Cincinnati Category

Just How Much is Your Old Water Heater Costing You?

With the new standards of energy efficiency in water heaters these days, you may actually not be saving money by waiting to replace your old water heater. Old water heaters are much less energy efficient, both because they are aging and because standards were lower back then, which could mean more money you’re paying each month in energy costs compared to a newer heater.

old water heaterIt’s generally accepted that most water heaters last an average of about 13 years. If yours is anywhere close to that, it probably uses a lot more energy than modern water heaters. Ten years ago, hot water accounted for about a quarter of the typical home’s energy use; today, with more efficient heaters, it’s only about 18 percent. Therefore, anyone with a water heater that is seven or more years old will probably save money in the long run by replacing the water heater with a newer, more efficient model.

If getting a new water heater isn’t an option for you, there are other ways to make your old one more efficient and save you a little money on heating costs. Here are a few more ways you can enjoy water heating savings.

  • Have heat traps installed. If it doesn’t already have them, heat traps on your tank could reduce your bill by as much as $15 to $30.
  • Invest in low-flow faucets and shower heads. Anything pre-1992 lets too much water through. By having new low-flow faucets installed, you could actually save up to 60% on your water bill, in addition to the energy savings associated with using less hot water.
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate. Having everything insulated, from the hot water tank itself to the pipes that carry the hot water out of the heater, can help cut costs by preserving the heat in both the tank and the pipes.

Do you want to save money and feel good about helping the environment at the same time? Contact Cincinnati-based Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information about how replacing your water heater can help you cut energy costs.

Thinking of Fixing Your Own Furnace? A Few Important Reasons to Leave it to the Pros

A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially when it comes to trying to fix your own furnace. Modern furnaces are more complicated than in the past, and repairs require a high level of technical expertise. You also risk voiding furnace warranty with DIY repairs. Here are the five top reasons why you should leave furnace repairs to the pros.

voiding furnace warrantyDIY Furnace Repairs: Why You Should Avoid Them

  1. A professional has more experience and knowledge than the untrained DIY-er, so more likely can pinpoint a problem quicker. You may think you know what’s wrong, but furnaces are complex, and there may be an issue you haven’t even guessed at.
  2. Every year, at least 100 people die in this country after trying to fix their own furnaces. The fatalities are mostly from exposure to carbon monoxide. Only persons trained in handling combustion-powered appliances should do repairs or installations that might involve CO leaks. It’s odorless, and victims of CO poisoning often don’t know they’re in danger until it’s too late.
  3. DIY furnace fixers run the risk of starting fires or causing an explosion from leaking gas. Professional technicians have equipment to detect leaks, and the right tools to repair them. More than likely, it will take more than a screwdriver, channel locks and duct tape to successfully repair a furnace, so unless you’re ready to make a big investment in specialized equipment, you’ll actually save money by calling a pro.
  4. You may think you’re saving money by doing the repairs yourself, but you could make a malfunction worse if you lack proper training. You’ll probably have to call a professional later anyway, and it may cost you more to fix the damage caused by the DIY repair.
  5. Voiding furnace warranty is another reason to let the pro do it. A manufacturer won’t honor a warranty unless all repairs are done according to the agreed-upon terms.

For more on voiding furnace warranty or other hazards of DIY furnace repair, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve served our Greater Cincinnati-area customers with pride for more than a century.

Which Energy Saving Upgrades Give You the Most Bang For Your Buck?

Finding ways to save money isn’t usually an easy feat. There are some costs that are simply unavoidable, particularly when it comes to the operations of your home. That said, there are also a lot of ways that energy-efficiency upgrades can help you get a little more bang for your buck.

energy saving tipsHere are our top picks for energy-efficiency upgrades that are well worth their investments:

  • Air Sealing & Insulation. Removing the gaps and holes where air seep into and out of the house will help keep your home safe from humid Cincinnati summers and frigid Midwestern winters. Money‘s article “The Best Energy Efficiency Upgrades for Your Money” explains how reinforcing the outside layers of your home can lead to even greater savings down the line when it’s time to purchase a new boiler unit or air conditioning system.
  • Programmable Thermostats. Many of the homes in our beautiful Queen City were built many years ago. If you have a house with a little bit of age on it, you might be missing out on easy savings by not cashing in on upgraded technology. You may be able to save up to 10% by installing a modern thermostat that can take care of temperatures whether you are at home or not.
  • Low-Flow Features. You might be surprised about how much water is potentially wasted in your home just by doing every day things like flushing the toilet. Installing low-flow faucets and toilets in your home can help you achieve significant annual savings on your water bill, and when tax time rolls around, you may find that these easy upgrades make you eligible for the government’s ENERGY STAR rebates.
  • New Heating & Cooling Systems. Sometimes, it is simply time for the big investment. If you need a new heating or cooling system, the right investment should keep your house happy and efficient for many years to come.

Would you like to know which energy-efficiency upgrades would be the best investments for your home? Call our team at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing today to schedule your home’s energy audit.

Dealing with Low to No Water Pressure? What You Need to Know

If you turn on your faucets and notice a trickle where you should have a cascade, you know you have a water pressure problem. Luckily, troubleshooting low water pressure is easy to do.

low water pressureWhole-House Water Pressure Problems

Are you experiencing water pressure problems throughout your house? Assuming it’s a new problem and not one that came with the house, you’re probably looking at one of two issues:

  1. A problem with the municipal water supply. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do other than call your water supplier to determine if there’s a problem and ask them to fix it.
  2. A leak in your main line. To determine if you have a leak, shut off all your water valves, check the water meter, and then check it again in a few hours. If there’s a significant difference in the readings, you have a leak and should call a plumber.

Specific-Area Water Pressure Problems

Are you troubleshooting low water pressure in a specific area? If it’s just one faucet or shower head that’s having low pressure issues, you may have a simple fix on your hands. Most of the time, low water pressure in one fixture just indicates that you have sediment built up inside the nozzle. Unscrew the fixture and rinse it. (Tip: wrap the fixture in cloth before using a wrench to protect the finish.) If water still doesn’t flow freely, soak the fixture in vinegar, then scrub with an old toothbrush. If all else fails, you can usually find inexpensive replacements at the hardware store. Sometimes, low water pressure in a specific pipe might be caused by corrosion in the pipe. This is normal, especially if you have aging pipes. The only solution is to replace the corroded pipes. This job is often best left to a trained professional who can ensure that the job is done correctly and that your new pipes are up to code. For more information on troubleshooting low water pressure or any other HVAC issues, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve provided quality service to the Greater Cincinnati area since 1910.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Broken Appliance? 3 Questions to Answer to Make That Decision

The dreaded moment when an appliance stops working can leave your head swimming with questions. Foremost is probably “What’s wrong?,” but this is followed quickly by the question of whether to repair or replace an appliance. These questions will help you decide.

Insider Tips for Extending the Life of Your Home Appliances and Preventing the Need for Repair

Home appliance repair and replacements get expensive quickly. If yours are wearing out sooner than they should, use these insider tips to extend appliance life and prevent excessive repairs.

Guard Your Home’s Electrical System From Damage With Surge Protection

Does your home contain delicate electronics and sophisticated appliances? Those electronics are vulnerable to electrical surges. In 2008 alone, there were over $1 billion in insurance claims for these electrical surges. You can prevent this kind of damage to your home with surge protection.

How Does Ceiling Fan Direction Impact Your Indoor Comfort?

Many homeowners use ceiling fans as an alternative to running the air conditioner at certain times of year. What you may not realize is that simply switching ceiling fan direction can have a positive impact on indoor comfort all year long.

Consider an Electrical Wiring Upgrade If You Notice These Warning Signs

An electrical wiring upgrade may not be at the top of your list for appealing home improvements, but doing so could save your life and your home. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty wiring causes more residential fires than any other reason. Older homes weren’t constructed to accommodate the power demands we now make, and as a result, you could be overloading the wiring, or the wiring may be unsafe due to aging.

Tips for Hiring a Handyman to Conquer That Long List of Odd Jobs

With spring’s endless to-do list, it’s easy to get bogged down with all you need to get done around your home. One way to limit the stress of your to-do list is by hiring a handyman to handle some of the tasks for you. From cleaning out gutters to installing a new exterior light fixture or helping with interior repairs, a handyman can help you get your home in top shape.