Month: August 2016

The disturbing effects of water pollution and how you can help!

effects of water pollution

Water pollution is a problem the world over, and its effects can have a detrimental impact on the environment and our health. There are lots of ways that water pollution can be reduced, by making changes to the products we use, and how we dispose of them. Making use of water treatment systems, domestically and industrially, such as Grundfos pumps, can also help to win the battle of reducing the disturbing effects of water pollution.

Damage to ecosystems

One of the most serious consequences of water pollution is its negative impact on aquatic ecosystems. Fish and other marine life exposed to dirty water full of contaminants and waste can be susceptible to disease. In many cases, they may die.

Pollutants in our seas and rivers can increase the growth of toxic algae. When fish and marine animals are exposed to toxic algae and other pollutants, such as lead or cadmium, their health is compromised.

Water pollution can upset the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and may cause a decline in certain species. Many birds, fish, dolphins and other sea creatures washed up on beaches often perish due to the effects of exposure to pollutants.

Harm to human health

The real danger of contaminated fish exposed to pollutants is if they end up in the food chain. When humans consume these fish, they can become ill. Poisoned seafood, especially raw shellfish, can cause hepatitis and typhoid in humans, for example.

It’s not just eating fish polluted by dirty water that can cause ill health to humans. Swimmers, surfers and fishermen who come into contact with contaminated water can experience a number of health issues. Ear infections, skin problems and stomach upsets are frequent complaints that are often the result of human exposure to water contaminants.

In poor countries, the technology and resources aren’t always available to supply clean, drinking water. When pollutants contaminate drinking water, the consequences can be devastating. It’s estimated that around 14,000 people die or suffer disease annually from drinking polluted water.

Careful disposal of waste

Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to reduce the disturbing effects of water pollution. One of the most important ways to reduce pollutants from entering seas and rivers is to be more mindful about how we dispose of waste.

Items such as wipes, medicines and nappies should never be flushed down a toilet. There is the risk that they can’t be filtered properly by waste disposal systems. The end result is that they make it into our rivers and seas, causing potential harm.

Chemicals, such as paints, cleaning products and cooking fats should also never be poured down the sink. You can usually dispose of these safely at waste recycling centres.

Avoid chemicals

If we become less reliant on chemicals, there is less chemical waste to pollute our waters. Find ways to reduce your reliance on chemicals, whether at home, in the garden or at work.

There are many natural products that can be used for cleaning that are just as effective as some of the more hazardous items. Lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar make excellent ‘green’ cleaning agents. If you buy cleaning products, choose environmentally-friendly options.

Adopt an organic approach to gardening. Avoid using pesticides and chemicals to control aphids. Instead, consider companion planting and biological controls, and create a compost pile for disposal of kitchen scraps.

Reduce and save

Think about ways you can reduce and save. Reduce your use of chemicals, plastic, packaging or other items that may harm the environment and end up in our seas.

Save water. If you use less water at home or work, it can help to safeguard this scarce resource. It can reduce the amount of contaminants entering the water system.

Consider installing a water efficient toilet with dual flush or an efficient shower pump. Only use the dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full, and select economy modes. This saves water and electricity.

Be clean

Being careless with litter and waste increases the risk of it ending up in rivers and seas. Dispose of litter carefully if you visit a beach, in particular. Try to recycle as much as possible.

If you have a dog, always pick up and dispose of pet waste, to avoid it running into drains and water supplies. Maintain your car, so that it doesn’t leak oil or chemicals onto driveways that could get washed down drains.

If you’re a homeowner or business that uses water or waste systems, make sure you install efficient pumps. These can help to keep systems clean and avoid contaminants entering the wider water supplies. Even if you have a tank, pool or pond, a submersible pump can help to keep systems clean and avoid dirt and pollutants entering drains.

Upgrade systems

Inefficient or outdated waste or water disposal systems at home or work could contribute to the rising pollution levels in our water, so upgrade your systems if necessary.

The price you pay will be minimal, compared to the importance of protecting the environment and safeguarding our seas. If you’re thinking of buying a new pump for domestic or industrial purposes, this is a great way to save water and keep it clean. 

Save money by Winterizing your home in Summer!

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It may seem a bit early to be thinking about getting the house ready for winter, but bit of work this weekend could save your a lot of money later, here’s why;

Insulation – Dull but Vital

If your roof insulation is on the thin side, you may get a better deal by upgrading it before the really cold weather comes in. It can make a colossal difference, turning a draughty terraced house into a cosy nest. Double-glazing windows pays dividends not just in reduced heating bills but in cutting down noise too.

Remember to lag pipes that are exposed to the cold, because in a severe winter you’ll get the misery and expense of burst pipes or even just the blockage that results when cold water freezes and you have no water coming out of the tap. For more advice on how to prevent frozen pipes click here.

Autumn Gales

All around England, Scotland and Wales, autumn sees the gales come in, especially around the coast. This is why you need to think about weather-proofing your house early on. The same double-glazing that keeps the heat in and the noise out will also stop your windows rattling in high winds, ensuring a better night’s sleep.

Take a look at the pointing on your chimney: it may need redoing to stop bricks being dislodged in high winds. This can be an expensive job if you need to put scaffolding up, so it’s better to do it at the same time as any other roof repairs you need. TIP: It might be worth checking with your neighbours as they might be willing to share the cost of scaffolding if they are planning any work, always worth a try.

Wind gets under any loose bits of wood, roofing felt or tiles and within minutes can rip a flat roof off, so make sure that everything is securely nailed or fixed down. Check fencing is secure, and take stock of the garden, checking that no loose items such as light garden chairs are likely to be picked up by the wind, causing damage to the house. Check shrubs or large bushes near the house, and trim back any branches that could fall or break off in high winds.

Clear the Gutters – They Can Be Full of Surprising Things

Rain can sometimes mean that a lot of weeds etc have taken root in the gutters and are spreading happily, ready to block the down pipes once the winter starts and they die down. They need to be taken out. Also, all kinds of objects can end up blocking guttering and downpipes – things like balls or other dropped by seagulls if you’re near the coast.

For the Elderly or Disabled

If you have vulnerable people living with you that might have trouble using steps, adding a grab rail is a must for the winter months! Slippery steps can be really dangerous for people with slower reactions or decrease strength. Rock salt is another essential to keep in the home ready for the freezing weather, it is best to pick this up now and have it in storage as it is difficult to predict when the icy storms will hit.

Fit Draught Excluders

It’s much easier to do jobs that involve having the front or back door open before the winter starts. So fitting draught excluders now can save you time in the long run. Stick-on versions are available and are really easy to fit if you have aren’t DIY-savvy. 

Empty the Pool

If you have a swimming pool, then it’s time to think about draining it, pumping out the excess water and cleaning it. It’s another job best done before the cold weather sets in. Think about upgrading to a more efficient swimming pool pump, which will help to get the job done more quickly with less power consumption and far less noise.

Boilers and Central Heating Explained

Central Heating Explained

It’s easy to overlook your central heating system until something goes wrong. But understanding the way boilers and central heating pumps work will help you make informed decisions about maintenance and future upgrades.

Open vs Sealed Systems

If you have a header tank in your loft and a hot water cylinder, then you have an open vented system. Heating flow from the boiler is pumped into a motorised valve and then into the radiators or to the hot water tank.

A sealed system works in a similar way without the need for a header tank. These systems need topping up occasionally but are cheaper to fit than open vented systems.

Combination System

Most modern systems work from a combination boiler, which provides both heating and hot water. These systems are cheaper and simpler to fit and can be cheaper to run but can involve higher upfront costs.

Fitting a New Boiler

The boiler is the workhorse of your central heating installation. With an estimated 55% of an average household’s budget going on heating and hot water, the boiler you choose can make a huge difference to your bills – and be cleaner and greener, too.

A new conventional boiler can be fitted with an electrical immersion heater as back-up in case your boiler fails. This is the smart choice for a larger home with multiple bathrooms, as you’ll experience no drop in water pressure if more than one tap is in use. However, you will have to wait for hot water once the supply is exhausted.

But if your basic water pressure is good and you’re interested in making significant savings, then a combination boiler is the smart choice. If space is a consideration, then a combination boiler does away with the need for a header tank and hot water cylinder. But if you utilise solar power, be aware that many combination boilers are not compatible.

Improve Your Energy Efficiency

Always look for a boiler that is A-rated and above, indicating an energy-efficiency of at least 90%. The average yearly saving for replacing your outdated boiler can be in excess of £500.

Newer boilers are of the condenser type with larger heat exchangers to recover more heat from burning gas.

Upgrade Your Pump

If a boiler does the hard work, the central heating pump is the real heart of the system. Without the pump, the water heated by your boiler cannot circulate through the system. A central heating pump utilises 15% of the energy of the entire system, so ensure yours is as energy-efficient as possible.

A new water circulating pump can improve the system’s performance by up to 30% for a relatively small outlay compared to a new standard boiler. It’s important to have your pump serviced at the same time as your boiler to check for variables outside the normal performance range. In replacing your pump, look for one that is A-rated to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

Quick Fixes for Big Savings

According to the Energy Saving Trust, there are a number of quick fixes that can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. Installing a new room thermostat and thermostatic valves and regulating them correctly can save up to £165 and 680kg of carbon monoxide.

A new room thermostat will be far more accurate and can be fitted relatively easily. Turning down the room temperature by just one degree can make a significant saving on your bills and reduce your emissions by up to 360kg a year.

Play It Smart

Smart controls allow you to control your heating remotely from an app on your mobile or tablet. These can save you money by giving you total control of your central heating system from any location, allowing you to make adjustments at any time.

By upgrading and regularly servicing your boiler, installing an efficient pump and using smart heating controls or a more accurate thermostat, you can save energy and money. And you’ll be cutting your emissions whilst enjoying a warmer and more welcoming cold-weather environment.

7 Most Common Summer Plumbing Problems

Common Plumbing Problems

Summer is finally here – time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather with friends and family. With trips to the beach and fun out and about, your plumbing can get a real work-out in the summer heat. Water systems can experience small problems that can be fixed by a simple plunger or bigger problems that might need the help of a submersible dirty water pump. Whatever the weather, keep your plumber’s phone number handy just in case.

Here are seven common summer plumbing problems and what you can do about them.

1. Sprinkler Problems

Automatic sprinklers can show signs of wear and tear after a break from use. Lawn mowers are especially unforgiving on sprinkler heads when you’ve been mowing over the winter. Check your heads for damage and your hoses for small leaks that will waste water when you most need it over the summer. You should be able to get replacement parts at your local hardware store.

2. Sewer Line Backups

Summer brings with it sudden heavy showers that can be bad news for your sewer line. Rain soaks into the dry ground, bringing with it loose soil that gets in through small cracks in your pipes, causing blockages. Tree roots can also get into the sewage system, making small cracks larger. Call your plumber if you have water backing up in your toilet or bath.

 

3. Blocked Toilet

Everyone’s worst nightmare is a blocked toilet, especially when the family is all at home for the summer. Remind the kids to use only as much toilet paper as is necessary, and things like food and baby wipes should not be flushed! Keep a plunger on hand to deal with small blockages, and your plumber’s number handy for bigger emergencies. Here is a list of things you should never flush down the loo.

 

4. Slow-Clearing Shower Drains

While a trip to the beach is fun, your shower can suffer when you all get home. Sand, shells and pebbles get caught up in bathing suits at the beach and empty out in the shower, blocking the drain. To avoid ankle-deep water pooling in your shower, get the kids to rinse off at the beach in the public showers and take off their bathing suit before they get in the shower. Keep an eye on the drain cover, and regularly remove hair that will trap the bits and pieces from the beach.

 

5. Washing Machine Overload

Summer fun can put a strain on your washing machine and your pocket. The more washing you have, the harder your washing machine has to work. Stick to small loads to avoid blockages that can lead to messy overflows. Regularly check the hoses to and from your machine for leakages or kinks. Consider shifting your washing machine out from the wall a little to reduce the risk of overheating.

6. Clogged Garbage Disposal

Summer brings out the barbecue and casual outdoor dining. They bring with them a host of food scraps that shouldn’t go down the garbage disposal. Bones, corn cobs, melon rinds and stones from fruits such as nectarines and apricots don’t belong in a garbage disposal unit. Oil and grease from cooking can also cause clogs in your disposal system. TIP: Let the cold tap run for about ten seconds before and after you use your garbage disposal to avoid blockages.

7. Sump Pumps

If you’ve got a basement or cellar that is prone to flooding, you’ll probably have a sump pump. Remember that it also rains in summer, sometimes in heavy, unexpected downpours which can quickly turn into a flooding problem. Make sure your pump is still in good working order after a winter of use to ensure you avoid summer drama.

 

Don’t let plumbing problems ruin your summer holidays. A bit of attention and care can stop problems from occurring at a time when you should be relaxing with your feet up. Contact your plumber for advice and support with summer maintenance. And, of course, Anchor Pumps is here all year round for all your specialist pump needs.