With costs for energy rising all the time, and the word “efficiency” attached to everything we do, its easy to see why people can get sucked into a wide array of beliefs when it comes to improving home efficiency. And while many of the “reported” maintenance items will work, many of them are simply myths and urban legends. How do you know the difference? While it is difficult to wade through the information, we’ve put together some of the most common home energy myths and what you can do instead.top plumbing myths debunked Top Plumbing Myths Debunked

Myth: Energy efficiency increases the initial cost of a home.

If you’ve ever set out to upgrade one appliance in your home – a water heater for instance – when you start comparing prices you’ll find the more energy efficient options move to the middle or upper end of the pricing structure. So its natural to assume that when building a home, adding in all of the top of the line energy efficiency items throughout will increase the price of the home. But its not necessarily true. In some instances, smaller, higher efficiency units may take up less space or work more efficiently from the beginning, meaning the home builder can take this into account with the initial build, and provide you with the savings.

Myth: Showering uses less energy and water than taking a bath

This one is a toss up, depending on your home environment. A typical bath takes anywhere from 30 to 50 gallons of water. If you take a 10 minute shower with a low flow showerhead (which typically uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute), it would only use 25 gallons of water. If you haven’t replaced your showerhead with a low flow unit, or have multiple showerheads or special water features, these numbers can go up accordingly. Its important to understand how much water you are using, and limit consumption as much as possible.

Myth: A slow dripping faucet isn’t that significant

Even the tiniest of drips can add up quickly over time. A single dripping faucet can add up to 300 gallons of water per month … all flowing down the drain. Which means of course that your water bill is being impacted by every drip a faucet creates. No matter how slow the drip, fix it as soon as possible.

Myth: Its faster to boil hot water, and therefore takes less energy

In order to get hot water into your teakettle or pot, chances are you had to let the water run from the faucet to bring hot water from the water heater to your faucet. That requires energy. So energy you might have saved from trying to boil already warm water (and the savings isn’t significant), you’ll consume by getting the warmed water into your pot.

Myth: Energy savings isn’t a significant feature in the sale of a home

According to the National Association of Home Builders, study after study shows that homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home if it has Energy Star ratings on heaters, air conditioners and appliances, or meets Green Building Guidelines. If you can show your home has efficiency, and it will be made up in savings on energy bills, people will be more attracted to your home.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

The arrival of winter and cold weather has the potential to invite a multitude of potential plumbing problems into the home as well. Frozen or cracked pipes, a frigid step into a morning shower, small leaks that quickly escalate into big problems, even sudden bursts which cause flooding throughout your home all can make a winter morning even more of a headache.

And while its easy to assume that if you didn’t have problems last year, you’ll be okay this year, it simply isn’t true. Things change, items wear out, and certain condition

s change over time. The only way to prepare for the oncoming winter season is to take the necessary precautions now.

how to keep your water flowing even when its cold How To Keep Your Water Flowing Even When Its Cold

Start on the outside

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to unattach your garden hoses and close off all shut off valves that lead to your outside spigots. Drain off any residual water from spigots or hoses, and blow out sprinkler lines to prevent rupture over the winter months.

Prevent clogged drains

When you’re in the house more, you tend to use your drains more. Make cleaning your drains a part of your routine cleaning process. A simple solution of 1 cup salt, 1 cup baking soda, and ¼ cup cream of tarter, followed by several cups of boiling water will keep your drains naturally clean.

Running water

You know that spare bathroom down in the basement you rarely go into? That’s the place most at risk in your home. On a regular basis throughout the winter, make sure you turn on the water supply and allow the water to run for a minute or two. This will keep things flowing and will prevent freezing, especially on those severe cold spells we receive in December or January.

Plan for Holiday cooking

If you are planning for holiday get togethers and an overabundance of family over the holidays, take extra steps along the way to care for your drains. Cooking grease and oils put a strain on drains, pipes and your garbage disposal. Its one of the biggest factors in build ups, and can quickly begin collecting other matter to cause significant problems. Refrain from putting oils down the drain at all times, and avoid hard to grind or stringy substances as well. Always run cold water for at least 15 seconds before and after each use. Be sure to turn on the disposal before you send food down the drain to allow more power behind the process.

Pipe insulation

Even if you’ve never insulated your pipes before, its never too late to start. Use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape to guard both hot and cold water pipes against freezing temperatures. If a pipe is exposed and vulnerable to cold temperatures, insulate it for added protection.

If your pipes freeze, burst or crack this winter, start by turning off the water at the main shut off valve. Turn faucets on to relieve pressure. Then use a blow dryer or space heater to begin thawing pipes. Call in Quality 1st Plumbing to help fix any damage, and get you back on track quickly.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

If you’ve ever lifted the lid on the tank of your toilet, you’ve most likely seen the toilet float. The toilet float is the device that allows the water to fill the tank without overflowing. Also called the ballcock or float valve, they’ve changed in design over the years from a variety of materials.

Older style floats consist of a plastic ball attached to a metal rod. And if you go back further, you’ll find floats made of brass, copper or even glass. If you have an older home with old toilets, you may find a vintage float hand blown from glass; they can be quite valuable to collectors.

the basics of toilet tank floats The Basics Of Toilet Tank Floats

The float is often ball shaped, hence the reason it was originally termed ballcock. The valve is connected to the incoming water supply, with the intake opened and closed by a lever with the float attached to it. When the water level rises, the float rises with it. Once it rises to its pre-set level, the mechanism forces the lever to close the valve and shut off the water flow.

Too much water in your tank will cause it to run and waste water. Too little water in your tank will cause flushing issues, which can lead to possible clogs.

The first sign of trouble usually starts with the sound of running water in your tank. And when you hear it, the first place to start is with the tank float.

The first step is to determine what type of tank float you have.

Older toilets will have a large plastic or brass ball connected to a horizontal rod. The rod is connected to the toilet fill valve. Turn the screw to lower the float and continue until the water stops running. Flush the toilet and see where the water stops as it refills. It should be just below the top of the fill tube for the flush valve. If the water is no longer running, problem solved.

Newer tank floats move up and down along a vertical pipe of the toilet fill valve. A common name is Fluidmaster. This fill valve has an adjustment rod on the side of the assembly; you can pinch the spring clip to adjust the float up or down. Move it down slowly, checking in between to see if the water stops or continues to run. When the water stops running, flush the toilet and see if the tank refills to proper levels. Once its refilled, does the water stop running? If so, problem solved.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology showed that only 35 percent of respondents wear eye protection when performing home repairs or work on home maintenance projects. That means 65 percent are subjected to potential threats to the eyes, and in many cases these injuries aren’t treated in the appropriate way.

home eye safety month stay safe with plumbing maintenance Home Eye Safety Month – Stay Safe With Plumbing Maintenance

  • Men are far more likely to sustain an eye injury than women.
  • Over 44 percent of all eye injuries occurred in the home.
  • More than 40 percent of eye injuries were caused by projects and activities such as home repair, yard work, cleaning and cooking.
  • More than 78 percent of people were not wearing eyewear at the time of injury.

While injury can occur in any setting, studies also show that one of the main causes of accidents is when the home maintenance project centers around a plumbing activity. Plumbing often puts the average homeowner into situations they haven’t dealt with before, and often times aren’t prepared for the potential hazards.

  • Exposure to hazardous substances – lead, sulfur dioxide, asbestos, mold, solvents, solder and other toxic or carcinogenic substances
  • Proximity to flammable or combustible materials
  • Exposure to biohazards including raw sewage
  • Working in awkward positions
  • Lifting heavy ans awkward objects
  • Slips, trips and falls on wet surfaces
  • Risk of eye injury from flying particles, chemicals and hot water
  • Burns from steam, hot water, and hot equipment and parts
  • Working alone

If you are currently working on a home maintenance project, taking the necessary precautions will not only make your project safer, but will also make your work environment safer too.

  • Use fall protection when working at heights
  • Use eye protection when working with any type of cutting or grinding equipment, chemicals or other substances harmful to the eyes
  • Use protective equipment appropriate for the task – hard hats, eye protection, face protection, gloves, etc
  • Wear appropriate footwear – sturdy shoes with non-slip soles
  • Use heat insulating gloves, eye protection and face shields around hot pipes
  • Avoid electric shock by using power tools safe for wet environments.
  • Install and maintain good ventilation
  • Take frequent breaks if working in awkward situations

When in doubt, leave it to the professional plumber. If you have a question or need help with a home improvement project, give us a call today.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

The most popular water appliance in your home is the toilet, using on average up to 30 percent of the home’s total water usage every day. When it comes to water conservation and each of us doing our part, the most obvious place to start is with the toilet.

A single leak in a toilet can waste thousands of gallons of water every year. Not only is that costing you money, its wasting a precious resource as well. If conserving water starts with your toilet, where do you begin?

how to conserve water in a toilet tank How To Conserve Water In A Toilet Tank

Fix Leaks

The most obvious place to start is to fix leaks as they happen. However, toilets don’t always make noise when they leak. Drips and leaks are most often fixed by tightening fittings where two pipes meet, and where pipes join the tank. Be careful not to over-tighten, which may damage threads and the tank itself.

Flapper

The flapper is a valve that sits on top of the port that leads from the tank to the bowl. When the toilet is flushed, the valve opens and allows a certain amount of water into the bowl. Over time, the flapper wears out and begins to harden, making the seal not as pliable as it once was. The looser the fit, the more leaks and problems may occur. To test and see if you have a leak, insert a few drops of dye into the tank and wait to see if it appears in the bowl. If it does, your flapper is the cause of the leak. Simply replace the flapper to restore the water process back to normal.

Avoid The Toilet Dam

A common myth for water conservation is to fill the tank with bricks so water levels will be kept to a minimum. While it sounds good in theory, it can cause more harm than good. By filling your tank with bricks, it will allow chemicals and sediment to enter your toilet, and risk harming the internal parts of the toilet tank. It also poses the risk of cracking the tank during placement.

Upgrade

Instead, the best way to conserve water is to upgrade your toilet to a newer model. Older toilets use anywhere from 5 to 7 gallons of water with each flush. With newer models, you can reduce water levels down to 1.3 gallons per flush or even less with dual flush toilets. And in some cases, you may even qualify for a water rebate, depending on your county and your water system.

If you have any further questions about water conservation, we’d be happy to answer them, and provide you with the easiest way to save water within your home.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

its national toilet tank repair month is your toilet in good working condition Its National Toilet Tank Repair Month – Is Your Toilet In Good Working Condition?Lying in bed listening to the drip, drip, drip coming from the faucet is a sure indication that your money is going down the drain. But toilets don’t always give you that telltale sign. Instead, they often leak silently, leaving you unaware of the problem and unaware that you are wasting both money and water.

According to the EPA, a leaky toilet can waste around 200 gallons of water a day. That can lead to over 70,000 gallons of water a year if left unchecked. That’s a lot of water!

As a part of National Toilet Tank Repair Month, now is a good time to regularly check your plumbing fixtures and make sure they are in good working condition. Its also a good time to detect any problems you may be having with your toilet, and fix or update them to not only save you from wasting water due to leaks and cracks, but also to make your toilet as efficient as possible. It is one of the leading water users in your house, and every little bit helps.

Here are a few things you can do.

  • Replace flappers and fix valves at least every couple of years to prevent your toilet from running on a continual basis.
  • If you notice the water running long after a flush, adjust the chain or float ball.
  • Install low flow toilets throughout your home. Low flow toilets require 1.3 gallons of water per flush compared with older models that use 3.5 gallons or more.
  • To modernize even further, consider installing a dual flush toilet.

To locate a silent toilet leak:

Put several drops of dark food coloring into the toilet tank. After a few minutes, check the bowl. If there is dye in the bowl, you have a leak.

The problem usually lies in one of two areas. Either replace the flapper at the bottom of the tank, or adjust the fill valve to eliminate the leak altogether.

Have any further questions? Give us a call today.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

It may start out as a tiny drip, or you may instantly have more water than you know what to do with. However, when you have a water leak in your plumbing, timing is everything to avoid devastating consequences down the road.

Tracing a leak in your home can be tricky. But wiping up the water or fixing only a portion of it is delaying the inevitable. Getting to the source of the matter is the only way to fix the problem once and for all. Yet finding the source is a different matter.

A leaking pipe you can see dripping under your sink is much easier to find and fix than a small wet spot forming on the ceiling of your bedroom. When water begins to seep into places blocked by ceilings or walls, its much more difficult finding the root of the problem.

how to trace a water leak in your plumbing How To Trace A Water Leak In Your Plumbing

Where do you start?

Start by confirming the leak. This can be an easy process with appliances; simply move the appliance and look for water leaks in and around the main water line that connects up with the appliance.

For kitchens and bathrooms, open cabinet doors and shine a flashlight to all corners, looking for corrosion around the pipes, puddles of water, or even small wet spots with beginning stages of mildew or mold. If water is forming behind the walls, below the floor boards, or underneath cabinets, you may notice peeling paint or wallpaper, or buckling materials.

Its also time to walk through your home, looking at the floors, walls and ceilings throughout. Even a small stain on the ceiling could be an indication of a running problem throughout your home. Also look at walls and ceilings located directly underneath other areas of your home with water sources – a bathroom shower or a refrigerator with built in water and ice dispensers can leak water, and have it flow straight down to the next level. Also look for warped flooring, spongy spots in carpet or padding, and moisture in places its never been before.

Head down to the basement and crawlspace of your home and look around as well. Water tends to travel down, so the place you find a water stain or puddle is often not the source of the problem. Still, it can be a starting point. If you see mold, mildew, rotted wood, or puddles of water in the basement or crawlspace, use that to track upward and find where the source begins.

If these doesn’t reveal the source, verify you have a leak. Turn off every faucet, appliance and fixture in your home that uses water, and record the usage on your water meter. Leave all fixtures, appliances and faucets off for eight hours, then read the meter again. If you have any changes, it indicates you have a leak in your plumbing system, and a plumber should be called in immediately to find and fix the problem.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Today’s technology has changed every industry in our society, and plumbing is no exception. Drain cleaning cameras and inspection technology helps us in three distinct ways:

  • Before drain cleaning, it helps us locate and determine the extent of the problem, and define the course of action
  • During drain cleaning, it allows us to determine progress
  • After drain cleaning, it ensures the job was completed and the root of the problem is gone, creating a free-flowing pipe in return

An inspection camera has several key components: a cable reel, a pushrod, and the camera with a light source to illuminate the problem. Cameras typically have self-leveling functions that allow it to always show the water at the bottom in the correct orientation as it sits in the drain line. Additional accessories, such as DVD or CD recorders and sewer inspection software can help capture and report data even more effectively.

what inspection camera technology does for drain cleaning What Inspection Camera Technology Does For Drain Cleaning

One key component of an effective system is equipment to locate a problem under a floor or below ground from a remote, above ground inspection point. This makes it easier and safer to locate potential problems without having to guess where the source really is. This can eliminate unnecessary digging, evacuating the wrong areas, or allowing a leak to continue for longer than it should, costing even more in repair costs down the road.

In the world of plumbing, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, and it holds true when it comes to camera technology as well. Reels and camera sizes come in different sizes to be able to effectively get into different sized drain lines.

For example, a toilet or sink line can best be seen using a micro version designed for drain lines from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The smaller cameras can navigate through smaller lines and toilet traps, and are also easier to adjust with smaller turning radius.

Lighter duty camera units typically weigh 7 to 11 pounds, while industrial technology often weighs in at 24 to 48 pounds and above. Most units today use LED lighting with 18 volt lithium-ion batteries that provide up to 5 hours of continuous inspection. Monitors come both in black and while or in color to make it possible to see and save information for future comparisons.

Statistics show that as many as one in four service calls require a second trip because the original problem wasn’t found and corrected the first time out. Which means more time and energy spent finding the problem and correcting the mess for you.

Traditional methods often don’t get to the root of the problem. With today’s technology, its easier than ever to find the source of the problem the first time, and eliminate it altogether.

If you have a clogged drain, give us a call today.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

In very few cases, a major home repair emergency happens without warning signs. We may choose to ignore them. Or in many cases, we simply may not know what to watch for.

When it comes to a sewer line backup, you’ll never find an emergency that didn’t give warning signs first. It’s a gradual process that takes months, even years or more to turn into a true emergency. But when it hits, you’ll wish you had done everything possible before hand to eliminate the problem altogether. Its messy. Its stinky. It can be dangerous. And there are warning signs that show up well in advance.

sewer line backed up here are the warning signs Sewer Line Backed Up? Here Are The Warning Signs

 

Warning #1: Multiple Fixtures Are Clogged

One of the most obvious warning signs is when more than one fixture in your home backs up at the same time. Toilets are particularly effected by a sewer back up as it is the largest drain in your home. Toilets have the most direct path to the sewer, and rarely are your toilets working properly if the sewer line is backing up. You can also check your tub and shower, as they sit lower than drains in the sink.

Warning #2: Unexpected Reactions When Using Fixtures

If your sewer is backed up, your entire plumbing system will be affected. Which means every time you use your plumbing system, it will make strange noises or actions as it is put to the test. Flush your toilet and you’ll find the water not only doesn’t go down, but it may come up through your tub or shower. Run the faucet in the bathroom sink and you may notice bubbles or water rising in your toilet. Start up your washing machine and water begins to flow through other drains in the area. These are sure signs your sewer line is blocked, and that you don’t have a problem with a single fixture in your home.

Warning #3: Drainage at the Clean Out

If you have a main line clean out, you can verify a sewer back up in another way. Open the clean out by either unscrewing or pulling to remove the cap. Check the clean out for any waste water buildup. You should not be able to see the water coming up the clean out pipe. If water is flowing up and out, it confirms the fact that you have a sewer line backup.

If you suspect or have a sewer line backup, time is of the essence. Nothing is worse than having to go through restoration as raw sewage dumps into sections of your home. Give us a call is you suspect a problem. We can find the main problem and either get your line cleared by one of our many methods, or identify the breakage and get it repaired before further damage is done.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Did the latest cold snap leave you yearning for winter? Ready to pull out your skis and hit the slopes? While winter is one of the best seasons in Colorado, with so much to do and offer right in our own back yard, it can still catch you off guard if your home isn’t prepared.

The last thing we’re ever ready for is waking up, turning on the shower, and only having a cold stream facing us as we get ready for our day ahead.

getting your water heater ready for winter Getting Your Water Heater Ready For Winter

In order for your water heater to work properly year after year throughout its useful life, its important for you to maintain it along the way. There are three things that should be done in order to ensure your water heater keeps working as efficiently as possible throughout the year.

Insulate it

Where is your water heater? What condition does it live in month after month, year after year?

Poor insulation around your water heater not only robs you of money during the winter, it also robs your water heater from working as efficiently as possible. And therefore shortening its useful life. Insulating your water heater means that the heating elements do not have to work harder than normal or be used on a constant basis trying to keep your water warm. This can translate into lower operating costs year round. It can also translate to the parts in your water heater – your heating elements – lasting longer because they aren’t used on a continual basis.

Tune it up

Everything in life with moveable parts needs an occasional tune up to make sure it stays in good working condition. Your water heater is no exception. A tune up makes sure your water heater is ready for the upcoming season; to prepare it to give you the hot water you demand in any condition.

Many people use hot water more frequently in winter as a way of warming up from the bitter cold outside. Nothing feels as good as a steaming hot shower to help bring you back to warmth after playing outside in the cold. This is where your tune up can help. It may be something as simple as cleaning the unit, or it may mean replacing a part or two. In any case, a professional plumber can quickly assess the working condition of your water heater and make the necessary changes to ensure your water heater is in the best working condition possible for the months ahead.

Temperature

Depending on where your water heater is stored, the air temperature around your water heater can be 10, even 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. This may lead to colder water being delivered to the fixtures throughout your home. A simple way of increasing its efficiency is by moving the thermostat temperature up in the winter to ensure you have an adequate supply of hot water.

Have other questions about your water heater, water efficiency, or ensuring you have hot water throughout your home? Schedule a water heater tune up visit today.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

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