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.
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 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 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.
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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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.
- 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
- 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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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:
- Shut off the water supply.
- Empty the bowl and tank by flushing the toilet.
- Get the bowl and tank completely dry by soaking up any remaining water with a sponge, rag or towel.
- Remove the bolts that attach the base of the toilet to the floor.
- Disconnect the supply line the leads into the toilet.
- Gripping the bowl, rock the toilet gently back and forth to break the seals.
- Lift the toilet free from the floor.
- Remove all the remnants of the old wax ring.
- Place the new seal in place of the old one, centering it exactly, with the rounded side up.
- Replace the toilet over the seal and flange.
- Have a seat! No, really; this helps to create a new seal between the ring and the toilet.
- Reattach the nuts removed from the base.
- Reconnect the water line.
- Turn the water supply back on.
- Flush the toilet, looking carefully for any leaks.
- 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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