Frymire Home Services Blog: Archive for February, 2021

Why Won’t My Pilot Light Stay Lit?

February 28th, 2021

Your furnace’s pilot light provides the flame that ignites the gas coming out of its burner. If your pilot light is out, your furnace will be unable to provide any heat to your home. Don’t worry – all modern furnaces have a fail-safe device that keeps gas from continuing to fill the burner. Once your pilot light goes out, you will have to open your furnace and relight it manually. A pilot light that won’t stay lit can be a constant source of frustration, so read on to learn why this might be happening to your furnace.

Possibility #1: Dirty Pilot Light

When your pilot light is on, take a look at the flame. It should be a strong blue flame. If it small, flickering, or yellow-orange, your pilot light’s tip might be dirty or corroded. This impedes the flow of gas, making your pilot light weak and more likely to go out. Turn off the gas valve on your furnace, then use a thin needle to clean out the hole in the tip of your pilot light. If it seems too corroded, you can remove the pilot assembly and buy a new one to replace it for a relatively inexpensive fix.

Possibility #2: Faulty Thermocouple

Your furnace’s thermocouple senses whether your pilot light is on and shuts off the supply of gas if it does not detect a flame. This keeps gas from being released without a way to burn it up. If the thermocouple is dirty, misaligned, or malfunctioning, it might fail to detect your pilot light and shut off the gas supply, which will then cause your pilot light to go out. Take a look at a diagram of your furnace (most likely available on the manufacturer’s website or in your manual) and locate the thermocouple. Remove the heat sensing end and clean it. When you put it back, make sure it lines up with where the flame should be. If that doesn’t solve your problem, your thermocouple could be malfunctioning. You should contact a trusted HVAC company to take a look and replace it if needed.

Possibility #3: Drafts

If you can’t find any issue in your furnace that would cause your pilot light to go out, a draft of air may be blowing the flame out. Relight your pilot light and wait. If it starts to flicker, put your hand near it and see if you can feel any air currents. If it seems fine, pay special attention to the wind conditions around your home and see if windy weather correlates with your pilot light going out.

Possibility #4: Faulty Gas Regulator

Your home’s gas regulator controls the flow of natural gas not just to your furnace, but to all your gas appliances. If you have other gas appliances and are having issues with them, your gas regulator could be damaged or malfunctioning. If this is the case, your pilot light may sometimes not have enough gas to stay lit. The gas regulator is the responsibility of your natural gas provider, so call them to have someone come check it out.

The Best Way to Fix a Pilot Light That Won’t Stay Lit

While the reasons listed above are the most common issues that cause pilot light troubles, there are many other possibilities. The best way to get to the bottom of any pilot light problem and restore your furnace to working order is to call in a licensed HVAC professional. They’ll have the experience to diagnose your furnace and will know all the proper safety procedures to check for and prevent gas leaks.

For over six decades, Frymire Home Services has been providing expert furnace repair and maintenance in the Dallas area and beyond. Our service professionals offer you “A Higher Degree of Comfort,” backed with extensive training and the experience necessary to see that your furnace functions at top safety and efficiency. If you’re having issues with an unreliable pilot light, give us a call!

If your pilot light won’t stay on, trust the experts at Frymire Home Services for furnace inspection, repair, and maintenance in Dallas, TX. Call us at 972-620-3600 or contact us online today!

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Indoor Air Quality in Schools: Teacher’s Checklist

February 18th, 2021

Male teacher instructing classroom full of young students.

Children spend a large part of every weekday at school, so creating a healthy environment is paramount to their learning and general health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, which can cause detrimental side effects to sensitive populations. The most common allergens found in the air at schools are dust mites, pests, and mold. Children with allergic asthma can suffer from asthma attacks due to these contaminants.

Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in school can contribute to an uncomfortable learning environment and lack of focus in students. More importantly, it can cause chronic health issues that result in missed school days.

Signs That Poor IAQ May Be Affecting Your Students’ Health

Parents are often the first to notice if their child is suffering from the effects of poor indoor air quality, but teachers have the advantage of being able to monitor multiple children. Be on the lookout for these signs that indicate poor IAQ in your school:

  • Multiple students complain about asthma or allergy symptoms during certain times of the day or week.
  • Students report feeling better when they leave the school but have symptoms again when they return.
  • Your school has recently been renovated or refurnished.
  • You or your school have recently introduced new or different materials or equipment.
  • Your school started using new cleaning or pesticide products or practices.
  • Your school allows smoking.
  • Your classroom has adopted a new warm-blooded animal.

What Can Teachers do About Poor IAQ in Classrooms?

Teachers are often the first school employees to notice the effects of poor indoor air quality on their students. They should take their concerns to the school administration, who should bring in a licensed HVAC contractor to evaluate the school’s air quality and provide air cleaning and purifying solutions.

On a smaller scale, teachers can combat low IAQ in their classrooms by going through the following checklist provided by the EPA:

General Cleanliness in Classrooms

  • Rooms are dusted and vacuumed regularly
  • Rooms are free of clutter
  • Trash is removed daily
  • No food is stored in the classroom overnight
  • Animal food is stored in tightly-sealed containers
  • Rooms are free of pests and vermin
  • Unscented, school-approved cleaners and air fresheners are used

Animals in Classrooms

  • Exposure to animal allergens is minimized
  • Animals are kept in cages (as much as possible)
  • Cages are cleaned regularly
  • Animal cages are placed away from supply and return vents
  • School nurse is consulted about any specific student allergies or sensitivities
  • Sensitive students are moved away from animals and habitats

Drain Traps in Classrooms

  • Water is poured down floor drains once per week (approx. one quart of water)
  • Water is run in sinks at least once per week (about two cups of water)
  • Toilets are flushed once each week, especially if not used regularly

Excess Moisture in Classrooms

  • Condensate is wiped from windows, windowsills, and window frames
  • Coldwater pipes are free of condensate
  • Indoor surfaces of exterior walls are free of condensate
  • Areas around and under classroom sinks are free of leaks
  • Classroom lavatories are free of leaks
  • Ceiling tiles and walls are free of leaks (discoloration may indicate periodic leaks)
  • Spills are cleaned promptly

Thermal Comfort in Classrooms

  • Classrooms maintain a moderate temperature (should generally be 72°F–76°F)
  • No signs of draftiness
  • Students are not seated in direct sunlight
  • Indoor humidity is maintained at acceptable levels (between 30% and 60%)

Ventilation in Classrooms

  • Know where the unit ventilator is located
  • Know where the air supply and return vents are located
  • Air is flowing from the supply vent
  • Air supply pathway is not obstructed
  • No vehicle exhaust, kitchen/food, and chemical odors in the classroom
  • No signs of mold or mildew
  • Know how to open the windows

Educational Supplies in Art, Science & Industrial/Vocational Classrooms

  • Supplies and their labels are reviewed
  • Material Safety Data Sheets are accessible
  • Spill clean-up procedures are developed and implemented
  • All chemicals are accurately labeled with the date of receipt/preparation and pertinent precautionary information
  • Supplies are stored according to manufacturers’ recommendations
  • Recommended procedures for disposal of used substances are understood and followed
  • Compressed gas cylinders are stored securely
  • Storage areas are ventilated separately from the main classroom area
  • Diluted substances are used in place of concentrates wherever possible
  • Exposure to hazardous materials is minimized
  • Fume hoods capture respirable particles, gases, and vapors

Local Exhaust Fans in Classrooms

  • Major pollutant-generating activities are identified
  • Exhaust fans are located
  • Exhaust fans are operable
  • Adjacent rooms or halls are free of odor

Call Frymire Home Services for IAQ Issues in Your Dallas, TX School

We know that teachers and school administrators have a lot on their plates and that indoor air quality shouldn’t be their responsibility. Poor IAQ in schools is often the result of aging school buildings, so it takes an IAQ expert to evaluate schools and determine what can be done to improve them. At Frymire Home Services, we’ve been serving the HVAC needs of the Dallas area for over 60 years. We have the experience and resources to assess your school and identify the causes of poor IAQ.

We combat low IAQ with ventilation solutions, air duct cleaning, air filtration and purification systems, and heat and energy recovery ventilators that bring fresh air into the building regardless of outside temperature or weather. Call Frymire to improve your school’s indoor air quality for the health and success of your students.

If you need indoor air quality solutions for your school in Dallas, TX, trust the IAQ experts at Frymire Home Services. Give us a call at 972-620-3600 or contact us online today!

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DFW Frozen Weather Tips

February 16th, 2021

Is there no hot or cold water flowing through your home’s plumbing system? With the extremely cold temperatures and weather hitting the Dallas-Fort Worth area lately, it’s likely that your pipes are frozen. Unfortunately, if your pipes are already frozen, there is little you can do until the weather warms up and your lines thaw out. However, we do have some preventative steps you can take to avoid the hassle of a frozen plumbing system.

Tips for Preventing a Frozen Plumbing System

Consider these preventative tips from the Frymire Home Services team to help protect your pipes from freezing:

  • Run lukewarm water in areas where you see the line is frozen.
  • Make sure you are dripping both cold and hot water at your fixtures to prevent your lines from freezing.
  • Make sure you have an insulated covering on your outside faucets (hose bibbs).
  • Maintain a warm temperature at your thermostat.
  • Open your cabinet doors below your fixtures to warm your lines with the latent heat from your home.

Despite the difficult weather we are facing, you should NEVER attempt to heat your plumbing lines, as this can cause them to burst, leading to more significant and costly damage. It’s also important to remember that when you do not have heat, hot water, or electricity, there is nothing a plumber can do until power is restored.

For scheduling or questions regarding your home’s plumbing system, please contact the Frymire Home Services team at 972.620.3600.

Currently, we are only booking life-threatening heating and plumbing emergencies during these difficult conditions.

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The 5 Most Common Signs of Sewer Line Issues

February 11th, 2021

A plumber uses a plunger to unclog a toilet.

Main sewer line issues can be a troublesome and costly issue to deal with in the Dallas metroplex. Due to our expansive soils, as well as the age of some of our homes, there can be a lot of wear and tear on our sewer lines, which can lead to some unwanted issues. Below are some of the most common symptoms of sewer line problems.

  1. Backups and blockages in your toilet and plumbing fixtures are common signs that your sewer line may be blocked. Loud, gurgling noises in your toilet and shower drains are a telltale sign that there may be a problem in the main sewer line.
  2. Odors from your drains can be embarrassing and could be a sign of a much bigger issue. Sewer odors are commonly caused by cracked pipes that are allowing air to flow through the line and can produce toxic sewer gas, which can sometimes be smelled.
  3. Slow drains are caused by several problems and can have a big effect on the efficiency of the plumbing in your home. From dishwashers to shower drains, slow drains can keep us from many essential tasks. Sitting water in these plumbing fixtures can be an embarrassing sign that there may be trouble in the sewer line.
  4. Foundation issues in your home will not always be attributed to plumbing issues, however they can be caused by leaking pipes, which are especially prevalent in older homes. Leaking pipes can cause voids in your yard and when left untreated can cause damage to the foundation and other lines within your home.
  5. Mold can build up in the walls of high-traffic areas and can be a sign that there may be a leak in the line behind the wall. Water lines tend to run throughout your home, so a leak in one of the lines can go unseen and undetected for years. Mold can be very dangerous to the air quality of your home and for the health of those inside.

Causes of Sewer Line Damage

We commonly associate sewer blockages with baby wipes and feminine hygiene products, but there are plenty more causes. The disposal of grease over time can accumulate in sewer lines and cause blockages. Additionally, tree roots are strong enough to break through pipes and cause leaks in your lines.

Texas soil movement is common and can be to blame for certain foundation issues. Over time this can cause sewer lines to collapse or cause bellied pipes. Bellied pipes are when pipes tend to sag or bellow and can cause sewage buildup. This can cause water and waste buildup and disrupt the flow of the lines within your home. This usually requires expensive excavation work and can be quite unseemly.

When it comes to older homes, cast iron pipes and clay pipes can deteriorate over time and weaken the water lines, which in turn causes leaks throughout the home. Sewer pipes are susceptible to root intrusion. The roots seek out abundant nutrients that are found inside of the sewer pipes. Once the roots make their way inside, they branch out and fill the hole, causing a severe blockage. Cast iron pipes, while durable, are harder to repair and are frequently replaced by plumbers now. As with homes built before the 1970s, concrete and clay were commonly used. Concrete pipes were considered durable at the time, but we have now realized over time these pipes suffered from gradual erosion, causing cracks, leaks, and expensive repairs.

— Alex Jordan

Frymire Home Services understands the importance of quality plumbing. We believe in educating and informing our customers to help them become experts in their homes’ plumbing. To learn more about plumbing visit our website at www.frymire.com or call us at 972-620-3600 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed technicians. 

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How Do I Check My Water Heater Thermostat?

February 10th, 2021

If you’re experiencing problems with the hot water in your home, one way you can troubleshoot your electric water heater is by checking its thermostats. Recalibrating or replacing a thermostat is a relatively simple repair, so it’s worth testing them before despairing that your water heater has heated its last shower. You can check your water heater’s thermostats using a multimeter, which is an electrical measuring tool easily purchased online or in any home improvement store.

Signs That Your Water Heater’s Thermostat Might Be Faulty

Most electric water heaters have two thermostats: an upper one and a lower one. The upper thermostat is the primary thermostat and is attached to the high limit switch, which keeps your water from getting dangerously hot. Depending on which thermostat is malfunctioning, you may see different symptoms:

  • No hot water – This most likely indicates a problem with the upper thermostat.
  • Not enough hot water – This most likely indicates a problem with the upper thermostat.
  • Slow hot water recovery – This is another problem that can occur when the lower thermostat is malfunctioning.
  • Water is too hot – Overly hot water can occur if either thermostat (or both) is set too high or isn’t calibrated correctly.
  • High limit switch keeps tripping – If the red reset button on your water heater keeps popping out and needing to be reset, your upper thermostat could be malfunctioning. This would allow your water heater to keep heating the water to dangerous levels, which will trip your high limit switch.

If you notice any of these signs and you happen to have a multimeter, test your water heater’s thermostats to see if they’re the problem.

How To Test Your Water Heater’s Thermostat

To test your water heater’s thermostats, you will need a flathead screwdriver and a multimeter. With those tools at hand, follow the steps below:

  1. Power off – Turn off your water heater’s breaker on your electrical panel.
  2. Remove panels – Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the upper and lower thermostat access panels. The thermostats should be covered by a layer of insulation, so fold it out of the way and secure it temporarily with tape.
  3. Upper thermostat test #1 – Using your screwdriver, turn the upper thermostat to its maximum temperature. Adjust the multimeter to RX1. Place one meter probe on the bottom left terminal. Place the other meter probe on the terminal screw #1 just above the #2 terminal. You should get a reading of 0. If you don’t get a reading at all, the thermostat is faulty.
  4. Upper thermostat test #2 – Turn the upper thermostat temperature to the lowest setting. You should hear it click off. Place one probe on  terminal #1. Place the other probe on the bottom right terminal screw (#4). You should get a reading of 0. If you don’t get a reading at all, the thermostat is faulty.
  5. Lower thermostat test – The lower thermostat is easier because it only has two terminals. First, use your screwdriver to turn the temperature all the way up. (The upper thermostat must be clicked off, which should have been achieved in step #4.) Place a meter probe on each of the terminal screws. You should get a reading of 0. If you don’t get a reading at all, the thermostat is faulty.

When you are finished, be sure to adjust the thermostat temperatures back to normal, replace the insulation, and screw the panels back on.

Expert Water Heater Repair in Dallas

If you find that your water heater’s thermostats are faulty, you’ll need a trusted plumbing company to repair or replace them. If you live in the Dallas area, your first call should be Frymire Home Services. Our expert plumbers will quickly get to the bottom of your water heater problem. We can replace your water heater’s thermostat or diagnose any other water heater issue. With more than 65 years of plumbing service, we have the skill and experience to restore proper function to your water heater.

For water heater repair or a new water heater thermostat in Dallas, count on the skilled plumbers at Frymire Home Services. Call us today at 972-620-3600 or contact us online!

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