Soaking Up the Sun

If we are soaking it up for too long it can burn us, but more often than not the sun is our friend; with its surface burning at10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun is a hot commodity. It is enough that this star brings life and growth to our planet, but can it also line our pockets?  Utilizing the sun’s power is not a brand new concept, we have been using it to tan our skin, heat our homes and propel our vehicles for a while, but in the world of plumbing the sun offers another bright idea.

The concept of solar water heaters is one that is not very familiar to the public.  Much more hype has been place on solar home heating systems,but the energy of the sun is vast and so are the possibilities and opportunities to harness its power.  And since the sun’s price is well below the going rate it is also budget- savvy.  Like most green and top-notch technology, installing the initial device can be a little more costly than a traditional system, but over the long run, the solar device will help you save;www.energysavers.gov tells us that, “On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you’re protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.”

There are several different types of solar water heaters, the two most common are active and passive.  Active systems include circulating pumps and are more expensive and more intricate to install, but can handle more volume.  Passive require very little maintenance and are among the simplest to install.  When choosing your system, your region and the amount of water you use daily should be taken in to consideration.  Also, remember that switching over to solar doesn’t mean a whole new renovation, as you can read onwww.lower-my-energybill.com,“In most instances, solar hot water heaters are designed to accommodate an existing system. In effect the solar powered system is retro fitted to a secondary fuel powered water heating unit that serves as a backup. Since the sun’s natural radiation isn’t always accessible, a sufficient back up source is required.”

Being independent from the rises and falls in the market place and being able to rely on an entity as reliable as the sun is a good feeling, there are not many choices that can save us money and save our earth at the same time, so it is a good thing to look in to. That is at least until someone figures out how to place a tax on the sun.

The Battle of the Drains

Drains, we never really think about them except when they stop working.  Then those little things can cause complete mayhem.  Many of us have stood there and shouted, “No, no…stop, stop!” at foul liquid spewing from the bowels of our houses or waiting hours and hours for some used and dirty water to finally seep away.

There are many helpful-hints out there when it comes to our drains some included baking powder, some harsh chemicals.  It is easy to think the harsher the better when our drains are torturing us, but we must remember that whatever we pour or wash down our drains doesn’t disappears into a dark, never-to-be-seen again abyss, it all has to go somewhere.  Even in our panic, we should be mindful of what we decide to pour down our drains.  Here are some green and helpful drain tips from www.care2.com

Baking Soda Drain Cleaner
If water hasn’t yet backed up in your drain, pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 3 cups of boiling water. The boiling water will change the chemical composition of baking soda, making it more alkaline. Repeat a few times until the drain is clear.

Washing Soda Drain Cleaner
If the water isn’t going down the drain, pour a cup of washing soda over the drain area and let it set for a while to work its way down to the clog. Once the clog is loosened, use the baking soda method, above. Washing soda is more alkaline than baking soda, with a pH of 11. You never want to use washing soda if a commercial acid drain cleaner has recently been used in the drain, as they will strongly react with each other. You also shouldn’t overuse washing soda if you have PVC pipes, as the caustic nature of washing soda can slowly damage the plastic.

The Bubbling Method Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
Baking soda and vinegar react with each other to cause bubbles and fizzing. Sometimes the fizzing can unlodge clogs. Follow the baking soda and boiling water formula, above, with 1 cup of vinegar.

Enzyme Drain and Garbage Disposal Maintenance
All natural living enzyme culture drain cleaners will actually eat and break down any organic matter. Using enzyme drain cleaners once a month, such as Bi-O-Kleen’s Bacout, will help not just your drains, but your septic system. They will also significantly reduce odor from garbage disposals. Colonies of enzymes will actually continue to grow and break down organic matter in your drains.

If our poor drains weren’t so neglected, abused and forgotten about perhaps their fury wouldn’t be so seemingly vengeful.  But since we will probably continue to forget about them and they in turn will continue to torture us whenever they get the chance, some of these green quick fix ideas are helpful to have in our pockets.  If you can’t seem to calm down your drain issues, or your drains can’t seem to get over the neglect, plumbers are good mediators; perhaps they can bring some understanding to the situation.