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Here are the five signs you need a new water heater in your home

There are certain telltale signs that indicate that it’s time to replace your water heater. You just have to know what to look for. In this blog, we’ll run through the five signs that you need a new water heater, and when you need to call in the professionals at Reimer.

5 signs you need a new water heater

For most of the time, your water heater just works, without incident. So, how do you know when it’s time for a new system? Let’s run through the 5 signs that you need a new heater—and when you need to call Reimer.

1. Your older water heater is getting up there in age

Most standard water heaters last about a decade before they need to be replaced. You may squeeze a few more years out of your system, but past the 10-year mark, you need to at least consider buying a replacement water heater.

If you’re unsure how old your water heater is, check the serial number. This is most likely on a sticker on top of the unit. If you can’t find a date, plug that serial number into the manufacturer’s website for more information.

2. It’s making strange noises

A water heater makes strange noises as it gets older. Over time, sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank. When the water is heated, the sediments harden. As a result, you can hear banging or rumbling noises from inside the heater.

This is a sign that you need to get a new hot water heater, as its nearing the end of its operational lifespan.

3. You’re getting rusty water out of the tap

Another sign that you need to replace your water heater is rusty water. Water, plus metal, will eventually equal corrosion, especially after the sacrificial anode rod is exhausted. After that point, the water will likely pick up the corrosion, leading to rust.

If this is happening early in the system’s life, you can have the team of plumbers here at Reimer add a new zinc anode rod to the water heater. However, late in the system’s life, it’s probably more cost-effective and easier to just replace the entire unit.

If you’ve noticed the signs that your water heater needs to be replaced, call Reimer to have a plumber assess your water heater today.

4. Your hot water doesn’t last as long as it used to

Insufficient hot water is yet another sign that you need to buy a water heater. Not only do water heaters get worse at heating water as they age, but they also lose capacity due to that sediment buildup we mentioned earlier.

Lack of hot water is a clear sign that your heater is failing and needs to be replaced. If hot water supply is an issue in your home, you may want to consider the benefits of a tankless water heater, which can provide your family with an endless supply of hot water.

5. There are water puddles around the unit

If you see water leaks around the water heater, there might be a leak in the tank that needs to be dealt with—immediately. Slight fractures develop over time as the metal tank expands and contracts with heat, over and over again. However, when it fractures, you’re at serious risk of a tank burst, and it’s time to call in the professionals at Reimer.

Call Reimer for new water heater here in Buffalo and Western New York

If you’re experiencing water heater trouble, Reimer is the company to call here in Buffalo and Western New York. Our experienced and licensed plumbers can resolve all kinds of plumbing issues. We also repair and install new water heater units. Contact us today!

How do boilers work, and are they right for your home?

In this blog post, we’re going to answer some commonly asked questions about how boilers work. We’ll also address some misconceptions about these heating systems, and explain why they’re a popular choice for many homes here in the Buffalo area.

heating-and-cooling-buffalo-ny-filter-checksBoilers are not water heaters

These two terms get thrown around interchangeably, but boilers are not water heaters.

Boilers heat water for radiant heating, and all of the water stays within a closed-loop system. In contrast, your water heater heats water for household use. The entire point is for water to exit the system through your faucets, shower heads, and dishwasher line.

Moving water to bring you heat

Boilers start with a furnace-type system, which heats the water within the closed circuit. A motor then pushes this water through pipes to radiators. Most of these radiators are floor-mounted, although they can be in other places in a room.

As the hot water runs through the radiator, the heat energy from the water is transferred to the surrounding air, warming the room. The water then travels through the pipe to its next stop in another room.

Finally, after losing so much heat energy to the air in different rooms, the water returns to the furnace, where it’s reheated. The process then starts over again.

What are the advantages of using a boiler for heating?

Hot air rises

Since many boiler radiators are in the floor or near the floor, they’re more effective at heating you and the room than a forced-air system.

Hot air rises: when a forced-air system emits heated air through vents near the ceiling, all that heat is just staying there, not really warming a majority of the room.

In contrast, heat emitted near the floor rises through the room to the ceiling, warming you all that more efficiently and effectively.

Heat your feet

Those water pipes that make up the closed-circuit system we mentioned earlier? In many homes, they’re placed under the floors, which means that homeowners have warmed floors during the coldest months of winter.

Save money

Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than forced-air heating. It’s just physics: water is a much better conduit of heat than air is, so there’s less energy lost as the water travels through the pipes than the same process of air moving through ducts.

The result is that your home heats the same, but with far less energy burned by the furnace.

Is a boiler right for your home?

Many homes here in the Buffalo area have built-in boiler systems, or at least the setup for them, which includes the aforementioned piping and radiators. If that’s the case, a boiler is perfect for your home.

If your home has no boiler setup, it’s something that you can have installed if you’re looking to improve your energy-efficiency or get the heated floors feature.

For more on how boilers work, call Reimer

Reimer is the top choice for heating, cooling, and plumbing work here in Buffalo. For more on boilers, installation, and to get a free in-home estimate on a new system, contact us online.

Don’t do it yourself: the dangers of DIY plumbing repair

The Internet has profoundly changed our lives. Of its many impacts, one of the most significant is that millions of people now have instant access to tutorials, videos, and instructions on how to do or build things themselves.

Don’t pour boiling water on your pipes to unfreeze them.

From building your own coffee table to “lifehacks” that turn old bike handles into in-style wall decor, “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) is more popular than ever. Here’s where you should draw a line, though: unlike bottles recycled into planters, DIY plumbing repair is never a good idea.

In this blog, we’ll go over why you should only trust your plumbing repair needs to a professional plumber who has the right equipment, training, and more to get the job done.

Situation #1: Frozen pipes

Every winter here in Buffalo, frozen pipes pop up all across the city. And, every winter, homeowners decide that they want to take matters into their own hands. In one of our previous posts, we addressed why this is bad idea. Put down the hairdryer or—especially—the blowtorch and call Reimer, instead.

Seriously: no blowtorches.

Any kind of “hack” for unfreezing your pipes could make the situation a lot worse. Frozen pipes are very volatile: the expanding ice has placed the pipe material under immense pressure.

A professional plumber has the equipment and finesse to gently thaw the ice and relieve this pressure with no further damage to the structure. Other methods, however, risk the pressure building further and the pipe bursting. Not good!

Situation #2: Drain cleaning

As plumbers, we believe that it’s important to know what you’re getting into before each and every project. Drain cleaning is a good example: we use equipment to figure out what is down the drain before we attempt to remove it.

Many homeowners resort to using store-bought chemicals. Here’s the thing, though. If these chemicals are harsh enough to eat through whatever’s down there, aren’t they harsh enough to also damage your pipes? The answer is yes, which is why we think drain cleaning chemicals should be rarely used, and only as a last resort.

Instead, call Reimer. Our plumbers have a variety of professional snake tools that we use to clear drains, depending on what the obstruction is.

Situation #3: Re-piping

The popularity of home renovation shows on TV has prompted a number of homeowners to try to give their own property a makeover. That’s great: as long as you enlist the help of some professionals, opening up that kitchen will really bring your home up-to-date.

However, there’s two areas where you should really call in a specialist: plumbing and electrical. Reimer can help with the former. Moving pipes, sealing pipes, and any kind of re-piping should really be left to the experts.

The last thing you want is to get everything the way you want it, go to turn on the water supply to your home again, and disaster strikes. It’s just going to ruin everything you worked so hard for, and it can be prevented by calling in an expert.

DIY some things, call experts for others

Sure, there are some things that homeowners should try taking on themselves. However, we recommend calling Reimer if you get in over your head, or if you’re tackling something big, potentially dangerous, or technically complex.

To schedule service, contact us online, or give us a call at (716) 694-8524.

Here’s how to deal with an AC icing problem

Contrary to what you might assume, your air conditioner can develop problems with ice even on the hottest of summer days. AC icing isn’t just a problem here in Buffalo in January. It can also do damage to your unit in July.

Has the air conditioner coil in your home developed an ice buildup problem? If so, you should take immediate steps to resolve the issue as it can damage your air conditioner. In this blog, we’ll share some of the possible causes of your AC icing problem and the steps you can take to deal with it.

AC icing problems

1. Low refrigerant level

The refrigerant inside the air conditioner collects the heat inside the home and moves it outside. Over time, the refrigerant leaks due to the normal wear-and-tear on your system caused by it vibrating. This results in improper cooling.

In some cases, however, low refrigerant levels also cause the air conditioner to develop an AC icing problem.

Due to low refrigerant levels, the air conditioner coil gets too cold. It condensates, and the super cold temperatures causes this condensation to freeze. This results in the buildup of ice on the coils. The ice buildup issue can develop quickly due to dirty coils or high humidity levels—which cause more condensation than normal.

Solution: You should call the air conditioner technicians at Reimer to resolve your low refrigerant level problem. As part of an AC repair, we’ll check the refrigerant and top it off, if required. In combination with other work, this may solve your AC icing problem.

2. Insufficient airflow

Another reason for an icing problem in the air conditioner is a lack of airflow. Air conditioners are designed to cool the air by taking heat from it. In the case of improper airflow, the heat exchange will not take place. The refrigerant that removes heat from the air will become cool, causing an icing problem.

Solution: Insufficient airflow may be caused due to a dirty air filter, evaporator coil, or fins. Also, the airflow can become restricted due to a faulty fan or blower inside the air conditioner. Our professional air conditioner technicians will inspect the unit and perform the necessary repairs to resolve the issue.

3. Low outdoor temperature

Low outdoor temperature can also result in icing problems. AC icing problems develop when the outside temperature goes below 62 ℉ (or 16 ℉).

Solution: You should run the air conditioner on fan mode when the outside temperature drops. Also, you can use a fan or open the windows to ventilate the room.

Call Reimer for help dealing with AC icing problems

Icing problems should not be taken lightly. If your air conditioner develops an icing issue, it’s important to take instant steps to resolve the issue. Keep in mind that most icing problems can easily be resolved. However, if left untreated, the problem can lead to major problems that require costly repairs.

At the first sign of icing, call the professionals at Reimer Home Services.

Call our plumbers and avoid using toxic drain cleaners

Why You Should Avoid Using Toxic Drain Cleaners Many people use liquid toxic drain cleaners to clean the drain. They seem to be a quick and inexpensive solution to clogged drains. Compared to the upfront costs of the plumbing repair, liquid cleaners appear to be an inexpensive and easy option.

However, you could end up damaging your pipe or yourself by using liquid drain cleaners. We’ll explain more in this blog post.

Three reasons to avoid using toxic drain cleaners

Relying on liquid drain cleaners is not recommended. Here are three reasons you should avoid using them to unclog or clean the drain.

1. Drain cleaners can damage your pipes if used regularly

Using liquid drain cleaners can result in long-term damage to your pipes. The cleaners can remove clogs, but they can also do damage to the drains. Old pipes are particularly susceptible to damage when liquid drain cleaners are used.

Frequent use of liquid drain cleaners can eat away at metal pipes. It can create a hole in the drain pipe that will require costly and invasive repairs. You could end up with a bigger plumbing problem if you use cheap and toxic drain cleaners to remove clogs.

2. Drain cleaners are highly toxic liquids to have in your home

Certain brands of liquid drain cleaners are highly toxic. If you get in touch with the liquid, it can result in injury. The splashes of the liquid can burn the skin.

Also, they can cause irreparable damage in case they get into the eyes or are accidentally ingested. Ingestion of the liquid can prove fatal. So, it’s absolutely necessary to keep them away from pets and children, but keeping them around still means you need to store them in your home.

3. Drain cleaners are bad for the environment

Liquid drain cleaners cause damage to the environment. The liquid that remains in the bottle will end up in landfills. From there, they can seep inside the ground causing damage to the underwater reservoirs.

Even worse is using the toxic drain cleaner, which ends up in ponds, lakes, rivers, and—eventually—oceans, poisoning wildlife and fish.

Considering the environmental effects of the liquid drain cleaners, it’s recommended that you avoid using them to unclog the drain.

Your alternatives to using drain cleaners in your home

While liquid drain cleaners seem to be a quick and an inexpensive way to unclog the drains, you could end up doing major damage. There is a risk of injury in case the liquid inside the drain cleaner comes into contact with the skin or the eyes. Also, the fact that drain cleaners could cause damage to the ecology means that you should skip drain cleaners altogether.

Instead of using liquid drain cleaners, you should consider clearing the clog using a plunger. In case you are not able to clear the clog, you should consider hiring a professional plumber from Reimer. An experienced plumber will know about safe methods to clean the clog. The professional knows about safe chemicals that won’t do damage to the house plumbing.

We have experienced and certified plumbers who can expertly perform the repair work. Whether you need to install a new plumbing fixture, or require plumbing repairs, you can count on our experienced plumbers to do the job for you. Learn more about our drain cleaning services.

Here’s How To Prevent A Clogged Kitchen Drain

Clogged Kitchen DrainA clogged kitchen drain can be a nuisance for anyone. Dealing with a clogged drain can be time-consuming, and the smell that comes from a clogged system adds to the inconvenience of having to deal with a backed up system.

Fortunately, you can avoid clogged drains by taking a few simple steps. In this article, we will share 5 simple steps that you can take to prevent kitchen drains from becoming clogged thereby saving on plumbing costs.

If you do have a clogged kitchen drain, contact the team at Reimer for drain cleaning service.

1. A few things you should never pour down the sink

In order to avoid clogged drains, you should never pour certain substances down the sink. Some of the items that you should avoid pouring down the sink include coffee grounds, cooking oil, and fats trimmed off meat. These substances tend to accumulate in the pipes, leading to blockage.

Also, you should never pour setting-type joint compounds down the sink as they harden up upon contact with water. If you pour the compound down the drain, you will be in for a rock-solid clog. Sand is another building element that you should never pour down the drain. The sand can settle down the drain that is difficult to remove.

2. Use a sink strainer

Consider using sink strainer over the drain. The strainer can catch food particles and other substances that can’t wash down the drain. This will greatly reduce the chances of a clogged kitchen drain. Just remember to empty the strainer when it becomes full.

3. Pour hot / cold water down the drain

You can pour boiling kettle water down the drain at least once week to melt away fat and grease that may have collected inside the pipes. Make sure that you pour the hot water slowly to avoid splashing.

If you have garbage disposal installed, you should consider running a stream of cold faucet water while using the disposal. This will carry the waste material through the drainage system.

4. Use baking soda to clean the drain

To clean the drain, it’s recommended that you throw a handful of baking soda followed by hot water down the drain. Baking soda can not only clean the pipe of accumulated waste but also absorb foul smells.

5. Use a stopper once a week

In case your kitchen has a stopper, you should fill the sink once a week by closing the stopper. When you release the stopper, the force of the water flow will flush substances that stick to the pipe. If you don’t have a stopper in the sink, pouring boiling water can do the same trick.

Call Reimer for help clearing a clogged kitchen drain

In case you have any plumbing problem in the area of Buffalo, you can contact Reimer Home Services with confidence. Our licensed, trained and expert plumbers can solve all kinds of drain problems including a clogged kitchen drain.

Should I repair or replace my AC unit?

It’s a question that we get all the time here at Reimer: should I have my AC unit repaired, or should I purchase a new one?

AC unit installationFirst, some advice: every situation (and AC system!) is different, and the best way to have your dilemma answered is by talking to one of the professionals at Reimer and having them inspect your current system. However, to get the conversation started, here are some things to consider when you’re debating between repair and replacement.

When to consider AC unit repair:

  • If you have a younger system: If your air conditioner is less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider repair. As long as it doesn’t have a long or extensive history of breaking down, a less-than-decade-old AC unit probably has years of service ahead of it. Most air conditioners last between 10-15 years but properly maintained ones can last far longer than that.
  • If you have a strong maintenance history: Without annual maintenance from an industry-certified professional, your AC unit may encounter problems that snowball into long-term damage and wear. However, if you’ve done a good job keeping up with maintenance, you’re more likely to ride out the repairs that you do need and have a longer system lifespan.
  • If you’re otherwise satisfied with your system: If your system is delivering you energy efficiency in-line with your expectations and cooling that gets the job done for your family, take that into consideration when weighing repair versus replacement. A new unit will probably have efficiency gains, but if the gulf isn’t significant, you may want to stick with your current system.

When to consider AC unit replacement:

  • When it’s only slightly more expensive than the repair: The cost of some repairs—depending on the problem and how extensive the fix is—may come close to the cost of just purchasing a new unit. If this is the case, you’ll want to go with a new system, even if it costs you some extra money. You’ll make it up in the added energy efficiency and years of your new system. Remember: sometimes, your current AC unit is a sunk cost. It’s time to move on.
  • If the repairs are becoming repetitive: It’s one thing to pay for a single repair a single time. However, if your AC is starting to become a money pit where small repairs keep adding up, you may need to cut the cord and move on to a new system. Weigh the costs and think about an honest figure for how much your AC has cost you—in both actual money and in time and patience.
  • If you stand to benefit from better efficiency: If—on top of needing repairs—your current AC is an aging energy hog, you may want to think about a new unit as not only an AC replacement but an investment. Chat with the technicians at Reimer, and they’ll help you figure out how much a new, advanced system can save you every single month.

Why choose Reimer Heating and Air Conditioning?

Since 1921, Reimer has provided Western New York and Buffalo with quality heating and cooling services, including installation, repair, and maintenance. We also offer plumbing services. That’s nearly a century of helping homeowners keep their homes comfortable. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee, NATE-certified technicians, and overall commitment to quality service have made us a local favorite.

Whether you need help deciding between AC repair or replacment—or already know and need to schedule service—give the professionals at Reimer Heating and Air Conditioning a call.