Posts made in December, 2016

Clearing An EGR Check-Engine Code To Pass A Vehicle Emissions Test

Most automobiles display a check-engine light on the dashboard when an operating problem is detected by the on-board diagnostic system. A specific trouble code is then stored in the diagnostic system. The stored codes can be retrieved, and many of them are related to emissions. Vehicle owners receiving a code for insufficient exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) may need to clean or replace their EGR valve to pass a smog test.

You may have never noticed it, but a small tube is likely attached to the side of the exhaust pipe underneath your car. If you were to trace the path of the narrow tube, you would discover that it is routed back to the engine. The small passageway is referred to as the EGR tube, and its function is to recirculate a small amount of exhaust gas back into the engine.

EGR valve function

The recirculation of exhaust gas back to the engine slightly lowers the combustion temperature, thereby reducing the level of nitric oxide emissions. Exhaust gas recirculation is only needed under certain operating conditions, so an EGR valve is necessary. A check-engine code indicating insufficient EGR flow may be indicative that your EGR valve is either clogged or faulty.

EGR valve control

Before having the EGR valve serviced, take a few moments to check for a possible vacuum leak affecting the valve. The typical EGR valve contains a diaphragm that opens and closes in response to the vacuum supplied through a connected hose. Simply listen for an unusual hissing sound that might be indicative of a vacuum leak. If there are no signs of a loose vacuum hose, the EGR valve might need to be removed for inspection.

EGR valve servicing

Even though cleaning an EGR valve is relatively straightforward, gaining access to the valve may be difficult on some vehicles. If the valve is located toward the rear of the engine, additional components might need to be removed first to reach the valve. The repair of emissions components is regulated in some states, so you may need to have an experienced professional service the EGR valve.

Excessive nitric oxide is likely to result in a failed emissions test. Nitric oxide is only one of several gases measured during automobile smog tests. In addition to an exhaust tailpipe test, your vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system may be checked to ensure it is working properly and has no stored trouble codes. Contact a certified smog station like West Coast Smog for more information on emissions testing.

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Thinking Of Leasing Solar Panels? Why Buying Might Be Better

Are you a homeowner who is considering a solar panel installation? If so, you may have wondered whether you should buy or lease your solar panels. The following information should aid you in understanding potential obstacles that lessees may face. 

Tax Credits

If you have completed a little research on solar panel installations, you likely know that there are some tax credits you might be able to take advantage of. There are tax credits from the federal government, but you may also qualify for some incentives if you live in certain states too. By investing in your own solar panels, you can retain all of the tax advantages because you will be the owner. If you lease the solar panels, the company you lease from will likely get the tax credits because they technically own the panels. 

Selling and Transferring

Perhaps you have plans to sell your home. Sometimes people end up needing to put their homes on the market unexpectedly. For example, a future job loss or divorce could result in you needing to sell your home. Although having solar energy is a plus and can raise a home’s value, potential buyers may only be interested in properties with solar panels that they will acquire ownership of if they buy the home. Not everyone will be attracted to saving money on energy only. Some people see the value in owning the panels attached to properties they own. Depending on the terms of the lease agreement, you may be bound to keep the panels installed, and interested home buyers may be forced to look at other properties. If you are able to get out of the lease agreement, you may end up having to pay money. It is also possible that removing the panels will not garner any interest, and you may not be in a position to purchase panels to appease potential buyers. These are messy situations you can avoid by opting to own your own solar panels from day one. Even if you have to finance them, you will still be considered in control of them. 

Energy Ownership

Some solar panel leasing companies offer outstanding deals that can help people save on their energy bills. Many people who own solar panels end up with excess energy, which can be resold in some cases. By leasing, you will forfeit the opportunity to sell any excess energy production to others. The leasing company could elect to sell the leftover energy each month, and there is likely nothing that you could do to change their decision. This means that they can earn profits from the panels you are leasing, and you may even have to pay a fee to lease the panels.

If you are interested in buying solar panels or discovering more reasons why ownership is ideal, a solar panel installation company is a good resource to use. They can also help you to determine how many panels you need to power your home. 

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Three Fire Suppression System Questions

Protecting your loved ones and property against fire is something that you will have to address when you own a house. In particular, fire suppression systems can be an excellent way of minimizing the damages that fire can cause to your home, which may make it wise to know the answers to several basic but important questions.

Is It Worth The Cost To Opt For A Fire Suppression System Rather Than A Simple Alarm?

The installation of a fire suppression system can be far more expensive than a basic smoke alarm. In addition to sounding an audible alarm, a fire suppression system can also spray water to help extinguish fires before they can spread throughout the home.

Due to the higher cost of a fire suppression system, it can be tempting to simply opt for a standard alarm. However, homeowner’s insurance policies often provide discounts for the installation of a fire suppression system, and there are many local communities that may give tax incentives for this upgrade. By taking advantage of these two options, you can ensure that your home is as protected as possible against fires while also minimizing the total cost that you must pay.

What Type Of Structural Changes Are Needed To Install A Fire Suppression System?

For a fire suppression system to work, there will be a need to install piping throughout the home that can deliver water to these systems. Typically, these pipes will be installed in the ceiling, and this may mean removing ceiling panels. Depending on the age of your home, it might also be necessary to structurally reinforce the ceiling so that it can better accommodate the weight from these pipes. Lastly, small holes will need to be drilled so that the sprinklers for the system can be installed on the ceiling. Due to the complexity of these tasks, homeowners should avoid trying to install one of these fire suppression systems without professional help. In addition to putting your home at a risk of water damage due to leaks, poorly installed fire suppression systems may not provide the type of coverage that is needed to be as effective as possible at extinguishing fires.

How Do You Maintain A Fire Suppression System?

Caring for your new fire suppression system will not be an overly difficult task as these systems are designed to require minimal work. Typically, you only need to have the fire suppression system inspected and tested every couple of years. This will ensure that any jammed sprinkler heads or gradual leaks are repaired so that they do not interfere with the functioning of this system when a fire strikes your home.

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Ready To Rip Out Old Carpeting In An Older Home? What To Know First

When you purchase an older home, there are sometimes smells and concerns with the carpeting that come with the purchase. If you think there are bacteria, odors, and other problems in the carpeting of a home you bought and you want to get rid of these issues before you move in, there are some things you want to do.

Removing the carpeting and treating the area on your home can help you save money on the project. Here are some things to do before the carpet cleaning company comes to do the installation.


It’s easiest to get rid of all the old carpeting and debris and materials that you don’t want to use in the home by getting a dumpster. The dumpster comes to your house and sits for the time you pay to have it, and then all of the debris is taken away at one time.

You can get a roll off dumpster, a dumpster that has a lid that locks, and you get to pick what size you need based on the types of materials you need to throw away. Find out the specific items that are allowed in the dumpster before you fill it up.

Treat the Floor Boards

There is a latex paint that you can use on the floor boards that will kill bacteria like mold and mildew, and act as a barrier to protect the floor boards against liquids and more. You’ll want to apply this type of sealant to the floor boards of the home before the carpeting arrives, so your floor boards will always be protected.

HVAC Cleaning

After pulling everything out of the house you want to have the ventilation system cleaned. This will help remove all of the dust and irritants that went into the air when you pulled up the carpeting, and it will remove these things that could already be lingering in the ducts of the home. This way, the air conditioner or furnace don’t blow dust or bacteria back into your new carpeting.

Carpeting can be a source of bacteria and you want to get rid of old smelly carpeting before you move into a house. When you have the dumpster there you can get rid of any other old appliances or items that you don’t care for, since you’re already paying to have the dumpster on the property throughout the carpeting removal and installation project. For more information, visit websites like

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