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The Geiler Company Blog

What You Need To Know About Carbon Monoxide Detectors

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 11, 2017 5:03:08 PM / by Reid Geiler posted in indoor air quality

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Reasons to have a Carbon Monoxide detector

Every year, almost 200 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, with thousands more visiting the emergency room.  Many victims die in their sleep without ever knowing that a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas is slowly killing them.  Carbon monoxide is produced when fuel is not completely burned.  If you have an appliance that uses natural gas such as a stove or clothes dryer, or you have a fireplace or a space heater, you are at risk for carbon monoxide exposure.  Any home heating system that burns fuel like natural gas or propane is also a potential risk.  

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Carbon monoxide bonds with your red blood cells and prevents them from picking up oxygen to carry to your body.  It basically suffocates you from the inside out.  It can come in smaller quantities from a burned out pilot light or a burner on a gas stove that's slightly open.  More serious problems like a malfunctioning furnace or water heater or a blocked chimney can cause much higher levels to build up in your home quickly.  Leaving your car to warm up in an attached garage or using gas powered equipment without ventilation can also cause quick buildup of carbon monoxide, as can charcoal grilling.  At high enough levels, carbon monoxide can kill in as few as two hours.  

So how do you know if you have carbon monoxide poisoning?  The symptoms vary based on level of exposure.  The first thing you will feel is a headache at about 15 percent exposure.  Without getting some fresh air, the headache will get worse and nausea will set in at 25 percent exposure.  The symptoms will intensify as the gas is inhaled, with mental confusion and finally unconsciousness setting in at about 45 percent exposure.  Exposure over 50 percent is generally fatal.  The gradual appearance of symptoms is why many victims die in their sleep without every realizing that the gas is killing them.

What You Need To Know About Carbon Monoxide Detectors

 
Fortunately, you can buy a carbon monoxide detector for a little as $20.  There are two basic types.  Battery operated detectors are passive and don't go off until a threshold level of carbon monoxide is detected.  Household current units are more expensive, but most of them will take repeated samples of the air for a more accurate picture of the current levels in your home.  The type of detector you should buy depends on the amount of potential carbon monoxide generators in your home.   

So where do you put them once you buy them?  The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a detector on each floor of your residence, with one on the sleeping floor and one near the major gas burning appliances at a minimum. This will allow you to actually hear the alarm if it goes off and you are already dealing with the early symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure. Check the manufacturers installation instructions for placement, as some detectors have different sensitivity levels and features than others.

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Is Your Water Pressure Too Low?

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 6, 2017 9:10:00 AM / by Reid Geiler posted in Plumbing

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Is your water pressure too low?  Here are some ways you can increase the water pressure in your home.

First, you need to find out what you have to work with.  Put a water pressure test gauge on an outside spigot and see what the pressure is.  They cost about ten dollars if you don't have one.  If it's below 40 psi, which is on the low end of standard, then it's time to do some more digging.   Standard water pressure is 45 to 55 psi.

Call your water provider and find out what the pressure is supposed to be at the water main tap.  If they tell you that it's higher than what you are showing on your test gauge, the problem could be a bad pressure-reducing valve.  These valves are located on your water main and can go bad after ten or twenty years.  When they do, they result can be either too much water pressure or not enough.  The pressure is adjusted with threads at the top of the valve.  If adjusting doesn't solve the problem, it's time to replace the valve.  It's a job that takes a little plumbing experience to handle, so if you are in doubt, call a licensed plumber. 
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What Do You Do If Your Water Heater Is Leaking?

[fa icon='calendar'] Nov 22, 2017 4:15:25 PM / by Reid Geiler posted in Plumbing

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What do you do if your water heater is leaking? 
The first thing to do is find out where the water is actually coming from.  Like many other problems, some are easier, and cheaper, to fix than others.

The first place to start is at the top with the water supply lines. 
You may be seeing water on the floor, but that doesn't mean that it came from the bottom of the water heater.  Look at where the water lines come into the room and follow them all the way down to the top of the tank.  If you find water, try to trace the source.   

Flexible water supply tubes have been known to fail long before the water heater itself is ready to retire.  If there is insulation, be sure to remove it to see if it is wet underneath.  To replace the flex lines turn off the water supply and the water heater itself.  If you feel like the job is too big for you, call a licensed plumber.

If you have changed the water supply tubes and you are still seeing leakage, the next items to check are the water heater's nipples where the water is taken in to be heated.  Water heater nipples are difficult to remove, but it can be done.  Just be careful not to damage the water heater in the process.  Again, make sure the water supply is turned off and the water heater is off before beginning the process.
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The next item to check is the Temperature and Pressure (T&P) Valve.  This valve is designed to relieve, you guessed it, temperature and pressure inside the water heater.  If the T&P valve is leaking, this could indicate that the water pressure is too high or the heating element of the water heater is not regulating properly.  The valves are relatively inexpensive,so replacing one as an experiment is worth a try.  If the replacement valve still leaks, that is the sign of a bigger problem.  Time to call a licensed plumber.

There is a drain valve at the bottom of the water heater than can also be leaking.  Look closely to see if you see water coming from it.  If so, change the valve and see if that solves the problem.  The water heater will have to be drained and the water supply turned off before you begin.

Finally, look at the tank itself.  If the leaks are coming from there, it's time for a new water heater.  The average cost for a new water heater, including installation, is about $800.

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What Is That Smell?

[fa icon='calendar'] Nov 16, 2017 3:58:11 PM / by Reid Geiler posted in Plumbing, Smelly Sink

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"What is that SMELL?"

Those are usually the first words that come to mind when you discover that your sink smells like rotten eggs. 
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5 Ways to Reduce Dust

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 25, 2017 7:10:54 AM / by Reid Geiler posted in indoor air quality, Allergy Symptoms

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What is dust?

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3 Ways Duct Cleaning Reduces Allergy Symptoms

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Reid Geiler posted in indoor air quality, Allergy Symptoms

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Do you think you have a leaking pipe in your home?

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 18, 2017 7:01:00 AM / by Reid Geiler posted in leaking pipe

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Do you think you have a leaking pipe in your home? 

 

Here are a few ways to find a leaking pipe before it becomes a bigger and more expensive problem.

Check your water bill
Did your water bill suddenly shoot up?  Is it higher than it was a year ago?  The water meter tracks the water that passes through it, whether it ends up in your shower or leaking from a pipe behind a wall.If you are paying for more water than you remember using, it could be a leaking pipe.
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The Worst Way To Fix A Clogged Drain

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 11, 2017 7:33:21 AM / by Reid Geiler

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The Worst Way To Fix A Clogged Drain


The worst way to fix a clogged drain is doing it yourself.  Sure, a clogged drain is irritating, but seems like an easy fix.   Just pour some drain cleaner down the hole and wait for the magic to happen, right?  The problem is that magic will actually not happen, and some very bad things just might.  Like:

You fill the air with toxic fumes
Do you remember every chemical that has gone down that clogged drain before you poured that caustic chemical in?  Most retail drain cleaners are lye or bleach based.  If you have rinsed an ammonia based cleaner down the drain and then follow it with a drain cleaner that's bleach based, those two chemicals can combine and fill your house with toxic chloramine vapor, basically clorine gas.  If you are in unventilated area and inhale some of that, you could have serious medical emergency on your hands.  Also, these chemicals are designed to dissolve organic matter to open clogged drains.  You don't want that organic matter to be part of your body.

You burn a hole in your pipes
Pipes don't run in straight lines.  They all have U shaped bends called drain traps that are designed to keep sewer gas from getting inside your house.  If liquid drain cleaner gets into this trap, it will eventually chew a hole in your pipe and you will have a much bigger problem on your hand than a clogged drain.  The acid will also eat away at enamel and other finishes in your sinks.
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Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 28, 2017 10:23:36 AM / by Reid Geiler posted in Radon Mitigation, Radon Testing

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Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation

Radon is the most common cause of lung cancer besides cigarette smoking in the United States. Radon is scary because it is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas and therefore, is impossible to detect or remove without professional radon testing and radon mitigation.

What Is Radon?

Radon is a gas emitted from the elements uranium, thorium, and radium, which is found in most rocks and soil. Radon is in the air we breathe every day and is not dangerous at all at low levels.

However, at high levels radon is a killer. It can accumulate a house through cracks in the walls, cracks in the foundation, or from well water. According to the EPA, one out of every 15 homes contains life-threatening levels of radon. It is the cause of thousands of death each year from lung cancer.

How To Find Out If Your Home Contains Radon

Every home should be professionally tested for radon and because most counties stipulate that a home must be tested for radon before completing a sale, you’ll find hundreds of radon testing and and mitigation companies out there that want your business. But because your family’s health is at stake (or the successful sale of your home) it’s crucially important that you choose wisely. Only hire a company that is certified by the EPA, your state’s Department of Health, and The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists. We are proud to be certified by all three.

How Radon Testing Works

First, you’ll be instructed to keep your house tightly closed for a specific amount of time prior to your radon test (usually 12 hours or more). The technician will then set up radon testing equipment in the lowest living area of your home. You’ll need to keep your home closed tightly for the next 48 hours.

Next, the technician will pick up the radon testing equipment and use it to generate a report. If dangerous levels are detected, a radon mitigation system will immediately be put into place.

What is a Radon Mitigation System?

The most common radon mitigation system is called Sub Slab Depressurization. It reduces the amount of radon in your home to a safe level using a fan/exhaust pipe system. This system effectively pulls radon out from beneath the building and moves it through a pipe that extends up above the eaves of your home and safely outside.

Frequently Asked Questions about Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation

Can I reduce radon by sealing the cracks in my basement myself?
No. Radon is a gas it can and can easily move through concrete.

How long does it take to set up a radon mitigation system?
We install most systems in just a few hours.

Why does the fan and exhaust pipe have to be located outside?
The EPA requires that the system is placed outside your house to ensure that your home is always safe from radon, even in the case of a leak.

Must the exhaust pipe go all the way up to the roof?
The EPA stipulates that the exhaust pipe be placed at least ten feet off the ground and extend beyond the roof eaves.

Why is The Geiler Company a great choice for radon testing and radon mitigation?
As a family owned business, we put our heart and reputation into everything we do. Not only have we earned the appropriate certifications for radon testing and radon mitigation, we have more experience in the field than most other companies in the area. Our technicians understand your concerns and answer all your questions before we get started.

If you’re concerned about radon in your home or if you are considering a sale, please call us.

We’ll take good care of you.

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Ohio License Number RS122


AARST Professional Member ID 5101
NRPP Mitigation ID: RMT-102257 valid thru 2018-05-31

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Do programmable thermostats save money?

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 7, 2017 2:02:00 PM / by Reid Geiler posted in air conditioning, thermostat, heating

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Do programmable thermostats save money?  

According to Energy Star (https://www.energystar.gov/), a federal program to help consumers save energy, 45% of total power use in a home goes to heating and cooling, and the average cost for that comfort is $2100 to $2500 per year.   The greater the difference between the outside and inside temperature of your home, the higher the energy costs.  Someone willing to be a little cold in the winter in Chicago will save more than someone who has to burn less energy to stay warm.

The other factor at play is the human one.  The more determined you are to save energy, the more you will save. 
How willing are you to be a little cold in the winter or hot in the summer? 
Can you keep your finger off the thermostat?

Let's look at the numbers.  Programmable thermostats typically cost three times as much as manual ones.   Let's say we are going to spend $150 on a programmable thermostat, hoping to get that money back with a lower energy bill.

A 2007 study found that homes with programmable thermostats saved an average of 6.5 percent of their energy costs.  Using the middle ground of $2300 per year, that's $149.50.  That pays for the thermostat the first year and goes into your pocket after that. 
 
But can you save that 6.5 percent?

If you let your home get uncomfortably hot or cold when you are away and then burn energy getting comfortable when you get home, you won't save much.  Experts say you must be willing tosave energy when you are home as well as away.  Giving up one degree of climate comfort generally translates into one percent of energy savings.  
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