Why do some winters cause plumbing problems, and some winters don’t?

That can be a frustrating question to ponder. When it seems like nothing has changed in the way your home operates, even the winter may not seem as harsh as some of the winters before, there it is anyway, a freezing septic system. And a big mess.

Freezing Problems With Septic Systems

In reality, septic systems can freeze due to a variety of reasons.

Very little snow cover – Snow actually serves as insulation over a septic tank. When there is little snow, deep freezes and frosts can go deeper into the ground, potentially freezing your septic system.

Compacted landscape – The area above your septic tank should be kept clear of use. When driveways or paths occur over a septic tank, cars, animals, ATVs, tractors, even foot traffic can compact the area above the septic tank, allowing a deep freeze to move deeper into the soil.

Lack of plant cover – If your septic system is new, or was replaced in the late summer or early fall seasons, adequate vegetation may not have covered up the land before the cold and snow set in. Vegetation helps attract snow to the area, providing more insulation above ground.

Irregular use – Was your septic system designed for a large family, and now you’re down to one or two? Do you spend months away from your home, enjoying a lifestyle in a warmer climate during the cold winter months? If a system isn’t used as it was intended, it can begin to stress and allow freezing temperatures to infiltrate the system.

Leaking plumbing – You know that small trickle of water you can hear even when your toilet hasn’t been flushed? Those tiny leaks in your pipes can cause a thin film of water into the system. These trickles are more susceptible to freezing, and can build up quickly over time, allowing your system to freeze completely.

Cold air entering the system – When was the last time your septic system was looked at and inspected? If risers are uncapped, inspection pipes or manhole covers not reinstalled correctly, they can allow cold air to enter the system. Freezing isn’t far behind.

While some septic systems never have problems, the only way to avoid them in the future is to be proactive every year.

  • Mulch is a good insulator. If you’ve changed your landscaping or added a new septic system late in the year, a solid cover of mulch will help provide insulation in the coming months.
  • Let the grass grow longer in the fall to act as an insulator and allow snow to accumulate better.
  • Use warmer on a regular basis. If temperatures are cold and dip low quickly, allow as warm of water as possible to flow through your pipes.
  • Fix any leak in your plumbing as soon as you know it exists. Don’t let small trickles of water create a costlier problem.
  • Double check risers, pipes and manhole covers whenever you access your septic system. Make sure they are sealed tight.

If you suspect your septic system has frozen, its time to call in a professional plumber. The root of the problem must be determined and fixed to avoid further freezing problems either in what’s left of this winter, or as the temperatures freeze again next winter. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to help.

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

What’s one of the most exciting things you can do to your home? Remodel. It allows you to add your own personal touch to each space, changing things up and making them perfect for the way you live.

The great thing about remodeling in today’s world is if you can dream it, you can do it. If you are the creative type, and want your home to be different from anything you would find in your neighborhood, you will find it with a little patience and research.

Plumbing Hardware – Adding Uniqueness To Your Bathroom

While installing new sinks, new toilets, new showers new tubs, new flooring and new colors are important to your overall look and feel, the details come from the plumbing hardware. Plumbing hardware can come in a variety of colors, a variety of styles, with multiple functions, and create any ambiance you desire. Want old fashioned charm? Not a problem. Want sleek and modern? There are many options there too.

There are a many ways to go about finding unique plumbing hardware. While you can find a variety of options at your local big box store, uniqueness won’t be a part of it if you limit your shopping there. They choose consumer grade; something that will please the masses.

To move beyond the norm, you can start by doing a simple Google search. There are many resources out there to help you find the hardware you are looking for.

If Google doesn’t provide you with the right look, you can head out to look through flea markets and antique shops in your local area. While antique plumbing fixtures can add beauty and originality, be sure you understand what each fixture is made from. Many fixtures dating back decades were made from lead, meaning they can be dangerous if installed in your home and connected to a main water supply.

If you have any questions about plumbing hardware, the best place to start is with a plumber. With decades of experience behind us, we have many resources available to help you find the look you are trying to achieve.

For example, we understand wanting to find an original look and choosing antique hardware to compliment the rest of your bathroom’s décor. We have many manufacturers that we trust that can provide you with the perfect fixture, while providing modern day assurances that your water supply will be safe from contaminants such as lead, and can even provide you with low flow functionality to help reduce your water consumption. (Something that was never considered decades ago.)

Finding the right fixture can help you make first impressions in any room in your home. Let us help you with your remodeling project 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

What’s one of the worst things you have to do as a homeowner? If you’re like a lot of people, its probably dealing with those emergency situations where you know you have to put in a call to the plumber for immediate service, yet knowing you might not get the best deal (or the best service) available.Hiring A Plumber? These Tactics Should Make You Say NO!

Its hard talking to someone when you start the phone call by imagining all of the things that can go wrong. They might not fix the problem correctly. They might charge too much. They might provide bad service, requiring them to come out again and again. And while you can hope that everything goes smooth from the beginning, with the many horror stories that make the circuit even in your own friend group, its hard to expect anything but a bad experience.

Here’s the thing. In most cases, the bad experiences should have been spotted even before the plumber entered the home. With just a little research and common sense, some of the biggest horror stories can be avoided.

Working without a license or uninsured

Everyone has to start out somewhere – and many plumbers get their start by learning the ropes as they go. But if you use an unlicensed plumber, there is no where to turn if they do a poor job. A building inspector can require you to rip out and replace work that doesn’t meet expectations, and if the plumber is working without a license or doesn’t have the proper insurance for when things go wrong, you could be the one footing the bill and finding another plumber to handle the work. When hiring a plumber, always take the time to verify they are licensed, and have proper insurance – liability insurance to compensate you if the work fails, and workers compensation insurance in case someone is injured on the job.

Getting an estimate

With an emergency, its easy to want to get results fast. But even with immediate problems, remember a good plumber can’t provide you with exact costs from a simple phone call. “I have a flood in my basement,” isn’t enough information for a plumber to know where the true problem lies. He can provide the cost of a new water heater, or how much he charges as an hourly fee, but until he comes to your home and sees the problem, he won’t be able to provide a true estimate. If a plumber gives you a quote over the phone, be leery that additional fees won’t be tacked on when the work is completed.

A lowball bid

The best guidance dictates that you should receive three quotes before selecting a plumber to work with. Its easy to select the bid that is the lowest, but what about if its substantially lower than the others? This may be a sign of a potential problem. Plumbing scams often bid based on materials alone, then add in the extra labor charges – often at substantially higher rates – once they begin the work. If something doesn’t seem right, always ask. It’s the only way to avoid problems down the road.

Showing up unannounced

If a plumber knocks on your door asking for work, and you don’t have an appointment, turn them away immediately. Some of the biggest scams occur from contractors knocking on doors and looking for work. No matter how much of an emergency your plumbing problems may be, it still benefits you to do your due diligence first. Ask for referrals from friends or neighbors. Look at online resources, including a plumber’s website, and review sites such as Angies List. Search Google with a potential plumber’s name to see what kind of information exists. Even 10 minutes of research could save you weeks of frustration.

Wanting payment before work begins

While it is reasonable for a plumber to ask for a down payment before work begins, especially for larger jobs, it isn’t okay to ask for full payment before completion. Never settle the bill until all work is complete, you’ve had a chance to inspect the work, and are fully satisfied with the work that has been done.

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

If you’ve ever had a home with a sewer malfunction, you know the process is anything but fun. Raw sewage entering your home, sometimes even into your living space can take weeks to recover from.

Should You Have A Sewer and Drain Camera Inspection?

But even if you’ve repaired your sewer line in the past, plumbing is an ever-changing system throughout your home. Problems will occur again at some point in time. Which means the only way to prevent big problems is to know what to look for, and act before problems occur.

Sewer problems rarely occur without advance warning.

  • Slow drains
  • Problems with more than one appliance (for example, your toilet has trouble flushing and your shower has trouble draining)
  • Backups occurring again and again and you can’t find the problem

If you begin noticing a problem with your plumbing, don’t ignore it. It will only get worse over time.

A sewer and drain camera inspection is the best way to determine where the potential problem lies, and to determine if it’s a one-time clog, or may be a reoccurring issue from a deeper problem. A professional plumber will send a line with a tiny camera attached to it down into your plumbing, and review all the potential problem areas that may exist. The inspection typically takes about two hours of time, and will identify things like deterioration from aging, damage from digging, unruly clogs, intrusive roots or other damage from landscaping, a crushed pipe, or simply a grease clog that has become stuck over time.

When you clear a drain clog with a simple, natural solution, or use a tiny drain snake to reach a problem a few feet away, you can never be quite sure if you’ve reached the root of the problem. A sewer and drain camera inspection will provide you with full assurance your pipes are clean and in good working condition.

Whether you’re worried about a potential problem that exists in your home, or want assurance the property you are about to purchase is free from immediate potential plumbing problems, a video inspection will give you the answers you need. Give us a call today and schedule your sewer and drain camera inspection – you’ll be glad you did.

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

Have you walked down the toilet paper aisle at your favorite store lately? Shelf after shelf is lined with promises of softness, thickness, and a great quilted feeling you’re sure to love. You can go generic, you can go earth-friendly, you can go with a top name brand. You can choose a four pack, a twelve pack, or stock up for months with the largest jumbo sized package you can find.

But, while toilet paper companies are touting to you the benefits of choosing their brand, the one thing they aren’t telling you is how their brand might not be so great for your plumbing. Thick, soft toilet paper may be a great thing for you, but your plumbing doesn’t agree.

How Toilet Paper May Be The Cause Of Your Plumbing Problems

There are three ways in which toilet paper is doing your plumbing harm:

1. Pipes

When your plumbing pipes are first installed, the newness lets anything sail right through. But over time, the inside of your pipes begins to change. Oil and grease begins to congeal and adhere to the pipes, causing them to have rough edges and slight variations to the regular flow. Small particles begin to build up. And depending on the age of your plumbing, tiny cracks may allow landscaping to begin the search for water, and enter your pipes in the process. All of this causes tiny ridges for toilet paper to get stuck on, and continue building up the problem in your pipes at an accelerated pace.

2. Low Flow Toilets

There’s the good and the bad of low flow toilets. The good comes from saving water, which in our drought-ridden and water thirsty world is a good thing. The bad comes from lack of power. Less water means less water pressure to push waste down the pipes. If it doesn’t have the power to make it where its suppose to go, it can build up over time.

3. Flushable Wipes

A new product entered the market a few years ago, and is wrecking havoc across the Front Range. Flushable wipes say they are biodegradable, but study after study shows they aren’t. They take much more time to break down than standard toilet paper, and because of their thickness, they don’t move through your pipes as fluidly as toilet paper. An added problem is you have a low flow toilet too.

Here’s a quick way to see if you have the right toilet paper to avoid future plumbing problems. Take a sheet or two of toilet paper and drop them into your toilet. If a few minutes pass and they still look like sheets of toilet paper, they are too thick and are putting your plumbing at risk. Choose a lighter, thinner option; your plumbing will thank you.

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

If you live in the Denver Metro area, there are many ways to take advantage of the current rebate programs that help you become more water wise throughout your home. Denver Water offers several different rebates to help both inside and outside, but what if you don’t live in Denver? Not a problem; many of our local community water boards are committed to water conservation.

Don’t Live In Denver? 2015 Water Rebates Are Available In Many Cities

Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

The ACWWA is currently offering a $100 rebate on the purchase of a qualified high efficiency clothes washer, and up to $50 on the purchase of qualified rain sensors. They will also provide you with free leak detection dye tablets to determine if your toilet is leaking.

Castle Pines

Castle Pines is currently offering complimentary water audits, and a rebate program that focuses in on making irrigation more efficient.

Centennial

Centennial offered rebates on both a qualified toilet purchase, and on rain sensors for your sprinkler system in 2014. They are currently evaluating their 2015 program, and will announce more in March, or check in with their point of contact for more information.

East Cherry Creek Valley

The East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District offers a rebate program on both high efficiency toilets and clothes washers. Customers can qualify for up to $100 credit toilet that consumes 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less, and up to $125 credit for a new Tier 2 or 3 clothes washing machine.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock experienced overwhelming response to its 2014 rebate program, and will be announcing its 2015 plan in March 2015. In years past, they offered incentives to replace water thirsty landscaping with more efficient xeriscape plants, as well as smart irrigation controllers and rain sensors.

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

Want to know what continues to be a resolution year after year in households across Colorado? Water conservation.

Even when we have a good year across the Front Range, as we did this past year, its hard not to be a little concerned when you see photographs coming out of drought strickened areas like California. Yes, there is a finite amount of water here on earth. And just because we’ve had a great year one year, doesn’t mean the same will hold true year after year. We’ve had our share of drought; we can make simple changes that will have an impact.

2015 Is Still A Good Year For Water Rebates

Some of the changes are so simple, you can do them in no time at all. And the best part is in some cases, you can actually receive money back for doing them as well.

In 2015, Denver Water is once again offering water rebates on a variety of things you use in your home every day.

Toilets

If you haven’t upgraded your toilet to a WaterSense labeled toilet, now is the time. Start by looking for a toilet specifically marked with the WaterSense label. A 1.0 gallon per flush or less toilet qualifies for up to a $150 rebate; a 1.28 gallon per flush or less can qualify for up to a $75 rebate. You can find eligible models listed here, or your plumber can make sure you’ve installed the correct toilet and have everything in place to collect your rebate.

Sprinkler System

If you haven’t upgraded your sprinkler system in a while, it may benefit you to do so now. You can upgrade, make your system more efficient, and save money in the process. Denver Water provides up to $2 rebate per sprinkler head, and up to $100 rebate for a WaterSense labeled controller to be installed in your home. There are a variety of eligible models; check the Denver Water site for more information.

Commercial

Water rebates are not just for residential properties; commercial properties can enjoy the benefits as well. If you are a customer of Denver Water, you may qualify for one of the many rebates they currently offer for 2015. Water rebates can be found on many different commercial items, including WaterSense labeled toilets and urinals, coin operated laundry equipment, as well as WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and more. Be sure to check Denver Water’s list to see a full line of what is included this year in the rebate program.

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

If you’re like most homeowners, you tend not to shop for a new water heater until your existing one fails. Then once it fails, its imperative that you fix it as fast as possible to get your home back on track, so you spend little time evaluating your options. By doing it this way, you can miss out on which options are truly best for your situation, and finding the right choice to not only save money, but save energy down the road.

What Is A Heat Pump Water Heater

If your home uses an electric water heater, you can choose an electric heat pump water heater that uses pump technology to provide a more efficient way to heat water than the standard electric model probably in your home today.

A heat pump water heater has three basic components: an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. To understand how it works, think about how your refrigerator works, then reverse the process. A refrigerator removes heat from inside its shell and expels it out into the air around it. A heat pump water heater takes the heat from surrounding air and transfers it into the enclosed tank of the water heater.

A heat pump water heater operates in several different modes, depending on the demand from the users in your home. Because they have the ability to switch between operating modes, these water heaters are often referred to as hybrid water heaters. With a heat pump water heater, you will have a control panel to change operating modes, which include:

  • Efficiency mode – maximizes energy efficiency by only using the heat pump to heat water
  • Hybrid mode – this is usually the default setting, and will provide energy efficient water heating with sustained heat
  • Electric mode – this is your high demand mode, using only the electric element to heat the water
  • Vacation mode – this gives you the ability to put your water heater into sleep mode while you are away or on vacation (not available on all models)

In general, a heat pump water heater requires more space than its electric counterpart. Hybrids should be installed in an indoor space of at least 1,000 cubic feet. Since the hybrid will extract heat energy from that space, this room will be cooler than the rest of your home. The larger the space, the less impact the unit will have on the room’s temperature. The warmer the space, the better performance the heat pump water heater will have. They are great at using up heat waste from washing machines and dryers, furnaces and boilers; which means they are great additions to basement utility rooms where you can keep all appliances in a similar location.

How much will you save? The standard answer is “results will vary”. But in my experience customers can typically save up to 50 percent on their water heating costs, which is significant considering a water heater is one of the highest energy using appliances in your home.

Have any additional questions? Give us a call; we’d be happy to share our knowledge and answer any questions you may have about heat pump water heaters.

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

Water. Its one of the most important things to sustain life on earth.

And though much of the earth is filled with water, water issues still plague worldwide health. For instance, close to 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. Close to three quarters of a billion people do not have access to clean water. And 6 to 8 million people die each year from the consequences of water related diseases.

But that’s the rest of the world. That’s not right here in America, right?Install A Water Filtration System In Your Home

Think again. Water scarcity, water pollution, and water quality are all coming into question as we move forward in time.

Before water reaches your home, it goes through an intense water treatment process designed to remove the bad and leave the good. Chemicals such as chlorine or chloramine re added to neutralize bacteria, viruses, parasites and other contaminants that can be harmful to our health. It also goes through a filtration process that eliminates sediment and dirt.

But while our national water filtration system does remove many of the things that have been known to be harmful in the past, there is only so much a nationwide water filtration system can do. Which is why many homeowners are taking it upon themselves to go the next step in making sure their drinking water is as safe as it can be.

Are you thinking of taking the next step with your water treatment process?

Water Softener

For some homes, hard water can have a quick impact. Hard water is a condition in which a number of minerals are present that leave behind white or yellowish deposits near drains or faucets, and quickly build up if not managed. These deposits not only build up by the faucets, they can also accumulate in the pipes, reducing water pressure and eventually requiring plumbing repair or replacement. A water softener replaces minerals like magnesium and calcium with minerals that are easier absorbed, and easier flushed through the system.

Reverse Osmosis

A reverse osmosis system uses water pressure to push your home’s water through a semi-permeable membrane that further eliminates harmful chemicals in your water supply. It takes the water source that enters your home and makes it cleaner. These systems can be integrated into your home’s water supply, or can be retrofitted at individual sources, such as your kitchen sink.

Whole Home Filters

Reverse osmosis is only one of the systems you can install in your home to improve the water condition of your home. A whole home water filter is installed at the point of entry, where the plumbing first enters your home, and continues filtering out contaminants and pollutants.

Want to know the quality of your water supply? The best place to start is with a home water audit. Give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to show you how you can make improvements to your current water supply, creating safer, taste-better water for you and your family.

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 a home is originally constructed, several systems are put into place that allow you to function every day with little thought as to how it happens. The HVAC, the electrical, the plumbing systems – all are integral to helping us function.

While we might not spend a lot of time thinking about them, when damage occurs to one of them, its all you can think of. For instance, if one of your plumbing pipes has a crack and begins to leak, you might not be able to cook, take a shower, or even get a glass of water as you normally would.

When Its Time To Replace Your Home’s Old Pipes

Large cracks in a pipe are noticeable; small ones may take years before the damage is evident. But no matter how small the leak may seem, once you have a problem with your plumbing system, speed in repairs is the only thing that will allow you to stop the damage and get back to a normal routine.

Large problems are noticeable almost immediately. But what about the small problems? There are a few things you can watch for that will alert you to the fact you may have a plumbing problem.

Small water spots

One of the easiest ways to determine where the source of the problem is is to see it with your own eyes. A large puddle is a clear indicator; so is a small amount of water. If you regularly step on a spot in your home that is a little damp, it may be an indicator of a problem. If you see small spots of mold or mildew, it may be an indicator. If you have one area in your lawn that is greener than the rest, and always showcases the best landscape in your yard, that may be a sign of a leak. The best time to take action is when problems are still small; don’t wait for them to escalate.

Slow drains

Plumbing problems often arise quickly, and one of the easiest ways to notice is when your water supply doesn’t work the way it used to. When you turn on the water to wash your hands, does it take a while for the water to drain? Do you find yourself standing in water as you finish your shower? A slow drain that seems to form overnight may be a sign you have a clog near that fixture. If you notice more than one drain slowing down, it can be a clear indicator of a deeper problem.

Low water pressure

A home’s water supply is purposely kept high to create an easy flow at every entrance point in your home. If you notice lower pressure, it can be a sign of a clog or a leak that is allowing the water supply to move into other areas.

Remember, your plumbing is a system, and if one portion isn’t working correctly, it impacts the other areas of the system too. A trained plumber understands not only how to fix the problem at its source, but also how to look for damage that may have been caused in other areas. Before your home sustains damage from what could be a small plumbing issue, call in the experts 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

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