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According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) 2,400 children in the U.S. are treated for injuries caused by electrical outlets. To gauge the level of risk in the average home with small children, the ESFI conducted a survey of mothers with young children regarding the importance of Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs), which have been required by the National Electrical Code since 2008 to prevent these injuries. The results show that much more education is needed.

  • Nearly 1/3 of parents with young children do not have their outlets childproofed.
  • 86% of parents who childproof their outlets use plastic outlet caps.
  • 40% agree that plastic outlet caps could be removed by toddlers
  • Over 1/3 are unaware if their child’s daycare provider or school childproofs their electrical outlets.
  • 44% of respondents are not familiar at all with TRRs.
  • 61% of respondents who have TRRs have them due to previous installation before they moved.

Why are TRRs preferred over other outlet protection devices such as caps or sliding outlet covers?

  1. 100% of all 2-4 year olds were able to remove one type of plastic outlet cap within 10 seconds in a study by Temple University.
  2. Outlet Caps may pose as a choking hazard.
  3. TRRs provide permanent security against the insertion of objects other than cord plugs into the energized slots.

If your concerned about the safety of your electrical outlets, give Maitz Home Services a call, we can help upgrade your outlets to tamper resistant receptacles.

The type of sewer pipe material your home has will depend on its age. Older homes often have clay or cast iron pipes, while newer homes are most likely to use plastic. However, as older sewer lines are replaced, it's becoming more common to find plastic lines in oder homes.

Clay Sewer Pipes

Clay is one of the oldest pipe materials still in use today. It's main advantage is that it's inert and resistant to chemical degradation. The downside of clay sewer pipe is its porous surface, which makes it a magnet for tree roots. It is also more brittle than some other pipe materials.

Cast Iron Sewer Pipes

As with clay pipe, cast-iron sewer pipe is more commonly found in older homes, although it is still commonly used today. The main advantage of cast iron is it's long lifespan and strength. A 4" diameter sewer pipe can withstand almost 5,000 pounds of pressure per linear foot. By comparison, a plastic sewer pipe can be damaged by a person standing on it! Cast iron's main disadvantage is weight.

Plastic Sewer Pipes - PVC and ABS

Plastic sewer pipe is made from either ABS and PVC. Its smooth surface provide excellent carrying capacity of waste and makes it resistant to tree root intrusion. It must be installed carefully however, as plastic is not as strong as other materials and can bend or collapse if not sufficiently supported with sand or gravel.

Orangeburg Sewer Pipes

Orangeburg is a pipe material you're unlikely to encounter these days, and for good reason. Made from celulose wood fiber held together with adhesive and impregnated with liquefied coal tar, Orangeburg pipe was lightweight and easy to work with, but was also weak and prone to failure, which has resulted in many sewer lines being replaced over the years.

Have question about your sewer line? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.

If you're suddenly noticing a sewer odor in your home, there are several possible causes ranging from minor and easy to fix, to more serious problems. Here are some things to check first:

1. Check the floor drain trap. Without water to block the sewer gas from escaping, odors will enter the room. Pour water down the floor drain to refill the trap.

2. Check the clean-out plug inside the floor drain. Remove the grate that covers the drain and make sure there's a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, sewer gas will be able to bypass the water trap. A replacement plug can be bought at most home supply stores.

3. Unused toilets. When toilets are unused for a long period of time the water in the trap will eventually evaporate.  Flushing the toilet will refill the trap.

4. Worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring seals the toilet flange to the toilet base. If the wax ring cracks, sewer gas can escape from the pipe beneath the toilet. If the ring is worn or broken, the toilet will need to be removed and a new wax ring installed. If the toilet is loose on the base, shims can be used to ensure the toilet doesn't shift and break the new wax ring.

Other possible causes of sewer odors include a broken or cracked sewer line or, less often, a loose connection joint in an interior wall. If you've checked the other possibilities above, it's time to contact your plumber to hunt down the cause.

Have sewer and drain line questions? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help will all your sewer and drain problems.


Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Troubleshooting Outdoor Faucet Problems

It's a hot, humid summer day and you're all ready to fill the kid's inflatable pool with water, but the outside spigot is not working or has low water pressure. Here are some things to check when the outside faucet stops flowing.

Shut-off valve

If it was turned off during the winter, did you remember to turn the water shut-off valve back on?

Worn Washer

Check to see if the rubber washer has worn out. Sometimes the washer will disintegrate and block the flow of water. Replace the washer if necessary.

Loose Seal

If the seal is not tight, the handle may be too loose to open the valve. The solution is to tighten the collar nut.

Water leaks

Has your water bill been higher than usual? There may be a leak further up the line. Have a plumber check the system.

Hard Water

High mineral content in the water can eventually build up and block the flow of water. If the clog is near to the opening you may be able to clean it out yourself, but if it’s farther down the line, it's time to call a plumber.

Low Water Pressure

If you have checked the other possible causes above, the problem is likely related to low water pressure. Your plumber can help you identify the cause and recommend solutions.

Need help with outdoor plumbing? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.


Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Choosing the Right Fan For Your Home

Fans play an important role in maintaining comfort and indoor air quality in your home. The several types of fans that serve different roles, they are:

Whole-House Fans

This type of fan is designed to circulate air throughout a home's ductwork. It is sometimes confused with an attic ventilator fan (see below), which exhausts hot air from the attic to the outside through an opening in the roof. In some cases, a whole house fan can take the place of a home's air conditioning system by circulating air during times of the year when it's not too hot, particularly when combined with ceiling fans.

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

A bathroom exhaust fan is designed to remove stale, humid air from bathrooms, laundry rooms and other enclosed spaces with high humidity. They improve air quality and reduce the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. When installing an exhaust fan it's important to ensure that the fan is ducted to the exterior of the house and not just into an attic.

Attic Fans

Also called an attic ventilator, attic fans regulate the heat level of a home's attic by exhausting hot air. They are usually controlled by a thermostat that automatically turns the fan off and on, or less frequently by a manual switch. An attic fan can be gable mounted or roof mounted.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a popular choice for improving airflow in rooms, as well as serving as lighting fixtures and enhancing room decor. While a ceiling fan doesn't actually lower the temperature, it circulates the conditioned air where it's needed most and provides evaporative cooling.

Need a fan for your home? Give Maitz Home Services a call. We're here to help.

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Home Electrical Safety Tips For Spring

With the arrival of spring, many Allentown area homeowners will be looking to tackle home improvement projects With the warm spring weather comes home improvement projects around the outside of the home. So it's a good time to think about electrical safety to reduce the risk of accidental injury.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) recommends the following simple safety rules:
  • Ladders—even those made of wood—that come into contact with a power line can prove fatal
  • Keep all ladders at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines
  • Unplug outdoor tools and appliances when not in use
  • Inspect power tools and appliances for frayed cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housing. Repair or replace damaged items
  • Water and electricity do not mix. Avoid damp conditions — including wet grass — when using electricity
  • Ensure that all outdoor outlets are equipped with Ground Fault Interrupters (GFIs)
  • Do not use power tools with an extension cord that exceeds 100 feet in length
  • Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated
  • When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electric shock
If your home needs electrical work, it's best to let the professional electricians at Maitz Home Services do the work for you. We can handle any size electrical project, from installing new outlets to complete rewiring.

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.

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