Frequently Asked Questions
Air Conditioning F.A.Q
Q. Why does my A/C smell the first day I turn it on in the spring?
A. During the winter the evaporator coil is inactive so some dirt accumulates on it. When the cooling is turned on for the first time and condensation starts to run down the coil a musty smell will occur until the dust and dirt has been rinsed off through normal operation. To prevent this, the system probably needs a better filtering system.
Q. Why is my house so dusty?
A. Your A/C system has a lot to do with this because it is constantly circulating air through the house. If the filter for your A/C system is not properly installed, dirt and dust can be bypassing the filter. Also a very low efficiency filter will cause the dirt and dust to go right through the filter.
Q. How can I reduce my electric bill without changing out my A/C system?
A. CPS has an energy audit that will let you know various ways to reduce your electric bill which includes adding insulation in the attic or walls, insulating the water heater, caulking around the doors or windows and using more efficient lighting. However your A/C system has the highest power usage of all appliances in your home so keeping the system serviced and clean will save the most on your electric bill.
Q. How do I run out of Freon?
A. You should never have to add refrigerant (Freon) to your A/C system. The refrigerant runs through copper lines all soldered together. If the system does become low or run completely out this means you have a leak in your system. A special leak detector is used to locate the leak. Usually the leak can be repaired by soldering it closed but sometimes it requires replacement of the part that has the leak.
Q. Why are different rooms warmer/cooler in my house?
A. This condition is usually caused by a poor ductwork design. Ductwork that is in poor condition or someone has added excessive heat-producing appliances to a room. Also the A/C system could be in need of a tune-up by a professional service technician.
Q. Why do my lights flicker when my system comes on?
A. The A/C unit pulls the most power during start up and this can cause the lights to flicker. It should only be for a split second, if the lights are dimming or you notice the condition is getting worse there may be an electrical problem with the unit.
Q. The air in my house is humid-why?
A. The A/C system controls the humidity in the house. If the A/C system has not been properly maintained or is in need of repair, the humidity in the home can be at an uncomfortable level. Also if the system is too big, it will cool the home down too quickly and turn off not allowing the unit to run long enough to remove the humidity.
Q. Why does my A/C unit ice over?
A. There are three reasons why the A/C unit will ice over. There is a restriction in the refrigerant line. The system is low on refrigerant. And/or there is a lack of air across the evaporator coil. The lack of air across the evaporator coil is caused by a dirty filter, a filter that is too restrictive, a dirty coil, a dirty blower wheel, incorrect blower motor and/or wheel, the inside unit is not matched properly to the outside unit, ductwork is not sized properly, too many supply registers are closed, the return are inlet is too small or restricted or the ductwork is restricted inside by a damper or ducting material that has come apart.
Q. Why does it seem like the temp on my thermostat isn't consistent?
A. Some thermostats can lose their calibration which can cause a big swing in the temperature reading. The thermostat is improperly located in the house. If air from a supply outlet is blowing on the thermostat, this will cause the temperature on the thermostat to drop quickly giving a false reading of the actual room temperature.
Q. What can cause tapping on my outside unit?
A. Something has fallen into the fan blade. Or the fan motor bearings are loose causing the fan blade to come in contact with the fan shroud. Orr the contactor is chattering, which is a sign of a control voltage problem.
Q. Why does my A/C stem overflow?
A. The drain line or drain pan gets clogged up. This is caused by dirt that has accumulated on the evaporator coil and has washed down into the drain pan and drain line. Also if water is sitting in the pan or drain line and does not drain out completely it can cause algae to grow causing the system to overflow. If the system pulls air through the evaporator coil the drain line must have a P-Trap installed in it, this prevents the blower from pulling air up through the drain line causing a negative pressure on the line which will allow the condensation to drain.
Q. What is an electrostatic filter?
A. As air passes through the filter it causes an electrostatic charge causing dirt and dust to cling to it. Most manufactures do not recommend these to be installed in their A/C units because air restriction is too high.
Q. Do UV lights work? What is a UV light?
A. UV lights work to purify the air in the home and help fight mold growth. When placed before the evaporator coil, it will change the molecular structure of the dirt and dust causing the coil to stay clean. A UV light is an air purifying system that greatly improves indoor air quality.
Q. I have allergies, what filter system do you recommend?
A. I would recommend a combination of an electronic air cleaner with UV lights in the return air and in the supply air right before the evaporator coil.
Q. What is the benefit of a programmable thermostat?
A. During the cooling or heating season you can program a higher or lower temperature when no one is home causing the unit to run less often and save energy.
Q. What is the Plumbing Code?
A. The plumbing code controls the design and installation of plumbing systems, including sanitary and storm sewers within the building, sanitary waste and vent piping, water supply piping, and potable water heating appliances.
Q. When is a Plumbing Permit required?
A. A plumbing permit is required prior to beginning any plumbing work with the exception of the following. Repairs that only involve the working parts of a faucet or valve, clearance of stoppages, the repair or replacement of defective faucets or valves, provided that alterations are not made in the existing piping or fixtures. Chilled water piping for refrigeration, process and comfort cooling, hot water piping for space heating, and water piping for fire suppression systems are not considered plumbing. However, an approved backflow preventer, installed and certified by a licensed plumber, is required at the connection to the potable water supply.
Q. Must I be a licensed plumber to obtain a plumbing permit?
A. A homeowner may obtain a plumbing permit for work to be done by them in their own home. The homeowner must file a homeowner’s affidavit with the application for a plumbing permit. Homeowner’s privileges extend to single family residences only and do not apply to any residence or structure from which a monetary gain (i.e. rent) is being received or is intended to be received or which is being used for commercial purposes. Permits for any work done in a commercial, multi-family residential, industrial, or other structure must be obtained by an authorized licensed master plumber.
Q. How can I be sure the plumber I hired is licensed?
A. Ask the plumber to see his/her license or for his/her license number. Any reputable plumber will be glad to give you this information. You can then check the license by calling the Plumbing Division of the Bureau of Construction Codes at (517) 241-9330. You may inquire if the license is current and if any complaints are pending.Back to top
Water Heater F.A.Q
Q. Why does my water heater make rustling noises?
A. This is caused by calcium and mineral deposits in tank that reach high temperatures and pop.
Q. Why does "WILL" FIX iT hard pipe water heaters instead of using flex connectors?
A. Flex connectors have the tendency to leak after installation. By hard piping your water heater, all joints are either threaded or soldered with very little chance of leaks appearing later.
Q. How often should I flush my water heater?
A. Some manufacturers suggest every month - while others say every 6 months. We suggest 2 times a year.
Q. How often should the Temperature & Safety Valve be checked?
A. Manufacturers suggest check once a year & replaced every 3 years.
Water Softener F.A.Q
Q. Can I buy a salt free softener?
A. Yes, you can use potassium chloride.
Q. Why do I need a softener?
A. To filter out calcium and minerals, this protects your plumbing and home from premature repairs.
Q. Why do I have Lime build up on my shower doors and mirrors?
A. This is a good sign you need a water softener because the lime build up indicates you have hard water.