What is a sump pump and how does it work?

  • Plumbing

Your sump pump plays an essential role in protecting your home from water damage. Since it is usually tucked into a corner of the basement, you might not see or think about it every day. The team at Always On Call Mountain Mechanical in Anchorage, Alaska believes that understanding how your plumbing equipment works can help you avoid indoor flooding.

Do you have questions about your sump pump? This explains what these devices are and how they function.

How a Home Humidifier Can Help in a Cold Climate

Anyone living in Alaska knows the winters get brutal.  Temperatures plummet, the wind whips, and the air inside our homes can get drier than the Sahara desert.  All that dry air isn’t just uncomfortable, it wreaks havoc. Our skin cracks, our houses creak, and it seems like we’re constantly battling a cold. Many of us just accept this as the price of living here, but there’s a simple way to fight back. Let’s talk about humidifiers.

Why is Winter Air So Dry?

You might wonder why our Alaskan winters are so dry in the first place. No matter what type of furnace you have, cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. It’s like a sponge; the colder the sponge, the less water it can soak up. So, when those frigid temperatures roll in, the outside air gets squeezed of its moisture. This dry air then seeps into our homes through cracks and ventilation systems, leaving us feeling parched.

Chill vibes are great, but not when they’re too literal.

Fight the freeze with Mountain Mechanical

What Does Dry Air Do to a Home?

Those long, harsh winters take a toll on our homes thanks to that dry air. If you love wooden furniture, floors, or even musical instruments, this is bad news. Wood needs a bit of moisture to stay healthy.  Dry air sucks that moisture out, leaving wood prone to cracking, warping, and shrinking. If you have a nice hardwood floor, you might notice gaps opening up, or hear creaks you never did before.

Beyond your prized possessions, the entire structure of your home can suffer. Walls might develop small cracks. Door frames and window frames can shift, making things harder to open and close.  These gaps let even more of that frigid air inside, making it tough to stay warm.

Finally, there’s that pesky static electricity. Sure, it might seem funny to shock your family members, but that constant static means your home is seriously lacking in moisture.

Dry Air vs. Your Body

Of course, it’s not just your house that suffers. Dry air takes a toll on our bodies too.  The most obvious is probably dry skin. It gets itchy, flaky, and can even become cracked and painful.  If you already have skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, the dryness can make them much worse.

Your eyes and nose don’t escape the dryness either.  Ever wake up with your eyes feeling gritty or your nose scratchy and congested?  Low humidity is often the culprit. Dry air can also increase your chances of catching a cold or other respiratory problems – not ideal in a cold climate.

Lastly, here’s something you might not realize: dry air makes you feel colder. That’s because moisture in the air helps hold in heat.  So, even if your thermostat is set comfortably, a dry house will leave you reaching for another sweater.

Enter the Humidifier

It’s time to bring in the cavalry: the humidifier! These devices work by adding moisture back into the air, combating the drying effects of our harsh winters. There are a few different types of humidifiers:

  • Central Humidifiers: These connect directly to your home’s heating and ventilation system, delivering moisture to every room.
  • Portable Humidifiers: These range from small units for a single room to larger ones that can humidify multiple areas.

No matter which type you choose, it’s important to maintain proper humidity levels. Aim for between 30-50% humidity. Too little moisture won’t solve the problem, and too much can lead to mold and other issues.

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Humidifier Benefits Beyond the Obvious

We’ve covered the basics of how a humidifier can help your skin and your house. But there are some other benefits you might not have thought of.

First up: savings on heating costs.  Remember how we said that moist air feels warmer? A humidifier can make your home feel more comfortable at a slightly lower thermostat setting, potentially trimming your energy bills.

Improved sleep might be another surprising bonus. Less congestion and scratchy throats from dry air can lead to a better night’s rest, especially if you’re prone to snoring or breathing problems.

Finally, a humidifier adds to your home’s overall comfort.  It eliminates that parched, stuffy feeling that can plague us all winter.  Think of it as an investment in feeling cozy and content within your own walls.

The Value of Professional Humidifier Installation

While portable humidifiers are a good starting point, for the best results, consider having a central humidifier professionally installed.  Here’s why it’s worth considering:

  • Integration: A central humidifier seamlessly connects to your HVAC system. This means consistent humidity throughout your home, with no need to refill individual units.
  • Efficiency: Professionals can select the perfect humidifier for your home’s size and needs, ensuring maximum moisture with optimal energy use.
  • Expertise: Installers ensure proper placement and calibration of your humidifier. They can also advise on the ideal humidity levels for your home and climate.
  • Maintenance: While humidifiers don’t require loads of maintenance, having a professional on call can save you hassle should any issues arise.

The Process of Humidifier Installation

The process of installing a central humidifier isn’t overly complex, but it does require some specific knowledge and skills. Professionals will properly hook up the humidifier to your water supply, connect it to your HVAC ductwork, and ensure all components are working seamlessly. Choosing a professional means you can relax, knowing everything is correctly installed and maximizing the benefits of your humidification system.

Fight Back Against Dry Winter Air with Mountain Mechanical

Here at Mountain Mechanical, we’re Alaskan home comfort experts. We understand the challenges our climate throws at your home, and we can help you breathe easier (literally!) with a professionally installed central humidifier. Don’t wait another winter dealing with dry air. Contact Mountain Mechanical today for a consultation and let us show you how a humidifier can transform your home’s comfort. 

3 Reasons for a garage heater

  • Garage Heater

When you think of HVAC, do you think about your garage heater?

Garage Heater

Most Alaskan homes don’t have basements to house HVAC systems, so we rely on space in our garage for our furnaces and heaters. Because our heating units are often in cold places, it is critical to think about the heating solutions that surround them. In many cases, a garage heater can be a resource.

Did you know when it comes to heating your house for winter, a majority of Alaskans don’t think of the temperatures in their garage? 

Efficiently heating your garage is one area that can impact the comfort levels for the rest of your house. A garage heater can also protect your HVAC equipment (if your heating equipment is in your garage). A garage heater can increase longevity and protect your home and vehicles from the harsh Alaska winter weather that causes wear and tear. 

Do you heat your garage? Here are three reasons why you might want to consider using your garage heater or getting a garage heater installed. 

  • Protection for your heating systems and pipes

Because our heating systems are likely in our garage, a garage heater can help maintain temperatures that allow HVAC equipment to operate efficiently. Garage heaters keep our HVAC equipment from getting too cold or from freezing. These heaters also decrease the possibility of pipes freezing as well as overflow vents and equipment sweat.

  • Temperature comfort to your home

 A garage heater helps maintain warmer temperatures inside of your home. A garage heater will help to eliminate large drafts of cold air that come in from using your garage during the winter. A heated garage will also provide comfort for the rooms surrounding and above or below the garage space. Adding additional insulation to garages and crawlspaces can also help increase comfort. 

  • Protection for your vehicles

Parking your car in your garage during the winter months can help decrease unexpected car problems. A heated garage will help to protect your car battery. Car batteries are not to endure cold temperatures over an extended period. A cold car battery is often the number one cause of cars not starting up in the winter. By parking in a heated garage, you will extend the time between maintenance checks.

When it comes to heating your garage, you do not need to heat it to a comfort level equal to the remainder of your home (often between 65°F – 68°F). Keeping your garage thermostat steady at a temperature between 40°F and 50°F will give you benefits to the three listed items above. You may find that while working on projects in your garage during the colder months that you will want to increase the temperature for comfort. 

If you find your garage heater working overtime to keep your garage temperatures between 40°F and 50°F, call us for a maintenance check. We can analyze the BTUs, potential heat leaks and offer solutions for improvements to your heating system. 

We install garage heaters

Our team of experts is certified to install and maintain garage heater units. Our team of experts at Always On Call Mountain Mechanical can help you select a garage heater with the correct BTU output appropriate for the size and environment of your garage. We are your one-stop HVAC team for all of your HVAC needs. PLUS, if you call us for our Winter Start-Up Inspection, you can rest assured that we will check not only your heating system, we will also check your garage heater and your gas fireplaces (when applicable).

We are committed to providing exceptional customer service and are proud to serve our loyal clients in Anchorage and Eagle River, Alaska. Always on Call Mountain Mechanical is the plumbing and heating company you can trust with your needs. From repairs to installations, we perform every job with the professionalism it deserves. 

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When do you need a plumber? 4 Warning Signs

Did you know that the average American uses nearly 100 gallons of water a day? We understand that when you have a plumbing problem, you will need a plumber urgently.

After reading a few articles and watching a few YouTube videos, some small leaks look like they can be an easy, quick fix. In some cases, this is true but, in others, not so much. We’re here, at Mountain Mechanical in Anchorage, for when you need a plumber!




If you turn on your faucet and nothing comes out, you’re in trouble. No water is a warning sign that there may be a big emergency in your home.

In this emergency, you will want to call a plumber. It’s also wise to call a neighbor to see if they are experiencing a water outage as well. If it appears to be more than just your house, a plumber can help you figure out who to call for your property. If it’s just your house, a plumber will come out to assess and diagnose the situation.


One way to wake up in the morning is jumping in a cold shower, but that is not ideal! Lack of hot water may be a warning that something is wrong with your water heater! Let our plumbers be your plumbing partner! We can help troubleshoot an issue with your water heater, included why a water heater may be sweating.  


If you’re experiencing lower water pressure in one faucet, you’re likely experiencing a clog or clogged aerator! Clogged pipes may be a plumbing problem you can handle yourself. However, if it’s more than one faucet, you may be experiencing a broken or cracked piped.


A sewage system, sump pump, or toilet will be the first place you want to look. Whenever you smell something wrong, it’s a tall tell sign that you need a plumber.  

Always On Call Mountain Mechanical is the leading heating & plumbing company in Anchorage, AK. We service all of Anchorage, Eagle River, and Chugiak Alaska. Call us if you have questions about water heaters, sump pumps,  and more.

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Furnace Filters: Which one should you buy?


You’re standing in front of all the furnace filters at the store what you thought was an easy task has left you with questions. You start looking for the furnace filter size you need but now have questions about what brand to buy. Then you start looking at filter thickness, what type of filter, and what price point. How do you know what furnace filter to buy? Don’t worry you’re not alone. 

Honeywell, 3M, Lennox, etc,.. all familiar names, so which one do you get? Each furnace filter offers something a little different, and all of those differences can help improve or change the air quality that your furnace blows through your house. Here is some advice to help you feel confident when it comes time for you to pick up a new furnace filter. 

Furnace Filters: The Ultimate HVAC Equipment Defender.

Furnace Filters. What you need to know about the filter in your heating unit.

Homeowners often believe that the furnace filter’s primary job is to clean the air in your home.

Your furnace filters will help aid in improving air quality, by remove particulates and contaminants from the recirculated air, but their main purpose is to protect blowers and other internal components from damaging build-up.

A Winter Start-Up Furnace Inspection.


Should I have my forced air furnace inspected?

We designed our start-up furnace inspection to put your mind at ease! Our winter start-up inspections take a deeper dive to look at what’s going on behind the walls of your furnace. Just like any preventative maintenance, we advise you to have an inspection yearly, and here is why.


COVID19 UPDATE: Mountain Mechanical is a COVID Conscious Business.

Being COVID conscious means that we may ask you a few additional questions and ensure that everyone in your household is healthy prior to our arrival, as precautionary measures to ensure our crews stay safe. Our technicians may arrive at your residence with face-coverings and gloves, or you can request face-covering and gloves to be worn in your home.

3 Benefits of a Professional Duct Cleaning

Duct Cleaning: Should I Have Mine Done?

Over time, it is natural for ducts, fans, and registers to accumulate dirt, dust, pollen, and particles. If moisture becomes present, there is potential for musty odors or mold to grow. Many people call asking questions about the process of duct cleaning; when to get ducts cleaned, allergies associated with air ducts, and associated costs.