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Why You Should Keep Your Drains Clean

sink drain on clean, white backgroundWe can’t overemphasize how important it is to keep your drains clean. Your drains do all the dirty work for you, literally. You should have them professionally cleaned once or twice a year.

Once you have them installed, the most typical reaction is to not deal with them until it develops a problem.

However, if your drains aren’t cleaned properly and regularly, then you may find yourself in a rather sticky situation soon enough. We don’t need to tell you how much repairs cost and often, you’d have to get a whole new one. Here’s a list of reasons why you should keep your drains clean.

  • Prevents Clogs: This is one of the most noticeable benefits of having a clean drain. Day after day, your drain collects not just water but also debris, sludge, grease, and of course hair. Over time, these components build up and can cause reduced water intake and then proceed to clog the drains, completely blocking the water from flowing down into them and flooding the area. It can also cause the pipes to burst and this is not a cheap problem to fix.
  • Prevents property damage: When your drains are clogged, they can further affect other places in your home. Imagine a clogged drain in the sink, the water won’t be able to flow downwards and would settle in the sink. The pipes could also burst under all that pressure and drip the wastewater all over the flooring. A clogged drain in the toilet won’t flush properly and we both know what that means. It could result in flooding and coming home to find your furniture floating on water is not a pleasant sight.
  • Gets rid of Bad Odors: An unclean drain results in the build-up of mold and bacteria and these work hand in hand to produce unpleasant smells in the home. However, they won’t be the only ones causing that. A burst pipe due to a clogged drain will also make your house smell rather unpleasant as well as food particles that get stuck in your drain. A clean drain also makes your home feel fresh, and the atmosphere feels a lot more homely. So, before it clogs, make sure you have it cleaned.
  • Last Longer and Cost less: Cleaning your drains regularly increases the life span and durability. You can trust it to last a little longer and work better than when it wasn’t cleaned. Your drains like everything else need proper maintenance. Doing so cuts down all the costs you’d have to spend on repairs as well. Plus, you’d be able to nip minor problems in the bud before they grow into something more. For example, cleaning your drains before it results in a burst pipe can save you all the extra cash, you’d have to spend replacing your floorboards.

Making sure your drains are properly cleaned will do you a lot better in the long run. So why not call in a professional plumber if you haven’t had your drains checked in a while.

Can I Flush The Toilet When The Water Is Off

empty roll of toilet paper with the words don't panic written on itHaving running water can be overlooked but is one of the best things in life. That’s why it can be a major inconvenience when it gets cut off suddenly, especially when you have to use the bathroom.

However, it may not be as sudden as you think. To avoid being completely dry in emergencies, be sure to follow up on the local news. If a storm has been forecasted, the water supply may be cut off for various reasons and you don’t want to be caught off guard.

It’s good to have water saved up somewhere in case of emergencies. If you’ve been notified of a storm, saving up on water would save you from a lot of stress and embarrassing situations. You could fill a couple of bowls or jugs with water and keep them in a safe place

Has your water been caught off because of damage to the pipes or any other reason whatsoever? You have to figure it out. If it’s a plumbing issue, like a clogged toilet, then you’d have to call a professional plumber as soon as possible to check and fix the problem. However, whether or not the water supply has been cut off, you’d still have water in the toilet because it refills itself after it’s been used and flushed so be sure to check that out.

If there isn’t any water left in the water closet, then don’t fret. You can still use it and flush it properly. Here are two basic methods you could follow quite easily.

The Bucket Method:

You can use fill a bucket with water and pour it into the toilet bowl after you use it. Don’t dump all the water in without caution as it would result in a big mess with your toilet still not properly flushed.

Instead, start with a slow but steady pour then pick up the pace gradually. The toilet is designed to push its contents downwards with the help of the water so you don’t need to worry about anything staying afloat.

Refill The Toilet Tank Manually:

It could be a lot easier to simply fill up the toilet tank manually. To do this get a bucket of water, remove the tank cover and pour the water into the tank. When you’re done, cover the tank back properly and then flush as you’d normally do. It’ll work just as well as it did when you had running water. If there’s a water shortage, you don’t have to fill the tank full. Filling it halfway works just as fine.

Getting to know the reason why your water isn’t running would save you a lot more time and effort. If it’s a plumbing issue hiring the services of a professional is your best option. It would be a lot better to fix the problem immediately. However, if your water gets cut off frequently, you should consider storing a few bowls just in case.

How To Fix A Loose Faucet Handle

person turning on a faucetHaving a loose faucet handle can have you grappling for control, literally. It can be anything but pleasant. However, all hope is not lost yet. The problem might be sorted with a quick fix. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step process to guide you through it.

  • Clear Out Your Workspace: As is standard procedure, you’d need to clear your sink before you start. You wouldn’t want to lose any plates or mugs, so keep everything out of harm’s reach. You don’t want to have water running all over the place and ruining the job, so to be extra safe, turn off the water supply valves. Open the faucet to make sure that the water has been cut off and empty it. That way, you’re certain water wouldn’t be a part of the problem.
  • Get to Know Your Handle: Trust me, it’s not as intimate as it sounds, nor as scary. Just trust the process. A traditional faucet handle has set screws at the top or is covered by small, colored caps. The setscrew is the cause and the solution to your problems so you’d have to find it.
  • Tighten Your Setscrew: If you can see the setscrew, hold on to your faucet firmly and tighten your screw with a screwdriver till it’s nice and firm. If you can’t see it, you’d have to take out those decorative caps with a flathead screwdriver or a small knife. James Bond’s Style. Just make sure you wear a glove. You should be able to see the setscrew now. Tighten it properly and your faucet handle should be back to normal.

If you have a faucet with a decorative handle, the process is a little different, but just as simple as the last. First, you’d have to find those caps at the top or the sides that are housing the setscrew. You are going to need either a flathead screwdriver or Allen’s wrench to screw it tight. Slide the wrench in and feel for the set screw.

Once you’ve got it with your tools, tighten it by turning clockwise slowly and carefully. Avoid tightening your faucet too much as it could cause even more problems later on. Now that it’s nice and tight, replace the caps and turn on your water valves to ensure that they are no leakages or damages. If you no longer have a shaky faucet and there are no water leaks, your faucet is now functioning properly and you can continue using it.

Don’t forget that knowing your faucet handle and using the right tools will aid you better when making these emergency repairs. However, it depends on the reason for the fault. In most cases, you’d have to get a new faucet altogether.

It’s more advisable to call a plumber to provide a better and longer-lasting solution to the problem than to DIY.

 

How Do You Know If Your Sewer Line Is Broken?

lid to sewerThe sewer line is usually out of sight, so it’s rarely suspected when things go south in the plumbing of a building. In this article, you will learn what a sewer line is, how to know if it’s broken, and workable solutions for fixing it.

What is a Sewer Line?

A sewer line is simply a pipe or system of pipes used to remove human waste and provide drainage. It can become broken and the signs are mostly noticeable. It is important to call a plumber immediately to confirm the damage, when you notice the signs. If left unattended, a damaged sewer line can cause more destruction and expenses.

How Do You Know If Your Sewer Line Is Broken?

There are lots of ways to know if your sewer line is broken, but below are five common signs.

  1. Infestation of Rats and Cockroaches

Rodents and cockroaches are sneaky and annoying creatures. They can easily find their way into your home through a broken sewer line. If you are unsure of where and how rats and cockroaches invade your home, reach out to a reliable and efficient plumber to check your sewer line.

  1. Gurgling Toilets

Do you notice your toilet gurgling or making weird noises when flushing? If yes, then there might be something wrong with your sewer line. Call an experienced plumber to confirm your suspicion.

  1. Mold Areas on Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

A broken sewer gives room for moisture and liquid to seep out. This can cause molds on the walls, floors, and ceilings. Contact a plumber quickly, especially if it’s accompanied by offensive smells.

  1. Clogging Pipes

This is the most common sign of a broken sewer line. If you notice your pipes keep clogging after frequent cleaning, then it is most likely a broken sewer line.

  1. Lawns and Concrete Indentations

Do you notice your lawn looking sunken and indented? How about concrete slabs looking indented, sunken even around walkways? Do you notice that some parts of your lawn look greener than others? These are signs of a broken sewer line and require prompt attention.

3 Quick Solutions for a Broken Sewer Line

There are three major ways you can fix a broken sewer line, and an experienced plumber should do this. At Captain Plumber, we are available to help you fix the following:

Pipe Lining – This involves inserting and inflating a unique, epoxy impregnated liner into the old pipe. This will help make a new line in the old line and easily solve the problem.

Pipe Bursting – This is the method of replacing the old pipe with a new HDPE pipe which is attached to a winch with a cone-shaped bursting head that is pulled through the damaged line.

Traditional Trenches – It involves digging up the floor and trenching through the space. It is invasive and expensive, but is the only solution when the pipes are already disintegrated or collapsed. So, you must notice it earlier, before it causes more damage and incurs extra repair costs.

We are available for inspection, repairs, installation, and inquiries on your sewer lines and any other plumbing needs.

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.