Your toilet might be the cause of your high water bill. A leaking toilet wastes as much as five gallons of water per minute, which adds up fast. Even a small leak could be responsible for the loss of 20,000 to 40,000 gallons of water each day. If you think there might be a leak in your toilet, you need to repair it as soon as possible to avoid an unpleasant surprise when your water bill arrives.
How Do I Detect a Toilet Leak?
Chances are if you can hear your toilet running you have an issue, but confirming a leak is simple. Add one teaspoon of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank and wait about 15 minutes before flushing. If there is colored water in the toilet bowl after the flush water is leaking into from the tank into the bowl, which means there’s a leak.
The Process of Flushing
Fixing a toilet that won’t stop running and wasting water first requires you understand a bit about how flushing works.
Modern toilets have worked about the same since they were invented. When you flush, the lever opens a flapper to cause the flush of water, then water fills the tank and lifts the float that shuts off the water when it reaches a certain level.
Now that you understand how a flush is supposed to work, you can determine what’s causing your toilet to constantly be in a sort of flush mode.
Float and Valve Problems
The culprit for a running toilet is often the float. When the float is set too low it results in a weak flush, but when it’s set too high water spills into the overflow tube and the fill valve won’t shut off.
To determine if the float is too high, measure down about an inch on the toilet’s overflow tube and make a mark. Flush the toilet and see if the water reaches and stops at the mark. If not the float needs adjusting.
Chain and Flapper Problems
Sometimes the problem is the valve. If your valve won’t shut off it’s defective and you’ll need to have it replaced.
Another potential problem that can cause a toilet to run is the chain length. The chain affects whether or not the flapper can close, and when the flapper is left open it causes constant running.
Finally, the problem might be caused by a worn out flapper. This is often discovered by process of elimination – if none of the issues listed above is causing the toilet to run, you can assume you need to have the flapper replaced.
The good news is a running toilet usually isn’t the sign an expensive fix is needed. More often than not the cost of the water wasted because of the problem is far more expensive than the problem itself. This is why it’s so important to get things fixed as soon as possible.
If you’d like more information on detecting and dealing with leaks in your home or you need help identifying a leak, give us a call!
It’s possible to detect leaks on your own and many homeowners try this DIY leak detection method before calling a pro.
There are a few steps you can take to detect a leak in your home, including:
- Check exterior hose bibbs to make sure one wasn’t left on.
- Check toilets by placing a dye tablet or food coloring into the toilet take. If the color seeps into the bowl, you’ll need a flapper valve repair or replacement. You can check for a flushing leak by wedging toilet paper between the tank and the bowl and seeing if it stays dry during the flush.
- Check faucets by turning them on one at a time, moving the faucet handle back and forth, and looking for leakage around the valve stem and faucet spout. Also check the drain piping under the sink for water.
- Work drain plugs open and closed with the water running in baths and sinks, and check for leaks where they connect to the drain system.
- Inspect the garbage disposal and dishwasher for leaks while each appliance is running.
- Check the walls where pipes connect and look for moisture, sponginess, or discoloration.
- Listen for a humming sound from your pipes. This is usually a good indication of water loss, which can occur through a fixture or outlet, or through a leakage point along the line.
Calling in the Pros
If your DIY inspection doesn’t put you at ease or you would rather a professional check for leaks right from the get-go, there are a few things to know. You’ll want to hire an experienced professional who can find your leak and help you repair it. This is a situation in which cutting corners can lead to property damage and greater expense long-term, so if you go with a pro, make sure you’re choosing someone qualified for the job.
Here’s what to consider when choosing a leak detection specialist:
Experience – Before hiring any leak detection or plumbing specialist, ask how long they have been in business, with what professional organizations they are affiliated, and if they have a staff or if it’s just one person running the show. It’s also a good idea to find out if they participate in continuing education about leak detection.
Equipment – Ask if the company uses the most up-to-date electronic equipment for leak detection. “Old school” methods don’t cut it anymore and won’t do you much good. They’re really no better than DIY methods of leak detection, so before you invest in a professional, make sure they are really offering professional services.
Satisfaction guarantee – If the professional you hire is unable to find the leak, what comes next? What happens if they don’t detect all of the leaks? Is there a guarantee they’ll come back and fix additional problems, or will you need to pay for another service call?
Pricing – Get a price estimate on leak detection beforehand. Also ask if their price quotes are guaranteed.
Insurance – Some homeowners insurance companies offer leak detection services or can at least refer you to someone they’ve worked with. In some cases, insurance will even pay for leak detection. You can also check with property management companies or online review services for highly recommended leak detection professionals in your area.
If you’d like more information on detecting and dealing with leaks in your home or you need help identifying a leak, give us a call!
Garbage disposals are one of the most useful appliances you can have in your kitchen. They reduce cleaning obligations, but like any household appliance, they must be properly maintained. Failing to give your garbage disposal the attention it needs can result in breakdowns, clogs and drain blockage, all of which can all lead to expensive plumbing bills.
The good news is caring for your garbage disposal is simple. By keeping your disposal maintained and avoiding a few common mistakes, it will last for many years in your home.
Maintaining Your Disposal
First, it’s important to know what steps to take to maintain your garbage disposal. The following tips can help you avoid serious (and expensive) problems:
- Keep your disposal clear. You can do this by pouring dish soap into the disposal, turning on the cold water, and allowing it to run for at least a minute.
- Run your disposal on a regular basis to avoid blockage, rust, and corrosion. This is also an opportunity to make sure it’s running properly.
- Grind harder materials every now and then to create a scouring action from the particles to clean the chamber and walls of the disposal. You can use egg shells, small fruit pits, or fish bones.
- Ice is also a great tool for cleaning your disposal and it sharpens the blades. You can even freeze vinegar to combine sharpening and freshening your disposal into one. This should be done a couple of times per month. Borax is also a natural product for cleaning and sanitizing that will wash away odor-causing mold and mildew. You can check out other cleaning ideas here.
- Cut larger items into smaller pieces and avoid shoving large amounts into the disposal.
- Run a strong cold water flow when grinding waste so oil will solidify and be ground up before it reaches the trap.
Avoiding Problems with Your Garbage Disposal
In addition to the things you should do to keep your disposal in good working order, there are also a few things you should avoid:
- Grinding glass, metal, plastic, paper, or anything combustible
- Putting cigarette butts in the disposal
- Draining grease in your disposal
- Grinding foods that are fibrous, such as onion skins, celery, rice, pasta, or corn husks. Also avoid potato peels, large animal bones, coffee grounds, and artichokes.
- Using hot water when grinding
- Using abrasive drain cleaners
The proper way to use a garbage disposal, no matter what you are grinding, is to run the disposal until grinding of the item is complete, turn off, and allow the cold water to continue running for at least 15 seconds. This flushes out excess particles of food. It’s also important to feed food into the disposal a little at a time to keep them flowing freely down the drain.
One final tip that covers maintenance and safety: NEVER insert your unprotected hand into the garbage disposal. If you need to use your hand to remove objects and debris from the garbage disposal, unplug the unit or turn off the circuit breaker, and wear safety gloves to protect from the sharp blades.
If you need more tips for maintaining your disposal or you are in need of service, give us a call!
Chris Barrett was a typical Louisiana outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and had the toys to go with his hobbies. It was a passion that he hoped to pass on to his three young sons.
In October of 2014, at the age of 33, Barrett’s dream of teaching his sons to fish and hunt came to an end when a hunting accident took away his eyesight. His blindness not only robbed him of the pursuit of his hobbies but it also took away his job as a computer numeric control machinist.
Without eyesight or a job, times were tough for Barrett and his family. Before the accident he had pride in his ability to keep up his house in Harahan.
“If something broke, I could fix it,” Barrett said.
But times were different now and he needed help. He had unfinished projects at his home and the Louisiana climate had taken a toll on his property.
“I strived to be 100 percent capable of taking care of things but realistically I still needed help,” he said.
Barrett’s former John Curtis Christian High School teacher Kathy Boucvalt heard about his situation and reached out for help from the newly formed Kenner Rotary Young Professionals Club. Once the members of the community service organization heard about the need they jumped in to help.
Members and other community volunteers showed up to pressure wash the exterior of the house, paint the interior, weed and plant a new garden and make repairs.
“I had to hide a lot of tears because I was really choked up,” Barrett said.
It was welcome help for the young father who is training for a new career as a massage therapist. As an added surprise, Barrett and his sons were treated by member Michael Meguerditchian to a shopping spree at his Lakeside Mall store, Go! Games and Toys.
Helping people like Barrett and others in the community that are in need is the goal of the club that is targeting members from age 25 to 45 who want to serve.
“A lot of young people are looking for a way to help in the community but have not had a way through an organization,” Kenner Rotary President John Parr said. So far, club projects have focused on assisting needy homeowners with property repairs but they plan to expand their scope of service in the future.
Most recently they cleared vegetation and made repairs to a house owned by an elderly Kenner couple with severe medical problems. The couple had been living for months without hot water because their hot water heater was broken.
Work sessions last from 8 a.m. to noon on a Saturday and have involved mainly exterior improvements to the homes. Money for the improvements comes from Rotary funds, private contributions and from area businesses such as Rooter Man of Kenner and Ramelli Waste Inc. The businesses also donate services or products.
New Hope Community Church, Kenner Boxing Club and individuals have provided manpower to assist the Rotary. Also, family members often join in the service projects.
Rotary member and Kenner businesswoman Christiana Sully Wilson gave her time to help with the organization’s latest house project.
“Rotary helps people to give them a better future. It is a way to give back to the community. It is so important,” Wilson said.
Parr agrees with Wilson about the significance of helping those in need.
“When you go to these people’s homes and knock on their door, they say ‘I never dreamed anyone would do this for me,'” Parr said.
Kenner Rotary Young Professionals Club meets from 6 to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Chateau Golf and Country Club. New members and guests are welcome. Contact Parr at JJKKKJ@aol.com or 504.464.7276 for information about the club or visit the Kenner Rotary Facebook page.
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A Name You Can Trust
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Outstanding Customer Service
Providing customers with excellent customer service is a priority for the team at Rooter Man. Our team wants you to have the greatest overall experience when you decide to call Rooter Man in Mandeville for all of your plumbing needs! We are incredibly thankful for our valued customers loyalty with the company, and we value all of our clients and businesses tremendously. We are fully licensed and insured plumbing contractors, so you can rest assured knowing you are in capable hands. When you call us at Rooter Man we will get someone out to you in a timely manner, and will come prepared with the best materials and latest technology to do the job efficiently. Rooter Man gives all of our customers up-front pricing, so you know what kind of prices you are looking at when you give us a call. We also provide our customers with long parts and service warranties, so you can stay covered for a while. We offer special discounts for military service members and senior citizens as well! If you have any insurance claims that need to be addressed, we will do our best to help you in any way possible. If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask one of our knowledgeable staff members!
Call Rooter Man Today!
If you are in the Mandeville area and are in need of any plumbing services, do not hesitate to call the qualified team at Rooter Man! We are willing to help you with any plumbing needs or concerns you may have.
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