Letters to the editor — November 2015
No innovative solution in sewer gas Tool Tip
In the July 2015 issue of Plumbing & Mechanical, we noticed in your Tool Tips section that the first-place entry went to Pat Sullivan, who submitted a tip on eliminating sewer gas odors from floor drains. We often read this section and have seen some very innovative, creative and unique solutions to various problems contractors encounter. This was not one of them.
You have often advertised products specifically made to solve this problem, including our Trap Seal Liquid Trap Primer. Mr. Sullivan was very astute to understand the problem and recognize that it was caused by the septic seal evaporating and allowing the passage of sewer gases.
Utility Chemicals also is a manufacturer of recreational vehicle antifreeze and it is not suitable to be used for this purpose. The primary ingredient in RV antifreeze is water, which also evaporates. Granted, although the propylene glycol in the anti-freeze will slow that evaporation, the water in the antifreeze will evaporate just the same. In addition, although Utility does not use other ingredients in its RV-grade antifreeze, others do. And some of those ingredients will actually increase the evaporation rate.
In addition, RV antifreeze is miscible (blends readily) with water. This means any water introduced into that drain will wash the antifreeze away, leaving the drain unprotected.
Finally, the product used must not support the growth of biological life, or the material in the drain will go rancid and create odors and problems right there in the trap.
It doesn’t make sense to endorse a home remedy, when products are already in the marketplace designed specifically for that purpose, especially ones that often have been advertised in this magazine.
Switching to water-efficient fixtures, technologies is critical
With new restrictions and legislation, the conversations surrounding drought and water usage in states such as California continue to gain national attention, but we cannot assume they are alone in their water supply concerns. The country as a whole has become increasingly water conscious with more than 37% of the contiguous United States being affected by the drought at some point in 2015, according the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Some studies suggest the current drought, which most believe started in 2011, is the worst California has seen in more than 1,000 years. With these conditions expected to continue, it is vital for all of us to evaluate how we use water.
According to a recent poll by the Association of California Water Agencies, more than 90% of participants were willing to make significant changes to save water, including shorter or fewer showers and turning off water when not needed. While adapting these habits can help save water, many homeowners will see the biggest impact on their water usage by updating older, inefficient products.
Simply swapping out older toilets can save 13,000 gal. of water per year, upgrading showerheads can save 2,400 gal. per year, and replacing faucets and aerators can save 700 gal. of water per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. However, only 2% of those surveyed by the ACWA would switch to water-efficient fixtures and technologies.
One of the major barriers, outside of cost or replacement concerns, is the fear that “water efficient” is synonymous with “poor performance,” creating less-than-satisfying shower experiences or toilets that need multiple flushes. What homeowners may not realize is the plumbing industry has and continues to partner with utility boards and government programs, such as the WaterSense program, to help create innovative products that work within current city infrastructures, meet more-efficient flow standards, and still deliver a high-performing experience.
With showerheads using 2 gal. of water per min. or less while still providing a warm, drenching experience; toilets using 1.28 gal. per flush but offering a virtually clog-free experience with a 10 out of 10 flush power rating; and faucets using up to 30% less water than the industry standard while providing powerful spray settings, the United States has the opportunity to save more than 600 billion gal. of water annually without sacrificing user experience.
Being a smarter water consumer is everyone’s responsibility. To learn more about saving water at home, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.
Delta Faucet Co.