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Signs Of Hard Water: Tips From The Experts

A cream colored bathroom that is suffering from signs of hard water

Water isn’t something homeowners typically think much about. Turn on a faucet, crank up the shower, push a button on the dishwasher or washing machine and the water flows. Depending on where you live, however, your home might have what’s commonly referred to as hard water, which means that you have dissolved magnesium and calcium compounds and possibly other metallic elements in your running water. If your pipes or appliances are showing signs of hard water, it might be time to take action.

Homes get their water from different naturally occurring sources. Groundwater, a common source, flows through limestone or other rocks, absorbing the minerals contained inside of them. Over time, those minerals build up in a home’s plumbing system. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 85% of homes in the United States have some level of hard water.

Your water would be labeled “hard” if it contains more than 61 milligrams … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Dishwasher Backing Up Into The Sink?

dishwasher backing up into sink and overflowing

The kitchen is the center of activity in most homes, and the sink is the heart of the kitchen. If you’re busy doing dishes, you expect everything—including the faucet, disposal, dishwasher and pipes—to work. The last thing you want is to run into any kind of problem that would result in a backed-up sink or dishwasher full of dirty, smelly water and bits of decomposing food that won’t go down. If you find your dishwasher backing up into your sink, that’s just the type of plumbing problem you’ll have on your hands, and it will need to be resolved quickly, so you can get back to your normal routine without much disruption.

There are several common causes of a dishwasher backing up into a sink, including a block in the air gap, an obstruction in your dishwasher or a clogged garbage disposal. One of the most likely culprits is a simple … Read Full Post »

Toilet Leaks When Flushed: What Is Going On?

a white and gray bathroom

Leaks are among the most common plumbing issues homeowners have to deal with. If your toilet leaks when you flush it, you might have one (or more) of the following problems:

  • Your supply valve or fill valve are loose.
  • The nuts and bolts connecting the tank to other parts of the toilet aren’t tight.
  • Your toilet tank is cracked.
  • The flapper is not shutting correctly over the valve seat, causing the flush valve to leak into the bowl.

If you want to try to fix the leak on your own, take some time to thoroughly examine each part of the toilet, including the bowl, inside the tank and around the water supply valve. Sometimes, a leaky toilet can be fixed just by tightening nuts and bolts. In some cases, unfortunately, you will have to replace the entire toilet.

A toilet leak can quickly become a serious issue. Water leaks can cause damage to your bathroom or … Read Full Post »

Who Fixes Garbage Disposals?

Kitchen sink with a garbage disposal

Doing the dishes is already a tedious chore for many homeowners. When you’re standing at the sink with the water running and scrub brush in hand, you expect everything to work. That’s why it can be such a disappointment when you rinse food off your dishes into the sink and hit the switch to activate your garbage disposal, only to hear an odd noise, detect a terrible smell or worse—to hear nothing at all. In any of those scenarios, the question will instantly pop into your mind: Who fixes garbage disposals? Should you call an appliance repair person, a plumber or someone else entirely?

The short answer to that question is that both appliance repair technicians and plumbers can address issues with garbage disposals. Do keep in mind, though, that choosing the right person to call when your garbage disposal breaks can depend on the type and extent of the particular … Read Full Post »

How To Unclog A Dishwasher With Standing Water

How to unclog a dishwasher with standing water

While cleaning up after dinner, you notice that a significant amount of water has accumulated in the bottom of your dishwasher. You know that a little water is normal, but this seems excessive. Before you tackle another load of dishes sitting in the sink, you may realize you don’t know how to unclog a dishwasher with standing water. You’re probably also wondering why this happened in the first place and how can you prevent it from happening again.

The most likely reason water is pooling in your dishwasher is that you have filters that have been become blocked because of food debris that has built up over time. Most newer models have manual-clean filters, unlike the self-cleaning filters that were more common in these units a decade ago. Clogged filters can prevent water from rising or draining, and can even make your dishes smell. Thankfully, cleaning your manual filters is relatively … Read Full Post »

Pros And Cons Of Water Softeners

A bathroom

For those who live in an area with hard water, installing a water softening system is a popular solution. As with any decision about your home, there are pros and cons of water softeners. On the positive side, these systems can help protect your hair and skin from chemicals, make cleaning easier and help you save money, among other benefits. The only true downside to installation is the up-front cost. If you can overcome that barrier, most homeowners say they wish they had made the switch earlier.

A few of the other advantages to installing a water softening system include:

  • A longer life for your pipes, drains and appliances.
  • Much easier cleaning and maintenance of your clothing, linens and home.
  • A reduction in your overall energy consumption by almost 30%.
  • A cure for dry, itchy scalp and skin.

Of course, there is an added cost associated with installing and maintaining a water softening system. However, many … Read Full Post »

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Leaking?

Hot water heater leaking

No homeowner wants to discover a leak. Dripping water isn’t just an annoyance—it can cause serious damage to your property if left unattended. When you combine leaks with hot water heaters or electricity, potential dangers increase. So, what does it mean if your hot water heater is leaking? And more importantly, what should you do about it?

There are many possible reasons why your water heater might be leaking, including:

  • Your valves need to be replaced or tightened
  • Your fittings or supply piping need to be replaced
  • You need to install an expansion tank
  • There is condensation
  • Built-up sediment is causing the tank to crack and leak
  • There is a larger problem which may force you to consider replacing your water heater

Obviously, some of these problems are more serious than others. Unfortunately, neglecting to address the issue will only continue to allow mold and mildew to grow in the area around your water heater. Even condensation may … Read Full Post »

Will Pipes Freeze At 32 Degrees? Avoiding Disaster

Will Pipes Freeze at 32 Degrees

Here in Texas, we are lucky that our winters are relatively mild. However, we do have those nights where it can get a bit chillier than we’re accustomed to. When it drops below freezing, many homeowners start to wonder: Will pipes freeze at 32 degrees? Water freezes at 32 degrees, so technically that is the temperature at which it becomes possible for pipes to freeze as well. That said, it’s not quite that simple.

Pipes can freeze at 32 degrees or below, but it will take a sustained period of time for this to happen. In other words, a pipe needs to be at freezing temperatures for at least half a day before homeowners have to worry about any freezing occurring. And, generally speaking, the temperature needs to be well below 32 for at least that length of time before freezing becomes likely.

While you may assume that homeowners in the North … Read Full Post »

Garbage Disposal Water Comes Back Up: What Should I Do?

Garbage disposal water comes back up

You’re relieved that you finally finished the dishes and then it happens—your garbage disposal water comes back up. To your dismay, water mixed with bits of food is now flowing into your sink, despite just having turned on your disposal, and you’re left wondering how and why this occurred.

If you notice water backing up in your kitchen sink, one of three things has probably happened:

  • There is a blockage.
  • You have been overusing your disposal.
  • Your garbage disposal was not installed correctly.

The most likely of these three scenarios is that you have some sort of obstruction. A blockage in your drain is made up of food and other debris that have been slowly building up over time. Before this happened, you may have noticed that your sink had been draining slower than usual. In most cases, homeowners decide to ignore these early signs of a bigger problem because water is still draining.

In some … Read Full Post »

Symptoms Of High Water Pressure In A House

symptoms of high water pressure in house

High water pressure in a house might sound like a good thing. No one likes taking a shower with low pressure, and many people rely on a good shower first thing in the morning to wake up. But high water pressure—that is, pressure over 65 psi, or pounds per square inch—is too hard on your home’s internal pipes and fittings. If your home has high water pressure, there will be signs indicating the pressure is too high. It is important to pay attention to these signs so you can remedy the problem before the high water pressure ends up damaging your home’s pipes, water heater, toilets or shutoff valve. Symptoms of high water pressure in a house include:

  • A knocking, banging or hammering noise coming from the pipes when you turn on a faucet in the house (this is known as a “water hammer”).
  • Leaky faucets.
  • Irregular water pressure in your showers and … Read Full Post »