Is Your Home’s Plumbing Ready for the Holiday Season?

Keep It Running Smoothly with These Five Tips!

The holiday season is a great time for family and friends to get together, visit, eat, and share in their favorite holiday traditions. This means an influx of more visitors than at any other time of the year. Plus, most people will use their kitchens more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day for preparing holiday meals, baking holiday treats and cookies, and other festive delights.

Plumbing Ready for the Holiday Season

Both your kitchen’s and home’s plumbing will also be used more often during this time of year. If you do not plan ahead and do some preventive maintenance ahead of time, you could end up with clogged sinks, backed up drains, and overflowing toilets. Finding a 24-hour plumber who can come help, especially on a holiday, can be difficult because they are in high demand.

Tip #1: Prevent Clogged Drains

Never try to put large objects, food materials, hair, grease, and other such things down your drains. Granted, we cannot prevent or stop everything from going down the drain, but you can minimalize how much gets into the drains by using drain screens/filters. These items will collect larger objects and most hair and prevent it from becoming a potential clog.

  • Bonus TIP: If you notice you have slow draining sinks before the holiday season, this indicates a clog is developing. Call a plumber right away and have your drains cleaned, rather than waiting until it becomes an emergency house call.

Prevent Clogged DrainsTip #2: Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems

Garbage disposals are great kitchen appliances that help deal with a wide array of food waste materials. However, certain types of materials should never be put into the disposal because it can create stresses on the disposal, causing it to overheat and stop working correctly. Plus, you can quickly develop a sink clog because the materials aren’t being broken down.

  • Never put bones of any type in the disposal. Bones are hard and difficult for your disposal to break down. Plus larger pieces can get stuck in the drain openings in the disposal and create an instant clog.
  • Never put potato peelings in the disposal. Potato peelings do not get broken down that easily, and they end up creating a clog and huge mess in your sink. Not to mention, they can cause your disposal to overheat and burn out completely.
  • Never put fruit rinds, hard veggies, or other fruit/vegetable peelings in the disposal. Hard rinds can damage the blades and do not break down that well, much like bones. Fruit and vegetable peelings do not get broken down, just like potato peelings, and they create clogs.

revent Garbage Disposal Problems

  • Never pour hot grease into the disposal. Grease can cause problems in the disposal as well as your drain pipes. As soon as it cools, it hardens and eventually creates bigger problems. Furthermore, the grease will create a foul smell coming from your sink, as it does “rot” to a certain extent.
  • Always run water when operating the disposal. You need water in the disposal to help move out smaller food particles and transport them down the drain. The cold water also helps to keep the blades and moving parts inside the disposal from overheating.

Depending on how much you use your disposal, at least once a year—especially right before the holidays—have the disposal professionally cleaned by your plumber.

Tip #3: Prevent Overflowing Toilets

Your home’s toilets will be used excessively during your holiday events, parties, and family gatherings. Toilets can clog from too much toilet paper or people attempting to flush other objects down them that they were not designed to handle. In addition, some toilet clogs occur when there is not enough pressure during the flush cycle from various types of toilet plumbing problems.

  • Check around toilets for signs of water leaks.
  • Open the back cover and verify the flushing mechanism and flapper are working correctly.

If you discover problems with your toilets or already know one or more has certain problems, you do not want to wait to get them fixed. Nothing ruins a great holiday party faster than seeing water running out from under the bathroom door and into the hallway or down the stairs.

Prevent Overflowing Toilets

Since you cannot control how much toilet paper your guests will use, and you do not want to be a toilet paper Scrooge, it is best to keep plungers next to the primary toilets everyone will be using. In addition, make sure to set out trash cans in plain sight where guests can see them. Then, hopefully, they will toss waste not meant for your toilet into the can instead.

  • Bonus TIP: If you hear water running occasionally and the toilet has not been recently flushed, this indicates a bad flapper seal. You should have this fixed because not only are you wasting water, but it can also reduce the amount of pressure during each flush.

Tip #4: Fix Drips and Leaks

Check under sink cabinets and other accessible areas for signs of leaks and drips. Some drips and leaks are more evident if there is a crack in plumbing pipes or loose fittings. Others can be less subtle because they are very slow leaks.

For instance, if you notice water stains under your kitchen sink but do not notice a leak when you are running water, chances are it is a slow leak. If you ignore it, the leak will gradually become worse. No one wants to turn on their kitchen sink on Christmas Day only to have water come running out of the cabinet onto the kitchen floor.

Fix Drips and Leaks

For sinks, showers, and tubs in your home, if you notice water continues to drip when you shut off the faucet or notice water leaking from around the faucet when the water on, these two issues indicate faulty washers. The washers are no longer tight and are allowing water to leak out.

Depending on the age, type, and design of the faucet, you may only need to have your plumber replace the washer. However, for older faucets or ones that are “single-piece” designs, it is best to get these replaced with new faucets.

Tip #5: Get Your Hot Water Heater Flushed

If your water heater is a tank-style model, sediment can become an issue to the hot water heater’s performance. If you hear snapping, cracking, or popping sounds coming from the water heater when it is heating hot water, sediment could be the cause.

When a hot water tank fails, several things can and do go wrong, creating headaches for homeowners, including:

home's plumbing for the holiday season

  • No hot water to wash dishes, do laundry, or take showers and baths.
  • Water can become over pressurized and the hot water will come flowing out of the pressure release valve.
  • Tanks can develop leaks around the bottom where hot water will seep out constantly and can flood the home if there is no drain pan or drain under the heater.
  • Water can overheat and tanks can explode, causing damage to your home and potential injuries.

Having a plumbing professional flush the tank can help remove much of the sediment. In addition, your plumber will inspect the tank for other problems which could indicate the tank is nearing the end of its useful lifespan.

  • Bonus TIP: If you need to replace your hot water heater, consider tankless models for on-demand and constant hot water. You will never have to worry about running out of hot water when guests visit and stay at your home over the holiday season!

For more plumbing tips to ensure your home is ready for all of your holiday parties and guests, please feel free to contact MET-Plumbing at (281) 599-3336 to schedule a plumbing inspection or preventive maintenance services today!

Boo! Is a Halloween Ghost the Cause of Your Home’s Pipes Making Noises?

Are you hearing strange noises in the middle of the night like banging, clattering, or hammering coming from inside your walls? Have you noticed the kitchen sink drain makes a gurgling sound at different times? Or do you hear the sound of dripping water, but can’t figure out where it is coming from?

While you might initially think your home is being haunted by a Halloween ghost, these are all indications something is wrong with the plumbing in your home. The noises in water pipes at night are often more noticeable since there are fewer background noises, especially after you have shut off the TV and are getting ready for bed.

Halloween Ghost

Finding the source and cause of the problem is important because, if you say it’s a ghost and do nothing, it can lead to more costly plumbing repair services down the road. Once you identify the reason for the noises, you can then assess whether it is something you can do yourself or if you need help from professional plumbing companies, like us, here at MET Plumbing.

Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Noises

The first thing you will want to do is make sure there is no water running anywhere in the home. Next, turn on the cold water of one faucet to see if you hear any of these sounds. Then, shut off the cold water and repeat with the hot water. Repeat this process for every faucet in the home.

If only one or two of the faucets make noise when shutting off the water, it often indicates the pipes do not have an air chamber or have filled with water. Air chambers are special attachments that cushion the flowing water and prevent noise. Without an air chamber, the water is not cushioned when you shut the faucet off, and it will attempt to flow backward, resulting in a banging, clattering, or hammering noise.

Plumbing Companies

If only a few faucets make these noises while water is running, it could indicate loose fittings and attachments that hold the plumbing lines. Since there is nothing to hold the pipes securely, they can move as the water flows through them and bang the inside of walls.

If all of your faucets are making this noise, then it is probably because the air chambers have filled with water or do not have air chambers installed. It could also indicate the plumbing was not correctly installed in the home and all the water lines are not secured correctly.

Fixing Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Problems

There are a few simple things you can do yourself before calling in a plumber for help. First, check to see if there is a pressure regulator attached where the water comes into the home. If there is, you need to make sure it is set at 55 PSI or less. Anything higher, and it can create excess pressure that can cause pipes to bang and hammer and also damage appliances, like your dishwasher, refrigerator’s ice maker, and washing machine.

Clattering Hammering Problems

The other self-check you can do is to shut off the main water line into the home. Next, open the faucet at the highest point in the home, and then the faucet at the lowest point, which could be your outdoor water faucet. Once all the water has drained out, shut off the highest point faucet.

Now, turn the water back on, leaving the low-point faucet open to allow the air to flow out of the lines. If you no longer hear noises when turning the water off, this means the air chambers were previously filled with water.

By draining the water out of the lines and allowing air in, it refilled the air chambers. If you still notice noises, then your plumbing is most likely missing air chambers, and you will want to have these installed by your local plumbing company.

Gurgling Sounds Coming out Drains

For plumbing lines that are not secured, it is best to leave this to a professional because you need to make sure to use the right hardware to secure pipes in place. In addition, it could require cutting into drywall or flooring to access the water lines.

Gurgling Sounds Coming out of the Drains

Gurgling sounds could occur if water is being run in another part of the home and is attempting to draw air into the drain lines. For instance, if you flush the toilet and notice a gurgling sound coming out of the bathroom sink drain, this means the toilet is attempting to draw air into the drain from the nearby sink.

Gurgling is often indicative of improper plumbing venting or there is a blockage in the vent. Plumbing vents are those pipes you see on the top of your roof where the bathrooms are located in your home. Sometimes small objects and animals can fall down the pipes, if they do not have screens, and can cause a blockage.

Fixing Gurgling Sounds

Fixing Gurgling Sounds

You will want to make sure none of the vents are blocked. Your plumber can do this for you because it can require using a long plumber’s snake to reach all the way down and through the vent. You will also want to install screens over the top of vents to prevent objects or small animals from falling down inside the pipes.

Dripping Water Noises

If you hear what sounds like dripping water, you need to find the source immediately. This indicates there is a water leak in your home’s plumbing. The first thing to do is to make sure all water faucets are shut off and not dripping themselves. Late at night, when everything in the home is quiet, a dripping faucet can make it seem like it is coming from the walls because the sound carries everywhere.

Finding the Source of Dripping Water

An easy way to check for slow dripping faucets is to make sure the sink is dry, close the drain, and also wipe dry the end of the faucet. Wait an hour, and then return and inspect the sink and faucet. If you see water in the sink and notice the end of the faucet is also wet, this means a faulty shutoff valve in the faucet.

Have your plumber replace the shutoff valve and washers or have them install a new faucet. If none of your faucets are leaking, yet you hear water dripping, then the problem becomes more serious. It could mean a fitting between pipes has become loose or the pipes have developed a small crack.

Finding Source of Dripping Water

Depending on the location of the sound in your home, there are a few different self-checks you can perform, as follows:

  • Feel around the bottom of the wall for dampness, as well as wet spots on the floor or carpeting.
  • In basements, look around where you hear the sound for wet spots and puddles of standing water.
  • Check your crawl space in the location where you hear the sound for wet spots or puddles of water.
  • If you notice falling down or wet insulation from the basement ceiling or under the crawl space, this often points to the source of the leak.

Even if you cannot find the source of the dripping sound, it is still highly recommended to contact a plumber for assistance. Small drips and water leaks can damage insulation, cause wood rot, create mold and mildew, and damage the support structures of your home.

Crackling, Snapping, and Popping Sounds

If you notice these types of noises coming from your hot water heater tank, it is a good indication there is sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank. Sediment can form from calcium deposits and minerals in hard water, as well as be caused by rusted particles inside the tank.

Removing Sediment from the Water Tank

Contact your plumber to request that the water heater tank is drained and flushed. This is an extreme and potentially dangerous process, and it should only be performed by an experienced plumber since they will be draining out scalding hot water.

For water tanks more than ten years old, the tank could be near the end of its useful lifespan, so it may be time for a new water heater. Your plumber can advise you on your options, such as energy-efficient tankless hot water heaters.

Removing Sediment from the Water Tank

From whooshing sounds to banging and clattering, these types of noises do not mean your house is being haunted by a ghost. Rather, your home is trying to tell you something is wrong with your plumbing.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the noises your pipes, faucets, toilets, and plumbing make are all unique and indicate different types of problems. Diagnosing and troubleshooting the causes and remedies will often require the help from our expert plumbers at MET Plumbing.

Feel free to give us call at 281-599-3336 for help resolving your noisy plumbing today! Remember to ask about our current promotions and plumbing specials!

What to Expect When You Repipe/Replumb Your Home

Undertaking an entire home repipe/replumb project is not something you will want to attempt on your own. It requires the use of plumbers with experience in repiping/replumbing, like the experts at MET Plumbing.

Repipe Replumb Your Home

Why Would You Need to Repipe/Replumb Your Home?

Just like other things in life, the pipes that deliver hot and cold water throughout your home, as well as drain water and sewage away, do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. They have a useful lifespan, which can range from 25 years to eighty years. However, there are certain signs you should watch for, as these could shorten the anticipated lifespan of your home’s plumbing.

If you notice a drop in water pressure, rusty or cloudy water, or are springing water leaks in pipes in different areas of the home, these are all potential signs you are due for a repiping/replumbing. Other reasons you will want to consider getting your home outfitted with new plumbing could include:

  • You bought a fixer-upper. Since you are already planning on renovations and remodeling, this is a good time to get the entire home replumbed. As most renovations typically require tearing out drywall and other parts of interior walls, it provides easy access for our plumbers.

plumbing inspections

  • Your home is more than fifty years old and still has the original plumbing. The pipes are either getting near the end of their usefulness or have already exceeded it. At this stage, you will want to make sure to have annual plumbing inspections performed to identify potential problems before they become major home repairs.
  • You have had problems with broken and bursting water pipes, and they keep occurring. As pipes wear out, they are not able to handle being under constant water pressure. This will cause fittings to start to leak and could even cause weakened sections in the pipe walls to burst.
  • Dripping and running water inside the walls of your home, basement, or crawl space is not good. Not only can it lead to problems with mold and mildew, but also damage wooden support structures, insulation, and electrical wiring.
  • Problems with pipes freezing on those few cold winter days. While it doesn’t get too cold in Houston that often, every now and then we do have a day or two where temperatures dip down below freezing. When pipes freeze, the ice inside expands and, if they don’t burst or break, could weaken and damage the interior walls as well as the fittings.
  • The entire home has polybutylene plumbing. This is a type of plastic resin that was widely used by builders for homes built in the 1970s through the 1990s. The problem with this type of plastic piping is it can become brittle and break easily, especially if your water is chlorinated or chemically treated.
  • The home still had lead pipes. Homes built in the first part of the 1900s were plumbed using lead pipes. At that time, people had no idea that the lead in the pipes could leach into the drinking water, let alone the health hazards associated with lead.

Replumbing Your Home

What Are the Benefits of Repiping/Replumbing Your Home?

Depending on the type of materials used to repipe/replumb your home, you may only need to do this major type of renovation once during your lifetime, especially if you keep the home. On the other hand, if you will eventually sell the home, updated plumbing could potentially increase the value and selling price since the new buyer will know they do not have to worry about this type of home repair project.

Other benefits you might gain could include:

  • Reduced water bills if you have city water.
  • Increased water pressure if you currently have low pressure.
  • All leaks, worn out fittings, and other plumbing problems will be resolved.
  • Better quality and safer drinking water.

What Type of Plumbing Pipe Materials Are Available?

Two of the more popular choices for repiping/replumbing projects are copper pipes and PVC/PEX plastic pipes. Copper has a longer life expectancy than PVC/PEX. In addition, copper has natural antibacterial properties.

Plumbing Pipe Materials

However, the costs for copper can push entire home replumbing costs up higher compared to using PVC/PEX pipes. PVC/PEX pipes cost less and are flexible. This means that entire replumbing project can be completed faster since fewer sections of walls have to be removed.

To determine what materials would be best for your home, we recommend scheduling an in-home plumbing inspection with one of our plumbers. This will allow us to see what concerns and issues you currently have, as well as answer your questions. In some cases, an entire replumb is not always necessary.

How Is a Home Repiped/Replumbed?

There are several detailed steps to the entire process. To give you an idea, the following is a general overview:

  • Step 1: The water is turned off and all water lines drained out of the faucets as best as possible.
  • Step 2: Drop cloths, tarps, and other protective coverings are put over flooring and furniture.
  • Step 3: Precise cuts are made into drywall where the pipes run and are required to access and replace them.
  • Step 4: The new pipes are installed and connected to the appropriate locations: i.e., toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and so on.
  • Step 5: The water is turned back on and water lines tested for leaks.
  • Step 6: If there are no leaks, or once any leaks have been corrected, the drywall is replaced.
  • Step 7: The drywall is sealed and painted.

Home Repipe Replumb

On average, it takes between three and seven days to do an entire home. The amount of time it will take to repipe/replumb your home depends on the size of the home, amount of water lines that need to be replumbed, the type of piping materials being used, and other such factors. In some cases, it may only take a day or two, especially if you have a much smaller home or the majority of pipes are easily accessible from your basement or crawlspace.

What if I Cannot Afford an Entire Home Repipe/Replumb?

If your home needs to be repiped/replumbed but you have budgetary concerns, MET Plumbing can work with you to develop an effective solution to address your needs and budget. For example, we could start with replacing essential incoming water lines that we can access without having to remove drywall.

Since the pipes are easier to access and replace, it costs less to do the work and takes less time. Then, as your budget allows, we can address other areas of the home and gradually replace all of the pipes over a period of time, rather than all at once.

Cases Where Repiping/Replumbing May Not Be Required

There are a few different cases where your plumbing problems may suggest you need to get the entire home repiped/replumbed but are actually being caused by some other issue.

Rusty Water – If you have an older hot water heater, there could be sediment and rust in the bottom of the tank. This would make your water seem reddish or brownish in color anytime you ran hot water. If this is the only cause for rusty water, then a replumb would not be needed. Instead, you would just need to get a new water heater installed, which our plumbing company can also do for you.

Reduced Water Pressure – If you have well water, mineral and calcium deposits from hard water can build up inside the pipes. There are different methods we can use to descale the pipes and attempt to restore water pressure. Again, if this were your only problem, then a full repipe/replumb might not be required. However, badly scaled pipes may need to be replaced.

plumbing servicesFor more information about repiping/replumbing your home, your different options, and different plumbing services we offer, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336 today!

We also offer hot water heater installation and repair, toil installation and repair, clogged drain cleaning, garbage disposal repair, faucet installation and repair, and air conditioning services and installation in Houston and the surrounding areas.

How To Manage Water Damage

Owning a home or business property can be one of the most satisfying experiences, but it comes with a variety of responsibilities and risks. In addition to taking care of general building and property maintenance, there is also the possibility of damage. While structural damage can take many forms, one of the most common and frustrating sources of damage is the presence of excess water.

Manage Water Damage

Common Causes and Repercussions of Water Damage

Whether it’s standard rainfall, flooding, or an old water heater leaking, there are several ways in which unwanted water can cause problems on a given property. The following are just a few common causes of water damage to homes and businesses:

  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation cracks
  • Poor soil grade around foundation (leading to pooling and leaking into the basement)
  • Flooding
  • Broken or burst pipes/fixtures due to freezing, poor maintenance, existing damage, etc.

The possible repercussions of water damage can vary dramatically, depending upon where the water damage occurs in the structure, how much water was/is involved, what kind of air movement there is in the affected space, and numerous other factors. Damage may be as minor as slight staining or as major as significant, potentially hazardous black mold growth.

How to Tell if Your Home or Business Has Been Damaged

Sometimes, water damage is obvious: A pipe bursts, turning your floor into a wading pool. Other times, the presence of water goes unnoticed, damaging your walls or floors slowly in ways you may not be able to see for some time. Because it’s best to address water damage as soon as possible, there are a few key things you should keep an eye out for:

  • Water spots on the ceiling or walls (especially if they continue to grow)
  • Yellow or copper-colored stains along room or basement walls (may indicate previous flooding)
  • A musty smell, particularly in the basement or crawl space
  • Black spots, which can indicate mold growth
  • Visible pooling of water in the house or around the foundation
  • Warping floorboards
  • Foundation damage
  • Roof/shingle damage that may allow rainfall to leak in

Repercussion of Water Damage

If you notice any of these things (especially if you notice more than one at a time), you may have a water leak or other unseen concern that needs to be addressed before you can correct the damage you see. Even if the staining or spots are small, the situation behind the wall may be much more severe than it appears from the outside.

What to Do if You Find Water Damage

If the cause of the damage is ongoing, like a broken pipe that continues to leak water, the first thing you’ll want to do is shut off the water main. There should be an easily accessible shut-off main somewhere on your property. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the location of this valve and know how to operate it before an incident like this ever has a chance to occur.

Broken old pipes

Once you’ve stopped the flow of water, you can begin attempts to dry out the area and salvage any affected belongings. At this point, it’s a good idea to call a professional plumber to fix the leak so that you can restore water to your home.

If you’ve just noticed a water spot, staining, or possible mold growth, you’ll want to contact a professional plumber, roofer, or water damage restoration company to take a look at the situation and determine whether there is an ongoing issue. Obviously, if the damage appears to be coming from the roof, you may want to contact a roofing company. If the damage seems to be around the base of your toilet, call a plumber.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at the original inspection report from when you purchased the property. It may turn out that something you requested be fixed was not properly addressed, or that the previous owners were likely aware of an issue they did not disclose. Of course, you should also reference your insurance policy and contact your agent if you suspect the damage may be covered.

Addressing the Damage

The first thing a professional will do when they arrive on your property—aside from addressing any emergencies like continued water flow—is to assess the nature and extent of the damage. This may involve entering the attic, crawl space, or other unusual locations, so be prepared to provide access to these areas as needed. Once he or she has completed the inspection, you can discuss a game plan.

If there is staining, warping, or flooding due to leaking pipes or fixtures, a plumber will replace any damaged pipes or parts to prevent future water damage. If there is standing water present, he or she may also assist with its removal. When it comes to mold growth, misshapen floorboards, or ugly wall stains, you’ll need to schedule specialized removal and repair work with an appropriate contractor. Mold, in particular, is especially important to address, as its presence can cause allergies, illness, and/or further damage.

Ceiling Water damage

Prevention Is Key: Avoid Leaks and Fix Existing Damage with the Help of MET Plumbing

Once water damage occurs and things like mold, stains, and floor buckling take hold, the cost of repairs can add up rather quickly. As with any other risk, prevention and regular maintenance are the most important aspects of management. To prevent water damage from occurring in your home or business, you should make sure that all of your plumbing and water-connected fixtures (toilets, sinks, washing machines, showers, etc.) are in good condition.

At MET Plumbing, we know that even if they appear normal, old pipes can rupture or leak at any time. In addition to fixing damage in emergencies and providing maintenance to specific fixtures, our plumbing experts can also replace all the old pipes throughout your home or business for a long-lasting, reliable plumbing system.

As a family-owned, 24 hour plumber with more than 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry, and we’ll put our expertise to work to give you the best plumbing solutions no matter what the situation. To learn more about how we can help you prevent water damage from ever occurring in your home or business, contact us today at (281) 599-3336!

Why do Pipes Burst? We’ll Tell Ya!

When most people think about pipes bursting and water rushing out and into their homes, they picture cold winters in northern climates where temperatures drop below freezing. While this is one of the more common reasons for burst pipes, it is not the only one. Before we look at other reasons for burst pipes, let’s discuss why and how freezing temperatures cause this problem for homeowners.

Pipes-Burst

In areas of the home where there are exposed pipes on the exterior, under the crawl space, or in the basement, and which are not properly insulated from the cold, the water inside the pipes can freeze in the colder winter months. As the water freezes, it restricts water flow, causing an increase in pressure inside the pipes.

Any water in front of the ice blockage is slowly pushed forward in the pipes. If water is not running, it has nowhere to go. As a result, the pressure slowly starts to build in the area in front of the ice in the water lines—until it becomes so strong that it blows out a section of the pipe.

Normally, the blowout occurs in a weakened area, like a connection, fitting, or even weakened part of the pipe. Granted, here in Houston, we do not have to worry too much about freezing temperatures that often. However, you should still take precautions, as we never know when we will have another cold winter with record lows, which could include temperatures below freezing.

plumber service

Ideally, you should have your plumber make sure all exposed pipes along the exterior of the home, as well as under the crawl space or in your basement, are wrapped in protective insulation. This way, if we do have a record cold winter with freezing temperatures, you will not have to worry about ice forming in the pipes and causing the lines to burst.

Insulating your pipes also has benefits during the hot Texan summers, as it will keep water temperatures cooler inside cold water lines. This will help conserve water, too, because you will not have to run the cold water as long to get warmer water out of the water lines.

Now that we have discussed how uninsulated water lines can freeze in colder weather, let’s turn our attention to other causes of burst pipes that could affect your home here in Houston at any time during the year.

Hard Water

If you get your water from a well, it is almost always hard water. The hardness of water refers to the calcium and magnesium contained within the water. While these minerals are not harmful to drink, they can cause damage to water lines and faucets in the home. Plus, hard water leaves a white residue on tubs, showers, and dishes.

Over time, the minerals in the hard water will start to build up on the inside walls of the pipes in your home. Eventually, the water flow will become constricted, much like it is when water freezes. Since the water cannot flow correctly, pressure starts to build up in the pipes and will eventually burst.

water treatment system

Solution: If you have hard water, you should consider getting a water treatment system installed that can soften the water and remove the excess calcium and magnesium. This will help prevent the buildup from forming on the interior walls of the water lines and faucets inside the home. Here at Met-Plumbing, we install whole house water filtration and treatment systems, depending on what type of solution you need for your home.

TIP: Investing in a water softener system will help save you money over time. Soft water requires using less soap and detergent to do dishes and wash clothes. Plus, you will find you are using less soap, shampoo, and conditioner and notice your skin feels softer.

Rusty Pipes

If you have an older home with metal steel pipes, rust can be a problem and cause burst pipes. As the pipes corrode, the metal becomes thinner, resulting in weakened pipe walls. If there is a sudden increase in water pressure, it can cause this section of the pipe to blow out.

In addition, eventually, the rust will eat all the way through the water line and create a water leak. While not an actual pipe burst, this small water leak can quickly become your worst nightmare. As the water slowly drips out of the pipe, it is eroding and removing rust from the pipe, making the hole bigger and bigger.

pipes bursting and water rushing

As you might have already guessed, as the size of the hole increases, more water flows into the home, creating more severe water damage. Not only will you have to replace the broken water line but, also, fix any water damage, like replacing rotting wood, dry wall, and damaged insulation.

Solution: To avoid costly water damage repairs, the best solution is to inquire about plumbing repiping services. Repiping your home with modern plumbing pipes will stop the corrosion and rust, as well as get rid of rusty, smelly drinking water. Feel free to contact us to arrange a home consultation appointment to learn about different types of repiping solutions for your home.

Improper Installation/Plumbing Repair

Pipe bursts can occur if they were not installed correctly by a non-professional. While some people might attempt to save money replacing pipes or doing minor plumbing repairs around the home, there are several things that can go wrong.

One of the more common problems we have encountered is the improper crimping of water line connections. If the connections are crimped too tightly, they can restrict the flow of water. This can create a higher water pressure on the other side of the crimp and cause the pipe on that side to burst. Even if you installed PEX pipe, connections must be properly crimped to the right tension without restricting the water flow.

Plumbing Repair

Solution: To ensure repairs to water lines, faucets, and other plumbing is done correctly, it is highly recommended to use one of our professional plumbers.

Worn Out Appliance Water Lines

The water lines used to connect your dishwasher or washing machine do wear out over time. These types of water lines are typically made of wire mesh or rubber, both of which deteriorate. Eventually, the side walls on either type of water line can weaken and result in a burst section.

Solution: You should get into the habit of inspecting your washing machine hoses at least twice a year and replacing them every five years. After five years, the likelihood of the rubber hose bursting starts to increase significantly. For dishwasher water lines, you should replace mesh piping with either copper or PEX piping and have this installed by a professional.

Improper Water Pressure

Improper Water Pressure

Many newer homes have a water pressure gauge—a pressure switch that can be manually adjusted. Sometimes, people will turn the water pressure up, like if they are power washing their driveway, siding, or pool deck, and then forget to turn the pressure back down. The increased water pressure on interior water pipes inside the home can cause pipes to burst unexpectedly.

Solution: Avoid turning up the water pressure, and you will not have to worry about this problem. If you need increased water pressure for outdoor tasks, we would be happy to discuss viable solutions, like splitting a water line and installing a separate pressure gauge you can use on exterior lines, while not risking damage to interior piping.

affordable plumbing services

To summarize, burst pipes are not only caused by ice forming inside water lines in the cold winter months but, also, a variety of other reasons, which can occur year round. For emergency plumbing repair, home repiping services, water filtration and softeners, hot water heaters, and other affordable plumbing services in the Greater Houston Area for your home, please feel free to contact Met-Plumbing at 281-599-3336 to request service or to schedule a consultation to obtain a free quote today!

Summertime Perfect for Cost-Saving Plumbers’ Projects

Summertime is the perfect time of year to take care of important plumbing inspection, maintenance, and repair tasks, as plumbers’ schedules are less busy, and temperature Cost Saving Summer Plumbing Projectsand other conditions are more conducive to their work. By taking action on these issues, property owners can spend more of their summers having fun and less worrying about emergency repairs.

According to AAA, about 80 percent of families polled by the organization said they were planning a road trip this summer, up from 2016. The last thing anyone wants to deal with when they hit the road with their family or friends is a call from the neighbors telling them that they need to return home to deal with a serious issue like a septic system failure. Not only do they lose vacation days and money spent on hotel and other accommodations, they also end up with big bills a little preventative maintenance could have allowed them to avoid.

By working to ensure tasks like kitchen faucet repair, sink drain maintenance, and water heater repair are taken care of, you can hit the road with no worries.

Why Summertime Is the Right Time

Summertime is ideal for hiring a plumber to perform maintenance and repair for a number of reasons. For starters, plumbers are less busy in the summer months, as most emergency repair work occurs in the spring and winter. Plumbers with wide open schedules that aren’t likely to be interrupted by urgent calls for help are more likely to accommodate requests for large-scale maintenance and repair work. Because of their slower summertime schedules, property owners may be able to catch a break on labor costs for summer projects, too.

Summer weather and ground conditions make plumbers’ work easier. In the winter, water can freeze overnight, making pipes more difficult to work with. Frozen ground can also pose a big challenge to plumbers who have to dig to access water lines and other pipes. Cold weather conditions can also create icy patches outside, increasing the chance of plumbers getting injured in slip and fall accidents. Days are also longer in the summer, giving plumbers more hours of daylight to ply their trade.

Six Summertime Plumbing Projects

  • Inspect for leaks – Checking for leaking pipes is one of the most important services plumbers can provide. Plumbers have a variety of tools they can use to inspect forSprinkler System Inspection leaking pipes. They’ll start by visually inspecting your property, searching for damp spots, mildew growth, warped floorboards, and other telltale signs of leaking pipes. From there, plumbers can move to using high-tech options such as listening devices that can detect dripping sounds, infrared sensors to find moisture, or miniature cameras attached to fiber optic cables that plumbers can run through drains and pipes.

Once plumbers find leaks, they can resolve the issue. Fixing leaking pipes is important because the leak can grow and cause pipes to fail, leaving a big, expensive mess for emergency plumbers to fix.

  • Inspect sprinkler system – Cracks or leaks in sprinkler system pipes can result in costly repairs if they become severe. Summertime is an excellent time to have your outdoor sprinkler system inspected by a professional plumber. Plumbers can find and repair leaks and advise you on upgrades to your sprinkler system.
  • Install a new dishwasher – If your home doesn’t have a dishwasher or if you have an older model that needs replacing, summer is a great time to take on this project. New Dishwasher InstallationAccording to CNet, Energy Star-certified dishwashers are 12 percent more energy efficient than models without Energy Star certification.

 If you’re using a dishwasher manufactured more than 20 years ago, you’re likely losing $35 per year in utility costs. Plumbers can help you find the new energy- and water-efficient dishwasher that’s right for your kitchen and install it. Dishwashers can save you a lot of time and work in the kitchen, so they’re definitely a good investment.

  • Pump septic system – If you think your septic system needs pumping, it’s best to have it done ASAP. Nothing can ruin a summer like having to deal with a septic system that’s backing up. It’s gross, expensive, and time-consuming.

About a third of homes use a septic system. Septic tanks capture waste water from kitchen sinks, toilets, washing machines, etc. When the wastewater enters the septic system, fats, oils, proteins, and other heavy particulate matter separate out and are stored in the septic tank as sludge.

 Gray water is discharged into the leach field, a set of pipes that releases the water into the soil. Organic matter left in the gray water fertilizes the area around the tank, so, Pump Septic Systemsin most yards with a septic tank, you can find the tank by finding the area where the grass is greenest.

 Over time, the sludge in the tank will fill to capacity and a professional will need to pump the tank and remove the sludge. Property owners with septic tanks should have their tanks inspected once a year to see if pumping is necessary. Most septic systems require pumping every one to three years.

  • Test and install sump pump – For homes with basements or ones that are located in areas prone to flooding, sump pumps are a must. Sump pumps remove water from low-lying areas and transfer it to storm drains, dry wells, or other places. The summer season brings heavy rains in some parts of the country, so it’s a good idea to check your sump pump or install one if needed. Plumbers can inspect an existing pump to make sure it works and check lines or pipes used to transport water collected by the pump.
  • Install a solar water heater – Solar water heaters are great for outdoor hot tubs or heated pools. Some models can also be great for providing hot water for your wholeSolar Water Heater Installation home. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a solar water heater can cut energy costs associated with heating water by up to 50 percent. While a new solar hot water heater will cost more than a new traditional hot water heater, over time consumers will recoup these costs from lower power bills. Tax incentives may also help to make these devices more affordable.

 

Choosing the Right Plumber

By taking care of all your summer plumbing tasks, you can enjoy the rest of the season traveling and relaxing. Whether it’s a trip across country or a staycation at home, knowing your home’s pipes and other critical infrastructure in good shape will allow you to pursue your summer vacation goals with peace of mind.

People who own vacation property or rental homes far away from where they reside can also benefit from being proactive about having plumbers make an inspection and maintenance call each summer. Getting the call that the septic tank in one of your properties is backing up or a pipe has burst is a headache that no landlord wants in any season.

summertime home repair and maintenance projects

To ensure you get the best help for your summertime home repair and maintenance projects, you need to find a plumber with the right experience and skills. Checking online reviews, asking friends, and inquiring into certifications and references are great ways to background potential plumbers.

Met-Plumbing, a full-service, family-owned plumbing company, serves the greater Houston area, including communities like Katy, Richmond, Cypress, Fulshear, and West Houston. The company offers an experienced staff with training in the latest plumbing products and solutions. For help with drains, pipes, gas lines, water heaters, sewage lines, and more, call Met-Plumbing today for a consultation.

Sources

  1. http://www.post-gazette.com/life/travel/2017/03/29/AAA-travel-summer-gas-prices-road-trips/stories/201703290029
  2. https://www.cnet.com/how-to/dishes-still-dirty-you-may-need-a-new-dishwasher/

Eight Reasons Everyone Should Love Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters have come a long way in the last decade, with new innovations solving many of the problems of early models and bringing down the cost of these devices. Home and business owners looking for a new hot water heater should discuss tankless options with their local plumber to determine if this solution suits their needs.

Tankless water heaters heat water directly as it is used, rather than pre-heating water and storing it in a tank until it’s needed. When someone turns on a hot water tap, cold Reasons Why You Should Love Tankless Water Heaterswater travels through the pipe into the unit where either a gas burner or electric element heats it. Tankless water heaters come in two varieties, point-of-use heaters and whole-house models.

Point-of-use tankless water heaters are smaller than whole-house systems and provide hot water to just one or two outlets. For example, a point-of-use model might provide hot water to just your shower or to your kitchen sink. Whole-house systems are larger and can operate more outlets. Point-of-use systems are typically electric-powered, while whole house systems usually run off of natural gas or propane.

The first tankless water heater was invented in the 1920s by Stiebel Eltron, a German company founded by Dr. Theodor Stiebel. Stiebel, a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur, founded his company in 1924 and it remains involved in manufacturing central heating products to this day.

While quite popular in Japan and Europe, it wasn’t until the last few decades that tankless water heaters began gaining popularity over traditional water heaters in the U.S., as the technology to make them affordable and reliable took time to develop. Advances in technology have helped reduce the lag time between faucets being turned on and hot water flowing from them and other issues that have held back tankless water heaters from greater acceptance. The market for electric tankless water heaters is expected to grow by 8.7 percent between 2016 and 2024. The combined market for both gas and electric tankless water heaters is set to grow at 8.88 percent over the same time period.

Why are tankless water heaters taking up an increasing share of the water heater market? Consider these critical advantages:

  • In most circumstances, tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than storage tank water heaters. Conventional storage tank water heaters must heat and store Hot Water Down The Sinksufficient water to meet user needs. Because heated water is stored, some of the energy used to heat the water is lost. Tankless heaters only heat water as it is needed, meaning little energy is wasted. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that tankless water heaters are typically 24 to 34 percent more energy efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters. The efficiency savings are less for homes that use a lot of hot water, however. The Energy department estimates that in a home that uses around 86 gallons of hot water per day, tankless water heaters are only 8 to 14 percent more energy efficient.
  • Reduced energy usage translate to lower electricity bills. The Energy Department estimates the average home will save about $100 per year in energy costs by installing a tankless water heater. Should energy prices spike, homeowners who act now by installing tankless water heaters could realize even greater savings.
  • Conventional storage tank water heaters take up quite a bit of space. In urban areas or in small homes, space is at a premium. By installing a tankless water heater, valuable space that can be repurposed for closet storage or to increase the size of a room is saved. Tankless water heaters can be installed under cabinets or in small spaces within a closet. Some models can even be installed outdoors with an antifreeze kit.
  • Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan than conventional storage tank water heaters. In many cases, a tankless water heater will last five to 10 years longer than a Critical Advantages of Tankless Water Heaterstraditional water heater. This increased longevity should be weighed when you’re considering the larger upfront cost of purchasing a tankless water heater.
  • Tankless water heaters are environmentally friendly. Because they use less energy, they help overall electricity conservation efforts. Also, if you’re using an electric model, your unit will produce no greenhouse gases.
  • Tankless water heaters often provide cleaner water than that supplied by conventional water heaters. Storage tanks will accumulate sediment and rust over the years which can contaminate water. Tankless heaters provide water free of these contaminants.
  • Various governments offer tax incentives for consumers to purchase tankless water heaters. For example, the federal government gives a $300 tax rebate toward the purchase of most tankless units.
  • With a tankless water heater, you’ll never run out of hot water. Conventional storage tank water heaters only provide the amount of hot water stored in the tank. When it runs out, users must wait for the device to heat up more hot water. Tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water. The flow of water may be lighter than that provided by a conventional storage tank heater, but the supply is constant.

Signs It’s Time For A New Water Heater

Water heaters are one of those vital household appliances that we never think about until they stop working. However, not paying attention to your water heater can cost you Tankless Water Heaters with Longer Life Spaneven if it’s still functioning. Older models often have a long decline before they finally quit working, and during that time they perform less efficiently than they did at their peak. Here are a few warning signs that your traditional water heater is getting on in years and may need replacement:

  • It’s more than 10 years old – Traditional water heaters have a lifespan of a little more than 10 years. If your heater’s more than 10 years old, it may function just fine for several more years, but it is worth having it checked for leaks or decreases in efficiency.
  • Noise – If your water heater makes a lot of noise, it’s often a sign of sediment build-up on the bottom of the tank. Accumulation of hardened sediment will reduce efficiency and may cause eventual leaks.
  • Water around the tank – If there’s water around the tank, that’s evidence of a small leak or fracture. In time this will expand and cause more leaking, which may cause water damage to your home. If your tank is leaking, you need to replace it soon.
  • Unexpected spike in hot water bills – If your hot water bills have climbed in recent months, but your usage has not and your electric or gas company have not adjusted rates, chances are that your water heater may have a problem and needs repair or replacement.
  • Decrease in available hot water – If you notice that the hot water runs out quicker or that you’re getting warm water, but not hot water, this can indicate problems with your water heater that require repair or replacement.

When choosing a company to provide water heater installation or repair services, it pays to find a firm with a good local reputation and years of experience. For consumers When You Need a New Water Heaterpurchasing a tankless water heater, it is certainly worthwhile to find professionals with experience in these types of water heaters, as they differ significantly from traditional water heaters.

Met Plumbing provides a full range of plumbing maintenance and repair services, including tankless water heater installation, to customers in the Houston, TX area. Property owners seeking more cost-effective, earth-friendly water heating options should contact Met Plumbing today for a consultation regarding plumbing solutions that will meet their needs and their budget.

Sources: https://energy.gov/energysaver/tankless-or-demand-type-water-heaters

The Many Benefits of Recycling and Refiltering Your Water

Most everyone today is familiar with the concept of recycling. Cans, bottles, plastic and other items are commonly recycled to preserve resources, cut manufacturing costs and protect the environment. But there is one resource that is not being recycled nearly as much as it could be, and that resource is water.

Water is wasted at an alarming rate each day in the U.S. and across the world. According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, we only use 10% of our water for drinking and cooking, pouring the rest down the drain. Considering that one-fifth of the world does not have water that is safe to drink, and the fact that there are ongoing water shortages across the U.S., there has never been a more important time to save water.

Water recycling and refiltering are important steps on the road to sustainability, cost savings and environmental responsibility.

A Much Needed Solution – Water Recycling & Refiltering

The majority of the water discarded in homes – shower water, bath water, toilet water – is considered wastewater. For decades’ wastewater has been treated as the name implies, as waste to be thrown away as quickly as possible. But modern filtration and treatment technologies provide new ways of using wastewater to transform it into something useful. Instead of throwing out the majority of the water that comes through your home or business, you can turn wastewater into a usable resource.

While some industries use wastewater for things like irrigation and manufacturing, most households and smaller businesses do not recycle their wastewater, and thus miss out on both cost savings and a major opportunity for helping the environment.

The Benefits of Water Recycling & Refiltering

Recycling and refiltering water offers serious benefits for individuals, families, businesses and the environment. Some of the benefits include:

Cost Savings

While there are initial costs up front for installing water recycling systems and minor electric power requirements to operate these systems, the overall costs are less than the savings from using so much less water. Recycling your water means that a much greater percentage of the water you purchase goes to good use. You buy a lot less water when you recycle.

Beginning to recycle your water is also an investment for the future. Should a drought occur in your area, or water become more scarce for other reasons, it will become more expensive. The less water you use over the long term, the more money you will save.

Quality Control

The water that comes through your tap must meet minimum standards to ensure purity and quality, but you can usually make your water even better using high-quality filtration systems. When you install the right filtration systems, you can make sure that every bit of water you use meets your standards for health and safety.

Save Energy

A lot of energy is required to produce clean water and get it to your home. When you recycle your water, you cut down on your water use and therefore the energy necessary to produce more water for your needs. Some water recycling systems go even further to save energy, capturing the heat from your shower and sink water to be used in your home heating system.

Eco-Friendly

Humans are not the only creatures that need water to live. Every plant and animal, every ecosystem requires water to function in some capacity. As human populations have grown and our demand for water has increased, we have been using more and more of this life-giving resource. Not only do we use a large portion of the available freshwater, we discharge our wastewater back into the environment where it can cause considerable damage.

By recycling your water, you lessen your impact on the environment. You produce far less wastewater, and require much less fresh water because you use virtually every drop that comes through your home.

Water recycling helps the environment by:

  • Decreasing diversion of water from sensitive ecosystems
  • Decreasing discharge of contaminated wastewater to sensitive water bodies
  • Reducing the amount of pollution that is sent into the environment through contaminated wastewater
  • Reduce the need for excessive fertilizer use in agriculture

How is Water Recycled?

There are several ways to recycle water, ranging from extremely simple options to complex, multi-stage processes. For example, a basic way to recycle gray water would be to use a bucket to capture water from your shower to use later for watering the garden. A more advanced version would be installing a gray water collection system in your home that would capture the water, filter it and connect to your irrigation system to supply water to your landscape.

Some examples of water recycling include:

Gray Water for Irrigation

Gray water comes from showers and kitchen sinks. If you use soaps and cleaners that are designed for minimal environmental impact, you can use captured gray water directly as irrigation for lawns and gardens. It can be difficult to limit your soaps, detergents and cleaning products to those that can go directly on your plants, though. You can also install systems that will filter gray water before you use it for more control over what goes into your irrigation system.

Gray Water for Household Use

Gray water can also be used for things like flushing the toilet, cleaning the car or other cleaning tasks. The gray water just needs to be filtered sufficiently for whatever purpose it is to be used for.

Recycling Wastewater for Agricultural Use

Wastewater is recycled on a large scale for agricultural use, which involves filtering it to remove contaminants. As with other water recycling, the water is filtered based on how it will be used. Solids can be separated from wastewater for use as fertilizer as well.

Recycling Wastewater for Industrial Use

Some industries actively seek wastewater for industrial use and/or recycle the water they use. Typically, they will filter the water to a level of purity required for the specific application.

Advanced Treatment to Produce Drinking Water

While it is natural to have doubts about turning toilet water into drinking water, modern treatment systems are capable of producing water pure enough to exceed all water purity and safety standards. There are several different processes used on a large scale in San Diego, Singapore, Namibia and other parts of the world. In areas where water is scarce, it is increasingly common to see systems that take every drop of water used by people in the area and filter/treat that water for drinking and other uses.

Using wastewater as drinking water requires multi-step, complex filtration and treatment processes. There are several different systems in use that use different steps to produce water clean enough to drink. In general, the systems filter wastewater for contaminants, disinfect the water and use other methods to purify it to the point where it is of equal quality – or of higher quality – to regular drinking water in the area.

How Is Water Refiltered?

Water filtration involves pushing water through various filtration mediums to remove impurities. The tap water that comes through your faucet has already been filtered and treated before it gets to you, and you may put the tap water through another filter before you use it. When you are recycling your gray water, you must refilter it before you use it. Fortunately, modern filtration technology simplifies the recycling and refiltering process greatly.

Refiltering involves catching water as it is used, passing it through a filter and storing the filtered water or using it directly. The type of filter used will vary depending on what you want to do with the water you are recycling. Filtering water for use on the lawn requires simpler filtration systems than filtering water to be used for drinking, for instance.

Types of Water Recycling Systems for the Home

Gray water recycling has been popular in certain businesses for some time now, but it has only recently begun to catch on in the average home. New recycling systems are available that fit seamlessly into the modern home and are rarely noticed by the homeowner. They are easy to maintain, efficient and as time goes on they become more and more cost effective for most homeowners.

There are several different systems available, including:

  • Whole house systems – You can install a system that captures and filters all the gray water produced in your home, from every sink, shower and bathtub, then return the filtered water to your taps. Larger systems require more of an investment and a place to store the water, such as in an underground tank. However, once you have a whole house system installed, you may be able to reduce your water usage by around 50%.
  • Bathroom system– Smaller systems are available that capture the water from the bathroom sink and bath and return it the toilet for flushing. These systems are much less expensive than a whole house system, but they are still able to cut water consumption by up to 30%.
  • Bathroom system with heat capture– An upgraded bathroom system can also capture the heat from the water and return it to your home heating system.

Lessening Your Environmental Impact Through Conscientious Plumbing Services

Installing even a simple gray water recycling and filtration system means you will be reducing your water usage substantially. But there are more fixes you can make around your home that will help reduce your water usage that are often easy, but may be overlooked. Many times, homeowners do not realize that their plumbing systems are in need of maintenance and repair. You may have a water leak – or more than one – that over time leads to a great deal of wasted water.

Everything from a leaking faucet to a water heater leaking can cause waste that is unnecessary. Fortunately, many of these problems are easy to fix. Kitchen faucet repair, water heater replacement (with a more energy efficient model), sink plumbing and other services are relatively affordable and can be done in a short period of time.

At MET Plumbing, we can help you understand your water recycling and refiltration options, install a recycling system for you, and conduct a maintenance check on your plumbing system to ensure that no water is being wasted. We can make your home more efficient, environmentally friendly and affordable to live in.

Contact MET Plumbing for All Your Water Recycling Needs

As the best plumbing company in the Houston area, we are your resource for water recycling and refiltration. Please contact us today for a free consultation. We are happy to talk over the phone or meet with you to discuss water recycling for your home or your business. Our knowledgeable team can design a custom plan for your home and your specific water-saving goals.

We look forward to speaking with you!

 

Source

http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/04/04/from-wastewater-to-drinking-water/

https://www3.epa.gov/region9/water/recycling/brochure.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jul/21/greywater-systems-can-they-really-reduce-your-bills

Top 5 Ways to Conserve Water!

As warmer months arrive, our water usage usually goes up. There’s outdoor play, garden watering, and car washing. Now is a great time to find ways to conserve water. Conserving water saves you dollars and saves the environment for future generations.

Water comes into your house through your water supply, flows through your fixtures and appliances, and flows out of your house through your drainage system. To conserve water, try to make every drop that comes into your home count. Here are five fabulous ideas to help you make your home water system an efficient water conservation system.

 

  1. Find and Fix the Leaks

The first step is to make sure there aren’t any leaks in your system. Leaks in the average American home can total up to 10,000 gallons a year. Nationwide, private leaks lose 1 Top 5 Ways to Conserve Water!trillion gallons a year—that’s enough water to serve 11 million homes for an entire year. Luckily, catching most leaks is easy to do and if you can find it, water leak repair is usually easy. You can easily change drippy faucets and showerheads. You can easily repair or replace leaky toilets. The challenge is finding a leak if you don’t know you have one.

Fortunately, a couple of handy tools can help you find out whether you have leaks. Just grab your water bill, your water meter, your ears, and some bright food coloring.

Look back over your water bill history. If you see a sudden or steady increase in water usage, it might be a sign of a leak somewhere in your home. A high water bill won’t tell you where the leak is, but it can tell you there’s a leak somewhere. Then you can go on a scavenger hunt and keep looking until you find it.

To use your water meter to find if you have a leak, first turn off all the water in your house. Then go outside and check your water meter. Write down the number on the meter. Leave the water off for a while (2-3 hours is good), then check the meter again. If the number has changed, you probably have a leak somewhere.

You can also use your ears to find leaks. Turn of all the faucets in the house and everything else that makes noise, like radios, televisions, or computers. Then, listen. Move through the house. Visit the kitchen and every bathroom. Stop by the utility room and your water pump if you have a well. Find the place where water drains out of your home. Listen carefully. If you hear water moving through the supply pipes or the drains, you may have a leak. If you do hear water, you can usually locate the source. Don’t forget to check your outside faucets because they are often a leak source.

Unfortunately, some leaks are slow and silent. Toilet leaking is often like this. To check your toilet for leaks, put a few drops of bright food coloring into the tank itself (not the bowl). Wait a while. If the food coloring enters the bowl, or the water in the tank goes from colored to clear, you know you have a leak somewhere in the toilet.

Finally, if you have a high water bill, or your meter shows you’re losing water even when the water isn’t running, you may have a leak in the plumbing or pipes, perhaps even the underground pipes servicing your home. Plumbing companies can help you find this type of leak.

 

  1. Replace Legacy Fixtures

Another excellent way to conserve water, and save dollars, is too make sure all your water fixtures and appliances are water efficient. If you live in a home with older toilets, faucets, showerheads, and dishwashers, changing to low flow fixtures will make an enormous difference in your bill. This is because these older legacy fixtures and appliances were not designed with water efficiency in mind.

Today’s more water-efficient fixtures and appliances look great and cut your water usage dramatically. The new green showerheads provide a refreshing invigorating spray while limiting flow to 1.5 gallons per minute. This means you get clean without sending water recklessly down the drain.

The new efficient toilets use less water per flush. In fact, some manufacturers offer dual-flush toilets, which let you choose how much water to use per flush so you can use just a little water for “number one,” but a little more water for “number two.” Even if you’re not quite ready to replace your toilet, you can still save water by filling an empty milk jug with water and pouring the water into the toilet tank. Every gallon jug you put in your tank reduces the water you use per flush by a gallon.

When you are ready to replace your fixtures and appliances, you’ll find plenty of water-efficient affordable plumbing fixtures on the market. But if you aren’t sure how to choose the best plumbing fixtures and appliances, look for the WaterSense® label as you shop. WaterSense® is a partnership with the EPA, and products that have the WaterSense® label must be at least 20% more efficient than the average product in the same category. The WaterSense® label makes it easy to select a water-efficient product that will help you conserve water.

 

  1. Look Outdoors

So far, we’ve been focusing on the inside of your home, but you can take steps to conserve water outside, too.

Be thoughtful about how and when you water your lawn and garden. Watering works best when you do it in the early morning. When you water at high noon, the sun evaporates a lot of your water before it gets to the roots. Watering less frequently, but making sure plants get a full drink is best. This means letting water penetrate the soil deeply, ideally by watering in repeated intervals of short bursts. The deeper, less frequent, watering encourages plants to send roots deeper into the soil, where there’s more moisture. Plants with deeper roots are healthier and can go longer between watering.

Set up a barrel (or two!) to collect rainwater. Store the rainwater in the barrel and use it later, when it’s hot and dry, to water your garden and lawn. Watering this way prevents you from having to draw water from your city water or well.

Another way you can conserve water outside is to xeriscape your yard. Xeriscaping principles were originally developed for drought conditions, so the bedrock principle of xeriscaping is water conservation. Xeriscaping involves planting native plants and ground covers, avoiding open expanses of grass, mulching extensively, and thoughtfully irrigating your landscape with soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems. Native plants and ground covers are naturally adapted to the local climate and mulch keeps the soil moist, reducing the amount of water you need to provide. This makes it easier for your yard to thrive on natural rainfall. The xeriscaping approach works in any yard, not just dry ones.

 

  1. Make Waste Water Work

Once you’ve fixed your leaks, made sure your fixtures and appliances are water-efficient, and reduced your water needs outdoors, you can conserve even more water by finding ways to make sure you capture and use water that would otherwise go to waste. If you wash dishes at your sink, don’t let the water run as you wash. Put a plastic basin in the sink, fill it with water, and use that water to wash your dishes. Even better, add a second basin of clean water for rinsing.

Have you ever turned the hot water on, and waited for it to turn from cold to hot before you started using it? Instead of letting that water go down the drain, capture it in a pitcher or jar and use it to water your houseplants. You can do the same thing with water used to boil pasta—let it cool to room temperature and use it to water your plants. Once you start looking for them, opportunities to reuse water will present themselves everywhere.

Consider rerouting your greywater to irrigate your lawn. Greywater is water from sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines—it doesn’t include water from toilets. With some reworking of your plumbing system, you can recapture greywater before it leaves your house and reroute it to irrigate your lawn. There are many ways to design a greywater system, but you may want to ask a drain service professional to help you set up the system. Once your greywater system is in place, you can put greywater to use watering your yard instead of sending it into the sewer. Texas law specifically allows residential use of greywater, without authorization, as long as you don’t use more than 400 gallons of greywater per day.

 

  1. Change Your Hygiene Habits

We take actions every day to take care of ourselves. We brush our teeth, take a shower, go to the bathroom, wash our dishes, and clean our clothes. We can take care of the earth Change Your Hygiene Habitsand reduce out water usage by making sure we perform those daily habits as water-efficiently as possible.

It’s easy to acquire the habit of letting the water run as we brush our teeth, but if we turn the water off while we’re brushing, and turn it back on only to rinse, we can each save tons of water—literally—over the course of the year.

Here’s how it works. Assume you’ve got a low flow faucet that restricts flow to 1.5 gallons per minute, and you let the water run for one minute each time you brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth twice a day every day, over the year, you’ll let 1,095 gallons of water run down the drain. Each gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, so 1,095 gallons of water weighs 9,132 pounds—that’s four and a half tons! Your tooth-brushing habits can lead to some heavy water savings.

Another way to conserve water is to shorten your showers. Set a timer for five minutes, and step out when the timer goes off. The same rules apply here as with tooth brushing. Every daily minute you eliminate from your showering habit can save more than two tons of water over the course of a year.

Sources

  1. https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html
  2. https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/about_us/watersense_label.html
  3. http://eartheasy.com/grow_xeriscape.htm
  4. https://greywateraction.org/contentabout-greywater-reuse/
  5. http://txrules.elaws.us/rule/title30_chapter210_sec.210.83
  6. https://www.reference.com/science/much-5-gallons-water-weigh-63e621962c79397e

Plumbing Problems and Cold Weather Woes

When your home’s plumbing system is functioning properly, you don’t notice it. Ideally, we’d never have to spare a thought for the pipes and valves which live behind the walls Plumbing Problems and Cold Weather Woesand under the floors of our houses, but it’s important to be aware of how they work and potential causes of malfunction that could end up costing thousands of dollars.

An ounce of prevention in the form of an occasional once-over by a licensed plumber should be all it takes to keep everything running smoothly all year, but unusually cold weather can wreak havoc on your home’s pipes.

In colder climates like the Midwest and the Northeast, homes and buildings are typically erected with pipes fully within the insulation of the home itself. It makes sense, as these places average three or four below-freezing and snowy months every year. In our part of Texas, that’s not usually an issue, so it’s extra important to be aware of unusually cold weather fronts which can wreak havoc on uninsulated piping.

Cold Weather and Burst Pipes

It’s a nightmare scenario; you go out of town for the holidays to visit family or friends, only to come home to a burst pipe and the litany of headaches that this inevitably entails. The average insurance claim for homeowners whose pipes have ruptured due to cold weather is well over ten thousand dollars because it isn’t just the broken pipe that needs to be serviced.

A tiny crack in a water supply line can flood your home with up to two-hundred-fifty gallons of water per day, every day. If you’re out of town when it happens, and it goes unchecked, this can be an absolute disaster, resulting in damaged flooring, walls, and furniture, not to mention ruining irreplaceable heirlooms or emotionally valuable items.

In addition, water soaking into the walls and floors of your home can create a fertile breeding ground for toxic mold and other fungal infestations if not properly dried out during the repair process, which in itself is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

Cold weather causes pipes to freeze when the heat from the water within the pipe is dissipated through the metal into the below-freezing air around it. This means that, usually, Your Pipes Could Freezethe municipal water supply lines and the main line which supplies water to your house are not going to freeze; latent heat energy in the ground itself, as well as the pipes being below the frost line, generally protect against this eventuality. It’s the connection to your house, where the line comes closer to ground level and enters your home, where heat can dissipate and begin the freezing process.

While water will freeze at thirty-two degrees in a controlled environment, it usually needs to be colder than that for a prolonged period of time in order to cause freezing within pipes. Water within the pipes typically retains enough heat from the municipal source to stave off freezing problems at this temperature. That said, a drop of a few degrees can cause all the difference, and it’s better to be prepared for cold weather than to foot the bill for, essentially, rebuilding an entire portion of your home.

When pipes burst due to freezing, it’s not actually the ice which does the damage; it’s the water within your residential plumbing system being pressurized by an ice plug and having nowhere to go. Without an outlet like a faucet or the main water line, pressure will build and build until the pipe bursts laterally and begins costing you lots of money. There are a few easy ways to help prevent this during exceptionally cold forecasts and avoid that emergency plumber call:

  • Install insulation sleeves on any exposed piping in the attic, garage, or crawl space during the fall, well before potential cold fronts move in. These pipes are most susceptible to bursting, as they aren’t kept warm by your home’s regular insulation.
  • Close vents and seal cracks or gaps in exterior walls and your house’s foundation. This will help guarantee that your pipes aren’t unnecessarily exposed to any cold outdoor air, and it’s generally good advice for optimizing energy efficiency in your home.
  • Maintain a household temperature of at least fifty degrees around the clock, and make sure the warm air inside is circulating as much as possible to areas with exposed piping.
  • If you turn on a faucet and nothing comes out, call a plumber Attempting to treat frozen pipes on your own can be dangerous, and it can be difficult for an untrained lay person to pinpoint where exactly the freeze has occurred in the first place.

Water Heaters Working Overtime

There are few things more frustrating than waking up on a freezing cold morning, only to realize that your hot water is out. It can derail your entire day; in the summer it may be feasible to simply rinse off in cold water, but, when weather hovers around freezing, cold showers are absolutely off the table.

Having a water heater in good working order is an absolutely essential comfort during the colder part of the year, and having to repair or replace one on short notice is not going to be cheap. As such, it’s important to keep abreast of your water heater’s functionality, during autumn, and to be aware of any potential issues before they arise.

During the cold months, there are a lot of factors which can negatively impact your water heater’s normal functionality. For one, we tend to use a lot more water when it’s cold Water Heaters Working Overtimeoutside; families will opt to stay in and hunker down rather than leaving the house to be social, leading to a general increase in usage during winter months. We also opt to enjoy hotter, longer showers than we do during other times of the year since nothing feels better than warm steam on a cold morning.

If you have a family and everyone is using hot water around the same time, you’re probably going to see a marked decrease in the amount of hot water available at any given time. This doesn’t necessarily mean your water heater is malfunctioning—it just has to work a lot harder to heat the water to your specified level when the incoming water is colder due to the weather.

When your heater is set to one hundred degrees, it’s going to do its best to get the water to that temperature as quickly as possible for your enjoyment. During warm parts of the year, this isn’t a very difficult task, and hot water may replenish so quickly as to seem unlimited.

However, when the weather is closer to freezing, your hot water heater is going to have to do a lot more work to raise the temperature of the water coming in from outside. Let your hot water tap run for a bit and look for steam before you despair; sometimes, your water heater just needs a little time to work.

Hot water heaters generally last ten to thirteen years before their heating elements begin to weaken and performance starts to dip. If you live in an area with unusually hard water, where mineral precipitate makes a harder job for the machinery, you may need to consider a replacement on an earlier timeframe. Ditto if you have a big family and the water heater is in near constant use; in this case, consider buying a heater with a larger tank.

When in Doubt, Always Call a Professional

While performing your own jury-rigged plumbing repair job based off of YouTube tutorials or online checklists might seem like a great way to save money, your pipes are one area you want to leave to professionals. Shoddy workmanship can come back to bite you to the tune of tens of thousands, so, ultimately, it’s always better to consult with someone who does this for a living.

A semi-annual plumbing inspection is a good idea just to make sure that no surprises rear their heads at inopportune times of year. Even if everything seems to be in good working order, a seasoned plumber’s eyes on your property will alert you to any weak points in your home’s plumbing system and help you keep ahead of repairs.

It’s always a worthwhile investment to make sure your house’s plumbing system and hot water heater are in tip-top shape; better to have peace of mind than to be surprised by bursts and leaks in the winter time and have to spring for emergency repair work.