As winter approaches, many homeowners start to worry about potential plumbing problems. While some issues may be specific to colder weather, others can occur at any time of year. Here are four of the most common plumbing problems and how to fix them.
Four Winter Plumbing Problems to Watch Out For This Season
1. Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a common plumbing problem in the winter. If the water in pipes freezes, it can cause them to burst. To prevent frozen pipes, you can insulate them or wrap them in heat tape. You should also make sure that your home is properly heated during the winter. If you do experience frozen pipes, you can use a hairdryer to thaw them out. However, if the pipes have already burst, you’ll need to call an Indianapolis plumber.
2. Clogged Drains
Clogged drains are another common plumbing issue in cold weather. They can be caused by food particles, grease and soap buildup, or leaves and other debris. To prevent clogs, use screens over your sinks and shower drains and avoid pouring grease or food down the drain. You can also use a plunger to clear out any minor clogs, but if it doesn’t work you should call a plumber for help.
3. Leaky Faucets
Leaky faucets are often caused by worn out washers or old valves. To fix them, you’ll need to replace the washer or valve. This is a simple repair that you can do yourself, but it will require some basic plumbing tools and knowledge.
4. Water Heater Issues
Water heaters can be temperamental in cold weather. If your water isn’t heating up properly, make sure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature. You should also make sure your water heater is well insulated, as this will help prevent it from freezing. If you don’t feel comfortable inspecting or repairing the water heater yourself, you should call a plumber for assistance.
With these tips in mind, you can be better prepared for any winter plumbing problems that may arise. With a bit of proactive maintenance and quick action, you can keep your plumbing system running smoothly this winter.
Your in-ground sprinkler system can be an important part of your garden’s health and beauty. But during the winter months, when temperatures drop, it’s important to remember that your sprinkler system needs some special attention before the cold hits.
Continue below to review a quick and easy guide to blowing out your inground sprinkler system for winter, plus where to get the best seasonal plumbing service near you.
Winter Maintenance for Underground Sprinkler Systems
Blowing out your inground sprinkler system is one of the best ways to protect your pipes against freezing and can help you avoid costly plumbing repairs come springtime. Here are the simple steps to getting the job done right the first time, every time:
How to Blow Out an In-Ground Sprinkler System:
The first step in blowing out your inground sprinkler system is to locate the main water shut off valve. This will usually be located close to where the water supply enters your home. Once you’ve found this valve, turn it off completely until spring when you’re ready to use your sprinkler system again.
Next, you’ll need to connect a garden hose to one of the last sprinkler valves in your system. Run the other end into an area where it can safely drain without causing any damage (such as a grassy area). Finally, turn on all your sprinkler valves, starting with the first one closest to the main water shut off valve.
Once you’ve done this, turn on an outside faucet and let it run until nothing but air comes out of your sprinkler system pipes. This will help clear the remaining water from your pipes and ensure that they don’t freeze during the winter months. Once you’re done with the faucet, turn it off and close the shutoff valve you opened earlier.
Winter Sprinkler System Protection and Plumbing Maintenance
By following these steps, you can ensure that your in-ground sprinkler system is well-protected during winter months. If you have any questions about blowing out your inground sprinkler system or need help with other seasonal plumbing maintenance tasks, contact a local Indianapolis plumbing company for trusted assistance.
The leaves have been falling for quite some time now, which means the ground is saturated with tree remnants. Hopefully you have your plumbing maintenance checklist in motion! It is important to get your fall season plumbing care needs out of the way before the winter freeze is upon us.
Continue below to learn some of the most important elements of fall plumbing maintenance, plus who to trust in Indianapolis for superior plumber service and repair at an affordable price.
Fall Plumbing Service Checklist
It’s that time of year again! As the leaves start to change fall from the trees, it’s time to think about preparing your home for the colder months ahead. One of the most important things you can do is make sure your plumbing is in good working order. After all, you don’t want to be dealing with a burst pipe or a clogged drain when it’s freezing outside!
Here is a helpful plumbing care checklist for the fall season:
1. Check all of your outdoor faucets and hose connections for leaks. If you find any, make sure to repair them before the cold weather sets in.
2. Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Store them indoors for the winter.
3. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, have it professionally winterized before the first freeze.
4. Inspect your gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clean and free of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water damage and foundation problems.
5. If you have a sump pump, make sure it is in good working order and that the batteries are fresh. A sump pump is your first line of defense against basement flooding.
6. Inspect all exposed pipes, both inside and outside your home, for signs of leaks or damage. If you find any, have them repaired as soon as possible.
7. If you have a water softener, have it checked and serviced if necessary.
8. Have your septic system pumped and inspected if you have one.
By following this simple plumbing maintenance checklist, you can help avoid costly repairs and ensure that your home is ready for the colder months ahead.
Do Not Skip Routine Plumbing Service
Routine plumbing repair and service is important to keep your system running smoothly. Skipping inspections and maintenance can lead to costly repairs and health hazards. Plumbers in Indianapolis can identify and fix small problems before they become big ones, so it’s important to schedule regular service appointments.
Whether you are a first-time homeowner or have owned your house for a long time, it is vital to stay up to date with your plumbing systems. Reviewing some common tips and general information from time to time can refresh your memory and help you do a better job of taking care of your home. Continue reading to review some unique, but important, frequently asked questions about home plumbing.
Home Plumbing FAQS You Want to Know
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that is polluted with high levels of contaminates, such as iron salts, calcium, and magnesium. If you are starting to notice subtle changes in your dishes, skin, laundry, and plumbing fixtures, it may be related to a hard water issue. A water filtration system, coupled with a quality water softener, can eliminate these mineral ions plus reduce the level of hardness in your home’s water.
Why Does My Water Take So Long to Heat Up?
There are some common reasons why your water heater might be taking too long to heat your water up. Most often, the water heater is just too old or defective. Otherwise, you could have too much sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank, low volume restrictors installed on your plumbing fixtures, or too much distance between the location of the water heater and your point-of-demand. To fix this problem, you will need to contact a professional Indianapolis plumber who specializes in hot water heater repair and service.
How Do I Unclog a Backed Up Toilet?
Large debris can get stuck, like toilet paper, hair ties, and more. In this case, you will need to use your plunger to plunge the toilet bowl for 30 seconds. But before you do, be sure there is not too much water in the toilet bowl. If there is, empty as much water as needed with a separate cup or bowl. Try flushing the toilet to see if the plunger loosened up the clog. If it didn’t, try again or check to see if the flapper is the issue. If you cannot clear a clogged toilet bowl with a plunger, then you will need to call a licensed plumber for help.
How Do I Remove the Crusty Substance on the Shower Head and Faucet?
Remove the shower head by unscrewing it from the spout. Place it in a bowl with hot water and one cup of household vinegar. Leave it overnight then scrub it clean the next morning. If you cannot screw the shower head off, put the vinegar solution in a plastic bag and place it over the spout, attaching and securing it with a tie. If the substance does come off completely, re-do the process using less water and more vinegar.
How Do I Get Rid of Odor in My Garbage Disposal?
The odor most likely is coming from an accumulation of food scraps and other debris. To remove the smell, you can put a mixture of ice cubes and lemon peels down the disposal and run it, then with disposal still running, flush it with cold water for a minute. If this does not do the trick completely, add a few drops of dish soap with cold water for another thirty seconds. This household remedy is a popular solution to foul smelling garbage disposals.
How Often Should a Septic Tank Be Pumped?
An inspection or cleaning should be done once every few years or so, depending on the size of the make and model septic system in place. In smaller systems, once every three years is sufficient; however, a large tank would require an inspection once every two years or less. The larger the system, the more often it will require service.
Am I Smelling Natural Gas in My House?
Natural gas smells like rotten eggs. If you smell this in your home or building, first, turn off all appliances that use gas. Then open a few windows or doors to let the gas air out. Once you have done this, check the range, water heater, and furnace pilot lights; if one light is out, relight it. If they are not the issue, call your local gas provider and report the smell right away.
Why Did My Plumbing Pipes Go Bad?
There are several reasons why plumbing pipes go bad. It can be due to old age, poor installation, incompatibility, material quality issues, corrosion, external structural damages, and much more.
Should I Re-Pipe or Repair the Plumbing?
In many cases, plumbing pipes do not require replaced, but rather repaired. If one or two plumbing pipes burst or incur some sort of damage, they can simply be replaced through trenchless piping or other repair techniques. However, there are other cases in which the whole house plumbing system should be re-piped. Talk to in Indianapolis plumber to determine the best course of action for your plumbing pipe renovation needs.
How Do I Know if I Have a Plumbing Leak?
As someone who regularly pays your water and energy bills, you know when something is a little off. Suddenly higher utility bills are one of the first signs of a hidden plumbing leak in the home. If you are utility bills are higher than usual, or have seen a sudden spike in cost, it could be an indication that you have a hidden plumbing leak somewhere in your system. First, contact your utility company to confirm that your bill is correct, and if it is, your next step is to contact in licensed plumber for a home plumbing inspection in Indianapolis.
Anytime an appliance shows signs of leaking, panic is permitted. Although not all leaks are serious, they do require immediate attention. This is especially true in the case of water heaters. If your water heater is leaking, you would be wise to act fast and begin taking the necessary steps to stabilize your plumbing emergency.
Continue below to learn what you should do if your water heater springs a leak in Indianapolis.
Water Heater Patching for Small Leaks
In the case of small or minor water heater leaks, it is likely that your Indianapolis plumber can simply patch it up without any problems. However, not all water heater leaks fit this scope of compatibility. For moderate to severe water heater leaks, more advanced repairs will be necessary. But before you call your trusted plumbing company in Indianapolis, there are a few things you can do to get the leak under control and organize some information prior to their arrival.
First, let’s the top reasons why water heaters leak:
Drain Valve – Broken drain valves are frequent causes for water heaters leaks. A common sign of a broken water heater drain valve leak is water coming from the very bottom of the water heater tank
Corrosion – Rust and corrosion can jeopardize the structural integrity of a water heater tank. Too much corrosion can cause holes and cracks that leak water from the bottom of the unit.
Loose Water Line Connection – Loose or worn out inlet and outlet water lines connected to your water heater can leak water from various places.
T&P Valve – Temperature and pressure release valve is prone to breakage and corrosion. If the valve is damaged, it cannot properly regulate the pressure within the tank, and therefore cause water to leak in the sides of the unit.
As soon as you become aware of the water heater leaks, there are some important steps to take to ensure that the situation is managed safely and efficiently. Here’s what to do:
Turn off the energy source to your water heater. If you have a gas water heater, refer to the thermostat for the ON and OFF power knob. Switch it to the OFF setting or the PILOT setting before moving onto the next step. If you have an electric water heater, open to the breaker panel and flip the water heater fuse to off.
Turn the main water supply off. Your next step is to turn your main water supply off to your home or building. Find the cold water line and turn the valve all the way to the right until it is tight.
Drain the water heater tank. At this point, you can choose to take a step back and turn the rest of the job over to a trusted Indianapolis water heater plumber. However, if you feel comfortable with such handiwork, your next step to managing a water heater leak is to drain the tank.
Contact a water heater repair company. After you have drained the water heater tank, contact an Indianapolis water heater company to schedule a time for them to come out and make the necessary repairs to your unit.
When main water lines in the lawn incur damage that causes them to spring a leak, or worse, burst open, the signs are typically evident right away. Because water line leaks in the yard are a serious plumbing emergency, it is important to address the issues as soon as you discover it. The longer you wait to resolve a broken underground water line, the more costly and invasive the repair will be for the problem.
Continue below to learn the top signs of an underground water leak in the yard, plus information on how to repair yard water line leaks in Indianapolis.
Common Signs of Main Water Line Leaks in Lawns
The potential consequences of waiting to repair a damaged water line leak in your yard fall collaterally to your adorning outdoor assets, such as your soil quality and composition, as well as your landscaping trees, barns, sheds, underground and above ground pools, playsets, fencing, surrounding underground utility lines, the foundation of your property, and much more. In serious cases, underground water line leaks can lead to sinkhole formations! The worst part about all of this is that you, being the property owner, are responsible for paying for these damages and the repairs for the broken water line.
Top 4 Signs of an Underground Main Water Line Leak
Massively Higher Water Bills
Even a dripping faucet can cause minor changes in your monthly water bill. After all, a leaky faucet can drip up to 90 gallons of water in a single day. So, imagine how much water a damaged water line can spew out on a daily basis. If you have noticed a sudden and suspiciously high increase in your monthly water costs, it could be due to a more serious and hidden water leak within your property; very possibly, a busted main water line in the lawn.
Water Damages on Walls or Wet Walls
A leaking or burst yard line will cause a considerable lot of damage to its surroundings, but the scope of collateral damage doesn’t stop in the lawn. Very quickly, a main water line leak can begin to develop moisture and condensation, which can seep into the living quarters of the home. If you notice that your walls are moist or wet, or if you have signs of warped wood, like baseboards, cabinets, wainscoting, or floors, it could be due to a water line leak.
Hearing Sounds of Running Water
Unless you fall asleep each night to a relaxing ocean wave or rainfall sound machine, it is not a good sign to hear noises of running water in certain areas of your home. When caused by a yard line water leak, such sounds are mostly heard coming from inside walls and cabinets, or in the lowest and quietest spots of a home.
Sitting Water in the Lawn
One of the most common indications that the main water line has sprung a leak is the presence of sitting water in the lawn. If your lawn is filled with several large water puddles, but your community hasn’t seen excessive amounts of precipitation in recent days, it could be due to a yard line leak. You might also have main water line damage if you walk through your lawn and notice that the ground is very spongy and bouncy.
As a homeowner, it is imperative to cooperate with your home’s maintenance needs. Part of maintaining your home is caring for the plumbing systems. Checking for leaks is one key strategy to protecting your plumbing system from sustaining major damages. This can be a simple DIY solution with a little research.
Continue reading to learn how to check for leaks in home plumbing systems; or where to contact a professional for advice on repairing leaky faucets and plumbing pipes in residential properties.
Leak Detection Tips
The plumbing system is one of the most expensive components in your home. Any damages or repairs can cost a substantial amount of money; but you can avoid these unexpected expenses with regular maintenance and care. To spot leaks, you have to look in certain areas. Leaky copper pipes will show a small white circle around it. This is a prime indication of water damage and leakage. It is not a huge problem at this point; so don’t worry. As long as the issue is resolved right away, and not neglected, it will be a simple and inexpensive fix.
When it comes to kitchen and bathroom sinks, it is important to check the structural integrity of the pipes first. Be sure to clear away any clutter so you can get a true view of the plumbing pipes. Check for moisture and leaks. It is typically not recommended to use cabinet space beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks. Clutter combined with moisture can grow mold and other harmful spores; as well as, attract pest infestations Hard objects under the sink can know into the pipes, causing damage and potential leaks too. Take precaution when using these types of spaces for storage.
Once you have inspected the bathrooms and kitchen pipes, take a look at the valves in your home. If you have any trouble at all shutting off the valve; stop trying. This excessive force can break it. Instead, you will need to consult with a licensed Indianapolis plumber for help. Another area to inspect is the water meter. Be sure all your faucets are turned off; then go to your meter and see if the dial is moving at all. If it is, this could be an indication of leaks within your plumbing. To properly locate these leaks, you will need to hire a professional plumbing company.
Contributing to the betterment of the environment is something anyone can do. In fact, it is easy, and it can save you money! If you’re interested in helping the planet Earth, a good place to start is water conservation. After all, water is precious and none of it should go to waste. Which room in your home uses the most water? Arguably, you could say the kitchen, but most often, it’s the bathroom!
Continue reading to learn 3 simple ways to conserve water in the bathroom, plus what to do if you are dealing with plumbing issues that are wasting water and increasing your utility bills.
Bathroom Water Conservation
Because bathroom water conservation is so easy to do, you can get your entire family or roommates involved too! Here are the three easiest and most cost-effective ways to cut back on water consumption in the bathroom:
Install Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures
Shower heads and faucets are plumbing fixtures that are notorious for wasting water. The flow of water ejected from these fixtures is so strong that the average showerhead or faucet can fill a 5 gallon tank every minute. You can reduce the amount of water your plumbing fixtures emit by installing low-flow showerheads or low-volume water restrictors in your faucets. These plumbing fixtures can reduce water flow down to two half gallons per minute. Not only does this help the planet by conserving water, but it also significantly reduces your water bill every month.
Reduce Bathing Time
Although it can be really challenging to do after a long day of work or a really hard week, one way you can easily conserve water in the bathroom is to reduce your bathing time. Cut back on how long you run a shower before you get in, plus how long you take a shower. Also consider ways to avoid leaving the faucet running while you do other things in the bathroom, like brushing your teeth, washing your hands, removing your makeup, or shaving. For instance, use a mug of water to rinse your razor in between strokes, and simply shut the faucet off while you’re scrubbing your teeth or face clean.
Stop Using the Bathtub
Many people enjoy a good long soak in a hot bath every once in a while, which is perfectly fine. But if you are someone who frequently takes baths, you might want to reconsider your options. The average bathtub holds and drains between 35 and 50 gallons of water. In comparison, a ten minute shower will usually consume around 25 gallons of water.
Another effective way to conserve water in the bathroom is to have any water leaks repair right away. A dripping faucet can waste a lot of water, more than you would think. In fact, a leaky faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day. Think about how this could impact your water bill each month.
Many environmentally and budget-conscious property owners are choosing copper plumbing these days. Even properties with plumbing systems constructed with conventional materials have a few copper pipes somewhere in the works, especially in water heaters and boilers.
Although highly-durable, fire-resistant, and less harmful to the environment, copper plumbing can encounter some frustrating drawbacks, like turning green. If you have noticed that your copper plumbing pipes have taken on a green crust or color, you may be concerned, and you would be right to be.
Continue below to learn why your copper plumbing pipes are turning green, plus what you can do to prevent this from happening in the future.
Copper Pipes are Prone to Oxidation
The greenish, or sometimes blue-ish, powdery tint on copper pipes is the result of oxidation, which is a type of corrosion. When copper is exposed to moisture (water or humidity) and oxygen (air) for long periods, it will begin to oxidize. Although harmless and non-toxic, oxidation will disintegrate copper plumbing pipes over time, making it a plumbing problem that requires urgent attention.
Copper is Excellent at Conducting Heat
If you think your property is void of copper plumbing, think again. Any plumbing appliance or water line that circulates hot water will require copper piping, including water heaters, boilers, dishwashers, washing machines, and even radiant heating systems. Copper is an excellent conductor of heat, capable of withstanding high temperatures.
What To Do About Oxidized Copper Plumbing
Like rusty steel, oxidized copper plumbing will eventually corrode and fail. The problem is, most copper plumbing is hidden behind walls or beneath flooring, which makes it hard to spot a corrosion issue. Look at the areas where the pipe meets the wall or opening and check for signs of oxidation. These areas tend to be higher in moisture, giving way to oxidation.
If your copper plumbing is already experiencing oxidation, your first step is to contact a licensed Indianapolis plumber for guidance on plumbing remediation or replacement. You could have a hidden water leak or dampness issue inside the walls, thus causing the copper plumbing to oxidize. A licensed and insured plumber can identify the issue and make the proper adjustments to ensure no future corrosion.
How to Prevent Oxidized Copper Pipes
The best way to prevent copper plumbing oxidation and similar corrosion issues is to have your property’s plumbing system inspected by a licensed and insured master plumber on an annual basis. This annual service will help catch plumbing problems early on before they can turn disastrous or costly.
Whether you go organic, large, small, or pre-squeezed, there are several ways to use lemons and lemon juice for cleaning around the house. Whether at home or on the road, you can trade the normal methods for everyday cleaning with a fresh-smelling, antioxidant, and Eco-friendly alternative: lemons! Manage upholstery stains, smelly laundry, clogged drains, limescale, mold, bacterial growth, and much more!
Continue reading for all the creative and non-toxic ways to clean around the house with store-bought lemons and a few other household ingredients.
How to Clean With Lemons Around the House
Clothing Stain Removal
Aprons, clothing, uniforms, sheets, blankets, upholstery, curtains, tablecloths, place mats, serving napkins, and more can fall victim to staining. Blood, grease, dirt, rust, and grass stand no chance when using fresh lemon juice. It can help remove these types of stains and more! Simply dab equal parts of salt and lemon onto the stain and allow it to sit for an hour, then wash normally using detergent.
Lemons can be used as disinfectants for several types of surfaces. For example, kitchen cutting boards are perfect hosts for lingering bacteria and germs. Lemon juice can eliminate these hazards, as well as, stains, with a simple and quick ten minute soak. Pour or squeeze the juice of a lemon onto a wood cutting board and allow it to sit for ten minutes before rinsing. And simple repeat if necessary.
You may also rub the exposed part of the lemon all over the surface for added effects. It is a fantastic way to kill germs naturally. Use on other surfaces as well, like tables and sinks. They are naturally scented too, making them free of chemicals that replicate the fresh smell of lemons people commonly associated with cleanliness. Never use lemon juice on granite or marble surfaces.
Hardwood Floors and Furniture
Polish hardwood furniture and floors the natural way by combining a cup of olive oil with a half cup lemon juice! Dab first on a cloth and use sparingly in circular motions. Buff the floors out with a clean dry microfiber cloth afterwards.
You can clean dishware with just lemons and baking soda. Cut a lemon in half and dip the exposed portion into a pile of baking soda. Then just use the lemon as if it were your dishcloth! Citric acid is an effective de-greaser and will cut-through and loosen grime on dishware. You can also place a cup of lemon juice in the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a cycle to deodorize it naturally.
The same goes for microwaves. Deodorize and eliminate bacteria inside a microwave by placing lemon slices in a microwave-safe bowl of water and heat for one minute. This kills the bacteria and humidifies the inside, allowing grease and stuck-on food to loosen. Just wipe the inside of the microwave out with a clean rag afterwards!
To clean drains, pour half of a cup of baking soda down the drain and then pour a cup of hot lemon juice down afterwards. Allow this mixture to work itself in for a few minutes, then rinse with hot water. To clean and deodorize garbage disposals, drop a few citrus peels down the drain and run the disposal with cold water from the faucet. Lemon wedges can be placed inside a refrigerator to eliminate bad odors as well.
No matter what color of mold you have or where it may be, you can use lemon juice and good old fashioned elbow grease to remove it. Tiles, plumbing fixtures, and other surfaces can be scrubbed clean of mold with a pasty mixture of lemon juice and salt.
Limescale and Soap Scum Remover
Aside from mold, lemons can also be used to clean soap scum, limescale, hard water deposits, and other similar residues. For this, mix two parts of bicarbonate soda and one part lemon juice, and then apply the paste to the soiled area. Allow to sit, then scrub with cloth or toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly.
Additional Lemon Cleaning Applications:
◾ Glass Cleaner ◾ Mirror Polisher ◾ Shoe Shiner ◾ Metal Polisher ◾ Laundry Bleacher ◾ Air Freshener