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What Is Luxury Plumbing?

When you are thinking of ways to improve the look and feel of your home, you probably don’t think of your plumbing. Luxury is definitely not the word that comes to mind when you think about plumbing. However, many homeowners have been upgrading their plumbing with what is being called luxury plumbing. These are fixtures that not only look better than standard fixtures; they also tend to work in ways that are much more convenient.

Read More What Is Luxury Plumbing?

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4 Signs That Your Plumbing Needs Work

When you experience a plumbing emergency, it can be disorienting, disruptive and, in some cases, disgusting. They feel like they come out of nowhere to disrupt your daily life. However, in hindsight, many of them are actually quite predictable. You just need to know what exactly you’re looking for.

 

Multiple Slow Drains

 If you have one drain that isn’t draining very quickly or is completely stopped up, you likely have a local clog in that drain. It could soap, hair, or any number of common culprits. However, if you have multiple drains that are draining slowly, you likely have a clog further down. Each individual drain connects to a pipe that eventually combined into a single pipe which is your main sewer pipe. If you have multiple drains clogged, it means that the clog is somewhere that multiple drains connect. Eventually, that clog will grow and the sewage could back up into your yard. You’ll have to have your yard trenched and pipes repaired. If you call a plumber as soon as multiple drains clog, a plumber will be able to clear it before it gets bad.

 

Low Pressure in Multiple Fixtures

 Low pressure can be the result of your municipal system or a clog in your water lines. If only one fixture has low pressure, it could be a leak in that one fixture. You need to get that fixed quickly. It can be expensive because you have to pay for all water that passes the meter. Also, it could be leaking into your home, which will cause structural problems as well as mold problems. If it’s in multiple fixtures, it’s a clog or a leak closer to the water main. That could be a serious issue and even more expensive.

 

Water Backing Up

 The third thing you need to look for is water backing up in random fixtures. This often occurs if you use a different fixture. For example, you might drain your bathtub and then see water bubbling up in the bathroom sink. That’s a sign that you have a clog somewhere. Water that should be draining into the sewer main is getting slowed down or stopped somewhere else. That’s making it run back up different pipes. Eventually, those pipes will become completely clogged or they’ll overflow, and you’ll have a very messy emergency.

You can prevent worse problems if you call a plumber as soon as you see these symptoms.

Categories plumbing

Plumbers Recommend Summerizing Your Home

When the winter months are approaching, you need to winterize your home. That means wrapping pipes, preparing your heater, and shutting off some outdoor faucets. However, a lot less attention goes into summerizing your pipes. Many plumbers say you need to summerize your plumbing before the temperature gets too high. The way to summerize pipes is different than just winterizing in reverse.

 

Swamp Coolers

 Swamp coolers are also known as desert coolers; officially, they are called evaporative air coolers. They are affordable ways to cool your home; they’re also fairly energy-efficient. Swamp coolers are popular in very dry areas. They’re also popular in sun rooms, orangeries, and sheds. They work by pumping water into a pad that absorbs water. A fan blows water over the wet pad. Water has a high capacity for absorbing heat before it evaporates. So, that water will absorb moisture from the passing air and cool it down. To summerize your swamp cooler, you need to clean everything. All of those damp components are the perfect home for mold and mildew.

You need to clean the pad, the water pump, the pump impeller, and all of the areas around the impeller. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the pipes, you should call a plumber. If you haven’t run the cooler in months, that stagnant water could be growing mold and mildew.

 

Outdoor Pipes

 It is likely that you did not use your sprinkler system, garden hose, or other outdoor plumbing during the winter. That means that it has sat dormant for months. If you did not drain the water during the winter, you might have damage in your pipes without even knowing it. It’s also possible that the pipes have rusted, corroded, or otherwise become unusable. It’s smart to call a plumber before you start using your outdoor pipes again. A plumber will inspect your pipes to ensure that they’re in good working order.

While the plumber is at your house, you could have the rest of your plumbing inspected as well. There are many different elements to a plumbing system, and many of them can malfunction. It’s a good idea to have the plumbing inspected at least once a year. The beginning of the summer is a good time to do that.

 

Air Conditioners

 There are several different types of air conditioning systems. Some of them are connected to your plumbing system. If you have an air conditioner attached to your plumbing, be sure to call a plumber before turning it back on for the season.

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Utilizing Rainwater In Your Home Plumbing

Many people have been seeking different ways to cut the amount of water they are using. They are trying to limit their carbon footprint as well. Using rainwater is one way that you can accomplish that. Rainwater will cut down on your carbon footprint because it is not processed. Water that comes from a municipal treatment facility is pumped, filtered, and treated. That is going to require some amount of energy. Rainwater, however, requires no energy to collect. If you want to utilize it for your garden, you could just buy a collection barrel with a spigot. To water your lawn with it, you would need a gravity pump or an electric pump. A gravity pump relies on the pressure of the water to force water through the hose. Obviously, that pressure decreases as the barrel gets  closer to empty. An electric pump allows you to use all of the water in the barrel but will consume some energy.

If you want to incorporate rainwater more fully, you’ll need to hire a professional plumber.

 

Integrating Rainwater

 Rainwater can be integrated into your plumbing in two different ways. If you want to drink the water, wash dishes with it, and shower with it, you’ll need to treat it. Essentially, you’ll treat your rain collection the same way you would treat a well. A pump will be installed in the bottom of the rain barrel with a pipe leading into your home. In your home, the water will run through a filtration system. Depending on your particular area, there are different types of filtration systems you can use. The most comprehensive system is a three-step system. Water is filtered through sand or similar material to remove large solids. Then the water is filtered through activated charcoal to remove microscopic impurities. Finally, the water is treated with either purifying chemicals or with UV light to kill viruses and bacteria.

All of that is necessary to make rainwater potable. To use in your shower or sink, the water needs to be potable. However, that also means that the water will consume some resources. If you want to use as little energy as possible, you can still incorporate rainwater but not as drinking water.

For those uses, you would simply install a secondary plumbing system connected to your rainwater collection barrel. These secondary pipes can be connected to your washing machine, garden hose, mop sink, and any other use that won’t be ingested.

Categories plumbing

The Bad News About Cleaning Your Own Drains

If you have a clog in one of your drains or if you just want to keep your drains as clean as possible, you might first reach for a liquid drain cleaner. Plumbers say that you shouldn’t. Most expert plumbers say that the chemicals in these cleaners are actually harmful to your pipes. If you think about it, that makes sense. The back of the bottle says that the chemicals shouldn’t even touch your skin. They work by dissolving hair and other clogs. If they’re dissolving hair and burning skin, they are likely damaging your pipes as well. If you need to clear a clog with a liquid drain cleaner, you should choose an enzymatic one.

 

Enzymatic Drain Cleaners

 An enzymatic drain cleaner is named that because they have enzymes that help to break up clogs. Most clogs are made of natural things like fat, hair, and paper. The enzymes and microbes contained in an enzymatic drain cleaner will eat away at those natural clogs and eventually break them down. Basically, you are creating a tiny composting environment in your pipes. These drain cleaners are slower and not as effective as the chemical solutions, but they are much safer.

 

Natural Cleaner

 If you don’t have an actual clog but want your pipes to stay clean, you can actually make a cleaner of your own. Pour about a half cup of baking soda down your drain. Chase that with a half cup of white vinegar. Put a cap on top of your sink drain and leave it overnight. A heavy bowl will suffice as a cap. In the morning, run some hot water through your pipes. They’ll likely smell fresh and clean as well as working more efficiently.

 

Snaking

 If you have a clog and want to try to fix it before calling a plumber, you shouldn’t use a drain cleaner. Instead, invest in a snake and a plunger. Try the plunger first. You should use a cup plunger; these are the standard plungers with the wooden handle and the red cup. They’re actually for sinks and bathtubs, not for toilets. Run some water and then plunge the sink. That’s often enough to dislodge a clog. If that doesn’t work, use a drain snake.

If neither of those work, you should call a professional plumber. They’ll be able to determine what is clogging your drain and also clear that clog for you.

Categories plumbing

4 Things You Should Never Put Down a Drain

Homeowners are the greatest danger to the pipes in their homes. There are many things that can happen to damage pipes, but the most common is an error from the users. There are things that are supposedly flushable but actually aren’t. There are also things that people say are good for plumbing but aren’t. Here are some things that you should never flush or run down a drain.

 

1 — Flushable Wipes

 Flushable wipes are those wipes that you use in the bathroom that are labeled as safe for the toilet. However, that’s just not true. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve when it gets wet. That means it will completely break down in the pipes. Flushable wipes are obviously damp, which means that they are not designed to break down in water. They tend not to dissolve and will clog up your plumbing eventually.

 

2 — Coffee Grounds

 There are some who say that coffee grounds are good for your plumbing because they are coarse, which is supposedly to help scrub the pipes clean. That’s not true, either. Coffee grounds tend to clump together when they are wet. If they hit some other type of obstruction in your pipes, they can form a serious clog.

 

3 — Solid Fat

 Small amounts of vegetable oil are broken up by soap that runs down your drain, but you should still avoid pouring vegetable oil down the drain. Solid fats absolutely should never go down your drain. It’s easy to forget what might be solid at room temperature when you are cleaning your dishes. For example, if you cook chicken in a pan, there will be a lot of liquid at the bottom. When that liquid returns to room temperature, it will solidify again. If you pour it down your drain as liquid, it will eventually turn back into a solid and clog your drain. Avoid pouring any fat or oil down the drain, but especially anything solid at room temperature.

 

4 — Flour

 When you’re baking and rinsing off your utensils, flour might run down the drain. You should do everything you can to keep flour out of your drains. Flour is used as a thickening agent in sauces because it congeals when it is mixed with warm liquid. So, when it’s in your pipes, it will congeal fat and liquid in your pipes. That will clog your pipes after a while.

Categories plumbing

How Often Do You Need to Pump Your Septic Tank?

Septic tanks are the ultimate case of something important being out of sight and out of mind. If you weren’t there when the septic tank was installed, you might not even know where it is. Many homeowners don’t even know they have one. They tend to find out when sewage starts puddling in the backyard. That happens when the septic tank drainfield is clogged or when the tank itself ruptures. This happens if it’s not pumped adequately.

 

How They Work

 A septic tank has a pipe going into it and a pipe coming out. The pipe entering the tank brings waste from the house. That waste sits in the tank and separates into three layers. The bottom layer of the waste is solid waste that sinks. The top layer is oil and fat that rises. The middle is greywater. That graywater drains through another pipe into a drainfield. The drainfield is a field underground of sand or some other filtering material. If the drainfield is overly full, sewage will begin to rise in the yard without being filtered by the sand. If the waste inside the septic tank rises too high, it will plug the pipe and the graywater cannot be drained.

Either one of these will result in sewage in your backyard. A blocked drainpipe could lead to sewage backing up all the way into your house. The simple solution is prevention; have your septic tanks pumped regularly to keep this from happening.

 

How Often?

 As a general rule, you should probably empty your septic tank every three to five years. However, the specific demands depend on the size of your household, the habits of your household, and the size of your septic tank.

A teenager or adult produces about 100 gallons of septic waste every year. So, if you have a 1,000 gallon septic tank and two adults in your home, you would need to empty it about every five years. For a family of four, you would need to empty it about every two and a half years.

If you don’t know how big your tank is or if you’ve never had it pumped before, you should call a professional. They’ll pump it for you and also tell you how big it is so you’ll know when you need to call them again. Make sure to write down the date somewhere.

If you think you’re having any problems with your septic or your plumbing, be sure to call professionals immediately.

Categories plumbing

Why Do You Need a Plumbing Vent?

When you are thinking about your plumbing system, you’re probably mostly thinking about the pipes that move water through your fixtures and then to the sewer. If you’re experiencing a problem with your plumbing, it could be in one of those pipes. However, it could also be with the air in your pipes. Air in your pipes can be a very serious problem, but some amount of air is necessary. This comes from the plumbing vent.

 

Plumbing Vents

 Plumbing vents are fairly simple. They are vents connected to your plumbing pipes that run to the outside of your house. Some people have the vent mounted in the roof. Others have it mounted somewhere at the back of the house. Plumbing vents help to vent foul odors and gases that might be in your pipes. They carry them safely away from your house. They also allow air into the pipes to help the water flow.

If you think about pouring a full bottle of water, they’re easy to understand. When you first pour the bottle, the water will pour in fits and starts. However, once there’s enough space for air to rush in, the water pours smoothly. Air replaces the moving water and allows it to keep flowing. The plumbing vent works the same way.

 

Plumbing Vent Problems

 There are a few similar signs that something might be wrong with your plumbing vent. If you hear chugging and gurgling when your fixtures drain, it could be a problem with the vent. Also, a problem could be signaled by standing water in a sink or tub. You should first attempt to clear any possible clogs in the drain. That’s usually the problem. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a plumber to work on your vents.

If you end up a complete blockage of the vent, a vacuum will form in your pipes. That will lead to sewer gases backing up into your home. You’ll be able to smell sewage in any room where there are affected drains.

 

What You Should Do

 If you have frequently clogged drains, even if you can temporarily unclog them, you’ll need to call a plumber. Slow-flowing or clogged drains can lead to sediment building up on the sides of your pipes. That will eventually result in a total blockage and damage to your pipes. Call a professional who can unclog your drains and your vent to get them flowing again.

Categories plumbing

Is a Tankless Water Heater The Future?

In some households, water heating can account for anywhere from 15% to 20% of a home’s energy costs. For that reason, many homeowners have been attempting to rethink some of their home water heating options. The most popular alternative is a tankless water heater. Put simply, a tankless water heater is one in which the pipes are installed such that the water runs through the water heater. As the water flows past, the water heater heats the water. However, there is no tank of heated water just sitting around. So, a tankless water heater provides on-demand heated water without expending extra energy. Why doesn’t everyone have one? Well, they are not more efficient than tank water heaters in all circumstances. If you want to get on the tankless trend, there are some considerations.

 

Flow Rate

 You need to consider the amount of water that flows through your water heater at your peak time. The peak water usage differs depending on your home. For some families, the most hot water is used in the morning when everyone showers. In other homes, it might be after dinner. Whatever the case may be, you need to estimate how much water you use. So, you’ll then need to have a tankless system that can accommodate that amount of water. You also need to consider the amount of heating that is needed.

For example, if you are in a warm area, the water being piped into your home might be 75 degrees fahrenheit. You might want to raise it to 110 degrees fahrenheit for your use. That’s a 35 degree change. If you use 50 gallons during your peak hot water usage, your family will need a tankless water heater with a 50 gallons per hour capacity and a 35 degree capability.

 

Multiple Heaters

 If you have high hot water needs, you might need to actually have multiple tankless water heaters. If you have multiple heaters, you will be able to get away with having lower flow capacities and lower heating capacities. Since those tankless heaters will have lower capacities and lower usage rates, they will consume less energy and suffer less strain.

Essentially, a multiple tankless heater system is an on-demand system. The place that needs hot water gets hot water when you turn the tap but no water is heated unnecessarily. It can save you money and save the environment some stress from depleted resources.

Categories plumbing

Smart Plumbing Is the Future

Internet connectivity and advancing technology have changed just about every industry. The plumbing industry is no different. When it comes to plumbing, more and more features are being included in what is called “the internet of things (IoT).” The internet of things is the world of connected appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, cable boxes, and so on. These are not computers but items that have computing functions.

Smart Pipes

Smart pipes, also called brain pipes, are a feature that has been growing in popularity. These are pipes or sensors in pipes that detect the amount of water you are using. They detect when there might be a breakage in your pipes or a leak. Some of them can detect when the temperature inside the pipes begins to approach the freezing point. They will then send out some kind of alert to you, probably through your phone, that will tell you something is wrong with your pipes. You can then fix it before the problem damages your home or wastes water.

Smart Appliances

The pipes are not the only things that come with sensors. Now, plumbing fixtures are being outfitted with them. For example, your water heater might have a sensor in it that controls the heating element. So, when the ambient temperature rises, it will turn down the heating element because the water does not need to be heated as much. Some of them are even programmed to heat water more during peak times and to dial back the energy during off times. For example, it might heat up more water first thing in the morning when everyone takes their showers; it might turn down the heat in the middle of the night when not much water is being used.

Smart Irrigation

If you have a garden or just like to keep your lawn looking healthy, you’ll need to water it from time to time. A smart irrigation system will be able to detect the temperature outside and the soil moisture level. It will then only irrigate the lawn as much as necessary without wasting water.

Many smart irrigation systems are also paired with greywater recycling systems. Greywater is water from your sinks, showers, bath tubs, and laundry room. The water isn’t drinkable but it’s not so dirty that it can’t be used. Instead of going into the normal sewage system, a greywater system will divert it for irrigation purposes.

All of these features are designed to conserve water and maximize efficiency.

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