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plumbing

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Toma Fitzgerald and Terry Leamon of My Maricopa Plumber.

By Terry Leamon
My Maricopa Plumber

Periodically giving your water softener a checkup will keep it running efficiently and help you avoid maintenance costs associated with hard water. Here are some DIY best practices:

Avoid salt bridges and salt-mushing
A salt bridge occurs when a hard crust forms in the brine tank and creates an empty space between the water and the salt, preventing the salt from dissolving into the water to make brine. Without brine, the resin beads that soften your water can’t do their job. Common causes of bridging include high humidity, temperature changes and using the wrong salt. You may have a salt bridge if your salt tank appears full but you know your water isn’t soft. The quickest way to test for a salt bridge is to take a broom handle and carefully push on the top of the salt, using a little bit of pressure to break it up.

Salt-mushing is the more serious of the two problems and happens when dissolved salt recrystallizes and forms a sludge on the bottom of the brine tank. This thick layer of salt keeps the water softener from properly cycling through the regeneration process, leaving your water hard and creating a serious blockage in the tank. To avoid these salt issues, opt for high-quality salt pellets, which greatly reduce the potential for any problems — especially salt-mushing. Additionally, don’t overfill your brine tank with salt. Keeping it half-full prevents older salt from sticking to the walls of the tank. It’s also important to manage the humidity level around your water softener.

Be selective with your salt choice
There are three basic types of water softener salt: rock, solar and evaporated. Rock salt, the least expensive, contains higher levels of insoluble minerals or impurities. Over time, this can result in a muddy tank, decreasing the softening efficiency while leaving impurities in your water. Solar salt, which is much more
soluble than rock salt, is obtained by the evaporation of seawater and is found in both pellet and crystal form. The best option is evaporated salt, which is obtained through a combination of mining and evaporation. This is the purest form of salt at 99.99% sodium chloride.

In general, look for high purity salts, which will leave less storage tank residue lowering the likelihood of salt bridges and salt-mushing and resulting in less maintenance. High-quality salts — and salts in pellet form — help eliminate bridging problems. Additionally, many leading brands also offer salt products that address specific issues, such as high iron concentration, rust stains and sodium alternatives.


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

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Toma Fitzgerald and Terry Leamon of My Maricopa Plumber.

By Terry Leamon
My Maricopa Plumber

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification process that uses a partially permeable membrane to remove ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water. RO systems have four components.

Prefilter
Larger particles, such as silt, rust and scale, are removed by the prefilter. This extends the life of your system and allows the semipermeable membrane to attack smaller particles.

Membrane
The center of the system, the RO membrane allows hydrogen and oxygen to pass through the microscopic pores. Dissolved solids too small to have been caught by the prefilter are removed from the water and flushed to the drain.

Final Polish
Water flows from the membrane to holding tank, which stores the clean water until your turn on your faucet. But before the water is dispensed, it flows through one more state of filtration. An activated carbon filter removes any remaining tastes and orders, delivering only the freshest, cleanest water possible.

Fast Recovery
The fast recovery system refills your tank quickly, producing enough water for all your needs. Certified for peace of mind.

Our go-to reverse osmosis system manufacturer is Ultima. All Ultima RO systems are built-to-order and use only the highest quality components on the market.

Ultima ROs are built in the United States. Every system is tested for water quality and structural integrity. Do not make the mistake of saving a few dollars and buying a system of inferior materials that is not tested for quality.

Ultima ROs produce great-tasting water and eliminate the need to keep buying bottled water. This means your RO will pay for itself in a short amount of time. That’s why, with over 500,000 sold, Ultima ROs are a great choice.

Green RO 5 stage is the newest technology. It wastes one-third the water of a normal RO and produces up to 75 gallons per day. It boasts the highest quality components, a 3.2-gallon storage tank and a standard chrome faucet with the option to upgrade to another finish or style.

For more information on RO systems, give My Maricopa Plumber a call.


This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

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Toma Fitzgerald and Terry Leamon of My Maricopa Plumber.

 

By Terry Leamon
My Maricopa Plumber

A slab leak is an industry term used to describe a leak that has developed in the copper water lines running below the concrete foundation of your home. When these same leaks are above ground, in the wall or ceiling, they are known as pinhole leaks. Such leaks are often a result of long-term corrosion to copper pipes.

Slab leaks can be found either on the pressure side or the drainage side of your foundation. If the slab leak is on the pressure side of the drains, it can typically be unearthed prior to triggering a lot of destruction. While these leaks are usually found quickly, they can cause significant damage. Leaks on the drainage side can be considerably more veiled, making them trickier to spot. They can leak for ages, showing no external indication.

Slab leaks can make your foundation collapse. To stop this from happening, the plumbing must be examined frequently.

Since slab leaks are not clearly visible to a homeowner, they can often go undetected for long periods of time. Leaving a potential slab leak unattended can lead to much larger problems, such as mold damage and termite infestation. With that said, you can look out for more subtle signs that may indicate you have a slab leak.

What Causes a Slab Leak?

Pre-Damage and Poor Installation It’s not unusual for some materials to get a little banged up when building a home, but if it’s the pipes that experience any damage, it could cause problems in the long run. Furthermore, if the pipes are installed incorrectly from the start, there’s a good chance that they won’t be able to function properly once they have an entire house sitting on top of them.

Ground/Foundation Shifts

Sometimes, slab leaks occur as the result of your house shifting on its foundation. When the ground of your home starts to shift, your pipes are bound to experience a little pressure. However, while pipes are strong and can withstand a lot of things, too much pressure can really take a toll and cause them to leak.

Abrasion

Pipes naturally expand and contract as water flows through them, but doing so can cause trouble depending on how your home was built. If the pipes are in a place where they are exposed to concrete, gravel, even other pipes, they could start to rub against them (until they eventually wear down) if they don’t have enough room to expand.

Corrosion

Since these pipes are located underground, it’s only natural for them to come into contact with soil. However, the addition of soil can cause the pipes to corrode over time. This is very common in home plumbing systems with copper pipes.

Signs You Have a Slab Leak

(1) Sudden spikes in your water bill.
(2) The sound of running water when pipes aren’t in use.
(3) Moisture or mildew under carpeting. (4) A moving water meter dial when pipes aren’t in use.
(5) Standing water around the perimeter of your house.
(6) Unusually low water pressure.
(7) Cracks in your baseboard or walls.
(8) Damp or warm floors.
(9) Mold problems/moldy smell.

If you suspect you may have a slab leak in your home, call My Maricopa Plumber @520-509-7948 for professional slab leak detection and repair. If there is a slab leak present, we may recommend capping off existing pipes using durable and flexible PEX piping if the leaks are extensive or hard to reach rather than performing a complete pipe replacement.


This column appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

 

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By Terry Leamon, My Maricopa Plumber

Summer is a great time to encourage homeowners to perform a maintenance check on their plumbing.

Water usage soars during the summer months from heat and summertime activities. As they play and swim, many

families will find themselves with a few extra loads of laundry per week and maybe a few extra showers.

Homeowners can start the season off right with a quick check throughout the home and property to conserve water and avoid a hefty repair bill.

In the Home

Check washing machine hoses for bulges, leaks and cracks. Washing machine hoses should be replaced every three years.

Be sure your washing machine is at least four inches from the wall, so hoses won’t kink and damage.

Do a thorough cleaning on your dryer lint trap regularly to avoid buildup.

Don’t send grease, fats or food down the drain. When washing foods like corn, be sure the strings don’t go down the drain and clog your pipes.

Heat and humidity will cause ducts to create condensation, which can easily back up drains if they are not clear. Check for leaks and condensation on your pipes regularly.

Clean up your garbage disposal by placing a cup of ice inside. Then, while running cold water, turn on the unit. Repeat a few times to ensure it’s clean. Then place a capful of vegetable oil down the disposal, which will act as a natural lubricant.

Outdoors

Inspect hoses and outdoor faucets for leaks and cracks.

Don’t just turn off the hose nozzle; turn it off at the connection. A leaky hose could burst under pressure if water is still pumping, causing water loss and ruining your equipment.

Set up a rainwater barrel to collect water for your plants.  This not only helps conserve water for the environment, but also will help you save money on your water bill.

Extended Trips

Going away for a while? Turn off the water and turn down the temperature. This will save energy while you’re away and in the event of a leak or break, prevent a bigger mess from occurring.