until the system is up and running again.

Plumbing that is not working correctly may continue to function for a while, but it could increase your water bill and eventually break down altogether. Here are a few tips for efficient plumbing use and care.

Turn off the faucet completely.

Avoid letting any of the household faucets drip water. No matter how slow the drip, over time it can wear out the fixture and lead to problems. If you pay for city water, your bill will probably be higher as well. Train the kids to turn off the faucets when they're done using them, too.

Wash large laundry loads.

Instead of washing clothes frequently, wait until you have a regular size load to use the washer and dryer. This will help to reduce the amount of water used, as well as the wear and tear on your plumbing system from constant usage for everyday laundry.

Use dishwasher when full.

The same principle should be applied to dishwashers. Wait until they are full rather than running them with small loads of dirty dishes. Some people wash a few dishes by hand and use the dishwasher for bigger meals with more dishes and cooking pans to wash.

Don't waste water.

When using an outdoor hose to wash the car or for the kids to play with, don't leave it running unused any longer than necessary. Pumping countless gallons of water through the plumbing for non-essential use just adds more strain to the plumbing system over time. Turn the hose off and on as needed rather than letting it flow continuously.Boise Water Conservation

Check for leaks.

Once or twice a year check your home's plumbing system for any signs of leaking. Drips, spots in the wall or floor, a musty or mildewed smell, and signs of mold may indicate the presence of a leak.

If in doubt, contact a professional plumber to check it out for you. If you find leaky pipes, have them fixed immediately before the problem leads to more damage and a more expensive repair bill.

With minimal effort you can keep your plumbing system in good condition for years to come. Keep an eye on household use and check for problems occasionally, and it should continue to work efficiently.

Interested in going green? Call Wickstrom Service Co. at (208) 466-9447 to make your Boise home more energy efficient.

Allergy Season is Here!

3 Ways To Allergy-Proof Your Home This Spring

 

Boise Air Allergies can be a real nuisance if you are affected by them. Many people are so bothered by them they dread the start of the spring where they start being affected by them. Allergies can simulate colds and other illnesses, cloud your mind, and limit your productivity. Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary and avoiding the ill effects of allergies starts in your home. This article will discuss three ways to allergy proof your home this spring.

Tip 1 - Air Filters

Make sure you have air filters installed in your home in order to reduce the number of particles that circulate through your home. Not all filters are equal and the best allow for the circulation of outside air with indoor air.

Air filters should be replaced every two months and be sure to contact your HVAC specialist to ask them for the best air filters for your home. Generally, they will recommend HEPA filters that are highly efficient and have higher MERV factors associated with them (17 to 20 MERV level), though an HVAC specialist can point out the best air filter to clean your home and remove troublesome allergens.

Boise Air QualityTip 2 - Have Your HVAC System Inspected

Your HVAC system should be inspected in order to make sure that it is operating effectively. Further, you should have maintenance performed on your system regularly as well as a well functioning system can decrease the pollutants in your air and provide you with better air quality to reduce the chance of allergens impacting the health of you and your family members.

If you are suspicious that mold is in your system, point it out to your HVAC provider and he may want to clean out your air ducts to reduce the risk of mold colonies building up inside of them.

Tip 3 - Have Your Plumbing System Inspected

Your plumbing system and allergies may not seem linked. But common allergies include mold and having a leaky plumbing system can lead to mold build up in your home. Have your plumbing system inspected for leaks and reduce the possibility of mold in your home, thereby avoiding allergies.

Allergies can be painful and just downright irritating when you are affected by them. By implementing these allergy proof methods in your home you can greatly reduce the harmful side effects of allergies and can keep your health at optimal levels this spring.

Constantly sneezing in your Boise home? Call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling at (208) 466-9447 today, and breathe in the fresh air.

Drain Cleaning: Just Don't Do It!

Dangers of Chemical Drain Cleaning Solutions

 

Boise Drain CleaningLiquid drain cleaning solutions are a convenient and inexpensive solution for many people with a clogged or slow drain. Chemical drain cleaners are easily found and cheap when compared to a visit from the plumber. However, these products can end up costing a lot more in the long run, and can be hazardous to people and pipes.

Liquid drain cleaners are acidic chemicals best used to eat away at clogs like grease and hair. These products are readily available at most discount stores. The chemicals dissolve clogs close to the drain opening surface, but can also eat away at other things, including pipes.

Are drain cleaners dangerous?

Drain cleaners can cause burns to the skin if not handled correctly, and even a little backsplash from pouring the chemicals down the drain can cause damage. Skin and eyes should be washed immediately upon contact (or follow instructions on the packaging).

Serious burns can result if drain cleaners are left on the skin.

If ingested, drain cleaner can be fatal. Keep these and other hazardous products away from children and pets.

Do liquid drain cleaning solutions damage pipes?

Many items can be damaged by liquid drain cleaner. Drain cleaners are caustic chemicals formulated to dissolve clogs, like hair, meaning they can eat away at other things as well. Liquid drain cleaner can damage wood, fiberglass, paint, fabrics and pipes.

Boise Plumber
Liquid drain cleaners are especially dangerous to your pipes. These cleaners dissolve clogs, and a whole lot more. Old plumbing is most at risk, and metal pipes erode quickly from drain cleaner use. The more a drain cleaner is used, the worse things become. If your pipes are already damaged, the cleaner can eat a hole in the pipe.A common clog can turn into a plumbing nightmare.

While liquid drain cleaners are tempting to purchase and use, it is safer to call a plumber. Why risk damage to your pipes and your health? Don't make a costly mistake. If you have a clogged drain or sink, contact a professional to take care of it, or risk costly repairs in the future.

Do you have a clog in your Boise home? Don't resort to ineffective toxins, call the experts of Wickstrom Plumbing at (208) 466-9447!

Understanding SEER Ratings

What Does the SEER Rating on Your AC Unit Mean?

Boise Air

What is a SEER Rating?

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) is a ranking ratio of cooling power generated to energy consumption in central air conditioner units. It informs the resident just how energy efficient the cooling and heating system is performing.

The SEER rating for most of your units is usually found attached to the outside of the unit on a yellow ticket. If it cannot be located there, the AHRI has a directory that can generate this info when make and model is given.

Why was the SEER Rating Established?

In 1992, the Energy Policy Act was signed that included new efficiency standards that included cooling and heating units, so that the energy consumption nation-wide might be lowered; overall health of many might be improved; lower many household utility bills when weathering the hot and humid season; and power plant pollution might be decreased. These ratings were set up by the federal government to insure that the consumer would be informed when considering the purchase of a new HVAC. These values would give them an idea of which cooling system rating number would best serve them in the geographical area where they live.

Effect of SEER Rating on Energy Consumption

Close attention should be given to the Seer rating when a consumer is purchasing a new cooling system. If the rating is low, the higher the energy cost. Whereas, if the rating is higher, the more energy efficient the unit is, providing more cool air with the bonus of lower energy cost, which can add up to a 20-40% savings on air conditioning bills each year. Persons living in an area where the temperature is mainly hot the majority of the time, requiring continuous use of an air conditioner, would benefit by purchasing a higher SEER rating HVAC.

Knowing the Importance of a SEER Rating Boise SEER Rating

The required ranking in the United States for any new residential air conditioner unit that is sold has to be a minimum of 13.00 SEER and up to 23.
Many consumers who still own the older models of air conditioning units are not aware that the SEER rating is much lower, which is a very important reason to have it replaced. By purchasing an up-to-date model, they can be assured that it will include a rating to inform them of just how energy efficient their unit is.

Go green with energy and money saving HVAC units. Call the experts of Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling at (208) 466-9447  to make your Boise area home more efficient today. 

Furnace Fiasco Prevention

Seeing the Signs of Damage

 

Bosie Furnace RepairIn many cases, having your furnace professionally maintained on a yearly basis can catch minor problems before they turn into major and expensive repairs. However, in between tune-ups, problems can still occur that you should not ignore or wait until your next appointment to address. Your furnace will usually give you signs that there is a problem before a breakdown occurs.

Strange Noises

New noises, including banging, screeching, whining or popping coming from your furnace are not a good sign. These sounds can be caused by a variety of problems ranging from a minor issue to a major problem.

It could be anything from a loose fan belt, an ignition problem, a small part needing adjustment or replacement, or a motor getting ready to fail. These noises will not go away on their own and if addressed early enough, may save you an expensive repair bill. As parts begin to malfunction, added wear and tear carries over to the rest of the furnace's components as the system tries to compensate until it finally breaks down.

Unexplained Increase in Utilities Bills

If your electric or natural gas bills have been steadily increasing for no apparent reason, it could be that your furnace is not working as efficient as it should. It could be as simple as an airflow problem from your furnace being excessively dirty or having clogged air filters. On the more serious side, it may be possible that your furnace is nearing its end of life. As your furnace struggles to keep up with producing heat, it will use more electricity and gas to operate.

Smoke or Air Quality ProblemsBoise HVAC

An old malfunctioning furnace may give off dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. Signs of exposure to this gas include nausea, headaches and light-headedness. If you or your family begin to experience these sudden symptoms, it is important turn your furnace off immediately, get everyone out of the house, and call the fire department or gas company to turn off your gas.

Your furnace will need to be inspected and repairs made before turning it back on. It may be possible that your furnace needs to be replaced if there are cracks in it that are allowing carbon monoxide fumes to leak into your home.

 

If you suspect a faulty furnace, don't hesitate to schedule maintenance services. Call (208) 466-9447 and let Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating, and Air get your home back in order.  

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Digital Setback Thermostat

 

 

Boise HVACWhat is a digital setback thermostat?

A digital setback thermostat is a programmable thermostat. The thermostat can be programmed to adjust the temperature and output based on different times of the day. Users can input their preferred temperature for specific times of the day and days of the week.

The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is then prompted to turn on or off in order to reach the desired temperature. The digital screens allow for easy use and simple temperature monitoring. Digital setback thermostats can be used in both residential and commercial settings.

What are the benefits of a digital setback thermostat?

Digital setback thermostats benefit your wallet and the environment while increasing your level of comfort.

The amount of money that can be saved from digital setback thermostats can be easily seen within the first couple months of use. Digital setback thermostats trigger your heating and air conditioning system to operate only when needed to reach the programmed temperature goals. There is no longer a need to leave your heater running all day simply to have a warm house to come home to.

A properly programmed digital setback thermostat will allow for a decreased utilization of your heater during the day when no one is at home and will quickly heat up your house before your arrival. This greatly decreases your utility bills by eliminating unused resources. Digital setback thermostats also reduce the wear and tear on your appliances from unneeded use, therefore, extending the life of your appliances.

In addition to saving money, use of digital setback thermostats also benefits the environment. Gas and electric usage takes its toll on the environment. Any opportunity to decrease the use of these resources greatly helps maintain the environment.

Boise Thermostat
In addition to saving money and helping the environment, you get to experience the additional benefit of added comfort. Your location will have the ideal temperature as determined by you. Whether you prefer a constant temperature while home or your ideal temperature changes throughout the day, a digital setback thermostat allows you to program your ideal heating and cooling levels.

How do I get a digital setback thermostat?

Digital setback thermostats can be installed by your local HVAC technician. Proper installation is important to ensure correct use and optimal benefits. Having a digital setback thermostat installed will bring benefits for years to come.

Upgrade your Boise home thermostat today! Just Call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling at (208) 466-9447, and see what advantages a new digital setback thermostat can do for your home.

Don't Let Your Drain Cause You Pain

Benefits of Annual Drain Cleaning

Boise PlumberDo you take your drains for granted? With a life being as busy as it is, chances are you do. Unfortunately, this could result in pipe and home damages down the road. That's why you should invest in annual drain cleaning. Not only can you prevent costly repairs but you will benefit in a variety of ways. First and foremost, you'll be protecting your biggest investment, your home or business.

Avoid the Hassle

Often times your main drain plug is located in an area you'd rather not enter, such as under your home or in a crawlspace. It's unpleasant to crawl where you could get hurt or come face to face with spiders or other unsavory creatures. Not only that, most wouldn't want to deal with the mess that's gathered in the drain over the years. A professional plumber knows just how to clean and remove any build up to avoid further damage.

Plumbing That Works

You pay for water, and your home is an investment. Shouldn't you enjoy the fruits of your labor? You'll appreciate free flowing drains that allow fixtures to operate as they should. No more slow draining or backup issues will plague your day to day routine. Isn't the simple yearly maintenance worth it? Roots, grease, and debris should all be cleared from pipes, and it's not something that an inexperienced individual should handle. Advancements in plumbing technology, like CCTV camera and hydro jets, can detect potential problems with ease.

Save Money

Having your drains cleaned yearly is an easy way to save money. When pipes become clogged it only results in damage. This damage is often times not only to the pipe, but possibly your home. Sewage backup can destroy your home's interior in a matter of minutes. That's why it's smart to invest in cleaning and inspection. If you wait until there's a problem, it could make a small issue a huge one. Your plumbing likely runs underground and making repairs on underground pipes isn't cheap. Boise Drain Cleaning

Invest in a worry-free home with affordable and professional cleaning - at least yearly. You'll be glad you did!

Get The drains of your  Boise home cleaned and inspected before it's an emergency! Call Wickstrom Plumbing at (208) 466-9447 to schedule an appointment.