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Plumbing Disasters and What to Do

Plumbing is something that we as homeowners take for granted.  We turn on the faucet, water is supposed to come out of it.  We go on vacation, we expect to come back to a nice dry house.  We want to install something that involves digging in our yard, we should be able to dig anywhere…right?  Well, unfortunately, disasters can occur.  Anyone who has owned a home for a long time, knows this all too well.  There are a lot of things homeowners don’t think about until it happens to them and problems involving plumbing can be some of the worst “disasters” a homeowner will experience.

However, if a plumbing disaster does occur in your household, do not worry.  It is not the end of the world.  After all, that’s why you pay all that money to your insurance company…right?   Hopefully you have a good homeowners insurance policy that will allow you to make all the necessary repairs.  The best way to handle these plumbing disasters, however, is to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Some of the most common plumbing disasters involve pipes that burst due to freezing and thawing,  pipes that are broken underground when unplanned digging occurs, and plumbing issues involving toilets that overflow.

One of the most common plumbing disasters are pipes that freeze and then burst when they thaw out.  No this should not occur in homes that have temperature control 24/7, 365 days a year.  However, homeowners often take long vacations or are away from home for long periods of time due to work commitments.  If you are planning on being away from your residence for a long period of time in the winter months,  it is extremely important to make sure your home maintains a temperature that will prevent your pipes from freezing.  When the temperature inside your house in under 32 degrees, your pipes will eventually freeze.  When they freeze, the pressure of the frozen water inside will cause the actual pipe to crack or burst.  This isn’t a problem, of course, until the temperatures return to above freezing and the the water will exit the pipe and enter your living areas.  This can cause quite the mess as the water will destroy anything in its path, including drywall, flooring, and carpet.  The problem will be even worse when the pipe burst occurs on an upper level of your residence, as the water will be on a path of destruction until it reaches the bottom floor.  So the message here is control the temperature in every room of your house that has plumbing if you plan on being out of town for a long period of time in the colder months.

Another easily avoidable problem is underground pipes that are damaged when unauthorized or unplanned digging occurs outside your property.  So whether you are installing a new mailbox, utility shed, or a new fence, always check to make sure there are no pipes underground in the area you are digging.  There are companies that will come out to your property for this very reason to give you a “clean bill of health” before you start any digging.  If you are using a contractor to do any fence installation, they will also check for any underground pipes in the area of the fence install.  Also, make sure you have all of the proper permits from your local government before doing any digging on your property.  A busted underground pipe on your property can cause a whole laundry list of problems.  Once again, this is probably the most avoidable plumbing problem.

Toilets are another consideration when talking about plumbing problems.  A malfunctioning toilet can lead to utter disaster in your home.  Do not let a damaged toilet in your home go unchecked.  Call a plumber immediately to have the problem with your toilet fixed.  The water that supplies a toilet will run, run, and run some more if something in the plumbing goes astray.  If you are not home when this happens, your house can literally be destroyed by a running toilet.  Learn where the water shutoff to your toilet is and how to turn it off.  Simply turning off the water supply may limit the damage and prevent a ton of problems in your home.

Any plumbing problem should be fixed ASAP.  Call a local plumber immediately if you experience any of the “disasters” mentioned above.  I hope this article gives some insight to new homeowners and provides you with some piece of mind.  Good luck!

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Four Ways to Identify Worn Out Pipes

Older homes tend to have problems with the plumbing systems hence the need to constantly keep an eye on the pipes and drains. If you do not pay close attention to any pipe problems that arise you might just get surprised to meet a costly damage.

Most homeowners tend to neglect places such as basements, crawlspaces, and utility rooms because they least expect any plumbing issues in these areas. Always check for the clues and signs below which may indicate the need for replacement or repair.

  • Tube Corrosion

One way to tell if your piping has substantial corrosion is when there are signs of flaking or dimpling. Furthermore, you may sense a high-acidic content in your water. These means the pipe tubing is corroded and needs to be replaced. Copper pipes tend to corrode when they are left idle for long periods of time.

  • Leaks

Never assume any leak however small it might look. A small leak can result in a big problem if not tackled on time. If you see mildew or mold accumulated on your bathroom wall this is a sure sign that there is a leak somewhere. You can only find molds in an environment that is moist. This environment can only be created by a leaking pipe. The presence of mildew in your shower might be as a result of a leak. However, if you see it anywhere else in your house it could mean there is some pipe problem.  These repairs can be costly for home owners and business owners alike.  Consider a business loan if you need to get things fixed immediately to keep your business open.

  • Stains

It has already been pointed out that you should always check for any signs of pipe problems. You may discover some stains underneath the sink. Stains at ceiling of a room lying below a bathroom (on the floor above) could indicate some pipe leak. Nearby walls can also give a clue in case the ceiling seems to be normal.

  • Discolored Water

As soon as you discover your sink tap is passing odd-colored water contact a plumber immediately. The discoloration could be as a result of rust within the pipe tubing. Of course this is a threat to your health and that of your family. Apart from changing the taste of water, rust also hardens the water and it becomes difficult to use with soap especially when washing clothes and dishes.

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How Do You Avoid Frozen Pipes?

How to Unclog a Drain.

If you’ve experienced a clogged drain you’ll agree to the fact that it is annoying. Probably water has been draining as usual then it begins draining more slowly before it suddenly becomes a pool. Let’s say you are headed for a shower in your bathroom and this is the case. The most important thing is to fix the situation in order to save yourself from the frustration and annoyance. Furthermore, if not fixed early enough it may result in a worse problem for your plumbing. Here are some ways that can be helpful when it comes to unclogging a drain.

What you shouldn’t do.

We both agree that it’s frustrating to have toile that isn’t flushing or take a shower in a puddle. At first, you might think there is nothing you can do about the situation. However, there are easy steps that you can take to solve the situation.

Plumbers do not recommend clog remover solutions since they can cause problems to the piping. Avoid using these solutions in toilet bowls because they can damage the porcelain and crack the bowl.  So if you have a bottle of this laying around in your garage, properly dispose of it.

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar

Vinegar and baking soda can naturally be used to unclog a drain. You should, therefore, make a point of having these two products as part of your cleaning toolbox in your home. You can also use them with small clogs. Pour some hot water at the drain followed by baking soda. After a minute or so pour a mixture of vinegar and hot water and allow it to settle for five minutes before rinsing using tap water. If this doesn’t work you better contact a professional.

  • Plungers

Invest in a plunger for shower or sink drains even if you have a plunger for the toilet. You can remove some clogs by applying a little bit of elbow grease. Remember that plungers are available in different shapes for specific use. A sink plunger can’t be used on a toilet.

  • Cleaning the Trap

External methods may fail to remove a sink clog. This is the time to find out where the problem is by cleaning all the parts that hold debris. Remove the drain trap using a pliers or wrench and reattach securely after the clog is gone.

Other ways that you can use to remove a clog include a drain snake or millipede and using the soda method. If none of these methods works call a pro.

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