If your home's water pressure doesn't seem strong enough there are a number of possible causes. First, if the water pressure is only low in a few places, such as a shower head or faucet, it could be that the shower head or faucet aerator are clogged with mineral deposits. Soaking the fixture in vinegar overnight will dissolve the buildup and get the water flowing.
If low water pressure is a problem with all plumbing fixtures, inside and outside the home, consider the age of the home. If the home was build in the 1960 or 1970s it may have galvanized steel pipes. The galvanization was designed to prevent corrosion of the steel pipes. However, when the galvanization wears away, rust can build up over time. The result is reduced water pressure. To fix the problem, the pipes will need to be replaced. If the house was built in the 1980s or later, there is likely another issue with the plumbing. Check that the main water shut-off valve is fully open.
Perform a Water Pressure Test
Water pressure can be tested using a pressure gauge on an outside water spigot. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and normal water pressure is typically between 30 and 80 PSI. If the reading is less than 40 psi, the city may be delivering water at a low pressure. If the city can't boost the pressure, consider installing a water pressure booster system.
Maitz Home Services can perform a water pressure test and a plumbing system inspection to determine the cause of low water pressure and recommend solutions for solving the problem.
1. Is the Water Treatment For Drinking and Cooking, or the Whole House?
If a water test has revealed a high level of contaminants in the water, such as bacteria, or you're experiencing iron staining, a whole house water treatment system is a better choice. If the water test shows no significant problems, but you're not happy with the taste of the water from the tap, installing a water filter under the kitchen sink may solve the problem.
2. Does All Your Water Come From a Private Well?
Studies have shown that more than a third of U.S. homes with private wells have E. coli and other potentially harmful bacteria. For homes with wells, we recommend a reverse osmosis or UV whole house water treatment system.
Even for homes with city water, contamination is still a risk. due to contamination and ruptured pipes. Over 600 boil water alerts are issued every day by city water districts in the U.S.
3. How Much Water Does Your Household Use?
How much water will flow through the home during peak usage? Knowing the number of bathrooms in a home is often a quick and simple way to determine the size needed of specific water treatment systems.
4. How many people are in the household?
Generally, knowing the number of people live in your home will help to estimate the total water usage, and therefore what size water filtration system would be best suited for your home.
5. What's in the Water?
If you get your water from the city you can request an annual water quality report. The EPA requires all community water systems to deliver an annual water quality report, called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). If you have a well, you can order an independent water analysis. Once you know what's in your water, you can make an informed decision about which water treatment option is best for your home.
Have questions about home water treatment? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help.
When it comes time to replace your old under sink garbage disposal there are a number of things to consider. Not all disposals work the same way and its important to choose the right amount of horsepower for your needs. You'll also want to consider factors like durability, noise levels, price, and brand reputation.
The first factor to consider is horsepower. 1/3 Horsepower is the starting point and typically the units with the lowest power. While they may seem like a bargin, we recommend avoiding low powered disposals. They are more prone to jamming and are often made from cheaper components that rust out more quickly.
1/2 horsepower garbage disposals are the minimum recommended power for a home disposal. They are affordable and small enough to fit in tighter spaces. If you don't use a disposal very often and don't mind the higher noise levels of a smaller disposal, a 1/2 horsepower unit may be a good option. If possible, choose a disposal with stainless steel grinding components to increase the life of the unit.
For most kitchens, a 3/4 horsepower disposal will work best. It will have plenty of power to handle all those holiday leftovers and can safely grind potato peels, celery and more with no problems. While they will require more space under the sink than lower power units, they will usually operate with much less noise.
If you do a lot of cooking and entertaining, consider a 1 horsepower disposal. It can handle just about anything you can put down it. With a larger chamber, most will have premium stainless steel components that make quick work of everything from chicken and fish bones to fruit rinds. While 1 horsepower units are top-of-the-line, they can be very large, so make sure you have the room under your sink.
Whatever size unit you decide to purchase, it's important to always run a lot of water when grinding waste to ensure the waste does not build up inside the drain.
Have questions about which garbage disposal is right for your needs? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help answer all your questions.
Check the Energy Factor When Choosing a New Water Heater
If you're planning on replacing your old water heater, one of the most important things to consider is how efficiently it will produce hot water. To make it easier for consumers to compare water heaters and select the most energy efficient model, the US Department of Energy has developed a standard for residential water heaters, call the Energy Factor.
As with cars and Miles Per Gallon (MPG), the Energy Factor (EF) rates how efficiently a water heater uses its fuel source. When comparing standard products of the same fuel type, a water heater with a higher Energy Factor rating uses less energy, resulting in both energy and cost savings.
The Energy Factor is determined by performing a 24-hour simulated test on residential water heaters. During the test a measured number of gallons of water are drawn from the water heater in six equally spaced draws that begin one hour apart. After the beginning of the last draw a standby period of 18 hours follows.
The result of the test is expressed as a decimal. For example, a gas water heater with an energy factor rating of 0.5 means it's 50% efficient. It will use 50% of the gas to heat the water, while the remaining 50% is heat going out the exhaust flue.
When comparing water heaters it's important to consider the fuel source. While an electric water heater may have a higher EF rating, electricity is typically more expensive than natural gas. Also, be sure to compare the EF for the same type of water heater, the EF rating for tankless and hybrid water heaters is measured differently than it is for conventional tank water heaters.
Have questions about choosing the best water heater for your home? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help answer all your questions.
Buying a Home? Here are the Plumbing Systems to Inspect
When buying a home it's important to thoroughly inspect all heating, electrical and plumbing systems. Hidden plumbing problems like leaks, clogged drains and damaged sewer lines can lead to costly repairs down the road. We recommend inspecting the following systems before buying a home.
1. Hot Water System
Ask the realtor or homeowner the age of the water heater. A water heater will typically last 10-15 years. Inspect the water heater for leaks, excessive rust and other signs of age and deterioration.
2. Water Leaks
Check taps, pipes, appliances (including dishwashers, clothes washers, ice makers) for signs of leaks. Check for stains or signs of mildew that could indicate a hidden water leak. Because many leaks go undetected and can get worse over time, have a plumer check the system and repair any leaks prior to closing.
3. Check the Sump Pump
A inoperable sump pump can lead to serios water damage. Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. It should turn on and remove the water.
4. Water Saving Toilets
Check toilets to see if they are newer, low-flow models. Toilets manufactured since the last 90's are mandated to use less than 1.6 gallons per flush.
5. Sewer and Drain Lines
Ask about the current age of the sewer line and whether it has been inspected within the last two years. Ensure that all drains empty quickly. A video sewer line inspection is .cheap insurance that will help find potential trouble like tree root intrusion, cracks, blockages and other problems
Need a plumbing inspection before your next home purchase? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help ensure everything is working as it should be.
The causes of low water pressure in the home are many, and the cure can range from simple point source fixes to more complex water supply upgrades. The following are some helpful tips to diagnose and fix some of the most common causes of reduced water flow in the home.
Clogged Faucet Aerators
Hard water and debris can cause faucet aerators to become dirty and clogged over time, eventually restricting the flow of water. By regularly removing and cleaning the faucet aerator screens you can keep the water flowing freely. Vinegar can be used to dissolve mineral deposits on faucet aerators and shower heads. Simply submerge them overnight to dissolve the mineral deposits.
Low-Flow Shower Heads
If your shower head has a low-flow fixture in place, try swapping it out with a regular shower head fixture to increase the flow of water. Inexpensive, high-pressure shower heads are also available that can make your shower flow better.
Check the Water Supply Valves
If the water supply valve in your home has recently been shut off, it may not have been returned to the fully opened position. Check to ensure it is fully opened.
Advanced Solutions For Low Water Pressure
If you've checked the techniques above to increase your home's water pressure without success, Maxwell Plumb can help with more problematic water pressure problems.
One solution is a residential water pressure booster. A water pressure booster is a supplementary water pump that works with your home's existing water supply to increase water pressure.
Maitz Home Servcies can also help find more serious sources of low water pressure. If you have a water pipe that is leaking, it will affect the water pressure in your house significantly– and increase your water bill. Try turning off the water supply both inside and outside your home, then check your water meter. Check the water meter once more a couple hours later to determine if the water usage has increased. If so, you probably have a leak that needs to be located and repaired.
Water Supply Main Pipe
Another option is to increase the size of the main pipe supplying water to your house. See if you can determine what type of water pipes you have in the home and running to your water meter. Pipe size is an important factor in the amount of water pressure you'll get in your home. The larger the pipes, the more the water pressure, so you may want to consider increasing the size of the main pipe servicing your house.
Have questions about low water pressure in your home? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help with all your home plumbing needs.
Heating water is one of most energy intensive tasks in the home, second only to heating and cooling. By changing some habits and performing a few simple tasks, you can reduce energy consumption from your hot water heater significantly.
1. Reduce Hot Water Usage At the Source. One of easiest ways to cut hot water usage is to install water saving shower heads. The minimum flow rate on a shower head should be no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Many water conserving shower heads can reduce flow to as little as 1.6 gpm while maintaining acceptable water pressure. The water savings for a household of four could be as much as 14,000 gallons a year along with greatly reduced energy required to heat the water.
2. Insulate - Even in a smaller home, as much as 10 percent of the energy used to heat water can be lost in the pipes that supply the hot water. Insulating hot water pipes is an inexpensive way to significantly reduce heat loss.
3. Use a Water Heater Blanket - While many new water heaters have sufficient insulation built into the tank wall, many older tanks will allow heat to escape. The larger the water heater, the more surface area that will allow heat to escape. Prevent heat loss by wrapping your water heater tank in an insulation blanket available from most home supply stores. Some manufacturers recommend against installing insulating blankets on their energy-efficient models, so be sure to read your owner's manual before adding a blanket.
4. Perform Regular Maintenance - Over time, storage tank water heaters can accumulate sediment that reducing heating efficiency. Flushing the tank annually will remove the sediment and make it easer for the burner or heating element to heat the water.
Have questions about your water heater? Call Maitz Home Services. We're here to help.
If you're planning on remodeling your bathroom and plan on updating your shower, tub, vanity and other features, it's important to ensure that your home's plumbing is up to the job and can handle the upgraded fixtures. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Do your supply and drain pipes need to be updated?
When old fixtures are taken out and the floor and walls are ripped open to expose the pipes, take a moment to assess the condition and size of the pipes. It's a good idea to ensure that supply pipes are ¾” in order to have good water flow to several fixtures, such as multiple shower heads or sprayers in the shower.
2. Will there be enough hot water?
Large soaking tubs and showers with multiple spraying heads are a nice luxury, but can also put greater demand on your water heater. Will you need a larger water heater tank to meet additional demand?
3. Conserving water
Spa-like bathroom can use a lot of hot water. Thankfully, many new plumbing fixtures are designed with efficiency in mind. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads can save many hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Tankless water heaters, while initially more expensive than conventional water heaters, heat water only when it's needed, conserving energy while providing a virtually endless supply of hot water.
Need help with your bathroom plumbing? Call Maitz Home Services. We can help with all your home plumbing needs.
Are your pipes, rattling, banging, squeaking or otherwise driving you crazy? Noisy pipes are not just annoying, they can be a sign of a plumbing problem. If severe enough, loose pipes can disconnect from mounting brackets stressing the pipe and causing a leak.
If a banging noise is heard when turning the water on and off, water hammer is the likely cause. Water hammer occurs when the water chamber that normally cushions the water pressure becomes filled with water. The condition can usually be fixed by draining the pipes in the home to restore the chambers with air.
If you hear rattling noises from your plumbing system, check that the pipes are securely anchored to wood joists. Loose anchoring brackets should be tightened.
As pipes pass through holes in joists they can come in contact with the wood framing. Teh pipes can be cushioned with pieces of foam insulation to dampen the movement.
As metal hot water pipes expand and contract they can rub against the metal mounting straps as the water runs through. Adding foam of rubber cushioning to the mounting anchors will quiet the noise.
Need plumbing help? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help with all your plumbing repair and installation needs.
For years professionals have used advanced thermal imaging cameras to identify problems with pipes, ductwork, insulation and other systems in the home. Thermal imaging works by converting infrared light into an visible image on a video screen called a thermogram. Temperature differences are easily seen as a range of warm and cool colors. Aim a thermal imager at a window and cold air leaks become easily visible. By performing a thermal inspection of your entire home you can locate leaking air ducts, drafty doors and attics with insufficient insulation.
The advantages of thermal imaging are not limited to home heating and cooling. Problems with plumbing and electrical systems can also be identified. Water leaks inside walls and ceilings, and clogs inside pipes can be detected through thermal imaging. Overheating electrical systems can also be quickly located and diagnosed.
Inexpensive Thermal Imaging for Homeowners
Until recently the high cost of thermal imaging systems meant they were used almost exclusively by professional contractors. Today, inexpensive thermal imaging cameras are in reach of the average homeowner. One example is the Seek CompactXR®, a portable thermal imaging camera that plugs directly into your smartphone. It works by translating thermal energy (infrared light) into a visible image right on your phone. So the next time you're weather sealing your your home tracking down water leaks, or checking for overheating electrical systems, you can take the guesswork out of the equation by using a thermal imaging device to pinpoint the source of the problem.
A tank-style water heaters has a lifespan of around 10 years. Depending on the amount of use, the level of minerals in your water, and whether or not it has been regularly maintained, it could last significantly longer, or need replacement much sooner. So how do you know when it's time to replace the water heater instead of repairing it?
The Water Heater Is Leaking
Some water heater leaks may are the result of a faulty valve or leaking pipe. In this case, it could just need a simple repair to keep it operating. If the water heater is leaking because of corrosion, it may be time to replace the unit. Maitz can help determine the cause of the leak and recommend solutions to fix the leak.
The Water Heater Is Slow to Heat
First, check that the thermostat on the water heater is set high enough. If demand for hot water has increased, you may just need a larger capacity tank. If there are multiple sources that need water at the same time, considers a tankless water heater that heats water on demand. Slow heating can also be caused by a build-up up rust and sediment. Flushing the tank will remove the sediment. If the water heater is still not heating fast enough after flushing the unit, it may be time for a new water heater.
Malfunctioning Water Heater
In some cases the water heater may be have broken parts that need replacement. A plumber can check the heating element (electric water heaters) thermostat, gas burner and thermocoupler to make sure they are functioning. Consider the age of the unit against the cost of repairs when deciding whether to repair the unit.
Have water heater questions? Give Maitz a call. We are here to help.
If you have ever experienced a loud banging sound from your plumbing system, you likely have have what is known as "water hammer". When water suddenly changes momentum under pressure, such as when a faucet valve is closed suddenly, a hydraulic shockwave is sent through the pipe, resulting in bang as the energy is released. If the pressure change is severe enough it can lead to damaged fittings or even burst pipes.
Preventing Water Hammer
A properly installed plumbing system has air compartments that compress to absorb sudden changes in water pressure. In some cases these compartments can fail to work if the water has gradually absorbed air or the compartments have become filled with water.
If you are experiencing water hammer you can restore the plumbing system's air chambers by opening the faucet that caused the noise and allowing the water to completely drain out. Air will then replace the water and restore the shock absorbing capability inside the pipes.
If the air compartment is below the fixture, you may have to drain the main supply lines to restore the air in the lines.
If the above steps do not cure the problem, the plumbing system may not have the necessary air chambers installed, or they may have become clogged over time. Your plumber can inspect the system to identify any problems and recommend solutions.
Have questions about water hammer or other plumbing problems? Call Maitz Home Services, we can help.