Earth Day Starts at Home: 7 Tips to Conserve Water and Energy

Earth Day is April 22 and it’s a great time to make some energy adjustments to your home. Every little bit you do helps keep our planet healthy, and as an added bonus will cut down your energy costs. Pick one tip to start with, or go big and try all seven! Roughly half of the average home’s energy costs are spent on heating and cooling. One way to reduce your air conditioning costs is through regular maintenance of your HVAC unit. Call in a pro every 2 to 3 years to inspect your unit and keep it running at peak efficiency. Another way to reduce energy costs on your heating and cooling is by using a programmable thermostat. Be sure to adjust the schedule to turn off your A/C when you are not at home. Also, consider using a ceiling fan along with your air conditioning. This will allow you to set the thermostat to a higher temperature without you feeling the difference since the fan will circulate the cool air more efficiently. Landscaping is an area that often gets overlooked by homeowners looking to improve home energy efficiency. Place trees, shrubs or vines strategically to create effective shade in the summer, maximize the warming effects of the sun in the winter or act as a windbreak. A well-planned landscape can save up to 25% of the energy used by a typical household. Heating the water you use in your home can account for up to 25% of the energy consumed in your home. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to around 120°F to save energy. Or consider switching to a tankless water heater, which is more energy efficient than traditional storage versions. In our technical age, we have many household appliances, media devices, and computers. These devices use energy when they are plugged in–even when they are not in use. An easy way to save money is to unplug your idle electronics. (Bonus tip: power strips make it easy to kill power with the flip of a switch). Did you know that about 10% of your home energy costs are spent on lighting? Save up to 75% of that energy by switching all of your lights to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). CFL bulbs last longer, which means you save even more money on fewer replacements. Even a slow-dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water per day;...

Read More

The 3 Most Common Springtime Plumbing Issues in Denver

Springtime is the worst season for plumbing problems just about everywhere, but because of the crazy weather patterns, Springtime plumbing issues in Denver are especially tricky. Plumbing problems can spring up all year long, but the trend has been that the nastiest problems will rear their ugly heads in during April and May. In Colorado, April is usually our wettest month. It isn’t uncommon for us to see a snowstorm during the night and watching all the ice and snow thaw the next day. The warm sun and the thaws can make it so the plumbing issues we may not have seen in the winter finally make their appearance. Luckily, most of the problems that come along with springtime plumbing are simple fixes, so you won’t have to call a plumber. These are the 3 most common springtime plumbing issues and how to fix them before they start to do serious damage and cost you money! Gutter Trouble Springtime is the biggest time for clogs in drains, gutters and more due to all the new budding leaves on the trees or the debris from the previous fall. This leaf debris can fall unto your gutters and cause clogs as the winter progresses with all the freezes and the thaws. When the rains come in April after a winter full of clogged gutters, you’ve got yourself a castle moat all around your house. Standing water can be dangerous for the structural integrity of your home. You don’t want a lake, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your home’s gutters so that you can avoid these clogs and the water build up that happens as a result of the clog. Wearing rubber shoes with good traction, you can easily stand on a ladder or on your roof to clean out your gutters. Make sure that you’re being very careful, as so many accidents are caused on ladders in the home and the hospital visit will definitely cost you. If you’re cleaning gutters near a power line, make sure you use a plastic ladder, and not a metal one to prevent electric shocks. You can use a hose, gutter scoop, or a gutter cleaning tool that acts similar to a snake for a clogged toilet. Using these tools will help you to clear the debris from your gutters and prevent clogs. Make sure that the downspouts on your...

Read More

Under Pressure: Why It’s Important to Fix Your Water Pressure

Does your faucet trickle to a low stream when your dishwasher is running? Or does water burst out of your faucet at an excessive rate? Faulty water pressure can be annoying, but it is usually a sign of a more serious underlying problem – which could be causing havoc on your plumbing system. Avoid a plumbing disaster and check your water pressure today. Is Your Water Pressure Too High? High water pressure (80 psi or greater) not only wastes water, but it also puts strain on your plumbing system. Over time this strain will cause your pipes to spring leaks and fixtures and fittings to break. You may have high water pressure if your faucet flow comes out in too forceful a blast or if you notice a consistent thumping sound when you turn your faucets on or off. Leaky faucets may also be a sign of high water pressure. A common way to fix high water pressure is to have your plumber install a pressure regulator on your main water line. This device helps regulate the pressure from the public water main and reduces it to be compatible with household plumbing and fixtures. It also prevents pressure surges from entering the home plumbing system from the public main line. Is Your Water Pressure Too Low? While low water pressure might just seem like an inconvenience, it can actually be a sign of a serious problem. Low pressure could be caused by a clogged pipe, such as mineral buildup. Or worse, you might have a leaky or damaged pipe, which could be causing slow but considerable damage to your home. To determine if you have low pressure, pick up a water pressure gauge from your hardware store. Be sure to call your plumber if the reading is below 30 psi. If you suspect your pressure is too high or too low, Mr. Green Plumbing is here to help. Our experts can test your water pressure, diagnose why it is too high or low, and make any needed repairs to your plumbing system to keep your water flowing within an optimal pressure...

Read More

How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing in Colorado

The cold Colorado weather is here, but you’re ready. You’ve pulled out all the winter clothes, you’re ski passes and gear are all ready to go, warm blankets cover your bed, and you found the best soup recipes. You’ve most likely already prepared your pipes for the freezing weather, but there’s no such thing as being too prepared. You may think you’re ready, but there are still more important things that needs to be considered when preparing your pipes for the winter. Burst pipes can be a costly and expensive repair, but prevention is simple. Make sure you keep your pipes from freezing, eliminating the chance of them bursting this winter using these 8 more tips. 1) Insulation and Foam Board If you’ve got time, then run to your local hardware store and pick up fiberglass insulation and Foam Board. While you’re there, pick up protective gear like coveralls, mask, gloves, and a utility knife. Cover the exposed pipes or under protected pipes. It doesn’t matter that it looks like a kindergartener’s collage project, it just matters that the pipes are covered.  For larger areas, use the Foam Board to create a barrier. 2) Disconnect hoses Don’t forget your outside hoses and water lines. Remove any hoses and make sure they are free of any leftover water. If you still need to water plants or animals, use a bucket or watering can instead. 3) Keep it warm Winter is not the time to be stingy on your thermostat, for your pipes sakes. A little more on the electric bill will save you the big cost of a burst pipe.  Keeping your home nice and toasty will keep your pipes toasty too and toasty pipes don’t freeze. 4) Let it drip Turning on your faucets will keep the water flowing, moving water isn’t frozen. You don’t need to turn them on full blast, but just few drops a minute will do the trick. Again, a little cost now on the water bill will save you a much larger expense later. 5) Wrap up In the wintertime there’s nothing better than snuggling up in a nice warm blanket. Your pipes feel the same way. Grab some rags and wrap those pipes like a pig in a blanket. If your pipes are starting to freeze, you can use hot rags. You can also pour boiling water down the pipes to help thaw the...

Read More

7 Easy Plumbing Fixes That Will Save You Money

Most people don’t give much thought to their plumbing system until a repair is needed. But regular maintenance to your home plumbing system can prevent costly repairs and reduce your water bill. Prioritize these fixes to keep your pipes in top shape and maximize your savings on preventable repairs and costly leaks. Repair Leaky Faucets: A leaky faucet that drips once every second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. Some families don’t use that much water in a whole month! Be sure to check both inside and outside faucets for leaks. Drain Strainers: This is an easy and inexpensive fix – make sure each drain has a properly-fitted strainer to catch hair and other debris. Protecting your pipes from clogs is one of the best preventative steps you can do! Check Your Toilets: A leaky toilet can cost hundreds of dollars in water bills each month. A quick way to tell if you have a leaky toilet is to put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the dye appears in the toilet bowl after 30 minutes you’ve got a leaky toilet. Remove Drain Clogs: Do you have a problematic drain in your home that always seems to be clogged? Stay away from chemical drain products, which corrode your pipes, harm the environment, and release dangerous fumes. The best and safest way to clear a clogged drain is to have a certified plumber snake it out. Adjust the Temperature on Your Water Heater: Reduce energy costs by setting the temperature of your water heater to 120°F. This setting will ensure your water is nice and hot but will prevent scalding. Drain Your Water Tank to Remove Sediment: Once a year you should drain your water heater tank to remove sediment. Over time, sediment can build up and cause corrosion, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Test and Adjust Your Water Pressure: High water pressure wreaks havoc on your pipes and appliances. Pick up an inexpensive water pressure gauge from your hardware store and measure your water pressure a couple times a year. An optimal level is 40-80 psi. Install a water pressure regulator on your main line if you don’t have one – this simple device will be well worth the cost and effort. A little preventative maintenance goes a long way to keeping your plumbing system...

Read More

6 Preventative Tips and Tricks to Avoid Winter Damage to Your Plumbing

We are entering the coldest months of the year, and if you haven’t winterized your pipes you could be at risk for a major plumbing disaster. But preventative maintenance is easy, and taking the time to care for your plumping now can save a disaster later on. These 6 tips can help make sure your pipes are ready for winter and freezing temperatures. Insulate exposed pipes: Pipes that are exposed to cold weather are the ones most likely to freeze. Inspect your plumbing in less-insulted areas such as basements, attics, garages, crawl spaces, and pipes that run along exterior walls of your home. There are a variety of insulation materials available, such as insulation tape, pipe wrap, and foam insulation. Check and repair the sealing on your windows and doors: Properly sealing the cracks between your windows and doors will not only save you money on heating costs, but it will also help protect your pipes from cold, freezing air. Leave your heat on while you are away: If you are planning a winter vacation you may be tempted to turn off your heat to save on heating costs. But turning down your heat too low can cause your pipes to freeze if outside temperatures plummet. A good rule of thumb is to not set your inside temperature below 55° Let your faucets drip: On especially cold nights, letting your faucets drip can prevent your pipes from freezing. A slight but steady drip will help ensure that water is flowing through your plumbing system and will prevent a catastrophic freeze. Warm up cold areas: The coldest areas of your home are often where pipes are located. When cold weather is expected, it’s a good idea to leave your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors open so warm air can circulate around your pipes. In extreme cases, consider using a small space heater to warm a space where your pipes are especially susceptible to freezing. Locate your master water valve shutoff: In case you do have a plumbing issue, knowing the location of your master water valve shutoff is important so you can cut the water off and minimize damage. If you aren’t sure where it is located in your home, a Mr. Green Plumber will be happy to show you. Making sure your pipes are ready for winter should be a top priority. There are many things you can...

Read More