3 Ways to Reduce the Costs of HVAC Services in 2017

The fluctuations in temperature from the coldest days during the wintertime to the scorching heat in the summertime can certainly increase the numbers on your home’s energy bill. Luckily we’ve come up with 3 simple solutions that will help alleviate some of those costs associated with your home’s HVAC system.

  1. Don’t Shed Your Sweater!

Just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean that you should dress like it’s not winter outside. Layer up with a tee-shirt, sweater or sweatshirt, long pants and socks while lounging around your home. This will keep your body warm, meaning that you’ll be much less likely to crank up the heat on your thermostat. You can even go the extra mile and wear a comfy hat indoors as well. It may seem silly, but it’s an easy (and fashionable!) way to save on your heating bills during the colder months. Also, in the same vein, keep throw blankets around the house so you’ll be more likely to reach for one of those rather than turning up your thermostat.

During the summertime, do the opposite. Shed extra clothing, and let any natural breezes in from the outside, which will help keep you cool without the added stress on your AC unit.

  1. Your Thermostat Matters.

The settings on your thermostat play a big part of how much you’ll pay in energy costs during both the cooler and warmer months. Many people enjoy having their thermostats set at 72 ºF, as it’s a comfortable temperature for most everyone; however, by decreasing that number by just a couple of degrees you can save big. Experts estimate that homeowners can save from 3 to 5% in energy costs with each degree on the thermostat decreased during the wintertime and increased in the summertime.

Another great way to save more money over the long-term is to invest in a smart thermostat. These types of thermostats can actually learn your home’s heating and cooling preferences and will adjust overtime so that you don’t have to worry about whether it is set to the most efficient temperatures for your home. These enable you to effortlessly adjust your settings during different times of the day via an internet connected device. For example, during Winter you can set your thermostat to a lower temperature at night and while you’re away at work; soon, your smart thermostat will learn these settings so you don’t have to think about it. In the Summer, you can increase your settings to a slightly warmer temperature while you’re sleeping or away.

And, if you don’t want to go all out for a Smart thermostat, simply upgrading to a programmable one, which runs between $40 and $200 can be a great way to decrease the costs on your home’s energy bill. These can also be programmed to run at different temperatures during different times of the day, which is a much more convenient than maintaining energy efficient temperatures with a typical manual thermostat.

  1. Let the Sunshine in and Keep the Cold Air Out!

This is a very easy way to help control the temperature in your home. Cover your home’s windows with heavy drapes to keep the warm air from escaping at night. During the day, open the drapes on your windows to allow the sunshine in. The heat from the sun will add a lot of warmth to your home with no cost at all to you. This works especially well with south facing windows and glass front doors.

Want to discover even more ways to save on your HVAC services in 2017? Contact us today to find out what promotions we are currently offering.

Is the Water in Your Home Safe to Drink?

With the recent revelations about lead contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan, people everywhere are concerned about the safety of their own drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says more than 90 percent of the country’s water reserves meet its safety standards, but that is small consolation if you’re one of the unlucky ones consuming water that contains dangerous microbes or chemical pollutants.

The EPA certifies drinking water at its point of origin, but it can’t account for contamination picked up during transit through pipes and faucets. Complicating things further, the government only regulates municipal water sources and does not monitor private and shared wells, which many people in rural areas still rely on for their drinking water.

Testing Your Water for Contamination

Municipal water systems are required to test their water annually for a broad range of contaminants, and you can obtain information about the results for your city’s water on the EPA website.

But this does not rule out possible contamination further down the supply line. The only way to know for sure—with 100 percent certainty—that your water is safe to drink is to have it tested following collection from a faucet in your home. This is mandatory if you get your water from a well and could be an excellent idea even if you don’t.

If you’d like to have your water tested for contaminants you have four options:

  • Your local municipal water supplier, which may be willing to perform an on-demand test of your home’s water at no charge.
  • A state testing agency certified by the EPA.
  • A private, nationwide testing service like Underwriters Laboratories. Prices for private testing range from about $30 for a simple mercury screen to $500 for a comprehensive test that covers more than 90 possible forms of contamination.
  • A home testing kit, which will cost you about $30 but will only screen for a few common contaminants, including lead, arsenic, pesticides and bacteria.

When you get your water from a private well it is important to test for nitrates, intestinal (coliform) bacteria, dissolved salts and pH balance at least once a year. Regular testing for chloride, sulfate, manganese, iron and water hardness is also required, although once every three years is usually good enough for this group of contaminants. Other pollutants worth testing for, at least on occasion, include lead, arsenic, copper, radon and pesticides, which can cause problems if your pipes are old or if your home is located near a potential source.

Let Countryside Plumbing & Heating Inc. Help You Restore Your Water Quality

Contamination caused by aging pipes or faucets is a plumbing problem the experts at Countryside Plumbing & Heating can help you resolve. We can also supply you with state-of-the-art water filters and treatment systems that will sanitize your home’s water and make it perfectly safe for drinking.

If you live in St. Croix, southern Polk or northern Pierce counties please contact us about your water quality concerns today, and we will help you solve them, quickly, efficiently and affordably.

Follow the Countryside Plumbing & Heating blog for money-saving and health-preserving information about heating, cooling, plumbing and indoor air quality management.



How To Determine if you have Bad Water Pressure

You have most likely heard the old saying what goes in must come out. That is true for a variety of things in your home. Your food, your drink and the air you breathe are all vital components to you and your family staying healthy and happy. Did you know the air quality in your home or business should be an area of concern and caution for you? When your air quality is less than desirable it can be making you sick and causing you to have breathing problems or other illnesses. Testing your air quality is a great way to know what you are breathing in. It can also help you determine if something could be causing illnesses in your home or if your quality is less than desirable. Here are just a few reasons why this is so important in your home or business. 

Mold Growing In Ducts

By testing your air quality you can find out if there is any mold or bacteria growing in your air ducts that could be causing you breathing problems. Some people have severe allergies to mold and it can cause quite a few serious health issues for them. If you notice mold around your home or if you notice reoccurring health issues you can not find the source for, this could be the problem. By having a technician come into your home or business you can discover what might be lurking in those air vents. This is especially important if you have problems with humidity in the home or if it has been closed up for a while. 

Your Health

Your family and your health can be affected by the quality of air in your home. When there is a lot of allergens or pollutants lurking through your air vents they are making their way into your lungs. Asthma and allergies are just two ailments that can be affected by there being pollutants in the air. Remember you are constantly breathing these items in and they can make you sick. Other problems include items like legionnaires disease or bacteria in the air. These items lurk in ventilation systems and can cause major health problems. 

Your entire family can breathe easier when the air is of good quality and allergens and pollutants are reduced or eliminated. When your air is tested it can also tell you what is in the air and you can come up with solutions to get rid of those problems. 

Peace Of Mind

You can rest easy knowing that the air you and your family are breathing in is clean and safe. There’s nothing like having mysterious illnesses that can’t be figured out. By checking your air quality and fixing the issues there your family can be back to optimal health in no time. You will be glad you checked it when the source of your problems is found. Talk with your air technician if you want to have your air quality tested and make sure your home is safe. 

5 Tips to repair minor plumbing issues


The plumbing system in the home is essential to the everyday life of home owners and their families. The plumbing system allows for us to be able to wash our clothes, clean our dishes, mop, shower, use the restroom; a number of things. Most of us take our plumbing system for granted until it breaks down. Below are a few tips to help repair minor plumbing issues so your home can continue to function as normal.

Unblocking Traps

A common area for a plumbing blockage is the trap area. This area is the basin trap which is located just below the sink. A snake can unclog this area but usually the area will need to be disassembled for the blockage to be removed. You will need to place a bucket or large bowl under the sink and then unscrew the trap to remove the blockage. Once you have done this, the system should work normally.

Unclogging a Sink Drain

A clog in the bathroom is a very common occurrence. The clog will usually occur at the top of the drain and a plug adjustment arm can be used easily to remove the clogging problem. To do this, remove the spring tab from the adjustment arm. The ball valve from the sink trap then needs to be removed. You will then need to remove the pop-up plug and then use the air to remove the debris that is clogging up the sink.

Stopped up Toilet

A stopped up toilet is also a common drain problem and this can be very annoying. A toilet that is clogged can be a major occurrence especially if you only have one toilet. To start this process, try a plunger first. If the plunger does not work, you will need to use a snake for the job. The snake will loosen the blockage and help it be removed.

Simply pull a section of the snake out to use on the toilet. Use the snake to go down the drain to try and find and loosen the blockage. If this does not work, you may need to use a drain cleaning product to help break up the clog.

Low Water Pressure in Shower

If you have low water pressure in the home, it can easily be fixed. Low water pressure is never good in the shower so home owners who experience this problem can repair it. Simply unscrew the shower head and then unscrew the spray plate. You will need to place the spray plate in descaling solution. Leave the solution on for some time and then remove any scale that may be on the shower head. You are now ready to replace the shower head and you will no longer have low water pressure!


The best way to avoid problems with your plumbing system is a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. You can use certain products to keep your lines clear and regular inspections of these systems will aid in keeping your unit in check.


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