Design Comfort Blog: Archive for February, 2014

Why Are the Pipes Under My Sink Curved That Way?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Have you ever had a child stump you with a question that seems simple on the surface, but is actually difficult to answer when you have to put it into words? Most of us have; children wonder about things adults often take for granted, such as the color of the sky… or the shape of home plumbing.

“Why does the pipe under the sink have that funny curve in it?” We don’t know if a child has ever asked you this question, but we’d wager that most adults don’t have a good answer. We’ll give you one, and help you better understand your home’s plumbing at the same time and why you need that curved pipe taking up valuable storage space in your cabinet. If you need more than answers—you need repairs—then look among the plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT to find Design Comfort.

The p-trap

That curved J-shaped pipe is known as the p-trap, and it serves the function of preventing sewer gas backflow from your drains. When water runs down your drain, it flows through the p-trap without obstruction, but when you shut off the water, a small amount of liquid remains in the p-trap. This water forms an air-tight seal against air from further down the pipe from coming up through drain. Without this water plug, sewer gases from decomposed matter in the drain waste vent would come back up through your sink drain and create a noxious smell in your home. The sewer gases can even harm your health in large doses. That simple curve in your pipe makes home life much more pleasant.

You need to make sure that the p-trap has a water seal inside it. Usually this only requires running the water in your sink regularly, so it isn’t something you’ll need to think about often. However, if there is a sink in your home that rarely receives use, the p-trap can dry up because of water evaporation. If you notice sewage smells coming from a sink you don’t often use, run water through it to restore the plug—and try to run water through it at least once a week.

P-traps are where clogs usually develop in sinks: they catch hair, soap scum, and grease. Sometimes you’ll need a professional plumber to clean out your p-trap, wither with hydro-jetters or by removing the pipe. Make sure you let a professional handle this job: trying to work on a p-trap yourself can get messy.

We hope this has answered your question (or your child’s) about the curved pipe under the sink. It may take up space you could use for storage, but life without it would really, well, stink.

When you need any plumbing services in Salt Lake City, UT, call Design Comfort!

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Benefits of Zone Control Heating

Monday, February 17th, 2014

When you are installing one of the many different kinds of heating systems in your Salt Lake City, UT home, you’ll have the option to put in a zone control system as well. These systems use dampers inside ductwork and a series of connected thermostats to control where the heat from the HVAC system flows. Instead of heating your entire house at once, you can choose to heat only particular “zones.” However, you don’t need to have zone control put in during installation. Skilled technicians can retro-fit your ductwork for this technology; it’s available to anyone who wants to enjoy the advantages.

Here are some of the major benefits you’ll get from a zone control system. Call Design Comfort today to talk to one of our Salt Lake City Heating Systems specialists to learn more about zone control and how we can put it to work for you.

What’s great about zone control heating

  • Energy savings: The most noticeable benefit of installing a zone control system will appear on your monthly heating bill. Unlike standard centralized heating, where you must heat the whole house whenever you need any heat at all, zone control permits you to only heat the rooms that require it. Guest rooms or unused storage areas no longer need to be heated. This will result in major savings.
  • Adjust the heat for everyone in your home: How often have you heard someone complain, “This house is too hot,” or “This house is too cold”—sometimes different people at the same time? Everyone has individual temperature needs, and zone control allows you to tailor the house’s temperature to fit them. The local thermostats give them temperature control wherever they are, so they can have the comfort they need without interfering with the rest of the house.
  • More evenly spread warmth: In a standard whole-house heater, the heat spreads out to all the rooms upstairs and downstairs at once, and the rising heat often leaves areas cold. Zone heating lets you vary where heat is going so that it spreads throughout the home in a controlled way, so new heat fills in places that will lose it as it moves upstairs.

How you can start with zone control heating

Adding a zone control system to your existing heater takes a significant amount of work: not only do dampers need to be placed inside the ducts, but a new network of thermostats must be installed that will link together as one system. However, if you call heating experts, the installation should go smoothly, and soon you’ll enjoy all the above benefits and more.

Get in touch with Design Comfort and highly trained teamed today. We can install many types of heating systems in Salt Lake City, UT, and we make your satisfaction our #1 priority.

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Stages of Installing a New Heating System

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Having a new whole-house heater installed isn’t like putting in a window air conditioning unit or plugging in a space heater. There are many steps involved in the correct installation of a heater; we’ll go over the basic ones in this post. Each type of heating system will have its own particular steps, and some will take more time than others. If you’ve hired the right installers for the job, you should experience no troubles with your installation.

Design Comfort installs a variety of heating systems, from boilers to radiant floor heaters. We have the experience necessary to make your heating installation in Holladay, UT go as smoothly as possible.

Basic heating installation steps

  • Selecting the new system: There are many choices for heating systems available today, all with different pros and cons. However, some systems will make better fits for your home than others, so when it comes to picking out a new heater, you’ll need the advice of professionals. This is why you should have installers involved from the beginning. They can look over your home, analyze how much heat it needs, and lay out your best options. From there, you will need to look at your long term budget plans to help you make the choice that will give you the ideal performance.
  • Sizing the system: Next, the heater must be sized to find a unit with the right amount of heating power. A system cannot be too large or too small for the space it is supposed to heat; either will cause it to drain energy and end up giving the wrong level of heating. The installers will do a heat load calculation to take into account many factors about your house and then use that information to determine the right-sized heater to do the job.
  • Removing the older heating system: When the day comes to install the new heater, the first and usually most time-consuming step is to remove your current heating system.
  • Place the new system: The installers will put the new system in place where it can access the various ductwork, pipes, power supply, etc. that it needs. Usually, the system will be bolted to the floor.
  • Make the necessary connections: The installers will now make the connections between the new heater and its distributions system (ducts, pipes) and then its power supply (electricity, gas lines).
  • Test the system: The installers won’t leave your home until they are certain your new heater operates correctly and poses no safety hazards.

Make sure you hire professionals

As these steps should make clear, heating installation is a large task that you can’t do on your own, nor should you entrust it to amateurs. For your heating installation in Holladay, UT, rely on Design Comfort. We’ve delivered quality heating since 1982.

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The Original Valentine’s Day Greeting Cards

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

It’s hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without the traditional greeting cards, whether accompanying a gift of flowers and candy, or sent between children in a school room. For commercial greeting card companies, February 14th is as important to them as the December holidays, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love predates printed greeting cards by a few centuries. In fact, the reason that sending romantic greeting cards became popular was because of the most un-romantic thing you can imagine: a reduction in postage rates.

In 1765, Parliament authorized the creation of “Penny Posts” that used a uniform rate of one old penny per letter throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Printers took advantage of the ease with which people could send letters to each other on Valentine’s Day by crafting cards with love poems on them. Many of these verses were collected in 1797 in the book The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which was a resource for the lover with a romantic soul but not the most confident poetry style.

By the mid-19th-century, the Valentine’s Day greeting card was flourishing across England. Although people still followed a tradition of creating handmade Valentine’s Day cards from lace, ribbons, and flowers, commercially produced cards now overtook them. In 1835, the English post office mailed 60,000 valentines. As production expenses dropped, the English card manufacturers branched out creatively with humorous and sometimes vulgar cards… many of which we would find startlingly familiar in the 21st century. One of the common jokes on these cards was to design them to look like marriage certificates or court summons.

Across the Atlantic, the United States was slower to embrace the popular British custom. It wasn’t until 1847 that a U.S. printer mass-produced greeting cards for Valentine’s Day. Only two years later, American journalists noted how rapidly people in the country had embraced the tradition, turning into a fad that has never died down. The woman who printed the first U.S. Valentine’s Day card, Esther Howland, is today recognized by the Greeting Card Association with the annual “Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

The greeting card industry certainly has reason to thank Ms. Howland. Her idea of going into business printing romantic greeting cards, which came to her after she received a traditional English valentine when she was 19 years old, now sells 190 million cards in the U.S. every year. That number doesn’t include the smaller exchange cards used in elementary school classrooms, which would swell the number to 1 billion. (Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards each year? Teachers!)

Whether you send out Valentine’s Day cards—handmade, store-bought, digital—or not, we at Design Comfort hope you have a happy February 14th.

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