Meridian ID Heating Tip: How Heating Maintenance and Small Upgrades Can Save Energy

December 10th, 2012

Are you looking for ways to save energy and money on heating your Meridian ID area home this winter? Did you know that routine maintenance can actually save energy? Here are some ways that annual maintenance visits and small upgrades can help you cut back on energy use and your heating bills.

Contact Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for more tips or to schedule your yearly tune-up.

When one of our qualified technician tunes your system, the technician will test the efficiency levels of as part of this visit. The technician can also pinpoint areas in which you can improve your home. Weatherization doesn’t just involve sealing and insulating. Having adequate ventilation and airflow is also important in maintaining efficiency. This is why we recommend that you change or clean your air filters often during the winter.

In addition to routine maintenance, another small upgrade is switching out your old dial thermostat with a new digital programmable thermostat. The old dial thermostats are probably what most people are familiar with. They use mercury to measure the temperature, which is why you have to dispose of them in a way that is approved by your local waste facility.

It’s best to have a heating professional install any type of new thermostat since anyone who doesn’t have experience installing heating equipment could damage the equipment or undergo personal injury. A professional will also know how to dispose of the old thermostat. Never throw out a mercury thermostat without checking with the local codes first.

Saving energy can as easy as calling us for your next maintenance service. By lowering your heating bills, you are also reducing your impact on the environment. Feel free to call the Meridian ID heating experts at Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating & Cooling any time. Why wait to start saving energy and money? Call today!

Boise ID Heating Tips: Advantages of Radiant Heat and Other Upgrades

December 3rd, 2012

Are you thinking of upgrading to radiant heat or other ways to save energy this winter? The Boise ID heating experts at Wickstrom have helped customers in the area find home heating solutions for over twenty years.

Here are some important tips on ways to save energy when heating your home this winter.

Upgrading to Radiant Heat

If you are wondering about the advantages of radiant heat in your particular home, call a professional heating technician for advice. Keep in mind that installing radiant floors will require that the flooring will have to be removed. However, radiant floor piping can be installed with a variety of flooring materials. Not only is this a cleaner heat than forced air systems, but it is also a very efficient way to heat your home.

Upgrading your Windows and Doors

Before upgrading your current heating system, you may want to consider installing double-paned windows or storm doors. Adding insulation and making sure your home is properly sealed is another way to get your home ready for a new heating system. Get a home energy audit if you aren’t sure whether or not there are

Benefits of Ductless Systems

According to the EPA, leaky air ducts account for up to 35% of energy waste in a standard home. When you upgrade to any type of heating system that doesn’t use air ducts, whether it’s a ductless split heat pump or boiler system, you can save a lot of energy each year.

Call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating and Cooling and learn why more customers in the Boise ID area trust us to provide dependable heating and home energy services.

Meridian Heating FAQ: Do Brands Matter for Furnaces and Heat Pumps?

November 26th, 2012

Most people believe that certain brand name products are automatically better than other brands.  The belief often being that the best known brand name in any given manufacturing field has gotten its reputation for a reason. Here at Wickstrom, we’ve put together some things to consider as you pick out a new heating system for your Meridian area home.

Sometimes people believe the expression, you get what you pay for, and therefore the usually more expensive brand name products must automatically be better.  There are instances in which one brand is better than another, and times in which a more known brand name product does outperform lesser known ones.  What about for furnaces and heat pumps? Does the brand of these systems matter in terms of functionality and overall performance?

When you’re considering buying or upgrading your furnace or heat pump the brand of the manufacturer is not the most pressing issue, nor does the most expensive necessarily mean the best for you.  Before you think about upgrading or purchasing a furnace or heat pump it is best to know how they work in order that you know you’re buying a good, reliable, efficient system.  Most importantly, you want to make sure your purchasing a system that fits your space and fits your needs.

A heat pump is basically an air conditioner that can both heat and cool a house.  A heat pump works by extracting heat found in the air or ground outside of your house and then transfers that heat back into your house. A furnace works by burning natural gas, propane, or fuel oil, which warms the air and moves the heated air into each room via metal ductwork running through your walls and floors.

Depending on your lifestyle, the style of home you live in, or your geographic location, one system may suit your needs better, or may prove to be more efficient for your needs.  When you go to upgrade or purchase a heat pump or furnace, rather than thinking about brand, think about what your needs are.  If you are uncertain of which type of system is best for you, it is a good idea to consult a professional who can help you find the best heat pump or furnace.

At Wickstrom, our Meridian heating experts can help you find a heater based on what will serve you best. Contact Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating and Cooling today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22nd, 2012

From all of us here at Wickstrom Plumbing, we want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you are spending time with the people you care for most and taking this day to remember all the things that you are grateful for in your life.

We also want to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of our customers for your loyalty and the opportunity you have given us to provide you with service. As you know, we couldn’t do what we do without YOU!

Boise Plumbing Tip: How to Tell if Your Boiler Has a Leak

November 19th, 2012

Do you think the boiler in your home has a leak but you aren’t sure how to tell? Call the Boise plumbers at Wickstrom if you suspect a leak in your boiler. We can diagnose and resolve the issue as soon as we can get to your home, so call us as soon as you notice a problem.

Depending on how your boiler system is set up, there may be any number of ways to tell if you have a boiler leak. Water on the floor near the boiler tank is a common sign that the boiler is leaking, but there are other hidden signs. Sometimes if the leak is small, the heat of the boiler will evaporate the water before you notice it. You can also check to see if there’s any corrosion or water stains, or other issues that aren’t as obvious as a puddle of water.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you do find rusted parts anywhere on your boiler, you should call a plumber. Any deterioration due to corrosion will compromise the durability of the system and could turn a minor leak into a major hassle before you know it. If you see mineral buildup, don’t remove it on your own because it could be the only reason there’s not a larger leak. Rather than cleaning it to get a closer look, call a professional plumber as soon as you notice rust or mineral buildup on your boiler.

If the boiler has an internal link, one sign of this is a constantly running boiler. Hot water lines expand and contract more than cold water lines, putting added pressure on any weaknesses already in the pipe. That means hot water lines tend to break more often. If the hot water lines in your home run through places that aren’t as noticeable, a break in that line will cause the boiler and hot water heater to run constantly as it tries to replace the hot water lost through the leak. That could cause a sharp increase in your gas or electric bill.

Don’t hesitate to call the Boise plumbers at Wickstrom if you have any issues with your boiler or suspect a leak. Contact us today!

How to Tell if you have a Sewer Line Leak and What to do About It

November 12th, 2012

Sewer line leaks are a nightmare for homeowners in Boise. Not only are they expensive, but they are inconvenient as well. Your sewer line is responsible for disposing of all of the waste water from your home. It is a vital part of your home and should be repaired immediately. But the pipe is buried underground so how do you know if it is leaking. Unfortunately, without regular maintenance, the problem is only detectable after it has already caused damage to your property or home. If you suspect that the sewer pipe in your Boise home is clogged, call the experts at Wickstrom immediately. The cost of waiting is far greater than taking care of it early.

Soggy Ground

If you start to notice soggy spots on your property when it hasn’t rained, this could mean that the sewer line under your yard is leaking.

Unusual Bump

Depending on the composition of the dirt on your property it might not absorb the water from the leak. In some cases, it can actually expand and cause a bump in your yard. This is also what causes slab cracks.

Bad Odor

The sewer line carries waste water which means it has a very distinct odor. If you start to smell sewage on your property, it could be from your sewer line leaking.

What Causes Sewer Line Leaks?

One of the main causes for sewer line leaks is tree roots. As the roots search for water, they can slowly squeezing into your pipes through the joints. Over time, they can grow and eventually crack your pipes. Sewer leaks can also be caused by age or by corrosion in your pipes.

What to do About Sewer Line Leaks in Boise?

If you suspect that your sewer line is leaking, the first thing to do is call a plumber. At Wickstrom, our plumbers can perform video pipe inspection. This involves sticking a small camera on a line into your plumbing line to discover exactly where the leak is. Once we located the leak we can help you repair it quickly and for a competitive price.

If you suspect that your sewer line is leaking, call the experts at Wickstrom. We have years of experience offering comprehensive sewer line repair services in Boise. We would be happy to work with you to get your plumbing system back up and running.

Boise Plumbing Tip: What’s That Smell? Causes of Plumbing Odors

November 5th, 2012

There are few things that are less welcome in your home than plumbing odors. A well-functioning plumbing system is a necessary luxury for our modern lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that you want unpleasant smells reminding you that it is there. As with any plumbing problem locating the source of an unwanted plumbing odor can be difficult, making the diagnosing of the problem as aggravating as the problem itself. The truth is that there are a lot of different possible sources of your plumbing odor, and while some may have simple fixes you still may need the help of a professional Boise plumber to be sure. In other, more serious cases a professional plumber may be your only hope for banishing the plumbing odor from your home.

One of the more serious problems that you may be facing if you notice that eggy, sulfuric odor of natural gases is a broken pipe (or pipes). This is certainly one of those situations that requires the help of a trained professional plumber for resolution. If you suspect a gas leak of any sort on your property call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating and Cooling right away. You may need to have some of the pipes in your Boise home repaired, and the expert plumbers on our team have the skills and training necessary to get the job done right. Natural gas leaks can be very dangerous, so please call for help the moment you suspect one in your home.

Don’t automatically assume the worst if you begin to smell a sewer odor in your home, though. There are many other possible causes that a professional plumber can resolve simply and quickly. A dry drain trap, for instance, can cause quite a stink but is a very minor problem. A plumbing trap is a piece of piping beneath sinks that is designed to always hold a little bit of water. The purpose of this is to prevent these very odors we are discussing from emanating through pipes and plumbing fixtures. If the trap dries out for any reason you may begin to notice a sewer odor in your home. In this case a plumber simply needs to replace that one piece of piping.

A clogged vent pipe can also be the cause of your sewer odors. As water works its way down the pipes in your home gases are pushed up through vent pipes. If these pipes are clogged or blocked in any way you may wind up with an unpleasant odor. Again, this is a hard-to-detect but easily repaired problem. Simply call the expert plumbers at Wickstrom to have your home odor-free once more.

We hope this information has helped you understand the variety of causes that could be behind your plumbing odors. If an odor is present in your home, call Wickstrom today. We’ll have a plumber over in no time to fix the problem in your Boise home.

Boise Plumbing Tip: What Not to Do to Your Garbage Disposal

October 29th, 2012

The garbage disposal is a wonderful invention of modern plumbing. What would you do without one? You’d have a lot more sink clogs that’s for sure. We tend to think of our garbage disposals as rough-and-tumble food goblins that can grind up just about anything. But that may not be the case. The Boise plumbers at Wickstrom put together a list of some things that you shouldn’t do to your garbage disposal that may cause you to think differently about it.

Don’t Run the Garbage Disposal without Water

Many people think that your garbage disposal has a bunch of sharp, spinning blades. While the garbage disposal obviously does spin, its function is similar to the molars in your mouth. It grinds and pummels using blunt metal teeth instead of blades to cut. In order to properly mash up the food that goes into it, your garbage needs water to liquefy the food. So if your run your garbage disposal without water, the food will get pulverized, but it won’t actually go anywhere. It’ll just clog up the garbage disposal’s teeth.

Don’t Put Glass, Metal, Paper or Plastic Down the Garbage Disposal

This should be a no-brainer. The teeth in the garbage disposal and the power of its motor are definitely able to crush up most food items. But with other inorganic things, like metals, plastics and glass, it will cause serious problems with your garbage disposal. Paper is a little different because it is organic, its fibers can get wrapped up around the garbage disposal’s spinning teeth.

Don’t Put Grease Down Your Sink Drain

Some people don’t know about this one. Melted grease, once it cools in your drain, forms a barrier that can collect other food and cause clogs. If you’ve just cooked up a big pan of delicious bacon and don’t know what to do with the melted pork fat, a good option is to pour it into an empty glass container. Once it cools, just throw it away!

Rice and Pasta Shouldn’t Go In Your Garbage Disposal

Starches like rice, pasta and potato peels shouldn’t be put down your garbage disposal. Rice and pasta naturally expand when they interact with water. Once the rice and pasta are mashed up by your garbage disposal they can form a thick paste that expands in your pipes. The same is true for potato peels.

The general rule for garbage disposals is if you can’t chew it up with your teeth, you shouldn’t put it down the garbage disposal.

If you’re having problems with your garbage disposal at your home in Boise, call the plumbers at Wickstrom. We can help you clear the clog in your pipes or help you install a new garbage disposal. Call us today!

Meridian Heating Tip: Benefits of Radiant Heating

October 22nd, 2012

One of the most important things to consider when you’re investing in a new home heating system of any kind is making sure it’s the right type for your heating needs. This will ensure that your system will maintain steady, comfortable indoor temperatures and cost less to operate. If you are considering installing a radiant heating system in your home, call Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. Our Meridian heating experts can go over the various options with you and help you make an informed decision about what type of heating system is right for your home.

First, here are some of the main benefits of radiant heating. Keep in mind that radiant floor heating systems are different from systems that use hydronic baseboards, or electric panels inside walls and ceilings. With proper maintenance, a radiant floor heating system can keep your home warm more efficiently because it is designed to radiate the heat through pipes installed in the floors. As you can probably imagine, having warm floors on a cold winter morning is just one benefit of hydronic floor heating.

On top of that, the heat transfer is more efficient than other types of heating systems because radiant floor heating utilizes the natural convection of heat as it rises from the floors. It is also a cleaner heat than forced air systems, and we can retrofit a current boiler system to heat the water flowing through the pipes in the floors. Radiant floors are more practical for new home constructions due to the hassle of ripping up flooring; however, it can be done if the contractor is qualified for this type of work.

While initial installation may require remodeling for upgrades, you will see the cost benefit in the long run due to lower energy bills. They can be installed under all types of flooring, and we can help you out with everything from installation to routine maintenance and repairs.

Call Wicktrom Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for all your Meridian radiant heating needs!

Meridian Geothermal Installation Tip: What to Expect During Excavation Service

October 15th, 2012

At Wickstrom, we understand that homeowners will be concerned about the yard and property when preparing for a geothermal excavation. The effect on your yard will depend on the type of installation—whether you are installing vertical or horizontal loops. If you are preparing for a geothermal installation, you can trust that the Meridian geothermal engineers at Wickstrom will do everything we can to minimize damage to your property.

Here are a few things to expect when we install a vertical or horizontal loop field for your new geothermal heat pump system.

Vertical Loop Installation

With vertical loop installations, some damage is unavoidable due to the drilling process. Keep in mind that heavy equipment will be used, and will be on your property during this process. Depending on the weather and ground conditions, there may be large tire tracks left behind, but the contractor should keep these to a minimum. Once the drilling rigs begin to bore holes in the surface, the soil removed will move to the surface, and if the conditions are wet, there can be a lot of mud caused by run-off. If you know that there’s a lot of groundwater beneath the drilling location, keep in mind that there could be a lot of water in your yard. In our effort to minimize damage, we also have access to special equipment that can help with this goal.

Horizontal Loop Installation

Perhaps the loop field installation that will cause the most potential damage to your property is a horizontal loop configuration. While the use of a backhoe is cheaper than drilling, the installation will require the digging of trenches that are approximately one hundred feet in length. It can be helpful for to the engineers to know which area s of the yard that the homeowner is most concerned about. You will also be included in the decision of which type of loop field will be installed, although it may come down to whether or not there’s enough yard space.

As a Meridian geothermal professional contractor, we specialize in geothermal drilling and installation. Our experts are trained to know the most practical location for the installation area, as well as the techniques that will cause the least amount of damage. Keep in mind that even with the inevitable digging and damage to the yard, it is only temporary, and with time, your yard will return to its natural state.

Contact Wickstrom Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for quality geothermal heating and cooling services throughout the entire Meridian area.