When you think of plumbing, what’s the first thing you think of? If you’re like most people, you probably think of a clogged drain, a broken water heater, or an overflowing toilet. Many associate plumbing help with the concept of having an emergency situation within the home.

However, plumbing goes far beyond the standard emergency situations associated with water in your home. And in fact, a professional plumber can be an asset in helping you with home renovations as well. Especially when you are tackling a few DIY projects that will upgrade different areas of your home.

Denver Plumbers Do Renovations Too

Lets start in the kitchen. The kitchen is often one of the most popular rooms in the home to renovate. It’s the one room we spend the most time in, and the one room that can add the most resale value if you intend to sell. If you are working on a budget and will leave the floorplan in a similar way, you can still work with a plumber to add the finishing touches. How about installing a new water line to make filling pots by your stove a breeze? Or installing and replacing an old oven with a gas range? A professional plumber can quickly have all of these in place.

Have you long since dreamed of a master bath spa? How about adding a jetted tub or adding a steam shower to your bathroom design? There are many things that can change your average five piece bath into the WOW spa you’ve always dreamed of, and it doesn’t require changing your existing layout to do so. A professional plumber has access to many different types of products, and can offer you quick solutions to change out your existing tub or shower and add something new.

How about adding a gas line and turning your wood burning fireplace or barbeque grill into something more functional? Gas lines are easy to install … when you allow a professional to do it. And they can be run to any part of your home. What could be better than flicking a switch to turn on the fire on a cold night rather than having to build one from wood you drag in from the outside? Or being able to use your grill all year through without the mess of charcoal, or having to drag in propane tanks? You can even convert any appliance in your home into gas, helping you save money on your monthly bills as well.

There are many other things your Denver plumber is willing to share with you … the first step is to call. Whatever project you are starting this year, the best place to start is by exploring your options. Give us a call today.

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

Are Green Drain Cleaners Safe?

Filed Under Plumbing Tips, Sewers | Comments Off 

There’s a funny thing about buzz words – once a word gains traction, everyone quickly adapts it as if it were there own. Case in point … the word “green”.

Today everyone wants to jump on the environmental bandwagon and create a green product. You’ll find it in just about every industry. After all, we all want a way to live in a more environmentally friendly way, and leave our world a better place for the next generation.

Are Green Drain Cleaners Safe?

When we think of household drain cleaning, many of the products our parents and grandparents used go things clean, but in many cases they did more damage then they did good. Sure, they may have given the appearance of a clean house, but years later we’re finding out just how bad some of the chemicals really are. They may have damaged the surface of the items being cleaned. They may have created health issues. And they may have created environmental issues as the harsh chemicals make their way down the drain.

Enter the green drain cleaners.

It seems like a good idea, but are they really any better? Are they worth the investment? After all, when you find a product that touts “green drain cleaning” in the cleaning aisles of your favorite store, they almost always are a lot more expensive. And if you still can’t read the names of the ingredients on the back of the bottle, how do you know how safe they really are?

Most green drain cleaners you’ll find on the shelves use enzymes or bacteria to naturally feast upon the clog. When they are added to the drain, these microscopic organisms digest the waste in the clog while reproducing and moving throughout the pipes. Because they are natural, they take their time to do the job – you won’t find instant results like you’ll get with harsh chemicals. Which means you’ll have to have the time to leave the clog sit for a while until the process works its way through.

What makes these green products work is the enzymes or bacteria – two things that can lose power very quickly. Which means buying a green drain cleaner and leaving it on the shelf for the “just in case” isn’t an option. By the time you need it, the active ingredients may be gone.

While the concept of buying a green drain cleaner is a good one, there is actually a better way. DIY drain cleaners – all made from common household items.

And if none of these methods work at unclogging your drain, or you still have questions about safely unclogging your drain, give us a call today.

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

On April 16, 2015, there will be significant changes to improve energy factor (EF) rating requirements on water heaters currently installed in residential homes. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) will require higher energy factor ratings on virtually all residential gas, electric, and oil water heaters, including some light duty commercial water heaters as well.

The NAECA rulings are important to customers because they will help residential homes reduce their energy usage and help save money all year long.  According to the US Dept of Energy website, the new standards will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped over the next 30 years.

New NAECA Water Heater Energy Standards – Are You Ready?

The energy factor (EF) indicates the overall energy efficiency of a water heater based on the amount of hot water it produced per unit of fuel consumption over a typical day. The higher the EF, the more energy efficient the water heater. The EF is measured in three ways:

1. Recovery Efficiency – how efficiently the heat from the energy source is transferred to the water.

2. Standby Losses – the percentage of heat loss per hour from stored water compared to the heat content of the water

3. Cycling Losses – the loss of heat as the water circulates through the water heater tank

As a homeowner, you have a lot to gain from these new requirements.

The biggest gain comes from savings. Both energy and money savings can quickly be realized with these new and more efficient equipment guidelines.

In most cases, the new equipment will differ only slightly in size due to the additional insulation requirements with the new products. Therefore, its usually an in/out process where the new simply replaces the old. However, in some cases, a new location might be required if adequate space isn’t available. It may also be advantageous to choose a different type of water heater in order to meet the new guidelines.

The best place to start is by hiring a professional plumber who is knowledgeable in these new requirements, and can help you make the right choice for your home and your family’s needs. You’re in good hands with Quality 1st Plumbing – let us show you the perfect fit for your needs today.

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

Are you in the market for a new water heater? The US Dept of Energy’s new water heater regulations go into effect on April 16, 2015.

The new 2015 DOE energy efficiency mandates will require higher EF ratings on virtually all water heaters, including residential gas, electric and oil. These changes will impact how water heaters are designed, manufactured, tested, distributed, and installed.How New DOE Energy Mandates Effect Water Heaters

The DOE originally set standards for residential water heaters in 1990, with an update in 2004. This change will set the standards for today’s technology, and will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped over the next 30 years. The standard will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 33.8 million cars.

Product changes will vary depending on the class and volume size of the water heater. In some cases changes may be minor; in other cases it may be more profound. For example, in the electric water heater category, a 55 gallons or greater water heater will now be prohibited from being sold unless it uses an integrated heat pump configuration to meet the new EF standards. In the gas category, new models will have additional insulation, flue enhancements, electronic ignition, and condensing gas technology, or a combinations of these in order to meet the requirements.

Changes are as follows:

Gas water heater         20-55 gallon                current EF=0.67          new EF=0.675
Gas water heater         55-100 gallon              current EF=n/a            new EF=0.8012
Electric water heater   20-55 gallon                current EF=0.97          new EF=0.97
Electric water heater   55-120 gallon              current EF=n/a            new EF=2.057
Oil water heater          50 gallon of less          current EF=0.59          new EF=0.68

With all of these changes means that in some cases, a new water heater may be larger, heavier, or of different proportions than the one its replacing. It may require more room for installation, piping chances, additional electric work, or condensation drains installed. Yet once installation is complete, that’s where the savings begins.

If you’re in the market for a new water heater, give us a call and let us help you make the right selection for your home environment.

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

In the plumbing world, there is a tool for every job. And if you try and use the wrong tool, you may wind up with a bigger mess than before.

When you have a clogged drain, one of the best ways to remove the clog is with a drain snake. However, drain snakes come in many shapes and sizes; it can be quite confusing when you start looking at your options.

There’s A Drain Snake For The Job

Toilet Auger
A toilet auger is a drain snake specifically made for clogged toilets. If you’ve tried plunging your toilet to no avail, the clog may be deeper or larger than anticipated. The toilet auger should be placed into the toilet with the head of the cable inserted into the drain; you should not be able to see the cable, only the housing, if inserted properly. Crank the auger to push the cable deeper into the drain, then switch directions and repeat until it can go no further. Pull the snake out and flush. The clog should be removed.

Top Snake
A top snake is the smallest of all the snakes, and is typically used for tubs, showers or bathroom sink clogs. Most have around 25 feet of cable. They come in many shapes and sizes, and also come in both manual and electric formats. The electric snakes are easier to use, and can be used by simply pushing a button. These are great workhorses on small clogs that don’t have a lot of buildup.

Medium Drain Cleaning Machine
This drain cleaning machine is used with a 3/8 inch cable and works best if it has 50 to 75 feet in cable length. These systems are great when you are clearing a washing machine or kitchen clog that may wind deep down into the drain. You can use this snake from under the kitchen or bathroom sink once you take the trap off. They can also be used to clear kitchen or washing machine lines from the roof vents. These are not intended for tub or shower clogs because the cable can easily break the trap under the tub or shower.

Large or Heavy Duty Drain Cleaning Machine
A heavy duty drain cleaning machine will come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Because of the nature of the clog they usually work on, the cable should be no smaller than 5/8 inch in size, and at a minimum use 75 to 100 feet in length. Sometimes even more cable is necessary, depending on how deep the clog. This machine is used for drains that are 3 inches in size or larger. They can be used for clean outs to the street, which in many cases are caused by roots – the strong cable and machine give you the power to get the job done.

While each snake is similar in nature, they each have their own specific nuances. Its best to play it safe and be well acquainted with the particular model before you put it to use.

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

“I’ve seen stories about people that head into the bathroom in the middle of the night, only to lift the toilet lid and be face to face with an animal that has made its way up the pipes. I’ve seen stories with snakes, rats, crocodiles, or even an occasional squirrel bypassing whatever security should be in place. Is that possible? Is there a way to make sure it never happens in my home?”

I’ve seen many of those stories too. And nothing can be more frightening than the thought of meeting something scary, and possibly even poisonous when you’re half asleep.

Is It Possible For Animals To Climb Up Through The Toilet?

But is there any truth to it?

That depends on a variety of things.

First of all, if you believe the news stories or see the YouTube videos designed to leave you shaking in your boots, they will tell you that that venomous snakes the size of a man can come creeping out of the hole and be waiting to pounce on you. No matter where in the world this legend comes from, it can’t happen quite the way they push it for a variety of reasons. First of all, in order to come up through your toilet, they would have to spend a  great deal of time in water. And if they aren’t water snakes, they would drown before they reached your toilet. If a snake did by chance swim through the pipes and up into a residential toilet, it would be a water snake, and therefore not the huge deadly reptile you see in news reports.

An animal with the best possibility of making it to your toilet would be the common rat. Rats are notorious for being able to survive a variety of conditions. They live in sewers, constantly on the hunt for food. As you wash food down the kitchen sink and it continues through the water main and into the sewer system, if a rat catches the scent, he could make his way back up through the pipes. Then once he was lost in the plumbing system, he could easily take a wrong turn and come up through the toilet. However, keep in mind that these incidents are rare, not the norm. That’s why they make the news.

Squirrels can also occasionally end up in your toilet; however they won’t move through your plumbing. Instead, a squirrel will make its way into the stack vent on your roof, climb down the pipe and see light shining through the toilet’s passageway, then get trapped by the toilet lid. They won’t go back down because its dark, and will remain enclosed in the bowl until you open the lid.

Overall, there is very little chance you will find any of these creatures in your toilet bowl any time soon. Instead of being nervous as you make your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, take these tales for what they are: entertainment.

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

One of the riskiest rooms in your home as you age is the bathroom. And nothing could be more risky than taking a step up and over the side of the tub, especially as mobility issues increase.

Traditional bathtubs present a risky situation for both the elderly and for people with mobility issues. An easy solution is to install a walk in bathtub, a special tub designed with a door that open and closes, giving you easy access to walk in and sit down safely without having to take large steps.

Pros and Cons of Walk In Bathtubs

How do walk in tubs work?
Most walk in tubs are designed with a door that open and closes on the front or the side of the tub. The door gives the user the ability to get into the tub without having to lift their legs high over the threshold in order to get in. When the door is closed, it creates a seal that allows the water to stay in the tub, and won’t flood the floor. Most also come with fast draining features so the occupant won’t have to stay in the tub long after use, waiting for it to drain.

Why are walk in tubs safer?
The obvious obvious advantage to install a walk in tub is it makes bathing easier for people with mobility issues. Without having to take large steps, the risks of falling are reduced considerably. Walk in tubs are specifically designed for people with mobility issues, so they also come with a variety of other safety features, such as handrails, seats and floors made from skid-proof textures, and pads that can help users keep their heads above water.

What problems can walk in tubs cause?
In order to use a walk in tub, you must enter it before filling it up. That means the user may get chilled while adjusting to the right temperature and filling up the tub. The user will also have to be patient and allow the tub to drain before getting out. While most tubs come with quick fill features, and fast draining, it important to keep in mind that the best will increase the pricing of the tub. Because walk in tubs are larger and require more water than traditional tubs, some homes may need a new hot water heater in order to keep up with the demand.

Walk in tubs offer a variety of features, including adjustable bubble jets, adjustable shower heads, and more. While some can be retrofitted into the space you currently have, others may require a bit more remodeling in order to make them fit into your existing space. Professional installation is required. If you would like to talk more about installing a walk in tub into your home, give us a call today.

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

With spring break upon us, and summer just around the corner, it’s a great time to start planning for a little rest and relaxation time to unwind from the chaos of day to day life. Nothing can be better than relaxing by the pool, drink in hand, letting all your cares slip away.

Plumbing Tips To Prepare Your Home For Vacation

As you head out the door for a few days away from home, your mind will naturally drift to all the things needed for the trip.

  • Did I grab the tickets and passports?
  • Did I include sunscreen in the suitcase?
  • Did I pack the swimsuits?

You might even have a last minute mental checklist for the things you’ll need to handle for the job.

  • Email the last revision to team
  • Have assistant set up meeting with boss the week I return

Lets face it, life doesn’t stop just because you go on vacation; so you plan everything as best as you can to ensure all things are covered while you’re away. But there may be one thing you didn’t think about, didn’t plan for, that can have a huge impact when you return: your plumbing.

You’ve probably heard a few stories from neighbors or friends that head out for a week of fun, only to return to a basement full of water, and over a month of restoration work trying to bring their homes back to normal.

Not a way to bring the relaxing feeling home with you.

Before you head out the door for your next vacation, do a simple walk through to make sure your plumbing is safe and secure, and won’t cause you problems even while you’re away.

Check For Leaks
Very rarely do bigger problems occur without warning first. Floods are usually caused when small leaks are ignored, and they eventually build up to bigger problems. A few weeks before your vacation, take an assessment of every room in your home. Do you see water marks around faucets even when they haven’t been used in several hours? Can you feel moisture around faucet valves? Do you hear a trickle of water from the toilet even when its not in use? Do you see moisture in the basement or crawl space? All could be indications of a leak, and a reason to call in a plumber to fix the problem before you spend time away from home.

Check All Monitoring Systems
Water leaks are important to fix as soon as possible, but there are other things in your home that are equally important. Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home? Are they in good working order? Is your heating and cooling system working properly? With zero movement in your home for a few days, pressure can build if any one of these systems isn’t working properly. Make sure all monitoring devices have fresh batteries, and ask a neighbor of a family member to be available “just in case” you have a problem. This will make it easier for someone to enter your home in case of an emergency.

Pull The Plug
Instead of leaving your home fully operational while you’re away, do a few things to become more water and energy efficient, and reduce your overall risk.

  • Unplug the power to any electronics and appliances that won’t be in use while you’re away.
  • Turn off water mains to prevent leaks throughout your home.
  • Turn down the thermostat, and reduce the water heater. The longer you’ll be away, the more this can save.

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

Do You Have A Sump Pump Backup?

Filed Under Sump Pump | Comments Off 

Here in Colorado, our weather often comes in “feast or famine” quantities. We may go weeks without moisture; yet once it comes, it can leave devastation in its path.

Depending on where you live, you may require a sump pump to keep your basement safe and dry, no matter how much moisture we receive. A sump pump is one of the most important appliances you can have to help you avoid a potential disaster, yet its often one of the most ignored.

Do You Have A Sump Pump Backup?

Without a sump pump, you can quickly have thousands of dollars in damage, many days of disruption as your home is being repaired, and possibly higher insurance premiums for years to come. So installing a sump pump makes sense, especially if your area is prone to flooding in the first place.

But a sump pump is only as good as its ability to work. Sump pumps typically fail because:

  • power outages
  • the electricity supply is cut off – someone unplugs the sump pump, or the switch is turned off that controls the energy supply to the outlet
  • the sump pump is too small to handle the amount of flow within your home
  • the sump pump is inexpensive and loses its pumping efficiency before it completes the job
  • motor burnout

To ensure you have proper coverage, you can do two things.

1. Purchase the correct sump pump for your needs. If you’re buying a replacement pump or a backup system, you’ll have to purchase a pump that is at least the capacity of your existing pump. If your pump has trouble keeping up with incoming water, select a model with a higher GPH rating.

2. Purchase a backup system. Backup systems for sump pumps come in different formats.

  • Battery backup
  • Water powered backup
  • Generator powered backup

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, choose based on your home’s needs.

While having a backup in place is important, its equally important to know then your sump pump – and possible your backup – have failed. There are ways to avoid sump pump failure, to know when you may be at risk.

  • Local alarm – when the water reaches the top of the sump basket, an audible alarm will sound to let you know the sump pump is reaching its limits
  • Messaging – with today’s technology, its possible to automate the sump pump process, and have either a verbal or text message transferred to your phone if the sump pump has problems. This is convenient for when you aren’t at home to hear an alarm.

Do you have a sump pump in your home? Are you ready for the spring and summer rains?

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

When most homeowner guides talk about making your home more energy efficient, conversation always leads toward what you can do in your own home. In order to be more energy efficient, you can buy more efficient appliances for example – a new Energy Star rated appliance can help you save energy and water significantly over the course of a year.

But what about outside the home?

How Water and Energy Are Related

Water and energy are closely related. In fact, having a clean, reliable water source available to us for use throughout our communities consumes a considerable amount of energy. The clean water that flows out of your tap undergoes a variety of stages of processing and transport before it arrives safely in our neighborhoods.

Energy is used in five stages in the water cycle:

  1. Extracting the water supply – water starts at the source – in rivers, streams or aquifers – and then must be pumped into storage facilities for further processing
  2. Water treatment – energy is used as the water goes through various stages of processing and treatment
  3. Water distribution – once the water is properly treated, it must be transported to its final destination – your home, place of work, commercial location, etc
  4. Using water – energy is used to consume water in its final form – it can be combined with softeners, used with filters, circulated with appliances, converted from hot to cold, or used in irrigation systems
  5. Treating wastewater – as water is used, it is returned to the system and pumped back to the treatment plant for processing

Each stage uses a significant amount of energy.

  • In order to bring the water in from source, process it, and get it to its final destination, it must be transported. Pumping groundwater to the surface and over the land is a very energy intensive process. In many major areas, water can be pumped and transported hundreds of miles from the source before it is used.
  • The average home uses around 15 percent of its energy costs to heat water. Nearly 30 percent of all indoor water use is with hot water. Because hot water is used for so many things, it is important to reduce energy where you can.
  • After wastewater leaves your home or commercial location and flows into the sewer, it must be pumped back to the treatment plant for processing. On average, it takes anywhere from 500 to 1500 kilowatt hours per acre foot.

Saving energy is something that can occur at every level, with even the tiniest change adding up significantly over time. If you would like to learn even more about saving energy within your own home, contact us today for a home energy audit.

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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