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Plumbing Checklist for Homebuyers

 

Believe it or not, prime house buying season is just around the corner and many sellers are already sprucing up their homes to be sold. If you’re planning to buy a home this spring, you’re probably getting a few things in order as well.

While things like identifying a lender is a critical piece of the home buying process, there are a few seemingly smaller things that can make a big difference in your home buying success. For example, using a plumbing checklist for each home viewing is one item that can save you grief down the road.

Why? Because plumbing issues aren’t always obvious. But with a keen eye and a little bit of active observation, you’ll be able to glean a great deal about your future plumbing systems.

Flush Every Toilet in the Home. Listen for gurgling sounds, slow draining toilets and toilets that run too long.

Check the Pipes. Low water pressure is the last thing you want when you’re stepping into your morning shower. So make sure to check the size of each home’s pipes. Look for a minimum of ¾ inches from the water source to the home and a minimum of ½ inch to faucets.

Turn on Each Faucet. Just as you flushed each toilet, turn each sink, bath and shower faucet on to better gauge the type of water pressure you can expect.

Inspect the Water Heater. Locate the water heater and check for any corrosion or other visible issues. Make sure to ask for the service record and year of anticipated replacement.

Spend Time in the Basement. While most homebuyers don’t tend to spend too much time in the basement. It can tell you a lot about the health of the home. Do you see any water damage? Leaky pipes? Repairs to plumbing systems and fixtures that look a little too much DIY?

Look for Lead Piping. Now that consumers are aware of the dangers of lead, it’s in your best interest to stay away from any home that has a lead piping system; that is, unless your budget allows for replacing all of the piping.

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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!

Fall Home Maintenance Part Three: Your Lawn

There’s no question that home maintenance is critical to retaining the value of your home. And a vital part of your home’s curb appeal is your lawn and landscape. To make sure your yard is prepared to look its best next spring, you’ll need to take a few steps.

Keep watering and mowing. Your lawn will love you for this. As it prepares to go dormant for winter, its soaking up all the water and nutrients it can to support it through the winter.

Aerate. By allowing oxygen, water and fertilizer into the soil, aerating will help keep your lawn looking beautiful. If you don’t have an aerator of your own, you can often rent one from a local home and garden store, like Home Depot or Lowes.

Fertilize. Want a thick, green lawn next spring? Experts say mid to late fall is the best time for fertilizing. This will help your grass grow deeper, stronger roots.

Control weeds. Apply an herbicide in early fall to ensure you’re not dealing with weeds come Spring.

Rake leaves. As the leaves fall, take the time to remove them quickly so that they don’t sit too long on your healthy lawn. Wet leaves from rain or morning dew create a prime environment for mold and fungus growth.

Fill in bald spots. Everyone one has a spot or two that just needs a little extra help. Grab your rake and scratch up the bald spots, then follow with a lawn repair mixture, which is a combination of grass seed, quick start fertilizer and organic mulch.

Plant flowering bulbs. For beautiful spring tulips and day lilies, now is the time to plant. So go pick your favorites from the garden store and start planting!

Cut your grass short. Towards the end of fall, begin cutting your grass short to help your grass look it’s best throughout the winter while minimizing chances for snow mold growth.

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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!

Fall Home Maintenance – Part One

As you say goodbye to August and hello to September, now is a good time to begin preparing your fall home maintenance list. With school activities, football games, holidays and family gatherings, there’s little time to complete these important tasks. To lend you a hand, the next few posts are dedicated to important tasks to schedule and complete this fall. So mark this page and read on!

Your Indoor Checklist:

Clean your refrigerator. Fall means family and friends’ gatherings. You’ll want to make sure you refrigerator is doing its job. So break out your favorite cleaners and some old-fashioned elbow grease. You can do it!

Clean your stove and oven. From baking pumpkin pies and chocolate chip cookies to roasting that turkey and Grandma’s favorite casserole, your oven will be seeing its share of activity this fall as well. Get it ready to shine!

Inspect the furnace. Have a heating professional inspect your furnace to ensure there’s no damage and that all is ready for the chilly weather ahead.

Clean your clothes washer. If you haven’t already done this, now’s a good time. Just check your owner’s manual for any specifics related to your model and get cleaning.

Check your dryer exhaust tube and vent for lint and debris. Clothes dryers can be a hazard if they aren’t well maintained. If you aren’t sure how to complete this task, contact a professional who can make sure your dryer will work safely into the next year.

Clean out your laundry room. Because dryers can be a hazard, keeping your laundry
room clean and free of extra clutter is another positive step in making sure your home is safe.

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a no-brainer. You can test them if you’ve recently replaced batteries. However, if you’re not sure you last changed batteries, toss the batteries and install new ones. A few extra dollars could save your family and your home.

Clean out your mudroom. This one’s simple. Remove all the summer items like pool towels, sunscreen and flips flops and make room for gloves, coats and hats.

Clean your chimney. Contact a professional who can ensure your chimney is ready for the first fire of fall.

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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!

Cleaning Your Front Load Washer

 

With the advent of front load washers just over a decade ago, consumers rejoiced with this new technology. While it is a marvel unto itself, the day-to-day reality is that it comes with some challenges. Because these High Efficiency front load models use less water and contain a seal lock to keep water from escaping the washer, they also tend to be more vulnerable to mold and mildew than their predecessor, the top load washer. So, what to do?

Plan to clean your washer on a regular basis to ensure that mold and mildew are not taking over your washer. While it’s always good to wipe down the inside of your washer and clean the detergent dispenser, the primary culprit for mold growth is the rubber gasket found in the front of the washer, when you open the door. Below are a few steps to help you keep your rubber gasket clean.

  1. Find your rubber gloves, you will need them for this project.
  2. Create a mixture of 50/50 bleach and warm to hot water in a large bowl or bucket.
  3. Soak a rag in the bleach mixture and wipe the gasket thoroughly.
  4. Next, pull the rubber gasket back to check for mold that may be hiding. If you find it there, wipe aggressively with the bleach soaked rag.
  5. If the mold is not budging, thoroughly soak the rag in the bleach mixture and lay it firmly inside the rubber gasket. You can let it sit for 30 min to overnight. If you do leave it there overnight, be sure to open windows and doors for extra ventilation if you haven’t already done so.
  6. When you remove the rag, use an old toothbrush to loosen any residue, then wipe it thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth.
  7. Once your gasket is clean, place the rags that you’ve used into the washer and run a full cycle on the hottest setting.
  8. When complete, run the machine through another cycle with 2 cups of vinegar only.

 

After you’ve wiped down the inside of the machine thoroughly, the only thing left to do is to clean the filter (typically found on the lower right of the washer). To do this, check your owner’s manual for instructions, as different models and manufacturers require different processes.

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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!

Keeping Your Dishwasher in Good Shape

 

For decades, Americans lived without this handy kitchen helper. But today, most of us can’t imagine living life without it. The dishwasher. If you’re lucky enough to own one, then you want to make sure you’re taking good care of it not only to keep your dishes clean and sanitized, but to help it go the distance.

Many people think that the dishwasher is essentially self-cleaning because you’re always washing dishes in it, but that’s not the case. Hard water scum and food build-up is real and can cause problems over time. So below, you’ll find a few easy tips that you can schedule every 1-2 months to keep your dishwasher working as the mighty machine that it is.

1 – Find Your Owner’s Manual.  Keep your Owner’s Manual handy¾whether online or in a file¾so that if any issues come up, you know how to handle them quickly and aren’t tempted to put them off, leading to potentially bigger problems.

2 – Inspect and Clean the Spinning Arms. Before doing this, remove the dishwasher racks. This way, you won’t damage the racks and it’s easier to access the spinning arms. Next, check the holes in each of the arms to be sure there’s no build up. If there is, simply use a toothpick or pipecleaner to extract the debris. Finally, make sure the spinning arms are in good shape, and feel free to wipe them down with a good household cleaner and sponge.

3 – Wipe It Down. Grab a towel and some household cleaner like windex and wipe the edges of the doors, under the door (on the inside), the gasket and the detergent dispenser. These are areas that can hold odors and buildup.

4 – Clean the Drain. This is critical. Without question, this may be the dirtiest part of the dishwasher. Here you may find most of your buildup and food debris and even potentially paper remnants from stickers left on dishes. Check your owner’s manual for instructions tailored to your model.

5 – Remove hard water deposits and build up. Last but not least, fill your detergent dispenser with unsweetened lemonade mix or place a cup of vinegar on your top rack and let the washer run a full cycle. This will do wonders to eliminate buildup and keep your dishes sparkling.

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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!

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!