Does My Home Really Need a Water Pressure Reducing Valve?
“I can’t stand how high the water pressure is in my home!” Said no one ever.
Let’s face it. Most people are of the opinion that the more water pressure, the better. A warm cascading shower certainly feels more gratifying than a light, misty trickle and a hearty stream coming out of the sink makes life easier in numerous ways.
Without a doubt, we would be hard-pressed to think of a time we’ve heard someone complain about having too much water pressure in their home. Taking steps to reduce water pressure is probably the last thing on your mind as a homeowner.
However, at times, the water coming onto our homes is under so much pressure it puts our plumbing system at risk.
Before we go any further, let’s illustrate exactly what we mean by water pressure.
When a plumbing fixture in a home is opened, and water flows from it, it’s because the water is “pushed.” This “push” is pressure. The speed at which water flows from the opened outlet depends on the amount of “push” or pressure that occurs at that time in the system. In short, the higher the pressure, the stronger the “push” behind the water.
So, what can be so wrong with high water pressure?
High water pressure, which is generally anything above 60 psi (pounds per square inch), has some benefits, such as in firefighting systems. However, in the home plumbing system, it can be damaging because water with this strong “push” behind it can erode or wear away materials and trigger water heaters to leak, banging water pipes, dripping faucets, needless dishwasher and clothes washer noise, and the subsequent breakdown and leaking water pipes.
Put simply, while it may not happen immediately, water flowing at a rate in excess of that necessary to fulfill routine fixture or appliance demands can become damaging, wasteful, and reduce the life expectancy of equipment in the system.
Do you really want to have to worry about replacing fixtures and appliances more often and run the risk of small leaks forming in hard-to-detect places? Those small leaks can lead to structural water damage and black mold.
On the other hand, you could end up with a sudden, massive leak if a pipe burst or your washing machine hose rips open. Envision something like that occurring soon after you leave for work or while you’re away for the weekend.
Even putting aside any such catastrophic events, high water pressure is generally expensive. When water pressure is high, there is a lot more water flowing through your fixtures that gets unused.
In the same amount of time it takes for water at 50 psi to accumulate to 30 gallons, water flowing at 150 psi builds up to 56 gallons. If you hate math, that’s 26 gallons of wasted water that will show up on your water bill.
Water facts: Water covers about 71 percent of the Earth. 96.5 percent of that is ocean water. 2.5 percent of all the water on the planet is fresh water and is drinkable. Only 1 percent of all freshwater is easily accessible in rivers, lakes, and streams. This rest of it is stuck in glaciers and snowfields.
What causes high water pressure?
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but the main culprit for having water pressure that is too high is your municipal water supplier. Depending on the area where you live, the city or company that controls water pressure doesn’t always have you, the homeowner, in mind.
Rather, they’re making sure that the water pressure is robust enough to reach every tall building level, buildings that are on high elevation and devices such as fire hydrants, water towers, and the like.
In order to get water to these locations, the water pressure can often be set anywhere from 100 to over 200 psi. To give you an idea of how high that is, the recommended water pressure for residential buildings is 50 psi, with 80 psi being the maximum.
Water facts: 663 million people in the world lack access to clean water. That is 1 person without safe water out of every 10 people with it. Over 80 percent of the disease in developing countries is related to poor drinking water and lack of sanitation.
How do I know if I have high water pressure?
A rule of thumb: If you hear banging pipes in your home or observe water splashing in your sink, you probably have excessive pressure. However, your local plumbing contractor or utility can test your pressure with a gauge for a precise reading.
This banging of your pipes is the result of water hammer. Water hammer is simply the noise caused by the shock of high-speed water flowing in a pipe when a fixture is suddenly closed. This abrupt stoppage causes a “bounceback” of the water, causing banging pipes, noisy systems, and possible damage to appliances.
Let’s briefly demonstrate how water hammer occurs. First, walk around a sharp corner and then run around the same corner. We can compare walking around the corner to a lower, more functional, controlled water pressure. However, when you run around the same corner, the momentum forces your body to swing in a wider, uncontrolled arc.
This is based on the fact that moving objects, including water, tend to move in a straight line. They resist changes in direction. Thus, in a home where the piping has numerous changes in direction, water hammer shock can be limited by reducing the water pressure.
So, what happens if I let this water hammer persist? This endless stress of high pressure running through your pipes is particularly hard on the pipe joints. You might end up with a tiny leak in your pipe that goes undetected for a period of time. Those small, invisible leaks can actually be quite dangerous, compromising your home’s structural integrity and encouraging the growth of toxic black mold.
Water facts: Every day, more than 800 children under age 5 die from diarrhea attributed to poor water and sanitation.
So how do I fix high water pressure?
You can inquire about installing a water pressure reducing valve (PRV) in your water system.
A PRV is a device installed on the main water line, which actively reduces the pressure or “push” of the water traveling into your home. The device has an internal spring and diaphragm that the water much passes through, producing resistance and, as a result, reducing the pressure to a more favorable level before flowing into your water system.
The leading feature of the PRV is its ability to adjust to sudden pressure changes. As they are set to regulate your water flow to specific water pressure, the spring and diaphragm will automatically limit the flow when pressure unexpectedly builds up.
True, clothes washers, dishwashers, and some other household appliances have built-in pressure regulators. However, a whole-house PRV still offers protection to those appliances, plus it protects all the pipes and fixtures throughout the house.
Does my house already have a PRV in the water system? If your home was built after the 1980s, it will most likely already have a PRV installed. However, these devices only have a lifespan of about 10 years, so it’s worth calling your J&A professionals to inspect and replace the valve if necessary.
It goes without saying that you should call in a plumbing expert to offer their advice on installing a PRV if your home was built prior to the ’80s.
Water facts: By 2050, at least 1 in 4 people will likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages.
How can I tell if I need a PRV?
You can purchase a simple, yet effective pressure gauge at local hardware or home improvement stores. Screw the gauge onto any hose bib or washing machine faucet and turn on the cold water tap to measure the water pressure. If it’s between 40 and 60 psi, you should be okay. But water pressure that’s generally above 80 psi is more likely triggering unnecessary stress on your pipes, fittings, and fixtures.
City water pressure can fluctuate considerably, often increasing at night when the overall load goes down, so make sure to test at different times of the day. And during a test, be sure the water isn’t being used anywhere else in the house, such as at a garden spigot or appliances.
You can also inquire at your local water company, who will likely be able to tell you if a pressure regulator is recommended in your neighborhood.
How about installing a PRV? Is it a DIY project?
A PRV isn’t tricky to install, but a professional plumber should install it unless the homeowner has some plumbing and soldering skills.
Okay, let’s say I have installed a PRV in my water system.
How can I tell if it’s gone bad?
With time, the PRV will need to be replaced because the rubber parts will deteriorate.
Low-pressure water or no pressure are a few of the signs a PRV has gone bad. Other signs include water hammer, thumping, or chattering in the pipes. Extra high pressure is another sign the pressure reducer has failed. A leak outdoors near the PRV may also indicate the valve itself is leaking. It could also be something as benign as noticing you have more plumbing repairs than usual.
Water facts: Every dollar spent on better access to water and sanitation systems generate about 8 more dollars in costs avoided and productivity gained.
How else can a PRV help save money?
When we can save on the amount of water being consumed, this also represents a similar saving on handling wastewater. Many sewer bill surcharges are based on the amount of water used, assuming that this water is going into the wastewater system. This is billed to you as a sewer surcharge.
So, if a PRV can save, let’s say, 1/3 of the metered water, it can also contribute to saving up to 1/3 of the wastewater load. This is important since it benefits both the homeowner, by a lower sewer bill, and the community, as this is water they don’t have to treat.
Should I consider using other water and energy conservation devices?
Most certainly. The PRV is the heart of a conservation program, but you should consider such things as flow control devices, low-flush toilets, improved water heating equipment, and better, more disciplined habits by the users. However, even if none of these were installed, the PRV would still serve to contribute important savings in energy and water.
Water facts: The UN estimates that it would cost an additional $30 billion to provide access to safe water to the entire planet. That’s a third of what the world spends in a year on bottled water.
Just like having a healthy blood pressure is vital to your health, having normal water pressure is key to maintaining healthy plumbing in your home.
Left unchecked, high water pressure will wear out just about everything that comes into contact with your plumbing system.
If you think a water pressure reducing valve could benefit your plumbing, contact J&A South Park today.
Our skilled plumbers can properly size and fit a PRV for your home to give the outstanding performance that preserves and protects your plumbing system.
You may be surprised.
When you think about dirty places in your house, your mind inevitably jumps to the bathroom. But, amazingly, there are many places much more germ-ridden in your home. There are places that we don’t even think about cleaning, so as a result becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
The public health and safety organization, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), managed a lengthy survey that exposed the messy truth about the actual cleanliness of your home, and some of the dirtiest spots might just astonish you.
Let’s take a look at your home and shed some light on hidden dirt and bacteria and how to get rid of them.
Dirty Places: The Kitchen Sink
If you dropped a piece of fruit in your kitchen sink while rinsing it, would you think twice about popping it into your mouth? What if you dropped it into the toilet?
Although the mere thought of salvaging something from your toilet bowl may be enough to make you ill, your toilet just might be cleaner than your kitchen sink, says Eileen Abruzzo, director of infection control at Long Island College Hospital of Brooklyn.
Charles Gerba, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona, tells us, “There’s more fecal matter in your kitchen sink than there is in a toilet after you flush it. That’s why your dog drinks out of the toilet. He’s smarter than you think.”
(Dr. Garba is known as “Dr. Germ” for his abundant testing for germs on nearly every surface humankind might have occasion touch. His work is often commissioned by cleaning supply manufacturers to verify if their product works as advertised.)
Although most of us endure the necessary steps to sanitize our toilet bowls, few give our kitchen sink the same regard, Abruzzo tells WebMD. “They rinse their sinks with water and assume they are clean, but they’re not.”
Truth is, food crumbs from plates left to soak or rinsed from dishes on their way to the dishwasher can function as a breeding ground for illness-causing bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can also climb aboard your hands or spread to foods.
Quick fix: To thoroughly clean your sink and check the spread of bacteria, Abruzzo advises washing it with a solution of bleach and water once a day and then allowing the solution to run down the drain. Keep in mind to remove the drain plug and clean it, too, she says. Then wash your hands.
Dirty Places: Kitchen Countertops
The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in most homes and also the dirtiest! All the elements that encourage bacteria to grow – heat, moisture, and food – are readily available.
Think about all the things you drop on your kitchen counter: raw meat, unwashed produce, grocery bags, even your handbag – the bottom of which is loaded with germs. According to research findings, countertops included coliform bacteria in 30 percent of tested homes.
Bear in mind that while we use cutting boards to cut our meats, vegetables, and fruits, it’s still possible to transfer bacteria.
While we’re here, what about that cutting board? “Recent surveys found more fecal matter on a cutting board in the average home than a toilet seat,” said Dr. Gerba, with a chuckle. “It’s actually safer to make your sandwich on a toilet seat than a cutting board.”
Quick fix: Spray countertops with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water and wipe with a soft cloth. If you have a specific countertop made of marble, granite, or another specialty material, apply the manufacturer’s suggested cleaning agent. Gerba recommends scrubbing cutting boards with bleach, which he says kitchen cleaning products include for that purpose.
Dirty Places: Dishwashers, Washing Machines, and Refrigerator Door Seals
Any time you combine water and soap, such as in your dishwasher or washing machine, the build-up is going to take place. Soap and water mix and get jammed in the seals and produce a gunk build-up. In the fridge, seals will get dirty when food and drinks get trapped in them.
Quick fix: Use a combination of warm water, mild soap, and a cleaning cloth to clean these seals. You might also want to try an old toothbrush or soft-bristled grout brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Dirty Places: Sponges
Considering that you use the kitchen sponge or rag to do any wiping of the sink, surrounding countertops, and cutting boards, it should come as a little surprise that they win the prize as the germiest items in your home, according to Dr. Gerba. “I’ve collected sponges from several hundred homes and found salmonella on 15 percent of them. So yeah, I’m paranoid about them,” he said.
Want more proof? A 2017 study found 362 different species of bacteria living in used kitchen sponges. Bad news: Microwaving them didn’t help. Nor did boiling the sponge or putting it in the dishwasher. The bacteria just grew right back.
Quick fix: Replace your household sponges frequently.
Dirty Places: Your Bathtub and Shower
The locale where you wash yourself is not very clean itself. A recent study discovered staphylococcus bacteria in 25% of the bathtubs tested. Another study found even ghastlier results in whirlpool tubs. When Texas A&M’s Rita Moyes, Ph.D., tested 43 water samples from whirlpools, she observed that all 43 had slight to hazardous bacterial growth.
According to Moyes, the chief cause that whirlpool tubs are so dirty has to do with the lining of the pipes, not the tub. Water manages to get stuck in the pipes, leading to a breeding ground for germs and mold. When you switch on the jets, the germy water gushes into the tub where you’re bathing.
We all appreciate a lovely shower to wash away the day. However, this habit results in soap scum, water stains, hairs, and dirt, plus rust and grime over time. Moreover, every time you shower, you’re redistributing that filth and bacteria on everything that comes into contact with the grimy surface.
Quick fix: Experts endorse cleaning and sanitizing your tub and shower with bleach or bathroom cleaner after bathing, then dry with a clean towel. For whirlpool tubs, the safest method to block bacteria from gathering is to clean out the pipes.
Dirty Places: Your Toothbrush
You put it in your mouth twice a day, but do you ever think of all the germs lying in wait on it? “You rinse it off after using it and put it away damp,” says Abruzzo. “Bacteria like the moist area and grow on it.”
If the germs from your mouth weren’t enough to sully your toothbrush, the germs from your toilet undoubtedly are. Research at the University of Arizona several years back observed that flushing the toilet propels a spray of bacteria and virus-contaminated water droplets into the air. These germs, the research discovered, can float about the bathroom a minimum of two hours after each flush prior to settling on surfaces such as your toothbrush!
Want more statistics. One of the grossest studies (non-commissioned) was on how far bacteria spread when you flush with the lid up. It’s at least 6 feet. Really!
Quick fix: Abruzzo advises locating your toothbrush where it can air out and replace it frequently, particularly if you’ve been ill.
Dirty Places: Your TV Remote Control
That universal remote that powers your TV, sound system, and gaming station sure is handy, but it sure is filthy, too.
Let’s face it. Human hands in all states of cleanliness handle it. It’s dropped on the floor, stuffed between sofa cushions, coughed, and sneezed on. Yet, it’s rarely wiped clean, even after a sick day spent channel-flipping.
In fact, a University of Virginia study of cold viruses on household surfaces showed the remote control’s surface is among the germiest. Researchers found that half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses.
Quick fix: Use a disinfectant wipe to clean remotes often. To get in between the buttons, try a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Dirty Places: Your Computer Keyboard
If you eat at your computer, sneeze on your keyboard or sit down to surf the Internet without washing your hands beforehand, your computer keyboard may well be a health threat. In a recent study by a British consumer group, scientists swabbed keyboards for germs and uncovered a swarm of potentially dangerous bacteria, consisting of E. coli and staph. Four of 33 sampled keyboards had an adequate number of germs to be deemed health risks. One had levels of germs five times higher than that observed on a toilet seat.
Quick fix: Wash your hands both prior to and after using a computer. To clean your keyboard, lightly shake out the crumbs or vacuum it. You can also wipe the keys with alcohol or bleach wipes but nothing too wet. While you’re at it, don’t forget the mouse.
Dirty Places: Knobs, Handles, and Switches
Human hands are the offender here, touching and leaving behind dirt and germs on most anything, including doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, refrigerator door handles, microwave handles, stove knobs, toilet flush handles, and the like. These small objects are simply ignored when cleaning, as most of us are more apt to concentrate on larger surfaces such as floors, countertops, and furniture. Nevertheless, as an example, in the NSF’s report, 14 percent of refrigerator door handles tested positive for staph.
Quick fix: The fastest and simplest way to go through your home and clean and sanitize all of these small items is to seize a box of disinfecting wipes, rubber gloves, and a plastic grocery bag. Wipe all these items down and throw the used wipes in the bag and dispose of them.
Dirty Places: Carpets
Environmental biologist Kelly Reynolds points out there could be as many as 200,000 bacteria per square inch in a family room carpet after he isolated salmonella, E. coli, and MRSA in carpet fibers.
Carpets insnare skin cells, food particles, pollen, and pet dander, producing a germ utopia. Walking and other movements executed on the rug carry it all closer to the surface.
Quick Fix: Weekly vacuuming with the beater brush turned on aids in removing dirt and germs from carpet fibers. To help sanitize carpets, use an antibacterial spray. A yearly professional deep steam cleaning is also suggested.
Dirty Places: Pets and Pet Toys
Perhaps no one tracks bacteria into our homes greater than our pets. Of course, your pets warrant pleasant clean food and water bowls. However, their food and water bowls placed high amid the germiest household items.
Not far back were pet toys. They will not only provide lodgings for coliform bacteria, but they will also give refuge to yeast, mold, and staph bacteria, none of which are beneficial for you or your pet’s health.
Quick fix: Pet bowls should be cleaned daily. Sanitize toys made of rubber or plastic with hot water and a dish soap every few weeks. Toys of fabric can be tossed into the washing machine.
Practical Things to Keep in Mind
Don’t stress too much on keeping every square inch of your home sanitized – it’s not realistic and, furthermore, the body’s immune system is devised to manage a reasonable quantity of everyday germs.
Chiefly focus on those spaces where bacteria prosper. Also, frequent hand washing (how many times have we heard that this past year?) and repeated cleaning of food preparation areas could significantly lessen the threat of illness.
J&A South Park technicians might not be able to assist in cleaning your house, but if you encounter problems with your HVAC, plumbing, or electrical systems, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
Why Is It So Important to Prevent Mold Growth in My Home?
Mold is your enemy! It grows fast, doesn’t need fancy accommodations, and absolutely wreaks havoc on anything it touches or even gets near to it.
Mold doesn’t care if you’re old, young, or somewhere in between. Mold isn’t concerned with where you were born, where you live, or who your family is.
Mold is the definition of an uninvited guest, and, as such, mold prevention is basic to steer clear of the train wreck mold leaves in its wake.
Whether it’s the slimy black spots on your shower curtain, the fuzzy white patches on your basement floor, or the slick orange film that forms on your kitchen drain, household mold is more than unsightly. In some cases, mold in your home can make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma.
Whether or not you’re allergic to molds, mold exposure can aggravate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.
That’s why we’re going to spend some time here talking about mold, its effects, and how to combat it.
So, let’s get down to it.
What exactly is mold?
Mold, a fungus type, is a decomposer of dead organic material, including leaves, wood, and plants.
Mold is an everyday word that invokes all varieties of frightening ideas in our heads. Mold arises from naturally occurring fungal spores. Those spores are all over the place, and completely eluding them isn’t doable. They float in the air you breathe every single minute of each and every day.
It’s when these spores discover a moist, warm space that they become troublesome. Is mold in the house a health problem? You bet it is!
Mold can be a worrisome problem in most homes, leading to health issues and the possible destruction of the home in which it inhabits. You may question how a mold growth widespread enough to compromise a house’s structural foundations can avoid being noticed by the building’s occupants. The answer is rather simple: the mold does its business while attached with other materials and is just about always out of sight.
Mold will start to take shape when warmth, moisture, and rotting matter work in unison. The decaying material can be almost anything. As long as there are nutrients for the mold to feed on, it will mature and spread. Rotting food will get moldy rapidly because it’s nutrient-dense and regularly laden with sugars.
Mold will be sustained on most anything, however, and it’s not restricted to organic substances. That’s why it’s essential to rid of carpeting or drywall that has undergone water damage. Areas such as these are hotbeds for mold growth.
Mold fact: There are over 100,000 known species of mold, most of which exist outside the home. Not all types of mold can make you sick, and some are even used in medicine.
How do molds get indoors, and how do they grow?
Mold can be uncovered both indoors and outdoors. It can enter a home via open doorways, windows, vents, and HVAC systems. Mold in the air outdoors can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets and then be brought indoors.
When mold spores drop where there is excessive moisture, where leakage may have taken place in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where flooding has occurred, they will grow.
Any number of building materials offer the proper nutrients that foster mold growth. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are especially favorable for various molds’ growth. Other materials, including dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, generally sustain mold growth.
Mold growth can actually begin within 48 hours of water damage if the water comes into contact with organic building materials and is not noticed or properly dried.
Mold fact: While mold can’t grow on non-organic surfaces such as concrete, it may grow on those surfaces’ dust or dirt layers.
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
Oft times, you can see or smell a mold problem. Mold might occur as somewhat fuzzy, faded, or oily spots that increase in size as they grow. Generally, molds generate musty odors that are the initial indicator of a potential problem. Mold will grow almost anyplace there is sufficient moisture or a water problem. The most reliable technique to discover mold is to search for traces of mold growth, water staining, or buckling or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It’s also essential to look both behind and beneath surfaces such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. Certain parts of the home are particularly prone to mold growth and should be part of normal cleaning to managing mold growth. These comprise bathrooms, chiefly shower stalls, bathroom tiles, shower curtains, window moldings, the seal on the refrigerator door, and surfaces on and nearby air conditioners.
Mold fact: Mold can also “decorate” your Christmas tree, growing under garlands and lights. All vegetation, including live Christmas trees, have mold spores on them. The warmth inside the home and moisture on the tree can trigger mold growth on its branches.
Mold reactions: Who’s at risk?
Those sensitive to mold, inhaling, or even touching mold spores can lead to allergic responses, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Persons with severe mold allergies will possibly have more serious reactions, including shortness of breath. For those who have asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger asthma attacks.
Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as “black mold,” produces toxic compounds called mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems, such as respiratory problems, asthma attacks, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, and depression. The toxic black mold has a characteristic musty odor and appears only on surfaces that have been in prolonged contact with water.
The truth is, the consequences of mold exposure can differ significantly from one person to the next, with young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and persons with long-lasting illnesses and weaker immune systems being the greater at risk. Recent studies have shown that one in every four persons has a genetic predisposition to mold illness – the so-called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Mold Fact: Mold is not necessarily bad. It plays an essential role in the ecosystem – it breaks down dead organic matter, such as dead leaves, trees, etc., and recycles it into the environment. Certain species of mold are commonly used as fermenting agents; others are engineered to make delicacy cheeses. Mold is even used in drug production – the antibiotic penicillin is a purified mold!
Did you know your homeowner’s insurance may exclude mold damage?
We know you don’t want to hear this, but the standard homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover mold damage, depending on the reason for the mold problem in the first place. For instance, if mold results from a covered water loss, such as the unexpected accidental release or overflow of water from the plumbing system or a household appliance, your home insurance will cover the amount of the mold remediation. That’s because the reason for the claim is the covered peril, not the mold itself.
However, Some insurance policies have exclusions, stipulating they will not cover mold removal and remediation, irrespective of the problem’s cause. Furthermore, standard insurance policies reject flood damage. They will not include water damage due to neglected home maintenance, including long-term leaky roofs, landscaping or drainage difficulties, condensation, and so forth.
Even if covered, there may be restrictions on that coverage. If you would like to boost your coverage, you can purchase a mold rider as an add-on to your existing policy.
Now, we have two questions that need to be answered:
- How can I help prevent mold from growing and spreading in my home?
- How do I rid of any such mold once it’s present?
First, how can I prevent mold from growing in my home?
It’s downright impossible to get rid of all the mold and mold spores in your home, but since mold spores are unable to grow without moisture, reducing said moisture in your home is the soundest path to preventing mold growth.
Following are some tips for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific pointers for those areas most susceptible to dampness and mold growth:
- Make sure you have good air circulation. Keep windows open, run bathroom fans, and keep air ducts clean and in good order. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home from the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outside. All this can assist in lowering the danger of mold growth.
- Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas that may have a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms or basements.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can – between 30 and 50 percent — all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep these levels low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day, so you’ll need to check the levels more than once daily.
- Keep your property in good repair to help avoid excess moisture. This can help expose mold growth in its initial stages and nip it in the bud before entering your home and producing mold. This would involve leaks in roofs and foundations, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
- Inspect your property at regular intervals, particularly following major storms, torrential rains, and snow meltdowns. This can help you spot mold growth in its early phases and block it from spreading any further.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application to lessen the possibility of mold growth.
- Remove previously affected items to help stop mold spores from tainting other materials.
Bottom line: If you keep your home as moisture-free and properly vented as possible, you have every opportunity to prevent mold growth and mold-related problems.
Second, how do I get rid of the mold in my home once it’s there?
Unfortunately, mold is tough to get rid of.
Mold is frequently located in areas that pose a problem to reach and remediate. It spreads quite speedily and affects building materials and furniture pieces, fabrics, books, and other personal items. The spores mature with the porous materials, so the only way to eradicate mold is to replace the affected items.
What’s more, most DIY mold removal techniques deliver only a short-term solution to the problem. Household cleaners aren’t tough enough to remove the fungi, and paints cover up the problem. Many people use bleach to get rid of mold in their homes. The truth is that bleach kills live mold but not mold spores. What’s more, removing mold with bleach and water can make mold regrow even faster.
The one surefire way to get rid of mold permanently is to use professional mold remediation services. The qualified mold removal specialists will detect all the mold (visible, hidden, dormant) in your property, will employ cutting-edge equipment and robust cleaning agents to rid of the spores, repair any associated damage, disinfect the infested spaces, and sanitize the air. Your home will be completely mold-free, fresh, and safe.
J&A South Park does not remove mold, but we do partner with Cleanup Services, a company certified to perform disaster services, including mold removal.
Benefits of a Whole-House Plumbing Inspection
A homeowner’s work is never quite finished. However, with an already crowded schedule, plus family and work, it’s simple to see why some household maintenance projects are put by the wayside. Although it may not appear as such, when you consider a listing of all the functioning parts that allow your house to carry on its “duties” without difficulty, your to-do list will fill up rapidly.
We admit, keeping atop your home maintenance checklist can be intimidating at times, but there are specific items that cannot be ignored, and plumbing is certainly one of them.
It turns out plumbing is one of your home’s more indispensable features that should never be overlooked. Things like clogged drains may appear unimportant at the time, but, in actuality, they can snowball into much bigger predicaments if they remain on that to-do list.
It’s important to schedule routine plumbing inspections and put to use any preventive measures to keep your home’s plumbing system functioning efficiently and correctly.
Let’s take a look at why plumbing inspections are so critical and what you should anticipate when having your plumbing inspected.
Why plumbing inspections are so important
A professional plumbing inspection has several major advantages when comparing it to your struggling to perform an inspection yourself. You can depend not only on a plumber’s experience and know-how if they happen to discover something amiss, but you can also count on their being attentive to those items you almost certainly don’t want to deal with.
For most homeowners, those items they cheerfully pass on to the professional plumber involve matters such as checking under the house or annoyances like toilet flappers and slow-draining sinks. Or, for those who might not object to the smaller jobs but aren’t at ease undertaking larger problems, professional inspectors will make sure that things such as checking and flushing your water heater on a regular basis or assuring your exterior pipes are well insulated. Top to bottom, a quality inspection can avoid any number of such headaches.
Also, keep in mind that a plumbing inspection covers more than simply ensuring your pipes have no leaks or are not undergoing corrosion. Inspections also take in the major appliances you use routinely that can experience substantial stress throughout the year.
For instance, your water heater is a part of regular plumbing upkeep. Water heaters need to undergo regular inspections and fine-tune to make certain they function cost-effectively and properly. Let’s face it, you’ll need a water heater replacement much earlier than you’ll require new pipes, and plumbing professionals will be able to recognize when it’s time to retire your existing unit.
One more incentive for thinking about an annual plumbing inspection is that the after-effects of breakdowns in the water or sewer line can be immense. These are problems you’ll absolutely want to avoid if at all possible since they can cause major damage to your home, and the repair work is often extensive as well as costly and time-consuming.
As a prime example, regular inspections will usually catch any small problems with either the water or sewer lines on your property so you can fix them before they become larger problems.
Here are some of the benefits that can come from having a plumbing inspection performed.
A home plumbing inspection could save you money
The money you “save” by avoiding routine plumbing inspections will wind up aimed at expensive repairs, replacements, and your monthly utility bill. Each leaky faucet, each pound of added water pressure, and every bang, clank, or the rattle of your pipes can add a few extra dollars to your water bill.
It also adds to the unnecessary risk of creating severe, near-irreparable plumbing difficulties that wouldn’t have been as widespread or as expensive if they had been fixed two or three months earlier.
The truth is, it can cost thousands of dollars to repair a broken sewage pipe. The repair alone will probably cost $1,000 to $2,000. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay out several thousand dollars to have the property cleaned. A cracked sewage pipe can leak into your lawn for weeks before you even spot the problem. All of a sudden, you’ll notice your lawn has become a swamp composed of sewage. Moreover, you’ll have a smelly yard that makes you feel embarrassed and nauseated at the same time.
Cleaning a sewage-filled yard demands quite a bit of preparation and safety materials, and the tab for a proper clean-up will add up rather quickly.
If you have a routine plumbing inspection, your plumber will detect that the sewage pipe exhibits signs of deterioration. Rather than allowing the pipe to break and trigger a gigantic mess, you can have the plumber correct the problem under controlled conditions.
Remember the old saying that the longer you leave a wound to fester, the higher the risk of infection? This is so true for plumbing as well. If you don’t tackle issues ASAP, you may very well wind up having to amputate, while a simple bandage applied a month or two sooner would have been sufficient.
A home plumbing inspection helps save time
This is connected to the first point: cost. If it gets to the point where your pipes or appliances need replacing, you’re not just wasting money; you’re wasting time. Let’s say a pipe in your basement burst, leading to minor flooding. The pipe is well past repair at that point. To stop the flooding, you’ll need to purchase a new pipe (or pipes) and get it installed.
Believe it. This isn’t as easy as buying a replacement table or chair. You’ll have to recognize the kind of plumbing you’re buying (so that the new pipe fits with the old) and hire a licensed plumber in your area, set up an appointment and turn off the main water supply in the course of installation.
Long story short – it’s a frustrating process that might have been sidestepped if the cracks had been dealt with earlier.
Always keep in mind, your inspection will involve much more than looking at drainage pipes for would-be clogs. Professional plumbers will also check your entire home to make certain all your plumbing works properly. By having someone carry out an inspection, your day won’t get disrupted by plumbing problems.
Improve air quality
This may seem a rather odd thing to bring in a discussion about plumbing, but what most homeowners are unaware of is that a home’s plumbing system has a direct bearing on its indoor air quality. Such issues as cracked pipes, water pressure concerns, valve glitches – all these can be the forerunner to water leaks which, when left to fester, will produce quite an appealing breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria.
As you can imagine, not any of these issues bring about wholesome (or clean) air quality. Poorly maintained, leaky pipes can lead to mold growth which may well end up damaging the health of your household members.
Planned plumbing inspections can grab hold of would-be plumbing problems before they produce water leaks and the predictable mold, mildew, and germs.
Maintaining property value
Taking proper care of your home, in general, can boost the property value when the time to sell arrives. Would-be new homeowners will be delighted to pay for a property in sound shape, without having to be concerned with the dishwasher backing up or the tub overflowing because the property has been well looked after. You’d most likely experience little or no difficulty securing the market price for it because a well-maintained house and plumbing system is completely worth the money. Any experienced realtor would agree.
Okay, how often should I get a whole house plumbing inspection?
Most professional plumbers agree that a home’s plumbing system should be checked at least once every two years.
There are instances, however, when an inspection should occur more frequently. Here are a few examples:
- When residing in an older home. Older homes constructed prior to the 1960s may have plumbing systems that contain steel pipes. Back in the days, steel was employed because of its strength. Little were builders aware that those steel pipes might actually begin to deteriorate over time. This can lead to pipe leaks and bursts and even lead in the water supply.
- Properties with older trees. Large trees that have been growing for a number of years have a far-reaching root system underground that’s not always easy to observe or track. Growing roots can be quite formidable and push completely through underground plumbing pipes. Should a root bring about a small leak, it may take years for you to notice, although a professional plumber would know precisely what to look for.
- Moving into a new home. If you just recently bought a home, it’s undoubtedly a terrific idea to have a detailed plumbing inspection by someone other than a traditional home inspector. It’s those little things that can be easily unnoticed by someone other than a professional plumber and cause problems down the road.
What will the plumber check?
Here are some of the items to anticipate during your home plumbing inspection:
- Check the water filtration systems
- Examine all fixtures, supply lines, drains
- In-depth investigation of all above-ground exposed plumbing, including shut-off valves and traps under kitchen, bathroom and laundry room sinks
- Inspect all sinks, showers/bath, toilets
- Inspection of bathroom, kitchen and laundry room draining and venting systems
- Inspection of the conventional storage water tank or tankless water heater
- Shut-off valve inspection
- Sump pump and discharge inspection, if applicable
Camera inspection option
Bringing in a professional plumber to handle a camera inspection is perhaps the most proactive thing you can do with your home’s plumbing.
Cameras are capable of reaching into almost every nook and cranny in your home and actually getting behind its walls to identify potentially unsafe circumstances for you and your home.
These cameras can also spot mold growth and rusty pipes in spaces you’d by no means would be able to look – unless you took out a wall and walked through those spaces in your home, which we categorically don’t endorse.
Having a professional plumber conduct these camera inspections is a small price to pay in order to dodge bigger problems in the future.
What to do in between inspections
Homeowners can be pre-emptive by carrying out regular leak checks to any visibly accessible plumbing. Also, pay close attention to utility bills and take note of any strange noises. If you spot any leaks, call a professional plumber as soon as possible.
Water can be the single most destructive force on the house and must be tackled without delay.
If signs of moisture are present, contact the plumbing team at J&A South Park for a professional leak detection. Water leaks not only trigger water damage but accelerate mold growth and can eventually cause structural damage to the walls if not dealt with.
Otherwise, prevention is the best medicine. As an example, follow your plumber’s guidance in insulating exterior pipes, so you aren’t hit with a frozen pipe in the winter. Understand that fixtures, washers, and sealers all have a limited life expectancy. If your home hasn’t had any upgrades in your lifetime, begin planning now about what you might do in case something does break down. As the Scouts would say, Be Prepared.
So, are you convinced?
Simply contact the plumbing professionals at J&A South Park to schedule your plumbing inspection. It will give you the peace of mind knowing that your plumbing system is in order and ready to perform as intended.