How to Detect Water Leaks
Detecting water leaks in your home is important. Water leaks cost money, put more stress on aquatic ecosystems, contribute to pipe failures, reduce water quality and pose a threat to your family’s health.
Here are 6 ways to detect water leaks in your home:
1. Conduct a Meter Dial Test
One way to detect if there are water leaks in your home is by monitoring the meter dial. First, turn all faucets and water-using appliances off, then locate the water meter dial; it’s usually found in the basement where the water pipe enters your home. Observe the red triangle on your meter dial. If the red triangle moves even though you’ve turned off all faucets and all water-using appliances, then there is a water leak somewhere in your home.
You can also conduct a slow leak test. You can do this by recording your meter’s reading before you sleep, after you’re done using water for the day. Check the meter’s reading again in the morning before using any water. An increase in the meter’s reading will indicate that there is a water leak somewhere in your home.
2. Conduct a Toilet Tank Test
To find out if your toilet tank has a leak, drop a small amount of food coloring into the toilet tank. After 10 minutes, observe the toilet bowl. If there’s any discoloration in the toilet bowl, then your toilet tank is leaking. Make sure that after this test, you flush the discolored water as this can cause staining.
One of the most common causes for toilet tank leaks are old or worn-out toilet flappers, also known as the valve seal. A flapper is made from rubber. Over time, minerals and decay build up on the flapper. However, it can easily be replaced to fix the toilet tank leak; just bring the old flapper to the nearest hardware store to make sure that it perfectly fits your toilet model.
Other possible causes for a toilet tank leak are flappers that are not properly seated in the valve, misaligned or bent flapper wires and corroded valve seats.
In the event that the leak is around the base of the toilet tank or where the toilet sits on the floor, it’s time to call a professional.
According to the Natural Resources Canada, a toilet that continues to run after flushing can waste up to 200,000 liters of water per year.
3. Conduct a Faucet Leak Inspection
Finding a faucet leak is probably the easiest as this requires only a visual inspection. A leaking faucet will drip even when you turn the dial off. The problem with finding a faucet leak is when you have a number of faucets in your home; checking every one of them can be tedious.
The most common cause of faucet leaks are old and worn faucet washers and gaskets. The Do-It-Yourself Network has a tutorial for faucet repairs.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second will waste 3,000 gallons of water per year. This wasted water is equivalent to the amount of water needed for over 180 showers.
4. Conduct a Showerhead Leak Inspection
Similar to faucets, finding out whether a showerhead is leaking can be determined by a simple visual inspection – if there’s a drip when you turn the dial off, you have a leak.
According to EPA, 500 gallons of water is wasted each year as a result of a showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute. This is equivalent to the amount of water you need to wash 60 loads in your dishwasher.
A showerhead leak can be fixed by tightening the connection between the pipe stem and the showerhead with pipe tape. Pipe tape, also known as Teflon tape, is available at your nearest hardware store.
5. Conduct an Outdoor Leak Inspection
If you’re using an in-ground irrigation system, conduct a visual inspection of each spring for leaks as irrigation systems are susceptible to damage from frost or freezing.
According to EPA, an in-ground irrigation system that has a leak that is 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (similar to the thickness of a dime) will waste 6,300 gallons of water per month.
6. Use Flowie and Floodie Sensors
The best way to detect water leaks is by using the Flowie and Floodie sensors.
The Floodie sensor is a flood sensor that can be placed in flood-prone areas like under the toilet tank, dishwasher, water heater or in the basement. Once the Floodie sensor comes in contact with water, it sends text, email and in-app alerts.
The Flowie sensor is a water sensor that’s strapped onto the municipal water meter. This sensor comes with the following features:
- Detects leaks and abnormal usage
- Measures and reports water usage
- Reports trends and analytics on water use, costs and changes
- Reports power outages
- Reports basement temperature and humidity
- Sends text, email and in-app alerts for emergencies
The Flowie sensor is particularly useful in detecting water leaks that aren’t visible – for instance, pipe leaks. If undetected, leaks in water pipes may cause future pipe failures. Pipe leaks could also result in water contamination in your home, in turn threatening your health. Water leaks also result in mold growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people have different reactions to molds.
“Some people are sensitive to molds,” the CDC said. “For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions.”
Detecting water leaks in your home is crucial to saving money, saving the environment and for providing a healthy environment for you and your family.
Call us today to learn about the water detection option for your home and prevent a disaster.
Health Reasons Why Your Home Needs a HEPA System Air Filter
If you’re particularly concerned about the air quality in your home, consider replacing your aging air filter with a HEPA System Air Filter.
An Air Filter is a device that removes airborne particles that if inhaled, are harmful to humans. Examples of airborne particles include dust, pollen, fungal spores, pet dander etc. A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Air Filter removes almost all air pollutants. The Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA System Air Filter is an example of a HEPA System Air Filter that removes up to 99.97% of pollutants.
Particulate matter, also known as PM, refers to a range of particles found in the air that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter (the average size of a human hair is 60 microns).
Particulate matter can be liquid, solid or a mixture of both. Anything that’s 2.5 microns in size or less is small enough to be carried by air and humans run the risk of breathing it into their lungs. You can’t see particulate matter – it can only be seen using a microscope.
The most common sources of indoor particulate matter are:
- Fungal spores
- Endotoxin – a toxin found in bacteria
- Tiny solid or liquid particles in aerosols
- Carbon, also known as soot, produced when something is burned
Another example of particulate matter is mold. It refers to a range of fungus that grows on damp building materials or food. Sometimes molds can be observed in a variety of colors; in some cases, they can’t be seen, you’re only aware of it because of their musty odor. Having mold present in the home contributes to poor air quality.
Mold grows wherever there’s moisture. This moisture could be a result of water leaks, flooding, or high humidity from everyday activities like showering or cooking.
Adverse Health Effects of Mold
A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) showed that there was sufficient evidence linking indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms– wheezing and coughing in healthy people.
The IOM study also showed a correlation between indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in healthy children.
Adverse Health Effects of Particulate Matter
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breathing in matter that is larger than particulate matter, also known as coarse particles, can result in eye, nose and throat irritation. The CDC stated that breathing in particulate matter is more dangerous as it can get inside the deep parts of your lungs or even make its way into your blood.
While particulate matter can affect everyone, it can bother some people more than others. According to CDC, people with heart or lung diseases, older adults, babies and children will most likely experience health effects after exposure to particulate matter.
The CDC stated that particulate matter can worsen asthma symptoms. This pollution also has also been linked to the following health effects:
- Eye irritation
- Lung and throat irritation
- Trouble breathing
- Lung cancer
- Problems with babies at birth (for example, low birth weight)
According to CDC, if you have a pre-existing heart disease, breathing in particulate matter can cause serious problems (such as a heart attack) with symptoms including:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling out of breath
- Being more tired than usual
How to Reduce Exposure to Particulate Matter in Your Home
One of the ways to reduce exposure to particulate matter in your home is by using theLennox Healthy Climate HEPA System Air Filter. This particular air filter can be used independently or installed in forced air systems. Your indoor air goes through a 3-stage filtration process in the Healthy Climate HEPA System Air Filter, detailed as follows:
1stStage: Pre-Filter Stage
This filtration stage removes larger air pollutants like dust, pollen and pet dander.
2ndStage: HEPA Stage
This filtration stage removes up to 99.97% of particulates 0.3 micron and smaller.
3rdStage: Carbon Stage
This last filtration stage removes chemicals and odors from the air. The clean air is then released from your air filtration device and into the air you breathe.
The Lennox Healthy Climate HEPA System Air Filter should be used along with the steps below to reduce exposure to particulate matter in your home:
- Regular House Cleaning
Molds thrive in damp environments. Particulate matter like molds can be reduced by eliminating damp areas using a mop and other cleaning materials.
- Avoid smoking indoors and using candles and incense in your home. A study conducted by Health Canada in different Canadian cities showed that the average indoor particulate matter concentrations were less than 15 µg/m3 in homes without smokers, and less than 35 µg/m3 in homes with smokers.
- Move dusty work outside, for example, woodworking using power tools.
- Ensure your furnace is working properly and follow the manufacturer’s directions for maintenance.
- Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and in bathrooms. Make sure that these fans are properly installed and maintained.
“Everyone is exposed to air pollution. Air pollution, even at low levels, has an impact on human health,” the Government of Canadasaid. “Science has clearly shown that air pollution leads to disease, increased hospitalizations, and even premature death.”
Air pollution, the Government of Canada said, can be linked to nearly 14,400 premature deaths per year in Canada.
“As people spend a considerable amount of time indoors, either at work or at home, indoor air quality plays a significant part in their general state of health,” the World Health Organization (WHO)said. “This is particularly true for children, elderly people and other vulnerable groups.”
7 Ways a Water Softener Saves You Money
If your household bills keep piling up, hard water could be a leading culprit. A Water Softener will help relieve your home of hard water while saving you money.
Hard water refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. Causes of water hardness include sedimentary rocks and seepage and runoff from soils.
According to the City of Toronto, the average hardness of Toronto water is 124 milligrams per litre, in terms of calcium carbonate, based on the most recent Drinking Water Analysis conducted in 2011. This is equivalent to 8.7 grains per imperial gallon or 7.1 grains per US gallon. The water in Toronto is considered to be moderately hard.
A Water Softener works by removing excess amounts of calcium and magnesium in your home’s water, thus softening the water.
Hard water leads to a buildup of lime scale. Lime scale is mineral deposits that have a hard, chalky, off-white appearance. It is clearly visible in your taps, inside your coffee pot, tea kettle and espresso machine. In places such as the inner parts of pipes or water heaters, the lime scale is not visible.
Here are 7 ways in which a Water Softener will save you money:
1. Cleaning Materials
Lime scale can buildup in visible places such as taps, sinks, kitchen utensils and tiles. Lime scale in these visible places is unsightly and unsanitary. Extra cleaning materials have to be bought to remove lime scale. If your home has a Water Softener, you don’t have to spend money to clean up lime scale.
2. Less Soap Use
Traditionally, hard water is meant to measure the capacity of water to react with soap. Hard water wastes a considerable amount of soap as it needs more soap to produce a lather. If you have hard water in your home, doing laundry, washing dishes, bathing, or washing your hair requires more soap.
With a Water Softener, you can save money since you will be using less soap.
3. Preserving the Quality of Your Clothes and Bedsheets
Hard water can make your clothes and bedsheets look faded even though they’re new. With a Water Softener, the quality of your clothes and bedsheets can be preserved, preventing you from buying new clothes or bedsheets.
4. Preventing Damage to Glassware
Getting rid of hard water stains can easily damage your glassware. Water Softeners eliminate these hard water stains in your glassware.
5. Saving Energy
If the water in your home is hard, most likely lime scale will buildup in your home appliances that one way or another boil water.
According to Carbon Trust, a 1mm layer of lime scale causes a 7% increase in energy input to a boiler. The British Water, meanwhile, estimated that every 1.6mm of lime scale in a heating system causes a 12% loss in heating efficiency. In water heaters, lime scale creates an insulating layer which inhibits the transfer of heat to the water.
Lime scale can diminish the effectiveness of these household appliances and also decrease the efficiency that they work at. The harder these appliances need to work, the more energy they’ll use and the higher your bills will be – installing a Water Softener in your home will prevent this.
6. Increasing the Lifespan of Home Appliances
Energy wastage, as a result of lime scale, is only one part of the equation. Lime scale can also shorten the lifespan of your home appliances. For instance, too much lime scale in your coffee maker can prematurely shorten the lifespan of this machine resulting in purchasing a new one. Consider the procurement of raw materials to produce a new coffee maker and the logistics to produce a new one. Your carbon footprint will just rise.
Water Softeners save you money by preventing lime scale buildup in your home appliances and in return increasing the lifespan of your appliances.
7. Preventing Water Leakage
Lime scale has negative effects in your water pipes. As lime scale starts to build up inside pipes, your water pressure starts to decrease. The buildup of lime scale typically happens around the threaded pipe joints, resulting in water leakage.
Water leakage also happens when lime scale starts to build up around the valves of your dishwasher or washing machine, leading to the failure of valves to close, which results in water leakage as well.
Water leakage can result in a number of negative effects. When your drywall starts to absorb water from leaks, your drywall starts to change its form and swell. This wall distortion can drive down the value of your home.
Water leakage can also result in the growth of molds inside your home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), different people have different reactions to molds.
“Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions,” the CDC said. “Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections.”
Mold removal and changing your drywall is expensive. A Water Softener prevents water leakage by stopping the buildup of lime scale inside water pipes and around the valves of your dishwasher or washing machine.
Contact us now to start saving your money today with no upfront investment!
How the Nest Learning Thermostat Saves You Money
If you want to save energy, it’s best to start with your thermostat – a device that controls half of your energy bill.
According to Natural Resources Canada, a huge chunk of the average Canadian home’s energy bill goes to space heating (63%) and space cooling (1%). Considering the Nest Learning Thermostat to save energy is a step in the right direction as this device controls your home’s cooling and heating systems.
Two independent studies, one conducted in Oregon by the Energy Trust and another study conducted in Indiana by Vectren Energy, showed that the Nest Learning Thermostat can save up to 12% of heating usage and about 15% of cooling usage in homes with central air conditioning.
In the Oregon study, Energy Trust had a contractor install Nest Learning Thermostats in 185 homes heated by heat pumps. Energy Trust then hired an independent firm to analyze the changes in the energy bills and to also ask participants about their experiences with the Nest Learning Thermostats.
The Oregon study found that the Nest Learning Thermostat users saved an average of 12% in electric heating usage, equivalent to 781 kWh per year for each home. 66% of the Oregon study participants also reported feeling more comfortable after the Nest Learning Thermostat was installed in their home.
In the Indiana study, Vectren Energy had 300 Nest Learning Thermostats installed in homes and then hired an independent group to evaluate the results.
The study showed that the Nest Learning Thermostat users had an average natural gas savings of 69 therms per year, equivalent to 12.5% of savings in heating usage. The same study also found that the Nest Learning Thermostat users had an average electricity savings of 429 kWh per year, equivalent to 13.9% savings of cooling usage.
Nest conducted a study of their own based on energy bills of their actual customers in 41 states in the U.S., before and after they had the Nest Thermostat installed. The study showed that on average the Nest Thermostat saved 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. The estimated average savings on heating and cooling systems, as a result of using Nest Thermostat, is $131 to $145 a year. Therefore, the Nest Thermostat essentially pays for itself in two years.
Since thermostat use differs based upon personal preference, the characteristics of various homes, the number of occupants in the home, the type of heating and cooling equipment and climate, your energy savings could be higher or lower than the average savings.
In February 2017, the Nest Thermostat became the first thermostat to receive the ENERGY STAR certification from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Natural Resources Canada promotes products that have an ENERGY STAR certification by the EPA.
“ENERGY STAR certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance – tested and certified,” Natural Resources Canada said. “They save energy without compromising performance in any way. Typically, an ENERGY STAR certified product is in the top 15 to 30 percent of its class for energy performance. Saving energy saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment.”
Nest estimated that the Nest Learning Thermostat saved 21,131,543 kWh of energy in homes from 2011 to March 23, 2018. Nest’s calculation is based on the amount of energy their customers would have used if they hadn’t purchased a Nest Thermostat and just left their old programmable thermostats at a constant temperature.
How the Nest Learning Thermostat Works
Prior to the Nest Learning Thermostat launching, programmable thermostats were the norm – a type of thermostat where you have to manually change the temperature in order for it to rise or fall. Most people find these programmable thermostats bothersome and complicated and many don’t even bother to alter the temperature, resulting in wasted energy.
Nest found a revolutionary alternative; rather than requiring people to punch in their desired temperature throughout the day, the Nest Thermostat learns the habits of your household. Nest saves you money through the following:
1. By Learning from Your Preferences
In order for the Nest Thermostat to learn from you, begin by using it as a programmable thermostat – turning it up or down to your desired temperature at any particular time of the day – for one week. Your Nest Thermostat will then create a personalized schedule for you based on your temperature preferences for the whole week.
2. By Analyzing Your Home
Nest Thermostat learns from your home by analyzing how your home heats or cools, as no two homes are the same.
3. By Turning Itself Off
It saves energy by turning itself down when you leave the house.
You can also proactively save energy by doing the following:
- Follow the leaf feature in your Nest Thermostat monitor. This leaf feature of the Nest learns on its own how to save energy.
- Control your thermostat from anywhere via your smartphone or tablet using the Nest app.
- View how much energy you use every day through your smartphone or tablet using the Nest app. Based on your energy history, you can review which days more energy is used and determine how to use less energy.
In addition to saving you money, the Nest Thermostat also makes your family and home safe. Your Nest Learning Thermostat connects with your other smart home devices. For instance, your Nest Thermostat connects with your Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, assuring you that whenever Nest Protect senses carbon monoxide, your Nest Thermostat will automatically turn off your cooling and heating systems since these are known sources of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Your Nest Thermostat can also prevent excessive cold and excessive heat in your home as it turns on cooling or heating when set limits are reached. You’ll also be notified via your smartphone or tablet whenever these safety precautions are done by your Nest Thermostat.
Connect with us today and save!
Why it’s Time to Ditch Your Old Smoke Alarm for Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Have you ever stared at your old smoke alarm and wonder if it’s still working? With the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your family and home are protected.
Here are the top reasons why it’s time to ditch your old smoke alarm for the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm:
1. Nest Protect Tests Itself
It’s important to regularly check that your smoke alarms are functioning. Data from the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services showed that 15% of fires that occurred between 2011 and 2015, in residential properties where a loss occurred, had smoke alarms that weren’t operational. 4% of these cases were due to the smoke alarms not having power or battery.
The Fire Code of Ontario, Canada requires every home to have a working smoke alarm on every story and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with the smoke alarm requirements could result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $100,000 for corporations or $50,000 for individuals.
Conventional smoke alarms require you to manually test that the alarm’s batteries and sensors are still working. To test the battery level, a battery tester has to be used. To test the sensors, the device has to be detached, brought outdoors and exposed to a small amount of smoke.
Nest Protect eliminates the need to manually test the sensors and batteries; the device actually tests them for you. When you turn off the lights at night before bed, the Nest Protect will show a quick green glow to assure you that its batteries and sensors are working. The quick green glow also signals that the device’s Wi-Fi connection is working.
Another way to check whether your Nest Protect’s batteries, sensors and Wi-Fi connection are working, is by checking your Nest app, which you can download onto your smartphone or tablet.
2. Nest Protect Functions Both as a Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
While traditional or conventional smoke alarms only detect smoke, Nest Protect detects both smoke and carbon monoxide.
You can see smoke. When your senses come across smoke, they react automatically. For instance, your eyes water or it’s difficult to breathe through your nose. Carbon monoxide on the other hand is a silent killer. Unlike smoke, you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide. Whenever a fossil fuel is burned, carbon monoxide is produced. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide can cause sudden illness or death.
3. Nest Protect Tells You Where the Danger Is and the Alert Level
When your conventional smoke alarm goes off, your mind starts to panic and ask questions; where is the smoke coming from? Is it a full-blown fire or just burned food?
With Nest Protect, you’ll be notified in different ways whether the smoke or carbon monoxide level is at an early stage or at an emergency level. It also tells you which part of the house the danger was detected.
In case it’s an early warning due to a hint of smoke or carbon monoxide, Nest Protect will notify you in three ways:
Through the Device’s Speaker
You’ll hear, “Heads-Up. There’s smoke in the (specific room name). The alarm may sound.”
Through Device’s Light
In case of an early warning, the device’s yellow light is turned on.
Through Smartphone or Tablet Alert
An early warning alert will also be sent to your smartphone or tablet, provided you have installed Nest app on your mobile device.
In the case of an emergency situation, you’ll be notified in the following manner:
Through Device’s Speaker
You’ll hear, “Emergency. There’s carbon monoxide in the (specific room name).” The alarm sound will also go off.
Through Device’s Light
In case of an emergency, the device’s red light is turned on.
Through Mobile Device Notification
You’ll also receive an emergency notification on your smartphone or tablet via the Nest app.
3. Easily Hush the Alarm
If the smoke is a result of burned food and there is no immediate threat, you won’t have to run to the alarm to fan it or turn it off; the alarm can easily be hushed via the Nest app.
4. Connectivity with Other Smart Home Devices
Conventional smoke alarms can’t be connected to other smart home devices, however the Nest Protect can be connected with compatible smart home devices. It can be connected with other Nest products, including the Nest Thermostat – a smart home device that remotely controls temperature.
For instance, the Nest Thermostat can be connected with a Jenn-Air oven, so if the Nest Protect detects smoke from burned food cooked inside the oven, the Nest Protect will communicate with the Nest Thermostat to turn off the oven.
The Nest Thermostat is also compatible with nearly 95% of low-voltage residential heating and cooling systems. If the Nest Protect were to detect smoke or carbon monoxide, it will communicate this information with the Nest Thermostat and the Thermostat will turn off your home’s heating and cooling systems – known to be the usual sources of smoke and carbon monoxide.
With the Nest Protect’s great features, such as the ability to test itself, to detect not just smoke and carbon monoxide, its ability to notify you the danger level and location via speaker, light and mobile device, the ability to silence the alarm via mobile device and the ability to connect with other smart home devices, you’ll have peace of mind while you sleep and even when you’re away from home. And did we mention smart camera?