DO’S, DON’TS, NEVERS, AND CHUCKLES

DO’S, DON’TS, NEVERS AND CHUCKLES –

First Edition

Just a few random thoughts from your plumber’s secretary.

(If we aren’t your plumber, you don’t have to read this; but, on second thought, maybe your plumber doesn’t offer such enlightening information. So, go ahead and read it.)

  1. Do disconnect your hose in late fall from the exterior faucet to prevent freezing and the potential bursting of the piping. If you don’t, your insurance company will love the business.
  1. Never put your hand inside a disposal that has the power connected to it. Fingers are a necessity.
  1. Don’t attempt a DIY repair unless you know exactly what you are doing.  The initial repair will probably now cost more to fix than in the beginning.  Thank you for your business!
  1. Don’t pour drain cleaners into any drains. When plunged, some of the remaining acid could be pulled out of the drain and onto your skin or the plumber’s.  Ouch!
  1. Don’t crank harder on a faucet to get it to stop dripping. You may be left holding a faucet handle and now you have more to deal with than a drip.

With sincerity and a few chuckles,

The Plumber’s Secretary

By the way, look for future editions of ‘Do’s, Don’ts, Nevers, and Chuckles’ from the ‘enlightened’ plumber’s secretary!

 

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Too early, much too early, cold, very cold temperatures have arrived. The cold temperatures have ended the growing season of my nine, beautiful plants on our deck, and the growing season of our vincas out front that valiantly tried to brave the cold and tried to continue blooming.  But alas, all of them have succumbed to the cold.

Watering the nine plants on our deck was not easy. We either had to haul water up the steps outside or haul water through the house. Not fun. The solution was to have our son install a spigot for the deck, running it from the exterior faucet up to the deck. Problem solved, and it was wonderful! No hauling water!

Can you get a feel for where this is going?

On a trip to the shed in the backyard we found water spewing from the exterior faucet, and the backyard flooded from the house to the shed. Thankfully all the water was in the backyard, and not in the house. The water line from the exterior faucet to the deck had frozen and come apart at the connection. Now read the title of the blog again; go ahead, you may laugh, with my permission. Did my boss (who is a plumber) and my son both warn us to disconnect this water line to the deck?  Of course! I can just hear it – you’re laughing again and shaking your head.  Do you know how embarrassing this is?

So, I will warn you again, dear friends and neighbors,

DISCONNECT THOSE HOSES, DRAIN THOSE WATER LINES, AND TURN OFF THE SHUT OFF VALVE ON THE EXTERIOR FAUCET WATER LINE!

In addition to the exterior faucet there may be other things that need your attention in the house as these cold temperatures set in. Perhaps you have some drafty windows that need to be winterized, and when was the last time the gas furnace had a check-up? Drafty windows will drive up your heating bill, and that gas furnace could put out carbon monoxide (the silent killer) that would not just make your family sick, but could and has caused deaths.

We suggest you run through our check list and make sure your home is ready for these cold temperatures:

1. Exterior faucet is turned off completely and there is no dripping.

2. Hose is detached and stored properly.

3.  Shut off valve on the water line to the exterior faucet is in the ‘off’ position.  Don’t have a shut off valve for the exterior faucet? Give us a call.

4.  Doors and windows have been winterized.

5.  Gas furnace has had a check-up.

6.  Batteries in the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have been checked and replaced, if necessary.

7.  Carbon monoxide detectors have not only been purchased, but installed.

Enjoy the cozy fires and blankets, and those big mugs of coffee or hot chocolate. Be safe, cozy, and warm this winter – not sorry.

From the secretary at Aaron Kramer Plumbing,

Ruthanne

 

 

 

 

SILENT – BUT, DEADLY

SILENT – BUT, DEADLY

Normally, when we write our blogs, we try to give them catchy titles and start out with a little humor. This one, however, deals with a very serious and potentially deadly problem that may exist in your home, and you may not realize it until it is too late. This potential problem is the presence of carbon monoxide (CO).

In the last two years in our area three children and an elderly husband and wife have lost their lives to this ‘silent killer’.  Carbon monoxide is an invisible, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by fuel-fired appliances, generators, space heaters, and automobiles. When CO is inhaled, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, preventing oxygen from getting to our organs.  The gas can first cause flu-like symptoms, followed by disorientation, then unconsciousness, with the end result being death.

If a household appliance malfunctions, the gas could be allowed to dissipate throughout your home. Generators and space heaters can also produce CO.  For this reason, if you are using a generator that burns gas or propane, the generator should be at least 20’ from the house, and NEVER be used in the house or in the garage. You may have an all-electric home, but if you have an attached garage, you may also be at risk. Leaving a car running in the garage with the door up or down will allow the gas to seep into your home.

Potential harm to your family can be prevented with the installation of CO alarms. These alarms emit a loud, beeping pattern that goes off when CO is detected. The loud beeping doesn’t stop until the CO level has been decreased.  These alarms do not prevent or correct the problem; their purpose is only to alert you to the presence of CO.

The Residential Code of Ohio stipulates that the CO alarms be located outside the bedroom group in the home.  If there are bedrooms on every floor, then a unit should be installed on each floor outside these rooms.  Kidde, an alarm manufacturer, has in their manual to install one on each floor, regardless if there are bedrooms on the floor.  Kidde also stipulates that the unit should not be installed within 5’ of an appliance; and in the case of a water heater and/or furnace, it should be no closer than 15’. Deep cell marine batteries such as those that are used with battery back-up pumps, also produce CO, and the alarm should be located 5’ or more away from these batteries to prevent nuisance alarms.

Once an alarm has sounded, open the nearest window and/or doors, and/or leave the house immediately and call 911.  If you are unable to leave, stay by the open window.  If you leave the house, do not return for any reason.  Once the CO level has gone down, the source of the CO must be found. The first responders may be able to determine the source, but the repairs will need to be made by a plumbing and/or HVAC technician who is licensed, bonded, and insured.  They should check any fuel fired appliance in your home.  Do not turn on any appliance until it has been evaluated by a licensed technician.

Alarms for just carbon monoxide can be purchased, and there are also combination alarms for both smoke and CO. No matter which unit is purchased, it is the home owner’s responsibility to read through the entire manufacturer’s manual and follow the directions to the letter. Test the units weekly, and keep track of their age. They can be purchased on-line, at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and local hardware stores.  Some communities also give away free CO detectors to their residents.  Call your local fire department to see if such a program is available in your area.

The best way to protect your family and keep them safe is to be knowledgeable about the effects of carbon monoxide and install alarms in your home.    Your family is depending on you.

Your family also depends on you to make sure they have hot water, working toilets and faucets, a quiet garbage disposal, plus all of your other plumbing needs. You can depend on Aaron Kramer Plumbing to make sure that your plumbing is in working order.  Give us a call today at 937-898-0008

 

 

THE FORTUNE COOKIE

THE FORTUNE COOKIE

My grandchildren, all eight of them, love fortune cookies – both to eat and read. They always want me to read the fortune to them, and then give me a blank stare – they understand nothing of what it says. Personally, I usually ignore them – until this last one. It read as follows: Business is lot like playing tennis; if you don’t serve well, you lose! In tennis, that opening volley, the serve, is everything. You miss that first shot, you’re done. This same thing applies in business. The opening ‘serve’ is everything to a business, that first impression. That ‘serve’ must be done right from the beginning; there is no do-over.

For seventeen years I’ve been the primary voice on the phone for this company, and I realized the first day that the ‘volley’ that I left with the person on the other end of the call had to be a favorable one. If the caller was not ‘served’ well, we would lose. We would not only lose them as a customer, but if they said anything to anyone else, we would lose again, and could keep losing – like a ripple effect in a pond. Customers have called crying; wives angry with their DIY’er husbands have called; and some have called who not only have diagnosed the problem, but they also tell me how long they think it will take to repair it – so it isn’t going to cost much, right?

No matter what the situation, they all have to be handled in the right way, or we lose. You want that customer to tell others that the people at that company are friendly, cheerful, accommodating, knowledgeable, and they listened to me when I explained my problem. You must give that customer the feeling that at that moment they are the most important thing you have to deal with, and that you are there to ‘serve’ them. As in tennis, if you don’t serve well, you lose; that same thing is true in business.

Aaron Kramer Plumbing would like you to be our next customer. Our services include repairing/replacing faucets; repairing/replacing toilets; replacing garbage disposals and sump pumps; repairing/installing water heaters; installing laundry tubs; locating and repairing pipe leaks; and diagnosing high water bills. Please call Aaron Kramer Plumbing today and check out our ‘serve’. 1-937-898-0008

TO APPROVE OR NOT TO APPROVE – THAT IS THE QUESTION

Recently our company applied for a mechanical permit from Montgomery County Building Regulations, Division of Plumbing.  When we received the permit, there was a notice pertaining to the presence of carbon monoxide detectors in homes with
attached garages and/or the installation and/or replacement of fuel fired appliances. In this case, it was in reference to the replacement of a gas water heater.

A section of the Residential Code of Ohio which became effective on January 1, 2013, is rather ambiguous in nature pertaining to the inspection for a carbon monoxide detector when the inspector is doing an inspection of a replacement water heater. The language in the code is inferred, rather than required; however, according to Montgomery County Building Regulations they will inspect for the presence of a CO detector. The inspector would specifically be looking for them in the vicinity of the bedroom group in the home even if the work being done is in a completely separate part of the house.

There are various ways the inspector could handle this:
1. include a notice to the owner on the plan approval that the work being done will lead to a requirement for the CO detectors to be installed.
2. include a notice of non-compliance meaning that a requirement for the installation of the CO detectors is included.
3. include a notice on the certificate of approval for the work done that the approval includes a notice for the requirement for the installation of the CO detectors.

Are they going to come back to your home to inspect for the CO detectors? The answer we were given was ‘no’. But, for the safety of our customers, and in order for our customers to be in compliance with the Code, we are strongly recommending that in the absence of a CO detector, a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector be installed. This unit would take the place of an existing smoke alarm, instead of adding a second alarm. One unit we found is manufactured by ‘Kidde’, product 3P3010CU, and may purchased at Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers.

The decision “to approve or not to approve” is in the hands of the inspector until the language of the Code has been corrected. It is unlikely that the approval for the water heater would be denied in the absence of the CO detector. The water heater installation itself would be the determining factor in whether or not the inspection passed.

If there are any questions, you may call Montgomery County Building Regulations, Division of Plumbing for further clarification. (226-4611)

WHAT SHAPE IS YOUR ‘SILLCOCK’ IN?

My what?  My sillcock?  You probably know it as a hose bib, exterior faucet, or outside spigot.  As to the ‘shape’ of your faucet, we are referring to its condition.  Your home is probably the most important asset you own, and minor plumbing issues can turn into major issues if not caught immediately.

Temperatures are warming up (THANKFULLY!) and in the next few months your exterior faucet is going to get quite a work out.  Very soon, if not already, many of you are going to be out preparing flower beds and/or gardens for planting, as well as washing the family vehicle.  Having an exterior faucet in working order will be a must.

Leaving your hose connected during the winter could cause damage to your faucet.  A leaking exterior faucet will increase  your water bill, and if it leaks in the house, the damage done could be extensive.

We would like to suggest that when you turn the faucet on, watch for leaks from the body or handle, and also any leaking from visible piping.  We also recommend that  you check the inside of the house – the basement, under the kitchen sink – any place where the water line for the exterior faucet ties in.  Without checking inside, water could be leaking for sometime before it is found.

To protect your home this next winter, we recommend that you do the following:

1.  Disconnect the hose and store it in the garage.

2.  Turn off the shut off valve on the water line to the exterior faucet.  (If there is no shut off valve, we recommend that you have one installed.)

3.  Purchase a foam cover for the faucet from a home center and put it over the faucet.  This will insulate it and hopefully prevent freezing.

Terms such as ‘sillcock’ may seem out-of-date, but we need to stay on top of things in our homes to keep them up-to-date and in good working order.  Give Aaron Kramer Plumbing a call at the first sign of any issues with your exterior faucet.  Please call us today at 937-898-0008.

SHIVERING AND FROZEN PIPES!

BRRRRR!  It’s getting cold out there and, we hate to say it, but it’s going to get colder.  After the relatively mild December of 2015, our weather is now in full snow and cold mode, and we are shivering!   The cold not only makes us shiver, but it also makes our plumbing shiver!  My plumbing?  Well, not literally; but, the cold does affect  your plumbing and some damage may already be done by the time you realize it.  When pipes freeze and thaw, they burst; and the running water could flood your home and/or yard, not only causing damage, but it could also increase your water bill.  Aaron Kramer Plumbing would like to offer some simple suggestions for protecting your home, your plumbing, and your wallet from the affects of the cold.

All of  your outside hoses should be disconnected and stored inside.  If any of the exterior faucets are leaking, have them repaired to prevent them from freezing.  For further protection, a foam insulator can be installed over the faucet to protect it from the cold.  Turn the shut off valve(s) to the ‘off’ position that are on the water line(s) going to the exterior faucet(s).  If the exterior water line is not isolated with a shut off valve, you might consider having one installed.  We also suggest leaving open the cabinet doors beneath the kitchen sink to allow warm air to circulate.  This could prevent the water lines to the kitchen sink from freezing.  Do not use a torch or any other form of open flame in an attempt to thaw out the pipes.  Should your water lines freeze, please call Aaron Kramer Plumbing to have them thawed out.

In addition to the repair and/or replacement of exterior faucets, Aaron Kramer Plumbing will also repair and/or replace kitchen, lavatory, laundry tub, and tub/shower faucets.  We also repair or replace toilets, water heaters, garbage disposals, and sump pumps.  We will also locate and repair water leaks and clear clogged drains.  No job is too small for Aaron Kramer Plumbing!  Call TODAY!  937-898-0008 (North) or 937-434-7074 (South)

AND THE COUNT DOWN BEGINS!

Count down? To what? Actually, there are a few things that we are ‘counting down’ to. We are probably all counting down to the first day of summer, kids (AND TEACHERS) are counting down to their last day of school, and families are counting down to when they leave on that long awaited vacation. Aaron Kramer Plumbing would like to offer a ‘count-down’ list of things to do prior to being away from your home, even if it is just for a day or if it is for an extended period of time.

1. When leaving for a day at the lake or park, a long weekend, or for an extended vacation, we suggest turning off the main water shut off valve to the house. (Recently, a family who was gone for just the day came home to find that the supply line to the toilet had ruptured. The water ran most of the day causing major water damage to two stories of their home.)
2. Have a trusted neighbor or family member check your home daily by doing a walk-through making sure doors and windows are (still) locked.
3. Don’t allow mail and/or newspapers to pile up thus alerting someone that no one is home.
4. Leave a couple of lights on or on a time along with a radio or tv giving the impression that someone is home.
5. Keep the yard mowed and flowerbeds weeded.
6. Have a neighbor park their car in the driveway, especially at night.
7. Alert your local police that you will be gone and supply them and a neighbor or two your contact information.

Begin your ‘count-down’ now and enjoy your summer with family and friends knowing that you have done all you can to protect your home. For information about the services offered by Aaron Kramer Plumbing, your local Dayton, Ohio plumber, please browse our web site at www.aaronkramerplumbing.com and/or call our office at 937-898-0008 or 937-434-7470.

APRIL IS COMING! APRIL IS COMING

PLEASE, don’t remind me! I know the 15th is coming and I’d like to scratch the day off the calendar! Believe me, we know how you feel, but the 15h is not the day we are referring to. We are referring to April 16th. Why the 16th? Did I miss something? You just might have.

April 16th is the ‘hard’ date when appliance manufacturers have to stop manufacturing the current appliances on the market. Any appliance made up TO that date can be sold and installed, but newly manufactured appliances must now meet new standards and requirements set by the Department of Energy in the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA). The energy act was passed in 1975 and amended in 1992, 2005, and in 2010. Each amendment set new energy efficiency requirements and the 2010 amendment stipulates that the new requirements must be met by a long list of appliances as of April 16, 2015. These energy efficiency requirements are referred to as the energy factor or EF of that appliance. A higher EF should result in less energy consumption and therefore monetary savings to the consumer in energy costs. The NAECA stipulates the testing criteria that are to be used and the requirements, but not how the requirements are to be met. In other words, they don’t tell the manufacturer how to manufacture their products; they just tell them what the result has to be.

Prior to the federal standards each state was setting its own standards, making it difficult for manufacturers to produce products that met all the differing state
requirements. The federal standards brought everything in line.

How, specifically, do these new standards affect water heaters? Most of the new heaters will increase by 2″ in diameter and 1″ to 2″ in height. The increase in size is due to the amount of insulation that the heaters must now have. If the heater is located in a basement or a garage, there will likely be no issues as far as room is concerned. But, if the heater is located in a closet, utility, or furnace room, these locations may prove to be a challenge. An alternative location or an alternative heater may just have to be considered. Besides changes in size, gas water heaters above 55 gallons will now be required to have condensing technology and electric heaters above 55 gallons will be required to have heat pump technology.

Heat pump water heaters won’t be found on the preferred list at Aaron Kramer Plumbing. The heat pump heats the water by stealing energy from another energy source. Your furnace then has to compensate for the loss of heat. These water heaters are also much heavier than conventional water heaters and must be transported standing up, they cannot be laid down like other heaters. Servicing these heaters may require two different technicians – a plumber for the water heater and an HVAC technician for the heat pump. The increase in the cost of the heater, the increase in the installation charges, and the increase to your electric bill to run the heat pump will probably not make this type of installation an economical choice for most homeowners.

As to the cost of any of these new water heaters, yes, the cost will increase. Manufacturers have been making massive changes to their manufacturing facilities in order to make the products that meet these new standards; wholesalers and retailers will have to make changes to their storage and show room space to accommodate them, and in some cases, what was once a one man job will now require two men. All of these cost increases will be passed on to the consumer in higher labor and higher material costs. Do-It-Yourselfers will find it a challenge to install these new heaters. No one faults anyone for trying to do something themselves; however, all of these factors – the increase in size, weight, and possible relocation of the heater – will make a DIY project much more challenging.

Will the increase in cost be offset by a decrease in energy consumption and energy cost? The DOE answers with a resounding ‘YES!’ Only time and your electric and gas bills will tell the story.

For further information, may we suggest that you go the internet and search for the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act. Various water heater manufacturers also have information on their web sites. You may also call Aaron Kramer Plumbing for further information on the new regulations and also for information on any of your other plumbing needs such as sump pumps, faucets, toilets, garbage disposals and drain cleaning. We can be reached at 937-898-0008.

YOU WANT TO DO WHAT! IN MY KITCHEN?

Could this be what Mrs. John Hammes exclaimed to her husband when he told her that he wanted to run some experiments at her kitchen sink AND that the ‘results’ of his experiments would end up in a ‘pool’ in their back yard, outside her kitchen window?  “My dear, my experiments will make easier work for you and, hopefully, it won’t take me long to perfect my idea.”  Well, after 11 years of experimenting under her kitchen sink and retrieving the ‘results’ of his experiments from the ‘pool’, he did come up with an invention that would make work easier, not only for his wife, but all households.

John Hammes was first a farmer, then a carpenter, and finally a contractor turned inventor who began 11 years of experimenting with various models and motors of what became known as the ‘garbage disposal’.  Various models were installed under his kitchen sink, food scraps put down, and the results piped into a pool in the backyard where he then retrieved  the results in order to test how effectively each new model was grinding up the scraps.  Mr. Hammes took out his first patent in 1935 and in 1938 the In-Sink-Erator Manufacturing Company of Racine, Wisconsin, was born.  Mr. Hammes and his two sons built and sold 52 models that first year.  Today, In-Sink-Erator is one of the most well-known brands in the country of a common household appliance.

In the beginning, Mr. Hammes faced many obstacles to his invention.  The greatest were the regulations of municipalities against having food waste put into their sewer systems.  It took many years of meetings and lobbying with municipal leaders for him to convince them that the food waste would not clog their systems or sewers.  One of the last cities to be convinced was New York City, and that was not until 1997!  It was not until the 1970’s and 1980’s that the disposal was found in most high-end homes, and not until the first decade of 2000 that 50% of  homes in the United states had a disposal installed.

Disposals have a tendency to be loud and noisy, but thanks to new technology, the disposals on the market today are quieter, jam less, and grind the scraps even more.  When in the market for a new disposal, keep these things in mind:  check for the noise rating, how many grind chambers it has, and what size unit is recommended for your family size and for the amount of entertaining that you do.

Having a disposal is a convenience that allows us to dispose of food waste quickly and effortlessly.  Treated properly, a disposal can last a number of years.  Following are some DO’s and DON’TS to keep that disposal humming and grinding along:

DO:

1.  put the food into the unit slowly.

2.  occasionally put down small bones and small seeds into the unit.  This will help keep the walls of the disposal clean.

3.  run cold water only when processing food scraps and allow it to run for approximately 20 seconds after all the food has been processed.  This will help keep the food from collecting in the unit and the pipes.

4.  occasionally put in an orange or grapefruit peel to freshen the disposal.  A small amount of dish soap can also be put down the disposal keeping the cold water running for approximately 20 seconds.

DON’T

1.  put bleach or any other caustic liquids, such as drain cleaners, into the disposal.

2.  use hot water, only cold.  Refrain from pouring boiling water into the kitchen drain.  Add cold water while draining hot water (such as pasta water) into the sink.

3.  turn off the disposal too soon after putting food scraps into the unit.

 

Housewives are probably the largest group who are thankful to Mrs. Hammes for allowing her husband to install unit after unit under her kitchen sink, and for allowing him to have the ‘pool’ in the backyard.  Perhaps after her first question of  ‘you want to do WHAT in my kitchen”,  she very sincerely said, ‘thank you, dear’.

For further information concerning garbage disposals, or perhaps faucets, toilets, water heaters, clogged drains, sump pumps, or pipe leaks, please contact Aaron Kramer Plumbing. We would like to be your ‘Dayton, Ohio local plumber’.

 

 

 

Written by Bruce Kramer