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Tuesday, 12 September 2017 17:02

The Importance of Annual Boiler Maintenance

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Whether you have a gas or oil boiler, it's important that it be kept clean and properly tuned to ensure that it runs safely and efficiently all winter long. Annual boiler maintenance will pay for itself in prolonged heating system lifespan and reduced service calls.

A Maitz Boiler Tune-Up is designed to find the small problems that could lead unsafe carbon monoxide levels, and mechanical breakdowns.

Clean the Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is where fuel mixes with air and is ignited, generating heat. The byproducts of combustion are soot, water vapor and carbon dioxide. If soot is allowed to buildup it can cause the chamber walls to corrode. The chamber should be inspected for holes or corrosion.

Inspect the Flue Pipe

Holes in the flue pipe can leak carbon monoxide. Small holes can be patched with foil tape, while corroded flues should be replaced.

Replace the Oil Filter

A clean oil filter is essential for keeping oil-burner nozzle free of contaminants. A dirty nozzle can result in combustion problems that can shut down the system.

Adjust the Burner and Test Efficiency

A combustion analyzer is used to calculate furnace efficiency by measuring gasses in the exhaust flue. The burner's air gates are adjusted as needed for the proper fuel to air mixture. The oil nozzle, which atomizes the fuel just before it ignites, is inspected and replaced if needed.

Don't wait until the cold weather arrives, call Maitz Home Service to schedule your boiler tune-up today.

Roughly one-third of the homes in the U.S. are over 50 years old, and older homes are statistically at higher risk of electrical fires. The main reason older homes can be more dangerous is many were built with electrical systems which are no longer safe. Deterioration due to aging, improper installation and modification, a lack of modern safety devices, combined with today's electrical intensive households all combine to increase the risk of electrical fires.

By understanding what outdated wiring looks like, you can learn of your home is at greater risk. Depending on the age of the home, you will find one of three kinds of wiring.

Grounded Electrical Systems

Homes built in the 1940s through the present will have grounded electrical systems. Grounding is a critical safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit. Grounding wires are connected directly to the earth through a metal grounding rod or a cold water pipe. Should a short circuit or an overload occur, any extra electricity will find its way along the grounding wire to the earth.

Aluminum Wiring

As the price of copper soared, aluminum wiring became more common in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the receptacles and switched of the time we not designed to work with aluminum wire, resulting in bad fitting connections and a greater risk of fire. If your home has aluminum wiring that was installed in the 1960s or 70s have Maitz perform a safety inspection to ensure it is safe and up to code.

Knob & Tube Wiring

The earliest type of wiring found in homes built in the 1800s through the 1930s, knob and tube wiring is an open air system that uses ceramic knobs to keep wires away from combustible framing. These suspended wires were directed through ceramic tubes to prevent contact with the wood framing and starting a fire. Knob and tube wiring is a fire hazard because it's not grounded and is more exposed to damage from old and faulty modification.

If your concerned about your home's electrical system, call Maitz. We can inspect your wiring, service panel and other electrical components to ensure they are safe and meet all safety requirements.
With spring weather just around the corner, now is a good time to schedule your annual air conditioner inspection and tune-up. Keeping your central air conditioner maintained will not only ensure that it runs reliably all season long, but will save you money. Even a small amount of dirt build-up can reduce efficiency, making your cooling system work harder to keep your home cool. This not only increases your utility bill and the likelihood of a breakdown, but can reduce the lifespan of your air conditioner. Here are some facts to consider:

“A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool – wasting energy and leading to expensive repairs and/or early system failure...A buildup of .042(1/20) inches of dirt on the heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease inefficiency of 21%.” – EnergyStar.gov

“1/8th of an inch of dirt and dust build-upon the blower wheel can reduce airflow by up to 30%”  – Texas A&M Study

In addition to keeping your air conditioner clean, a Maitz A/C tune-up includes lubricating moving parts, checking coolant levels, the blower motor, belts, electrical systems and much more. So call us today to schedule your AC tune up and rest assured that your cooling system is operating reliably and at peak efficiency all season long.


The EPA has been working to remove lead from drinking water for decades, yet it can still exist in trace amounts in municipal drinking water, or come from sources inside the home.

If your home was built prior to the 1980s, it's likely to have lead solder connecting the copper water pipes. Lead found in tap water often comes from corrosion of plumbing fixtures or the solder connecting the pipes. Today's plumbing fixtures must pass rigorous tests and be certified to contain levels of lead that are below safety thresholds.

Some major U.S. utilities use lead pipes to supply water from to homes and businesses. Because the pipes have been in use for a long time, they have formed a natural oxidation barrier that prevents lead from leeching into the water. Utilities will often add lime or orthophosphates as an additional barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water.

If you're concerned about lead in your home's drinking water, regular testing can help ensure that levels are safe to drink. In addition, EPA has an online guide called “How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products” that can help you choose the right plumbing fixtures for your home.

 

Who's WhoAllentown, Pa, January 13, 2017: Who’s Who in Business, a consumer market research firm has announced that Maitz Home Services, a Lehigh Valley based Plumbing HVAC & Electrical company has been named as the winner in the Plumbing category for the top business in the Lehigh Valley for 2017. Who’s Who in Business contracts with an independent market research firm to conduct objective, unbiased surveys of Lehigh Valley residents to determine the market leader in each category.

Says Dave DeWalt, president of Maitz Home Services, “What started out in a barn on the east side of Allentown many years ago, has now grown into a regional business with 34 employees managing 10,000 service calls a year. I am proud of the accomplishments of my associates, and grateful to our customers that place their trust in us”

Maitz Home Services provides Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, Electrical, and Water Treatment services to homeowners in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono’s, Berks, Bucks, and Montgomery Counties. They offer extended hours 7 days a week with no additional charges.

For more information contact Dave DeWalt, 610-797-8722 ext 311

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

How To Drain Your Water Heater Tank

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One way to extend the life of your water heater is to flush the tank annually to remove sediment buildup. Over time sediment can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, making heating less efficient and increasing the likelihood that corrosion will damage the tank. The process of flushing the tank is straightforward, here are the steps:

  1. Shut off the water supply - Locate the cold water supply valve at the top of the water heater and turn it to the off position.
  2. Turn off the water heater - If you have a gas water heater, simply turn the thermostat knob to the “pilot” setting. If the water heater is electric, turn off the power at the breaker panel.
  3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain, in a bucket (have several large buckets to empty into and rotate them if needed) or outside the home. CAUTION: Even though a water heater may be off for hours, the water in the tank may still be hot enough to scald.
  4. Open a hot water tap - Open a hot water tap on a floor above that is nearest the water heater. This will relieve pressure in the system, helping the water drain from the tank.
  5. Open the drain valve - After all the water has drained from the tank, turn the cold water supply at the top of the tank back on for a moment. This will clear out any remaining sediment. Repeat this step until the water runs clear.

When you're finished draining the tank, return it to operating condition by following these steps:

  1. Close the drain valve
  2. Remove the hose
  3. Turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank. 
  4. Return to the hot water tap you opened earlier. Once cold water begins to flow from the tap, turn it off.
  5. Turn the gas valve back on from the pilot position or turn electricity back on to the tank.
  6. Check the valve opening to ensure it's not leaking.

IMPORTANT: Always read and follow all manufacturer’s directions and warnings for your particular water heater. Some water heater tanks must be completely full to avoid damage to the gas burner or heating elements.

Need assistance maintaining your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.

Appliances that use natural gas for fuel, like your furnace, water heater or clothes dryer, rely on combustion to create heat. These appliances have traditionally utilized atmospheric combustion, or from air drawn inside the home, often from the basement. The combustion exhaust gases are then vented out of the flue or chimney. With sealed combustion appliances the supply and return air flow is tightly contained, so it does not have to rely on the air inside the home to convert fuel into heat.

The Advantages of Sealed Combustion

The main advantage of sealed combustion is improved efficiency. To achieve an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of 90 or higher, furnaces utilize sealed combustion. With sealed combustion, the furnace connects to the outdoor air through a supply and a return pipe. Because the air supplied to the furnace is outdoor air, and the flue gases are exhausted back outside furnace efficiency is increased because it is not heating air only to vent it outside.

Another advantage of sealed combustion is safety. Without an exposed flame, there is no risk of flammable materials near the appliance catching fire. Burning natural gas can also generate dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which is more likely to enter the home through backdraft in an sealed combustion chamber. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Water Heater Inspection Checklist

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When it comes to preventing plumbing problems around the home, being aware of the early warning signs can make the difference between a major repair and damage to your home, or a simple do-it-yourself fix.

When inspecting a water heater, look for the following:
  1. Is the hot water heater consistently producing hot water? Sudden drops in hot water supply could signal a problem with the burner, or a build up of sediment in the tank. 
  2. Check for unusual sounds. Gurgling sounds coming from a hot water heater are often a sign that sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank regularly can prevent sediment build up. 
  3. Are there burn marks at the base of the water heater? This is often a symptom of back drafting. Because this is a safety issue, have the water heater inspected by a professional plumber. 
  4. Check for proper ventilation. Ensure the draft hood is securely connected. The flu should be properly connected using a minimum of three screws per joint. Flues that are run into a chimney should be properly lined and connected to prevent carbon monoxide from re-entering the home. 
  5. Is there a drain pan under the water heater? If the tank is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan will ensure that water leaks do not cause damage to the floor and ceiling below. 
  6. Ensure a drip pipe is in place and is not leaking. The T&P or pressure relief valve should have a pipe that extends 6 inches from the floor. 
  7. Keep combustable materials away from the water heater. 
Need help with your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services anytime.


When smoke is visible coming from your oil-fired boiler, you may have what's known as "puffback". Puffback is the explosion of un-burned oil in the combustion chamber. If the quantity of oil is high enough, it can cause damage the boiler, the flue vent and can cause soot to enter the home.

There are several reasons that un-burned heating oil fuel can exist, including:

  • Leaks in the oil supply line. This is often visible as oil drips that occur when the equipment is not running.
  • Oil burner shutdown. Incomplete heating oil combustion can also occur if the "shut-down" phase of oil burner operation is not working properly.
  • Lack of Maintenance. Regular maintenance is important to prevent boiler problems such as a dirty oil spray nozzle, which can lead to a build up of unburned heating oil.
  • Improper boiler installation. In some cases installation problems such as a too-short chimney could cause inadequate draft, leading to sooty burner operation and poor heating.
Have questions about your oil-fired boiler? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.


Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Electrial Outlet Safety Checklist

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Faulty outlets are a common cause of electrical fires and electrocutions in the home. Outlets can present a danger for a number of reasons, including:

  1. Old, Ungrounded Outlets. In older homes it's not uncommon to still find ungrounded outlets, or outlets that have old wiring with connections. Old outlets should be replaced with new, grounded outlets to reduce the risk of fire and electrocution.
  2. Worn Out Outlets. Over time outlets can become worn out from use, especially if cords are not unplugged properly (always unplug from the grip at the end of the plug, never yank on the cord). When inserting a plug into an outlet it should feel snug, not overly tight or loose.
  3. Improperly Installed or Damaged Outlets. Improperly wired receptacles can be dangerous and are a common cause of home electrical fires. Wiring should always be performed by a licensed electrician. If an outlet cover is cracked or feels warm to the touch, have the receptacle inspected by an electrician.
  4. Outlets That Are Not Childproof. If there are young children in the home, don't rely on plastic outlet covers, they can easily be removed by a curious toddler. Have tamper resistant receptacles (TRR) installed. They will deactivate the outlet when a foreign object is inserted.
  5. Outlets in wet locations that do not have GFCIs. Outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and outdoors should be equipped with a ground fault interrupter (GFI) to prevent electrical shock if exposed to water. Test the GFI by pressing the "test" button located on the outlet, it should deactivate the outlet immediately.

By inspecting your outlets for any of the conditions above you can protect your home and family from the risk of accidental electrocution or fire. If you need help, Maitz Home Services is here to answer all your electrical questions.


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