Posts Tagged With: winter prep

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

Keep Your Outdoor Pathways Safe and Slip-Free with Ice Melt

Salt SpreadingWith freezing temperatures, inevitably your sidewalks, porch and outdoor steps are bound to be slippery and icy. However, a simple and inexpensive solution for ensuring your outdoor walkways are safe comes in an easy-to-carry bag. Ice melt is an obvious choice for preventing slips and falls during this rough winter season. Read on to learn more about its advantages and how to best use it.

Our list of essentials will help every homeowner survive the season with success:

  1. Portable Power Generator
  2. Snow Blower
  3. Outdoor & Indoor Heaters
  4. Ice Melt

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of using ice melt.

Ouch! Winter weather hazards such as icy, snowy steps, sidewalks and driveways can make it almost impossible to walk around outside without slips and falls. That’s where ice melt can help. Deicers attract offending moisture, forming a briny substance that melts faster than the surrounding ice and snow, thereby clearing potentially dangerous walking conditions with ease.

Traditional ice melts are made from rock salt, and start to melt ice at about 5°F. Many of the new-fangled ice melts actually blend rock salt with other chemicals, lowering melt temps to the max, and work even better than traditional rock salt in extreme conditions.

Tips for Using Ice Melt

CENTRAL SALT MEGAMELT ProSlicer1. Choose Effectively: Save time and money while reducing environmental impact by choosing the right ice melt for the job. Ice melts are made from a blend of materials such as calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride and urea. Each works best in different temperatures. When temps drop below 5°F, ice melts that contain calcium chloride are best for clearing thick ice and snow quickly. In winter conditions above 5°F, choose a melt that contains an ingredient like urea or potassium, which get the job done effectively. Not to mention, they are safer for people, plants and pets. If you’re worried about the effects ice melt could have on your pets, choose one that is free of chlorides.

2. Apply Early: Before snow and ice accumulates, prevent them from bonding with the pavement, by making it easier to remove. Use ice melt for a major weather event, but also for light snowfalls, which can cause slippery conditions especially if the moisture re-freezes later in the day.

3. Use Wisely: Use ice melts only on properly formulated, cured, air-entrained concrete that is at least one year old. Brick and other materials are porous and should not be treated with ice melt. Less is usually more when it comes to applying ice melt, because using too much can burn the grass under the snow, or get tracked into the house, potentially damaging rugs and floors.  Follow manufacturer recommendations on quantities and application.

Once you know which ice melt to buy and how to use it, you’ll be all set for whatever this chilly winter has in store. For more information about the various types available, pricing, or any other questions, as always feel free to contact us or write a comment in the section below. Stay safe out there!

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be Sure You Have a Snow Blower this Winter – a True Must-Have Item

It’s been a strange winter thus far, with warm weather and exceedingly cold weather. Have you adjusted well to the changes, especially the snow? Besides considering a portable generator, a snow blower is another essential piece of winter equipment to have handy. So find out everything you need to know about the second item on your winter must-have list:

  1. Portable Generator
  2. Snow Blower
  3. Outdoor and Indoor Heaters
  4. Ice Melt

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of the Snow Blower.

One of several DIY solutions for efficient snow removal, the snow blower, could be one of the most loved power tools in your garage! Why? If shoveling is physically impossible or you’re not going to hire someone else to shovel, using a snow blower can save you a lot of time and sweat equity.Use a snow blower

Choose the right snow blower for the job. First, you’ve got to identify your “snow removal profile” – how much snow you need to clear from how large an area. Then, take into consideration what the terrain is like and what kind of snow is falling, most of the time. Will you be pushing the snow blower up a slope, or running it right down the driveway in a straight, level line? Is the snow wet, icy, powder or in-between? All of these factors come into play while you’re pondering in the snow blower isle at the store.

Snow blowers come in three types: single-stage electric,  single-stage gas and two-stage gas. More than one of these types may be able to handle your typical snow-clearing job.

Single-Stage Snow Blowers

  • Lighter
  • Easier to handle
  • Best in light snowfalls of eight inches or less
  • Great for clearing small to medium-sized areas
  • Best for paved surfaces

Electric single-stage models tend to be lighter and more compact that gas units. They start with the push of a button and require an outdoor extension cord to operate. Larger gas-powered single-stage snow blowers on the other hand, are not tethered to a power cord, and typically can clear wider, higher areas.

Two-Stage Snow Blowers

  • A larger engine and intake area clears more snow faster
  • Best in medium to heavy snowfalls in excess of eight inches
  • Great for driveways over 60 feet
  • Two-stage operation prevents clogging in heavy, wet snow
  • Cut through hard-packed snow or ice

Some two-stage snow blowers have engine-driven wheels that can handle uneven or sloped terrain. The push-propelled models are best for level surfaces. You can also use tire chains with some models for more traction in all conditions. Chances are, you’ll still need to shovel around parked cars and for finishing work.

Don’t forget a gas can! Easy-to-use, spill-proof gas cans are ideal to keep on hand for fueling gas-powered tools like snow blowers.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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