You found a great deal on the clearance rack of the big box store – a new bathroom faucet for a very low price. Is it a good deal? Or is it just a problem waiting to happen?
For some products, it just doesn’t pay to skimp and look for big savings. With faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures you’ll be using every day, its important to go for quality. You may save money in the beginning, but when you have to repair and replace on a quicker timetable, your ultimate cost will be much higher over time.
Whether you’re building a new home, remodeling your old one, or simply making a few changes to a room, buy with quality and longevity in mind. The same applies to a good plumber as well. They should always be knowledgeable in products and services, and give you advice on how to get the best quality for your money today, and for the future.
Don’t stop with your faucets and showerheads. Use the same philosophy on all of your appliances and fixtures.
- Washer and dryer
- Furnace – air conditioner
- Water heater
Each of these items is put to use daily, and sometimes under the harshest conditions, including extreme cold and heat. Don’t rely on a good price in an ad at the big box store. Instead, check with your local plumber, and do a little research online. If you continue to see problem after problem with a brand or product, choose something else. It’ll save you time and headaches down the road.
The Energy Star rating program was introduced in 1992 as a joint effort between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy as a labeling program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products. Through this program, you can find products that will help you save money, protect the environment, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program originally started out by rating computers and monitors, and quickly expanded to major appliances, lighting, home electronics and much more – over 60 product categories now offer products with an Energy Star rating.
Now several news reports are questioning how the Energy Star program labels products, and whether the rating is truly effective in helping you pick out energy efficient products and appliances. ABC shared a recent undercover investigation in which the General Accountability Office submitted four fake products, all of which received the Energy Star rating.
Part of the controversy was the way Energy Star awarded its ratings. In the past, in was a self-submission process that awarded the ratings without review – it relied on the company submitting to do its homework. That will now change. All products sent to the Energy Star program from now on will actually go through a review process before being awarded with the rating.
Does that mean you should avoid the program? No, for many of the products do still adhere to the guidelines and offer you savings in both cost and for the environment. And in the future, because of more rigorous testing, you will see a savings.
Just be aware that some products on the market may not have everything they say – ask questions and do your homework before buying. Or ask your green plumber – they work with products every day and can advise you on the best products on the market today.
There’s just something about springtime in the Rockies. You clean the windows so you can open them up and let in the fresh air. You pull out the chairs, tables and umbrellas, ready for evening barbeques. What about your water heater? Even your water heater needs a little maintenance every year in order to stay in top shape, and give you as much life as possible.
Here are 7 water heater maintenance tips for your spring cleaning routine.
1. Make sure that the gas or electrical wires are not loose as this might cause a short in the system. Loose gas or electric connections are dangerous and must be corrected immediately.
2. Inspect the anode rod. Anode rods come in two designs, aluminum/zinc or magnesium. Magnesium in some cases gives off a strong odor, in which case the aluminum may be a better choice. If the anode rod looks worn, it needs to be replaced.
3. Sediment tends to build in your water heater, which can cause everything from a shorter life for your water heater, to overheating and other potentially dangerous situations. As a part of your water heater maintenance program, the process of flushing is one to take seriously. By connecting a garden hose to the valve tank located at the bottom of the tank, you can start draining the water heater. Be careful because the water coming directly from the tank might be very hot.
4. Inspect the dip tube. Dip tubes become cracked and brittle over time. You may notice a problem if you start finding little bits of plastic clogging the system, or if your hot water starts decreasing.
5. Inspect the pressure relief valve and temperature. Test this by lowering and raising the temperature using the test lever on the valve. Also test the water flow. It should easily flow when on, and stop when you turn it off. If water doesn’t come through the system, or it drips after its turned off, it may be time to replace.
6. Check out your home’s water pressure. Excessive water pressure can cause damage to plumbing pipes, fixtures and water heaters.
7. Look for leaks, puddles or stains around your water heater. Drips, puddles of water, or stains from past leads can be a sign your water heater my have a crack or small break, indicating the need for a new water heater.
[Have any questions? Knowing what to look for during your water heater maintenance routine can sometimes leave you confused. We can answer your questions, make repairs, and give you peace of mind knowing your water heater is ready for another year.]
Planning a basement remodel this summer? Here are 7 green plumbing ideas to use in your basement remodel.
1. Create a full bath with extras. While an unfinished basement usually comes with roughed-in plumbing, now is the time to move things and make it more efficient for the way you live. Would you prefer a large tub? A walk in shower? A sauna? Just because you’re trying to be more energy efficient and green in your design, doesn’t mean you have to avoid some of the simple pleasures. A green plumber will be able to give you many ideas to stay within your budget, and offer you the best alternatives available.
2. Think water conservation. All of your fixtures, from faucets to showerheads and toilets can offer complete water efficiency. Instead of shopping the big box stores, ask your green plumber for options and ideas. In many cases he’ll have resources you can’t reach as a consumer.
3. Relocate plumbing to a more efficient area. When a house is built, the basement is often left unfinished. So its of little concern where ducts and pipes are placed. But when you are trying to maximize the space you have, it may be easier to relocate existing pipe to walls or beam areas, places where you can supply more insulation and be more protected from freezes and/or problems.
4. Design a laundry room for efficiency. Many laundry rooms are located in the basement here in Colorado. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on size or options. Choose the highest quality, most energy efficient models of washers and dryers. Have a sink installed near your washer to avoid running to the bathroom or an upstairs location for your water needs. And install clothes lines – there are many options to help you avoid using your dryer.
5. Waterproof your basement before you invest in a remodel. Basements are traditionally damp and cool – a perfect combination for potential problems. Before you experience problems, plan for them up front. Install a sump pump to protect against future flooding. Check all plumbing within the basement – repair pipes with leaks and replace as appropriate. Install gutters to move water away from the house, and use window wells to avoid future water problems.
6. Talk about insulation. Because the basement is cool and damp, its important to create the protection now before a problem arises. Talk with both your plumber and contractor about the best options for your pipes and plumbing locations.
7. Never close off access to your water source. Where is your water main located? Create a way to leave that easily accessible. Whether in a closet or laundry room, its important to leave it easy to find and easy to access.
You just bought a house. It’s 40 years old, great neighborhood, beautiful landscaping – and it needs a little TLC. Where do you start?
The best place to start is with quick fixes that can give you the biggest return for your investment.
Many of the older homes on the market still have old toilets in place. Old toilets use about 5 gallons per flush. Considering a normal person flushes a toilet around seven times per day, a family of four can quickly consume 140 gallons or more every day.
Because your toilet is the biggest user of water in your home, it makes sense to start there.
Due to today’s standards and laws, the typical water saving toilets now average 1.6 gallons or less per flush – significantly less than previous standards. Because of the savings in water usage, it’s easy to see that with a simple replacement, you can begin reaping the benefits immediately.
Add in the current rebates offered by Colorado’s local water companies, it becomes an even easier choice.
[Ready to upgrade to water saving toilets? Quality 1st Plumbing is here to help you conserve water, and help you with all your plumbing needs.]
Are you a homeowner that has an unusually high water bill, and know you haven’t increased your water usage significantly over the past month? You may have a water main leak.
In many cases, it may take months to discover you have a problem. It starts out as a slow leak, and escalates over time. But once you discover it, replacing it quickly will ensure you against bigger problems in the future, and help you cut back on your overall water usage.
Because problems usually start out small, its important to watch for the potential signs of an underground leak. They include:
- Unusual wet spots in landscaped areas
- An area that is vibrant green, soft, moldy or mossy, surrounded by drier areas
- A sudden change in landscaping – dead or dying areas, or heavy growth areas can be a sign
- Sinkholes or potholes
- Uneven grades in the floor, landscaping, structure, patio or driveway
Depending on where the water main leak is occurring, and the extent of damage incurred, its important that you find a plumber with extensive knowledge that can help you fix the leak and ensure against future damage. Using today’s top technological tools to locate the exact location of the breakage will prevent excessive digging and looking for the starting point. From there, it’s important to repair the pipes – and eliminate the root cause of the problem.
If you own a business, you know there is a difference between residential and commercial plumbing fixtures. In addition to different codes and regulations comes the increase in quality. After all, a commercial property will have much more use than a standard residential location.
So what types of things should you look at?
Lavatory sink faucets. Instead of style, think functionality. Your sink faucets will be used continuously all day long. Is it better to have a metered faucet that provides automatic on/off features, or allow your clientele to control the water themselves?
Electronic flush valves. An electronic flush valve can provide you with a cleaner bathroom, and better overall service.
Shower and shower/tub combinations. Whether you are running a small hotel, or a crowded gym, it’s important to have quality fixtures that can stand multiple use – sometimes every day.
Commercial kitchen fixtures. From a restaurant kitchen, to a popular bar, your sink may be filled all the time. Make sure you select the right size, shape and material to fit your everyday needs.
Have even more questions? A commercial plumber has the experience to walk you through your needs, and give you the best advice on what commercial plumbing fixtures will work best for you.
Here at Quality 1st Plumbing, our number one goal is to help you go green with your home plumbing needs. And a big part of that is water conservation. While you are working to conserve the amount of water you use within your home or business, it’s also important to highlight the importance of our water supply, and how it affects our health and our lives.
This week, from May 2 – 8, the American Water Works Association and numerous other organizations such as the US Environmental Protection Agency are celebrating National Drinking Water Week, and bringing attention to our need to improve our nation’s public water infrastructure. Although we are lucky enough to have one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, it’s also important to think towards the future to ensure that for generations to come.
Our two primary concerns for today are:
- The age of our water system
- The quality of the water
With many of the infrastructures 100 years old or more, replacement will be a top concern in the coming years. Pipes and water mains will crack or break, putting our water supply at risk of contamination. We’re also at risk for chemicals and other toxins contaminating our water sources, thus putting our health at risk for water related diseases and outbreaks.
Ultimately it all comes down to us as individuals. If we each do just one small thing to help conserve one of our most precious resources – water – we’ll guarantee a healthy future for all.