How Clogs Form in Bathroom Plumbing

April 11th, 2014

In matters of plumbing, Fisher, IL residents must deal with the same clogs and build-up that the rest of the country does. Clogs are unfortunately part and parcel of plumbing, especially in the bathroom which sees the heaviest use. Most homeowners assume they can just use store-bought snakes or chemical cleansers to handle the issue, but with bathroom clogs, you often need a professional plumbing service to really take care of the problem. Knowing how clogs form in bathroom plumbing can help you understand why.

Most clogs in bathrooms aren’t the result of any one element. In the kitchen, you might pour hot grease down the sink or inadvertently clog the pipes with food particles. In the bathroom, however, clogs are more likely to form over time, combining components to become very tough to get loose. We all lose a little hair every time we take a shower and hair can slip down the sink if we do our grooming there as well. Add to that residue from soap or shampoo, which makes it sticky and hard to dislodge. With sinks, you might have toothpaste slipping down the drain as well. Fisher and other nearby communities sometimes have hard water in their plumbing: that is, water with a higher mineral content than normal. When those minerals combine with soap, toothpaste and biological waster, that can create a clog as tough as cement and just as difficult to get loose.

That’s where a good plumber can really make a difference. We don’t rely on one-size-fits-all tools like store-bought snakes. We can use mechanical snakes with rotating heads, ensuring that you not only have a tool fitted for the job, but have the power behind it to clear it up properly. Miniature video cameras and similar equipment can help the plumber examine the clog at length and determine the best way to clear it up. If you’re looking for an expert plumbing service in Fisher, IL, look no further than Lanz Heating & Cooling. We understand how clogs form in bathroom plumbing, and we have the tools and expertise to address them properly. Pick up the phone and give us a call today!

Are There Toxic Gases in My Heater?

April 7th, 2014

People sometimes think of home heating systems as potentially hazardous machines because they contain toxic and combustible gases. While it’s true that many heaters do contain gases that can create dangers, 1) not all of them do, and 2) the systems that do are still extremely safe thanks to modern technology. However, these systems still require regular maintenance and prompt repairs to make sure they remain safe.

Whatever type of furnace you have handling your home heating in Mahomet, IL, you can trust to the maintenance and repair services of Lanz Heating & Cooling to keep it working without danger. 

Heaters and toxic gases

Let’s clear up first the heating systems that use no toxic or combustible gases whatsoever: heat pumps, electric furnaces, electric boilers, and ductless mini splits. These all use electricity to power them. They can pose fire hazards from poor wiring, but that’s it.

The heaters that use gas are gas-powered furnaces and boilers. These are among the most common types of heaters in the U.S., which is why people often feel concerned about all heaters. The power of natural gas is both effective at generating high levels of heat and also less expensive as an energy source than electricity, propane, or oil.

Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas that consists mostly of methane, but also carbon dioxide (CO2). The gas you receive through the municipal line is refined natural gas with impurities removed. CO2 is not defined as a toxic gas, although high concentrations can create dizziness from an asphyxiating effect. However, carbon dioxide isn’t the chemical that concerns people with natural gas furnaces. That is carbon monoxide (CO), which is an exhaust product from the burning of natural gas. CO is highly combustible and toxic, as well as colorless, tasteless, and odorless—making it a major health concern.

In a gas furnace or boiler, the CO exhaust generated from burning the gas to release heat is safely vented from the indoors through an exhaust flue, and heat exchangers keep the CO from contact with the air that furnaces send through vents. Other safety mechanisms on the heaters work to keep carbon monoxide from escaping into the outside air.

You should encounter no serious issues with CO leaking from your heating system as long as you keep the system repaired and well maintained. However, it is a good precaution to have CO detectors installed in your home to warn you in case of an accident.

Call Lanz Heating & Cooling to sign up for our maintenance program to take care of your gas-powered furnace or boiler. (You should have it for any heater to keep it working effectively and efficiently.) Our technicians will come to your home once a year, usually during the fall, and inspect your system to make sure it remains in good working order. We also have 24-hour emergency service to make sure that you receive the home heating help you need, when you need it. For all your heating needs in Mahomet, IL, look to the professionals at Lanz Heating & Cooling to help keep you safe and warm all year round.

What are the Stages of Repiping?

April 1st, 2014

Repiping entails replacing an old or worn pipe with a new one, an operation that can range from one single length of pipe to an entire household. In Ogden, IL, repiping can often entail the entire building, since we have our share of older structures with plumbing on the verge of collapse. If you’re constantly dealing with rusty water, burst pipes and similar systematic problems, it may be the solution. But what are the stages of repiping? Read on for the answers.

Here in Ogden, IL, repiping services are offered by the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling. If you’re having trouble with your plumbing, give us a call today and let us get to the bottom of it. You’ll be glad you did!

Repiping starts with the selection of the material for the new pipes: usually copper since it costs very little and doesn’t rust the way iron or steel does. It also entails discussing such upgrades as insulation and perhaps more efficient layout of your pipes, depending upon the specifics.

From there, the plumber shuts off the water to your home and begins the process or repiping. In some cases, this means removing the pipes with specialized tools. In others, the pipes can simply be cut away with a hacksaw. Once each section is finished, the plumber inserts the new pipes in the holes and frames in the floors and walls. Each piece is carefully measured to match the one it’s replacing, and each piece is connected to the rest of the system using solder (in the case of copper) or glue (in the case of PVC piping and other plastic piping) to hold it in place. After each stage is done, the plumber tests his or her workmanship to ensure that it all fits. Then when the entire operation is complete, he or she runs water through the piping and looks for any problems that may arise.

The length of this process depends on how much of your piping needs to be replaced. But regardless of the size of the job, the stages of repiping stay more or less the same.

3 Common Causes of a Clogged Garbage Disposal

March 21st, 2014

The garbage disposal helps process and safely remove food waste from your kitchen, making it a stalwart, invaluable appliance that we often take for granted. It can get clogged or frozen when certain items are placed down it, however, necessitating a visit from a plumber to make right. Here in Rantoul, IL, kitchen plumbing services are readily available, but you can prevent problems before they start simply by watching what you put down your garbage disposal. Here are 3 common causes of a clogged garbage disposal, which you should take care never to insert in it.

  • Seeds and bones
    Never put bones from chicken, beef and other products in the disposal, since they are exceptionally strong and take a lot to destroy. Similarly, fruit and vegetable seeds can wreak havoc with your garbage disposal, especially big ones like peach pits and cherry stones. Throw these items in the regular garbage rather than attempting to break them down in the garbage disposal.
  • Vegetable peelings
    Potato peelings, carrot peelings and similar vegetable shavings may look harmless, but they’re made of fibrous materials that take a great deal to properly destroy. When they get into the garbage disposal, they can clog the gears and grinders, rendering it inoperative. Plug your sink when peeling vegetables and remove the shavings to regular trash can when you’re done.
  • Utensils
    No one deliberately puts metal utensils down the garbage disposal, but they can end up there sometimes, especially smaller utensils such as measuring spoons. Wedding rings and other jewelry can sometimes end up down there as well: slipping off while you’re doing the dishes. They can cause real damage to the system, so have a care when turning on and off the disposal to ensure that such items are clear of it.

The common causes of a clogged garbage disposal will usually make their presence known fairly quickly when you turn the unit on. Don’t push the issue; instead, shut off the disposal and call the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling to help. Plumbing repair in Rantoul, IL are our bread and butter, and we won’t rest until you are completely satisfied with our work. Contact us today to make an appointment and let us show you what we can do!

3 Things to Consider When Installing a Sump Pump

March 12th, 2014

Here in Savoy, IL, sump pump technology can be a lifesaver during floods or similar inclement weather. It’s a pump placed in a pit dug in the basement or lowest point in your home. As water seeps in, it fills the pit and the sump pump then removes it before it can cause any further flooding. Installing a sump pump also helps improve the resale value of your home, as well as providing a solid safeguard against floods. But before you pull the trigger on one, you should make sure you prepare for it properly. Here are 3 things to consider when installing sump pump.

  • Position of the pump
    If your sump pump is to work the way it should, it needs to be positioned in such a way so that its venting pipe and other key components can operate as they should. It also needs access to an electrical outlet and possibly your plumbing system as well. A trained technician can help you spot the right location for it in your home.
  • Capacity
    A sump pump can pump out a set number of gallons per minute (sometimes measure in gallons per hour depending upon the model). That capacity will depend to a certain extend upon the level of flooding, but you want to make sure it is large enough to handle the needs of your household regardless. Again, a trained service technician can make recommendations to you based on the size of your house.
  • Local requirements
    Sump pumps discharge water in the course of their operation, and the city you are in has specific requirements as far as that goes. (Savoy’s requirements differ little from those of many other municipalities.)

For other things to consider when installing a sump pump, or to schedule a consultation for installation, the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling can help. We offer sump pump installation and other plumbing services in Savoy, IL, and we’re devoted to ensuring that your new unit is exactly what you need. Give us a call today to set up an appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

Common Repair Issues for Garbage Disposals

March 7th, 2014

Most homes in the Chicago area have a garbage disposal, which eliminates food waste and safely removes it rather than letting it clog your pipes. It’s probably the tool you use more than any other in the kitchen and the reliability of the technology means that we rarely think about it until something goes wrong. Problems with your garbage disposal can be quite vexing, interfering with your ability to cook meals for your family. Garbage disposal systems can be repaired by a qualified plumbing service in Mahomet, IL. But it helps if you the homeowner understand some common repair issues for garbage disposals and know how to spot them quickly.

  • Jamming
    Garbage disposals are designed to grind up food of most any sort, but some components should never be placed in it. Bones and fruit seeds come most readily to mind, since they can jam up the mechanism and cause the disposal to freeze up. The disposal can also freeze if a metal object such as a fork or a spoon gets caught in it.
  • Leaks
    Garbage disposals usually sit under your sink, which means that leaks will create puddles of water underneath the sink. A leak can be caused by a loose screw or fitting, a ruptured line or a gasket that has eroded past the point of maintaining its integrity. In many cases, replacing the faulty component will solve the problem, but you need a trained expert to do the job for you.
  • Overloads
    The garbage disposal’s motor runs on electricity, and an overload or short in the system will cause it to shut down. If your disposal refuses to turn on, you should first check the circuit breakers to make sure it hasn’t been triggered. If that doesn’t work, the problem likely stems from a faulty component in the motor, which will need to be replaced.

Whether you’re dealing with common repair issues for garbage disposals or something more extensive, call on Lanz Heating & Cooling to help. Our trained experts can pinpoint the problem and get your disposal back on track as quickly as possible. Here in Mahomet, IL, garbage disposal systems don’t need to sit broken for long. Contact us today to schedule a service call!

How to Plan for Heating Installation

February 26th, 2014

Installation of a new heating system is a serious investment in your home. It can pay great dividends in terms of comfort, as well as saving money on monthly bills and improving the resale value of your home, which makes it all the more important that your do your homework beforehand. Heating installation in Urbana, IL can provide reliable advice and help you make the best decision possible for your condition. Every home is different, and a qualified technician can help you with specifics. But in general terms, here’s a few guidelines on how to plan for heating installation.

First, you need to determine the best type of system for your house. When most people think of heating systems, they think of forced-air furnaces or traditional boilers. But there are numerous other options out there – including heat pumps and geothermal systems– that might prove a better fit for your home. Some of these systems require no ducts (an important factor if your home doesn’t have a lot of crawlspace), while others suit places with larger tracts of property or homeowners interested in environmentally friendly alternatives. You need to decide which one suits your circumstances the best.

After that, you need inspect your space in order to size your heater. Heaters generate a set amount of power, which needs to match the size and conditions of your home accurately. If it’s too powerful, it will cycle on and off rapidly, costing you in wasted energy and increasing strain on the unit as a whole. If it’s too small, it will struggle to heat your home and similar problems will emerge. A good energy audit – taking such factors as square footage, insulation and sunlight exposure – will help you size your unit properly.

Finally, you need to select an installation company that knows their business, and stands ready to give you the best system for your circumstances. For heating installation in Urbana, IL the experts at Lanz Heating & Cooling are standing by to help. We know how to plan for heating installation and can help you get all your ducks in a row before installing your new system with professionalism and care. Give us a call today to set up a consultation, and let us show you what we can do!

3 Problems That Duct Cleaning Can Fix

February 19th, 2014

Regular duct cleaning is a job that homeowners often put off…if they remember to schedule it at all. Ductwork will naturally gather a layer of dust, dirt, and other debris from the air that comes in through the intake, and because the ductwork is sealed along its length the dust has no place to escape, except out the vents and into your home. There are a number of important reasons why you shouldn’t neglect to have regular cleaning for your home’s ventilation system; we’ll look at three problems you can help solve with professionals cleaning your ductwork.

Lanz Heating & Cooling specializes in improving your indoor air quality. We offer installation of UV germicidal lights and air filters, ductwork sealing, and ductwork cleaning in Ogden, IL. Put your ductwork in the hands of experts.

3 problems duct cleaning can help remedy

  • High heating and cooling bills: The inside surfaces of ducts are designed to create as little resistance to airflow as possible. Once a layer of dust and grime starts to develop along the surface, it increases the friction against the airflow from the HVAC system, and then puts additional strain on the heating/cooling. The more strain, the more power the system must use to reach its normal temperature setting. Duct cleaning will usually result in a noticeable drop in high energy bills.
  • HVAC systems malfunctions: Contamination in your ventilation not only restricts airflow; it also threatens to get inside the HVAC’s cabinet. Debris entering an air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace can cause numerous problems, such as burnt-out motors, cracked fan belts, bent fan blades, and dirty gas burners. These will not only impair efficiency, they will turn into major repair needs and possibly stop the system from working at all.
  • Poor indoor air quality: Proper ventilation in your home improves the quality of the air you breathe. But if your ducts have contamination in them, it will lower that quality, which can lead to conditions such as asthma, dried skin, irritated eyes and nose, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. If there are people in your house with allergies, the situation can be even worse. Duct cleaning assures that your ventilation system isn’t part of the problem with your indoor air.

You need duct cleaning specialists

To have quality ductwork cleaning in Ogden, IL, you must call technicians. You can’t clean your ducts with a long handled broom and rags. The work requires high-pressure vacuums and special agitation equipment. Call Lanz Heating & Cooling and put our expertise at indoor air quality to work for you. We can clean your ducts fast and thoroughly.

Other Anniversaries of Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014

For more than a hundred years, people in countries around the world have marked the 14th day of February as a time for lovers to give each other gifts and for children to write cards to each other and eat heart-shaped candy. But Valentine’s Day isn’t the only important event to occur on February 14th. There are many other anniversaries to mark on this day. Here are a few:

1400 – The death of King Richard II: The same English king whose engagement resulted in the first love poem mentioning Valentine’s Day (from court poet Geoffrey Chaucer) dies in prison in Pontefract Castle after his cousin Henry overthrows him. He probably starved to death, although another famous author, William Shakespeare, would portray his death as murder.

1859 – Hello, Oregon: The Oregon Country is admitted to the United States of America as the 33rd state.

1876 – Who invented the telephone? Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for his new invention, the telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, applies the same day for a similar device, sparking a long controversy over who invented what first.

1912 – Hello, Arizona: Continuing the statehood tradition that Oregon established, the Territory of Arizona is admitted to the U.S. as the 48th state. Women are granted the right to vote in Arizona the same year, eight years before the rest of the nation.

1929 – The world’s most infamous mob hit: Unknown assailants shoot down seven people in Chicago, IL. Six of the dead are gangsters in the mob of Bugs Moran, an enemy of Al Capone in the business of selling Prohibition bootleg liquor. No one is ever arrested or charged for the crime—but there isn’t much doubt who masterminded it.

1931 – “I am… Dracula”: The most influential vampire movie ever made, and the start of Universal Studio’s famous monsters series, Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, premieres in theaters. Universal cannily uses Valentine’s Day to promote the film as “The Story of the Strangest Passion the World Has Ever Known!”

1961 – The Periodic Table becomes larger: The 103rd chemical element, Lawrencium, is discovered at the University of California. The name comes from the laboratory where it is synthesized, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

2005 – Now it’s easy to watch funny animal videos: A group of college students launch a video sharing website call YouTube.

Even if Valentine’s Day itself isn’t a major holiday for you, February 14th has many reasons to celebrate—unless you are a member of Bugs Moran’s gang or a supporter of Richard II. All of us at Lanz Heating & Cooling would like to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, however you observe it.

Clean Furnaces Mean Efficient Heating

February 5th, 2014

Any heating or cooling system in your home requires a yearly maintenance visit from a professional. Maintenance encompasses different tasks: adjustments, checks, replacements, and cleaning. We want to draw your attention to the last of these, cleaning, and explain why it’s important to have clean furnaces in Urbana, IL. It isn’t only an issue of safety and longevity, but also an issue of efficiency: according to the Department of Energy, a furnace that receives a yearly cleaning during maintenance will cost less to run than a furnace that is neglected.

It’s never too late to start with furnace maintenance. To schedule the work necessary to keep your heating costs down and your furnace’s life expectancy up, call Lanz Heating & Cooling today.

How a Cleaner Furnace is More Energy-Efficient

There are a number of places in a furnace where cleaner components make an enormous difference in how well the furnace works.

  • Motors: Furnaces use a number of motors to operate. The key ones are the blower motors that power the fans. Motors that develop a layer of dirt over them will experience an increase in friction in their moving parts, which will make them strain harder and drain energy. Eventually, this level of stress will cause a motor to burn out.
  • Burner unit: For gas furnaces, it is important that the burner unit where the gas jets ignite remain clean so that the jets can draw the necessary oxygen. Should grime start to contaminate the burners, they will struggle to come on and will begin producing less heat and wasting energy.
  • Ventilation: In furnaces that use combustion from natural gas or heating fuel, the exhaust from the combustion must vent up a flue after the heat is transferred to the air. When dirt begins to form in the ventilation flue, the furnace’s efficiency will drop. (This is also a major safety hazard and will need immediate remedy.)
  • Heating elements: For electric furnaces, the coils of the heating elements must remain clean for them to easily transfer their heat to the air. Dirt not only reduces how well they provide heat, it can also cause the elements to burn out.

During a regular heating maintenance visit from a licensed HVAC professional, your furnace will receive an inspection of all its major components to find places where dirt and dust may have started to create problems. The technician will apply cleaning where necessary and recommend scheduling repairs if the dirt build-up has triggered the need for more work.

At Lanz Heating & Cooling, we are now into our second decade of providing residents with heating services in Urbana, IL. From installation to repairs and maintenance, we cover it all. Call us to start a maintenance program for your furnace.