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Holiday Home Prep (Part 4): Electrical Systems

As you prepare for holiday house guests, it’s important to remember your home’s electrical systems. Carving out some time to ensure all your systems are functioning safely and properly can mean a more comfortable visit for your friends and family.

Furnace Check Up. If you haven’t already done it, schedule your annual furnace check up with your local heating and air service provider. Once complete, you can enjoy your guests with confidence, knowing you’ll be warm and toasty as you sip your mulled cider this holiday season. In addition, take a few minutes before they arrive to change your air filters, especially if family members or friends staying with you have allergies.

Lamps and light fixtures. Do you have any bulbs out? Or maybe a switch that’s not working correctly? Take some time to fix these so that you and your guests aren’t bothered by unnecessary dark corners or closets.

Child-Proofing Outlets. If you guest list includes small children, make sure that you’ve gone through your home to child-proof your home as much as possible. While no home is completely child-proof, a handful of safety plugs for your electric outlets and rearranging furniture to avoid easy climbing are small tasks that your guests will be ever grateful for when they arrive.

Fire/Carbon Monoxide Alarms. With the holidays come flickering candles, fires in the fireplace and cold weather that requires cranking up the heater. And while all of these are simple pleasures, they can bring dangers if not monitored properly. If you’ve been meaning to get those carbon monoxide detectors and just haven’t done it yet, put it on your to-do list and make it happen.

Also, grab extra batteries for your fire alarms and schedule some time this weekend to test and replace batteries to ensure your alarms are fully functioning. (Daylight Savings is this Sunday, Nov 5, and is a good time to schedule alarm checks and battery replacements).

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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!

 

 

 

Home Holiday Prep: Your Plumbing System (Part 3)

 

So your kitchen appliances are ready to roll when guests arrive next month. What’s next? Your plumbing system. The reality is that with additional guests in your home, your plumbing system will endure added stress during the holidays. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure a problem-free holiday.

Toilets. Have your toilets been flushing slower than normal? Have you noticed an atypical odor or slight wetness around the base? These are signs that there may be trouble on the way. Have your toilet, pipes and system thoroughly inspected immediately. In addition, if you have a toilet handle or small issue that needs repairing, now’s the time to take care of those issues.

Sinks. If you have a slow draining sink, it may be as simple as a hair clog, but it may be more complicated. You can pull out the drain to see for yourself or have a professional inspect it for you.

Garbage Disposal. If not properly maintained, your home’s disposal can be a source of serious plumbing problems, not to mention an unpleasant odor. Especially during the holidays monitor what you are putting into your disposal. No-no’s include bones, celery, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits, grease, pasta and potato peels.

Ice Maker. It’s never a bad idea to dump your ice maker and give the ice bin a good cleaning. Just make sure it’s rinsed thoroughly before returning it to your freezer.  As it reloads, monitor it to make sure it’s loading properly and in a timely manner. If it’s slow or not functioning properly, you’ll need to do some investigating (or have a professional do it for you) to find the source of the problem. You can never have too much ice with several guests in your home!

Tubs/Showers. With multiple guests come multiple showers. Carve out some time to clean your shower heads and inspect it for clogged holes. And while you’re there, unscrew the drain cover and inspect your drain for unwanted debris, including hair.

Once you’re done, your home will be closer to providing a stress-free holiday season (at least with regard to your plumbing) for you and your guests.

 

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!

Home Holiday Prep: The Kitchen (Part 2)

 

Now that you have the big picture with regard to preparing for your house for the holidays, get your pencil and paper out. Below are some helpful tips for inspecting those appliances.

Refrigerator/Freezer. Besides your oven, what will be the most used appliance in your home in the next couple of months? You guessed it. Your refrigerator/freezer. The best advice comes from the experts at Popular Mechanics magazine, who recommend tightening screws on door handles, fixing loose or misaligned door gaskets and repositioning food in your refrigerator and freezer around the cold air and freezer vents. And while you’re there, inspect the freezer vent to be sure it isn’t blocked with ice. Next, replace bulbs where needed – you’re going to want to be able to find what you’re looking for in that full refrigerator!!

Oven. Unless you plan to clean your oven in the next week or two for the holidays, you may want to wait until the New Year. Why? While your oven’s self-cleaning feature is convenient, it is also very taxing on your oven. With the amount of cooking that you’ll be doing, combined with a self-cleaning run before, it can be too much for your oven, resulting in a complete shut down. Something you definitely don’t want on Thanksgiving Eve.

If you’re desperate, the alternative would be to clean your oven old-school style and save the self-cleaning option for after the holidays.

Dishwasher. Check your drain to remove any debris, be it paper, glass or food particles that have gotten lodged there. And any dishwasher will benefit from a good wipe down. Run a damp cloth over the key players: the door gasket and outside of the dishwasher as well as the spray arm and the dishwasher tub.

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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!

Holiday Home Prep (Part One: The Kitchen)

 


Believe it or not, Christmas is just a little over four weeks away and Santa and your house guest will be arriving soon. What does that mean for you? To avoid unnecessary stress, now’s a good time to start preparing your home for holiday gatherings. Where to start? Below is a list of items to include on your “Holiday Home Prep” schedule:

Declutter your countertops. Set aside an hour or so to eliminate excess and put unneeded items in storage.

Clean out the pantry. Throw away expired items and give away unused canned and packaged goods. When you’re done, your pantry will be ready for your holiday baking and cooking ingredients.

Clean out the refrigerator. Take an afternoon to clean out food, wash the shelves and drawers, and check lightbulbs, etc. With kitchen helpers in abundance around the holidays, you’ll be glad your refrigerator sparkles.

Prepare utensils and serveware. Do you have enough? Is it clean? Chipped? Cracked? Do you need to replace anything? Take care of those issues now and you won’t be running around at the last minute.

Sharpen knives. If there’s one thing you don’t want during the holidays, it’s a dull knife. Either have them sharpened or do it yourself and mark this off your list.

Disinfect trash cans. No matter how tidy you are, trash cans just have the propensity to accumulate dirt and grease. Take yours outside and give it a thorough clean.

Polish silver, iron table linens, wash plates and glasses. If your family celebrates the holidays using silver, china or crystal, schedule time in the next few weeks to wash all of your serve ware and polish your silver. And don’t forget to iron your linens and hang them so that they are ready to make a beautiful holiday table.

Check small appliances. This time of year, there’s not many small kitchen appliances that don’t get used. Check your coffeemaker, crock pot, food processor, blender, etc. for any issues and either have them fixed or replaced pronto.

Clean and check your larger appliances (dishwasher, stovetop, oven and microwave) for missing or damaged parts and unsightly dirt and residue.

Clean your garbage disposal. Make sure your garbage disposal is free of unwanted debris and that water flows freely through it. You can also use some lemon juice and vinegar to freshen it up!

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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!

 

Installing a French Drain (Part Two)

 

Now that you’ve identified a good location for your drain, it’s time to get started. Before you start digging, mark the area extending from your rain gutter for your French drain with spray paint. This will serve as your guide.

To begin building you’ll need a shovel, gravel, water permeable landscaping fabric, a few long nails and a perforated drainage pipe. The amount of each of these materials will depend on the depth, width and length of your drain. A standard French drain is 6 inches wide, 18-24 inches deep and about 3 feet long. (Keep in mind that you’ll need to dig deep enough to place the tubing so that the finished product doesn’t lie above your foundation.)

Once your trench is completed, spread about 3 inches of gravel along the bottom of the trench. Next, lay the landscaping fabric over the fabric, with about 10 inches of excess on either side of your trench. At this point, pin the fabric on either side with nails so that it will not move when you’re placing the drainage pipe and gravel. While some people don’t bother with using fabric, without it, your drain will fill with soil and clog over time.

Now you’re ready to lay your drain pipe and cover completely with more gravel. You’ll need to leave about 5 inches between the top of the gravel and the ground surface. Fold the fabric over the tubing and gravel, overlapping like you’re wrapping a present. Then fill the trench back in with soil. Depending on the location of your drain, you may wish to top the soil with sod. To further assist with drainage, create a bed of stones at the end of the drain pipe.

And voila, your new drainage system is ready to go!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installing A French Drain (Part One)

 

Have you discovered standing water around your foundation or do you have a leaky basement? Then you may want to consider installing a French drain on your property. By helping keep water away from your foundation and your basement, a french drain can be an essential tool in keeping your home free of water and mold. Though it may sound intimidating, installing a French drain is a relatively easy project that can make a big impact.

First and foremost, identify the best location for your drain. This is a critical first step, so don’t rush it. Your location can make or break the success and life of your drain. So grab your pen and paper for some tips to get you moving in the right direction.

Call your homeowner’s association and city or county officials to make sure you know your neighborhood’s regulations for digging. Once you’ve received the green light from the municipal powers that be, the next step is to check for underground cables, pipes or other installations.

Each home in the US has a network of pipes and cables underground that provide water, sewer, gas, electric and communications services. If you unknowingly dig in a location that has a cable or pipe below, you can damage your utilities, costing unnecessary expense, hassle and even serious injury. To help you with this process, call 811 (“Call Before You Dig”), which is a free resource that will connect you to a local call center. There they will have a record of utility cables, etc. that are underground on your property.

Now that you know where you can dig, you’ll need to identify the most effective place to install the drain. First, look for an area that has a slight slope that runs away from your home and is free of shrubs, trees or structures of any type. Also keep in mind the most effective drains are at least 3 feet long and run parallel to your home and horizontally down your slope.

Now that you’ve identified the ideal location for your French drain, come back later this week to learn how to build your own French drain.

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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!

 

 

 

Hard Water  – What’s the Big Deal?

Hard water, by definition, is water that has a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium. And according to the US Geological Association, more than 89 percent of Americans have hard water in their homes. In contrast, the softest water can be found in parts of New England, the South Atlantic and Gulf regions, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

While the taste of hard water is preferred by many Americans, the damage that hard water can do to a home and its systems has not been lost on many homeowners. Consequently, the popularity of in-home water softeners continues to rise. While these in-home systems may seem extreme to some, there are reasonable arguments for installing a softener in your home. Due to significant mineral build up, there are real challenges that long-term hard water use can have in and on your home:

Washing your clothes in hard water can harm the fibers while making the clothes feel scratchy and looky dingy.

Mineral build up in your shower head can eventually cause clogs and reduce water pressure.

Soap scum on tubs, showers and other surfaces can sometimes cause permanent damage if not treated.

Build up in your coffeemaker and washing machines can make these appliances much less efficient and ultimately affect their valves and seals which can trigger leaks.

Damage to plumbing fixtures. Not only is the buildup unsightly around drains and faucets, the minerals can damage the internal mechanisms, causing potential leaks down the road.

Years of hard water use will cause build up, especially in steel pipes, resulting in increased water pressure and potential damage.

So what should you be doing if your home uses hard water? First, know that there are ways to minimize the harm of hard water on your appliances, clothes, etc. And second, develop a routine of preventative maintenance to reduce the damage to your home. In the next post on “Hard Water,” several of these options will be discussed for you to explore.

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 That Rust In Your Water?

 

So you turn on your faucet for a refreshing glass of water and after your first sip, you realize the water tastes metallic. Upon further inspection, you see small orange particles floating in your glass. What is it? In most cases it’s rust. And while it’s an annoyance and something that needs to be addressed, fortunately, it’s not harmful to most people. The only exception would be for people who have hemochromatosis, which allows the body to accumulate excessive iron levels.

Rust can truly happen to anyone, depending on the age of your pipes and water heater, as well as your local water supply system. And while some people may go a lifetime and never deal with rust in their water supply, others will face this challenge. So what should you do if you think you have rust in your water supply? Find its location.

The potential source of rust is one of three locations: Your pipes, your hot water heater or your local water supply system. To help identify the location, you can run your own test. First, turn on the cold tap and fill a glass of water. Second, turn on the hot water tap and take a second sample. And lastly, let the tap water run for a few minutes and take a third sample.

If you see rust in either the cold tap or the hot water tap, then the problem is potentially in your home’s water system. The cold tap would signal rust in your piping, while the hot water tap would point to the hot water heater. However, if the rust is in all three samples, then the source may be your local water supply system.

Regardless of where the rust is, to identify the exact location you’ll need a professional plumber to help you. Once you’ve found the culprit, the only solution is to replace materials in question to get you on your way to rust-free water again.

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!