SPS Mechanical Inc. Blog: Archive for January, 2014

How Geothermal Heating Works

Monday, January 27th, 2014

If you walk outside on a cold day and stand on a bare patch of ground, you may wonder how you could extract heat from it use it to warm your house. However, geothermal heat pumps work with incredible efficiency that you won’t find in many other heating systems. Where standard heat pumps, which use the air as their source for heat exchange,  lose efficiency in very cold weather, geothermal heat pumps do not encounter the same problem because the temperature under the earth stays the same year round.

We’ll explain the operation of geothermal heating (which also applies to cooling) so you’ll understand some of its benefits. Call SPS Mechanical Inc. for more information, and to set up an appointment to see if a geothermal heat pump will work where you live.

Geothermal Heat

The earth itself is a source of heat: the core radiates warmth out toward the planet’s surface, and the continental plates float around on a molten sea. Although you can’t sense this from just walking around on the surface, you will notice it if you dig down only 10 feet. At this point, the temperature stabilizes to around fifty degrees, and does not fluctuate much, regardless of the chill of the air above. A geothermal system exploits this temperature stability and uses it as the medium for the heat exchange in its heat pump.

Underground pipes, called loop fields, are buried down in the earth near a home. Vertical loops will be buried deep, but horizontal loop systems won’t require as much digging to install. Antifreeze flows through these loops, and it absorbs heat from the earth.  The heat is than transferred to your heat pump system via a heat exchanger, and the heat pump uses that heat to warm the air that is then distributed throughout your ducts. (During the summer, the process reverses, and heat is removed from the home and put into the ground.)

Air-source heat pumps lose efficiency when the temperature drops below freezing, but geothermal heat pumps won’t have this problem because the ground provides a consistent temperature (usually around 55°F) . The geothermal pump also operates almost silently and works so efficiently that it can usually pay for itself with energy savings in 5–10 years. Geothermal heating is also beneficial to the environment, with almost zero emissions.

Professional Geothermal Installation

Only professional geothermal installers can correctly perform the job of setting up a system for you. Installers can also determine if geothermal will work for your location, since not every home is ideally situated for this type of heating.

SPS Mechanical Inc. has geothermal experts ready to help you if you are interested using the power of the earth for heating in Sicklerville, NJ. Call us today.

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Benefits of Using Geothermal Heating

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Geothermal heating isn’t a new development; Iceland has heated homes for hundreds of years using the heat from volcanic fissures on the island. However, it is only recently that homeowners in the U.S. have started to take advantage of advances in technology that bring the heat from the earth itself right into their living rooms.

Geothermal heating uses coils buried in the ground around a home to transport the earth’s stable heat to an indoor air handler. Essentially, a geothermal system is a heat pump that uses the ground instead of the air as its medium for exchange (i.e. a “ground-source heat pump” as opposed to an “air-source heat pump”). They offer some substantial benefits to homeowners. If you are interested in geothermal heating in Haddonfield, NJ, contact SPS Mechanical Inc. today and speak to one of our specialists.

Some geothermal benefits

  • Stable heating: Air-source heat pumps have trouble extracting heat from below-freezing outdoor air—something that happens often in New Jersey. But below the earth’s surface, it maintains a steady temperature of around 55°F, so a geothermal system encounters little trouble providing sufficient heat no matter how cold it gets outside.
  • Energy efficiency: Although some homeowners shy away from the initial cost of installing a geothermal system, they often pay for themselves over time—and will last a very long time. Geothermal systems only use a small amount of electricity to extract heat from the ground, and can return six times the amount of energy they use in heating power. This can mean large savings from your energy bills.
  • Clean energy: If you are interested in heating that doesn’t damage the environment, then geothermal is one of your top options, since it creates almost no emissions.
  • Quiet operation: Most of the activity in a geothermal heat pump occurs underground, so you will have little in the way of noise pollution to deal with.
  • Safety: Since geothermal power does not require the burning of any fuel or create any emissions, they are among the safest options for heating.

Professional installation is key!

Geothermal systems require an elaborate installation process that places the coils down into the ground. This work requires specialists—and you should have them involved in the process from the beginning, since they will also be able to identify if your home will benefit from geothermal heating. (It isn’t suitable for every location.)

Choosing to go geothermal is a big step, but SPS Mechanical Inc. is available to make it as pain-free as possible. We’ll also make sure your installation is done correctly so you will enjoy all the advantages of the technology. Contact us today to get started.

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Are Pinhole Leaks a Serious Problem?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

“Pinhole leaks.” The name sound fairly innocuous: only the smallest leak possible that can appear along your pipes. Not really a big deal, probably something you can put off until you need a more serious plumbing repair, and then you can schedule whatever simple sealing will fix the trouble.

However, this is all far from the truth. Pinhole leaks are indeed a serious problem and one of the major issues that can occur with your plumbing, and they often go without notice until they have turned into much bigger problems. The U.S. EPA has identified pinhole leaks as a huge danger to homes and plumbing systems.

If you detect pinhole leaks, or any kind of leaking, in your home in West Deptford, NJ, plumbing experts like those at SPS Mechanical Inc. can help you solve the problem fast, before it causes any further damage.

Pinhole Leaks: What They Are and Why They Are Serious

EPA researchers have gathered data on how pinhole leaks occur. They appear to be the result of “a localized copper corrosion called pitting corrosion,” although the EPA is unsure of what causes this type of corrosion in the first place, since copper pipes are mostly resistant to other forms of corrosion. The pinhole leaks that result from this weakening along the copper pipes are tiny, only the size of a pinhead, but large enough to allow a small amount of water to start to drip out.

The dripping, usually occurring where you cannot detect that it is happening, will quickly build up and soak into the building material of your home. The EPA has found that the water from pinhole leaks damages drywall, warps wood flooring, and encourages mold growth, which will cause further damage to material. If not caught and repaired, the damage these small leaks can cause will eventually lead to the need for expensive repairs and possible health risks from collapsing material.

Call for Plumbing Repair Service

What can you do about pinhole leaks if they are often so hard to detect in the first place? One of your best defenses is to schedule maintenance on your plumbing: a routine visit from a trained plumber will identify hard-to-find plumbing issues and have them repaired before they turn worse. Pinhole leaking needs immediate fixing, so should you discover leaking anywhere in your house, call in experts in plumbing in West Deptford, NJ.

SPS Mechanical Inc. offers 24-hour emergency services whenever you need help to stop pinhole or any other type of leaks. Call us today.

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3 Important Facts about Oil to Gas Conversion

Monday, January 13th, 2014

If you are still using oil to fuel the furnace or boiler heating your home, then it might be time for you to take into serious consideration a conversion to natural gas. Many homes have already undergone the oil-to-gas conversion to their benefit—and the benefits are numerous.

Here are 3 important facts we think all homeowners who current rely on oil for heating need to know about making the conversion. Call SPS Mechanical Inc. for additional information, as well as to schedule a conversion or any other heating repair in Sewell, NJ.

1. It can save you money

We can rely on studies by the federal Energy Information Administration to tell us that an oil-to-gas conversion will save you a significant amount on your heating bills each winter. The EIA’s 2011 study showed an average family would save close to $2,000 over a single winter by changing from burning oil to burning natural gas. This will quickly offset the cost of conversion. This, of course, varies by region because fuel costs can be different.

2. It can help the environment

Natural gas is one of the cleanest-burning fuels available, producing fewer sulfur, carbon, and nitrogen emissions than oil. It also doesn’t leaves behind ash particles after burning. This decreases such environmental dangers as smog, acid rain, and greenhouse gasses. If you are interested in helping the planet while saving money, than natural gas is the perfect route to take.

3. You must have it done by specialists

Obviously, you can’t perform an oil-to-gas conversion on your own without training: you wouldn’t even know where to begin. However, you can’t simply turn to any heating contractor to do the work; you need to hire a contractor who specializes in this service. If you can hire a contractor that handles both standard home heating and conversions, then you’ll have the convenience of only dealing with one company, which will make the job go much smoother.

Keep in mind, when you are considering a conversion to natural gas, that a natural gas line into your home can do more than run your furnace or boiler. It can also be used for ovens, stoves, and even some models of clothes dryers. You’ll be making a large investment in home comfort that affects many aspects of your life.

SPS Mechanical Inc. has you covered when it comes to oil-to-gas conversions. We can help your whole house make the switch, with little inconvenience to you. Contact us today for details about our services and other heating repair in Sewell, NJ.

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Ask a Plumber: What Causes Pipes to Rust?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Rust is the common name for the red oxides that form because of a reaction between iron and oxygen that is in contact with water or water moisture. Rust is a major problem for any homeowner, because it eats into metal and weakens it, eventually causing the metal to crumble and flake away. If rust occurs in your pipes, it will become a serious problem: it will start to block off the flow of water through the pipes, and will also lead to massive leaking. Rusted pipes cannot be repaired: they need a plumber to replace them.

But what causes pipes to start rusting in the first place? Even though most plumbing consists of metal and water, rust only occurs occasionally, so there must be specific reasons for it to happen. We’ll answer this question, straight from the experience of professional plumbers.

SPS Mechanical Inc. can send a plumber in Sicklerville, NJ to assist you with any rust that is affecting your pipes. Our plumbers are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer flat-rate pricing so you’ll know the costs in advance.

What causes pipes to rust?

The main reason that pipes rust is that they are constructed from outdated material. If you have an older home, it may have pipes made from metal more prone to corrosion. Modern homes almost exclusively use copper and PEX water pipes, which have a high resistance to rust. Older plumbing was usually made from galvanized steel, and this rusts from the inside out, making it hard to notice that it is occurring. The rust inside old steel pipes can get bad enough that it will cause the water pressure to spike because of constriction, leading to massive leaking. If you still have galvanized steel pipes in your home, you should consider getting complete piping replacement: there’s no better way to combat rust and future plumbing issues.

You need a plumber in Sicklerville, NJ

Rust needs remedy fast—and that remedy is to have the affected pipes replaced. This work requires a professional plumber; attempts to replace pipes yourself can lead to loose connections and even worse leaking problems. When you need those corroded pipes replaced quickly and effectively, call SPS Mechanical Inc. Our radio-dispatched vans will get out to you right away!

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