April Showers Bring Wet Basements

Sump-Pump
Our soggy winter has morphed into a soggy spring. Our backyard is soup. In Cincinnati, this means one thing: wet basements. For readers with sump pumps (or readers who would like one), a quick FAQ on sump pumps seems like a good read. Q: What is a sump pump? A: Many people think the "sump pump" is a device, but actually they are two things. A sump is a pit in which liquid collects. The pump is the...
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Tankless Water Heaters – A 101 Overview

Tank-vs-tankless
Two years ago, we wrote a blog on tank vs. tankless water heaters – the local adoption rate of tankless was low at the time. Since then, the numbers of installations has risen slowly. Seemingly, Cincinnatians like the tradition of a tank water heater. Changing an American paradigm is tough. What is a Tankless Water Heater? According to the Department of Energy, "Tankless water heaters, also known ...
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Sewer Gas -- It Stinks!

clothes-pin
In our 1920's vintage home, we're at peace with our vintage plumbing: everything above ground is new-ish; everything underground is cast iron, rusty, and likely broken in places that we can't see. After 20+ years of peaceful coexistence, our basement drain recently decided to take our relationship to a new level. It burped up a wave of sewer gas that we could not ignore. Our beloved basement man-c...
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Shower Heads -- The Ultimate in Fine Bathing

shower-head
Recently, we stayed in an historic 1929 English Tudor manor lodge near Chagrin Falls, OH. The lobby had the usual showcase of lodge history, but what caught our eye were the 2 original shower heads on display. The vintage showerheads are truly works of skillfully cast brass fixture art and the ultimate in 1929 bathing grandeur. In the Gatsby-esque roaring twenties, homeowners were so excited about...
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Buyer Beware -- Original PVC Pipes Can Be Trouble

Allied-dude
We have a 20-something friend who believes she's found the perfect starter home in an early 1980's neighborhood. The home seller is a "flipper" (red flag #1). The home inspection revealed that all the plumbing low-grade PVC (red flag #2). The home inspector broke the sad news that all the piping must be brought up to current code in order to obtain homeowner's insurance (red flag #3). To re-pipe t...
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What's the easiest way to lower my water bill?

QA-with-Ray-image
Customer: I am on City water and sewer. Is there a way to lower my rising utility bill? Ray: First, understand how water charges are calculated. The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) bills sewage for single family and duplex homes according to the volume of water used during the winter billing period (the billing period that ends with the meter reading in February, March, or April). During the res...
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