Do You Know These Dishwasher Rules?

4446199_sThere are many important appliances in your home, and they all play a big role in making sure you are able to get your household tasks done each day – efficiently.

This is especially helpful during the summer months, when you have a million things to do that are much more fun than clean the house. Not to mention the extra housework of having guests or hosting summertime events.

Many homeowners have a backyard that is well-manicured and conducive to having outdoor cookouts with friends and family over. These gatherings are a great way to spend time with people you may not have time to connect with during other times of the year – but, they also generate a lot of extra dishes.

Having a properly working dishwasher is essential to efficient clean-up of your kitchen after one of these events. And, it can make all the difference for you in spending time with your guests vs. being trapped in the kitchen with a sinkful of dishes.

But, your dishwasher must be properly maintained in order to work efficiently and not add more work to your day. Here are some tips:

Use quality soap and cleaning products in your dishwasher. And, when you can, make sure to use powdered soap instead of gel. The gel does not rinse as clean, and will leave behind a small layer of buildup. Over time, that buildup will begin to grow bacteria, and will wear down the gasket that seals the door of your dishwasher.

Never put items in your dishwasher that will break down during the wash cycle. Things like styrofoam, takeout containers, and plastic containers with paper labels will all break down while the dishwasher is running, and leave behind deposits in the mechanisms.

Resist the temptation to put items in the dishwasher that are still dirty. If your dishes have food particles on them, those food particles will get left behind in the dishwasher and will cause clogs in the washing mechanisms and filter. This will not only will this leave subsequent loads of dishes unclean but, it will cause your dishwasher to break down much faster.

 

3 Spring Plumbing Tips

27544058_sNow that the spring is upon us, it’s time to start moving away from those winter plumbing tips and adjust our action plan.

Each season has a different list of priorities for your plumbing system, because each season has a different kind of weather.

During the winter months, the fear for your plumbing system is that pipes will crack or break due to freezing. And, during the spring season, it is the perfect time to check on your plumbing system to see if any of those fears came to life.

As you are putting together your list of spring project to-dos, make sure you add the following spring plumbing tips:

  • Walk around the outside of your home and look for broken hose bibs that may have been caused by broken pipes. When your hose bib has water left in it and the water freezes, it will expand and crack open the pipe from the inside out. Once the spring season is upon us, the frozen water will thaw and start sputtering and spraying. So, it is important to check on these as soon as the sun pokes through the clouds.
  • Check the faucets outside of your home and replace all of the gaskets. During the winter months, the gaskets can get worn down and cracked so, replacing them gives your faucet a new lease for the spring and summer months. This is also a great way to eliminate any drips or leaks that could cause your water bill to go way off budget.
  • Check all of the faucets in and out of your home for mineral deposit build-up. The build-up can cause your water pressure to diminish making it much more difficult to efficiently water and bathe. To easily remove the mineral build-up, you can simply soak your faucets in a bowl of white vinegar and water. Or rubber band a bag of vinegar to the faucet and let it soak.

Spring time plumbing tips are very different than winter tips. Make sure that you are keeping your plumbing in good shape in accordance with the seasons and the weather. These tips should help!

5 Simple Water-Saving Tips

17923596_sSaving money each month is a priority for all of us. Anywhere that we can scrimp and save without going too far overboard – we do it.

This time of year, saving money can have a real impact because this is when most people start to plan their summer fun getaways. Things like camping trips, vacations, and weekend getaways are all favorite ways to celebrate the summer sun months.

The utility bills in your home can fluctuate quite a bit each month depending on use. For instance, your water heater can be blamed for 60% of your total power bill each month. So, the less hot water you use, the lower your power bill is going to be.

This is important math to be thinking about as you are taking showers, washing laundry, and filling up the dish sink.

Thankfully, there are many ways that you can reduce the amount of water – both hot and cold – that your household uses each month. Some of these tips are easily implemented, and others take a bit of finesse and coaxing:

  • Fill up the sink with water or a small bucket when shaving. Don’t shave in the shower or with the bathroom faucet running.
  • Plug the drain before you turn the water on to fill the tub. Allowing the cold water to run down the drain is just a waste. Instead the cold water that comes out first can mix with the hot water that comes out later to make the tub water warm.
  • Don’t defrost meat in water in the sink. Instead, use a meal plan so you know what you are fixing in advance, and then defrost the meat that you need in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Use a bowl to wash fruits and vegetables. Then, use the water in the plants or to water your pets.
  • Do not spray the driveway or walkway clean. Instead, use a broom to clean these areas.

Planning your trips now helps to make sure that you have everything that you need including supplies, luggage, and budget. One way that you can ensure your summer fun budget is plentiful is to save money on your monthly utility bills.

 

 

Do You Have These Three Plumbing Tools?

18650418_s (1)When you think about plumbing tools that you should have around the house, the first thing that comes to mind is a plunger. This is a great tool that can quickly save a person from having a major inconvenience – and mess – on their hands.

Most homes have a toilet plunger. Some even have a sink plunger. This is the smaller version of a toilet plunger and only used for clearing clogs from sinks.

But, very few homes have tools other than these items. In fact, unless a person in the home is a plumber or a very experienced DIYer, most homeowners don’t even know there are other options for owning plumbing tools.

Since plumbing snakes are not common tools, it can be difficult to know which one you need. Here is some information about a few of the more common drain snakes that you may want to own:

  • A toilet auger is a tool that is used to clear a clog from the toilet. While the plunger works to pull and push the clog using suction and air, the toilet auger is designed to only push the clog down the drain line. A toilet auger is useful for those who notice their toilet or their bathroom drain clogged frequently.
  • A hand snake is a bit more involved than a toilet auger but, it is still very easy to use and straightforward. Hand snakes are useful on drain clogs like those found in the bathtub, shower, and kitchen sinks. When you are shopping for a hand snake, make sure to look for one that has 25’ of cable
  • Finally, a main drain snake is a heavy-duty piece of equipment for clearing a clog in the main plumbing line of your sewer or house. A main line clog could lead to cracked pipes, leaks, and a back-up of bacteria filled water into your home.

One of the more intimidating, and yet helpful, tools that a homeowner could add to his toolbox is a plumbing snake. These tools come in a variety of sizes and uses, and are very helpful in getting clogs to move through the line and out to the sewer line.

 

3 Things To NEVER Wash In The Dishwasher

27776025_sWhether you are a foodie, or you just cook so that everyone in the house is fed, the dishwasher in your kitchen is an essential appliance.

After meal dishes can quickly pile up, especially if you have several people living in your household. A family of 5 cannot afford to skip washing the dishes even one day, as the load will become too big for the dishwasher to do and the dishes will pile up.

After a long day, loading a dishwasher is much easier and faster than hand washing dishes. Also, using the dishwasher will save your family a lot of water and money on utility bills. Hand-washing dishes wastes a lot of water and can make your monthly water bill very high.

But, there are some things that you should never put in your dishwasher. The usually things like plates, bowls, and cups are fine. But, some dishes and other household items should never be put into the dishwasher.

Here are a few things that you should not put into your dishwasher:

  • Expensive knives. While knives are sharp and hearty, the construction of them is actually pretty fragile. Just like the movement of water has forged rivers through mountains, the constant beating of the dishwasher water against the blades over and over again can cause the blade to dull. And, if other items are banging around in the dishwasher, they might bang against the knives and cause dings and scratches.
  • Cast iron. If you have any cast iron pans or pots do not put them in the dishwasher. This is more applicable to foodies who understand the importance of seasoning your cast iron. If you put them into the dishwasher, the seasoning will be washing right off. Plus, the water can cause rust.
  • Wooden items. Anything that is made from wood like spoons, spatulas, and cutting boards should never be put into the dishwasher. The wood can easily become warped, cracked, and even pull apart from the water and the heat inside of the dishwasher.

Keep your dishwasher, and all of your kitchen items protected, by not putting them in the dishwasher. If you have a wooden cutting board break apart during a dishwashing cycle, the wooden splinters could puncture the filter of your dishwasher and cause expensive damage.

Your Bathroom Is Not As Safe As You Think.

34463361_s (1)Most people think of their bathroom as a safe and relaxing place. This is the smallest room in the house, but it is where you go after a long day to have a relaxing shower or bath.

However, hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year in their bathroom. In fact, it is statistically the most dangerous room in the home. Even more so than the kitchen, which is difficult to understand since the kitchen is where the knives and hot surfaces are.

But, in the bathroom people let their guard down about safety, and that is when accidents happen. Not thinking about what accidents could happen actually influences the probability that an accident will happen. It is important to think about safety at all times, regardless of which room of the house you are in.

Here are some dos and don’ts for bathroom safety in your home:

  • Do install bathmats to improve the traction of your bathroom flooring. If you can, install non-slip flooring for a no-maintenance approach to safety. When non-slip flooring gets wet, it doesn’t get slippery so, you never have to worry about a slip and fall accident.
  • Do Not leave children unattended in the bathtub. January is National Bath Safety and calls attention to the safety of children in the bathroom. It is possible to drown in just a few inches of water, and small children are especially at risk as their balance is not as stable as adults. Never leave your children in the bathtub unattended, even if only for a short period of time.
  • Do install safety bars to improve the stability of the shower when getting in and out. When you step into or out of the shower, you are on one foot and one of your feet is on a wet and slippery surface. Most of us aren’t even aware when we are stepping into the shower, but this is the time when you are most vulnerable to a slip and fall accident.
  • Do Not put shampoo and soap on ledges or shelves in the shower. Instead add a shower caddy to keep all items organized and out of the reach of children. A bottle of shampoo that is sitting on a ledge in the shower could fall over and drip shampoo onto the shower floor. This will create and extremely slippery and unsafe condition when hot water hits it and the next person steps in.

Bathroom safety is not just for young children and the elderly. It is important that everyone be thoughtful of safety in the bathroom. Because it is the smallest room in the home, there is a higher chance of head injury in the case of a slip and fall accident, and that should be a concern for everyone.

Winter Season Water-Saving Tips

5214176_sIt might seem a little strange to think about but, saving water during the winter months is just as important as saving water during all of the other months of the year.

The process is a little different during this time of the year though, because the way that we use water is different.

During the spring and summer months we are doing things like washing cars and watering lawns but, in the winter months there is none of that activity.

But, during the winter months these activities taper off because of the weather so, we have to think of other ways to save water.

A lot of winter water-saving activities are preventative in nature. This means, water-saving during the winter months means preventing water leaks and flooding.

Here are some ways that you can protect your plumbing from winter weather, and thus save water:

  • Insulating your water heater with a winter blanket is a great way to make sure it doesn’t incur unnecessary wear and tear. Your water heater works harder during the winter months than any other time of the year, and an insulated blanket helps to protect the tank and the heating element from succumbing to the extra work.
  • Wrap your outside spigots and hose bibs with insulated material to protect them against the freezing temperatures. Even these outdoor spigots are connected to the indoor plumbing of your home and, if they freeze, they will flood and cause water damage and water loss to your home.
  • If the temperatures get really cold, leave your faucets to drip a little bit at night to make sure that the water in the system is continuously moving. This helps to combat against freezing pipes and thus prevents flooding and loss of water.
  • Make sure that you and everyone in your household knows where the main water shut off valve is for your home. This is the valve that is located outside, typically close to the sidewalk or street and turns off all of the water to your home from the main supply. Turning this valve off in the case of a winter time plumbing malfunction will mitigate damage and prevent loss of water.

The year is coming to an end and the winter weather is in full swing. Make sure to follow these tips for protecting your plumbing from a winter weather disaster, which will not only cause serious water damage to your home but, also waste a lot of water.

How To Get Your Kitchen Ready For The Holiday Activities

32774493_sIs your kitchen ready for the holiday season? This is the time of year when most kitchens get the most use of the entire year.

With this extra food preparation comes more dirty dishes. And, that means more work for your dishwasher. Your dishwasher is an important appliance in your kitchen, especially when it comes to quickly cleaning up from hosting a dinner party.

As important as your dishwasher is it can also be temperamental. Inside of your dishwasher is a filtering system that is meant to trap particles of food that don’t get rinsed off of the dishes all the way. But, this filter can’t handle large particles of food and, if it gets clogged, your dishes will be washed and rinsed in dirty water.

Here are some maintenance tips that you can take to keep your dishwasher in top condition so that it can handle the stress of the holiday use:

  • Check under the kitchen sink where the dishwasher is plugged in and make sure that the plug and all of the wiring look good. If there are any exposed wires or black discoloration around the plug, then you should have your dishwasher serviced immediately. Water and electricity cross paths quite a bit in your kitchen and your dishwasher is no exception. Keeping tabs on the condition of the wiring is an important step to keeping you and your family safe.
  • Your dishwasher is a self-contained unit that has been installed into a pre-cut section of your kitchen counter. This means, that with use and movement it will shift in position. Make sure that your dishwasher is level by opening the door so that it lays flat and placing a level on it. If your dishwasher is not level, it could leak.
  • The rubber seal around the inside of your dishwasher’s door is designed to keep the water inside during wash cycles. Make sure the seal on your machine is in good shape and doesn’t have any mildew or mold built up.

Cooking meals for friends and loved ones is a favorite way to share the holiday spirit. Rushing around town, gathering gifts and ingredients to come home and prepare a delicious meals and put the wrapped presents under the tree is a great way to spend the holiday season. Make sure that your dishwasher is up to the task by following these tips for maintenance.

 

3 Plumbing Items To Buy Now For Spring Projects

3076411_sThe spring season is a favorite time for doing home improvement projects. It is when homeowners wipe the dust that gathered over the cold weather season and start projects like updated the bathroom or even completely remodeling the kitchen.

However, now is the time of year when all of the best sales are going on and you could have a chance to grab some great deals on items for your home. Many people are out this time of year buying things for the friends and loved ones. But, since you’re going to be out anyway, why not keep your eyes open for items that will add some shine to your home once the frost thaws?

Updating your bathroom or doing some kitchen remodeling are two of the best ways to add value to your home. Of course, these projects must be done with a budget in mind. While there are normally sales on appliances and such all year around, the best sales are during these holiday months.

Here are just a few items that you should add to your shopping list:

  • Maybe put it down on the bottom of the list, but shopping for a new toilet this time of year is essential. There are new models coming out every year and retailers need to make room. Plus, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year so it’s the perfect opportunity to get rid of some inventory.
  • While it is not part of any kind of remodel, a new washing machine is a key point to improving the overall function of your home. If you have an older washing machine it probably uses way too much water and electricity. A newer model will have a big impact on your monthly utility bills and some even come with a hefty tax break.
  • Plumbing fixtures that are designed to conserve water are a very popular item these days. The average shower uses two gallons of water per minute of use. Anything that can be done to reduce the amount of water used around the house is a good thing. Showerheads and faucets come in a variety of styles, each designed to use as little water as possible.

Keep your eyes peeled for sales on all items that you might need for your remodel. Or, if you’re just in the habit of freshening up your home in the spring you might be able to do much more than you planned by shopping the holiday sales.

Is Your Guest Bathroom Ready For Visitors?

18735751_sAre you looking forward to entertaining guests in the coming weeks? The fall is a favorite time of year to have friends and family over for delicious meals. The foods that are associated with fall are some of the best all year.

Baking is a favorite activity in the fall because of all of the specialty apples that are in season. And, casseroles or crockpot soups and stews are made easy and filling with root vegetables, beans, and rich meats.

All of this eating means extra wear and tear on your kitchen plumbing system though. And, if you’re like most people, your kitchen plumbing was mostly ignored over the summer months in favor of spending time outdoors in the warm weather.

But, if you’re going to have guests coming, who are expecting delicious meals and will be spending a couple of nights with you, it is important to get your plumbing system in top working order. Here are some tips:

  • Look in the cabinets under all of the sinks in your home and make sure there isn’t any pooling water. If you store things under the sink in your kitchen, pull everything out so that you can check all of the corners and sides of the cabinet.
  • Not all materials that make up clogs are vulnerable to the chemicals in the cleaning product. Instead, the product sits for a long time in your pipe and eats away at the pipe material, causing a weakening in your plumbing.
  • If you leave a toilet cleaning disc in the tank, the water in the tank will become highly corrosive to the gaskets and cause it to crumble and breakdown. The end result is a toilet that doesn’t function properly. If you have a bathroom in your home that you don’t use very often, leaving a toilet cleaning disc in the tank is especially detrimental as the toilet doesn’t get flushed very often and the water in the tank is constantly bathing the toilet components in chemicals.

To ensure that your guests have a wonderful visit, and you don’t have the unexpected stress and expense of a plumbing failure, make sure to follow these tips for getting your plumbing system in top working order.