Blog

01 Jul. 2016

Outdoor Showers Offer Summer Convenience

diy-outside-shower-9It’s summer, and there’s nothing more satisfying for a parent (and fun for a kid) than watching your child play outside for hours on end. However, the thought of letting them come in and track their well-earned dirt everywhere is enough to send some parents into a small panic. Whether you’ve got a lake house, a pool, or just kids who love to get messy, an outdoor shower might be the perfect solution, allowing the best of both worlds. Outdoor play with no indoor mess.

 

 

 

 

 

OutdoorShower13Creating an outdoor shower really just depends on the ease of connecting to an existing water source. The design aspect can be as minimal or extensive as you prefer – some become quite the outdoor oasis. If you want to go all out, add a hot water hookup to the mix. While doing so would remove the nostalgia of the “I’m cold, I’m cold” screams you used to yell at your mom as she hosed you off, it would make for a truly enjoyable experience for kids and adults alike.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor-Shower-7

Design ideas can range from incredibly simple, to high-end extravagant. There are also many different levels of privacy, from just hosing off, to being able to shower as if you were in your own bathroom. It is all up to you. Take a look at the inspirations below and don’t wait for muddy footprints on your floors before calling us for an estimate on this low-budget, luxury item.

 

 

 

 

 

25 May. 2016

Plumbing Pipes Repurposed for Home Decor

On the heels of shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Rehab Addict”, home renovation is huge right now; more specifically, repurposing old items is pretty much the hottest trend in the current home design movement. Recycling old material, specifically material with an industrial feel, is extremely popular and makes for unique, conversation centerpieces. If you’re a fan of all this, you may have noticed that plumbing material is a hot commodity on these shows, and most often gets re-used to create home shelving units.

Since we love all things plumbing, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of our favorite examples of these popular shelving units. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to create something like this for your home. Or, if you have an even better idea, feel free to post it in the comments section below.

Of course, there’s the obvious use of shelving for books and desks…

pipe shelving

If you’re not the DIY type, this shelving unit from Restoration Hardware is a great option.

 

pipe shelving 2

This brick wall unique really plays in the industrial appeal, and can be found on Pinterest.

 

pipe shelving 8 under stairs desk

An under-stair desk like this one serves a double purpose in design and space maximization. Read more on Homedit.com. (Hint, you’ll find even more pipe shelving design ideas here.)

 

pipe shelving 4

And, of course, the less-is-more approach, courtesy of Home Decoration World.

Closets are another perfect shelving use for pipes, as seen in the following ideas…

pipe shelving 3

Not only is this useful, but it’s a retro way to display your favorite articles of clothing if your closet has no doors or you need to hang coats in an open hallway.

 

pipe shelving 11 clothing racks

The chrome finish of these pipes would be perfect for a locker room feel. Check out the Luxury Lifestyle, Design & Architecture blog for more info.

 

pipe shelving 5

This closet is just waiting for clothing to display. DIY For Life shows you how.

Furniture isn’t out of the question either…

pipe shelving 9 console table

Console tables can have a rustic, yet industrial vibe. Originally found on Reclaim By Design’s Etsy page.

And we couldn’t leave out bathroom applications…

pipe shelving 7 toilet paper roll

Toilet paper/cell phone holder combo, sold by Edna Fay Creations on Etsy.

 

pipe shelving 6 magazine rack

Bathroom magazine racks have never been more design appropriate. Made by Mac and Lexie through Etsy.

 

Lastly, for the animal lovers of the group…

pipe shelving 10 plumbing-shelves-with-cat

A cats playground, out of the way, yet on display.

 

What items have you repurposed lately, (plumbing related or not)?

 

 

27 Apr. 2016

Virtual Welding Technology

VertexWelding

Welding plays a key roll in the safety and success of the plumbing industry and requires hundreds of hours of learning and practice to master. Inadequate skills in this area could yield disastrous results. Fortunately, our plumbers and all members of the Cleveland plumbing industry’s Journeymen Plumbers Union Local 55 receive extensive training in this area before entering the workforce. A large portion of this is done on a state-of-the-art, Virtual Welder. Made by Lincoln Electric, the VRTEX line of virtual welders takes this training to a new level of sophistication. Realistic welding visuals and audio feedback allow students to practice their welding technique in a safe, simulated environment that can be used to augment time in the welding booth.

The job of the Union is to ensure only the most skilled pipe tradesmen enter the construction industry, and to protect its members and jurisdiction at every level. Top-notch training tools are just one of the ways the Union achieves these goals. The use of VRTEX has proven to significantly reduce both training costs and time and increase certification rates. Benefits which are realized by the Union, all of it’s members, and, eventually, the end customer.

Unbeknownst to most of our customers, there are many aspects of the plumbing industry that have been positively affected by technological advancements in recent years, welding being a prime example.

11 Apr. 2016

Plumbing Inspections to Peform Before Buying a Home

Handing Over the KeysBuying a home is one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking purchases you will ever make. Not only do you want something that fits perfectly for your family’s specific needs, but you also need something that functions well and fits within your budget. Hence, the home inspection. Included in this thorough examination is basically a professional review of the overall structure; the exterior of the house, roofing and yard; and the interior including electrical, heating and air conditioning, fireplaces, ventilation and insulation, and the home’s plumbing. These inspections help uncover existing damage and minimize financial risk for the buyer. While the inspection should be done by a licensed professional, there are also questions you as the prospective home buyer can ask to uncover possible problems.

Start by checking your main sewer line.

A home’s sanitary sewer plumbing operates in one of two ways: by a municipal sewer system or a septic tank. To find out the condition of the municipal sewer system, a plumbing contractor can come in and set up a camera line inspection to quickly tell you the overall condition of the plumbing. If the house runs on a septic tank, find out where its located, the capacity of the tank, and the location of the drain field. Consider having it inspected as well by a plumber or septic company.

Inspect the water heater.

Find out where the water heater is in the home, its capacity and how old it is. Water heaters typically last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. If you see visible signs of corrosion, you can ask for a new one to be installed before closing. Websites like BuildingCenter.org help you verify the age a water heater by entering the make, model, and serial number into their database.

Find leaks in the system

Part of the inspection process should be to spend time in the home and locate smaller potential problems. As you make your way from room to room, do you notice any drips of water coming from the fixtures? Do you see small wet spots where they shouldn’t be? What you may have missed in the few minutes you spent in the home while deciding whether to put in an offer, can easily come to light when you spend more time in a room.

Flush every toilet

Flush every toilet in the home and make sure it works properly, filling back up with water in a timely manner. Do you hear small leaks? Also check around the base for evidence of prior leaks.

Look for adequate protection on risky pipes

If you’ve ever dealt with a frozen pipe, you know how devastating it can be. As you are making your way through your home inspection, look for visible signs of previous pipe problems, and also look for potential problems in the future. Pipes on outside walls without adequate insulation are signs you may have a future problem if nothing is done to fix it now.

Basically, if something needs updating, or looks like it will soon, negotiate it into your contract. Sellers usually aren’t willing to let a serious buyer walk over small to medium inspection concerns.

 

29 Mar. 2016

Dual Flush Toilets

Dual dualflushflush toilets are the latest in water-conservation efforts, and have made the crossover from commercial to residential applications. Now, most well-known residential brands sell at least one dual flush model, including Kohler, American Standard, and Toto. Not only are there options, but the options are reasonably, and competitively priced. Unfortunately, due to the vast differences in design, dual flush retrofit kits are not an effective option for homeowners who want the water savings, but don’t want to invest in a brand new toilet. So, if you’re looking for the vast water savings a dual flush toilet has to offer, you’re going to have to invest in the real deal this time.

Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently from standard American style toilets, giving the user a choice of flushes. It’s an interactive toilet design that helps conserve water and has quickly caught on in countries where water is in short supply, like Australia, and in areas where water supply and treatment facilities are older or overtaxed. Interest in low flow and dual flush toilets is on the rise in the United States, due in part to increased government regulation and the rising cost of water.

The Australians are credited with leading the way in the development of dual flush technology. In 1980, Bruce Thompson of Caroma Industries created the first two-button flushing system, a convenient method of manually selecting the water volume of each flush — a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste — with the push of a button. Necessity was the driving force for the change. Traditional toilets used lots of water, a commodity that was in short supply on a continent that has erratic rainfall and experiences frequent and prolonged droughts.

Most modern dual flush toilets use less than a gallon of water to flush liquid waste and around 1.6 gallons to flush solid waste. This is a big savings over old toilet styles that used five gallons or more for each and every flush. Today, dual flush toilets are used widely in Australia, Europe and Asia, and they’re catching on in other areas as well. Increased environmental awareness, government regulation, the availability of monetary incentives and the rising cost of water are making the changeover to dual flush and low flow toilet designs more attractive to U.S. consumers.

The way water is used to remove waste from the bowl has a lot to do with how much water is needed to get the job done. Standard toilets use siphoning action, a method that employs a siphoning tube, to evacuate waste. A high volume of water entering the toilet bowl when the toilet’s flushed fills the siphon tube and pulls the waste and water down the drain. When air enters the tube, the siphoning action stops. Dual flush toilets employ a larger trapway (the hole at the bottom of the bowl) and a wash-down flushing design that pushes waste down the drain. Because there’s no siphoning action involved, the system needs less water per flush, and the larger diameter trapway makes it easy for waste to exit the bowl. Combined with the savings from using only half-flushes for liquid waste, the dual flush toilet design can save up to 68% more water than a conventional low flow toilet.

In 1994, the National Energy Policy Act was signed into law, requiring toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. This mandate to conserve has given rise to a new generation of high efficiency toilets (HETs) that use technologies like pressure-assist, gravity flush and dual flush to whisk away waste using as little water as possible. Of the new technologies, the dual flush method has the advantage of intuitive flushing, where the operator can decide electively that less water is needed and use one gallon or less per flush instead of the 1.6 gallon maximum.

Although toilets purchased for new construction and retrofits must meet the new standards, millions of older water-guzzling toilets are still out there. As water and sewer costs keep rising, low flow toilets are becoming more attractive to the American consumer, and local and state governments are using rebates and tax incentives to encourage households to convert to these new technologies.

The advantages of low flow toilets in conserving water and reducing the demand on local water treatment facilities is pretty obvious. According to USA Today, the average person flushes the toilet five to eight times a day, and at a greedy five gallons a flush, the numbers start to add up quickly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, completely eliminating old style, water guzzling toilets would save about 2 billion gallons of water each day in the United States. With a growing population, an aging water treatment infrastructure and the looming threat of global warming contributing to uncertain weather, water conservation will continue to be a big issue.

*Source: HowStuffWorks.com

05 Feb. 2016

In-Home Water Filtration Systems

In-home-water-filtrationWater is the single most important thing to sustain life here on earth. So when the quality of a community’s water system is poor, the impact can be catastrophic. Worldwide, close to 2.5 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation, close to three quarters of a billion people don’t have access to clean water, and six to eight million people die each year from the consequences of water-related diseases.

But that’s the rest of the world. That’s not right here in the United States, right? Think again. As recent news stories indicate, even water in well-established American communities isn’t always guaranteed to be safe.

Before water reaches your home, it goes through an intense water treatment process designed to remove the bad and leave the good. Chemicals such as chlorine or chloramine are added to neutralize bacteria, viruses, parasites and other contaminants that can be harmful to our health. It also goes through a filtration process that eliminates sediment and dirt.

But while our national water filtration system does remove many of the things that have been known to be harmful in the past, there is only so much a nationwide water filtration system can do. Not only that, but sometimes problems can occur farther down the line, beyond the point of filtration. This is why many homeowners are taking it upon themselves to go the next step in making sure their drinking water is as safe as it can be.

First, if you’re worried that there are contaminants like lead in your water, you can call your municipal water supplier and see if they test for free. If not, lead testing kits are available at most hardware stores for about $30. You can test the water yourself and find out the results in about ten minutes. If the tests come back indicating high levels of lead, experts recommend that you stop drinking it immediately and call your local water supplier.

Next, many are choosing to install in-home water filtration systems to remove water pollutants that have made it past, or back into the water supply. There are filters designed to remove everything from a bad taste to harmful pollutants such as lead, iron, mercury, hydrogen sulphide, and bacteria. The options are seemingly endless and it’s important to pick the one that most suits your home and water supply.

The best place to start is with a home water audit. This will give you a good idea of the makeup of your current water supply, highlighting the harmful pollutants that should be removed. Give us a call today, we’ll be happy to show you how you can make improvements to your current water supply, creating water that tastes better and is safer for you and your family.

29 Jan. 2016

3D Printed Plumbing Fixtures

untitled3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, refers to the process of creating a three-dimensional object by successive layering of material through a computer controlled robot. This technology was first introduced in the early 1980’s, but has really taken off in the last decade or so, and has really found a place in the aerospace, architecture, automotive, defense, and medical industries. The latest industry to experience the benefits of 3D printing is within plumbing. Since the technology is able to create products with unparalleled detail, such fixtures are highly desired by homeowners who are looking for creative, unique fixtures to accent their home. DXV_Vibrato-Faucet_ee5e8302

 

DXV by American Standard seems to be at the forefront of the plumbing industry’s use of this technology, recently unveiling the first collection of commercially-available residential faucets created with 3D printing. Their Vibrato Faucet under this new 3D product line even earned them a “BEST of KBIS Gold Award” in the Bath Category at the 2016 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show this month in Las Vegas. The use of such detailed technology provides the designs the ability look as if the water is appearing out of nowhere, since the trunk of the faucet is see through.

DXV_Shadowbrook-Bathroom-3D-Faucet_f1a3b333

DXV has an entire line of 3D printed fixtures. While this initial launch brings a hefty cost of $19,500, as time goes on and the technology becomes more wide-spread, pricing for 3D printed fixtures will hopefully decrease to a much more attainable price tag. For now, one can dream…

20 Jan. 2016

Bathroom Safety Tips

home-safety-bathroomJanuary is National Bath Safety Month, and when 70% of home accidents occur in the bathroom, it’s definitely not a topic to be overlooked.

While the bathroom can be a dangerous place for anybody, seniors and children tend to be most susceptible to bathroom-related accidents. Fortunately, many of these accidents can be avoided through awareness and prevention methods.

Safety Tips for Seniors – The main focus of prevention for seniors should be bathroom falls. While they’re unfortunately common and often times catastrophic, they can be easily prevented if you take the right precautions:

  • Install non-slip strips or mats in the bottom of your bathtub
  • Have reachable safety handles for climbing in and out of the tub or shower, and by the toilet as well
  • For those that have a particularly hard time getting in and out of the shower and standing for long periods of time, transfer benches and shower chairs make this process both easier and safer
  • Keep a non-slip rug or mat on the floor at the entry/exit of the shower and tub
  • Make sure your bathroom floor stays clean, dry and free of spills
  • Keep a portable phone in your bathroom, but away from water, in case of emergencies

1421883064Safety Tips for Children – Accidents can happen in an instant. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water. In addition to constant vigilance, the following tips are recommended for a safe bathing environment:

  • Prevent slips – young children don’t have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they loose their balance. Placing a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub/shower and a non-slip throw rug outside the tub/shower will help prevent falls.
  • Test the temperature – Children are more sensitive to extreme temperatures than adults, so make sure your home’s water heater is set to no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have control over the heater, you can buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet. Lastly, always wait until the tub is finished filling before placing your child in the water since the temperature can unknowingly change.
  • Beware of sharp edges – Use a rubber cover for the faucet head and drape a towel over metal rails of shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. Lastly, avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.
  • Constant Vigilance – We can’t repeat this one enough. Even if you think your toddler is fairly advanced in their swimming capabilities, assume they are not. Never leave the bathroom for anything, as the forgetfulness of “out of sight, out of mind” can lead to devastating consequences. If you do have to leave, grab a towel and take them with you. Again, accidents can happen in an instant.

Putting the above precautions into place will help create a safe bathing environment for those most susceptible to the dangers that lie in the most used room of the house. National Bath Safety Month exists for a reason.

15 Jan. 2016

Portland Utilizes Turbines in City Water Pipes to Generate Electricity

Portland2Portland residents are able to generate green electricity simply by turning on their water taps and flushing their toilets. Fast Company reports that the Oregon city is using a state-of-the art system to capture energy from water flowing through the city’s pipelines. Small turbines installed inside the pipelines are turned by the flowing water, sending energy into a generator and off into the power grid.

“It’s pretty rare to find a new source of energy where there’s no environmental impact,” Gregg Semler told Fast Company. Semler is the chief executive officer of Lucid Energy, the Portland start-up behind the new system. “But this is inside a pipe, so no fish or endangered species are impacted. That’s what’s exciting.”

Portland1According to Semler, water utilities tend to use large amounts of electricity, so the new power generation system can help cut the cost of providing drinking water to cities. Utilities can decide whether to use the power for their own purposes, or sell the energy as a source of revenue.

“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler notes. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”

As for Portland, one of its main water pipelines uses Lucid’s system to generate power, and though the system can’t make enough power for the whole city, the pipes can produce enough to run an individual building like a school or a library.

Portland3Unlike other forms of green power, like solar or wind, the Lucid system can produce power at any time of the day because the water is always flowing. The only hitch is that the turbines can only produce power where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity. Lucid’s pipes contain sensors that can monitor the quality of the water flowing through the pipes, making them more than just a power generating technology, which can be valuable just about anywhere.

The company hopes to work with cities to install new systems as old pipes wear out. They’re also hoping to expand to the developing world. “It’s a great source of remote power,” says Semler. “So in places outside the city that don’t have an electrical grid, you’re able to use the system to generate energy.”

“There’s a lot of energy in going into making sure we have safe clean drinking water,” Semler says. “Our focus is really on helping water become more sustainable.”

Source: Fast Company

08 Jan. 2016

Celebrate National Bubble Bath Day

Free-standing-soaking-tub-bubble-bath-1024x682Today is National Bubble Bath Day. Yep, it’s a thing, and obviously you need to celebrate it, right? Just in case today is the first you’re hearing of it, we have an easy-to-make honey bubble bath recipe AND a honey and brown sugar body scrub, both consisting of ingredients you should already have in your pantry. Now you have no excuses. Top your hour of “me time” off by running two green tea bags under hot water and placing them over your eyes while you bathe for a DIY eye treatment that reduces inflammation. Enjoy!

Homemade Honey Bubble Bath Recipe:
1 cup baby oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup hand soap or shampoo (preferably unscented, but if not, pick something that will compliment the honey scent)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
plastic squeeze bottles

In a bowl, add the oil and stir in the remaining ingredients until well blended.  Pour mixture into plastic squeezable bottle.  Be sure to shake before us, as ingredients will separate and settle a bit in the bottle. Yields two 8 oz. bottles.

Recipe courtesy of Live Laugh Rowe


Honey Brown Sugar Scrub Recipe:
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
In a bowl combine all ingredients until fully mixed; store in an airtight container.

Recipe courtesy of A Pumpkin and a Princess