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Ask an Expert: Why is my water hard even though I can hear the water softener regenerating at night?


There are several reasons this could be happening. The most common one is that the softener is out of salt: if you can't see any salt in the brine tank, add up to a maximum of one bag. Another reason ist that the salt has become stuck together and can't do its job (salt bridge). If you can see salt in the tank but it's been longer than usual since you added salt AND the water is hard, it is likely a salt bridge. To remedy this, the salt will need to be removed from the tank and replaced. Consult your owner's manual for instructions on this. If neither of these fixes help, your system may be plugged at some point and you should consult an experienced technician. 


Ask an Expert: What can I do to help keep my house cool in the summer?

Most furnaces can operate in summer mode. This allows you to run only the fan, circulating air throughout your home without heat. Aside from bringing cooler air up into the warmer parts of the house, the cool metal ducting acts as a natural air-conditioner, lowering the temperature of the air that passes over it. This effect is often enough to keep the house at a more moderate temperature until the outdoor temperature begins to drop at night. Keeping the windows open at night allows the house to cool down, ready for the fan to do its job again during the day. 


Ask an Expert: Should I have my furnace serviced?

Your furnace, like any machine, needs regular maintenance to perform optimally. During operation, a furnace collects dust and debris from the air. This material infiltrates and settles on the internal components of the unit, reducing its efficiency. Not only does this cost you money on your gas and/or electric bill, it also reduces the life of your furnace components by causing them to wear and work harder. Regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs. 

Some of this maintenance you can do yourself, like changing your filter regularly (usually every three months); other work, like an annual inspection and cleaning, should be done by a qualified professional.