Tag Archives: bathrooms

The Practical Guide to Indoor Water Conservation

California legislators have recently been in the news for passing a law that would make wasting water a $500-a-day offense. But California isn’t the only place in the country that water conservation is an issue. Water restrictions can be found across the majority of the Southwest and even as far east as Georgia! With that in mind, we created the Practical Guide to Conserving Water Indoors. While everything on this list won’t have the same impact, every little bit counts, – even reusing your ice cubes to water your houseplants! We’ve decided to divide our guide into easy, bite-sized sections that cover that major areas of the home. We’ll start in the number one area for water use in the house, the bathroom.

Bathroom

  • Check your current showerhead for flow rate. If the rate indicated on the head is more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), purchase a WaterSense labeled showerhead t replace it. If you are not sure how much water your shower uses, try to fill a one gallon bucket in the shower. If it takes less than 20 seconds, you will save water by changing it out.
  • Buy a shower timer or use an alarm to limit your showers to 5 minutes or less.  Every minute you shorten your shower will save you over 50 gallons of water per month. A family of 4 could save upwards of 200 gallons per month just by shaving one minute off daily showers.
  • Speaking of shaving, and other things you do at the bathroom sink like brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet while you aren’t using it. You could save 5 to 10 gallons every time you shave or brush even if you have a low flow faucet!
  • Yeah, Low flow faucets are a thing. A normal faucet can use up to 4 gallons of water per minute. Replacing it with a WaterSense labeled one can save up to 2.5 gallons a minute. Don’t want to shell out $100 on a new faucet, buy an aerator for each one at $10 each.
  • Speaking of shelling out cash, one place where you’d be well served by doing so is with your toilet. If your toilet was manufactured before 1992, you’re wasting water with every flush. Even those toilets aren’t the best. They use about 3.5 gallons of water per flush. New, low flow toilets only use 1.6 gallons. Dual flush models allow you to use a 1.1 gallon flush for liquid waste.
  • Toilets use the most water in the bathroom, and if yours leaks that can make it even worse. Check for a flapper leak with a dye test (food coloring is a good choice). Replacing the flapper on a leaky toilet could save 1000s of gallons every year.
  • Plug the drain when you start filling up your bathtub. Adjust the temperature while the tub fills to prevent losing water down the drain waiting for it to warm. Even better, don’t take a bath. Every bath uses 70+ gallons of water where a 5 minute show could use as little as 12.5 gallons.
  • Have your leaky faucets fixed. A single drip every minute adds up to 5 gallons every day. If you have multiple leaks across multiple faucets or showerheads, this could add up quickly.
  • If you’re waiting for the water to warm up in the shower, collect the cool water in a bucket and use it to water your plants. If you don’t have indoor plants, use the water on your outdoor plants.

 

Kitchen

  • If you are doing dishes by hand, fill up one basin with soapy water and the other for rinsing. This can save 100s of gallons over running water. Even better, use a dishwasher. Dishwashers use far less water than washing and rinsing by hand.
  • Instead of rinsing dishes over the garbage disposal and running water down, scrape them over the trash can. This goes for pots and pans as well.
  • Fill a pan with water to rinse your fruits and vegetables instead of using running water. You can save 10 or more gallons this way. Bonus water savings – use the water from the vegetable rinse to water your house plants.
  • Consider purchasing an instahot water heater in your kitchen. It will heat the water on demand and reduce the wasted water you use while waiting for hot water from the water heater to reach your tap.
  • Consider a drinking water pitcher for your refrigerator. This way you’ll always have a glass of cold water handy and you won’t have to run the tap to get it.

 

General Indoor Usage

  • Keep a close eye on your water bill. An unexpected increase could indicate a hidden leak somewhere in your home. Have your home inspected by a licensed plumber if you see this type of increase with no changes in your daily habits.
  • Look for leaks around the house at least once a month. Leaks can be found at indoor or outdoor faucets, pipe connections and along hose lines. Don’t forget to check behind the washing machine!
  • Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when they are full. If you are in the habit of running them daily, you could save over 1,000 gallons of water a month.
  • If you have a fish tank, when you clean it out, pour the water on your plants. The water contains nitrates that are perfect for the plant growth.
  • Set your water softener so that it runs the minimum number of times necessary for the water you use throughout the day. Most 4 person households can go two days between softener cycles.
  • Washing your dog? Do it outside in an area of the lawn needs watering. That way you aren’t wasting water down the drain.

 

Obviously there are some little things that you can do every day that will help you reduce the amount of water you are using or wasting. The real key is being conscious of what you are using your water for.

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Cosmetic Changes: Bring Your Bathroom Back to Life with New Fixtures

Updating your existing bathroom could be as easy as making a few changes with new fixtures and hardware, adding a coat of paint or hanging some special artwork. Here are a bunch of low-cost ways to totally transform your current bathroom look.

 

Whip the Walls Into Shape

Even though there isn’t a whole lot of wall in most bathrooms, they still set the tone for the space. You can change the entire feel of the room with a fresh coat of paint. Be bold and go with a bright red or green, make it serene with a light blue, seafoam or beige, or take it to another level with a chocolate brown or charcoal. The latter two are great to use with white and gold fixtures and accents.

Maybe you’ve got a larger bathroom. Try adding wainscoating to divide the space into two distinct color and texture zones. There are plenty of styles to choose from to create everything from a cottage feel to something right of a Spanish bordello.

Sometimes paint and wainscoat just won’t do what you need. Opting for a full scene wall paper can make it feel like you are bathing on a sunny beach or in the middle of birch woods.

 

Amp it Up With Accents

The kitchen isn’t the only room that can use a backsplash. Consider installing some glass accent tiles behind the bathroom sink up to the mirror. Maybe even take it a step further and add a chair rail height band all the way across the wall.

Accents can be as simple as a new set of artwork on the wall. It could be a set of three related pictures, a group of small shelves with pots on them or even a few well placed pieces of 3-d metal art.

The largest canvas you have in your bathroom is the shower curtain. Get one that really sets the place off. There are literally thousands of choices out there to choose from.

Do you have one of those huge glass monstrosities from the 1980s. Add a frame to that mirror with prefabricated trim. It takes less than an hour and can class up your bathroom immediately.

 

Step Up Your Storage

Is your bathroom a little short on storage space? Could you use a place to put bath towels and amenities? Consider adding some custom shelving to the bathroom.  Smaller shelves can be used to handle groupings of candles, bath salts, and makeup kits. Larger shelves could hold wicker baskets filled with towels, hair care products, curling irons and more.

 

Fascinate With New Fixtures

The place you’ll get the most bang for your buck – outside of paint – is in the fixtures. Because the faucet and sink, toilet and shower are the three major focal points in the bathroom, changing them will immediately re-invent your space. The best thing about new fixtures is switching them out may end up saving a ton on water costs by doing it.

Get some new hardware and draw pulls for your vanity as well. Make sure they match your faucet. Don’t like your vanity – scrap it and go with a pedestal sink. It will open up a cramped space. Double up by putting in shallow shelving and you won’t even lose storage space.

Sometimes new lights can add an entirely new feel to your room. Not just the type of fixture either. Actually changing the type of bulb can give you different light spectrums in your bathroom. Purchase a natural sunlight spectrum bulb to give you the most natural light.

If you’d rather go for a big budget redo, our design specialists can help you. We’ve done dozens of remodels in the past few years and look forward to helping you with yours.

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Unclogging A Tub Drain

Unclogging a Tub Drain

Few household problems are as annoying and occur as regularly as a clogged tub drain. The problem is generally caused by a combination of hair and soap, which combine to make a hairball of nightmarish proportions.

Not only do tub drains deal see a lot more hair than your average sink drain, the pipes are fair more difficult to get to. Unlike sinks, which are easily accessible to all, your tub drain might not even have an access hatch (although it really should.)

Unclogging A Tub Drain

So the best way to deal with a clogged drain is to prevent it from happening at all. If you have an old-fashioned rubber plug drain, you can get a little strainer for it. The next thing to do is to notice when the drain becomes sluggish. That’s the precursor to a closer, so get that little hairball monster while it’s small.

The procedure for cleaning out the drain is the same when it’s clogged as when it’s sluggish.
First, attempt to clean it out with your fingers. Hair doesn’t tend to get very far down the drain before it stops moving, and you might be able to reach it with a screwdriver.
After that, try good, old-fashioned Drano. Can’t hurt, might help.
If that doesn’t clear out the clog, try Nair (the hair removal cream). Squirt a whole bottle down the drain and let it sit 20 minutes.

If none of that works, the next step is to call your trusty plumber service, My Plumber. Don’t mess with an auger or snake if you have a pop-up or lever plug in your tub. There’s too many components and it’s too easy to damage. Let us do the job for you. With over 30 years experience, you can trust us to get the job done right.

Toilet Won’t Stop Running?

Every plumbing service soon gets to know the pet peeves of their customers. Along with slow-moving drains, low pressure and a high water bill, a toilet that won’t stop running is a thorn in peoples’ sides.

Troubleshooting a toilet that won’t stop running:

1      Jiggle the handle. If that solves the problem, the issue is likely that the chain is wrapped around the flush handle arm. You can fix this by taking the cover off the toilet tank and straightening out the chain. You may want to cut the chain with wirecutters if there’s more than an inch in excess chain. That should help prevent the problem in the future.

2      If jiggling the handle doesn’t work, the next step is to see if the tank is leaking. There are toilet dye tablets, but you can use food coloring if you like (not red, it can stain your tank. Blue is your best bet.) Drop the dye into the tank and wait a few minutes. If there’s coloring in your toilet bowl, you have a leaky flapper. Turn off the water, flush the tank, remove the flapper (it’s usually a simple snap-on fitting) and head down to your local home supply store for an exact match.

3      Not the flapper? Check the float. Does it stick? Mineral buildup can sometimes cause the float to stick. If this is the case, it will have to be switched out.

Those three steps will account for 90% of toilet problems. If it’s still running (or you just don’t feel like messing with it yourself) give My Plumber San Diego a call at 877-697-5862

September is National Baby Safety Month

September is National Baby Safety month and the team at My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind parents of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home.

  • The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120°F. The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly. Water temperatures above 120°F can scald in a matter of seconds. Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120°F.
  • Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
  • Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat. Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
  • Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap. This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.

Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented. We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.

Bath Time Safety Continued

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Many people have mobility issues that make personal care difficult.Nerve degeneration, paralysis or problems born of the aging process each holds its own set of concerns that need to be addressed individually.The array of equipment available to assist with these issues is amazing; it requires research to find it all.Some implements are pretty standard for bathing and we will concentrate our attention on them.
One of the simplest methods you can use to make bath time easier for someone with mobility problems is to install a hand-held showerhead. Standing or seated, alone or bathing with the aid of an assistant people find that nothing directs the flow of water where it is needed most, better than a hand-held showerhead.
Grab bars are a major aid to anyone with mobility issues.The act of pulling their own bodyweight to a standing position or supporting their weight on the bar while they exit the tub encourages muscle strength.Make sure that the bars installed are institutional grade; stainless steel and they are mounted according to the manufactures instructions. Don't make the mistake of installing a towel bar with the expectation that it is going to support the weight of an elder family member or someone who is mobility challenged.It won't and the results could be painful and costly.
How the bars are installed and where will depend on the needs of the person, the plumbing layout and the bathtub or shower design.Please avoid the temptation to install a bar diagonally; a vertical or horizontal installation is always best. If the hand slips and footing is not secure a fall could ensue.
Bath tub seating can be as simple as a stool with suction cups on the feet setting inside the tub or a "bench" that sits half out of the tub and half in.The bather sits on the outside and slides across the bench to access the inside of the tub.There are also walk-in tubs with a door that seals shut for water retention.A favorite aid is the reclining lift-chair that eases the bather down into the water for a nice long soak.
For someone who has become mobility challenged many things that were routine become onerous and what used to be an everyday task becomes frustrating at best and sometimes completely overwhelming.The installation of well thought-out bath time aids will go a long way to make life a little easier for that person.

Keeping Baby Safe in the Bathroom

It happens: a young parent steps out of the bathroom and leaves the baby sitting in a tub of water “for just a minute”.The result is a tragedy from which that parent will never recover.

Somehow we always think, that can never happen to me but each year babies and toddlers continue to suffer burns and drown in horrible accidents that were preventable.My Plumber Heating and Cooling would like to remind readers of some basic safety rules that can protect babies and toddlers from plumbing-related accidents in the home; specifically, hot water burns and drowning.

  • The law requires manufacturers of home water heaters to set the thermostat at 120F.The reason for this requirement is because babies, the elderly and some people with disabilities burn easily or react slowly.Water temperatures above 120F can scald in a matter of seconds.Homeowners can save on their energy bills and reduce the risk of scalding accidents by setting the thermostat on their water heater to 120F.
  • Don’t leave standing water in a bathtub or a bucket; a toddler or baby can drown in as little as an inch of water. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death among 1-4 year olds, and the fifth leading cause of accidental death in infants under one year of age.
  • Keep toilet lids closed and consider using clamps to keep top-heavy toddlers from leaning over an open bowl and falling in.
  • Never leave a baby or a small child alone in the bathtub, even in a safety seat.Safety seats are not foolproof and it can take less than ninety seconds for a child to drown.
  • Face babies and toddlers away from the faucet during baths so they cannot grab a hot water spout or turn on the hot water. Consider installing a shower safety tap.This is a clear box that attaches around the shower tap to prevent children from turning on the water and burning themselves.

Accidents involving babies or toddlers are heartbreaking – even more so when they could have been prevented.We hope that by writing about the safety rules listed above, accidents will be avoided, and readers will be galvanized to put into practice the safety measures necessary to protect small children in their homes.