Plumbing systems are pretty simple – they use pressure and valves and you just have to keep them dry and warm so problems don’t arise. Here are a few tips that can alert you to small problems in order to avoid bigger problems in the future.
Warning signs of a potential in-home plumbing problem:
- damp cabinets
- leaking or dripping faucets
- wobbly toilets
- leaking refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine
What you can do to help preserve the integrity of your in-home plumbing:
- To save yourself money and the plumber time, know where your home’s main water shut-off valve and sewer stack are located. (This also includes the valves for washing machines, icemakers, sinks and toilets. A stud sensor can also detect pipes and wiring to help you locate valves.)
- Insulate exposed pipes in a crawl space or in the garage with plastic or foam insulation.
- Apply insulating caps to outdoor fixtures.
- If you plan on being away from home for a few days, open taps to a small trickle to prevent pipes from freezing.
- For leaky shower heads, replace the washer.
- Fit tub and shower drains with strainers to catch hair and clean them regularly.
- Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket.
- If you have hard water, you probably have a build-up of mineral deposit on your shower head. Remove the build-up by putting one cup of distilled vinegar in a plastic bag, immerse the shower head in the vinegar, secure the bag to the shower head with a twist tie and let it soak overnight.
- Check washer hoses for bulges and leaks as well as sediment build-up where the hose connects to the piping.
- Ensure the water heater temperature is not set above 120°F, or “medium” for older water heater models.
- Reduce water pressure and install water softener to expand the life expectancy of your in-home plumbing pipes. Normal pressure will register between 40 and 85 psi.
To find out how to help protect yourself in the event of an in-home plumbing emergency, visit www.slwofa.com
When plants absorb sunlight to produce oxygen through photosynthesis, the water in their leaves evaporates, requiring the plant to pull water from the ground – which could be trouble for some plants in drought-prone areas.
During periods of extreme heat and drought, this process can use all of a plant’s water resources quickly. As a result, when the weather is hotter, a natural reaction when gardening is to water the plants. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing could be detrimental to the plants. If plants are overwatered during the hottest months, it could send mixed signals, encouraging growth at a time when the plant should be conserving resources. Sometimes it’s better to put your landscape on a strict water diet to ensure healthy plants and conserve water during the hottest months.
So what’s the right amount of water for your plants? That relies on several factors, including:
- Types of plants
- Current weather predictions
In order to keep your landscape on a strict diet and conserve water, here are a few simple tricks from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Select plants native to the climate, which will require less water since they are adapted to adjust with the seasons locally. Local nurseries can give you the best advice for native plants along with tips on how to properly care for them.
- Water plants in the early morning or late evening and not during the hottest part of the day. Be sure to note the weather forecast so you don’t water in the morning only for it to rain later in the day.
- Use mulch to help retain moisture in the soil.
- Group plants with similar watering needs together, which will help not only conserve water, but concentrate your watering areas correctly.
When monitoring your plants, there are some tell-tale signs they need water:
- Drooping leaves and stems
- Flowers that lose their petals too soon
- Plant coloration – look for a brownish color
These simple tips will help keep your landscape fit and trim this summer. Interested in learning more about photosynthesis? Check out these articles on How Stuff Works andEncylopedia.com. For more information on finding native plants in your area, check out Find Native Plants.