How Does Backflow Testing Keep Water Safe?

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Answering Tough Backflow Prevention Questions

Clean drinking water is so available and abundant that it can be easy to overlook the complicated systems that are engineered to deliver to every home and business. Most people don’t realize that there is a municipal plumbing system before the water reaches a home that makes ready access to water possible. One of the main components of plumbing infrastructure is a device called a backflow preventer. Backflow preventers have special jobs that protect freshwater resources in piping and stringent rules that govern their inspection.

To learn about backflow preventer testing and certification, local plumbers are here to share some knowledge. With this quick article, everyone can better understand their plumbing infrastructure and how it is cared for.

What Happens When Backflow Occurs?

After water is treated, it is very important that it remains uncontaminated. Water treatment facilities work hard to remove biological and chemical threats from water to make it safe, and if things go correctly, the water will remain safe as it travels through piping all the way to the home.

However, occasionally a phenomenon called “backflow” can occur. Backflow occurs when water is pulled in the wrong direction through piping and potentially pulls contaminated water into clean water piping. Water that is pulled into the piping can contain dangerous chemicals or pathogens that are not normally present in the water. Backflow prevention devices are essentially check-valves that make sure the flow of water stays in one direction.

Homes are protected by having air gaps at each point of use in a plumbing system. In some cases, irrigation systems will have special backflow preventers that stop groundwater from backflowing into freshwater piping. On a larger scale, businesses and municipalities have special backflow preventers that must be inspected annually to ensure that they will function correctly in a backflow condition.

What Makes Certification Necessary?backflow testing

Backflow preventers are reliable pieces of equipment that stay in service for years. In that time, hundreds of thousands of gallons of water can flow through a backflow preventer. With all of the work that backflow preventers do, they need to be tested to make sure they are reliable.

Backflow certification is the process where professional backflow testing and certification specialists make sure that the backflow preventers will reliably prevent contamination of water from backflow. By running a quick set of tests with specialized equipment, backflow testing specialists can check on the condition of backflow preventers and legally document their inspection according to local guidelines.

professional plumberWhat Qualifications Do Backflow Testing Specialists Need?

All backflow testing and certification contractors are plumbers, but not all plumbers are certified to test backflow preventers. To become certified to work on backflow preventers, a plumber must take extra courses and pass an exam.

The exam consists of a written portion where the applicant demonstrates their skills, as well as a hands-on portion where the applicants actually test real-world backflow prevention devices. Plumbers that decide to pursue the backflow testing and certification process must renew their license every two years to ensure that everyone who performs backflow testing maintains aptitude in this important skill.

About Falcon Plumbing

Falcon Plumbing has been doing backflow testing and certification for 30 years. Their qualified technicians are also ready to help with emergency plumbing services where a real person always answers the phone. Call today to schedule unparalleled backflow service in the Miami, FL area.

Watch Out for These Common Plumbing Issues This Spring!

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Plumbing Challenges Brought About by April Showers

The saying always goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, it seems whoever said this left out the part about how April showers also bring some very pesky plumbing issues! With spring on the horizon, homeowners must prepare their homes for some major rain.

Spring showers can put people’s homes at risk for significant plumbing issues. It is crucial for homeowners to know what issues to look out for, as these can cause severe damage if not addressed early. Here are three common plumbing issues homeowners should watch out for this spring.

Soaked Soil

It might seem quite obvious to say that excess rain can lead to soaked soil. But what is less apparent is how this impacts home plumbing. The biggest concern homeowners should be worried about is septic system backups.

Septic systems are a critical part of home plumbing since they facilitate the processing of household wastewater. When soil becomes saturated, wastewater cannot properly drain from the septic tank. This can lead to major backups that may find their way into the home’s indoor plumbing fixtures. Not great!

Given that septic systems are mostly underground, these backups can be hard to spot before some nasty symptoms arise. Here are some common signs:

  • Foul odors
  • Slow draining (toilets, sinks, etc.)
  • Water backups (basement)

Septic system backups can also contaminate groundwater and therefore affect the quality of drinking water. Even without a septic system backup, groundwater can be contaminated by flooded soil on its own, as flooding limits the soil’s ability to filter out harmful pathogens in the water.

Leaks in the Foundation

foundation Falcon

Foundation leaks are another primary concern related to excess rain. Homes are typically built overtop concrete “foundations,” which provide stability to the overall structure. The foundations sit on top of soil, so naturally, excessive rain can affect the stability of the foundation itself. Clearly a cause for concern!

With each new rain, the soil gradually moves and reforms as it constantly fluctuates between saturated and dry states. When the soil reforms, the foundation shifts by microscopic amounts, which places increasing amounts of stress on the structure and can result in foundational leaks over time.

There are several potential signs of foundational leaks, including:

  • Dampness or puddles
  • Mold
  • Obvious foundational cracks or fractures
  • Overactive water meter
  • Sudden difficulty with opening windows/doors
  • Uneven floors

Repairing leaks in the foundation can be a complicated endeavor, so homeowners should seek professional help for identification and repairs.

Damaged Underground Pipes

broken underground pipes Falcon

In addition to causing leaks, shifts in the home foundation due to excess rain can lead to broken underground pipes. This typically happens when the stress buildup is so high that it overwhelms pipes built within the foundation. This can also occur if the pressure of heavy soil overwhelms the pipes running underground.

Homeowners will be able to tell fairly quickly if there is a burst pipe, as the pipes might make strange sounds, water might flow improperly, or water might become discolored. In this case, homeowners should seek immediate professional help.

About Falcon Plumbing

Falcon Plumbing of Miami, FL, is a women-owned and operated company that has been in business since 1986. They provide honest upfront pricing, and their experienced team provides quality solutions with top-notch customer service. Call them for immediate help today!

Providing Clean Water For All is a Vital Plumbing Superpower

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Providing Clean Water For All is a Vital Plumbing Superpower

There are few more necessary things in life than access to clean water here in Miami, FL. That’s why facilitating the delivery of this is a vital superpower. In addition to making sure that your plumbing is working well to usher clean water right to your taps, plumbers take active steps towards supporting homeowners to be heroes in their own right: to fight the battle against water scarcity.

Plumbing Issues That Could Interfere With Clean Water

When was your home built? Have you ever had your pipes inspected? If your home dates back more than a couple of decades, then a plumbing inspection is overdue.

The plumber needs to assess what your pipes are made of. If they contain lead, there is a real and present danger that your water will become contaminated with lead.

The answer is to upgrade your pipes to copper. Copper is a good material because it helps to reduce germ growth inside the pipes. Your plumber will also test pressure and look for pipe damage. When pressure is out of whack, there exists the possibility of back

How can we Aid Plumbers to Conserve Water

Plumbers are doing good work for water conservation, but how can we make their efforts go further? To avoid water waste, be on the lookout for leaks and have your plumber fix them right away.

A small plumbing leak can waste a lot of water in a short period. Curious to know how you can reduce your water footprint even more? It’s easy. You just need to get in the habit of it. Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when full.

Don’t use the extra rinse or permanent press cycle on your washing machine; harvest rainwater in a barrel for other uses; use a broom to clean your gutters and your driveway instead of a hose; only use a single drinking glass in a day to cut down on how many dishes you need to wash; don’t have outdoor decorations or fountains that require running water.

The Health Risks at Stake

Contaminated water can have toxins like arsenic and lead, along with unhealthy levels of bacteria and viruses.

It’s not uncommon for people to become ill with e-coli, salmonella or hepatitis A from contaminated water.

It’s also possible to suffer from cancer, liver and kidney damage, disorders of the nervous and reproductive system. There are also reports of birth defects being linked to contaminated water.

History of Indoor Plumbing Guide For Homeowners

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History of Indoor Plumbing Guide For Homeowners

Plumbing inside a home is a pretty convenient but invisible part of a modern household. When it’s working, you don’t really think about or notice it, because it’s so effortless. Turn a faucet, flush a toilet and things just take care of themselves.

But it wasn’t always like this. And as invisible as indoor plumbing may be to us today, it’s an absolutely vital and important part of modern life not just for convenience, but also for health. It took a long time to get to where we are today, and it started with a lot of important steps that go back thousands of years.

The Egyptian Solution

It might surprise some to find that plumbing got its start with one of the most ancient, but advanced cultures of Africa, the ancient Egyptians. There’s a reason this area is known as the cradle of civilization, and it was the ingenuity of the Egyptians that helped them to realize that plumbing wasn’t just a matter of convenience, but of survival.

Because the Egyptians lived in a desert region, they had no choice but to stick close their most plentiful source of water, the Nile River. However, it was impractical for them to simply “hug” the river with a growing population, so they hit upon using clay to create and lay out the first early pipes. Eventually, as they grew more advanced in metallurgy, they switched over to copper pipes, a material used in some homes for plumbing even today!

Roman Innovation

The Roman empire is now known as one of the great cultures of Europe, and it’s not just for their conquest of the Western world. Roman politics and science had a huge influence on the rest of the world, and the same is true of their engineering.

Many people are aware of the aqueducts that carried water from remote sources to populated areas, but the Romans took things a step further. Aqueducts were also built to branch and divert water to specific destinations.

Some homes in Rome enjoyed water coming directly to the home. More impressively, Roman engineering experimented with early sewage control, creating systems of sewer pipes made out of hollowed out elm logs in order to control pollution from human waste.

Royalty Was Not Sanitary

This is why it’s all the more surprising that as we get to periods such as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, we see some steps backward in plumbing progress. Marie Antoinette, for example, is often regarded as a glamorous, tragic figure of royalty in French history. But what many people don’t realize from history books or films is that she and her palace smelled horrible.

Palaces being located inland didn’t benefit from aqueducts, and so, had no indoor plumbing. This meant that Marie Antoinette herself only bathed once a month, relying on perfume to hide her body odor. It also meant that royal palaces often had human waste left unattended in halls, on rugs, and in other parts of the palace, so it wasn’t a classy an environment as people imagine.

Modern Convenience

Thankfully, these days plumbing is far more integrated into our daily lifestyle, providing both easy access to drinking, cooking and bathing water, as well as having a safe and sanitary form of sewage control.

And companies like Falcon Plumbing have been hard at work in Miami, FL since 1986 to make sure things stay that way for you!

Your Guide for Having Summertime Fun Without Wasting Water

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Your Guide for Having Summertime Fun Without Wasting Water

Thousands of people across North America are now looking at their water bills and wondering what they can do to reduce costs while conserving water resources.

With the peak of the summer now here, it’s also the time in which many are playing outdoor water games with their children in their backyards.

And so now there’s an unprecedented opportunity for homeowners across the country to limit their water resources while still enjoying summer fun with their families. In this latest post, we’ll explain more on how to enjoy outdoor water games while limiting your use of water resources.

Play When Your Lawn Needs Water

You can enjoy your sprinkler while conserving energy resources by only playing with water outside when you need to water the lawn anyway.

Most don’t consider the previous day's weather when they think about outdoor water activities. But if you only play when the weather has been dry, you can ensure you save on water use over time.

You might consider a game of jump the hose, for example. As part of this game, a person stands on one side of the lawn holding the hose. And then those on the other side of the lawn have to jump over the spray. By raising the hose a little each time, you can increase the difficulty of the game.

Consider Replacing Water Balloons with Sponges

One great option for reducing water waste while playing with your kids this summer is to ditch the water balloons and use sponges during playtime instead.

Sponges can be reused on a regular basis, and each throw doesn’t require much water compared with water balloons. This will help you to save gallons of water as you enjoy your playtime over the coming months.

Play Pass the Water Balloon

Another fun game to play with your kids this summer is pass the water balloon.

This game begins with everyone sitting a circle while passing around a water balloon. A person outside the circle starts music in the background. Then they decide to end the music, the person left holding the water balloon has the balloon dropped over them.

In most cases, the balloon will be popped well before the music stops, as everyone tries to pass off the balloon before the music stops. Our team can help you to reduce your water use costs as you enjoy play time with your family and friends this summer.

Trusted Water Leak Detection Information

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Trusted Water Leak Detection Information

Your home is likely your biggest asset, which is why you need to take every precaution to protect it as best you can. One of the greatest threats to your home is water damage.

It’s not water damage from flooding that causes most of the damage to a home; it is actually water leaks that are the culprit.

That’s why leak detection is a crucial skill to have as a homeowner. Here is what you need to know.

Where Should I Look for Leaks?

While leaks can happen anywhere you have plumbing or plumbing fixtures (this includes inside and outside your home), there are a few spots where they happen most often.

Cracked or rusted piping will fracture and let water leak out. Leaky joints on pipes won’t be able to keep water inside.

You’ll see evidence of these leaks in damp spots on your walls, mold growth and water damage spots ceiling-leakon your floors or ceilings.

It’s also common for leaks to occur in bathrooms where the tiles are loose, or the bathtub/shower isn’t caulked tightly.

The tiles are meant to act as a barrier to water, and if they are loose, the water gets through.

Plumbing fixtures are also common spots for leaks, especially toilets, sinks, and faucets. If you center your leak detection on these areas, you should be able to trace it back to the source.

Preventative Maintenance Ideas

You need to keep on top of home maintenance to keep leaks at bay. Upgrade old piping.

As it ages, it is more prone to cracks and corrosion. Drain your hot water tank every once in a while to get rid of sediment.

Make sure that your irrigation system is functioning properly. Test your toilets for leaks by placing food coloring in the tank.

If the bowl gets the color, you have a leak. Keep water pressure on the low side so as to not create undue pressure on the pipes.

Water Damage is Serious

In a humid climate like Miami, don’t underestimate the power of mold growth.

This is made even worse if you sustain water damage in your home.mold Mold growth is extremely dangerous.

It can make your home uninhabitable and be very expensive.

If your home’s structure sustains water damage, you could be dealing with an inconvenient, costly mess.

You may even have to move out while it gets fixed.

Your Trusted Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Guide

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Your Trusted Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Guide

As a homeowner, you are always looking for ways to improve not only the look and feel of your home, but to increase its asset value as well.

Did you know that remodeling your kitchen and your bathroom are typically the two home renovation jobs that get you the most bang for your buck?

That said, these jobs can be big in both scope and expense. You need to take some time to carefully consider your options before you dive in. Here are some suggestions on how to get going with your project.

Embrace the Planning

The very first step you need to take is to decide on a budget.

Let your budget be your guide throughout the project.cost

If you don't have your budget in place before you start, you may find that you've overextended yourself as the project goes along.

Decide on what your style is before you start, because you should try and be cohesive with décor choices.

Do you like traditional fixtures and colors, or are you looking to be a little more contemporary?

Lastly, you need to decide the scope or your project.

Are you doing a total remodel, or would upgrading some cabinetry, fixtures and plumbing be enough of a change?

Make sure that your plans accommodate the footprint of your bathroom or kitchen.

Plumbing and Fixtures

The beauty of updating your fixtures is that it is a cost-effective way to update your rooms.

If you can't afford to go all out, focus on a fixture that adds visual interest and also enhances your time spent in the room.

For instance, go with a rain shower head, which makes your showering a luxurious experience and looks great.

If you are doing a kitchen remodel, make a deep under-mount sink with stylish faucets the focal point- especially if you cook often.

Just make sure to pick your sink first and coordinate the dimensions with the cabinetry and countertop.

Hire Help

To get your job done right you need to work with someone you trust.

proTake time to find a contractor that you click with.

Make a point of interviewing at least three potential candidates, to give you a solid ballpark on prices and services.

Ask for references and credentials.

Ask to see a portfolio or examples of their work.

Also enquire what their practice is around breaks, bathroom use onsite, and cleaning up after work.

Discover why Your Household Drains and Water Stink

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Discover why Your Household Drains and Water Stink

In your household when your drains and water stink, it can be unbearable. You don’t have to sit there and suffer, though.

By using some simple tests and running through the process of elimination, you can with a great deal of certainty determining what is causing your smelly problem.

There are usually four main culprits for stinky drains and water. Here they are.

Sewer Line isn’t Working Well

If there are issues with your sewer line, you will notice a pungent, musty smell emanating from a number of different drains in your home.

Typically, this smell is strongest in basement drains. What might be going on is that your sewer line is damaged and is not draining sewage properly away from your home towards the municipal sewers.

Additional red flags are sunken patches on your lawn, low water pressure, unexplained increases in your water bill, wet spots on or near your foundation, and of course that musty odor.

This is a situation in which you need to call the plumber for repairs straight away.

P-Trap not Full

In order to keep the smelly sewer gases out of your home, you have P-traps installed on your plumbing.

They are easily identifiable as they are typically shaped like a “P”.p-trap

They work by holding on to water when being used to form a natural plug between the drain and the piping leading to the sewer.

If that trap runs dry (which typically happens if it hasn’t been used in a while), there is nothing to keep the stinky gases from floating up through your drains.

The fix? Simple. Run the water and refill the trap.

Do you Smell Rotten Eggs?

If your water has a yucky rotten egg smell, it’s time to look at the water heater. If the water isn’t kept at a temperature that is high enough or if it has been switched off for an extended period of time, the chemistry of the water gets out of whack.

Making matters worse, the water reacts with the anode rod that is in your heater to prevent corrosion. Replace the anode rod, and you should take care of the problem.

Ventilation not Adequate

You are likely aware that water flows freely through your pipes when you use your plumbing, but did you know that a great deal of air gets generated as well?

blocked-drainWhen something is blocking your pipes, the ventilation is compromised, and a suction effect is created.

This effectively draws smelly sewer gases back and up into your home.

Common causes for this kind of blockage are food, hair, plant or tree matter or animal nests.

Get your drains professionally cleaned and that smell will disappear.

April 22 is Earth Day: Green Tips You Can Use

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April 22 is Earth Day: Green Tips You Can Use

carbon-footprint_480You’ve most likely heard of Earth Day since it’s been happening every year since 1970. But have you or your family ever celebrated Earth Day before? This April 22, observe this international day by committing to green habits, by reducing your carbon footprint, and by using these green tips to save energy, water, money, and the planet.

Five Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

The size of your carbon footprint is determined by how reliant you are on fossil fuels. This Earth Day, you can do your part to save the planet by taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint, and a few easy ways to do this are:

  1. Drive less and opt for walking, biking, or finding other alternative methods of transportation
  2. When lights burn out around the house, replace them with energy-saving CFLs or LEDs
  3. When appliances wear out, replace them with energy-saving ones that have the ENERGY STAR seal
  4. Turn off lights when you're not in the room, turn off TVs and appliances when you aren't using them, and find other ways to conserve energy around the house
  5. Insulate your house better and install a programmable thermostat that will reduce energy use and costs

One Easy Way to Reduce Your Energy Bills

natural-cooling_480Install a tankless water heater. When your older storage-tank water heater is up for replacement, upgrade to a tankless water heater that will use 30 percent less energy, and save you plenty of money in the process. Standby loss means that storage-tank water heaters waste about 20 percent of the energy they use, and they only have a lifespan of about 10 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters don’t experience standby loss, and they last about 20 years.

Nine Easy Ways to Save Water

save-water_480The global water shortage affects billions of people across the globe, and you can help save water and do your part for the environment by adopting water-conservation habits at home. Here are nine simple ways you can save water and the planet:

  1. Install low-flow toilets
  2. Turn off the taps when you aren't using them
  3. Install water-saving shower heads
  4. Upgrade to motion-sensor faucets that turn off when you don’t need the water
  5. Use waterless car wash cleaners instead of soap and water
  6. Catch rainwater with a rain barrel to use in the garden
  7. Install water-efficient faucets in the bathroom and kitchen
  8. Take shorter showers
  9. Only run the washing machine or dishwasher when there's a full load

One Easy Way to Save the Planet

Stop buying water bottles. Water bottles need millions of barrels of oil (to produce the plastic bottles), they sit in landfills for about 1,000 years, they use fossil fuels transporting them from production plants to stores, and each liter of bottled water requires 3 liters to produce it. Instead of buying bottled water, install a whole-home water filtration system that will give you clean water for cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing. And in just two years, you'll recoup the cost with the money you save on bottled water.

Basic Info to Learn About World Water Day

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Basic Info to Learn About World Water Day

world-waterWorld Water Day is celebrated on March 22nd and marks the day when we all consider the valuable role that water plays in our day-to-day lives and our own role in ensuring there’s continued access to clean water for those in the local region and around the globe.

The continued world water crisis is highlighted by the fact that 1 in 10 people lack access to clean drinking water. It’s an example of the challenges to be addressed on World Water Day. In this latest post, we’ll highlight World Water Day and what you can do on a local level to safeguard water resources.

A World-Wide Commitment to Water Conservation

World Water Day was created in 1993 to promote specific activities designed to secure safe drinking water in underdeveloped regions. Each year, there is a theme which is addressed in World Water Day conferences. The theme for 2017 is “wastewater – reducing and reusing wastewater in the home”.

The goal of the current campaign is to educate homeowners around the world on their water waste and what they can do to mitigate this waste in the coming years.

Your Role in the Conservation Process

We know that the World Economic Forum states that the global water crisis is the number one risk facing our planet. And so, it’s important that each of us plays a role in mitigating water use in our local communities. There are many steps you can take in your home to take on this role. These steps include:

water-dropLimit shower use:

Your home shower uses over 17 gallons of water every 10 minutes you take to wash. This means you can significantly reduce your home water use by switching to shorter showers or using the shower fewer times per week.

Use the dishwasher carefully:

Many of us simply use the dishwasher when there are a few dishes that must be cleaned. But by waiting until there’s a full rack of dishes ready for the cleaning process, you can reduce water use by several gallons a week.

Discuss water conservation locally:

Another important step you can take is by discussing water conservation work with your friends and family. Spreading the message and inviting others to conserve water can amplify your impact in safeguarding the local environment.

Our team is here to guide you in reducing your water use around the home. To discover more, call our Miami, FL team now at 305-251-7333.