Kost's Korner

The Toilet of the Future

Japan has long ruled The Throne when it comes to state-of-the-art toilets. With all the bells and whistles, from bidets to butt buffers, they have turned a simple wee into A Bathroom Experience. Meanwhile, we have been using the same basic toilet design for…ever. Some would argue we’re long overdue for a toilet makeover. After living in Tokyo and using a heated seat in the middle of winter, there’s no going back.

Behold, the Smart toilet. America has arrived! Consider a Smart toilet for these eight great reasons:

  1. You’ll see a difference in your water consumption. Smart toilets sense how much water is needed and flush using just the right amount. The smaller flushes can use as little as 0.6 gallons per flush (GPF). A basic toilet that doesn't have smart flush technology uses around 1.6 - 2 gallons, so Smart toilets save quite a bit of water. In places like Florida and California, where water restrictions are standard, and freshwater is costly, this would be a huge benefit.
  2. No-touch flush! If you're germophobic, good news! The Smart toilet flushes without being touched due to a sensor. This is also ideal for family members who forget to flush.
  3. Overflow protection. Happy parents aren’t mopping up poopy floors. The Smart toilet stops us from flushing if the toilet is clogged, which keeps water levels in the bowl low.
  4. Eco-friendly. If you have a bidet and an air dryer, you don’t need as much toilet paper. That means you’re saving trees. And money. And you're gentle to your hemorrhoids.
  5. Cool Features! Heated seating! A massaging bidet and air dryer! Oh, yes…the bidet finally comes to America! Smart toilets also feature a nightlight, deodorizing, slow-closing lid, foot warmer, self-cleaning features, tank leak alert sensors, Bluetooth, and MP3 capability.
  6. Hygiene. Most Smart toilets are self-sanitizing. They’re also self-deodorizing. The automatic deodorization system should kick at the moment you sit on the toilet and stop after you get up from the seat. So, throughout your pooping session, the surrounding air is kept fresh and odorless. That’s so smart, right.
  7. Remote control. Guess what’s controlled on the remote? The seat. Whether you prefer the seat up or down, it’ll be ready for you when you get there! Everything is controlled on the remote, but pointing that lid thing out first seemed to be a priority.
  8. Size Matters! Are you working with a tiny space, or would you prefer an XXL size toilet? Either way, there's a Smart toilet for you!

Smart toilets can range in price, but the fully-loaded version comes with fantastic options that might even make the Japanese a little jealous. Don’t be too obsessed about finding the lowest price. The more significant aspects to consider are the service support and replacement parts. And you’ve got to understand that a typical plumber won’t have the expertise to service your broken toilet. You’ll need to go back to the manufacturer or the official distributor(s) for any service/support. So, bear these things in mind as you search for the perfect Smart toilet that will change your life and spoil you rotten.

Plumber Tools Every Homeowner Should Have Handy

plumber toolsIt's, and you hear water running. You jump out of bed and run to the bathroom only to find that that water that's supposed to be in your toilet tank is now all over your floor! Do you grab your phone and call an incredibly expensive 24-hour emergency plumber who may or may not be able to make it in time before there's more damage? Or do you take a deep breath and remember your tool kit tucked away for just this type of disaster? Don't let this happen to you! There are a few plumbing tools that every homeowner should have tucked away, only in case of this sort of problem! Here you will find the top plumbing tools everyone should own (but hopefully don't have to use often!).

  1. Basin wrench. We'll start with the basics, and this is a wrench that is in every plumber's toolkit. This type of wrench is made for tough to reach and tight spots and works perfectly on nuts and bolts for under sinks.
  2. Adjustable wrench. Another handy wrench to have since this wrench can tackle those hexagonal bolts. They don't slip on wet bolts (so if it's a leak under the sink you're tackling you won't lose your grip) and have an adjustable jaw to fit various widths.
  3. Hacksaw. If you know what you're doing, sometimes some cutting is involved. A hacksaw can tackle metal and plastic pipes as well as nuts and bolts and other types of hardware. Make sure to also keep a supply of extra blades handy just in case your current one has become dull in between uses.
  4. Thread seal tape (Plumber's Tape). Spot a leak and need a super quick fix? This tape is an inexpensive way to wrap up a leaky pipe or a squirting showerhead. The threading in the tape prevents leaks from escaping and is a great temporary fix.
  5. Toilet plunger. Toilet plungers are probably the most critical item on the list and something you more than likely already have. But do you have the correct one? Most homes usually have the standard cup plunger, but a more effective one is the flange plunger. The flange plunger has a specific shape that's made to clear toilets, but a cup plunger is still good for sink and shower clogs.

Having these tools on hand will help you if you find yourself with a backed-up toilet or a leaky sink. Or at the very least, buy you a little more time before you call a professional in to help fix the problem entirely and permanently!


Get Rid of Hard Water

hard water Well, water has a lot of benefits, one of the biggest being no need for a water bill. But unfortunately, well water can be a little harsh and leave spots and stains from what is called "hard water." What exactly is hard water? And how does one go about fixing that in their home? Here you will find all the answers on identifying and fixing your hard water problem.

Hard water has a very high mineral content, which can alter the color and form of the water coming out. The minerals found in hard water are calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Hard water also causes buildup on faucets and drains and can cause discoloration of sinks and tubs. It also is a cause of soap scum build up, as soap suds sit on the mineral residue of the hard water and create a scum line. It's not a pleasant thing to have running through your plumbing, so how do you get rid of it?

The miracle answer is to get a water softener. Sounds simple, right? Hard water needs to become soft not to create unsightly spots and scum in your home. This process involves an ion exchange which switches out the hard minerals for softer ones such as sodium. Little beads exist in the water softener that acts as a negative charge and pulls the positively charged minerals as the water filters out. The filtered water is then replenished with new minerals, i.e., sodium. Salt plays a massive part in water softening and making sure your water is clean and fresh every time. 

Getting a water softener is an affordable and fast-acting solution to your hard water problems. Say goodbye to those red rings in the tub or hard yellow stains on the dishes and keep your water soft. 


Signs There is a Leak in Your Plumbing.

By: Nicole Stevens

Has your water bill been a little too high the past couple months?Signs You Have A Leak In Your Plumbing. Or maybe your house smells a little different when you walk in, like a post-rain smell without the rain? If these sound familiar to you, you might be in a bit of trouble with your plumbing. These two examples, along with a few other recognizable issues, are tell-tale signs of a plumbing leak in your home. Other instances occur if you have an unknown plumbing leak and here we will uncover them for you, so you don't eventually end up ankle deep in your own home!

A high increase in your water bill is one of the first signs of a possible leak in the plumbing. It wouldn't be a gradual increase in overtime, but rather a high spike from the previous average billed amount. Keep in mind that in the summer months your water bill will more than likely rise if you have a sprinkler system, but it shouldn't be a drastic increase.

A musty, moldy smell is also a significant early indicator of a plumbing leak. Even if you look all over your house and can't find any mold or mildew, the smell doesn't lie, and it will linger until you find and fix the problem. Cleaning your home to rid the scent doesn't do anything unless you see the source of the leak and get all the old, sitting water cleaned up from where the leak is located.

Dark little specks or spots appearing on your walls and ceiling (even your floor) could be a sign that there is water trapped behind those specs and spots. The longer these go unattended, the worse they become, and will eventually end in decay and cause irreversible damage to the home.

If you're hearing running water in your quiet home but have already checked that all the sinks are turned off, this is another huge sign of a leak. You'll probably hear it as a light dripping or light thudding sound when the water hits whatever is underneath the leak, and not so much a strong sound of running water.

Cracks in the foundation well after the house have settled is a severe indicator of a bad leak in the plumbing. These leaks are extra dangerous because they can ruin the entire foundation and leave you in some deep trouble if not noticed and fixed right away.

Knowing these facts about a potential plumbing leak in your home could save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run. If you suspect there is a leak in your plumbing, contact a professional like Kost Plumbing, and have them access the potential damage and get you patched up and running water through your home with 100% efficiency again! 


The Future of Plumbing.

Modern plumbing is a part of almost every single person's life now. The future of plumbing. Whether it's to flush something down or wash something, plumbing plays a role in our day to day lives, and we don't even really think about it. Even something as universally used as household plumbing can be improved upon. So what can be expected from future of plumbing as we know it?

Well as most know, water shortages are happening in a few states, like California. Because of these shortages, there have been various water restrictions set in place that vary from state to state, county to county. What this means for future plumbing is that they will become more efficient with the amount of water flowing through them. This may seem like a simple solution that should be in place already, but these pipes need to be engineered to be extremely efficient but not lose any functionality while preserving water. As these pipes are created and manufactured, homes and buildings built after will have these plumbing systems installed and save tons of water.

Along with preserving water, having these more efficient pipes will save with energy costs as well. The NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) is going to be soon be updated with the initiative that newly produced water heaters can NOT use as much energy as they used to. The amount of energy that is typically used for water heaters today is roughly 18% of a monthly utility bill. This update to the NAECA will show a significant reduction in that utility cost, and the future of plumbing is to thank for that. Using these efficient plumbing components are the key to getting these levels much lower.

As the future of plumbing becomes more efficient in the means of water and energy usage, the components will also be easier and quicker to install. While plumbing is a great career option, it is a learned skill that involves a lot of learning, and unfortunately, admissions at trade schools have been on the decline. So ultimately, if there aren't many to follow this career - that means the parts and pieces will become easier to understand and work with. This will give more people the option to learn and stick with this trade and also benefit the consumer because it won't leave them in a wet mess for hours on end.

The future of plumbing is a lot more than just a low-flow toilet or sprinkler system on a timer; it's a massive part of our everyday lives. Even when we're not thinking about it, it's always doing something to benefit us. The future is very bright for advancements in our plumbing systems; from saving water to saving time and saving money - it's all uphill from here!