They become a member of your family! Jane Cohen
Whether you live in Middletown, Myersville or Brunswick, you probably do your part to keep your city looking beautiful by maintaining your lawn and the exterior of your home. But what some homeowners don’t think about is that how we take care of the inside of our homes can effect the the city as well. If you flush things down your toilet that aren’t supposed to be flushed, clogged pipes can happen not only in your own home but also in the municipal sewer system — and some things can even cause damage to municipal sewage treatment facilities.
To do what’s best for your home’s plumbing system, your city’s plumbing system, and the environment, it’s imperative that only toilet paper and human waste be flushed down your toilet. That means the following items should not be flushed.
That’s right, even though they say “flushable”, these wipes cause big trouble for toilets and septic systems. They pile up in residential pipes and cause trouble for sewage treatment centers, so put these in the trash can whenever possible.
The cotton in cotton balls is NOT the same as that in toilet paper. It will clump together and cause clogs in your pipes.
You’ve seen the commercials where someone soaks up a whole counter full of liquid with a paper towel. Paper towels are not made to dissolve in water.
We’ve all reached for a tissue when we’ve found ourselves with an empty roll of toilet paper, but the truth is that Kleenex and Puffs do not dissolve in water well enough to be flushed.
Floss doesn’t dissolve, and it will get stuck and tangled in pipes and sewage systems and can even prevent fats, oils, and other materials from flowing through.
No drugs should ever be flushed for environmental reasons. Sewage systems have a hard time breaking down medications, so they end up in lakes, oceans, rivers, and ponds.
Some litter brands market themselves as flushable, but since cat feces contain a parasite call toxoplasma gondii, it’s just not healthy for the environment. The sewage systems can’t break the parasite down so it can enter the oceans and cause harm to wildlife.
These are meant to absorb liquid. If you’ve ever seen a baby try to swim in a regular diaper, you can imagine how quickly a diaper can clog pipes. So place both diapers and feminine products in the trash.
We love helping Frederick County homeowners with their plumbing problems, but this is one issue where we’d like to prevent you from having to call us! Don’t put anything in the toilet besides toilet paper, and you’ll be doing your part to keep Frederick County water clean.
Most of us are aware of the benefits of limiting water usage. It’s better for the Earth, and it can cut down on your water bills. If it’s time to replace your toilets or if you’re just looking to install a water-saving toilet in your Frederick County home, here are a few that you might want to consider.
A power or pressure-assist toilet works with a combination of water and compressed air for greater flushing power. There’s a pressure tank inside that works like a big water balloon: Water fills the tank and stays there under pressure, and when the flush valve opens, pressure and gravity create a strong flush. This type of toilet does the best job of clearing the bowl of solid waste, but it’s noisy and more expensive than some of the other water saving options.
You’re probably familiar with the way a gravity toilets works since it’s very similar to the type that most of us have been using all our lives. Gravity toilets rely on gravity to pull waste and water into the sewer system. When you flush, a valve opens and the water inside the toilet tank moves into the toilet bowl. Water and waste move down quickly out of the toilet, past the drain and into the sewer system. The difference between a standard toilet and a gravity toilet comes in when it comes to water usage. The newest gravity toilets have an adjustable water level allowing you to change the flushing power as needed, but they can clog easily so you have to make sure nothing gets flushed besides toilet paper.
These models cost slightly more than gravity toilets but are not as expensive as pressure-assist toilets. Their biggest plus is that they provide a powerful flush using vacuum technology. In the porcelain tank, there’s a vacuum tank that connects to the trapway. When someone flushes, water flowing from the tank creates suction in the vacuum tank and trapway to help suck waste out of the bowl. In lab tests, vacuum assist toilets cleared more waste than gravity toilets but not as much as pressure-assist models.
Putman Plumbing technicians can give you advice on the water-saving toilet that’s right for your home and your budget. Just give us a call to speak to a trusted Frederick County plumber today.
Millions and millions of flushes – requiring an amount of water equal to seven minutes of water flowing over the Niagra Falls.
So can all that flushing at once wreak havoc on our sewer systems? Well Frederick County has never experienced such a problem, but after a 16-inch pipe burst in Salt Lake City in 1984 during half time, there is a theory that lots of simultaneous flushing can cause big problems with municipal sewer systems. According to city workers in Utah’s capital that year, however, the pipe was old and probably would have ruptured regardless of the time of day.
The truth is that our city sewer systems are made to withstand large volumes of water that are used every day. Each weekday morning, we all get up and take showers and flush toilets in the same time span, and there are no pipes bursting or other major problems caused from that. So no, everyone flushing at once is not going to cause most plumbers on call to miss the rest of the game.
We at Putman Plumbing see the same problems after the Super Bowl game as we see after every large gathering.
Try to avoid these problems and hopefully you won’t need us!
Enjoy the party on Sunday, but if you run into any big problems, give us a call. We’ve been a trusted Middletown plumbing company for many years, and we’ll be happy to help.
The kids of Middletown and surrounding cities still have a few week left until school starts, and we know what that means: your toilet is still getting a lot of extra action. As if summer water bills aren’t already high enough, if your family is flushing twice to get rid of all their “business,” your water bill is even higher. So what’s the solution for a stubborn toilet? It could be something easy or it could be a tough job that a plumbing expert should handle. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Low flush toilets are supposed to save water, but if they don’t create enough suction to do their job, you end up having to flush twice and using more water. You might want to think about replacing it with a better model.
Many areas in Maryland have hard water filled with calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cling and clog the pathways that lead water from the tank into the toilet bowl. When there’s not enough water in the bowl, the toilet can’t flush enough waste down. Don’t rush into pouring harsh chemicals into the toilet to try to get rid of hard water stains. Talk to a plumber to see what an easy, safe fix might be. If hard water seems to be the problem, you may want to look into a whole house water softener.
If you have an old flapper, it can crack and let tank water leak into the bowl. When it’s time to flush, there’s not enough water in the tank to force the waste down the drain. You might try replacing your flapper.
If your toilet flushes all the way when you hold the handle down, but not if you let it go, try shortening the chain. It could just be that the chain is too long so the flapper closes too early to let enough water fill the bowl.
A toilet drain can be clogged for several reasons. If you’ve been using “flushable” wipes, they don’t always dissolve and can be compacted into a large ball that blocks water from getting through. If you have kids, chances are paper towels or other things that aren’t supposed to be flushed could be the culprit. You can try using a plunger and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, you may need a plumber to come out and snake your drain.
There could also be a tree root that has grown into your plumbing pipes, which would require immediate attention. The only way to know for sure is to have a skilled plumber investigate. Using a plumbing camera inspection, a plumber can determine the location and reason for the clog and fix the problem quickly.
Putman Plumbing would be happy to help figure out your problem. Give us a call and soon you’ll be enjoying fewer flushes and lower water bills!
If you’re planning on building a home, your first concern is probably how you want it to look. But besides choosing bricks, doors and windows, you’ll need to decide how you want the inside of your home to function. Starting from scratch is a great time to think about some of the new energy efficient options that are available in plumbing.
Most pre-existing homes operate on a standard gas or electric hot water heater tank, with the size of the tank being determined by the number of residents that will live there. The hot water lines are then ran from the tank to bathrooms, the kitchen, and laundry room. But since standard water heaters keep 30-50 gallons of water hot all the time, sometimes while you’re not even home, they can waste a lot of energy. And often, if the bathroom or kitchen is some distance from the hot water heater, the water at the faucet needs to run for a few minutes for the hot water to reach its destination. Obviously, traditional water heaters are not the most energy efficient option.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are about 40% more energy efficient than most. They are 90% smaller than the average standard model, and they last 5-10 years longer. By warming the water only at the point where it’s needed, such as for a shower, the dishwasher, or the washing machine, you can save a substantial amount on energy bills.
Tankless point of use water heaters are available in gas and electric. The electric versions are a third of the size of the gas option, making it possible to install them in any location throughout the house, such as under sinks where hot water is needed quickly. Electric units cost less initially, and there is no need to run ventilation or gas lines. But the cost of installing electrical circuits for each point of use during construction is comparable to the cost of running hot water plumbing lines. You can talk to a licensed plumber about their recommendations for tankless hot water heater models.
It’s hard to believe some toilets made prior to 1992 used up to five gallons of water every time you flushed. Considering that toilets account for 30% of a home’s water, imagine how high that water bill would be, especially if you have a big family! Since you’ll be choosing toilets to go into your new home, take a look at some of the models that use only around a gallon per flush.
Today, you can find hundreds of toilet manufacturers that make high-efficiency toilets, and many of them are quieter than before. You can find dual flush systems as well, which can flush liquid and solid waste separately.
Don’t just settle on the bathroom fixtures that your builder suggests. Take your time and figure out what will save you money – and be better for the Earth- in the long run.
Be sure to research which faucets and shower heads use the least amount of water per minute. High-efficiency faucets have a flow rate of no more than 1.5 gallon per minute (gpm), while high-efficiency shower heads use no more than 2 gpm.
When it’s time to make plumbing choices for your new home in Middletown or any other town in Frederick County, give Putman Plumbing a call. You can trust us to make recommendations you won’t regret.
Moms dedicate their lives to keeping everyone else happy. So if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your wife or mom this Mother’s Day, consider a few things that will make her happy and comfortable all year long — she deserves it!
If your mother is older, replacing her toilet with a comfort height toilet could make her time in the bathroom a lot easier. These taller toilets provide two extra inches so mom doesn’t have to sit so low. Installing a grab bar on the wall near the toilet can help too.
Does your wife love massages? It may be hard for her to make time to go get a massage often, but she’d probably love a new shower head with a built in massager. You could also splurge on her and have a jetted tub installed.
We all know how busy life is with kids, so cooking quick, easy meals is a necessity. An instant hot water heater eliminates the need to boil water, so pasta or hard boiled eggs can be ready in minutes. And a new faucet with a sprayer can make rinsing dishes so much easier.
If she’s constantly filling up a filtered water pitcher, think about installing a filtered water dispenser near your faucet. Endless drinkable water is something everyone will enjoy.
Has your mom never had the luxury of having a dishwasher or garbage disposal? Now may be a great time to spoil her. Both can be installed quickly with the help of a plumber.
Have everyone pitch in to help mom on Mother’s Day. Clean up breakfast. Do the dishes. Fold laundry. Give her a break, and let her know how much she’s appreciated every day of the year.
Putman Plumbing wishes all the moms in Frederick County a Happy Mother’s Day!
Have you ever thought about what life would be like without a toilet in your home or warm running water? It would mean a freezing cold walk to a stinky outhouse in the winter, and a frigid bath at any time of year.
But due to some pretty smart fellows back in the 1800’s, we’re lucky enough to ease our way into our days with fresh smelling bathrooms and hot showers. It’s no surprise that a day has been reserved to annually thank those guys who developed modern plumbing. Today, April 25th, is National Hug a Plumber Day.
Let’s take a look at how far plumbing has come in the last couple of centuries:
If you see a plumber this weekend or any time soon, give him or her a hug (or a handshake). They dedicate their days to making our lives a lot more pleasant than they could have been!
And if you find yourself with leaky faucets, strange smells, or cold showers, give Putman Plumbing a call.
1. You see a leak at the base of the toilet when you flush it.
Most likely, the wax gasket between the drain pipe flange and the toilet should be replaced. This requires pulling up the toilet, so make sure to hire a plumber who can get in and out quickly so your family can get back to their business.
2. There’s a ghost flushing your toilet. (This always freaks the kids out.)
If you hear the water start to run for a few seconds when no one is using it, there’s probably a flapper that is leaking or poorly fitted, or a refill tube that’s too long. A corroded or worn flapper seat will cause water to trickle from the tank into the toilet bowl. After an hour or so of this, the water level in the tank drops, causing the fill valve to kick on. If the water line that runs from the base of the fill valve to the inside of an overflow tube that’s too long, this can also happen. New fill valves come with a special clip that holds the tip of the water line up so the water will stay in the tank. A knowledgeable plumber can let you know which valves will work best for your toilet.
3. Your toilet doesn’t finish its flush.
When the flapper valve gets waterlogged over time, it can flop down too quickly. Or, the chain running from the flapper valve to the flush handle could be too tight. If this is the case, you can adjust the chain one link at a time to the right fit.
Another solution is that the water level in the tank could be too low. You could modify the fill valve so extra water enters the tank, but if you have an older low flush toilet, it probably just doesn’t have enough power to flush the bowl fully. Consult a good plumber for suggestions on a newer model.
4. The water level in the toilet bowl keeps going down.
When you flush, the water in the bowl rises. If it falls back down, that’s a problem. The toilet could be partially clogged, causing a siphon and pulling water from the bowl. Or much worse, there could be a crack or defect within the colon of the toilet, which means it’s time for a new toilet.
A toilet is something your family can’t live without. If it’s not working properly, give Putman Plumbing a call at 301-371-4395.
If you never got around to some of the home updates you wanted to make in 2014, make a resolution to get them done in the New Year. Doing it for the environment is a great reason to make changes, but you’ll also enjoy not having to pay as much for your energy bills.
Starting on April 15th of 2015, the government will require that all new water heaters abide by updated energy standards. This means that from now on, all water heaters 55 gallons or less must meet an Energy Factor of at least 0.95. Builders of new homes and anyone looking to replace an old water heater in their current home will need to purchase one of these efficient models.
According to Energy.gov, the second largest energy expense in your home is the water heater. So while a new energy efficient water heater will initially cost you more to purchase, the financial savings you’ll see in upcoming years will make up for it. There are also various rebate and tax incentives to buying certain Energy Star certified heaters.
Toilets account for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. If your toilets use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, consider replacing them with high-efficiency or ultra low flush models that use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush. Another option is the dual-flush toilet that you may have seen commercially, which has a flush button on the bottom for liquid waste and a flush button on top for solid waste.
You can cut your shower water use by up to 70 percent by installing an ultra-low-flow showerhead. Many of the older showerheads use more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while the newer showerheads use only two gallons per minute. Using ultra-low-flow showerheads will also save you money on your energy bills by reducing the demand on your water heater.
If we can help to make your home more energy-efficient in 2015, give us a call. Have a safe and happy New Year!
School’s out, and that means your bathroom is seeing a lot more action. If your family uses flushable wipes, your toilet and pipes could be majorly clogged by the time fall comes. Why? Because flushable wipes are, well, not so flushable.
When regular toilet paper is flushed, it disintegrates almost instantly as it moves through your plumbing system. But despite their name, flushable wipes don’t dissolve as easily, so when they’re being used frequently, they can pile up and form into a ball that will clog your whole system.
According to the Frederick News-Post, Frederick County dealt with at least two sewer overflows last year which were caused by debris such as personal wipes. And when Consumer Reports did a test on flushable wipes, they found that after 30 minutes of simulated swirling (just like a toilet bowl) the wipe was still intact. The wipe showed no signs of even beginning to break down, making them no better than any other kind of wipe that you wouldn’t put in the toilet.
So what’s the solution if you want to keep your family clean? Go ahead and use “flushable” wipes, but tell the kids to put them in a lined waste can, just like you would do with baby wipes. You’ll have much more fun this summer if you’re not dealing with messy plumbing problems.
If you do find yourself with a problem, give us a call.