Love Where You Live

For 24 Hour Emergency Service / 7 Days a Week

Blog
The Danger of Dumping Grease Down the Sink

The Danger of Dumping Grease Down the Sink

You’ve probably heard the old bit of advice to never pour bacon grease down the drain (if you haven’t, now is the time). This isn’t just about saving bacon fat for later use, but it’s about protecting your drains. And while bacon grease is one of the worst offenders, you should never put any fat or grease down your drains at all, at any time, no matter how convenient it is. Here’s why it’s important always to pour or wipe grease straight into the trash. Grease Doesn’t Dissolve We know it looks like grease dissolves. Grease is naturally very reactive to heat, and when heated up it starts to resemble a liquid. It can become very tempting just to pour that liquid down the drain, or heat up your faucet water so that it brushes extra grease away in seconds. But you aren’t changing the nature of the grease! As it cools down in your pipes, it will congeal back into a thick mass and linger there. Water will wash some of it away, but grease is excellent at clinging to pipes and sticking around. Grease Mixes Easily with Other Debris It’s bad enough that grease sticks in your pipes, but it would take a whole lot of grease to actually form a clog. The problem is that grease isn’t alone. It’s very good at mixing with other debris in your pipes, forcing them to stick around too and form clogs. It can also get even worse. Over time, various greases and oils can mix and interact with trace amounts of calcium in water or pipes. This creates some...
5 Things You Shouldn’t Place Down Your Disposal

5 Things You Shouldn’t Place Down Your Disposal

You may already know that there are some things you should never flush down your drains or put in your garbage disposal. The wrong materials can cause damage and long-lasting problems that may need professional work. That’s why it’s always good to have a reminder about what things you should never, ever put down a garbage disposal, no matter how easy it may be to handle trash this way. Check out these materials to learn why they don’t mix with disposals. Any Type of Grease or Oil Grease may be easy to pour down the disposal when it’s heated up, but grease doesn’t stay hot forever. Instead, it cools down in your disposal and forms a fatty mass. Over time, this fat can build up and cause major obstructions that are difficult to remove, dull the disposal equipment, and cause big problems. Grease is one of the worst things you can put down any drain and can build up over long periods of time. Always take the time to wipe the grease off and throw it in the trash. Seeds and Pits Generally, any type of seed or pit doesn’t do well in a garbage disposal. Instead of being crushed and going away, they tend to linger, jamming mechanisms and causing clogs. Never put any of these hard leftovers down the disposal. Garbage disposal crushing components aren’t designed to deal well with them, and it’s easy to toss them in the trash instead. Fibrous or Starchy Foods What do we mean by fibrous and starchy? Let’s break down these two important categories. First, fibrous foods are any stringy, durable foodstuffs,...
How to Know if Your Pipes are Worn Out

How to Know if Your Pipes are Worn Out

Whether you use your plumbing occasionally, such as a vacation home, or every day, your pipes can wear out. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to prevent the pipes from disintegration over time. However, you can be proactive and look for the early signs that there might be a change and take action. Here’s what you should watch for. Look Out for the Color of the Water Discolored water is usually a cause for concern. There are a few exceptions: if you’re under a boil order, you have well water, or you live in a rural area. However, if you see the color of your water change to brown or dark water, it’s a strong indication that there is corrosion in your pipes, leaving rust as the water runs through them. If left untreated, deposits can clog pipes, which in turn will build pressure. Continual pressure can result in the pipes eventually bursting, which will cause a huge mess to clean up and damage that needs to be professionally repaired. Too Many Drips from the Faucet Drip. Drip. Drip. That sound can keep you awake at night. But worse than that, it can ruin your pipes. That’s because the water pressure in your pipes is too high or water that’s no longer needed after you turn off the tap isn’t properly drained. This may seem like a minor issue at the beginning. However, constant dripping is not only annoying, but it can permanently damage your plumbing. Get that looked at early, and save yourself headaches, and your sleep. Low Water Pressure There’s nothing worse than taking a shower with a dribble of water. Unfortunately, low water pressure could sign many problems. There could be a...
3 Spring Plumbing Maintenance Tasks to Tackle

3 Spring Plumbing Maintenance Tasks to Tackle

Spring is officially here! As excited as you are to spend more time outside, there is some plumbing maintenance you’ll need to put on your to-do list before the fun can begin. Here’s what you’ll need to do.  Check Sump Pump April showers bring, well, lots of things, including a wet and soggy basement. Most of us don’t have the luxury of a dry basement, but we do have the blessing of a sump pump to assure that our basement is dry and our houses don’t get musty. To ensure that your sump pump is working properly, you will need to check it in early spring. Unplug the pump and then plug it in again. If the pump doesn’t start you’ll need to call a plumber. Another way is to pour enough water to raise the float until the pump kicks on, make sure it drains. At Crawford Mechanical Services, we suggest having a backup sump pump just in case your main sump pump fails, or you lose power to your house; this will help you guarantee that a potential flood won’t happen in your basement. Give Your Drains More Attention You shouldn’t have a bog of stench in your drains or slow draining water. With a bit of attention and checking to clear the debris from your drains, your pipes can flow smoothly once again. Check to make sure there are strainers placed in all your drains to prevent hair and other debris from spoiling in the pipes and resulting in a clog. This can be solved with a drain cleaner, but sometimes a plumbing snake handled by a plumbing professional is required. Outdoor Faucets...
The Importance of Flood Alarms in Your Home

The Importance of Flood Alarms in Your Home

A flood in your home is one of those devastating home emergencies you will probably have to deal with at least once in your life. Although your insurance may compensate you for the loss of your belongings and the financial cost of getting your home back to normal, no one can ever help you regain the time you spend dealing with a flood’s aftermath. Sadly, no matter how careful you are, you may not be able to prevent a flood caused by the bad weather or faulty plumbing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lessen the impact a flood will have on your home. You can when you install a flood alarm. What is a Flood Alarm and Why Should I Install It? Flood alarms are small sensors which can detect an excessive amount of moisture and warn you while it is still a minor problem. Early warning is important because homeowners do not typically discover water in their homes until the damage is extensive. From 2011 to 2015, the average insurance claim for flood damage was more than $45,000. And that is even if the homeowner has flood insurance. Many flood victims are surprised to learn that their homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods at all and they have to pay for everything out-of-pocket! Major Advantages of Installing a Flood Alarm When you take the precaution of installing a flood alarm in the high-risk areas in your home, like the basement, near your water heater and in the same room as your washing machine, you can feel confident that you are doing as much as you can to safeguard your home and your family. Here are just a few of the significant...
Why You Need a Backup Sump Pump Battery

Why You Need a Backup Sump Pump Battery

Spring brings rain and winds. Unfortunately, this means that your sump pump may have to work harder to remove water or may go offline due to a power outage. Unfortunately, both of these issues can cause your sump pump to fail. Should either happen, they do not have to cause a plumbing disaster. Having a backup battery for your sump pump can help to prevent many bigger issues that can occur if the sump pump would otherwise be down for some time. Here is some information every sump pump owner should know about sump pump batteries.  Who Should Have a Sump Pump Battery? Sump pumps are most commonly placed in basements or lower spots of a home where water may be able to get in. The sump pump can pump water away from the home, so this type of space does not flood. However, most rely on power to work. If your sump pump loses power or is not functioning properly, due to its age or a lack of maintenance, the battery backup may help your sump pump to function or alert you to the fact that there is something wrong. As such, it is recommended that those who have a sump pump also have a backup battery. What Does a Sump Pump Battery Help to Do? As was mentioned above, the battery backup on a sump pump helps it function and provides you with alarms or alerts if the electric components on a sump pump are not working. This helps to lower the water in the pump, which in turn, helps to prevent flooding that can otherwise happen if...
What You Need to Know About Phantom Flushes

What You Need to Know About Phantom Flushes

There’s a phenomenon known as “ghost flushing” that occasionally happens to home toilets — they start making flushing sounds all on their own! This can be surprising and a little annoying when it happens in the middle of the night or starts happening once or twice a day. In addition to wasting water, it’s also indicating a problem with your toilet. Here’s what is going on, and how you can stop these ghost flushes in their tracks. What’s Going On First, don’t be alarmed. Nothing is alive in your tank, or climbing up and pulling the handle. This flushing is entirely an internal problem. Inside the average house toilet, the tank is closed off from its water source with a valve that’s covered by a round flapper. This flapper is pulled open whenever you flush by moving the handle so that the toilet tank can refill for next time. It’s a simple system, but it works! Usually. Sometimes, the flapper or the chain that connects it to the handle experiences problems, especially problems with sealing the valve properly. In this case, the flapper can suddenly pop open and let a leak escape. This drains water from the toilet over time, which then refills due to movement of the float, and ultimately, it sounds like your toilet is trying to flush itself. How It’s Happening Flappers get old. It happens. When their seal breaks down, all it takes is a small leak for the tank full of water to push the flapper open and drain out all the water and flush itself. This tends to happen at least several hours after...
Why is My Hot Water Running Out So Fast?

Why is My Hot Water Running Out So Fast?

Has your hot water started turning cold? Does it seem like your hot water just isn’t lasting long enough anymore? After checking to make sure no one is taking extra-long showers, it’s time to consider other causes. Here’s why water heaters suddenly become stingy with their hot water. Your Tank is Too Small This often happens after a major renovation or if you just moved into a new home. Hot water tanks vary based on how many gallons they can hold or keep heated. If your tank is smaller than your current needs, you will find that you run out of hot water too quickly and may need a tank upgrade. Keep in mind that switching to a tankless water heater also takes some getting used to, and if you now have a tankless (or solar powered) model, it may be operating differently compared to a traditional water heater. New Appliances are Causing Issues Do you have any new appliances that are suddenly demanding more hot water? Some of these appliances can be quite obvious, like a new tub with hot water jets — those can take up a lot of hot water sometimes, and cut down on the water available for everyone else. Other appliances are more subtle, like a new showerhead that allows more water to flow through and decreases the hot water in your tank much more quickly. You Could Have Sediment Build-Up Sediment that is distilled from water tends to accumulate in hot water tanks over time. In older tanks, sediment can build-up; sometimes, there is so much build-up that it keeps the tank from holding the...
What Causes Low Water Pressure in Your Home?

What Causes Low Water Pressure in Your Home?

Nothing is worse than heading to your bathroom for a nice, hot shower after a long day at work only to find that you barely get a measly trickle instead of the usual flow of water that you expected. After an un-refreshing bathing experience, you start looking for reasons why your water pressure dropped off so suddenly. It may be that when you think about it, you realize that your water pressure has been dropping for quite some time — meaning you’ve got a bigger problem than a broken or frozen pipe. Fortunately, Crawford Mechanical Services has the solution to your low water pressure issues!  Debris in Your Pipes Two of the most common issues with water pressure all tie back to some sort of buildup in your water pipes — either corrosion or debris that gets stuck and holds up the progress of water. If you’re experiencing overall lowered water pressure past a certain point in your home, suspect that the problem is a clog in the pipes. While it can sometimes work itself out, it often takes working with a licensed professional plumber to blast the debris out and restore the flow of water. At Crawford Mechanical Services, we use a high-powered tool called a Hydro Jetter to clear the debris from pipes. Time to Clean! If you’re experiencing low water pressure only in certain rooms, it’s time to consider getting out your gentle scrubbing cleansers and get to work on the shower head or sink aerator screens. This is not necessarily a part that you would consider cleaning on a regular basis, but it can catch significant...
What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

No one wants to wake up from their nice warm bed to the sound of water plinking (or spraying!) throughout the house, especially during the cold winter months. If you live somewhere that’s being hit by freezing weather this year; there’s a good chance that you’ll be dealing with frozen pipes at some point during the winter season. Whether you performed the recommended maintenance to get your pipes ready for winter or decided to give it a pass this year, there are some steps you’ll want to take quickly when your pipes freeze — or risk getting stuck with a massive mess both on your floors and throughout your plumbing systems.  Keep Pipes Flowing If you goofed and didn’t leave your sink dripping last night and woke up to frozen pipes, it’s not too late to open up that faucet! Even if nothing is dripping immediately, allowing the water pressure to continue coming through the pipes will help to get the ice melted more quickly. Next time, leave a tiny dripping of water going through the pipes to keep everything from freezing solid. Carefully Apply Heat Let’s start out with what NOT to do — never use a propane heater, blowtorch or any other method of open flame on your pipes in an effort to do a quick defrost. Not only is this dangerous to yourself and your home on many levels, but it’s not going to do your pipes any good either! Instead, look for ways to slowly reduce the ice within the pipes, such as a small portable space heater that is a safe distance from any materials...