BLOGS

How to Successfully Unclog Your Drains

How to Successfully Unclog Your Drains?

One day, you start to notice that the water in your sink is draining just a bit slower than usual. This is certainly a nuisance. The good news is though, that clogged drains can usually be resolved rather easily. If you need some suggestions on how to get the job done, you have come to the right place.

Homemade Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners, while effective, are fraught with harsh ingredients that can irritate the eyes and sinuses of those in your household. But good old home remedies are often just as good, if not better at getting the job done. Here is something to try pour half a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Follow that by pouring half a cup of vinegar down as well. Then cover the drain with a cloth or a drain stopper. Give the powerful combo about an hour to get to work. Afterwards, rinse the drain with a bit of boiling water. If the drain is still not working efficiently, try going through the process a few times to really break up whatever grime is down there.

Snake the Drain

Plumber’s snakes are excellent tools for any homeowner to have handy. You can go as simple or as fancy as you like, with snakes ranging from $10-$200. Whether you have a manual or electrical snake, the motions will be about the same. Slowly send the snake down the troubled drain. You will have to maneuver around the curves of the pipes, but once you hit the clog you will know it. Once you have located the source of the clog, slowly turn the snake to break up and/or attach the snake to the clog. Then, slowly draw the snake back towards you. If the debris is quite substantial, you may need to repeat this process a few times as well.

Clean the Drain Trap

Under just about every sink is what is called a u-pipe or drain trap. This curved piece of plumbing is particularly prone to clogging. So, it is never a bad idea to clean it out occasionally. You can do this by grabbing an empty bucket and a wrench. Place the bucket underneath the u- pipe. This is to catch any water and debris. Loosen the nuts on each end of the pipe and flip it over your bucket to let any debris be thrown away. You can use a toothbrush or gloved hands to remove gunk and grime manually. Give the pipe a little rinse after that and then you can reassemble it.

Usually, clearing clogged drains on your own is easy. But if you tried these tips and still have a drain that is not working properly, then it is time to call the trusted professionals at BL James & Son. We will be able to successfully diagnose the issue and resolve it with no problem!

By BL James and Son 10-8-2020

AC Troubleshooting

AC Troubleshooting

It is nearly impossible to survive the summer without an air conditioner, or at least most of us wouldn’t want to be without one during the hottest months of the year. If your air conditioner is not working properly, then it can create a lot of frustration and discomfort. The good news is that it is usually easy to troubleshoot the most common AC issues yourself! Here’s how.

Problem: The AC Won't Turn On

Solution: If your air conditioner won't turn on, then it is a good idea for you to make sure that your air conditioner is receiving power from the electrical panel. You will need to replace the fuse or reset the circuit breaker if your air conditioner is not receiving any power.

You should also check the thermostat settings. Make sure that it is set to cool. You should also make sure that the blower door on the air handler is closed.

Problem: Your Air Conditioner Turns On, But It Is Not Cooling

Solution: If your air conditioner turns on but it is not cooling, then you may want to check the thermostat to make sure it is on the correct setting. You will also want to check the condenser to see if it is blocked or dirty. Grass, weeds and debris can clog your condenser.

In addition to these steps, you should also check your air filter. If it is dirty, then you will need to clean it or change it in order for your unit to run properly. Additionally, you should check and clean the outdoor compressor. If you notice that the compressor is faulty, or it does not have an adequate amount of refrigerant, then you know it is time to call professionals like the team at BL James and Son.

Problem: Poor Airflow

Solution: This problem is typically caused by a dirty air filter. If the air filter is exceptionally dirty, you will need to either clean it or replace it. Another area to check is the ductwork. Many times, poor airflow is often caused by disconnected ductwork.

For the most part, when your A/C unit is not working as it should, all it requires is a simple fix. If you have followed these guidelines and you still cannot get your unit to work efficiently, then give BL James and Son a call! We are trusted and reliable and would love to help get your home feeling comfortable again.

By BL James and Son 10-8-2020

How to Get Your Fireplace Ready for the Cooler Seasons

How to Get Your Fireplace Ready for the Cooler Seasons?

Your fireplace is often the focal point when cold weather arrives. If it hasn't been used in several months, preparing the firebox should be a top priority. Explore these tips for getting your fireplace ready with safety in mind.

1. Perform a Basic Cleanup

Before you try any fire in the fireplace, take some time to prepare the box. Remove any old ash and wood debris. Use the vacuum to suck out the finer powder afterward. Discard the ash or use some of it in the garden as a clever soil additive. Take a moment to inspect the firebox's walls too. There shouldn't be any cracks or damage. If any damage is observed, call a professional for a thorough examination.

2. Hire a Professional

Ideally, contact a professional for an annual inspection. The chimney and fireplace are household structures that must be maintained for value and safety purposes. Professionals can inspect both the interior and exterior sections, including the chimney damper and cap. If you have a gas fireplace, technicians can test it for safe operations.

In fact, the professionals can also remove the creosote or residue that builds up on the chimney walls. Without a yearly cleaning, the entire structure is prone to fire hazards.

3. Inspect the Exterior

Use some binoculars to pinpoint any cracks that might reside on the chimney's exterior surface. Be aware of any tree branches that might hang over the structure too. Prune them well before having a fire.

Don't forget to stock up on firewood that's stored away from the home's foundation. You don't want to encourage pests to harbor in the wood and enter the home afterward. These exterior elements are crucial to a safe and well-organized household with fires blazing every night.

4. Add a Few New Elements

You might take some time before winter to update the fireplace. Think about adding new doors to the firebox, which can provide enhanced safety and better warmth control. Install new fireplace tools and add a shiny key for the gas line. All of these updates will refresh the fireplace's appearance as you focus on safely preparing it for the cooler months ahead.

For any further questions, be sure to give us at BL James and Son a call! We service all heating and cooling systems for both residential and commercial buildings alike so that you are always comfortable year-round. Take care of your fireplace this fall so that winter is a warm and relaxing time for all.

By BL James and Son 10-8-2020