Carney All Seasons Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Penllyn’

Problems Caused by Poor Water Quality in Open Loop Systems

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

As geothermal heating and cooling systems go, an open loop configuration can be an excellent choice, provided the environment supports it. Open loop systems work very effectively and efficiently because the deep water is held at an almost constant temperature year round. This property makes it a very good source of heat for the geothermal system.

However, an important factor to consider before choosing an open loop system is the quality of the water coming from the source. Although you won’t drink the water, the quality still matters a great deal, as poor water quality can cause serious problems in your geothermal system.

Let’s take a look at some common water quality problems and the damage they can potentially do to an open loop geothermal system in King of Prussia.

 Mineral Deposits

If the water is filled with minerals — frequently called “hard water” — those minerals can be deposited within the geothermal coils. As they build up on the walls over time, they can slow the flow of the water or even clog it completely.

Hard water does not necessarily preclude the use of an open loop system. It just may call for extra maintenance, such as periodically flushing the system with a mild acid solution to remove mineral build-up.


Impurities in water, especially metals like iron, can also cause clogs. Most frequently this occurs in the return well of the geothermal system. Again, these impurities do not necessarily mean an open loop system can’t work for you, but you should consult with the contractor prior to installation for solutions to this problem.

 Particulate and Organic Matter

If you plan to use surface water such as a pond or spring as the source for your open loop system, make sure to test the water composition thoroughly. An excess of sediment or organic matter can clog up your geothermal system very quickly.

Ideally, these are all situations that your King of Prussia geothermal contractor will anticipate and discuss with you ahead of time, so that your open loop system can be installed in such a way as to preempt any problems with water quality.

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How Can I Get Better Flow from My Faucets?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Most of us realize that a drain can get clogged or that the pipes in our home might require extra repairs every now and then, but rarely do we realize that when the faucet is not providing a strong, steady flow of water, it is likely because of a clog in the actual faucet. If you are suffering from low flow in your faucets or worse, sputtering and clogging, here are some tips to help fix the problem.

Why it Happens

The reason that so many faucets now have problems related to clogging is that they have been changed and redesigned over the years to reduce water flow. Older faucets would pour ridiculous amounts of water through the drain – not at all good for the environment. Today, aerators and other technology advancements greatly reduce the amount of water used, but also tend to cause these types of clogs.

Checking Your Aerator

The easiest way to fix a slow flowing faucet is to check the aerator tip for unwanted sediment. Despite filtration of tap water, over time small bits of sand, dirt, and other sediment can and will build up in the aerator. That sediment should be cleaned out of the tip of the aerator at least once a month to keep it from slowing the flow of water.

If a water main breaks somewhere or a problem occurs in the water supply outside of your home, this type of sediment might start to build up more rapidly and cause immediate clogs in your faucet. Other things that might build up include pieces of pipe or flux from plumbing joints that break free and enter the water supply. None of it poses a health problem, but it can be frustrating when it gets into your faucets and blocks the water supply.

Valve Cartridge

If the aerator is not the problem it may be in the valve cartridge. To fix this, you will need to replace the part. Each faucet can be very different, so you should refer to your owner’s manual (many of which are online) for how to take this part out of the faucet assembly. When you go to the hardware store, be sure to take the valve cartridge with you so you can get the exact piece you need for replacement.

The easiest way to avoid a clog in your faucets is to be careful with any repairs you make. While a water main break is not something you can control, you can control how the water supply is affected when someone does repairs on your home’s plumbing. Leave faucets open outside, turn the main valve back on slowly and check your faucet immediately after the repair to ensure no sediment gets clogged in the assembly.

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WaterSense Labels

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Many people know about the EPA’s EnergyStar certification, which is a third-party certification system that verifies manufacturers’ claims about the energy efficiency of home appliances. The EnergyStar label has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers choose high-efficiency, cost-effective appliances for their homes.

The EPA has also developed a certification for plumbing fixtures, called WaterSense. WaterSense labels can be found on a variety of products, including:

  • Bathroom sink faucets and accessories
  • Showerheads
  • Toilets

While there are specific guidelines for each category of plumbing fixture, in general, the WaterSense label indicates that the product is at least 20% more efficient than conventional products in its category, without sacrificing performance or comfort.

The goal of the WaterSense guidelines is to make a real difference in the amount of water consumed in the U.S. – and the numbers bear this out. Let’s take a look at what would happen if every household in the US installed WaterSense products in their bathrooms.

If every household in the U.S. installed WaterSense bathroom sink faucets, it would save 60 billion gallons of water and $600 million in water heating costs. If every U.S. household put in WaterSense showerheads, the US would use 250 fewer billion gallons of water annually and save $2.5 billion in water heating costs. And if every household in the US upgraded to a new, efficient WaterSense toilet, it would save 640 billion gallons of water a year.

More realistically, even if only 1 in 10 U.S. households upgraded to WaterSense products, we would save about 74 billion gallons of water a year and $1.5 billion on our water heating bills.

Like EPA EnergyStar products, WaterSense products can be found at most plumbing retailers.

The WaterSense label can also be applied to entire homes. Homes that have the WaterSense label have:

  • Efficient hot water systems that deliver hot water quickly to minimize waste and waiting
  • WaterSense plumbing fixtures
  • EnergyStar dishwashers and clothes washers
  • Regionally appropriate outdoor landscaping that requires minimal maintenance and watering

In addition, landscaping professionals can apply for WaterSense certification to show that they have training in water-efficient irrigation system design, installation, maintenance, and auditing.

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