How to Benefit from Castile Soap

Whether you’re looking for a more natural way to get your home clean, or just hoping to save some money on household cleaning products, we’ve got a secret weapon that can help you do both. Okay, it’s not really much of a secret. In fact, Castile soap has been around for centuries…who knows, you may have grown up with it and were none the wiser.

Here’s what matters most. Castile soap is amazing at tackling dirty jobs around the home, and yet this all-natural product is gentle on your skin, plumbing, counters, and numerous other surfaces. Here are 6 ways you can use this olive-oil-based cleanser in your own home.

Carpet Cleaner – Make a DIY carpet pre-treater and cleaning solution by mixing Castile soap and hydrogen peroxide. Spray some on the stain as a pre-treatment, dabbing and scrubbing gently if needed. Then, follow up with an all-purpose carpet cleaner made with ¼ cup Castile soap and 1 cup water. Mix in a blender until it becomes a stiff foam, and use on the carpet as you would any commercial cleaner.

Produce Wash – Add ¼ teaspoon of Castile soap to a bowl of cool water for a non-toxic way to clean your fruits and veggies. Just swirl the produce in the mixture, rinse well, and enjoy.

Glass Cleaner – Mix a half cup of white vinegar with two teaspoons of Castile soap and two cups warm water. For a more fragrant glass cleaner, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil, shake well, and spray it on glass and mirrors. Wipe dry with newspaper for a streak-free shine.

Ant Spray – Banish ants with this all-natural mixture. Add 1/4 cup of tea-tree-oil-scented Castile soap to a quart of water in a clean spray bottle and shake. Spray around points of entry, like doorways and window frames to prevent ants from invading your living space.

Plant Spray – Prevent fungal infections and bug infestations from destroying your plants by mixing one tablespoon Castile soap and one quart of water in a clean spray bottle. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon or cayenne pepper, mix well, and spray on plants.

Dog Shampoo – Wet your pooch’s coat with warm water and massage a small amount of Castile soap into the fur until it lathers. Rub until the lather reaches the skin, then rinse well with clean water. Consult with your vet to make sure that Castile soap is safe for your four-legged friends.

If product purity is high on your list of priorities, then nothing fills the bill better than an under-sink or whole-house water filtration system. That way, you and your family will enjoy only the cleanest and healthiest water for drinking, cooking, and other purposes. Water filtration is specialty of the house at Messmer Mechanical, so contact us now or anytime for a free in-home water assessment and new system proposal.

Common Plumbing Problems

Common Plumbing Problems

On average, home owners throughout the U.S. engage the services of a plumber about once every two years.

Well, let’s see:  does that mean that if it’s been 23 months since a plumber last set foot inside your home, a new problem is about to visit you?  Of course not.  Averages are guidelines, not timetables.  At the same time, it’s always a good idea to keep a watchful eye out for real or potential plumbing problems, especially if yours is an older home.  Early detection leads to early correction, and that typically translates into a lower cost solution.

Just so you know what can and often does go wrong with residential plumbing, here are the four most common reasons for calling a professional plumber:  

Clogged Drains & Toilets

No matter how careful you might be, clogged drain and toilet problems are always a possibility. Then again, you can help prevent them in a number of ways. First, be careful what you put down your drains or in your toilets. A toilet, for example, is not a substitute for a bathroom waste basket. Here’s another effective prevention technique: about once a month, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of distilled white vinegar down each of your drains and let that mixture sit for about 30 minutes. Next, pour about a tea kettle’s worth of boiling water down the drain. This is also good practice for breaking up an existing clog. It doesn’t work all the time, but often enough to help you save money.

Running Toilet

If your toilet continues to run past the point of the tank refilling itself, chances are the flapper valve inside the tank isn’t fully closing.  That in turn could be caused by an imbalanced float, a loose fill tube, or a loose chain that has slipped to the bottom of the tank.

Leaky Faucets

When a faucet springs a leak, it’s more than annoying. It’s a waste of water, which makes a quick resolution imperative. There are several reasons why a faucet might leak, incluing a worn-out O-ring, warn-out cartridge, corroded valve seat, or worn-out seals. Sometimes the problem can be fixed; if not, you’ll need to replace it.

Hidden Water Leaks

We know what you might be thinking: “If it’s really hidden, then what chance do I have of ever finding it?”  Trust us: sooner or later, a hidden water leak will make itself known in several ways, including: the sudden and persistent odor of mold and mildew; black mold spots on walls and ceilings; and, wet spots on carpeting over a concrete floor. The damage you should be most concerned about is the damage you can’t see.

At Messmer Mechanical, no plumbing problem is ever too small or too big for us to handle, and always with your 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Contact us for assistance any time the need arises.

The Benefits of a Water Heater Performance & Safety Inspection.

When’s the best time to have your water heater inspected?  Any time at all – provided you have this service performed by a licensed and professional plumber.

Here are two very good reasons why: 

  • Over time, water heaters experience a build-up of sediment which, if left unchecked, will eventually hinder its performance. The unit also can develop cracks in the combustion chamber and elsewhere that not only can lessen its efficiency but shorten its lifespan.
  • A crack or leak in a gas water heater isn’t just a performance issue, it compromises your family’s safety. Gas and carbon monoxide leaks represent serious home safety and health risks. But with regular monitoring, these risks can be greatly minimized.

At Messmer Mechanical, our water heater performance and safety inspection includes numerous key steps, including these:

  • Check for water leaks. If your water heater develops a leak, it can lead to wasted water, expensive repairs and safety hazards in your home.
  • Drain and flush your tank. Over time, sediment and mineral deposits build up on the bottom of your system’s storage tank. By draining it, all of that sediment will be released to restore normal operating efficiency.
  • Test the temperature pressure relief valve. Your TP relief valve protects your unit from problems should the temperature or pressure inside your tank climb above acceptable levels.
  • Clean your burner assembly. When the burner assembly in your water heater gets dirty, it can reduce efficiency and cause damage.
  • Test your gas valve to help ensure your family’s safety.
  • Check for proper venting of combustion gasses. Without proper ventilation, the carbon monoxide that’s produced by your water heater can pose serious safety threats. During your water heater tune up, we’ll make sure there are no cracks in your ventilation pipes and that combustion gasses are properly carried out of your home.

To help keep your water heater operating as safely and efficiently as possible, contact Messmer Mechanical today to request our water heater performance and safety inspection. It’s one of the most family-friendly services we provide.

Healthy Tips to Prevent Colds & Flus

Keeping your family healthy during cold and flu season is no easy task. Research shows that the average person will catch 2 to 4 colds this winter, and thousands are expected to be hospitalized for influenza-like illnesses. When you factor in that a typical flu season can last well into March, there’s more than a little cause for concern.

The good news is, there’s plenty you can do to help build up your family’s immunity and make your home a healthier, more comfortable place to hunker down this winter.

Build Your Home’s Immunity

  • Keep air circulating by opening a few windows for at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Mold and mildew thrive in damp dark places, and can worsen respiratory ailments like allergies and asthma. To help prevent that, keep vent fans running while bathing and cooking to remove excess moisture from the air.
  • Take care of plumbing leaks right away to eliminate the potential for new mold and mildew growth.
  • Purify and revitalize the air in your home with houseplants. Varieties like Boston fern, English ivy, and weeping fig remove pollutants and airborne bacteria and fungi from the air, and add the right amount of humidity to combat respiratory-causing pollutants.

Build Your Body’s Immunity

  • Get plenty or rest, wash your hands with warm soapy water often, get your exercise, and stay hydrated.
  • Soak up some sun – and vitamin D – whenever possible.
  • Load up on zinc to fight the common cold, prevent and treat pneumonia, and regulate overall immune function. Some sources of zinc include peanuts, lobster, baked beans, and pure dark chocolate.
  • Avoid foods high in saturated fat – it makes it difficult for your body to combat harmful bacteria and viruses.

At Messmer Mechanical, there’s plenty we can do to help promote a healthier living environment at home. From under-sink water filters to whole-house air purifiers and humidity control systems, we can help make your air and water cleaner now and all year long. Contact us today for more information or a free in-home comfort analysis and new system proposal.

5 Common AC Repair Problems

If you have an AC system that’s already showing signs of wear and tear – such as less effective cooling and rising utility costs – you might be wondering “what next?”

If so, we applaud you for wanting that kind of information in advance. That way, you’ll have more time consider your options, especially when it comes to “repair vs. replace.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and instead look at 5 common AC repair problems we tend to all summer long:

  1. Frozen inside coil

A frozen coil inside your air handler – usually located in the attic – often indicates a problem with airflow, such as restrictions caused by dirty air filters or a blocked return air ductwork. Frozen indoor coils could also be caused by a water leak or low refrigerant levels. If not caught and repaired soon enough, the cost could be substantial enough that your better move would be replacement.

  1. Outside unit not functional

This typically indicates lack of power, contactor problems or even a faulty thermostat. Very often these are repairs that can be made quickly and affordably.

  1. Outside fan is not working

The outside fan is responsible for transferring heat from inside your home to the outside air.   If the fan inside your outdoor condensing unit stops running, proper heat transfer can’t occur, thus causing the compressor to overheat and trip the safety overload switch. If not detected and fixed soon enough, your compressor can become damaged.

  1. Low refrigerant

Refrigerant is the chemical that cools your indoor air. Low refrigerant may indicate a leak or some other problem with the system. If you’re not getting the cool air you think you should be, contact a professional HVAC repair company as soon as possible to minimize system damage and repair costs.

  1. Faulty wiring

Improper, haphazard or uncertified A/C wiring is dangerous and a potential fire hazard. Bad wiring often prevents the system from getting power, can trip the circuit breaker, and can even cause an electrical fire.

And now for the good news part of our blog. Way more often than not, each of these problems can be avoided with an AC system cleaning and inspection from Messmer Mechanical. With regular annual service, we can spot most repair problems in the early stages of development, and get them fixed before they can cause any serious problems. In other cases, annual preventative maintenance does just that: it prevents problems from arising in the first place.

So, if it’s been a year or longer since your last AC cleaning and inspection, contact Messmer Mechanical today. You’ll love the added peace of mind our team of home comfort professionals can provide.

Summer Home Improvement Projects

The dog-days of summer are in full swing and that means it’s time for afternoons by the pool, dining under the stars, and catching up on your home improvement project to do list. That’s right, these all-too-brief warm weather months are the perfect time to tackle some outdoor projects that call for a well-ventilated work area and warmer temps. So if you’re wondering which home improvement projects you should elevate to “high priority” status, here are few suggestions to help get you in the mood:

  1. Window Replacement – If last fall’s ritual of re-caulking and shrink-wrapping your windows didn’t do much to keep the chill out, perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. Drafty windows not only let warm air escape during winter months, they let cool air out during the summer, and that means higher utility costs all year long.
  2. New Exterior Siding – Nothing boosts curb appeal like new siding. So if your exterior – siding or otherwise – is looking worse for the wear, now’s a great time consider new or replacement siding. It improves your home’s weather resistance and insulation, and that means lower energy costs. Plus, today’s siding comes in an expanded range of colors, textures, and styles.
  3. New Entry Door – Give that tired, cracked, warped entry door the boot this summer! A new entry door not only instantly adds aesthetic appeal to your home’s exterior, it can help keep out drafts and – you guessed it – reduce your utility costs.
  4. Cabinet Refacing – If your cabinets are looking a little dated but still in relatively good shape, replacing drawer fronts and doors, and adding a matching veneer on the face of the cabinets will give your kitchen a face-lift for a fraction of the cost of a full remodel.
  5. New Countertops – While installing new countertops may seem like any “any time” project, hauling old counters out and new counters in during frigid temps and on icy sidewalks isn’t exactly ideal. So if you’re ready to spruce up your kitchen with new counters, consider doing so during the warm weather months to avoid a damaged surface and an injured installer.
  6. Replacing a Roof – Time for a new roof? Have one installed before autumn rains and winter snow do a number on your existing roof and potentially leave you with a costly repair. Plus, summer’s high temps help new shingles form a weathertight seal for improved installation.

As a reminder from your local service professionals at Messmer Mechanical, there’s a lot we can do to assist you on the home improvement front. From helping to make your bathrooms safer for all concerned to improving the quality of your indoor air, replacing your aging AC system, and much more, contact us today for answers to all your questions and a free new project estimate.

Fun Facts About Plumbing

When you think of plumbing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Oh great, a clogged sink or toilet. That’s no fun! And that’s precisely the point. Because for all the aggravation your plumbing can cause, it does have its lighter side, as you’re about to see.

  1. The word “plumber” dates back to the Roman Empire.  In Rome, pipes where originally made from lead, which is “plumbum” in Latin.  People who worked with lead were called Plumbarius, which was shortened over time to the word we use today.
  2. The world’s most famous plumbers are probably Mario and Luigi of the Nintendo series Super Mario Brothers.
  3. Ozzy Osbourne, a famous and controversial rock star, was a plumber’s apprentice before he got into the music industry.
  4. In Japan, some urinals have voice-activated flushing mechanisms.  The urinals respond to several commands, including “fire.”
  5. In 1956 Sir John Harington was credited with inventing the first flushable toilet, hence the American nickname for it, “the John.”
  6. If a drip from your faucet fills an 8-ounce glass in 15 minutes, it will waste 180 gallons per month and 2,160 gallons per year.
  7. A low flush toilet can save you up to 18,000 gallons of water per year.
  8. Since 1963, more than 28 billion feet or about 5.3 million miles of copper plumbing tube has been installed in U.S. buildings. That’s equivalent to a coil wrapping around the Earth more than 200 times. The current installation rate now exceeds a billion feet per year.
  9. Archeologists have recovered a portion of a water plumbing system from the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. The evidence of indoor plumbing in palaces dates back to 2500 B.C.E.
  10. The term “plumbers” was a popular name given to the covert White House Special Investigations Unit established during the presidency of Richard Nixon in response to the leaked “Pentagon Papers” documents. Their job was to plug intelligence leaks in the U.S. Government relating to the Vietnam War; hence the term “plumbers.”

Could you stand a little plumbing assistance at your house? If so, you’ve come to exactly the right place: Messmer Mechanical. From routine maintenance to plumbing repair and new installations, we do it all, and always with your satisfaction guaranteed.

How to Buy a New Water Heater

Before 2015, it was fairly common practice to replace a gas water heater with a gas water heater, and electric for electric. Maybe you needed a smaller or larger tank size, but you were happy with what you had, and saw no reason to travel a different road.

Then in April 2015, everything changed. New federal energy conservation measures took effect that had a profound impact on water heater construction and design. And while the result was and continues to be good news for home owners, your choices are now both broader and more complicated than before.

That’s why Messmer Mechanical is offering its services to help you get exactly the new or replacement right water heater you need. Let’s say, for example, you now have an 80-gallon gas storage tank water heater. Those have been replaced by gas condensing water heaters, a more energy efficient version of earlier designs.

Condensing water heaters recapture and re-use the heat of the flue gases. That means less wasted energy and fewer gas emissions. To accomplish that dual feat, they need a larger heat exchanger than previous models, and that means they’re larger in size than traditional gas water heaters.

Do you have enough space to easily accommodate a larger storage tank water heater? If the answer is no, then you might want to take a closer look at a tankless water heater which, by definition, has no storage tank. Instead, the water is heated as you need it in a wall-mounted heat exchanger. With a right-sized tankless water heater, you’ll have all the hot water you need, even during periods of peak demand. Plus, you’ll enjoy added storage space once we remove your old storage tank system.

Yes, there’s a lot that’s new with today’s residential water heaters, and Messmer Mechanical is ready to help you weigh your options and make the best possible choice for your family and budget. To learn more and schedule a free new system proposal, contact is today.

How to Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

You already know your garbage disposal won’t last forever, but what’s wrong with it lasting “longer than expected”?

Absolutely nothing! And because of that, Messmer Mechanical is here to explain how you can accomplish that money-saving goal:

  • Feed your disposal a little at a time. While you’re at it, take care to keep utensils and your hands out of the drain.
  • Keep all fibrous foods out since they’re likely to clog your drain – the disposal can’t properly grind them. That goes for food scraps like corn husks, onion skins, celery, and most soft vegetables.

  • Deodorize the disposal. Cut a lemon into small pieces and drop the fruit into the disposal along with some baking soda or distilled white vinegar. Turn on the cold- water faucet and then the disposal. The unit will clean itself as it grinds up the mixture. Use a strong flow of cold water and keep it running at least 30 seconds after the grinding noise has stopped. This helps to flush food all the way down the drain line.
  • Do not put uncooked meat fat or liquid fats into your disposer.

Still, even with all the “TLC” in the world, sooner or later you’re bound to run into a problem.  In fact, you probably have one if you hear or see any of the following signs:

  • If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset/replace as necessary. Also check to see if the disposal’s overload switch has tripped. Locate the reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit and push it.
  • If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller – that can be fixed.
  • If the disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper may be defective. If so, it’s probably time for a replacement unit.
  • A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust. The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which easily can be tightened.
  • If your disposal starts making a racket, turn it off immediately; chances are, something was being ground up that didn’t belong in there in the first place, like a meat bone. If you stop it in time, no harm.  If not, you could be facing a damaged blade, impeller or motor.

Like all other plumbing fixtures and systems, treat your garbage disposal with care, and it will give you more years of uninterrupted service.  But when the time comes that it requires professional attention, we’ll be here to lend a helping hand, just as we are right now.  Messmer Mechanical:  your friend in the plumbing business. Contact us for service any time.

How to Hire the Right Plumber

When it comes to certain home repairs or maintenance work, going the DIY route can often save you a pretty penny.

Still, if you don’t have the requisite skill, tools, time, and/or patience, sooner or later you’re going to need the services of a professional plumber. But if that were today, would you know the right questions to ask to help ensure your ultimate satisfaction?

If not, you’ll find the following plumber selection criteria extremely useful:

Experience. Whether fixing a cracked water pipe or tackling a bathroom remodel, you want someone with experience and know-how. So ask how long they’ve been in business, what special certifications they carry, and what areas of plumbing they specialize in.

License and Insurance. In a perfect world, your plumbing issue would be resolved swiftly and without any hiccups. In reality, sometimes accidents happen. A licensed and insured plumbing company will be able to protect itself and your home should anything go wrong.

Reasonable rates. Be wary of contractors who grossly underbid their competition. While they may save you a few dollars initially, you could end up paying more the long run.

Warranty. A trustworthy plumbing contractor will stand behind their work and back it up with some type of warranty or quality assurance guarantee.

Written estimates. When your bathroom turns into a swimming pool, the last thing you want is a “ballpark” cost. Choose a plumber who will provide you with a guaranteed written estimate in advance.

Emergency service. Plumbing problems rarely happen when it’s convenient for you. So ask your plumber if they offer after-hours emergency service, and if there is an additional charge for it.

Here at Messmer Mechanical, we’re family owned and operated and with deep roots in all the communities where we live and work. As such, we value our own integrity, and would never do anything knowingly to tarnish it. And that’s just one of the many ways we strive to instill trust and confidence in every customer we serve. For a plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company you can trust, no matter what the need, contact Messmer Mechanical today.