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The Benefits of a Home Water Softener

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Hard water is a very common problem, affecting water in many homes. But what exactly is it, and what can be done about it? Hard water has a high content of minerals and metals such as magnesium, calcium and iron. Although it is safe for you to drink, it can wreak havoc on your appliances, plumbing fixtures and make everyday housework even more difficult. Hard water treated with a water softener provides many benefits to your household. The following post will outline these benefits.

What Is a Home Water Softener?

A softener is a device and/or system designed to remove or dilute mineral concentrations in hard water. The system softens water by replacing minerals present in the hard water with salt via ion exchange. A softener is connected between your home’s plumbing system and the main water supply. This allows the system to remove mineral contaminates from the water before it enters your home.

Superior Cleaning

Hard water is known for reducing the effectiveness of household cleaners such as laundry soap, dish detergent, dish soap, shampoo and body wash. It often leaves white spots or streaks on your dishes and a soapy residue in your laundry. Because softened water enhances the cleaning ability of the cleansers, you will experience cleaner skin, hair, dishes and laundry. In addition, softened water requires less soap to get the job done, which can help reduce your household expenses.

Reduced Mineral and Scale Build-Up

Hard water causes scale and mineral deposits to build up in your plumbing system. As time passes, these deposits will reduce water flow, resulting in lower water pressure and eventually, a complete blockage. Moreover, they can cause pipe deterioration and corrosion, shortening the lifespan of pipes and increasing the chances of a ruptured pipe. If one of your pipe ruptures, your home could face severe water damage to flooring, cabinetry, walls and baseboards. It could also invite unwanted mold and mildew growth. A home water softener will also extend the life of your plumbing system, because it reduces the mineral content in your water supply.

Long-Lasting Appliances and Plumbing Fixtures

Hard water can also reduce the life of your household appliances, including your water heater, dishwasher, icemaker and washing machine. Since mineral and scale build-up will reduce water flow and efficiency, the appliances must work harder to achieve their intended result. In the end, hard water will increase your household energy costs and lead to premature appliance replacement.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Hard Water Truth

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Hard water contains significant amounts of dissolved mineral content such as magnesium and calcium. The water picks up the mineral content most often as it percolates underground through porous deposits of limestone and chalk. Private wells are more susceptible to the problem, since the water derives from the ground and often enters the household untreated. Water with a high mineral content can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system and the damage is not limited to just the pipes. The following post will outline the consequences of hard water and the steps you can take to prevent it.

Health

Everyone needs a certain amount of minerals in their body to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The minerals mentioned above—calcium and magnesium—are necessary to maintain strong bones and process fats and proteins within your body. However, large doses of these minerals could have an adverse effect on your health, causing problems such as fatigue, diarrhea and even nausea.

Pipes

Water containing large amounts of minerals can cause significant damage to your home’s plumbing system, especially your pipes. As time passes, mineral and scale will stick the insides of your pipes reducing water flow and causing a loss of water pressure. In addition, the nasty scale will attach to the surface of your plumbing fixtures—faucets, sinks and tubs—and can be quite difficult to remove.

Appliances

The damage does not stop with your pipes. Your home’s water-using appliances are also susceptible to the effects of hard water. Water heaters, dishwashers, garbage disposals, washing machines and toilets use water on a daily basis. All of them incorporate tubes, pipes and valves to perform their prescribed duties. Over time, as their components succumb to scale and mineral build up, they will lose their efficiency and use more energy, water and even detergent. Not only will this drive up your utility bills, but also detergent use washing even more of your hard-earned money down the drain.

Steps you can take

Discuss with your plumbing contractor ways you can fight hard water in your home. Having your water tested to identify contaminates can help to ascertain not only the level of contaminates but also other harmful substances that could be present in your water supply. This will provide your plumber with the information necessary to address the problem. Most often, the solution is to install a high-efficient water softener to filter out the minerals and soften the water. However, in severe cases, when pipes have lost water pressure and appliances have lost their efficiency, replacing these items could be necessary.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Spring Water Heater Maintenance

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Due to increased usage during the winter months, homeowners would be wise to schedule spring water heater maintenance with their plumbing contractors. While a water heater is one of the most reliable and hard-working appliances in your home, a neglected system can fail, leaving you without hot water and facing costly repairs or replacement. And since other appliances in your home, like the dishwasher and washing machine, depend on hot water to function properly, your daily life could face a serious interruption should the water heater fail.

Heavier Workload

Most of your home appliances work harder during the winter months. During the holidays, many folks entertain with large family gatherings or endure lengthy visits from family members, which leads to increased showers and more dishes, both of which require plenty of hot water. Neglected or older water heaters can succumb to the additional strain and lose efficiency or fail completely.

Avoid Water Damage

A harsh winter can inflict major damage on your home, especially when it comes to your plumbing. Moreover, since a water heater is an integral part of your home’s plumbing system, it is susceptible to damage during cold weather conditions as well. Often, a water heater resides in an area of your home — like a garage or basement — that is not heated. If the temperature drops below freezing, water can freeze and expand inside the supply lines feeding your water heater. While you may avoid the worst-case scenario of burst pipes, you could suffer a cracked or compromised pipe that develops a leak later. Even a small leak can cause severe water damage in your home should it go unnoticed.

What to Expect from your Plumber

When you schedule spring water heater maintenance, many plumbing contractors will perform the following:

  • Drain and flush the water heater to remove sediment buildup, which can reduce energy efficiency and overall performance
  • Inspect supply lines and check for leaks
  • Inspect the anode rod, a device inside the appliance that reduces tank corrosion
  • Inspect the overall condition of the water heater
  • Refill the water heater
  • Adjust and/or verify proper temperature
  • Insulate the pipes “optional” to increase energy efficiency
  • Insulate the heater “optional” for added energy efficiency

Spring water heater maintenance will prolong the life of your appliance and ensure that it operates at peak efficiency and performance.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Plumbing Design Tips when Building a New Home

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Perspective homeowners choosing to build a new home can incorporate these plumbing design tips to not only save a few dollars but to also make their home more efficient and environmentally friendly. In addition, these attractive upgrades should increase the overall value of the property at a time when many prospective homebuyers are choosing to go green. The following post will discuss a few of the most popular plumbing design tips many homebuilders are using today.

Wet Wall Sharing
A wet wall is a term used by builders and plumbing contractors denoting a wall that often contains the water supply lines, sewer lines and vent stacks. You could expect to find a wet wall in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Designing your home to utilize one wet wall for several applications can save you money by reducing the amount of plumbing materials and labor required to install them. For example, if you are building a home with two bathrooms, design the interior layout so they are back to back and can share the same wet wall. In retrospect, if you placed each bathroom on opposite sides of the house, both would require separate drain lines to connect to the main sewage line, increasing material and labor costs.

Wastewater Diversion
With a greater emphasis on water conservation today, many new homebuilders are incorporating plumbing designs that utilize bath and laundry water for lawn irrigation. The fixtures plumbing lines are diverted to channel the wastewater into the irrigation system instead of the main sewer line. Since this practice reduces overall household water usage you can expect to save a few dollars each month on your water bill.

Water and Energy Conservation
Incorporate water and energy efficiency into your new home. Not only will this save you money over the long run, but also benefit the environment through conservation. To conserve water, consider using Low-Flow toilets and faucets throughout the home. In addition, a tankless water heater conserves both water and energy and provides you with hot water on demand. Pipe insulation is money well spent especially in areas subjected to freezing temperatures. Protecting your plumbing from frigid temperatures could save you thousand of dollars in home repair costs should one rupture due to freezing.

Practical Main Shut Off Placement
It is common practice for shut-off valve installation to be placed in obscure, hard to reach places such as a crawl space. Discuss with your plumbing contractor installing the valve in a more user-friendly, easy to reach place. In the event of an emergency, such as a ruptured pipe, you will need to quickly locate and shut off the main water line. This could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repair costs resulting from water damage.

The aforementioned plumbing design tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to designing plumbing efficiency into your new home. For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Water Heater: Repair or Replace

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Water heater failure is an unfortunate plumbing circumstance associated with home ownership. The appliance works tirelessly around the clock to provide you with an ample supply of hot water. When it fails, you are faced with the daunting decision on whether to repair or replace it. The following post will cover the basics of when to repair or replace the appliance. In addition, the post will also provide maintenance tips that can help to avoid future failures and to keep it running at its peak performance and energy efficiency.

Age of the Unit
The typical lifespan of a water heater is between 10 to 15 years. While the old adage “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix” applies to many things, it should not apply to this appliance. While an aging unit may still be producing ample supplies of hot water, chances are it is using more energy and is doing it much less efficiently. This could be wasting energy and as such, costing you more each month in utility bills. In addition, as the trusty appliance ages, it is more susceptible to tank corrosion. Since a water heater can hold 40-gallons or more of fresh water, if it ruptures, you could be facing thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.

Cost of the Repair
When your water heater is less than 5-years old and in good shape, you should certainly consider repairing the unit. Many water heater repairs are less than the cost of buying a new unit. If the unit is free of rust and seems sound, repairing it should be a valid option.

Location of the Unit
The age and location of the appliance carry a lot of weight when it comes to repairing or replacing the unit. If an older unit resides in an area of your home—upstairs, main floor—where if a leak occurred you could face significant water damage to your home, you should probably replace it. This would be especially true for appliances with visible rust or corrosion around its base or fittings.

Maintenance Tips
You can prolong the life of your water heater and reduce the chances of failure by scheduling annual maintenance and cleaning. During an annual service call, your plumbing contractor will flush the unit, adjust the thermostat when applicable, test the pressure relief valve and inspect the unit for signs of corrosion or potential problem areas.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Toilet Overflow Could Indicate a Serious Plumbing Problem

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Homeowners often face the unfortunate circumstances caused by an overflowing toilet. When this happens, you must act fast and remove or dry up the water as quickly as possible to avoid the potential damage to your bathroom flooring, cabinetry and baseboard. While excessive bathroom tissue or foreign objects being inadvertently flushed down the commode often cause the problem, sometimes the cause can be a serious one that is hidden within the sewage line. The post below will identify the less common, but serious causes of a toilet overflow.

A Restricted Sewage Line
A restriction in the pipe will affect its ability to handle the amount of wastewater for which it was designed. When this happens, the volume of wastewater traveling through the pipe is reduced significantly, which can cause a toilet backup. If ignored, the restriction will act as a catchall, trapping debris and growing larger as time passes until it becomes completely blocked.

An Obstructed Sewage Line
An obstruction within the sewer line renders the pipe useless as wastewater and solids cannot pass. Once the length of pipe fills with wastewater, you could experience a toilet overflow or slow drains. Flushing a toilet under these circumstances can cause a back up as the rushing toilet water is pushed back towards the fixture due to the blockage.

A Collapsed or Damaged Sewage Line
A collapsed or damaged sewage line will experience reduced flow or a complete blockage depending on the severity of the collapse. In most of these cases, your plumbing contractor must replace the damaged section to restore service.

Tree Root Invasion
A common problem with older sewage line—Orangeburg Pipe, clay or cast iron pipe—systems is tree root invasion. Often, as time passes and the material ages, the seams that connect the sections of sewage pipe fail, allowing roots to penetrate the sewage line. Trees, shrubs and other foliage naturally seek out water and are quick to take advantage of a compromised sewage line. While your plumber can buy you some time and restore service by clearing the line with a snake and cutting auger, the roots will eventually return.

If you are experiencing an unusually high volume of toilet overflows, you must contact your plumbing contractor immediately. They can identify the cause and attack the problem at its source, often with a simple drain cleaning or snaking. Keep in mind, sewage line problems will not fix themselves and can often lead to additional home repairs when ignored.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Touchless Faucets: Why You Should Consider This Kitchen or Bathroom Upgrade

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Touchless faucets incorporate a technology that is both a convenient and beneficial addition to both your kitchen and bathroom areas. In addition, the energy efficient faucets conserve freshwater as well as help to reduce the spread of bacteria and germs. If you’re interested in upgrading to the latest features in bathroom and kitchen fixtures, consider touchless faucets for your home.

About Touch Technology
There is a variety of touchless faucet styles and finishes to choose from that blend with any kitchen or bathroom décor. You’ll also have the option of choosing faucets that feature either a touch or sensory option.

The Touchless Sensory System
The sensory system features sensors that detect movement. This can include moving your hand back and forth underneath the spigot, which is the type used in many public restrooms.

Touchless faucets are also available with what is known as a “sensing field”. With this style, if you come within a certain radius of the faucet, sensors activate and turn on the water automatically. When you move away from the designated area, the sensors deactivate and turn the water off.

The Touch System
With the touch system, you can use your hand, finger, arm or elbow to “touch” the faucet spout or neck to turn the water on and off. This is especially helpful if you need to use your hands for other tasks, such as rinsing vegetables or rinsing lathered hands and need easy access to water.

Benefits of Touchless Faucets
First and foremost, touchless faucets provide a high level of convenience as well as significant energy efficiency. Along with these two features, the faucets also provide these benefits to the kitchen or bathroom.

  • When working with raw meat in the kitchen, you don’t want to pass on germs to the faucet handle. The same benefit is true if you need to rinse messy hands and you don’t want to get the handle dirty with gunk or grime. A touchless faucet eliminates the problem.
  • Germs and bacteria can last for an extended period even with the most diligent cleaning routine. Eliminate the possibility of contaminating the faucet with bacteria or germs that may be present.
  • In homes with multiple household members, faucets receive a workout throughout the day and night. The more the handle is turned, the more wear and tear to the internal components, which results in the need for repair or replacement.
  • With a sensor system, you’ll save money on your water bill and conserve a natural resource. A good example of water abuse is allowing the faucet to run while brushing your teeth. On average, a traditional faucet allowed to run continuously can use up to 2 gallons of water per minute. With the tap turned off, you’ll use approximately .25 gallons.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

How your Plumbing Contractor can Protect your Plumbing during the Winter Months

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Your plumbing contractor is your best line of defense when it comes to protecting your home’s plumbing system during the harsh winter months. Winterizing your plumbing system before old man winter arrives not only helps protect your pipes from damage and costly repairs. It also decreases the chances you will lose your service and energy efficiency due to freezing winter temperatures. This post will discuss steps your plumbing contractor must take to protect your home’s plumbing system during the winter months.

Why Winter Plumbing Protection makes Sense
The cold realities of winter can have an adverse effect on your home’s plumbing system. If you are caught ill-prepared and temperatures drop below freezing, you face the potential of a damaged plumbing system and the consequences that come with it. A frozen pipe can potentially crack or burst causing immediate or delayed flooding inside your home. Not only are you left without vital water service, but could also experience severe water damage to your home and the costly repair bills required to fix it.

Plumbing Winterizing for your Primary Residence
While you can certainly take steps to protect your plumbing during the cold winter months, the best step is to contact your plumbing contractor. Winterizing your plumbing system requires a keen eye and experience to identify areas of concern. One pipe left unprotected can succumb to freezing temperatures that could wreak havoc on your life. A professional plumbing contractor knows where to look and the necessary steps required to protect you and your home’s plumbing from freezing temperatures.

  • Inspect the structure thoroughly to identify areas of concern that could allow freezing temperatures to reach your pipes. Often, unheated areas such as crawl spaces, attics or damaged — cracked or breached — exterior walls need additional insulation and repair to prevent damage due to freezing.
  • Insulate any exposed or vulnerable pipes with foam insulation tubes. The insulation tubes, while easy to install, often require physically installing them on pipes found in hard to reach areas such as attics and crawl spaces.
  • Snake or jet the primary sewer line that services the home. Debris that can build up inside the pipes during the summer can reduce or slow the flow. A slow draining sewage line is a prime candidate for freezing.
  • Install protective/insulated covers on outdoor hose bibs. Many fail to realize that an unprotected hose bib can lead to frozen pipes.

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system before winter arrives provides a peace of mind knowing that your home is protected when the temperature drops.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Simple Causes of Low Water Pressure

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Homeowners often must struggle with the inconvenience of low water pressure in their households. When this occurs, easy, everyday chores such as washing the dishes or bathing take longer and become a burdensome affair. Often the reason behind the water pressure issue is a simple fix; however, it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.

  1. Clogged Fixture: If your water pressure problem is limited to just one fixture, odds are it has become clogged. Sand, dirt and other debris can enter your home’s plumbing system, accumulate in your plumbing fixtures, and even reduce the energy efficiency of your household appliances. Most fixtures—faucets, shower heads and shut off valves—have built in screens to trap the debris. Often, a simple cleaning or a screen or aerator replacement will restore water pressure to the fixture.
  2. Clogged Water Filter: Many homes utilize water filters to catch the debris mentioned above. The filters can be whole house systems or mounted to sinks and refrigerator ice makers. Eventually, the filters will require service or changing to restore proper water pressure and flow.
  3. Faulty Shut Off Valve: Shut off valves are devices used to stop the flow of water to a plumbing fixture. They are commonly installed for toilets, faucets, dishwashers and refrigerators. As time passes, the valves can rust and corrode reducing water flow and possibly developing a total blockage. In addition, the valves can become so corroded, you cannot turn them off which would present a problem if water to the fixture need to be shut off quickly. It would be beneficial to have your plumbing contractor inspect and test the valves annually to verify they are in proper working order.
  4. Corrosion Buildup: Corrosion buildup inside your plumbing lines can reduce your water pressure. This problem is most common in homes that utilize steel or galvanized plumbing systems. While these plumbing materials were designed to last for decades, as they age they are susceptible to rust and corrosion buildup that can significantly reduce water flow and pressure. In most cases, the solution is not easy and requires replacing the old piping with PVC or PEX tubing.
  5. Leaking Water Lines: It should be understood that a leaking water pipe would reduce your water pressure. Depending on the leaks location, it could cause low water pressure in a specific area or the entire home. If you suspect your low water pressure problem is related to a plumbing leak, contact you plumbing contractor immediately. Leaking plumbing can cause serious damage to your home and launch your water bill into orbit.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Shower Valve Replacement: Do I Have to Replace the Tile?

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Shower valve replacement is an unfortunate circumstance many homeowners often face. The repair could result from a leak or simply a worn out vavle. When ignored, a leaking shower valve, no matter how small the leak, can lead to additional home repairs as well as mold and mildew growth. Many homeowners fret over a shower valve repair and assume they are facing major tile replacement and costs. While the possibility of major tile repair certainly exists, many shower valve leaks can be addressed with minimal damage to existing tile. The post below will point out the ramifications of a leaking shower valve as well as what you can expect during a repair.

What is a Shower Valve? A shower valve is a device inside the control wall of your shower that allows you to mix both the hot and cold water to your desired temperature by turning its handle or knob. Also, referred to as a mixing, diverter or control valve, the device connects to the hot and cold water supply line, the showerhead and tub faucet when applicable. These connection points are often the areas that develop a leak.

What Happens When they Leak? A leaking shower valve can wreak havoc on your interior walls, sub walls, flooring, baseboard and cabinetry just like any other leaking fixture. In addition, the leak can weaken the sub wall-studs and underlayment which as we know, supports your tile. Since the shower valve is inside the wall, the leak often goes unnoticed until it is too late and the damage is already done.

Does the Repair Require Tile Replacement? Upon arrival, your plumbing contractor will assess the situation and determine the best point of entry for shower valve replacement or repair. If you are fortunate, your shower control wall will be adjacent to a wall that allows the plumber to access it by simply cutting the drywall on its opposite side. If this option is not available, the plumber will have to access the valve from the tiled side of the control wall. This may require some cutting or removal of the tile around the shower valve opening to access the leak. While your plumber will take great care to cut or remove only enough tile as necessary, you could face some minor tile repair depending on the size of the opening. Most tile repairs under these circumstances can be addressed by installing an oversized escutcheon to cover the larger opening in the tiled wall. However, severe access limitations may require a larger opening in the wall that a larger escutcheon would not cover. Under these circumstances, you can expect a minor tile repair or replacement.

Due to recent climate concerns and global warming, awareness has risen for the importance of water conversation and energy efficiency. If you discover a leak in your home, no matter how small, contact your plumbing contractor immediately.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.