How to Remove Foul Bathroom Odors

Walking passed the bathroom and getting hit in the face with an unpleasant smell has got to be the worst experience ever! Whether this stench is man-made or a result of poor maintenance, this odor should not exist. Luckily, there are a handful of things you can do to remove these awful aromas from your home.

Remove Foul Odors

foul odors in bathroom

  • Bathroom Ventilation – Almost every bathroom should have a small exhaust fan installed to help ventilate. By using this fan, you will be able to remove foul odors from the bathroom as well as moisture. Excess moisture from hot showers can cause smelly mold and mildew to begin growing.
  • Air Fresheners – While air fresheners don’t remove odors, they do a fine job of masking them. Rather than heading to the store to purchase a chemical spray, opt for a homemade variety. Mix two cups of water, a tablespoon of white vinegar, a teaspoon of baking soda, and 10 to 20 drops of whichever essential oil flavor tickles your fancy!
  • Desiccants – In order to absorb moisture in your bathroom, consider using desiccants. These dry materials come in the form of silica gels — or go the stylistic route and include plants in your bathroom (natural desiccants). Plants like ferns and lily plants do a phenomenal job of removing foul odors from bathrooms.

Clean the Bathroom

  • Cleaning Materials – Make a paste using baking soda and lemon juice and apply it to any fixture you would like to clean. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then spray the surface with some white vinegar. Allow the paste to bubble and then wipe it clean.
  • Clean the Toilet Tank – Failing to clean your toilet tank regularly can cause it to stink like urine. Open up the tank, pour in some white vinegar, and get to scrubbing! Once finished, flush the toilet and repeat the process another time or two.
  • Keep An Eye Out for Mold – Seeing black specks on the ceiling or green debris around pipes and fixtures is an obvious sign of mold. Some not so obvious signs: itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, rashes, etc. Not only can mold be unsightly to see and smell, but it can also negatively impact your health.

What to Do Next?

  • Re-caulk tiles, bathtub, and shower
  • Close the lid before flushing and keep it closed
  • Regularly empty out the trash bin (yes, every bathroom should have one)
  • Wash bathroom towels, mats, rags, curtains, etc. as they can cling onto foul odors
  • Contact your local plumber to fix any leaks

Foul odors and bathrooms oftentimes go hand-in-hand, but they don’t have to and you can put a stop to this smelly trend! When your bathroom needs plumbing repair or new pipes/ fixtures due to mold, contact Len The Plumber. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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Air Conditioning in Schools – Is it Essential for Learning?

air conditioning in schools

Schools are in session, starting in August and September, or sooner. Some districts do not have air conditioning in schools. This leaves students to sweat through the day.


Districts across the U.S. faced these problems at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. Schools from Detroit to Los Angeles had heat-related closures. Kindergarteners through college students were affected.


While uncomfortable, is the heat hampering the learning process? Research has shown that indoor air quality can impact learning. Could cooling also affect a child’s education? Should air conditioning in schools be mandatory?


air conditioning in schools

Why is there no air conditioning in schools?


A lack of cooling in the classroom stems from various problems. Many schools have air conditioners, yet they don’t work. Some school districts cite unfinished maintenance requests. Others say they don’t have the money to fix or replace their cooling systems.


Some schools do not have existing air conditioners. Cooling systems were never installed in some schools. In those that wish to obtain air conditioning, the funds aren’t available.


The effects of no air conditioning in schools


When students and teachers are sweating, are they able to concentrate on learning? Probably not.


When exposed to very cold temperatures, the brain isn’t thinking about learning. Instead, it’s reminding the body that it’s cold. It’s interrupting learning, urging the body to take action to warm up. Cooling down the body to avoid heat exhaustion consumes energy. This consumes bodily resources which could be used for learning. These physical demands can affect brain function, which impacts decision-making in learning.


Studies have shown that children’s academic performance declines in higher temperatures. In hotter classrooms, headaches and heat exhaustion symptoms develop. These physical symptoms can hinder academic performance. Warm classrooms also decrease interest and alertness, distracting students. Even research performed by high school students shows that test scores fall in warmer environments!


High humidity often accompanies high temperatures. Increased humidity can make students feel sleepy. Concentration tests scores are also lower in humid, hot environments.


Should air conditioning in schools be mandatory?


Despite the research, very few school districts have mandated temperature maximums, nor is air conditioning required in schools. Educators and parent organizations country-wide have brought attention to the need for cooling in classrooms.


Without cooling, schools are forced to adapt when temperatures rise. Baltimore County schools in Maryland has a policy that non-air conditioned schools will close if the day’s heat index is expected to reach 90 degrees or above by 11 a.m. The rule was passed out of concern for unhealthy classrooms. The school system has battled state government for funding to install air conditioners. Politics seem to stand in the way of giving children comfortable and safe learning environments.


A lack of air conditioning in schools has caused school officials to create contingency plans for hot weather. One L.A. school reduces students to their seven air conditioned rooms, doubling the kids in each class. Large class size is often associated with a decline in student performance.


These examples are just a few of the measures taken by schools to protect students from hot weather. Installing air conditioners in schools where climate warrants their need would solve the problem. Students wouldn’t miss valuable school time. When in class, their surroundings would be comfortable and promote learning.


Looking at research, it appears that the ideal temperature for classrooms is between 72 to 77 degrees. Schools in warmer climates will need cooling systems to manage classroom temperatures. To improve students’ learning abilities, it’s safe to say air conditioning in schools is needed.


7 Must-Read Air Conditioning Articles


The topic of air  conditioning is an important one. Below, we’ve compiled seven additional air conditioning articles we thought you might find helpful:


  1. 5 Strategies To Lower Summer Energy Bills
  2. What To Check Before Calling The AC Repair Person
  3. Choosing The Right Air Conditioning System For You
  4. Is It OK To Run Your Air Conditioner During A Thunderstorm?
  5. Air Conditioning Savings Tips
  6. What’s Not Normal For AC Systems (And What Is)
  7. Will Replacing Your Air Conditioner Really Pay Off? connects homeowners, business owners, and institutional facilities, such as schools, with trusted local contractors who can handle all heating and cooling needs. Whether you’re the superintendent of a school system needing to create an ideal indoor learning environment for hundreds of students, or a parent with little learners at home, we can help. Browse our FAQs, Guides or Videos or search for HVAC technicians to help with any air conditioning needs you may have.


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How to Tell if Your Plumbing Pipes Are Worn Out

Between each faucet, shower, toilet, drain, and plumbing fixture, your home’s plumbing system gets used a generous amount each day (for years on end). Eventually, corrosion and leaks will begin to form, costing you money in high water bills and future repairs. It’s important to find worn out plumbing early, and here’s what you should look for:

Things to Know Beforehand

  •  worn out plumbing pipeAs the years go by, plumbing can begin to break down, leak, or burst.
  • Eroded plumbing and leaks can exist within your home, but can remain unnoticed for extended periods of time. Unknown plumbing problems like this can cost you more money as time goes on.
  • Have your plumbing and fixtures inspected annually, especially if your home is over 50 years of age.
  • Annual inspections and routine maintenance can save you thousands by preventing emergency plumbing replacements.

Keep an Eye Out

While you should have your plumbing inspected annually, you should always keep an eye out for things that look suspicious. Stay on the lookout for brown stains on walls, ceilings, and any surfaces below plumbing fixtures. These stains could reveal hidden leaks and areas of high moisture that need to be addressed.

What Color is Your Water?

The next time you fill your bathtub or a cup of water from the tap, take a look at the color of the water. If there is a brown or yellowish tint (especially after being away for the weekend), this could be a sign of rust and decay within the pipes. Seeing discolored water is a sign that you should have a plumber come to inspect your home’s pipes.

Rain Drop, Drip Drop

After taking a shower or washing your hands, it’s common that a few drops of water will drip out of the faucet. However, water shouldn’t drip out 10 minutes after using the faucet. Even if the drip is occurring at an extremely slow rate, this leaky faucet should be fixed before it worsens.

Plumbing is designed to last for a very long time — however, leaks, corrosion, and buildup can cause your pipes to become worn out. For those who are in need of plumbing repair or replacement, contact Len The Plumber. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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Plumbing Leaks That Can Attract Pests

Have you ever wondered why insects and rodents are commonly found living in unfinished basements and crawl spaces? This is because of the high levels of moisture that are present in these spaces. This same causation exists around plumbing fixtures and pipes that are leaky and need repair.

Pests That LOVE Moisture

  • pests and plumbingBook Lice
  • Camel Crickets
  • Carpenter Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Silverfish
  • Termites

Plumbing to Inspect/Repair

  • Leaky Faucets – A sink faucet (or shower head) can leak with a noticeable steady drip, a less-than noticeable slow drip, or an unseen leak near the handles or base where the piping connects. At least once a month, it’s important to check the parts of each faucet — including underneath the sink where most leaks go unnoticed.
  • Basement Plumbing – For homes with basements (or crawl spaces), this is where most of the plumbing runs through the house — usually along the ceiling. For unfinished basements, the chances of being infested with pests are great due to the high moisture levels. If any of this plumbing begins to leak or develops condensation, this will only add to the risk. For finished basements, look for any brown ceiling stains that could signal there is a leak in one of these pipes.
  • Water Utilizing Appliances – The dishwasher and washing machine are two appliances that utilize gallons and gallons of water each time they’re used. If either is too old, has one part that begins to malfunction, or if there’s a clog in the water line, a leak can occur at any moment. Make sure these appliances are working flawlessly; call a repairman if either begins to malfunction.
  • Water Heater Maintenance – Like dishwashers and washing machines, the water heater is another plumbing fixture that can easily leak if a part is broken or maintenance isn’t performed. To avoid having any leaks that could lead to water damage and eventual pest infestations, have a plumber service and flush out this fixture annually.

Who would have ever thought that your plumbing could be the reason behind why you have so many insects and rodents living inside of your home? In order to avoid pest infestations, make sure your plumbing system and all of its fixtures are inspected, serviced, and repaired when needed. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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Aprilaire Humidifier Replacement Guide

Do you have an old Aprilaire humidifier that is over warranty and beyond repair? Companies come out with new models and series of products all the time, constantly trying to make their products more user friendly, efficient and effective. However, that becomes troublesome when you look to replace your current humidifier and find that it is no longer manufactured. Below is a guide to show you what new Aprilaire humidifier model replaces your old model.


New Aprilaire Replacement Models  Old Aprilaire Models       
 700 Automatic / 700 Manual  110, 112, 700, 760, & 768
 600 Automatic / 600 Manual  220, 224, 440, 568, & 560
 500 Automatic  500 & 550
 400 Automatic  445


Okay, so you see the new model that replaces your old Aprilaire humidifer, but will it fit the hole that is already in your ductwork? Great Question… Below we have the Plenum Opening (or opening in duct work) sizes so you can be sure you are getting the best replacement for your home.

Aprialire Model Number Width Measurement Height Measurement
 110  13 58  11 1316
 112  19 38  12 1516
 220 10 18  11″
224  15″  12 38
400 Automatic & 400 Manual 9 34  12 12
 440  13 34  11 14
445  13 34  11 14
550, 500 Automatic, & 500 Manual  9 38  9 12
 560  9 34  12 12
 568  9 34  12 12
 600 Automatic & 600 Manual  9 34  12 12
 700 Automatic & 700 Manual  14 78  14 316
 760  14 78  14 316
 768  14 78  14 316


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Furnace Filters 101

Selecting the right furnace filter for your heating and cooling system is crucial when it comes to  producing and sustaining a healthy, clean and pure home environment. For those who don’t know, or just need a reminder, furnace filters remove dust, dirt, pollen, allergens, bacteria and other air pollutants from your home’s air – enhancing indoor air quality for you and your family. Just selecting the correct filter is not enough to guarantee safe air. You must also make sure you are following the guidelines and conditions based on your manufacture’s manual. This will ensure your system runs efficiently and effectively.Below are the most important factors to consider when selecting an air filter for your home:


5254017-tangled-tape-measure-against-a-white-background Filter size: 
 The most typical sizes for a furnace filter are 16″ x 20″, 20″ x 25″ and 16″ x 25″ however many other sizes are available for purchase on our site. The size of your filter will be located on the side of the door on your filter cabinet.  The filter must fit snuggly in your furnace. It is important to note that you must have an exact fit for your cabinet -“close enough is not good enough” in these circumstances. A good fit prevents air from slipping around the edges of the filter. Another important note is that many manufacturers produce filters that are compatible in other companies cabinets.


For example, most Honeywell filters will fit in a Lennox Furnace Cabinet. Therefore, it is important that before making a purchase, you need to  check the compatibility information in the product details section for each filter to confirm that it is a direct replacement for your system.


Filter thickness:  A filter’s thickness can range from 1″ to 5″.  As a general rule of thumb, a thicker furnace filter will last longer and can be more efficient. Your system configuration will determine the thickness of the filter that you can use.


Pleated vs. Non-Pleated:  For the most part, pleated furnace filters are more efficient and last longer than simple fiberglass non-pleated filters.  Pleated filters contain much more surface area to catch pollutants/contaminants and have the ability to have smaller pores to capture smaller particles while still allowing full air flow.


Filter Efficiency:  MERV MERV MERV! MERV is the standard rating system accepted by The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the air filter industry. This numbering system captivates a system enabling consumers to evaluate and compare mechanical air filters for overall effectiveness in removing airborne particulates.  In the most simplified explanation, the higher the MERV rating, the greater the efficiency in removing contaminants and pollutants. Merv 10 is typical for a normal household. However, if anyone in your home has allergies, asthma or any other respiratory conditions, pets or if you live in a dusty environment you should aim for a MERV 12 or higher rating.

Refer to the chart below to find the perfect Furnace Filter for you home!


MERV Rating Typical Controlled Contaminants Air Filter Type
1 – 4 >10 micron particle sizePollen, dust mites, sanding dust,

textile and carpet fibers

Disposable:   Fiberglass or Synthetic Panel Filters

Electrostatic:  Self Charging woven panel


Washable: Aluminum Mesh Filters

5 – 8 3.0 – 10 Micron Particle SizeMold spores, hair spray, cement dust,

dusting aids, pudding mix

Pleated Filters: Disposable, extended surface area, thick with cotton-polyester blend media, cardboard frameCartridge Filters:  Graded density viscous coated cube or pocket filters, synthetic media.

Disposable:  Synthetic panel filters

9 – 12
1.0 – 3.0 Micron Particle SizeLegionella, humidifier dust, lead dust, milled flour, auto emissions, welding fumes Box Filter – Rigid style cartridge filters, may use lofted or paper media.Bag Filter:  Non-supported microfine fiberglass or synthetic media, 12-36 in deep, 6 – 12 pockets
13 – 16
0.3 – 1.0 Micron Particle SizeAll bacteria, tobacco smoke, proplet nuceli (Sneeze) Box Filter – Rigid style cartridge filters, 4 – 12″ deep, may use lofted or paper media.Bag Filter: Non-supported microfine fiberglass or synthetic media, 12-36 in deep, 6 – 12 pockets

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Furnace Smells Home Owners Should Never Ignore

Stinky Air Conditioner

Weird smells circulating through your home? Is it coming from your furnace? Are you in danger? Furnace smells are indicative of many issues that are important not to ignore, both for the safety of your family and the furnace itself. Three Smells You Should Never Ignore from Your Furnace:


1.) Rotten Eggs Smell: The rotten egg odor is a profound indicator that there is a natural gas leak and should immediately be taken care of. Open doors and windows to let fresh air in and evacuate the house. Making sure to stand away from your home, call 9-1-1 and then your gas company.


2) A Burning Electrical or Metallic Smell: If you smell any odor similar to an overheated motor this could be a sign your furnace blower motor is seizing up due to worn bearings. This can lead the motor to use excessive voltage and overheat. In addition to the motor overheating it can cause the wires attached to it to melt and produce an electrical hazard. If you smell a burning electrical smell throughout your home, turn off your furnace at the thermostat and call an HVAC technician to inspect your furnace.


3.) Chemical Aroma: Odors that resemble the chemical formaldehyde scent may indicate a cracked heat exchanger, which is a very serious issue. The heat exchanger is the mechanical function inside the furnace that transfers heat from the combustion chamber to the furnace plenum. If the heat exchanger is cracked, poisonousness carbon monoxide fumes can be circulated through the home’s duct work. With that being said, treat any chemical smell with caution and respect, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

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