Any good home today will have all of its utilities working well, and when this is the case, the home is comfortable and convenient to live in, and the water and electric bills will be about what the homeowner expects. But when pipes leak, the water heater grows old, or the heating and cooling system breaks down or gets dirty, problems can crop up, and damaged systems will leak not only air or water, but money, too, and it can add up fast due to wasted materials. Hard water is another issue for homeowners to watch out for, and to make water softer is to save a lot of hassle that comes from hard water. How can one make water softer, and why? Is it time to buy a low-flush toilet? What can cause heating and cooling systems to slow down or break?
Problems with Utilities
All kinds of things can go wrong with a home’s (or a commercial building’s) utilities, and a homeowner should be on the lookout for these. Two out of three American homes have air conditioning or heating systems, and it uses up a lot of electricity even when working correctly. But the inner blower fans can wear out or get caked with grime, which impairs their function, and the air ducts may get tears or holes that leak air, or squirrels may break into the home and build nests that obstruct air flow. The outdoor unit may rust out, or the vent grates may become clogged with dirt or hair, and all this forces the heating and cooling unit to work overtime, and that wastes electricity.
Water can be an issue, too. Old toilets, faucets, shower heads, or washing machines may not be up to modern standards of water efficiency, and this cranks up the water bill even if the plumbing does not leak. And leaks, even small ones, force a house to use excess water to make up for wasted water, and that adds up quickly on the water bill. In fact, 10% of water bill spending can be saved if a homeowner fixes easily corrected water leaks, and 10% of all homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water per day. What is more, hard water is a problem when calcium and magnesium is dissolved into the water at or above a certain concentration, and this hard water can rapidly build up walls of sediment in the water heater, restricting its holding capacity. Hard water can also irritate the skin and scalp of people who shower in it, and it can leave white residue on dishes or stiffen clothes. What can be done about this?
Any of these utility problems can be fixed with DIY repair or by hiring contractors or HVAC repair services or plumbers to take a look at the afflicted systems. A water softener can be installed in the plumbing to make water softer by means of using beads that attract calcium and magnesium atoms to the, then scrubbing themselves clean in a side tank that contains salt sediments. This clears out the hardness of a home’s water, and to make water softer can be a real relief.
Leaking or broken pipes can be replaced or fixed as needed, and older pipes that ruptured or rusted through must be replaced at once or huge quantities of water may be wasted and even damage the home’s drywall or foundation, or short-circuit the electrical components in the walls. An old, worn out water heater can be replaced with a new one that meets modern standards, and the same can be said of plumbing service for old toilets or shower heads to replace them with water efficient models. This can contribute toward “going green” to preserve water, and it saves on the water bill, too.
A homeowner can clean off dirty air vents, but other HVAC repair requires contractors. They can clear out squirrel nests, clean or replace the blower fans, repair or replace torn duct walls, and even overhaul the entire system if it is very old. Old systems do not meet modern electricity efficiency standards, and may break down often and require repairs. This means that overhauling the entire system can pay for itself in the long run and save money.