We all know that water is a precious commodity in Colorado. The state seems to be in a constant state of drought, and heavy consideration is given to levels of snowfall, reserves, and reservoirs. We have all felt the pinch of living in such a dry area. Depending on your location, you may have experienced water usage limitations such as watering schedules and other restrictions.
As a result of these restrictions, some households have sought to help the environment (and their landscape) by making use of Greywater. Greywater is the wastewater produced by a household from any plumbing system except the toilet. Due to the constant presence of waste in the water, toilet water is considered Blackwater.
Greywater reuse consists of a system whereby households reuse the Greywater waste from their home to irrigate lawns and plants. Greywater reuse faces several potential health issues, water rights issues, and several Colorado regulations. Due to the potential number of contaminants contained within Greywater, experts have raised concerns if this reclaimed water is used to water edible plants. Read more
Lead has surrounded Americans for many years. Recent studies have shown the potential dangers of lead, making homeowners more aware of the dangers and how to take the necessary precautions.
While many people think of paint when it comes to dangers within the home, they might not think about plumbing. Yet lead was a common element used in the plumbing and pipes in homes of yesterday.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined the danger of lead in the pipes and the agency encourages homeowners to remove any lead that is present in their home.
Exposure to Lead
Lead is not normally found in municipal water, which makes it necessary to test the water lines in the home to see if lead is coming from the pipes. If the pipe material has begun to deteriorate, it can leak lead into your drinking water. This is typically only an issue for homes that were built in the 1950’s, but it does not hurt for any home to have their water lines tested if they suspect lead exposure. Read more
Do you have small children in your home? Or maybe an elderly mom or dad that has recently moved in?
While you may not think twice about the temperature of your water – yoou simply adjust it and wait for it to be comfortable for you – small children and elderly persons don’t have the reflexes you do. They may “forget” to test the water first. Or simply not register its heat until its too late. Instead of allowing this to happen, take charge and adjust the water temperature before it happens.
The temperature of the water coming out of the water heater is under your control. All water heaters have a temperature control valve to allow you to adjust the temperature. You can set the temperature for as hot or as cool as you want it. And while there is no ideal temperature for everyone, there are suggestions, especially if you have elderly or the very young under your roof.
When you flush your toilet you anticipate that the water (and its contents) will swirl around a little bit and then make a hasty retreat from your home. It can be a bit disconcerting then, if some of the water (or worse) decides to make a impromptu encore appearance in your sink drain!
Since none of us want to see that again, you probably have two questions. One: what on earth is causing this unpleasant flooding? And two: how on earth do I fix it? Let’s take a minute to address each of these questions.
1. What is causing the flooding?
All the drains in your home lead to the main drain line. That means, the drain in your tub, the drain in your sink, and the drain in your toilet eventually all lead to the same place. As a result, if there is a problem in the main drain, drainage from one drain (i.e. the toilet) will find refuge in any other drain (i.e. the sink) until proper drainage can be resumed.
The most common cause of main drain problems is a clog. These clogs can be manmade or Mother Nature sent. Manmade clogs include anything that was flushed down the toilet and became lodged in the pipes. Natural clogs are typically caused by tree roots growing into the pipeline. Read more
It happens to the best of us – while taking a shower or washing dishes, you remove your favorite ring, only to accidentally knock it into the drain. Even the most cautious person can forget about their jewelry as they bathe or scrub pots and pans. If you ever experience losing an item down the drain, do not panic. Chances are high that you will be able to retrieve the item before it is lost forever.
Immediately turn off the water. You do not want to wash the item further down the drain and past the point of rescue.
Under your sink, find the P-trap. You need to remove the P-trap to get to your item. The P-trap is the section of piping that is shaped like the letter P – the curved pipe usually located directly under your sink.
Place a bucket or pan under the P-trap to catch any water that comes out. Read more
Whether it’s a DIY job or a contracted deal, no one likes dealing with the paperwork associated with any fixer-upper project. Unfortunately, even though we don’t care for them, permits and other necessary paperwork are intended for our safety. So, if you are considering a plumbing project, how do you know if you need a permit or not?
If you choose to hire a professional plumber, they will know what permits are required for the job you are looking at having done. Since they are familiar with the process, most professional plumbers will also take care of acquiring permits for the project at hand. While professional plumbers tend to be more expensive than DIY, their knowledge can make the process much smoother, saving you both time and money in the long run. Read more
Chances are that when you shower, you give no thought as to its history. As long as the shower works and you can get clean, that is all that matters.
The shower actually has an interesting history and, while you may never have a use for the knowledge, it never hurts to learn something new. The next time you are relaxing in the shower, enjoying the warm water washing over you, lathering up your hair and getting it squeaky clean, consider just how far your shower has come.
The first showers were actually waterfalls. People utilized waterfalls instead of hauling water to bathe.
The Egyptians and Mesopotamians had crude showers. There was no flow of water, the water had to be hauled to the showering area and poured over the bathers. Read more
You use it multiple times per day, and probably give it very little thought.
Yet it can be quite discouraging when you do your business, flush the toilet and nothing happens. Toilet problems may seem overwhelming – after all, we all use today’s modern conveniences to maintain healthy living. However, before you rush to call the nearest plumber, take a quick look at the inner mechanism of your toilet. Your toilet’s flushing mechanism could be the problem and, most of the time, these problems are quite easy to fix.
If your toilet refills itself without being flushed, you could have a flapper problem. The flapper is the rubber piece at the bottom of the toilet tank. When the toilet is flushed, this flapper raises and lets the water run into the bowl. When the tank is empty, the flapper reseats itself and the tank fills with water for the next flush. If your flapper is not sealing tightly, the water will seep out of the tank, triggering the valve to refill the tank once the water level reaches a certain point. You can pick up a replacement flapper for a few bucks and make the repair on your own. Read more
When you need to call a plumber for help with your pipes, you are bound to hear several technical terms. Plumbers can sometimes forget that not everyone is a plumber. Therefore, not everyone understands “plumbing lingo”. You may find your head spinning when your plumber starts spouting BTU numbers or asking you where the angle stop is located. This helpful list of common plumbing terms will help you understand the lingo the next time your plumber starts talking air locks and back pressure.
Basin wrench – a wrench with jaws on a swivel and a long handle
Aerator – a device in the end of a faucet that mixes air with the water to reduce splashing
BTU – British Thermal Unit, refers to the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one Fahrenheit degree
Ball check valve – valve with a ball that seals to prevent flow of liquid
Air lock – flow of liquid being blocked by an air bubble
Back pressure – refers to a pipe system in which pressure resists the flow of fluid
Wash down water closet – water closet with a siphon trap way and a flushing rim Read more
10. Toilets are musical – rumor has it the great majority of them will flush in the key of E flat.
9. Think we’ve always separated out mens and womens toilets? Think again. That way of life didn’t start until a high society party in Paris made it fashionable in 1739.
8. The US spent over $100,000 on a study to determine how people hung their toilet paper – flap in front or behind. The results: 3 out of 4 have the flap in front.
7. Just like beds have progressed in TV-land, so have toilets. The first toilet was shown on the television show Leave It To Beaver. The first flushing toilet was shown in the movie Psycho. And as you can imagine, the scene in Psycho caused an enormous amount of complaints about indecency. Read more