Author Archives: PHA Alliance

How Long Does it Take a Plumber to Install A Boiler in 2022?

How Long Does it Take a Plumber to Install a Boiler

Plumbers can install a boiler in one work day if they don’t face complications. Still, people often ask – how long does it take a plumber to install a boiler in 2022? Various problems can arise that extend the installation process and potentially frustrate homeowners.

As a plumber, you must plan your time wisely to meet the needs of all of your clients. However, as a consumer, you want to know how long it could be without hot water. 

And like most plumbing questions, there is rarely a universal answer. However, several considerations come into play in this situation that can alter the timeline. In the following post, Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance discusses factors influencing how long it takes to install a boiler in 2022.

What is the Role of A Boiler?

Essentially, the role of a boiler is to heat up water and push steam throughout the home. The steam warms pipes inside the wall.

Boilers are much more common in the Northern states, where freezing pipes are standard in the winter. Now, many people think that water heaters and boilers perform the same job. While the concept behind both appliances is similar, there are some key differences. 

Water heaters and boilers are not the same because water heaters are responsible for heating water and delivering it to various faucets throughout the home. They aren’t used to heat the actual home like boilers are. 

Secondly, water heaters are responsible for heating potable water, which means water that is fit to use for cooking, cleaning, and even drinking. 

So you see, water heaters and boilers are very different. It’s essential to know the difference whether you are a homeowner or a plumber. Now on to the question, ‘how long does it take a plumber to install a boiler?’

Time Needed for Installing a Boiler

As we have mentioned, different situations will require different amounts of time. Generally, a boiler installation takes 1-3 days, depending on the type of project. But take a look at the following breakdown of boiler installation situations. 

  • A System Swap: A system swap usually refers to replacing the boiler, the cold water storage tanks, and the hot water storage cylinder. For a system swap, you can expect the job to take about two days, with the property without heating for one night. 
  • A Combi Swap: A combi swap entails replacing an existing combi boiler system. This kind of installation should only take one working day, which restores hot water before the end of the day. 
  • A System Install: This is by far the most involved and time-consuming type of boiler installation because you aren’t just installing the boiler appliance; you are installing an entire system for it. With a new system install, which usually includes the boiler itself and an unvented hot water storage cylinder, you are looking at a 2-3 day project. You can also expect to be without heating for at least one night. 

So the good news is that a boiler installation will typically take no longer than three working days. The bad news is that if you need a boiler system installation, you could be without hot water and heating for at least one night. 

However, total system installs are a lot less common. This is because they are usually required for larger households or buildings or on properties with special heating needs. 

Other Considerations When Installing a Boiler

Aside from the boiler type and project scope, there are other things to consider when factoring for time and price. Here are some of the most critical considerations:

  • The Age of the Boiler: For a homeowner, you must consider how old your boiler is. On average, your boiler can expect about 15 years of reliable operation. 
  • The Property’s Needs: Some boilers function like combination boilers and water heaters, supplying warmth and hot water throughout the home. So carefully consider which type of boiler would best suit your needs.
  • Being Without Heating: Last but not least, you should consider the possibility of being without heating and plan accordingly before a new boiler installation. 

Dishwasher Backing Up Into Sink (Causes + Solutions)

Dishwasher Backing Up Into Sink (Blog Cover)

If your dishwasher is backing up into the sink, you have a problem on your hands. One of the most common plumbing problems involves water from the dishwasher backing up into the sink. It’s a messy problem that requires immediate attention.

A few different things can cause a dishwasher to back up into the sink, so Plumbing, Heating, and Air Alliance outlines those causes and provides some simple fixes.

A Clog in the Sink Drain

A clogged sink drain is the first and most common cause of dishwasher water backing up into the sink. In this situation, the first thing you have to do is unplug the garbage disposal. However, you can never be too careful and should never reach into a drain while the garbage disposal is plugged in. 

If the drain is minor, you may be able to reach down and remove whatever is causing the clog with your (gloved) hand. However, it’s not a good idea to try to deal with a clog by using a liquid drain cleaner. These products can do more harm than good. 

Instead, call a professional plumber who will likely correct the problem using a drain snake.

Dishwasher Clog

Sometimes, the line to the dishwasher might be clogged, which is similar to a clogged sink. As a result, you would handle it the same way. However, you should also check to see if the drain plug has been removed and if the dishwasher has been installed recently. 

If the drain plug hasn’t been appropriately removed, it could cause other problems for the appliance. 

Problems With the Air Gap

The air gap (usually installed next to the sink faucet) may also have a clog. Not all sinks have an air gap, so obviously, this won’t be the issue if the sink you’re servicing doesn’t have an air gap. However, if it does, it’s worth checking to ensure the air gap isn’t clogged, as this can also lead to dishwasher water backing up into the sink. 

The purpose of an air gap is to prevent backflow, but when the dishwasher is old or overused, the air gap can become clogged. As a result, the dishwasher will be unable to drain correctly. 

The clog must be cleared from the air gaps when this happens. In addition, plumbers may ensure that the hoses that lead into the air gap aren’t kinked, which will also cause draining problems.

The Opposite Issue

It’s also worth noting that you may have the opposite issue on your hands. We mean sink water running into the dishwasher. This can put dirty sink water into the dishwasher, which is obviously not good. 

When this happens, you should check to see if there are any clogs in the connected components. For example, check the sink drain, the dishwasher drain, and the air gaps. 

In some cases, you will need to hydro jet the clog out. Hydro Jetting is an excellent service because it’s safe for the pipes and is very effective at removing tough-to-reach clogs. 

Garbage Disposal Issues

Another reason you may see water back into the sink is that the garbage disposal is clogged. For some older kitchens, the dishwasher drains into the garbage disposal. So when food waste and grease clog up the garbage disposal, it can also result in dishwasher water coming up through the sink. 

You may need to reach the garbage disposal from underneath and manually crank it to clear the clog if you can’t simply reach down and remove it. Of course, you should call a plumber to handle the job.

Plumbers should also use a flashlight to peer down into the drain to see if they can spot it and if it’s local enough to reach down and clear it by hand. Frequent disposal clogs may indicate dull blades that aren’t processing food waste correctly. 

In some cases, the blades will have to be replaced. But you can generally grind up eggshells to help keep the blades sharp. Pouring a little white vinegar down the drain and disposal from time to time will also help prevent clogs. 

Any time you are dealing with the garbage disposal, you should disconnect it. It bears repeating because it is a safety issue; the last thing you need is an accident. Finally, don’t forget to call a professional plumber, as trying to unclog drains can result in severe injury.

Thermostat Not Turning On: 4 Potential Reasons + Solutions

Thermostat Not Turning On (Blog Cover)

It can be frustrating when a thermostat is not turning on. You can think of your thermostat as the brain of your HVAC system. It signals the equipment to turn on and off and allows you to control the temperature in your home or place of business. 

Not only does a malfunctioning thermostat mean that your HVAC systems will not work correctly, but it could cost you money too. For example, suppose your thermostat signals your HVAC systems to kick off too early or too late. In that case, it could be costing you on your utility bills. 

Below, Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance outlines four potential reasons your thermostat is not turning on.

1) Electrical Problem

If you are looking at your thermostat and it is blank, the problem could be an electrical one. Like all electronic devices in your home or place of business, your thermostat is connected to your main electrical panel. 

As a safety precaution, a circuit will be tripped when a power surge or something weird and potentially dangerous happens in the electrical line. 

If your thermostat or HVAC system has tripped the breaker, your thermostat will not have anything on the screen, and you will be unable to use it. 

In this case, locate your main electrical panel and find the switches connected to your HVAC system. They may be labeled, or you may have to use good ol’ trial and error to reset the breaker for the HVAC system. 

If and when the breaker was tripped, you may see that the switch connected to the HVAC system has been switched off. In this case, all you would have to do is flip that particular switch back on. 

2) The Safety Switch

Your cooling or heating unit will have a safety switch that works like a failsafe when it detects abnormal conditions. If the sensor has gone off, the safety switch did its thing, which is to say that it turned the whole system off to prevent an accident or further damage. 

The safety switch is tripped when it detects abnormal moisture levels or high temperatures within your HVAC system. When it is tripped, it can cause your thermostat to go blank. 

This is a necessary safety precaution, to be sure. Still, the bad news is that it usually means that something is wrong with your HVAC system – something that, unless you have extensive experience working on HVAC units, will require the attention of a professional. 

You should start with your air conditioner if your heating and AC units are separate. The safety switch will be located in the drain pan. If you see that it has been set off, we highly recommend calling an HVAC professional as soon as possible. 

3) Battery Check

Hopefully, a simple battery swap can remedy a thermostat not turning on. If you see that you can’t operate your thermostat and the screen is simply blank, try taking out the existing batteries and replacing them with fresh ones. 

If this simple fix doesn’t work, something more serious is going on with your HVAC system. 

4) Life Expectancy

If your thermostat is simply not turning on, it could mean that it has merely reached the end of its lifespan. Most HVAC thermostats are projected to last about ten yearsAfter a thermostat hits the ten-year mark, it can start exhibiting signs of imminent failure. Such symptoms can include:

  • Turning your heating and cooling systems on for long periods
  • Preventing your heating and cooling systems from turning on at all
  • Activating your heating or cooling systems at temperatures that you didn’t set
  • The thermostat not turning on at all

If your thermostat is more than ten years old, you may consider replacing it at the first sign of malfunction. However, even if it seems to be working, it could be relaying inaccurate information to the rest of the system, causing it to run too long or not enough. 

It almost always means either a spike in heating/cooling bills or an uncomfortable living space when this happens. In any case, it’s always a good idea to have an HVAC specialist come out and take a look at your system.

The Most for Your Business and Your Customers

Knowing the common reasons why a thermostat may not function is essential for an HVAC specialist. Still, you have to be able to convey this information to your customers if you are an HVAC contractor. 

Sometimes even the most basic HVAC concepts can be lost on a layman. Still, the ability to explain complicated HVAC concepts to your customers will make them more likely to come back to you when they need future HVAC assistance. 

If you are a homeowner with thermostat problems, be sure to contact your local HVAC company to address the issues. Before hiring them, you can check their Google reviews and even check out their website.

Repair Water Leaks Under Your House: The 2021 Guide

Leak Under House

Finding a leak around your foundation can be very troubling if you’re a homeowner. Leak under house issues can cause severe damage to the structure if left uncorrected. As for the cost, foundation leak repairs can cost anywhere between $2000 and $6000

While it’s always a good idea to work with a professional to correct leak under house issues, there are some elements of foundation repair you can familiarize yourself with so you know what to expect and know what to monitor.

PHAA will go over some of the foundation leak repair process details and tell you what to look out for to detect leaks in the following post. 

How to Spot a Leak Under House Issue

Foundation leaks (sometimes referred to as under-slab leaks) can cause cosmetic damage if you catch them early. Usually, these types of damages are inexpensive to repair. But, of course, the damage will be more costly if the leak is allowed to persist for too long. That’s why it’s crucial to inspect your house often – especially the areas of your home that you don’t usually see or spend time in – and to know the warning signs of foundation leaks. 

Foundation leak damage can take many forms, but the good news is that some of the signs are relatively easy to spot. Be on the lookout for:

  • Odors: Musty or moldy smells coming from your flooring material or your walls could be signs if under-slab leaks.
  • Warm Spots: Walk around areas of your house with no shoes or socks. There could be a leak if you are feeling warm spots in the flooring, especially over your hot water lines. 
  • Damaged Flooring: Some foundation leaks will cause your flooring material to bulge or crack. 
  • Water Pressure: A leak may cause an alteration in the water pressure of your kitchen and bathroom faucets. 
  • Discoloration: Take a look at your basement flooring often to check for discolored flooring or stains.

It’s essential to take action as soon as you notice any of these signs. Remember that early detection can prevent the leak from causing severe structural damage. 

Foundation Leak Repair Process

The foundation leak repair process will involve a professional coming out for a thorough inspection. They will use specialized equipment like listening devices and remote cameras to pinpoint the source of the leak. They will find the source of the leak through visual inspection of your basement and the perimeter of your home.

Detection is the relatively easy part of foundation leak repair. Unfortunately, one thing that makes leak under house issues so complex and expensive to fix is that in most cases, the damaged pipe has to be exposed before they can fix the problem.

Tunneling underneath the slab can help to get to the leak. However, it can also involve using a jackhammer to cut out a portion of the slab foundation to get to the leak. The professional you work with should discuss multiple options with you and find the least invasive method for foundation leak repair. For instance, the professional you work with may suggest a couple of different ways for foundation leak repair:

  • Epoxy Repairs: This method is suitable for more minor, localized leaks. Essentially, it involves pouring an epoxy filler into the affected piping to block off the affected area in the pipe without blocking other piping. This is a relatively fast and affordable foundation repair method, but again, it’s only suitable for small, localized leaks in the system. 
  • Cast in Place Piping: This method patches the leaking pipe. It uses a similar epoxy material, but before it can be poured down the affected line, the line is remotely cleaned and flushed out to ensure a secure coating. The epoxy filler is then poured down the affected line and bonds with the damaged area of the pipe. 

These are pretty much your best-case scenario repairs. However, if your leak is coming from your sewage lines, more involved sanitation processes have to be carried out by a certified professional. 

What Causes Foundation Leaks?

Unfortunately, many circumstances could lead to an under-slab leak. Still, it’s essential to know what they are so that you might be able to prevent these circumstances in the first place. Take a look at some of the most common causes of foundation leaks:

  • Earthquakes: It doesn’t have to be a major one – minor tremors over time can cause shifts in the foundation and the soil around it, damaging piping. 
  • Water Chemistry: Damage to pipes can occur from inside the pipe itself. Your water and other things that make it into your lines can eventually erode the lining of your pipes, causing leaks. 
  • Damaged Pipes: One of the most common causes of foundation leaks is improperly installed pipes in the first place. Old piping is also prone to damage. 
  • Soil: Soil expands and contracts under dry and wet conditions. If the area you live in vacillates between these conditions often, it could put you at greater risk for foundation leaks. 
  • Chemical Reactions: Metallic elements in the soil under your home could react with your piping. These chemical reactions can compromise the integrity of the pipes. 
  • Improperly Maintained Lines: Of course, clogged pipes can cause hydrostatic pressure to build up. Over time, this pressure can cause pipes to burst.  
  • Overgrown Roots: Trees on or around your property can cause foundation damage and leaks as well. When the roots start growing underground towards your home and foundation, they can cause all kinds of damage. 

6 Reasons Digital Marketing Helps Plumbing/HVAC Contractors

Digital Marketing (Blog Cover)

As an HVAC or plumbing contractor, you may not have digital marketing at the forefront of your crowded to-do list. And that’s understandable. First and foremost, you should be offering your customers exceptional service. But even if you provide timely, knowledgeable, and affordable HVAC or plumbing service, you may be noticing that your business has sort of hit a wall.

It’s not because you don’t work hard. It doesn’t even mean that you are doing anything wrong. But it most likely means that you are omitting something. And as you may have already guessed, that something is plumber SEO. The truth is that you should launch an SEO campaign as soon as, or before you open your doors for business. But many contractors turn to digital marketing when they notice a lack of growth or stagnation.

As the old adage goes, better late than never. If you have not had the time or haven’t thought that you needed to invest in digital marketing for your plumbing or HVAC company you need to read the following guide. Likewise, if you are just getting your plumbing/HVAC company off the ground and want to know more about how digital marketing can benefit you, this is the post you need to read. Let’s take a look at the most significant ways that digital marketing helps plumbing/HVAC contractors.

1) It Lets you Reach your Audience

Even if you don’t spend much time online; your customers certainly do. The fact is that your customers (and your competitors for that matter) are all online. According to The Next Web, the average person spends over 6 hours online every day. To compound the significance of that statistic, consider this one: 97% of consumers use the internet to search for local businesses. Digital marketing allows you to reach a colossal audience that you would have no access to without some sort of online footprint.

2) It Makes you Noticeable

So what is the flip side to the #1 benefit in our list? It’s that the World Wide Web is flooded with companies just like yours. With millions of clickable options available with a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, your audience has plenty to choose from. But digital marketing (namely Search Engine Optimization) affords you the opportunity to stand out among the crowd. And it really isn’t too hard. By simply claiming your business on Google My Business, you are increasing traffic to your website by up to %70. You are also increasing customer trust in your business by double simply by merit of having a complete Google My Business listing. While claiming your business is a small step in the right direction towards getting noticed, it is a vital one.

3) It Makes for Easier Branding

Building a successful business is contingent on building a recognizable brand. And branding in the physical world can be tough. Signage is expensive, there are limited opportunities (and limited real estate) for your brand to be displayed and only so many people you can reach. Digital marketing offers a unique opportunity for business owners to build a consistent brand relatively easily. Displaying your logo on your website, on your social media profiles, digital business listings and on any emails you send out are all simple and viable options for digital branding. 

4) It Evens the Playing Field

Nowadays, you don’t need a massive advertising budget to compete with the national plumbing and HVAC service chains. That’s because the internet makes it ridiculously easy for people to find what they are looking for. And most of the time, what people are looking for is local service. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are for local services or businesses. People don’t want to see options for service in another state and digital marketing makes it much easier for your customers to come to you. But you need to have a digital footprint in place for people to find you when they search for things like “HVAC repairs near me” or “emergency plumbers near me.” Digital marketing allows your company to be seen by the people in your area and not lose business to nation-wide companies.

5) It Allows for Free Market Research

For the contractors who are thinking ahead and want to know what their customers need, digital marketing becomes essential. Gone are the days when you’d have to pay thousands of dollars to get the market research and info you need. Now, all it takes is a simple survey on Facebook or comments on one of your blog posts. Digital marketing allows you to talk directly with your customers and potential customers. By reading comments left on your blog, you can gain valuable insight into what people value most about plumbing/HVAC service and shape your company accordingly. Facebook’s surveys are especially helpful for finding the pain points of your target market.

6) It Makes your Business More Trustworthy

For better or for worse, you need an online presence to garner any trust in your local market. In the digital age, you need customer reviews for your business. In a Bright Local study, it was found that average customers need to read at least 10 reviews before they feel comfortable with a company. Furthermore, 68% of consumers surveyed reported that positive reviews make it more likely that they will patronize a business. And make no mistake about it; customer reviews and online reputation management are part of an effective digital marketing campaign. 

Pluming, Heating, & Air Alliance Can Help

In reality, this list could go on and on. The benefits of digital marketing for your HVAC/plumbing business cannot be understated. It is absolutely necessary, in fact. But we don’t want to overwhelm anyone out there. These are some of the most important things to understand about digital marketing but rest assured; the plot thickens. But here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance, we make it our business to guide you through the process.

How Plumbers Find Pipes in Walls Using a Detector

Pipes in Wall

Need to drill into your walls? Are you a plumber and want to know the best ways to avoid puncturing a pipe in a wall? If so then you should know how to find pipes in walls. Puncturing a water pipe can be very messy and expensive. In fact, a punctured water pipe can cost anywhere between $150 and $350 to repair. And that’s not even counting the damage to the wall which can cost as much as $750

Like most things in life, a little foresight and preparation can make all the difference. Learning the right way to find pipes in walls is extremely important whether you are a plumbing contractor or just a determined DIYer. So in today’s post, we are going to be walking you through how to find pipes in walls as well as answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this task. For more plumbing resources, be sure to contact us and ask us how to become a Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance member.

Why Use a Detector?

In this guide we will be showing you how to find pipes in walls using an electronic detector. So why should you use this method to find where your pipes are? Because it is the safest and most accurate method. You can’t simply knock on your walls and listen for the variance in sound to find pipes like you can with wall studs. Pipes are recessed in the walls so you will not be able to hear the difference.

You might think you can follow the water lines from your basement upwards into your walls but piping often needs to change direction to avoid studs, electrical wiring and other obstructions in the wall. Using an electronic detector is quite simply the most precise and affordable way to find pipes.

How to Find Pipes in Walls

Now that you know why using a detector to find pipes in the walls is the best practice, let’s go over a brief guide of how to use your detector:

  • Rent or Buy – We included this step because we know plumbers and non-plumbers are likely to read this post. If you are a plumber, you are definitely going to want to buy a good pipe detector since you will be using it a lot. It’s important to find a sturdy, reliable, and accurate one. Here is a list of the best pipe detectors for plumbers to help you out. If you aren’t a plumber by trade, buying a detector may still be a good idea because they are very handy to have around. But if you don’t want to spend the money on a one-off project, you can easily rent one at your local hardware store.
  • Practice – Now that you have your detector, practice with it. Certain detectors can pick up studs, electrical wiring, and pipes and will make different noises or flash different indicator lights for each item. Try using the detector on an area you know has piping. Get to know the sound it makes. 
  • Indicate – Once you feel you are ready to use your detector in the field, don’t forget to make marks on the wall indicating where you find pipes. 

Can you Detect Plastic Water Pipes in Walls?

That will depend. A lot of modern stud finders can actually pick up plastic piping in walls. And if the plumber who installed the plastic piping abided by regulations and placed metallic tape on the piping, then your standard pipe detector will be able to pick up on it.

Can a Stud Finder Find Water Pipes?

In general, yes. Stud finders are designed to find any obstruction in the wall – including water pipes. So if you are just handling a project around the house, you can rely on your stud finder to locate pipes. But if you are a plumber, you will still want to invest in a specific pipe detector.

Call the Professionals

If you are in need of a professional plumber for your project, use our directory to find one near you. And if you are a plumber wanting to join our prestigious network, contact us.

Compression Fittings: Everything Plumbers Need to Know

Compression Fittings (Blog Cover)

As a plumber, you are going to need to make compression fittings your best friend. Some veteran plumbers liken compression fittings to Snap-On ties: they are quick, easy and sort of your go-to when all else fails. 

But to look at compression fittings as last resort tools would be doing yourself a disservice and belying the true value of these pieces of equipment. The basic principle behind compression fittings is that they are used to join two pieces of thin-walled tubing, pipe, and in some cases a pipe to some sort of valve or fixture. 

You can see compression fitting in other industries as well. Electricians often use them in their line of work and they are even used for hazardous waste materials. The reason they are used in such high-risk types of jobs is that they are extremely reliable and form a water-proof seal in pipe assembly. That is when they are chosen and installed correctly. 

Compression fittings are something you will have to know inside and out as a plumber. So if you are an apprentice or just starting out on your journey as a plumber or contractor, today’s post will be of particular interest to you. Today is all about compression fittings: what they are, how to use them, and what they are used for. Consider this your primer guide to these indispensable plumbing tools. 

If you would like even more resources for your plumbing business or for yourself as a tradesman, please don’t hesitate to call us and find out how to become a member of the Plumbing, Heating & Air Alliance.

The Basic Components of a Compression Fitting

There are 3 basic components to any type of compression fitting: the compression nut, the ferrule (sometimes called the compression ring) and the compression fitting body) sometimes referred to as the compression seat). Here are the functions of each of these components:

  • Compression Nut – The compression nut looks like your basic nut – usually hexagonal. And it functions exactly like a nut. The Compression nut tamps down on the compression ring as it is tightened with a wrench.
  • The Compression Ring – The compression ring is sort of the go-between of the entire operation. It works between the nut and the compression seating and gets pressed into the seating as the nut is tightened.
  • The Compression Seat – The compression seat receives the tube that is to be connected as the compression ring is inserted under it. The seat keeps the ring in place and makes sure that it is being pressed into the tubing, forming a watertight seal…ideally.

Compression Fitting Uses

One of the most important things to remember about compression fittings is that they should only be used on stationary connections. Fitting a pipe to a valve for example would be the ideal time to use a compression fitting because in this scenario, neither the valve or the pipe being fed into it are likely to move. Rather, the fitting is there to form a watertight seal. In general, here are the steps for using a compression fitting properly:

  • Slide the nut onto the tube that is to be fitted
  • Slide the compression ring up onto the tube and into the nut with the threaded side out
  • Connect the tube or pipe that is to be fitted into the compression seat
  • Slide the nut and the compression ring down toward the fitting body
  • Screw the nut (and by proxy the ring) into the fitting body and tighten the connection with a wrench

Different types of compression fittings are available for different uses as well. For example, the lines that supply refrigerators with water to be filtered will typically be sealed with quick-connect compression fittings. Another common application that calls for the use of a compression fitting is any time you need to hook up a water line to pneumatic lines.

And here’s a tip for all you newbie plumbers out there straight from the mouths of our plumbing community members: it’s always a good idea to lubricate the nut thread before using it to join any kind of pipes or tubing. In rare instances, you will be able to reuse old compression fittings. In such cases, you will definitely want to lubricate the threading. But it is just good practice to get into the habit and even lubricate new fittings. 

Other Compression Fitting Tips

So at this point, we’ve done a pretty good job of scratching the service. And surely, there is no better teacher than hands-on experience. As you go out into the field and use compression fittings in your work, you will learn much more about how best to use them.  All the same, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when working with compression fittings:

  • Don’t Overtighten – Tighter is not always better – especially with certain kinds of tubing. Rigid pipes can stand a lot of torque, but thin piping like copper or thin-walled tubing can’t. Do not overtighten plastic tubing. This will cause a puncture in most cases.
  • Reusing Fittings – It is a good practice to use new compression fittings as much as possible – especially if they have been used on rigid piping. The threading of the ferrule (or ring) can get worn down over time and become unreliable. 
  • Plastic Compression Rings – When dealing with plastic tubing, always use a plastic ferrule (or compression ring). Use a plastic ring instead as a metal ring can damage the tubing.

Get Help from the Pros

Here at Plumbing, Heating & Air Alliance, we specialize in putting consumers and professionals in touch with the contractors that can help them. As a new plumber, you will need the guidance and resources that we can offer. Not just for knowing how to use tools like compression fittings, but to grow your business and operate efficiently. That is what we are all about at Plumbing, Heating & Air Alliance so talk to us and find out how to become a member.

How to Become a Professional Plumbing Contractor

How To Become a Plumber (Blog Cover)

Do you want to know how to become a plumber in 2020? As long as the sun is in the sky, there will always be people allured by the prospect of problem-solving. The trades have always been a necessity because everyone needs a place to live, places to do business, and amenities to fill those places. And there is always a ready and willing workforce of men and women prepared to fill the needs of the trades.

Does working with your hands and head appeal to you? Do you love being presented with a problem and working through it to solve it? Do you like not being bound to a single work station and meeting new people every day? If so then a career in plumbing may be right up your alley. Plumbing can be a very rewarding career for the right person…

Will Plumbing Suit you?

Not everyone is cut out for the trades. Even some people who are highly intrigued at the thought of becoming a plumbing contractor realize it is not for them once they actually begin their apprenticeship. We asked our community of professional plumbing contractors who have been in the business for decades and have seen greenhorns come and go what attributes they see in the most successful plumbers. Take a look at some of the personal characteristics they pointed out:

  • Fondness for Physical Work – Plumbing work may not be as labor-intensive as masonry or construction, but make no mistake about it – it is very physical work. Plumbing work will involve crawling into tight spaces, wrenching at rusted steel pipes, carrying heavy equipment, lugging even heavier appliances, and getting wet. Our community said that the most successful plumbers not only tolerate this type of work; but have a fondness for it.
  • Resilience – One of the things that some of the plumbing foremen we talked to said they hate to see in apprentices is a lack of resilience. The fact is that some foremen will be hard on you. They will work you very hard and some days, they won’t be able to teach you everything you want to know.  “It’s never a personal thing,” explained one of our community members “but sometimes the job demands what it demands and apprentices don’t always come first. A lot of apprentices take it personally and assume they aren’t cut out for the work.” Resilience is key, especially when you are apprenticing. 
  • Decisiveness – A lot of plumbing service calls are emergency calls. Of course, it pays to know your stuff and have the skill to tackle a plumbing emergency. But in order to stand out in a sometimes overcrowded trade market, you also have to be decisive. You have to be willing to take action in order to mitigate further damage in the home or commercial property of your customer.
  • Aptitude for Math – Some apprenticeship programs will actually look at your ACT math test results when considering your eligibility. But even if you find a contractor who doesn’t look at any test scores, an aptitude for math will serve you very well in the plumbing trades. Piping, fitting, and bending are all regular parts of the job and all involve complex mathematical calculations. While many people learn on the job, having an aptitude for math going into your apprenticeship will surely give you an edge in this industry.

How to Become a Plumber

Does it sound like you have all the key attributes of a successful plumber? Then you may be ready to dive into a career that pays well over the national salary average. So here is a basic primer for how to become a plumber:

  • Get your GED – Having your GED is a requirement in most states’ apprenticeship programs. It will also help if you took advanced math courses either in high school or college before you enter your apprenticeship. Courses in drafting will also increase your value as a new apprentice.
  • Complete Vocational Plumbing Courses (Optional) – This step is not a requirement in most states but it can be very helpful. Not everyone that wants to become a plumbing apprentice will get to be one. Only the most qualified will make it so having some vocational courses under your belt will give you an edge over the competition. Your vocational school may also be able to set you up with an apprenticeship much easier than if you were to search on your own. And of course, in some cases, you will actually be required to take these courses.
  • Become an Apprentice – You can contact the local plumbers union in your area and they will direct you to contractors who are looking for apprentices. You can also apply to local plumbing contractor companies. You will need to be hired on as an apprentice and complete the hands-on training over a course of 4-5 years. There is a certain amount of on the job hours you will need to fulfill depending on your state.

How to Become a Plumbing Contractor in 2020

Becoming a plumbing contractor entails a different process. In most states, you will be required to:

  • Be approved by a professional board to take the standardized plumbing exam
  • Have at least 4 years of experience as a journeyman, business owner or supervisor 
  • Pass the plumbing exam by at least 70%
  • Show proof of financial responsibility including a working capital of at least $2,500 and a bond of $10,000.

It is very important to note that the process of becoming a plumber and a contractor varies from state to state. But it is a promising career that is on the rise. In fact, job growth in the plumbing industry is predicted by professionals to rise 24% from 2014 to 2024

If you have any more questions on how to become a plumber or want to become a member of our coveted contractor’s directory, please get in touch with us here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance. It would be our honor to help you start or expand your career in plumbing. 

Static Pressure for HVAC: 5 Tips Before Testing

Static Pressure for HVAC (Blog Cover)

Testing for static pressure in the ductwork of any HVAC system is a basic, yet important part of your job as an HVAC contractor. The static pressure in ductwork is indicative of what condition the ducts are in and can help you diagnose common problems and inform you on what services need to be suggested to the client.

In fact, static pressure testing is such an important part of the job that it becomes routine. Everyone knows that static pressure for HVAC systems should be tested every time you do an inspection. The problem with things we take as a given is that we often slip into auto-pilot mode when doing them. 

One of the most common causes of inaccurate HVAC inspections is a faulty static pressure reading. Faulty readings can happen for a number of reasons but if you aren’t paying close attention or lack the experience, they can be quite puzzling. But fret not. Today we are going to be covering 5 helpful tips for static pressure testing to help you avoid faulty readings and misdiagnosis of HVAC problems. If at any time you would like to read other helpful blog posts or peruse our list of contractor resources, check us out here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance. But for now, let’s review some tips on measuring static pressure for HVAC.

1) Check the Blower Wheel

Remember that static pressure needs to be lower than the push of air for the HVAC system to be working properly. And remember that a dirty blower wheel can significantly lower airflow. In fact, just having an eighth of an inch of dust or debris on a blower wheel can reduce airflow in ductwork by up to 30%. So when you are getting a low static pressure reading that looks great, you may not be getting the whole story. Before you do any static pressure for HVAC testing, be sure to check and/or clean the blower wheel.

2) Take your Time

Rushing through a service call is never a good idea. It can lead to some very rudimentary mistakes. With any HVAC system you are testing, you should always take the time to let it warm up and put it through its paces. Static pressure readings may look good when you first switch a system on, but they can change as the system reaches its highest load capacity. So calling the job done too early can once again, cause you to miss out on the whole story. Always make sure to test the first and second stage of 2-stage equipment and take the time to let the coil get completely wet when you are testing cooling capacity. Taking your time and letting the system run through all its stages will help you get the most accurate static pressure readings.

3) Test the Right Spots

Testing the external components of and HVAC system will often lead to inaccurate static pressure readings. The most important places to test a gas furnace are areas prior to the coil, areas built just after the coil, areas prior to the filter, and areas built directly after air leaves the filter. Having a conglomeration of readings from these key areas will help you correct any mistakes and have a clearer idea of what is going on with the static pressure.

4) Install Test Ports Correctly

Drilling test portholes should always be done with a drill bit sheath. If you don’t use a sheath, you could puncture a hole in a refrigerant line or cause a leak in the ductwork which will throw off your static pressure readings 100% of the time. Pushing the drill too hard can also cause problems. You should practice drilling test ports on sheet metal before you do the real thing and make sure you have the proper equipment on hand at all times.

5) Avoid Meter Problems

Remember that if you are using an analog manometer, you can’t simply hold it in your hand. It has to be leveled and zeroed out to give an accurate reading. This happens a lot when HVAC contractors forget that the methods used for testing with an analog manometer and a digital manometer are different. Holding a digital manometer in the hand is fine but you have to make sure that it is set to the right unit of measurement which can change when the batteries are switched out. Be sure your digital manometer is set to inches of water for the most accurate readings.

This may all seem like a lot to remember but impressing these points into your mind will save you much more time and hassle. For more information or to become a member, contact us here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance.

The Top 3 Air Duct Cleaning Tools of 2020

Air Duct Cleaning Tools Blog Cover

We are officially in the thick of 2020. It is a new year and as such, you may be looking to modernize some of your equipment if you are an HVAC serviceman or contractor. 2020 just has such a futuristic ring to it, doesn’t it? So if you are looking at your duct cleaning equipment and thinking you may need an upgrade to reflect this bold new year, today’s post will be of particular interest to you.

Air duct cleaning is one of those jobs that are extremely basic in concept, but in practice, it can be a whole other ballgame. If you are an HVAC contractor then you already know how different types of ductwork, residential HVAC systems, and commercial HVAC systems all present unique challenges. And if your equipment is old, outdated and missing parts, you could be putting in more work than you should be. 

And here at Plumbing, Heating & Air Alliance, we are all about making your jobs go smoothly. We provide a wealth of materials and resources to help you win more contracts, make lasting relationships with your customers, and to keep you in the know with the latest industry news. It is our job to make your HVAC contracting business more successful. As a member, you will also be listed in our directory of contractors that will put you in contact with industry leaders and potential customers. You can learn more about what we do right here

But in the meantime, let’s go over some benefits of air duct cleaning. Some of your customers may be a bit skeptical as to why they might need their air ducts cleaned on a regular basis so the following list will equip you with some answers you can give them.

Why is it Important to Have Your Air Ducts Cleaned?

The fact is that most industry professionals recommend having your air ducts cleaned every 2 to 5 years. Of course, depending on the frequency of use, how old the ductwork is, if there are any leaks in the ductwork and the local climate, some air ducts need more frequent cleaning. In any case, take a look at some ways you can answer the question of why it is important to have one’s air ducts cleaned.

Because it is Healthy

Numerous contaminants including mold, bacteria, and fungi can make their home in commercial and residential HVAC ductwork. When you have your heater or AC on, and to a lesser extent even when you don’t have anything running at all, these contaminants can pollute the indoor air you breathe. This could lead to a number of respiratory and allergic complications.

Because it Increases Efficiency 

If you aren’t getting even heating and cooling in your building, one of the reasons may be dirty ductwork. When you utilize ductwork cleaning equipment, it becomes clear and uninhibited by dust, dirt, and other debris, and your central unit won’t have to work as hard to heat or cool your home. This could lead to a longer life for your system and lower utility bills.

Because it is Sanitary

The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that in most cases, indoor air is up to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Furthermore, most people spend about 90% of their time indoors. Regular duct cleaning should be the starting point of any effort to improve indoor air quality and improve building sanitation.

Now that you know what to tell your clients when they ask this common question, it’s time to reassure them that you have the best tools for the job. So without further ado, let’s get into the best air duct cleaning tools of 2020.

Types of Air-Duct Cleansing Tools

Inspection Tools

In order to deliver quality HVAC maintenance service, you have to be able to thoroughly inspect a customer’s ductwork. This is where modern 2020 technology comes in handy. Your modern HVAC arsenal should include advanced camera inspection technology.

Milwaukee makes some of the best inspection equipment on the market like the M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless M-Spector. For the purists, this kit includes hook magnet and mirror attachments for manual inspections. But the real draw is the 320 x 240 pixel, 360-degree cameras which gives you clear, crisp images of hard to see ductwork. 4 LED lights flank the camera head so you can see everywhere it goes. The aluminum head was built for the rigors of the job site, and the extra beefy flexible cable will provide you with stable images no matter how deep the camera goes.

And if you want to keep things lean with your air duct cleaning tools, Rigid makes a really handy little inspection camera. The Micro CA25 Inspection Camera is a great handheld inspection camera unit with a built-in 2.4-inch color LCD so you can see everything very clearly. You get a 3-foot imaging cable and an aluminum camera head. This little device also features 4 LCD lights on the camera head and 180-degree digital rotation.

Hand Cleaning Tools

Next up, you will need a complement of hand-held tools that can help you get the actual cleaning done. Hand cleaning tools are necessary for stubborn debris that typically gets stuck the walls of the ductwork and can’t be cleared out by a vacuum. 

The Freeman High Flow Blow Gun Kit is a great option for when you need pneumatic gear to blast away tough debris. This is a pistol-grip style blowgun that is small but packs a mighty punch. It features a 7-inch hose extension for those spots that are hard to reach. You can also adjust the airflow easily from the trigger itself.

If you are looking for a more affordable hand cleaning tool, the Primefit Air Duster Blowgun Kit would be a great fit for you. This is a highly affordable, no-nonsense blow gun kit with 4 different tips to help you with different kinds of air duct cleaning projects. This is very easy to use, with a trigger-style grip and works reliably time after time.

Rotary Brush Kits

Rotary brush kits are ideal for the residential air duct cleaning process. They are not overpowered and therefore, you won’t have to spend too much on them. If most of your air duct cleaning work is for residential properties, you will want to invest in a good rotary brush kit.

The BrushBeast Air Duct Cleaning Machine offers HVAC technicians the easy portability needed for residential work but doesn’t lack anything in the way of power. The brush motor is capable of pumping out 450 RPMs at 120 and 220 volt AC. The whole unit weighs only 69 pounds too. It also features a HEPA filter that is capable of capturing contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size. You get a very generous hose length too with an additional hose attachment that adds 17 feet. The brush head is controlled via a cable that runs through the hose itself making it easy to clean all types of ductwork – even flexible ductwork.

The BrushBeast aiR+ Air Duct Cleaning Machine is an even lighter, more compact cleaning kit. At just 59 pounds, it is effortless to load on and off your truck as needed. The brush head spins at 450 RPMs, but it is gentle enough to not damage the most delicate ductwork materials. There is a dual HEPA filter, and the brush head spins as the vacuum hose sucks up everything the brush head is knocking off the ductwork.

Last but not least we have the Spinvax 1000 XT Professional Air Duct Cleaning Package. This is a heavy-duty duct vacuum that features amazingly intuitive self-adjusting brush heads. This kit includes brush heads for large, medium, and small ducts. You can clean metal, rectangular, circular, and even flexible ductwork easily with this kit. The brush heads are not actually mounted at the end of the hose. Instead, the cable and brush head is separate from the vacuum hose which can make it easier to get around corners and twists in ductwork and helps avoid vacuum hose clogs. 

Get the Job Done With High-Performance Tools

We hope you have found our list helpful. Our list of the top air duct cleaning tools feature products that will help you get the job done from start to finish. From the initial inspection to the finer aspects of quality air duct cleaning, these are the must-have air duct cleaning tools in 2020. 

Of course, personal preference will dictate which tools you use more but that’s why we included multiple products for each category of the tool. 

We hope that this list will keep you in the loop and help you administer your services effectively and efficiently. For more helpful guides, case studies, and resources for your HVAC contracting business get in touch with us here at Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance. We are here for you so contact us soon!