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How To Reduce Your Water Heating Bills

 

Did you know that the water heating system is the second largest user of energy in most American  homes? The good news is, according to the US Department of Energy, there are a number of ways that you can reduce your water heating bills. Many of its suggestions[1], found on energy.gov and highlighted in bold below, will impact your bill incrementally but when used together, can begin to make a notable change in your bills.

Use less water. This seems obvious, but it’s an unescapable fact. Use less water and you pay less money.

Install low flow showerheads and faucets. If you prefer a higher flow for showers and can’t see giving that luxury up, you may want to consider installing low flow faucets throughout your home.

Buy a more efficient model. Do your research and take a look at newer options such as tankless water heaters, heat pumps, tankless coil/indirect and last but not least, solar hot water heaters.

Purchase energy star appliances. Energy star appliance have come a long way in recent years and the options are endless. From hot water heaters to dishwashers and clothes washers, this choice can no doubt make a difference in your bills.

Wash your clothes in cold water. If using less water isn’t an option, using cold water can also take your bill down an extra notch. While sometimes you need to use hot water, if you make cold water washing your everyday choice, you will see your bill come down incrementally.

Turn down your water heater thermostat. Lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees will not only impact your bill, it will keep your family safer from potential scalding – especially if you have young children in your home.

Fix leaks and make sure to turn off that tap. Energy.gov estimates that even one drip per second can cost you a dollar a day.

Insulate your water heater and pipes. Especially in the winter months, this tip can save you some real dollars. That said, make sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for doing so.

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!

 

[1] Source: Energy.gov, “New Infographic and Projects to Keep Your Bills Out of Hot Water,” https://energy.gov/articles/new-infographic-and-projects-keep-your-energy-bills-out-hot-water, April 19, 2013.

Maintaining Your Water Heater 

 

Did you know that most water heaters last for more than ten years? The key to making it last even longer? Keeping yours maintained properly. So, two questions: first, how do you make sure yours is in good condition and second, how to know when you need a new one?

Dial it back. To keep your hot water heather working smoothly and efficiently, dial the temperature down. Besides saving you money each month, keeping your water temperature lower is an important safety precaution if you have small children.

You will find the temperature setting dial on a knob on the gas valve or thermostat behind an electric water heater panel. Once you have located it, turn it to between 115 to 120 degrees. With that simple adjustment, you’re not only reducing your energy output, but also protecting your tank from overheating.

Test the Temperature and Pressure (T&P). Simply lift the lever part way and let it go so it will snap back. When you do this, you should hear the water being released into the drain tube. If you do not hear this water release, your water heater probably should be replaced.

Perform a mini flush. It’s a good idea to perform a mini flush annually—just add it to your spring or summer cleaning list. Why? Any sediment that has gathered at the bottom of the tank can lead to rust and/or inefficiency. Simply place a bucket under the drain valve (located near the bottom of the water heater tank) and turn the valve counter clockwise. When you do this, the water heat will release a few gallons of water into the bucket. If you prefer, you can do a full flush, but know that it requires more time and work as well as shutting down your water heater.

Assess your costs. Ultimately, if your water heater does not heat efficiently and/or you find yourself constantly calling a professional for repairs, look for a new one. While a new water heater is typically about a thousand dollars or less, if your current water heater isn’t working properly, it’s probably costing you more than you realize.

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!

Common Summer Plumbing Issues To Avoid

Now that summer has arrived, the last thing you want to deal with is plumbing issues. Unfortunately, there are some issues that arise more often during the summer months than others. Below you’ll find a list of those most common summer plumbing issues and how you can avoid them – and move on to more important issues – like vacation.

Clogged Disposal. With fresh produce at the ready during the spring and summer, homeowners can put extra stress on their disposals and not even know it. To avoid it clogging, limit – or avoid altogether – disposing of hard produce such as melon rinds or corn cobs in your garbage disposal. Also, be sure not to pour used cooking oil or grease into the disposal.  When you are using it for appropriate biodegradable items, run cold water briefly before and after you use it help flush the food through the disposal.

Sewer Line Backups. Summer is the time for late afternoon thunderstorms and rain. While we need rain to make our flowers and gardens grow, an abundance of rain can enter into sewer pipes through cracks and cause the sewer line to back up. Tree roots that spread underground can also cause cracked pipes. If you see any signs of sewer line trouble such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a qualified plumber right away. He or she may recommend a sewer line replacement if the damage is extensive.

Washing Machine Maintenance. Your washing machine may get more of a workout during the summer as well. With children out of school and more time spent outside, including days at the pool or the beach, there’s more laundry to wash, consequently more stress on your washer. And note, it’s best to stay at home while the machine is running, so that if a problem arises you can stop the cycle immediately and call a professional if needed.

Clogged Toilets. Household toilets are also used more regularly in the summer, thanks to children using the bathroom during the day. Most clogs are fairly simple to clear with a plunger, but if you need additional help, call in a professional.

Sprinkler Issues. If you have sprinklers embedded in your lawn, be sure to inspect and clean the heads before the season begins. When you are mowing the lawn, be careful to do so when the sprinkler heads are lowered to avoid damaging them.

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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!

 

Is Your Toilet Leaking?

Toilet leaks can be difficult to identify. Consequently, they can continue for a long time without being noticed. During that time, hundreds of gallons of water and money can be wasted and damage done. The good news? Most toilet leaks can be fixed without too much of a hassle. So what should you do if you suspect your toilet has a leak? Here are a few tips for you to try.

To detect a leaking toilet, remove the tank lid and place a few drops of food coloring in the back of the toilet tank. Wait 30 minutes and check to see if any food coloring has entered the toilet bowl water. If the water is clear, the toilet is not leaking. If you see food coloring in the bowl you have a leak. So, what now?

There are a few common toilet leak issues that are relatively easy to fix. First, a leaking toilet can be caused by a worn or cracked flapper, which is the rubber valve in the base of the tank that lifts up when the toilet is flushed. If the flapper is damaged, water can flow from the tank into the bowl without flushing.

Second, if your flush handle is not functioning properly, your toilet will run continuously, wasting gallons of water daily. Typically, this is because your flush level bar and chain or the flush handle are sticking. Simply adjust the nut that secures the level bar and chain in the toilet tank and/or replace the flushing handle.

And third, you may have an issue with your overflow tube. In a perfect world, your toilet water level should even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank which is about half an inch below the overflow tube. If the toilet water is too high in the tank and is spilling into the overflow tube, you can adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by gently bending the float arm downward so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.

If you find that your leak is not resolved after checking these issues, you should call a professional to assess the situation quickly and ensure that no further damage is done. It is critically important to resolve any water leak issues quickly and effectively so that they do not lead to much larger issues.

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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!

 

Bathroom Upgrades That Deliver

Summer has arrived — the time when many homeowners make plans to roll up their sleeves and take care of those long-awaited upgrades and remodels. If your bathroom is on your summer target list, here are a few key upgrades than can deliver a significant bang for your buck.

Countertops. Updated countertops can make a tremendous impact. You will want to look for natural stone, engineered quartz or the ever popular Carrera or Calcutta marble for a more modern look. If your budget is more limited, painting your countertops is now a very viable option. Plan a visit to your local home improvement store and they can get you on the right path. Either way, neutral colors are a good option.

Lighting. Modern lighting can make all the difference in your bathroom. If sophisticated is what you’re after, LED sconces and bathroom bars can deliver. If you’re more traditional, there’s plenty of lighting options to choose from on the market today, so take an afternoon and enjoy perusing your local stores.

Fixtures and faucets. Faucets can often make or break a good looking bathroom. Get rid of your bone and brass and install nickel, chrome or white fixtures to achieve a more up-to-date look. If you’re not comfortable installing these, call a professional like Go Green Plumbing and they will be glad to help.

Remove carpet. While it can be nice to step out from your shower onto nice soft carpeted floor, it’s also a prime spot for mold and bacteria to grow. Purchase a few nice, fluffy bath mats that you can wash instead. Next, replace the carpet with a tile–or laminate that resembles tile or hardwood.

Bathroom Cabinets. Whether it’s a coat of paint, refacing or total replacement, new bathroom cabinets can transform a frumpy bathroom into something special. As far as color choices go, neutral is always a good call.

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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!

Common Plumbing Mistakes To Avoid

 

Your home’s plumbing system is one of those items you usually don’t pay too close attention to until something goes awry. And then, well, it’s no fun to deal with plumbing problems — and unfortunately repairs can be costly. So how do you help prevent issues that can stop your home’s plumbing system in its tracks?

Clean your drain traps regularly. During these checks look for simple clogs and potential drainage problems which are frustrating now but can be debilitating in the long term. When you’re cleaning your pipes, be gentle when it comes to using harsh chemicals, especially if you have a septic system.

Keep paint out of your drains. As you’re working on those summer home projects, make sure not to put paint or any other construction materials or fluids down the drain. Contact your city or town hall and they will be able to tell you the proper procedure for disposing of these materials in your area. Typically, there is a specific waste location that deals strictly with these items.

Manage your cooking grease. If you’re cooking and tempted to watch that grease out of the pan into the sink — don’t do it! Instead, allow the grease to cool, pour it into a jar or aluminum can and throw it in the trash.

Handle your garbage disposal with care. Everyone loves this modern-day convenience, but if you overload it or if you unload things into it that aren’t good for it — such as rice, coffee grounds and melon rinds — it can wear out and not do the job that it needs to, thus causing potential plumbing problems.

Be good to your faucet handles and they will be good to you. Twisting or pulling on them continuously to stop a small leak can strip the washer and complicate matters. Also, if you’re doing your own plumbing, make sure not to over tighten the faucets.

Don’t delay plumbing repairs. If you discover a problem that needs to be handled by a professional — don’t delay. The problem can get worse, creating more of an opportunity for even greater problems such as mold to take hold.

Have you purchased a new water heater? Make sure to allow it to fill completely before turning it on. Otherwise, you could do irreparable damage.

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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!

Caring For An Outdoor Water Fountain

 

 

With warmer weather, most of us look for ways to spend more time outdoors.  Relaxing on your patio or deck can be a perfect way to unwind after a long day or week.  Many have found that adding a water fountain to their deck or patio can add to the calming effect.  But once you have it all set up and installed, what do you need to do to keep it working well for a long time?  Here are a few suggestions to help you maintain your water fountain:

  • Keep an eye on your water level. When the heat rises more water will evaporate, so you will need to add water to your fountain regularly.  This might be required daily during the hottest parts of the season.  This helps in keeping your water fountain cleaner.  It is best to  completely change out the water in your fountain every month if possible.
  • Your water pump is really the life of your water fountain, so take steps to keep it in good working order. Remove any leaves or debris from your fountain to avoid damaging the pump.  Placing a protective cloth screen over the pump is a good idea to keep debris out of the pump.  Keeping your water level at the proper level is also necessary to keep your pump working properly.
  • If the water is not running properly from your water fountain, and the pump is working good, then you need to check your water tubing. Use a water hose to flush out any debris that may be stuck inside.
  • To remove algae or buildup on your fountain, drain all the water, then using a mixture of white vinegar and warm water scrub until clean. Rinse thoroughly before refilling.  There are also commercial cleaners available.  Check to be certain that any cleaner you use is safe for any birds or wildlife that visit your water fountain.  An algae removal or inhibitor can be used where the water is not changed every day to keep it clean and non-stagnant for your feathered friends.

Following these few steps will keep your water fountain clean and working well for a long time.  Then you and your family can enjoy the relaxing, soothing effects of your water fountain for a long time as well.

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!

Keeping That Stainless Shining

 

 

If, like thousands of others, you are a lover of stainless steel in your kitchen then you are aware of the time and elbow grease required to keep it looking its best.  To help make stainless steel cleaning chores a little easier, we have gathered some helpful information for you.

A few basics – Never use anything abrasive to clean your stainless (i.e., steel wool or other metal scrubbing pads).  Use a soft cloth (microfiber are good) to clean and buff; paper towels will work as well.  Avoid any harsh cleaners that can damage the stainless.  Read the manufacturer’s instruction to ensure you are following any specific guideline for your appliance brand.

A little training goes a long way – Train yourself and the members of your family to use the handles when opening and closing stainless steel appliance doors.  This will limit the amount of fingerprints and smudges on the stainless itself reducing the amount of cleaning required.  Wipe off spills or water drops right away to limit water spots.  Don’t use tape on your stainless to hold pictures, reminders, etc.  This will also help reduce smudges and residue.

The actual cleaning – There are some general household items you can use to get your stainless to shining again.

1) Vinegar (regular vinegar has 5% acidity, cleaning vinegar has 6%) – Pour undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle, mist the stainless, and use a soft cloth or microfiber cloth to wipe down. Buff dry to shine.

2) Oil (mineral, baby oil, or other like olive oil) – Apply oil to a dampened cloth and wipe your stainless following the grain until clean and shiny.  Some like to wipe down with vinegar first, then follow with the oil to give the stainless a real sparkling shine.

3) Window cleaner or rubbing alcohol – Spray on or apply to a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe away smudges and fingerprints.  If you previously used any stainless steel polishes a couple of applications may be necessary to remove the top polished layer.

4) Commercial stainless steel cleaners – These are a little more costly than using your normal household items, but companies have formulated these specifically to clean stainless.  However, some do work better than others, so you might need to try a couple of brands to find the one that works the best for you.

Your stainless steel appliances are a big focal point of your kitchen, but keeping it looking good shouldn’t take hours.  Using some of the above suggestions will hopefully get your stainless at its shiny best, and give you time for more enjoyable things.

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!

How to Maintain a Rain Barrel

 

Over the past several years rain barrels have become extremely popular.  It’s a new take on an old idea that catches rainwater to be used to water flower gardens and landscapes.  Just buy a rain barrel, set it up, and enjoy the benefits of a greener landscape, and happy plants.  Simple, huh?  While rain barrels are a great way to recycle water, there are some things to know to keep your rain barrel in good shape.

One of the first things to consider is where to use the water from your rain barrel.  You know the water collected is not suitable for you or your pets to drink, but is it OK to use everywhere else in your landscape?  If you know your roof material contains no asbestos, tar and gravel, or is not treated cedar shakes, then it should be safe for your landscape and flower gardens.

However, some prefer not to use water from their rain barrels for watering fruit or vegetable garden since there is limited research on pollutants in the gathered water.  And, if you have your roof cleaned or treated for pests you should unhook your rain barrel for a couple of weeks to avoid contaminating your water.

Another thing to remember, like with all things, your rain barrel will require some maintenance.    To help, don’t allow water to stand in your barrel for more than 5 to 7 days.  For a rain barrel in direct sunlight, algae growth can be an issue.  If so, empty the barrel, wash with a solution of 3/4 cup of bleach per one gallon of water, and rinse well.  Remember to dispose of the bleach solution in a household drain to avoid damaging your lawn or garden areas.

Summer is the season for mosquitoes, and your rain barrel can become a breeding area for them.  Placing a fine mesh screen to the lid of the rain barrel can prevent adult mosquitoes from getting in and laying eggs.  Otherwise, you will need to empty your barrel every week so mosquitoes don’t have time to breed.  Check monthly and remove any debris that accumulates on the lid.  Clean your barrel on a regular basis, and check over-flow hose and connections to make sure all is working properly.

Having a rain barrel is a great way to conserve your water usage.  Keeping it clean and in good working order will help you get the most out of your rain barrel, and benefit both the environment and your landscape.

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!