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Some Common Plumbing Issues

 

Ever wonder if what you’re dealing with regarding your plumbing system is common? Below you’ll find the most common requests plumbers receive — and you can rest assured you’re not alone.

1 –Your toilet is leaking. Without question, this is one of the top issues that homeowners face with regard to plumbing issues. And because it can be a sign of a larger issue, it’s not one to be ignored. If your toilet is leaking at all, give your plumber a call so you can

2 – Your water lines are broken. Again, another frequent problem amongst home owners. What’s important to remember here is that you are responsible for issues affecting the main lines from your yard to the street. The city, however, is responsible for issues affecting lines from the street outward.

3 – Your sewer is clogged. This is trickier to diagnose. Homeowners don’t often notice a broken sewer line. However, if the clog is severe, sewage will begin backing up into your home. That’s why, if you do have a clog, it’s important to act fast.

Call your plumber immediately, and he or she can enlist a variety of options that best address your particular situation. First, they may pull the toilet or go through a “clean out drain” in your yard to loosen the clog. Or, they may use a sewer machine to try to clear the clog. If they can’t find the clog, your plumber may want to run a camera down the line to assess the situation. However, if the sewer is full, the camera cannot be used. That’s why, especially if you’re on a septic tank, that you have it emptied every 3-5 years.

Also, when a plumber can’t clear a clog completely, they may clear it enough to send a camera down to see if there is a break in the pipes. In addition, they may offer a service called “hydrojetting,” which is like an intense pressure washer hose being channeled down a drain to clean It out or to push out the clog to the line to the city where it can be dealt with.

4 – Your water heater is leaking. If this is the issue you’re facing, a few important questions are: How old is your water heater? Is it under warranty? Is the tank rusted out? Or is it just a valve issue? Why so many questions? Because most water heaters are only meant to last 7-10 years. If yours has passed its warranty and is older, it may be less expensive to purchase a new one than to fix it.

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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!

Preventing Hard Water Stains on Granite

 

Granite countertops have become the standard in kitchens across the country for good reason: their beauty and durability. But it’s critical to take good care of your granite so that it will continue to possess the qualities that you love so much. One issue that can wreak havoc on the beauty of your granite is hard water stains. Thankfully, with a little regular elbow grease, it’s relatively easy to prevent stains from occurring.

First and foremost, don’t allow water to pool around your faucets after use. Whether from water splashing while doing the dishes, or from a leaking faucet, water at the base of your faucet can make for unsightly hard water stains that can become difficult to clean. Always have a dry, absorbent cloth at the ready to wipe around your faucets regularly.

Next, seal the sink and faucet atleast one to two times a year if possible. It’s easy to forget that granite is a porous material that will absorb water. That absorption can cause dark spots in your granite, ultimately harming the beauty of the granite. If the granite appears darker after getting wet, or if water absorbs into the granite rather than sitting on top of it, this is your sign to re-seal.

If you’ve already noticed some hard water stains caused by lime buildup, grab a plastic putty knife and gently scrape the stains to lift up the buildup. Once you’re done, clean the granite with a stone cleaner specifically formulated for stone and a soft, clean microfiber cloth to clean the area thoroughly and bring back the natural beauty of your granite.

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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 Bathroom Mold & Mildew

So how do you prevent mold growth? The first step is to be vigilant about keeping your bathroom dry and well-ventilated. When you take a shower or bath, turn on your vent fan or even open a window. After bathing, make sure any accidentally spilled water is off the floor and your towel is hung up so that it can dry thoroughly. Don’t throw it down and let it sit in a corner – that’s asking for trouble. In addition, wiping the water around your sink up on a regular basis can help keep the moisture at bay.

But what to do if mold and mildew are already growing? There are several different options from borax to bleach, but one of the most natural and effective methods is using white vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar reportedly can get rid of up to 82 percent of molds. So why not give it a try before bringing out the harsher chemicals?

If you’ve discovered mold growth in your bathroom, fill a small spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. Spray the area that you want to clean with vinegar and let it sit for up to two hours, but no less than one hour. Next, take a soft clean cloth and scrub the mold. If you need something stronger, a scouring pad or old toothbrush are great for this task as well.

After you’ve scrubbed away the mold, rinse the area thoroughly. If you can still see a few spots, mix a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water. Next, apply the paste to the hard-to-remove and hard-to-reach areas, then spray with white vinegar. Scrub with old toothbrush or scouring pad again and then rinse.

At this point, unless the mold is severe, you should have a clean area. In the case that you still have mold that’s not budging, it may be time to break out the bleach for further cleaning. If you do this, make sure that you’ve thoroughly rinsed the area with water so that the bleach and vinegar do not mix.

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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 Save Water Outdoors – Part Two

 

Conserving water doesn’t always have to be hard. The last post itemized five ways to reduce water usage outdoors around your home this summer. Believe it or not, there’s more where that came from. Below are five more creative ideas to help you be good to the planet and your wallet.

Mulch around trees and shrubs. Mulch is a popular choice for helping create a beautiful yard for many reasons. It not only looks nice around your shrubs and trees, it discourages weed growth, reduces evaporation and keeps the soil moist.

Select yard plants carefully. Landscaping decisions can be overwhelming. The good news is that if you’re really working to reduce your water usage, your options are very straightforward. Talk with your local nursery representative to help you identify and choose native and drought resistant plants, grass, trees and shrubs as they will typically require less water. And then get planting!

Use your broom. There’s no doubt that it’s tempting to use a hose to wash off your driveway or walkway, but if you want to save water, the smarter choice is to use a blower or broom.

Set your timer. When you’re using a sprinkler or hose of any kind (soakers, etc.), make sure to set a timer to remind yourself to cut off the water. If you need to water while you’re away, purchasing a valve timer from your local hardware store is a great option to explore.

Wash your car in the grass. Washing your car is a necessity, it has to be done. So how can you reduce the amount of water you use? The most efficient choice is to go to a commercial car wash that recycles its water. However, that can get expensive and may not fit into your budget. If you choose instead to wash your car at home, park it in the grass rather than the driveway. This way you’ll have a clean car and a watered lawn.

Think twice about water features and fountains. This one’s easy. Water features use water, so limit or eliminate them from your yard.

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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!

 

 

 

How To Reduce Your Water Heating Bills

 

Did you know that the water heating system is the second largest user of energy in most American  homes? The good news is, according to the US Department of Energy, there are a number of ways that you can reduce your water heating bills. Many of its suggestions[1], found on energy.gov and highlighted in bold below, will impact your bill incrementally but when used together, can begin to make a notable change in your bills.

Use less water. This seems obvious, but it’s an unescapable fact. Use less water and you pay less money.

Install low flow showerheads and faucets. If you prefer a higher flow for showers and can’t see giving that luxury up, you may want to consider installing low flow faucets throughout your home.

Buy a more efficient model. Do your research and take a look at newer options such as tankless water heaters, heat pumps, tankless coil/indirect and last but not least, solar hot water heaters.

Purchase energy star appliances. Energy star appliance have come a long way in recent years and the options are endless. From hot water heaters to dishwashers and clothes washers, this choice can no doubt make a difference in your bills.

Wash your clothes in cold water. If using less water isn’t an option, using cold water can also take your bill down an extra notch. While sometimes you need to use hot water, if you make cold water washing your everyday choice, you will see your bill come down incrementally.

Turn down your water heater thermostat. Lowering your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees will not only impact your bill, it will keep your family safer from potential scalding – especially if you have young children in your home.

Fix leaks and make sure to turn off that tap. Energy.gov estimates that even one drip per second can cost you a dollar a day.

Insulate your water heater and pipes. Especially in the winter months, this tip can save you some real dollars. That said, make sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for doing so.

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!

 

[1] Source: Energy.gov, “New Infographic and Projects to Keep Your Bills Out of Hot Water,” https://energy.gov/articles/new-infographic-and-projects-keep-your-energy-bills-out-hot-water, April 19, 2013.

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!

 

Plumbing in a Tiny Home (Part 3)

 

As a final part of our blog series on “Plumbing in a Tiny Home,” we are now going to deal with the subject of Black Water.  Black Water is simply the sewer waste from your toilet.  Since most people have always had public sewer or private septics, this is new territory for most.  However, if tiny home living is your goal, then you will have to give some thought to your choice of toilet and the system installed.

Disposal of Black Water – A flushing toilet is something most of us take for granted; and if you plan to keep your tiny home stationary, your solution may be a regular toilet connected into a sewer or septic system.  But, if mobility or living off grid is your choice, then you may want to consider one of the choices below.

  1. Toilets made for RVs.  This requires a holding tank that the waste goes into and then is emptied at a disposal site or hooked into a sewer.  Some may not like this system due to the work and chemicals required to maintain them.
  2. Composting toilet.  Requiring no water or energy, they allow you to live off grid and look after the environment at the same time.  You can purchase composting toilets, or make your own.  Each time you use the toilet, you simply add fine wood shavings (pine works well) to the toilet.  This prevents odor and helps the waste to break down.  Adding coffee grinds will keep things smelling fresher, and composting worms can help break down waste faster.  You will need a compost area to dump your toilet waste, but once broken down, the compost can be used around your planting beds.
  3. Incinerating toilet. These use electric or gas (natural or propane) heat to burn waste that can then be dumped into your trash.  The electric toilet has a liner to catch waste and a pedal to release the liner into a sealed compartment where waste can be incinerated after each use.  The gas toilet has a holding tank and incinerates once full.  There may be some odor with the incinerating toilet, but the process sterilizes the compartment requiring no cleaning.
  4. Dry Toilets.  These toilets also require no water to operate, but electricity is needed to charge the motor.  Dry toilets are lightweight and moveable.  The toilet bowl is a bucket with a liner cartridge on top that the toilet seat rests on.  After each flush the motor turns the bucket so that the liner tightly wraps the waste, and a new liner releases from the cartridge.  When the liner cartridge is empty, simply remove and dispose in your trash, and install a new cartridge.

Adjusting to tiny home living may take a little time, and making sure you choose the best plumbing system will make the adjustment easier.

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!

Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heater

 

 

Tankless water heaters have become more popular over the last several years with individuals focusing on making their homes more energy efficient.  A standard hot water heater can use up to 20 percent or more of a home’s annual energy due to maintaining a standard water temperature when not in use.  Whole house tankless water heaters have helped to reduce these energy costs.  However, there a way to reduce these costs even more.

 

A point-of-use tankless water heater may be the answer.  A point-of-use water heater is placed directly where hot water will be needed.  With a whole house tankless water heater there is still some delay in hot water traveling a distance to the faucet resulting in the water cooling in the pipe.  Placing a point-of-use below a kitchen or bathroom sink, next to a tub, or in the laundry room near the washing machine, gives you a more true “instant hot water” reducing water waste.  This can also save time from waiting on hot water to make an appearance.

 

That said, there are more upfront costs installing any tankless water heater, even a point-of-use heater.  Whether gas or electric, special pipes and wiring will be needed, most likely requiring a professional plumber and electrician.  However, the purchase price for a point-of-use tankless water heater is less than a whole house tankless heater. And, keep in mind that the monthly energy savings will last for the life of your heater.

 

There are several models of point-of-use tankless water heaters available, so take the time to decide exactly what your needs are to ensure you find the one that will work best for you and your family.  Then you will be able to have “instant hot water” at just the point and time you need it.

 

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!

 

 

Under Counter Ice makers

 

Do you have a large family that uses a lot of ice?  Or, love to entertain and tired of carrying home large bags of ice?  The solution to your problems may just be an “under counter ice maker”.  Designed to fit under your countertop like a dishwasher, it can be worked right into your kitchen design.  If having a constant supply of ice sounds like a good choice for your home, here are some things to review before making your purchase.

Location:

First and foremost, determine the location for your ice maker.  This will allow you to purchase the correct size for the space available.  Remember that access to a water line and 110V-120V 3-prong outlet is needed.

Capacity:

Capacity of the ice maker is related to the size of the ice maker.  A smaller space means a machine with a smaller capacity.  However, an ice maker with a high production rate will allow the machine to remake ice faster.  Different types of ice machines make different shapes of ice (i.e., nugget or pearl ice, cube ice, crescent ice, or gourmet).  Built in water filters are another feature to be considered, along with whether or not the machine comes with a warranty.

Installation:

Installation is another consideration.  An experienced DIYer might be able to manage the installation. However, there are several complicated aspects to be considered, so having a professional handle it might be worth the additional cost.  Proper installation ensures your ice maker works at its best and alleviates leak concerns that can damage cabinets and flooring.

Having an under counter ice maker means you’re less likely to run out of ice right when you need it — an important asset to your family on a daily basis, and when entertaining.  You’ll be able to sit back, relax, and never worry about having enough ice on hand.

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!

Handling Problems With Your Residential Well Pump

 

If your home has a well as its water source you will encounter issues that those living with municipal water access do not.  Although a well provides lower monthly costs, the maintenance and repairs involved in having a pressure tank, switches and pump come with their own issues.  Below are some areas to check if you begin having problems.

Check the power supply if you have no running water.  Power surges and blackouts can trip your electrical circuit breaker, shutting down your system.  Locate the correct circuit breaker for your well pump, switch off, then on again.  Once the circuit breaker is back on, you should have running water again if this is the problem.

Too much of a demand on your water system can trip the pressure switch, and shut the system down.  Locate the pressure switch, a silver bar on the side of a gray box on top of the feed line.  The pressure switch should be at an upward angle.  If  tripped, it will be at a downward angle.  To reset, close the water valves going to the delivery system.  Lift the pressure switch until it engages.  Once the pressure tank refills, slowly reopen the water valves.

Next, check the pressure tank for correct pressure.  The default setting for the pressure switch is 30 psi (pounds per square inch), and the tank should be 2 psi less making it 28 psi.  A lower air pressure can indicate a waterlogged tank, or an air bladder break.  Both issues would require a professional to determine if a repair can be done, or if a new tank is needed.

Discolored water or smells from rust, iron, sulfur, calcium, magnesium and other minerals can also present problems.  Contacting a water treatment specialist can help determine what steps are needed to correct the problem.  Keeping your well pump maintained and in good repair will keep it working for many years, providing your family with all the water it needs.

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!