Drought Stages

May Showers 1What Happens With No April Showers?

Remember the old silly saying, April showers bring May flowers? Thought it was fitting for our first blog in May.

Most of us, if not all of us in Texas are seeing some drought concerns. Many cities have been in a Stage 1 water restriction since late 2013 as we have not been getting the needed rainfall. Lake Lewisville has islands in areas that were common for boats to cut across and I’m afraid that we will see a lot of closed boat ramps and docks before summer arrives. We went scouting for boat storage up around Lake Texoma since it looks like Lewisville is out for wakeboarding, and found out that Dallas is already buying water from Lake Texoma.

I decided to look up the Stages of water restrictions because I see it all the time, signs in cities, on the news, but I never really knew how many stages there were or what they meant. If I don’t know, then maybe others don’t know.

Middle of lake Island

There are 5 different drought stages. They may be a little different for each city and I found descriptions of these on the Corpus Christie city website. You should always check your city’s website to see what restriction you have and what you need to do to stay within those restrictions. When the stages increase, fines are added to your water bill!

Stage 1 is a mild water shortage condition. The restrictions consist of limited yard watering and to start practicing water conservation such as discontinuing non essential water use.

Stage 2 is moderate water storage condition. There is more restrictions on yard watering. There will be no washing of motor vehicles except on designated watering days, and when washing it must be with a bucket of water or hose with a shut off nozzle. There will be no filling of any indoor/outdoor pools except on designated watering days. Operation of ornamental fountains of ponds is prohibited unless it us supporting aquatic life.

Stage 3 is a severe water. The same restrictions as Stage 2 apply. Constructions sites can no longer use water for dust control. Fees may be charged if you are over the monthly allocation.

Stage 4 is critical water shortage. All of the same restrictions for Stages 2 and 3. Irrigation of landscape, washing of motor vehicles, and filling pools is prohibited. Foundation watering by hand or drip irrigation with shut off only.

Stage 5 is emergency water shortage. All of the same restrictions for Stages 2, 3, and 4. Irrigation of landscaping and washing of motor vehicles are absolutely prohibited. Associated use of water not related to business processes terminated.

These descriptions came off the Corpus Christie website, so it may be a little different for each city. Be sure you know what your water restrictions are to avoid penalties and conserve water!

Plumbing Woes!!

Bathroom PlumbingI asked Jennifer, with Tierney Plumbing, to answer some questions and share insights into plumbing. Like Robin and Rob, she works with her husband, Ron, in their business. Ron is a Master Plumber and has been in the plumbing business for over 30 years.

When doing a bathroom remodel, the plumbing is one of your major expenses. You have a toilet, vanity sink(s), vanity faucet(s), shower faucet(s), tub faucet, and all the drains to go with those.

I agree that plumbing is one of your major expenses, especially if you have an older house and a remodel is on the horizon. Pipes don’t last forever and they begin to deteriorate. If you are changing the layout of the bathroom, pipes and drains may need to be capped off and moved.

20130731_111725  When you are doing any kind of work in the bathroom, even if it doesn’t involve plumbing, should you have a plumber out? Why?

Yes, it’s always a good rule of thumb to have a plumber out for a quick check when doing any work around water lines and drains. For example, let’s say you want to replace the tile in your shower. You don’t like it, it’s old, grungy looking, you want new tile in there. It’s easier to have the plumber come in and check your lines while you have all of the tile out, than it is to replace the tile and find out afterwards you have a damaged line and have to rip out that new tile.

It is also a good idea for a plumber to make sure that the shower floor is floated (water flows to the drain) and the drain is in good condition. Many tile contractors don’t float the shower floor or inspect the drain before they lay tile. They are tile contractors, not plumbers.

What about the plumbing that we do not see?

Much of the plumbing you do not even see, the pipes in the walls and the pipes and drains in the slab. You will not find plumbing issues until you have demolished the bathroom or there is a visible leak. Remember those visible leaks could have been happening under that shower or behind that wall longer than when you finally see it.

Most water damage is from leaking drains and shower areas that aren’t properly sealed or the grout is missing and water finds its way. To test the integrity of your tile or shower pan, you can fill the shower area with water to see if the water level drops. But this does not test the drain. If you have access to a clean-out, you can fill it with water to see if the water level drops. This is a static test which can determine if your drain line is leaking. Use a contractor that is reputable and a plumber that doesn’t cut corners. It will pay off in the end.

20130808_115413What kind of maintenance and checks can we do to catch things early?

It is important for a homeowner to inspect their tile to ensure that grout isn’t missing and to yearly have it sealed. Check your shut-off valves underneath the sink and behind the toilet to ensure that they turn off. If you have problems turning them or the valve doesn’t shut the water off, have a licensed plumber come out and replace them. It’s too late when you try to turn them off and they don’t function properly, you ultimately will need to turn your water off to the house which for most people that is at the curb. Turning your water off at the curb is not easy.

Any other advice you’d like to offer for us?

One thing that I have learned in this business. If you are in the market to buy a house and the house is mature (10 years or more), always request a static test. We replace many drain lines/sewer lines due to roots growing into the pipes and basically causing your toilets and drain lines to back up. Most people plant a big tree in their front yard. Most sewer lines come from the curb straight to the house.

Rob is a Certified Graduate Remodeler (C

Rob is a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). When you hire a CGR, this individual is committed to continuing education, professional growth, and will bring exceptional skill and knowledge to your project as they must have at least five years of industry experience, take a qualifying exam, and must sign a Code of Ethics specific to their designation.