Author Archives: Chris Whitcomb

Diverters, Transfer Valves, and Pressure Balancing Valves oh my!

The plumbing behind your walls is more than just pipes to carry water. The “trim” pieces you see on the outside hide a much more complex system of controlling and diverting water to the various showerheads and spouts as well as maintaining a constant temperature and pressure.

The first component of this system is often the Pressure Balancing Valve which combines hot and cold water at a constant pressure, preventing a sudden change in temperature should someone for instance flush a toilet.

If you have a bathtub typically the water will first be sent to the tub spout to fill the tub. A diverter, commonly a small pin shaped piece on the spout, will stop the water flowing out of the spout and send it instead to the showerhead.

In cases where there is no bathtub, only a shower, the water is usually sent directly to the showerhead but can be diverted to a handshower by use of a transfer valve. These can send water to one of two showerheads and with some models, to both.

The choices of how you want water to be controlled can be overwhelming but we are here to help. Our designers are experienced in creating such systems and will help determine exactly what valve, diverters, and other components you will need.

Contact Us to learn more.

 

Maintaining your Faucet’s Finish

faucet finishes

Your faucet’s outer finish is one of its most visible parts, and keeping it looking new can be a challenge. Hard water, make up, and even toothpaste can, over time, wear away the finish.

To keep your faucets and fixtures looking their best, avoid using harsh cleaners or scrubbers. A wet washcloth with mild soap is usually enough. Avoid limescale removers or anything with an organic solvent such as alcohol. Be sure to rinse off any residual cleaner thoroughly and to dry your faucet with a towel.

For dried water spots, try a 50/50 blend of household vinegar and water. Once again, be sure to rinse off any vinegar once you’re done.

For information on how to best care for your specific faucet and finish, we recommend visiting the manufacturer’s website to find more detailed instructions.

 

Pro Tip: Water Softeners Can Help Keep Your Bathroom Looking Clean and Fresh

A water softener system can help keep your bathroom faucets, surfaces, and other household appliances looking clean. The “scale” (made up of calcium and magnesium ions) found in hard water from wells or municipal sources can gradually clog pipes and leaves a residue on surfaces such as counter tops and shower doors. A water softener removes these harmful ions from your water.

The diagram below is from Waterfall Systems, a brand of water softeners we regularly install for our customers. It shows the major components of a water softener system.

waterfall system chart

 

All water flowing into your house goes through the mineral tank. Small beads in the mineral tank stick to passing calcium or magnesium ion, trapping them in the mineral tank.

Periodically these beads are regenerated with salt water, also known as “brine”, which is stored in the brine tank. Regenerating causes an ionic exchange removing the calcium and magnesium ions from the mineral tank. Many people incorrectly assume the salt from the brine tank will end up in their water supply, but it doesn’t. After flushing the beads it is sent to the drain and does not go to the rest of your house. The brine tank requires a regular resupply of salt which we sell in 40lb or 50lb bags.

If you have any questions about your water softener or would like to see about getting a system installed in your home, call us at 717-626-1168 or contact us here.