Holiday Garbage Disposal No-Nos

Garbage Disposal No-NosYour garbage disposal is a great appliance. It makes cleanup in the kitchen faster and easier by devouring old scraps and leftovers. But as good as it is, it has its limits. Holidays, with extra crowds and heavy kitchen use, can really add stress to the garbage disposal. Everything you put down your disposal goes into your plumbing. As plumbers, we’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff get caught in those pipes. So this year, we’d like to keep you from being one of our service calls for a clogged drain or broken garbage disposal unit. The plumbers at Herrmann Services put together this list.

10 Things to Never Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

  1. Grease – While liquid grease is hot and thin, when it hits those pipes, it cools and thickens coating your pipes. It creates a sludge that other items can get caught in and create a blockage. It’s best to put grease in a jar and dispose of it in the trash.
  2. Bones – Bones are just too hard for the garbage disposal blades to crush. They’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades and won’t wash down the pipe. Then they will start to stink and you’ll have to dig them out by hand – gross!
  3. Celery – The fibrous strings that run down a stalk of celery get tangled around the disposal blades. They can jam it and cause the motor to fail. If any do get through, they are just the thing to cause a tangle further down the line when they meet other disposal no-nos.  
  4. Coffee Grounds – While they seem harmless, the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge and creates the same problem as the grease. Just dump them in the trash or compost instead.
  5. Eggshells – By themselves, eggshells aren’t horrible, but when ground, egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to any grease in the pipes causing buildup and eventually clogs.
  6. Corn Husks – Just like celery, the long, stringy fibers get caught in the blades and can cause a jam.
  7. Artichokes – Artichoke leaves are just too fibrous to be ground up by the disposal blades. Toss these in the trash or compost as well.
  8. Fruit Pits – Fruit pits are extremely hard and can jam the disposal blades.
  9. Potato Peels – While they are not too hard for the disposal to grind up, their starchiness can cause a sticky mess and clogs in the pipes.
  10. Noodles – Just like potato peels, the starch becomes sticky and slimy and can cause problems down the pipe.

If you run into trouble, first try these garbage disposal troubleshooting tips. Here’s hoping your holidays are filled with delicious food and your plumbing runs perfectly. But if you do need help, give us a call at (513) 737-8423.

Top 20 Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

Safety Tips For Holiday DecoratingThe holidays are filled with colorful lights, twinkling trees and even blow-up yard decorations. Almost all of these winter wonders require electricity. According to the ESFI (Electrical Safety Foundation International) 25% of holiday fires are caused by decorations. That’s about 860 home fires. Don’t let your home be one of them. The good folks at Herrmann Services want to make sure your season stays merry, not scary, so we’ve made a list and we’d like you to check it twice. Follow these easy safety tips to keep your home and loved ones safe.

Hanging Decorations and Strands of Lights

We know the holidays are a busy time and you may be tempted to cut corners when it comes to decorating your home, but don’t. Follow these rules and be safe:

  • Inspect Electrical Decorations for Damage
    Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections can cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Never Connect More Than Three Strands of Incandescent Lights
    More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.

TIP: You may want to update your lights to LEDs. They produce considerably less heat and use less electricity too.

  • Watch Bulb Placement
    Make sure bulbs don’t touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that’s not part of the light string.
  • Use the Proper Clips for Hanging Decorations
    Staples and nails can damage electrical cords and cause shorts.
  • Look for Certification Labels
    Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous. Look for Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL).
  • Check for Indoor/Outdoor Rating
    If using outside, make sure the extension cord is labeled for outdoor use.
  • Watch for Overhead Power Lines Outdoors
    If you are using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you’re hanging lights or decorations on trees outside, power lines can be lethal. Know where they are before you start.
  • Turn Off or Unplug Decorations When Going to Bed or Leaving
    According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

Outlet Safety

We know it can be difficult, but try not to plug too many holiday decorations into your outlets. Also, make sure your outlets are GFCI in the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside.  

  • Inspect Outlets before Using
    If the outlet shows any signs of damage, such as black lines where the plug enters or sparks when you plug something in, don’t use that outlet and have a professional electrician inspect it.
  • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
    Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage. Circuits that frequently trip can indicate too many items are connected to the circuit.
  • Use Battery-Operated Candles
    Candles start almost half of home decoration fires according to the NFPA. Battery operated candles have no wires to be plugged in or hazardous open flames.
  • Use GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlets Outdoors
    GFCI outlets are designed to cut off electricity when it senses an imbalance between the outgoing and incoming current. It keeps people from being electrocuted. They are recommended for outlets near water including outdoors and in bathrooms and kitchens. You can tell if yours are GFCI outlets by looking for the reset button (usually red) on the outlet.

Extension Cord Safety Tips

About 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. In addition, 4,000 people a year are treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with extension cords. Half of these injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions, or sprains as a result of people tripping over the cords. Follow these rules for using extension cords.

  • Inspect the Cord
    Look for cracks, loose connections at the ends, or damaged coverings and loose or bare wires. Throw away any cords that are in poor condition.
  • Check for Indoor/Outdoor Rating
    If using outside, make sure the extension cord is labeled for outdoor use.
  • Use GFCI-Protected Outlets
    Plug outdoor electrical decorations into GFCI-protected outlets to prevent shock.
  • Protect Cords from Damage
    To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be smashed by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows where they can be pinched, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.
  • Watch Out for Water
    Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles.
  • Don’t Stretch Extension Cords over Walkways
    This can cause a tripping hazard. It’s best to run extension cords alongside walkways when possible.

Other Common Hazards

  • Space Heaters
    Space heaters result in far more fires than central furnaces. Never leave one unattended or around pets or children without supervision. Make sure it is not near carpets, rugs, drapery, bedding or anything else flammable.  
  • Carbon Monoxide
    This is one of the most preventable hazards. Install a CO detector in your home today. They are inexpensive and plug right into a wall outlet. It can save your life!

Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it. We hope these tips will keep you safe this holiday season. If you need any electrical help, just call us at Herrmann Services at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

Water under Your Furnace – What to Check For

Water Under FurnaceDon’t panic if you see water under your furnace. There’s a 50/50 chance that it’s something you can fix. Here are four reasons why you might have a wet floor under your furnace, and luckily two of them can be easily fixed without calling a repairman.

Identify the Source of the Water

The first thing you have to do is find out exactly where the water is coming from. Make sure that it’s not standing water that has leaked from pipes, your foundation, or something else (like your water heater or washing machine). Once you’re positive it is coming from the furnace, look at these four possible causes and solutions.

4 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 a while 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 AC’s internal drain may be clogged. If your air conditioner 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 to reduce future issues that may need furnace repair.

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 who can help! Contact us online or call us at (513) 737-8423 for a professional inspection that’ll keep your furnace running at peak efficiency.

The Secret Red Button That Could Solve Your Garbage Disposal Problems

Every once in a great while, we stumble across a tip that’s just too handy not to pass on. Lucky for you, today is that day. At Herrmann Services, our plumbers fix dozens of plumbing problems every day. They also know all the tricks of the trade. Today, we’re sharing a garbage disposal tip that just may help you out of a jam (literally) and save you a service call.

When the Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

Safety reminder: Never put your hand down into the garbage disposal (grinding chamber). Use a wooden spoon or another tool to dislodge anything stuck.

Your garbage disposal is smarter than you think. It is designed to turn off automatically when the disposal gets clogged, if it overheats, or if there is something wrong with the motor. The simple fix you probably didn’t know about is the little red reset button on the bottom of your disposal.

First, make sure the disposal is turned off. Look for a red button underneath the disposal. If it has popped out about a quarter of an inch, simply press it back in and try running the disposal. Sometimes this is all it takes. Don’t forget to check the electrical panel to see if the breaker needs to be flipped back on.  

If the garbage disposal reset button still will not stay in, or if you have to repeatedly reset the breaker, the disposal may be jammed. Read on to troubleshoot a garbage disposal jam.

Garbage Disposal Bottom

When the Motor Hums But Won’t Grind

If the motor hums, but there is no grinding sound, that means the flywheel is stuck. Either the reset button will trip or the fuse or circuit breaker in your electrical service panel will trip and turn off the disposal. The flywheel is stuck because something is lodged between it or the impeller(s) and the shredder ring. Learn about the anatomy of a garbage disposal below:

Parts of A Garbage Disposal

How to Dislodge the Jam

Here’s another handy trick to know about your garbage disposal. You can turn the flywheel from under the disposal as well. Just take the offset wrench that came with the disposal and insert it into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don’t see a wrench, it’s just a simple Allen wrench and you can pick one up from the hardware store. Turn the wrench clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you’ll feel the flywheel turn freely.

Once freed, turn the power back on at the electrical panel and press the reset button before trying the disposal. But don’t turn on the disposal yet. Run water and quickly flip the switch on and off to spin the flywheel, dislodge any obstruction, and rinse it down the drain. If you don’t see an obstruction and the disposal will not run, it may require service or replacement.

10 Things You Should Never Put Down Garbage Disposal

  • Grease – it will coat your pipes
  • Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
  • Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal blades
  • Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
  • Eggshells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
  • Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
  • Artichokes – again, too fibrous
  • Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
  • Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess
  • Your hand – nuff said

If these tips don’t work, call the plumbers in Cincinnati at Herrmann Services and we’ll be there in a jiffy to fix that garbage disposal or replace it if necessary.

Call us at (513) 407-5177 or contact us online.

DIY drain cleaning like a pro

8 Easy Plumbing Tips to Avoid Plumbing Problems

Easy Plumbing Tips

When it comes to owning a home, simple preventative measures can help you avoid massive problems in all areas of your house. This is especially true for plumbing. Broken pipes and clogged drains can lead to inconvenience as well as expensive repairs. No one wants to deal with water damage. The team at Herrmann Services put this list together to help you avoid plumbing problems before they happen. Follow these tips and hopefully, you won’t have to call us anytime soon.

1. Flush Your Kitchen Drain

Grease and soap can accumulate in your drain. Rather than wait for the drain to back up, treat the kitchen drain with a maintenance product like total-c. Total-c is an environmentally friendly product that helps eat away grease buildup and keep drains open longer.

2. Clean Your Sink and Tub Drains Monthly

Believe it or not, a ninety-nine cent plastic drain stick can save you a lot of trouble. Go to the home improvement store and buy one. It’s a little piece of plastic about a foot long with teeth along either side. These teeth grab hair and other items that build up in your drain and pull them out. Doing this once a month or so will prevent buildup and clogs. Bathroom sinks, tubs, and showers will all benefit from regular cleaning.

3. Inspect Laundry Hoses

Laundry hoses are notorious for causing water damage. They can burst at the worst times (like when no one is home) and flood entire rooms with five gallons of water per minute! Don’t take the chance. Inspect your hoses every few months for cracks, bulges and leaks. Replace them immediately if you see signs of wear and tear. An even better idea is to replace them with metal hoses that won’t burst. Replace the dishwasher hose while you’re at it.

4. Inspect the Water Heater

A leaky water heater is another cause of potential large-scale water damage. Your water heater tank holds 30-80 gallons of water depending on the size you have. If it decides to leak, that’s a lot of water that can do a lot of damage before anyone notices you’re out of hot water and checks. Inspect your water heater for leaks and/or rust. If you notice a leak, call us right away to have your water heater replaced.

5. Unhook Hoses from Outdoor Faucets When It Gets Cold

Even after you turn off the water, there’s some water left in the pipe. When you unhook the hose, this water can drain. If you leave the hose there, it cannot. When it gets cold, the leftover water freezes, which can cause your pipe to crack and could result in a large leak once the outdoor temperature rises. Unhook your hoses before the first freeze is predicted.

6. Reduce Your Home’s Water Pressure

Water pressure makes your pipe joints, faucets, and appliance valves work harder. It’s easy to measure your water pressure with a hose bib gauge, available at the home improvement store for under $20. Attach it to an outside spigot and open the line. Normal pressure is between 40 and 80 psi. If it’s above that range, consider hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducing valve.

7. Know Where Your Main Shut-Off Valve Is Located

In the event of an emergency, you won’t have time to search for the main water shut-off valve. If you don’t know where it is, go find it as soon as you’re done reading this, and make sure everyone in your house knows where it is, too.

8. Clean the Main Sewer Line

Avoid the grossest of all plumbing problems, the sewer backup, by having a plumber run an inspection camera through your sewer every couple of years. It will determine if there are tree roots invading the pipe or possibly buildup that may catch paper and cause a future problem. Finding these issues early can make the solution more cost effective and avoid the high cost of cleanup after a sewage backup.

Hopefully a little preventative maintenance will help you avoid some big problems! Unfortunately, even with our best efforts, leaky pipes, broken water heaters, overflowing toilets, and backed-up drains can happen. When that’s the case, we’re here for you.

 

For the month of September, Herrmann Services will donate a percentage of sales to the Pink Ribbon Girls – an organization created by women with breast cancer to support and empower others who are currently in the fight against breast and reproductive cancers. PRG serves anyone in the greater Cincinnati, Columbus, or Dayton areas who is fighting breast or women’s reproductive cancer. Pink Ribbon Girls provides healthy meals, housecleaning, transportation to treatment and peer support to individuals with breast and women’s reproductive cancers free of charge. Everyone at Herrmann services will be wearing pink shirts for the month of October. We love social media and want to get the word out about the pink ribbon girls so feel free to snap a picture of a tech in pink and tag us.

If you have any plumbing problems, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online. The Herrmann plumbing team is here to help!

Is It Better to Set Your AC’s Fan to On or Auto?

Set ACs Fan On or OffYou’ve probably heard differing opinions on how to set your air conditioner’s fan setting on your thermostat. There are two choices – “on” or “auto”. The team here at Herrmann Services has heard this question several times from customers. We put together this definitive answer to help save you money and keep you more comfortable. First, let’s explain the difference between the two settings.

“Auto” and “On” Thermostat Settings

Your air conditioner has a blower motor inside that forces the air out and through the ductwork to deliver cool air to all of the rooms in your home. The fan setting controls when this blower is on. When it is set on “auto”, the fan turns on ONLY when your system is running. When the thermostat reaches your temperature setting, the system, including the blower fan, shuts off. When the thermostat switch is set to “on”, the fan is CONSTANTLY blowing, even when your system isn’t working to heat or cool the air.

Setting the Fan to “On” Can Cost You Money

Increases Humidity

When the fan is set to “On” your AC won’t dehumidify your home as well as it should. While the air conditioning cycle is running, the indoor coil gets cold. Water vapor pulled from the air passing over the coil will condense on the coil. If the compressor is turned off, the coil warms up. The water vapor on the coil will simply sit there until the next cycle, with some of it evaporating and sitting in the air inside the coil housing. But when the fan runs continuously, the air passing over the coil as it warms up evaporates that water and puts it right back into your house raising the humidity level overall.

Higher Energy Costs

Since the fan is always running, you’re using more energy than when the fan only runs when your system is heating or cooling.

More Frequent Repairs

Obviously, when the fan runs constantly, it increases the wear and tear on your blower motor. This will lead to repairing and replacing worn parts or possibly the motor itself sooner than necessary.

If you have any thermostat, air conditioner, humidity, or blower motor questions, please feel free to call us. One of our technicians can answer your questions and even provide tips to keep you more comfortable. Call us at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

7 Steps to Avoid a Plumbing Disaster While Away on Vacay

Avoid Plumbing Disasters on VacationVacations are great, but returning home to a flooded house or another plumbing disaster is definitely not. Before you leave for several days at a time, take a few plumbing precautions to prevent a disaster. Simply checking on a few appliances before you leave will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle later. Follow these steps and enjoy the peace of mind on your next vacation.

Shut Off the Main Water Valve


Shutting off the main water valve takes seconds, but it is the single most important thing you can do to protect your home from water damage. If one of your appliances springs a leak, a washer hose bursts, or a toilet valve leaks, you won’t have water gushing for days. If a special tool is required to turn the valve on and off, it should be kept nearby.

TIP: Once a year, test the operation of the valve. If it’s frozen or hard to turn, don’t force it—contact a plumber.

Shut Off Individual Appliances if Main Valve Must Stay On


If you have to leave your water supply on, for instance, if you have a sprinkler system that you want to continue to water your lawn while you’re away, make sure to turn off the valves that supply the individual appliances. Include the toilets, washing machine, and individual sinks.

TIP:  Steel reinforced hoses are much safer than rubber hoses. They will not burst. Replace rubber hoses on your washing machine with steel reinforced hoses.

Drain the Lines in Wintertime


If you’re going on vacation in the winter, be aware that pipes can freeze. Make sure the temperature inside the house is no lower than 56 degrees and turn off the main water valve. After you turn it off, open the faucets indoor and the outdoor faucets as well to drain the water remaining in the pipes.

TIP: Leave yourself a note on the main water valve to remind yourself that the faucets are open.

Fix Small Leaks before You Leave


If you notice small drips or leaks, make sure to have them checked and fixed. Minor leaks in water supply lines are often a sign of corrosion you can’t see. This is like a time bomb waiting to burst just when the timing is worst. Pay attention to your water heater too. If there are signs of rust or leaking, the tank is probably corroded and could fail at any time leaving a giant mess.

TIP: Set your water heater to “vacation mode” to keep your heating bill down. Just remember to turn it back up when you return.

Test Your Sump Pump


If you have a sump pump, check to see if it works before you leave for your vacation. In case of heavy rain, you’ll want to be sure your sump pump can remove excess water and keep your lower level from flooding.

TIP: To test your sump pump, simply fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Take the lid off of the sump pump pit and pour the water in. The sump pump should kick on immediately and drain the water in the pit. If it does not, your sump pump may be broken. Have it checked by a professional.

Check Drains and Garbage Disposal


Be sure to check all of your drains to be sure they’re free of debris and clogs. Turn on your garbage disposal and run some water to be sure there’s nothing left that could create a bad smell while you’re away.  

Tip: Don’t forget to empty all trash cans so you don’t come home to foul-smelling trash.

Have a Neighbor Check In

If you have a trusted friend or neighbor, ask them to take a look around your house every few days, to catch any plumbing emergencies. At the very least, make your neighbors aware of your absence so that when they find the sprinkler system leaking or when other emergencies pop up, they can call you to get it taken care of immediately.

TIP: Cancel your mail and newspaper service or have a neighbor pick it up for you so it is not so obvious that your home is empty.

With a plan in place, you can protect your home and keep your peace of mind while you’re away. Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for help with your plumbing.

4 Most Common AC Mistakes

Common AC MistakesAs homeowners, we do our best to get the most out of our appliances and save the most money possible. However, after being in the heating and cooling business for decades, the technicians here at Herrmann Services have seen some common mistakes that many homeowners make. See if you’re making any of these mistakes that are costing you money and affecting your comfort.

 

Not Changing or Replacing the Air Filter


A dirty air filter will reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency. Air filters remove dust and debris from the air coming into your home. Over time, the filter will become filled with the dirt and dust it collects from the air and will slow the air flowing through it making your system work harder every time it turns on. Most air filters should be cleaned or replaced (if disposable) once a month.  It’s easy to forget about your filter, so put reminders on your calendar to help keep it top of mind.

 

Not Using a Programmable Thermostat or Using It Improperly


According to the Energy Star website, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 a year if used properly. That’s nothing to sneeze at. These savings are based on a typical, single-family home with a 10-hour daytime setback of 8° F in winter and a setup of 7° F in summer, and an 8-hour nighttime setback of 8° F in winter and a setup of 4° F in summer.

 

Not Scheduling Regular Tune-Ups


Regular tune-ups help your system run more efficiently. Not only does the technician check all parts for wear and tear, but they also lubricate moving parts, tighten loose parts and check all electrical connections. This all helps your system run more efficiently, saving you money on energy bills. As an added bonus, regular maintenance checks will catch small problems before they become costly repairs and also reduce the chance of breakdowns.

 

Not Using Ceiling Fans


A ceiling fan can help your air conditioner run more efficiently by circulating air around the room. Ceiling fans don’t actually lower the temperature in your home, but they produce a “wind chill” effect that will make your room feel cooler. You may even be able to set your thermostat up a degree or two and not notice any difference in comfort. In the summer, make sure your ceiling fan blades rotate in a counterclockwise or “forward” direction to create cool downward airflow. In the winter, switch them so they rotate in a clockwise or “reverse” direction to redistribute warm air, which naturally rises to the ceiling.


Try these money-saving tips and stay cool this summer. If you need help with your air conditioner, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

10 Steps to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

Improve Indoor Air QualitySpring is in the air, along with pollen and allergens that wreak havoc with asthma and allergy sufferers. Let’s look at some ways to improve our indoor air quality, and how to know when it’s time to call in the professionals. As homeowners, there are many things we can do on our own. It is equally important to know when to step back and turn over the reins to someone more knowledgeable. The team at Herrmann Services put together this list of DIY tips that will help reduce allergy

10 Homeowner Tips to Reduce Allergens Indoors

  1. Keep windows closed (to keep the pollen out).
  2. Check with your local nursery for plants that improve indoor air quality (make sure they are not toxic to pets).
  3. Place pillows and stuffed toys in a laundry bag and place them in a deep freeze for a few hours. The lower temperature will kill dust mites.
  4. Where possible, adopt a no-shoes policy inside the home to keep dirt, dust, and allergens out.
  5. Seal windows, door frames, electrical outlets, and recessed lighting with caulk or foam to keep out dust and pollen that collects in crawl spaces, basements, garages, and outdoors.
  6. Purchase an inexpensive humidity monitor and aim for a reading of 35-50%; high humidity can lead to mold growth, while dry air can cause dry/bloody noses, chapped lips, and itchy skin.
  7. Check your attic insulation, rafters, and floor joists for wet spots.
  8. See that your heating & air appliances are cleaned regularly according to manufacturer’s specifications. This may be as simple as replacing your filters.
  9. Invest in an electronic air cleaner which can remove up to 99.98% of airborne allergens from heating and cooling devices, working 100% better than a filter.
  10. Install an in-duct air purifier. The REME HALO® is effective against all three categories of indoor air pollutants: particulates, microbial and gases.

If Allergy Problems Persist, Call for Professional Indoor Air Quality Help

If you’re still suffering after trying all of the DIY measures mentioned above, or if you find some of the following problems, call Herrmann Services and we’ll help you get comfortable breathing the air in your home again. Call us when:

  1. Humidity levels are 60% or higher.
  2. You find wet spots in your attic on insulation, rafters, or floor joists.
  3. Manufacturer’s specifications on your furnace and AC recommend.
  4. Allergy symptoms don’t lessen. You may need to upgrade to a HEPA filter.

Your health and your home are two of your most valuable investments. Treat them both wisely by improving your indoor air quality. Call us at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online today for More Information for a home quote!

Water Heater 101: Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Water Heater TipsWater heaters are wonderful. They provide hot water right to our faucets whenever we need it. But there are a few things you can do to make sure your water heater is safe, energy efficient, and lasts for years. The team at Herrmann Services has put together this list of helpful water heater tips and tricks to help you and your family live better, safer, and more affordably.   

Insulate Your Water Heater

Because your water heater stores hot water 24/7, much of the heat can escape through the walls or the tank unless they are insulated. This loss is called standby loss since it is heat lost while the heater is standing by for use. Insulating your water heater can reduce standby heat loss by 25% to 50% which translates to savings of 4% to 9% on your water heating bill. These blankets, made of special insulation, are also sometimes called water heater jackets or sweaters and can be found at home improvement stores. To see if your tank is a good candidate for a jacket, just touch it. It should not feel warm. If it does then the tank is not well insulated and a good candidate for this easy project. Check its label to see if it has an R-value of at least 24. If not, you should insulate your tank.

Look for a blanket with an R-5 to R-10 rating. Insulating blankets are easy to install and inexpensive – roughly $20. When dressing your tank for saving energy, be careful not to block the thermostat on an electric water heater or the air inlet and exhaust on a gas unit.

Insulate the Pipes

Insulated hot water pipes can raise the effective hot water temperature at your shower head or faucet by 2°F to 4°F over the same water heater setting if the pipes were not insulated. You don’t need to insulate all the hot water piping, only the first 5 to 10 feet from the water heater. Insulating the hot water pipe means you won’t have to wait as long for it to heat up, which will save energy, water, and money.

Set It for a Safe Temperature

If the temperature on your water heater is set too high, the water can scald someone. This is especially important if you have small children in your home who may accidentally turn on just the hot water tap. On residential tanks, the settings are normally warm, hot, very hot or something similar to that. There is much variation on what these settings mean, but the safe temperature is 120 degrees at the tap. If your water heater doesn’t have exact settings, you can test the temperature with a meat or candy thermometer to see what it is when it comes out of the faucet.

Water Heater Maintenance

Your water heater requires very little maintenance. However, silt or sediment will build up a the bottom of the tank over time. This sediment makes your water heater less efficient because it settles on the bottom where the heating element is and insulates the water from the heat. Your water heater should be drained once a year to keep sediment from accumulating. If you have an annual tune-up, your plumber should drain it then as well as check for proper wiring and venting, and check the anode rod which prevents corrosion inside the tank. It may need to be replaced if it has dwindled to less than a half inch thick or is covered with calcium deposits.

Safety Tips You Should Follow

Know how to turn off the water and gas or power supply. This is important in the event of an emergency, if your water heater is leaking, or you smell gas. There should be a gas valve or a disconnect switch within a few feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to know where your main gas shut-off valve is if your water heater is gas or which breaker controls the water heater if it is electric.

Clear the area around your water heater. There are several reasons why it’s a good idea to give your water heater some space.

  • A gas water heater needs a good supply of oxygen to burn the gas. If a water heater can’t get enough oxygen, it can affect the efficiency of the unit as well as cause damage to the burner chamber and other water heater parts. It can even cause carbon monoxide leaks.
  • If the unit starts to leak, everything around it will get wet. You may not even notice if the area around it is hidden from view.
  • Storing items too close to the water heater can be a fire hazard.

Signs of Trouble to Look For

  • If you noticed any black residue, soot or charred metal, this is a sign you may be having combustion issues and you should have the unit serviced by a professional.
  • If you ever smell gas, turn off the gas supply and contact a professional.
  • For electric water heaters, look for any signs of leaking such as rust streaks or residue around the upper and lower panels covering the electrical components on the tank.

If you need help with your water heater, or need a new water heater installed, call the team at Herrmann Services at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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