4 Benefits To Installing Low-Flow Appliances In Your Home

It’s never a bad time to make your home a little bit greener. The benefits are overwhelming, and most common upgrades will pay for themselves within a year or two, and then again when it comes time to sell your house. One easy way to make your home more efficient is to install low-flow fixtures and appliances.

Low-flow fixtures come in many different shapes. Some, like aerators for showers and faucets, are either screwed right on to the opening or installed somewhere in the plumbing near the actual faucet or shower head itself. Others take the shape of full appliances that can be replaced wholesale. No matter the shape, though, low-flow upgrades offer many benefits for your home.

1 – They Save You Money

This is doubly Low-flow water fixtures help to save on energy coststrue for appliances and fixtures that are used all the time. Showers and faucets, for example, which are used multiple times per day, will pay off the cost of upgrading in less than a year. The EPA estimates that if everyone in the country switched to water-efficient appliances, the country would save $8 billion annually.

2 – They Save Energy

When most people think of conserving with low-flow appliances, they generally think only of the savings on the water bill. That’s not the whole story. In fact, switching to water-efficient appliances and fixtures will also save money on energy costs, as you end up using significantly less hot water. You also extend the life of your water heater.

3 – They Save the Planet

Few people realize that one of the biggest quality of life issues facing the world today is a severe shortage of fresh water in many regions. Switching to low-flow appliances and faucets lets you do your part to help out. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make sure that we leave the planet a little better off than when we found it.

4 – Many Communities Offer Incentives

If all of these reasons weren’t enough, many communities, municipalities, counties, and even states offer incentives for installing low-flow and water-efficient appliances and fixtures. And since the EPA claims that ultra-high-efficiency WaterSense products perform better than traditional counterparts, a tax incentive is basically free money to upgrade to higher quality fixtures and appliances.

The expert craftsmen at Handyman Matters can help you save energy and money by installing low flow fixtures and appliances. Enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters in your area or call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your appointment.

Handling Clogged Shower Drain Problems

Because the shower is one of the most commonly used areas in your house, the drain in that area is more prone than others to become clogged.  Hair and soap scum are the usual culprits, and can cause your shower to take up to half an hour to fully drain.

It is not especially difficult to fix a clogged shower drain if you are having a problem. Just follow these simple dos and don’ts.

Do:

• Check your stopper or trip lever

Your shower and tub area may have either a stopper or a trip lever to open and close the drain.  You should check to see if either of these are partially closed before you do anything else.

• Use a plunger

If your drain stopper is open and functioning properly, try using a plunger.  Most people only associate plungers with unclogging toilets, but they are also very effective on shower drains.

To proceed, make sure there is enough water over the drain to cover the bottom of the plunger’s head.  Use an old towel or rag to block the opening of the overflow outlet.  With the plunger covering the drain, use a pumping motion down and up at least five times. The pressure created should dislodge the clog.  Repeat the attempt several times before moving onto the next method.

• Try a plumber’s snake

If you have tried plunging, but the water still will not go down the drain, you can use a simple tool called a plumber’s snake.  This is a long and flexible cable made of steel that is wound around on a handle.

To use the snake, remove the overflow or trip lever plate using a screwdriver.  Push a three-foot length of the snake down the opening.  As you push, twist the handle. This helps move the head of the snake along.  Continue to push and twist as you push and pull the snake back and forth.  This will break up the clog.  Before you remove the snake, run a bit of water to see if the clog is gone.  You may need to work at the clog for a while until it is fully dislodged.

Don’t:

• Use a liquid clog remover

Do not try to remove a clog using a caustic drain opener.  It may actually eat through the clog, but it can be dangerous to use and can damage your pipes.  It is especially harmful if the chemical does not immediately dissolve the clog and sits there for hours.

• Never use boiling water

Do not pour boiling water down the drain to melt the clog.  It can damage sealants or rubber gaskets before it clears out the drain.

For help removing shower clogs, contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.

 

How To Fix Low Water Pressure

There are a few options to fix low water pressure that can affect faucets, showers, and other types of household fixtures. The first step is to determine whether low pressure is fixture-specific or affects the whole house.

fix low water pressure in your kitchen

Kitchen Faucet

The spouts on faucets for sinks in a kitchen often have an aerator to direct the flow of water. If water is slowly coming out of the spout, then the aerator (which is used to prevent water from spraying out of the spout) may need to be cleaned.  Remove it by hand or with a pair of pliers. If the aerator has lime scale buildup, then soak it in vinegar for up to eight hours. This will dissolve minerals that are causing low water flow.

Shower Head

One of the main reasons a showerhead will have low water pressure is because mineral deposits from hard water are causing a clog. Remove the showerhead and then turn on the water. This will remove any debris inside the pipe.  You can also use vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits inside the showerhead.

Toilet

A toilet that is slow to fill may have a bad fill valve. You can check the operation of the fill valve for a toilet by first turning the angle stop off. Remove the flex line connected to the toilet and place it into a bucket or other container. Turn on the angle stop and check the pressure of the water. You may find that the fill valve is bad and will need to be replaced.

Bathroom Faucet

Low water pressure from a bathroom faucet can be caused by a clogged aerator.  Use the same procedure as described for fixing the kitchen faucet, as shown above.

Washing Machine

Washing machines that fill slowly may have hard water deposits on the screens or supply hoses. Clean any mineral deposits by taking off the water supply hose from the machine.  The screens are on the end of the hose and on the washing machine. Cleaning the screens will improve water flow coming into the machine.

Additional Information

If trying to fix low water pressure sounds intimidating or just simply beyond your scope to tackle alone, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or go enter your zip code above to locate a Handyman Matters location near you.

3 Common Plumbing Problems That Are Simple To Fix

Plumbing issues – whether small or complex – can bring even the most basic household functions to a screeching halt. Whether it’s a clogged toilet or drain or a leaky faucet, these common household problems are important ones to be aware of and to know how to fix.

1. Toilet Overflowing

An overflowing toilet is caused by a clog somewhere. Remember: never flush foreign objects down the toilet as they can plug the pipes and cause problems. If you do have an overflowing toilet, reach down and turn off the water to the toilet to make sure that water doesn’t continue to flow out. Once that’s done, use a plunger with a tapered shape to plunge whatever is clogging the toilet. After it’s removed, flush the toilet to make sure everything is working correctly again.

2. No Hot Water

Having no hot water is a pretty obvious problem; however, there are a few other signs that can alert you to this issue: an odor of rotten eggs, rust colored water, and a high pitched whining. Depending on the type of water heater you have (tank-less, electric, or gas), you’ll need to disconnect the power to the water heater, shut off the water supply, and have a look at the water heater to determine the specific root of the problem.

3. Having a Leaky Faucet or Pipe

While a leaky faucet may not be the end of the world, even the smallest of leaks can cause a huge waste in water. And if you aren’t aware of a household leak, that could be even more of an issue.

A quick and easy way to tell if you have an unseen household leak is to turn off all faucets and appliances that use water (better if you do this at night before going to sleep). Check your water meter and write down the number it shows. Let eight hours pass and then check the meter again – if the number has changed, you’ve probably got a leak.

Check out this short video to learn how to fix a leaky shower head:

Even small plumbing problems can add up to a big headache if you don’t have the time or know-how to deal with them. The experts at Handyman Matters can help you tackle these types of plumbing problems quickly and easily. Call us at 1-866-FIX-MY- HOME to schedule an appointment today or enter your zip code above to find a location near you!

Save Money With Up-To-Date Plumbing

plumbing-repairWhen considering your home’s plumbing in the current economic times, you might be thinking of that old adage “why fix something if it ain’t broke?” But did you know that old and inefficient plumbing might actually mean that you are literally pouring your money down the drain every month? A call to your plumber might really save you money in the end if you upgrade the plumbing in your home.

When were your current plumbing fixtures installed? Did they come with the house when you bought it? Old toilets use up a lot of water with each flush, which is bad for both the environment and for your wallet. Are you putting off having that leaky faucet repaired because you just don’t want to spend the money right now? The average faucet leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water per year. If it’s a hot water faucet that’s leaking, you are losing money both with the wasted water and with the wasted electricity or gas that is heating that water.

Or what if your problem is slow drains? You might decide to take the easy step of pouring liquid corrosives down the drain to clear out the blockage. This is actually a bad idea. The corrosive chemicals in drain cleaner will harm your sewer pipes, perhaps necessitating an extremely expensive repair in the future. In addition, the environmental impact of pouring such chemicals down the drain and into the water supply can have serious ramifications for the future of our planet.

If you’ve been putting off plumbing repairs or upgrades, you really might want to consider having a professional technician visit your home. Plumbers can let you know if repairs are needed or if there are upgrades available to your current plumbing that can actually save you money. There are many options, such as low flow or dual flush toilets that can help you stop wasting water and upgrade your home.

Having your new toilet installed by a plumber will ensure that your system is up to code and works efficiently and properly. A plumber can also help you to repair your leaky faucets, or assist you by installing water saving devices such as low flow faucets or aerators on your sinks. They can also help by providing professional sewer cleaning that will fix your slow drains without causing serious corrosion to the pipes in your home and damage to the environment.

These days, everyone is looking to save money where they can. By having a professional plumber inspect your pipes and see what upgrades and repairs can be done in your home, you can save yourself money on wasted water and utility bills. In addition you’ll be adding to the value of one of your most important investments, your home.