Lower Your Energy Bills in 2018 with these 3 Easy Steps

Lower Your Energy Bills in 2018 with these 3 Easy Steps

Cut Costs

We only just finished ringing in the new year, and that means homeowners still have their minds attuned to resolutions for 2018, including how they can save more money around the house.

Well, we have some good news for you: we have three simple ways that you can save yourself some money every month, and it all has to do with making your home more efficient, reducing the amount of energy you use, and cutting your energy bills.

1. Learn How to Use Curtains and Drapes to Your Advantage

Curtains & DrapesEven though most people just think of drapes and curtains in terms of decoration and privacy, these home accents can also go a long way for helping to make your home more efficient.

One of the factors that affects home efficiency is drafts, and heavy drapes can help to reduce this in winter and keep your home warmer.

Just remember that when you do use heavy drapes in winter, make sure you open them up during the day when the sun is shining on the window to let in the rays and the heat.

Another factor that can make your home less efficient is the hot summer sun, because when this beats through your windows during the cooling season, it means your air conditioner has to work harder. Here, thick drapes with a light-colored liner can reflect these rays and make your house more efficient.

2. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Home ThermostatAnother great way to reap the benefits of a more energy-efficient house is with a programmable thermostat. Heating and cooling needs account for nearly 50 percent of your energy use, and you can reduce this by up to 30 percent with a simple thermostat upgrade.

These devices help to reduce your energy use and costs by dropping the amount that your furnace and air conditioner work during the day when nobody is home and at night when the family is asleep, and this translates to less energy use.

In the morning and in the evening when everybody is home and awake, set your thermostat to 78 F in the summer and 68 F in winter (if this is comfortable), and then use the programmable thermostat to increase the temperature in summer and drop it in winter during the day and at night.

3. Address Air Duct Leaks

Duct SystemOne of the most common themes that comes up during energy audits is leaky ductwork, because these can make your heating and cooling systems highly inefficient.

If there are any holes, leaks, or cracks in your ducks, then air will escape on route from your furnace or A/C to your vents, and this means your heating and cooling devices have to work harder.

In fact, typical homes lose between 20 and 30 percent of the air blowing through their ducts, so sealing these leaks can make your home more efficient, lighten the load on your heating and cooling systems, and reduce your energy bills.

We've been serving valued customers in the Annapolis, MD area for many years, and we know how important it is for you to find ways to save money. Reducing your energy use and lowering your energy bills is a great way to end up with more money in your pocket at the end of the month, and this also means you'll be contributing to a greener planet at the same time, and that’s something everyone can benefit from.

Enter 2018 with Sparkly Clean Pipes & Reap the Benefits All Year Long

Enter 2018 with Sparkly Clean Pipes & Reap the Benefits All Year Long

New Pipes
If things are winding down as the holidays approach, you may find that with more time, you have the luxury of looking at your home and thinking about small ways to improve it. The approach of a new year is always time for reflection, and it’s natural to want to get a good start on it.

One thing that a lot of homeowners regularly fail to consider is the start of their water pipes, especially the drainage pipes that carry water and waste away from the home. If you haven’t had your pipes cleared and cleaned out in a good long while, there are plenty of reasons to think about having some plumbers come in to perform indoor drain cleaning!

Efficient Removal

Save MoneyIt’s easy to forget about drain pipes entirely, especially if they continue to work. After all, as long as water is going down the drain, or the toilet flushes, does it really matter how long it takes for that water to go down?

The issue with this kind of thinking is that, just like the human body, there can be a lot of things going wrong with a system before really visible symptoms begin to manifest.

Excessive drinking or smoking may not look like it’s having any effect, but in reality, it’s chipping away a person’s health, especially without regular, healthy self-care. In the case of plumbing, if you notice your water draining more slowly, or certain smells coming out of the pipes, this might mean that your water is still leaving your home and entering the sewage system, but will it last? And when it doesn’t, are you prepared to pay the cost?

Slow Drains

When you’re experiencing slower draining than in the past, this already means that there is some kind of build-up happening somewhere in your network of pipes. If it affects all drains, then the problem may be closer to the actual sewage line itself. If it’s a single pipe, probably the issue lies closer to the source.

With a clog building up, this won’t take care of itself. In fact, it will only get worse with time and may result in either a complete blockage, which will take more intensive labor to clear, or, in the worst case scenario, may result in a break, which will be very expensive to repair.

Smelly Pipes

Clogged PipeIf you’re getting bad smells coming out of a pipe, that’s always a bad sign. It means that something unhealthy—such as spores, for example—are building up in the pipe, and not going away.

Or it may mean that waste which should be sent straight to the sewers is festering in your pipes instead. If you want to ensure the health of your family or employees in your home or place of business, you need to address this.

Persisting bad smells mean that contagions are present in your building and making their way back up into living/working spaces. As we see the year come to an end here in Annapolis, MD, give some thought to your pipes. Start the New Year right, with no worries, no blockages, no slow moving drains, or bad smells in the residence or workplace. Make sure this gets done right for better water efficiency and more health and safety.

Winter Checklist Tasks You Should Get Done Before the Snow

Winter Checklist Tasks You Should Get Done Before the Snow

Winter Maintenance

It’s the time of the year when the cool temperatures begin to arrive, and homeowners across the region are faced with considering how to protect their property and their families for the months ahead.

Before you start your home maintenance routine, you might consider building a checklist. In this latest post, we’ll highlight the items that should be on your home maintenance checklist as you begin your winter preparations in Annapolis, MD.

Insulation and Ventilation Maintenance

Insulated HomeThe home insulation is one of the most important protective elements during the winter season. It helps keep warm air in the home and prevents it from escaping to the outside.

Your home insulation will also help you to consolidate your energy costs as you spend money heating the property. Make sure the insulation is in peak condition, and speak with home maintenance professionals if you find a problem in the insulation in the coming months.

Make you should also have your home ventilation systems checked and cleaned, to keep airflow consistent throughout the property.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke Detector CheckThe home detection systems used to keep your family safe are of immense importance throughout the winter season. Make sure you check the batteries in the detectors and ensure that you test your smoke detector regularly throughout the winter.

This is the peak period of the year for home cooking, as the cool weather makes home cooked meals preferable to leaving the comfort of the property.

You should also check the performance of home fireplaces so that any problems can be resolved before the coolest of the winter weather arrives.

Make Sure You Have De-Icing Salt

Frozen PipeThe pathways outside your home can become a dangerous place during the wintertime. It takes just a moment’s lack of concentration for you to slip and fall.

Make sure that you have de-icing salt to clear the pathways, driveway space, and plumbing system ready for the winter season. It’s also important that you pack de-icing salt with you in your vehicle for the coming months.

You might find that your workplace has an issue with ice, which can be resolved quickly by simply placing salt on the ground.

By following the checklist highlighted in our latest post, you can stay safe throughout the winter season. Work with your family to secure your home and plan ahead to keep warm throughout the coming months.

Did You Know Plumbing Superheroes Can Save Your Family From Unclean Water?

Did You Know Plumbing Superheroes Can Save Your Family From Unclean Water?

Super Plumber

Your family relies on the clean water in your house for many different things, including drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, swimming, gardening, and much more. And when it comes to getting clean water from the natural or municipal source to your house, this couldn’t happen without the knowledge and expertise of experienced plumbers, who install and maintain the pipes and plumbing systems that bring clean water to your house, and transport wastewater away for treatment.

The Importance of Having Clean Water

There are a number of reasons why clean water is vital to life, and at the top of the list is the fact that humans must drink water in order to survive. Water that’s contaminated with the wrong things can kill you.

There are many things that can contaminate water, including pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, viruses, nitrates, and heavy metals.

The health effects of drinking contaminated water can range anywhere from mild (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) to severe (seizures, respiratory problems, cancer, organ failure, and death).

The Role of the Plumber

A plumber may not be the first person you think of when you consider the clean water flowing freely from your taps, but without plumbers, that water would never get from its source to your home. Because plumbers take care of the pipes and systems that bring clean water into your home and then remove wastewater, they're an integral part of the system.

Without plumbers, pipe problems like leaks, blockages, and corrosion would go unaddressed, and that could lead to water that becomes contaminated from outside sources, water that can't get to where it needs to go, or even clean water that’s unsuitable because it’s been mingled with wastewater.

Doing Your Part to Help

Conserving water is one of the best things you can do here in Annapolis, MD to help plumbing superheroes to provide clean water. There are so many ways that water gets wasted in homes, and taking steps to reduce this waste will help your family, your water bill, and the environment. Here are some ways you can help:

Water ConservationIn the garden: Add a layer of mulch around plants, water in the morning or evening, water only when necessary, reuse greywater from the kitchen, catch water with a rain barrel, and plant drought-resistant crops.

At the faucet: Don’t leave the water running when you don’t need it, and turn the tap off when you're brushing your teeth, lathering up, or washing the car. Instead of leaving the water running when you're washing or rinsing dishes and cleaning vegetables, fill the sink or a bowl with water.

In the bathroom: Install water-efficient showerheads, take shorter showers, and turn off the water when you're lathering up. You can also replace old faucets with low-flow fixtures, install water-saving toilets, and never use your toilet to flush food, garbage, or other waste.

Around the house: Inspect all your faucets, toilets, pipes, fittings, and hoses for leaks regularly, and have problems addressed by a plumber as soon as you discover them.

Water is necessary to live on Earth, but it also makes life cleaner and more convenient. There are millions of people around the world who don’t have access to safe water, and everything you can do to help conserve the clean water you do have will make you a part of the solution to the water crisis. Your local plumber is an integral part of the clean water process, and you can chip in by reducing water use at home, at school, at the office, and elsewhere.

Useful Info About History of Indoor Plumbing You Should Know

Useful Info About History of Indoor Plumbing You Should Know

It’s not something that most homeowners will devote a lot of thought to, and in truth, that’s exactly the way it was designed to be. Indoor plumbing is an almost invisible feature of modern homes, with pipes, pumps, heaters, filters and other components hidden from view.

People don’t need to see or understand how these things work; they just need them to work. But the march towards a typical American home enjoying instant, safe, clean drinking water, and an easy sewage management system was far from easy.

Indoor plumbing at this level of convenience is a relatively recent thing. And for many thousands of years, it was a struggle to reliably get a hold of any water.

The Road to Civilization

Civilization needs water to prosper, and that need came from one of the harshest environments imaginable, the deserts of ancient Egypt. Because water was so scarce, the Egyptians were forced to live around the Nile River as the only reliable water source.

But once they realized they could shape clay into waterproof pipes, they invented the first plumbing networks to carry water away from the river to larger areas that needed it for crops. Eventually, they figured out how to do the same thing with metals and created the first copper pipes.

The next civilization to have a breakthrough was the Romans. Their aqueducts are now famous in history as marvels of architecture, but their primary function was to carry huge volumes of water across great distances to the populated settlements that needed it.

They first pioneered indoor plumbing when they created branches in these aqueducts that carried water right to individual homes. They even created early versions of sewage systems when they learned to hollow out elm logs, and use them to carry waste away.

The Age of Stinky Royalty

Indoor plumbing, quite surprisingly, didn’t always steadily advance. For example in the 18th century, often known as the “age of reason,”the royalty of French court, like Marie Antoinette, actually lived in worse plumbing conditions than a Roman citizen centuries before.

In fact, her famous use of perfume was a necessity in order to hide her stink, and that of the rest of the court, because French nobility usually bathed only once a month. The reason for this was the location. French palaces were built far inland, usually for reasons of a beautiful location, rather than logistical practicalities.

This meant that indoor plumbing did not exist in the highest courts of France, and that meant no easy way to bring in water for bathing. It also meant no sewage system in place. So French royals lived in palaces soaked with urine, and piled with solid waste in corridors, on rugs, and even in royal chambers, since it was so difficult to manage.

Plumbing Today

Thankfully, today’s average American does not live like the kings and queens of 18th century France. Homeowners can take baths anytime they like, with modern showers that feature both hot and cold water. And the toilets built into every home and public building ensure safe, clean sanitation processes for everyone.

People don’t even have to be concerned when problems occur, because there are companies like Heidler Inc. ready to look out for people in Annapolis, MD that need help. That means that even when something as important as water and sanitation infrastructure have problems, there are experienced professionals readily available to quickly repair any damage.

Have Fun this Summer While Being Water Conscious

Have Fun this Summer While Being Water Conscious

Summer means sunshine, more time with the kids and finding ways to beat the heat. The higher the temperature rises, the more tempting it becomes to take a dip in the pool or splash ourselves down with a hose.

It's a big reason water usage jumps during summer. Most days, an average family uses about 320 gallons of water per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That number can rocket up to 1,000 gallons per day during summer, and some families even use up to 3,000 gallons per day.

This has an impact on both public resources and your water bill. Good thing there are a number of ways you and your family can enjoy the hot weather and stay cool without using too much water.

Here are a few ways to have fun this summer while being water conscious:

Teach Your Kids to Garden

It's never too early to teach your kids valuable lessons when it comes to maintaining the home and its surroundings. Gardening provides a way for children to acquire these skills while learning about water conservation.

A sneaky way to do this is by planting flowers that are native to your area. If they can grow naturally where you live, it's a good sign, these plants can handle the weather and therefore don't need to be watered often.

All the while, your kids will learn the value of starting and finishing a project and gain good habits when it comes to upkeep.

Two-For-One: Water Your Lawn and Stay Cool

A lot of the extra water used during summer is for landscaping. After all, keeping grass green and flowers looking beautiful requires regular watering. If you want to hit two birds with one stone, you can stay cool on a hot day while watering your lawn and garden.

Install a sprinkler and give yourself a way to simultaneously distribute water across your property while giving your family a fun way to find relief while under the sun. Your family can jump through the water jets while the sprinkler takes care of the yard. Don't have a sprinkler? Use a hose and have your kids take turns jumping through the stream.

Take Advantage of the Local Pool

Another way to reduce water consumption at home is to take a trip to the local pool to cool off on a hot day. Make use of a public resource instead of using your own water.

These pools are always staffed during operating hours by well-trained lifeguards who will always be at hand to help with any problems. You and your spouse can kick back while your children play with other kids from the neighborhood. Public pools are designed to be used by locals, so you might as well enjoy them.

 

A Water Leak Detection Guide for Homeowners

A Water Leak Detection Guide for Homeowners

A leak might seem more like a minor blemish on owning a home than the actual problem that needs to be quickly dealt with.

The truth is, that ignoring a leak and letting it continue can mean a more expensive repair down the road. We explain why that is, and how you can stop it.

A Hint of Things to Come

A leak may appear small, but in some cases, a leak can be the start of a much more serious problem.ceiling-leak

Leaks definitely cost you money.

Having a leak means that you are paying for wasted water, that can range between 2,000 to 20,000 gallons.

A leak in a pipe that runs through a wall or, worse yet, a ceiling, can mean water damage to the actual home that you will need to pay for if you want to keep your home in good condition.

Worst of all, a leak can mean that your pipes are undertaking damage, and the longer you ignore it, the worse and more expensive the repair to the pipes will ultimately be.

Locate Your Problem

You can’t deal with a leak until you know its location and understand the extent of it.

The very lucky will have no problems tracking down a leak if it’s on a faucet and just needs a tightening with a wrench to deal with it.

Other leaks can occur in toilets, water heaters, water pipes, or sewage pipes and each brings its own challenges.

Track down a leak as best you can, and try to gauge how much water is leaking.

If you can use your water meter to track how much water is being lost, even when you shut off the water, you, unfortunately have a very big leak.

Exercise Some Prevention

The best way to avoid an expensive repair is to not let a problem escalate to the point where it requires major intervention. Prevention is the best way to achieve that.

hard-waterIf you inspect your pipes occasionally, you may catch leaks that can then be addressed as minor problems rather than major ones.

If you want to keep your pipes “healthy,” then exercise a little care with how you use them.

Setting your water to be delivered at a higher pressure can actually shorten the lifespan of your pipes, causing them to fail earlier.

In the same way, using “hard water,” (water that has a high mineral content) can over time damage your pipes.

Compared to soft water, which is gentler and has fewer erosive or corrosive effects on your pipes.

A Reliable Guide for Kitchen & Bathroom Remodels

A Reliable Guide for Kitchen & Bathroom Remodels

You take great pride in your home, which is why you always want it looking its best.

When it comes to remodeling, you have the chance not only to make your home look fantastic, you can actually increase its value at the same time. Kitchen and bathrooms are among the renovations that will add the most value to your home.

They are also some of the biggest jobs to take on; it is essential that you set a smart budget and enlist support from qualified professionals to make sure that the job is done right.

We’ve put together a guide that you can rely on for your project.

Plumbing and Fixture Updates

First things first. How old is your home? Have you had problems with leaks in the past in your kitchen or bathrooms?

During the remodel process, it makes good sense to ensure that there hasn’t been water damage lurking beneath the floor and the walls. You want your remodel to be perfect- even where your eyes can’t see.

When updating your fixtures, don’t just choose something sleek. Consider function as well. This is the perfect time to upgrade to eco-friendly fixtures that use far less water and therefore cost you less money.

Ask about low-flow shower heads, dual flush toilets and motion sensor faucets.

The Hiring Processpro

Your job will only be as good as the workmanship of your contractor.

You need someone who:

  • takes pride in their work
  • has a reputation for quality
  • adheres to budget
  • timely
  • more than happy to let you speak to past customers

It’s also helpful if you can see a portfolio of their work too.

When getting a quote, ask about their preferred payment schedule. Also ask about things like insurance, credentials, clean-up policy, and if there is a guarantee on their work.

Do they do all the work themselves or do they sub-contract part of it? Who is responsible for purchasing the materials?

Developing the Plan

With your budget as a guide, decide on what your overall objective is for your remodel (i.e. total gut, cosmetic touch up or prepare home for sale).

Choose colors, fixtures, cabinetry, tiles, grout and accessories. Make sure you do research and choose durable materials that will stand up to the use in these high traffic areas.

Look for inspiration in magazines, TV and on the internet. Sketch your plan out, complete with measurements. Make sure you include storage space, especially in the bathroom.

Household Drains and Water Smell Terrible? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

Household Drains and Water Smell Terrible? Here Are 3 Reasons Why

The plumbing that makes up your drains is supposed to do just one thing; carry things away from your house. You are never supposed to see things come back up, especially not things that you can’t see or touch, like odd smells.

If you’re experiencing odors coming from your plumbing, there’s a problem, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Just ask yourself these three questions, then try to find the answers.

Is Your P-Trap Filled Up?

The p-trap is the unique bends that you find in plumbing pipes just under your sink. It’s designed in such a way that water is literally trapped there, and that’s a good thing!p-trap

That water acts as a cheap but incredibly effective “vapor barrier” that is intended to block out gases, such as sewage fumes.

Your p-trap can either dry out, or that water can be displaced by air pressure movement in plumbing in other parts of your home.

Once that vapor barrier is gone, there’s nothing stopping the smell from sewage from entering your home, so try filling up that stinky sink with water first before resorting to more expensive solutions.

This is often the most common cause of a smelly plumbing.

Is Your Water Heater Infested?

If you water itself is smelling bad, then it’s not a problem with the pipes, but probably your water heater. Unlike people, bacteria don’t need good food, plenty of sunshine and exercise to stay healthy, they just need a dark, moist, warm location.

Sometimes your water heater tank is it. Bacteria in your water isn’t just a smell hazard; it can be a health hazard as well. For example, Legionella pneumophila can cause Legionnaire’s Disease, and thrives in water tanks at a certain temperature.

You can deal with this problem by raising the temperature to between 135-140°F which is too hot for most bacteria to survive in. If you do raise the temperature and live in a home with older plumbing, you may need to take some precautions now to prevent scalding.

What Is The State Of Your Sewer Line?

It’s natural that since your sewer line handles sewage, this may be the source of a bad smell. However, there are many ways and places that a sewage problem can occur, and not all of them are easy or cheap DIY solutions.

You may have a ventilation problem where anything from rotting leaves to a bird’s nest may be blocking the proper escape of gases.

blocked-drainOn the other hand, you may have a blockage in the sewage line itself, or worse yet, some kind of break in the pipes that has been slowly building up to a bigger problem for quite some time.

This is the type of problem that will require a professional to evaluate.

Easy Tips for Going Green

Easy Tips for Going Green

Earth Day is happening this year on April 22, and you might be wondering how you can go green to help celebrate. And if you're worried that going green might take too much effort, or time, or money, then you'll be happy to know that being eco-friendly only requires minor changes to your habits. It doesn’t take any more time than your current routine, and can actually save you money! Don’t believe us just yet? That’s ok, here are some easy tips you can use to go green, save the planet, and finish the year with more money in the bank.

Ease into Going Green by Reducing Water Usesave-water_480

Modern technology and innovations have made it easier than ever to save water, and you can conserve thousands of gallons annually withlow-flow toilets and water-saving faucets and shower heads.

And if you want to be more proactive with water-conservation habits around the house, try taking shorter showers, turning off the taps when you're brushing your teeth and using lower water settings on appliances.

Transition into Energy Savings

Everybody wants to save energy because saving energy means saving the planet and saving money. And what if we told you that there's a huge money pit sitting in your basement right now? Your conventional storage-tank water heater is an energy guzzler!

Not only does it waste tons of energy keeping water hot when you don’t need it, but it also loses about 20 percent of the energy it uses when heat escapes from the tank. By switching to a tankless heater, you'll save energy, save money, have a longer-lasting water heater, and you'll never have to worry about running out of hot water again.

Save the Planet by Saving the Bottle

Bottled water has become a hugely popular method of hydration, and many Americans buy bottles because they're cheap, convenient, portable, and cold. But those same bottles that make this type of water so convenient are also what make bottled water so detrimental to the environment.

For one thing, millions of barrels of oil are used each year to produce the bottles alone, on top of the fuel needed to ship the bottles around the country. Moreover, most of those bottles don’t get recycled, which is why there are over 2 million tons of bottles in landfills around the country. So what's the alternative? An even more convenient and affordable water filtration system for your house.

Make the Leap with a Reduced Carbon Footprint

carbon-footprint_480If you want to lower your carbon footprint, the key is to wean yourself and your family off fossil fuels. There are three major categories of activities you can focus on to reduce your carbon footprint, and they are:

  • Transportation: Opt to leave the car at home more often, and instead bike, walk, carpool, or bus to work, school, and outings
  • Plastics: Stop using grocery bags and instead bring reusable ones to the store, don’t buy overly packaged foods, buy in bulk, and, of course, stop buying bottled water
  • Energy: Save the planet and tons of money by switching to energy-efficient lights and appliances. Seal your house with insulation and weather stripping, install a programmable thermostat to keep your house warmer (summer) or cooler (winter), and turn off lights, gadgets, appliances, and electronics when you're not using them

We’ll be happy to help with your transition to greener living and can come by your home at your earliest convenience for plumbing and maintenance calls.

To schedule an appointment for your Annapolis, MD home, call the experts at Heidler, Inc. today at 410-268-7191.