Storm Sewer Cleaning

Many factors impact the blockage in your system, which can cause leakage and unpleasant smell in and around your building. Preventive measures or simply taking extra time to inspect, clean, and repair pipes will avoid unexpected mishaps such as burst pipe, leakage, condensation odor, and others. Blocked drains can cause collateral damage, affect your budget and your everyday lives. Regular inspection by a professional plumber is the safest way to preserve the integrity of your plumbing system, but if it is more convenient and economical for you, the regular use of Do-it-yourself cleaning tools, plungers, and pipe sealants will help. However, if it is improperly applied or used, it can create a problem. Therefore, we need to be vigilant and follow the directions properly. As we all know, the excessive use of materials will lead to health and environmental problems. There are also instances of devices that end up inside the pipe because they unintentionally fall, triggering the blockage.

If this happens, you need to call a skilled plumber or a reliable commercial plumbing service. Plumbers have access to software that can help them evaluate the situation and get them through the problem area with ease. Because of their area of practice, skilled plumbers will say what process or technique should be used to solve the problem. New devices are being used to unblock storm-water drains, pipes, and sewers that are environmentally friendly. Closed-circuit television allows the plumber to successfully find the cause of the blockage. Hydro jet can help flush the block with its high-pressure water, moving unwanted debris with water under great force. The plumbing electrical eel scrapes and chews items that obstruct drains and sewers. Air dryers and suction cups are used to clear excess water from the drains and sinks.

It is important for any homeowner to be aware of what’s going on in their drains. Pipes should be inspected periodically to see if the water flows smoothly through the pipes. It is also best to reduce the buildup of unnecessary material inside the pipes by cleaning out what goes inside the drains, such as the hair dropping while taking a bath or the extra food when washing dishes. Prevention is always the better thing to do than repair.

It is advised to use a hair catcher to prevent the clogged drain from occurring. It’s a tool that looks like a colander that catches hair falling and stops it from reaching the bath drain. It is also useful to use bent wires to pull out the hair stuck on the drain without the hair catcher.

Yet in the event that a household stormwater drain is blocked, creative approaches are already in place to clear up the blockage. They will normally solve the issue themselves for anyone who wished to save. One useful plumbing first to disinfect and unclog drains and pipes is the use of environmentally safe and non-toxic cleaning agents. Such agents have potent chemicals that break down unwanted particles within the pipes. Many homeowners often use home plungers to remove the particles that are trapped inside their toilets and sinks.

Occasionally, when a blocked drain becomes more difficult and can’t be fixed with the normal handy home appliances, it’s always better to call your trusted plumber to test and finish the work. With their new gadgets that can patch blocked stormwater drains, pipes, and sewers, they can finish their job in no time. Devices such as a hydro jet pressure system that blasts out excess dirt inside the pipes and an electric eel which gets out the dirt are ways to make sure that damaged stormwater drains are fixed more effectively.

Storm sewers are washed to remove contaminants and to prevent flooding. Pollutants such as water particles, organic matter, tar, grease, garbage, road salt and trace metals are collected from storm drain inlets, storm sewer pipes and ponds manually or mechanically. Otherwise, they will end up destroying our wetlands and waterways without a storm drain maintenance network.

Storm Drain Cleaning

Pressure wash and vacuum cleaner storm sewer pipes, catch basins, lift stations, and culverts ensure efficient flow of water through the entire urban sewer/stormwater system. Vacuum cleaning is a cost-effective way to remove dirt, dust, and other debris that can build up, resulting in partial or full blockage and delay of stormwater. Vacuum cleaners such as Super can easily clean storm sewer lines using high-pressure water while at the same time vacuuming backflow debris and water from the catch basin or manhole into the sealed and enclosed collector container installed in a self-contained mobile unit.

Storm Drain Camera Inspection

Storm Sewer Cleaning companies carry out comprehensive inspections of your storm drain system. We will identify the source of leakage and clogging with our cameras, and our contractor will decide whether your storm drain on your property needs substantial repairs. Drainage pipes are not pressurized to detect leakage without a camera.

Hydro Jetting And Cleaning Storm Drains

Use a high-powered water jet to clean storm drain pipes and surfaces. Various techniques may be used depending on the source of obstruction, leakage, or clogging. Cleaning may remove clogs and allow the drain to function more effectively and quickly, or a leak may be discovered requiring repair of a liner or specific pipe drain.

The hydraulic dewatering system helps operators to compact the material into the debris body, remove the water from the material, and drain it separately. This allows more debris to be collected on each trip and also leads to a drier, lighter load being transported to the dumpsite, lower fuel consumption, and other operating costs, along with increased productivity and performance.

Although cleaning the water system by yourself can be fun and rewarding, sometimes it can do more damage than is necessary. With less experience and know how to unblock the storm water drain, this could lead to a much bigger job. It’s actually better to hire a trusted plumber who can clear up the blockage for you because he’d have the right tools that can speed up the cleaning process or repair whatever it might need to fix. It saves you time, as well as money, because their work could be long-lasting.

Benefits of hiring professionals for air condition repair.

The air conditioning unit is considered as the most important home appliance that is used for regulating the indoor temperature so that you and your family do not get exposed to extreme weather conditions. This is the reason why you should make sure that your ac unit is well maintained and for this you will need to hire professionals for regular inspection of the unit. The professionals will visit your property for looking at your ac unit and making sure any minor issues with the unit are repaired and resolved before it turns into a major problem. Moreover, with regular use, the ac tends to face wear and tear which makes it even more important to hire the right kind of professionals for air conditioner repair. This is the best way of making sure that your ac unit will work efficiently for a longer period of time and you will not have to spend extra money on the replacement of the air conditioner. Additionally, when the issues with the ac are identified early, it will help in eliminating the issues so that it does get worse over time says, Southern Seasons Heating & Air Conditioning of Mt. Pleasant.

Southern Seasons Repair Techs

There are many benefits of hiring professionals for air condition repair and the most important benefit is that these professionals have the right kind of experience and training that are needed for completing the repair works. You will have an assurance that the expert has been entrusted with the task of repairs so that your air conditioner will continue working efficiently for a longer period of time. The right kind of tools and equipment possessed by these professionals will make it easier for them to carry on the repairs in the desired manner. The knowledge, skills, and expertise of these professionals will make it easier for them to identify the potential problems with the ac unit so that it can be repaired at the earliest. Hence, when you find that your ac is making a strange noise or it’s not regulating the indoor temperature then you should hire professionals at the earliest. You should never attempt carrying on the repairs work yourself because you might not have the right tools, expertise and experience of doing the repairs work yourself. Moreover, it can also dangerous and it is advisable that you hire skilled and trained ac repair experts who will offer you the highest level of assistance and services at the best price. These insured and certified professionals will locate the issues with the air conditioner quickly so that it will be repaired within a short span of time. You will not face any inconvenience when your ac unit is not functioning because you can call the professionals to offer you quick service so that you will enjoy in a comfortable environment.

Professional air condition repair will eliminate the constant discomfort that you might face during the hot summer months so that you don’t have to suffer from sleepless nights. Therefore, it is important that you hire a reputable and reliable ac repair company that will offer the best professional for the job. This is the best way of enhancing the lifespan and longevity of the ac so that you will not have to spend money on the replacement of the unit. You should never ignore the problem with the ac because it can lead to last time frustrations and you and your family will be left suffering in the hot summer days and nights. Timely ac repair will enhance the energy efficiency of the unit so that the overall operational costs of the ac will be kept low. The professionals will also inspect and maintain the different parts of the air conditioner so that it will perform efficiently for a longer period of time. Additionally, timely and routine maintenance and inspection of the air conditioner will also reduce the electricity costs considerably. Your ac unit will also consume less electricity when it is maintained and inspected on a regular basis. Your HVAC system will also function efficiently for a longer period of time along with reducing the carbon footprint so that it does not cause any harm to the environment. Your home will have a comfortable environment and it will work according to the needs of your family.

Commercial Roofer in Spartanburg-Know the services offered for business

The roof of your commercial property plays an important role in keeping the safety of the people inside the property intact while protecting your valuables and belongings from any kind of theft and burglary. Therefore, you need to be completely sure that the roof will be in good condition and this can be achieved by hiring the best commercial roofer in Spartanburg. The assistance of these professionals will preserve the structural integrity and overall functionality of the roof intact so that the roof will perform the function for keeping your investment in the best possible condition. When your roof remains in good condition, you will be protected from the different elements of nature so that you don’t have to worry about facing the wrath of nature. The right selection of the roof is very crucial for your commercial property as it should be fire-resistant, insulated, heavyweight and architectural style. If you want a good quality roof, you need to hire a good roofing contractor who will ensure that the requirements of your property will be fulfilled by the roofers.

As a commercial property owner, if you want to enjoy the benefits of a good quality roof, you will need to look for the best commercial roofer in Spartanburg who will make sure that you roof will last longer than expected. The material and workmanship of the roof determines its longevity and lifespan and this is the reason why you should hire a roofer who will offer excellent workmanship for the roofing project. Thus if you are facing long standing and serious issues with the roofing system of your commercial property, you will need to look for a roofer who will address the issue immediately. You will need to hire a reliable and trusted roofer who will undertake the task of roof repairs so that it will be completed within a short period of time. Trusting a professional roofer will offer you complete peace because it means that the problem with the roof will be resolved quickly and you will carry on using the property for your commercial needs. The roofing contractor is also known to offer maintenance services for your roof so that it will remain in good condition throughout the year. It will also mean that your employees, workers and clients will be safe and secured inside the property and their safety will not be compromised in any manner. With regular care and maintenance of the commercial roofs, its overall beauty, functionality and longevity will be enhanced. Therefore you will need to stress on the importance of hiring the best roofers who will offer a wide range of services in a professional manner so that you will get a functional and beautiful roof. The creativity and experience of the roofers at the time of hiring a roofer is very important as it means that your commercial property will get the kind of roof that you are looking for.

Commercial roofers are committed professionals who are known to offer many different kinds of services for meeting the different requirements of your commercial property ranging from roof installation, repairs, replacement, maintenance, guttering, roof flashing and a host of other services. Even if you are looking for emergency services for your commercial property, you will need to hire the right roofers who will strive to meet the immediate needs of your business. You should hire someone who is offering services round the clock so that you can call the roofers for assistance even when the roofing problem arises at any hour of the day. You should not delay the task of roof repairs because it will mean that your roofing system will be damaged further and you will face a lot of problem without a properly functioning roof. When you call a commercial roofer for an emergency repairs needs, the professional will arrive fully equipped for solving the problem immediately. You should never compromise on the quality of roofing professional that you hire because it might affect the functioning of the roof and it can also cause serious damage to your commercial property. Always look for someone who will offer the most superior quality of work at competitive prices so that it will be beneficial for your business in the long run.

Tips That Will Help You Find The Best Solar Water Heating System

2021 Guide to Solar Water Heater Systems - EcoWatch

Many people are switching over from electric water heaters to solar water heating systems due to their so many advantages. This has brought out a lot of competitors for solar water heaters in the market. Even though most people go by recommendations from other people to choose a product for themselves, a solar water heating system should be bought after a lot of consideration. Given below are some tips that will help you choose a good solar water heating system.

Do Research

This is the first step and the most important one to know which one suits your needs best. The internet will come in very handy for this. You can easily search the topmost competitors of a solar water heater in your location. Search each of them and see which one has the benefits to offer.

Check The Reviews And Recommendations

Always choose at least 2-3 competitors from the internet that are the best in the market. While choosing from them you can check their reviews on the internet. Go through their websites and see if their clients are satisfied with their services. Most companies are transparent enough nowadays to let you know about their reputation in the market. If your chosen competitor has a lot of good reviews and recommendations, you can choose them.

Contact The Manufacturer

A Complete Guide to Solar Water Heaters | Solar Metric

Once you have come down to one option, you can take the next step and contact the manufacturer. You can easily contact them through their websites or any other listing site. Talking to them will give you a more clear idea of whether choosing them has been the right step or not.

Ask About The Installation Process

The whole installation process should be taken care of by the company itself. Make sure you learn beforehand what kind of services they provide and if they are willing to install them for you at your home. They will also be able to tell you the best place to install it at your residence once they check out the place to help you get the best from your solar water heating system.

Check The Warranty Period

Solar Water Heaters | Department of Energy

A solar water heating system is usually a long-time investment. So, lastly, check out the warranty period your company is giving you. Usually, a solar water heating system tends to work smoothly for at least 15 years. If your company is providing you with a satisfying warranty period, you have chosen the perfect system for yourself.

So, check out all these things and choose your solar water heating system very carefully.

Benefits of Solar Water Heaters

Why should you choose solar water heaters for your home or business? Here are some of the biggest benefits of investing in a solar hot water system.

Benefits of Solar-Powered Water Heaters

Free Energy

Once you invest in a solar hot water heater, you’ll start to get that money back in the form of free energy. The typical home will see an average of at least a 50% reduction in water-heating electricity use. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of suns, like Arizona, you could see as much as a 90% decrease in your water-heating bill.

Who wouldn’t want to save money and get free energy?

Reduced Carbon Footprint

The general consensus is that climate change is occurring and that carbon emissions are a major contributing factor. A solar water heater uses the renewable energy of the sun to warm up your home’s water.

If you can use solar energy to heat up water, that’s less fossil fuel or natural gas being used and released into the atmosphere from traditional electric or gas water heaters. That means you’ll be helping save the environment in addition to lowering your gas or electric bill.

High Efficiency

Heating up your water directly from the sun’s rays is much more efficient than converting sunlight into energy that is then used to warm up your home’s water. Why take two steps to heat up your water when you can do it in one step?

They Take up Less Space than Traditional Solar Panels

Since solar water heaters are more efficient than traditional solar panels, the average home only requires one to three solar water heater panels. If you don’t love the idea of your entire roof is covered in solar panels, then a solar hot water heater may be a great option.

They’re Cheaper than Solar PV Panels

Since you need fewer solar water heater panels, they’re much cheaper to install than traditional solar PV panels. If you can help save the environment and reduce your gas or electric bills for a lower initial cost, then what’s holding you back from making that investment?

Cost Of Solar Water Heater In India

Contact Us Today to Learn More!

Does a solar hot water heater sound like it’s right for you? Contact us today to learn more about how your home or office could benefit from a solar water heating system. We would love to help you find the best solar solutions for you since solar energy is our passion.

For more information, click here or call us now!

Solar hot-water systems

Next time you get a really big electricity or gas bill, your thoughts may turn to solar panels. Wouldn’t it be good if you could catch all the power you need from the Sun? Millions of people already do get their energy this way, though mostly in the form of heat rather than electricity. Solar electric panels (also called solar cells or photovoltaic cells) that convert sunlight to electricity are only just becoming really popular; solar thermal panels, which use sunlight to produce hot water, have been commonplace for decades. Even in relatively cold, northern climates, solar hot-water systems can chop significant amounts off your fuel bills. Typical systems generate anything from 10–90 percent of your hot water and pay for themselves in about 10–15 years (even sooner if you’re using them for something like a swimming pool). Let’s take a closer look at how they work!

How to build a solar heating system

Imagine you’re an inventor charged with the problem of developing a system that can heat all the hot water you need in your home. You’ve probably noticed that water takes a long time to heat up? That’s because it holds heat energy very well. We say it has a high specific heat capacity and that’s why we use it to transport heat energy in central heating systems. So can we devise a simple solar heating system using water alone?

Stand a plastic bottle filled with cold water in a window, in the Sun, and it’ll warm up quite noticeably in a few hours. The trouble is, a bottle of water isn’t going to go very far if you’ve a house full of people. How can you make more hot water? The simplest solution would be to fill lots of bottles with water and stand them in a row on your window-ledge.

Or maybe you could be more cunning. What if you cut the top and bottom off a plastic bottle and fitted pipes at each end, feeding the pipes into your home’s hot water tank to make a complete water circuit. Now fit a pump somewhere in that loop so the water endlessly circulates. What will happen is that the sunlight will systematically heat all the hot water in your tank (although it’ll never get particularly warm because plastic bottles standing on window-ledges aren’t that brilliant at collecting heat). But, in theory, you’ve got a working solar heating system here that’s not a million miles away from the ones people have installed on their homes. It’s very crude, but it works in exactly the same way.

The parts of a solar-thermal hot-water system

In practice, solar heating systems are a little bit more sophisticated than this. These are the main parts:

Collector

Photo of flat-plate solar thermal collector on house roof.

Photo: A typical solar hot water panel uses a flat-plate collector like this. Photo by Alan Ford, courtesy of US Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL).

This is the technical name for the big black panel that sits on your roof. Smaller homes (or ones in hotter climates) can get away with much smaller panels than larger homes (or ones in colder climates); typically collectors vary in size from about 2–15 square meters (~20–160 square feet). Not surprisingly, collectors work most efficiently on roofs that have a direct, unblocked view of the Sun (with few trees or buildings in the way). Broadly speaking, there are two types of collectors known as flat-plate and evacuated tube.

Flat-plate collectors

Flat plates are the simplest collectors: at their most basic, they’re little more than water pipes running through shallow metal boxes coated with thick black glass. The glass collects and traps the heat (like a greenhouse), which the water running through the pipes picks up and transfers to your hot water tank.

Evacuated tubes

These are a bit more sophisticated. They look like a row of side-by-side fluorescent strip lights, except that they absorb light rather than giving it out. Each tube in the row is actually made of two glass tubes, an inner one and an outer one, separated by an insulating vacuum space (like vacuum flasks). The inner tube is coated with a light-absorbing chemical and filled with a copper conductor and a volatile fluid that heats up, evaporates, carries its heat up the inner tube to a collecting device (called a manifold) at the top, where it condenses and returns to the bottom of the tube pick up more heat. The manifold collects the heat from the whole row of tubes and ferries it to your hot water tank. Unlike flat-plate collectors, evacuated tubes don’t let as much heat escape back out again, so they’re more efficient. However, since they’re a bit more hi-tech and sophisticated, they are usually much more expensive.

Photo of evacuated tube solar thermal collector on house roof. Patent artwork from US Patent 4,474,170 showing the key components of an evacuated-tube type solar hot water panel.
Photo: An evacuated-tube collector. Note the gray manifold at the top and the white water pipe flowing through it. Photo by Kent Bullard, courtesy of US National Park Service and US Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL). Artwork: How it works: a number of parallel, evacuated tubes (blue) receive concentrated solar energy from parabolic reflectors either side (yellow), which they send to a combined heat-exchanger and manifold (brown), through which hot water (or some other fluid) flows from entry and exit pipes. Artwork from US Patent 4,474,170: Glass heat pipe evacuated tube solar collector by Robert D. McConnell and James H. Vansant , US Department of Energy, October 2, 1984.

How an evacuated tube collector works.

Artwork: A closer look at how an evacuated tube collector works. 1) The copper in the inner tube absorbs solar heat and evaporates the volatile fluid. 2) The evaporated fluid rises up the tube to the manifold at the top and gives up its heat. 3) Water flowing through the manifold picks up heat from all the tubes plugged into it. 4) The fluid condenses and falls back down the tube to repeat the process.

Hot water tank

There’s no point in collecting heat from your roof if you have nowhere to store it. With luck, your home already has a hot-water tank (unless you have a so-called gas “combi” boiler that makes instant hot water) that can be used to store heat from your collector; it’s a kind of “hot water” battery that you heat up at conveniently economic times (usually at night) ready for use during the day. If you don’t have a hot-water tank, you’ll need to have one fitted. The more people in your household, the bigger the tank you’ll need. A typical tank for a family home might be about 100–200 liters (30–60 gallons).

Heat exchanger

Typically, solar panels work by transferring heat from the collector to the tank through a separate circuit and a heat exchanger. Heat collected by the panel heats up water (or oil or another fluid) that flows through a circuit of pipes into a copper coil inside your hot-water tank. The heat is then passed into the hot water tank, and the cooled water (or fluid) returns to the collector to pick up more heat. The water in the collector never actually drains into your tank: at no point does water that’s been on your roof exit through a faucet!

Photo of solar-thermal energy collectors using mirrors and water pipes.

Photo: A different and much bigger solar hot-water system. This one uses parabolic mirrors to collect the Sun’s energy and focus it onto water pipes running through their centers. The water is pumped back to the building in the background (Jefferson County Jail in Golden, Colorado). Photo by Warren Gretz courtesy of US Department of Energy/National Renewable Energy Laboratory (DOE/NREL).

Pump

Water doesn’t flow between the collector and the tank all by itself: you need a small electric pump to make it circulate. If you’re using ordinary electricity to make the water flow, the energy consumed by the pump will offset some of the advantage of using solar-thermal power, reduce the gains you’re making, and lengthen the payback time. Cleverly, some solar-thermal systems use solar-electric (photovoltaic) pumps instead, which means they are entirely running on renewable energy. A good thing about a design like this is that the solar pump is most active on really sunny days (when most hot water is being produced) and less active on cold, dull days (when, perhaps, you don’t want your solar panel to be working at all).

Control system

If it’s the middle of winter and your roof is freezing cold, the last you thing you want is to transfer freezing cold water into your hot water tank! So there is also generally a control system attached to a solar-thermal panel with a valve that can switch off the water circuit in cold weather. A typical control system may incorporate some or all of the following: a pump, flowmeter, pressure gauge, thermometer (so you can see how hot the water is), and thermostat (to switch off the pump if the water gets too hot).

How solar-thermal panels work

In theory

Here’s a simple summary of how rooftop solar hot-water panels work:

Diagram showing how a solar panel makes hot water on a house roof.
  1. In the simplest panels, Sun heats water flowing in a circuit through the collector (the panel on your roof).
  2. The water leaving the collector is hotter than the water entering it and carries its heat toward your hot water tank.
  3. The water doesn’t actually enter your tank and fill it up. Instead, it flows into a pipe on one side of the tank and out of another pipe on the other side, passing through a coil of copper pipes (the heat exchanger) inside the tank and giving up its heat on the way through.
  4. You can run off hot water from the tank at any time without affecting the panel’s operation. Since the panel won’t make heat all the time, your tank will need another source of heating as well—usually either a gas boiler or an electric immersion heater.
  5. The cold water from the heat exchanger returns to the panel to pick up more heat.
  6. An electric pump (powered by your ordinary electricity supply or by a solar-electric (photovoltaic) cell on the roof keeps the water moving through the circuit between the collector and the water tank.

In practice

Diagram showing a typical single-pipe solar hot water system, from US patent 4191329 by Solartech Systems Corporation

Artwork: A single-pipe solar heating system. Artwork from US Patent 4,191,329: Single-pipe hot water solar system by William E. Geaslin, Solartech Systems Corporation, published March 4, 1980, courtesy of US Patent and Trademark Office.

Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than this! What if it’s winter and there’s no useful solar heat outside? You don’t want the solar system pumping cold water down into your home, but you still need hot water. And what if it’s really cold? You’ll need to stop your solar system from freezing up, so it would be useful to pump hot water from your home through it occasionally. That’s why a typical solar system will look more like this one, with two interlinked water circuits. One (purple) pumps water through a solar panel as we saw above and down into a tank inside your home. This is connected to a second circuit (red) with a conventional hot water tank that can be heated by electricity, a natural gas furnace, or some other standard form of heating. On hot days, you effectively capture hot water in the purple circuit and then divert it around the red circuit into your home. On cold days, you can switch off the purple circuit using various valves or divert water from the red circuit through the purple circuit to stop it from freezing.

How good is solar thermal?

… One of the most effective and efficient steps the government can take is to encourage the use of solar hot-water systems—a well-developed and relatively low-tech method for using the sun’s energy.”

Larry Hunter, The New York Times (Op Ed), 2009

In pure efficiency terms, solar-thermal panels are over three times as efficient (50 percent or so) at harvesting energy as solar-electric (photovoltaic) panels (typically around 15 percent), but that doesn’t mean they’re three times better: it all depends what you want from solar energy. If you live in the kind of family home where people are taking baths and showers all the time, especially in summer, solar thermal makes perfect sense. A decent system should be able to produce around half to two thirds of a home’s total, annual hot water needs (all your hot water in the height of summer and very much less in winter). The obvious drawback of solar thermal is that it produces nothing but hot water—and you can only do so much with that; unlike photovoltaics, solar-thermal panels can’t help you heat your home or produce truly versatile, high-quality energy in the form of electricity. The typical payback time for solar thermal (when your original capital investment has paid for itself in fuel savings) is about a decade, with a range of 5–15 years (depending on the cost of the fuel you’re saving, how much sun your home gets, and how much hot water you use).

Here’s a very rough comparison of the payback times for different types of green energy. It does depend entirely on what you’re installing, what you’re replacing, what existing fuel you’re not using instead, how much you used the old and new systems, and various other factors (such as tax incentives), so please don’t take the figures too literally.

MeasurePayback
Solar hot water5–30 years
Solar photo voltaic8–25 years
Loft insulation2–5 years
Cavity wall insulation2–3 years
Small wind turbine5–15 years
Ground source heat pump10–50 years
Wood burner2–5 years

8 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Tom Silva This Old House Contractor

Tom Silva, This Old House general contractor, shares how homeowners should evaluate a potential contractor before hiring him or her to work on a house. Here are his top 8 pro tips to help you find a contractor from start to finish.

1. Get Recommendations

Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which home renovation contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time.

2. Do Phone Interviews

Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and go through these questions to ask a contractor:

  • Do they take on projects of your size?
  • Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
  • How long have they worked with their subcontractors?

The answers to these questions will reveal the company’s availability, reliability, how much attention they’ll be able to give your project, and how smoothly the work will go.

3. Meet Face to Face

Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check-in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

4. Investigate the Facts

Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But Tom says you shouldn’t rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?

5. Make Plans, Get Bids

You have your shortlist of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins, and other expenses. Generally, materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.

6. Set a Payment Schedule

Another important tip for hiring a contractor is to work out a payment schedule ahead of time. Payment schedules can speak to a contractor’s financial status and work ethic. If they want half the bid upfront, they may have financial problems or be worried that you won’t pay the rest after you’ve seen the work. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 percent at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project, and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been completed.

7. Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide

“Throw out the lowball bid,” says Tom. “This contractor is probably cutting corners or, worse, desperate for work”—hardly an encouraging sign in a healthy economy. Beyond technical competence, comfort should play an equal or greater role in your decision. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it’s better to spend more and get someone you’re comfortable with when hiring a contractor.

8. Put it in Writing

Draw up a contract that details every step of the project: payment schedule; proof of liability insurance and worker’s compensation payments; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtains lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t about mistrust, Tom assures us. It’s about ensuring a successful renovation.

Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem is uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? “While you’re at it….”

If you are finding a good home improvement contractor, just contact us for more information.

The Pros of Solar Energy

solar energy | Definition, Uses, Advantages, & Facts | Britannica

When it comes to solar energy advantages, we’ve heard it all: It’s for hippies, it’s too expensive or it doesn’t work. Yet more solar energy systems are being installed on homes and businesses than ever. We explain some FAQs about the advantages of solar energy.

Advantages of Solar Energy

Why Solar Is The Way Of The Future? - Build Magazine

1. Solar is a proven technology.

The history of photovoltaic solar power began with scientific experimentation during the late 1800s. The first PV silicon cell capable of converting the sun’s energy into power that could run electrical equipment was introduced in 1954, and by 1983, worldwide PV production exceeded 21 megawatts. Currently, there are 47.1 gigawatts of total solar capacity installed nationwide, so it’s safe to say solar is a proven technology and that its adoption as a source of clean energy will continue.

SunPower‘s long history in the industry is an advantage as we’ve had plenty of time to perfect and improve our solar products. The company has been in business for more than 30 years and globally has installed more than 8.2 gigawatts. That’s more than 25 million solar panels! SunPower® solar panels are the most efficient, durable technology on the market, with an expected useful life of more than 40 years.1

2. Solar works in many climates.

Many people believe that solar won’t work in colder climates. That’s not true. Solar panels actually work more efficiently in colder temperatures because excessive heat can reduce the output voltage. While more hours of direct sun exposure will indeed help a solar system generate more electricity, modern panels are quite efficient and can still generate energy in low-light situations. Someone living in Seattle, for example, just may need a somewhat larger solar array to get the same results as someone in Southern California. Bottom line: Solar works anywhere there is daylight. (For more, read How Solar Energy Works.)

3. Solar is more affordable than ever.

The price of a solar system has dropped significantly. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the cost dropped 9 percent, and prices continue to decline. In many markets worldwide, solar power is less expensive than conventional energy. There are a variety of financial incentives available, such as tax rebates and state policies, that help make going solar affordable for more families and businesses. There are also a variety of solar financing options, from no-money-down leasing2 to home improvement loans that make solar more affordable. With SunPower, you can buy, lease or finance a solar power system. If you purchase a solar power system in the United States, you may be eligible for a 30 percent federal income tax credit and other local incentives.3

Businesses, schools and government entities may also qualify to use federal investment tax credits or accelerated depreciation for commercial solar panels.

4. Solar energy benefits the whole electricity grid.

Around the world, excess solar energy can be used by the conventional utility grid, reducing the burden on the whole, and, depending on local policies, the solar owner may even be compensated for that contribution via, for example, feed-in tariffs in some international markets such as Japan and parts of Europe. In most U.S. states, there are net metering policies. Net metering is a billing strategy that essentially pays solar users for their surplus electricity by giving them credit against their use of the electrical grid at night. (For more, read about net metering here.)

5. Solar panels have a long lifespan.

Solar panels are quite durable and can withstand even harsh weather conditions, including the impact of hail up to one inch in diameter. Only 1-in-20,000 SunPower panels are ever returned.4 Check out this video about why SunPower panels are so long-lasting.

7. Solar panels can increase home values.

One of the advantages of solar energy is that the addition of PV panels generally increases home values. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory analyzed about 22,000 home sales, almost 4,000 of which use PV solar systems in eight states. It found that a typical PV system added about $15,000 in value. 5

8. Solar is a nonpartisan energy source.

Solar isn’t just for hippies. It is being embraced by people across the entire sociopolitical spectrum. Homeowners covering all demographics; Fortune 500 and oil companies; and governments and schools across the world continue to install solar energy systems. Mainstream banks are financing solar. Progressive solar policies have been driven at the state level by Republicans and Democrats alike. The environmental benefits of solar power are undeniable, but it’s being embraced widely because it makes good financial sense.

How to Maintain your Water Heater

How to Maintain your Water Heater

Your water heater requires a little regular maintenance to run efficiently, effectively, and last longer. That’s because minerals and other sediment accumulate in water heaters, and this buildup means your water heater has to work harder to do its job.  It can even cause the tank to rust. But with a few steps and tasks you can help prevent these problems:

  • Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees: At temperatures higher than this, even more minerals settle and form deposits. So keep it in the zone. And when you plan to leave for a few days, change the thermostat on gas water heaters to “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.
  • Flush the water heater tank: This should be done once or twice each year. Start by turning off the electricity or gas to the heater. Then, close the valve supplying cold water.  Connect a hose to the drain valve.  Open the hot handle of any faucet and safely drain the tank.  Once the tank is empty, close the drain valve and remove the hose.  Then, you should open the cold water supply.  Next, open the hot water faucets throughout your house one at a time, and wait until water flows out from them before restoring power to the heater.
  • Check the “sacrificial” anode rod: This is a long metal rod that attracts corrosive minerals and removes them from the system. Look closely for damage – if it is too corroded, it cannot do its job. Replacing the rod is much cheaper than buying a new water heater! Newer heaters made with a plastic versus metal lining may not have this rod.  
  • Test the temperature and pressure relief valve: This valve is built to open automatically if pressure or the temperature inside the tank rises to dangerous levels.  A buildup of minerals or corrosion could cause this valve to freeze, however.  To check the valve, turn off the electricity or gas to the heater, and close the cold water supply valve.  Lift the trip lever on the valve, and expect some water to discharge.  If the valve does not release some water, that means that it should be replaced.  
  • Consider a water softener or filtration system: Installing either of these will not only affect the quality of your home’s water, but it will also increase the life of your water heater – making a multi-purpose, multi-benefit investment.

While your owner’s manual can step you through all of these maintenance tasks for your water heater, it is often best to hire a professional technician to handle annual maintenance needs and potential repairs. This will ensure the job is completed fully, safely and properly. And that your water heater runs in tip-top shape all season, and year, long.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Contractor for Projects

When looking for a contractor to handle your project, don’t hire just anyone. Consider the nature of your project; is it roofing, window and door replacement, or maybe remodeling? It’s important to hire a contractor who specializes in the same field as your project. Legacy Design Build Remodeling, the premier home remodeling contractor, explains why:

Right Contractor

Industry-Specific Work

Contractors working in a specific area of the residential industry are the most qualified to do the job. They would have the licenses required by the state to practice their profession, as well as designations from professional associations in that field. This means that they would have extensive knowledge about the tiniest details of the job that other contractors do not. After all, no one wants to hire a roofer for a kitchen remodeling job. He won’t have the proper training, equipment, and expertise to deliver quality results.

Quality Workmanship

When hiring a remodeler, it’s important to remember that you are buying a service. This means that working with a remodeler with stellar references and qualifications in a specific area means they can provide the best services. For instance, you don’t want to entrust a major project like your bathroom remodel to a mediocre contractor.

You can ask friends and family for referrals on contractors they’ve worked with for a specific project. Alternatively, you can ask the contractor for photos of some of their past projects to determine if they are the right one for the job. When researching a potential remodeler, be sure to check for feedback from clients about their experiences and how the company resolved any issues during the project.

Related: 2017 Color of The Year: Why Choose Poised Taupe Palette?

Legacy Design Build Remodeling has been providing exceptional services to homeowners for almost 30 years. Over this time, we have built a trusted reputation as the top home remodeling company in the area. To ensure that we can provide the best quality work to our customers, we focused on one area of the residential industry, remodeling. To learn more about our services, call us at (480) 372-5001. You can also schedule a free consultation. We serve communities in Glendale, Phoenix, and nearby AZ areas.

How Solar Water Heaters Work

How Can Solar Water Heaters Become Standard in Residential Homes? |  AltEnergyMag

Homemade Solar Water Heaters

Building a solar water heater isn’t exactly for beginners. It requires installing pipes, glass and, preferably, insulation. But for a do-it-yourself type, it’s ideal money- and planet-saving project. You can build a batch water heater for less than $100.

A batch heater is also called an integral passive solar water heater — “integral” because the solar collector and storage tank are combined. It’s the simplest system to build at home, and it really only requires a few basic parts. (This is just a brief overview; for complete instructions, see DIY sidebar.)

  • Electric water heater tank (used is fine, as long as it’s in good shape)
  • Black paint
  • Plywood box (large enough to hold the tank)
  • Sheets of glass
  • Hinged lid for the box (to reduce nighttime cooling)
  • Insulation material
  • Pipes/fittings
  • Mountings (for roof, side of house, or ground level)

Construction is pretty straightforward:

  • Paint the water tank black.
  • Secure glass to the top of the box.
  • Insulate the box and the additional lid and cut holes in the box for inflow and outflow pipes.
  • Secure the water tank inside the box.
  • Route incoming cold water into the bottom of the tank, and outgoing hot water from the top of the tank to the home’s water-heater tank
  • Mount unit in desired location (roof is usually best for sun-exposure).

While building the water heater may be pretty easy, there are other factors to consider. You have to determine the prime location for heater so it’s exposed to the most sunlight per day, which can take some calculating. You also need to make sure the ideal location can support the weight of the setup. And as with any other water heater, you need to figure out what size tank you need so you don’t end up running out of hot water in the middle of your shower — and determine how much glazing surface area you need to heat that water volume.

If you’re not comfortable making these determinations, you might want to shell out the cash for a professionally built setup.

Either way, there are some general pros and cons associated with solar water heaters. We’ll start with the upside.

Solar water heating options | Smarter Homes

Primary Advantages & Disadvantages of Solar Water Heaters

Alot of energy is used in the home to heat water. In fact, about 18 percent of home energy use goes towards heating water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It is possible to reduce energy use and the associated costs, by switching to a home solar water heating system.

Such a system does not depend on fossil fuels and takes energy from the sun to heat stored water. It, therefore, saves money, which is a major advantage of solar heating systems. Energy from the sun doesn’t cost anything, so no charge from electrical utilities is needed.

Advantages of Solar Water Heaters

The advantages go beyond cost savings and the availability of power, which are also realized with solar electric systems. Here are a few unique perks of home solar water heating products that may convince you to upgrade your home.

Types:

Active systems: These come in two forms. Direct circulation systems pump household water through collectors, which is then delivered to where needed in the house. They have automatic controllers that sense when sunlight is available. However, the systems are ineffective in temperatures below freezing.

Indirect circulation systems heat water by pumping it through a heat-transfer fluid that doesn’t freeze. It’s then sent through collectors and a heat exchanger. Operational in freezing temperature and in multiple heating applications, they’re often more expensive than direct circulation systems.

Passive systems: Two types are available here as well. An integral collector-storage passive system consists of a storage tank, solar collection unit, and pipes that pump cold water into the collector. It suits a home that needs hot water in the day and evening but also doesn’t work as well in cold outside temperatures.

A thermosyphon system works on the principle of warm water rising and cold water sinking. Warm water in the collector rises into the storage tank, which is a reliable configuration. A downside is the weight of the storage tank, which can be a challenge for contractors working on the roof; the system is a more expensive option as well.

Other advantages include:

  • Choice of size: Proper sizing is essential, as homeowners must have enough storage to meet 90 to 100 percent of their hot water needs. Storage volume is also a consideration. A 50- to 60-gallon storage tank is fine for up to three people, an 80-gallon tank for up to four people, and a larger one for as many as six people.
  • Less space: Solar thermal panels are usually less space-intensive than photovoltaic panels. Fewer are required to heat water than in an array used to produce sufficient power for a home.
  • High efficiency: About 80 percent of the sun’s radiation is turned into the heat energy needed to obtain hot water at home.
  • Cost savings: The cost of two or three panels is cheaper than larger domestic installations. You also save on fuel bills for supplying gas heating systems.
  • Low maintenance: After installation, little maintenance is required, and a solar water heater can run for up to 20 years.
  • Lower carbon footprint: A home can be eco-friendlier, plus tax incentives may be available for using renewable energy.

Disadvantages of Solar Water Heaters

Solar Water Heaters Can Help Save You Money – SolarTech Direct

Maintenance is one disadvantage, although most systems don’t require a high degree of care. However, scaling occurs when there are minerals suspended in domestic water, which build up as calcium deposits in the system. Adding water softeners or mild acidic substances such as vinegar can avoid scaling. It only must be done every three to five years, but this can vary depending on the water quality.

Corrosion is another concern. In open-loop hydronic solar systems, oxygen can rust any iron or steel part. The plumbing components are more resistant if they’re made of copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, plastic or rubber. Storage tanks should be lined with glass or plastic to resist corrosion as well.

Also, active systems can overheat if the size of the storage tank isn’t appropriate for the collector. The general rule is that for each square foot of collector, there should be 1.5 gallons of storage. With that in mind, such a disadvantage can be avoided.

Other disadvantages:

  • Compared to photovoltaic panels, solar thermal panels only heat water.
  • Solar heaters require sufficient roof space to accommodate them.
  • Solar water heaters require direct sunlight to function.
  • The system does not function on cloudy, rainy, or foggy days.
  • Annual maintenance is recommended to check the pump and antifreeze.
  • Installation requires the use of a new hot water cylinder.

Also, heating is only provided in the daytime. That does not mean hot water won’t be available at night. An insulated storage tank can maintain water temperature so that the water heated during the day can be used during nighttime hours.

Cost can be another disadvantage. Oftentimes a solar water heating system costs more in terms of purchasing and installation, compared to other types of water heaters. The savings come over the long run because water heating bills can be reduced by as much as 50 to 80 percent. Price hikes, fuel shortages, and other issues with utility-based heat are not a concern either.

Getting the Most Out of a Solar Water Heater

There are many advantages to using a solar water heating system, and many of the disadvantages can be averted through professional installation. Installers can check the roof to see if it can support the panels. They can also look at shading and other factors that might impact efficiency.

Professional installers can also help you get more out of the system. In addition to a more optimal configuration, they might be able to optimize roof space so water heating elements can be combined with photovoltaic systems. Electricity from these can contribute to additional heating capacity. In fact, combining different types of panels contributes to a high degree of energy efficiency.

Solar water heaters have their advantages and disadvantages, but they are reliable and efficient. Planning and proper installation help homeowners get the most out of them and avoid some of the disadvantages while reaping all the benefits the right system and size can afford.

Why One Should Invest In a Solar Water Heater

The sun is a free and wealthy source of energy to earth. People are being more aware of solar energy and its benefits. Therefore, more and more people are looking for energy-efficient solar panels for residential and commercial properties. Among all the solar options, the solar water heater is one of the most popular energy-efficient options that are making its place in Indian houses. A solar water heater is a system that is a cost-effective and sustainable choice that is contributing to the green India mission.

Moreover, a solar water heater in Ahmedabad has become a prominent water heating choice for most citizens. Ahmedabad is a city that suffers from extreme weather conditions. Therefore, switching to solar energy is the best way to create a sustainable future.

Here are some of the benefits of a solar water heater. Let’s check out.

  • Saves money – Solar water heaters are a cost-effective choice as they run on solar power. In the long run, it not only save a lot of money on your energy bills but also helps you save money on taxes as well. Government supports the solar energy projects and allows its user to save on tax while filing a return.
  • Reduce carbon footprint – If you use other sources for heating the water like gas or electricity, it emits carbon to the environment, which is not benefitting nature in any way. But it adds up to the carbon level in the atmosphere and worsens the current pollution situation. On the other hand, a solar water heater is an environmentally friendly way to use solar power to heat the water. It has no harmful side effects and helps you with high-efficiency results.
  • Low maintenance – solar water heater is an easy and simple construction, which is very easy to maintain. All you have to make sure is that the solar plates are clean to get direct sunlight. With proper maintenance, you can use a solar water heater for up to 20 years.
  • Great efficiency – Solar panels are highly efficient in absorbing solar energy and converting it to a usable form. About 80% of the sun’s radiation is turned into heat energy. It offers great results at a very economical cost. Even during a cloudy day, solar panels absorb the energy from the environment and convert it to heat energy for heating the water. There are two basic solar heater designs active and passive, both are equally efficient and goes with a variety of property needs.
  • Increases your property value – Solar water heater can be an asset for your house. A house that uses solar power automatically becomes more profitable. It saves energy cost, reduces the carbon footprint, requires low maintenance, and provides efficient heating even on cloudy days and appeals to more customers. You might have seen how government bodies are encouraging solar projects in Gujarat, due to which properties that use solar energy are more attractive to the buyers. So if you use a solar water heater for your home, expect a higher market rate for your home.

Conclusion

A water heater is a basic need for most families. When you can use solar power to fulfill your needs then why to go for the expensive options? Solar water heaters are trending in India. There are many suppliers of a solar water heater in India suitable to meet your needs. Whether you want it for your home or commercial property, you can get a custom-size water heater from the best water heater suppliers in Gujarat. So stop wasting energy and money on electric water heaters and become a proud user of solar water heaters.