There are three types of sump pumps available for you to use within your home basement. Two are electric models, one is water powered.
Pedestal – A pedestal sump pump is an electric pump that stands upright with the motor at the top. The motor itself is not meant to get wet. The pump has a float-activated switch that turns on when the water rises and reaches a certain level. This type of sump pump is common in home basements where flooding and water drainage is an issue. They are usually less expensive than other models, and are noisier than submersibles.
Submersible – Submersibles are electric pumps that are installed directly into the ground, and are designed to work underwater. They use the same float-activated switch technology as the pedestal pumps, though because they are underwater, they tend to be quieter. They also tend to have a longer life because theirs motors are sealed and protected from moisture and dust.
Water-Powered – A water-powered pump runs off the water pressure from your home plumbing system using the same float-activated switch design. These pumps handle water drainage at a comparable rate to the electric styles, yet require no electricity for operation. This makes them ideal backup systems to their electric counterparts.
Benefits of having a sump pump:
· Keeps the water out of your basement, lowers the humidity level in your home, and gives you a dryer basement.
· Keeps fungus, mold and mildew at bay.
· Gives you a cleaner, healthier home.
· Keeps your foundation safe and intact.
· Prevents warping of floors, floorboards, wallboards, paint and wall coverings.
Before working on any do it yourself plumbing project, its important to recognize the different types of piping within your home. Depending on when your home was built, you could have a variety of different types of piping, including some that may be no longer used within the industry.
Most homes built since the mid 1970’s have plastic pipes and fittings. Plastic is inexpensive and easy to work with – the joints can be connected using primer and liquid cement.
You’ll readily find one two types of plastic pipe: ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PVC (polyvinylchloride).
ABS pipe is the first plastic piping to be used in residential plumbing. Black in color, its easy recognizable, though many new construction areas no longer allow ABS because the joints have a tendency to come loose.
PVC pipe is white or cream in color, and is most commonly used for drain lines. It’s strong, indestructible by chemicals, and lasts indefinitely.
Copper pipe is commonly used for water lines because of its resistance to corrosion. It’s more expensive than the widely used plastic, but is great for long-term projects because of its durability. Copper pipe comes in two types: rigid and flexible. Flexible is often used for dishwashers, refrigerator icemakers, and other appliance that use a water supply. Rigid is thicker, and as its name implies, is more solid in form. It’s often used throughout homes, and in outdoor and drainage applications.
Cast iron piping was typically used in homes built before 1960, and was commonly used for drain lines. Because of their tendency to rust over time, it’s important to call in a quality plumber to replace any existing cast iron piping.
Galvanized steel pipe is also commonly used in older homes. The average life of a steel pipe is around 50 years, so it’s better to replace existing piping instead of repairing.
PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene pipe is the newest pipe used in residential construction. It’s easy to install, flexible, and uses compression fittings. Currently it is more expense than copper or plastic.
What is a green hot water heater? If you do any amount of research online, you’ll probably come to the conclusion it’s a tankless water heater. But is a tankless water heater your best option? Is a tankless water heater for you?
Here are some important facts about tankless water heaters, and things to consider when you’re making your decision on installing one.
1. A tankless hot water heater doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have instantaneous hot water at the location of your choice. If you have a home where your sink or shower is far from the water heater, the hot water still must travel from the source to your location, taking seconds or even minutes. Even though you may be choosing a green alternative, you’ll still be wasting hundreds of gallons of water per year allowing the water to heat up.
2. A tankless water heater actually consumers more fuel than a standard water heater, since they don’t rely on stored hot water. You may have to replace your gas line with a larger diameter one when installing your unit, which can be expensive depending on where your gas meter is located.
3. Proper sizing of your tankless water heater is imperative. People are often disappointed in their new system because they installed an undersized unit. Tankless water heaters are sized according to consumption and demand. If you purchase one too small, it won’t keep up with demand, and you’ll often be left without hot water.
Luckily there are alternatives. One of the best ways to create a green hot water heater is to start with your existing hot water heater, or purchase a more traditional hot water heater if its time for replacement. Then install a Hot Water Circulation System.
With a Hot Water Circulation System, a return line is installed from the last tap on your hot water supply line, and enters back into the tank by way of a small circulating pump. Because the hot water is constantly being recirculated, its available immediately whenever you choose to access it.
Saves you money.
And helps you conserve water.
One of the most common plumbing problems in any home is a leaky faucet.
Typically, a faucet can leak in one of two ways: a drip from the spout, or a water leak from the base of the handle. And because even the smallest of leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water wasted each year, it makes sense to fix a leak as soon as you notice it.
The first step is to stop the water flow to the faucet. Some sinks have stop valves located under the sink. Bathtubs and showers often have integrated shutoffs near the fixture. Other homes have one main shut off valve to control the water throughout the entire house.
After shutting off the water, open the faucet and wait for the water to drain. Pry off the decorative cap (if any), remove the handle screw, and gently remove the handle. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove and additional screws and packing nuts.
As you remove each piece, check for signs of wear. Common problems are:
- If water drips from the spout when the handle is off, you probably need to replace warn washers.
- If water seeps out below the handle, the O-ring is probably worn.
- If the seat looks worn, it probably needs replacing
When replacing parts, make sure you get an exact duplicate. Even the tiniest of differences can increase the leak instead of fixing it.
In some cases, if you can’t find the parts or if you are in need of a number of them, it may be better to simply replace the faucet. It allows you to update your look, and have the entire problem fixed and back in order in no time.
[Have several leaking faucets, or wonder how to convert to low flow faucets to converse on water? Quality 1st Plumbing can perform a water analysis in your home, and provide you with detailed ways to save on your next water bill.]
1. Standard Plunger A standard plunger is a necessity for any type of backups in the sink, tub or shower.
2. Flanged Plunger A flanged plunger is a standard plunger with a funnel-like extension on the bottom that fits snugly into a toilet.
3. Hand Crank Drum Auger When plunging does not clear a clog, use a hand crank drum auger, also called a snake.
4. Toilet Auger The toilet auger fits into the toilet to clear clogs and retrieve unflushable items like towels and toys, and has a sleeve to protect the bowl’s porcelain finish.
5. Adjustable Wrench An adjustable wrench gives you flexibility when tightening or loosening nuts and fittings without marring the finish.
6. Pipe Wrench A pipe wrench is grooved to bite into pipes and fitting for a sure grip, and allows plenty of leverage for tightening and loosening.
7. Groove Joint Pliers A pair of 12 inch groove joint pliers allow you to grip pipes and fittings.
8. Flashlight Choose a flashlight that stands on its own, and swivels to different positions. Many plumbing problems exist in tight, dark spaces, and a flashlight can quickly become your most important tool.
9. Putty Knife A putty knife is handy for applying plumber’s putty.
10. Hammer and Screwdriver These simple tools can help you out in many ways, from loosening stuck parts, to putting items back together again.
Your garbage disposal is probably one of the heaviest worked appliances in your home, yet it’s often the easiest to take for granted – until it becomes clogged. Clogs are most often caused by the type of food and the amount of water used while using the disposal unit. Typically the waste line becomes clogged by one of a number of things:
· Inadequate water used for flushing food through the garbage disposal
· Too many starchy foods, such as potato peels, pastas or banana peel
· Grinding coffee grounds
· Grinding eggshells
If your disposal is having trouble draining, or won’t drain at all, the problem most likely resides in the drain trap. The drain trap is the P or S shaped plumbing line following the disposal discharge.
To get rid of the clog, start by disconnecting the drain trap, and removing the trap from the discharge drain attached to the disposal. Remove and clean out any clogs or obstructions.
If a clog doesn’t exist within the trap, then the clog exists in the line connecting to the wall.
Start by using a plunger to see if you can dislodge the clog with water and force.
The next step is to use a sink auger. With the sink stopper removed, extend the auger cable into the drain. Turn the crank handle of the auger until you feel the clog. Continue with gentle pressure until you’ve worked through the clog. Continue to repeat until the clog is removed. Flush the pipes with hot water once the drain is clear.
Maintaining a home means taking care of the little things as they happen. And occasionally that means unclogging the toilet.
When the toilet becomes clogged, there are two ways to clear it.
Unclog A Toilet Using A Plunger
There are two types of plungers: cup and flange plunger. The flange plunger, or ball plunger, is specially shaped to clear clogs in toilets. The flange’s special shape seals the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, and uses a vacuum and the force of the water to clear the clog.
Continue plunging until the clog is clear. For stubborn clogs, continue on and use a toilet auger.
Unclog A Toilet Using a Toilet Auger
For stubborn clogs, it may be time to bring in a closet auger, or toilet auger. A toilet auger is a special tool with a long handle, an offset hand crank, and an auger bit at the end to break through clogs, or retrieve an obstruction such as a rag or toy. The auger bit is connected to the crank handle, and gives you a total reach of about 3 feet.
- To use the toilet auger, place the curved end of the auger handle towards the drain within the toilet. Insert the guide tip into the drain.
- Crank the auger into the drain until it tightens. Then change directions and crank the other way until tight. Repeat until you feel the clog loosen and disappear. In some cases your obstruction may be an item accidentally flushed, such as a towel or toy. If the auger continues to hit against something, pull up and check.
- If the auger gets stuck, continue to crank back and forth to release. Be careful not to pull to hard, or you may crack or break the toilet porcelain.
- After the auger is free, use the plunger again to make sure the obstruction is clear. Flush only when you are sure the obstruction is clear.