August, 2020 Plumbing Services Newsletter

"I sure appreciated how quick and cost effectively you guys took care of my leaking copper pipes under the house this past summer. Highly recommend you to anyone I know who needs plumbing service!"

Andy Krivy, owner of Infinity Signs, Boise, Idaho


Smelly Water

What to do if your water in Boise smells bad

If you’ve ever had your water smell funny you’ve probably been concerned. What causes water to smell strange? Is it still safe to drink? Do I need to call a plumber? All of these are excellent questions which All Star Plumbing and Restoration can help answer.

The most common odor is the smell of sulfur, or rotten eggs. While certainly unpleasant, the water is actually still perfectly safe to drink. In most cases this particular small is originating from your water heater. The anaerobic bacteria in the water can react with the aluminum and magnesium anodes resulting in the rotten egg smell. The best way to confirm that this is your problem is by running only the hot water for a bit and then only the cold. If you notice the smell with just the hot water, then you’ve found your source.

If your water smells more like sewage you may have a build-up of hydrogen sulfide. While this can be toxic, most people smell it well before it reaches that level. This gas is caused by bacterial growth. If the bacteria are growing in your drain from things like soap or food, the gas will rise up when the water is turned on. This will make it appear that the water smells, when in fact it’s the drain or pipes. If you notice it just from one particular drain, try thoroughly cleaning the drain and top of the pipe. If you notice the smell from several sources, it could be the bacteria has built-up in the hot water tank. The best option here is to turn up the temperature on the hot water tank for 24 hours and run the hot water throughout your home several times to clean out the pipes. Use caution not to burn yourself with the increased water temperature. In most situations this water is still safe to drink, but if you’re unsure your local water testing lab can confirm for you that is safe to drink.

Maybe your water smells like bleach. This is generally caused by too much chlorine in your water. Chlorine is added to the water because of its ability to kill bacteria, parasites and viruses. It can be added up to 4 mg/L and your nose can smell it at only 1 mg/L. So if your home happens to be near the water source, or if additional chlorine is added along the route because of an increased distance from the source, it’s possible that you’re on the higher end of the spectrum. Again the water is still safe to drink.

In all of these situations a visit from the plumber is generally not needed. Try the water treatment methods suggested above first and if you’re unable to eliminate the smell then reach out to All Star Plumbing and Restoration for assistance.



Summer Water Needs

Saving on summer home water usage

Was your water bill higher than usual last month? For most homeowners summer is the season of the highest water consumption. Here are a few common summer water usage areas, and information on how much water they typically consume. This information can be helpful if you’d like to do some simple planning and spread some of these throughout the rest of the year.

Pressure Washing – there is some variance in the amount of water used when pressure washing depending on the efficiency of your particular unit. In general, the higher the pressure it operates at, the less water will be required. The national average is around 8 gallons of water per minute for pressure washers though. It takes the average homeowner about 3 hours to wash their house, meaning 1,440 gallons of water. Unlike watering your lawn though, pressure washing is something that can easily be moved to the Fall rather than in the summer.

Swimming Pools – of course filling a swimming pool, hot tub or koi pond can use some serious water. Even a small pond will take 70 gallons of water to fill. The average sized hot tub needs 400 gallons of water to fill it up, while a swimming pool can take 3-8,000 gallons to fill. Filling a swimming pool pretty much has to be done at the beginning of the summer, but draining and refilling the hot tub can be done other times throughout the year.

Sprinkler System – running your home’s sprinkler system for an hour will cost you about 1,020 gallons of water. If you run it 3 times a week that can really add up. It’s critically important to check for leaking of faulty heads or lines to ensure minimal water waste. Run the sprinkler early in the morning for best results. Aim for a total of about 1” of water per week divided into 2 or 3 sessions. To make sure you’re on track place a few small containers throughout your yard. Allow them to accumulate water for the week and measure.

Cooling your kids off with water balloons or a trip down the slip and slide can’t be done in December, but there are definitely other water usage areas that can be shifted around throughout the year. Being cognizant of these items can both spread your water bill out, and help you be a good neighbor during times of drought. Everyone knows that water shortages are a serious problem that can impact us all. If everyone does their part, we can help ensure enough water for everyone.



Does your home have mold?

The most recent estimates, according to a Harvard study, are that about 70% of homes in America have some amount of mold behind the walls. Resist the urge to start cutting holes in your drywall looking for mold though. In many cases it can’t be located even during a home inspection. Once mold shows itself though, it’s time to address it.

When you purchase a new home the inspector may note signs of water damage and the potential presence of mold. While this may not give you anything you can immediately act on, it does give you an area of the home to pay attention to in the coming years. Once mold appears, it can spread quickly and will eat away at your building materials and can cause incredible damage so don’t delay in dealing with it.

If you get lucky and notice the growth of mold right away, you may be able to safely address it yourself. You can wipe surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, or soap and water, being sure to completely dry the area afterwards. This is fairly easy to do on hard surfaces but can be more challenging for porous areas such as drywall. If you’ve got a more serious mold problem, it’s best to bring in a professional. Dealing with mold can be dangerous, and if not handled with caution, can cause serious health problems.

If you’re unsure whether you have a mold problem, bring in a professional inspector. Do not try to use a home testing kit. They are not always accurate. They frequently detect mold but often it’s because there are usually spores flying through the air. This is not statistically significant enough to warrant any kind of treatment. In addition, a professional inspector can determine the baseline levels in your home, which will give you results to compare with other areas of the home.

All Star Plumbing and Restoration can definitely help if you have a mold problem. Our team can thoroughly clean walls, remove carpet or damaged drywall if necessary, and assist with any needed air filtration. Mold is not something to mess around with. Heightened levels can lead to eye irritation, coughing, skin irritation, nasal stuffiness and throat discomfort. People who already suffer from health problems such as allergies or asthma can be more acutely bothered by mold. If you suspect mold in your home get it inspected right away and begin the process of mitigation.


Simple Summer Sangria

As summer winds down you’ve got one big holiday left, Labor Day. What better way to relax this holiday weekend than with a glass of tasty sangria? They make it look so amazing on the menu at your local restaurant, which may cause you to be intimidated out of attempting it yourself, but don’t be. Try this recipe for a fantastic way to make simple, but incredibly delicious, sangria at home this year.
Apples/Oranges/Black Cherries
Orange Juice
Red Wine

Add your fruit selections and sugar to a large pitcher and stir with a wooden spoon. Use the spoon to slightly mash the fruit to release the juices into the drink. Add orange juice and brandy and then stir again. Finally add the red wine and stir again. Taste your sangria and adjust the flavor as needed by adding more of any above listed item. Once you’ve got the perfect flavor add ice to chill and serve.

Past Plumbing Newsletters

July, 2020

June, 2020

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December, 2019

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