Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen

Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen - Brubaker Inc.

Remodeling a kitchen is a major project. You have to demo and remove the old kitchen, update insulation, new cabinets and drywall work, and the list goes on.

To help you save time, money, and frustration, here are some tips for updating an outdated kitchen.


Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen - Brubaker Inc.

Whenever remodeling the home, it’s important to consider ventilation and other common indoor air concerns. The kitchen and bathroom are the two rooms in your house that absolutely need ventilation. If you don’t ventilate properly, wallpaper and paint could peel, rust and mildew will develop, and the room will smell and be harder to clean. So keep in mind that your stove will need a properly sized range hood. Make sure you speak with a professional about your ventilation since too much power could cause air to get sucked into your home via the chimney and/or flue, creating a dangerous backdrafting situation.

Here are 5 ventilation tips for your kitchen remodel:

Test for moisture

By detecting moisture problems early, you will know whether you need extra sealing or ventilation. Moisture can easily lead to warped wood, damaged foundation, and mold. Conduct a moisture test before your remodeling project begins so you know what kind of humidity level you are dealing with.

You can measure the humidity levels in your home with a hygrometer (not a moisture meter).

If you get measure a Relative Humidity (RH) reading above 60%, you have high humidity and most likely moisture-compromised building materials or an air leak problem. Anything lower than 30%, and the air is too dry. The ideal humidity level is somewhere between 30% and 50%.

If you are remodeling your basement and humidity levels are too high, you may need to seal the foundation.

To avoid mold, bacteria, and other moisture problems, fix leaks and clean up spills immediately.

Schedule professional inspections for fuel-burning appliances

If you are using fuel to power your heater, ventilation system, or anything else, make sure you schedule a professional safety inspection form a certified HVAC technician. Carbon monoxide, known as the “Silent Killer,” is created whenever fuel is burned. Larger renovations almost always use fuel-burning appliances, such as backup generators. An HVAC professional will be able to check CO levels as well as recommend and install ventilation systems.

If you are adding a furnace, water heater, or generator, make sure that they are not enclosed. Always consult a qualified HVAC technician before running these new items. Any fuel-burning appliance needs proper ventilation and should be handled with care. Learn more about the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Consider an HVAC zoning system

If you are busting at the seams and installing a new room or section of the home, ask your HVAC contractor about zoning solutions. Instead of running ductwork to the new area, you can use a separate zoned system, which uses no ducts. The add-on will have a separate temperature control. Learn more about zoned heating and cooling.

Fix insulation problems early

When remodeling your home, it’s a good idea to ensure proper insulation. Consider insulating both hot and cold water pipes before you enclose them. This will increase energy efficiency and prevent frozen pipes in the winter.
Keep in mind that there are minimum insulation requirements for remodeling.

Basement insulation is different from attic insulation. Consult a professional HVAC technician about proper insulation and ventilation before tackling any remodeling project.

Assume paint in homes before 1978 contains lead

You should assume that paint in home built before 1978 contains some lead. Lead-based paint is a harmful pollutant that can be extremely damaging to brains and nervous systems. For more information on lead safety, visit the EPA’s Lead Page.

In conclusion, you want to detect as many problems as you can before any work begins. Find and fix the underlying source of your humidity, insulation, and ventilation problems. Otherwise, the problem will simply resurface down the line.

When done properly, remodeling can significantly improve your quality of life. Make sure everything is safe and in good shape by scheduling a pre-renovation consultation with the professionals at Brubaker Inc.


If you want to save money, it’s a good idea to look at IKEA for things like cabinets. Although they are made with medium-density fiberboard (MDF), they are more than strong enough to support whatever countertop you want to add, whether it be granite, quartz, concrete, or something other countertop material.


Even the best plumbing system isn’t meant to last forever. If you live in an older home and have pipes that frequently leak or are made from lead or galvanized metal, you may be due to have it repiped. Repiping a home is a large undertaking, but the experts at Brubaker Inc. are equipped to get the job done with ease.

Faucet Installation and Repair

Whether you are looking to have your existing faucets repaired or replaced or you are having faucet fixtures installed in a brand-new bathroom, you need a plumber in Central Pennsylvania who can get the job done right. Even a minor leak in your faucet can drive up your water bill and waste thousands of gallons of water, so it’s important to address minor problems as quickly as possible and ensure that all new faucets are installed properly.

Install Waterproof Outlets

We are often surprised how many homes are not properly equipped with GFCI-protected outlets. Any outlet that is in close range of moisture, like the kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor outlets, should be GFCI-protected. If your outlets  are in reach of any water and aren’t GFCI-protected, don’t use them. You can tell if you have GFCI outlets if they have a test and reset button on them. 

For more information regarding GFCI protection, visit our page on home electrical safety.


Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen - Brubaker Inc.

During the pandemic, many families are spending more time in the kitchen. All that extra time cooking and entertaining demands a well-lit space to ensure recipes, ingredients and preparation can be seen clearly. Pandemic or not, the kitchen is usually the focal point of the home.

Many modern homes have islands where food is not only prepared but also served. How is the lighting in your kitchen? Is it warm and inviting? Does the household want to spend time there? If you have been thinking about changing the lighting in your kitchen (prompted by the holidays or simply practical reasons), these tips should serve as a great starting point. We’ve compiled the most important aspects to consider when looking into a new kitchen lighting design.

Design experts agree that the ideal light for a kitchen requires four different types of lighting: task, accent, ambient and decorative. Each type of lighting offers a different value and when combined they create a warm and engaging space:

Task Lighting

This is the most important type of lighting for the kitchen. Task lighting ensures that specific areas that are essential for food preparation are given a spotlight. Over the sink, under cabinets and over the island are key areas where lighting should be focused. The pantry is also an important part of your kitchen and should have task lighting so that everything is easily recognized and accessible.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting in the kitchen is important if you’ve got key pieces of art or architecture that you’d like to highlight. It’s also a great way to showcase glass or tableware collections inside cabinets or on shelves. While accent lighting isn’t essential for all kitchens, it can definitely help open up a space and create dynamic areas that catch the eye. Track lighting and wall sconces are good fixtures to highlight objects – as well as conventional up-lighters (traditionally used for wall art).

Ambient Lighting

Most people don’t consider ambient lighting to be an important component in their kitchen. But ambient lighting helps to create a warm environment by filling in dark spaces and softening lines. Ambient lighting helps to make the space more inviting; creating a pleasant environment where people want to spend time. Track lighting offers a variety of ways to add an ambient texture. Pendant lights and flush-mounted ceiling fixtures are also good options for ambient lighting.

Decorative Lighting

The fixture itself is just as important, if not more so, with this type of lighting. An ornate hanging pendant light or elegant chandelier might be the perfect accent for your kitchen, but you should be mindful of both the size and utility of the fixture. The design should fit easily within the space and provide a modicum of light for a given area. Even though the fixture’s main purpose is to add some visual panache, a decorative light in the kitchen should be multi-purpose.  

When you decide that you’d like to rethink your kitchen lighting, the professional electricians at Brubaker Inc. can help with every step. We can offer guidance on the ideal fixtures for your space and help with all aspects of installation and service.


Have you ever purchased a new appliance only to get it home before realizing that there isn’t enough wattage for its use? It happens with less frequency today as many modern appliances require less wattage than previous versions. New energy-efficient washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators and ovens use considerably less power than they did even a decade ago. But there are still appliances on the market that require a large amount of wattage and, depending on a home’s electrical system, might require adding a circuit or subpanel.

Read our notes carefully before considering buying a new appliance, especially if you own an older home.

  • Before buying a new appliance check the wattage rating to make sure that your home’s electrical system can handle the load. Most large appliances have the wattage information on a sticker in the back.
  • If your home is 40 years or older and hasn’t had a recent electrical inspection, you should schedule one with a qualified electrician before buying new appliances.
  • Not sure about the electrical load of a circuit? Multiply the circuit’s amperage by the circuit’s volts. The circuit breakers on your electrical panel should have the amps written on the handles. Most residential circuits are 15 or 20 amps, but can go as high as 60 amps. Household wiring is typically 120 or 240 volts. So a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit will be able to handle up to 2,400 watts.

More on Watts, Amps and Volts

You can determine the load capacity yourself or have a professional assess the wattage for you.

  • Some new appliances (including washer/dryers, hot tubs and air conditioning window units) might require the addition of a new circuit.
  • As long as the electrical panel has room for a new circuit, the wiring is not that complicated. It will require an electrician to run a cable.
  • Before adding a new circuit make sure your home’s basic electrical service can handle the extra load. If not, an electrician will need to upgrade your service.
  • If the service panel does not have enough room for a new circuit but your basic service can handle the added load, an electrician can install a subpanel with room for new circuits. Always make sure that your home’s electrical system can handle a new appliance before going through the trouble of choosing and buying one.

The licensed electricians at Brubaker Inc. are experts at new appliance wiring and can help you with any question or concern regarding a potential purchase. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help with circuit load concerns, installation or service.

Schedule a Safe Appointment with Brubaker Inc.

Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen - Brubaker Inc.

The technicians at Brubaker Inc. have been serving Central Pennsylvania homes and businesses since 1945, and are proud to be a company our customers can trust. We put health and safety first and are equipped to handle plumbing, electrical, and HVAC projects of all types and sizes. Our team provides unbeatable workmanship and exceptional customer service, and we are available 24/7 to lend a hand when you need it most.

Save valuable time and money with our kitchen remodeling services:

  • Faucets and Fixtures

  • Countertops
  • Garbage Disposals

  • Water Heaters
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
  • Gas Appliances
  • Water Filtration Systems
  • Appliances
  • And More!

Our technicians are specialized in the plumbingheating and coolingelectrical, and remodeling trades.  We have a 24 hour Service Division and our Appliance and Remodel Design Center.  You can still find us at our same location, providing Service that Exceeds Expectations, since 1945. Whether you’re looking for a minor repair or a full remodel, we are here for you.

Visit Our Remodeling Center

Tips for Updating an Outdated Kitchen - Brubaker Inc.

Visit our remodeling center at 1284 Rohrerstown Road Lancaster, PA 17601 (Get Directions »).

During the pandemic, we have slightly modified hours of operation. Those hours are:

  • Monday through Friday, 9:00am until 5:00pm
  • Saturdays 9:00am until 3:00pm.
  • Closed Sundays

As always, you can also shop online, email, or chat with us! When you visit us at our Showroom and Design Center, please be sure to wear a mask. We will be observing all of the guidelines as put forth by the Governor and the CDC. 

If you are considering a kitchen or bathroom remodel, speak with us first. We’ll figure out what fixtures will give you what you’re going for, provide options so you can see what’s available, then help you order and install whichever ones you choose. We’ll be by your side the whole time, so your remodel doesn’t have to be stressful at all. We’ll also do our part to make sure everything happens according to schedule, so you’re never wondering.

To schedule an appointment, please fill out our online form or call us anytime at (717) 299-5641.

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