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At Lee Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric, we want to make sure our customers know they can come to us for practically any industry question and/or problem. It is our goal to make your home as comfortable and safe as possible.

Our team often speaks to friends, family and customers on a variety of questions related to plumbing, heating, cooling and electric. We have outlined a few points, on some of our most popular questions, as a resource for our customers. We will be constantly updating and adding to this list.  If you do not see your question below, please contact us to learn more.

Residential Heating & Cooling

Why isn't my heat working?
  • Check your furnace filter. If it is too dirty, the air will not flow through and the unit will shut down. A dirty filter will resemble a dirty lint trap on a clothes dryer. Keep in mind that, if you remove your filter, don’t leave it out longer than 24 hours or your furnace could be damaged.
  • Make sure the furnace circuit, on your circuit panel, is on.
  • You can also flip the shut-off switch on the furnace. It usually looks like a light switch. This will reset the furnace and the heat may come back on. Keep in mind, however, that this will also clear any error codes, so it will make diagnosing the problem more difficult for your technician.
Why isn't my air conditioning working?
  • Make sure the outdoor condensing unit is uncovered and there is clear air circulation around the entire outdoor unit.
  • Make sure the power is on to the AC at your circuit panel and the outside disconnect.
  • Check your furnace filter.  Your AC uses the blower on the furnace.  If it is too dirty, the air will not flow through and the unit will shut down.  A dirty filter will resemble a dirty lint trap on a clothes dryer.  Keep in mind that, if you remove your filter, don’t leave it out longer than 24 hours or your furnace could be damaged.
What if I smell gas in my home?
  • Open a window.
  • Call your local gas company immediately. WE Energies 800.261.LEAK (5325)
  • Extinguish any open flames such as candles etc.

Residential Plumbing & Drains

How do you avoid frozen pipes?
  • If the pipes are exposed in an unheated area or outside, wrap the pipes with foam or some type of insulating material and bind it with electrical tape.  Another possibility is an electrical-wire heating wrap that will keep the pipes above freezing, even in very cold weather.  If you are concerned about pipes within a wall with no other access, you can poke small holes through the wall and cover the pipes with insulating foam.  Finally, if the pipes are totally inaccessible, leave a trickle of water running, which works to warm the pipes slightly and slow down the freezing process.
My water bill is high, what should I do?
  • This is a plumbing question that needs to be answered quickly.  The most likely explanation for a high water bill is a leak somewhere within your home’s water system.  Look carefully at all faucets for leaks and check toilets to see if they are running even when not in use.  Check all appliances for leaks, particularly the water heater.  Finally make a careful assessment throughout your house, looking for damp spots on the walls, floor and ceilings that would indicate leaking pipes inside the walls.
What consumes the most water in my house?
  • While it may seem that the bath or shower is the culprit, the real water hog is the toilet, which is why it’s particularly important to immediately repair a toilet that runs when not in use.  A toilet running off and on 24 hours a day can lead to a huge water bill.
What can I put down the garbage disposal?
  • Food scraps, scraping from your plates or pans and some peelings should safely go through the garbage disposal.
When operating your disposal, follow these precautions:
  • Start running the water first, then drop your food scraps down the disposal.
  • Continue running lots of water while putting anything down the disposal.  Run water for 20-30 seconds after disposing is complete and disposal is shut off.
  • The purpose for running all that water is to carry all of the ground up material from the kitchen drain (1.5”-2” in diameter) to the 4” building sewer line which may be up to 30'-40’ away.
Consider the condition & age of your drain system:
  • In new construction, the piping is likely ABS plastic, the fittings are smoother and the grade is better, which allows the material from the disposal to be carried away much more easily.
  • Many older homes were plumbed with cast iron or galvanized pipes and are more prone to buildup and spots that may clog.  Additionally, if the disposal is old, the cutters and parts may be worn and the grinding of material may be inadequate.
What does it mean when my water heater makes a popping sound when it’s heating the water:
  • The popping noise is usually caused by sediment deposits sitting on the bottom of the water heater.  The noise you are hearing is steam bubbles escaping the sediment.  Flushing out the water heater does not always solve the problem.  Most likely, no damage is being done to the heater.  However, it will cause your efficiency to go down.
My sump pump sounds like it’s running, but the water is not going down?
  • Depending on what time of year it is, the discharge line could be frozen outside.
  • Another common problem is that the check valve is malfunctioning and not allowing the water to flow through it.
When I run water in the sink I hear a gurgling sound ... why is that?
  • The noise can be caused by the lack of air getting in the drain system.  This is a venting issue.  It may also mean you need your sink drain cleaned out with a rod machine.

Residential Electrical

If an appliance continues to blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker, what should I do?

Appliances that repeatedly blow fuses or trip circuit breakers should be unplugged, and repaired or replaced. In addition, appliances that shock you should be unplugged, repaired or replaced.

What is the difference between a two-prong and a 3-prong outlet?

The third prong on a plug is a grounding prong. Two-prong receptacles do not have the same level of grounding protection as a three-prong device. The third grounding prong provides additional protection to the electrical system, the item plugged in and you from electrical shock.

What’s the benefit of whole-house surge protection?

When you protect your whole house from power surges, you’ll protect all of the equipment in it instead of just one piece that is plugged into the surge protector. This comes in handy if you use a lot of electronics or appliances.

Are LED lights better than incandescent?

LED lights are more expensive to purchase than incandescent lights, but they’ll be more efficient (they’ll last 50,000 hours instead of 1,200 hours.) They can also have a lower annual operating cost, which is great for people trying to “go green.”

What is a GFCI?

You may have see an electrical outlet with a “test” and “reset” button in the middle - this is a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter.) It automatically shuts off an electrical circuit when it detects that the current isn't flowing correctly. It is also used to reduce the risk of electrical shock from a receptacle located in damp locations and/or counter top areas.

What does that “fishy smell” coming from my outlet mean?

If you notice a smell coming from your outlet or switch, there’s a good chance your receptacle could be damaged. Turn off the power immediately and call our home electrical services experts.

Should I replace my old fuse box with circuit breakers?

Yes. Fuse boxes ultimately perform the same job as circuit breakers. The advantage of breakers over fuses is:

  1. No more purchasing fuses from your local hardware store.
  2. When removing a fuse, you subject yourself to electrically “live” parts which can be a potentially dangerous situation.
What’s the advantage of hiring a “licensed” electrician?

The state of Wisconsin mandates that all persons that are hired to perform electrical services be a state-licensed electrician. This means that the individual has the experience and training to perform the work in a safe and code compliant manner.

How do I reset my circuit breaker?

First look for the breaker that is set in the middle. Then flip the breaker all the way off. You should feel a light resistance as the spring inside resets. After you feel this, turn the breakers back on. Your power should be restored. In case the breaker doesn’t reset, call and we’ll troubleshoot the problem for you.

Does my house need to be rewired?

We recommend a whole house safety inspection to understand the current status of the wiring. Some wiring that is considered a major hazard is: knob and rude wiring, BX wiring and an ungrounded system. These could be hazardous to your home and, if in poor condition, a rewire shall be considered. Also, before the sale of a home, specific electrical updates may be need to bring your home to a current “code compliant” status.

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