Category Archives: Plumbing

Advantages and Disadvantages of Touchless Kitchen Faucets

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Thinking about a plumbing upgrade for your kitchen? You’ve seen them in restaurant bathrooms most everywhere in Arizona—touchless faucets. They save time and effort by simplifying cleaning. These technological wonders deliver a stream of water anytime motion is detected. How do these faucets work and what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing them in your kitchen by your local plumber?

How Do Touchless Faucets Work?

Touchless faucets have a sensor positioned usually at the base of the faucet. When you move your hand or even a pot or plate in front of the infrared detector, the sensor sends a signal to the solenoid valve, turning water on or off.

Advantages of Touchless Faucets

Hands Free

Whether you have dirty hands or hands full, you only need to place your hands close to the sensor to begin the flow of water. Less spreading of germs and food debris on faucets.

Saves Water

No water is wasted because the faucet turns off when there’s nothing in front of the sensor. The sensor takes three seconds or less to send a signal to shut off the water. Better for the environment and your monthly water bill, as you’ll save hundreds of gallons over a few years.

Safety

No need to reach for knobs or handles. Easy to use for all family members and automatic water temperature and flow settings.

Easier Cleaning

The spray head with a pull-down feature allows you to utilize the faucets’ stronger water flow to quickly clean dishes and cookware with less mess.

Disadvantages of Touchless Faucets

Sensor Malfunction

Since these faucets are activated by motion sensors, having too few sensors or low-quality sensors means the faucet won’t quickly turn on or off, leading to a frustrating situation.

Cost

Generally more expensive than standard faucets and the solenoid or valve can stop functioning properly over time.

Flow Rate

It can be difficult to change the water flow rate or temperature. You’ll have to touch different areas of the faucet, or for some models, use a remote control.

Call Your Plumbing Experts

Need additional information on touchless kitchen faucets or require other plumbing services? Your family-owned plumbing professionals at Cool Blew have the expertise to help you anytime of the day or night.
Call us today at 623-872-2900 to schedule an appointment. We’re committed to providing unbeatable customer service and quality products.

Typical Water Heater Issues

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Water heaters are a convenience homeowners expect at all times. Even though water heaters are manufactured to last, problems can still occur—and usually at inconvenient times. An interruption in hot water or low water pressure when you want to take a shower or run a load of laundry can quickly become a stressful situation. Let’s look at some typical water heater problems.

Temperature Issues

Water temperature problems can be very frustrating. The water can be too hot, too cold, or not hot enough.

Cold Water

Issues arising from water being cold when it should be hot may include the water heater not getting power, or the thermostat and heating elements not working correctly. If your water heater is gas powered, check to see if the pilot light is lit. If there isn’t a pilot light, then the water heater may not be getting an adequate gas flow. If it’s an electric water heater, check if the power cord is plugged in properly, reset the power breaker, and check for blown fuses. If the pilot light won’t relight, there’s not enough gas, or the power supply isn’t functioning properly, call your trusted local plumbing company.

Not Hot Enough

When the water is warm, but not hot enough, there may be a thermostat problem or a heating element that’s not functioning. A water heater too small for your household water needs may be another cause. These issues are best taken care of by a professional.

Overly Hot Water

Thermostat settings are the most likely cause of water that is too hot. The thermostat may have been set above the recommended setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends this setting for optimal power efficiency and to reduce the chances of scalding hot water.

Stinky or Discolored Water

Foul smelling water flowing from your faucets may be the result of a failing water heater element. A foul odor may be caused by the heating element releasing hydrogen causing the bad smell.

Rust-colored water is most likely caused by corrosion inside the water tank from a failing element. This is when you should call your plumbing technician to inspect the unit and decide if the water heater element needs to be replaced or the entire water heater needs replacement.

Call Cool Blew

These are a few of the typical water heater issues you may encounter. Call our expert plumbers at Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900 to schedule your plumbing appointment.

P-traps and Home Plumbing Problems

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A P-trap is a plumbing pipe that you’ve likely seen underneath your sink. But you probably don’t know much about it. When you have a clogged sink, a P-trap becomes one of the first suspected culprits causing the clog. Here’s a brief overview of what P-traps are, why your home has them, and two common P-trap problems.

What’s a P-trap?

Look under any sink in your house and you’ll see a pipe with a curve resembling the letter “P” or the letter “U.” The P-trap has a very specific purpose with its bend. It connects your home’s drain and waste pipes to your municipal sewage system or home septic tank. The bend contains a small pocket of water which blocks foul smelling, toxic sewer gases from entering your home through the pipes. Methane is the most common foul smelling offensive odor blocked.

P-traps have one other important job. By being an integral part of every home’s plumbing system, these traps allow you to quickly find small items that have fallen down the drain such as jewelry. They’re found under every sink, toilet, shower, and bathtub in your house.

Typical P-trap Problems

Now that you understand P-traps as barriers to noxious fumes traveling up the sink and preventing objects from going down the drain, let’s look at two common P-trap problems you may encounter.

Clogs

The bend in the P-trap pipe contributes to all sorts of objects getting wedged in the trap curve and blocking the pipe. Objects ranging from large quantities of hair, paper towels, wet wipes, sponges, and sediment can lodge in the bend. Food, dead skin, soap scum, grease, and mineral deposits can build up over time and reduce the diameter of the pipe. Eventually, this build up will clog the pipe and if your DIY remedies don’t work, it will be time to call your local plumber to unclog.

Dry P-traps

P-traps can dry up due to evaporation, a leak, a clog absorbing the water, or even dry winds entering your home’s pipes. When the water evaporates, you’ll quickly smell the horrible sewer gases. The best way to prevent water from drying up in P-traps is to run water down every drain in your home at least once every three weeks.

Frequently encountering clogged drain pipes? It may be time to consider having your drains professionally cleaned as the best long-term solution. Call your local plumbing experts at Cool Blew to schedule your appointment today. We’re available 365 days of the year at 623-872-2900.

Common Garbage Disposal Problems—and What to Do about Them

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When your garbage disposal breaks down, it can get downright ugly in the kitchen. You won’t be able to dispose of food waste down the drain. And that’s coupled with foul smells emitting from the garbage disposal. Yuck!

So, what causes these workhorses in the kitchen to stop functioning, and more importantly, how can you prevent common garbage disposal problems from happening in the first place?

Jammed

Garbage disposals grind up hundreds of pounds of food waste yearly. When these usually long-lasting, reliable devices have limited to no grinding power with an associated humming noise, it probably means a jammed disposal. Often, liquids will back up into the sink or drain slowly. The most common culprits are non-grindable materials, like fats and oils, bones, fruit pits, and stringy vegetables.

Leaking

Garbage disposals can leak for many reasons. Damaged seals, faulty connections with the drainpipe or dishwasher, a worn-out gasket, O-ring, or flange. Disposals can leak from the top, bottom, or sides into the dishwasher or plumbing system.

Won’t Turn On

You flip the switch to turn on your garbage disposal and nothing happens. A few issues can cause a “dead” disposal. The electrical switch to the disposal may be broken. A plug in the disposal may be loose or the reset button on bottom of the disposal may have popped out.

Non-Draining

Are you noticing food waste and water backing up into the sink? Dull blades or a clogged pipe may be causing the backup issues.

Noisy

If your garbage disposal is making loud sounds, such as a grinding metal noise or a high-pitched whirling noise, it may be caused by a few issues. A part of the garbage disposal may have broken off, lugs may have become loose, or some foreign object is stuck in the blades.

Four Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

  • Flush out the disposal with hot water on a regular basis.
  • Don’t dump excessive quantities of food waste into the garbage disposal at one time.
  • Avoid dumping potato peels, fats, oils, grease, and bones down the disposal.
  • Drop eggshells, ice cubes, or citrus peels down the disposal weekly to remove smells and keep disposal blades sharp.

Cool Blew’s professional plumbers will quickly inspect your broken garbage disposal. They’ll repair it if possible or provide a quote for a replacement unit in your sink and expertly install it. Call our experts at 623-872-2900 today to schedule your plumbing appointment.

Homeowner’s Guide to Slab Leaks

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Are you experiencing a pesky plumbing problem problem that you can’t quite figure out? If you answer yes to any of the following four questions, you may have a slab leak:

  1. Is there unusual pooling water outside your house?
  2. Are you noticing mold and mildew on your carpet or walls?
  3. Have you noticed damp spots on your carpet, flooring, or baseboards?
  4. Has your water bill skyrocketed 25% to 50% or more in a single month?

Here’s what you need to know about this common, frustrating plumbing problem.

What’s a Slab Leak?

Slab leaks happen when pipes underneath your house’s concrete foundation begin to leak. Slab leaks generally start out small and are difficult to notice, but they can quickly cause major damage and costly repairs. The leaking water can saturate the soil underneath your home causing your house to slowly sink into the ground or cause flooring to buckle if left unrepaired. Slab leaks are not something you want to take a “wait and see” approach before calling in the experts. Your local experienced technicians at Cool Blew have the tools to rapidly investigate slab leaks, provide you with the best course of action, and quickly repair.

Common Causes of Slab Leaks

Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene (PB) is a type of plastic resin that was extensively used from 1978 to 1995 in new home construction in Arizona and other states. This type of piping eventually leaks or bursts, mainly due to improper installation or chlorine degradation from municipal water treatment.

Earth Settling

A common issue with desert soil in the Valley of the Sun is a gradual shifting over time of the earth under your home’s concrete slab. This soil shifting causes substantial pressure on the buried water lines resulting in pipes cracking and leaking.

Poorly Wrapped Pipes

When water pipes are placed underneath your home’s concrete slab, they’re wrapped to protect them from directly touching the foundation. If the pipes are improperly wrapped, they can wear out over time from contact with the slab and leak.

Suspect a Slab Leak?

If you think you may have a slab leak, immediately call the professionals at Cool Blew to prevent any additional damage and expensive repairs. We’ll do a complete inspection to locate the leak and professionally repair the piping, saving your home from significant damage. Call us now at 623-872-2900 to schedule your appointment.

Plumbing Tips for Unclogging Your Pipes

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Clogged pipes are one of the most common household problems. When any sink, shower drain, or garbage disposal is clogged, it can quickly create a major headache. The frustration experienced from clogged pipes can drive you to try most anything to dissolve the clog. So, what should you do? Here are some DIY steps to try before calling your local plumbing company.

Plunge It

A plunger may be your best bet for dealing with clogged pipes. Plungers work well for a slow running drain, a backed-up toilet, or a clogged kitchen sink. Pressure from the plunger pushes the clog down the drain. Though a somewhat lighter touch is best when using a plunger as excessive pressure may burst pipe seals. Avoid pouring boiling water to unclog any home drain. Some pipes, especially those located under sinks, are usually PVC pipes. PVC pipes are rated for a maximum temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Excessively hot water can melt the pipe resulting in costly damage. When in doubt, call the plumbing experts.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

What works best for minor clogs? Baking soda and vinegar is one of the easiest, most environmentally-friendly methods available. This home remedy works best for grease and soap scum clogs in your kitchen, bathroom sinks, and shower drains. Pour equal amounts of both down the drain and then seal it with a rubber stopper for 10 minutes or so. Stay away from using other common household chemicals like bleach or ammonia to unclog drains. It’s also best to avoid using consumer chemical drain cleaning products like Drano. Over time, pipes can corrode, causing an even bigger problem. And these chemicals are harmful to the environment, pets, and your family. If you find baking soda and vinegar don’t unclog the blockage, it’s best to call for help.

Snake Time

A snake is a plumbing tool that can bend its way through your pipes until it reaches the clog. When the blockage is hidden deep down in your pipes, a snake with a crank can be used to grab onto the blockage, such as balls of hair, and draw it out. There are electric-powered drain snakes and augers, but those are best used by trained plumbing technicians, so as not to irreparably damage your pipes from too much pressure.

Call Cool Blew

Struggling to unclog a sink or shower drain in your house? Cool Blew is here for all your plumbing repairs. Our certified and experienced technicians are available 24/7. Call us today to schedule your appointment at 623-872-2900.

Three Home Plumbing Improvements to Make in 2022

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Conserving water is an important aspect of living in the desert southwest. Decades long drought conditions have left Lake Powell only 35% full and Lake Mead less than 38% full. With the federal government declaring an unprecedented water shortage for the Colorado River and Lake Mead, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a formal shortage declaration for the first time ever in 2021. The Colorado River provides water for 40 million people, and under Level 1 water usage cuts, Arizona will face the biggest reduction with farmers being directly affected first. With all that in mind, here are three home plumbing improvements you can make for 2022 to help reduce your home’s water demand and help you save on water bills.

Low-Flow Toilets

According to the EPA, toilets account for almost 30% of water use in the average house. The EPA estimates that you’ll save up to $110 per year on your water bills with the addition of low-flow toilets. And they will last up to 30 years before needing replacement. To do your part in reducing water usage, installing a low-flow toilet can help save thousands of gallons of water every year. Some additional tidbits of information to consider: the average person will flush the toilet six times a day and a low-flow toilet will use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, amounting to a 70-80 percent water savings. Low-flow toilets have smaller tanks and some even have the option of a dual flush providing even more flexibility in flushing usage.

Water-Saving Showerheads

Installing water-saving showerheads can also make a big difference. The EPA estimates if every home in the U.S. replaced existing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models, more than 260 billion gallons of water would be saved, resulting in $5.4 billion in reduced water and energy costs annually. WaterSense labeled showerheads are independently certified to meet EPA water efficiency standards and performance criteria. These showerheads not only use less water, but also provide high water pressure. The showerheads provide optimum water pressure at 80psi, so there’s no need to be concerned about the showerhead not providing enough water pressure to shower comfortably.

Tankless Right-Sized Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters providing unlimited hot water and space-saving design can be an excellent addition to your home’s plumbing system in 2022. You’ll never run out of hot water again! You can run hot water taps at the same time or even multiple showers simultaneously without a reduction in hot water supply. Tankless heaters save space, are more cost effective, more durable with life spans ranging from 20 to 25 years, and the efficient functionality of tankless water heaters allows for instant hot water!

Call Cool Blew

For additional details on these money saving, climate friendly plumbing improvements for 2022, call Cool Blew, your locally owned experts in HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Call Cool Blew today Valley Wide at 623-872-2900.

Does a Tankless Water Heater Make Sense for You?

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Many homeowners aren’t aware that water heating systems are the second biggest user of electricity in homes after air conditioning and heating. Yet, they are often overlooked when it comes to improving efficiency—only being replaced when they cease working.

Most homes in greater Phoenix have traditional gas or electric tank water heaters. You know them as the big white tanks typically installed in your garage. While this type of water heater is ubiquitous in homes across the Valley, it’s not the only option. A tankless water heater system is an alternative that a growing number of homeowners are exploring and installing because of the advantages over natural gas (methane), propane (LPG), solar, or electric water heaters.

What is a tankless water heater?

Also called instantaneous or continuous flow systems, tankless water heaters heat water as it flows through the device. They do not retain any water internally, except for what is in a heat exchange coil. A tankless heater can be installed either at the point-of-use or in a central location to provide hot water for an entire home.

What are the advantages of this alternative to traditional tank water heaters?

Here are three key benefits of tankless water heaters to consider before it’s time to replace your existing system:

  1. Lower costs
    Because tankless systems heat water as needed, rather than keeping an entire tank hot for your use, it typically costs much less to operate. There is also less water waste, as you don’t have to run the tap while you wait for water to warm up. This results in lower monthly utility costs. Over time, this monthly savings offsets the cost of a new tankless water heater system.
  2. Continuous flow of hot water
    It’s certainly a big surprise when you’re in the middle of a shower, and the hot water runs out. With a tankless system, you’re not using a limited tank of hot water. So, there’s never any risk of running out of water. As long as the tankless water heater is functional, you’ll always have plenty of hot water.
  3. More space
    If you have your water heater tank in your garage, you’re aware of the space it takes up. In many smaller, older homes, available space is tight for accommodating a bulky water heater. When every square foot counts, a tankless system is the right choice.

Are you ready to learn more about replacing your water heater with a new tankless model? Call the plumbing experts at Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900.

Preventing Plumbing Problems

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Are you experiencing pesky plumbing problems now that summer is almost over? The most annoying plumbing-related issues are often the preventable problems that make homeowners want to pound the table and yell when they realize an ounce of prevention would’ve saved a lot of time, trouble, cost, and frustration. Here are some plumbing situations that you can check on and prevent.

Defective Washing Machine Hoses

Here’s a question for you. When was the last time you thought about your washing machine water hoses? The answer is probably, “Not in a very long time.”

Would you guess that faulty or bursting basic, plain black, rubber washing machine hoses are one of the most common causes of catastrophic water damage in houses? You cannot ignore two to four inches of water on the floor. Old rubber hoses tend to lose flexibility with age and are subject to a fair amount of stress as the water repeatedly turns on and off. These hoses have a track record for springing leaks. Carefully check your hoses showing any signs of cracks, bulges, or abrasions. Over the course of time, these hoses can simply fail without warning and cause expensive flooding. It’s a great idea to have your washing machine hoses replaced with leak-free stainless steel braided hoses. These hoses are inexpensive, and DIY easy-to-install, or have your local handyman or plumber replace them for you.

Toilet Handle Stuck

Familiar with these phrases, “Don’t forget to jiggle the handle” or “Make certain to hold the handle down” in your household? This is a very common plumbing issue where water spills into the overflow tube and the toilet does not shut off properly. Most often, moving the handle will alleviate the noise. If the water in your tank runs continuously, you may be in store for a high dollar water bill. Another problem may occur If the float in the tank is out of adjustment. Water will fill up the tank for about twenty seconds, shut off, then the toilet tank will fill up again with water. This cycle can go on endlessly until the toilet float is replaced or set correctly.

If you’ve got plumbing issues or if you have questions about plumbing problems you’ve noticed in your home, call Cool Blew today. We’ll do a complete inspection and professionally repair all your plumbing problems quickly, efficiently, and affordably. Call us now at 623-872-2900 to schedule your appointment.

Home Plumbing: Don’t Sweat It

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Does it feel like it will not stop raining? Arizona’s monsoon season has been impressive so far, producing lots of water and an interesting plumbing dilemma – damp, dripping pipes. When your home’s pipes start dripping, that’s when the amount of precipitation may have gone a bit too far. Notice moisture on or around your plumbing, pipes, or fixtures? Keep reading.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Have a pipe in your home that’s dripping water? Yet when you examine the pipe closely, the pipe is not actually leaking. The dripping water could be caused by condensation, often referred to as sweating. Your pipes do not actually sweat, though. Pipes can collect moisture when the warm, moist air surrounding cold water pipes interact with one another. Voila! Condensation will result. On hot humid summer days in the Valley, cold water in your pipes will cool the air surrounding your pipes and condensation will form on the outside of your pipes. In simpler terms, this moist air is water vapor wanting to become water once again.

The downside is pipe sweating which can create damage to your house over time. Furniture, carpet, flooring, ceilings, and walls can be damaged from pooling water and mold, and may even increase the likelihood of a termite invasion.

Drying things Out

So, what do you do now? Take the cure! It’s as simple as insulating the sweating pipes. Just like your hot water tank is insulated with a blanket. Foam insulating pipes works the same way. If you’re a DIYer, there are self-adhesive or “drip tape” types of insulation at your local hardware store that adhere to pipes to prevent moisture. Make certain to wipe down the pipe and thoroughly dry it before applying the tape. Wind the pipe tape until it covers both fittings and pipe. Of course, beforehand turn off the water supply to the affected areas. Cutting water at the main source outside your home may be the easiest.

If you need to reduce humidity created by sweating pipes, use a portable dehumidifier. Depending on your HVAC system, you can turn on the thermostat setting to take care of this issue, too.

Whatever your plumbing issue is, your local experts at Cool Blew can fix it. Keep puddles outside where they belong. Call us today at 623-872-2900.