September 24th, 2017 Comments Off on How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Summer always seems to end so abruptly, doesn’t it? One day we’ve got our toes in the sand, and the next we’re putting on sweat shirts and sending our kids off to school. And before you know it, the bright green leaves that once adorned neighborhood trees will cover our lawns in a crisp toffee-colored blanket.

Which makes early fall the perfect time to make indoor and outdoor preparations for the cold months ahead. After all, winter can be tough enough without having to confront problems that easily could have been prevented.

Fall Outdoor Preparation

  • Clean off and put away lawn furniture, summer sports equipment, toys, and your grill. Or, at least keep the grill covered until you’re ready for a tasty off-season barbecue.
  • Harvest the last of your summer garden and clear away dead vegetation.
  • Clean or service your outdoor tools and equipment. Drain the oil from your gas- powered lawn mower.
  • Remove window air conditioners and store them a safe distance away from corrosive materials such as chlorine and ice melt.
  • Close and secure the family pool for the season. Check the cover for damage and replace if necessary.

Tips for Extra Indoor Warmth

  • Vacuum your heat vents and clean or replace the air filtration and furnace filters.
  • Set your ceiling fan to run counter clockwise (in reverse) so it pushes warm air down toward the floor instead of allowing it to settle near the ceiling.
  • Inspect your wood burning stove or fireplace, and call a professional to properly clean your chimney.
  • Check your windows and doors for cracks and seal them to keep warm air in and cold air out.

Protection Against the Elements

  • Make sure your gutters are clear and downspouts are positioned away from your home. Install extensions if necessary.
  • Seal walkway and driveway cracks to prevent further damage, but lessen the risk of slips and fall.
  • Cut tree limbs, branches and shrubbery away from your home to protect the siding, gutters, and roof, and to keep pests and wildlife from entering.
  • Clean out the garage and shed to make room for lawn furniture, water hoses, and toys.
  • Shut off the water valves to your outside faucets and store away your hoses until spring.

Fall is also a great time for a whole-house plumbing inspection, a specialty of the house here at Norhio Plumbing. Annual preventative maintenance helps prevent repair problems, helps your equipment last longer, and provides added safety for your home and family as our inspection includes searching for signs of hidden water leaks, uninsulated pipes, and possible gas leaks from your water heater. Contact us for service today, especially if it’s been a year or more since preventive maintenance was last provided.

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August 23rd, 2017 Comments Off on Green Laundry Made Simple

Green Laundry Made Simple

No, you don’t need to ditch your all-too-convenient washer and dryer. Then again, chances are you wouldn’t even be looking at this blog if you weren’t interested in additional ways to conserve energy and water. So, let’s have it, shall we?

Best case scenario, your washing machine is eclipsed only by your heating and cooling systems in home energy consumption. Washing machines also consume large amounts of water. It’s only natural, therefore, to consider how to enjoy clean clothes, bedding and towels while using less energy and water. Here are several tried and true methods to consider:

Get yourself a clothes line. Hang your clothes outside to dry, weather permitting. Or, when the weather doesn’t, use an indoor drying rack. The latter might not be the solution for every load, but can be a great asset for smaller loads.

Wear clothes multiple times. We’re not suggesting that you lower your clean clothing standards, just pointing out that not everything you or your family wears needs to be washed after just one use.

Rinse your clothes in cold water.  Energy Star states that nearly 90% of the energy needed to run a load of clothes is consumed in the task of heating the water. By rinsing your clothes in cold water, you can reduce energy consumption in a big way.

Only wash full loads. Filling up your washing machine with water requires energy, and energy is wasted every time you wash less than a full load of clothes.

Clean the dryer lint filter after every load. A lint-free filter improves air circulation and speeds up the drying process.

Check your dryer exhaust. If your exhaust vent isn’t shut tight, outside air will infiltrate, thus forcing your dryer to work harder, and that means greater energy consumption.

Here’s another way to reduce water and energy consumption at home: make your next water heater a tankless system. That’s right, by getting rid of the storage tank system that keeps your water heated 24/7, you’ll conserve large amounts of electricity. You’ll use less water, too, as tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand, meaning no more waiting for it to turn hot. And let’s not forget the added storage space you’ll gain by switching to a tankless system, as tankless system heat exchangers are wall-mounted and can be installed just about anywhere, including inside a closet.

To learn more about tankless water heaters, and how to conserve greater amounts of energy and water, contact your friends in the business today: Norhio Plumbing.

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March 7th, 2017 Comments Off on How to Prevent Basement Flooding

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

As the song lyrics go, “Into each life, a little rain must fall.” But since when does “life” have to be synonymous with “basement”?

The truth is, there’s plenty you can do to prevent water from entering your basement, even though some of those measures can be pricey.  Here are a few things you can do on the cheap to help your own cause:

  1. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and are directing rainwater away from your home. Add extensions or troughs if your downspouts don’t extend out at least 3 feet from your foundation walls.
  2. Inspect foundation and basement walls for cracks. While some cracking is normal as a home settles and ages, neglected cracks can expand and allow groundwater to enter your home.
  3. If your home has ground level or below-grade basement windows, keep water out with well covers that secure to the foundation.
  4. Have your septic system cleaned and inspected regularly to prevent clogs from sending sewage and backwater into your home. Even in homes with city sewer systems, a backwater (or backflow) valve is a good defense against what could be a very messy situation.

At Norhio Plumbing, we offer two levels of assistance to remove water from your basement as quickly as it enters: sump pumps, and back-up sump pumps.  A sump pump is your first line of defense to remove water almost as soon as it reaches your sump pit. But sump pumps can fail or shut off due to a power outage, and then what?

Well, in this case, the “what” is a backup sump pump that will activate as soon as the main pump shuts down, no matter what the reason.  For more information and a free in-home proposal, contact Norhio Plumbing today.

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February 23rd, 2017 Comments Off on How to Prevent a Repeat Bout of the Flu

How to Prevent a Repeat Bout of the Flu

Once the flu has run its course through your family, do you live in fear of it returning, just as its done in the past?  Well, that’s no way to beat the flu. Instead, you need to disinfect your surrounding before and after the flu hits your house to keep it from coming back.  Here’s how:

How to Prevent a Repeat Bout of the Flu

Pick your chemicals: There are lots of choices for killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. You can go the heavy chemical route by picking bleach, ammonia, or alcohol. You can also choose natural compounds such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. What’s more, pine oil and tea tree oil are terrific natural antimicrobials. Pick the chemical or products that best match your needs and preferences.

Hands off: Dousing a rag with your antimicrobial and wiping down all the high touch areas is essential to keep the germs away. Remember to wipe door knobs, faucet handles, toilet handles and lids, light switches, the fridge handle, and remotes. Don’t forget microwave buttons!  Keep a spray bottle in the bathroom or disinfecting wipes so that touch surfaces can be cleaned every time.

Change it out: Once everyone is well, it’s time to switch out the “dirty” for the clean. Change sheets, blankets, pillow cases, mittens, towels, and laundry with hot water. It’s also time for everyone to get new toothbrushes! Don’t forget that if you have an air filter you should change that as well so that you aren’t circulating those germs back into the air. Lastly, empty out all garbage pails, especially those that held dirty tissues.

No-wash cleaning: If people got sick on shoes, throw pillows, or stuffed animals, these items can be wiped clean and then frozen to disinfect. You can also vacuum everywhere to pick up dirt, skin cells, and even water droplets that could contain germs.

You know what would come in mighty handy at times like these?  An instant hot water dispenser expertly installed by Norhio Plumbing.  That way, you’d have all the hot water you need, instantaneously, to make soup, tea, mac and cheese, and other comfort foods.  You also can do an extra effective job of cleaning with the 200-degree water that comes straight from your new, dedicated faucet.  For more information or to schedule installation, contact Norhio Plumbing today.

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February 7th, 2017 Comments Off on 10 Ways to Ensure a Successful Kitchen Remodeling Project.

10 Ways to Ensure a Successful Kitchen Remodeling Project.

You’ve waited a long time for this, but now you’re ready to remodel your kitchen.  But still, you’re not quite sure where to start, what to do and in what order, and how to manage all the resources that will have input and take part in bringing your vision to life.

It can be a daunting task, to be sure, even for an experienced kitchen remodeler.  But it doesn’t have to be chaotic, not if you adhere to this 10-step plan.

  1. Decide what is cosmetic vs. essential. Before you finalize your budget, itemize those things you want vs. need in two separate columns.  Some kitchens are so out of date they’re dangerous. Faulty appliances, wiring, or plumbing should always come first. Never spend a dime on cosmetic changes until you have obvious safety and convenience issues under control.
  2. Plan a new layout. Are you going to keep the same floor plan or design a new one? If your budget is flexible, the sky is the limit. But if your funds are limited, you may want or need to work around existing wiring and plumbing, which can somewhat limit your creativity. But remember:  you can always work toward your dream kitchen in stages.
  3. Measure your space carefully. You’re going to need to know the width, depth and height of your kitchen before you can purchase new cabinets and appliances with confidence.  If you’re not confident taking your own measurements for appliances, countertops, back splashes, etc., your contractor will be happy to assist you.
  4. Get one or more quotes from licensed and reputable contractors.  In the process, don’t hesitate to ask your chosen contractors to verify their credentials and explain what work they do themselves vs. what needs to be sub-contracted.
  5. Ask for and check references.  There’s nothing more reassuring than hearing firsthand from customers who were thrilled with both the process and end result delivered by the contractor you’re inclined to hire.
  6. Involve your contractor in the design process even if your own strong ideas.  You’d be surprised at how much an experienced contractor can bring to the table that you might not have even considered.
  7. Keep your colors neutral. Green tiles and red borders may look good to you, but it can turn off would-be buyers who see your artistic flare as nothing more than a future redecorating project of their own.
  8. Let professionals do what they do best.  Your job is to ensure that the finished project, in its various stages, earns your stamp of approval.  But nobody likes a backseat drive, especially licensed, trained, and experienced contractors.
  9. Box up your dishes, gadgets, and groceries, etc., before construction begins.  While your old kitchen is being ripped out, it’s going to be noisy and somewhat stressful. You’ll feel slightly dispossessed, but remember, it’s only for a few days.
  10. Check your materials, appliances and fixtures before they’re installed.  Take the time to open boxes and check for damage. However carefully packaged they might be, accidents and damage can occur during shipping.

Speaking of qualified and experienced contractors, Norhio Plumbing stands ready to assist you with your partial or total kitchen make-over.  We can add greater beauty, functionality, energy and water savings, plus greater convenience to your remodeled kitchen, and all with a guaranteed upfront price.

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January 20th, 2017 Comments Off on How to Handle Common Home Emergencies

How to Handle Common Home Emergencies

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a seasoned pro, there’s one thing you can always count on – whatever can go wrong in your home, eventually will. You know, Murphy’s Law.  And while the pure nature of emergencies makes them hard to prevent, you can prepare yourself and prevent a lot of damage with a little know-how and forethought.

Here are 6 common household mishaps and tips on how to handle them.

home emergencies

  1. A Burst Pipe – Whether it’s due to freezing temps or gradual wear and tear, few things can cause as much damage in so little time as a burst pipe. If you’re faced with gushing water, quickly close the valve closest to the leaky or broken pipe, then shut off the main water supply valve to the house. Once water has been turned off, place a bucket under the burst pipe, reopen the valve, and slowly drain any remaining water.
  2. A Power Outage – Always be prepared for a power outage by keeping flashlights and batteries in stock. In the event of a blackout, carefully disconnect all electronics and appliances to prevent damage from power surges once power is restored. Take extreme caution when using candles to provide light and always make sure all candles are blown out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  3. A Gas Leak – If you ever notice the smell of gas in or around your home, or if your carbon monoxide detector goes off, evacuate the house immediately and go to a safe location before calling your local gas company’s help line or 9-1-1. Do not reenter the home until you are told it is safe to do so.
  4. Water in Basement – If you see standing water in your basement, do not start cleaning it up or trying to salvage your belongs until the circuit breaker is turned off. If you cannot reach the circuit box, contact your local utility company and ask them to do it for you. Once power has been shut off, enter your basement cautiously while wearing waterproof boots and gloves to protect yourself from harmful elements that could be present in the water.
  5. Furnace Malfunction – If your furnace ever suddenly stops working, check to see if the culprit might be a clogged filter or a tripped circuit breaker before contacting your trusted HVAC technician.

Here at Norhio Plumbing, we can help you with three out of five of these home emergencies:  burst or leaky pipes, reconnecting or repairing a gas leak, and helping you solve flooded basement problems.  For more information or to request a free in-home consultation, contact Norhio Plumbing today.

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January 12th, 2017 Comments Off on Green Living Tips to Share with Your Kids

Green Living Tips to Share with Your Kids

If you grew up throwing water bottles in the trash, leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, and leaving your TV on whether anyone was watching it or not, you probably had a difficult time adapting to the “going green” movement – assuming you’re already there.

green living tips

The fact is, the act of recycling is a habit, and habits are not instantly formed.  They take time, commitment, repetition, along with the understanding and belief that something of value will come from the time and effort.

As adults, recycling and green living habits are harder to form because we have so many years of counter-productive behaviors to overcome.  And yet isn’t it worth the extra work to teach your kids productive and mutually beneficial habits even during their formative years?  Of course it is.

Remember:  children instinctively want to be part of solutions, not problems.

A good place to start with your kids is by explaining why green living is so important.  Be ready to answer all their questions, and explain green living and technologies in ways that relate to their interests.  For example, many children (especially boys!) are fascinated with cars and want to know how they run.  Simply explain that they run on gas but that newer cars are being built to run on batteries to help clean up the environment.

When you purchase and re-use cloth grocery bags, explain why they’re a better choice than the plastic grocery bags offered up at your local supermarket.  And why certain items go in the trash bin, while others are disposed of in the recycling bin.

It’s also important to get them outdoors since children who like the outdoors and appreciate nature will be easier to instruct on how to contribute to nature’s beauty and preservation.

Here are some other ways to help teach them how to be green: 

Explain conservation of resources

  • Teach them to turn off lights when they leave a room
  • Turn off water when they brush their teeth 

Make it a game

  • Have them help hang laundry out (or indoors) to dry
  • Make toys and crafts out of containers and other household items – the art and skill of repurposing offers a lifetime of benefits
  • Involve them in composting
  • Have them help you unplug electrical appliances and games before bed time
  • Take them along to clean up litter in your neighborhood

At Norhio Plumbing, we’re committed to conserving energy and natural resources, and shows it just about everything we do.  Contact us today for ideas and more information on how you can save more water and energy without sacrificing comfort.  It’s a whole lot easier than you might think.

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December 23rd, 2016 Comments Off on How Aromatherapy Can Help Cure the Winter Blues

How Aromatherapy Can Help Cure the Winter Blues

The lack of greenery, warmth, and hours of sunlight can give anybody the winter blues. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and take it on the chin.  Take aromatherapy, for example, a surefire cure for the winter blues.  Haven’t tried them before?  Then here are a few helpful hints to get your started down the right path:

Lavender

This is an easy go-to essential oil that can be added to a warm bath, and all it takes is just a few drops.  Lavender helps to decrease stress, increase relaxation, and improve sleep. This is especially helpful through the holiday season which is full of stress and anxiety.

Ginger

Ginger is a strong scent that can be added to tea or a diffuser. It adds a nice energy boost, improves circulation, soothes joints, and eases sore muscles. Ginger is an ideal additive to a lotion or even olive oil to rub into aching muscles after shoveling snow or just easing joint pain.

Grapefruit and Cypress

This is a light combination that adds the energizing scent of grapefruit to the holiday smell of cypress.  Cypress will help invigorate you while increasing your levels of concentration. Just add a few drops to a diffuser!

Clary Sage

Add this to a base oil or lotion and apply directly to your skin. Clary sage is perfect for soothing and hydrating dry skin.

Jasmine

This beautiful flowery scent is perfect in a tea or boiled lightly on the stove. It can help with depression, exhaustion, and dry skin. Added to tea, it is especially helpful with improving hydration as hot water increases the rate of absorption into your body.

Cinnamon

A warming and strengthening agent, cinnamon also lends itself to use in a diffuser or being boiled lightly on the stove. It adds to the mood of your home and provides an enhanced feeling of warmth. Cinnamon shouldn’t be applied directly to your skin, but in a diffuser or boiled on the stove, it’s natural antiseptic properties will help to keep colds and flus at bay.

If you love the part about adding an essential oil like lavender to your bath water, but you’re afraid that by the time you get to take your bath there won’t be enough hot water, then don’t suffer in silence.  Instead, pick up the phone and call Norhio Plumbing so we can do whatever it takes to make sure you and your family have all the hot water you need, day and night.  Norhio Plumbing:  your home water heater specialists.

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December 9th, 2016 Comments Off on How to Shut Off Your Utilities

How to Shut Off Your Utilities

Disasters come in many forms, from hurricanes and wildfires to flooding pipes.  But having a plan for emergencies can help reduce damages to your home. Knowing how to shut off your utilities before the disaster occurs should be a part of your family’s emergency planning. Here are some tips for turning off the utilities in the event of an emergency:

Natural gas

Natural gas fires are one of the most common problems following a natural disaster. Although every house is configured differently, you can usually turn the shutoff valve with a wrench. If you aren’t sure how to turn off your meter, contact your gas company   for directions and then post them by the meter.

Water shut off

Locate where the water pipe from the street or your well comes into the house. This is usually where your meter is located where you’ll also find the main shutoff valve.  Turning off the flow of water to your house can be a critical step for protecting water quality helping to prevent burst pipes and any subsequent flooding.

Flow of electricity

Shutting off the flow of electricity is important during or immediately following a natural disaster (or severe storm) for the sake of preventing a fire, especially if the event is coupled by a natural gas or oil leak. Same goes in the event of heavy rains or a flood; after all, the last thing you want is water encountering electricity.  Don’t know how to safely shut down your electricity supply?  Contact your local electricity provider or electrician for instructions.

Home heating oil

If your home has oil heating it also has an emergency shut off switch, usually located at the top of the basement staircase. The outlet cover is red to differentiate it from a light switch. If the flow of oil were to cross paths with a fire-y flame, not shutting off the oil  would literally be adding fuel to the fire.

Remember:  knowing how to shut off your utilities is more about preventing problems should the need arise, and about being safe vs. sorry.  Norhio Plumbing is always here to assist you in that regard, so please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance.

 

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November 14th, 2016 Comments Off on Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Nothing spells the positive side of winter like freshly fallen snow, provided the accumulation is on the moderate side.  But as pretty as it might look, even a few inches worth can be grueling if you’re not in the right shape to remove it yourself with a shovel.

So here are 10 tips that may help alleviate some aches and pains and make this winter chore a little safer and more bearable.

  1. blogInvest in two or three good, ergonomic shovels that you can handle with ease.
  1. Do some warm-up exercises prior to heading out, especially if you’re not accustomed to daily exercise.
  1. Dress in layers to help keep you warm and dry.
  1. Wear waterproof boots or shoes with good, non-slip soles.
  1. During a heavy snowfall, you can prevent back, neck, or muscle injury by shoveling early and often instead of waiting until all the snow has fallen.
  1. When you start feeling cold, go inside and warm up. It’s also a good idea to take an occasional break, even if you’re not already feeling sore or tired.
  1. Beware of branches or other items that could get trapped in your snow blower.
  1. Know your limits. If a health condition keeps you from strenuous physical activity, ask someone for help.
  1. Shovel in such a way that you’re moving the snow the shortest distance possible. If you’re not careful, the act of tossing snow can consume a lot more energy than the shoveling itself.
  2. Keep hydrated by either taking frequent breaks or taking a bottle of water outside with   Snow shoveling usually involves working up a pretty good sweat, and those fluids need to be replaced.

When all the shoveling is done, treat yourself to a nice warm bath or shower.  You do have plenty of hot water for such an occasion, right?  Not so much, you say?  That’s where we can help.  At Norhio Plumbing, we’ve been helping families like yours enjoy all the hot water they need through ongoing maintenance, high quality repair work, and new system installation.  So, if your water heater isn’t producing like it used to, call Norhio Plumbing, your local hot water heater specialists, for the help you need to make matters right.

 

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