When is it Time for Water Heater Replacement?

February 27th, 2015

The water heater in your home has been around for a while. You’ve relied on it for all sorts of tasks over the years, from rinsing the dishes to doing the laundry to taking a relaxing bubble bath. But you’re probably aware that your older water heater does have a life expectancy that could run out very soon. If it seems like your water heater has been around for a while, then you might consider looking into a replacement.

While a technician is perhaps the best person to help you decide whether you need a new water heater, we’ve put together a few of the most common reasons homeowners decide to schedule water heater replacement. Call the team at Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration for a more accurate estimate of whether you need water heater replacement in Santa Fe.

  • Greater Efficiency – You may decide to replace your water heater by choice if you simply want a unit that runs more efficiently than your older unit. Old water heaters often do not perform as well as current models due to outdated technology that forced the equipment to work too hard. According to the ENERGY STAR website, ENERGY STAR rated water heaters can help you to save 14-55% on water heating.
  • Poor Performance – If your older water heater does not perform to your liking, making repairs may fix the trouble. Other times, however, the unit is simply too old to go on. Or, it may have been sized improperly for you home, so that you don’t get as much hot water as you’d like.
  • Rust – Water heaters are made of steel, and steel rusts when it comes into contact with oxygen and water. A glass lining in the tank usually protects it from rust, as does an anode rod that diverts corrosion to itself. However, eventually, rust may develop in the tank, which means that the tank may soon begin to leak, and replacement is the only option.

At Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration, we service water heaters and offer efficient options for water heater replacement in Santa Fe. Call our dedicated team of professionals today!

How a Humidifier can Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

February 20th, 2015

All too often, we hear and talk about humidity as a negative thing. The old line “at least it’s a dry heat” comes to mind as an expression of how lower humidity is preferable to higher humidity. It’s no surprise, really. Areas with high humidity promote mold growth, as well as making it harder to breathe. Add to that the fact that humid days are just all-around wet, sticky, and uncomfortable. However, humidity that is too low is just as bad for your health as humidity that is too high.

Let’s take a look at why a balance of humidity in your home is best, and how a humidifier can help you reach that balance.

The Consequences of Low Humidity

Humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air, as you probably already know. The human body is mostly made of liquids, which you probably also know. The issue with low humidity is that it actually deprives your body of moisture that it needs to help protect you. Extremely dry air can cause the mucus membranes in your sinuses to dry out, severely limiting their ability to keep germs from entering your body. Those membranes also tend to crack and bleed in very dry weather. This is why some people get nose bleeds on planes, where the air has very low humidity. It also contributes to more illnesses during winter, when people run their heaters more often, which dries out their indoor air.

Humidifiers

Humidifiers correct this balance by releasing water vapor into the air. There are a number of different types of humidifiers, such as vaporizers that use electricity to generate steam, or simple misters that just spray small amounts of water. The general concept is the same, however. Making use of a humidifier can achieve the right balance of humidity in your indoor air, helping to keep your body healthy and improving the quality of your indoor air.

If you’d like to know more about humidifiers, call Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration. We provide humidifiers throughout the Taos area.

Lupercalia: The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015

Many people may think of Valentine’s Day as a holiday essentially created by card and gift companies, but the truth is that the holiday has long-standing roots going back to the Roman Empire. The name “Lupercalia” has its origins in the word “lupus”, which means wolf, and the reason for this is that according to Roman pagan religion, the she-wolf Lupa nursed the two orphaned infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

The Festival

The Festival of Lupercalia spanned two days each February, from February 13th to 15th. The festival was about fertility and was led by Luperci priests, known as “brothers of the wolf”. The festival was serious with intention (fertility) but was executed as quite a romp for both the priests and citizens of Rome. The process was this: two male goats and a dog were sacrificed at the beginning of the festival by the priests; two young Luperci were then anointed with the blood from the animals, and the hides of the animals were cut into straps. As food and drink flowed, the male priests would run around the city wearing nothing but thongs made from the animal skins, and they also carried a strap from one of the sacrificed animals. The strap was used to strike the palms of Roman women waiting for the priests in the city, as it was believed that being hit with the strap could help with infertility issues and a safe, healthy labor for women who were pregnant.

The Transition to St. Valentine’s Day

The Christian influence of the holiday came around the 5th century. The Roman Empire was still strong, but Christianity was rapidly taking hold throughout the world. It is believed that to try and remove the paganism from the holiday, the deaths of two men, supposedly both named Valentine, were added into the mix. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, a law created by Claudius II forbade young men eligible for military service to marry, because Rome wanted a strong army. The two men named Valentine were priests, and married young couples in secret. Both were found out and executed on February 14th, although in separate years. The Church made Valentine a saint (they chose one), and Lupercalia became St. Valentine’s Day.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Signs You Need Boiler Repair in Albuquerque

February 9th, 2015

Boilers are famous for their incredibly sturdy construction, compared to other heating systems. A boiler that is well taken care of can last for decades, far longer than furnaces or heat pumps.

However, boilers are still susceptible to problems every once in a while. When one of these problems crops up, it pays to take care of it as soon as possible to mitigate the damage. Let’s take a look at a couple of the signs that you need boiler repair.

Kettling

Boilers that deal with hard water have to deal with a serious problem that other systems don’t. Hard water is called such because it has a much higher mineral content than normal. As hard water flows through the boiler, it deposits small amounts of minerals on the inner walls of the heat exchanger. Over time, this mineral buildup becomes so advanced that it restricts or blocks the flow of water through the heat exchanger. This causes the trapped water to boil in the pipe, creating steam and putting enormous pressure on the boiler. The result is a deep, ominous rumbling, as though the boiler were a giant kettle. Hence the name “kettling.” This problem should be addressed immediately, as it threatens one of the indispensable parts of the boiler.

Loss of Heat

While loss of heat could be the result of kettling, it is more often an issue with the circulating pump. The circulating pump is exactly what it sounds like, responsible for actually pumping the hot water through the house in order to heat it. One of the more common issues with the circulating pump is that leaks develop in one of the valves or seals. This prevents the pump from maintaining the pressure necessary to circulate the water. Air bubbles can also find their way into the pump, providing resistance and hindering water from circulating properly. If you experience a loss of heat, but the rest of the boiler seems to be running fine, it’s likely that you have a problem with your circulator pump.

If your boiler looks like it needs repair, call Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration. We provide boiler repair services throughout the Albuquerque area.

What Is Water Hammer?

February 5th, 2015

There are lots of household noises we take for granted: the click of the thermostat, the spinning of the washing machine, the hum of the heating system. But there is a sound that can emanate from plumbing systems that may seem normal but really isn’t: that BANG! when you turn off a faucet. This sound means that you have a problem called water hammer, and it can cause some serious problems with your Santa Fe plumbing.

The Problem

When we open a water tap in our home, the water comes out in a nice flow, in a manner that seems effortless. The truth is that this end result belies what happens in your pipes: the water rushes and tumbles forward with a great deal of pressure, and this pressure is held in check by sections of your plumbing known as air chambers. These chambers provide a cushion of air that helps keep the water from literally slamming into the valves when they close, as they do when you close a tap.

Water hammer develops when an air chamber or chambers become flooded with water and can no longer provide the needed cushion for the rushing water. So that bang you are hearing is actually a bang because it is the sound of the water slamming into your closed valve.

Ancillary Problems

That banging sound is unpleasant, but it also unfortunately not your only problem if you are experiencing water hammer. First, the reduction of air chambers can lead to a pressure imbalance throughout your entire plumbing system; in turn, this can lead to burst pipes or pressure issues with other faucets in your home. Second, that constant slamming of water against your valves can cause damage to the valve itself, which will require repair. As such, if you are hearing that notorious slam every time you open a faucet, it’s time to call for an expert.

Water hammer can happen in one faucet, all your faucets and even in your heating pipes should you have a boiler system. Water hammer does not go away on its own, so if you are hearing a BANG! from your Santa Fe plumbing, call the experts at Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration today.