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How Garbage Disposal can harm your Septic Tank

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

A garbage disposal is a convenient appliance used to discard unwanted kitchen scraps and other food items. While the handy appliance seems like a good way to discard those unwanted items, it actually uses energy as well as freshwater to dispose of items that could easily be put into the trashcan. Aside from that, folks who depend on a private septic system to treat their household waste and effluent should think twice before using one. The following post will discuss why a garbage disposal is not a good idea for a septic system and ways you can use the appliance, although sparingly, if you just cannot live without one.

Your Kitchen Sink is not a Trashcan
Many homeowners dispose of kitchen waste—vegetable peelings, grease and leftover food—by grinding it up in the garbage disposal and washing it down the drain without ever giving it a second thought. They have no idea their actions could lead to costly septic tank and drain field repairs.

Septic systems rely on microorganisms within the septic tank to break down and consume waste. What is not consumed will settle and accumulate in the bottom of the tank forming the sludge layer. As the sludge layer grows, your tank’s ability to treat the wastewater diminishes. In addition to more frequent septic tank pumping, the kitchen waste could upset the bacterial balance inside the tank. A diminished population of microorganisms could have an adverse effect on the overall health of your septic system by reducing its ability to treat wastewater efficiently and allow solid waste particles to enter your drain or leach field. If this happens, you could incur costly drainfield repairs or replacement as its ability to absorb the wastewater will decrease.

Garbage Disposal Tips for Septic Tank Owners
Septic tank owners who depend on their garbage disposals can use the following tips to reduce the burden the appliance places on the septic system.

  • Use the appliance sparingly
  • Do not dispose of leftovers that could easily be placed in the trash
  • Do not place egg shells, vegetable peelings or other inert materials in the disposal
  • Never pour used oil or grease down the drain
  • Consider starting a compost pile

By using your garbage disposal responsibly, you lessen the chance of costly septic system and drain field repairs. In addition, you help the environment by using less water and electricity, which reduces your carbon footprint.

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

Rust and Scale can Wreak Havoc on your Home’s Plumbing System

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Rust and scale buildup is a common problem associated in water with a high mineral—calcium and magnesium—content. These troublesome minerals join forces to form scale or mineral deposits that wreak havoc on your household appliances and plumbing system. The scale can be very difficult to remove and when ignored, can lead to costly home repairs or additional damage.

While hard water does not pose a health risk, listed below are some of the negative impacts you could experience.

Pipes
Just and scale buildup wreaks havoc on your plumbing supply lines. Over time, scale buildup within your pipes can reduce overall household water pressure or even cause a total blockage. In addition, the scale can cause the pipes to corrode, leak and eventually rupture. Moreover, the trouble does not stop there. A ruptured water supply line can cause significant water damage to your home by ruining flooring, walls, baseboard and furniture. Should this happen, your health could also suffer as wet or damp conditions within your home promotes mold and mildew growth, a proven health hazard.

Appliances
Household appliances that use large amounts of water such as your water heater, dishwasher and washing machine are at a high risk. As hard water passes through these devices, the minerals in the water attach themselves to not only their plumbing supply lines but also the internal parts of the machines. As time passes and the buildup grows, the machines lose efficiency, use more energy and eventually experience premature failure.

Fixtures
Less severe consequences of rust and scale buildup are associated with your plumbing fixtures. The scale sticks to most any metal or porcelain object such as your bathtub, toilet, sinks and household faucets. Cleaning becomes a chore, as the scale can be difficult if not impossible to remove. Scale buildup will eventually damage the fixture’s finish leaving your fixtures looking dull or dirty.

Soaps and Detergents
Hard water reduces the efficiencies of household soaps and detergents. Since the cleaners do not lather well in hard water, folks spend more time and use more water when cleaning, doing laundry or simply taking a shower. Not only will this drive up your water bill, but also the money you spend on soap and other household cleaners.

The damage caused by hard water with rust and scale buildup happens slowly and often goes undetected until it is too late and the damage is done. An annual plumbing inspection is the best way to reduce the negative consequences of rust and scale buildup in your home’s plumbing system.

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

Toilets: Important things to consider when shopping for a new toilet

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Shopping for new toilets is a fairly, easy purchase. With a truckload of styles, colors and energy efficient models to choose from, you should have no trouble finding a new commode that matches your home’s decor and lifestyle. However, there are other important decisions to consider before making the purchase. The post below will discuss the choices homeowners face when shopping for a new toilet.

Energy Efficiency
It might seem strange to think of a toilet as energy efficient. However, low-flow toilets, those that use less water, are considered energy efficient. By using less water, not only do they help conserve a precious natural resource, but also help conserve the energy required to produce and deliver freshwater to your home. Federal mandates are in place that limit—1.6 gallons per flush—the amount of freshwater they use. Some high-efficiency models require even less than that.

Toilet Size
Not all toilets are created equal when it comes to size. Some require larger rough-in areas than others. Consult with your plumbing contractor about available models that will mount to existing plumbing without costly modifications. This will eliminate any confusion when you begin your search at the local home improvement center or plumbing supply house. In addition, toilet height should be a major concern. Comfort height toilets measure between 17 and 19-inches from floor to the top of the seat. These toilets are ideal for senior citizens or those suffering from physical limitations when toilet use becomes difficult. Traditional toilet height is considered below 17-inches.

Other Considerations
Aside from the color and style of the tank, other decisions you must make when purchasing a new toilet are the shape—round, elongated, compact elongated—of the bowl, type—wood, molded wood composite, cushioned vinyl and plastic or polypropylene—of seat you desire, and toilet model—one piece or two. In addition, you must choose a toilet with your desired flushing system. The three most common flushing systems used in standard toilets are listed below.

  • Gravity-flush systems are the most common used in residential applications. They use the weight of the water and gravity to empty the toilet.
  • Pressure-assisted systems utilize pressurized air to force water into the bowl when flushing. While these systems reduce clogs, they are much more expensive and may require periodic maintenance.
  • Dual flush systems provide an option that conserves water during flushing. You can choose between a full or partial flush when using.

Have it Professionally Installed
Many homeowners choose to install their toilet themselves. While it is feasible that a handy homeowner with a moderate skill set in construction could install a toilet, many things can go wrong during or after the installation. It is recommended that you hire a licensed and insured plumbing contractor to install your new toilet to protect both you and your home.

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

Water Heater Timer: Is it worth the trouble?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Energy efficient minded homeowners often hire their plumbing contractor to install a water heater timer in the hopes of reducing their utility bill. Yet, is the cost of the timer and labor involved to install it worth the trouble? How much energy and money does timer installation really save? Well, it depends mostly on your lifestyle and the age of your water heater. This post will discuss the basics of water heater timers and if you should consider installing one in the future.

This handy, electronic device connects to your water heater—gas or electric—which allows you to set the times of the day or night when the appliance activates for hot water production and maintenance. Standard water heaters require energy 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to maintain water temperatures inside its storage tank. The question to ask yourself is do you really need access to hot water 24-hours a day? If you answered no, then maybe a water heater timer can reduce your energy consumption and save you a few dollars.

Many homeowners assume that their water heater is active 24-hours a day. If fact, most standard water heaters run approximately 3 hours a day. Some newer, more energy efficient models run even less. A water heater heats water until it reaches a preset temperature on its thermostat. Once the water inside the storage tank reaches this temperature, the appliance deactivates. Afterward, as the temperature of the stored water drops, it reactivates periodically to maintain applicable temperatures.

The drop in temperature is something all standard water heaters suffer and is referred to as standby loss. This refers to the heat loss a water heater storage tank experiences when it is inactive. A good comparison is a thermos full of hot coffee. As the day goes by, the coffee inside the thermos will gradually cool. The difference is water heater storage tanks utilize built in heating elements that activate throughout the day to maintain the water temperature.

Your lifestyle will play the largest role in determining the value of a water heater timer. If you’re out of the house for the majority of the day and when most utility companies charge a premium for their energy, then a water heater timer might be worth the trouble. However, people with erratic schedules that do not include long periods away from home, might find that a water heater time is not suited for their lifestyle.

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

Benefits of Ice maker Water Filters

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

The benefits of having ice maker water filters installed on your refrigerator is numerous. With our ever-growing concerns over contaminated freshwater supplies, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself and family from tainted water. Many of today’s higher-end refrigerators come complete with a water dispenser, ice maker and also include a filter. However, since many models do not include a water filter, the appliances often get installed without one. The post below will explain the many benefits of water filtration for your refrigerator.

Water Quality
The number one reason an ice maker water filter is installed is simple, the quality. Many water supplies around the country contain harmful contaminates, that when consumed in large doses, can have an adverse effect on your health. While most municipal water supplies are clean, they also contain chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine. Other impurities or contaminates such as sand, rust and miscellaneous debris are often found in water supplies. Deteriorating plumbing such as a water heater or a breach in the plumbing system, can allow contaminates to find their way to your tap.

Filtered Water Tastes Better
Chemical additives, such as those mentioned above and minerals naturally present in water can give it an unpleasant smell or taste. This applies to not only your refrigerator’s filtered drinking water but also the ice it produces. A simple, charcoal, ice maker water filter or more advanced osmosis system will significantly improve the taste and smell of your drinking water.

Saves Money
Many ice maker water filters can produce up to 500 gallons of filtered water before filter replacement. The cost of a charcoal water filter is significantly lower when compared to the cost of the same amount of bottled. It must be noted, that some higher end reverse osmosis systems will cost more up front, but will pay for themselves over time due to their much longer lifespan.

Convenience
With filtered water and ice right at your fingertips on the refrigerator door, you will not have to worry about running out of filtered drinking water. Gone are the days of lugging heavy, awkward cases of bottled water from your car into the house. In addition and of significant importance, is that you will help reduce the number of plastic water bottles and the energy used to produce and recycle them, that wreak havoc on our environment and ecosystem everyday.

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

Does the “Eco” Setting On Your Appliances Actually Save Money?

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Over the past few years, you may have noticed the “Eco setting” button on new appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Many trustworthy homeowners often wonder if the economy setting really saves them money. Actually, the eco setting will reduce energy and water consumption but may end up costing you in the end.

Most of today’s appliances that include eco settings are energy star approved. Once activated, and depending on the type of appliance, most economy modes are designed to conserve both the amount of water and electricity or gas used to power the appliance. Common types of appliances with eco settings are listed below.

  • Washing machines
  • Clothes dryers
  • Microwaves
  • Dishwashers
  • Televisions
  • Ranges
  • HVAC systems

The downside to this well-intended idea is that the savings come at the expense of the appliance’s performance to the point where it falls short of minimum standards. For example, if a dishwasher’s performance is reduced to a point where it fails to clean your dishes, the likely result is that you will run them through another cycle, using more energy to complete the task than if the appliance has been in normal mode.

Often, appliance models that include friendly eco settings cost more than standard models of the same variety. If at the end of the day you wind up paying more for the appliance at checkout and run it twice as much to meet your standards, are you really saving any money? When purchasing these energy saving appliances, you must do your homework and compare energy star ratings with the overall price to make a solid determination. Read customer reviews to find out first hand if the appliance performance standards stand up when in economy mode.

Using common sense when using your standard appliances can reduce energy consumption and save you money. For instance:

  • Operate your washing machine and clothes dryer with full loads.
  • Reducing your thermostat setting by one degree can save you as much as ten percent of your heating cost average.
  • Do not run the dishwasher with anything less than a full load.
  • Hire a professional plumber to perform annual service and flushing on your water heater to maintain maximum efficiency.

Follow the tips listed above can save you as much if not more energy consumption than the eco function on higher end appliances.

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

Image source

Faucet Features: The Latest Options

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Faucet Features – The Latest “Must Have” Options

With the latest faucet features and technology available, homeowners can tap into water sources more conveniently while conserving energy and water and saving money, too. Whether faucets are for the kitchen or bathroom, the latest innovations take faucet usage a step above traditional options.

Sink Faucets

Sink faucets run the gamut from single handle pullout models to top-notch valves and tougher and more resilient faucet finishes.

While the traditional two-handle faucet is still used, the single handle pullout faucet has become one of the most popular as it combines the spout and the spray head. These added faucet features add both flexibility and convenience when using the faucet. It is easier to install and it doesn’t need as much space as a two-handle faucet.

Finishes have also advanced in faucet features. Of the three finishes – chrome, bronze, and PVD – bronze show the least resistance to abrasive and corrosive products such as tough scouring pads and strong drain cleaners.

Spout shapes have also changed with the gooseneck model adding a higher level of convenience to bathroom and kitchen sinks by providing more clearance. With the ability to swivel from right to left, a gooseneck makes it more flexible than the standard straight spout.

Faucets with the spray/stream selector allow you to conveniently switch from the spray option to a steady stream of water using handy push buttons located on the side of the nozzle. Once you set the mode to either spray or stream, the faucet retains the setting even if turned off and back on again.

Setting Temperatures

With some single-handle faucets, the feature is available that retains the water temperature versus the need to reset it each time the faucet is turned on.

Touch Technology

The top technology in faucet features is the touch system. With these faucets, you can touch the handle or the spout anywhere on the surface to activate or stop the flow of water.

The ultimate in touch technology is available with manufacturers taking sensory technology to another level. This particular model provides a “sensing field” that activates whenever someone approaches within a four-inch radius of the faucet. When you exit the radius area, the faucet sensors activate and turn the water off. This technology eliminates the constant turn on, turn off sequence that adds wear and tear on the inner workings of faucet fixtures.

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

Image source: www.flickr.com

Image link: https://flic.kr/p/79sPLG

Image photographer: colorhome

Image title: hansgrohe-commercial-style-faucet-prep-1

How to Reset Water Heater Temperatures for Summer

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Savvy, energy-conscious homeowners are always looking for ways to save money and conserve natural resources. According to the Department of Energy, water heating is the second largest energy consumer in the average home after the costs to heat and cool a home. The water heater accounts for around 18 percent of utility costs. One easy way to save on water-heating costs is to reset water heater temperatures. Once the summer weather rolls around, most people don’t use very hot water anyway.

Benefits

Manufacturers typically preset water heaters at 120ºF. There are a number of advantages to the preset standard, including having very hot water for washing dishes and clothing and killing bacteria in the plumbing.

However, there are downsides to this temperature and upsides to lowering it:

  • With very hot water, the chance of scalding exists. A lower setting offsets this risk.
  • Some sources report a savings of 5 percent for every 10 degrees you can dial down the temperature setting.

However, people with compromised immune systems should maintain the 120 degree setting to avoid potential issues with bacteria at all costs. Additionally, if you decide to lower the setting, be sure your dishwasher operates with a temperature booster so the water will be hot enough to kill germs.

A Guide for Changing the Setting

A homeowner with solid plumbing skills may be able to change the water heater temperature without calling in a professional, but this should be reserved for those that feel confident in their mechanical skills. There should be a dial on the exterior that you can easily change. But of course, there’s a catch. Sometimes, these dials/thermostats aren’t accurate. Because you’ll deal with serious issues if the water isn’t hot enough, it’s best to use a separate thermostat to test the water, and then adjust the setting. Take the temperature at the water stream farthest away from the water heater. Adjust the dial, wait, and take the temperature again. It may take several tries to get the temperature to the setting you want, and you should be careful around high water temperatures.

Do You Need Professional Help?

You’ll feel much more confident in your temperature setting if you call in a professional to make sure the job is done right by someone with knowledge and experience. In fact, if you schedule annual maintenance for the water heater, part of the service includes tasks like calibrating the thermostat. In addition, you’ll benefit from other services included, such as flushing the system and cleaning the heating element.

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

Image source: Wikimedia Commons