How Safe Are Your Children Around Electricity?

a close up of an electrician shaving a wire | colorado springs electricianKids are naturally energetic and curious. They can get into absolutely everything, especially what you don’t want them to. Because of this, kids can get in to danger and we must be diligent about electrical safety in our homes.

Wires

Look out for frayed wires! Fraying typically happens on either end of the wire and can occur because of time or the way in which we use the wires. If they are pinched or bent against the wall by a piece of furniture, a break is likely to happen in the cable and our wires can get damaged. And while a frayed wire may still work, it is dangerous to keep around.

Children can find frayed wires and hurt themselves due to the overheating of the wires, the sharpness of the frayed wire itself or the electrical charge that can run through them if touched with wet or sticky hands, something young kids tend to have. Don’t try to repair a frayed wire. Replace it.

Keep your wires close to the walls. If you have wire running through the middle of rooms or doorways, they are easy for kids to trip over which will cause harm. Keep wires out of well-travelled areas.

Outlets

Check your outlets! Kids love these things! Naturally curious children tend to stick things into the mysterious holes. If you have a lot of outlets within reach of children in your home, make sure they are tamper resistant receptacles or that the outlets are covered.

Tamper resistant receptacles stop objects other than electrical plugs from being inserted. They have been required in new builds and renovations since 2008. If you have a newer home, you likely have these already. If not, or if you’re unsure, your outlets can be inspected and new ones installed, if needed, by a professional.

Outlet protectors can also be purchased and put into outlets. For them to be effective, remember to place them back in the outlet after using it.

Lights

Examine your lights! Any bulbs that we use in our kids rooms should be LED and produce lower heat so they are not burning to touch. As well, we should make sure that no lights bulbs are touching blankets, curtains, stuffed animals, scattered clothes or books in our kids’ rooms or the rest of our house.

And don’t forget to teach your kids about electrical safety! Instruct them about what they should stay away from, look out for and why.

Summary

Electricity is convenient and helps us enjoy safer, happier, healthier, homes. However, it can also be dangerous if misused. Make sure your children are aware of the dangers, and of the simply precautions to stay safe. Give One Source Home Service in Colorado Springs a call today if you’re concerned about the electricity in your home.

6 Sounds You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Air Conditioning or Furnace

old rusty hvac system that needs repair in colorado springsWhen summer is coming on, it can be surprising how quickly we adjust the thermostat from giving us a little heat in the morning to take the chill off the house to switching on the air conditioning to combat the afternoon heat. Even if the furnace has been working well throughout the winter, if you start hearing one of these seven sounds, you may have a problem and need to contact an HVAC professional before it turns into an even larger repair bill.

Scraping Sound

A loud scraping noise, a grating metal-on-metal sound, coming from inside your furnace could be a serious problem with the blower wheel. Maybe the wheel is coming apart from the shaft and scraping the casing or in some other way the motor is causing the wheel to scrape the casing. Turn off the air conditioning and/or furnace immediately and call an HVAC service company.

Fast Clicking/Flicking Sound

Remember that sound when you were a kid and attached a playing card to the spokes of your bicycle wheel? If you hear that kind of fast thwapping sound from your furnace, something might be stuck on one of the blower wheel blades or one the housing around the wheel. While your air conditioning (or heat) may be working just fine, this stuck object is causing resistance and it will cause excessive wear on the motor. Get it cleaned up by a furnace technician.

Squealing Sound

A squealing noise from the blower motor could be caused by a belt wearing out. That’s normally not an expensive repair and best taken care of before the belt stretches further or breaks.

Grinding Or Metal Groaning Sound

A bearing problem in the blower motor will make a dull repetitive groan. Some blower motors have ports for adding lubricant, but some are sealed. Adding lubricant will often eliminate the groaning sound, but you have to use the correct oil, not WD-40. An HVAC company doing an annual maintenance inspection on your furnace would like do this kind of lubrication.

Rattling Sound

If you hear a rattling sound from your central air conditioning unit outside of the house when the air conditioning is coming on, the hardware around the compressor could be loose. An air conditioning service repair person should be contacted.

Popping Sound Or Banging Sound

If you turn on the furnace for heat and you hear popping sounds or a distinct banging sound (like from a cap gun), the furnace probably has dirty burners that need to be cleaned. The gas is not being ignited right away. Instead it’s building up and then igniting in a mini-explosion. You’ll want to get this serviced by a professional immediately.

Summary

When operating properly, your HVAC system should be fairly quiet, but if you’re hearing one of these seven sounds you really should contact One Source Home Services in Colorado Springs to come in and repair the problem before it turns into an even bigger problem.

Eliminate Those Pesky Toilet Clogs

Plumber's tools on toilet at colorado springs home | colorado springs plumberIt’s a really good idea to have a plunger in the bathroom for the next time the toilet is clogged. It can easily be stored under the sink or in a storage closet. And it is the best and quickest way to clear most clogs from the toilet.

But what if you don’t have a plunger? Maybe you’re at the cottage without a plunger. Maybe your plunger broke and you haven’t hand a chance to get a new one. Is there any hope for clearing a clog?

Hot water

Put on the kettle and pour a full kettle of hot water into the toilet. This works surprisingly well most of the time. It works even better when used in conjunction with a plunger, but will often been effective even without it.

Baking soda and vinegar

You might have heard of the recommendation to use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a sink. This fizzing/dissolving solution can sometimes work for a clogged toilet too. You don’t want to recreate your volcano project from elementary school so be careful with the amount of baking soda and vinegar you combine in the toilet bowl. Start by scooping out a quarter-cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl as close to the drain as possible and then add an equal amount (quarter-cup) of vinegar. The bubbles and fizzing action should drop down to the clog. Depending on the result you see you may want to repeat or try a half-cup. Follow it up by pouring a kettle full of hot water into the bowl.

Even if this doesn’t full clear the clog, if you see improvement repeat the baking soda and vinegar. When it fully works you should hear a quick suction sound and then see the water drain naturally. Follow up with hot water and a couple of flushes to be sure it’s cleared.

What not to do

Many homeowners will run to the grocery store and purchase a bottle of chemicals that are supposedly “guaranteed” to clear the drain. We do not recommend these products as they are harsh chemicals. They are unsafe and may be corrosive to your plumbing or cause damage to older pipes. They may even cause serious injury if they splash on you or on a technician who comes in to clear the clog. Consumers often report that these drain-cleaning chemicals fail to clear stubborn clogs. In many cases you’re just pouring your money down the drain with these chemicals.

Don’t ever use baking soda and vinegar before or after using these drain-cleaning chemicals. Remember it’s impossible to completely clear out all these different components before trying something different because after all the drain is clogged.

The best solutions…

If the hot water and baking soda, vinegar and hot water methods fails to unclog your toilet, you could always go out and buy yourself a plunger. There are definitely times when a clog is so stubborn that only a professional plumber will be able to clear it completely and quickly. So don’t hesitate to call One Source Home Service in Colorado Springs if these methods fail to clear the clog.

Cold Spots In Your Home? Here’s What You Can Do.

Woman warmly clothed in a cold home | colorado springs hvac serviceDo you find yourself wearing a sweater in some rooms of your house but just a t-shirt in other rooms of your house?

Or maybe you walk from one room, through a central room, to another part of the house and find that one spot is just a bit chillier.

These “cold spots” in your home are especially noticeable when the temperatures are cool — during fall, winter, and spring — but it’s possible in some areas that they may exist all year ’round.

So, what are “cold spots” in your home, anyway?

Your home’s HVAC system works on a simple premise: Air is drawn through vents (internal vents and/or external vents) and pushed into your furnace. From there, the air is warmed and then forced out through the ductwork in your walls, through vents, and into the rooms of your house.

But here’s the thing: air is invisible but it acts a lot like water: It flows in easy, meandering ways around a room, invisibly bouncing off of walls and furniture. In fact, if you could see the air flow from a vent, you’d notice that it moved and flowed from vents outward throughout the room but it stops and redirects when it hits an obstruction.

Therefore, some areas of your home may not get air flow. The air just sits there. And, depending on the air flow and air pressure in the house, the ambient temperature (and temperature fluctuations) inside your home and outside, as well as other factors, cold spots can be created. Simply put, warm air isn’t flowing there; it flows around or is stopped.

You may especially notice cold spots by windows or exterior doors (no surprise there) but you may also notice cold spots near exterior walls, which could indicate that the insulation has degraded slightly. Or, you may notice cold spots in unusually shaped rooms, or rooms where the HVAC ducts aren’t venting into the center of the room.

These are just a few of the reasons, and it really depends on a number of factors.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do about it. If you want a simple, temporary solution, add a small fan nearby to circulate the air more effectively in the room. Another option, in rooms that are larger but not too unusually shaped, consider a ceiling-mounted fan.

However, some homeowners want more effective fixes for challenging cold spots, especially in hard-to-reach places. For these scenarios, you may consider installing extra vents to get the air flowing into that area.

There are other options of course but this is a great starting point.

Your home should be comfortable — you shouldn’t have to avoid one area of your home just because it’s colder than other areas!

If you notice cold spots in your home, there’s lots you can do about it so take a walk around your home and make note of all the cold spots… and see if you can’t transform them into comfortable warm areas! For more info on your home’s HVAC system, call your Colorado Springs electrician at One Source Home Service today!

Are You Aware Of What Lurks Within Your Walls?

a technician fixes wires in a wall | colorado springs electricianYou upgrade your TV from time to time.

You upgrade your phone from time to time.

You upgrade your car from time to time.

But when was the last time you even looked at the wires inside your walls and considered whether they needed to be upgraded? Technology changes and yes, it has even changed with the wires in your home!

If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier in Colorado Springs, you should have the wiring in your house examined. Even if there have been extensive upgrades to your home, it is not uncommon for people to overlook the electrical system for something that is much more visible like hardwood floors or that really nice bathroom. Good modern wiring is a great benefit in our technological age. Also, it’s much safer. How do you know if your wiring needs replacing?

Let’s look at different types of wiring

 

Knob and Tube Wiring

In the oldest homes, knob and tube wiring are present. Identify this type of wiring by the large knobs that large black insulation tubes connect to. There is no ground wire in this system which is a standard safety feature in modern wiring. If no damage has occurred to the insulting tubes, this wiring can still function but is not ideal.

 

AluminumWiring

An older house may also have aluminum wiring in it. If this is in your home and if there have been any renovations, specifically wall outlets and light switches, that have been replaced or worked on, there may be damage to the wires that can lead to a build-up of heat

 

Old or Cloth Romex Wiring

There may be old or cloth Romex wiring in your home. Newer Romex wire, or NM cable, uses plastic coating to protect the outside whereas the older stuff uses a cloth or cotton substance on the outside and rubber on the inside.

 

BX Wiring

Its spiral patterned metal casing can identify BX wiring. While this is more durable than others and it can be resistant to some types of weather, this wiring can have rubber on the inside of the metal which wears out and can cause shorts and sparks.

 

The Big Question: Should it be Rewired?

With any of these older wiring systems, the recommended power limit will not always be able to handle some of the newer, larger, and more powerful appliances in our modern homes. It may only be a matter of time before your old wiring must be replaced. If you are finding problems with surges and shorts or if you want someone experienced to take a closer look at your wiring, contact the Colorado Springs electrical team here at One Source Home Service. We will be happy to use our expertise to work with you on what will be best for your house and home.

Springtime Plumbing Tips For Colorado Springs Homeowners

 

rain falls into a puddle | plumbing colorado springsSpring is here in most parts of the country… and with spring comes a mix of weather for many people! This could include rain… maybe snow… warm days but cold nights.

And the result? It’s hard on your plumbing!

Those warm days may make you want to open up the windows and turn on the garden hose and start taking care of your lawn.

But then the cold nights still come and in some areas that can actually freeze your pipes and cause them to burst, spilling water everywhere; it’s a costly mess.

So, what should you do this spring? Here are several tips to help you navigate the ups and downs of spring to keep your plumbing working the way it should!

Your 5 Colorado Springs Plumbing Tips for Spring

1. Make sure you close your windows at night. The warm spring air during the day is nice but it can really cool off and freeze those pipes. You don’t want that! Make sure the windows are closed at night to keep pipes from freezing. (And you probably won’t mind being warm too, right?)

 

2. Maybe wait on the garden hose. You may want to wait a week or two before pulling out the garden hose. At least make sure the temperatures don’t drop below freezing at night. If they do (and depending on how fast it freezes and for how long), the hose faucet and even your garden hose could be damaged. Likely you’ll be able to run your hose soon but just be cautious of those night-time temperatures.

 

3. Clean your gutters. This might seem like an odd PLUMBING suggestion but you’ll see why in a moment: over winter, debris like leaves and sticks can collect in your gutters. Then when springtime rains come, the water runs into your gutters and spills out over the sides and pools at your foundation instead of running down the downspout and away from your house. Once pooling at your foundation, the water then runs down and may collect in weeping tiles… but it could also enter your home and cause flooding. So, make sure you have a sump pump all set up to collect and move water that could be rising underneath your house, and send it away from your home.

 

4. Remove snow and standing water from around your foundation. If your area got snow over the winter and it’s melting now and pooling by your foundation, you’ll want to remove it. Sure, this may not affect everyone in the same way right now but a flood is something you won’t want to risk. Again, make sure you have a sump pump ready

 

5. Spring cleaning: don’t forget about your pipes. Lastly, when you’re doing spring cleaning, don’t forget about your pipes; especially the wastewater pipes that move water out of your home. They should be cleaned too! Have a plumber come in and inspect your pipes and clean them out each year so you never have to worry about backed up lines that won’t drain.

 

Summary

April is here! Spring is here! That means we can all enjoy the beautiful weather and the great outdoors. But as a homeowner, be aware that the fluctuating temperatures of spring could be hard on your plumbing. These simple tips will help keep things flowing for you! For more info on what you can do to prepare for spring, or to schedule a spring plumbing or HVAC service in Colorado Springs or Denver, please give One Source Home Service a call today!

Maintenance Tips for Colorado Homeowners

We know that keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter is important to you and your family. After all, you can’t live your best life when you’re too hot or too cold. That’s why we work hard to make sure you have everything you need to keep your home running just the way you like it.

Some people like to call us in, as professionals, to do everything when it comes to their HVAC system. Others like to do some of the work themselves. Either way works for us, as long as you take care to do the right things at the right times of year to care for your home. Here are some of our favorite tips.

Clean Your Coils

Before you turn your A/C on each year, take the cover off and clean your coils. These can get covered and/or filled up with dust and other debris. When this happens, your unit has to work extra hard to cool the air that it pulls in, which means that your motor can die earlier than expected. You can usually spray off the buildup with a hose, or even take your vacuum on a gentle setting to make sure you get all the dust out.

Replace Your Air Filter

In many Colorado homes, this is located in the furnace, though the exact location will depend on the details of your particular system. Make sure you take the old filter out before you go to buy more. That way, you can match it at the hardware store to be sure you purchase the right one. Once you’re home, follow the directions on the package to get it installed correctly. You should do this once a month during seasons where you’re using your furnace or A/C every day, to make sure that dust and allergens stay out of your home.

Inspect Your Unit Visually

Before you turn on either your furnace or your A/C, take a few minutes to inspect the unit visually. Make sure you can’t see any loose wiring, uninsulated wires, water where water should not be, or broken/bent fan blades. All of these can hinder the functioning of your HVAC system, and may cause it to stop working entirely. If you see a problem, assess whether you can fix it. If you can, get on that. Otherwise, call in a professional to keep your system running well.

 

As always, feel free to give us a call if you get in over your head or you feel like your system needs some extra help. We’ll find a convenient time for one of our friendly, experienced technicians to come take a look at your system. He or she will assess your system’s functioning, your family’s needs, and your current unit. Once our tech has all the data, he or she will go over your options with you. We’ll always let you know what is cheapest, what is best, and what we would do if we were making the decision for one of our own families.