Archive for the ‘Consumer News’ Category
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
The plumbing inside our homes is something we often take for granted. We expect the sink to drain, the toilet to flush, the hot water to magically appear. These aspects of our home work properly thanks to efficient and effective plumbing that involves an array of pipes, drains, and other often complex plumbing systems.
When one of these home systems needs assistance, whether it’s a leaky water pipe, a backed-up sink, or the installation of a whole new bathroom, the work should undoubtedly be trusted to an experienced, licensed plumber of the highest level.
What is a Master Plumber?
Master plumbers are licensed in the plumbing industry and approved by the state. Licensed plumbers work their way up to “master plumber” status, acheiving the highest level of experience and expertise. Their license means they have passed rigorous exams, adhered to all guidelines and regulations, and have years of experience under their belt, working as apprentices and on their own. They have been educated as well as learned from trial and error on the job, meaning your plumbing emergency will not be a new one to them. They have earned the right to claim the master title.
Why Hire a Master Plumber?
- We all love to save money. But we also love to make wise investments. Hiring a master plumber is one of those investments. Licensed plumbers charge reasonable, fair rates that account for their expertise, time, and expensive specialty equipment, including pipes, pressure gauges, blueprints, and welding equipment.
- Without proper plumbing, you run the risk of costly repairs in the future. While you can take the risk and cut corners by hiring a non-licensed handyman or plumber for less, the result could be a longer project timeline (costing you more anyway) or mistake-prone work that could result in later repairs. Hiring a master plumber will provide you with a guarantee that the work will be completed in a satisfactory manner.
- Knowing your plumbing work is up to code (and that your plumber is aware of current code) is a huge peace of mind.
- Licensed plumbers are insured. The job involves being exposed to dirt, heat, and even danger. Knowing your master plumber has insurance coverage protects you from legal and medical concerns.
The bottom line is: investigate your plumber and know their credentials and experience. The role of a plumber involves specific knowledge and fine-tuned skills. A licensed plumber will execute their job professionally, and with customer satisfaction in mind.
Whether you have a home or office plumbing emergency, or need plumbing assistance with a bathroom or kitchen remodel, Nowthen Plumbing has a team of highly trained licensed plumbers ready to serve you with efficiency and excellence. Our pricing is fair, consistent, and competitive. We serve the entire North Metro Twin Cities, MN area, including Anoka, Blaine, and Elk River. Contact us at Nowthen Plumbing today!
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Following up our last article, Toilet Basics Part 1, we want to continue by helping you understand the differences in toilet construction, styles, and installation options. Our five additional points below will give you a better grasp of how toilets are made and what to consider when looking at the different sizes and shapes.
One Piece or Two: Typical toilets have either one- or two-piece construction. What’s the difference? The two-piece models are traditionally what go into homes, a separate bowl and tank bolted together. One-piece models have a single, integrated tank and bowl for a sleek and seamless look, but the cost tends to be higher than the two-piece option.
Shapes and Styles: Toilets generally feature either a smaller, round bowl or larger, elongated (oval-like) bowl. The round bowl is understandably ideal for compact spaces, though the larger, elongated bowls with an extended rim are more comfortable for adult use. Curious about unique shapes and trends in toilets? Check out this toilet styles and trends video from HGTV.
Sizes and Installation: Standard toilet height from bowl rim to floor is about 15 to 17 inches, though manufactures are becoming more and more adept to customizing, such as American Standard’s RightHeight innovation. Juvenile models are even available, like those found in preschools, as well as chair-height models for adults with special needs. Most residential toilets are installed on the floor, but wall-mount styles are available for bathrooms short on floor space.
Colors and Materials: Almost all toilets are constructed of vitreous china, or porcelain, for home and public use. In less common instances, stainless-steel models may be used in industrial and institutional locations. Though pink and avocado green toilets had their day (and their outdated day) white is the most popular contemporary color, followed by light beige, both meant to stand the test of time and decor. With that said, toilets are still manufactured in an array of colors to suit trends and personal taste.
Measurements and Drain Outlets: Rough-in dimensions are important for choosing the correct toilet for your space. Most standard floor-mount toilets have a “rough-in” dimension of 10, 12 or 14 inches. To figure out the rough-in distance your bathroom needs, measure from the wall to the center of the drain (the bolts that attach the fixture to the drain). Drains for toilets are either on the floor, or in the wall. Wall outlets can be either 4 inches off the floor, or the fixture is “hung” on the wall over the outlet. Since these are important installation details, make sure to contact your professional, licensed plumber before purchasing if you’re not sure exactly what you need.
Need more assistance on selecting or installing your toilet? Working on a bathroom remodel? Contact us at Now Then plumbing for expert service you can trust! We happily serve Anoka, Blaine, and Elk River, as well as the North West Metro / Twin Cities MN areas!
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a bathroom remodel or you just need to replace your outdated or inefficient toilet, you may be wandering the aisles of a home store or browsing your computer wondering things like:
- Which toilet is right for my bathroom?
- What does gpf mean?
- Do I need a one or two piece toilet?
- Can I save money on my water bill?
- And what’s the difference between all these toilets anyway?
Never fear! We’re here to give you a two part easy-to-understand series in toilet basics, including types, sizes, and flushing systems, so that you leave with a clearer understanding of what you really want and need in a toilet!
Types of Toilets and How they Work:
- Gravity Fed: The most common type of toilet is the gravity-fed model, which uses, well, gravity. It relies on the weight of the water and the head pressure (how high the water is in the tank) to flush. A gravity fed toilet has free-standing water sitting in the tank.
- Pressure-Assist : The lesser used pressure-assist toilet depends on air pressure within a cylindrical vessel, inside the toilet tank. Air inside the vessel forces a vigorous, rapid flush.
- Dual Flush: A dual flush toilet is a type of gravity fed toilet. Dual-flush toilets give users two flush options: tilt the handle up for liquid waste to save water, or push the handle down for a standard flush. Dual-flush toilets often meet the HET (high efficiency toilet) criteria of averaging 1.28 gallons per flush or less (an average based on one high flush and two low flushes).
Toilet Technology and Water Use: Recent toilet technology has allowed toilets to use less water than ever. That term that keeps popping up in toilet descriptions, gpf, stands for gallons of water per flush, and is a measure to help identify water usage. Toilets manufactured before 1980, not uncommon in many homes that haven’t gone through a bathroom remodel, usually need 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush (gpf), and toilets from the 1980s to 90s typically use 3.5 gpf. In 1992, the U.S. government mandated that toilets use no more than 1.6 gpf, changing modern design and manufacturing.
It’s easy to see why replacing older toilets with the newer models can result in significant water and sewer savings. Replacing a 3.5- or 5-gpf toilet with a 1.6-gpf toilet can save about 9,740 to 17,300 gallons of water per year. Meaning today’s high-efficiency toilets use less water than ever, yet outperform many of the older, water-guzzling ones.
*Next month look for more details on toilet trends, installation, and more!*
Need assistance with your Anoka, Blaine, Elk River, or North West Metro / Twin Cities, MN toilet installation or bathroom remodel? Connect with us at Nowthen Plumbing today!
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Brrr! It’s cold out there! Nothing compares to a hot shower on a cold day. But how do you maintain consistent water temps in your home? And what’s the best way to save money on your hot water bill?
The answers may be found in a high efficiency water heater. This month we’re here to help you understand high efficiency water heaters and the difference they can make in your home.
Did you know that heating water accounts for approximately 15 percent of a home’s energy use? And since high efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models, they can save home owners money on their utility bills, depending on family size, heater location, and the size and placement of water pipes.
Different high efficiency water heater technologies include:
• Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These keep water hot and ready for use at all times in insulated storage tanks, ranging from 20 to 80 gallons. They can be used with electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane. One drawback of these units is that they can create “standby losses” — extra energy that is being used to keep the water hot at all times.
• Demand (Tankless) Water Heaters – These circulate water through a large coil, heating water only on as needed, using gas or electricity. There is no storage tank continuously maintaining hot water. A possible concern with this is the limitation on the number of fixtures that can simultaneously use hot water. There is, however, an endless supply of hot water, and standby losses are eliminated.
• Heat Pump Water Heaters – In this case, heat pumps transfer energy from the surrounding air to water in a storage tank. These water heaters are much more efficient than electric resistance water heaters and most effective in warm climates with long cooling seasons.
• Solar Water Heating – Initially expensive compared to standard models, solar water heaters can be cost effective. That is because the sun’s energy is harnessed to reduce operating costs up to 90 percent. Solar water heating systems do require a conventional water heater as a backup water heating source to ensure hot water is available when solar energy is not.
Deciding which type of water heater is the best fit for your home is something you should research on your own and discuss with your respected plumbing professional. A helpful resource for learning more about energy efficient home products, including hot water heaters is Energy Star at www.energystar.gov, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.
And of course, reasons other than energy efficiency may prompt you to consider a new water heater for your home, such as age or effectiveness. A checklist for evaluating your current hot water heater can be found HERE.
When the time is right, we at Nowthen Plumbing would be happy to help you select and install a more efficient hot water heater, making sure those “brr!” moments stay outside, and not in the shower!
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
As professional plumbers we put a lot of stock in the plumbing products we use. One of our favorite suppliers to work with is Ferguson. Ferguson is ranked by trade publications as the largest distributor of plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings (PVF). It is also the third largest distributor of heating and cooling equipment (HVAC/R) and the second largest company within the waterworks industry. We like them because their offerings include a wide range of plumbing and lighting products designed for kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Ferguson offers the best brands in the business including Kohler, Elkay, Pfister, Moen, and many more.
Ferguson also has a variety of showroom locations, offering the ultimate experience for customers selecting products for their home. We love to send our clients to the Ferguson Showroom in Golden Valley for project ideas and inspiration. The Golden Valley showroom not only features plumbing fixtures, but also lighting and appliances. The showroom is located at 925 Decatur Avenue North Golden Valley, MN 55427 and the showroom phone number is (763) 591-5700.
There you can check out working displays including fully-functional whirlpools, showers and complete kitchens. If you’d like, you can make a showroom appointment to meet with a customer representative – Ferguson customer representatives are available to answer product questions, help you to maintain project time lines, and guide you to the right product for you. The Ferguson team is highly trained and very helpful when it comes to choosing fixtures or appliances for your home!
Once you find the perfect product for your bathroom or kitchen, contact us for installation or project implementation!
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
This week we would like to take a few minutes to discuss one of our favorite plumbing products – the Champion 4 Toilet by American Standard! Whether you have decided that it is time for a new toilet, or you are just doing a little remodeling and want to replace your current model with an upgraded version, we recommend this model to our clients, families, and friends. Here is why:
It Moves More: The Champion 4 will move a mass 70% larger than the industry standard. In addition, this model has one of the highest bulk removal ratings on the market – 1,000 grams. This toilet can even flush a bucket of golf balls!
It Clogs Less: This toilet offers the industry’s widest 2 3/8″ trap way and 4″ flush valve, all but eliminating clogs.
Quick and Quiet: This toilet is quiet, quick and has a great flush – perfect for late night bathrooms break when you don’t want to wake the whole house! The flush is quick in that it only takes about 2 to 3 seconds and all waste is gone.
Easy To Keep Clean: Spend less time cleaning your bathroom with the Champion 4′s patented EverClean surface. This double-coated surface finish inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew keeping your toilet cleaner longer – even after years of use. This is the finish we recommend for families with children or toilets placed in high traffic areas. In addition, the toilet’s built-in PowerWash rim scrubs the bowl with each flush, ensuring an even greater degree of cleanliness.
All in all, this is our toilet of choice! Do you need help ordering and installing one? Give us a call, and we will get you set up with your new home convenience!
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about garbage disposals. It is also one of the things that we get asked about the most – both in the form of inquiries and in requests for repairs. Oftentimes preventing damage to your garbage disposal is as simple as only putting down the drain materials that the garbage disposal can handle. Then the question becomes, “What can and can’t go in my garbage disposal?” Here is a quick (although not exhaustive) list of things that are better off in the trash than down the drain:
- Animal Bones: Animal bones are one of the most common clog-inducing culprits. Unfortunately, the blades of garbage disposals are simply not strong enough to break bones apart.
- Rice and Pasta: These seemingly innocent culprits can be responsible for a great deal of drain damage. Rice and pasta swell when they come in contact with water. As a result, regardless of the amount of water that you run down your drain, small pieces of rice and/or pasta will eventually collect in your garbage disposal trap and swell until the disposal is rendered useless.
- Silverware: We’ve all done it – you are rinsing out a full sink at the end of the night and a knife, fork, or other utensil slips into your drain. If you hear metal scraping when you turn your disposal on, turn it off as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.
- Grease: Grease in its liquid form is harmless for your disposal. Unfortunately, grease does not stay that way. Eventually it will solidify and clog the disposal. Avoid this by avoiding pouring grease down your drain at all.
- Egg Shells: A common misconception that we hear is that putting egg shells in your drain will serve to sharpen disposal blades. Not only is this not true, egg shells are actually key culprits of clogged drainage lines.
In general, when it comes to your garbage disposal, less is truly more. When possible, dispose of garbage in the trash can instead of down the drain. When using the garbage disposal, only put in small amounts of waste at a time and be sure to run plenty of water. If you do end up needing help with a garbage disposal clog, call us at Nowthen Plumbing for a quick repair!
Monday, February 13th, 2012
Few things are more frustrating than a clogged drain! Whether in your kitchen, your bathroom, or your utility room, clogged drains can quickly provide an infuriating mess. Unfortunately, they are also fairly common. To solve your next clog conundrum, try one of our DIY solutions:
Slow-Running Drains: For slow-running drains, shake a half box of baking soda down the drain, before pouring in one cup of vinegar. The baking soda will bubble and foam. Once it stops foaming, flush the drain with very hot water for 2-3 minutes.
Dealing With A Clog: If you have a full-on clog, begin by removing as much of the backed up water as you can. Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a large pot or kettle of boiling hot water. If the sink empties completely, pour another kettle of boiling water to give it another clean flush and then let cool water run from the tap for a couple minutes.
Biodegradable: If the flushing technique listed above doesn’t work, use a biodegradable waste digester, available in the plumping section of your hardware store, to dissolve the build-up of debris in your pipes. However, always use caution when using commercial drain cleaners of any kind. We recommend wearing eye goggles since the water can splash back up at you.
An Ounce Of Prevention: While slow or clogged drains are the most common household plumbing problem, they are typically preventable. Work to stave off bathroom clogs by installing grates or small screens over the drains to prevent hair and other debris from going down the drain and building up. In the kitchen, avoid clogs by being cautious of what you pour down the drain. For example, liquefied fats poured down a drain can coat the pipes and leave a ready surface for debris to get stuck in. And while garbage disposals are convenient, they should be used sparingly. Dump large amounts of food in a garbage can and only use the disposal for the small bits left on the plate.
If these solutions don’t solve your problem, call us at Nowthen Plumbing to thoroughly assess the situation.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
With guests coming over to celebrate the holidays, the last thing that you want to worry about is a foul order coming from your kitchen sink.
Baking Soda Solution
A quick way to eliminate sink odor is to clean you drain with baking soda. To do so, pour one cup of baking soda into your sink drain. Let it soak for 15 – 20 minutes and then flush the baking soda through the drain with a large pan of boiling water. Be sure to also clean your drain stopper, where odors can tend to linger. Finally, eliminate any remaining smells in your sink pipes with a commercial drain cleaning solution.
Preventing A Smelly Sink
Once your drain has been cleaned, put a stop to future sink stench with these simple prevention tips.
- Attempt to prevent food from going down the drain whenever possible by making sure that your sink stopper fits properly and that it is emptied into the trash after each use.
- If food does go down the drain, be sure to rinse thoroughly with plenty of water to help propel food or particles past the sink’s trap.
- Occasionally wipe your sink with a towel or sponge saturated in undiluted vinegar to help eliminate sink basin smells. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
- Grind a lemon or orange peel in your kitchen’s garbage disposal to help release citric acid and eliminate smell, while simultaneously cleaning your garbage disposal blades.
Still have a stinky sink? We can help – call us today for a sink-scent solution!
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
A useful home tool, the WaterCop can help to keep water out of your home. The WaterCop is an automatic water shut-off valve system designed to provide your home with round-the-clock indoor flood protection. Working in conjunction with wired and wireless flood sensors, wall switches, and most home security and home automation systems, it’s designed to be installed on your home’s main floor, on the main water line near the existing manual shut-off valve.
WaterCop flood sensors are then installed near water-based appliances and in rooms where running water is present. When the sensors detect leaking water, a wireless signal is broadcast to the WaterCop main valve causing the valve to close. Water flow is then cut off to all areas of the home to eliminate continuous flooding. Particularly important to Minnesota homeowners is the devices ability to also prevent burst pipes. Optional temperature sensors, placed near indoor pipes, can shut off a home’s water in the event that the ambient indoor temperature drops below a pre-determined point!
After installing your WaterCop, keep in mind that this device reduces your flood related risk and, as a result, can increase your home’s insurability. Contact your insurance agent to determine if you are eligible for discounts associated with automatic water shut-off systems.
Contact Nowthen Plumbing to have your WaterCop flood prevention tool installed today!