High Water Pressure and Noisy Pipes

Many people probably consider high water pressure a good thing. However, water pressure that is too high can be more than just annoying: it can cause costly damage. High water pressure is one of the leading causes of water leaks, pipe damage, and wasted water in homes and businesses.

Signs You May Have High Water Pressure

There are several signs you might have a high water pressure problem in your home or business.

  • Multiple water leaks
  • Constantly running toilets
  • Noisy pipes

You might see intermediate leaks occurring at only certain times of the day, leaks in multiple faucets at the same time, toilets that are constantly running, and even noisy pipes!

Water hammers are also commonly caused by high water pressure. The pipes and faucets inside your home are only designed to support a certain amount of PSI. If the PSI is too high, the opening and closing of your faucets cause the water to ram into the faucet. The water then looks for a way to escape, which can cause burst pipes.

Water hammers can also cause pipes’ mounting straps to become loose, causing a lot of noise and rattling when you open and close the faucets in your home.

What Causes High Water Pressure?

The most likely source of your high-pressure water problem is the municipal water supplier. Water companies set the water pressure high to support enough pressure for safety reasons. These include fire hydrants. It could also be for those tall buildings downtown. It takes a lot of pressure to get to the 40th floor!

The recommended water pressure limit on most plumbing supplies is 80 PSI. More often than not, city water pressure exceeds 100 PSI. In some cases, it can even be higher than 150 PSI. And you could be dealing with high water pressure for anything higher than 60 PSI.

If you are unsure about the water pressure inside your home or office, it’s quite easy to check this yourself.

  1. Buy a water pressure gauge
  2. Select a water outlet
    A faucet or hose bib that close to the water supply source will be your most reliable source.
  3. Turn off anything that uses water
    This includes all faucets, washers, sprinklers, and even fridge ice makers.
  4. Attach the gauge
    Screw the fitting end of the gauge into the water outlet you’ve chosen.
  5. Let the water run
    Make sure that you slowly open the valve until it is fully open.
  6. Record the pressure
    Once the needle stops moving, write down the pressure.
  7. Double check
    Test one more time to make sure the reading is accurate. If you get a different reading, make sure all faucets and water-using appliances are off.
  8. Call a technician
    If the pressure is too high, then it’s best to call a technician for an inspection.

How to Fix the Problem?

If you find that you have high water pressure, the best solution is to install a water pressure regulator. A pressure regulator reduces the pressure from the main before it enters the building. This will help to reduce any associated issues, such as water hammers and damaged pipes.

It’s best to install the pressure regulator right at the main instead of at the entrance to the home or office. Putting it there gives the water pressure time to slow. It also protects the water transport system to your property. Also, with the pressure regulator installed at the main, it will control the irrigation system. That means fewer leaks in what are much more sensitive pipes.

High Water Pressure is a Real Problem

If you have been feeling the effects of high water pressure, it’s time to address the problem. Forrest Anderson plumbers are the Phoenix experts in reducing water pressure problems. We can inspect your home or commercial space to gauge the pressure and provide solutions.

Don’t risk ruining pipes or turning your home or office into an indoor swimming pool. Contact us today to schedule your inspection.

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Green Stuff on a Faucet: What Is It?

Is your home being invaded by something green? Cleaning bathroom and kitchen faucets in Arizona can be a constant battle. That’s because you’ll find green stuff on a faucet. What the heck is that stuff? And why can’t you get rid of it easily, even when you scrub?

What Green Stuff on Faucet Could Be

We in Arizona have to deal with hard water on a daily basis. While it might help you feel cleaner in the shower, hard water causes a host of issues. It’s considered hard because it has more minerals in the water. The minerals include magnesium, calcium, and copper. And as copper oxides, it turns green. Just one reason you could have green stuff on a faucet.

Another option is limescale. This is a thick layer of chalky stuff that covers anything where water has been. Limescale can be white, yellow, or green. It might be white on the bottom of your tub, yellow at the back of the sink, and green around the faucets. Another reason for green stuff on a faucet.

Why Green Stuff on a Faucet is Bad

Sure, it’s unsightly to have green stuff on a faucet. There’s no doubt about that. But that limescale and copper can be nearly impossible to clean or remove. Plus, limescale can cause permanent damage to fixtures, leading to a costly problem.

All of this green stuff on the faucet is a strong indicator that you, indeed, do have hard water. Of course, being in Arizona, nearly all of us do, so you’re not alone. So you have two choices to address the problem: clean up the green stuff or get the minerals out of your water.

Tricks to Clean Up the Gunk

There are three good ways to get rid of the green stuff on the faucet:

Trick 1: Commercial Cleaner and a Lime

First, clean your faucet and sink with your normal kitchen cleanser and then wipe it dry. Next, cut a lemon in half and use it to wipe down and scrub the surfaces again. The mild acid in the lemon helps to dissolve the limescale and buildup. After you are done lemon scrubbing, rinse everything off and wipe it dry.

Trick 2: Baking Soda Paste

To make the paste, mix three parts baking soda with one part water. Take your paste and rub it all over the green stuff on a faucet. Leave the baking soda paste on the faucet for one hour (or until it’s fully dry). Afterward, rinse and dry completely.

Trick 3: Deep Vinegar Soak

One of the best ways to beat lime scale and hard water deposits is with vinegar. Fill a plastic bag with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinegar and secure the bag around your faucet with a rubber band. Let the vinegar soak deeply into the limescale for 3–4 hours then scrub off the green stuff on a faucet. Rinse and dry when complete.

Rid Your Water of Minerals

If hard water is at the core of your green stuff on faucet problem, you need to do something to get rid of all of those extra minerals. Here are two options:

1. Install a Water Softener

The best way to beat hard water and stop limescale buildup forever is to install a water softener. Soft water has far fewer minerals in it than hard water. Therefore, when soft water dries on your faucet and inside the sink, it leaves behind much less calcium carbonate. That results in pretty much no green stuff on the faucet.

2. Have Your Home Re-piped

Old pipes in your home might be a source of minerals feeding the hard water into your home. As pipes age, water tends to become harder. Having modern plumbing installed in your home, along with a water softener, is the best way to defeat limescale.

Get the Help You Need

If green stuff on a faucet is an issue for you and your home, it’s time to contact Forrest Anderson. We can suggest the best water softener (and install it) if that’s your choice. And if you’d prefer to re-pipe your home, we can manage that project as well.

Stop cleaning your faucets every day. Ban the green stuff!

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Loose Mounting Straps and Noisy Pipes

Do you hear clanging and banging inside your walls? No, it’s probably not ghosts, but it can be just as troublesome. You likely have loose mounting straps, which can lead to noisy pipes. Pipes rattle every time a faucet is turned on, and it can feel as if your home is falling apart. Thankfully, fixing the issue is fairly straightforward and can end your nightmares.

What Are Mounting Straps?

Mounting straps are what holds your plumbing system together. You probably don’t even think about mounting straps on a regular day. But when they’re loose, you’ll hear about them.

Mounting straps are hooks that secure the pipes to the house’s frame. They can be vinyl, metal, or even plumbers tape. If one (or more) loosens, that pipe will vibrate.

Mounting straps can become loose for several reasons. One reason is water hammers. If your home has high water pressure, water hammers will shake the pipes. The water hammer is caused by water slamming into closed pipes. The result is a really, really loud noise inside your walls.

Over time, the water hammers cause vibrating pipes. These, in turn, lead to loose mounting straps. And that means more noisy pipes. If the pipes are close to the home’s frame, they will bang against it, creating those loud vibrations you hear every time you turn on and off your water.

How to Fix Loose Mounting Straps Yourself

Mounting straps that have been shaken loose will have to either be repaired or replaced. If they’re easily accessible, you might be able to take this on yourself.

Steps to fix loose mounting straps:

  1. Check all of your pipes – Look under sinks, in the attic, and in the garage for exposed pipes. Then inspect each mounting strap’s integrity.
  2. Prep your tools – You’ll need a piece of wood, a screwdriver, and plumbers tape.
  3. Tighten the straps – First, wedge a piece of wood securely between the frame and loose pipe. This will prevent vibrations when faucets are on or off. Then tighten any loose screws securely. Finally, tape up the mounting straps as needed.
  4. Call a professional – If the mounting straps are more than just a little loose, then you might have a bigger issue.

The Problem Behind the Problem

Once you’ve secured the mounting straps and eliminated your noisy pipes, you’re likely not quite done. You should consider this a temporary fix to a potentially bigger issue: high water pressure. You won’t have loose straps for no reason. The behind-the-scenes reason is probably too high water pressure.

Most buildings should have water running at a PSI of no higher than 80. For most homes getting city water, however, the water could be coming from the main at 100 PSI or higher. So your fragile pipes have to deal with water that’s flowing through too fast. And the problem that then occurs is damage to the pipes. And one of the first signs is, of course, loose mounting straps.

Call a Professional

Whether or not you can fix the loose mounting straps yourself, you should still make a call to the Phoenix plumbing professionals at Forrest Anderson.

If it’s true that high water pressure is the problem, then you’ll need to address that issue first. That may require a regulator to reduce the pressure. And it also might mean more damage has happened to the pipes that you can’t see.

If you hear loud noises coming from inside your wall, then don’t call Ghostbusters. Call Forrest Anderson! We’ll be there to fix the problem and make things quiet again.

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Size Matters for a New Water Heater

As a homeowner, you know that nothing in your home lasts forever. Things break; appliances need to be replaced. This is the same with your water heater. If you’re in the market for a new water heater, we have some suggestions about what to look for and how to go about making a smart choice.

To Tank or Not to Tank

Perhaps the first question you’ll have to answer before purchasing your new water heater is if you would rather go with the traditional storage tank variety or opt instead for a tankless version.

Tank water heaters are more popular than tankless, and you can choose the size based on your needs. Hot water is heated and stored in a tank new water heater, ready when you need it. The options range in size from 10 gallons and up, and the bigger is better for more people in the home. You’ll also want to make your choice based on recovery rate: how fast the tank refills. If you need hot water for a large amount of time, you could potentially deplete the tank of hot water and only have cold water.

Tankless water heaters heat the water as you need it. The water passes through a series of coils to heat it as it heads to its destination. Most tankless new water heaters can heat up to 3.5 gallons of water per minute. This is a more energy efficient option than a tank variety, although it might not be the best choice if you need to deliver hot water to more than one location simultaneously.

What’s Your Fuel Source?

Your next consideration is how you’ll be powering your new water heater. Many newer homes are all electric, whereas older homes may also have gas. Most water heaters use electricity, natural gas, or propane gas, and some are solar powered. If you have the availability to choose your power source, experts often suggest opting for natural gas. Although a new water heater will be a little more expensive when it’s gas powered, the cost savings will pay for itself in the long run.

Naturally, solar-powered water heaters are even more energy- and cost-efficient than natural gas, but the upfront cost is substantial. For purchase and installation, you can expect to invest $4,000 to $5,000 for a solar new water heater. This is in comparison with $1,000 to $2,600 for gas and $950 to $2,500 for electric.

With the negligible difference in costs between electric and gas, the energy savings from the gas option will cover that couple hundred extra dollars in the first year.

Consider How Much Space You Have

In a large home with ample garage storage for a new water heater, you could go with a large-capacity tank variety. A small home where the water heater lives in a closet, will ultimately limit the tank capacity selection.

You can categorize water heaters as either tall or short. Taller heaters can be up to 76″ tall and hold up to 100 gallons of water. A short water heater is only 30–49″ tall and holds 50 gallons of water. The latter option is good where space is an issue, particularly height.

Ready to Choose Your New Water Heater?

If it’s time to buy your new water heater, you have some research to do. Tank or tankless, electric or gas, and short or tall are just some of the questions you’ll have as you begin your shopping adventure.

If you have questions about which water heater is right for your home, trust the professionals at Forrest Anderson. We’ve installed thousands of new water heaters for our customers, and we can provide direction to get the best option for you. Contact us to learn more.

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Consistent Room Temperature Problems?

Does this sound familiar? You’re in your bedroom and feel like you need to bundle up in your comforter to get warm. Whereas when you enter the kitchen, you’re too warm and open a window. In some homes, especially ones with two stories or a lot of square footage, it can be a challenge to maintain a consistent room temperature. Let’s explore some reasons for this dilemma, as well as ways to fix it.

Ductwork Problems

Your HVAC system is a complicated piece of equipment. A small problem might seem like a trivial thing, but it could lead to significant repercussions. Such is the case with the ductwork. The ducts are how air and heat flow through your home, so if they are the wrong size or blocked, you’ll end up with inconsistent room temperature. Even worse, improper-sized ducts can end up costing big bucks when the evaporator coils freeze up or overheat.

And what if your ducts are leaking? You can lose up to 30% of airflow due to leaks and cracks. Of course, the leaks could be at any place along with ductwork, which will result in differing temperatures across the house.

Solution: Have your ductwork inspected to ensure it fits and is in good working order.

Older, Insufficient Insulation

Do you have an older home? While historic homes are charming, they can lack some of the creature comforts we tend to take for granted in newer construction. One big thing that can cause a ton of grief is insufficient insulation. You’ll no doubt increase your energy consumption during our cold winters and hot summers; that in itself is a pain. But what if one room has decent insulation while another doesn’t? That puts you right where you don’t want to be: with inconsistent room temperature.

Solution: Have an energy assessment completed on your home to determine where additional insulation is needed.

Big Homes Create Room Temperature Problems

A bigger home needs extra help to keep the temperature consistent throughout. That’s usually because one HVAC unit cannot manage the whole place. This is true for ranch homes with a large one story as well as for two-story residences.

The farther from the unit, the more inconsistent results will be. That’s because it takes longer for air to get through the ducts. And if you’re in a two-story home, upstairs will invariably be warmer than downstairs since heat rises.

Remember that the thermometer only measures room temperature near it. In a large home, room temperature will vary greatly, and just because the thermometer says one thing in the hallway, that’s no guarantee it will feel that warm or cool in another room.

Solution: You can solve most of these issues by doubling up on things. Two thermometers and two HVAC units will reduce the amount of space air has to travel. This is especially effective with a two-story home.

Suffering from Inconsistent Room Temperature Problems?

If you’re in the predicament of carrying a jacket with you and having to dress in layers inside your own home, you clearly have an issue. Contact the HVAC professionals at Forrest Anderson so we can help you determine what’s at the root of the problem and how we can help you be comfortable, no matter what season it is or in what room of your home you are.

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Water Hammers & Noisy Pipes

Water hammers cause noisy pipes. And noisy pipes lead to sleepless nights. No, these aren’t something out of fiction that Thor carries to fend off bad guys. Instead, this malady can be an indication of bigger issues and a reason to take a closer look at your plumbing system.

What Are Water Hammers?

If you’re not familiar with the inner workings of your home’s plumbing, you may be scratching your head about what the heck this water hammer thing is. It’s not too big of a mystery, and it’s aptly named.

A water hammer occurs when water is on its way to its final destination and gets stopped short when an outlet is turned off abruptly, or the air chamber closes unexpectedly. At that point, the water runs into a type of dam, which causes a thunderous noise. It’s as if the water is running to get to you and a giant wall is in its way. It “hammers” on that wall and makes the noise that reverberates throughout your pipes, and your home.

The air chamber that may be causing the issue is a vertical pipe that is located in the wall near the exit point of the water (the sink, dishwasher, or washing machine, for instance). Air chambers are part of your plumbing and work as cushioning to help absorb the shock of that fast-moving water so it doesn’t slam into the dam. Most of the time, air chambers are located near automatic, or electric, shut-off valves, namely water-using appliances. They can, however, be located at every outlet; it depends on how your home was plumbed.

How to Fix the Issue

Since faulty air chambers are usually to blame for the water hammers you’re hearing, that’s where you should start when preparing for a DIY solution. You’ll need to add more air to the air chambers. Here’s how:

  1.  First, shut off the water main to your home. The goal here is to drain the pipes so you can add air.
  2. Since you’re draining water, we’re going to be using the power of gravity to make that happen. To start the process, open the faucet that’s highest in your home. You do this by removing the faucet handle, followed by the packing nut.
  3. Next, turn on the faucet that’s physically lowest. In a one-story home, this might mean the kitchen sink faucet is open, and the outside hose faucet is on.
  4. As all the water leaves the pipes, air will replace it.
  5. Keep an eye on the faucet that’s on, and once the water stops running, turn it off. Then reopen the main water valve to the house. Air will push through, followed by water, making some noise as you use the faucets throughout the house.

Other Reasons for Water Hammers

If refilling the air chambers didn’t rectify the situation, then there might be other issues at play. You could have loose mounting straps. Assess any accessible pipes (look under sinks, for example) to ensure that pipes are not moving. The strap is what holds the exposed pipe securely against the framing, and when it’s loose, you’ll hear clanking. Loose pipes could lead to that booming hammer sound as well.

Check Your Water Pressure

There’s one more reason you might be hearing water hammers: too-high water pressure. Imagine all of that rushing water trying to get through your tiny little pipes. It’s bound to cause some noise at some point. A pressure regulator might be in order if you’re dealing with water pressure that’s higher than it needs to be. The regulator will let you know how high your pressure currently is and will let you know if it’s too high. If your water pressure is currently at 80 PSI or above it is too high and needs to be regulated with a pressure regulator.

Call Your Plumber

Loud noises and walls that bump and shake can be unsettling. Before you start to think that your house is haunted, consider that you might have water hammers and noisy pipes. We encourage you to call your trusted Arizona plumbers at Forrest Anderson. We will come in and inspect your pipes to see what’s the underlying cause of all that noise. Once again, you’ll be able to rest easy.

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