As we move out of summer and into the cooler months, it’s a good time to think about gas fireplace installation. It may seem odd to think about fireplaces while the days are still long and the weather’s still hot. However, getting fireplace projects started now means you can have your fireplace finished and ready to go when cold weather arrives. Aside from looking great, and adding value to your home, here are some benefits you can expect from your new fireplace:
Convenience and Savings
It’s a great feeling to push a button for an immediate fire (with a temperature you can control), without needing to carry firewood or clean out a hearth. And on top of that, the heat from this fire will be constant, require very little supervision, and save on energy costs. Gas fireplaces come in a variety of styles and functions, from wall-switch activation to fully customized remote controlled units.
One of the biggest benefits of a gas fireplace is safety. These are much safer for children and pets, and for homes overall with no sparks to worry about. Additionally there’s no concern of particles or harmful fumes being released into your home. Say goodbye to the smell of woodsmoke on your upholstery and clothing.
As you begin planning for your gas fireplace, it’s important to have a NFI certified gas specialist, such as Bob Beckwith of RLB Services, handle the installation – both for safety and efficiency. Bob has passed rigorous exams to demonstrate expert knowledge in the installation (and repair) of gas fireplaces, so you know the job will be done right. In fact, other companies turn to RLB when they need fireplace expertise.
Call today 703.330.0400 to start the conversation about your new gas fireplace installation.
Call The Experts At RLB Services
Are you having a problem with your plumbing that is driving you crazy? Have you reached out to plumbing professionals only to get the run around – and a plumbing issue that never gets repaired. When you call RLB Services owner, Bob Beckwith, you won’t get the run around.
“I just wanted to tell you how wonderful it has been working with RLB Services over the years. It’s nice to know that when plumbing work is required, it will be done quickly and professionally!” – Tod T.
Bob has been taking care of plumbing issues in homes and in commercial properties for over four decades. This experience and ongoing learning of the new technologies that he embraces, have set RLB Services as the leader in true plumbing repair and installation. The solution is always within reach, and the customer’s safety and satisfaction is the goal of every job that is trusted to the team at RLB Services.
If you are looking for not only answers to your issue, but also would like to learn more about the how and why this problem may have occurred, Bob Beckwith is the plumbing professional for you. Contact Bob today to learn more about how he can help you.
Spring Spruce Ups For Your Plumbing
Spring is the perfect time for a homeowner to perform preventative maintenance on the plumbing in their house. This protects your home from more serious plumbing issues and provides peace of mind during this season of change.
Listed below are some areas of the home that should be checked at this time of year:
- Check for drips or leaks in your faucets and showerheads. If a problem is detected, call Bob Beckwith at RLB Services to repair as soon as possible. By having a professional look at the leak, you will save yourself from even bigger problems in the future and money on your water bills.
- Clean mineral deposits from faucets and shower heads. Unscrew them and soak them in vinegar overnight. Once they have soaked, clean them off with a dry towel and screw them back in place.
- Make sure that your sinks and tubs have strainers installed to prevent debris from clogging your drain lines. Be sure to clean out the strainers on a regular basis.
- Check the hoses on your washing machine and dishwasher for leaks or bulges. If the hoses are older than 10 years, they should be replaced. Consider using braided stainless steel hoses rather than rubber hoses.
- Check your toilets for cracks or leaks. Add several drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 30 minutes, it has a leak that should be repaired. Contact RLB Services for the repair of a toilet..
- If you have a tank water heater, drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency.
- Tankless water heaters should be flushed to remove mineral deposits. Always check with your water heater manufacturer for specific instructions regarding maintenance of your specific make and model.
It May Be Time To Go Tankless!
If your water heater is due for an upgrade, now is the perfect time to consider a tankless alternative. However, many homeowners are unaware of the benefits of these newer models. Here, are three reasons a tankless water heater could be the best choice for your family’s water needs:
- Efficiency — In addition to their increased energy-efficiency, tankless water heaters are appreciated from the space-saving perspective. With a compact design, tankless water heaters afford a significant amount of additional storage space for the homeowner.
- Cost — Although the intitial money invested in a tankless water heater is more than a traditional water heater, they result in lower energy bills, thus saving you money in the long run. While they are incredibly efficient, electric-only tankless water heaters may require your plumbing contractor to rewire your house. Natural gas tankless water heaters are a bit less energy-conscious, but they’re still miles ahead of traditional models. Plus, these heaters qualify for a federal tax rebate!
- Environment — Tankless water heaters are twice as long-lasting as traditional alternatives, which makes them more environmentally friendly. These modern machines also come equipped with an average warranty that far surpasses that of a traditional tank.
To schedule the commercial or residential installation of a tankless water heater, or to start with an honest estimate, call Bob or Sandra Beckwith at RLB Services today!
Is Your Water Too Hot Or Not Hot Enough?
Is your water heater giving you problems? Water heater problems normally make themselves known – especially in the winter months.. Two of the most common issues include a hot water faucet that fails to deliver hot water or the water suddenly becomes dangerously hot.
If this happens to you, don’t worry – you are not on your own – RLB Plumbing Services has the solution. RLB Services has been providing plumbing services in the Northern Virginia area for over 40 years and has been recognized as an expert in the industry by the leading supplier in water heaters. Bob Beckwith has been specially trained provide you with the best products and superior maintenance and services for water heaters.
Let’s take a look at these two common issues mentioned above:
Water Too Hot
The first step is to adjust the temperature dial on the front of the water heater, wait a little while, then check the water temperature at a faucet. But if adjusting the temperature dial doesn’t do the trick, call Bob and his team to check your water heater for more complex causes..
Not Enough Hot Water
An undersized water heater is usually the culprit if it seems like you never have enough hot water in your home. If the problem is chronic—or if you’ve increased your needs for hot water by installing a big new soaking tub or high-flow shower head—you’ll probably need to get a new, larger water heater. The best solution would be the installation of a tankless water heater. With this choice, you will never run out of hot water.
On the other hand, if you’ve had enough hot water in the recent past but your water heater suddenly seems to supply less hot water, first check the dial on the water heater, as discussed above. Our professionals can easily diagnose your problem and fix it for your family’s comfort and peace of mind.
If outdoor temperatures have dropped significantly, your water heater must work harder to heat and maintain the cold inbound water, and the water cools more as it travels through pipes that run through unheated spaces. This calls for adjusting the water heater’s dial to a slightly hotter temperature.
We believe that in order to keep your system safe and working efficiently year ‘round, it’s important to have routine checkups on your hot water heating equipment. If you have an older system that needs maintenance, or are considering more energy efficient options like a tankless water heater, we can help you make the right choices when it comes to your heating needs. Call Bob or Sandra Beckwith today to schedule an appointment!
Plumbing Tips To Protect Your Home This Winter
Is your house prepared for the cold air that is upon us? Your plumbing inside and out is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. If you have been the victim of burst pipes from a winter freeze, you will understand the expense that occurred because of the damage and repair that had to be done. There are some simple actions that you can take to prevent this from happening. Take a look these smart plumbing tips to keep your home dry during the coming months:
Locate the Main Shutoff Valve In Your Home
When the plumbing crisis occurs, you and your entire household should know where this vital valve is located in the home. Shutting off the water is the first thing that needs to be done with a plumbing crisis. Locate your shut off valve, mark it clearly for everyone in the home and you will be a step ahead in minimizing damages and heartache caused by a plumbing crisis.
Consider an Automatic Water Shutoff Valve
An automatic water shutoff valve uses a water sensor that is placed on the floor to detect water seepage or leakage. This sensor is connected to to the water valve that controls the water flow. If a leak is detected, the water valve turns off the water valve and stops the flow of water to the appliance or device. The signal is actually an electrical signal from the sensing pad to the control unit that activates a magnetic shutoff valve.
Before you install the automatic water shutoff valve, you must turn off the home’s water supply, and drain the unit’s water pressure by turning on faucets in the home until no water comes out. Once the water has stopped, you can install the valve or valves. Once this is complete, turn on the water supply and test the valves for leaks. This is a simple way to gain peace of mind.
Protect and Insulate Your Water Faucets To Prevent Freezing
If you have any exposed water or drain piping in an uninsulated space such as in a crawlspace, attic, exterior walls or detached buildings on your property, make sure that you seal any air drafts around the fixtures, wrap the pipes with electrical heating tape first and then make sure that they are insulated.
An easy way to insulate a water pipe is to install a hose bib cover on each outdoor fixture including frost free hose bibs. Hose bib covers are square or dome shaped to fit right over outdoor faucets. They are made of thick foam so they are quite effective at keeping most of the cold away from the valve. Hose bib covers can be found in most hardware or home improvement stores and are very inexpensive and easy to install. Covers can usually be reused for several years so they are a good long term purchase.
Drain The Water from Your Outside Lines
When freezing weather is in the forecast, turn off the water to outside faucets and drain all water from the line. The exterior faucet needs to have its water supply turned off inside the house, and you also need to drain water from it by opening up the exterior faucet. And remember to disconnect your garden hoses from the sill cocks or outside faucets and drain them if you store them outside.
Going Away For a Winter Getaway, It’s Better to be Safe Than Sorry
As we all know, the winter months can include travel and extended absences from the home. A good idea to prevent a plumbing crisis is to set the thermostat to no less than 55 degree or if you don’t have an automatic shutoff valve, simply shut off the main valve to protect pipes while you are away.
Gas Fireplace – Beware Of Excess Soot Buildup
This is the time of year when many of us gather around the fireplace to spend quality time with family and friends. It’s also that time of year when the drop in temperature is noticeable inside and outside of the home. The need for heat becomes a constant in most households.
Of all the different types of fuel people use to power their fireplaces, gas is one of the most popular. A quality gas fireplace offers accurate temperature control, clean combustion, low maintenance and, with the advances in ceramic log designs, a fire that is amazingly similar in visual appeal to a traditional wood fire.
This doesn’t mean that gas fireplaces never have issues, so let’s look at one of the most common ones and how you can resolve this.
Excess Soot Buildup
We are all aware that a gas fireplace burns much more cleanly than a wood fire, over time a buildup of soot is inevitable. This soot residue is not easy to see, but you can check quite easily using a white cloth and gently rubbing it on some of the ceramic logs in the firebox. (Make sure that there is no fire burning!) If you see thick black marks on the cloth, you will know you have the beginning of a soot issue.
Excess soot happens for two primary reasons:
Badly positioned logs – if logs aren’t positioned properly, an even burn is impossible and some amount of fuel will go unburned.
Clogged burner ports – this will cause the same effect as badly positioned logs. Have a professional perform a thorough cleaning of the logs and burner ports. Aside from the suggestions above, there are a few other things you can do to prevent a buildup of soot.
- Regularly inspect the combustion screen. If you find a moderate or major amount of soot, clean it according to instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Check your chimney for any debris that might be creating an obstruction. This can include leaves, twigs, bird nests and anything else than can reduce air flow.
- Make sure your damper is completely open and in good repair.
If you have a gas fireplace in your home, be sure to choose the Bob and the team at RLB Services when you need something done right! We have your safety and peace of mind for your family at the forefront at all times. Call RLB Services today for all of your gas fireplace maintenance, repair and installation needs!
What You Don’t Know About Your Chimney Can Hurt You
As the temperature falls, many of us turn to our fireplaces for warmth. What you don’t know about your chimney can hurt you – especially if you have a gas-heating appliance that uses your masonry chimney as a venting system.
Every day, without any visible signs, acid produced by your gas appliance may be eating away at the inside of your chimney. The resulting damage can compromise the safety of your family and the value of your home. But a thorough annual inspection of your chimney, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and the Chimney Safety Institute of America, can alert you to potential problems before they become costly or dangerous.
Most homeowners are aware of the need for chimney cleaning and inspection if they own a wood-burning stove or regularly use their fireplace. But many don’t realize that a gas heating appliance – whether it is a furnace, boiler or even a water heater – relies on the chimney for proper venting of the exhaust. Appliances fueled by natural gas or propane may not produce the visible soot that appliances burning other fuels do, but they can deposit corrosive substances in your chimney. In many cases, these acids may wreak havoc on your chimney without producing any external symptoms until the problem has become dangerous or expensive to repair.
Every homeowner wants to prevent heat that could be used to warm the home from escaping up the chimney. What many don’t realize is that some amount of heat is necessary in order to provide the draft that makes a venting system work. Because there is less heat in the venting system with higher-efficiency appliances, the heating and venting system must be properly matched in order to achieve the safest and most efficient operation.
Any of the following symptoms could point to a venting system that is not matched to your heating system:
- Damp patches on interior walls or exterior walls
- Peeling wallpaper
- Blistered paint
- Stains on the ceiling
- White stains (efflorescence) on outside of the masonry chimney
- Eroded mortar joints
- Crumbling bricks
Safety is always number one when it comes to enjoying a roaring fire in your living space. Make sure that your furnace was installed according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and the National Fire Protection Association Standards.
Mr. Bob Beckwith , owner of RLB Services, has received his Certification as a National Fireplace Institute® (NFI) Gas Fireplace Specialist. NFI has created the standard for certification in the hearth industry. To achieve this certification, Bob had to pass a rigorous exam and demonstrate expert knowledge and proficiency in the installation and repair of Gas Fireplace appliances.
When you choose the gas fireplace experts at RLB Services, you can be assured it is done right and for your peace of mind. Call Bob and Sandra to schedule your appointment today!
Plumbing Maintenance – Ten Dos and Don’ts For Homeowners
Most homeowners take their plumbing system for granted until something goes wrong. What most people don’t realize is that your plumbing can remain in optimal condition with a little ‘love and care’ a long the way. At RLB Services, we love to help our customers with challenging issues. However, we also like to help you avoid hundreds of dollars in unnecessary expenses. Take a look at these 10 plumbing dos and don’ts that will help you keep your water system in tip-top shape:
DON’T pour fats or cooking oils into your sink. Although this may be tempting when you are busy in the kitchen, these fats and oils can build up in your system causing blockages and backups.
DO keep an eye out for trouble. When it comes to plumbing, little leaks can lead to big problems. Be alert to signs of impending plumbing failures: Leaking faucets, damp cabinets, rocking toilets or dripping refrigerators all signal problems that need prompt attention.
DON’T pour hot water into your toilet. This is common advice on the internet….do not do it! Toilets weren’t designed for hot water and pouring it into the toilet can cause the bowl to crack.
DON’T pour coffee grounds in your sink drains. Even when running water, coffee grounds may clump together and clog your pipes. The best place for coffee grounds is in the trash bag or better yet…the compost bin.
DO open the drain on your water heater twice a year to remove sediment. The sediment could harden, which makes your heater run less efficiently. If sediment continues to accumulate it can permanently damage the water heater.
DON’T place cornhusks, onion skins, celery, or other high-fiber material into your disposer. These items can tangle and thread around the disposer and even burn out the motor.
DO pour two to three gallons of boiling water down shower/tub drains once per month to prevent excess build-up of hair and grease.
DON’T keep wastebaskets under the sink. Bumping drain pipes may cause leaks.
DO grind ice in your disposer. This helps to keep the blades sharp.
DO periodically remove and clean all aerators. Over time the aerator may clog with dirt and mineral deposits. Soak your aerator in cleaning solution that targets these build ups to prevent uneven spray, decreased flow, and odd-tasting water!
While it is true that today’s plumbing options are both efficient and low maintenance, it’s a known fact that ANY appliance can become a nuisance if neglected. That is why you need to call RLB Services at 703-330-0400 and trust Bob Beckwith for expertise with your plumbing system!
Gas Fireplace – Smart, Efficient and Hot!
Fireplaces have always been among the top amenities for homeowners looking to buy a new house. While the cost of adding a fireplace to a house that you currently live in used to be complicated and expensive —requiring the right supports to hold the weight of the hearth—today’s options are not only affordable, but a relatively easy home improvement. As long as you have a natural gas connection or propane availability, you can install a gas fireplace almost anywhere in your home.
Routine maintenance plus proper installation and use is essential to fireplace safety as well as the ability to burn clean.To ensure top performance, a gas fireplace needs servicing once a year by a certified gas fireplace professional who inspects the burner, fan, venting, pilot light and thermostat, and even cleans the glass.
In addition, the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) recommends that all vents for vented gas fireplaces be inspected on an annual basis by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and also recommends the installation of a carbon monoxide detector with all hearth products.
Whether you are in a home and want a gas fireplace installed or you need your gas fireplace repaired, when you choose the gas fireplace experts at RLB Services, you can be assured it is done right and with your safety and peace of mind at the forefront. Call RLB Services today for all of your gas fireplace repair and installation needs!
"I just wanted to tell you how wonderful it has been working with RLB Services over the years. It's nice to know that when plumbing work is required, it will be done quickly and professionally."
- Tod Read More