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Around the Home Blog

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With the recent news of lead contamination in municipal water systems, many homeowners are concerned about the safety of the water their homes. When should you have your home's water tested for potentially harmful contaminants?If you experience any of these problems, you should consider having your water tested.
Your home is older and has lead pipes, or lead soldered joints.
The water in your home has an off taste or smell.
You have excessive soap soap scum on bathroom fixtures that indicate hard water.You're buying a home with a water treatment system and want to ensure it is working properly.
You're installing a water treatment system and want to measure it's effectiveness.
There are recurring gastrointestinal problems with related to drinking water in the home.
You are pregnant, or there is a child under six months old living in the home.
You have a well that is near a septic tank or agricultural land.


If problems are found with your drinking water, there are a number of water treatment solutions available to treat hard water and other problems. Have questions about water quality in your home? Give Maitz Home Services a call, we're here to help.
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

2016 Lighting Trends For the Home

According to Houzz, this year over half of homeowners will invest in updating their homes. These updates will include decorating (63%), renovating (58%) or repairing (47%). It's a safe bet that most homeowners making updates to their homes will be looking to upgrade their lighting to improve the style and functionality of their living space. Here are some of the lighting trends that will be popular in 2016.

LED Lighting

LED lighting started to become popular around 2013 and it's use has accelerated as the cost of LED bulbs continues to come down. LED lighting offers many advantages, including low energy consumption and long life. LEDs also allow for more creative lighting design and uses that would be impossible with incandescent or CFL bulbs.

Some LED lights are being sold as "smart bulbs" that can be controlled from a smartphone, allowing for complete control over brightness and color temperature. Decorating with light has never been easier.

Light Fixtures

Instead of hiding light fixtures, the trend in 2016 will be to show off lighting fixtures as a centerpiece of a home design.

Contemporary chandeliers with sleek geometric shapes made from modern looking materials will be used to add style while illuminating entryways, hallways, kitchens and bathrooms.

When lighting is recessed and hidden from view it will be soft lighting without sharp contrasts designed to blend in seamlessly with natural light sources.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

How to Heat a New Addition to Your Home

When adding a new addition to your home one of the main considerations is how you will heat and cool the additional space. Sometimes an existing furnace and air conditioner simply isn't large enough to condition the added air volume.

Even if you replace the central heating and cooling unit with a larger system, expanding existing ducts into the new space can create problems with maintaining even temperatures throughout the rest of the house if the air handler is on the far side of the house from the new space. So what options are available?

Split HVAC Systems

One option for heating a new addition is to install a split heating and cooling system, also known as a ductless heat pump. A heat pump not only heats in the winter, it provides cooling in the summer.

Because a split system works independently from the main HVAC system – in most cases having it's own hand-held remote – it eliminates the air balancing problems that attempting to expand an existing HVAC system can cause.

Have questions about heating and cooling a new addition to your home? Give Maitz Home Services a call.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Maitz Winter Heating Checklist

Cold weather is just around the corner so now is the time to ensure your home's heating system is ready. Here are some items to check.1. If you haven't done so already, call Maitz Home Services to schedule your furnace tune-up. Keeping your furnace maintained will keep it running longer while helping it operate more efficiently.

2. Replace your furnace filter. If it's been in use for more than a month, replace it.

3. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

4. Program your thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when you're not at home.

5. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to direct the warm air downward towards the living space.

6. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries as needed.

7. Ensure that air ducts are not covered or covered by rugs or furniture.

8. Seal air leaks around windows and doors.

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning.

Need help with your home's heating system? Call Maitz Home Services anytime.
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Maitz Winter Plumbing Checklist

Cold winter weather is right around the corner so Maitz has put together a plumbing checklist to help you ensure that your home's plumbing system is prepared to withstand the freezing temperatures ahead.

1. Make sure all outdoor hoses have been disconnected and are stored for the winter.

2. If your home has an indoor shutoff valve for the outdoor water supply, close the valve and turn on the outdoor faucets to drain out the water.

3. If necessary, turn up your water heater temperature to retain hot water during colder weather. The water temperature should never exceed 125°F to prevent scaling.

4. To prevent frozen pipes, ensure that there are no cracks or gaps in your home's foundation that could allow cold outside air to pass over water pipes.

5. If the weather gets extremely cold, letting faucets trickle water will keep the water flowing and reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

6. Flush your water heater to removed sediment that can reduce heating efficiency and cause corrosion of the tank.

Need help getting your home's plumbing system ready for cold weather? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help with all your plumbing needs.

Over the past decade or so gas furnace technology has advanced considerably, with AFUE efficiency ratings now exceeding 95 percent. Many furnaces manufactured in the 1990s had efficiency ratings in the 60 percent range. One of the main reasons for this dramatic increase in efficiency is modulating gas furnace technology.

Traditional single or two-stage furnaces operate at fixed rates and will often exceed the preset temperature before shutting off, resulting in wide temperature swings. A modulating furnace is able to adjust it's gas input, inducer speed, and blower airflow to operate at 1 percent increments from 35 to 100 percent, providing more accurate control over temperature. While it may run more often, it can do so at a lower rate than a two-stage furnace.

The advantages of modulating furnaces include increased comfort, reduced operating costs and quieter operation. With a two-stage furnace you may notice a change in temperature right before your furnace turns on and right after the furnaces shuts off. With a modulating gas furnace, the temperature change will be imperceptible.

Have questions about high efficiency gas furnaces? Give Maitz Home Services a call, we're here to help.

Most people don't think about their water heater until the day the hot water stops flowing. By doing a few routine annual maintenance tasks you can extend the life of your water heater while also helping it work more efficiently.

Because most water heater tanks are made of steel coated with a thin layer of glass, the lining will eventually crack and begin to rust. To head off corrosion a metal "anode rod" is used to increase the life of the tank. The anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that encapsulates a steel core. The rod is screwed into the top of the tank and suspended in the water. An electrochemical process causes the exposed steel of the rod to react with the corrosive elements in the water. By causing a primary corrosive reaction inside the tank the rod sacrifices itself to help protect the steel tank from corrosion, greatly extending it's life.

Inspecting and Replacing the Anode Rod

One of the most important plumbing maintenance task is to ensure the anode rod is still working inside the tank. The rod can be accessed from the top of the water heater by unscrewing it and sliding it out. If the rod has significantly eroded away it should be replaced with a new rod. Replacing a worn out rod is far less expensive then replacing an entire rusted out water heater!

Flush the Tank

When sediment builds up at the bottom of the water heater tank it can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the life of the unit. Flushing the tank annually will keep the tank clean.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Home Electrical Safety Tips For Fall

As the cold weather settles in and we begin to spend more time indoors, this is a good time to be aware of the electrical hazards around the home during the heating season. The Electrical Safety Foundation International offers the following tips.

1. Safely store warm weather tools like lawn mowers and trimmers. Check cold weather tools, such as leaf and snow blowers, along with their power cords, for unusual wear and tear.

2. Repair or replace worn tools or parts right away.

3. Unplug and safely store battery chargers that won't be in use again until spring.

4. Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities.

5.Protect outdoor electrical devices from moisture. Make sure electrical equipment that has been wet is inspected and reconditioned by a certified repair dealer.

6. Keep dry leaves swept away from outdoor lighting, outlets and power cords.

7. Make sure electric blankets are in good repair and certified by an independent testing lab such as UL, CSA or ETL. Power cords should not be frayed, cracked or cut.

8. Do not tuck your electric blanket under mattresses or children, and do not put anything, such as comforters or bedspreads, on top of the blanket while it is in use. Never allow pets to sleep on an electric blanket.

Power failures can be more than an inconvenience, they can cause expensive damage your property. When the power goes out you lose heating and air conditioning, well pumps, refrigeration, and sump pumps - which can lead to basement flooding during severe storms.

With the frequency of power outages in the Eastern U.S. related to the increasingly intensity of storm systems and an over burdened electrical grid, a backup power generator is becoming an essential appliance for many homeowners.

It's hard to appreciate just how important a home generator is until the power has been out longer than a few hours. Generators sell out quickly before and during emergencies, so why wait until the next major power failure to consider buying one?

Types of Home Backup Generators



The two main types of residential generators are portable and permanent standby. If you plan to power a few lights, your refrigerator and a furnace, a less expensive portable generator may provide enough power. But keep in mind that you will need to ensure you have enough fuel on hand before the power goes out.

If you intend to run your lights and air conditioner, along with a well pump, sump pump, a freezer and other major appliances a permanent standby model is the best option. Permanently installed generators are connected directly to your home's utilities, when the power goes out they automatically start up to provide power for extended periods of time.

Professional Residential Generator Installation



When considering a generator for your home it's important to hire an experienced electrician who understands the types of generators available and can match the system to your home's existing power needs. At Maitz Home Service we have installed hundreds of residential generators throughout the Lehigh Valley area.

With an Maitz Home Services generator installation, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you are getting the right generator for your specific needs and professional service for the life of the unit.
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

How AFCIs Keep Your Home Safe

AFCIs are electrical devices installed in place of regular circuit breakers found in a home's electric service panel. The service panel is usually located in the basement or garage and distributes electricity throughout the home to switches, outlets and appliances. When an electrical overload or short circuit overload occurs, the circuit breaker trips, preventing damage or an electrical fire.

Extra Protection With AFCIs

AFCIs provide protection against electrical hazards known as arc faults. An arc fault is a electrical problem caused by damaged or overheated electrical wiring or appliances. Without AFCIs, arc faults may be hidden from plain view until it is too late.

Electrical arc faults are among the leading cause of residential electrical and fire-related injuries. For this reason, The National Electrical Code has required that they be used to protect almost every circuit in the home since 2008.

Have questions about your home's electrical system? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

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