Category: Maintenance Tips


Water Conservation: Helpful Hints and Tips


Drip. Drip. Drip. Every drop counts. Many people consider a leaky faucet a mere annoyance but if every household in America and Canada had a faucet that dripped once each second, 928 million gallons of water a day would leak away, according to the American Water Works Association (AWWA). That’s a lot, considering the AWWA predicts the average household uses approximately 146,000 gallons of water each year, but water is wasted in more ways than through a leaky faucet.

We've compiled a list of helpful hints and tips for conserving water:

For those who insist on rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, wash them in a basin of cold water rather than under a running faucet of hot water. Be vigilant about turning off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.

Water can also be wasted because of a lack of maintenance. Check all the faucets, hoses and appliances that use water in your house for leaks and drips. You would be surprised at how much water you can conserve by checking your plumbing fixtures.

Finally, examine your toilets ”” you may be flushing your money down the toilet and not even know it. They account for almost 30 percent of all indoor water use, and most of the time they are the biggest culprits of wasting water. For example, a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water a day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Just by listening you can tell if your toilet is running, but to check the water level, you’ll have to open the toilet tank.

If you are willing to spend the money on a new toilet it will actually save you money each month on water and wastewater bills. A low-flow toilet requires only 1.6 gallons of water per flush and an ultra-low-flow toilets use just 1.28 gallons per flush. Compare both to toilets made before 1994 that use 3.5 to 7 gallons for each flush. By replacing your toilet, you could save 7,900 to 21,700 gallons of water a year!

Not sure if you have a leak? Follow this advice from service professionals:

First, check your toilet for silent leaks by putting several drops of dark food coloring into your toilet tank. If the dye appears in the bowl, you need to replace the valve seal ball or flapper at the bottom of the tank or adjust or replace the fill valve.

Experts recommend replacing flappers and fill valves every couple of years to prevent a running toilet. A new flapper will seal properly, and a new fill valve will prevent overfilling or filling too slowly.

Also, lift the tank lid to fix the problem if water continues to flow after flushing – don’t just jiggle the handle. Adjust the chain if the flush valve flapper is hung up and not sitting down properly. If that doesn’t work, adjust the float ball so it doesn’t go down as far.

Last, it is not advisable to use chlorine tablets or any other chemical cleaner in the toilet tank. Chemicals corrode the metals and destroy the rubber seals. They could also kill the active bacteria that keep the septic tank working properly.

Home repair stores carry these parts. For those who aren’t do-it-yourselfers, contact a qualified plumber to diagnose and fix the problem.


  • Fix leaky toilets and fixtures as soon as they are detected
  • Take quick showers rather than full-tub baths
  • Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face
  • Stopper the sink when rinsing fruits and vegetables
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads
  • Use proper water level settings for laundry
  • Install on demand hot water dispenser
  • Install low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucet aerators
  • Consider a re-circulating hot water system
  • When replacing washer, consider a front load unit (uses 30% less water and 50% less energy than a top load unit)
  • Flush toilets and use garbage disposals only when necessary
  • Check your water meter monthly for possible leaks
  • Use water remaining in drinking glasses to water plants
  • Perform maintenance on water heater annually


  • When washing cars, use a nozzle that turns off automatically
  • Use drought-tolerant plants in the garden
  • Know where your master water shut off valve is located and show everyone in the household
  • Test the water shut off valve frequently to ensure it works
  • Position sprinklers so they are not spraying the house, sidewalks, street or driveway
  • Don’t water when it is windy
  • Maintain your sprinkler system as it suffers from normal wear and tear, which reduces the efficiency
  • Sweep rather than hose off sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways
  • Cover swimming pools when not in use to prevent evaporation
  • Mulch flower beds to keep soil cooler and reduce water loss
  • Turn off sprinkler systems during cool or rainy weather
  • Contact your water service district for a personalized irrigation schedule
  • Check pressure-regulating valve

Thanks to tax credits, making your home more energy efficient is no longer a hard on your pocketbook. Take advantage of this opportunity, and save money by improving your home’s plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems.

Consumers can apply the credit to the setting up of the following higher efficiency items:

  1. central air conditioners
  2. water heaters
  3. furnaces
  4. boilers
  5. air source heat pumps.

Visit for more information on the Economic Stimulus Plan. For a full list of eligible products, go


How to Remove Scary Rust Stains in the Sink


One of the worst ways to start your day is staring at a dirty, unpleasant rust stain in the sink while you are brushing your teeth. Those pesky rust stains do not just wipe away, and the longer you let them sit, the worse they get. However, it is possible to get rid of them””if you know how to get rid of rust, the right way.

  • Don’t Keep Doing the Same Old Thing – You’ve tried bathroom cleaners, home remedies and other products over and over. They may reduce the stains, but they do not completely remove the rust. Luckily, trying a new product may help. Super Iron Out is not the same old cleaner. It is designed for one purpose””to remove rust from the surface. Rust in sink
  • Tools Matter – While you may be able to get some results by just using an old towel or cloth, a good scrub brush or scouring pad can help. Just make sure you choose a tool that will not harm the surface of your sink. You should be able to find this out by reading the owner’s manual.
  • Apply Elbow Grease – Using Super Iron Out is easy, simply wet the area that needs to be cleaned. Apply the powder to damp sponge or cloth and rub lightly until stains are gone. Don't forget to rinse after the stains have been removed. Save your elbow and use Super Iron Out.
  • Stay at It – Rust removal is not a one-time job. You will need to stick with it. Remove the rust in your sink today and check again next week. Chances are the stains will reappear. Do not give up, just stick with it and see what you can do to reduce the chances it will come back (like fixing that annoying leak!). Use Super Iron Out as needed when stains reappear.

Once you understand how to remove rust stains, you will find that it is well worth your effort to get rid of them. Just remember, as the old saying goes: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Once you have a nice, clean, rust-free sink, keep it that way. By taking proactive measures, you can avoid the buildup of rust that will cause you frustration as well as hard work.


Most Common Areas for Rust Stain


Once you have figured out how to remove rust, you may be ready to tackle all the rust around your house. Before you go tearing the place apart looking for rust here and there, perhaps you can check out these five most common areas for rust stain.

  • Bathtub or Sink – The bathtub or sink is probably the first place people notice rust stains at home. This is most common on a porcelain product, but it can occur on so-called “stainless” steel. The rust usually occurs when the faucet drips onto the same place repeatedly. Remove Rust Stains in Bathroom Sink
  • Toilet – Sometimes toilet rings are not the sign of a dirty toilet, they are simply caused by hard water or water with a high rust content. Ignoring this problem will not make it go away; it will only get worse over time””especially on an older toilet.
  • Patio – A patio or other outdoor living area is a prime place for rust stains to occur. Rainwater or runoff can collect and after a while, it will lead to rust stains. It is important to remember that where rust occurs once, it will likely occur again in the future””unless you make changes with how the rain or water is dispersed.
  • Roof – One particularly difficult area to deal with rust damage is the roof. While you can clean the discoloration yourself, you want to make certain the roof is still structurally sound. If you don’t take care of the root of the problem, you could wind up with a leaky roof or an even worse problem.
  • Fireplace – A fireplace is, unfortunately, a space that is susceptible to leaks and runoff. This can cause rust stains both inside and outside the home. Regularly checking for rust both inside of your fireplace and outside (near the cap) is important.

Every home or structure is different and there are certainly other areas you may find rust stain. The most important thing is to take advantage of the right rust removal product (like Super Iron Out) so that you can get rid of the rust before it gets out of control. After all, rust spreads quickly, so the best way to prevent a major problem is by acting on problems right away. Super Iron Out makes it easy to remove rust and keep your house clean.