4 Signs Your Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced

Your water heater is one of the most important features in your home and is vital to everyday living. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a hot shower, warm water for hand-washing, or laundry and dish cleaning. Did you know that the average person typically uses warm water up to 20 times per day?

With so much daily use, you’re bound to see signs that your water heater needs to be replaced. Let’s take a look at 4 signs you’re in need of a water heater replacement.

Your Water Heater is Leaking

Generally speaking, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. However, this can vary depending on the quality of installation, design, and location of the unit. For that reason, there is an increased chance that water may begin appearing on the floor around the tank.

When the water heater is located on the ground level of your home, leaks could result in significant damage to your property, such as:

  • Soaked/ruined carpet
  • Mold due to the absorption of water into your carpet or floors
  • Water damage to your walls, furniture, or electronics

Therefore, a leaky water heater is the most serious problem that can occur and should be replaced immediately.

Your Home Lacks Hot Water

If your shower runs out of hot water each time you use it, it’s time for a replacement. Sediment builds up in water heaters which separate the heat source and takes up space in the system. In short, your hot water heater’s ability to provide your home with hot water significantly decreases.

There are typically three possible issues that can lead to a loss of hot water:

You Notice Rusty Water

Seeing rusty water falling from your pipes isn’t an enjoyable experience. If rust appears in the hot water from your faucets, chances are you have a rusty water heater. On the other hand, there could be an issue with your pipes. Since your piping system is made up of galvanized pipes, rust can inevitably form on the insides.

One way to check if rust is originating from the water tank or your pipes is to drain a few buckets of hot water from the tank. If your water is still rusty by the third bucket, then the tank is the source of the issue and not the pipes.

Odd Noises from the Water Heater

If you notice banging or rumbling noises in your water heater, it may be a sign of sediment building up in your hot water heater. When sediment build-up begins to harden and take up space in your water heater, it makes it difficult for the system to properly heat your water supply. The best way to ensure that your hot water heater does not endure inefficiency or accelerated damage due to sediment build-up is to replace your water heater as soon as possible.

Is Your Water Heater in Need of Replacement?

When water heating accounts for 20% of your household budget, it might be time to look for a more efficient water heater. If you’ve got a cold water problem and your current tank water heater is draining you of time, money and resources, then look no further than your local Milwaukee water heater specialists!

Ihn Company has over 30 years of experience providing services for commercial and residential properties in the Milwaukee area. Contact us today!

What Milwaukee Homeowners Should Know About Their Furnace Filter

Most homeowners don’t think about what it takes to keep the equipment in their home working properly. In general, people don’t pay much attention to their furnace until they no longer feel the heat coming through their vents. Unsure of how to properly take care of your furnace? In order to keep your furnace up and running this winter, you will want to regularly changing your furnace filter.  Read on to learn about the importance of the filter in your furnace and how to keep it working efficiently.

What Does a Furnace Filter Do?

Some homeowners believe that the primary purpose of a furnace filter is to clean and improve their indoor air. While it does to a certain degree, the main purpose of a filter is to protect the blower fan from dust, hair, and other objects that the return duct pulls in.

In general, the furnace filter helps improve air quality because it prevents contaminants from being recirculated in your home. For that reason, not replacing your furnace filter when it becomes dirty or clogged can result in lower heating power and early system failure.

Where Is the Filter Located in My Furnace?

Generally speaking, the furnace filter is located inside the blower compartment (bottom door). However, the position may vary with the installation of your furnace.

Here are two ways to find your filter’s location:

Up Flow Furnace means the air is moving upwards. In this case, the filter would be located in the blower compartment next to the cold air return.

Down Flow Furnace means the air is moving downward. The filter can be found in the upper blower compartment.

How Do I Find the Right Furnace Filter?

You can find out which filter size your system needs by checking your furnace manual. Additionally, you can refer to your existing filter for dimensions. You can then select a filter type once you know what size you need. Although there are a variety of different filter options, the most common is a disposable filter, as they will only need replacing every couple of months.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) created a furnace filter rating system to allow consumers to compare air filters by different companies. These ratings, commonly known as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), range from 1 to 20. The higher the rating, the more particles the filter can remove.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, air furnace filters with a MERV, between 7 and 13 is adequate for most homes. When searching for the right filter for your furnace, always check that the manufacturer has a high MERV rating for your furnace.

Not Sure How to Replace Your Furnace Filter? No Problem.

A good rule of thumb is to replace your filter every 90 days and checked regularly for any blockages. Additionally, it may be a good idea to write the date on your filter when you replace it so you know when you will need to change it again.

With your heating system on full blast this winter, it may be time to schedule furnace maintenance. At the Ihn Company, we have heating system experts available 24/7 for emergency Milwaukee furnace repairs. Forget the DIY approach. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Frozen Sump Pump and Discharge Line Prevention

In Milwaukee, it’s not uncommon for excessive rainwater to cause flooding and other damage to basements. To deal with this, many homeowners use a sump pump to remove the excess water and move it away from their homes. But in the winter months, it’s common to have a frozen sump pump discharge line. And if your discharge line is frozen, it prevents the pump from removing water from your basement. Left untreated, this can lead to potentially severe and costly problems.

Here are a few ways that you can avoid a frozen sump pump line during the cold season.

Inspect the Area Around Your Frozen Sump Pump

It’s important that you periodically check your discharge lines to ensure that they are working properly. Look around the area where the discharge line is emptied outside of your home. Be sure to remove any visible obstructions. This is especially important during the winter months as debris, snow, and ice can block the end of the line.

Furthermore, you can look out for these warning signs of a damaged sump pump:

  • Odors
  • Ice or snow blocking the line
  • Sump pump frequently turning off and on
  • Frozen discharge line
  • Clogged sump pump

You may also want to check that it is not discharging water that will eventually freeze, thus creating dangerously icy conditions in a spot that could cause you trouble. In other words, don’t let your sump pump discharge large quantities of water onto your driveway and sidewalk.

Insulate Your Frozen Sump Pump Discharge Lines

When it comes to insulating your discharge lines, there are a few options to choose from. In some cases, simply wrapping your discharge line and intake section with insulation will prevent the water from freezing. In addition, you can pick up a few items from your local hardware store to help with insulation.

Avoid using automotive anti-freeze on your sump pump. Instead, heat tape is an excellent source to wrap your pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Insulating the discharge lines and intake section is a great way to make sure that water remains warm and moves about freely. Also, this can help keep those parts of your sump pump from being damaged by external elements and help you contain any leaks that may have occurred.

Keep Your Water Running

Not only does water freeze when it is especially cold, but it freezes when it isn’t moving. If water is unable to flow throughout your home, the water within your sump pump is more likely to freeze. If this happens, the sump pump will no longer work. Additionally, redirecting some of the excess water away from the basement will help to lessen your sump pump’s workload. Overall, this prevents it from overworking itself and lowers the risk of a frozen discharge line.

Add a Slight Slope to Your Sump Pump

Gravity provides one of the easiest methods to prevent a frozen discharge line and keep the water flowing. Keep the water flowing by letting gravity do the work for you.

Try to make the sump pump lines go at a slope instead of a straight line. Even if you don’t have a natural slope, you can make one. You can create a slide that turns into a drop-off or even a trench at the end of the sump pump line.

Call Ihn Company

It’s not too late to check over your sump pump and drainage line to ensure everything is working properly. If you’re not sure if your equipment is up to par, schedule an appointment with a professional.

Ihn Company is your one-stop-shop for all Milwaukee plumbing and foundation repair services. Contact us today and save yourself the money and headache of unexpected problems arising.

5 Reasons Why You Should Have Regular Furnace Maintenance

As the weather rapidly changes and temperatures lower, you should ensure that you and your family are able to stay warm. Your furnace’s heat provides warmth that is circulated throughout your home, and if a problem arises, it can be costly to replace.

Here are five reasons you should have regular furnace maintenance to keep your furnace in tip-top shape all winter long.

1. Furnace Maintenance Lowers Your Heating Bills

An efficient furnace should be able to pull air and heat it, then move it throughout your home. When working properly, your furnace doesn’t need to work too hard to produce the correct amount of heat. That’s not true with a dirty furnace though. A dirty furnace will work much harder than it needs to, which in turn uses additional energy and costs more to operate.

Furnace maintenance checks that your furnace isn’t at risk of expensive repair or replacement expenses in the future.

2. Keep Your Furnace Lasting Longer

Furnaces on average can last about 15 to 20 years, and you should be able to get the most out of your furnace during that time. If your heating system is not receiving proper and regular maintenance, however, it will not be able to work efficiently and could break prematurely.

Preventative measures should be taken to extend the lifespan of your heating equipment. If they are not, some of your furnace parts can crack, overheat, and wear down faster than others. Regular maintenance and examinations by a professional can extend the life of your heating unit by increasing its efficiency, which will save you money.

3. Maintain Furnace Warranty

In some situations, not having routine inspections and service by a professional can void the warranty. It is often required that annual maintenance be performed to keep your equipment warranty valid. Failure to do so could potentially result in the warranty coverage being denied by the manufacturer.

You may need to look over your paperwork to determine if this is the case with your machine. The best way to avoid this situation is to make an appointment for a yearly cleaning and inspection.

4. Keep Your Family Safe

You only want the best when it comes to your home and family. A clean furnace means that you can enjoy cleaner air within your home. Once contaminants such as debris and dust are removed from your furnace, they will no longer be blown throughout the ductwork and into the air.

Furnaces are designed to release carbon monoxide into the exhaust in such a way that it is vented through an exhaust pipe to the outside of your house. A licensed professional will check for any leaks in the exhaust pipe to ensure that the carbon monoxide is exiting your home the way it should be, protecting your family from exposure.

5. Avoid Furnace Repair Costs

Repair costs can range anywhere from $50 to $800. Some common problems that you can experience are:

• Loosened ductwork
• Dirty air filters
• Improperly firing burners
• Loose wiring harnesses

A knowledgeable and experienced furnace technician can locate and address problems before they even arise. Avoid the hassle of breakdowns and unnecessary repair costs, and enjoy the benefits of an efficient, long-lasting heating system instead.

Schedule a Furnace Maintenance Appointment

The winter season is tough enough without your furnace dying or not producing enough heat. The Ihn Company has heating system experts available 24/7 for emergency repairs in the Milwaukee area. Contact us today and see what a worry-free winter full of comfort and warmth feels like!

Top 5 Signs Your Home Needs Foundation Repair

Worried your home is in need of foundation repair? You should be. Milwaukee’s marshy base means building foundations are constantly shifting and sinking here.

As a homeowner, maintaining the integrity of the foundation can be the difference between a safe, livable home and one that has a slew of structural problems. It all starts at the bottom.

But knowing whether or not your foundation is in trouble can be challenging since it’s not something you can see. Luckily, there are ways to know your foundation is an issue since clues will appear inside the home where you can see them.

Read on to learn the top five signs your home is in need of foundation repair.

cracked brick wall showing need of foundation repair

1. Fractures or Cracks

If you’ve started noticing cracks in your walls or ceiling, this could be a sign something is wrong with the foundation. It likely signifies the foundation is shifting, causing the rest of the house to move with it.

Several factors can contribute to a shifting foundation, including the soil and moisture under the foundation and even small earthquakes or weather damage over time. Our advice:

  • Determine whether your cracks are moving horizontally or vertically. Different cracks can mean different things and some may just be cosmetic, with no cause for further concern.
  • Watch for cracks on the exterior of the home as well, and be sure to ask a professional to help determine if the cracks are purely cosmetic or the result of a shifting foundation.

2. Sinking

You may notice that one area of your home is lower than the other or has begun to sink over time. This is something you’ll be able to tell simply by looking at the interior floor.

This could mean that the foundation is sinking and there is a problem. It can usually be fixed by having the foundation raised either in the area where it’s sinking or around the perimeter of the home to raise the whole thing and prevent further problems.

3. Rising

If your home isn’t sinking but is rising in certain areas, this could also mean there’s an issue with the foundation. If you notice parts of your floor are beginning to pop up or almost appear like something is bursting from below, this is a problem.

Be sure to look around the exterior of the home for this as well. Since most rising occurs near the edges of the home, you may notice an upheaval around the garage door or doors that lead to the outside.

4. Gaps

A shifting foundation can cause gaps to become apparent in certain parts of the home. If you see that your door frames are separating from the walls or that your cabinets have cracks or space between them and the drywall, this is a sign.

You can also watch for gaps around window frames since they’ll have the same visual appearance as the gaps around the doors. You may see that doors no longer align with the frames around them and have trouble opening or closing.

5. Uneven Floors

Slightly less noticeable than sagging or popping floors is an uneven floor. This could be hard to see but could signify the same type of issue. If you feel your floors are sloping or bowing, there is likely a settling or upheaval from the foundation.

This could mean your foundation is moving, and you’ll want to have it looked at so the problem can be solved quickly.

Don’t Stall on Foundation Repair

Now that you know the signs that you need foundation repair, get your issue looked at right away. You don’t want to delay fixing this problem as it could lead to bigger and more costly issues down the road.

We’d love to help! Contact us today for more information.