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Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Deal With Common Plumbing Problems

water dropWe’ve all got a little plumber in us – whether we know it or not. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to deal with some of the more common plumbing problems you are likely to come across in your home.

Dripping Faucet

Leaky faucets are annoying and wasteful. If your sink has a case of the drips, solve the problem by following these steps:

  • Turn off the water supply

  • Remove the handles on your sink. You may need to use a flat head screwdriver to pry away any decorative pieces.

  • Loosen the packing nut, if necessary, and remove the stem.

  • Replace the o-ring and seat washer with new ones. You may need to bring these pieces to a local hardware store to find the exact fit.

  • Reconnect the stem, packing nut, and handle, and turn the water back on.

Running Toilet

Is your toilet running? If so, you better fix it! A running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per week. Not only is that bad for the environment, you are sure to notice a spike on your next water bill. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Open the toilet tank when the water is running.

  • Push down on the flapper. If the water stops running, you know this is the cause of the problem and it likely needs to be replaced.

  • Lift up on the float arm to see if the water stops. Bend or adjust the float arm so the tank stops filling when the water is 1” below the overflow pipe.

  • Make sure the float is not waterlogged or dragging against the side of the tank. These things could prevent it from raising properly.

Clogged Shower Drain

If your showers turn into baths by the time you are done, you will need to unclog your shower drain. Here’s how:

  • First, flush your drain by pouring boiling hot water in it.

  • Next, dump in ½ cup of baking soda. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes.

  • Combine 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup of hot water. Pour it down the drain.

  • Your drain will start to bubble up. Close the drain plug (if you have one) to keep this chemical reaction inside the pipes.

  • Flush one more time with boiling hot water.

If you have followed these steps to no avail, it’s time to call in the experts. The professionals at Patterson Plumbing & Heating have more than 30 years of experience helping homeowners in the Pueblo, Colorado area. If you live in Pueblo County, trust Patterson for all of your plumbing needs! Contact us online or call (719) 544-4922.

How to Fix a Weak-Flushing Toilet

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Does your toilet just not flush like it used to? A weak-flushing toilet is not only inconvenient, it can lead to some real messes down the road. The plumbing experts at Patterson will walk you through some of the most common causes for a weak flushing toilet, and what you can do to fix them.

Problem #1: Low Water Level

Sometimes, the solution is as simple as letting the float ride higher in your toilet’s tank, which allows the water level to increase. Adjusting the float is a simple process, but varies from toilet to toilet. Check your owner’s manual for instructions from the manufacturer.

Problem #2: Flapper Closes Too Quick

Your weak flush could be caused by the flapper in the tank opening and closing too quickly. Open the tank and check the length of the flapper’s chain – there should be ¼ to ½ an inch of slack. Shortening the chain will keep the flapper open for longer, allowing more water to enter the bowl and creating a stronger flush.

Problem #3: Mineral Buildup

The water that comes from your supply line isn’t pure – it contains minerals such as calcium and line. Over time, these minerals can accumulate in places such as your toilet’s rim flush holes (the holes under the rim in your toilet bowl where water enters). Clean these holes using a wire coat hanger, paper clip, or turn off the water supply and pour toilet cleaner down the flush valve. Let the solution sit for a couple of hours, turn the water back on, and flush twice.

If you have gone through these steps to no avail, it’s time to call the professionals. The plumbing experts at Patterson Plumbing and Heating have been diagnosing and fixing issues across Pueblo County, Colorado for over 30 years. If you live in Pueblo or the surrounding area,  or call (719) 544-4922 to get started.

Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

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Indoor air pollution is a problem in most of our homes – about 96% of them to be exact according to the EPA. One of the biggest reasons for indoor air pollution is the lack of awareness about it. Americans don’t know that it is an issue, and don’t understand that everyday products can cause it.

Here are a few of the most surprising sources of indoor air pollution.

  • Cleaning Products. Those store-bought cleaning products under your sink are full of harmful chemicals – even the ones labeled “all natural”. Replace these commercial cleaners with real natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and salt.

  • Carpets. Even if you vacuum regularly, your carpet could be harboring all kinds of pollutants. Common ones include dust mites and pet dander, but pesticides can also be tracked into your home if you wear your shoes indoors. New carpets are just as dangerous; many of them emit formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical used during the manufacturing process.

  • Air Fresheners. Air fresheners may have the most misleading name out of any consumer product in the world. They don’t freshen your air at all, they just mask it with chemicals and toxins. If you are looking for a quick, powerful way to eliminate toilet odors, just light a match.

  • Paints. Lead paint has been outlawed for decades, but it’s still present in older homes across the country. As this paint begins to chip and peel, lead particles are released into the air where they can be inhaled. Even newer paints emit toxins as they dry – next time you buy paint, make sure it is low-VOC.

  • HVAC Ducts. Did you know that the average three-bedroom home generates more than 40 pounds of dust every year? Much of this dust accumulates in your air ducts, where it can circulate through your whole house and trigger allergic reactions. Other pollutants known to hide in air ducts include mold, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and rodent droppings.

When was the last time you looked at the air ducts in your home? Experts recommended having them professionally cleaned every 3-5 years. If you live in Pueblo County, Colorado, look no further than Patterson Plumbing & Heating for your duct cleaning needs. Contact us online or give us a call at (719) 544-4922 to get started.

Schedule Your A/C Tune Up With Patterson!

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It’s the first day of spring! With temperatures expected to exceed 80 degrees in Pueblo County this week, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your home’s air conditioning system.

When was the last time you had your A/C professionally tuned up? Not only is it a good idea, most air conditioning manufacturers actually recommend it. In fact, some will even void your warranty if you don’t have annual maintenance performed.

What benefits can you get from having your A/C tuned up? Here’s a few:

  • Better energy efficiency. Dirty filters and coils can really hinder your A/C’s efficiency. Your technician should clean these components during your tune up, helping to keep your energy bill down all summer.

  • Improved comfort. When your air conditioner is operating at peak efficiency, you will notice the difference because it’s able to cool your house down faster and better maintain your desired temperature.

  • Reduced risk of breakdown. During a tune up, your technician should check for signs of potential problems and fix anything that seems wrong, helping to keep your air conditioner running all season long.

What are you waiting for? The start of spring is the perfect time to have your air conditioner tuned up! HVAC companies are typically not very busy at this time of the year, so take advantage of their down time. The last thing you want is for your A/C to go out in the middle of a heat wave, when these companies are at their busiest.

If you live in Pueblo County, Colorado, look no further than Patterson for all of your home cooling needs. Our trained HVAC professionals can repair, service, or install any kind of air conditioning system to keep you comfortable all summer long. Contact us online to schedule your service, or give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

Should I Repair Or Replace My HVAC System?

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Few pieces of equipment in our homes are more important than our HVAC systems. We rely on them to keep comfortable all year long and if they break down, we feel the effects almost immediately. If yours is beginning to malfunction, you are left with two options: have it repaired, or have it replaced.

So which should you do? The heating and cooling experts at Patterson Plumbing break it down.

When to get your HVAC system repaired

If these circumstances apply to you, it might be in your best interest to have your HVAC system fixed by a professional technician:

  • Your system is still under warranty. These are the times when extended coverage comes in handy. Refer to your owner’s manual to see if your unit is still under warranty, and contact your supplier if it is.

  • You are selling your house soon. If you are planning on putting your home on the market, it won’t be worth your money to invest in a brand new HVAC system.

When to replace your HVAC system

Sometimes, a repair isn’t enough and it’s best to pay to have a new system installed. Here are a few signs that replacement is your best option:

  • Your unit repeatedly breaks down. If it’s not the first time your HVAC system has malfunctioned, it probably won’t be the last. Spend more now to save more later by having it replaced.

  • The cost of repair is more than half the cost of a new model. The 50 percent rule – also known as the golden rule of deciding whether to repair or replace. If the cost to repair your unit is more than half the cost of a new one, you should just put the money towards the latter.

Still unsure about which option is right for you? Contact the professionals at Patterson Plumbing & Heating!

Whether you need your HVAC system repaired or a new one installed, our experts have what it takes to get the job done! If you live in Pueblo, Colorado, look no further than Patterson for all of your heating and cooling needs. Contact us online or give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

Happy World Plumbing Day!

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It’s March 11th – you know what that means. Well, maybe you don’t, but it’s World Plumbing Day, which is one of our favorite observances over here at Patterson Plumbing & Heating. In order to celebrate the occasion, here are some of the most important dates in the history of plumbing.

4,000 – 3,000 BC: Archaeologists discovered the first ever water pipes in India’s Indus River dating back to 4,000-3,000 BC.

2,500 BC: Egyptians used copper pipes to develop a sophisticated indoor plumbing system inside of their pyramids.

1,500 – 1,000 BC: The people of Crete created elaborate sewage disposal systems with underground channels. The first flushing toilet was invented, complete with a wooden seat.

500 BC – 500 AD: The Roman Empire develops the world’s most complex (at the time) plumbing systems complete with aqueducts, underground sewers, and public baths. The water channels were powered by gravity and supplied Rome’s citizens with 300 gallons of fresh water every day.

1775: The first prototype for the modern toilet was created by Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings. His invention included a water trap that allowed some water to stay in the bowl after each flush.

1829: The Tremont Hotel in Boston becomes the country’s first hotel to feature indoor plumbing for guests.

1833: Plumbing was introduced to the first floor of the White House.

1848: England passes the national Public Health Act, which becomes the blueprint plumbing code for the rest of the world to follow.

1885: Chicago becomes America’s first city to have a comprehensive sewer system.

1937: Alfred M. Moen invents the single-handle faucet.

1974: The United States passes the Safe Drinking Water Act.

1984: Patterson Plumbing & Heating was founded by Jim and Nancy Patterson.

The rest, as they say, is history. Over the past 30+ years, Patterson has gone on to become Colorado’s leading authority on all plumbing and HVAC solutions. If you live in the Pueblo area and are in need of any of our services, contact us online or call (719) 544-4922.

What is the Best Temperature For Water Heaters?

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If you are a regular reader of our blog, you are probably aware that you can change the temperature of your hot water heater. This may have led you to set it to an unnecessarily high temperature.

While some websites and plumbers may tell you that 140° F is the optimal temperature for your hot water heater, they are wrong. There are multiple reasons why setting your temperature this high is a bad idea.

The first reason is energy efficiency. If you have a traditional water heater with a holding tank, the water is kept at your desired temperature around the clock, whether you are using it or not. Keeping it at 120° instead of 140° can save you up to 10% on your monthly water heating bill.

Another reason to turn your water heater down is for the health and safety of your skin. Even if you love taking hot showers, 140° is far from comforting. Water that hot can cause 2nd degree burning after only three seconds of exposure, and 3rd degree burning after just five seconds.

Not only can that water damage your skin, it can damage the plates, utensils, and cookware in your dishwasher.

The experts at Patterson Plumbing and Heating recommend keeping your hot water heater set to 120° F. This is still plenty hot enough to wash your body, dishes, and clothes, while also saving you money on your energy bills and helping to prevent scalding accidents. It takes a full five minutes of exposure to 120° water to cause a 3rd degree burn.

Patterson Plumbing and Heating is Colorado’s leading authority in hot water heaters, plumbing repairs, and home heating services. If you live in Pueblo or the surrounding area, contact us online or give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

How To Prepare Your Home For Spring

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Spring is in the air. Before it arrives, make sure you are prepared. Just like there are ways to winterize your home, there are also certain tasks that you can perform which will help get your home ready for spring. Here are a few ways to get a head start on the warm weather.

Clean your gutters

April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring thousands of dollars worth of water damage. One of the most common reasons for water damage is clogged gutters, which prevent rain from properly draining away from your home. Break out the ladder and clean your gutters this spring, before it is too late.

Remove your storm windows

During the colder months, many homeowners replace their screen windows and doors with panes of glass. These storm windows help reduce home heat loss and add an extra layer of protection against inclement weather. Before spring arrives, you should swap these out for your screen windows to let fresh air into your home.

Inspect for pests

Pest infestations happen more often during the winter than you would think. Creepy crawlies are looking for a warm shelter, and your home provides just that. Venture into your crawl space, basement, and attic this spring to check for signs of an animal invasion.

Landscape maintenance

A great summer landscape is made during the spring. Get ahead by doing some basic yardwork such as pulling weeds, mulching your garden beds, and fertilizing your lawn. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, you will need to turn it on for the first time of the season.

Tune up your air conditioner

If you have central air, it is a good idea to get your outdoor unit professionally tuned up every year. A tune up can improve energy efficiency, prevent future breakdowns, and make your home more comfortable when it gets scorching hot outside. HVAC companies generally aren’t too busy in the early spring, which is why it is a good idea to schedule a tune up now.

Patterson Plumbing & Heating provides home cooling solutions to the Pueblo, Colorado area. Some of our services include air conditioner tune ups, repairs, installations, and duct cleaning. Contact us online or give us a call at (719) 544-4922 to learn more.