Tips for how to fix Plumbing problems and when to call Henry Plumbing.

Hurricane Irma Evacuation Preparation

How to Prepare Your Home Plumbing for an Evacuation

You just got the news that Hurricane Irma is heading your way. No one wants to leave their home for something like this, but you and your family’s safety comes first. Make your homecoming pleasant by ensuring that your plumbing is in top shape for the time that you’ll be gone.

Make a detailed checklist

Before anything else, make that checklist. It doesn’t pay to wander around the house haphazardly and account for looming issues as they occur to you––or don’t. Keep everything organized so that you don’t miss a thing.

Turn off the main water valve

The first thing you do is turn off the main water valve. If you happened to have left everything until the last minute and are only able to take care of one thing––this is it. Turning off the water supply to your house is your best chance of minimizing potential issues. In the event of a leak, no additional water will emerge if you shut off the main valve. If you need water for a sprinkler, for example, be sure to go to each appliance or room and turn off the water individually.

 

Make sure you have no leaks

Walk around and do a thorough inspection, taking care that there are no leaks. If you are in a house, be sure to look underneath it. If you have a basement, check there, too. Investigate any areas you know are exposed to water, including the washing machine, dishwasher, and any water heaters you installed. This also applies to the sinks, baths or showers, and toilets. Leave enough time to schedule a repair so you aren’t stuck with a lingering issue as you are on a flight.

 

Shift your home to low power

The rest of the remaining tasks are standard housekeeping chores. That said, it is easy to forget them if you’re in a rush. If you are busy planning and packing, call a plumber to give your house an inspection instead. Flush out your water heater––unless it is tankless. In either case, you’ll want to shift it into a low power or ‘vacation mode’ to save energy. In the event you are shutting off the main valve, you will not have to worry about this.

 

Clean your drains and avoid mold

Other tasks may seem nonessential when you’re able to attend to them on a regular basis, but they can add up into bigger problems if you are away for a while. Clean your gutters, disinfect any toilets, remove all perishable items from the refrigerator and either unplug it or keep sustainable items inside for more efficient power––additionally, shut off your ice maker. Turn off the sprinklers and clean out your drains to avoid a buildup of bacteria and, later, mold.

 

Be extra careful

When in doubt, proceed with caution. It is better to shut everything off, if you can, and gently open the valve on your return than risk the potential of a catastrophic emergency which is unattended. The location of the main valve can depend on what type of home you have. It is usually either a wheel with spokes you rotate right or a lever you make perpendicular to the pipe it is attached to. If you need instruction, call an expert.

Stay safe!

Winter and fall plumbing

How to Prepare Home Plumbing in Savannah for the Fall and Winter

It’s never too early

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 45% of Americans take some kind of summer vacation. In total, there are 657,000,000 long distance trips made during that time. If you were lucky enough to be among that number, you’ve probably since returned. And even though there are still a few good weeks of summer weather ahead, it’s nearly time to be ready for the lower temperatures of the fall and winter. Here are some tips to prepare for colder months.

 

Insulate your piping

Even in Savannah, the temperature can go below freezing. And while you’d love for your plumbing to remain equally effective all year round, it’ll take a bit of observation and upkeep if you want to get the most out of your water fixtures. The first order of business is to ensure all your pipes are adequately insulated. Insulation will prevent excess heat from escaping the system and reduce the overall stress on the plumbing.

 

Keep a faucet on drip

If you think it’s about to get especially icy, you should keep a faucet running a tiny bit in order to keep the flow circulating. This is unlikely to be an issue for some time, but it is far better to know in advance than be unsure when the time inevitably arrives. The chances are fairly high that a given pipe will rupture unnoticed for a while if you are not attentive. If you go on vacation over the winter instead of the summer, keep your home at least 45º F.

 

Remove leaves from gutters and drains

If you end up in a pinch and need some measure of insulation in the middle of a frosty evening, use duct tape. As for earlier in the fall, begin by removing any clutter from gutters and drains. While you may think you’ve gotten all the leaves, be aware that some may not fall until later. Use a hose to rinse them of any additional leaves or muck. It’ll be a lot more difficult to remove them once they are frozen in.

 

Disconnect your sprinklers

Later in the fall, you won’t have to worry about grass. Cue the sprinklers. Disconnect them and blow out the sprinkler pipes so when it is really cold they don’t freeze and make a problem for you when everything is warm again. If you have a hose, clear it out and put it in storage. Insulate the spigot into which you connected your hose as it can break like any other pipe. And a broken pipe is way harder to deal with as it gets cooler.

 

Be aware of straining your drain

The other half of the equation is less about the climate outside and more about the one inside. In the fall, holidays come quick. Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, or, eventually, Christmas, there’s a chance you’ll be entertaining more than the usual number of people. After you arrange a meal, there is likely to be fat and grease left over. Do not slide it into the drain; instead, move it into a trash can.

 

Use your appliances effectively

If you have a garbage disposal, let it run before you begin dropping miscellaneous food in. Once you finish, allow for a lot of water to rinse it out. Use your dishwasher when everyone is gone so you aren’t splitting your pressure between the dishes and other needs, like a shower or a washing machine. According to Roto-Rooter, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest of the year. This is because of a larger volume of food debris––not because of the cool climate.

 

Frozen piping is expensive

Frozen or burst pipes are a big deal and “the average insurance claim for water damage from frozen pipes is about $15,000.” It doesn’t always get cold enough for pipes to freeze in Savannah, but it can.  Use polyurethane pipe wraps to cover any exposed piping. Although you should go after all of your plumbing, the ones nearest to the outside of the home are of greatest risk in freezing. If you eventually turn on the heat, open any doors between the pipes so it can circulate.

 

Make sure your water heater is in top shape

Finally, check into your water heater. Although you may value it in the warmer half of the year, it’ll really earn its keep when you are in need of a cup of tea or a warm shower to chase off an incoming cold––or the cold. Although you want it warm, you don’t need it too hot. Keep it at or below 125º F. Drain your heater and remove all the sediment that accumulated over the summer. If you were thinking of replacing it, now is the time. Also check on your sump pump.

 

Suggested further reading for fall/winter plumbing preparation:

4 Tips to Prepare Your Plumbing This Fall

Top 5 Plumbing Tips For Fall

Preparing Your Plumbing for Fall and Winter Weather

How to Prepare Your Plumbing for the Fall

 

Prepare home for vacation

How Do I Prepare My Home Plumbing When I Take a Long Vacation?

Make a detailed checklist

If you have the luxury of going on an extended getaway, you probably can’t wait to get out the door. Before you do, there are a bunch of things to mark off your checklist. The first thing is to make that checklist. It doesn’t pay to wander around the house haphazardly and account for looming issues as they occur to you––or don’t. Failing to address a host of potential issues may save you anxiety on departure, but it can ruin the peace as you get back to a waterlogged home.

 

Turn off the main water valve

The first thing you do is turn off the main water valve. If you left everything until the last minute and are only able to take care of one thing––this is it. Turning off the water supply to your house is your best chance of minimizing potential issues. In the event of a leak, no additional water will emerge if you shut off the main valve. If you need water for a sprinkler, for example, be sure to go to each appliance or room and turn off the water individually.

 

Make sure you have no leaks

Walk around and do a thorough inspection, ensuring there are no leaks. If you are in a house, be sure to look underneath it. If you have a basement, check there, too. Investigate any areas you know are exposed to water, including the washing machine, dishwasher, and any water heaters you installed. This also applies to the sinks, baths or showers, and toilets. Leave enough time to schedule a repair so you aren’t stuck with a lingering issue as you are on a flight.

 

Shift your home to low power

The rest of the remaining tasks are standard housekeeping chores. That said, it is easy to forget them if you’re in a rush. If you are busy planning and packing, call a plumber to give your house an inspection instead. Flush out your water heater––unless it is tankless. In either case, you’ll want to shift it into a low power or ‘vacation mode’ to save energy. In the event you are shutting off the main valve, you will not have to worry about this.

 

Clean your drains and avoid mold

Other tasks may seem nonessential when you’re able to attend to them on a regular basis, but they can add up into bigger problems if you are away for a while. Clean your gutters, disinfect any toilets, remove all perishable items from the refrigerator and either unplug it or keep sustainable items inside for more efficient power––additionally, shut off your ice maker. Turn off the sprinklers and clean out your drains to avoid a buildup of bacteria and, later, mold.

 

Ask a neighbor to check in

If you aren’t going to be home, there is probably no need to keep your air conditioner on full blast. If you address all of the aforementioned items, there will be no reason anything requires the amount of cool you generally expect for yourself. Depending on how long you’ll be away, you may want to ask a kindly neighbor to check in on the house and make sure it isn’t underwater. If you have anyone staying in the house, account for their needs.

 

Be extra careful so you can vacation in peace

When in doubt, proceed with caution. It is better to shut everything off, if you can, and gently open the valve on your return than risk the potential of a catastrophic emergency which is unattended. The location of the main valve can depend on the climate you live in as well as what type of home you have. It is usually either a wheel with spokes you rotate right or a lever you make perpendicular to the pipe it is attached to. If you need instruction, call an expert.

Garbage Disposal Advice

Be careful with your garbage disposal

A garbage disposal is an excellent appliance if you use it properly. If you do not, it can end up becoming useless or a nuisance. Fortunately, it is easy to get the hang of a garbage disposal. What it comes down to is an understanding of what goes in it, what should stay out––and how often. While a garbage disposal is a fairly intuitive mechanism, improper usage will lead to very complicated or else stubborn plumbing difficulties.

Your garbage disposal is not a garbage

The first thing you should keep in mind is that a garbage disposal isn’t a garbage. Instead, a garbage disposal is used for grinding food waste into lesser pieces that will not clog a drain. If you reserve the disposal for small bits of biodegradable food, you’re well on your way to maintaining a healthy garbage disposal. Although clogged pipes and dysfunctional disposals are expensive in repair, the practices for keeping them alive and well are easy.

Is it harmful for a motor or a blade?

When you consider what is going to be put in the disposal, think of whether it will cause problems for either the motor or the blade, which are the most consequential pieces of the design. We could go through every item known to mankind and say whether it is acceptably fed to a disposal or not. Instead, we’ll identify some central irritants as well as practices for making certain your disposal is around for the long haul.

Only insert biodegradable food in your garbage disposal

As mentioned, only biodegradable food is meant to be put into a garbage disposal. If you don’t know whether you are managing biodegradable food, look it up online. Don’t estimate whether something is or isn’t one thing or another; you may have gotten by dropping anything into the disposal, but damage accumulates and it only takes one issue to derail your meal. It is especially problematic if you are hosting a lot of people and won’t get by without the disposal.

Use cold water in a garbage disposal

If you are grinding food waste, only do so with cold water. In fact, always use a generous flow of cold water in order to solidify and break up any grease or oil in the system. Moreover, run the disposal regularly, using dish soap and cold water after cleaning dishes. You may even run it with cold water alone. This regularity will discourage corrosion and rust, while guiding any lingering detritus and solution into the drain and away from the disposal.

What you should not put in a garbage disposal

Stuff you should not put in a garbage disposal:

  • potato or onion skins
  • banana peels
  • big bones
  • fruit pits
  • corn husks
  • artichokes
  • asparagus, celery or other stringy vegetables
  • rice
  • pasta
  • nuts
  • shrimp shells
  • cigarette butts
  • coffee filters
  • plastic
  • metal
  • paper

How to clean a garbage disposal

Never put an unprotected arm in the disposal. You are asking for an immediate voyage to your local hospital and a lengthy stay. There are several ways to clean your garbage disposal, including citrus rinds, ice cubes––or vinegar frozen as such (sharpen blades), and Borax. You can even drop a bit of baking soda in, leaving it for a few hours before letting water in. Avoid chemicals that will dull your blades and irritate the pipes.

How to fix a garbage disposal

In the event you need to retrieve or move something in a disposal, do not––again––use a finger. Instead, bring in a utensil with a bit of reach, such as needle nose pliers or even chopsticks. Before you do anything, turn off the electricity for the disposal. Disconnect it entirely. Be sure that, if your disposal appears broken, it isn’t a matter of resetting. Also, inasmuch as you turn it off, make sure you are getting power when it is meant to be on.

DIY Plumbing Advice

DIY Plumbing Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In an ideal world, no one would face a plumbing disaster alone. At the smallest indication of a problem, you would be in contact with a plumber and an imminent fix. Alternatively, in an ideal scenario, an amateur may rely on a wealth of experience in managing such problems independently. As it happens, many of us are not experts on all facets of a pipe. Moreover, you may find yourself in need of a resolution in an ungodly hour as a plumber is unavailable. Don’t be afraid to ask for DIY plumbing advice or, if not, help.

Be prepared for an issue

It would be nice for us to go through our days certain no plumbing issues will arise unanticipated. Unfortunately, this is often unrealistic. And while you shouldn’t go through your days in a state of constant paranoia, it is prudent for you to be aware of the possibility. The most important element of DIY plumbing is being prepared. Although awareness is essential, it does no good if you don’t act on it. Let’s begin by going through a few ways you can prepare.

Don’t let a problem go unaddressed

The first phase of DIY plumbing advice is anticipation. Bear in mind an otherwise minor incidence of damage can affect your home far more if left untended. Some leaks will get progressively worse if rusting ensues. Regularly monitor pipes under your sink as well as hoses on your washing machine. If you notice a crack, turn off the water flow and go about replacing it. To that end, be familiar with turning off water for any appliance and installation.

Housekeeping advice

Furthermore, make a note of the water main and know how you turn it off. This is an essential backup provision if you are unable to shut down individual components. Walk around your home and observe walls and ceilings so you are sure a leak isn’t accumulating. Elevating valuables––especially non water resistant ones––is a good idea and even more necessary in a basement. If you do undergo a leak, your valuables will be removed from it.

Have a full complement of tools

The other side of knowing everything you should do is having the ability to do it. Consequently, you should keep all the tools you’ll need on hand. A five gallon bucket is good for holding tools or a tool caddy; it also serves as a way of catching liquid under a leak. Have a cup and a forced cup plunger for unclogging toilets and sinks, respectively. A toothbrush will be good for cleaning or removing congestion in a smaller area.

You’ll also need an adjustable/allen/basin/nut driver wrench, a drain snake, a collection of screwdrivers, duct and sealing tape, a hacksaw, paper towels and rags, channel-lock pliers, and protective eyewear. Using your tools and a budding familiarity with their application, address issues as they arise instead of leaving them for later. Whether you are confronted with a clog or a leaking pipe, the purpose of DIY repair is doing your best with what’s available.

Minimize the fallout

Sometimes you will be unable to fix the issue; you should persist in minimizing the fallout. Even if you know you’ll end up calling a plumber, you can save yourself additional expenses by reducing the extent of the ruin. That said, some problems are better left alone for a plumber. If you suspect anything you do will only make it worse, you shouldn’t do anything. In many cases, however, you do have the range for preempting further emergencies.

Ask a friend

For example, a small leak may require a bucket underneath and a bigger one may be best served by shutting off the valve for the damaged pipe. It is your job to facilitate the discerning wherewithal needed to confront such issues head on. If you are in a shared space, you should ask for assistance if you need it. In the event you’re dealing with a sink with a second drain, ask a friend or family member to cover one while you plunge the other in order to build up pressure.

The best DIY plumbing advice is common sense

Finally, use common sense. It’s one thing if your garbage disposal malfunctions, but don’t insert so much so fast you clog it yourself. Know your limitation and seek a professional before eclipsing it. The expense is far greater if you mess up on top of the existing dilemma. Know the limitation of your plumbing. Is it a new or old house? Are the pipes galvanized steel or copper? If a problem arises in one area, like a frozen pipe, assume it is happening elsewhere, too.

 

For advice on finding a great plumber, fixing a toilet clog, finding and fixing a leaky pipe, or preventing and fixing a kitchen sink clog, see the following links:

http://henryplumbingco.com/find-great-plumber/

http://henryplumbingco.com/fix-toilet-clog/

http://henryplumbingco.com/fix-leaky-pipe/

http://henryplumbingco.com/kitchen-sink-clog/

How to Find a Great Plumber

You should probably call a plumber

The only thing worse than a plumbing issue is having no one who can fix it. And the only thing worse than having no one who can fix it is having someone who makes it even worse. When you have an issue, it is usually better to call a plumber than do it yourself. The best situation is when you can call a great plumber. Whether the call ends up in a consultation or a repair depends on the severity of the problem and your ability to handle it yourself. Sometimes you think you are in control of a situation and overestimate your ability or underestimate the damage.

How to begin finding a great plumber

The are two sides to finding a great plumber. The first is identifying one as such. The second is ensuring that your identification is accurate. Start by investigating the candidate’s credentials. Confirm the plumber has a license. The most talented plumber in the universe is a non-starter if unauthorized to exercise that ability. If a plumber isn’t ensured to the point you are protected, damage will be expensive. If it affects you, there’s a chance it affects a neighbor.

Due your due diligence by researching and communicating. Go online and search for testimonials––peruse their social media for an impression of their customer service. Find out when their business started; illegitimate ones usually haven’t been open long or won’t be. Obviously you want a plumber who will fix a problem, but the main incentive in all the research is to allow for an error. In the event of an accident, your position is defensible.

Get a quote before the job

Once you identify a business, get a quote. If you are unfamiliar with plumbing expenses, examine the alternatives. Find a comparable business and ask it for a quote. If one of the options is asking for substantially more money, it may be asking for too much. Be sure to qualify the duration of the job because identical tasks may cost more or less depending on how long it is going to take. Ask the business with the higher quote why it is so expensive.

Once you decide to pursue an option, ask if it offers money back in the event the business is unable to resolve your issue. The cost should be determined by the time the repair begins. Otherwise you are liable to end up with additional expenses in the middle of a job. The unknown is a good reason for a plumber to visit the site before fixing it. If the components are visible, it is easier for a plumber to give an accurate evaluation. A definitive payment is a lot more secure than one that is evolving.

Ask a neighbor about a great plumber

Because your neighbors stand to be affected by a procedure, it is in their interest to give you an honest referral. If you’re having a problem, there’s a chance they’ve had it at one point. If your neighbors don’t have any recommendations or you have no neighbors, consult a company that provided another variety of repair. Even if they can’t fix your plumbing, they might be able to guide you to another business they know.

Don’t be too hasty in finding a great plumber

Finding a great plumber is more involved than merely finding one. Check online and ask for referrals. There are a number of steps in the process, but they are ultimate worth avoiding the hassle of an ineffective repair.  Look for a plumber who will give an exact quote and preferably in person. Even if the issue is urgent, you shouldn’t be inattentive. Instead, be resourceful and patient. Sometimes finding a great plumber entails being great at finding one.

Tankless Water Heater or Tank-based Unit?

The difference between a tankless water heater and a tank-based one

In our article on tank-based water heaters, we mentioned “it is more effective and energy efficient for it to cycle temperatures.” While cycling is more energy efficient than remaining on high, it leaves efficiency to be desired. That is the big difference between a tank-based heater and a tankless water heater. While tank-based heaters always expend energy, a tankless water heater is more frugal. In fact, a tankless water heater doesn’t use energy unless it must.

When does a tankless heater use energy?

What is meant by “unless it must?” It means you only activate a tankless water heater when you need hotter water. In turn, you avoid standby heat loss. This may result in a lower ecological footprint. In fact, the alleged reduction in energy is one of the reasons tankless heaters have grown more favor in the recent era. Because a tankless water heater only delivers for the faucet valves, it is also known as a demand-type or instantaneous heater.

How does a tankless water heater use the energy?

A tankless heater uses a variety of components; it begins with two: a heat exchanger and a flow sensor. The faucet engages the water transmission, which passes into a sensor. When the sensor detects a liquid, an exchanger raises the heat to a desired level. There are two caveats here. First, an electrically-based exchanger needs a flow of electricity all the time. Second, there isn’t any heat until needed, so there can be a delay between the faucet and water.

What to do about a delay of water

One of the aspects of tankless heaters that compensates for a delay in access is the variety of heaters. A tankless water heater is available as a whole-house unit or a POU (point-of-use). Whole-house units are larger than POUs, although they are smaller than tank-based units, which are big as they contain as many as 100 gallons. POUs are ideal for smaller faucets, like a sink, where they reduce lag. Naturally, additional units will be more expensive.

Is a tankless water heater less expensive than a tank-based water heater?

A tankless water heater only uses energy when necessary, which is a measure of savings. If you only have one unit, some water may be wasted once the exchanger is activated. A tankless water heater can be up to four times as expensive as a tank-based one. Therefore, you should figure out how much water you’ll actually need. An increased flow rate can mean a replacement for further piping in order to allow more water.

Which is better for me?

The major difference in those who would benefit from a tankless water heater and those who wouldn’t is lifestyle. The better option depends on how much water you need and how much you are willing to pay. A tankless water heater is more efficient and one may save you 10-20% on a heating bill. They also last almost 10 years longer than tank units. The overhaul of interrelated piping and circuitry may offset energy savings, at least for a while.

The installation of a tankless water heater can range from one to several thousand dollars. According to energy.gov, if your home uses 41 or less gallons of water a day, a tankless heater may be 24-34% more efficient than a tank-based heater. If you use 86 gallons each day, a tankless heater may be up to 14% more efficient. Installing a POU at each outlet may save up to 50% of energy usage, which is on top of a $100 a year reduction for a single unit.

How Does a Tank-Based Water Heater Work?

There are three main kinds of water heater that may appear in a given home: a tank system, a boiler, and an independent heater near the source of the water. The water that goes through your pipes is mostly on the cooler side, which is fine for drinking. Of course, we make more demands on water than being a beverage. Therefore, something has to happen to it between the time that it is in those pipes and the time you use it in a shower or washing dishes.

Parts of a water heater

While tankless water heating systems have gained in popularity, a tank-based heater is still the most popular. This article focuses on the latter. Of the tank-based systems, there are two varieties: electrically powered and fuel-fired. The heater has many components, but the following are the most important parts: a dip tube, a shut-off valve, a heat-out pipe, a thermostat, a heating mechanism, a drain valve, a pressure relief valve, and a sacrificial anode rod.

As expected, the thermostat is responsible for moderating the temperature inside the heater tank. The typical desirable temperature is between 120° and 140° Fahrenheit. Keeping the heater on the lower end can save energy and prevent people from burning themselves. If you do not intend to use hot water for a long period, it makes a lot of sense to lower the temperature.

Water enters the tank through the dip tube and is gradually heated by a heating mechanism. The basic guiding idea of a heater tank is that heat rises. This is why the heat-out pipe is at the top of the heater tank. As the device manages heat, some will be lost over the course of the transference due to entropy.

Effective use of a water heater

Rather than having the heater on high at all times, it is more effective and energy efficient for it to cycle temperatures––even when you are not using hot water. This prevents some heat loss that would occur if the heater remained idle. Another element to keep in mind is that most tank heaters only contain enough water to occupy about 70% of their volumetric capacity. If you know the approximate amount of water you need, it makes go 30% bigger than that number.

Further housekeeping

The heater employs an anode rod to prevent the rest of the tank from corroding. Because corrosion is the rod’s function, you can expect it to do that eventually and do it completely. Therefore, it is important to check on the status of the rod with some regularity (one time a year). If you do that, you may prevent more significant repair and replacement on the rest of the heating unit.

How to Fix a Toilet Clog

Keep a plunger handy

The vast majority of toilet clogs can be fixed with just a plunger. So it kind of goes without saying that you’re going to need a plunger (preferably one with an extension flange on the rubber end).  But even with a plunger, there are better and worse ways to use it to fix a toilet clog.  Here’s what you need to know:

Why is my toilet clogged?

There are several possible reasons for a clog or what appears to be one. The most apparent is when the toilet is entirely obstructed. In this case, stop  flushing or else risk a flood. Sometimes a clog is caused by low water pressure. This might be caused by plumbing system, but it might also be because of a specific malfunction.

Assessing a toilet clog and plunging technique

Check whether enough flush water is getting into the bowl, clog or no. In order to evaluate whether a clog exists, open the tank and lift the flapper valve to let a bit of flush water into the bowl and note whether the water level decreases. Make sure you seal the valve after this test to prevent more water from entering. Once you have determined there is a clog, you could wear a rubber glove and try to dislodge the blockage manually. If rubber gloves and poop are not your style or it didn’t work, it’s time for the plunger.

The right way to use a plunger to fix a toilet clog

When you put the plunger in the bowl, tilt the bell of the plunger up a bit and let all the air out (you should see some bubbles).  Then put the bell over the entire toilet hole and begin pumping. The first few pumps should be slower to allow for the air that is being directed into the toilet. Continue as many times as needed until the water starts to drain. Sometimes the water will drain even though the toilet is still clogged. In that case, push the lever until the water level rises again––be sure to keep the plunger in the bowl, but uncover the toilet hole, or things will still flood.

Toilet clog remover alternative (no plunger)

If the plunger isn’t working, you can just allow some time to pass in order for the matter to break up. Alternatively, you can be proactive by introducing a new substance into the water. This ranges from hot water to an enzyme cleaner.  After you put the hot water or enzyme into the bowl, you will probably have to wait as directed by the instructions on the liquid container. If using hot water, give it several minutes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

In the event none of the above is effective, contact a plumber for a more resourceful look. Otherwise, your toilet should be free and ready to be clogged once again.

How to Find and Fix a Leaky Pipe

Diagnosing a leaky pipe

Every season poses unique challenges for an effective plumbing network. While a number of people associate leaky pipes with cold weather, heat is its own issue. There is little risk of a frozen line, but it is a good idea to check for other impediments. Over the spring and summer, you are more likely to entertain friends and family. This means that your piping is under a lot more stress. It may mean a sprinkler or a hose if not more flushes. A pool is a lot more spacious than a toilet bowl.

As you attempt to diagnose a leaky pipe, it is useful to understand a few things:

  • You don’t need to be an expert to meaningfully curb the damage. Even if you are unable to repair the malfunction, you are still in a position to cut a few of your losses.
  • If you do nothing, you risk compromising other features of the residence, from the structural integrity to more specific elements like outlets and other electrical implements.
  • A leaky pipe can eventually lead to more environmental hazards, including mold. It is important to remain apprised of the possibilities because the most effective deterrent is prevention.

Old buildings and new leaky pipes

If you are aware of living in a home that is more than 50 years old, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for leaks. Puddles and rust are indicators of a degraded infrastructure. Your piping may no longer be under warranty––it’s worth inquiring about it with the manufacturer. 

How to Find a Leaky Pipe

If you are able to recognize a soggy stain on any surface, it may indicate a deterioration. Malformation and discoloration are other expressions of a leak.  In the event you suspect a bigger problem than you see, it is a good idea to call a plumber.

What you can do and what you shouldn’t do with a leaky pipe

In addition to visible and tactile moisture, you may pick up a scent. If it smells of mildew, it is likely mildew. The scent is especially telling if it is a general one and not specific to an area. One way to test leaks is using food coloring. In the case of a toilet, use 10 or so drops in the tank and see whether it shows up in the bowl. If the assessment strains your expertise, leave it for a qualified professional. It is also worth considering how dripping isn’t always a sure sign of a leak, but a pipe that leaks in one area often does the same in others.

How to Fix a Leaky Pipe

Here are few options for how to fix a leaky pipe or at least curb damage until a plumber arrives.  

  • Turn off the water valve of the pipe and empty any faucets that may have residual water.
  • Dry it off using a cloth and apply plumbing epoxy on the crack.
  • Cover the area entirely using a rubber layer and a clamp. After it is entirely covered, allow the layer to set and then apply electrical tape. To ensure this process is a success, flip the valve back on and note whether any more water emerges. As in many areas of life, you can also use duct tape if needed.

A leak can’t always be measured in terms of what you see

Be aware that a pipe can be damaged in a lot of ways. Some times you won’t see until the damage is done; for example, prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in a crack or outright failure. Furthermore, some of the apparent damage isn’t always what it appears to be: a pipe may look like it is leaking even though it is merely sweating through condensation. It is good to be up to date on your pipeline so that when the time comes to fill your pool you don’t already have one in your basement.

Nothing lasts forever and it is especially true of a pipe that has been around the block or is laid there. If you live in an older home, it is a matter of time until a leak is sprung or a less obvious problem emerges. No matter how attentive you are, you will probably need to replace a pipe eventually. When the time comes, we are happy to help. Henry Plumbing 912-352-9827