4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency In Your Home

4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency In Your Home

Energy efficiency has big benefits for homeowners in the Chicagoland area.

One benefit is to live in a more eco-friendly way. Eco-friendly is about living in a more sustainable way by using more energy-efficient methods, such as with your plumbing and HVAC. In fact, when it comes to your plumbing and HVAC, what may have been installed previously in your home may not have been energy efficient. There are also ways to eat and consume more eco-friendly products. In honor of Earth Month, we felt it was a great time to share 4 eco-friendly and energy-efficient methods.

Eco-Friendly Household Products

What if there was an app that could help you find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products with product reviews based on scientific research and ratings? Good news, there is! GoodGuide’s scientists’ rate products on a zero to 10 scale for their health, environmental impact, and social impact. The ingredients, health impacts, and certifications contribute to the health rating.

Low-Flow & Dual-Flush Toilets

Low-flow toilets perform just as well as traditional toilets but are 20% more energy efficient. A new standard toilet uses about 1.6 gallons per flush, not to mention older toilets that can use as much as 8 gallons per flush. A low-flow uses as little as 1.3 gallons.

A dual flush toilet allows you to press one button for a low power flush that is sufficient for liquid waste and another button the provides a full flush to rid the bowl of solid waste. Since most flushes (3 ½ out of 5 average daily flushes) are for liquid waste, this can be a big difference.

As with low-flow toilets, the financial impact of the switch is not huge, however, a dual flush toilet conversion kit will only cost you as little as $22, so you will quickly experience a return on your investment.

Low-Flow Shower Heads

Showerheads are measured by flow (i.e. the number of gallons they deliver per minute [gpm]). Water pressure affects flow, measured in pounds per square inch (psi). The greater the pressure pushing water through pipes and showerheads, the greater the volume of water forced out.

The trick will low flow showerheads is to use less water but maintain water pressure. If you can do this, you will use less water in the same length shower and maintain the water pressure needed to say wash shampoo out of your hair for instance.

There are two ways to do this. Aerating showerheads mix air into the water in order to maintain constant pressure while using less water. Non-aerating showerheads use pulses to keep the stream strong while maintaining a constant temperature. Either of these reduces water consumption, making the shower more green friendly and the bill more wallet-friendly.

Tankless Water Heater

There are many benefits to a tankless water heater. Our blog post back in February covered the signs you might see if you’re in need of a new water heater. When considering a new tankless water heater, there are two eco-friendly aspects to consider. First, the units are longer lasting (20-25 years compared to as little as 5-7 from traditional tanks) and smaller so they fill up landfills less. Secondly, tankless units use less natural gas. This also allows for some savings by homeowners. 

The more relevant direct benefit to homeowners is the unlimited hot water, which can be a real luxury during the colder months here in the Chicagoland area! Hobson Heating and Plumbing is here to help if you’re considering energy-efficient plumbing, HVAC improvements in your home, or repair service 24x7x365. Contact us today!




Spring Plumbing & HVAC Tips

Spring Plumbing & HVAC Tips

Hobson Plumbing & Heating services the tri-cities area with professional residential & commercial heating, air conditioning, and replacement services.

When you are searching for plumbers in the Chicagoland area who offer quality service at affordable prices, you won’t find a better company.  We are a family-owned, full-service plumbing and HVAC service provider providing everything you need in the way of Chicago plumbing service or repairs to your home or business equipment.

If you’re preparing to check your home or business plumbing for any wintertime damage, we’re here to offer you some spring plumbing tips for maintenance and repair. There are repairs you can make yourself, and then there are those that require the knowledge, expertise, and skills of a professional.

3 Spring Plumbing Tips

  • To check for leaks, drop some food coloring into your reservoir tank; if your toilet bowl water changes color, you have a leak.
  • No water should drip or flow from faucets that are turned off, and water should flow freely when faucets are turned on. Check both inside and outside your home for leaks around faucets.
  • Place a plastic bag of plain white vinegar around your showerheads to dissolve mineral deposits that can build up during the winter months. Leave the bag in place overnight, then remove it. Water should flow freely when the shower is turned on.

3 Spring HVAC Tips

  • Change indoor filters often; at a minimum, at the start of every new season (quarterly). If you live in a dusty area, changing filters once a month is recommended.
  • Check for dirty coils on A/C units, and remove any dust or dirt buildup to increase your unit’s efficiency during the hot summer months.
  • Check thermostat settings and use energy-saving settings when possible. If you have an old, nonprogrammable thermostat, set the heat to 68 degrees at night and 78 degrees during the day to conserve energy.

If you suspect you have a leaky system or detect water damage, mold, or mildew, call a professional plumber to evaluate your plumbing system. Hobson Plumbing & Heating is here to help 24x7x365. Call us today at 630-761-3400 to schedule an appointment for service or repair. We will also evaluate your current plumbing and HVAC system.

We Provide Plumbing & HVAC services in Kane and DuPage counties.  Be sure to keep our number nearby so you can call on us when you need a professional to take care of an emergency repair day or night.

Four Signs You Need A New Water Heater

Four Signs You Need A New Water Heater

February was a particularly cold month in the Chicagoland area, with temperatures dropping as low as 17 degrees! While some days were more tolerable, the nights had us curling up under our comforters.

This is why a constant supply of running hot water is imperative. This isn’t possible if your water heater doesn’t function properly. Showering with cold water in the winter is uncomfortable to say the least!  

Here are four signs that mandate a replacement:

If Your Water Heater Unit is Old

If you can’t recall when you bought your water heater, it’s probably old enough to have outlived its life. If you want to be sure of its manufacturing date, you can look up the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. If it’s more than ten years-old, you need to start looking at new models, as it will likely start malfunctioning soon. If you already know it’s time or you think you may need to replace your water heater unit, contact Hobson Plumbing & Heating today!

Rusty Water

If the water that’s coming out of your plumbing fixtures is brown or rusty, it’s possibly due to the fact that the inside of the water heater has corroded. However, this isn’t all there is to this problem. It won’t be long before the corrosion eats away at the metal, and the water heater unit starts leaking.

Before you get your water heater replaced, you need to be sure that the rusty water is in fact coming from the heater. In order to investigate this, turn on the hot water and fill up a bucket. Repeat the process with cold water and then compare the water. If the hot water is rusty, you likely need a water heater replacement.

Insufficient Heating

You shouldn’t have to wait in the shower for the water to get warm enough or rush through it because the hot water runs out. If your heater is not heating enough water, it’s time to call Hobson Plumbing & Heating. Sediment builds up over time and lines the water heater. This conceals the heat source and water fails to heat up or does too slowly. If the problem persists after repairs, again you likely need a new water heater.

Rumbling Noise

The sediment at the base of the heater gets reheated each time the heater is turned on. This eventually hardens the sediment, which bangs against the sides while the unit is turned on and the water is being heated. This can cause cracks or holes to form in the unit if the problem persists. Even though leaks show up later, the noise is an early giveaway that your water heater needs to be replaced.

Are you looking for a 5-Star plumbing company that can repair or replace water heaters in DuPage or Kane counties and provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee? You’ve come to the right place. Call us for your plumbing and heating services by clicking here.

2019 Homeowner Tax Credits

2019 Homeowner Tax Credits

Tax credits reduce the amount of income tax you owe to the Fed or the state of Illinois.

Credits are generally designed to encourage or reward certain types of behavior that are considered beneficial to the economy or the environment. Did you make any of the improvements listed below in 2019? If so, you can claim the credits by filing Form 5695 with your tax return according to Turbo Tax. The renewable energy tax credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021. Please consult a tax professional for assistance. Hobson Heating & Plumbing is here to assist with identifying which products you purchased from us are eligible for tax credits.

5 Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit Qualifiers

  • Solar-powered water heaters. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half of the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar. (Solar heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify.)
  • Solar panels, or photovoltaics, for generating electricity. The electricity must be used in the home.
  • Wind turbines that generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity for residential use.
  • Geothermal heat pumps that meet federal Energy Star guidelines.
  • Fuel cells rely on a renewable resource (usually hydrogen) to generate power for a home. The equipment must generate at least 0.5 kilowatts of power.
    Eligible Equipment and Materials

The first is “qualified energy efficiency improvements,” and it includes:

  • Home insulation
  • Exterior doors
  • Exterior windows and skylights
  • Certain roofing materials

The second category is “residential energy property costs.” It includes:

  • Electric heat pumps
  • Electric heat pump water heaters
  • Central air conditioning systems
  • Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters
  • Stoves that use biomass fuel
  • Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
  • Natural gas, propane or oil hot water boilers
  • Advanced circulating fans for natural gas, propane or oil furnaces.

If you’re interested in replacing or installing any of the items listed above in order to increase energy savings for the current year, contact Hobson Plumbing and Heating today to schedule an appointment.

What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is entirely preventable. Protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of CO poisoning and how to prevent it. Carbon monoxide, a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas responsible for more than 50,000 visits to the emergency room every year, can pose a danger from unanticipated sources in your home, including fireplaces, water heaters, and generators. Improper ventilation of fuel-burning appliances and exhaust from running automobile engines in attached garages are ordinarily associated with dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Another potential cause of carbon monoxide in your living space is your furnace.

How to Recognize CO Poisoning

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

What is a heat exchanger and why is it essential?

A furnace’s heat exchanger is a metal component that transfers heat from the fuel being burned while preventing the air in your home from mixing with the furnace exhaust. Sometimes the heat exchanger fails, either from cracks produced by continual expansion and contraction due to heating and cooling of the metal or from rust. When a heat exchanger fails—under certain conditions—the exhaust gases, including carbon monoxide, can combine with the air in the house. A properly functioning furnace should not generate significant levels of carbon monoxide; however, a cracked or leaking heat exchanger can pose a safety danger.

What are the hazards connected with a cracked heat exchanger? 

A cracked heat exchanger could let exhaust gas from the furnace to contaminate the household air with exhaust gases including carbon monoxide. In order for this to happen, the furnace must be giving off high levels of carbon monoxide and the exhaust gas must be joining with the household air. This could lead to serious illness and even death.

What are the signs of a cracked heat exchanger? 

Apart from a visual inspection to establish a crack, there are a few signs of a potential problem with your heat exchanger that you may notice. If you turn the heat on and the flames flicker and appear devilish, this could be a signal that circulated air from the furnace is getting into the combustion area and you should have it checked by one of our HVAC technicians. By taking the necessary precautions, you can typically avoid signs of trouble including carbon monoxide detectors sounding and you or your family members feeling sick, lightheaded or nauseous. To ensure the safety of all occupants, all homes should have a working carbon monoxide detector and batteries should be replaced routinely.

How can I be positive that my heat exchanger really has failed? 

Service technicians at Hobson Plumbing & Heating have received specialized training in diagnosing a cracked heat exchanger. Additionally, an expert technician will test both the home and furnace for carbon monoxide. A properly operating furnace should not generate significant levels of carbon monoxide. Hobson Heating & Plumbing technicians can also review the dangers associated with the failed part and offer professional consultation regarding the next steps.

What happens after a Hobson Plumbing & Heating HVAC technician diagnoses a cracked heat exchanger?

Once you have a confirmed diagnosis from one of our experts, your first question will likely be whether the part can be repaired or if a replacement is the only option. Unfortunately, the industry standard is that the heat exchanger must be replaced.

If my heat exchanger has failed, do I have to replace the furnace? 

While it may end up making sense to replace the furnace as opposed to only the heat exchanger, that is not always the case. Furnace warranties can vary—most furnaces have a 10-year warranty on the heat exchanger, while some are covered for 20 years or even for the life of the furnace. Hobson Plumbing & Heating technicians can help you investigate the warranty on your heat exchanger and provide all the information you need to decide if replacing the heat exchanger or the entire furnace is right for you. Visit our website at Hobson Plumbing & Heating to learn about all the services we offer 24x7x365.

What You Should Know Before Turning On The Heat

What You Should Know Before Turning On The Heat

After a super hot summer, many homeowners really look forward to the cooler months of the year. After all, it’s fall y’all! At some point, your heating system will come into play and that’s when things will really heat up. Before you turn on your heater for the new season, follow these tips:

Turn On the Pilot Light

It’s been a while since your heat has been up and running and there’s a good chance that your pilot light needs to be lit again. If you don’t know how to do this yourself or want to have your system checked at the same time, be sure to give Hobson Heating & Plumbing a call.  

Hire a Qualified Technician

Heating systems are built to last, but they still need to be serviced if you hope to keep them running efficiently and effectively for as long as possible. An inspection by a qualified technician should be scheduled once per year to make sure this happens. Call us today at 630-761-3400 to schedule an inspection. 

Clean or Replace the Air Filter

When the air filter gets dirty, your system won’t run as well as before and contaminants will make their way back into your air. You can prevent this by cleaning or replacing the air filter every 1-3 months, depending on how quickly it gets clogged up.

Test your Alarms

Every home should be equipped with multiple smoke alarms and at least one carbon monoxide alarm per story. You can test each one by pressing a small button that’s usually located on the front of the unit and be sure to replace the batteries, even if they aren’t dead yet. 

If you need assistance with your heater or any other home comfort questions, reach out to the professionals at Hobson Plumbing & Heating. We serve North Aurora and the surrounding areas.  Visit our website to learn more or call us at 630-761-3400.  


Breaking Down 3 Primary Methods Used to Fight Germs In Your Home

Breaking Down 3 Primary Methods Used to Fight Germs In Your Home

If you find yourself in fear of facing illness now that it’s back-to-school time, it’s for good reason. Germs, germs, germs! The sinks, telephone, electronic devices, children’s toys, doorknobs, especially to the bedrooms and bathrooms, are popular landing sites for virus and bacteria. If someone does get sick at home, disinfecting may need to occur daily. Alliance for Consumer Education breaks down the 3 primary methods used to fight germs when cleaning your bathroom, sinks, kitchen, or other areas in your home.

3 tips to keep germs from invading your home:

  • Disinfecting is the process in which a disinfectant kills nearly 100% of germs that contaminate a certain surface.
  • Sanitizing reduces surface germs and is beneficial to do after cleaning, but it does not kill all germs- there will still be some left behind after using a product that just sanitizes.
  • Cleaning works by using soap or detergent and water to physically remove soil or dirt, but does not specifically remove germs from that surface.

Don’t have time to disinfect, sanitize or clean your home? 

We get it! Preventing the virus that causes the flu or any other airborne sickness can be tricky, which is why health officials urge everyone to protect themselves with one time-honored tactic: wash your hands well and often! That may be the single best way to stop those germs in their tracks. Remote controls, electronic devices, and countertops can be the germiest locale in the whole house. “What’s the first thing you do after you call in sick or call your child in for missing school? Pick up the remote or head for the electronics!

Hobson Plumbing and Heating is always ready to serve you with any plumbing or HVAC needs. If you need to schedule an appointment, call us today at 630-761-3400.


A Time to Say Thank You – Here’s Why…

A Time to Say Thank You – Here’s Why…

On May 30th, 2019 Hobson Plumbing & Heating was voted Kane County’s Best of the Fox for 2019, as voted on by the Kane County Chronicle readers. In May, North Aurora Mothers’ Club also honored Hobson Plumbing & Heating with a Commitment to Community Award. We are extremely grateful for the individuals and customers who nominated or voted for us, being recognized truly is an honor.

On behalf of Hobson Plumbing & Heating Management, we would also like to take this time to thank our entire team. Without their professionalism and dedication to ensuring our customers are always taken care of, this could not be possible. Thank you.

Hobson Plumbing & Heating was created with a desire to run a family-owned company and to implement honesty and integrity as the benchmark for others to look up to in the plumbing and heating industry. We hope to continue serving the North Aurora, Fox Valley, and surrounding communities for many years to come.

Time to Test your Sump Pump

Time to Test your Sump Pump

Spring is here, and in the Chicagoland area, that often means rain. That’s why you should test your sump pump stat! Ideally, your best bet is to test your sump pump every month or two through summer and fall.

What Does a Sump Pump Do?

Many homes use sump pumps to prevent groundwater from getting into the basement or crawl space. Extra water can build up along the foundation, especially during heavy rains. A sump pump moves this excess groundwater out away from your home. If your pump stops working, water could get into your basement and foundation walls, causing mold and mildew. If enough water gets in, the basement could flood.

How to Test Your Sump Pump

There are two ways you can check that your sump pump is working correctly.

First, unplug the pump and then plug it back in again. If you look at the outlet where your sump pump is plugged in, you should see two separate plugs. Unplug both of them and then plug in just the one for the pump. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, your pump needs to be repaired or replaced. If the pump worked properly, don’t forget to reconnect the other plug.

The second way to test your sump pump is by running water through it. You only need enough water to raise the float until the pump kicks on. Keep in mind that just because the pump runs, it doesn’t mean it will actually work. We recommend monitoring to ensure the water actually gets pumped out of the hole.

If you’re not able to add water to the pump, you can lift the float arm up and see if the pump turns on. This method won’t confirm if water will actually be pumped out, however. If you test the pump without water, don’t let it run more than a few seconds. Otherwise, you risk damaging the pump motor.

If you need your sump pump tested, serviced, or replaced call the experts at Hobson Plumbing and Heating to schedule an appointment today at 630-761-3400.

Common Plumbing Myths That Cost You Money

Common Plumbing Myths That Cost You Money

There are plumbing “tricks” that could cost you more money and damage to your home. Some plumbing myths are harmless but nonetheless spread incorrect information. Hobson Plumbing and Heating experts are here to put a few myths to rest. To schedule an appointment, or for more information about these myths, contact us today!

PLUNGERS ARE ALL-POWERFUL PLUMBING TOOLS

Plungers are ideal for removing small and loose debris from pipes. Unfortunately, they’re not designed for stubborn clogs, mineral buildup, or major blockages. When dealing with something other than a bit of food or bathroom tissue, consider a more heavy-duty plumbing tool. The plunger is a good place to start, or you may want to try these tips:

  • Water ram that will blow out the blockage: great for sediment buildup.
  • Drain auger that will break up a blockage: good for stubborn and dense clogs.
  • Hobson Plumbing and Heating: Calling us is ideal when the blockage is too large, too far in the pipes, or if you don’t know what the problem is.

NOTHING CAN SWIM UP YOUR PIPES

Pesky little rodents such as rats are capable of making their way from the sewer, your pipes, and into your home. The rats smell food in the drains, follow the smell, and find their way to the toilet. To avoid this, never flush food down your toilet and little food down the drains in whiich case, use a garbage disposal.

A LEAKING FAUCET ISN’T WORTH YOUR TIME

If you value your water and your money, then a leaky faucet is definitely worth fixing. A minor drip could waste around 500 gallons of water per year. Fixing a leak like this could save you money on your water bill, and usually, all you have to do is check a few things such as the connections, gaskets, and washers. If you’re unable to find the culprit, Hobson Plumbing and Heating is here to help.

ONLY STOPPED UP DRAINS ARE CLOGGED

You could have a drain or toilet that seems to be running or flushing normally, and there’s still a clog in the line. This could be a partial clog, sediment buildup on the wall of the pipes, or another issue with your plumbing. If you flush a toilet and find water coming up from a sink or bathtub, this is a clear indication of a clog.

THE WATER HEATER IS INDESTRUCTIBLE

Water heaters contain water that’s heated up to a very high temperature, and this creates a great deal of pressure. All modern water heaters are outfitted with a TPR (temperature and pressure relief) valve, but if this malfunctions, the water heater can explode.

You can prevent such an occurrence by testing the TPR valve regularly, and following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding safe temperatures. If you think it was installed incorrectly, call Hobson Plumbing and Heating at 630-761-3400.

These plumbing myths could cost you money because they could lead to major problems with your plumbing. To schedule an appointment with a qualified professional, or for more information about these myths, contact us today!

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