Archive for the ‘News’ Category

EPA Summer Cooling Tips

Posted on: August 7th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

The EPA pulled together 7 tips to help keep you cool and your costs down during the summer months.

1. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, buy one. The savings tally to nearly $200.00 a year. This way, when you are out of the house, on vacation or sleeping, you can set your ‘stat to “Save.” (We are offering two different digital thermostat specials currently. See our specials page now.)

2. Search your house for leaky ducts. The majority of homes lose about 20% of their cooling energy through leaky ducts.

3. Seal off any ducts to unconditioned areas, and insulate rooms like the garage, attic or cellar. (Families with larger homes and empty nesters consider not cooling the wing of the house no one ever goes into.)

4. It may be time for an AC upgrade. Get a qualified professional to inspect your system. Look for models that have the EPA’s Energy Star. (We are offering $300 off a complete Air Conditioning installation now. Call us for details.)

5. Replace those old-fashioned, roundy light bulbs. The Energy Star fluorescent light bulbs use two-thirds less energy and generates less heat than those dinosaur incandescent bulbs.

6. Turn off all appliances and lights when not in use. Coffee makers and toaster ovens don’t need to be plugged in all day.

7. Make sure your fan is spinning clockwise. This will create a wind-chill effect. Turn your ceiling fan off when you exit the room. Fans cool people not rooms.

Bonus:  This summer, wear skimpier clothing, keep yourself hydrated, take cooler showers and plant shade trees around your house.

The Evolution of the Flushing Toilet – Part 1

Posted on: August 6th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

The Harrappa’s had it 3000 years ago. The ancient Scottish settlement Skara Brae had it. Fast forward a few thousand years and the Romans had it.  What was it they had you say? The means and innovation to whoosh away waste. And then this progression of sewage removal went to crap (yes pun intended) when the Roman Empire fell. It would take hundreds of years for Western Civilizations to figure out how to whisk away sewage.

Then came the middle ages, where on any given day there’s a very good chance you will trudge through an open cesspool, or even worse, have a chamber pot emptied onto your head. These were indeed dark times, or as they are historically referred to as the Dark Ages. These were the times when form far outweighed function. The only real thought that went into sanitation was predominantly ornamental – basically making chamber pots look like a stack of books or a decorative box. What to do with the waste thereafter was an afterthought.

Stop by next week for part 2 and find out who how the royal family is associated with the first flush toilet.

Great new Facebook Like Contest

Posted on: August 1st, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

We are pleased to offer you a chance to win a Toto Washlet C110. This dual-action spray and a heated softclose seat will provide a bathroom experience like no other. This truly is technology you can finally get behind!  To enter the contest like us on Facebook…it’s that simple. Click Here to enter.

 

Heat Stroke – Real Danger for the Elderly

Posted on: July 19th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

The risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, increases with age, experts at the U.S. National Institute on Aging warn.

As people get older they are less able to adapt to high temperatures, like those engulfing much of the Metro DC area now. As a result, the heat might exacerbate any medical conditions they have.

In addition, older folks may develop certain health problems that could increase their risk of hyperthermia (when the body overheats).

An elderly person’s environment can also influence their response to the heat. For instance, not having access to air conditioning or transportation, or overdressing could put them at greater risk for heat-related illnesses involving hyperthermia, including heat fatigue; heat syncope (lightheadedness or fainting in the heat); heat cramps; and heat exhaustion (milder form of heat-related illness).

What are the signs and differences between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion?
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable
to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106 ° F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Warning signs vary but may include the following:

• An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
• Dizziness
• Nausea

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Warning signs vary but may include the following:

• Heavy sweating
• Paleness
• Muscle Cramps
• Tiredness
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting
• Fainting
• Skin: may be cool and moist
• Pulse rate: fast and weak
• Breathing: fast and shallow

You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:
• Drink cool, nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)

• Rest.
• Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
• If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or
public library to cool off.
• Keep warm areas ventilation if not cooled. Proper ventilation will promote adequate sweat
evaporation to cool the skin.
• Wear lightweight clothing.
• If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
• Do not engage in strenuous activities.
• Sunblocks and sunscreens with a protection factor of 15 (SPF 15) can be very helpful when one is exposed to extreme direct sunlight.

What You Can Do to Help Protect Elderly Relatives and Neighbors
If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help them protect themselves from heat-related stress:

• Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
• Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.
• Make sure older adults have access to an electric fan whenever possible.

Washington Gas – Natural Gas Rebate Program

Posted on: June 25th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

Washington Gas is offering up to a $250 rebate, for as limited time and only to Virginia Customers on products and services including natural gas water heaters, boilers, programmable thermostats and heating system check-ups. Rebates available on a first come, first serve basis. Rebates will total nearly $1,000,000!! So be sure to take advantage soon before they are gone. All services must be rendered  no later than April 30, 2014.

This rebate program is available only to Virginia Washington Gas customers and is managed and monitored by Washington Gas, not John C. Flood. All rebate questions should be directed to Washington Gas.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to have one of our specialists come to your home and work with you to determine the best solution!

For full details on this program, FAQ’s, how to apply, eligible appliances, etc Click Here.

What is a MERV rating and what does it mean?

Posted on: June 20th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments


What is a HVAC MERV rating and what does it mean?



Minimum efficiency reporting value, commonly known as MERV rating is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The scale “represents a quantum leap in the precision and accuracy of air-cleaner ratings” and allows for improved health, reduced cost and energy efficiency in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) design. For example, a HEPA filter is often impractical in central HVAC systems due to the large pressure drop the dense filter material causes. Experiments indicate that less obstructive, medium-efficiency filters of MERV 7 to 13 are almost as effective as true HEPA filters at removing allergens, with much lower associated system and operating costs.

Something to consider, the higher the MERV rating the more particle matter that will be captured, but your HVAC system will have limited and more restricted air-flow meaning you will need to change out the filter more often.

Leaving a dirty air filter in place or using a filter that is too restrictive may result in low air flow and possibly cause the system to malfunction.

The MERV rating scale PDF below is designed to represent the worst case performance of a filter when dealing with particles in the range of 0.3 to 10 micrometres. The MERV rating is from 1 to 20. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass, with a MERV 20 filter capturing more than 99.99% of particles over the full range.

Click Here to view a MERV Rating Chart

Visit us at the Kingstowne Home Expo – Meet former Redskin LaVar Arrington

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

We will have a booth (#46) at the Kingstowne Home Expo this Saturday, May 19th from 10 AM – 3 PM at the Synder Center, 6450 South Van Dorn St., Kingstowne, VA 22315. Come out to the expo and when you are there be sure to stop by booth #46 – we will have lots of free goodies (while they last) and meet Former Washington Redskin LaVar Arrington from 12-2.
Kingstowne Home Expo

Shout out’s, praises and all things said on the air

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

Hear local sports celebrities and on-air radio personalities talk about their experiences with John C. Flood

Hear Kristi King from WTOP Radio interview our very own Jeff Levin

Hear a couple of excerpts from the WTOP Radio interview with one Project Manager Jeff Levin about the need to check for CO leaks in your home. Normal wear and tear is something homeowners and renters can inspect themselves.

LaVar Arrington
Hear former 3-time Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington talk about his experiences with John C. Flood. He is currently the host of The LaVar Arrington Show with Chad Dukes weekdays from 2-7 PM on 106.7 The Fan.



Kelly Collis
Kelly Collis is part of the Tommy Show on 94.7 FreshFM and a local fixture is the Metro DC area having founded CityShopGirl. We recently performed some work for her to help with some major plumbing issues.
Hear what she had to say about her experience.

Spring 2012 is tomorrow

Posted on: March 19th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

Well, I am going to go ahead and say that Punxsutawney Phil may have thrown the wrong prediction on February 2, 2012 when he saw his shadow noting 6 more weeks of winter. The last few weeks have been anything but winter-like weather and with Spring officially starting tomorrow, March 20th that means it’s time to get your AC inspected.

It’s a much better idea to get your HVAC system inspected well before the summer season kicks in. If you wait too long to get your annual inspection you will indeed wait longer due to high demand for AC repairs and servicing. If you have an annual service maintenance contract with us we can get to you whenever you are ready, so call us anytime. If you don’t have an annual service maintenance contract with us – what are you waiting for? Priority scheduling, discounts on parts and labor and depending on your plan no diagnostic fees.

Don’t like waiting in lines? Neither do we…we love VIP treatment just like everybody else.

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

Well at John C. Flood we offer annual maintenance service contracts. We call them Energy Management Plans or EMP’s for short. If you don’t like waiting in lines, or having to wait longer than you need to get something done we hear you. Buy one of our annual maintenance service contracts and jump ahead of those without one when scheduling your emergency repairs or servicing for heating, AC, Plumbing or electrical.

Summer is creeping up fast so imagine its Saturday morning and the weather forecast calls for blistering heat for the next few days. You will surely have your system cranked up to keep you and your family comfortable. Well, surprise, surprise you aren’t the only one cranking up their systems and if your system craps out right at the beginning of a heat streak…and on a weekend…be prepared for some serious wait times.

Well, that’s only if you don’t have one of our annual maintenance service contracts. If you do, you will get priority scheduling ahead of all those without…cutting your wait time considerably! You will be a hero for getting you and your family cool again.

Now these plans don’t just cover AC, depending on your plan, they also cover heating, Electrical and plumbing nightmares too! And depending on your plan you won’t pay a diagnostic fee for us coming out either.

Trust me; these plans pay for themselves many times over…even if just for that one instance, on that one blistering hot weekend.
Call us now, before it’s too late and we will explain the plans available and pricing.

HVAC Mold Issues – Helpful Info and Tips

Posted on: February 1st, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

We recently serviced a clients HVAC system and when we checked the evaporator coil and this is what we saw. (see fig 1)
HVAC Mold
Now this customer has complained of feeling ill often, but did not consider the possibility the large amount of mold and mildew that had collected on the coil could be the culprit. Air crossing over a coil with this much mold and mildew will definitely carry mold and mold spores throughout your home via your air ducts and vents.

Can mold cause health problems? Absolutely.
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing (in the case above, it’s the evaporator coil). Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common and the reactions can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.

Keeping your HVAC system clean
Getting your HVAC system inspected twice a year is the ideal situation for most people. This will allow for two important things to occur:

1) This will make sure your system is running effectively and efficiently and that no issues are apparent thus ensuring your system will work when needed.
2) It will ensure your system is clean of debris and in this case, mold/mildew formations and thus avoiding any of the potential health risks associated with mold/mildew.
3) Installing an air purification system into your HVAC system (like the TopTech Air Knight) will greatly reduce, if not completely eliminate up to 99.99% of Mold, bacteria, odors, viruses, smoke and VOCs – leaving behind clean, fresh and odor free air. See the following video on the TopTech Air Knight system and how it works.

http://www.toptechparts.com/iaq/airKnight.html

Frozen Pipes Burst: Why It Happens and How to Avoid It.

Posted on: January 12th, 2012 by christhompson No Comments

Frozen Pipes BurstNo homeowner ever wants to discover a water pipe that has burst within their home. Broken or busted pipes cause leaking water that in many cases will do significant damage to the surrounding area effecting a home and most of the plumbing within it.

The reason that many water pipes burst is due to both the weather and the tempurature. Water expands as it freezes and if this expansion occurs in a closed environment, such as a water pipe, there could be substantial pressure placed on the inner walls of the pipe material. Whether the pipes are made out of copper, iron, lead, or CPVC plastic, it does not matter. Even if a pipe is strong enough to handle the occasional stress of frozen water, the cumulative effect can weaken the structural integrity of the pipe and eventually, it will burst as the pipe thaws.

Good news for homeowners is that most pipes are protected from bursting because they are either covered with insulation or are located in places that very rarely reach the freezing tempurature of water. However, there may be sections of pipe that are often exposed to freezing tempuratures or have issues because of insulation failure. The frozen water within the pipes causes blockage, which combined with water pressure and backup, can cause weakened pipes to burst without warning.

We, as professionals here at John C. Flood, highly recommend that you keep water flowing through pipes during cold weather (leave a trickle of water flowing through home faucets during a cold weather event). Also, if you have been having issues with this already, it can prove necessary to shut off your main water supply immediately to minimize any future damage.

Upon discovery of a burst water pipe, please call As Soon As Possible to find the leak and repair the damage.

Some precautionary measures you can take are:

  • Turn off outside faucets. Disconnect the hose. If you are going to be away for the winter, turn off the water from inside your house and drain the pipe.
  • Never completely shut off the heat when you are away. If you are planning to leave your home for an extended period of time and you don’t drain your pipes, lower the thermostat, but never shut it off. The lack of heat can freeze the pipes in the walls and basement. Freezing bursts the pipes and, when the house warms up, the thawing water will cause flooding and significant damage.
  • Patch any cracks and holes in doors, windows, and walls near pipes. When the temperature drops to near zero, a high wind blowing through a small opening can freeze a nearby pipe, even though the temperature in the room is 70°F.
  • Insulate water meters, pipes, and faucets in unheated areas. Wrap pipes with pipe-insulating material, which is available at hardware stores.