Outdoor Water Pipe Insulation & Other Ways to Prepare for Winter

Outdoor Water Pipe Insulation & Other Ways to Prepare for Winter

If you’re a homeowner or a landlord, you’re likely no stranger to broken pipes caused by ice in the winter. Nothing is worse than having to deal with a water leak from frozen pipes in the dead of winter after a stressful, snowy drive home. The solution? Set up your winter plumbing solutions ahead of time. Don’t let an unexpected and disastrous leak ruin your home and furniture. Want to know how to stop pipes freezing? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about preparing pipes for a long and cold winter, including proper outdoor water pipe insulation.

1. Drain Your Pipes

This step depends on your winter plans. If you need to winterize a home before you head south for the winter, draining your pipes is essential. If you’re staying in the home you’re prepping for winter, this won’t apply to you since you use your water every day. For those prepping a home to stay empty for the winter, draining your pipes will almost always prevent burst pipes. If there’s no water to freeze inside the pipes, then there’s no way for the pipe to burst. First, turn off all external faucet valves. Disconnect the hoses from all external faucets. Then, turn on your external faucets to run the remaining water out. Don’t skip the last step just because you turned the water off! Any remaining water in the pipes can cause a pipe to burst!

2. Repair Your Leaks

Have you been putting off getting a pipe leak repaired? Relying heavily on duct tape? Maybe you have pipe leaks you’re not even aware of. Now’s the time to take care of those pesky leaks. They can cause and exacerbate leaks in the winter, which can lead to flooding and costly repairs. Your best bet is to hire a professional here. Plumbers are trained to find even the smallest leaks that you might overlook. You’ll thank yourself when winter is in full swing and you’re sleeping soundly with fully functioning pipes!

3. Indoor and Outdoor Water Pipe Insulation

Every home needs outdoor water pipe insulation in the winter, whether you’re occupying the winter home or not. There are a couple of different materials you can use to do this. First, you can use heat tape. This is an easy, simple solution for most homeowners. You simply wrap the tape around the pipes, and voila. Second, you can use foam tubing. Make sure to purchase the foam tubing with a slit already cut in the side. Pop it on your pipes and you’re good to go!

Prepping Your Property for Winter

Flooding due to burst pipes can lead to terrible home damage, ruined furniture, and a big ol’ headache. You can avoid it with a few simple preparations. Don’t put it off and assume it won’t happen to you! Need help with your outdoor water pipe insulation, pipe repairs, and any other winterization of your home’s plumbing? Get in touch! We specialize in all of the above, and would love to help you start the season with peace of mind!
4 Common Toilet Problems (And How to Avoid Them)

4 Common Toilet Problems (And How to Avoid Them)

1. Toilet Keeps Running

If you have a running toilet that seems to never stop running, you may have toilet flapper issues. Not sure? Try out this easy test.
Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet’s tank when you can no longer hear toilet water running. Leave it for five or ten minutes. When you come back, check the toilet bowl. Does it have colored water in it? If so, you have a flapper problem. To prevent leaks from happening, replace your toilet flapper every four or five years. Toilet flappers are inexpensive and replacing or fixing them on time will save you from experiencing more toilet problems in the long run.

2. Clogged Toilet Problems

If you attempt to flush and things haven’t gone down the way you expected, don’t try again. You may have a clog on your hands.
Repeated flushing will cause your toilet to overflow. To avoid this catastrophe, use some elbow grease and plunger!

3. An Unflushable Toilet

When it comes to toilets that won’t flush, one of the following issues may be at fault:

The Handle

A handle which is too tight or loose can create flushing difficulties. Testing out different levels of tightness should reveal what works.

The Lift Arm

A broken or damaged lift arm could also be the culprit. Lift the top of the tank to assess the damage. A new lift arm may be in order.

A Broken Connection

A damaged connection between the lift chain and lift arm is another cause. If you can’t hook the connection back on by hand, you could need a new lift arm.
If your toilet won’t flush and you’re feeling helpless, call in a professional plumbing service. It may take some advanced toilet troubleshooting to figure out the root of the cause.

4. Condensation

Are you noticing lots of beads of water on your toilet and tank? If so, you’re in luck.
This issue happens because of normal condensation (the opposite of evaporation). And it’s a very simple fix!
Most likely, the temperature of the water in your toilet and pipes is colder than the temperature of your bathroom. To get rid of or prevent toilet condensation, decrease the temperature of the room. You can also purchase a foam liner for the inside of the toilet tank.

Wrapping Up

Although toilet problems are never fun, they are a fact of life. And it’s important to know how to prevent and fix these issues to keep your home safe.
Refer to the guide above to prevent the most common problems that householders encounter. And remember, if you feel out of your depth, don’t hesitate to call the pros!
Do you have questions or need any help? Contact us anytime. We’re here to help.
Drain Clearing Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know About

Drain Clearing Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know About

Drain Clearing Tips Everyone Should Know About

Taking a shower in a tub that doesn’t drain well or isn’t draining at all is unpleasant. Soap scum, hair, and debris clog up the pipes and seep into the water at your feet.

No one wants to stand in backed up drain soup. Sink drains can back up the same way, except they offer food debris instead of dead skin and hair.

Whatever version of a drain clog you’re experiencing, it’s time for a drain clearing. If the problem is new and small, you don’t have to call in the big guns yet. There are a few drain clearing methods you can try at home. Read on to learn what they are!

Why Do Drains Clog?

Drains clog for a variety of reasons. The debris that blocks them depends on their location, the habits of people using the drain, and how often it’s pre-emptively cleared out. Most of the time, people don’t do a drain clearing until they notice a problem. That’s mistake number one.

The debris that blocks them depends on their location, the habits of people using the drain, and how often it’s pre-emptively cleared out. Most of the time, people don’t do a drain clearing until they notice a problem. That’s mistake number one.

Drains should be cleared every few months to keep them in clean, working order.

How to Prevent Clogs

Most clogs requiring a drain clearing are preventable. To stop any gross blocks from forming, make sure there’s always a strainer over the drain. When the strainer has debris (hair or food), clear it and throw the debris in the trash — not down the drain.

If you have a sink with a disposal, always let the cold water run while you’re using it. The water helps distribute debris and makes sure it ends up as handle-able chunks. After the disposal is done running, let cold water flow for a minute. This final flush gets rid of any lingering debris and gives the food one last push down the drain.

Drain Clearing Tips

Chemical drain clearing products are intense chemicals and should be handled by a professional as a last resort. The chemicals that break down debris can harm your pipes, your family, and the surrounding environment. Make sure you only use them when necessary.

Read about safer options to try first below.

Volcano Method

Remember in the third grade when making a baking soda and vinegar volcano was all the rage? That same science works to clear your pipes. The small particles in baking soda can get deep into the pipes and into clogs where other products can’t.

To clean your pipes with this method you’ll need

  • white vinegar
  • rubber gloves
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • boiling water

Start out by removing the drain cover or plug, so there’s nothing the product needs to work around. Then, pick off whatever hair or debris from the top of the drain you can see. When the pipe looks clear, measure out a cup of baking soda. Pour the soda down the drain, going slowly to avoid the soda clumping.

Once the baking soda is in place, wash it down with 1 cup of pure, white vinegar. You should hear the fizzing cleaning effects immediately. Let the mixture sit in your pipes for 10-15 minutes.

Once it’s sat for a while, boil a pot or kettle of water. Carefully pour the boiling water down the drain, flushing out whatever the previous chemical reaction loosened up.

Some people prefer to add a cup of iodized salt to this mix, for its light abrasive properties. If you want to give the salty version a try, mix equal parts salt and baking soda and follow the exact steps as above.

Once the drain stops steaming, run hot water into it to help clear anything remaining. If you’re happy with the way the tub/shower is draining, replace the plug and you’re done!

Didn’t work? Learn a more intense solution below.

Drain Snakes

There’s a snake in my drain! Drain snakes are long pieces of plastic with barb hooks cut into them. They’re designed to clear hair-caused clogs and you can buy them at any superstore. Using a drain snake is simple, read just how much so below.

To use a drain snake, all you need is the snake, some old rags, and cleaning gloves. Before you start with the snake, take the grill or plug out. Grab whatever small debris you see at the opening and pull out as much as you can. Once the entrance to the pipe is clean, insert the snake all the way to its handle.

Push the snake down the drain firmly and in feeding motion. When the handle is flush with the opening, wiggle the snake around gently. With the snake all the way in the pipe, pull up on the handle slowly, using one hand on the floor/wall of the tub for stability.

Once the snake is fully out, remove the debris it gathered from the spikes. Using a rag or paper towel, pull the debris in opposite direction of the spikes. It should come right off. Dispose of the debris, and insert the snake again. You can repeat this process until you’re satisfied, but 2-3 times is enough to make a difference.

After the last snake pull, replace the tub plunger or cover and pour hot water down the drain. It will help loosen anything the snake moved but didn’t get a grip on. Turn on the water and check that your drain is working better than it was. Sometimes the difference will be extreme, while other times not.

If it’s less than impressive, you may have a clogged pipe system that needs professional cleaning.

Call in the Experts

If you aren’t having any luck with the above drain clearing tips, stop trying and call a plumber. Let them know the problem you’re having, what you did to fix it, and what is happening now. They’ll be able to assess the problem and suggest or perform solutions.

If you’re having trouble finding a reputable plumber in your area, look no further. Our website lets you easily submit a claim and our employees will match you with a plumber and their personalized quote. What are you waiting for? Get your drain clearing done today!

7 Tips You Need to Know About Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing Leaks can be a headache to get fixed and can also be very expensive. There are certain steps you can take to either prevent leaks or repair the leaks on your own. Here are seven tips that you need to know about plumbing leaks and how to prevent leak problems from occurring.

Wrap Your Pipes in Heat

When the pipe is outside of the building, and temperatures turn cold, the water won’t freeze as long as it is moving. But if the water isn’t being used there is a good chance the pipes will freeze. Therefore, wrap the pipes in insulation and keep the faucet lines open to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes can lead to more problems and damage other than a leak leaving you frustrated and spending, even more, money.

Pay Attention

You don’t need to be a plumbing genius to know when something is wrong with the pipes in your home. Just do routine checks to see if there’s any drips or rust. Without routine checks, you could go weeks without knowing there is a problem until it is too late and suddenly there are puddles or even flooding leading to thousands of dollars in damage.

Watch Your Radiator

Most people don’t even think twice about paying attention to the pitch of the radiator. Make sure that it is always pitched back towards the steam that way the water can drain back into the boiler once it condenses, preventing any leaks.

Water Heaters Don’t Last Forever

Over time, the lining of your water heater will wear away and can lead to water leakage. If you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to catch it before there is any real damage since it normally starts with water leaking from the base. If this happens, call the manufacturer and give them the model number to see if it is still under warranty. Either under warranty or not, the manufacturer should be able to send you a new one.

Faucets Don’t Last Forever Either

Because faucets are mechanical, they are eventually going to leak. This happens because of corrosion, damage, or simply because it is old. It is possible to get it fixed, but most of the time it will be cheaper just to install a new one.

Trace the Leak to its Source

So you notice there is water everywhere, but none of the pipes within view are leaking. What now? Check behind the wall, most of the time it is those pipes behind the wall that connects to the pipelines that are leaking. You may be able to simply fix it by tightening it up with a wrench or your hand.

Replace Your Gasket Before You Blow It

Defective washers or a defective seat within the spout body tend to be the culprit of a leaky shower faucet. If you have isolation valves and can separate the water from that area, it should be a relatively easy fix. Just disassemble the spout once the water is isolated, install a new washer, and then test it out.

If any of the above tips are not resolving your leak problems, then it will be in your best interest to call a babylon plumber and have a professional fix the issue.