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Tuesday, 18 September 2018 15:25

5 Home Electrical Upgrades For Fall

Fall is a great time to make upgrades to your home before the cold days of winter set in. One of the best updates you can make is to your home's lighting and other electrical systems. Here are some ideas to improve the safety and comfort of your home this fall.

1. Landscape and Security Lighting
As the days get shorter landscape lighting and motion detection lighting not only makes you home look more inviting, it increases security and safety by illuminating entryways and walkways.

2. Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans not only help keep your home cool in the summer, they can help your home feel warmer in the winter by circulating warm air from the ceiling down into the living space.

3. Upgrade Your Outlets When installing new outlets or upgrading your current outlets, consider the new safety and convenience features like built-in child proof covers and gfci's (ground fault circuit interrupters) to prevent electrical shock.

4. Motorized & Remote Controlled Blinds If your home has many large windows, hard to reach windows, or skylights, remote controlled motorized blinds can offer convenience while increasing privacy and energy savings.

5. Dimmer Switches Dimmer switches offer complete control over lighting to reduce eye fatigue, save electricity and creating the right ambiance for your home.

For all your home electrical upgrade needs, call Maitz Home Services.
Water leaks, both seen and unseen, around your home can cost you a lot of money. Your water bill will be higher and there could be water damage to your home. Some of the most common types of leaks found around the typical home are from worn out toilet flappers, worn out faucets and leaking valves and pipes. Fixing all these leaks can pay for itself in water savings.

Checking for Leaks Around The Home

 Have a look at your water meter before and after a period of several hours when water is not being used anywhere in the home. If the meter shows any increase at all, you probably have a hidden leak somewhere.

Leaking Toilets

You can identify toilet leaks by putting a few drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10-15 minutes, the toilet has a leak. The most common reason toilets leak is an old or worn out toilet flapper, also called a valve seal. Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can become covered with minerals or decay over time. Replacing them is a quick and easy fix for your water loss. Also examine the toilet gaskets and fittings for any water leaks on the outside, near of the toilet.

Leaking Faucets & Shower Heads

The most common cause of leaking faucets are old, worn faucet washers and gaskets. Many times a leaky shower head can be fixed by ensuring there is a tight connection between the shower head and the pipe and by using pipe tape (Teflon tape) to secure the connection.  For valve leaks in a shower that drips when not in use, contact Maitz for professional repair.

Water Heaters

Old water heater tanks can rust and develop leaks over time. Inspect the area around the water heater tank for signs of water leaks or stains.

If you are still experiencing water loss after checking the plumbing fixtures around your home, call Maitz Home Services. can help you solve the more difficult water leak problems.
Tuesday, 21 August 2018 17:44

Hot Water Safety In the Home

Hot Water SafetyHot water scalds account for 20% of all burns and every year more that 2,000 U.S. children are treated for scalding. Scalding can also lead to secondary injuries such as heart attacks, falls, and broken bones, particularly among the elderly. Most scalding accidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom, and the vast majority are avoidable.

Because infants, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns when exposed to overly hot water in the bath, one of the most important ways of preventing scalding is to ensure your water heater temperature is set to a safe temperature.

In addition, you should always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.

Most water heaters come factory set between 120°F to 140°F - this temperature may be too high for many households. The chart below shows how the scalding risk and time it takes to cause a burn.

Water Heater Thermostat Setting Exposure Time Effects of Exposure to Hot Water at High Temperatures
Water at 100 degF or below - Most water heaters are unlikely to scald an adult
Water at 120 degF 5 minutes 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 130 degF 30 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 140 degF 5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 150 degF 1.5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 160 degF .5 second 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin

Scald Protection Devices

Scald protection devices are a must in homes with young children, the elderly and physically challenged. In many areas they are required to be installed to meet code requirements. While caution is the first line of defense to scald prevention, scald protection devices can help to maintain safer water temperatures.

Have questions about hot water safety? Call Maitz Home Services.
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 17:00

When Do You Need An Electrical Permit?


If you're planning on tackling remodeling or upgrade projects around the home that involve electrical work, you will first want to check that you have any necessary permits – or if you need to hire a licensed electrician – before starting work. For homeowners, a permit may not be required to replace electrical devices or to perform maintenance on an existing electrical installation. However, a permit is usually required to perform any of the following electrical work:

• Installing or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device
• Run new wiring
• Installing a new electrical outlet or light fixture
• Installation of a receptacle for a garage-door opener
• Converting a fuse box to a circuit breaker
• Installing or altering low-voltage systems such as security alarms

If you are not sure if you need a permit for an electrical project, call your local building department. Some municipalities allow homeowners to pull their own permit, while other require a licensed electrician obtain the permit.

If allowed to obtain a permit in your area, you will need to be both the owner and the occupant of the home to obtain a permit to do the electrical work yourself. You may not perform any electrical installations or modifications on a house or residential unit intended for sale, lease, rent, or exchange. If you do not own or do not intend to live in the unit, a licensed electrician must perform the work.

If you do need a permit, the work must be inspected by a certified electrical inspector. A minimum of 24-hours' notice is usually required for inspections. When you call, you will be asked for the permit number, the homeowner's name, project address, type of inspection needed, and date on which the inspection is desired. Be prepared to furnish detailed directions to the job site and a detailed description of the electrical work performed.

Have questions about electrical upgrades to your home? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help answer all your electrical questions.
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 22:30

Preventing Home Electrical Fires

Every year fire departments in the U.S. respond to approximately 45,000 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction. These fires result in hundreds of deaths and injuries and and $1.6 billion in property damage.

Electrician Allentown

So how do you keep your home safe from the dangers of electrical fires? We've put together a list of warning signs that could indicate an electrical malfunction.

Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet
Before electrical problems become a hazard we recommend following these safety steps in the home.
  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.
  • Make sure your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.
  • Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) should be installed in your home to protect electrical outlets.

If you're concerned about the condition of your home's
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 22:03

6 Warning Signs of a Plumbing Problem

Many plumbing problems are easy to spot – a dripping faucet, an overflowing toilet,  a clogged kitchen drain – all common problems. Other plumbing problems can be hidden, yet can cause damage to your home if left unchecked. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate a serious plumbing, sewer or drain problem.

Plumbing Repair Allentown

1. Water is draining slowly out of all sinks, tubs, toilets, dishwasher, etc.
This usually indicates a blockage in the main line rather than a localized blockage. A plumber should inspect the main line for blockage. Over time the slow drain could beome a backed-up sewer line.

2. You hear water running but nothing is on. While a running toilet is a common plumbing noise, if you hear dripping or running water and you can't determine the source, call a plumber to have the cause located and to ensure there isn't a hidden water leak.

3. Mold is found under sinks or on ceilings. If you see mildew, mold, or water stains, it could be a sign of a water leak behind the wall.
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4.Your water bill has unexpectedly jumped. This could indicate a hidden water leak. Check your water meter to see if water is used when all faucets and water using appliances are turned off.

5. Your Toilet is gurgling or bubbling after flushing. This could be a sign of a backed up sewer line. A video inspection can find the cause of sewer line stoppages.

6. Water pressure has dropped. If the water pressure has only dropped for a single source, such as a faucet or shower head, it's likely the aerator or shower head have accumulated mineral deposits and needs cleaning. Ensure that all supply valves are completely open. If the water pressure has dropped throughout the entire home, have a plumber inspect the plumbing.

Have plumbing problems? Call Maitz Home Services.
If you're buying a home in Southwest Florida you'll have a lot of items on your home inspection checklist. Among the most important is the air conditioner. Here are a few simple things you can check yourself to ensure that the air conditioner is working properly and has been regularly maintained.

Check the Condenser Unit Outside the Home

The outside section of the air conditioner, called the condenser, should be clean and unobstructed. The unit draws air in from the sides to dissipate heat so ensure that there are no trees, shrubs or other objects near the unit that could be obstructing the flow of air and reducing efficiency. The fins and condensing coils of the air conditioner should be clean, without excessive dirt or debris that could also reduce performance.

The air conditioner should be sitting on a clean level surface, preferably a stone or cement slab. The unit may also be suspended from the side of the house. In either case ensure that the unit is level and that the refrigerant lines are not stressed.

Inside the Home

If the AC is not running, turn the thermostat down about five degrees cooler than the indoor temperature. Once the AC is on check outside again to ensure the fan at the condenser unit is turning. The unit should make a steady sound when operating. If it makes rumbling, rattling or other strange sounds or surges, a cooling technician should inspect the unit further.

Check that the air filter is clean and the right size for the unit. A dirty filter reduces air flow, which reduces efficiency and increases the likelihood of problems.

After the air conditioner has been running for at least 15 minutes, check the temperature of the conditioned air coming out of the register closest to the evaporator cooling inside the home.  Blowing air will feel cool on your skin, so use a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature and ensure it's cold.

In addition to removing heat from the home, an air conditioner also removes moisture from the air. This is the job of the evaporator coil.  A drain pan sits below the evaporator coil and empties condensation (water) into a drain line.  Ensure that the line is unobstructed and the pan is draining completely.

While the above items cover the basics of a central air conditioner inspection, there's no substitute for a thorough, professional cooling system inspection performed by a trained technician. So the next time you're moving into a new home, give us a call. You'll rest easy knowing your air conditioner is operating reliably and efficiently.
Tuesday, 05 June 2018 00:19

What's the Best Kind of Water Heater?

When choosing a new water heater for your home there are more choices than ever. Here's a comparison of the most common types of water heater and the advantages and disadvantages of each style.

Electric Tank Water Heater

Heats and stores water using electricity
  • Purchase Cost (less installation): $300 - $1,200
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Gas Tank Water Heater

Heats and stores water using natural gas or propane
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $380 to $1,500
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Tankless Gas Water Heater

Heats water on demand when its needed.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1000+
  • Advantages: Good for smaller households, lower operating cost, small footprint
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Electric Heat Pump Water Heater

Uses electricity to move heat from one place to another
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: 2-3 times more efficient than conventional tank water heater.
  • Disadvantages: Not a good option for colder climates

Condensing Gas Water Heaters

Heats and stores the water using gas, then uses the combustion gas to further heat the water.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lowest operating cost. Can save a household $100+ a year
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost

Hybrid Tankless Water Heater

Combines the advantages of a small storage tank with a tankless water heater.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lower operating cost. Less standby heat loss than a conventional tank water heater, and no "cold water sandwich" that can occur with tankless water heaters.
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost
Need help choosing the best water heater for your needs? Call Maitz Home Services Today.
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 18:09

New Home Air Conditioner Inspections

New Home Air Conditioner Inspections

If you're buying a home you'll have a lot of items on your home inspection checklist. Among the most important is the air conditioner. Here are a few simple things you can check yourself to ensure that the air conditioner is working properly and has been regularly maintained.

Air Conditioner Inspection

Check the Condenser Unit Outside the Home

The outside section of the air conditioner, called the condenser, should be clean and unobstructed. The unit draws air in from the sides to dissipate heat so ensure that there are no trees, shrubs or other objects near the unit that could be obstructing the flow of air and reducing efficiency. The fins and condensing coils of the air conditioner should be clean, without excessive dirt or debris that could also reduce performance.

The air conditioner should be sitting on a clean level surface, preferably a stone or cement slab. The unit may also be suspended from the side of the house. In either case ensure that the unit is level and that the refrigerant lines are not stressed.

Inside the Home

If the AC is not running, turn the thermostat down about five degrees cooler than the indoor temperature. Once the AC is on check outside again to ensure the fan at the condenser unit is turning. The unit should make a steady sound when operating. If it makes rumbling, rattling or other strange sounds or surges, a cooling technician should inspect the unit further.

Check that the air filter is clean and the right size for the unit. A dirty filter reduces air flow, which reduces efficiency and increases the likelihood of problems.

After the air conditioner has been running for at least 15 minutes, check the temperature of the conditioned air coming out of the register closest to the evaporator cooling inside the home. Blowing air will feel cool on your skin, so use a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature and ensure it's cold.

In addition to removing heat from the home, an air conditioner also removes moisture from the air. This is the job of the evaporator coil. A drain pan sits below the evaporator coil and empties condensation (water) into a drain line. Ensure that the line is unobstructed and the pan is draining completely.

While the above items cover the basics of a central air conditioner inspection, there's no substitute for a thorough, professional cooling system inspection performed by a trained technician. So the next time you're moving into a new home, give us a call. You'll rest easy knowing your air conditioner is operating reliably and efficiently.

4 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Service

Many times a central air conditioner will provide clues that it is not working properly. By paying attention to the symptoms of a malfunction and repairing the small things right away, you can avoid an unexpected and costly breakdown in the future.

4 Signs Your Air Conditioner Needs Service

1. The AC is Making Strange Noises

If you hear knocking, pinging or other unusual sounds, don't ignore them. They may indicate that there are loose or worn parts that are about to fail.

2. Your Utility Bill Is Unexpectedly High

Air conditioners generally become less efficient as they get older, making annual maintenance all the more important. As the system runs more to keep the temperature the same, your utility bill will also increase.

3. All Or Some Areas of the Home Are Not Comfortable, Even If You Lower the Thermostat

If the system is not able to keep up with demand, it may be low on refrigerant, have a blocked, frozen or leaking evaporation coils.

4. The Air Is Cold, But Too Humid

Humid air can be a sign of leaking air ducts, an AC unit that is not properly sized for the home, a frozen condenser coil or another malfunction. Your HVAC technician can diagnose the cause and recommend solutions.

Have air conditioner problems? Call Maitz Home Services. We can quickly diagnose the cause and offer effective solutions to keep your air conditioner running reliably.
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