Guide to Saving Water
Water saving is great way to not only save water, but will also save you a lot of money over time. There are numerous ways to save water that do not take much extra time or effort and will save you much more money than you put down on any upgrades that use less water.
Whether you want to begin using less water inside or outside of your home, there are many ways to do so. Water is a precious thing and even costs more than a soda nowadays.
Unfortunately, we use up more natural fresh water each year than the earth can produce resulting in recycling water and filtering it in water treatment plants and using it again. Water saving is good for your wallet, the environment and the earth itself.
At Plumbing Plus, we thought it would be a great idea to create a “water saving tip guide” to be shared and spread around. Please feel free to add to our list if you know any great water saving tips that we missed or contact us for more information.
Indoor Water Saving Tips
-Household Water Saving
When doing laundry, it is best and most efficient to wash full loads of clothes so that you do not overuse water with a small load. (If you are buying a new washer, try to purchase a water saving model)
If you are lucky enough to be building your new home, try to shorten up the distance between the showers, sinks and the water heater to avoid waiting for the water to heat up which results in a lot of wasted water. (If you are not building a new home, try your best to insulate your hot water pipes wherever it is possible)
-Bathroom Water Saving
Taking showers rather than baths are a great and easy way to save water. According to nationalgeographic.com, filling up a bathtub takes nearly 70 gallons of water!
If you have an older model toilet, you can save water by placing a brick or similar item in the tank to take up space and require less water per flush.
It is crucial to check on a regular basis for any leaks in your bathroom sink, toilet or shower and fix them right away when spotted. This can save you a lot of money as well.
-Kitchen Water Saving
When using the dishwasher, only turn it on for full loads. (If you are buying a new dishwasher, purchase a water saving one)
Most dishwashers are very efficient nowadays and do not require you to rinse the dishes before putting them in. This is also a great for water saving.
Check for leaks frequently and fix as soon as you can to avoid water and money loss.
As advanced as our plumbing systems are these days, we still manage to keep clogging our drains at home. Whether it’s kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, or toilets, something always manages to wedge itself into the pipes. The problem is actually more common than one might think, and it can happen over a long period of time, so it’s usually not just one culprit that is to blame.
Hair, food, and grease are the most obvious drain clogs, and everyone in the household contributes to their accumulation in your drains. Unfortunately, there’s not really much you can do to avoid these types of clogs except be somewhat vigilant about not letting too much solid material go down your drains (and always keep some drain cleaner nearby!).
The more difficult and unexpected suspects include cell phones, ponytail holders, jewelry, and children’s toys. These things can’t exactly be dissolved by drain cleaner, and they often require professional help to clear them out of your plumbing and prevent further blockage. For gentlemen, it is quite common for a cell phone to slip from a hand during a conversation and accidentally plop into the toilet. Of course, the easy solution to this problem is to either put the person on the other end on hold or to “hold it” (we recommend not using speakerphone).
For females, ponytail holders and jewelry are common items that accidentally make their way down both sink and toilet drains. You can imagine how easy it is for a ring to accidentally slip off while you’re washing your hands or for a ponytail holder to fly out as you’re fixing your hair. The same is true with children and small toys, which is another frequent, if sometimes mysterious, occurrence that might be a little more difficult to control. Regardless, the effect of these items on your plumbing system might not be readily apparent, but with time the build-up can cause problems, and the only way to get them out is to fish them out or snake them out.
That’s where we come in. At Plumbing Plus, we’ve seen it all, and we don’t judge. So whatever is clogging your drains and causing you plumbing trouble, we’ll get it out and get your pipes running like new.
Drop that Sponge, and Don't Scrub with these Bad Bathroom Cleaners
The old assumption that giving your home a nice thorough cleaning would make your home a healthy environment has come into question after Environmental Working Groups (EWG) published a list including the worst cleaners for your bathroom. The list is unfortunately extensive and even shocking as many of the household cleaners once thought to be “safe” are in reality the complete opposite. Many of the everyday use cleaners contain extremely harmful and even fatal chemicals that most users are unaware of. The bathroom is often the dirtiest and grimiest place in the house, even when you give it a fresh clean once a week. With that in mind, it is easy to understand how potent the chemicals have to be in order to truly cleanse the bathroom.
Amongst the dangerous chemical enhanced cleaners, many hailed from the bathroom and could cause serious health problems or even death if not used properly. Toilet bowl cleaners showed up more often than I would like on the list and some of them were from name brands most people have grown to depend on. The first bathroom cleaner on the list is Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner, and I was shocked to hear that it contains chemicals that are strong enough to require goggles, gloves and a mask to prevent serious and irreversible eye damage, skin irritation, allergies, asthma and if it seeps through your skin it can even harm your DNA. According to organicauthority.com, the label on this product calls it a “health hazard.” That fact alone should be more than enough to stay away from this product, especially if you have young children. There are numerous other toilet bowl cleaners named that can also be extremely harmful.
One of the most concentrated and popular all purpose cleaners on the list was Simple Green. The most ridiculous fact about Simple Green is that it is recommended to be significantly watered down before use, even if you are cleaning the worst possible place in your home, yet they sell it in a spray bottle misleading the consumer tremendously. Why would they sell it in a spray bottle if it needs to be diluted with water for even the toughest of spills? If it makes contact with skin and seeps through, Simple Green can cause damage to red blood cells and seriously irritate the skin. On top of that, some of the chemicals used in this product are illegal in Europe.
The best thing to do is always check the label for warnings and decide if you really want to use that product in your home. If your bathroom is beyond cleaning, do not hesitate to contact us at plumbingplus.com to remodel your bathroom exactly how you want it.
Worst Plumbing DIYs
Some of the worst plumbing DIY’s began as a “simple” fix that somehow went wrong and became a disaster with a waterfall flowing down your staircase.
With the internet and all of the informative articles or videos available, many will attempt to try something new regardless of their experience, even with plumbing. “If they can do it, I can do it” you may say, and may be right, but how much longer will it take? Do you have what you need to fix the problem? Tools, replacement parts etc.? How do you know which parts need to be replaced and which do not? A lot more goes into plumbing then other household DIY’s that most will not think about. For example, when taking something apart, it is easy to forget exactly how to put it back together properly. This will not only waste time, but if the sink is not put back together correctly, a professional will be needed anyways.
If you are not a professional plumber or do not have any experience with plumbing, I do not recommend attempting to fix or replace any leaking or busted pipes. This can quickly become a lot more dangerous and hazardous. If you are unsure of exactly where the leaking pipe is, it would be best to call a pro to prevent any extra damage while looking for it. Many home owners will try to dig up the yard and find the leaking pipe, only to accidentally hit the pipe elsewhere causing yet another leak or even worse, a burst. It can be much worse if your home has a very old plumbing system and will break without you even touching it. At that point you have a 50/50 chance it will be either clean water going into your home or filthy sewage coming out of your home all over you.
Another plumbing problem that should be done strictly by a professional is hot water systems and water gas heaters. These two involve systems that have the potential for explosion if not done properly and will cause serious damage to not only your home, but to you. Plumbers are required to go through extensive training in order to be licensed to handle these types of plumbing problems safely.
If you are planning on doing any repairs, always shut off the water first. This is commonly forgotten as people do not remember where their shut off valve is or they have it blocked with something or other and cannot get to it easily. The shut off valve is often found in the basement of homes and the main shut off valve is normally close to where the water enters the home. Knowing where these are is huge, and can save you a lot of money and time if a pipe blows above your living room. A little extra research on your homes plumbing system is always good and will at least give you an idea of your plumbing needs. It is also wise to start a project only if you have a complete set of tools so you do not have to stop in the middle of a project to go buy a tool.
Having plumbing problems or have questions concerning your home plumbing system? Feel free to visit us at PlumbingPlus.com and let our professional plumbers assist you with all of your plumbing needs.
DIY Dos and Do Nots
Did you ever wake from a sound sleep because of an annoying drip coming from the next room? You probably know that if you don’t fix a leaky faucet, you won’t get a good night’s sleep until you stop the drip. Even if you have the tools and expertise to fix a minor plumbing problem, you may be too busy to tackle the job until the weekend, and by then, you’re likely to be exhausted from lack of sleep
For those that have a bit of experience, and some tools laying handy, try these DIY Dos:
Any competent DIYer can try their hand (and luck) at replacing faucets and shower heads, installing toilets, and hooking up sinks and washing machines. And there are other jobs that require the expertise of a professional plumber.
Debating whether a DIY is right for you? Be sure to heed these DIY Do Nots:
A typical homeowner should never attempt to expand or modify a home's water-supply lines or hot-water heating system, which typically comprises copper pipe and fittings soldered together with a propane torch.
Plumbing Plus can take care of minor plumbing problems as well as major troubles quickly and efficiently and help get your life back to normal again. We also offer a unique help line, so whether you have a late night plumbing emergency, or an early morning DIY gone wrong, we are available 24/7 to offer a helping hand.
If you’re handy with tools and have plenty of time, you may want to replace a faucet, repair a small leak or unclog a drain without getting help from an expert. If you’re confident about your ability, you may save money by doing those jobs yourself. However, some people have found that DIY work can eventually cost more than the price of hiring an experienced plumber who has the proper tools and knowledge to do the job right.
Strangest Drain Finds
A drain is a portal to another world – a pungent parallel universe that documents our most unsavory habits. At Plumbing Plus, we travel to a lot of strange worlds with a lot of strange smells. Smells, however, are to be expected, but the odd origin of those smells is sometimes surprising. When a drain is clogged, it’s typically the result of too much gunk, and this can be easily remedied with a plumber’s snake. If snaking proves difficult, the culprit could be one of these strange objects:
5) A cell phone…
At first, this might not seem like a very strange object to find in a drain, but considering the fact that I’ve dropped my phone in the toilet before, it leaves me wondering: why would you flush?
Finding dentures in the drain makes me curious as to why the customer was talking while in the bathroom. I suppose yawning would do the trick, but to continue using the same dentures after their retrieval – that’s the strange part.
3) A (big) fish…
Remember when your parents would tell you that flushing your dead goldfish down the toilet was sending it to fish heaven? Well, that only works if it’s not a trout that gets stuck on the way there.
I’ll leave this one to your imagination, but a toilet is no place for underwear.
1) A snake…
Not a plumber’s snake, but a real snake. Whether the owners were finally tired of this creepy crawly watching them sleep or the snake thought it could finally get a goldfish snack, one thing is certain – a boa constrictor can take up a lot of prime real estate in a household drain.
The strange things that plumbers find in customers’ drains can often be embarrassing, revealing, and very, very smelly. At Plumbing Plus, we know all to well that drains aren’t always the memory holes we think they are. So a quick word to the wise from some seasoned experts: always flush, but flush selectively.
When DIYs Turn into 9-1-1s
The worst catastrophe that can happen in any home remodel or Do-It-Yourself is of the plumbing variety. Leaks, drips, overflows, and clogged pipes can dampen the mood of any DIY. Depending on the nature of the plumbing emergency, it can be as simple as replacing a valve, or as complicated as completely re-piping a drain system. The more complex a repair, the more costly it will be to rectify it.
The majority of plumbing emergencies stem from homeowners having a problem at a time when most traditional plumbing agencies are closed. Waiting until morning to fix a plumbing situation gone very wrong can do more harm than good.
Below are some tips to keep in mind to ensure that a plumbing mishap doesn't happen:
Don’t plan on having too many fixtures if there is not enough pressure. Low water pressure means that the water flow from the pipes is limited, and the problem can rupture into a more costly problem if too many fixtures are placed.
Inadequate air gaps ensure that wastewater cannot be siphoned back into fresh water lines, a minimum air gap must be maintained between water spouts and basin flood lines, the point right before a sink flows over.
Don’t mismatch pipes! It may sound like common sense, but often when you are pairing pipes together, they can be tough to get an exact fit. A simple fix is to make sure that the diameter of the two pipes is the same.
Call for help when you need it. What may seem like a simple fix can sometimes be more complicated. There’s nothing worse than turning a leak into a flooding, so be sure you have a basic knowledge of what you’re doing before getting to the pipes.
Plumbing emergencies happen at all hours, and Plumbing Plus makes sure that we have someone on call 24/7 to ensure that your small mishaps don’t turn into big disasters. Waiting until morning, or having to be fit into a schedule can put unnecessary delays into your DIY.
At Plumbing Plus, we like to keep our customers in the know about new technologies, so we want to introduce the concept of under sink water filtration systems. There are many different types of water filtration options for homes. These options include filtration systems for kitchens, baths, and showers, faucet-mount filters, and refrigerator filters. But if you live in a larger household and need to filter large amounts of water for drinking and cooking, an under water filtration system could be an ideal option for you.
According to GE, most under sink filters use an activated carbon filter that reduces the bad taste associated with chlorine taste and odor. Some also have pre-filters that remove sediment, dirt, sand, silt, rust and limescale. More advanced filters may also remove other contaminants as small as 0.5 microns, including: lead, microbial cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), algae, mercury, pesticides, herbicides and volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Before making any decisions on under sink filtrations systems, make sure you test your water so you can determine what types of contaminants need to be removed.
Having access to the clean refreshing taste of bottled water in your home is a wonderful luxury, but there are also other benefits to an under sink filtration system. An under sink filtration system reduces many pollutants and contaminates such as lead, mercury, chlorine, and chemicals. Having a filtration system filtering out contaminants is good for your health.
Not only is an under sink water filtration system beneficial to your health, but it is also a less costly option to reverse osmosis filtration, both in terms of water waste and financial expense. Another benefit to an under sink filtration system is that is it much more environmentally friendly than using bottled water. Think about how many bottles you can save by having your own clean fresh water on tap! And buying bottled water can also be very costly as well. Not to mention lugging it into your house every week!
Plumbing Plus is happy to answer all of your questions and help you find the perfect water filtration system that suits your needs.
To receive a free estimate or more information about under sink water filtration systems, get in touch with us!
At one time or another, we all have had problems with a clogged drain. One day your shower is draining perfectly the next you are standing in a tub full of water. Most clogs usually start off with a slow drain and if left untreated, eventually lead to nothing draining at all! A clogged drain can be more than a mere annoyance. Whether it be your toilet, sink or shower, a clogged drain is disruptive. Before calling a plumber, here are some “do it yourself” tips for unclogging your drain.
One way to unclog a moderately clogged drain, while at the same time avoiding harmful chemical products, is to use ingredients from your own kitchen. All you need is ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar. Start by pouring the ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by the ½ cup of vinegar. Let it set for about 3 hours and then run water.
Another natural remedy and way to fix a moderately clogged drain is boiling water. Bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Next, pour boiling water down the clogged drain ½ cup at a time until the water is gone. Simple but usually effective.
If any of you remember the film Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford hated wire hangers. However, for us, a wire hanger found in our home or closet can be a great tool to unclog a stubborn drain. First, straighten the hanger as much as possible. Second, bend one end of the hanger over to create a small hook. Third, put the hanger in the drain and start pulling out hair, dirt and gunk. In no time, the clog should be gone.
If a wire hanger isn’t enough to remove the clog, a drain snake can be a cost effective way to remove a clogged drain. Drain snakes can start around $15.00 and treat moderate clogs. First, take the drain cover off. Remove any excess hair or gunk at the surface before using the drain snake. Once any excess gunk is removed, put the drain snake down the drain. Start pulling out the gunk! The spiral metal will pick up gunk as you pull it out.
Clogs can create more than mere annoyances, however, we can attempt to get rid of moderate clogs by using some of the above easy methods. With more severe clogs or with help removing a stubborn clog, always consult a professional.
For help with unclogging a drain or for any other plumbing problems/solutions visit Plumbing Plus.
During our lifetime, we have to make many important decisions: Who to marry? Where to live? How many kids to have? Choosing the right toilet? Okay, maybe that last decision pails in comparison to those other questions, however, choosing a toilet deserves some thought and research since, over our lifetime, we do spend countless hours in the bathroom. When choosing the right toilet for your home, here are a few factors to consider:
Set a Budget:
Before jumping into style or height options, consider your budget when choosing a toilet. Toilet prices can range anywhere from under $100.00 to over $1,000.00. Although effective at any price, your budget will determine the quality, durability and style of your toilet. With a budget in mind, you can move forward with other decisions.
Toilets can come in 3 different heights. Standard toilets have a bowl height of 15 inches while toilets complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act have a higher bowl height of either 17 or 19 inches. Before purchasing, think of your household. Higher toilets are easier to use for taller, older or disabled people, however, the higher seat may be difficult to reach for children or shorter people.
Higher toilet seats also can clear waste more effectively than lower toilets, however, they cost more than your standard toilet. When choosing a toilet, height can be a big decision. So, when in doubt, try one out!
Elongated or round? By giving us 2 extra inches of toilet space, elongated bowls prove to be more comfortable and spacious than the standard round bowl. However, before running to the store, remember to take your bathroom measurements to see if the bigger bowl fits.
One piece vs. Two Piece Toilet:
Toilets typically come in either a one-piece or two-piece unit. So what’s the difference? Just like the name says, a one piece toilet comes in one complete unit while the two piece has a separate bowl and tank. Benefits of a one piece toilet? They are easier for cleaning and eliminate leaks between the tank and bowl. However, for those DIYers, a one piece toilet can be more expensive and harder to install due to the weight of the toilet.
High Efficiency Flushing Toilet:
Consider a high efficiency toilet. According to The Family Handyman, “a toilet accounts for a third of your household water use.” (source: Tips For Buying a Toilet) Toilets that use less than 1.28 gallons per flush earn the EPA’s WaterSense label. By installing a high efficiency toilet, you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water annually. If that weren’t reason enough, some water utility companies offer rebates for installing a water saving toilet.
Since we do spend a lot of time in the bathroom, choosing a toilet can be a very important decision. By doing a little research on toilets, you can easily make the correct choice for your home.
For more information on choosing a toilet or plumbing inquiries visit Plumbing Plus at www.plumbingplus.net.