Archive for the ‘Remodeling – Plumbing’ Category

Saving Water and Money One Toilet at a Time – Water-Efficient, Low-Flow, & Dual-Flush Toilets

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

You’ve probably heard of them and likely used one too. Water saving toilets MNWater-saving fixtures are all the rage these days in the world of eco-friendly remodeling, and water-efficient toilets are commonplace in both residential and commercial remodeling.

When did water-efficient toilets become a big deal?

In 1994, the government decided that toilets shouldn’t use more than 1.6 gallons per flush, and manufacturers had to comply. Previous versions were using 5-7 gallons of water per flush, which in comparison is a signifiant amount. Though early efforts in creating more efficient toilets weren’t the most effective pieces of equipment, things have come a long way. Today low-flow and dual-flush toilets consistently work well and are saving water and dollars one toilet at a time.

So what are the differences exactly?

  • Low-flow toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less.
  • High-efficiency toilets use even less water, some a little as 1.1 gallons.
  • Dual-flush toilets save water by offering separate flush modes: one button for solid waste, one for liquid waste.

Why should I switch?

Switching from a standard to a low-flow toilet can save thousands of gallons of water per year. Replacing your old toilet with a more efficient one is a fairly simple and affordable way of both conserving resources and cutting down on your water bill – ultimately saving you big in the long run.

Need more motivation? The EPA’s watersense program website will walk you through why water-saving is important and how it can effect your pocketbook for the better!

Ready to install a new toilet or need help with bathroom remodel plumbing? Contact us here at Nowthen Plumbing today! Quality and affordable residential and commercial plumbing, serving Elk River, Anoka, and surrounding areas in the Twin Cities MN.

How to Remodel Your Bathroom without Breaking Your Budget – Part 1 of 2

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Your bathroom may be desperate for an update, but a major remodel is simply not in the budget.  bathroom remodelWhat to do?  Here are some great tips for taking on a bathroom remodel without breaking the bank.

1. Use the Same Floor Plan
If you’re not desperate to add square footage, keeping the same footprint of the bathroom you already have will save you money in demolition and reconstruction dollars.  You’ll eliminate excess dust and debris while you’re at it, not a bad bonus.  Making the most of your space means plumbing fixtures are easier to locate near already existing pipes and the basics can all go in the same place, easing the timing and the process.  Click here for some inspiration on smaller bathrooms with organization and style.

2. Make a Plan and Stick with It
Before ripping, tearing, or gutting, you need a plan, and a strong one.  Evaluate things like:

  • How much you want to spend
  • Where will all of the fixtures go
  • How much storage you will need

If planning isn’t your strength, this is a good place to dish out the dough and hire a designer  —  a decision which will add style and efficiency to your bathroom remodel project.  Get your design nailed down from the beginning and resist the temptation to change your mind, which can stall the project and cost you extra money in the long run.

3. Choose Affordable Design Features and Add Big Impact on Your Own
You may think you need that expensive Italian tile, but maybe all you really want is a touch of the color blue it comes in.  Using lower cost, neutral tiles is long-term-friendly and allows you to add zest to the room with non-permanent touches, such as luxury towels, a designer shower curtain, and wall paint, in any color your heart craves.  Peak at some ideas for keeping it classy while using neturals in your decorating here.

Getting excited about the possibility of remodeling your bathroom for a price you can afford?  Follow us next month for part 2 as we share three more ways to save big on your bathroom remodel.
Need some plumbing assistance as you remodel your bathroom?  Contact us at Nowthen Plumbing today!  Serving the surrounding areas of Elk River, Anoka, and the south & east suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Plumbing Tips To Save Water

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Lowering your household’s water usage is certainly a worthwhile goal – not only is it environmentally friendly, it can also help you save money on your utility bills.  Try these plumbing modifications to begin saving water today!

Replace Standard Toilets: Toilet usage accounts for approximately 40 percent of all residential water use.  However, several water-saving alternatives to standard toilets are available on the market today.  Two such options include dual flush or low flow toilets.  Dual flush toilets allow users to choose between a lower-flush option for liquid waste and a higher-flush option for solid waste, while low-flush toilets use no more than 1.3 gallons of water per flush.  Installing either will significantly reduce water usage over that of a standard toilet.

Not ready to replace your toilet in its entirety?  Listen to ensure that your current toilet model is not running when not in use.  A running toilet could be a sign that the flapper is leaking inside the tank – a problem that can lead to substantial water loss if not repaired.

Fix The Faucet:  Replace standard faucets with low-flow substitutes or invest in aerator faucets.  Aerators are circular screened disks of metal that when screwed onto faucet heads, reduce the faucets overall flow.  In addition, be sure to make timely repairs on all leaky faucets, as well as shower and tub valves as a single continuous drip can result in gallons of wasted water per week.

Change Your Showerhead: Consider changing your showerhead to a low-flow option.  Trading out a standard showerhead (which has an average flow of 4.5 gallons of water per minute) for a low-flow model (which has an average flow of 2.5 gallons of water per minute) can save a family of four over 20,000 gallons of water per year.  And fortunately, today’s low-flow showerhead models are designed to maximize water usage while still providing a strong shower stream.

Are you ready to make water saving plumbing improvements?  Contact us at Nowthen Plumbing to begin making your plumbing modifications today!

Company Profile: Pipeline Supply Inc.

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

To continue on with highlighting the parts that make our whole possible (see our last blog about some of our favorite plumbing product companies), here’s a profile of one of our favorite supplies, Pipeline. Read this and rest assured that the products and the companies we work with are just as reliable and high quality as the services we provide.

Established in 1977, Pipeline started with only 5000 square feet of office and warehouse space to over 150,000 square feet today. They stock complete lines of HVAC, Well & Pump, Sewer & Water, Radiant Heat and Water Conditioning—some of the most trusted lines on the market. They have full service locations across the state, from Ham Lake and Owatonna, to Oakdale, Monticello, and Grand Rapids. Our favorite place amongst all these great spaces? The showroom in Hopkins, which just so happens to be the largest of its kind in the Twin Cities. We’re like kids in a candy store whenever we visit it.

Aside from being widely accessible and extremely experienced, the good people over at Pipeline are also just as committed to high quality at low prices as we are. And the lower the price a product is for us, the lower the price the service is for you, and that’s something we can all agree is a great thing. Check out the showroom and get to know the company for yourself if you’re interested, their staff is knowledgeable and friendly and can help you find the right products for your own plumbing or remodeling projects. With over 50 impressive years of experience in the industry, how could they not be?

 

Big Brands, Big Ideas

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Plumbing Brands

When it comes to our business, the whole is only as good as the sum of its parts. Though we’d like to believe that we’re talented enough to solve any of your plumbing problems with just a wrench and a good roll of duct tape, the truth is that we couldn’t succeed without a solid arsenal of reliable tools and products.

Here’s a little info about some of our favorite brands:

American Standard

Originally founded in 1875 under the name Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company, American Standard was on the frontlines of many of the most innovative plumbing product inventions. Some of the company’s most important contributions include one-piece toilets and combination hot/cold faucets.  By 1929 the company had established itself as the largest plumbing fixture manufacturer in the world and in 1967 they adopted their current name, American Standard.

Delta

Founded in 1954, Delta Faucet Company specializes in designing and producing some of the most creative and forward-thinking faucets available. Their dedication to green plumbing practices is particularly admirable, and as a MN GreenStar member that’s a major plus for us. Check out our blog on the Delta Touch 2.0 faucet for a great example. http://www.nowthenplumbing.com/archives/400

TOTO

Another company with a strong commitment to sustainability, TOTO has established itself as a world leader in plumbing products and technology. An active participant and proponent of the United States Green Build Council (USGBC), TOTO’s eco-friendliness is evident in nearly all of its products. We’re a big fan of their low-flow toilets in particular. (http://www.nowthenplumbing.com/archives/102)

 

MN GreenStar Member

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Thus begins our series, Things You Might Not Know About Us, But Probably Should. Volume One: We’re MN GreenStar certified!

Though you may have already guessed our passion for green products based on the multiple previous blog posts we’ve written on just that topic, you might not know the extent to which we put our passion into practice by becoming a member of MN GreenStar. What is MN GreenStar you ask? Simply put, it’s a program designed to set the industry standard for green building construction and remodeling. GreenStar specializes in educating companies on green building practices and helps them work towards achieving official certification as eco-friendly sustainable companies. By being a member of MN GreenStar Nowthen is committing itself to always valuing the practice of green plumbing and the use of green plumbing products.

But wait, there’s more! According to the source itself (www.mngreenstar.org), the five key principles of MN GreenStar green building programs include: “energy efficiency (reducing the amount of energy required to operate the home); resource efficiency (reduce resources used in building, modifying and maintaining the home); water conservation (maximize the efficient use of water both in and around the home); indoor environmental quality (creating a healthier indoor environment for the occupants); and site and community impact (consider the impact of the materials and the home building process on the land and the immediate community as well as the global community and environment).”

So how does this apply to you? Well, when you work with Nowthen you’ll be working with a company that values the earth around your home as much as your home itself. We will always do whatever it takes to satisfy your plumbing needs, and we’ll always do it in the most eco-friendly, efficient way possible. The days of harsh chemicals and polluting products are over, when you work with us or use our recommended products you don’t have to worry about what you’re dumping into your water system anymore, because we’re committed to keeping the water you and your family use every day as clean and green as possible (and we’ve got the membership to prove it!).

 

The End of Water Woes

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Every now and then an invention comes along that makes us scratch our heads and say “huh, why didn’t I think of that?” First there was sliced bread, then the paper clip, and now this. The Water Cop Automatic Shut-Off System by DynaQuip is giving all of us a head scratching moment in the best possible way.

Designed to prevent water damage from leaks, floods, and burst pipes from ruining your home and valuables, the Water Cop is smart, simple, and just a seriously good idea. The basic premise is pretty straightforward: the Water Cop is installed on your main water pipe underneath the shut-off valve. Flood sensors are then placed throughout your home near any area that might potentially flood or spring a leak (toilets, sinks, laundry rooms, etc.). In the event that a leak does occur, the water sensors detect any standing water and send a signal to the Water Cop which will then automatically shut off the main water pipe to prevent further leakage. Though the Water Cop is obviously most essential when you’re away from home and unable to detect leaks/manually shut off the main water valve yourself, the optional wall switch feature allows you to quickly and easily activate the Water Cop with the push of a button in case you discover a leak before the sensors.

Almost every homeowner knows the danger of water damage, and those of us who work in the plumbing business see it every day. While the proper insurance can help you recoup financial losses after an accident, some things can never be recovered. Photos, furniture, art, and other sentimental possessions are extremely susceptible to water damage and, unfortunately, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Installing an automatic shut-off system like the Water Cop now can save you a lot of money and anguish later.

For more information on the Water Cop, check out its official website (the Q&A section is particularly helpful). The manufacturer recommends that unless you really know what you’re doing, hire a professional plumber to install the Water Cop for you. We’ll be ready and waiting for that call!

Radon Rundown

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Over the summer we wrote an entry telling you a little bit about what radon is and how you can detect it. Now that it’s winter and most of us will have our houses closed up for the next three months, we decided it was about time to revisit radon and give you a little more information about the not-so-noble gas. Although radon may seem inoffensive based on its lack of odor, taste, and color, it can actually be quite hazardous to your health, especially if you’re exposed for an extended period of time.

Because of this, many homebuyers are being much more cautious about possible radon leaks when looking at potential houses, so it’s especially important for all homeowners to test for radon regardless of whether or not you think you have a problem. Even if you’re not planning on putting your house on the market any time soon, testing for radon now can prevent unknown leaks from becoming much more serious problems in the future.

Testing your home for radon is extremely easy and is generally available in two forms, short-term tests and long-term tests.

Short-term radon tests can be bought at nearly any home supply store and are relatively inexpensive. Each type/brand of test will provide you with specific instructions that are very easy to follow and mainly involve keeping windows and doors closed for a few days while the test works its magic. After the test is finished (detection periods vary), simply mail the test to a provided address and you’ll receive lab results within a few weeks.

Long-term radon tests stay in your home for over 90 days and are usually used to measure the year-round average level of radon in your home. Figuring out whether to use a long-term test versus two short-term tests can be a little tricky, so it’s a good idea to call a professional if you’re unsure. Generally, however, the decision is pretty self-explanatory. If you need results quickly, use a short-term test, if you’re more concerned about the overall health of your home, use a long-term test.

For more in-depth information about radon give us a call. In the meantime we’ll check back in with you every now and then with more radon news, updates, and reminders. If you would like information on radon mitigation systems, give us a call or visit our radon mitigation page.

Sewage Ejector Pumps 101: Getting into the Muck of it

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

If you’ve been keeping up with our news and updates, and we hope you have, you’ll already know everything the average homeowner should know about sump pumps and how to maintain them. What you may not know about, however, is another similar service we offer on our list—sewage ejector pump maintenance. Though we could talk for days about the fine details of the sewage ejector pump system (yes, we like what we do that much), many people probably have never even heard the term before. So for now, we’ll just run through the basics for you.

First off, what is a sewage ejector pump?

When a bathroom is located at a depth lower than the home’s sewer line, a sewage ejector pumps (also sometimes called a sewage grinder pump) is installed to forcefully pump the sewage to the proper elevation. Sometimes in homes where the bathroom is not below the sewer line but is just about even with it, the sewage still may not flow fast enough on its own and will also require a sewage ejector pump.

Second, what does it do?

In the most basic terms, the sewage ejector pump elevates sewage to the level of the main sewer line and ejects it into the correct pipes at the correct speeds. If you want to get into the muck of it a little more (warning, the following sentence is not for the squeamish), the sewage ejector/grinder blends residential sewage into a fine slurry of waste and water that can be more easily pumped into the main sewage line.

Finally, how do I get one?

This is the easiest question and you’ve probably already guessed the answer, but we’ll go ahead and tell you anyway. If you think you may need to install a sewage ejector pump in your home or believe that your existing pump needs maintenance, give us a call. As much as we love talking and writing about plumbing, we like getting out there and working on it even more!

Hybrid Electric Water Heaters: the Coolest Thing since Sliced Bread and the Warmest Thing since Toast

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
Every now and then we like to tell you a little bit about a great new product that’s hitting the market (see our previous entry about Green Blaster Drain Opener). Recently we heard about these new Voltex® Hybrid Electric Water Heaters by our friends over at A.O. Smith and we decided to give you the skinny on it.  In short, it’s extremely environmentally and economically friendly, efficient, and easy to use.


So what is it and how does it work? The Voltex is a residential hot water heater that is twice as efficient as a standard electric water heater and heats your water at half the cost. It works by absorbing heat from the air around it then depositing it into its tank, which means you get more hot water and cooler, de-humidified air all at once. At a whopping 80 gallons, the size of the tank allows more hot water to be heated all at once and lasts for much longer than a conventional tank.


What makes the Voltex truly wonderful, though, are its special features. Depending on your hot water needs you can set the heater in several different modes, efficiency, hybrid, or electric.  Hybrid mode essentially regulates itself around your hot water usage to give you the most hot water while still being the most environmentally friendly as possible. And as an added bonus, vacation mode is perfect for—what else?—when you’re going on a long vacation and want to reduce cost while also protecting against frozen pipes.


If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re all about saving money and being environmentally friendly as much as possible, and this Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater makes it pretty darn easy on us (and you). It’s Energy Star qualified, eligible for $1500 tax rebate, and is most certainly Nowthen approved.


Give us a call to find out more information about how to install your own Voltex and check out this website for further details. Voltex® Hybrid Electric.