Quick Bathroom Plumbing Upgrades to Add Efficiency and Luxury

Whether you want to create a luxury bathroom, increase eco-friendliness, or simply protect your plumbing system from common ailments, here are some quick and easy upgrades you or your plumber can perform to give your bathroom an edge. Most are quick and easy jobs for a plumber, but one or two are DIY-friendly as well.

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4 Symptoms of Trouble With Your Water Heater

Your family depends on the water heater to provide everything from hot showers to clean dishes. So your best defense against any failure of the water heater is to be vigilant for symptoms of an ailment.

What are the most common water heater ailments? Here are four to keep an eye out for without even looking at the unit itself. Read more

3 Habits That Ruin Your Drains

A good amount of debris and residue is common in your drains and plumbing lines because your drains move water and waste out of the home. Unfortunately, even a small amount of residue can lead to big problems for your home and finances, including corroded pipes, overwhelming water leaks, and extensive water damage.

Dirty drains can also affect your health. If drains and underlying pipes start to corrode and rust, you will likely experience leaks and possible mold growth. Exposure to mold can lead to respiratory problems, skin rashes, and allergy symptoms.

In addition, dangerous fungal growth can be common in dirty household drains. Thankfully, you can protect your drains, plumbing lines, and health with proper drain maintenance. Here are a few habits to break if you want to maintain healthy drains.

1. Pouring Grease Down the Drain

Pouring grease down your drain is one of the worst habits to continue. Even if you run hot water, the grease will harden as it cools inside your drains. The grease will not only harden and clog up the actual sink drain, but it can move through your pipes, affecting your underlying plumbing and sewage systems.

Recent reports showed that fat and oil buildups cause 47 percent of 36,000 sewer overflows that happen each year in the United States. Although it affects your home’s plumbing, the grease also affects wastewater around your home, negatively affecting the environment.

2. Flushing Problematic Debris

Another habit you should stop is using your toilet as a trash can. Your toilet should only flush away bathroom waste, such as actual bodily waste and toilet tissue. Avoid flushing random pieces of trash or debris down your toilet, since this could cause serious problems in your toilet, toilet drain, and septic/sewage systems.

Flushing problematic debris increases the risk of toilet clogs and water leaks. However, a lot of this debris cannot be broken down properly by your septic/sewage system, resulting in environmental hazards, extensive flooding onto your yard, and costly repairs.

In addition, you may have been told flushing flushable wipes, contact lenses, cigarette butts, and other debris down the toilet is okay, but this debris can actually do a great deal of harm to your plumbing/septic systems.

3. Not Using Drain Strainers

Many homeowners may believe that once something goes down the drain, they will not need to worry about it. Unfortunately, just because the debris is out of sight, does not mean it should be out of your mind because the waste may still linger in your drains and pipes.

Most sinks, tubs, and showers will have some sort of cover over the actual drain opening. However, these covers do have small openings, which allow water, soap, and dirt to flow freely through. But items that should not actually move through the drain, such as larger chunks of debris, food residue, soap scum, and strands of hair, may also seep through the openings of the cover.

A drain strainer is a great investment for your sink, tub, and shower drains. These strainers do cover the drain opening, but they have much smaller openings, which are only large enough for water to move through. The strainers trap larger pieces of debris, bits of food, clumps of soap, and strands of hair, preventing them from building up and clogging your drains and underlying plumbing lines.

You can protect your drains and plumbing/septic system from overwhelming clogs, corrosion, and costly water leaks. Follow the tips in this guide to prevent the dangers of a few common habits that negatively affect your drains and plumbing lines. For more information about maintaining your drains, contact Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter today.

Boiler and pipes of the heating system of a house

Water Heater Replacement Advice For Homeowners

Every home needs hot water, but most homeowners don’t know much about their how water heaters work. Here are some tips for when to replace your hot water heater, as well as what to look for when selecting a new one.

Replacement Signs

The age of a hot water heater determines if it requires repair or replacement. Look for manufacturing information that has been printed on the hot water tank, which typically tells you the year that it was made. You’ll be able to estimate approximately how long the appliance has been installed in your home and if it is close to the age of replacement.

Hot water heaters do not live forever. In fact, they will last between 8 and 12 years before replacement is necessary. Use your judgment and assess any problems to gauge if you can get by with repair or if you need replacement.

Rust is a problem that often requires replacement, since rust damage cannot be fixed once it starts. You can slow down the rusting process, but you cannot reverse it. The risk of leaving a rusting hot water tank installed is coming home to a floor covered with water from a hole in the tank.

It’s worth inspecting the anode rod if you have rust on the tank, since the anode rod is designed to prevent rust by being a sacrificial element. The rod uses electrolysis to force corrosion to happen to the metal rod rather than the exterior of the tank, since the rod is made with metals that are more reactive than steel and will corrode first. If the anode rod is depleted, corrosion will start happening to the steel shell of the tank.

The heating element can also deteriorate from years of use. Excessive wear can occur from not emptying the tank of sediment and from setting the thermostat too high. A heating element can be repaired, but it may not be worth it if the tank is also rusty.

Replacement Tips

The need for a new hot water heater gives you the opportunity to add a better water heater to your home. Many homeowners use replacement as an opportunity to switch from a water storage tank model to a tankless water heater.

Tankless water heaters have the benefit of consuming less space and using less energy. Hot water is heated on demand, so you only use energy to heat the water that you are actively using. There are no concerns with a reserve tank rusting or an anode rod to monitor, since they are not part of the appliance.

Tankless models may never run out of hot water, but can struggle with simultaneous hot water use. Talk to your plumbing contractor to select the right model that can produce enough hot water for all the showers in your home. Also offset water use for laundry and dish washing to prevent shortages when showering.

A traditional hot water storage tank model does have its own unique advantages. The price of a storage tank model is often much cheaper compared to its tankless counterpart, and storage tank models are also easier to maintain and repair. Simultaneous water use is only limited by the size of the storage tank rather than how much how water can be produced.

Unfortunately, traditional hot water storage tank models can run out of water, use more energy, and have a shorter lifespan. What you may save up front with an initial purchase may cost you more over time, so keep in mind the pros and cons of both types of heater, as well as what your hot water needs are.

If your hot water heater needs repairs, is on its last legs, or if you want to switch models, reach out to Moon Valley Plumbing for expert help.

Overcome These 2 Common Reverse Osmosis Water Challenges

When thinking about public water quality, homeowners want to know their drinking water is clean. Chromium, lead, and other contaminants in drinking water can make you and your family sick or cause cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders.

Fortunately, one method that purifies the water in your home is a reverse osmosis system. A collection of filters and membranes ensure bacteria, metals, minerals, chemicals, and other contaminants are filtered out. However, the reverse osmosis, or RO, process has some drawbacks. Here is how to overcome these two RO challenges.

 

1. Water Is Wasted

In order to produce clean, purified water, the RO system depends on high pressure to force water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane with pores approximately 0.0001 microns in size. Such pore size makes RO very efficient at removing all those contaminants but also makes the membrane susceptible to blockage.

The RO system uses water to automatically flush the membrane surface and remove any obstructions and buildup. The system uses four gallons of water to produce one gallon of purified water. Water-conscious people feel this water could be wasted because that water essentially goes down the drain.

You can do a couple of things to cut down on the amount of wasted water. You can install a permeate pump at your RO source to make your system more efficient. A pump uses pressure from draining wastewater to perform certain tasks, which frees up water pressure to devote toward filtration. As a result, the water storage tank fills up faster, the membrane lasts longer, and water waste is reduced.

Additionally, you can put your wastewater to good use rather than listen to it go down the drain. Some environmentally conscious RO users find ways to capture the wastewater into a holding tank for reuse. You can use wastewater for irrigation outdoors, which is helpful in dry Arizona. Other people use wastewater to initially fill their washing machine or to clean floors.

 

2. Water Tastes Flat

The resulting water from a reverse osmosis system is known for its ability to filter nearly all contaminants from water like harmful metals, bacteria, and other pollutants. The resulting water may be pure and clean, but it can taste flat or bland. This phenomenon occurs when your water lacks essential minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium that give water a crisp, clean taste.

You can add these important minerals back into your water after filtration. One way to achieve great-tasting RO water is to add an alkalinization or remineralization filter stage to your system. The addition of minerals raises the pH of the end product to make it taste better. Some even feel water that contains trace amounts of minerals provides a small but important contribution to your overall health.

You can choose other ways to add minerals to your RO water. Mineral drops and electrolyte blends add trace minerals back into your water, as does mineral-rich sea salts. If mixing water is not your thing, opt for a water pitcher equipped with an alkaline filter. Simply add your RO water to the pitcher and pour out a glass of perfectly flavored water.

You may already have a reverse osmosis system in place. If you are concerned about these common challenges with your own system, talk to an experienced plumber about how a permeable pump can boost your water efficiency. At Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter, we can upgrade your existing reverse osmosis systems as well as install a new system with an alkalinization filter to make your water taste more refreshing. We are always happy to answer any of your questions and concerns.

5 Places to Check Water-Using Appliances for Leaks

Although professional plumbing inspections are a necessity for a well-maintained house, every homeowner should also stay on top of home maintenance by using drains mindfully and checking for visible leaks. In addition to checking under your sinks for leaks, you should also check over any appliances with water hookups.

Here are five important places to check your major appliances with water hookups — like the refrigerator, washing machine, and dishwasher — for water leaks.

 

1. Hoses and Supply Lines

The lines that bring water to the appliance can spring leaks. These are especially common at the ends of the lines where they connect to the appliance or to the water supply pipes. Your dishwasher also has a recirculation hose that can go bad and cause a leak.

Use a clean, dry tissue to check for moisture on the lines. But remember that if it’s a cold-water line, there could be some naturally occurring condensation that doesn’t necessarily indicate a leak.

 

2. Pan or Drip Pan

The pan of the dishwasher where water collects and the drip pan under a refrigerator can both spring leaks. These parts are often made of plastic, which can be damaged more easily once it’s old and brittle.

If your refrigerator drain pan is dripping, though, that doesn’t always mean it’s damaged. When you see a leak under the fridge, check the pan to see if it’s actually full and overflowing instead. If so, that could simply indicate that the condenser fan has died.

 

3. Drain Lines

The drain line is another common spot for leaks on both the dishwasher and the clothes washer. Seals around where the dishwasher drain line connects can also start to leak when they become old and cracked. Check these seals periodically and wipe the drain lines with a tissue to check for leaks.

Although your refrigerator doesn’t regularly discharge gallons of wastewater like the clothes washer and dishwasher, the refrigerator does have a condensate drain line that can clog and cause a leak. Typically this water leaks inside the refrigerator, meaning the puddle could be hidden under your vegetable drawers, so be sure to check there periodically.

A clogged condensate line is, fortunately, relatively easy to fix and can even be a DIY project.

 

4. Dishwasher and Washing Machine Door Seals

If you have a modern or high-efficiency washing machine, chances are it’s front-loading. Unlike top-loading machines, these washers rely heavily on their door seals, like dishwashers. But the washing machine door seals are prone to leaking not only if they wear out but also if they become full of lint and other debris. So be sure to wipe the washing machine seal regularly.

Both the washing machine and the dishwasher should have their door seals checked for brittleness, stiffness, and cracking. If you notice these symptoms, it’s time to replace the seal. Your machine may already have a leak, or if not, it could develop one in the near future.

 

5. Drain Pumps

Drain pumps on both the dishwasher and the clothes washer can go bad in a variety of ways. The seals where they connect to the drains and to the machine can fail, or the drain pump itself can start to leak (or the pump can simply stop working, meaning the machine doesn’t drain properly, which is another possible cause of leakage).

You can check the seals around the drain pump yourself, but if you see the pump leaking or suspect that it’s not working correctly, you’ll want to call in a professional to diagnose and repair the damage for you.

These are five common spots you should check when looking for leaks. Many appliance leaks will make themselves known early on because of the large amount of water they emit (although tracking down the exact source of the leak can still be a problem). But even a slow drip that you don’t notice can still waste gallons and gallons of water.

For more information on the plumbing maintenance and repair services we provide, call Moon Valley Plumbing today.

4 Common Pipe Materials Used in Homes

From showering and washing clothes to running the dishwasher and flushing the toilet, the various pipes moving water and waste in and out of the home do a lot of work. A combination of water supply and drain, waste, and vent pipes are used throughout the home to create an effective and efficient plumbing system.

Even though there are so many feet of pipes running in and out of the home, most homeowners do not place much importance on them. Understanding the different types of piping that may be found in your home is smart for preventative maintenance and possible repairs. Here are a few common pipe materials you may have in your home.

1. PVC/CPVC

PVC pipes are made using polyvinyl chloride, which is a durable, versatile, and affordable option for your home’s plumbing needs. In most cases, PVC pipes are used for cold and hot potable water or sewage applications.

Of course, you may be surprised by the different numbers used to size PVC pipes. Schedule 40 and schedule 80 PVC pipes are most common.

Basically, the higher the number, the thicker the PVC walls are. Therefore, a schedule 80 PVC pipe has thicker walls than a schedule 40. A thicker wall is beneficial for higher temperatures, so a schedule 80 PVC pipe would be an option for supply lines coming from your hot water heater.

It is important that you do not confuse PVC with CPVC pipes. While PVC plumbing consists of white pipes with large or small diameters, CPVC, or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride, pipes have a smaller diameter and a yellowish tint.

2. PEX

PEX pipes come in white, red, or blue and these colors are used for a good reason — they help you determine and label which lines are used for hot (red) and cold (blue) water supplies. Or you can use white PEX lines if preferred.

PEX pipes are made from a flexible plastic material that is surprisingly durable. With proper installation, PEX plumbing lines can last up to 30 years or longer in some instances.

PEX offers the durability of copper without the risk of rust and corrosion. If you live in an area with acidic water that can rust your plumbing lines, PEX is a great option to reduce the risk of corrosion and underlying water leaks in your home.

Another benefit of PEX is the cost. If you want durability without the high expense, choose PEX because it costs about a third less than copper.

3. Copper

If you live in an older home, you may have copper pipes. Copper is durable and can withstand higher temperatures and pressure, but it can also develop rust and start to corrode, affecting the taste, smell, and quality of your water.

Copper is also expensive, so replacing a damaged copper pipe can be a costly project. Because of the cost, many homeowners forego copper and repipe their entire plumbing system using PEX or PVC pipes.

4. Galvanized Steel

Gray metal pipes are made out of galvanized steel. This material became popular for plumbing in homes built in the 1960s. If your home has galvanized steel pipes, replacing them will be recommended.

On average, galvanized steel can last about 40 years. Unfortunately, the coating inside the galvanized steel pipes eventually wears down, flaking off, rusting your pipes, and affecting your home’s water supply.

If you are not sure whether your older home has galvanized steel pipes, check the water pressure. Turn on a hot water faucet. If the pressure is low, the pipes are most likely made of galvanized steel, since hot water pipes are the first to corrode.

For assistance determining what type of pipes are used in your home or to start a repiping or repair, contact Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter today.

Learn About Current Popular Bathroom Additions

Some exciting introductions in the plumbing industry have been gaining attention lately, and some old ideas have been making come backs. If you like the idea of bringing your bathroom up to speed with regards to some of the recent happenings in the plumbing industry, then you want to read the information here.

Clawfoot Bathtubs

Clawfoot bathtubs can be traced back to the middle of the 18th century, but they became very popular during the 19th century. Since that time period, the popularity has shifted to more modern styles of bathtubs, including Jacuzzi tubs, his and her tubs, and numerous other variations and styles.

Recently, the plumbing industry has seen a comeback in the clawfoot bathtubs. Popular free-standing tubs that are much like clawfoot bathtubs, but with a modern twist, are also available.

Besides aesthetic reasons, clawfoot and standalone bathtubs have the added benefit of giving the homeowner the option of easily selecting where the bathtub goes, as well as what angle they would like it to sit at, such as catty corner or parallel to the wall.

Hands-Free Sink Faucets

Hands-free faucets have been around for a while. However, they have mostly been reserved for places like medical facilities and restaurants where clean hands are of the utmost importance. Recently, both touchless and foot-activated sinks have become popular with many home owners.

These homeowners appreciate their ability to cut down on the spreading of germs while offering them more convenience at the same time.

Pedestal Sinks

The pedestal sink is another blast from the past that has been gaining traction in the past few years. A pedestal sink is comprised of the pedestal column and the sink which sits on the top.

Classic style pedestal sinks can closely resemble sinks of the past and can be more modern, ranging from basic designs to elaborate ones. Pedestal sinks offer more floor space in small bathrooms.

Wet Room Showers

A very popular trend for many homeowners with spacious bathrooms is to forego a traditional tub or shower and have a portion of the bathroom transformed into a wet room area. This is an area of the bathroom that has a tiled area for showering. Installation of a wet room must be done by a qualified person due to the importance of proper drainage and sloping degrees.

Wet rooms can be installed in smaller bathrooms as well, but you should then consider adding a screen, glass wall, or another form of protection to prevent spraying from the wet room area getting all over parts of the bathroom that haven’t been properly protected.

Brain Pipes

Current trends don’t all revolve around bathroom fixtures. Brain pipes are a current trend that’s popular with homeowners who are concerned about preventing plumbing issues from going unnoticed in their home.

Brain pipes are plumbing systems that connect to home automation systems. However, brain pipes can be their own system.

When brain pipes are installed in a home, the system closely monitors the water usage and send the homeowner an alert if the system picks up a change in the water pressure that would indicate a possible broken or leaky pipe. The system can even direct the homeowner to the location of the issue.

The installation of brain pipes in homes also helps to prevent wasted water which makes it popular with those actively interested in water conservation which largely includes people living in drought areas.

Get Help Transforming Your Bathroom

If you would like to start transforming your bathroom into the tranquil yet stylish place you have always wanted it to be then you should contact us. We can help you with your plumbing needs, so you can enjoy the new additions in your bathroom.

3 Earth-Friendly Benefits of a Water-Efficient Dishwasher

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has two labels to help you locate and choose eco-friendly appliances: the Energy Star certification and the WaterSense logo. The WaterSense program helps you identify appliances that use water efficiently, such as dishwashers that have lower water requirements per load.

The Energy Star program identifies appliances that work in an energy-efficient way. Of course, not all Energy Star or WaterSense appliances are equal; minimum standards need to be met, but many appliances go above and beyond those requirements.

But whether you choose the most efficient one possible or just a basic efficient model, you can enjoy many benefits inherent in choosing a water-efficient dishwasher. Here are three of the top ways in which this choice can help the Earth.

1. Reduce Water Use and Waste

One of the most obvious benefits of an efficient machine is that you’ll have to pay less for your water and sewer if you save water on a daily basis. But in addition to saving money, this factor also helps the environment in several ways. For example, less water waste means the municipal plant doesn’t have to expend as much energy on water processing.

Reducing water usage can also have big eco benefits on the upstream side. For example, if you live in a big city where water is sourced from out of state, less water usage means less water has to be moved from its natural environment to the city.

Another benefit is the reduced strain on the supply, making shortages (and soaring prices) less likely.

2. Use Less Energy

Modern dishwashers have been developed to use less water and energy compared to older models.

WaterSense models can also be Energy Star Certified. This means that you can easily choose a model that uses not only less water but also less energy per load.

These machines will often have an eco-cycle as well. This cycle will typically use less water and energy, allowing you to maximize the efficiency of your new machine. The tradeoff may be that the cycle takes longer to run (perhaps two hours or more versus an hour). Fortunately, newer machines are often quiet, so the longer cycle shouldn’t be overly disturbing.

3. Support Eco-Friendly Products and Companies

When many customers spend their money on certain things (such as eco-friendly products and appliances), they creates more demand in the industry for those products, which often results in a greater proportion of the market being filled by those products.

When you choose an eco-friendly dishwasher and eco-friendly detergents, you’re influencing the market in a small way in addition to directly supporting businesses that make it their mission to produce those Earth-friendly products.

Of course, not all eco detergents are equal. Some good criteria when comparing eco-friendly detergents include:

  • Does it have synthetic or natural fragrances? Both can contain chemicals known as phthalates, so they are best avoided.
  • Is it dye-free? Dyes are unnecessary and often toxic or harmful.
  • Does it have preservatives? Many of the preservatives in detergent can cause allergic reactions.
  • Does it contain polyacrylates (often an ingredient name with “ethel,” “acrylate,” “methyl,” or “ester”)?

These three eco benefits show how your dishwasher product choice can have a real influence on your ecological footprint. Choosing an eco-friendly dishwasher and complementing it with eco-friendly, non-toxic dishwashing detergent can help safeguard your health and even save you money over time in reduced energy and water costs.

For more help with water-efficient plumbing and appliances or to get a new dishwasher installed, get in touch with Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter today. We look forward to working with you to create a more efficient home.

3 Ways to Avoid Plumbing Problems When Purchasing an Older Home

If you’ve decided to forego the plumbing inspection on your pre-existing home purchase, you need to rethink your decision. There could be hidden plumbing problems that you’ll want to know about before you make an investment. Before you purchase an older home, conduct the following tests to identify potential plumbing issues. Read more