Have you ever wondered if it’s safe to use the toilet or shower in your home while the power is out? You may have access to water through your plumbing line, but you should be cautious. Follow these tips to know how you should use your plumbing system during a power outage. Water Heater Water heaters, even those that burn a fuel like natural gas, need electricity to run. Fuel-based water heaters use electricity to start the heating process. No power means no hot water. If you have heated water in a tank, it may stay warm for a little while after the power goes out. But sometimes, hot water is an absolute necessity. In those cases, you might consider getting a generator to run your water heater. Faucets and Sinks Even without hot water, you may notice that your faucets still run fairly normally during a power outage. Homes that are connected to the local water supply should still have access to cold water. People who use an electric pump to draw water out of a well may temporarily lose access to water. If the power outage relates to flooding, you may be concerned about water contamination. Follow the [...]
This article is by Vincent West. West is a graduate from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Engineering Design. Even though we have made huge technological leaps in many areas, plumbing systems have not changed much over the last few centuries. Although not every home has a basement, those that do have one require special attention. For this purpose, we have compiled a small list of plumbing issues that every homeowner should attend to on a regular basis. Basics of Basement Plumbing Before addressing some of the most common plumbing issues in basements, let’s do a brief rundown of the basics of basement plumbing. The first thing every responsible homeowner should know is the location of the shutoff valve. Usually, the shutoff valve is located either where the main supply pipe enters the house, or next to the water meter. Some properties may have an additional shutoff valve right outside the house hidden in a ‘’buffalo box’’ or meter box. The buffalo box can be found either at the edge of your property or buried in the ground between your fence and the street. You can pry open the box and turn off the water supply by hand [...]
If you’re a thoughtful homeowner who wants to reduce utility bills and be mindful about water conservation, you may be wondering whether people save more water by taking baths or showers. Standing in the Shower or Soaking in a Tub? When it comes to comparing how much water you use when taking a bath or when showering, you have to take into account how long you let the water run for showers. A typical filled bathtub uses about 36 gallons on average according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Older showers may use as many as five gallons of water every minute. This means that if you showered for longer than seven minutes (not uncommon!), you will be using more water every time you shower instead of drawing a relaxing bath for yourself. Ways Improve Water Conservation The USGS notes that newer, more efficient low-flow showerheads only use about two gallons per minute, meaning that you could take an 18-minute shower and use about the same amount of water as you would if you had opted for a soak in the tub instead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, investing in water-saving fixtures and appliances can save families more than $380 from [...]
We’ve all been there: you’re in a rush while cleaning the kitchen and need a quick fix for unclogging your dishwasher or getting rid of grease. It’s easy to use popular drain cleaning products to unclog your drain or to quickly pour that pan grease down the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” can actually lead to more time-consuming and expensive problems.
Do you dread opening your water bill every month? You’re not alone. Many homeowners deal with high water bills and look for ways to cut back and save on these costs. Thankfully, there are several easy options when it comes to addressing this issue. 1. Don’t Let Your Faucets Run Many people are guilty of letting their faucets run while brushing their teeth, doing dishes, and cooking. To save water and money, turn off your faucets when you aren’t directly using the water. Once you get your toothbrush wet, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and turn it back on to rinse your mouth. When you are doing dishes by hand, fill up the wash side of the sink with soapy water and fill the rinse side with clean water. If you are prepping vegetables or meat, try to prep everything prior to turning on the water to rinse or wash your hands rather than letting the water run while you prepare each item for rinsing. To further reduce your water consumption, consider purchasing low-flow aerators for your kitchen and bathroom faucets. 2. Pay Attention to How You Use Water in the Shower Showers can waste a [...]
There’s nothing more annoying than a dripping faucet. You’ve turned the water on, washed your hands, and turned the faucet to the off position, but the water hasn’t stopped. This is a common problem for older faucets and it can be due to a number of things, including a bad washer, valve stem, or cartridge.
Having a well-maintained older home is something to be proud of. Knowing that the plumbing is still in great shape is icing on the cake. How do you know, though? There are a few ways to spot aging plumbing, and you don’t have to be an expert to see them. If you notice any of these, it’s time to make a call. Rusty Water Ruins Your Day Your pipes can actually give you hints that the plumbing is damaged or on its last legs. Rusty water could be one of the first. No matter what kind of material you have for your plumbing, unless you use a well, the water should come through clean and clear. While this may also be caused by a buildup of sediment your water heater or older galvanized waterlines, water that is brown, grey or otherwise discolored may contain flakes of the pipes that are coming off. This level of corrosion shows you that the pipes are seriously wearing out. Water Pressure Is Down to a Trickle You turn on the faucet, but water only trickles through. While you may be able to deal with this problem for a little while, weak water pressure throughout [...]
Every homeowner knows and understands that plumbing problems are both annoying and frustrating. Sometimes you can handle the problem yourself with a plunger or a quick trip to the hardware store. When you have a problem that lingers on or gets progressively more severe, you need to enlist the services of a professional. Here is a look at some of those plumbing issues that necessitate the help of a plumber. #1. Pipe Leaks Sometimes the indications of a pipe leak are apparent. You open the cabinet under a sink and find a puddle of accumulated water there, or you touch a pipe, and it feels wet. Another possible indication that you have a pipe leak is a significant increase in your water bill--especially if there is no change in the way the people in your house are using water. You might be able to stop the leak temporarily with a joint or pipe compounding product that you can buy at a home improvement or hardware store, but this fix is temporary. Whether the cause of the leaking pipe is due to corrosion or general wear or tear, trust that the Mr. Plumber professionals will take care of you and your leaking pipes [...]
Now that Spring has arrived, it’s tempting to think that the worst of potential plumbing problems are behind us. Sadly, that’s wishful thinking. Here’s a look at some common plumbing problems that often occur in the Spring, and what you can do to avoid them.
Your garbage disposal is likely one of the most used pieces of equipment in your kitchen. It’s also likely that it withstands a lot of stress, as many homeowners believe garbage disposals can digest anything you throw in them. Unfortunately, there are many foods and food byproducts that can have damaging effects on your system. Here’s a quick look at three of the most common culprits: 1. Starchy Foods The gumminess of pasta, rice, potatoes, leftover hot cereal, and other foods with a high starch content can stick to the walls of the disposal. This will create a blockage that prevents water from going down the drain correctly. What’s the solution? Try your hardest not to put these things down the drain. If you do, do so in small amounts. Run the water for a few seconds longer after the disposal is finished, just to ensure that the water pushes the sticky food wastes through the drain pipes. 2. Coffee Grounds While coffee grounds look like they might go down the drain without any issues, the contact they have with water creates a sediment buildup in your pipes. This is very similar to the sediment buildup from minerals that occurs [...]