Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tips to Running an Energy Efficient Home

You can easily achieve energy efficiency in your home if you want to help the environment and reduce your utility costs. Many tips are available to help you achieve this goal. Most you may know about, but others may be new and can help you save money on energy costs.

The first tip that you can use is to upgrade the appliances in your home. One appliance you may choose to upgrade is your refrigerator. Newer models are made to be energy efficient. This means that they will use less energy than older models. Energy efficient refrigerators will save you money over time.

Another appliance that you may want to replace is your water heater. You can save money by replacing an old electrical water heater for a newer gas unit. If you have a home that has radiators that are used to heat your home, then replacing the boiler with a newer unit will save you money. Make sure the boiler in your home is regularly maintained so it will run at peak efficiency.

Regulating the heating and cooling of your home can also save you money on energy costs. You can do this by installing a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat is used to regulate temperature levels. This means that you can set the thermostat to come on at specific times or when heating it not required.

Keeping the HVAC system in your home running efficiently requires regular maintenance. You need to regularly clean out the registers and cold air returns of any dirt. A local HVAC company can be hired to clean the ducts to allow proper air flow throughout your home.

Check all of the windows in your home for any leaks. You may need to apply a weatherstripping on the windows to seal any air gaps. Another option is to cover the glass with a window film. This is a type of product that is used to keep out heat during the summer and prevent heat loss during the winter. If your windows are old, then you may want to consider replacing them with a newer product. You will have a significant energy savings by replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows.

Check the attic or crawlspaces in your home for the amount of insulation that is present. You may need to have more insulation added to prevent heat loss through the roof. This will save money because your furnace will not need to run as often to keep your home warm. Insulation can be blown into the attic or pieces can be cut and then laid in-between the floor joists.

One big way that you can make your home more energy efficient is to replace all incandescent bulbs in your home with CFL or compact fluorescent bulbs. These to not burn as not and do not use the amount of energy as a typical incandescent bulb. If replacing bulbs are not an option, then you need to turn off lights in rooms that are not being used.

The Top Must Have Plumbing Tools

Plumbing never breaks at a convenient time.  Typically, a problem will occur in the middle of the night or when it is time to go to work or an appointment.  Calling out a plumber in an emergency can be an expensive proposition that can be avoided with the purchase and knowledge of a few simple tools.

Every home should be equipped with a plunger, or a ‘plumber’s friend’.  It is a rubber cup on a stick that can be used to unclog toilets or sinks by anyone, regardless of how handy they may or may not be.  Toilets can easily become clogged with too much toilet paper.  This is a situation that can be quickly and easily rectified with a plunger.  In the toilet, place the rubber cup over the hole at the bottom of the bowl.  Use the stick to push the rubber cup up and down.  This causes the water in the trap under toilet to move back and forth and to loosen the clog.  This method will remedy almost every clogged toilet.  There typically is no need to call a plumber.

Sinks can be plunged as well; however, the clogs in the sinks are typically formed by hair or other small items that can create more of a blockage than a typical toilet paper clog.  If the plunger does not work in the sink, a liquid drain cleaner will usually remedy the situation.  Liquid drain cleaners are sold in most hardware and large general retail centers.  The liquid attacks the clog and eats away the material that is causing the blockage.  It is very easy to use.  Simply pour the liquid into the clogged drain and wait a specified time.  Sometimes it will take multiple applications to unclog the most stubborn blockages.

Most homeowner’s worst nightmare is discovering a busted pipe or valve, and to have water spilling into the house.  While this is a very unlikely situation, it is a good idea to have a plan of attack if it ever occurs.  The most important thing to do in the case of a busted water pipe is to shut off the water supply to the house.  This is accomplished at the water meter or water shut off valve located outside.  Everyone should locate the shut off valve to the house soon after moving in so that they know where to go in the case of an emergency.  Additionally, some valves require a key in order to turn them.  These keys can be purchased at hardware stores.  The key should be kept in a convenient place that is quickly accessible.

One more common issue in plumbing is the loss of an item into the drain of the sink.  Rings in particular can quickly fall into the sink and disappear into the drain.  There is a trap located just below that drain that will capture the item that is dropped.  A pipe wrench is all that is needed to remove the trap and recover whatever was lost.  There is a nut on either end of the trap that has to be removed.  Once they are removed, the trap will come off.

Knowing how to remedy some simple plumbing issues can save precious time and money in the case of an emergency.  Homeowner’s should be sure to purchase these few tools so that they are ready in the case that they are needed at a moment’s notice.

Importance of Having an Emergency Plumber

There are many instances in which a homeowner can accomplish basic plumbing tasks at home. However, it’s always important to have a contact number for an emergency plumber. You never know when a serious plumbing issue may take place that will require professional assistance, especially in an instance which leads to flooding conditions inside the home or in the yard.

One of the most common needs for an emergency plumber is freezing weather conditions. No matter how well you wrap your pipes, there is potential for breakage during a freeze. You may realize that there is a problem when the water in the house doesn’t run. You may discover an unexpected puddle in your yard. It’s important to attend to frozen pipes immediately in order to restore water to your home. Calling in professional help can facilitate this quick restoration.

Any type of gushing water in your yard is a sign of trouble, regardless of the season. If you aren’t confident in your own ability to fix a broken pipe, it’s important to contact a professional right away in order to alleviate water waste. Gushing water inside of your home is even more urgent. If a fixture breaks, your first step should be shutting off the water supply to the area. Your next step should be contacting an emergency plumber to do the repair.

Water heaters are especially frustrating to replace. Many communities now regulate the replacement of water heaters. Whether it’s an emergency or not, it can be difficult to figure out how to get the right permits for the job, and hiring a professional can save you the frustration while getting the needed authorization quickly. Professionals can attend to your unexpected water heater replacement much more quickly, and they have the expertise to make sure that a new system is installed safely.

Unusually high utility bills are a sign of serious issues with household plumbing. If your usage hasn’t changed significantly, it’s wise to analyze your property for leaks. A simple survey of your water meter can help you to determine whether water is running. Shut off all water outlets, make sure that no toilets are running, and examine your meter. If the meter is moving, then you have a leak on your property. A plumber can help you locate and repair such a leak.

On rural properties, wells and septic systems can create additional plumbing challenges. Not only do you need to be concerned with issues inside, but you must be aware of the potential of your well or septic system to create indoor problems. A lack of water may require more than a plumbing solution, and a well company may need to be contacted. Backing up of water in the home may indicate an overloaded septic system. A plumber may assist in the short term, but will advise you if septic service is needed.

Not every plumbing concern is an emergency. It’s important, however, to have a reliable emergency plumber in mind for those situations that crop up suddenly, creating hazards to your property or inconveniences for your family.