Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

“Everyone with any common sense knows the do’s and don’ts of snow shoveling,” you might be thinking. But you’d be wrong.

A lot can change from one winter to the next. Maybe you’ve cut back on your exercise, for example, and aren’t in the same shape. Or, maybe father time is catching up with you and you simply don’t have the strength or stamina you once did.

Whatever your situation might be – fit as a fiddle or fiddling a slower tune – no doubt you can benefit from a few snow-shoveling safety tips:

  • Warm up. Don’t just don your winter apparel to go out and tackle your sidewalks and driveway. Warm up your muscles first with a few aerobic exercises, such as bending from side to side or walking in place.
  • Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce bodily strain. When lifting is required, bend your knees so your legs can assist your back and arms.
  • Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do.
  • Lighten your load. You don’t need a heavy shovel to lift heavy snow. Instead, equip yourself with a lighter-weight plastic shovel.
  • Take frequent breaks. No one’s timing you to see how fast you can remove the snow, and you shouldn’t be either. Proceed at your own pace, and take a break at least every 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Consider multiple trips. If you find yourself losing steam, go back indoors and rest before finishing the job.
  • Wear layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature. Hats are important to prevent heat escaping through your head.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to remain hydrated. You might want to keep a water bottle in your car or garage for easy and frequent access.

Common sense also dictates that you check with your doctor before even attempting to shovel snow…especially if you have lower back pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, and so on.

Here at Messmer Mechanical, we wish all our friends and customers a safe and sound winter season. And please don’t hesitate to call if we can resolve any plumbing or heating issues you might experience.

Winter Pet Care Tips

Winter most certainly has its charms, but it also brings a series of potential hazards for people and pets alike. For you, out come the sweaters, hats, gloves, scarfs, and more. But what about your pets? Well, here’s what we can tell you for sure: their fur and other natural defenses often aren’t enough to protect them from harm. Fluffy and Fido safe and warm.

  • If your dog or cat enjoys the outdoors, get them acclimated to the colder weather and make sure they don’t stay out too long, especially if the temperature is below freezing.
  • Consider a sweater or jacket for short-hair or smaller breed dogs.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite, typically found on the tail, ears, and footpads.
  • Many outdoor cats will try to find warmth and shelter under a car or even a car hood. If you don’t know where your cat is, bang loudly on the hood before starting your car.
  • Check and clean your dog’s paws after each walk. Road salt, snow, and ice can collect and cause cracking or irritation. Or, simply protect paws with booties.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a car on a cold winter day.
  • While it may taste like a sweet treat to your cat or dog, anti-freeze could cause serious injury or even death. Be sure to clean up any spills in your garage and keep all containers out of reach.
  • It’s hard to tell if a frozen pond can hold your pet’s weight, so it’s best to avoid them.
  • If you must keep your dog outdoors, make sure he has a proper abode, one that is slightly elevated, insulated, water tight, and has plenty of room for your pet to move around.

Of course, the best way to protect people and pets alike is with a heating system that’s as fit as it can be? How can you ensure that? By having it professionally cleaned and inspected by Messmer Mechanical. Think of it as preventive maintenance that helps to eliminate repairs, reduce your home heating costs, and provide added safety. Contact us today for more information or to request service.

The Benefits of a UV Air Purifier

How is that you can up against allergy and cold-like symptoms all day long inside your own home, but venture almost anywhere else and feel like a new person? Bad luck? Not hardly. And while there’s more than one possible explanation, the most likely is that you have contaminated indoor air that’s literally making you sick and tired…all the time.

There are numerous ways to clean your air, including a healthy selection of self-help remedies. Here at Messmer Mechanical, we offer several whole-house indoor air quality solutions, one of which we’d like to tell you a little more about.

They’re called Ultra violet (UV) air purifiers, a different kind of air cleaner than those you might be more familiar with. Take a whole-house air purifier, just as one example. Once installed inside your ductwork, the filter inside your purifier stands ready to catch and trap up to and beyond 99% of all airborne contaminants that attempt to pass through it.

UV air purifiers work a little differently. Instead of lying in wait, as it were, the rays from their UV lamps venture forth to seek and destroy the DNA of airborne viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi. That renders them harmless, and that means major relief for you and any other family members who just don’t feel right inside your own home.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that neither UV lamps or any other home air purifier is a cure for what ails you. They’re job – and one they’re very good at – is to remove the source of what ails you so, at the least, you’ll feel a whole lot better inside your own home and skin.

UV air purifiers are also champs in removing the following:

  • Musty odors
  • Pet odors
  • Smoke by-products
  • Pollen spores
  • Construction byproducts, including from new carpets, hardwood floors, cabinetry, and more
  • Fumes from household cleaning products

Contact Mesmer Mechanical today for more information on how to improve air quality inside your home. At no charge to you, we’ll explain your options and provide you with a new system proposal. That makes relief just one phone call or email away.

How to Make My House Less Dry

It’s one of the life’s little ironies that something we loathe during the summer is the very thing we crave more of come winter: humidity.

That’s right: a lot of the discomfort you may feel the heating season could be the result of extremely dry indoor air. But fear not, because that little problem can be readily fixed by the indoor air comfort specialists at Messmer Mechanical. How? By installing a whole-house humidifier in your home.

  • Greater personal comfort. When you increase the amount of moisture in the air, you eliminate the cause of dry, flaky skin, static electric shock, nose bleeds from nowhere, and other unpleasantries.
  • Lower utility costs. More humidity in the air will make you feel warmer without having to raise the thermostat; that, in turn, brings about lower heating costs.
  • Protection for your wood doors, flooring, furniture, and personal possessions. By increasing the amount of indoor relative humidity, your wood doors, flooring, furniture, musical instruments, and more will all be protected against becoming overly dry, shrinking and, eventually, cracking.
  • Allergy & asthma relief. Dry indoor air can wreak havoc with those already suffering from allergies and asthma. More moisture, fewer problems. It really is that simple.
  • You have total control. Even though most people feel completely comfortable with relative humidity readings between 30% and 40%, you can establish whatever level is most comfortable for you and your family, and change that level any time you like. While your whole-house humidifier will run in conjunction with your furnace, it has its own independent controls.

If you’re tired of desert-like dry air in your home, contact the air quality professionals at Messmer Mechanical today for more information or to schedule installation of a whole-house humidifier in your home. Your whole family will thank you for it!

The Advantages of a Home Water Softener

Hot water conditions plague many homes and homeowners throughout Southern Indiana – perhaps even you.

They’re problems that can easily be solved, but not before identifying the clear warning signs that you have hard water flowing throughout your home. Here are several of the most common:   

  • White scale deposits inside pipes and faucets that can shorten their lifespan
  • Hazy film on glasses and dishware after running your dishwasher
  • Ugly reddish or brown stains on porcelain, like your toilet bowl
  • The constant need to clean up soap scum
  • Difficulty getting soap and hair products to lather, thus driving up your costs as you need to use more
  • Your clothes aren’t getting clean
  • Your family has skin irritation issues
  • Your appliances are wearing too quickly
  • “Funny” tastes and odors

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, look no further for a solution than Messmer Mechanical.

Water Treatment Options

If you’ve been living with hard water conditions, we make it easy and affordable to put those days behind you. That’s because we install high-quality water treatment systems that offer you optional features:

  • Water softening only – Excess mineral deposits filtered out of your water.
  • Water softening and filtration – Excess minerals removed along with pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, lead, and mercury that could be harmful to your health.

These are both whole-house solutions, so once your new system is installed, you’ll have higher quality water coming from every water source inside and outside your home.

If your biggest concern is the quality of your drinking water, then Messmer has two valuable solutions for you. For ease of installation and maximum affordability we can install a point-of-use water filter under your kitchen sink. It comes with its own water tank in a variety of sizes and connects to its own dedicated faucet, one we can match to or complement your existing faucets.

For people who want clean water for cooking, drinking, washing, and every other purpose, we also install, maintain whole-house water filters.

To learn more about your water softening and filtration options, contact Messmer Mechanical today for a free and no-obligation in-home consultation.

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.