Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Save Money with Efficient Plumbing

How to Save Money with Efficient Plumbing
When you have a plumbing problem, Honest Plumbing in Arvada is here to help. We also offer advice on how to save money with efficient plumbing and reducing your water usage. With just a few common sense tips presented here, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your water bill.

We all depend on water for cooking, cleaning, and showering. We also depend on our toilets to flush. It’s a part of so many things in our lives. Did you know that the average person uses about 80-100 gallons of water in one day? So if you have a family of four, we’re talking about 146,000 gallons a year. So, it’s important to keep your plumbing running clear, clean, and efficient.

Some people mistakenly think if you use energy efficient systems it will lower the performance because it uses less energy to run, but in fact, it is the opposite. High efficiency comes with high performance. So good advice is to always let our plumbers install WaterSense labeled fixtures and ENERGY STAR certified appliances. By being more efficient, it can help your family decrease water consumption by 20-30% and save money on your water bills.

Water Heaters
Hot water is a great luxury but water heaters account for 14-18% of your utility bills. A standard storage and heat pump water heater can usually last between 8-12 years, but the tankless models can last over 20 years. If it’s time to replace your old water heater, buy in an ENERGY STAR certified model to help you decrease energy usage and water consumption which will lower your water bill. Our technicians can put in a new water heater for you.

Shower Heads
Everyone likes to stand under a hot shower, but the water used in the shower can be almost 17% of your total home’s water consumption. You can either take shorter showers or you can install an energy efficient shower head which can possibly save the average family 2,900 gallons of water per year. We can help you install a new shower head in now time.

There are a couple of types of low flow shower heads. The first is the aerating shower head which mixes air into the water in order to maintain a constant pressure while using less water. The second is a non-aerating shower head which uses pulses to keep the water stream strong while maintaining a constant pleasant temperature.

One of the largest users of water in your home besides a sprinkler system is your toilet. A standard model toilet uses about 3.5-7 gallons with every flush. Our plumbers at Honest Plumbing can replace your old toilet with a low-flow toilet you may be able to cut your water usage by 25% or more and save you money.

Honest Plumbing serving the Denver metro area is here to help you, any time of the day or night with any plumbing problem or emergency that you face. If you follow our tips on how to save money with efficient plumbing, you will also be able to reduce your water usage.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Dealing With Frozen Pipes

Dealing With Frozen Pipes
February brings cold weather to Denver. So, when you’re already shoveling the driveway, you don’t want to be dealing with frozen pipes, too. In fact, this is one cold weather problem best left to the experts. So, call us at Honest Plumbing in Denver. Our plumbers are licensed and insured to give you the best skilled and experienced plumbers available.

If the water in your pipes begins to freeze, it will stop the flow of water and this expanding ice can actually make your pipe burst. When your pipes break it can cause tremendous damage and large amounts of water unleashed in your house can create unhealthy situations like mold.

Today, let’s go over a few helpful tips about dealing with frozen pipes.

Finding Your Pipes
Unless you built your house yourself, you probably don’t know where all the house pipes are located. A pipe can be heated or insulated in some parts of your home and completely exposed to the weather or cold somewhere else. Even if just a small section of pipe freezes, it can cause a pipe to break and that’s a huge problem. Our plumbers will examine your pipes and let you know where your pipes need better protection or repair.

Add Insulation Around the Pipes
After we look everything over, we will use insulation to protect the ones that are at risk and exposed to the cold. Insulation is a small price to pay to prevent frozen pipes. For most pipes, you will need foam tube insulation, but there may be some pipes in your house facing extreme temperatures. For these, use specially designed heated tape to help reduce your risk of dealing with frozen pipes.

Leave the Cabinet Doors Open
If you have a very cold night, you can leave the doors under your sink open overnight. The warmth of your home will help keep those pipes warmer and give some protection from the freezing temperatures.

A Small Stream of Water
If you have an exposed pipe that you think could freeze, a temporary fix is to let the water in the pipe run continuously. It’s not a great option because it wastes water and if it’s an outside hose spigot it could create a frozen ice puddle. But these problems are usually a better choice than having your home flooded from a broken pipe. You don’t have to turn the water on full blast. Just a little stream of water can often prevent a pipe from freezing.

Unthaw the Pipes
When dealing with frozen pipes, use a hair dryer on it to thaw it. Never use an open flame, to thaw the frozen section of pipe.

Inspect Your Furnace
If your furnace breaks down, your pipes have an increased risk of freezing. You will also and you have no heat for an extended period of time. So, get your furnace inspected and tuned up before the cold weather comes to keep you warm and avoid the potential for frozen pipes.

Water Shutoff Valve
If the worst case scenario happens and your frozen pipes burst, you need to know where the main shutoff value is in your home. Go find the shutoff valve now so when an emergency happens, you will know how to turn off your home’s water supply to prevent major flooding in your home. If you don’t know where your shutoff valve is, our plumbers can help you find it.

February is here and so is cold Colorado weather. If you are dealing with frozen pipes, call us at Honest Plumbing in Denver. Our plumbers can help prevent a serious plumbing disaster that worries most homeowners and we can fix your pipes if they break.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dealing with Hard Water in Your Home

Dealing with Hard Water in Your Home
Spotty dishes? Dry skin? There are a number of signs that you are dealing with hard water in your home. Honest Plumbing in Arvada and the Denver metro area can help you before it turns into bigger trouble that could affect your entire system.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about hard water. Basically, it means that the water has a lot of minerals dissolved in it, including magnesium, calcium, iron and possibly aluminum. It’s not a health risk, but it can make your water taste bad. It’s also not good for washing, and it can cause lots of problems for your plumbing. But how do you know if you have hard water?

It’s hard to rinse away soap and detergent. You may find your dishes are spotty because soap and detergent are difficult to rinse off. If you have hard water your dishes may have chalky soap streaks and spots. It will also be hard to rinse the detergent from your laundry. Sometimes your clothes will feel scratchy or stiff and may lose their bright clothes quickly.

Hard water makes soap scum stick to the tub, tile, and shower curtain. Soft water can do this too, but not as quickly or as much as when you’re dealing with hard water in your home.

If you have hard water you will have trouble rinsing off in the shower and perhaps a hard time working up a soapy lather. No, it’s not the new soap you just bought that’s at fault.

You may have dry skin because hard water leaves a soapy film on your skin from the shower.

The minerals in hard water make it taste bad. It often tastes or smells metallic, sulfuric, or sour.

Here’s the bad news for your plumbing, the mineral deposits from hard water ruins appliances, including hot water heaters, refrigerator icemakers, dishwashers, and washing machines, and increases your energy usage. If you have a solar heating system, which is usually used to heat swimming pools, mineral build-up can lead to a loss in energy efficiency.

Hard water also causes limescale build-up, which restricts the water flow in your pipes. Over time the minerals will clog the pipes and can lower your water pressure and cause expensive damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures. Sometimes it will even make your pipes burst.

As the flow in the pipes get more restricted, the mineral build-up increases. You may first notice it on your shower heads, faucets, and valves. You can even see the build-up on sink surfaces from slow dripping faucets and this can also damage the rubber washers.

The valves often found in your various appliances, like icemakers, washing machines and dishwashers can also get scale build-up. Sometimes this causes water leaks.

Mineral deposits from hard water can form on the heating elements of your water heater. This can prevent the water from heating up efficiently and make the burners work overtime. The hard water deposits can clog the pipes, valves, and drains of the water heater, shortening its lifespan.

If you are dealing with hard water in your home, our plumbers at Honest Plumbing in Arvada and the Denver metro area can help you with any plumbing problems it may cause. We can also help prevent hard water problems by installing a water softener. Using a water softener can reduce the damage done by hard water and protect your appliances and plumbing. If you live in an older home with smaller pipes, a water softener may be even more important. Give us a call at Honest Plumbing and we can test for hard water and help you fix your plumbing issues.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Maybe a Liquid Drain Cleaner is Not the Answer

 Maybe a Liquid Drain Cleaner is Not the Answer
If you find yourself dealing with a backed up sink, knowing the best method for clearing your pipes is important. At Honest Plumbing in Denver, we get numerous calls from people who have unsuccessfully tried some of that over the counter drain cleaner you get at the store. However, we can unequivocally say that maybe a liquid drain cleaner is not the answer.

The Problem with Liquid Drain Cleaner
Strong the chemicals in liquid drain cleaners release fumes that can cause irritation to the nose, throat, eyes and lungs. If the liquid from drain cleaners gets on your skin it may cause burns. And because this product can splash when you’re pouring it, drops can get in your eyes and cause real trouble. If you use liquid drain cleaners, please wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.

Most of these drain cleaners also use hydrochloric acid to help create a chemical reaction inside your drain pipe. The problem is that this reaction generates heat, which often causes irreversible damage to the pipe. And if the liquid drain cleaner doesn’t completely dissolve the blockage, it remains stuck at the clog, concentrating that chemical reaction directly on that one section of pipe.

Now, what happens if the pipe is plastic? The high chemical heat can melt and deform the plastic pipe. Metal pipes are better but liquid drain cleaners can still weaken even the metal pipe and cause cracks that can lead to leaks, especially for older pipes.

In addition to all this trouble, these types of drain cleaners are not really effective. If you are trying to get rid of a bit of hair or a little grease buildup, it might work, but they can’t do much more than that. For more stubborn back-ups, maybe a liquid drain cleaner is not the answer.

The Best Solution for Clogged Pipes
Now, if you call our plumbers at Honest Plumbing we can first diagnose the problem that’s blocking your drain and then figure out the best way to fix it.

There are lots of reasons why your pipes may be clogged. It could go far beyond putting potato peels in the garbage disposal. There could be a break in the pipe that causing other material to push inside of it or the problem may be much more serious and deeper in your drainage system.

Obviously, a liquid drain cleaner will not help with these problems and could cause even more trouble. Even if you have a plunger or snake, you could be in for a mess and wasted efforts that sometimes do more harm than good.

Maybe a liquid drain cleaner is not the answer. Your best bet is to throw the liquid drain cleaners away and call us our experts at Honest Plumbing in Arvada. Serving the Denver metro area, we can repair any plumbing problem quickly and safely. We offer 24/7 emergency plumbing services and do honest work at an honest price. Even if your drains are clear, we can provide repairs and even installations for your water heater, toilet, shower, sinks, and faucets. Get in touch and let us know how we can help you!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Plumbing Leaks Attract Household Pests

Plumbing Leaks Attract Household Pests
There are so many reasons to pay attention to a water leak, such as increases in your water bill, wasted water, and a huge mess that can ruin structural components of your home like drywall and framing. But did you know that plumbing leaks attract household pests like insects and rodents? If you have a leak in your pipes, give us call us at Honest Plumbing in Denver. Let us take care of it before trouble multiplies.

Water is essential for insects and rodents to live, and an indoor leak provides easy access to water. You didn’t mean to, but you just sent out an invitation for household pests to live in your home and drink for free. Now you’ve got two problems: the leak and the pests.

You may not even know you have a leak. They are often hidden in places you may not see or may not check often. Of course, there are many reasons pests invade your home but if you see mice or insects gathering in the same spot you may want to check to see if your pipes have a leak. Sometimes you get a leak inside the wall of your home, but usually, leaks are in places that can be fixed rather quickly.

Here’s where to look when plumbing leaks attract household pests:

·         Washing Machine and Dishwasher
Take a look at the line going to your washing machine and dishwasher. People don’t think of these leaking, but they do sometimes. You should periodically do an inspection of all your appliances that have plumbing connections.

·         Refrigerator
Do you see water pooling under your refrigerator? Check for a leak. Cockroaches love that type of water opportunity. Don’t forget to check your automatic ice maker and the water line coming into your freezer. Sometimes these pipes are made of plastic and even a small hole can cause a leak that provides water for an army of roaches.

·         Sinks
Of course, don’t forget the obvious places where plumbing leaks attract household pests. Check your kitchen and bathroom sinks. If you see water or moisture under the sinks or dripping from the U-shaped pipe from your sink drains, you may have a problem.

If you find a leak, call us right away. Once you get the water problem taken care of, then you can go after the unwanted pests. But until the water source is gone, the pests will just come back.

·         Seals Around the Pipes
In addition to the obvious leaks in your pipes, there is another plumbing issue that could be attracting unwanted household pests, and that’s holes. Pipes come into your house from the outside and sometimes the seals that surround the plumbing pipes are not exactly airtight. Even the smallest opening can allow rodents and insects to come directly into your house.

So, be sure to inspect your pipes for leaks and for weak seals. Pipes coming into your house should have metal plates, rubber gaskets, foam insulation or some kind of barrier around the pipes to prevent cold air and pests from getting in. If you find gaps, repair them right away.

Because plumbing leaks attract household pests, get in touch with our experts at Honest Plumbing in Denver the moment you suspect an issue with your plumbing. We know what to look for, how to repair the leak and can prevent you from dealing with the added hassle of also evicting rodents, roaches and other insects from your home. Call or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

4 Ways to Keep Your Drains Clog Free

4 Ways to Keep Your Drains Clog Free
The last thing you need is to find your drain backed up. If you find that they’ve been clogged, and live anywhere in the Denver metro area, we can certainly help you get them running clean again. However, there are several things you can do to avoid problems. Here are 4 ways to keep your drains clog-free from our experts at Honest Plumbing in Arvada.

1. Keep Your Garbage Disposal Clear

Your garbage disposal is very important to keep clear because it is the gateway to your kitchen drain. It always helps to run cold water down your garbage disposal to keep food from sticking to your pipes during and after you use your garbage disposal.

Our plumbers suggest it’s better if you put everything you can in the trash. Only small bits of food are safe for the disposal, but there are definitely some things that should never go in the garbage disposal if you can help it. Things that can clog your drains are coffee grounds, seeds or pits, eggshells, pasta, rice, potatoes, bones, as well as stringy or fibrous foods.

2. Use a Sink Strainer in Your Drains

Our plumbers at Honest Plumbing suggest a really simple and cheap way to keep your bathroom and kitchen drains clear is to buy a sink strainer that fits in the bottom of your sink over the drain hole. The sink strainer will catch pieces of food, hair, and other things you don’t want down the drain. A sink strainer over the tub drain will prevent hair, soap and sometimes toys from going down your drain.

3. Your Toilet is Not a Trash Can

Toilets really have limited use. Always be careful what you flush down your toilet. Some people don’t know that baby or hand wipes and feminine hygiene products should never be flushed down the toilet. Really the only things that belong in a toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Everything else should go in the trash can.

Here’s a good list of things that should NOT go into the toilet: tissues, wipes of any kind (even if they say they are flushable), scrub pads, paper towels or napkins, dental floss, any grease or oil, all feminine hygiene products, hair, medicines, plastics, diapers and of course, eggshells, nutshells and coffee grounds.

Here’s the flush ability test for objects to be flushed in a toilet. If the object or product doesn’t disintegrate like toilet paper, then it shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. Too much of some of these items can cause a blockage in your drain and maybe even clog a pumping station which could cause a sewer backup that affects other homes. Keep in mind that the drains leading to the main sewer are only 4 inches wide. You can help keep them clear by putting everything in the trash that isn’t human waste or toilet paper.

4. No Grease in Your Drains

All grease, fats, and oils should never go in any drain if you can help it. Try to always pour greasy substances in a container like a glass jar or an empty can. Please don’t use your drain for grease. Bacon grease is  a common culprit of clogged drains. Find another container to put it in and then throw it in the trash when the grease has solidified.

These 4 ways to keep your drains clog-free are pretty simple, but our plumbers at Honest Plumbing in Arvada have seen each and everyone cause clogs across the Denver metro area that require our expertise to get drains running clean again. If you end up with a clog, feel free to get in touch to request an appointment – we promise not to lecture you about putting potato peels or coffee grounds down your drain. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gas Versus Electric Water Heaters

Gas Versus Electric Water Heaters
When you need to buy a water heater, you may want to compare gas versus electric water heaters. It’s a great way to decide which one is best for your home. Our plumbers at Honest Plumbing, serving Arvada and metro Denver, can explain the differences.

First, let’s cover how each type works. An electric water heater uses electric resistance coils to heat water, while a gas unit burns fuel like natural gas. Pretty simple.

Differences of Gas Versus Electric
Now, according to this quick comparison, around 60% of homes in the United States use gas water heaters and 40% use electric water heaters. And for a number of good reasons.

While gas water heaters are less energy-efficient than electric water heaters, the high cost of electricity actually makes electric heaters more costly.

A gas water heater also has a faster recovery time, taking about an hour to heat up a 50-gallon tank. This is a much faster time than an electric heater, which takes several hours to heat up the same sized tank of water. Plus, if you have an electrical power failure, gas water heaters will still work while an electric will be unavailable until the power is restored.

Because of this difference in recovery times, our experts at Honest Plumbing recommend a gas water heater for families and households of four or more. Nobody wants to get stuck taking a cold shower, especially in the middle of winter!

On the flipside, and as we mentioned earlier, gas water heaters are relatively inefficient because heat escapes from exhaust gasses and the walls of the tank. It’s a nice convenience to have hot water quickly, but it’s constantly losing energy. One thing that can help increase energy efficient is to have your installer add two inches of foam insulation around the storage tank.

As for price, there’s not a big difference for gas versus electric water heaters. Just remember that over time, you’ll be paying more on your utility bill if you go with electric. Depending on water quality and maintenance, electric water heaters tend to last a bit longer, so at least you won’t be paying for a replacement quite as soon as a gas unit.

If you’re swayed towards gas versus electric water heaters, the ultimate deciding factor may be whether or not you already have a gas line in your house. Installing one, along with a vent for exhaust heat, can be more expensive than it may be worth.

Options Beyond Gas or Electric Tank Units
In the United States, whether electric or gas, most homes have a storage tank type of water heater, which stores 20-100 gallons of water hot and is ready to be used at any time. It makes a lot of water available, but it you need to factor in that recovery time.

A more high-efficiency gas heater option is a unit with a condensing boiler. It uses heat from the exhaust gasses to pre-heat cold water coming into the tank. This can give you a 20% increase in efficiency over traditional gas storage units. The biggest obstacle is that condensing units are more expensive to buy.

You could also look into an electric water heater that uses a heat pump, which takes heat from the surrounding air to heat the water. And it comes with electric resistance elements to provide backup heating when needed. These heat pumps are highly efficient, but also a bit spendy.

One final option is the tankless water heater, which you’ve probably heard a lot about. It heats water on-demand, without wasting energy continually keeping water hot in a giant tank. While the premise sounds great, there are a few cons for this one, including having enough voltage to power the electric models and proper venting for gas units. And of course, they also cost more.

If you’re looking to replace your water heater, it helps to do research and compare gas versus electric water heaters – as well as other options if you have a few extra dollars in your budget. Whether you live in Arvada or the metro Denver area, Honest Plumbing can help you make the right choice for your needs and provide professional installation. Contact us today to get started.