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Avoid Some Plumbing Issues

Plumbing problems in your home can range from minor visible nuisances, to hidden troubles that can be causing major damage to your home and your family’s health. This article discusses common household plumbing problems, and what you can do to avoid them.

CLOGGED DRAINS
Clogged drains in your sinks and tubs are definitely a nuisance, and when they get bad, they can cause water to overflow and flood parts of your home. The best way to deal with clogged drains is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

First, try to avoid putting things into your drains that tend to cause problems. A simple way is to add a strainer to your sink, tub or shower. It’s a lot easier to clean a strainer than it is to clear a clogged drain. Also, avoid putting fats, grease, cooking oil or coffee grounds down your drains, as these will tend to cause clogs to build up in your pipes (see types, costs, and reviews of: sink strainerssink cleaning tools).

And next, you can prevent clogs from forming by routinely treating your drains by pouring baking soda into them, and then flushing them down with very hot water. This will help dissolve the grease and loosen small clogs before they become bigger ones. The frequency of how often you will need to treat your drains will depend on how often you are having problems with a particular drain. For example, you may need to treat a bathroom sink only once a year, where your kitchen sink may need it once a month or even once a week. And also, routinely treating your sinks with baking soda is also much better for the environment than waiting until you have a full clog and then having to use harsh chemicals (see costs and reviews of: sink cleanersbaking soda).

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HIDDEN LEAKS
Even very small leaks can cause very big problems if they are allowed to continue unchecked. Unsuspected leaks create a situation of on-going dampness which creates a ripe environment for mold, pests and rotting to thrive.

There are a couple of things you can do to prevent problems from hidden leaks. First, several times a year you should take a flashlight and look in the cabinets below your sinks for any signs of dampness. Next, you should also look around the bases of your toilets for any indications of leaks. And to check to see if your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl because the flapper valve isn’t sealing tight enough, you can put a couple of drops of food coloring into the tank of your toilet, and then come back after an hour or so to see if the water in the bowl is showing any signs of the color (helpful accessory: leak repair kits).

POOR WATER QUALITY
Poor water quality can show up as obvious problems, such as bad taste, color, or odors. But poor quality can sometimes be from unseen factors, which can be very unhealthy for your family.

The first step in dealing with poor water quality is to get your water tested (see costs and reviews of water quality testers). Most good hardware stores will sell test kits which you can use to evaluate potential problems with your home’s water quality.

Some water quality problems can be remedied by installing a water softener. While others can be solved by installing a whole-house water filter. And sometimes all you will need to do is install a simple point-of-use filter for your sinks or shower heads (see costs and reviews of: water softenerswater filters).

For example, a common problem which is finally getting more attention is the dangers associated with high levels of chlorine in household water supplies. There are a number of health problems caused by drinking water which has high levels of chlorine, but the bigger risk is from taking showers using water that has high chlorine levels. The heat and steam of a shower opens skin pores which increase chlorine absorption into your body, and the steam that you breathe in the shower can contain up to 20 times the concentration of chlorine as in tap water. The good news is that these problems can be addressed by installing filters on your shower heads and sinks where you get your drinking water.

For plumbing problems or emergencies, clogged drains, or other plumbing needs, contact Ready Plumbers today at (651) 204-9196​
$150.00 Rooter Service

Winter is here!

The winterization process for your plumbing is nowhere near as difficult as you may believe. A lot of simple steps can be performed that will protect your property during inclement weather. Since your plumbing is the source of a lot of potential issues, annual maintenance should be performed to keep your home safe from disaster.

Here are a few easy steps to take.

Search for leaks. Even a tiny one can be disastrous once the weather grows cold. Carefully examine all of your pipes for leaks when you perform the insulation check above. An insulated pipe with no leaks should be safe during even the worst weather.

Next, take the time to determine the location of your water main shut-off valve. If your pipes do burst, quickly turning off the valve is the difference between a modest amount of damage and a devastating amount of property lost. It’s never fun to think about minimizing damage, but a quick reaction in a crisis can save a fortune. Also note that if several people live in your home, each of them should know the location of the water main.

Another ridiculously easy step that few people consider is to shut your garage doors and close your crawlspace areas. Arctic winds can enter the crawl space and freeze the pipes.

Shutting the garage doors protects your water heater, assuming it is located in the garage.

One of the most important steps literally takes less than five minutes. Simply disconnect your garden hoses from the attached faucets. This step allows the water in the spigot to drain. If you leave the hose attached, the water remains in the pipe, which can lead to serious issues.

Once the weather grows cold, the trapped water in the pipe will freeze and expand. If this does not lead to the immediate bursting of pipes, you may not even realize that you have a problem until you turn on your hose for the first time in the spring. By that point, the damage will be done.

After you have disconnected the appropriate hoses, consider installing an insulated faucet jacket. By doing this, you protect the faucets in the exterior of your home as well as the pipes leading into your house.

Finally, keep an eye on your water pressure. If it diminishes, that is often the tell-tale first sign of restricted water flow. If you have that sort of issue, your pipes could be frozen. Proceed with caution while investigating any potential problem spots in the pipes.

PREPARING YOUR OUTDOOR FEATURES

The favorite place of many homeowners is their backyard. This is the canvas where individual creativity is expressed. Whether you have a fountain, a pool, a hot tub, or automatic sprinkler in your backyard,
care must be taken to protect your pride and joy. Winterizing your sprinkler system is not hard. There are, however, several tasks that must be
completed. None of them is difficult or timeconsuming. Simply employ the following checklist, and you will be finished in no time.

• Assuming that you have an underground irrigation system in place, the first step is to drain your sprinkler system of all water. The reason is the same as above. Any lingering water in the pipes can be dangerous. That liquid can expand and freeze, eventually causing the pipes to burst and sprinkler heads to explode. Draining them is a simple safeguard against such a catastrophe.
• Is your sprinkler system operating on a timer? If so, a lot of the previous work that you have done above can be negated if you forget to deactivate your timer. When you perform the faucet tasks above, take an extra moment to turn off your timer, and you should be fine during the winter season.
• If you are a heartier DIYer, a more aggressive solution is to blow out the remaining water in your irrigation system. Rent a compressor at a home improvement store. Shut off the water supply temporarily. Use the compressed air to blow out any remaining fluid in the system. Once you have removed all water, apply insulation along the exterior piping to protect it from extreme winter temperatures.
• For hot tub maintenance, the steps are obvious. Release the connecting plugs. Then, open the drains and perform an eyeball test to make sure that no water is left in the drains. Forgetting to do this can lead to frozen pipes, which can ruin your entire spa system.
• Pool owners should start with the basic step of draining the water. Afterward, drain the equipment as well. All heaters, filters, pumps, and chlorinators should be dry to avoid any concerns about freezing. Since
eliminating all water can be problematic, consider using a shop vacuum or air compressor to blow out these liquids in the same manner as above. After you have finished drying your pool or hot tub, insulate all appropriate piping and backflow systems to protect against harsh conditions.

Realistically, most of the outdoor winterization steps listed in this section can be summarized as “water is bad and must be destroyed before
freezing weather arrives.”

While the steps above initially seem overwhelming, the truth is that many of them can be accomplished in a matter of minutes. Do not feel an obligation to do everything at once. Instead, spend a few minutes each day crossing a couple of these items off your to-do list. In a short period of time, you will have finished winterizing your home. In the process, you will bask in the glow of self-achievement, knowing that you have taken care of your home and your family.

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