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05 Aug 2014 

Adapting Challenges with Hose Adaptors

It’s nice to have so many different faucets located throughout the home so that water is easily accessible from different rooms.  Not only are there faucets on the inside of the house, but there are also faucets on the exterior of the house that come in handy too.  When I need to wash the our car, for example, I can just connect a hose to the outdoor faucet, turn the water on and spray the car down to rinse off dirt and then soap.  My wife uses the hose sometimes to water her flowers.  The hose is also handy to spray off the driveway and sidewalk if they get covered in dirt or mud from projects that we are doing around the yard.  Having an outdoor faucet is a great convenience-if it is working properly!  Like all other faucets, sometimes the yard faucet can have problems of its own.

We had a problem with one of our yard faucets once but we didn’t really have the time to get it fixed and we didn’t want to hire a plumber to do it.  My wife and I both knew I would fix it when I got the time, but meanwhile we would need a temporary fix.  I had seen different types of faucet adaptors before and I knew just what we needed.  I went to a plumbing supply store and asked for an adaptor that would go from my utility sink faucet to a hose thread.  We had a utility faucet in our garage and so this would be a good solution until I could fix the outdoor faucet in our front yard.  I purchased the part, which was fairly inexpensive and took it home.  After removing the aerator from the faucet we had installed in the garage, I screwed on the adaptor and made sure the water flowed without leaking.



After I knew the adaptor was on and leak-free, I hooked up the garden hose and turned it on.  There was a slight leak where the hose hooked onto the adaptor, but it wasn’t worse than it leaked when hooked up to the outdoor faucet.  Though it wasn’t the ideal set-up, it served its purpose.  The one advantage of it all was that we could control the temperature of the water.  This was nice when I would wash the car and when our grandchildren wanted to run through the sprinkler.  The water was never too hot or too cold, but just right.  We used this “system” until I got a little more time on my hands and could get the right parts and tools to fix our outdoor faucet.  It wasn’t easy, but I was able to get the job done.  There are a lot of other adaptors on the market as well that can be hooked up to your indoor faucets to help you with outdoor and other projects, not to mention to replacement parts for different faucets around the home.  If you need an adaptor or replacement part, visit:


WSmith · 91 views · Leave a comment
27 Jun 2014 

Getting Organized for Camping

            There are many activities that we, as a family, like to do together.  One of our favorite things to do is to go camping.  There’s just something about the great outdoors, the campfire, and being away from technology that brings a family closer together.  We have made some good memories and taught our children some important skills about being out in the wild.  As much fun as camping can be, there’s nothing worse than forgetting something that is crucial to the trip (such as a sleeping bag, cooking/other utensils, etc.).   There have been times when we forgot some of these things and we were able to improvise, but after a few times of this happening, we decided to do something about it.

 

           We got all of our camping gear out and organized it into different piles.  One of the main things that we would forget were the cooking utensils so we made a box out of some wood scraps to organize them and put it with the camp stove so they wouldn’t be left behind.  We labeled all the tools in the garage that came in handy while camping, knowing that they were also important for yard work as well.  My wife also made a checklist on the computer so we could print it out each time we went camping and so she could add other things to the list for specific camping trips.  We have been on many camping trips since we got all organized and we haven’t forgotten anything since!


WSmith · 13 views · Leave a comment
19 May 2014 

Helping Pipes Stay Warm During the Winter


There were many things that we had to adjust to
when we moved to the west.  After
figuring things out for the summer months, we thought it would be smooth
sailing for the winter months; turns out we were wrong.  It was our first winter since we had moved
and it just so happened that it was one of the coldest winters that the city
had in many years.  Since it hadn’t been
that cold in the past, there wasn’t anything in place with the plumbing to
prevent the pipes from being frozen. 



One morning I got up to get ready for work and
take a shower and the water wouldn’t turn on! 
I checked the other faucets in the bathroom to see if they were working
and none of them were turning on.  Once I
had determined that the water wasn’t working at all in the home, I went to the
basement to see if I could figure anything out. 
I found one of the main lines and figured out that it was frozen solid.  Back then we had to get some space heaters and
set them up to thaw out the pipes.  After
a day we started to get a trickle of water and thankfully none of the pipes
were cracked from being frozen.



From that winter, we learned our lesson.  We found out that there are ways of
preventing frozen pipes by a simple method. 
At the local supply house, we were told about pipe insulation.  There are different types of insulation, made
from different materials.  The first kind
that we bought was a fiberglass insulation that came in 25 foot rolls and was
wrapped diagonally around the exposed pipes, then taped to hold it in place.  It worked well for many years, but it started
to get old and some parts were falling off of the pipe.



 



Self-Stick Foam Insulation



We went to the supply house again and asked what other
options were available.  The worker
showed us two different kinds of insulation; foam and rubber.  Each came in 6 foot lengths and are able to
slide right over the pipe.  The inside of
the insulation comes in different diameters so it can fit copper tube size
(CTS) pipe or iron pipe size (IPS).  Some
tubing is solid and needs to be slid on the pipe as it is being installed.  Other pipe has slits in it so that it can be
cut open with a razor knife and then slid onto existing pipe in the home.  This could create a problem as the pipe
insulation may slip off.  For this
reason, there is foam insulation with “self stick” technology.  There is an adhesive on the pipe that will
help it stick together once a protective plastic sheet is removed from it.  This makes it possible to install the insulation
on existing pipe and then having the ability to seal it in place, keeping the
pipes warm.  To see some comparisons of
different products, visit plumbersstock.com 


WSmith · 61 views · Leave a comment
29 Mar 2014 

Less is More



            As
the population grows and we are using more resources, it seems that there has
been a huge “green” movement going on. 
People are trying to produce less waste, recycle more, and use different
types appliances that save energy or conserve water.  We have purchased some new appliances and my
wife insisted on getting some that were more efficient to save us money and
help conserve energy as a whole.  I
really don’t mind, just as long as they get the job done.  One particular innovation that has caught my
interest is the tankless water heater.



            As
far back as I can remember, the water heaters we had in all of our homes had
some sort of tank that would store the heated water.  It is what we have now, but from what I have
learned and read, I think I may want to get a tankless water heater in the
future.  In a normal water heater, the
water sits in the tank and needs to be heated every time it falls beneath a
certain temperature.  With a tankless
water heater, the water is heated as it passes through the pipes in the unit,
eliminating the use for a storage tank.



            There
have been times when our children have been home for the holidays and too many
people needed to take showers.  By the
time some of the last people are getting around to take their showers, the hot
water has run out.  With a tankless water
heater, this problem is eliminated!  Since
the cold water is heated as it passes through the unit, hot water is always
available so that no one will have to take a cold shower.  If a dishwasher and a clothes washer are
running at the same time that someone is in the shower, however, the water may
not be heated as quickly as it needs to be.






            The
initial cost of a tankless water heater is much more than a regular water
heater, but they last around 5-10 years longer! 
Since there isn’t water sitting in the tank, there isn’t as much of an
opportunity for mineral build up in the unit as can be found in the tank of a
regular water heater.  This build up in a
regular water heater can cause corrosion which will in turn cause the tank to
leak.



            Another
benefit of the tankless water heater is the fact that if there happens to be a
leak, there won’t be 40 or 50 gallons of water spread throughout the area where
the water heater is stored.  We had a
water heater that did that once and it was a very frustrating situation.  We had to lift up carpet so that it could dry
and some of our storage boxes (which were cardboard) were ruined along with
some of their contents.  Since a tankless
water heater doesn’t have to keep 40-50 gallons of water heated at all times,
it requires less energy to operate and helps the owner of it to contribute to
the “green” movement.



WSmith · 75 views · Leave a comment
14 Mar 2014 

Commercial vs. Residential



When it comes to products in
plumbing and other related fields, there are parts designed for residential
applications and other parts designed for commercial applications.  I used to think that it was an unnecessary
thing to do, until I really stopped to think about it.  For example, think about a bathroom in
someone’s home, as compared to a public bathroom in a restaurant or a
mall.  In the home you are more likely to
find only one toilet per bathroom, most faucets in them are lever type faucets
that you can control the flow and temperature of the water, and most have a
bathtub, shower, or a combination of the two.



Then compare that to a
bathroom in a mall.  When you walk into
to the Men’s bathroom, for example, you will usually see two or more urinals,
and then a lot more toilets, all separated by stalls.  There are usually two or more sinks with
automatic faucets installed on them.  The
faucets will only turn on if you place your hands under them.  Many of the toilets also have an automatic
flushing system.  When dealing with a
public bathroom, it makes sense to make almost everything automated.  It helps decrease waste of water, paper
towels, and soap.  It also eliminates
human waste products from sitting in the urinal or other toilet for extended
periods of time.




It would be rare to find a
urinal in a residential bathroom or a toilet that has an automatic flushing
system installed.  I personally do not
like automatic faucets and wouldn’t want one installed in my bathroom.  They seem to take a while longer to turn on
than a regular faucet and once it starts working, the pressure is so great
sometimes that the water sprays everywhere. 
Not to mention the fact that if you don’t have your hands in the right
place, the water will shut off before you are done washing off the soap.  There have been times, though, when our
grandkids have left the faucet running, that I wish we had an automatic
faucet.  I would think this is the reason
that commercial establishments have these types of faucets.



Other commercial products are
useful and needed in places like restaurants that aren’t really necessary in someone’s
home.  When working in a kitchen at a
restaurant, for example, one of the many duties is being a dishwasher.  At the busy times and on the busy days,
dishwashers have to deal with large amounts of dishes.  These dishes need to be rinsed somewhere before
they actually go through the dishwasher. 
There also needs to be a place where the dirty dishes can be set down so
that they are separate from the clean dishes. 
Big commercial stainless sinks were designed for the purpose and do not
look out of place in a restaurant kitchen. 
If you had one inside of a residential kitchen, however, it would look a
little strange.  It would give the kitchen
a restaurant feel, instead of the peaceful, relaxing feel that a normal kitchen
would give.



            So
even though it may not seem necessary to have different types of products for
these two different applications, when you really think about it, you can see
the need for the separation.



WSmith · 51 views · Leave a comment
26 Feb 2014 

American Standard Kitchen Sinks



My wife and I love to cook together and it’s been
something that we’ve done throughout our marriage.  Our kitchen has a nice set up because we have
our regular two bowl kitchen sink on the main counter and then in an island in
the middle, we have a one bowl kitchen sink. 
This is a nice set up to have because when I am doing dishes in the main
sink, my wife can wash off food or wash her hands at the same time, without us
getting into each other’s ways.  It also
gives us an area where we can both work when we are preparing food.  My wife is much better and faster at cooking
than I am, so when I’m getting something ready, she can get two or three other
components of the meal ready.












Having two separate kitchen sinks has also been nice
for holidays.  At Thanksgiving, for
example, there is always a lot of food and different types of food being made
during the day.  I usually help by making
the mashed potatoes.  I can clean them
off and get them peeled and I won’t be in the way of other family members as
they are preparing other food or trying to get some dishes out of the way by
washing them.  This also helps when our daughter-in-laws
are over for dinner and have extra things that they need to use the sink for.  The sink in the island is also a good hand
washing station for us before meals, since the bathrooms are a little further
down the hall from the kitchen.



In our old home we were restricted to only one
kitchen sink and it sometimes caused problems. 
It was hard for one of us to get some pre-cleanup done while the other
person was trying to prepare food and needed the sink for cleaning food or
washing their hands off.  Not to mention
that the sink was inexpensive and had problems. 
It cracked in one small part of the sink and started to link and every time
I filled up a large pot with water to soak, it seemed like the sink was going
to snap in half.  The sink was also a
drop-in type sink, which made it a little harder to wipe off the counters and
the lip provided an area for mold to grow.



The sinks in our current home are American
Standard kitchen sinks.  They seem to be
a lot more durable and have lasted many years without leaks or other
problems.  I don’t worry when there are
piles of dishes inside of the main sink or when I have a large pan soaking
before it is washed.  Both sinks are
undermount type sinks which means that the counters are easy to wipe off and we
don’t worry anymore about mold growing around them.  Having these sinks has made our time spent in
the kitchen more enjoyable and it helps us to keep things organized and clean!



WSmith · 51 views · Leave a comment

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