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Many water heater manufacturers set the thermostat of water heater's at the factory to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For most households, this is often too high. One rule of thumb: if you can't hold your hand under the tap with the water on it's hottest setting, the water heater is likely turned up too high, and it's wasting energy. Setting the temperature too high also increases the risk of scalding, of particular concern if there are young children or elderly residents in the home.

In most households the water heater is the most energy intensive appliance, second only to the air conditioner and furnace. Turning the temperature down 20 degrees can save 6 to 10 percent on energy costs. Setting the water heater temperature to 120 Fahrenheit works well in most cases.  If you're finding that 120 F is leaving you wishing the water was hotter, gradually adjust the setting upward until a comfortable setting is achieved.

Have questions abut your water heater? Give us a call. It's your home, trust Ostrom.
Roughly one-third of the homes in the U.S. are over 50 years old, and older homes are statistically at higher risk of electrical fires. The main reason older homes can be more dangerous is many were built with electrical systems which are no longer safe. Deterioration due to aging, improper installation and modification, a lack of modern safety devices, combined with today's electrical intensive households all combine to increase the risk of electrical fires.

By understanding what outdated wiring looks like, you can learn of your home is at greater risk. Depending on the age of the home, you will find one of three kinds of wiring.

Grounded Electrical Systems

Homes built in the 1940s through the present will have grounded electrical systems. Grounding is a critical safety feature that is designed to reduce the chance of shock or electrocution in the event of a short circuit. Grounding wires are connected directly to the earth through a metal grounding rod or a cold water pipe. Should a short circuit or an overload occur, any extra electricity will find its way along the grounding wire to the earth.

Aluminum Wiring

As the price of copper soared, aluminum wiring became more common in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the receptacles and switched of the time we not designed to work with aluminum wire, resulting in bad fitting connections and a greater risk of fire. If your home has aluminum wiring that was installed in the 1960s or 70s have Hucker Electric perform a safety inspection to ensure it is safe and up to code.

Knob & Tube Wiring

The earliest type of wiring found in homes built in the 1800s through the 1930s, knob and tube wiring is an open air system that uses ceramic knobs to keep wires away from combustible framing. These suspended wires were directed through ceramic tubes to prevent contact with the wood framing and starting a fire. Knob and tube wiring is a fire hazard because it's not grounded and is more exposed to damage from old and faulty modification.

Have questions about your home's wiring. Give Ostrom a call. It's your home, trust Ostrom.

What to Look For When Upgrading Your Home's Heating and Cooling System

If your home's central heating and cooling system is getting on in years and it’s time think about replace your old, inefficient furnace or air conditioner, there are a few important things to consider when it comes to selecting a replacement system.
  1. Reliability - A furnace or air conditioner is a major investment that you will depend on for years to come. By doing your research and selecting a brand with a proven track record you will reduce the likelihood of of having problems down the road that could lead to unexpected repairs.
  2. Efficiency - Choosing an energy efficient air conditioner or furnace is easy. The EPA's EnergyStar rating system lists the predicted annual cost to operate the unit. By Choosing a high efficiency model you save you up to 30% on your annual heating and cooling costs. In addition, choosing a newer, variable speed system can increase efficiency while also reducing noise.
  3. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner or furnace is the day it's installed. Correct sizing and installation is crucial for ensuring that the system operates as it was designed– quietly and efficnetly. Choose a heating and cooling company with experience and one that stands behind their work, now and down the road.
  4. Air Quality - Have pets or smoke in the home? To reduce indoor pollution consider attaching a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler. You can have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems. Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important for maintaining healthy indoor air. If you experience excessive dryness in the winter or excess humidity in the summer, ask your technician about whole house dehumidifiers and humidifiers that work with your central heating and cooling system.
Have questions about upgrading your home's heating and cooling system? Call Ostrom Services, we're here to help.
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