2017 has blown into town on blustery, flurry-filled winds and buried our seaside community beneath mounds of snow. In the aftermath of the winter storm Helena, many Norfolk and Virginia Beach homeowners may find themselves cranking up the heat, or even fiddling with the settings on the water heater to get that real-deep-heat shower we’ve been craving.

The snow has closed schools and offices, but don’t let it smother your 2017 resolutions. If you’ve pledged to clean up your home and finally take care of those back-burner issues, take advantage of this time stuck inside the house to get started.

Conduct a thorough cleaning, starting from the top of the house (ceiling fans, light fixtures) to the bottom (baseboards, floors). Now that everything is clean, take stock of what is in good condition, what could be improved, and what should be replaced.

Plumbing fixtures are an often-overlooked but very necessary aspect of home efficiency. A few tweaks or a regular tune-up could improve the efficiency of your plumbing system and even extend the lifetime of your appliances.

The holy grail of cold weather plumbing is, of course, the water heater. If yours is older than ten years, it’s probably time to have it replaced altogether. If it’s younger than that, take a look at your records and check when it was last serviced.

The next time you go to wash a dish or take a shower, pay attention to how long it takes for the water to heat up. Notice when it starts to cool down. If you’re not able to enjoy a hot shower for more than ten minutes, then you’ve got a problem.

Consider replacing your water heater even if you have an older model, not because newer is better, but because newer is also greener, and more efficient. A modern water heater, particularly a tankless model, could cost the same as your current monthly water bill. Weigh that against the decrease in monthly bills you’ll see from that point on, and we think the solution is clear. If you own your home and plan to own or sell it someday green, energy efficient and low-flow plumbing can only increase the value, while saving you money in the meantime.

When you call on one of the experienced plumbing mechanics at Atomic Plumbing in Norfolk to advise you on a tankless heater, you’ll receive a thorough walk-through of the installation and settings. These heating units are mounted on the wall, so you’ll get back a corner of your utility room for extra storage. Instead of being stored in a large tank, the water flows through valves within the unit to ensure water is at the temperature you want it, when you want it.

We can better explain it by showing you how a unit actually works. Atomic Plumbing is happy to make an appointment with you to talk about the tankless heaters we recommend and how quickly we can have one placed and operating in your Norfolk or Virginia Beach home.

If you were left shivering during the first weeks of 2017, don’t wait for the problem in your plumbing to correct itself (it won’t). Let us help you stay warm in the winter and keep your dishes and laundry clean.

Decrease your bills, increase your household’s efficiency, and raise the value of your home. Those sound like some pretty great resolutions for the new year, and we’re happy to help you get started.

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