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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!

 

Fall Home Maintenance Part Two: Your Home’s Exterior

 

While indoor home maintenance is critical as you prepare for the fall and winter months, your home’s exterior is equally important. There are key items that need to be checked to ensure you and your home are well-cared for this winter.

Clean your gutters and downspout. If this isn’t on your annual to-do list, it should be. If the gutters or downspouts are full or clogged, rain water doesn’t flow as it should through your gutter system, thus it will overflow from the gutter straight to the ground below which can mean trouble for your foundation. Too much water at the base of your foundation is a breeding ground for many issues, including a cracked foundation.

Inspect the roof. Now’s a great time of year to identify and replace any missing or damaged shingles. If you are comfortable doing this, great. Otherwise, hire a trusted professional.

Weatherize windows. Again, a good time for making sure screens and weather-stripping are in good shape and ready for cold temperatures.

Inspect the perimeter of the house. Take a stroll around the house to inspect your foundation and grading. If soil has washed away from the base of the foundation, now’s the time to refill it, making sure the grade declines away from your home.

Repair and seal driveway. Before cold weather hits, you need to inspect your driveway and walkways for cracks and damage.

Clean the deck. After a summer full of activity, including small kids, family gatherings and pets, your deck deserves a good cleaning. Break out the pressure washer and make her shine.

Cover and store outdoor furniture. Take advantage of the beautiful weather to clean your outdoor furniture and store what you won’t be using this winter. When spring arrives, it will be ready to be put to work.

Bring latex paint inside. Many people don’t realize that freezing weather can and will ruin latex paint.

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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!

10 Ways to Conserve Water Indoors This Summer – Part Two

 

While many homeowners make a point to install water-conserving features in showers, faucets, toilets and even dishwashers and clothes washers, there are everyday processes that can either use or conserve significant amounts of water. This post, which is a continuation from the last, offers 5 more ways to reduce your water usage indoors with suggestions for new processes.

6. Thaw meat in the refrigerator. If your dinner plans require you to thaw meat, make sure you’ve taken the meat out of the freezer the previous night. This way, you can avoid wasting water by running cold water continuously to thaw your meat.

7. Begin composting. While garbage disposals are convenient, they tend to be water-hogs. The fact is, to keep them running efficiently and properly, a great deal of water is required during their use. Instead, start a compost for your food remains – not only will you save water, but you’ll be creating your own fertilizer too!

8. Limit your water usage when washing dishes by hand. When you are washing dishes, it’s tempting to let the water continuously run to rinse each dish. However, this is a big water waster. If you have a double sink, fill one tub with soap and water and the other with clean rinse water. If you have only one tub, wash the dishes and set them aside on a dish drying rack. When you’re done washing, place the dish drying rack in the sink and use a faucet spray to rinse them all simultaneously.

9. Pay attention to your toilets. Is your toilet leaking? Is it running constantly? Or do your children tend to use the toilet as a wastebasket? By staying on top of needed repairs and maintenance ¾ as well as monitoring what goes into your toilet, you can save a significant amount of water. Call your plumber immediately if you suspect that your toilet needs repairs or a thorough checkup.

10. Wash Rover outdoors. While the weather is warm, wash your pet outdoors in the sun and on the lawn, giving you a clean dog and a green lawn!

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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!

Plumbing in a Tiny Home (Part 2)

 

Our previous blog discussed some of the choices to get water into your tiny home.  But, how do you handle getting rid of your waste water?  First, take into account the difference between black water and grey water.  Black water is the sewer waste from your toilet, while grey water is from other uses (i.e., showers, sinks, washing machines, etc.).  Most areas have strict regulations on the disposal of waste water, so check with your local state and county offices for the necessary guidelines.  Now, let’s talk about getting grey water out of your tiny home.

Disposal of Grey Water – Grey water contains soap, bacteria, food and grease, household cleaning products, and anything else we put down our sink drains.  Although clean enough to reuse for watering shrubs and plants, grey water cannot be drained into lakes, streams or ponds.  Plants can filter and break down the components in grey water, but draining into fresh water can pollute the water and harm fish and wildlife.  Here are some ways to properly dispose of your grey water.

  1. Hooking into a public sewer system is the simple way to deal with grey water.  If you plan to keep your tiny home stationary, this can be the perfect choice for you.
  2. The next simplest plan is placing a container under your sink and shower drain to catch the grey water.  Then it can manually be emptied onto surrounding trees, shrubs and plants.
  3. You can also set up a water tank that catches grey water then slowly drains from a hose in the bottom of the tank.  The tank will need to be slightly elevated to help with drainage.
  4. The tank system can also be turned into a longer irrigation system if you plan for a permanent tiny home location.  By using multiple lengths of hose you can have a system that drains the water between several planting beds.

Some really like the idea of tiny home living.  But in order to do it right, and prevent problems later on, you need to give the proper attention to the big areas like plumbing.  Our next blog is going to finish out your tiny home plumbing with finding the best ways to deal with Black Water.

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!

Getting Your Sprinkler System Up and Running for Spring

After winter, we all get excited at the first signs of spring.  We start making our lists for all the outside projects we want to begin working on and those we want to complete.  However, many might not remember to put their sprinkler or irrigation system on the to do list.  To ensure your system is running efficiently through the warm seasons here are a few things to prevent problems down the line.

  • Make certain the ground is completely thawed.  Use a shovel or spade to see if the ground is still frozen, at least a foot down.  If you encounter ground that is still frozen, wait a week or two and recheck before prepping your system to prevent damage.
  • Inspect your sprinkler control panel.  Remove any dirt or cobwebs from the controls, confirm the date and time is current, and that your water settings are correct for your landscape. Replace your backup battery if it older than 6 months.
  • Locate each sprinkler head and clean away any dirt or rocks that could block the water flow.  Inspect each spray head for damage.  You will need to replace any broken or worn heads, nozzles, valves or pipes.  Sprinkler heads that are damaged or not working properly can result in too much water in some areas and not enough in others.
  • Avoid a water pressure surge—which can cause a break in your water line—by opening the main water valve slowly so water fills the pipes gradually.  For systems without air pressure relief valves, remove the sprinkler heads at the highest point of each zone.  This allows the air to be pushed from the pipes when the water starts to flow.
  • Make sure your water pressure is at a safe range for sprinkler systems.  Too much water pressure can damage the pipes, valves and sprinkler heads.
  • Once all the water lines to your sprinkler system are full, run a test to determine all sprinkler heads are working and covering the needed areas.  Adjust or repair as necessary.

Now your system should be ready and set to keep your landscape looking beautiful and lush throughout the spring and summer season.

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!

 

Fixing Your Kitchen Sink Sprayer Hose

Having a sprayer hose at your kitchen sink is a handy thing to have, until it no longer works.  Then you find out how much you really do use it.  Below are some issues to troubleshoot before purchasing a new one.

  1. If your sprayer hose isn’t spraying evenly some of the small spray nozzles may be clogged.   Mix together 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 1/2 cups hot water in a bowl or glass.  Place the sprayer hose head in the mixture and allow it to sit for an hour.  Use a soft toothbrush or cloth to clean away any buildup that may remain.
  2. For a leaking sprayer hose, first determine the area leaking.  Do this by turning on the water and watching for the area leaking.  If the hose is leaking where the head connects to the hose, try turning the sprayer clockwise to make certain it is tight.  If it continues to leak, remove the sprayer head and check that the washer is firmly in place.  Replace the sprayer head and see if it continues to leak.  The washer will need to be replaced if the leak is still present.
  3. A leak under the sink where the sprayer hose connects to the faucet will require tightening the connection with a wrench.  If the leak continues, make certain the hot and cold shut-off valves are turned off.  Remove the hose from the faucet connection then use wrap thread sealing tape and sealing paste around the external connection.  Replace the hose and tighten with a wrench.  Turn on the water to test for a continued leak.  If the hose still leaks then a new sprayer hose is needed.
  4. To install a new sprayer hose, turn off the hot and cold shut-off valves.  Install the decorative sprayer holder in the hole near the faucet.  Feed the sprayer hose through the hole and connect to the faucet underneath the sink.  Be certain to use the thread sealing tape and sealing paste on the external faucet connection to ensure the tightest seal.  Turn on the water and check for leaks.  Tighten the connection as needed to stop any leaks.

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!

Protect Your Washer with a Little Care

 

Laundry day may not be your favorite day, but if your washer breaks down, it won’t take long for you to discover how important it is to your household. That’s why routine maintenance is not only  important for extending the life of your washer but also for avoiding down time and expensive washer repairs.

Maintenance actually begins with installation. When installing your washer remember to properly level your machine. Laundry room floors are rarely completely level, so washers are made with adjustable feet with this in mind. Use the level to adjust the feet on the washer to ensure it is perfectly level. Even being a little off level can cause the drum to spin off balance putting stress on parts causing them to break.

If you have a front load washer, make certain you are using the high-efficiency detergent. Using the wrong kind can result in serious damage to your machine. Be sure to remove wet laundry shortly after washing because leaving wet laundry too long can produce a musty smell, and even progress to mildew and mold. After your final load, dry off the door, inside the washer, and particularly around the door gaskets. Mildew can start to grow very quickly around the gaskets.  Leave the door open a few hours to allow air to circulate and dry any remaining moisture.

Every couple of months check all hoses and connections for any that are loose, cracking or showing signs of wear. Tighten any loose hoses and connections, replacing ones with cracks or worn out. Giving your washer a thorough cleaning periodically is also a good idea.  There are special cleaning products designed to remove residue build up that can cause odors.

For detailed information specific to your washer, check your manual for filter locations and cleaning procedures. Following the recommended schedule will help your washer work more efficiently. In addition, sticking to a maintenance schedule can prevent undo stress and problems with your washer. So, take a little time to show your washer a little TLC and it will serve you faithfully for years.

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!

Helping Your Garbage Disposal Survive the Holidays

At this time of the year many people are planning for parties and large family meals in their homes. With that in mind, give some consideration to how all this might affect your garbage disposal. The best way to kill a festive mood is to have a stopped-up sink with a house full of guests.m2850070

However, large meal preparations can mean a bigger strain on your garbage disposal. Below are some tips to help you avoid overworking or straining your disposal and kitchen plumbing:

  1. Don’t pour fats or cooking oils down the drain or into the disposal. These greasy liquids will solidify in your pipes and cause blockages. Allow a pan with grease to sit and cool, then remove with a paper towel. If you have a lot of grease remaining — after cooling — pour into a plastic container with a lid and dispose of the container.
  2. Never overload or force large quantities of food into your disposal. By forcing too much food into the disposal it can cause the motor to lock up. Put small amounts of food into the disposal and process through before adding more.
  3. Stringy, fibrous foods like onions, celery, asparagus, and artichokes should never go into your disposal. The fibers can tangle and jam the blades causing the motor to lock up.  Any fibers that might process through can block drains.
  4. Be careful of putting too many potato peels through the disposal. The starch in the potatoes can turn into a paste that can cause the blades to stick.
  5. Never put pasta or rice into your disposal. These expand with water and can clog and jam pipes.
  6. Don’t put glass, plastic, metal or paper in your disposal.
  7. Avoid putting coffee grounds into your sink or disposal. It won’t harm the disposal or pipes, but they can accumulate in the drain traps causing clogs.
  8. Never use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage disposal blades and water pipes. Borax is a natural cleaner that can be used to sanitize and remove odor from your disposal.
  9. Always run cold water, not hot, when using the disposal. Start the water before turning on the disposal, and run the water during the entire disposal process. Leave the water running for 10-15 seconds after turning off the disposal to flush out any remaining particles.
  10. Use ice to clean and sharpen the blades. It can help with removing grease build-up and sharpening the blades. Do this once or twice a month to keep your disposal in good working order. You can also freeze vinegar in ice trays and put through the disposal to clean and eliminate odors.

Putting these tips into practice can help keep your disposal working well throughout the year, but especially during these busier times of the year.

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!