What Are Those Crusty Build-Ups in My Plumbing?

January 18th, 2014

You notice a white and yellow material forming on your faucets, on your showerheads, or on other visible places around your plumbing. It’s crusty and flaky, and doesn’t remove easily. What is it? Does it indicate a serious issue with your plumbing?

We’ll explain what causes this build-up, and why it calls for hiring a plumber in Beacon, NY to look into it. Smart Systems has 24-hour emergency service ready for any of your plumbing needs.

That crusty build-up means hard water

The reason you see these deposits on your plumbing fixtures is because of hard water from the municipal water supply. “Hard water” is a term that confuses people (isn’t hard water called ice?) but it is a frequent occurrence in homes. Hard water is water with a high level of mineral content. The minerals in hard water are usually magnesium, gypsum, and various calcites. Hard water rarely poses any health risks to drink, although it may not taste as good as “softer” water with a better balance of chemicals.

However, hard water can have a negative effect on your plumbing. You can see part of that effect in those flaky deposits: the calcium in hard water will build-up inside plumbing. It can occur slowly, but it will begin to accumulate over time. If you notice these calcium deposits on your fixtures, that certainly means they are developing unseen, inside the pipes as well.

The danger of this build-up is that it will increase the water pressure inside the pipes. Although it’s almost unheard-of for a calcium build-up to close off a pipe completely, even a small layer of calcite on the interior lining will begin to restrict water flow, and this will cause the pressure to increase. High water pressure is dangerous for your plumbing because it will cause water to try to escape at the easiest points it can, which are usually valves and connections. Leaks will begin to spring up, often in places where you can’t see them. Once leaking starts, it will spread—this isn’t an issue that will go away.

If you start discovering this flaky and crusty material on your fixtures, you should call a plumber to see if the damage has spread to the pipes and started leaks. A professional plumber can reduce the damage from hard water with appropriate re-piping and leak sealing. The plumber can also recommend various solutions for reducing the hardness of your water.

Take good care of your plumbing so it will take good care of you: only rely on professional, highly-trained plumbers to work on your plumbing. Smart Systems can do the job for you when you need a skilled plumber in Beacon, NY.

Reasons to Replace Your Windows in Hyde Park

January 12th, 2014

We don’t think much about how windows affect our indoor comfort levels, but in fact they play a huge role. Here in Hyde Park, NY, window replacement can be the answer to recurring heating and cooling problems. Even if your existing windows seem to work just fine, an upgrade to a new set could be just the thing to save a little extra money and improve the value of your home in the bargain.

Smart Systems can help you with your window replacement needs in Hyde Park.

Here are a few reasons to replace your windows in Hyde Park.

  • Improved temperature retention. Drafty windows can be very uncomfortable, letting in air from the outside to intermingle with your conditioned air while permitting that conditioned air to escape. That forces your HVAC unit to work harder to do its job, which costs you money in wasted electricity. A new set of windows can seal up those drafty spots, as well as keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • More light without the fading. New windows can help block out harmful UV rays that fade your home and furnishings over time. They can often do this without reducing the overall light exposure, ensuring that your house stays open and airy regardless.
  • Resale value. New windows can improve the aesthetics of your entire house, helping it look better from the curb and improving its potential resale value. This comes on top of the monetary saving and aesthetic benefits outlined above, which represent a further enhancement to your home’s resale value.

In many cases, people just think of replacing windows when they break or the frames have become too damaged. A little foresight can save you a great deal in lost heating expenses and make your home a more comfortable place in general. For more reasons to replace your windows, or for other home improvement services in Hyde Park, contact the professionals at Smart Systems. We can inspect your home and make recommendations that fit your budget, then install your new windows with confidence and care.

Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment; you’ll be glad you did!

New Year’s Traditions Explained

December 31st, 2013

2014 is almost upon us, and with the coming of the New Year, we thought we’d take a brief look at some of the more popular traditions associated with this holiday. It’s been around for at least 4,000 years: as long as we’ve figured out how long it takes for the seasons to come and go. Here’s a quick discussion about some of our more modern traditions and where they started:

  • Auld Lang Syne. The famous song began in Scotland, where it was published by Robert Burns in 1796.  He claims he initially heard it sung by an elderly resident of his hometown, which suggests it has traditional folk origins even before that. It became even more popular when big band leader, Guy Lombardo, started playing it every New Year’s Eve, starting in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.
  • The Dropping of the Ball in Times Square. The tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square started in 1907. It was made out of iron and wood with light bulbs located on the surface, and the ball originally “dropped” over the offices of the New York Times at One Times Square. Dick Clark famously broadcast the event every year from 1972, until his death in 2012.
  • The Rose Parade. The Tournament of Roses Parade has been held in Pasadena every year since 1890; taking advantage of California’s warm weather to present a parade of floats, bands and horses. A football game was eventually added to the festivities in 1902, when Michigan dominated Stanford’s team by a score of 49-0
  • Baby New Year. The use of a baby to signify the New Year dates back to Ancient Greece, where it symbolized the rebirth of Dionysus (the god of wine and parties). Early Christians initially resisted the pagan elements of the story, but soon came to adopt it since it matched the traditional Christmas symbol of baby Jesus in the manger. Today, people of all faiths and traditions refer to the New Year as a baby, representing new beginnings.

Whatever traditions you choose to celebrate, we here at Smart Systems wish you the very safest and happiest of New Years. May 2014 bring you nothing but the best!

Wishing You a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

December 25th, 2013

It’s the holiday season once again, and everyone at COMPANY NAME wishes the very best for you, your family, and your friends. We hope that whatever brings you joy fills these last days of the year.

We’d like to thank all of our customers for giving us the opportunity to provide you with services that improve your lives and help you better enjoy this time with your loved ones. You are the reason that we exist as a company, and that’s something we always keep that in mind. We are eager to work with you in the coming year.

Here’s something to remember for the season: many companies in our industry are very busy on service calls during December—it’s one of the most crowded times of the year. If you need service, make sure you schedule it as soon as possible so you can continue to enjoy the pleasures of this time of year.

Lastly, we at COMPANY NAME want to conclude with a thought from the late Earl Nightingale to help remind us all that we do not need to wait for a holiday to have a reason to enjoy or celebrate ourselves, our lives or our family:

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.

Why Do-It-Yourself Door Replacement is Not Recommended

December 20th, 2013

No one likes to think about replacing a door, but in some cases it’s necessary. Doors can become damaged by bad weather or other inclement conditions, and excessive wear can eventually lead to a need for full replacement. Indeed, your door doesn’t even have to suffer damage to make a replacement worthwhile. A poor-fitting door will inevitably lead to drafts and other problems, and a wholesale replacement is likely the only way to fix it on a long-term basis. Here in Newburgh, NY, door replacement can be handled by a professional contractor. That’s usually the best route to take, even if you’re an enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer. There are a number of reasons why do-it-yourself door replacement is not recommended.

We’ll discuss a few of them below.

Most of the reasons boil down to saving you time, money and aggravation. Doors need to be carefully sized for your door frame, and the mountings need to be firm and unyielding. It’s not a situation where “getting close” cuts it. The less precise the door fits, the more it will experience drafts and incomplete closure. This increases the chances of warping later on down the road, meaning that you’ll need to go through the whole process again sooner than you might like.

Furthermore, if you’re doing the project yourself you won’t have any guarantees that the service will be performed sufficiently. That means you need to shoulder the costs of further repairs or replacement yourself, along with all the aggravation that brings.

On the other hand, a professional installment means taking advantage of the professional expertise: from someone who’s performed this kind of operation dozens if not hundreds of times. Furthermore, he can provide a guarantee for his work and correct any immediate problems that arise, providing you with peace of mind as well as quality service.

If you know why do-it-yourself door replacement is not recommended, the next step is to call someone you can trust. Home improvement services in Newburgh, NY, like door replacement, is the purveyance of Smart Systems. We provide estimates before we begin work, and we are completely dedicated to your complete satisfaction in all things. If you have a problem with a door in your house, call us today to get it replaced!

Benefits of Replacing Your Plumbing During Remodels

December 16th, 2013

Here in Hyde Park, NY, kitchen remodeling is a common household project for many homeowners. It can raise the resale value of your home as well as providing new amenities and a greater sense of aesthetic pleasure for one of the most important parts of the house. If you have an older plumbing system, you might want to consider replacing it as a part of the remodeling. It offers a lot of potential advantages, and while it may add to the final price tag for your remodeling, the benefits could pay for themselves. What are the benefits of replacing your plumbing during remodels, you ask?

A few of the more common answers appear below:

  • Convenience. Replacing your plumbing is a big operation and could render your kitchen unusable while it’s going on. The same can be said of a broader kitchen remodeling. So why not combine them? It gets them out of the way that much quickly and the combined project means that you can take advantage of your new kitchen more rapidly. It also means you won’t have to tear up any of your new counters or cabinets later when trying to replace your pipes.
  • Aesthetics and Amenities. A kitchen remodel is the perfect time to add new amenities to your system, such as a tankless water heater or a water filtration system. In addition, your existing sink may not match the aesthetics of your new kitchen, meaning you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Folding that all in to a kitchen remodeling just makes all kinds of sense.
  • Reliability. Including the plumbing as part of a kitchen remodeling means that you’ll likely benefit from the same guarantees and warranties that involve your kitchen, as well as improving the overall value of your home even further.

For more benefits of replacing your plumbing during remodels, or to set up an installation to coincide with a remodeling, contact the experts at Smart Systems. We’ll work with your Hyde Park NY kitchen remodeling company and ensure that everything we do matches the quality and professionalism you’d expect from such an important operation.

Should I Replace My Fuse Box?

December 6th, 2013

The electricity coming into your home travels from the street and into a central hub in your home. IN older houses, a fuse box receives the electrical current and then distributes it throughout your home via a series of fuses. However, in newer homes a circuit breaker panel is used. There are numerous advantages to a circuit breaker over a fuse box and we here at Smart Systems provide total repair and replacement for fuse boxes. We wanted to share a few of the reasons why you should consider replacing your existing fuse box with a circuit breaker panel.

Call Smart Systems if you need an electrician in Beacon, NY for any type of services.

This is Why You Should Consider Replacing Your Fuse Box

If your home has a fuse box, there are some very good reasons why you may want to consider replacing it. Because electricity is very dangerous, you should always call an electrician in Beacon, NY if you’re considering making any repairs or replacements to your electrical system. Not only could you injure yourself, you may also do damage to your expensive electrical components like your televisions and computers.

  • Safety – If the electrical current coming into your home becomes too strong, it will create heat which can start a fire. To combat this, fuse boxes are equipped with a safety feature to shut off power to a particular fuse if it overheats. The fuse itself will actually melt thereby severing the connection from the electrical main coming into your home. Once the fuse is melted, it has to be replaced and doing so can be very dangerous as both ends of the circuit become exposed when you pull the fuse out. With a circuit breaker panel, all you have to do is go flip the switch to the broken circuit and you’re back in business.
  • Ease of use – Let’s pretend that it’s a cold winter night and your family is over for the holidays. If the fuse for your TV, electric furnace, lights or any other components goes down, it can put a huge dent in your festivities and even more so if you don’t have an available fuse with which to replace the broken one. With a circuit breaker all you have to do is flip the broken switch to re-energize the circuit in your home.

Call us here at Smart Systems if you need an electrician in Beacon, NY and we can help with any type of service that you need.

Thanksgiving, 2013: A Brief History

November 28th, 2013

Thanksgiving is upon us: a time to get together with relatives, eat some great food, watch a little football and/or parades, and stop to appreciate the good things we have in life. There’s a fascinating history to the holiday that goes beyond the traditional Pilgrims-and-Indians party we read about in school.

The first Thanksgiving was indeed celebrated in 1621 in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Records are spotty at the time, but indicate that the harvest was particularly good that year due to help from the local Native Americans. The meal was probably much different than current times, with venison and fish more likely than turkey, but the general principle was unchanged. (Critics have pointed out that the popular image glosses over the suffering endured by Native Americans, but we prefer to see it as a symbol of brotherhood and a call to rise above our differences to find common ground.)

It wasn’t a few centuries later, however, that Thanksgiving became an annual tradition. George Washington called for a “national day of Thanksgiving” in 1789, and again in 1795, but they were both “one shot” declarations, rather than a call for an annual tradition. Individual cities and states picked up the ball, but it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving became a national once-a-year event. President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a Thanksgiving “to heal the wounds of the nation and restore it.” (Lincoln was not speaking in reference to the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, but to the divisions of the Civil War, which he hoped to heal.)

From there, it remained a tradition until Franklin Roosevelt signed a law in December of 1941, making it a federal holiday. The law also changed the date from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday in November, making it a little earlier in some cases (which Roosevelt hoped would give the country an economic boost).

Wherever you celebrate the holiday and whoever you choose to celebrate it with, we wish you nothing but happiness and joy this Thanksgiving.

The Benefits of Pursuing an Oil to Gas Conversion

November 24th, 2013

Burning oil was once one of the most common methods of providing heat for homes and businesses. Furnaces and boilers often used oil to fuel their gas jets. Although some homes still use oil for their heating systems, people have increasingly started to switch over to alternate energy sources, such as natural gas.

If you still use oil to heat your home, we recommend you consider making the conversion to natural gas. There are a number of major benefits, which we’ll cover here. If you have more questions about the advantages of converting from oil to natural gas in Carmel, NY, and what it involves, contact our specialists at Smart Systems.

Oil-to-Natural gas—the benefits:

Increased efficiency: Oil does not burn as completely as gas does, which means there is more waste from using oil—and consequently higher energy bills. In 2011, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that, on average, a U.S. household paid approximately $700 during a winter to heat a home using gas, while a household using oil paid approximately $2,500. Your oil-to-gas conversion could pay for itself in a mere one or two winters.

Convenience: Natural gas comes straight to your home through a pipeline, where oil you must to have delivered. With natural gas, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to schedule oil delivery and end up getting caught with an empty oil tank on one of the coldest days of the year.

Rebate: Although this isn’t universal, some utility companies offer a rebate as an incentive to make the switch from oil to gas. These rebates can be as high as $400—adding to the savings you’ll already receive from the increased efficiency.

Environmentally friendly: If you’re concerned about the environment, you should consider shifting to natural gas, which has fewer emissions than any other fossil fuel. It also provides a cleaner living environment. Oil releases soot and carbon directly into the air and can leave ash inside your home.

Get started with an oil-to-gas conversion today!

Although it sounds like a massive job to switch over to natural gas if you’ve used oil for so long, it isn’t as much of a hassle as it might sound—especially if you have experts taking care of the work.

Contact Smart Systems today if you think that going oil to gas in Carmel, NY is in your future.

Why Is My Door So Hard to Close and Open?

November 17th, 2013

In the classic 1963 movie The Haunting (and in its novel source, The Haunting of Hill House), one of the peculiar properties of the sprawling mansion is that its doors will not remain open. Blamed initially on “poor balancing,” the doors of Hill House always seem to shut by themselves, usually when no one is looking at them.

You might sometimes wonder if a supernatural entity has afflicted the doors in your home when you find it a struggle each time you have to open and close them. Calling in paranormal investigators isn’t the answer, however: you probably have a badly designed door and frame, or damage has caused misalignment. To fix the issue, you need a door replacement for your Newburgh home. Smart Systems can take care of your door replacement, and many other remodeling jobs as well.

Here are some reasons for “sticky” doors (aside from haunts):

  • Wood warping: An unfortunate effect of humidity or moisture in your home is the damage it does to wood. If you’ve recently experienced damage problems, the wood of your door may have become warped just enough that it no longer fits perfectly into the door frame.
  • Bad hinges: Check to see if the hinges of the door are coming loose from the wood, or if they have become bent or rusted. If the hinges start to fall out of place, the door will begin scraping the frame.
  • Latch trouble: The latch in the door might start to stick from age, or the springs in the handle could break. If the latch can no longer reach the frame, then it’s possible the cause is warping or damage, and you should consider door replacement.
  • Initial bad fit: If a door was sized poorly for its frame, you won’t have much choice but to get door replacement. Trying to sand off the edges or cut away parts of the door will likely result in an unpleasant-looking door.

Replacing a poorly-fitting door will benefit you another way: better sealing around its edges to prevent heat loss. For outside doors in particular, this can make a significant difference during the winter.

At Smart Systems, we offer a wide range of home services in Newburgh, NY beyond door replacements: window replacement, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, basement refinishing, work on ceramic and granite tiles, and roofing and siding. Schedule an appointment with us today.