An unexpected garden flood

June 2013

Catherine was outdoors watering her vegetable and flower gardens, when, suddenly the hose spigot snapped off the outside wall of the house. A flood of water gushed from the water line.

When Catherine and Michael bought their house three years ago, their plumber had walked them through and showed them the critical control valves in case of emergency: One was for their water heater, another for their bathrooms and fortunately, one controlled the three outside hose spigots. It saved them a lot of money on wasted water and damage to their beautiful flower and vegetable gardens.

Catherine and Michael quickly found the valve that controlled the outside spigots and shut the valve off immediately , which minimized the damage. They called their plumber who came over and replaced the snapped-off spigot.

Michael suggested to Catherine that, because of age of their equipment, they replace the other two water spigots as well.

Their plumber replaced all three with a higher quality frost-proof hose spigot. The ones that they had were not frost proof. They were fortunate that these did not freeze during the bitter cold winters. Normally, at the end of autumn the hose spigot should be shut off inside by the main control valve and drained through the outside water spigot. Sometimes people forget to turn these off. Frost proof hose spigots are less likely to freeze and burst.

Catherine and Michael had been meaning to replace their rubber washing machine hoses with stainless steel anti-burst hoses to prevent a possible flood, so while their plumber was there, they had him install a solenoid valve with a water detector sensor on their cold water supply to their water heater. This would insure that, should it rupture, it would automatically shut the water off.

Michael and Catherine decided to do these small but important jobs that are so easy to put off, especially when sunny days beckon to relax or putter outdoors.

Once the spigot problem was solved, Catherine returned to her gardens. She picked vegetables to make a luscious cucumber, tomato and string bean salad, feeling happy and relaxed once again.

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Plumbing priorities when buying a home

May 2013

Spring and summer are the best times to buy a home. Overall, it is less stressful to settle into one’s new home before the cold weather and holidays arrive.

People have different needs: style, size of property, type of neighborhood, proximity to stores and places of worship. Parents need to find the school system to meet their children’s needs.

Joe and Anna’s trusted plumber reminded them that an important function of a home is the water distribution system. They brought him to each house they liked so that he could realistically evaluate it and guide their choices.

Important questions he addressed included the age of the water distribution system. The life expectancy in a residence is anywhere from 25 to 30 years. If the water distribution system is older than that, it needs to be addressed and possibly replaced. The condition of the pipes needs to be analyzed. In some situations this is done by removing a section of pipe and having it sent to a lab that tests the age and wear and tear on the piping.

Joe and Anna also had their plumber examine their drainage piping. Some homes in Rockland have sewers made of Orangeburg pipe material made in a factory that closed years ago. If that had been the case, their plumber would have recommended that it be replaced; 50 year old Orangeburg pipe has a tendency to collapse. It was important that Joe and Anna had the advice they needed to make informed decision.

Once they chose the home they liked, they consulted their plumber to see if they could add a bathroom and what their options were in replacing the existing kitchen and half bath on the main floor. While their plumber was there, he also checked their heating system and found it to be recent and in good order. If it had been an old one, the plumber would have recommended the heating system be replaced before the next winter.

The comfort of knowing they had chosen wisely was well worth the consulting fee that Joe and Anna paid their plumber.

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Outdoor Pleasures

April 2013

Now that the days are warmer and longer, many of us gravitate to our yards for outdoor relaxation, barbequing and swimming. Louis and Karen bought a new gas grille. They didn’t want to use the white propane tank because it is an eyesore, so they called their licensed plumber to install a gas line and connect it to their gas grille. The plumber made the proper adaptation from propane to natural gas by installing a gas line from their gas meter to their new grill. He also had to change the orifice inside the gas grill to accommodate the natural gas. Now there is no worry about running out of fuel in the middle of grilling their tuna steak and vegetables.

When their plumber was there, they asked him to install a poolside outdoor shower to use before and after swimming. This would encourage their children and friends to shower outside and get dressed in their cabana.

The plumber also recommended that they add some additional lighting around the gas grille and around the pool. Louis and Karen agreed this was an excellent idea. Their plumber brought a licensed electrician to add some additional outdoor lighting. They were delighted with the suggestions the plumber and electrician made for the location of the gas grille and where to install the lighting around the pool.

The plumber also recommended an open pit outdoor fireplace to enjoy on cool summer nights and in the fall and winter months. For years, Louis and Karen planned to install an outdoor hot tub. “Now’s the time,” they said, “We’re not procrastinating any longer.”

Their plumber designed a separate, solar heating hot water system that costs pennies to run. Work began. The tub and other materials needed for the solar heating system were ordered and within three weeks their backyard was transformed into their own beautiful resort. Now they can’t keep enough hot dogs and hamburgers on hand for their guests.

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Renovation Part 2: On to the Kitchen

February 2013

Frank and Louise, pleased with the results of their bathroom renovation, started to gather ideas for their dream kitchen.

They again called their master plumber, who oversaw the entire bathroom renovation (plumbing, electric, sheet rock, tile and new skylight), and brought him in to discuss what they wanted—the type of sink and appliances (microwave, dishwasher, range, refrigerator, garbage disposal) and the location of each. Continue reading

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Frank & Louise’s Bathroom Renovation

January 2013

With the holidays over, Frank and Louise decided to bring in the New Year by renovating their master bath- room, with its antiquated tile and plumbing fixtures.

They wanted an oversized shower with a bench and body sprays to replace their old tub. They had long dreamed of having a sauna built into a new shower. They started window-shopping for tiles and color schemes, faucets and plumbing fixtures. Continue reading

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Being self-sufficient in a power outage

December 2012

John and Mary and their three children were home on a Friday night playing Scrabble. The winds were howling and the rain was pouring down hard. Suddenly, the power went out.

Thank goodness they had their professional licensed plumber and electrician install an emergency gas powered generator. The lights flickered and their emergency generator automatically went on. They were able to finish their Scrabble game and enjoy the rest of the evening. Continue reading

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Honey, We Need a Raft—or—What To Do When Your Basement Floods

November 2012

Is your water heater making noise? Look at the date your unit was manufactured. If it’s six years or older you should consider replacing it before it ruptures in the middle of the night or when no one is home. Should it rupture, it could flood your basement with water. Whether you’re sound asleep, or have returned from a long day at work, a distressing surprise could be awaiting you.

When you replace the old water heater, consider installing the new one in a protective pan with a water alarm sensor. These safety features are very economical, can ease your mind and eliminate future damage. Continue reading

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