Our Certified Plumbing, HVAC, & Home Improvement Blog

Learn more about ways to save on your energy bills. Our home improvement articles contain topics on plumbing, heating, air conditioning and home performance.

Help Your AC (and your budget) by Giving it a Break at Night

With summer temperatures sizzling in the 90s, and summer humidity just as high, your AC system is running hard to keep your house cool and comfortable all day. At night you can give it a break.

Keep the Bottom of Your Downspouts Free of Debris

Gutters are especially important in summer when thunderstorms bring torrential rain and heavy winds. Debris from plants, landscaping and trees can quickly blow into piles at the bottom of your downspouts.

Did you Know? Washing Machines Get Used More in Summer

It’s a fact. We wash our sheets and towels more often in summer. We also wash our clothes more often. In summer our washing machines perform heavier duty than any other time of the year. Washing machines have lots of parts that all have to be in great working order.

Dirty Filters Can Cause Your AC to Freeze

When the weather is hot and humid, your Air Conditioning runs constantly. That’s when filters can get dirty fast. A clogged filter can freeze your AC system, shutting it down when you need it most. Here’s how it happens.

Why you should make a Plumbing/AC Vacation Check List

As you get ready to leave on vacation, be sure your home is ready for your vacation too. You don’t want to return to find that an in-home disaster happened while you were away.

A Simple Way to Stay Cool while at Night without Your AC

When hot, humid weather gets here this summer, here is one thing you can do to stay cool while you sleep without running your AC.

Be Sure Your Landscaping Doesn’t Interfere With Your AC

As your shrubs and trees get full, lush, and dense during the spring, and new growth starts to shoot out, be sure that plants aren’t too near your AC compressor. This is especially important if you’re doing new landscaping.

Save Energy Costs When Entertaining Outdoors

When you have friends in for summer cookouts and outdoor fun, remember to close up your house to keep it as cool as possible without using energy to run your AC.

Could Your AC Compressor have a Faulty Seal or Hose?

One of the leading causes of air conditioning leaks is a faulty seal or hose. The back and forth expansion and contraction during operation puts wear on these parts. Eventually they decay and your unit doesn’t work efficiently, or stops working altogether.

Why Air Filters Should Be Changed Frequently During Summer

Just because you changed the air filter on your HVAC system at the start of summer doesn’t mean that new, clean filter will get you through the entire season. You should check the filter after 30-60 days of use. There are lots of pollutants in summer air that can make your filter get dirty fast.

Check the Refrigerant Level in Your AC Unit

During winter and cooler spring months refrigerant can slowly leak from your HVAC unit. You want to have your refrigerant level checked and topped off before hot weather arrives. Failure to do this can make your unit work harder or cause it to freeze up from overworking on hot, humid days.

Service Contract Customers get Savings and Priority

If you don’t have a service contract for your HVAC system, or you received your renewal notice and haven’t responded, don’t let summer weather catch you unprepared. Service contract customers save an average of $80-$100 on contract service over customers who wait until something needs repaired.

Our Busiest Spring in Years

If you still need to have your AC unit serviced before summer, call now to get on our schedule.

Warning Signs that Your Garbage Disposal Needs Serviced

Garbage disposals are handy kitchen appliances, and we often take for granted that they’ll always work. There are a few warning signs, however, that alert you to a potential breakdown.

How to Maintain Your Sump Pump

Be sure your sump pump is always in good working condition by taking only a few minutes every 2 or 3 months to do simple maintenance. Run clear, clean water through your pump to remove any dirt or debris that could cause clogs.

10 steps to reduce your risk for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Here are 10 steps to reduce your risk for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning.

How to Know Your Sump Pump is Working

If you have a sump pump in your basement, be sure it is good working condition. Spring weather can bring heavy rains that could create standing water in your basement. To test your sump pump you need to lift the float inside until it causes the pump to come on.

“Green” Products for Your Home

Today is the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970. One way to include environmental protections in your life style is to consider “green” products when you need to replace broken ones.

Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A UL listed Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector that is found at the common hardware store is not required to alarm until a concentration of  70ppm (part per million) is obtained for 4 hours. This will keep you from death, but exposure to low level concentrations over time can create serious health risks.

The Latest in a High-Tech Shower Head

The Moxie showerhead from Kohler really gives you something to sing about in the shower. Using Bluetooth™ technology the Moxie includes a speaker that connects wirelessly so you can enjoy your favorite music from your playlist or podcasts in the shower.

How an Air Scrubber Helps during Spring Pollen Season

Spring pollen season will soon be here and with pollen comes a variety of allergies and added distress for asthma sufferers. The EPA ranks indoor air pollution as one of the top five causes of environmental health risks. One way to make life better is with an Air Scrubber.

New Air Conditioning Can Reduce Cooling Costs by 20%

New air conditioning systems are getting greener. One of the reasons is that newer systems use the R-410A refrigerant that has more ozone-friendly characteristics.

Residential Energy Tax Credits are Reinstated

Congress reinstated the 2011 residential energy tax credits for 2012 and 2013. This means that if you installed any of the energy efficient products covered by the program last year, or if you install any of them this year, you can claim up to $500 credit on your taxes.

The Right Landscaping Can Save Water

As you start thinking about new landscaping for your yard this spring, keep in mind that the plants you choose can affect your water usage. Choosing plants that have low water requirements means your plants will stay healthy with normal amounts of rain, and if there are dry spells, you’ll water less often.

Be Sure Your Toilets Aren’t Wasting Water

Toilets are a major source of a wasteful use of water in a home. Toilets often can have a very slow leak that is almost undetectable, but can significantly add to your water usage. Most toilet leaks are due to the need for a new flush valve or floater. These repairs are easy to do.

Be Sure Your Plumbing Has Made it Through Winter

After a long, cold, damp winter its good to do a spring checkup of your plumbing. If you have a plumbing service contract with Summers & Zim’s call us at 610-593-5129 to get your service scheduled now. If you don’t have a service contract, here are some tips for things to look for. Check gaskets […]

Pets and Cooking Can Cause “Dirty Sock Syndrome”

Remember that smell in high school when you opened your gym bag? That’s the origin of the name “dirty sock syndrome” for your home. But for your home it isn’t dirty socks that cause the odors. Most lingering odors in homes are caused by pets (the dog bed and cat litter box) or by cooking […]

Stink Bugs Could be in Your Furnace/AC Vents

Stink bugs are a menace. And they could be an even bigger menace to you this spring if they’re in your heating system. In cold weather stink bugs look for warm places to stay, and they love heating systems. Sometimes there are so many stink bugs they can block the ductwork. They also get trapped […]

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that can cause severe health problems or even death. CO is produced by the process of combustion. Therefore, we can encounter CO in much of our everyday lives. You will find that CO is generated by items such as gas appliances, furnaces, water heaters, automobiles, charcoal grills, generators, […]

Have a Plumbing Emergency Plan at Home

Leaking water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers, or overflowing toilets, can cause a lot of damage to floors, ceilings of rooms below the leak, plus the furniture and carpet in those rooms, before you get the water turned off, the water cleaned up, and the plumber arrives to fix it. That’s why it’s smart to […]

How a Service Contract Saves You Money

The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is right on target when it comes to having a service contract for your plumbing and HVAC. At Summers & Zim’s a service contract means that all your equipment gets checked and routine maintenance is done so you don’t have to worry about […]

How Dirty Ducts Increase Your Heating Cost

Did you know that just .04 of an inch of dust on your heating coil can reduce the efficiency of your heating system by 21%? And, if that amount of dust builds up on your fan the loss of efficiency is almost 50%. With spring just around the corner it’s easy to think you can […]

Health Symptoms that Can be Caused by Dirty Filters

By now you’ve been heating your home for 5-6 months. That means the filters in your heating system are ready to be replaced. Bacteria, molds, and fungi get trapped in dirty filters and that can cause health problems. When the heat blows into a dirty filter it no longer prevents airborne contaminants from blowing into […]

What an Air Scrubber Can Do For You

If the air in your home retains smells from pets and cooking, if someone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, or if someone in the home participates in activities that create dust or smells, an Air Scrubber can be essential to improve your daily quality of life.

Has Your Home Been Tested for Radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s produced naturally in soil due to decay of uranium found in most soils. It can get into your home through cracks or holes in your foundation or around pipes.

If You Need a New Furnace, Your Fuel Type Will Affect the Cost

Energy efficiency ratings of furnaces and boilers fluctuate from brand to brand and model to model. But one of the factors you also need to consider if you are replacing a furnace or boiler is the type of the fuel you will use and how much it costs.

How Old is Your Furnace Igniter?

One of the leading causes of furnace breakdowns is failure of the igniter. Most igniters will last for about five years. If its been longer than that since your igniter was replaced, fill out our appointment form or call us at 610-593-5129 to schedule a service call and have it checked. This is an easy […]

What You Can Learn by Going Barefoot in Your House

If you want to find where all the energy leaks are in your house, an easy way to do it is to walk around your house in your bare feet on a cold winter day.

What to Do if Your Garbage Disposal Smells Bad

Sometimes food bits get trapped or lodged in your garbage disposal and start to cause odors that seep into your kitchen. To get rid of the odors, put the rubber stopper in place. Fill the disposal sink with warm to hot water that includes a grease-cutting detergent (such as Dawn).

What the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating Means

As you prepare for what may be your highest heating bill of the year, it’s good to understand what the Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating means for your heating system.

Why Propane Heat is Becoming More Popular

Propane is a clean-burning fuel, with low emissions, and is environmentally friendly (68% lower emissions than electric and 50% less carbon than fuel oil) which is why Propane is becoming more popular as a heating system.

What to do if your pipes freeze and burst!

If there is any water in your exposed pipes, it will freeze when the outside temperatures drop and stay below freezing, as the temperatures have this week. When water freezes it expands, and that can cause your pipes to burst. If that happens to you, be sure to turn off the water supply immediately at […]

Why In-Tank Toilet Cleaners Should be Avoided

You may like the fresh blue look of the water in your toilet when using in-tank tablets and automatic cleansers, but you are probably damaging your toilet.

Take Pictures of Your Water Shutoff Valves

It’s a good idea to take pictures of all your water shutoff valves – for outside faucets, for water to bathrooms, water connections at washing machines, and at any water filtration systems.

How Heavy Snow Can Shut Off Your Furnace

Do you know where your furnace vents are located? For some homes they’re on the roof. That can be a problem if there’s a heavy snowstorm. If the snow on your roof is deeper than your vent, it closes off the vent and that will shut down your furnace, leaving you with no heat in […]

Sneezing, Stuffy Nose, or Throat Irritation Can Mean You Have Mold

If you had any water damage in your home from heavy summer or fall storms, and now that your home is closed up for winter you are experiencing nasal problems, the cause may not be a cold. It could be that molds are building up inside your walls.

When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your Dryer Vent?

Even though you clean your lint filter after every use of your dryer, there is always lint that will get through and travel into your dryer vent. Eventually lots of lint can get trapped in the vent, which can be a potential fire hazard.

How To Avoid the Most Common Holiday Plumbing Problems: Toilets

The other holiday plumbing disaster we mentioned on Monday is clogged toilets. With lots of company and relatives at your house, toilets can get a lot of use. Check them now to be sure they are all flushing properly. Put out the right kind of toilet paper to avoid clogs. Supermarkets are full of thick, […]

How To Avoid the Most Common Holiday Plumbing Problems: Sinks

With Christmas just a week away, we want to be sure your holiday isn’t thrown into chaos by a plumbing disaster. The two most common are clogged toilets and clogged drains. With lots of holiday cooking and baking being done, and lots of family members gathering for celebrations, sinks and toilets get a lot of […]

It’s Time to Seal Off AC Vents and Ducts

Your AC ducts and vents can be a big source of heat waste and loss within your home if they aren’t sealed off during the winter. You can do this yourself with a special tape that is approved for sealing. Or if you prefer, call Summers & Zim’s at 610-593-5129 and we’ll do it for […]

Winterize Your Central Air Conditioning Unit

Protecting your AC unit now can save you money next summer. Clear away any leaves or debris that are in, on or around the unit, so they don’t get inside where they could clog the moveable parts when you go to use it next year. Then purchase a waterproof AC unit cover to protect it […]

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are the new rave of the water heating industry. So, what’s the big deal? There are two large advantages. The first, being that these units heat water as needed.

Water Heater Sizing

There are many different ways to heat water. The most common in our neck of the woods is a tank style. On average a tank water heater will last 13 years. Most tank water heaters use electric, gas or oil to heat the water. The majority of residential tanks hold between 30 and 80 gallons […]

10 Ways to Stay Cool While Lowering Energy Costs

Stay cool this summer while lowering your energy costs without sacrificing your comfort. Here are 10 easy things you can do.

Free Water Test Shows If Your Water is Healthy

Water can have a huge impact on the quality of life for a family. Poor water will affect your health, increase maintenance costs on your home and can just flat out taste bad.

Rebates Can Save You up to $1,350 Through June

Looking for a way to reduce the installation amount of a new heating or cooling system? One of the best ways is to inquire about a manufacturers’ rebate. Many manufacturers run a spring and fall rebate program to increase sales during the off season.

Two Things You should Know About Indoor Air Quality, And What You Can Do About It!

It’s been a mild winter here in Pennsylvania. But even with the mild temps, you still need to have your windows and doors closed and sealed tight to keep the cold air out and keep your heating bills as low as possible.This can change the quality of your indoor air, and that can impact your […]

How Leaky Air Ducts Raise Your Heating Costs

One of the things that can deflate your heating or cooling system’s efficiency is poorly designed, un-insulated or leaky ducts. Suppose a 95% efficient furnace is installed in your home, but the duct work leaks 10% of the air that is pushed through it. Do you still have a 95% efficient furnace?

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