Understanding the Benefits of a Water Softener

How Do Water Softeners Work?

Most homeowners have heard of hard water, but not everyone knows what it means – or, for that matter, what to do about it. Essentially, the “hardness” of water refers to the level of dissolved minerals the water contains – the higher the mineral content, the harder the water. While hard water is generally safe to drink, it can cause many other problems (more on those below), so many homeowners install water softeners to combat the effects of hard water.

Water softeners are typically installed just downstream of where the main water supply enters the home. These devices remove dissolved minerals from the home’s water supply, typically using a process called ion exchange. The water passes through a tank with thousands of tiny resin beads charged with sodium ions. The mineral ions are attracted to the beads, which release their sodium ions in exchange. The beads are periodically flushed to dispose of the minerals and recharged with sodium ions, and the process repeats. This article will explain the negative effects of hard water and three key ways a water softener can protect against them!

Make Cleaning Easier and More Effective

cleaningOne of the peskiest things about hard water is that it tends to leave a residue on virtually every surface it touches. This often comes in the form of cloudy water spots on dishes, silverware, and plumbing fixtures (showerheads, faucets, sink basins, etc.) as the dissolved minerals dry out, forming mineral scale deposits. Hard water can also lead to a rapid buildup of soap scum since minerals like calcium and magnesium make it more difficult to rinse the soap from surfaces. Additionally, clothes and linens washed in hard water can fade and wear out faster than usual.

So by installing a water softener, cleaning tasks will be more effective, and there will be less cleaning to do. With a water softener, clothes will be longer-lasting and stay brighter, glasses and dishes will be clean after washing with no spots left behind, and homeowners will save time having to scrub mineral scale and soap scum out of the sinks, tubs and shower walls since there will be less of it to clean!

Protect the Plumbing System

Cleaning scale buildup off of surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom can be a time-consuming hassle, but cleaning it out of the plumbing system itself is another matter entirely. Just as mineral scale accumulates on surfaces inside the home, it also builds up inside pipes, fixtures, and appliances. Over time, the scale can clog water supply lines, damage appliances like water heaters and washing machines, interfere with faucets and showerheads, and cause corrosion throughout the plumbing system.

This can lead to more frequent plumbing repairs and premature appliance breakdowns, potentially costing homeowners a lot of money. In extreme cases, it may even be necessary to re-pipe the home entirely if the scale buildup has gotten bad enough! So, it’s much better to avoid these problems altogether. A water softener helps prevent scale buildup from hard water, helping protect the home’s plumbing system and extend the lifespan of fixtures and large appliances throughout the house.

Hard water can also be a source of problems for the water heater. When minerals like calcium and magnesium are present in the water, they can form deposits on heating surfaces. This reduces the water heater’s energy efficiency as it takes longer to heat up and shortens its lifespan as the components can become corroded over time. A water softener can help by removing these minerals from the water supply, ensuring that the water heater runs smoothly, efficiently, and with fewer problems.

Help Improve Hair and Skin Health

healthSince hard water leaves behind mineral deposits and makes it harder to rinse away soap completely, it can also lead to dry, flat hair and dry, itchy skin. This is because the residue left behind by hard water interferes with the body’s natural oils and its regeneration and hydration processes. For those who take the health of their skin and hair seriously, this is a major obstacle to proper self-care. Even worse, dry hair and skin can lead to discomfort and irritation, especially for sensitive skin.

One of the critical ways a water softener benefits homeowners is that it helps maintain healthier skin and hair while improving overall comfort levels for everyone in the home. This can also mean that homeowners won’t have to spend as much on skincare and hair care products since they won’t have to compensate for the effects of hard water!

With all these considerations, it’s easy to see why a water softener can be a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. But to ensure it’s the right choice for them, homeowners should consult with a qualified local plumber to assess the hardness of their home’s water and make an informed decision!

About Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling

Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling is a family owned business serving Greensboro and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, honest information, and prompt arrivals. Call them today for water softener installation or repair in Greensboro, NC.

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Why Air Ducts Should Be Part of Spring Cleaning

Consider the Importance of Air Duct Cleaning

With all the cleaning and home maintenance tasks for spring cleaning, it might be easy to think of the AC system as something that needs to be taken care of. After all, it gets a lot of mileage during the summer, so it makes sense to get it maintained before its busiest season.

But the air ducts don’t always get as much attention, even though the ductwork must also be clean to get clean air. This blog will share the benefits of duct cleaning, signs it’s needed, and tips to keep the air ducts clean between professional cleanings.

Benefits of Air Duct Cleaning

ductsAir duct cleaning has several benefits, including:

  • Improved indoor air quality: Some dirt, dust, and other airborne contaminants that don’t get trapped by air filters (especially if the filter is already dirty and needs replacing) can make their way into the ducts and settle there. If left uncleaned, these particles, allergens, and other airborne contaminants can circulate within the home and affect the health of residents. 
  • Improved energy efficiency and lower energy costs: Duct cleaning can improve airflow and catch small air leaks, improving the HVAC system’s energy efficiency. A more energy-efficient heating and cooling system uses less energy and thus reduces a household’s energy bills.

Signs of Dirty Air Ducts

It’s important to be able to recognize signs indicating the air ducts are dirty and need cleaning. If homeowners notice any of the following symptoms, it could mean that their air ducts need a thorough duct cleaning:

  • Musty odors coming from the vents
  • Mold or mildew growth around the vents
  • Increase in symptoms of allergies, asthma, and respiratory problems
  • Excessive dust on furniture and surfaces
  • Vents dirty or clogged with dust, debris, or pet hair

Keep Your Air Ducts Clean Between Professional Cleanings

filterAir ducts aren’t easy to get to, and most of the time, homeowners need to call professionals to thoroughly clean hard-to-reach areas in the ductwork. But once those air ducts have been cleaned, homeowners will benefit from keeping them clean. Simple tasks like cleaning the house regularly by dusting, mopping, and vacuuming to keep dust levels low are essential. 

Homeowners should also routinely replace their HVAC system’s air filters to trap and collect airborne particles before they can enter the air ducts. Professionals typically recommend that homeowners clean or change their air filters at least once every three months. Regular air filter replacements and keeping the home clean can help the air ducts stay clean for as long as possible after a professional air duct cleaning. 

About Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling

Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling is a family owned business serving Greensboro and the surrounding areas since 1999. They provide straightforward pricing, arrival promptly, and membership plans. Call them today for air duct cleaning services in Greensboro, NC.

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Green Plumbing Tips for St. Patrick’s Day

3 Simple Ways to Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day and Save Water and Money

St. Patrick’s Day is this month, and what better way to get into the spirit of green than with a few eco-friendly plumbing tips! Whether outfitting the entire home with water-saving plumbing fixtures or just changing a few bad habits, following these simple tips can make a big difference when it comes to saving money on water costs — not to mention helping Mother Nature in the process. Read on for tips for making St. Patrick’s day greener this year!

Use Water-Efficient Fixtures

showerInvesting in water-saving plumbing fixtures can be a great way to go green. Water-saving fixtures look no different than traditional ones, but they use significantly less water for the same tasks, lowering monthly water bills and saving homeowners money. 

Examples of water-saving plumbing fixtures are low-flow showerheads and faucets. Low-flow plumbing fixtures are designed to reduce water use and save on water bills while still keeping good water pressure. Another example of a water-saving plumbing fixture is low-flow toilets like the dual flush toilet. Dual flush toilets feature two different flushes: one for solid waste and one for liquid waste. The amount of water used during each flush can be adjusted, resulting in significant water savings. Households can use at least 20% less water by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances.

Helpful Habits

Conserving water does not have to be complicated. Certain everyday habits can be adjusted to reduce overall water usage and save on water bills. For example, remembering to turn off the water while brushing teeth and shaving are easy ways to save water. Eight gallons of water can be saved daily by turning off the faucet when brushing teeth, and ten gallons can be saved per shave. Other easy ways to minimize water usage include only using the dishwasher and washing machine once they are full. 

Plumbing maintenance and inspections are also important habits that protect against wasting water by catching leaks. According to the EPA, a dripping faucet that leaks at one drip per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water a year. To prevent leaks from spiking water bills, it’s crucial to catch them early.   

Prevent Toilet Clogs

toilet People should be mindful of what they flush to reduce toilet clogs and ocean pollution. This includes only flushing toilet paper and human waste. Additionally, avoid dumping any inorganic materials down the toilet, as these can cause serious damage to the environment. When inorganic materials are flushed, they can end up polluting the ocean. Inorganic substances like feminine hygiene products, wipes, paper towels, non-degradable diapers, and dental floss can damage marine habitats and ecosystems.

Not only do these materials threaten the health of marine life, but they can also clog plumbing systems and waste a lot of water, raising the water bill. A single toilet flush uses up to 7 gallons of water, and if a toilet is clogged, water will continue to run until the clog is cleared. If a toilet continues to be blocked over an extended period, it can waste a large amount of water and significantly increase monthly water bills, so it’s best to prevent them.

About Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling

Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling is a family-owned business serving Greensboro and the surrounding communities. They provide straightforward pricing, honest information, and membership plans. Call them today for clogged toilet repair or kitchen plumbing services in Greensboro, NC.

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Black History in the HVAC Industry

Notable Names in Modern Heating and Cooling

Black history is rich with inspiring stories of heroes, inventors, and leaders. Many industries have benefited from the minds and the work of African Americans. One of those industries is the HVAC industry, where three exceptional inventors shaped how homes are heated and cooled today.

David Crosthwait

davidAs a talented mechanical and electrical engineer, inventor, and writer, David Crosthwait did a lot of his most important work in the 20s and 30s, when he developed heating systems designed for buildings and extremely large spaces. This heating design included the invention of a vacuum pump, a boiler, and a thermostat control that was installed in two of the most iconic buildings in New York City – Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.

Crosthwait’s expertise in air ventilation, heat transfer systems, and central air conditioning led to a prolific body of work that includes 39 US patents and 80 international patents for the invention of various heating systems, vacuum pumps, refrigeration methods, and temperature regulating devices. All of these innovations in the HVAC industry earned him some of the top accolades in the field, including an honorary doctorate at Purdue University and being named a fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers – the first black person awarded this honor.

Alice H. Parker

Born in 1895, Alice H. Parker was already ahead of her time. Sensing the need for a more effective way of warming her home through the coldest days of winter in New Jersey, Parker improved the design of central heating by replacing coal and wood burning with a gas furnace and ductwork to fuel the heating system. This proved more efficient and convenient as it no longer required people to go outside in the cold just to chop or buy wood. It also lowered the risk of house fires because wood no longer needed to be left burning overnight in the fireplace.

The patent for her design was filed in 1919.  While the original system she came up with was never used, her idea of using natural gas to push warm air through ductwork to heat different parts of the house has become the basis of modern central heating systems still used in most homes today.

Lewis Latimer

lewisWhile his most notable work involved the invention of more durable carbon filaments resulting in longer-lasting light bulbs, Lewis Latimer’s innovative spirit went beyond electricity. After his work improving Edison’s light bulb, Latimer collaborated with Edison, helping him win his legal fight for patents in the court. He also dabbled with other inventions later in life. Some notable ones were his innovations in elevator safety and creating a system for controlling climate and improving hygiene in rooms by improving indoor air quality.

Latimer also patented a new type of evaporative air conditioner, a revolutionary device that used the natural cooling effect of water to cool the air. The device passed hot or humid air over water to reduce its temperature and humidity. This invention was the predecessor of modern air conditioners, which rely on similar principles to regulate the temperature and humidity of indoor spaces.

About Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling

Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling is a family-owned business serving the Greensboro, NC, community and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, honest information, and membership plans. Call them today for air quality, AC, or heating services in Greensboro, NC.

Set a Resolution to Remember Plumbing Maintenance This Year

What is Included in Plumbing Maintenance?

The holidays can be challenging, but most people don’t realize that the home can get stressed by the holidays too. Extra loads placed on the drains and water heater can add stress to the plumbing system, causing headaches and stress for the homeowner.

This new year, homeowners should take care of their plumbing systems with plumbing maintenance. Here are a few recommendations to help homeowners understand what plumbing maintenance includes and why it is helpful.

Preventative Drain Cleaning

drain snakeDrain cleaning is an integral part of plumbing maintenance because water and waste need to be able to flow freely through the drains and pipes. Homeowners should not use chemical drain cleaners to perform drain cleaning. These cleaners are corrosive and can damage pipes, leading to bigger problems. Even if the pipe doesn’t corrode, the acid in these chemicals can erode rubber seals and gaskets, causing them to fail. Additionally, these substances can corrode metal fixtures, such as faucets and shower heads.

Professional plumbers use specialized equipment like hydro jets to clean drains without causing any damage to the pipes themselves. This is because professional drain cleaning can remove build-up more efficiently and prevent drains from becoming clogged in the future. Using a professional service ensures that the plumbing system will be safe and functioning correctly.

Professional Plumbing Maintenance

Homeowners should trust the experts for plumbing maintenance. Plumbers have the skills and tools to help make plumbing maintenance a comprehensive practice. Some things that plumbers can do during maintenance are:

  • Spot signs of corrosion in pipework
  • Clean sewer lines along with stubborn sink clogs
  • Test water pressure
  • Look for leaks and fix them
  • Perform comprehensive water heater maintenance

Professional plumbing maintenance can give homeowners peace of mind about their plumbing. Routine maintenance helps extend the life of the plumbing and prevents issues from occurring. Professional plumbers have the expertise to identify potential issues with a plumbing system before they become more serious problems. This can save homeowners from spending money on costly repairs in the future. Don’t hesitate to get an expert’s opinion to stay stress-free in the coming year.

Water Heater Maintenance

maintain the water heaterNo plumbing maintenance plan is complete without giving the water heater some attention, along with the rest of the plumbing system. Water heaters can become damaged throughout the year or, at the very least, suffer some wear and tear that can rob performance in the form of efficiency and make problems more likely. Water heater maintenance protects efficiency, lowers utility bills, extends the water heater’s lifespan, and lowers the risk of issues arising.

Some of the things that technicians will address during water heater maintenance are:

  • Draining the tank and flushing out settled solids
  • Checking anti-corrosion devices like the anode rod
  • Inspecting for signs of corrosion
  • Checking for leaks
  • Inspecting and cleaning burners and heating elements

Allowing a professional to complete these steps can lower utility bills associated with heating water. It can also help expand the longevity of the unit. Homeowners should invest in their homes by giving professional plumbers a chance to do plumbing maintenance every year, and there is no better time to start than now.

About Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling

Master Plumbers Heating & Cooling is a family owned business serving Greensboro, NC, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat rate pricing, prompt arrivals, and honest information. Call them today for maintenance, water heater maintenance, and drain cleaning in Greensboro, NC.