Is Your Water Bill Increasing? Find Out Why

increasing water billFluctuations in your water bill are normal. However, if you notice a gradual and consistent rise, then you may want to examine your household water use. Some homeowners notice a rise even if they haven’t changed their showering, laundry, or dishwashing habits. We’ll go over potential causes for an increasing water bill.

Underground Leaks

Old and damaged plumbing can lead to a significant amount of water loss in a short duration. If you notice weak water pressure, water sputtering from the faucet, or wet patches on your lawn, then you might want to call in a plumber to check on the pipeline.

Leaky Toilet

A leaky toilet is less obvious than a leaky faucet, since the drip isn’t out in the open. Phantom flushing, which we discussed in a previous post, may cause the tank to leak water and automatically refill. Continue Reading →

Furnace Vs Heat Pump: Which Is Right for Your Home?

furnace vs heat pumpA heater can be a rather broad term that describes any type of home-installed appliance that provides heat. Two primary types of heating appliances compete for your business: It’s furnace vs heat pump. We’ll go through the difference to help you decide which is best for your home.

Furnace

Many furnaces burn fuel (usually natural gas in modern homes) to create heat. The heat is circulated through air vents to warm individual rooms. Some furnaces operate completely on electricity, including induction furnaces. These create heat through a reaction of electricity against metal.

With a typical gas furnace, you can expect high energy efficiency. Most modern models have a 97% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, meaning that 97% of the gas it consumes is converted into heat.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are essentially air conditioners that work in reverse. Instead of creating heat like a furnace does, it shuttles heat from one location to another. In the winter, heat is moved into the home, whereas in the summer it shuttles away indoor heat and deposits it outside. Continue Reading →

Phantom Flushing: What Causes Your Toilet to Self-Flush?

phantom flushingDo you regularly hear your toilet flushing and the tank refilling on its own? If so, no need to call the Ghostbusters. This is a common plumbing problem and not the work of a ghostly entity. This phenomenon is known as phantom flushing, and we’ll explain what it is and why it occurs.

How Phantom Flushing Occurs

Phantom flushing is actually just a fancy term for a leaking toilet. A leak may occur in the tank, causing it to automatically refill with water. The problem is often attributed to a faulty flapper. Over time, the rubber in the flapper begins to deteriorate, affecting its seal. As the seal disintegrates, the toilet leaks more and more.

Why Is Phantom Flushing a Problem?

A leaky toilet means you’re wasting water at a rapid rate. If the toilet is leaking non-stop, you could be wasting as much as 200 gallons of water every 24 hours. That is bad for the environment AND your monthly water bill.

The Food Dye Test

You can do an easy DIY test to determine if the toilet tank is leaking water. Place a few droplets of food dye into the toilet tank and wait 20 to 30 minutes. If remnants of the dye appear in the toilet bowl, then you have a leaky toilet. Continue Reading →

Do You Have Hard Water Coming Out of Your Faucets?

hard waterHard water is a regional problem. The worst area are in the Upper Midwest and in North Texas. However, some areas in and around Snohomish have this issue. How do you know if you have hard water coming from your faucets, and what can you do about it?

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is simply tap water with heavy mineral deposits. This is often due to the water coming into contact with natural geological features, such as limestone. Other common deposits which cause this phenomenon include calcium, iron, magnesium, and even aluminum. The water collects some of the minerals before reaching residential pipelines.

Hard water usually tastes bad. Also, it leaves deposits which can build up in your heater, washer, and garbage disposal. These deposits can cause major problems. Continue Reading →

What Happens When You Pour Grease Down a Drain?

grease down a drainMost people know better than to pour grease down a drain. We even discussed this briefly in our previous post. However, most homeowners don’t know why this is bad. Nor do they know precisely what happens once the grease enters the drains and pipes.

Why Pouring Grease Down the Drain Is a No-no

Grease undergoes chemical alterations under temperature fluctuations. Grease also mixes with other debris and chemicals in the pipeline and sewers, forming a conglomeration of chemical sludge. The solid mass ends up blocking the pipes that shuttle out wastewater.

One study revealed that 47% of sewer backups in the U.S. occur due to grease buildup. We can attest to this; roughly half of our plumbing service work involves some form of blockage removal.

As grease travels through the pipes, it begins breaking down into its molecular components—glycerol and fatty acids. These bind with calcium deposits resting in the sewers to form a glob-like compound that clings to the upper portion of the pipes when water levels rise. Plumbers even have an informal name for this glob—fatberg. Continue Reading →

Winter Plumbing Protection

winter plumbing protectionWinter is in full swing in the Snohomish area. Granted, the pacific northwest isn’t the most frigid place in the country. But it may still be frosty enough to cause frozen pipes. We outline here a few tips for winter plumbing protection.

Plumbing Tips for the Kitchen

Winter is said to be the time when homeowners prepare delicious and fatty meals. This is fine and all, but be careful not to pour any resulting grease down the drain. The same goes for fibrous waste, such as carrot peels and pumpkin pulp. These should never go into the garbage disposal.

Our plumbing services are often called to treat a kitchen sink backup during this time of year. Do you know what we almost always find? Solidified grease and vegetable remnants in drains and disposals. Continue Reading →

What Happens During a Furnace Inspection

Furnace Inspection Procedure | Plumbing and Heating SpecialistTo keep your furnace operating at its best, it’s important to have it inspected regularly. Ideally, you’ll want an HVAC technician to look at it twice a year (in the spring and fall) so that you can resolve any relatively small problems before they become bigger (and more expensive) to fix.

What happens during a furnace inspection? There is much more to it than changing your filter and making sure that your thermostat works properly. Here is a list of some of the work the technician will accomplish during the inspection.

  • Inspect and clean the furnace’s blower motor, along with the wheel and housing.
  • Check the combustion motor for any obstructions and lint. Clean it if necessary.
  • On a gas furnace, the technician will check for any gas leaks.
  • Perform an inspection on the condensate lines and the pan. If the pan needs draining, the technician will do so.
  • Check the evaporator coil.
  • Inspect the burner; clean it if necessary.
  • Check the ignition, the safety controls and adjust as necessary.
  • Perform an inspection on the heat elements/heat exchanger.
  • Check the flue system for corrosion.
  • Inspect all electrical systems, including the control box, the connections and the wiring.
  • Check the air filters, and replace if necessary.
  • Examine the ductwork for leaks.
  • Run system startup to look for errors.
  • Listen for any sounds that may indicate a problem.
  • Be mindful of any unusual odors. If any are detected, track down their source.
  • Check the furnace system pressures (including high and low side, as well as manifold).
  • Measure temperature rise and adjust.
  • Inspect the vent system while the furnace is on.

Continue Reading →