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

toilet

Toilet Tips of 2015!

Removing rust stains

If your water system contains a good amount of Iron (which is pretty common, and generally nothing to be concerned about), the bowl of your toilet may develop rust along its inside. While this may not be any great detriment to your toilet systems functionality, it’s far from aesthetically pleasing.

Common household items such as baking soda and cleaning vinegar or products like Acid Magic can be used to quickly address this issue. When mixed with water, and applied to the ceramic toilet bowl, all you have to do is gently scrub it with a foam brush, and the rust stains will wash away as if it were never there!

Install an easily removable toilet seat

It feels nearly impossible to get the hinges of a toilet seat perfectly clean. Residue hides in difficult to reach places and cleaners often get get trapped underneath the entire toilet.  Savannah humidity can make this even worse.

Installing an easily removable toilet seat improves your ability to clean the hinge area and all sides of the seat and toilet.

Bring in the rubber rings!

For decades it has been common practice to use wax rings to secure toilets to the floor. While effective, these rings can be a messy pain to install and you only get one shot to do it right. If you find yourself pulling the toilet for any reason, you’ll need another ring. Thankfully there is now a better way – rubber toilet rings. Sani Seal and other companies manufacture these smarter alternatives which are easier to install. Rubber toilet rings are clean, reusable, and stable, utilizing the laws of physics with a vacuum instead of just a sticky texture to keep the toilet in place.

Keep an eye on the vent pipe

If new or recently installed toilets seem to be having trouble performing well, the issue may not be with the toilet or even in the bathroom at all. It’s often worth a trip to the roof to see if there is anything clogging the vent pipe as toilets and other plumbing elements need airflow in order to function properly.

As always, know when you’re in over your head

Though they help us with one of our most basic needs, toilets can be difficult to work with. Even skilled do-it-yourselfers can get tripped up with plumbing issues as properly diagnosing the cause of issues is crucial to properly alleviating it. The last thing you want is to inadvertently create water damage issues or worse (sewage leaks can quickly become very serious and expensive issues and they also seem to take place at the most inopportune times).

When an issue has escalated beyond your comfort zone or you just don’t want to hassle with a dirty job, call in the pros.

Feel free to call us or send an email to get a second opinion on whatever plumbing issues you’re dealing with! We are your plumbers Savannah!

Tricks for The Plumbing Handyman

Everyone likes feeling capable around the house. Most minor plumbing repairs are fortunately quick and easy so long as everything goes to plan.

When it comes to working on faucets however, things can sometimes get tricky. When those repairs go badly, it can quickly escalate to a handyman’s nightmare; an issue beyond your control.

It’s important to do things correctly, follow these techniques closely when stuck in a faucet jam.

  1. Removing a stuck cap
    Caps can be a royal pain when they get stuck. The main attribute to identify is what material the cap is made of. Is the cap metal, or plastic?
    If metal, the best practice in removing it is; heat the cap with a heat gun and then grip/remove it with slip-joint pliers.
    If plastic, the best practice in removing it is by using a rotary tool and cutting wheel, cut into the cap, and then wedging a screwdriver in to widen the cut until the cap unscrews. When cutting, don’t worry about damaging the plastic, but be careful not to avoid cutting into any brass or metal threads underneath.
  2. Removing a setscrew
    Setscrews can get stuck in place on a faucet, and trying to force them out with a hex tool can tear up the head. Instead, using a hex socket kit with a ⅜ inch bit, with some valve grinding compound on the tip should make breaking the screw free relatively easy.
    If for some reason, the setscrew is still too stuck, try using the heat gun on it, and repeating the use of the hex tool.
    If it STILL won’t come loose, as a last resort, you can drill out the center of the setscrew and get it out using a screw extractor.When you replace the setscrew, be sure to use an anti-seize compound on it beforehand.
  3. Cartridge pullers
    While replacement cartridges will often come with a loosening tool, it can prove ineffective as it damages the cartridge ears and turn the task into a whole ordeal. To avoid this and assure that pulling the cartridge out once loosened will be relatively easy, it’s best to buy a cartridge puller from amazon or your local home improvement store.
  4. O-Rings
    O-rings are the crux of the project when it comes to the faucet. It’s imperative that the O-rings aren’t at any point mated to the spout. If they are, it’s almost pointless to try and repair them, you’ll have to replace the faucet. Additionally if you have already replaced the worn O-rings, check up once in a while for a recurring leak.
  5. Who ya gonna call?
    As with any fix-it project, it’s hard to throw in the towel and call a professional, but sometimes it has to be done. Especially when safety is in question, it’s very important to know when to admit this project has gotten too high maintenance for your skillset.

Faucets can seem like big pains for little gain, but as long as you’re patient and smart about the fixing process, everything should work out well! Happy fixing!

 

faucet

Tools and Tips: Best practices for handymen

Here are a few tools that end up extremely useful to any plumbing handyman:

Sani Seal Toilet Ring

For a long time, plumbers have exclusively used beeswax toilet rings to create a sturdy seal between the toilet and bathroom floor. If the ring or toilet ever needed replacing, there would be a mess of wax residue that would need to be cleaned off (which can prove to be quite a hassle).
Thanks to smart engineering, Sani Seal has recently become more popular amongst plumbers for their soft plastic toilet ring, which utilizes surface tension, squishing to create an airtight seal. With a low cost and easy replaceability, Sani Seal is a great product. These usually run around $10 at your local hardware store.

Silicone tape

A must-have for your handyman toolkit is silicone tape. This specific type of tape is particularly useful for its self-fusing purpose. It sticks to itself, not the surface it’s applied to. Therefore, if you’re fixing a leaky pipe that’s wet, you’ll still be able to easily make a seal. A twelve foot roll of silicon tape usually runs around $6 at your local hardware store

Quarter turn shutoff valve

Unlike others, quarter turn valves have a ball mechanism that will last almost forever. These are highly preferable to standard stop-type use rubber washers that eventually harden and crack. While Quarter turn’s cost almost twice what regulars do, they last three times longer. These cost around $8 at Home Depot.

Faucet and sink installer

The rigid faucet and sink installer is an extremely useful and intuitive tool to use which also is sturdy enough to last years. These cost around $20 at Home Depot.

AutoCut pipe cutter

This pipe cutter is incredibly quicker than a c-clamp style cutter. It simply snaps on the pipe and swivels to cut. These usually cost around $18 at your local hardware store.

These tools are all useful and potentially money/time saving to every new and experienced handyman alike.

 

Understanding Your Septic System

When living in the city, most people are fortunate enough to have a sewer system built underneath them, working automatically as a way of collecting water and treating it to be safe for redistribution into the environment.

For those who live further away from urban areas, and don’t have access to a communal sewage system, many will opt for the septic system; effectively a personal sewage system.

But how does this work? Is it safe? Finally, how expensive is a septic system?

Well first thing’s first.

How does it work?

A septic system is primarily made of two components:

  • A large steel or concrete tank which holds around 1,000 gallons of water. This collects dirty water and waste from all of your drains (bathtub, sink, toilet).
    Once filled, the tank separates the fluid into three layers;
    – solids settle at the bottom, oil and scum at the top, and clear water in the center.
    – The water in the center is rich with bacteria useful for fertilizing soil, and slowly breaking down the solid layer of waste.
  • A series of three to four drain pipes called a ‘drain field’ or ‘leach field’ which is built into trenches under gravel.These pipes are perforated all over, and allow a moderated drainage into the ground around it, safely and consistently fertilizing the growth of grass and plants.

Is It Safe?

a common septic system horror story is the concept of the drain pipe getting blocked, forcing waste and smelly gases to back up through sinks and toilets. This is much less common than the story suggests it may be, and is completely avoidable with simple maintenance of a septic system.

What about the smelly gases?

The waste in septic systems are constantly breaking down, which naturally creates smelly gases. Septic system owners combat this in two ways;

  • Venting. There is always a vent pipe for houses which have a septic system, to allow for the safe dispersal of gases
  • “P-traps”. These oddly shaped pipes dip to prevent rising gas from being able to get through. It’s very uncommon to not have P-traps installed in your house.

Who’s to say it won’t back-up?

With a simple septic system treatment you can pour down your pipes once a month, and the occasional check-up/flush from your local savannah plumber, septic systems can be fairly predictable.

How much will installation cost?

According to Homeadvisor.com, the average homeowner claims to pay somewhere between 2 to 2.5 thousand dollars for a septic system installation. It may seem like a steep cost now, but in the long run is much better than living without adequate plumbing!

When considering a septic system for your home, it’s best to get a professional’s opinion before making the decision. When looking for a Savannah plumber, shop around for several different quotes, and find which is the right fit for your goals and wallet!

 

frozen pipes

Let’s Kick Some Ice! Avoid Freezing Issues.

 

Henry Plumbing was proud to have been interviewed by WTOC during the cold snap in early January.  Here is a link to the video about how to protect your pipes from freezing.

Every year when the cold season starts rolling around, most homeowners are pretty used to leaving their faucets dripping to protect their pipes from freezing. But that still leaves the rest of your water sources to fend off the harsh weather on their own!

Here are some more tips to help protect the rest of your home from old man Winter.

  1. Covering Your Outdoor Spigots
    During cold weather it’s important to disconnect your hose from your outdoor spigots, and insulate them from the surrounding temperature with a hose bib (bought at your local hardware store) or by simply covering it with a towel and duct tape. This can be extremely effective at protecting your outdoor connecting pipes when done right.
  2. Protecting Your Irrigation Systems
    If you have an irrigation system with an outdoor storage tank, it’s incredibly useful to cover/wrap the connecting pipes or drain system with similar insulating materials.
  3. Saving Wells or Outdoor Wet Bars
    In order to keep wells or pipes for a wet bar safe, you can cover them with a blanket or put a heating lamp beside them. This is extremely important if you don’t want to turn your water off.
  4. Keeping Your Outdoor Water Heater Running Smoothly
    If you have an outdoor water heater, you’re usually pretty safe when it comes to cold temperatures for the heater itself, but the pipes connecting it to your house may not be.
  5. Ensure Your Crawl Space is Protected
    Insulating and protecting your crawl space from heat can help your home combat low temperatures. If you can’t get into your crawl space, contact a professional.

Keep these tips and mind, and always remember to keep safety as a number one priority. If you for any reason don’t feel confidant in insulating your pipes for winter, or feel like your homemade solutions are unsafe, don’t hesitate to call a professional!

 

4 Plumbing Tips You Didn’t Know

4 Plumbing Tips You Didn’t Know

And how to use them to save hundreds each year!

Water is a resource that we can’t live without, and one that will take your lunch money faster than your 4th grade bully. With heaping bills and repairs, those two showers a day can feel like they cost you an arm and a leg.

So how do we cut these costs down? Follow these 4 tips and start saving a few extra hundred in your pocket.

  1. Wash clothes in Cold water
    90% of the energy used in washing clothes comes from heating the water up! Washing your clothes on cold will usually only cost around 3 cents per load!To see estimates on how much different temperature loads cost, check this site out!
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/washing-machine-energy-use-zmaz92zshe.aspx#axzz34Kxt60vU 
  2. Shut off the water/water heater for your road trip!
    Are you leaving the house for a week long trip? Going to see family? Or just taking a trip to get away for a while? A good tip to save money (and stay safe from an unattended leak, should one arise), is to turn off the water heater and main supply before you leave.Always remember to turn the water heater off before the main valve, and don’t keep the main supply off more than a few weeks! For more info check this pdf out!
    http://www.epud.org/Files/VacationTips.pdf 
  3. Deal with hard water option 1: flushing the water heater
    Hard water is the build-up of sediment in your water heater and pipes. Don’t worry, it’s NOT hazardous to your health, but It IS to your wallet.Hard water makes it more difficult for your appliances to perform and can be an expensive issue requiring repairs and maintenance.There are two options to deal with hard water. The first is Flushing your water heater. This is free and for the intermediate level handy man. For instructions on how to do this, check out this link!
    http://www.wikihow.com/Flush-a-Water-Heater

     

  4. Deal with hard water option 2: EasyWater system
    EasyWater is a cost efficient kinetic energy system that quickly eliminates sediment build-up, and prevents it in the future!It has a one time cost, and one time installation, and will not only clean your water heater, but the pipes throughout your home. For more info, check out this link!
    http://www.easywater.com/ 

With these Tips in mind and in use, you’ll see significant changes in your water bill, and thickness of your wallet! Have a tip to add, or success story to share? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

 

-Extra Thrifty Link-

If you are really dedicated to saving, check out this Do-It-Yourself hack to use the clean water in your toilet before it’s flushed, to save extra money!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Hack-a-Toilet-for-free-water./

 

-Trusted Plumber Link-

If there’s a repair or service you don’t think you can do on your own, don’t hesitate to contact a professional:

http://henryplumbingco.com/

Henry Plumbing is a family owned business in Greater Savannah Georgia, trusted for over 40 years to bring quality service at extremely competitive rates!

 

Additional Resources:

What is a Plumbing Emergency?

At Henry Plumbing we take all of your plumbing needs very seriously and want to make sure that all of your problems are addressed as quickly as possible.  This guide is a way to help have a better understanding of what is a plumbing emergency and what problems might be able to wait for normal business hours.

We are always here to help, and want to make sure you have the greatest possible peace of mind even when something has gone wrong with your plumbing.  If you are unsure if your plumbing situation is an emergency or not, the tips below may help you decide.

What plumbing emergency requires a 24-hour plumbing service immediately?

  • Frozen pipes that could potentially burst and cause other issues in the home such as drywall damage
  • No running water due to water well issues or underground pipe line damage
  • No hot water flowing into the house in the wintertime
  • Sewage backing up into the house through drainage systems
  • Overflowing toilets that do not stop even after you shut of the water source
  • A construction worker accidentally nails through piping causing leaks
  • Complete water system failure
  • Contaminated water flowing into the house
  • Water coming through the ceilings or drywalls

What plumbing problems can wait for a local plumbing service?

  • Broken toilet handle
  • Slightly leaky toilet or pipe line
  • Dripping faucet
  • Broken faucet handle
  • Clogged toilets and sink drains
  • High water usage problems
  • Low water pressure

 

Tankless Water Heater

How to Choose a New Water Heater

There’s a lot to think about when you are choosing a new water heater for your home.  Here are four major factors to consider:

Fuel type

Based on the availability and cost, you should consider what fuel type will work best for your needs. Natural gas and electricity are two of the most common fuel types, but water heaters can also run on oil, geothermal energy, propane and solar power.

Capacity

Ask your plumber to help you determine how much hot water you will need for your family.  A water heater that is too small might mean that someone is stuck taking cold showers.   A water heater that is too big could leave you spending money heating water that you don’t need.

When choosing a storage water heater, the goal is to match your home’s peak hot water demand to the “first hour rating” listed on the new equipment’s Energy Guide label. Different sizing techniques are required if you choose a solar or tankless water heater.

Energy Efficiency

When choosing a water heater you want to think about both the initial cost of a water heater and the long term operating costs.  Lower operational costs over a lifetime can make a larger upfront investment worthwhile. Compare the energy factor (EF) of different water heaters to help you make the best choice, or ask your plumber for help.

Many people are switching to tankless water heaters instead of immediately deciding on a storage water heater. They can be more energy efficient and may be just what you’re looking for.

Total Cost of Ownership

To make your selection easier, calculate the annual operating cost of various water heaters to find out which model will save you the most money in the long run. Remember, more energy efficient models usually have higher initial price tags, but significant savings every month can help the unit pay for itself in time. Plus, units that have a longer projected lifespan save you money by delaying future replacements.

For more information about tankless and conventional water heaters, make sure to check out our Water Heaters Page.

 

How do I get rid of mold around toilet?

Bathrooms provide a damp, dark and isolated environment that mold thrives in. So what causes mold in the bathroom? The lack of ventilation in a bathroom causes moisture to linger and this encourages the growth of mold. Damp cellulose material like rugs and paper products also provide a great atmosphere. How do you get rid of mold? You first have to find all of it to make sure that no traces are left behind after removal. Finding mold is not always easy because some may be hidden. Check for it under the sink, in crawl spaces and between the bathroom tiles.

Getting rid of mold is difficult especially if the infestation is large. Use hot water mixed with soap and baking soda to remove mold. Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent and it usually removes most of the mold. Mix a teaspoon of liquid soap with a cup of baking soda. Pour in enough hot water to end up with a paste. For a fresh smelling mixture, you can add a few drops of citrus or lavender. Use this paste to clean the mold around your toilet and use a brush to scrub it off.

baking soda plumbing mold cleaner  Liquid soap mold cleaner  hot water plumbing mold remover

                  1 Cup (8oz)                            1 Tsp                                          1 Splash

White vinegar can also be used for removing mold. Put some undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it onto all moldy surfaces. After one hour, clean the area using hot water and dry it to prevent reappearance of mold. White vinegar can also be used to keep mold at bay. It is exceptionally effective in preventing its growth. Since vinegar is a natural substance, it is highly recommended for mold removal and prevention.

white vinegar mold removal  spray bottle

 

You can also try a mixture of borax and water. Most people prefer to use borax since it is cheap and easily available. To create an effective cleaning agent, mix one gallon of water with a cup of borax. Scrub the mold around your toilet with a brush and use the borax solution sparingly. When cleaning, you should be careful to prevent spreading the spores to un-infested areas. After you are done removing the mold, wipe the area to keep it dry and spray it with vinegar to avoid another outbreak. Before cleaning any moldy surface, you should use a HEPA filtered vacuum to remove the spores. This prevents the spreading of mold to other areas of the bathroom.

3953947087_e771d102b1 bottles-60479_640

1 cup                                  1 gallon

discolored water tub

Do I need a plumber if discolored water comes out of my pipes?

Do I need a plumber if discolored water comes out of my pipes?

Whether you live in a new or old house or apartment sometimes there is something other than clear water coming out of your faucet. If you have discolored water coming from your pipes there are many different possible reasons. Do you need a plumber, or is it a quick fix? There are a few clues to help you to narrow down the problem and determine if you should call in extra help.

 

Is it hot or cold discolored water?

Turn you tap on high first on hot then on cold independently.

If just the discolored water is hot water that will lead to the source being the hot water heater.

If discolored hot and cold water, then the intake pipe or house pipes are the source.

 

Options when discolored water is coming from your pipes.

Many areas have an extension office to bring a water sample and have it tested.

If you have a private well call a plumber or well service to come and chlorinate your well.

Public water handled through a public municipality, contacted them to check to improve the water quality, if possible.

 

When you need to call a plumber?

When you have old pipes made of galvanized or iron pipes call a professional plumber to check the pipes for rust, leaks and efficiency.

When your hot water is the culprit of foul smelling or discolored water, call a plumber to replace the hot water heater.

Any discoloration of your water coming from your pipes that you have been unable to repair you should consult with a plumber to locate the source of the problem.

Sometimes there is an easy fix to clear the discolored water coming from your pipes. Other times a consultation or checkup of your plumbing system, hot water heater and well (if there is one). When in doubt a call to your plumber does not hurt. It is always better safe than sorry. Your plumber may be able to offer a simple and inexpensive remedy for discolored water. Remember discolored water is a symptom and a plumber is the professional to lead you in the right direction.