Help! My AC Is DOA – Troubleshooting Tips

Summer is tough on air conditioners here in the Cincinnati area. If you’re living with an older AC, it’s likely that you may run into trouble. But before you pick up that phone to call for repairs, try these AC troubleshooting tips from the team at Herrmann Services. It just may save you a service call!

AC Troubleshooting Tips

When your air conditioner isn’t working, it’s usually one of two issues. Either it won’t turn on at all, or it’s running, but not blowing cool air.

Try these tips before you call a professional. 

The AC Is On, but the Air Isn’t Cool

Dirty Air Filter – Believe it or not, this can be caused by a dirty air filter. Check your filter to see how dirty it is and replace it if necessary. (Remember, it is important to change your filter once a month to ensure proper airflow and cooling.)

Ice Accumulation – Ice in the outdoor unit can also cause your AC to run sluggishly. If you see ice you should turn off the AC, turn the fan to the on position, and allow it to thaw for a couple of hours. Turn it back on. If it ices up again, you may need to call for professional help.

Clogged Condensate Drain – If you are still having trouble, check the condensate drain tube. Algae tends to build up in this tube, clogging it, and causing your AC to fail.

AC Won’t Turn On

If your AC is not kicking on, it could be a simple fix. Check these things:

Tripped Breaker – check your electrical panel to make sure that the breaker connected to your AC hasn’t been tripped. If it has, reset it. If it trips again, you may need a professional to come take a look at why your AC is drawing so much power.

Power Switch – look to see if the power switch on the side of your furnace is turned on. (Yes, there’s a power switch on the side of your furnace.) Sometimes it gets accidentally bumped.

Thermostat – check your thermostat to make sure that it isn’t set to the heat or off position. Also check to make sure that the batteries in your thermostat are not dead. (You’d be surprised how many service calls we answer and the problem is one of these two things. It happens.)

Check Your Condenser Unit (The Box Outside)

Don’t forget your air conditioner has another piece – the outside condenser unit. Look for these three problems:

A safety precaution first – The condenser is a 240-volt box, so turn off the power to it at the electrical panel before working on it. Also turn off the disconnect box located outside, near your unit. (It will either be a lever, fuses, or a circuit breaker to shut off the condenser.) Allow about 30 minutes for the electrical charge that’s stored in the condenser’s capacitor to dissipate. Okay, now it’s safe to check the unit. We recommend letting one of our qualified technicians look over these items. 

Clear Debris – Make sure the unit is clean and clear of debris. Clear away dirt, leaves, etc. that could be restricting airflow. 

Check the Fan – Make sure it is clear of debris and able to spin freely.

Check for Broken Coolant Lines – Check the coolant lines (pipes that connect the condenser unit outside to the evaporator on the inside unit). They can get bumped around being outside.

Turn the unit back on. First, turn the thermostat in your home to OFF. Then turn on the power at both the disconnect box and at the main panel. Last, switch the thermostat to COOL. Give it some time and see if you feel cool air blowing from the ducts. You can also check your outdoor unit. The air blowing out of the top should be warmer than the surrounding air.

How to Know When It’s Smarter to Replace Than Repair 

If your AC is old and unreliable, you’re probably considering replacement. But how do you know when it makes more sense to replace than spending money to repair it? First, look for these four warning signs that the time is near:

  • Your unit is 10-12 years old
  • You’ve paid for three or more repairs over the last two years
  • Your energy bills seem excessive
  • You are experiencing uneven cooling or certain rooms feel uncomfortable. (Sometimes hot spots can be due to poor ductwork. We can inspect your ducts and make adjustments if that is the case.)

These are all clues that it is getting close to the time to replace your unit. Luckily, there’s a formula you can use to help you decide. We call it the $5,000 rule.

The $5,000 Rule

Multiply the age of your AC unit by the repair cost, and if that exceeds $5,000, then replace the unit. If it’s less, go ahead and repair it.

Here is an example, if your unit is 10 years old and the repair will cost $450, multiply 10 x 450 to equal $4,500. It is less than $5,000, so it’s okay to have it repaired.

Consider the Rising Cost of Freon

If your repair involves adding Freon because of a leak, you have something else to consider. A leak means you will have to add more coolant every year and the price of Freon is rising each year. That’s because about 25 years ago, the EPA ordered the phasing out of Freon as part of an international treaty focused on protecting the ozone layer. After 2010, no air conditioners that run on Freon could be manufactured. Production of Freon has also been reduced in subsequent years. By 2020, production of Freon will end, so the price will only continue to rise. New systems run on a different kind of coolant which requires a completely different system, so unfortunately, the new coolant cannot replace Freon in an old system. 

Let Us Help with AC Repairs or Replacement

If your AC has several of the symptoms we listed, we will be happy to take a look and either repair or replace the unit so you and your family stay cool and comfortable. Herrmann Services is proud to install Airease air conditioners, so if your air conditioner is on its last leg we will be happy to provide a free estimate. 

Call us today at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online with any questions, repair needs, or just to get a free quote on a new system.

Never Clean Your Dirty Ducts Again!

The ducts in your home ensure that conditioned air from your HVAC system makes it into every room, thus ensuring optimal comfort all year long. Yet your ducts may also contribute to poor indoor air quality, leading to an increased risk of health problems for you and your family. Let’s take a closer look at the negative impact of dirty ducts and what you can do to prevent them.

Dirty Ducts Mean Dirty Air

Americans spend a staggering 90% of their time indoors, with much of that taking place inside the home. Over time, contaminants such as smoke, pet dander, mold spores, and volatile organic compounds build up in the air of a home. As concentrations grow higher, your household may begin to develop health problems.

According to studies funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air may contain up to five times more contaminants than outdoor air. In many cases, your duct system is a significant contributor to unhealthy levels of contaminants. A dirty duct impedes the circulation of air, leading to more stagnation and less filtration. Furthermore, dirty ducts provide a prime breeding ground for pathogens like bacteria and mold.

Whole Home, In-Duct Air Purifier

One way to alleviate indoor air quality problems is to have your ducts regularly cleaned. Another even more effective solution is to invest in a whole home, in-duct air purifier like the REME HALO. This purifier can effectively scrub all unwanted substances right out of your home’s air.

The REME HALO removes all three of the major pollutant categories: particulate matter, microbial life, and gases. This revolutionary purifier works using proprietary technology known as Reflective Electro Magnetic Energy. Unlike air filters, which only work passively, the REME HALO actively purifies and cleanses your air.


To learn more about how the REME HALO whole home, in-duct air purifier can improve your home’s air quality, call us today at (513) 737-8423, or contact us online.

Save Up to $200 a Year with a Programmable Thermostat

saving money with a programmable thermostat.

The average American household spends about $2,000 annually on heating and cooling costs. Would you like to keep some of that money in your pocket instead? We have two words for you – programmable thermostat. The crew here at Herrmann Services has installed many for our customers and they really like the convenience and savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. Let’s do the math – 10% of $2,000 is about $200 in savings every year. That’s worth looking into!

Programmable Thermostats – Set It and Forget It

What makes programmable thermostats so wonderful is that they are so easy to use. All you do is adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Once it’s set, you can forget about it and it will continue to heat and cool your home to the temperatures you specified at the times you pre-programmed. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day). But what if you want to change that schedule? No problem, you can manually override what is programmed without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Thermostat Settings for the Highest Savings

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F during daytime hours and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with your air conditioner. Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and then set the thermostat to 78°F only when you are at home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.

Tips for Setting Your Programmable Thermostat

  • Turn the temperature up or down 20 to 30 minutes before you leave home each day.
  • Have the temperature resume to your comfort level 20 to 30 minutes before you come home each day.
  • Reduce the heating or cooling 1 hour before bedtime at night.
  • Increase heating or cooling about 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning.

If you’re interested in installing a programmable thermostat, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online and one of our technicians will come to your home. For more information about programmable thermostats, including wi-fi thermostats, you can control with your smartphone, or if you have other heating and cooling questions, just give us a call.

Don’t Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda This AC Season. Get an AC Tune-Up Now

Cinci summers can be downright brutal. Do you know what happens to homeowners who wait until it’s hot to turn on their air conditioners? That’s right, they wait for hours, sometimes days, for service because everyone else and their brother just turned theirs on and found out it doesn’t work either. Be smart this season, call us for a tune-up now. Not only will you verify that your AC works fine, you’ll most likely avoid having it break down mid-summer in the middle of a heat wave when everyone else’s AC is breaking. The team at Herrmann has four good reasons to invest in an air conditioner tune-up this season:

Getting an AC tune-up from Herrmann Services is really important

Catch Small Problems before They Get Big

One of the most important reasons to get a tune-up is to catch small problems before they become big (expensive) problems. A small problem, like a refrigerant leak, could turn into a major setback when your compressor burns out. The cost of a tune-up and repair is far less than a whole new compressor.

Keep Your AC from Breaking Down

During an AC tune-up, our technicians will inspect it all – electrical connections, motors, fan belts, and all the moving parts. They will lubricate any moving parts and tighten any loose parts. The bottom line is they will make your AC run as efficiently as possible and all this tuning up will make the chances of it breaking down this summer very, very slim. An AC tune-up will keep your system running stronger for longer.

An Efficient System Keeps You More Comfortable

You regularly clean your car and change its oil to keep it from rusting and breaking down. Your air conditioner is no different. Both are mechanical and require maintenance. Your air conditioner works hard, but after time it can slow down and become less efficient. A tune-up will help it run more efficiently, saving you money on cooling bills.

Cut Energy Costs

Tune-ups keep your system efficient, and an efficient system will cut your energy costs. Your air conditioner accounts for nearly half of your energy costs in the warmer months, but an A/C tune-up can help you cut up to a quarter of your costs. Want to save even more? According to the Energy Star website, programmable thermostats can save you up to $180 a year if used properly.

Not getting a tune-up is one of the top 4 AC mistakes homeowners make. Call now for your tune-up. Give yourself some peace of mind this year, and invest in your air conditioner. You’ll be happy you did when the heat sets in. Call Herrmann Services today for an estimate at (513) 407-5177.


Don’t Let Your Sump Pump Make You Look Like a Chump

Herrmann Services efficient sump pumpThe weather is warming up, which means it’s time again to think about preparing your home for spring rains. You never know when a heavy storm might hit and you certainly don’t want to be surprised by flooding in your home. Scheduling a professional sump pump inspection now can provide you with peace of mind throughout the rainy season.

 

Sump Pump Inspections

At Herrmann Service, we can perform a sump pump inspection that covers your pump from top to bottom, inside and out. First, we inspect the pump to make sure it is in proper working order. We check the valve on the discharge pipe to ensure that water can only flow in one direction. We check the inlet screen for blockages or holes, and finally, we inspect the discharge pipe outside to make sure that the water that is being pumped out is flowing away from your home’s foundation, not pooling or gathering in low spots. If there are any problems, like damage, leaking, or cracks, we repair them.  

Sump Pumps Can’t Operate When the Electricity Goes Out

It’s important to remember that your sump pump is electric and will not run if your power goes out in a heavy thunderstorm. That could leave you in the dark with a rapidly flooding basement and give you a nasty surprise when the lights come back on. To avoid this disaster, we recommend installing a battery backup pump that will take up the slack if your main pump loses power. In especially bad flooding, a battery backup pump can even work together with your main pump to help it keep up with the amount of water coming in.

Herrmann services has proudly served the Cincinnati area for over 50 years. Our upfront pricing ensures that you know what you are paying for in advance. No surprises. Plus, financing is available if you should need help with larger purchases.

 

If you’d like to schedule a sump pump inspection or have a battery backup pump installed, call us at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online and we will make sure you are prepared for the spring rain ahead.

 

Tankless Water Heater FAQs

endless hot water supplyIf you’re thinking of switching from a traditional tank-style water heater to a tankless water heater, you’ve probably got some questions. The team here at Herrmann Services has answers. We put together this list of frequently asked questions to hopefully address your biggest concerns. If you still have questions after reading this, just give us a call and one of our plumbing experts will be glad to answer them all.

How does a tankless water heater work?

When a hot water faucet is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the tankless water heater. A gas burner heats the water, which then travels to the faucet. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water.

What are the advantages of a tankless water heater?

The biggest advantage is the endless hot water supply. Because a tankless water heater heats water on demand, as long as you have a cold water supply, it can change it into hot water continuously. This allows you to have more freedom because you don’t have to plan your activities around your existing water heater’s limitations.

Another advantage is that it saves space. Because a tankless water heater is about the size of a carry-on suitcase, it doesn’t take up room in your basement. It is mounted on a wall saving floor space.

Energy savings – According to Energy.gov, for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional tank water heaters. ENERGY STAR® estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater.

Longevity – on average, a tankless water heater lasts 20-25 years. A traditional tank water heater 10-15 years.

Does a tankless water heater supply instant hot water from the tap?

No. Whether you have a tank or a tankless style, you still have to wait for the water that is in the pipes from the previous use to run through before you feel the hot water after it. The only way to get instant hot water is to install a circulation pump

Do tankless water heaters require maintenance?

Yes. But they are very low maintenance. They require an annual or a bi-annual flush to remove calcium from hard water. If you have a water softening system, you may not require any maintenance.

With a regular water heater, it is recommended that you drain it and flush sediment buildup from the tank at least once a year. Sediment in your tank can affect hot water quality and also reduce efficiency because the layer of buildup insulates the burner from the water.

How many years does a hot water heater last vs.a tankless style?

As a general rule, a tank style water heater will last, on average, 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters will last 20-25 years. This is mainly due to the fact that they have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years.

Are there downsides to a tankless water heater?

There are few downsides to a tankless water heater. The biggest one is that it is more expensive than a traditional tank-style water heater. The average cost with installation: Tank – $1,200 (40 to 50-gallon tank), Tankless – $5,000.

The only other downside is that when you lose power, you also lose the ability to make hot water. With a tank, you will at least have some hot water for a little while until it cools down. However, we can install a battery backup for a computer to provide enough electricity for short term use.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about tankless water heaters or would like to have one installed, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

This $20 Purchase Could Save Your Life

If there were a simple, inexpensive device that could protect you and your family from a deadly but invisible substance in your home, wouldn’t you want one? Well, there is. For $20 or less, a carbon monoxide detector can protect you and your loved ones from a poisonous gas that cannot be smelled or seen.

 

 

Common Sources of Carbon Monoxide

According to the CDC, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning results in as many as 430 deaths and another 50,000 emergency room visits each year. The fumes that contain carbon monoxide can come from many sources. Most people know that their furnace can produce CO, but so can gas ranges, wood burning fireplaces, and charcoal grills. Alternative power sources like portable generators and lanterns can also put out the dangerous fumes, making power outages especially dangerous times for CO poisoning. If you happen to have a CO detector that plugs into the wall, be aware that it must have fresh backup batteries to operate without electricity.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

The earliest symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, and nausea. Longer exposure will result in chest pain, vomiting, and confusion. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if necessary.

What to Do When Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Sounds

A carbon monoxide detector will alert you to the presence of CO in your home before it reaches a level where it can cause serious harm. When it goes off, if no one is showing any symptoms, turn off all fume-producing appliances including the furnace and open doors and windows.  After the home is ventilated, reset the detector. It doesn’t sound again, call our service hotline at 513-216-1355 to schedule a repair of the leak. If it does sound again, call emergency services and get outside until they confirm it’s safe to go back into the home.

Check Your CO Detector Every Six Months

Of course, you hope to never need your carbon monoxide detector, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it once it’s installed. The CDC recommends changing the batteries every six months or using a model that plugs into the wall that has a battery backup in case of power outages. You can make this a routine part of your home maintenance by changing the batteries at the same time you check or change the batteries in your smoke detector. This very small effort could save your life in the event of a carbon monoxide leak. Herrmann Services can install a combination smoke and CO alarm with a 10 year sealed battery life. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, now is the time to get one. If you do have one, make sure the batteries are fresh.

If you would like a carbon monoxide detector installed or a furnace tune-up and safety check, Herrmann Services will be glad to help you. Please call our office at 513-737-8423 or contact us here.

Save a Trip to the Doctor with a Whole-House Humidifier

winter-coldWhy does it seem that colds are more common in the wintertime? Head colds, sinus infections, sore throats, coughs…the list goes on and on. One thing homeowners don’t usually think about is the humidity level in their home. Because our furnaces run all winter long, the air inside gets drier and drier. Also, not much fresh air enters your home in the winter because you are trying to keep the heat inside. No one opens their windows in the middle of winter. You may be surprised to learn a few tricks that will help your family stay healthier and feel better in general. Humidity plays a big role.

Humidity Levels Drop in Winter

As outdoor temperatures drop during winter, humidity levels drop as well. Why? Cold air has less capacity to hold moisture than warm air does. Lower outdoor humidity levels translate to lower indoor humidity levels. This lack of moisture in the air is what creates low humidity levels. This can create a number of issues that affect your health.

Problems with Low Indoor Humidity Levels

If the humidity level drops too low, flu viruses are able to survive longer and be transmitted more easily between people. Mucous membranes in the nose and throat dry out, increasing your discomfort and susceptibility to colds. Breathing drier air can also contribute to sore throats and coughs as well as exacerbate symptoms of asthma and allergies. Dry itchy skin, cracked lips, and bloody noses are all more common in drier air as well. If you notice high incidences of static shock, your home is too dry.

Whole-House Humidifiers Keep Humidity Levels Normal

One of the easiest ways to add humidity back into the air in your home is to add a whole-house humidifier. A whole house humidifier is installed on your furnace and adds moisture to the air every time the furnace kicks on. It’s virtually maintenance free other than changing the pad at the beginning of the winter season.  

What Humidity Level Is Best During Winter?

Problems are most prevalent when the humidity level drops below 30%. At these low levels, problems like dry skin, cracked lips, nosebleeds, and aggravated symptoms of asthma and allergies are much more widespread. The ideal home humidity level is around 40-50%. This will reduce the symptoms listed above as well as lower the likelihood of static electricity. Your home will feel more comfortable and you can minimize the health issues that are commonly linked to low humidity during winter.

If you’d like more information about installing a whole-house humidifier in your home, give us a call at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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.