SPS Mechanical Inc. Blog : Archive for February, 2015

What is Backflow Testing and Why Do I Need It?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

One of the greatest attributes of our society is our access to clean drinking water. Turn on a faucet in your home or business, and you expect to see clear clean water which has gone through an extensive treatment process. Before it reaches your plumbing system, water is filtered and treated at your municipality’s water treatment plant. However, there are still ways in which contaminants can reach your home, and backflow testing is one of the best ways to prevent this.

If a cross connection exists anywhere in your pipes, there is a possibility of backflow. Backflow occurs when there is a sudden drop in your water pressure and the pipes draw in liquids from a cross connection. This can include lawn irrigation systems, in which water pools around sprinklers and may contain animal droppings or fertilizers. Or it can happen at a boiler tank, which is problematic if your boiler feedwater is treated with chemicals.

Unfortunately, many plumbing systems contain cross connections that are not regulated by a backflow prevention device. A backflow prevention device contains valves which only allow water to flow in one direction. If the pressure drop causes liquid to get sucked into the pipes, then it is blocked. But it is possible that problems can occur, so backflow testing helps to ensure that your water system remains protected.

In some cases, regular backflow prevention testing is mandated by law, so check with local codes to find out if you need to get on a regular backflow testing schedule. For residential use, you may only call a plumber for inspections by choice, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your home. Experts will go over every portion of your backflow prevention device to ensure it is in proper working order. They may make a few minor adjustments as well. Afterwards, you’ll get certification that everything is functioning correctly, or our technicians will go over your options for repair.

Contact the experts at SPS Mechanical Inc. to schedule services for the backflow preventer for your home or commercial property in Sewell. Give us a call today!

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Client Request: What Does a Backflow Preventer Do?

Monday, February 16th, 2015

In many ways, we take our modern plumbing system for granted. Clean water and proper drainage are luxuries that we’ve come to expect, in part because our plumbing systems are designed to prevent impurities from entering the water system. Most municipalities put their water through a rigorous water treatment process before it reaches the residential areas. However, this doesn’t mean that contaminants cannot possibly reach your water supply. Unfortunately, undesirable cross-connections may occur and, if so, this will allow groundwater, pesticides, or wastewater to enter your drinking water. This is why most residential and commercial plumbing systems are outfitted with a backflow preventer.

The water supply is kept under very high pressure so that water can easily flow from a tap in your home. But let’s say that there was a sudden drop in this pressure. Perhaps the water line burst all of a sudden, or maybe a nearby fire hydrant discharged large volumes of water, drawing from your water supply. This abrupt drop in pressure could force a reverse-flow in the water line, sucking in any nearby source of liquid. This means that pesticides in the ground or even sewage could potentially move into the water pipes.

Backflow preventers are required components of most plumbing systems in order to keep this sort of contamination from occurring. Many have a series of check valves and air gaps that help to stop backflow, while other more advanced backflow preventers are more complex. These models, called reduced pressure zone devices, work even if check valves malfunction due to a pressure-monitored chamber.

A backflow preventer is a necessary component in any plumbing layout, but it requires regular maintenance if you want to keep your water supply protected. You should have a plumber check your backflow preventer every once in a while, or you can ask your plumber to test your backflow preventer during an annual plumbing maintenance visit.

At SPS Mechanical Inc., we maintain and repair backflow preventers in Sicklerville, and we also provide backflow prevention device certification and testing. Even if your plumbing system appears to be fine, you should consider testing it to make sure your home or business continues to be protected. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at SPS Mechanical Inc. hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

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What to Do if Your Heat Pump Is Struggling in the Cold Weather

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Heat pumps are remarkably efficient home heating systems. As more and more homeowners become aware of this option for heating their homes, heat pumps are rising in popularity. While they are excellent systems in many ways, however, heat pumps do have areas where they struggle. One of those areas is that of extremely cold weather. Here, we’ll cover what to do if your heat pump begins to struggle in the cold weather.

Cause and Effect

The reason that heat pumps tend to struggle in colder weather has to do with their method of heating. A heat pump is not a combustion based system. Instead of burning fuel, a heat pump will move heat from one area to another to heat a space. With most heat pumps, that heat has to come from outside.

There are two parts to every heat pump, an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. When the heat is turned on, the outdoor unit will siphon heat from the surrounding air and send it inside to heat the home. The problem is that the colder the air gets, the less heat is available. This leads to a loss of heating efficiency the lower the temperature drops. Now, you may be wondering what the point of a heating system is if it can’t deal with the cold. It’s important to remember that we’re talking about sub-zero temperatures here, not a snowy day here and there.

Check the Outdoor Unit

If you aren’t getting enough heat from your heat pump, you should check the outdoor unit first and foremost. Is the outside of the unit casing covered in ice? If so, you may have a broken defrost cycle. As the outdoor unit leeches heat from the air, it creates condensation that then freezes on the outside of the unit. Normally, this isn’t a problem since the heat pump has a defrost cycle to melt the ice. However, if the defrost cycle stops working the unit can ice over completely. When that happens, it has no way to get thermal energy from the air and will start to blow cold air into the house. If you notice a lot of ice on the outside of your heat pump, you should call a professional.

If your heat pump is having issues, call SPS Mechanical Inc. to schedule an appointment with us today. We provide quality heat pump repairs throughout the Deptford Township area.

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