How to Extend the Life of Your Hot Water Heater

A water heater lasts for about a decade or more, so we usually take it for granted and not remember how much we need it, until it stops working. There are ways to maintain your water heater regularly to possibly extend its life. You would be surprised how some basic maintenance pays off!

  1. A Clean Tank

The first and most important thing to do is to make sure the tank is clean. Drain your water heater regularly to avoid sediments building up. The buildup causes drips and clogs. Buildup of minerals, such as calcium and lime, slows down heat transfer and overheats the tank bottom. The overheating can weaken the steel and damages the glass lining. This also creates a playground for corrosive anaerobic bacteria, lowering the energy efficiency of the tank.

Drain your water heater three or four times a year. Drain two or three gallons of water is usually enough to flush out sediments, but to ensure cleanliness, keep the water flowing until you no longer see particles in your bucket.

Follow the steps suggested by the manufacturer. Turn off the water supply. If you hear gurgling noises coming from the tank, it’s just air entering the system as water drains out, so no need to worry. To restart your water heater, open the shutoff valve and allow the hot water run at any faucet to purge air from the system. Then turn on the power of the water heater or relight the pilot. If you need help relighting your pilot, watch the video below.


  1. Anode Rods

Anode rods work to release ions that prevent the tank from rusting. It runs down the middle of the tank to catch mineral build up to prevent corrosion. After your water heater is about three years old, start checking the rod once a year to ensure the health of your water heater. If the rod has been depleted, the inside of the water tank will begin to rust, then leak. You can use a wrench to loosen the rods from the top of the tank to check them. Make sure they look solid when you pull out the rods. If they need to be replaced, call us and we will take care of it for you.


  1. Proactivity

We urge homeowners to be proactive and have simple repairs done to prolong their water heater’s life.


On gas heaters, make sure the thermal coupling gets replaced every now and then. The thermal coupling keeps the pilot light lit. The gas valve, which heats the tank, may need to be replaced as well. These are all minor repairs that are not very costly.

On electric water heaters, changing the element, which heats the entire tank, may be required.


Water heater is an important purchase you make for your home, it is responsible for 25 percent of your home’s total energy consumption. So be sure to maintain it after your purchase, so you can extend its life and get the best bang for your buck.


Winter Pipes 101

Winter Pipes 101: Frozen pipes, Thawing Pipes, and Preventions!


Another disaster homeowners face every winter besides no heat – frozen pipes. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most pipes filled with water which provides no place for the ice to expand. When the pipe bursts it will spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home.

A frozen pipe is always an inconvenience and can result a much more serious situation than just a temporary loss of water. We are going to show you some ways to prevent pipes from freezing and how to thaw frozen pipes.

 Thawing Pipes

First, open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe even if you do not yet know where it is frozen. Identify the frozen water supply pipe and find the location of the blockage. Start thawing pipe (see pipe-thawing options below) at faucet, and work back toward other end of frozen section. As you melt ice, water and steam will come out open faucet. If you started in the middle, steam produced by melting ice could get trapped and build up enough pressure to burst the pipe.

*Important tips: Leave the faucet turned on to reduce pressure on the pipes! NEVER EVER use a flame torch because of the fire hazard it creates!*

  • The Hair dryer trick: The hair dryer must be positioned so that it can heat the pipe where it is blocked or be as close as possible to the ice blockage. There is plenty of pipe that is made of plastic that can only withstand temperatures of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are hair dryers that produce air that could melt the piping, so be careful!

Prevention: Preparation is key!

Pay extra attention to these locations, as these pipes are prone to freeze:

  • In an outside wall
  • Under a sink on an outside wall
  • In an unheated crawlspace

Block off foundation vents: Cut some blocks out of foam insulation to block off foundation vents leading to crawl spaces and know where your water shutoff is located in case a pipe breaks.

  • Turn up the thermostat: If you live in an old house built over an uninsulated crawl space, this isn’t the time to worry about your heating bill. Turning up your thermostat will increase the air temperature in the crawlspace by projecting heat energy through the floor into the space. Plan on insulating and air sealing the space.
  • Heat up the crawlspace: Temper the currently unheated crawlspace by placing a heater in the crawlspace. You just need to elevate the crawlspace temperature to modestly above freezing, about 40°F.
  • Turn off water: Turn off the main water valve while the house is unoccupied or while you sleep. If a pipe freezes and breaks, the spillage is limited only to the water in the pipe.
  • Draft and wind: What a lot of people aren’t aware of is the holes and drafts that wind seeps through. The chilly wind that seeps through the house not only drives up your heating bills, but it increases the likelihood of your pipes freezing as well.


  • Install Fiberglass: Go to your nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s, pick up a package or two of unfaced fiberglass insulation. You will also need some duty disposable coveralls, a dust mask, work gloves and a package of fresh utility knife blades. Assess your insulation needs in the attic, crawl space or other out-of-the-way place installing insulation over poorly-protected pipes. Here is a how-to video on installing fiberglass to insulate pipes:

  • Foam board to insulate large areas: Keep the heat in with a rough-and-ready barrier built with foam board. If you’ve never worked with foam board, it’s easy to cut. Simply mark its surface with a Sharpie pen. Score to the depth of a utility knife and snap it on the line. Hold it to wood framing with 1-1/4-in or 1-5/8-in. coarse-thread drywall screws. Here is a tutorial on how to attach rigid foam insulation to concrete:
  • Heat Tape: Some heat tapes are wrapped around the pipe, others simply run along it. If you can’t find heat trace cable at your local home center, try an electrical supply house. Here is a video on how to install heat tape and insulate your pipes:

 Remove that Hose!


Sometimes it’s easy to forget removing any garden hoses you have attached to your outside faucets. Turn off the water to the outside faucet (also known as a sill cock or hose bibb). The sill cock only controls the water outside, there is a water shut off valve inside your house for the outside faucet. You may need to find the location of the shut off valve for this but it’s usually located near the outside faucet. This will prevent you from a major risk of water damage!

Try these methods mentioned in the article on your pipes. If you can solve the problem right away, you can prevent it from becoming more serious. If nothing you’re doing is working, it might be time to call us before a frozen pipe bursts and you end up with a much larger problem on your hands!


Plumbing and HVAC Resolutions for the New Year

New Year is exciting; new beginnings with many resolutions. Besides focusing on fitness, eating habits and budgeting, what are some plumbing, heating and cooling resolutions to make in the New Year to help prevent emergencies and save you money?


  1. Conserve Water: Save your planet, save your time, and save your bills

The average family uses approximately 300 gallons of water per day (about 30% of that usage is outdoor) according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Scale back on how much water you use on a daily basis. Something as simple as turning the water off when washing your face, brushing your teeth, can save as many as 3,000 gallons of water per year.

Consider replacing older showerheads, which use more than 5 gallons of water per minute. It also drives up your water heater and energy bills! Try the ultra low-flow showerhead models (ones with WaterSense label) that use only two gallons of water per minute!

Older toilets are also inefficient and use over 3 gallons per flush. There are many options available that use less water and have the added benefit to staying cleaner longer – think about saving water and time spent on cleaning! Here at Winters, we strongly recommend some TOTO models that are efficient or these Kohler high-efficiency toilets.

How about those moments when you turn on the sink or shower, wait anywhere from 30 seconds to over a minute for the water to heat up? Your money is literally pouring down the drain. Consider switching to your traditional storage water heater with a Tankless Water Heater. We provide FREE estimates here at Winters if you wish to convert and go high-efficient!

  1. Be Kind to Your Plumbing Fixtures

Don’t throw everything from your plate in your disposal. Learn the do’s and don’ts, as well as caring for your garbage disposal to extend its lifespan.

Your toilet is not a dumpster! Learn what can be flushed and not flushed. It’s one thing to get a new toilet, but clogging the pipes and drains in your house is far pricier than replacing a toilet!

Pipes get cold, and they need warmth just like we do! Properly insulate them to avoid pricy disasters. Here is a video on how to insulate pipes yourself:

3. Amp up your kitchen and/or bathroom


A New Year means new changes, why not give your bathroom and/or kitchen an uplift? Besides recommending replacing faucets or new cabinets, small changes on the décor can change the ambiance of the area. You can get different decors at furniture stores like these. You can get inspired with various sources online, we have a bathroom favorite here. For kitchen decorating ideas, click here.

4. Preventative Maintenance


Always have your fixtures checked and inspected on a yearly basis. Have your water heater checked. Schedule annual heating and air conditioning inspections. Consider having a plumbing inspection to ensure everything is running correctly with no leaks.

Pay attention to unusual, small changes such as hammering noises, slow drains, water that isn’t as hot, these can signal to potential disasters that often end up as expensive calls!

Here at Winters, we want to help you get a good start of 2015 with important New Year Resolutions! We offer plans for customers that include inspections, maintenance, discount on services, and waived dispatch fees, see details here. We want to make sure your entire 2015 goes smooth, and that plumbing and HVAC problems are the last thing you have to worry about!

Happy New Year and good luck!


Winters Team


Be a Mr. Clean for Your Kitchen

We all love food, so we are always in the kitchen making food, and making a mess! That’s why it is so important to stay diligent on cleaning this place that you use so often, and make it as clean as Mr. Clean! Here are some clever hacks and tips on maintaining and cleaning your beloved kitchen.

1. Hydrogen Peroxide

We all know hydrogen peroxide serves most home as a first aid item, but did you know that it has numerous uses outside of first aid. It’s a tough and nontoxic chemical that works wonders in your kitchen!
- You can remove most coffee or juice stains with a little hydrogen peroxide in water, plus a few drops of ammonia. Or combine it with flour to create a thick paste and apply to the stain. For every day wear and tear of your stone countertops, buff away small scratches with superfine dry steel wool called “grade 0000.
 hydrogen peroxide
- You can also clean your wooden cutting board with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. An improperly cleaned cutting board is a breeding ground for bacteria.

cutting board

- Clean Sponges: no one likes the mildew funky smell sponges tend to have. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a bowl, let the sponge soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing.

2. Baking Soda

Use baking soda to mop up tile: simply pour half a cup of baking soda into two gallons of water. Scrub with a string mop or sponge.
baking soda

3. Clean Cast Iron with Salt

Add 2 tablespoons of oil and place on medium heat. Once the pan is heated, pour 3 tablespoons of salt. Use a tong to hold a paper towel, scour until clean. Then. rinse and coat with vegetable oil to cure. Voila – a clean cast iron pan!
cast iron

4. Scratches on Stainless-Steel

To minimize a scratch on stainless steel, try steel wool and rub it gently in line with the grain until the scratches disappear. Then finish it with some wax-based aerosol spray like this one
stainless steel

5. Shine the floor with vinegar

For wood floors, get yourself a bucket and mix nine parts warm water to one part white vinegar.

6. Clean a Narrow Vase with Alka-Seltzer

If your hand doesn’t fit down a narrow vase, no problem! Fill it halfway with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets to do the dirty work for you.
narrow vase

7. Your Kitchen’s Reliable Friend – Magic Eraser

It’s always good to keep one of these magic erasers handy in the kitchen because they are truly magical! Here’s a video to show you its magic in action:

Play some music, sing along and have fun cleaning your kitchen with our tips!


My Basement is Flooding – What to Do?

basement flooding what do
Rain happens all year long, since we don’t need to get our snow gear to plow and shovel, we often forget how troublesome rain can be. We aren’t aware of our sump pumps capacity and limit until our basement starts flooding, and by then it is too late! We have been hit by heavy rain for the past couple days, so we thought it would be appropriate and helpful to ease homeowners’ panic by providing some information.
If your basement has flooded, there are some vitally important things you should know. First and foremost, consider your family’s health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! Before you do so, be cautious of the following:
1. Electrical Shock: wet basement contains the risk of electrical shock. If you are positive that we can safely enter, turn off your home’s power at the main breaker switches first.
2. Gas Leaks: Protect yourself against gas leaks. If you smell gas, contact your gas company immediately. They will inspect and measure the leak and seals it. Then contact a plumber. We are opened 24/7!
3. Pollutants: Sewage can contain bacteria and transmit disease and the floodwater in your basement may have originated from the sanitary sewer and contain raw sewage. Wear protective items such as gloves, safety glasses, and a face mask. Be sure to wash thoroughly after any contact with sewage or anything touched by sewage.
4. Chemicals: When you get to the cleaning stage, be sure to ventilate well and limit your exposure to contact and exposure. Sometimes there are wide range of contaminants.
5. Structural damage: while this is not as common, a serious flood with certain conditions may weaken walls or ceiling structures. If you are uncertain and want to be sure, leave the area and call in the experts. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
6. Water valve shut off: If the flooding is due to a burst water supply pipe at home, shut off the main incoming water valve to minimize the damage. Be sure to know where your shut-off is and keep access clear at all times!

Sump Pumps 101

Sump pumps are our best friends when it rains, and you don’t have to wait until there’s a disaster before you address their problems. Let’s dig deeper into what they are all about with some tips and knowledge.
1. Failing sump pumps: If you only have a single sump pump in your basement, that is equivalent to an dead end with one mechanical failure away from a flood. If you have cheap plastic sump pumps, heavy amount of water flood the basement faster than the sump can stop it. Installing two sump pumps may not be the answer.
failing sump pumps
2. Sump Pump keeps running: Sometimes you may notice that your sump pumps run almost all the time. This doesn’t mean that there is a constant water problem. Sump pumps turn on and off based on the operation of a special “float switch”.
3. Clogged Sump Pumps: If the sump pump is sitting on the bottom of a dirty sump pit, the mechanical parts are likely to be clogged with dirt and debris. This can interferes with the pump’s operation.
4. Clogged Sump Pump Switches: Sump pumps know that the water level is rising due to a special “float switch”. As the water level goes up, the switch floats upwards, turning on the sump pump as it reaches a certain level. It these switches clog, jammed or become tangled, the switch will either stop or be stuck. Either way, your sump pump isn’t doing what it’s meant to do.
5. Frozen or Clogged discharge lines: if water can’t exit through the discharge line, your system will not work. Keep the discharge pipe protected from freezing and other debris, making it optimal for your system.
6. Power lost to the Sump Pump: Most of the time the sump could be working properly, but just has no electricity to work with. Check if the circuit needs to be reset, or if the pump is unplugged.
7. Backup Sump Pumps: Sometimes the mechanical failures in one sump pump can result a basement water problem, consider having a backup sump pump to kick in and pick up the slack!
We wouldn’t recommend a battery backup sump pump because their amperage-hour capacity will drop significantly after a year.
Your plumber would recommend you what backup sump pumps are suitable for your home. But be sure to use multiple discharge pipes to send the water out of the home if you have more than one sump pump. One discharge pipe won’t be able to hold the volume of water necessary for two simultaneous pumps.

Maintenance on Sump Pumps

Give a longer lifespan to the equipment by performing regular maintenance. Quarterly maintenance is a good way to treat your sump pump, it will only take few minutes and may help you avoid some serious pains in the future.
1. Scanning the pit and removing any visible debris, mud, or stones.
2. Testing the pump by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The float should rise with the water level, triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping doesn’t begin, check to see that the unit is plugged in. Your float switch or check valve might also be at fault.
3. Clean The Weep Hole - Some pumps will have a weep hole, usually between the sump pump and the check valve. You can clean this weep hole out with a toothpick or other tiny object. Be careful not to break anything into the weep hole.

Waterproofing Basement

We also recommend residents to waterproof their basement to be safer. There are ways you could do this yourself, click here to learn more.
However, we do recommend residents having a professional crew to waterproof basement to ensure quality and to fully prevent any disaster.
We hope you find this information helpful. Don’t wait till the rain comes and floods your basement. Take cautious preventions and stay safe! Tweet us @wintershomeservices or write on our Facebook wall if you need any help!


Home Tips for Pet Owners

home tips for pet owners
Meow, Woof! Animals are our best friends, they bring the indescribable joy to our world. During the holidays can be a time when we welcome a new member into our family. They are so cute- and so messy at the same time. We want you to avoid the frustrations of a new pooch with prevention tips and advice for canine-proofing your home!

1. Animal Hair

One of the most troublesome issues pet owners face is animal fur – on floors, furniture, and clothing. Be sure to place an old towel wherever your puppy/kitty likes to rest, and shake it outside periodically to remove excess hair before tossing it in the wash. Grooming your pet regularly will also help diminish chances of shedding unruly hair.   Or you can purchase a quilted suede pet throws or cover to protect your furniture. You can even dampen a rubber glove and run your gloved hand over any pet hair from upholstery!

2. Pet Hair on Floors: method of vacuuming

To remove pet hair on carpeting, be sure to vacuum several times a week using full suction. Always pick a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.   On wood and other hard floors, use an electrostatic mop; they’re more efficient than vacuums since they don’t blow the hair around!

3. Pet hair on clothing, rug and carpet

For clothing, we all know our best bet is to use a tape roller. You can even make your own pet tape roller by wrapping duct tape over a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface is no longer sticky and covered with pet hair.

Credit to FamilyHandyMan

Credit to FamilyHandyMan

For carpet and rugs, remove pet hair with a squeegee, it’s that simple!

4. Oh No! Urine Stains!

The sooner you get it off, the better! Canine urine left on carpets or rugs can permanently alter the dye, not to mention it smells! Remove any solid residue with a dull knife or gently with a paper towel. Blot fresh stains with a clean, white cloth. After absorbing as much moisture as possible, apply a solution of ¼ teaspoon clear dishwashing liquid mixed with one cup tepid water. Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the solution and gently stir. Start blotting with another clean, dry towel. Rinse by blotting with a towel dampened with tepid water. Continue this until the stain is gone.

5. Ways to prevent fleas on dogs

No one wants to deal with the fleas’ crisis! Besides purchasing many dog medications and flea collars, why not make your own? A lot of the ones sold in stores contain harmful chemicals. You would be surprised how easy it is to make your own flea and tick preventatives.
Check out 6 ways to Naturally Prevent and Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs here!

6. Unplug your home

Unplug electrical cords when they aren’t in use. You pet may be a chewer as a start, and she/he could be in for a big shock! To better train them, you could coat your cords with a bad-tasting substance such as hot cause or a non-toxic ointment or spray at pet supply stores.

Extra Tips for Pet Owners

To make your life easier, here are some extra tips!
1. If you have a hard time brushing your dog’s teeth, squeeze some enzymatic doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy!
2. If your puppy is eating too quick, put a ball in the food bowl, you’d be amazed how it solves your problem.
3. Print and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given!
4. New dog owner? No problem. Here’s a chart of dog’s body language for you.
5. We have a body language chart for cats as well! Unlike dogs, cats’ tail indicates their mood.
6. Cat litter: relax when it comes to the litter box, cats naturally want to bury, and the litter box allows them to do just that after they have done their business.
7. For new cat owners, beware of poisonous plants! They like to chew on grass and plants inside and outside. Even non-poisonous plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
8. Cats or dogs: PUT A LID ON THE TOILET!
We hope these tips for your home help you get started as a new pet owner, or a current pet owner. Have fun with your pet and treat them with lots of love and care!

Topics discussed: pet owners, home tips, pets, how to


Travelers’ Best Hacks

It’s December, a busy time for the holiday, which means lots of traveling to see your friends and family! Everyone travels, so we trust that you all have traveling knowledge knocking about in your brain. Therefore, we believe that it is more helpful to offer you traveling hacks and tips to get you more prepped for your holiday trips. As well as providing some tips for your home while you’re away.

1. Safely pack your razor.

safely pack your razor

2. Makeup products cracking and shattering: we can’t be gentle all the time. This is to prevent your beloved makeup products from breaking.

makeup products

3. Got trash during the long car ride? No problem. Use a plastic cereal dispenser.


4. Dirty shoes mixing with clothes? No worries, pack your shoes inside a shower cap to keep the dirt away.

shower cap

5. Tangling necklace is a pain to untangle, that’s why you use a straw to keep it in place.


6. Store your chargers and cords in a glasses case to keep everything organized.

glasses case

7. Going to be eating during the car trip? No worries, get some extra shower caddies to hold the food.

shower caddies

8. Don’t want your shirt’s collar to be wrinkled and losses its shape? Use your belt to shape it!

shirt collar

9. Have any of your bottles leaked everywhere? Try this to avoid it.

shower bottles

10. Don’t need the whole bottle of makeup or lotion? Squeeze them into a contact case.

contact case

Last but not least, don’t forget to get your home ready while you are away.

1. Turn the heat down: make sure it’s turned up enough to prevent any seasonal freezing, but low enough that you won’t be wasting power and money.
If you have a smart phone controllable thermostat like this, then you may change the temperature anytime and anywhere you would like!
2. Leave the timed light on: Leave the outdoor light on with a timer, having a light on indicate that someone is home.
3. Plan for emergency: Weather is unexpected in the winter, keep in close contact with whoever is taking care of your home or a neighbor to ensure they are up to date.
4. Seasonal care: If you can ask someone to help you, have them shovel and salt the walks while you are gone. You wouldn’t want to come home to a pile of snow and a driveway that you can’t park in.
As well as checking on the house in the event of a power outage, ensuring that the heat kicks back on properly and your appliances are back to working properly.
window5. Curtains closed – or open? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you’re home, since noticeable changes could hint that you’re not around anymore. Move expensive items, like jewelry or computer, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window.

6. Frozen pipes crisis: If you live in a cold area and your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter, don’t leave them hanging while you’re away. It’s much easier to ask your friend to stop by and check your faucets. Make sure it’s not just few drops of water coming out, because that’s the sign of frozen pipes!
7. Pull the Plug: Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. Not to mention you’re saving power.
8. Remove that spare key: if you have your key under that plastic rock, time to take it out. You never know who would be smart enough to figure it out.
If you’re a constant traveler and wish to save time as well as having alerts on your home (i.e. leaking water heater, flooding basement), you might be interested to look into a home monitoring program to control your home anywhere and anytime all from your smart phone!
We hope these hacks and tips are informational. As usual, if you have additional questions and comments, or would like to share your very own tips, tweet us @wintershomeservices or visit us on our Facebook!
Happy traveling!
Winters Team
Topics discussed: traveling tips, home monitoring, holidays, trips, hacks


Toilets 101

Toilet 101

Believe it or not, the advent of the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention in history. More than seat belts, vaccinations or any medical device. We often take toilets for granted and don’t take care of it properly.
That’s why we are going to give you some tips and knowledge on toilets, as well as some fun essentials that you can add to improve its performance and your well-being!

FAQ on toilet

1. Why is my water trickling through a toilet long after it’s been flushed?

Answer: A worn rubber flapper valve at the bottom of the tank is probably to blame. When you flush the toilet, the flapper lifts, letting water flow into the bowl. Try by jiggling the handle, but eventually this trick stops working! A faulty flapper valve can drive up water costs, and if the supply line is plumbed with warm water to prevent condensation, heating costs will go up too. Below is the typical flapper assemblies, but it also depends on the make and model of your toilet.

2. Why doesn’t water enter the bowl when I flush my toilet?

Answer: If the water supply turned on? Try removing the lid to the toilet tank and see if the chain or strap to the flapper is lose or broken.


3. Why is there condensation on the outside of my toilet tank? Is there a solution?

Answer: usually it’s the result of humid air in the room coming in contact with the cold tank. This happens often in the summer or in the winter. Couple things you would need to check.

- Is the toilet leaking? Constant exchange of fresh cold water in the tank can cause condensation to form.

- Do you have good ventilation in the bathroom? Maybe you need an exhaust fan.

- In winter, the condensation may be caused by using a humidifier on your heating system.

4. There is a ring of pinkish mold at the water line of my toilet.

Answer: usually it’s because of the damp conditions with hot and humid weather. The rim of the toilet bowl would need to be disinfected, and pour several cups of household bleach into the overflow pipe of the flush valve inside the tank.

5. How can I remove rust stains from my toilet bowl?

Answer: Try Iron Out or homemade recipe with cream of tartar. Sprinkle over the stain then cover the cream with paper towels. Saturate the paper towel with hydrogen peroxide and allow it to soak.


What NOT to flush down the Toilet

Bathroom wipes – these moist towelettes/baby wipes are marketed to be flushed like toilet paper, but they actually create clogs and backups in sewer systems!

  1. Condom – latex prophylactics are like kryptonite for septic tanks and sewage treatment plants!
  2. Cotton balls & swabs – Just because they are cotton, doesn’t mean they won’t father together in bends of the pipe, causing massive blockages!
  3. Pills and medications – They destroy bacteria, contaminate groundwater supplies and have terrible effects on wildlife downstream,
  4. Cigarette butts – Waste of water supply and releasing toxic chemicals in our water supply!
  5. Paper towels – They are not designed to break down I nwater like toilet paper!
  6. Dental floss – these strings are not biodegradable. Once flushed, they love to wrap themselves around other objects in the pipeline.
  7. Fats, oil and grease – Just like we stated in our Garbage Disposal 101, never dump any cooking fats in the drain. It seems like liquid when it’s hot, but at soon as the grease hits the drain, it cools and congeals, becoming one giant pipe-clogging monster.
  8. Cat litter – It is made from clay and sand, not a good combo to flush down the toilet! Cat waste also contains toxins and parasites that shouldn’t be in our water system.
  9. Disposal diapers – Diapers are made from toxic plastic designed to expand when in contact with water.


Clogged toilet? No problem, try our tutorial on “How to Unclog a Toilet”



Toilet Cleaning Tips

Hard Water Stains – Use Baking Soda and Vinegar! Pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and swish it around with a toilet brush. Let it sit for a minute. Then add 1 cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl and two more cups of vinegar right after. Let it sit for 10 minutes and use the toilet brush to swish and mix the solution onto any stains above the water line. Don’t flush the toilet just yet! Let the solution do its magic. Then you’ll be surprised how well it worked!



Fun Essentials that you cannot miss!

1. Kohler’s Purefresh scented and lighted toilet seat – no more odor and awkward embarrassments!



Kohler just launched this state-of-the-art toilet seat that will save us from our bathroom odor and embarrassments. With the deodorizing carbon filter in the Purefresh seat’s hinge that neutralizes odors, a quiet fan moves fresh air over the scent pack, boosting fragrance into the air. Not to mention that it lasts up to six months!

It require two D batteries to operate, along with the carbon filters, which cost only $6.99. Scent packs are sold three for only $7.99.
2. Touchless Toilet Flush Kit – make it an easy business!

No handle to touch means fewer germs to pick up or leave behind! Touchless flush is easy to install, just like how easy it is to use. Imagine how easy your “business” is with this no-touch flush technology!


3. Dual-flush toilets – powerful way to conserve water!

Offering the option to use only the water you need, dual-flush toilets can save the average family money on their water bill. They carry the WaterSense® label, which means they use 20% less water than a standard 1.6 gallon toilet while still meeting strict flushing performance guidelines. Two different flushes in one easy-to-use handle lets you save water without sacrificing performance.


We hope you find this informational. A golden rule for you appliances at home: be good to them, and they will be good to you. Treat your toilet with care, and it will treat you nicely. Let us know if you have any questions on your toilets!


Garbage Disposal 101

Today we are going to talk about garbage disposal – a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding, but a costly one if clogged or not operated properly. We want to help customers like you to avoid these major repairs with proper maintenance and caring. You would be surprised how easy it is!

The simplest way to break this down is to list the do’s and don’ts. As well as some extra tips that you might not know about!
Garbage Disposal 101

Do’s and Proper Use:

1. Always use cold water full blast when running the disposal. Cold water solidifies grease and oil so they can be chopped up before reaching the trap. Hot water causes grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
2. Run the disposal for 10-15 seconds after the grinding is complete. This assures the complete flushing of any remaining particles.
3. Run your garbage disposal regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. This ensures that all parts stay moving to prevent obstructions from accumulating.
4. Once in a while, grind certain small hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells, small fruits pits, etc. A scouring action is created by these particles inside the grind chamber that cleans the garbage disposal’s walls.
5. Cut large items into smaller pieces and put them in one at a time.

Don’ts and improper use:

1. Corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins and artichokes. The fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains.
2. Don’t grind cigarette butts.
3. Don’t EVER stick your hand in there!
4. Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
5. Don’t put too many potato peels down. The starches in potatoes will turn into a thick paste and cause blades to stick.
6. Expandable foods – pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot, they do the same once inside your pipes or gavage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
7. Coffee grounds – although they do help eliminate odors, they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
8. Harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners – they can damage the blades and pipes. Try Borax, a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew.
9. Grease, oil, and fat – it will slowly accumulate and impede your disposal’s grinding ability as well as clogging drains.


A cheap way for you to clean your disposal without damaging it with harsh chemicals.
1. Run the disposal thoroughly with cold water. Pour 1-2 cups of ice cubes and ½ Cup of baking soda (make sure the entire drain is covered in baking soda). If you want, pour ½ cup (118ml) of vinegar down the drain as well (note: only use this sparingly since vinegar is acidic and could damage rubber parts inside the disposal if used too often!). Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and bacteria killer.
2. Start running cold water into the disposal and turn it on. Let it run until you can no longer hear the ice in the disposal.
3. Pick one of the fruits: lemon, lime, tangerine or orange. Cut in half and put into the disposal. Make sure you take the seeds out to prevent any clogging! Any time you eat an orange or use lemons, put the peelings into the disposal and smell the difference.
Want a visual tutorial on how to clean your garbage disposal? We got you covered:

You should smell the difference by now!


1. Remove excess debris from the blade with ice cubes and rock salt. Ice cubes keep the blades sharp!
2. NEVER use disposals with a septic system: it fills up your septic tank!
3. Keep silverware away from the disposal: a change of a little habit with a big result!

In Case of Emergency

1. Resetting may solve problems: most disposals have a reset button on the bottom. If your disposal isn’t working, check the electrical breaker and see if it’s on. If it is ON and the unit isn’t working, press the reset button.
2. Jammed disposal: contrary to the common sayings, DO NOT USE A WOODEN broom to unjam your disposal! What ends up happening is you could break the wood and some debris could sit inside the disposal, adding oil to fire!
3. Our tutorial on how to unclog a disposal: We have a tutorial on how to unclog and fix a disposal using various safe tools. It will save all your troubles!

Hope you have learned few tricks and tips on caring for your disposal. Remember, treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well in return. If you have any questions or want to submit more tips, tweet us @wintershomeservices or go on our Facebook page.
Don’t forget to share this if you find it helpful!
Keywords: garbage disposal, howtounclogGarbageDisposals, troubleshooting, drains, kitchensink


Are you Clutter-Free for the Holiday?

Whether it’s due to poor habits, or an advanced case of affluenza, we all have clutter at home. Besides the lost time of searching for missing things, clutter is extremely unsightly as well, especially during the holiday time when we have guests over. Check out our “Winters Declutter and organizing hacks 101” guide! We will provide you tips and ways to help you organize a clutter-free home.

1. Use Shoe Boxes as DIY Dividers

Use Shoe Boxes as DIY Dividers
Why spend money on drawer dividers at a store when you can make your own? All you need are scissors and shoe boxes. Cut the boxes in half by length or width, then simply tuck into a drawer and voila – you have your customized drawer dividers!

2. Stuffed Animals Handy on the Wall

Stuffed Animals Handy On The Wall
Stuffed animals on the floor collect dust and get lost. Why not keep them handy and clean? Attach half of Velcro strip to the back of a lightweight stuffed animal, and the other half to the wall. Of course, use the soft side on the toys so they stay fuzzy with no scrapes!

3. Plastic bags everywhere

Plastic Bags Everywhere
Plastic bags can be reused, so we save them. A good way to organize them is inside a tissue box.

4. Storage for cords

Storage For Cords
Cords can get tangled and take up more spaces than needed, simply take a hanger and wrap your cords around it.

5. No place for towels?

No Place For Towels
Use a wine rack to hold your towels so you have enough towels accessible for your guests too. Not to mention it doesn’t take up anymore room!

6. CD tower in the bathroom

CD Tower In The Bathroom
Turn the CD tower on its side – a great bathroom organizer without taking additional room!

7. FRAME your keys – no more losing them!

Frame Your Keys - No More Losing Them
A beautiful way to keep your keys organized and never lose them again! Simply take the glass from an old frame, cover the backing with paint, fabric, or decorative paper. Affix hooks and hang your keys.

8. Magazine racks for storage

Maximize Racks For Storage
Pot lids everywhere? No worries, use a magazine rack.

9. Not enough storage in the shower?

Not Enough Storage In The Shower?
Put another shower rod for extra storage. You can even dry your towels that way!

10. Not enough space for mugs?

Not Enough Space For Mugs?
Use rods for towels, and pick up some hooks and baskets and voila – you have your DIY IKEA-inspired coffee station! No more clutter in the cabinet to look for your special morning coffee mug!
Remember, there’s no such thing as clutter-free living because even the tidiest among us still tosses clothing on floors from time to time. Accept reality by establishing dedicated clutter preserves and only let it stays within boundaries. Build good habits, be consistent and be creative. Let us know how you like these clutter-free ideas and how you conquer your clutter!
Have fun decluttering!


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