You have plumbing pipes running all throughout your home — in your walls, under your floors and even deep under your lawn. A leak can happen just about anywhere, and depending on the location and water flow, it could be extremely difficult to detect.


But that doesn’t mean you can just disregard a potential leak. Water damage can be extremely destructive, and that’s not to mention the waste and the additional dollars on your monthly water bill. It’s important for your home, your wallet and your planet to be vigilant against plumbing leaks — but it can involve a lot of work.


The Easy Part


Gathering evidence that you might have a leak is relatively easy. Many homeowners get the idea something could be wrong when they get a higher-than-average water bill. If your water habits haven’t changed but your water bill spikes, it’s time for some sleuthing.


Walk around your home and property looking for visible signs of dampness or water damage. Your nose can aid you here, since leaks will often result in smelly mold or mildew.


If you don’t find the leak right away, there’s a simple test. Shut off all the water-using appliances in your home, including things like automatic ice makers. Check your water meter and write down the current reading. For the next few hours, don’t use any water in your home. Check the meter again — if it has changed, you likely have a leak.


Find It, Fix It


If you’re confident you have a plumbing leak but you still can’t find the source, it’s usually time to call a plumber. A plumbing expert can help you identify parts of your household plumbing system that you might not even know are there. And with the use of cameras on the end of long, flexible plumbing snakes, a plumber can help you see just about every inch of pipe in your system.


But if you want to get proactive about plumbing leaks, you might look into water sensors. These devices can be installed in areas where hidden leaks may occur, and the most sophisticated versions can even automatically shut off the water supply when excess moisture is detected.


Water sensors can be expensive, so they’re not practical for all applications. If you don’t think it’s worth the expense, you can just make a practice of keeping a keen eye (and nose) for signs of water damage as you move and work throughout your home.


Have a leak right now? Call your local plumbing pros without delay.


When it comes to household water pressure, there’s a pretty generous range for what’s considered not too low, not too high, but “just right”. But there are still all sorts of circumstances that can push your pressure out of that range — and in either direction.

It’s annoying to have a low pressure problem, but the underlying causes could be much worse. And if your problem is high pressure, it could be doing serious damage to your household plumbing. It’s worth taking the time test your water pressure, investigate the causes of your problem and take action to bring your pressure within the desired range.


How Low Can You Go?

Low water pressure is often noticed in the shower, where dribbling water makes it difficult to rinse away soap, and at the kitchen sink, where pots of water take agonizingly long to fill. It’s sometimes accompanied by a faint whistling sound coming from your faucets.

Using a water pressure gauge from any hardware store, you can test your water pressure right at your hose spigot. Anything under 30 psi is considered problematically low.

There are several possible causes of low pressure, and a few are truly troubling. A leaky pipe could explain the pressure drop, but that would mean you’re wasting water, running up your bill and possibly enduring damage to your home.

To check for a leak, turn off all water-using appliances and check your water meter reading. Don’t use any water in your home for two hours, then read the meter again. If the reading increased, you have a leak.

The problem could also be caused by a restriction in your pipes, such as mineral buildup from hard water. Buried pipes can sometimes cave in, causing an even worse blockage. A plumber can usually diagnose these issues with a camera inspection.

If your low pressure is due to your local water municipality, there’s still a way to fix it. With a system called a pressure tank, you can automatically raise the pressure of all the water coming from your fixtures. Pressure tanks are usually used with well systems, but they can work anywhere more pressure is needed.

Mounting Pressure

If you feel that water is coming out of your fixtures too hard, or if you regularly hear a loud thumping sound when you turn off a faucet, you may have excessive water pressure. Use a pressure gauge to be sure — anything over 80 psi is too high.

When your pressure is too high, there’s too much strain on your pipes, fittings and fixtures. This may cause no problems for several years, but on a long enough timeline, it will cause pipes to crack and fittings to fail.

Some homes have high water pressure because they’re located right at the bottom of a hill, and water traveling through the municipal pipes has the added pressure of gravity. In other cases, a home may have excessive pressure if it’s located near a large building with major water needs.

Having a plumber install a pressure regulator on your main line is the best way to fight back against high pressure and save your pipes.

Is It Time to Replace Your Toilet?

You use it every day, but there’s a good chance you’ve never considered replacing it. It’s your toilet, perhaps the most indispensable element of your household plumbing. And toilets are built to last, so if replacing one has never crossed your mind, that’s to be expected.


Still, time takes its toll and things can go wrong with your good friend, john. Even when your toilet has lived a full life, sometimes you just grow apart and need a change. Here are some of the signs you could use a new toilet in your life.


Cracks and Leaks


Given enough time, many toilets will begin to develop hairline cracks in the tank, bowl and other areas. Once these cracks develop, they can expand and progress into leaks. Because your toilet is always holding water, even a tiny leak can cause a serious moisture problem over time.


Cracks that can be located can sometimes be repaired by a plumbing professional, but some can be so severe or difficult to reach that replacement is the only practical solution. Allow an experienced plumber to help assess the condition of your toilet.


Wobble Wobble


If your toilet is wobbling, the best-case scenario is that the bolts connecting it to the floor have simply come loose. Unfortunately, many cases of wobbly toilet syndrome lead to the discovery of a rotten floor underneath the toilet, often the result of long-term water damage.


The best way to confirm this diagnosis is to completely remove the toilet from the floor, which should also make it easier to confirm whether a leaky toilet is the culprit. But even if the toilet is OK, the necessary bathroom remodel that will result from a rotten floor creates a perfect opportunity to upgrade to a newer toilet if you so choose.


Efficient Flushing


A lot has changed since the invention of the modern flush toilet, including water efficiency standards. The most recent update to federal standards on toilet flush efficiency occurred in 1994, when toilets were capped at 1.6 gallons per flush. So if your toilet is older than that, there’s a good chance you could get a boost in water efficiency by upgrading.


If you really want to save water, don’t settle for 1.6 gallons — models marketed as water-efficient toilets may have flush ratings as low as 1.28 gallons or lower. There are also dual-flush toilets that offer a full flush for solid waste but a partial flush for liquid waste.


Comfort and Style


There doesn’t need to be something wrong with your toilet for you to consider replacing it. If you’re already planning a bathroom remodel, you may just want a toilet with a color-matching finish or perhaps you’re thinking of splurging on a futuristic design.


Comfort is another factor to consider, especially if you have an older toilet. Newer designs often offer the option of an elongated bowl, which some find easier to sit on. And if you have difficulty sitting or standing from too-low of a position, certain models sit extra high off the ground to make it easier on the knees.

Do any of these conditions apply to you? If so, reach out to your local plumbing professionals for a no-obligation consultation on toilet models and the job of installing them.

Are Stinky Sewer Smells Wafting Out of Your Drains?

The miracle of indoor plumbing allows us to effortlessly wash and flush waste away from our homes — but that pipeline isn’t always a one-way street. When various problems arise, noxious sewer odors can come marching right back up the pipes and into your home. In addition to being unpleasant, those odors can bring health risks along with them, so it’s important to address the situation right away.


Fill the Trap


Fortunately, one of the most common causes of sewer odors in drains is also the easiest to fix. Smells can waft into a room if a drain pipe’s water trap has gone dry, and solving the problem is as easy as running a little water.


If you look underneath any sink in your home, you should notice a u-shaped bend in the pipe. That’s the water trap, and if you ever accidentally wash your wedding ring down the drain, that’s hopefully where you’ll find it. But the real reason it exists is to hold water at all times, creating a water barrier between your home and all the icky things lurking further down the pipe.


If you don’t run any water down a particular drain for a very long time, that water can evaporate to the point where sewer smells can make their way through. All you need to do is run the water for several seconds to refill the trap, then wait a little while to see if the odor goes away. For floor drains, you can do this by slowly pouring in a bucket of water.


Clean the Pipes


If the culprit isn’t a dry water trap, there’s a chance that a stinky biofilm has built up inside the offending drain pipe. This is more common in kitchen sinks or drains where food or other biological material is regularly washed down the drain.


The only way to solve this problem is to scrub the slime away, which can be easy or difficult depending on the pipe. If you’d like to take a crack at it yourself, you can remove the drain cover and scour the inside of the pipe with a long, flexible pipe brush. Spraying a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water down the drain so that it coats the inner pipe walls will also help deodorize.


If that doesn’t cut it, it’s time to consult a professional plumber for a more thorough drain cleaning.


Call in the Pros


The real trouble begins when you notice the same sewer smell coming from multiple drains. If the home has been vacant for a while, try filling the water traps. But if the water traps are full and the odor is coming from everywhere, you probably have a bigger problem deeper in the sewer system. This could be a problem with your plumbing equipment or with that of your local sewer authority, so you should consider calling the utility provider to investigate the problem.


If the problem turns out to be on your end, you’ll need a plumber to track down the source. This may be possible with a camera inspection, but the worst-case scenario could involve digging in the yard or even the basement.

Nobody likes to start a major repair like that, but when your home is starting to smell like a sewer, there’s no time to wait. Call your local plumbing pros and get help on the double!

Seal the Deal With Proper Plunger Technique

Indoor plumbing has become an indispensable creature comfort, and when it’s suddenly taken away due to a drain clog, it can feel like an instant emergency. Some clogs do require professional assistance to clear, but others are minor enough that you can clear them yourself with your trusty plunger.

Plungers are fairly self-explanatory tools, but depending on your technique, you could find yourself plunging away to no avail. The next time you attempt to clear a clog on your own, keep these tips in mind to maximize your efforts.

Choose Your Weapon

Plungers come in a variety of sizes for a variety of drain types and diameters, so the first step is to choose a plunger with a cup diameter that is just slightly larger than the drain. There are also two styles: standard plungers and flange plungers. A standard plunger has a simple cup that looks like a half-sphere, whereas a flange plunger has an extension that makes it the more effective choice for plunging toilets.

Not Too Much, Not Too Little

No matter what kind of drain you’re plunging, the water level is important. Too much standing water, and the agitation from plunging will cause it to splash all over the place — especially messy if you’re talking about a clogged toilet. Too little water, and you won’t be able to get a proper seal around the drain. Make sure the water level is just deep enough to fully cover the plunger cup. If you need to bail water out, wear rubber gloves and use a bucket or cup.

Maximum Pressure

You’ll put more pressure on the clog if you plug up drains located nearby. For instance, if you’re planning to plunge the toilet, put the stoppers in the bathtub and sink drains. If you need to ad-hoc a stopper, you can use a wet washcloth.

Seal It Up

When you’re ready to plunge, it’s all about the seal. A trick of the trade is to smear a little petroleum jelly on the rim of the plunger or flange. But more importantly, you must ensure the rim is making contact all the way around the drain, and that the plunger handle is pointed straight up.

Plunge Away

With your seal secure, plunge straight up and down for up to 30 seconds. You can try this a few times if necessary, but if a few rounds with proper plunger technique doesn’t get the job done, it’s time to call in the local plumbing pros.

Make Sure You Have Cash to Cover Plumbing Emergencies

You never know when you will need an emergency plumbing repair. Even homeowners who pay attention to preventative maintenance can find themselves facing an unexpected problem in their pipes, and the issue usually needs to be addressed right away, particularly if it involves flooding. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t have the cash set aside to pay for an unforeseen plumbing repair. Read on to learn how to not get stuck high and dry in an emergency.

Finding the Cash to Pay the Plumber

Smart homeowners set aside a portion of their salaries each month for an emergency fund, but sometimes saving is easier said than done. Americans have countless expenses every month, from food to school fees to taxes to the mortgage. If you are having trouble saving money, rest assured that you aren’t alone. According to a recent report, a full quarter of homeowners have no money available for a plumbing emergency.

However, plumbing repairs are not something you can put off – if water is flooding your home, you will experience more damage every second that you don’t stop it, and end up paying far more in the end if you don’t rectify the problem immediately. Not only does the water damage your home and belongings, it can provoke mold growth that will cause respiratory problems and other health ailments. Conversely, if you have no water flowing through your pipes due to some problem, your house will quickly become unlivable unless you have an alternate source of water.

Boost Your Savings and Protect Your Pipes

Follow these steps to avoid getting stuck with broken pipes and a flooded home:

  • Save, save, save. If you’re having trouble putting money aside, try having your bank automatically move a portion of your paycheck to a dedicated savings account so the money will be sequestered before you even have a chance to spend it. When you need your savings, you’ll be glad you have them.
  • Don’t neglect important home maintenance, such as securing your irrigation system for the winter, protecting yourself from frozen pipes and keeping an eye out for hidden plumbing leaks. A small amount of time dedicated to maintenance today can save you a huge hassle and bill for plumbing repairs tomorrow.
  • Think about purchasing a home plumbing warranty so your regular maintenance is covered and you won’t be left scrambling in the event you do have an emergency.

Get Help from an Expert Plumber Immediately

When water starts flooding your home, you have no time to spare. For any emergency plumbing repairs or routine maintenance, get in touch with a residential plumber without delay.

Putting Off Plumbing Repairs Costs More in the Long Run

There are countless reasons to put off performing a plumbing repair. Perhaps you’re short on cash, or you don’t have time to do it yourself or accommodate a plumber. With so many demands on our time, it’s easy to forget about fixing a leaky faucet or other common problems, letting it languish when it doesn’t present any major day-to-day inconvenience. However, by neglecting minor repairs, you run a serious risk of the issue becoming much larger, more complicated and more expensive to deal with. Read on to learn why you should take care of any plumbing repairs as soon as possible.

The Long-Term Costs of Deferred Maintenance

Just a few drops of water are no big deal, right? Wrong. Delayed maintenance on a needed plumbing repair can come back to haunt you in a number of ways. For one thing, if you have a leak in a faucet or a supply line, you have to pay for the water that gets wasted. It might not seem like much, but according to the EPA Water Sense program, a single leak can add up to 10,000 gallons of water per year. Think about what that means for your water bill.

Leaking water can cause other problems, as well, regardless of whether the problem is in the supply line or the drain pipe. If a leak occurs anywhere outside the sink, toilet, or tub, the moisture could end up promoting mold and mildew growth and even rotting the woodwork in your home. Imagine having to rip out and replace a floor, ceiling or wall because you didn’t get around to making a simple plumbing repair before it was too late.

Let Your Friendly Plumber Protect Your Health

The consequences of plumbing problems can reach beyond your pocketbook, as well. Mold and mildew can promote respiratory problems, and biofilm in your pipes can be responsible for a number of noxious diseases. Other issues, like a leak around the toilet seal or a backed-up sewer line, could mean that you are actually exposed to raw sewage inside your home.

When you think about all the possible outcomes of ignoring a plumbing repair, the choice becomes obvious: Either break out your tools and tackle the do-it-yourself repair, or call a plumber. Any laments about the expense or time spent resolving the problem can be assuaged by thinking about the potentially enormous costs of waiting until you have a real emergency.

Experienced Hands for All Your Plumbing Repairs

If you have a sudden plumbing problem – or have been trying to forget about an ongoing one – don’t wait any longer. Call the plumbing professionals to take a look and get the problem fixed without delay!

Avoiding Garbage Disposal Clogs During Holiday Party Season

The Thanksgiving leftovers may be long gone, but for many American families, the memories of garbage disposal failure are still fresh. The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, who are often called out to clear, repair or replace disposals that were pushed beyond their limit following the feast.

But even though Thanksgiving has passed, the season of holiday gatherings and meals is still in full swing. And if you aren’t careful, you might find yourself with a malfunctioning disposal after your Christmas or New Year’s bash.

Fortunately, using your garbage disposal properly and keeping it well maintained is actually a fairly simple process. Abide by these tips, and you’ll not only make it through the holidays without a clog — you’ll extend the life of your disposal.

Avoiding Clogs and Other Problems

  • Run cold water before, during and after activating the disposal. The flow of water will carry food particles down the drain, and the cold water will help fat and grease solidify so that it doesn’t coat the blades.
  • While the cold water will help with trace amounts of grease, you should minimize the amount you send down the drain. After cooking bacon or other fatty foods, drain as much grease as possible into a disposable container, then wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
  • Don’t put potato peels in the disposal. The starches turn into a paste that can build up and slow the motorized blades to a halt.
  • Chop up larger foods into small pieces before feeding them into the disposal, and avoid overloading the disposal with too many pieces at once. You can dispose of large volumes of food waste safely by feeding them in gradually.
  • Avoid using fibrous foods like celery, asparagus and artichokes, because the tough fibers can become tangled and jam up the blades.
  • Don’t dispose of large bones, but smaller ones, like fish bones, are OK.
  • Avoid sending coffee grounds down the drain. They won’t hurt the disposal, but they can accumulate inside the drain pipe and cause a clog.

Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

  • An easy way to clean your garbage disposal is to run cold water while sending several ice cubes down the drain. If you make ice cubes out of vinegar, this can also deodorize your disposal.
  • Another deodorization trick is to grind up orange or lemon rinds in your disposal.
  • Never use harsh chemicals, drain cleaning solutions or bleach to clean your disposal, as these solutions can cause irreversible damage.
  • Use the disposal frequently. If you only use it a few times per year, you increase the chances of rust development or moving parts seizing up.

If you still experience a clog, try using a plunger to clear the disposal. But in the event of a persistent clog, contact a qualified plumber for help. Using tools or other instruments to clear the clog can damage the disposal, and using your hand can be far more costly!



Diagnose Sewer Line Problems with a Camera Inspection

One of the absolute worst places to need plumbing repairs is in the sewer line. That’s the main outtake pipe that removes all the used greywater and waste from your home and into the municipal sewage system. When that waste water starts backing up into your house, not only is it gross, it can foretell a very difficult and expensive repair. Since the sewer pipe is often buried by several feet of dirt and pavement, it’s difficult to even diagnose what the problem is without a major excavation. Fortunately, one of the increasing popular plumber services available is sewer inspection by camera, which allows technicians to discover and diagnose problems in your sewer pipe without having to dig it up first.

Worth A Thousand Words

Plumbing cameras have been emerging over the past several years, and these waterproof devices are able to maneuver through all different types of pipes to arrive at the source of your problem. Plumbers have a variety of cameras at their disposal, each of which can fit into different size pipes and have the ability to pan, rotate and zoom to give a comprehensive view of what’s inside. The cameras transmit high-res images from every angle, allowing the plumber to tell you exactly what’s going on – be it good news or bad.

If you’re lucky, a clog in the sewer line is just a garden-variety buildup of hair and household waste. Worse is an accumulated crystallization of soap and grease, but both of those problems can be addressed without tearing up the yard. The worst-case scenario is a break in the sewer line itself, perhaps from a tree root tearing into it and allowing dirt to cave in the passageway.

Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Although there are less invasive ways of fixing underground sewer line problems, such as trenchless plumbing repair, sometimes the only solution is to dig, which can push the cost into five figures. With a camera diagnosis, you can at least take solace in the knowledge that you wouldn’t be excavating the yard if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Plumbing cameras can be used to find problems in other parts of your system as well, such as hidden leaks somewhere in your walls, mineral buildup that hurts your water pressure or clogs that are found within the main pipe system. Before you schedule a costly and invasive diagnostic visit with a plumber, ask if they can provide the service more efficiently with a camera.

Call An Expert for All Your Plumber Services

If you are having trouble with your drains and need your sewer line inspected, or require any other plumber services, call a local contractor today.


How to Add a Bathroom to Your Basement

Anyone who comes from a large family can tell you horror stories about waiting in line for the bathroom. Everybody loves to take their time showering, brushing their teeth, applying makeup and answering nature’s call, but if you only have one or two bathrooms in your home, you are liable to have serious conflicts in the morning. One way to take some of the pressure off without giving up valuable square footage is to install a bathroom in your basement. Read on for tips on how to add extra plumbing installations and bring harmony to your household.

Underground Plumbing Installations

Installing a bathroom in the basement does more than give you an extra sink and toilet. It also adds convenience to your home life and is a great first step toward reclaiming unused basement space and turning it into a comfortable, livable area – perhaps even a separate apartment to rent out. It can also add value to your home when it comes time to sell.

Keep in mind, however, that there are special considerations when it comes to adding plumbing installations below ground level. The key factor is the depth of your existing plumbing – if there’s room to install the sink and toilet above the current drain depth, the job will be much easier. If the sewer line isn’t deep enough, however, you may need to install a pump or other way of removing the wastewater from your home. There are also likely to be special rules in your local building code that deal with below-grade plumbing installations.

The Great Shower Conundrum

There are a number of factors to consider once you decide to go forward with your basement bathroom. Placement is of prime importance. To some extent, you are limited by the architecture of your basement. But if you can slot the bathroom so it is near your existing plumbing installations, you will make your life significantly easier when it’s time to lay pipe.

You also need to figure out if you just want to add a powder room with a sink and toilet, or if you need to put in a full bathroom complete with a tub or shower. The powder room option is a lot simpler and less expensive, but if you want to use the basement as a guest room or apartment, a tub or shower is crucial. Also, since basements tend to be more damp than the above-ground areas of your home, you’ll want to include a ventilation system to help prevent mold and mildew from building up.

Expert Advice for Your Plumbing Installations

When you’re ready to move forward with your basement bathroom plumbing installation, don’t hesitate to call your local plumber for expert service and advice.