Does Your Water Heater Need Repairs?

January 4th, 2021

There is nothing quite so annoying as standing outside your shower while you wait for the water to heat up…and you wait…and wait….and the water just never heats. Sound familiar? If it does, you need to reach out to us to have a talk about your water heater in Helena, AL.

It can seem obvious that a complete lack of hot water is going to indicate serious trouble with your water heater. But there are indicators to watch for that will warn you that repairs are needed. We have some of the warning signs you should know listed here and, if you need water heater repairs, we have the services you need too.

Continue Reading

Make Sure Your Home is Safe For The Holidays

December 21st, 2020

holiday-lightsThere is a lot of excitement for holiday gatherings to come, even though they may be smaller than in previous years. Small is still good though! The priority should be on safety instead of size so everyone is able to truly enjoy themselves. With that said, there are a few different ways that you may not have thought of to ensure the safety of your home this season. That’s what we are here to help with.

From double-checking your heater to making sure the lights are going to stay on you can rely on the team at Douglas Cooling & Heating to get the job done. Here are some of the different ways to ensure your home safety that you may not have thought of just yet:

Continue Reading

How Do You Repair a Leaky Compression Faucet?

December 10th, 2020

Even tiny drips and leaks can lead to serious water waste over time. To avoid wasting water and money, it’s helpful to know how to fix a leaky compression faucet, which is the most common type of faucet used in homes.

The plumbers at Douglas Cooling & Heating share guidance on how to repair a leaky compression faucet yourself. If you’re unable to resolve the leak or are not comfortable performing the steps yourself, please give us a call – our plumbers will be happy to address this issue for you.

What Is a Compression Faucet?

Compression faucets are the original faucets that have existed since indoor plumbing came into style. They’re commonly found in older homes and may also be used in newer homes because their cost is low compared to other faucet styles.

Compression faucets are easy to identify from other faucet types because they have separate hot and cold handles. These handles are twisted open to allow water to flow and tightened down in order to close off water supply. The faucets have a compression stem (which is sort of like a screw) and a washer that sits at the compression stem’s end, up against the valve seat.

Why Do Compression Faucets Leak?

Unfortunately, compression faucets are more prone to leaks than other types of faucets – they also require more maintenance. Because leaks are common, it’s important to know the causes as well as how to repair a leaky compression faucet.

The most common reason for a leak in a compression faucet is a worn-out washer. As time goes on, the washer inside the faucet that shuts off water flow when the handle is tightened wears out. When the washer goes bad, water flow isn’t stopped, so the faucet will leak. Typically, replacing the washer is what is needed to stop a leak in this type of plumbing fixture. A bad O-ring can also be the culprit behind leaks.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

As you disassemble the faucet, keep parts in order so you know how to reassemble them correctly. If you need replacement parts, take the old part with you to the hardware store to ensure you purchase the correct size and component.

Follow these steps to repair a leaky compression faucet:

  • Shut off the water supply to the faucet, then open the handles to drain any remaining water.
  • Remove the decorative handle cap so the attachment screws are exposed.
  • Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the handle screw, then remove the handle.
  • Unscrew the packing nut that sits below the handle with a crescent wrench.
  • Loosen the handle stem from the faucet body using a wrench.
  • Unscrew the washer at the bottom of the handle stem, and replace it with a new washer. Coat it in heat-proof plumber’s grease to protect it.
  • Check the O-ring for damage, and replace it if necessary with an O-ring of matching size, coating it with plumber’s grease.
  • Remove the packing nut from the stem assembly. Remove mineral deposits and corrosion with a brush. Check for pitting, corrosion, or other damage. If any damage is found, replace the entire stem valve.
  • Check the faucet seat (where the valve stem was removed from) for damage, which may occur when leaks persist long-term. With your finger, feel along its surface for pits or rough spots. If you find any pitting, roughness, or corrosion, the entire faucet should be replaced.
  • Reassemble the stem valve in the correct order. Tighten with pliers, screw it, and replace the handle cover.

Faucet Repair from Douglas Cooling & Heating

Fixing a leaky faucet can be tricky. If you have trouble doing so or would rather not risk it yourself, leave it to the pros. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating to schedule plumbing repair. Our plumbers know how to fix a leaky compression faucet and troubleshoot common problems. If your faucet has been damaged beyond repair, we can install a new one in no time.

Continue Reading

Why Is My Furnace Short Cycling?

December 10th, 2020

Furnace short cycling is a common issue that Birmingham homeowners experience from time to time. Short cycling creates undue burden on your heating system while increasing your energy bills, resulting in performance issues and equipment damage. In our most recent blog, the heating and cooling experts at Douglas Cooling & Heating discuss the causes of short cycling and how to correct them.

What Causes a Furnace to Short Cycle?

Furnace short cycling occurs when the furnace starts up, then shuts down quickly after it starts. Typically, furnaces should run for 10 to 15 minutes per cycle. When a furnace is short cycling, a heating cycle lasts only a few minutes to half the time of a normal cycle.

Causes of Furnace Short Cycling

A furnace may short cycle for several reasons. Some of these issues can be quickly remedied by the homeowner, while others require professional repairs or even system replacement.

1. Dirty Air Filters

When the air filter is dirty, air movement through the heating system is restricted. Without proper airflow, the furnace and its internal components overheat. When high internal temperatures are detected, the furnace’s limit switch will shut down operation to protect the system and allow it to cool. This shutdown is a common reason heating cycles end sooner than expected.

Whenever short cycling is detected, the air filter should be checked first. If the filter is dirty, replace it with a fresh one, allow the furnace time to cool, and watch to see if the problem persists when the furnace resumes operation. Remember to change filters on a regular basis to protect the furnace.

2. Bad Thermostat Positioning

To properly control the heating system, the thermostat must be positioned in a spot where it can accurately sense indoor temperature. This means it must be kept away from heat sources, such as appliances or exterior doors. When the thermostat is by a heat source, it will detect heat and end a heating cycle soon after it starts. It will soon detect cold again, forcing the furnace to turn back on.

Put an end to furnace short cycling caused by poor thermostat location by enlisting your trusted technician to relocate it for you.

3. Damaged Flame Sensor

The furnace is equipped with a flame sensor that detects the presence of a flame when the gas valve is open. If it doesn’t detect a flame, it closes the gas valve to prevent a gas leak. This will shut down the furnace prematurely.

Over time, flame sensors can corrode or experience dirt buildup that interferes with flame detection. This damage can cause the sensor to misread and fail to detect the active flame, ending a heating cycle early.

The flame sensor may be salvageable through careful cleaning if dirt buildup is an issue. If corroded, the component requires replacement. Have your technician address these issues that cause furnace short cycling.

4. Exhaust Blockage

Furnaces have a flue pipe which expels combustion gases safely away from the home. If this pipe becomes blocked, the furnace can overheat. Safety controls detect high temperatures and shut off the heating cycle, causing furnace short cycling.

Check the exit opening of the flue pipe on your roof. Remove any debris, animal nests, snow or ice accumulation, or other blockage. If the blockage is not visible or reachable, have your technician inspect the furnace for a blocked exhaust vent.

5. Wrong Furnace Size

When the installed furnace is too big for the home, furnace short cycling occurs. A furnace that’s too big for your home produces excessive heat which warms the home too fast, so cycles run short. Short cycling uses excess energy and wears out equipment at a faster rate.

The only solution to an oversized furnace is to replace it with one of proper size. Work with your trusted contractor to determine the correct furnace size required by your home.

If Your Furnace is Short Cycling, Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating

Furnace short cycling is a problem that should never be allowed to persist – it burns excessive fuel and increases wear and tear to the heating system. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating for fast, reliable furnace repair service to stop short cycling, save energy, and protect your furnace.

Continue Reading

What Are Your Options For a Heating System Installation?

December 7th, 2020

Uh-oh. You got the news that your heater is ready to call it quits. You were expecting a repair service but now you are looking at a replacement for your heating in Birmingham, AL. We know that this isn’t what you wanted to deal with in the middle of the coldest months of the year but the truth is that the sooner you get this done the better it will be for your home comfort and your bills.

One of the big questions you’ll need to answer as a part of this process is what new heating system you will want to be installed in your home. If you haven’t considered the options yet, let us tell you a bit more about what heaters are available to you so you can choose the best one for your home.

Continue Reading

Is It Time to Replace Your Heater?

November 23rd, 2020

If you are lucky enough to be able to have your loved ones come by this Thanksgiving, the last thing you want to happen is to welcome them into an uncomfortably cold home. Thankfully if you have a well-kept heater that is on the newer side, you shouldn’t need to worry. If you have a heater that is aging and seems to be struggling to get the job done, it is a good idea to reach out for help from our team of professionals.

We will be able to determine whether you need a heating repair in Birmingham, AL or a heating system replacement. What’s more, we can offer you the services that you need to get your heater back into working order or get you outfitted with a new system that will provide the comfort you need. All you have to do is reach out to us!

Continue Reading

Dealing With A Generator Shortage

November 18th, 2020

We all know that the weather around here can be unforgiving at times. If you are looking to install a generator in the near future to help you get through periods of rougher weather, you should know there may be a delay in getting this system to your home.

There is currently a problem with our ability to get generators from our supplier, the manufacturer Generac. Multiple factors have created a delay in the delivery of these systems. This shortage is expected to last until March 2021. We understand this is a bummer but we are grateful for your patience. We promise that we will fulfill generator installations as soon as possible we have the systems available.

Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating to learn moreYour experience is what matters most!


Continue Reading

Why is My Furnace Turning On, But There’s No Heat?

November 13th, 2020

Does it seem like your furnace starts up, yet you don’t feel any heat in your home? If your furnace turns on but no heat seems to come into your Birmingham home, try some simple furnace troubleshooting steps as the problem may be an easy fix. If troubleshooting doesn’t work, call a professional Douglas Cooling & Heating for furnace repair today.

Troubleshoot When a Furnace Turns on But No Heat Comes Out

When a furnace is turning on but no heat is produced, a few different furnace problems could be to blame. Find out how to troubleshoot some of the simple problems that stand in the way of a warm home before you call in a pro.

Thermostat Settings

The wrong thermostat settings can make it seem like your furnace turns on but no heat comes through your vents.

If not hot air is coming from your furnace, you’ll first have to make sure that your thermostat is set to heat, rather than cool. As simple as this can seem, it is a common mistake that we see more often than you might think.

If the fan is turned ON, it runs constantly. It can sound like the furnace itself is running, but it’s just the blower motor. When the motor runs alone, heating is not circulated absent a heating cycle.

  • Make sure the fan is set to AUTO, which allows the blower motor to run only when a heating cycle occurs. Leaving it set to ON will push cold air from the blower, rather than hot air, out the vents when the furnace is not on and use more energy.
  • If the furnace doesn’t kick on, make sure the thermostat is set a few degrees higher than the current room temperature. This should trigger a heating cycle and cause the furnace to start up and stay lit.

Once you check the thermostat and see that the temperature is set where you want it, but your furnace is still blowing cold air, call a professional.

Airflow Problems

Airflow problems within the furnace or ductwork can prevent heat from effectively moving through the unit and into your living areas. When you turn the furnace on but no heat comes out, there may be an obstruction.

Dirty air filters restrict airflow, which can make it feel like not much heated air is coming out of your vents.

  • Check the furnace filter and replace it if its surface is covered with contaminants.
  • Change the furnace filter on a regular basis to prevent airflow problems.
  • Closed or obstructed vents can also cause it to feel like the furnace isn’t making enough heat, because not all of its hot air makes it through the vents into your living areas.
  • Check all vents to make sure louvers are open. If louvers are stuck in the closed position, try removing the vent cover and cleaning it. Replacing the cover may be necessary if louvers are jammed.
  • Check to see that all registers and vents in the home are uncovered. Common obstructions include rugs, carpeting, furniture, and other large items in your Birmingham home.
  • If you get low airflow coming from a particular vent, take a peek inside to make sure no items have fallen into the vent, causing an obstruction. It may be possible to remove items using your hand or a long wire.

Fuel & Ignition

If your furnace turns on but no heat is produced, there may be a problem with the fuel supply or the ignition system.

If something is stopping your furnace from receiving gas, there is no fuel to combust so the furnace will not create any heat. The furnace turns on but no heat comes out.

  • Check the gas valve on your gas supply line and make sure the gas valve is open.
  • If you use liquid propane or oil for heating fuel, check your tank and make sure there is enough fuel – you may need to schedule a refill, as the tank might be empty.
  • For natural gas, check with your utility provider to make sure there have been no interruptions in service.

If the furnace’s ignition system malfunctions, gas will not combust to create heating.

  • If you have an older furnace that uses a pilot light, check to see if the pilot is out. You may need to relight it – follow the instructions listed in the furnace owner’s manual if you do, in fact, need to relight it.
  • If your furnace has an electronic ignition system, it is possible that the metal strip of the igniter switch is dirty. Check to see if this is the case. If so, you may gently clean it off, but this component is very fragile – do so with care.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for Furnace Repair

If your furnace turns on but no heating is produced, and these troubleshooting steps don’t solve the problem, it’s time to call for professional repairs on your heating system. Your furnace should be blowing hot air, and if it isn’t, request a service call from a professional.

A bad thermostat, faulty ignition components, or other furnace problems may be the cause of the furnace not working properly. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today to schedule furnace repairs for your Birmingham area home.

Continue Reading

What to Do If You Smell Gas in Your House

November 13th, 2020

Many homes in the Birmingham, AL area rely on natural gas or liquid propane heating to stay warm throughout the winter season. These systems are generally reliable and safe, but issues such as a gas leak pose a great danger to your family. Learn what to do if you smell gas inside your home this winter.

About Gas Heating

Two popular heating fuels used in homes throughout the Birmingham area are natural gas and liquid propane. Learn more about each fuel type so you’ll know what to do if you smell a gassy odor.

  • Natural gas is delivered by a utility service provider. It comes into your home through a connection to gas supply lines that serve multiple homes and buildings in your area. The supply line connects to your home at your home’s gas meter, and flows to individual appliances such as furnaces, stoves, and water heaters through the home’s private gas lines. 
  • Liquid propane (LP) is stored in a tank outside the home. Most tanks sit above ground several yards away from the home, though some older residences may still have buried tanks on the property. An LP provider is called by the homeowner to fill the tank as needed. It is stored as a liquid under pressure in the tank, and typically converted into a vapor for most residential applications. 

Identifying Gas

A gas leak may produce some symptoms. Learn to recognize the possible symptoms of a leak and find out what to do if you smell a gassy odor.


Both natural gas and liquid propane are naturally odorless. To help consumers more easily identify the presence of gas and possible gas leaks, suppliers and utility providers add odorants that give the gas a distinct smell. 

  • Ethyl mercaptan, also called ethanethiol, is used to add odor to liquid propane – many report that LP smells like rotten eggs or rotten cabbage, though some say it smells like garlic or a skunk.
  • Tertiary butyl mercaptan, isopropyl mercaptan, tetrahydrothiophene, methyl ethyl sulfide, and dimethyl sulfide are common chemicals used as odorants in natural gas. Natural gas typically smells similar to rotting eggs.

Propane is heavier than air, thus it sinks to the floor when leaked and will spread close to the ground. Check for the smell of propane at low spots across the room.

Natural gas is lighter than air, but quickly dissipates when released into the air. However, a natural gas leak in an enclosed air can cause gas levels to rise to the volume where combustion could occur, causing explosion or fire if exposed to a source of ignition. Make sure that you get out of the building immediately after smelling gas, as an emergency could very possibly occur.


A natural gas leak might create a noise you can hear. It may sound like a hissing or a high-pitched whistle coming from or near a gas line or gas appliance, such as a furnace, water heater, or stove. 


Signs of a gas leak you may be able to see include:

  • Visibly damaged gas pipes
  • White cloud or blowing dust near the gas pipe
  • Bubbles in standing water
  • Dead plants or vegetation with no other explanation for their death

What to Do If You Smell Gas

Trust your sense of smell. When gas leaks, it poses a very serious safety risk, so it is very important that you know what to do if you smell a gassy odor inside your home or business.

  • Leave the house immediately. Leave the door open as you exit the home, and if windows are already open, leave them open.
  • Call your gas utility provider’s emergency contact line for help. For Birmingham residents serviced by Spire Energy, the emergency number is 800-292-4008. You may also call 911 in the event of an emergency.
  • Turn off the gas meter, if possible.
  • Warn others to stay out of the area until the home has been cleared by professionals.
  • If you do not own the property, contact the property owner to notify him or her of the issue as repairs might need to be made.
  • Do not return to the home until you are told it is safe by a gas utility employee, or your local police or fire department first responders.

What to do when you smell gas is equally as important as what not to do. If you are in the house and you suspect a gas leak emergency, do not:

  • Turn on or off any electrical devices.
  • Light a flame anywhere nearby or smoke.
  • Use landline phones or cell phones
  • Use a flashlight.
  • Start a vehicle.
  • Attempt repairs yourself.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for Help

Keep your family safe – know what to do if you smell a gassy odor in your Birmingham, AL home. If your utility provider or fire department indicates the gas leak comes from your furnace, it must be professionally repaired before you use it again. 

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating for quick, reliable furnace repair service in the event of a gas leak. We aim to keep our neighbors safe and healthy through safe repair service and information on what to do if you smell a gassy odor. If you need assistance, make sure to call us anytime, 24 hours a day.

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Prepare for Cooler Weather

November 9th, 2020

woman-researchingMany of us are probably trying to enjoy the sunshine around here while it lasts. Cooler weather is ahead of us and approaching faster than some people may like. However, this isn’t a bad thing as it gives our air conditioners a break and puts us into a season when we are encouraged to spend extra time with loved ones. Decorating and layering up isn’t the only ways to prepare for the months to come though.

While you switch gears to prep for small family gatherings and cool weather events, we hope you’ll take some of the tips we’ve listed below into regard. These tips can help you be more prepared for cooler weather so you can enjoy a more comfortable and cost-effective season.

Continue Reading