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Fremont County

The Guide to Winter Maintenance

Happy parents and teenage son warming near warm calorifer

Tis the season for gathering with friends and family near a warm fire. But this is also prime time for Mother Nature to wreak havoc on our homes and even our health. Follow the below winter maintenance checklist, courtesy of Angie’s List, to protect your most valuable assets this season:

HVAC System –

Call for an inspection: Lack of proper HVAC maintenance is one of the number one reasons for “no heat” calls. Not only does calling for an inspection help ensure everything is in good working condition, but it can also detect potential health hazards (ie: carbon monoxide leak).

Change Dirty Filters: Switching to clean filters helps your system operate more efficiently and thus reduces your energy costs. More importantly, a cleaner filter means improved indoor air quality!

Check Ductwork: Make sure all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections to prevent heated air from leaking. Your warm air may be seeping out into the attic or crawl space – where it’s not needed. Or, the cold outside air can be drawn in instead. Either way, this increases your heating costs and reduces your indoor comfort.

Plumbing

Insultate Exposed Pipes: Pipes located in unheated areas are the most likely to freeze, while pipes that have been frozen in the past are more susceptible, now, to damage. Adding heat tape to these pipes prior to insulating can offer an extra layer of protection. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.

Keep Cabinet Doors Open: If you have small children, remove anything that could be hazardous. Otherwise, open cabinet doors below the kitchen and bathroom sinks to help warm air circulate around those pipes.

Locate Your Shut Off Valve: If you have a winter retreat planned that will be taking you away from the home, shut off the water at the main shut-off valve to prevent any emergencies while you’re away!

For more information on prepping your home this season, download Angie’s List’s full guide here »

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your home’s winter maintenance needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

Make the Most Out of Small Kitchen Space

A small kitchen has its advantages – everything is within arms reach, its cozy, and there’s not a lot of counter space or floor tile you need to scrub clean. However it also can be tough making things NOT feel cluttered.

Make the most of your small space while adding beauty to your kitchen with these creative ideas from Better Homes and Gardens:

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  1. Hanging storage – Keep bulky pots and pans hung overhead and everyday items in reach by attaching them to your backsplash. Now you’ll never replace that 1/4 teaspoon again.
  2. Create a sliding spice rack – Ditch the lazy susan and utilize a handy pullout cabinet to store spices, oils, and herbs within arms reach.
  3. High storage – Top a window or doorway between rooms with a wide ledge for storage and display.
  4. Use chalkboard paint – Whether on the back of your pantry door at the end of a row of cabinets – utilize this space for jotting down notes and grocery lists all while adding some design to your kitchen.
  5. Creative counter space – Stow and go solutions are a must in a small kitchen space. Consider adding a rolling cart that stays tucked away under a center island to provide additional workspace as needed. Bonus it can be wheeled throughout the kitchen for where you need it, when you need it.
  6. Wine storage – If you have a tiny, narrow cabinet – remove the door, add some small shelves and viola! You have the perfect spot for storing extra wine bottles

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

The Secret Cleaning Weapon: Vinegar

Natural cleaners. Vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon.

From freshening up your fridge to unclogging drains – white vinegar does it all. Just a small amount of this all-purpose cleaner, either as is or mixed with water, can replace many, pricier store bought products huddled under you sink.

  • Freshen your fridge – Mix a half water and half vinegar solution to clean the shelves and walls
  • Kill germs – Spray full strength vinegar around your sinks and bathroom tub to kill off germs. Just wipe clean with a damp cloth and vuala!
  • Remove buildup – Make a paste of 1 teaspoon vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt to apply to sink fixtures to rid any lime buildup. Then, just rub with a cloth.
  • Unclog drains – Pour one cup baking soda followed by one cup white vinegar down your stopped drain. Cover with a washcloth and let sit for 15 minutes. Then flush with hot water.
  • Tidy your toilet – Remove stains from your toilet bowl in a pinch. Pour a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar into the bowl. Let it sit for a few hours or over night then scrub well with a toilet brush and flush.

For more ways to unleash the power of white vinegar, head over to All You’s article here »

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

Winterizing Your Home

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Prepping your home for each season is important, and once the cold air moves in, it often doesn’t take long for your heating costs to skyrocket. Not to worry, there are many quick things you can do around the house to help conserve time, energy, and money this season:

Test for Drafts – Drafts can waste 5%-30% of your energy according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Check wall joints, light fixtures, outlets, window and door frames, attic doors, and plumbing penetrations for any air. Draft guards are great for drafty doors and for a quick fix, weather-stripping can fill gaps and minimize air infiltration.

Check Your Heating System – Keeping your home’s heating operating in top condition or installing a more energy efficient model not only keeps you warm, but saves you money on energy bills. Give the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating a call to perform a routine check before the real low temps set in.

Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse – Many ceiling units include a switch to reverse the direction of the blades. Clockwise rotations recirculates the air near the ceiling back into the living space – cutting heating costs by as much as 10%!

Lower Your Water Heater – Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees F, but typically, households don’t need that much steam. Adjusting your water heater to 120 degrees F not only reduces your water heating costs by 6-10% but also reduces the chance of receiving a scalding burn.

For more winterization tips, click here »

Patterson Plumbing & Heating is a full service company prepared to handle your winterization needs. We are able to repair the smallest heating problem to the largest heating problems. We’re experts on all brands, makes and models. When you need us, we’ll be there..

Preventing Frozen Pipes

iStock_000024662431_LargeAs you know, when water freezes – it expands. If water begins to freeze in your pipes and expands enough, your pipes may burst. With the severe winter weather we get here in Colorado, the fear of frozen pipes is not far fetched. Cold spells can wreak havoc on home plumbing due to the quick dips in temperature, but poor insulation and setting thermostats too low should also be taken into account.

The good news is, there are steps you can take to prevent such mishaps this season:

  • Keep your home heated at a constant temperature of at least 65 degrees. Inside your walls where your pipes are located, is substantially colder than the walls themselves. Setting a thermostat lower than 65 degrees will not prevent inside the walls from freezing.

  • Add extra insulation where necessary. Check your home’s crawl spaces and attic, anywhere there may be exposed pipes. Wrap susceptible pipes with heat tape.

  • Disconnect any garden hoses before the severe weather really hits. If possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from any pipes that lead to your outdoor faucets.

  • Seal all air leaks that let the cold air in where pipes are located.

  • Keep cabinet doors open below sinks. Since most plumbing runs underneath cupboards, keeping the doors open when it snows or freezes can help circulate warm air.

Despite your best efforts, if your pipes do freeze this season, don’t panic as they may not of yet burst. You may be able to thaw a pipe with warm air from a hair dyer. However should the damage be done, make sure everyone in your household knows where the main shutoff valve is located and how to close it.

Then, give the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating a call. Our team has helped Pueblo homes since the fall of 1984 and know that you and your home deserve to be treated with respect.

Foods to Avoid Putting Down the Garbage Disposal

Pouring water

Your garbage disposal – a handy appliance that has rescued you from unwanted odors. It’s primary function is to shred food waste into pieces small enough (generally less than 2mm) to pass through plumbing. But this doesn’t mean ALL food waste should skip your garbage or compost and head straight for the disposal. In fact, many foods can actually render your trusty assistance useless.

As we head into the holiday season, the last thing you want to deal with in the midst of holiday gatherings is a faulty disposal. Below, we’ve listed some items to avoid putting down the disposal and some other maintenance tips to keep everything functioning well through the New Year!

Foods to Avoid:

  • Greasy Foods (meat fats and cheese) – These foods leave a film over the disposal’s blades, which can diminish their effectiveness. They may also clog your drain!
  • Hard Things (any shells, bones, seeds, etc) – Anything hard has the power to dull or worse, break, the blades and jam the unit, causing the motor to burn out.
  • Peels (carrots, bananas, potatoes, etc) – These foods’ peels can easily wrap around the blades and keep the motor from operating.
  • Expandable Foods (pasta and rice) – Even SMALL amounts of these foods can swell with water and clog the trap.
  • Egg Shells – Their stringy membranes can wrap around the shredder ring while the shell itself is ground to a sand like consistency that can clog pipes.

Be sure to practice proper disposal maintenance in case any of these damaging foods do slip in – you’ll be prepared. Always keep the water running for 30-60 seconds after the food has cleared the drain because the waste still has a ways to go. The water will help the waste go down easier, pushing it as it goes. Also, always use cold water. Using hot water can melt fat which can then re-solidify as a blockage further down the drain. Finally, throw some ice cubes down it every once in a while. The cubes will not sharpen the blades (as commonly believed) but it does knock off any debris build up that keeps the disposal from grinding food properly.

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing and heating needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

November is Child Safety & Protection Month

Two children playing with electricity

September brought Baby Safety Month, and now – we have child safety and protection month. The goal of this month is to create awareness about the potential dangers children face in everyday situations, including around the home.

As parents, we try to protect our children from all the dangers of the outside world, but sometimes we forget what could cause harm right in our own homes! Here are five tips to keep your child safe under your own roof:

  1. Install safety gates before your children start crawling to keep kids out of harms way (including at the top and bottom of all stairs)
  2. Keep storage bins around to hold all toys and supplies, preventing anyone in the home from tripping
  3. Cover up and lock it up. Any outlets should be covered and locks should be included on anything that can open (cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink? Don’t need little hands going in there).
  4. Be cautious of choking hazards. From coins, to jewelry, to crayons, to food – anything little can easily be swallowed, and just as easily lodged.
  5. Set your hot water heaters no higher than 120 degrees F to prevent burns, and consider spout guards on the bathtub faucet to manage the temperature of your child’s bath.

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing and heating needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

Small Home Improvement Projects for Big Changes

Kitchen

Itching for a change this season? The good news is it’s within reach. There’s no need to take on a major home improvement project (if you don’t have the time, resources, or even desire to) to make a significant difference.

Whether you are getting ready to sell your home or just want to jazz things up for your own enjoyment – here are some strategies to consider:

Give appliances a facelift – Are your kitchen appliances all mixed and matched? Stainless steel this, solid white that. Consider ordering new doors or face panels for them to keep everything on the same spectrum.

Give your cabinets a makeover – Select new cabinet hardware not only for your kitchen but bathrooms as well! Add towel bars and robe hooks to that list and you’re ready to go. Feeling a bit more crafty? Add some molding to give your cabinets a brand new look.

Improve your storage – Old homes in particular are known for their lack of closet space. Add some laminate systems or storage units to bedrooms, pantries, and entry closets to maximize your space. Also, take advantage of any unclaimed wall or corner space with open shelves to keep certain items within reach.

Restore your floor – With regular exposure to dirt, dust, and constant traffic, your floor may start to look dull and distressed. Clean and polish with a product specifically designed for your floors, or with some of the natural products listed here.

Shed some light – Light fixtures can go a long way in soothing and upgrading a space. An interesting pendant or chandelier can instantly boost a room’s sophistication. There are many inexpensive but eye catching fixtures on the market sure to suit your home/room’s needs.

These small home improvements can quickly make some big changes. If any of your plans include appliance repairs or other plumbing services – leave that to us. Contact the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating –  (719) 554-4922 today!

Plus, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @PatPlumbingInc to keep up-to-date with Patterson Plumbing.

Unclogging Your Shower Drain

washing day

Clogged shower drains are a common problem that every household will have to deal with at some point – think about all of the things that get washed down it each time you take a shower.

Just because this is a common problem doesn’t mean that it has to turn into a headache. Use these quick fixes to turn your swimming pool back into a bathtub:

Use Your Hands
Before using any of the below methods, grab a screwdriver, flashlight, and rubber gloves. After unscrewing your drain stopper, shine the flashlight down the drain and look for a clump of hair sitting just below the surface. If this is the case, you can simply put on your pair of gloves and grab it with your fingers. If the clog is not immediately present, try one of the other methods.

Plunger
When your toilet clogs, your first instinct is probably to grab the plunger. What many people don’t know is that a plunger can also be used to unclog a shower drain. Turn your shower’s water on for a few seconds so that the area around the drain is wet. This will help the plunger seal better. Place the plunger around the drain and give it 15-20 pumps, and recheck the drain with your flashlight to see if the cause of the clog is now visible.

Home-made solutions
If you can’t get it manually, you can let some common household items do the work for you. Make a mixture using a ratio of 1:1 parts baking soda and white vinegar and pour it down the drain. Cover the drain with a rubber stop or anything else that you may have in order to make sure your concoction stays in the drain (wash clothes work well too!). After letting it sit for 30 minutes, remove the cover and pour warm water down the drain to see if the clog has been eliminated.

Call a plumber
If all else fails, you can always call a local plumber. If you are in Pueblo or Fremont County, call Patterson Plumbing & Heating. Colorado’s leading plumbing company is just a phone call away at 719-544-4922. You can also schedule an appointment online and find additional information.

Dishwasher Maintenance Checklist

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Your dishwasher is one of those appliances we all rely on. These machines save you time and effort but the daily wear and tear it goes through can really take a toll. That’s why proper maintenance is key to extending their average lifespan.

Here’s a checklist for you to use to make sure your dishwasher lasts for years!

  1. Use as directed – Review the user manual to make sure you are loading it correctly, using the proper soap, and adding it the correct way. Never put anything in the dishwasher that isn’t dishwasher safe!
  2. Regularly deep clean – Take a damp rag and wipe down the door, walls, and all crevices and remove any removable pieces to wash them with soap and water.
  3. Run a cleaning cycle – After you deep clean, take one cup of white vinegar and put it in a bowl on the top rack inside the dishwasher. Run the machine on a hot cycle to the vinegar can help deep clean and get rid of anything you may have missed. Once complete, you may need to wipe down the insides again to remove what the vinegar has loosened.

For more DIY cleaning and maintenance tips click here. If you start going through this checklist and notice more serious issues like rust or other malfunctions – it may be time to give the experts at Patterson Plumbing and Heating a call: (719) 554-4922

Plus, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @PatPlumbingInc to keep up-to-date with Patterson Plumbing.