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Common Terms to Help You Better Understand Your Heating System

Homeowners in Louisville, Kentucky want to understand their heating systems more. To best do this, many research common heating terms. These heating terms allow homeowners to better understand their heating systems on the whole. When homeowners know what each element means, they are able to piece together how the entire heating process works.

Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling wants homeowners to feel confident in their HVAC knowledge. We list the most common heating terms out there to help homeowners learn the lingo. When searching through HVAC websites for new products or for repairs, it’s hard to sift through the information if you don’t know what half the terms mean. With this list, homeowners no longer have that problem.

Common Heating Terms for Homeowners in Louisville

Many homeowners face confusion when they look up heating products online. Every manufacturer uses the same language, but what does it all mean? If homeowners struggle with heating terms on one website, they have trouble on all of them. For this reason, Jarboe’s has this collection of terminology for homeowners in Louisville to reference when they need it.

We cover a wide variety of terms. Most heating terms fit into categories, so the definitions are in separate groups to make things easier to understand.

Heating Terms: Components and Appliances

The most important selection of terminology relates to heating systems themselves. These heating terms all relate to either components in heating units, or the units themselves.

  • Blower motor. The blower motor turns on the fans in the furnace to circulate the hot air into the home.
  • Burner. Burners create the heat furnaces and other heating devices use to warm homes. They do this through the combustion of air and gas.
  • Burner orifice. This is where the burner receives the gas or fuel it uses to create the heat.
  • Capacity. In HVAC terminology, capacity refers to the output any given heating unit produces.
  • Damper. Dampers are located in the duct work. These are sheet metal plates at the junction points in the ducts. They open and close to control air flow in certain areas.
  • Dehumidifier. Many know what dehumidifiers do for their home. In short, they remove moisture from the air to improve air quality. While there are portable dehumidifiers, some integrate into the heating system to provide whole home dehumidification.
  • Diffuser. Diffusers cover air supply ducts to control the distribution of air in calculated patterns or directions. For example, if you want the air in your home to flow from the front of the house to the back, a diffuser uses vanes to lead the air in the proper direction.
  • Duct work. As one of the most common heating terms, homeowners likely know this one already. Duct work refers to the system of ducts that allows air to flow through the home. The air exits from vents attached to the ducts.
  • Fan. Heating terms like these need little explanation. Fans blow the warm air through the ducts and out of the vents to heat the home.
  • Filter. Filters remove tiny particles from the air to improve the air quality. Some devices use multiple filters while others use one. Homeowners change filters on their own—frequency depends on the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Flue. A flue is a component in furnaces. It removes combustion byproducts and makes sure they don’t enter the home. The byproducts are dangerous to the homeowner’s health, so it’s important to make sure the flue works properly.
  • Furnace. Furnaces use either electricity, propane, natural gas, or oil to heat homes. After heat creation takes place, it circulates through the home via fans, ducts, and vents. Out of all the heating terms, this one is the most obvious.
  • Heat exchanger. Heat exchangers are arguably the most important part of the furnace. Heat exchangers allow heat to transfer to the air. Without this component, the air never receives heat and doesn’t warm the home. Instead, cold air circulates.
  • Heating coil. These components are heat sources for the system which allow heat to be added to air.
  • Heat pump. This is another heating term most homeowners know. Heat pumps both heat and cool spaces via heat transfer. For example, in the winter heat pumps take the heat from outside and moves it through the home. In the summer, the opposite takes place.
  • Humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture back into the air. These are useful in the winter because the air is often drier and causes dry skin, nose bleeds, and other minor issues.
  • Ignition. Furnaces sometimes use electronic ignition to replace traditional pilot lights. These are the norm in new units. Rather than the flame on a pilot light, the electronic ignition uses an electrical current to start the furnace.
  • Packaged unit. This is a combined heating and cooling system in one outdoor unit.
  • Pilot light. As with the ignition, pilot lights start the furnace. However, pilot lights are not used as frequently in new systems. Hardly any new systems use a pilot light because they are not as safe to use as electronic ignition. These use natural gas or propane to create a small flame, but any leaks lead to explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Split system. Split systems are the combination of outdoor and indoor units. These are often more efficient and customizable than packaged units.
  • Thermostat. Thermostats allow homeowners to control the temperature in their homes. Types of thermostats vary, but most are programmable nowadays. This allows homeowners to set the temperatures they want in advance so they don’t have to manually change the temperature. Many now include temperature sensors to let the system know when to turn on and off.
  • Upflow furnace. An upflow furnace uses air from the bottom of the unit, and blows it out of the top. These units work best in basements and crawlspaces.
  • Vents. Vents allow the air from the furnace to enter the home. They attach to the ducts and are the last stop in the heating process.

Why Is Your Water Heater Leaking?

Water heater leaks are stressful in any circumstance, but even more so when you don’t know the cause. Homeowners in Louisville, Kentucky often don’t know where to look when their water heaters leak, which makes repairs all the more difficult. Further, leaks stress homeowners because they sometimes indicate a replacement is necessary. Replacements are expensive, and homeowners want to ensure the problem actually necessitates a replacement before they make the investment.

Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling offers homeowners advice about how to identify the cause of the leak. Leaks are easy to diagnose when you know where to look. Though most repairs and replacements require a plumber, it’s good to know the location of the leak to point the pros in the right direction.

Causes of Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks occur for a multitude of reasons. Practically every component of the system has the potential to leak. However, some are easier to fix than others. Occasionally, the problem is simply a loose component. Other times, the whole tank requires attention. In every circumstance, it’s best for homeowners to contact a plumber to properly diagnose the issue.

These are the most common causes of water heater leaks in Louisville homes.

  • Drain valve. Drain valves allow water to leave the tank for maintenance checks or replacements. Homeowners also use this to empty the tank to clean away sediment. When the drain valve is loose, water slowly leaks out—an easy fix with a wrench. Alternatively, leaks from the base of the valve mean the valve isn’t watertight, which requires a new drain valve. Homeowners and plumbers are both able to perform this task.
  • Too much pressure. Pressure naturally occurs in water heaters because the tank deals with incredibly hot water. Hot water creates steam, which adds to the pressure in the tank. If too much pressure exists in the tank, the water leaks through cracks, loose parts, and more. If the water temperature is set too high, the pressure increases. Additionally, if the water from the water supply enters the system at a high pressure, the tank experiences leaks.

Is a Battery Backup Sump Pump Worth it?

Louisville homes with basements and crawlspaces need sump pumps to move water away from the foundation and prevent water damage. Unfortunately, when the home’s main sump pump fails, the home is left without protection and expensive water damage is a potential result. Battery backup sump pumps help residents protect their homes and valuables in the event of sump pump failure.

Flooding is an issue for many homes throughout the Louisville area – even if the home is not in a flood plain, groundwater levels are able to cause flooding in basements or crawlspaces. Learn about the function of sump pumps and battery backup sump pumps, and why these systems are so important.

The Purpose of a Sump Pump

Heavy rains and large volumes of snow melting saturate the ground with excess moisture. This water seeps into crawlspaces and basements through cracks in the foundation. Unchecked, flooding occurs as well as significant water damage.

Sump pumps are used to manage this groundwater infiltration and safely move excess water away from the home. A sump pit is dug at the lowest point of the home to collect incoming water. The sump pump sits within this pit, and pumps out water when accumulation reaches a certain level.

Sump pumps are either manual or automatic, and both run off a home’s electrical power. Manual sump pumps must be turned on and off by the user, whereas automatic sump pumps detect water level in the sump pit and automatically activate when levels are too high. Most homeowners choose an automatic sump pump, as rising water levels are difficult to detect and the manual sump pump may not be able to be turned on in time to prevent flooding.

What Should You Do if Your HVAC System Isn’t Pumping Out Heat for Your Home?

No heat is cause for concern for Louisville homeowners, and many worry the issue is caused by a complicated malfunction. Sometimes that’s the case, but other times, a simple error is to blame. When you know how to troubleshoot a no heat issue, heating is often able to be restored without a service call.

The NATE-certified technicians of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling share our No Heat Checklist and the steps to take to troubleshoot your furnace, heat pump, or boiler. If you have no heat, try these tips before you give us a call for heating repair.

The No Heat Checklist

Simple errors have the power to stand in the way of comfort at home. When you have no heat, your first thought is typically to call for heating repair, but there are many troubleshooting steps you are able to perform to restore heat on your own.

We recommend our Louisville homeowners run through the No Heat Checklist before they call. Sometimes, it’s just a minor issue that leaves you without heat. These issues are easily resolved, and troubleshooting them yourself saves you the expense and the wait of a service call. Try the No Heat Checklist first, and if you still have no heat, then give us a call.

Thermostat Troubleshooting

When your home has no heat, the place to start troubleshooting is at your thermostat. The brains of the operation, your thermostat communicates with your heating system and tells it your home is ready for a heating cycle. A no heat issue isn’t always caused by your heating equipment – thermostat malfunctions and settings errors are common causes.

Here’s How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing During Cold Kentucky Months

During the winter months, your Louisville home’s plumbing system requires some extra care to prevent freezing pipes. Take measures beforehand to protect your plumbing, and take action during periods of cold weather to help prevent freezing pipes.

The licensed Louisville plumbers of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling share our tips to keep your pipes safe and reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes this winter. We share home improvement tips and steps to take during cold spells to help prevent freezing pipes, as well as educate homeowners on the warning signs of a pipe freeze and what to do if this happens.

Problems Caused by Frozen Pipes

The main issues caused by frozen pipes are damage to your plumbing system, as well as leaks which have the potential to lead to significant water damage in the home. When pipes freeze, pressure stresses the pipe material, which leads to damage that causes leaks.

As water freezes, it expands, which adds pressure against the pipe material. A blockage of ice also prevents water from flowing through the pipe, so pressure mounts behind the blockage which also harms the pipe. Frozen pipes cause minor damage and leaks, as well as pipe bursts which result in severe leaks and water damage in homes.

Make Improvements to Prevent Freezing Pipes

To prevent freezing pipes in your home, start with some maintenance and home improvement steps that protect your plumbing against cold temperatures. The tasks below help keep your plumbing pipes free of freezing within and the damage that results.

The Best Heating System Troubleshooting Tips for Louisville Homeowners

The holiday season is full of great surprises, but one you definitely don’t want on your list is a heating system malfunction! Heating system problems quickly erase the good cheer you were feeling and create a sense of worry – not to mention the discomfort they lead to. Luckily, if you know the heating system troubleshooting basics, it is possible to quickly restore furnace or heat pump performance and reboot your comfort and joy!

Sometimes, it’s just a minor system issue that stands between you and a comfortable home. Heating system troubleshooting allows Louisville area homeowners to resolve minor errors in a matter of minutes. If heating system troubleshooting restores furnace or heat pump function and performance, you avoid an extra holiday expense and are able to skip the service call.

Before you call Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for furnace or heat pump repair, try our heating system troubleshooting tips. Once troubleshooting is complete, if your heating system problems persist, contact us to schedule heating repair. Our NATE-certified technicians are available around the clock to correct heating system malfunctions and return your home to a safe and cozy temperature, even over the holidays!

Issues That Call for Heating System Troubleshooting

This holiday season, if your furnace or heat pump gives you problems, try some simple heating system troubleshooting prior to a service call. Simple system issues are often resolved with a little homeowner know-how – our NATE-certified HVAC technicians outline the steps you need to take based on the heating problems found in your home.

Rooms Don’t Get Warm Enough

Does your heating equipment run, yet your living areas never seem to achieve the level of warmth you desire? Sometimes, this issue stems from restricted air movement throughout your heating equipment and home. Some easy heating system troubleshooting steps help you address airflow issues and correct blockages that keep your home from reaching the proper temperature.

System Needs a New Air Filter

When the air filter in your furnace or air handler becomes clogged with contaminants, it restricts air movement through the equipment and into your home. This issue makes it so your living areas do not receive adequate heating, which causes discomfort among occupants.

This is Why You Need to Change Your Furnace Filter

As a Louisville homeowner, one of the most important things you should do is changing furnace filters throughout the year. Unfortunately, too many of us forget or skip this important job, which causes problems with HVAC equipment along with home comfort.

To drive home how important changing furnace filters is, our NATE-certified technicians share the many issues that are caused by dirty filters. We also explain how often to change your filter based on various factors that apply to your household.

Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling cares about your comfort, and your comfort systems. From maintenance to help you avoid issues to quick repairs that undo damage, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule heating service in your Louisville home.

What Is a Furnace Filter’s Job?

Furnace filters are designed to capture dust, dirt, debris, and more that travel throughout our homes via the indoor air supply. Many people mistakenly believe a furnace filter does this job primarily to improve indoor air quality.

In fact, the main purpose of the furnace filter is to keep all those things out of your HVAC system – cleaner air is more of a bonus! Depending on the filter you use at home, it can have a great impact on air quality, but either way it primarily serves as a safeguard for your equipment.

When Changing Furnace Filters Is Necessary

How often changing furnace filters needs to be done in your home is probably different from your neighbor’s filter changing schedule. This is because there are several different types of filters and several different factors that make it so a filter may need a change sooner or later. Just take a look at the filter section of your local home improvement store and you’ll see what a wide selection of replacement filters there are on the market. The differences each of these filters carry impacts how often you must change them.

Changing furnace filters needs to take place anywhere from once per month to once per year – sounds like a pretty wide range, doesn’t it? Thankfully, you don’t have to guess when it’s time to replace your furnace filter. A good place to start is by checking the product information that was in the packaging when you purchased your new replacement filter. The manufacturer states how frequently your filter usually needs to be changed.

While different from one home to the next, in general changing furnace filters should happen on this schedule:

  • Replace 1- to 2-inch filters every 1 to 3 months
  • Replace 3- to 4-inch filters every 6 to 9 months
  • Replace 5- to 6-inch filters every 9 to 12 months

Here’s How You Can Figure Out Why You Have Low Water Pressure

When water pressure is low in your Louisville home, it becomes difficult to get things done comfortably, from bathing to chores. Whether low water pressure starts suddenly or develops over time, numerous plumbing issues could be to blame.

Thankfully, with a good plumber on your team, low water pressure is easily solved! The licensed Louisville plumbers of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling share the causes of low water pressure, how to troubleshoot them, and when to call us for help. If you need plumbing repairs to restore proper water pressure in your home, contact us today.

The Purpose of Water Pressure

The water coming into your home is pressurized to allow it to travel from the source, to your home, and through your plumbing lines. Louisville homes connected to a municipal water source receive water that is pressurized, often by a water tower that takes advantage of its altitude to move water. For homes with private wells, you also have a pressure tank – water is pumped from the well to the pressure tank, then placed under pressure to move throughout your plumbing system.

Residential water pressure levels are ideal at 45 to 55 psi (pounds per square inch), though it’s not unusual for home water pressure to go up to 80 psi. It varies based on the amount of water demanded across the entire municipality at any given time, how far your house is from the source, and other factors.

If your home’s water pressure dips down to 40 psi, low water pressure becomes an issue. You definitely start to experience the issues that low water pressure causes when it drops to 30 psi and below. When water pressure is low, it feels like less water comes from your taps, making it difficult to shower and complete household chores. On the other hand, it’s not good if water pressure reaches too high, as this stresses your plumbing and causes leaks as well as damage.

Here’s How to Figure Out Why Your Toilet Keeps Clogging

When your Louisville toilet keeps clogging, you need to know what’s behind this common issue to prevent it ongoing. If your toilet keeps clogging, likely causes include the fixture itself, your plumbing system, and what you send down the drain. There are certain issues that are correctable on your own, though others require the help of a skilled plumber.

The Louisville plumbers of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling share why your toilet keeps clogging and the steps to take to prevent this issue in the future.

Reasons Why a Toilet Keeps Clogging

Continuous toilet clogs are a problem no Louisville area homeowner wants to deal with, time and time again. Some sources of this issue have to do with how you use your toilet. Others concern the fixture or your plumbing system. Learn the common causes why a toilet keeps clogging and how to stop recurring toilet clogs below.

Common causes of a toilet that keeps clogging include:

  • Too much TP
  • Flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed
  • Older toilet models
  • Toilet trap clogs
  • Toilet vent blockages
  • Sewer line clogs

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Smart home plumbing technology has a lot to offer Louisville homeowners. As other household systems become connected and easily accessible, more homeowners have chosen to make upgrades to their plumbing system to utilize smart products and reap the advantages these systems have for household protection, water conservation, and daily convenience.

The licensed Louisville plumbers of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling share some of the smart home plumbing products available for use with your plumbing system. With these fixtures and systems integrated into your smart home, gain a level of protection and convenience that was never before possible. Learn more about smart home plumbing solutions and how they integrate with your home’s plumbing system and fixtures when you call Jarboe’s today!

Protect Against Water Damage

Water damage poses a major threat to Louisville homes. It’s quite common, as one in fifty homeowners in the U.S. files a water damage claim each year against their homeowners insurance policies. The average claim amounts to about $10,000 in damages. Leaks in the average home waste around 10,000 gallons of water each year.

Water damage claims have increased steadily over the last five years, as more homeowners experience water damage due to plumbing leaks and other causes. Smart home plumbing technology provides means to protect homes against water leaks and the damage they inflict on Louisville residences.

For superior leak detection and water damage protection, smart home plumbing systems use a combination of smart components to find leaks fast and stop them right away:

  • Leak detection sensors
  • Automatic shutoff valves
  • Water monitoring systems

Leak Detection Sensors

Leak detection sensors (also labeled as water sensors) are installed in high-risk areas of the home to detect the presence of water outside the plumbing system and water-consuming appliances:

  • Leak sensors in laundry rooms detect water leaks caused by ruptured washing machine hoses and machine overflows
  • When installed in utility closets, leak sensors alert if a water heater failure causes a major water leak
  • For basements, leak sensors tell homeowners when the basement begins to flood, due to failed sump pumps or other issues

As part of a smart home plumbing system, leak sensors are Wi-Fi enabled and send an alert to the system when water is detected in the area. Typically, they are linked to an automatic shutoff valve that will cut the home’s water supply to prevent major water leakage through the detected leak.

Automatic Shutoff Valves

The home’s water main is controlled by a shutoff valve, which when turned off prevents water from flowing into and through the home’s plumbing lines. The issue with manual shutoff valves is that someone has to be home to hear the leak sensor’s alarm and physically close the shutoff valve to prevent water leakage – if the house is empty, large volumes of water can spill out into the home before anyone notices.

Automatic shutoff valves as part of a smart home plumbing system receive the leak detection alert from the leak sensor via the wireless connection. Upon receipt of this signal, the shutoff valve closes off waterflow into the home to prevent water from leaking out.

Water Monitoring Systems

Smart home plumbing often includes water monitoring systems for comprehensive leak protection in the home. Paired with leak sensors and an automatic shutoff valve, a home’s water monitoring system detects leaks on all fronts by watching water activity in the home 24/7.

A home water monitoring system constantly reads the flow rate, temperature, and pressure of water moving into the home and through its plumbing lines. It senses normal changes, such as when taps and appliances are used, as well as abnormal changes that could indicate a leak. The system notes the change, and homeowners can view this activity via the system’s app, as it may indicate the need for plumbing repairs. However, if the abnormality is severe, the water monitoring system immediately triggers the automatic shutoff valve to stop waterflow through a potential leak.

Leak detection and mitigation are great benefits of water monitoring systems, but they also play a role in conservation. The data collected by the system can be reviewed through the app, so homeowners are able to assess household water usage and make goals to save more water through changes in habits and activities.

Since water damage is so costly, homeowners insurance companies like to see the presence of water monitoring systems in the homes they insure. If you install a water monitoring system, your homeowners insurance company may provide you with a discount on your policy premiums because of the enhanced protection in your home.

Boost Water Conservation & Convenience with Smart Home Plumbing

In addition to effective leak detection and mitigation, smart home plumbing technology helps Louisville homeowners enhance daily convenience and boost water conservation efforts. These systems collect data and record household water usage, with information accessible through the app portal for review. Self-analysis helps homeowners identify many areas where water use could be reduced for savings, though the technology featured in many systems does this analysis for you, pointing out conservation ideas that can easily be put into play throughout your home.

Smart Faucets for Kitchens & Bathrooms

Smart faucets for showers and sinks are a relatively new technology that allows further connectivity with the home’s plumbing system. These products typically integrate with a home’s smart home hub, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, for simplified control. Voice commands can be used to turn taps on and off without a touch. Tell your taps to deliver a certain volume of water, at the right temperature, and turn off when finished.

With shower systems that are built with smart home plumbing technology, Louisville homeowners are able to improve their showering experience. Turn on the shower at the perfect temperature when you’re ready to step in, adjust temperature and flow rate, even set timers to eliminate long, wasteful showers.

These smart home plumbing taps also track water usage. The data collected helps homeowners closely analyze their water consumption habits and identify areas where changes will create the most benefit in terms of water conservation and cost savings.

Smart Water Heaters

Water heaters are a major consumer of energy in the home, behind only heating and cooling systems. With about 18 percent of an average home’s energy use going to water heating, improvements in efficient usage have a noticeable impact on energy cost and consumption.

Water heaters and water heater controls deliver smart home plumbing solutions for new and existing hot water systems. The smart home plumbing technology connects homeowners with their water heating equipment for effective management of water heater operations.

  • Adjust temperatures via smartphone app, pause operation for vacations and other periods of vacancy.
  • Monitor hot water consumption and see how much is left in the take for use at any given time.
  • Check water usage data to determine where more savings may be realized.
  • Prevent leaks with integrated leak detection technology.
  • Keep an eye on component condition so you always know when replacement is necessary.
  • Onboard diagnostics assist your plumber when repairs are required.

Smart Sprinklers

With spring in full swing, pretty soon lawn watering will make its way back onto daily to-do lists. With smart home plumbing solutions for sprinkler systems, this household chore has never been easier. If you are someone who values a lush lawn, smart home plumbing sprinkler systems are a must – use smart controllers for your existing equipment or install a new smart sprinkler system to service your property.

Features vary between systems, but some of the features users enjoy from smart sprinkler systems include:

  • Create watering schedules and adjust operation remotely.
  • Create different watering profiles based on terrain, plant type, sunlight exposure, and other qualities present throughout your property so each area receives adequate watering.
  • Pause settings when water use restrictions are in place without disrupting schedules for the future.
  • Wi-Fi weather monitoring alerts the system to rain, so sprinklers are turned off and water waste is eliminated.
  • The system collects data regarding evaporation rates and other lawn qualities, and automatically adjusts watering settings based on seasonal changes.
  • Use less water with a smart sprinkler system and save on your monthly water bills.
  • Most smart home plumbing technology for sprinkler systems is Watersense Installing such a system may help you receive discounts or rebates from your water utility provider.

Smarten Up Your Plumbing System with Jarboe’s Help

As you can see, smart home plumbing products offer unmatched benefits when it comes to home protection, water conservation, and daily conveniences. While not as popular or well-known as other smart technologies for home systems, such as smart thermostats, smart home plumbing solutions are a valuable addition to any Louisville home.

Jarboe’s licensed plumbers help Louisville homeowners install these products and integrate them with existing smart home hubs for quick and easy use. Learn more about smart home plumbing solutions – call Jarboe’s today!

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