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

Leaky Faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Fix your faucet now

Among the many items you’ll attend to as you’re preparing your home for the winter, which will arrive in full force––someday––is a faucet. The condition of this is dependent on how you’ve cared for it so far, but if you have any concern for its condition right now, you shouldn’t wait any longer: set about fixing it or call a plumber and leave it for an expert. If you’re in a minor fix, however, and need one––follow along and we’ll indicate a few tips for the time being.

 

What you’ll need

Items you’ll need along the way:

-white vinegar

-plumber’s grease

-a wrench

-various screwdrivers

-a replacement kit or any parts you’re getting rid of

 

Shut off your faucet

First of all, shut off your faucet. Don’t just switch off the lever, but actually prevent water from flowing in. Do this by looking underneath the sink you’re addressing, where you’ll find another lever or handle on one of the pipes. It’s worth mentioning the kind of repair you need will vary depending on whether the leak is occuring in the end of the spout or earlier on. Moreover, there are a few different kinds of single-lever faucets as well as a two-lever version.

 

Identify any water valves

We’ll go through the measures you will need to apply no matter which kind of faucet you’re dealing with. If, in turning off the valve underneath a sink, you find the water is unaffected or else there is no valve in the first place, locate your main water valve. The location of the main water valve will change if you are living in an apartment, a suburban or even a rural location. The valve may be in a basement, near the street, or nowhere altogether.

 

Get rid of excess water pressure

In fact, if you live in an apartment, the valve may be elsewhere entirely. You may need to request a cease of water flow from the handyman or whoever is in charge. Once you’ve prevented the water from flowing, turn on the faucet––not the water––again in order to be sure there’s no more water emerging as well as dispensing of any water pressure. There are many conceivable causes for a leak, including defective sealing, buildup, and corroded or loose parts.

 

Close your drain

The next step, before maintenance, is closing off your drain. Use either a sink plug or a cloth or rag of some nature. This is primary in the interest of avoiding a loose metal piece like a nut, screw, washer, or bolt falling into a drain. This kind of detour will make a lot of extra work and prevent you from getting at the things you really need better. You’ll need a wrench: tape it so you avoid scratching anything. Lay out a surface for placing any removable components.

 

Which faucet are you using?

Figure out which faucet you have. There are four in all, including a compression faucet (two handles), a ball faucet, a cartridge faucet, and a ceramic-disk faucet. Rather than attempting an elaborate description, merely search for each of these online so you can see for yourself which resembles the thing in front of you. Be aware of the order in which you remove anything and even consider recording your progress or any mistakes along the way.

 

Compression faucet

For a compression faucet, remove each of the handles and their decorative caps. Remove the packing nut underneath using your wrench. You will see a valve stem, which you unscrew. If the seat washer is in bad condition, replace it. Remove the O-ring and place a new one as the O-ring is a frequent reason for these issues. Be sure you select the correct size O-ring. If you notice the leak is emanating from the handles, the O-ring may be the origin.

 

Ball faucet

For a ball faucet, you’re going to need a bunch of replacement pieces. Furthermore, the number of pieces will render the identification of the leak a more complicated process. You can buy an entire replacement kit. The kit will make the entire solution easier. Unscrew the handle and move it aside. With a set of pliers, take off the cap and collar. Loosen the faucet cam and take the washer and ball. Take out the inlet seals and springs with your pliers. Remove the O-rings and cover the new ones in plumber’s grease. Reassemble everything else with new pieces out of the kit.

 

Cartridge faucet

For a cartridge faucet, begin by once again removing the decorative cap if you find one. Take off the screw holding in the handle and then take off the handle, too. If you discover a retaining clip, use pliers to get it off. Pull off the cartridge and spout. Go through the same process as before with the O-rings: remove the old ones and, after applying plumber’s grease, affix the new ones. Place all the pieces as they were originally.

 

Ceramic-disk faucet

Finally, for a ceramic-disk faucet, displace the handle so you can get at the escutcheon cap. Take off the escutcheon cap and remove the disk cylinder. Remove the seals and clean off the cylinder. Apply new seals if the old ones are in bad condition. Clean everything. Put everything back together, including any replacement pieces, and gently readminister the water flow. Be sure you’re careful with your water, as a sudden increase in pressure can damage some of the components of your faucet.

Identifying Low Pressure

You can do a little maintenance on your own

Although water pressure, or its absence, may seem like a big deal––and there’s a chance the deficiency is a major issue––there’s no reason you should avoid a few different methods of improving the pressure on your own. There’s also no guarantee the fixes will work, but there’s little to lose unless you already suspect the culprit is a larger and more serious dilemma. If it’s widespread, call an expert and allow them to appraise the circumstance.

 

Identify a bigger issue, if one exists

Before beginning, communicate with a neighbor in order to find out whether others are affected by similar issues. If you’re not alone, you may rest easier; that said, you will also be unable to remedy as much of the situation yourself. Also check any measuring instruments in case the pressure isn’t on as much as you expected. Moreover, make sure neither the main water valve in your home or the one for your street is off.

 

Remove sediment and replace defective piping

One of the common causes of lower water pressure is clogged or clogging pipes. Over time, plumbing can accumulate sediment and, as there is less and less space for water to flow, the pressure can reduce dramatically. On occasion, you may be forced to replace some of the pipe itself. Whatever ends up in the middle of the pipe, however, you can at least clean the end by soaking it in white vinegar.

 

Pipes don’t last forever

If you unscrew the aerator, you can give the end of a faucet even more exposure. On the other hand, if opening up the end of the faucet doesn’t increase water pressure, you may need to deconstruct it even further. The fact is, all pipes eventually decompose or corrode and you will need to replace them if they’re old enough and in bad enough condition. Refer to our previous article on leaky faucets for information on how to take one apart and put it back together.

 

Replace the anode of your water heater

In the event you are only having an issue with hot water pressure, check your water heater. You may need to increase the size of the pipes that are carrying the hot water. Cycle water through your water heater and make sure you replace the anode rod of the water heater regularly. If not, your water will become acidic. Adding a water softener into the mix may make things easier on the overall plumbing system.

 

Wet piping and deposit accumulation

Make sure both the inside and outside of the pipes are intact, which means cleaning out any deposit and looking for weak areas. If you find any leaks along the way while tracing the path of the pipes, place a cloth underneath. If you return to the pipe later and the cloth is wet, you should call for assistance. You can check whether your toilet is having a pressure issue by dripping food coloring in the tank and seeing whether it shows up later in the bowl.

 

Check any valves

If your home is at a low altitude, check whether your pressure reducing valve is working effectively. The pressure reducing valve is meant to filter water pressure to an appropriate level for a given geography, but it can malfunction and reduce the water pressure to an undesirable level. Depending on how it looks, you may need to wash or replace the pressure reducing valve. That said, some homes do not have a pressure reducing valve.

 

Changing material

As an aside, if you use any water softener, make sure it’s being implemented consistently. If your pipes are made of galvanized steel, they are more likely to be clogged or corroded. Switching them out for either copper or plastic pipes may improve your water flow and quality, as they’re less susceptible to some of these issues. Regardless of the kind, make sure your pipes are big enough for the amount of water you need.

 

Adequate psi

If this is an issue you’ve experienced as long as you’ve used the pipes, call your water supplier and inquire about the pressure of water in your neighborhood. If it’s under 30 psi, there’s an external issue; however, if it’s under 40, you’ll still be underwhelmed by the amount at your disposal. Anything over 60 psi is probably all right for a normal home, although anything over 80 psi may cause damage to your plumbing.

 

Water pressure best practices

Modulate your water pressure regulator when you need to and apply a water pressure gauge to an outside water source for the cleanest reading. Sometimes a dip in pressure is to be expected in the event of repair on a water line or a major building project in the area near you. Be aware of plumbing best practices, including running water-intensive resources, like your shower and a sprinkler system (or even a toilet), independently.

Thanksgiving plumbing

Avoid a Plumbing Issue on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a plumbing nightmare

Many of us think of the winter and a white sheet of ice on the ground, but one of the bigger issues arises before the winter reaches this more idealized expression. When you are hosting a bunch of guests for Thanksgiving, your plumbing may be overwhelmed by all of the extra attention in combination with mechanical inattention. This also applies to Christmas, where you are eating a lot more of the food liable to be caught in a draining system.

 

Assume the disposal is breaking

Regular meal preparation or cleaning will fill your plumbing with grease and ‘leftovers,’ so to speak. And while your sink may be able to handle a buildup for a while, it’ll eventually catch up with you, making for an inconvenient roadblock to celebrating. In order to avoid this kind of blockage, expect the disposal to eventually be overwhelmed. The more you respect its limitation, the easier you’ll be able to continue using it.

 

Not everything goes in a disposal

One of the better means of keeping your disposal in effective working order is ensuring you only give it food the device can handle. Never feed your disposal egg shells, bones, rice, coffee, celery, lettuce, onion peels, corn husks, or pasta––any fibrous, stringy content may encircle the blade and cause a mess. In any event, regardless of the things you do insert, proceed in moderation: never force everything inside in one go.

 

Use running water in conjunction with your disposal

Also avoid grease downpour––a little may seem benign, yet the amount adds up where, more importantly, any grease solidifies in the bottom overnight. Running water will not get rid of the grease backup. Nevertheless, if you limit yourself to only the necessary amount of grease, rinsing the disposal for a minute will flush a reasonable amount. Facilitate the disposal by ensuring your water is running whenever the disposal is.

 

Ice cube or lemon peel for maintenance

As a preventative measure, dumping a few ice cubes in will aid in keeping your disposal blade sharp, which can alleviate a number of other blockages. From a sensory perspective, infusing your disposal with a citrus item, like a lemon peel, will enhance an otherwise dreadful odor. Returning to grease, the same concept applies to oil and fat––rather than tilting the cooking pan in the drain, wipe the surface with a cloth or paper towel, then dispose accordingly.

 

Think ahead

It’s easier to place everything in your disposal in the heat of entertaining a number of guests, but you’ll damage your sink and leave yourself a far higher amount of effort in the future. If you’re dealing with an unprecedented amount of one of the substances, leave it in bowl on a foil surface and, once the stuff is hardened, throw everything in a garbage can. You are your only line of defense against using your kitchen improperly.

 

Leave a note on toilet usage

The other likely culprit for plumbing complication amidst an increased number of houseguests is an accessible toilet. Again, the sensible usage of a toilet is up to the behavior of anyone using it. Nevertheless, you might consider leaving a note nearby in order to remind anyone under the influence they can’t flush anything they otherwise wouldn’t. If a guest confuses a napkin with a roll of toilet paper, you shouldn’t blame yourself; maybe cut off the eggnog.

Winter Plumbing

How to Prevent Common Plumbing Issues Ahead of the Winter

Take care of overdue plumbing issues

As we lean into the winter, you should resolve any plumbing issues you’ve noticed as well as investigate the ones you may have overlooked. Almost all of the usual difficulties are magnified as the year is colder, while the chill gives rise to further hassles you may nevertheless anticipate with experience or adequate research. In this article, we’ll identify ways to avoid major fiascos by being ahead of the new season.

 

Call for help if you’re uncertain

There are many reasons winter is a challenge for a plumbing system. Among those reasons are the obvious: very cold weather, winds, and ice itself. The maintenance may be tedious, but it’s a lot easier than the tedium of repairing a pipe in the middle of the winter. Bear in mind that while you can attend to some issues on your own, you shouldn’t hesitate in contacting a professional if you feel you’re in over your head or are extra cautious.

 

Various plumbing issues

Among the many problems initiated by cold weather are freezing shower water, leaking or icy pipes, or flooding––the latter of which is often a byproduct of a pipe bursting. Even in a mild Savannah winter, these difficulties are no joke: they’ll put your entire home out of commission. Fortunately, you may take measures for prevention after which you’ll stand a considerably better chance of avoiding all of the above. Let’s get into a variety of solutions.

 

Remove water from outdoor plumbing

As mentioned, most of the resolving you do on the way into winter involves taking action in advance. While everything is warm––or, if not, the warmer the better––turn off all the water originally directed to any outer supply. Generally, you’ll find the valves you need in the basement or beneath a sink near an outer wall. If you remove all the water from otherwise outdoor plumbing, there will be no water for freezing.

 

Make sure indoor plumbing is warm

There is a similar principle for indoor piping. While indoor plumbing is generally less at risk for being frozen, freezing is, nevertheless, possible. As such, maintain an indoor temperature of 55º Fahrenheit or more, especially if you are going on a vacation on which you’ll be unavailable for monitoring. If any of the piping is nearer to an outer wall, expose it by opening any drawer or door otherwise covering it. This will enable any warm air to circulate.

 

Close any openings around a water heater

An alternative for heating indoor piping is insulation, which involves placing a foam wrapping over each one. While insulation may be effective, you shouldn’t roll the dice by leaving the heat off, no matter the effectiveness of your insulation. A water heater is also susceptible to the influence of a freeze. Ensure the area around every water heater is guarded from any openings in windows or other like spaces. Reinforce the insulating if need be.

 

Preventing a flood/In the event of a burst pipe

Finally, with respect to a flood, look into all of your draining in order to identify any blockages. This also goes for ice once you’ve begun getting a good deal of snowfall. If you end up dealing with a burst pipe, immediately shut off the main valve and water supply. The main valve is either underneath your kitchen sink or else outside. Flush every toilet and turn on your cold water taps to rid your plumbing system of excess fluid.

 

Flooded Home

How to Diagnose and Repair a Flooded Home

Flood is a widespread issue

As hurricanes decimate houses and leave thousands without theirs, it’s clear not everything is fixable. Indeed, of the 100,000 homes in Houston affected by Harvey, a large number will need rebuilding. Around 30 to 40,000 are destroyed. That leaves 60 to 70 thousand, of which many may be salvaged. Of course, flooding is a feature of home ownership all over and is usually nowhere near as serious as it is in Houston.

Not every flood is Biblical

If you are lucky enough to live further inland or living in another part of the country, you can still benefit from knowing when a flood is manageable and whether you can do anything about it. Flooding isn’t always the end of a housing unit. Housing can suffer a large amount of damage yet nevertheless serve as a functional residence again. Alternatively, you may identify a home as a reclamation project, yet seek assistance outright.

Be aware of water damage

In order to determine whether you are in one category or another, you must understand what water damage actually does to a house. If you arrive at your house and everything is underwater, your home isn’t necessarily gone for good. In fact, effective practices before and after flooding may spare a home in the long run. If your house is already in bad shape, it stands a worse chance of making it out all right.

Build on a solid foundation

If you are in the process of building a home, you are wise to consider the surface of your foundation. If the substance of the ground is subject to alteration in the course of various weather conditions, your home is probably more susceptible to issues with plumbing and beyond. It’s especially problematic if the area around your foundation expands or shrinks, as the house may move and the piping may be forced awry.

Check for structural damage

One way to identify structural damage is by attempting to open or close a given window or door. If your home suffered considerable upheaval, you may be unable to do so properly. In lesser cases, however, you may only need to discard a few pieces of furniture and a carpet or two. That said, replacing your furnishing may run you a few thousand dollars. If you suspect your drywall is in contact with enough of the water, the paper may get moldy and need replacing.

Two kinds of flood

We are, of course, dealing with more than one kind of water damage. On the one hand, flooding may issue from torrential downpour as in a hurricane. On the other hand, the water may arise from a leak in your plumbing. Be sure to shut down all electrical outlets and outstanding appliances. Electricity is far more dangerous to your immediate well-being than an imminent case of mold. Once the electricity is off, be sure to shut off any remaining water.

Elevate your damp furniture

If you are indeed managing a bunch of wet furniture, move it upstairs if you have a second level. If you have no space, contact a storage company for removal. If the water damage is severe, you won’t be able to store it because it will be a source of mildew or mold. Ultimately, virtually all the measures you are able to take yourself will almost certainly only serve as a stopgap until you acquire professional assistance.

Seek a consultation

Even if you’re not certain of the extent of the damage, go about seeking a consultation for a better idea of what you’re up against. In the event you’re containing a leak, you are much better off knowing it is resolved for good––until the next one––than if you rely on a makeshift resolution. A professional consultation will also inform you as to which of your furniture and other items are safe and which have to be disposed of.

Document any changes

While you are moving everything around, make a note of the changes. Documenting all of your belongings will give your flood professional a better idea of where everything is supposed to be, as well as provide clarity if you intend on sending a claim to an insurance company. If the damage is serious enough, you shouldn’t spend further time in your home than you have to. Illness may arise from the combination of water and exposure.

Don’t rush

If the water is minimal, you may not need to seek any assistance. An effective dehumidifier will be an enormous aid in evaporation. They are particularly effective in a space with little or no airflow. However much time the flood took, cleaning it up will inevitably be a much longer process. Be thorough and refrain from using electronic appliances until you’re absolutely sure it is okay to do so. If you rush, you may sacrifice well-being down the line.

Roof Leaks

How to Identify and Reduce a Roof Leak

Prevention is ideal

In our most recent post, we discussed the method of diagnosing and repairing a flood in your home. Chances are, if you are suffering a major rainstorm, your roof is taking a beating. A common side effect of nonstop rain is a little permeability and seepage in the exposed areas of a house. This is especially true of a residence without effective upkeep. If you find out about a leak in the midst of a violent shower, you’re probably too late for an intervention. Time for a repair.

 

Walls and ceiling

In the event of a leaky roof, you should call a roofer or consult a plumber. In the space between a leak and repairing it, however, you can slow things down. One thing you may notice is a stain on the ceiling. A lot of the time, a leak will amass on a ceiling or inside a wall before accessing an opening or a weakness. The collection of moisture will often generate more than one leak at a time. If you are aware of one, be vigilant for even more.

 

Inside or outside?

Nevertheless, bear in mind an inside leak is different from an outside one. In the aforementioned circumstance, a single outer leak will give rise to the appearance of several indoors, thereby seeming far worse than it actually is. First, lower a bucket underneath any visible collecting moisture bulges and make a hole in them. Any subsequent flow will be concentrated in a lesser number of areas and be more manageable in turn.

 

Making a funnel

One alternative to collecting all of the water in a few buckets is making a funnel using a hose. If you connect a hose with with a wide container, you may be able to channel a fair amount of liquid outside. This might make it easier to manage and clean all the remaining water from a leak. Obviously, your efforts will be far less useful if the rain is coming down, but even a little relief can make a big difference.

 

Shingles

In a number of cases, water damage is a result of something fairly benign––like a broken shingle. Even one worn-out shingle leaves room for enough liquid to permeate your home and the hole will only expand over time. Therefore, you should pay attention to your ceiling with a measure of regularity. In the event a leak is in an initial stage, you may be able to identify it and get help in time to prevent any or any more major damage.

 

Be overcautious

If you aren’t certain of which shingles are defective, you are better served removing any of the ones surrounding those you know are broken. If water made its way beneath, there’s a good chance you’ll find wet or even rotten wood under the roof. The exercise of evaluating a roof should be, at a minimum, a biannual event. If you aren’t experiencing any rain and are uncertain of the extent of the penetration, pour water on the area of the roof and follow it.

 

Temporary fix

If you are experienced and the circumstance is dire, you might consider putting a metal sheet over a relatively small opening on a roof. Any conceivably harmful activity should be avoided in favor of a professional––if for no other reason than acquiring an informed consultation. Another possibility is your roofing is installed with incorrect material, which renders the entire surface of your home vulnerable as well as in need of an overhaul.

 

Other causes

Another possibility is your shingles are fine as your roof was installed correctly. In especially bad weather, a shingle may fly off your roof and leave a space for a leak. If the weather is very cold, an ice barrier may form, preventing water from leaving off the side of the roof. If you see water marks, discoloration, darkening or peeling of any paint, mold, degenerative drywall, or water itself, you should have a fair amount of confidence in a leak. Check your attic.

 

Check regularly

Most of the time, a roof is constructed with the approximate climate in mind. Yet every once in awhile, a really bad system comes along and exposes infirmity unaccounted for by abiding the mean. Maybe weather isn’t entirely responsible. It could be an animal tore away a shingle and only now, weeks or even months later, is the damage immediately apparent. This is why you need to stay on top of your roof, both literally and figuratively.

 

Go for accuracy

When you communicate with a roofer or a plumber, be sure to give an accurate representation of your experience. Even though a leak may be very annoying, it is probably not a cataclysmic disaster. If it is, be sure to communicate its severity. And even though a roof leak may not be an enormous issue, one may lead to more serious damage later on. In other words, don’t exaggerate it, but don’t put it off, either.

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.