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Hard Water Wreaks Havoc

By backflow device, backflow prevention No Comments

It can seem like a no-brainer: The hot water in the shower isn’t getting hot enough?

Turn up the temp on the hot water tank. Problem solved, right?

Well…yes…but was it the right solution for the problem?

At first, the answer was yes. It worked very well. The water in the shower felt hotter and everyone was happy…but over time, the solution was actually the cause of more problems. 

In a few short weeks, the hot water tank became simply a water tank, and the homeowners were in the market for another hot water tank…even though the one that they just bought a few years ago was a good one.

So what happened?

When the homeowners turned up the temperature, they didn’t realize that there were two temperature controls. Inadvertently, they adjusted only one control. That meant one control worked harder than the other one to maintain the new, higher water temperature. And when one control is forced to work harder, it wears out faster. In this particular instance, there was another underlying issue that created the perfect storm: hard water calcification buildup. 

Higher water temperature settings accelerate the calcification process. More calcium deposits build up on the hotter heating elements, forcing them to use more energy to heat the water, and remain hotter much longer to maintain the higher setting. 

It becomes a vicious circle: More heat = more calcium buildup = more energy.

More heat = more calcium buildup = more energy.

After a few weeks, the easy thermostat tweak on the hot water heater became the number one reason the heating elements stopped working…and why they were in the market for a new water tank. 

 

When they called City Wide, they learned the real reason they weren’t getting enough hot water, and it had nothing to do with the hot water tank. Instead, the problem was with the shower faucet. Hard water deposits built up within the tap, limiting how far it would turn. 

 

When your hot water isn’t so hot any more, call in the experts at City Wide. They’ll keep your showers at just the right temp, diagnose the problem at the source and give you the options you need to make an informed choice. 

Call City Wide Plumbing today:  480-966-8795.

City Wide Plumbing Tempe, AZ.

When in Doubt, Call in the Plumbing Experts

By backflow device, backflow prevention No Comments

drinking water

A licensed back flow plumbing technician can save you
time and money!

It’s easy to take clean running water for granted.You turn on the tap and there it is. When the flow stops running altogether or your water quality degrades significantly, it’s time to call in an expert. You’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

I had a restaurant call me to certify their brand-new backflow.

Backflow preventers are used to keep your water supply from becoming contaminated. A properly installed device helps keep fresh water flowing into your water lines while keeping possible contaminants out. Another company recently installed this backflow preventer, but the technician wasn’t licensed and couldn’t certify the work.

When our licensed backflow plumbing technician arrived, he knew right away that it wasn’t the correct backflow for that installation. Since city requirements change all the time and there can be new ordinances, he tried to call the municipality to double-check if they would accept that backflow for the restaurant.

Our technician was unable to get a hold of the city’s official, but there were only two options: Replace the backflow completely or chance it and pay to have the backflow certified. The customer decided to gamble on the city accepting the backflow at inspection and paid for our tech to certify it.

Gambling can pay off, but it can also cost more money, time and effort in the long run. When the city official inspected the work, the backflow preventer did not pass. In order for the restaurant to continue operating, it had to have the right backflow preventer installed, certified and then re-inspected by the city.

More time. More money. More effort.

The restaurant owner paid for two backflow preventers and two certifications, and was closed until the restaurant passed its inspection. It was a costly mistake that could’ve been easily prevented. This happens a lot, especially in restaurants, because each city has different requirements. Only licensed backflow testers know these regulations. Their continued training and licensing demand it.

Our motto is and always has been to do it right the first time. In the long run, you’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

Call City Wide Plumbing today:  480-966-8795.

Protect Your Backflow!

By backflow cages, backflow device, backflow prevention theft, Gilbert Arizona, local news, Mesa Arizona, plumber No Comments

Recently there have been a rash of commercial irrigation and domestic water back-flow preventers stolen and sold for their scrap metal. While the scrap metal value for the brass and copper contained within these fittings is only about $50.00, day and night thieves are stealing as many as they can, sometimes twice from the same properties. Back-flow preventers are easily recognized, usually placed above ground along the street frontage for most commercial properties. The backflow preventer acts to prevent irrigation or other water from going back into the potable water source from the city in case of contamination. Most jurisdictions in Maricopa County have mandated the use of these valves in commercial buildings.

Thieves have posed as city employees wearing orange vests and have cut off the valve to the preventers using a battery powered sawzall. The whole process can take less than five to six minutes. These thefts have occurred in broad daylight and at prominent and visible locations. If yours is stolen, replacing it is very expensive and can cost as much as $2,000 to $4,000. Their removal will also interrupt water service for your property as well as create possible water damage caused by the water running uncontrolled through the open connection.

How to Protect Yourself

There is no perfect solution, but the following actions are being recommended by the ABPA, law enforcement, backflow installers, landscapers, and plumbing companies.

  1. Enclose your backflow valve(s) with a protective cage (if you haven’t already).
  2. Secure it with a tamper-proof lock (a “break-away” lock is easily opened and not recommended). In case of emergency, your maintenance crew should have a copy of the lock’s key.
  3. The cage should be securely mounted to the cement pad on the ground and painted a desert color to match landscape.
  4. Make sure the cage has lock guards to prevent their removal.
  5. Stamp, label, or identify the metal with a recognizable code or name of your own.
  6. Paint the unit with a desert color.
  7. Post a visible warning that there is video surveillance on the units. Also on the signs something to the effect of “theft and damage to this unit will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
  8. Camouflage the unit by planting screening landscape a foot or so from the back-flow. This will make the unit less visible while still allowing for necessary maintenance access.
  9. Record model number and serial numbers of all backflow devices.
  10. Install a small wall to hide backflow devices.

The prices of the cages and installation vary according to design and size. We offer free estimates on all backflow products. For more information please call  480-966-8795.

Our plumbing experts are certified by the State of Arizona backflow device testers. ABPA membership number R1461.

 

It’s the Law: Before you dig, call Arizona Blue Stake!

By backflow cages, backflow device, backflow prevention theft, drain stoppages, freeze protection, Gilbert Arizona, local news, Mesa Arizona, Phoenix Plumbing, plumbing, plumbing tips, plumbing trouble, Slab Leaks No Comments

Arizona Blue Stake was established by utility owners as a one-call notification system to assist local homeowners and excavators in identifying the location of underground utilities to prevent damages to facilities.

Notify the Arizona Blue Stake Center at least two (2) working days (excluding weekends and legal holidays) before excavating to have all underground pipelines and facilities located and marked.

Calling 811 will help save lives and protect infrastructure. Knowing where underground utility lines are buried before each digging project begins helps protect you from personal injury, expense and penalties. There may be multiple utility lines in the same area at varying depths. Even simple digging projects can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire community. Having underground utilities located can help prevent undesired consequences

Wait for the project site to be marked by all utility owners. Once all utilities have been properly located, you are officially ready to dig.

Respect and protect the marks. Have utility lines re-marked if initial markings are more than fifteen (15) days old.

Use caution when digging. Always hand dig within two feet of either side of any marked line. Some utility lines may be buried at a shallow depth, and an unintended shovel

Be Aware utility companies may not mark where the line continues into your property (anything on your property is considered privately owned and maintained.

If damage occurs, notify the appropriate facility owner IMMEDIATLY.

Each marking represents the location of the underground facilities and the color represents the type of utility (gas, water, electric, communication, etc…). These marks are temporary and fade with time.

White– proposed excavation

Pink– Temporary Survey

Red– Electric, traffic signals and street lights

Yellow– natural gas, petroleum, nitrogen, butane, and propane.

Orange– Communication, cable television, fiber optics

Blue water systems, slurry pipes, irrigation and wells

Purple– reclaimed water

Green– Sanitary Sewer Systems

 

There is a penalty for failure to comply. Owners of underground facilities must locate and mark all their facilities at that location within 48 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $ 5000. You or a contractor cannon begin excavating until all utilities have been marked or be subject to a maximum fine of $ 5000.

 

Information courtesy of:

Arizona Blue Stake

Arizona Corporation Commission

City of Mesa

City of Scottsdale

 

 

Prevent Frozen Pipes

By backflow device, freeze protection, Phoenix Plumbing, thaw pipes No Comments
  1. Keep your pool filters, pumps, and pipes from freezing. Run your pool equipment during the freeze. Change your timers to run the pool equipment at night and keep the equipment running if freezing temperatures continue into the day.
  2. Protect all outside exposed water line shut off valves including outside water faucet hose bibs, water softener equipment, pool equipment and/or sprinkler irrigation back flow preventers. All valves need to be completely protected not just water piping.
  3. Keep garage doors closed tightly if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  4. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors (During The Freeze Warning) and all other cabinet areas that are located on outside walls, to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to take all child safety measures that are necessary in your home.
  5. Protect all exposed water piping. Insulate all areas where water supply lines are unheated. Areas to look for are outside, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as fast as a cold water supply line can freeze if water is not running through the pipe.  Note: outside hose bibs and vacuum breakers cover with a towel.
  6. During cold snaps, do not alternate temperature settings on your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night will help to keep pipe temperatures consistent. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, set your thermostats no lower than 60F.
  7. Open the attic access doors or stairs to allow warm air to circulate into attic for water pipes in the attic.
  8. How to keep your backflow preventer from freezing: The incoming valve should be turned off and both test ports having screw driver stops need to be turned to bleed the test ports down. Then insulate the above ground pipes with towels.

Call 480-966-8795

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