WHEN RUSTY WATER APPEARS, FIND THE SOURCE FAST

You count on the water coming from your taps to be clean and clear. So what if the color and taste are suddenly a little off? The culprit could be rust, and depending on the age of your pipes and water heater, it could be coming from inside your house.

There’s also a chance rusty water could stem from your public water supply, especially if you live in an older city that hasn’t refurbished its water system in many decades. But before you even call your local plumber, you can collect a few clues that can point to the source of the problem.

Is It Rust?

It often doesn’t take a laboratory test to determine if the impurity in a water sample is rust. Sufficiently rusty water will have a distinctive metallic odor and a reddish brown appearance.

The rust particles themselves are oxidized iron, and while they can leave unsightly stains in your porcelain sinks and white linens, they don’t pose a health hazard, according to the University of California. One exception may be people afflicted with a rare disorder called hemochromatosis, which allows the body to accumulate excessive iron levels.

Where Is It Coming From?

The first question is whether the rusty water is originating within your home plumbing system or in the public supply. To investigate, go to the fixture where you first noticed the rusty water and fill a glass with cold water only. Check the sample for rusty odors or coloring, then let the cold water flow for several seconds before checking another sample. Next, run the hot water for several seconds and sample that.

If the rusty water is only present in the hot water supply or if it goes away after several seconds of running water, those are both strong indications that the rust source is in your home. But if you have continuous rusty water in both taps, you should call your local water authority immediately to report the problem.

Your DIY test should also help you further narrow down the source if you find that it’s coming from within your home. If rusty water came from the cold water tap, that indicates a corroding pipe or pipes in your home plumbing system. And if it’s coming only from the hot water tap, that means your water heater is probably rusting out.

What Can I Do?

No matter the cause, the fix comes down to one word: replacement. If an old section of the public water system is rusting out, it’s the public authority’s responsibility to replace those failing pipes. And if the same is happening to the pipes in your home, a qualified plumber can conduct a thorough investigation to identify the rusty pipes and craft a plan to replace them.

If the source is your water heater, replacement is also the recommended route. Once corrosion begins, it will usually progress until the integrity of the tank fails completely. But there is one important thing you can do to avoid your new water heater from suffering the same fate: replace the anode rod every few years.

An anode rod is a long, metal rod that extends into your water heater tank. Its purpose is to attract corrosive particles so they attack the rod and spare the water heater. But the rod itself is eaten away in this process, and when it’s whittled down to its core, there’s nothing stopping those particles from moving on to attack the tank. The lifespan of an anode rod is typically five years, or shorter if you have a water softening system.

Do you need help investigating the source of your rusty water or inspecting your hot water heater to make sure it’s protected? Call your local Rods Away now to request service or ask for more information.

COMMON CAUSES OF TOILET CLOGS

Inadvertently clogging the toilet — or discovering too late that it’s already clogged — is one of the more embarrassing plumbing mishaps. And it can also be a tricky one to address because there are so many potential causes.

The good news is that most toilet clogs can be avoided altogether with an ounce of prevention, and many more can be cleared up with just a minute or two of vigorous plunging. But for those other, more difficult causes, you may need to call upon your local plumbing pro.

Here are a few of the most common reasons why your toilet might be clogged:

You Flushed the Wrong Stuff

The toilet is for disposing of human waste and toilet paper — and that’s it. You’re taking a risk whenever you flush anything outside of those parameters, like tissues, cotton balls, cotton swabs, dental floss, feminine products or diapers. If these things get caught somewhere in the drain line, they won’t break down and move on like toilet paper can. So resist the urge to flush anything else, and if you have children in the home who might be tempted, be sure to talk to them about what’s flushable.

A Jam in the Trap

All drain pipes have something called a trap — a u-shaped bend in the pipe that remains filled with water. That water acts as an important barrier against foul odors that might otherwise waft into a home from the sewer line. Your toilet’s trap is great at getting this job done, but unfortunately, that bend in the pipe also makes a good place for a clog to develop. Even if you’ve been careful about what you flush, something like using too much toilet paper can create a clog there.

Ineffective Flapper

If you take the lid off your toilet tank, you should see a round rubber gasket at the bottom. This is the flapper, and it opens during flushing to allow the water in the tank to flush down into the bowl. If the flapper doesn’t open fully, you may get a weak flush, which can cause clogs by failing to push the contents of the bowl far enough down the drain pipe. This is easy to fix — the flapper is usually attached to the flush arm with an adjustable chain, so move the chain a few links to shorten it and try a test flush.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Water-conscious homeowners have been buying low-flow toilets for years, but the early versions weren’t as powerful as the ones you can buy today. And just as with the flapper example above, the first low-flow toilets may not always flush hard enough to push the contents through. If you’re consistently having trouble with one of these models, it may be time to consider an upgrade.

Hit the Roof

When your toilet won’t flush, it’s possible that the clog isn’t in the drain pipe, but in the toilet’s vent. Plumbing fixtures typically vent to a home’s roof to allow fresh air into the plumbing system, where it replaces the vacuum of air created when water drains. When this vent becomes clogged with leaves or debris, it can cause slow, gurgling or stopped drains, even in the toilet. This job is best handled by a professional, because the vent will need to be cleared out from the rooftop opening.

Down the Line

If the source of the problem isn’t in the toilet, the drain pipe or the vent, it must be in the sewer line. This is often a worst-case scenario if a problem occurs in a section of sewer pipe located under private property, because it often involves digging up the yard and racking up several hours of labor. Sewer line problems aren’t always caused by what’s flowing through the pipes; tree roots can put pressure on these lines over time, leading to a break. To find out what’s going on in the sewer line, request a camera inspection from your local plumber.

A toilet clog isn’t the end of the world, but if you don’t know the cause or can’t clear it on your own, help is only a phone call away at your local Rods Away.

REPAIRING YOUR PLUMBING AFTER A FLOOD

If your home is impacted by flooding, there may be hidden plumbing damage that you won’t find until a licensed plumber conducts a thorough inspection of your property. Here are a few of the most common post-flood plumbing problems:

Clogged Drains

Floodwater invariably contains some amount of dirt and silt, and when the waters recede, that residue is left behind. Any drains in your home that were covered by floodwater could be clogged with these particles. In many cases, the usual DIY tools — a plunger or a plumbing snake — can clear these clogs. But if you’re worried about damage down the pipe and are planning on a professional plumbing inspection anyway, you may want to leave these drains as-is until your plumber gives you the all-clear.

Dirty and Damaged Fixtures

Any plumbing fixtures that suffered physical damage due to wind, structural failure or floating or flying debris will likely need to be replaced. But those that are undamaged will still need some TLC in the form of a thorough cleaning with diluted bleach. When it comes to faucets and showerheads, you may need to disassemble them and soak the individual parts in bleach to prevent mold growth.

Broken Pipes in the Home

The risks of flying debris from a hurricane and floating debris from a flood present a double whammy to your home’s pipes. If a pipe is cracked or broken, you may not even be able to identify the problem until after the floodwater recedes and is completely removed from the home. If you notice new puddles after the floodwater is gone, shut the water off at the main valve while you wait for your plumbing inspection.

Broken Pipes Underground

All that standing water and the saturated soil beneath creates a crushing weight. Unfortunately, buried water and waste lines may fail under this load. If you see sinkholes on your property after the water recedes, that’s a possible sign one or more of these lines has collapsed under your lawn. A plumber may need to conduct a camera inspection to confirm.

Foundation Damage

Pipes can break if they’re moved around by a home’s shifting foundation. Foundation damage can occur during a flood if there’s movement in the saturated soil beneath the foundation. This unsteady ground may make the foundation crack, and plumbing pipes are just one type of building material that could be damaged as a result. In these cases, foundation repair must usually be completed before certain pipes can be replaced.

Damage this extensive can feel overwhelming, but there’s no job too big for the dedicated plumbers at your local Rods Away. If you’ve been affected by a hurricane or other flooding and need your plumbing inspected or repaired, call today.

THE BENEFITS OF A COLD SHOWER

Most of us hate the thought of taking a cold shower so much that we’ll call for repairs the moment the water heater starts breaking down. But others do it on purpose for the benefit of their health, skin, hair and energy. Think you can handle a frigid shower first thing tomorrow morning? If so, these are some of the perks that may await you:

Increased Alertness

If you shower in the morning, a couple of minutes under the cold water may wake you up more effectively than a double espresso. It’s not just the shock of the cold that snaps you awake — it’s also the way your body responds to help keep you warm. In cold temperatures, your body will stimulate longer, deeper breaths so you can take in more oxygen, and it will increase your heart rate to assist with blood flow. Under a cold shower, you’re unlikely to feel the warming sensation these responses are designed to create, but you’ll definitely notice the extra spring in your step.

Immune System Boost

Another side effect of the blood circulation boost you’ll get from a cold shower is that your white blood cells will start coursing through your body. If you’re feeling a little under the weather, this little kick to your natural disease-fighting system may help you fight those symptoms even faster. The circulatory workout also benefits your health by giving your heart safe exercise, clearing out your arteries and lowering your blood pressure.

Fat Burning

We’re still not done with all the fringe benefits of your body working hard to keep your warm — it may even help you lose weight. The fuel your body uses to keep you warm is fat, which gets burned up in the process. So if you want to get your metabolism moving, keep the workout going by stepping under the cold water after hitting the gym.

Vibrant Skin and Hair

Hot showers feel great, but they can dry out your skin. Cold showers, on the other hand, may make your skin look better than ever by tightening your pores. If you have oily skin or acne, this could be a game-changing part of your skin care routine. As for your hair, cold water can help flatten out the strands so that they appear shinier, and can promote follicle strength and overall scalp health.

Soothing Muscle Pain

One of the reasons why professional athletes take ice baths after training is because it soothes tired muscles. A cold shower can offer the same benefits, and is especially useful for minimizing the intensity of delayed muscle soreness. Try cold showers after your workouts for a week and see if you can tell the difference.

Cold showers aren’t for everyone, but if you ease into it, you might find that it’s not so hard and that the benefits even outweigh the unpleasantness. Even if you don’t like your showers cold from start to finish, you can get some of the benefits — like tight pores and shiny hair — by simply switching from hot to cold for the last minute or so of your shower.

Of course, if you’re taking an unplanned cold shower, that’s another story. Call up your local Rods Away for maintenance, replacement or emergency repairs for your home’s hot water issues.

The most common house calls

The most common house calls Rods Away take are for the following:

  1. Leaky pipes – These can create massive amounts of damage around the house, but most homeowners do not really want to get into those tight spaces where the pipes are so they always seek the aid of local plumbers.
  2. Dripping Taps – These are easy enough to fix, but most folks do not really have an organized system of remedying the situation and would prefer not to deal with the mess and extra wetness that may ensue.
  3. Clogged toilets – These are nasty problems and no homeowner really wants to deal with these directly.
  4. Running toilets – These waste a lot of water and require the technical knowledge and skills of the pros. Repair has to be carried out in a systematic way and it’s always smartest to have the experts perform the task.
  5. Clogged drains – Ones that cannot be remedied by all sorts of powerful drain liquids and are already flooding up certain parts of the house need special equipment and even repair skills of highly experienced plumbers.
  6. Low water pressure – The root cause of this can only be determined and solved by real plumbers.
  7. Ineffective water heaters – These are such an inconvenience for homes. The problem is that most homeowners usually have limited knowledge about the complete functionality of these implements. Plumbers are called in to determine the reason why a heater doesn’t heat up as expected – and usually, it’s because it is not big enough for the needs of the household. Plumbers can then help improve the functionality of the current system and provide sound advice on usage if homeowners do not want to replace the system with a new one.
  8. Installation of new plumbing implements – This job is completed much faster with the services of plumbers. In an hour (or even less), everything from heaters, to new taps, to additional pipes can be in complete working order.

So, if your home has any of these problems, don’t hesitate to call Rods Away on 01495 687667 anytime, right away; we’ll take care of it easily so you will be inconvenienced no more.

LEAK DETECTION CAN MEAN LOTS OF WORK

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.

WATER PRESSURE PROBLEMS ARE WORTH FIXING

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.