Water Use Basics During a Drought

A drought is a period of time that is drier than normal. There are three kinds of drought; meteorological drought which is lack of rain, agricultural drought which is lack of moisture in the soil, and hydrologic drought which is reduce water from bodies of water, either below ground water sources or streams. Places like California are under drought regulations regularly. Here are some tips to ensure you know what to do during a drought or an emergency situation that requires you conserve the most water.

Water Saving Plumbing Fixtures

Consult your trusted plumber to give you the best recommendations for replacements and upgrades to your plumbing that will not only conserve water on your water bill today, but well into the future. These innovations will effect the following generations to come and help you feel your best about the efforts you made to save valuable resources in your lifetime. Also be sure to fix leaks as quickly as possible. Leaks are responsible for a lot of unwanted water spending. You can also flush your toilet less or place a brick in the tank because filling completely up between flushes is not necessary. The internet is full of countless other tips for saving water in your bathroom.

Water Lawns at Opportune Times

If you are going to water your lawn, do it less often and cut your grass less often so it will retain the water you do give it. Be sure to water your lawn in the early morning or late evening to insure it soaks up the most moisture before it gets evaporated with the help of the sun.

Rain Water Collection

Collecting rain water in specifically designed rain barrels is one of the most effective ways to save water in the event of drought or emergency. This water is safe to use on virtually anything but drinking, including to water your plants and lawn or wash your car. You can also devise your own collection from the run off of your home’s gutter system. Water can also be collected from your water supply in your home, below kitchen sinks. A bucket can collect your water waste and be used on your outdoor plants.

In the coming years, common knowledge on defining a drought and regular water regulations will need to be employed. In other countries, drought is considered the normal condition or clean drinking water is not at all available. We are fortunate we have the water we do today and should do all we can to protect it. Employ these three things in times of drought, or just on a regular basis, to be a responsible citizen of earth.

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Credentials and Education Needed To Become a Plumber

Although from state to state the requirements for becoming a plumber can vary, there are usually two ways to obtain your plumbing license. One way is to go to college for 2-3 years to obtain the knowledge and experience necessary to work in the field and the other is to do a much longer apprenticeship beneath a “master plumber”. Both ways are respected in the trade and matter only to the aspiring plumber, to choose the option that best fits his lifestyle and resources.

Formal Education

To best prepare for the field, an aspiring plumber should first get their high school diploma or GED. If they know they want to be a plumber they will need a solid background in science, math, and computers. If they are able, in high school or college, taking courses in drafting and blue print reading is very helpful in the trade. Trade school, vocational school, or technical schools all offer plumbing programs that will give you the foundation in more advanced plumbing studies such as water supply and drainage systems and piping equipment. Schooling can take 2-3 years. After you’ve received your diplomas you will want hands-on experience with an employer willing to mentor you your first few years of work.

Apprenticeship

Doing an extensive apprenticeship program that may last as long as 5 years under an experienced plumber in place of going to school for a formal education is another option available to aspiring plumbers. The steps following are the same, 2-3 years experience after your apprenticeship has ended will qualify you for what they call your journeyman’s license. Journeyman plumbers can go onto become master plumbers after they’ve received 1-5 years more experience in the field (depending on the state) by taking another exam.

Licensing

After you’ve completed one of the two routes listed above to gather all the knowledge and experience necessary for licensing, you will probably take an exam. The exam will include a lot of the information you learned in school, on the job, and will likely include local codes as well. As previously mentioned, journeyman can continue onto becoming master plumbers by continuing to work in the field and then taking the master plumber’s exam.

Job Outlook

Plumbers average 20.00 per hour and have been staying around 5% unemployment rate which is good. The trade is expected to remain the same into the future. Newcomers will likely have job openings when they are ready to fill them, as plumbers retire. Most plumbers find their work in construction, but there are a number of job applications for plumbing.

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Cure Your Basement Odor

Having odor in the home isn’t just displeasing to your nose. The two main causes for the odor is mold and mildew accumulation that can be harmful to your health (allergy and asthma are two main conditions caused by undetected mold). This is not a problem that should be ignored, especially if you are trying to maintain the integrity of the home for years to come or are trying to sell it in the future. No matter how lovely the home is staged on higher levels, once your guests open the basement door and catch a whiff, they will know what the smell represents; Water! Mold and mildew smells coming from your basement are likely caused by condensation, leaking, and poor ventilation. Luckily, this problem can be remedied fairly easily. Check out these tips.

Air It Out

The musty basement smell is strongest in spring and fall when utilities aren’t running and in the winter when windows are closed. Poor ventilation of the basement is how the smell permeates each square inch. The first thing you can do is buy a humidifier to remove moisture and dry the place out. Open all windows and doors in the vicinity of the basement in hopes it will tame the smell.

Inspect

Put on your home inspector hat because you are going to examine both the inside of the basement and outside the home around the perimeter of the foundation. Inside look for water spots that indicate leakage, cracks in the foundation, or actual mold. Look at exposed pipes to see if they are dripping or wet with condensation. These should be wrapped in a wrap product specifically made for the purpose. Note what you see and call a professional to make repairs immediately before severe damage is done to the foundation. The problems are likely from the outside where you will examine next. The land around the home should slope away so that rain water is drained away from the home instead of down the foundation walls. Even water soaking into the dirt and penetrating the home’s concrete can cause cracks and damage. See if you have an adequate and clean gutter system doing its job. Gutter down spouts should extend at least 6 feet from the home’s foundation.

Get Rid Of The Smells Long Term

To get rid of the smells long term you will need to apply several of these tips. Wear a mask as you use a water and bleach solution to spray and clean every surface of the basement to kill any harmful mold that has grown. Mold may not be visible, but is still there so I would not skip this important step. If you have any closets or tight enclosed places in your basement, kitty litter makes a great odor eliminator in these areas. White vinegar scattered around in bowls will eliminate odor over a period of a few days. The smell of vinegar will also go away. For long term odor eliminating, leave open containers of baking soda in the basement just as you would for the fridge. The baking soda boxes can assist in odor elimination up to 3 months.

Understand The Plumbing In Your Home

The plumbing in your home is a complex system, or rather three, when you look at it more closely. Installing and keeping a plumbing “network” efficient, leak free, and quiet is very important to the integrity of the home for resale value and living in. One leak in the home can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Plumbing can be one of the costliest systems in the home, so having a decent understanding of how it works can help you optimize your plumbing. Materials used have changed over the years and can be made of galvanized iron, plastic, or older plumbing made of copper. Appliances will quit, valves and hoses will need replacements, but the integrity of your plumbing no matter its material will likely last as long as the house itself if properly maintained. Let’s look at the 3 main systems that make up your home’s plumbing network.

Water Supply

The water supply is the system that is bringing clean water to your home from the street or well and then your system branches off and distributes it to different rooms. The water enters the home at 50-60 psi (pounds per square inch), a measurement used to determine water pressure.

Drain-Waste-Vent System

The clean water is brought into the home through the aforementioned network, and the dirty water leaves using gravity and drainage pipes (such as from your bathtubs and sink drains). Air is also sent through the pipes to insure that water is flowing efficiently through the pipes. The dirty water is sent to a septic tank or city sewer for treatment. This system is one of the most crucial of the home and your plumbing. Drain pipes make sense, but one complicated feature of this system is the much necessary vent pipes. These pipes are strategically placed to vent sewer gases caused by the dirty water and prevent them from stinking up your home. They also allow the draining water to maintain the most optimal pressure for drainage and smell. It’s extremely important to follow code when installing this system. You can imagine the consequences. Clogged drains, anywhere within the system, are the main cause of issue in the DWV system. Looking for clogs will be your first step of action if you catch wind of an unwanted smell.

Gas Supply

If you have a gas range stove, your plumbing will also include a gas supply line that’s considered part of the plumbing. Otherwise, bathrooms and kitchens systems are simple. Both have hot and cold water lines coming in, and waste lines going out. Appliances such as dishwashers and garbage disposals are just tied in easily with existing plumbing under your sink.

Advantages Of Having A Single Bowl Kitchen Sink

A double or single sink does not determine the number of sinks you have, but rather the number of “bowls” per kitchen sink. In many places a double sink will come standard, but this does not make it a better choice. In fact, homeowners and renters can prefer a double or single sink, depending on their cooking and cleaning habits. This article highlights all the advantages of having a single sink bowl in your kitchen.

Aesthetics and Simplicity

Single bowl kitchen sinks can look and feel very streamline. It simplifies a kitchen when its clean. For a person who prefers using a dishwasher and keeping the countertops free of clutter, a single bowl sink will provide a peaceful, simple looking kitchen design. For people who dishwash by hand, the sink may or may not fit their cleaning lifestyle. One advantage is that the single sink is much larger than any side of a standard double sink and can clean larger pots, pans, and cookie sheets. Depending on the type of cook you are, the sink may be perfect for you. For hand dishwashers, the user must consider that drying has to take place by hand or on a rack that takes up counter space, which you likely will have more of anyway using a single bowl sink!

Encourage You To Finish What You Start

If you are notorious for procrastinating dishes and kitchen clean up, this sink may or may not be for you. Having a single bowl kitchen sink forces you to finish what you start before beginning a new projects. There is no multi-tasking in the sinks with this option. This could be a good thing, if you are the type to finish what you begin and like the kitchen to be methodically cleaned.

More Counter Space

Having a single bowl kitchen sink usually frees up more counterspace. If you have a lot of appliances in use or have a small kitchen space to begin with, this single bowl design is for you. A single bowl for a single person who can rinse each dish after use and put it in the dishwasher, keeping the space clean can be an ideal choice. If you are building a casita, guest house, or mother-in-law suite, you won’t regret considering installing a single bowl.

Who would have thought people might be particular about the number of sink bowls they have in a kitchen. If you are living with a sink that doesn’t match your design style and cooking and cleaning habits, consider making this inexpensive change! Like showers, bathtubs, and beds, having your preferences met, in even such seemingly small ways, can make your life so much easier.

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Advantages Of Having A Double Bowl Kitchen Sink

A double or single sink does not determine the number of sinks you have, but rather the number of “bowls” per kitchen sink. In many places a double sink will come standard, but this does not make it a better choice. In fact, homeowners and renters can prefer a double or single sink, depending on their cooking and cleaning habits. This article highlights all the advantages of having a double sink in your kitchen.

To Keep Clean Dishes Aside

Generally you’ll find all these reasons will include using one of the sink’s bowls for a second purpose. The second bowl is most often used to keep a dish drying rack in so it doesn’t take up valuable prep counter space. For those who prefer washing dishes by hand (yes, those people still exist), filling one sink with soapy water for soaking, washing, and rinsing and the other with dishes to dry is the ideal system. For those hellbent on using the dishwasher but are avid pre-washers, the double sink fits their style as well.

One Side Specifically For Garbage Disposal

For those who cook or prepare food with a lot of fresh produce, having the one sink bowl connected to the garbage disposal is ideal. They use this one side for peeling potatoes and cucumber, or for discarding undesired vegetable parts from their cutting boards. The other side can be a pre-wash or soaking bowl for these produce.

Separate Soaking/Cleaning

After large dinner parties or a particularly messy or time consuming meal, scraping plates into the garbage or garbage disposal and then letting the dish load soak for an evening before tackling the task is ideal. For people who deep clean their houses and kitchens, having an additional bowl just for filling with water and adding product (cleansers, bleach, etc) is a home cleaner’s best friend. A neat trick to cleanse a sink, and refresh a home’s fragrance is to stop a sink, fill it up with water, add essential oil or a good smelling all purpose liquid, and let it sit at least an hour. This liquid can then be used to dust the home or clean countertops, ceiling fans, and stovetops.

Filling Pots

Having a double kitchen sink gives you a ridge in the middle to set a pot on for filling if the two bowls are full with their own jobs.

Generally More Space

More sink space means more multi-tasking and getting things done. It can allow you to procrastinate one task because you have a sink open for another. It gives a homeowner or renter more freedom to choose how they spend their time. One side can be passively cleaning the sink and refreshing the home’s fragrance, while the other is free for guests to wash their hands. For several residents and a busy home, the double sink will make the best choice.