3 Things to Know About Cast Iron Pipes

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Cast Iron Pipes

A myth persists in some homeownership and plumbing circles that cast iron is old technology that everyone needs to replace. In fact, cast iron is still a viable plumbing option, and many old homes have cast iron pipes with no issues. Instead of assuming cast iron is a bad choice for a Floydada, Texas, home, you might be surprised to find it has its advantages in the modern world.

Old Homes Often Have Cast Iron

Most old homes have cast iron pipes. If you have never had the plumbing in your home replaced, and the previous owner didn’t either, chances are you’ve got cast iron. Though some people think cast iron is outdated and needs to be replaced with PVC, that’s not necessarily the case. Cast iron pipes fare pretty well if they don’t rust on the inside. If your old home is experiencing no plumbing issues, then you can leave that cast iron right where it is.

Cast Iron Is Quieter

If you’re sensitive to noise, then cast iron pipes are your best friend. PVC pipes do next to nothing to dampen the sound of running water throughout your house. Cast iron, on the other hand, is great for deadening noise. Lots of people don’t mention this aspect of cast iron, especially if they’re singing the praises of PVC.

Cast Iron Can Rust

Within cast iron pipes, the galvanization wears away after a few decades. That makes a rougher interior that can rust or catch materials that create clogs. Though this is a problem with cast iron pipes, it doesn’t mean all cast iron pipes are doomed to clog. This problem is more likely to happen with old cast iron, and the newer products are far superior.

If you need your cast iron pipes checked out, unclogged, or replaced, BTAC is your plumbing resource. Call us for your residential plumbing services at 806-589-1014.

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Why Do My Pipes Clog Easily?

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Why Pipes Clog

Feel like your drains are always backing up? You could be unintentionally causing clogs that give you plumbing frustration in your Lubbock, Texas, home. Assess your behavior and give us a call to resolve your plumbing issues.

You Have Long Hair

People with long hair are notorious for clogging up plumbing. Even a few long hairs can create a snarl that gets caught in pipes, and catches everything that tries to go down after it. If the clog is close to the drain opening, you can get a short snake and try to get it out yourself. If it’s further down, you won’t be able to fix it on your own and will need to call us. Once the clog is resolved, put a hair catcher in your shower to prevent any additional hair from washing down.

You Let Food Down the Drain

Even garbage disposals can’t handle everything, like oil and coffee grounds. But if you don’t have a garbage disposal, no food should go down your kitchen sink. Too much food will collect in your pipes and create clogs. If you accidentally let a tiny amount of food down sporadically, you’ll probably be ok. If you shove food down your drain as though you have a garbage disposal, that’s no good. Get a sink insert that will catch your food, so you can empty it into the garbage.

Your Pipes Need a Pro Cleaning

Old pipes just need to be cleaned more often than new ones, especially if they’re cast iron. If you’re tempted to reach for the drain cleaner, don’t. Call us instead. We can get your pipes flowing swiftly without resorting to chemicals.

Everyone needs a plumber once in a while, so make sure you’re using the BTAC professionals for your plumbing needs. We’ll get the job done fast and leave you with clean pipes. After all, isn’t life easier when you aren’t dealing with clogs all the time? Call us today at 806-589-1014.

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How a Whole-Home Dehumidifier Can Clear the Air

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enjoying clear air

If you’ve lived in Abernathy, Texas, for long, you know to expect warm temperatures and high humidity as the spring weather heats up. What you might not realize, though, is that excess moisture in the air isn’t just uncomfortable. It can also be unhealthy. Learn how a whole-home dehumidifier can clear the air and solve persistent indoor air quality problems.

Decrease Allergy Attacks

Humid environments are ideal for many allergens, as they cause organisms like dust mites and mold to thrive. If your home is constantly humid during the cooling season, you may notice an increase in sneezing and sniffling as allergens clog your home’s air supply.

At Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning, we recommend a high-quality Performance Whole-Home Dehumidifier DEHXX to help decrease allergy attacks. This device pulls excess moisture from the air, making your home inhospitable to mold, dust mites, and other common allergens.

Improve Indoor Odors

Since high humidity can encourage mold and allergens to grow, you might not be surprised to know that excess moisture can also cause musty, mildew odors to take over your home. An air freshener can’t remove these odors from the air, but a whole-home dehumidifier can. Dehumidifiers attack the problem at the source, wringing excess humidity from the air to stop bad odors in their tracks.

Boost Your HVAC System

Most HVAC systems are designed to keep humidity at a reasonable level while they maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. If your home has a serious humidity problem, however, your HVAC may become overworked.

Whole-home dehumidifiers are designed to work side-by-side with your HVAC system, maintaining a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. Since these devices also have MERV 8 air filters, they truly clear the air and lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan.

Could your indoor air quality benefit from a whole-home dehumidifier? Call Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning at 806-589-1014 to learn more about our available options today.

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HVAC Maintenance that Homeowners Can Easily Do

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replacing filter

Your HVAC system is the single biggest energy consumer in your Texas home, so it pays to make sure it’s running efficiently at all times. Maintenance plays a vital role in keeping your HVAC system up to par. While you’re better off if professionals perform some maintenance tasks, such as handling the refrigerant and checking electrical circuits and connections, there are a few HVAC maintenance tasks that homeowners can easily do themselves.

Change Filters

Filters protect your HVAC system from dust, allergens and other contaminants floating in your indoor air. Regular cleaning and replacing of your air and blower filters help your system run more efficiently and improves the quality of the air your family breathes.

Clean Condensate Line

Condensation in the condensate line from your AC unit is a breeding ground for mold and algae. Regular cleaning of your condensate line and drain pan prevents a blockage that can lead to water damage to your home.

Clear Debris

Your outdoor unit is a magnet for dirt, leaves, grass clippings and other objects that can block airflow. Periodically rake or sweep these objects away and trim plants within two feet of the unit.

Check the Fins

As your HVAC system operates, it sucks in air through condenser fins in your outside unit. These fins are an easy collection point for dirt, grass and floating “cotton” from dandelions and other weeds, blocking airflow in your system. Gently clean the fins with a soft brush.

If you’re not comfortable doing these DIY maintenance tasks, our service technicians at Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning are happy to assist you. For a detailed list of our maintenance services, check out our residential and commercial maintenance page or call 806-589-1014.

How to Transition Your HVAC System to Spring

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hvac maintenance for spring

As the flowers start to bloom and the spring sunshine returns to Woodrow, Texas, it’s time to shift your HVAC system into cooling mode. From changing the air filter to cleaning the outdoor unit, here’s how to transition your HVAC system to spring.

Change the Air Filter

Start your HVAC system’s spring transition by changing the air filter. This simple device is essential for keeping dirt and dust out of your air conditioner and out of your air supply.

During the winter, you may have only changed the air filter every three months. As the weather heats up and you rely on your air conditioner to stay cool, it is important to check the filter every month. It may need to be changed more frequently. This will help your HVAC system run as efficiently as possible while keeping your family cool.

Schedule HVAC Maintenance

Before summer arrives, don’t forget to schedule preventive maintenance for your HVAC system. At Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning, we recommend doing this as early as possible in the spring.

During an air conditioner tuneup, we’ll check fluid levels, test electrical wiring, and even adjust your thermostat for the season. We’ll also look for potential issues that you can address now to avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Tidy Up the Outdoor Unit

Winter and early spring can bring serious storms to the Woodrow, TX, area, leading to downed branches, leaves, and other debris on your HVAC system’s outdoor unit. In addition, spring means new grass, as well as shrub and flower growth that can obstruct your air conditioner.

Since plant matter and debris on or near your HVAC unit can cause the system to run less efficiently, you should tidy it up in the spring and maintain the landscaping throughout the growing season. Keep the grass short and trim back shrubs to give the outdoor unit three feet of clearance all around.

Whether you need to schedule preventive maintenance or you want advice on purchasing a new air conditioner, our team is here to help. Call Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning for your HVAC needs all year-round: 806-589-1014.

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Pets and Allergies

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Pets and IAQ

Do you love cuddling up with your puppy but can’t stand the sneezing and the runny nose? Many homeowners in Lubbock, Texas, endure allergies because they love their pets, but for those who are particularly sensitive to allergies, pet allergens can be especially hazardous. Fortunately, by understanding and attacking pet allergens at the root, pet owners can often fully enjoy the company of their fuzzy friends. Learn the origins of pet-related allergies and how to fight them, and you, your family, and your pets can have a happy, healthy home.

Sources of Pet Allergies

The most abundant cause of pet-related allergies are the flakes of dead skin we call dander. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not the skin itself that humans react to. The allergens actually reside in protein-laced animal saliva, which is spread over dead skin when pets groom themselves. Those dead skin flakes are then scattered across a home. That’s why you may feel extra yucky after being licked in the face by your puppy.

Pets also bring in pollen and other allergens from the outdoors. Since that’s a possibility, it’s crucial that you be tested for what allergens you may be susceptible to. If you only tackle the dander issue, you may not be getting at the source of your allergies.

How to Breathe Easier

If you want to keep your beloved pet around, you’ll need to take some measures to avoid constant misery. You can start by bathing your pet every week to wash that protein-rich saliva off the fur. Create an allergy-free zone (such as a bedroom) where your pet isn’t allowed. Clean your home, clothes, and bed sheets often. If you do all these things and allergies still persist, install a whole-home air purifier, which will catch more irritating particles than a standard HVAC filter.

Your pets are part of your family. Enjoy their company to the fullest extent by fighting allergens before they become a hazard. To have an air purifier installed, or to raise the general indoor air quality of your home, call BTAC today at 806-589-1014.

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How Does Zoning Work to Save Money?

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Changing Air Filter

Are you considering an HVAC system upgrade? Don’t overlook ductless. Zoned systems are gaining market share as homeowners look to save money on energy costs, and zoned systems offer benefits that forced-air systems don’t. Here are three ways that zoning can reduce energy usage in your Lubbock, TX, home:

1. Targeted Heating and Cooling

Forced air systems are an all-or-nothing deal. Feeling cool and comfortable in the family room means making the rest of the house cool and comfortable too, even when no one is there to enjoy it. Ductless systems have up to eight indoor units connected to one outdoor unit, and each indoor unit has its own thermostat. With an indoor unit in the family room, you can be cool and comfortable there while the rest of the house fends for itself.

2. Customized Indoor Temperatures

It’s hard to find a thermostat setting that makes everyone happy, but with zoning, you can. On chilly nights, you can turn down the heat in the kids’ rooms when they go to sleep and keep the family room temperature warm while you catch a movie. Being able to set different temperatures in different rooms keeps everyone comfortable, and it can save a lot of money too.

3. Reduced Running Time

Amana ductless variable-speed technology delivers precise and efficient temperatures by using just enough energy to achieve the required thermostat setting. Forced air systems, by contrast, operate on the all-or-nothing principle. They are either all the way on or all the way off.

Many Amana zoned systems are Energy Star-qualified for state and local tax credits and utility company rebates. The energy efficiency of these units can save up to 40 percent on utility bills compared to forced-air systems. To check out some energy-efficient zoned system options, or to learn more about saving money with ductless heating and air conditioning in your Lubbock, TX, home, visit Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning or call (806) 589-1014.

3 Tips to Remember to Change Your Air Filter

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changing filter

You know all of those important jobs that you fully intend to do to be a good adult? Yeah, us too. Changing your air filter is one of the simplest and most important HVAC maintenance chores you can do regularly to make sure that your indoor air quality remains healthy and your HVAC system will function well for many years. And yet, it’s a task that’s difficult to remember. We put together a list of ways to help you remember to periodically change the air filters in your Tokio, Texas, home.

Digital Calendar

Most of us are glued to our smartphone and digital calendars to keep us up-to-date on all things in our lives, so why not use it to manage your air filters? Depending on which type of filters you purchase, they may need to be changed every month or every few months. Consider setting the reminder for the weekend when you’re more likely to be at home. If you don’t have time to make the change immediately, at least use the reminder as a prompt to put the filter in a place where you’ll see it.

Smart Thermostat

Newer digital and smart thermostats have the ability to remind you when the air filter needs to be changed. Depending on your thermostat model, it might flash a notification or send a message to your mobile phone.

Sync With Other Chores

Most of us have made habits out of certain chores, such as cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming the house. Try to sync your air filter changing to those chores, and it will soon become a simple habit to maintain.

We hope these tips make it easy for you to remember when to change your filter and how important it is to your indoor air quality and the proper functioning of your HVAC system. Another important maintenance task is scheduling your annual HVAC inspection. Give Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning a call anytime at 806-589-1014 to schedule your appointment.

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3 Types of Water Heaters

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Water Heater Maintenance

A water heater is essential for many everyday tasks in your Ransom Canyon, Texas, home, like taking a shower and washing your dishes. If your water heater’s warranty is expired, buying a more efficient model will help you save water and energy and keep you from having to pay for an expensive breakdown. You also need to choose the right size for your home for maximum efficiency. Some of the most popular types of water heaters are storage, tankless, and heat pump water heaters.

Storage Water Heaters

Conventional storage water heaters have insulated storage tanks that can hold 30 to 80 gallons of hot water. They come on when your water temperature drops, so you won’t have to wait for hot water. These models are less expensive than most other types, but they’re not as efficient and the tanks use more space. Natural gas, electric, propane, or fuel oil water heaters are available.

Tankless or Instantaneous Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters only work when they’re needed, so they use less energy. However, they can’t provide as much water at once as a conventional water heater. This means you could need more than one if you have a big family. Tankless water heaters can last about twice as long as conventional water heaters, so they’re worth a larger investment.

Hybrid or Heat Pump Water Heaters

Hybrid or heat pump water heaters work by transferring heat to a storage tank. They’re more efficient than conventional water heaters, but they take up even more space. Most heat pump water heaters are in unconditioned areas like basements for easier, more efficient heat transfers.

Bruce Thornton Air Conditioning is an Amana Advantage Specialist with over 45 years of experience and more than 100 employees. We can help you choose, install, maintain, and repair the best water heater for your home, along with a variety of HVAC equipment. Call us at 806-589-1014 for excellent service.

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Is Mold Making You Sick?

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mold hand

Many of the symptoms that residents of Shallowater, Texas, often attribute to allergies or the common cold could be caused by mold. To determine whether mold is making you sick, it’s important to know a few basic facts.

How Mold Affects Us

First, you need to understand the effect it can have on humans. As mold grows, it releases spores into the air that can enter your body as you breathe. The spores will irritate your system, causing symptoms such as sneezing, headaches, skin itching or irritation, and itchy, watery eyes.

As we already mentioned, these early symptoms of mold sickness can easily be mistaken for seasonal allergies or a cold. Prolonged exposure, however, leads to more serious complications: diarrhea, vomiting, weight and hair loss, skin rashes and sores, and short-term memory loss. You may also experience constant headaches and fatigue or chronic bronchitis and sinus infections. Without treatment, mold sickness can eventually cause long-term memory loss, brain damage, cancer, and even death.

What You Can Do About It

You should also be aware of the conditions that encourage or discourage mold growth. Since it thrives in moist environments, it is often found in bathrooms and basements. However, it can also hide in less obvious places, such as your HVAC system, carpet, or walls.

The most important way to combat mold is to manage the humidity in your home. Make sure that bathrooms are well-ventilated, and be sure to run the exhaust fans during and after hot baths and showers. If necessary, install a whole-home dehumidifier to keep humidity below 50 percent and resolve any major structural issues that could cause water damage, such as a leaky roof or a frequently flooded basement. When mold does appear, be sure to address both the mold itself and the underlying cause.

For help with handling the humidity in your home, call BTAC at 806-589-1014. We offer several products that can prevent mold growth and improve your home’s indoor air quality.

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