Do I Need a Pressure Reducing Valve? 

Most people share the opinion that the more water pressure, the better. A warm, cascading shower certainly feels better than a light, misty trickle, and a robust stream coming out of the sink makes life easier in countless ways. Certainly, it would be hard to immediately think of a time we've heard someone complain about having too much water pressure in their home.

Nevertheless, there are all sorts of reasons that homeowners might want to install a pressure reducing valve (PRV). What are the benefits of a pressure reducing valve, and when is the right time to put one in place for your home? Let's look at why these valves can come in handy:

High water pressure can reduce the lifespan of your appliances

If your water pressure is too high - over the ideal 50 pounds per square inch of pressure that we see in most homes - appliances can take on unneeded stress. The more stress that appliances are put under, the less longevity you will get out of them. High water pressure can reduce the efficiency and longevity of dishwashers, water heaters, water softeners - basically, anything that is connected to a water line.

If you're worried about breaking or wearing down your appliances, make it easier on your them in the long run - especially if you're considering upgrading any - by installing PRVs now.

Fixtures can be stressed from high water pressure

As we mentioned earlier, no one likes showering under a trickle of water. But the fact remains that too much pressure can cause damage to your faucets and showerheads, leading to unwanted wear and tear. A PRV is one relatively cost-effective way to strike a balance between water pressure and your budget.

Even if you reduce your high water pressure even moderately, you can save some wear and tear on your fixtures - and save some water every month, to boot. Or, to conserve water without sacrificing any pressure, why not look at upgrading to a low-flow showerhead or replacing your faucet aerator

Get to Know the Parts of Your Plunger

“So I put the, uh, the rubber doohickey into the hole, but then I couldn’t get a good grip on the, uh, the stick-y part there.”

Plungers are some of the most common – and most effective – DIY plumbing tools out there; in fact, we’d recommend that each household have two. But while most of us own plungers, and even more of us know how to use them the right way, plenty still don’t know how to describe the parts of their plunger, let alone how each piece of the tool actually works.

Wonder no more! Let’s talk plunger parts and functionality!

The long, smooth part of the plunger that you grip is called the handle; traditionally, plunger handles were made of wood, but you’re now just as likely to find plastic, metal, and glass handles on store shelves.

The rubber dome at the end of the handle is called the cup. Admit it: You’re picturing a red rubber cap right now, aren’t you? The cup is what is responsible for making a tight seal around a drain, allowing you to force water up and down – the pressure from which, eventually, dislodges your clog.  While most cups look like half-circles, there can be variations; your cup may, for instance, look more like a bell, with ridged sides and a smaller opening, or it may have straighter sides for a more forceful plunge.

Why is My Faucet Dripping? (Source: - used as royalty free image)

Drip... drip... drop.... drip...

More than just a nuisance, an endlessly dripping faucet can, sometimes, be an early indicator of an array of other problems, perhaps with your faucet itself or buried deep in your pipes.

And besides being annoying, a dripping faucet wastes a substantial amount of water over time - in fact, at one drop per second, a leaky faucet can waste nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year. Not only is this bad for the planet, but for your pocketbook, running up your utility bills in the long run.

Want to silence the drip, conserve water, save money, and stop a potential plumbing disaster in its tracks? 

Here are the most common reasons why your faucet may be dripping - and what you can do about it:

Cause #1: Damaged or Worn Parts in the Faucet Itself

Worn out parts are among the leading causes of leaky faucets. If you have a traditional faucet, the washer inside tends to wear out over time. If you have a cartridge faucet, the cartridge itself may be worn out. A ball faucet tends to leak because of a problem with the O ring, seal, or another corroded part. You may also want to consider replacing or cleaning your aerator, which can get clogged, leading to leaks, as well as unwelcome changes of water pressure. 

Your best solution is to get a professional to take a look at the faucet to determine whether the whole fixture should be replaced, or if an individual part should be replaced instead.

Cause #2: Improper Water Pressure

Using the Dishwasher Vs. Hand Washing

Today is the day. Yep, no one is going to stop me. I watched my parents do it most of my upbringing and now I am bringing it back! I mean, do those dirty things truly need my hands to do the work?

Plenty of older Chicago homes and apartments come without dishwashers; even among houses with top-of-the-line appliances, plenty of homeowners still insist on washing their pots, pans, and plates by hand. Many find it soothing, a lot of homeowners have a nostalgic attitude like the one above, and plenty more people have told us that they believe that hand washing actually helps conserve water in the home.

But is this true? Is hand washing the greener, cheaper choice, or is it actually worth it to invest and routinely run a modern dishwasher? Let's unpack some of the differences between using a dishwasher and hand wishing in your sink:

Hand Washing Does Not Conserve Water or Power

The Chicago Homeowner's Guide to Saving Money With Insulation

Doesn’t it feel great to curl up with a warm blanket when you’re cold? 

Well, your house can use some of that TLC, too. Think of insulation as a blanket for the needy systems in your home, helping to keep them warm and operating at peak efficiency all year round.

Take it from Chicago’s plumbing and HVAC experts – taking some time to add insulation now can save you big on money and stress down the line. Here’s what you need to know about insulation for your Chicago property: 

Insulating Your Pipes and Water Heater

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