Learning About Water and Air Pollution

5 Factors That Will Help You Determine The Ideal Size Of Your Solar Panel Installation

Posted by on 9-09-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Factors That Will Help You Determine The Ideal Size Of Your Solar Panel Installation

If you are interested in solar energy, one of your main questions will likely be how big of a system you will need. This is a complex question and is determined by more than just your home’s energy consumption. Below are five factors that will affect the size of your solar panel system. 

Your average Home Energy Consumption 

The first calculation that most homeowners are concerned with is their total energy consumption. This can actually take some time and effort. You can begin by assessing your electrical bills for the past year and making an estimate regarding your future consumption based on them. You may also want to use an energy calculator to determine how much power various activities require so you can get a good idea of your future consumption. For example, if you plan to have children in the near future, your home power consumption will likely increase, and you should prepare for that. 

What Purposes the Solar Panels Will Serve

Solar panels may be used simply to create electricity that can be used as you normally would use electrical power. However, they can also be used to heat water for radiant heating or for hot water usage. If you plan to use your solar panels for electricity and heating, then you may need a slightly bigger system than someone who plans to use their system solely for electricity. It is important to discuss the various types of solar systems available with your contractor to find one that will meet your most pressing needs. 

Whether You Can Connect To the Local Power Grid

Some homeowners want to go completely off-grid with their solar panels. Others want a hybrid energy experience, using solar power to supplement their regular energy usage. Others prefer to farm solar energy and sell the energy back to the local power grid for future discounts or rebates. Which of these options are available to you will depend on the availability of adequate space on your property as well as the regulations for connecting your system into the local power grid. If you are not allowed to connect your system, you will likely opt for a smaller system. However, if you are allowed to connect your system, you may want to make the most of your usable space. 

Your Current Financial Capabilities 

The start-up cost for solar panel installation can be expensive, meaning that the size of your system may be limited by your current financial situation. However, it is important to realize that home loans will often cover the cost of solar panel installation and you may be eligible for tax credits or clean energy rebates after installing your system. This can make a system much more affordable for many homeowners. To get a more realistic overview of how large of a system you can actually afford, you may want to discuss your financial situation with a solar panel contractor. They will be able to inform you of ways you can finance your project and give you a realistic overview of your potential energy savings after installation to help you make an informed financial decision. 

Whether You Plan to Lease or Buy

In some areas, it is possible to lease solar panels instead of paying for them yourself. In these cases, the company who installs the panels will still own them and you will pay a monthly fee for their use. This can make a larger system more affordable. However, companies may only lease to homeowners who agree to certain stipulations, such as connecting their system to the local energy grid, and the owner of the system will retain all rebates and financial incentives for the panels.

Visit a site like http://www.solarsource.net for more information. 

Dealing With A Failed Drainfield? Here’s What You’ll Need To Know

Posted by on 7-07-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dealing With A Failed Drainfield? Here’s What You’ll Need To Know

Your septic tank isn’t the only part of your home’s septic system that could cause problems. A failing drainfield can also put your septic system at risk of an expensive and time-consuming rebuild. Learn how septic system drainfields can fail over time and what you can do when these failures occur.

How Drainfields Work

Drainfields play an essential role in your home’s septic tank system. After the solid waste and liquid effluent is separated within the septic tank, the effluent travels into the drainfield through a series of perforated pipes buried in gravel-lined trenches. In the drainfield, the liquid effluent is slowly absorbed, filtered and eventually returned into the water table.

Common Causes of Drainfield Failure

There are several issues that could eventually lead to drainfield failure:

  • Infrequent septic tank pumping – Not pumping your septic tank according to the recommended schedule for your household and septic tank size can cause solids and grease to migrate into and eventually clog the drainfield.
  • Activity over the drainfield area – Any sort of activity performed over the drainfield area, whether it’s driving vehicles and/or equipment over the drainfield, building pools and other structures or covering the area with pavement, concrete or artificial turf, can potentially damage the drainfield.
  • Broken septic tank baffles – Septic tank baffles can break off and migrate into the drainfield.
  • Poor groundwater runoff control – Poorly controlled groundwater runoff can saturate drainfields, causing them to clog.
  • Poor drainfield construction – Drainfields that are constructed with improper slope, poor pipe layout, improper gravel placement or over areas unsuitable for construction (such as a stream bed) can fail early on.
  • Root intrusion – Root intrusion from nearby trees and shrubs can puncture pipes and cause drainfield failures.
  • Use of drainfield and septic tank additives – Many treatments that claim to extend the life of the drainfield or septic tank can actually do more harm than good.
  • Overextensive growth of the drainfield biomat – The septic biomat can become thick enough to clog the soil, preventing liquid effluent from filtering into the soil.

Drainfields can also succumb to old age. According to Inspectapedia, the average lifespan of a typical septic system drainfield ranges from 10 to 20 years when properly cared for.

Symptoms to Look For

Most drainfield failures occur along a long period of time and there are plenty of symptoms that often signal impending drainfield failure:

  • Greener grass over the drainfield site – An overly green patch of lawn over where your drainfield sits is often a first sign that something’s amiss with the drainfield. Excess biomat buildup and anaerobic conditions can create an overly nutrient-rich environment for grass to grow.
  • Perpetual dampness – A clogged drainfield can cause the ground above it to be constantly damp and soggy, since gray water that would normally percolate downwards instead travels up towards the surface.
  • Bad odors – Drainfield problems can also cause noxious odors to rise from the drainfield and other portions of the septic tank system.
  • Slow or sluggish drainage – Drainfield problems can cause toilets to flush sluggishly and drains to empty slowly. Sewage backups can also occur if the problem isn’t treated in the long run.

Repair or Replace?

In most cases, the best way to deal with a drainfield failure is to simply build another drainfield in a pristine location. Over time, the old drainfield site will dry out and eventually recover, allowing it to be used when the new drainfield has reached its life expectancy. It’s always a good idea to have your contractor carefully plan the construction of a new drainfield so that it offers the longest possible working lifespan.

In the meantime, there are plenty of things you can do to extend the life of your drainfield. For instance, pumping your septic tank on a regular basis can prevent solids and grease from migrating into and clogging the drainfield. You should also refrain from using additives and treatments that could also harm the drainfield.

Contact a local professional, such as Rob’s Septic Tanks Inc, for more information. 

Restaurant Management Tips: Keeping Your Grease Trap In Good Condition And Avoiding Municipal Fines

Posted by on 6-06-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Restaurant Management Tips: Keeping Your Grease Trap In Good Condition And Avoiding Municipal Fines

When you take over as owner or manager of any business that has a commercial kitchen, you must adhere to municipal health standards to avoid pricey fines or even getting closed down. One of the main areas of health code compliance for commercial kitchens is grease trap maintenance.

The purpose of the grease trap is to keep the fat and oil from food from entering the local sewage system and clogging up municipal pipes. If you are a newbie to grease trap maintenance, the following guide provides you with some essential tips on keeping the device in good condition and in compliance with health codes.

Make Sure You Have the Right Size and Type of Grease Trap

If you inherit an old grease trap and need to purchase a new one, you need to make sure you buy the right size device. Grease traps consist of large double-walled metal tanks that will collect oil and greasy solids before they can enter drains. If your grease trap is too small, you risk having grease and oil overflowing from the top of the device and onto your kitchen floor, causing a big mess.

How many customers you serve daily and the size of your kitchen sinks will impact what size grease trap you purchase. Depending on the volume of your business, you may need to purchase a grease trap for your commercial dishwasher as well.

Some municipalities provide detailed guidelines for business to help with grease trap selection. If you still need assistance choosing the right type and size, seek the advice of contractors that specialize in installation and cleaning of grease traps in order to make sure that you purchase an appropriate device.

Keep the Grease Trap in Good Condition

While a grease trap should work without incident in between appointments to get it pumped by professionals, there are a few things you can do to help keep it in good condition.

Over time the exterior of the grease trap may collect debris on the surface. Wash the grease trap regularly with soap and water to keep dust and grease from building up on the sides of the device. If you fail to keep the outside of the grease trap clean, the layers of dust and grease will begin to smell.

You should also ask your grease removal contractor to teach you how to inspect the device yourself in case it malfunctions at an inconvenient time. While you want to leave the fixing and pumping the device to professionals, you should learn how to safely remove the grease trap cover in case it begins to overflow due to a blocked pipe. You can remove the standing water and substances so they do not spill over onto your floor.

Learn Municipal Regulations

While municipal laws are not interesting reading material, it is in your best interest to learn the regulations that pertain to grease trap inspections so you are never caught off guard by inspectors or unknowingly commit violations.

Some cities require grease traps inspections once a year. The device will also be inspected before you even open your business in the routine pre-opening inspections that cities mandate for food establishments. Some towns will even give you an inspection checklist so you know what to expect.

If you have the wrong type of grease trap or failed to upgrade an old device that you inherited from a previous owner, your restaurant opening could be delayed. In addition, your town will have rules on how often you need to get your grease trap pumped by a licensed grease trap cleaning service.

The best way to avoid any issues and the possibility of a fine is to have a contractor inspect the device before the municipal inspectors arrive. You will have time to correct any issues or install a new device before the official inspection.

5 Pieces Of Information That Will Make Ordering A Dumpster Easier

Posted by on 4-04-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Pieces Of Information That Will Make Ordering A Dumpster Easier

If you are planning to rent a dumpster, then you are likely calling multiple companies for quotes and information about their services. Here are a few pieces of information you should be prepared to supply to make the ordering process go more smoothly. 

Your Preferred Drop-Off Window 

In most areas, it is a good idea to request a dumpster rental several days before you need the dumpster. This not only allows you to call around and receive multiple quotes from different companies, but it also gives the company you choose enough time to add your drop-off to their schedule. This is especially important if you need the dumpster to be delivered at a specific time. 

You should keep in mind that most dumpster rental companies can only guarantee a drop-off window between certain times as opposed to a specific time when your drop-off will occur. One way to work around this is to ask for the first drop-off of the day. Then, the company can be more likely to deliver at a specific hour. Additionally, you should specify if you need to be called when the dumpster is near your home so you can prepare for it. 

A Thorough Description of the Drop-Off Location 

You should be prepared to give a detailed description of where you want the dumpster placed and the road or driveway leading up to that spot. A thorough description allows the rental company representative to assess whether your space will be sufficient for unloading and loading a dumpster. You should describe the size of the area you plan to place the dumpster, what kind of surface it is (concrete, asphalt, or grass), whether there are any narrow gates or low-hanging wires the truck might have to navigate and whether you have multiple spaces selected in case your first choice is not appropriate. 

This information will be even more important if you are not at the site when the dumpster is delivered, allowing the delivery truck to leave the dumpster in the correct position for your project. 

Whether You Plan to Secure a Permit for the Dumpster

In many cities, you need to secure a permit if you plan to place a dumpster on a sidewalk or street. Some companies will offer to secure the permit for you, or you may be able to secure it yourself either online or in-person. If you plan to keep the dumpster in a public place, you should let the rental company know whether you need help securing a permit or not. 

Amount and Type of Items You Will Be Loading 

The more information you can give the representative about the type of materials you will be putting in your dumpster, the more accurate quote they can give you. Many dumpster rental companies have strict rules regarding what is not allowed to be thrown away in their dumpsters, and this varies from company to company but usually follows the rules for what is not allowed in landfills. However, some companies have extra rules. For example, many companies do not allow food waste because it can attract vermin to the dumpsters. Some companies may allow appliances and tires but charge extra for them. 

A detailed description of how you plan to use the dumpster can allow the company’s representative to recommend an appropriate size and type of dumpster for your needs and offer you extra services for materials that are not accepted in their dumpsters. 

When You Expect to Finish With the Dumpster

Most dumpster services allow you to rent the dumpster for several days, and you can call to schedule a pick-up at anytime before your rental period is up. However, if you can give an estimate of when you will need the dumpster picked up, the company may be able to add you to their pick-up schedule in advance, ensuring you a timely pick-up. 

For more information, visit sites like http://www.tri-statedisposal.com/.