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Are Your Outdoor Faucets Ready For Winter?

With cooler weather right around the corner, we all are thinking about what we need to do to get our homes ready for the dropping temperatures. Unfortunately, many people forget about their outside water faucets, resulting in bursting water hoses, hose bibs, or pipes when freezing weather arrives. So, what can help prevent this from happening?

First and foremost, you have to disconnect and drain water hoses and hose bibs. Even if you turn off your water source, you can still end up with a burst water hose or pipe if you forget to unscrew your hose and drain the water.  Water expands when it freezes, so if it doesn’t have a way to drain as it freezes the pressure will build in your water hose and water line causing a rupture. If the cold temperatures last for a while, you may not realize you have a burst water hose or pipe until the weather warms. And, depending on where your hoses bibs are located, you might not notice the broken water line right away — leaving you with a high water bill. images

Second, you can install frost- or freeze-proof hose bibs. A regular hose bib has a supply connection cut off outside the house leaving it directly exposed to freezing temperatures. A frost- or freeze-proof hose bib has a longer pipe (ranging from 8 to 24 inches) that goes into the basement or crawl space. The cut off valve is then located in the crawl space or basement where it is protected from the colder, outside temperatures.  Remember, however, that the water hoses still need to be removed and drained.

Another thing you can do is install hose bib covers. Hose bib covers are square or dome shaped, made from a think foam, and fit over your outdoor faucets.  Even if you have frost- or freeze-proof hose bibs, you can further protect the gaskets and washers inside them by using a hose bib cover. Adding an additional layer of protection is always a good thing.

So, although we are still having some warm, sunny days keep in mind that winter is right around the corner. Don’t forget to add your outdoor faucets to your winter-prep punch list once temperatures start to drop. A little upfront work and prevention will save you headaches and money in the future.

Not Your Average Sink Plumbing

 

If you’re considering replacing a sink in your powder room or bathroom, you may be looking at some of the cool wall mount or vessel sinks available today. If so, one area you need to give attention to is the plumbing under the sink.  Since these sinks don’t have base cabinets or vanities to hide the plumbing, you may want to look at some of the new decorative p-traps now on the market.

So what is a p-trap? It is a pipe that has a sharp curve or dip in the pipe, and is a necessary part of your sink plumbing. Water collects in this curved or dipped area, and prevents sewer gases from backing up into your home. The p-trap can also catch heavy items, such as an earring or ring, and stop them from going down the drain.

With the appeal of floating vanities and wall mounted sinks growing, the demand for more decorative p-traps has increased. Companies are now providing them in an array of finishes from black and chrome to brass and brushed nickel.  This allows you to have your exposed p-trap match whatever finish you choose for your sink fixtures.plumber_sinks

Along with the various finishes being offered, there are also different styles of p-traps. This will give you a more cohesive look to your bathroom. Home improvement stores have styles ranging from traditional, vintage, European, modern and contemporary. To complete the look, you can find matching angle stops (the under sink turn on/off valves) in stores and online as well.

So remember, although a necessity, your p-traps don’t have to be just “average” anymore.  If you’re installing a sink with exposed plumbing, consider one of the new decorative p-traps to accent your new sink. This can make for a beautiful addition to your powder room or bathroom.

Get Your Home Ready For Winter

 

Fall is such a pretty time of year. Beautiful sunny days with low humidity make it an enjoyable time for outings and get togethers. With all that sunshine and blue skies, you might not want to think about the winter days to come, but its important that you do.

Getting your home ready for winter not only provides you with a more comfortable home when those cold days begin, but it can save you a lot on your energy bills.  But what are the best things to do to prepare your home for winter?  Below are some suggestions to get you started on winterizing your home.qtq80-lZpED3

  1. Start outside.  Disconnect and drain any garden drip systems or water hoses.  If you have a rain barrel you will want to drain the water, clean and remove any debris, then store the rain barrel or turn upside down.  Reconnect your gutter downspout to keep water directed away from your house.
  2. Clean out your rain gutters.  If there are trees near your home, you will want to wait until all the leaves have fallen.  Keeping the gutters clear of debris will prevent a buildup of ice on your roof and damage to your gutters.
  3. Check for leaks around doors, windows, switch plates, and under sink plumbing.  You will want to insulate, caulk, or use spray foam around any drafty areas you find.  This keeps heat from escaping and will help reduce your energy bills.
  4. Check your furnace filter, and replace if needed. A clean furnace filter will help your system run more efficiently, and again save on your heating bill. If you don’t already have one, installing a programmable thermostat can also save on your heat bill.
  5. Make sure your water pipes and hot water heater are insulated. Doing this will protect the pipes during really cold spells. And since insulating your hot water lines can raise your water temperature 2 to 4 degrees, it allows your system to be more energy efficient by giving you hot water at lower settings.
  6. Insulate your attic and crawl space.  Making sure your crawl space is properly insulated will keep floors feeling warmer.  Because a great deal of heat can escape through the roof, having adequate insulation in your attic is a necessity.
  7. Have your chimney cleaned.  This will allow your fireplace to work better and help keep your home and family safe. A buildup of deposits — as well as animal nests in your chimney — can lead to chimney fires.

You can complete several of these projects on your own, but some other projects, like chimney cleaning, will require a professional.  While winterizing your home can be time consuming, completing these projects will keep your home in good working order, and save you money along the way.  Happy winterizing!

Protect Your Plumbing! by GoGreen Plumbing

We can all get a little crazy sometimes when cleaning up around the house and forget that our plumbing system is not a “whole house” disposal system.  Here are some reminders of what not to put down your water drainage pipes and some care to take when dealing with a plumbing issue.

  1. Don’t pore grease down your sink. This is a big reason for clogged sinks in your kitchen.  Instead, allow grease to cool, then pour into a jar or can and toss into your garbage.peteinshower-547x620
  2. Misuse of your garbage disposal. Overloading and putting the wrong items down your disposal can jam the blades or overheat the motor.  Avoid melon rinds, onions, celery, and fibrous items.
  3. Flushing improper items down your toilet. Your toilet is not a trash can.  You should never flush any paper or cloth items, only official toilet paper.  Any other items can lead to clogs and backups.
  4. Not removing hair from drain traps. The drain trap is designed to catch soap scrum and hair.  This needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.  Otherwise, you will have poor drainage and risk clogging.
  5. Using the wrong tools to clear a clog. A drain snake should be used on sink drains.  If your toilet is clogged, you should try a plunger first.  If that doesn’t work, try a toilet auger.  If that doesn’t work, then it is definitely time to call a professional.
  6. Twisting or pulling too hard on faucet handles. Turning a faucet on or off is a simple thing.  Twisting or pulling too hard on the handles can cause the washers to strip resulting in a drippy or broken faucet.
  7. Putting construction materials down your laundry sink. Don’t clean up from that drywall or paint job in your laundry sink.  Joint compound and paint can harden in your pipes causing them to clog.  And, if you are on a septic system, theses items can clog and damage your septic.
  8. Turning on a water heater too soon. If you install your own water heater, make certain to allow the water heater to fill completely before turning it on.  Otherwise, you can burn up your brand new water heater.
  9. Turning a blind eye to small plumbing leaks. Avoiding small leaks will only cause them to worsen, cause damage to your pipes, waste water, and provide mold a perfect environment to grow.  Get leaks taken care of immediately to avoid bigger problems later.
  10. Stripping threads. When doing plumbing repairs, remember not to over tighten the plumbing components.  Over tightening can cause the components to strip or break.

 

Hope these reminders allow you to keep your plumbing in good working order, and preforming as needed for you and your family.

Longer Life For Your Hot Water Tank

 

Gone are the days of heating water on the stove — or heaven forbid over a fire. Today, a short walk to the faucet, a turn of the knob and there you have it … hot water. Most people do this many times a day never giving a thought to the how’s or why’s, other than knowing that the tall tubular appliance in their garage or closet keeps their hot water flowing. Keeping that in mind, you’ll want to be sure your hot water tank can continue providing hot water this winter.

One of the things that helps hot water tanks to do their job — while increasing their longevity — is a little thing that not many people are aware of until it stops doing its job: the sacrificial anode. This is a rod made of magnesium or aluminum that’s formed around a steal core wire and placed in the hot water tank through the top of the tank.

While its primary job is to maintain the life of your water tank, a powered anode can be used to help with odors as well as rust prevention. These rods are not designed to last the life of the tank, thus the name “sacrificial” anode. It will deteriorate in the process of doing its job. The amount of time that one will last depends on your water quality, amount of hot water used, water temperature, and the actual quality of your tank. Water that is softened with sodium will shorten the life of your anode rod.

Being aware of this small rod can have a big effect on the life of your hot water tank. That’s why checking the condition of the sacrificial anode on a regular basis is highly recommended. If you’re not monitoring it and only replacing your anode rod when it’s on its last leg, you can expect to replace your hot water tank more frequently, which results in a greater expense to you.

So put this on your “home maintenance” list to check every few years or so. If you’re not a handy do-it-yourself-er, have your plumber check it to see if it needs to be replaced. With accessible hot water being such a luxury and necessary part of life, homeowners want to keep hot water tanks as long as possible, both for the hot water and for their wallet.

Heating Your Bathroom Floors by Go Green Plumbing

Well, here we are again, the middle of fall with winter right around the corner.  And while some of us enjoy our cool tile floors in the summer, they aren’t fun to walk on in the middle of winter. Did you know that you can actually remodel your bathroom with not only updated bathroom fixtures but heated floors as  well?

If you have ever dreamed of placing your feet on a warm floor, it can become a reality.  Whether you are remodeling, or building a new home, heated floors can be a great addition.  Here are a few things to consider to get you on the way to “toasty warm” floors.

First consider what you want to get from your heated floors.  Are you just interested in just warming up your floors, or are you looking for ways to provide more heat into your home?  Electric radiant heat is there to warm your floor (and toes), but not to be your sole heat source.  The electrical cables, sometimes attached to a mesh padding, is installed over your sub-floor using thin-set.  Then your choice of flooring is installed  on top of the electric cables.  There is now electric radiant heat systems for most floor types, including carpet, floating floors and vinyl.  You can even get heat systems that can be installed underneath your sub-floor if you don’t want to pull out your existing floors.  This type of system requires access to your joist bays through a crawl space or basement.

Hydronic radiant systems is an actual home heating system.  A boiler is used to heat water, between 100 to 120 degrees, that runs throughout the house using water tubing.  The water tubing can be embedded in a concrete slab, over an existing slab, or fitted into special designed panels.  Any type of flooring can be used with hydronic heat systems.  However, keep in mind that if you live in an area with high moisture levels, you might want to consider using a engineers wood rather than real wood.  Too much moisture can cause real wood to bow or warp.

Electric radiant heat is less expensive to installed since it requires less labor.  But it can increase your electric bill slightly depending on the size of area covered.  Installing electric systems in smaller areas like kitchens or bathrooms, and using programmable thermostats, makes these systems nice and affordable.  Although hydronic systems have a higher installation costs compared to forced hot air units, it will save money due to lower thermostat settings and higher efficiency.  This make hydronic systems a good source to heat your entire house.

So if you’re tired of those cold winter floors, start thinking of something more permanent to warm them up.  Maybe radiant floor heating will be one solution to keeping you and your home “toasty warm” this winter.

Easy Water Conservation For All by Go Green Plumbing

Water…so necessary to life, but something a lot of us take for granted.  When we need it, we turn a knob, push a button, or grab a bottle.  But what if you turn that knob, or push that button, and no water appears?  According to the US Government Accountability Office, 40 out of 50 states have at least one region that’s expected to have some kind of water shortage over the next 10 years.P16672369

With this issue looming ahead of us, now is the time to start looking at our water as the precious resource it is.  There are several small things we can change in our daily routine that can save thousands of gallons of water a year.  Below are a few suggestions to get you started on your water conservation path.

Bathrooms are a good starting place. 

  1. If you don’t have aerators on your faucets and shower heads, install them.  Aerators reduce the amount of water that flows through.
  2. Turn the water off while shaving or brushing teeth instead of running continuously.
  3. If replacing a toilet, purchase a low-flow toilet that requires less water to flush.
  4. Keep a bucket or watering can near your shower to catch water while waiting for it to warm up.  Then use the water to flush toilets or water houseplants.
  5. Shorten showers or turn the water off while soaping up or shaving legs for bigger water conservation.
  6.  The shower bucket idea can also be used in the kitchen.  Use a container to catch the colder water while waiting for the hot.  Then use later for cleaning, watering plants, or other food preparation.
  7. If you hand-wash dishes, fill-up your sink with dish water rather than washing under a running faucet.
  8. If replacing your dishwasher or washing machine, look for ones with Energy Star ratings.  And remember not running dishwashers and washing machines until you have full loads can save gallons of water.

Look for even small ways to prevent waste.  Water left in drinking glasses or water bottles?  Use to water house plants.  Keep your eyes and ears open for drippy faucets or leaks, or running toilets, and fix problems quickly.  Take your vehicles to car washes that recycle water.  A big gardener?  Install a rain barrel as the source to water your garden and plants. Keep in mind that energy plants are powered by water, so conserving energy is another way to save on water.

Becoming conscious of the water we are using will help us to look for other ways to conserve on our water usage.  Let’s all pitch in to do what we can to take care of this precious resource we all rely on.

Have more questions? Call us- we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day.  If water runs through it – We Do It!