|December 18, 2014||Posted by Pat Dolan Plumbing under Pro Tips|
Having a functioning water heater isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. Without a working water heater, you wouldn’t be able to take a hot shower, run your dishwasher correctly, clean or even cook efficiently.
During the winter months, it’s especially important to make sure your boiler is working correctly, and with some simple maintenance tips you can make sure yours supplies hot water all winter long.
Watch for Warning Signs
First, watch for warning signs that your water heater isn’t working properly. Things like no hot water supply, strange sounds, leaks or a damaged unit all mean your water heater needs to be serviced. We provide boiler repair on Long Island and know that all of these warning signs mean action needs to be taken immediately to avoid safety issues or further damage.
Check the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve
Every water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve that should be checked regularly. If it isn’t working, it can pose a serious safety risk.
Check your owner’s manual to find the location of the valve and any specific instructions for checking it. Then lift up on the lever, raising it just partially. Now, let go of it and watch how it snaps back in place.
As you do this, you should be able to hear a gurgling sound as some water is released into the drain tube on the unit. If you don’t hear anything or the valve doesn’t seem to work right, contact a plumber right away. In most cases, the valve will need to be replaced.
Do a Mini Flush to Prevent Rust and Corrosion
A rusty tank can lead to a lot of issues which will prevent your water heater from working well and could even lead to more serious damage. Doing a mini flush, where you just drain part of the tank, can prevent these problems.
You can do this maintenance step while the water heater is still on. First, put a bucket under the drain valve on your unit. Open the valve to drain just a few gallons of water and then close it again.
Do a Complete Tank Flush Annually
It’s recommended that you flush your water heater’s tank at least once a year. If you have more than two people living in your home, you’ll need to do it a few times a year. Mini flushes can help maintain your water heater throughout the year, but a complete flush is still essential to keeping it working well.
Turn off the electric or gas supply so the unit is completely off and then shut off the cold-water inlet. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect a hose to the drain valve and then leave the pressure relief valve open and open the drain valve. The hot water will drain through the hose, so make sure it drains in a safe area.
Once all the water has drained, disconnect the hose and close the pressure relief valve. Now, open all the hot-water faucets in your home and turn on the cold-water inlet on the boiler. As water begins to flow from the faucets, close them one at a time. Now you can turn on the power or gas supply again to turn the water heater on.
These easy do-it-yourself maintenance tips can help you keep your water heater running well this winter. If you notice any warning signs, your unit isn’t working well or if you aren’t sure how to perform any of these steps, contact a plumber. We offer boiler repair on Long Island and a professional can make sure your unit is serviced effectively and safely.
Are you remodeling your bathroom, building a new home, or simply bored with your bath? If you checked one or […] more
|December 15, 2014||Posted by Rachael under For the Pros|
Last week, we discussed three compelling reasons why home builders need to write blogs. A frequent question we receive from home builders is, “Okay I have a blog, now what do I write about?” Selecting what to write about can be the hardest part of blogging, especially for a housing professional without an English degree. We understand that your days are better spent running your business than brainstorming blog article topics, which is why we’ve created this list. Below are 7 possible topics for blog articles you can easily write in an hour or two. Take the time to read through the list, think about which topics can be adapted for your business blog, and start writing!
Blog Article Topics for Home Builders (and Other Housing Pros)
1. Before and After – Select one room in the home of a recent build and include photos of the room before your services and after (great for renovations). Be sure to include sources for fixtures, names of paint colors, and your personal input on why you chose each fixture and design element.
2. Behind the Build – Tell your personal account of the building of a home. Why you building the home/neighborhood where it is, why did you add special features to the home (explain why you chose to use a tankless water heater over a tanked heater, or the benefits of using BluWood), and anything else interesting about the home. This can be divided into a series of posts that can be posted as the home is being built or in one cumulative post after the home is completed.
3. The Inside Scoop – Give your take on the latest technology, design styles, and trends in home building today. What should homeowners know before selecting an open floor plan? Are tankless water heaters really worth it? Do two-story living rooms really raise your utility bills? By answering these questions, you will be seen as a voice of authority and someone the reader can trust. Select one question per blog post.
4. Around the Water Cooler – Your blog is a great way to get personal and highlight the amazing people that work at your company. Did your business sponsor a fun run for charity? Did you have a tacky sweater party? Did you win an award? Share it on your blog! Your customers will feel a deeper connection with your business once they know the names and faces of your company, not just your logo.
5. History Lessons – Share the story behind your business. Who started your business and why? Who are the main builders at the company and where did they go to school? This is a great way to delve into the behind the scenes of the founding of the company, especially if you’re a family business that has been around for decades.
6. Advice from the Pros – Similar to “The Inside Scoop”, this is a series of posts where the builder showcases his knowledge of the people he builds for. Instead of writing about the technology that went into building the home, the builder can answer questions that only someone with real-life experience would know the answer too. Answers to questions like, “What should a family with kids look for in a home?” and “What should I look for if I know my disabled mother-in-law will be moving in?” will make for interesting blog posts.
7. The Home Buying Process – While your daily life is focused on the building of homes, those that will buy a home built by you are thinking of financing, relocating, and saving for a down payment. Making handy buyer’s guides on these topics will help your future homeowners understand the home buying process and hopefully ease the closing process. These articles can also be emailed to those that have shown an interest in one of your homes (perhaps they attended an open house) as an added benefit from the builder.
And for all of these blog article topics, don’t forget to add photos! High-quality photos of your work will really enhance any blog post you write, plus it’s a great way to show off your work outside of an online portfolio.
We hope this list helps to give you some starting points for blog articles. Have any other blog post ideas? Let us know in the comments below!
|December 12, 2014||Posted by Rachael under In the News|
Is your water heater on the brink? You might want to upgrade it before April 16, 2015. That’s when new federal regulations requiring all tanked water heaters sold to be more efficient will go into effect. These new regulations will increase the efficiency of the water heaters, but will also increase their cost. Here’s what you need to know:
- Heating water accounts for 20% of the average utility bill.
- The average tanked water heater has a 10-year lifespan.
- The ratio of useful energy output from a water heater to the total amount of energy used to operate the water heater is called the Energy Factor, or EF. The higher the EF, the more energy-efficient the unit will be.
- Gas-fired water heaters between 20 and 55 gallons will be required to meet a standard of 0.675 EF, while gas-fired water heaters larger than 55 gallons must use 0.8012 EF.
- Oil-fired heaters must meet 0.68 EF.
- And electric-fired water heaters will need to be between 0.96 and 2.057 EF, depending on size.
- The Department of Energy estimates changing these standards will save 2.6 quads of energy over 30 years, or enough energy to power 13 million US households for 1 years. It is also estimated carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by 154 million metric tons.
- These regulations will only apply to new water heaters sold after April 16, 2015. If you bought a new water heater last year, it will be perfectly legal to own and operate after April.
While the Department of Energy estimates Americans will save around $8.7 billion total from these changes, there will be a higher up-front cost for an energy-efficient water heater that meets the 2015 standards. It will take the average homeowner about 7 years to make up the initial cost from their lowered utility bills.
If your water heater is old and you are not planning to be in your home for 7-10 years or want to save money on the initial cost of a water heater, it is smart to go ahead and buy a new water heater now. A heater purchased before April 16, 2015 will be legal to operate and could be more cost-effective for you in the long run.
Or, drop the tanked heater all together and go tankless! Tankless heaters only heat water when needed, leading to a significant decrease in energy-consumption. And with tax credits, you could save a significant amount on the initial cost of the heater.
Shop National Builder Supply today for all of your water heater needs. Or give our Home Help Team a call at (866) 355 – 0310 for more information.
|December 11, 2014||Posted by Rachael under For the Pros|
Home builders are professionals that specialize in seeing the big picture. After all, it’s their job to oversee homes being built from the ground up, turning fields and slabs into neighborhoods. The same can be said about the business goals of builders. Instead of hoping to get more clients in the next six months, a home builder is more likely to have a very specific goal, “to increase revenue by 10% within the next fiscal year while lowering business expenses by 5%”, for example. And running a blog can help home builders meet their goals.
Yes, a blog. It may seem frivolous, but blogs can actually be a great way to grow your customer base. Below are 3 reasons why.
1. Blogs Demonstrate Your Knowledge
A home builder’s customer base consists of homeowners, of course! And the majority of homeowners have no idea how a home is built, much less what to look for in a builder. But they are savvy enough to search for the answers to questions about the construction of their future home online. Help their searches lead to your blog, loaded with pages of insightful articles that answer their questions, and you could have new customers. Plus, your current clients will be reassured that they made the correct choice in working with your company when they see how much your company knows about the home building process.
2. Blogs Double as Online Portfolios
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But with a blog, you can use both pictures and words together to give readers (and potential clients) the inside scoop behind a build. Use photos of the building process and explain your choices. Why did you build the fireplace in the dining room instead of the living room? What was your motivation behind adding French doors to the office? How will the position of the house reduce utility bills by harnessing the power of the sun? All great topics for blog articles. Plus, everyone loves a good before and after.
3. Blogs Help Potential Clients Find You
The SEO benefits alone make any time or effort spent blogging worth it. When Google and other search engines determine how well websites rank (i.e. if your website will appear at the top of the results or on page two), one of the things they look for is freshness or how often is your website updated. A lot of businesses, especially home builders, spend so much money having their website made that they only update it once every three years. Not very fresh. By adding a blog to your website, Google will see that your website is constantly refreshed, even if nothing else changes except for a steady stream of blog posts.
Blogs also help your website and business be found. Future homeowners don’t search Google for your business name, but instead for keywords. The more blog posts you write, the more chance there is for your blog and website to be found in search results. Because chances are, your blog will cover what people are searching for in the course of blogging for several months.
Do you have any questions about starting a blog for your business? Ask us in the comments below.
Are you a home builder or other housing professional? Sign-up for a FREE account with National Builder Supply to receive pro-specific discounts on your plumbing and lighting needs.
|December 10, 2014||Posted by Rachael under Archives|
The holiday season is here and Christmas in just around the corner. With the stress of the holidays (not to mention the cost) building, now is the best time to upgrade to a luxury TOTO Aquia showerhead. This 9-inch wide rainfall showerhead will turn any bathroom into an oasis. And National Builder Supply is giving away TWO!
1. Click Here
2. Complete actions to earn entries. Remember, the more entries you earn, the more chances you’ll have to win!
3. That’s it!
Giveaway ends December 25 and winner will be announced on the National Builder Supply Facebook page on Monday, December 29.
|December 9, 2014||Posted by Rachael under For the Pros|
Twitter is a great resource for homeowners and housing professionals alike. Homeowners can follow the pros for insider information and tips they can use on their house while professionals, like home builders, can share their knowledge of industry trends, demonstrate their knowledge, and showcase their work. Builders can also follow other builders for advice and inspiration.
Whether you’re a builder just starting out on Twitter or a seasoned user, we have 10 builders we think you should follow, as they use Twitter well to promote their business and educate their followers. Check out our recommendations below.
1. Apex Build Homes @ApexBuiltHomes
2. Judd Builders @JuddBuilders
3. John Cannon Homes @JCannonHomes
4. Medallion Home @MedallionHomeFL
5. Edward Andrews Homes @eahomes
6. Ryan Homes @RyanHomes1948
7. Reef Cape Cod Home Builder @Cape_CodBuilder
8. Pulte Homes @PulteHomes
9. Ashton Woods Atlanta @AshtonWoodsATL
10. J. Paul Custom Homes & Remodeling @JPaulHomes
Did we forget any of your favorite builders? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow National Builder Supply on Twitter!
|December 2, 2014||Posted by Elizabeth Eckhart under Pro Tips|
The holiday season is traditionally a time for visits from friends and relatives. There are a few simple measures you can take to ensure that your home is in a fit state to receive visitors. Some of these ideas aim at making your residence more comfortable while others are purely for aesthetic reasons. Given the amount of time we spend indoors during the winter months, many of us are looking for outlets for our pent up energy, so why not focus that into some home improvements that can not only create a more comfortable home, but possibly save you money in the long run?
6. Ensure Adequate Lighting
Because of the shortness of the daylight hours during winter, you’ll probably be conducting most of your entertaining when it’s dark, which makes it especially important that your residence is well-lit. Check and replace all light bulbs that are non-functional with LED bulbs that are not only brighter, but much more energy efficient. Make sure that the exterior of your property is brightly illuminated to reduce the chances of accidents and injuries when there’s ice or snow on the ground.
5. Maintain Your Heating System
You and your guests won’t be in a fit state to celebrate the holidays if your home is too cold. Be sure to examine all parts of your heating system, including your furnace, thermostat, and air vents, to make sure that everything’s functioning well. It’s a good idea to have your system checked out by a qualified contractor, who can test for energy efficiency, carbon monoxide output, and other issues that could affect your comfort or you can use this checklist from Energy.gov or AlbertaEnergyProviders.ca to do it yourself.
4. Fix Fissures in Your Walls
Imperfections in your walls can cause problems during winter months. Not only can they allow heat to escape, increasing your heating bills, but they may also lead to cold drafts, which can make your family and friends feel chilly and uncomfortable. You can fix most small drywall holes by using a utility knife, joint filler and sandpaper and then applying primer and paint to conceal the repairs. For larger holes, it may be wise to consult a professional contractor.
3. Set up Attractive Decorations
You can get into the spirit of the season with the appropriate decorations. There’s no need to spend recklessly for an ostentatious display if you don’t want to. A few simple wreaths, candles, and colorful table settings can help you achieve a friendly, cheerful ambiance without costing a fortune. Of course, there are thousands of DIY ideas out there on the internet for those crafty souls who like to use their hands and save money. Even if you don’t have any intention of buying a full-sized Christmas tree, you can still put up a small, artificial tree and decorate it smartly without committing too much of your time to the project.
2. Renovate Your Kitchen
If you’re planning on serving tasty meals to your loved ones during the coming months, then you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. You might want to get your cabinets replaced with more spacious ones if you’re running out of space to store ingredients. A new, multi-functional oven may also be in order. There are dozens of possible improvements you could make to your kitchen spaces for varying prices, so it shouldn’t be too hard to customize a renovation project to your preferences and budget.
1. Create a Cozy Interior Environment
While there’s no need to go all-out in an attempt to impress your guests, a certain level of comfort should be maintained for the satisfaction of everyone. At a minimum, you should see to it that you have a sufficient number of chairs for everyone to sit down for a delicious meal at your table. Making sure the area is softly lit with some seasonal background music in the background as the delicious smell of home cooking fills the air. Your living room ought to contain relaxing armchairs or sofas that will allow your family and guests to enjoy conversation and companionship for hours at a time.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do while you’re cooped up indoors this winter. What better time to make some improvements around your home than the bitterly cold months ahead? With the added benefits of reducing your energy bill, creating a more streamlined living space, or simply having a shiny new kitchen, it’s a no-brainer on how to solve that cabin fever that so often sets in once the snow falls.
|November 24, 2014||Posted by Rachael under Featured Products|
Cyber Monday is known as the online equivalent of Black Friday, the one day a year when ecommerce websites have huge sales. This year, National Builder Supply decided not to wait until the Monday after Thanksgiving to offer these sales. That’s right, you can access our Cyber Monday sales all week long!
Save up to 70% on select kitchen, bath, and lighting fixtures during our Cyber Week sale!
Quantities are limited so be sure to take advantage of the savings before it’s too late!
|November 20, 2014||Posted by Pat Dolan Plumbing under Pro Tips|
Winter is coming and that means it’s time to take some extra precautions to avoid frozen and burst pipes. Cold weather can be dangerous for outdoor appliances and taps but even your indoor plumbing isn’t immune to cold-weather effects.
Take some steps now, before the cold sets in, to make sure your pipes and appliances will work smoothly all winter long. We offer plumbing service on Long Island and know that prevention is essential to avoiding major winter plumbing problems.
Have Your Plumbing Inspected for Leaks
Leaks are always a problem, but they can lead to even bigger problems in the winter. Even a small leak in one of your pipes can cause it to burst as the water inside the pipe freezes and swells.
Fix any known leaks and have a professional check for leaks in hard to reach places like crawlspaces or attics. A small fix now can prevent a lot of work and a major headache later.
Insulate Your Pipes
Insulating your pipes will help to keep them warm and prevent them from freezing. You can pick up pipe insulation at your local hardware store and use it to cover exposed pipes.
Pipes in garages, attics and basements are especially prone to freezing because they are surrounded by cold air. But, it’s a good idea to also protect pipes under sinks, in closets and in other open places.
Turn Off Outdoor Faucets and Appliances
Outdoor faucets, taps, appliances and hoses can cause major problems if they freeze. Drain these things of water and turn them off. You may even want to turn the water supply to these completely off for the winter.
Things to check for and prepare include garden hoses, outdoor taps, cooling units, swimming pools and sprinkler systems. Check the manuals that came with your appliances for specific instructions on how to drain them.
Take Extra Measures When It’s Cold
The prevention doesn’t stop here though. As the temperatures start to dip you can take some extra precautions to avoid frozen, damaged and burst pipes.
Keep Your Home Warm
When it’s cold outside, keep your thermostat at a higher temperature to keep the pipes nice and warm, especially at night. If you are going out of town, don’t turn your furnace off. Instead schedule your thermostat to keep your home warm to avoid frozen pipes.
Open Cupboard Doors
During cold snaps, open cupboard doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Do this in your kitchen, bathroom, closets and anywhere else you have exposed pipes. If you have pipes in your attic or basement, open doors to allow warm air into these areas too.
Close Garage Doors
You can keep pipes in your garage warmer by closing the garage doors whenever possible. This keeps out colder air and will keep the garage at a higher temperature, keeping the pipes warm enough to prevent freezing.
Now is the time to start preparing your plumbing for winter weather and know how to use preventative measures. But, despite precautions, frozen pipes do happen.
If you suspect you have a frozen pipe check to see if it looks swollen or if it is bulging. Then, check for any leaks or breaks. If you see any of these signs, contact a plumber. As a plumbing service on Long Island, we know that the best way to deal with this kind of problem is to work with a professional who can prevent further damage.
If the pipe isn’t visibly damaged, you can attempt to thaw it by opening cupboard doors to let warm are in and even by using a blow dryer, held a few feet from the pipe, to very slowly unthaw it. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes too quickly, which can cause damage.
Prevent frozen pipes and be prepared this winter so plumbing problems won’t interfere with the holidays!
|November 18, 2014||Posted by Progress Lighting under Pro Tips|
Lighting is one of the most important elements of a home. The right lighting creates an inviting environment and sets the scene for entertaining guests, while largely impacting the perceived value of your home.
We are proud to partner with Progress Lighting to bring you high quality fixtures that display up-to-date design trends. Progress Lighting understands the marketplace and offers lighting solutions that complement the latest home furnishings.
Read on to learn about the 5 most popular lighting trends for winter 2014, courtesy of Progress Lighting.
Grouped Pendant Displays
When it comes to pendant lighting – the more the merrier. A large entertainment island is one of the top priorities for today’s homeowners. A popular way to highlight this area is to cluster multiple mini-pendants above the island. Mix and match styles and finishes at differing heights for a contemporary feel. Or, line the island with pendants of the same size and style for a simple, clean-lined approach.
Clear Glass with Exposed Light Sources
Another trend noted by Progress Lighting design experts is the use of fixtures featuring clear glass and an exposed light source. These designs pair beautifully with bright white cabinets, creating a fresh and lively atmosphere.
Kitchens and baths with clean lines, minimal ornamentation and easy maintenance are high on the priority list for homeowners. Simplified lighting with modest features contributes to this popular style of design.
Unexpected, elegant fixtures are making their way into kitchen and bath design. Designers and architects are choosing fancier lighting additions, adorned with beads, bobeches and crystals, contributing to the luxurious feel of the space.
A shift toward more efficient lighting technologies allows consumers to make subtle energy saving changes in the kitchen and bath. LED and CFL lamps play a big role because they can pay for themselves through energy and maintenance savings, while providing aesthetically pleasing lighting.