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Which Type of Heating System is Best?

Author: Deans Plumbing

If you’re trying to decide what type of home heating system makes the most sense for your home? Unfortunately, there’s no real right answer to this question. The better question to ask is, “which is the best type of heating system for my home specifically.” There are a number of options based on the type, age, and how you use the space in your home. Let’s begin by the most common types of heating systems.

4 Common Types of Home Heating Systems:

  1. Forced Air – This is the most common type of home heating system by far. With forced air, the air is first warmed in a furnace and then distributed throughout the home through air ducts. The advantage here is that you’re able to have an all-in-one central heating and cooling system. The drawback is that ductwork can take up valuable crawlspace.
  2. Radiant Heat – Most commonly radiant heat is installed under tile floor to keep toes toasty. Water is heated by a boiler and distributed through hot water tubing, allowing the heat to radiate downward or upward. Unfortunately, this method can be slow to heat up, so it’s not great as the sole heating source for a large space.
  3. Hydronic Heat – You may know of this type of heat as baseboard heating, instead. Like radiant heat, baseboard heating uses hot water heated by a boiler to distribute warmth throughout a home. The key here is the fins within the baseboard units. By increasing surface area, they help heat to disperse faster and more evenly.
  4. Steam Heat – Those who grew up with steam heat swear by it, and for good reason. Steam heat is known for heating quickly and evenly. The drawbacks though, are the clunky cast-iron radiators and the hissing and clanking noises that come from them.

Which heating system is right for you and your family? If you’re looking for an expert opinion, just Call Dean’s! With the convenience of our three locations in Minnesota, there’s no plumbing, heating, or cooling question we can’t answer.

What Does a Home Electrical Panel Do?

A home electrical panel, which may be referred to as service panels, fuse boxes, fuse panels, or circuit breakers, are the source of all of our homes’ power. They connect the wires on the street to our homes’ electrical system. The electrical panel can provide 200 or more amps of power, and it splits that power into separate circuits throughout the house, making it one of the most important features of our homes!

electrical panel

What’s Inside an Electrical Panel?

It is important to be able to recognize all of the components of our electrical panels

  • Outer panel door
  • Protective cover
  • Circuit breakers
  • Open spaces for circuit breakers
  • Wires that run from the circuit breakers to the house

Keep in mind that when the circuit breaker is closed, or when the outer door alone is open, it is generally safe to touch. However, when the protective cover is removed, it can be dangerous to work on yourself.

When you open your panel door, you gain access to the circuit breaker switches, but that’s all. To get inside the panel to install or replace a circuit breaker, you need to remove the protective cover around the main circuit breaker switches—the dead front cover. The dead front cover is typically held in place with a screw in each corner. Removing the cover provides access to all components of the panel. Some panels have a separate door and cover; others have a door and cover as parts of the same unit.

If you think there may be a problem with your panel, it is important to call an Electrical professional from Dean’s Home Services to avoid any accidents such as electrocution.

Home Electrical panel repair by a Dean's Home Services electrician.

Where Can You Find Your Electrical Panel?

To keep your home safe, panels are generally located away from the main living areas. The most common places to find homes’ electric panels:

  • the garage
  • basement
  • the pantry in the kitchen
  • a closet

However, in some older Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN area homes, the electrical panel may be located on an outside wall of the home.

Do your home inspection, and hire a qualified electrician.

You’ve been reading a lot about home electrical panels. Now it’s time to learn how to do them! But first, you should hire an electrician to do the work for you.

You need to make sure that the electrician is licensed and gets a permit if required by your local municipality. Make sure that the home inspection report is complete and has not been tampered with before purchasing a home. It’s also important to make sure that all of the wirings in your home meet code requirements.

Can a Homeowner Replace Electrical Panel?

Generally, the answer to this question is no. Reading online tutorials and watching instructional videos will never replace the training a qualified electrician receives. Not only could working on an electrical panel ourselves result in severe injury, but you could also severely damage the electrical system of our homes, and end up with expensive and time-consuming repairs.

If you ever suspect an issue with our electrical panels, or you need electrical repairs, be sure to contact Dean’s Home Services Electrical professionals to have it done safely and correctly, the first time!

When was the last time you changed your furnace’s air filter? If it’s been a while, you might want to make that your next weekend DIY project. It’s important that homeowners remember to swap out their air filters once every three months, but you should check it every month when your system is in heavy use to see if it needs to be changed sooner. This is a crucial step in home maintenance — but do you know why?

air filters a number of different brands

What Happens When Your Furnace’s Air Filter Is Dirty:

  1. Your System Doesn’t Work As Efficiently – When your air filter is clogged, it isn’t working as efficiently. This means that it puts extra strain on your HVAC system to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
  2. Air Flow is Restricted – When your air filters are dirty and clogged, air can not pass through your vents as efficiently. This means that airflow can be restricted in your home. You may find that your air conditioning unit isn’t blowing cool air like it used to.
  3. You’re Spending More Money – Since your unit has to work harder to push air through your home, you are using more energy and in turn, spending more money to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The following video is extreme but just imagine how much dust and junk must be in this home!

Learn more about the importance of maintaining your home heating system and why changing your furnace filter is so important.

Furnace Filter Facts

What is a furnace filter?

A furnace filter is a device that helps to remove contaminants from the air that passes through it. It is typically used in conjunction with a forced-air heating system. The furnace filter traps particles of dust, dirt, and other debris that can potentially clog or damage the system.

How often should air filters be changed?

Most air filters should be changed every 30 to 60 days, although this can vary depending on the type of filter and the environment in which it is used. Some filters may need to be changed more frequently if they are used in particularly dusty or dirty environments, while others may not need to be changed as often if they are used in cleaner environments.

What happens if you don’t change your furnace filters?

If you don’t change your furnace filters, the air in your home will become increasingly polluted. Over time, this can cause serious health problems for you and your family. Additionally, your furnace will have to work harder to circulate air, which will lead to higher energy bills.

Can you go a year without changing your furnace filter?

No, you cannot go a year without changing your furnace filter. Depending on the type of furnace you have, your filter should be changed anywhere from once a month to once a season. Not changing your furnace filter can lead to a number of problems, including decreased efficiency, increased wear and tear on your furnace, and even health problems due to poor indoor air quality.

If you have any questions about how to care for your home’s HVAC system, or you run into any problems, do not hesitate to contact our Minneapolis St. Paul Home Heating professionals. Dean’s Home Services has been repairing, updating and installing home heating systems in the Twin Cities for over 25 years!

Is the Plumbing in My Home Haunted? 

While there are plenty of spooky places to visit in Minnesota, your house is the last place you want a ghost or a member of the un-dead. Loud banging water pipes when you turn on your washing machine or flush your toilet are annoying. Is there something living in the walls or worse, is your plumbing possessed?

That sound is called a “water hammer,” and it can be frustrating (to say the least).

Figuring out why a water hammer happens is your first step to fixing the problem.

ghost holding banging water pipes

The Cause of Banging Water Pipes in Your Home

What Is A Water Hammer?

 When you flush a toilet, water runs through the pipes, but as the toilet finishes filling up, a valve closes, causing the water to crash against the lid. This creates loud noises and vibrations and in some cases, causes the pipes to bang against the wall (which is where the water hammer name comes from).

How Do You Fix A Water Hammer?

First, you need to know when your house was built.

Homes built before 1960s:

Older homes built before the 1960’s were made with air chambers to prevent water hammer. The air chambers are merely T-sections of pipes that contain air and act as shock absorbers.

These air chambers can eventually become filled with water, leading to water hammer.

Steps to fix a water hammer:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your home.
  2. Drain all the water from your home’s pipes (i.e., faucets, toilets, dishwasher, etc.).
  3. Turn the water back on.

Homes built since the 1960s:

Modern homes are built with water hammer arrestors, instead of air chambers. These devices are connected to your pipes and contain a spring-loaded shock absorber, diverting the water and reducing the loud noise.

These arrestors almost never become clogged with water, unlike air chambers, so if you hear loud noises, call a professional to come and check it out (it may turn out that your home never had a water hammer arrestor installed, to begin with).

Other Reasons Why Your Pipes Are Making Loud Noises

1. Does the knocking happen only while hot water is running?

Some houses use CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl-chloride) as their hot water supply pipes. If a CPVC line were routed through an area that is too tight, you’d hear rubbing or knocking noises anytime hot water runs through that pipe.

Why? Because CPVC piping will expand when hot water runs through it. The only way to fix this is to call a professional plumber to relocate the pipeline to fit your home better.

2. Does the sound happen while cold water is on or running?

If this is the case, then high water pressure is creating the knocking noises you hear. This is because when the water’s flow rate is above a certain level, the flow goes from even to chaotic. In other words, when water is flowing at an extremely high rate through your pipes, it’s going to create a lot of noise.

You can test your home’s water pressure with a water pressure test gauge. If it’s too high, you’ll need a professional technician to add or replace your PRV (pressure-reducing valve).

Dean’s Home Services won’t be able to help you with a ghost BUT if you hear loud noises coming from your water pipes, Dean’s Twin Cities area Plumbers are here to help! Dean’s Home Services has been plumbing Minneapolis and the surrounding Twin Cities metro for over 25 years, we can fix whatever plumbing issue your home may face — no matter how big or how small.

 

 Popular Plumbing Myths that People Actually Believe

“True or False” is everyone’s favorite game, isn’t it? Plumbing is one of the oldest professions in the world. When it comes to residential plumbing systems, our Plumbers have seen and heard it all. There are a number of hacks that people believe, some true, some not so much.

We’ll now attempt debunk some common plumbing myths below:

Plumbing icons

Top Five Plumbing Myths

Myth # 1: A leaky faucet is no big deal.

Sure, it might not be bothering you, but a leaking bathroom faucet can cause damage and cost you a ton of money. On top of that, it’s awful for the environment – wasting about a trillion gallons annually.

Myth # 2: Flushing Cat Litter Down the Toilet

Please don’t do this! For one thing, cat feces contain parasites that can be extremely harmful to human beings as well as to marine life. The wastewater treatment facility will likely eradicate these parasites, but why risk it? (Note that the risk is most acute for pregnant women.)

Myth #3: Ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades.

No they DON’T! This plumbing myth is a head scratcher but a lot of people believe it. While they will clean the blades up a bit they aren’t going to make them any sharper.

Myth #4: You should flush lemon peels down the disposal to make it smell good.

Well, it might smell good but you shouldn’t do it. Lemon peels will likely clog your drain unless you have a really powerful disposal. Not to test it, use white vinegar instead when you feel your disposal needs to be freshened up a bit.

Myth 5: Hot Water Dislodge Slow Drains

It’s understandable to believe that hot water will melt grease and carry it safely through the plumbing system. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Once that liquefied grease gets further down the pipes, it cools down and re-solidifies. One meat marinara night won’t cause a clog, but repeated grease dumping eventually will. It’s best to keep a heat-proof container to collect grease and toss it in the trash when it’s full.


The History of Plumbing – From Ancient Egypt to Today

Dean’s Home Services has a log history of Plumbing in Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN. We’ve been here for over 25 years which is NOTHING compared to the long and fascinating history of plumbing. There’s a lot more to plumbing than the copper or PVC pipes you’ve seen behind walls and underneath sinks. If you stop to think about it, modern plumbing is nothing short of a miracle: With a simple turn of a knob or press of a lever, germs from your hands and body are sent down the drain, or your body’s wastes are flushed away, leaving you and your bathroom clean and healthy. Modern plumbing advances have long been credited with boosting human hygiene and eliminating a number of diseases. The story of plumbing begins

A Brief History of Plumbing

The Indus people built a system of underground drains and toilets that became known as “the Great Baths.” These are thought to be the earliest examples of indoor plumbing systems in human history. 

Did you know that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to construct a drainage system because of the significance that water plays in the rituals of their culture? It started way back between 4000 – 2500 B.C. and has evolved tremendously over the years all the way up to modern plumbing practices today!

The Industrial Revolution brought about a new era of plumbing, which was used to bring water into the home and workplace. Plumbing also made its way into the streets, mines, and other places where humans worked.

The Minoan Palace of Knossos featured four separate drainage systems that empty into the great sewers in 1700 B.C.

In 800 B.C. the first sewers of Rome were built and in 312 B.C. the first aqueducts were built in order to transport water to Roman baths. It wasn’t until 4th Century A.D. that Rome had 11 public baths, 1,352 public fountains, and 856 private baths. Can you imagine what it was like bathing in public back then?

In ancient Egypt, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, or a mix of the two was used to remove suspended solids. Different water purification methods had also been created by ancient people living in other countries. For example, in Greece, a fabric bag, called the Hippocrates Sleeve, was used to strain water before boiling it. In ancient India, sand and gravel were used to filter water before boiling it. This method was found in the Sanskrit manuscript called the Susruta Samhita. 

Ancient Egypt Water Engineering: University of Wisconsin- Madison

Plumbing Into Modern Times

Plumbing is the science, art, and practice of designing, building, and maintaining systems that transport water for domestic use and wastewater away from homes and commercial buildings. And plumbing fixtures which include sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers, bidets, and urinals. These devices are installed in a building’s plumbing system to provide water for human consumption or for industrial processes.

Inscripted lead pipe from the Roman Empire

The development of modern sanitation systems began in ancient times in Egypt but was not widespread until the Roman Empire. Romans used lead pipe inscriptions to prevent people from siphoning off clean drinking water through their private drains. Lead was also used for piping in aqueducts, as it could endure high pressures while remaining soft enough to bend into curves without bursting. This way they managed to transport running water over long distances by using pressurized pipes made out of lead.

A long, rich history of innovation.

Plumbing is a long, rich history of innovation. Tracing the origins of modern plumbing back to ancient Egypt and Rome, we find that plumbers have been around for thousands of years. They’ve used their skills to improve life and society in countless ways:

  • The Romans installed lead pipes in homes across Europe as early as 27 B.C., but this technology was abandoned when lead became known to be both toxic and not very effective at carrying water through clay pipes.
  • In 1851, New York City mayor George Opdyke oversaw the construction of an underground sewer system for Manhattan Island—the first such system in America.
  • In 1889, inventor Thomas Crapper invented one of his most famous inventions: the toilet flush valve (which came in several models with different features such as automatic flushing).
  • It’s hard to declare the modern inventor of the water heater, but a few names come to mind, including Benjamin Waddy Maughan and Edwin Rudd.

The Invention of the ‘Modern Day’ Water Heater

Benjamin Waddy Maughan patented a device in 1868 that was used to heat water. He called it the “gas geyser,” as it used natural gas to heat the water as it flowed into the tub. He had a great idea for a residential water heater system, but the idea fell short when his heater relied on natural gas, and this made it a little too dangerous to use as intended. It did not have a system set up to vent the gas vapors, therefore it did not last very long as a method for heating water.

Edwin Ruud was another innovator that created an updated model 21 years later after Maughan that had many safety features added. This device is generally considered the first true home water heater, for both of it’s usability and safety features. He created a gas-heated, cast iron appliance with a valve turned by a person that activated on the heater’s burners.

From Water Closet to Modern Toilet

It wasn’t until 1596 that Sir John Harrington invented a water closet. Sir Harington’s invention was a hit with the elite, Including Queen Elizabeth I. The water closet had a pan with an opening at the bottom, sealed with a leather-faced valve. A system of handles, levers, and weights poured in water and opened the valve.

water basin image

In 1738 JF Brondel introduced the valve-type flush toilet which eventually evolved into. Believe it or not, the first ever packaged toilet paper was invented by Gayetty’s Medicated Paper. Finally, in 1870, Thomas Twyford comes up with an improved version of the Bramah with no metal parts and is credited with the revolutionary redesign of a one-piece toilet.

Today’s Plumbers and the Future of Plumbing

Plumbing is a growing industry that will continue to be needed for quite some time. Plumbers are needed to install and maintain plumbing systems, including pipes, drains, and toilets. They also work on green building projects, as well as homes, businesses, and schools.

The future of Plumbing is focused on water conservation, smart technology, sensors and much more.

There are nearly 500,000 plumbers and pipefitters working in the United States. As the plumbing industry continues to grow, so do modern advancements in plumbing systems and plumbing technology. Dean’s Home Services is proud to have some of the best Plumbers in Minnesota.

If you’re looking for a plumber in Minneapolis, contact the Professional Plumbers at Dean’s Home Services.

Now that the days are getting colder, it’s time to start thinking about heating your home for the cool nights ahead. When was the last time you took a look at your heating system? You might be due for a replacement. Here are a few signs you’ll want to look out for this year.

Dean's Home Services Furnace Repair Adam

When Should You Replace Your Furnace?

  1. Your Heating System is more than 10-15 years old.  Your heating system is more likely to break down after 10-15 years – leading to high repair bills. Newer models are also more energy efficient. Over time, it’s worth it becomes more cost-effective to replace your system.
  2. Your home is unevenly heated. Are some rooms colder than others? An inadequate heating system won’t warm your home thoroughly.
  3. Your home is dusty. Leaky air ducts can cause your heating system to distribute dust throughout your home.
  4. Your system is very noisy. If your heating system is undersized or there is a problem with its functionality and you notice that it’s incredibly loud, this is a major sign that your unit is struggling and on its last leg. A furnace repair or furnace maintenance could be a temporary fix but you’ll likely need a replacement.

Is it time to replace your home’s heating system? Give us a call! Our professional technicians are here to help you with all of your home heating needs this fall and winter. Dean’s Home Services HVAC professionals have the experience to help with furnace repair, maintenance, and replacement in the Twin Cities.

Do you keep seeing your electrical outlets sparking? Should you be concerned? Are you curious about why they are sparking and what you can do about it? We asked our licensed Maple Grove Electricians why a homes outlets are sparking and what you can and should do.

Guide to Electrical Outlets Sparking

Why do outlets spark?

Have you ever rubbed your feet across a carpet and felt a spark? That is static electricity. Therefore, if you feel a spark once in a while, there might not be any problem.

If you feel a spark, every time you are near the electric outlet, then there might be an issue. You can consider the following troubleshooting questions:

1. Do you have old, frayed electric cords?
2. Was there moisture or water on your hands or the electrical outlet when it sparked?
3. Does the electrical outlet feel hot?

These could be signs that you have exposed wires. You might have a short circuit. You might want to have old electrical wires, outlets and appliances replaced.

outlet sparking

Is it dangerous if a plug sparks?

Yes, it can be dangerous if a plug sparks. If the sparking is accompanied by a burning smell, it could indicate that the insulation on the wires is damaged and that the wires are touching, which could cause an electrical fire. If you see or smell sparks coming from an outlet, unplug any devices that are plugged into it and do not use that outlet until it has been repaired by a qualified electrician.

Is it safe to use an outlet that sparks?

If an outlet sparks, it is definitely not safe to use. Outlets are electrical devices, and any time there is a spark, there is potential for an electrical fire. If you see an outlet sparking, unplug any devices that are plugged into it and do not use it until you have had an electrician inspect it and determine that it is safe.

Troubleshoot Outlets Sparking

If the sparks occur regularly, you might need to be concerned. It could mean that there is a problem with your electrical wires, cords, outlets or appliances. You could use duct tape for frayed wires, but that is only a stop-gap.

If you fear a short circuit, then you should call professionals. They can look at your electrical system. You also might have overloaded your outlet with too many plug-ins. We can discuss safety devices, like a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), which could be invaluable.

Call a professional for a sparking outlet in Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN

If you want a professional inspection, Dean’s Home Services Electrical services offer complete evaluations of electrical systems in Minneapolis St. Paul area homes.

After you flush the toilet, if continues to run, it can be a real inconvenience. The sound of water running can be annoying, and it can cause your water bill to skyrocket or something worse. There could be a few reasons for a running toilet and it’s important to find out as quickly as possible and fix the problem because a toilet that won’t stop running can lead to expensive water bills or even a flooded bathroom!

In fact, a running toilet could cost the average family as much as $1,000 in added water bills each year (not to mention the thousands of gallons of wasted water).

Use the following to diagnose the cause and possibly repair the issue. if none of these work, contact an experienced Plumber for help.

Running Toilet

Why is my toilet running?

Leaks in or Around the Toilet

A slow toilet leak can end up costing thousands of dollars if not diagnosed and repaired properly. If your toilet is running and you can’t see an evident leak, be safe and add food coloring to the toilet bowl before you go to bed in the evening. If the water is clear the next morning, your toilet is leaking. Leaky toilets are difficult to repair without the help of a qualified plumber.

Faulty or Broken Toilet Parts

There are many different parts that all work together inside your toilet. If the toilet is leaking, start checking each of the following to make sure they are in working order:

The Toilet Flapper

This is by far the most common reason for a leaky toilet. The rubber parts of the toilet flapper wear down over time and will ultimately lose their seal causing improper closure.

The Water Line Adjuster

An incorrect water line inside the tank is the next most common cause of a leaky toilet. If the water fills below or above the water fill line, it will cause the toilet to leak. Check the float ball to make sure there’s no water inside. If there is, it needs to be replaced. If not, adjust the height of the float ball to lower the water level.

The Toilet Chain

The toilet chain raises and lowers the flapper at the bottom of the toilet tank. The chain has to be the exact length necessary to raise the flapper but lower it enough to completely seal the drain at the bottom of the tank. If the chain is too long it won’t lift properly and if it’s too short, it won’t replace the flapper completely.

The Toilet Handle

Finally, a toilet handle that isn’t functioning properly can cause leak issues. If it sticks or is too loose, it is probably time to replace the handle.

Running Toilet Toilet Parts inside toilet bowl

How to Repair a Running Toilet

Replace The Flapper

The flapper is the rubber stopper that lifts to release water into the bowl when you flush. A defective flapper is a common cause of a running toilet since it deteriorates over time. To test it, push down on the flapper and if the toilet stops running immediately you’ve identified the issue.

Check The Fill Tube

So pressing down on the flapper didn’t solve the problem. What’s next? It might be the fill tube – the small plastic tube going from the fill valve to the overflow pipe. If you find that the tube is submerged under water, cut it back so it clears the water level.

Ball Float vs. Cup Float

If you have an older toilet, chances are it has a ball float. If it’s set too high, it forces the water level to rise above the overflow pipe and the tank will never stop draining. All you need to do to fix this problem is bend the arm. Have a new toilet? Fix the cup float by sliding the float down the central tube it sits around.

The most important thing is to properly diagnose the problem and fix it as quickly as possible to avoid wasting water and money and even avoid water damage if the toilet floods. For advice and toilet repairs from professional Plumbers contact Dean’s Home Services. Our Expert team of Plumbing professionals is ready to help you today.

It’s tough to keep a warm home without a properly maintained furnace. If you want to avoid a home that feels like a deep freeze, check out these tips for fall furnace maintenance 

Fall Furnace Maintenance Tips

 

Fall furnace maintenance deans home services

HVAC Professional tune up

When you contact Dean’s Home Services, our  Minneapolis HVAC professionals perform a number of routine maintenance tasks along with those recommended by manufacturers

The objective is to clean,  evaluate and examine your homes furnace for any signs of problems including:

  • Grinding noises: A cracked belt is a common source of grinding sounds. Without attention, it can break at any time of the day or night.
  • Whining pitch: Often, a failing furnace ignition causes this sound.
  • Constant thermostat adjustment: We check the thermostat itself for loose wires. Your furnace manufacturer typically recommends contacting us on a yearly basis to perform routine maintenance on your heating system.

Furnace Filters and Obstructions Cause a  Majority of Heating Failures

Cold weather creates unwanted objects to block your furnace and air ducts. Our reliable technicians check commons areas where branches, nests, and ice might build up to obstruct the circulation of warm air.

We replace your filters and provide instructions on how and when to change filters between our maintenance service calls.

A dirty furnace filter simply circulates air full of dust and debris throughout your home. A clogged filter does not allow warm air to reach rooms that need critical heat.

Call or Contact Us Today

A furnace that provides inadequate heat does you and your family no good. Contact our Minneapolis Furnace professionals at Dean’s Home Services for complete

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