Water leaks, both seen and unseen, around your home can cost you a lot of money. Your water bill will be higher and there could be water damage to your home. Some of the most common types of leaks found around the typical home are from worn out toilet flappers, worn out faucets and leaking valves and pipes. Fixing all these leaks can pay for itself in water savings.
Checking for Leaks Around The Home
Have a look at your water meter before and after a period of several hours when water is not being used anywhere in the home. If the meter shows any increase at all, you probably have a hidden leak somewhere.
You can identify toilet leaks by putting a few drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10-15 minutes, the toilet has a leak. The most common reason toilets leak is an old or worn out toilet flapper, also called a valve seal. Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can become covered with minerals or decay over time. Replacing them is a quick and easy fix for your water loss. Also examine the toilet gaskets and fittings for any water leaks on the outside, near of the toilet.
Leaking Faucets & Shower Heads
The most common cause of leaking faucets are old, worn faucet washers and gaskets. Many times a leaky shower head can be fixed by ensuring there is a tight connection between the shower head and the pipe and by using pipe tape (Teflon tape) to secure the connection. For valve leaks in a shower that drips when not in use, contact Maitz for professional repair.
Old water heater tanks can rust and develop leaks over time. Inspect the area around the water heater tank for signs of water leaks or stains.
If you are still experiencing water loss after checking the plumbing fixtures around your home, call Maitz Home Services. can help you solve the more difficult water leak problems.
Hot water scalds account for 20% of all burns and every year more that 2,000 U.S. children are treated for scalding. Scalding can also lead to secondary injuries such as heart attacks, falls, and broken bones, particularly among the elderly. Most scalding accidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom, and the vast majority are avoidable.
Because infants, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns when exposed to overly hot water in the bath, one of the most important ways of preventing scalding is to ensure your water heater temperature is set to a safe temperature.
In addition, you should always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.
Most water heaters come factory set between 120°F to 140°F - this temperature may be too high for many households. The chart below shows how the scalding risk and time it takes to cause a burn.
Water Heater Thermostat Setting
Effects of Exposure to Hot Water at High Temperatures
Water at 100 degF or below
Most water heaters are unlikely to scald an adult
Water at 120 degF
2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 130 degF
2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 140 degF
2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 150 degF
2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 160 degF
2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Scald Protection Devices
Scald protection devices are a must in homes with young children, the elderly and physically challenged. In many areas they are required to be installed to meet code requirements. While caution is the first line of defense to scald prevention, scald protection devices can help to maintain safer water temperatures.
Have questions about hot water safety? Call Maitz Home Services.
Many plumbing problems are easy to spot – a dripping faucet, an overflowing toilet, a clogged kitchen drain – all common problems. Other plumbing problems can be hidden, yet can cause damage to your home if left unchecked. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate a serious plumbing, sewer or drain problem.
1. Water is draining slowly out of all sinks, tubs, toilets, dishwasher, etc. This usually indicates a blockage in the main line rather than a localized blockage. A plumber should inspect the main line for blockage. Over time the slow drain could beome a backed-up sewer line.
2. You hear water running but nothing is on. While a running toilet is a common plumbing noise, if you hear dripping or running water and you can't determine the source, call a plumber to have the cause located and to ensure there isn't a hidden water leak.
3. Mold is found under sinks or on ceilings. If you see mildew, mold, or water stains, it could be a sign of a water leak behind the wall. , 4.Your water bill has unexpectedly jumped. This could indicate a hidden water leak. Check your water meter to see if water is used when all faucets and water using appliances are turned off.
5. Your Toilet is gurgling or bubbling after flushing. This could be a sign of a backed up sewer line. A video inspection can find the cause of sewer line stoppages.
6. Water pressure has dropped. If the water pressure has only dropped for a single source, such as a faucet or shower head, it's likely the aerator or shower head have accumulated mineral deposits and needs cleaning. Ensure that all supply valves are completely open. If the water pressure has dropped throughout the entire home, have a plumber inspect the plumbing.
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.
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.