Benefits of a leak detector in your home

Because Phoenix has such a mild climate, it’s easy to think that water damage to your home is a remote possibility. We may not have to worry much about frozen pipes, but it’s open season for all other kinds of plumbing leaks. Placing a leak detector near each plumbing fixture will prevent the significant damage that unchecked water can do.

Water is the universal solvent and inside your home it will:

  • Crumble or rot drywall
  • Warp wood, including subfloors
  • Promote mold growth
  • Ruin furniture, carpeting, and laminate flooring
  • Destroy the adhesives that anchor ceramic tile to the floor

Fixtures and appliances like these can develop leaks at any time:

  • Water heaters
  • Washing machines
  • Sinks and dishwashers
  • Around toilets
  • Inside the air handler

Why Each Fixture/Appliance Needs a Leak Detector

  • Water heaters. Water heaters are often inside the garage or near the laundry room and most hold at least 40 gallons of water. These appliances give few signs of failure, and when a pipe or the tank springs a leak, the leak can cause severe flooding. The water could gush unrestricted from the appliance itself and the pipe that fills it.
  • Washing machines. A clothes washer can leak from the tub and the fill and drain hoses. Like the water heater, it holds substantial amounts of water that could cause extensive damage if it goes unchecked.
  • Beneath sinks and dishwashers. Much of your home’s plumbing is tucked inside the walls and hidden inside cabinets where it’s largely out of sight. When you do open cabinet doors beneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks, it might be to grab something quickly and shut the door. By the time you notice it, the damage may be severe and require a cabinet replacement or a complicated repair.
  • Toilets. Besides leaking between the tank and the bowl, a toilet can leak at its base, creating a slow, damaging leak that can contaminate the subfloor and ceiling beneath it.
  • Air conditioning systems. The air handler may not seem like a logical place to have a leak detector, but it could save you a good deal of discomfort and money if you place one nearby. When the air conditioner or heat pump runs, extremely cold refrigerant flows through an evaporator coil inside the air handler.If this coil is excessively dirty, the air filter clogged, or the system is low on refrigerant, the coil can freeze over. When it melts, the water could overwhelm the drain pan and flood the areas around the air handler.There’s always the chance that the drain line from the air handler to the outdoors will clog, which will cause the condensed water to flood the drain pan that sits just below the evaporator coil.

How Leak Detectors Work

A leak detector senses the presence of water and will sound an alarm. Many incorporate humidity sensors, as well. Some use plugs, while others use long-lasting batteries. High-tech models can send Wi-Fi alerts to your phone or computer so that you take action immediately regardless of where you are. They’re a practical device to have if you:

  • Are away from home during the day.
  • Have a two-story home with plumbing fixtures on the second floor.
  • Have an indoor air handler for the A/C or heat pump.
  • Go on vacations and need to leave the water on.
  • Have a winter home in the Phoenix area.

Getting Help

Forrest Anderson Plumbing and Air Conditioning can help you choose and install the best leak detector to use inside your home to prevent costly water damage. We’ve provided trusted services for Phoenix homeowners for nearly 70 years.

Top 5 gifts in home automation

Home automation has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Whether you want to organize your home, order something, or adjust the temperature in your home, you can do all of it with your voice or even with pre-programming. Making your life easier is as simple as getting the right kind of home automation, and this technology makes great gifts for the people you care the most about.

Smart Lights

Remembering to turn the lights on and off can be a chore, especially when it is difficult to get just the right light level. Several companies now make smart lights that are sometimes as simple as a few bulbs and a device that works with Bluetooth or the Internet. You can use these lights to make your home a little dimmer when your eyes are getting tired. Or to make your home brighter when you want to focus on something. You could even to turn them on and off to help you navigate.

There are apps available that let you turn on the lights to make it look like you are home for added security, too. These can be manual or activated from your phone anywhere in the world. You can also pre-program them to go on and off based on the time of day or the light levels outside.

Smart Power

For years, there have been devices that you plug into the wall and can then plug appliances into that let you set their on and off times.

Nowadays, there are some amazing advancements in this type of home automation because you can activate them from your phone.

Using apps, these smart power stations let you turn on a lamp, a sound system, your TV, or anything else you want to plug in. This can make it look like you are home, entertain your pets, or make your home more inviting.

Voice and Accomplishing Everything

There was a time when everything was on a dial, a switch, a button, or a knob. While this made life far more convenient than having to light oil lamps and stack wood in a fireplace, the modern world is even better. These days, there are a host of different home automation systems that allow you to activate virtually anything in your home.

Whether you want to look up something, place an order, make calls, send texts, do searches for news stories and recipes, or even get some extra poinsettias delivered to your home, you can by simply talking to the system. You can also combine this voice command with other smart home devices for an almost sci-fi level of control over your home.

Early Warning System

Do you ever wonder if the car you just heard means someone is coming to the door? Now there are sensors that can trigger cameras to let you know if it is the pizza guy, your in-laws, or an intruder. What you do with that information is up to you.

Warming and Cooling

Your heat and AC are easy to adjust — when you are home. Interestingly enough, there are now apps that work on your thermostat, so you can adjust the temperature on your way home or if you have to stay away late.

Getting Help With Home Automation

Do you want help with your heating and cooling being automated, but are unsure where to start?

Contact Forrest Anderson today and we’ll recommend the best options for your home and your needs. There are plenty of ways home automation can make you and your family’s lives much better.

Ways to clean the garbage disposal at home

Having a garbage disposal is very convenient in the kitchen, that is until there’s a problem with it. Just like other appliances in your home, it does require a little attention now and then. It is important to clean the garbage disposal in your kitchen regularly to keep it odor free and working properly. Even with water running through your disposal whenever you use your sink, it is not enough to wash away the residue that might be left from your kitchen waste. This residue can build up and breed mold and bacteria. It can also clog up your drain.

It isn’t difficult to clean your garbage disposal once you know what to do. And it also doesn’t require any special or expensive cleaners. Simply use items you probably already have in your kitchen or pantry. The most difficult part… remembering to do it on a regular basis before odors or other problems start. Here are some easy ways to clean the garbage disposal in your home.

Remember Safety First!

When you’re ready to clean the garbage disposal, you must turn off its power to prevent it from starting up unexpectedly while you are working on it. Most disposals plug into an electrical outlet under the sink. Once you have located the plug, unplug it. If you cannot find a plug, simply cut the power off from your home’s electrical panel. Turn on the garbage disposal to confirm that the power is off.

Never stick your hand down into the garbage disposal chamber. Shine a flashlight down your drain to check for any items that might be lodged in crevices around the disposal’s impellers or wrapped around them. Remove any debris with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Cleaning the Blades

Next, you will want to clean the garbage disposal’s blades. Place two cups of ice in your drain, sprinkle a cup of rock salt or coarse sea salt over the ice and turn on your cold water. Restore power to your garbage disposal and turn it on and allow it to run until the sound of it grinding ice stops.  This mixture of ice and salt provides just enough abrasiveness to remove debris from the disposal’s blades.

Deodorizing and Cleaning the Disposal Chamber

Pour half a cup of baking soda down your garbage disposal. Slowly pour half a cup of vinegar into the drain. Place your sink’s stopper in the drain to prevent the fizzing baking soda from coming up into your sink. When the fizzing stops, remove the stopper, run the hot water and turn the disposal on. If you have a double sink, perform these cleaning steps on both sides at the same time for the best results.

Grinding lemon, lime, or orange peels with a few ice cubes in your disposal is an easy way to quickly freshen it up. The oil from the peels as they grind makes a pleasant smell in your kitchen and acts as a natural cleaner. A good habit to start is to always dispose of your citrus peels this way to keep your drain fresh in-between cleanings.

If you’ve tried everything and just can’t get rid of an odor or your garbage disposal has seen better days, it’s time to contact Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning for service or to replace your garbage disposal.

How to fix garbage disposal noise

The last sound you want to hear when you flip the garbage disposal switch is a sound that makes fingernails on a chalkboard sound good. As annoying as nails on a chalkboard can be, horrible sounds coming from your garbage disposal may end up costing you money.  Luckily, there are only a few things that might cause an annoying garbage disposal noise. As such, let us look at what might be the mechanical reason for the sound, and discover remedies for fixing the problem yourself.

Ways to Fix Garbage Disposal Noise

As mentioned, there are only so many reasons for garbage disposal noise. As such, you only have a few available options to fix. There are normal operating sounds that you might expect to come out of your disposal. Here’s a list of garbage disposal noise that might indicate a problem.

  • Rattling
  • Humming
  • Whirling
  • Squealing

These sounds may suggest a range of different problems.

Rattling and Clanking Noises

That clanking, grinding, or rattling noise suggests that something has gone down your drain that shouldn’t.  Typically, an errant spoon is the culprit. Before you jump to any conclusions you will want to first disconnect power to your garbage disposal unit. Make sure to unplug it to avoid it turning on if someone bumps the switch. The plug is likely underneath your kitchen sink. Failing that, you should cut the power at the fuse box.

Once you know it is safe, take a look in to find what might be rattling about.  Consider locating the problem with the help of a flashlight before putting your hand anywhere near the blades.  Make sure that the blockage is not caused by broken glass that might cut you as you attempt to get it out.  Gently wiggle the piece out without bending the disposal’s inner workings and blades. After removing it, you can restore power and see if it solves the problem.

Humming and Whirling Sounds

A humming or whirling sound suggests that you still have power going to the unit, but the item stuck inside is wedged so tight the unit can no longer move.  In the same way that you should immediately shut off the unit when you hear a loud garbage disposal noise, shut it off as soon as you notice that the unit is not moving.

If you can’t remove the obstruction with your fingers, you may have to use a garbage disposal key to loosen the flywheel. If you look underneath the bottom of the disposal, you’ll see the place to insert the key.  Turn the key clockwise until you feel the flywheel or impeller release.  Once dislodged, the flywheel should spin freely. If you can’t get the disposal to spin freely it may be time to replace your garbage disposal.

Call a Professional for Safety and Efficiency

Should doing this yourself not be your thing, you should call Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning immediately.  Repairing a garbage disposal can prove a dangerous project because of the quickly spinning blades. If you have the slightest hesitation you should reach out to our expert team here at Forrest Anderson.

Forrest Anderson’s technicians are experts in the identification, diagnostics, and repair of kitchen plumbing. Let us identify and fix that weird garbage disposal noise for you.