6 Plumbing Upgrades And Fixes That Lead To A Greener Home

bathroom

Green building refers to energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, sustainable materials, and insulated windows and walls. Today, green plumbing is also becoming popular because water consumption is a huge factor in any building’s environmental footprint (incidentally, drought-prone Australia has led the green plumbing movement).

‘Greening’ your plumbing will reduce your home energy costs. But apart from improving your utility bills, green plumbing also provides cleaner water and conserves valuable water resources. Most importantly, going green is about passing a better world to the next generations. It helps the environment by saving energy and water and using eco-friendly materials.

Here are some of the plumbing upgrades and fixes that property owners today must consider to attain a greener home. To make sure that these fixtures run efficiently, you must hire a licensed plumber install them.

1. Low-Flow Showerheads

Normal-flow showerheads make use of about six to seven gallons every minute, and the water comes out at 80 psi. If you want to use less water with normal showerheads, the stream is flat and insubstantial, which offers an unsatisfactory shower experience.

Low-flow showerheads will solve this problem by forcing the water towards a narrower opening. In turn, this will reduce the amount of water that will come out while maintaining the pressure at 80 psi for a strong stream.

There are two design types allowing you to get a reduced water flow without the need to sacrifice water pressure. The laminar design uses individual parallel water streams that will reduce the stream while showering. The other type is the aerator design, which pulls air via the air ducts.

2. Eco-Friendly Toilets

The conventional toilet makes use of about 13.25-18.93 litres (3.5 to 5 gallons) of water every time you flush. The older versions use about 26.5 litres (7 gallons) of water. Toilets made after 1992 uses 6 litres (1.6 gallons) of water per flush. Today, new designs with eco-friendly features are more in-demand. They only make use of 4.85 litres (1.28 gallons) per flush. So get a new toilet now to conserve more water.

3. Up-to-date Taps

Old taps use plenty of water and their inefficiency increases as they age. Most modern styles of taps have luxury features like longer tap heads, low-flow designs, portable extensions, and convenient handless water shut off for better functionality. Surely, you will be amazed at the different options available in the market today.

Adding an aerator to these taps can also save water and money. Aerators will increase water pressure by adding air to water flow whilst reducing the amount of water used.

4. Tankless Water Heaters

Although conventional water heaters have improved when it comes to energy efficiency, they still waste a significant amount of money. They let the water sit in the tank whilst continually heating it until the household is ready to use it. And when you are ready to use it, you have to wait for it to get hot. No wonder today’s tankless water heaters are popular.

Tankless water heaters will warm water on demand, which saves an incredible amount of energy while making sure that you don’t run out of hot water. This kind of water heater is an excellent water-saving option that is also worth evaluating.

5. Piping and Insulation

Most plumbing systems in homes aren’t insulated properly; this will cause heat loss, making your water heater work harder. Plumbing experts recommend insulating your pipes as soon as possible.

Older pipes with galvanized steel easily corrode, thus blocking the system. Grey or blue poly, on the other hand, are prone to leaks. As such, you must let the experts in plumbing services replace your old pipes today.

6. Modern Appliances

The most visible feature of a plumbing system would be the appliances. Updating your appliances to their eco-friendly versions will add significant value to your home. Most modern appliances require a smaller amount of water while providing superior functionality. Consider switching out the refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine for new models. This upfront investment will pay off well in the long run.

Do not wait for your plumbing fixtures to break down or malfunction before making an upgrade. You must start conserving water and saving money on water bills. If you don’t upgrade your plumbing system, you could literally be flushing your hard-earned money down the drain.

AUTHOR BIO

Based in South Melbourne, Blue Diamond Plumbing was founded in 1985, working on new homes, repairs and commercial contracts. Over time they have grown to become some of the best plumbers Melbourne has to offer. Since 2001 the company has specialised in Emergency Plumbing and Property Maintenance, Repairs and Renovations for homes and businesses in Melbourne and inner city suburbs. Owner Rod Diamond has over 30 years experience with emergency plumbing in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

 

Stellar Smart Home: How to Set Up Automation in Your House

Home automation covers a broad range of appliances, amenities, and other conveniences. Given the large scale of household chores and activities that can be carried out automatically, automating your home can superficially appear both daunting and expensive. However, once you understand the broad strokes of creating a smart home, from setting up a central hub to figuring out which tasks you’d like to connect to the system, it’s both reasonably affordable and easy to set up and maintain a home automation system from a company like AMP Smart.

smart-home

The Basics

The first step in setting up automation in your home is determining which tasks you’d like your system to manage. Creating a smart home leaves plenty of room for customization and no two smart homes will be exactly alike. Generally speaking, you can look at automation as dividing into two distinct categories: devices and amenities. The device category includes audio and visual entertainment systems, computers, and appliances like washers and dryers. Amenities includes lighting, sprinklers, heating and air conditioning, security systems with cameras and door alarms, and other larger-scale systems in and around your home.

While these devices can be automated on a one-to-one basis, the best approach is to create a central control hub for the ultimate smart home experience. This central hub can be a physical unit or control panel, but it can also be achieved through apps that work with your existing tablet or smartphone, though this may depend on the scale of the system, and some mixing and matching is possible. A tablet offers more on-the-go control, but a dedicated console is inherently more secure because it is stationary.

Home automation uses a broad range of protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more specialized platforms like Z-Wave, Thread, Zigbee, and X-10. While the choice is ultimately up to you, a mixed approach built around wi-fi and Z-wave is commonly suggested, as you’re likely experienced with wi-fi and Z-wave has widespread support on a range of devices and systems.

Where to Start

If this is your first time automating aspects of your household, you’ll likely want to do a mix of devices and amenities. Stick with the amenities you already have before adding additional systems like security or smart lawn irrigation. Your HVAC amenities, which includes your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are a perfect starting point. Smart thermostats are surprisingly affordable and simple to install. As a bonus, homeowners with a smart thermostat save around 10 percent annually on energy bills, meaning you’ll quickly recoup the cost of the unit.

Smart light switches and outlets are another house-wide amenity that can easily be adapted. Light timers have been popular for decades as both a convenience and handy security feature and can now be integrated into a larger smart home system. By integrating these with smart switches and outlets, you can not only automate your indoor and outdoor lighting, but also remotely control power to a whole range of devices, be it computers and printers, kitchen appliances, or your washer and dryer units.

Automating your devices can be more involved than just remotely controlling their power supply. There’s a broad range of wireless devices that can be linked up to a central hub for ease of control. One of the more interesting features these offer is the use of smart sensors. By detecting your comings and goings, smart sensors can automatically turn lights and devices on and off depending on whether or not you’re home or in a specific room. They aren’t essential, but are definitely a huge convenience and set your system apart from other smart homes. As said, there are a broad range of devices with smart and automated capabilities, including integrated home audio systems, surveillance cameras, and even coffee pots.

The Sky’s the Limit

The level of automation achievable in your home is really only limited by your imagination. Now that a few generations of products have been released, the cost has settled to a point where it’s possible to have smart home features on any budget. Familiarize yourself with the various protocols used for smart technology and try to aim for consistency, as this will ease the process of placing all your devices and amenities under a central control hub. Focus on automating things you use every day, like lighting or heating, and from there branch out into more exotic implementations.

Guest Post By:

Dixie Somers / Freelance Writer
dixiesomers@gmail.com

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The Smart Buildings Of The Future – Infographic

Time and Technology are running at a very fast pace. This is the age of Smart Technology in every aspect. Smart Phones, Smart Electronics, Smart Automobiles, Smart Infrastructure, Smart Buildings and the list goes on.

The Technology is evolving over the decades but has harmed the Planet earth a big way. Over Usage of Natural Resources, pollution and emissions etc. have burnt a hole in the layers of Mother Earth. Every nation is fighting to curb this menace and imbibe all the Smart ways to go green and secure mankind and our planet. Architects & Engineers are infusing Smart technologies to design smart buildings for minimum energy consumption, low emissions, reduced water usage, utilization of sunlight and enhancing outdoor greenery.

Here is an Infographic by RubberBond, depicting the Smart Buildings of the Future.
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The Smart Buildings Of The Future by Rubber Bond.

Tips To Stay Comfortable If Your HVAC System Goes Down

With more than 80 percent of American homes having some kind of air conditioning or heating system installed, it’s easy to take that technology for granted. However, these systems don’t always function the way we expect. In those situations, we have to cope with the climate the way our ancestors did, in the days before these modern conveniences existed.

Coping without heating or air conditioning is an inconvenience no one wants to deal with, but it’s something everyone needs to be able to do. Fortunately, staying comfortable, even without your HVAC system, is a matter of following some relatively simple guidelines. With these tricks in mind, you can keep from feeling too hot or too cold, even if your HVAC system is on the blink for more than a day.

For example, keeping cool in the summer without air conditioning means dressing for the weather, drinking plenty of cold water, and avoiding the use of heat-generating appliances — unless necessary. For additional cooling, you can take a lukewarm bath or shower before bed, or stay in your basement during the hottest hours of the day.

Staying warm without your furnace is possible if you stick to only a few rooms and block the doors to the unused rooms with heavy curtains or blankets. Dressing in layers of warm wool clothing and blocking drafts under doors with rolled-up towels and blankets also helps you stay comfortable even when it’s cold inside your house.

Modern conveniences such as HVAC systems have certainly made life easier. However, knowing how to live without them will make life easier for those brief periods when they aren’t working. Or, you might want to live without them voluntarily to save a little money on your energy bills. Either way, these tips can help you stay comfortable without your HVAC system.

Tips to stay comfortable if your HVAC system goes down from Randazzo Heating & Cooling

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

There are lots of reasons to remodel, renovate, or update your home. You might do so in order to eventually put your residence up for sale or you might do so in order to create a more livable place for you and yours. But one common motivation these days is the desire to be more energy efficient to reduce the end-of-month energy bill. If this strikes a chord with you, getting aboard the green movement bandwagon can bring about tangible results. So read on for effective home improvements that will allow you to live green, save money, and improve home value.

Green Movement: Effective Home Improvements

ATTIC INSULATION

While it’s not exactly the most exciting home improvement measure, adequate attic insulation will help you to keep down your heating costs during the cold weather months. If you live in an older residence, chances are that your attic does not have enough insulation…and it’s possible that it actually has no insulation at all. Have it checked and get enough insulation in your attic. This could potentially save you hundreds of bucks during the cold weather season. While you’re at it, ensure that your walls also have enough insulation.

KITCHEN

When it comes to your kitchen, there are lots of things you can do to make this popular space more energy efficient as well as eco-friendly. Depending on how extensive the remodeling, you can swap your cabinets for options that have the stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council. Wood and wood products with such certification are obtained employing responsible forest management efforts, and they’re made with glues that don’t have formaldehyde. You can also get green countertops that are made from recycled or sustainable products and that are manufactured courtesy of eco-friendly methods. Among other options, you can also upgrade your kitchen with energy efficient equipment like a new fridge, freezer, or dishwasher. And don’t forget to get fluorescent lighting, which employs much less energy versus incandescent lighting.

GARDEN

While a garden might not seem to fit the theme, what better demonstrates that you’re really committed to the green movement than would developing and maintaining a wonderful garden? A garden will give your home more curb appeal in the event that you put it up for sale, make your residence a more inviting place for your family and guests to congregate, and reflect on the outside of your home what you’re hoping to accomplish on the inside of your home. Gardening is, as some put it, a lifestyle. So it’s best to do it right to get the best results.

garden

WINDOWS

According to one source, the average cost to install over 10 windows is $14,504; the average cost to replace between five and 10 windows is $4,917; and the average cost to replace under five windows is $2,219. Of course, there are various factors that come into play to determine how much it will cost. Another source notes that a typical home that opts for windows with the Energy Star rating can save between $126 and $465 annually when changing their single-pane windows. How can you tell if you need new windows? If you live in an older house, you might notice that your windows are drafty. It’s not difficult to determine if this is the case. All you’ll need to do is hold your hand up around the windows to determine if you can feel air. Should you feel air, you can save money by replacing your windows. Over time, the savings on your heating and cooling bills will exceed what you paid to buy and install your windows.

These are just a few effective home improvements you can make if you want to be part of the green movement. So live green, save money, and increase the valuation of your residence.

 

Factors To Consider During The Air Conditioning Installation And Maintenance Services

Air conditioning installation and maintenance is a service provided in order to facilitate proper installation of an air conditioner unit. In order to ensure that it provides you the guaranteed improved and quality air with optimal and ideal energy usage. The installation of a unit varies according to the different types of AC units available. Selection of an AC unit depends on different parameters such as the space to be cooled and the total amount of heat generated within the enclosed surface. Based on the above-mentioned criteria, the AC units are classified as:

Air Conditioning

  • Window Air Conditioner
  • Split Air Conditioner
  • Packaged Air Conditioner
  • Central Air Conditioning System

The primary factors to consider during the installation and maintenance services of air-conditioning, which affect the performance of an AC unit, are:

  • Correctly sized
  • Sufficient airflow operation
  • Appropriate amount of refrigerant
  • Tightly sealed ductwork

The proper installation and maintenance service of an air conditioner unit helps you obtain the optimal comfort. There are many firms, who are rich in industrial expertise provide high quality air conditioning installation and maintenance services. The air conditioning installation process comprises of different steps such as:

1. Indoor Unit Location

The positioning of the air conditioner plays a pivot role in its installation and working. The air conditioner front vents shall not be obscured in any way that may cause hindrances in good air circulation.  In addition, an AC unit should be always away from any doorways or any pipes.

2. Outdoor Unit

With regards to outdoor units, there shall be enough of space around it and shall always be installed in a flat and secure surface. If the air conditioning unit installation is done on a roof, it needs to be fastened on a wood to prevent it from being blown by the high wind.

3. Water Drainpipe

In the case of an indoor unit, make sure the water pipe is at the end of the tray and rubber bung is at the hole on opposite side. The drainpipe should be angled at a good distance from the location, as water drainage would be much more during extreme summer.

4. Pipe Connection

While connecting the pipe to the unit, do not over tight them and they need to be covered with a foam insulation to prevent from any refrigerant leaking.

Purpose of Maintenance Service of an Air Conditioner is:

  • Control bacterial growth in cooling water systems.
  • Avoid scaling and corrosion of pipelines that come in contact with the circulating water in an AC unit.
  • Maintain perfectly cleaned and sanitized drain pans to prevent stagnant water.
  • Prevent increased consumption of energy source due to corrosion products and deposits within the compressors.

Furthermore, regular maintenance of an AC unit is important for proper functioning of the unit at its top efficacy. Routine air conditioner maintenance helps to avoid any major breakdowns in the future and perfect functioning throughout the changing seasons to come.

For efficient operation, the unit shall be maintained effectively and efficiently throughout its usage. The negligence of necessary maintenance can cause a steady decline in the performance of the unit with a steady rise in energy consumption. The primary objective of maintenance is to mitigate the consequences of a failure of the unit.

Important Steps in Air Conditioner Maintenance Service are:

Routine cleaning and replacement, if needed, of air conditioner filters, coils, and fins. Clogged filters prevent good airflow. Unclean coils reduce the unit’s ability to absorb heat and the condenser coils bent easily, which needs to be replaced to avoid blocking of airflow.

  1. Clear clogged drain channels – as they prevent the air conditioners from lowering the humidity levels.
  2. Correct checking of the amount of refrigerant.
  3. Checking the thermostat accuracy.
  4. Measuring airflow in the evaporator coils.

Thus, proper care ensures the efficacy of your air conditioner.

 

Sweltering Heat: How to Troubleshoot HVAC Problems

Sweltering Heat, How to Troubleshoot HVAC Problems

There is almost nothing worse than sitting in a hot house in the middle of summer without air conditioning. If you suspect that there’s something wrong with your HVAC unit, it’s best to investigate the issue as soon as possible so that you’re not left sitting in the heat. After troubleshooting your issue, you might need to seek the assistance of a professional to get the problem fixed.

Power Supply

The first thing that you should check is the power supply to the unit. Sometimes, the circuit breaker can get tripped or a cord can get disconnected. This is often a simple fix and the least expensive of the issues that could be wrong with the HVAC unit. Try turning the breaker off for a few seconds before turning it back on to see if the unit will respond. You should also look at the fuses for the unit to see if any of them are bad.

Adjusting the Thermostat

To check the thermostat, set the unit to cool. Turn the setting to where it’s about three degrees below the temperature in the room. The unit should come on with cool air blowing from the vents. If no air can be felt, then you may be looking at an issue with the thermostat as it won’t pick up on the temperature in the room to make the unit come on at the right time.

Check the Coils and Wires

This can be a detailed venture, but you need to know if the coils are still working as they should. The cover of the unit will likely need to be removed. After scanning the coils and electrical components, take note to see if any are burnt or damaged. A company such as Edge Guys HVAC can send professionals to the home to replace the parts that are impacting the unit or replace the entire unit if the parts can’t be repaired or replaced.

Proper Ventilation

Check the vents in the home as well as the ventilation system. There shouldn’t be anything blocking the flow of air from the unit to the inside of the home. Check to see if the fan is on or if the unit is set to auto. If the fan is on, then it will run for a longer period of time. Clean the vents and the rest of the system to remove dirt and debris that collects over the winter months.

Troubleshooting your HVAC unit can take a few minutes or a few hours, but the result should mean cold air in the home. While some tasks can be completed yourself, there are repairs that might require the help of a professional. Once the unit is repaired and you have air flowing, it’s important to maintain the unit so that there aren’t any issues in the future.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks.

Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

DIY Home Energy Audit

You might think that improving your home’s energy efficiency requires a significant investment in new high-tech windows, solar panels for your roof or even overhauling your HVAC system. Although it’s true that making any of those big investments can have a significant impact on your home’s energy consumption, little changes can make just as much of a difference. For example, it’s estimated that the United States spends more than $300 billion a year on energy that is wasted because of drafty doors and windows. A few nickels’ worth of caulk might be all that’s needed to solve the problem for your home. There are countless issues around your home that could be costing you a lot on your energy bill when taken all together, and many of them can be easy to fix.

Checking on all of these potential trouble spots on a regular basis can make a huge difference on your energy bills. You can and should hire a professional to perform a home energy audit every so often. However, you also can perform a do-it-yourself energy audit on a regular basis to catch many of the most common and easily fixed issues before they require professional intervention. Yet with so many potential trouble spots in your home that require attention, it can be easy to overlook some of them. The following checklist details some of the most common areas where energy efficiency can be improved around the home. Following it can help you perform a DIY home energy audit and ultimately result in major savings on your energy bill.

 

DIY Home Energy Audit Checklist

Checklist: DIY Home Energy Audit created by Mendel Plumbing and Heating

Decorate Your Home with Double Glazed Sliding Doors

Sliding doors is a concept that was popular since the time when it was introduced in to the market. If the sliding doors are glazed over a single side, then they cannot perform all the necessities that are required for a better insulated home. Using double glazed sliding doors is the solution and is also the option which offers you more than just good insulation. When you have a single glazed door newly installed, and you are skeptical about changing the whole thing again, then you must note the fact that a double-glazed sliding door can be easily upgraded from a single glazed sliding door. Now you can install some large sliding doors between your drawing rooms and the attached garden area. It will improve the overall decoration of your house, and you can also open this door for parties in your garden area.

sliding doors

Advantages of a Double-Glazed Sliding Door

If you are considering changing your doors to double glazed sliding doors but you are not sure about the other benefits of it, then here are the benefits and advantages of a double-glazed sliding door:

  • Improved Insulation– the biggest and the most prominent advantage of double glazed sliding doors is its ability to increase the insulation of the room. Most of the doors that are single glazed allow the outside air to pass in and out of the room making it difficult for your HVAC systems to run efficiently, i.e. during winter days the warm air inside the room goes outside and the cold air comes in and vice versa for summers. When you are using a double-glazed sliding door, then it effectively controls the insulation of the room and does not allow the passing of air in and out of the house. This makes it easier for the HVAC systems to function efficiently.
  • Helps in Saving Energy – if you have an air passage through your doors then even the best HVAC can fail to perform efficiently. But when you are using double glazed sliding doors then the air passage is controlled and helps in the better functioning of your HVAC systems. This in turn will run less and save energy.
  • Noise Proof– if your house is beside a busy road or your house is beside a noisy neighbour, a double-glazed sliding door can keep you away from such noisy disturbances. If you wish to have a calm and quiet environment inside your house, then you can install these sliding doors in your house.
  • They Can be Easily Recycled– one of the best things about these doors is the fact that they can be very easily recycled. Therefore, whether you plan for a remodel or any other thing that requires the removal of the doors, you can easily do it. Each of its part is recyclable and hence you can be sure of using something that will not harm the future generations.

Double-Glazed Sliding Doors

Why Would You Choose Double-Glazed Sliding Doors?

When you renovate your house, you can install some double-glazed sliding doors in your house because these doors can reduce the noise pollution and save your electric consumption bill, protect your home from dust particles, and these doors can also prevent UV rays during the daytime. These doors can also block the sun’s heat and prevent any damage to your furniture. Apart from that, these doors come with a double locking system that will secure your home and these sliding doors can provide you the utmost privacy level.

Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings – Infographic

As the population of the earth is predicted to have grown by 3 billion by 2050 the time for building energy efficient and sustainable buildings is now. With an estimated 70% of people living in cities, the increase in demand for housing, food and sustainability is an issue that can no longer be ignored.

In this infographic we take a look at some sustainable and energy efficient buildings that are already in existence around the world. These innovative buildings show how new constructions can help meet the needs of all these extra people by providing them with sustainable homes and workplaces.

The buildings highlighted use solar and wind power to generate their own electricity; many also include other innovative aspects such as collecting their own water by rain harvesting and recycling systems, along with recycling energy.

From 2020 the EU has directed that all new buildings need to be as near to zero energy as possible, this means that they will have to make nearly as much energy as they use.

Read on to find out more about Energy Efficient and Sustainable Buildings that have changed the perspective on where we will live and work in the future. These creative buildings are not solely energy efficient, they also promote healthy living and working environments that are advantageous to people, their surroundings and wildlife.
Energy Effective and Sustainable Buildings by Cast Iron Radiators 4u
Energy Effective and Sustainable Buildings by Cast Iron Radiators 4u.

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