Expert Advice on Reducing Water Waste at Home

Water is something that we often take for granted; however, an area’s water usage can have an impact both on homeowner’s utility bills and the environment. In fact, by making efforts to reduce water waste in your home, you will not only reduce your monthly water bills but also help prevent water pollution in area lakes, rivers, and watersheds.

Reducing Water Waste at Home

Water conservation doesn’t have to be hard. With the expert tips below, you can be on your way to reducing water waste, saving money on your utilities, and doing your part to help the environment:

  1. Fix your leaks.

Do you have a leaky faucet you’ve been meaning to take care of? Maybe your shower has been dripping, but you just haven’t had the time to investigate. Leaks in your plumbing can cause a significant amount of water waste over time. This not only impacts the environment, but can also start to take a toll on your wallet after a while.

If you don’t have any visible leaks but have noticed a jump in your recent water bill, there are a few ways that you can check for leaks in your home. Put a couple of drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If you start to see the color appear in the bowl within a half hour, this can indicate a leak. Another way to determine if you have a leak is to read your house water meter before and after a one- to three-hour period when no water is used. If you see a change in the meter reading, this could mean that you have a leak.

If you suspect that you have a leak in your plumbing, contact us right away. If you don’t take care of the leak right away, the wasted water will quickly add up.

  1. Take shorter showers.

Though this may seem like a fairly obvious tip, taking shorter showers can really help your household cut down on water waste. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the shower is the third biggest water waster in the average home, just after toilets and clothes washers. In fact, the average American shower lasts for about 8 minutes, using up about 17 gallons of water per shower.

Taking shorter showers is a free and easy way to reduce water waste and save more money on your water bills. Try keeping your shower down to around 5 minutes. If you find that your shower takes a long time to heat up, you can use a bucket to collect the cold water and use it for cleaning or watering the plants.

  1. Choose efficient fixtures.

Another way to reduce water waste is by installing water efficient fixtures such as low-flow shower heads. These fixtures help you save water over time by using less water. Typically, a low-flow system means that it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute. While your standard plumbing fixtures can use up to ten gallons for every minute it’s in use.

Though you’ll certainly want to call a plumber if you are installing a new, water efficient toilet, a water-saving shower head or low-flow faucet aerator can be easy to install yourself. They are also a very affordable solution for helping your family save more water on a daily basis.

Got a Plumbing Problem?

If you notice that your water bill has suddenly spiked, it could be a problem with a leak in your plumbing. Not only do leaky pipes waste water, but they can also cause your utility bill to skyrocket. If you think that you may be experiencing a leak, it’s time to call in the experts at McLay Services. Contact us today: (909) 326-6106.  

What You Probably Don’t Know About Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposers are an often underrated kitchen appliance. Properly utilizing a garbage disposer will keep your kitchen plumbing in working order for many years longer than a kitchen without a disposer. It can prevent excessive buildup of old foods, oils and other waste products that can be carelessly or accidentally dropped down drains. This can also help expedite your dishwashing and rinsing routine.

Though they can be a lifesaver in terms of cooking and plumbing, there’s a lot that is misunderstood about garbage disposers. At McLay Services, we understand the importance of garbage disposers and to help our La Verne neighbors maintain a healthy plumbing system, we’ve put together a list of garbage disposer FAQs.

Common Questions Regarding Garbage Disposals

Is it really called a garbage disposal?

Despite common belief, the correct way to refer to your waste disposal system is garbage disposer. While most people call it a garbage disposal, industry experts have always known the proper name for this useful kitchen appliance. Next time your friends or family refer to it as a garbage disposal, you’ll be able to provide them with a bit of trivia.

What can I do to sharpen my garbage disposer?

There are many products sold and services offered to help tune-up a garbage disposer. However, there is a simple solution to sharpening your garbage disposer blades to maximize its effectiveness – ICE! Simply running ice from an old soft-drink or from your freezer through your disposer will help to sharpen its blades and keep it running smoothly. Run a tray of ice cubes through your garbage disposer once a month or more to ensure that it can handle whatever workload may come over the following month.

Are there any other brands other than Insinkerator?

Another common myth among La Verne homeowners is that the only brand of garbage disposers is Insinkerator. While Insinkerator has an impressive legacy in the industry, Moen has a product that surpasses its competitors in multiple categories –

  • Reaches top speed quicker
  • Takes up less footprint and is lighter
  • Higher top speed
  • Anti-Jam design
  • Convenient mounting technology
  • High torque performance

What should I not put in the garbage disposer?

It is not recommended to place hard, sharp or fibrous objects into a garbage disposer other than ice. Foods like celery, bone-in meats, pits, coffee grounds, oils, pasta, egg shells and fruit and vegetable skins are best placed directly into the waste bin.

How do I fix my broken garbage disposer?

Troubleshooting a garbage disposer is relatively simple as they are fairly user-friendly and don’t run into many common issues. The most common problem that arises with garbage disposers is a jam. To check a jam, be sure that the disposer is switched off AND unplugged. Objects like bones and silverware can sneak their way into a garbage disposer. You may also have to reset your garbage disposer, which is often located underneath the unit.

For more information on the Moen garbage disposer system, or for questions regarding the servicing of your garbage disposer, plumbing or HVAC systems, feel free to reach out to McLay Services at the number above.

 

The Benefits of NuvoH2O Water Softeners

Water softeners can benefit homeowners by extending the life of their plumbing and appliances. But not all water softeners are created equal. In fact, on average, traditional water softeners dump about 150 gallons of heavy salt brine water into septic and sewer systems each week. This can allow large amounts of sodium to leak into fresh water supply, which can pose a serious threat to both the environment and human health.

The good news is that there is an alternative to salt-type water softeners. The NuvoH2O water softener uses an innovative process to eliminate the harsh effects of hard water without the harmful impact that traditional water softeners can have on the environment. Read on to find out more about what the NuvoH2O system is and what benefits it can provide homeowners just like you.

What is the NuvoH2O Water Softener?

The NuvoH2O Water Softener is a hard water softening and conditioning system with an innovative, environmentally-friendly design. This system works to deliver soft, clean water to your home that can easily rinse from surfaces without leaving behind residue. The system works by preventing calcium and magnesium in your water from forming hard water scale deposits in your plumbing, pipes, and water heaters, which can cause clogged faucets and shower heads as well as a loss of water pressure and other issues. According to one study by Battelle, the NuvoH2O system effectively prevented over 98% of scale formation over a 2.2 year testing period.

Not only does the NuvoH2O system prevent scale build-up, but it is also effective at removing existing scale and improving energy efficiency. The Battelle study found that water heaters treated with NuvoH2O showed a 25% shorter time in getting to a steady state of operation, as compared with those that were left untreated. Scale on untreated water heating systems acts as a barrier to heat transfer. This means that it takes longer for untreated systems to heat the water, which reduces energy efficiency and can cause an increase in energy costs.

Benefits of NuvoH2O Water Softener System

The NuvoH2O Water Softener System offers homeowners many benefits that they may not experience with traditional water softeners:

  • Your family can enjoy naturally conditioned water. The NuvoH2O water softener system allows you and your family to enjoy water that is full of healthy minerals without using salt or wasting water or electricity.
  • These water softeners help increase the lifespan of your appliances and hot water heater. This system protects your appliances from the damaging effects of hard water scale deposits, which can cause issues with your appliances and plumbing.
  • Cleaning becomes much simpler. It can be difficult to remove stubborn hard water deposits. The process often involves using harsh chemicals which can impact your living environment. With the NuvoH2O system, cleaning becomes much easier.

If you are interested in learning more about the NuvoH2O system or you want to purchase a whole house water filter or softener system for your home, contact McLay Services today. Our team would be happy to answer your questions, address your concerns, and install the right system for you.

How to Tell if Your Home’s Water Is Safe to Drink

The city of Flint, Michigan, recently made national headlines when the EPA revealed residents had been drinking water contaminated with lead. What’s worse, city officials knew about it and did little to stop it. When you can’t trust government officials to assure the quality of your drinking water, it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

Water Testing Kits 101

A quick internet search yields dozens of results for testing water quality. Each kit is designed to test for different contaminants from various water sources.

Well Water Test Kits

If you get water from a private well, choose a kit that tests for the most common well water contaminants: iron, copper, bacteria, pesticides, lead, nitrates, pH, and hardness.

EPA-Approved Test Kits

The Environmental Protection Agency offers kits that test for bacteria, lead, and pesticides as well as iron levels, alkalinity, chlorine, copper, nitrates, and pH.

Some kits are do-it-yourself models, equipped with everything you need for testing. More comprehensive kits require that you send water samples into a lab, where results will be mailed to you within six business days.

Why Should I Test My Water?

Water quality is a central feature of your family’s health, and contaminants can adversely affect you in several ways:

  • High levels of lead in the water are associated with heavy metal toxicity and neurological problems in children.
  • High iron concentration in the water can cause gastrointestinal issues, particularly if you take iron supplements.
  • Over time, drinking water contaminated with arsenic can lead to cancer in the bladder, lungs, prostate, kidneys, and liver.
  • Radon is a naturally occurring substance that can lead to cancer when it contaminates your water supply.
  • When your water’s pH isn’t within normal range, it can lead to corrosion of your water pipes, releasing more heavy metals.

Warning Signs in Your Water

Many types of water contamination aren’t immediately identifiable by taste or smell. But these are signs that may signify trouble:

  • A strong chlorine taste or smell may mean your water treatment plant uses high amounts of the chemical to kill microorganisms and bacteria.
  • A metallic taste or orange color is a sure sign your water has too much iron.
  • Smell rotten eggs? It may be a symptom of too much sulfur or bacteria.
  • A musty or unusual taste or smell may be indicative of pesticides.

Other Reasons to Test Your Water

Consider testing your water if a member of your household is pregnant or less than six months old. Other reasons to test include increased turbidity (cloudiness) of your water supply, changes in color or odor, or family members experiencing recurrent episodes of gastrointestinal distress.

Water testing is relatively inexpensive and can provide your family with peace of mind. If your water is contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria, or pesticides, addressing the problem promptly can help prevent serious health consequences later.

If you have any other questions about testing your water or would like to speak to a plumbing expert, contact McLay today for more information.

When Do I Need to Call a Plumber?

The rise of digital tools like Pinterest and YouTube has homeowners taking a DIY approach to many aspects of home care. While this spirit is helpful for things like home décor and cleaning, plumbing is not an area where you want to take risks. Do you know what you can handle by yourself—and when it’s time to contact a professional?

That Stubborn Leaking Faucet

Do you have a leak that just won’t quit? We’ve all been victim to the drip, drip, drip of a kitchen or bathroom sink from time to time, but ignoring this problem could cost some serious money. Some leaks are easy to fix, but if your handy skills don’t seem up to the job, call a professional. Ignoring a leak can lead to a lot of wasted water. According to the EPA, a leak of one drip per second adds up to 3,000 gallons a year. What’s worse, a leak could be a sign of a bigger plumbing problem.

A Clogged Drain

If you step out of a shower that looks more like a soap-filled bathtub, it’s time to call a professional. A clogged drain is more than just an annoyance, it’s a sign of ineffective draining, which can lead to a full-on clog. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact a professional as soon as possible. Pulling out what you can reach from the clogged drain only buys time—a full snake will eliminate the problem.

Inconsistent Water Pressure

Does your shower pressure ebb and flow, making it a chore to get clean? When water is flowing inconsistently throughout your home, it could be a sign of a serious problem. If you have issues with just one faucet, mineral buildup could be to blame, but several fixtures may indicate a central supply issue. Professional plumbers know how to diagnose and correct the issue.

Your Toilet Seems Clogged

If your toilet backs up and a plunger doesn’t deliver, you may have an underlying problem. The blockage may be too big for a plunger to clear, and attempting to fix it yourself will only cause a bigger mess and potentially further damage to your plumbing. Make an emergency call to a professional to avoid this scenario.

Your Water Heater’s on the Fritz

It’s generally inadvisable to work on your water heater without proper experience: You could risk a scalding or burn injury. Simple adjustments may also become costlier if you don’t know what you’re doing. Leave this maintenance and repair to a professional.

Professional plumbing services can save you time and money in the long run. If you run into any of these scenarios, skip the DIY, and contact the experts at McLay.

Plumbing Facts and Stats

Plumbing has been around for more than 3000 years, and we still use the same materials they did. To think they had indoor plumbing 2000 years ago and toilet paper was invented in the 1800s, what were they using? Let’s not think of that right now, when was the last time you made sure all your pipes are working? Call us today and we can make sure everything is flowing perfectly.

McLay Services - CSLB License #: 751629 | McLay Enterprises Inc. CSLB License #997559

Save

Seasonal Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Your home’s plumbing is vitally important for ongoing comfort and sanitation. Each season, there are specific plumbing areas you can focus on that will help you prepare your home for the weather ahead.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance

In the fall, you’ll want to prepare your pipes for winter by making sure this maintenance checklist has been completed:

  • Outdoor spigots—Disconnect the water hose from your outdoor spigot. Drain any remaining water and cover the spigot with a Styrofoam insulation cover.
  • Water heater—Keep the temperature of the water heater at 120 degrees, flush it out to remove sediment and test the pressure of the water heater.
  • Gutter and sump pump—Clean debris from the gutters and get the sump pump and pit cleaned and inspected.

 

Spring Plumbing Maintenance

In the spring, it’s most important to check all your drains. You’ll want to check each of the following:

  • Slow leaks—A water meter reading is the most effective way to check for slow leaks around the home. Check the reading a couple hours after using your water.
  • Pipes—Look for leaks in all the pipes, such as watermarks or puddles. A plumber can help with this inspection.
  • Infrequently-used drains—For any drains that you don’t use often, pour a gallon of water down the drain. This will fill the trap and will prevent odors from entering the home. If any drains are slow, have them snaked.
  • Water-using appliances—The hoses on any appliances that use water, such as the washing machine and dishwasher, should be inspected for cracks, bulges and wear. Replace any that look worn.
  • Toilet bowl and tank—Check both the toilet bowl and the tank by putting a few drops of some food coloring in the toilet tank. You have a leak if food coloring appears in the bowl within 30 minutes.

Summer Plumbing Maintenance

In the summer, you’ll want to get your septic system inspected and prepare any sprinkler systems:

  • Have your septic system pumped whenever needed.
  • Keep track of the stoppages and the times between each one.
  • Schedule a snaking of the sewer main if tree roots regularly cause problems.
  • Consider removing any trees with problem roots to help avoid future plumbing problems.
  • Clean any embedded sprinkler system heads, and test them to make sure they’re working properly.

Plumbers are available to help you with maintenance each season. Getting proper maintenance performed on your plumbing can prevent costly and emergent problems down the line.

Follow us for additional information on heating, cooling and more.

What Should I Do If My Basement Floods?

Flooded basements are common in specific regions, especially during late winter and early spring, when snow and ice begins to thaw. Your basement can also flood due to bursting pipes, inclement weather or a shift in your home’s foundation. The fix for a flooded basement largely depends upon the cause.

Immediate Steps to Take After Your Basement Floods

A flooded basement can be alarming, and you often don’t have much time to react. Keep the following in mind as you try to address the situation.

  • Turn off electricity to area before wading through water.
  • Suck up water with a bucket or wet vacuum.
  • Call a basement contractor, sub-pump installer or foundation contractor.
  • Call a flood cleanup crew to clean and remove damaged items.
    Rip out and replace any fabric or carpeting.
  • Call an electrician if electrical items have been exposed to water.
  • Have a repairperson assess appliances before you operate them if they have been in standing water.
  • Remove valuable items until the basement is free of water.

How to Prevent a Basement Flood

There are certain steps you can take to help prevent your basement from flooding, by fixing any noticeable damage right away. Each type of damage requires specific course of action:

  • Windows and Vents—Fix the sealants around any damaged windows and vents. You can fix the sealant yourself or call a window installer or basement remodeler.
  • Foundation—Cracks and damage to the foundation should be fixed by a foundation repair specialist. The professional will determine the cause of the cracks and can repair the foundation.
  • Overly-Saturated Soil—Call a professional to assess your roof, gutters and landscaping. A landscaper can also create French drains, which aid in directing water away from the house.
  • Plumbing—For any plumbing issues, call an appliance repairperson or a plumber right away.

The Dangers of Flood-Damaged Basements

Homeowners can be exposed to mold and mildew when their basements flood regularly. These contaminants can lead to sneezing, eye and skin irritation, and stuffiness. Mold often exacerbates allergies, respiratory issues and asthma. Additionally, structural weakness can occur from frequent water damage to your home’s foundation. Not only do regular floods cost a lot to fix, but they also negatively affect your home’s value. According to MSN Real Estate, a home’s value can decrease by as much as 15% due to allergens alone.

Take steps to protect your basement from flooding, and by taking appropriate measures when your basement does flood, you can repair as much damage as possible.

Follow us for more tips and suggestions on heating, cooling and more.

Commercial vs. Residential Plumbing: Which Do I Need?

Many people assume that a plumber can work in both residential and commercial settings interchangeably. However, while there is some overlap between these two types, commercial plumbing requires a certain skillset that not all residential plumbers possess.

 

Consider the Size of Your System

Residential plumbers often excel at troubleshooting intricate problems in a residence’s plumbing system. Since they work in many different types of homes, they may be more familiar with certain details that many home plumbing systems possess. By comparison, commercial plumbers need to troubleshoot issues that affect a large number of daily users. They often need to work quickly in order to restore service to hundreds, or even thousands, of patrons. For many large jobs, you’ll want to take into consideration the following factors:

  • Industrial-grade pipes and fixtures
  • Complex plumbing system architecture
  • Higher potential for costly damages
  • Large commercial appliances

Additionally, if your commercial space has a large boiler, plumbing connected to industrial equipment, lift stations or site sewer lines, you will want to choose a commercial plumber over a residential one.

 

Flexibility

Since commercial spaces are often used by a large number of people each day, plumbers usually need to fix issues on a more flexible schedule. They may need to come after hours or on weekends in order to shut off plumbing without inconveniencing patrons. They also may need to set up temporary plumbing facilities as they work, if the commercial space is used at all hours or if the repairs take a number of days to complete. Residential plumbers often don’t service customers outside of traditional working hours, making commercial plumbers better equipped at servicing plumbing needs that may arise 24 hours a day and any day of the week.

 

Testing and Inspection

While all plumbers take specific tests in order to become licensed, there are certain codes that pertain only to commercial plumbing. Additionally, more testing and inspection often goes into commercial plumbing than residential. Since inspectors each cover certain entities that need to sign off in the approval process of a commercial plumbing job, it is important to find a commercial plumbing company that can be available for these inspectors when needed.

 

How to Choose Your Commercial Plumber

You’ll want to consider certain criteria in order to help you pick the right commercial plumber for your needs. Make sure the plumber is up to date on all codes and requirements. Choose a company that is available to handle large-scale emergencies at any time of the day or night. It is also a good idea to pick a full-service provider that handles inspections, diagnostics, checkups, upgrades, installations, cleaning and system maintenance.

Follow us for additional information on plumbing, heating, cooling and more.

Toilet Tank Condensation Problems and Fixes

Toilet tank condensation may not seem like a big deal at first, but it can quickly lead to bigger problems. Water can seep into the floor and eventually cause the floor framing and sub-floor to rot. Additional problems include soggy drywall and mold and mildew growth on the walls and baseboard.

Condensation occurs whenever damp, warm air meets a cold surface. Lowering the temperature of the tank is one way to avoid this problem. A faulty flapper causes cool water to trickle constantly through the toilet, which makes the tank colder. You can replace the flapper and valve for less than $25 if you do the work yourself.

If your flapper is working the way it should, you can try insulating the toilet tank. A local home improvement center should have kits available for approximately $20. The problem with this solution is the time and hassle involved in installing the insulation. You will have to cut the foam panels to the right size, empty the water out of the tank and glue the panels to the inside walls of the tank.

Taking shorter showers with cooler water is one way to lower the humidity in the bathroom during the summer when the weather is hot and humid. After your shower, leave the bathroom door open and turn the fan on to exhaust the humid air. Waiting to flush the toilet until the room has dried out is another way to keep the tank from filling with cold water when the conditions are ideal for condensation to occur.

If your toilet is old, you can consider installing a low-flow toilet. This type of toilet requires less water per flush, so you will simultaneously reduce your water usage. By investing a little more, you can purchase a toilet with an insulated tank. If you want to avoid having to replace the entire toilet, you can swap out the old tank for a new one that comes with insulation installed at the factory.

You can save thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs by using any of these tips to eliminate toilet tank condensation.

Follow us for more articles on home plumbing solutions.