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07

Sep

Why Do You Need Key Control Services?

Key control plays an integral role in a variety of industries today. From vehicle dealerships to government installations, control of keys and other equipment is essential to daily operations and employee safety. Any one of KEYper Systems’ many key control services offers you the accuracy and confidence you need for efficient and safe daily operations by providing instantaneous access to current key usage statistics and past access logs.

Inventory Management

Key control allows you to manage your inventory quickly and easily. You can tell at a glance whether vehicles or other items are present or have been removed for employee or client use—and by whom. Inventory management has many applications throughout the business world and beyond. Knowing which items are in use most often can help to improve efficiency and product flow. Depending upon the type of key control system you utilize, you can generate usage reports and statistics on a regular basis for data analysis purposes. Monitoring product or vehicle usage over the long term will help you to streamline your business based upon both your employees and customers’ needs.

Employee Safety and Integrity

Key control also plays a large role in employee safety and integrity. The management of keys and locks can protect employees on the job, as per OHSA regulations. A poorly-managed lockout system will not inspire confidence in your employees, nor will it help you maintain the safety and security you need to comply with federal and state safety standards. Knowing with the utmost confidence that your employees are safe on the job improves your company’s overall safety ratings, as well as employee attitude and morale. Additionally, key control can also play a role in maintaining employee integrity. Monitoring key usage allows you to monitor employee actions as well, ensuring that all regulations and safety codes regarding equipment and practices are followed at all times. The information you can gain via key and lock usage statistics allows you to take steps to improve employee safety and performance if necessary.

Property and Access Control

Property control is an important factor in many industries. Control of vehicles, dealer plates, keys, locks, and other equipment is necessary for smooth and safe everyday operations. Additionally, ensuring you have complete control over employee or customer access to certain areas provides safety and security in both government and civilian applications. Organized key control solutions will prevent unauthorized access of equipment or areas that are restricted for any reason. If you are concerned about a breach of safety or security, usage reports provide accurate and up-to-date information regarding property usage or access of restricted areas. 

Key control services offer a wide variety of applications that can improve your business model and ensure safety and security on your property. Visit our website to explore our customizable and secure key control systems, including electronic and manual key and lock control. You can find out more about the latest key control solutions and how they can benefit you on our blog.

06

Sep

Signs You May Need Pipe Repair

Your home’s plumbing consists of fixtures, drains, vents, and pipes. Each part of this system works in concert with the others to funnel water in and out of your home. It may come as no surprise that your plumbing pipes play a key role in the health and function of your overall plumbing. However, over time, one or more sections of pipe can degrade, causing leaks and other problems. Learning how to spot the signs that you may need pipe repair will help you take quick action to reduce wasted water and water damage in your Memphis home.

High Water Bills

Unusually high water bills are a common sign of plumbing problems. One of the best ways to catch plumbing issues in their early stages is to check your water bill each month. Because water usage can fluctuate throughout the year, compare your water bill with the same month in previous years. If your water bills are consistently higher than in the past and nothing about your water usage habits has changed, it’s time to call in a professional plumber. High water bills are typically due to leaks, but it can be difficult to diagnose a hidden leak without professional help.

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is another common indicator of plumbing problems. If you experience a sudden drop in water pressure, it could be due to failing pipes. Because your water supply pipes rely on pressure to send water to your fixtures, pipes that have multiple leaks or poor connections cannot maintain the pressure needed to deliver water consistently. As with high water bills, water pressure problems could be due to a variety of plumbing issues—that’s why it’s important to contact a professional plumber to diagnose the origin of your problem.

Wet Spots

Wet spots in your yard or your home typically point to a pipe leak. Sewer line leaks are accompanied by a foul smell; if you don’t notice an odor associated with wet spots, the leak may be in an incoming water line instead. You may notice that the floor or soil in your yard feels wet, warm, or spongy. Outdoor pipe problems can also cause overgrowth in certain areas of your yard when excess water is supplied to the plants in the area. Wet spots inside your home may also be associated with signs of water damage, such as dark streaks or mold growth.

Hot Spots

If your hot water pipe has developed a leak, you may feel “hot spots” under the floor of your home. If certain areas feel unusually warm, it could be because hot water is leaking just below your floor. If a hot water leak occurs outside your home, it can cause the vegetation in your yard to die from excess heat. You may notice that some areas of your yard have turned brown, while others are brilliant green.

Damaged or worn plumbing pipes can cause hidden leaks that waste water and result in extensive water damage throughout your home and yard. If you think you might need pipe repairs in Memphis, you can contact a professional plumber on our website for more information and personalized advice. Check out the other articles on our blog to find out more about troubleshooting common plumbing problems that could affect your home.

03

Sep

About Eco-Friendly Plumbing

Today, many homeowners are discovering the benefits of choosing eco-friendly solutions and services for the home. Energy-efficient appliances, recycled materials and goods, and environmentally-friendly cleaners can all benefit your family and help you save money. Your Hammond plumber can help you develop eco-friendly plumbing habits and make positive changes in your home’s plumbing system that will benefit your pocketbook as well as your local and global environment.

Drain Cleaning

Eco-friendly drain cleaning is a small step that can make a big difference in your home’s plumbing and your environment. If you reach for a bottle of chemical drain cleaner when your drains are running slowly, you’re not alone; however, these chemicals can be harmful to your plumbing and the environment. Rather than using caustic chemicals to clear your drains, consider eco-friendly solutions that are just as effective. The cheapest and easiest way to keep your drains clear is to flush them once a month with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour 1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, then follow it with one cup of vinegar. Cover the drain with a stopper or washcloth and let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes. Finally, flush the drain with a pot of boiling water. This solution can both keep your drains clear and remove stubborn clogs, although you may need to repeat the process more than once to address a clog. Alternatively, you can use an enzymatic drain cleaner, such as Mr. Rooter’s BioChoiceES® drain cleaner, to maintain and unclog your drains. Enzymatic drain cleaners contain beneficial microbes that eat away the organic components of clogs, clearing them without the need for harsh chemical solutions.

Water Heaters

Is your water heater ten years old or older? If so, you could benefit from considering a replacement. Today’s water heaters are designed to be more energy and water efficient than ever before. By using less water and energy than your current water heater, a new water heater will help to conserve these valuable natural resources and reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Traditional water heaters, called storage water heaters, are the most popular and cost-effective water heaters. Installing an ENERGY STAR rated gas storage water heater can save you $40 a year over your current model. Over an average 13-year storage water heater lifespan, your savings will add up to a total of $520. Alternatively, tankless water heaters create hot water on demand, rather than keeping it continually hot in a tank. Tankless water heaters cost more to purchase and install than storage water heaters, but can offer greater energy savings as well—up to $80 per year over a ten year-old storage water heater.

Are you looking for ways to green your plumbing so you can enjoy monthly savings and the knowledge that your home is healthier for the environment? Visit our website to learn more about our eco-friendly plumbing solutions and services in Hammond, Valparaiso, Portage, Merrillville, Dyer, and beyond. You can also check out our blog for more handy home plumbing tips and news.

07

Aug

Exploring OHSA LockOut/TagOut Rules and How KEYper Systems Can Help

“Hazardous energy sources” include electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other types of mechanical equipment that can pose a hazard to workers if handled improperly. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has thus instituted rules regarding the regulation and access of hazardous energy sources in the workplace. LockOut/TagOut procedures are designed to protect your employees through the control of devices that limit access to hazardous energy sources and allow machinery and other systems to be disabled during maintenance or repairs to prevent injury to workers on the job.

The Importance of Controlling Hazardous Energy Source

An estimated three million Americans perform job functions that could put them at risk due to uncontrolled hazardous energy sources. OHSA LockOut/TagOut regulations are in place to protect your employees while they perform work duties. During servicing or repairs, improper handling of hazardous energy equipment can cause injury or even death to workers who may be exposed to dangers that include electricity, heat, and more. Having standard LockOut/TagOut procedures in place prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year, in addition to reducing the number of missed workdays due to injuries incurred on the job.

How Employers Keep Employees Safe

The OHSA standards regulating LockOut/TagOut procedures state that employers must develop, implement, and enforce a system that regulates access to hazardous energy sources to protect employees while at work. This system may use either lockout or tagout devices to ensure equipment is not activated in circumstances where it could injure employees while servicing or repairing equipment or systems. Lockout or tagout devices must be identifiable by user and can only be removed by the employee who put it in place to ensure others cannot accidentally remove it while work is being done.

How KEYper Systems Can Help

KEYper Systems is a leader in providing key and lock control systems that can benefit your business. We know that key and lock replacement is costly, while improper use of locks could put your employees at risk. Our KEYper® key Lockbox Management Systems provide the tools your safety division needs to easily and properly implement OHSA LockOut/TagOut procedures. Each lock management system can store and manage up to 75 individual padlocks, either with or without locking enclosures. Every employee is issued an access peg for his or her individual lock. To use a lock, the access peg must be inserted into the port beside it; the peg cannot be removed until the lock is returned. This system provides you with an at-a-glance inventory of which locks and keys are currently in use, and by whom. Controlled access to your padlock and key inventory will not only increase efficiency by ensuring locks and keys are available to employees at all times, but also improve safety by strictly controlling access to lockout and tagout devices and providing you with up-to-date information on which devices are in use at any time.

Whether your business is small or large, KEYper Systems is here to offer cost-effective and secure key, lock, and license plate control systems. Our key management systems have been used by businesses, educational institutions, government installations, and more to improve safety and efficiency. You can learn more about our products or find support and training videos on our website; be sure to check out the latest news for more information about key management tailored to your needs. 

06

Aug

All About Plumbing Traps

Plumbing traps are u-, s-, or j-shaped bends in the plumbing pipes attached to drains. The purpose of these traps is to prevent sewer gases from traveling up the drainpipe and entering your home. However, because of their shape, plumbing traps are also a common place for clogs to form or foreign objects dropped down the drain (such as toys or jewelry) to become lodged. If you’re experiencing a stubborn clog or you’ve dropped something down your drain and want to recover it, checking and cleaning your trap may solve the issue.

Accessing the Trap

The plumbing traps beneath your sinks are the most readily accessible. To find the trap, look beneath your sink for the u- or j-shaped bend at the lowest part of the pipe. Before you access the trap, you’ll want to place a bowl or a bucket beneath the drain to catch any water still in the trap when you remove it. The traps attached to drainpipes that lead away from toilets, bathtubs, and showers are usually located behind a wall or beneath your floor. These plumbing traps will need to be accessed remotely by an auger. If you are concerned about something you’ve dropped down the drain and want to recover it, calling your plumber may be the best solution—he has more experience with using an auger to remove items to ensure they are not pushed down the drain.

Removing the Trap

To remove the plumbing trap beneath your sink, look for the nuts on either end of the bend. Loosen these nuts by turning them counterclockwise. If the nuts are difficult to turn, you can use a pair of pliers or a wrench to loosen them. Place a cloth between the nuts and your tool before turning them to avoid damaging the nuts. Once the nuts are loose on both ends, the trap should easily pull away from the rest of the drain. Keep in mind that there will likely be water inside the trap, making sure to dump it into your bucket.

Cleaning the Trap

Once you’ve removed the trap, clean it out with a pipe cleaner or flexible, soft-bristled brush. You may also be able to use your fingers to loosen a clog or flush it through with water from a different source. After you’ve flushed out the trap, dry off the exterior and put it back into place, tightening the nuts once more. It’s important to note that some traps can be cleaned without removing them. If your plumbing trap has a small access port at the bottom of the bend, you can try cleaning it through this port first. You’ll still need a bucket or bowl beneath the drain to catch any excess water.

Learning how to clean your plumbing traps is a great DIY plumbing skill to master. If you still need help dealing with a stubborn clog or backup, visit our website to find out more about our services or to contact a Memphis plumber for service. You can also stop by our blog to check out the latest plumbing news and tips to keep your drains flowing freely. 

18

Jul

How to Save on Your Summer Energy Costs

With warm weather approaching, you are probably dreading the day that you are forced to turn on the air conditioner. Running your AC all summer can cause your electricity bills to skyrocket, but there are a few ways you can cut down on your energy and air conditioner costs and still stay cool.

Weatherproof Your Home

Weatherproofing isn’t just for the winter months. Old windows and doors can cause drafts to come into your home, which makes your house colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. New windows help to prevent direct sunlight from warming your home, so you don’t have to crank your AC up as high just to stay cool. Weather-stripping your doors and windows can also help to keep heat outside during the summer months.

Have Your HVAC System Inspected

You should have your system inspected every spring. Your HVAC repairperson will inspect your air conditioner and perform routine air conditioner maintenance to ensure everything works smoothly throughout the summer. It’s also a good idea to have your ductwork checked to make sure you don’t have any leaks that could prevent your home from being cooled efficiently.

Turn Your Thermostat Down at Night

When the sun goes down, the temperature drops. If you run your AC during the day, your home should be sufficiently cool when you get ready for bed. Turn the air conditioner off or down and turn on a ceiling fan to keep you cool at night. You won’t have to pay to keep the house cool when you are sleeping, which cuts down on your monthly utility bills.

Consider Investing in a New Air Conditioning System

Today’s central air conditioning units are much more energy efficient than the ones made just 15 or 20 years ago. By installing a new unit, you can save a lot of money on the cost of operation, and you can feel good about making less of an impact on the environment. Look for models with the Energy Star logo so you know you are getting an efficient model. Your HVAC specialist can help you find the model that is the right size for your home, so you won’t waste money buying a unit that is too small to work properly in your home.

Update Your HVAC System with Zoning

Each room in your home is different. Some rooms get more direct sunlight than others, making them more difficult to cool—even with a new, efficient air conditioner. Your HVAC specialists can revamp your system to allow for heating and cooling zones that improve the efficiency of your equipment. This helps you to cool each room with the right amount of energy without using too much electricity. A room in the basement with no windows won’t need as much cooling as a second-story room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Zones help to even out the energy used to keep each room at an optimal temperature without driving your energy bills through the roof during the summer.

Air conditioner costs don’t have to eat a hole in your wallet. With some careful preparation in the spring, you can ensure your home will stay cool all summer long without costing a fortune. Talk to your HVAC specialist to learn more about how to control your home cooling costs this summer. 

16

Jul

When Do You Need to Get Your Air Conditioning Repaired?

A failing air conditioner is no way to usher in the warm days of summer. If your air conditioner is in poor shape, you won’t enjoy the full benefits of a cool and comfortable home when the temperature outside is high. A professional tune-up and repair service can have your A/C running at peak capacity in no time. How will you know if your air conditioner needs repairs this summer? Keep reading to learn a few of the most common indications that you need to have your air conditioning repaired.

Your Home Is Too Warm

Many homeowners don’t think about their air conditioner until it stops functioning as it should. If you’ve been setting the thermostat lower with no noticeable result, your air conditioner needs to be checked by an HVAC professional. There are many causes for a malfunctioning air conditioner, ranging from thermostat problems and worn or damaged parts to dropping efficiency due to system age. Air conditioners are generally expected to last an average of 10-15 years. If your HVAC system is more than 15 years old or quickly approaching that age, your air conditioner may be ready for replacement. However, not all cooling problems require an all-new air conditioning system to solve them. Contact your local HVAC professional for an evaluation to determine whether the cause of your cooling problems is repairable or if you’ll need to replace your air conditioner to restore indoor comfort.

Your Energy Bills Have Skyrocketed

One sure indication of HVAC problems is a significant increase in your energy bills with no obvious cause. While your energy bills can fluctuate from month to month, check each month’s bill against the same month’s bill in previous years to get a better idea of how much you should be paying. If there has been no significant change in temperature, occupancy in your home, or other factors from previous years to the current date, a high energy bill could indicate that your air conditioner is experiencing problems that are causing it to lose efficiency. Having your system repaired can restore its ability to convert energy input into cooled air without wasting excessive energy.

Your Air Conditioner Runs Constantly or Noisily

Does your air conditioner run constantly, as though it’s always trying to play catch-up? Is your air conditioner suddenly making sounds like screeches, bangs, pops, and other worrisome noises? These are two indications that you need a professional to evaluate your home’s cooling system. An air conditioner that seems to work all the time is having difficulty keeping your home at the proper set temperature, thus running more often to make up for the continual temperature difference. A change in the noise level or types of noises your air conditioner makes is often associated with failing or damaged parts. Both of these issues can be diagnosed and repaired by an HVAC professional.

Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance and repairs to maintain efficient, problem-free cooling for your Atlanta home. If you are experiencing problems with your air conditioner, don’t wait—click over to our website to contact an HVAC professional for personalized advice. You can find out more about maintaining, repairing, and replacing your home’s furnace or air conditioner on our blog.

09

Jul

Water Heater Maintenance and Repairs

Keeping your water heater functioning efficiently will ensure that hot water is always available for your every need, reducing the need for repairs and prolonging the overall lifetime of the appliance. While most water heater maintenance and repair tasks are simple and can be done on your own, more complex repairs should always be performed by a professional plumber.

Check the Temperature

Water heaters are able to put out hot water over a wide range of temperatures. However, most manufacturers recommend a water temperature that is higher than actually necessary for comfort in your home. Reducing the water temperature to 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit will not affect your comfort, but it can reduce your energy costs as well as long-term wear and tear on your water heater. If your water heater’s temperature dial isn’t labeled in degrees, use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the hot water you’re getting from the tap.

Test the TPR Valve

Traditional water heaters store hot water in a tank, where it remains ready for use until you open a hot water tap. These water heaters also have a safety component called a TPR valve, or “temperature-pressure-relief” valve, which will open automatically to drain water if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. Without this valve, high pressure inside your tank could cause it to explode. Test the TPR valve two to three times a year by pulling up on the valve partway, then releasing it. Water should drain from the valve; if the valve continues to drip after a few minutes or no water is released when you pull it, the valve will need to be replaced. You can replace the TPR valve on your own, but you can also contact your plumber to do the job for you if you’re not sure you want to perform this repair yourself.

Flush Regularly

Minerals and sediments carried into your water heater’s tank with the incoming water can build up on the bottom and sides of the tank over time. These deposits can become corrosive, causing the tank to leak. If you discover a leak in your water heater’s tank, you’ll need to contact your plumber to replace it. However, regularly flushing your water heater will reduce the risk of corrosion inside the tank. To flush the water heater, connect a hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank. Turn off the power and incoming water line to the unit, then open the drain valve and allow all the water to drain completely. If the water is rusty, it means it’s carrying built-up sediment with it (and out of your tank). You can repeat this process one or two times, as necessary, by closing the valve and refilling the tank before draining it again. Once the water runs clear, close the valve, remove the hose, and restore water and power to the appliance.

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your water heating costs low and your home’s water heater functioning properly for many years to come. You can find more helpful plumbing tips when you click through the articles on our blog, or visit us online to contact a Memphis plumber for personalized advice and fast, friendly service.

Maintaining Your HVAC System through the Summer Months

Regular maintenance is a must to keep your HVAC system functioning efficiently all summer long. Maintaining your air conditioner and furnace this summer won’t take much time, but it can save you stress by preventing potential breakdowns that can affect your indoor comfort. As an added bonus, most of the tasks you perform to keep your air conditioner in great shape will help protect your furnace during the summer as well. Contact a local Atlanta HVAC professional for more details about maintaining your home’s HVAC system to continue enjoying energy efficiency and problem-free function.

Change Your Air Filter

One simple—yet essential—way to keep your HVAC system in top condition this summer is to change its filter regularly. Air filters are designed to remove airborne particles such as dirt, dust, and pollen, preventing them from reaching your HVAC system’s working components and circulating throughout your home. Over time, however, the filter will fill up with dirt and dust, reducing airflow through your entire HVAC system until the filter is replaced. Dirty filters can reduce HVAC performance by up to 15 %, increasing your energy bills and affecting the longevity of the system. Changing your filter takes only a few minutes, but will help protect both your air conditioner and furnace from dirt and dust buildup that can rob these systems of efficiency and cause premature wear.

Clear the Area

In most homes, the furnace and air conditioner are located in a garage, basement, or crawlspace. There areas are often used for storage, but placing items too close to your HVAC system could affect the performance of your unit. If these items fall, they can cause damage to the system or its ductwork. You can avoid this issue by keeping the area around your furnace and air conditioner clear for at least three feet in all directions. Limiting clutter in this space will also make the area less enticing for pests, which can damage your HVAC system as well. Keep in mind that your central air conditioner has an outdoor component as well, which houses the compressor and condenser. Maintaining the outdoor component of your air conditioner is just as important as protecting its indoor counterpart. Trim landscaping and trees away from the condenser and check the area frequently for signs of pests. Clear away other debris and check the area after storms or windy days to ensure blowing or falling objects haven’t damaged the system.

In addition to these steps, you should also schedule a yearly professional tune-up to keep your HVAC system performing at its best. Visit our website to learn more about our comprehensive HVAC services in Marietta and Atlanta, or to schedule service for your home. We invite you to explore the other articles on our blog for more do-it-yourself tips and inside information on when you need to call in a professional to handle heating and cooling issues.

08

Jul

Appealing Apartment Decorating Tips

Your new Sunnyvale apartment is like a blank canvas just waiting for your own personal touches. If you’re feeling at a loss as to how to decorate your space, keep reading for some of the most popular apartment decorating tips to help you create the appealing, chic look you’re after.

Group Like Objects

If you’re looking for a way to create a stunning wall or shelving display, the key is to find the right group of objects to draw and appeal to the eye. “Like objects” are best for these types of displays, but this term can actually cover a range of similar properties. Consider finding objects made from the same materials, colors, or shapes—for example, hang a variety of mirrors on your wall or group a number of glass vases on a table or shelf. Although these objects are all alike, you can vary their size, shape, and other properties as long as they all have one thing in common. Such groupings create a sense of flow and coherence while still remaining visually interesting. A good rule of thumb is to use an odd number of objects. Interior designers have found that odd-numbered groupings are more visually appealing than groups of even-numbered objects.

Use Bookcases for More than Books

Bookcases needn’t hold only books—in fact, interspersing other objects among your many tomes offers a great storage solution as well as an appealing decorative element. Use bookcases in your dining area to store plates and table settings alongside your favorite volumes. Bookcases can be used in living areas to store DVDs, CDs, books, and game consoles in addition to decorative accessories or family photos. You can even bring bookcases outdoors to serve as a place for plants (or your entire garden) when adding greenery to your balcony or patio. If you’re looking for other ways to spice up your bookshelves, consider painting the back of your bookcase a different color. Draw from the decorative colors in each room to create a unique bookcase that complements the look of each area of your apartment.

Highlight the Appeal of Fabrics

Fabrics are a great way to add visual depth and texture to any room. Using throw pillows and blankets on your living room couch creates a cozy space to watch movies or hold an exciting game night. Pile the pillows onto your bed to create a colorful display that makes your entire bedroom look brighter and more inviting. Using colorful napkins and placements in the kitchen and dining areas draw the eye and make friends and family alike ready to enjoy a meal in your home. Area rugs can be placed over tile, vinyl flooring, and carpeting alike to soften a room or create an appealing focal point. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and textures, but keep in mind that every piece within a given room should share at least one shade in common.

Are you ready to let your personality shine when you decorate your new loft-style apartment in Sunnyvale? Loft House’s one- and two-bedroom apartments feature all the space you need right alongside the finest amentias, including incredible views, European wood-style cabinetry, and designer quartz countertops. Would you like to learn more about our luxury apartment community? Visit our website for all the information you need on our floor plans, features, and availability. 

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