According to the official Sky Harbor measuring station, Phoenix has only collected 0.06 inch of rain since June 15. And, while most of the water that we use in the Phoenix area is imported from the Colorado River, that river also supplies over 40 Million people in 6 other states. The problem here is that we’re currently taking more water from the rivers and lakes in a year than is being replenished from the rain runoff. Colorado has seen a below-average runoff in all but three years since 2000 and many of the lakes and reservoirs are less than half full.
The water shortages first affect the farmers who have lower priority than houses and businesses but that still affects us because it raises the costs of food and affects our state’s economy overall. That being said, Phoenix has gotten a lot better over the last few years at using less water but it still isn’t enough.
Taking steps to save water doesn’t just help the rest of Arizona, it can also help lower your water bill. That should be motivation enough to start cutting back on your water usage. You don’t even need to make drastic changes to your lifestyle or home to make a difference, just try some of these easy tips to lower your water bill:
If you’ve noticed that some of your faucets leak, even if just barely, you can reduce your water bill just by having it fixed. Just give us a call at (480) 304-2074 to schedule a free home evaluation.
Water leaks are not only a nuisance, they can be quite costly – not to mention environmentally harmful for areas with low rainfall like Phoenix, Arizona. The biggest problem with leaks is that they can go undetected for such a long time that what seems like a small increase in your water bill can add up exponentially. And, sometimes, cause health problems and expensive damage to your home.
A few facts about leaks from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:
That is whole lot of water being wasted and a lot of money going down the drain – no pun intended – through higher water bills.
The first step to take in preventing leaks in your home is to first determine if you have a leak. You can check for leaks on a regular basis to ensure no new leaks occur throughout the year. Checking for a leak is as simple as checking your water meter:
You should check for leaks a few times a year to make sure that any new leaks don’t go unnoticed for an extended period of time. If you’ve found that you have a leak, the next step will be to narrow down the location of the lead to either inside your home or outside your home (such as from pipes running into your home.)
To narrow down whether the leak is coming from inside or outside your home, follow these steps:
Once you’ve narrowed down where the leak may be, you can then start looking for signs of a leak such as:
If you’re unable to locate the leak, you may need to contact a plumber for assistance.
In the next article we’ll discuss some more in-depth methods of locating a water leak in common areas of your home.
Probably the most noticeable sign of a leak that homeowners mention is a significant increase in their water bill which typically indicates that they have a water leak. If you’re not sure whether you have a leak to begin with, follow the steps in our previous article to determine if you have a leak.
If you’ve found that you have a leak and determined that the leak is coming from inside your home, you’ll then want to find out where that leak is coming from, in order to stop the leak. First, check for any of the following signs of a leak:
This can help you identify the general area that the leak is originating from. If you have a leak detection device, you can narrow it down even further. A leak detection device typically costs between $150 to over $300 so if you don’t already have one, it would more cost-effective to either manually locate the leak or have a plumber help you.
Once you’ve identified the general area that the leak is located in, you’ll need to discover what is causing the leak and what needs to be repaired. To help you do that, we’ve outlined the most common areas where leaks occur in a home and how to determine what is causing the leak in each of the areas.
Faucets are probably the most common type of leak reported. Mostly because it is probably the most noticeable type of leak but also because of how often it’s used. If your faucet is leaking, there’s a good chance it is due to a worn rubber washer.
The rubber washer on a sink is typically located just under the handle. Replacing the washer can usually stop the leak and is relatively easy to replace. First, you’ll want to shut of the water via the shutoff valve under sink or the main water shutoff but remember: the faucet handle is not a shutoff valve. Next, you’ll want to remove the faucet handle – this can be done by loosening the bolt under the sink for the handle – and replacing the rubber washer.
A water leak coming from a toilet is often considered the worst kind of leak due to the amount of water that can be lost due to a leak. They are commonly overlooked and can cost you hundreds of gallons of water due to a leak. Thankfully, though, they’re also fairly inexpensive to repair or replace and can usually be easily fixed.
First, find out if your toilet is leaking by simply removing the tank lid and placing a few drops of food coloring in back of the toilet tank. (If you don’t have food coloring, you can purchase dye tabs from any hardware or home center). Wait about 30 minutes, without flushing, and then look in the toilet bowl to see of any color has come through. If the water is clear, the toilet is not leaking. If you see coloring in the bowl you have a leak.
In most cases, you will simply just need to replace the toilet flapper and/or filling mechanism. These are available at your local hardware or home center stores for about $8.00 each.
If the handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet tank. If that doesn’t work, the handle may need to be replaced.
The overflow tube in the toilet tank ensures that if the filling mechanism isn’t shutting off properly, the tank won’t overflow into your bathroom. You’ll want to make sure the water level is set to be about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank. This is about a half inch below the overflow tube.
If the tank is filling past the water level mark and spilling into the overflow tube, you can adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a slightly lower level that is below the overflow tube. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you may need to contact a plumber to assist in repairs.
Other Leak Areas
While the most common water leaks originate from the toilet or faucet, the leak could also be coming from any of the following areas as well:
If you need assistance with a water leak repair in Phoenix, contact us today!
Do you know how high the water pressure in your home is? Do you know what the recommended amount is? 9 out of 10 homeowners do not know that their water pressure is higher than the recommended amount. What’s worse, most homeowners don’t even know that having high water pressure is a bad thing for their home.
If your water pressure is too high, you could be causing serious damage to your plumbing and costing yourself thousands. High water pressure can:
To ensure that you avoid these potential problems, you have to regulate the water pressure in your home. That’s where a water pressure regulator comes in to play. The water pressure regulator, though, needs to be set correctly and needs to be repaired or replaced when broke – many people will go years with a faulty regulator, causing damage and wasting water.
A pressure regulator in your home can ensure that the pressure coming from the municipal supply is reduced to a safe pressure that won’t damage your plumbing. To protect the supply line to your home and any irrigation system you may have, the regulator should be placed at the meter instead of just at the entrance of the building. If you do have an irrigation system, this would also help prevent misting which increases the efficiency of the irrigation system and save you water and money.
Unfortunately, water pressure regulators – like any mechanical device – don’t last forever. If you have noticed any of the issues listed above and you already have a pressure regulator, you will want to test the water pressure to see if the regulator is operating properly. In many cases, if you haven’t replaced or tested the pressure regulator in several years, it may need to be repaired or replaced.
You should test your water pressure on a regular basis to avoid any problems with your plumbing which could result in costly repairs – test monthly or when you notice changes in the pressure. In some cases, the water pressure may fluctuate simply because of higher demand for water in your home or neighborhood during busier times of the day.
Testing your water pressure is as simple as checking the water pressure gauge. Your water pressure should read between 45PSI and 65PSI but can go as low as 40PSI and as high as 70PSI without you having to panic.
If you do not have a pressure gauge you can simply purchase one from a home improvement or hardware store for about $20 or less. Then, attach the gauge to an outdoor or indoor faucet and turn on the water. The gauge will then read the pressure of the water. It is advised to test the pressure on several different faucets to ensure you’re getting the same reading across all areas of your home and to get an accurate reading.
If your water pressure is too high or too low, you may need to repair your water pressure regulator. For assistance with repairs or replacement in the Phoenix metro area, contact Peace of Mind Plumbing.
If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ve likely been told that you should have a water softener system in your home. In fact, about 1 out of 4 homes have water softener systems in the Phoenix area. So what do water softeners do? A water softener does just what it sounds like, it softens water. To understand what that means, first you’ll need to understand what hard water is and why so many people want to soften it.
Hard water is water that has a high concentration of minerals. While water is in the ground it picks up soluble bits of whatever it passes through. This could also include contaminates but is usually just minerals from the earth. Of the minerals that water picks up, the ones to be concerned about are calcium and magnesium as they affect the ability of water to function in our homes and are what cause water to be “hard”.
One of the more annoying effects of hard water is that it causes soaps and detergents to lose some effectiveness. Normally soap would dissolve completely but with hard water it combines with the minerals and forms a coagulated soap curd. This results in needing to use more soap while the sticky insoluble curd hangs around, clinging to skin, shower walls, hair, etc.
Hard water can also have a negative effect on your laundry. While washing your laundry with hard water, the aforementioned soap curds can work their way into your clothing, causing dirt to be trapped in the fibers. This can roughen the fabric and cause it to feel stiff.
Not only does hard water affect the washing process but the insoluble soap deposits leave spots on everything you wash while also leaving a soap film that builds up on your bath and shower.
Lastly, one of the more costly effects of hard water is what it can do to your plumbing system. As calcium and magnesium deposits build up in pipes, it reduces the flow of water to taps and appliances. This build up in the pipes can also cause serious problems with water heaters, causing them to lose efficiency and reduce the life of the heater.
The basic answer behind what a water softener does and how it works is that it removes the calcium, magnesium and other contaminates out of your water.
Most water softeners are simply a mechanical appliance in your home that is connected to your water supply system. They work by replacing the unwanted minerals in your water with something else, usually sodium. This process is called ion exchange. The result: softer water.
So why do so many homes in Phoenix use water softeners? Well, that’s because hard water is much more common in desert areas. Phoenix is actually one of the top 5 metropolises in the U.S. with the hardest water. That’s why water softeners are so common in the Phoenix area and why you’ve likely been told you should use one.
The next question you may be asking is, do I really need a water softener? Many people argue that the benefits of softer water don’t outweigh the high costs of a water softener while others argue the opposite. To help you make an educated decision and better understand the pros and cons of installing a water softener, we will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of a water softener in our next article.
As explained in more detail in our previous article, a water softener works by removing contaminates and minerals from your water. As water passes through the ground it picks up different minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium which cause your water to be “hard”. Hard water can cause problems with your plumbing, reduce the lifetime of your appliances, cause skin irritations and make it harder to clean.
In dry areas, such as Phoenix, Arizona, the tap water is usually much harder than in other areas. This is why water softeners are so common in the Phoenix area. The question, though, is whether they’re really worth it and what are the disadvantages to installing one. First, we will review the benefits of water softeners and then discuss the disadvantages.
While most of the disadvantages involve salt-based water softeners, they are the most commonly used. There are, however, some that are not salt-based and would eliminate many of the disadvantages, other than cost.
In fact, Arizona State University completed a study in 2011 and discovered the most promising technology for softening water without salt is the template assisted crystallization process. It tested four types of water softener not using salt: capacitive deionization, electrically induced precipitation, template assisted crystallization, and electromagnetic water treatment.
Another route you can take to reduce the harm caused by a water softener, should you choose to install one, would be to only attach the unit to your hot water line. This would allow you to take advantage of the benefits of softer water when cleaning, while reducing the negative impact it has.
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