Why You Need to Inspect Your Home’s Plumbing

home plumbing inspectionThink about all of the plumbing equipment in your Cincinnati area home. From the water heater and sump pump to the toilets and sinks, there are a lot of things that could go wrong and ruin your day. Checking your home’s plumbing is one way to keep disaster at bay, so you won’t have to come home to find your kitchen turned into a swamp.

See these 3 reasons to regularly check your plumbing from:

Avoid A Basement Catastrophe

People like surprises, but finding water in your Cincinnati basement when you expect your sump pump to work is not one of them. Over time, your sump pump may wear out, or the float may get stuck on the side of your sump pump pit.

It’s important to periodically check your sump pump to make sure it is working to avoid a wet basement. It’s also a good idea to install a sump pump battery backup, so your sump pump will work even when the power goes out.

Steer Clear of a Toilet & Faucet Meltdown

As your home’s toilet and faucet get older, it is more likely to need a repair here and there. Before doing repairs yourself, it’s a good idea to check the shut off valves for your toilet, kitchen, and bathroom faucets. That way, if you ever need to shut off the water in the event of an emergency, you will know where they are located and how they work.

You can also inspect the inner workings of your toilet for wear and tear. Over time, the valves in your toilet can wear out, and eventually cause a running toilet. This can cost you money on your water bill in addition to the annoying noise it creates.

Related Reads: 7 Items to Never Put Down Your Drain!

Never Step Into a Freezing Shower Again

Avoid stepping into a freezing cold shower by checking your water heater. This important piece of plumbing equipment is responsible for heating the water in your house. Keeping tabs on it will prevent it from going out when you least expect it to. You’ll want to check it for leaks, but also look for signs of rust near the bottom of the tank. A water heater that decides to fail can be a real messy problem.

These are just a few of the important pieces of plumbing equipment in your home that you need to inspect on a regular basis. For more information about plumbing inspections or to schedule one by a professional, contact Herrmann Services today.

Wait, Why Is There Water Under My Furnace?

water under furnace

When it comes to odd places to find water in your house, under your furnace would probably top that list. While finding water under your furnace can be a cause for concern, it doesn’t always mean costly repairs. There are a few reasons why you might have a wet floor under your furnace, and luckily some of them can be easily fixed without calling a repairman.

Find the Source of Water

The first thing you want to do is to find out exactly where the water is coming from. Making sure that it’s not standing water that has leaked from pipes, your foundation, or something else (like your water tank or washing machine) will make things easier for you to pinpoint and repair. Once you’re positive it’s coming from the furnace, it’s time to look at the possible causes and solutions.

Reasons Why Your Furnace is Leaking

  1. The floor drain may be clogged. It may be something as simple as a clog in the drain around your furnace where condensation is drained away.  Clear the floor drain of dirt, debris, and obstructions regularly to help reduce backups and flooding.
  2. Pipes may be improperly insulated or taped. If it’s been awhile since your condensation-bearing pipes have been checked, cleaned, and repaired, the insulation or tape around them may be wearing out, allowing condensation to form. Routine maintenance and checking of these pipes can help keep things running smoothly, and prevent water from pooling.
  3. Your A/C’s internal drain may be clogged. If your A/C shares an internal drainage pipe or system with your furnace, a clog can be a good possible cause of standing water on your floor. These clogs can form easily without regular service, and do require a professional to check them.
  4. You may have an issue with your flue pipe. If your flue pipe is in bad shape or is improperly sized, this can allow condensation to build up inside the furnace system itself and then pool on the floor. Problems with your flue are best checked and serviced by a professional to ensure everything is done properly and reduce future issues.

These are some of the more common reasons why you might have water pooling under your furnace. Doing regular maintenance can help tremendously in decreasing the likelihood of costly repairs in the future. Having tune-ups and regular servicing can help increase your system’s efficiency, reduce utility costs, and save you money in the long run!

Still unsure about the cause of water under your furnace? The professionals at Herrmann Services are experts that can help! Contact us online or call us at (513) 407-5177 for a professional inspection that’ll keep your furnace running at peak conditions.New Call-to-action

3 Ways To Get the Most Out of Your Ceiling Fan

black fan with gold fixtures in a homeAhh, ceiling fans. While not the most exciting fixture in our home, they provide such a necessary function, particularly as the summer months arrive. However, these home must-haves are often overlooked as boring install-and-leave fixtures. But if you know these three simple ceiling fan facts, you can increase your fan’s utility, lower your energy costs, and even connect certain fans to an app, getting the most out of a once static fixture.

 

1. Summer Heat Got You Beat? Change Your Fan’s Rotation

Many homeowners are not aware that your fan’s rotation is meant to be changed every summer and winter. During the summer, fan blades should be pointed upwards, usually moving in a counterclockwise rotation, so that air can be pushed down to the floor and result in a cooler feeling room.

During the winter, fans should rotate with their blades turned downwards, in a clockwise motion. Because heat rises, warm air usually gets trapped on the ceiling, leaving you shivering down below. With a properly rotating ceiling fan, it will help circulate the warm air to the bottom, resulting in a more evenly-temperatured feeling room. Usually, a switch is provided on the fan itself that can change the direction. If not, contact our knowledgeable electricians for more consulting help.

2. Save Money By Doing The Unthinkable: Turning Your Fan Off

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, shutting the fan off when you leave a room will help save  on electricity bills and it won’t really affect the temperature of the room. Here’s how this works: fans never actually lower room temperature, they only circulate air. This air is pushed down onto your skin, drying your perspiration, and leaving you feeling naturally cool and refreshed.

But if you aren’t there, then the fan simply runs for nothing and eats up electricity. So next time you feel like saving some money, remember to shut the fan off before you leave a room.

3. Pay Less, Get Smarter: App-controlled Fans

Did you know that even your ceiling fans are becoming “smart”? With companies making digitally-integrated ceiling fans, you are now able to set timing schedules, control spin speed, change blade rotation, and even have motion sensing technology that turns on and off when you enter or leave a room. All of this from your phone!

Having a smart ceiling fan may seem like overkill, but the savings you will get from such an efficient machine may be worth your while.

Are you thinking about installing a new ceiling fan that meets all of your summer needs, or need help changing your fan’s rotation, contact us at Herrmann Services for professional and reliable services!

7 Items to Never Put Down Your Drain!

Items To Never Put Down DrainThere are a lot of myths out there about what is okay to flush down your toilet or put in your garbage disposal. At Herrmann Services, our plumbers have seen it all. That’s why we came up with this list of items to never flush down your toilet or wash down your garbage disposal. Follow these suggestions and keep your drains clog free.

    Don’t Flush These Items:

  1. Hygiene Products: Even if the packaging on feminine products claims they are “flushable”, don’t do it! Some companies may not test their product in real-life conditions, leading to products safe in laboratories but not so safe in actual septic tanks or sewers. Always throw them in the trash instead. 
  2. Baby Wipes: These are one of the absolute worst items to flush down a toilet. They do not degrade easily and end up gathering together to make large obstructions that require professional help. 
  3. Cotton Swabs: If you are applying cosmetics or cleaning out ears, these tiny, non-threatening sticks with bits of fluff are not going to make it through the necessary twists and turns of a plumbing system. 
  4. Toilet Paper: But it’s made to be flushed, right? Um, not always. If you go for the super-plush mega ply brands, you may want to be careful about how much you use. The higher the grade, the higher the risk. If you want to pamper your bum, make sure to only use as much as necessary.

    Don’t Put These Down Your Disposal:

  5. Grease: After traveling a few inches down the pipes, the heat effect wears off, the grease quickly cools and a buildup of residue clings to pipes which bits and bobs and other particles become trapped in. Not only will a clog eventually develop, but it will be a very smelly process.
  6. Coffee Grounds: They seem harmless, right? Surely those fine particles won’t clog the drain, right? They might also mask nasty odors emanating up from pipes, right? Wrong, on all accounts. These particles continue to retain moisture and, in effect, become like a cement alternative. Toss them in the garbage.
  7. Certain Food Scraps: But you’ve got a disposal installed in the sink, you say. That’s what it’s made for, you say. Then you end up with a terrible clog. Vegetable peels and pasta should never be put down a disposal. Pasta expands and vegetable peels are never shredded into small enough particles. It will take next to forever for even a small piece of potato peel to biodegrade. And it will stink until its final demise.

No Clog Is a Match for Our Hydro Jet Clog Buster

If you do get a clog, call the expert clog removers at Herrmann Services. We’ve got the latest equipment including our Hydro Jet clog remover. This tool uses a high-pressure water jet inside your pipes to remove everything from hair and grease to roots and rocks!

Call us at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online when you need your drains unclogged.    

Hydro Jet – The Fastest Drain Cleaning Solution

Herrmann Services in CincinnatiAt Herrmann Services, we pride ourselves on our fast, fixed-the-first-time plumbing services. That’s why we invest in the latest and greatest plumbing solutions – like our hydro jet drain cleaning tool. We have always provided full-service drain cleaning for homes in the Cincinnati area, but now, we’ve upped our game.

 

Hydro Jetting Clears Every Clog Fast

Hydro JettingThe hydro jet system uses high pressure water jetting inside your pipes to clear anything in its way. Grease, hair, rocks, roots, you name it – they don’t stand a chance against this state-of-the-art drain cleaning tool. Combine that with our video technology that lets our plumbers pinpoint the clog, and your plumbing problems are over.

No Drain Is a Match for Our Hydro Jet

Our plumbers have years of experience, and you will always get the same professionalism every time we enter your home. Our philosophy is to always provide upfront pricing, so you will know exactly what your drain cleaning will cost before we ever start the job. We use the camera to identify broken or collapsed pipe, blockages, corrosion, leaking joints, and even tree root infiltration. This prevents costly digging or damage to your pipe system. Our plumbers can handle:

  • Drain Cleaning CincinnatiKitchen Drain Cleaning
  • Bathroom Drain Cleaning
  • Main Sewer Pipe Cleaning
  • Toilet Drain Cleaning
  • Floor Drain Cleaning
  • Window Well Cleaning
  • Downspout Cleaning
  • Residential and Commercial

Say goodbye to clogged or slow-running plumbing! Just call Herrmann Services and our hydro jetter, the ultimate drain cleaning tool, will have your pipes clean as a whistle in no time. Contact us online or call us at (513) 737-8423.

Is Your Family Always Running Out of Hot Water? Consider a Tankless Water Heater!

Navien Tankless InstallBefore tankless water heaters existed, homeowners had one choice – a traditional water heater. Traditional water heaters have numerous drawbacks, from slow heating times, to high energy consumption, to finite supplies. In the past, tankless water heaters were small and inefficient. Today, improved tankless water heaters are gaining popularity for a number of reasons. A tankless water heater represents a wonderful way to minimize inconveniences such as cold showers for the last member of the family to wake up. If you’re contemplating an upgrade to a tankless water heater, this list of FAQs can help you make an informed decision.

What Is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater is what it sounds like: a water heating system that does not require a large holding tank to operate. Instead, water is quickly brought to temperature on an as-needed basis. In this way, a tankless water heater is able to meet an entire home’s hot water needs while taking up a fraction of the space of a traditional water heater. A tankless water heater is about the size of a small suitcase and is mounted on the wall, taking up much less floor space than a traditional water heater.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Many people have a hard time believing that a relatively small box mounted on their wall will really be capable of providing the same hot water supply as a traditional water heater. Yet, thanks to the high powered heat exchangers inside of a tankless water heater, it is actually able to surpass the output of a normal water heater. Tankless water heaters are capable of providing a virtually limitless supply of hot water, by providing only as much hot water as is needed by your hot water fixtures or appliances. The only way you could run out of hot water is if you ran out of cold water!

What Are the Advantages of a Tankless Water Heater?

By now, you are already acquainted with two key advantages of tankless water heaters: their small physical footprint, and the fact that they are not hampered by a fixed capacity. This reliability is a huge advantage to busy families. There are also safety advantages to selecting a tankless water heater. There is also no danger of the tank leaking and ruining your lower level since there is no water being held.

If you’d like to learn more about tankless water heaters, or need one installed in your home, call the experts at Herrmann Services at (513) 407-5177. We’ll answer all of your questions and get you set up in no time!

5 Reasons to Switch to a High-Efficiency Air Conditioner

Is summer your favorite season? While most of us enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, no one likes to spend all day sweating, certainly not in their own home. Thank goodness for air conditioning!
air conditioner brokenHowever, keep in mind that your air conditioner is one of the biggest energy consumers in your household. We know no one wants to buy a new AC, but if it’s time, this will make you feel better about your purchase of a new energy-efficient model. The team at Herrmann Services put together this list of benefits when you upgrade:

1. Higher Efficiency Means Lower Bills

Using less energy means spending less money! Your upgrade could save you 20-40 percent of your cooling costs.

2. New AC Systems Will Have Fewer Breakdowns

A high-efficiency system uses the latest technology, making it both more efficient and more durable than an older model. Still, simple measures like cleaning the air filters and getting a routine tune-up can prolong the life of your air conditioner and prevent more costly repairs.New Call-to-action

3. You’ll Experience Greater Comfort

Newer models do their job better. Your upgrade might allow for a system that runs more quietly or cools your home more quickly and evenly. Having an experienced heating and cooling company install your new AC will also ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible. Our technicians will make sure your furnace or air conditioner is sized properly for your Cincinnati home so you get the maximum amount of efficiency and comfort.

4. Using Less Energy Is Good for the Environment

High-efficiency air conditioners use 20-50 percent less energy, particularly when combined with other energy-saving measures. Using less energy not only saves you money, but it’s good for the environment too.

5. Tune-Ups Keep Your Old System Running Smoothly

Don’t run the risk of your air conditioner giving up on you when you need it most. Now is the perfect time to get an inspection to see if you should repair, replace, or upgrade your air conditioning system. Even a simple tune-up can prevent breakdowns, help your air conditioner run more efficiently, and get you through another hot Cincinnati summer.

Herrmann Services can provide a checkup for your air conditioner and help you decide whether it’s best to tune it up, repair it, or upgrade to a high-efficiency system that will save you money and keep you cool for years to come. Call us at (513) 407-5177 to schedule an appointment.

5 Tips to Get Your Home and Air Conditioner Ready for Summer

summer in cincinnatiAre you ready for summer? Have you stocked up on sunblock and flip flops? You may be ready, but what about your home? You need to prep it for the hot months ahead if you want to save money on your utility bills. Herrmann Services put together this list of tips to help you save money this summer on energy bills.

What Can You Do to Save Money on Utility Bills This Summer?

The long-range forecast for Ohio, and most of the Midwest, this summer is hot, hot, hot. As early as June, homeowners can expect temperatures to be in the 80s. There will be plenty of sunshine, which will set the stage for July and August to be even hotter. Staying cool inside your home doesn’t have to trigger a fainting spell when utility bills arrive. Here are some tips to get your home primed and ready for better energy efficiency this summer:

  1. Repair any damage to the roof and siding that may have occurred during the winter season.
  2. Replace caulking around windows and entry doors.
  3. Check your home’s insulation and add more if necessary.
  4. Update old windows or apply energy film on windows to improve energy efficiency.
  5. Install a new AC air filter and fire the system up for a test run and system check.
  6. Schedule an inspection and service of your home’s heating and cooling system.

Make sure your AC is running smoothly with this handy checklist!

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HVAC Service Indoor & Out

Why is it so important for a professional to service your air conditioner? Because your HVAC system has indoor and outdoor equipment that require specialized expertise. Winter weather is often windy, blowing debris into the outdoor AC unit. A dirty unit is a harder working unit, which drives up energy consumption. You change the oil in your car regularly, don’t you? That keeps the engine running more efficiently and helps you avoid  car repairs. air conditioner replacement. The same principle applies to an air conditioning system. Your AC needs routine maintenance on all of its integral components like motors, fans, coils, coolant, and filters to keep it running efficiently.

To help prepare your AC system before a heat wave strikes, contact the experts who have been serving the greater Cincinnati area for nearly 50 years. Herrmann Services is family owned, professionally staffed and ready to surpass your service expectations! Call us at (513) 737-8423.

Sump Pump Check: 5 Things to Check to Avoid Water Damage

Sump Pump Check

April showers bring May flowers! Spring is right around the corner, and with it comes the rainy season. While all the rain is great blooming spring flowers, it is not so good for our basements and crawl spaces.

All of this rain greatly increases the odds of basement flooding, even if you don’t live in a flood plain. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are the No. 1 disaster in America, averaging over $3 billion in claims per year.

Repairing flood damage can be extremely costly depending on the extent of water entering your home.

So, what should you do to avoid coming home to knee-deep water in your basement?

Perform regular tests and maintenance of your sump pump! To test your pump all you need is a 5 gallon bucket and some water.

Test the Sump Pump

Make sure your sump pump is plugged in and slowly pour water into the hole where the pump is sitting. When the water caused the float to rise the pump should turn on and begin pumping out the water.

If your pump does not have a float, you can expect the pump to turn on when the water level is roughly 8-12 inches from the top of the floor.

Watch It Pump

Let your sump pump run until the water is low enough to turn off the pump, then fill it up again to make sure it turns on again.

Related Read: Looking for a 24-Hour Plumber in Cincinnati?

Check the Float

If your sump pump didn’t turn on, you may have a problem with your float. Make sure it is not stuck or rubbing against the side of the sump pump pit. The float is what triggers the on/off switch, so if it cannot move freely, it may be why your sump pump won’t turn on.

Try raising the float by lifting it up by hand to see if the pump turns on, or add more water to the sump basin until the float becomes activated. If the pump still does not operate you may have a bigger issue at hand.

Check the Outlet Pipe

Look for the outlet pipe on the outside of your home. This pipe should be directed away from your foundation to carry the water from your basement out, and away from your home.

Check for any clogs, buildup, or debris that would prevent a steady flow of water. You should also check for any obvious signs of damage that would require a repair. Water should be flowing freely and should not run back toward your home.

Consider Age and Condition of Sump Pump

Sump pumps usually have a lifespan of 10 years or so. With the weather we have in Cincinnati, there is a good chance that your sump pump gets a regular workout.

If your sump pump is over 10 years old, or is completely rusted over and ancient looking, there is a good chance you are on borrowed time. Even if it is working, plan to have it replaced soon so you don’t have a failure at the worst possible time.

What Else Can You do to Reduce Flood Risk to Your Home?

  1. Install a Battery Backup: With heavy storms, there is always a good chance your power may go out. Your sump pump runs on electricity so if the power goes out, your sump pump cannot pump water out of your basement.  Sump pump battery backup systems are available and they allow your sump pump to operate even if the power is out. If your sump pump loses power a battery backup pump may just be the saving grace you need to keep your home dry.
  2. Check your gutter system: Rain gutters should be free of debris and cleaned regularly too allow water to flow away from your foundation. Additionally, you can consider purchasing gutter extensions which will attach to your down spouts to carry water further from the base of your home.
  3. Waterproof the walls: You can help to limit the amount of water that can enter your basement by plugging gaps and lining the walls. Your local hardware store will sell a waterproofing/sealing paint that you can add to increase the likelihood your walls will keep water out.

I’ve Had Water Damage, Now What?

  1. Contact your homeowners insurance immediately to see if you qualify for any coverage. Take extensive photos of the damage if necessary.
  2. To help keep costs of repairs low, the next step to take is to dry out the basement. If you’re dealing with standing water left on the floor, consider renting a wet vac to suck up and dispose of the remaining water.
  3. A dehumidifier will to help dry out the rest of the basement and reduce the occurrence of mold.
  4. Contact your plumber to rectify the problem so it does not happen again.

Herrmann Services offers service and maintenance for sump pumps and we can install a new one or offer a battery backup system. If you need sump pump service or installation, call us at (513) 407-5177.

Tankless vs Traditional Water Heaters – Pros & Cons

traditional vs tankless water heater

Your water heater is an essential part of your home’s mechanical system. The words, “There’s no hot water!” preceded by a shriek from the shower, are not something you want to hear from your teenage daughter as she’s getting ready for school in the morning!

According to the American Water Works Association, The average American family uses 45-65 gallons of water per person, per day. And 20-30 gallons of that water is the heated variety — hot water for showers, baths, dishes, laundry, etc.

We depend on our water heater for all of these activities every day of every week. It’s precisely because it’s such a valuable piece of equipment, that when something goes wrong with it, it can feel like a catastrophe!

Sooner or later, every homeowner faces the prospect of having to replace a failed or aging water heater. When that day arrives, which will you choose — one of the new tankless water heaters or a traditional model? Here’s some helpful information on tankless vs. traditional water heaters to help you decide before you actually need to replace yours.

Differences Between Traditional & Tankless Water Heaters

A traditional water heater has a tank that stores and pre-heats anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water at a time to use for showers, laundry, etc. Once that hot water is used, the tank starts all over again, refilling and pre-heating another 30-50 gallons.

A tankless water heater doesn’t store any water. Rather, it uses gas or electricity to warm the water as it’s needed. It’s an “on demand” system.

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of each …

Traditional Water Heater Pros

  • Lower initial installation cost
  • Low venting cost
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to replace
  • Still works during power outage (gas powered)

Traditional Water Heater Cons

  • Limited amount of hot water available at one time
  • Higher energy bills in the winter
  • Shorter life compared to tankless water heaters
  • Freshness of water – water that is in the tank a while can collect corrosion and rust
  • Space – The tank takes up more room than a tankless version
  • Over time, the tank could get a leak

Tankless Water Heater Pros

  • Never run out of hot water
  • Less energy to operate
  • Higher efficiency meaning monthly savings on energy bills
  • Space-saving
  • Lasts longer than a traditional water heater – up to 20 years

Tankless Water Heater Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Basically serves one tap at a time, making it impossible for a person to have a hot shower while the washer is filling with hot water
  • Runs on electricity and won’t work during a power outage

It all comes down to the needs of your family and your priorities. If you need a water heater and don’t want to spend more initially, a traditional water heater may be a better choice. If, on the other hand, you prefer your hot water “on demand”, and don’t mind the higher up-front costs, the tankless version may be the right choice for you.

If you are ready to replace your water heater and need professional installation in the Cincinnati area, fill out the form on the top of the page or call (513) 407-5177.

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