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What is a whole house water filter?

You may have heard of a new thing called a whole house water filter. You may also have heard that it’s better than having individual water filters, and which you might have already.

But what is a whole house water filter? When was it ‘invented’, and why aren’t they more common? How do they work, and how can you have them installed? Well, let’s find out!

What is a whole house water filter?

A whole house water filter, you’ll be pleased to know, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a water filter that directly filters water before it reaches the pipes that supply water around your home. If you already have your air purified, or put through an AC, the idea is pretty similar!

whole house water filter

Image courtesy of yourbestdigs.com

It’s connected directly to the water supply, and all of the water you use passes through it. If you have one, all of the water you will use is pure. That includes drinking water, the water you use to wash your clothes, the water you use to shower or bathe, even to brush your teeth.

It’s basically a larger version of a smaller filter, which you can install either on your tap or on the spout of a jug. It’s also a smaller version of what water treatment plants use to filter dirty water from residential and industrial areas, before it’s passed back into the water supply. Whole house water filters come in all shapes and sizes. That’s a reflection of cost, space available, and the kind of filter you’re buying. Some whole house water filters work differently to others, too, as we’ll find out soon enough.

How does a whole house water filter work?

A whole house water filter works in the same way as any other water filter. There are two main kinds of filter that you can buy: physical filters, which are basically sieves, and chemical filters which remove impurities through absorption by a chemical or series of chemicals. There is no one kind of chemical used to completely purify water. So, to make up for that, a number are used together.

One example is activated carbon, which is used to absorb chlorine and chlorine derivatives. Chlorine is, of course, quite common in water; it’s also difficult to get out of water, if you don’t like the stuff. But it can be removed using activated carbon, which can be made from coconut shells. Other natural methods of filtering water use sand, charcoal (i.e. activated carbon) and gravel- in that order- to purify water. In fact, that’s the basis of the very oldest water filters, and the general idea hasn’t changed much until today.

Where is the whole house water filter installed?

A whole house water filter is installed where the rising main comes into your property, or in other words, where the mains water actually reaches your domestic plumbing system. This is why you may have heard the term ‘point of entry system’- the filter is attached literally at the point where water enters your property. That’s how it filters the water you use for everything around the home. The point of entry may be either inside or outside your property. It may also be difficult to actually fit a whole house water filter at the point of entry, depending on the amount of space you have available. Make sure you can actually fit one before you’d like to get one installed!

What are the benefits of a whole house water filter system?

Water filters have one central benefit: they remove potentially harmful impurities from the water. These impurities require a range of measures to remove them- take for example distillation. Distillation removes impurities by boiling water, and then collecting the condensation that forms on a surface used to collect it. The idea is that some impurities are heavier than water, so they get left behind when the water condenses. But others aren’t light enough to get left behind. That’s when another method, like filtering water through charcoal/activated carbon, becomes necessary. The good news is that whole house water systems remove impurities through a variety of methods, so nothing (or very little) is left behind.

whole house water filter

Chlorine, found in bleach and used to clean swimming pools, can be difficult to remove from water.

Whole house water filters also have the added bonus that they filter all of the water you use. If, for instance, you have a water filter jug, you might find yourself running out of purified water fairly often. You can always buy another jug, or a bigger jug; but what about if you’re boiling pasta and need something to drink? Maybe you have one installed on your tap, but then you can only get purified water in one place. Whole house water filters take care of that problem by providing the entire house with filtered water, all the time.

Are there any drawbacks to having a whole house water filter?

There are actually some drawbacks, yes. Depending on the model and the size of your filter, you may experience a drop in water pressure. This will be particularly noticeable when you’re using a lot of water- obviously- like when you’re washing clothes, and your partner is taking a shower. You may have to try and conserve water if you don’t already. Some models are designed to keep water pressure fairly high, but again, these models are generally bigger so you may not be able to get one where you live.

Another drawback is that like any water filter, they will incur a repeated cost. Generally, you should have your filter replaced every year, so it’s a part of general maintenance like having your furnace checked. If you don’t, and you’re free not to, your filter won’t work at maximum efficiency- but there’s no way of making them last longer than they already do. And if it’s not working… What’s the point of having one?

6 Negative Effects of Hard Water

Not all water is created equal. Residents of Pueblo County, Colorado may be getting hard water delivered through their taps. “Hard” water contains high levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. While hard water poses no significant threat to our health, it’s not something you want flowing through your pipes.

Here are just some of the negative effects of hard water:

  1. Funny taste or smell. Hard water is known to taste or smell a little strange. Depending on the mineral content of your water, you may detect a trace of chlorine, metal, or sulfur.
  2. Reduced effectiveness of soap. Soap doesn’t lather well in hard water, and its cleaning properties may be compromised. If your skin, hair, and clothes don’t feel completely clean after a fresh wash, hard water could be to blame.
  3. Water spots and residue. The minerals in hard water can appear as residue in the form of water spots on your dishes, soap scum in your sink, or a thin film on your shower door.
  4. Reduced energy-efficiency. Over the course of several months and years, sediment begins to accumulate in your hot water heater. This not only takes up space in the tank and leaves less room for water, it can also cause a spike in energy consumption.
  5. Increased risk of clogs. The aforementioned sediment can also accumulate in your pipes, making it more likely for clogs to occur.
  6. Shortened appliance lifespan. The sediment buildup from hard water ultimately increases the wear-and-tear on your water heater, pipes, and plumbing fixtures, leading to a shortened lifespan.

If your home has hard water, help is available. Patterson Plumbing offers water softening services to homes in Pueblo County, Colorado. Our professionally-installed Kinetico Water Softener and Filtration systems can improve the quality of your water . If you live in Pueblo or Canon City, give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

6 Must-Own Tools for all DIY Plumbers

diy plumbing tools | plumber pueblo co

Clogged drains and small leaks happen every day. Luckily, many home plumbing problems don’t require the need for a professional plumber. As long as you have these six tools at your disposal, you should be able to tackle most minor plumbing problems around your home:

  • Plunger. When people think of a plumber, the plunger almost always comes to mind. The plunger is a must-own tool for any homeowner, regardless of your plumbing ambitions. Plungers can be used to fix mild clogs in the toilet, shower, or sink.
  • Adjustable wrench. The adjustable wrench is a very versatile tool that is invaluable to any plumber. It is best used on compression fittings, supply lines, and any parts with hex-shaped nuts. Ideally, you should have a six- and ten-inch adjustable wrench in your arsenal.
  • Pipe wrench. The pipe wrench is a larger version of the adjustable wrench, and is designed to tighten and loosen threaded pipes, fittings, and nuts. Like the adjustable wrench, you should have two in your toolbox – one for gripping and one for turning.
  • Tubing cutter. As their name implies, tubing cutters are used primarily to cut tubes – specifically copper pipes. This tool will ensure a smooth, even cut every time. They are available in a standard size, as well as a mini version for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Basin wrench. The basin wrench is a staple in any plumber’s toolbox. The long, narrow shaft allows it to reach areas that other tools simply cannot access. They are most commonly used on the nuts that hold sink faucets in place.
  • Hand auger. The hand auger, also known as a plumber’s snake, is a tool used to clear clogs that are too severe for a plunger. The auger uses a hand crank to push a metal wire (up to 25-feet in length) through your drains in order to remove the obstruction.

What other tools should a plumber own? Check out this article from Popular Mechanics for more ideas.

Possessing these six tools will allow you to complete many simple plumbing tasks, such as fixing minor clogs and leaks. However, when more serious problems arise, nothing can replace the skills and experience of a trained plumber. When residents of Pueblo County need professional help, they can depend on the experts at Patterson Plumbing for quick, reliable service. If you live in Pueblo or Canon City, call us anytime at (719) 544-4922.

Don’t Let Your Little Plumbing Problems Become Big Problems

a small leak can sink a great ship | plumbing pueblo co

 

Great American scientist and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “A small leak can sink a great ship.” Nearly 300 years later, these words can still be applied to our home plumbing systems.

A little bit of water can cause a lot of problems in the home, and one small leak in a pipe can flood your home with several gallons of water in just a short time. For these reasons, it is important to fix all of your plumbing leaks as soon as they are detected.

There are several reasons why a homeowner would let a plumbing problem go unattended. Maybe they made a mental note to fix it at a later date, but forgot. Maybe they don’t want to pay a plumber. Or maybe they simply think it’s “no big deal”. Regardless of the reason, neglected plumbing issues almost always get worse until the homeowner has no choice but to repair them – usually for several times the price as if they just fixed it in the first place.

For example, something as small as a leaky pipe could be a 10-minute job when it first starts out. However, if the leak gets to the point where it leads to mold growth and structural damage, you could be facing a $10,000+ restoration project.

The bottom line is: fix all of your small plumbing problems before they become big problems! You won’t regret it.

Residents of Pueblo County, Colorado can count on the experts at Patterson Plumbing for all of their plumbing repairs and installations. Our technicians are fast, knowledgeable, courteous, and can stop your small issues from becoming a big headache. Contact us online to schedule your service, or call (719) 544-4922.

4 Plumbing Hacks to Save You Time and Money

plumbing hacks

 

Not everyone is a plumber, but everyone can be with these four simple hacks from Patterson Plumbing:

 

For detecting a leak in your toilet bowl…

What you will need:

  • Food coloring

Leaks in the toilet bowl can run up your water bill, and aren’t always obvious. If you suspect your toilet suffers from a slow leak, open up the tank and add a few drops of food coloring. Come back half an hour later; if the food coloring is in the bowl, you have a leak.

 

For improving the water pressure in your shower…

What you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Sandwich bag
  • Elastic band

Low water pressure can be caused by a number of things, but many times it is due to a dirty shower head. To fix this problem, fill a sandwich bag with vinegar and place it around your shower head. Secure with an elastic band. Let the vinegar eat away at the buildup of debris overnight and you will have a sparkling clean shower head in the morning.

 

For clearing your clogged drains…

What you will need:

  • Boiling water
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

Clogged drain? Don’t use commercial drain cleaners, which rely on harmful chemicals and can damage your plumbing system. Instead, flush your drain with boiling hot water, followed by ½ cup of baking soda. Five minutes later, pour in a cup of vinegar. Your drain should fizz up; this means it is working. Allow the chemicals to react for a few minutes, then flush with more water.

 

For minimizing water damage from burst pipes…

What you will need:

  • Adjustable wrench

A little bit of water can cause a lot of problems. When a pipe bursts, several gallons of water can quickly be dumped into your home. The best way to minimize this damage is by cutting off your water supply as quickly as possible. To do this, simply locate your main supply valve (usually found in the basement or outside wall) and turn it. This can be done by hand, or a wrench may be required. Once the water supply is shut off, you can focus on cleaning up the water and repairing the pipe.

 

When simple hacks aren’t enough, professional assistance may be required. Residents of Pueblo County, Colorado can count on the experts at Patterson Plumbing for all of their home plumbing needs. Contact us online to schedule a service, or call (719) 544-4922.

5 Things Your Plumber Wishes You Knew

plumbing tips | plumbing pueblo co

Not everybody possesses the knowledge of a professional plumber, but having a basic understanding of these five things can help prevent costly problems down the road.

Just because something is labeled as “flushable”, it doesn’t mean it is.

Bathroom wipes can damage your home’s plumbing system and cause major clogs – even if they are labeled as “flushable”. The only household item that can safely be flushed down the toilet is toilet paper. Wipes, Q-tips, tissues, and feminine hygiene products should all be disposed of in a wastebasket.

It’s never okay to pour grease down the drain.

Pouring grease or liquid fats down your sink is asking for trouble, even if you flush it with hot water. Grease solidifies as it cools, and once it hardens in your pipes, clogs will soon follow. Instead of pouring it down your sink, let the grease cool in a pan, and scrape it into the garbage where it belongs.

You should flush your water heater once per year.

Tap water that enters your water heater contains trace amounts of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Over the course of several months, these minerals begin to accumulate in your tank in the form of sediment. This takes up valuable storage space and can lead to increased energy consumption. Flushing your tank once every year prevents these problems and can even extend your water heater’s lifespan.

Dripping faucets can help prevent freezing pipes.

For three-quarters of the year, dripping faucets are a problem. However, during the winter months, they can actually help prevent frozen pipes by keeping the water flowing. If you are leaving on vacation or expecting a deep freeze overnight, open your faucet enough that it drips every few seconds.

Not every problem is a DIY fix.

Sure, you can unclog your toilet, and maybe even repair a leaky faucet. However, some jobs require the tools and knowledge that only a professional plumber possesses. Trying to solve these problems on your own will only lead to trouble and frustration.

When plumbing problems arise, residents of Pueblo County, Colorado can count on Patterson Plumbing for fast, professional repairs. Contact us online to schedule your visit, or call (719) 544-4922.

10 Helpful Tips to Avoid Plumbing Emergencies

plumbing tips | how to prevent plumbing problems | plumbing repairs pueblo co

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your home’s plumbing system, we tend to agree!

Follow these ten tips from the experts at Patterson Plumbing to stop plumbing problems before they start:

  1. Think before you flush. Your toilet isn’t a wastebasket – reserve it for toilet paper and . Even “flushable” wipes can cause problems.
  2. Always keep your thermostat on at least 65° F. Always keep your heat on during the winter to avoid frozen pipes, even if you are going away on vacation.
  3. Insulate your pipes. Insulating your pipes is a cheap, quick, easy job that can prevent costly bursts.
  4. Don’t pour grease down the drain. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the kitchen. Grease solidifies when it cools down, which can cause major backups in your plumbing system.
  5. Be mindful of your garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal is powerful, but it’s not invincible. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you avoid clogs and breakdowns.
  6. Inspect your supply lines. Every few months, take a close look at the supply lines for your washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker. If any of the tubing is deteriorating, replace it immediately.
  7. Flush your hot water heater. Over time, your hot water tank accumulates sediment which can reduce efficiency and lead to breakdowns. Flush your water heater once per year to fix this problem before it starts.
  8. Stay away from exposed pipes. If you have exposed plumbing anywhere in your house, do not pull on or hang from the pipes.
  9. Be aware of your shut off valves. Know where all of your water shutoff valves are. In the event of an emergency, you will want to get to these valves as quickly as possible.
  10. Fix leaks as soon as possible. That little problem can become a big problem if left unaddressed.

Patterson Plumbing & Heating provides same-day plumbing repairs to Pueblo and Canon City, Colorado. Contact us online to get started, or call (719) 544-4922.

6 Signs That Your Furnace is Failing

 

signs your furnace is failing | furnace repair pueblo county | patterson plumbing and heating

Now is the busiest time of the year for home heating companies responding to furnace problems. Luckily, most heating systems will give some type of warning before completely breaking down. Here are six signs that your furnace is failing:

 

1. It is more than fifteen years old.

Furnaces made before the turn of the century are extremely energy-inefficient, and more prone to breaking down. The average lifespan of a furnace is only about 12-15 years, so keep a close eye on yours once it reaches this age.

 

2. Your energy bill keeps increasing.

Energy rates can fluctuate, but if you have noticed a steady increase in your bill over the past few winters, your heating system could be to blame. Furnaces tend to consume more and more energy before eventually breaking down.

 

3. You hear strange noises.

It’s normal for heating systems to make some sound when they operate, especially immediately after starting up. However, excessive noise, or popping, grinding, screeching, or clicking sounds are all cause for concern.

 

4. Cold spots and inconsistent temperatures.

Does your home suffer from inconsistent airflow, leading to hot and cold zones? Even worse, does the air coming out of your vents feel cool to the touch? A furnace that can no longer produce hot air is about as useful as a concrete parachute.

 

5. Your pilot light is yellow.

Think a yellow pilot light is no big deal? Think again. A good gas flame should consistently burn blue. A yellow flame, on the other hand, could indicate that your furnace is producing too much carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas.

 

6. You are constantly paying for repairs.

How many times have you had to repair your furnace within the past two years? If the answer is “multiple”, you are better off putting that money towards a new model.

 

Is your furnace exhibiting any of these signs? Colorado residents can count on Patterson Plumbing & Heating for same-day service in Pueblo County. Our technicians are fully trained to repair or replace any make and model of heating system. If you live in Pueblo or Canon City, contact us online to schedule your appointment, or call (719) 544-4922.

Small Bathroom Upgrades That Make a Big Difference

 

small bathroom upgrades that make a big difference | bathroom remodeling pueblo county | patterson plumbing

Whether it is to add resale value to a home or for personal preference, bathrooms are one of the most frequently renovated areas in the home. If you don’t have the budget for your dream remodel (which most of us don’t), we have good news: you can still achieve a new look for an affordable price.

Here is a list of small changes that can make a big difference in your bathroom:

 

  • Shower head. A new shower head isn’t just for looks; it can change your entire bathing experience.

 

  • Cabinetry hardware. Upgrading the hardware (nuts, bolts, handles, etc.) in your drawers and cabinets will make them look better and last longer.

 

  • Shower door. Still using a shower curtain? Upgrade to a glass door – they are more aesthetic and carry less bacteria.

 

  • Sink faucet. Perhaps the most used part of the bathroom, sometimes a new sink faucet is all it takes to vamp up your vanity.

 

  • Bath mats and towels. These are cheap, easily interchangeable, and can alter the entire look of your bathroom.

 

  • Paint the walls. Repainting the walls in your bathroom is a DIY job, making it super affordable.

 

  • Stain the cabinets. A fresh new stain is a surefire way to revive your old, dated cabinetry.

 

  • Polish your tiles. Have your tiles really faded, or are they just covered in a coat of dust and dirt? Give them a good polish and see what they look like after.

 

  • Replace your caulk. Brand new caulk will make your bathroom pop, and it can limit water damage and mold problems.

 

  • Add an exhaust fan. This behind-the-scenes upgrade can remove unpleasant odors and help prevent excess moisture, which leads to mold.

 

  • Upgrade your lighting. Is your bathroom really as unattractive as you think it is, or is it just poor lighting? Many times, it’s the latter.

If you have made all of these changes and still aren’t satisfied, it might be time to contact a professional bathroom remodeling contractor.

Colorado residents can trust ReBath of Pueblo with all of their bathroom remodeling needs. As Patterson Plumbing’s reliable bathroom remodeling division, you can count on us to turn the bathroom of your dreams into a reality. If you live in Pueblo County, give us a call at (719) 404-4242 to schedule your free consultation.

5 Possible Causes for Low Water Pressure

 

how to fix low water pressure | plumbing pueblo co | patterson plumbing & heating

As a homeowner, few things are as irritating as low water pressure. Not only does this issue turn simple activities – such as showering – into time-consuming tasks, it can also be hard to locate the root of the problem.

Thankfully, the plumbing experts at Patterson Plumbing are here to help. Here are five of the most common causes of low water pressure, and what you can do to remedy the situation:

Debris accumulation in pipes

Debris such as sand, dirt, hair, and grease can enter your plumbing system from a variety of places – both inside your home and out. It is even possible for pipes to accumulate mineral deposits from the water flowing through them. Clogs such as these limit water flow; the best way to restore your water pressure is by having your plumbing system professionally cleaned.

Leaks in your plumbing system

Plumbing leaks aren’t always obvious. Sometimes they occur in hard-to-see areas, such as behind a wall or underneath a floor. When this happens, a drop in pressure is likely to follow, since not all of the water is flowing to its destination. If you suspect you have a leak in your pipes, contact a local plumbing service for professional assistance.

Pressure-reducing valve

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, and the whole house suffers from low water pressure, you could be dealing with a pressure-reducing valve. Whether the previous homeowner installed a valve for this specific purpose, or your main shut-off valve is partially closed, a professional plumber should be able to locate the valve and restore your water pressure.

Fixture-specific problems

Many times, homeowners will only experience low water pressure in one or two fixtures, as opposed to the whole home. In this scenario, the problem likely has to do with the fixture itself. Whether it is a clogged aerator in the sink or a dirty shower head nozzle, fixture-specific repairs are usually quick and easy.

Municipal Malfunction

Sometimes, a drop in water pressure has nothing to do with your home, but rather your municipal water supply. Just like your own plumbing, these systems are susceptible to leaks and clogs. Reach out to your neighbors and see if they are also experiencing low water pressure. If they are, contact your local water supply company and report the problem.

Does your Colorado home suffer from low water pressure? Residents of Pueblo County can count at the professionals at Patterson Plumbing for all of their plumbing repair needs! If you live in Pueblo or Canon City, contact us online to schedule your in-home repair, or call (719) 544-4922.