Frymire Home Services Blog

Air Cleaners vs. Air Purifiers: What’s the Difference?

April 15th, 2021

There’s no slicing it sideways – this pandemic has been a grade-A pain-in-the…air. But one thing we here at Frymire are thankful for, is that it’s gotten people to take their indoor air quality more seriously. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. What’s more, children, the elderly, and people with chronic respiratory or pulmonary illnesses are most susceptible to bad indoor air quality’s hazards.

For these reasons, many homeowners are turning to residential air treatment solutions to help combat the dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCS), and other every-day airborne dangers floating around in their home.

Unfortunately, what starts as an innocent Google search often turns into a frustrating rabbit hole. There are dozens of different air treatment solutions out there, and the most frequent question we get? What’s the difference between an “air cleaner” and an “air purifier?” Isn’t “clean” a synonym of “purify?” Why all the quibbling?

We understand that this isn’t exactly intuitive, so we’ve broken down the differences between air cleaners and air purifiers for you, and have given some basic benefits and drawbacks of each.

Sift, Strain, and Filter – The Air Cleaner’s MO

Air cleaners filter your home’s air using specialized, carbon-based filters.

Air Cleaner Benefits

Air cleaners are great at trapping the large pollutants like dust and pet dander. Folks with asthma, chronic upper-respiratory issues, or seasonal allergies will thank you profusely for installing one. Air cleaners also improve air circulation in the home, which is correlated with better indoor air quality.

Air Cleaner Drawbacks

Because of the fan needed to effectively circulate and filter the air, air cleaners are often noisy. Further, while they take care of larger particulates, air cleaners are not designed or tested to combat viruses, bacteria, chemicals, cigarette smoke, and other smaller health hazards. Air cleaner filters can also be expensive, and must be periodically replaced.

Zap, Pulse, Sanitize – The Power of the Air Purifier

Air purifiers sanitize the air by emitting a cleansing agent, such as heat, ozone, negative ions, or UV light.

Air Purifier Benefits

Rather than just focusing on respiratory irritants, air purifiers zero in on the pathogens that make us sick and cause allergies. Air purifiers are often silent or nearly silent to operate and are overall less expensive to operate than an air cleaner.

Air Purifier Drawbacks

Air purifiers do little or no dust removal, so if that’s your main pollutant, an air purifier won’t help much. Furthermore, an air purifier’s effectiveness depends on how good your air circulation in your home is – and if it’s not very good, your air purifier will only purify the part of your home that’s nearest to the installation site.

Not Sure Which is Best for Your Home? Contact Frymire Home Services.

Our service professionals are trained and certified in the latest indoor air quality solutions, and we leave our customers better than we found them. We’ll walk you through your options and match you with the solution that’s right for your home’s particular needs and pollutants.

Give us a call at 972 – 620 – 3600, or contact us online today.

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Frozen Pipes? We have Solutions

April 13th, 2021

Frozen pipes are a serious problem and potentially a costly issue for Dallas homeowners. This was especially evident in the recent “snowpocalypse” which wreaked havoc in North Texas. Per the Texas Tribune1, an estimated 1.4 million Texans faced water disruptions even a week later. Many homeowners experienced burst pipes which resulted in flooded homes and left many without any running water for days.

As a homeowner, you are already faced with a myriad of decisions and expenditures for your property. So how exactly do you mitigate this risk during freezing temperatures? How do you ensure you don’t fall victim to costly pipe repairs? The answers to these questions may seem simple but they aren’t and could very well be the difference between having running water in your home or dealing with a very expensive pipe repair.

Common Types of Pipes

Let us begin by understanding the two most common types of pipes in your home, copper and PEX. PEX pipes are a durable, plastic material and cost less than copper. PEX generally tends to have a longer lifespan than copper and can expand, contract, and then return to original size. Due to its ability to shrink and expand, PEX resists freezing more effectively than rigid pipe, but it can still burst if water freezes in a line. Copper, while also durable, does expand and contract when heating and cooling, so the chance of breaking when frozen is not mitigated. Copper pipes are also more susceptible to corrosion & pinhole leaks.

What Causes Pipes to Freeze?

When pipes freeze, they tend to crack and break causing faucet fixtures to run air instead of water, which is a telltale sign that your pipes may be frozen.

Exposed pipes are at the greatest risk during freezing weather. Pipes can be found in some homes exposed in the attic or can be under the home in “pier and beam” homes. Pier & beam homes are aptly named since they are usually concrete, brick, or stone slabs supported by wooden piers or beams. The exposed pipes are subjected to the harsh elements outside during freezing and have a greater chance of cracking.

Burst plumbing lines underneath homes or under foundations can also be especially pricey. Due to the placement of the pipes, slab leaks or tunneling under foundations to repair piping can fetch a hefty price tag. Pipe leaks within the walls of your home can also cause mold over time if they are not repaired immediately, which is why proper leak detection by an expert HVAC contractor in your area is pertinent.

How to Prevent Freezing & Burst Pipes

So how do you prevent all the doom and gloom of broken pipes? Most of the time it can be as simple as leaving your faucets on a steady drip in the home during potential freezes. While the kitchen and bathroom faucets are the most common, dripping all the fixtures in your home can help mitigate the threat of frozen pipes. Make sure to mix hot and cold water to keep those pipes from freezing.

Hose Bibs

Homeowners usually tend to forget about exposed pipes. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Let us touch on the most common one, hose bibs. A hose bib is the connector for your lawn equipment such as hoses and other lawn essentials. They should be covered by a frost guard. Frost guards can be found at your local hardware store and essentially covers the hose bib and protects it from freezing temperatures. Several newer homes have been built with frostproof bibs which are made to endure extreme cold temps.

Insulating Pipes

Insulating exposed pipes are a great way to prevent pipes from freezing. As mentioned before, these exposed pipes can be found in your attic or under your home. Foam guards can be placed around the exposed pipes to add a layer of protection from the outside conditions. If you are worried about your pipes in the attic, try wrapping some newspaper around them before the freezing weather. Even one-fourth of an inch of paper can provide some protection for your non insulated pipes for a short period.

Indoor Temperature

Finally, keeping your home warm during the winter months can also prevent pipes from freezing. Make sure to keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night during potential freezing weather.


Citations: 1 https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/24/texas-water-winter-storm/

Thomas Evans

Frymire Home Services understands the importance of quality plumbing. We believe in educating and informing our customers which will 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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The Ultimate Air Conditioning Guide

March 29th, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About AC

Stepping into a cool home on a hot summer day and feeling your air conditioner hard at work is one of the absolute best feelings, especially when you are tired and sweaty. After a long day of working or playing outdoors, you deserve to be pampered. Likewise, having a nice, cool home plays an integral role in getting an ideal night’s sleep, which is imperative for a productive day.

That’s why choosing the right AC system for your home is so important. Fortunately, home air conditioning systems are more energy-efficient than ever before. If you’re looking to upgrade or replace your cooling system, the current AC options available can help keep you cool and save you money in the long term, but knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. This guide is designed to help you navigate through the complex decision-making process and equip you with helpful information that will allow you to select the ideal AC system for your home’s size, comfort needs, and budget.

8 Things Every Homeowner Should Know About AC Systems

1. What Is Central Air Conditioning?

Central air conditioning is one of the more common methods of home cooling. Essentially, air is cooled at a central location (hence the name “central AC”) and is then pushed throughout your home via ductwork and fans. Your air conditioner’s compressor plays an integral role in the AC process; it circulates the necessary refrigerant for heat exchange through the coils of the indoor and outdoor unit. It also applies energy to the refrigerant. Here’s how it all works:

  1. Your thermostat sends a signal to the circuit board in your furnace calling for cold air.
  2. The circuit board turns on the furnace/blower motor inside your home, along with the fan and compressor outside of your home.
  3. The blower motor draws in warm air through your home’s ductwork.
  4. Air from the ductwork is then blown through the evaporator coil, which turns warm air into cold.
  5. Cool air is dispersed throughout your home through your air vents.
  6. Refrigerant in your AC absorbs the heat from the indoor air as it flows through the evaporator coil and transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid.
  7. The heated refrigerant is pumped to the condenser. This condenser blows outside air across a different set of coils, which removes the heat from your home that was absorbed by the refrigerant.
  8. The refrigerant is then cooled down, turned back into a low-pressure gas, and returned into the home.

This process continues until the desired set temperature on your thermostat is achieved.

2. What Components Make Up an AC System?

The way your AC functions depends on the type of system you have, but most are made up of these three components:

  • Refrigerant: This is a chemical blend found in either a fluid or gaseous state. It absorbs heat from the environment and can provide refrigeration when combined with compressors and evaporators.
  • Outdoor Condensing unit: This is a temperature-controlled device that lives outside your home. This includes the fan, compressor, condenser coil, and refrigerant.
  • Indoor unit: The indoor unit carries the evaporator coil, which sits on top of the furnace inside your home. The coil absorbs the heat from your living space, creating cool, dehumidified air.

The outdoor and indoor units work together to send the refrigerant back and forth from the outside condenser coil to the inside evaporator coil.

3. What Are My Cooling Options?

There are two prominent types of AC systems commonly used across the country:

  1. Central air conditioning: Uses ductwork and vents to disperse cool air throughout your home in order to achieve the desired setting on your thermostat.
  2. Ductless mini-split: A ductless, or mini-split, air conditioning system, works very similarly to a regular central AC system, but without the ductwork. It is mounted on the wall in a single room and is used to cool smaller spaces without wasting energy cooling other rooms.

Which System Is Best for My Home?

It depends on your desired energy efficiency, the size of your home, and how sensitive you are to noise. Ductless mini-split systems offer increased energy efficiency, but they don’t run quite as quietly as a central air conditioning system. The experts at Frymire Home Services can help you decide which option would fit your home and your comfort needs most adequately.

4. Is AC Maintenance Really All That Important?

Yes, this is a very important step to ensure your system is running efficiently. Not only will annual AC maintenance ensure your systems lasts for the entire duration of its expected service life (and possibly even longer), it will also alert you to small issues before they escalate into larger, more expensive problems.

5. What Is Included in AC Maintenance?

When you schedule AC maintenance for your system, you can expect the technician to do the following:

  • Check your filter, replacing or cleaning it as needed
  • Inspect and tighten electrical connections
  • Inspect fuses and wiring
  • Test and inspect relays and pressure controls
  • Check to ensure that your thermostat is working properly
  • Check for refrigerant leaks
  • Check your ductwork for energy loss
  • Check the drain pan
  • Flush and treat condensate drain with anti-algae
  • Clean your system’s evaporator coil
  • Check the outside unit for damage
  • Inspect base pan and remove any obstructions
  • Remove any leaves, dirt, and debris from your outside unit

6. What Should I Do If My AC Stops Working?

If your home’s air conditioner stops working, there could be a variety of possible explanations. Here are some common culprits to troubleshoot before calling on a professional:

  • Check Your Thermostat. Make sure your thermostat program settings are correct, that it’s set to cool and not heat. Also, check the batteries to make sure they’re in good shape. If your thermostat isn’t working, it could be an electrical issue, which means you’ll need the help of pro.
  • Check Your Vents. Make sure all of your vents are open, ensuring that they are not blocked or obstructed by anything around them. If there still isn’t airflow, this may signal an issue.
  • Check Your Circuit Breaker. Your problem might be solved with a simple switch. It’s very common for circuit breakers to trip, so make sure the right circuit is switched on.
  • Check Your Filter. If your filter is dirty and clogged, you won’t get any airflow. The buildup can also cause dirt to accumulate in your ducts and your evaporator coils to freeze, which can clog the air even more. A dirty filter is often the cause of system short-cycling (which is when your AC comes off and on for short periods of time without cooling your home).
  • Check Your Air Ducts. If you have access to your ducts, look for any visible tears and make sure that the joints are sealed well. You can close up any leaks with foil-faced tape, or contact your local HVAC company to provide professional solutions.

7. Are There Any Special Programs or Offers to Save Money?

Yes! Enjoy value, peace of mind, and protection with Frymire’s Victory Comfort Club VIP maintenance plan, which offers valuable discounts to customers, including heating and cooling maintenance, VIP priority installation services, free diagnostic visits, repair discounts, and A LOT more!

8. What Should I Know Before Having a New AC System Installed?

Here are a few important things you should consider before your new system installation:

  • Get Your Old System Thoroughly Inspected. You should have your old AC system evaluated to see if it needs repair rather than replacing. This can also help you compare prices to determine which route would be more cost-effective long-term. Be sure to get detailed estimates before making any decisions.
  • Understand Your Filter and Thermostat Options. While speaking with our technicians, ask them to explain your options and be sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. This is your chance to learn more from the experts (and our team is happy to share our extensive knowledge with you!).
  • Understand the Time Frames. The time it takes to install an air conditioner varies across makes and models, so ask for a breakdown of how long your AC installation will take to complete, especially if your installation is taking place during the hottest days of summer.

For a higher degree of comfort call 972-620-3600 or contact us today to schedule a consultation — we take just as much pride in your home as you do!

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Which Way Should the Ceiling Fan Rotate?

March 23rd, 2021

Ceiling fans are a common fixture in Texas homes, so common in fact that homeowners often don’t give them a second thought – and that’s a mistake. Fans can go a long way in cooling your home and reducing energy costs, but only if they’re used correctly. Keep reading to learn more benefits of ceiling fans and how to get the most from them.

Top 3 Benefits of a Ceiling Fan

  1. Energy Efficiency: Let’s start with a popular misconception – fans cool people, not rooms. By improving air circulation, ceiling fans can make you feel like the room is several degrees cooler than it really is as the draft it creates helps evaporate moisture from your skin.As a result, you can raise the thermostat and decrease your air conditioning usage. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates savings of up to 1% for every degree the temperature goes up – that can really add up! Look for ENERGY STAR rated fans for additional savings over conventional units.
  2. Versatile Functionality: Sizes and design options have increased in recent years, meaning more benefits for your space. For example, compact ceiling fans that whisk away humidity are great for bathrooms, while larger industrial styles work well in a home gym to keep you cool during workouts. Ceiling fans with lights also improve lighting conditions, including dimming features that set a relaxed ambiance.
  3. Improved Air Quality: Ceiling fans redistribute hot air as it rises in a room, helping to dilute indoor air pollutants. Some specialized models also ionize the air, which clears the room of airborne contaminants (dust, allergens, pet dander, etc.). The effect can make a huge difference for those with allergies or other respiratory issues – especially in the summer months when going outside can exacerbate them.

Rotate the Right Way

You won’t reap these benefits though if your fan isn’t rotating the right way. Look closely at your fan’s motor – see that small switch on its side? That changes the direction the blades turn in. Running the fan counterclockwise in the heat of a Texas summer creates a cooling breeze by pulling hot air up. Reverse it to clockwise during the winter makes it so warm air is redirected throughout the room without creating a draft.

That means that ceiling fans can improve air circulation year-round to save on both cooling and heating costs. Just make sure you remember to change the direction as the seasons change!

Experience Better Indoor Air Quality with Frymire Home Services

As signs of spring start to appear, now is the time to think about the quality of your home’s air. As allergens increase and winter dust circulates, the quality of the air you’re breathing inside may actually be poorer than the air outside! This can have a big impact on the health of your HVAC system, as well as the health of your family.

Contact Frymire Home Services at (972) 910-2041 for more information about our indoor air quality services. We are happy to tell you more about the ways you can use air filters and other devices to keep your home’s air fresh throughout the year.

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Heating System Safety for Homeowners

March 15th, 2021

Your heating system plays a significant role in keeping you and your family comfortable, but it is important for homeowners to understand how to use and maintain these systems safely. Understanding the heating elements in your home can go a long way in ensuring the safety and comfort level of your family. Here are some tips to keep you safe.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide in homes is exceedingly rare, but without proper HVAC system maintenance, it can be deadly. Below are a couple of ways to mitigate our exposure to carbon monoxide:

  • Proper maintenance to ensure that your furnace is not clogged with debris
  • A regular check of system with flue pipes (which regulates removal of gasses) is essential
  • Carbon monoxide monitors are highly recommended in homes with attached garages as even mild exposure to CO can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea & fatigue

Upper & Lower Combustion

This is the process of bringing in fresh air from the outside to the furnace for combustion. With this type of process, proper maintenance is important.

  • Commonly located in closets, the furnace needs to be free of excess storage as the air is flowing regularly
  • Regularly checking ductwork or performing duct cleaning services can also ensure safe and proper airflow in your home
  • Dusty vents must be cleaned since dust buildup can restrict air from circulating throughout your home
  • The heating system needs to be regularly cleaned to ensure proper airflow for the furnace

Electric & Gas Heaters

These are the two types of systems we use heat our homes.

  • Electric heaters are usually made of a series of heat strips. Easier to maintain but costly, these elements will have dust and debris collect on them which give off a burning smell when turned on. This can lead to small fires if not cleaned properly
  • Gas heaters use heat exchangers to heat your home. Regular maintenance is required as gas systems have many limits & safety features
  • Keep your attics clean of boxes and items around your system
  • A regular check of your flame sensor in gas systems is extremely important & highly recommended as this will be an indicator of any problems with your system

Air Filters

Your home’s air filters are probably the most common HVAC maintenance item homeowners are familiar with. When should I change them? What filter do I need? The answers to these questions can be the difference between a properly functioning system or inadequate airflow coupled with costly bills.

  • Filters typically last for up to 45 days (about one and a half months). Most homeowner forget the timeline and change filters months later.
  • A common practice is to change filters every time you receive your energy bill as this ensures filters are being changed in a timely manner and provides the home with proper air quality and airflow.
  • Another key tip is to confirm the correct size of filter needed for you system. Using filters that are too small or too thick will cause debris to collect, resulting in poor airflow and inhibiting your system from functioning properly.

So what does all this mean for you? As a homeowner it is extremely important to have a licensed and certified technician perform maintenance on your unit. Without proper maintenance, units can lose up to 10% efficiency per year. Make it a point to schedule a fall and spring maintenance for your systems since this will likely spot issues before they turn into very costly repairs. A properly maintained unit will have a longer life span and keep you and your family safe and comfortable in your home.

Frymire Home Services understands the importance of quality HVAC work. We believe in educating and informing our customers, which will help them become experts in their home’s HVAC.

To learn more about air conditioning and heating, 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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Addressing Air Quality in Our Homes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 01st, 2021

With the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, indoor air quality for homeowners has become more important than ever. Without proper filtration and treatment of our air conditioning units, health risks increase exponentially. With the whole world being affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (resulting in the COVID-19 disease), it is more important than ever to take control and improve the quality of the air we are breathing inside of our homes.

What Causes Poor Air Quality?

The most common causes are mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the transmission of biological contaminants such as viruses and bacteria. VOCs are the chemical odors and gases transmitted into the air every day via manufactured products. The trapping of these contaminants in your home causes a high concentration buildup, which leads to poor air quality. Modern homes are built more efficiently and “tighter” than older homes, which helps reduce energy bills by eliminating cooling and heating air leakage. This does, however, create an environment where any potential unwanted chemicals, allergens, or pollutants can become trapped in your home if not addressed. To combat this, we need to do all we can to dilute the concentration of these harmful contaminants.

Senior Woman Opening Bedroom Curtains And Looking Out Of Window

First, we can embrace the great outdoors. Opening our doors and windows provides our homes with a steady flow of fresh air when temperatures allow. Many newer homes are built with fresh air intakes that help to “mix in” fresh air from the outside of our homes. Another way is to make sure that we are maintaining clean filters in our air conditioning units. Proper filtration is extremely important because it protects the efficiency of your air conditioning unit, but this alone is not enough. This only addresses one-third of the issue; the other two-thirds (viruses, mold, and bacteria) pass through your filters like sand through a tennis racket.

Indoor Air Quality Treatment

The good news is that there are products that address these issues. The APCO-X is an air treatment product that can be added in conjunction with your air conditioning unit to help address viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2 VIRUS. The APCO-X is designed to treat the airborne contaminants that end up passing through your filters within your air conditioning unit.

The APCO-X was tested for its ability to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus and was found to be extremely effective. In the third-party study titled “SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization by APCO-X From Fresh-Aire-UV,” according to the study abstract, the APCO-X is designed to deactivate viral pathogens in the air inside an environment likened to typical HVAC systems and ductwork. APCO-X achieved greater than a 99.99% neutralization in testing and performed as designed in the test.

More information about APCO-X research and testing can be found here: Coronavirus Update – Fresh-Aire UV.

— Alex Jordan

Frymire Home Services

Frymire Home Services understands the importance of quality air conditioning. We believe in educating and informing our customers to help them become experts in indoor air quality. To learn more about indoor air quality, 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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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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