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Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (116)

If you're planning on remodeling your bathroom this year, there are a few bathroom trends that Houzz found in a survey of homeowners that you may find interesting.

Technology in the Master Bathroom

One in five new toilets and one in ten new showers in renovated master bathrooms are equipped with at least one high-tech feature, such as a self-cleaning system or mood lighting.

More than half of renovating homeowners use their mobile devices in their bathrooms for checking email and social media to listening to music and reading.

Why Are Homeowners Remodeling Their Bathroom?

Small size and outdated finishes are the most cited old-bathroom gripes. For nearly a third of homeowners the bathroom plumbing is malfunctioning or not working well enough anymore.

Less DIY and More Professional Remodeling

In 2016 90% of homeowners will hire a professional to help with their bathroom projects, compared to 78% in 2015.

Backflow is hazardous condition that can exist when there is a drop in pressure in a plumbing system that causes contaminated, non-potable water to be syphoned back into the fresh water supply.

One example of backflow contamination is a hose left in a pool or submerged in a garden. If the pressure changes, the dirty water can be drawn back up into the home's plumbing system. Without an anti-siphon hose bib, dirty water could enter the fresh water supply.

Backflow Prevention

To prevent backflow in a home's plumbing system it's important that outdoor faucets have working hose bibs to prevent contamination. In addition the plumbing system should be checked to ensure that sump pumps, toilets, faucets and other systems are properly installed to prevent crossflow contamination.

If you're concerned about backflow in your home's plumbing system, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help answer all your questions.

 

RPZ , or Reduced Pressure Zone, is a plumbing safety device that is designed to protect your drinking water from contamination. RPZ valves are needed when a house has an irrigation system, fire suppression system, or other systems where there is an likelihood of contaminants entering the fresh water supply. In the event of a water leak in the house, city water main break, hydrant flushing, or hydrant use due to a fire, the water pressure in the house can drop lower than the water pressure in the supply. This can cause backflow into the drinking water supply.

When a drop in water pressure occurs, an RPZ valve will open up, diverting the waste water out instead of allowing to return to the fresh water supply. In most cases a RPZ or backflow prevention device is required by law to prevent contamination.

Have questions about backflow or RPZ backflow testing? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.

 

Backflow is hazardous condition that can exist when there is a drop in pressure in a plumbing system that causes contaminated, non-potable water to be syphoned back into the fresh water supply.

One example of backflow contamination is a hose left in a pool or submerged in a garden. If the pressure changes, the dirty water can be drawn back up into the home's plumbing system. Without an anti-siphon hose bib, dirty water could enter the fresh water supply.

Backflow Prevention

To prevent backflow in a home's plumbing system it's important that outdoor faucets have working hose bibs to prevent contamination. In addition the plumbing system should be checked to ensure that sump pumps, toilets, faucets and other systems are properly installed to prevent crossflow contamination.

 

Having a dedicated laundry room in your home is a great convenience. Whether your redesigning your current laundry room or designing a new space, here are some tips to ensure everything goes smoothly and that the room fully meets your needs.

Where Should a Laundry Room Be Located?

Traditionally, laundry rooms were located in the basement of a home. A basement offers a number of advantages. There will be a floor drain to handle overflow if a hose breaks. Noise and vibration will also be better isolated on a basement floor. However, it's not always convenient on a multi-level home to have the laundry room located far from the upstairs bedrooms.

The main level of the home off a garage or back door is a popular location. Combining a laundry room with a mud room you have the advantage of utility sinks and a washer where it they are most convenient.

If the laundry room is going to be added to an upper level of the home, it's important to ensure that the washer is placed on a drain pan to prevent water damage. In addition, strong, stainless steel braided hoses should also be used for extra protection against leaks.

If the laundry room is near bedrooms look for a washer and dryer that is insulated and has lower decibal rating.

Gas and Electric Hookups

In addition to hot and cold water supply and drains, you will need 120-volt circuits for the washer and, if you have a gas dryer, a gas supply line and ventilation line. These hookups should be left to a licensed plumber and electrician.

Lighting and Ventilation

Laundry rooms will generate a significant amount of heat and humidity. If the washer and dryer are in a large space, such as a basement, a ventilation duct that vents the dryer outside may be sufficient. On upper levels or smaller spaces, an exhaust fan should be installed to prevent mildew growth and unhealthy air.

Having good lighting is also important. Consider recessed LED lighting directly over the washer and dryer and sinks.

Need help installing or upgrading your laundry room? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We'll make the process simple and worry free.

 

Are your pipes, rattling, banging, squeaking or otherwise driving you crazy? Noisy pipes are not just annoying, they can be a sign of a plumbing problem. If severe enough, loose pipes can disconnect from mounting brackets stressing the pipe and causing a leak.

If a banging noise is heard when turning the water on and off, water hammer is the likely cause. Water hammer occurs when the water chamber that normally cushions the water pressure becomes filled with water. The condition can usually be fixed by draining the pipes in the home to restore the chambers with air.

Rattling Sounds

If you hear rattling noises from your plumbing system, check that the pipes are securely anchored to wood joists. Loose anchoring brackets should be tightened or replaced.

Vibration Noises

As pipes pass through holes in joists they can come in contact with the wood framing. Teh pipes can be cushioned with pieces of foam insulation to dampen the movement.

Squeaking Pipes

As metal hot water pipes expand and contract they can rub against the metal mounting straps as the water runs through. Adding foam of rubber cushioning to the mounting anchors will quiet the noise.

Have questions about solving plumbing noises in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning any time.
When most people think of heat pumps in the home, it's usually as a source of central heating or cooling. But a heat pump also can be used to heat water. Heat pump water heaters work by transferring heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. As a result, they can be up to three times more energy efficient as a conventional water heater.

To move the heat, heat pumps works sort of like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator draws heat from inside the appliance and exhausts it to the room, an air-source heat pump water heater draws heat from air in the room and transfers it – at a higher temperature – into the water heater.

Hybrid heat pump water heaters are available as stand-alone, integrated unit with a built-in water storage tank and back-up resistance heating elements. Or, an existing tank storage water heater can be retrofitted with a heat pump.

Heat Pump Water Heater Requirements
To operate efficiently heat pump water heaters need at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater with a temperature that is in the 40-90 degree fahrenheit range.To optimize performance they can be installed in a space with excess heat, near a furnace for example.

Have questions about choosing the right water heater for your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help.
Because most water leaks around the home are minor and happen slowly over time, we often don't consider fixing leaking plumbing fixtures a big priority. However, putting off plumbing repairs can come at a price. Consider these facts from the EPA.
  • 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more each day
  • A leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year
  • Minor water leaks account for more than 1 trillion gallons of wasted water each year and is equal to annual water use in 11 million homes.
  • A shower leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year
So what can you do to prevent water waste in the home?
  • First, check faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replace them as needed.
  • If toilets are leaking, have them repaired.
  • If you're replacing an old toilet, water heater or other plumbing appliance or fixture, choose a model with a WaterSense rating.
Need help repairing leaks around your home? Give ABC Southwest a call, we can help with all your home plumbing needs.
Spring is a good time to check your home's plumbing system and perform a few simple maintenance tasks to ensure system continue to work smoothly. Here are some items to check.

Sewer & Drains

  1. If you have slow or drains that regularly back up. Have your plumber clean out the drain before there is a backup.
  2. Ensure that sink drains have strainers to prevent debris from building up inside the drain.
  3. If there are drains that are unused for long periods of time, such as floor drains, pour a bucket of water to keep the trap filled. This will prevent sewer gases and odors from entering the home.
  4. If your home is more than ten years old, have a video camera sewer line inspection to check for tree root intrusion or other damage.

Sump Pump

Test your sump pump to ensure it is working. Pour several gallons of water into the sump pump pit. Pour slowly until the sump pump turns on and removed the water. Do not pour in more water than the basin can hold. The sump pump should begin pumping out water when the water level reaches about 8 to 12 inches from the bottom of the pit. If it doesn't, contact your plumber to repair or replace the pump.

Washing Machines

Check hoses for signs of wear or damage. If the hoses are older than 10 years, consider using braided stainless steel hoses rather than rubber hoses. If the washing machine is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan should be used to prevent water damage in the event of a leak.

Toilets

  1. Check the base of the toilet for water leaks. If there are stains or standing water it could need a new wax ring seal.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 30 minutes, it has a leak that should be repaired.
  3. If the toilet handle has to be held down in order to flush properly, or jiggled to stop from running, you may need to replace the tank parts.

Tank Water Heaters

  1. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy waste.
  2. Drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency.
  3. Inspect the anode tube for excessive corrosion. Replace the tube if needed.

Tankless Water Heaters

  1. Tankless water heaters should be flushed to remove mineral deposits. 
  2. Clean or replace the line filter.
  3. If it is making excessive nose, have your plumber inspect the unit.
Always check with your water heater manufacturer for specific instructions regarding maintenance of your specific make and model.

Have questions about maintaining your home's plumbing system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
Putting a lemon in your garbage disposal is a well-known way to quickly freshen your garbage disposal. While citric acid is a great deodorizer, it also corrosive and can corrode the metal inside the disposal. Lemon peel can also be tough enough to damage the grinding parts inside the disposal.

A safe way to clean your disposal is to run cold water and drop a dozen ice cubes into the chamber. While this will create a lot racket, it will also clean the food reside off the walls and the impellers. To deodorize, pour a little vinegar into the disposal.
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