December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month

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Before Shopping Make a Checklist of Shopping Features

Before shopping write down some features on toys that make them dangerous to children. Make sure to keep an eye out for these features during your shopping trip.

Avoid toys with sharp edges and small parts that children can choke on. Strings longer than 12 inches are not dangerous for children under 3 years old. Buy well-made, durable toys that do not break easily. Electrical toys with heating elements and toys that shoot objects are for older children.

make-a-checklist-before-shopping-1A shocking statistic is that children under the age of four account for most toy related choking deaths. When shopping for toys for young children, carefully examine the toys before you purchase them.

Below are more toy buying tips:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on box carefully
  • Inspect toys for broken or loose parts
  • Avoid cap guns or cap rifles
  • Avoid toys with too many small parts

Look for ASTM Label

Look for the ASTM label when you purchase toys in stores or from vendors. It means the toy has been tested for safety and meets national standards for young children. The complete label on the toy should read ASTM F963. It means the toy met all of the recent government safety standards.

parentandchildArt supplies for kids should have the following label on them for toy safety. It should read ASTM F963. This means it has been tested for toxic material and listed on label.

Buy Age Appropriate Toys

Always look for labels on the toy or box that give the age range the toy is made for. Don't buy toys that are for a 12 year old child and give it to a 4 year old. Toys are tested and designed for children with age and ability to use the toy in mind. Many toys are made overseas and have been recalled so always examine them before buying.

Another tip is to check on toy recalls at this website before going out shopping at https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/

Supervise Children During Play Time

Explain how the toy is meant to be used to children. In fact, demonstrating how to use the toys when the instructions are complicated is a good idea. Always supervise them when they play with toys that are new. That way you can see for yourself that they are using them properly and playing safely. Always put toys away after playing for safety purposes. Be sure children wear protective gear when playing sports or eye gear when performing experiments.

If you're also in need of plumbing tips in Annapolis, MD call Heidler, Inc. at (410) 268-7191.

Follow These 5 Maintenance Tips to Get Your Water Heater Ready for Fall & Winter

Follow These 5 Maintenance Tips to Get Your Water Heater Ready for Winter

Hot water heaters are often located in an out-of-the-way area of the house, so it can be easy to ignore them. But water heaters need regular maintenance, and you can extend or even double the life of your tank by following some basic protocols.

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Here are five tips you can use this fall and winter to keep your water heater in tip top shape.

1. Inspect the Anode Rod

check-pressure-relief-valveWater heaters are made with metal tanks, so rust prevention is done in two ways: the glass lining in the tank and the anode rod that attracts elements in the water that would corrode the tank.

Over time, the anode rod itself corrodes too, so you should check it at least every three years and replace it every five.

To inspect the rod:

  • Close the shut-off valve, turn off the power and turn off the water to the tank
  • Relieve pressure by running a hot water tap for a minute
  • Drain a few gallons of water from the drain valve
  • Loosen the rod with an air compressor and impact wrench and socket
  • Pull the rod out and check it for corrosion—replace it if the rod is fully corroded

2. Test the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

checking-water-heater-temperatureThis is a safety valve that releases pressure when the temperature or pressure inside the tank gets too high. Test that it’s functioning by flicking the test lever several times.

If hot water comes out the drainpipe, you're TPR is working as it should. If there's no water or just a small trickle, you should replace the valve.

3. Flush Out the Tank

This is another important way to prevent your tank from rusting because sediment and dirt can cause the tank to rust prematurely.

Flush the tank yearly by turning off the power or gas, turning off the water, and attaching a hose to the drain pipe. Open the valve to let the water flow out. When the tank is empty, turn on the water and let a few gallons through to flush out leftover sediment. Then shut the drain valve, turn the water back on, and power the unit back up once the tank is full.

4. Adjust the Temperature

You can either lower the temperature on your water heater to save money on your energy bills, or you can raise the temperature so that you have warmer water throughout the cooler months.

prepare-water-heater-for-cold-weatherIf your water heater is set to 140° F, you risk water that is hot enough to scald, and you'll also be wasting up to $60 per year on heat loss. Most people find a temperature of 120° F to be more than sufficiently warm, even in the dead of winter.

5. Add Insulation

Insulating your tank could save you up to 15 percent on your energy bills because you can reduce the heat lost through the tank by up to 45 percent. Go touch the tank: if it feels warm, you could benefit from insulation. You can also insulate the pipes to save money because insulating the pipes means you can turn your water heater down by up to 4° F without any change in the water temperature.

Maintaining your water heater properly will mean years and years of dependable hot water. When you need maintenance or repairs for your water heater in Annapolis, MD, or if you need more instructions for any of these tips, call the experts from Heidler, Inc. at 410-268-7191.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

During November, many families in the United States begin to prepare for Thanksgiving Day by buying special foods to cook for their tasty holiday recipes. However, there are numerous hungry and homeless individuals who need help during this time of year.

national-hunger-and-homelessness-awareness-weekOur company understands that our community’s organizations are struggling to provide the basic necessities to the homeless, and here are a few ways for you to provide assistance to those who are in need during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which takes place November 12-20th.

1: Donating Toiletries, Household Items and Clothing

food-bankWe should try to help out the homeless by cleaning out our closets and getting rid of unneeded household items, clothing and toiletries.

Some of the things that a homeless individual might need include:

  • Winter coat
  • Blankets
  • Bath soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • Socks

In addition to giving away used clothing or household goods, we can buy inexpensive toiletries for the homeless to make their lives better and to help them find work.

2: Volunteer at a Nearby Homeless Shelter

soup-kitchen-volunteerThe temperature often starts to drop in November, and many of the homeless individuals in your area need a place to stay. The homeless shelters require additional volunteers at this time of year to provide vital services.

By offering a few hours of help to the homeless this month, you will be making a difference.

3: Help a Food Bank or Soup Kitchen

Many families during this time of year must decide whether they are going to spend their income on heating a home or buying food (assuming they cannot afford both). In order to survive, they will visit a food bank to receive canned or packaged foods to prepare at home. Alternatively, they might need to go to a soup kitchen to have a nutritious hot meal. Fortunately, most soup kitchens and food banks will accept fresh vegetables, so you can donate produce and canned goods to help the hungry or homeless.

4: Donate Food to a Thanksgiving Food Drive

hunger-awarenessLocal organizations and churches in the Annapolis area organize a Thanksgiving Day food drive to ensure people will have enough ingredients to make a nice dinner.

You could help out by donating these types of foods:

  • Cans of fruit and vegetables
  • Boxes of mashed potatoes or stuffing
  • Loaves of fresh bread
  • Bags of potatoes
  • Cans of chicken or turkey
  • Boxes of noodles

For additional suggestions when helping the hungry or homeless in our plumbing company’s city of Annapolis, MD, contact Heidler, Inc. at (410) 268-7191.

Deionized Water Filtration vs. Reverse Osmosis

Deionized Water Filtration vs. Reverse Osmosis

If you’re concerned about the quality of water in your home, you are probably considering a water filtration system. These units are used by homeowners to purify the water and make sure it’s safe for family and loved ones to drink and wash with. Once you have made the decision to invest in a water filtration unit, the next decision becomes which type of unit you should invest in.

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There are numerous types of water filters that are effective in their own way. Some filters are designed for irrigation purposes while others are better for purifying drinking water.

Two of the most popular water filters are deionized water filtration systems and reverse osmosis filters. Let’s look at the main differences between the two:

How does Reverse Osmosis Work?

Reverse osmosis or RO as it’s abbreviated is a water filtration process that removes impurities and bacteria from your water. Traditionalreverse-osmosis osmosis involves moving liquid from a low ion concentration to a high ion concentration, so you can imagine that reverse osmosis is the opposite. RO uses a special membrane to trap impurities, metals, and bacteria from your water.

What is Deionized Water?

Deionized (DI) water is used for many purposes in addition to its residential use. Industries such as the auto finishing industry, textile industry, and pharmaceuticals use deionized water because it is clean and completely free of minerals or bacteria.

The process to make deionized water is a two-step process.

It involves passing the water over positive ions that remove minerals and metallic particles from the water. Once this is completed, the water becomes positively charged and must be exposed to negatively charged hydroxyl ions to cancel out the positive hydrogen ions and make the water completely neutral and safe to use.

Benefits and Downsides of RO and DI

Now that we understand how these filters work, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Pros

  • You will save money on purchasing bottled water, which will also result in the filter eventually deionized-waterpaying for itself.
  • You will have peace of mind that your water is completely clean and safe to use. An RO filter removes up to 99% of dissolved solids in the water.
  • Your water will be free of harmful minerals and impurities that may make it taste bad. They can even remove chlorine.

Cons

  • RO filters are known to waste water, which may result in a higher water bill.
  • Some experts insist that these filters remove trace minerals that are actually good for us and make the water taste better.
  • The membrane of an RO filter is quite porous. It may let through larger particles. Many homeowners with RO filters use a secondary filter to make sure they are completely covered.

For more information on RO and DI filters in Annapolis, MD, call Heidler, Inc. today at (410) 268-7191.

It's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

The month of October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, a month dedicated to encouraging people to adopt and rescue a dog at their local animal shelter. There are many great reasons why you should adopt, rather than buy, a dog at your local shelter.

You can also visit your local animal shelter to learn more information about adopting, what kind of shelter it is, and much more. If you still want to support your local shelter but can't care for a pet in your home, then there are other actions you can take.

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Why You Should Adopt and Not Shop!

Sure, some people believe that you should purchase a dog at a pet shop rather than adopting one because dogs from a pet store are cleaner, less-problematic purebreds. That's a myth. There are plenty of good reasons why adopting a dog is better for both the dog and the adopter. These reasons include:

  • Adopting a dog means saving that dog's life
  • Purchasing a dog or a puppy from a pet store is more expensive than adopting
  • You can choose whether you want a puppy or an adult dog that's more likely to have been house-trained already

Dogs from a shelter are cleaner than pet shop dogs.

adopt-shelter-dogsNot only are they cleaner, but they are also healthier. Shelters usually vaccinate their dogs as well as spay and neuter them. On top of all of that, shelter dogs don't have as many problems on a genetic level than dogs from a pet shop.

Pet stores rely on obtaining "purebred" dogs from puppy mills. Dogs that are purebred are forced to mate with their relatives, and as a result, end up receiving more genetic defects and diseases than mutts do.

Those who run puppy mills don't care about the fact that their animals may end up or currently have physical problems. They don't even take great care of their dogs. To them, dogs are nothing more than a means to earn more money. Adopting a dog can discourage the demand for dogs bred from these cruel puppy mills.

Visit Your Local Animal Shelter to Learn More

You can learn whether or not your local shelter is a no-kill shelter by checking them out in person. The shelter can provide you with useful informdonate-to-sheltersation on how their dogs are treated, and how to care for a dog, yourself. Maybe your next visit will end with you adopting a new dog.

Volunteering and donating are great alternatives to helping your local shelter.

You may not be able to own a pet of your own or may simply not want to. That's alright because you can go to your local shelter instead to help out.

Just doing basic tasks like washing dishes and feeding the pets can be a huge benefit to the shelter. Even if you don't have the time to volunteer, you can still donate money. A little bit of money can go a long way at these shelters.

Please donate to American Humane in Washington DC, or your local Humane Society and don't hesitate to call at (800) 227-4645. They founded Adopt-a-Dog Month and are dedicated to rescuing shelter dogs.

For all your plumbing needs in Annapolis, MD call Heidler, Inc.at (410) 268-7191.

It’s Back! October is National Kitchen & Bathroom Month

It’s Back! October is National Kitchen & Bathroom Month

It’s that time of year again, time to celebrate National Kitchen and Bathroom Month! The National Kitchen and Bathroom Association decided to set aside October for the education and promotion of bathrooms and kitchens way back in 1982.

It was decided that October is the best time of year for these types of renovations since the kids are back in school, and it’s not yet time to start preparing for the hectic holiday season.

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Did you know that renovating your kitchen or bathroom adds incredible value to your home? In addition to this, it’s also a great way to take advantage of new technology and beautiful designs that combine form and function.

Here are some tips on how to properly acknowledge National Kitchen and Bathroom Month:

Avoid Trends with an Expiry Date

Trends are referred to as trends because they go in and out of style. The trick is choosing to incorporate lasting trends into your kitchen or bathroom renovation. What is the best way to do this? Thinking about your true interests and needs will help form the basis of what you need from your new kitchen and bathroom.

modern-glass-showerBy considering this, you’ll be able to recognize the items that are truly important to you.

From there, choosing a couple of simple trends to incorporate rather than going overboard with a head-to-toe Pinterest-inspired room will ensure that your new bathroom or kitchen is functional and will remain stylish for many years to come.

What is Trending in Kitchen Renovations this Year?

2016 has been all about technology and simplicity with kitchen renovations. A few staple items remain but for the most part, we are replacing old technology with new, minimalistic features.

Which is More Popular: Showers or Tubs?

Whether you prefer to rinse off in the shower or soak in a tub, there really is no preferred choice when it comes to installing showers and tubs. Both have different benefits and are great for different things. One thing is for sure, the latest trends see showers and tubs becoming separate.

bathroom-vanityThe built-in shower/tub combo is getting traded up for stand-alone showers and tubs. The real decision comes from your own personal experiences. Do you prefer showers or tubs? Answering that question will help decide which component should be the centerpiece of your new bathroom.

Bathroom Trends for 2016

In 2016, homeowners want to create a spa-like experience in their bathrooms. This means neutral colors, simple design and luxurious features.

Some of the most popular trends for 2016 are as follows:

  • Trough sinks
  • Heated floors
  • Anti-fog mirrors
  • Stand-alone tubs
  • Shower seats
  • Steam showers
  • Open-concept vanities and shelves
  • Square or rectangular-shaped faucets and fixtures

If you’re looking for help designing a new bathroom or kitchen this month, call Heidler, Inc. in Annapolis, MD at (410) 268-7191 today.

September is National Baby Safety Month!

National Baby Safety Month

About Baby Safety Month

Each September, the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsors National Baby Safety Month. The focus of this year’s National Baby Safety Month will be educating parents on the importance of registering their baby products and paying attention to recall notices.

baby safety banner

This is an important topic because most people pay little attention to the product registration cards they get with the things they purchase. The majority of people simply throw these registration cards away with a shrug of the shoulders. That is a dangerous attitude when it comes to baby products.

If parents do not register the products they buy for their babies, they may not hear about future recall notices until it is too late. Some of these recall notices are issued because products are found to be dangerous or even deadly. To protect their children, parents need to take a few minutes to fill out and send in the product registration cards for all the baby items that come with them.

Three Hidden Dangers for Babies

As well as registering their baby products, parents also have a responsibility to baby-proof their homes. While most parents do this, they are not always aware of the hidden dangers that may lurk in their homes. Keep an eye out for these three hidden dangers for babies in the home.

1. The Crib

Parents tend to think of cribs as the safest place their babies can be, but they can in fact be deadly. This is because of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To reduce the risk of SIDS, never put any pillows, blankets or soft toys in the crib with your baby. Also, parents need to make sure to put their babies to sleep on their backs.

2. The Diaper-Changing Table

Babies can very easily roll off the table if you get distracted while changing their diapers. This can literally happen in seconds. Don’t ever leave your baby unattended on the diaper-changing table for even a moment.

3. Beware of Tripping

baby-safety-monthIf you trip while carrying your baby in your arms, the results could be tragic. Make sure that you remove rugs, stray cords and other tripping hazards from your home to prevent this disastrous situation from occurring.

Child Passenger Safety Week

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children. In order to prevent these tragic deaths be informed about child passenger safety laws. September is also the time of year when Child Passenger Safety Week occurs.

This year, Child Passenger Safety Week will be from September 18-24. On September 24, law enforcement officers nationwide will be checking that parents are using the correct safety devices to transport their children on National Seat Check Saturday. Make sure that you always use car seats correctly for your kids to keep them safe.

For questions regarding your Annapolis, MD home's plumbing, contact Heidler, Inc. at (410) 268-7191.

DIY Tips to Troubleshoot a Constantly Running Toilet

DIY Tips to Troubleshoot a Constantly Running Toilet

toilet-repair_480Are you tired of always hearing your toilet running? Is your constantly running toilet having a negative impact on your home routine?

As a homeowner, ensuring that your toilet is working reliably and efficiently should be a top priority.

While a running toilet may not seem like the most pressing plumbing problem, it’s just another example of something not working the way it should.

Before you call a plumber to repair your running toilet, try some of these DIY repair tips to get the toilet back on track:

Adjust the Fill Height

The fill valve controls the fill height. Different toilet models use varying mechanisms to control this. One method is with a ball cock. This is a floating component attached to an arm. When the toilet is flushed, the float is pushed down by the arm.

As the water fills back up in the tank, the float rises until it reaches the fill height at which point the toilet stops filling. The second method is a moveable cylinder that travels up and down the float valve when the toilet is flushed. After you flush, the cylinder travels down and then back up once water begins to fill. Once it reaches the fill height, it stops and the toilet stops filling with water.

If the fill height of your toilet itoilet-diagrams set too low, you will experience a constantly running toilet. A fill height set too high runs the risk of overflowing.

Make sure your fill height is set at a happy medium and your fill valves are working properly by flushing the toilet with the tank exposed and observing how these mechanisms are working.

Replace the Flapper

The flapper is a rubber flap that opens when the toilet is flushed and seals shut when the toilet refills with water. At times, the flapper may not seal properly or become worn-out and leak, causing the toilet to constantly run.

Make sure the flapper is sealing properly and not leaking by observing it as you flush. When the toilet is flushed, the flapper will open, allowing all the water to drain from the tank.

As the tank starts to fill up again, the flapper should fall back into place completely sealing the tank. If you notice ripples or ridges around the flapper or if you see water leaking from the flapper, it’s time to replace it. Another thing to check for is the length of chain attached to the flapper. If it’s too short, you may notice the flapper not sealing properly.

Check the Fill Tube

The fill tube is the mechanism that refills the tank once it’s been flushed. If the fill tube is leaking, your toilet will run all the time. Another issue to check when inspecting the fill tube is where the end of the tube is in connection to the water level. As a general rule, the end of the tube should always be above the water level to work correctly and keep the toilet from constantly running.

If you give these tips and tricks a try and your toilet is still running constantly, call the experts at Heidler, Inc. in Annapolis, MD at (410) 268-7191 for a professional inspection and repair.

It's Back to School Time Already!

Getting Ready for Back to School

time-for-schoolPreparing to take the kids back to school in the fall is one of the most tiring and troublesome experiences a parent can go through.

There are so many little things to accomplish, such as buying new outfits, textbooks, backpacks, general school supplies, and reorganizing schedules around work and everyday life.

Most kids will not be ready and will simply not want to offer a helping hand with all of the tasks that need to be completed by the first day of school.

Savings/Budget

You should begin saving a bit of extra money ahead of time for the purchase of various school supplies. Most schools don't send home a list of what is needed, such as the books, notebooks, and pencils, until it is nearly time to return. This can be troublesome and downright headache-inducing for most parents.

The best option is to put aside a bit of money each month during the summer so when the time comes you already have the funds required to take the kids shopping.

Buying Supplies

back-in-the-classroomMost local big-name stores will offer the school supplies required for most children in the area. Large shopping chains set aside entire sections of their floor, including multiple aisles, for parents shopping for their children.

You can find brand new notebooks, three-ring binders, packs of markers, pencils, pens, and loose-leaf paper so kids can draw or write notes on. The items can be costly, so saving some money beforehand, as mentioned above, will be vital to heading back to school.

Organizing Your Schedules

This is especially important for those parents who have more than one child in their home heading back to school. Some schools, especially middle and high schools, tend to have different starting times. You must balance your time between dropping off your child before the bell rings and making it to work on-time each day. This can be a bit of a hassle at first, but once you really get into the swing of things, it should be much easier.

When possible, speak with your kids and find out who would be willing to ride the bus in the morning. If you have a school bus stop near your home, you can drop your child off on the way to work. Alternatively, you can have a family friend, or perhaps a neighbor, who also has a child heading to school, drop your kids off when they are passing by the area.

Heading back to school does not need to give you the headache that most people associate it with. Take a step back, take a quick breath, and write down exactly what needs to be done. This helpful advice is brought to you by Heidler, Inc. in Annapolis, MD. For plumbing services call us at (410) 268-7191.

Details About the History of Plumbing in the Buildings of the Northeast

Details About the History of Plumbing in the Buildings of the Northeast

Today we take toilets, showers and indoor plumbing for granted, but it wasn’t that long ago that indoor plumbing was considered a luxury that few could afford. Plumbing really took off in America between 1929 and 1954 and is now a vital part of every modern home.

Here’s a brief recap of the plumbing history of America’s Northeast.bath-tub

The Early 1840s: Indoor Plumbing Reserved for the Wealthy

In the early 1840s, things such as running water, a toilet, a hot shower and a relaxing bath in an actual bathtub were simply inconceivable and out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. Only the wealthiest families and businesses could afford indoor plumbing.

This is due to the high cost of materials, labor and the fact that most houses were not designed with indoor plumbing in mind. Most people still used outhouses and privies. The Tremont Hotel in Boston has the distinction of being the first hotel with indoor plumbing, something truly luxurious for their patrons.

1842: The Game ­Changing Croton Aqueduct System

Manhattan, New York in the 1800’s was a busy and rapidly growing place but had a limited supply of clean, potable water. Most New Yorkers got water from wells, cisterns and small bodies of water. However, these water sources soon became polluted and clean, accessible water was desperately needed.

In 1837, construction began on the aqueduct. In 1842, the Croton Aqueduct System officially opened and forever changed modern plumbing history by supplying buildings with running water from the Croton River and into water reservoirs in urban Manhattan approximately 40 miles away.

While this made life a bit easier, there still was no system to remove waste water.

Mid 1850s: New Homes Designed with Separate Indoor Bathrooms

traditional-wellPreviously, if you had to do your business, you had to literally go outdoors to an outhouse. From 1845 to 1850 systems were finessed to efficiently remove sewage away from buildings.

Now all the parts of the equation have come together to allow more affordable and sustainable indoor bathrooms in American homes.

Many unused bedrooms at the time were transformed into an indoor bathroom, and demand dictated that all new homes be built with separate indoor bathrooms.

1870s: Pipes of Wooden Logs

It may seem unfathomable that hollowed tree logs were still used at this time to transport potable water and sewage waste, but this was the case. Wooden logs were also an effective way to convey water to fight fires.

These wooden pipes were often attached to city mains in strategic places throughout the city to aid firefighters. It wasn’t until the 1960s that copper tubing became commonly used in American homes.

Since 1947, Heidler, Inc., a family ­owned and operated plumbing company, has been proudly serving Annapolis, MD. Are you tired of hidden fees and unknown costs? At Heidler, we like to keep things simple which is why we use flat fees. Book an appointment today by calling us at (410) 268-­7191.