Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Blog : Archive for 2014

5 Facts about Santa Claus

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Many holiday traditions involve the story of Santa Claus, the lovable old man who spends most of his time at the North Pole taking a single evening to deliver presents and candy to children everywhere. But since Santa Claus is so elusive (unless he happens to be visiting your local shopping mall), how do we know so much about him? Where exactly does his journey begin? Our holiday guide details 5 of the most common traditions associated with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

  1. The Origins of Santa: The name “Santa Claus” comes from St. Nicholas (a name which became Sinter Klaas for short in Dutch), a Christian Bishop from 4 A.D. who was known for giving his fortune away to those in need in Turkey. Santa Claus’ first associations with gift-giving comes from Holland’s St. Nicholas’ feast day, during which children would leave out their shoes overnight and find presents waiting inside the shoes on the next morning.
  2. The Stocking by the Chimney: While many people associate Holland’s shoe tradition with the origins of hanging a stocking, this isn’t entirely accurate. Hanging stockings instead comes from the legend of a time St. Nick helped a man afford to marry off his daughter by throwing a bag of gold down the chimney, which landed in a stocking that was hanging up to dry.
  3. St. Nick’s Outfit: Santa got his fashion sense from a wooden cutout handed out during a meeting of the New York Historical Society in 1804. But it wasn’t until a 1930s Coca Cola advertisement that his traditionally blue, white, and green outfit was transformed into a big red suit.
  4. Leaving Cookies out for Santa: Food was traditionally used as ornamentation during the holidays in medieval Germany as apples and cookies commonly adorned the home at wintertime. When the Christmas tree became a common symbol of the season, edible treats began to vanish, a phenomenon which became attributed to Santa Claus’ snacking habits.
  5. Why Santa Drives a Sleigh: Santa gets his sleigh from a tale spun by Washington Irving, the same author who brought us the Headless Horseman. He wrote down an account of a dream in which Santa Claus drives a weightless wagon through the sky, and the stories became so popular, they stuck around.

Here at Lifeline Plumbing, we hope that you have a joyful and safe celebration, no matter what holiday traditions you engage in this year. Happy holidays!

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Why Don’t I Feel Any Heat from My Furnace?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

It’s every homeowner’s worst wintertime heating fear: you turn on your furnace only to find that no heat escapes from the vents. This can be a frustrating experience for homeowners in the winter, particularly in our harsh winter climate. Luckily, the technicians at Lifeline Plumbers offer 24/7 heating repair in Naperville, IL, for when you simply cannot put up with the cold. So what could be the trouble with your unit?

  • Thermostat Issues: Believe it or not, thermostat trouble is one of the most common reasons furnaces struggle to provide heat. You may only have an issue with the wiring of your thermostat, in which case replacement is often the best solution.
  • Electrical Problems: Electrical trouble is another reason for poor heating from a furnace, even those with gas burners. A gas furnace still requires electrical power to operate some key safety features and the blower fan, so electrical failure will lead your unit to quit providing heat. Check the electrical panel to find out whether your unit has blown a fuse or tripped the circuit breaker.
  • Problems with Ignition: If the fan is blowing but you can’t feel any heat, it could indicate trouble with the ignition switch, the electronic igniter, or the safety controls that keep too much gas from flowing into the combustion chamber.

In some cases, a failed furnace simply needs to be replaced. If your furnace is failing and you’ve owned it for around 15 years, investing in a new unit is occasionally a better option than performing any large-scale repairs. But this can be good news—government regulations and advancements in technology make modern furnaces function far more efficiently than those built over a decade ago. If you require replacement, ask your technician about choosing a furnace with a higher AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) for greater monthly energy savings.

Whatever your particular heating needs, be sure to only trust professionals when it comes to heating repair in Naperville. The technicians at Lifeline Plumbing will make sure repairs are completed in a timely manner to get your unit up and running as soon as possible.

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What Steps are Involved with Professional Boiler Installation?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

If your older boiler has finally kicked the bucket, you may dread the thought of installing a new one. Yes, the work required for the job may be somewhat lengthy and an unexpected cost is never ideal, but a new boiler is usually far more efficient than those built a couple of decades ago and are some of the best performing heaters out there—so long as they are properly installed. So what’s involved when you need a boiler for heating installation in Lombard?

Removing the Old Boiler

Provided that you are replacing an existing boiler, your older unit will first need to be replaced. This requires draining the old unit and determining whether any piping needs to be replaced, or whether some of the existing installations can be left behind. Removing a boiler should be done at the time of installation, as it’s usually less costly and easier for your technician.

Sizing and Installation

For new installation, you’ll need the technician to make careful calculations in order to ensure that the system runs properly. An oversized or undersized unit can run into a lot of trouble and fail too soon. When you’re replacing an older boiler, many of the measurements will likely already be in place, but the technician will still double check and measure for correct pressure as well as other important factors. With improper installation, you risk water leaks, insufficient heating, overworked components, and high bills. This is why you want to ensure that only highly-trained technicians perform the installation so that all parts are secure and functional.


The final step of installation is inspection. Because you’re dealing with a system that stays at high pressure, you risk some serious consequences—in the direst of situations, an explosion is possible. A technician will check the safety valves, pressure components, and water levels to make sure this isn’t a possibility. You should also schedule maintenance every year following installation to make sure everything remains in top shape.

Careful installation is key to a positive experience, and the people at Lifeline Plumbing will ensure your new system is up and running as it should. Call us today to schedule professional heating installation in Lombard.

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Why Drain Cleaning Is Not a Do-It-Yourself Job

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

DIY repair is popular, and you can even view videos online that demonstrate how to repair many household problems. However, DIY shows and videos feature experts doing the work – experts who, should they find other problems, have the knowledge and ability to repair any other issues that they may encounter. This is just one of several reasons why drain cleaning is not a good choice for DIY. Here are a few more to consider:

  • Specialized tools – plumbers have a number of specialized tools at hand that you most likely won’t; additionally, they have the knowledge to use these tools effectively so that your plumbing problem can be resolved. Unless you want to spend a great deal of money obtaining the right tools, and then take the time to educate yourself on how to use them, it’s best to allow a trained expert to handle your drain cleaning.
  • Time – plumbers do this kind of work every day; as such, they can quickly and correctly clean your drains. Do you have the expertise to clean your drains correctly in a short amount of time? If not, you could be losing your time to drain cleaning that could be put toward more important things.
  • Mistakes can be costly – we’ve all heard the stories of DIY plumbing disasters; if you conduct your own drain cleaning, and do it poorly, you could make a mistake that can be costly. Is cleaning your drains on your own really worth the risk?
  • Liability – a licensed and insured technician is covered for the unlikely occurrence of a problem such as injury or damage to your system; doing your own plumbing work means you are liable for any damage or injury that may occur.

What Can You Do on Your Own?

The most important thing any homeowner can do on his/her own is to schedule plumbing maintenance. Maintenance helps get you ahead of potential repairs and keeps your plumbing system in good working order. It’s recommended that your plumbing system is scheduled for maintenance annually for the best results.

Drains can clog for a number of reasons, and unless you have the tools and expertise to handle any kind of plumbing scenario, it’s best to leave your drain cleaning in Lombard to the professionals.

If you are experiencing a clog, contact Lifeline Plumbing today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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Contaminants You Can Get Rid of with a Whole-Home Water Filter

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

You may be one of many Americans who use a point-of-use filter for the water in your kitchen. You may have a filter attached to the sink or perhaps you pour tap water from a filtered pitcher instead. But wouldn’t it be better if your entire home received the same type of filtration?

If you want water filtration for your entire home, allow us to recommend a whole-home water filter. These are installed at a point-of-entry in your water supply so that every fixture and faucet in the home releases clean potable drinking water. In fact, whole home water filters can take care of many of the following contaminants and more.

  • Arsenic: Arsenic is odorless and tasteless but can cause major health problems over the years if it is hidden in your drinking water. People have been known to develop skin damage as a result of arsenic consumption and it may cause circulatory problems. Some studies link arsenic to an increased risk of cancer.
  • Bacteria: Bacteria and other microorganisms can lead to a number of illnesses. Most basic whole-home water filters are effective in removing bacteria, protozoa, and viruses from the water supply.
  • Chlorine/ Chloramine: Chlorine and chloramine are often added to the water by your municipality in order to eliminate bacteria and parasites. However, many people object to the addition of these chemicals. A high-quality filter or reverse osmosis system will be most effective in taking care of these.
  • Minerals: Finally, some filtration systems—for the most part reverse osmosis systems and water softeners—can remove minerals from the water that could otherwise damage your plumbing system.

It surprises many homeowners to learn that these types of contaminants still exist in their plumbing systems even after municipal water treatment. Most towns have some sort of water treatment system in place with a variety of processes to clean and sterilize water. However, some of the chemicals added to the water during this process may be undesirable to many homeowners, and other contaminants may be missed or may continue to collect as water moves through the pipes.

Contact Lifeline Plumbing to get professional water testing and find out what contaminants are plaguing your water. Then, discover what types of options are available to you.

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Will Thanksgiving Turkey Really Make You Sleepy?

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

We’ve all heard it before: you feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving meal because of the main event: the turkey. For years, people have credited extraordinary levels of tryptophan in turkey as the reason we all feel the need to nap after the annual feast. But contrary to this popular mythology, tryptophan is probably not he largest responsible party for your post-meal exhaustion.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means it’s something that our bodies need but do not produce naturally. Your body uses tryptophan to help make vitamin B3 and serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that sends chemicals to the brain to aid in sleep. But in order to get this essential amino acid, we have to eat foods that contain it.

Turkey has somewhat high levels of tryptophan, but so do many other foods, including eggs, peanuts, chocolate, nuts, bananas, and most other meats and dairy products. In fact, ounce-for-ounce cheddar cheese contains a greater amount of tryptophan than turkey. In order for tryptophan to make you feel sleepy, you would have to consume it in excessive amounts, and serotonin is usually only produced by tryptophan on an empty stomach.

The truth is, overeating is largely responsible for the “food coma” many people describe post-Thanksgiving. It takes a lot of energy for your body to process a large meal, and the average Thanksgiving plate contains about twice as many calories as is recommended for daily consumption. If anything, high levels of fat in the turkey cause sleepiness, as they require a lot of energy for your body to digest. Lots of carbohydrates, alcohol, and probably a bit of stress may also be some of the reasons it feels so satisfying to lay down on the couch after the meal and finally get a little bit of shut-eye.

If you feel the need to indulge in a heaping dose of tryptophan this year, go ahead! Turkey also contains healthy proteins and may even provide a boost for your immune system.

Here at Lifeline Plumbing, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and contentment this year. Happy feasting!

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Is Radiant Heating a Good Choice for My Elgin Home?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Radiant heating has been around for a while, but with recent improvements to products, it has gained a great deal of popularity over the last few years. Homeowners have a couple of choices when it comes to radiant heating, as we’ll explain further below, but one of the most important aspects of any radiant system is correct installation. While DIY shows may make radiant heating installation look simple, it requires the expertise and knowledge of a specialist. Lifeline Plumbing has the trained and certified technicians who can perform your radiant heat installation in Elgin, so call us today!

Types of Radiant Systems

There are two main types of radiant systems: electric and hydronic (hot water or steam). But there are also choices as to placement of your radiant heating: radiant floor heating or radiant panels. First we’ll take a look at radiant floor heating:

  • Hydronic radiant floor heating – with a hydronic radiant floor system, flexible, durable PEX tubing is installed beneath your flooring. A boiler heats the water and pushes it through piping to the tubing, where the heat from the steam or hot water is released.
  • Electric radiant floor heating – electric radiant floor heating can be installed in a few ways. One way is via a “wet” installation in which electric cable is laid into wet cement that, when dry, forms a radiant slab. Electric cables can also be laid in a pattern on subflooring, or electrically-conductive plastic matting that contains electric cables can be installed under flooring or on top of subflooring.

Radiant Panels

Radiant panels are typically installed in walls and ceilings, offering you another location for radiant heating installation. Radiant panels are usually made of aluminum, and can have either hot water or electric cables provide the heat. Because of the risk of leaks, electric cables are used more often. Radiant panels heat quickly but have a low heat capacity.

Benefits of Radiant Heating

Here are some reasons why you may want to choose radiant heating for your home:

  • Comfortable, even heat – the heat from a radiant system is gradual as compared to that of a forced-air system, making it more comfortable for some people.
  • Good for allergy sufferers – there is no circulating dust with a radiant system, which can be very helpful for those with allergies.
  • Easily zoned – radiant systems can be easily zoned, helping you to enjoy more customized comfort.

If you are considering the installation of a radiant heat system in Elgin, Lifeline Plumbing has the trained specialists who can help you from start to finish. Contact us today!

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Signs You Should Call a Professional for Leak Detection Services

Monday, November 17th, 2014

If you’ve ever had a small plumbing leak, you know that it can be an inconvenience. Still, you may be tempted to wait and call a technician for repairs as it seems like only a slight bother that doesn’t affect your home or your day. But if you’ve ever had a small leak develop into a much bigger leak, you know that seemingly minor repairs are no small matter. Any type of leak can develop into a much larger problem, causing damage to belongings and ruining the structure of a home in some cases.

It’s important to know the signs of a leak so that you can get repairs or pipe replacement as soon as possible. But leaks aren’t always immediately apparent. Sometimes, it can take months to realize that a leak has already caused irreparable damage. Look out for the following early signs that your plumbing is in need of repair and call a professional for leak detection at the first sign of trouble.

  • Water Spots: Water spots on the wall or ceiling can be a telltale sign that a leak has already invaded your home. This could lead to dangerous mold or mildew building up in your home, which is troubling for asthmatics or allergy sufferers and can cause other respiratory problems as well.
  • Flooding in the Yard: If you notice wet patches in the yard, or if one part of the grass seems to grow far more quickly than the rest, it could be due to a leak.
  • Reduced Water Pressure: A working set of water supply pipes allows water to flow from the faucet at a noticeably high pressure. When water pressure reduces to a slow trickle or a drip, it could be due to scale buildup in the pipes, but it’s also likely that a leak prevents water from reaching your home quickly.
  • Increased Utilities: Finally, if you suspect a leak you may want to check your utility bills to see if water usage has suddenly increased from the previous billing period.

Call Lifeline Plumbing to get courteous, professional leak detection services in Schaumburg and the surrounding areas today!

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Types of Contaminants Eliminated with Reverse Osmosis Filtration

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Before it comes into your home, the water that flows through your pipes first passes through a local water treatment facility. The water undergoes many different forms of treatment before it reaches your plumbing, such as flocculation and coagulation to remove dirt and other dissolved particles, sedimentation to get rid of the floc, filtration for any additional particles and bacteria, and chemical disinfection.

However, the chemicals added to the water during this treatment process may invoke health issues in those that are sensitive to chemicals. Besides, the water can pick up a few more contaminants on the trip to your home, and municipal water treatment might not get rid of every potential problem.

A reverse osmosis system is a type of filter that a technician installs at an entry point in your water supply to filter out many of the contaminants that could otherwise infiltrate your plumbing system. It uses pressure to push water through a semi-permeable membrane so that only nearly pure water can make its way through. Here are some of the contaminants that a reverse osmosis system can take care of.

  • Fluoride: Often, the public water supply is treated with fluoride to ensure the dental health of every member of the community. However, many homeowners do not feel they need any added chemicals to prevent cavities, and over-fluoridation may be linked to some illnesses.
  • Salt: Reverse osmosis was actually originally utilized by scientists for the purposes of desalination, removing salt from seawater. Therefore, reverse osmosis systems are quite effective at removing salt from water, and are some of the only filtration systems capable of doing so.
  • Bacteria and Viruses: Reverse osmosis systems can take care of bacteria or other microorganisms in the water supply that could make you or your family members feel ill.
  • Additional Chemical Contaminants: Some additional contaminants may be removed by reverse osmosis as well, including metal ions like chromium, copper, and lead. Reverse osmosis may reduce the levels of arsenic, nitrates and phosphorous as well, and some of the minerals known to cause hard water.

Call the team at Lifeline Plumbing to schedule your reverse osmosis system installation in Aurora today. You’ll be glad you did!

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Which Requires Fewer Repairs: Boilers or Furnaces?

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Boilers and furnaces are the most commonly-installed heating systems, and each is durable and energy efficient. At some point, however, every heating system needs repair. Sometimes our Lifeline Plumbing technicians are asked which type of system requires fewer repairs. The answer has to do with the types of repairs you can see from each system and how well a system is maintained. If you are in need of boiler repair in St. Charles, or any heating repair, call the people you can trust: Lifeline Plumbing.

Common Boiler Repairs

  • Leaks – boilers use water to heat your home; as such, leaks can develop in a number of places.
  • Circulator pumps – the hot water in a boiler is pushed through your system via circulator pumps. Common problems that arise with circulator pumps are leaks, broken seals and blockage from scaling.
  • Problems with burner assembly – in the burner assembly, there can be issues with the fuel nozzle, electrodes or the burner itself.

Common Furnace Repairs

  • Blower issues – a large blower fan is responsible for blowing the warm air from the heat exchanger into your living space. Common problems that can develop with the blower fan are motor issues, worn fan belts and electrical issues.
  • Heat exchanger – the heat exchanger is subject to constant expansion and contraction due to the varying temperatures to which it’s exposed; as such, heat exchangers can crack and require replacement.
  • Ductwork issues – the ductwork in a forced air system can corrode and disconnect, resulting in significant air loss.

Maintenance Is the Key

During a routine maintenance appointment, your heating system is thoroughly inspected, cleaned and adjusted, and all moving parts are lubricated. This helps your system to work optimally, and reduces the level of wear and tear while preventing premature aging.

Furnaces have more moving parts than boilers, which can lead to increased breakdowns, but boiler repair can be more expensive. Deciding which system will work best in your home will depend largely on your needs.

The trained technicians at Lifeline Plumbing can handle furnace and boiler repair in St. Charles, so if you experience heating problems, call us immediately.

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