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.

4 Tips to Protect Your Home from Spring Thunderstorms

Protect Home From Spring ThunderstormsIt’s no secret that weather can be unpredictable in the spring. Storms tend to pop up without notice and can sometimes be severe, leaving you little time to prevent damage to your home. Fortunately, with a few tips and tricks, you can troubleshoot nearly every problem that comes your way. Here are four great tips to weather spring storms in Ohio from the team at Herrmann Services.

 

1. Protect Your Sump Pump

Some homes’ foundations are built below the water table line and their basements are prone to flooding. Sump pumps serve as an excellent defense to keep basements dry by pumping out excess water. Occasionally sump pumps fail during severe storms after becoming overwhelmed with the amount of water coming in. To protect your home, ensure that your system is up to the challenge by checking to following:

  • Be sure that you have a battery backup sump pump. During storms, your power can go out leaving your sump pump unable to operate. Your basement can flood if you don’t have an alternate power source to keep your pump operational.
  • Protect your system from clogs. Keeping your discharge lines clear and covered will help to protect them from clogging and backing up into your home.
  • Keep up with your inspections. Consult your owner’s manual to decide how often you should have your pump inspected and serviced. If you suspect any problems, have your system looked at right away. One quick way to test your sump pump is to take the lid off the sump pit and pour a five-gallon bucket of water into the pit. The motor should kick on and drain the water immediately. If it doesn’t, you may have to call for service.

2. Secure Outdoor Hazards

In the event of inclement weather, make sure to check outdoors for items that need to be secured or put away. Common items that could cause damage to your home during high winds include patio umbrellas, tables, chairs, yard decorations, grills, and stacked firewood.

3. Check Doors and Windows

It sounds like a no-brainer, but simply checking to make sure windows are closed and storm doors are latched will save you costly damage caused by water coming into your home or a loose storm door blowing in high winds.

4. Turn Off Your Air Conditioner

A power surge can cause significant damage to an air conditioning unit during a storm. Cutting power to your unit at the circuit breaker, or turning the unit off at your thermostat can prevent costly damage in the event of a lightning strike. Your home may get a little stuffy, but as soon as the storm is over, you can turn in back on.

With a quick plan in place, you can take precaution to protect your home and systems in the event of a spring thunderstorm. Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online for more information.

10 Home Safety Updates for Your Cincinnati Home

Electrical Home Safety Updates

We often try to protect our children from the world “out there,” but we have to remember that our own home can pose some dangers, too. Here are a few tips for keeping kids safe at home.

The team of electricians at Herrmann Services in Cincinnati sees many things in homes that aren’t safe. Usually the solution is pretty easy and affordable. Check this list to see if you have hidden hazards in your home:

1. Replace Electrical Outlets with GFCI Outlets

GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) are a safety feature that prevents electrical shocks by cutting off the power to that outlet immediately when it senses an imbalance in the flow of electricity. GFCIs are required by code on outdoor outlets, or any outlet near a source of water (kitchens, baths). Make sure to test GFCI outlets monthly.

Press the TEST button, then RESET button every month to assure proper operation. If the indicator light does not go out and come back on or if the GFCI cannot be reset, it must be replaced.

2. Replace Old Smoke Detectors

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two thirds of fire related deaths occur due to smoke detectors that either malfunctioned, were missing batteries, or were disconnected. Whether hard-wired or battery operated, after ten years, smoke alarms may malfunction and cause a serious health hazard.

Make a note of when you last replaced your smoke detector, whether that be writing the date in permanent marker on the inside of the detector, or storing the date in a file.

3. Replace Outdated Electrical Circuit Breaker Panels

Older electrical panels or breaker boxes are more likely to malfunction and put your home at risk. If your panel is more than 40 years old, we recommend replacing it. If it is more than 20 years old, you should have an electrician perform a safety inspection on it.

If your home has a Federal Pacific Electric panel or a Zinsco panel, we also recommend replacing those as they are known to be fire hazards.

4. Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

More than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room every year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, and 400 of them die from it. Installing a detector in your home and ensuring the batteries are working can help prevent this type of tragedy. Test both smoke alarms and CO detectors once per month, and replace batteries as needed.

5. Replace Damaged Electric Cords

Cords that are regularly moved, twisted, or plugged and unplugged can start to wear over time. Check for damage and replace them immediately. Exposed wires can shock you or your children.

6. Don’t Use Extension Cords

An extension cord sends that electric current over a greater distance, giving more opportunities for cord damage and fire hazards. Not only that, but extension cords can pose a tripping hazard. You should not use extension cords as a substitute for sufficient electrical wiring.

7. Set Your Water Heater at a Safe Temperature

Scalding can be a big danger, especially with young children who don’t know it can be a danger. Setting your water heater thermostat below 120 degrees Fahrenheit will prevent scalding temperatures from reaching the faucet. Bath water should be about 100 degrees; always check it with your hand before letting the kids get in.

8. Don’t Use Space Heaters

Though there are many precautions you can take with space heaters, such as keeping them away from flammable materials and never leaving them on when you’re sleeping, children don’t always take such precautions. It’s just safer to avoid using them altogether.

9. Unplug Appliances When Not in Use

Appliances could be accidentally turned on when a child reaches for something else, or if they’re absentmindedly playing with the device. Keeping the items unplugged when you’re not using them helps avoid accidental burns. Keep a close eye on items that remain hot after you’ve turned them off, like curling irons, coffee pots, or stovetop burners.

10. Teach Your Kids About Electricity

Explaining the dangers of electric shock may help your children avoid experimenting with outlets. Placing plastic covers over the outlets can also deter little hands. With a few simple precautions, your home can become much safer for you and your children.

If you need any help with electrical issues or installations, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can even perform home safety inspections of your electrical outlets.

Call Herrmann Services for a safety inspection, electrical repair, or replacement at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

 

10 Signs Your Air Conditioner Is Breaking Down

how to tell if your air conditioner is going out

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, goes the old saying. During hot weather, that ounce of prevention can be worth a ton of comfort. Your air conditioner is one of those things that you don’t realize how important it is until you no longer have it.

But how do you know that your air conditioner needs help? Do you wait until it’s no longer blowing cold air? By then it’s usually too late. To help keep you and your family cool and comfortable, check out these 10 signs that your air conditioner is breaking down:

1. AC Blows More Hot Air Than a Politician

Air conditioners are supposed to blow cool air. At most, it should only take a second or two for you to feel the coolness from the vents. At best, the refrigerant just may need to be replaced. At worst, the whole unit, depending on its age and condition, may have to go.

2. Funny Smells Coming From Air Conditioner

You shouldn’t smell anything coming from your air conditioner. If you detect musty odors or an electrical smell, it could be a sign of trouble.

3. Weakening Air Flow

The air should come out consistently. If it feels like it’s not pumping as hard, it could probably use a bit of minor servicing, such as cleaning or replacing the filter.

4. Higher Energy Bill

Watch for spikes in your utility bill. Yes, you might be using a few more appliances more frequently (like that smoothie maker), but if you haven’t been, your air conditioner may be to blame. Since heating and cooling costs account for about half of your home’s electrical bill, pay attention.

5. Noisy AC Unit

A slight sound from the motor is normal in some units while others are “whisper quiet”. If the motor is getting louder or making sounds that it normally doesn’t make, it’s definitely time to have someone look at it.

6. Frequent Cycling

If your AC is turning on and off far more frequently than usual (assuming it’s the correct size for your space), it’s time to have it checked.

7. Humidity

Unless you have a “swamp cooler”, the air coming out shouldn’t be damp. If it feels damp or if the collection tray is collecting too much water, it’s time for service.

8. Repeatedly Calling for Repairs

An increase in the number of service calls is a good indication that your unit is about to “give up the ghost”. Sure, we don’t mind the extra income from ac repairs, but we’d rather have happy, comfortable customers.

9. Outdated Unit

If your AC  unit is over ten years old, expect more frequent service calls.

10. Age of Air Conditioner

Not the same as being “outdated”, an air conditioner is expected to last 10 to 15 years before it needs total replacing. Even with the best of technology, parts will wear and tear simply from use.

So there you have it. Now you know what to look for. The best way to keep yourself comfortable during the coming hotter weather is to look for these signs before it’s too late, or just have a routine servicing and checkup done.

If you think your AC needs a checkup, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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