Category Archives: Water Leaks

Five Solutions to Low Water Pressure

Are you bothered by a low water pressure problem? This issue can be frustrating and make minor tasks like washing dishes and clothes, showering, or watering plants take longer than necessary. It can also increase the amount of water you are using, which in turn increases your water bill.

A good way to tell if you may have a problem is your toilet cistern, which generally holds about 7.5 liters of water and should take no more than 1 minute and 40 seconds to refill. If you hear your toilet filling for longer, it could be a signal of a pressure issue. You can test water pressure on your own with a kit; normal pressure is around 50 PSI (pounds per square inch), so if your results show it’s below 30, you’ve confirmed a problem.

A few measures you can take to identify the origin of your problem and possibly increase water pressure include:

  • Defective valves – Locate your main water valve and make sure it is all the way open. It can unexpectedly slip without any sign or indication, and if the valve is turned off or even closed slightly, your water pressure can be dramatically impacted. If your pressure is low, this is a good place to check first!
  • Check elevation – If your house is located higher than the water storage tank, pressure will be difficult to maintain. If possible, have your tank elevated higher than your house to ensure the best water pressure possible.
  • Check for water leaks – Damaged pipes allow water to seep out, much like a straw with a hole in it; visually inspect water pipes for cracks, leaks, or debris buildup. If you are unable to find any leaks, turn off your main water valve to your home or structure and immediately check the water meter reading. After waiting a couple of hours, check the meter again and if the number increases, that’s a sign you have a leak.

 

  • Check pressure regulator – Locate the pressure regulator below the hose connection attached to your home. When a pressure regulator isn’t working properly, you will notice low water pressure at every faucet in your home. This kind of plumbing repair is best left to a professional.
  • Mineral deposit buildup – Over time, mineral deposits can gather and clog water pipes, blocking faucets and showerheads and restricting the flow of water. To remove mineral deposit buildup, try scrubbing the affected areas with a toothbrush using a commercial cleaner or a simple solution of white vinegar or lemon and baking soda. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to hire an expert.

Sometimes your city’s pressure may just not be what you hoped. The best solution here is opting for a pressure tank and pump. The pressure tank, incorporated into your plumbing after the main shutoff valve, will keep the volume of water in your system high and maintain pressure at a more stable level. To boost the pressure beyond that, you would need a pump to go with the tank, which takes the low-pressure water coming into your home and increases the PSI before sending it through the pressure tank. The right pump depends on a number of factors, and if you would like to discuss your options we would be happy to help.

More than likely, to fix your water pressure a professional plumber will be needed. However, identifying and sourcing low water pressure causes yourself may help isolate the problem so you can more easily describe symptoms to an expert. If you have low water pressure in your home, we can help you diagnose the problem and give you all of your available options to solve the issue. Contact us today to enjoy better water pressure in no time.

6 Tips to Save Money While You’re on Vacation

As winter arrives in North Dakota, warm, sunny beaches start to call our names! Are you heading out on a winter vacation? More than likely you have had the mail held and asked a neighbor to keep an eye on things while you are away, but did you remember to ready your electricity and HVAC system for your absence? It is important for not only cost savings, but also safety reasons.

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Below are six tips to remember when the packing is done and you are almost ready to set sail in paradise.

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Reset the thermostat on your HVAC system to 60 degrees. This will save you money without risking frozen pipes and flooding, while still preventing moisture from building up on your primary heat exchanger, which could cause a possible shortage as well as mildew problems. Temperatures below freezing make it unsafe to turn the thermostat entirely off, and in our area we have the humidity working against us. We also tend to turn the heat back up to 72 or higher upon our return, causing extra stress to the HVAC unit. A programmable thermostat makes it convenient to remotely check on the temperature in your house and slowly increase the heat back to a comfortable setting over a couple of days, helping to prevent overworking your HVAC unit.

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This lower temperature will prevent water in the lines and tank from freezing and causing damage, but won’t keep hot water on hand that you are not going to be using. If you are not quite sure how to change the water heater to its “vacation” setting, give us a call!

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Turn off the water supply to washing machines and toilets; this can help avoid an unexpected leak while you’re away. Double-check the insulation around water pipes that are close to unheated areas and add insulation if needed, as an added precaution to prevent a frozen pipe while you’re away.

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Be sure all interior doors are open. This will keep the heat circulating throughout the entire house and create less of a chance for cold spots where a pipe could freeze or a plant might die from inadequate warmth. If you have someone checking your home, it is a good idea to place a thermometer where it can easily be seen to notify the person of any dangerous temperature drops in your home.

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Set your refrigerator to 42 degrees and freezer to 5 degrees, to save money while also reducing the odds of returning home to spoiled food. If you are heading off on an extended vacation, donate or discard perishable food items and unplug your fridge to save even more. Also, unplug any “vampire appliances” that continue to use energy even when they are not in use, such as televisions, lamps, entertainment systems and coffee makers.

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If you don’t have motion detectors, it is a good idea to consider investing in them, especially when going on extended vacations. If you do, make sure all the lights are in working order and time them to come on in the evening as the sun sets. You could even set a radio on a timer to ward off possible burglars.

We hope these tips help you have a wonderful, stress-free vacation! If you would like additional information on the care and maintenance of your HVAC system, or help with prepping your system for an extended vacation, or to schedule services to make sure your system is running optimally, contact Vilandres and we would be happy to come give your unit a tune-up before your trip begins.

The Cost of Water Leaks

Did your water bill spike this month and you’re not sure why? A water leak may be to blame. The plumbing in your home or business is part of a simple but well-organized system that needs maintenance to perform efficiently, and it may require  a plumbing professional from time to time for emergency services such as this. Left unfixed, even the smallest of leaks can cause a higher utility bill, or worse, serious damage to your structure that can be expensive to repair.

What is the cost of a water leak? There are many varying factors that can affect the cost of leaks, such as the length of time it’s been occurring, the size of the leak, and the pressure of the water system. This chart gives you an idea of how a small amount of running or leaking water can cost you big.*

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*Chart based on estimates, not exact numbers. Calculations based on Grand Forks Public Works information and Grand Forks residential flow rates.

In addition to higher utility bills, leaks can also result in problems such as mold and water damage to flooring and fixtures. Monitoring your home or business and locating a leak as early as possible can prevent costly water and repair bills. The most common cause for a high water bill is toilet leaks, as these can be unseen and even silent. To check a toilet for leaks, put some food coloring dye into the tank and wait 15 to 20 minutes without flushing; if the food coloring appears in the bowl, there is a leak. As toilet leaks can be inconsistent, you may have to perform this test multiple times.

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In order to keep plumbing costs at a minimum, do your best to be proactive with your structure and keep an eye out for running water or leaks. The sooner an issue is identified, the less time it has to cause damage to your home or office and create expensive repairs. Call a plumber sooner rather than later if you suspect a leak of any kind, and remember — Vilandre is available with 24/7 emergency services, including weekends, nights, and holidays, for your convenience.