How Do You Know If A Gas Line Is On Or Off

fire on gas stoveWhen it comes to your safety, absolutely nothing else should matter – except it contributes to ensuring it! If your house uses natural gas, then it is important you know where your gas shut-off valve is located. It could mean the difference between life and death – literally. How can you tell if a gas line is on or off? Read on to find out more.

What Signs Tell Me That My Gas Line Is On Or Off?

The position of the handle of your gas shut-off valve is a clear indicator whether your gas line is on or off.

  • If the handle of your valve lies parallel to your gas line, then your gas line is “open” and gas is flowing through
  • If the handle of your valve lies perpendicularly (at right angles) to your gas line, then your gas line is “closed” and gas is not flowing through.

Where Can I Find My Gas Shut-Off Valve?

Your home’s gas shut-off valve controls the supply of natural gas to your home. Turning them off should only be done when there is an emergency. It, therefore, makes a lot of sense to know where they are located so you can easily access them in a pinch if you need to. If you suspect a gas leak from an open gas line, turn off the gas shut-off valve and exit the house. Remember, safety first.

When it comes to locating your home’s gas shut-off valve, you shouldn’t expect to find it in an area of the house that sees a lot of traffic (for obvious reasons). Shut-off valves are located either outside or inside the home. Some likely places to find them include:

  • Inside The Home

This shut-off valve is also called the “house-side valve” and this ball valve is usually connected to a black iron pipe that supplies gas to your home. The house side valve can be found in the area inside your home where the gas lines from outside feed into the house. This is the gas-shutoff valve you should ideally turn off in the case of a gas leak.

  • Outside The Home

The gas shut-off valve located outside your home is also called the “street-side valve.”  You usually find them near your gas meters either at the front of your house or by the side. They are often rectangular-shaped and are encased in a cabinet. This is the valve your gas company would likely turn off when they come for their rounds.

Once you’ve turned off your home’s gas shut-off valve, you should call the gas company – or a qualified plumber – to come take a look at your gas lines.

If you are unsure of where to find a good plumber near you that specializes in gas line repairs, then your best bet would be to contact us here at Captain Plumber

We have a team of seasoned plumbers ready to resolve any challenge you may have with your gas lines, including repairs and maintenance.

What To Do When You Lose Water Pressure

brushing teeth with no water pressureWho doesn’t enjoy a good bath after a hectic day? We certainly do! And we are sure you do too. And this is all due to water flowing at the correct pressure. So, it certainly feels alarming when the water suddenly trickles down from a steady flow in the middle of a refreshing shower.

What could have happened? Here are four common reasons why you may suddenly experience low water pressure.

  • Your Water Supplier Cut The Flow

Before you reach the plumber, you might want to check in with the neighbors if they’re also experiencing some “downtime” in the showers. If the low water pressure is not peculiar to you, then the issue might be from your water supplier. There may be some repair work going on. Or there may be a problem with the supply pipes. Either way, you need to notify them as soon as you can so they can look into the matter.

  • Your Shut-Off Valve is Half-Shut

Every house has a main shut-off valve. It may take some searching to locate, but you must find it. Why? Well, that’s easy to answer. Your Shut-Off Valve is your first (and sometimes only) link to your water supplier. It controls the amount of water you get from the main supply lines. If it’s turned off or halfway shut, you won’t be enjoying jet-spray showers in the bathroom.

  • Your Pressure Regulator Is Sending An ‘SOS’

Pressure regulators modulate water pressure coming into the house. Not all homes have one. But if you do and you notice that the water pressure is too low, you might want to check it out. There may be something wrong with your pressure regulator that makes it challenging to regulate incoming water pressure. If this is the case, you’d need the services of an experienced plumber near you. Luckily for you, Captain Plumber is just a call away!

  • There’s A Clog In The Pipe

Clogged pipes reduce the amount of water that can pass through them. And a reduction in water flow equals a drop in water pressure. So have a rethink about tossing the remains of last night’s greasy dinner down the drain. Even if you have a “clog removal” solution at home, you can’t tell what effects such a chemical would have on your pipes in the long run. Your best bet? Call a professional plumber to help unclog your pipes.

So what do you do when you notice a drop in water pressure the next time you are in the shower?

Two things!

First, drink a glass of water. No, that doesn’t magically raise the water pressure. That’s to soothe frayed nerves.

Secondly? See if all the valves that ought to be open are open. Or off if they need to be.

If all else fails, you can always call Captain Plumber for a speedy home inspection.

What Is A Faucet Stem?

person turning on cold water and filling glassFewer sounds can be as distracting (or soothing depending on your point of view) as hearing water drip-drop down the sink, especially when you’re in the middle of a meditation pose! You mentally schedule a call to a plumber near you to have it checked out.

However, if you know how to do some essential plumbing work, you might not need to call one after all. Some plumbing repair works are simple to do yourself. Fixing a leaking faucet stem falls under this category of “easy-to-do” plumbing repairs.

But first, what is a faucet stem?

In layman’s terms, a faucet stem refers to the connectors attaching the faucet to the water pipes embedded in the walls. You can quickly identify the faucet stem by counting the number of splines on the broach and comparing the count against a particular chart designed solely for this purpose.

Stem faucets are known as “washer-type faucets’’ or “compression faucets.” They typically have two handles – one for cold water and the other for hot water.

Faucet stem repairs or replacements are some of the more common plumbing repairs homeowners would have to make periodically.

So how do you replace a faucet stem?

Steps In Replacing Faucet Stems

If you are dexterous and can follow instructions, then these tips would be beneficial to you in replacing a faulty shower stem

Turn off the water supply to the faucet. Do this by shutting the supply valve controlling the water supply to that particular faucet. Or shut off the main valves that supply water to the house.

After shutting off the water supply, open the faucets so trapped water can drain out from the lines.

Remove the faucet handle. To do this, begin by removing both the screw and the cap covering the faucet handle with a screwdriver or a pair of pliers.

After removing the faucet handle, your next step will be to loosen the packing nut (or lock nut) with an adaptable crescent wrench.

Now, after removing the packing nut, remove the stem from the faucet by threading it out.

The stem usually has a washer fastened to its underside with a screw. These washers are susceptible to wear and tear as time goes by. There will need to be periodic replacements.

Install the replacement faucet stem by threading it back into the faucet.

Fix the packing nut (lock nut) next. Ensure the lock nut fits just right. Too tight, and it won’t be easy to turn the faucet. Too loose, and water would end up leaking from the faucet stem.

Turn the water back on and check if there are any leaks around the faucet stem. If there are none, you can fix any decorative caps or bonnets previously removed.

If any of the above steps prove too challenging for you to follow, do not fret! Sometimes all you have to do is get expert help.

If you need a qualified plumber near you, call us today at Captain Plumber.


What Causes Pipes To Burst?

water splashingHaving your kids call in to report a burst pipe, just as you’re about to take that well-deserved break at work, can be a total buzz kill! Burst water pipes are among the more common plumbing problems many homeowners face. They usually occur without warning. And are often indications of a much larger problem.

Below are some reasons that may cause your water pipes to burst.

  • Frozen Water

High school physics tells us that water expands while freezing. While this may have been a remarkable fact to explore during science class, it’s not exactly great news for your pipes. When water gets stuck in your water pipes and freezes over, it exerts enormous pressure on the pipes. If the spot where the water gets frozen is one with weak seams? You’d have a burst pipe to deal with in no time at all!

  • Clogged Pipes

We have established that ice buildup within pipes from frozen water can lead to burst pipes. But what you may not know is that a clogged pipe is a burst pipe waiting to happen! How? Well, blockages in drainage pipes restrict the flow of water. This blockage causes a buildup of pressure within the lines. Water pipes are built from durable materials. But there is only so much your water pipe can take under consistent high pressure!

  • Aged Pipes

Time and chance happen to us all. The same holds for your trusty water pipes, too! No matter how strong they are, eventually, they begin to wear out. And as they wear out, they become weak. And susceptible to bursting. So, if your home’s drainage system still uses the pipes the plumbers installed in the 80s, the chances that you’d be calling Captain Plumber very soon are high!

  • High Water Pressure

High water pressure seems to be the villain hiding behind the scene of all burst water pipe scenarios. Many other causes of burst pipes usually point accusing fingers to this phenomenon. And quite frankly, you may have little or no control over it! Your municipal water supplier directly controls the pressure of the water flowing through your water pipes. Constant pressure on your water tubes can make them split.

  • Tree Roots

It’s all well and good to want to have a maple tree close to the house. It makes perfect sense for a beautiful yard. And they certainly make the house cooler during hot summer afternoons! But what happens when the roots of your favorite maple tree meet your underground drainage pipes? Your guess is as good as ours! One or the other has got to give way. And it’s not likely that it’d be your tree.

Now that you’ve seen some of the most common causes of burst pipes, what then should you do?

If you’re thinking of calling a plumber near you, then congratulations are in order! You have the right idea! Contact us today at Captain Plumber for all your plumbing needs.

water dripping into bucket

What Do I Do If I Have A Burst Pipe In My Home?

water dripping into bucketWalking into a flooded living room can feel surreal. Almost like you’re reliving the Titanic all over again in your home. As unsettling as this may be, you need not panic when you find out that a burst pipe is responsible for this crisis.

Before you scream mayday, here are a few tips for you to help manage the situation in time for one of our trusty plumbers from Captain Plumber to swoop in and save the day!

Cut Off Water Supply

The first thing you should do the minute you notice water pooling around your home unnecessarily is to turn off the water mains. You can take it a step further and turn off the electricity mains to avoid accidental electrocution from water splashing or pooling around electrical circuits. Better to be safe than sorry!

Drain Those Faucets!

After turning off the water mains, the next thing to do is empty your faucets. Start by opening up your taps so the remaining cold water in the pipes can flow out. This way, you won’t have to worry about frozen pipes if this happened during winter! Next, switch off your water heater and open up the taps to release all the remaining hot water.

Find The Culprit!

You might need your detective skills for this, but if you’re able to locate the leaking pipe(s), it’d make addressing the issue much easier when the plumber comes around. You’d need to be careful, especially if you’re unsure how long the leakage has been so you don’t end up falling through soaked floorboards. Start methodically from room to room and look for telltale signs of peeling paints and water-stained ceiling boards.

Call For Professional Help

If you’ve done the above steps – even if you couldn’t locate the leaking pipe – the next thing to do is to call in the cavalry! Putting a call through to any of the staff at Captain Plumber is as easy as 123! Our licensed and experienced plumbers are always at your beck and call, no matter the situation. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other plumbing service that offers you quality services at affordable rates the way we do at Captain Plumber!

Clean Up The Mess

After the leaking pipe has been found and plugged, damage control is all that remains to be done. The first step is to salvage what you can, especially important documents and heirlooms. The next step is to mop dry every wet area. Open up your windows and turn on your fans to speed up the drying process. It’s also a good idea to treat affected areas with anti-mold disinfectants to prevent a mold outbreak.

Taking care of your plumbing needs – whether it’s a leaking pipe or a clogged drain – will always be a breeze with Captain Plumber on the job. Give us a call today and have one of our awesome staff visit and inspect your home.


Common Causes Of Low Water Pressure

dripping faucet low water pressureThere’s just something about taking a shower and having the water hit you just right after a grueling day at the gym! That feeling is only made possible through your water flowing out at a high enough pressure for you to enjoy your bath.

Water pressure usually falls in the range of 40 to 55 psi. A reading below 40 psi automatically qualifies as low water pressure and indicates a larger issue worth looking into.

So what could be the reason for a sudden drop in your home’s water pressure? Here are four common causes of low water pressure as identified by the team at Captain Plumber. Always remember that no matter how dire your plumbing needs seem, we are but a phone call away!

Old pipes are prone to wear and tear, leading to leaks from joints and endings. Yes, they have been there since you first moved into the house – and they have served you well ever since – but the minute you notice a leak, expect your water pressure to drop, if it hadn’t dropped already. Luckily, this is easy to address as a call to any of our plumbers at Captain Plumber would see the issue speedily resolved.

  • Damaged Water Pressure Regulator

Your house’s water pressure regulator maintains a steady water pressure that is safe for use, usually between 45 and 55 psi. Any damage to this important component of your home’s water system can lead to massive fluctuations between high and low water pressure. To restore things to their normal state, you’d need the services of a licensed plumber to fix – or change – your faulty water pressure regulator.

  • Over-used Mixing Valves

This issue is common in houses that have just one faucet in the bathtub or shower. The faucet houses the mixing valve, which essentially regulates the quantity of either hot or cold water that is supplied to the faucet. If your mixing valve has seen much use over the years, it can get worn out. Once this happens, the temperature and pressure of the water supplied to your faucets would be affected. It would need to be changed as quickly as possible.

  • Blocked Showerheads

Your showerheads can get clogged from the buildup of mineral aggregates within the small pores of the showerhead. When this happens, the flow of water that comes out of your showerhead is reduced, leading to a drop in the water pressure. You can easily get rid of the mineral sediment build-up by unfastening and soaking the showerhead overnight in a bowl of vinegar. You can then remove the remaining undissolved particles with a brush.

If you suddenly notice that water isn’t flowing as well as it used to, that’s a good indicator that your house’s plumbing needs to be checked. Often, it’s a sign of a much deeper underlying problem that would require professional attention.

If you’re looking for a plumber near you, Captain Plumber is just a dial away. We look forward to hearing from you.

Can You Repair Drain Pipes Without Digging?

water draining out of sewer pipeThe main drainage pipes of many homes today run underneath the ground. You’d have to dig up the dirt if you had a problem with your sewer line and decided to repair it the old-fashioned way. Stressful, right?

Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can now have your sewer lines fixed without having to uproot your garden petunias. The experts at Captain Plumber are masters at repairing sewer lines without digging in a process known as “trenchless sewer repair”

How Does It Work?

Trenchless sewer repair is a repair method that incorporates technology by using remote-controlled robots that repair damaged pipes without needing to dig trenches. A video inspection is usually done to assess the pipes to both locate the area damaged, and assess the extent of the damage caused.

There are two types of trenches sewer repair methods you can employ. These are:

Cured In Place Pipe Lining (CIPP), or as it’s more commonly called “pipe lining”, is a repair method that lines the inside of an old, damaged pipe with a new one. After a video inspection has been carried out to map out the dimensions of the pipe, the pipe is cleaned up of whatever debris is stuck in it using a hydro-jet. A liquid-based epoxy solution is then slathered over an inflatable tube, which is then inserted into the damaged pipe. The tube is then inflated and allowed to cure, sealing up and essentially replacing the damaged part of the pipe. Epoxy linings are durable for at least 50 years before needing replacement.

Pipe Bursting (Splitting) is a sewer repair method that replaces the damaged pipe by inserting newer, much stronger high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes that end up splitting (or bursting) open the existing pipe. This method of sewer pipe repair is not fully “trenchless” as you would need to dig up a small portion of the ground to provide an access point for the new pipe to be installed. Nevertheless, this “semi-trenchless” sewer repair method is preferable to the conventional method of sewer repair that can be quite damaging to your driveway or your garden landscape.

Benefits Of Trenchless Sewer Repair Method 

  • It’s Fast

Repairing damaged sewer lines using the trenchless method is faster than making the same repairs conventionally. A repair that could take weeks to complete using more traditional methods can be completed in a day or less using the trenchless method.

  • It’s Cost-Effective

Because it takes lesser time and labor to complete, making repairs using the trenchless sewer repair method is less expensive in the long run. The costs of fixing your home incurred from traditional methods of sewer repair generally drive up your bill.

Fixing your sewage lines when they get damaged should be a top priority for every homeowner. Nobody likes a neighbor whose house always smells like a dumpster.

Call a licensed plumber today from Captain Plumber to handle your sewer line repairs – and any other plumbing-related work.

How Do I Identify What Brand of Faucet I Have?

water running slowly out of faucetEveryone knows faucets are crucial to building – residential or commercial. They supply and regulate the flow of water from the pipes. They can be found in the kitchen, the bathroom, the basement, and even outside. Knowing the brand of faucet you have on your property makes it easy to find the right replacement part in case they become faulty. But there are many other important reasons to know.

Why Do I Need to Know the Faucet Brand Installed in My Home?

Surely you can’t be bothered with something so trivial, right? Wrong! Knowing your faucet brand can be important for many reasons.

Let’s say you love your current shower setup. You forgot the ask the builder or plumber what type of hardware you have and it breaks. If you knew what was installed, you could get the accurate duplicate faucet to replace a faulty one. You need not second guess your choice as you are certain you’re buying the right part for the job.

If it came with a warranty, you have access to any warranty coverage for your original faucet when you buy replacement parts directly from the manufacturer. Cool way to save some extra dollars on that repair job for the faucet, right?

Identifying your faucet brand means that whatever upgrade or add-on released by your faucet manufacturer remains compatible if you decide to use those extra features in the future.

Identifying Faucet Brands

There are several ways to identify your faucet brand. You can also use two or more identification methods to determine a faucet brand. These methods include:

  • Using The Manufacturer’s Logo

The fastest way to identify a faucet brand is by searching for the manufacturer’s name or logo. It is important to clean the faucet handles, spouts, and escutcheon as the manufacturer’s name or logo could be imprinted anywhere.

  • Using Spline Count

Most faucets in older homes cannot be identified using the logo, model number, or brand name. In such a case, you would have to detach the broken part. You’d likely be able to get the replacement parts by removing the faucet stem and counting the number of splines (teeth) on its broach.

  • Using Stem Length

If you already have the broach of your faucet out, you may be able to identify the manufacturer and brand by measuring the length of the stem. There is a corresponding point number system to each measurement that gives the length of the stem when measured.

  • Using a Broach Gauge

This is perhaps the most preferred way of identifying the faucet manufacturer and we highly recommend it. A broach gauge works by comparing the faucet handles or stem slot into it against a key to find the perfect match. This is a quick and efficient way of discovering a manufacturer’s brand name.

If all else fails, you could always carry the faucet stem along to your local hardware store and check for a replacement part that fits.

If that’s too much stress for you, why don’t you call us today at Captain Plumber and we’d have one of our experienced plumbers over in no time to look at your faucet. We’d love nothing more than to take that load off your chest!

How Much Does It Cost To Repair/Replace a Shower Valve?

dark shower with chrome valvesShowers have become a common fixture in many homes, if not a necessity. The relative ease of taking a shower makes it readily acceptable to many folks. They come in different shapes and sizes, depending on your taste and preferences. They are great choices if you need to maximize your available space.

Showers can – and do – breakdown from time to time. You’d need the services of a licensed plumber if the damage to your shower is beyond your control. If you’re looking for a plumber nearby, we at Captain Plumber are just a call away to repair your faulty shower.

How Much Should I Expect To Pay For A Shower Valve Repair/Replacement?

On average, you may pay up to $300 for a professional plumber to have your shower valve replaced. A complete replacement of your shower valve by an experienced professional may cost roughly $500. This is often an all-inclusive charge, meaning your payment covers labor and the cost of replacement parts.

Factors To Consider Before Repairing/Replacing Your Shower Valve

  • Are You Fixing Or Replacing?

It is costlier to replace your shower valve than it is to repair broken down parts of it, like the cartridge or stem. You’d need to have a licensed plumber look at your shower unit before you can decide if the damage requires a repair or a replacement.

  • Ease Of Access

If your shower valve comes equipped with an access panel, it makes repair work easier and is less costly than if you were to break a part of the wall to get access to the shower valve. At the end of the day, you’d pay extra to fix the broken wall.

  • Cost Of Parts

Depending on the shower type and model, prices for their replacement parts vary from cheap to expensive. You also need to be sure you’re buying the right spare part. This is where an experienced plumbing service like Captain Plumber comes in. We only use affordable, high-quality parts in our repairs.

  • Cost Of Labor

Although DIY is a much cheaper option to consider compared to hiring a plumber, there’s no denying the fact that some jobs just can’t be done without expert help. It’s also better to pay the price and get it right the first time than having to pay for several expensive reworks.

  • Location

The rates per hour for plumbers differ from town to town. It reflects the prevailing cost of living. Ideally, expect to pay more for a shower valve repair job if you live in the city than you would if you lived in the countryside.

Fixing your faulty shower valves need not be so stressful. If you want quality plumbing work by qualified professionals using only the best tools and materials for the job, your best bet would be to call us at Captain Plumber. We’re always glad to help.

How to Replace a Single-Handle Shower Valve

replacing shower valve in blue showerSome homeowners decide they need to swap their old single-handle valve when they attempt remodeling a part of the bathroom, like the wall tiles. The need to change the wall tiles might reveal that the valve was already corroding, hence the need to change that too immediately.

In this article, you will learn other tips to know when your single-handle shower valve needs a replacement, and the best shower valve to replace the old one with. You will also learn why it might be best to hire a professional plumber to do the shower valve replacement rather than trying a DIY experiment that might not work.

When Should You Replace Your Shower Valve?

  1. You are remodeling your bathroom.

A remodeling process is a good time to have the plumbing service you use check your plumbing to see if anything such as your valve needs repair or replacement.

  1. Your showerhead is leaking.

If your showerhead is leaking water, the problem is most likely coming from your shower valve. Sometimes, fixing or replacing the valve’s cartridge might solve the problem. But if you can, replace the valve, especially if it shows signs of corrosion.

  1. There is an abrupt change in water pressure

A slow response to water temperature and pressure is a good reason to consider getting your shower valve checked.

  1. You have trouble turning on your shower handle.
  2. If your shower handle is stiff to turn on and off, you might need to replace the shower valve.

Replacing And Installing Your Shower Valve 

The first thing you want to do when you confirm your shower valve is faulty is to turn off the source that runs water to your shower. If your home has a good pump, switch off the circuit breaker to the pump motor, then go further to shut off the main valve that connects the pump to a local water supply.

Selecting A New Shower Valve To Use

You can go for a pressure-balancing valve which is more popular or a thermostatic valve which is less common. The major advantage of a pressure-balancing valve is that it allows you to adjust the water temperature in your shower. There’d be just the right ratio of hot water to cold water.

The thermostatic valve, on the other hand, allows you to set the water temperature automatically without having to adjust hot and cold water settings manually. Because of the heat-sensitive material used in manufacturing thermostatic valves, your water will not suddenly become too hot or cold.

Why Should You Get A Plumber To Fix The New Valve For You? 

Whether you decide to get the pressure-balancing valve or the thermostatic type, you need to have it fixed properly to get the best out of your new shower valve. And while there are DIY videos online that will teach you how to do a shower valve replacement, below are some reasons you should get a professional plumber near you to do it.

  1. A good plumbing service such as Captain Plumber knows what they are doing and won’t mess up your plumbing line.
  2. You will save extra costs eventually because they will do it correctly, and you won’t need to revisit the same problem soon.
  3. They have the right equipment which you’d have to buy if you’re fixing it yourself.
  4. An excellent plumbing service such as Captain Plumber will get it done faster, allowing you to resume the use of your shower quickly.

Contact Captain Plumber to check your plumbing and valve, and get a quote within the same day.