Don’t use not just any blanket. Use only an official water heater insulating blanket.

My neighbor just bought an older home. During a tour of the utilities in her basement, I noticed that her water heater was covered in an official water heater blanket. It was thick, heavy, and well-designed. We’re not fancy people at our house, but that water heater blanket looked pretty awesome and did a nice job of dressing up the tank. We’re the tiniest bit envious of our neighbor’s awesome water heater blanket situation.

What is a water heater blanket?
It is an insulated covering that’s specifically designed to improve the energy efficiency of one’s water heater. If your water heater is located in unfinished space (e.g., a garage, basement, or attic), a water heater blanket that’s rated at R-11 or better, may help lower your energy bill. The blanket reduce excess heat from escaping the tank, making your hot water stay hot longer.

How much does it cost to run an electric hot water heater?
On average, a water heater runs three hours daily. An 50-gallon, 5,500-watt water heater with a .90 EF and an electricity rate of $.16 per kilowatt hour will cost about $780 to operate annually. By installing a water heater blanket, it’s possible to reduce the amount of time the water heater runs each day.

How do I know if I need a water heater blanket?
According to Energy.gov, “if you have an older hot water tank, check to see if it has insulation with an R-value of at least 24. If not, consider insulating your water tank, which could reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45% and save you about 7%–16% in water heating costs—and should pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20. If you don’t know your water heater tank’s R-value, touch it. A tank that is warm to the touch needs additional insulation.”

Getting Started – Review Your Existing Tank
• Check your hot water heater for leaks. If it’s leaking, consider installing a new tank along with the blanket.
• If you have an electric water heater (NOT gas), think about insulating underneath the tank to help prevent heat loss into the floor (potentially saving an additional 4%–9% of water heating energy)
• Measure your tank’s height and circumference to determine the proper size blanket.

At the Big Box Hardware Store
• Locate the water heater blanket kit
• Purchase the size you need.

Back at Home
• Install the blanket according to the instructions on the kit.

Water You Waiting For? A water heater blanket is one way to save on your monthly energy bills. Installing a new, energy-efficient water heater is another. If your water heater is over 15 years old, it may be time for a new one. Call Ray today for a free quote: 513-396-5300.

On our morning commute, the morning radio show host mentioned this year we are having a “hot Fall.” Plumbers love that! These unseasonably warm weekends are perfect for outdoor plumbing winterization activities. Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing and burst pipes can cause $$$$ in water damage. Below are a few preventative tips that we like to share at this time of year.

Outdoor Plumbing Preparations
• Exterior faucets – If you are ready to stop turning your exterior water faucets on and off each spring and fall, consider installing a frost-proof faucet.
• Ultra low maintenance and your exterior faucets can be used at any time of the year.
• Cons: Frost proof faucets cost a little more, we’ve yet to find anyone who isn’t happy with their frost-proof faucet investment.

For non-frost-proof faucets, winterize them by turning off the exterior faucet water supply. Drain the faucet by opening the outside valve (i.e., turn the water faucet on until no more water comes out). Additionally, consider an insulated Styrofoam cover for the faucet – they are inexpensive. Lastly, disconnect the garden hoses and store them in the garage or basement for the winter.
• Sprinkler Systems – Purge the system by shutting off the water supply and forcing compressed air through the sprinkler lines to remove excess water and prevent lines from freezing and bursting.
• Water Features (garden ponds, fountains) – -drain them, unplug the pump(s) and cover them for winter.

Inside – Insulation Matters
• Insulate exposed water or drain pipes in crawlspaces, attics, outside walls, etc., to prevent freezing and bursting.
• Consider an insulating blanket for your hot water tank. This simple approach can reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain hot water temperatures.
• Wall outlets are notorious for cold air leaks. Insulate all outlets (exterior and interior) with inexpensive foam gaskets.

Water You Waiting For? The first freeze may be a few weeks away; it’s helpful to lay winterizing plans and make arrangements with plumbers and heating/cooling specialists now. Allied Reddi-Rooter’s trained professionals are at the ready to assist with your winterizing needs. Whether your winterizing needs are for your year-’round home or vacation home, we can assist with your exterior and interior plumbing needs. Call today: 513-396-5300.

In recent plumbing conversations with close friends, I was surprised to learn that clogged laundry sink drains are a common problem. In 25 years of marriage and 4 kids, our most common clogs are toilets (TP clogs), bathroom (hair clogs), tub drains (hair clogs), and kitchen drains (food clogs in the garbage disposal). Our laundry sink drain has yet to become plugged. But since two sets of friends mentioned this as an issue, it seemed like a good blog topic. Upon digging into the topic, it seems clogged laundry drains can be an indication of a deeper drainage problem.

Below are a few tips for dealing with a clogged laundry sink:

• If you washing machine hose drains into your laundry sink, install a simple strainer to catch laundry lint that comes out in the wash.
• If you have a double sink with a clog on one side, you’ll need two plungers. One to stop up the unplugged side while you plunge the clogged drain.
• On stubborn clogs, consider a snake (a.k.a. eel or drain cable). If possible, insert the snake at the through the drain clean out.
• If you don’t have a clean out, consider installing one for simplifying the clearing of future clogs.

Tips: If the laundry sink fails to drain after using the snake, it’s possible the connection to the main drain line may be damaged. Consult a professional, reputable plumber for further evaluation.

If other drains in the house, such as a sink, dishwasher, bathtub, toilet or shower are malfunctioning, investigate to see if there is pipe damage at the main sewer junction. A video camera investigation may be advisable to identify the root cause and determine if excavation may be needed.

Water You Waiting For? If you’re having trouble with your laundry sink drain that the snake doesn’t solve, consider a video camera inspection. Sometimes, the trouble is further down the line and buried underground in your main sewer line. Call Ray today to discuss options and obtain a free quote. (513) 396-5300.

Which is more important – pipes or paint color?
Here’s our top takeaway from those house-flipping shows on cable TV: Tearing out walls is easy; anyone can do it. Cosmetic repairs are a snap – easy to estimate, easy to execute. Infrastructure problems, on the other hand, create financial panic in a new homeowner. Finding out after the closing that the whole house piping needs to be replaced (or worse – there are tree roots in the sewer line, causing floods in the basement) is a problem that always creates tension and stress. Always.

According to American Water Resources (AWR), a provider of sewer line protection programs (a.k.a. plumbing insurance) for homeowners in 35 states, there are a few questions every home buyer should ask before signing on the dotted line. Seemingly, homeowners are unaware that they, not the local municipality or water utility, are responsible for the pipes running through home and yard (above and below ground). Even more surprising, few homeowners’ insurance policies will cover piping repair costs that can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Ask These Questions Before You Buy:


1. Are your water service lines located near mature trees?

In the Greater Cincinnati Dayton areas, our most charming neighborhoods are characterized by mature trees. Below ground, however, invasive tree roots often grow alongside sewage lines and storm drains (a reliable source of water and nutrients). When tree roots invade the pipes, they can create cracks, clogs and blockages for homeowners.

2. How old are your pipes?
Typically, the sewer lines from your home to the street – which are the homeowner’s responsibility – are at least as old as the home itself. In the USA, most water pipes were installed after World War II and (like our nation’s bridges and roads) are due for replacement or repair. AWR notes that “According to a 2012 Water Infrastructure and Sustainability fact sheet by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average age of a broken water main in the U.S. is 47 years. Knowing the age of your pipes will help you to assess their need for repair.”

3. What your pipes are made of?
Older pipes were typically made from clay, steel or tile – materials that are prone to crumble over time, especially in areas (such as Ohio) with cold winters and freezing/thawing activity in the ground. If the home you are eyeing was built before the 1980s, it is likely that the pipes are made of clay, and overdue for repair or replacement.

4. Do you have clay soil?
In our corner of Ohio, the soil is overwhelmingly heavy with clay. According to NACE International, a professional organization for the corrosion control industry, “sandy soils are among the least corrosive, and clay soils are among the most severely corrosive.” That means, the soil can attack your pipes and corrode them away over the years. If you are considering a charming English Tudor built in the 1920’s or 1930’s, or a retro mid-century modern home, a sewer line video inspection of the main sewer line pipe may be well worth the nominal investment.

4. How frequently do toilet clogs happen; when was the last backup through the basement drain?
At our house, we are keenly aware that our upstairs toilet is sensitive to the “ultra” thick toilet paper. If we’re going to have a clog, it’s because the kids didn’t realize they were using the premium TP and used too much. But, that could also be a symptom of a clog further down the line, between the house and street. Since we’ve never had sewage backups into the basement through the main drain, we’re content to blame the kids. And use the inexpensive non-premium TP.

Water You Waiting For? An Homebuyer Sewer Video Inspection Can Be a Negotiating Point — Buying a home is an artful negotiation. An investment in a sewer video inspection is worth considering — the cost to repair or replace a sewer line can easily run $1500 or more, depending on whether excavation is needed. With an inspection, you can either achieve peace of mind about the condition of your pipes or you’ll have a negotiating point (and a video) regarding upcoming necessary repairs. Call Ray today for a free quote. (513) 396-5300.

Which is more important – pipes or paint color?
Here’s our top takeaway from those house-flipping shows on cable TV: Tearing out walls is easy; anyone can do it. Cosmetic repairs are a snap – easy to estimate, easy to execute. Infrastructure problems, on the other hand, create financial panic in a new homeowner. Finding out after the closing that the whole house piping needs to be replaced (or worse – there are tree roots in the sewer line, causing floods in the basement) is a problem that always creates tension and stress. Always.

According to American Water Resources (AWR), a provider of sewer line protection programs (a.k.a. plumbing insurance) for homeowners in 35 states, there are a few questions every home buyer should ask before signing on the dotted line. Seemingly, homeowners are unaware that they, not the local municipality or water utility, are responsible for the pipes running through home and yard (above and below ground). Even more surprising, few homeowners’ insurance policies will cover piping repair costs that can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Ask These Questions Before You Buy:


1. Are your water service lines located near mature trees?

In the Greater Cincinnati Dayton areas, our most charming neighborhoods are characterized by mature trees. Below ground, however, invasive tree roots often grow alongside sewage lines and storm drains (a reliable source of water and nutrients). When tree roots invade the pipes, they can create cracks, clogs and blockages for homeowners.

2. How old are your pipes?
Typically, the sewer lines from your home to the street – which are the homeowner’s responsibility – are at least as old as the home itself. In the USA, most water pipes were installed after World War II and (like our nation’s bridges and roads) are due for replacement or repair. AWR notes that “According to a 2012 Water Infrastructure and Sustainability fact sheet by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average age of a broken water main in the U.S. is 47 years. Knowing the age of your pipes will help you to assess their need for repair.”

3. What your pipes are made of?
Older pipes were typically made from clay, steel or tile – materials that are prone to crumble over time, especially in areas (such as Ohio) with cold winters and freezing/thawing activity in the ground. If the home you are eyeing was built before the 1980s, it is likely that the pipes are made of clay, and overdue for repair or replacement.

4. Do you have clay soil?
In our corner of Ohio, the soil is overwhelmingly heavy with clay. According to NACE International, a professional organization for the corrosion control industry, “sandy soils are among the least corrosive, and clay soils are among the most severely corrosive.” That means, the soil can attack your pipes and corrode them away over the years. If you are considering a charming English Tudor built in the 1920’s or 1930’s, or a retro mid-century modern home, a sewer line video inspection of the main sewer line pipe may be well worth the nominal investment.

4. How frequently do toilet clogs happen; when was the last backup through the basement drain?
At our house, we are keenly aware that our upstairs toilet is sensitive to the “ultra” thick toilet paper. If we’re going to have a clog, it’s because the kids didn’t realize they were using the premium TP and used too much. But, that could also be a symptom of a clog further down the line, between the house and street. Since we’ve never had sewage backups into the basement through the main drain, we’re content to blame the kids. And use the inexpensive non-premium TP.

Water You Waiting For? An Homebuyer Sewer Video Inspection Can Be a Negotiating Point — Buying a home is an artful negotiation. An investment in a sewer video inspection is worth considering — the cost to repair or replace a sewer line can easily run $1500 or more, depending on whether excavation is needed. With an inspection, you can either achieve peace of mind about the condition of your pipes or you’ll have a negotiating point (and a video) regarding upcoming necessary repairs. Call Ray today for a free quote. (513) 396-5300.