Rentmeister Total Home Service Blog : Archive for January, 2015

How Do New Water Heater Regulations Affect Me

Monday, January 26th, 2015

As of April 2015, the US Department of Energy has implemented new rules concerning the efficiency of water heaters. These rules will have a pretty big impact on the water heater industry, but it will also have an effect on the options available to homeowners.

By and large, the new regulations deal with how much energy is allowed to be lost during the heating process, mandating that all new water heaters convert more energy into heat. Let’s take a look at how this can affect you.

Rise in Cost

More efficient water heaters are a good thing, and everyone should want to get as close to 100% energy efficiency as possible. However, the federal mandate is forcing the manufacturers’ hands, and that is going to lead to a sudden spike in water heater cost. Instead of the gradual increase associated with newer technologies entering the market and older ones phasing out, this is going to be a significant leap forward with no time for people to acclimate.

This means that manufacturers will have to do whatever they can to meet the new federal requirements, even if it means building more complex and expensive water heaters. That extra cost is going to get passed on to the consumer, as is often the case with newer systems and technology. Even if older water heaters are still available, you likely won’t be able to find an HVAC technician to install them for you. Just like the low-flow toilets that are required in several states, these more efficient water heaters will be the only ones HVAC technicians are allowed to install.

What to do about it

So, what should you do if you have an older water heater? Well, if it is less than ten years old you probably don’t have to worry about it. No need to replace a water heater that is still fairly recent and isn’t having issues. If you were already considering installing a new water heater, however, you should have one installed as soon as possible. The water heaters on the market today are still likely a good step up in efficiency from the one you have, without being as expensive as the new ones that are about to hit the market. If you act fast enough, you can come out of this whole situation with a new water heater and more money in your pocket than if you had waited a couple of months.

If you are thinking about installing a new water heater, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide water heater installation services throughout Salt Lake City.

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Can My Boiler Installation Include Radiant Heating?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

**Rentmeister Total Home Service No Longer Services Boilers Or Radiant Heating Systems, We Apologize If This Is An Inconvenience**

This is a rather odd question, and the answer will take a bit of explaining. Short answer: yes, your boiler installation can include radiant heating. The reason that it can do that, however, is because all boilers are radiant heaters. Radiant heating is not a separate kind of heating that requires a different kind of boiler. Let’s examine how radiant heating actually works, and why you are always installing a radiant heating system when you install a boiler.

What “Radiant Heating” Means

Radiant heating is any system that works by transferring thermal energy directly or between objects, as opposed to using a medium like air or water. Sunlight is radiant heating, transferring thermal energy directly to whatever it touches. Boiler systems are radiant heaters because, while they use hot water to carry heat, the thermal energy is transferred into the room by radiating through other objects.

Boilers and Radiant Heating

A boiler heating system involves the installation of a network of water pipes in every room of the house that requires heating. The pipes can be installed in the walls or subfloor of each room, depending on the needs of the homeowner. These pipes are then connected to the boiler. Occasionally, the pipe network may terminate in a terminal heater, like an iron radiator or baseboard heater. These are also radiant heating systems, because they are still transmitting thermal energy directly into the room.

When the heat is turned on, the boiler warms and distributes water through the pipe network in the house. As the water rushes through the pipes, it transfers its thermal energy through the pipes, the walls or floor, and into the room. If there is a terminal heater attached to the system, it serves as the point of origin for most of the thermal energy entering the room.

So, all boilers are radiant heaters, because all boilers rely on transmitting thermal energy through solid objects instead of through direct interaction with the water.

If you are interested in installing a radiant heating system, call Rentmeister Total Home Service.

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Common Boiler Repairs

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Boilers are just as susceptible to breakdowns and repair needs as any other heating system. Since boilers are a bit more uncommon than things like furnaces, however, their potential problems tend to be less well-known. Let’s take a look at some of the more common boiler repairs that homeowners run into, and what should be done about them.

Kettling

Kettling is when your boiler makes a deep rumbling sound, like a large kettle boiling. This is caused by long-term exposure to hard water, which is common in many areas of the United States. Hard water is characterized by a high mineral content, which can have a negative effect on the water pipes in a home. As hard water flows through the boiler’s heat exchanger, it deposits small amounts of minerals on the walls of the pipe. Over many years, those deposits build up until they restrict or completely block the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes water to become trapped in the heat exchanger, where it boils.

Believe it or not, most boilers are not actually designed to boil water. When water boils inside the heat exchanger, it evaporates into steam which puts tremendous pressure on the pipe. This is what causes that rumbling sound when a boiler kettles. If left untreated, this can actually cause the heat exchanger to rupture, though there are safety measures in place to shut the boiler down before that happens. Regardless, you should call a professional if you notice your boiler kettling.

Pilot Light Failing

Pilot lights have earned a pretty bad reputation for going out at the drop of a hat. Despite their propensity for blowing out easily, however, there is a difference between blowing out often and refusing to stay lit. If your pilot light is not staying lit for longer than a very short time, it’s probably due to a bad thermocouple. The thermocouple is a part that detects the heat from the pilot light and opens the gas valve to keep it going. When the pilot light blows out, the thermocouple is supposed to close the gas valve as a safety measure. A bad thermocouple is one that closes the gas valve prematurely, smothering the pilot light. The most common fix for this is simply to replace the thermocouple.

If your boiler is having problems, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide heating repair throughout Salt Lake City.

 

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Best Floor Types for Radiant Heating Systems

Friday, January 9th, 2015

**Rentmeister Total Home Service No Longer Services Boilers Or Radiant Heating Systems, We Apologize If This Is An Inconvenience**

One of the great benefits of radiant heating is the nice, toasty floors you get, but if you have a floor covering that isn’t very conducive to radiant floor heating, you may lose this benefit. Radiant heating works by heat objects, which is why it’s important to plan for a floor covering that will heat well and radiate that heat to your home. To help you get an idea of the types of floor coverings that will work best with your radiant heating, the installation experts at Rentmeister Total Home Service have put together a list of floor covering types to consider:

Tiles (Stone, Porcelain and Ceramic)

Tiles floors are some of the best around for radiant heating. If you have ever put a rock in or near a fire, or have seen a brick oven stove, you’ll be able to understand why tile is some of the best kind of flooring to use with radiant heating. Tile conducts heat very well and is highly resistant to the heating process.

Laminates

Laminate floors are very popular for a lot of reasons, and can be a good option for radiant heating. However, there are some precautions to take with laminate flooring to ensure the best results. First, it’s important to make sure that your underlying floor structure and/or concrete (if you used it) is completely dry; this helps minimize changes that can develop due to heat and moisture as well as reduces warping and cracking. It is also important to use the correct adhesive. Most laminate flooring comes with manufacturer instructions and recommendations that your technician will follow as part of the installation.

Hardwood

Natural wood floors will contract and expand with changes in temperature and humidity, so if you want to use natural wood with your radiant heating system, it’s best to consider hardwood that is quarter-sawn, kiln-dried wood. You may also want to consider engineered hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring is comprised of hardwood and fiberboard, placed together into several layers. The multiple layers and combination of woods make engineered hardwood very stable.

As you can see, you have a lot of choices when it comes to floor coverings for your radiant heating. Have question? Call Rentmeister today!

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The History of “Auld Lang Syne”

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

There are numerous different traditional songs associated with Christmas—but there is only one song that comes to mind immediately when people think of New Year’s Eve: “Auld Lang Syne.” It is hard to find a New Year’s Eve party where people won’t leap into singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot…” as the first stroke of midnight sounds. This tradition encompasses the globe, with almost every culture that celebrates New Year’s on January 1st breaking into song with the same set of lyrics.

Where did this song come from? And what do the words “auld lang syne” actually mean? The best place to ask these questions is Scotland. The Official Gateway to Scotland website calls the song “one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbor’s hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take us into the future.”

The melody of the piece originates from Lowland Scots folk song tradition. It was legendary Scottish Romantic poet Robert Burns (1759–1796) who created the words we know today, however. During the later years of his life, Burns dedicated much of his work to collecting Scottish folk tunes and giving them new life. The first mention Burns makes of “Auld Lang Syne” is in 1788, when he calls the song “a glorious fragment.” Burns wrote new lyrics to the old melody, and used the words “auld lang syne,” which is Scottish for “old long since,” and which can be translated into standard English as “long, long ago” or “days gone by.” The phrase was already known in earlier Scottish poems and folk songs, and appears to be the equivalent of “Once upon a time…” for Scots fairy tales.

Soon after Burns introduced the song to the public, it spread across Scotland as a New Year’s custom, and then to the rest of Great Britain. Scottish immigrants took the song with them as they moved across the globe, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a holiday tradition throughout the English-speaking world. By the close of the 20th century, it was a global phenomenon to ring in the New Year.

We imagine that you’ll end up singing or hearing “Auld Lang Syne” at some point this New Year’s (maybe you’ve already heard it while watching It’s a Wonderful Life).

All of us at Rentmeister Total Home Service would like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy coming year in the tradition of the song.

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