Archive for January, 2011

Diagnosing a running toilet

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

There are certainly worse things in the world than a toilet that runs when it shouldn’t.  However, the sound can be very annoying, and the toilet is wasting water.  Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to diagnose what’s wrong with the toilet, and it can be easy to fix.

A toilet that is constantly running usually indicates part of the flushing mechanism is hung up somewhere.  The flapper may not be seating correctly, the chain could be kinked, or the arm or tank ball may be stuck.  Usually working the mechanism a few times will let it sort itself out, but any of these items can be easily replaced.

Occasionally the water line will be set too high, which results in water constantly running down the overflow tube.  In these instances the water line will need to be adjusted.

A toilet that runs intermittently usually means a leaky flush valve is allowing water to flow into the bowl.   To test whether this is the case, add some food coloring to the tank when it’s full, and don’t use it for 15 to 20 minutes.  If the water in the bowl is colored after that time, then your flush valve is leaking and probably needs to be replaced.  Another way of determining when your flapper needs to be replaced is to touch it.  If it leaves a black residue on your fingers, then it’s too old.

Replacing flush valves can be more involved because it frequently means removing the tank from the bowl.  If you need help making this or any of the above repairs, contact us. We’ll get your toilet working right without any hassle to you.

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Hot water energy savings

Friday, January 21st, 2011

One way of saving money and reducing energy usage is to reduce the amount of hot water you use in your home. You can find some ways of doing so here. One basic method of reducing wasted water is to fix any leaks in the home. Here are a couple other ideas.

Low-flow fixtures
We talked about low-flow toilets and shower heads recently. Low-flow shower heads can reduce the amount of water used by 25 to 60 percent. Installing aerators on your faucets can reduce the flow of water through them.

Energy-efficient appliances
Most of the energy used by dishwashers and clothes washers heats the water they use. Replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models can reduce costs and save energy. Look for appliances with the Energy Star label.

For more information on reducing your energy usage, contact us. We can help you with leaks as well as installing energy-saving appliances and fixtures.

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Low-flow showers save and deliver

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

In our last post, we looked at low-flow toilets. Now, let’s turn to low-flow showerheads. Like low-flow toilets, low-flow showerheads help the environment by reducing the amount water used. This page offers a helpful guide to low-flow showerheads.

Two measurements are at play in low-flow showerheads. Water pressure, measured as pounds per square inch (psi), impacts how much water flows through a showerhead. Flow is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). Although water pressure can vary from place to place, 80 psi is a pretty good standard. Reducing the amount of pressure would result in an unsatisfying shower, so a low-flow showerhead instead restricts the amount of water that flows out. Instead of 6-9 gpm normally seen on conventional showerheads, low-flow models deliver 1.5-3 gpm.

For more information on low-flow appliances and fixtures, contact us. We can not only explain them in detail but install them in your home.

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How low-flow toilets work

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

The advent of low-flow toilets was greeted with a lot of skepticism, and the first low-flow toilets lived down to the expectations of many.  Multiple flushes were needed to do the job.  Now manufacturers of low-flow toilets have corrected these initial problems but have been met with the same skepticism.  This article may help alleviate concerns with its helpful cross section of a low-flow toilet and explanations of how both they and conventional toilets work.

There’s really not much to the difference between the two types of toilets.  Both work by letting the force of water running from the tank into the bowl push the water and other contents already in the bowl through the drain and out through pipes.  Low-flow toilets have an added mechanism that allows only 1.6 gallons of water to flow from the tank into the bowl.

The problem with early low-flow toilets is that the drain design remained the same preventing the lesser amount of water from doing its job.  The fix was simply redesigning the passageways to make the reduced amount of water more effective.  If you’re now interested in adding low-flow toilets to your home, contact us. We’ll be happy to install them for you.

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