Who’s Picking up Your Plumbing Bill?

Who’s Picking up Your Plumbing Bill?

nobodytells

Is there anything worse than getting home after a long day of work, and a stressful commute home, than opening your front door to find that a plumbing catastrophe has taken place in your absence?

Honestly, I think not. What makes the entire situation worse is knowing that once the mess is all cleaned up, you’ll be stuck with a plumbing bill to pay…but maybe you won’t have to pay that bill yourself.

If you rent your home, you should know that your landlord may be responsible for fixing the emergency plumbing issues in your home. Let’s take a look at why your landlord has to pay, and how much they are responsible for.

How Much Does Your Landlord Have to Pay For?

landlordpaysWhen you sign a lease to rent an apartment, you agree to pay monthly for your living space, and your landlord agrees to provide you with a comfortable living space.

That means that when you have a plumbing emergency that threatens your comfort and personal safety, your landlord has to pay to fix it.

Flooding caused by a backed up drain can lead to harmful bacteria in your home, and any kind of excess water in your home can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can lead to a host of respiratory and health issues.

Plumbing Repairs For Rental Homes

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As long as you rent your home, you won’t have the responsibility for emergency plumbing repairs.

If you own your own home, however, there is no landlord to take on that responsibility for you, so it falls on you.

If you own a building or house, but you hire a management company to handle the rental operations, then the company becomes responsible for plumbing repairs. In some cases, even as a renter, you may be required to pay for minors repairs.

Your lease agreement may also stipulate a specific amount, below which you agree to pay for plumbing services. If your emergency repairs cost more than the agreed upon amount, however, the responsibility falls back on your landlord again.

Consult Local Rules And Ordinances

localrules

Always remember that there are certain laws and local rules that protect you as a renter.

In some cases, your landlord may be under legal obligation to cover the cost of any emergency plumbing repairs that tenants like you might incur.

The specific legal requirements your landlord can be held to vary somewhat from one state to another, and even from one city to another. Always check local rules and ordinances, to see precisely what your local government has to say about your landlord’s responsibilities to you with regard to plumbing repair costs.

If the cost of plumbing repairs has been keeping you from calling for plumbing services in your home, you can stop worrying about that now!

Now that you know the responsibility of paying for your emergency plumbing repairs falls on your landlord, you can call Heidler, Inc. for all your home plumbing needs. Our experienced plumbing technicians are ready to help you with plumbing repairs, installations, and maintenance in Annapolis, MD.

The Subtle Art of Heating Technologies

The Subtle Art of Heating Technologies

Thanks to modern technology, there is a slew of options to choose from when it comes to heating your home. From “clean energy” sources like solar power and geothermal energy to electric heating, you’re sure to find a heating system that is ideally suited to your home and lifestyle!

Solar Powered Heating

In a solar heated home, solar panels absorb radiant energy from the sun and convert them into power to heat your home and power certain appliances. While this is one of the most talked about forms of renewable energy, the bulky space consuming panels required make it infeasible for a lot of homes, especially in metropolitan areas.

Some of the benefits that solar heating brings include lower monthly energy bills, little maintenance on panels and heater, and even government stipends for surplus energy! That’s right; if you have extra solar energy you don’t need, the government will take it off your hands and pay you for it!

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating involves taking energy from within the earth to heat and power your home. The heat energy is produced within the earth’s core, which can reach temperatures over 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and then stored in the crust.

Geothermal energy is helpful because it is accessible in most areas across the country, and doesn’t take up as much space as other renewable energy systems with wind turbines and solar panels. It also doesn’t experience the same “low-energy” fluctuations that solar and wind power do. Geothermal heating is proven to save users as much as 30%-70% on monthly heating costs!

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps create warmer air in your home by simply moving warm air from the outside atmosphere into your home during the winter. It can also move cooler air from outside into your home during the summer to cool it.

Heat pumps offer a legitimate alternative for heating homes in colder regions, like New England, and they can cost as little as ¼ of what conventional heaters cost! Heat pumps are also convenient for homes without a central duct system, as they can be purchased as a mini-split system.

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Oil Heating

Heaters that use oil heating have a heating element at the bottom of the unit that heats up the oil, which then transfers the heat to the metal exterior. The metal exterior then conducts the heat energy into the air around it using air convection and thermal radiation.

Oil heaters are not among the most popular heating systems, but they are one of the most efficient, losing only about 10%-20% of heat energy.

Gas-Powered Heating

Gas powered heaters draw air in a heat exchanger, where the natural gas burner heats it. Then a fan blows the newly heated air back out into your home. Gas heaters are one of the most commonly used heaters in the country because they are convenient, reliable, and efficient! In fact, higher quality gas furnaces run at up to 90% efficiency, while lower quality ones still run a the minimum required 78% efficiency.

Electric Heating

Electric heating is another commonly used system, and one of the easiest and most convenient to use. Central electric heating costs less to install than most other heating units, and the regular maintenance it requires also costs less than it would on some other heaters. There are even energy efficient electric heaters on the market today, to save you money on your monthly bill!

Heating System Not Turning On?

Heating System Not Turning On?

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A finicky heating system that won’t turn on when you need it can be extremely dangerous, especially in the middle of winter in Maryland. So how do you get a heater to turn on when it’s acting up? Should you just toss it out and get a new one, or is there a simpler, less expensive solution?

The heating service professionals at Heidler Inc. know all about the various issues that may be causing your heating system to break down, and we’ve written a few of them down for you here. Read on to learn more about why your system may not be working, and what you can do about it.

You May be in Need of a Checkup

heatingcheckupThe first thing any heating technician will ask when your heater isn’t turning on is “when was the last time your system had a check-up?”

Regular inspection and maintenance on your heating and AC systems can prevent significant issues that could cause it to break down.

There are many advantages to having regular maintenance and check-ups performed on your system, including:

  • It allows your technician an opportunity to spot potential problems before they start.
  • Regularly changed filters mean better air quality in your home.
  • If your system does need repairs down the road, they will likely be minor jobs that don’t cost as much.
  • Keeping your system well-maintained means it will probably have a longer lifespan!

Check Your Thermostat

Often, when your central heating system is giving you trouble, the problem isn’t in the heater itself, but in the thermostat. Here are a few ways you can check your thermostat to see if it is the real cause of your heating problems:

  1. checkthermostatCheck to make sure that the thermostat is set to “heat” and that the fan is set to “auto.”
  2. Next, if you have a digital thermostat, try replacing the batteries.
  3. Take the thermostat cover off, and check that all the wires are properly connected to their respective mounting screw.
  4. Test the wires. This can be dangerous, as it involves electricity, and should only be attempted by someone who knows what they’re doing. If you are not comfortable testing the wires yourself, consider calling a professional heating technician.

Make Sure Your Pilot Light is On

lightonIf your home is heated by a gas-powered furnace, one of the first things you should check to make sure that the pilot light is on.

If you find that your furnace’s pilot light has gone out, there may be a few different reasons why.

One is that the flame began to burn inefficiently, which can be noted by the flame burning yellow instead of blue, so the thermocouple cut the gas, thus putting the pilot light out.

A malfunctioning thermocouple would also cause the pilot light to go out for seemingly no reason. Sometimes, the pilot light can burn out over simple things like the intake valve being dirty, or a strong draft blowing through the furnace.

3 Major Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

3 Major Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

mistake

Remodeling your bathroom seems like a fantastic idea. It’s a fun project and saves you plenty of money. You know exactly what you’re doing, right? Chances are you have a general idea of what you’re doing but might not be entirely qualified to perform all tasks.

Maybe you have a different idea for the flooring or underestimated expenses. These mistakes can be costly, slow your progress, or be the cause for significant repairs in the future.  Let’s review a few bathroom remodeling mistakes and how to avoid them!

Moving Fixtures Without a Plumber

Yes, calling a plumber can increase the amount you spend on your bathroom remodel. However, this increased cost is lowered over time by not having to pay for repairs in the future.

Someone probably told you, “do it right or don’t do it at all.” If this was never said, take heed: putting half the effort or money into a project will only cause problems. Moving fixtures with a plumber’s help will:

  • Improve water flow.
  • Limit the risk of water damage.
  • Ensure there are no leaks.
  • Repair any mold or water damage from old fixtures.

Carpet Flooring

carpet

Carpet flooring is a bad idea in bathrooms. Sure, it’s nice to step out of the shower onto something other than cold tiles, however, moisture and the inability to dry carpet thoroughly is begging for mildew and mold.

Because it’s almost impossible to clean or keep dry leads to other problems, including damage to the wood foundation that often runs under carpeting, it’s best to leave them out of your next bathroom remodel project.

Forgetting Your Budget

Taking on a bathroom remodeling project yourself can save you some money. While this is nice, if you forget about your budget or don’t make one to begin with, you may end up out of money with a half-finished washroom. Follow these steps to make and stick to a budget:

  • Dream Big: Figure out what materials you’d love to use, items to replace, and ideal flooring.
  • Revise the List: Take those big dreams and figure out what is doable and what are must-haves, wants, and impossible.
  • Research: Every material you’ll use should be researched for the best price – always be sure to compare multiple options for the best choices.
  • Allow for Overages: Many contractors recommend adding about 30% of your total cost to the budget. This allows for repairs or forgotten necessities.

Remembering your budget and using it wisely will prevent stretching your finances too thin as well as the annoyance of putting a project on hold.

Professional Help May Not Cost as Much as You Think

After determining your budget and what it will cost you to complete a bathroom remodel yourself, consult a professional. There is a decent chance that you can hire them for specific projects or for the entire project.

The idea behind this is to prevent problems in the long-run and additional costs from faulty installations or missed steps. If you’d like to discuss a bathroom remodel with a professional or maybe get some advice on where to start, give Heidler, Inc a call!

Fit Your Granite Countertops for a Sink

Fit Your Granite Countertops for a Sink

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Granite countertops are increasingly popular, popping up in kitchens all around Annapolis, MD. They give a kitchen a classy look and can seriously increase the value of a home. Adding the right sink to your granite will bring your kitchen to the next level. Learn how to properly fit your granite countertops for a sink and ensure your new kitchen plumbing runs smoothly.

Take the Proper Measurements on the Countertop and Available Space

rightmeasurementBefore cutting the hole for the sink, do the proper measurements on the countertop. Allow enough space for the kitchen plumbing underneath the countertop and ensure it is placed in a practical spot.

Tape the cardboard outline of your sink onto the granite, then cut. For cutting granite, use a diamond blade on a circular saw.

This tool is best not just for cutting, but shaping your stone as well. Once the opening has been made, you can flip your granite over and get ready to insert the sink.

Source a Sink That is to Your Liking and Fits the Space

matchingsinkYour sink should match the design of your kitchen. So, allow for enough space for the plumbing and storage underneath. Now that your granite is cut and flipped, you can secure your sink.

Wipe your granite and sink with denatured alcohol, and then place the sink over the hole to trace. Once traced, remove the sink and apply caulk to the edge of the hole. Place the sink back over the hole and press down. Seal the sink in place using the clamps provided with your sink purchase. Now you can turn your countertop back over to install them.

Consider Professional Installation By a Plumber

callaplumberfWould you take your car to anyone who wasn’t a licensed mechanic? No, probably not. So why try installing your kitchen plumbing on your own if you’re not a plumber? Professional plumbers have expertise that the average homeowner simply doesn’t.

Education and experience can’t be beaten. If you’re investing significant amounts of time and money to make changes to your kitchen, then you might as well consider professional installation by a plumber who will execute the task correctly.

New kitchen features are always great to look at. In addition to being eye-catching, upgrading your kitchen will add value to your home if you ever decide to sell it. Two birds, one stone!

Spot Air Duct Mold in Your Home Using this Simple Guide

Spot Air Duct Mold in Your Home Using this Simple Guide

mold

Summer is a great time to enjoy the heat and maybe catch some rays. It’s also a good time to turn on the air conditioning. This is when mold can start to form. Mold loves dark and damp places and can grow and multiply quickly.

Indoor air quality can severely be affected when there is mold in the home, causing respiratory issues, migraines and more. Read on to learn how to identify if you have mold on your HVAC system.

You or Your Family Consistently Gets Sick

healthissuesIf you have mold in your air duct system, it can seriously affect the air quality in your home. You and your family may start to suffer from symptoms such as coughing, dizziness, and headaches.

These signs, along with sneezing and mucus in the throat and lungs can be ongoing. They won’t go away until the mold is removed from your home. This can also affect your pets. If you suspect there may be mold in your home, or have unexplained sickness occurring with your family or pets, have someone come and inspect immediately.

You Notice Mold or Stains Around Your HVAC System

visiblemoldThe last thing any homeowners wants to experience is mold living in their home. Unfortunately, this can happen, especially in your HVAC system due to its high moisture environment.

Check your HVAC system for visible mold. It will look black and be patchy or blotchy. It could look like a smudge or stain but will be difficult to wipe away.

Mold in your HVAC will make indoor air quality poor, and you will run the risk of getting your whole family sick. Seek out a professional in Annapolis, MD if you suspect or see mold in your home.

There is a Strong and Constant Odor in the Home

strongsmellMold has a very distinct smell. If you notice a musty, almost wood-rotting scent in your home, you may have mold growing. Mold is a very fast spreading organism, and it won’t take long, given the right environment, for it to multiply throughout your house.

This is a serious issue that must be addressed, and mold is extremely hazardous to our health. Call a professional right away if you suspect mold growing in your home, do not wait.

Do not procrastinate when it comes to your health and the health of your family. If you suspect mold in your home, it is your responsibility to have it removed right away, keeping you and your family safe.

Signs That a Replacement is Better Than a Repair

Signs a Replacement is Better than a Repair in Your Plumbing System

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It happens to many homeowners in Annapolis, MD who are faced with delicate plumbing devices. Each time it breaks you wonder which is the best option: calling for repairs or buying a new one. Getting it fixed might cost less in the short-term, but you know eventually it will need to be replaced.

Buying new equipment might cost a lot of money, but modern devices tend to be more energy efficient and don’t require too much upkeep. It’s an investment that might pay off down the road. But how do you know if it’s time to buy a replacement? Here’s what you need to know when it comes to repairing or repiping.

Concerning the Shower Top

showertopSomething to keep in mind when it comes to shower tops is the possibility of clogs. This may be caused by sediment buildup and impact on the device’s water pressure and efficiency.

It also could lead to water leaks and widespread water damage. If you think it’s time to buy a replacement shower top, go for a water-efficient model. Save money on your next utility bill by consuming less water.

Anything but the Kitchen Sink

kitchensinkA kitchen sink in good condition should be a top priority. It’s the most used sink in your home. Any damage or cracks mean it’s likely to begin leaking.

The resulting water damage may spread throughout your kitchen, which will be expensive to fix.

Purchasing a new kitchen sink to replace an old, beat up one will prevent this scenario from happening. When you’re out for a replacement kitchen sink, be sure to get water-efficient faucets as well. This will reduce a home’s water consumption and lower the charges on your water bill.

Water Heater in Decline

waterheaterWe often take water heaters for granted but must remember they go through a lot of stress every day. Some heaters end up wearing down at an alarming rate. Water leaks, rust spots, and loud noises caused by sediment buildup are all signs of a device in decline.

These types of problems could reduce the device’s efficiency and accelerate the damage being done. One solution to these issues could be to buy a tankless water heater.

These devices connect directly to a home’s plumbing, which gives you access to a limitless supply of hot water but only as much as you need. Since you don’t need a tank, you can remove the old one to gain more storage space. Tankless water heaters are both practical and efficient.

Washing Machine Replacement

washingmachineWashing machines are sturdy and meant to last about a decade, but that doesn’t mean something can’t go wrong and cause homeowners to buy a replacement. Leaks due to cracks in the tub or loose drums or motor mounts, for example, cost a lot of money to fix.

In these cases, it often makes more sense to purchase a replacement washing machine rather than call for repairs. Modern washers also consume less water and energy than old models. This means you can save on utility charges while helping the environment.

Can you Heat Your Entire Home With Radiant Floor Heating?

Can you Heat Your Entire Home With Radiant Floor Heating?

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating isn’t just about the nice luxury of keeping your feet warm (which admittedly is very welcome on chilly Annapolis, MD mornings). It is a type of heating that offers a number of benefits.

Compared to other heating systems, with radiant floor heating, you have dusty ductwork, rattling radiators or noisy vents. Rather, you’ve got a quiet, even distribution of heat when and where you want it.

Yes! (Or Wherever you Have a Floor)

YESThe short answer to “Can you heat your entire home with radiant floor heating”? is yes. In theory, as long as you have a floor, you can utilize radiant floor heating.

The heating system goes right into the floor, heating water or using electricity in an infrastructure of pipes.

While it generally is room-specific (i.e., for the kitchen or bathroom, where you are standing a great deal, or might be in bare feet), it is a viable and effective way to heat your home. If you plan to use radiant heating to heat your whole house, the hot water method (hydronic) is recommended.

It is More Energy Efficient

EnergyEfficientRadiant floor heating is more energy efficient for a number of reasons. It functions more on an on-demand basis, which means that you waste less.

Remember too that heat rises, so given that this type of heating is located in the floor, it harnesses the natural ability for heat to float upwards in the room, generating more heat without consuming more energy.

How Does it Work?

How?With radiant heating, hot water tubes or electric wires are buried within the floor. These tubes/wires radiate heat that floats upwards through the room and warm objects as these heat waves encounter them, further spreading the heat throughout the space.

This is contrasted with forced air heating, which is what you find in most homes in the U.S. Heat blasts out of the vents in the room, moving quickly up to the ceiling quickly and cooling as it falls back down to the floor.

Theoretically, your upper body could be warm, while your feet are freezing, as the warm air doesn’t always extend all the way down to the floor (which is why floors are so often cold when you wake up in the morning).

In short, radiant heat is more even and more effective than forced air heating. It’s a little more costly to install, but, like with all energy efficient upgrades, you recoup your costs over time with savings on your bills.

These Outdoor Plumbing Tips will Help Your Home Through Spring

These Outdoor Plumbing Tips will Help Your Home Through Spring

Outdoor Plumbing

It’s not uncommon for homes in Annapolis, MD to get hammered during wintertime, which can do a number on your outdoor plumbing. As temperatures begin to rise and the weather gets warmer, it’s always a good idea to perform an inspection of the outside of your home and perform maintenance to ensure everything is in top condition throughout the spring.

Ignoring these tasks could result in further damage and costly repairs to your home’s plumbing system. Make sure your outdoor plumbing can handle the spring climate. Here are some tips to help your home through the season.

Check Out Your Sprinklers

SprinklerIt’s a good idea to run your sprinklers as soon as the weather becomes warm enough. Run water through all the sprinkler heads to ensure they’re working properly.

If there are any problems, conduct a thorough cleaning or contact a professional plumber to solve the problem.

Don’t forget to inspect the hoses to see if there are any cracks or leaks. This could affect water consumption and how your lawn gets watered.

Inspect All of the Hoses

Outdoor HosesA leaky hose can waste thousands of gallons of water every month, depending on how often you use your home’s outdoor plumbing.

Before spring is in full swing, check all hoses and connections for cracks or anomalies. It’s easy for hoses to become damaged by cold winter temperatures, even if they’re not connected to any plumbing.

It might also be worth it to call in a professional to conduct a leak inspection on all components. They will be able to quickly locate and patch up any problems.

Clean Out Your Gutters

Home GuttersOne of the first things you should do when the snow melts is clean out your gutters. A lot of leaves can accumulate during the fall and even more dirt and debris during the winter, which can impact drainage capacity.

This can cause clogs and backups, which can wreak havoc if obstructions aren’t cleared before any rainfall. The result could be flooding and water damage to your property. The best way to avoid these problems is by cleaning out your eavestroughs as early as possible.

Take a Look at Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor FaucetBefore you connect any hoses to your exterior faucets, turn them on and off again. If the faucet begins to drip, you may have a problem on your hands. It could be the result of a broken pipe or something as simple as a worn out washer.

Either way, it could waste thousands of gallons of water and cause damage to your home and result in standing water around your property. You should have a professional diagnose and fix the problem as soon as possible.

By performing an inspection of your home’s outdoor plumbing system, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by identifying any problems early. Always remember to conduct these simple maintenance steps at the beginning of every spring.

Learn All About Boilers with these Comprehensive 6-Part Guide

Learn All About Boilers with these Comprehensive 6-Part Guide

Boiler Facts

In the last twenty years, conventional boilers have consistently been replaced by energy-efficient condenser boilers.

In fact, you won’t find a house built after 1996 in Annapolis, MD that has an old style heating system. Understanding how the new condenser boilers work is not that hard if you comprehend the following six points about their operation, design and green efficiency.

Part 1 – Boilers Do Not Need Boiling Water to Function

Boiler QuestionA common misconception about boilers is that they somehow boil water.

In fact, water that is boiling hot is a waste when it comes radiant heating systems because the fuel needed to heat water to the boiling point is very costly.

Instead, the natural gas heats it to about 60 degrees, which is warm enough to expand it and heat your home through your pipes.

The water in pipe descends back to the boiler where it is reheated, but there is no sense reheating water that is boiling hot.

Part 2 – Modern Condenser Boilers Are Green Appliances

Working BoilerToday’s modern condenser boilers do not have vents that emit dirty pollutants and carbon dioxide into your home’s atmosphere.

Instead, they are more contained and emit steam outdoors through PVC hoses.

They are considered to a be green component of your heating system because they take up to 90% energy to operate. This also means that you will be using up to 90% less natural gas to heat your home.

Part 3 – Boilers Do Not Add Humidity to The Air

HumidityOne of the biggest myths about boilers is that they add humidity to the air.

Today’s radiant systems, especially the ones that do not have radiator components.

These tend to produce heat from behind walls and beneath floors, and they simply warm the air without adding moisture.

At the end of the day, your air will feel warm and dry without any dampness whatsoever.

Part 4 – Good Water Pressure Is Necessary For Boiler Function

Water PressureIf you live in an older home and your water pressure is lower than 15- psi then you are going to have issues with your new condenser boiler.

Condenser boilers operate by allowing the heated water to expand and force it through your home’s pipes.

A qualified professional can help you assess whether or not the psi in your home is sufficient enough to drive the heat from a boiler to all of the floors of your dwelling.

Part 5 – Boilers Offer You More Control Over Your Energy Consumption

Energy Efficient BoilerEvery boiler that is fueled by natural gas has an on and off switch, so you are always able to choose when you want the unit in operation.

Radiant heat systems are so efficient that the pipes and radiators hold the water heated by natural gas for hours, which means that you can turn the thermostat down quite often.

Every time you have the opportunity to turn your thermostat down, do so as it can drastically cut your fuel costs.

Part 6 – Boilers Offer a Cheaper Way to Heat Your Home

Save MoneyIf you want to reduce your heating bills by as much as 90 percent, then consider installing a new condenser boiler.

These systems are so efficient that turning your thermostat down a few degrees can save you thousands a year on your bill.

However, keep in mind that sufficient water pressure from your main intake pipe from your local public works or private provider is required for you to take advantage of the warmth provided by these units.

It is important to understand that there are many ways to deal with issues that can affect the smooth operation of your boiler including low water pressure and a lack of large diameter piping.

Sometimes, a plumber may also be able to retrofit an old oil furnace, so that it runs on natural gas. The only way to find out whether or not your boiler retrofit and water pressure problems can be fixed is to have a licensed professional HVAC expert assess the situation for you.