Drought Proofing Tips

Drought Proofing Tips

As a homeowner in Sacramento, CA, it can be very expensive. Drought, in addition to its environmental implications, can result in increased water bills. Today on the blog, our Sacramento HVAC Company shares are several things you can do to prepare your house for a drought, economically.

Your Guide to Drought Proofing Your Home

drought proofing tips

Saving money where you can is essential in California. When our state is in a drought, it is essential to use your water wisely. Here are five drought proofing tips to help you save money and water.

Use Water Wisely

In our houses, we use water for so many things. From running the dishwasher to flushing the toilet, water is constantly running. Our Sacramento HVAC Company explains that you may save both water and money by being clever and careful in your household activities. 

Our Plumbing Contractor Sacramento explains that families should open up the conversations with each member about saving water.  Turning off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face will make a difference over time.

Additionally, our Sacramento Plumbing Company recommends making sure your appliances are completely full before running them. For example, we recommend running larger amounts of laundry once a week rather than multiple small loads. Additionally, try to run your dishwasher only when it is completely full. 
As a result, you will make the most of your water by just running full loads.

Use Low-Flow Water Fixtures

Our friends over at Tureks Plumbing, Fox Valley Plumbing Contractor, highly recommend to their customers to install low-flow water fixtures. This includes low-flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets. As follows, this is regarded as one of the simplest methods to save water. If you haven’t switched to low-flow yet, contact Gilmore today. These units are intended to save money and the environment. It’s a win-win! 

Look for Leaks

Leaking pipes, plumbing fixtures, or appliances waste money and water while putting your house in danger of further damage. All of your plumbing systems, including your showers, sinks, and faucets, are prone to leaking. Flapper problems with a running toilet might cause water to drain even when the toilet is not in use. 

Install a Recirculating Pump

When you need hot water, whether, for a shower, cleaning, or cooking, it is common to have to run the water for a time before it becomes hot. This method wastes time, money, and water. Thus, a recirculation pump is an answer for instant hot water. This solution can save you thousands of gallons of water per year while providing immediate warm water. 

Contact Gilmore Today for Plumbing Solutions

Ready to take the leap to save some water for the remainder of the summer? Our team at Gilmore would love to assist you. Give us a call today or reach out to us on Facebook.

Request Service

How Can We Serve You?

We are so glad you’re here! Complete the form below to get in touch, claim your coupon, or simply join our email list. 

Do You Need Duct Cleaning?


Every home is different, so it is typically hard to generalize whether a home needs duct cleaning or not. However, there are ways to determine if duct cleaning would be beneficial for you and your family.

You May Not Need Duct Cleaning if:

  • No one in your household suffers from allergies or unexplained symptoms or illnesses
  • After a visual inspection of the inside of the ducts, you see no indication that your air ducts are contaminated with large deposits of dust or mold (no musty odor or visible mold growth)

It is normal for the return registers to get dusty as air is pulled through the grate. This does not indicate that your air ducts are contaminated with heavy deposits of dust or debris; the registers can be easily vacuumed or removed and cleaned.

You May Need Duct Cleaning if:

  • Family members experience unusual or unexplained symptoms or illnesses that you think might be related to your home environment; you should discuss the situation with your doctor.
  • There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Here are important points to understand about mold detection in heating and cooling systems:

  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists.
  • Although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it.
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy, it can’t be effectively cleaned. Remove and replace it.
  • If the conditions causing the mold are not corrected, it will recur.
  • Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects)
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

Note: EPA has published Indoor Air Quality: An Introduction for Health Professionals that can be obtained free of charge by contacting IAQ INFO at the number listed in this guide. You may obtain another free EPA booklet from IAQ INFO entitled The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality for guidance on identifying possible indoor air quality problems and ways to prevent or fix them.

We Offer Professional Duct Cleaning

If you think duct cleaning might be a good idea for your home, but you are not sure, talk to a Gilmore professional. We’ll help make sure you get the thorough service that you need.

Freon (R-22) Ban and How It Affects Your Air Conditioner

Until a few years ago, many air conditioners sold in the United States used the refrigerant chlorodifluoromethane, usually referred to “R-22.” R-22 is one of a number of gases marketed under the brand name Freon, and has been commonly used as a coolant in air conditioners, heat pumps, and other appliances.

R-22 is an extremely effective coolant, which made it popular among HVAC manufacturers for many years. However, it was discovered that its causes damage to the ozone layer, and that it is also a powerful greenhouse gas. This is why, in 1987, the United States agreed to an international accord that would call for the reduction of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) production, beginning in 2004. R-22 is one of the products affected by this agreement.


Obtaining R-22 for air conditioner servicing is extremely costly, and will soon become impossible.

Enforced reduction of the use of R-22 began in 2004, and in 2010 its use was banned in new HVAC systems. However, R-22 has continued to be produced since then in order to service existing air conditioners. Soon, this will no longer be the case.

In 2015, the next step in the R-22 phaseout plan was triggered, further reducing the permitted production and import of R-22. As a consequence, prices have quadrupled. This will only get worse, as the EPA’s final phasedown schedule for R-22 indicates that production and import of the coolant will be completely banned as of 2020.

For homeowners whose air conditioners and heat pumps use R-22, this raises the question, “What are my choices?” These options can be broken down as follows:

Hold off on HVAC replacement or upgrade for a few years.

You can simply wait for a few years. However, if your cooling system requires replacement of its R-22 supply in the meantime, it may cost you dearly. We currently charge more than $600 to fully recharge an air conditioner with R-22 (plus the cost of removing contaminants from the system), and full expect this cost to rise in the future. In a few years, it may cost thousands of dollars.

Upgrade your system to use a modern coolant.

The EPA has approved several new coolants, the most popular of which is R-410A, commonly marked under the brand name Puron. However, you can’t just pour R-410A into a cooling system that uses R-22. Some of the system’s parts will have to be replaced. In addition, while your system can be adapted to work with R-410A, you likely won’t see the same level of performance as before, resulting in higher energy bills.

Replace your HVAC system with a new EPA-friendly system.

The most advisable option is to simply replace your existing air conditioner or heat pump with a new system that is designed to use R-410A, or other permitted coolants. While this is the most costly option in the short term, the simple fact is that the other two options may well cost you more in the long run, and then you’ll have to replace your system anyways!

This is why Gilmore strongly advises that you replace your air conditioner or heat pump now. Replacing your system eliminates the risk of having to pay a fortune for R-22 replacement in a few years, or paying higher energy bills for the next several years due to reduced performance.

It really is the best time to replace your HVAC system, and as a bonus, you will immediately begin to enjoy savings on your energy bill! If you’d like to learn more about how replacing your air conditioner or heat pump can save you money, call the experts at Gilmore Heating & Air!

Save $250 Off of a New Air Conditioner!

Avoid future price hikes for replacing the R-22 in your old air conditioner by upgrading your system today! Click on the image below for an easy-to-print coupon entitling you to $250 off of a new A/C system from Gilmore Heating & Air, or click on this link for a PDF with a summary of the above information, and a copy of our coupon. But don’t wait too long, this offer expires at the end of 2016!


California Cities Have Chromium 6 Levels Above The State-Mandated Maximum

More than 20 years ago, a legal clerk by the name of Erin Brockovich was organizing medical records for a pro bono real estate case her employer was handling, when she started wondering why the medical records were there in the first place. Three years later, her curiosity culminated in a $333 million settlement with PG&E, to compensate the residents of Hinkley, California for exposing them to a toxic chemical: hexavalent chromium, better known as chromium 6.

Chromium 6 exposure in drinking water is known to cause cancer.

Chromium 6 is present in the environment both through natural process and artificial manufacturing. It is currently used in a number of industrial processes, such as the manufacture and finishing of stainless steel and chrome plating, and is also used as an anticorrosion agent in cooling towers (which was the source of the Hinkley contamination in the 1980s).

Chromium 6 is a carcinogen, which means that it causes cancer. Most incidental exposures of chromium 6 involve drinking water contaminated with the chemical. This form of exposure results in cancers of the mouth and intestine.  However, chromium 6 can also be inhaled, which can result in respiratory cancers, such as lung cancer. Despite these health effects, there is no federal legal limit for exposure to chromium 6, and California is the only state in the country with such a limitation.

While the story of Hinkley is now several decades old, chromium 6 exposure—recognized by the state of California to cause reproductive harm as well as cancer—is still a cause of concern.

A national study found that two local Central California cities have drinking water with chromium 6 levels above the legal limit.

In September of 2016, KQED reported that an analysis of more than 60,000 sources of tap water across the country showed that two Central California towns, Davis and Woodland, have levels of chromium in their drinking water that exceed the state limit of 10 parts per billion.

The state limit of 10 parts per billion is believed to result in an exposure level that will cause cancer in 500 out of every 1 million people who drink contaminated water every day over a period of 70 years. The tests showed that drinking water sampled at the University of California, Davis, had chromium 6 levels of 16.25 parts per billion, while Woodland had slightly higher levels, 16.79. These levels are more than 60% higher than the state mandated exposure level.

In addition, the study—conducted by watchdog organization Environmental Working Group—showed that two-thirds of American consumers have drinking water with contamination levels exceeding what state experts believe is the safe level of exposure.

While the projected health risks of chromium 6 exposure may seem minor or remote, the true health consequences of chromium 6 are unclear, especially in children, the elderly, and others who are particularly sensitive to environmental hazards.

So how can you protect your family from chromium 6 exposure?

A water filtration system can filter out harmful chromium 6, as well as other unwanted contaminants.

Don’t waste money and clutter up the environment by buying case after case of bottled water, or put your trust in cheap, consumer grade kitchen faucet filters. Besides, at best these measures only protect you from the water you drink—not the water you bathe in, brush your teeth with, or wash your clothes in.

A professional grade home water filtration system installed by the experts at Gilmore can protect your family from all in-home chromium 6 exposure. In addition, you will be protected from other potential contaminants, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and unknown hazardous chemicals.

We have decades of experience in choosing the right filtration system for the job, and properly installing it so that your system operates at peak performance. We believe that your family deserves to feel safe, especially in your own home, and we will do everything we can to provide you with the safe, healthy water that you deserve.

You Shouldn’t Be Heating Your Home With a Space Heater

Space heaters are a handy way of staying warm in areas where it isn’t possible to take advantage of central heating. However, many households try to use space heaters in their homes as an alternative to central heating. Their reasons for doing so may include:

  • Furnace isn’t working or is working poorly.
  • Trying to minimize gas bill.
  • Heating rooms that aren’t connected to central heating.
  • Home uses old-style wall furnace, and far-away rooms have to be warmed with a space heater.

Regardless of the motivation, space heaters simply aren’t a long-term solution for home heating needs.

Space heaters are extremely dangerous. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that between 2009 and 2013, heating equipment caused more than 56,000 home fires in the United States. Space heaters were the cause of 40% of these fires, and caused 5 out of 6 (84%) of the deaths resulting from all house fires caused by heating equipment.

Part of the problem is that we have become overly comfortable with space heaters. We see them in the workplace, at store checkout counters that are close to an open door, in cabins and tents, and so on. As a result, we place space heaters without much regard for what’s around them.

As a consequence, the leading factor in fatal home fires is too little space between heating equipment and flammable materials, such as mattresses, bedding, clothing, and furniture. Many of these accidents may have been the result of children or pets knocking over heaters or setting down flammable items nearby.

It’s very difficult to make a space heater “safe.” They’re easily tampered with by children, their size makes them difficult to secure, and they usually have scalding hot surfaces, or white-hot elements just inches behind a guard.

We can help. Call Gilmore for a home central heating solution, and get rid of your space heater.

49% of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. NOW is the time to do something about your unsafe space heater. We can install a central heating system in your home faster than anyone else, and we’ll do it right the first time.

Call Gilmore, and find out what makes us the best heating and air company around.

Fix Your Home AC Now – Sacramento is Facing Record Heat This Week

If you live in the California Central Valley, it’s a good idea to follow the US National Service’s Sacramento Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. They post on a daily basis, warning of any worrisome weather on the horizon and answering any questions that the public may have. This service is especially important now, as we move into the summer and our region’s hot summer weather really begins to take effect.

Based upon the latest weather forecasts, if you are experiencing any kind of issues with your air conditioner, it is imperative to contact Gilmore Heating & Air and schedule an appointment now.

California is facing conditions in which it is dangerous to not have access to air conditioning.

On Thursday June 15th, the NWS issued a Heat Advisory for much of the Central Valley. Under this forecast, the NWS warned of dangerously hot conditions for the California Central Valley from Redding down through Sacramento, and south to Merced, as seen below.


According to KCRA News, this has now been elevated to an “Excessive Heat Warning,” which warns of even more dangerous conditions in which temperatures will be well in excess of 100 degrees, and may reach 110 degrees in some areas.

The Excessive Heat Warning is currently in effect for the following areas:

  • Sacramento Valley
  • Carquinez Strait and Delta
  • Northern San Joaquin Valley
  • Redding
  • Red Bluff
  • Chico
  • Oroville
  • Marysville and Yuba City
  • Fairfield and Suisun
  • Stockton
  • Modesto

While the Excessive Heat Warning extends through Tuesday as of the writing of this post, it is likely that it will soon be extended through Thursday.

In an earlier Facebook post on June 16th, the NWS warned that temperature records for days between Saturday June 17th through June 21st (and possibly beyond) are in danger of being toppled in the regions surrounding Sacramento, Redding, Stockton, and Blue Canyon (Roseville/Rocklin).


In much of the Central Valley, the temperature will likely remain in excess of 100 degrees until Thursday, with temperatures dropping off into the mid- to high-90s through the weekend and much of the following week.

Under these conditions, it is extremely important for you to stay hydrated and stay indoors as much as possible. However, staying indoors is only effective if you have an effective air conditioner. Even if your air conditioner is working, if it has been struggling to keep up with current temperatures, it will likely fail under the extreme stress of the upcoming weather conditions.

This is likely to be an extremely hot summer for Sacramento and the rest of Northern California, and this is only the first of many heat waves that we’ll face. Please don’t wait until the last minute. Call Gilmore Heating & Air at 888-868-2316, or send us an appoint request through our website and get your air conditioner serviced now, so that your family will be safe and comfortable throughout this year’s scorching hot summer.

Dangers of Window-Mounted Air Conditioners

Recently, the ABC program Good Morning America did a story describing the fire risks posed by air conditioners. According to a National Fire Protection Association study quoted by the piece, air conditioners are the cause of roughly 2,800 home fires per year.

While the “Air Conditioner Dangers” piece is definitely worth a watch, it’s also worthwhile to spend some time digging into the report as well.

The NFPA data indicates that window-mounted air conditioners pose an outsized risk.

The NFPA website features a page specifically on the fire risks of air conditioners, with a link to a detailed 2012 study. In the study, the authors point out that, “Room air conditioners appear to have a higher fire risk relative to usage than central air conditioning, but reported fire incident data no longer separate the two.”

They go on to say that while the ratio of households using room air conditioners versus central ACs is 1-to-3 (i.e. 25% of homes use room air conditioners), the ratio of all room AC- versus central AC-related fires is 3-to-5 (i.e. 37.5% of fires are caused by window AC units).

Adjusting for the relative frequency of these two types of ACs—to look at how many fires would be expected in equal numbers of window units and central units—indicates that window-mounted AC units are 1.8 times more likely than central ACs to cause a house fire.

This increased fire risk with window AC units is likely due to poor installation and usage practices.

Elsewhere in the study, it mentions that 38% of AC fires originated with the ignition of an electrical wire, or the insulation covering such wires. Likely culprits, as mentioned in the Good Morning America video, are:

  • Window unit electrical cables
  • Extension cords used to power window units
  • Home electrical wiring overtaxed due to a window unit being plugged into a power strip or plug splitter

It is especially imperative to consider this information now, as July and August account for 20% and 18% of all air conditioning-related fires for the entire year. In other words, we’re just starting the two month period in which nearly 40% of all AC-related house fires start.

How you can minimize the fire risk of your air conditioner.

For starters, if you use a window unit, make sure that the power cable is in good condition, with no nicks, tears, or signs of overheating.

If you can at all help it, do not plug it into an extension cord or power strip—plug it directly into a wall outlet. If you must use an extension cord, use a 12 or 14 gauge cord that is as short as possible, and which is indicated specifically for use with window ACs. Make sure that the draw of your window AC doesn’t exceed the cord’s rating (for example, the product overview of the linked cord indicates that it has a 15 amp, 1,875 watt maximum capacity—it would be unsafe to use with an AC over that rating).

Lastly, make sure that you clean your air conditioner’s filter regularly, and ensure that the intake and exhaust are unobstructed, with at least 3 feet of clearance. If you see any sign of electrical failure or improper operation, cease using your unit until you can have it inspected by an air conditioning expert.

However, the best bet for ensuring your safety is to have a new central air conditioner professionally installed. As the study showed, central ACs do cause fires as well, and much of this is likely due to improper installation. The experts at Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing can help you select the AC that’s right for your home, install it so that it will work safely and properly, and give you tips on how to ensure safe, reliable operation in the future.

To learn how Gilmore can keep your home cool and safe, give us a call at 888-868-2316, or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. It’s hot out there, so don’t wait!

Modesto Apartment Fire Shows Risks of Window Air Conditioners

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog post discussing the danger posed by window-mounted air conditioners. In that article, we noted that one of the key causes of air conditioner fires is using extension cords to power window units. This is because extension cords are too high of a gauge—they are too thin—to handle the current necessary to power a window AC. When used to power an air conditioner, these cords will overheat, and can cause a fire.


Unfortunately, an apartment fire in Modesto last month illustrated the exact scenario described above. At nearly 5 am on July 28th, a fire was reported at an apartment complex that happened to be across the street from the Modesto Fire Department. Thanks to the Fire Department’s proximity, they were able to respond within minutes of the fire starting, and nobody was injured.

However, two units were seriously damaged, displacing nearly 20 people. The fire caused approximately $100,000 in damage, and there are concerns that the fire damaged wiring and plumbing serving other units in the complex, necessitating the shutdown of electricity, gas, and water.

Investigators at the scene determined that the residents of the unit where the fire started were using a window-mounted air conditioner powered by cord insufficient to meet the unit’s power demands.

Central air conditioners can help save lives and homes.

We understand that for many, window-mounted air conditioners are an attractive option. They are inexpensive, and easy to install in older homes and apartment complexes. However, the safety of a window unit is entirely dependent upon the owner’s or tenant’s ability and willingness to operate it in a safe manner.

While no air conditioning solution can be considered to be 100% safe, central air conditioning systems offer a significant safety advantage when a trained expert handles the wiring and installation of the system.

If you are a homeowner or apartment complex owner considering options for keeping your property cool during Central California’s hot summer season, Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing can help. Give us a call at 888-868-2316, or send us a message through our website’s contact form.

Our representatives will be happy to talk to you about your options, and help you identify the most efficient, cost effective, and safe way to keep your property cool and comfortable.

Is It Time for a Furnace Maintenance Service Call?

The holidays are coming up, and you know what that means! Family and friends are going to be constantly bustling in and out of your home for the next few months. But wait! Something’s not right. The vents are blowing out dust and bad-smelling air, it feels stuffy and humid, and even when you turn the thermostat all the way up, the house doesn’t warm up.

Obviously, you don’t want your guests to have to feel uncomfortable in your home. And aren’t you tired of your furnace just not working right?

What are some of the most common furnace problems that plague homeowners during the winter?

Furnace blowing cool or lukewarm air. This is usually due to the fan setting on the thermostat being set to “on” rather than “auto.” This makes the HVAC fan runs all the time, even when the furnace isn’t on. It can also be due to the pilot light being out. But it may also be a more serious issue, such as the furnace overheating due to a dirty air filter.

Poor airflow through vents. This can be caused by obstructed ducting or vents, or a filter that’s clogged full of dust and grime. If possible, check to make sure that your ductwork is clean and clear of debris, and that your air filter has been replaced.

Dust and dirt blowing through vents. This may be due to something as simple as dust buildup in your HVAC ductwork, which can be remedied with some basic cleaning. Or, it may be due to something more serious, such as a leak in the ductwork, or a dirty furnace burner.

Furnace cycles frequently. This may be due to something as minor as the thermostat not being set properly, or a clogged filter. It can also be due to inadequate insulation, which fails to retain the heat produced by your furnace, forcing it to run more frequently. In some cases, this can also be due to wiring problems, thermostat malfunctions, or improperly set fan switches.

Noisy operation. Your furnace shouldn’t squeak, rattle, rumble, or make other annoying sounds. If your furnace is keeping you up at night, then there may be a mechanical issue.

Furnace not running at all. This is the most perplexing and frustrating problem at all—when your furnace just won’t work. And unfortunately, this requires the attention of a professional to properly diagnose.

If your home heating system just isn’t working right, call the furnace repair experts at Gilmore!

We guarantee our work, so don’t risk unnecessary hassle when your guests are on the way. There’s not time to spare: Call Gilmore, and let the experts handle it!

Additional wintertime home issues we tackle include wiring issues that cause indoor and outdoor lights to malfunction, persistent and annoying electrical problems, windows that fail to keep cold air out, even when closed, and inadequate home insulation that results in costly heating bills.

We know how important it is to work fast in order to get your home warm, cozy, and comfortable before the holidays. Let Gilmore fix those pesky furnace problems with the Red Carpet Care that our thousands of customers have come to expect, so that you can focus on what’s important: Giving your loved ones the holiday season they deserve.