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Boiler FAQs

What energy source can be used with hydronic heating with boilers?

Hydronic heat, heating with water is the most comfortable and efficient way to heat your home or building. Whether you are interested in repairing or improving an existing boiler system or installing a new residential boiler system, hydronic heating can be a great choice. The energy source can be natural gas, propane, or electricity.

What is a standard efficiency boiler?

A standard efficiency boiler is a boiler that is 78% to 89% efficient, which means .78 to .89 cents of every heating dollar spent goes into heating your building, the rest of the money goes up the chimney. This type of boiler uses brick or metal chimneys for their exhaust and uses inside air for combustion. The burners are not adjustable and run at full capacity all the time. They have analog controls and basically turn on and off the burner to maintain a set temperature in the pipes. They are uncomplicated and reliable. They are less expensive to install because of lower equipment cost and can usually replace an existing boiler with minimal reconfiguration of the existing piping.

What is a High-Efficiency Boiler?

A high-efficiency boiler is a boiler that is 90% to 98% efficient which means .90 to .98 cents of every heating dollar spent goes into heating your building. They can be wall mounted or sit on the floor. They have electronic displays and some can be remotely accessed from your smart phone. They don’t require a chimney and use outside air for combustion. What makes them so efficient is that they can adjust the burner to give the right amount of heat needed by looking at the outdoor temperature and the building’s heating needs. These boilers capture as much of the heat from the burner as possible, making them even more efficient, which allows for the use of PVC plastic pipe for the exhaust. Installation costs are higher than the standard efficiency boilers due to increased equipment cost and the cost associated with re-configuring the existing piping.

What is a Combination or “Combi” Boiler?

“Combi” or a combination boiler does two jobs; heats your domestic water and your home from one compact unit that hangs on the wall. They consist of a high efficiency boiler and a small internal water heater tank. The boiler heats domestic water through a coil that is submerged in the tank. This makes the water heater just as efficient as the boiler part of the system, usually 95%. Some benefits of this type of system are its small size, quiet operation, no chimney is required, and they are super efficient. How efficient? How about 95% for both heating and hot water. That’s a 40% improvement for water heating over a standard water heater.

What is an electric boiler?

Electric boilers use electricity as their energy source. They require no chimney or fuel piping. They are usually wall mounted. They are popular in areas where the local electric utility company offers rebates or special rates for off peak kilowatt use. They are the most expensive way to heat with current kilowatt prices. They are very simple in design and are reliable.

Hydronic Heat FAQs

What is the most common type of heater in Minnesota?

Hydronic heat, heating with water is the most comfortable and efficient way to heat your home or building. Whether you are interested in repairing or improving an existing boiler system or installing a new residential boiler system, hydronic heating can be a great choice. The energy source can be natural gas, propane, or electricity.

What is a toe kick heater?

Toe kick heaters are a great way to heat if you have no free wall space as in a kitchen. They fit under the cabinets and the only part that is seen is the grill, which is cut into the toe kick of the cabinet. Basically they have a small coil of copper pipe and aluminum fins just like in a car radiator and a small squirrel cage fan behind. When the coil gets hot the fan blows across it into the room from under a cabinet. These units are very quiet and can heat a room with no problem.

What is a cast iron baseboard?

The cast-iron baseboard was popular in homes in the 1950s and 1960s because they were smaller than the old-style radiators. They are made of cast iron and have internal channels for the hot water to flow through. They are designed to work with 150 -190 degree Fahrenheit water. They are quiet and hold heat well because of their mass. Cast iron radiators have been the norm from the beginning of whole home heating in the 1800’s up until the 1950’s. They are also designed to work with 150 – 190 degree Fahrenheit water. They are quiet, very beautiful and hold heat well because of their mass.

What is a panel radiator?

Panel radiators have been popular in Europe for decades and we are now starting to see them here in the US. They are made from stamped steel and come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The nice thing about them is they can each have their own thermostat. Also they heat in two ways, radiantly and convectively. They are fast acting and can complement a radiant in-floor system.

How does a radiant in-floor heating system work?

In-floor heating or radiant heating uses PEX pipes that are under the surface of the area to be heated. This could be the concrete floor of a shop, a wall in a shower, or the ceiling of your living room. Radiant heat is considered the best type of heating because of its efficiency and comfort. Since radiant systems heat objects in a room rather than the air, it is perfect for rooms with high ceilings like storage buildings, shops, and even jet airplane hangars.

Pressure Tank FAQs

How does a well water system work?

Most well tanks operate with an air bladder that creates pressure as water is pumped in from the well. This pressure is utilized to move water through the pipes in the house. When the pressure reaches about 40-60 psi, the pump shuts off. Did you know well tanks come in different sizes? If your well tank is too small, then your well pump will run more frequently. This puts an increased workload on your well pump and could lead to premature failure. Making sure your well tank is properly sized may not only prolong the life of your well pump but can save you money as well.

How much pressure should be in a tank?

There are a few different pressure settings. While in operation, the pressure is typically in the 40-60 psi range. The tank will trigger the pump at just a few psi below the lower bound of 40 psi. This can vary based on your well and tank. A professional plumber in Alexandria, MN, like Koegel Plumbing & Heating Solutions can help you with the setup and installation.

Sewer Line FAQs

How to find sewer lines under a concrete slab?

Sewer location and camera services can be used to help find sewer lines under a concrete slab. The sewer camera can be sent through your sewer line and a technician can pick up on the location. This service is invaluable when having to cut into a concrete slab, keeping the cutting to a minimum.

What is the difference between a sewer ejector pump and a sewer lift pump?

For all intents and purposes, sewer ejector pumps and lift pumps are the same. They are used when any type of plumbing fixture (laundry drain, bathroom line) is located below the grade of the main sewer or septic line. The pump helps lift the grey and or black water from your home out into the main sewer line. If you are looking to add a basement bathroom or relocate your laundry room from a main level to the basement, a sewer ejector or lift pump may be a necessary addition to your project.

How does a sewage ejector pump work?

Wastewater from various basement or below grade fixtures runs into a sump basin. The ejector pump is installed within the basin. Once the waste material reaches a specific level within the basin a float switch is activated turning on the pump. The ejector pump moves the wastewater out of the basin and into the main sewer line until the float switch falls and turns the pump off.

How does a sewage lift pump work?

A sewage lift pump works on the same design as the ejector pump. Lift pumps will lift wastewater from the pump basin out of the home and into the main sewer line. The lift pump is installed into the pump basin which would be installed at the lowest point of the sewage basin.

If you are looking to add a basement bathroom or think that your current pump isn’t keeping up with the heavy lifting, get the help of a plumber near Alexandria, MN. Contact Koegel Plumbing & Heating Solutions with your project or questions today!

What are the causes of main sewer line clogs and stoppages?

There are several common causes of clogged sewer lines, including:

  • Foreign objects, such as toys, wipes, or grease, being flushed down the toilet or drain
  • Tree roots infiltrating and blocking the sewer line
  • A build-up of sediment and debris within the pipe
  • A broken or collapsed pipe

There are several signs that your sewer line may be clogged, including:

  • Multiple clogged drains in the home
  • A strong, unpleasant odor coming from the drains
  • Water backing up in the tub or shower
  • Toilet water levels fluctuating or backing up into the bowl
  • Gurgling drains

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. A clogged sewer line can lead to serious damage to your home’s plumbing system and can be a health hazard if not properly addressed.

Sump Pump FAQs

How do sump pumps work?

Sump pumps are designed to move water using a pump system. They are generally located in a sump pump pit (15 to 35-gallon container made of plastic) that is buried below the finished floor in either a crawl space or basement. As rain or ground water enters the sump pump pit through a system of drainage pipes (perforated pipes that are buried around building’s foundation), a specially designed float system switches the sump pump on and off. The water is pumped out of the sump pump pit and away from the building through a discharge pipe. A sump pump should never discharge its water directly into a septic tank or sewer drain.

How are sump pumps powered?

Most are powered by 110-volt AC electricity (they are physically plugged into an outlet). Unfortunately, if there is a power outage during a storm, your electrically powered sump pump won’t work when you need it the most. One way to prevent this type of water damage is to install a sump pump with a battery backup system. Now if there is a power outage during a storm, your sump pump will still be able to keep your basement dry.

What is the difference between a sump pump and a sewer ejector pump?

Sump pumps are designed to pump just water, whereas sewer ejector pumps are designed to move toilet wastewater that includes solid debris.

How much do sump pumps cost?

There are many different manufacturers and types to consider. The cost of a sump pump alone can range from $100 – $500. At the lower price point, you’ll find sump pumps made of plastic. At the higher price point, cast iron is used. Not all sump pumps are designed to move the same amount of water at the same rate, so price can also be determined by the efficiency of the pump itself.

Water Heater FAQs

How does a water heater work?

As hot water is pushed from the tank to fill the need of a sink or shower, cold water fills the tank to keep it full. Water is heated using electrical elements or a gas burner depending on the type of water tank installed. The water heater tank also serves as storage for prepared hot water until it is needed. If you have a tankless water heater, the unit will heat water on demand allowing you to have a limitless amount of hot water.

How do you tell the difference between an electric and gas-powered water heater?

Electric powered water heaters will have no exhaust fan or vent and will be wired directly. Electric water heaters generally take longer to heat.

Gas powered water heaters need an exhaust vent to dispose of any gases omitted while burning gas to heat the water. You will see a large exhaust pipe coming out of the gas-powered tank.

How much does it cost to replace a gas hot water heater?

Costs of replacement depend on size and type of unit. Gas and electric units are typically similar in price, but the real cost difference is in the annual operating costs. Historically, electricity has been more expensive to use thus causing the cost of ownership of an electric water heater to be more over time. However, the corrosive nature of running a gas fueled tank can take its toll on a water heater causing the life expectancy of a gas-powered tank to be less than an electric one.

How much does it cost to have a tankless water heater installed?

Tankless hot water heaters will heat water on demand and vary in cost depending on your needs. They are ideal for smaller families or structures.

Water Treatment FAQs

What is a Reverse Osmosis System?

Reverse osmosis is a water filtration method used to remove mineral compounds, bacteria and other materials from your water supply. This is the process used to make bottled water and all water that is used in soft drinks. Reverse osmosis uses pressure to push water through a semi-permeable membrane to filter out minerals and organics. The water that passes through the membrane is typically up to 99.9% free of contaminants. Because of this ratio, home reverse osmosis systems employ additional filters.  The most common type of home reverse osmosis system is called an “under the counter” system. This system connects directly to your water supply under the kitchen sink. The water will pass through multiple filters to achieve purification and is delivered from a separate faucet in the kitchen sink. The filtered water is stored in a holding tank while the remaining minerals and bacteria are carried away to either be recycled back into the water or sent down a drain.

What does reverse osmosis remove from the water?

Reverse osmosis can remove any molecular compound smaller in size than a water molecule. Compounds smaller than water include salt, manganese, iron, fluoride, lead and calcium. Other contaminants that R.O. systems remove are barium, arsenic, chromium, copper, cyst, lead, nitrates, nitrites, radium 226/228, selenium and total dissolved solids (TDS), chlorine & chloramine, pesticides, detergents, sulfates and bacteria.

Is reverse osmosis water the same as distilled water?

Both reverse osmosis and distilled waters remove chemicals from the water. However, the process they use to accomplish their task is very different rendering reverse osmosis water and distilled water very different products. Distilled water removes chemicals from water by using evaporation and not a semi-permeable membrane. This means that only chemicals and molecular compounds with a higher boiling point than water will be removed. Items with a higher boiling point include some bacteria, minerals, trace amounts of metals and volatile organic chemicals and nitrate. Neither process is selective in the minerals it removes from water. Because of this, both processes remove both dangerous and valuable mineral compounds.

Why should I use a water softener?

If you have noticed a film in your shower or on your dishes you have “hard” water. Hard water occurs when your water has too much calcium or magnesium and the soap you are using does not completely dissolve, leaving behind a film. Calcium and magnesium contain positively charged ions that cause your soap and hair to fall flat. These minerals can also cause buildup within your pipes. If left untreated, you could see reduced water flow to showers, taps and various household appliances.

What is a water softener?

A water softener is a household appliance that is plumbed into your home’s water supply system. The general idea behind a softener is that water flows through the appliance trading ‘hard” water for softer water that will not leave behind a filmy residue and leave items cleaner.

How do water softeners work?

Water softeners exchange the positive ions found in minerals like calcium and magnesium with negatively charged ions giving your water a softer feel. You will be able to clean more using less soap and detergent; ultimately saving you time and money.

What does it mean to regenerate a water softener?

The resin beads responsible for substituting the negative charge in the water need to be cleaned of the excess calcium and magnesium. This happens when the water softener regenerates. The resin beads are cleaned of the ions and recharged with sodium ions from the brine water solution in the salt tank. If you notice your hair falling flat, your clothing not coming clean, or spots on your dishes, get the help of a plumber in Alexandria, MN, like Koegel Plumbing & Heating Solutions.

How do I know if I have iron or sulfur in my water?

Identifying iron or sulfur in your water means knowing the difference between both minerals as well as iron or sulfur bacteria that may also cause issues with your water supply. Iron can get into your water supply two ways; it is dissolved and part of your well water or corrosion from pipes. Ingesting excess iron will not harm you but it can cause serious damage to your appliances, pipes and even cause discoloration and odd tasting food. Typically iron means brown stains on your plumbing fixture. Sulfur can enter your water system via decaying organic matter or chemical reactions with sulfur-containing items in your soil, sulfate-reducing bacteria that convert sulfate and other sulfur compounds to hydrogen sulfide gas or via your hot water heater which can produce hydrogen sulfide gas. Sulfur or other variations of sulfur (sulfates and hydrogen sulfates) are not harmful because their taste and smell are so offensive most people could not ingest enough to reach harmful levels.

What are iron and sulfur filters?

Iron and sulfur filters are added to a water system to help alleviate either iron or sulfur (or both). The type and size of filter can vary based on the mineral you are trying to remove.  Koegel Plumbing & Heating Solutions has experience with all types of filters and can help you select the right filter for your water needs.

What are the benefits of iron and sulfur filters?

Iron and sulfur filters will help remove the odd red/brown color and the foul rotten egg smell from your water. Removing iron and sulfur from your water means using less soap to clean clothing and dishes. It means great tasting water for cooking and drinking. It also means less time scrubbing red iron stains out of your sinks, tubs and toilets.


Fast, dependable and very courteous! They installed a new water heater and water treatment system at a very affordable price and very prompt. I definitely will be using them in my future. Very clean and friendly, one very satisfied customer here! Thank you!
Brad Bulger
Brad Bulger
A number 1 servic!. Very pleased with every aspect of job and cleanup!!
patty vogt
patty vogt
Very Friendly, answered all my questions. Very thorough in checking out my furnace, letting me know what to do if I have problems and fixed what was wrong. I can call and they will be able to help me with Plumbing, Heating, Sewer & Drains.
Marie Hacker
Marie Hacker
Best experience I ever had with a plumbing service. Very quick on site estimate. Fair pricing. Very helpful in scheduling around my needs. Very professional team that was quick with high quality work. Will continue to use for future work. Highly recommend.
Peter Conley
Peter Conley
Randy Gau
Randy Gau
Had two companies had been to our house to resolve our problem with no success. Within 5-10 minutes found problem. Explained the problem, discussed resolution, made the required changes. Now all works great.
Al Pergande
Al Pergande
I was very pleased with the customer service and prompt attention thank you
RyAnn Hommerding
RyAnn Hommerding
Koegel Plumbing and Heating did an excellent job repairing and installing our toilet, sink and shower. They were very knowledgeable and friendly, easy to work with, and knew exactly what problems we had with our existing toilet, sink and shower. All repairs are working like new and look great. Cost was reasonable compared with other companies. Great job cleaning up after their work was completed. We would definitely use them again and recommend them to anyone looking for a plumber.
Dale White
Dale White
Had a great experience! Koegel Plumbing was able to fit us in for same day service and we are very pleased with the outcome. Ethan showed up promptly, assessed the problem and went to work immediately to correct our issue. He was professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. We’d definitely use Koegel Plumbing again.
Lynette Wittsack
Lynette Wittsack
Very pleased with Koegel plumbing and heating can’t wait to work with them again!
Jr Formo
Jr Formo