Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Plumbing Tips for Spring
Guest contributor Patricia Bonacorda

As spring approaches, it is time to get ready for warmer weather. There are plenty of items to check both inside and outside of the home. Here are some fast and easy ways to prevent plumbing problems from occurring after the seasons have changed.

Exterior Home Prep

Clean the gutters: It is important to head to the roof and clear out the gutters and downspouts. Throughout the winter, debris builds up which can lead to clogs. These blockages may cause water damage, mold growth or costly leaks. Cleaning out the area will prevent these problems.

2. Examine the sump pump: Spring can be a rainy time, so it is essential to make sure the sump pump is in working order. To test the pump, you’ll have to pour some water into the pit. The pump should start after a few seconds, eliminate the water and shut back off. If this does not occur, it is important to contact a plumber. This will prevent the pump from burning out.

3. Check the outside hose bibs and faucets: When the ground thaws, one should check outdoor faucets for drips and leaks. A pipe may have frozen over winter and will need to be repaired. Look here for guidance if you need to replace one.

Interior Home Prep

1. Examine toilets: It is vital to check a toilet for leaks. To do this, drop some food coloring into the tank and wait an hour to see if the bowl water changes color. If that happens, it means the toilet is leaking. This can waste a great deal of water and raise monthly water bills. A plumber can easily fix the problem. Also, it is important to make sure the toilet is properly flushing. If it is necessary to wiggle the handle, it’s time to replace one or more of the parts inside the tank — they’re usually inexpensive.

Clean the showerhead: Many homes have water filled with minerals that deposit over time. Vinegar can be used to open the clogs in a showerhead and return it to like-new condition. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and secure it around the showerhead. After soaking overnight, the mineral deposits should be gone.

3. Tend to drains: It is essential to make sure all drains have strainers that prevent clogs. Bathroom pipes can collect hair and soap, and kitchen pipes may collect pieces of food. These can lead to blockages that must be opened by a plumber. For the do-it-yourself person, try these methods on how to clean and unclog drains without the use of chemicals or fancy tools.

4. Inspect all pipes: Bathroom and kitchen sinks often have pipes you can easily see by opening the cabinets underneath. It is vital to inspect all pipes for leaks. Replacing damaged pipes will avoid expensive water damage.

5. Check the washing machine and dishwasher: The washing machine and dishwasher are two appliances that contain many hoses. Check for bulges or leaks in these hoses, and if there are any signs of weakness, or if the items are older than 10 years, it is wise to replace them. This will avoid messy leaks.

6. Inspect the water heater: It is essential to make sure the water heater's temperature setting is not above 120 degrees. This will prevent scalding and save energy. Also, when a home has a conventional tank-style appliance, it is important to drain a few gallons and flush away sediment that builds. This sediment causes corrosion and lowers efficiency. A tankless water heater should be flushed to remove deposits as well. Read and watch a video on the importance of water heater safety here.

The above tips are just a few easy ways to get your home ready for spring. Checking these things will help avoid costly water and repair bills, and certain items may be easily fixed without help. However, if the repairs seem too difficult, a qualified plumber will be able to solve the problem quickly and efficiently.

Author Bio:
Patricia Bonacorda is the President of Spartan Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, a plumbing and HVAC company that has assisted commercial restaurants and residential homes since 1964. Spartan Plumbing is a licensed, bonded and insured business that has provided professional plumbing, heating and air conditioning services throughout the DC Region.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm alive!

Yes I am and so can you be too, I just realized that the 3 million views of my videos has un doubtedly saved tens of millions of dollars. If everyone saved leaking water, that too is millions of gallons of water. If you consider a customer might save a hundred dollars not calling a plumber the total savings is quite high. Now what kind of plumber am I doing this to my industry? My fellow Plumbers have been understanding so far. The people who use my videos have already decided to DIY and some of them have decided to not diy after seeing just how involved the tasks can be. Other tasks like auguring a toilet is a task many homeowners and even renters have done to "save their ass" from landlord or spouse or parent or just an expense during the "Holidays" If we all just learn to conserve and share resources as well as sharing skills the world will be a better place. I really get a great feeling when replies to videos say thanks, even better when they tip the tip jar on the diy plumbing advice site. I am not sure what is better when I look online and learn something my self and save money,or when I get thanked for a "tip"on how to do... The spam is a drag, the tech mumbo jumbo and crashes are a drag, but the opportunity exists to optimize life to the best in any arena. The ability to use the internet will be key in future to how well get along and enter act with the emerging world. My vision of virtual plumbing was in 1997 and now it is close to what I visioned. With out personal affections the web is just "DOS", Graphic User Interface,(GUI) is the pretty part of a computer screen, the symbiotic parts of the online world are smart phones and such. You can now video shoot a plumbing task and send it to me and I can reply with a video on the solution. I was never a geek, still not, my web partner Bill is the geek doing the magic here, I am just content, as you are just viewer. How easy it will be in the future is yet to be seen, but I bet holographs will come to the smart phone... "Help me Ob-wan, your our only hope" is my dream to be asked as a virtual plumber. I will need to get that name... "Who you gonna call" ("Ghostbusters")Kinda thing.. As for movies and TV I have not subscribed to much of that, but I did watch "Max Headroom" and that was way ahead of its time so it was dumped. A bit of track for plumbing? not really, that is my point, learning to be virtual is a virtue! pun intended. This is how ever far one wants to take it, the ability is limited only by the willingness to learn how to do. I do not waste much time with anything that is not learning emerging or re learning where I was wrong. Making the day as net worthy as possible, I mean in ways to either be better, smarter, richer, or wiser. Oh, I forgot healthier too. at my age that is a given. What if we all had experts on speed dial so to speak, online answers to anything, anytime, anywhere?.... well we do, just use your voice control on your smart phone and ask the internet as you sit in any place... When I was a teen it was "Hee Haw" on TV, now it is E How online, a bit better I would say, wouldn't you? Buckle up because the next decade will be a great one, and don't let the "News" in the media steal your attention away from the tools you are now able to use, the "them" would rather you be scared and distracted than to be active learning how to operate in the new frontier. Don't be a slave to TV, be a participant in the WWW. Be well, Namaste and latter dude. Greg

Rain Water, how hard could it be?

RainWater is naturally soft, plants can hydrate much easier with rainwater than hard well water or hard tap water. This is why plants bloom and look so much better after a rain. So, all we need do, is use the plants that are regionally native in the landscapes we put around buildings. Or with plants that will live on just the rain, adaptive plants. Oh, did I hear you think, "it does not rain enough to support the landscape" ? My reply is we make it hard on ourselves when we want a landscape that is not native, in that we must augment the rain using a piping system and "Tap" water when we go outside of our regions plant natives. We make it hard to maintain an imported plant that is out of it's native environment. We make it "hard" by using hard water, and that is difficult for the plant to consume due to the hardness of the minerals in the water. Ok, you want a lush landscape, that can be done using native and adaptive plants. Other requirements do exist, like mulch, good soil, shade, and correct hydro zoning. Hydro zoning is planting and clustering plants in like areas requiring simular water, sun, and other. If irrigation is used, this grouping is smart so the plants needing water are together and plants needing to dry out between are allowed to do so. Looks are one thing, correct is another, both can co-exist, but good planning is required. Capturing rainwater is one way of creating a greener or more lush landscape with out using the hard and expensive tap water. Simple to do? depends on your definition of simple. Yes hire a professional ARCSA (American RainWater Catchment System Association)contractor, simple enough? Yes, simple enough for the consumer, but far more goes into a well designed and installed system than I thought, till I did a few systems. The water may be soft, but the task is a hard one. Some rules of thumb do exist, but most people want "turn & squirt" that's a play on words like "plug n play". We have come to just think water comes out when we open a faucet! When we stop the faucet, the water just sits there and waits for us to demand it some more. I say "demand it" because if the water does not squirt out instantly, we call plumbers till one shows up and are quite Impatient till the instant hot or cold and clean water just squirts out at our will. Water issues are already in most every town and city in most every country. The reason is the population has expanded, and the water system and capacity have not. Everyday wells go dry from too many wells sucking up all the water. Some wells do not dry up, instead the water just comes out from different levels of rock and aquifers. Too often this new source is very hard or even contaminated from either man caused reasons, or simply natural occouring deposits of non potable substances. Iron may seem easy to filter out, but if it oxidizes it will turn muddy and can foul up your pipes or treatment system. I hear people say, "oh, I will just drill a well and get all the water I want", this is not a sustainable thought, either because the well could drug up, or because if too many people do this the local authorities having control over water issues will set limits on who and how much or when and at what cost… In the 80's I saw the electric company in Az. require electric meters be installed on well systems and put a limit on the power that would be allowed to be used to pump the well water. The ground water is becoming an issue in most areas, most certainly going to be a controlled and limited source.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What have you been drinking?

What have you been drinking? I am glad the election is over, I have never liked elections or holidays, but I do believe in Santa Clause....."That's a joke son, Joke I said " as Foghorn would say... I do believe in peace and civility "Give it a chance I said" . Or was that Lennon? anyway the mild mannered method of Obama is one I like, and I am predicting things will be as he says, tough and long to recover from a fantasy crash in economy that was brought on by an absence of Gov. control on Banks! Yes I said lack of Gov. regulation being enforced on that free market of greed in Banking industry... As well as the fantasy on the homeowners who borrowed foolishly, they got buyers remorse when the fantasy value dropped...then walked.. Blame however is not what is needed it is accountability in Politics and policy makers that needs to be enforced. Most people seem to need control placed on them just like children. Plumbing code is my policy making area and I am doing two different styles right now, one is mandated code. The other is free market optional LEED system way of building.,. To pass exams in both LEED and Code it requires ability to think as one opposite then the other. I am learning a framework of thinking that is challenging and one that allows me to see clearly the assumptions myself and some people make in the architecture of there thinking... I see now some errors in my thinking style that I had before. Being able to remove one set of assumptions and trading them for another set is revealing in a way. I see that most assumptions are not really needed to begin with. Actually assumptions get in the way of clear thinking. I think the term "clear" thinking means clear of assumptions! Now that we have that settled, I am wanting to see both free market as one opposite and Gov. control as the other opposite. Where the free market is allowed to roam is one place, and where control is needed is a very different place. the ability to use both ways of thinking in concert is what it is going to take to fix the "Plumbing" of the USA. So why do we need to compromise politically? because one way is not the only way, what works on people in one area doesn't work on people in another. Example, Banks are subject to greed, as are Corporations. Control is needed. Where as censorship in Arts need not be controlled. The Arts are sold and money is part of the industry but the creation of Arts is not one of needing control. Greed in selling, loaning, owning, controlling needs control. Freedom of choice and expression is subject to both control and open with out control. Policy and laws apply here and there needs to be wisdom and responsibility to go along with freedom and the control too. Ethics are needed as are rules, as is freedom to express, what to do with the "Art" that offends? or the freedom to express in public ? Morals? or Laws? or "Shoot to bastard if he offends you" The right to have a gun, the responsibility to express your self with it in public? My question is why must we deny the correct voices in our minds when we have an urge something that is in need of self control? Is it because we want laws? do we want regret? do we not want to grow up? have we been taught the best ways to think to begin with? Do we learn from others or do we need to be punished for our own mistakes as we re invent the wheel of ethics our selves? I suggest we as a nation embrace or system and vote to apply responsibility and ethics our selves and demand it from our leaders. Let us remember who votes to send our jobs to China and who fights to the end for "Party Politics" and is not thinking with all aspects of the mind allowing one set of extreme values to bleed over to areas needing a totally different set of assumptions. Why must there be a party that wins and one that loses? why not both set of assumptions assume the same task of serving the people and not themselves or some billionaire special greedy interest. Like the Koch Bros.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From .12 cents to $2,000.00 in one canal.

Most have no idea that water travels 440 miles from Sacramento or from Az. to Ca. and at Parker Dam connection to Colorado River connection water is bought at .12 cents for an acre foot of water. When sold in San Diego sold around $2,000.00 an acre foot. Dead bodies have been in that water from "Wet backs" drowning in the "All American Canal" that is 240 miles long. They say yuck to Recycled Water from sewage, what do they know? All I want to say is water is not just a fluid that flows out when you touch a valve. Water is going to be sold by pre paid meters soon. This means the meter is programed by the amount you buy, then cuts off when amount has been delivered. This ability is now being used in many places around the world. Most people have no idea what is coming. I will be presenting at the Water Sense, Water Smart, Expo in Las Vegas next week and I will be presenting the idea that totally safe water is not cost effective to deliver to the country coast to coast. I suggest we put a warning label on it in the water bill saying "Warning" just like at the gas pump, just like on Liquor, like on dishes , like on Pharmaceuticals . Times are a changin, not just for us Bob Dylan fans but for real. Don't say I did not warn you.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Agent, 86 here, I am an Agent of change. My quest that I have excepted will not self destruct, for it is a sustainable quest. I should say endless instead, because my quest is not Green, for that is only academic. The real task is breaking the status quo...(KAOS).
 With my ph. in my ear, (blue tooth) I answer Google spam all day....and attempt to be a Pagan, (Sun worshiper). The Slick dudes, (KAOS) are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to these folks in DC to spin and drain the publics energy into a black hole. My sexy assistant has a cute hair do and a pencil skirt, she is untouchable, (as usual) and smarter than I am. Ling Ling is her name and she keeps me on task. I tend to fall for silly tricks but she saves me every time.
 This is not about the right thing or sustainability, it is about "the Them" AKA Kaos, they want world dominance and have tropical islands all to themselves. They are everywhere and you never know when they will be in a trash can listening to your shreded documents and monitoring your habits so to sell you more of the evil creature "The Fox." This Fox is controlled by a nameless horse with oily head dress. There is a network of these Foxes and they plot to help most people sleep, no not sheep (We are the sheep) they are the Fox and we are free to fall for all of the freedoms they offer.
 We have rights in this script, they are to think for ourselves (as long as it is on the menu) and Vote for the lullaby of our dreams.... The best part is they prove we are correct in our choice...The Fox has that job....Agent 99 says give it up Max you haven't got a chance, I realize she is right so instead of KAOS, I play in the yard today. Some day my agent 99 and I will listen to music and she will turn in her ear rings and me, my ear piece.

Friday, March 9, 2012

He didn't know anything about his house Plumbing, at all.......

He called for a "free estimate" I said well better than that I will tell you how much I will charge you to do each and everything you need. I asked, what do you need, he said his "bathroom dripped", "how much would you charge me to fix it" I replied, what do you mean? your bathroom drips? he said "well out of that thing where the water comes out it wont stop. I said The tub spout, the shower head the lavatory the toilet what? he said yea.... I said which one? he replied the shower. I said the shower head ? he said no the thing that the water comes out of, so I said the tub spout? he said yea like I was real dumb. I said is it a single handle or two or three handle tub and shower or just a tub and does it have a third handle in middle or is it a diverter spout....he did not know, he asked if I gave free estimates, I said yea I am trying to do that...finally I got out of him it was a single handle tub and shower and it had a diverter spout that dripped. whew, he had no idea how many handles/knobs in his Tub/shower ....So I told him $250 for parts and labor because I determined he had a $80 cartridge and wanted new handle and trim with spout. Then he asked for a price on a Lavatory faucet after me prying that out I asked is it a single handle 4" one piece faucet or one with separate hot and cold handles and 3 separate parts, Hot & Cold with a spout in the middle. This was too much for him but we worked out the nomenclature and he had a wide spread lav faucet that needed repair, I gave him a price excluding a service charge since the $250 quote already had that in it. So, I said $100 for the Widespread repair. he said "you mean you want $350 dollars just to fix two drips?" I said yes I do, parts labor ,tax service call included with my million dollar insurance and 35 yrs. experience. He after having to drag his totally unknowing mind thru what it was he needed he said "oh that is too much" I said too much! you haven't even a clue what it is we are talking about doing how long of time and cost of parts (OEM Domestic). but you know that is too much? I said you don't know anything about Plumbing do you? he said "not a thing" I said then how do you know I am not giving you the parts for cost and working for minimum wage? "cause your a Plumber", "You over charge". I said I am sorry you are in the same bad economy as I am, I know how it is. so he responded, " so you will do it for half of that?" I said no, I cant do it at all for you. You are not being realistic, call another Plumber to get a price or wait till you find out how much it will actually cost at the end of the task.

This is a very common conversation to a Plumber from a consumer, my point is? I earn my money, most people prejudge too often and assume others are in a better world, we are not, we are all in this together.


thanks for listening, I feel better now, oh Lawyers are the the real crooks! right?