Posts Tagged With: best practices

Need Hot Water & Heat? Best Practices for Maintaining Your Systems

winterize hot water heater and furnaceIt is easy to forget about your hot water heater and heating system until they stop working. With a little preventative maintenance you can avoid impromptu cold showers and costly repair bills. Make sure to add draining your hot water heater and servicing your HVAC system to you winter preparations.

Flush your hot water heater once a year

Draining your hot water heater once a year will help keep that blessed hot water flowing. Sediment from minerals in the water, or sand and grit coming in through the municipal water lines, can settle at the bottom of the tank and hinder its efficiency. It will cause cracking and popping noises during the heating process. Flushing the tank will help extend its life.

How to drain your hot water heater:

  • Read the manufacturer recommended instructions on the side of the tank for your specific model
  • Turn water supply off
  • Turn off power – if you have a gas water heater, put it on the “pilot” setting, and if you have an electric tank make sure to turn it off at the circuit breaker
  • Let water cool overnight or use extreme caution when removing scalding water
  • Attach hose to drain valve at base of unit, extend hose outside house or into a bucket (use a good quality hose since hot water can cause worn hoses to leak)
  • Open a hot water tap in the house (preferably one on the floor above)
  • Open drain valve and drain some water into a bucket to determine the amount of sediment to be flushed out
  • Turn water supply on briefly to stir up remaining sediment, repeat until water draining out hose is clear
  • Close drain valve, refill tank, and turn on power/ gas to hot water heater (be sure to close the hot water tap you left open)
  • Check the valve opening at bottom of tank to make sure it is closed and there are no leaks

Extend the life of your furnace

The HVAC system in a home accounts for over 50% of total energy costs. Having your unit serviced before winter sets in will help to extend the furnace life, reduce energy bills and improve indoor air quality. The cost of a professionally done system tune-up will run between $70 -$100. Included in this service should be:

  • A check of all electrical connections
  • An examination the unit for fire hazards
  • A test for carbon monoxide leakage
  • An inspection and calibration of the thermostat
  • Lubrication of any moving parts
  • Inspection of the condensation drain to make sure it isn’t blocked

Beware of carbon monoxide leaks

Carbon monoxide leaks from a faulty furnace is dangerous. An estimated 500 people die and 15,000 are taken to the emergency room each year from exposure to this invisible gas. Symptoms are headaches, dizziness and nausea. Installing carbon monoxide and fire detectors in your home could help keep you and your family safe.

Change air filter every month

You can keep your HVAC running efficiently by changing the air filters once a month. It will keep the unit from overheating. Dirty filters worsen air quality and exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms. Pet dander can also accumulate in dirty filters and spread allergens throughout your home.

Programmable thermostats really save

One way you can help extend the life of your unit (and lower heating bills) is to install a programmable thermostat. It can help save you up to 10% on your energy bills. By setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer, you can see a noticeable difference in your bills. Check with your power company to see if there are any rebates available for upgrading your thermostat.

A little preventative maintenance goes a long way

Waking up to a cold house or stepping into a cold shower is no one’s idea of a great way to start to the day. Draining your hot water heater, getting your HVAC serviced, and changing that dirty air filter can help you avoid unwanted repair bills. The goal is to stay warm this winter and with a little preventative maintenance you can do just that. For more helpful DIY tips check out our blog on preparing your home for winter.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your DIY winterizing projects. From wet/dry vacuums and garden hoses to heaters, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

7 Best Practices for Keeping Your Work Site Safe

7 Job Site Safety Best PracticesWhether you’re preparing for a heavy construction job or a home yard project, one of the most important tasks you have in front of you is making sure that the work environment is safe. This includes the work site itself, the surrounding area and your workers. Even with safety precautions fully in place, people can still get injured, but dangerous work zone conditions, putting the public at risk and injuries are less likely if you follow these seven best practices.

  1. Walk through your work site to identify any situations that could be considered unsafe, writing down the details and potential solutions. Bring this list with you to your rental supply company – the folks there should be able to help you alleviate workplace hazards.
  1. Identify any potentially hazardous chemicals or materials at the work site. Label and store these materials in proper containers, placing them in a safe location. Include a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and post handling precautions close by.
  2. Inspect all tools and equipment, including those that are rented, making sure they are working properly. Do not operate any faulty machinery until repairs are made.
  1. Train all personnel, not only in operating procedures, but work site safety. Include proper lifting techniques, specific tool operation, how to get on and off machinery, where to get rid of rubbish or demo materials, etc.
  1. Every worker needs to be using personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety goggles, work boots and gloves, earplugs, face masks and other forms of protection. Workers should use harnesses and other safety equipment for roof work or working on scaffolds.
  1. Prepare for emergencies. All site workers should know what to do in case of injuries, electrical, mechanical or power failures and potentially dangerous weather.
  1. Protect the public during working hours from the rigors of heavy construction or worksite dangers with barricades such as construction signs, construction cones, safety barricades, crowd control fences or flashing safety lights. Site workers should direct traffic using standardized stop signs. After hours, protect ongoing work areas or holes with street plates and lock down all entrances to the work zone.

One regulatory note: Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace, including keeping it free of serious recognized hazards. If you own a company or are in business for yourself, it is your responsibility to comply with and enforce all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Follow all recommendations and mandates from occupational health and safety inspectors. OSHA’s Law and Regulations are easily accessible online.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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