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The Benefits of a Backup Generator

January 16th, 2015

With the threat of seasonal storms growing every year, interest in backup generators has never been higher. Home backup generators are an excellent solution for giving your home power during an electrical outage that lasts more than a few hours. If you electricity goes out, a backup generator will kick on automatically, ensuring that your home has plenty of power and that you won’t have to suffer through all trouble other solutions entail.  Farnen & Dermer is here with a summary of all the great reasons why backup generators are well worth the investment.backup generator

A backup generator can do a whole lot more than just provide you with the comfort of light during a power outage. It can also save you a lot of money during what could prove to be a costly experience. Between food going bad, hotel prices, and the potential damage caused by ruptured plumbing, a backup generator will practically pay for itself during just one outage.

Backup Generator Benefits

If your electricity goes out, there’s simply nothing more reassuring than knowing a backup generator is ready to help. It’s easy to take the comforts power provides us with for granted, but once your home is freezing cold, dark, and unable to provide power to entertainment devices, computers, cell phones and other necessities, you realize just how fortunate you are when they’re all working.

Investing in a standby generator can save you from these costly inconveniences:

  • Spoiled food: Power outages almost invariably to spoiled food. If you haven’t suffered through this before, trust us, it’s not worth it. Spoiled food can lead to mold growth inside your refrigerator and, obviously, wastes the hundreds of dollars you spent on it.
  • Staying in a Hotel: Staying in a hotel for a night is expensive. Even a single bed could run you upwards of $200, and that’s assuming you can comfortable fit your family into one room, and that hotels haven’t raised their prices during the storm, knowing desperate homeowners will come calling.
  • Plumbing Failure: If your basement houses a sump pump, which many do, utility power failure could lead to the pump bursting. The resulting damage, irreparable loss of possessions, and clean-up costs can run in the thousands of dollars. If the outage happens during winter, your pipes could freeze and explode, leading to even more repairs and making your house uninhabitable for a long stretch of time.

Interested in Purchasing a Backup Generator?

At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help you with purchasing a backup generator, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service. Farnen & Dermer is located in Central Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. If you have any questions about backup generators or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Your Maryland Plumber: Troubleshooting a Broken Garbage Disposal

January 6th, 2015

Garbage disposals can be appliances of both supreme convenience and frustration. While they can make cleaning up after a meal a snap, they can also be prone to a variety of problems. While it’s best to have these problems addressed by a garbage disposal repair professional in Maryland, there are a few things you can do to handle the matter yourself.

garbage disposal

The Garbage Disposal Will Not Run

If your garbage disposal fails to start, the first step in diagnosing the problem is to see if the disposal blades will turn freely. To do this, use the silver-colored service wrench, which should look like a small crank, to attempt to turn the disposal. You should never, under any circumstances, attempt to turn the blade using your fingers. If you cannot easily turn the disposal using the wrench, your garbage disposal may be jammed.

If it does turn but still won’t start, look and see if the reset button has been activated. If it has, follow your disposal’s manual to disable the overload reset. If your garbage disposal is hardwired into your Maryland home’s electrical system, make sure the breaker has not been turned off or blown a fuse. If none of these steps fixes the problem or you are unsure as to how to continue, consult a plumbing and garbage disposal repair professional today.

Strange Noises are Coming From The Disposal

If your garbage disposal has started to make metallic clanking, clicking, or rattling sounds, there’s a high chance that a foreign object, such as a fork, could be stuck in the disposal. If the object is visible you may try to retrieve it using the service wrench, but first make sure the disposal is turned off and do not insert your hand into the disposal. If you cannot see the obstructing object, or your garbage disposal is making a high-pitched squeal, contact a Maryland-based disposal repair professional immediately.

Need Professional Garbage Disposal Repair?

If the above hasn’t fixed your garbage disposal, or if you’re worried about damaging your plumbing system, call Farnen & Dermer. With years of experience in all manner of plumbing and HVAC repair across the state of Maryland, our experts can repair your garbage disposal or any other plumbing problem quickly, affordably, and correctly.

Call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Holiday Energy Saving Tips for Baltimore

December 22nd, 2014

At Farnen & Dermer we know that the holidays can be a pricey time for Baltimore homeowners when it comes to their energy bills. Between the costs of decking the halls in fully electric lighting and entertaining family members, the holiday season can often seem more costly than it’s worth. That’s why we’re here with some energy saving tips, so you can stop worrying about bills and start enjoying the most festive time of year.

energy saving

Use LED Christmas Lights and Fiber Optic Decorations

Standard Christmas lights can really chew through the watts over the course of the Christmas season, driving electrical bills through the roof. LED bulbs use 10% of the electricity required to power a standard filament bulb, and they last much, much longer. If you’re looking for even more energy savings than consider buying a fiber optic tree or set of decorations for your Baltimore home. These devices use a single LED bulb to light an entire object, saving quite a lot of energy and money.

Limit Light Time

To really reel in the energy savings wait until it’s dark out before turning on your Christmas lights, and be sure to always turn them off before you go to sleep. Try to aim for having them running less than six hours of the day. You can always set a timer to make sure you remember to shut them off. You can also save energy by using your Christmas lights, when they’re on, to light a room, rather than also turning on the normal lights.

Use Candles

You can also save on energy by adding a little old-fashioned flair to your Baltimore home. Put up some candles and lanterns where you can for a beautiful Christmas lighting arrangement. Just make sure to steer clear of any flammable objects and never leave a flame unobserved.

Limit Electronic Purchases

Around 40% of all batteries sold during the year are purchased right now, in the winter holiday season. That’s a ton of money spent on a non-ecologically friendly power source. Save money and make a difference by buying gifts that don’t require batteries or electricity. If you need to buy something with batteries, purchase reusable ones and a charger.

Want Even Greater Energy Savings?

Call Farnen & Dermer. At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help with finding ways to save even more on your energy bills. Our state-of-the-art HVAC systems are virtually guaranteed to lower your monthly payments. Farnen & Dermer is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. If you have any questions about energy saving during the holidays or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Electrical Safety Tips for The Holidays

December 10th, 2014

With the holiday season upon us in Baltimore, heaters are pumping away, and lights are wrapped around the house. Right now, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of electrical safety precautions and what you can do to minimize the risks of encountering a serious electrical problem. Farnen & Dermer, your Baltimore electricians, are here with some electrical safety tips for the holidays.Electrical Safety

Inspect Electrical Decorations Before Plugging In

Make sure to take a good hard look at your possibly aging Christmas and holiday decorations this year before you use them. Damaged plugs and sockets, bare wires, and loose connections could give you or a loved one a nasty shock, or even start a fire. Before you decorate you Baltimore home, take a count of available outlets and adjust your plans accordingly. Make sure you follow manufacturer instructions on any decorations and that you have correctly rated electrical cords for them to ensure maximum electrical safety.

Use Caution When Hanging Light Strings

You should never connect greater than three strings of incandescent lights together. This can cause a circuit breaker to trip and, potentially, an electrical fire. Think about buying some LED bulbs. They use less energy and operate at lower temperatures than incandescent lights. Take care to always unplug any electrical decorations before attempting to replace a bulb or fuse. Another important bit of electrical safety wisdom: Make sure you turn off any electrical decorations prior to going to sleep or leaving your Baltimore home.

Water Live Trees Daily

If you’re using a living Christmas tree this winter, make sure it stays hydrated. Dry trees are a major fire hazard. Electrical safety standards dictate that you should only hang lights and decorations that have been approved by a lab with national recognition. When you place your tree in its stand, cut two inches off the base and make sure to fill the stand each day. If you purchase an artificial Christmas tree, make sure it’s labeled as “fire resistant” and avoid using electrical ornaments/ lights if the tree has metallic coverings on its leaves or branches.

Need Help With Electrical Safety in Baltimore?

Call Farnen & Dermer. At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help with any electrical safety issues and maintenance in your Baltimore home, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service. Farnen & Dermer is located in Central Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. If you have any questions about electrical safety during the holidays or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Holiday Plumbing Tips for Maryland

December 4th, 2014

Holiday PlumbingThe days after Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season mark the busiest time of the year for plumbers and plumbing services everywhere. The prep work involved in cooking up that perfect holiday feast, and the massive undertaking that is the post-dinner cleanup, can generate an enormous amount of waste for kitchen drains and garbage disposals. That’s not even accounting for the added strain holiday house guests put on your washing machine, showers, toilets, and other pieces of household plumbing.

Many times, homes will have partially clogged drains that go unnoticed until they snap under the added pressure of holiday guests and festivities. It also doesn’t help that most traditional holiday dishes, with their hearty, filling composition, are notorious drain cloggers in their own right. When they band together, plumbing trembles in fear.

Holiday hosts and hostesses can avoid having to call a plumber in for the holidays if they follow a few, simple anti-clogging measures:

  1. Do not pour cooking oil, or fat cooked off meat, directly down a drain. This grease will solidify inside plumbing causing blockages quickly. Using a paper towel, wipe grease from your pans and throw it in the trash, or collect it in jars for disposal or future cooking use.
  2. Even garbage disposals have their limits. Stay away from putting starchy, stringy, or fibrous waste down the disposal. A disposal cannot process these types of waste effectively and will jam.
  3. When you do put waste in the disposal, make sure that it’s running at full speed. Putting garbage in before turning it on is a recipe for disaster.
  4. If you’re playing host to guests over the holidays, make it a general policy to wait at least 10 minutes between showers so slow drains can work their magic, and so you don’t run out of hot water.
  5. Never, ever flush cotton swabs, balls, hair, or wet wipes down the commode. These products won’t dissolve in water and instead build up over time, causing clogs. Make sure to dispose of these in a trash can.
  6. If you have any recurring plumbing problems that you’re already aware of, take the time to address them before your guests arrive for the holidays. Know your personal limits on DIY work and call in a plumber if you’re unsure if you can tackle something. Small plumbing problems, exacerbated under the added stress of the holidays can turn into disasters if they’re not fixed beforehand.

Need A Plumber This Holiday Season?

Call Farnen & Dermer! Our highly trained plumbers know how to quickly address any holiday plumbing issue, fixing it fast, and affordably. We know how to handle any plumbing problem you might run into this holiday season, and we’ll be there when you need us to be.

Your Baltimore Plumber: How To Fix A Leaky Faucet

November 27th, 2014

leaky faucetIf you’ve got water collecting beneath your sink, or have to put up with the incessant dripping noises throughout the night, chances are you’re fed up with your leaky faucet. A leaky faucet isn’t just an annoyance either. If not given proper attention it could turn into a serious issue. That’s why Farnen & Dermer, your Baltimore plumbers, are here with steps you can take to fix a leaky faucet.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of fixing a leaky faucet, know that you’re almost always better off calling in a plumbing professional, otherwise you risk doing more harm than good. But if you’re determined to DIY, then you should Do It Right.  Before you start you’ll need these tools:

  • Adjustable wrench; C wrench
  • Phillips and/or flat-head screwdriver
  • Penetrating oil, such as WD-40 or CRC
  • Replacement washers and O-rings

 

Step 1: Before you go hog-wild with your tools, make sure to turn your water supply off, using both the handles or knobs over the sink, and the toggles below the sink that connect to your water main.

Step 2: Take any decorative parts off of the handles or knobs using a flathead screwdriver to pry or unscrew them. Under each knob or handle there are screws that attach the handles to their stems. Unscrew them and remove the handles completely.

Step 3: Take a wrench and loosen the exposed packing nut that was attached to the handle. Then remove the stem. Some sinks feature stems that can be easily popped off, while others may need to be twisted off from the valve. Examine any parts you remove for signs of damage.

Step 4: If all the parts you’ve removed at this point are completely intact, examine the O-ring or washer inside the valve, which are often the cause of leaky faucets. If damaged, remove and replace the washer or O-ring. It’s vital to be certain that the replacement parts fit exactly with your existing sink. Check to see if the inside of the valve fits a flat or cone-shaped washer. You can also usually take an old O-ring to a hardware store and have someone there help find the correct size.

Step 5: Reassemble the sink with all the parts in this order: washer/O-ring, stem, packing nut, screw, and handle. Turn your water back on slowly to see if the leak is fixed.

Need Additional Plumbing Help?

If the above hasn’t fixed your leaky faucet, or if you’re worried about damaging your plumbing system, call Farnen & Dermer. With years of experience in all manner of plumbing and HVAC repair, our experts can repair your leaky faucet or any other plumbing problem quickly, affordably, and correctly.

Call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Your Baltimore Plumber: Signs You Need a New Water Heater

November 21st, 2014

water heaterWith cold weather here to stay and winter almost upon us in Baltimore, it’s more important than ever to have a hot water heater that you can rely on. Whether it’s for dishes, laundry, or a nice, steamy shower at the end of the day, you need a working hot water heater to go about your daily life. Most water heaters last about 10-15 years, and the last thing you want is yours going bust in the middle of winter. If the internal parts become corroded or surrounded by debris water heater efficiency begins to decline. Regular flushing can mitigate this but sooner or later your water heater will need to be replaced. Farnen & Dermer, your Baltimore plumbers, are here with signs that you need a new water heater.

  1. If you aren’t getting any hot water, make sure your water heater is receiving power. Obviously, not getting any hot water is a strong sign of a water heater failure, but it could just as easily mean that a circuit breaker has been tripped, or that the pilot light went out.
  2. Pay close attention to your tap water from the hot faucet. If the water looks rusty when hot but not when it’s coming from the cold faucet, your water heater’s internal mechanisms are probably corroded and your heater will fail shortly.
  3. When examining your water tank, check for increased levels of sediment or muddiness in the water. Drain your tank by attaching a hose to the drainage bib, after turning the tank off of course, to get a closer look. Dirty water in the tank is another sign of imminent failure.
  4. If your tap water has a metallic taste or odor it could indicate internal water heater corrosion.
  5. Listen to your heater closely. While a water heater does make noise when functioning normally, unusually loud cracking or popping noises mean that the heating element inside the water heater is coming into contact with mineral or rust deposits.
  6. If you notice water leaking around your heater immediately shut down your unit, disconnect the electricity/ turn off the gas and allow the water to cool. Leaking water is a sure sign of a catastrophic water heater failure.

Worried about your Water Heater?

Call Farnen & Dermer. We’re more than happy to talk to you and help figure out if your heater needs repairs or a total replacement, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service. Farnen & Dermer is located in Baltimore, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. The services we provide will not only ensure your water heater operates at peak efficiency; they will also keep your family warm during the winter, and your utility bills manageable.  If you have any questions about water heaters or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on FacebookGoogle+Twitter, and Pinterest.

Winter Heating Safety Tips for Baltimore

November 13th, 2014

heatingBelieve it or not, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fire deaths, and the vast majority of these fires occur during the winter months. Fortunately there are a few simple tips that should be easy for any Baltimore homeowner to follow during the colder parts of the year. Farnen and Dermer, your Baltimore heating professionals, are here with some helpful advice for anyone looking to make their home safe from fire.

The Three Foot Zone

One of the best rules of thumb to follow when heating your home during the cold Baltimore winter is to establish a three foot radius around any heat sources in your home. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and portable space heaters. Keep anything that is remotely flammable outside of this area. It’s also a smart policy to keep children out of this zone.

Consult a Professional

A responsible Baltimore homeowner should never attempt to install heating apparatus themselves. While it’s tempting to save some money this way, the hazards are too great to attempt without training. Make sure to call a qualified professional to install any stationary space heaters, water heaters or central heating equipment. They’ll have a thorough understanding of the proper methodology to use for any major heating appliance and, if they’re familiar with Baltimore, they’ll know all the proper local codes too.

Preventative Testing

It’s always a good idea for any Baltimore homeowner to test their heating safety measures throughout the year, before winter arrives. This includes routine smoke alarm testing as well as having your chimney, HVAC system, and other heating equipment inspected by a licensed heating professional. If you have a fireplace, make sure the screen is sturdily affixed to the front, and that it is strong enough to repel sparks.

Need Help With Heating Safety this Winter?

At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help you minimize the risk of fire in your Baltimore home, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service. Farnen & Dermer is located in Central Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. The services we provide will not only ensure your heating unit operates at peak efficiency; they will also keep your family warm during the winter, and your electric bill manageable.  If you have any questions about how to winterize your plumbing or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

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Tips for Avoiding Winter Plumbing Leaks in Baltimore

November 5th, 2014

plumbingA burst or leaky pipe is a hassle to deal with at any time of the year but none more so than during the winter. The changing seasons, temperatures, and weather conditions have the power to make what would normally be a relatively quick fix, a systemic and incredibly expensive problem to deal with. Fortunately Farnen & Dermer, your Baltimore plumbing experts, are with some advice you can use to stop these winter plumbing problems before they start.

Protect Your Pipes From Freezing

When the temperature drops it’s all too easy for the water in your pipes to freeze, which can easily cause them to burst, rendering your plumbing unusable and potentially causing thousands of dollars in flooding damages. Start protecting your pipes today by wrapping them in a layer of insulation, purchasable from most hardware stores, that has been cut to fit your pipes. Alternatively, you could consider calling a trusted Baltimore plumber, who can insulate your pipes quickly and affordably, while keeping an eye out for signs of systemic problems.

Fix Existing Leaks Now

If you have, or suspect you have, any leaks in your plumbing already, don’t wait around until the problem increases in size and scope, get it taken care of now. Check your kitchen, bathroom, and utility closet faucets for standing water or leaks. If you discover one, contact a reliable Baltimore plumber immediately, before the cold weather makes your problems even worse.

Drain Your Hot Water Heater

Oftentimes, sediment can build up in a hot water heater over time, eventually causing rust to form. Rust can then make its way into your drinking water causing you a boatload of health problems. Once a substantial portion of your water heater has rusted, it’s done for and you’ll have to shell out a lot of money for a replacement. Call a plumbing professional in the Baltimore area to have your hot water heater inspected for rust damage.

Need to Prepare Your Plumbing For Winter? Call Farnen & Dermer

At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help you prepare your Baltimore home’s plumbing for winter, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service.

Farnen & Dermer is located in Central Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. The services we provide will not only ensure your heating unit operates at peak efficiency; they will also keep your family warm during the winter, and your electric bill manageable.  If you have any questions about preparing your plumbing for winter or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Portable Space Heater Electrical Safety in Baltimore

October 27th, 2014

portable space heaterWith cold weather upon us in Baltimore, and winter fast approaching, usage of electrical appliances is increasing, particularly with regards to portable space heaters. It’s easy to see why these appliances have become so ubiquitous: they’re relatively inexpensive and can provide heat to a small room saving you the expense of turning on the heat for the whole house. However, if used improperly, portable space heaters can be very dangerous. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year can be attributed to portable space heaters. Farnen & Dermer, your Baltimore plumbing, electrical, and HVAC company, is here with some tips on portable space heater safety.

Keep Them Clean

One of the most overlooked, but vital, aspects of portable space heater safety is cleanliness. Dandruff, dust, and debris can be potent fire starters if left unchecked. We recommend cleaning portable space heater fans at least twice a year when not in use, and every couple of weeks when in regular operation around your Baltimore home.

Three Feet Rule

Keep any portable space heaters at least 3ft away from any flammable materials including furniture, draperies, or long carpeting. A vast percentage of portable space heater fires in Baltimore are caused by placing the heater too close to flammable materials.

Plug Into Outlet

Not all cords are created equal. Portable space heater safety guidelines suggest plugging your space heater directly into an outlet to avoid using an extension cord that is not safely rated to carry the consistent current, or stand the heat that a portable space heater produces.

Check for Recalls

Some portable space heaters, particularly older models, have been subject to recalls. Check online listings to make sure that your portable space heater has not been recalled.

Read Instructions

When setting up a new heater make sure to read any included instructions, follow any warning labels, verify that your Baltimore home’s electrical grid, and the wires you’re plugging into are rated high enough to safely carry the required current to your portable space heater.

Want to Know More? Need Safe Electrical Maintenance?

Call Farnen & Dermer. At Farnen & Dermer we’re more than happy to talk to you and help with a portable space heater, or other electrical safety issues and maintenance in your Baltimore home, as well as provide any additional plumbing, heating, or HVAC information and service. Farnen & Dermer is located in Central Maryland, and we provide service, repair, and maintenance to customers throughout the state. If you have any questions about portable space heater safety or wish to schedule an appointment, call us at (410)-902-0020. You can also use our online contact form. You will be contacted by a member of our support staff within 24 business hours.

Start following Farnen & Dermer today on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.