MAPLEWOOD PLUMBING AND SEWER
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RESOURSES, TIPS, MANUFACTURER LINKS, HOT WATER HEATER BUYING GUIDE
 IS YOUR FAUCET LEAKING?

The amount of water one leak can waste is staggering. To find out how much waste you may be paying for, try our drip calculator. It's easy.....

 
Count the number of drips from your leaky faucet for one minute, enter the number of drips into the box below and click the Calculate button.
 
Gallons lost per Day
Gallons lost per Month
Gallons lost per Year





 LINKS & RESOURCES
  An open and free forum to ask your plumbing questions. The Plumbing Forum boasts that they are the “Most popular, dynamic plumbing, kitchen and bath discussion, help, and advice forum on the net.” We agree!

A great resource for homeowners and businesses, this site goes way beyond choosing efficient appliances. Find hints from making your home more comfortable to using your TV more efficiently. If you would like to land directly on the page for information on hot water heaters, click here.

The local wastewater management company in St. Louis. Want to know how rates are calculated? Click here. For contact information, click here.

The local gas utility company for the St. Louis area. For safety tips and contact information by area, click here.
   The local water utility company for the St. Louis area. To access water quality reports by area, click here.
   

 
 TIPS & DIY


Clogged Drains

  • Help prevent clogs in the kitchen by keeping grease out of your sink. Even if it you use hot water to flush it down, the grease will stick to the inside of the pipes and accumulate food particles.
  • To prevent clogs in the bathroom and keep drains running freely, remove the pop-up drain stopper and clean often. Consider purchasing a hair screen to put over the drain.
  • If you have a drain that is working slowly, try mixing 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup vinegar to one cup of water. It will immediately begin to fizz. Quickly pour down the drain and wait an hour or so. Flush the drain with running water.

Clogged Toilets

  • Fixing a minor clog - Try squirting a little dish washing liquid into the bowl and let it settle to the bottom. Wait a while and see if the clog loosens itself.

Garbage Disposal Do's & Don'ts
   
  DO
  • Use cold water in your disposer, it helps fats solidify and get chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Cut larger items into smaller pieces before putting them in the disposal.
  • Clean with ice cubes and freshen up with (cut up) lemon peels.
  DON'T
  • Put large amounts of potato peels in a typical disposer, the starch can become paste-like and clog pipes.
  • Grind fibrous materials such as corn husks or celery stalks.

Faucets & Shower Heads
  • A change in water pressure can indicate mineral deposit buildup. For faucets, unscrew the tip of the faucet to remove and soak in vinegar overnight. For shower heads, unscrew the head to soak. If you don't feel comfortable removing a shower head, put some vinegar in a plastic bag and rubber band it around the fixture. Scrub clean and replace.

Water Heaters
  • To continue running efficiently, most manufacturers suggest inspecting your hot water heater every six months to flush buildup and debris. (Always check your user's manual before maintaining any appliance)
  • If your hot water heater resides in the garage, you may want to consider an insulating water heater blanket.

Winter Tips
  • Always remove garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive.
  • Use foam insulation padding or special insulating tape to protect pipes in exposed areas, garages, etc.





 MANUFACTURER LINKS

Click on the thumbnails to see more information
 
   
       
       
       
 
   
     
       




 HOT WATER HEATER BUYING GUIDE

Imagine your life without hot water, fast and from the tap. Hot water heaters are one of the most important appliances in your home. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy they can account for up to 12% of your utility bill. Let Maplewood Plumbing help you determine the right water heater for your family. To get started, there are three important criteria:
  • Does your home accommodate a gas or electric heater?
  • How many bathrooms, faucets, and showers are in your home?
  • What are your peak hour usage needs?

HOW TO CALCULATE PEAK HOUR USAGE NEEDS
Information and example chart from Energy.gov

 USAGE
AVG. GALLONS OF HOT
WATER PER USAGE
 
TIMES USED
DURING 1 HOUR
 
GALLONS USED
IN 1 HOUR
Shower 10   X  3  = 30 
Shaving 2  X  1  =
Hand Dish Washing or
Food Prep
4  X   1   =
Dishwasher 6  X    =  
Clothes Washer 7  X    =  
     
Total Peak 
Hour Demand
   36

Based on the example above, this family would want a hot water heater with a first hour rating of 34 - 38 gallons.


The Consumer Energy Center determines peak hour usage a little differently, taking into consideration only the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

 How Many Bathrooms?  1 - 1.5  2 - 2.5  3 - 3.5
 How Many Bedrooms?  1     2     3 2     3     4     5  3     4     5 
 First Hour Rating Requirement:      43    60    60   60    70   72   90  72   82   90

To decide what's right for your family, you may want to use both charts and determine an average number.


DETERMINING THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR FAMILY
We talked about first hour rates based on the busiest times of day, however, another important detail to consider is the size of the tank itself. Most households need about a 50 gallon tank. To determine if that is large enough for your household, consider the following:
  • Most bathtubs hold approximately 40 gallons of water.
  • Large soaking tubs can hold up to 140 gallons.
  • Have you upgraded your bathroom with vertical spa type shower heads?
  • Does your family use multiple appliances during peak periods of use?
If you are considering a size upgrade for your water heater, always remember to measure the height and width to compare to your space restrictions and doorway sizes before making your final decision.


TYPES OF WATER HEATERS
There are three main types of water heaters. Each has their pros and cons.

Tank Storage:  Available for both gas and electric, they are the most cost effective to purchase and install. These heaters come in a variety of energy efficiency and prices vary. Limitations include the amount of space required and the fact that there is no continuous flow of hot water so capacity can be reached during peak periods.

Tankless:  The biggest benefit of a tankless water heater is the energy efficiency and endless flow of hot water within limited demand. Limitations include the possibility of multiple appliances creating too much demand for the capacity of this type of heater.

Hybrids:  This is the newest innovation in hot water heaters. These units combine the convenience of tank storage with the technology of tankless. They are extremely energy efficient and provide more hot water for peak period use. Hybrids are a great choice for large families and bigger houses. The drawback, of course, is that they are more expensive.


Glossary* Of Terms For Hot Water Heaters

Energy Factor (EF): A measure of water heater overall efficiency, is the ratio of useful energy output from the water heater to the total amount of energy delivered to the water heater.

Solar Energy Factor (SEF): The energy delivered by the total system divided by the electrical or gas energy put into the system.

First-Hour Rating (FHR): An estimate of the maximum volume of hot water in gallons that a storage water heater can supply within an hour that begins with the water heater fully heated.

Gallons per Minute (GPM): The amount of gallons per minute of hot water that can be supplied by an instantaneous water heater while maintaining a nominal temperature rise of 77°F during steady state operation.

*This information has been copied from the EnergyStar website. The full page can be seen here.


To learn more about Maplewood Plumbing & Sewer's hot water heater services, please visit our services page here.

To learn more about hot water heaters, energy ratings, and price ranges, click on any picture below to follow the links and visit our preferred manufacturer.