Solar Powered Water Heaters: A Quick Guide


Contrary to what most believe, there is much more to solar powered water heaters than what meets the eye. There are various brands, types, and benefits associated with solar powered water heaters, making it a vast topic to explore. If you are interested in purchasing a solar powered water heater or are just simply curious about this innovative piece of technology, keep on reading for a quick guide on all that you need to know.

Solar powered water heaters operate, obviously, on solar panels, which absorb heat directly from the sun and transform this retained heat into heat. In terms of solar heat collectors, there are two rules that govern the entire system. The first is that hot objects lose their heat and it returns back into the environment. The second principle is that this heat loss between two objects is much quicker if the temporal difference is large. Although it may seem as simple as placing a tub of water out into the sun, there are many factors that contribute to not only obtaining the heat but maintaining it as well.

The entire process of a solar water heating system begins with the preferred collector acquiring heat from the sun and sending it to a fluid. The fluid then takes the heat from either storage or use. There are heat exchangers that will take the heat from the fluid and direct it to your home’s main water source. All of this may sound intriguing, but why should you even consider using solar power for your home? Solar water heating is actually incredibly beneficial for both your wallet and the environment. You will become much less dependent on utilities because of your conserved energy and the reduced amount of burning fossil fuels. There are even financial benefits because, although there is an initial payment to install your solar water heating system, you will pay less on your utility bills in the long run. Through integrating this technology, you will save money because of your intake of free energy and will emit less harmful toxins into the environment.

There are many forms of solar powered water heating, all of which are easily maintained after the initial installment. The three most popular forms include domestic hot water, space, and pool heating. Although solar powered water heaters may seem like a no brainer, the investment and installation is not the best fit for every home. The location of the home, including climate and terrain, are the deciding factors of whether or not a home should utilize this technology. Most homes in North America would benefit from this technology by saving up to 80% of your heating budget. Sun exposure is obviously the most important requirement for solar heating, but depending on the type of system that you want to use, you will also need certain roofs, basements, etc. Similarly, this technology is constantly updating so you will to be comfortable with improvements and installations when necessary.

The best way to determine whether or not solar powered water heating is a smart decision and investment for you and your home is to talk to a plumber early on in the investigating process. Here at Richardson Plumbing, we can sit down with you and weigh the pros and cons to see if this technology is the right fit for you. We are located in Florence, Kentucky and serve the greater areas of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

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Taking Care of Limescale in Northern KY


Tired of walking past your sink and having to stop and clean what seems like endless residue on your faucet? Are you even more tired of feeling as though you are having to do that more often than you should? Limescale is a pesky problem that can wreak havoc on your pristine kitchen and other appliances. But, have no worries because limescale is both treatable and preventable. After reading this, you can have your surfaces shining again in no time.

Limescale is a natural occurrence from water with higher concentrations of minerals like calcium, iron, or magnesium. The production of limescale does not mean that your water is unclean, but rather that it has an above-average amount of minerals in its composition, contributing to production of this whitish, hard, chalky residue on your water fixtures. This film is most commonly found on or around equipment that hold significant amounts of water, such as kettles, hot water boilers, and hot-water heating systems that are not maintained. Limescale is also referred to as hard water, which although not harmful, is still difficult to remove and not the prettiest sight to see.

Drinking the water affected by limescale is not harmful, but then again it may not be the most appetizing. The high concentration of minerals oftentimes changes the taste of the water and the texture of items washed in it. For example, clothes may be scratchier and dishes may have some rough spots as a result of being washed in hard water. Similarly, if the limescale builds up enough around faucets or showerheads, then you will oftentimes have to deal with removing clogs alongside the aesthetic impacts of limescale.

You can spend hours fervently scrubbing away at limescale, only to find yourself exhausted and with hardly anything to show for all your hard work. The mineral makeup of this unique residue makes it resilient to most basic cleaning methods. Therefore, the most effective method of removing limescale is to break it down using a mild acidic solution. Any old vinegar will work for this trick. Although it is still practical to remove the limescale on the outside of your equipment, it is best to remove the fixtures, if possible, and soak them in the solution to clean both the inside and outside. After soaking any affected equipment, the limescale should be mostly gone and the rest should be easily removeable with some scrubbing. If it is absolutely impossible to remove the fixtures, then try to soak as much of the equipment as possible to ensure that all limescale is dissolved.

If your limescale is a little more stubborn than most, you may need to get a stronger solution than vinegar. There are many chemical solutions designed for cleaning this type of pesky problem, just make sure that it is specifically designed for lime, rust, or calcium. However, if you do choose this route, be cautious when applying the solution because they are harsher than vinegar and can cause damage to both your appliances and your skin.

Although treating and removing limescale may seem like a quick fix, it is best to take precautions to prevent it from coming back. If the problem persists, then it is best to talk to a plumber about changing to a water-softening system. To test your water for the possibility of limescale or to discuss your options in terms of removing the problem, contact us at Richardson Plumbing for a quick, effective solution at a great price. We are located in Florence, Kentucky and serve the greater Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati areas.

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Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water?

tap water

As more and more homes are turning to water filtration systems and water filtering products, you may be curious about whether or not tap water is actually safe to drink. While many people do not think about the water they consume, knowing what you are putting into your body is always beneficial. Let Richardson Plumbing, serving Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, answer a few questions about the safety of your home’s water to help you gain a better understanding of the safety of your tap water, and put any worries at ease.

Is there a difference in safety standards between bottled water and tap water?
Yes. Both tap water and bottled water are regulated, tap water by the EPA and bottled water by the FDA, before consumption. EPA safety standards for tap water consider the entire process of tap water, anticipating the whole journey from the time it leaves the water treatment plant, to when it enters your home. Tap water is heavily monitored to ensure that it is not harmful to consumers. Unlike tap water, bottled water is not monitored by the EPA. While the FDA monitors the safety of the bottling and sealing process, the water that goes into those bottles has no quality regulations after the product is in a bottle. In independent researches, BPAs and other potentially harmful compounds that are frequently used in plastics have been traced in bottled water. So, while there are safety standards for both types of water, the standards for tap water are actually stricter than those for bottled water.

Will the tap water quality in an old home be worse?
Possibly. Many older homes utilized lead solder in their pipes when they were originally constructed. If this is the case for your home, make sure you let your tap water run for a few minutes before you use or consume the water, and try to avoid getting hot water directly from the tap. If your older home still uses well water, or if lead solder pipes make you anxious, get your water tested by your health department. While the EPA does require the results from a yearly water quality report from every area, you can never be too cautious when it comes to the safety of your family.

Does a water filter make tap water safer?
No. But a water filter will improve the taste of tap water for many people. Water filters, like a Brita carbon based filter, will reduced the trace amounts of metals, usually zinc, that are commonly found in tap water. These filters can also reduce the chlorine odor that many people notice from tap water. While water filters will improve the smell and taste of water, they can also lead to bacterial growth in your water if the filters are not used and cared for properly.

If you still have questions about the tap water quality in your home or are concerned about the age of your pipes, Contact Richardson Plumbing today. Located in Florence, Kentucky, and in business for over 15 years, Richardson Plumbing can help you with all your pipe cleaning and inspection needs.

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Plumbing Questions to Ask Before Buying a New House

new house

After a long and exhausting search, you’ve finally found the perfect home. After you have made your offer and the offer has been accepted, a homebuyer’s inspection is performed before the deal is finalized. During this inspection process many homeowners do not prioritize a plumbing inspection, thinking these issues will not affect whether the offer should be adjusted. Unfortunately, many plumbing systems can have issues that will pass standard inspection, but that will later come to be a nuisance in your life. If you are buying a new home, the experts at Richardson Plumbing of Florence, Kentucky, want you to know a few questions you need to ask about plumbing before buying a new home.

1. How’s the water heater?

The lifespan of an average water heater is about 10 years, but if the water heater is more than 7 years old you need to plan for a new one in your home offer. How the heater is used, what the regular maintenance entails, and if the heater was properly installed will all factor into the longevity of your heater. If you are purchasing a new home it is essential to have the water heater inspected because if you do not you run the risk of buying a home with a faulty heater that may need to be replaced. Another good reason to have the water heater inspected by a plumber is to ensure that it has the correct placement. Many homes have water heaters that are not in the appropriate locations, which can lead to damages and costly repairs.

2. Have the water lines and sewer lines been replaced?

This is an especially important question to know the answer to before finalizing your deal on your new home. If the pipes have not been inspected or replaced anytime recently, you must get a camera inspection to assure that there are no potential clogs or leaks that could lead to huge costs in the future. In addition to having the pipes inspected, ask the realtor or seller what the pipes are like in the winter. Do they freeze? Are there issues? These questions will help you prepare yourself for what is to come.

3. Have the toilets shown signs of leaking?

Many homeowners often ignore leaky toilets. Most toilets begin to leak at the base of the toilet and with very small amounts of water. While this problem may seem insignificant to a homebuyer, toilets that have been leaking for any decent amount of time will begin to rot the floor and subfloor. In worst case scenarios, this rot could lead to your bathroom floor collapsing at some point in the future. To erase this possibility, have your plumbing inspector thoroughly check the toilets in your potential new home for leaks.

To eliminate some of the worry about buying a new home, make sure you insist on both a homeowner’s inspection and a plumbing inspection so you know the risks. At Richardson Plumbing, serving all Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, we want to help make this process more relaxed for any new home buyers. Serving Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati for over 15 years, Richardson plumbing offer a wide range of services that will cover all your plumbing needs. From leak detection to toilet repair and replacement, our team of experts can help you ensure that the plumbing in the new home you are buying is up to standard. Contact Richardson Plumbing today with any questions or to set up an appointment.

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Should You Install a Bidet in Your Home?

fancy bathroom

Have you thought about installing a bidet in your home? It’s not likely that you have. In fact, here in the United States, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever even encountered a bidet, let alone thought about getting one for your home. But, whether you’re sold on them completely or you still find them strange and exotic, Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati is here to inform you about the next innovation in toilet technology.


What is a bidet?

A bidet is, for all intents and purposes, a toilet, but with one key difference: it also possesses a small jet of water that can be triggered. This jet is intended to be used for hygiene purposes, and many bidets even offer different temperatures and pressures for the water that comes out of them. If you have traveled out of the country, particularly to continental Europe, bidets are more than just common, they’re actually the norm. And while they may seem a little foreign to us here in the United States, they do actually have their benefits.


Why would you want a bidet?

Aside from the obvious novelty for most Americans, there are actual benefits to having a bidet. The first would be hygiene. Although we don’t tend to spend much time in this country thinking about the hygiene of our bathroom habits and how they could be improved, there are actual hygienic benefits to having a bidet. The jet on the bidet actually serves to get rid of residue that traditional American bathroom hygiene misses, and can also save you money on bathroom tissue. Also, by purchasing less toilet tissue, you are also helping the environment. One other benefit that you may not have thought of is that adding a bidet to your home can actually raise the overall value of your home. Because they are so exotic, and are oftentimes more expensive than traditional toilets, they can add some unexpected resale value to your home. All in all, it’s a win-win situation!


Whether you are thinking about taking the plunge and installing a bidet in your home or you have other questions about your home’s plumbing, do not hesitate to reach out to Richardson Plumbing. We are located in Florence, Kentucky, but we proudly serve all of Northern Kentucky, as well as Cincinnati.

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What You Need to Know About Boil Water Advisories

boil water

With everything that has happened recently in Flint, Michigan, water quality has been a hot topic in recent months. If you read our post on Kentucky’s water, then you know that largely, Kentucky has very high-quality water, and Kentuckians can drink tap water without fear of contamination. But that doesn’t mean that occasionally there aren’t water quality based emergencies. If you want to learn more about boil water advisories, then keep reading and let Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati inform you on the topic.


What is a boil water advisory?

A boil water advisory is typically issued by a governmental body to its constituents to caution them against drinking contaminated water. When boil water advisories are issued, the contaminants are usually viruses, bacteria, or protozoa, and the heat from boiling water is intended to kill them, and thus make water safe to drink. Generally, the contaminant that is being targeted is Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, which is a microbiological pathogen that can get into a water supply due to sewage contamination. This can happen in a number of ways, but one of the most common is due to a loss of water system pressure, which can make a water supply more susceptible to contamination.


What do you do during a boil water advisory?

The protocol for a boil water advisory is largely contained within the name. When a boil water advisory has been issued, it is recommended to boil all drinking water for a minimum of one full minute to kill any contaminants. If you are at an altitude over 2,000 meters, it is recommended to increase the boil time to three minutes, as the altitude lowers the boiling point of water and thus even boiling water may not be hot enough to immediately kill bacteria.


If you are under a boil water advisory, or have any other plumbing related questions, do not hesitate to contact Richardson Plumbing. We have years of combined plumbing experience, and would be more than happy to answer any of your questions. We are located in Florence, Kentucky, but we also proudly serve all of Northern Kentucky, as well as Cincinnati. Please contact us today for any of your plumbing needs!

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Tips for Taking Care of Your Pipes During a Drip Advisory

frozen pipe

While it may seem now like winter was ages ago, it actually wasn’t that far back that we had fairly severe winter weather here in Northern Kentucky. When it gets really cold like that, there is a lot that you need to do to keep your home in working order. Obviously you need to crank the heat and make sure that your family is comfortable, but this past winter you may have heard about a “drip advisory” in your county. If you are unfamiliar with drip advisories, let Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati inform you.


What is a drip advisory?

Drip advisories occur when it is extremely cold outside, to the point where your pipes and plumbing could freeze. Frozen pipes can cause both dangers and inconveniences, as frozen pipes can burst, necessitating annoying and costly repairs. Frozen pipes are also “contagious”: if one pipe in your home freezes, other pipes can freeze as well, so making sure that you are keeping ahead of your plumbing is absolutely essential to making sure that your home remains in working order in the winter.


What do you do?

What a drip advisory is specifically suggesting that you do is to allow water to “drip” from the taps in your home when it is especially cold outside. While this may sound backwards from what your mother taught you when you were younger, keeping a steady flow of water through your pipes can keep them from freezing, as still water is the most likely to freeze. But ultimately what a drip advisory is telling you is that your pipes are in danger of freezing due to the cold. If that is the case, then there are other ways you can help keep your pipes in working order:

  • Check your home for places where pipes are located that are not serviced by your home’s heating system, such as the garage or the basement. While all pipes could potentially freeze if it gets cold enough, these are in particular danger. If you do have pipes located in your garage, keep your garage door closed as much as possible to keep out as much cold as you can.
  • Invest in pipe protecting products, such as “heat tape” or “pipe sleeves.” These can help insulate your pipes during the winter months.
  • If you have pipes located in kitchen cabinets, such as under the sink, keep those cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around them.


And,  ultimately, if you are having issues with frozen pipes or any other sort of plumbing problem, contact a highly-trained plumber, such as those at Richardson Plumbing. We are located in Florence, Kentucky, but we proudly serve all of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

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What You Need to Know About Kentucky’s Water

kentucky creek

If you live in Kentucky but have friends or relatives in other states, you may have heard something surprising from them: they don’t drink their own tap water, instead relying on bottled water or water purifiers to get water from their taps. As someone who grew up in Kentucky, I always found this hard to believe: after all, at the end of the day, water is just water, isn’t it? But, as with just about everything else in Kentucky, our water is something that sets us apart from other areas of the country, and of the world.  If you are interested in learning more about Kentucky’s water, and how this may affect your plumbing, then keep reading and let Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati explain.


It all comes down to water

Kentucky is famous for a lot of things, but at the end of the day, our two biggest claims to fame are horses and bourbon. But have you ever stopped to think about why Kentucky has those two particular resources? Many of us haven’t. You may have heard that we have such fast race horses because of our bluegrass, but that has to come from somewhere. Actually, the reason we have both such fantastic race horses and such fantastic bourbon has to do with our water. Kentucky’s water supply is broken down into two different sources: surface water, such as rivers and lakes, and ground water, which is held in underground aquifers. While much of Kentucky’s surface water has experienced pollution due to its proximity to agriculture, Kentucky’s ground water is exceptional for one particular feature: limestone. Roughly twenty-five percent of Kentucky’s ground water is stored or runs through something known as “karst,” which is pockets of eroded limestone. This limestone serves to naturally filter water, producing ground water that is free of pollutants and heavy metals, such as lead.


It may be hard on your pipes

All of this karst is great for bourbon and horses, but it’s not as great for your pipes. Because so much of Kentucky’s water passes through limestone, this results in Kentucky having very mineral-rich, or “hard,” water. Hard water tastes great to drink straight from the tap (there is a reason you can buy fancy “mineral-enriched” bottled water) but can have adverse effects on your plumbing. Hard water can result in mineral or lime buildup on your taps and drains, which can ultimately result in clogging or other plumbing issues. If you are experiencing plumbing issues due to Kentucky’s hard water, contact Richardson Plumbing. We are located in Florence, Kentucky, but we proudly serve Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

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Should You Get a Standalone Bathtub for Your Bathroom?

freestanding bathtub

Standalone bathtubs, also known as free-standing tubs have various pros and cons. So, how do you make the decision to see if a standalone bathtub is right for your bathroom? Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati provides you with a guide to deciding if a free-standing tub would be a good fit in your home!

Pros & Cons

There are many pros to free-standing tubs. For example, they are known to assist in releasing stress. These luxurious tubs can add a touch of sophistication to any bathroom, while letting you feel as though you are at the spa soaking in a nice, relaxing bath. However, depending on the material, there can be many cons to these tubs as well, such as being high-maintenance, and being difficult to get in and out of for older people or small children.

Standalone Bathtub Materials

  • Acrylic– This is one of the most popular standalone bathtub materials. It is relatively lightweight and inexpensive. It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. However, acrylic does tend to crack and discolor over time.
  • Cast Iron– This material is very heavy, however, it is also very sturdy and retains heat better than any other material on the market. Cast Iron comes in a large selection of colors and is great at resisting fading and chipping.
  • Copper– Old-fashioned copper tubs conduct heat at extremely high temperatures, but are very high-maintenance. They are also fairly expensive, but can offer a great decorative element.
  • Stone– Standalone tubs made of stone are incredibly heavy, but are also great at making a bold, contemporary statement.
  • Solid Surface– These standalone tubs are usually contemporary in design like stone tubs, but are much less heavy. These tubs are still durable, despite their weight and are also offered in various shapes and sizes.
  • Pure Acrylic– These tubs are one solid color and are more substantial than regular acrylic tubs. They vary from regular acrylic tubs as they are made of two sheets of acrylic with insulation or air in between these sheets. They are also generally easy to clean and maintain.

Professional Help in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati

If you think that a standalone bathtub would be a good addition to your bathroom, then it is time to stop by your favorite family-friendly company, Richardson Plumbing. We are located in Florence, Kentucky and have been proudly serving Northern Kentucky, including Warsaw, Glencoe, and Sparta, as well as Cincinnati for close to 20 years. Our trained technicians can assist you with all of your plumbing needs from small plumbing repairs to bathroom or kitchen remodels. We also offer 24-hour emergency service, as well as a senior citizen discount. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are completely dedicated to providing you with the best possible experience. If you think that a standalone tub would be a good addition to your bathroom, then please do not hesitate to contact your friends at Richardson Plumbing!

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Why You Should Remodel Your Kitchen in 2017

trendy kitchen

With a new year comes a lot of change. Many people like to start this change within their own homes. A fresh look for your kitchen can be the perfect place to start if you are remodeling your home. The kitchen is without a doubt the heart of most homes, it is the place where everyone gathers to eat meals and socialize. So, it is important to keep your kitchen up to date with the latest trends. Richardson Plumbing of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati keeps you in the loop with 2017’s hottest kitchen trends.

2017’s Kitchen Trends

  • Lighter, Brighter– Adding more windows can make a huge difference in the lighting of any kitchen. Also, being smart with your kitchen storage by using strategies such as extending your cabinets to the ceiling can make your kitchen feel more more spacious.
  • Convenient Cabinetry– Cabinetry is essential to the efficiency of one’s kitchen. Cabinetry can also add a lot of style to the kitchen as well, based on one’s choices in placement and material. Be sure to keep it within reach so you don’t need to keep an unsightly footstool lying around.
  • Universal Design– By applying Universal Design principles, your kitchen will have features that will still be easy to use as homeowners age. For example, adding features such as base cabinet drawers or movable countertops will allow your kitchen to accommodate any a chef of any age.
  • Time-Saving Appliances– Having advanced appliances can assist in allowing you to maximize your time and spend less time cooking. For example, an induction cooktop performs faster.
  • Backsplash Styles– Backsplash can make a huge difference in any kitchen. One of this year’s trends is extending your backsplash to the ceiling. Materials to consider when installing backsplash for 2017 include statuary marble and mosaic glass tile.
  • Quartz Countertops– Quartz generally comes with a warranty which is a large plus as quartz is much easier to clean than granite.
  • Exotic Wood– In 2017, darker woods are in, along with mahogany and bamboo. These alternative woods tend to be more expensive, but can add a great design element to your kitchen.

Professional Help in Northern Kentucky and the Surrounding Areas

If you think that you are ready to remodel your kitchen this year, then it is time to stop by your favorite family-friendly company, Richardson Plumbing. We are located in Florence, KY and have been proudly serving Northern Kentucky, including Warsaw, Glencoe, and Sparta, as well as Cincinnati for close to 20 years. Our trained technicians can assist you with small plumbing repairs to bathroom or kitchen remodels. We also offer 24-hour emergency service, as well as a senior citizen discount. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and are completely dedicated to providing you with the best possible experience. If you think you are ready to upgrade your kitchen with this new year’s newest trends, then please do not hesitate to contact your friends at Richardson Plumbing.

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