Bath or Shower?🤷‍♀️

shower and bathThe subject comes up every now and then in conversation: do you like to take showers or baths? It can be a “Coke vs Pepsi” type of battle. Either you love the shower and hate the bath or vice versa. (The exception are kids, who love baths because it’s like a swimming pool!)

If you are in good voice, you probably love a long, luxurious shower. And if you are someone who gets down to business or is impatient, the shower also is your choice. If you enjoy a long relaxing soak or tend to sore muscles, you probably turn to the bath.

Is one better than the other?

Let’s look at the pros and cons. A shower can be quick, with less water consumption (unless you have a three course song you need to finish). You are in and out in just a few minutes; usually shortly after the water warms up. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average bath uses about 36 gallons of water; whereas the average shower uses about two gallons a minute, with an average shower lasting about 8 minutes.

If you have sensitive skin, a shower (that is lukewarm to warm) may be your best option to keep from drying out your skin from a long soak.

By the way, yes, a long soak tends to dry out your skin! The warmth leeches the moisture right out, possibly causing dry, itchy, flaking skin. Those with psoriasis know this and are advised to avoid long hot baths or showers.

BUT baths can also be soothing. Epsom salts, bath bombs and oatmeal baths can help your skin if you do have issues, but again, the water temperature should be warm, not hot.

Whichever you choose, doctors advise you leave your skin a little moist while applying lotion after you bathe. This extra protection will help your skin from drying out quickly.

Hair: If you need to wash your hair, a shower may be your best bet for convenience alone. It’s pretty difficult to rinse your hair and get all of the soap out while in the bath. You will probably end up showering off the soap and debris after the bath, just to make sure everything is rinsed out well.

If you simply must take a bath, you might consider installing a hand held bath wand in the tub. This allows you to adequately rinse off.

Conclusion: They are both good. Sometimes a long soak does a body good. Sometimes a quick shower gets you going in a short time. You choose!

Valentine’s Day

February 14th. Some revere it as a special day to proclaim your love. How did it start? valentinesdayThere are various reports of its origins, but here’s the most likely story:

During the time of Roman Emperor Claudius II, a priest named Valentine thought it unfair that the Emperor decreed that no young man should marry his girlfriend, so he could be drafted to war. This priest would marry these young couples in secret ceremonies, because he believed in love. When the emperor found out, he imprisoned Valentine and eventually had him beheaded on February 14th. Later, Pope Gelasius made him a saint and declared February 14th a day to celebrate Valentine.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world, but there are a handful of countries that ban the expressions of love. Other countries do have a designated day, other than or in addition to February 14th to declare or show your love.

One of the most unusual is in Wales where January 25th is the day to celebrate. Men would make intricate wooden spoon carvings to present to their loved one. In South Korea, on February 14th women will try to woo their favorite men with flowers and chocolates; then on March 14th, known as “White Day”, the men will reciprocate and up the stakes with candy, flowers and nice gifts to their intended. Curiously, those without anything to celebrate also have a special day: April 14th, called “Black Day” where singles will mourn their solitary status by eating black or dark foods.

Generally, young kids anxiously prepare shoe boxes and bags with hearts and cartoons, hoping to have them filled with clever cards of friendship and love. Most kids expect some chocolate from their parents and possibly a stuffed animal or toy. Dating couples feel a little extra pressure as some think it’s the perfect time to “pop the question.”

People can get very creative to express their feelings for another. Flowers, day spas, day trips to new places, special dinner in or out, etc. the list is as long as your imagination!

Acknowledging Valentine’s Day can be more than for just one special person: the day just may be a time to say you appreciate someone special in your life.

  • “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.” -Quote by Maya Angelou

Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

garbage disposal cleaningYou clean your sinks, tubs and refrigerators; so why not clean your garbage disposal? We know that cleaning can prolong the life of an appliance.

Sometimes we take our garbage disposals for granted; they are the workhorse of the kitchen clean up. We tend to put almost anything down the grinder; but there are some things that can cause problems with the disposal.

Food with fibers such as corn husks, celery, some meats and bones are more difficult for your disposal to digest and can dull the *blades. Also try not to pour grease down the drain, it can gum up the works.

Keeping you disposal clean and clear will keep dollars in your pocket. Here’s the best way to clean your garbage disposal:

Give it a good water flush. This is the simplest way to loosen any food, grime and dirt. The best method is to plug up the sink on the garbage disposal side; fill it with hot water and some de-greasing dish soap. Stir up the water to mix in the soap, then remove the plug. The pressure of the water, along with the sudsy de-greaser can flush out debris. The hot water can help melt some caked-on grease.

Here’s something that goes against the grain: use ice and salt to clean any sludge on the walls in the disposal and sharpen the blades. Yes it will make quite a racket, but it does the job. Make sure the water is running during this process to help wash away any debris. Vinegar and baking soda also does the cleaning trick, but will not sharpen the blades.

Go in deep – with a brush! Getting a stiff dish brush and some soap to scrub the walls of the disposer. The unit should not be turned on during this part. And for goodness sake, do not stick your hand in the disposal! As always, rinse with plenty of water after scrubbing.

For a cherry on top of the cake: grind up small sections of a lemon or lime peel for a fresh scent.

*Technically, they are not “blades” but rather “impellers” to help grind up the food debris.

Locating Your Shut Off Valves

WATER:

We have talked about this in the past, but with winter here this is a good time to refresh your memory about your shut off valves.

We mention winter because if there is a hard freeze, followed by mild weather, there is a chance that your pipes could burst or at least develop a leak from the expansion and contraction.

You need to shut off the water to the house to minimize damage.

First, look to see if the fixture has an individual shut off valve, if that’s where the problem stems. For a toilet or sink, you might see a small valve or knob that you can turn to the off position (usually clockwise). For something like the washing machine, there could be two valves behind it. You might have to pull out the washer to see them.

The shut off valve to the house will most likely be somewhere along the perimeter of the house. This will serve for all the valves in the house (upstairs too). If you have a basement, the valves will probably be located there.

Most shut off valves look something like this:                            shut off valves

If you can locate your main water line; the shut off valve should be the shortest distance to your house. It should not have any extra piping or detours.

If your house has been inspected, the location of the shut off valves should be identified in the report.

GAS SHUT OFF VALVES:

gas shut off valvesHouses with natural gas have a main shutoff valve located just before the gas meter. This valve, often called the street-side valve, is normally a rectangular nub. When the long side of the nub or handle is parallel to the incoming gas line, it’s open and the gas is flowing.

 

It’s Christmas Time!

christmas around the world 3We’re currently celebrating Hanukkah (until December 10th)  and it’s coming up to Christmas and Kwanzaa as well as several other celebrations of the season.

Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate Christmas? Here in the U.S., we generally gather family and friends on Christmas Eve and/or day for a gift exchange and dinner. Of course, Santa visits households secretly to drop off special gifts for good little boys and girls.

In the Philippines, they hold a colorful, giant lantern festival. In Japan, it’s celebrated with a “Kentucky Fried Christmas Dinner”.  In Germany, St. Nicholas travels the country leaving chocolate, coins, oranges and small toys for the kiddos.

One of the most unusual traditions is in Norway. People hide their booms, as they believe witches and evil spirits come out to steal them for transportation!

Here’s another “different” tradition: in Venezuela, people use roller skates and blades to attend midnight services! We guess they are working up an appetite for the big holiday dinner to follow.

Greece’s tradition includes wooden boats. Children will carol in the streets with small boats decorated with nuts that are painted gold. The town square may also have a giant sail boat made from lights. This tradition goes back many, many years.

Santa must really enjoy his stops in New Zealand & Australia. There the kids leave out beer and pineapple chunks when he visits their homes!

South Korea has declared Christmas an official government holiday that people have off from work and school. There are a lot of decorations around the towns and some homes. The popular gift is money. Santa can sometimes be clothed in a blue outfit rather than red. The popular dessert is a sponge cake covered in cream.

Jamaica has a business and consumers dream: all night markets to buy and party at! Many people will purchase new clothes just to attend the “Grand Market” event. There are plenty of vendors hawking their holiday food and other items to buy. There is a continuous party all night. Another Jamaican tradition is that people paint their houses and hang new curtains.

These are just a small sampling of how Christmas is celebrated around the world. For more information on many countries, click here:  https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/

Without Plumbing, Life Itself Would Miserable!

outhouseIf you are alive today, you can thank a plumber. Why? If it were not for plumbers and plumbing, your water supply would probably be a disease filled undulating pool of germs waiting to strike and sicken anyone and everyone.

If you look back over the centuries, all of the diseases that wiped out hundreds of thousands of people are attributed to lack of sanitation and sanitary plumbing.

In fact after the fall of the Roman Empire, most people were afraid to bathe. They thought that getting wet caused illness. That fear of bathing persisted into the 1800’s. At one point the City of Boston outlawed bathing, except with a doctor’s orders. In 1652, Boston did build a waterworks system; but it was used to put out fires.

Until the early 1800’s, your toilette comprised a pitcher of water, a basin and a chamber pot or commode. Waste was just tossed into the street! It attracted rats and mice; that brought disease right back to the population.

A crude, fresh water delivery system was developed: it was hollowed out logs! In 1804, the city of Philadelphia passed a code installing cast iron pipes for water delivery. By 1855, the city of Chicago developed the first sewer system.

Now that you know a little of the history, here are the stats: the Black Plague killed between 75-200 million people. It was spread because of a lack of sanitation. Some people even threw their waste into the rivers used for drinking water! Polio thrives in fecal matter. Maybe some of you remember having to get the polio vaccine at school. Polio was declared officially eradicated in 2014.

Here’s an interesting story: the European morality rate was quite high in the 1800’s . Then came the Cholera epidemic. There are reports of about 500 people dying in one week alone. Most people used communal wells to get their drinking water. “Cesspools” were sometimes located near those wells and the groundwater seeped into the drinking water.

Yes there are vaccines, but having access to clean drinking water and a sanitary waste system almost puts the brakes on disease.

Today there are still issues with clean drinking water in many parts of the world, as well as sanitary waste disposal.

Modern plumbing and sanitation does prevent the spread of disease. It’s a documented fact. The Romans were aware of the correlation between sanitary water, waste collection and disease; they had a system in place to protect the population. But when the Roman Empire fell their ideas went with them.

So, if you are here with us today, you can thank a plumber!

Pets and Plumbing

PETS AND PLUMBING

Here in Central Oregon, we are quite proud to boast that over 60% of households have a pet; primarily a dog. And we love our dogs but we don’t love them coming in from outside after rolling around in the dirt or mud! Since there are so many places outdoors to take your pet; having an encounter with a skunk or something equally as stinky or dirty can be something we dread.

If you want to bring in your pet after an outing, rinse them off while outside to get rid of as much mud and nature (grass, pine needles, etc.) as possible. Give your plumbing a fighting chance and leave the debris outside!

You’re going to have to feel around for clumps of stuff that are matted on the fur; or even just matted fur itself. You may need to do a pre-bath brushing to get rid of hairy situations.

If you have a cat that happens to get muddy, do your best to rinse them off before bringing them inside.

Be sure to have a drain strainer in the tub or sink to catch fur that will be shed when you are bathing your pet. It will go a long way in keeping the pipes clear.

BTW: Dogs and cats have body temperature regulators that are much more efficient than a humans; they can tolerate a longer exposure to cold and cold water much better than we can!

Those exposed pipes kinda look chewable!dog chew

PEX piping can look like a chew toy. The polyethylene could attract the attention of a dog or puppy, especially if they are a chewer. Exposed PEX could be a real draw for bored pets. If you have cabinets where PEX is exposed, try to keep the doors shut. If you can’t do that; try to hide the PEX in some manner. How creative can you get? *The same applies to wiring. Cats and dogs love to chew wires!

Your dog views your toilet a one big ‘ol water bowl.

dog drink toiletYour pet will find water anywhere it can if it’s thirsty. Be sure to keep a tab on water bowls and feeders. Keep them filled and for Pete’s sake, close the toilet lid! There will be lingering chemicals from cleaning your toilet.  If they can’t get into the toilet bowl, they will always go to the proper water bowls.

And speaking of toilets; never flush kitty litter down the toilet! Even if it says “flushable”- it really isn’t (it becomes like cement). It will clog up your pipes (same is true for those “flushable” toilet wipes for humans- bad idea!