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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...
Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Are Wipes Flushable? Fact or Fiction?

Adult wipes have become increasingly common in bathrooms around the world as an alternative to toilet paper. The problem is that people are flushing these wipes, and that’s a very bad habit, both at home and in any other bathroom. Here’s why flushing those wipes can be dangerous for your plumbing system — and may cause a lot of extra expenses too. Clogs Can Get Bad These wipes aren’t designed like toilet paper and cannot easily break apart in water (even some toilet paper struggles with this). They are just too durable, which can cause major problems when they are flushed and don’t disintegrate soon enough. Many of the most famous sewer clogs of recent years have been traced back to wipes that just won’t go away. The same thing can happen in your home on a smaller scale, causing troublesome toilet backups. Sewage and Septic Systems Suffer Those wipes that won’t easily disintegrate eventually enter the sewage system or (depending on your setup) your septic tank. These systems are designed specifically to break down waste over a period of time. Items that won’t decompose fast enough can disrupt this process and eventually cause long-term problems. “Flushable” Wipes Really Aren’t Flushable Some wipes are marketed as flushable, with assurances that they will decompose quickly. The problem is that there aren’t many guarantees that this is true (although some cities are working on regulations to help solve this problem). Many brands are guilty of letting people assume the wipes can be flushed when really they should be thrown away instead. Other brands may claim they are flushable, but the results appear to...
Drain Cleaning Myths

Drain Cleaning Myths

Have a clogged drain? It’s a common issue for all homeowners, but it’s important to not make the assumptions that too many people believe when confronted with a clog. These myths aren’t just untrue, but they can also lead to bad decisions that can make your plumbing problem even worse — and more expensive to repair. So when confronted with a drain problem, don’t fall into these thinking traps! Here’s why they’re wrong. All My Drains Work the Same Your home actually has several different sets of pipes! They are not all connected (although some of them are), and they have different tasks and features. Drain pipes, for example, collect all the water you pour from faucets (typically “gray” water) and safely dispose of it. Waste pipes collect polluted water from toilets and similar sources and route it to septic tanks and sewers. Vent pipes are designed to remove nasty gases created by the other pipes, giving them a way out through a roof vent or similar vent. All this means that a clog may affect some parts of the house, but not all your plumbing, depending on where it originates and what it does. Sometimes clog effects can be very difficult to predict if you don’t know how your plumbing works. Drain Cleaners Can Fix the Problem Liquid drain cleaners are usually designed to “burn” through a clog and restore proper water flow. This can work on very mild clogs, such as a bundle of hair that won’t quite get washed away. However, any substantial clog is unlikely to be affected by drain cleaners, and they can cause...
What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

What is the Difference Between Conventional and Tankless Water Heaters?

While the conventional, tank-based water heater has been popular in residential houses for decades, a new type of water heater is on the rise. These are called “tankless” heaters, and they’re focused on saving money, conserving energy, and delivering faster hot water. Let’s dig in deeper and look at what separates conventional and tankless heaters. Conventional Water Heaters Conventional water heaters use large tanks to store and heat water so that it is available at any time, which is why they are often called storage water heaters. The water in the tank is heated to a specific temperature, typically through a gas burner or heating element. Sensors detect when the water is the proper temperature (with some variation in settings), and the water heater holds that temperature throughout the day. When you turn the hot water on, the water is siphoned from the top of the tank. Most tanks tend to have a capacity between 20 and 120 gallons, but only a portion of that is typically available as hot water. This option has been a popular choice because it works. The tanks have enough room to store plenty of hot water, and that water is always available, particularly for larger projects (or long hot showers). However, there are also some downsides. If a family is too large for a hot water tank and has already cut back on water use, the only solution is to upgrade to a larger tank size. Also, remember that storage water heaters need to continually use energy to keep the water in the tank at a high temperature. Over time, that can waste...
Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Why is My Water Heater Making Noise?

Your water heater typically sits quietly in an unused corner of the house, doing its job. However, sometimes those water tanks can get noisy. It’s no surprise that homeowners start to worry when water heaters start banging, popping, and thumping like they are about to jump free! Usually, this is caused by an issue with sediment buildup. Here’s what that means for you. Common Causes — Sediment Buildup Sediment refers to small mineral particles that can accumulate in your hot water tank, but that doesn’t mean your water is dirty. A certain amount of mineral particles are typically bonded to household water, usually harmless calcium and lime. A high amount of these particles means that water is “hard,” which affects things like how it tastes and how it interacts with surfactants (soap), etc. A low amount of particles means that water is “soft.” If the water in your region tends to be hard, you may be more at risk for problems like a loud, banging water heater. The reason sediment builds up in the tank is because of the heat. As the water heats up, the bonds that hold the mineral particles in place loosen, and they drift down to the bottom of the tank. Over time, this can build up into a thick layer. As water is heated and rises in the tank, it needs to push past that layer of sediment. As a result, water bubbles will eventually explode through the sediment layer to freedom; this is what causes the loud noise. Problems and Solutions These little water explosions aren’t immediately dangerous, but they can cause serious problems over...
The Benefits of a Hydro Jetter

The Benefits of a Hydro Jetter

Fall is officially here! Now is the perfect time to check some items off your fall to-do list. Instead of tackling these chores the traditional way, why not use a hydro jetter to make the job easier? Here’s what you need to know. What is a Hydro Jetter? A hydro jetter is similar to a power washer, but packs four times as much power. This power makes it easy to remove clogs from drains as well as debris from your gutters and downspouts. How Does a Hydrojetting Work? Hydrojetting is a fairly simple concept. The hose is placed at the beginning of your drain or gutter system and the pressure is turned on. This pressure will blast any debris out of its way, cleaning the pipe or gutter as it goes. It has enough power to remove the buildup, but not enough to cause any damage. For long lasting results, hydrojetting is the way to go. When to Use a Hydro Jetter Are you experiencing clogs in your gutters or downspouts? Before using a hydro jetter, there are some things you can try first. Depending on the last time you cleaned out your gutters, the pressure of a garden hose may be able to do the trick. If this option doesn’t work, the next step is to try a drain snake. Still not working? It’s time to bring in a hydro jetter. Because this option has 4 times as much pressure as your typical pressure washer, it can easily remove gunk from your downspouts. Gutters and downspouts lead water away from your home. If clogged gutters are ignored, this...