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Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (122)

One of the most common causes of catastrophic water leaks is a burst washing machine hose. If the washer is on the second or first level of the home, it can lead to a major flood and tens of thousands of dollars of damage – an expense that may not be covered by homeowner's insurance.

If the hoses are plain rubber, it's recommended that you replace them with braided stainless hoses for extra strength. There's also a simple device that can provide some peace of mind: a water alarm. A water alarm can detect even the smallest water leak. When water is detected the device sends a signal to shut off the hot and cold water supply valves to the washing machine.

Another place where water alarms can prevent a disaster is with water heaters. When the bottom of the tank ruptures, the amount of water released at once quickly flood a basement. A water alarm is cheap insurance against major water damage.
If you're planning on remodeling your bathroom and plan on updating your shower, tub, vanity and other features, it's important to ensure that your home's plumbing is up to the job and can handle the upgraded fixtures. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Do your supply and drain pipes need to be updated?

When old fixtures are taken out and the floor and walls are ripped open to expose the pipes, take a moment to assess the condition and size of the pipes. It's a good idea to ensure that supply pipes are ¾” in order to have good water flow to several fixtures, such as multiple shower heads or sprayers in the shower.

2. Will there be enough hot water?

Large soaking tubs and showers with multiple spraying heads are a nice luxury, but can also put greater demand on your water heater. Will you need a larger water heater tank to meet additional demand?

3. Water and Energy Conservation

Spa-like bathroom can use a lot of hot water. Thankfully, many new plumbing fixtures are designed with efficiency in mind. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads can save many hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Tankless water heaters, while initially more expensive than conventional water heaters, heat water only when it's needed, conserving energy while providing a virtually endless supply of hot water.

Need help with your bathroom plumbing? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
Backflow is, as the name implies, a condition where water flows in the opposite direction than it was intended to. It is caused by a change in pressure in the system and it can allow contaminants to taint a home's drinking water.

One of the most common culprits of backflow is garden hoses. When the pressure drops, the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to, like a muddy puddle or bucket of waste water, can potentially flow backwards into the home's plumbing system and contaminate the drinking water.

Thankfully, there is an effective way to prevent this kind of siphoning backflow by using a simple hose-bib vacuum breaker. Check that all taps (faucets, spigots) that a hose may be connected to are fitted with a hose bib vacuum breaker. An even more effective backflow prevention device, called an atmospheric vacuum breaker can also be installed by your plumber.

Do you have bathroom drains that gurgle for a while after use? In older homes, it's not uncommon for water to take longer to drain. The reason is that pipes used in the past were smaller in diameter than they are today. In addition, the home may not a have sufficient numer of vent pipes in the roof to aid in drain flow. When the systen is starved of outside airflow, the result is often gurgling sounds.

A professional plumber should clean out the drains with a drain snake or a high pressure drain cleaning machine. In many cases it's not the floor drain that causes the problem, so be sure to have the upper reaches of the plumbing system inspected, including the vent pipes.

Have plumbing or drain problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help diagnose the problems and offer effective solutions.



Even in the warm climate of Southwest Florida, heating water takes up a big part of the average home's utility bill. One inexpensive way to conserve hot water is to install a water heater blanket. Available at most home improvement stores for $15-$20, water heater blankets are simple to install and can pay for itself in less than a year.

You may be asking, can a blanket help when the tank feels cool to the touch? Yes. Because it takes more energy to heat water than air, so insulation will help. Still not convinced? Once the blanket is installed for a day or so, put your hand under the blanket and you'll notice that it's nice and warm. That's heat that will keep the tank warmer for a longer period of time rather than radiating out.

A word of caution on water heater blankets – some manufacturers advise against them because if they are not installed properly they can block controls and valves. So be sure to cut away around controls and the pressure relief valve.
In Southwest Florida, tropical storms and hurricanes are always a threat during the late summer months. By taking a few simple precautions, and having a plan in place before severe storm season, you will be able to better protect your plumbing system and home from damage.

Before Hurricane Season

  • To prevent water damage to your foundation make sure gutters are clean and firmly attached.
  • Ensure downspouts are properly installed to direct water away from the house.
  • Make sure everyone in home knows the location of the main water shut-off valve.
  • If the home has a sump pump, test it regularly to ensure it is working. Because hurricanes bring power outages, we recommend installing a battery backup sump pump.
  • Have your sewer lines and drains inspected and repaired if needed to reduce the risk of sewer line backups during heavy rains.

During a Hurricane

  • Turn off the main water valve before the storm arrives. This will prevent potential contamination of your plumbing system.
  • Only if it is safe to do so, check the storm drains around your property and clear away any debris or other obstructions to ensure the drains can handle a high volume of water.

After a Hurricane

If you experience problems such as low water pressure, drains that are slow to empty, strange noises or other concerns, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we are here to help.
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.

 

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