4 Things to Learn About Low Flow Toilets & Plumbing Fixtures

The conservation of water can prove crucial for communities in dry, hot parts of the country such as Arizona, especially when the local reservoirs run particularly low. For many Americans, low-flow toilets offer a more resource-efficient way to flush, preserving more water for the community while also reducing utility bills.

If you have never had a low-flow toilet in your home, you should get to know these pieces of equipment, from the various mechanisms that make them so efficient to the potential repair and maintenance issues to keep in mind. Start by examining the following four important points.

1. Low-Flow Toilets Save Water

Throughout most of the 20th Century, residential toilets commonly featured tanks that typically used five gallons of water for each flush. In 1994, new federal rules aimed at conserving water led to the adoption of the first generation of low-flow toilets that used only 1.6 gallons per flush.

The latest developments in low-flow toilet technology permit units to work successfully while using a mere 1.28 gallons per flush. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards a WaterSense label to models that meet their standards for efficiency. These toilets can reduce residential water usage by up to 60 percent.

2. Low-Flow Toilets Can Pose Some Special Challenges

As effective and appealing as low-flow toilets may seem as a way to slash your water bill and help your community, these appliances can prove more vulnerable to certain problems than traditional pre-1994 toilets. In fact, the earliest low-flow toilets almost always required two flushes instead of one, limiting their cost-effectiveness.

Modern low-flow toilets benefit from design modifications that reduce the need for multiple flushes. However, these units may still clog relatively easily, since the lower volume of water moves with less force. Power towels, trash, feminine hygiene products, and other flushed items can easily create a partial or total blockage.

The installation of low-flow toilets can also have a negative effect on certain kinds of plumbing pipes. Old-style drain pipes made from iron or galvanized steel, in particular, may corrode more quickly than usual as liquid and solid waste move through them at a reduced pace.

3. Low-Flow Toilets Come in Different Forms

Just as low-flow toilets provide a welcome alternative to older traditional designs, modern low-flow toilets offer a few different alternatives for homeowners looking to make the switch. For one thing, several of today’s designs actually need far less than 1.28 gallons per flush, making them especially water-efficient.

Many low-flow toilets come with a dual-flush capability. In this design, you have the option of using one button or lever to flush liquid waste and another button or lever to flush solid waste. Each option uses a different volume of water, ensuring that solid waste gets flushed the first time while using minimal water for liquid waste disposal.

Some state-of-the-art low-flow toilets combine water pressure with air pressure to keep waste moving along without the need for excess water. These pressure-assist models cost more than standard toilets and can prove mechanically complex, but they have the added advantage of sporting a small tank that saves space.

4. Low-Flow Toilets Work Just Fine With Proper Care

Don’t assume that the switchover to low-flow toilets has to result in clogs and breakdowns. You can keep your low-toilets running perfectly well simply by taking care about what kinds of objects you try to flush with them. Warn family members and visitors not to flush anything other than waste and toilet paper down these toilets.

Think about the state and age of your pipes before installing low-flow toilets. Your plumbing technicians can check to see whether you have old metal pipes that might face a heightened risk for corrosion. If so, ask the plumbing team to replace them with modern PVC pipes that will resist corrosion and provide more trouble-free service.

Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter can help you take the plunge into the world of low-flow toilets. Whether you want to install low-flow toilets throughout your home, need to check the status of pipes before taking that step, or develop a problem with your low-flow toilets, contact us today for skilled professional assistance.

Plumbing Problems That Only a Skilled Plumbing Technician Can Find

Leaky pipes, a dripping faucet, a clogged drain — these are obvious plumbing issues that an average homeowner can detect without the help of an expert. If you’re confident, you might even try to fix them yourself. But doing so might lead to much bigger problems. You might not know when you’re making a mistake. Read more

Plumbing Upgrades to Consider During a Bathroom Remodel

There are two compelling reasons to consider plumbing upgrades: greater convenience and safety for your family, and increased resale value for your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners aren’t familiar with all of the options available to them to accomplish these goals. Here is an overview of four of the best plumbing upgrades to consider if you want to take advantage of the latest innovations. Read more

Should You Reline or Replace Your Pipes?

Pipes wear out, just like any other plumbing component. That’s why they will need to be replaced or repaired at some point in the future, or leaks will eventually appear and cause a big mess.

However, pipe replacement is also a big job and can require a significant amount of work. As such, an alternative to complete replacement, known as pipe relining, is growing in popularity.

Read more

Basics of Thermal Expansion Tanks for Water Heaters

A typical water heater has a tank to hold the water during the heating process and keep it at the ready once it’s been heated. However, most water heaters also need a secondary tank called a thermal expansion tank. This is a smaller tank that typically sits above the water heater and holds both water and air. Read more

New kitchen water faucets

How to Conserve Water In Your Home

Water inefficiency is bad for both your pocket and the environment. Fortunately, you can take a wide range of measures to avoid water wastage at home. Below are some of these measures.

Install High-efficiency Appliances

Water appliances have different efficiencies. Choose the highest efficiency within your budget whenever you want to install an appliance. Here are some useful examples of such appliances:

  • Low-flow showerheads with rates as low as 2 gallons per minute
  • Low-flush toilets that use as little as 1.6 gallons per flush
  • Low-flow faucets that deliver as little as 1.5 gallons per minute

Water appliances are becoming more efficient as time goes on — and without compromising on functionality. If you have old appliances, the chance is high that the contemporary market has numerous efficient appliances you can use to update your current appliances.

Use a Tankless Water Heater

Water heaters come in different varieties, but you can choose between two major categories — tank and tankless systems. The tank system heats and stores hot water, while the tankless system only heats water when you need it.

A tankless water heater is both energy- and water-efficient. Water efficiency is possible because the appliance instantly heats the water when you need it. Thus, you don’t have to wait for some cold water to flow down the drain as the water heats.

Lower Your Water Pressure

Low water pressure reduces the risk of water leaks, which high water pressure can cause by forcing its way through small spaces in pipe joints. Additionally, low water pressure reduces water delivery per minute, which reduces overall water use. Both of these perks can help you achieve better water efficiency in your home.

To lower the water pressure in your home, adjust the pressure regulator that sits just after the water meter outside the house. Ensure the pressure reading doesn’t exceed 80 psi.

Prevent Plumbing Leaks

A leaking plumbing system wastes water and makes you pay for the water you aren’t using. Because of this, you’ll want to prevent and plug leaks as soon as they occur. The following tips should help:

  • Prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting by wrapping them in heated tape.
  • Replace corroded pipes that are likely to leak.
  • Replace worn-out fixtures, such as washers or gaskets.

Install a leak detector to alert you as soon as a leak occurs. If you detect a leak, shut off your water supply and plug the leak as soon as possible.

Install a Water Recycling System

Did you know you can recycle some of the wastewater from your house for reuse? A typical house produces two types of wastewater — black and gray water. The black water comes from the toilet and shouldn’t be recycled. Grey water comes from various other sources, such as showers, sinks, and bathtubs, and you can often recycle this water.

You can install a recycling system that separates the grey water from the black water and purifies it. The installation is especially easy and cost-effective during construction. You can use the water for non-consumption activities, such as watering the lawn and washing clothes.

If you choose to install one of these systems, ensure you follow your state’s water recycling regulations.

Change Your Water-Usage Habits

Changing your water-usage habits can have a big effect on your overall water efficiency. Some things you can do include the following:

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  • Don’t flush garbage down the toilet.
  • Run washing machines at full load.

Indoctrinate all household members to water-saving tips — collective efforts work better than individual efforts.

Three things are critical to your water conservation efforts — good plumbing installation, proper maintenance, and water-usage habits. Moon Valley Plumbing can help you with the first two things. We also provide emergency services to those who need immediate help after hours. Contact us with your plumbing problem to get a professional solution.

Water filtration vs Water softener

Water Filtration Vs. Water Softener

The water that runs into your home is extremely important. Now more so than ever, Americans are getting a vast majority of their drinking water from home, and if you are not sure how safe your water is, you may be welcoming in some unfortunate health complications. One of the most common questions that we get from our Arizona customers is “Do I need a water filter or a water softener?” You might think that these two water purifying devices do the same thing, but you would be sorely mistaken. If you are interested in improving the quality of water flowing into your home, schedule an appointment with the elite plumbing team here at Moon Valley Plumbing today. Our friendly and helpful technicians will make sure that you get the perfect system for your needs without breaking your budget. Here are some basic differences between water filtration systems and water softeners.

What Does a Water Filter do?

It may not seem like it at first glance, but water softeners and water filters serve very different functions. A water filter actively removes potentially dangerous particulates from your water like bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals. We recommend utilizing water filters for a number of reasons. If you are nervous about any potential chemical contamination in the water that you are drinking, a water filter can efficiently remove almost all of the harmful chemicals you may be worried about. Another reason to utilize a water filter is if you notice any strange taste or smell with the water in your home or business. Although not necessarily dangerous to your health, this bad smell or taste can be extremely off-putting to both you and your guests. Finally, if you live in a rural area and use well water that might be contaminated with Sulphur or iron, as it commonly can be, a water filter can easily remove these dangerous elements. Overall, a water filter will greatly improve the overall taste, clarity, and cleanliness of your water.

What Does a Water Softener do?

In order to understand what a water softener does, we first need to go into what hard water is. Hard water is a term that means that the water in your home is carrying a large amount of calcium and magnesium. This calcium and magnesium can cause your dishes to get spots on them, can cause dry or irritated skin, and can cause serious backup issues in your plumbing. A good water softener lowers the calcium and magnesium levels in your water to make it gentler on your skin and remove the white residue associated with hard water. A water softener will not remove other dangerous chemicals, so it is important that you make the right decision between these two fantastic water improvement products.

If you are interested in learning more about which of these water-improving methods is best for you, contact the friendly and helpful team here at Moon Valley Plumbing today. We will help you get the perfect system for your home or business and have it installed quickly and efficiently so you can keep living your life without interruption.

Bathroom Plumbing Maintenance You Can Do at Home

Some types of plumbing jobs require a professional every time, but other types of plumbing maintenance can be accessible to handy homeowners as well. The amount of home maintenance you do may depend on how much experience you have with home improvements and plumbing work.

Here are some of the types of home plumbing maintenance you can perform on your bathroom plumbing.

Cleaning Hair Clogs From Shower

In some cases, a shower drain clog may consist of a wad of hair in the drain’s P-trap. In this case, you may be able to remove the clog with a simple plastic plumbing snake. If a gentle plastic snake doesn’t do the trick, you’ll want to call a professional; don’t try to use more advanced tools such as metal augers without the proper training, as they can damage your drain.

To use a plastic drain snake, you simply insert the end into the drain and turn the handle to twist it around until it snags any hair it finds inside the drain. If the drain clogs frequently, consider using a mesh drain screen to prevent future clogs. You can also have your drains professionally cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of grime inside the drains.

Changing Faucet Washers

Faucet washers tend to wear out after a few years, which can cause the valve not to close completely and result in a leaking or dripping faucet. If you’re confident in your ability to take a faucet apart and then put it back together correctly, you may be able to switch these washers out yourself every few years to avoid any drips.

In fact, with a compression faucet, the replacement process is relatively simple. However, if you’re unsure what type of faucet you have or have less experience taking faucets apart and putting them back together, you can simply have your plumbing contractor perform the replacement at your next plumbing maintenance visit.

Replacing Toilet Flapper

Changing the toilet flapper is one of the simple toilet maintenance tasks. Since the flapper is made of a rubbery material that doesn’t perform as well once it hardens with age, you may need a new flapper every so often. One sign you may need a new flapper is if your toilet runs constantly because water keeps leaking past the flapper into the toilet bowl.

If you look inside your toilet’s tank, you’ll typically see that the flush handle on the tank is connected (typically by a chain and lever) to a flapper at the bottom of the bowl. If you find an identical flapper at the hardware store, you can simply remove the old flapper and snap or slide the new one in.

Checking for Leaks

You should periodically inspect your bathroom plumbing for leaks, so you’ll know if you need to call a plumber for repairs. Some of the places you should inspect include:

  • Around the base of sink and tub faucets and showerheads while they’re in operation
  • Underneath the sink, especially the water supply lines and drains
  • Around the perimeter of the bathtub; seal failures here can cause leaks and water damage
  • Behind the toilet where it connects to the water supply line

You can use a facial tissue to wipe down the outsides of pipes when checking for moisture since these tissues are very moisture-sensitive. However, if you find moisture on a pipe that has cold water in it, make sure you know the difference between condensation and an actual leak before you call a plumber.

These are some of the relatively straightforward maintenance tasks you can perform at home to care for your bathroom plumbing. These and similar plumbing tasks can either work well as part of your DIY maintenance schedule or can become professional jobs when your plumber arrives for regularly scheduled maintenance visits.

For more information about plumbing maintenance and repairs, get in touch with your local plumbing expert Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter today. We’ll be happy to help with anything from installation to replacements to maintenance and repairs of your plumbing system.

Water Hammers: Hazards, Causes, & Solutions

Your household plumbing system should operate quietly. If you often hear a loud knocking noise when shutting off a water fixture in your home, then that is a sign that you may have a common plumbing problem called a water hammer.

Water hammers typically occur when water in a home plumbing system suddenly changes direction or pressure in a home water pipes increases suddenly, causing pipe hydraulic shock. This shock can cause pipes to vibrate and bang against each other or against interior components of your walls, creating this knocking sound or even causing your home walls to vibrate.

Read on learn about water hammer hazards, along with their numerous causes and solutions.

Water Hammer Hazards

A water hammer can be a symptom of an underlying plumbing system problem, and allowing pipes to vibrate and bang against each other for an extended period of time can lead to even more plumbing problems.

As pipes shake and knock against each other, pipe connections can loosen and joints can deteriorate. When pipe connections are no longer secure, water can begin leaking at these connection sites. Water leaks that occur inside of walls often go unnoticed until water begins seeping into interior living spaces and causing extensive damage.

Water Hammer Causes & Solutions

Many home plumbing and appliance problems can lead to the development of water hammers.

Water in Plumbing Air Chambers

Homes built before the 1960s typically have plumbing systems equipped with air chambers, which are pipe sections filled with air. These chambers help regulate pipe water pressure to limit water hammer occurrence. Over time, air chambers can fill with water, limiting their ability to prevent water hammers.

Thankfully, most homeowners can remove water from plumbing air chambers easily. First, shut off your home’s main water supply valve. Then, run all of your water fixtures until all water is drained from your home plumbing system. Finally, turn your main water supply valve back on.

Draining your entire home plumbing system typically removes all water from air chambers to help them begin performing their task properly again.

Loose Water Supply Lines or Old, Unstable Pipes

Some water hammers are caused by loose water supply lines or old pipes that are no longer secured to the home’s framework properly. When pipes are not secured to the home’s framework properly, they can move around and create noise as water flows through them.

If you suspect your water hammers are caused by old pipes lacking their proper fasteners, then have a plumber come inspect your plumbing system and attach fasteners where needed to stop water hammers.

High Water Pressure

While low water pressure can be an annoyance, water pressure that is too high can exert pressure on your pipes that can create numerous problems, including water hammers. Ideally, your water pressure should not exceed 80 pounds per square inch (PSI) to limit water hammer occurrence.

You can test your water pressure with a kit you can purchase at a local hardware store. If your water pressure exceeds 80 PSI, then have a licensed plumber add a pressure regulator to your home’s main water supply line to reduce water hammer occurrence.

Appliance Problem

If a water hammer occurs in your home only when you run one specific appliance, then the water hammer may be caused by the appliance. Washing machines and dishwashers often cause water hammers because their water valves close very quickly.

To stop a water hammer caused by a single home appliance, have a plumber install a fixture called a water hammer arrestor on the appliance or water line that serves it. A water hammer arrestor contains a cushion of air that absorbs hydraulic shock that can cause water hammers as the appliance water valve closes.

If you hear a knocking sound when you shut off a water fixture, you likely have a plumbing water hammer that could lead to a leaky pipe if it is not remedied. Contact the experts at Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter for plumbing repairs needed to stop your water hammer problem today.

Benefits of Installing Low-Flow Showerheads in Rental Units

If you own or manage rental properties, chances are you’ve had problems with wasted water, clogged drains, or other shower-related plumbing issues in the past. Your plumber can help you find ways to care for the rental units’ plumbing while ensuring that the units are also attractive to potential renters. For instance, a low-flow showerhead […]