An Exploration of Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repairs

Deciding If You Need Asbestos Abatement

As most homeowners are already aware, asbestos is a dangerous building component, which when inhaled can lead to lung cancer. If you have asbestos components in your home, they may not necessarily pose a risk; in fact, they only pose a risk if they have the potential to become airborne. Thus, if you move into an older home, you will need to investigate your home and decide whether you need to undertake asbestos abatement.

What Materials Are Friable?

Any asbestos containing materials that can be crumbled are considered friable. Once crumbled, the asbestos particles can then become airborne, and this is where they pose a health risk. Floor tiles, roofing shingles, or gaskets may contain some asbestos and yet pose no threat if the material around the asbestos is solid enough to keep the asbestos in place. Thus, if you have old tiles in your house that contain asbestos, you don’t need to rush to remove the tiles. On the other hand, if you have insulation in your house that contains asbestos, the loose, fibrous nature of the insulation makes it more likely to break down and become airborne. 

What to Do to Remove Asbestos?

In order to safely handle asbestos, you have to do everything you can to prevent it from getting airborne. For starters, you will need to wrap the building in question with plastic sheeting that will prevent any asbestos that gets airborne from contaminating the air for passersby. You will then need to make sure that anyone who works in the house has a respirator and a way to remove asbestos from their work clothes. You will also need to break down any materials in your house that contain asbestos in such a way that they are damaged as little as possible. This will reduce the risk of asbestos separating from the materials and getting airborne. Finally, you need a way to wrap up the asbestos materials so that they don’t break down in transit or once they reach the disposal site. 

While the steps described above do not sound super complicated. Only one small mistake can make all the difference when it comes to keeping you and your home safe. While you might be tempted to attempt your own asbestos abatement, you owe it yourself and your family to take every possible precaution. Thus, your best choice is to leave the asbestos abatement up to highly trained, government certified professionals. 

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Heat Pump Reversing Valve Diagnostics

A heat pump consists of several moving parts, each of which serves its own purpose for helping the unit function. The reversing valve is what toggles your heat pump from cool to hot air and back again. If there is a problem with this part, it can mean no working heat in the winter and no cool air in the summer. While the problem with your unit could be a variety of other issues, it’s important to determine whether or not it is related to the reversing valve.

Diagnosing the Problem

In many cases, the reversing valve simply gets stuck in one position due to debris or something else clogging it up. Since your outdoor unit is outside, it doesn’t take much for dirt, leaves, or even small twigs to make their way in and eventually cause the valve to stick. Another problem the valve may face is leaking refrigerant. This can be a bit more difficult to troubleshoot since other parts of the heat pump can also leak this material. The compressor is a common suspect as well. The issue of a stuck or leaking valve are the two most common problems, so if you know how to remedy the issue, your unit should be back to normal.

Fixing a Stuck Valve

If in fact your reversing valve is simply stuck, try to use a leaf blower to blow excess debris out of your unit. You can also try to do this using a high powered wet/dry vac. If it’s matter of a few bits of debris, this should correct the problem within a few minutes. If it’s just stubborn debris you can easily see, take a flat head screwdriver and try to pry the debris loose. If your valve is stuck due to something else, you may have to do more work to relieve it. Use a powerful magnet and place it near the pilot valve. If it shows resistance, then it’s possible the pilot valve is not receiving enough power in order to operate the reversing valve. Take an electrical multimeter and check the current. If it does not match the manufacturer’s specs, the pilot valve may need to be replaced or rewired. 

Fixing a Leaky Valve

In order to determine if the valve is leaking, you’ll need to eliminate other possibilities first. A common problem with leaking heat pumps is that the refrigerant has flooded the evaporator coil. If it’s the compressor, you will want to run the heat pump without the use of the compressor motor for a few minutes and check to see if the liquid is building up. Use a pressure gauge to monitor this, and when the gauge gets to the highest reading, turn the system off. You should hear gases start to escape, and then you can visually inspect to see if they’re coming from the reversing valve or the compressor. This will help you determine which part is leaking and will need to be replaced.

If you find the problem may be more complicated than you expected, contact a local specialist, such as Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.

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Is It Bad If Moss Grows On Your Roof?

Moss grows on rooftops in some climates. This is especially true in moist, shady parts of the country. If you live in an area where moss is prone to growing on rooftops, then it’s important to know why moss grows on the roof, what it can do to your roof, and how you can stop it.

Is it bad if moss grows on your roof?

Moss that grows on a roof will hold moisture against the roofing material. During freeze/thaw cycles, this can cause the quick deterioration of the roofing material and the sheathing underneath. This cycle is especially problematic on wood shingle roofs, because it causes wood to crack and rot very quickly. If moss is allowed to continue to grow on the roof, it may eventually damage the roof so badly that it necessitates roof repair.

What’s the difference between roof moss and roof algae?

Roof moss is thick, fuzzy, and plant-like and can easily absorb and trap moisture against the roof shingles. Algae is thin and doesn’t hold moisture against the surface of the roof. Roof algae is more of a cosmetic problem than a maintenance issue.

What causes moss to grow on a roof?

Moss is especially prone to growing in areas that lack direct sunlight and in areas where the temperatures are generally cool and mild. Moss is commonly found in wooded areas with a lot of trees and plant life already growing.

How can you remove moss from a roof once the moss is growing on it?

Moss can cause roofing materials to deteriorate, which means that any homeowner trying to remove moss from the roof should do so carefully. Power washers can wash away deteriorated shingles, doing more damage than good. Harsh chemicals can also help speed the deterioration process. The best way to remove moss that’s growing on the roof is to use a rake or a soft brush to gently push the moss off the roof. If possible, you should sweep off the moss from a ladder, instead of doing so while standing on the roof. This is the best way to remove the moss and protect the roofing material.

How can you prevent moss from growing back?

If you would like to prevent moss from growing on the roof in the future, remove branches of trees nearby that put the roof in shade. Moss occurs naturally in some environments and will be difficult to completely eliminate, but making the environment more unpleasant for moss will help stop it from growing back.

For more information about how you can protect your roof from moss, speak with a roofing contractor from a company like A-1 Roofing & Siding.

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3 Primary Methods Of Basement Waterproofing

If you are interested in waterproofing your basement, before you start calling up contractors like Central Penn Waterproofing, make sure you familiarize yourself with the three primary methods of basement waterproofing. That way, when you talk with contractors about the best way to waterproof your basement, you will have a basic understanding of what they are talking about and you will be able to ask more detailed and pointed questions.

#1 Excavation Method

If you have a very serious problem with water and moisture in your basement, your contractor may suggest that you use the excavation method. This method is used when you have a serious water problem. Your contractor will dig out your basement until they get to your foundation wall. Foundation walls are generally buried several feet below the ground; this method requires a lot of digging and removing of material from your basement.

Once the contractor reaches your foundation wall, they will then replace your entire drainage system. This is one of the best ways to ensure that your basement stays dry. After your contractor install a new drainage system, they will then apply waterproofing material in order to protect your drainage system from future issues.

#2 Waterproofing Paint Method

If your basement water problems are not that serious, and you only have a few small leaks in your basement, your contractor may suggest that your waterproof your basement by applying waterproof primer and paint. These products can seal up small cracks in your wall and can prevent water from damaging your wall in the future. Water will also not be able to penetrate your walls and will just bead up due to the waterproof paint. You will be able to wipe away any water that leaks onto your walls; it will not soak into your walls due to the paint that you applied.

#3 Crack Filling Method

The third primary method of basement waterproofing is the crack filling method. For this method, your contractor will inject a special material into your cracks. This material will expand and fill the space inside of the cracks in your basement wall. These types of products generally work best if the cracks in your basement are on the smaller side. If you have a crack that is wider than a foot, more serious intervention may be necessary.

The three methods described above are some of the most common basement waterproofing methods employed by contractors. Depending on the water and moisture situation in your basement, the contractor you hire to waterproof your basement may use one or more of the methods above to keep your basement dry. 

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Three Things Your Plumber Would Like You To Know

When your toilet is clogged or a sink overflows due to a clog, very few people think to blame themselves for the problem. However, there are many times that a homeowner can actually be the cause of the problem at hand. From no oil and grease to avoiding drop-in toilet fresheners, read on below for a few of the things your plumber wants you to know.

No Oil and Grease Allowed

One of the most common problems that plumbers deal with when it comes to clogged drains is a buildup of oil and grease. What many homeowners don’t realize is that any type of grease or cooking oil congeals when it cools down. You may think that it is just washed into the sewers; however, it actually hangs around and builds up in your drain until the water has nowhere to go.

The solution to this problem is simple. Instead of pouring your oil and grease down the kitchen sink, try storing it in an empty coffee can. Once it is full, you can just send it out with the trash. Never, however, leave a grease can next to the stove, as they are a very big fire hazard.

Never Use Drop-In Toilet Fresheners

While you may love the idea of the fresh scent emitting from your toilet and the swirl of the blue water, drop-in toilet fresheners are not the best way to go. There are certain chemicals in some of the drop-ins that are capable of wearing out the working parts inside of the tank. If you need any added reason to avoid these fresheners, chunks of them often break off, get stuck in your flush valve, and prevent the toilet from flushing.

Forgo the Drano

Many homeowners automatically reach for the Drano when they have anything from a clogged sink to a clogged toilet. Chemicals used in any form can be dangerous to the health of you and your family. On top of that, many of these chemicals can damage the inside of the tank’s workings and the tank itself as well.

Instead of using Drano, call in your plumber to take care of the job for you. Prevent these clogs from happening as well by keeping oil, grease, and hair out of your sinks and toilets.

These are just a few of the things your plumber wishes you would keep in mind when it comes to your plumbing system. From never using drop-in fresheners to keeping the oil and grease in containers where they belong, following these tips will help you prevent clogs to begin with. 

Contact a service like Action Plumbing & Heating for more information.

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How To Clean And Maintain A Marble Table

After you have stains professionally removed from your marble dining room table, clean and maintain the marble with the following steps. Eliminating surface stains and wiping off the marble on a regular basis will prevent permanent damage and maintain the elegance of the table.


  • natural stone cleaner
  • sponge
  • bucket of warm water
  • ammonia
  • lint-free cloths
  • mild detergent
  • clear tablecloth

Remove Surface Stains

Remove surface stains from the marble as soon as you notice them. Apply a small amount of natural stone cleaner to a damp sponge and apply it to each stain. Move the sponge back and forth while using firm pressure to remove each of the stains. If any stains are difficult to remove, add a small amount of ammonia to the sponge to strengthen the cleaning solution. Rinse the sponge out with warm water and wipe the marble off to eliminate residue that was left behind by the stone cleaner or ammonia. Dry the table’s surface off with a lint-free cloth.

Wipe The Table Off Regularly

Keep the table’s surface shiny and dust-free by wiping it off on a regular basis. Add a small amount of mild detergent to a damp sponge. Apply the sponge to the table’s surface while applying consistent pressure to it. Move the sponge back and forth to remove dust buildup and grime. Rinse the sponge off with warm water as it becomes dirty, and add more detergent to it as needed. Once the marble is clean, remove soapy residue from its surface with a damp sponge that has been dipped in plain water. Dry the marble off with a lint-free cloth.

Follow Some Additional Guidelines

Never use abrasive cleaning agents or tools when cleaning the table. These items can damage the marble and leave marks on its surface. Wipe up spills right away with a soft cloth. After the liquid has been removed, use a damp sponge to remove any residue from the marble. Dry the marble with a lint-free cloth.

If you are going to be using the table to serve a meal to a large group of people, consider placing a clear tablecloth over the marble. The tablecloth will prevent the table from being exposed to spills and will still allow your guests to enjoy the beauty of the marble. Following all of these guidelines will keep the marble in excellent shape so that you can continue to enjoy its beauty on a daily basis. 

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Want To Put A Lid On Noise? 4 Ways You Can Stop This Chaos

If you live in an apartment, you may hear the people above you constantly playing music, hear a dog barking a lot, a baby crying all the time, or the people in the apartment may be fighting constantly. The same thing goes if you live in a home. You may have a teenager that loves to play music loud, or one of your children practices their musical instrument. No matter where the noise is coming from, you can sound everything out so you can have some peace. Below are four ways you can do this.

Sound Dampening Materials

One of the best ways you can put a lid on the noise is to use sound dampening materials. There are several companies that manufacture formulated drywall. This type of drywall turns acoustic vibrations, such as from stereo speakers, into heat. When purchasing this drywall, they come in different strengths. For example, one will block out more sound than another. The salesperson can help you choose the drywall that is best for your needs.


Hang heavy drapes and panels, which will absorb noise coming from outside sources, as well as inside your home. You can also find acoustic drapes and panels for even more noise reduction. You can find these in many styles and colors, so you will have no problem finding drapes and panels that go well with the d├ęcor of your home.

If you do not want to purchase new drapes, purchase only panels to use with your current drapes. You can also hang a nice quilt on your wall to make your home even more soundproof.

Drop Ceiling

The best way to block out noise coming from above you is by having a drop ceiling. You can hire a contractor to install this ceiling for you. You can drop your ceiling yourself if you have the skills and you want to save money.

To give you even more soundproof ceilings, use two pieces of drywall trim with the specialized glue between them. Tape any seams on the drop ceiling to prevent sound from leaking out.

Doors and Windows

If you have any doors in your home that have a hollow core, replace them with solid core doors. Install weather stripping around the door frames. While you are doing this, check the weather stripping around all of your windows, and replace any that is worn or cracked. If it is in your budget, you can replace the windows in your home with soundproof windows.

You should also make sure your walls are well insulated, which will also reduce some of the noise you are hearing.

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