Category Archives: Plumbing

Don’t Ignore Toilet Leaks

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You may be surprised to learn that water leaks account for more than 10 percent of all water use in the average American home. And, toilets are among the most common sources of these leaks. Just one toilet leak can waste up to five gallons of water a minute. That adds up to 7,200 gallons of water each day! This isn’t just wasted water, it’s wasted money.

How can you tell if your toilet has a leak? The most common sign is the sound of running water. This can be a subtle hiss or an irritating trickling sound. Yet, water can also flow through the tank silently. This is why leaks often go unnoticed for an extended period of time.

Check for Leaks

If you suspect a toilet leak, there’s an easy test that you can do to check. Remove your toilet tank lid and drop 10 drops of food coloring into the tank. Put the lid back on, but do not flush. Wait 20 minutes and then look in the toilet bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak.

Another way to identify a leak is to check your water meter. First, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your house. Locate your water meter and check the leak indicator to see if it’s moving. If the dial is moving, you have a leak.

Causes of Toilet Leaks

Leaky flapper valves and fill valves are among the most common causes of a leaking toilet. Flush handle problems are also common. If the handle needs to be jiggled to stop the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain may be sticking. Overflow tube leaks can also occur. The water level should be set so that it is about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank. If the water is too high in the toilet tank, the water level can be adjusted by turning the adjustment screw or by bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.

While some homeowners tackle toilet leak repairs as do-it-yourself projects, Cool Blew also provides professional toilet repair and replacement services.

Preventable Plumbing Problems for Perspicacious Property Owners

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In life, and in plumbing, there are pressing problems that arise seemingly out of nowhere which demand immediate attention and prompt remediation. Take for instance, an Arizona resident who recently arrived home from a two-week vacation only to find three inches of water covering the kitchen and family room floor. Through absolutely no fault of the homeowner, the foundation had shifted, splitting a water pipe that caused the slab leak which resulted in expensive flooding. How do you prevent a problem like that?
However, the most frustrating plumbing related issues are the preventable plumbing problems that make homeowners want to scream out loud when they realize an ounce of prevention would’ve saved a lot of time, trouble, expense and frustration. Here are the preventable plumbing problems (also known as the three Ps) that you can check on immediately and hopefully save yourself some trouble and money down the road.

Faulty Washing Machine Hoses

When was the last time you thought about your washing machine water hookup hoses?
Answer:
a.) Never
b.) The last time I purchased a washing machine and they charged me for the hoses.
c.) The time my washing machine hose burst and caused a huge mess and cost a bundle.

Would you believe that faulty or bursting washing machine hoses are one of the most common causes of catastrophic water damage in homes? In a moment of understatement, an insurance agent once wrote, “Washer hoses are largely ignored until they fail.” It’s hard to ignore two to four inches of water on the floor. Old rubber hoses tend to lose pliability with age and are subject to a fair amount of stress as the water repeatedly turns on and off. 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 checked and replaced with stainless steel braided hoses, if need be.

Jiggle the Handle on the Toilet – Endlessly Filling the Water Tank

Have you ever been sitting in your family room watching television and vaguely noticed a high-pitched water noise coming from the toilet many minutes after you’ve used the bathroom? This is an extremely common problem where water spills into the overflow tube and the toilet does not shut off properly. Many times, you simply need to jiggle the handle to stop the water tank from over-filling. No big deal, right? Except for the times when you’re not there to jiggle the handle. Or your kids use the toilet and go outside to play, and the water runs unchecked for hours. You can literally waste hundreds of gallons of water without being aware of it until you get your water bill. There’s a second variation on this theme where the float in the toilet tank is not adjusted properly so water fills up in the tank for fifteen or twenty seconds, then shuts off, then resumes filling a few minutes later. This cycle can go on endlessly until the toilet float is replaced or set correctly.

Don’t Be Such a Drip

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the slow drip-drip of leaky faucets can add up to some staggering statistics. Did you know, ten percent of homes in the United States have leaks that waste up to 90 gallons of water per day? A leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second adds up to 3,000 gallons of water wasted annually. In the big picture, minor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the US. Though water leaks account for significant loss of this precious resource, many homeowners simply tell themselves they’ll fix it tomorrow (but tomorrow never comes.) Drips and leaks and the resulting water waste is a very preventable plumbing problem that will pay for itself in lower monthly water bills and you’ll rest easier knowing you’re conserving water.

If You’ve Got Pesky Plumbing Problems Call in the Professionals

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 will do a complete inspection and professionally repair all your plumbing problems quickly, efficiently and affordably.

3 Signs Your Water Heater Is Going to Tank

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With temperatures creeping up into the triple digits, the last thing on many homeowners’ minds is their hot water heater. Yet, even during the hottest days, we still rely on this household workhorse. This is why it’s important to keep tabs on it year-round and to know the signs when it’s time for a replacement.

Sign One: It’s Old

Your typical water heater will last about 10 years. Not sure about the age of your tank? Usually there will be a serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker that will tell you its age. Often, the date is within a code that can look like G0425783. In this case, the G represents the month. As the seventh letter in the alphabet, G indicates that it was manufactured in July – the seventh month of the year. The first two numbers are 04 for 2004. In other words, the water heater was manufactured in July 2004, and it’s probably in need of being replaced sooner than later.

If the code doesn’t follow this convention, check the manufacturer’s website for clarification.

Sign Two: It’s Noisy

Aging water heaters often have a build up of sediment at the bottom of the tank. Here, in Arizona, our water is hard which can lead to even faster sediment build up. With the ongoing heating of water in the tank, the sediment hardens and can cause rumbling or banging sounds. These are the sounds of a water heater that is crying out for replacement.

Sign Three: Rusty-Looking Water

Red rocks in Sedona are among the most stunning features of our wonderful state. Red water pouring out of your faucets isn’t quite as amazing. In fact, it’s a signal that the interior of your water heater tank is rusting. With rust, comes weakness that will eventually give way to a leak.

Don’t Take Chances with Your Water Heater

A water heater leak can ruin flooring, and furniture in the escaped water’s path. Why wait for this to happen? If you have any of the above signs of a potential water heater failure, call Cool Blew today.

We’ll provide you with a detailed quote and seamless installation of a high quality, durable water heater.

3 Common Summer Plumbing Woes

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Here in the Valley of the sun, we fortunately don’t have to deal with winter plumbing issues, like frozen pipes that impact homeowners in other parts of the country. However, we do have unique issues that are more likely to occur in the summer.

  • Garbage Disposal Disasters – Many of the favorite foods of summer can wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. Corn husks, watermelon rind, chicken bones and celery all should be thrown out and never placed in your garbage disposal. If you aren’t sure if something can be ground up or not, err on the side of caution and toss it in the trash.
  • Sewer Line Backups – During the winter and spring, tree root growth can hinder your sewer lines. If you’re experiencing regular backups from drains or toilets, it’s a good time to get your sewer line pipes professionally inspected.
  • Irrigation System Leaks – The scorching Arizona sun in the summer can do a real number on your drip system. Make it a point to regularly check your system for areas of pooled water or dead vegetation – both indicate the potential for an irrigation system leak.
  • Washing Machine Hose Failures – You’re likely washing more dirty clothes and towels in the summertime. You don’t need the unexpected and unwanted surprise of a washing machine hose that can quickly flood a laundry room or hallway. Because pool towels are heavy and can easily cause your washing machine to spin off balance, it’s important that your machine is placed several inches away from the hose. This will prevent hoses from kinking or breaking. And, a best practice for everyone to follow – don’t use your washer or dryer when you’re not at home.
  • Water Heater Waste – Are you fleeing the Phoenix triple-digit heat for cooler temperatures of the beach or mountains? You can save energy and money by turning down the temperature of your water heater before you head out of town.

At Cool Blew, we offer a full range of home plumbing services – from sewer and drain cleaning to solar water heater installation and garbage disposal service. We also offer 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed on all our work. Call us today for a free plumbing estimate.

Why Your Toilet Keeps Getting Clogged

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One of the most irritating, and yes downright gross, household inconveniences is a clogged toilet. Yuck! While it’s bound to happen every once in a while, you may have a bigger problem if it’s occurring with some frequency. If unclogging is becoming a commonplace task, keep reading…

Consider What You’re Flushing

We all know what should be flushed down the toilet – waste and toilet paper. But, often other things are also flushed down which can cause clogs. If you’re experiencing ongoing clogs, consider if any of the following items have been flushed down:

  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Medicine
  • Hair
  • Facial tissues
  • Sanitary products
  • Diapers

By keeping these non-flushables out of your toilet, you can avoid many clogs.

It Could Be Mechanical

One of the most common sources of clogged toilets is an improperly working flapper inside the toilet. The flapper needs to open all the way to release sufficient water to enable a proper flush. If the flapper isn’t working correctly, first adjust the chain to make sure it opens completely when flushing.

Grab the Plunger

Another source of clogs can be objects getting stuck in the trap of the toilet. This is the s-shaped portion of the toilet that sits between the toilet and the drain. If this is a possibility, place your plunger over the entire toilet opening and move it up and down. The suction of the plunger may be able to remove anything that is caught in the trap.

Unclog the Drain Line

If it’s not the trap or flusher, the clog may be further down in the drain line. A chemical, lye drain unclogging solution can help remove the clog. Make sure to carefully follow the directions on the product. However, if this doesn’t work, it could be a problem with a connecting drain line. This is a good time to call in a professional to check all your drain lines and identify the source of the problem.

It Might Be Hard Water Build Up

Here in Arizona, our hard water can cause mineral deposits to form on anything – including the inside of your toilet. If there appears to be lime buildup under the rim of your toilet, use a wire hanger to scrape it off. You can also use a mixture of one-part muriatic acid to 10-parts water. Pour this solution down your toilet’s overflow tube. This quick fix can frequently eliminate clogs.

If you can’t figure out the source of your clogged toilet, or you just don’t want to deal with the problem yourself, call the experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 today.

What’s a Slab Leak and How Can It Affect My Home?

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Imagine coming home from a two-week vacation feeling rested and restored from your time away. You pull up to your Phoenix area home and everything looks fine. But when you open the door you notice a slightly musty smell. A moment later, as you step into the living room, your heart sinks. There’s an inch or two of water on the floor, and everything is completely soaked. There’s no gushing water from a broken pipe, no evidence of a what caused the flood. Unfortunately, you’ve just discovered the homeowner’s nightmare referred to as a slab leak. Undetected slab leaks that grow into major water damage incidents affect many homes in the greater Phoenix area.

Slab Leak Causes

New homes are built on large concrete pads referred to as “slabs.” In the past, many Phoenix area home builders made the choice to install plumbing pipes under the slabs of new homes for a variety of reasons. In terms of design, there were some perceived advantages, but also, over time, unintended negative consequences. Under certain circumstances, water pipes beneath a slab can become damaged or develop leaks, and that’s when serious water damage can occur. Soil conditions, shifting soil or improper installation can affect the outside of the pipes while hard water, chemicals and mineral deposits can degrade the inside of pipes. Either of these conditions can result in leaking pipes beneath the concrete foundation of your home. A slab leak can degrade the foundation of your home, as well as cause significant damage to your carpeting, flooring, furniture and possessions.

Signs You May Have A Slab Leak

There are some early warning signals that indicate you may have pipes leaking beneath your concrete slab. Has your water bill increased for no apparent reason over the last few months? Do you notice moisture on the floor or unexplained wet spots in your carpeting? When it’s very quiet late at night, do you notice the faint sound of gurgling or running water even though there are no faucets turned on, no appliances running, such as your dishwasher or washing machine? These signs could point to a slab leak and should be checked by a professional.

What Should You Do If You Have A Slab Leak?

A slab leak is a serious problem which has the potential to cause severe damage to your home. It’s not a do it yourself weekend project and unfortunately, it won’t fix itself. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse. If you suspect water may be leaking under your foundation, call the professionals at Cool Blew for expert leak detection today.

For all your plumbing and HVAC needs, call the true blue, Cool Blew professionals today at 623-872-2900.

Spring Cleaning for Your Plumbing System

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Spring is nearly here, tempting us to open windows and doors to bring the season’s freshness indoors. This makes it the perfect time to do a little deep cleaning around the house. As part of your “spring clean,” you won’t want to forget your plumbing. Yes, it requires some freshening up just like other aspects of your home. And, with a little annual TLC, you can enable your plumbing fixtures and system to last longer and perform better.

Here are some plumbing-related items to add to your home maintenance “to do” list.

  • Use a bacterial drain cleaner to eliminate debris and build-up from drains.
  • Snake any slow floor drains and pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains to prevent sewer odors from entering your home.
  • Remove mineral build-up from faucets and shower heads.
  • nstall mesh strainers over floor drains to prevent hair and other debris from going down and causing clogs
  • Check water supply lines to your faucets, toilets, washing machine and water-using appliances. Look for tears, leaks, or bulges.
  • Do a leak inspection in and around your home, including a water meter reading check to ensure you’re not missing anything.

It’s a Good Time to Call Your Plumber Too!

Along with performing these annual maintenance tasks, it’s also wise to obtain an annual inspection from a plumber who can check pipes for leaks or damage, test your system and replace any pipes or lines before they become bigger problems. Don’t forget your water heater. Your plumber can also ensure it is working as it should be to prevent any unwanted surprises.

Your plumbing is vital to your home. It’s good common sense to be proactive and keep your system and fixtures clean and well-maintained. By doing so, you will save yourself a lot of headaches and dollars down the road by preventing a minor issue from turning into a major problem. Call Cool Blew, your expert source for plumbing in and around Phoenix today at 623-872-2900.

Do You Need a Water Softener for Your Phoenix Home?

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Every region has unique characteristics when it comes to their tap water. In some areas, water can have a slightly cloudy appearance. Others have issues with water having an unusual smell. Here in the greater Phoenix area, the common problem is hard water. If you see lime scale build up on plumbing fixtures, shower doors and drinking glasses, you’ve spotted the issue. The good news is that it’s easily corrected with a water softener.

The Hard Facts on Hard Water

Interestingly, Phoenix is home to some of the hardest water in the United States. Due to large amounts of minerals in water supplies, it can cause scale to form on plumbing fixtures and appliances. In fact, it can shorten the life of dishwashers, water heaters, faucets and pipes. That’s not the only issue. It can also make white clothes look dingy and wreak havoc on your hair and skin. In other words, as a homeowner, it’s important to tackle the problem of hard water.

What Are the Benefits of a Water Softener?

If you’re tired of residue, streaks and spots on glasses, dishes and appliances, it may be time to consider a water softener. With a quick professional install, a water softener can instantly improve your home’s water quality. Not only will you stop seeing the visible evidence of hard water on household items, you’ll also experience improved condition of your skin and hair. Your laundry will look and feel better, too!

Another perk! Water softeners don’t require much maintenance. With most systems, it’s as simple as adding salt occasionally to keep the water softening process moving. Typically, you will only need to add salt every two months or so. That’s not much to ask when you consider the major benefits of having softer water.

What Size Water Softener?

Water softeners come in many sizes. An average person will use approximately 75 gallons of water every day. A home with three people, using approximately 225 gallons of water per day, will need a 32,000-grain water softener. While this is a standard size, there are many other sizes available to meet the specific needs of your family. To learn more about water softener sizing for your home, call the experts at Cool Blew at 623-872-2900.

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Your Home’s Plumbing

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As we ring in 2018, it’s time to make some resolutions to make your life better. At Cool Blew, we believe that keeping your home’s plumbing in excellent shape is a resolution worth keeping all year long. The following are some easy-to-follow strategies to ensure the coming year is smooth and clog-free!

  1. Be Careful What You Place in Your Garbage Disposal
  2. Your garbage disposal is not a garbage can. To maximize the lifespan of this essential kitchen tool and your pipes, here’s the list of what to prevent from going down your kitchen drain:

  • Asparagus
  • Banana peels
  • Bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cooked meat scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Fruit pits and scraps
  • Grease
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable peels (including potato)

  1. Don’t Flush Trash Down the Toilet
  2. Limit what you flush to toilet paper and human waste. Avoid flushing Q-tips, cotton balls, diapers, feminine products and paper towels. None of these items were meant to go down the drain and can cause challenging clogs that lead to costly repairs. Even bathroom wipes that claim to be flushable can result in clogs. Instead, invest in a conveniently placed waste bin that can be used to catch all those items that don’t belong in the toilet.

  3. Reduce Your Water Consumption
  4. Here in the Arizona desert, water is precious and something we all need to conserve. Why not make 2018 the year that you make a few minor adjustments to your water usage patterns that can also save you money. Consider creating a family agreement to shorten shower time, run only full loads in the washing machine and turn water off when it’s not in use. Minor changes can result in big savings that help both the environment and your budget.

    1. Maintain Your Water Heater
    2. Throughout the greater Phoenix area, we have hard water, loaded with minerals. Protect your water heater in 2018 from rust and corrosion by removing sediment. This is a relatively easy process that can be accomplished with a hose and a bucket. If you don’t feel comfortable handling hot water heater maintenance, call Cool Blew today at 602-872-2900.

    3. Schedule a Plumbing Tune-Up
    4. A tune-up for your plumbing system is a great way to kick off 2018. One of our expert plumbers will inspect your home’s drains and water lines to ensure everything is functioning properly. A tune-up can also identify small issues before they turn into bigger problems.

    Wishing you a happy and successful 2018!

Maximize the Lifespan of Your Water Heater

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Think about how much you rely on your water heater each and every day. From providing warm showers to cleaning your clothes, dishes, pots and pans. While you may not think about all that your water heater does on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to give it some love with a routine maintenance schedule. By doing so, you can keep it running optimally for many years to come.

What You Need to Do

Caring for your water heater isn’t difficult, but it does require some effort. The following are the steps necessary to keep this vital component of your home running as it should be:

Keep the thermostat at 120 degrees or below

You can save up to five percent in monthly energy costs for every 10 degrees you reduce your water heater’s temperature. You’ll also reduce its workload and any risk of scalding, too.

Remove sediment

At least two or three times a year, partially drain your tank to remove sediment and debris. Here in the greater Phoenix area, minerals that build up can corrode tanks. To drain the tank, turn off the cold- water supply and hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. Water can be drained into a bucket until the water runs clear.

Test the pressure relief valve

At least once a year, test the pressure relief valve by discharging it two or three times. Look for small leaks from the valve which signal a need to call for service.

Insulate the tank

A fiberglass jacket for your water heater tank and insulation around the cold and hot water pipes can improve efficiency all year-long.

Reduce the temperature when out-of-town

Whether you’re a snowbird who is gone for part of the year or just taking a two-week vacation, you can extend your water heater’s function by turning it to the vacation setting while you’re away. This maintains the pilot light without continuously heating the water.

And, remember to call Cool Blew at 623-872-2900 if you’re in need of water heater repair or replacement. We’re here to ensure you and your family are never left in the cold.