November 2016

2 Reasons to Use a Plumber for Drain Cleaning Rather Than Doing It Yourself

One of the worst plumbing issues that can come up with your home is a backed up or clogged drain, usually because this leads to quite a few sanitation issues, such as waste that will not exit the house or sewage backing up into your home. Listed below are two reasons why you should use a plumber for your drain cleaning rather than attempting to do it yourself.

Some Clogs Are Hard to Get to

One of the biggest reasons to hire a plumber to handle all of your drain cleaning needs is that some of the clogs that can affect your drains can often be very hard to get to. For example, the clog that is affecting your drain could actually be located very deep down inside of your pipe system, which means that traditional drain cleaners or tools may not be able to reach those drains. As a result, a lot of work may be necessary in order to disassemble your pipe network in order to reach the affected pipe in order to actually be able to remove the clog, which is a time-consuming task that is best left to a plumber.

Another example of a clog that could be very hard to get to is if the clog exists in your sewer line. In many cases, the clog can develop in the sewer line outside of your home, which means that it may be necessary to dig up the line before being able to do any work on the clog.

Some Chemicals Are Dangerous to Keep around

Another reason to consider hiring a plumber to handle your drain cleaning needs instead of doing it yourself is the toxicity of many of the drain cleaning products. While keeping caustic and toxic drain cleaning chemicals around your house isn’t really going to be that big of a danger for you, it can pose a very real danger if you have children or pets in the house as accidentally ingesting or spilling those chemicals can do a lot of damage to a person or animal. Instead of taking the unnecessary risk of keeping these drain cleaning chemicals around, you can simply hire a plumber who will bring the chemicals with him or her while cleaning out the drains and then take the chemicals with him or her when the job is done, thus eliminating the danger to your children and animals.

Contact your local plumber today in order to discuss your drain cleaning needs and how he or she may be able to help you with them. A plumber is a good alternative to cleaning out your drained yourself because some of the clogs that cause clogged drains are hard to get to and some of the chemicals that are used to clear the drains can be very dangerous to keep around the house.

4 Types of Toilets to Consider for Your Plumbing Needs

Toilets are the central fixture within every bathroom. However, though they all perform the same basic function, there are a wide variety of different types of toilets available on the market, each of which operates in a specific way. Understanding the differences between the most common types of toilets can help you choose the one that best fits your home plumbing needs.

High-Efficiency Toilets

HETs are becoming increasingly more common, though they are still rarer when compared to traditional gravity fed toilets. These types of toilets use very little water to flush away waste, making them much more environmentally friendly than their standard counterparts. These types of toilets can help you reduce your water bills over time, which helps to offset their somewhat higher initial cost when compared to traditional toilets.

Dual Flush Toilets

Dual flush toilets are almost always also HETs, as they are designed to reduce the overall amount of water that is used with each flush. Like their name would suggest, dual flush toilets have two different flush options, with one designed to take away liquid waste and another for solid waste. This allows you to maintain a highly efficient rate of water use without having to worry about your toilet clogging due to a lack of water when removing solid waste.

Wash Down Toilets

Wash down toilets are an alternative type of toilet that make use of much less water in the bowl. Instead, they make use of a wide diameter pipe to remove waste, and use the weight of the water in the tank to “wash down” the waste in the bowl. This means that wash down toilets are much less likely to clog when compared to traditional gravity fed toilets, reducing the overall amount of maintenance that you will likely have to do on your toilet. However, the lack of water that sits in the bowl means that these types of toilets will require more cleaning than traditional models.

Pressure Assist

Pressure assist toilets are another type of alternative flushing toilets. These toilets make use of pressurized air to help the water in the bowl move waste down the plumbing of your home. This makes them more efficient and less likely to clog than gravity fed toilets, but also comes at the cost of having a much louder flush. While this isn’t an issue too much of the time, it can be annoying in the middle of the night, especially for homeowners with young children. 

For more information about these and other types of toilets, contact companies like Crown Plumbing INC. 

Sources Of Energy Loss When Heating A Space

Heating a space through the winter can create a big energy bill, but it often doesn’t have to be as expensive as it is. There are a few sources of heating inefficiency that you might try to address with your heating contractor to reduce energy loss.

The Heating System Isn’t in Good Condition

HVAC and furnace maintenance is good for maintaining the lifespan of your heater and also reducing energy loss. For example, changing the filters every year is an easy step to save money. When the filters are clogged, your HVAC system and heater have to work harder to circulate air. Another example is having an HVAC system with leaks. The hot air escapes into your crawl space instead of making it to your living room. Your furnace can also run into many problems that cause it to behave less efficiently, including low combustion pressure and a weak pilot light. A heating inspection each year will help you catch these issues before they lead to heating energy loss.

There’s a One-Size-Fits-All Thermostat

Another thing to be aware of is the potential inefficiencies in a one-size-fits-all thermostat. These days, you shouldn’t have to adjust the temperature manually. There are many models of thermostat that you can use to set the temperature based on times of the day; you might have it set to come on a half hour before you get home from work, for instance. This way, you don’t need to waste energy when you’re likely to be out of the house, just to keep the home toasty for your arrival.

The Heater Is Too Powerful

The heater may also be too powerful for your space. Although this may be hard to fix if you’ve already got a heater installed, it’s something to keep in mind when you replace your heater. The capacity and energy rating of the heater should match the size of the space as well as the number of hours per year that you intend to use the heater.

All of the Air Is Mechanically Heated

Another potential missed opportunity if is you haven’t yet explored different options for heating air without using electricity. One of the most popular alternatives to a furnace is a geothermal heater, which can use outside temperatures to heat parts of your home (such as the floor). You could also consider using an economizer that pushes air throughout the space based on heating differences in each area. All of these possibilities are something to discuss with your heating contractor the next time they pay a visit.

For more information and assistance, contact a professional or visit websites like

How To Tell If You May Need A Plumber For Plumbing Issues

If you want to make sure that you are taking care of plumbing problems before they become serious issues, you need to know what to look for. This way, you will know when it is time to call in a professional. Below are a few issues to be on the lookout for:

The Faucet Won’t Stop Leaking

This might not seem like a major issue at first, but if a leaky faucet is not dealt with as soon as possible, you might find that you are going to be stuck with a very large water bill. This is because even the smallest of drips can add up to a lot of wasted water. Not only could you have to deal with a large water bill as a result of such a leak, but if the drain accidentally becomes clogged from something, you could find that the water will quickly collect in the sink until it begins to overflow on your floor. If this happens, you will need not just a plumber, but also a contractor to handle possible damage that was caused to the floor.

The Smell Will Not Go Away

It is not uncommon for there to be an occasional smell coming from one of your drains, especially the sink drain if some people in your house accidentally wash small particles of food down the drain. If the food gets stuck somewhere in the drain line, it can begin to emit a strong odor. You can try to resolve this on your own, but if you are not able to get rid of the smell through the use of various treatments, you may need to use a professional plumber. He or she can send a tool, commonly referred to as a drain snake, down the drain in order to break apart any clogs that may exist. Your plumber may also be able to neutralize the smell with a stronger chemical solution meant for such problems.

The Sounds Are Getting Louder

If you are starting to notice that there is a gurgling sound in your drain and it is getting louder and louder, it could be because there is a broken piece of drain pipe causing a clog. When the clog gets too large, it becomes harder for water to pass through. If the water is struggling to pass through, this will create a gurgling sound. It is vital that this issue is being taken care of as soon as possible because if the clog gets so bad that water is no longer able to pass through at all, the water will begin to make its way back up the pipe and into your home.

Should you find that you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned points, you will need to contact a skilled plumber from a company like Do-It-Ur-Self Plumbing & Heating Supply as soon as possible.

Protecting Your Bathroom Plumbing

Your plumbing system is one of the main concerns you should have when it comes to keeping your home in good shape. The plumbing in your bathroom is one of the major parts of the system. Follow the tips in this article to keep your bathroom’s plumbing system working the way it should.

Don’t shave over the sink

You don’t want the men in the house to shave directly over the sink. Instead, men should be shaving to the side of the sink, over the counter. This way, they will have access to the water while they need it, but their whiskers won’t gather in the sink either.

Put a screen in the tub and/or shower drain

A surprising amount of hair can make its way down the drain when everyone in your household takes a shower or a bath. All of the hair that doesn’t make its way clear out of the system right away will build up and get clumped together. Then, pieces of soap and other scum will collect in those lumps of hair and this can cause a big gooey mess in the pipes. Before too long, those hair lumps will lead to stubborn clogs that can be difficult for you to dislodge. This will cause your bath and/or shower to drain slowly at first, then the water can stop moving all together.

You can purchase screens at the local hardware store that you can put in the drains. These screens will catch most of that hair. You can then dump the hair in the wastebasket, instead of having it go down into the plumbing system.

Watch what goes down the toilet

It’s extremely important for you to be sure you don’t allow the wrong things to be flushed down the toilet. Keeping a waste basket next to the toilet in your bathroom can really cut down on visitors and other family members being tempted to use the toilet to dispose of the wrong things. Some of the things that commonly get flushed that should never be put down a toilet include sanitary napkins, cotton balls, baby wipes, wrappers, and makeup sponges.

Know how to clean out the P-trap

There are plumbing pipes under your bathroom sink that have a similar look to the letter “P.” The curvature of these pipes can cause a lot of debris to build up inside of them over time. When there is debris in them, you will need to clean the pipes out. Turn off the water, twist the connectors to loosen them so the pipes come out. Remove the pipes and clean them out. Put them back in place and tighten the connectors back up.

Following the advice provided in this article will help you to keep your plumbing system working properly, so you don’t find yourself dealing with a bunch of plumbing problems. If you do run into problems with clogs, contact local plumbing companies to help with drain cleaning and other repairs.

Several Common Questions New Homeownes Have About Air Conditioning Systems

Being ill-prepared to care for your air conditioning system can lead to expensive and uncomfortable problems for your home. In order for you to be prepared to care for your new home’s air conditioning systems, it will be necessary to have a basic understanding of the answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding these essential systems.

What Steps Can Be Taken To Prevent Mold Colonies From Developing In The Ducts?

Mold growing in your air ducts can be a problem for several different reasons. The spores that the mold colonies will produce can cause severe breathing issues, and extreme cases may involve mold growing in the lungs. While mold growing in the duct can be a serious problem for your home to experience, you may be able to reduce the risk of these colonies growing by preventing condensation from gathering in the ducting. To do this, you should place dehumidifiers around your home or invest in a dehumidifying attachment for your central unit. Furthermore, you can hire an air conditioning contractor to sanitize your system by spraying mold-neutralizing aerosols in the ducting.

How Can An Inaccurate Thermostat be Corrected?

The thermostat can start to lose accuracy over the course of time, which can drastically reduce the efficiency of your system. Some individuals may think that the only way to correct this issue will be to replace the thermostat. This problem often stems from the thermometer becoming unbalanced, which may prevent the system from accurately reading the temperature. An experienced air conditioning contractor will be able to adjust the placement of the thermometer by tightening or loosening the screw that holds it in place.

Why Should Homeowners Consider Buying Extended Warranty Coverage?

Buying a home can be one of the more expensive purchases that you will ever make, but if you buy a home that has an older air conditioning, it may be at a higher risk of suffering malfunctions. Repairing these malfunctions can be expensive, but you may be able to reduce this risk by investing in an extended warranty. An extended warranty for an air conditioning unit can be somewhat expensive, but these warranties can cover the repair costs for common malfunctions. When evaluating potential extended warranties, you will want to closely examine the various components that are covered under these plans. In particular, you should ensure that any extended warranty you choose covers the blower, condensation coils, and electrical system of the air conditioner.

For more information, contact a contractor who is experienced with HVAC maintenance.

How to Replace a Removed Upper or Lower Thermostat in Your Water Heater

Has your water heater lost efficiency or stopped cooling? Did you narrow the problem down to either the upper or lower thermostat—or both? Removing the thermometers is simple work, and then you get to move on to replacing the broken part with a new model.

Haven’t uninstalled the thermostats yet? Follow the instructions from the bottom up to walk through the removal and then go in the correct order for installing the new part. If you aren’t positive the thermostat is causing the heater’s problems, call plumbing contractors or a water-heater company to diagnose the cause before replacing anything.

Things You Need:

•    New thermostat

•    Screwdriver

•    Electrical tape

•    Reference photo or chart

Step 1: Install the New Thermostat

Make sure you completely turn off the power supply to the water heater before beginning the replacement; electricity and water shouldn’t mix. Remove the new thermostat from all of its packaging. If you are replacing both the upper and lower thermostats, make sure you work with one thermostat at a time to ensure you install things in the right place.

Match up the thermostat with its location. The upper thermostat should go in the upper access panel while the lower goes further down on the unit. Use your screwdriver to unfasten the access panel, if in place, and set the panel off to the side. Lift the foam flap inside the panel and tape the flap to the exterior of the unit to clear your installation path.

Slide the thermostat between the mounting brackets until the brackets snap into place to secure. Hook up the wires to the correct screws on the thermostat using your reference image or a chart in your owner’s manual for orientation help, if needed. Tighten the screws to secure the wires into place.

Step 2: Restore the Water Heater

Remove the electrical tape so that the foam flap falls back over the panel. Slide the panel door back into place and secure its fastener.

Repeat the process with the other thermostat if you are replacing both at the same time. Make sure both panel doors are in place before you restore power to your unit.

Restore the electrical supply at the circuit breaker. Let the heater operate for a couple of hours before you test to see whether the heating problem is resolved. If you still don’t have hot water or the supply seems less efficient than normal, call a plumber or water-heater repair company such as Thompson Plumbing & Pump Service Inc for assistance.

FAQs About Septic Systems For First-Time Owners

When you buy a home with a septic system, you are responsible for all of its needs, including having the tank pumped. If you do not have experience with a septic system, you have to learn quickly about caring for it to avoid damaging the system. A damaged system could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. To help you take proper care of your septic, here are some commonly asked questions to consider.  

Does a Septic Tank Smell?

Considering the job of a septic system, it is only reasonable to assume that the tank smells. Unfortunately, it does have an odor. However, the tanks are sealed and the odor usually does not escape. If you do smell an odor when you are outside, it is likely an indication that the septic tank needs to be pumped out.  

It is important to note that after the tank is pumped, there might be some residual odor. The odor usually dissipates in a short period of time.  

When Is the Tank Pumped Out?

There are a couple of factors that influence how quickly a septic tank fills up. The first is the size of your tank. The second is the amount of water and sewage that flows to it from your home. Since the tanks and water and sewage volume differ in each household, there is not a set time recommendation for when the tank needs to be pumped out.  

Your system likely has an alarm that indicates when it is time to have it pumped. You should also look for signs that it is time, such as a strong waste odor outside your home and drains overflowing inside the home. 

Do You Have to Get a Professional to Pump the Tank?

It is possible to pump the tank yourself, but there are several reasons to rely on a professional. One of the main reasons is that the professional has the equipment needed to get the job properly done. For instance, a vacuum truck is used to suction out the waste from the tank in an efficient manner. By comparison, most do-it-yourself equipment will not have the same efficiency level. 

A professional can also inspect your system for signs of problems. Early detection of septic system problems could potentially help you avoid a large repair bill later. You can also pick up some handy maintenance tips on keeping the system functioning properly throughout the year. Contact a company like All Clear Pumping & Sewer to learn more.

Three Questions To Ask Yourself When Deciding If It’s Cost-Effective To Replace Your Oil Furnace With A Gas Model

Many homeowners get frustrated with their oil furnaces because, let’s face it, they’re not cheap to run, especially when oil prices skyrocket. It’s not fun to be stuck paying for an expensive fuel because you’re afraid of freezing and it’s the middle of the winter, but buying a natural gas replacement on impulse may not always be the wisest financial decision. Here are three questions to ask to help you decide if now is really the time for that replacement and upgrade or not.

1. How old and rundown is your current furnace?

Deciding to replace your furnace on a whim is one thing; deciding to go with natural gas because your current furnace is getting old and clunky and probably needs to be replaced for safety anyway is another. If your oil furnace is relatively new, it may be best to keep it for a few years and get all the use you can out of it. On the other hand, if it’s nearing the end of its natural lifespan or if it’s up for expensive repairs (especially if it’s been requiring repairs frequently), now may be a great time to switch to natural gas.

2. How high are oil prices?

The higher oil prices are and the lower natural gas prices are, the faster a natural gas furnace will pay for itself in fuel savings. Assuming that you replace your oil furnace at the end of its lifespan (rather than burdening your new gas furnace with the task of paying you back for the value of a usable oil furnace), you may be able to recoup a noticeable part of your expected fuel budget for the winter this way.

3. How much will the installation and setup cost?

Installation and setup, of course, come with the territory. You may have slightly higher overall installation and materials costs for a gas furnace than for an oil furnace, but you may also have to pay for setup costs such as a natural gas hookup and changing any of your heating system infrastructure that isn’t interchangeable from oil to gas. However, federal and other tax credits may set the cost back considerably, making natural gas heating feasible for many homeowners.

These three questions will help you take a closer look at the urge to replace your furnace with a natural gas furnace and decide if this is the best option for you at the moment or not. For more information and advice, contact a company such as Washam Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.

Overflowing Toilet? Follow These Steps to Deal With the Problem ASAP

An overflowing toilet may sound like something out of your nightmares. However, there’s a good chance this will happen to you at some point in your life, so it’s essential that you know what to do when it does occur. Read over these four simple steps and commit them to memory so that when water starts spilling over the toilet edge, you don’t panic.

Step 1: Turn Off The Water

You want to make sure as little water actually ends up on the floor as possible, and the best way to do that is to turn off the toilet’s water supply as soon as you suspect it might overflow. Reach for the round valve that’s typically located at the base of the toilet. Turn this valve counterclockwise, which should prevent any more water from entering the toilet tank.

Step 2: Remove excess water.

Use a cup or a bowl to scoop some water out of the toilet until there are at least a few inches of empty space at the top of the bowl. This way, the toilet won’t overflow further when you start plunging in the next step. Pour the water down a nearby tub or sink. It there is toilet-relate debris (toilet paper or waste) in the water you scoop out, put it in a spare bucket rather than putting it down the drain. You can also take this opportunity to dry up any water around the toilet’s base.

Step 3: Plunge away.

This is not as simple as it seems; you need to plunge properly for it to be effective.  Use a plunger with a flared end, and place it so that it completely covers the opening in the bottom of the toilet. Then, use big, forceful strokes to force water down the toilet. You should feel the clog suddenly loosen and the water suddenly flow down the toilet. If you plunge and plunge to no avail, it’s time to call the plumber. You might be dealing with more than the ordinary blockage; a toy or wad or wet wipes may be lodged in the pipe, for example.

Step 4: Sanitize everything.

Once the water goes down, you can open the valve at the base of the toilet again. Then, prepare a solution of bleach and water. Use this to wipe down the toilet and the area around it to ensure all bacteria are killed.

For more assistance or information, contact plumbers or sewer and drain cleaning services.