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Cold Weather Persists Making Plumbing Problems More Problematic

Winter storms have hit a large portion of the country, sending a friendly reminder to homeowners that cold weather problems for your property is not over. I love the silence after fresh fallen snow and the beauty of everything draped in white.. However, I also live in a lake community that originally was all summer homes so the insulation isn’t always the greatest. Throughout the area, it is not uncommon for people to have their pipes freeze during the winter, especially the newer homeowners who don’t realize all these homes were originally summer retreats.

Pipes freezing in the winter can end up being a very costly problem if the pipes burst.
But there are steps that can be taken to help prevent this from happening. Some the homeowner can do themselves, while others are best to have done by a professional plumber, like ABC Plumbing.

Some of the things you can do yourself, is never turn your heat below 65 degree. Even though the cost of heating has risen drastically over the past few years, if you turn your heat below 65 degrees, on the really cold nights when the wind chill is factored in, the chance of your pipes freezing increases significantly.

The type of heating system you have can make a difference as well. If you have oil or gas heating, unless it has separate zones, you only have one thermostat for the whole house. If this is the case, and your kitchen or bathrooms or the areas where pipes are most likely to be close to outside walls, and those rooms don’t get as warm, a small space heater with a timer will help to keep those rooms warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing. Leaving the cabinet doors under the sink open so that the heat can get into the space more easily is another trick that helps.

On the other hand, if you have electric heat, you typically have a thermostat in every room, so this makes it easy to turn the heat up in those rooms like the kitchen bathroom where you have pipes that might freeze, while keeping the heat a little lower in the rooms you use least often to conserve on the cost of heating.

One of the oldest tricks to keep the pipes from freezing yourself is to leave the faucets running at just a trickle. As long as water is flowing through the pipes, it makes it more difficult for those pipes to freeze. Think of it like the ocean. Most of the ocean doesn’t freeze because it is constantly moving.

A professional plumber can insulate your pipes and makes sure the areas around your plumbing are well insulated so that the cold doesn’t reach the pipes. Some people will also have their whole home re-insulated not just to prevent frozen pipes, but to keep their home warmer.

If your pipes do freeze, try pointing a heater directly towards them or a use a blow dryer to try to defrost them before they can a chance to burst. If they do burst, call in a professional plumber like ABC Plumbing as soon as possible to minimize the damage and to get the pipes repaired.

Understanding How Back Flow Prevention Works With Plumbing Lines

If you’re currently living in a home that was constructed before 1989, then more than likely your main water line was installed with a device that is commonly known as a “house trap”. In this day and age, they are seen to be obsolete and can cause a plethora of reoccurring plumbing issues, as well as unsafe conditions for a home. The most common signs that you’re having a problem with your house trap and need to call a certified plumber are as follows: backflow or flooding in your basement, drains that leave standing water, sewer odors in your living area, frequent backups with your sewer system, and many plumbing fixtures being out of order.

These devices are outdated and may not be efficient anymore, but they were originally created to keep the sewer gases out of your living space. The way that this works is that the trap collects water in order to block odors from escaping from the drains; that is where it got the name “trap” from. These gases are trapped into the system and are unable to go back into the home.

If you’re reading this and identifying with some of the issues it can cause, you may want to consider calling a plumber who can help. The problem with these house traps is that most of them become rusted after a long period of time, and it ends up causing more problems than it can solve. As corrosion begins eating away at your old drains, the trap acts as a stopping point, no waste-water will be able to pass through. This will also make it challenging to inspect the system with a sewer camera.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem that your plumber can help you with: a sewer cleanout. This is essentially just a more advanced and efficient version of a house trap.

A sewer cleanout looks like a vertical capped-off pipe that extends from an existing line. They do the exact same thing as a house trap does, such as preventing odors, but it also comes with some advantages as well:

First is manual checking. A sewer cleanout can be checked manually to see if your main water line is experiencing any kind of clogging. When you manually check this system, you will want to make sure that the cap that is visible above ground is full of water.

With a sewer cleanout, you can say goodbye to drain issues. Many homeowners clean their drains as a temporary fix to clogs and restart the line, but if you end up installing a sewer cleanout, it can definitely get rid of your drain problems for good.

Sewer cleanouts are made of high-quality materials, especially in comparison to the house trap. These systems are usually made with PEX pipe material that is resistant to erosion, rust, and buildup of any kind of sediment.

Don’t let your drain issues and old plumbing systems cause you any more grief! If you are experiencing issues with your systems or your home was built before 1989, call a local plumbing professional for an inspection and sewer cleanout installation.

Tips for handling sewer backups and basement flooding problems

If your basement floods there are some very important things you should do and more importantly some things you should avoid doing for not only your safety but also your families health and safety. If your basement has just flooded and you are not sure if it is safe to enter then do not enter it until told the area is safe by a professional plumber or certified water damage restoration expert. Entering a flooded basement can expose you to the following hazards:

Electrical Shock: – Water and electricity do not mix, ever. Flooded basements pose a very real risk for electrocution. If your homes power supply is NOT in the basement and your basement floods and if it is safe to do so, by all means turn of your homes power supply.

Gas leaks – This is not to common during basement floods, but we have seen it happen in the homes that we serviced and for a verity of reasons. If you smell gas leave your house right away and call your gas company and a licensed plumber or water damage restoration expert right away.

Pollutants – Flood water can contain all manner of pollutants from chemicals to harmful sewage, viruses, bacteria and other diseases. You should wear water proof boots and use gloves when handling anything in a flooded basement. Safety goggles and a light face mask are recommended as well. You should wash thoroughly after any contact with flood water and have the effected area sanitized thoroughly following any basement flood.

If your basement floods by all means call a plumber right away. Now is not the time to try and save a few bucks by attempting to clean it up yourself and trying to stop any further water from entering. That being said there is a few things you can do before the plumber arrives that could help minimize any further damage.

Floods caused by burst or faulty pipes: For floods caused by these circumstances, if it is safe for you to do so, you should shut of the homes water supply. Your home is equipped with a water shut off valve which will allow you to shut off your homes entire water supply.

Floods due to sewage backup: Avoid flushing toilets or running tap water. Also avoid using your homes dishwasher or washing machine. Using anything that causes water to go down a drain will very likely make any flooding worse.

You should also call your insurance company. They will provide you with information on clean-up, contractors that should be called, and any claim procedures. Your flood might be entirely covered by your insurance policy so it is vital that you contact them. Our company is on a first name basis with any insurance adjustors and we have excellent relations with most insurance agencies serving the area.

You should document any and all damage thoroughly. Take lots of photos of all damaged areas and especially damaged personal possessions. if you are covered by insurance do not go out buying new things until you are fully versed with your insurance policies coverage requirements. Keep every receipt related to the damage and clean up of the flood including any emergency work done and or repairs.

If you do have insurance for flooding or water damage you should do everything in your power to prevent flooding from occurring in the first place. In the unfortunate event of flooding occurring your insurance company will look for favorably on you for doing so and the claims process will be much easier on you if you can show that you have performed the proper maintenance on your homes plumbing systems. Failure to maintain your homes plumbing system along with repeated claims for flood damage is likely to cause you being dropped from future coverage.

Learn About Interior Weeping Tile Systems

If your basement is damp or is prone to flooding due to exterior water you might have had a contractor try and sell you on expensive exterior waterproofing. The expense can be quite high with exterior waterproofing options due to the excavation that is involved.

weeping_tile

image credit, aqua guard injection

What then are other viable options? An interior weeping tile system provides a viable alternative to traditional foundation excavation and waterproofing measures. An interior weeping tile system is also known as a internal perimeter drain system. Interior weeping tile system have been proven over the last two decades as a highly efficient and cost effective basement waterproofing measure. These systems waterproof both concrete block and cinder block foundation walls.

A perimeter drainage system keeps your basement dry by providing a channel to drain water that flows into or pools within your concrete block or cinder block foundation walls. This system is also highly effective in dealing with high water tables underneath basement floors. It also combats any water that leaks in through foundation wall cracks, making an interior weeping tile system a highly effective means of combating many forms and sources of basement leaks and flooding.

The interior weeping tile system is built by installing a drainage system along the entire perimeter of your basement, beneath your basement floor. This system avoids expensive digging outside of the home. This system drains water at the footing of your foundation much like an exterior weeping tile system does. It works by allowing water which has collected in your walls to drain, which prevents water from seeping through into your basement interior or from going beneath your basement floor. This system extends the life of your foundation by preventing or delaying deterioration over time due to the saturation of the blocks from pooled water within them. Most basement foundation erode over time due to the presence of water which becomes trapped within its walls, but this system provides continual drainage there by alleviating the problem. A properly installed interior weeping tile system will keep your basement dry for life.

Your contractor will jackhammer the basement floor right next to the foundation walls to expose your foundations footing as well as to excavate a trench to be used for the installation of a drain pipe or drain tile. The contractor then drills holes into the fully exposed bottom course of concrete blocks hollow cavities, this allows water to exit the holes and flow into the channel trench or drain pipe. A perforated drain pipe is then installed adjacent to the foundations footing and an air gap membrane is installed along your wall. If your basement does not have a sump pump liner, a sump liner and submersible sump pump will then installed beneath your basement floor, with the liner cover installed flush with the floor. The weeping tile systems drain pipe is then connected to the sump liner but beneath your basement floor and out of sight. This allows the water that was collected from your walls to be drained into your sump pump. The drain pipe and lower portion of the drainage membrane are then covered up with a fresh layer of concrete and leveled so that all that will be visible to you is a seam along the floor next to the wall and the membrane which is fastened to the wall, as well as a sump pump discharge pipe to the exterior. Even the discharge pipe that goes up the wall can be hidden from view by installing against the basement wall and concealing the pipe behind finished basement walls.

Internal weeping tile systems are far more effective at preventing wet basements than exterior weeping tile systems. This is because most of the ground water that enters our basement enters in through cracks, gaps and voids in the basement wall, all of which an exterior tile system will not prevent. In short an interior weeping tile system is one of the most effective tools at your disposal for dealing with leaky basement walls and basement drainage.

Searching for residential or commercial plumbing services, count on powerhouseplumbers.com to deliver results!

Extreme Cold Weather Causes Surge In Burst Pipe Disasters

For millions of Americans looking for some relief from the bitter cold temperatures that have prevailed this month, the news is not so good. The National Weather Service says that the arctic cold temperatures will remain in place for much of this week with the potential for breaking more record lows Tuesday morning in many places. Wind chill advisories are in place for many areas as highs will be anywhere from 10 to 35 degrees below average from the Midwest all the way to the Gulf Coast.

Highs are expected to reach only into the teens and single digits across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes this week, making winter-wearing residents there very unhappy. Single digits will also prevail from the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley and Interior Northeast where highs will range from 10 to 30 degrees below average for most locations east of the Rockies.

As people in the Plains and Midwest will continue trying to stay warm, those living in the South will be dealing with freezing rain, sleet and snow. Snow is expected in parts of North Texas through early Tuesday morning where freezing rain prompted the cancellation of over 1,000 flights in and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

A big snowstorm that is moving across Oklahoma made roads very slippery Monday while snow, sleet and freezing rain has put the Carolinas, parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi under winter weather advisories. In Tennessee, where people were trying to recover from last week’s ice storm, snow is in the forecast for the eastern portion of the state. Schools in many Tennessee counties remained closed Monday while thousands of people were still without power.

Wind chill advisories are in place across the northern Plains, the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes as frigid temperatures will prevail most of this week. Many schools in Michigan were delayed Monday morning due to the frigid cold air that makes being outside dangerous. People living in the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes are being reminded to bundle up extra well before heading outdoors and to remember to bring pets inside as the temperatures are dangerously low.

Extreme Cold Weather Increases Potential For Home Plumbing Disasters

Extreme cold and winter weather ranks as the third cause of insured property damage, with only hurricanes and tornadoes eclipsing this. These statistics come from the Insurance Information Institute, which is an insurance industry group. Many people are unaware how damaging the cold weather can be. Property losses from snow, ice, and most importantly the freezing cold temperatures average around $1.2 billion dollars per year. The 2014/2015 winter season is already eclipsing this figure, making this season the fourth most costliest year for winter storm losses as winter has been pounding the north east and Midwest this year.

The main cause of property damage in the winter season is from frozen pipes. The average insurance claim for the damage caused by a frozen pipe is around $18,000 though these costs can vary in both scope and cost. You might consider this to be a high cost and you are right, but repairing the pipe that broke is the least costly part of such property damage. It is the water damage that ensures from a ruptured pipe which causes the most damage. The water damage which results quickly runs the bill up from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. Such water damage includes damage to the fixtures, finishes, flooring and drywall as well as peoples ceilings and walls. Of this the most expensive will be repairing walls and ceilings which have sustained water damage.

It is not just the inside of your home which can sustain property damage, the outside of your property is also vulnerable, especially if you have trees or other such landscaping. The sheer weight of snow, and the high winds can cause weak or dead branches to break off or snap, and both of these factors can cause the entire tree to fall over, sometimes even into ones house, garage or other structure. In the western United states claims for collaring trees range about $10,000, mostly due to how much larger the trees tend to be out west. In the rest of the country the average claim for a collapsed tree ranges from $3,000 to $5,000.

Another cause of immense property damage, one in which many claims have already been on the rise this season is that of roof collapses due to ice dams and the sheer weight of the snowfall this record winter season. Ice dams in case you did not know is the result of water which freezes along the edge of your roof. Ice dams are caused as the heat from your home melts the snow and ice then it freezes up at the edge of your roof as well as possibly seeping into the homes walls.

The good news is that your home owners insurance or renters insurance may pay for most of this damage. You will have a deductible of course, which could range from $500 or $1,000 so you will be responsible for this amount, if your claim is valid. You could be responsible for more if the damage done exceeds your current policies limits. Most insurances will cover the damage from burst pipes and roofs that collapse from the weight of the snow, as well as damage resulting from ice dams. Yet not all damage is covered, for example if melting snow seeping into your home overburdens your drainage and septic systems resulting in a sewer backup in your basement, this damage likely will not be covered by either a standard home owners insurance policy nor a flood insurance policy. To cover this sort of damage you must opt into a special policy or add additional coverage via an “endorsement” to your existing insurance policy.

The best way to deal with extreme cold weather damage is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Tips to Prevent Broken and Burst Pipes

As many homeowners know, winter weather can wreak havoc on your home if you have not prepared for its harsh weather conditions. Pipes can burst, ice damming can occur, and many other occurrences may happen due to the cold weather conditions. It is always a good idea to put together a checklist to ensure that you and your home are prepared for the winter.

Fix Leaks: the smallest of leaks can turn into a huge hassle in the wintertime if they are not taken care of properly and in a timely manner. Make sure that you check all of your pipes for cracks and leaks, and fix them before winter comes along. This will save you time and money in the long run! If your pipes are insulated, feel around and check for moisture. If the insulation is wet than you more than likely are dealing with a leak.

Use an evaporative cooler
: This may also be known as a swamp cooler, and it is definitely another source of water that needs to be drained before the cold weather hits. To winterize your evaporative cooler, make sure to turn off its water source and drain any pipes that lead to it. This would be a great time to clean the interior and clean the pads as well. After you have done that, put a tarp or cover over it so that no moisture enters.

Insulate your pipes: Insulating your pipes is one of the most important steps to avoid water damage to your property during the winter months. This will prevent your pipes from cracking, freezing, and then bursting. This is inexpensive and very easy to install, and this will save you money on heating costs as well as protecting your pipes.

Make sure your pump house is insulated:
Planning and protection are the two most important things to do when dealing with cold weather. If your water comes from a well, than insulating your pump house is a very good idea. It is very inexpensive to do this, and will keep your pipes in the pump house from freezing during the winter. A heat source is also needed to keep the pump house at a temperature above freezing.

Make sure your sprinkler system is drained: Water can buildup and freeze in your sprinkler system, so it is a very good idea to drain it come wintertime. To do this, you will need to turn off the water source and then turn on any valves to flush out any excess water.

Protect any outside hose bibs: It is of utmost importance that you winterize your hose bibs. First, you will need to disconnect any hoses that are connected to outside faucets. This will ensure that water does not get trapped in the hose bib and damage the pipes. Drain the water from these hoses before storing them as well. It is also a good idea to insulate your hose bibs to make sure they do not freeze during the winter since they are outside.
Know where your water main is: Lastly, it is very important to know where your water main is in case of an emergency. If you were to encounter a burst pipe, you could quickly turn off the water main to minimize any further damage.

source – http://plumbinggurus.com

How to deal with broken hot water heaters

Waking up one morning and discovering that you do not have hot water because the heaters have broken down is not an experience you would like to go through. If you do not have hot water and it is cold, then you have to do with cold showers. Hot water heaters also provide heated water for other domestic use such as laundry and kitchen. Your hot water tank may develop leaks, which mean that you have to switch it off for repairs to be done.

Dealing with water heating problems may not be easy because the issues require specialized technicians to handle them. Hot water pipes could also burst due to increased pressure created by the heated water. Mineral deposits on metallic pipes could erode the pipe’s interior surface causing it to wear out, and with time, they burst and cause leaks. Just like other leakages, the hot water leaks could cause flooding in your home.

The water may end up in your building where it wrecks havoc. In addition, the leakages may mean increased water bills. You have to shut down the faucets and main valves when you suspect there is leakage in the tanks or pipes. This will prevent further loss of water or flooding of your home. Water heater problems may be different and could require different professionals to deal with them depending on their nature.

When there is no water coming out, it could mean that the power supply is not working. If you cannot identify where the fault is, then a gas company technician may help. The pilot light has to be checked to determine if it has a problem. Similarly, strange noises that come from the heating system could be a sign of mineral deposits or hard water scale.

When minerals accumulate inside the pipes, they narrow it down and create more pressure. This could lead to clogging of the pipes resulting to lack of water or low-pressure water coming out from the faucets. High pressure can cause damage leading to flooding as well as loss of water. Treatment of hard water scale and mineral deposits can help in addressing the problems and reduce the noise.

Water that collects on the floors where the heater is installed may mean there is leakage. The water could be seeping right from the tank or from loose valves. A leakage may also be caused by obstructed vent of the heater or a faulty heating element. At times, you may have water that is not hot enough and one of the things you have to check for is the thermostat. Mineral buildup may as well consume much of the heat causing the water not to heat sufficiently. This means you may need to flush the tank and the pipes.

The worst thing you may have to deal with is a pipe burst because it releases water that could end up inside your home or at the basement. Basements are affected by water leaks because they are situated underground and water seeps through cracks and foundations and settles at the base. If already water has penetrated the walls and foundation and settled at the base, then a water damage restoration company may be called to help pump out the water and dry the affected area.

source: xtremedisasterrestoration.com