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Installing a French Drain (Part Two)

 

Now that you’ve identified a good location for your drain, it’s time to get started. Before you start digging, mark the area extending from your rain gutter for your French drain with spray paint. This will serve as your guide.

To begin building you’ll need a shovel, gravel, water permeable landscaping fabric, a few long nails and a perforated drainage pipe. The amount of each of these materials will depend on the depth, width and length of your drain. A standard French drain is 6 inches wide, 18-24 inches deep and about 3 feet long. (Keep in mind that you’ll need to dig deep enough to place the tubing so that the finished product doesn’t lie above your foundation.)

Once your trench is completed, spread about 3 inches of gravel along the bottom of the trench. Next, lay the landscaping fabric over the fabric, with about 10 inches of excess on either side of your trench. At this point, pin the fabric on either side with nails so that it will not move when you’re placing the drainage pipe and gravel. While some people don’t bother with using fabric, without it, your drain will fill with soil and clog over time.

Now you’re ready to lay your drain pipe and cover completely with more gravel. You’ll need to leave about 5 inches between the top of the gravel and the ground surface. Fold the fabric over the tubing and gravel, overlapping like you’re wrapping a present. Then fill the trench back in with soil. Depending on the location of your drain, you may wish to top the soil with sod. To further assist with drainage, create a bed of stones at the end of the drain pipe.

And voila, your new drainage system is ready to go!

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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!

Maintaining Your Hot Tub

Have you just installed a hot tub? Or are you considering purchasing one? Many homeowners like to add a hot tub or spa to their homes as part of creating their own private retreats. While hot tubs can be a wonderful addition, they do require necessary maintenance to keep it clean, and thus safe for your family’s health.

If you can carve out just a little time each week to keep your Jacuzzi or spa in good shape, the task of maintenance is not as overwhelming and it will serve you well for a long time. Here are a few tasks to add to your calendar to help keep you and your family maximizing your time in your hot tub.

Each day, especially after storms or windy days, it’s a good idea to just take a peek out your door to make sure no debris has fallen and damaged your cover. If so, remove the debris and repair any damage immediately.

A few times a week, schedule a time to check the water temperature, which if too low can signal a bigger problem. In addition, check sanitizer levels and the pH balance to make sure all is well. The pH alone is an important gauge of your hot tub’s health, and thus your family’s health.

Once a week, add a chlorine tablet and clean your spa filters. If you don’t use your hot tub too often, then you can change filters less frequently, but it’s recommended that you not go more than three weeks without changing filters. In addition, especially if you use the hot tub frequently, shocking, or super chlorinating, the water is a good idea.

Each month, take some time to give your hot tub cover some love. The cover is your first line of defense against the elements among other things, so cleaning and conditioning it regularly will pay off over your hot tub’s lifetime.

Finally, be sure to drain your Jacuzzi every 3-4 months and clean the shell and jets. Once that is complete, you can refill with fresh water, chlorinate as needed and continue to enjoy your own spa retreat.

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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.

Energy Efficient Water Heaters – Gas Versus Electric

 

Ask most people and they will agree that we live in a very energy-aware society. People are concerned with finding more ways to conserve now that ever. But, when thinking about energy efficiency, most people may not consider their water heaters as significant means for saving energy – and money. However, water heater usage makes up about 18 percent of your home’s utility bill. With that being said, it’s worth considering ways to be more energy-efficient in this area.

Your decision to be more energy aware can start with the type of water heater you purchase: electric or gas. Many people have electric water heaters in their homes and may not have considered a gas water heater. To that end, below is some information to help you determine which type of water heater is the best for your family and home.

Electric Water Heaters

  1. Less expensive to purchase.
  2. Easier to install.
  3. Monthly utility costs are higher.
  4. Average lifespan is 12 years.
  5. Longer recovery time to reheat.
  6. No hot water during power outages.
  7. No heat loss during operation.

Gas Water Heaters

  1. Purchase price is more.
  2. Install costs more due to gas line hookup and venting.
  3. Utility costs are lower per month.
  4. Average lifespan is 13 years.
  5. Hot water recovery time is less.
  6. Hot water available during power outages.
  7. Some heat loss due to ventilation.

Using these comparisons can assist you in choosing a more energy-efficient hot water heater.  Doing so can help you save money and contribute to saving energy as well.

Taking Care of Our Feathered Friends This Winter

One of the joys of winter for many people is feeding birds who visit their yard searching for treats amidst the cold landscape. Maybe you’re one of those bird lovers? If so, colder temperatures may have you thinking about them. Although birds are made to adjust to colder weather, there are things you can do to make it easier for them.

Provide nutritious food. Pick a premium blend high in black oil sunflower seeds and nuts.  Other high fat foods like suet, meat scraps and peanut butter are also good. Keep in mind that different birds feed differently, so provide hanging feeders for smaller birds, and spread a mixed blend of seeds and nuts on the ground for ground feeders. Just do this near bushes or under a deck to protect from predators.

Add additional feeders and birdhouses. Winter months can make it hard to find their own food, so having more feeders can help. Choose feeders that keep seed dry to prevent fungal and bacterial growth. Birdhouses give them a place to roost. Placing dry grass or wood shavings inside will help keep them warm.

Don’t forget water. Check and refill it daily. Adding several rocks to the water container will give them a place to land. To avoid problems with sometimes not-so-adorable four-legged animals (i.e., squirrels, chipmunks, etc.), place food out for them too. Just locate their food a distance away from your bird feeders. They love nut blends, corn, and especially nuts in the shells.

While you are working hard to stay warm and healthy this winter, try to remember your feathered and furry friends as well. They will love you for 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!

Upgrade Your Coffee — With a Built in Coffee System

 

Many people wouldn’t know how to get their day started without a “cup of joe.”  But, making that first cup happen can be a little challenging sometimes. How many times have you stumbled around the kitchen, half asleep, trying to fill the coffee pot and get that wonderful aroma going to wake you up? Wouldn’t it be wonderful not to hassle with filling the coffee pot with water?  Well, take heart, because there are real solutions for you on the market today.

You might think that only commercial coffee makers, or very expensive ones (over the $10,000 mark), can have its own plumbing system. But, that’s not the case anymore. There are now more affordable coffee makers for the home that are plumbed in to make your morning routine easier and faster.

Research is important to find the exact built-in coffee maker you want. Since there is a variance in price, you will want to look around to get the best deal with the features you want. Some makers come with built-in water filters, which may be an important feature if you have hard water. Other specialized features are built-in coffee grinder, separate hot water dispenser, auto on/off, and auto rinse/clean.

The next thing is to consider the location for your unit. If you are remodeling it may be easier to make the transition to a built-in unit. Your cabinetry can then be designed to have specific cabinet allotted for your unit. The plumbing and electrical can also be done before cabinet install.

However, if you just want to upgrade your kitchen with a built-in coffee unit there are still ways to make this happen. Brew Express makes a unit that sits on your countertop, while it connects to your water supply just like your refrigerator. Brewmatic has one that mounts under an upper cabinet allowing you to keep your countertop free unless brewing a pot of coffee.  Both  units still require some plumbing and electrical, so speak with a professional installer on how to retrofit to your counter space.

Making life more efficient is important to everyone. So, finding ways to make your morning routines simpler and smoother is always a plus. Having a built-in, plumbed-in coffee maker might be just the right step to improving your mornings in this new year — and get you that caffeine fix even faster.

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!

Dealing With a Clogged Drain

 

Clogged drains are a nuisance any time of the year, but especially when family and friends are visiting. Even the most conscientious homeowner will most likely deal with clogged drains at some point, so below you’ll find some steps to remedy the situation:

A Plunger – Sometimes the best fix is the easiest. The plunger has been around for a long time and should still be your first step in dealing with a clogged drain. Fill the clogged sink about a quarter of the way with water. If you have a double vanity sink, block the opposite sink drain with a towel or rag. Next, place the plunger over the clogged drain, move it up and down quickly until the water starts to drain. Doing this should remove any small blockage.

Baking Soda and Vinegar – If the sink remains clogged after plunging, move on to the next tried and true method, baking soda and vinegar. You may remember these items being used in creating a volcano science project. The same premise works here, just in the opposite direction.

To do this, you will need to remove as much water as possible from the clogged sink. Then pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and use a handle from a spoon to pack it down into the drain pipe. Next, pour a cup of vinegar into the drain, replacing the stopper immediately. This will force the mixture down into the pipe. Allow the mixture to work for five minutes. If the drain is still not cleared, pour four cups of hot water into the sink.  At this point, if the drain is still clogged, then a more advanced step is required.

A Cable Auger – This next solution is more difficult and is best handled by a professional plumber. A cable auger (sometimes called a snake) can be used to remove the obstruction. Place a bucket under the sink to catch water, then detach the trap or J-joint underneath the sink that connects the pipe to the sink. Next, remove the pipe going into the wall. The cable auger can now be used to slowly slide down the pipe by spinning the crank clockwise. Once you reach the clog, turn the auger counter-clockwise to grab the cable, and hopefully, the obstruction. If all goes well, this will take care of your problem.

A Professional Plumber – At this point, if the drain cannot be unplugged, then it’s definitely time to call in the professionals.  Calling a plumber is important to avoid causing any damage to your pipes.

Remember that the drainage system in your home is a complex, engineered system.  Trying to clear a clogged drain from a small obstruction is something most homeowners can do.  However, it’s always best to leave it to the experts for the more complicated issues.  They know how to remove the problem while keeping your plumbing system in good working order.

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 Inspection When Buying a Home

Buying a home can be an exciting, yet stressful, experience. Finding the house you want to make your home is often overshadowed, albeit temporarily, by the stress of making sure all is well with your wonderful find. Fortunately, thorough home inspections can provide peace of mind. However, some areas, like plumbing, can be costly if issues arise. So how can you be certain that everything is okay and covered in the inspection? Knowing a few things you can discuss with your inspector or plumber will help.

Some things to ask about:

1.  Water Heater(s) – Water heaters are usually an afterthought to most people, but it’s an appliance workhorse. Because of how dependent we have become on them, making sure that the one in your new home is in good working order is key. An inspector will check for leaks and corrosion, as well as ensuring the PRV valve is working properly.

2.  Toilets – Another item in our homes that get a lot of use, but can be neglected, is the toilets. Small leaks at the back of a toilet can cause big problems if not found and fixed in time.  The water stop valve should be checked for leaks, and the toilet itself checked for stability. A rocking toilet can also cause leaks. TIP: Signs of leaks can be found in the flooring. They include vinyl turning purple from water damage, and grout lines turning white or darker at the toilet base.

3.  Sinks – Kitchen and bathroom sinks should be inspected. The hot and cold stop valves should be checked for leaks or corrosion. TIP: Water stains on the bottom cabinets can be an indication of a water leak.

4.  Showers/Tubs – For enclosed showers, the baseboard and drywall that butts up against the shower pan needs to be assessed. A leak at the base of the shower can cause the baseboard to swell and the drywall to be soft. Shower and tub combos that use shower curtains, can produce problems as well. A shower curtain not properly closed during showering can allow water to run over the tub corners, causing damage to the flooring. TIP: Vinyl flooring lifting or discoloring, or a softness when stepping on or touching the area, can be an indication of damage.

5.  Basement/Crawl Space – For finished basements, the inspector will look for wet spots, or water stained areas, pointing to a pipe leak. Unfinished basements and crawl spaces enable the inspector to assess the water pipes directly for leaks. This is the time they can look for subfloor damage under kitchen and bathrooms caused by leaks.

Knowing these things will ensure the house you are purchasing is getting a thorough review.  Then all that’s left is to relax, and enjoy getting settled into your new home.

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!

Mold: Winter’s Unexpected Challenge

 

imagesSome may think that because the weather is now colder and the heat in our homes is running, mold is not an issue. On the contrary, mold can be more prevalent this time of year. Although heating our homes may cause the air to be drier in most areas, some places may have higher levels of humidity because of reduced ventilation. Small bathrooms — steamy from showers — and kitchens — full of steam from cooking and running dishwashers — are two especially vulnerable areas.

Recognizing that wintertime can be a heightened season for mold growth is the first line of defense.  The second is being observant and watching for mold growth. Here are a few things to track:

Manage Moisture

Keep an eye out for condensation or peeling paint on window sills as this can be an indication of a moisture problem. Check under sinks, around shower stalls, and bathtub area for leaks or standing water. Dry wet areas immediately, and repair plumbing, window or roof leaks as soon as possible.

Maximize Air Flow 

If possible, improve the ventilation in your home. Cold weather isn’t compatible with opening doors and windows to the outside, but opening doors between rooms — even closet doors  — can improve ventilation. Moving furniture slightly away from walls will also help.

Monitor Humidity Levels

Keep check on your homes humidity level by using a moisture meter that can be purchased at your local hardware store. It is recommended that your home’s humidity level stays between 30 and 60 percent.

Eliminate Mold 

If you discover mold in your home and plan to remove it yourself, wear a good quality allergy mask, goggles and gloves. If you are sensitive to mold, have someone else clean up the affected area. Use a mold remover and disinfectant rather than bleach to ensure the mold is killed. You may also want to consider using a mold sealant that when sprayed on surfaces can prevent the growth of mold up to two to four years.

Even if no one in your home has a mold allergy, you can still suffer the effects of being exposed to mold. They can be as minor as eye irritation, coughing, and headaches or as serious as nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems. So, its important to be aware of areas where mold can grow so your family can have a safer and healthier wintertime environment.

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!