MN Plumbing Repair | Repair Dripping Faucets and Leaky Toilets

Leaky Water Pipe, Faucet, Toilet Repair Minneapolis MN | MN Plumber

As a society, we have become more and more environmentally conscious and better informed about the effect our lifestyles can have on the world around us. Yet, the demand for our most valuable natural resource—drinking water—continues to grow while local supplies can be threatened by drought conditions.

Water conservation shouldn’t be something we think about only during a drought. As the competition for our most precious natural resource grows, let’s make conserving water an everyday part of life in Minnesota.

Making Plumbing Repairs Can Save A Lot Of Water

Only one percent of the earth’s water is available for human consumption and yet, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey, the United States uses 408 billion gallons a day. On the industrial level, numerous water-saving technologies have been employed to help conserve water. And while strong progress has been made, there are several simple steps that consumers can take to help preserve our water supply for future generations.

Water Costs Money-Don’t Waste It!

Whenever… a sink, faucet, toilet, or pipe is leaking it’s costing you money!

Some water leaks, such as a dripping faucet, are obvious. Other water leaks can be virtually invisible, such as a leaky toilet flapper valve or a leaky irrigation pipe in your yard.

AWWA recommends the following steps to help conserve water:

  • Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.
  • Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it.
  • When washing dishes by hand, use two basins – one for washing and one for rinsing, rather than let the water run
  • Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clean sidewalks and driveways.
  • If you have a swimming pool, get a cover. You’ll cut the loss of water by evaporation by 90%.
  • Make plumbing repairs. Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste about 2000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day.
  • Do not pour toxic chemicals (such as cleaning products, motor oil, weed killers, or paints) down the drain. Dispose of them properly.
  • Attach low flow faucet aerators to faucets.
  • Take short showers instead of baths. A full bath requires approximately 36 gallons of water. A five minute shower using a low flow restrictor will use 15-20 gallons.
  • Install low flow shower heads and toilets. Low flow toilets typically use 1/2 the water of a standard toilet.
  • Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth and/or shaving.
  • Check for leaking faucets and toilets and repair them. A leaking tap, dripping once per second, wastes six gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can waste up to 5,000 gallons per day.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator, rather than allowing the tap to run for a cold glass of water.

Cross Connection/Backflow

Cross Connection Defined

You want to be sure that the water entering your home is of the best quality. That is why it is important that you be on the alert for any situation that would degrade the water of your purity. A cross connection prevention program is one way that insures that the water you drink is always the best. Every water customer should know about cross connections. A cross connection is any pipe, valve, fixture, etc., in a drinking water plumbing system that may allow the drinking water within the system to become contaminated or questionable in quality. Cross connections can either be eliminated or protected by an air gap or mechanical backflow preventer. Even a landscaping sprinkler system can be a potential source for contamination.

The Problem

A cross connection is a direct link between a household water line and a contaminated source such as a laundry tub, toilet tank, or garden hose. The most common contaminants – pesticides, detergents, and sewage – can enter your water system through cross connections in home water lines.

Most household cross connections are created by hoses. Under certain conditions, the flow in household water lines can reverse and siphon contaminants into the water supply. For example, using a garden hose to spray garden fertilizers and pesticides is normally safe, but if the city’s water supply is interrupted while you are spraying it may cause backflow contamination in the water supply.

Read more about backflow and protecting your community’s drinking water here.

The Solutions

You can prevent back siphonage by installing inexpensive safety devices or taking a few simple precautions.

First Solution: Anti-siphon Ballcocks – Toilet tanks contain a ballcock device which allows water to flow into the tank after flushing. Older style ballcocks do not have an anti-siphon feature, allowing water from the toilet to backflow into your drinking water line. A simple anti-siphon ballcock installed with a 25mm (1″) air gap above the overflow tube will prevent contamination from tank water entering the water supply.

AS BallCockAnti Siphon BallCock

Second Solution: Hose Connection Vacuum Breakers – You can also prevent back siphonage by using an inexpensive hose connection vacuum breaker. This one-way valve allows water to flow from the tap, but not back.

Hose Connection Vacuum Breakers

Third Solution: Air Gaps – Leaving a gap of at least one inch, or two times the pipe diameter (whichever is greater), between the end of a hose and the source of contamination will eliminate the link between the two. Never leave a hose where it can siphon contaminants back into the drinking water supply, such as in a sink, bathtub, fish tank, or swimming pool.

Air Gaps

When To Call a Plumbing Expert

Hot water heaters, underground sprinkler systems, and automobile pressure washers may form cross connections which require proper control. Due to the complex nature of these systems you should contact a qualified Minnesota plumber who is certified in Cross Connection Control.

Cold Weather Water Tips

It’s that time of year when the temperatures start to dip below freezing so here are a few pointers for you.

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of water supply lines and pipes by:

  • Letting cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
  • Draining water from swimming pools and water sprinkler supply lines.
  • Removing, draining, and storing the hoses.
  • Closing inside valves supplying outdoor hose spigots. Open outside hose spigots to allow water to drain.
  • Keeping the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipes can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Insulating water pipes by carefully wrapping them with ends butted tightly and joints sealed with tape. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes.
  • Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Leaving the heat in your home set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees F, if you’re away during cold weather.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet during freezing weather and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. The following are tips to thaw a frozen pipe:

  • Keep the faucet open. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe. After flow is achieved, allow faucet to drip to prevent refreezing.
  • Apply heat to the section of frozen pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials) or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes.

Future Freeze Protection

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. A professional Minnesota Plumber can relocate pipes if the home is remodeled.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.

Plumbing Contractors are licensed to test your backflow preventer devices and ensure they are preventing cross contamination and your potable water supply is safe. Just call a licensed Minnesota plumber to come out and test for backflow. If there is a problem, they can fix it right away and they will provide you with a written cost estimate for any repairs that need to be made. If everything is working properly, they will forward your test results to the appropriate city officials to let them know you have complied with backflow inspection requirements and your system is safe.

Read an informative article on the risks of backflow cross contamination.

Prevalence of Cross-Connections in Household Plumbing Systems Download this Study

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