Your Yearly AC Checklist

It’s a slow day in the office and not a one of us here can really focus on our research. The weather is beautiful outside. The sun is shining, there’s a few little clouds drifting lazily in the endless blue sky. The birds are chirping and going after a feeder dangling lazily from a window across the street. I’d drag my computer outside and work from the sidewalk, but Lead Salesman Scott said he’d take my spot by the AC vent. Ah, right, the AC. We should get ready to turn that on. A Long, Harsh Winter Your air conditioner works hard all summer and gets to relax for the winter. Except that it doesn’t. The winter is perhaps the harshest time for your air conditioner, when it’ll have some of the highest risks of taking damage. All summer long, if something’s gone wrong, you’ll notice and get it fixed. In the winter? Not so much. Ice could crack a coil, debris could block up the coils and fans, a seal could fail, a rat could chew through some wires, and more could go wrong. We believe in preventative care as much as possible. Your HVAC Professional should do most of the work of inspecting your air conditioner, BUT there is a little bit you can do. Primarily speaking, you should clear all the dirt, debris, leaves, and other things away from the condenser unit. Keeping this area clear will […]

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Spring HVAC Prep

The weather is finally warming up. For the first time in months I left the office and didn’t have to worry about getting frostbite on my spleen. We hit 74 degrees last Friday here in Philly, I took a bike ride and came back looking like a drowned rat, but it was warm. It’s only 36 Fahrenheit today, but Spring is on the way. The coming warmth means we should start talking about your maintenance schedules. Do Your Chores It’s vital to inspect, clean, and maintain your HVAC equipment. It’s going to cost you if you don’t. You should inspect your entire HVAC System at least twice a year: once before spring, and again before fall/winter. These little maintenance checks will keep you, your employees, your customers, and any other guests comfortable year round. As the weather warms up, you will begin to dial back your reliance on your building’s heating system. This is an ideal time to find a warm day, shut it down, and have your contractor do some cleaning and inspections. Most burners will leave some measure of dirt/soot in the combustion chamber for you to clean up. Leaving this there will reduce your system’s efficiency and may eventually clog up the heat exchanger altogether. From a maintenance perspective, this is an ideal time to check that the ignition system is in good shape and doesn’t require any adjustment or replacement. Things like the spark rod in […]

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Industrial Clog Removal

Most homeowners are familiar with the tried and true plumbing snake for handling small blockages. It’s a long metal tube, sometimes with a claw or a camera on the end. You can push it into a pipe and force a blockage apart to clear the line. The problem is, this only really works for small pipes and some blockages. What do you use when you’re up against a bigger problem? The Snake’s Flaw The plumbing snake will push through a blockage, but it doesn’t necessarily clean up the line. Even after you’ve pushed a snake through the pipes, all it’ll do is move one obstacle. If there’s waste build up inside the pipe, there will still be reduced flow. It even gets a bit worse: the snake can only relay so much force into the clog. For most significant issues, a plumbing snake is a tool to quickly and temporarily resolve a bigger problem. Waste is building up inside the pipe, similar to how hard water build up can block off the water supply pipes. The snake isn’t as big as the pipe, it only creates a narrow channel or at best pushes a big obstruction apart. The rest of the pipe remains nearly clogged, waiting on a small blockage to seal it up again. In some cases, this issue can be fought chemically, using de-cloggers to break down the blockage. That’s not especially friendly, it’s not fast, and it’s […]

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A Crappy Tunnel

Once upon a time our public rivers and streams were essentially our sewers. In the 1800s, it wasn’t uncommon to essentially leave waste in the streets and let it get washed into the river by the rain. In the 1900s, it wasn’t uncommon for public sewers to dump raw sewage into the nearest major body of water. In some places, this is even still common practice. In the 1980s, Boston Harbor was one of these places. The Grossest Harbor in the Country Boston’s original sewer system dumped raw sewage 500 feet off the coast line. The belief at the time was that the ocean was so vast that the sewage would be harmlessly diluted. It was the 1800s and Boston was a smaller place back then. For a few decades, the system worked, but as the population grew, it became impossible to wash away that much waste. The entire harbor was soon contaminated with excrement and all the biohazards millions of sick and healthy people produce every day. By the 1940s the contamination was becoming evident, with cloudy, gross water in the harbor. By the 1950s there was some waste treatment, but it wouldn’t be able to keep up with Boston’s growing output. It takes time and space to treat waste like this, and the plants that were built didn’t have enough of either to keep things running smoothly forever. On days when the plants couldn’t keep up, the sewage […]

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The Future of Waste

The blog is back, Happy New Year! Since it is now the future, we’re going to look into something about the future today: the future of toilets. We sell equipment for waste treatment and everything is awesome with science. The science of toilets however, is more than a little dated. The Same Old Technology Toilets as we know them are a pretty old idea. The toilet as we know it, a bowl that flushes with water was first thought of in 1596 and eventually patented in 1775. Nothing else in the world has stayed so simple for as long as the toilet. That original concept was a two foot deep bowl that you flushed with about eight gallons of water, and then would dump into a sewer or other waste-disposal location. Given the time period, it was probably acceptable to dump it in the streets, gross as that sounds. This is essentially the same thing we have today. We have improved the efficiency of the design so it uses less water, made the sewage cleaning process cleaner, and made it smell a little better, but it’s still the same concept, isn’t it? In the intervening centuries we’ve learned about bacteria, viruses, materials science, precision engineering and manufacturing, chemical sanitation, and so much more that could improve the toilet. You might ask: why fix what isn’t broken? In reality, the toilet is very broken. Our entire waste water system is broken, […]

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Do I Need to Filter my Water?

We’ve covered how Water Softeners remove minerals which are harmful to your plumbing. What about things that are harmful to you? Water softeners are only effective against minerals. Bacteria, chlorine, even sediments will go through a water softener as if it were never there in the first place. With or without a softener, you’re on equal footing with everyone else: your water may be dangerous. Testing the Water Supply It’s a good idea to test your water supply every few years or after major changes such as construction in your area. We recommend testing because in most cases, it’s affordable, harmless, and it’s near impossible to notice subtle changes like lead leeching into the water supply without testing. This is an ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of pain. There are generally two ways to test your water: Over the Counter Kits and Mail-In Services. The kits can be found online and in your local plumbing and hardware stores. These kits will generally use testing strips and chemicals you mix with some water in a bowl. They start at around $20 for a basic test and it goes up from there for broad-spectrum tests that will cover everything you can find without ten tons of lab equipment. In some cases though, that ten tons of equipment might make sense. There are commercial labs and even universities that will test water samples for a premium. These tests will indicate specific […]

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