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7 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SAVING WATER AROUND THE HOUSE
December 28, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

The most recent information from the EPA shows that the average U.S. household uses more than 300 gallons of water per day. However, now that many people are spending more time at home, that number might be even higher. Whereas most of us were relying on restrooms and kitchens at work and public facilities, that “business” is now being conducted at home–and as a result, water bills are going up. If you’re looking to lower your water usage and start saving money, there are several ways to begin, starting with some good habits and some “water-smart” plumbing improvements. START SMALL: 3 WATER-SAVING HABITS YOU CAN START TODAY 1. Use a “shower bucket.” If you’re like most people, you have to wait a minute or two before the hot water starts coming out of your bathtub or shower faucet. During that time, 2.5 to 3 gallons of water can go down the drain! Instead of letting it go to waste, collect it in a bucket or other large container to use for tasks like house cleaning, making homemade cleaning solutions, watering plants, shaving, and handwashing delicate clothing items. 2. Use your dishwasher rather than handwashing. Many people are surprised to learn that handwashing requires more water and energy than using a relatively new dishwasher. If you own an ENERGY-STAR certified dishwasher, you’re definitely missing out by handwashing because your efficient appliance can reduce your water usage by nearly 5,000 gallons a year. 3. Only wash full loads of laundry. Some newer washing machines can adjust how much water they add to the cycle based on how many clothes are going in. However, if you’re like most people, your washing machine adds the same amount of water regardless. This is why you should postpone doing the laundry (yes, you have a legitimate excuse!) until you have at least one full load to wash. NEXT STEPS: 4 SMART PLUMBING IMPROVEMENTS 1. Repair small leaks. Don’t let “small leaks” like a dripping faucet or a toilet that won’t stop running slip under your radar. WaterSense reports that leaks in the average U.S. home account for more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water yearly. You can run 270 loads of laundry with that amount of water! 2. Equip your faucets with aerators. Frequent handwashing is a must to prevent illnesses from spreading, but that can lead to a lot of water down the drain. An aerator injects air into the water coming out

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How to Find a Good Plumber Near You With Our 7 Trusty Tips for Every Homeowner
December 22, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

Finding a good plumber or tradesman can be a nightmare, especially if you have an emergency that cannot wait. But it doesn’t have to be! Read further and learn our 7 tips on how to find a good plumber in your area and save yourself the hassle of dealing with cowboys and shoddy workmen. The Benefits of Finding a Reputable Plumber Did you know that water waste in the UK amounts to ~460 million liters each year? The reason is that even the smallest of leaks can waste many liters of water. Leaks can not only cause damage to your and your neighbors’ homes but can also break the bank and have a negative impact on the environment. Hiring a “cowboy” to do the job of a professional will only contribute to these adverse effects. Here are a few reasons why hiring a reputable plumber in your area is worth every penny. Good understanding of the local plumbing needs – local plumbers are familiar with the area, the parking situation, the hardware stores, and the local directives. Short-notice appointments and a one-stop-shop service – hiring a local plumber often means he can come out quickly and offer you a full-package service – from diagnosing the issue to sourcing materials and completing the job. Valuable advice – an expert can provide helpful tips on how to prevent the issue from recurring. They can help you with trusted recommendations, such as how to upkeep your bathrooms and plumbing installations. You get more value for your money. You support the local economy – buying local is a building block of any good economy. This way, you help hard-working professionals find work and you keep your money circulating locally. Plumber vs Heating Engineer Have you ever wondered what the difference between a plumber and a heating engineer is? Plumbers deal with the water fixtures and pipework around the home. If you have a leak or a drip, you call them to fix it for you. They can install or repair showers, sinks, and toilets, and unblock a sink or a toilet. However, if you have an issue with your boiler or central heating, you need a heating engineer. They maintain, install, and repair boilers, gas appliances, and radiators. Some plumbers are also heating engineers and vice versa. The same can’t be said about a handyman vs plumber, though. All heating engineers have completed specific training and are legally required to be

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Ways to Find a Good Plumber
December 10, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

Almost all of us will find ourselves in need of a plumber at some point in our lives. It could be a major catastrophe involving major water damage and a major expense, or just be a minor, relatively inexpensive issue like fixing a dripping faucet. Finding a plumber that you can trust to do the job well for a fair price is very important for your peace of mind, as well as your bank balance. Having managed properties both domestically and commercially, I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the years about maximizing the chances of finding a plumber who will be skilled, reliable, professional, and fairly priced. Below is a list of the nine main approaches that you need to consider and employ. 9 Tips for Finding a Good Plumber in Your Area Don’t Leave Problems Until the Last Minute Word of mouth. Research Online Ask Your Local Hardware Store. Ask a Professional That You Trust. Make Sure They are Licensed and Insured. Get Multiple Quotes and Compare. Length of Time in Business. Ask for a Warranty. I will examine each of the above tips in more detail below. 1. Don’t Leave Problems Until Last the Minute Tackling a problem before it develops into a full-blown emergency is always advisable. If you are in a panic, the temptation is to call the first plumber that you find and just wish for the best. Calling any plumber during out-of-office hours is also more expensive. Allow yourself time to do some research. In fact, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the professional help that you might need (roofer, A/C repair, etc.) and have contact details for each. 2. Word of Mouth Obtaining the firsthand experiences of friends, coworkers, and neighbors can be invaluable in choosing a plumber. If you have the time, it’s always worth asking, calling, knocking on doors, or requesting recommendations from friends on social media. The opinions of people that you know and trust is difficult to beat. They can often also tell you who to avoid as well as who to pick. 3. Research Online Some dedicated research of online reviews can be useful for assessing the relative merits of local plumbers, especially if used in conjunction with referrals from friends and others. Online directories, such as the Better Business Bureau, can be useful for checking out if plumbers have complaints against them, as well

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How to Fix a Dripping Shower Head
November 17, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

Few things in life are more annoying than the incessant drip, drip, drip of a leaky shower head. For some reason, the human brain cannot tune out the sound—the more you try, the louder it seems to get. And beyond the irritation it causes, a leaky shower can also be expensive over time, especially if the drip is from the hot water valve. Shower Head Leaking? Think Again While it may seem like your dripping shower head is the root of the problem, it’s not. A leaky shower is usually due to an issue with the faucet valve stem and/or valve cartridge. Your shower head is likely fine. Replacing a faucet valve stem and/or valve cartridge can be difficult. Below we have included step-by-step instructions for attempting the job on your own. If the project seems too difficult, it’s always smart to contact a professional plumber who knows exactly what needs to be done and how to do it correctly. Before you begin, shut off the water supply to the shower. There may be a shut-off valve in the bathroom, or you may need to shut off the main water for the whole house. Keep in mind that there will likely be some water remaining in the shower lines, so be prepared for a slight downpour when you begin. Place a towel over the bottom of the tub/shower, covering the drain. This will protect the surface from damage if you drop a tool and will keep small parts out of the drain. How to Fix an In-Wall Faucet Valve Here’s how to fix a dripping shower head by repairing the in-wall faucet valves in ten steps: Turn off the water supply to the tub/shower, and cover the drain with a towel. If you have a two-valve system, determine which side is causing the shower leak. If the stem is warm and/or the drip is hot, it is likely the hot side. Remove the handle or knob. Then remove the faceplates and sleeves that cover the valve and valve body. Set these aside. Now that you can see the valve and valve body, unscrew the valve stem and/or cartridge from the valve body with an adjustable wrench. In some cases, you may need to use a cartridge tool specifically designed for your faucet brand. Take the valve stem and/or cartridge to a hardware store to purchase the appropriate replacement parts. All

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Lime Green Van With the Big Red Bird
November 1, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

It’s a bird, it’s a – yep, it’s a bird, a big red bird on a bright green box van!  We have become known for our lime green vans with the big red bird, and that is often what people associate with us first.  It is so fun getting calls asking “Are you the company with the big green vans with the bird on the side?  I see your vans everywhere!” When we started Robins Plumbing, Inc in 2004 we had some big decisions to make, not just the name of our company but the look. We knew how we wanted to do business and now we had to decide how we would best market ourselves affordably while branding our image and name. The lime green – We call this green Robins Plumbing Green and this green represents energy to us. This green is energetic, bright, and eye-catching. The walls in our office are even Robins Plumbing green to bring zest and energy to the environment we work in each day. The big red robin – We wanted a character that reflected a little about who we are. A robin seemed like a no-brainer considering the name Robins Plumbing but rather than a traditional colored robin we wanted something more eye-catching and fun that also showed our love for the Arizona Cardinals. Box vans – We chose to drive large box vans rather than panel vans for several reasons, mostly the convenience of our clients.  There are few things clients value more than their time, and no one wants a plumber at their house all day because they had to make multiple trips for parts or for someone to come with specialty equipment. Our large box vans may seem heavy on fuel use but we actually use dramatically less fuel than using a traditional panel van because we are a shop on wheels and rarely need to run for parts or equipment. Robins Plumbing, Inc – Our company name is simple, it is the last name of the owners and while we could have chosen many names that were catchier we chose our last name because we are signing our name to the work we perform. When you sign something you’re committed, and that is who we are, committed to the satisfaction of our clients and to our reputation. Mini-Me – We also have little Scion’s that are lettered like the vans, and

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What Is the Proper Toilet Flange Height?
October 27, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

When your toilet flange is unlevel or not set to the right height, the toilet may wobble or even leak at the base. To eliminate these issues, it’s important to ensure your flange is set to the right height, and if it’s broken or damaged in any way, you’ll also want to replace it. If you’re unsure what exactly is a toilet flange is, it’s what your toilet sits on. This little device connects your toilet to your home’s waste line. This is why it’s so important for the flange to level. An unlevel flange-like already mentioned, can make your toilet wobble or leak at the base. If you think your flange is not set to the right height, or it needs to be replaced, then you’ll want to do that right away. For those that don’t already know, the proper toilet flange height is when it’s flush with the top of the finished floor. The optimum height is about ¼ inch. It’s easier to get your flange flush with the floor if you first lay your flooring before you install the flange. If you’ve already laid your flooring, and the toilet flange is too high or unlevel, there are a few things you can do. First, you can pack grout into the gap between the floor and the flange. Give the grout 24-hours to dry and sand down the rough edges. Second, you can raise your floor by laying down thicker tile. This is quite a job and takes a while. Third, you can take off the flange as well as the toilet and trim down the waste pipe that comes up through your bathroom floor. This opening of this pipe should be level and flush with the floor. You’ll need some sort of a saw to do this. Your last option is to simply replace the flange. Replacing or adjusting the height of your flange Standart wax ring When you install your toilet flange, it should be installed on top of the finished floor, and it should also be installed perfectly level. If your flange sits even or below the floor, then it’s wrong. It has to sit evenly on top of the finished floor. This is very important. The reason being is because the toilet recesses into the flange when fully installed, but when the flange sits even or below the floor, the toilet can’t properly recess into the flange. As

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How to Replace a Shower Diverter
October 14, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

Switching on your shower should be as simple as the flip of a switch. But when your shower diverter breaks, showering is not so easy– water continues to put from your tub’s faucet after you have actually changed the diverter. Thankfully, repairing a shower diverter fasts and relatively basic. Shower Diverter Spout Type What is a Shower DiverterA shower diverter is the mechanism that reroutes the water from your tub faucet to your showerhead. Many shower diverters are managed by a pin knob that you pull, but there are numerous types. Possibly yours is switched on with a button or with a 3rd faucet handle in between the bathtub’s hot and cold knobs. Finding Out if the Diverter is BrokenThis one’s simple. If, after you activate your shower diverter, water continues to leakage out of the tub spout rather than the showerhead, the shower diverter is not working appropriately. This might suggest that the inner rubber stopper isn’t creating a good seal to totally block and reroute the flow of water, or it could be another problem. Follow the actions listed below to troubleshoot and address the issue. Repairing the Shower DiverterAs soon as you have actually determined that your shower diverter is broken, don’t postpone in repairing it. It may be a simple job to put off, a damaged shower diverter wastes water and creates a bad shower experience. Repairing a shower diverter is a DIY job that you can complete in simply one day. Here’s how to repair a shower diverter in 7 easy actions: Shut off the supply of water to your shower. Seal your drain with tape so that small screws or other vital parts are not lost down the drainpipe. Tighten the screws behind the faceplate of the diverter valve. If you try this fix but the water continues to pour or leakage slowly from the bathtub spout after the shower diverter has been engaged, proceed to the next action. Disassemble the shower diverter. If your diverter has a rotating valve, loosen the nut at the stem of the diverter and get rid of the entire valve. If it has a gate-type valve, unscrew the threaded tub spout. Change the diverter. To be sure you acquire the appropriate replacement, bring your old diverter with you to the store. Install the new diverter, making sure that the parts do not cross-thread each other. Utilize a wrench

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Bathtub Parts You Should Have On Hand Just In Case
October 1, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The bathtub is one place you may take for granted. Being able to enjoy a bath for hygienic purposes as well as relaxation is vital for a healthy body. However, even bathtub parts are susceptible to breaking down or could use replacement on occasion. Just in case, it is a good idea to keep specific bathtub parts around the home, in case the need for them arises. Most bathtub parts are affordable and easily accessible at your local hardware store. If a specific part needs replacing, chances are that you can fix it yourself instead of having to call a professional. When you need to replace a part, it may also prove a good excuse to upgrade the look and feel of your bathtub. Sometimes, the standard parts that make your tub function can look a little lackluster and could use a little sprucing up. Common Bathtub Parts That Break Or May Need Replacement Thanks to repetitive use, age, and the risk of corrosion from water damage, hair, and other debris, individual parts for your bathtub may eventually require replacing. Handles Image Source: Pexels The handles to turn on the tap for a bathtub may vary; your tub may be outfitted with two separate knobs to control the temperature and force of water that comes through. Other bathtubs may have a single fixture with only one knob to turn the water on and off, as well as set the temperature of the water. If you are looking for a simple way to update the look and feel of the handles for your bathtub, you can find a plethora of handle types at your local plumbing or hardware store. Handles are relatively inexpensive depending on their materials. If you end up having to replace the handles, you can choose from clear snap on faucet handles to lever style handles in a mirror polish. You can enjoy a lot of freedom with the aesthetics of a set of handles, which is sold singly or in a pair. There are also handle kits available for purchase at retailers, so you have all the parts necessary to install a new set of handles, depending on the style of your toilet and tap. Valves

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Cold Water Not Coming Out of the Shower
September 15, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

The only thing worse than a cold shower is a scorching-hot one. If there’s no cold water in your shower, you’ve come to the right place. Lack of cold water is usually caused by a defective pressure-balancing valve in a cartridge. This part is located inside the shower faucet. So, are you feeling handy? With a few tools and some patience, you may be able to replace the valve cartridge on your own. No Cold Water in Shower Begin troubleshooting by checking other faucets around the house. If these all don’t have cold water, you can begin to trace the problem. Look for the shutoff valves in your basement or wherever the main water supply line is. A valve may have been accidently turned off. Hopefully, you can just turn the shut-off valve back on and be good to go. If this isn’t the problem, you should call a professional. If the other faucets around the house do have cold water, then the problem is most likely the pressure-balancing valve. Why Is My Shower Cold? Has your shower become far cooler than normal? There are several possible causes of a cold shower. The first and easiest thing to check is the other faucets in your house. See if they run hot and cold water. If the other faucets around the house do have hot and cold water, then the problem is most likely the pressure-balancing valve in your shower. Why Pressure-Balancing Valves Fail Pressure-balancing valves regulate both pressure and the ratio of cold and hot water that flows out of the showerhead. Over time corrosion and mineral buildup can ruin a cartridge, especially if the faucet is not turned on very often. Replacing a faucet valve cartridge isn’t hard but requires taking the faucet apart. The hardest part of this repair is getting the old cartridge out. This is a good time to call a professional if you don’t feel comfortable with this repair. Feeling confident? Keep reading: How to Replace a Shower Cartridge The first step is purchasing a new shower cartridge at your local hardware store. The best way to find an exact replacement cartridge is to remove the old cartridge and bring it with you to the hardware store. This job is easiest with a cartridge puller, which you can purchase at the hardware store. Shower Cartridge Replacement Tools Flat head and Phillips screwdriver Cartridge puller or tap with matching

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8 Steps to Cleaning Your Sump Pump Properly
September 1, 2021 Blogging Claude Lowe

Sump pumps are an integral part of maintaining a dry basement. Due to the nature of this helpful household appliance, sump pumps require regular cleaning to keep their systems functioning properly. We suggest annual sump pump cleaning, including removing and washing off the pump, clearing the check valve, removing water and debris from the pit, and more.  If it has been a while since you’ve cleaned your sump pump, or this is the first time you’ve even considered it, continue reading for seven steps to clean your sump pump correctly. What you’ll need First, it’s important to gather the necessary materials and items for cleaning the sump pump.  A tarp or plastic sheeting A tool useful for scraping debris A large bucket A garden hose A wet/dry vacuum for final cleanup How to clean a sump pump Before anything, make sure it’s not rainy outside, or you don’t have any appliances that drain into the sump pump basin. It’s important that there is no water coming into the area as you are working on the sump pump.  Disconnect the sump pump from the power supply. Unplug the sump pump or turn off the circuit breaker at the power source. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Attempting to repair or clean a sump pump while connected to the power source is extremely dangerous. Wrap the pump. Save yourself from extra cleanup by wrapping the bottom of the pump itself in the plastic tarp/sheeting. Set the pump in an area that will allow you to access all sides for easy cleaning. Clean the pump. Now for the fun part. Start the cleaning process by spraying the pump with the garden hose. Once the pump is sprayed and all loose residue has been removed, use the scraping tool to remove any stuck-on debris. Rinse the pump. Spray the pump again with the garden hose, rinsing off any last residue that might be remaining. Drain the check valve. Keep your bucket handy while draining the check valve. Any water from the check valve will be caught in the bucket.  Use the wet/dry vacuum to remove standing water from the sump pit. This step is self-explanatory. Use your shop vac to remove excess water from the sump pit. You’ll also likely need the shop vac to clean up any water or residue that might have made a mess of the cleaning space.  Reconnect the pump. Reconnect the sump

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