Archive for March, 2012

Water Softening and Purification: What’s Right for Me?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

When it comes to water, there is actually a lot to know. There’s a wealth of knowledge behind getting the chemicals and minerals out of the water regardless of how they got in the water in the first place. If you’re on a well, you’re dealing with ever-changing groundwater shifts. If you’re using water provided by your city or municipality, you’re dealing with cleansing agents or minerals deemed safe or additives such as fluoride for dental health. Florida weather is some of the best in the country, but our water is some of the most challenging, and definitely among the hardest!

Here’s one important fact you should ALWAYS keep in mind: any water conditioning solutions MUST be installed by a licensed plumbing company. Make sure you’re contracting with a licensed, bonded, insured company when you choose an installation. Bayonet Plumbing and AC is Ask The Seal Certified, so you know we’re covered AND that the technician has been background checked!

It’s your choice if you’d like water cleansed or softened. There are many solutions out there that will resolve your water complaints. From softeners to remove the hardness to filter media to remove specific particulate, to reverse osmosis systems to provide ideal drinking water, to sanitizing systems to take out smells and bacteria, we’re happy to provide whichever solution you’re seeking.

Let’s start with the most commonly sought solution: water softening. Some also refer to it as water conditioning. This is a process that removes the Calcium Carbonate from the water entering your home. There are costs to consider when considering the system. The softener needs to regenerate weekly at minimum. Upon each regeneration, it uses 15 pounds of salt and 100 gallons of water. That’s a given that you have to be prepared for when you install a softener. Most softeners are set up to regenerate after a set amount of water is used, but if you don’t use enough water you won’t get the benefits you desire without a weekly regeneration. They will also reduce your water pressure at least a little even if sized properly. They also don’t change the smell or taste of your water. The smells are caused by things like harmless but nuisance bacteria that need to be killed or minerals that have to be filtered, and softeners address neither of those things. Tastes are caused by the presence of total dissolved solids, and softeners only remove the calcium present in the water, so the taste won’t change either. Softeners do effectively remove HARDNESS, and that means using less soap and detergent, a reduction in water spotting on showers and dishes, and the cleaner feeling that people are seeking.

If perfect drinking water is your perfect water solution, then a reverse osmosis system is the ideal choice. These are commonly called RO systems and can be installed in almost any situation! They filter out more than 90% of anything in the water for the ideal glass of water! The water is perfect for cooking, pets, children, and even tropical fish. There are 3-stage and 4-stage reverse osmosis filters depending on your initial water quality. As for maintenance, there is a pre-filter that requires a change every 6 months and a post-filter that requires a change annually. The main media filter requires changing too but it varies greatly by usage. The more you use an RO filter, the happier that media filter stays! Our plumbers will conduct a TDS (total dissolved solids) test to make sure that filters is working before they recommend replacement.

So there you have it: our recommendations for softening and purification solutions in a nutshell. Next week: check back for information on cleaning the water and removing smell! If you’re in need of an estimate, please let us know. We’re happy to customize the perfect water solution that will be just right for you and your family, so don’t sweat, call Bayonet!

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Bayonet is Ask The Seal Certified!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

When you invite strangers into your home for the first time, how do you know you can trust them in your sanctuary, around your children, and around what’s nearest and dearest to your heart. Unless you have a long-standing relationship with the company, you don’t really know who they’re sending to your home. In fact, they might not even really know they’re employees! There is a way to have a little peace of mind. It’s free and called

At Bayonet, we’re very proud to distinguish our company in this manner. Here is a little about Ask the Seal, straight from their website:

Why Ask The Seal?

  • Many companies who claim to be licensed, insured and bonded are not.
  • Many companies who claim to perform criminal background checks on their employees do not.
  • If you hire an unlicensed company and an employee hurts themselves on your property or your property is damaged, your insurance company may deny the claim leaving you holding the bag.
  • You can be fined up to $5,000 for hiring an unlicensed contractor whether you knew it or not.
  • Many criminals use their employment to find their next victim.
  • Every day companies large and small introduce dangerous felons into unsuspecting consumers lives.
  • Many consumers think they are safe if someone is home with them when the service person is there. In fact, many crimes are committed up to six months after the service call.

How is the Seal Different?

  • Ask the is free to consumers.
  • Ask the does not require you to enter any personal information.
  • Ask the performs criminal and sex offender checks on not just the owner but also the employees who interact with your family.
  • Ask the actually performs the background checks rather than just taking someone’s word for it.
  • Companies with the Seal of Approval can email you an employee photo and proof of background check(SEAL-MAIL) so you know who you are opening your door for.
  • Employees are issued photo IDs confirming their background check

How does the Seal of Approval help protect me?

So now, you don’t just have our promise, you have the Seal’s approval. So don’t sweat, don’t fret, call Bayonet…and you’ll have no regrets!

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Thermostat settings: Auto or On?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It’s a frequent question among our customers: should I leave the fan inside my unit in the on position or in the auto position?

In our Floridian climate, we always recommend AUTO. In the auto setting, the fan only runs when the thermostat is calling for cooling (or heating). When the system is running in cool mode, the fan’s purpose is to circulate the air drawing warm air in from the returns and bringing it across the cold coil and out the supply air grilles as conditioned air. Many customers want to leave that air circulating. It might sound like a great idea, but it really isn’t. Why? It’s simple: when the system isn’t actively cooling, condensation begins to acculumate on the coil, and if you’re runnning the fan, that moisture attaches to the air molecules and actually increases the humidity level inside your home.

So, next time you want to increase airflow, try a ceiling fan but leave the thermostat on “auto”.

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What Do You Do When a Plumbing Emergency Strikes?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Things You Should Know Before a Plumbing Emergency Strikes

When a plumbing emergency strikes, everyone–from a novice to the most experienced do-it-yourselfer–should call a professional (for best results, call Bayonet!)…but what do you do while you’re waiting for the doorbell to ring? There are steps you should take to minimize the damage that can occur before the plumber arrives.

There are tools that every home needs. None are expensive, but they can save a lot of money in repairs.

  1. A pipe wrench. This is a long-handled adjustable wrench designed specifically to loosen and tighten plumbing. It has teeth to grip round pipe, but they leave marks, so if you use a pipe wrench on anything visible, wrap duct tape around the teeth to minimize the damage..
  2. Ball or flange plunger.  This plunger is designed to seal the hole at the bottom of a toilet and use suction to clear the clog.  Do not confuse a ball plunger with a cup plunger, which is for sinks or tubs.
  3. Cup plunger. This plunger is for use in sinks, tubs, and showers. It doesn’t do a good job on a toilet, so leave toilets to flange plungers.

When your plumbing emergency strikes:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Locate your water shutoff valves for every sink, shower, tub, toilet, and appliance. When a pipe bursts or water overflows, you can stop it at the source.  At a minimum find the main shutoff valve for the house, but this isn’t ideal.
  • Never go into an area if there is electricity near the flood. Shut down the electricity to the entire area immediately.  Let the plumber know that electricity may be involved.
  • For a leaking water heater, turn off the power source – via a shutoff valve if it’s gas or an emergency switch if it’s electric.  Be sure to turn off the water as well.
  • Don’t use chemicals on a clog; they aren’t as effective as a good plunger or auger and can be dangerous if they get on skin, fabric, or bathroom surfaces.

Remember, any serious clog or leak should be looked at by a plumber; just because you’ve used your tools to temporarily fix your problem doesn’t mean you don’t have a bigger one.


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Choosing a new air conditioner….

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Take the Guesswork Out of Choosing an Air Conditioner

When you need to purchase a new air conditioner the choices can be overwhelming, but when armed with basic information, you can make the choice that best fits your needs and your budget. One of the first things you should do is schedule a consultation with a professional so that you have expert guidance.

Things you need to consider include:

  • What size do I need? This can be tricky; too small and your home won’t be cool enough, too large and you will be paying too much as well as losing efficiency. This is where your consultation with us comes in— we’ll help you find the optimal size for your needs.
  • How efficient should it be? An air conditioner’s initial cost rises proportionately with its efficiency, but a high-efficiency air conditioner will most likely save you money in the long run. Efficiency will be discussed in more detail below
  • Is the company going to be around to service it? Do I trust them implicitly to stand behind their work? If you don’t, your family’s comfort is at stake!

An air conditioner’s efficiency rating lets you know how much of the energy it uses is turned into cool air for your home.  The higher, the better.

Air conditioners have varying levels of efficiency; look for the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating to compare models.  Current laws set the minimum SEER of new air conditioners at 13 or higher. High-efficiency unitshave a SEER of between 14 and 20.

As stated above, the cost of a new air conditioner will rise proportionately with its efficiency, but don’t let this turn you away from high-efficiency models. Remember an air conditioner will last 10 years or more; if that unit is 20% more efficient than a cheaper model, the cost difference will be negated in the long term, and the more expensive model canactually save you money.

An air conditioner is a fairly expensive long-term commitment to your home’s comfort.  Make the best decision you can based on efficiency, size, and cost; call us to help. The single biggest factor that should influence your decision isn’t the unit or brand but the company you choose to install the unit. Do you trust their people? Are they sufficiently insured? Are their installation crews employees or subcontractors? Did they advise you of the permit process? Make sure you see the permit before allowing any work to begin or you could be fined!

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