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Learn more about ways to save on your energy bills. Our home improvement articles contain topics on plumbing, heating, air conditioning and home performance.

Adjusting Your Water Heater Temperature

One of the easiest things you can do to help your wallet and the planet out this summer is to try adjusting the temperature on your water heater. Your water heater might seem unrelated to keeping you cool, but it’s a big part of your home’s infrastructure and can help you cut down on energy use during this peak energy-consumption season.

Not sure how to do adjust your water heater or how to set the best water heater temperature? This guide shows you how you can complete this small fix yourself.

Toilet Repairs May be Needed due to In-Tank Cleaners

Given the dirty nature of bathrooms, and toilets in particular, all homeowners want to find fast and easy ways to clean in these spaces. That’s why many choose to use the drop-in toilet cleaners that often come in the form of bleach-chlorine tablets. These tablets may seem like simple solutions, but they are often more […]

How to Stop a Plumbing Problem Before It Becomes a Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing problems can be annoying, but plumbing emergencies can be disastrous. While plumbing emergencies can’t always be avoided, there are some signs to watch for that can help you stop a plumbing problem before it becomes a plumbing emergency. Here’s an overview of some of the most common plumbing problems.

What to Expect From a Trustworthy Plumber

If you need plumbing services, it’s very important that those services come from a trustworthy plumber. Why is a trustworthy plumber so important? Because many plumbers can deceive you as to their level of expertise, licensure or certification. You may think you’re getting a certified, licensed plumber in Lancaster, PA, for example, when in fact […]

How New Water Heater Regulations Affect You

Water heaters are changing and we want to make sure you know! In April 2010 as part of the NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act), the US Department of Energy mandated that certain household appliances meet high standards for energy efficiency.  As of April 16, 2015, all water heaters manufactured in the United States must […]

Avoid Costly Repairs with a Plumbing Service Membership

Your maintenance checkup includes: Tagging of the emergency shut off valves in your home Carbon monoxide check Water heater sediment inspection Water pressure test Water test (hardness, iron, pH) Test operation of sump pump Inspection of the toilet tanks for leaks and flapper operation Faucet inspection for leaks and drips Drain inspection Outside faucet inspection […]

How to Keep Your Sump Pump in Good Condition

It was a wet winter, and so far it’s been a wet spring. To be sure your basement stays dry this spring, be sure your sump pump is in good working condition.

Are You Prepared for a Plumbing Emergency?

When an appliance failure causes a toilet, washing machine, or dishwasher to overflow, are you ready for a plumbing emergency? It’s important to get the water flow stopped immediately then clean any water on the floor before it causes major damage. Here are a few tips.

Time to Check Your Sump Pump

When temperatures get above freezing and the snow melts, there will be a lot of moisture in the ground. If we have a rainy spring along with the snow melt, there are sure to be a lot of wet basements.

Safety Tips for Propane Tanks During Heavy Snow

If you have a propane tank, be sure you don’t damage it when clearing heavy snow. Do not push snow off the roof onto the propane tank. The weight of the snow can damage the pipes and fittings, causing gas leaks.

Things You Can Do to Protect Pipes from Freezing

It’s never too late to take preventative action that protects you from having your pipes burst in cold weather. Take advantage of milder winter temperatures to have us come do an at-risk assessment of your pipes.

Temperatures that Cause Your Pipes to Freeze

The sub-zero temperatures we’ve seen this winter have gotten a lot of our customers asking us at what temperature are their pipes vulnerable to freezing? While there isn’t one specific temperature that affects all pipes for all homes, most pipes become vulnerable when the temperature is below 20 degrees.

Mark Your Water Shutoff Valves to be Ready for Emergencies

In water emergencies, such as burst pipes, the first thing you should do is shut off the water. Does everyone in your house know where the water shutoff valves are for outside faucets, water to bathrooms and kitchen sink/fridge, water connections at the washing machine, at any water filtration systems, and the main water flow […]

Planning a Bathroom Remodel? Call Your Plumber First

Bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home makeover projects. With the average cost of a remodel at $18,000, and many costs topping $35,000, it is easy to get caught up in the fun decisions such as colors, countertops, flooring, tub/shower space, etc. But it is important to know how your remodel ideas work […]

How to Avoid this Common Thanksgiving Disaster

Did you know that more garbage disposals break down during Thanksgiving meal preparation than any other time of the year? With all the potato peels, vegetable and fruit trimmings, and other organic food wastes we create preparing Thanksgiving dinner, the garbage disposal works overtime.

Why You Should Schedule a Pre-Holiday Plumbing Inspection

It’s that time of year when family get-togethers and holiday parties mean that your plumbing, especially your toilets, will get more than normal use. A little prevention now can save you from the holiday calamity of malfunctioning toilets.

Winterize Your Outside Faucets

With shorter days and cooler temperatures, you no longer need to water your lawn and plants. Now is a good time to disconnect your outside hoses to store them in your garage or basement until next spring and prepare your outside faucets for winter.

What Fruit can do to Your Garbage Disposal

Most people assume it is OK to put banana peels, orange rinds, apple peels and other fruit trimmings down the garbage disposals. Lemon rinds are a real favorite for the garbage disposal because they make it smell good. However, if you’ve been putting lots of fruit peels and skins into your disposal you may have […]

Biggest Consumer Complaints about Plumbers

What makes consumers unhappy with their plumbers? At the top of the list are:

Prepare your Sump Pump for Storm Emergencies

The hurricane season has started. One of last year’s major storms, Sandy, hit in November, so the next three months are critical in being prepared if a storm hits here. One of the first things to put in place is an emergency back-up system for your sump pump.

Your Garage Disposal Helps Eliminate Food Scraps in Landfills

In many communities homes are mandated by law to have garbage disposals to help deal with the more than 31 million tons of food scraps waste created each year. The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of food scraps is to compost them. But many people have no space to make compost, they don’t […]

Why you should make a Plumbing/AC Vacation Check List

As you get ready to leave on vacation, be sure your home is ready for your vacation too. You don’t want to return to find that an in-home disaster happened while you were away.

Warning Signs that Your Garbage Disposal Needs Serviced

Garbage disposals are handy kitchen appliances, and we often take for granted that they’ll always work. There are a few warning signs, however, that alert you to a potential breakdown.

How to Maintain Your Sump Pump

Be sure your sump pump is always in good working condition by taking only a few minutes every 2 or 3 months to do simple maintenance. Run clear, clean water through your pump to remove any dirt or debris that could cause clogs.

How to Know Your Sump Pump is Working

If you have a sump pump in your basement, be sure it is good working condition. Spring weather can bring heavy rains that could create standing water in your basement. To test your sump pump you need to lift the float inside until it causes the pump to come on.

Be Sure Your Toilets Aren’t Wasting Water

Toilets are a major source of a wasteful use of water in a home. Toilets often can have a very slow leak that is almost undetectable, but can significantly add to your water usage. Most toilet leaks are due to the need for a new flush valve or floater. These repairs are easy to do.

Be Sure Your Plumbing Has Made it Through Winter

After a long, cold, damp winter its good to do a spring checkup of your plumbing. If you have a plumbing service contract with Summers & Zim’s call us at 610-593-5129 to get your service scheduled now. If you don’t have a service contract, here are some tips for things to look for. Check gaskets […]

Have a Plumbing Emergency Plan at Home

Leaking water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers, or overflowing toilets, can cause a lot of damage to floors, ceilings of rooms below the leak, plus the furniture and carpet in those rooms, before you get the water turned off, the water cleaned up, and the plumber arrives to fix it. That’s why it’s smart to […]

What to Do if Your Garbage Disposal Smells Bad

Sometimes food bits get trapped or lodged in your garbage disposal and start to cause odors that seep into your kitchen. To get rid of the odors, put the rubber stopper in place. Fill the disposal sink with warm to hot water that includes a grease-cutting detergent (such as Dawn).

What to do if your pipes freeze and burst!

If there is any water in your exposed pipes, it will freeze when the outside temperatures drop and stay below freezing, as the temperatures have this week. When water freezes it expands, and that can cause your pipes to burst. If that happens to you, be sure to turn off the water supply immediately at […]

Why In-Tank Toilet Cleaners Should be Avoided

You may like the fresh blue look of the water in your toilet when using in-tank tablets and automatic cleansers, but you are probably damaging your toilet.

Take Pictures of Your Water Shutoff Valves

It’s a good idea to take pictures of all your water shutoff valves – for outside faucets, for water to bathrooms, water connections at washing machines, and at any water filtration systems.

How Heavy Snow Can Shut Off Your Furnace

Do you know where your furnace vents are located? For some homes they’re on the roof. That can be a problem if there’s a heavy snowstorm. If the snow on your roof is deeper than your vent, it closes off the vent and that will shut down your furnace, leaving you with no heat in […]

How To Avoid the Most Common Holiday Plumbing Problems: Toilets

The other holiday plumbing disaster we mentioned on Monday is clogged toilets. With lots of company and relatives at your house, toilets can get a lot of use. Check them now to be sure they are all flushing properly. Put out the right kind of toilet paper to avoid clogs. Supermarkets are full of thick, […]

How To Avoid the Most Common Holiday Plumbing Problems: Sinks

With Christmas just a week away, we want to be sure your holiday isn’t thrown into chaos by a plumbing disaster. The two most common are clogged toilets and clogged drains. With lots of holiday cooking and baking being done, and lots of family members gathering for celebrations, sinks and toilets get a lot of […]

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are the new rave of the water heating industry. So, what’s the big deal? There are two large advantages. The first, being that these units heat water as needed.

Water Heater Sizing

There are many different ways to heat water. The most common in our neck of the woods is a tank style. On average a tank water heater will last 13 years. Most tank water heaters use electric, gas or oil to heat the water. The majority of residential tanks hold between 30 and 80 gallons […]

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