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09 Apr

Spring is in the Air!

Spring is in the Air!

As we enter into the glorious time of the year in the Pacific Northwest, we start to think about our outdoor living spaces.  It is time to pull-out the lawn furniture and start planning our gardens.

Is this the year where you are going to be installing that outdoor kitchen you have always dreamed about?
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Or maybe you are ready to start capturing rain water to help reduce your water usage?

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Or perhaps you are ready to make some upgrades to your home before all those graduations parties?

What ever the plumbing project you have in mind, Water Cents can help you complete those projects.  Give us a call for creative ideas!

08 Feb

New Year – New Fixtures

The beginning of the year typically means tradeshows. A few of my favorites are the Auto Show and the Home Builders Show. This Home Builder’s show introduced some pretty neat features into the plumbing world and we thought we’d share a few of those with you.

For those of you who like to sing in the shower, Kohler’s Moxie showerhead can stream music from a blue-tooth enabled device into your shower. Now, you don’t have to sing a cappella.

If you are worried about the spread of germs in your kitchen, Kohler has a new touchless faucet that works and looks great. The response time is much faster than other models available and it has sleek stylish look. This product works much better than those airport faucets.

Gerber has introduced a space saving elongated bowl that has just 1.28 gpf and meets the EPA’s Water Sense standards. Gerber has been ranked as one of the best toilets by Consumer Reports but doesn’t have the high price that goes with a name like Toto.

So, if you are looking to sprue up your house this year, think about updating a plumbing fixture or two. It is a great way to update your house, without having to spend a lot of money. If you want to talk to us about some of new products available on the market, we are always hear to talk plumbing!

06 Nov

Flushing Money Down the Drain?

Did you know that having a leaking toilet is like flushing money down the drain? Sure, you can wait until you get your water bill and let the city inform you that you have a leak. Or you can take a proactive approach to detecting water leaks in your home. In the video below, we show you a toilet that was making a weird noise that prompted a little investigation. After adding a little dye to the tank, we found that it was leaking.

So, if you find you have a leak, give us a call! We are here to help you address your plumbing needs.

04 Aug

Hot Water during Hot Weather

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The joys of a modern convenience – the hot water heater. Nothing beats taking a hot shower! And nothing is worse than stepping into a hot shower and having water be cold. Brrrr!

Hot water heaters, like us, don’t live forever. In a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the average age of a failed hot water heater is 10.7 years.

Performing proper maintenance on your heater can help extend its life. The most beneficial thing you can do is to flush out the sediment every 6 months. A layer of sediment in the heater can act as a barrier to the function of the anode reducing the efficiency of the heater and ultimately, the life of the heater. To flush your water heater, attach a hose to the drain valve, let it drain and flush it until the water runs clear.

Additional maintenance includes having a plumbing professional inspect the heater, shut-off valve and piping on an annual basis.

Installing a leak detection system is a great way to protect your home from damage due to a failed water heater. Water leaking from the tank is an indication that it is time to change the heater. A leak detection system can be tied to the water heater, the incoming water valve or a home security system. This system can give you the opportunity to get the maximum life out of your heater yet, allow you to change the heater on your schedule, not its. Even more importantly, this could prevent the leak from causing damage to your home or your belongings. A leak detection system can be installed on a new or existing water heater.

If your heater is over 10 years old and you are thinking about changing your heater, now is a great time to upgrade to an energy efficient water heater. Now through August 31, NW Natural Gas and Oregon Energy Trust is offering up to a $250 rebate on an ENERGY STAR heater. Contact us to find out more about this offer, or go to nwnaturaloffers.com.

19 Jul

Summer Has Arrived!

Summer Has Arrived!

Ahh! Summer in Pacific Northwest! There is no better place to be! And with this great weather comes vacations – be it a day trip or a few weeks.

As you prepare for your vacation, here are a few easy tips to help insure a worry free trip:

– Turn the water off before heading out, even if it’s just for a day.
– For longer trips, you may want to turn off your hot water heater;
– For electric heaters, simply flip the breaker in the panel.
– For gas heaters, turn the gas control valve to vacation setting.
– Make sure you turn the water back on before re-starting your water heater. Also, remember it can take 1-2 hours for the water to heat up.
– Turn off the water to washing machine. This is a potential source for water leaks and can be devastating if you aren’t home when it bursts.

If you are looking for a little more peace of mind, consider installing a water sensor that will automatically shut-off the water if a leak is detected. These sensors can be located in areas that you might not notice water leaking until damage is done, including the ice maker, dishwasher or hot water heater.

Call us today to learn more about ways to protect your home from water damage whether you are home or on vacation.

So, now get out and enjoy this wonderful weather! Have a safe and fun summer!

23 Jun

With all the rain, why is water conservation important?

As we look outside and it is still raining in June, we can’t help but ask why is water conservation so important in the Pacific Northwest?

In the “good ol’ days”, water utilities were able to put wells in areas where people were living. This made sense from an accessibility standpoint, but, unfortunately, these wells were diverting ground water from the mountain streams and impacting the amount of water available in the streams for the fish, wildlife and plants.

So, now, as our water demands grow, new wells must be put in locations that minimize the impact to the water flow. So, that means in areas closer to large bodies of water (i.e. Columbia River) and in some cases, at a greater distance from the populations being served.

In addition, during those glorious summer months, the water demand almost triples as we strive to keep our lawns lush and green. So, the water systems must be able to handle the summer irrigation demands.

So, what can we do about water conservation? We can take steps to minimize our water usage, especially during the summer months when demand is the highest.

Here are a few tips for you to consider during these months.

1. Check to make sure there are no leaks in your pipes. Turn all water sources off in your home and monitor the water meter to make sure there is no water flowing during that time.
2. Water in the morning when the temperatures are cooler and the wind is lighter.
3. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting as longer grass holds soil moisture better than shorter grass.
4. Install a rain shut-off device on your sprinkler system to eliminate unnecessary watering.
5. Only water when you need to. Check this by stepping on the grass, if it springs back up after you remove your foot, it doesn’t need watering.
6. Install a rain barrel. This won’t completely reduce your need to use the irrigation system, but it does allow you to capture and re-use your rainwater.

Looking for more ideas? Try this website for lots of helpful tips.

02 Jun

How Do I Know…

how much water my toilet uses to flush the toilet? Well, that depends on the age of your house. In 1992, the U.S. government mandated that all toilets told in the U.S. be either low flow or low flush, which means they can use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). Prior to that time, a flush could use up to 7 gallons, depending on the model.

The low-flow toilets have gotten a lot of negative feedback and some people resorted to flushing twice to ensure that the bowl was clean. But, the manufacturers have worked hard to improve the performance.

Have you heard about those 1.28 gpf toilets? Ever wonder where that number came from? (I have). Well, in order for a toilet to receive the EPA WaterSense label, it must be 20% more efficient than average toilets and perform as well as or better than their counterparts. This all must be certified by an independent third party. (I did the math and 1.28 is 20% less than 1.6).

Another option for toilets is dual flush which handles the different types of waste streams differently. This was a popular concept when the low flow toilets weren’t working as desired and in some homes, they continue to be a good option.

Consumer reports did a survey of low flow and dual flush toilets in April, 2012. They commented that there was an overall improvement in the low-flow toilet performance. The toilets that ranked at the top of their survey were American Standard, Gerber, Toto and Kohler.

Installing any of these low-flow toilets is an option to conserve water, especially if you have the original toilets from a house built before 1992. But, you can do a few other things without purchasing a new toilet to minimize your water usage:

1. Don’t use your toilet as a trash can.

2. Check for a leaking toilet by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. After about 30 minutes, check to see if color shows up in toilet bowl. If you do observe a color change, you will need to replace the fill valve assembly.

3. Every six months or so, exercise the shutoff valves for your toilet. This preventive measure may save a lot of damage if a leak were to occur.

4. Inspect the supply line periodically.

5. Add a bottle of water, weighed down with sand, into your tank. This could reduce your water usage by 1/2 gallon per flush per toilet.