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The U.S. Department of Energy has put into effect new regulations that require all manufacturers of water heaters to meet a higher energy factor (EF) rating. Based on the new requirements, there will be significant changes to water heaters manufactured after April 15, 2015. This includes gas, oil, electric water heaters. Tankless water heaters already meet the new requirements.

How do these changes affect you?

Some of the changes that may affect you as a consumer are:
· Higher priced units – up to 35% more expensive.
· Larger units – 2” tall and 2” wider, and in some cases units may be even larger.
· More complex installation requirements
· Possible significant home remodeling costs if your water heater is located in a small space like a closet or attic.

These new regulations are being made to improve the efficiency of water heaters, which will result in lower energy costs for homeowners.

Should I Wait, Or Upgrade Now?

According to manufacturer’s suggested service life, the average lifespan of a water heater is about 8-12 years. Homeowners with water heaters 10 years old or older need to seriously consider replacing it now, before the regulations go into effect and costs go up.

Maitz Home Services will answer any questions you may have about the new regulations, evaluate your current water heater and provide you with options on the next steps. Then, if you decide you want to install before the new regulations take affect we’ll reserve your water heater from our inventory.

For more information, visit:
U.S. Department of Energy
AO Smith
American Water Heaters
State Water Heaters

When buying a new home there are countless things to check to ensure there are no hidden surprises. One of the most important is the home's furnace. Taking the time to ask questions and inspect the unit can save you potential headaches down the road. Here are some steps to take:

1. Turn on the furnace and listen for noises. Squeaks and rattles could indicate a mechanical problem, lack of maintenance or just be symptomatic of an older furnace that is showing its age.

2. Ask the real estate agent for the age of the furnace. A gas furnace will typically last 15-20 years. Also, keep in mind that older furnaces can be more expensive to operate.

3. Check the unit's EnergySTAR® rating. If you're lucky the label will still be attached to the unit. If not, the unit's serial number can be used to contact the manufacturer for efficiency information.

Finally, for your peace of mind, it's a good idea to have the home's heating and cooling system inspected to identify any potential problems that could end up costing you money in repairs or higher utility bills.

Have questions about heating systems? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, deaths related to household fires caused by children are highest during the holiday season, with the number of children injured or killed by fires more than doubling this time of year.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers these tips for keeping children safe.
  • Keep young children away from holiday lights, electrical decorations and extension cords to prevent electrical shock and burn injuries. 
  • When visiting family and friends, make sure that the home is safe for young children. Look for and eliminate potential dangers around electrical outlets, candles, and exposed electrical cords. 
  • Avoid hanging Christmas tree lights, ornaments, metal hooks, and other small decorations on the lower limbs of the tree where they could easily be reached by a small child. 
  • Never leave a child unattended while cooking or when a stove is within reach. 
  • Never use space heaters in rooms where children are unsupervised. Children may stick their fingers or other objects through the protective guards, causing burns or shock. 
  • Replace electrical toys with battery-operated alternatives for children under ten years old. 
  • Avoid buying toys that might be flammable, and be sure all electrical toys bear a safety label from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory such as UL, CSA, or ETL. 
Learn more about holiday electrical safety at holidaysafety.org.
Having hard water in the home can cause many problems, from minor annoyances to potentially expensive damage.

Here are five hard water problems a water softener can prevent.

1. Wasted soap and detergent.
The minerals in hard water, primarily calcium and magnesium, combine with soap and detergents creating a "curd" that requires additional soap to clean away. Softened water reduced the amount of soap needed and rinses off more easily.

Soap scum rings in the bathtub and stains on glass shower enclosures. That same hard water and soap curd that makes soap less effective also clings to surfaces and resisted rinsing away.

2. Streaks on glassware, silverware and dishes.
If you're seeing unsightly spots and ring when emptying the dishwasher, you have a hard water problem. Adding additional detergent and using an extra rinse cycle can help, but adds to the expense of cleaning dishes.

3. Skin and hair that is not clean and soft feeling.
During drier winter conditions hard water can aggravate dry, cracked skin and make hair dull and more prone to damage.

4. Hard water builds up scale deposits in all water-using appliances and clogs hot water pipes.
Finally, hard water can damage appliance like water heaters, humidifiers and coffee makers, to name just a few.

Have questions about hard water in your home? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

The holidays can be especially demanding on your home's plumbing system, and especially drains. With the extra demands brought on by holiday visitors and large meals, the risk of clogs increases significantly.

Here are some tips to avoid sewer and drain problems during the holidays.

1. Deep frying a turkey? Remember to never dispose of fryer grease down the drain! Even a floor drain. Instead, pour the cooled oil into a sealed container and freeze it before putting it in the trash.

2. Coffee ground should not be put down the drain or disposal. 

3. Make sure your kitchen and bath drains have a grate or screen to prevent debris like hair and other waste from building up in the drain pipe.

4. Rinse the drain with hot water to prevent oil and grease from accumulating.

5. If your drains are prone to clogging, consider a safe, environmentally friendly option for keeping your plumbing system working smoothly.

If all else fails to clear your clogged drain, Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

8 Electrical Safety Tips For Fall

As cold weather approaches and we spend more time indoors, now is a good time to make sure your home's electrical system is working safely. Here are some electrical safety tips for the home:

1. Check outlets for loose plugs, which can overheat and cause a fire.
2. Test ground fault circuits (GFC) outlets to ensure they reset properly when pressing the test button.
3. If there are young children in the house, make sure unused outlets have safety covers installed.
5. If you are frequently reseting circuit breakers, call an electrician to inspect the circuit and upgrade the electrical panel if necessary.
6. Make sure electrical cords are in good condition. Never use tape to fix a damaged electrical cord, always replace the cord.
7. Test smoke detectors and CO detectors
8. Check the wattage of light bulbs to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture.

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


Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

What to Do During a Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing emergencies around the home can range from leaking pipes and backed up sewer lines to faucets that won't shut off. It's important that everyone in the home know the location of the water supply shutoff valve is for every plumbing fixture and appliance, and most importantly, the main water supply shutoff valve.

Water Shutoff Valves

When a plumbing fixture or appliance is leaking or malfunctioning, first look for a shutoff valve near the fixture and turn it clockwise to turn off the water supply just to the affected fixture.

Shutoff valves are usually located underneath the toilet or sink. Clothes washers will have two shutoff valves – one each for hot and cold water, which are usually located directly behind the washer.

If the problem is not with a specific fixture or appliance, or you cannot locate a shutoff valve for the fixture, locate the main shutoff valve to turn off the water to the entire home. The main shutoff valve will be inside where the main water supply pipe enters the house. Turn the valve clockwise to turn the flow of water off. If the valve is difficult to turn, have a wrench near the valve for emergencies.

Have a plumbing emergency? Call Maitz Home Services. Our professional plumbers will be there in minutes to help fix the problem.

The Differences Between Heat Pumps and Gas Furnaces?

With the increasing popularity of heat pumps in some areas of the U.S., many homeowners are asking if a heat pump is a good option for their Lehigh Valley area home. Here is an overview of how heat pumps differ from traditional gas furnaces.

The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to either heat or cool a home. A heat pump consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Depending on the season a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that's seems cold can have heat energy. When it's cold outside the heat pump extracts the heat and transfers into the home. When it’s hot outside, it reverses the flow to work like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

When considering a heat pump it's important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which creates heat, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and will be unable to deliver a high level of warm air that is required to heat homes in cold climates like the Lehigh Valley area.

Have home heating questions? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.

Choosing the Best Air Filter For Indoor Air Quality

When it comes to choosing the right furnace air filter, there are many options available. The efficiency of furnace filters is measured on the MERV scale, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which rates filter efficiency on a scale of 1-20.

On the low end of the cost scale and MERV scale with a rating of 1-3 are disposable fiberglass filters. Made of 1-inch thick fiberglass, these filters are designed to prevent larger particles of dust, lint, and other debris from damaging your furnace.

Disposable pleated furnace filters are probably the most popular option. These filters are made from polyester or cotton paper and remove smaller particles like mold spores and mites, but should be changed frequently to avoid clogging and reducing airflow to the furnace. Pleated filters have a MERV rating of 6 and cost more than fiberglass filters.

The most effective furnace air filters are disposable or permanent electrostatic filters. With a MERV rating of 10 or higher, they offer highly effective filtration and are recommended for homes with persons with allergies or upper respiratory conditions.

Have questions about furnace filters and indoor air quality? Call Maitz Home Services we're here to help.


With the cold weather and heating season just around the corner, Maitz Home Services has put together a few fall energy saving tips that can help you keep a lid on rising energy cost.

Home Heating Energy Saving Tips

Insulate ceilings to R-38 levels if your attic has less than R-19. Caulk around windows, doors and anywhere air is leaking in or out. Apply weatherstriping around windows and doors. Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap.

Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, if your comfortable. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees.

Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions.

Replace old windows with new high performance multi-pane windows.

Install shades, awnings or sunscreens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms.

Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time.

Water Heater Energy Saving Tips

Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal." If you have a dishwasher. Otherwise, set it at 120 degrees or "low."

Use a water heater blanket.

Plumbing Energy Saving Tips

Install energy-saver showerheads.

Wash your laundry using a cold water detergent.

Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water.

Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally.
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