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Plumbing Myths: Knowing What’s True and What’s Not

shower-1427304There are a lot of myths out there regarding plumbing and knowing what’s true and what’s misleading can save you a great deal of money and frustration.

What are five of the most commonly held beliefs about plumbing that aren’t true?

1. There’s No Need to Be Concerned about a Leaky Faucet

Leaky faucets might seem minor – after all, they aren’t flooding your home or stopping you from using your sinks or toilets – but the truth is leaky faucets are a big deal. They run up your water bill, sometimes by hundreds of dollars, and they can cause mold and rust over time. The good news is leaky faucets are usually easy to fix. The sooner you do so the better!

2. A Working Drain Means Everything is A-OK

You don’t want to invest problems where there aren’t any, but the truth is that even a functioning drain could still have an issue. Over time, things can build up in a drain and suddenly you have a huge clog. You’re better off knowing how to avoid clogs and knowing the early warning signs of a problem, like a slow running drain or a garbage disposal that’s not working quite right.

3. Small Water Stains are No Big Deal

Unfortunately, even a small water stain can be an indication of a big problem. There might be a leaky pipe or a roofing issue that’s just beginning to show evidence inside of your home. Keep in mind the actual leak can be a long distance from where you notice the stain, so what looks like a little problem might actually be a huge issue in a lesser used area of your home.

4. Low Water Pressure is Just an Issue for Your Hair’s Volume

It’s no secret low water pressure makes it difficult to get a good shower and shampoo, but it can also indicate a problem with your plumbing. In most cases, water pressure is caused by leaky pipes. Making matters worse, ignoring the problem could void a portion of your home warranty. If you have concerns about a change in water pressure, it’s a good idea to schedule an inspection.

5. Hard Water is Annoying, But Isn’t Really a Plumbing Problem

Think again! Hard water can cause scale to build up in the pipes and damage your appliances. At the very least, it means you’ll be dealing with deposits on clothing, dishes, and fixtures. You can install a water softener for a reasonable price and extend the life of anything you own that comes into contact with water in your home. Not to mention, your daily shower will be a whole lot more effective!

Have concerns about any of these myths or any other issues with your plumbing? Give us a call!

Holiday Plumbing Tips

The holiday season is upon us and for many that means their plumbing is going to get more use than usual.

Holiday get-togethers, college students returning home for break, and end of year vacation days means more people are in your house during the month of December. And with all these extra people comes extra flushes, extra showers, extra meal prep, and extra laundry.

What can you do to prepare your plumbing for the holidays and avoid problems that could put a damper on your happy holiday?

Don’t Let Holiday Cooking Clog Your Drain

If you’re hosting a holiday gathering or two, chances are you’ll be in the kitchen doing some cooking. And as tempting as it might be to make cleanup easier by draining grease down your drain or dumping leftovers into the garbage disposal, you’re better off using your trash bin.

Cooking grease from turkey, ham, and other holiday meats can cause serious clogs in your drain, and before you know it you’ll be dealing with an emergency sink clog. The same is true for flushing food down the toilet. Just don’t do it. It might be a little messier to empty food into a garbage can, but it’s well worth the effort of a trek out to the trash bins in the bitter winter cold.

Make Sure Guests Know What’s Flushable

It might seem rude to point out what guests should and shouldn’t do in your bathroom, but when it comes to flushing unflushables, you’re better off issuing a reminder.

Anything that isn’t human waste or toilet paper needs to stay out of your toilet. This includes diapers, dental floss, feminine hygiene products, and so-called “flushable” wipes.

If you aren’t comfortable flat-out telling guests what they cannot flush (and who would want to have this conversation?), hang a sign in your bathroom gently reminding guests how to avoid flushing frustration.

Be Proactive

It might seem a little excessive, but if you’ll be hosting a lot of people this holiday season, it wouldn’t hurt to call in a plumber in advance for some proactive preparation. They can check the problem areas in your home and put your mind at ease with the plumbing.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee nothing will go wrong, but it can help you prevent problems that are already brewing. If an issue is identified, you can get the repair done before you need to worry about the added stress on your plumbing.

If you need assistance preparing your plumbing for the upcoming holiday season or you find yourself dealing with a holiday plumbing emergency, give us a call!


Hot Water in the Toilet? Here’s What to Do

Hot water in the toilet tank can indicate a problem that needs to be fixed. There are a few things that can lead to a toilet filled with hot water, so take a little time to troubleshoot before you decide what to do next.

If you’re living in a new home, there’s a chance that hot water in the tank could mean the hot and cold water lines that run to the toilet were installed incorrectly. The plumber who installed your toilet to fix the problem.

If hot water in the toilet tank isn’t a problem from the get-go – meaning you’ve had a perfectly normal toilet until recently – chances are the problem is a malfunctioning flapper or a bad fill valve. In either of these cases, hot water can seep into the tank of the toilet.

Keep in mind lukewarm water in your tank is not the same as hot water. The mixing valve installed on toilets to prevent condensation causes water to be lukewarm. When there’s a problem, the water will actually be hot because too much hot is seeping into the toilet – there’s an imbalance.

During a normal flush, only a little hot water comes through the mixing valve, but if there’s a hot water leak it will overpower the cold, steadily raises the temperature , so you eventually have a hot tank with a warm flush.

You might be able to fix the problem without calling a plumber if the problem is the flapper. Adjusting or replacing a flapper is fairly easy, but some people just don’t want to bother with it.  On the other hand, if the problem is the fill valve, you’ll need to call a plumber because it’s a more complicated repair

Do I Need to Worry about a Toilet with Hot Water?

Hot water in and of itself will not damage the toilet. It might seem a little weird to have hot toilet water, but it doesn’t do any harm to the plumbing or the toilet. However, the hot water is an indication of a problem you DO need to fix – a leak.

A hot toilet leak will consume hot water, forcing not only your water bill to skyrocket, but also your heating bill. Fixing it as soon as possible ensures you aren’t paying more for wasted water or wasted energy for your water heater to warm the water.

If you’ve noticed hot water in your toilet or you’ve worried there might be a leak in your toilet for any other reason, give us a call!

Help! My Washing Machine Isn’t Draining!

An overflowing washing machine isn’t the only unpleasant surprise that can occur when you’re doing laundry. Finding a sopping wet pile of clothes as you’re about to transfer a load to the dryer is rather unpleasant, but it happens all too often.

What should you do if your washing machine isn’t draining properly?

Usually the problem is with the washing machine itself, though it can be caused by a clogged drainage tub.

Problems with the Washing Machine

If the issue is the machine, it’s likely a drain tube clog or a bad pump. If the drain tube is clogged the water will have nowhere to go. To test for a drain clog problem, remove the drain tube and see if it’s clear by blowing air through it. If there are no obstructions, the issue is likely the pump.

If the pump isn’t working, water cannot eject from the machine at the end of the cycle. A plumber can help you repair the pump if you think that’s the problem.

Problems with the Drain

In some cases, the problem will be outside of the washing machine entirely. If you have a clog in your drain, you’ll likely notice water flooding onto the floor whenever you do laundry. If the problem is the pump or drainage tube, you’re unlikely to have flooding. In this case, clearing the drain will likely resolve the problem.

Though clearing a washing machine clog isn’t the messiest of plumbing jobs, most homeowners lack the equipment to ensure a complete clog clear. In some cases, you’ll need a fairly long snake to clear the drain.

The good news is most washing machine drainage issues can be alleviated without buying an all new washing machine. It just takes a bit of trial and error to determine what’s causing the problem, and then calling a plumber to fix whatever issue you find.

If you need help with a washing machine that won’t drain or you have questions about a problem with your washer,  give us a call!

How a Plumber Can Help You after a Flood

If your home has flooded, your first concern is creating a safe environment. Stop the source of the flood, if possible.  During and after the flood, keep children and pets out of the affected area. Once the flood is under control, remove all of the furniture and other items affected by the flood waters.

After the initial cleanup is complete, you’ll need to check for hidden issues related to the flood. A plumber can help you determine if any serious damage was done or if there are any secondary problems related to the flood. Here’s what they’ll look for:

Drain Clogs

Flood water is dirty water and as it recedes, it leaves behind residue that can clog drains. If flood water covered a drain, you’ll want to have it checked for residue. This residue is easily removed and clogs are usually simple to undo, as long as you deal with them shortly after the flood. Waiting can result in further buildup and make the clog worse.

Broken Pipes

Pipes can be cracked or broken during a flood, especially if it was caused by a violent natural disaster, such as a hurricane. Unfortunately, small cracks can be difficult to identify until the problem worsens and you end up with another flood. A professional plumbing inspection can find small cracks and other damage to pipes and deal with the issue before it develops into a larger problem.

Underground pipes can also be affected by flood waters because they are buried beneath over-saturated soil. It’s common for water and waste lines to be affected by a serious flood. In the days and weeks after the incident, watch for sink holes that could indicate a collapsed pipe near your home.

Foundation Issues

If a flood was serious enough, it can damage the foundation of your home. Once foundation shifts and cracks, it can damage the pipes under your home. If you’ve had foundation damage, you’ll need to have it repaired before repairing the pipes in your home.

Clean Up

Once your inspection is complete, you’ll want to thoroughly clean everything touched by flood waters. Many people choose to replace their plumbing fixtures and anything else affected by flood waters, even if these items are repairable.

Dealing with a flood and its aftermath can feel overwhelming. It helps to have the support of a professional who know what to look for and who can help you avoid future problems.

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