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Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Adult wipes have become increasingly common in bathrooms around the world as an alternative to toilet paper. The problem is that people are flushing these wipes, and that’s a very bad habit, both at home and in any other bathroom. Here’s why flushing those wipes can be dangerous for your plumbing system — and may cause a lot of extra expenses too. Clogs Can Get Bad These wipes aren’t designed like toilet paper and cannot easily break apart in water (even some toilet paper struggles with this). They are just too durable, which can cause major problems when they are flushed and don’t disintegrate soon enough. Many of the most famous sewer clogs of recent years have been traced back to wipes that just won’t go away. The same thing can happen in your home on a smaller scale, causing troublesome toilet backups. Sewage and Septic Systems Suffer Those wipes that won’t easily disintegrate eventually enter the sewage system or (depending on your setup) your septic tank. These systems are designed specifically to break down waste over a period of time. Items that won’t decompose fast enough can disrupt this process and eventually cause long-term problems. “Flushable” Wipes Really Aren’t Flushable Some wipes are marketed as flushable, with assurances that they will decompose quickly. The problem is that there aren’t many guarantees that this is true (although some cities are working on regulations to help solve this problem). Many brands are guilty of letting people assume the wipes can be flushed when really they should be thrown away instead. Other brands may claim they are flushable, but the results appear to...
What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

While the conventional, tank-based water heater has been popular in residential houses for decades, a new type of water heater is on the rise. These are called “tankless” heaters, and they’re focused on saving money, conserving energy, and delivering faster hot water. Let’s dig in deeper and look at what separates conventional and tankless heaters. Conventional Water Heaters Conventional water heaters use large tanks to store and heat water so that it is available at any time, which is why they are often called storage water heaters. The water in the tank is heated to a specific temperature, typically through a gas burner or heating element. Sensors detect when the water is the proper temperature (with some variation in settings), and the water heater holds that temperature throughout the day. When you turn the hot water on, the water is siphoned from the top of the tank. Most tanks tend to have a capacity between 20 and 120 gallons, but only a portion of that is typically available as hot water. This option has been a popular choice because it works. The tanks have enough room to store plenty of hot water, and that water is always available, particularly for larger projects (or long hot showers). However, there are also some downsides. If a family is too large for a hot water tank and has already cut back on water use, the only solution is to upgrade to a larger tank size. Also, remember that storage water heaters need to continually use energy to keep the water in the tank at a high temperature. Over time, that can waste...
Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Your water heater typically sits quietly in an unused corner of the house, doing its job. However, sometimes those water tanks can get noisy. It’s no surprise that homeowners start to worry when water heaters start banging, popping, and thumping like they are about to jump free! Usually, this is caused by an issue with sediment buildup. Here’s what that means for you. Common Causes — Sediment Buildup Sediment refers to small mineral particles that can accumulate in your hot water tank, but that doesn’t mean your water is dirty. A certain amount of mineral particles are typically bonded to household water, usually harmless calcium and lime. A high amount of these particles means that water is “hard,” which affects things like how it tastes and how it interacts with surfactants (soap), etc. A low amount of particles means that water is “soft.” If the water in your region tends to be hard, you may be more at risk for problems like a loud, banging water heater. The reason sediment builds up in the tank is because of the heat. As the water heats up, the bonds that hold the mineral particles in place loosen, and they drift down to the bottom of the tank. Over time, this can build up into a thick layer. As water is heated and rises in the tank, it needs to push past that layer of sediment. As a result, water bubbles will eventually explode through the sediment layer to freedom; this is what causes the loud noise. Problems and Solutions These little water explosions aren’t immediately dangerous, but they can cause serious problems over...
5 Common Washing Machine Problems

5 Common Washing Machine Problems

A broken washing machine can put a wrinkle in your laundry routine. The average U.S. family does around seven loads of laundry per week, and any problems with your washer will cause everyone in your home headaches. Stay on the lookout for these common washing machine problems to keep one of your hardest working appliances working. A Burst Washer Hose Burst washer hoses are a primary cause of home floods. You can help reduce the chance of an expensive leak by routinely checking your washer’s hose for any drying, cracking or rodent damage. If you notice any signs of damage, it is time to replace it. You may want to consider switching from a rubber hose to a more durable braided steel hose to lower the chance of leaking. An Outer Drum Leak The outer drum, which houses the inner drum (the one which spins), is usually made from a heavy-duty plastic in newer machines. This makes them lighter, but less sturdy than older metal outer drums. These newer drums tend to crack on occasion, especially if someone forgot to check pants’ pockets for loose change. A cracked outer drum leads to a leak and the need for a repair or replacement depending on the amount of damage. Trouble With Draining Standing water in your washing machine can be messy, especially if you have a side-loading machine. There are several reasons why your machine may fail to drain properly. When this happens, most of the time, there is something stuck or blocking the drain hose, or the pump needs replacing. Trouble With Filling When a washer refuses to fill completely...
The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance

The Importance of Sump Pump Maintenance

You may not realize it, but you have a two-way agreement with your sump pump. You depend on it to keep your basement free of water, and it depends on you to keep it clean and running well.  Your sump pump needs regular maintenance, and this is true whether it’s recently been called upon to do its job during a rainy stretch, or sitting idle through days and days of sunshine and scant rain. Sump Pump Maintenance Most plumbing professionals recommend doing a simple maintenance every three or four months, then a more comprehensive one yearly. But whichever you are about to do, first make sure it’s working. Remove the covering to the sump pit and clear it of any accumulated debris. Then to make sure it’s running, pour enough water into the pit so it rises to a level of nine inches or so. At this point, the float should rise, the motor should kick in, and you should see water flowing out the exit pipe or hose. If not, make sure the power is on. If this is not the problem, you need to call your plumber to take a look. But let’s assume everything is working so you can start your maintenance. Quarterly Maintenance Before you do anything, disconnect the power supply. Remove the pump inlet screen and thoroughly clean it. Some pumps have an inlet opening instead. Reconnect the power cord to the power supply. That’s it. That wasn’t so bad, was it? But before you go, check the sump pit basin. If all the water drained out while you were cleaning it, fill the pit with water before you turn the power back on so...
Why a Sump Pump is a Necessity in Your Home

Why a Sump Pump is a Necessity in Your Home

Contrary to what some people think, the need for sump pumps is not limited to homes in flood zones or extremely rainy climates. Water can saturate the ground and build up under and around the perimeter of your home’s foundation, and from there, can migrate into your basement or crawlspace. This is especially true if you have a high water table. Have you thought about installing one to keep your basement flood free?  What You Risk by Not Having a Sump Pump The accumulation of water can result in any or all of a homeowner’s worst fears, some of which include: Flood. If torrential rains occur, the ground becomes quickly saturated, and with nowhere else to go, the accumulating rain flows into the basement, where it can ruin everything stored in the basement, or it can cause structural damage. Fire. If the rising water reaches basement appliances like the washer, dryer, water heater, furnace or even worse the panel box, it can short them. Short circuits can easily lead to an electrical fire. Mold and Mildew. Even if flooding does not occur, constant dampness provides optimal conditions for mold and mildew. Not only does this result in a musty odor that permeates everything in the basement, but it can also lead to health problems like asthma and skin conditions. Installing a sump pump to remove water minimizes these risks. It also relieves hydrostatic pressure which can cause cracks in the foundation. Sump Pits To effectively rid your home of accumulated water, the sump pump should be installed below floor level. Therefore, step number one is to dig a hole called a sump pit and line it with gravel. Being the lowest point in the basement, the pit will serve as a reservoir for any excess...