Category Archives: Health

Make Saving Water Part of Your Back-To-School Routine

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Any parent knows “back-to-school” is one of the most chaotic times of the whole year. You’re trying to establish new bedtime routines so everyone is up and ready on time in the mornings, battling the fall clothing migration as you store summer items and retrieve fall items only to realize that none of the school clothes your children could wear in May will fit them now, and getting everything relating to backpack organization, school lunches, and art supplies ready (which theoretically is supposed to make your life easier…hahahahaha…) – so we understand that water conservation really kind of takes a back burner during all of this. However, it really doesn’t have to, and since we strongly believe in teaching children good water-saving habits, we’ve compiled this list of five simple ways you can work water conservation into your new school year routine. Wanna know the best part? Many of these tips will also save you some money!

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1. Use a timer for showers. Not only will this help save water by limiting everyone to 10 minutes or less in the shower, it can also help you keep everyone focused and on time in the mornings. If you shower in the evening, having a timer can also help speed things along at bedtime. Replace your existing shower head with a water-saving shower head for more water savings.

2. Reuse your towels. When you get out of the shower, you’re clean right? Instead of tossing towels into the hamper after each use, hang them up to dry and use them again tomorrow. Buy robe hooks or re-purpose an old coat rack to hang in the bathroom and designate a hook for everyone. Even most younger children can hang a towel on a hook much more easily than trying to fold and hang over a traditional bar, and it keeps the bathroom more organized and looking nicer than having a bunch of skewed, bunched up towels half hanging off the towel bars.

3. Be mindful of your other laundry. Some days you have to try on everything in your closet before you figure out what you really want to wear…or that you and your tween daughter both agree is appropriate for school…But are all those clothes dirty? Of course not! What about those jeans you wore yesterday? They could probably be worn again before needing to be washed. When undressing, evaluate what is actually dirty and what could be worn again before being washed, and you could save not only tons of water but lots of time and energy by doing less laundry. And who doesn’t want to do LESS laundry??? When you actually do laundry, also remember to set the appropriate load size and try to use cold water or try line drying to save more energy and water.

4. Encourage healthy eating and drinking water. We’re sure you do this for your kids already, but did you know that by eating fresh foods and drinking water you’re actually helping to save water and energy? glassofwater Generally, it takes a lot more water to produce processed foods than it does to actually grow fresh foods. Additionally, purchasing locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc. cuts back on the amount of water needed to transport foods. We understand that not all towns or cities have a local farmers’ market and that sometimes this can be cost prohibitive, but it’s a choice worth considering and with careful planning and budgeting can be a positive, healthy change for your family. Another quick healthy tip that can potentially save you hundreds of gallons of water per year is to put a pitcher of water in the fridge for drinking instead of waiting for the tap to run cool. With this method, you can also add fresh fruits like strawberries, limes, or pineapple to infuse flavor in the water to help encourage kids to reach for a glass of water instead of sugary juices or sodas.

5. Consider the water footprint of products you use every day and try to make some changes. It’s a complex system, but water and energy are very closely tied together and it is sometimes difficult to understand how much water is really used to make the things we use all the time. Wherever you can, find ways to reuse or recycle things, or to create your own reusable items. Cloth shopping bags, reusable lunch baggies or containers, and reusable water bottles can replace their single-use alternatives to help save water. Now, we hear you saying – but doesn’t it take water to create and wash those too? Yes, it does, but the water consumed in creating and washing these reusable items is significantly less than what is wasted to create new single-use items. It’s estimated that it takes about 24 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic. Even if you buy a plastic reusable water bottle, you’re still helping to save water since that 24 gallons only has to be expended once instead of every single time you need water on the go.

If we focus only on one thing – packing lunches for school – think of all the ways you can save water…

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By making simple changes in our daily routines and making a concentrated effort to really think about how we use water, we can all start saving this most precious of resources. And although it might seem difficult at times, remember that every drop counts! Your small changes DO make a BIG difference!

Want to learn more about saving water around the house and find water-saving innovations to help you out? Check out our Guide to Water-Saving Plumbing Products.

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The Power of the (Outdoor) Shower

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Imagine yourself standing in a cool rainfall of water with the stress of the day releasing itself from your tired muscles. Now add the feeling of sunshine on your face and the smell of freshly cut grass or a verdant, thriving landscape tickling your nose.

You’ve just experienced the power of an outdoor shower.

There’s nothing like the bold, invigorating, and dare we say tiniest bit naughty feeling you get from showering outside. Whether you live in the warm, tropical Southeast, the arid Southwest, or the chilly climes of the Northern states, an outdoor shower can offer you a way to reconnect with nature right in your own backyard. Now here comes the big but – BUT as with any plumbing project, there are certain things you need to consider before you purchase or install an outdoor shower.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, your friends at PlumbingSupply.com® have you covered with a useful Outdoor Shower Buying Guide that will walk you through the process of choosing your location and your shower, as well as provide design suggestions and ideas.

Today is World Health Day!

nomosquitos At PlumbingSupply.com®, we care about the health of our employees, our customers, and our nation. The prevalent topic for this year’s World Health Day is something many Americans may not have heard of, but is definitely cause for concern. Dengue fever and severe dengue are similar mosquito-borne infections that originated in tropical and sub-tropical regions, yet have spread in recent years to milder climates. Most of us have probably heard about malaria and West Nile disease, both of which can be extremely dangerous for young children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems, and dengue is a similar type of disease that can sometimes prove fatal to these same groups of people. The World Health Organization currently estimates that over 40% of the world’s population are at risk from dengue.

However, knowledge is power when it comes to dengue. Early detection of the illness can be critical to receiving proper medical care. Dengue fever should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by two of the following symptoms – severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle or joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, or a rash. As most parents know, young children should receive medical attention for a high fever or any of these symptoms, regardless of whether dengue fever is suspected or not.

Severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication of dengue fever, and typically occurs about 3-7 days after the symptoms mentioned above appear. The infected person may experience a decrease in their fever, accompanied by severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness, or blood in their vomit. Medical care must be sought right away to help avoid further complications and the risk of death.

Currently, there is no vaccine to protect against dengue, but the situation is far from hopeless. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent the spread of dengue – and to help your family avoid getting bit by infected mosquitos. The World Health Organization and the CDC recommend:

  • Placing screens over open windows and doors when you’re indoors and using appropriate mosquito repellents like smoke coils, citronella candles, etc. when you’re outside
  • Avoiding outdoor activity during dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most prevalent
  • Wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants instead of shorts, and using DEET or picaridin based repellents on exposed skin and clothing (apply repellents sparingly on exposed skin, especially on children)
  • Covering, emptying, and cleaning any water storage containers or areas where standing water can collect on a weekly basis – this includes areas both indoors and outdoors such as bird baths, pet or animal water dishes, rain barrels, flower planters, vases with fresh flowers, rain gutters, children’s wading pools, etc.
  • Sleeping under a mosquito bed net, as mosquitos are very active at night

Mosquitos carry many diseases, of which dengue is only one. Generally speaking, taking steps to avoid or repel mosquitos and to eliminate their breeding habitats (standing water), will always be healthful for you, your family, and your neighbors.

Creating A Kid-Friendly Bathroom

Cute ducky sink with faucet Rubber ducky, you’re the one…you make bathtime so much fun! Rubber ducky, I’m awfully fond of you…boo-doo boop dee dooo…
Washing up should be a relaxing time for kids (and for parents) but too often it becomes a battle royale, exhausting you and them – and in the end nobody is any cleaner. Let us help you and your kiddos relax by turning clean-up time into fun time with a kid-friendly bathroom.
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Let’s start with the sink – after all, that’s where kids go to get the sugar bugs off their teeth, scrub away the sleep to find their shining morning faces, and wash away the travel grime from their latest adventures in kid-land. Yet the sink is the most overlooked fixture in bathroom remodels. Not anymore! Add the perfect finishing touch to a kid-themed bathroom with our exclusive collection of Barclay porcelain bathroom sinks. Designed specifically with children in mind – with super adorable rubber duckies, toy aeroplanes, and “muddy” kid handprints – they bring an element of fun and playfulness to the bathroom. The sturdy porcelain is a kid-tough, naturally moisture-, bacteria-, and dirt-resistant material, making it ideal for children’s bathrooms, while the hand-applied decals are safely baked under a layer of glaze so they won’t wear away.

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We’re sure your kids will love washing their hands and brushing their teeth in these sinks (and we don’t mind saying we secretly would too!). Hey, they might actually go brush their teeth without you telling them to!

Now let’s move on to the tub and/or shower. As parents, we know you take care to make sure your kids eat healthy food and get plenty of sleep and active playtime to keep their little bodies healthy inside, but what can you do about their outsides? Well, we always recommend generous and frequent application of sunscreen, but we’re also pleased to offer you a variety of filters for a truly clean bath or shower that pampers kids’ and babies’ sensitive skin.

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An excellent addition to any kid-friendly bathroom is our unique children’s hand shower with a filter connection that attaches to almost any faucet – including most kitchen sinks for bathing baby! The rain spray is gentle enough for babies, and the easy-to-grip handle lets older kids use it themselves. And since we know filling the bathtub with a hand shower would require more time than most busy parents have, we’ve got a filtered bath ball you can hang over your tub spout. Bubble baths are better with cleaner water!

Also, while we’re talking about making bath time easier, don’t forget a handy-dandy soap dispenser. Kids will love seeing their colorful shampoos and soaps all in a row, easily accessed with the push of a button (and what kid doesn’t like pushing buttons?). We also offer a range of shower heads and some truly unique shower drain covers with fun, whimsical designs like jigsaw puzzles, sea turtles, an octopus, and more that your kids will love.

At PlumbingSupply.com® we love to help our customers make their lives just a little bit easier. We hope we’ve inspired you with kid-friendly bathroom solutions, and invite you to check out even more cool stuff for children’s bathrooms, from potty training toilet seats to durable, comfortable Teak bath mats to help prevent slips and falls. You want it, chances are we’ve got it!

New Year’s Resolution

newyearslistIt’s a new year and everybody’s made, and often already broken, their new year’s resolutions. Now that you’re nearly two months into 2013, maybe it’s time to take a look at those resolutions again.

Most people resolve to take better care of themselves, whether by going to the gym, distancing themselves from toxic relationships, or simply by choosing to eat healthier. Some follow through, and naturally, some don’t. But that’s not the point of this particular article.

Did you resolve to take better care of your home? No? Why not? After all, it shelters you, provides you with warmth and water, a place to keep food so it doesn’t spoil, and a comfortable place to sleep at night. A home is used daily and if something doesn’t work right, it’s a major inconvenience and sometimes a safety or health hazard. So why don’t we think of it more often? Why isn’t it included in our new year’s resolution list? It’s not too late, you can add it, and we promise we won’t tell. We’ll even start you off with a few easy things for your home-care checklist (in no particular order):

1. Check your water heater anode rod. Water naturally likes to break things down (it’s called a universal solvent for a reason, after all), and your anode rod helps keep your water heater healthy, so check it a time or two each year to see if it’s still doing it’s job. If it’s hard to remember, try scheduling it for the same day as your semi-annual dentist appointment.

2. Check the main water shutoff valve for the house. After all, if you were to have a major leak, you would need to know where it was and be confident that it would work when you need it to. Perhaps you can take a minute near your birthday to turn it off and on, just to make sure you can.

3. Check all those stop valves around your home. You know, the cute little ones under your sink, behind your toilet, on the wall behind your washing machine. They often get covered in paint during remodels, and shoved by stuff under the sink. If they don’t work, your main valve has to be turned off just to replace a leaky faucet part. If you’d rather avoid going waterless for some unknown amount of time, double check your stop valves once or twice a year, perhaps just before the Super Bowl?

4. Change the icemaker filter. If you’ve got an icemaker, you probably have a filter. If you don’t know, find out, and then schedule the replacement every 3-6 months, depending on what your filter says, or when your crystal clear ice gets cloudy again. Your smartphone can probably just set up a recurring appointment, so you don’t even have to think about it.

5. Watch your water meter. Leaks can be sneaky. Some are obvious, like a faucet. Its dripping can keep you awake at night! But hidden leaks are less obvious, and so often cause the most damage. So, just before you’re watering the roses on Saturday morning, when no one else is using the shower or dishwasher, take a quick look at your water meter. If it’s running, it’s a good bet that you have a hidden leak. Checking weekly (or more often) will help you detect hidden leaks early and prevent mold, mildew, rot, and a sky-high water bill.

These are just a few things to get you started. When you think about it, you’ll probably think of a few more things you can check quickly and easily. Perhaps look about for discoloration in the attic when you get the Christmas decorations down, or double check your toilet seat before the in-laws visit? It’s really not too much. Just a few minutes here and there could save you from big bills and a big mess.

Okay, your turn: Can you think of anything else in your home that should be checked or replaced regularly?

A Few Holiday Thoughts

Example of Christmas packagesDuring the holiday season, we’re bombarded by media messages of how “this is a great gift” and “you can’t go wrong with that” and of course “if you don’t get this, you’re a schmuck” (though not necessarily in those exact words).

We could add onto this by saying “buy the gift that will keep on giving year round – a new low flow toilet will save water (which saves you money) and look impressive wrapped under the tree!” or “if your wallet is empty, but your heart is full, give the gift of time, and take care of all those little honey-do’s to make your sweetie happy this holiday season” or even “these fantastic faucets are so pretty it’s like jewelry for your kitchen!” How about the ultimate guilt trip: “your perfect holiday party isn’t perfect if your faucet is dripping.”

And yes, that’s part of the job every retailer has this holiday season – we all need to convince the public with their wish lists and gift lists that we need to be included in their holiday spending spree. After all, that’s why people are in business, right? To make money?

Well yes, and at the same time, no. Yes, we need to make money to buy more product, pay our fantastic employees, keep our lights on, and all of that sort of stuff. We simply wouldn’t be around if we didn’t. But at the same time, no, because as any dedicated professional can tell you, the belief in the importance of your service is the reason for doing your job to begin with. We believe water is important. Our founder was a plumber, a plumbing instructor, and was/is, quite passionate about his work. Clean water is essential for basic health and wellness – just ask your doctor! Proper maintenance of plumbing systems and fixtures keep the water coming in clean, and going out in predictable and safe ways. Our job is to help you keep your plumbing working properly by providing parts so you can fix what you can, and to also provide the fixtures, filters, pipe, and fittings so your plumber can do what you can’t. Our pleasure is to help you with your dream kitchen or bathroom. Our heart is in our charity work. All of these things are possible by staying in business.

So, as much as you’re probably expecting the standard holiday sales pitch, and naturally, we’d love to have the opportunity to provide you with amazing customer service, right now we’d just like to take a moment and remind you to breathe and to “remember the reason for the season.” Which, by the way, is another great marketing bit, though we’re not using it here as originally intended. What we mean by this is, aside from religious sentiments surrounding the holiday season, there’s also a strong tradition of connecting with family and friends, even if it’s the only time of year you do so (ah, the yearly appearance of the three page family letter from second-cousin Annie).

We hope you have a happy holiday season and encourage you to take time with your friends and family whether surrounded by lots of beautifully wrapped gifts, or simply lots of love. And hey, if you choose to spend time with Grandma by fixing her toilet with parts we shipped right to her door, who are we to complain, right?

Best holiday wishes from your friends at PlumbingSupply.com