Lutz Plumbing, Inc. Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Plumbing’

The Health and Home Risks of Iron in Your Water

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

A little iron in your tap water is harmless and happens all the time. But if your home taps are clearly running rusty orange water, it’s not just the color or taste being affected. Too much of anything is a bad thing and too much iron in your water can have some notable detrimental effects on both your family’s health and your pipes and appliances. Here are some of the risks of iron in your water.

iron-contaminated water running into white sink

Where Does Iron in Tap Water Come From?

Oxidized, rust-colored iron in tap water almost always comes from a rusty pipe or component up the line. As the rust breaks down inside the pipe, it is washed away by the water, which then becomes rusty. If a city pipe has gone to rust, then it’s like that half your neighborhood is having the same problems. If it’s just your home, then your water mainline or a device that leads into the mainline may be rusted-through and in keen need of replacement. Until the damaged pipe or appliance producing the rust is fixed, your home tap will run rusty water. If there is nothing you can do, then a whole-home filtration system might be the answer. Let’s dive into the health and home detriments related to iron in the water.

Hair Becomes Discolored and Brittle

Drinking iron-contaminated water may not make you sick, but bathing in it is very bad for your skin and hair. Every time you shower or your children take a bath, your skin and hair are soaked in oxidized (yellow to red) or unoxidized (still clear) iron. This metal mineral leaches moisture from your body when you should be absorbing moisture to stay healthy and vibrant.

This can cause your hair to become dry and brittle as the moisture is leached out of it over and over again. Hair will eventually lose its soft texture and become rough to the touch. Oxidized (colored) iron in the water acts like a harmful peroxide. It will darken light hair and add an orangey-red tint to hair of all colors in addition to drying and roughening the texture.

Dry Skin and Early Wrinkles

Of course, one of the risks of iron in your water is that it doesn’t just dry out your hair. Each time you bathe, your skin is soaked in water that takes away moisture instead of adding it. You will notice your skin drying and needing more artificial moisturizers to stay healthy. Over time, skin over-saturated with iron will begin wrinkling early and can take long-term damage.

Clogged Pores and Acne

The iron minerals in the water do another number on your skin. They can clog your pores even if you’re using all the right soaps and cleansers. Iron in your pores stops the oil from clearing correctly which can begin to cause an increasing acne problem, especially for family members who tend toward oily skin. Watch out for acne in areas where acne normally doesn’t occur because your skin is being artificially clogged.

Clothes Discolor and Stain in the Wash

If the iron in your taps is oxidized, showing color, or oxidizes while running, then it can also damage your clothes and even your light-colored dishes. These are not simple discolorations. Clothing washed in iron-contaminated water can discolor, especially lighter colored clothing where even light yellowing becomes immediately apparent. This discoloration can become permanent, uneven staining, causing iron in your water to ruin your clothing even when your washing machine is functioning properly.

Food is Bitter and Dark When Cooked in Iron-Rich Water

Cooking with iron-contaminated water is no treat either. That rust-discoloration turns anything cooked in your tap water to a darker or blackened color. You may notice that any coffee, tea, or even orange juice looks discouragingly black or brown. Vegetables cooked in iron water turn black as they boil.

Worse, iron in the water gives everything an unpleasantly bitter taste. This is often why homes consider iron to be harmful to ingest, as it can render food inedible by taste and color alone.

Pipes Clog and Corrode More Quickly

Last but certainly not least are the risks of iron in your water to your pipes and appliances. When iron flecks are flowing through the water, they can catch and stick to the pipes and water lines along the way. This builds up to cause restriction, which can affect your water pressure and eventually causes clogs. Rusty water can also accelerate the metal corrosion and deterioration of other metal pipes so that they become both clogged and damaged more quickly.

Is there bitter, off-color water running through your home taps? If so, we can help. Contact us today to talk about solving the iron water problem in your home. Whether that entails replacing a section of pipe, replacing an aging water heater, and so on, we can help.

 

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7 Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips For Your Home This Fall

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

If you’re like most Kansas City homeowners, you’re probably looking forward to fall activities and cooler temperatures. But what about your plumbing? Are your pipes ready for fall weather? When temperatures dramatically drop, your plumbing can be affected if you haven’t done everything possible to ensure your pipes are working properly. Here are seven basic plumbing maintenance tips, along with some considerations and warnings.

1. Check Indoor Faucets

Now is the best time to check every faucet in your house for possible leaks or drips. If you find any, have them repaired before winter arrives. Inspect your shower head for damaged parts and leaks, along with checking plumbing fixtures on toilets. Leaky plumbing fixtures can result in wasting a lot of precious water, besides causing a spike in your utility bill.

2. Examine Outdoor Faucets for Leaks or Drips

Since water remaining in a plumbing line can freeze and cause considerable damage to your plumbing, it’s important to check your exterior faucets to see if they’re leaking or dripping. Also, be sure to completely switch off outdoor faucets, besides turning off their interior valve.

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3. Drain and Remove Garden Hoses

In addition to draining your garden hoses, stow them away in your garage or shed so that they’ll last longer. If you don’t drain your hoses, any water that remains inside them can freeze and expand, which can lead to a hose breaking.

4. Check Pipe Insulation

Without the right insulation, your interior and exterior pipes are likely to freeze and burst. Thus, it’s imperative that your pipes receive a thorough inspection, which includes pipes in your garage. To be sure all your pipes have adequate insulation, get a licensed plumber to examine them and add insulation if needed.

5. Get Your Water Heater Inspected

Your water heater needs to be operating properly, particularly during harsh winter weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a highly qualified, licensed plumber check your water heater to see if it’s in good shape so that you’ll have warm water. Just be sure to keep the temperature of your water heater under 125 degrees F to avoid skin scaling as well as an increase in your utility bill.

6. Check Your Sump Pump and Have It Cleaned

Another item to check is the sump pump to ensure it’s in good working order. Consider that a sump pump needs to be cleaned twice a year or more in order for it to continue functioning well. Do you have a basement? If you do, then having the sump pump and its surrounding pit cleaned is even more crucial. This is important in preventing the nightmare of having heavy rains or melting snow seep into your basement.

7. Clean Out Your Gutters

Your gutter needs to be free of debris before temperatures drop. When gutters are blocked, all types of problems can occur, such as gutter damage and foundation issues. Clogged gutters can even lead to roof and siding damage because retained debris and frozen water can create excess weight that can’t be sustained.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • In most cases, the most common location where pipes rupture is on a home’s exterior.
  • When away from home during freezing weather, have your water kept at a slow trickle so that it can keep flowing.
  • If you’re a “snowbird” and head south for the winter, it’s even more critical to have your plumbing checked before leaving town.
  • Even minor pipe leaks can lead to costly repairs when they’re undetected for several months before you get back home.
  • Protect your outdoor fixtures by covering them with an insulation kit, if you don’t have a hydrant that’s frost-proof.
  • If you have a sewer line, have it inspected for possible issues.
  • Drain your water heater at the onset of fall to prevent sediment from building up and creating rust. This is even more important if you have hard water.
  • If your water heater takes a long time to heat up, you should get a new one so that you won’t be concerned about your water heater not working in the dead of winter.

Why not enjoy the beautiful fall season and cooler weather instead of worrying about potential plumbing problems? Preventative maintenance can help in preventing larger issues, so contact us for all your plumbing needs and learn more about our wide range of services.

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10 Things About Plumbing Every Homeowner Should Know

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Being a good homeowner, or even a savvy renter, is all about understanding how your home works. If you want to get the best performance and call for the fewest repairs, all you have to do is master your maintenance and know how to identify a serious problem when it crops up. This is particularly important if you want to minimize your household plumbing problems.

To help you get amazing performance from your plumbing and keep even old pipes in good condition, we’ve put together a handy list of ten things every homeowner should know about their home’s plumbing.

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Know Where to Find…

1) Your Water Main

Your water main is where water flows into your house from the municipal water supply. Or, if you have a well, the main valve where the pumped well water connects to the house. Know where this is, how the shut-off valve works, and make sure you can use it in a pinch. At the very least, you may need to show a plumber where it is one day.

2) Your Sewer Clean-Out Valve

The same goes for your sewer clean-out valve. Should you ever experience a clog so deep under the house that no amount of plunging or S-trap deconstruction will ever break it up, your plumber may need to open that clean-out valve to, well, clean it out.

Know How To…

3) Shut Off the Water to Sinks, Toilets, and Appliances

Every sink, toilet, shower, and water-running appliance has a connection to the plumbing and a shut-off valve so you can work on them locally without causing a flood. Explore your house and find each and every one. Usually, they will be behind the appliance or hidden inside some nearby cabinetry. Make sure you can shut these off if necessary.

4) Replace Your Sink Aerators

Sink aerators do three things. They save water, they soften water, and they lightly filter water. They also get filthy and eventually wear out. Know how to replace an aerator for each sink faucet. It’s about as easy as swapping bottle tops, so don’t worry.

5) Unclog Your Toilets, Sinks, and Shower Drains

Clogs happen. So you’ll want a few plungers, Zip-its, and vinegar in the house just in case. Know how to tackle every kind of clog, from traditional toilet clogs to kitchen sink clogs. On that note, know how to open an S-Trap to find lost items as well.

6) Repair a Running Toilet

A running toilet is a serious problem. It’s not just a waste of water; it’s also loud and can make your toilet hard to flush at the right time. Know how to replace each surprisingly simple part of the internal toilet tank array. After turning off the water, of course.

7) Un-Jam the Garbage Disposal

Got a fork, rind, or something worse jammed in the garbage disposal? Check the model; you probably have the kind that can be un-jammed with an alan-wrench-looking tool that will twist the blades back and forth until they release whatever was caught.

8) Recognize and Fix Hard Water Problems

Hard water can be as minor as white spots on your stemware or as serious as constant drain clogs and appliance break-downs. It’s just minerals in the water and breaks up with vinegar, but know how to identify and solve hard water when your house runs it through the taps.

Master the Maintenance For…

9) Drains to Prevent Clogs

Know what not to put down the drain. Know how to use drain traps and screens. Know that cooking grease and eggshells down the garbage disposal are not a good idea, and know how to run fizzing vinegar down the drain in a pinch.

10) Water-Based Appliances

Get familiar with any appliance in your home that runs water. The washer, the dishwasher, the ice-maker in your fridge- all of it. Know where the water comes from, how to shut it off, and how to do basic maintenance if there’s a problem.

 

Taking care of the plumbing in your home is a lot easier than most people realize. By understanding how water runs into, through, and out of your home, you can quickly master a surprising amount of plumbing maintenance. For more helpful tips or assistance dealing with a serious plumbing problem that takes more than elbow grease and a shut-off valve to solve, contact us today!

 

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6 Items You Should Never Put Down Your Kitchen Sink

Friday, June 28th, 2019

If you’re like many Kansas City homeowners who own kitchen garbage disposals, you probably know how useful these appliances can be. However, you can’t just toss anything down the chute without hurting your disposal or damaging your plumbing. Here are six foods and items you should never put down your kitchen drain, along with a few considerations and warnings. 

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1. Greasy, Oily or Fatty Foods 

High on the list of foods that should never go down a disposal chute are those that contain grease, oil or fat. Grease that sticks to the interior of sewer pipes can accumulate, which results in blocking pipes. Consider that your garbage disposal won’t keep out grease from your plumbing system since it’s designed to shred only solid substances into small bits. Even worse, it lets grease descend down your drain, which creates more problems.

Fatty meats should never be dumped into a drain as well as oily foods. Thus, never throw shortening, cooking oil, lard, questionable food scraps, butter, margarine, sauces, dairy products, and baking goods into your garbage disposal.

2. Coffee Grounds

Unfortunately, too many people think they can use a disposal for getting rid of coffee grinds. Don’t dump coffee grounds down your drain because they can hurt your plumbing, although they won’t affect your disposal. Consider that eventually, coffee grinds can get into your plumbing, which can lead to clogs.

3. Stringy or Fibrous Veggies and Fruits

Never put stringy vegetables, such as celery and asparagus, down your disposal. This is because the strings of these veggies can easily wrap around the moving parts of a disposal and cause damage.

Also, don’t toss fibrous fruits and vegetables down your chute. Avoid vegetables with layered bulbs, such as onions. In addition to causing damage by wrapping around a disposal’s moving parts, they can weaken or even ruin the motor of a disposal.

4. Rice and Pasta

Rice and pasta should stay out of a disposal. These types of food are prone to expand in a disposal when coming into contact with water. As a result, they can easily block your disposal’s trap or clog your drain.

5. Shells and Nuts

You may have heard the old wives’ tale that eggshells can be used to sharpen disposal blades, but this is just isn’t true. Egg shells can be hazardous because of their filmy membrane that can wrap around the moving components of a disposal. Rather than throwing shells down your disposal, use them as compost.

Shells from seafood aren’t meant for a garbage disposal, as they are exceptionally hard. On the other hand, there are some disposals that can take their hardness. But it’s still not a good idea since it can cause blades to become dull. What’s more, your disposal won’t last as long. Furthermore, don’t throw nuts down your disposal.

6. Items That Aren’t Biodegradable

Non-food items, such as tissues and napkins, should not be allowed in a disposal. A good rule of thumb is that if an item isn’t biodegradable, it’s a no-no. These items include those such as plastic, paper, metal, glass, wood, and others. Simply recycle these materials, if possible, or just toss them in your garbage.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Never throw animal bones into a disposal. Bone is an extremely hard substance, so it’s not intended for a disposal. Even though some garbage disposals can process bones, throwing animal bones into a disposal can still cause wear and shorten lifespan.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean out your disposal. Instead, clean it out by pouring a small amount of dish detergent into it. Throw down a few ice cubes, because ice can clean the walls and blades, while the soap breaks down oil and grease as well as gives it a pleasant scent.
  • Keep cigarette butts out of your disposal because they can expand, causing clogs. Again, a kitchen garbage disposal isn’t intended for any man-made materials.
  • Don’t throw down too much stuff at the same time. In other words, put only a small handful of a substance down the chute instead of tossing everything down at once. You don’t want to put excess stress on your disposal’s motor because this can wear it out quickly.

 

Sometimes, drains get clogged or need repair even if they are used properly and maintained. For all your home drain needs, you can depend on Lutz Plumbing. Please contact us.

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Lutz Plumbing’s Loyalty Club Helps to Prevent Major Plumbing Leaks

Friday, June 14th, 2019

When it comes to plumbing, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is very true.

Water leaks waste water and money. Additionally, they will typically develop into a bigger problem that will cause more extensive damage. Checking your plumbing for leaks or other potential problems should be one of your most important routines. Below we will discuss the cost of leaks in the long run and what you should do if you discover a leak.

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Household Leaks

There are many possible places in the home from which leaks can develop. These include:

  • Toilet (internal and external)
  • Sink
  • Water Heater
  • Washing machine
  • Pipes that are behind the wall

These leaks can cause very little damage or major damage that will necessitate extensive repairs. However, even small leaks should not be ignored. They can be the first sign of a major problem to come. Most of these leaks, if left unaddressed, will cause mold which can cause major health problems and is expensive to remove.

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How to Tell if You Need Water Treatment

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

With the advance of city infrastructure, and specifically municipal water treatment systems, a lot of people take clean water for granted. Unfortunately, you can’t always rely on your city to provide your home with perfectly clean water at all times. Municipal water treatment is oftentimes effective, but it’s never going to be 100% effective. The best way to guarantee high water quality for your home is to install a separate water treatment system in your water line. If you’re not sure whether or not you need a water treatment system, keep an eye out for the signs below.

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Why Sump Pump Maintenance is a Good Idea

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Winter is one of those seasons where you’re more likely to have problems with flooding, especially in basements and crawl spaces. If you’ve dealt with this problem before, chances are that you already have a sump pump installed in one or more of those vulnerable areas. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t just have a sump pump installed and forget about it. Sump pumps need maintenance just as much as any other system, especially during this time of year.

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How to Get Your Plumbing Ready for The Holidays

Monday, November 28th, 2016

You’re probably deep in holiday preparations at the moment, getting everything ready for guests and feasting. That’s all well and good, but it’s important that you don’t neglect some of the other aspects of your home when it comes to the holidays. One of the most important things you can do to get your home ready for the holiday season is to make sure your plumbing system is in good shape. Have a look at some of our tips for making that happen.

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The Problem of Pinhole Leaks

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Since the mid-20th century, the majority of new plumbing systems have been comprised of copper pipes. There’s a number of reasons for this. Mainly, it’s that the previous options of iron or lead were unsatisfactory. Iron rusted and lead was toxic. Copper is resistant to corrosion, and doesn’t bleed into the water supply. This has made it the new standard for plumbing. However, it is not perfect. Let’s take a look at one of the biggest problems for copper pipes, and the damage it can cause.

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