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Pueblo Plumbing

6 Smart Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Dishwasher

If you love to cook, a dishwasher can be your best friend. Unfortunately, many of us abuse our dishwashers, which leads to dirty dishes and frequent breakdowns. Use these six tips from Patterson Plumbing to get the most out of your trusty appliance.

  1. Clean your plates before you load them into your dishwasher. Nobody wants to wash their dishes before they wash their dishes, but putting a food-covered plate into the dishwasher hurts performance and can cause clogs.

  1. Run hot water before starting the dishwasher. Before you start a load of dishes, run your sink until the water feels hot to the touch. This way, your dishwasher won’t have to warm up.

  1. Make sure your water is ideal for washing dishes. Not all water is created equal. Hard water, or water with a high mineral content, is tough on dishes and doesn’t provide a spot-free clean.

  1. Know what can’t go in your dishwasher. Putting the wrong thing in your dishwasher can damage both the item and the appliance. Common no-no’s include vintage plates, wooden utensils, and bottles with the labels still on.

  1. Load your dishwasher strategically. There is a right way and a wrong way to load a dishwasher. For best results, place large plates and pots on the bottom rack, facing towards the center. Cups, plastic tupperware, and smaller dinnerware are reserved for the top rack.

  1. Give your dishwasher a little TLC. A little bit of care can go a long way towards maintaining your dishwasher. Routinely clean the seal and trap, and run an empty load with a cup of white vinegar to keep your dishwasher running like new.

Looking for more ways to maximize the effectiveness of your dishwasher? Check out these tips from The Kitchn.

Neglecting to care for your dishwasher can cause the appliance to malfunction, and even damage your plumbing system. Luckily for you, the experts at Patterson Plumbing are just a phone call away. If you live in Pueblo County, Colorado, call us for all of your plumbing repair needs at (719) 544-4922.

Debunking 3 Common Plumbing Myths

DEBUNKING 3 COMMON PLUMBING MYTHS

The internet is full of tips to keep your plumbing system operating like new, but everything on the internet is not true. In fact, there is a lot of misleading information out there surrounding home plumbing systems.

In this article, the experts at Patterson Plumbing help clear up some of the confusion by debunking three common plumbing myths.

Drain cleaner is a good way to clear up clogs.

Got a clog in the kitchen sink? Just pour in half a bottle of your favorite drain cleaner to clear it up. Or maybe not. While drain cleaners are an effective short-term solution to clear up a clog, the long-term damage they can inflict on your pipes is not worth the quick fix. You can make a homemade drain cleaning solution out of baking soda and vinegar that is cheaper and completely safe – click here to learn how.

A leaky faucet is no big deal.

Drip. Drip. Drip. That sound you hear is money leaving your wallet. You may think a leaky sink is no cause for concern, but think again. A faucet that drips just once per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons over the course of a year – that’s about 175 showers’ worth of water.

Plumbing fixtures require no maintenance.

Out of all the plumbing myths circulating around the internet, this one is the most dangerous. Neglecting your plumbing system and fixtures can result in breakdowns, pipe leaks, flooding, and costly repairs. At the very least, you should have your home’s plumbing system professionally inspected and tuned up once per year.

Residents of Pueblo County, Colorado can count on Patterson for all of their plumbing needs. Our specialties include drain cleaning, leak repairs, plumbing services, installations and more. Contact us online or give us a call at (719) 544-4922 to schedule your appointment.

8 Ways to Conserve Water This Summer

Drop Of Water

When it comes to conserving water, even the smallest of changes can make a big impact. Take a leaky faucet for example. Even if it drips just once per second, it can wind up wasting more than 3,000 gallons of water over the course of a year.

If you are looking for ways to reduce your water consumption, here are eight things you can try:

 

1. Water your lawn in the morning or early evening.

Water evaporates faster during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its strongest. Watering your lawn during the morning or early evening ensures more moisture actually stays in the soil.

2. Cover your pool when it’s not being used.

Evaporation can affect your pool, too. Minimize water loss by covering it up when it is not being used.

3. Utilize your dishwasher.

Washing your dishes by hand can use up to 25 gallons of water or more. An Energy Star dishwasher, on the other hand, only uses three. Just make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it for maximum efficiency.

4. Don’t wash your car at home.

Washing your car by hand requires a lot of time, effort, and water. Going to the car wash doesn’t just save you time and energy, it also requires less than half the amount of water.

5. Invest in a rainwater harvesting system.

Every time it rains, you are missing a great opportunity to collect free water for your lawn. Installing a rainwater harvesting system can be done for under $100 and can eliminate your landscape irrigation costs.

6. Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower.

Now that the warm weather is here, you don’t need to take those long, hot showers. Shortening your showers by just two minutes can save nearly 2,000 gallons of water per person every year.

7. Take advantage of your greywater.

Greywater is a name given to non-toilet waste water (ex: from your shower, sink, washing machine etc.). While it looks dirty and unsafe, it is actually a perfectly good source of water for your landscaping.

8. Fix any leaks in your plumbing system.

A dripping faucet, leaking pipe, or running toilet seems like no big deal, but these things can waste thousands of gallons of water if they aren’t fixed.

Looking for more ways to save water? Check out this list of 190 ideas from Water: Use it Wisely.

If you have any leaks in your home, Patterson Plumbing can fix them. If you live in Pueblo County, Colorado, trust us for all of your plumbing, heating, and cooling needs. Contact us online to schedule your service, or give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

Rubber-gloved hand scrubbing bathroom tile with a sponge

Let’s face it, nobody likes cleaning the bathroom. It’s dirty, it’s gross, and it’s not a quick job. Most of us put it off until it can’t be put off any further, which ultimately makes it even worse. These bathroom cleaning hacks will help cut down on your cleaning time and make the job that much more tolerable.

  • For the grout… spray with Resolve carpet cleaner. Let sit for 5 minutes and scrub with a toothbrush.

  • For the shower head… fill a plastic bag with distilled vinegar and tie it around the shower head using an elastic band. Let soak for two hours.

  • For clogged drains… flush the drain with boiling hot water. Dump in ½ cup of baking soda and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Pour a 50/50 mix of vinegar and hot water down the drain, and let it fizz up. Let it sit for a minute or two, and flush one more time with hot water.

  • For your faucets… rub shaving cream on all of your chrome fixtures and wipe with a damp cloth for a sparkling finish.

  • For the toilet bowl… drop in two tabs of Alka Seltzer and allow to fizz for 15 minutes before scrubbing with your toilet brush.

  • For the shower door…wipe it with a dryer sheet. It should easily cut through soap scum. Rinse with soap and water afterward.

  • For the mirrors… use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Paper towels cause streaks and leave behind lint.

Patterson Plumbing is Colorado’s number one choice for plumbing repairs, installations, and services. With more than 40 years of experience serving Pueblo County, you can trust our experts to get the job done right. If you live in Pueblo or the surrounding area, contact us online or call (719) 544-4922.

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.

Happy World Plumbing Day!

wpd

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.

Do’s & Don’ts of Drain Maintenance

The pipes and drains in our homes are usually an afterthought for most people – until there is a problem. Dealing with a clogged drain or a burst pipe is much more difficult than preventing them in the first place, so keep this advice in mind to keep your plumbing system in tip top shape.

DO this to properly maintain your home’s drains.

  • Use a drain guard. They can catch food, hair, and other debris that could clog your pipes.

  • Flush your drains with warm water every month to help clear debris. Use a stop to fill your sinks to the edge, then let them drain fully. The pressure created by this volume of water can dislodge debris deep down in your pipes.

  • Keep your home’s heat on at least 60° at all times during the winter – even while you are away on vacation.

DON’T put these things down the drain — doing so is asking for trouble.

  • Oil, grease, and fat. These can all solidify in your pipes and cause clogs.

  • Flushable wipes, cigarette butts, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, etc. Your toilet isn’t a garbage can, don’t treat it like one. Only flush down waste and toilet paper – even “flushable” wipes should be thrown away.

  • Hair. Hair from your head, face, body, pets, dolls, it doesn’t matter. Keep it out of your drains.

  • Commercial drain cleaners. They release harmful toxins into the air and damage your pipes more than they clean them. Use a homemade combination of baking soda and vinegar instead.

Despite your best efforts, the occasional plumbing problem is inevitable. If you run into a clogged drain, burst pipe, or any other issue, contact the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating. We provide fast, friendly service to Pueblo, Colorado and the surrounding area. Get in touch with us online or by calling (719) 544-4922.

How To Fix A Clogged Sink

A clogged sink drain is nowhere near as common as a clogged toilet, but it is still a problem that many homeowners will encounter. Whether it be hair in the bathroom or grease in the kitchen, not everything you pour down your sink makes its way to the sewers.

Don’t worry, though. More times than not, a sink can be unclogged without the help of a professional plumber. Try some of the following methods to unclog your sink:

Bent Coat Hanger

Take a wire coat hanger and straighten it the best you can. Make a small hook on one end and go fishing – you might be able to pull up a surprising amount of hair. Remember, your main goal is to fish up the clog, not push it further down.

Plunger

Fill the sink with about 3-4 inches of water to ensure the plunger seals around the sink hole. Hold a wet rag tightly around the other drain if you are dealing with a double sink. Then, roll the head of the plunger into the water (you want to force water down the drain, not air) and begin pumping vigorously.

Homemade Drain Cleaner

Do not use a commercial drain cleaner, such as Draino. These contain harmful chemicals that can deteriorate your pipes. Instead, make a homemade solution that is completely safe using one part baking soda and one part vinegar. Let the solution sit in your drain for an hour or two, then flush with hot water.

Snake

The snake is a very handy plumbing tool that can clear up nearly any clog in the home. If first three options were unsuccessful, the snake is usually a good bet to get the job done. This video shows you exactly what to do.

If you’ve run through all of these options and your sink is still clogged, call the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating. We have been Pueblo’s leading plumber for over 20 years! If you live in Colorado, contact Patterson Plumbing online, or call (719) 544-4922.