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Space Heater Safety Tips

With winter in full swing, more and more of us are doing everything in our power to stay warm. While our home heating systems may be doing their job, sometimes we just want a little extra warmth in certain rooms. A popular method of warming other spots in our homes is using space heaters. While they do their job, the use of these units without taking the proper safety precautions can cause fires or burns. To avoid these problems, follow these space heater safety tips.


  1. Give your space heater enough room. Allow at least three to five feet of space between your heater and any combustible objects. The majority of space heater fires result from placing the heaters too close to volatile objects.
  2. Go for high quality. While you may not want to spend too much money on a space heater, the extra dollars mean extra protection. Look for heaters with the latest safety features and a Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label of approval. Keep an eye out for units that have an automatic shut-off feature for when they get tipped over or detect a person or object is too close. These are ideal for homes with children or pets.
  3. Don’t hide cords under rugs and carpets. When a space heater operates, its plug and cord generate heat. Running the cord under a rug could cause it to get too hot and start a fire.
  4. Never lay any materials on top of the heater. While it may be tempting to dry or warm up materials such as clothing, towels, or socks on your space heater, those materials could easily catch fire.
  5. Never run your space heater in an empty room. If there is not someone in the room to watch the heater in case something goes wrong, it shouldn’t be on. Turn off your unit when your leave a room and before you go to sleep, so you don’t risk your children or pets coming into contact with it.

We want you to be warm, but we also want you to be safe. The experts at Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing can work with you to find the right heating solutions for your home. For more information on home heating systems, #CallWahl at 412-276-9245.

Heat Pump Myths

In a world dominated by technology, homeowners have plenty of options when it comes to keeping their houses warm. However, that technology also allows for false information to be spread about the way certain home-heating methods work – we’re looking at you Google! We’re here to fix that and debunk a few heat pump myths.

  1. They Don’t Work in Cold Climates: Hyper-heat systems can perform at 100% capacity in five-degree outdoor weather and can still function in as low as to -13 degrees, so they are a great supplement to existing central heating systems. Ductless heat pumps offer higher efficiency ratings than boiler-based systems so they cost less to operate by creating the maximum amount of heat from the energy consumed.
  2. They Collect Dust & Bacteria: Most split-ductless heat pumps are made with filter systems and self-cleaning functions to prevent the settling of bacteria and spores.The plastic filters that cover the heat exchanger can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Plus, an inte rnal fan dries the exchanger completely so any chances of bacterial growth are ousted.
  3. They’re More Expensive to Run: Compared to oil or gas heaters, the cost of split-ductless heat pumps is dependent on several factors, including the climatic region and energy type. However, studies have shown that using an electric heat pump can save you up to $2,000 in energy costs annually.
  4. They Don’t Have a Long Life Cycle: Just because heat pumps operate year-round, that doesn’t mean they have a short lifespan. The biggest effect on your heat pump’s life cycle is a lack of service and preventative maintenance. Think about it: you drive your car year-round, but you don’t expect it to break down for that reason alone.
  5. They Only Work Well for Newly-Built Homes: Any heating system, including a heat pump, is more efficient in newly-built homes that are well insulated; but heat pumps work perfectly well in existing homes. They are an especially good option for homeowners who want to add air conditioning and upgrade their heating system.

Heat pumps are a better home-heating option than many homeowners may think. Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can install a new heat pump in your home and help you save on your annual energy costs. Already have a heat pump? Extend its lifespan with maintenance done by Wahl!

For more information about installing and maintaining heat pumps in your home, #CallWahl at 412-276-9245.

Winter Plumbing Tips & Tricks

Unless you’re a trained professional, knowing everything about plumbing can be a bit tricky. Since there is so much that goes into having a well-functioning system, Winter-plumbing-tips-tricks-wahl-heating-cooling-plumbing

  1. Leave your faucets dripping to prevent frozen pipes. Usually, we advise against having leaky faucets, but if you’ve had issues with frozen pipes in the past, this can prevent future problems. Since temperatures can drop significantly at night, open your tap just slightly to have a steady drip.
  2. Don’t treat your garbage disposal like a trash can. Contrary to popular belief, your garbage disposal is not a catch-all for everything you need to dispose of in your kitchen. It can’t handle large amounts of food waste or fibrous foods, like meats and potatoes. If you have guests, toss food scraps into a compost pile and rinse the disposal with a lot of water when you use it.
  3. Turn off your water valve when you go on vacation. If you plan on flying south for the winter, turn off your main water valve to prevent coming home to a potential flood. Open up a few bath or sink faucets to drain the water pressure from your pipes, and save yourself from any messes that could occur while you’re away.
  4. Flush your water heater every year. If you are confident in your DIY skills, flush your water heater annually to get rid of mineral build up that grows over time. If you’re not sure on how to do this, call your plumber to have him or her help. This may seem like a simple task, but it could keep your water heater running longer.

A little maintenance can go a long way in preventing plumbing problems. However, if disaster does strike, be confident in knowing that you can #CallWahl any time you need us. We provide 27/4 plumbing services to Pittsburgh and the surrounding counties. We’re in your neighborhood since 1980 and are always ready to provide you with the best customer service.

For plumbing services in Mt. Lebanon, Ross Township, Cranberry Township and surrounding areas, call us at 412-276-9245.

Save on Energy Costs in Winter

Everyone wants to be warm and toasty after being out in the cold, but heating your home can cause a big spike in your utility bill. Do your wallet a favor, and follow these tips to save on energy costs in

  • Utilize the Sun: Contrary to popular belief, the sun doesn’t just provide heat in the summer. Let it help heat your home during the winter by opening the curtains when the sun is facing them. Just remember to close them again once it gets dark.
  • Curb Exhaust Fan Usage: While you may want to get rid of steam in your bathroom or cooking fumes in your kitchen, your exhaust fans also pull out warm air that rises in your home. Only use them when it’s necessary, and turn them off soon afterward.
  • Bundle Up: Of course you’re going to turn up the heat in your home if you’re walking around in a t-shirt and shorts. Instead, put on a cozy sweater and thick socks, wrap yourself in a fuzzy blanket, and forgo the increase in temperature.
  • Adjust the Thermostat at Night: You could decrease your energy usage (and your bill) by turning the thermostat down by 10-15 degrees for eight hours at night. Stock up on flannel sheets and warm bedding to still feel warm when you’re sleeping.
  • Keep Your Furnace Clean: When your furnace filter is dirty, it works harder to pump clean air, and therefore, uses more energy. Check your filters monthly, and replace them when you see that they are dry or dirty.
  • Get a Humidifier: Cold air equals dry air. When the air inside your home is moist and warm, it holds heat better. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, meaning you won’t have to crank up the thermostat as much.

Wahl Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing provides heating services that can help you save on energy costs. We offer up-front pricing, convenient scheduling, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee for all your HVAC needs 24/7.


For help saving on your energy costs this winter, or for more information on the HVAC services we provide to Pittsburgh and the surrounding counties, #CallWahl at 412-276-9245. Remember, we’re in your neighborhood since 1980.

Furnace Smells You Shouldn’t Ignore

There are probably some smells around your home that you choose to brush off. Maybe it’s your son’s gym equipment or the questionable odor coming from your dog’s favorite toy. When it comes to your furnace, there are some smells you should not ignore since these can signal dangerous problems.

Smoke Smellbad-furnace-smell
If you’ve been lighting up your fireplace this winter without a clean chimney, the smoke could end up coming out through your ductwork. Since breathing in smoke and dirty air can damage your lungs and cause other health issues, have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional.

Burning Electrical or Plastic Smell
This smell could be a sign of a serious problem. If you experience an odor similar to that of a burning motor coming from your furnace, you may have a seizing blower motor. This can cause the motor to overheat and wires to melt, leading to an electrical hazard. If you smell this odor throughout your home, turn off your furnace, and call an HVAC professional to inspect the problem.

Rotten Egg Smell
This smell is a major indicator of a natural gas leak. Besides causing serious health problems, a gas leak could lead to a fire or explosion in your home. Open all of your doors and windows, and leave your home immediately. Call emergency services and your gas company to fix the problem.

For your safety, it is best to contact an HVAC professional if you notice any strange smells coming from your furnace. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, #CallWahl at 412-276-9245 for all your gas and oil furnace needs. We’re in your neighborhood since 1980.

How to: Prevent Water Damage

When you think of water damage, you probably think of hurricanes, floods, or torrential rain. In reality, this kind of damage can be done by failing household appliances just as easily. Luckily, these tips can help you prevent water damage in your home.

Know Your Main Water Supply
Make sure you are aware of where your main water supply is located in your home in case you need to shut it off during an emergency. If you plan to be away from your home for a while, especially during winter, shut off the water supply and drain your pipes. You don’t want to risk a pipe freezing and bursting while you’re not home to handle it.Wahl-Family-Heating-Cooling-Plumbing

Check Your Appliances
Regularly inspect showers, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers to make sure there are no leaks or signs of corrosion. If you spot any signs of damage, fix them yourself, or call a professional to repair them. A simple fix now could save you valuable time and money later on.

Maintain Hoses
When it comes to your fridge and washing machine, the hoses you use can have a big effect on protecting your home from water damage. Old and brittle washing machine hoses are one of the top causes of water loss for homeowners, so replace yours regularly to avoid a mess. Also, use a braided copper hose for
your refrigerator, as these are more resistant to cracking.

Keep an Eye on Your Water Bill
Since so many pipes are hidden behind the wall, you may not even notice a leak until it’s too late. Check your water bill carefully each month. If you notice a spike in your water costs, there’s a pretty good chance you have a leak. It’s best to call the professionals to have them determine where the leak is and how to handle it.

While water damage can be a big problem when it occurs, these tips can help you monitor your home and prevent damage from happening in the first place. If you do end up needing professional help for a water problem, #CallWahl for all your plumbing needs and repairs.

Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing provides 24-hour emergency service to Pittsburgh and surrounding counties. If you need us, call us at 412-276-9245.

All About Radiant Heating

Heating your home during the winter is a basic necessity, but there are several paths you could take to make your home nice and toasty. Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor, wall panels, or ceiling panels via infrared radiation. If you would like an easy example of this kind of system, think of the heat you feel across the room from a hot stovetop.

There are several advantages to radiant heating systems when compared to traditional methods. Radiant heating is more efficient than baseboard heating and is usually more efficient than forced-air since it eliminates duct losses. It is also preferred by allergy-sufferers since radiant heating doesn’t contribute to dust and allergies like forced-air does. Hydronic systems (liquid-based) can also save you energy and money since they use little electricity and can run on a variety of energy sources, such as boilers and solar water heaters.Wahl-Heating-Radiant-Heating

Radiant floor systems differ from panels and break down into three different types of systems:

  • Air-Heated Radiant Floors: Since air cannot hold a lot of heat, these are not cost-effective for residential applications. Although they can be combined with solar air heating systems, the inefficiency of having a furnace pump air at night doesn’t make the daytime solar heating worth it.
  • Electric Radiant Floors: These systems are most cost-effective when your electric utility company offers time-of-use rates and you can charge a significant thermal mass, like concrete, during off-peak hours. They also make sense to install in new home additions so you don’t have to extend your heating system to a new section of the house.
  • Hydronic Radiant Floor: This system is the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating system. Hydronic systems work by pumping water from a boiler through a pattern of tubing laid under the floor. The cost of these systems can change depending on a variety of factors such as the size of your home and the floor covering.

Radiant panels can be heated either electrically or with hot water tubing. Although most radiant panels for homes are electrically heated and can be expensive to operate, they have the quickest response time of any heating technology. Since they can be controlled in each room, they can offer cost and energy savings as well. You also may be more comfortable the closer you are to the panels, as they function on a line-of-sight basis.

Radiant heating systems offer pros and cons when compared to other home heating systems. The experts at Wahl Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can help you decide if radiant heating is right for your home.


For more information on radiant heating systems and repairs, #CallWahl at 412-276-9245


How To Solve Winter Furnace Problems

In the middle of a Pennsylvania winter, the last thing you want is your furnace to start acting up. If you wake up in the morning feeling like you’ve been asleep outside, do you know what to do? To avoid freezing inside your own home, these are a few tricks you can try to solve winter furnace problems before calling the professionals.Wahl-Family-Heating-Furnace-Problems

As silly as it sounds, make sure your thermostat is set to heat. A lot of thermostats have to manually be set and the switch may be easily moved if you’re cleaning around it. Additionally, make sure the temperature that will actually turn the furnace on is correctly set.

Dirty filters can limit airflow coming to and from the furnace which causes heat and pressure to build up.  Newer models will often shut down if this occurs to prevent further problems, while older models will continue running less efficiently. Check your filters to see if they are dirty; if they are, replace them altogether. Aim to replace your filters each month to avoid future problems.

At times, fixing winter furnace problems can be as easy as throwing a switch. If you’re still having issues with your furnace, go to your circuit breaker, find the switch labeled ”furnace” and make sure it is turned to the “on” position. If you don’t see that label, look for a switch that is in a different position than the others, flip it completely off, and then back on.

Do the same thing with the furnace switch itself. This switch commonly looks like a light switch and should be located on the furnace itself or on a nearby wall. Throw the switch off, then back on, and wait a few minutes for the furnace to turn back on.

If you’re still not having any luck, we suggest calling the professionals to help. The trained team at Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing offers 24/7 service to Pittsburgh and the surrounding counties so you’ll never be without heat this winter.


For any and all heating issues, Call Wahl at 412-276-9245. We’re your neighborhood HVAC professionals since 1980.

Is Your Furnace Ready For The Deep Freeze?

furnace repair mt lebanon

Frigid temperatures means that your furnace will be putting in lots of hard work in the months to come. Don’t wait until the deep freeze is here to find out that your furnace isn’t ready for it! Take these steps to prepare your heating system for the cold days ahead:

Check The Furnace Filter

We can’t stress enough the importance of changing your furnace filter regularly. Changing the filters can help lower your energy bills by up to 15 percent. It’s important to create a reminder to change your filters every two to three months or when dirty to keep the air clean in your home and to keep your furnace working at it’s optimal efficiency.

Cleaning the Furnace Interior

Over time, your furnace will assemble a collection of debris. This dirt and grit can interfere with the furnace’s efficiency. Vacuum out the debris,  leaves and dirt from the combustion air intake hood. This will prevent any obstructions that could lead to a larger problem down the road.

Clear Furnace Obstructions

It’s important to make sure that nothing touches the sides or the pipes of your furnace. These areas get hot and anything that touches it could cause a fire. Keep nearby items at least six inches away from your system to avoid a hazard and to make maintenance tasks much easier.

Consider The Age Of Your Furnace

Furnaces live an average of 18-20 years, depending on the level of maintenance it has had. If your furnace is old and exhibiting signs of wear and tear, you might want to consider having it replaced before the intense deep freeze sets in. Over time, your new furnace will pay for itself in lower fuel bills. Older furnaces could also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, so consider a replacement to keep your family warm and safe.

While these tips are helpful and a great way to start preparing your furnace for the winter, be sure to turn to your trusted professionals for help with any furnace issues. Wahl is here to help keep you warm, comfortable and safe and to help with all of your heating needs. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services offered, visit our website or give us a call at 412-276-9245.

Ways To Prevent A Christmas Plumbing Disaster

While Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, the cold winter conditions and the extra guests at your home can also set you up for a possible plumbing disaster.  Ensure there will be no plumbing issues to interfere with your holiday fun, by taking these preventative measures. plumbing pittsburgh

Prevent Sink Clogs

Family and friends may be eager to help with your Christmas dinner clean-up duties. While the extra help can be nice, make sure that they’re not haphazardly tossing food down the kitchen drain. Ask your guests to scrape excess food off of their plates into the garbage to avoid burning out your garbage disposal or clogging the drain. You might even want to set up a separate trash bin for all of the food waste.

Prevent Hot Water Depletion

Since the holiday time often brings extra visitors, you may be offering up a room or two in your house for friends or family. Be mindful of the additional showers and water usage that will be had during this time. Spacing out your showers, or turning your water off when it is not needed is a good way to ensure you have enough hot water to go around.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are a sure-fire way to kill the holiday spirit. Homes that do not have sufficient insulation are at risk for frozen pipes. Ensure you have fully turned off all the outside taps which can be prone to dripping. You can also cover any exposed water pipes with basic pipe insulation to keep prevent them from freezing and causing big problems.

Wahl wishes you and your family a happy and healthy, flood-free, clogless Christmas! To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services offered, visit our website or give us a call at 412-276-9245.

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