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Learn more about battery backups for your sump pump

How Battery Backups for Your Sump Pump Work and Their Critical Purpose

Let’s be real; a sump pump is one of the appliances we forget about. If yours works appropriately, you will probably never put it into thought. Unfortunately, like most household appliances, a sump pump can break down leaving you frustrated. This is when you will realize how important your sump pump is and why you should have a battery backup. Many of the emergency plumbing calls we receive are due to appliance and mechanical malfunctions. 

A sump pump is a piece of machinery that collects water in a drainage basin and pumps it out of the property to prevent basement flooding. Most sump pump owners experience problems during spring and winter when the pump strains to keep everything in line. Sump pumps with battery backups can withstand the cool temperatures, rainfall, hail, and power interruptions that accompany harsh weather.

How the Battery Backup Works

Being an electric appliance, sump pumps generate power from house circuits. This means that the pump becomes useless whenever there is a power outage. Even if the power goes out for only a few hours, the situation could lead to a disaster, particularly during stormy weather. A battery backup for a sump pump ensures that water drains properly and is usually installed in addition to your current sump pump.

The backup battery should be charged continuously so that when power is lost in your house or company, the sump pump will automatically operate. It essentially transforms into a two-stage system capable of dealing with an electrical emergency.

Its Critical Purpose

The main benefit of a battery backup sump pump is that it provides complete flood protection. In addition to its existing tasks, it consists of a control module that switches on once every month to ensure that it is working. The box will sound a loud warning if the system is faulty. You’ll also get notified if the electricity goes off or the battery has to be replaced. Some even have options that let you connect with your smartphone directly. If you have such a backup, you’ll never have to fret over your sump pump’s battery dying or unreported faults.

How Long Will the Battery Survive?

This is based on the quality of your battery. Most manufacturers sell three categories of batteries, mainly represented by good, better, and best. The “best” battery category is the most ideal as it encompasses a huge and advanced battery, allowing it to run for a longer time. It also depends on the amount of water the sump pump is dealing with. If the water problem is extreme to a point where the sump pump runs once every minute, the battery might last a maximum of 12 hours. That is barely enough to sustain you when the power outage lasts longer than expected. Therefore, if you live in an area that floods quite a lot of times, go for a backup battery with advanced features. 

Backup sump pumps could be many years old and still in operation, meaning the battery will probably work at a lower level than it should. Most people have gone through hard lessons that a battery’s ability to retain power reduces as it gets older. If the battery could operate for 12 hours straight when it was brand new, it might barely last 4-5 hours after years of use. Therefore, if you want the battery to live longer amid blackouts, you’ll have to upgrade to a new one over time. If you have a multimeter, you may verify the battery’s effectiveness by measuring the voltage between the positive and negative terminals. If the score is below 12.1, it is a warning indicator to start searching for an upgrade.

Tips for Properly Maintaining a Hot Water Heater

How to Properly Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

The plumbing team from Powerhouse Plumbers deals with a variety of plumbing emergencies every day, one of the most common is broken and malfunctioning hot water heaters.

Most homes rely on water heaters for use in various areas, including the bathroom and the kitchen. Having a hot water system that functions properly is important for the smooth running of activities, and for that to happen, you need to take certain maintenance measures. Something most residential owners tend to forget is that the daily use of hot water systems subjects them to wear and tear. Consider it as if you were maintaining a home appliance to avoid unforeseen malfunctions and save money. Ensure that the water heater is emptied at least once every six months if you want it to serve you for a long time. Most water heaters serve for about 12 years, but only when constantly monitored. The water heater’s longevity can be extended with a straightforward three-step annual service regimen.

Conduct a Mini-Flush

Mini-flushes are one of the most underestimated maintenance techniques. By eliminating deposits from the bottom of the tank, the procedure helps avoid rust and corrosion while also improving the system’s energy consumption. While a thorough flush is preferable, it can be challenging because it requires shutting down the entire system, which professionals best do. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a professional; a mini-flush will suffice, and the best part is that it can be done while the water heater is still turned on. To conduct the mini-flush;

  • Position a bucket beneath the tank’s drain valve at the bottom.
  • To drain 1-2 liters of water, rotate the valve anticlockwise.  The water will be boiling, so take care not to burn yourself.
  • Rotate the valve clockwise to shut it off, and your mini-flush will be complete.

Check the Temperature and Pressure Valve

The temperature and pressure safety valve is a crucial safety component of a water heater that automatically controls these two byproducts. It opens to release harmful pressure accumulation or too high temperature within the water heater tank. The tank is at risk of exploding if it does not have an operable temperature and pressure regulator. It is good to check your temperature and pressure regulator at least once per year. To conduct the test;

  • Position a pail underneath the discharge pipe and mechanically open the valve by lifting the handle. Avoid coming into direct touch with the liquid since it could be hot.
  • After a couple of seconds of water flow, release the handle, enabling it to spring back into position, turning off the water.
  • The regulator has to be changed if the temperature and pressure cannot open and discharge or if it spills after testing.

Reduce the Temperature

Heating systems are usually adjusted to a temperature of 550 C to 600 C when installed. The US Department of Energy, on the other hand, advises a temperature of 49 C for most houses, calculating that this will save more than 5% in energy bills for heating systems. Lowering the temperature lessens the risk of scorching and slows the buildup of mineral debris in your tank. If you have a gas water heater, set the temperature on the gas regulator to 490 C. Most electric water heaters are installed with upper and lower thermostats. In such a case, rotate the lower thermostat to match the upper thermostat.

Following these easy steps will help extend the longevity of your water heater while simultaneously saving on costs. If possible, hire plumbing professionals to help with proper maintenance, as some things are always better when handled by experts.

How Often Should You Have A Hot Water Heater Inspected and Serviced?

Tips For Understanding How Long Before Your Hot Water Heater Should Be Inspected

With the new modern world needs, a water heater is among the most important and necessary equipment. Their use in various spaces is seen almost everywhere, including residences, offices, and industries. When it comes to the home, it is used for various purposes such as food preparation, washing, central heating, and so on. Aside from that, the primary function of a water heater is to provide hot water for showering.

Despite all these uses, many people overlook their water heater systems. As a result, it can stop functioning unannounced, given that it works nonstop to provide hot water without the need for a break. This is why you should regularly schedule maintenance by professionals. Nonetheless, the question of how often you should inspect and service your water heating system remains. Before getting answers to the big question, it is critical to know the signs of a damaged water heater.

Signs Your Water Heater Requires Servicing

Fortunately, your water heater will give you several hints whenever something is wrong with it, which is why you need to pay attention. If you miss any of these signs for a long time, you will end up with a huge problem, likely to cost you thousands of your life savings.

Low Hot Water Pressure

Often, hot water pipes will get clogged by debris accumulated from mineral deposits found in the water. As a result, water will struggle to pass through the clogged pipes, reducing the water pressure. Sometimes, cleaning the water before passing it through the water heater pipes can help reduce the clogging, but you still need to contact a professional for expert assistance.

Weird Knock Sounds

Because water heaters are not silent apparatus, they often make natural and expected noise while operating. However, if that noise begins to bother you, it is a warning sign that you must have it inspected for clarity. These annoying sounds might include Popping, knocking, or cracking and usually occurs when hot water becomes trapped under the mineral deposits due to excessive pressure. If this is the case for you, you can try to flush the water heater, but the best move is to call in an emergency plumbing professional.

Musty Smell

If the water coming from your water heater tank is somehow musty, it indicates rust or corrosion. While it takes many years before corrosion damages your tank full, it is good to take early measures. If not handled earliest, corrosion can cause leaks in the tank, something that can cause huge property loss.

Unstable Water Temperature

The water heater malfunctions after being used for a long time, and temperatures fluctuate. This could indicate an issue with the pressure valve or temperature gauge. Additionally, it could be caused by a leak in the water heater system. Unless you are okay with showering using cold water, this will bother you, and since it is an indication of trouble in the water heater system, measures should be applied. The best way to deal with water heater problems is dealing with professionals who know where to look and the signs of a damaged system.

Pros and Cons of Installing a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Should You Replace Your Hot Water Heater with A Tankless Hot Water Heater

While water heaters are relatively costly, they are an essential investment that almost every home has. Luckily, with advanced technology comes better equipment that can be used in place of water heaters. If there is any chance of updating the heating system that saves you on costs, is more efficient, and has better longevity, you should take it. To ease your selection and help you make a well-informed decision, we have prepared a detailed comparison of water heaters and tankless water heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater, also characterized as a demand water heater, employs high-powered burners to speedily generate heat as it passes via a heating element and then send it to the taps or showerhead without the need for a tank. Tankless water heaters are often fueled by electricity or gas, allowing them to heat water instantly. In recent studies, these sorts of heating systems were found to be 20 percent more energy-intensive in general than heating storage tank models.

Consult with a Pluming Professional to better understand the cost of installation and savings potential

Storage water heaters are installed in almost every home as they were traditionally used to heat the water before the invention of tankless heaters. They consist of an insulated tank that holds the heated water until when required for use. A pipe is connected from the storage tank to different destinations, including the bathroom, kitchen, sinks, and other areas where hot water may be needed. Most storage water heaters employ natural gas or electricity as fuel and have temperature gauges that help regulate the heat. Additionally, they have pressure release valves that keep everything under control. Technically, water heaters are more complicated and require more work compared to tankless water heaters.

Energy Efficiency

If you use a lot of hot water in a single day, the tankless hot water system might work for you best as it conserves energy better than the regular water heating systems. Although buying a tankless water heater costs more than the traditional version, the end results will be worth it all. Moreover, tankless heaters last longer and would not require replacements after a few years of use. Most people have reported saving energy up to 50% of their initial use. 

Unlike traditional water heating systems, tankless heaters use direct electricity to heat the water. This means no heat is lost during storage, and you only get to use what you need. An energy-efficient water heating system will help you save on costs.

Space Conservation

As you might have already guessed, a storage tank consumes a lot of space, making it hard to fix them in small spaces. With a tankless heating system, you do not need to worry about spacing because there will be no tank in the first place. This is an essential factor because homeowners today seek to use as little space as possible to allow room for other projects. Considering their compact size, tankless water heaters can be situated even on outside walls if there is a considerable space issue in your home. 

Saves Time

Unlike storage water heating systems that require more than twenty minutes to heat the water, a tankless heating system heats almost instantly as they work on a few gallons of water every minute. Since storage water heaters carry a lot of water, they often take too long to heat, making them time-consuming. With a tankless heating system, you will get hot water every time you need it and without any delays. 

Additionally, no one will run out of hot water while in the shower because every gallon of water is heating instantly. In the past, the last family member to shower was always guaranteed to use cold water. Tankless water heaters will save you from such agony, ensuring every family member has enough hot water.

How Traps Work With Plumbing Drains In Your Home

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.

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.