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Pro Tips to Deep-Clean Your Bathroom Efficiently

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Your bathroom is a room that you use several times a day, each time making the room a filthier and filthier environment. This is only natural. A bathroom can’t help but become a bacteria-infested, moldy, wet, and dusty room. That is, unless you’re committed to keeping it clean.

But bathrooms need a little extra attention, especially when compared to other rooms in your home. There’s cleaning, and then there’s deep cleaning. Bathrooms need the latter in order to stay sanitary and odor-free. Here are some efficient, low-cost ways to deep-clean your bathroom, provided by bathroom maintenance professionals.

Give Your Shower a Bath

A dirty showerhead will spray dirty, dingy water onto the floor and walls of the shower. Clean it up with this one simple trick. Fill a sturdy plastic bag with white vinegar, then tie the bag around the neck of the showerhead so that it’s submerged in the vinegar. Let it rest for a few minutes, then remove the bag and turn on the shower to rinse the vinegar away. White vinegar will kill pathogens and remove dirty buildup that forms on the openings over time.

Clean Toilet Brush

Bleach is every bathroom’s best friend. Bleaching your toilet is probably the only way to guarantee that it gets clean. However, many people skip the step of cleaning their toilet brush. While you may swish it through the bleach, it will hold waste particles and pathogens until your next cleaning session. That is, unless you clean the brush, too. Once you’ve cleaned the toilet, pour a little more bleach into the bottom of the toilet bowl. Then, submerge the brush and give it a few twists in the water, being careful not to create a splash. This will disinfect the brush and remove anything stuck in the bristles, so it’s completely clean for the next scrubbing session.

Clean and Re-Seal Grout

Bleach and a scrub brush can do wonders for grout, which is where many pathogens and fungal growths reside. Dilute bleach in water and use a tough scrub brush to clean between tiles on the floor, countertops, walls, and shower.

However, one of the best ways to keep bathroom grout clean is to reseal it on occasion. Re-sealing will prevent mold, bacteria, and other odor-causing gunk to seep between your tiles. Also, you should avoid pouring bleach on colorful tile or grout. Bleach can ruin certain dyes, paints, and natural colors. Only bleach white or off-white surfaces. Otherwise, you can use a standard disinfectant liquid plus a scrub brush.

Hire a Plumber

Sometimes, a professional touch makes the difference between a neat bathroom and a completely clean one. For instance, if your bathroom drains are slow-draining or clog easily, the result can be soap scum, mildew, and other nasty deposits on your bathroom fixtures. Leaking pipes or running faucets can result in odorous standing water in your bathroom. If water leaks from your pipes, it can even lead to moldy cabinetry and flooring, a problem that may be too intense to clean. Hiring a professional plumber in your area to inspect your plumbing and repair minor issues can help you keep your bathroom clean all year long.

The Plumbing Checklist for New Homebuyers

Friday, July 13th, 2018

Buying a new home is an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of uncertainty. If you’re buying a pre-owned property, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re getting into as far as possible plumbing repairs. Unfortunately, many pre-closing home inspections don’t include a thorough examination of the plumbing system. Buyers need to be aware of this and consider hiring a licensed plumber to inspect all parts of the plumbing systems.

However, if you’re walking through a property and want to do a little DIY plumbing inspection, consider the following checklist:

  • Turn on the faucets to check for leaks.
  • Flush the toilets and check for clogs.
  • Listen for toilets that run.
  • Turn on the garbage disposal to make sure it works.
  • Check for loose faucets, shower heads, and other taps.
  • Pay close attention to how plumbing smells. Does anything smell like rotten eggs?
  • Look for water stains on walls and ceilings for possible hidden leaks.
  • Test the sump pump, if one is installed.
  • Inspect basements for puddling and other signs of water.
  • Look for mold.
  • Check for wobbly toilets.
  • Go outside and test the outdoor spigots. Make sure there aren’t any leaks.
  • Look under kitchen and bathroom sinks for water damage.
  • Run the water and watch for any drips under the sink.

These are easy things that any buyer can test for when touring a home. However, if you’re serious about making an offer on the home, you need an in-depth inspection.

ProfessionalPlumbing Inspection

Hiring a local plumber to inspect the home’s plumbing allows you to buy with confidence. You know that you aren’t going to be sidelined by major plumbing problems before the ink is dry on the closing papers.

Professional plumbing inspections for new homebuyers should include the following:

  • Sewer line inspection service: This service involves using a sewer camera to look for any abnormalities in the sewer line that might lead to failure. Potential problems include cracks, tree root intrusion, bellied pipes, brittle pipes, and large blockages.
  • Water main line: Sewer lines aren’t the only exterior pipes that cause problems. If the water main line is corroded or otherwise damaged, you’ll end up with leaks and a huge water bill. These problems must be fixed.
  • Slab leak detection: Some leaks can’t be seen with the naked eye, and these leaks tend to be the worse. These are the leaks that affect the structural integrity of your home and lead to thousands of dollars in plumbing repairs. Hiring a plumber to perform electronic leak detection for hidden leaks is a must.

After the Inspection

Once the inspection is complete, the plumber should go over the cost to make repairs or replacements and provide you with a list of the problems. New homebuyers can give this list to their Realtor to negotiate for repairs or money to make repairs after the home is bought.

Don’t be afraid to inspection the plumbing of any home you’re interested in buying. Although there are the upfront costs involved in hiring a plumber, it’s money saved in the long run.

Water Softener vs Water Conditioning: The Difference Explained

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Are you trying to decide between buying a water softener or purchasing an electronic water conditioner? Many people think there’s no difference between the two, but this is not correct. A water softener is not the same as a water conditioner. They work very differently and depending on your needs, one might be better for your home than the other.

A water softener adds salt to the water to replace excessive amounts of calcium. Generally, calcium amounts are higher in hard water. Too much calcium leads to buildup that harms plumbing fixtures and pipes. An electronic water heater differs from a softener because it doesn’t add anything to the water. Instead, it works with the substances in the water and conditions it, like its name suggests.

Why People Choose Conditioning over Softening

In the past, people often chose water softeners to solve their hard water problems. These days, more and more people are choosing conditioning. The following are just a few reasons why homeowners choose water conditioning:

  • Less expensive to maintain: Water softeners require continuous maintenance. They need to have salt added to the tank as often as once a month. While salt isn’t very expensive, it’s inconvenient to remember to buy the bags. Also, you need at least two to four 40-pound bags of salt each time you fill it. It can be a pain lugging the bags from the car to the softener depending where it is in the home. Most softeners are in the basement.
  • Longer lifespan: Softeners last between 5-10 years
  • Harmful: Does someone in your home have a salt-restricted diet? If so, you probably don’t want to use a softener. While you won’t notice the salt in your drinking water or cooking, it’s still present. Individuals with sodium issues could be affected adversely by the added salt.

Benefits of Water Conditioning

Conditioning doesn’t add salt or get rid of calcium. Instead, it works as a limescale remover. Limescale coats pipes and causes fixtures to breakdown fast. By getting rid of limescale, residential plumbing works better for longer. Also, since it’s a salt-free conditioning product, it’s considered a healthier alternative.

Contact a Local Plumber

Are you interested in learning more about the advantages of water conditioning? If you’re still on the fence about purchasing a water softener or installing a water conditioning system, a licensed plumber can help you make this choice.

Both options require an upfront purchase that is significant. So, if you’re on a budget, it’s important to make a choice only when you’re fully informed. Many homeowners want to know which type of water treatment will add value to their home. This is a huge concern and a great question to get answered.

Working closely with a licensed plumber who understands the difference will help you make a purchase you’re comfortable with now and in the future. Regardless of which one you choose, conditioning or softening your water goes a long way toward preserving pipes and fixtures. These plumbing appliances are a great way to keep repair and replacement costs at bay.

How to Avoid Costly Water Damage

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Water damage is a hassle. You don’t want to blow your budget on repairs and spend your summer worrying about finances! Read the following to learn more about simple steps you can follow to keep your house safe from water damage and your wallets flush with money to spend!

Get Outside

  1. Hoses: A super easy thing you can do today that will prevent water damage tomorrow is to disconnect hoses when not in use. Standing water can pool at the base of the house causing unnecessary and unavoidable damage to your home. If you aren’t using it, empty out that hose!
  2. Pipe Lines: You need to become intimately familiar with the layout of your house. Find out where all your utility pipes are located and ensure that your landscaping isn’t obscuring or overtaking them. While your yard looks luscious and beautiful when it’s overgrown, your pipes don’t appreciate it. Roots can crowd and strangle your pipes causing severe damage and sometimes breaking them entirely. Try to keep your yard well pruned or eliminate landscaping around utility pipes.
  3. Gutters: In order for your gutters to do their job, you have to help them out a little bit. Cleaning out your gutters roughly twice a year helps to prevent standing water, which can damage the gutters and even your roof! Not only that, but too much gunk in the gutter can cause overflow leading to puddling at the base of your house. This can lead to expensive foundation problems. Incurring the small cost of having the gutters cleaned, or putting the time in to clean them yourself, twice a year is much more manageable and less anxiety inducing than breaking the bank over foundation repairs.
Water damage

Know the Main

Do you know where your water main is? The water main is responsible for bringing water into your house. If you’re away for an extended period of time, do you really need water pouring into your house and potentially leaking out of faucets? No, you don’t. You can shut off the main when you’re away to banish any possibility of leaks in your absence!

Be Proactive

It’s easy to dismiss a small water spot here or there and tell yourself that you’ll get around to addressing that issue later but waiting will make the problem worse. Water damage leads to mold, dry rot and other unpleasant and expensive problems that are totally unavoidable! Call a professional at the first sight of water damage to nip that problem in the bud before it spirals out of control.

Water Detection Devices

These little machines are your saving grace. You more than likely have smoke detectors in your house that are there to monitor your living situation and ensure that you are safe in your home. Water detection devices do the very same thing! They are able to detect minimal levels of moisture and alert you to the presence of slow leaks that often go unnoticed until they’re a bigger problem. Place these devices near water heaters, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers so that they can detect a problem before it’s a disaster and you can keep your home safe from damage!

Potential Hazards of DIY Water Heater Repair

Friday, July 6th, 2018

No matter how much you think you’re ready to own a home, there are always repairs that catch you off-guard. You can go months and even years before your hot water heater gives you trouble. Suddenly, you find a large puddle of water seeping from underneath or hear strange knocking and gurgling sounds coming from the tank. You go to bed with hot water and wake up to none. In the age of online instructions on how to do just about anything, it’s tempting to key your hot water heater’s symptoms into your favorite search engine and take repairs into your own hands. Here are a few reasons why you should consider calling a plumber instead.

To the Moon

The moon may be a stretch, but if your hot water overheats and the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR) isn’t working properly, the water heater may explode. The force could be strong enough to send it through the roof. At the least, it could explode inside your home. One mistake homeowners make regarding the TPR valve is thinking it’s broken because it leaks. If you notice water leaking near the TPR valve, it’s probably doing the job it was created to do. This valve should work to release pressure when the water inside the water tank gets too hot. Some homeowners think they need to prevent the leak and cover the valve. People use some rather interesting things to prevent leaks from the valve. Duct tape and garden hose spigots have been used to modify TPR valves. You should never modify a TPR valve! Always call a professional plumber to check the source of water leaking from a hot water heater.

You’re in Hot Water

Who doesn’t enjoy a steamy hot shower at the end of a stressful day? Most people take for granted that they have hot water at the touch of their fingertips. But what happens if your water comes out of the spigot so hot it burns your skin? Scalding hot water from your tap that can’t be adjusted is not normal. You may have a faulty thermostat, dirty heating element, or worn-out TPR. If you’re not a plumber, it’s best not to attempt to replace any of the three. It’s not that you can’t, but it’s better to have a plumber investigate. Plumbers are trained to quickly figure out the problem and then safely replace any faulty parts. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on home repairs, but the few dollars you save may end up costing you if you don’t get the repairs done correctly.

Water heater 2

What’s a Pilot Light?

If you have a gas water heater, your repair issues may include issues with a pilot light. If you’re like many homeowners, you may not even realize you have a pilot light or what an important role it plays. A water heater pilot light is used to ignite the gas that heats the water. If the pilot light stops functioning, you won’t have hot water. You can usually get the pilot light lit on your own and should learn how to do so. Sometimes, no matter how many times you try to light the pilot, it won’t ignite. This is a sign that you may have a faulty thermocouple. Replacing a thermocouple is not a job for a novice and should be taken care of by a plumber. Anytime you deal with an appliance that uses natural gas, you’re better off calling in a professional who works with gas on a regular basis and is trained to handle it safely. As you can see, for most hot water heater repairs, a plumber is the best person to call.

Traditional Vs Tankless Water Heaters: Which to Choose?

Friday, July 6th, 2018

Do you need water heater replacement? If your heater stopped working suddenly or it’s just time to buy a new one, you have plenty of choices. Many homeowners who have conventional tank water heaters might consider upgrading to a tankless water heater. While tankless water heaters have numerous benefits, it’s not always the right choice for every homeowners. Check out the differences between the two water heating systems to decide which on is right for you.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters are still very popular today. In fact, most homes have this type of water heating system because the upfront costs to buy and install are more economical than tankless, solar, hybrid systems. Also, tank water heaters get the job done.

Tank water heaters are powered by electricity or gas, depending on the home. They work well for large families because they can hold 40 – 100 gallons of water. With proper maintenance they’re also very reliable, lasting up to 10 years or more.

As reliable as tank water heaters are, they do have their drawbacks. The biggest drawback being that they are huge energy hogs. The reason for this is that they consistently heat the water in the tank at intervals throughout the day, whether water is being used or not. Of course, if the water in tank wasn’t heated, it wouldn’t be hot when you’re ready to use it. Since water heaters contribute to 20% of a home’s energy usage, you can imagine how this affects one’s electric or gas bill.

Tankless heater

Another drawback of tank water heaters is space. For homes tight on space, tank water heaters don’t always make sense. If the heater doesn’t have the recommended clearance, the unit becomes prone to damage and also creates a fire risk (in the case of gas-powered water heaters).

Tankless Water Heaters

Does this mean tankless water heaters are the better solution? If you’re looking to upgrade from a conventional water heater to a tankless model, maybe. But, again, you have to consider your personal situation.

For starters, tankless water heaters do cost more money on the front-end. Over the years, tankless heaters have come down in price, so stick shock isn’t as bad. However, if you have a tight budget and weren’t planning on water heater replacement, you might want to stick with a tank heater.

If your budget does have room to upgrade, tankless water heaters offer the following benefits:

  • On-demand heating: This is very important difference between tank and tankless heaters. Water doesn’t stay in the tank and heat throughout the day. It pulls waters when you turn on the faucet or showerhead and heats right then and there.
  • Energy savings: Because the water doesn’t heat all day tankless heaters don’t use nearly as much energy. So, while you pay more for the heater, you save a lot in the long run.
  • Great for tight spaces: If you have limited space for a water heater, tankless heaters are the way to go.

To determine which water heater is best for you, contact a local plumber for professional water heater services.

Insightful Tips for Choosing the Right Plumbing Services

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

When you have a plumbing issue, choosing the right service may not be at the top of your list of priorities. You’re more likely worried about getting the problem fixed as quickly as possible for a price you can afford. However, hiring the right plumbers to service your home isn’t a decision you should make lightly. If you decide to work with a venerated plumbing service with a good reputation, chances are they’ll provide you with a long-term solution to the problem you’re facing that’s well within your budget. Not to mention, the transaction as a whole will be more pleasant and will run smoothly.

Don’t make an impulsive decision. You deserve to be choosy about who enters your home and operates on your plumbing equipment. Keep reading to find out how you can go about making the right choice, ensuring your satisfaction and a sensible solution to whatever issue you’re facing. Then, get on the phone with a plumber that you can trust.

Licensure

It’s within your rights to ask your prospective plumber whether he’s licensed with the state where you live. The answer among reputable plumbers should be a resounding yes, as working plumbers are required to be licensed in most states.

However, you may live in a state where plumbers are not required to be licensed to work. In this case, you should ask for references and check for any negative views online. While there may be some exceptions, when push comes to shove, you should hire a plumber who can prove his or her licensure.

Insurance

Make sure you have a clear understanding of your plumber’s insurance policy or policies before you hire him. Plumber should have insurance for both injury and damages. These policies aren’t just for the plumber’s safety, but they’re for your safety as well. In the event a worker is injured in your home, the worker’s insurance policy should protect you from liability.

Plumber 2

Pricing

While your primary concern is probably that the price isn’t too high, you also want to be aware of prices that seem suspiciously low. The latter could indicate that your plumber plans on cutting corners, which means that you won’t get the long-term solution you’re hoping for.

On the other hand, you should make sure you get a fair price. Good plumbers will do an inspection and give you a quote before they begin work. They will go through the quote with you and explain all the associated costs. Most importantly, they won’t try to charge you for anything you don’t need. If the price seems abnormally high to you, or if you’re not really sure what you’re paying for, it’s time to get another quote.

Professionalism

This one sounds obvious, but it’s a fairly accurate indicator of whether the plumbing service you’re working with is worth your time. Good plumbers should be responsive, eager to help, and respectful. They should be easy to get a hold of when you have a problem and be willing to work with you to schedule an appointment for the very near future. They should treat you with respect and dignity. Finally, they should be willing to answer any and all of your questions.

Now get out there and find the plumber of your dreams. Good luck!

The Most Common Misconceptions about Plumbers

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Not all plumbers are just the same. While there are some who will come into your home and make a mess and leave you with a hefty bill, for the most part, they are certified and licensed professionals who make an honest living doing what they’re good at. Unfortunately, plumbers often get a bad rap because of some of the common misconceptions people think and believe about them. Here are the facts behind the fiction that you might have heard previously.

Plumbers Are Messy

While it’s true that plumbing projects do sometimes get messy, a good plumber will always clean up after themselves. You’ll find that professional plumbing contractors will be very respectful of your home and will make sure it’s left cleaner than when they found it. As a bonus, you’ll have working plumbing again to boot.

Plumbers Are Unprofessional

If you’ve seen movies and TV shows where a plumber is depicted looking unkempt and in dirty clothes, disregard this notion entirely. Most experienced and certified plumbers you find will arrive at your home looking sharp and often even wearing company uniforms. You can’t get more of a professional appearance than that.

Plumbers Charge Too Much

Plumbers generally have set hourly rates for labor and set prices for parts. Some may charge for after-hours service, but this is pretty standard across the home service industry in general. Make sure you know what you’ll be charged when you call or first have a plumbing company over to your house for a quote, so you’re not blindsided by the final invoice.

Plumbing repair

Plumbers Are Never Prepared
Maybe you’ve seen in these media depictions of plumbing companies that they show up to the house and a few moments later, they need you to pay for a different part that they don’t have on hand. A good plumber will always have the necessary parts and tools on hand and if they don’t, it will be written into your quote or estimate before they get to work. Work with plumbers who are prepared and know what parts they need beforehand.

Plumbers Are Loud and Rude

Another picture that is frequently painted of plumbing companies is that their plumbing personnel are loud and rude. Take care to work with those plumbing companies that are respectful right from the get-go. You can usually tell from talking with the receptionist or secretary over the phone how you’re likely to be treated by a particular plumber, so pay special attention to how courteous the staff is. When they’re at your house, an excellent plumber will be respectful and speak to you courteously while explaining the situation and going over the treatment plan or needed repairs with you.

Take whatever gross misconceptions or preconceived notions you had about plumbers and plumbing systems and toss it. When you have a plumbing emergency, you’ll want to call a plumber as soon as possible to make sure that the job is done right. Working with the right professionals will ensure this gets done, and you’ll forget all your misperceptions.

Signs Your Septic System May Need Replacement

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Unfortunately, septic systems don’t last forever. With regular maintenance and pumping, your septic system can last many years. However, after decades of wear and tear, the system will need to be replaced. Here are a few of the common signs that the septic system is failing.

Backed-Up Pipes

Frequent backups can be a serious sign that the septic system is beginning to break down. If the system is failing, raw sewage may start backing up into the toilet. You may hear gurgling from the pipes or smell bad odors around your home. This could mean that the pipes are clogged. Additionally, there might be improper draining or decreased flushing. If you notice these signs of clogging often, be sure to contact a professional to come inspect the septic system.

Tank Problems

Any kind of issue with the septic tank may mean it’s time to replace it. There are two common signs that the tank is not working properly. If it overflows often, the tank may not be disposing of wastewater correctly. If there is a high level of solids in the tank, it may not be breaking them down successfully. Both of these problems can signal that it’s time for a replacement.

Puddles

When it hasn’t been raining and puddles are forming in your yard, the septic system may be failing. Check for pools around the drain field or the area where the tank is located. The septic system may not be disposing of wastewater correctly, which is causing the water to pool. In situations where the septic system cannot do its essential functions, you should consider replacing it.

Septic tank 2

Greener Grass

Look in the area where the drain field or septic tank is located. Is the grass greener there than in other areas? When the drain field starts to break down, the levels of moisture in the soil will raise considerably. This is what causes the grass to appear greener. You may also see more plant growth in the area because of the high moisture levels and the sewage, which will act as fertilizer. Though the plant life in your yard will flourish, this is a warning sign of septic system failure.

Well Water Contamination

Another indication that you need to replace the septic system is contaminated well water. You can hire a professional to test the water. Bacteria, nitrates, and other contaminants in the water are very hazardous signs. Contaminated water means the system is not disposing of and filtering water properly. This is an incredibly severe problem that indicates the septic system will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Inspection

If you notice any of the above signs and are concerned your septic system will need to be replaced, contact an expert. A plumber who specializes in septic maintenance can come to your property, inspect the system, and assess what needs to be done about any problems they find. They will discuss the best course of action with you and help you determine whether or not the system needs to be replaced.

Reasons to Consider Tankless Water Heaters

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

Your water heater may not be the first thing you think of when you’re wondering what could possibly make your energy bill so high. However, did you know that paying for hot water can cost up to 50 dollars a month? That’s 600 dollars a year! You could use that amount of money to pay your internet bill or even to treat yourself to a nice dinner.

So, what do you stand to gain from installing a tankless water heater? Nearly cutting the energy your water heater usage in half is only the beginning of it. This modern hardware essentially pays for itself over time due to its insurmountable efficiency. That’s why tankless water heaters are booming in popularity. Despite the initial equipment and installation costs, tankless water heaters excel in longevity, cleanliness, and much, much more.

Here are a few reasons to consider installing a tankless water in your home for the benefit of you, your family, and your wallet.

EFFICIENCY

A tankless water heater is, on average, 30 percent more efficient than a standard model. There are a few benefits that stem from this. First off, since a tankless heater doesn’t rely on a colossal amount of energy to run, it’s the most environmentally friendly water heater on the market.

Secondly, you guessed it, installing a tankless water heater saves you a lot of money on energy. While it’s true that tankless heaters can cost you two to four times the amount of money that a standard model, the amount of money you’ll save in energy costs will more than make up for installation over time.

Hot shower

CONVENIENCE

If you have a family of more than two people, trying to make sure everyone gets a hot shower is something of a massive headache. The miracle of a tankless hot water heater is that you don’t just get a limited supply of hot water. The equipment heats your water continuously, so your home will never run out of hot water for showers, washing dishes, doing laundry, and every other need you have for it.

Tankless hot water heaters are also convenient because of their size. The heater will fit easily into your basement where you choose to install it, leaving more room for storage. If you own a home that’s prone to flooding, talk to your plumber about installing your heater at a higher level. This way, you won’t have to fret about potential damage to your hot water tank every time there’s a storm.

RELIABILITY

Once your tankless water heater is installed, you won’t have to worry about installing another water heater for a long time. These heaters are estimated to last up to 20 years. What’s more, most brands offer a warranty for the first 10 to 12 years. This means that your tank will provide you with clean water at a safe temperature for at least a decade. Talk about peace of mind.

Inquire about tankless hot water heaters today and you’ll be on your way to reliable solution for all of your hot water issues.