Winter is here which means snowfalls, early sunsets and cold temperatures. Although the snowflakes and holiday traditions can make winter a magical season, it can also wreak havoc on your home! Take a proactive approach to protecting your home this season from these 5 common plumbing problems.
Red Door Grill- Brookside Waldo Area
This city never ceases to surprise us. The people we meet. The events around it that encourage us all to enjoy one another and the moments they provide. The camaraderie alone gives us pride to be a business in such an amazing city.
With certain areas of town comes certain neighborhood spots and one of our favorites is The Red Door Grill in Brookside. Taking the opportunity when we can to visit the local bar and grill, one of the core places in the restaurant stood out.
The Bathrooms, of course.
In a small nook between the outdoor space and the restaurant itself the facilities reside. One long gorgeous sink, large enough to accommodate everyone who needs it sits in between the actual stalls. On the left, the Women’s doors, on the right the Men’s. Each room or closet gives maximum privacy to its occupant.
The attention to detail, the cleanliness of the space maximized by the dark wood doors and elegant white tiles will catch your attention. After talking with Brian, the General Manager about the design concept he discussed how the Brookside and Waldo areas are older but they are areas of town that encourage forward thinking and enjoy simple concepts when it comes to their homes.
“We want Red Door patrons to feel comfortable when they are here.” Laughing beside one of the Men’s spaces he continued on “and out there” motioning towards the restaurant itself.
While the concept of shared bathrooms seems to be catching on all over the city the way Red Door orchestrated this one is very unique. The idea of a bathroom “space” conveniently placed closer together but allowing privacy is not a simple feat to execute. Yet they did.
A Water Closet by definition is a “flush toilet” or “a room containing a flush toilet”. When Louie’s Wine Dive opened its new location in Overland Park they choose a building previously housed by a gas station. Sitting on the corner of 119th street parallel to The Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods and next door to Dunkin Donuts the space made sense. The bathrooms were, however, a different story. The previous tenant had a simple men’s room and women’s room. There was nothing fancy about either but reconfiguring the bathrooms would prove to be somewhat of a chore, according to managing partner Tom Jordan.
Leaning on history, and the fact that the majority of their clientele is female, they choose to make each restroom unisex and label each “WC”. At first, especially if you aren’t familiar with the lingo, it is confusing.
“WC? Do I go in here? Is this where I..Is there a toilet in the closet?”
These are the questions on the mind of a new patron making the short voyage from bar top table to bathroom. Slowly opening the door to ensure it is, in fact, the bathroom, relief of a different kind occurs as you enter. Relieved that the room is in fact exactly where you want and need to be.
The décor is simple and functional. Each WC comes with a lit candle, fantastic wall décor and has no reminiscence of a gas station.
Speakeasy: “An illicit liquor store or nightclub.”
The prohibition-like speakeasy has made its resurgence over the last several years, popping up all over urban areas across the country. Of course Kansas City joined this movement with gusto, opening up several in the downtown area. One that has received attention is Manifesto, connected somewhat to the old Reiger building.
The Reiger was in its original form a hotel and according to their website was located on “The Wettest Block in town” before prohibition. Now it's a prime time spot for happy hours, dinner and drinks for anyone of age within the metro area.
Feeling like we should do a little recon on the subject of the speakeasy, Manifesto became a target. Securing a reservation was the first order of business, and it is done only by text message. You initiate contact then receive confirmation that they have space available. Only then do you send your name and party information over.
Choosing a Friday nighttime slot and enlisting some friends to join me it was time to see what this place had to offer. Walking down the narrow alley way, stepping up onto the back “porch” before sliding into the back entrance, there were no signs guiding us. Thank goodness I was with professionals, the sort of late night drinkers who can sniff out a backdoor bar without hesitation.
The reservation desk, slightly hidden from plain site, greeted our party. Before we could share our name, they knew why we had found them. Turning slightly towards a narrow flight of stairs the only identifying sign for Manifesto hung above our heads, reading “Mind Your Head” and “Cocktails Liberated”.
Carefully walking down the narrow staircase towards what seemed to be an old cellar the mood slowly surrounded us. No lighting with the exception of candles, no phone usage, and plenty to drink.
Our table situated in the back part of the room allowed for perfect surveillance of the crowd. All ages of patrons sat around us, enjoying drinks of a unique kind. Having a mild palate myself, the first thing we all noticed was the drink menu. If you have a simple taste in libations, this is not the place for you. Period. There is no order taken that deviates from the menu. And that is not negotiable.
Choosing a simple concoction of rum, vodka, grapefruit juice and pepper I had my doubts. Shortly that concern was lifted. After another round it was time for a restroom break.
Carefully we maneuvered the narrow stairs once more to the main floor. Sharing the facilities with the Reiger the bathrooms had to be good. Being a fan of the prohibition era I was hopeful, the old porcelain stools stood out, white as could be with the brass accents. The tile with black accents also a perfect classic match. One stall slanted, covering the corner space in order to make room for each guest during their private moments. Just as expected it was unique and quite lovely. The feeling of history prevailed, in every detail. The simple mirrors, faucets, and wall hangings all reminded us of the buildings age.
The real surprise, however, came from the Men’s room. In a building with so much history we should have not been surprised. Just being present within the space allows the nostalgia to flow. Seeing our friend exit the men’s room with a smile it was obvious.
“Al Capone Peed Here.” He chuckled. “Who knew?” Showing us the picture he took as evidence we too enjoyed the moment.
At the end we all agreed on that the experience was one for the record books. It’s not everyday you get to relieve yourself where Al Capone hung
The idea of water standing anywhere outside the designated areas of sinks, showers, tubs and toilets is enough to make any homeowner anxious. As innocuous as water may seem, it can cause serious damage to the walls, floors, furnishings and belongings if left standing. With this kind of scenario, it’s no wonder homeowners hold their breath when a long stretch of rainy days hits the metro.
The power of gravity pulls water downhill to the lowest level. Outside, this could mean flowing water running through a storm drain or through the downspout of the gutter on a roofline. Inside, water also looks for the lowest level, which in many cases is the basement. The installation of a sump pump in the basement helps send water away from a home and can improve dampness when a water table sits above the foundation of a home. Dampness also has the potential to trigger rust, rot, mold and unhealthy indoor air in a home. In short, a sump pump is great insurance, stopping potential problems before they start.
Home’s Defense against Basement Floods
A flood in the lower level of your home is not only problematic to the furniture and articles stored in the basement; it’s also detrimental to the foundation of your home. The installation of a sump pump is a simple way to safeguard your investments and add a measure of assurance when the rain starts to fall. Relying on the same principle of gravity, water flows to the sump pump pit below the surface of the basement. When the water collected in the pit reaches a certain level, an automated floatation device signals the sump pump to remove water out from the area.
Importance of Regular Testing and Maintenance
In order to ensure your sump pump is ready to kick into action when the rain starts, it’s a good idea to test the sump pump. This can be particularly important before a forecast of heavy rain or precipitation over an extended timeframe. Testing is as simple as pouring water from a bucket into the sump pump basin until it triggers the pump. Typically, this is a fast process and only requires a couple gallons of water. Once the pump triggers, it will remove water from the basin and shut off. If there’s any delay in the process or the sump pump does not trigger, it’s a good time to call the plumbing specialists from Morgan Miller Plumbing for sump pump repairs.
Power in Numbers
One working sump pump is great. Two working sump pumps are even better. This is particularly true in the case of heavy rains that fall in a short amount of time. If a pump becomes overwhelmed with the amount of water, the second pump can help remove the water. A back-up battery system can also supply an additional level of protection by keeping the pump working in the case of a power outage during a storm.
Finding the Sump Pump that’s Right for You
Let the plumbing experts at Morgan Miller Plumbing determine your home’s specific sump pump needs, from grinder or ejector pumps to submersible and pedestal pumps, we’ve got you covered. With our 24-hour emergency service center, Morgan Miller Plumbing is here when you need us!
Forget about the history books, it’s the music of a time period that truly shapes and impacts the masses. Kansas City’s Quality Hill Playhouse live performance theatre is at the forefront of this historical effort, keeping the music of the past alive and relevant for Kansas Citians through music theatre. Quality Hill Playhouse holds a unique niche in the Kansas City music scene with presentations of music from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s in musicals (containing dialogue) and cabaret (original and arranged by Quality Hill Playhouse’s own artistic director J. Kent Barnhart) format.
Musical performances offer the audience a time traveler’s peek back to the thoughts and feelings of the day as conveyed through its most-beloved music. Each musical number includes accompaniment from a tuxedo-clad pianist/emcee who offers witty anecdotes and insight about each song performed by Kansas City’s finest professional singers. It should come as no surprise that the class and sophistication displayed within the 153-seat theatre also carries into the public bathrooms and the dressing rooms of the performers.
Often the past and present collide. At Quality Hill Playhouse, that collision came in the form of a 2009 renovation that included the demolition of a restaurant and a series of inadequate, small bathrooms. Directed by Helix, Kansas City’s sought-after architectural and design firm, the collaboration included a series of choices designed to convey high-quality aesthetics through ageless, classic design.
“We want our guests to have a seamless experience from the music, set design, costumes and even the bathrooms,” Rick Truman, Quality Hill Playhouse managing director, said. “We even included a full-length, dressing room-style mirror so our guests can make sure they are stage perfect upon exit.”
A number of subtle, yet high-end touches give the bathrooms a classic luxury and timeless feel. Those elements include large ceramic floor tiles that mimic the look of wood grain, timeless subway-style tiles running floor to ceiling, adding an element of spaciousness, and recessed sinks and trash receptacles continue the streamlined appearance. Materials used on the walls and floors continue through the entryway to the theatre, adding presence and stature to the intimate setting.
Re-live the good ole days by listening to songs from the great band leaders in the upcoming In the Mood presentation of Big Band’s finest songs. While you’re there, don’t forget to take a look at the facilities!
Check them out at their website.
The ongoing revival within the heart of Kansas City’s downtown continues to be a source of pride for the city and its residents. At its center lies the city’s literary focal point, the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Library. Located at 10th and Baltimore, the former bank building is an architectural marvel and all-inclusive spot designed to unite the community through knowledge. Jonathan Kemper, long-time local preservationist and library board president, was the first to imagine the possibility of repurposing a formerly glorious building as the library’s downtown headquarters. In 2004 following the completion of the extensive restoration project, the library relocated from its prior home in the school board building. Kemper’s vision also included the Community Bookshelf, the 25-by -9-foot books that serve as the façade of the library’s parking garage. As one of the most-photographed elements in Kansas City, books are landing the city and its library on the national map.
The Great Equalizer
No longer is the library just about checking out physical books. Today the institution is in a constant evolution to improve the literary, digital, cultural, and educational and employment literacy of the people of Kansas City with the goal of providing knowledge to all. This vision of the future firmly maintains the best of the past, cushioning library patrons in the timeless beauty of an era gone by. Entering through the main entrance, visitors take in the yesteryear grandeur of Kirk Hall, featuring molded ceilings and tall Doric architectural columns and veined marble repurposed from the original bank setting. The classic and stately atmosphere even carries into the library’s bathrooms. A subtle and well-proportioned cream-colored palette ushers visitors into the entryway with large rectangle tiles featuring a subtle wave pattern. Once inside, the full grandeur of the room becomes apparent. The walls feature richly toned one-inch glass mosaic tiles in shades of dark cranberry and bronze, adding a touch of class to a room that’s typically only about function. The softly shimmering tiles provide an elegant counterpart to the streamlined granite countertops and larger utilitarian cream-colored tiles lining the floor.
While the bathrooms are definitely not what one would expect to find in a public institution, it might be the contents of the basement that will truly blow library visitors away. The library’s vault, a critical structural element of the original bank built in 1925 now serves as architectural component and home to the library’s film vault. Here library patrons can view a film on Saturday afternoons such as upcoming Ciné Shakespeare series, produced in conjunction with the UMKC Department of English. The series features four films (Shakespeare in Love, Richard III, Richard II and Coriolanus) based on the legendary Bard’s work. The film series, which began in February, is a teaser for six months of Shakespeare activities at the library including a summertime viewing of Shakespeare’s First Folio originally published in 1623.
Come grab a book, watch a film, or just to check out the facilities! Learn more about the Kansas City Public Library here.
Dolce Bakery, a made-from-scratch bakery nestled in the Village shops of Prairie Village, is just the spot for beautiful and delicious sweet treats guaranteed to keep you returning for more. The popular, long-time resident of the Village found herself in the enviable spot of outgrowing the kitchen at the original Dolce Bakery, necessitating the move to the more spacious current location. The practical move quickly evolved from a simple re-location to an exercise in branding awareness and an opportunity to refresh the bakery’s brand.
Avoiding the Cookie-Cutter Look
This included working with design expert Brent Anderson to create a branding campaign including a new color palette and font along with a redesign of the space. “I know what I like, but I love working with experts who are just as passionate about what they do as I am about baking,” Erin said.
After six years at the original location, Erin had a good idea of how she wanted the new location to look and feel, but when she didn’t find what she was looking for she wasn’t shy about asking for advice. True to the bakery’s every batch from scratch motto, Erin started at the beginning, seeking out the expertise of local craftspeople regarding the look and design of the dining and bathroom areas.
A Cohesive Approach
Throughout the light and airy space, Dolce Bakery visitors will find a comfortable, lived-in area warmed by handmade lights and accents of chocolate-colored local wood around the pastry cases, front counter and shelving, designed by Randy Taylor of RWT Design and Fabrication. When it came to the bathroom design, Erin choose to switch up the plans during the construction phase and move the bathroom facilities from the back of the building to the front to add more space in the kitchen.
With the bathroom in a more prominent location, Erin decided a cohesive look would be necessary. Here she envisioned a simple bathroom design that would translate as shiny, bright and pretty and feel clean and fresh. Some things remain easier said than done. After coming up empty-handed at the tile store, Erin approached the store’s resident tile expert for advice on tile for the new bathroom space. His recommendation included a large, shiny white subway tile set in a subtle wave pattern. Several aisles over, he pointed her toward tile accents jeweled with clear mosaic glass. The room is finished with architectural accent tiles at the top and bottom, and a soft minty green color from the Dolce Bakery color palette completes the clean, white bathroom and creates a sense of cohesiveness with the rest of the space. The bathroom also features an unexpectedly elegant pedestal sink and oval mirror. It should come as no surprise that the 2015 Battle of the Brands winner also receives kudos on the bathroom design with customers asking to snap a picture of the bathroom on their way out the door.
“Everything about the design is an extension of what we’re trying to do.” Erin said. “People come here to share food, conversation and emotions, and I want them to feel at home and comfortable anywhere in this environment.”
Check Dolce Bakery out HERE, and make sure to stop by for your Valentine’s goodies!
Why you need an Expansion Tank
Even thinking about a cold shower can be a miserable experience. Really, what could be worse than standing under the showerhead waiting for hot water to come pouring out and instead you’re greeted by a cold blast of chilling water? Definitely a buzz kill. Thankfully, a well-functioning water heater and thermal expansion tank is one of the best ways to ensure the levels of hot water are available when you want them.
What Happens when the Water Gets Hot?
The act of heating water inside a hot water heater causes a form of natural expansion. This causes pressure to push outward from the inside to throughout the plumbing system. Kind of like a cartoon character who grows so angry they finally explode, a water heater has the ability to turn into a missile of enormous power if the system’s temperature and pressure, or T&P relief valve, is not in place. The T&P valve is the safety feature designed to relieve high levels of pressure. If this is not in place or working properly a hot water tank could explode, causing smoke, fire or structural damage.
From Open to Closed Systems
Years ago, most cities had “open systems.” This meant water drawn from the city supply could flow both ways. This was helpful for regulating the pressure in a home water heater. When too much pressure built up in the water tank, it could just flow back into the city’s larger water supply. Instances of back flow causing contamination found many cities opting for a “closed system.” This meant water trying to release pressure by flowing backward got stopped by a check valve installed at the city meter. As the populations of cities grew so did the number of “closed systems,” making the need for thermal expansion tanks necessary, according to Mack McClain and Associates.
Dealing with Heat and Thermal Expansion
Any time there’s a build-up of pressure in a plumbing system, there’s also a potential for chronic and continuous dripping of a T&P valve on the hot water heater. In addition, dripping faucets and leaking toilet tank ball cock valves are symptomatic of thermal expansion. With nowhere for the building pressure to go, water expanding through the heating process creates the potential for serious damage within a plumbing system. Similar to blowing off steam after a stressful encounter or conversation, the water from a hot water heater looks for another place to put water that doesn’t fit in the tank after expansion through heating.
Small but Mighty
The thermal expansion tank is a small vessel installed at the cold supply of the water heater. Inside, a rubber bladder separates the compartments for water and air. When the water expands with heating, the rubber bladder moves to the air side of the bladder, taking up the room it needs to expand. Even as the water replaces the air in the tank, water pressure isn’t affected.
Benefits of a Thermal Expansion Tank
• Eliminates general wear and tear on plumbing fixtures
• Extends the life of the water heater
• Reduces leaks at connections within the plumbing system
• Prevents unnecessary damage to water heater and plumbing system
• Lowers the chance for future costly repairs
• Minimizes maintenance, can be included in annual plumbing inspection
• Adds value to the home
The Gamble: Forgoing the Thermal Expansion Tank
While the codes in many cities (including Kansas City) require the installation of a thermal expansion tank with all new water heaters, you might be wondering if it’s worthwhile to install an expansion tank on an older water heater. For this question, we consulted Sage Restoration, Kansas City’s go-to source for fire, water, mold and biohazard restoration services. Having dealt with the aftermath of way too many burst water heaters in their time, Sage Restoration knows first-hand the importance of having a thermal expansion tank to reduce the pressure and the amount of water dripping from a T&P valve. It’s also protects a home and its inhabitants from fire, smoke or structural damage associated with an exploding hot water heater. Water damage creates associated problems such as standing water and its threat of breeding bacteria and mold growth. Eliminating this possibility can be an important way to reduce the myriad of health risks associated with bacteria or mold growth.
Plumber’s Testing Protocol:
• Check the meter for the presence of a check valve
• Determine current water pressure (water pressure 80 PSI or higher requires a pressure reducing valve (PRV) and a thermal expansion tank is recommended)
• Look for signs of damage from thermal expansion
Do I need a Thermal Expansion Tank?
To determine if a thermal expansion tank could be beneficial to your home or business, call the licensed plumbers at Morgan Miller Plumbing. The Morgan Miller Plumbing team offers more than 100 years of combined plumbing experience. Our team of master plumbers and services technicians have “been there and done that.” Rest assured knowing our experts are here to service all your plumbing needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Associated Installation Cost and Warranties
The cost to install a thermal expansion tank can range from $300 to $400. Often the expense of the thermal expansion tank is included in the cost of the new water heater. Because of the safety benefits of thermal expansion tanks, many water heater manufacturers require the installation of thermal expansion tanks to receive the full warranty. Warranties can range from one to five years, and the less you pay, the lower the warranty coverage.
Ever since our first polar blast in November, we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of temperatures, and now it looks like we’re stuck in the frigid trenches for a while. Winter in Kansas City is always cold, but this year feels particularly hostile with arctic air constantly streaming in from the north. We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for April!
Since there’s no way to speed up time, the best we can do is make the most of our winter by taking care our families, ourselves and our homes. And one way to do that is by making sure our plumbing systems are protected from winter’s cold. If we don’t, we may wind up causing major damage to our property and putting our families in difficult situations.
So, what can we do to avoid the plumbing woes of winter? Here are a few tips:
- Wrap it up. During frigid temperatures, your uninsulated pipes are at risk—especially those in your attic, garage or outside areas. When the temperatures drop below freezing, any water left in these pipes can freeze and expand, causing the pipes to crack or burst. And that means trouble. Instead of just hoping for the best, take preventative measures by wrapping your pipes and outdoor plumbing fixtures in insulating material such as towels, foam or insulation sleeves from your local hardware store.
- Call it in. If you do see a leak in any of your pipes or fixtures, fix it immediately. Winter is no time to turn a blind eye to plumbing issues. If there is a leak, there is a good possibility your pipes are already damaged and may be ticking time bombs for bigger issues. Don’t wait for a more convenient time; call in a plumber (like us) immediately to avoid further damage.
- Let it run. If you plan to be away from your home for any extended period of time, leave your faucets on at a very slow drip. This will keep a stream of water moving through the pipes and keep them from freezing up.
- Know the drill. If, despite your best efforts, you still experience a burst pipe this winter, you’ll want to know what to do immediately so that damage can be minimized. The most important first action step is to turn off the main water line to avoid a total flood. After that, call a plumber (like us) immediately, or if you are unaware of where the main shut off is located, call us the minute you know there is a problem. If you know the plumbing layout of your property you can try to identify the source of the leak and fix it yourself, but be sure to insulate the pipe when you replace it to avoid future issues.
At Morgan Miller Plumbing, we know that the cold temps give you enough to think about without having to worry about your pipes. That’s why even if you ignore all of these tips and every warning sign along the way, you still don’t need to worry. With our 24-hour emergency plumbing service, you can call us anytime day or night and know that we’ll be available to rescue you in times of plumbing trouble. It’s what we’re here for! We love our customers, and we love Kansas City, and we’re proud to be the metro’s premier provider of residential and commercial plumbing services.
This season, take our advice and keep an eye on your pipes. Don’t let a little thing like an arctic blast cause a flood in your home. But know that even if it does, we’re only a phone call away.