Tag Archives: toilets

Holiday Disasters!

Aaron Kramer Plumbing  would like for all our customers and friends to enjoy your holiday celebrations without having to deal with any disasters interrupting your time together.  To avoid these disasters, we’d like to suggest the following

  1. Don’t stuff your garbage disposal with vegetable peelings, pastas, etc. that could clog the disposal.  We are suggesting that you reserve the stuffing for a part of your anatomy – and enjoy!  We won’t be available to snake your drain or replace the disposal. We’ll be closed the 25th
  2. Don’t stuff your toilet with paper and paper products. To put it delicately flush frequently to avoid overflowing the toilet.  We won’t be available to snake the toilet.  We’ll be closed the 25th
  3. Don’t’ let your toddlers drop their new hot wheels and other small toys down the toilet. They will probably not go down, but they will do a good job of clogging it.  How do you remove a small toy?  Many times, you don’t.  Your Christmas present to the family just might be a new toilet – installed after Christmas.  We’ll be closed the 25th
  4. Out-of-town company means lots of showers and lots of dishes to wash.  Space out showers and running the dishwasher to ensure having enough hot water.  Increasing the temperature of the water heater will not make it recover faster and we won’t be available for you to call and ask what is wrong with it.  We’ll be closed 25th

We wish our customers, friends and neighbors a wonderful holiday.  We will enjoy it also – did we say we’ll be closed? 

Call us on the 26th.  898-0008

Happy Holidays, 

Aaron Kramer Plumbing

DO’S, DON’TS, NEVERS AND CHUCKLES

DO’S, DON’TS, NEVERS AND CHUCKLES   – Second Edition

Just a few more 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. Never put a broom handle (yes, you read that right) or any other object into a jammed disposal to try and unjam it. You will be calling us.
  1. Don’t let toilets ‘run’ or faucets drip unless you like paying high water bills. The water company thanks you.
  1. Don’t buy universal parts for the plumber to use for a repair. There is a good possibility it won’t work; so let the plumber supply the correct parts and save yourself a return trip to the store.  Keep that receipt!
  1. Don’t use hangers or other objects to try and clear a drain. Poking a hole or damaging the pipe has just increased the cost of repairs, to say nothing of the clean up under the sink.  We don’t do that.
  1. Do listen to the advice of your plumber – not Uncle George, Grandpa, your neighbor or the guy selling you parts at the box store. Are any of these people licensed plumbers?  Probably not; however, we are.

With sincerity and a few chuckles,

The Plumber’s Secretary

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

WHAT IS YOUR GPF?

Word games have always been popular – crossword puzzles, Jumbles, acrostics, Wheel of Fortune and now, Words with Friends. So, what is your GPF? If you know what GPF means, you win 12 rolls of toilet paper! If you didn’t know what it means, you get um, a catalog.

Your water bill is a total of your water usage for bathing, washing clothes, dish washing (whether by hand or dishwasher), hand washing, flushing toilets, and outside work such as watering your lawn and plants, and washing your vehicles. Oh, and don’t forget kids playing in the sprinkler or filling up swimming pools. Of that list, which one uses the most water? Bathing? Washing clothes? Outside work? Actually, it is the same thing for almost every household. According to the EPA, flushing our toilets accounts for nearly 20% (some say higher) of the total water used in our homes.

Knowing the GPF could help greatly lower your water bill. GPF means ‘gallons per flush. Frankly, most oF us aren’t too concerned with the GPF – we just want to make sure that what is in the bowl, leaves the bowl.

Most toilets made prior to 1970 used over 6 gallons of water in a single flush – a 6.0 GPF. Due to droughts, water shortages, etc, some states began setting water usage standards. In 1978 California enacted legislation that set a 3.5 GPF standard for toilets. Other state soon followed California’s lead. In 1994 the standard was lowered to 1.6 GPF and now, in California, beginning January, 2014, the standard has been lowered to a 1.28 GPF in all newly built homes and in any home being remodeled. As before, once California made their move, others were quick to follow. The lowered water use sounded wonderful; however, consumers were quick to complain. Why? Instead of flushing once, consumers were flushing their toilets multiple times, thus negating any savings on their water bills.   Pressure began to mount on the manufacturers from consumers and legislatures to modify and redesign their toilets to provide what the consumer wanted – one flush per use. Further pressure then came from the EPA when it developed its ‘Water Sense’ program. Under this program, all toilets wanting to earn the ‘Water Sense’ label must have a 1.29 GPF. Manufacturers heard them loud clear, and they responded.

Today you can find a list of over 2000 different toilets that have earned the ‘Water Sense’ label. To earn the label, a toilet is tested by an independent agency using the MaP Testing program. (see prior blog – Not All Toilets Are Created Equal) The testing is voluntary and the manufacturers pay for the testing themselves. There is pressure from all sides for the manufacturers to have their toilets tested.

Do ‘Water Sense’ toilets cost more? Yes, they can; however, with rebate programs that have been offered in some states and the savings on the water bill the extra cost can be recouped in a few years.

If your family is considering replacing a toilet or toilets, may we suggest that you go to the EPA web site to look at the list of toilets (and other plumbing fixtures) that have earned the ‘Water Sense’ label. When shopping, be sure and look for the ‘Water Sense’ label on the product you are considering and choose wisely for the sake of your wallet.   Contact Aaron Kramer Plumbing for further information on ‘Water Sense’ toilets or for any of your plumbing needs such as toilets, faucets, water heaters, garbage disposals, or pipe leaks. (937-898-0008) (Oh, and if you knew what GPF meant, send us your mane and address for your 12 rolls of toilet paper! Quality not guaranteed; use at your own risk.)

 

Written by Bruce Kramer