Out Of Sight But Not Out Of Mind

For a homeowner, perhaps one of the biggest fears is the notion of one day finding himself faced with a serious plumbing emergency. From a household leak to a lack of hot water, a plumbing emergency, no matter what it might entail, is pretty much guaranteed to be costly, stressful, and logistically unpleasant.

Easy Solution
If you”re looking to avoid a situation where you have no choice but to frantically dial the number of the local plumbing company in the middle of the night and hope that somebody answers, there’s a potentially easy solution. Lonnie Reade is the owner of Lonnie Reade Plumbing and Heating, a full service Plumbing, Heating and Water Conditioning company that has been serving the Blairstown, New Jersey area since 1985, and according to him, by having a plumbing checkup, you’re more likely to spare yourself the hassle of eventually dealing with a plumbing problem.

Reade thinks that the average homeowner should get a plumbing checkup once a year. A plumbing checkup is actually similar to a checkup that you’d get at your local physician’s office. Just as the goal of a medical checkup is to ensure that your body is in good shape, so too does a plumbing checkup serve the same purpose. By bringing in a professional to thoroughly examine your plumbing setup, you could save yourself a fair amount of money and aggravation in the long run. If a methodical inspection reveals the beginnings of a potential issue with your plumbing, your plumber will be able to nip the matter in the bud before it causes a major problem.

Professional Plumbing Checkup
According to Reade, the specifics of a plumbing checkup can vary from company to company, as some plumbing professionals are known to be more thorough than others. Generally speaking, the checkup should involve examining the ins and outs of a given plumbing system to ensure that it is operating properly. One of the more important things to check is leaks or potential leaks. To this end, a plumber will usually check all water stops and plumbing fixtures to ensure there are no leaks, drips, or loose handles.

A plumber will also usually examine a home’s water heater, drains, sewer, garbage disposal, and gas fixtures. Additionally, it is typical for the plumber to inspect all the household toilets to ensure that they are working properly, as well as any outdoor items connected to plumbing lines, such as sprinkler valves and hoses. Finally, a plumbing checkup might also include a water meter inspection to make certain that it is operating as it should be.

Although owners of new construction homes might be able to get away with avoiding a plumbing checkup for a number of years, in most cases, it”s a good idea to bring in a professional annually. After all, plumbing systems, over time, are able to succumb to eventual wear and tear, so those with older homes are especially advised to have their setups inspected accordingly.

Remember, just because you don”t happen to notice an issue with your plumbing now doesn’t mean that a problem isn’t brewing beneath the surface. By getting a plumbing checkup, you’ll do your part to ensure that your plumbing won”t come back to bite you financially and logistically. And although you might have to pay a bit for that inspection, it’s hard to put a price tag on home-related peace of mind.

To schedule at plumbing inspection with Lonnie Reade call 908 362 5203 or use our Online Request Form

What Not to Put in a Garbage Disposal

Throughout the ages, people have used the garbage disposal to rid the kitchen of slimy, sticky and stinky things. Well not really throughout the ages, just since its invention in 1927. Since that exciting day, the garbage disposal has become an appliance of legend and wonder. Despite what you may have heard, not everything can go into a garbage disposal. It’s called a garbage disposal, not an in-sink trash can. Here is a list of common items that should never be put into a disposal unit:

  • Rice and pasta- No matter how much water you run or how long you run the appliance, you can never break rice or pasta down small enough. Both items swell when they are in contact with water, so the small pieces will eventually gather in the trap and swell until it is closed.
  • Animal bones- The garbage disposal is just not strong enough to break these down small enough to fit through. Animal bones are the most common thing that jams disposals.
  • Grease- The grease will eventually solidify and clog a portion, or all, of your drain.
  • Egg shells- Despite what you may have heard, egg shells do not sharpen disposal blades. I’m not even sure how someone would think that would work. Mostly they just end up clogging the line.
  • Any kind of stringy or tough-peeled vegetable- This includes asparagus, lettuce, celery and potato peels. Maybe in a small amount the disposal can handle it, but I wouldn’t try it.

The old adage of “less is more” definitely applies to the garbage disposal. Only small amounts of table scraps should go into the disposal. If you find that something from the above list has jammed your disposal it’s a relatively easy process to unjam it.

How to Hire a Plumber

Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, there may come a time where you have a need to hire a plumber. After all, some jobs are simply too tough to do yourself or may even be unsafe for you to do without the help of a professional. If you have never hired a plumber before, however, you may need some guidance in how to find a plumber, what you should pay, and when you may need to hire one. Remember, plumbers are professionals and you are going to pay for their services, but there are ways you can still get the plumbing service you need and save money while doing it.

Decide on Ability
While many plumbers charge an hourly rate, finding the cheapest rate per hour is not the best way to decide on a plumber. It is better to choose a plumber or a plumbing company based on customer satisfaction and reputation rather than on costs alone. Ask friends and family for referrals for plumbers they have used and find out if they were satisfied with the service they received. Chances are that, if they had a good experience with the plumber, you will also.

Take Preventative Measures
Of course, the best way to save money on plumbing is to never have to hire a plumber in the first place. Therefore, the preventative care is key to saving money on your plumbing. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take in order to maintain your plumbing and reduce the need for hiring a professional. So, here are some things you can do to take care of and maintain good “pipe health.”

Clogged drains tend to be the most common plumbing problems for homeowners. Drains usually get clogged by grease or by hair. Grease clogged drains can be prevented by treating your drains periodically with products designed to reduce grease buildups. A home-remedy option to avoid grease build-up, on the other hand, is to pour boiling hot sudsy water down the drain periodically to reduce grease buildup. You should also take steps to avoid pouring grease down your drain in the first place.

In order to avoid hair clogged drains, try to clean the screen or drain cover after each shower. This will help to avoid the build-up of hair in your drain and can prevent it from getting clogged. If the drain does get clogged, there are commercial drain clog products that can help to resolve the problem. In the end, if one of these products does not fix the problem then you may have to call a plumber.

Frozen Pipes
If you live in an area that experiences freezing weather, another major problem you may experience is having your pipes freeze. This problem can really put a dent in your wallet if you have to call a plumber out to fix it, so the best way to avoid this expense is to avoid it altogether. There are two ways that you can prevent your pipes from freezing. First, you can make sure that your pipes are heated. Another way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to make sure that the pipes are insulated.

Right before winter hits, be sure to disconnect any outside drains and garden hoses, turn-off the indoor cut-off valve located near the faucet, and open the outdoor faucet. This helps to prevent any remaining water in the pipes that are exposed to below-zero temperatures from freezing.

Plan and Consolidate
If you do have to call the plumber up, be smart about it. Take the time to go through your home and check all of the faucets, drains, toilets, etc. Check anything and everything that has to do with your plumbing system. Make a list of all of the problems so when the plumber comes to your home you can get the plumber to take care of all the problems at once. This will help you to avoid additional trip charges that may come with having to schedule multiple visits. The act of organizing the list will all reduce the plumber’s chargeable time because you already have a list of the symptoms, which will help him diagnose the problem faster.

The environmental benefits of soft water

From The Sun Chronicle:

(ARA) – When you think of soft water, the first thing that probably comes to mind is lustrous, easy-to-manage hair. Another benefit is washing clothes in soft water leaves them softer and saves a significant amount of detergent. Best of all, when cleaning, you don’t get that ugly bathtub ring.

By eliminating hard water minerals, you can see health and cosmetic benefits, as well as reduce the maintenance costs associated with scale buildup in home plumbing.

Home filtering systems provide best protection for drinking water

As news reports about pharmaceuticals in water circulate, here are several facts for consumers to consider (for a PDF version of this fact sheet, click here):

· Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking water. Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these “point-of-use” systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

· While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the U.S. EPA, home filtering systems act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking.

· While specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals, many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging contaminants. Nano-filtration and reverse osmosis systems removed drugs tested by the Colorado School of Mines at full-scale facilities in Arizona and California. Activated carbon, distillation, ozonation, and advanced oxidization have likewise shown promise in removing many of these contaminants. Individual manufacturers can also test products for specific pharmaceuticals if they choose.

· According to Utah State University Extension, up to 90 percent of oral drugs can pass through humans unchanged. These often then move through wastewater into streams and groundwater. It is generally cost prohibitive for utilities to use systems such as nano-filtration, long contact activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. However, these top technologies have proven successful at removing many contaminants in home water treatment systems.

· In addition to pharmaceuticals, water quality experts are examining other emerging contaminants, such as those found in personal care products and pesticides. These are often referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals. Home filtering systems have also been proven to treat threats such as lead and mercury.

· WQA provides Gold Seal certification for products that remove a variety of contaminants.

· Consumers can learn about different treatment systems and find locally certified dealers by visiting the WQA Web site’s Gold Seal and Find A Water Professional features.

· More information is available at WQA’s Water Information Library online, which includes a search feature.