EMERSON, NJ PLUMBING Q/A: WHAT IS A FAUCET AERATOR?

EMERSON, NJ PLUMBING Q/A: WHAT IS A FAUCET AERATOR?

July 2, 2012

A tap aerator or faucet aerator is located on the tip of water faucets which are used indoors such as kitchen and bathroom sink faucets.  Their purpose is to spread the water stream into a number of smaller streams, in essence adding air to the water stream.  This saves the amount of water which comes out of the tap at one time while also reducing the amount of backsplash which occurs when the faucet is turned on.

Utilizing faucet aerators can be one of the most inexpensive ways to save money on water consumption and save energy with your Emerson, NJ plumbing.

There are two main types of faucet aerators, some which use metal or plastic screens to separate the water, and some which do not use screens. One advantage to those without screens is that they eliminate problematic clogging which occurs on screen aerators due to sediment buildup.  There are also aerators with off-valves and swivel aerators which allow users to direct flow to wherever the water spray is needed.

There are three main flow-types seen today. The needle method creates a circular pattern of small, single streams of water with no water-flow in the very center.  The aerated method created a tubular flow with air mixed into the water, creating a single stream of bubbly water.  The laminar method has no air mixed in which makes for a single stream of water with no bubbles.

Many aerators are designed as more economical low-flow aerators which optimize the water flow while still providing optimal water-flow performance.  In kitchens these low-flow options decrease flow from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1.5 gpm or 1.0 gpm, saving anywhere from 32% to 54% of water-usage.  On bathroom faucets the water-flow is decreased from 2.2 gpm to 1.0 gpm or even 0.5 gpm saving from 77% to 84% of water usage.  When engineered properly, low-flow or economic aerators can provide increased perceived water pressure while in actuality helping to save water.

When purchasing new faucet aerators, ensure that you find the proper type (male or female) and the proper size (regular or small).  There are dual-thread options for those who do not know whether a male or female aerator is necessary.  Also, look at the tap aerator’s price in conjunction with how much savings it can provide in water usage annually and see how little must be spent on each faucet in order to save hundreds of dollars. For any new plumbing installation you need in the Emerson, NJ region, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call!

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BERGEN COUNTY PLUMBING TIP: FIX WATER LEAKS BEFORE THEY CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGE

June 25, 2012

Undetected water leaks can rot wood, destroy drywall, and cause mold to grow in unseen spaces of your home. Spending the time and money to find and fix water leaks in your Bergen County plumbing before they cause significant damage is one of the most cost-effective actions a homeowner can take.

Sinks

Cabinets beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks are a good place to start. Look for signs of water damage or build up. Mold and mildew are telltale signs of water leaks. Touch the pipes, particularly the areas where they enter the faucet. Run the hot and cold water faucets for a few minutes and repeat the inspection. Finally, fill the sink with water, let it stand a few minutes and open the drain. Now check the drain pipe and the joints that connect it to the sink for leaks.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers can’t easily be checked for leaks without pulling them out from beneath the counter. But you can inspect the water lines that connect the dishwasher to the kitchen sink. For some units, you may be able to shine a flashlight beneath the dishwasher to look for puddles.

 Toilets

Toilets can leak from the water supply pipes filling the tank and from the seal between the toilet and the waste pipe in the floor. Flush the toilet several times and carefully look for any signs of leaks in the  joints of the water supply pipe and the floor around the base of the toilet. Lift the lid off the tank and flush the toilet. When the tank refills, the water should completely shut off. If the flush valve or water control unit is old, corroded, or loose, the water will continue to run. Running water cools the water delivery pipe to the toilet and the tank, which will cause them to collect condensation in humid weather. The condensation will drip and eventually cause water damage to the floor behind the toilet. Bottom line – don’t ignore a running toilet. Have the water control and flush valve fixed or replaced.

 Tubs and Showers

Inspect the caulking around the tub or shower. Old, cracked, or missing caulking can allow water to leak into the wall. Water dripping from a leaky faucet or shower head will go down the drain and not cause any damage, but the faucet may also be leaking water behind the tub or shower.

 Washing Machines

For washing machines, make sure the hot and cold water hose connections are open and check for leaks. Inspect the floor around the washer for signs of puddles or water damage.

  Hot Water Heaters

Finally, inspect the hot water heater for leaks, and the boiler if the house has hot water heating. The first place to look is the floor around the appliance, but also look at the joints where the water pipes connect.

For help repairing any leaks in your Bergen County plumbing, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call today!

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HACKENSACK PLUMBING Q/A: WHY BUY WATERSENSE LABELED FIXTURES?

June 18, 2012

If you have been shopping for new plumbing fixtures lately in Hackensack, or even just wandered through that section of the home improvement store, you have probably noticed that some of them bear a familiar label.

“Just what is this ‘WaterSense’ company and why have I never heard of them before?” you may ask yourself. “Are they a new manufacturer?”

No, it’s not a new fixture company. WaterSense is a program in partnership with the Environment Protection Agency designed to make it easier for consumers to find, identify and choose products that use water more efficiently. You can find it on a number of faucets, shower heads and toilets. Even some newly built homes that exclusively have WaterSense fixtures installed bear the certification.

In order to wear the WaterSense label, a product has to meet strict criteria, such as using water at least 20% more efficiently than its average competitor, while also performing at least we well, and obtaining certification from an independent third party.

That’s all well and good, buy why should anyone buy a WaterSense labeled fixture? What are the benefits? In contrast to older or less efficient products, fixtures with the WaterSense label:

  • Are kinder to the environment
  • Reduce water consumption
  • Operate more efficiently
  • Employ more advanced technology
  • Perform as well as or better then competing products
  • Save you money on utility bills

As with the EnergyStar label that graces so many appliances and electronic devices these days, in this case what is good for the environment is also good for your wallet. The added efficiency of WaterSense products reduces water consumption, which not only conserves water for everyone, but conserves money for you.

So, for homeowners who are in the market for new plumbing fixtures and like to save the planet as well as some money, WaterSense labeled products are the way to go. For more information about how you can upgrade your Hackensack home’s plumbing, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call!

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TEANECK PLUMBER’S GUIDE: HOW TO DIAGNOSE BAD WATER PRESSURE DUE TO CLOGGED WATER PIPES

June 11, 2012

Poor water pressure is an annoying problem to have. It makes showering unpleasant, it’s difficult to water your lawn and your washer can’t get your clothes clean. These kinds of water pressure problems can stem from any one of a variety of causes, but one possible cause is a clogged pipe somewhere in your Teaneck plumbing system.

One clogged, partially blocked or otherwise constricted pipe somewhere in your Teaneck plumbing system can have effects on the water pressure at other points, or even throughout the entire system. To diagnose whether your water pressure problem is due to a clog, first turn on the water at a faucet or other fixture. Then, follow this brief guide.

Is the water pressure at the fixture you just turned on fine, but problematic elsewhere?

If this – or the reverse scenario – describes your problem, then there is probably a localized clog somewhere in the piping that feeds the fixtures with poor pressure. It could be that a secondary supply line of the main supply is clogged or constricted and is affecting the supply to several fixtures.

If you notice poor pressure at just one fixture, there may be a clog specific to that fixture, such as a clogged faucet strainer.

Is the water pressure fine at first, but drops to a trickle right away?

This usually means there is some sort of constriction in the piping. The initial burst indicates that the overall system pressure is fine, but something is constricting water flow, although the pipe is not fully blocked. If this happens all over the house, the constriction may be in the main supply line.

Is the water pressure fine in all the fixtures in one part of the house, but too low at all the fixtures in other area?

If this sounds like your water pressure problem, then there may be a clog within a single pipe or connection. For example, one elbow may be clogged up, which is reducing the water pressure in one area.

These simple diagnostic steps can help you determine if your low water pressure is due to a clog rather than another problem, such as a leaky pipe. Unless the clog is in come obvious place, however, like the clogged strainer at the faucet mentioned above, your best choice to repair the clog is to call a Teaneck  plumber. Otherwise, that clog can turn into a much larger problem.

Call BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating today for any plumbing repair, any time!

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BERGEN COUNTY PLUMBING Q/A: WHY DO I NEED WATER FILTRATION?

June 4, 2012

Like most Bergen County homeowners, you’re probably asking yourself why you need water filtration – what exactly happens to your water that makes it necessary to install an entire new system in your home to keep it clean? There are a few things that might be an issue here and your specific circumstances will determine which affects you the most.

 Common Water Contaminants

While most homes don’t suffer from all of the following, there is a good chance you will have at least some of these contaminants in your home:

  • Sediment
  • Bacteria
  • Chlorine
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Sulfate
  • Viruses

This is only a partial list too – there are a number of other, more exotic substances that might be in your water. Now, this doesn’t mean your water suffers from all or even most of these problems. Many homes only have one or two contaminants and they may not be dangerous to your health.

But, here’s the issue – and the number one reason that most homes should have a water filtration system. Things change. While your home may not suffer from virus or sulfate infiltration now, it could later. Things happen to the water supply – pipes get old, things get into the water tables and chemical levels change at treatment plants.

The only way to combat these problems is to have a good water filtration system already in place. Specifically, a reverse osmosis system that can remove all of these contaminants through an advanced chemical process.

Testing Comes First 

To make sure you have the right system in place to tackle your water contamination problems, make sure you first  a Bergen County plumber to perform full water testing on your home’s drinking water. Because some of these contaminants must be treated with chemical infusions through pumps or special cartridges, it is important to know in advance what you’re up against.

For more information about having a water filtration system installed in your home, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call today!

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ENGLEWOOD PLUMBING TIP: HOW AND WHY TO RECAULK PLUMBING FIXTURES

May 29, 2012

You probably don’t pay much attention to the caulking around your Englewood plumbing. It is one of those things that is always there, working kind of behind the scenes, that you never seem to notice until something goes wrong.

The think about caulking, though, is that something can go wrong with it rather quickly. Because of the high frequency of use of tubs and sinks, the caulk that seals the space between the fixture and the wall can deteriorate and crack over time. This can cause gaps in the caulk or cause the fixture to come loose from the wall.

When this cracking and erosion happens, water from your bath, shower head or faucet can seep in between the fixture and the wall, potentially causing water damage and fostering colonies of mildew and mold.

Cracked caulk is inevitable with daily use, so you don’t need to worry about preventing it. Instead, learn how to properly fix the situation with a fresh caulk job:

  1. Scrape away all the old caulk from around the fixture using a utility knife or putty knife. Take care to remove all the old caulk while also avoiding scratching porcelain fixtures.
  1. With all the caulk gone, clean out the joint thoroughly. This will remove any last traces of caulk, as well as any other dirt or buildup. If you notice mildew or mold, use a chlorine bleach solution to clean the joint before recaulking.
  1. Once the joint is dry, recaulk it using a bead of caulk that is just slightly wider than the joint. This ensures an adequate seal. Wipe any excess away with a rag.
  1. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly before using the sink or tub. Read the instructions on the caulk for an estimated drying time.

Take note that it is very important to thoroughly remove all the old caulk and clean everywhere along the fixture joint before applying the new caulk. Otherwise, the new caulk will not adhere properly and potentially damaging dirt may get sealed into the joint. If this is a process that you don’t feel comfortable doing yourself, never hesitate to call Englewood plumber BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating!

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BERGEN COUNTY PLUMBER’S TIP: WATER SAVING IN A NEW HOME

May 21, 2012

New homes offer many new water saving features which older homes in Bergen County tend not to offer.  Water saving in a new home can be quite simple, considering all the new technologies which are available to home builders.  Make yourself knowledgeable about these options and when you purchase a new home watch for these.  If you are building a home, it is good to communicate to the builder which of these options you want in water efficiency.

Indoor Water Saving Solutions

Up to 70% of water usage in residences happens indoors.  A number of items that new homes tend to provide save water usage and money in the long-run.

  • Fixtures such as toilets, bathroom faucets, and showerheads offer low-flow options
  • High efficiency and low energy use hot water heaters
  • New appliances such as dishwashers and clothes washers
  • Install a tankless water heater close to the most used hot water usage areas
  • Use of an on-demand style recirculation system in combination with a high efficiency water heater
  • Check for leaks regularly to ensure there is no waste

Outdoor Water Conservation

Anywhere from 30% to 70% of water usage of homes is used outdoors for yard landscaping and pool upkeep.  When designing an outdoor space, it is important to keep in mind how much water will be used for upkeep, as well as to ensure that water is saved where possible.

Landscaping:

  • Properly plan and design the landscaping
  • Limit grass and lawn to 40% or less of landscaped areas
  • Choose plants and flora which are regionally appropriate
    • Group plants according to similar water usages
    • Use native plants and those which have low water needs
  • Schedule efficient irrigation
    • Use fixed-spray sprinklers on lawn
    • Use drip or micro irrigation on plants, flowers, and bushes
    • Water during cooler times of day to ensure little evaporation due to heat
    • Do not over-water, it can harm plants just as much as not watering enough
    • Use mulch to prevent evaporation of water near plants, and to keep weeds away
    • Keep the yard properly maintained and the soil healthy with fertilizers

Pool:

  • Use a pool cover when the pool is not in use; this can save 30% to 50% of water which is wasted through evaporation
  • Keep the pool temperature a few degrees lower, the higher the temperature of the water the more evaporation occurs
  • Plant a windbreak of tall foliage to prevent wind from whipping water out of the pool
  • Check and fix leaks regularly
  • Clean pool and pool filters regularly to prevent backwash

Whether indoors or outdoors, water saving in new homes is quite easy, and while some options mean spending some money initially, the long-term savings on water month over month and year over year are quite significant and worthwhile indeed. For more information about how plumbing upgrades can improve your Bergen County home, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call!

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BERGEN COUNTY PLUMBING GUIDE: HOW TO REPLACE A TOILET SEAL

May 14, 2012

If you have ever taken a look at the base of your toilet where it meets the floor, you may have noticed a bead of caulk sealing the base of the toilet to the floor. While this watertight seal is important, there is actually a more important seal hidden within the base of the toilet.

Inside, your toilet sits on a wax ring that serves to keep sewer odors from wafting into the room, seal water from leaking from the bathroom plumbing and provides a degree of stability to the toilet installation. You may need to replace that seal if:

  • You notice leaking water at the base of the toilet.
  • You smell sewer odors in your bathroom.
  • The toilet is unstable or rocks side to side at all.
  • The toilet was removed temporarily for any reason, such as replacing it or putting down new flooring.

As it happens, replacing the toilet seal is a fairly simple and inexpensive operation. Here are the steps your Bergen County plumber will take:

  1. Shut off the water supply.
  2. Empty the bowl and tank by flushing the toilet.
  3. Get the bowl and tank completely dry by soaking up any remaining water with a sponge, rag or towel.
  4. Remove the bolts that attach the base of the toilet to the floor.
  5. Disconnect the supply line the leads into the toilet.
  6. Gripping the bowl, rock the toilet gently back and forth to break the seals.
  7. Lift the toilet free from the floor.
  8. Remove all the remnants of the old wax ring.
  9. Place the new seal in place of the old one, centering it exactly, with the rounded side up.
  10. Replace the toilet over the seal and flange.
  11. Have a seat! No, really; this helps to create a new seal between the ring and the toilet.
  12. Reattach the nuts removed from the base.
  13. Reconnect the water line.
  14. Turn the water supply back on.
  15. Flush the toilet, looking carefully for any leaks.
  16. Apply a new bead of caulk to the bottom of the bowl to complete the sealing job.

If you need any help with your Bergen County bathroom plumbing, give BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating a call!

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BERGEN COUNTY PLUMBING TIP: NEW FIXTURES ARE A LOW COST WAY TO BRIGHTEN A KITCHEN OR BATH

May 7, 2012

Many older homes in Bergen County still have the original faucets, toilets, shower heads, and other plumbing fixtures installed by the builder. Like most contractor-grade components, those fixtures were  probably designed to be strictly practical, with very little styling or decorative flair.

Some contractors aren’t architects or interior designers. They’re focused mainly on installing the infrastructure of the plumbing system – the water delivery and waste pipes.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but consider how many times each day we use our bathroom and kitchen faucets. How many times per week do we take a bath or use the shower? The simple pleasure of seeing and touching an attractive, well designed faucet is a little perk that can help brighten the day.

Higher end plumbing fixtures can be pricey, but factor in how long most fixtures last and you’re only paying a few pennies or less per day. Plumbing fixture design has become much more consumer-driven. Companies must compete by offering an expanding variety of styles.  The new passion for cooking has increased the demand for professional grade kitchen faucets that can stand up to hard use, have pullout sprayers, and accommodate large pans. New shower head designs provide a more comfortable, invigorating spray. Sink faucets with elegant finishes of bronze, brushed nickel, or brilliant brass can liven a bathroom. Ergonomically correct handles are easier to use and more inviting to touch.

There are also practical reasons for replacing fixtures. With improvements in materials technology the interior seals of faucets and other fixtures are more resistant to mineral build up and corrosion that can cause leaks. Metal finishes are more durable and resistant to dulling from soap or detergent.

Installing a new, attractive faucet won’t provide a total kitchen or bathroom makeover, but it will provide a spark that brightens the room and makes everyday living just a little more fun.  If you are interested in upgrading your Bergen County home’s plumbing, call BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating today!

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TEANECK PLUMBING GUIDE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SHOWERHEADS

April 30, 2012

Everyone, at one point or another, wants to upgrade their Teaneck plumbing, and your bathroom showerhead is a great place to start. Showerheads in all their glory are actually a quite wonderful invention: giving us a hot, relaxing time of quiet, a sort of respite from the worries which bombard us outside their steamy spray.  Consider this your guide for all you need to know about showerheads, and possibly some information you never even thought of!

Prior to 1994, showerheads had a flow rate of 5 ½ gallons per minute, but since then with the involvement of the EPA the flow average rate per showerhead has decreased to an average of 2 ½ gallons per minute, thus conserving half the water which used to be wasted in this one area of the home.  Don’t be misled by price: the highest price-tag is not always the best; some of the top-rated showerheads are quite reasonably priced.

Showerhead Types

There are a number of showerhead types which offer a variety of functionality, some with incredible water-efficiency.

  • Multi-Setting Models:  Provide adjustable flow patterns up to as many as twelve settings such as massage, mist, wide stream, narrow stream, pulsing, and even a water-saving trickle while applying soap or shampoo.
  • Single-Setting Models:  Provide one setting and tend to cost considerably less than their multi-setting counterparts.
  • Multi-Head Models:  Provide a spa-like experience in your own home with a fixed or handheld showerhead as well as several body jets mounted on a vertical tower.  However, with such comfort comes a higher price tag.  These are the most expensive to purchase, install and run, oftentimes using as much as 10 gallons per minute of water.
  • Custom Models:  Modern showers are created with unique showerhead designs, from luxury panel showers, to artistic expression through showerheads with special lighting, to pocket showers which can be taken on the go and are in essence a waterproof reservoir which holds enough water to have an outdoor shower while camping.

Showerhead Features

  • Aerating Showerheads:  Mix air with water, producing a misty spray which makes the water-flow feel more substantial, and they don’t create as much steam and moisture.
  • Handheld Showerheads:  Leave it in the holder or remove it to focus the spray on a particular body-part, allowing for quicker cleaning and rinsing.
  • Rain Showerheads:  Large heads and wide spray patterns provide a soft, soothing flow of water.
  • Low-Flow Showerheads:  Features can include a pause button to start and stop water during the shower, a shower timer to manage the time spent in the shower, a temperature gauge which keeps water-flow to a trickle until the desired water temperature is reached, and water volume controls to let you manually adjust the gallons per minute.

From showerhead types to showerhead features, this should give you all you need to know about showerheads in order to make an informed decision on what type of new showerhead is right for your home and lifestyle. For even more information, talk to the Teaneck plumbing experts at BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating!

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