Yearly Archives: 2022

What are the benefits of water softeners?

close-up of a clean glass of water in hand

Why We Need Water Softeners

Why do we need water softeners? First, let’s discuss the terms “hard water” and “soft water”, but what do those terms mean exactly? Water is wet, so how can it be either hard or soft? There are many different minerals in water naturally. Among those minerals are calcium and magnesium. It is the amount of the different minerals in the water that give us “hard” or “soft” water, with fewer minerals making it “soft: water. Thus, the more minerals, the harder the water. This is more minerals and other contaminants in the water, which can damage water-based appliances and fixtures. Hard water is also harder on our bodies and can cause health issues for some. To extend the appliances and plumbing in your home, to have healthier water for consumption, water softeners are needed.

What does a water softener do?

The water softeners for homes are often referred to as ion exchange units. These devices remove the minerals that make can make water hard, like calcium and magnesium. What are the benefits of water softeners? 


Water softeners will give you softer skin, and silkier by removing the unneeded chlorine and other minerals that are making your water hard. This will minimize the amount of body and hand lotion you need. 


You’ll need half as much soap with water softeners installed, which is a money saver in the long run. 


Water softeners reduce scale and scum buildup, reducing the scrubbing time for cleaning your bathtub, shower, and sinks.  You’ll use less water, another money-saving feature. 


Water softeners will eliminate annoying spots on dishes, fixtures, and shower doors by removing the minerals that create the hardness in water. 


Hard water creates soap curd which finds its way into the fibers of our clothing. This leads to fading and stiffness, and when chlorine levels are high, they fade even more. Your clothes last longer and look better longer by installing water softeners in your home. 


When you have hard water, the minerals from that build up inside your appliances and plumbing, damaging them and making them less efficient. The chlorine causes the rubber parts to dry out and become brittle, requiring to be replaced or more repairs. 


Water softeners and filters make hard water taste better and that makes us drink more, making it a healthier choice overall. 

What does it mean to soften water?

The process of water softeners is to remove metals, calcium, magnesium, and other unnecessary contaminants from the water. The things that make water hard are removed and the water becomes soft, easier to digest, and easier on clothing, dishes, plumbing, and more. 

How do you soften water?

There are different water softeners you can use that will stop the clogged drains and spotty glasses, and quit drying your hair and skin, or wearing your clothes out faster. Some of the methods are: 

Kitchen Water Softeners

Install a small ion exchange filter on the kitchen faucet or purchase a pitcher that you can keep in the refrigerator for drinking water. Also, remember that boiling hard water will remove some types of hardness temporarily. 

Laundry Water Softeners

There are non-precipitating water conditioners that you can purchase and add to each load of laundry. They trap some of the minerals that make water hard and won’t leave scale and scum on your clothing or in the washing machine. Hard water spots and stains can often be removed with distilled white vinegar mixed with an equal amount of water and gently scrubbed. 

Whole Household Water Softeners

The first thing that should be done is to test the water. You can purchase self-test kits and test strips or take a sample of your water to a testing center. This will tell you what type of chemicals and minerals are in your water, then you know what type of water softeners you need. Among the types of water softeners to choose from are ion exchange water softeners, which are the most effective and comes in two types themselves. The most common is sodium chloride water softeners, which add a small amount of sodium to your water. This is not recommended for anyone with kidney issues or potassium issues. The other type of system is RO (reverse osmosis), which removes all the unnecessary minerals without adding salt or potassium. 

Is soft water a danger?

And can you drink softened water? Soft water is safe for most people to consume. There is a higher amount of sodium in soft water, and anyone on a low or no-sodium diet should use one of the water softeners that are potassium-based.

Is soft water better for your skin?

Yes, because it doesn’t dry skin or hair out, leaving the natural oils that are needed. This leads to clear skin, fewer breakouts, and silkier hair. 

Are there any downsides to water softening?

A major downside is the added sodium for any person on a low or no-sodium diet. Calcium and magnesium are also removed, which can affect some people’s diets. 

a whole house water softening system

At The End Of The Pipes

Is soft water a problem for plumbers?  When it comes to plumbing, water is water, and whether it is hard or soft, they can both create problems.  For homes that have lead pipes, soft water is more likely to draw out unhealthy contaminants in the pipe, including lead, and it flows and mixes in with the drinking water.

How Long Will It Take An Emergency Plumber to Get Here?

young man holding buckets under a leak

Dealing With Emergency Issues

Emergencies of any kind are not pleasant to deal with, and emergency plumbing is especially challenging. There never seems to be a problem with plumbing until there is an inopportune time!  But we all have a different opinion of what constitutes an emergency when it comes to plumbing. 

So, what counts as a plumbing emergency?

The following are typical examples of what a plumber will regard as emergency plumbing needs: 

  • Flooding 

Water damage is going to be considered a plumbing emergency when there is a heavy storm, and the sump pump fails. If that isn’t addressed immediately, your basement could flood, costing you more than an emergency plumbing service call. 

Pipes that aren’t insulated and bust when frozen can cause flooding is considered an emergency plumbing situation. To prevent this, investing in a leak detection system is recommended. 

  • No Water

When you realize that you do not have any water available, check with the utility company to make sure it hasn’t been cut off at the main for repairs. If that isn’t the issue, Is no water an emergency? Yes, if all is clear with the utility company, then you have an emergency plumbing issue. The plumber can inspect the issue and then provide a repair solution that gets your water flowing again.

  • Drains Clogged

A typical slow drain is not a plumbing emergency. However, if basic home remedy efforts do not open the clog and get your drain flowing again, you may have a major clog in the sewer line and that can create emergency plumbing problems. 

Is an overflowing toilet an emergency?

If there is an epitome of an emergency plumbing issue, an overflowing toilet would be the one! Who wants to clean up the bathroom after the toilet has overflowed, right? Not to mention the water damage that is being done while the floor is underwater. 

If you have another bathroom you can use, then wait to call the plumber during normal business days and hours. If you only have one toilet and everything you’ve tried has not unclogged it, then yes, you have an emergency plumbing problem. 

Is a leaking pipe an emergency?

It will depend on the size and location of the leak that determines if it is an emergency plumbing issue. Often, even the smallest of leaks can be because of a larger problem that isn’t visible. If you have noticed water stains on the ceiling or wall but there isn’t any water coming through, this plumbing matter can wait for a business day and business hour phone call. 

If water is coming through the area that is stained, then yes, you have an emergency plumbing situation that should be addressed immediately. What do you do in a plumbing emergency like that?  Find the main water cutoff and turn the water off to the entire house, then call an emergency plumbing service. 

As you wait for the plumber, take pictures in case you’re able to file this on your homeowner’s insurance.  Then use towels to soak up as much water as you can, or a wet/dry vacuum if possible. Place fans around the wet area to get dried out as quickly as possible to minimize the water damage. 

Should I call a plumber or do it myself?

It will all depend on the type of emergency plumbing issue and your ability to work with the tools needed to fix the problem. A clogged drain or toilet, try to plunge the clog yourself and save the emergency plumbing charges. If there is water everywhere and you don’t know anything about plumbing or have any tools, then you’ll too call an emergency plumbing service. 

Can you call a plumber in the middle of the night?

Yes, there are many plumbers and plumbing services that offer after-hours, holidays, and weekend emergency plumbing services. It is recommended to have one on your speed dial in case of an emergency plumbing need. If you don’t know a plumber to all, knowing how to get emergency plumbing service is all on the internet these days, or if you still have yellow pages, look one up! Be sure to let the plumber or plumbing service know where you got their number.

young woman plunging a clogged sink

In Closing 

Is emergency plumbing more expensive? You can expect to pay up to three times what a plumbing service call would be on a normal day during business hours. But, if you don’t call for an emergency plumbing service, the damage that could happen while you’re waiting for Monday morning could be more expensive. As we mentioned earlier, considering making the investment in a leak detection system could save you those expensive and unwanted emergency plumbing service calls when it comes to busted water lines. 

What is the most common problem with water heaters?

close-up of a hose being attached to a water heater

The water heater was invented somewhere between 1868 and 1889, it depends on who you ask. But like most things we take for granted today, the water heater wasn’t available to every until the 1940s. Today, we take the water heater for granted and when it isn’t working, we don’t hesitate to have a water heater repair or replacement – same day if possible! 

For something that we don’t display in the living room or carry with us to show off, it is an invaluable part of our homes today. There probably isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t depend on your water being heated for something. From bathing to cooking to doing laundry, we need a water heater in our home. Many people don’t realize that a water heater can be repaired. 

Can you repair a water heater?

Sometimes, yes, water heater repairs are possible. It will depend on the problem and the age of the water heater. In many cases, a professional plumber can replace certain parts and get a few more years from a water heater. 

When is water heater repair an emergency?

A water heater leaking gas is a definite emergency. You should shut the gas off to the water heater and call a plumber immediately for water heater repair. 

A water heater leaking water from the water line and valve is typically not an emergency if you can tighten the connection. If you cannot tighten the connection or the water heater is leaking from the tank, that would be considered a water heater repair emergency. 

What are the signs of a water heater going bad?

 The more you know about the parts in a water heater, the better you’ll be able to diagnose problems. You’ll also know whether you can fix the matter yourself or if you need somebody that know how to fix a broken water heater, aka, a professional plumber. The following are signs that your water is going out and which is the better option – water heater repair or replacement. 

Water Leaking

This is the most common water heater problem because at some point, they all will begin to have a water leak. Why? Because they are made of metal and water is not friends with metal. It causes them to corrode and rust, develop fractures and microscopic cracks in the tank. 

However, the tank isn’t the only part of a water heater that can begin leaking water. Water leaking from the top of the tank could be that the water connections need tightening. Check the cold-water inlet pipes and hot water outlet pipes are solidly connected and aren’t loose or rattling. 

If water is leaking at the bottom, it is probably condensation, and that water repair is done simply by turning the thermostat up. Water that is spilling out of the overflow pipe or PRV (pressure relief valve), a water heater repair is possible. 

No Hot Water

“Why is my water heater not getting hot?” This is a common complaint that plumbers are called to fix. If the tank appears to be full of water but isn’t getting hot, checking the power source should be the first step. An electric water heater could have a thrown breaker and a gas water heater may be a pilot light problem. Both are water heater repairs you can do yourself. If the breaker isn’t thrown or the pilot light won’t stay lit, you need to call a professional plumber. 

Strange Odor in the Water

If there is a strange odor coming from the hot water, it is probably a bacterium building up, and turning the thermostat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit will usually kill it. Never use the water when it is at 140 degrees, it can scald the skin. Wait an hour or longer and let that heated water kill the bacteria then turn the thermostat down and wait 4 to 6 hours before using it. If this didn’t get rid of the odor, you need to call a plumber for a professional water heater repair service.

Taking Too Long to Reheat

If your water heater is starting to take longer and longer to heat the water, try moving the thermostat up higher. If that doesn’t help, it could be either a dirty burner orifice or dirt vent flue that isn’t letting the gas flow. Simply clean these two parts and you’ll have a water repair done! If that doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to replace your water heater with a larger capacity. 

Low Hot Water Pressure

A common problem in older homes is the water pressure because the plumbing pipes installed were ½” size and today the standard is ¾” size plumbing. The allows a greater water throughput, and the only water heater repair that will fix that problem is replumbing the entire house. 

In newer homes, a water heater repair for this problem is to check the sink aerators aren’t clogged. The water inlet valve can be accidentally closed may be the problem. 

Too Hot or Too Cold

If your water heater has inconsistent water temperature and you’ve moved the thermostat with no success, it could be the thermostat is going out. A water heater repair for this problem is to clean or replace the thermocouple. 

What is the average life of a water heater?

A water heater can last between 8 to 12 years on average. The brand and quality of the water heater are a factor, the quality of the water where you live is a bigger factor, and if you follow routine maintenance of flushing the tank periodically will factor into the lifespan. If you need water heater repairs by the 8th year, replacing it is recommended. 

water heating in a storage room

In Closing – Who do you call to repair a water heater?

A professional plumber is the person to call for any water heater repairs or replacement. If you don’t a plumber you use, you can find several with an internet search. Advise them of the problem that you’re having, and they can give you an estimate of a possible water heater repair. 

Should I repair or replace my toilet?

toilet with an out of order sign

Taking Care of Toilet Problems

If there is one thing in your home that you wouldn’t want to live without, it is probably the toilet. You could; they did many years ago before the toilet was invented, but who would want to do that, right?  As important a part of daily life as the toilet is, it makes toilet repairs an absolute must. Fortunately, you can do many toilet repairs yourself, and toilet repairs from an experienced plumber are still affordable.

Can you repair the toilet bowl?

It seems unlikely, but yes, toilet bowl tanks will crack, and those cracks aren’t always visible at first. It could be a crack from the factory that never showed up until now, or a crack may develop over time, often due to extreme changes in temperature. 

Whatever the reason, before you can repair it, you’ve got to find the crack. Then you need to assess if it is a possible toilet repair, or if will you need a new toilet. A toilet bowl crack can be challenging to find, and the water leaking may only happen when the toilet is flushed. So, as you inspect the toilet bowl from the floor up and all around the bowl, flush the toilet. 

Three common places a crack may occur and require toilet repair are: 

  • Above the water level: You’ll need to keep monitoring this because unless the water gets up higher than normal, you may never know there is a crack. 
  • Below the water level: This will be more challenging and almost impossible to find because of the bowl shape. If you can see the crack, you can’t do any type of toilet repair – it needs to be replaced. 
  • The invisible crack is a possibility that will show up in different ways: water standing on the floor around the toilet, or water is missing from the bowl. This type of leak will cause water to pool up on the floor at the base or slowly leak into the drain. This could be because the seal is worn on the underside of the bowl and isn’t the easiest toilet repair, but it is repairable. A hairline crack in the base of the toilet can be sealed with an epoxy. 

Can you repair a toilet tank?

If the tank has a hairline crack, an easy toilet repair is to use waterproof epoxy to seal the crack. If there is a crack where it bolts to the floor, you can try an epoxy seal there too. If that toilet repair doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to replace the toilet. 

Can you buy a replacement tank for a toilet?

Yes, you can purchase a replacement toilet tank at any home improvement center or hardware store. Replacing a toilet tank is a fairly easy toilet repair for DIY homeowners, saving you a service call to a plumber. 

It is essential to match the toilet tank with the toilet bowl, getting the same manufacturer brand and model so the installation goes smoothly and the toilet functions correctly. Nothing can be worse than finishing a toilet repair and finding that you’re still having the same problem, or worse, another problem! 

Where can I get replacement toilet parts?

Any hardware store or big box chain home improvement store will have toilet parts and toilet repair kits for the internal parts of the tank. You can also purchase for retail plumbing supply stores, where you’ll be able to get experienced plumber guidance. 

Do toilet repair kits come in different sizes? 

Yes, there are different sizes when it comes to toilet repair kits. Not all brands of toilets are the same and within the different brands, the toilets are often different too. When everyone is having to ‘jiggle’ the handle to stop the toilet from running, there are several toilet repair kits to choose from. 

Each one will have a chart or guidelines on what toilet it fits and information on how to replace a toilet repair kit. This can include information on how to repair toilet flange and other parts within the tank. You can also find a plethora of online videos that can walk you through the process of toilet repairs. 

plumber performing toilet repairs

The Big Question About The Household Throne

How do I buy a replacement toilet? And how do I choose a replacement toilet? Every homeowner will find themselves asking this question sooner or later. We will flush a toilet over 100,000 times in our lives. The toilet uses up to 30% of the water in our home. A few facts you’ll want to consider when purchasing a replacement toilet: 

  • Gravity-assisted toilet – the common type in most homes. The height and weight of the water in the tank facilitate the  flush. 
  • Pressure-assisted toilet –  there is an active mechanism that facilitates he flush using gravity to force the flush.
  • Vacuum-assisted toilet –  This type uses a vacuum to draw water with force into the bowl using the holes around the rim of the upper toilet bowl. 

There are one-piece model toilets that have an integrated bowl and tank, creating a compact unit. These are easier to clean and ideal for small bathrooms with limited space. Then there is the standard two-piece model, separate bowl and tank that fit together and is often less expensive than the one-piece style.

When it comes to the seat, there is an elongated shape and a round shape and then there is toilet height to be considered. If you have a home with small children, the standard 14” to 15” height would be recommended. The most comfortable toilets are 17” to 19” tall from the floor. You’ll need to measure the rough-in for your new toilet as well. This is the space between the outlet pipe of the toilet and the wall behind it. There are several different sizes within the different models, the correct rough-in is important in getting the right size of toilet for years of happy flushing and hopefully minimal toilet repairs.