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Spring 2012

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Celebrate Earth Day by Conserving Water and Improving your Plumbing System

Instead of planting a tree on Earth Day this year, make a commitment to reducing your carbon footprint by saving water. Water conservation is only part of helping the environment. You can save energy by maintaining your plumbing system and increasing its overall efficiency. Here are some plumbing tips to help you conserve more water and save energy.

Repairing leaks is one of the easiest ways to save water and lower your water bills. Even a small drip in a faucet can add up over time. If you’ve had issues with water pressure, such as excessively low pressure or erratic patterns in water pressure, call one of our plumbers to check for hidden leaks. Depending on the severity of the leak, repairing a water leak can save up to 100 gallons of water per week.

Installing low–flow faucets can greatly reduce your water usage. A standard low–flow showerhead uses approximately 2.5 gallons of water per minutes (GPM), whereas older showerheads can have a flow rate of up to 5.5 GPMs. If you aren’t sure how much water your shower uses, simply fill a gallon–sized bucket using your shower. If the bucket fills up in 20 seconds or less, your shower has a high GPM. By installing low–flow faucets and fixtures, you could save close to 60% on water bills. Turning off the water while you wash your hair, shave, or brush your teeth can also reduce your water usage.

In addition to installing low–flow faucets, upgrading to dual–flush toilets can make a noticeable difference in your water bills. Water saving toilets use significantly less water than a standard toilet. Depending on the age and model of the older toilet, it could be using up to 50% more water than a new dual–flush model.

Lowering the temperature on your water heater can also help to save energy, as well as insulating the tank on a tank water heater. Heating the water for a tank water heater uses a lot of energy, especially if the tank isn’t insulated and loses heat. Installing a water heater "jacket" or "blanket" can help to minimize heat loss from the water heater tank.

In addition to these tips, routine maintenance for your plumbing system will ensure that there are no hidden leaks or other issues that keep it from working smoothly and efficiently. You should have your system inspected by a professional plumber at least once a year. Call today to schedule your yearly maintenance exam.


The Importance of Water Heater Maintenance

As a homeowner, it is always in your best interest to perform regular maintenance on and have a professional inspect your home’s major appliances and HVAC components each year. It extends the lifespan of those devices, ensures they work properly in the near future, and reduces the cost of unnecessary repairs. For your water heater, this is even more important because of the already short lifespan of the device.

Most water heaters are only rated for up to 10–15 years of use. Without proper maintenance, that 10–15 year life cycle can be shortened dramatically, so it’s important that you perform maintenance each year.

Common Maintenance Tasks
Your plumbing technician will test the thermostat to see if it works properly and can drain and flush the tank of excess sediment build up. They will also perform more advanced maintenance tasks like testing gas valves, cleaning the burners, testing water pressure and more. These tasks usually will take 2–3 hours on average and will be performed once each year during schedule maintenance visits.

The Importance of this Maintenance
Why is it so important to have these things done each year? To start, consider the sediment that builds up in your tank. Water doesn’t flow continuously through a water heater to keep it clear. It settles, often many times a day. On the rare occasion that the tank is emptied, it is quickly refilled without a full flush. So, the minerals and sediment present in all water sources will settle to the bottom of the tank. Over the course of months or even years, the amount of sediment can grow large enough to decrease the efficiency of your water heater or even clog pipes.

A poorly maintained water heater can have dirty boilers, clogged pipes or an improperly calibrated thermostat – these all cost you money as your water heater consumes more energy to heat the same volume of water. Additionally, because it must burn hotter for longer, the device will wear out faster, either requiring extra repairs or much earlier replacement.

Water heater maintenance is a necessity that every homeowner should take seriously. Having one of our plumbing technicians come out once a year inspect and service your water heater will ensure it operates in prime condition.

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