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Plumbing Myths

Webster’s defines a myth as “a popular belief that is false or unsupported”. While myths may seem harmless, when it comes to your home and the systems that run it, it’s important to be certain you are making decisions based on reality and not myths.

So, the natural question to ask is, “What are common plumbing myths?” Below you’ll find a few of the most popular ones debunked for you.

MYTH: Ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades.

TRUTH: Ice cubes don’t sharpen disposal blades, but they can help clean them. Experts recommend using ice cubes once a month as preventative maintenance for your disposal.

MYTH: Lemon peels will clean my garbage disposal.

TRUTH: They may make it smell good, but the skins can clog your disposal while the corrosiveness of the citric acid can wreak havoc on the disposal’s mechanisms.

MYTH: Cat litter is flushable.

TRUTH: In theory, yes, it is possible to flush cat litter, but don’t do it! Cat litter can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma, that can cause a condition called toxoplasmosis, which can be harmful to pregnant women and marine life.

MYTH: Lightening can’t travel through plumbing pipes.

TRUTH: If your home still has metal pipes as part of your plumbing system, then you possess the perfect conductor for lightening (if it were to hit your plumbing system outside). If you have PVC pipes, then you are much better off. However, water can be a great conductor of electricity especially with a little help from various impurities that are commonly found in public water systems.

MYTH: Toilet bowl tablets are safe for my toilet.

TRUTH: In reality, if the toilet bowl tablets contain bleach this can me very harmful to your toilet and the mechanisms supporting it over time. While using bleach to clean your toilet is ok, the fact that these tablets are designed to stay in your toilet bowl 24/7 is the issue.

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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!

 

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!

Some Common Plumbing Myths

 

Indoor plumbing and access to water is one of the great luxuries of the modern world. However, it’s easy to take for granted the complexity of the plumbing mechanism unless it stops working. Below are a few common plumbing myths debunked to help prevent problems for your plumbing system now and in the future.

 

Myth: Flushable wipes are perfectly okay to flush down your toilet.

Fact: The truth is that “flushable wipes” can cause stress to your plumbing system. These wipes do not disintegrate properly and can cause blockages over time. The bottom line is that whether they are for your face or for your baby/toddler, it’s best to trash them and not flush them.

 

Myth: Normal to have low water pressure occasionally.

Fact: If you have low water pressure, you have an issue somewhere. Whether it’s a leak or a growing clog, any low water pressure should be investigated. It’s better to find a leak early, before it has time to cause greater damage, including mold growth.

 

Myth: Citrus peels are good for your drain and disposal.

Fact: Peels from lemons, limes, etc. may reduce bad odors, but they are not necessarily good for your disposal. Reality is that sometimes disposals don’t handle citrus rinds or peels very well and you then create a problem rather than fix one. The only thing that will really do the job without harming your disposal is an appropriate disinfectant and soap and water.

 

Myth: If water is going down your drain, then everything is functioning properly.

Fact: There can be a buildup down the line that will grow over time that you are unaware is present. If you are putting things down your drain, such as grease, oil or other liquids or foods that are not friendly to plumbing, beware. Your plumbing will at some point “bite back.”

 

Myth: Wire hangers are a good alternative to a professional “snake”

Fact: Wire hangers can damage your plumbing lining. While many people have used this method over the years, wire hangers can absolutely damage the inner surface of your plumbing.

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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!

Spring Cleaning for Your Plumbing

 

Spring cleanings isn’t just for windows and closets. Though it’s easy to forget, your plumbing system needs regular checks and maintenance to be sure everything is working well for you and your family and to save costly repairs down the road.  Below are a few tips to get you started:

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks.
  • Add strainers to the drains in your home to prevent hair, soap and food from clogging your drains.
  • Inspect toilet tank and bowl for cracks or leaks. To find hidden leaks, add several drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If you see the coloring in your toilet bowl after 30 minutes, you have a hidden leak and will need to get it fixed promptly.
  • Observe how your toilets flush. If the handle has to be held down for a thorough flush or you need to play with it to stop the water from running, your tank parts may be worn and need to be replaced.
  • Set the temperature on your hot water heater no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Drain several gallons from the water heater tank. This will flush out sediment which can cause corrosion and reduce your water heater’s efficiency.
  • If your water heater is more than 15 years old, you may want to replace it with a newer, more energy-efficient unit. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.)
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out and free of debris.
  • Check outdoor faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely.

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!

 

The Hidden Shower Drain

When doing a bathroom remodel, homeowners usually focus on what they consider the big items.  For example, the tub, vanity, countertop, and tile all contribute to the overall design we want in our bathroom so they are a natural choice. One thing homeowners normally don’t think about is the drain system in the shower.  Most people are used to the simple round drain that sits in the middle of our shower floor.  Though it gets the job done, no one can call it pretty or attractive.

Today, however, there are new and attractive choices available.  Tagged as “hidden or premium shower drains,” these drains allow for a more finished and attractive look on your shower floor.  They come in linear—or trench—shape, square and triangular shapes, as well as curbless designs that are simply an opening at the bottom of the wall.

It’s helpful to note that using a hidden or premium drain can expand your design choices as well.  Using larger sized tiles, shaped and patterned tiles are easier to implement now than ever before.  And most importantly, you don’t have to worry about an ugly round drain detracting from your beautiful tile work.

However, as with any remodeling project, research your choices and discuss them with your contractor or plumber.  This will ensure that you have picked the best drain for your shower area.  Then you can enjoy the smooth, finished look and feel of your new shower floor for years to come.

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!

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!

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.

Freshen Your Garbage Disposal

Do you have a funky smell coming from around your sink?  Does it get especially bad overnight? You may need to freshen up yourdouble bowl stainless garbage disposal.  Food and gunk can collect in the intricate pieces that make up the disposal and lead to some pretty significant odors.  So, how can you brighten that up and make it smell fresh?  Deodorize!

Start by cleaning it up! Clean and sanitize your drain and disposal by using a disinfectant and abrasion tool.  This is really simple!  Put some large ice cubes down the drain, along with some salt and dish detergent.  Turn the water on and run the disposal.  The ice will serve as an abrasive when the blades slice the ice into bits and will sharpen the blades. The salt will also serve as an abrasive.  The detergent will disinfect any remaining gunk.

 Next, deodorize.  Start by boiling 4 quarts of water on the stovePlace baking soda in the disposal unit.  Let sit for a few minutes.  Turn on the disposal unit and add an equal amount of white vinegar to the drain.  The mixture will bubble up.  Follow with boiling hot water to clear any remaining residue.  Now your drains and disposal are completely clean.

 Finally, give it that fresh smell you love.  Cut lemons into quarters  and place in the drain.  Add a small amount of salt to act as an abrasive.  Feel free to leave them in there until you run the disposal again, or run the disposal for a shot amount of time until you can clear the lemons.  This will also work for limes.  The acid in the fruit will help to prevent future accumulation and build up.

Have a plumbing issue and need some 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!