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Kost's Korner

How to prepare your pipes for the first freeze of winter

frozen pipe floridaWinters can be particularly harsh on your home’s plumbing. Here are some ways to start preparing now and avoid damage when winter arrives:

  1. Wrap your outdoor pipes
    Using heat tape to wrap your outdoor pipes can help prevent them from freezing and bursting. While you’re there, take a look at your entire outdoor system. Clean out your gutters before falling leaves and snow become trapped and cause water damage or leaks.
  2. Get Your Sump Pump Ready
    Your sump pump removes excess water from your basement and crawl spaces and pipes it through your home's wastewater system. It's essential to maintain this appliance by regularly inspecting and cleaning it out before winter arrives. Like other plumbing fixtures, sump pumps can easily freeze up. This can cause it to stop working and can mean significant damage in the event of a sudden thaw. 
  3. Keep your drains flowing freely
    It's always recommended to give your drains a checkup regularly before increased use during the colder months.  Be sure you have necessary drain tools on hand for use in the months ahead including drain snakes, the right wrenches, and a water meter key.
  4. Remember your outdoor faucets
    Remove and store any outdoor hoses. Summertime water left behind in these hoses can freeze and expand, causing the attached faucets to burst. Also, like your indoor faucets, a leaky outdoor faucet, big or spigot, can wreak havoc on your entire plumbing system in the event of a freeze. These faucets are usually directly exposed to the elements, so take an extra hard look for any leaks or damage before, during, and after the winter months. 
  5. Keep your indoor pipes insulated
    The pipes inside your home should be kept well-insulated regardless of the weather outside. Pipes located in colder areas of your home, like your basement, should be maintained at a temperature above freezing. If not, they could freeze and burst or leak after a thaw. Insulating your pipes also help you conserve hot water and reduce your power bill each month. 

How often do my dryer vents need cleaned?

Much like our home’s air ducts, dryer vents are an often forgotten about the task that when ignored can cause serious fire hazards and a buildup of dust, mildew, and humidity. When lint is blown from the dryer into the dryer vent, it begins to build up and may not be adequately pushed through.dryer vent cleaning ocala

With an annual professional dryer vent cleaning services, household humidity, mold, mildew, and dust are reduced, and there is a reduction in the danger from a dryer fire. Your dryer will also run much more efficiently, preventing significant breakdowns and saving you from consuming more energy than you need to.

Your dryer vent system may need to be professionally cleaned if you are finding that you’re running your dryer more than once to dry one load, clothes are hotter than usual at the end of a cycle, the dryer is turning itself off before the end of a cycle, or the flapper on the hood of the vent doesn’t open while clothes are drying.

Cleaning just the lint trap at the end of each cycle isn’t enough. Lint still gets past the trap and into the dryer vent system and can cost time, money and peace of mind in the long run. 

 

Irrigation System Tips

irrigations tipsMaking sure your grass stays green while your wallet remains fat can seem almost impossible. That is unless you know a few top tips and tricks for your yard irrigation system that keeps a beautiful lawn on a budget. Here you will find just those tips for making your lawn flourish on a dime.

  • Switch out your sprinkler heads! Replace your old nozzles with a high-efficiency nozzle instead. Designed to decrease water usage (by 30%!) and even distribute water throughout the yard.
  • Move to drip irrigation techniques. This system includes the use of micro-sprinklers and spray jets, as well as bubbler irrigation. This allows for a slow and even distribution of water, paying specific attention to the roots and minimizing runoff significantly.
  • Make sure your system has a rain shut-off switch. This will prevent your irrigation and sprinkler system from going off while raining, wasting water.
  • Check all valves and ensure they are in proper working order so there are no cracks or uneven threading that could spring leaks.
  • Time your water. The best time to water your lawn is at dawn, afternoon risks burning plant-life due to the rising sun, and evening time has a chance of collecting fungus and unwanted bacteria.
  • Go light! Deep watering techniques are not necessary. Light and frequent waterings are the way to go, rather than drenching the plant-life with liters at a time.
  • Call in the professionals! Make sure you have your irrigation system checked by a qualified irrigation specialist at least once every three years.

Following these tips can ensure you keep your lawn looking pristine and your irrigation system in check, as well as keeping those bank figures untouched. Preventative action with checking and replacing valves, monitoring for cracks, and keeping an eye on water usage can prove to save you significant time in the long run.

What plumbing items to inspect before purchasing a home?

plumbing inspectionWhen you are shopping for a new home in Florida, it is smart to have everything inspected. You can also examine any plumbing concerns yourself before you finish the deal and move in if you know what to look for. 

If you are intending on doing the plumbing inspection yourself, make an appointment with the owner or agent that is showing the home and show up ready. Be sure you are dressed for the occasion - clothes that you don't mind getting wet or dirty - and don't forget to bring a flashlight. 

A genuine seller will not mind you taking a peek around to be sure you are verifying the accuracy of the home's state of repair (or disrepair). So once, you have set up the appointment and are prepared to do your inspection look for the following points:

Find the home's water meter and be sure the shut-off valve to the water supply to the house is in solid working order. If the home is supplied with well water, the shut-off valve should be located inside the home, probably under the kitchen sink, but could be found elsewhere. 

If the home was built before 1986, find out if there is any lead or galvanized plumbing. Lead no matter how helpful it may seem, is an environmental toxin. If you have kids, you may want to avoid living in a house with lead pipes.

Find out the size of the water pipes, which will define the water pressure you will have. For adequate water pressure, the lines should be ¾" to one inch from the primary water source. The pipes should be at least a half inch in diameter for sufficient water flow.

Always inspect the home's water heater. Be sure to decide if it is big enough to meet the needs of your family. For a family of four, you need to search for at least a 40-gallon tank. Look at where it is located and determine it's age. Look closely to determine if there is any mineral buildup if possible. Corrosion of the elements of the tank can cause shorter life. If the water heater is old or visible signs of corrosion are noticed, request a new one be installed before buying the home.

Find out if the home is on a septic system or on a municipal water system. For a septic system, find out where the septic system is located and ask the owner when the septic tank was last serviced. Look for signs of seepage or standing water and any odor.

Check for drips and turn on all faucets to be sure they are working correctly. For these and other plumbing inspection tips or a professional and thorough plumbing inspection contact Kost Plumbing today.

 

Should I use PEX piping or copper piping in my home?

pex piping floridaUnless you’re a plumber, you may not even know the difference between PEX Piping and Copper, or which piping is better for your home. Here, we hope to increase your basic knowledge of these plumbing options  to help you know what you’re getting and if it’s what you truly want. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll know what to request from your plumber and why.

Let’s start with what PEX Piping is. PEX Piping is basically cross linked polyethylene pipe. What this means is that after the material goes through several processes, it becomes durable enough to handle extreme hot or cold temperatures and what’s called “creep deformation” (that occurs from extended exposure to stress). It also resists chemical attacks from alkalines, acids and other toxins. These factors all make PEX piping an excellent piping solution for cold and hot water plumbing systems. PEX piping is also very flexible and adapts effortlessly to temperatures from below freezing all the way up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

PEX Piping is also better for your budget. It’s an easy material for your plumber to install and with its crack resistance and fewer joints, it brings your plumbing costs down. It has fewer fittings, less chance of leaks can be used along with metal or PVC Piping, and can have a pressure balancing system.

Now Copper:  On the beneficial side, Copper resists corrosion and is not affected by ultraviolet rays, which means it can be useful for outside plumbing needs. This differs from  PEX pipes, which can be affected by ultraviolet rays and therefore should usually not be used outside. On the downside, however, copper will corrode from the pH of the water if the water becomes too acidic or too basic for the copper pipes.

Copper piping can freeze and break during winter weather, it has become more expensive and more difficult to install, raising your plumbing costs and with corrosion, the higher levels of copper seeping into your water will give your water a metallic taste.

ourWe hope that these comparisons have given you a better basic understanding and knowledge of the differences between PEX and copper piping, giving you the opportunity to make the best decision for yourself. If you have any questions about PEX, please give Kost Plumbing a call.

What Others Say About Kost Plumbing

Thank you so much for all the help and support you provided when we had that leak! I couldn't have asked for a better job or price and the fact that you got it fixed so quickly that we were able to keep up our busy schedules without hardly missing a beat was AWESOME!!! Thanks again.

John D., Citra, FL

I do now know where to start, your prices and plumbing expertise are exceptional. I also appreciate your deck building and carpenter skills, not to mention that outstanding kitchen remodel. With your card I do not need anybody's "List" or any "Referral Program". Keep up the good work!

Chuck F., Reddick, FL

We had Kost Plumbing come out on weeknight when we had no water and he fixed the problem THAT NIGHT! We were amazed at his great work ethic and honest prices that he will be our Plumber for Life!!

Susan J., Ocala, FL

Thomas has done numerous jobs for me, and his work is always exceptional. He is very dependable and is willing to go out of his way to make sure the job is done right. In my opinion you could not hire a more professional or honest person.

Barbara A., Ocala, FL

Kost's Korner

How to prepare your pipes for the first freeze of winter

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Winters can be particularly harsh on your home’s plumbing. Here are some ways to start preparing now and avoid damage when winter arrives:

Read more...

How often do my dryer vents need cleaned?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Much like our home’s air ducts, dryer vents are an often forgotten about the task that when ignored can cause serious fire hazards and a buildup of dust, mildew, and humidity. When lint is blown from the dryer into the dryer vent, it begins to build up and may not be adequately pushed through.

Read more...