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As the spring arrives in the Allentown area and trees, grass and plant pollen fill the air, many allergy sufferers will spend more time inside their home. While the pollen levels are lower indoors, overall air quality can actually be far lower indoors. The reason is our homes are tightly sealed, trapping allergens like dust, pet dander, mold, cooking fumes and household chemicals. Dirty air ducts and furnace filters can make the air even unhealthier.

To keep the air in your home as clean and healthy as possible, Maitz Home Services recommends taking the following steps:
  • Have your carpets and window coverings professionally cleaned at least once a year
  • Change your furnace air filter at least once every month
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system
  • Keep windows closed during the day if possible, this is when airborne pollen levels tend to be highest
  • Maintain proper humidity levels using a humidifier or dehumidifier to manage moisture levels if needed 
If their are family members with severe allergies or respiratory problems, consider installing a high efficiency air cleaner. Whole-home air cleaners works with your central heating and cooling system, employing a sophisticated media filter to capture and remove dust, pet dander, mold spores, dust mites, viruses, pollen, bacteria, smoke, odors and more. The key to effective air filtration is the use of a polarized-Media electronic air cleaners. As microscopic sub-micron particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) enter the filter, they become polarized. The polarized particles get larger as they join together with other polarized particles and collect on a disposable low-static polarized media pad with an activated charcoal center screen.

This allergy season start enjoying the cleanest air possible, with a whole house air filtration system installed by Maitz Home Services. Call today for an in home consultation.

Preparing Your Home's Air Conditioner For the Cooling Season

Spring is here and the hot weather is right around the corner. Now is the time to ensure your central air conditioner is ready to keep you home cool. Proper air conditioner system maintenance, along with a few other steps you can take around the home, will keep your utility bill lower, make your home more comfortable, and help ensure there are no unexpected repair bills during the hottest time of year.

Call Maitz Home Services to schedule your annual air conditioner inspection and tune-up. Your cooling technician will perform a comprehensive inspection to find any potential problems that could lead to a breakdown. A dirty, unmaintained air conditioner can cost you hundreds of extra dollars in extra energy costs each season, while also shortening the lifespan of the unit, so annual maintenance is cheap insurance.

There are a few other steps you can take yourself to keep your cooling system operating at peak efficiency. They include:1. Changing your furnace filter at least once a month.

2. Inspecting your air ducts to ensure there are no leaks.

3. Replacing or installing new weather stripping around doors, windows and baseboards.

5. Ensuring you have sufficient attic insulation.

6. Control the temperature in your home with a programmable thermostat.

7. Block out direct sun with drapes and window shades.

8. Use ceiling fans to circulate conditioned air.

If your air conditioner is not cooling all areas of your home, or you notice unusual sounds coming from your air conditioner, call Maitz Home Services, our experienced technicians can help diagnose the problem and repair your cooling system.

Preventing Problems With Low-Flow Toilets

Many communities now require that homeowner's install low-flow toilets when they replace an older toilets. EPA WaterSense certification provides that plumbing fixtures use at least 20 percent less water. This means toilets must use 1.28 gallons of water or less per flush, as opposed to the federally mandated maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush.

While low-flow toilets will save well over 10 billion gallons a year in Pennsylvania alone, they can also present a few problems. With less water to flush with, you may find yourself flushing more than once. Of course, this defeats the purpose of having a low flow toilet and should be avoided.

Sometimes flushing problems are caused by an under filled toilet tank. Check the manufacturer's instructions for setting the fill valve to ensure the water in the tank is at the right level. Many tanks will have a fill line, if there is no line, a good rule of thumb is to keep the water level about a half inch below the top of the overflow tube inside the tank.

Second, open the tank and adjust the tension on the flapper chain. The chain should only have a little slack, if it's too loose the flapper won't open all the way when the toilet is flushed and water in the tank won't empty completely.

Have toilet or other plumbing questions? Give Maitz Home Services a call, we can to help.

For many homeowners an important consideration when designing a bathroom is making it accessible for a wide range of persons in the household, from young to old. Creating an accessible shower involves more that just making entry and exit as safe and easy as possible. There are other consideration as well, including:

1. Space - If the shower must be large or accommodate a wheelchair, it should be big enough to safely maneuver around with room to spare. If the bathroom is too small for a large shower, consider creating an open bathroom without walls between the shower, sink and toilet. Instead the bathroom can have a central floor drain and use waterproof materials.

2. Curb-less Stalls - To allow ease of entry and prevent tripping, compressible plastic strips can be installed on the floor to contain water. The strips can be rolled over but won't create a tripping hazard.

3. Non-Slip Surfaces - Tile with a matte finish and wider grout can provide a better gripping surface. Consider adding contrasting accents to tile floors and shower walls, which can help visually impaired occupants.

4. Lighting - Waterproof, compact LED light fixtures are perfect for providing bright light inside shower enclosures.

5. Seating - Consider adding built-in or a fold down seating inside the shower.

6. Storage - Wall niches provide a safe, convenient place to store shower accessories. Having niches at different heights will make them accessible to children and adults.

7. Shower Heads - When it comes to shower heads there is no one-size-fits-all installation height. For the most flexibility consider a rail mounted shower head that can be moved up and down to accommodate everyone from children to tall adults.

8. Grab Bars - Installing grab bars at an angle will make them easier to use at a range of heights.

Need help making your shower more accessible? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help.

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.

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