Celebrate the EPA’s Fix-A-Leak Week in March

In our house, the quarterly water bill is one of our financial measuring sticks. With effort, our family of 6 (2 adults + 4 almost-adults that love to shower) can average a water bill of about $276 per quarter (note: we have a gas furnace, not a radiator). In our most recent quarter, we hit a new all-time high: $302. The water bill has been gradually inching upward for the past year.

We have several inside-the-house water usage issues. Long showers, combined with a shower faucet that leans toward ‘leaky’, are one problem. I’m guilty of letting the kitchen tap run while I re-arrange the dishes in the dishwasher or look for food in the fridge. Our three ‘full flush’ toilets see a lot of action. Add about 15-20 loads of laundry each week and I’m certain that we fall into the ‘water waster’ category.

Step 1 on the road to water-waster recovery is recognizing that we have a problem.

According to the EPA (source: http://www3.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html), leaks are a) common and b) easily fixable. A few fun factoids from the EPA:
• An average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water annually (comparable to about 270 loads of laundry).
• Common leaks include toilets (the flappers go bad), faucets and other water valves.
• Homeowners can save about 10% on their water bills by correcting leaks.
• Leak repair is inexpensive, especially if you are the slightest bit handy.
• Think Like a Leak and Spot ‘Em!

Water leaks are sneaky. Water is quiet and flows unnoticed until the water bill arrives. Generally speaking, a family of four will use about 12,000 gallons of water during the winter months. If your water bill indicates higher usage, you may have leak. Another approach is to monitory your water meter for a two-hour period when no water is being used in your home. If the meter reading changes, look for a leak. Lastly, leaking/running toilets consume gallons of water. Test your tank by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank water. If the color runs down to the toilet bowl, you have a costly leak. Hint: The flapper is usually the problem; it’s an inexpensive DIY repair.

The bathroom area is a hot spot for leaks. Examine your tub faucet closely – if you have to ‘crank down’ the faucet handles, to stop the flow, you are contributing to the leak problem. Too much cranking compresses the gaskets inside the tub valve, and can worsen a leak. If a leaky showerhead is an issue, snug up the connection by adding new Teflon tape. 10 dpm (drips per minute) adds up to over 500 gallons a year.

Update Your Water Usage Habits
From a practical use perspective, below are a few tips:
· Short showers use less water than a long bath.
· Run only full loads in the dishwasher or clothes washer (bonus: reduces detergent costs, too)
· Avoid overwatering the lawn
· Look for the WaterSense label when replacing toilets, dishwashers, water heaters, or clothes washers. It’s easily identifiable and indicates a water-saving product.

Water You Waiting For? Allied Reddi-Rooter is your partner in leak repair and water retention. If you’ve purchased a replacement toilet, sink, dishwasher, clothes washer or water heater, we’ll happily install it for you. Likewise, we can repair chronic leaks that just won’t go away. Call Ray today for a free quote or more information. (513) 396-5300.

Every 6th grade science geek learns that upon freezing, water expands. But did you realize water also expands upon heating? It’s a property known as “thermal expansion,” which means that as water is heated, the water molecules speed up and require more space in which to roam. In a 40 gallon water heater tank, thermal expansion can create as much as a full gallon of additional water, by volume. The extra volume seeks to flow outward (as water likes to do).

Enter: Expansion tanks, small-ish steel cylinders that resemble 1 gallon water coolers and manage the expanded water so it doesn’t create plumbing problems. Typically, an expansion tank is connected to the cold water line that feeds your water heater. The tank contains an air valve, a rubber diaphragm and two inner chambers: one that fills water and one that holds air.

Expansion Water- Proper Placement Required
You may recall our recent blog on backflow prevention valves. Expansion water from your hot water tank is a good example of backflow– as the heated water expands, it will attempt to flow backwards into the city water lines. Fortunately, check valves at the meters (usually installed by the city) prevent such backflow. Unfortunately, the thermally expanded – hot, excited molecules with no place to go – water can create a build-up of pressure in your hot water tank.

High Water Tank Pressures = Trouble Ahead
Water heaters are built to withstand a certain amount of pressure, but excessive thermal expansion can create major headaches for homeowners. The pressure build-up can create leaks throughout your system or in the tank itself. By installing an expansion tank, a reservoir is added that provides an area for the expanded water to go until the water cools down or is used up. Expansion tanks allow your water heater to maintain a constant, safe pressure.

Learn More via YouTube
The “Handyguys Podcast” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LvMenQsRh4) offers a quick tutorial on expansion tanks, and several noteworthy bits of feedback from viewers.

Water You Waiting For? If you’re experiencing leaks around your hot water tank or are concerned about water heater pressure buildup, it’s possible an expansion tank might be a good option. The professionals at Allied Reddi Rooter can put your hot water into a tank containment program and potentially extend the life of your water heater. Call Ray today for a free quote or more information. (513) 396-5300.

Cincinnati has an impressive reputation as home to world class restaurants. And all restaurants, from Four-Star to Gold Star, have one thing in common: grease traps. With that in mind, this news item from Arizona caught our eye: Eateries Ignore Grease Trap Ordinance: Read article

Allied meticulously provides both interior and exterior grease trap pumping services to the food service industry, retirement homes, schools, apartment owners, and manufacturers around town. In addition to removing the grease, our technicians will scrape down the trap and provide an inspection of the trap’s overall condition, including the baffles and cover.

Most importantly, our technicians will ensure that your trap cleaning log is updated and provides the proper documentation to the city health inspectors.

Grease waste: A slick operation
Most people give grease traps little thought. But, well maintained traps (and their counterpart, grease interceptors) are one of the lynch pins in our city’s sanitary sewer system. By law, nearly all restaurants are required to use a grease trap system and maintain it according to state and local requirements.

Typically located under sinks and dishwashers in food service operations, grease traps and grease interceptors remove and separate fate, oils and greases (FOG) from a restaurant’s waste water. In the world of potential health code violations, improper disposal of grease or failure to pump out a grease trap on a regular basis are big ones for city code keepers.

When food service food waste and grease are improperly disposed of (e.g., washed down the drain), it can cause sewage backups into nearby homes and businesses.

The simplest and most cost-effective approach is to set a schedule for pumping the trap(s) and inspecting the integrity of the grease interceptor(s). The cost of pumping varies depending on the size of the restaurant. Most trap-cleaning operations charge by the gallon and the cost is reasonable.

Is grease trap cleaning messy?
In a word, yes. Typically, the grease, fats, and oils in the trap and interceptor have been there a while. In all honesty, “unpleasant” is an understatement. This brief video shows how one restaurant cleans their trap; draw your own conclusion about the messiness factor (and whether you would like to dine there). Watch video

In Southwestern Ohio, Allied is the go-to grease trap cleaning company
Or as we like to say around the water cooler, “Every trap’s a snap for Allied Reddi-Rooter!”

Our full service trap-cleaning specialists are available for trap service within the Cincinnati, Dayton and connecting I-75 corridor, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Allied team will happily clean, repair or install a new grease trap, depending on your immediate needs. And, our grease trap approach is designed to meet your business and budget needs – use Allied as-needed or set up a regular grease trap maintenance schedule for your business.

Water You Waiting For? If reliable grease trap maintenance is your goal, call Ray today: (513) 396-5300. The Allied team of professionals is available to service your trap(s), update your log, and keep your business in compliance with local health authorities.