5 Famous Plumbers in History

January 12th, 2015

Today’s plumbers are best known for keeping our pipes flowing, our water running, and just generally solving plumbing mishaps as they occur. Without plumbers, where would we be?

Without a couple of the plumbers listed below, we probably still be using outhouses, and watching the city streets flood with waste water…yuck! Here is our list of 5 famous plumbers (real or fictional):

#1: Sir John Harrington

Without the invention of the first flush toilet in 1596, by no one other than Sir John Harrington – who continuously thought outside the box long before most homes even had running water – this list of 5 famous plumbers wouldn’t even exist.

#2: Mario & Luigi

Many of us have all grown up with this dynamic duo! Italian plumbers with signature mustaches, Mario in red and Luigi in green, showed up in a game that had the duo investigating sewers in search of Princess Peace – all the while keeping the city safe from flying turtles and mutant sewer kings.

#3: Thomas Crapper

Unfortunately for him that is his real name! In the 1880s, while owning his own plumbing business, Thomas Crapper invented a siphon system that was designed to help empty the cistern. Legend has it that the slang term for a toilet – the crapper – was started by WW1 soldiers that saw “T. Crapper” on toilets.

#4: Harry Patch

Quite possibly known best for his extreme longevity, Henry John Patch (aka Harry Patch), was a British soldier and WWI survivor – a survivor that lived to be 111 years old and who only recently passed in 2009. As a child – age 11 – he was a plumber’s apprentice.

Upon returning from war, Harry began working full-time as a plumber, and eventually went on to own his own company after avoiding being enlisted in WWII by one eligibility year. The number one certainly seems to have been in Harry Patch’s favor, doesn’t it?

#5: Ozzy Osbourne

Before the prince of darkness made a name for himself John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne was – get ready for it – a plumber’s apprentice. No we’re not pulling your chain! The English heavy metal singer and songwriter left school at the age of 15 to work as a plumber. That is until he hit his big break.

Holiday Comfort Tips

December 10th, 2014

holiday comfort tips

‘Tis the season! With family and friends arriving, holiday celebrations happening, and large volumes of Christmas cookies baking, the holidays can certainly make for hectic homes.

And, with 15 days until Christmas and 22 days until New Year’s, there is very little time to prepare your home in a manner that ensures your guests feel welcomed and remain comfortable during their entire stay.

This holiday season, our wish for you is that you’ll find the following holiday comfort tips helpful, so that you and your guests can enjoy the holidays without too much added stress.

Tried and True Holiday Comfort Tips

Tip #1: Establish a Cozy Indoor Temperature

With guests coming and going, establishing a cozy indoor temperature may be a bit tricky, but you needn’t worry as it is definitely doable. To keep your home comfortable, without wasting energy, place cozy areas rugs throughout as well as have your heating system serviced by a professional HVAC technician.

Tip #2: Stock the Pantry

Stock your pantry and fridge full of comfort foods for those times when unexpected guests arrive on your doorstep (trust me it’s bound to happen). We recommend having plenty of tortilla chips, salsa, refried beans, pasta, sauce, cheese, sour cream, eggs and mac and cheese on hand for a quick dinner. As much as it is obvious that we should all be following the sensible guidelines from the Health Tree or from a personal nutritionist, we all know that the holidays are meant for a little indulgence at the dinner table.

Tip #3: Spread the Joy

I know this holiday comfort tip may be a little off topic, but it is important to note that no matter how busy we get during the holidays, we should still remember that there are people out there less fortunate than us as well as those that may be struggling with the “holiday blues.”

Spreading the joy of the season with others just by saying “Happy Holidays” has a way of making even the gloomiest of days brighter for both you and the receiver of said greeting. If possible, you can also contribute to a family in need, by contacting your local Salvation Army.

Happy Holidays!

Money Saving Tips for Heating Your Home This Winter

November 10th, 2014

money saving tips

In case you didn’t know, it’s November already, which means it’s time for homeowners to start turning on those heaters. It’s also that time of year where people like to take long hot showers and of course, that causes the water heater costs to go into overdrive. In a few weeks’ time, holiday shoppers will be out in droves, looking for the best deal on gifts.

With the wallet pinching that comes with this time of year, we at A-Peoria Plumbing thought what better way was there to help homeowners save money on heating costs, than to provide them with some helpful money saving tips.

Money Saving Tips #1: Regulate Your Thermostat

To save money when heating your home this winter, the first and most important thing you should do is to check what temperature your thermostat is set at, the higher the temperature the more you’ll be shelling out.

According to the Department of Energy, you save up to 10 percent off of your monthly utility bills, just by setting your thermostat to a toasty 70 degrees. These savings can be used for a programmable thermostat in just one month.

Money Saving Tips #2: Insulation is a Home’s Best Defense

Insulation is your home’s best defense against high energy bills. It provides many benefits including minimizing heat transfers in the winter and summer months, provides ventilation, controls moisture and increases comfort.

Bringing your home’s insulation up to code, along with using high R-value rated products, can save you 20 to 30 percent off of your monthly utility bills. To determine the level of insulation you’ll need, use this calculator.

Money Saving Tips #3: Dial Back Your Hot Water Settings

Water heaters, according to the Department of Energy, account for 14 to 25 percent of your home’s monthly utility bills. No wonder considering they come factory set at 140 degrees, hot enough to scald, and run 24/7.

For every 10 degrees you dial back your hot water heater’s temperature, you’ll save 3 to 5 percent, 120 degrees will keep your hot water at a comfortable level during the winter. Insulating it will save you even more.

Money Savings Tips #4: Annual Heater Maintenance and Tune-Up

Ensure your heating system works at peak performance by using Goodman furnace products and having a reputable HVAC service technician provide you with a comprehensive heater maintenance inspection and tune-up once per year before the cold sets in.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips and Tricks

October 9th, 2014

Fall Plumbing Maintenance TipsThe leaves are beginning to change color, the air is cooling to what we Arizonians consider a mild climate, and the days are getting shorter. That can only mean one thing my friends…fall has officially arrived!

As a result of falls arrival, we know that winter isn’t far behind, which means that now is the perfect time to start prepping your homes’ plumbing for cold days and even colder nights.

Why? Because cold weather can play havoc on your plumbing fixtures, which could potentially cause busted pipes and other major plumbing headaches. Headaches that often cause big bucks to relieve…

So, to our loyal readers, we offer the following plumbing maintenance tips and tricks to ensure you don’t put a major dent in your wallet. As temperatures start dipping this fall, it pays to plan ahead, by following these tips and tricks.

Fall Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Tip #1: Flush the Water Out of Your Plumbing System

To do this, you should first completely turn off your home’s water supply, by either contacting your local water company or doing it yourself (depending on water source). Once the main water supply is turned off, you should proceed to the next step, which is turning on two faucets: one on high and the other on low.

Tip #2: Insulate your Pipes

Insulating your pipes with the right insulation materials (look for high R-values) will keep them from getting to cold. Actually, insulating your pipes throughout the fall and winter will also help avoid the need for water heater repair and reduce your electricity bill, especially if you insulate your hot water heater itself and pipes.

Tip #3: Use Anti-Freeze to Protect

I know what you’re thinking but using RV anti-freeze in areas where water tends to linger is actually one of the best things you can do to help keep said water from freezing. Add anti-freeze to these fixtures: toilet, sink, bathtubs or shower stalls. Do not add it to: drinking systems, dish washer or washing machines.

Tip #4: Hire a Professional Plumber

When you’re prepping your home for the winter months ahead, ensuring your plumbing system is protected becomes one of the most important activities you can do as a homeowner. But if you balk at the idea of handling more detailed plumbing work, you may want to consider hiring a reputable plumber.

Finding a reputable plumber in your area, such as those employed by A-Peoria Plumbing, can save you time and money. It also means that the job will be completed correctly the first time around. For more information, or to schedule service, contact A-Peoria at (623) 979-7223. We offer FREE estimates!

OW! That’s Hot: Anti-Scald Devices Protect Your Family

September 9th, 2014

Provide Your Family With Peace of Mind;Install Anti-Scald Devices

 

anti-scald devicesGrateful for the warm tub of water, with its steam enveloping the entire room, I quickly sank into the bathtub’s depths. The warm water would be a welcoming relief for my tired and aching muscles.

It wasn’t long before you heard the sounds of my yells…

The water was far too hot – almost on the brink of scalding hot to be exact. To avoid facing 1st, 2nd or even 3rd degree burns; I quickly exited the water. Situations just like this are common – more so than you’ve ever imagined.

In fact, according to the Burn Foundation, over 500,000 scald burns are reported annually in the United States. Those most at risk include children under the age of five and adults over the age of 65.

Preventing Scald Injuries

Hot tap water accounts for seventeen percent of all reported childhood scald hospitalizations. In as little as 1 second, a child can face 3rd degree burns at a water temperature of 156° (2 seconds = 149°, 5 seconds = 140°, 15 seconds = 133°).

Anti-scald devices and techniques is your best form of prevention – even just turning the hot water heater down to 120° degrees (most water heaters are set to 140°) can make all the difference between burning someone and not.

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent burns:

  • Test the water’s temperature by moving your hand back and forth in the water before placing a child into the bath or getting in the bath yourself.
  • Never leave children unattended; not even for a second!
  • Adjust the hot water heater to 120°, rather than its default setting.
  • Install anti-scale devices on all of your faucets and showerheads.

Anti-Scald Devices

Anti-scald devices are typically the safest ways to ensure no one gets accidentally burned. These devices make it nearly impossible to get burned when you immerse yourself in a tub full of water.

Whole house mixing valves can protect your entire home, no matter how many faucets you have. Or you can also install “hot stop” equipped faucets and showerheads for the kitchen and bathroom.

These devices allow you to set a maximum temperature (typically between 100° and 140° degrees; however, we recommend 120° degrees). Once the water reaches your desired temperature, the device will automatically reduce the hot water by replacing some of it with cold water.

While small, these devices sure are powerful. They are also able to protect the bather from being scalded by hot water surges. You know, those moments when someone flushes the toilet and you have to jump away from the water’s spray?

If you’d like more information about having anti-scald devices installed in your home or upgrading your outdated water heater, please feel free to contact the professional plumbers at A-Peoria today: (623) 979-7223.

Softening Hard Water

August 6th, 2014
water hardness in the U.S., softening hard water, soft water, hard water

Credit: USGS

Not all water is created equal! Some areas (as you can see by the map above) are more prone to hard water – approximately 85 percent of the water in the Untied States – whereas others experience the feel of soft water. The quality of your water all boils down to the amount of minerals per gallon of water.

Water Basics

Hard water: According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, water is defined as being slightly hard when the levels of calcium and magnesium bicarbonates exceed 1 to 3.5 grains per gallon, which occurs naturally. While not unsafe, it is important to note that Arizona’s hardness levels often exceed 20 grains per gallon.

Soft water: Many Arizonian’s don’t know what soft water feels like; that’s a given. However, softened water contains fewer or no extra minerals per gallon of water. Residents in areas without soft water can use water treatment devices to remove excess minerals to produce soft water.

The Hard Facts

Soft water all the way, right? While soft water definitely has some advantages over hard water, including being better on your expensive appliances and even more expensive clothing, it may not be as tasty as hard water. Soft water may also leave you feeling like you haven’t rinsed off entirely after a relaxing hot shower.

Hard water carries with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Hard water can make cleaning and bathing agents less effective, can cause mineral deposits to develop on your pots and pans, as well as aid in the buildup of shower scum. From a health perspective, however, the calcium minerals in hard water are good for your health.

Softening Hard Water

Considering that we live, bathe, cook and clean in an area prone to not only hard water, but very hard water, it’s only natural to want to reduce water hardness by investing in a good quality water softening tank. Water softening typically involves the use of an ion exchange process, which exchanges your hard water for soft.

For more information on high-quality water softeners, please be sure to contact your local plumbing professionals at A-Peoria today.

Plumbing Fixtures That Fit Your Décor Style

July 23rd, 2014

Plumbing FixturesDo you remember when you could walk into your local home improvement or hardware store and quickly select a new plumbing fixture from a minuscule selection? Yeah, well those days are long gone.

Today, plumbing fixtures include a wide assortment of metals, faucet and showerhead types, control options and colors. Whether your style preferences are contemporary or modern; there is a style that fits your décor style.

From kitchen faucets that respond to your every move, to showerheads that cascade water like a waterfall, to space-saving toilets, to water filtration faucets and everything in between there is something for everyone and every budget. As a leading plumbing company in Greenville South Carolina, we’ve installed them all and never ceased to be amazed at the newest intelligent designs and technical capabilities.

However, with such a wide selection of plumbing fixtures on the market today, it is easy to get caught up in the battle of finding the perfect fixture. A fixture that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical.

Consider the following two tips, which were compiled after much research, when choosing plumbing fixtures to incorporate into your home’s decor. And, remember, if you have any questions to call A-Peoria at 623-979-7223.

#1 – Know Your Décor Style

Deciding which types of fixtures you can incorporate into your home’s décor is the first thing you should do. Whether your kitchen or bathroom is modern, classic or traditional, your plumbing fixtures should have similar details. If you are remodeling your bathroom here are some ideal surfaces for bathrooms.

Horizontal styling along with chrome or nickel finishes are representative of modern designs, whereas, simple and clean styling is representative of more traditional designs.

#2 – Know Your Budget

With such a wide selection of fixtures available, many of which can be quite pricy, it pays to know and stick to a budget. Shop around for prices rather than just purchasing the first one you see.

If you are on a tight budget, you should check to see if there are in plumbing warehouses within your area, or search online stores (they often have a nice selection of plumbing fixtures at affordable prices).

We’d love to hear what type of plumbing fixtures our readers love. Do you prefer ones that make a bold statement all their own or those that blend in quite nicely with your existing décor?

Plumbing: Past and Present

July 8th, 2014

plumbing; past and presentWith the passage of time, comes inevitable change – whether that change is good or bad nobody knows. Yet in the case of plumbing, especially considering in ancient times there was no plumbing, change has been proven to be a very good thing.

Plumbing Timeline

1500 B.C. – Elaborate sewage systems are created by the people of Crete. This included an early rendition of the flushing toilet – can you imagine life without this?

52 A.D. – 220 miles of water channels, aqueducts and pipes are used to deliver water to homes, public wells and baths throughout Europe.

1596 – Sir John Harrington (who just so happened to be Queen Elizabeth’s godson) designs the first flushing toilet, calling it a “prive in perfection.”

1810 – The English Regency shower is invented. Bathers could pump water through a nozzle and into an overhead basin, over and again, for the purpose of showering.

1829 – The Tremont Hotel, which was located in Boston, opens its doors to guest and offers indoor plumbing.

1833 – The White House gets running water! But just on the first floor – the second floor goes without until President Pierce takes office some 20 years later.

1860s – Running water becomes more prevalent, due to Louis Pasteur’s discovery of the perils of bacteria. Large cast iron sinks start making their way into homes.

1885 – Chicago becomes the first city to provide a comprehensive sewage system, although residents were still left without an indoor bathing facility.

1891 – The modern toilet is born thanks, in large part, to Thomas Crapper’s (yes, seriously) patent of a valve-and-siphon design.

1954 – Alex Manoogian envisions and develops the first single-handle washerless ball valve faucet – and Delta™ is born.

1961 – Mr. Bubble is introduced to the American people by Gold Seal Co.; affordable bubble baths become a recreational activity.

1970s – A high-arc kitchen faucet complete with hardware is developed by Delta and becomes part of the interior design conversation.

2005 – Delta introduces us to the first high-flow showerhead that features a water saving technology called H2 Okinetic.

2008 – Delta debuts Touch2O® Technology, which allows users the opportunity to activate their faucet with tap of a wrist.

Have a plumbing related question? Contact A-Peoria Plumbing at (623) 979-7223.

We want to hear from you – our readers: What are your thoughts on the future of plumbing? Feel free to share your input in our comments section below.

Protect Your Health: Test Your Drinking Water for Contaminants!

June 24th, 2014

drinking water, water qualityWater!  It comprises more than 70% of an adult’s human body and nearly 80% of an infants’.  You need it to live, and in fact, can’t live without it for more than a week whereas you can live without food for a month.

Hopefully, if you’re healthy – and you wish to remain that way – you’re drinking over 2 liters of water per day.  But do you know what type of contaminants, if any, may be lurking within that water?

Understanding Your Water Quality

In Phoenix more than 1.5 million people, within a 540 square-mile radius, are supplied with drinking water from the city itself.  Of which, approximately 95% comes from area lakes and rivers, and the other 5% from groundwater.

All water prior to being delivered to residents goes through a mandated 4-step water treatment process.  A process that has been designed to ensure the highest quality drinking water!  This process includes:

Step 1 – Screening and Presedimentation

Step 2 – Coagulation, Flocculation and Sedimentation

Step 3 – Filtration

Step 4 – Disinfection

But is it safe?  The City of Phoenix, per the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, currently tests their water for more than 100 various contaminants.

But is it safe?  YES!  In fact, each May, the City of Phoenix posts to the web a Water Quality Report that contains pertinent information regarding just how safe your drinking water really is.

Still Suspect Unsafe Drinking Water?

If you suspect your drinking water is unsafe to consume – whether you’re having issues with its taste, odor, color or hardiness – you have several options that are fairly easy and inexpensive to do.

The easiest of which is to have your drinking water, regardless of where it came from, tested for specific contaminants.  Specifically those that have the potential to adversely affect your health including the following contaminates’:

  • Disease Causing Bacteria
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Hydrogen Sulphide
  • Lead

You can do this by having a professional plumber test the water for you or purchasing a cheap do-it-yourself water quality test kit at your local home improvement store.  You can also opt to purchase a water filter that attaches directly to your kitchen faucet.

Bathroom Organization Ideas

June 10th, 2014

bathroom organization

Have you ever noticed just how much clutter tends to accumulate in what is often the smallest room of your house?

Think about it.  You have your toilet paper, hairbrushes and stylers, makeup and beauty cleansers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, towels and washcloths, medicine, soap, and – well the list could keep going but I’m going to end it there.

Sure, our daily (sometimes twice daily) beauty routines may require most of this stuff, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it all has to be unorganized.  Here we offer some helpful bathroom organization ideas:

  1. TOSS IT OUT

If it’s not useful or beautiful – toss it out.  Yes, seriously!  The first step in bathroom organization includes ridding yourself (or in this case your bathroom) of excessive clutter.

Let’s start with something simple, shall we?  Checking the expiration dates on your vitamins and medications including prescriptions.  If it’s expired, even by a day, toss it.  These items have a rather short shelf life.

Now…on to something just a wee bit harder for us women.  Our makeup!  All of which has a different built-in expiration date.  According to recommendations by WebMD Magazine you should replace the following at the times specified:

  • Mascara & Eye Liner – 3 to 4 Months
  • Foundation – <1 year
  • Lipstick & Gloss – 6 months to 1 year
  • Powders – 18 months to 2 years

Sorry girls, but when you’re attempting bathroom organization, now is certainly not the time to want to keep the products you’re not using.  And, while you may be surprised to find hidden products during this time, you should toss them too.

  1. JUST SAY NO TO SAMPLES

Do you find yourself often wandering around the mall aimlessly picking up one sample after another?  Then stop it!  Chances are, once you get home, these little samples are just thrown in the drawer and forgotten anyway.

  1. OPT FOR CORDLESS

Whenever possible, try to purchase blow dryers, curling irons and straighteners that have retractable cords.  You’d be simply amazed as to how much room this idea will actually save you.

If retractable isn’t available, always wrap up the cord as neatly as possible when you’re finished, and hang it inside the under-sink cabinet on hooks that attach to the cabinet door. 

  1. CONTROL THE MADNESS

So that even the littlest of items have their own place it’s recommend that you store elastic hair bands, bobby pins, cotton swabs, Q-Tips, etc. in little containers or magnetic storage tins.

For larger items including your hair brush, shampoo and conditioner, body washes, etc. invest in organizational caddies (you can even get them at the Dollar Store).

This way, everything has its own place and everything goes back to that place, which makes it easy to not only contain the clutter, but to also find exactly what you need, when you need it.

  1. HANDY BASKETS

For small bathrooms, add a stand-alone shelf or rack above the toilet where you can store usable items, such as towels and toilet paper, in handy wicker baskets.  You’d be amazed at the selection of baskets available on the market today.

  1. CABINET UNCLOGGED

Despite our best intentions, the under-sink cabinet in our bathrooms often all too easily becomes an area where everything – and I do mean everything – gets tossed inside and is often left to be forgotten.

Here is where you repeat step 1 above and again toss those items that are simply not be used.  You should additionally refrain from keeping bottles of beauty products that are pretty empty.

For the items you’re keeping, invest in Tupperware shoe box sized containers, and organize these items into piles.  For example; medications go in one container, and hair accessories go in another.  Just remember to label containers.