How Often Do You Need Air Conditioner Service?

An HVAC Technician Repairing Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioners use about 5% of all the electricity produced in the U.S., costing homeowners more than $11 billion annually. And that’s not all. These systems require service over the years, which increases efficiency and can lower energy costs.

With regular air conditioning service, the lifespan of an AC unit is lengthened. Air conditioners have several parts, including coils and filters. Each must be maintained to reap the benefits of the air conditioner.

It’s important to know that maintaining an AC system isn’t just about trying to prolong the life of your unit. Decaying AC systems can result in dangerous situations inside a home.

To learn how often you need air conditioner management for its various parts, read on.

Air Conditioner Filters

Filters are a major part of each unit, and regular AC unit service is mandatory to clean or replace these filters. Clogged filters block airflow and prevent the system from running efficiently. Replacing or cleaning the filter or cleaning it will also reduce energy costs, saving you money in the process.

How often should you clean and replace your filters? At least every month or two, but it does depend on how often the air conditioner is running.

A blocked filter can lead to a systematic failure over time. To avoid paying between $3,000 and $7,000 for an entire replacement AC unit, schedule routine maintenance.

Air Conditioner Coils

Another integral part of an AC unit is the coils. There are actually two coils within an AC unit that need to be serviced periodically: the evaporator coil and the condenser coil.

The evaporator coil, which absorbs heat from the air, will get dirty. If the filter is maintained, the evaporator coil will not become dirty as quickly.

The other coil, the condenser coil, is normally housed outside of your home or office. This coil can also become clogged with dirt and debris. Specialists advise to trim back any plants or trees to prevent foliage from falling into the coils and causing problems.

AC unit service encompasses coil replacements and cleanings, as well as filters. Like filters, coils should be cleaned and cleared of debris periodically. It is best to do this yearly rather than monthly.

Air Conditioning Drain Line

As an AC unit removes moisture in the air, it collects condensation that drips from the coils. The liquid then moves through a drain line and is deposited near the home’s soil or lawn.

Often, this drain line can become clogged with grime or sludge, and it will start to grow mold. The passage of fluids will stop once the gunk completely blocks the drain. Even with efficient filters and clean coils, a drain line can accumulate filth and stop draining properly.

Regular AC unit service should be scheduled every few months to make sure the drain line is working properly and clear of debris.

Need Air Conditioner Service for Your Home?

If you are in the Milwaukee, New Berlin, or Madison areas, The IHN Company are here to help with your plumbing issues.

Remember, regular air conditioner service increases the longevity of the unit. Services also ensure the parts are free of mold and dirt, so you continue to breathe fresh air every day.

Contact us today for an estimate, and let us get your AC back to operating at peak efficiency. Call us today at 262-691-0402 or visit our website for more information.

Does Radon Smell, and Other Answers to Common Radon Questions

Focus on Radon Chemical Element from the Mendeleev Periodic Table

We spend countless dollars and man-hours trying to purify our air of pollution, but some of the most dangerous substances come from nature itself. Radon is an under-appreciated threat, but it’s estimated that 1 in 15 US homes have unsafe radon levels.

How do you know if your home is that one in fifteen with a problem? Does radon smell or can you see it? Does it cause symptoms? Read on for the answers you need to protect your family.

Frequently Asked Questions About Radon

Radon is a natural gas that’s created when uranium in the environment breaks down. It may be natural, but it’s also radioactive, so the questions and answers below can help you protect your health.

Does Radon Smell?

One of the scariest facts about radon is that it doesn’t make itself known. Radon is naturally odorless and colorless, so you can’t rely on your smell or your sight to know if there’s a problem.

Why Is Radon Dangerous?

The primary danger of radon is that over time it can cause lung cancer by damaging the cells in your lungs. In fact, while smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in the US, radon exposure is number two.

What Are the Symptoms of Radon Exposure?

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of radon exposure, so you shouldn’t assume you aren’t being exposed just because you’re feeling fine.

It is, however, helpful to know the symptoms of lung cancer. That way, if it does develop, you can get early treatment and improve your chances of recovery. The symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A long-lasting cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarse throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain in the chest, especially while laughing or coughing
  • Frequent respiratory infections

How Does Radon Get Into My Home?

Because radon is released from rocks and soil, there are many ways it can get into your home. It typically enters through cracks in the structure or through building materials. Worse yet, once it’s inside your home, the insulation keeps it in so it becomes concentrated in a small space.

How Much Radon Is Safe?

If you have your home tested for radon, it will be measured in “picocuries per liter” of air. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers dangerous radon levels to be anything above four picocuries per liter.

How Do I Get Rid of Radon?

Radon should be handled by a professional. If you have high radon levels (or you think you may), you should call a radon mitigation expert. Radon specialists like us are able to install technology to remove the radon from your home and keep it out.

Protecting Your Home from Radon

Excessive radon is nothing to sneeze at, and because it doesn’t make itself apparent until it’s caused a serious illness, you can’t wait until you know about the problem.

It’s important to be proactive about testing your home for radon and taking radon mitigation steps if necessary. If you’re ready to take that step, contact our radon specialists today. We service the Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison areas.

5 Signs It’s Time to Give Up on DIY and Call a Plumber

plumbing working on a job

With all the DIY videos on YouTube, doing your own home repairs has become a popular way to save money. But when it comes to plumbing, doing it yourself can lead to burst pipes, sewage backup, and other costly disasters.

Don’t take the risk: Know when to call a pro.

The following is a list of common plumbing issues you should not attempt to fix yourself. If you experience any of these issues, you need to call a plumber.

Low Water Pressure

The cause of low water pressure can be difficult to determine. It may be a warning sign of a clog or a leak. Or it could be a problem with the water company, like a burst water main.

Whatever the cause, attempting to fix the problem yourself is likely to damage your pipes and make the problem worse.

Resistant Clogs

Most of the time, drain clogs are not hard to solve yourself. You should be able to unclog pipes with a simple drain snake tool or monthly application of a liquid drain cleaner like Drain-O.

But if a clog persists with little or no improvement after you try these methods, you need to call a plumber. Too many attempts to release a stubborn clog can cause too much pressure and damage the pipes. Excessive use of liquid drain cleaner can damage plumbing as well.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a plumbing emergency. If you experience frozen pipes, call a plumber as soon as possible.

Water expands when it freezes. When that happens in your pipes, it can cause pipes to burst. These burst pipes can flood your home or damage your foundation. Burst pipes are also extremely difficult to locate, reach, and fix.

Signs your pipes may be frozen include stopped water, clanking noises when water is turned on, or visible frost on the pipes. If you experience any of these, don’t hesitate to call a plumber.

Strange Pipe Noises

If you hear the sound of water running through your pipes when no one is using them, you probably have a leak. If not taken care of, this can quickly cause damage and even flooding in your home.

A gurgling noise is probably the sign of a blocked drain pipe that must be addressed. Call a professional for help.

Sulfur, Sewage, or Gas Smell

If you smell an odor like rotten eggs in your house, it might be the sign of a broken vent or burst sewer pipe. This would be extremely hazardous to your home and the environment. Get professional help right away.

Similarly, if it smells like gas in your house, leave the house immediately. Do not turn any electronics on or off, and do nothing that could cause a spark. Get out of your house, then call your utility company and 911 from outside.

Call a Plumber

Don’t ignore these scary warning signs. Call a plumber before things get much, much worse.

See all our services here, or contact us to make an appointment today.

Understanding Types of Foundation Cracks and How to Treat Them

As a homeowner, one of the scariest things you may come across is a crack in your home’s foundation.

Foundation cracks are certainly a cause for concern, as they may point to a problem. In severe situations, cracks are symptoms of hazardous structural issues. In other cases, they simply mean water is seeping into your basement during heavy rainstorms.

So, how can you tell if you have a serious crack or a minor crack? More importantly, how do you go about fixing it?

Here’s a guide for telling the difference between normal versus serious foundation cracks and how to repair them.

close up of foundation crack

Vertical Foundation Cracks

A vertical crack in your foundation is the least threatening type of crack you may see in your foundation. In fact, nearly all houses have them.

These types of cracks form because concrete can crack easily when under tension. The problem with these cracks is that they allow water to seep through your foundation in heavy rainstorms. So, they’re worth fixing when you come across them.

An epoxy or urethane injection can easily be used to repair a vertical crack in your foundation. Because these materials are flexible, the future movement of your foundation won’t cause your sealed crack to re-open, so you can rest assured that your fix will be a permanent one.

Horizontal Cracks

Contrary to vertical cracks, a horizontal crack is the most severe type of crack that can occur in your home’s foundation. The cause of these types of cracks? A foundation that is bowing.

A bowing foundation is a serious problem, as it may ultimately lead to your foundation’s failure. This, in turn, can lead to the collapse of your home. However, strapping can be installed on your foundation’s interior area to keep your wall from continuing to bow.

In addition, reinforcing braces or posts may be installed in your crawlspace or basement to address a bowing foundation and the resulting horizontal cracks. Yet another option is to bury anchors in the ground to pull your foundation’s wall out and then secure it.

An industry professional can advise you on what solution is most appropriate in your case and help you get it fixed correctly and safely.

Diagonal Cracks

Diagonal foundation cracks are typically the result of foundation settling, whether your house is old or new. Fortunately, these types of cracks are relatively easy to repair.

The same injections used for horizontal cracks can also be used for diagonal cracks, except extra injection material will likely be needed. This is to account for future foundation movement.

How We Can Help

We offer top-of-the-line foundation repair services and products. We have a strong reputation for inspecting, repairing, and replacing foundation walls and damaged drain tiles.

With more than 20 years of experience in the southeastern part of Wisconsin, we can diagnose foundation issues resulting from unanticipated soil conditions, design changes, construction, and other common causes.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can address your foundation cracks and keep your home standing strong for years to come.

Water Leaks Wreak Havoc On Your Plumbing And The Environment

Did you know the average home wastes 10,000 gallons of water a year through leaks? That is enough to fill a backyard swimming pool! At the IHN Company, we hate leaks, and our Plumbing services for Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison are available to fix your leaks and prevent new ones from occurring. We believe in customer education, so we’re happy to present some valuable information about plumbing leaks that can help you avoid major household headaches.

Ten percent of U.S. homes waste 90 gallons or more per day through leaks – that’s more than three swimming pools per year! This wasted water is passed through our sewer systems and water treatment plants, only compounding the expense. In fact, preventing one home from a common water leak saves enough fresh water for one person to drink for 54 years!

Large scale leaks, like those caused by ruptured pipes, can cause flooding in the home. The result is property damage. Small scale leaks, if undetected, can also cause catastrophic damage to your home and health. If the impacted area doesn’t have the leak sealed, the water removed, and the area completely dried, mold growth can occur. These mold spores can be extremely damaging to the health and wellbeing of your family.

The first step of leak detection is close examination of your water usage. Don’t just pay that quarterly bill, compare it to your last bill and be sure to monitor the level of usage over time. If your home is using over 12,000 gallons of water per month, a leak is likely.

Don’t forget to use your senses. Listen for drips in the walls or toilets running on their own without being flushed, look for dark spots indicating moisture, and don’t ignore musty smells, even in your basement. With minimal skills, you can easily repair leaking toilets and other valves, but leakage that is occurring in hard-to-reach places is best left to the experts.

The IHN Company is proud of our exemplary plumbing work, and we are honored to be your choice for solving your most difficult plumbing problems. Our experienced team is ready and available for all kinds of plumbing problems, from minor fixes to major emergencies. a

Need plumbing leak repair for your home?

The IHN Company are your plumbing experts in the Milwaukee, New Berlin, and Madison areas. Contact us today for an estimate, and let us get your basement back to being dry, safe and comfortable. Call us today at 262-691-0402 or visit our website for more information.