How Backflow Prevention Protects You

February 25th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Most homeowners take for granted the fact that there is always reliable clean drinking water available in the home. You probably assume that clean water will flow from the faucet every time you turn it on, as your water supply goes through a very thorough municipal water supply treatment process before it reaches your home. But a plumbing system is so complex that the potential for backflow is unfortunately often present.

Protect your water supply by installing a backflow preventer at any potential cross connections, which we’ll go over in today’s guide, and keeping it maintained and tested by professionals. Call the experts at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. (MPI) for quality service from a certified plumber.

What Is Backflow Prevention?

Backflow prevention devices keep backflow from contaminating your water supply. Backflow occurs when there is a pressure imbalance somewhere in your plumbing system, which allows for the possibility of backsiphonage or back pressure. In either case, a source of cross contamination is introduced into the plumbing system, and there is a possibility that chemicals or wastewater may enter your plumbing system if the pressure in the water supply were to change.

A sudden drop in water pressure can occur for many reasons. Perhaps there was a break in the water main, or firefighters had to access a hydrant that drew from the supply. Other liquids may become drawn into the pipes, especially if a cross connection exists. And sometimes this backflow is hazardous.

Let’s say you put a hose into a bucket of soapy water. If the pressure in the water supply dropped, the soapy water could become sucked back into the water supply. This becomes far more dangerous when the cross contamination is a chemical or if dirty wastewater enters the potable supply. One example is if you have a boiler in the home. Boiler feedwater may contain chemicals unsafe for human consumption, which is why connections between boilers and the water supply are usually fitted with a backflow prevention device.

A backflow prevention device contains a one way valve in which water can only flow in one direction. Federal, state, and local codes require that you have a backflow prevention device installed at any potential source of a cross connection. While your municipality mandates the use of backflow preventers in many cases, it’s up to you to make sure it’s in good shape.

Call the technicians at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. (MPI) for regular testing and maintenance of your backflow prevention device in Longwood to help keep your family safe from contamination.

Will a Leaky Pipe Always Require Replacement?

February 16th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

There are lots of items that fall under the guise of “home remedies” to fix leaking pipes. Some of these so-called fixes are sprays that turn into rubber while others are just the old standby: duct tape. Unfortunately, none of these home-grown remedies every really repairs anything and can actually contribute to more problems down the road. So to answer the question, “does a leak pipe always require replacement?” our answer is “yes”. To help you understand why pipe replacement in Sanford is important, we’d like to share some leak facts from the EPA WaterSense initiative for your consideration.

Water Leak Facts

It can be amazing how much a little drip there or a drop here can cost you, but these statistics don’t lie:

  • Household leaks average a loss of 10,000 gallons of water per year – if you pay for your water, you are paying for a whole lot of water that isn’t getting used.
  • Most, if not all, leaks can be eliminated when the problem plumbing sections are replaced correctly by professionals.
  • The most common leaks are: toilet bowl flappers, leaking valves and dripping faucets, all of which can be easily repaired by an expert.
  • A faucet that drips a droplet of water every second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water annually.
  • 10% of homes have an average loss of water of 90 gallons per day due to small leaks.
  • Replacing an old and/or inefficient toilet with a low-flow toilet can save you up to 13,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Have in-ground watering? A leak the size of a dime can waste over 6,000 gallons of water per month.

As you can see, even the smallest of leaks can cost you a significant amount of water, which translates into dollars with your monthly water bill. Additionally, these statistics do not take into consideration any water damage that can easily occur from the leaking water. The bottom line: if you have a leaky pipe, don’t spray it or tape it; instead, call an expert from Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. and schedule an appointment for pipe replacement service for your Sanford home.

Some of the Unusual Movies Released for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Hollywood has always tried to match movies up to the seasons to draw droves of viewers to the theaters: October is packed with fright-offerings, while the winter holidays skew toward warm and pleasing family films (as well as Oscar hopefuls). Valentine’s Day falls in an odd spot when it comes to the movie release calendar, however, since February tends to be a slower time for the film industry. The studios are as likely to slot strange movies that don’t fit anywhere else in their annual schedules into the Valentine’s Day weekend as they are films with powerful romantic appeal.

So, while the second weekend of February has featured hugely successful romantic comedies like Hitch, The Wedding Singer, and (of course) Valentine’s Day, some truly weird choices have debuted in this weekend as well. And a few have even gone on to tremendous success despite the bizarre match with the holiday. Here are a couple of the odder Valentine’s Day movie releases:

  • Dracula (1931): Yes, this Halloween perennial and the start of Universal Studio’s Classic Monsters actually came out on Valentine’s Day! But perhaps this makes some sense, as the Dracula legend has often received a “doomed lover” approach in the many years since Bela Lugosi made the aristocratic vampire a screen icon.
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Does any film seem less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than this unnerving and sometimes very violent psychological thriller? What’s even more astonishing than the film’s release date is that The Silence of the Lambs eventually nabbed the Oscar for Best Picture, an almost unheard of occurrence for a movie released so early in the year.
  • Daredevil (2003): This Marvel comic adaptation featuring Ben Affleck as a blind superhero does contain a romantic subplot, but the stronger connection to Valentine’s Day may just be that Daredevil wears a bright red costume.
  • A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): The least successful of the Die Hard film franchise, this is an excellent example of a studio dropping a film into a weekend where it doesn’t fit in the hopes that it works as counter-programming. (It didn’t.)
  • Wayne’s World (1992): Now here is an example of counter-programming that clicked with audiences. This comedy based on a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into one of that year’s biggest hits and spawned a sequel.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with a trip to the movie theater, or you have your own special plans, everyone here at Modern Plumbing Industries hopes you and your loved ones have a wonderful weekend.

How Drain Cleaning Can Reduce Repairs

February 4th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Your drains are work horses. They help remove gallons of waste water every day for years and years. One way to help maintain them and keep them healthy is to schedule drain cleaning for your plumbing. All kinds of things wash down your drains, and until you see signs of a problem, such as slow draining or a clog, you may not be aware of the condition of your drains. A professional drain cleaning performed by the experts from Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. in Orlando can help you reduce repairs for some of the following reasons:

  • Gets rid of soap scum build-up – the bubbles from soap may be light and fluffy, but when they dry, they form a stubborn, hard layer called soap scum. When soap scum sticks to the inside of your pipes, the build-up can seriously restrict or block water flow, causing slow draining and clogs.
  • Removes FOG – FOG, also known as fats, oils and grease, are to your pipes what barnacles are to boats: sticky, stubborn substances that cause problems, including foul odors. FOG clings to the inside of your pipes and forms build-up, and because FOG can spoil, it can cause your drains to become quite odoriferous.
  • Prevent repairs – the best way to help prevent repairs is to get ahead of them, and drain cleaning is the best way to do that. The thorough and safe scouring that your pipes get during a drain cleaning break up and flush out debris and build-up, restoring functionality.
  • Helps extend the life of your system – drain cleaning keeps your plumbing in good working order, which can help extend the life of your system.

Can I Do It Myself?

It can be tempting to buy a drain snake and clean your drains on your own, but unless you know how to handle that tool, you should leave the cleaning to the experts. Mishandled plumbing tools can seriously damage plumbing and cause much bigger issues, something most homeowners don’t want to deal with.

Drain cleaning for your Orlando home is good for you and your plumbing system. Call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Should I Replace My Old Tank Water Heater with a Tankless One?

January 29th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Water heaters can sometimes have a bad reputation, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency. There have been a number of advancements in the plumbing industry over the last decade that have helped water heaters become much more efficient, and one such advancement has been the advent of the tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters have made such a splash that many homeowners are wondering: should I switch to a tankless water heater? The best way to decide this is to understand the capabilities of a tankless water heater and see if it fits your hot water needs in Oviedo.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

Tankless systems are often called “on demand” because they don’t hold hot water in a tank to be used; instead, they heat water almost instantaneously when a hot water tap is opened in your home. A tankless system can accomplish this because it uses a component called a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger starts as soon as hot water is called for; the cold water flows through the heat exchanger where heat is transferred to the water, heating it for use. The heated water then flows to the open tap.

Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless systems offer a few benefits worth considering:

  • Space-savers – tankless water heaters are much smaller than storage tank water heaters, freeing up space that would normally be taken up by the water tank.
  • Always have hot water – with a tankless system, you can’t run out of hot water because the water operates on demand.
  • Better energy efficiency – a tankless water heater uses up to 30% less energy to generate hot water, making tankless water heaters very energy efficient.
  • Longer lifespan – tankless water heaters have an average lifespan of 20 years as compared to a tank water heater, which have an average lifespan of 10-13 years.

If you are considering the replacement of your tank water heater in Oviedo with a tankless water heater, call the experts who can help you every step of the way: Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc.

Reasons Backflow Issues May Occur in Your Home

January 20th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

The name pretty much says it all: “backflow”. Without having a full definition in front of you, you can probably guess that backflow isn’t a good thing for you or your plumbing, and it’s not. Your home’s plumbing is set-up so that wastewater stays very separate from your potable water. When backflow appears, a problem has developed whereby the wastewater is somehow backing up in your plumbing and entering your supply pipes, i.e., your potable water. There are ways to help prevent backflow, and these days most plumbing requires some kind of backflow prevention service for your property. But there are a few ways in which backflow can occur, and we’ll outline some of these below.

Backflow Isn’t a Clog

One thing to be clear about when it comes to backflow is that it isn’t caused by a clog in the system; clogs stop wastewater from exiting while backflow is the mixture of wastewater with your potable water. Here are a couple of ways backflow can occur:

  • Problems with pressure in the system – your plumbing system works on a delicate balance of pressure; should this pressure become imbalanced on either the supply side or the outgoing wastewater side, backflow can develop. There are two kinds of backflow problems that can occur because of pressure: backflow, which is categorized by downstream pressure that overpowers the upstream pressure and backsiphonage, which develops from negative pressure, which has something of a vacuum effect on your plumbing system.
  • Backflow preventer breaks – plumbing systems have been required for some time to have devices called backflow preventers. These devices prevent any kind of wastewater from backflowing into your potable water. If a backflow preventer is poorly installed, or it develops a leak, the device can malfunction and allow wastewater into your system.

Backflow in your water is a potentially dangerous situation. If you suspect you may have a backflow problem, call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. today and schedule an appointment for plumbing repair with one of our specialists in Lake Mary, FL.

Do I Really Need Whole-House Pipe Replacement?

January 13th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Whole-house pipe replacement is a very big job, and not something that is done lightly. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary. The water pipes in your home are not really installed with the intention of you having to replace them at some point. In fact, water pipes are specifically designed to withstand a lifetime or two of water flow. Nothing is perfect, however, and if you do need whole-house pipe replacement then something has gone seriously wrong. Let’s examine some of the things that can provoke a whole-house pipe replacement.

Older or Harmful Pipes

Modern plumbing pipes are almost entirely made of copper, which is highly resistant to corrosion by water. Copper piping can last up to 100 years or more, assuming normal use and nothing catastrophic happens. In the early-to-mid twentieth century, however, pipes were often made of iron or lead. Iron can still last a long time, though it rusts more easily. Lead, on the other hand, tends to leech into the water that runs through the pipes. This is extremely bad for you. If you find out that any of the piping in your home is lead, replace it immediately. Polybutylene (plastic) pipes were also used in the late twentieth century, but proved far too brittle to be effective. If your house has plastic pipes, you should probably have them replaced before they rupture.

Visible Signs of Corrosion

If you live in an older house, around 50 years or older, you should make a habit of checking all the visible pipes in your home at least once a year. If you notice leaks, rust, or any other signs of corrosion, you may have a problem. The pipes in most homes tend to be uniform in material, unless a section of them has already been replaced. That means that if you find corrosion in one part of your pipe network, there’s a good chance that it is elsewhere as well. You’ll need to call a plumber to make sure, however.

If you’re worried about the water pipes in your home, call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. (MPI) and schedule an appointment with us. We provide quality pipe replacement services throughout the Maitland area.

Is Rust a Sign I Need Water Heater Repair?

January 6th, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Rust on anything is evidence of corrosion that has developed from excess moisture, which typically isn’t a good thing. When it comes to water heaters, the big question is: where is the rust located? The reason this question is important is that there is a big difference between rust being only on the outside of your water heater or on the inside. This does not mean that rust on the outside of a water heater is a good thing, but it is better than rust coming from the inside.

Sacrificial Anode

Water and metal are usually a bad combination, but there are a lot of instances where the two have to come together. When it comes to water heaters, there are two ways in which the process of corrosion via rust is inhibited: first, by insulated lining in the water tank and second, by a component known as the sacrificial anode. As its name suggests, the sacrificial anode’s job is to attract the electrolytes that help create corrosion. Sacrificial anodes are made of highly active metals, so the anode is the part that will corrode first out of all of the water heater’s components. This is done purposefully so that the less active metals that comprise the water heater won’t rust and corrode.

So What If You See Rust?

This is where you need to see where the rust is. Sacrificial anodes have an average lifespan of about 6 years. Once the anode is fully rusted, the electrolytes inside the tank will likely move on to other parts of your water heater.

Rust Prevention

So what can you do to help prevent rust and know the state of your sacrificial anode? One of the best ways is to schedule annual water heater maintenance. During a water heater maintenance appointment, all the components of your water heater are checked, including the anode; if the anode is rusty, it can be replaced during the appointment. Flushing your water heater twice a year also helps, as it removes any built-up sediment and bacteria in the tank.

If you are seeing rust on your water heater, and aren’t sure if it’s coming from a problem inside the tank or outside, it’s best to play it safe and make an appointment for water heater repair in Winter Park, FL. The experts at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc., can help with any water heater issue you may have, so call us today!

12 Grapes for 12 Months: An Unusual New Year’s Tradition

January 1st, 2015 by Anthony Bracco

Across the world, many cultures have specific traditions to celebrate the transition from the old year to the new. In the U.S. and Canada, we associate New Year’s with the ball in Times Square, kissing at the stroke of midnight, resolutions, and singing “Old Lang Syne.” But for many Spanish-speaking countries, one of the key traditions has to do with eating grapes as fast as possible.

The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). To ensure good luck for the next year, people eat one green grape for each of the upcoming twelve months. However, you cannot just eat the grapes during the first day of the new year any time you feel like it. You must eat the twelve grapes starting at the first stroke of midnight on Nochevieja (“Old Night,” New Year’s Eve) as one year changes to another. And you have to keep eating: with each toll of midnight, you must eat another grape, giving you about twelve seconds to consume all of them. If you can finish all dozen grapes—you can’t still be chewing on them!—before the last bell toll fades, you will have a luck-filled new year.

Where did this tradition come from? No one is certain, although it appears to be more than a century old. One story about the Twelve Lucky Grapes is that a large crop of grapes in 1909 in Alicante, Spain led to the growers seeking out a creative way to eliminate their surplus. But recent research through old newspapers shows that perhaps the tradition goes back almost thirty years earlier to the 1880s, where eating grapes was meant to mock the upper classes who were imitating the French tradition of dining on grapes and drinking champagne on New Year’s Eve.

It can be difficult to consume grapes this fast, and the lucky grapes of New Year’s Eve have seeds in them, making the job even trickier. (Seedless grapes are not common in Spain the way they are over here.) For people to manage eating all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight requires swallowing the seeds as well and only taking a single bite of each grape.

Oh, there is one more twist to the tradition: you have to be wearing red undergarments, and they have to be given to you as a gift. The origins of this part of the tradition are even more mysterious, and it’s anybody’s guess why this started.

Whether you go for the grape challenge or find another way to ring in New Year’s, all of us at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. (MPI) hope you have a great start to the year and a, uhm, fruitful 2015.

The Composition of Snowflakes: Are No Two Alike?

December 25th, 2014 by Anthony Bracco

“No two snowflakes are alike.”

This is a statement nearly every schoolchild has heard at least once, either while crafting unique snowflakes with a sheet of folded paper and some scissors or while learning a lesson on the science of snow. While even most scientists don’t quite understand what causes a snowflake to form such complex and beautiful columns and points and branches, one thing is for certain, the composition of snowflakes guarantees that no two will ever be identical.  However, it is possible for two snowflakes to appear to be nearly exactly alike.

A snowflake begins to form when a piece of dust catches water vapor out of the air. Water is created when two hydrogen molecules attach to an oxygen molecule. The two hydrogen molecules are angled from one another in such a way that they form a hexagonal shape when they come together during the freezing process; thus, a snowflake begins as a simple hexagonal shape or as layers of hexagons called diamond dust. The emergent properties that follow from the original hexagon are what differentiate one snowflake from another, as the humidity, the temperature in the air, and many other factors (some of which remain unclear to scientists) allow each snowflake to form in an entirely unique way with a seemingly endless variety of shapes.

However, in 1988, a scientist named Nancy Knight claimed to have located two that were the same while studying snowflakes as part of an atmospheric research project. And it appeared to be so; when put under a microscope, the emergent properties looked nearly identical. But while it is feasible that two snowflakes can appear to be exactly alike on the outside, they are never identical on an atomic level. Deuterium is an atom that appears attached to about one in every 3000 hydrogen molecules in the air. Because there are millions of atoms that make up a snowflake, the random assortment of deuterium in any two snowflakes—even in two that so very closely resemble one another—simply cannot be the same.

Here at Modern Plumbing, we’d like to remind you to grab a cup of cocoa and relax with your family this holiday, perhaps by crafting some unique snowflake creations of your own. We wish you a very happy holiday season, from our family to yours!