How Much Do You Know About Backflow Prevention?

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

Most homes in the Las Vegas valley have backflow prevention devices on the irrigation system, pool fills, hose bib’s (outdoor faucets) and possibly the water main serving the house. The backflow device is used to prevent contaminated water (pool water, landscape water, etc.) from entering into your potable water lines.

Keep reading to learn how your backflow prevention device works and how you can avoid water contamination via backflow.

Gurgle and Slosh: 6 Signs of a Main Line Clog

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

After you return home from a long day of work and running errands, you want to draw a hot bath and read a good book before turning in. Or, perhaps you want to soak in a warm shower for a few minutes. You plan to walk into your bathroom, turn on the faucet, and experience pure relaxation.

The last thing you expected was to walk into your bathroom, smell something foul, and see a pile of sewage in your tub.

Despite your efforts to keep your drains clog-free, the main line that runs through your house can get clogged, and you’ll experience the scenario we just discussed. Below, we’ve included details about clogs and your home’s main line so you know how to recognize an issue and who to call to fix the situation.

Tips for Unclogging Your Drains

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

Getting together with friends and family to celebrate a holiday is a fun tradition. With all of your loved ones gathered in one room, you can’t imagine anything ruining the magic of the moment. Then, as you’re washing the dishes, you notice that your sink won’t drain.

A clogged drain is never a pleasant experience, but you don’t have to let it ruin your holiday. There are several options you can try yourself to remove the clog quickly. If they don’t work, don’t risk harming your pipes by trying more invasive practices-call your plumber.

Planning a Party? 5 Ways to Protect Your Plumbing

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

The holiday season has arrived, and you can’t wait to celebrate via an epic Christmas party. You’ve sent out the invitations. You’ve decorated your house from top to bottom. And you’ve found the latest, tastiest recipes that Pinterest has to offer.

But as you prepare for your party, don’t forget to protect your plumbing. An overflowing toilet or a backed-up sink could quickly ruin the special night for you and your guests.

Fortunately, the following tips can help you stop plumbing problems before they start.

Should I Worry About My Pipes Freezing?

Written by BooAdmin. Posted in Rakeman Blog

Nevada isn’t necessarily known for its cold temperatures. In fact, it’s quite normal for parts of Nevada to see temperatures in the 100s during the summer. So when you see friends on social media complaining about cold weather and snow during winter, you can’t exactly relate.

One major problem for homeowners during winter is the possibility of freezing pipes. In places that regularly dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, frozen and busted pipes become a very big reality for many. But as a homeowner in Nevada, do you even have to worry about that?

While chances aren’t high that your pipes will freeze (even in the dead of winter), it can still happen. After all, one good night of freezing weather is all it takes to bust your pipes and cause a great deal of plumbing damage.

If you own a vacation home in Central or Northern Nevada where temperatures frequently drop (or you want to prepare for a freak cold spell…hey, it happens!), you should take cautionary steps to winterize your pipes and prevent damage.

New Homeowner? A Guide to Plumbing Maintenance

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

After years of renting, you’re excited to move into your own home. You don’t have to worry about landlords, roommates, or noisy upstairs neighbors. You have your own home where you can do as you please.

However, a home also comes with responsibilities, and one of the most important responsibilities is taking care of the plumbing systems. If you’ve never had to maintain a plumbing system before, read our checklists to make sure your plumbing, septic tank, and sewer work smoothly.

What Not to Flush: Top 10 Items to Keep Out of the Toilet

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

Be honest: do you use your toilet as a backup garbage disposal? Perhaps you’ve flushed away old, leftover chili or held a few fish funerals in your bathroom. If your toilet doesn’t clog after those actions, you assume it can handle the waste.

But despite what your previous experience taught you, some things should never take a trip down the toilet. The list below details the top 10 items not to flush.

11 Ways to Conserve Water in Your New Home

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

When you live in a desert, water makes the summer heat bearable. You might feel like taking an ice bath is the only way to cool down after a few minutes outside. But when a drought hits your region, you have to keep track of your water use. Luckily, water conservation comes with benefits-you reduce your bills, prevent pollution in the watershed, and enhance the life of your plumbing system.

Check out these 11 simple tips that will help you save water in every area in your home. We want to show you that you can obey your city’s water restrictions without harming your lifestyle.

  1. Stop the Drip. Leaky faucets can damage your appliances, and they waste an enormous amount of water. One dripping faucet can use up to 20 gallons of water in a single day. Call a plumber to fix leaks before they ruin your pipes or damage your interior, and you’ll do a service to the environment as well.
  2. Read Your Water Meter. If you don’t have any noticeable leaks in your home, check for less obvious ones by reading your water meter. Read your meter, and then turn off all the water in our house for a couple of hours. Afterwards, check the meter again to see if the numbers have changed. If you spot a difference, you’ll know that you have a leak that needs fixing.
  3. Insulate Your Pipes. If it takes a few minutes for your tap water to heat up, consider inexpensive pipe insulation. You’ll protect your pipes, and as an added bonus, you won’t waste water while you wait for the temperature to rise.
  4. Ask for a Pressure Reduction. Your plumbing specialist can manually change the settings on your pressure reducing valve (if one is installed) and reduce your water pressure by 30%. Though pressure-reducing valves won’t change the amount of water going to your washing machine or dishwasher, you’ll see the difference in your faucets-and in your water bill.
  5. Choose a Water Saver Toilet. To qualify as a “Water Saver” toilet, models use between 0.8 and 1.6 gallons per flush. When you choose a water-conserving toilet, you save up to 5 gallons of water over every time you visit the restroom.

If the toilets in your home use larger amounts of water, think about investing in a new water saver toilet.

  1. Don’t Flush Unless Absolutely Necessary. Don’t use your toilet as a substitute for a garbage can. You shouldn’t flush tissues or other liquid bathroom waste, and you definitely shouldn’t flush prescription meds. Dispose of your unwanted bathroom waste the appropriate way, and use your toilet’s flow only when the occasion demands it.
  2. Bathe Only as a Luxury. Baths on average waste twice as much water as a shower. If you like the soothing sensation of a hot bath after a long day at work, try taking a short hot shower to relax your muscles.

For longer soaks, get out to a spa where water treatments keep the water clean without wasting it down the drain.

  1. Time Your Showers. One site suggests that listening to the radio helps you keep track of how many songs pass before you rinse off and get out.
  2. Keep a Bucket in the Shower. If you struggle to limit your shower time, at least make good use of the water you consume. Let a bucket or large bowl fill up with your dirty shower water and then use it to hydrate your yard.
  3. Avoid Using Your Disposal Every Day. To work properly, sink disposals need a constant flow of water. When you fill your disposal with food waste, you end up wasting water down the sink and filling your pipes with more solid waste.

If you throw out solid waste or put it in a compost pile, you’ll increase the lifespan of your plumbing and conserve water at the same time.

  1. Purchase a Low-Flow Faucet Aerator. This cheap option allows you to add pressurized air into your water flow. You’ll get the same sensation as a faucet running at full blast, but you’ll save a significant amount of water.

Most aerators cost little, and you can use them all over the house. Ask your plumbing professional for aerator options in the kitchen and bathroom.


Most of the above options won’t cost you much time or money, and they’ll help you feel good about your environmental impact. Every drop of water you save contributes to the vitality of your entire community. When you save money on your water bill, you’ll also save the environment from drought and pollution.

Ask your plumbing specialist for more products and services that can conserve water in your home.

The Benefits of Turning Down Your Water Heater’s Thermostat

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

Imagine the last shower you took. You probably turned up the temperature as hot as you could stand it so it could soothe your stiff muscles. The shower’s steam helped your lungs relax as well, and you basked in the hot cascade for a moment before you turned to your shampoo and body wash.

Then, as you exited the shower, you felt warm, relaxed, and happy, albeit it a little drowsy. Your shower gave you the boost of positivity you needed to face the day. But it also had other effects.

For example, did your skin feel dry and flaky after it dried? And did your hot shower habit make your electricity bills spike?

Hot water has a surprisingly detrimental impact on many aspects of your life. So if you turn your water heater’s thermostat down, you’ll reap a plethora of benefits. We’ll outline some of those benefits below.

  1. Your electricity/gas bills will decrease.

Your water heater supplies warm water to many features and appliances in your home. You already know that it provides the hot water for your shower. However, that hot water also goes into your washing machine, your dishwasher, and various sinks. So the energy your water heater uses adds up and becomes a significant expense.

According to, you will save up to 5% on your electricity bill for every 10°F reduction in water heater temperature. So, if comfort allows, turn your water heater’s thermostat to 120° or lower. You shouldn’t have it much higher than that anyway because water over 140° could scald your skin.

  1. Your water heater will last longer and give you a better return on your investment.

The hotter the water in your heater, the more the materials inside it will expand and contract. As materials expand and contract, they weaken slightly, and they begin to corrode or erode. Additionally, the more you use this appliance’s heating elements, the quicker they wear out as well.

So if you turn your water heater’s temperature down, your appliance will last longer. And because it lasts longer, you won’t have to pay for a new water heater anytime soon. You’ll save money and have a better return on what you originally spent for the appliance.

  1. Your plumbing will last longer.

Again-when you keep your water blisteringly hot, the plumbing that transports it expands and contracts more with the changing temperature. Your pipes, washing machine, and dishwasher have to expand and contract more often because they don’t always have hot water inside them. So they may begin to erode, and their parts may begin to bend and warp because they don’t always expand and contract at the same rate.

This process doesn’t ruin your plumbing in a day, a month, or even a year. It happens slowly. But the hotter you keep your water, the more often you will have to replace your pipes-especially the pipes near the water heater. Turn down the heater to save money and help your pipes last longer.

    4. Your hair and skin will become healthier.

As mentioned above, you probably notice that your skin feels dry after a hot shower. The dehydration might not make sense to you because you just spent several minutes covered in water. However, the heat in that water makes it evaporate. And because the water in your skin and hair has just as much heat, it evaporates too.

As a result, you experience dry, flaky skin and brittle hair. But if you turn down the temperature just a few degrees, you’ll see your skin’s and hair’s health improve. You’ll look and feel more beautiful in no time.

Although you can manually adjust the temperature in your shower, you should also adjust the thermostat on your water heater. If you turn down the maximum temperature, you’ll remove the temptation of a scalding hot cascade.

  1. You will feel more alert.

Colder water doesn’t soothe your nerves the same way warm water does. Rather, the colder temperate stimulates your nerves and helps you feel more awake. The different signals travel to your brain and chase away your morning grogginess.

Again, while the handles on your showers or faucets allow you to manually create this effect, you should still turn down your water heater.

    6.  Your immune system will improve.

Hot water doesn’t just leech the moisture from your skin. It also kills the symbiotic bacteria living on it, and it destroys some skin cells as well. The skin cells work with symbiotic bacteria to keep harmful germs from entering your body. If these skin cells or bacteria die, you lose your immune system’s first barrier. So keep your water cooler if you’d like see your immune system become stronger than ever.


Your life will improve in a variety of ways if you turn down your water heater’s thermostat. For more tips on maintaining the plumbing around your home, check out the rest of our blog (

A Hard Look at Hard Water: Ways Hard Water Affects You and Your Home

Written by Tom Elliott. Posted in Rakeman Blog

When you turn on your tap, do you ever pause to consider the water that flows out?

Although your water may look clear and taste pleasant, it could harbor minerals that affect your health and your home indicating hard water. In fact, more than 85% of the country relies on hard water, according to the US Geological Survey (

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water contains high mineral content, particularly calcium, manganese, and magnesium carbonate.

Experts measure water hardness based on grains per gallon or parts per million. Water with less than 3.5 grains per gallon falls into the soft water category, while water with more than 10.5 grains per gallon is very hard.

In Las Vegas Valley, the average water hardness level is about 285 parts per million, or 16.7 grains per gallon. This is because most of our water supply starts with snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains. As the water travels down the Colorado River channel, it picks up and dissolves minerals along the way.

You can’t always see these minerals, but you can see the effect they have on your day-to-day activities.

How It Affects Your Body

Don’t panic about drinking hard water. Researchers have yet to connect hard water consumption with worrisome conditions or diseases. Some minor studies ( even suggest that drinking hard water can protect against cardiovascular disease, though more research is needed to validate the claim.

However, hard water can affect your body in other ways, including the feel of your skin and hair and the taste of your food.

Your Hair Feels Dry and Brittle

The minerals in hard water react with the chemicals in your shampoo, making it difficult to build up a lather and rinse away the remaining suds. As a result, you might have a sticky film on your hair, which prevents moisture from reaching the strands. This can lead to dry, dull, tangled hair.

If you dye your hair frequently, hard water can also strip the color, leaving you with faded and brittle locks.

Your Skin Feels Itchy and Irritated

The minerals in hard water also react with your typical soap, creating the same film on your skin as it does on your hair. This film clogs your pores and can leave your skin feeling dry, itchy, and easily irritated.

Some studies ( show that children living in areas with hard water are more likely to experience eczema. And though switching to soft water didn’t ease eczema directly, many families in a UK trial ( reported less itchiness and needed fewer emollients when they installed water softeners in their home.

Your Tea or Coffee Tastes Bitter

If you struggle to wake up in the morning, you might want to rethink how you brew your coffee or tea. Chlorine, calcium, and magnesium bind with the compounds in your favorite drinks to form solids. This ties up flavors and aromas, so you often end up with a bitter, duller cup.

How It Affects Your Home

In addition to affecting your body, hard water can affect your plumbing and appliances. Your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater won’t work as effectively when you have hard water running through your pipes.

Your Clothes Look Dingy

If your clothes look dingy, gray, and streaked, hard water may be the culprit. This is because much of your detergent goes toward softening the water instead of cleaning your clothing. The magnesium and calcium in the water will cling to the fabric, dulling the color and leaving the material stiff.

Some estimate that homeowners need to use nearly 30% extra detergent when washing with hard water to obtain the same results as washing with soft water.

Your Dishes Develop Spotting and Filming

Few things feel more satisfying than opening a dishwasher and pulling out a sparkling clean glass cup. However, if you wash with hard water, you might notice your dishes look cloudy rather than clean.

As with your laundry, this is because your soap has to combat extra minerals in addition to fighting grease and last night’s leftovers. And the hard water does a poor job of rinsing the dishes, so you’ll often notice a hazy film despite putting your dishes through a second rinse cycle.

Your Boiler Will Have a Shorter Lifespan

As hard water moves through your plumbing, it can leave calcium and other mineral deposits behind. This accumulates over time, clogging your pipes and increasing the likelihood of rust and bacteria buildup. As your boiler, heater, or other appliances struggle to push past the deposits, you may notice a decrease in water flow and an increase in monthly utility bills.

What Can You Do?

These are just a few of the problems hard water can cause-but fortunately, you can easily remedy these issues with a water softener. Ask your local plumber about which water softener is best for your home,and have a professional replace any pipes or parts damaged due to hard water buildup.

Come Visit Us Or Give Us A Call


Company Information

  • Rakeman Plumbing
  • 4075 Losee Rd
  • North Las Vegas, NV 89030
  • Phone: 702-642-8553
  • Fax: (702) 399-1410
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