With a little detective work, you can find out why your water looks rusty.
One likely problem: Your public water supply may have corroded pipes, which produce the ionized rust.
Do your neighbors have the same problem? If so, this is a job for the water company to fix.
If not, the problem is within your system.
Time for some quick tests:
Run various faucets and see if they all produce discolored water.
If only the hot water is rusty, then the problem may be in your water heater.
If rust comes only from the cold water faucet, your system probably has a corroding pipe.
What can you do?
You won’t get sick if you drink the water (the only exception is if you suffer from a rare disorder called hemochromatosis).
Still, you want the problem fixed as soon as possible. Rusty water doesn’t just look bad; it can stain white clothes and sinks and indicate more serious problems in your system.
Call Freedom Heating and Cooling at (205) 444-4444 and our plumbing division will guide you through your options. We’re a locally owned company that provides prompt, efficient service and stands behind our work.
Technological advances make heat pumps more and more attractive to homeowners.
They’re quieter than their predecessors and they are becoming more and more efficient, increasing comfort and reducing utility bills.
Achrnews.com recently posted some of the latest progress being made by heat pumps:
York’s Affinity Heat Pumps can adjust capacity and airflow to precisely match changing comfort needs for maximum comfort and minimized power consumption. Its monitoring system issues a frowning face if the system is having a problem and a smiling face if it’s working well.
Nortek Global HVAC’s heat pump units have improved performance thanks to all-aluminum coil technology, which reduces the chance of leaks.
Bosch’s Inverter Ducted Split Air Source Heat Pump measures a mere 29-by-29 inches in size, making it ideal for homes where space is limited.
Ecoers ESI ULTRA SERIES inverter unitary systems use 4G-cellular technology to save contractors time and fuel when troubleshooting – and reduce maintenance and repair costs for customers.
Trane’s XV19 provides simple setup and configuration for contractors also diagnose issues remotely. Trane has a variable-speed heat pump that can run from 30-50 percent of its rated capacity, which helps increase efficiency and lower utility costs.
Don’t get caught in the cold or the heat. Freedom Heating and Cooling, a family-owned business, will quickly and efficiently solve your problems and cheerfully help you with any heating, ventilation or air-conditioning issue.
Don’t delay action if your sewer drain is clogged. Otherwise, the clog can lead to health problems for you and your family.
North Alabama has a variety of sewer systems, but there’s a quick way to learn if your problem is coming from the utility that handles your sewage:
Check with neighbors and see if they have the same dilemma. If so, the utility needs to be notified as soon as possible.
If you’re the only one with the problem, however, call Freedom for our emergency plumbing services, which will respond quickly.
Our number is (205) 444-4444.
What a clog can do
A sewer clog keeps the wastewater from having any place to go. Instead of the wastewater leaving your system, the clog will send it back into your home’s plumbing system!
Do not use your plumbing until the clog is removed. Using the plumbing will only aggravate the problem and make it spread to other plumbing fixtures.
How to tell if it’s a clog?
One or more of your plumbing fixtures will back up when the line is clogged. A toilet is often the first trouble spot. It may not flush properly or it may gurgle and make other noises when you run water in a sink, washing machine or bathtub.
Wastewater can also enter showers and tubs, even washing machines, definitely a problem you want solved as soon as possible.
The fixtures most likely to clog are on the first floor of a house because they’re closer to the sewer line.
At Freedom we have the tools and the experience to deal with clogs and all sorts of plumbing problems. As a residential plumbing company, we handle plumbing repairs, remodeling and appliance replacements, including faucets, water heaters, drain cleaning and sewer line replacements. Call us at (205) 444-4444.
New Tech Can Improve Your New & Old Birmingham Home
Plumbing, like every other field, is constantly evolving to meet customers’ demand and make new technology that adds to the quality of life for homeowners.
Environmental concerns are just one area where plumbing has adapted to modern times.
A new dishwasher can save you hundreds of gallons per year. How? It recycles rinse water from the wash cycle. Reviewed.com says a smart dishwasher could save 700 gallons of water each year for a family that washes dishes four times a week.
And new technology lets you automatically shut off your sprinkler system based on weather reports for the Birmingham area. Pretty nice, huh, especially since the price of water is rising?
That’s not all, as Plumbing Perspective, a trade publication, points out.
Homeowners can take advantage of “greywater,” the same process that golf courses, industries and governments use to maximize the use of water. A plumber today can modify a home for greywater, defined as the relatively clean wastewater from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances. Greywater is excellent for flushing toilets, watering lawns and other tasks that don’t require potable water. Installing a system is more than a do-it-yourself project, but it pays off both environmentally and economically.
Technology helps create a healthier home, too.
Home bathrooms can now take advantage of the same advances that have added touch-free faucets and touch-free toilets. These steps drastically reduce human contact with contaminants and germs.
If you’ve every been bothered by a hard-to-find leak, you can now consider “brain pipes.” These systems, which keep constant track of your water usage, can detect a leak and send you a notice that tells you where the leak is originating.
If you’re in the market for toilets and tubs, hardware retailing.com reports that LED lights are becoming more common. “Examples of products incorporating LED technology include lights in toilet bowls, which illuminate the commode for nighttime use. Also new on the scene are LED light rings in bathroom sinks that glow red or blue to indicate water temperature.”
Call Freedom Plumbing at (205) 444-4444 to find out more about how these new technologies can help you save money and a healthier home.
Ask a plumber which pipe is best and chances are he will answer: “It depends.”
That’s true. The best pipe for your home’s plumbing will depend on its use, the homeowner’s budget and other factors.
Here’s a basic primer on plumbing pipes common in the Birmingham, AL area:
Brass plumbing pipes, especially the red brass variety, are longlasting and excellent for resisting rust.
Cast iron plumbing pipes are heavier than other pipes. They normally are used underground as the main pipe for water distribution, drainage and sewage.
Copper pipes are popular because they are reliable and long-lived, in addition to resisting corrosion. But make sure your plumber is adept at soldering, a necessary skill when installing copper pipes.
Galvanized pipes fell out of favor many years ago because they are vulnerable to rust. However, they can be used for “non-potable” water — water that is not of drinking quality but still is useful for other purposes.
Pex pipes are growing in popularity because they are so flexible and quick to install, although they may cost more than some other pipes. They are leak-proof but can’t be used outdoors because the sun can damage them. (Pex stands for cross-linked polyethylene).
PVC pipes offer a variety of thicknesses and configuration and they can be used for cold and hot potable water and for sewage.
Stainless steel pipes are great at resisting corrosion and people like their looks, but they can be costly.
Got questions about plumbing? Call us at Freedom, (205) 444-4444 and we can help you with anything from leaks and installations to drainage problems and any other plumbing-related issue.
A Bathroom Fan Can Help Your Entire Home’s Indoor Air Quality
Too many homeowners underrate the value of the trusty bathroom fan. It may be small but it can do a lot of good for your home’s indoor air quality so don’t be afraid to run it often and long.
A fan is great for removing moisture, bacteria and odors that congregate in bathrooms and often migrate to the rest of a home. Along with eliminating odors and bacteria, a bathroom fan reduces humidity, which can produce mold, dust and allergens. It’s especially valuable in bathrooms that lack windows.
A bathroom fan won’t raise your electric bill by much; its motor is small, more incentive to run it for 20-30 minutes at a time, especially after taking a shower or bath.
You also can get bathroom fans with timers if you don’t want to keep wondering if you turned them on or off.
Is your bathroom fan not doing its job? Maybe it’s not vented properly. Call us at (205) 444-4444 and we will be glad to fix your problem.
Looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom? You’re not alone.
A Houzz & Home survey found that kitchens are the top target for homeowners remodeling – 31 percent. Guest bathrooms were second – 27 percent – and master bathrooms were third, at 24 percent. And the renovations make sense. Most of those surveyed felt the renovations will not only improve their quality of life but also will add to the home’s resale value.
“Specifically, four in five renovating homeowners report that kitchens and master bathroom upgrades increased the value of their home, above and beyond any other renovation project,” the report said.
If you’re remodeling or thinking about it, please put Freedom on your construction team for these plumbing services. Our family-owned business is expert in plumbing, air condition, heating and indoor air quality. Our expertise now can save you from expensive headaches later. Call us at (205) 444-4444.
Is soap scum clogging your drain? Maybe you want to consider liquid soap, especially if you have “hard” water.
A New York Times science writer, C. Claiborne Ray, explains:
Chemicals can create “hard” water, which may combine with bar soap to clog the drain. Liquid soap, which is a detergent, is less likely to create this clogging than bar soap, which is created by a process called saponification involving water, lye and oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil).
“Many shower gels are not technically soap but rather detergents, usually made from a petroleum base rather than animal or vegetable fats. They tend not to form drain-clogging scum,” he writes.
“To dissolve soap scum, plain vinegar, a mild acid and hot water are often sufficient — there’s rarely need for stronger drain cleaners.”
There are many pros and cons in the debate over liquid soap versus bar soap. They include financial, environmental and personal factors.
For a complete rundown, see https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/products/bar-soap-liquid-soap.htm
Improve air in your home office & you work smarter.
Alabama politics may not be the only thing that’s muddying your brain. A new study shows that poor indoor air quality hurts the way people make decisions.
The study examined air quality’s impact on workers in offices, but its findings also could apply to people who work from home, a common trend in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and other North Alabama communities.
The study, reported in Harvard Business Review, followed up on numerous in-depth reports documenting that poor air quality in offices –- especially the lack of fresh, clean air –- causes absenteeism and health problems such as headaches, irritated eyes and coughing.
“Given these studies tying air quality to health, we wanted to see whether improved ventilation affects cognitive function, an indicator of worker productivity,” wrote Joseph G. Allen, a Harvard professor and the leader of the study.
“Specifically, does better air influence a worker’s ability to process information, make strategic decisions, and respond to crises?”
The answer is yes.
“We found that breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among our participants. We saw higher test scores across nine cognitive function domains when workers were exposed to increased ventilation rates, lower levels of chemicals, and lower carbon dioxide,” Allen wrote.
The tests are especially important to “knowledge workers,” architects, lawyers and other professionals.
He said the biggest improvements were in categories that tested “how workers used information to make strategic decisions and how they plan, stay prepared, and strategize during crises.”
Allen wrote that the costs of improving air quality would be minor compared to the benefits –- increased productivity, efficiency and health.
To learn more about how you can improve the quality of air in your home and/or your home office, call Freedom Heating and Cooling at (205) 444-4444. Our trained staff will help you improve the indoor air quality and make life better for you and your family.
Here’s something to consider if you’re upgrading your home and planning for your children and grandchildren to enjoy it in the not-too-distant future.
Alabamians will be competing in this global economy for cool air as warming temperatures and the growing middle class in huge countries like China and India also push for more air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Growth Elsewhere Can Affect Americans
“Cool air will be more in demand than heating by the middle of this century because of global warming and a growing middle class,” The Times of London said.
It cited a University of Birmingham (England) study that energy-usage for refrigerators, freezers and air-conditioning units will increase by 90 per cent between now and 2050.
The extra demand can affect the price and supply of refrigerants and air-condition and refrigeration systems as people in other countries try to achieve the same living conditions that Americans enjoy now.
Smart Alabama residents can protect themselves against this competition by building or upgrading homes now with smart technology and energy-efficient air-conditioning, ventilation and heating systems.