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Signs You Need a New Water Heater

Many homeowners don’t recognize the signs they need a new water heater until the heater completely breaks down. Knowing the warning signs you need a new water heater will greatly help you prevent an emergency plumbing situation in your home.

Warning Signs That You Need a New Hot Water Heater

Age

The average life expectancy of a hot water heater, for a family of four, is seven to 10 years. While water heaters may last longer than 10 years, it is not recommended to use water heaters past the 10-year mark. The more you use your water heater, the more wear and tear on the system, which shortens the life span. If you’re not sure of the age of your water heater, you can check the serial number that should be listed on the manufacturer’s sticker. This sticker should include the year the unit was manufactured or the first two numbers in the serial number are the same as the year the water heater was manufactured.

If your water heater is above the 10-year mark, it is a sign that your old water heater is ready to retire! You should at least begin considering getting a new hot water heater installed so you can increase the efficiency of your heating and decrease your utility bills.

Water Consistency

You might find that your water is only hot some of the time or your water no longer comes out hot. If you’re experiencing inconsistent hot water or if you’re unable to maintain a constant temperature, your hot water heater is likely nearing the end of its life. An ideal temperature for hot water is between 120 and 140 degrees, and the water should consistently be hot. If you do have inconsistent water temperatures, it is a major sign that it is time to buy a new water heater. If you have a relatively new hot water heater that has inconsistent water temperatures, it is also possible that your water heater only needs a simple repair to get back into working shape. If you are not sure, you should contact a trusted local plumber to schedule a service for your hot water heater.

Another sign is that your hot water does not last as long as it used to. If you begin to notice that your hot water turns cold much faster than it did before, that could be a clear sign that there is a problem with your water heater. It may be old and less efficient, or it could be another problem like a water leak. Either way, it is best to get professional help!

Leaks

A leaking water heater is also a major sign that something is wrong with your hot water heater. Examine the area around your hot water heater for any moisture or pools of water. It’s not uncommon for aging units to experience slow leaks that worsen over time. Through years of use and changes in water temperatures, the metal of water heaters expands and contracts. After years of use, the expansion of the metal can lead to small cracks that can worsen over time and lead to more severe water heater leaks. Large amounts of water are a sure sign your unit has expired and you need a replacement water heater as soon as possible.

Noise

If you hear banking or other loud noises coming from your water heater, this can also be a sign that your water heater may need to be replaced. As water heaters age, sediment builds up on the inside and eventually hardens. As the water heats up, you will hear rumbling or banging, which can cause cracks in the metal of your water heater. When you start to hear noise, keep an eye out for small leaks and call a technician to determine where the sound is coming from.

Color

If the color of your hot water changes and remains so for a period of time, this could mean your system is rusting from the inside. You can check this by carefully draining water directly from your unit. Rusty water generally has a red tint, so check if your water has a slight red tint or a generally rusty color. If you find that your water has a rust-colored tint, you likely have rust in your water. The metal inside of your water heater can rust over time and the rust can get into your water. In this case, the water is unsafe and you should replace your water heater tank as soon as possible.

Call Ranck Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning For Your Hot Water Needs

If you are having problems with your water heater or your water temperature in general. Ranck is the company to call in Lancaster, PA and Southcentral Pennsylvania. Our team of licensed plumbers are experts at resolving a long range of plumbing problems, and we are happy to help you with your plumbing issues! Contact Ranck online today, or call us at 717-397-2577.

Bathroom Safety Tips For Children And Seniors

bathroom-safetyBathroom-related injuries are more common than we think. We all spend a portion of our day in the bathroom, often with no harm done. But did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit the emergency room each year due to bathroom-related injuries? Over 80% of these accidents are due to slips and falls, and nearly 20% of accidents occur near the toilet. While we may think nothing of a regular trip to the bathroom, it can often be a hazardous environment.

Most people will wait until after an accident or illness to take action in increasing the safety of their bathrooms. But the best way to keep your loved ones safe from harm is to be proactive. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to keep both your children and seniors safe when visiting the bathroom.

Bathroom Safety Tips For Children

As a parent, it is important to keep a close eye on your young children when they are in the bathroom, particularly when your children are having bathtime. Fortunately, Ranck Plumbing, Heating & AC has a few bathroom safety tips to keep your children safe:

  • Monitor – The best way to keep children safe in the bathroom is with constant vigilance. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics children under 4 years of age should always have an adult present when near water. Just a few inches of water can become a drowning hazard to young children.
  • Temperature – Children are often more sensitive to varying temperatures in comparison to adults so it is important to take water temperature into consideration before giving a child a bath. Always wait until the bathtub is done filling before placing your child in the water as temperatures can often change unknowingly. Make sure your water heater controls are accurate. 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the Department of Energy’s recommended temperature for hot water heaters. It is the ideal temperature to get plenty of hot water while also remaining energy efficient and reducing burn-related injuries. Ranck recommends having your water heater controls checked for accuracy and installing anti-scald faucets or shower valves to prevent hot water from leaving the tap and accidentally burning someone.
  • Child Locks – Applying child locks to both toilets and medicine cabinets can be a safe and effective way to keep children out of danger. Adding a lock to your toilet will not only prevent accidental drowning but it will also keep toddlers from clogging your toilet with toys and other found objects. A lock on your medicine cabinet is also very important, as we all know children like to explore and medicine can often look like candy or mints to a small child.
  • Products – Keep all cleaning supplies along with shampoos and soaps out of children’s reach. These products can make surfaces slippery when spilled or squirted. Place all of your cleaning supplies on the top shelf of the laundry room or linen closet to reduce the risk of injury or ingestion. Many household cleaners are filled with harsh chemicals that should be safely stored where young ones are unable to reach.
  • Appliances – If you use any appliances regularly in the bathroom such as curling irons, beard trimmers or hair dryers, always check to make sure they are unplugged. Children can accidentally get a hold of them and bring them into the water not knowing of the dangers.

Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors

The bathroom can be an easy place for anybody to slip and fall, but it is an increased danger for senior citizens. The floors can be slick, or it can be easy to fall while in the shower or tub. Here are bathroom safety tips for seniors to prevent dangerous slips:

  • Non-Slip – As we mentioned earlier slips and falls account for 80% of bathroom-related injuries, so it is important to take every precaution when it comes to floors and surfaces. Install non-slip strips or mats in your bath or shower, as well as non-slip flooring to prevent accidents. Any flooring that can provide traction will help to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
  • Grab Bars – Getting in and out of the shower can be a dangerous activity for many seniors. Ranck recommends having grab bars strategically placed within your shower or tub to increase safety. Make sure they can support the full weight of an adult by having them anchored to wall studs.
  • Faucets & Hand-Held Showerheads – Many senior citizens deal with symptoms of arthritis that can cause pain when using their hands. This can make small tasks like turning the faucet on and off difficult. Replace your faucet with a model that is easier for seniors to grip and turn or install a touchless faucet. A hand-held showerhead can also increase bathroom safety making it easier for seniors to clean themselves, especially when used in combination with a shower chair or bench.
  • Raised Toilets – The average toilet is around 14 inches tall. Many senior citizens have trouble getting up and down from lower toilet seats, which can lead to an accident or increased pain over time. Replacing your toilet with an ADA-approved raised-height model (16” – 16.5”) or installing a raised-height seat can help to reduce the risk of accidental injury and allow seniors to maintain this important personal independence.
  • Walk-in Tubs & Seating – Taking a shower becomes a tricky task as we age. This is where the risk for slips and falls increases greatly. Consider installing an easy access walk-in tub, bench or chair to make taking a shower an easier task for the elderly. Many walk-in tubs feature seal-tight doors to help prevent the buildup of water on the bathroom floor.

Call Ranck Plumbing, Heating & AC For Your Bathroom Needs

Here at Ranck Plumbing, Heating & AC we offer many services and solutions to make your bathroom a safer place for you and your loved ones. If you’re looking to make your bathroom a safer place or need other plumbing services, contact us today or call us at 717-397-2577!

Energy Saving Water Heaters

At Ranck, we have many ways to save energy when heating water. The Geyser, the Heat Pump Water Heater, is the perfect addition to any home or light commercial tank based water heater. It provides numerous important benefits, such as…

The Geyser reduces energy costs.

  • The Geyser is THE MOST EFFICIENT TOOL available to heat water! It uses Heat Pump technology which means that, instead of using traditional energy sources such as gas, oil or electricity to heat the water, it uses the heat and moisture in the surrounding air. The only electricity used is a small amount needed to operate the Geyser, and even that is converted to heat. This is why Heat Pumps like the Geyser are considered a RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE, like sun or wind power.
  • The Geyser is up to 370% efficient as compared to 60-95% for more traditional water heating systems. This means that for every 1 unit of energy required to operate the Geyser, 3.7 units of energy are generated from the air to heat the water. How many other products do you know of that are more than 100% efficient? Most experts agree that energy costs will continue to rise in the coming years and that it is more important than ever to conserve our natural resources. The Geyser makes a lot of sense for economic as well as environmental reasons.

The Geyser is environmentally friendly.

  • The Geyser from Robert H Ranck, Inc, utilizes a renewable energy source to heat water – air! In recent years, we have become aware of the need to reduce our use of traditional energy for environmental reasons and it has also become very clear that we don’t want to be dependent on foreign sources for our energy supply. For these reasons, the State and Federal Governments strongly promote energy reduction and independence. In fact, use of renewable energy is required to be able to meet both these objectives.

The Geyser dehumidifies and cools the surrounding air.

  • The Geyser provides an added benefit by dehumidifying the air surrounding the unit, which helps to reduce harmful mold, mildew, and germs. The Geyser will dehumidify the area at a rate of up to 50 pints per day providing a cleaner and more comfortable environment for your home. This added dehumidification benefit of the Geyser is substantial – the annual costs of operating an average sized dehumidifier typically run $1 per day, or $365 per year, plus the cost of $200-$400 for the unit itself. Therefore, when you combine the benefits of the Geyser, your choice should be simple – select the Geyser!

Do what is right for our environment and for our future generations – conserve energy now by utilizing the Geyser from Robert H Ranck, Inc!

Allergy Relief Tips

allergiesWith allergy season just around the corner, here are a few tips to bring relief for the allergy sufferers in your house:

  1. Keep doors and windows closed even on the most inviting days. The first warm days of Spring or cool days of Fall will tempt you to shut down your systems and throw open the windows. But for the allergy sufferers in your life, this just means raw red noses, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, red watery eyes, scratchy throats and labored breathing.
  2. Run your air conditioner or heating system whenever possible to filter your home’s air. With the more moderate temperatures of early Spring and Fall, utility bills will stay relatively low. Your air filter will help clean the air.
  3. Change your system’s Air Filter regularly.
  4. Eliminate mold, mildew & irritating dust mite allergens by keeping your home’s humidity levels below 50%. 
  5. Change clothes and shower when coming in from outdoor activities. During allergy season, even a short walk or time spent in the yard can cover you with allergens. These can be tracked through your home and deposited on furniture.
  6. Isolate pets from allergy sufferers. Keeping pets outdoors during allergy season is a solution many pet owners reject. The most practical solution then is to maintain at least one pet-free room (like a bedroom) where your allergy sufferer can find relief.

Need allergy relief for your home? Review our Healthy Air Solutions to see how Ranck professionals can help!

Spring-Cleaning: HVAC Edition

HVAC Spring-Cleaning

Spring is in the air! And while you might be preparing for your annual spring-cleaning (tossing out old clothes and items you no longer use), don’t forget to prep your HVAC system for the changing season as well.

Your HVAC’s cooling mode has been MIA for quite a while, so before you flip the switch it’s a good idea to perform a little maintenance before shocking your system. By performing a few simple checks you can avoid major problems with your cooling system when the temperature heats up. Take a look at our handy maintenance checklist below for tasks you can perform yourself.

Check/Change Filters:

It’s always a good idea to check out your filter to see if it needs changing before the start of a new season. This simple task helps increase both energy efficiency and the performance of your system. When installing a new filter, check the airflow directions on both the system and the filter to make sure they are both facing the same way. If so, you’ve installed the filter properly.

Uncover Unit:

Many homeowners use items like condenser covers, coil blankets, and lids to help protect their outdoor units during the winter months. These items work to limit the transfer of heat and leaving them on after switching to cooling, even for a short period of time, could severely damage your HVAC system.

Inspect Outdoor Panels:

The panels on your HVAC unit are designed to enclose the electrical connections, if these panels are missing or misaligned they could cause potential risks to you and your system. If you discover your panels are out of place or missing, contact a Ranck technician for a system assessment before turning the unit on.

Remove Debris:

Leaves, branches, trash, and debris can often get stuck between your home and your HVAC system, especially on windy days. By removing debris from the coil and surrounding area of your unit you can increase the performance of your system. Another thing to consider is mulch. If your spring yard work includes spreading mulch remember not to pack mulch around the base of your HVAC unit to keep debris from affecting your system.

Clear & Clean Vents:

Before switching on your A/C, take a look at all of the vents and grills throughout your home. Remove any drapes, rugs or furniture that may be blocking them. If you have pets, take a vacuum to your vents as well, working to remove any pet hair or dust that has built up over time.

Turn It On:

Once you’ve completed this checklist, it’s time to turn on your system. Check to see that cool air is coming through all of your indoor vents throughout the day. If after the first few minutes you don’t feel any cool air coming through, turn your system off and contact a Ranck technician. It is never a good idea to leave your system running if it is not working properly. This can cause severe damage.

Call a Professional:

Sometimes you need more than just a DIY maintenance checklist. If you are still having trouble with your HVAC or notice any damaged areas, Ranck can help. Some maintenance tasks that Ranck can assist with include: cleaning coils, check and adjust airflow, check refrigerant level, repair and replace damaged pipe insulation, and seal and insulate ducts. For added peace-of-mind, Ranck offers maintenance plans where you’ll receive discounts on repairs and replacements along with priority service and other additional benefits.

It’s also important to remember to get your HVAC system inspected and calibrated each year. A simple inspection can keep your system running longer, reduce the need for repairs or replacement, and even lower your energy costs.

Have a question about HVAC maintenance? Contact Ranck today.

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