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Thursday, 26 July 2018 19:56

Choosing the Best Toilet For Your Home

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At first glance it may not seem like there's much to think about when it comes to choosing a toilet. Pick a nice color that matches and your done, right? Not quite. That's only one of the many choices that need to be made when it comes to choosing a new toilet. Size, height and how it functions should also be part of your decision.

Finding a Toilet That Fits

There are many toilets on the market, but a rough-in distance, measured from the finished wall to the center of the sewer drain for the toilet, will narrow the options. The standard rough-in is 12 inches, and the widest number of toilets are available in this size. If a bathroom remodel makes use of an existing rough-in that is a different size, 14 or 10 inches for example, the options are more limited.

Most folks find elongated toilet seats to be more comfortable, but in a smaller bathroom, a round bowl will save some space, as well as a few dollars in most cases.

Taller toilets are also becoming more popular, which makes a bathroom accessible to all users regardless of mobility, because they make sitting down and standing up easier.

What Style of Toilet?

There are a few toilet designs available. A two-piece toilet, which has the tank bolted to the top of the bowl, is usually a little more affordable. A one-piece toilet, with an single tank and bowl, can cost more, but are easier to clean because they have no seams. Wall-mounted toilets add design flair to a bathroom, and cleaning under them is a breeze. However, these high-end fixtures can be more expensive to install because they require a secure wall to mount the toilet and store the tank, and repair and maintenance could mean opening up the wall.

Flushing Systems

While having a perfect fitting and great looking toilet is important, it won't matter if it doesn't flush right every time.

Prior to 1994, toilets used around 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Then Congress, in an effort to conserve resources, reduced the amount of water new toilets could flush to 1.6 gallons per flush. Unfortunately, the first generation of low-flow toilets couldn't get the job done, and that's a stigma these commodes are still trying to shake more than a decade later. Manufacturers have since introduced low-flow toilets that work very well, using either a gravity or power-assisted flush.

Dual-flush technology features a split plunger-style flush mechanism on top of the tank. Pushing one button releases .08 gallons of water and pushing both doubles the flow to 1.6 gallons. Over the life of the toilet, a four-person family can save thousands of dollars.
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 19:32

The Advantages of a Permanent Home Generator

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Never Feel Powerless Again With a Safe, Reliable Residential Standby Generator

With an aging power infrastructure and increasing severe weather related to climate change, many Chicago area homeowners are discovering the benefits of a standby generators to keep their homes safe and comfortable during prolonged periods without power.

Today's backup generators are quiet, efficient and reliable. They offer the convenience of auto start and practically indefinite run time. When the power fails, a standby generator switches on - automatically - powering your home 24/7. With a standby generator you can maintain everyday necessities like heating, cooling, refrigeration and lighting and more.

Permanent or Portable Generator?

A portable generator needs to be rolled out from the storage, filled with gas or hooked up to a natural gas line, manually started, and connected to your loads. In contrast, a permanent generator starts automatically because it's connected to both the house wiring and your home's gas line. It can detect a power outage, isolate your designated circuits from the grid, and start powering your home instantly.

Whole house standby generators offer power levels greater than portable generators, ranging from 5 kilowatts up into hundreds of kilowatts. This makes them a good choice for sustained power outages. While the initial cost of a permanent generator is higher than a portable generator, a whole house generator will increase your home's value.

When the power is restored, portable generators need to be turned off manually. A permanent generator will connect you back to the utility power and turn itself off automatically. You don't even have to be home.

This recent installation of a Kohler natural gas standby generator shows how clean and compact today's home generators are. Like a central air conditioner they are installed on a slab near the utility hook up and take up very little space.

Choosing a Residential Generator

Aside from wattage, consider the duration of time you may need emergency power and the fuel source. By selecting which appliances and lighting you want to maintain during a power outage, you can estimate the power requirements of the backup circuits and select a generator that will maintain the wattage for your needs.

Residential generators can run on both natural gas and LP (propane). Your installer will do a simple field adjustment to convert the unit to your available fuel source. A whole house generator will be permanently installed in a location that provides easy access to your home's electric and fuel supply and that minimizes the risk of exhaust fumes entering the home.

Have backup power generator questions?  The experts at M/R Plumbing can help you select the best residential generator to fit your family's needs.

How Hard Water Can Cause Problems With Your Home's Plumbing System

Hard water can cause problems for homeowners in both increased energy usage and a shortened lifespan of appliances. The two minerals most commonly found in hard water, calcium and magnesium, make heating water less efficient. It requires more energy to heat mineral heavy water compared to clear, purified water.

Hard water can also cause limescale build-up, drastically restricting the water flow in your pipes. Steel pipes are the most prone to this problem, copper and PVC are not as susceptible to limescale build up. Over time this scale build up can lower water pressure in your home's plumbing, eventually leading to costly damage to pipes and plumbing fixtures. As the flow in pipes becomes more restricted, the limescale buildup will happen at a faster rate.

The areas that you may first notice mineral build up are in areas around shower heads, plugs, faucets and valves.  Slowly dripping faucets can cause scale build up on sink surfaces and could damage the rubber washers that are required to keep the mechanism water tight. If this occurs, the washers can sometimes be difficult to replace.

Valves that are found in various appliances, such as ice-makers, washing machines and dishwashers can also end up with scale build-up. If small amounts of limescale build up around the valves, they may not be able to completely close, which can allow water to leak.

Hard Water and Water Heaters

Heating elements in water heaters can also quickly form mineral deposits. When there is limescale between the heating element and the water it will act as a barrier, preventing the water from heating up efficiently and causing the burners to work overtime. Mineral deposits from hard water can also dramatically reduce the lifespan of a water heater by clogging pipes, valves and drains.
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What Our Fans Are Saying About Mr. Plumbing!

  • "M & R were very professional. The bathroom came out great - looks like a bathroom in a brand new house. All work was done on time and the workmen were extreme professional throughout the entire project We would highly recommend M & R Plumbing."
    – Diane C.
    Guild Quality Review
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