No matter the time of year, you use a lot of water, right? In the summertime, you’re probably using it to run the sprinklers and in the fall and winter nice, hot showers. Chances are, you’d rather not waste any of that water—after all, you’re paying to use it right?
Fortunately, our team is here to help! We’ve provided some helpful tips below on how you can successfully conserve water in your household. As a result, you’ll wind up saving money, too.
How to Save Water
Water is a precious resource in our homes, and you want none of yours to go to waste, right? Read on for some ideas on how to use your water most efficiently.
Keep Your Showers Under 10 Minutes Long
Look, we get it! This is the time of year that relaxing hot showers feel like everything. But the fact is, this is one of the most common ways to waste water. This is particularly true because many homeowners turn the water on for a few minutes before even getting in, to let it reach the high temperature they’re aiming for.
Get Leaks Repaired Immediately
Have you noticed that there is a dripping faucet somewhere in your home? Perhaps a toilet keeps running after you flush it. Whether you have a plumbing appliance that sprung a leak or a pipe rupture, the sooner you call our professional plumbers to fix it, the sooner you can start conserving water again.
Make the Switch to Water-Saving Appliances
Are you looking to upgrade your home and make it more efficient? For many homeowners, this means upgrading their lighting to LED, investing in solar electricity, and getting energy-start heating and cooling systems. But what about your plumbing?
You might be surprised to find that upgrading to a low-flow toilet, low-flow faucets, and low-flow showerheads can save you gallons of water each month.
Turn the Faucet Off While Brushing Your Teeth
This might not seem like a huge deal, but leaving the faucet on and water running while you’re brushing your teeth actually wastes a pretty large amount of water. Make sure to turn off the tap until the time comes to rinse!
Get Your Pipes Cleaned
Whether it’s a buildup of hair, limescale, soap scum or the like, materials that stick to the sides of your pipes can harden up. When they do this, they decrease water flow and pressure within the pipe, leading to leaks and corrosion. It’s also a very frustrating problem to have when the water pressure drops.
And no, store-bought chemical drain cleaners are not the answer. In fact, these have very caustic chemicals in them that will eat away at the lining of your pipes, and then eventually lead to plumbing damage. For thorough drain cleaning that makes a difference, you’ll want to get in touch with our professionals. We will conduct a video pipe inspection to find the exact location of your clog and/or leak, and then adequately address your plumbing from there.
This is just one of those years where nothing feels like it’s been going right. We’re not just talking about the state of the world, but we’re talking about your heating system. Your furnace has chugged along happily for years until this year it seemed like it just wouldn’t cooperate. It was making noises, it was struggling to heat your home to the temperatures you specified on your thermostat, and your bills have been steadily going up. Is it finally time to call it quits and invest in a new system? Or perhaps you just need targeted repairs?
We’re here to help you make the most informed decision when it comes to the future of your heating system, your home comfort, and your budget. Let’s talk about whether or not you need furnace repair in Montclair, or if it might be time to replace the system. We’ve got you covered!
Let’s Take a Look
We’re about to lay a lot of information on you, but not all of it will be relevant to you and your furnace. We’re approaching this with a “different strokes for different folks” mentality, and know that every furnace is going to have a different problem depending on many factors. That’s okay! We want you to look and see if any of these problems apply to you, your home, and your heater. Depending on how many of the following points you’re dealing with, you could need replacement services instead of repair services. So, let’s jump right in.
Age. Age plays a huge roll in whether or not you need to repair or replace your furnace system. If your heater is getting up there in age, like 10-15 years old, then your most cost-effective move is going to be replacing it, regardless of what else is going wrong.
Frequent repairs. This is a good sign that your heater is starting to wear down. Parts aren’t built to last forever, and especially in a furnace, this can become a safety concern over time. If you’re constantly calling for help, and shelling out more and more money for repairs, then consider replacement.
Inefficiency. If your heater is only a couple years old and the bills are starting to rack up, consider maintenance services or call us for targeted repairs. That being said, as a system gets older it begins to lose efficiency. You need to decide for yourself, in addition to the other points on this list, if it’s time to finally replace it with a system that has better efficiency levels.
Comfort levels. What’s the point of having a furnace system if it’s not heating your home to the levels you wish it were? Take note of every time you encounter a cold spot, or every time you wish it were warmer in your home but your furnace just can’t quite get there.
It All Adds Up…
Not everything we mentioned signals that you should definitely replace your furnace. However, if you’re encountering multiple things from this list, then there’s a good chance your system needs more than just a simple repair. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but our team is always available to help you make the right decision.
Each and every home has plumbing. But what is plumbing exactly, and how does it work?
In essence, plumbing refers to the various water systems in your home. But that’s a very general way to look at things.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about what is plumbing. So that you can better navigate your home when speaking to contractors, friends, and family.
Whenever you’re ready to acquire new knowledge on the topic of plumbing, keep reading.
What Is Plumbing: The Basics
All pipe systems are involved in two primary categories, water intake, and wastewater out, this is true for all homes, regardless of the number of bathrooms and kitchens. The drains are usually in close vicinity to venting systems, because they have to be close due to construction regulations.
When you try to resolve any plumbing issues, make sure to turn the water supply off. Most older homes are short shutoff, so you might have to shut the water down at the main. By doing this, you will avoid any surprises because the incoming water pressure is usually at 50+ psi, which means you will get drenched before even trying to fix the problem.
The outtake and intake systems work in unison to keep the plumbing efficient. If you’re a first-time owner of a home, you should know how these components work together to make sure your new home is working properly, but also to determine where the problems are.
The Water Supply System
The system of pipes that brings fresh water into the home is the water supply. This system is directly related to water pressure. The water in the pipes comes from two sources, the wells, and the city water.
City water gets into the home via a large pipe that is parallel to the street. If your main connection has an issue, call a specialist. Damage to the main can result in hefty fines and civil lawsuits.
People who are not connected to the city water will usually get their water from the wells. Water has to be pumped into the home via higher pressure. Reduced pressure prevents water from getting to the highest and furthest points of the home.
Running faucets and showers are usually the first to be depleted by low pressure. Blockages and leaks affect the pressure range. If a leak occurs because of a loose seal, it can easily be handled from the home.
But if the leak requires re-piping, you are best off calling a specialist plumber. The water meter is connected to the main pipe, and there’s usually a shutoff valve after or before your meter.
The valve cuts off the water supply, thus making ut very helpful when repairs have to be done.
Water Supply System Maintenance
Piping that is installed correctly is leak-proof. However, systems disintegrate over time, so in some cases, a plumber might need to fully overhaul the plumbing.
The water supply system functions perfectly when pressure is abundant. This makes the system quite responsive to damage.
For instance, a drainage system leak will cause damp-related issues. On the other hand, leaks in the water supply will make things worse. It will affect the water pressure, and you might not be able to flush the toilets or run the showers.
Furthermore, leaks are very harmful to the water supply. Because of system sensitivity, the problems are best handled by specialists.
The Drain Water Vent System
There’s a reason the water supply and drain water vents don’t overlap, and there’s a reason for that. But there are bridges throughout the entire home where these systems meet. Plumbers usually refer to these bridge fixtures.
As a layman, you know them as faucets, sinks, washing machines,s and anything like that. A fixture is defined as any point at which water is used. Clean water comes into the fixture, and wastewater leaves.
The drainage system is heavily gravity reliant because the wastewater has to be rid from the home. The system consists of three parts:
The drain traps
The drain pipes
The drain vents
And that’s about it. But we need to cover these parts in greater detail.
P traps, also known as drain traps are pipes in the shape of a U and they prevent plumbing system backflow. The pipes retain water consistently, mostly because of their shape.
But why should the pipe hold water? Well, the drain water vents are connected to the sewer line. Without the trap, sewer gases make your home stink terrible. Drain traps allow hair, grease, and other particles to sediment.
This sediment is then removed to clean the plugs. Without the traps, this debris would move all the way down. Consequently, clogging the pipes.
Downward angled pipes that use gravity to push water into the sewer line are drain pipes. By simple review, you will easily know that the system is more complicated than the water supply. This is because gravity reliance is not simple.
Drain pipes have to be developed and installed in a manner that lets them use gravity to their benefit. For instance, the angle of the pipes is very important. The pipes are bigger than those on the water supply.
The size allows the pipes to push waste without blocking the flow.
If a bottle with water is turned over, water flow is erratic. This is what happens when water is flowing through closed systems, it’s not smooth. But that’s why you have drain vents.
The drain vent goes from the roof to the drainpipe. It works by releasing air into hte plumbing and ensuring a smooth flow.
Damage to these systems will be present within the total efficiency of your entire drain vent system. Sub-standard items will affect your plumbing output. You should always buy quality products.
Drain Water System Maintenance
The biggest problem that is common to drain water systems is clogging. Hair is probably the most common cause, but in the kitchen, grease is the clear winner. To reduce the risk of clogs, you need to clean your plugs often.
You should also keep a keen eye for leaks. The drain water vent piping is always out of sight. Some signs of a leak are damp ceilings, mold infestations, stinky rooms.
Structural damage is bound to occur from leaks. It does not hurt to call a professional plumber to assess your plumbing system for leaks.
Simply because you do not see the problem, it does not mean it’s not there.
Clogging happens over time. When you notice water drainage slowing down, it’s time to take some preventative protocols into considerations. You should call a specialist over to unclog the pipes.
They will clean all the plugs where applicable, and they will assess your general plumbing to see if there are any greater issues.
You should always assess exposed piping for signs of wear. Look out for leaks if possible, and also look for signs of leaking where the pipes cannot be seen.
Some signs of leaky pipes are damp and mold, ever-running meters, high water bills.
Water Heater Drainage
You should consider emptying your water heaters at least twice annually. Sediment often collects in your heart, and it drastically reduces efficiency in the long run. If the heater is already worn out, call your plumber.
Most plumbers spend lots of time as an apprentice. Even the newest plumbers are more experienced than you are at operating a heater.
If not already, consider insulating your pipes for the wintertime. Most people know this already, but also most people forget to do this. Having your pipes freeze is not even a big problem, water expands as it freezes.
Insulation is useful for ensuring that your pipes are not exploding.
Strainers are very useful for protecting your pipes from clogs. They are used to keep debris from entering the pipes in the first place. But, strainers can also get damaged.
You should replace them when possible. In most cases, a simple strainer is what will make a big difference in your plumbing.
Plumbing problems are often caused by reduced water pressure. If your pressure is low, always call a plumber. Being quick with your response will ensure that you don’t start to incur huge fines in the long run.
In showers, reduced pressure often happens because of showerhead sediment. Make sure to clean the showerhead before you call a plumber.
When leaks are very serious and they decrease your water pressure, they are best left to specialists. You are probably going to have to endure pipe replacements.
Another thing you should do is understand how your sewer line works. Try to avoid planting trees on the line of sewage, because the roots can cause serious long-term damage.
For everything to go smoothly, you should also snake the lines regularly. In most cases, leave the sewer problems to specialists. Damage to shared sewage lines can clog your plumbing, and your neighbor’s plumbing, which is not advised. If this happens, you can attract civil lawsuits.
Plumbing for You
Now that you know what is plumbing, you are well on your way to ensure that your home plumbing is efficient and clean. However, if you think you can solve all of your plumbing problems on your own, think again.
Plumbing is a complicated subject, no wonder specialists spend years on understanding and mastering the craft. If you’re interested in plumbing services local to you, get in touch with us and we will happily help you out.
If you are trying to figure out which piping is right for your home, you have probably come across both cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) piping and copper piping. Even though copper has been around since the dawn of modern plumbing, it has been displaced slightly by PEX piping in contemporary projects. At the same time, both options have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Longevity: Copper Lasts Longer Than PEX Piping
It is difficult to outlast the longevity of copper pipes, which usually last somewhere between 50 and 70 years. In contrast, PEX piping is going to last between 30 and 50 years. In houses that use excessively hot water (such as 180 degrees F or higher), or in houses that use water with chlorine, PEX piping can wear down even faster.
For copper piping, acidic water can shorten its lifespan significantly; however, copper pipes should outlast PEX piping by about 20 years, on average. In homes that use a private well, it is a good idea to check the well water for signs of chlorine or acid, as this can shorten the lifespan of the pipes.
Cost: Copper Is a Little Bit More Expensive than PVC
The cost of copper pipes has risen significantly during the past few years because of their value in recycling projects. Expect copper pipes to cost somewhere between 60 and 65 percent more than PEX pipes. It is critical to price out both options before deciding which to choose.
Connections: PEX Requires Fewer Connections than Copper
Copper is a rigid metal so it has to be cut down to size perfectly for every section of the home. Then, whenever there is a corner, elbow fittings need to be installed as well. This adds to the price of labor because there are more individual pieces to install.
In contrast, PEX piping runs continuously from a manifold (a panel for distributing water) to each individual fixture. PEX will bend around corners with ease, which means that no additional connections are required. The flexibility of PEX is a major advantage in every project.
Consider the Benefits and Drawbacks
These are a few of the most important points to keep in mind if you are considering PEX versus PVC piping. For any questions or concerns, contact the pros at A to Z Statewide Plumbing at 954-981-2133!
There are several cases where you won’t need to call a plumbing contractor. For instance, plumbing problems like clogged toilets or drains are often easy to fix with a plunger or a drain unclogging agent.
But, what happens if you face a major plumbing issue that you can’t fix yourself? Do you have a plan of action in place? Do you know who to call?
You probably know that the water heater in your house won’t last forever. But because the average water heater that receives regular maintenance can sometimes last for over two decades, it’s easy to slip into thinking that it’ll always be working for you and you won’t have to worry about it.
Then one day you notice rust on the water heater, or a rusty discoloration appears in the hot water. Alarm bells go off in your head. Rust can’t be a good sign. In fact, it might mean the water heater is finished and it’s time to have a new one installed.
But is this 100% true? Is a water heater with corrosion a water heater destined for the recycling yard?
Well, Not Always
No question about it, rust or other types of corrosion are bad news for any metal appliance. It permanently weakens the metal and its presence usually indicates general wear and failure of preventive measures. However, corrosion restricted to certain areas of the water heater can be remedied if those parts can be replaced.
For example, corrosion may appear on the heat exchanger, the part of the gas water heater that moves heat from combustion gas into the tank. Corrosion here is serious because it can create a gas leak, but it might not be affecting the rest of the water heater. The heat exchanger can be replaced and leave the rest of the system intact—although you’ll need to talk to the repair plumber about whether this is a cost-effective move. Corrosion appearing on some connectors can sometimes be repaired as well, although the plumber will need to inspect the rest of the water heater to find if the corrosion has set in elsewhere.
But Often, Yes
Water heaters are designed to resist rust for most of their service lives, with precautions like glass linings in the tanks and special anode rods that draw chemical reactions away from the rest of the water heater. When corrosion starts, it usually means that the water heater is so old these preventions are no longer enough. If the tank is corroded, it must be replaced before it starts to leak—and replacing the tank means replacing the water heater.
Finding rusty discoloration in the hot water is often one of the biggest warnings that a water heater needs a replacement. If the discoloration isn’t due to sediment or dirt in the pipes (which will soon vanish), then it means the tank is already rusted heavily on the inside. Don’t hesitate to call for plumbers to examine the water heater and tell you what the next steps are. If the water heater is already over 20 years old, it’s in the range where you should already be thinking about a new one.
Getting a water heater in Glendale, AZ is a good opportunity to upgrade to a better model, or even make the switch to a tankless water heater or a hybrid water heater. Ask our plumbers about the different options available to make your new water heater a fresh start for your home.
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One of the worst things on the planet is waking up on a cold, winter’s morning and having no water. Frozen pipes happen all too frequently, and always at the worst possible time. And the plumber is going to charge you a small fortune to fix frozen pipes.
That means no shower, no coffee, and likely no breakfast. Calling the plumber is the last thing anyone wants to do. The good news is that many times, you can fix frozen pipes yourself. But knowing when to call in a pro and how to prevent frozen pipes is also good.
What Causes Pipes to Freeze?
Cold, of course, but it doesn’t act alone. When pipes freeze, it is caused by a lack of proper preparedness for cold weather. In that respect, there are several things that homeowners can do before cold hits to protect their pipes.
Just a brief list of preventative measures:
Insulate susceptible piping
Heat the space around piping
Leave your water trickling on freeze nights
We’ll discuss each of those with a more in-depth look later.
The extent of the damage you experience can range from mild to extreme. Locate the area of the frozen pipe first. Most often, this will be in a basement or the crawl space under your home. For homes on a slab foundation, most of the piping is likely routed through the attic.
If pipes are merely frozen but not broken or cracked, you can repair them by thawing the pipes.
The Damage That Can Result
Freezing water expands. When trapped inside a solid object, such as a pipe, this expansion can cause piping to burst. As seen in the image below, ice has expanded just above a joint, leaving behind a gaping wound.
Much of the damage from frozen pipes isn’t caused by the pipes freezing, but from water if a pipe bursts. Once a pipe bursts, the only way to repair it is to replace that section of piping.
There are many instances in which a homeowner can complete repairs. We do recommend contacting a professional at any point that you feel overwhelmed.
Many homeowner’s insurance policies have provisions for frozen pipe repair. Check your policy and be aware of those before beginning your repair. In some cases, a failed home fix-it may void insurance coverage, so please read your policy carefully.
What Do You Mean “The Basement Is Flooded?”
Having a flooded basement is never fun. If you have a heated basement, you usually won’t experience frozen pipes along most of your piping. You may have problems with lines leading to outdoor fixtures.
Another potential problem is the main stack drainage line that carries wastewater out. This line is vented through your roof and can freeze, as seen in the above image.
Depending on the age of your home, you likely have a floor drain also. With small amounts of water leaking into the basement drain through the floor drain, freezing can also occur between your home and the main sewage line. This prohibits water from draining correctly and may cause flooding.
The first sign that you may have a frozen pipe is no water pressure. If nothing comes out of a faucet, it is time to check the pipes. This should only take a few minutes.
Pipes will generally freeze at their most vulnerable point. Along outer walls, in non-insulated attic spaces or garages, or at entry points connecting to the exterior of your home.
If you aren’t sure that a pipe is frozen, treat it as if it is.
How to Fix Frozen Pipes
Knowing how to fix frozen pipes can save you a bundle in plumber’s fees. It can also help you prevent extensive water damage in your home should you have a burst pipe.
The Tools You Need
First, the obligatory warning — DO NOT use a torch to thaw frozen pipes. Just because you saw the plumber do it last year doesn’t mean you should attempt it this year.
You likely won’t need everything included on this list. Most of the items are everyday household items. We’re just repurposing them for use thawing your pipes. That said, here are things that will be useful if you need to fix frozen pipes:
Hairdryer with adjustable heat settings or heat gun
Small area electric heater
An electric heating pad
A cookie sheet or other reflective surface
Once thawing is complete, you may need to make a trip to the hardware store for parts to repair a burst pipe. Duct tape won’t work here, but we’ll discuss that shortly.
Using a Blow Dryer to Thaw Pipes
Before beginning this task, open all faucets so that you know when water begins to flow.
First, you need access to the pipe. Once you find the frozen pipe, you will need a blow dryer and your trusty cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet behind the area of piping that is frozen.
The purpose of the sheet is to concentrate the warm air from the blow dryer, reflecting it onto the pipe. If you don’t have a cookie sheet, you can use a similar item to serve the same purpose. Wrapping a piece of scrap cardboard in aluminum foil will work in a pinch.
Using your blow dryer on a low to medium heat setting, focus the warm air onto the piping section, moving back and forth over the surface. This may take a while, so be patient. Once water is moving freely, you will hear it flowing from your open faucets.
Using a Small Space Heater to Heat the Area
Open the faucets in your house before beginning this process.
If you don’t have a blow dryer or can’t gain direct access to the area where the pipe is frozen, you can use a small portable heater. Try to get the heater as close to the frozen section as possible, but not directly under any pipes.
While you may want to turn it to the highest setting, don’t. Since pipes in crawl spaces are usually in cramped quarters, it shouldn’t take too long. Remember, you’re not trying to raise the temperature to 72 degrees — you only need it above 32 degrees.
Please do not leave the heater unattended. Place the heater near but not directly under the piping. With the blower, small heaters push heat a few feet out from the base. This should be sufficient to warm the area, allowing the pipe to thaw.
Waiting on Mother Nature
Pro tip — Don’t wait on Mother Nature. Unless you expect a 20-degree temperature rise within 30 minutes, waiting could make your problem worse.
Using a blow dryer is the preferred method. Alternately, you can warm the area with a small space heater.
If all you have is a heating pad, you can wrap it around the pipe and turn it on. Use the low setting, and don’t forget to open your faucets.
Generally, this is the point where you call in the pros. But some homeowners are comfortable repairing piping on their own. If that is you — kudos.
Repairing Burst Pipes on Your Own
We aren’t going to give a lot of detail on pipe replacement here. Some shortcuts and quick-fixes can keep you rolling until you can get a plumber in to check things out, though.
Perhaps the quickest temporary fix is to use the Fix-It Stick by Oatey. You can purchase this online or at most local hardware and plumbing supply stores. It is designed for pinhole leaks, though, and may not work as well on a larger burst pipe. Fix-It Stick is easy to use and requires no plumbing knowledge.
Using SharkBite fittings and PEX piping are other quick ways to replace sections of copper piping. The video below explains the processes for this type of fix. You will need to have some special tools and equipment, though:
When to Call in the Pros
This really depends on your confidence level. Our purpose was to help you gain the confidence to handle a frozen pipe on your own. Although not all frozen pipes are manageable, many times a homeowner can thaw the pipes without a problem.
Preparing for Winter Weather
Ultimately, avoiding frozen pipes should be your goal as a homeowner. While it may cost a few dollars to winterize your piping, the resulting cost of a frozen pipe could be much higher.
Adding Pipe Insulation
Adding a layer of foam insulation is a quick way to prevent frozen pipes. As noted in the video above, foam is easy to work with. Simply measure your pipes and purchase the amount you need.
An important note is that you don’t need to insulate every pipe in your home. Concentrate on the piping most exposed and vulnerable to freezing. These will be pipes that run along exterior walls, that go to outside fixtures, or are in the unheated crawlspace.
Using an Incandescent Light
If you can’t insulate your pipes, an easy way to warm the area around vulnerable pipes is to use a low wattage incandescent bulb. A photographer-style clip light works really well. The incandescent bulb generates enough warmth to keep the temperature a bit higher.
This trick works well in crawl spaces and under sinks. If you have a well, using a lamp near the inlet piping can keep the cold water from freezing up your pump. Remember to check the bulb before retiring on really cold nights.
SOLID BUILD:With non-marring spring clamp on grips, the clamp is a bit hard to open but that just guarantees the lamp…
FLEXIBLE: With a ball joint connection so it can be more easily aimed. So the light is more filter to where you need it…
PRACTICAL:The reflective definitely improves efficiency of a light bulb.And the metal shroud can detached from the base
Fluorescent bulbs do not generate enough heat, so make sure you are using incandescent bulbs.
Leaving the Water Trickling on Cold Nights
This last method is the least reliable, and should only be used if you can’t insulate piping or leave a light on. This method isn’t always a fail-safe and your pipes could still freeze. Leaving your faucets open slightly, allowing a trickle of water to flow will help and is better than nothing.
Running water does help prevent complete frozen blockages. Although your pipes may still partially freeze, they won’t freeze solid, which reduces the risk of burst pipes.
Always open at least two faucets, with both hot and cold. You want a good trickle, but not a full stream of water. We recommend the kitchen faucet and the bathroom faucet farthest from the inlet or hot water heater. This allows water to flow through the entire system.
Your Home is An Investment Worth Protecting
This video illustrates everything we discussed above.
Many times you can fix frozen pipes without calling a plumber. We hope that we have helped you build confidence in your abilities.
Let us know what you think in the comments. Tell us if you have any tricks you use during cold snaps to protect your home from Jack Frost.
Last update on 2021-01-02 at 15:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API