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Overusing Liquid Plumbers Can Mess Up Your Drains

Overusing Liquid Plumbers Can Mess Up Your Drains

If you are a homeowner, you already know how frustrating clogged or slow-moving drains can be. It’s natural to reach for a timely solution, like liquid plumbers, to whisk away the clogs and return your life to normal. The problem is: while liquid plumbers can provide a quick solution to your woes, they can also cause damage to your plumbing if they are not used with caution. Consider the effects of liquid plumbers on your pipes before you rely on them to solve your plumbing problems. How Do Liquid Plumbers Work? Liquid plumbers come in several formulas designed to attack specific types of clogs. Nearly all of them contain lye (sodium hydroxide) and bleach (sodium chloride). The two chemicals work together to create a chemical reaction that releases heat. The heat dissolves grease and organic matter, while the bleach eats through soap scum and hair.  Some formulas also contain peroxide to create a foaming action that coats the pipes and removes residues. Are Liquid Plumbers Safe? Liquid plumbers are safe for occasional use to get your drains flowing freely again. They are easy to use and restore your drains to normal function within 15 minutes if the source of the clog is a simple buildup of soap scum and residue in the drain. They may work on tougher clogs by eating away the residue around an object and allowing the water to flow around the clog, giving you the impression that your problems have been solved. If there is an object in the drain, though, the problem will likely return as gunk from waste water building up around it. If this is...
Check Your Home’s Plumbing Before You Sell to Get Top Dollar at Closing

Check Your Home’s Plumbing Before You Sell to Get Top Dollar at Closing

Proper staging, curb appeal and competitive pricing are all things you need to keep in mind when you’re putting your home on the market. However, did you think about the fact that the inside of your home might need a little work to get ready to pass inspection as well? Depending on the age of your home, giving a little love to your plumbing may save you from the need to make costly upgrades at closing. Keep reading to learn plumbing tips to save money and get your home’s pipes in tip-top shape for sale. Bathroom Refresh Bathrooms are a huge selling point for houses. Since they can absorb (pun intended) a great deal of damage from moisture, you’ll want to pay special attention to this small room. Replacing leaky faucets and inspecting groaning pipes are items that are best done by a professional plumber, but you won’t need a pro to replace aging shower heads or add a little caulk around the sink or tub. Know Your Pipes Understanding what type of pipes your home has is key to knowing whether or not your buyer will request an upgrade before agreeing to make the purchase. While nearly all metal pipes are good for 70-100 years, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes only last 25-40 years and may need to be replaced or repaired even sooner if they haven’t been well-maintained. If your home is 50+ years old, having a reputable plumber come to examine your pipes is a smart idea so you can avoid surprises when it comes time for your home’s final inspection. Look for Leaks Look out for leaks and corrosion...
How To Detect Leaky Pipes

How To Detect Leaky Pipes

Nearly everyone can find a leaky pipe when there’s an annoying drip in the night or a big puddle under the sink. But some leaks aren’t as easy to find. Hidden leaks in your pipes take a little more detective work to identify. Follow these tips to locate leaky pipes lurking in your walls or other out-of-the-way locations. Floors Your floors can alert you to plumbing leaks in several ways. Watch for these signs that there is water damage under your flooring: Spongy Floors: This is most common around the toilet, bathtub or laundry areas, but you might find spongy floors in other places. The surface of the floor typically looks fine, but when you step on the flooring you will feel the sub floor give slightly. It may feel a bit like walking on soggy grass when water is trapped beneath. The water from the leaky pipe has soaked into the wood and makes it feel spongy. Loose Tiles: Sometimes water beneath the tiles will dissolve the adhesive and cause your floor tiles to loosen. If you notice loose tiles in your bathroom or laundry room, or even around the dishwasher, there is a good possibility you are dealing with a water leak. Remove the tile and check for moisture in the sub flooring. Cracked or Buckled Tiles: Sometimes tiles crack or buckle instead of loosening. If you notice cracked or buckled tiles around the tub, shower or toilet, it’s time to check for water leaks. Walls Your walls may alert you when a pipe in the walls, or from the bathroom above, springs a leak. Looks for these signs that...
What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Drain after Thanksgiving Dinner

What You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Drain after Thanksgiving Dinner

Clogged or sluggish drains are one of the most common household complaints when it comes to plumbing. In fact, they are so common that you have probably already dealt with one yourself. The good news is many problems with clogs can be avoided with a little care and attention in the kitchen and bathroom. So before you start cleaning up after your Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you know what foods you shouldn’t be putting down your drain. In the Kitchen Nearly everyone knows that pouring grease or fat down the drain is a no-no, but not everyone realizes that there a host of common foods that also contribute to grease buildup in the drain. Fats from cooking should always be poured into a can or other container and discarded in the trash once the grease cools. Dishes used to cook or serve the following foods should be scraped thoroughly before washing in the sink. Gravy and Sauces: It seems logical to rinse these foods down the drain, but you are asking for trouble if you do. They typically contain high amounts of fat and grease that will cling to the insides of your drain pipes. Cheese and Dairy Products: Cheese is a high-fat food that also contributes to drain problems. Dishes from casseroles, dips and sauces that contain cheese and dairy products can add grease to the drain. Soups: Many homemade soups, especially those made from homemade broth, contain fat and grease. Meat Drippings: Those drippings in the bottom of the pan might look like juices from the meat, but most are laden with fat. Bits of food, coffee grounds...
Don’t Forget to Winterize Your Outdoor Faucet

Don’t Forget to Winterize Your Outdoor Faucet

Outdoor faucets save time and energy in the summer and give you fresh water at your fingertips for watering the garden or filling the pool. They typically do not require maintenance or care during the summer, which makes them easy to forget when cold weather rolls around. Forgetting to winterize your outside faucet in the fall can result in broken faucets, burst pipes and a watery mess to contend with when you try to use them in the spring. How you winterize them depends on the type of faucet you have. Traditional Outside Faucets If you have an older home you probably have a traditional outside faucet that requires shutting down and draining the plumbing line before cold weather strikes. Here’s what you need to do to winterize a traditional faucet: Disconnect your garden hose. Not only will your hose freeze during cold weather, a frozen garden hose can also encourage ice to back up in your water line. Locate the shutoff valve inside the home and turn it off. The shutoff valve is typically a red lever, but it may be a wheel. It is often located in the basement near the ceiling close to the outside faucet, but might be located beside the main water valve to the rest of your plumbing. If your shutoff valves are not labeled, this is a good time to label them. Open the outside faucet. Water might run out of the faucet, but don’t let this fool you. You are not finished draining the plumbing, yet. Locate the bleeder cap in the plumbing line leading to the outside faucet. The bleeder cap looks like...
Make Sure Your Pipes Are Ready For Winter

Make Sure Your Pipes Are Ready For Winter

The onset of winter weather can take us by surprise. One day we are enjoying a crisp, cool fall day and suddenly the overnight temperatures have plunged to below freezing. Don’t wait until the thermometer dips to record overnight lows. Get your home ready for winter now and avoid expensive plumbing problems later. Insulate Your Pipes Insulate pipes in the unheated areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces and garages. Use insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Measuring the outside diameter of your pipes will ensure that you choose the right size of tubing. Take special care with pipes that have been recently repaired or have frozen in previous winters as they are the most likely to freeze in the future. In northern and Midwestern locations that experience long, frigid winters, consider adding heat tape to your insulation plan. Be sure to check and follow the manufacturer’s directions to avoid doing damage. Cut Cold Air Off at the Source Exposure to freezing air can quickly cause pipes to freeze. Sealing exterior cracks in the foundation and fixing broken basement windows will block the winter air from reaching the interior of your home. Homes with ventilated crawl spaces are also at risk for frozen pipes. Use thick cardboard and duct tape to cover vents and block frigid air from reaching your home’s water supply pipes. Become a Weather Watcher As cold weather approaches, keep an eye on the evening forecasts. Water pipes are most likely to freeze when outside temperatures reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Even if you have taken the above-listed precautions, you can never be too careful. Most people think frozen...