Plumbing tips for the summer
- Clogged Disposal
Are you having plenty of cookouts this summer? If so, you will need be careful of how you dispose of waste food. While produce may be organic, it is generally not good for your in-sink garbage disposal, particularly if you are getting rid of hard fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or corn. These types of produce can damage the blades in your disposal unit or lead to stubborn clogs. Used cooking oils are also damaging to garbage disposal systems, so avoid pouring the dirty grease down the drain after grilling out. It is also a good idea to run cold water through your disposal for a few seconds before and after you use it to clear any remaining bits of food.
- Sewer Line Backups
You might experience trouble if tree roots spread underground and crack the pipes. If you see any signs of sewer line trouble such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a qualified plumber right away. Tree roots are more active in the winter time. He or she will run a camera to determine the extent of the damage. He or she may recommend a sewer line replacement if the damage is extensive. He may recommend some regular maintenance if the damage is only minor or if the issue is buildup.
- Clogged Toilets
Household toilets are also used more regularly in the summer, thanks to children using the bathroom during the day. Teach your kids to use a modest amount of toilet paper and to flush only after they actually use the bathroom. Common clogs are fairly simple to clear with a plunger, but if you need additional help, call in a professional.
- Washing Machine Maintenance
Your washing machine may get more of a workout during the summer, especially if you have children that are out of school. Spending days at the pool or the beach results in more laundry to wash, which can put additional stress on your washing machine. It is best to stay at home while the machine is running, so that if a problem arises you can stop the cycle immediately and call a professional if needed. You can also install a water alarm that will shut off the water supply to the washer if water gets on the floor. You should also move the machine out from the wall a little to prevent the hose from kinking. Because the same amount of lint that collects in the dryer is also going down the washer drain, regular cabling or use of bacteria to dissolve the grease from kitchen help prevent the lint from catching in the grease and causing buildup.
- Water Heater Maintenance
If you’re vacationing away from your home for several days, turn down your water heater to save energy. It’s also important to know that the average life of a water heater is anywhere from 8-11 years old. If you don’t know the age of your system, check the first four digits of the serial number on the tank. This will show you the year and week it was manufactured. Flushing your water heater annual to remove buildup will extend the life of your water heater. As the water heater ages, professionals recommend going to a biennial flushing. If the sediment gets clogged in the drain port, a professional can install a larger drain port to allow sediment to flow again
- Why does my drain get clogged?
Usually drains are clogged because people are not careful of what they put in them, especially in the kitchen. Other drains, like in the bathroom, get clogged because of the oil residue from soaps, shampoos and hair. It is recommended that you are conscious of what you put down your drains and treat them regularly with bacteria that you can purchase from a plumbing professional.
- Why does the toilet keep running?
The is one of the most common plumbing questions asked. The usual reason is that the flap in the bottom of the tank isn’t sealing shut. Take the top off the tank and flush the toilet while watching the rubber flap. Does it completely close? If not, even though water is entering the tank, some of it is flowing out through the unsealed flap and therefore, the water continues to run because the float ball trigger is never activated to stop the flow since water never reaches the fill line. That’s why jiggling the handle works to stop the running. It’s attached to the rubber flap with a chain, and jiggling it will reposition the flap so that it may seal more securely.
- Why do we run out of hot water so quickly?
Depending on the age and type of your water heater, there are a couple of reasons you don’t have enough hot water:
– Electric water heaters commonly have two heating elements, one on top and one on bottom. Either of these elements can stop working. If the bottom element goes out, only the top portion of the water heater is being heated. If the top element goes out, there will not be any hot water.
– There is a reset button that could have been tripped causing the water heater to stop working. If that reset button has tripped, that is an indicator that something is wrong.
- My water bill recently appears to be rather high and none of my faucets seem to be leaking, is there anything else that could be causing the sudden increase?
The first thing you should check is your toilets, make sure they are not leaking. Then you can check to make sure your fill valve, inside the tank, is not overflowing through the overflow pipe. There is a small tube that should be connected to it. You want to make sure the water level is about 1 inch below the overflow tube or level with the manufacturers’ mark inside the tank. The last thing you can check is your flapper. You can do this by adding a couple of drops of some food coloring to your tank water, let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and check to see if the water in you bowl has changed color. If it has then you will need to replace your flapper.
- If I have a major water leak in my home what should I do?
First, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve. As a homeowner it’s important to know where this is located and educate your family member as well. Second, always contact a professional plumber during emergencies. Do not touch any wet electrical fittings – call an electrician to deal with that.
- What can I put down my garbage disposal?
Always run water when using your garbage disposal, since the moisture helps break up the food, even when disposing of fat and grease. Soft or brittle debris like egg shells, cooked carrots, peas, mashed potatoes and small pieces of meat will be ground up by the disposal and flushed down the pipes, but hard materials like bones and coffee grounds will wear out the disposal and dull the blades. Fibrous materials like corn husks can jam up a disposal.
- What’s the best way to choose a plumber?
Assuming that the plumbing problem is not an emergency, it is always smart to do as much research as possible before choosing a plumber. Check to make sure the plumber is licensed in your local area or state. Consult the Better Business Bureau to learn about complaints filed against the plumber or his company, and whether the plumber has a good record handling disputes. Ask the plumber for references and call those previous clients to get their opinion of the plumber’s work. Finally, ask for a free estimate on the repair job that has caused you to look for a plumber in the first place. Don’t be shy about getting a few estimates. The figures are important, but so is the reputation of the plumber in your community……..or just call High Plains Plumb Right!