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.

8 Ways to Recycle: Bathroom Products and More

In today’s environmentally-conscious society, nearly every family and company is striving to do their part to protect the planet. From LEED-certified buildings and green roof projects to all-natural cleaning agents and water conservation programs, the response to ecological concern has been huge across homes and industries.

Today, we take a look at 8 ways you can make an impact through recycling both at home and at work.

8 Ways to Recycle - Bathroom Products and More

1. Recycle Empty Toiletry Bottles and Toilet Roll Cores

One of the most common solutions in practice, it’s a good idea to recycle any appropriate bottles, bags, or containers when they are empty. To take your efforts up a notch, try to Recycle Empty Toiletry Bottles and Toilet Roll Coresrinse as much product residue as you can before recycling. Although the containers will be washed during the recycling process, pre-rinsing could help make the process more efficient by reducing the amount of washing required. Don’t forget your metal shaving cream can! If it’s marked as recyclable, it can go in the bin, too.1

Another simple bathroom-related solution is to recycle the cardboard cores when the toilet paper rolls are empty. This is an oft-forgotten opportunity, as it’s usually convenient to toss the empty core into a bathroom trash can. Go the extra step by walking the cores to your recycling bin. To make things even more convenient, set up a core-specific recycling bin right next to the bathroom garbage.

 

2. Recycle the Plastic Shrink Wrap and Cardboard Boxes from New Products

Similar to our first point, removing a new product from its packaging can be a somewhat mindless task that can lead to hastily tossing plastic and cardboard packing materials into the trash. Encourage your family (and/or coworkers) to be mindful and set aside these materials for recycling when unpacking. If you run a business, set up a dedicated recycling bin in the receiving area and/or any other location that sees a lot of unpacking.

 

3. Go Beyond Just Recycling: Reduce and Reuse!

We’ve all been taught the three Rs of Earth-friendly action (reduce, reuse, recycle), but with recycling at the forefront, the other two are easily forgotten. In addition to using all Go Beyond Just Recycling - Reduce and Reuseof the recycling tips listed here, make an effort to reuse items as much as possible and reduce the amount of disposable material you use.

Switching to reusable canvas grocery bags is one of the most popular ways to reduce one’s use of disposable products. Another method of re-use that’s gained significant ground in the age of Pinterest is the act of “upcycling”—taking a used product and converting it for another use rather than disposing of it.

For example, an old house shutter can be upcycled into a shabby-chic indoor mail sorter with a fresh coat of paint (just place the envelopes into the slats). Or, stick with an old re-use standby: turn junk mail, old homework, and failed printer pages into scrap paper for notes, drawings, and more.

 

4. Turn Recyclables into Art Materials

Another method of reusing or upcycling materials is to use recyclable materials as part of art projects. Allow your kids to use plastic bottle caps, empty milk jugs, junk mail, Turn Recyclables into Art Materialscardboard boxes, and more as supplies for experimenting with mixed-media artwork. If you’re an artist yourself, put your junk to work in the form of glass mosaics, woven plastic bag totes, soda can jewelry, and more.

If you aren’t artistic and don’t know anyone personally who might use your recyclables for such crafts, check with local schools and other organizations to see if they might appreciate the materials. You’d be surprised how much treasure an art teacher can find in a box of trash!

 

5. Consider Recycling Your Water

No, this doesn’t mean you have to bathe in dirty water or stop flushing the toilet (eew). Water recycling can be achieved by allowing rain or shower wastewater to be used for Consider Recycling Your Waterflushing the toilet. If you’re a gardener, consider investing in a couple of rain barrels to capture rain for watering purposes.

If you use only biodegradable soaps and shampoos, collect your used bath or shower water to water your plants—but pay close attention to the products you use and their potential effects on the environment before taking this route. Additionally, be sure to consult with a plumber before making any major changes to your bathroom drain systems.

Though most offices don’t have shower facilities in their building, reuse of rain and other types of wastewater is still possible. Consider discussing with an eco-focused plumbing company whether there are feasible wastewater collection options for your commercial plumbing system.

 

6. Start a Compost Heap

Nature’s own recycling system lies in breaking down organic material (like food) and turning it back into its constituent nutrients and minerals. Start a simple compost heap in your backyard, or add a compost bin to your kitchen. If you’ve got a green thumb, compost also serves as a great DIY fertilizer!

 

7. Audit Your Own Waste Stream

No, not that waste stream. With regard to refuse, a “waste stream” is essentially the garbage that is produced by a group or company. Whether you plan to improve your family’s habits at home or kick-start eco-consciousness in the office, start by noting the kinds of materials that get disposed of (in a work environment, see if you can get people to voluntarily log their trash for a few days).

Once you have a good idea of what’s currently going on, try to identify opportunities to eliminate disposable material from your waste stream, re-use certain types of items, or improve overall recycling habits. Not only will you be reducing, reusing, and recycling, but you’ll be able to measure the change with another audit later on. In any environment, it can be especially powerful to see your impact in the data!

 

8. Know How to Properly Recycle Your Old Gadgets

Unfortunately, recycling a laptop, game console, or phone isn’t as simple as just dropping it into the bin. For this reason, it can be tempting to just toss non-functioning electronics into the trash and move on. Don’t give in to the convenience! Identify local electronics drop-off points to make sure that your devices are processed properly and that any hazardous materials in their components are handled safely.3

The Numerous Benefits of Recycling

Aside from the sense of personal responsibility and satisfaction that you can achieve from doing what’s right for the planet, recycling has a variety of benefits in both the homeStart a Compost Heap and business arenas. From a big-picture perspective, the primary environmental benefits of recycling are that it reduces the overall size and growth rate of landfills, and it helps to conserve natural resources like timber, water, coal, oil, and gas.2

From an industry standpoint, recycling (as well as the other two “R”s) can also be quite profitable. Installing a water-conserving plumbing system, for example, can directly save the company money on monthly water usage. Plus, most governments have policies that offer cash benefits for recycled materials.

When high-profile companies take part in eco-friendly behaviors, it encourages others to do the same. When companies and individuals participate in the process on a larger scale, recycling can help to boost the overall economy, reduce energy usage, and give companies a greener, more responsible public image.

By improving the ways in which their company interacts with the environment, business owners could see an increase in community engagement as a result of their alignment with customers’ eco-friendly values. Ultimately, more engagement means greater success and profit in the long run.

Sources

  1. https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/packaging-symbols-explained
  2. http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/benefits-of-recycling.php
  3. http://www.ecyclingcentral.com/

The Most Bizarre Items Plumbers Find Down the Drain

For many home and business owners, a clogged sink, bath or toilet drain is an all-too-common frustration. When hours of plunging, chemical products and DIY solutions don’t cut it, it’s time to call in the heavyweight: a professional plumber. According to the plumbing companies that take on these incorrigible clogs, it’s not always what you’d expect that stops up the drain. Take a look at just a few of the strangest things these champions of drainage have pulled from the pipes.

 

Dentures

Of the many things you’d rather not drop into the toilet, false teeth are probably somewhere near the top of the list. Unfortunately for one poor fellow in an airport restroom, Dentures Found in a Toiletthat’s exactly where his pearly whites ended up. According to the plumber, when he went to clear what he believed would be a standard toilet paper clog, he found instead a full set of dentures inside the pipe. The amused plumber hung the dentures on the wall of the airport maintenance closet and later added sunglasses. What did he call his creation? “John.” Get it? It’s just a little toilet humor.

 

An Entire Mop Head

Mop Head Found in a ToiletIf you’re going to clean the toilet, using a mop probably isn’t the smartest idea. More than one plumber has discovered an entire mop head in the toilet drain, suggesting that we might need to add a “don’t flush this” unit to our national education standards. Though it’s probably more likely that the people who put them there actually intended to just flush the used mop heads, they’re still a pretty bizarre find. This is exactly the reason it’s important to exercise common sense. When in doubt, toss it in the trash can.

 

An Incredibly Expensive Bracelet

In an airport bathroom, one older woman found herself in a jewelry-fanatic’s nightmare: her $10,000 charm bracelet had come loose from her wrist and fallen into the toilet. Needless to say, she was distraught (and worried about what her husband might say when he found out). Fortunately, the plumber—that very same hero who’d rescued the dentures in our first story—was able to pull the toilet away from the wall and snatch the bracelet back out of the pipe. And, like the great guy he is, he even took the time to carefully wash and dry the bracelet for her before giving it to her in a clean plastic bag.

 

A Wig

One plumber ran into a somewhat “hairy” situation when snaking the drain of a toilet in a popular night club. As the rooter turned, the plumber reported first seeing a red A Wig Found in a Toiletstrand twisted slowly up the wire. Eventually, an entire bright-red wig was pulled from the drain. According to the story, the plumber saw a stage performer wearing the very same wig a week later, completely oblivious to its previous “adventure.”

 

Roughly $12,000 in Quarters

Coins Found in a ToiletMany people will never see $12,000 in their bank account at one time, much less have $12,000 worth of actual cash in their possession. Even so, that’s exactly what one plumber found when called to deal with a blockage in a gravity line. According to the plumber, the mass of quarters filled up two five-gallon buckets. No one could seem to figure out from where, exactly, the coins had originated.

 

Phones Galore

It wouldn’t be a 21st century trip to the bathroom without the constant fear of a cell phone incident. In cases too numerous to count, people’s handheld gadget just haven’t beenA Phone Found in a Toilet able to stay out of the toilet. In addition to “slipped out of my pocket” and “dropped it while texting on the toilet” scenarios, plumbers have found even more difficult to explain clogs, including an entire iPhone 5S—still inside the shrink-wrapped box. Let’s see the Hardy Boys solve that one.

Wedding and Engagement Rings

Wedding Rings Found in a ToiletAnother unfortunately common and cringe-worthy accident is the loss of a wedding, engagement or other meaningful ring down the sink drain. Whether the band is already too loose or slips off during hand-washing, plumbers are regularly called to rescue such baubles from the drain pipes (probably before the wife finds out).

 

An Augur Cable

If there’s one thing you don’t want to do as a plumber, it’s to leave behind any evidence that might suggest you’re not properly doing your job. For example: if the cable to your augur breaks while you’re snaking a drain, for goodness’ sake, find a way to get it out. Otherwise, it will contribute to the clogging issue—and annoy the heck out of the next plumber.

Illicit Substances

It’s probably no surprise that all kinds of illegal substances have been found stuffed down the drain in large amounts, either loose or in bags. In the latter case, the potential for Illicit Substances Found in a Toiletclogging should be obvious (perhaps to the sober individual). Nevertheless, professionals still sometimes find themselves pulling significant amounts of drugs from the drain. The lesson is this: you can’t hide anything from your plumber. Sooner or later, he’ll find your hastily-flushed stash.

 

A Goose

A Goose Found in a ToiletIn a truly unfortunate accident, an entire goose was sucked into a pump and pulled into the plumbing, clogging the drain. The plumber who found the goose estimated that it had been pulled approximately 10 feet into a three-inch pipe, raising the question of how anyone recognized the clog as a goose at all.

 

Live Animals

In similarly-shocking incidents, live animals have been found stuck in drains. Aside from the myriad of goldfish that end up flushed before their time, plumbers have found live squirrels, turtles, rats—and yes—small alligators. In one case, a plumber found a squirrel that had climbed down through a roof ventilation pipe. The poor thing got itself waterlogged and stuck, but was eventually freed by the kind-hearted handyman. Who said plumbers aren’t softies?


One of the X-Men

If you’ve got a potty-training toddler, you’ve already discovered the universal truth that kids love to flush things. In one child’s case, he apparently felt that toilet troubles would be best solved by sending in Wolverine to deal with the issue (why didn’t the grown-ups think of that?). When the plumber went to remove the toy from the drain, he found the X-Man gripping the toilet trap with his tiny faux-adamantium claws. Needless to say, saving the miniature hero was quite the memorable experience.

 

Sources:

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/lists/weird/10-bizarre-things-people-have-flushed-down-toilets/

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/24xkzj/plumbers_of_reddit_what_is_the_most/

Green Plumbing and Water Conservation Tips for 2017

More and more people are jumping on the water conservation bandwagon. That’s good news for the environment. It’s good news for homeowners and business owners, as well. Green Plumbing and Water Conservation Tips for 2017Following best plumbing and conservation practices not only protects the environment but also cuts that monthly water bill down to size.

Here at Met Plumbing, we’ve been busy compiling a list of the top green plumbing and water conservation tips to help you tackle the problem. As the new year gets underway, it’s a good time to evaluate your usage habits and resolve to be more water-conscious in the future. If you haven’t already dedicated yourself to trimming unnecessary water use, 2017 is a great time to start.

Handle All Leaks Immediately

The longer you let a leak persist, the more water you waste. Even the smallest drip can release 20 gallons each and every day. Your average household leak squanders 10,000 gallons of water annually. Combined, that’s 1 trillion gallons thrown down the drain in the United States alone. Check your faucets often to nip the problem in the bud.

Also, don’t forget to check your sprinklers or your toilet—defective toilet flappers are notorious for causing leaks. If you do have a leak, call a 24-hour plumber to get the situation handled as soon as possible.

 

Use a Water Meter

It’s one thing if you can hear the faucet drip dripping all day long. In that case, you have no excuse for not calling up the friendly, licensed plumbers at Met Plumbing right away. Handle All Leaks ImmediatelyIt’s another thing entirely if the leak is silent or otherwise undetectable.

Fortunately, there’s a rather simple way to check for leaks: look at your home’s water meter when no water is running. Keep the water off for a few hours (anywhere between 2 and 8 hours), and then check it again. If the meter reading is exactly the same, you’re good to go. If the number is different, you most likely have a leak.

Random Fact: If you add up all the residential leaks across the country and put that water to good use, you could supply 11 million homes for an entire year.1

 

Watch Your Sprinklers

Overwatering during the dog days of summer is probably one of the most common ways to waste water and run up a ghastly monthly bill. Fortunately, there are many ways toWatch Your Sprinklers keep your sprinklers in check without burdening your time. One of the most effective methods is to attach a timer. Spring-loaded timers, which usually come with a conveniently low price tag, are a great option.

Random Fact: It’s good to check your sprinkler system every year (ideally at the beginning of spring) to make sure the winter frost hasn’t damaged any parts of the irrigation system.

 

Practice Green Grooming

There are many little, yet effective things you can do to reduce the amount of water you use while cleaning and grooming yourself. For starters, wet your toothbrush and then immediately turn off the faucet. You can also soak your razors in a few inches of warm water instead of rinsing them off with running water. In other words, anytime you can shut off the faucet and stop water from running, you’re doing a good deed.

Random Fact: Which room in the house uses up most of the water? Not surprisingly, it’s the bathroom. Approximately ¾ of all the water that comes into a building goes straight to the restroom.2

Random Fact: In addition to saving the environment, fixing simple leaks will also save you money. According to the EPA, being diligent when it comes to leaks can take about 10 percent off your water bill.

Check the Water Pressure

If your water pressure is too high, your plumbing system can take a beating. Generally, a water pressure reading that exceeds 60 pounds per square inch will not only cause damage to the drainage system but may also raise the water usage levels, leading to waste. If needed, you can install pressure-reducing valves to bring that figure down to a safe level.

Random Fact: Water pressure is affected by the amount of water other residents on your street are using. Since the water pressure is not determined solely by your own usage, you’ll have to call your local water department to get a water pressure reading for your exact location.

 

Cut Your Shower Time

Nothing runs up your monthly bill faster than running water. Taking long showers may be relaxing, but it can also be tremendously wasteful. If you really want to be Cut Your Shower Timeenvironmentally conscious (and financially responsible), turn off the water when you lather up with soap. Turn it back on again when you rinse the suds off (not recommended in the dead of winter, of course).

Random Fact: 17 percent of all water used in a residential setting goes to the shower.

 

Install Eco-Friendly Showerheads

With so many green gadgets on the market, being environmentally conscious is easier than ever. One of those cool gadgets is a water-saving or high-efficiency showerhead. While your average showerhead pours 2.5 gallons per minute over your head, these special showerheads can cut that down to 2.0 g.p.m. That might not seem like much, but, when you add it all up, it comes out to 2,900 gallons per year for the average family.

Random Fact: How much water can you save by installing more efficient fixtures or appliances? 30 percent, says the EPA.

 

Stop Prewashing Dishes

Many of us are in the habit of rinsing our dishes before we place them in the dishwasher. That’s not only time-consuming and inefficient but, these days, it’s usually Stop Prewashing Dishesunnecessary. That’s because most modern dishwasher detergents feature enzymes that eat up food particles, so you and your sink don’t have to.

Random Fact: How much does the average American household spend each year on their water bill? Statistics reveal that they spend up to $500 annually.

 

Lay Off the Chemicals

If you throw too many chemicals down your drain, you risk killing off the bacteria that lives inside your septic system. If that sounds like a good thing, remember that some bacteria are not only natural but potentially beneficial.

In fact, many different bacteria are essential to maintaining a working septic system. That doesn’t mean you should avoid using bleach, detergents, or other chemicals, but keep them to a bare minimum in order to prevent an imbalance from occurring.

Random Fact: Your septic system contains billions of microorganisms that help to break down wastewater.

 

Use Your Disposal Sparingly

You might not be aware that your kitchen sink garbage disposal uses a great deal of water when you turn it on. By throwing solids down the drains, you also risk causing plumbing problems in the future.

Don’t Water Unless It’s Necessary

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to shut off the hose whenever you’re not using water. Whether you’re watering your lawn or washing your car, shut the valve off the Don’t Water Unless It’s Necessarymoment you no longer need it. You can also use a broom instead of a hose to wash down your driveway or the sidewalks in front of your house.

Random Fact: How much water does the average American use every day? According to the EPA, they run 100 gallons through their home daily.

 

It’s important that we all do our part to conserve the planet’s resources. Only by being conscious of our usage and cutting down can we ensure that all the world’s creatures, big and small, can enjoy nature’s bounty for many generations to come. That’s why we at Met Plumbing are committed to green plumbing practices.

Give us a call at (281) 599-3336 or contact us through our website to get in touch with our professional plumbers and schedule a service call.

 

 

 

Sources

  1. https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html
  2. http://eartheasy.com/live_water_saving.htm

 

Why Does My Kitchen Sink Smell?

If your kitchen sink is emitting a foul odor, there could be a couple of things causing the issue. Taking immediate action is recommended to avoid having the smell grow even stronger. The longer you wait, the more bacterial growth could be accumulating, which could attract bugs or worsen existing plumbing problems. Why Does My Kitchen Sink Smell

The two most common causes of a stinky sink are rotten food stuck in the drain or garbage disposal, or a gas leak around the drain trap or vent. If it smells like old food, the drain may need to be snaked. Alternatively, the garbage disposal may need cleaning or replacing.

If it smells like gas, the drain trap may need to be replaced in case of a leak, or the drain vent may have a blockage. Unless you’re super handy, plumbing services will be necessary for handling any gas-related smells.

Another thing people tend to overlook (and then laugh at themselves later) involves the trash bin. If you keep the trash in the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink, make sure to check the bin to confirm the smell isn’t emanating from outside of the sink.

For minor problems related to food, follow these steps to eliminate the odor:

  1. Put some ice cubes down the drain and run the garbage disposal to clean the blades.
  2. Use a store-bought drain cleaner or make your own homemade cleaner with baking soda and vinegar, then flush with boiling water.
  3. Place small orange or lemon rinds down the drain (one at a time) and run the garbage disposal to deodorize.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to call a plumber to inspect the drain and garbage disposal. Give MET Plumbing a call today at (281) 599-3336.

7 Common Plumbing Fails to Avoid

Some plumbing mistakes cause minor disturbances. Others are catastrophic, sending ripples through the universe, or at least through your drainage system and bank account. To make you feel a little less alone and to help you avoid some of the most frequent mistakes that people make when trying to repair their plumbing systems, we’ve compiled this little list of common fails.

Mistake #1: When You Take Something Apart and Forget How to Put It Back Together

Most of us have done it: We set out to fix a small problem and end up creating a calamity. In fact, it’s probably one of the most common plumbing 7 Common Plumbing Fails to Avoidproblems to afflict DIYers.

  • The Problem: Maybe you thought you could replace that rusted pipe on your own, or perhaps you thought you could fiddle with that fixture without having to call in the professionals. Then, at the last minute, you forget what piece goes where and which end is which.
  • The Solution: If you’re stuck in a bind there are really only two options. 1) Fidget around until everything looks right, then cross your fingers and hope nothing explodes. 2) Call the professionals at MET Plumbing to repair your repair. And, don’t worry, we won’t judge; we’ve seen a thousand and one fixes go wrong.

 

Mistake #2: Violating the Plumbing Code

Although it sounds like a bad joke, the plumbing code is, in fact, a very real thing and violating it constitutes the greatest sin in the plumbing universe. To be more specific, the plumbing code is a massive book of rules and regulations that rivals the tax code in all of its monstrous complexity. Violating the Plumbing Code

  • The Problem: When you install that new toilet or water heater, you have to ensure that all your work meets a set of very specific criteria laid out in this monumental list of dos and don’ts. If it doesn’t, you could be in for a rude surprise—anything from a faulty pipe to a nasty note and a fine from the building inspector.
  • The Solution: Get your hands on a copy of the Universal Plumbing Code or the International Plumbing Code and start studying. If that doesn’t sound appealing, ring up the experts at MET Plumbing to install that new drainage system or do that handy toilet repair job for you. As licensed professionals, we’re fully knowledgeable in the ways of the code.

To help you get your feet wet when it comes to plumbing regulations, we’ve listed a number of the most common ways that people violate the plumbing code and how you can avoid the same mistakes.

 

Mistake #3: When You Don’t Leave Enough Leg Room Around Your Toilet

Mistake number two is no joke, either. If you fail to leave adequate space around your fixtures when you’re remodeling your bathroom or installing a When You Don’t Leave Enough Leg Room Around Your Toiletnew toilet, you’ll regret it later.

  • The Problem: Leg cramps or severe claustrophobia can result from insufficient space around toilets and basins in your bathroom. Tight space can also make it harder for you or your plumber to access the area and unclog a toilet.
  • The Solution: Essentially, the code says you must create enough space around the toilet and basins so that larger people can do their business without suffering undue discomfort. That means you must place toilets at least 18 inches away from the front wall and at least 15 inches away from the wall on the side.

While the regulations aren’t enough to turn your bathroom into a luxury spa, they are enough to provide basic comfort to nearly anyone, regardless of height, weight, or propensity to get leisurely while answering the call of nature.

 

Mistake #4: When Your Slope Slopes Too Much (Or Not Enough)

Did you know the pipe that carries waste away from your toilet must have a very specific slope or incline? Well, it does, and it’s best not to forget it.When Your Slope Slopes Too Much (Or Not Enough)

  • The Problem: When moving waste-bearing water away from the toilet, a drainage pipe has to perform a delicate balancing act. If the slope is too great, then the water will move too fast, leaving those pesky solids behind. That’s the surest way to come down with a case of clogged drains. On the other hand, if the slope is too slight, then the water will be unable to scrub the pipe walls clean.
  • The Solution: So, what is the magic number? While the Uniform Plumbing Code permits an incline of as little as 1/16 inch per feet, the sweet spot for any sized pipe is 1/4 inch per feet, according to at least one building inspector.

Perhaps that’s more than you ever wanted to know about the inner workings of your plumbing system, but now you can impress the trusty plumber from MET Plumbing when he pays you a visit.

 

Mistake #5: When You Forget to Vent Your Traps

This kind of trap doesn’t lock you in; it locks the bad stuff out. By bad staff, we mean anything from rats and mice to sewage and methane gas. The When You Forget to Vent Your Traps important thing to remember is that the trap must be properly ventilated.

  • Problem: Without proper ventilation, water can drain out, leaving your trap as dry as the Mojave Desert in summer and as useless as a plumber without a license (this might be a good time to mention that all of our plumbers at MET Plumbing are fully licensed).
  • The Solution: Make sure your trap is sufficiently ventilated. Also, make sure you’re using the right trap for the job. S-traps, for example, are not right for sink drains; you should use a P-trap, instead.

If you can’t make heads or tails of your vents and traps, then be sure to contact the specialists at MET Plumbing. We’ll be happy to tell you whether your pipes are up to snuff (or sniff).

 

Mistake #6: When You Forget to Install Clean-Outs

Even the most conscientious homeowner can’t avoid clogged drains. Fortunately, that’s why you have clean-outs. Or do you? When You Forget to Install Clean-Outs

  • The Problem: If you don’t have enough clean-outs or if you fail to put them in specific places, you make it more difficult for your favorite plumber to clear your pipes. You also risk getting one of those mean notes from one of those fussy inspectors.
  • The Solution: Follow the guidelines laid out in the Plumber’s Code to ensure that your clean-outs are located in the correct places throughout your house. Of course, you’ll have to figure out which code applies to your area, as there are different sets of regulations depending on the locale.

According to the Universal Plumbing Code, you must place a clean-out at a junction between a building drain and a building sewer or on horizontal branches that are separated by at least 100 feet. See the full guide for complete specifications.

 

Mistake #7: When You Place the Clean-Outs in Siberia

Clean-outs exist so a plumber can clear your drains of any clogs. If you put them in an impractical location—say a tight space that no human adult could access—then you defeat When You Place the Clean-Outs in Siberiathe purpose.

  • Problem: If your plumber has to squeeze into a ridiculously tight space, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to unclog those drains.
  • The Solution: Make sure all of your clean-outs are accessible, leaving an 18-inch clearance zone in front of every access point. For a pipe that’s only 2 inches or smaller, the UPC permits a 12-in. clearance. See the full guidelines for complete spacing information.

If you don’t remember all the little particulars laid out in the plumbing code, don’t worry. We won’t test you. If you ever plan to do some DIY work, however, it’s a good resource to know about. Although the Plumbing Code can be lengthy, complex, and insanely detailed, it’s there for a purpose: to make sure that all the pipes and fixtures in your home work properly and smoothly. If anything, this little list of fails should give you a newfound respect for the professional plumbing companies that keep your pipes running smoothly and your home free of sewage.

How to Handle Water Heater Drain Valve Leaks

Every water heater comes equipped with a valve that drains water from the heater. If you are experiencing problems with a water heater leaking, it could be a problem with the drain valve, pressure relief valve, or water line. More often than not, it’s related to the drain valve.

If it’s a problem with the drain valve, you can begin to identify it by looking for a puddle of water beneath the water heater. If you find a puddle, locate How to Handle Water Heater Drain Valve Leaksthe drain valve (usually placed toward the bottom of the heater) and look for any leaks coming out of it. If you see water leaking from that area, you have found the culprit. Luckily, there are a few troubleshooting options available.

  • Tighten the valve – Turn off the water heater by shutting off the power or turning the gas valve to pilot, then tighten the valve handle and valve stem nut.
  • Cap the outlet – Best for smaller leaks, buy and install a replacement cap from your local hardware store. This can work as a temporary fix until you replace the drain valve.
  • Replace the drain valve – Consult your water heater’s instructions for shutting off the water heater. Failure to follow instructions could result in serious damage to both you and the water heater. Once the heater is completely shut off and disconnected, you can drain the tank, replace the drain valve, and then restart the heater.

 

Remember, water heaters contain liquid at scalding temperatures. If you are inexperienced working with water heaters, attempting a fix-it-yourself scenario could pose serious hazards and risks. When in doubt, contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336.

 

Plumbing Emergencies: What NOT to Do!

Plumbing Emergencies - What NOT to Do

At Met Plumbing, clients often call us at all hours of the day and night to rescue them from plumbing emergencies that can range in seriousness from the lighthearted to the dangerous. As a 24-hour plumber, we’re more than happy to get you out of any sticky situation that might arise, but we thought we’d provide a few tips to help you prevent plumbing emergencies in the first place, or at least to help you navigate the most panic-inducing leaks and clogs when they do happen. Here are the biggest plumbing DON’Ts we could think of.

 

DON’T: Arrive at the scene without an emergency kit.

When the experts at Met Plumbing arrive at your home to fix that leaky faucet or clogged toilet, they always come prepared with their handy plumbing emergency kit. Trying to fix a major plumbing problem without a trusty kit is like trying to wrestle an alligator without … well, it’s like trying to wrestle an alligator.

 

DON’T: Twiddle your thumbs.

No matter how insignificant it may seem, every plumbing problem should be taken seriously. A dripping showerhead may not seem like a big deal, DON’T Twiddle your thumbsbut  even the smallest leak can cost you a lot of money in water bills. Leaks are also great at wasting the planet’s precious resources. Best not to twiddle your thumbs and whistle past the leaking faucet. Instead, call our licensed and experienced plumbers to handle your water leak problem, no matter how big or small.

 

DON’T: Forget to replace your hoses.

Washing machines and dishwashers have at least one thing in common—they rely on hoses to get water to and from the units. Unfortunately, hoses wear out after repeated use. Forgetting to replace them every five years or so with stainless steel hoses is one of the surest ways to create a five-alarm plumbing emergency. When they do go bust, they rarely give a helpful warning beforehand. That means routine maintenance is the best way to avoid a panic situation.

 

DON’T: Start a plumbing project without knowing where in the world the main water shut-off valve is.

DONT Start a plumbing projectEven if you don’t need to turn off the main water valve, you should at least know where it is. If you run into a problem, you’re going to want to know where it is and how to turn it off quickly. The last thing you want to do is go on the plumbing version of an Easter egg hunt while your pipes are hemorrhaging water.

 

DON’T: Pour gallons of liquid drain cleaner down your sink.

You might never know it by the sheer quantity of liquid drain cleaners on the market, but dumping toxic chemicals down your sink may not be the best way to clear a pipe. Not only can those caustic substances burn through drain-clogging hairballs, but they can sometimes burn through the pipe itself (not to mention what it can do to your skin). On top of that, liquid drain cleaner is often ineffective, failing in its primary task of unclogging drains.

A better strategy is to keep your drain clear in the first place. Preventing grease or hair from ever entering the pipes is worth a few gallons of drain cleaner. Failing that, call in the professionals at Met Plumbing to clear those drains in no time at all (and you won’t even have to wear a hazmat suit).

 

DON’T: Fill your toilet with freshening tablets.

On a similar note, those fresheners you drop in your toilet can also wreak havoc. That’s because they, too, contain drain-eroding chemicals that can damage your plumbing over the long run. They can also lead to a clogged toilet if left to dissolve inside the pipes. Unfortunately, having a nice smelling toilet filled with pretty blue water doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t flush.

 

DON’T: Fix a water heater yourself.

Water heaters are notoriously difficult to fix. Sometimes they’re downright dangerous. If you are going to brave the hazards of the basement on your own, be sure to turn off the unit before touching anything else. That being said, even an apparently simple task like testing the temperature can prove challenging, if not hazardous. Failing to properly remove and replace the valve, for example, can lead to a sudden outpouring of searing hot water.

If you want to avoid burns, property damage, and overall devastation, stay away from the water heater and leave the job to the professionals at Met Plumbing, who specialize in repairing tank and tankless water heaters.

 

DON’T: Use the same water heater for decades.

Sadly, water heaters aren’t immortal. They, too, get old and die. With an average lifespan of about a decade, give or take a few years, they need replacing every now and then. Tell-tale signs that your unit needs some attention include cold water spills and leakage. In order to determine whether you need a simple repair or a full-on replacement, look at the installation date and consult a professional.

 

DON’T: Turn off the main water valve if it’s not necessary.

Sometimes you need to turn off the main water valve in order to fix a pressing plumbing problem. Sometimes you don’t. Knowing when to do so and DON’T Turn off the main water valvewhen not to do so can be the key to getting yourself out of a predicament.

Each fixture in your house—faucet, toilet, shower—should have its own shutoff valve. Called isolation valves, they allow you to turn off the water to each fixture without shutting down the entire house. Such a tool can come in handy if your wife is taking shower while you’re trying to repair the downstairs toilet. If turning off an isolation valve will do the job, then leave the main water valve alone. In fact, it’s good to shut off and on all of your isolation valves at least once a year to keep everything running smoothly and to lessen the risk of emergencies.

 

DON’T: Turn your toilet into a garbage can.

We’ve covered this one before in a previous how-to and how-not-to article, but it’s worth repeating. In fact, it’s worth screaming from the rooftops. Your toilet is not a trash can. It does not empty out at the local landfill. Paper towels, feminine products, hair products, make-up pads, ear swabs, children’s toys, dog toys, cats—they don’t belong in the toilet. If they end up there, you will wind up calling us at odd hours of the night, demanding to know why your bathroom has become a lake. While we’re delighted to do emergency toilet repair, we’d prefer you didn’t have to call us in the first place.

 

DON’T: Rely on duct tape as a permanent solution.

DON’T Rely on duct tape as a permanent solutionSome DIYers out there have advised homeowners to use duct tape to plug leaks and cracks. It’s a great solution for the short-term. In the long run, you’re going to need to fix or replace that drainage pipe. If you’re looking for a temporary solution, duct tape to your heart’s content. If you want your plumbing to survive the wear and tear of many months and years, call the skilled experts at Met Plumbing for a real patch-up job.

 

DON’T: Rely too heavily on DIY knowledge.

Most people trust their car to a mechanic, their financial portfolios to a qualified investment manager, and their heart to a cardiologist; so, why do so many people trust their plumbing to themselves?

Sometimes DIY plumbing jobs go as planned. Sometimes they succeed without any major mishaps. Just as frequently they can land you in a good deal of hot water (or cold water, as the case may be). All too often we’ve seen a do-it-yourselfer turn a minor plumbing problem into a major plumbing emergency.

 

DON’T: Confuse a contractor or handyman with a plumber.

General contractors and handymen are great at fixing any number of problems. They’re jacks-of-all-trades. Many of them are all-around good guys and gals. One thing a general contractor isn’t, though, is a plumbing expert. Calling a contractor to fix your clogged drains is a bit like calling your family doctor to operate on your blocked arteries. While both are great at what they do, they don’t do the same thing. When it comes to leaky pipes, clogged drains, faulty water heaters, or overflowing sinks, you need to call in the specialists.

 

DON’T: Forget to call Met Plumbing.

For all of your Texas plumbing needs, Met Plumbing is here to help. As a family-run business with over 20 years of professional plumbing experience,DON’T Forget to call Met Plumbing we can handle any emergency you throw at us. Serving the entire Houston Metro area, including Katy, the Woodlands, and Sugar Land, we provide everything from water heater repair and drain cleaning to kitchen plumbing services and toilet repair. Whether you have a major emergency or just need routine maintenance, call us at 281-599-3336 or fill out our online form to schedule a service call. You’ll be glad we MET!