Ask an Expert

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At R.S. Andrews, your comfort and safety are our top priority. Whenever we can help you solve your problem, we want to—we’ve learned that it pays to satisfy our customers’ needs quickly and efficiently.

To help you with any electrical, plumbing, or HVAC problems you have, we have created a series of videos addressing questions that we get asked all the time. Our goal is to provide you with all the information you need to either troubleshoot your problem yourself, or understand how a certified technician can help.

If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, fill out the form below! You’ll hear back from a knowledgeable professional who understands the problem you’re having within 24 hours.

  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical

How Do I Properly Size My A/C System?

Improperly sized air conditioners can cost you. Dan, the R.S. Andrews Answer Man, is ready to help you understand how to properly size your air conditioner. Air conditioners work by both dehumidifying the air and cooling it. The amount of cooling is known as “system load.” Many factors impact this, including the type of windows you have, the floor and wall insulation values, how many people live in your home, how many appliances you have, and even the height of your ceilings. This clearly is a complex process. Air conditioning technicians use the Manual-J Guidelines to choose the proper system size, in tonnage, for your home. Instead of oversized systems, which were common in the past, we now aim to perfectly size systems to avoid short-cycling and ensure proper balance and efficiency.

What Causes Air Conditioner Freeze-Ups?

Air conditioners can freeze for a number of reasons. Dirty filters, dirty coils, closed-off supply registers, and low refrigerant levels can all cause this. A frozen coil means the AC will blow warm air or run inefficiently, eventually damaging the compressor and leading to costly repairs. Faulty fans and thermostats can also cause these problems. If your filters and vents are working properly, you may need professional help. Check out this video to see what the problem could be.

What Are Important Steps for Furnace Care?

Curious about what you can do to keep your furnace running well? The experts at R.S. Andrews are ready to answer that question! Proper maintenance is a critical component of keeping your furnace running efficiently and effectively. Check out what happens in a maintenance check to ensure your home is safe and warm all winter. From checking the burner to testing combustion, our furnace care is comprehensive, giving you peace of mind that things are working well.

How Efficient is My Air Conditioner?

Air conditioning systems consume 8% of the electricity used in the United States. How efficient is your system? System efficiency is measured in SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This measures the BTUs produced by the system when it consumes one watt of electricity. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system. Today, 13 SEER is the minimum, but you can find systems up to 23 SEER. The higher the SEER, the less it will cost to cool your home. Other efficiencies include the energy efficiency rating (EER) and dehumidification abilities. Check out the video to see how energy efficiency ratings affect your energy costs.

How Can I Troubleshoot My AC Problems?

Is your air conditioner giving you problems? With the help of R.S. Andrews, you can get to the bottom of issues quickly. Sometimes, troubleshooting common A/C problems can help you save money. Some common troubleshooting steps include checking for power, checking the thermostat, cleaning or changing the filter, leaves blocking the outdoor unit, and blocked registers – and these are all things you can check on your own. Low refrigerant levels, water in the drip pan, and problems with the blower motor require professional attention. See more tips on how to troubleshoot common A/C problems in this Ask the Expert video.

How to Replace Your AC

Is it time to replace your air conditioner? This video from Dan the R.S. Andrews Answer Man, will help you decide if yours is ready to be replaced. While age is a factor, it’s not the only deciding factor. If you need frequent, costly repairs, have an expired warranty, or have high energy bills, you may want to consider replacement. You can save 20%-40% with a new, more efficient system. Hot or cold rooms or humidity problems are another sign that you may need a new system. Return on investment is important to consider as well, and this depends on how long you plan to be in your home. If you’re considering replacement, try to schedule it before your system breaks down so you can plan ahead, choose the right system, and save for the purchase. Check out more expert tips in this video.

Tips for Buying a New Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner can last for 12 to 14 years, but replacing an older unit can actually help you save on utility bills. What do you need to know before you upgrade? First, make sure the system is sized properly. Our team will help ensure you choose the right system. Second, the location of your system is important. Put it in a cool, shaded place outside of the direct sun, and make sure it has unimpeded airflow. Finally, watch out for the lowest bid, which could compromise quality and efficiency.

System Balancing

If you have uneven cooling or heating, it may be because you need system balancing. Balancing refers to managing the volume of airflow through your duct system. This helps maintain comfort in your home. We have specialized tools to help balance your system and ensure even heating and cooling throughout your home. Measuring airflow allows us to see the airflow in your home, so we can properly balance the ducts. We will check for leaks or other problems with your ductwork as well. Balancing also requires better use of the vents to ensure the right amount of airflow into each individual room. We are here to help you with system balancing!

AC System Survival Tips

Do you want to extend the life of your air conditioner? This video from R.S. Andrews will tell you how. Filter maintenance is one key to that, and you’ll want to change your filter regularly. Outdoor unit air circulation is another important factor. Give your unit proper clearance and keep it clear. Clear out indoor vents to ensure that air can circulate well. Close your blinds during the day to lessen the amount of work it has to do, and use the ceiling fan when you’re in the room. Open interior doors to balance your system. Use your thermostat smartly, and check your ductwork and insulation regularly to keep your AC running well. Finally, don’t forget to schedule that maintenance check at the start of the summer cooling season!

Air Filtration Selection & Maintenance

Choosing the right air filter and maintaining it properly can both improve your home’s comfort and extend your system’s life. Basic filters are the most inexpensive, but least efficient option. Pleated filters are also disposable but have a higher MERV rating. Electrostatic filters are the next level of filtration and can be disposable or permanent. HEPA filters block 99.97% of particles, but require specialized systems. Learn what to look for when choosing a filter, as well as how often to check and change your filter, in this Ask the Experts video.

Should I Switch to a Tankless Water Heater?

Is a tank water heater the right choice, or should you switch to a tankless model? This video will help. Tankless water heaters prevent standby heat loss from holding hot water in a holding tank. The heat exchanger inside the tankless water heater provides instant, on-demand hot water. Choosing the right size for your tankless water heater requires knowing the flow rate, incoming temperature, and desired temperature. You also can choose between point-of-use or whole-house hot water heaters. Larger homes may even need parallel units to ensure everyone has hot water when they need it. When having a new tankless water heater installed, our team will also check your gas line to ensure it is properly sized for the home and your water heater demand.

How Do I Unclog My Sink?

Are your sinks clogged? Before calling the pros or reaching for the drain cleaner, this video will show you what to do. First, prevent clogs by avoiding draining grease or coffee grounds. Use hot water to rinse drains, or send baking soda down the drains to remove odors. You can use vinegar to clean your drains as well, or use vinegar and water ice cubes to clean your disposal. Instead of commercial drain cleaners, use baking soda and vinegar to loosen clogs. Try to dislodge challenging clogs with a plumber, then call the pros. Commercial drain cleaners can actually make the problem worse by damaging your plumbing. See for yourself how to address clogged sinks in this Ask an Expert video.

How Do I Care for My Water Heater?

Keep your water heater working at its best and for 15 years or more with proper water heater care. The experts at R.S. Andrews have provided this video to help you know what to do. Keep it clean by flushing sediment regularly. Check and replace the anode rod as needed to ensure that the water heater can keep heating your water properly. Another place to check is the temperature pressure release valve. Check the thermostat to ensure you have it properly set. For professional help with your water heater care, reach out to the team at R.S. Andrews.

Why is my Toilet Running?

A running toilet is more than just an annoyance. It actually wastes water and drives up your energy bills, but this is one thing you can fix on your own. This video shows you how to tackle the job. Often the problem is with the flapper or flapper chain. If the flapper doesn’t seal, the water will continue to run. If that’s not the problem, it may be a problem with the float or the overflow tube. If these are not the problem, you may need to call a pro with R.S. Andrews. Check out the video to see if you can DIY this common problem.

I Think I Have a Leak. What Now?

Do you think you have a leak? It’s not always easy to tell, but the crew at R.S. Andrews offers leak detection and repair services. In this Ask an Expert video, we will show you ways you can determine if you have a leak. Leaks can be quite hard to find because the stain or drip often shows up further along the pipe. If you suspect a leak, check all of your pipes for signs. Rust, buckling, or drops of water indicate there are leaks and you need to call. Corrosion on faucets or drips from the showerhead are other signs of a leak. Don’t neglect the water heater as a source of a leak.

Choosing a Water Softener

As many as 85% of US homes have hard water. Hard water occurs because of dissolved minerals in the water. If it has more than 3.5 grains per gallon, it’s hard water. Scale from hard water can damage your water heater, faucets, and appliances. A water softener helps reduce the effects of hard water and helps your soaps to work better. Softeners use the process of ion exchange to draw minerals out of the water. Sometimes, water heaters need to regenerate to reduce the amount of mineral buildup inside the system. Your water should be able to go about three days before regenerating. For homes with very hard water or high water demand, a dual-system can help reduce downtime and ensure that the softened water is always available.

Disposal Care

Does your sink have a garbage disposal? Proper disposal care is important if you want to keep the disposal working at its best. Without proper disposal care, you could end up with jams, clogs, odors, and necessary repairs. When using the disposal, run cold water for a few seconds, then slowly add small amounts of food while the disposal is running. When you hear the grinding stop, allow the water to run for 30 seconds before turning everything off.

Never send paper, glass, metal, or plastics. Fibrous vegetables can also cause a problem. Potato peels can turn into a thick paste, while eggshells can get stuck. Never send grease down the disposal. If you have a jam, use pliers to remove it, or use a wooden spoon to turn the blades and dislodge the clog. Use half vinegar, half water ice cubes to keep the disposal sharp and clean. You can also send chopped lemons through the disposal to reduce odors. If you have other questions, reach out to our experienced plumbing team.

Repiping

Repiping involves replacing failing plumbing with new pipes that will last longer. Homes that are 20 years or older often need repiping. If your water pressure is failing, tap water is discolored, or you have pinhole leaks regularly, you need to consider repiping. Both galvanized and copper pipes are prone to problems with time. Copper repiping is a traditional solution, but it requires a more labor-intensive process. PEX is a composite, flexible pining that is easier and faster to install. It also resists corrosion and scale buildup. Our team will help you determine which of these options is the best for your needs.

Water Heater Replacement

Your water heater is something everyone depends on. When it won’t work, you must decide between replacing and repairing it. This video will help you understand your options. Water heaters last about 10 years if they are properly maintained. Eventually, they will need replacement. You can check the age by looking at the rating plate, which indicates the warranty time. If the warranty is expired, it may be time to replace it. Other signs that you need water heater replacement include the hot water supply, temperature and duration of the hot water, metallic taste, or rusty color. Don’t forget to inspect the water heater for mechanical issues, like unusual sounds or puddles near the unit. Thankfully, a new water heater will help you reduce your energy savings, and sometimes repairs are possible.

Frozen Pipe Prevention

Preventing frozen and burst pipes is not difficult, if you know what to do. Frozen water expands about 8% when it freezes, exerting 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch. This can burst your pipes. To prevent this, drain water from sprinkler and pool supply lines in the fall before winter hits. Wrap exposed pipes indoors along outside walls and outdoors. Insulate both hot and cold pipes. Disconnect your garden hose before freezing weather. Turn up your thermostat to protect pipes from freezing. When temperatures are dipping dangerously low, open cabinets to allow heat to reach exposed pipes underneath. Finally, grab a patch kit to help if you do have a frozen pipe. It may take a little bit of time for your plumber to arrive if you have a problem over the winter.

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