Tankless water heaters

Tankless Water Heaters: What to Know

Tankless Water Heaters are also called on-demand water heaters. These units heat water only when you turn on the faucet.  They usually operate on natural gas or propane.  The main advantage is that they eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank. Meaning, they save energy. According to Energy Star, some tankless units are so energy efficient, they have energy factors as high as 95.  Additionally, the units take up much less space. They are more expensive to purchase, but tax credits and energy savings eventually will repay the home or business owner with lower energy costs.  And there is no tank to leak when you are away on vacation – flooding the lowest level of your home.

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toilet repairs

Toilet Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Did you know that plumbers have to stock tools and supplies on their truck? This is so that when they show up at your home, they are entirely ready to work. That is why it costs so much for a plumber to come to your home.  So, anything that you can do yourself to prevent that house call saves you money and allows your plumber to deal with issues that require his or her expertise. Toilet repairs that you can do yourself can save you money and might save you time because you are not waiting at home for the plumber to show up at your house.  Today, we will discuss two small things that you can do that do not take much skill and are safe for most homeowners to do themselves.

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Mini-ductless units Mini-Ductless HVAC System

Mini Split Ductless HVAC Systems Advantages

Are you tired of being hot in your bedroom this summer? Or freezing in the family room, hoping that your A/C will work hard enough so you can sleep?  Today, you do not have to do either – or in the case of many of our customers both.  That was, of course before they installed one of these new units.

Thanks to advances in HVAC technology, mini split ductless air conditioning has become the choice for homes and businesses. Especially where traditional cooling systems cannot be feasibly installed.  These systems are comprised of an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air handler. Ductless systems work in a similar way to central air systems but on a smaller scale.  Like central systems, mini splits have two main components: an outdoor compressor/condenser, and an indoor air-handling unit.  A conduit houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain. And it links the outdoor and indoor units.

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shower head

Removing Your Shower Head: How to Clean It

Shower heads often spray unevenly because their tiny holes have gotten plugged with mineral deposits. In order for water to flow freely, these deposits need to be removed.  To do that, you will want to soak the shower head in vinegar.  And that may mean removing the showerhead from the shower arm.

Newer showerheads screw onto the shower arm, the pipe that comes out of the shower wall.  Older models feature a shower arm with a ball-shaped end that acts as a swivel for the showerhead.

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lead removal Clean reverse osmosis water

Lead Removal: Is There Lead in Your Drinking Water?

Have you determined that there may be “higher” levels of lead in your water? You might want to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters. Off the bat, to minimize lead from your tap water, do not use hot tap water when preparing food or drink.  Make sure to use cold water after flushing the tap. Then you can heat it if needed.

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lead

Is there lead in my drinking water?

How does Lead get in your water?

The pipes that carry water in the street are usually made of iron or steel, and typically do not add lead to your water.  Lead can enter tap water if lead solder had been used on your pipes or brass fixtures in your home.  Homes built before 1989, when lead solder was banned, will likely contain some lead contamination.

How do I find out if there’s lead in my water?

To learn exactly what’s in your water, contact your local water supplier to receive a copy of the latest water quality report.  The EPA requires all community water systems to prepare and deliver an annual water quality report called a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) for their customers by July 1st of each year.

To find your local Consumer Confidence Report, visit this EPA website:

How to remove lead from water (without installing a lead filter)?

Flush in-building water supply pipes.  Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water in a faucet has gone unused for more than several hours.

Use flushed-out cold-water tap for cooking water.  Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.

Not an Option: Boiling Your Water

Some people wrongly believe that boiling water will somehow help remove lead.  While boiling water kills bacteria and parasites, it will not help with lead removal.   Lead is an element, and boiling will just result in even higher concentrations of lead after the water evaporates.

Additional tips for Reducing Lead Intake

If you are concerned with your water, or are waiting to have it tested, we do have a few tips for you.  Always run your taps for at least 1-2 minutes to flush out stagnant water.  Also only use cold water to drink and cook.  Both of these techniques, while limiting the amount of lead leeching into your water, will not eliminate it however.

When getting water from the tap for cooking pasta, making a cup of tea or mixing formula for a baby bottle, do not pull warm water from the “HOT” water side of the faucet.  Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead since water temperature plays a role in how corrosive the water can be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) website states: “Do not use hot tap water to make cereals, drinks or mix baby formula.  You may draw cold water after flushing the tap and then heat it if needed.

So, always acquire water from the “COLD” side and heat up the water yourself to reduce the potential for lead contamination.

Secondly, if you’ve been out of town or even gone to work all day, it’s a good idea to “flush” your pipes by running water for at least a minute or so.  The longer water has been sitting in pipes, the more lead it may contain.  Flushing for a couple of minutes can waste water, so you may consider taking a shower to flush out your pipes.  Human skin does not absorb lead in water, so shower or clean while flushing the pipes.

What solutions are there for reducing lead intake?

With the detrimental health effects of lead, especially in pregnant women and young children, consider an effective, long term solution; either upgrading pipes or installing a whole home water filter.  You may also wish to consider water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, distillation, and carbon filters specially designed to remove lead.

As always, if you decide to have a lead filter or other filters installed on your home water supply system to be safe, please call Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating & Air to help with the installation or to allow us to make recommendations to you.

Image Credit – Adobe Stock

kitchen faucet

Kitchen Faucet Tightening: A How To Guide

We all want to save money when we can.  As the owner of Proudfoot Plumbing, Heating and Air, I want you to be able to rely on our services to handle these crazy hard to do jobs that drive most people crazy.  We love jobs that other plumbers think are too hard to do.  We also believe that they are a lot of jobs that you can do yourself.  That’s is why we have this do it yourself series.  It costs us a lot of money to send a truck to your home, stocked with everything we need to do your major repairs for you.  That’s why sometimes it makes sense for you too do it yourself.  Today, I want to talk to you about Kitchen Faucet repair!

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plumbing repairs plumbing DIY's

Plumbing Repairs: Four DIY Plumbing Repairs

Plumbing repairs.  As a one-hundred year old professional plumbing, heating and air company located in Pittsburgh, we have lots of questions that we get all of the time.  But the first one that I want to answer is this. Why does it cost so much for a plumber to come to my house? We have to outfit our trucks with hundreds of thousands of dollars of plumbing repair items. And not to forget specialized tools in order to handle most “typical” repair jobs. As a result, it costs us a significant amount of money just to show up an diagnose your problem for you.  The easiest way for you to save money on your plumbing repair costs is to take care of the easy stuff yourself. Which is why we would like to create an ongoing series of plumbing “how to” tips. So let’s jump into four plumbing DIY’s!

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