Spring Breeze

The Northern Air Breeze

Spring 2016

Celebrating 25 Years 1991-2016 Volume 1, Number 1

In This Issue

  • Greetings
  • Radon
  • Water Softeners
  • Water Heaters
  • Sump Pumps
  • Thermostats
  • Maintenance Checklist
Related Websites
Plumbing Tips

To see if you have a leak in your toilet, simply put 5 drops of food coloring into your toilet tank and wait 30 minutes. You have a leak if you see color in your bowl.

If your kitchen sprayer gets caught on pipe valves when you pull it up, try wrapping it with ½” pipe insulation and tape if necessary.

By installing energy-efficient showerheads and aerators, you can save over 4,200 gallons of hot water each year.

Did You Know?

If you wash clothes 3 times per week, you would use 3,000 more gallons of water each year with a top-load washing machine compared to a front-loading model.

It is estimated that 10% of U.S. households have plumbing leaks that account for an average water loss each day of 90 gallons.

Fix a Leak Week is celebrated in March of each year to remind Americans to check their household fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks.


Is there something you’d like to see in a future newsletter? Or something you’d like to see less of? Let us know. We appreciate any feedback you wish to give us. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or through our Facebook page.

Like us on Facebook for a chance to win some amazing prizes throughout the year!

Maintenance Agreement

Owning a Northern Air HVAC Maintenance Agreement means we’ll automatically schedule and perform your furnace and air conditioner Precision Tune-Ups when they’re needed most, before the peak energy usage seasons. Pre-scheduling HVAC maintenance tune-ups helps ensure you save the most money on your energy bills during peak usage, and we make it easy. Take a look at what’s included in our Precision Tune-Up:

  • Instant 10% discount on heating and air conditioner parts! You save money automatically, every day.
  • Priority Scheduling. Schedule service at convenient times unavailable to the public, such as evenings and weekends. Your convenience comes first.
  • 33-Point Inspection* to insure your equipment is squeaky clean and operating at the highest efficiency possible.
  • Contact us today for more information

A Genuine Warm Welcome!

We are thrilled to bring you our very first newsletter which we hope you will find informative. Nothing is more important to us than your satisfaction and we want to thank you for your past patronage. This year marks the 25th anniversary for Northern Air Plumbing & Heating, Inc. We look forward to helping you with your plumbing and heating needs for another 25 years.

Radon Facts

At Northern Air, we want you to be aware of a growing concern throughout the United States, but here in Minnesota in particular. Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and if you smoke, that risk is even higher. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil, but in some cases, well water may also be a source. Some scientific studies of radon exposure indicate that children may be more sensitive to radon. Testing your home is the only way to determine if you have a problem and we can help. Check out http://www.radon.com/sub/mn/ for information on how to get a test kit. If there are elevated levels, we can fix the problem through our certified mitigation process.

Let Us Soften Your Life

Do you have the curds? You may be asking, what is that? It is the unpleasant byproduct of soap dissolved in hard water. It makes your clothing hard and scratchy, your hair sticky and dull, and puts spots on your dishes and glasses. Hard water interferes with almost every cleaning task and it picks up minerals and other impurities unless it is softened. Hard water can also cause plumbing problems and shorten the life of dishwashers, washing machines and water heaters. The first step in moving forward to see if you should purchase a water softener is to have your water tested for hardness but also for other qualities and contaminants. If tests show an elevated mineral content of over 100 milligrams per liter, then it is considered a “nuisance” and it would be a good time to let us show you the most cost-efficient and reliable way to soften your water. Please contact us to schedule your water testing, starting at just $35.00. Mention the newsletter when you schedule your appointment and we will take $10.00 off your in-house water testing.

Reliable Hot Water

Your water heater just might be the most important appliance in your home and there’s nothing worse than when you realize you don’t have any hot water. Here are the facts. Efficiency is the amount of energy output compared to input. An 80% efficiency rating means that 80% of the heat goes directly into the water while 20% escapes. Contrary to what people might have heard, tank heaters do not run or heat water all day. In a typical household, a tank heater will provide all of the hot water needed with the burner firing for less than two hours each day. Tank heaters are slightly less energy efficient than tankless water heaters. In tankless models, the water is heated when there is a demand for hot water. If a homeowner has peak demands with multiple devices, a tank or hybrid water heater is the recommended solution. Tankless water heaters are a great choice for limited usage situations or in steady stream demand. Consideration for usage patterns, multiple hot water needs, ground water temperature, product price, installation costs and other factors will determine which type of water heater is best for your home. We will always help suggest the best option for you at the most affordable price.

Don’t Let The Boat Float!

Bathtub toys can be fun, but no one ever wants to see them floating in a basement. A sump pump is the most important part of waterproofing your basement. A good sump pump always stays ahead of rising water and turns on automatically before the water level reaches your basement floor and moves the water outside the house. Here are some of the ways that cause basement flooding. An underpowered sump pump can’t handle high water volume which could cause the float switch to fail. A cheap sump pump is more prone to failure, especially when they are needed to run at peak times. Unless you have a battery backup, power failures make sump pumps nonfunctional. A clogged intake also prevents a sump pump from extracting water. Finally, a frozen discharge line can block pumping action in cold weather, forcing water back into the basement. If you remember the heavy rains in the summer of 2012, many homeowners reached out to us to help them out. It is also very important to check with your insurance company to see if you have an endorsement on your homeowners policy in the event of a backup in your basement. We have many years of experience with the installation of sump pumps and can suggest some of the best with the greatest value.

What Is A Smart Thermostat?

Compared to programmable thermostats, a smart thermostat is easier to adapt to schedule changes, have bigger screens, are user-friendly, keeps an eye on your home, reviews your energy usage, changes the heat automatically and can pre-heat your home before you arrive. You can also receive email alerts if the temperature drops or rises above a certain level and you can control the access to prevent unauthorized tampering. In addition, a smart thermostat interprets local weather data and reacts accordingly. It could also save you a small fortune due to its state-of-the-art advanced features. Heating and cooling represent about 42% of your home’s energy use. By utilizing the unique properties of a smart thermostat, the average amount of savings each year is between $180.00 – $200.00, making smart thermostats a great option over programmable and dial models. Finally, out of the millions of people who purchased programmable thermostats when they became available in the 1970s and 1980s, is is estimated that just 11% of consumers actually programmed them. Ask us about the best choices for your specific heating and cooling needs that put you into the 21st century and start you on the road to savings and convenience.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Call Northern Air or check out our Facebook page to schedule an appointment to clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Clean or replace your HVAC filters on a regular basis. A dirty filter forces your system to work harder which can shorten the life of your blower motor.
  • Clean your dryer vent. This will save you money and help prevent a house fire.
  • Check the washing machine fill hose. Look for cracks that could become leaks. A leaky hose under pressure can cause major damage in a short period of time.
  • The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your refrigerator conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush to clean the coils.
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Winter weather can crack and harden caulk and other weather seals. Inspect them now and repair and replace as needed. You’ll reduce your air-conditioning bill and could prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.
  • To work efficiently, the compressor on your air conditioner needs good airflow. Prune any plant growth that could block it.
  • Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it.