Most people hardly ever think about their home's water heater until it starts taking longer to heat the water or until it stops working altogether and it's time to replacement the unit.
With a few simple maintenance tasks you can increase the lifespan of your water heater, while also making it work more efficiently, saving energy and lowering your utility bill.
Step 1 - Flush your water heater tank annually
Almost all water heater manufacturers recommend flushing the water heater tank at least once a year. Draining the tank will remove the debris and sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank, allowing the burner to heat the water more efficiently. Check your water heater manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your water heater tank.
Step 2 - Check the water heater anode rod annually and replace it if it shows signs of wear
The anode rod hangs inside the tank and helps to prevent the inside from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. Replacing a badly corroded rod is a lot less expensive than replacing the water heater. Without a good anode rod, hot water will quickly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its lifespan.
Step 3 - Insulate the water heater tank
This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent by conserving heat and reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the water.
The Health and Safety Concerns of Chemical Drain Cleaners In The Home
We usually don't think twice about the store bought cleaners in our homes, but chemical drain cleaners are among the most dangerous chemicals you can buy. They can damage not only your plumbing system, but harm your family's health.
There are several types of drain clearing products. The alkaline kind contains sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. The acidic type of drain cleaners contain concentrated sulphiric acid. Other chemicals found in drain cleaners include bleach and lye. All of these chemicals are highly corrosive.
While drain cleaners can be effective at removing organic matter from the top section of drain pipes, they do not work as well on clogs that are further down the drain pipe.
Because most chemical drain cleaners will cause a chemical reaction when coming in contact with organic matter inside the drain, it's important that they be added very slowly and that you take precautions to cover your face and skin to avoid coming in contact with the chemicals. Contact with drain cleaners can cause burns, blindness and inflammation to your respiratory system. Chemical drain cleaners can also corrode pipes and damage household surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom, such as wood, paint, aluminum and fiberglass.
The Advantages of Professional Drain Cleaning
The safest and most effective method of clearing clogged drains is to call a plumber. Plumbers clear drains using mechanical methods to physically remove the toughest clogs that store bought drain cleaners either cannot reach or fail to fully dissolve.
With a professional plumber you will eliminate the need to store hazardous chemicals in your home, risking your family's health and damage to your plumbing system.
The next time you have a clogged drain emergency, don't risk using chemical drain cleaners, call Maitz Home Services. We'll arrive in minutes, not hours, to clear your toughest clogs.
With the arrival of the holidays many people are decorating their homes inside and out to celebrate the season. As with any electrical lighting or accessories, it's important to ensure that they are installed correctly to avoid electrical shock and fires.
The following are a few tips from The National Fire Protection Association to avoid some of the most common electrical hazards
Avoid stringing too many lights together. Check light strings to see how many strings can be safely joined end to end. As a rule of thumb, don't string together more than three smaller push-in style bulb strings. Strings with screw-in bulbs should have no more than 50 bulbs total
Inspect electrical accessories before installation - Before stringing lights, inspect for cracked sockets, frayed, loose or bare wires or loose connections
Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs or fuses
Always turn off electric decorations before leaving home or going to bed
Don't Use high wattage bulbs in low-wattage ornaments
Avoid overloading extension cords
Never run extension cords through water, even those labeled for outdoor use
Brown or brittle needles are prone to fire, so always buy a fresh wreath or tree
One of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety and reliability of your home's heating system is to have a qualified technician clean and inspect the unit annually. In this month's episode, Maitz Home Services' President Dave DeWalt discusses the process of maintaining an oil fired hot water boiler.
In this month's episode Dave explains the various options for home water treatment, as well as how to properly maintain your water softener.
The EasyWater water treatment system is a no-salt solution for removing calcium and magnesium from water. It saves the expense and work of maintaining a salt tank, while also eliminating the water waste of salt-based water treatment systems.
The EasyWater No-Salt Conditioner uses a range of electronic frequencies to remove and eliminate limescale. You can expect longer-lasting appliances, clear plumbing lines and improved water flow, with no maintenance required.
Whole House Water Filtration
With city water chlorine taste and odor as well as metallic taste from metal pipes can be eliminated with an activated carbon filtration system. With well water systems debris and contaminants can be removed using a sediment filtration system.
A water softener is designed to remove the minerals in water that can cause water spots, excess soap scum buildup and damage to your water heater and plumbing system. It works by removing calcium and magnesium from the water through an ion exchange.
It's important to make sure your water softener has a continuous supply of salt and that the filter on the controller head unit is cleaned as recommended by the manufacturer.
In this month's episode, Dave, George and the Maitz crew install a new high efficiency Broan IQ Air Source Heat Pump. Then, they measure the energy savings versus the old heating and cooling system using the Energy Detective, a device that measures power usage in real time.
Watch the video to find out how much the home owner can expect to save in energy cost!
When you consider the damage that a flooded basement can cause, a sump pump is cheap insurance against the stress and hassle of extensive water damage. Unfortunately, as with any mechanical device, sump pumps eventually fail to work or simply wear out.
Here are 5 common reasons your sump pump may fail:
1. Power Failure
Because severe storms are often accompanied by power outages, unless you have a standby battery back-up sump pump, it's not going to work when the power goes out.
2. Stuck Switches
A mechanical float switch is used to activate the pump when the water in the pit as the water rises. Testing your sump pump annually will ensure the switch is moving freely. Enclosing the sump pump pit with an cover will also prevent any potential interference with the operation of the pump.
3. Low Quality Sump Pumps
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
4. Old Pumps
Because they work in a damp environment sump pumps will eventially wear out an become less effective and prone to failure. Because you never know when a pump will fail, have an experienced plumber inspect the unit if you are concerned about the unit's condition or age.
In this month's episode Miatz Home Services explains the benefits of a mini-split cooling systems.
Ductless, mini-split-systems (mini splits) are a good solution for houses without ducted heating systems. They can also be beneficial in room additions where extending ductwork is impractical.
Like standard air-source heat pumps, mini-split systems have two main components : an outdoor compressor and fan and an indoor unit. A conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor units.
The Advantages of Mini-Split Systems
The main advantages of mini splits are their small size and flexibility for cooling individual rooms. Some models can use as many as four indoor air-handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit.
Each zone has its own thermostat, so each can cool independently, saving energy.
Because mini splits don't use air ducts, they don't need to power a large blower that a central air conditioner requires to deliver air throughout the house. Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic.
Mini splits also offer more flexibility. The indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall. Most indoor units are about seven inches deep and have sleek, high tech-looking jackets. Many also offer a remote control to make it easier to turn the system on and off when it's positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling.
In this episode Maitz Home Services President Dave DeWalt explains the benefits and process of converting an oil heating system to natural gas boiler.
With natural gas costing as much as 50 percent less than heating oil, many homeowners are finding the initial cost of conversion worth the long term savings in fuel cost. Other reasons to consider natural gas over oil include the smaller space required for a gas furnace compared to the oil tank and boiler and federal and state tax incentives available for upgrading to high efficiency heating systems.
The homeowner did not have natural gas service at the home, so a gas line and meter are first installed to provide a connection to the gas utility company.