All posts by arodenhiser

Plumbing Problems That are Common in Basements

Do you have the slightest worry about your basement flooding? Cracks in the wall, excess rainfall, and accumulated moisture can play a role. But, the most common reason why flooding occurs in basements is from a plumbing leak. Understanding what causes the most common basement plumbing problems will help you stop them from occurring.

Basement Flooding Caused by Plumbing Issues

flooded basement
Make sure these plumbing problems don’t happen to you! Source: iStock.com/vicnt

Here are 6 ways a plumbing leak can lead to basement flooding:

  1. Sump pump failure accounts for many cases of basement flooding. The pump sits in the lowest area of the basement, usually in a hole. Normally, it pumps water out of the basement and away from the house. If the pump fails, however, the water will start to accumulate and cause flooding.
  2. Water heater or boiler leaks usually happen when the holding tank rusts out and starts leaking. The leak may start out small, but will become bigger with time. Pipes going in and out of the water heater or boiler can also develop leaks.
  3. Washing machine hoses burst on occasion, usually after years of use. Regular inspection can find minor leaks. Routine replacement, generally every three to five years, can prevent problems.
  4. Water pipes freezing. In basements that are not well insulated, temperatures can reach freezing levels. If pipes are not well insulated, the water inside can freeze and expand, causing the pipes to burst.
  5. Sprinkler or pool pipe leaks outside can flood the basement. Water travels downhill. If the pipes are close to the foundation, the water can easily leak into the basement causing flooding. You should know where the shutoff valves for these pipes are and cut off the water when they are not in use.
  6. Leaking pipes are another reason for flooding in the basement. If you find signs that one of your supply or drain lines has a leak, have a plumber inspect and fix any problems he finds.

You do not want even one of these most common basement plumbing problems to occur. Contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Our team can inspect your basement for any plumbing problems.

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5 Energy Efficient Ways to Cool Your Holliston Home

You have a house that does not have air conditioning. Or you want to keep your summer cooling bills down. In either case, learning energy efficient ways to cool your Holliston home will help keep your energy bills down. You can do that without compromising your home’s comfort.

Energy Efficient Ways to Cool Your Holliston Home

light colored house
If you’re looking for an energy efficient way to cool your Holliston home, try painting the outside of your home a light color. Source: iStock.com/tab1962

Here are five ways to cool your home without running up your energy bills:

  1. Enhance outside shade. Direct sunlight can drive up temperatures inside your home. Add trees to the sunny side of your home. Consider installing awnings to block sunlight from entering your home. Window treatments, like insulated drapes, can keep the sun’s heat outside.
  2. Add reflective surfaces. UV rays are what convey heat inside your home. Dark roofs and dark exterior paint colors heat up when UV rays impact them. Install a white or reflective roofing material or paint the exterior wall a very light color. You can also add reflective film to windows to reflect the UV rays back out.
  3. Add insulation to your attic and walls. Most people think of insulation for keeping their homes warm in the winter. The fact is that it works to also keep the heat out during the summer. Enhance your current insulation levels to save money year round.
  4. Use ceiling fans in conjunction with your A/C. Fans do not bring the temperature down. However, it does make people inside feel cooler by blowing air across the skin. This makes it possible to turn the A/C temperature up a few degrees without compromising comfort.
  5. Install a whole house fan. The fan is installed in the ceiling at a central point of the house. It draws air in through open windows and expels it into the attic. The hot air goes out of the roof vents. It’s a cost-effective alternative to air conditioning.

These energy efficient ways to cool your home should keep you comfortable without driving your electric bills too high. If you want to learn more about efficiently cooling your home this summer, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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How You can Save Money on Electricity This Summer

Electric bills tend to soar in the summer as the air conditioner starts to work overtime. No one wants to deal with a big electric bill, but no one wants to deal with the heat of summer inside the house. Learning how to save money on electricity in the summer can keep your energy usage down without sacrificing comfort.

ceiling fan
Source: iStock.com/Doc_Ever

Easy Ways to Bring Your Energy Use Down

Use these handy tips for how you can save money on electricity this summer:

  • Use insulated window treatments. If you have windows that bring direct sunlight into your home, you are heating your home with those sun rays. Heavy drapes or insulated blinds will help keep that heat outside instead of inside, cutting down your electricity use.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. You aren’t home. Why is your A/C running at full blast? A programmable thermostat, set to your schedule, will keep your home comfortable when you are at home and save you money when you are not.
  • Shut the doors on rooms you are not using. If no one is using the extra bedroom or rec room in your home, closing off that space will save you the energy it takes to cool it. The A/C will do its job quickly and then shut off. That will cut down on your energy use and electric bill.
  • Use ceiling fans. Fans do not actually cool the air. The movement of the air across the skin makes it feel cooler. By making the occupants of the room feel cooler, it is possible to keep the A/C at a higher temp. Just remember to turn the fans off when you leave the room.
  • Use natural light when possible. Turn the lights off during the day and use natural light as much as possible. You should open the window treatments on all the windows not receiving direct sunlight. This will illuminate your home without letting in the heat of the sun.

If you want to learn more about how to save money on electricity in the summer, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Why You Should Hire a Rodenhiser Electrician

If you are a home owner with an electrical problem, you may be asking “Why should I hire a professional electrician?” DIY electrical videos on YouTube make it look so easy. In reality, most electrical issues are best left to the professionals.

Rodenhiser Electrician
Source: iStock.com/AndreyPopov

Why Hire a Professional?

Here are five reasons why you should hire a Rodenhiser electrician when you have an electrical problem or installation:

  1. It will cost less. Electricians do not make the mistakes that many inexperienced homeowners make. That means there is no extra cost for doing the work over. Electricians work to current code specifications so there is no costly issues with meeting permit requirements. Plus, they guarantee their work if something fails in the future.
  2. Safer than DIY. Handling electricity can be dangerous. There is the immediate harm of electrocution. In the long run, a misplaced wire can be an electrical hazard that causes fires or causes damage to your HVAC equipment.
  3. Licensing and permits. If you have an electrical project, it is in your best interests to have a professional do the work. The electrician must meet codes and pull permits. That ensures that there are no issues when the homeowner goes to sell the house.
  4. Experience with all sorts of electrical issues. Rewiring a lamp is fairly straightforward. Adding a new 220 circuit for your air conditioning system is something else. An electrician can handle both the simple and complex. They can tell you if you need to upgrade your service panel or add a new circuit.
  5. Quicker. Electricians have the tools and experience to do the work quickly and efficiently. If you don’t want to take the next month to add that new circuit or upgrade the electrical for your new water heater, hiring a professional is the answer.

The answer to “Why should I hire a professional electrician?” is because it is safer, quicker, and more cost-effective than trying to do it yourself. Contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning if you have any electrical issues that need addressed.

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5 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home’s Air Conditioning System

Summer heat is upon us here in Massachusetts. The air conditioning is running constantly, driving up your energy costs. You may even be dreading opening up your next electric bill. Use these energy-saving tips for air conditioning systems to keep your bills down this summer.

Keep Those Cooling Costs Down

programmable thermostat
Source: iStock.com/pkazmercyk

These tips will help you keep your electric bills reasonable during the hot summer.

  1. An annual service visit will keep the A/C running efficiently and smoothly. The HVAC technician will service and tune the system while inspecting it for any necessary repairs. Regular service prolongs the life of the system and also cuts down on repair costs.
  2. Air filters keep dust and debris out of the inside of the air conditioner. If the air filters get clogged, the A/C will have to work harder to keep your home cool. That is why it is important to change the air filters at least once a month during the cooling season.
  3. A programmable thermostat will maximize the efficiency of your A/C. You set the thermostat to cool down when you are home. When you are not home, the thermostat will allow the house to warm up a few degrees. This helps lower your cooling bills without you needing to remember to turn the thermostat up or down.
  4. Use window treatments to block direct sunlight. The heat that comes from the sun causes your home to warm up. If you use insulated drapes or shades, that heat is blocked from entering your home. The A/C doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.
  5. Use ceiling fans to move the air around. Ceiling fans do not decrease the actual temperature in the room. However, they do make the room feel cooler to a person standing in it. This allows you to turn your A/C to a higher temperature and cut your energy use.

If you want more energy-saving tips for air conditioning systems, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We are the A/C experts in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

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Basic Plumbing Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

What if the toilet won’t stop running? Do you know how to clean a sink trap? These are common plumbing problems that most homeowners can fix. Of course, some jobs are best left to the professionals. Use these basic plumbing tips for homeowners to know when you can do the work and when to call a plumber.

Tips a Homeowner Needs to Know

pipe leak
Source: iStock.com/sinngern

Here are a few plumbing tips to help you out:

  • Turning the water off. If you have a dripping faucet or an overflowing toilet, the first thing you need to do is turn off the water. Most faucets are connected to water supply lines that have a shutoff valve. The toilet also has a shutoff valve at its base. If you have a major leak happening, you need to shut the water off at the main.
  • Stopping the toilet from running. The water valve never shuts off. Check that the flapper at the bottom of the toilet tank is closing and sealing properly. The water level may also be set incorrectly. Simple adjustments to the tank mechanisms may be enough.
  • Cleaning the sink trap. Most of these traps come with simple twist connectors that you can remove easily. Be sure to have a bucket on hand to catch the water coming out the trap. Remove the joint, clean it out, and replace it.
  • Stopping a pipe leak temporarily. You called the plumber, but it will be a while before he gets there. How do you stop the leak? Cut off the shut-off valve to the house. Get a piece of rubber and wrap it around the leak. Use hose clamps or sleeve clamps to hold it in place. Put a bucket underneath to catch any drips.
  • Calling a plumber. If you tried to fix a plumbing problem and it comes back again, the smart thing to do is call in a professional.

These basic plumbing tips for homeowners will help you know when to do the work yourself and when to call a professional. If you need help with your plumbing, contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Which HVAC System Size Fit My Home?

Is your current HVAC system too small or too large? Up to 50 percent of heating and cooling systems installed in the U.S. are not sized properly. Knowing how to choose the right size HVAC system will cut your energy costs.

HVAC system
Source: iStock.com/Maudib

Undersized HVAC Equipment

One obvious sign of an undersized HVAC system is an uncomfortable home on the hottest and coldest days of the year. The unit is running continuously, but the house never gets comfortable. On moderate days, the system runs much more than it should. That translates into higher energy bills.

There are also hidden costs. Because the system is running so much, it sustains excessive wear and tear. That leads to more frequent repairs and shortens the life of the equipment.

Oversized HVAC Equipment

Oversized HVAC systems cycle on and off frequently. During the summer, the A/C does not have enough time to remove the excess humidity in the house. That can lead to mold growth. The frequent cycling also causes excessive wear and tear, leading to more repairs and a shorter life.

You are going to also pay more upfront installing an oversized unit.

Getting Properly Sized HVAC Equipment

If you need to replace your current HVAC equipment, keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t let the contractor do a one-for-one swap based on the current size of the unit. If your current unit is over or under-sized, you do not want to replace it with the same size unit.
  • Don’t let your HVAC contractor use a rule of thumb (like one ton of capacity for every 500 square feet) for guessing the size of the new equipment.
  • Make sure your HVAC contractor in Holliston uses Manual J from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to calculate the size of your new HVAC equipment. This is a comprehensive method for figuring out the exact load that your home needs based on its size, dimensions, orientation, and features.

Save money by knowing how to choose the right size HVAC system. If you need to replace your HVAC equipment, call here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Common Plumbing Problems Your Holliston Home Might Experience

Water leaks are very common complaints heard by professional plumbers in  Holliston and the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts. In some cases, the water appears suddenly and seems to have no known source. In other cases, it is obvious where the problem is. Homeowners and renters alike need to know what the most common plumbing leak problems are.

Where’s the Water Coming From?

sink faucet
Source: iStock.com/Sergey Tarasov

Here are five of the most common places where plumbing problems occur:

  • Faucets get heavy use. Every time you turn a faucet on in the tub, sink, or shower, you are causing wear and tear. Over time, that can cause seals to wear out. Plus, the changes in water pressure that occur when the faucet is turned on or off can damage the hoses beneath.
  • Dishwashers go through a ton of water every time you use them. If a seal goes bad, you can start seeing water come out from under the appliance. Sometimes the water will come out in large quantities. Other times, the water will only drip. This will cause discolored tiles or warped underlayment.
  • Water heaters will spring leaks. As the tank on the water heater ages, it may start to rust out at the bottom. If you see standing water, under the water heater, you need to have a professional assess the tank. You may need a replacement.
  • Toilets are used everyday in most households. There are actually several places leaks can start occurring. There is a seal between the tank and the bowl. There is another one between the bowl and the floor. The water supply line can start leaking. A crack in the tank can also cause problems.
  • Washing machines are often the source of surprise masses of water. When a supply line fails, the water will start spraying everywhere. It is important to replace plastic or rubber lines with steel braided ones, which are much stronger.

If you have one of these most common plumbing leak problems, you should take action as soon as possible. Call in the plumbing professionals here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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5 Helpful Tips for Your Window Air Conditioning Unit

A window air conditioning unit is a good choice for keeping part of your home comfortable during the hot Massachusetts summer. However, like other kinds of mechanical equipment, it needs routine maintenance and care to perform efficiently. What window air conditioning unit tips can you use to keep your system running smoothly?

window air conditioning unit
Source: iStock.com/stask

Tips to Keep Things Smooth and Cool

Try these tips to keep your window air conditioning unit performing in top condition:

  • Isolate the area being cooled by the window unit. Window units are not made to cool an entire home. It is usually meant to cool only one or two rooms. For efficient operations, it is good practice to isolate those spaces from the rest of the house. Closing doors and sealing window leaks will usually do the trick.
  • Make sure your window unit is properly sized. Don’t make the mistake of trying to use an undersized unit to cool too large a space. The unit will never shut off, driving your energy consumption through the roof. Plus, the space will never reach a comfortable temperature. The right-sized unit will do the job efficiently.
  • Do not run heat-generating equipment when the A/C is running. If you run a stove, dryer, or other heat-generating appliance, the A/C is going to have to fight that heat to keep the space cool. Avoid using them when the A/C is on. Otherwise, you may find your electric bill going sky high.
  • Use window treatments to keep windows shaded. If any of the windows in the space you are trying to cool gets direct sunlight, you need to block it to prevent heat gain. Blinds, curtains, or shutters will do the trick.
  • Have routine maintenance performed once a year. This is true for any kind of air conditioning equipment. It will keep the system running efficiently, reduce repair needs, and extend the life of the equipment.

If you follow these window air conditioning unit tips, your space will stay cool without driving your electric bills too high. For more information on air conditioning solutions, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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Are There Benefits to Installing a Ductless Air Conditioning System?

Ready to install a new air conditioning system? A ductless air conditioning system is an option to consider. It is a flexible, affordable alternative to ducted central A/C or window units. The benefits of ductless air conditioning show why it is a serious contender for keeping your space cool.

Some Essential Benefits of Ductless A/C

ductless air conditioning
Source: iStock.com/Digiphoto

Let’s look at some benefits you get from going ductless:

  • Easy installation – This happens because there are no ducts to run. Using a two-man crew, a typical central A/C system can take up to a week to install. All the ductwork needs to be run, the air handler installed in the attic or closet, and the outside compressor set. A ductless mini-split usually takes a day or less for complete installation.
  • Small footprint – The external compressor for a ductless mini-split is only a fraction of the size of the compressor for central A/C. The interior unit is even more petite. A regular central air system requires a large air handler installed into the attic or a closet. A ductless system uses air handlers that hang on the wall.
  • Very efficient – A ductless mini-split typically uses far less energy than a typical central air system. Plus, because there are air handlers in individual rooms, it is possible to control temperatures in each room, making the system even more efficient.
  • Remote control operation – Every air handler has its own remote control. This makes it possible to control the exact temperature within a room without running out to the central thermostat all the time. The room’s occupants can control the temperature from the bed, the couch, or even the water closet.
  • Very quiet – Many A/C systems make a ton of noise while keeping your home cool. A ductless system is built for residential quiet. At most, the occupants hear a low hum.

If you need an efficient, affordable way to cool your space, consider the benefits of ductless air conditioning. For more information on a ductless system, contact us here at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

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