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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter

frozen pipes

Northeastern winters can be beasts in themselves, but they can also bring dangers like frozen pipes. Every year, thousands of homeowners experience pipe bursts in their homes due to cold temperatures. These situations can cost hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in damage and the worst part is – they can be prevented. Here, we share some tips for how to prevent frozen pipes this winter:

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The Importance of Generator Maintenance

generator maintenance

A generator is a great investment for your home – especially if you live in an area that experiences bad weather. Like other systems, you generator needs care in order to operate properly. Generator maintenance is an important part of owning a generator. At Oliver, our experts can help you schedule it on a regular basis.

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Water Heaters: Tank vs. Tankless

water heater service

These days, a water heater is an essential appliance in your home. Without one, you can’t take hot showers, wash your clothes in hot water, or use your dishwasher. Whether you’re buying a new hot water heater or looking for a replacement, here are some things to know:

How They Work

When deciding on a water heater, you’re going to want to know how each type operates. In a tank water heater, anywhere from 30 gallons to 80 gallons of water is stored in a large tank and is continuously heated. This means the water is ready to go whenever you turn your faucet or shower on. When you turn on the hot water using a tankless water heater, however, the water you need will travel into the unit on-demand and be heated by a heating element before it’s distributed.

Cost

As you can probably imagine, tankless water heaters cost about three times more than tank water heaters. This is because these units usually require larger gas lines and vent lines than tank units. Also, when it comes to replacements, a new tank water heater can usually use the same lines as the old one, whereas a tankless water heater may need new lines. Tankless water heaters tend to last a few years longer, however.

Energy Efficiency

Generally, tankless water heaters are more efficient than tank water heaters, however, the way you heat your home (whether it’s via gas or electricity) can play a part. According to energy.gov, “gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones [and] can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light.” This means that they can be less efficient than a gas-fired tank water heater, since the pilot light constantly heats the water and the energy is wasted.

Power Outages

If you’re in an area that experiences frequent power outages, you may want to stay away from tankless water heaters. Because they don’t store hot water, you won’t be able to activate their heating element if you don’t have power. With a tank water heater, however, you’ll have a supply of hot water (though limited).

If you’re still not sure which water heater is right for you, call our water heater service experts. We’ll explain more about each kind and find out which fits your lifestyle.


A Helpful HVAC Glossary

HVAC services

When it comes to HVAC services, our experts are always talking in industry terms. However, we know you may not be familiar with what “HSPF” stands for or what a programmable thermostat does, so we’ve created a basic HVAC glossary to help. If you have a term that isn’t defined in this article, feel free to “ask the expert.”

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Why a Home Generator Is a Good Idea This Winter

home electrical service

If you’ve been thinking about a backup generator for your home, our home electrical service experts can say that the idea is a great investment – especially during the winter. While the upfront costs of a generator may seem high, keep in mind that there are many benefits to installing one for you and your family:

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28 Safety Tips for Your Labor Day

It’s time to get ready for the last vacation of the summer – that’s right, Labor Day is this weekend and whether you’re hosting a Labor Day party for family or friends or hitting the road for a road trip, there are several things you can do to stay safe:

Grilling Tips

  • Keep children and pets away from any type of open flame.
  • Position the grill so that it’s in a well-ventilated area and away from trees, bushes, the house, and anything else that can catch fire.
  • Always use long-handed utensils and wear protective, fire-resistant gear when grilling.
  • Follow the instructions in the grill’s owner’s manual.
  • Have a fire extinguisher ready to extinguish flames if they get out of control.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Electrical Tips

  • Don’t use electricity around water, including the pool, sprinklers, hot tub, etc.
  • Inspect your extension cords for frays or other damage before using them.
  • If you’re hosting a party, make sure your guests stay away from power lines or electrical transformers near your home.
  • Keep your power tools safely locked away in your garage or shed.

UV Tips

  • Always wear sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to protect your skin.
  • If you’re sensitive to sunburns, wear a hat and try your best to stay in the shade.
  • Stay hydrated – the sun can dehydrate you quickly.
  • Remember that UV rays bounce off of sand, concrete, and water.
  • If you do get burned, apply aloe to the burn on a regular basis.
  • Keep in mind the strongest UV index is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Swimming Tips

  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Check the weather before you decide to go in the pool, lake, or ocean.
  • Make sure children in or near the water are under supervision at all times and are nearby.
  • If you have a pool at your home, make sure it’s secured with barriers.
  • Never leave children unattended.
  • If it looks like rain, get out of the water as quickly as possible to avoid lightning strikes.

Road Trip Tips

  • Always have a first-aid kit and back-up food and water supplies in your trunk.
  • Before you leave, check your tire pressure and your fluids.
  • Never drive when you’re tired or if you’ve been drinking.
  • Make sure someone back home knows your destination, route, and itinerary.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Don’t text and drive. If you need to navigate, have a passenger do it for you.

Stay Safe This Memorial Day

Some Tips from Our HVAC Company

Memorial Day is this weekend and if you’re throwing a party for friends and family members, it’s important to stay safe. Here are some tips from our HVAC company:

Grills

Allow for Space

When grilling, make sure your grill is at least two feet away from your deck, siding, and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire easily (such as a swing set, toys, shed, etc.). Also make sure there are no low-hanging branches around the area.

Clean Before You Use

There tends to be a lot of grilling at Memorial Day parties and one thing to remember is to clean your grill thoroughly before you use it. Dirty grills (especially those that use propane) can be dangerous and cause unwanted flare-ups.

Electrical

Inspect Your Lights

If you plan on setting up some outdoor lamps or strings of lights, inspect them to make sure there is no damage. Also inspect their cords and any extension cords you’ll be using for damage. If you find cracks, splices, fraying, or other signs of trouble, replace the light source or cord.

Avoid Water Around Electricity

Set sprinklers up away from any electrical source and if you have a pool or hot tub, remind swimmers to never touch an electrical appliance while they’re in the water. Also, make sure your outdoor outlets are weatherproofed and protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrical shock.

UV Rays

Even though it’s not quite summer yet, UV rays are pretty strong and can still cause sun damage. Make sure you protect your skin and your family’s skin by applying a high-SPF sunscreen, wearing a hat, and wearing breathable clothing.

Traveling

Vehicle Prep

According to AAA, Memorial Day travel will be at a high this year. If you’re headed to a friend or family member’s house for Memorial Day, it’s important to stay safe on the road. Check your tire pressure, oil, headlights, and taillights before you leave and make sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid.

Drinking and Driving

Holidays often call for beer and cocktails; if you’re going to partake, make sure you designate a friend or family member to give you a ride home or sober up before you get behind the wheel. Remember – the law in Pennsylvania states your BAC (blood alcohol content) can’t be above .08.


 

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