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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Energy efficiency: It’s possible to achieve with your plumbing, too!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

We all know we can boost the energy efficiency of our homes by upgrading our appliances and heating and air-conditioning equipment, but did you know that plumbing fixtures could play a role, as well?

When choosing efficient plumbing products, look for the WaterSense label. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the WaterSense labeling program to help consumers identify products with high efficiency, and an independent third party performs certification.

Here are some plumbing fixtures to consider in your energy efficiency plan:

  • Showerheads. According to the EPA, showering makes about 17 percent — or 40 gallons per day — of residential water usage. A standard showerhead consumes about 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), while a water-saving showerhead with the WaterSense label will use, at most, 2.0 gpm. Over time, these savings will add up, and you’ll see the savings in both your water-heating bill and your water bill.
  • Faucets. Standard faucets generally allow about 2.5 gpm or more to flow out. For energy efficiency, install a low-flow aerator on the kitchen and bathroom faucets. WaterSense products must achieve a flow rate at or below 1.5 gpm. Installing one will reduce the flow of water by around 30 percent.
  • High-efficiency toilets. Yes, there is such a thing. In fact, they’ve been around for a while. Early iterations of low-flow toilets saw problems with the removal of waste. The technology behind them has become smarter and more effective, however, and today’s low-flow, high-efficiency toilets use just 1.28 gallons per flush, or even less.
  • Dual-flush toilets. These ultra efficient toilets have two flush buttons. The lowest-water option is best for eliminating liquid waste. For tougher jobs, use the higher-water flush.

Reducing water usage is a great way to conserve natural resources, and it’s critical for drought-prone areas where water shortages are common.

If you’d like expert advice about ways to reduce water usage and boost efficiency in your home, an experienced plumbing service can help design a water-saving plan and suggest upgrades such as a tankless water heater to drive efficiency even higher.


Dealing with a blocked drain

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Blocked drains, like taxes, are an inevitable part of life. Despite what advertisers say, solving the problem is not as easy as pouring some liquid into the stopped-up fixtures and letting it work its magic. Liquid cleaners are usually ineffective against blocked drains. Even worse, they are also caustic, as they contain potent acidic cleaners that can damage porcelain and sometimes even older trap pipes. In addition, your sink and pipes are now filled with acidic chemicals that may leak out onto hands and cabinetry when the drain lines are opened up to properly fix the blocked drain.

Enzymatic cleaners are a bit easier on the environment, but they are designed for preventative maintenance, not quick fixes, and can take a few days to clear a blocked drain.

For more information on the dangers of liquid drain cleaners, check out the U.S. National Library of Medicine report on the subject.

Fortunately, clearing a blocked drain can be easily taken care of by most DIYers.

For drains with pop-up stoppers, such as those in bathroom sinks, removing the pop-up plug and clearing away any hair, grease or other debris is a quick and easy way to remedy the problem. If the sink is full of water, take care to place a bucket and towel under the trap before loosening any parts. With necessary precautions taken, loosen the pop-up lever nut. This is located directly under the sink facing the back of the drain line. Remove the pop-up plug and clear away any obstructions. While the plug is off, look down the drain with a flashlight and remove any further clogs with a clothes hanger.

If the problem persists, the clog is likely further down the line. You can attempt to plunge the sink, though depending on the size and density of the blockage, this might prove futile.

If plunging and cleaning the pop-ups fail, you should contact a licensed plumber who can snake the line. While you can rent snaking equipment yourself, there is the risk of damaging the pipes, particularly with power augers, which can break through drain lines.

If you are dealing with a “slow block,” in which the sink backs up after water has been running for a little while, your clog is likely very far down the line. In addition to the slow buildup, other fixtures in the home will be slow to drain, as well. This is a sign that the clog is somewhere in a main drain line (and perhaps caused by tree roots) and will likely require some heavy-duty equipment. To resolve this problem, you should call a licensed plumber, as the equipment necessary for this job is powerful, and the potential for injury is high for those without experience.


What to do when the kitchen sink is clogged

Monday, August 5th, 2013

In most cases when the kitchen sink is clogged, it can be cleared easily. The kitchen sink tends to be the most used sink in the house, and because of this, it is more likely to clog than the others. You use the kitchen sink to clean the dishes, to clean food during food preparation and, of course, to clean the kitchen.

If your sink gets clogged, follow these simple steps to clear it. If these steps do not work, the problem may be something more serious, meaning you’re going to have to call in the professionals to open the drain back up. Companies like RooterPLUS! can have your drains cleared and working again shortly.

  1. Check the drain opening and strainer first. Leftover food plugging the drain often will be the cause of the problem. You will need to reach into the sink and remove any food or debris from the opening to clear it.
  2. Another problem can occur when grease from the dishes gets into the drain. When this happens, the grease hardens in the trap, clogging the sink. In most cases, you can run hot water to melt the grease and open the drain. If there is already water in the sink, you will need to remove it first before running hot water over the drain.
  3. If the previous method does not work, something else may be clogging the kitchen sink drain. Try using a plunger to clear the clog. Place the plunger into the sink so that it covers the drain completely. Push down on the handle firmly several times. Remove the plunger and wait briefly to see if the water drains. If it does not, insert the plunger a second time and repeat the process. Keep in mind that on really tough clogs, it might take several attempts to clear the drain.
  4. If your kitchen sink is clogged and you have a garbage disposal installed, simply turning the disposal on may help to clear the clog. If this does not work, or if your disposal will not come on, it’s time to call RooterPLUS! for assistance. Removing a garbage disposal unit is not something that most homeowners will want to do. It involves not only plumbing but also electrical work.

If you run into a situation where you lose a piece of jewelry in your drain, this is a situation best left to the professionals. There are many scenarios where your beloved piece of jewelry could be lost forever or damaged beyond repair when you try to retrieve it yourself. When you drop a piece of jewelry down the drain, call RooterPLUS! immediately before using the sink. Doing so could push the item further into the plumbing system.


The Benefits of Whole-House Water Filtration

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Every day, we are exposed to a wide range of pollutants. Manufacturing, transportation and agriculture are major contributors to the pollution of air and water. Installing a whole-house water-filtration system can help reduce the amount of contaminants you and your family are exposed to. A water filtration system can improve the quality of your water as well as the air you breathe, reducing the amount of chloroform released in your home from municipally treated tap water.

A whole-house water filtration system provides clean water for everyday household uses, such as bathing, cooking, drinking and laundry. Higher-end water-filtration systems are capable of removing over 30 contaminates and carcinogens from drinking water. When combined with a water filter mounted on the faucet or under the sink, they are even more effective.

It is important to evaluate the many kinds of whole-house filtration systems — from inexpensive, do-it-yourself set-ups to more costly versions that require professional installation. Filter-replacement schedules and maintenance procedures will vary significantly among models. Home-improvement centers sell a variety of inexpensive, simple water filtration systems for removing sand, sediment and iron. You can install many of these yourself. Larger, more expensive systems that remove significantly more contaminants are available through plumbing contractors and water equipment wholesalers. Consulting a professional before purchasing a whole-house system ensures that you get the quality of water you desire.

The savings you can expect from purchasing a whole-house system compared to purchasing bottled water is substantial. According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should drink about 64 ounces (half a gallon) of water a day. A whole-house filtration system produces clean drinking water for just pennies per gallon.

A home water-filtration system also can benefit the environment by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles discarded. Every year, consumers in the U.S. alone purchase roughly 30 billion bottles of drinking water, which require 32 million barrels of oil to produce and transport to stores. Only about 25 percent of these bottles is recycled; the rest wind up in our rivers, lakes, oceans and landfills. This statistic becomes even more alarming when you take into account that it may take 100 years for a plastic bottle to decompose.


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