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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.

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!

 

Heat Your Water Fast! by Go Green Plumbing

Who doesn’t get tired of waiting for the hot water when you turn on the shower or faucet?  Ever add up those minutes in a week to see how much time is wasted watching perfectly good water go down the drain?  Speaking of “water going down the drain”, studies show that billions of gallons of water are wasted each year by households nationally while waiting for the hot water to show up.  But what can we do to change this?  None of us really love taking cold showers, unless its 95º and our air conditioning is out. hotwatersystem_std

Well, there is a solution.

Installing a hot water recirculation system will get the hot water to where you need it without the long wait.  Rather than waiting on your home’s water pressure to get the hot water to you, a hot water recirculation system uses a pump to move the water quickly from the water heater to your sink or shower.

There are two types of systems to review. A dedicated, or demand, loop recirculating system has a hot water line looped throughout the house near each plumbing fixture.  At each fixture a short pipe connects the loop to the hot water valve.  A circulation pump is installed on a pipe near the water heater that keeps hot water continually circulating through this loop.  So when you turn on your faucet or shower, you have hot water within seconds.

The second system is an integrated loop system.  This system requires a pump that is installed at the water heater and a special manifold under the plumbing fixture farthest from the water heater.  This system returns cooled water sitting in the hot water line back to the water heater through the cold water lines.  This can raise the temperature of the cold water slightly, but will return to normal temperature quickly.

Some systems keep water recirculating constantly, or can be set up on a thermostat or timer.  Since there are different options available, talk with your plumber to determine the best and most energy efficient for your household.  Then enjoy the experience of no longer “waiting around” for hot water, and feel good that you are contributing to saving energy and our water supply.

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!

Water Overload in the Yard by Go Green Plumbing

Ever notice that when it rains you suddenly have ponds or rivers around your house, yard or landscape? These areas might be fun for the kids or your pets to play in, but they can mean trouble for your home, grass and landscaped areas.

So, why does all that water hang around? As with so many things in life, gravity controls a lot. Low areas or dips around our home or yards, will cause water to naturally run to these sections. When the soil isn’t able to handle extra water it can’t absorb, the result is standing water. If water pools near our home’s foundations, it can leak into our basement or crawl space causing mold and mildew to grow, drawing pests, and damage basement interiors. Standing water in our yards and landscapes can also rot grass roots, and damage or kill plants.download

The solution is to move this water away from these lower sections around our home or landscape. To do that you would need to install a French drain, also called a curtain, perimeter or agricultural drain. A French drain is a trench that is dug at a slight slope then filled with gravel and a perforated pipe. This drain allows excess water, that the soil can’t absorb, to run into the trench and be diverted slowly to another area of your property.

The cost of a French drain can vary depending on the length of the drain and the amount of materials needed. If the French drain is needed to draw water away from your basement, you might also have to invest in a sump pump. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you may be able to save some on labor costs. However, keep in mind that this project does require a bit of digging, and if you need to cover a larger area, possibly the rental of a backhoe.

As with all projects, discussing it with a professional who can advise you on the best, and most cost effect way to complete the project, is always a good idea.

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 Problems and Solutions by Go Green Plumbing

Most of us may have heard the term “hard water”, but not understood what it really meant.  However, finding out whether the water coming into our homes is “hard” or “soft” is important.  Hard water can reduce the efficiency of our water-using appliances (i.e., refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines) due to sediment buildup.  It can also shorten the life of appliances and result in pricey repair bills. P16672369

But what exactly is “hard water?”  Hard water is water that has a high content of minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium.  These minerals can build up and clog appliance water lines and pipes.  Although not a health hazard, it can be a nuisance in our homes and damage pipes and appliances.  Hard water can cause laundry to fade, be scratchy and dingy, leave ugly spots or streaks on dishes, and soap scum on showers, tubs and faucets.  Physically we are not immune either.  Hard water can leave a residue on hair and skin that can result in sticky, dull hair, and skin irritations and rashes.  Hard water also reduces the effectiveness of soaps and detergents.

Testing for hard water can be as simple as calling your local water company if you are on a public source.  If your water comes from a private source, you can have the water tested by taking a sample to a testing lab, or a local city or state health department.  You can also search online for test strip kits, check with your local supply store, or companies that sell water softening systems.

You’ve done your testing and you find out you do have hard water.  What now?  You will want to look into ways to soften your water.  There are filtering systems that are plumbed directly into your water supply.  The most popular being an automatic system with a timer to flush and recharge the system.  Another type uses a computer to watch water usage and initiate regeneration.  A third kind, a mechanical water meter, measures water used and recharge as needed.  Since properly softening your water is based on the degree of hardness, speaking with a professional will assist you in making the best decision for your home and family.

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!

Cleaning with natural, home-made household cleaners by Go Green Plumbing

Recently we discussed some of the problems with using harsh household cleaners. So, if we want to use less harmful cleaners, where do we find them or can we make them ourselves? All we need to do is take a short step back in time to see what our mothers and our grandmothers used for cleaning supplies. And, you may be surprised to find, that you have some of these in your cupboards and pantries right now.download

White vinegar, baking soda and Borax? Who of us hasn’t heard of these items? Well, white vinegar isn’t just for cleaning your coffee maker, and baking soda has way more uses than keeping your refrigerator smelling fresh. White vinegar can be used as an all purpose cleaner for kitchens and baths. Don’t like the smell? Try adding tea tree or citrus essential oils. Not only do they help neutralize the vinegar smell, but they also have great antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits which make them great to use on kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

Baking soda combined with vinegar can be used as a drain cleaner. Mix a 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda and pour into your drain. Follow up with a 1/4 cup baking soda washed down your drains every week or so to prevent buildup and clogs. Making a paste of baking soda and water can remove stains from shower grout and be used as an oven cleaner. It can also be used to freshen carpet, laundry, trash cans and more. If you start looking you will find that it can be a great household cleaner to have on hand.

But what about Borax? Some might think that it would be unsafe, but it is a naturally occurring mineral that isn’t absorbed through the skin, doesn’t accumulate in the body and is safe for the environment. You also might not know of its many cleaning benefits. It can be used as a carpet cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, tub and shower cleaner, rust remover, and much more.

Along with the above items, essential oils are gaining in popularity for their many health benefits and cleaning uses. Besides adding a wonderful scents to our homes, they are great germicides, antibacterials, antiseptics and degreasers. Using these in home-made cleaners will keep our homes germ free and smelling like the outdoors. So, take a step outside your norm, do a little research, and you’ll find that you can make your cleaning process a healthier one for you, your home, and the environment.

Household Cleaners:  Taking Control of Their Impact on You, Your Home and Environment

It’s no secret that we all enjoy living in a clean, germ-free home.  That’s why we’re always looking for household cleaners that will effectively disinfect surfaces and keep our homes free of harmful organisms while removing dust and big and small stains.  But beware. Many household cleaners can also negatively impact your family’s health and environment.clean-counter

From watery eyes and skin rashes to chemical burns and respiratory irritation, reactions to certain household cleaners happen all too often. Even bleach — though a popular cleaner and disinfectant — if not handled carefully, can be hazardous. For example, if bleach is accidentally mixed with ammonia, chlorine, lye or acids, (all of which can be found in oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners) the combination can be toxic.

While cleaners can impact homeowners’ health, it’s not surprising that some can cause incremental damage to our home and its surroundings as well. Harsh drain cleaners — while effectively unclogging your drain — can also damage your pipes.  Even the suds and residue from cleaners, soaps and shampoos can build up over time, causing clogs while weakening your plumbing.

Unfortunately, even when the best efforts are made to limit exposure to our environment, it’s difficult for even the most conscientious homeowner to prevent some of the cleaners from entering community water systems. For example, chemicals from drain and other household cleaners are washed or flushed down our drains into our water system each time we clean.  Although most pollutants are removed by waste treatment facilities, nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia remain. The result is an overgrowth of vegetation and algae in our waterways that can harm wildlife.

All that said, there are times we may need to use some of these powerful chemicals for cleaning. The goal though, is to be aware of the effect they can have on us and our environment so that you can benefit from their strength while limiting their negative impact on your family, home and environment. By limiting their usage, it also encourages you, the homeowner, to identify more natural ways to keep your home spotless.

Wondering what some of those natural cleaning remedies are? Make sure to check out our next blog where we will be touching on natural, effective ways to keep your humble abode clean!

 

 

The Joys of Outdoor Fountains by Go Green Plumbing

Are you a fan of outdoor fountains?  Ever wondered about where to put one at your home?  What about outside in a garden area?

If you’re like me, you love your garden.  And, if you’re an avid gardener, I’m sure you’re also a lover of the creatures that visit our gardens, such as birds, bees and butterflies.  You may even plant specific plants that attract these to your gardens.  But have you given any thought to the fact that our flighty friends need water?  Just like us, water is very important to birds and insects as well.  So, adding an outdoor fountain is not only pretty but  can help our little friends.eclectic-outdoor-fountains-and-ponds

Fountains are easy to add to the garden, but there are a few things you need to know when setting up and maintaining one.  Fountains can be purchased at local garden centers and stores and if you don’t feel comfortable installing, we can help. Adding a couple of rocks that rise above the water level provide a landing place for the birds or butterflies.

When deciding the location for your fountain, consider the amount of sun and shade the area gets.  Late afternoon shade in warmer climates would be best to prevent the water from getting too warm.  And, remember that if you live in a colder area your fountain may require a heater to keep the water from freezing in winter.

Enjoying the wildlife that visit our gardens is a bonus, but they also assist us in our gardening.  Birds help us by eating pests and aerating the soil.  Even wasps can help with certain pests in the garden.  And we all know the benefits of honey bees and butterflies as hard working pollinators.  So, enjoy these hard workers that grace our gardens, and look after them by providing a water source to keep them coming back.

Want help setting up an outdoor fountain at your house?  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!

 

 

Do Water Filters Matter? by Go Green Plumbing

Do you know how often to change your water filter in your refrigerator?

If not, check your refrigerator manual which may say to replace the filter every 6 to 12 months.  You will want to check your specific product manual for a general guide for replacement.  However, what if you have a household of 5 instead of the 2 in my household?  As with all filtering systems, replacement is not based on a number of persons, but the amount of usage.  My husband and I are big water drinkers, so we would need to consider changing our filter more often than a larger family that doesn’t consume as much water or ice as we do.maxresdefault

But what about that “water filter indicator light” on the refrigerator door?  Again, that indicator is based on time, not on usage of the filter.  Water filters help to provide us with cleaner drinking water, so it is important to replace them when needed, but since they are not cheap we don’t want to replace them before necessary.

One way to determine if the filter needs changing is by the taste of your water or ice.  If you notice a difference in the taste of your water, or start to smell an unpleasant odor, your filter is probably not removing all contaminates and will need to be changed.  Another way to know is if your ice maker is no longer making single ice cubes, but producing larger cube junks.  Your water filter being full can also cause a reduction in your water flow.

One thing to remember when putting in a new water filter is the need to flush out the new filter.  Small particles from the filter can become dislodged during manufacturing or shipping, and come through in the first glasses of water consumed.  You would just want to run 3 to 5 gallons of water through the dispenser before consuming any water yourself.  If you have just an ice maker, then discard the first couple of batches of ice.  You can again consult your refrigerator manual for their specific recommendation on this procedure.

Have questions about water or plumbing issues in your home?  Give us a call. We’re happy to discuss.  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!