Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Laguna Beach’

Mission Viejo Plumbing Question: What Causes a Dry Toilet?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

One of the strangest bathroom plumbing problems that people come across in Mission Viejo is when a toilet bowl is dry. This can be caused by a number of different problems, most of which you will need a professional to fix.

Cracked Trapway

A crack in the trapway of the toilet can cause the water to drain from the toilet bowl and into the drain pipe below it.  When cracks of this type occur they can be hard to see, especially if the crack happens directly over the drain allowing the water to flow down the drain, rather than all over the floor.  If the crack happens in another portion of the trap-way the drained water can be more noticeable as it flows all over the floor.  A slow leak of this manner might not be as noticeable since constant use will keep the bowl filled with new water, even as the cracked trap-way leaks.  Unfortunately cracked trapways do usually result in toilet replacement.

 Clogged Vent

All drains require air to function properly by relieving pressure within the pipes, and a vent provides this.  A clogged vent on the toilet drain can cause water to pull air down the drain with it, instead of pulling air through the vent.  This will result in the drain pulling a majority of the water from the toilet bowl and down the drain as it tries to find air to pull down to even out pressure in the pipes.  A clogged toilet drain vent must be unclogged so that proper air flow can return to the drain.

Saddleback Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has a team of Mission Viejo plumbers who work on all sorts of bathroom plumbing issues such as dry toilet bowls, cracked trapways and clogged drainage vents.  Contact Saddleback Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for all your bathroom plumbing needs!

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Taxes and Energy Savings for Anaheim Homes

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Having energy efficient heating and air conditioning appliances in Anaheim isn’t just good for the environment; it is good for your budget too! Not only do you save money by lowering your energy bills each month but you are also able to get some tax credits. While some of these credits have changed since 2010, there are still plenty of ways that you can save money by improving the energy efficiency of your home.  Taxes are confusing, but this is one tax credit that is easy to understand without your accountant. We found this great guide on that explains exactly what air conditioning installations can earn you tax credits.

The federal government offers two different tax credits for energy-saving home improvements. The rules for one credit changed for the worse since last year. The other credit remains as generous as ever. Here’s what you need to know if you want to claim these credits this year.

1. Modest Credit for Garden Variety Energy-Saving Improvements

The first credit equals 10 percent of certain qualified home improvement expenditures plus 100 percent of certain other expenditures–subject to a rather stingy overall credit cap of $500. And you must reduce that already-skimpy cap by credits claimed in earlier years.

While the $500 cap is uninspiring, the good news is the credit covers a broad range of energy-saving expenditures for your principal U.S. residence, and there are no income limits. However improvements made to vacation homes and foreign residences are not eligible.

You may remember that the 2010 version of this credit was much more generous. It equaled 30 percent of qualified expenditures — subject to a $1,500 cap. The current version with the $500 cap is scheduled to expire at year end. Because it is doubtful that the credit will be extended, you may need to take action this year to benefit.

Here are more details on the $500 credit.

Claiming the Credit for Improvement Costs

For the following home improvements, the maximum credit equals 10 percent of qualified 2011 expenditures up to the $500 limit (reduced by any credit claimed in earlier years).

Exterior windows including skylights and storm windows, subject to a $200 credit cap.

Exterior doors including storm doors.


Metal and asphalt roofs with heat-reduction components.

For these items, you cannot count costs for site preparation, assembly, or installation.

Claiming the Credit for Equipment Costs

For the following items, the maximum credit equals 100 percent of qualified 2011 expenditures up to the $500 limit (reduced by any credit claimed in earlier years).

High-efficiency central air conditioners; electric heat pumps, electric heat pump water heaters; water heaters that run on natural gas, propane or oil; and biomass fuel stoves used for heating or hot water. The cap for these items is $300.

Furnaces and hot water boilers that run on natural gas, propane, or oil–subject to a cap of $150.

Advanced main air circulating fans used in natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces–subject to a cap of $50.

For these items, costs for site preparation, assembly, and installation are eligible for the credit.

Manufacturer’s Certification Is Required

You must obtain a manufacturer’s certification that the product in question qualifies for the $500 credit. The certification may be on the product packaging, or you may be able to print it out from the manufacturer’s website. In any case, keep the certification with your tax records. You won’t need to attach the certification to your Form 1040, but Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits) will be included with your return.

2. Bigger Credit for More Expensive Energy-Saving Equipment

The second credit equals 30 percent of qualified expenditures to buy and install more-exotic (and expensive) energy-saving equipment for your home.

Because the expenditures for these items can be big, the credit amounts can be big too. And there are no income limits. Even billionaires can take advantage.

This second credit is available through 2016, so there is no big hurry. If your 2011 credit is so large that you cannot use it all up on this year’s return, you can carry the excess forward to 2012 and beyond.

Qualified Expenditures

The credit equals 30 percent of qualified expenditures including costs for site preparation, assembly, installation, piping, and wiring for the following gear.

Solar water heating equipment for your U.S. residence (including a vacation home).

Solar electricity generating equipment for your U.S. residence (including a vacation home).

Wind energy equipment for your U.S. residence (including a vacation home).

Geothermal heat pump equipment for your U.S. residence (including a vacation home).

Fuel cell electricity generating equipment for your U.S. principal residence. Vacation homes don’t count here. For this part of the credit, the maximum annual credit amount is limited to $500 for each .5 kilowatt hour of fuel cell capacity that you add during that year.

Special Rules

You cannot claim the credit for equipment used to heat a swimming pool or hot tub, and special rules apply to expenditures for residential co-op and condominium buildings.

You Must Get a Manufacturer’s Certification

Again, you are required to obtain a manufacturer’s certification stating that the equipment in question qualifies for the credit. You don’t need to attach it to your Form 1040, but keep it with your tax records. A completed Form 5695 will be included with your return.

Finally, keep proof of exactly much you spend — including any extra amounts for site preparation, assembly, installation, piping, or wiring.

Check for Additional Cash Inducements

You might also be eligible for state and local income tax benefits, subsidized state and local financing deals, and utility company rebates. These additional inducements can amount to hundreds of dollars or more.

For more information about how HVAC upgrades can save you money in the long run please call Saddleback Plumbing.

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How Indoor Air Quality is Affected by Crawl Spaces in Laguna Beach

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Indoor air quality problems in Laguna Beach come in many forms. The most common is a specific irritant like dander or pollen getting in through poorly sealed windows or a lack of ventilation keeping stale air inside during the winter. However, for those with crawlspaces beneath their home, the risk of potentially dangerous indoor pollutants rises sharply.

Radon in Your Crawlspace

Radon is a gas emitted from the natural decay of uranium found in almost all soil. Any home can sit atop radon emitting soil – the real question is whether that gas can make its way into your living space. Unfortunately, poorly sealed crawlspaces are a frequent problem, either due to previous owners using the space for storage or to it being poorly sealed during construction.

If your home shows high levels of radon, the crawlspace is likely the first space that will be inspected by your contractor. Because radon gas can lead to diseases like lung cancer (in as many as 21,000 people each year), the risk is not worth ignoring.

Mold and Mildew

Another major problem faced by homeowners with crawlspaces is the presence of moisture in the crawlspace. Moisture is a direct contributor to the growth of mold and mildew which can quickly spread into your home. Proper sealing is highly recommended if natural moisture builds up in the crawlspace or if a lingering mold problem simply won’t go away.

Crawlspace Inspection

Inspection of your crawlspace starts with carefully analyzing the indoor air quality of your home to be sure nothing is currently causing problems. If high levels of radon or mold are detected, the crawlspace is usually the first place to check. If they are not, it is still good to inspect the space to check for both as they can quickly spread to the rest of the house.  Another preventative step you can take is installing air cleaners in your HVAC system to help reduce air pollutants.

An unsealed crawlspace is almost always an unnecessary danger that should be seen to as quickly as possible. If you are interested in keeping tabs on your home’s air quality, it starts at the foundation. Contact Saddleback Plumbing today and learn more about what they can do for you.

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HVAC Tips: The Differences Between SEER and HSPF Ratings

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

When it comes to heat pumps in Orange County and across the country, there are two different ratings you’ll often see – the SEER and the HSPF. So, what does each of them mean and which rating is more important when purchasing your new device? Here are a few things to consider:


The acronym SEER is short for “seasonal energy efficiency rating” and is used most commonly to measure air conditioner efficiency or in this case, the cooling capacity of your heat pump.


The HSPF is short for “heating seasonal performance factor” and is a measurement of how efficient the heat pump is in producing heat during the cooler months of the year.

The Difference Between the Two

Every heat pump will have both of these ratings, allowing you to see how efficient each is. This is important because you need to know for certain how well your heat pump will perform under certain situations – both in the winter and summer.

However, if you live in a colder climate where the summer rarely calls for air conditioner, your focus should be on the HSPF first. And if you live in a warmer climate where your heating needs are minimal, the SEER is most important. Another thing to consider is your supplemental heat. If the cost of your supplemental heating system is high, you’ll want an HSPF that is as low as possible to balance it out.

Choosing an Efficient Heat Pump

Heat pump efficiency directly impacts the price of the device you purchase but is almost always worth the difference. The key is to find a device that provides what you need based on where you live. Keep in mind as well that, like most HVAC upgrades, you won’t immediately recoup the cost of the device in your energy savings, so if you plan on moving soon, you should purchase a more affordable device now and upgrade later.

Purchasing a heat pump is an important step in making your home more energy efficient. If you are unsure which rating you need or how to analyze their meanings, contact Saddleback Plumbing to learn more.

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Why is My Furnace Turning On and Off? A Question from Laguna Beach

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

One of the most annoying things your furnace can do is to constantly keep turning on and off. This on-off cycling keeps your Laguna Beach home from heating up properly. This action – called short cycling – also requires more electricity and drives up utility bills.

Short cycling is caused by an overheated furnace, which triggers safety mechanisms and shuts down the furnace. After a brief interval and cooling down, the furnace starts up again the cycle keeps repeating itself. Not only is it an annoyance, it can also signal more serious problems. A leaking heat exchanger can cause a furnace to overheat – and produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.

If a furnace is working too hard and overheating, it is usually because of airflow in and out. Your home’s ventilation system needs to be clear of dirt, dust, and debris. The more blockage in your ductwork and vents, the more friction is created, slowing down airflow and ultimately ending with an overworked furnace that continues to cycle on and off. And a blocked exhaust vent, such as a chimney or dedicated exhaust vent, can also cause a furnace to work harder. Check for things like leaves or bird’s nests.

The blockage may also be coming from a clogged furnace filter. You should clean or replace your furnace filter after a visual inspection reveals any type of build-up of dust or dirt. Do this at least every three-six months.

If you have a two-speed fan on your furnace, it is recommended that you run the fan in low speed during the cold months and high speed in the warm months. The reason? Warm air is lighter and takes less force to move.

There are other measures to take to prevent short cycling but these usually require a professional heating and cooling service technician to correct the problem. If in doubt, call your local qualified heating and cooling contractor and schedule a furnace inspection. Don’t make your furnace work any harder than it was designed for – and keep your home’s occupants comfortable and safe.

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