Thursday, May 25, 2017

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AJ Danboise Blog
Thursday, 04 May 2017 14:11

Bathroom talks are considered taboo here in the American household. You get in, do your business and don’t think about it. The idea of researching a toilet that would be beneficial for your bathroom time has probably never crossed your mind. If you are planning to replace your toilet, you may want to consider investing in a smart toilet. A smart toilet may sound strange at first, but there are a lot of benefits that can come out of investing in one. They are expensive but they can save you money down the road and keep you feeling clean. Nothing feels better than being clean and refreshed as you go throughout the day.

Automatic Flushing

Smart toilets can flush without being touched. If you live in a household of people who always forget to flush the toilet, this feature could save you the pain of being greeted with an unwanted surprise as you are stumbling into the bathroom in the early morning. A smart toilet can either sense when a body has moved away from the toilet and flush or activate a flush by waving your hand in front of its sensor.

Whichever one you pick, the perk of having a sensor instead of a handle is that germs won’t get transferred from hands to the toilet and then to the next person who flushes. So, not only is there the convenience of not having to flush, you get to protect your family and yourself from bacteria.

Reduced Plumbing Issues

Traditional toilets can be subject to multiple plumbing issues. Clogged toilets, sewer smells and toilet leaks are among the common issues that traditional toilets will always face. Smart toilets are equipped with technology that can greatly reduce these types of plumbing issues. They not only prevent clogs, but they can also sense them before you overflow the toilet.

Smart toilets will also stop you from flushing the toilet if it’s clogged. This helps keep water levels in the bowl low until you’ve fixed the problem – ultimately getting rid of overflow.

Automatic Cleaning

This feature is definitely a favorite. Smart toilets are made up of a smooth ceramic that has a non-stick coating preventing mineral and waste buildup. These toilets also feature ultraviolet lights that kill odor-causing bacteria and have automatic cleaning cycles that keep things fresh and clean. You won’t have to clean your smart toilet as much and it will be an easy task to accomplish when you do. Throw away those harsh toilet cleaning materials – you won’t need them when you have your smart toilet.

Water Savings

Smart toiles use as little as 0.6 gallons per flush, which is one gallon less than what a traditional toilet uses. They sense how much water is needed and flush using just the right amount. This will greatly reduce the water consumption in your household and cut back on utility bills.

Other smart toilet features include:

  • Water spray and air dryer
  • Nightlight
  • Slow closing lid
  • Bluetooth and MP3 capabilities for music while you go
  • Foot warmer
  • Remote control
  • Emergency flushing system for power outages
  • Massaging bidet wash
  • Heated seating
  • Built-in sensors that alert you of plumbing issues

Getting a smart toilet is a big decision but the payoff will be worth it down the road. If you need help installing one, give AJ Danboise a call today and we can help with the plumbing aspects that come along with a smart toilet. You’ll be able to enjoy your new smart toilet sooner by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 19:30

We at AJ Danboise understand the importance of saving money and cutting back on costs. Most of us are still recovering from holiday shopping, traveling and vacations. It seems that, for every expense you tackle, there are more surprise costs that come around the corner. Now, you are planning for summer vacations, birthdays and anniversaries. All of these costs are adding up and you are trying to cut back on spending too much money. Suddenly, you have unexpected plumbing issues to deal with.

While there are significant issues that need to be left to the experts, there are some plumbing fixes that you can do yourself. The “do-it-yourself” method has taken the internet by storm and has saved many people a lot of money. You can easily unclog sinks, fix the water pressure in your showers or clear stopped-up toilets by looking up a few YouTube videos or gathering information on Pinterest or Angie’s List. Fixing a few plumbing issues can help save you money if you are trying to cut back on costs. However, it is important to know how to prevent bigger issues down the road while fixing these mishaps by yourself. Be aware of common mistakes you could make while fixing your own plumbing issues. Check out these common “do-it-yourself” plumbing mistakes below and learn from them so you are not facing bigger costs down the road.

Failure to Turn Off the Water:

This one is the most common mistake when it comes to fixing a plumbing issue by yourself. It’s the first step you need to take for the majority of plumbing projects but it is often the one that is neglected the most. If you are trying to remove a plumbing fixture or fix a pipe before shutting off the water, you’ll have water spray all over you and your home. Suddenly, this quick plumbing repair has now turned to water damage and a huge mess to clean up.

Most shut off valves for plumbing fixtures can be found beneath the fixture itself. Using a plumber’s wrench to turn of the valve is the most efficient way of shutting it off – especially if you haven’t used it in a while. If you are having a tough time finding these shut off valves, it is easier to just shut off the water from the outside. Keep in mind that this will shut off the water for the entire house.

Overusing Drain Cleaner:

Using drain cleaner to unclog your drain each time it gets clogged can damage your drains. They are great to use every once in a while, or if there is a huge clog that just won’t clear. Drain cleaners usually have harsh chemicals that are used to break up solid waste and scrub pipes clean. The harsh chemicals in them can eat away at the walls of both metal and PVC pipes. Overuse of a drain cleaner could cause you to replace your pipes because of the deterioration overtime. This DIY plumbing mistake can set you back on finances and add yet another expensive project to your list.

You could substitute a heavy-duty drain cleaner with an eco-friendly alternative. Mixing ½ a cup of vinegar with ½ cup of baking soda to pour down the sink is an easier method. Follow the mixture with a pot of boiling water after the mixture has set for an hour. Using a pipe snake to clear out clogs will also help reduce the wear and tear on your pipes.

 

Mismatching Your Pipes:

Replacing leaky pipes can be a tricky process. It is important to know the size and type of pipes you need for the job. Many DIY plumbers make the mistake of trying to make the right size fit with the wrong connectors. Trying to connect galvanized metal pipes with copper, for example, is a common mistake people make when trying to fix their own plumbing. This causes corrosion and your pipes will leak again. Just because pipes seem tight and seem like they fit, it doesn’t always mean they’ll hold water.

Not Hiring a Professional Plumber:

Some plumbing jobs are easy to take on by yourself. Saving money is important and it seems difficult to try and not spend as much as possible. Fixing plumbing issues around your home by yourself can save you money in the long run but you need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are when fixing these issues. Any project that seems beyond your ability or requires accessing main water lines or cutting into walls and floors needs to be handled by a professional plumber. If you were to try and do these repairs by yourself without the proper training or equipment, you’ll end up being out of pocket more than if you just called a plumber the first time.

If you are having plumbing issues that are beyond your control, give AJ Danboise a call or schedule your appointment online. We have been serving homeowners throughout Southeast Michigan since 1925. We provide an upfront, flat rate pricing so you won’t be left in the dark with how much a project is going to cost. Give us a call today at 1-248-236-5999 and have peace of mind knowing that you are getting the best plumbers to get the job done right.

 

Friday, 21 April 2017 17:32

How to Know When It's Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Let’s face it – we would all be lost without water heaters in our homes. Day in and day out, this vital household appliance provides us with hot water at the press of a button. So the next time you’re taking a hot bath or shower, washing a load of laundry, running the dishwasher, or brushing your teeth, thank your lucky stars you have a water heater that takes care of you and your needs. There will come a time, however, when your water heater will fail. It’s far better to have it replaced before it completely fails so that you don’t have to be without hot water. Here are four signs that your water heater is on the fritz.

Age

The average lifespan of a water heater is between eight and 12 years. If you aren’t sure how old your water heater is, you can find the age by looking up the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker, which should be located on the upper portion of the appliance, near the warning label. It can be a little tricky determining the age using the serial number. The serial number doesn’t plainly state the date the water heater was manufactured. Instead, it reads more like a code. There are numerous manufacturers, and each of them uses a different format. Check out this article on how to de-code a serial number.

If your water heater is within the eight to 12-year age range, it might behoove you to have a licensed professional inspect it. This will give you a better idea of when you need to replace it. If your water heater is 10 years or older, you will most likely need to replace it sooner rather than later due to the potential of it springing a leak.

Rust & Pools of Water

Complete a thorough visual inspection of the outside of your water heater tank. If you come across pools of water, sludge or corrosion, it’s a good indication that there is a leak and that you a replacement is in order. Have a professional come take a look to determine where the leak is coming from. It could be that a leak is coming from the fittings or connections to the tank.

Rust-Colored Water

If your water heater is emitting rust-colored water from the hot side piping in your home, it could mean that the inside of your tank is rusting and could begin to leak. If you have galvanized piping, it could also be your pipes rusting and not your tank. In this case, you will want to schedule an appointment with a trusted plumber as soon as possible so that the issue can be resolved.

Strange Noises

Toward the end of your water heater’s lifespan, sediment will buildup on the bottom of your tank. Eventually, it will harden with continuous reheating. You can tell that this is occurring when you hear a loud rumbling noise. Should this symptom be present, it’s a sign that your tank will need to be replaced soon. When you have sediment buildup, your tank will lose efficiency and begin to leak. Avoid damage to your home by having it replaced in a timely manner. An inefficient water heater only wastes energy, costing you more. In most cases, the cost-effective thing to do is replace rather than repair.

High Energy Bill

Between old age, corrosion and leaks, it’s no wonder your energy bill has seen an increase as of late. As we mentioned earlier, an aging water heater is less efficient, so pay attention to your monthly energy costs. For many homeowners, a hot water account for nearly 25 percent of energy usage. By installing a new water heater, you can expect to see those costs decrease.

If you're concerned about the state of your water heater, schedule an appointment with AJ Danboise today! Our fully trained and certified technicians can inspect your water heater to determine the best course of action. If your tank does need to be replaced, we can help you find the best one for your needs and budget. We can install a variety of makes and models.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.





Wednesday, 12 April 2017 17:14


Make Your Bathroom Sparkle with a Good Scrubbing

The spring season is all about new beginnings, which is why now is the perfect time to address your poor bathroom habits. We know – we know. When it comes to spring cleaning, this is probably the last place you want to touch because of all the harbored germs; however, that’s precisely why you need give your bathroom a deep clean! Face your bathroom routines head on and make the necessary changes so that you can keep a sparkling clean space. Follow these tips on how to thoroughly clean your bathroom.

If you can’t recall the last time you really cleaned your bathroom, you may be in for a wild journey. Hold on tight, but don’t worry too much because we’re here with you every step of the way. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all at once. You want to make sure that you hit every point, so if needed, don’t hesitate to spread the tasks out over a few days. 


Shower

Showerhead: Grab one of your many plastic grocery bags that you’ve been meaning to recycle and fill it generously with white vinegar. Submerge your showerhead into it and let it soak overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and run the water to rinse it.

Curtains and liners: If you have plastic shower curtains and liners, run it through a load in the washing machine along with a few towels. Mold and mildew tend to grow and accumulate on curtains and liners, so this task is especially important.

Shower door: Take a cup of baking soda and add a few drop of white vinegar to form a paste. Apply it directly to the door and allow it to sit for an hour. Once the hour is up, rinse the area and wipe clean using a microfiber cloth.

Shower walls: Soap scum can also accumulate on shower walls, so don’t forget to clean these areas as well. Apply your preferable bathroom cleaner to the wall and let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing. Rinse thoroughly after.

Bathtub

Cleaning a tub isn’t as time-intensive as a shower. Spray your preferable bathroom cleaner into the tub and wait 15 minutes before scrubbing clean.

Grout

Using an old toothbrush, dip it into bleach and scrub the areas where discoloration has occurred. After a thorough scrubbing, rinse the area and keep the room well-ventilated.

Countertops, Tile, Walls & Ceiling

Spray your preferred all-purpose cleaner on the countertops, tile, walls and ceiling, and turn on the shower. Make sure the temperature of the water is hot enough to steam up the room, and wait five minutes. Turn the water off, close the door and allow the steam to build up for 20 minutes. Make sure you get out first! After 20 minutes has passed, start wiping all the surfaces. For higher spots you can’t reach, use a dry microfiber mop.

Pro Tip: The floor should be the last place your clean. After wiping all the walls, ceilings and countertops, the floor is bound to collect more dirt. Don’t let your hard work go to waste!

Toilet

This seems to be everyone’s least favorite chore, and for good reasons. It’s one of the dirtiest places in your bathroom. First things first: pour a cup of baking soda into the bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Using a toilet brusher, wipe the bowl thoroughly and flush.

Toilet Brush: How often do you clean the toilet brush itself? Never? The truth is, you should be cleaning your toilet brush after each use. After you’ve cleaned the toilet seat, place the brush over it in such a way that it’s secure. Pour bleach directly onto the bristles and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing it with water.

Toilet Brush Holder: Fill the holder with warm, soapy water and let sit for a few minutes before pouring the dirty water into the toilet.

Sink

The sink itself: Wipe clean using your preferred bathroom cleaner.

Drain: Pour one part white vinegar or baking soda along with one part hot water down your drain.

Faucet: Wipe clean using your preferred disinfectant wipe.

Ventilation Fan

For many homeowners, this is uncharted grounds. Before cleaning your fan, make sure the flip the circuit breaker attached to it to prevent hazards. Remove the cover and place it in a container of warm, soapy water. Clean the fan blades using your vacuum’s nozzle attachment; this will allow you to get all the built-up gunk that’s been sitting there for…well, ages probably. Then wipe the blades clean using a damp cloth.

Dishevel all the dust and debris from the motor and other small openings with a stiff, unused paintbrush and vacuum it up. Once the area has completely dried, you can place the covering back over the fan.

If you come across any plumbing problems during your deep-clean such as a leaky faucet, slow drain or clog, the trusted professionals at AJ Danboise have the skill, knowledge and tools needed to restore functionality back to your bathroom.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

 

Thursday, 09 February 2017 23:56



With unrelenting winter weather comes the potential for frozen pipes. To prevent your pipes from freezing, it’s important to take precautionary measures ahead of time. A frozen pipe is more than just a nuisance; in the case that it bursts it can cause extensive and costly damage to your home. As we continue trekking our way through this miserable affair we call winter, make sure to follow these tips on preventing frozen pipes!

Like you, your pipes need comfort and warmth to survive the bitter temperatures. Imagine if you had to live outside with no jacket or blanket of any kind, even if just for a few days, with temperatures reaching no higher than 20 degrees. By the end of it all, you’d be so cold your body probably wouldn’t function all too well. Exposed, non-insulated piping wouldn’t function that well either.

Wrap Your Pipes

It’s best to insulate your pipes well before the temperatures reach freezing. A well-insulated pipe is less likely to freeze and burst. Inspect your home’s piping for exposed and vulnerable areas that could potentially freeze, and wrap them up. We recommend using foam tube insulation, as it’s much more reliable. For basement and attic pipes, you can also use newspaper, since these areas do receive at least some heat. Should the temperatures reach extreme cold, it’s best to use heated tape that’s designed for pipes.

Open Cabinet Doors

You want to circulate all the warm air you can around your pipes. When the outside temperature is particularly rough, simply keeping the doors open can make a significant difference.

Run Water Continuously

Another measure you can take is to keep the faucets running continuously on a lukewarm setting. You don’t need to run the water on full blast by any means; a simple drip will do. You will want to run all your faucets, including those in bathrooms as well as in your kitchen.

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Check on your pipes periodically to prevent further damage from occurring. If part of your pipe has frozen, all might not be lost. You can attempt to thaw a frozen pipe using a variety of methods. First, wrap your pipe in a wet hot towel. Then, using a space heater or a hair dryer, direct heat onto the affected area of the pipe. We DO NOT recommend using a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other type of open flame device.

Begin the thawing process at the area closest to the faucet. If you cannot thaw your pipe, we recommend calling a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

If Your Pipe Bursts

Keep a patch kit on hand in case your pipe bursts. These can be purchased at your local hardware store. A patch kit provides only temporary alleviation; by no means is this a permanent solution! You should always leave repair work to a licensed professional.

You will also want to shut off your water’s main valve. Should the burst occur in a hot water pipe, close the valve on top of your water heater.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 17:35



Using a Space Heater to Keep Warm? Follow These Tips.

We know you’re ready for the spring season, but hold tight for just a little bit longer, because we’re still in the grips of winter. While you prop your feet up near your space heater and dream about all the fun outdoor activities you can’t wait to take part in come warmer weather, make sure to keep these important space heater safety tips in mind. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) estimates that nearly 65,000 homes catch fire every year due to heating equipment. Don’t get so lost in your thoughts that you become a statistic. Always be vigilant.

1. Inspect Before Using

With any electrical device, you should always inspect it prior to use. Check for frayed wiring, loose connections and cracks. If you don’t feel that it’s up to par, you’re better off replacing it with a new system. Continuing to use a worn heater only puts you and your home at risk.

2. Be Smart with Placement

Where you place your space heater could mean the difference between life and death. It only takes one small error to ignite a devastating fire. For good measure, follow these guidelines when determining the safest place for your heater:

  • Make sure to place it on a flat, stable and non-flammable surface. Keep your heater off carpet because it can cause your system to overheat and start a fire.
  • Keep a three-foot buffer zone around your heater. Keep it far away from anything flammable such as paper, clothing and rugs.
  • If you have a pet, keep it out of their reach. You can do this by either not allowing them into the room where the heater is, or by setting up a gate.
  • Do not place it near furniture, draperies or tapestries.

3. Don’t Leave It Unattended

No matter how desperate you are to keep the living room or bedroom warm for when you return, it’s better to be safe. Make a habit of turning your heater off whenever you leave the room. Further, never leave your pets alone in a room with a heater. Whether you have a cat or dog, they’re bound to be a little curious, and perhaps even a little reckless.

4. Turn Your Heater Off Before Going to Bed

If you can’t keep an eye on your heater, turn it off. Nearly 80 percent of home fire deaths are caused by space heaters. Going to bed with your space heater on puts you in a vulnerable position. If a blanket, sheet or pillow were to fall on it, it could easily cause a fire to break out. For your safety and peace of mind, turn it off before you go to bed.

5. Plug It Directly into the Outlet

Never use an extension cord or power strip with your heater, as both can overheat and spark a fire, not to mention an extension cord is a tripping hazard, making way for a whole host of other problems.       

6. Install Adequate Smoke Alarms

Make sure your home is equipped with plenty of smoke alarms, and test them often to ensure they’re working properly. Follow these tips on smoke alarm safety:

  • Install an alarm inside every sleeping area as well as on the outside of each door.
  • There should be an alarm on every floor, including your basement.
  • Both your kitchen and living room should have alarms. Keep the kitchen alarm 10 feet from cooking appliances to help prevent false alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month by pressing the “test” button. If you have an alarm with a non-replaceable 10-year battery, replace the entire alarm when it begins to chirp. If it uses regular batteries, simply replace them.
  • Interconnect all your smoke alarms so that when one goes off, the others will follow.

Regardless of what heating system you use to stave off your bitterness toward the winter weather, make sure to practice safety on all accounts! Whether you use a furnace, boiler, electric blanket or space heater to keep warm, always be cautious. When it comes to using an additional heating source such as an electric blanket or a space heater, remember that it should not be your sole method for heating

Check out these additional home heating safety tips:


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Friday, 03 February 2017 19:49


It’s no secret that Michigan receives ample snow during the winter season. Last year alone, our state saw over 176 inches of it; that’s over 14 feet! If you haven’t already prepared for the brutal winter storms that are ahead, now is the time! For many residents, substantial snowfall isn’t new; however, that shouldn’t keep anyone from preparing ahead of time to prevent unwarranted problems and to ensure your safety.

Whether it’s your first time dealing with snow or it’s your hundredth time, it never hurts to refresh your mind. It’s common to think, “This won’t happen to me,” but the truth is, it very well could. Make sure to follow these winter storm safety tips! Doing so could mean the difference between having peace of mind and warmth and being without. The best decision you could make is to be proactive so that when it comes to be reactive, you have a clearer mind.

A few prominent organizations have compiled great tips on what to do before, during, and after a winter storm. We truly care about your safety and peace of mind; our goal is to instill some type of calmness within your life during this time, because let’s face it: winter storms can be chaotic, even for the pro’s.

FEMA has put together a compressive printable packet, which includes information on storm preparation. Below is a succinct checklist that you can easily pin onto your refrigerator. Don’t let the saying “Out of sight, out of mind” become your reality. Keep this on hand so that you don’t forget anything!

 

The Red Cross has also put together a useful checklist you can keep on hand. Even though FEMA and Red Cross share much of the same content on their check lists, it’s good to keep both on hand for added measure.

 

When severe weather hits, there is a lot at stake, your safety and warmth being at the top of the list. If you find yourself without heat, call a licensed HVAC technician as soon as possible. Hopefully, you can gather items that will help keep you warm when you are without heat. Depending on the severity of a storm, it could be several hours, a day, or even a few days until a technician can come to your home. In the meantime, make sure to keep these items in your home:

  • Purchase a space heater – You will be glad to have invested in of these. If you’re not sure which one to purchase, give us a call! We are happy to help determine the best solution for you.
  • Layer up – Pile on the t-shirts and sweaters. You might experience some difficulty in getting around easy, but we guarantee it will be worth it. Warmth > Looks
  • Blankets – Some people sleep better in the cold, however, if it’s too cold things can become miserable. Load up on blankets! You can even purchase heated blankets for extra warmth.
  • Warm foods and drinks – Now isn’t the time to be drinking an ice-cold coke or treating yourself to a deli-style sandwich. Stick to hot foods and drinks, like soups and teas.
  • Stay with Family or Friends Close by – If you can, stay with nearby family or friends until someone can perform a repair.
  • Avoid the Outside – If your heat is out, the last thing you want is to go outside. Stay indoors, and keep all doors and windows closed so that you can trap the remaining heat.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.
Monday, 23 January 2017 21:33

This article is compliments of the U.S. Department of Energy. Did you know that you can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10–15 for eight hours? You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat offers a lot of flexibility in its temperature settings.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. As a result, you don't operate the equipment as much when you are asleep or when the house is not occupied.

Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. When shopping for a programmable thermostat, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR® label.

Thermostat Operation

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68F while you're awake and setting it lower while you're asleep or away from home. By turning your thermostat back 10–15 for 8 hours, you can save about 5%–15% a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning, too, by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lowering the thermostat setting to 78F (26C) only when you are at home and need cooling. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal as you wake or return home.

A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.

Limitations For Homes With Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, And Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

For steam heating and radiant floor heating systems, the problem is their slow response time: both types of systems may have a response time of several hours. This leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed; you probably won't notice the house cooling off as you prepare for bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household; is there a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more? If so, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions to prevent "ghost readings" or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. Place thermostats away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

References: "Energy Savers: Thermostats and Control Systems." Energy Savers. March 24, 2009. U.S. Department of Energy. January 26, 2010.

Thursday, 19 January 2017 21:36


Improve your home’s comfort and save energy and money while doing the right thing for the environment. Follow these simple recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

  1. Know the Facts – The average family spends $1,400 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that spent on heating and cooling. Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, sized and installed correctly, with properly sealed ducts, can save homeowners as much as 20 percent on their annual energy costs.
  2. Keep it Clean – A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to early equipment failure. Clean or change the air filter in your heating and cooling system monthly. Some filters only need to be changed every 3 months. Also, have your equipment checked seasonally to make sure it’s operating efficiently and safely – check-ups can identify problems early. Dirt and neglect are the #1 causes of system failure.
  3. Bundle Up Your Home – Hidden gaps and cracks in a home can add up to as much airflow as an open window. The more heat that escapes, the more cold air enters, causing your system to work harder and use more energy. Home Sealing can improve your home “envelope” – the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors -- and can save up to 10 percent in energy costs. Start by sealing air leaks and adding insulation—pay special attention to your attic and basement, where the biggest gaps and cracks are often found. If replacing windows, choose ENERGY STAR qualified ones.
  4. Tighten Your Ducts – If you have a forced air furnace or heat pump, then a duct system is responsible for circulating warm air throughout your home. Leaky ducts can reduce your system’s overall efficiency by 20 percent. Sealing your ducts can save up to $140 annually on energy bills and help you consistently heat every room.
  5. Don’t Oversize – If you’re replacing old equipment, make sure your new equipment is properly sized for your home -- bigger isn’t always better. An over-sized system will cost more to buy and operate and will cycle on and off too frequently, reducing your comfort and leading to early system failures and repair costs. Correct size and proper airflow will ensure that your equipment works efficiently, saves you money, and helps protect our environment.
  6. Put Your Home to the Test – Doing a home improvement project this fall or winter? ENERGY STAR has online tools to evaluate your home’s energy performance and offer solutions to increase comfort and energy efficiency. Visit www.energystar.gov/homeimprovement. Have your utility bills handy for savings calculations.
  7. Consult a Professional – Find an experienced, licensed contractor before embarking on any heating and cooling overhaul. Your contractor should properly size your equipment, test airflow, and perform a quality installation.
  8. Cash in on Special Offers – Concerned about the cost of new heating equipment? Check with your local utility or visit the rebate finder at www.energystar.gov/rebatefinder to see if there are any special deals on high efficiency heating equipment. Manufacturer rebates are usually offered in fall and early spring. Ask for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment – it might cost more up front, but will offer you greater savings and comfort for years to come.
  9. Shop Smart – If your heating equipment has been poorly maintained and is 15 years or older, it’s probably time for a more efficient replacement. Ask for an ENERGY STAR when buying the following equipment:
  • Furnaces – One in four furnaces in U.S. homes is more than 20 years old. Old furnaces cost more to operate per year than new, ENERGY STAR qualified models that are 15 percent more efficient than standard models.
  • Heat Pumps – Today’s electric and geothermal heat pumps are much more efficient than those installed just 10 years ago. When installed in a home with a well-sealed home envelope, heat pumps will provide great value and comfort for your energy dollar. An ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump is 30 percent more efficient than comparable new equipment and can save you as much as $200 annually. A qualified electric heat pump is 20 percent more efficient and can save you about $130 annually.
  • Boilers – An ENERGY STAR qualified boiler uses features like electric ignition and new combustion technologies that extract more heat from the same amount of fuel, to be 7 percent more energy-efficient.
  • Programmable Thermostats – Regulate your home’s temperature with four programmable settings and you can save about $100 annually on your energy bills.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Friday, 21 April 2017 20:07



A Spring A/C Tune-Up Will Keep You Happy and Cool This Summer

After the biting winter Nokesville had, we’re glad to finally see some warmer weather. While there are still a few more mildly chilly days ahead, you can expect the temperatures to continue to rise. Before a heatwave hits, be sure to schedule your spring A/C tune-up! As it continues to heat up, you’re going to want your HVAC system operating at optimal efficiency. We’re already slated to see several days in the upper 80s; make sure you’re ready to beat the heat. Don’t risk having to go without cool air during the dog days of summer.

There are numerous benefits to having your air conditioner maintained on a routine basis. While peace of mind is the most basic benefit of maintenance, there’s so much more to it. Here are three reasons as to why your HVAC system should undergo regular TLC. 

1. Safeguard your system against frequent, expensive repairs.

Homeowners rarely think about the state of their conditioning system because it’s something they use on an around-the-clock basis. Once you’ve adjusted the temperature to your liking, you move on with your day. Don’t wait until something isn’t quite right to pay attention to your A/C, because you could be dealing with a costly repair.

When you neglect to care for your system, you’re more likely to experience frequent breakdowns because it’s in constant over-drive. The more you overwork you’re A/C, the less efficient it becomes. A dirty filter, worn or old capacitator, or loose electrical component can make for an ugly, costly situation. For example, if you have a small refrigerant leak, we can easily repair that during your tune-up. However, if left unrepaired, your refrigerant can drain, causing your compressor to burn. This kind of repair can cost upwards of $1,000. It’s far better – and cheaper – to repair a minor problem before it worsens. Think of it like your car. Every 3,000 to 5,000 miles you change your car's oil to prevent troubles from occurring. Show the same kind of care to your air conditioner!

By scheduling routine maintenance, you can rest easy all summer long in the comfort of your cool home. During your check-up, a licensed technician will inspect all the inner-workings of your system to ensure that everything is up to par. A tune-up is just a fraction of the cost of a repair; save money and ensure comfort by scheduling A/C tune-up with AJ Danboise today!

2. Prevent the need to prematurely replace your system.

Since you use your HVAC system year-round, it’s so easy for it to become an afterthought. With routine maintenance, you’ll not only prevent frequent breakdowns, you’ll increase your system’s lifespan. We’ve all been guilty of ignoring things that demand regular care. What many of you found in doing so was that the object didn’t last as long as it could’ve. Without a regular air conditioning tune-up, you can expect to replace your system much sooner than you intended to. When you have clogged and dirty coils, a dust and debris-filled filter, low refrigerant levels, or damaged fan blades, it’s no wonder your system isn’t running efficiently. At this rate, it won’t be too long until your system can no longer keep up with your demands.

Because a new A/C is a costly investment, it’s important to get the most of your system to avoid a premature replacement. A well-maintained central air conditioner should last between 15 and 20 years. Give your system a long, healthy by showing it some regular love. 

3. Ensure your system operates at maximum efficiency.

Because heating and cooling account for nearly half your utility costs, it’s important to make sure that your HVAC system operates at maximum efficiency. A poorly-maintained system will cause your electric bill to skyrocket. If you find yourself constantly adjusting the thermostat because the temperature just won’t seem to get any cooler, it’s a good indication that your system isn’t operating efficiently. A simple yearly cleaning will boost efficiency and help lower cooling costs.

Tips on How You Can Keep Your System Happy & Healthy

We highly recommend enlisting the help of a certified technician to complete your annual maintenance. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t complete a few simple tasks on your own to help keep it running smoothly year-round. Follow these extra HVAC maintenance tips:

  • Change your air filter every 30 to 90 days. Read your manufacturer's guide on how often you should change out the filter. If you have pets or are prone to allergies, you may want to ere on the side of caution and change it every 30 days.
  • Keep your system clear of debris. When dirt, debris and twigs make their way into your system, it can decrease efficiency. Keep all plants at least two feet away from your air conditioner.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Gone are the days where leaving your air conditioner on all day is the only way to maintain comfort. Simply program your thermostat once, and sit back and relax.

For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Friday, 14 April 2017 17:56



Energy-Saving Tips to Follow This Earth Day

It’s easy to think that our individual actions can’t effect real change, especially when it comes to protecting and preserving our earth. “To make a noticeable impact, everyone has to come to together and act.” How many of you have had a similar thought? The truth is, succumbing to this kind of thinking isn’t productive as it discourages people from attempting to enact even small change, like picking up a piece of trash or turning off a light. This Earth Day, we want to empower you to cut back on your energy usage at home. By simply adjusting your daily routines and being more mindful, you can help sustain our environment, not to mention we think you’ll enjoy the monthly savings!

Change your HVAC air filter regularly.

A dirty, clogged air filter reduces your system’s efficiency, causing it kick into over-drive to keep up with your demands. Change your filter every 30 to 90 days, depending on the manufacturer. If you have household pets, you’ll want to change it every 30 days for good measure.

Schedule annual HVAC maintenance.

Have your HVAC system serviced in the early spring and fall to ensure maximum efficiency. During a tune-up, a trained technician will check all the inner-workings of your system to make sure all is working properly. An unmaintained system, like a dirty air filter, requires more energy to operate.

Install programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat allows you to cut costs but not comfort. By setting your thermostat back 10 degrees for eight hours every day, you can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10 percent. There are numerous benefits to switching to home automation in general. Check out our article: “3 Reasons to Switch to Home Automation” to learn more about how you can benefit from going automated.

Unplug appliances and devices when not in use.

So many of us now sleep with our smartphones next to us, plugged into the charger. Instead of keeping it plugged in overnight, charge it a few hours before you go to bed. Do the same with other electronic devices like your tablet or laptop. Check every room in your house for appliances or devices that you leave plugged in, but rarely use. That toaster you haven’t used in four months? Unplug it. That lamp you haven’t turned in ages? Unplug it.

Install water-saving fixtures.

Switch to low-flow shower heads and sink fixtures to cut back on your daily water usage. A family of four can save around $250 a year on water heating costs by switching going low-flow. If you want to take it a step further, you can also install low-flow toilets.

Switch from baths to showers.

By opting to take showers instead of baths, you will save nearly 13 gallons of water each time. Depending how often you clean yourself every day as well as how many people are in your household, this could make a huge impact. We also recommend taking shorter showers lasting no more than five minutes. We know how tempting it is to want to stay in and let the warm water soothe you, so set an alarm for yourself that requires you to get out to turn it off.

When doing laundry, use hot water only for dirty loads.

Unless you’ve got some really nasty clothes to wash, always opt for the cold cycle. This small adjustment will help lower your water heating costs. Before you wash a load, make sure it’s full, but not too full. After the load has finished, hang them up while they’re still damp. You’ll cut back on energy usage and prevent wrinkles and shrinkage.

Light your home efficiently.

Lighting accounts for nearly 10 percent of your energy usage; therefore, you should make sure your home is equipped with the most efficient lighting. Reduce lighting consumption by up to 75 percent when you switch out your incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents (CFLs).

For more energy-saving tips to try out this Earth Day, check out these additional resources:


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round. 

Friday, 24 March 2017 18:40



Declutter Your Home with a DIY Charging Station

It’s difficult to find sanity in a cluttered home. If you’re tired of having to pick up all the tablets, laptops and other electronic devices as well as their chargers, we’ve got the solution for you: DIY charging stations! By establishing designated spaces for all your devices while they’re charging, you’ll not only decrease clutter, you’ll also rid your home of tripping hazards and always know the location of your chargers. Few things are more frustrating than trying to find your charger when your device is just minutes from dying. Restore sanity – and organization – by crafting these DIY charging docks for all your devices!

Family Charging Station

All you need for this tutorial is a shoe box, some decorative paper and an extension cord. This DIY station is perfect if you have a couple kids who always leave their gadgets around the house. It’s simple to construct, requiring very little of your time. We recommend placing this dock in the family room, living room or kitchen – depending on where your family spends the most time. You can even make it a fun family activity by decorating it together!

IKEA Charging Station

This DIY tutorial is ideal for those who hate having clutter strewn across their kitchen counters. Counter clutter not only inhibits you from being able to prep meals, it also makes cleaning seemingly impossible. If your kitchen cabinets have free-standing sides, you can hang a rail near an awkwardly placed outlet to dock phones, tablets and laptops. This type of station would be especially beneficial to those who have limited counter and/or table space.

Book Charging Station

If you have an old book or never-been-used journal that you use for decoration, consider using that as a charging station with this tutorial. You can keep it by your bedside table or any other side table throughout your home or apartment to provide quick and discreet charging for your phone or tablet. This easy DIY does not require a lot of material and can be a quick weekend project.

Office Charging Station

All you need is an old magazine rack for this one. Turn it on its side and drill a few holes for the chargers and simply place your tablet, laptop or phone inside. This is perfect for your desk or for your home office. Organizing your tablets that you use for work can make it easier to charge and access them if you are in a rush.

Upcycled Plastic Bottle Charging Station

If you have a few plastic bottles lying around your house that you keep meaning to recycle, consider turning one into a cell phone holder. An upcycled plastic bottle charging station is perfect for those oddly placed outlets that aren’t near tables or counters. These are easy to make and perfect for when your phone needs a quick charge. You can make it as fancy or simple as you like.  

Having the right outlet for your chargers can also help declutter your home and organize the areas where you charge your gadgets. Not a lot of people know that there are numerous outlet options from which you can choose. In addition to basic, three-pronged outlets, there are also USB charging port outlets for your cell phones or tablets. You can promote organization with the installation of this outlet. The USB charging outlet is compatible with a variety of electronic devices such as:

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • Tablets
  • Mobile Phones
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • E-Readers
To keep all your various devices powered, you need working outlets. For expert outlet repair and installation, leave it to AJ Danboise!

For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 11:51



Knowledge is Power

All of us rely on electricity to get through the day; from the time we wake up, and into the night, we use electricity – even while asleep. The electricity in your home operates around the clock to supply power to all your major appliances. Because your home’s electrical system is an integral and necessary part of life, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some basic concepts. Should something go awry, you’ll have an easier time identifying the source of the problem before calling a licensed electrician, not to mention you just might impress your friends and family with all your newfound knowledge!

Our intention isn’t to overwhelm you, so we’re going to focus on just four basic terms we think every homeowner should know.

Electrical Panel/Breaker Panel

Located in either your basement or garage, the electrical panel controls the flow of electricity to your home. As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to find the location of your panel and get familiar with it. Your electrical panel houses a series of circuit breakers, which control the power to an appliance. These circuit breakers are usually labeled to indicate the breaker controlling an appliance. While there is value in familiarizing yourself with your electrical panel, it’s important to leave all panel work to a licensed electrician! Electricity isn’t something you want to experiment with, as the results can be quite ugly.

GFCI Receptacle/Outlet

Otherwise known as a ground fault circuit interrupter or ground fault interrupter (GFI), this type of receptacle protects people from electrical shock by monitoring the current flowing into or out of a plugged-in device. Should this receptacle detect a current exceeding five milliamps, it will shut off the flow of electricity in as little as .025 seconds. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that all new kitchens, bathrooms, crawl spaces, unfinished basements and most outdoor receptacles have GFCI outlets installed. These locations usually have a water source, which is why the NEC has named these locations. If you live in an older home and do not feel that your home has adequate GFCI receptacles, schedule an appointment with one of our trained technicians! We will help safeguard you and your loved ones from electrical harm.

Watt

A watt is a unit of measurement indicating how much electricity is being used in one second. Even if you didn’t know what this term meant, you’ve probably seen it on the packaging of light bulbs. It’s important to know that watts do not determine the brightness of a bulb. A bulb’s brightness is expressed in lumens, which we will explain next. Light bulbs with higher wattage will use more energy, thus increasing your utility bill. You can decrease the amount of energy you use by switching to Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Both have lower wattage than incandescent bulbs but emit the same amount of light.

Lumen

Lumen is a unit of measurement that describes the brightness of a bulb. If you want to enhance a space with additional light, choose a bulb with more lumens. If you’re looking to add ambiance to a room, choose a bulb with less lumens. Under the direction of the Federal Trade Commission, light bulb packages now have labels, similar to nutritional labels in appearance, that provide information on the brightness, energy cost, the bulb’s life expectancy, light appearance (warm or cool), wattage, and whether it contains mercury.


If you ever have any questions about your electrical system, don’t hesitate to give us a call! We’d be happy to assist you in learning the ins and outs of this incredibly vital system. As they say, knowledge is power – no pun intended!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Friday, 24 February 2017 20:40

Why Home Automation?

How smart is your home? In the past few years, home automation has garnered more and more popularity. Thanks to recent advancements, this type of technology offers solutions for nearly every budget. Even still, you might be thinking: “But it’s too complex!” Homeowners are often deterred from using home automation because it seems too sophisticated. This is where we come in. Yes, the software is sophisticated, but these products were designed with you in mind. Put your worries aside, because home automation is supposed to make your life more convenient, not complicated. Still not sold? Check out these three reasons as to why you should switch to home automation.

By incorporating smart technology into your home, you will enjoy numerous benefits such as added security, peace of mind, and savings.

Added Security

Every homeowner wants to feel safe and secure. You’ve invested so much of your time and money into ensuring that your home is a place of comfort and relaxation. Home automation can deliver assurance in a variety of ways.

Coming home to a dark home late at night can make any person feel uneasy. With home automation, you can turn your lights on with the tap of a finger. Now, you won’t have to wonder if someone or something is lurking in the shadows. Our minds can play some of the most devious tricks on us, but with home automation, you can know for certain nothing is there.

One of the biggest concerns people have when they leave for vacation is keeping their homes safe. We want you to be able to enjoy your time away, but we understand how hard it ca be to do that when your home is vulnerable. With home automation, you can program your lights to turn on and off at specific times so as to make it appear that someone is inside. Many homeowners make the mistake of leaving several lights on throughout the house. On the surface this method may seem like an effective deterrent, however, it does quite the opposite. Wouldn’t you think it was odd too if someone’s bedroom, hall, or kitchen light was left on for several days straight?

If you’re wanting to go the lighting route, it’s best to program your lights to turn on and off at normal times.

Peace of Mind

Lights are not the only way to increase security. Have you ever left your house only to realize hours later that you can’t remember if you closed the garage door or locked the front door? We’ve all been there. If you work a demanding job or are too far away to turn back, it can add significant stress to your life. Now, with home automation you can achieve peace of mind with the push of a button. When you install this type of technology, the device is often paired with an app that you can download on your phone or tablet. You need only open your app to check the status of your concern.

One of the biggest stresses of planning a vacation is finding someone to watch after your house. Home automation puts the control back into your hands. Of course, you can still enlist the help of a friend or family member, but for those of you who want control, home automation may be just what you need. Using your home security system’s app, you can check on your home and see exactly what’s going on. If you have a pet that’s back home, whether it be a dog, cat, bird, or rabbit, you can make sure they’re doing okay too. If you do happen to leave your pet behind, we highly recommend having someone look after them. While a security system can provide you with peace of mind, it can’t feed your pet or let them outside.

Energy Savings

You will reap numerous benefits by installing a programmable thermostat in your home. There are a variety of makes and models on the market, so no matter your budget, we guarantee there is a solution for you. A programmable thermostat, also known as a smart thermostat, allows you to have complete control over your home’s temperature.

Let’s say it’s a particularly cold day outside and you’re about to leave work to go home. You’re dreading the thought of walking into an ice-cold home. But then you remember you have a programmable thermostat! You can program your thermostat to your desired temperature so that when you walk in the door, it’s warm and cozy. Before programmable thermostats, you had two options: you could either leave your heat on all day, which wastes money, or you could keep your thermostat at a lower temperature, which makes for an uncomfortable home.

Programmable thermostats allow you to maximize comfort – and savings. You can program your system to reflect your desired temperatures for while you’re awake, asleep, and away. Some systems even offer insight into your heating and cooling usage, which allows you to address any gaps where you could be saving.

Looking to add smart systems to your home? Hire a licensed professional to help!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Monday, 13 February 2017 19:13



There’s a common myth floating among some pet owners that it’s okay to leave furry friends outside during colder weather because their fur coats will keep them warm. We’re here to dispel this potentially dangerous myth. Like you, your pet needs a safe, warm place to stay when temperatures are freezing. Imagine having to stay outside for hours on-end when it’s frigid outside. It doesn’t sound all that fun, does it? Your pet doesn’t like it either. If it’s too cold for you, then it’s likely the same for your furry friend.

Cold weather presents numerous dangers to pets. In addition to suffering from chapped paws and itchy skin, if your pet steps on frozen areas containing harmful or lethal chemicals like anti-freeze and later licks it, he or she could become seriously ill or die. Don’t risk that! Follow the ASPCA’s cold weather safety tips for pets to ensure that your friend stays safe and warm this winter.

Before bringing your pet indoors for the winter, make sure your home doesn’t pose any threats. We all know how curious animals are, regardless of whether they’re a cat or dog. Electrical cords, space heaters, lamps, and the like are all play-things to your pet. Make sure to follow these electrical tips on keeping your little friend safe this winter!

  • Once you’ve charged your smart phone, tablet, or laptop, unplug the electrical cord and put it away. Anything that dangles could look like a toy. This goes for kitchen appliances too, such as your blender, mixer, coffee maker, etc. If your pet chews on a cord that is still plugged in, he or she could be electrocuted.
  • Purchase bitter-tasting deterrents to keep your pets from chewing on cords in the first place. These deterrents come in a variety of forms, such as sprays and cord covers.
  • Even if you think your pet wouldn’t attack them, take down any dangling lights. Further, if your pet has a fascination with lamps or light bulbs, make sure he or she doesn’t attack them.
  • For those using a space heater this winter to keep warm, make sure there is a 3-foot guard surrounding it. Never leave your pets alone in a room with a space heater. If it gets knocked over, a fire could occur.
  • If you’re using an electric blanket, keep your pets off it to prevent them from chewing on it.
  • Don’t allow your pet to sleep behind your television or computer, where plugs are kept.

  If your pet has been electrocuted, call your local vet emergency center as soon as possible for instructions on how to approach and care for him or her.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 17:59



Poor Indoor Air Quality Can be Detrimental to Your Health

Moving into a new house or renovating your current home can be an exciting time for many families. It signifies the start of a new journey and carries the challenge of making a house feel like a home. Unpacking is stressful on its own; the last thing you want to worry about is quality of your indoor air. Having poor IAQ can sometimes be a silent reason as to why you’ve been plagued with frequent headaches or irritation to the throat, lungs and eyes. If you are moving into a house or renovating your current home, you may need to identify the quality of your home’s air.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous post about asthma triggers, indoor air is often two to five times, and in some cases 100 times, more polluted than outdoor air. Because so many of us spend most our days inside, whether it’s because of work or school, this should be especially disconcerting. Poor indoor air quality makes way for a host of health problems, all of which can be detrimental if left untreated. Even though we’re surrounded by air, it’s invisible to the eye; therefore, it’s important to know which signs are indicative of poor IAQ:

The health effects of poor indoor air quality can range from short-term to long-term. While it’s easy to downplay many of these symptoms, make note of how often they occur as well as where in your house they occur.

  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs
  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Lung cancer

Why is my indoor air unhealthy?

So, you’ve connected the dots and now believe that you’re dealing with poor indoor air quality. Let’s get to the root of the issue. If you’re wondering why the air in your home is unhealthy, we can help you out. The best thing you can do for your home – and for yourself – is to have a certified professional complete a thorough indoor air quality test. Using advanced technology, we can determine the underlying issue and then properly begin the remediation. The American Lung Association has provided a detailed list of common indoor air pollutants:

  • Asbestos
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Building and paint products
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Newly installed carpets
  • Cleaning supplies and other household chemicals
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites and dust
  • Floods and water damage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Mold and dampness
  • Pet dander
  • Radon
  • Wood burning
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Volatile organic compounds

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your HVAC air filter. It is important to change or check it at least every 30 days – especially if you have pets. Another way you can improve your IAQ is by scheduling annual maintenance for your heating and cooling system. Doing so will ensure proper ventilation and mitigate the presence of harmful contaminants.

Per the Environmental Protection Agency, there are three main strategies for improving your home’s IAQ: source control, improved ventilation and air cleaners. Here’s a look into the actions required of each strategy.

Source Control: To effectively treat the issue at hand, you will need to locate the source of the problem and either eliminate it or reduce it. For example, if you have a gas stove, the emissions can be adjusted.

Improved Ventilation: A cost efficient method for improving your home’s ventilation is allowing more outdoor air to makes its way indoors. You can do this by opening doors and windows, running the attic fan, or using kitchen and bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors. This is especially important to do if you’re completing home improvement projects such as painting or installing carpet.

Air Cleaners: In short, an air cleaner collects the polluted air and draws it through a filter where it is then cleaned and redistributed. There are numerous air cleaners on the market from which you can choose. Styles range from small table-top cleaners to whole-house systems. To determine the best system for your home, we recommend enlisting the help of a licensed professional first so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

For more tips on improving your IAQ, check out these additional resources:


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 19:30



Safeguard Your Family Against the Dangers of CO

What’s colorless, odorless, tasteless and has the capacity to harm or kill those who encounter it? If you guessed carbon monoxide, then you are right. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), each year 430 people die and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This potentially dangerous gas, also known as a silent killer, is found in the fumes emitted by numerous appliances in your home such as generators, stoves, lanterns and gas ranges.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. When it comes to safeguarding your loved ones, it’s critical to always act with vigilance. Because carbon monoxide is quite literally out of sight, it’s easy for it to also be out of mind. Don’t let this happen! Follow these simple yet important safety tips.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

You already know that carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless and dangerous, but do you know why it’s dangerous?

Here’s how the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) puts it: Carbon monoxide is dangerous because, when inhaled, “it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.” When large amounts of CO are inhaled in a short time, it can cause one to lose consciousness or suffocate. Other side effects include:

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms vary from person to person, meaning that you may experience only some of the side effects. People with health conditions are at a greater risk. If any of these conditions apply, you or a loved one may experience side effects sooner:

  • Young children
  • Elderly people
  • People with lung or heart disease
  • People at high altitudes
  • Smokers
  • Fetuses

If you seek medical attention in a prompt manner, poisoning can often be reversed. However, per OSHA research, while you may recover, acute poisoning may result in permanent damage to areas that require substantial oxygen such as the brain and heart. In some cases, it may also effect reproductive organs.

Tips on Preventing CO Poisoning at Home:

CO poisoning doesn’t happen often, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautionary measures to prevent it. Follow these general prevention tips provided by the CDC:

  • Do not heat your home using a gas range or your oven.
  • Do not park your car in a closed, or even partially closed, garage while it’s running.
  • Do not run generators, pressure washers, or gasoline-powered appliances in basements, garages or enclosed areas, even if a window or door is open. The only time it’s safe to run these in the specified areas is when they have been professionally installed and vented.
  • Make sure your vents and flues are free of debris.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.

Install CO Detectors: 

Installing CO detectors throughout your home is an effective way to prevent poisoning from occurring. Follow the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) tips on installing CO detectors:

  • Install detectors outside each sleeping area and on every level of the house. The best practice is to interconnect all detectors so that when one goes off, it triggers the others to do the same.
  • Read your manufacturer’s guide on instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Purchase a detector that’s been tested by a recognized laboratory.
  • Test your detectors once every month to ensure they’re working properly. If there’s a chirping sound indicating the batteries are low on power, change the batteries immediately.
  • Install new detectors every 5-7 years.

How to Treat CO Poisoning:

If you suspect that you or a loved one have CO poisoning, leave the premise and seek medical treatment immediately or call 9-1-1. Because symptoms often feel like the flu or food poisoning, one might not realize what’s happening.  

Once in the emergency room, you may be given a mask to put over your mouth and nose and directed to breathe pure oxygen. If you’re having difficulty breathing on your own, a ventilator may be required to do the breathing for you.

Often, medical professionals will turn to a pressurized oxygen chamber as a treatment method. During this treatment, you will breathe pure oxygen in a chamber where the air pressure is two to three times higher than normal. Higher air pressure levels help speed the process of replacing carbon monoxide with oxygen. You will most likely undergo this type of treatment if your poisoning is severe or you are pregnant.

At AJ Danboise, we offer comprehensive indoor air quality service, which includes installing CO detectors. Should you need any assistance with installing your detectors or determining the best detector for your home, be sure to give us a call! We’re standing by to assist you in a friendly and professional manner.


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round. 

Friday, 03 March 2017 18:02

Did you know that indoor air is often substantially more polluted than outdoor air? Per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your indoor air pollutant levels could be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. If that isn’t enough to cause alarm, perhaps knowing that in some cases, indoor air pollutant levels can be more than 100 times higher will. Since Americans spend nearly 90 percent of their times indoors, it’s no wonder so many people with Asthma can’t find solace, not even in their own homes. We’re here to help you locate those pesky indoor allergens and irritants so that you can get a handle on them and keep your loved one from having an asthma episode or attack.

If you’ve had an asthma episode or attack or have witnessed someone who has, you know precisely how scary it can be. Triggers vary from person to person, however, it’s important to cover as much ground when trying to mitigate allergens and irritants.

Treating Asthma Allergens

Allergens are substances that, when inhaled, swallowed, touched or injected, cause an allergic reaction, which can trigger asthma. Should someone with allergic asthma have contact with a bothersome allergen, their immune system will respond by releasing a substance called immunoglobulin E (or IgE), which can cause swelling in the airways if too much is released.

Six common allergens known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Dust Mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Pollens
  • Molds
  • Pet Dander
  • Rodents

Keeping your home clean and the allergens at bay will make your home a much more comfortable – and safe – place to be. We highly recommend talking with your doctor too, as they will be able to devise an effective treatment plan. You may only be sensitive to a few of the allergens, so you’ll want to allocate your time towards treating those.

Here are some helpful tips from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAI) on how to reduce indoor allergens:

Dust Mites:

  • Encase your mattresses, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
  • Wash your bedding weekly in hot water. You can also purchase allergen-proof bed sheets pillow covers.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home low with either a humidifier or an air conditioner.
  • If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting and replace with hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring.

Pet Allergens:

  • Keep pets out of bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • If you have a small rodent for a pet, clean their cage often as urine is the source of allergens from rabbits, hamsters, mice and guinea pigs.

Cockroaches:

  • Seal off all areas where roaches can enter your home. This includes crevices, wall cracks and windows.
  • If you have any water leaks in your home, repair them immediately, as roaches need to water to survive.
  • Hire an exterminator to complete a thorough removal of the insect.
  • Properly store away food items, including your pet’s.
  • Vacuum often, and if possible, replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring.
  • Take out the garbage every day and keep counters clean. Don’t leave any dishes in the sink either.

 Molds:

  • Using water, detergent and a little bleach (if necessary), wipe away mold found in basements, bathrooms and anywhere with leaks. Do not mix this cleaner with any other chemical or product. Dry the area completely.
  • For areas with large-scale mold, hire a licensed professional to effectively remediate it.
  • Hire a licensed plumber to repair any leaks coming from your pipes.
  • Keep your home properly ventilated at all times.

Read these other resources for treating your indoor allergens:

Treating Indoor Irritants

 Irritants aren’t substances that you can be allergic to; however, they can still induce an asthmatic reaction by inflaming one’s airways. It’s impossible to eradicate irritants, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take measures to mitigate them.

 6 common irritants known to cause asthma episodes or attacks:

  • Smoke from cigarettes
  • Air pollution – smog, ozone
  • Wood fires
  • Charcoal grills
  • Dust
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – found in cleaning products, detergents, paint, aerosols, etc.

Read Asthma & Allergy Friendly’s “Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home” for tips on improving your home’s indoor air quality. This brochure goes into great depth, explaining which materials are best to use when building or remodeling a home, which cleaning products are safest, room-to-room cleaning, and how to treat older homes that have asbestos and lead paint.  You don’t want to miss out on this incredibly beneficial resource!


For all your plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical needs, you can count on AJ Danboise! Schedule service online or by giving us a call at 1-248-236-5999.

Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for more tips and tricks on keeping your home safe and comfortable year-round.

 

Monday, 02 January 2017 21:27

Radon levels can soar during the colder months when residents keep windows closed and spend more time indoors. As many as 22,000 people die from lung cancer each year in the United States from exposure to indoor radon.

The EPA Administrator urges Americans to heed January as National Radon Action Month by testing their homes for one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the country, indoor radon gas. Approximately one home in 15 across the nation has unacceptably high radon levels; in some areas of the country, as many as one out of two homes has high levels.

EPA Recommends:

Test your home for radon -- it's easy and inexpensive.
Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases may be reduced.
Read EPA's "Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon."

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

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