With the upcoming holiday just around the corner, we wanted to remind our customers that we are open. We will be on our regular schedule Monday through Wednesday, Closed Thursday with the exception of emergencies, and Friday will also be a regular service day. A few of our technicians will be out of town for Thanksgiving, this may lead to longer wait times as we try our best to accommodate everyone. If you reach our voicemail during this time, please leave a voicemail and we will return your call as soon as possible. Please note, there will be no projects or estimates scheduled this week. We will return to our normal schedule on Monday, December 2nd.
With winter rapidly approaching it is important to remember pipes can freeze. The pipes that are most at risk for freezing are outdoors hose bibs, swimming pool lines, and water lines for irrigation systems. Supply lines that are located in unheated spaces are also at risk of freezing. These lines include water lines located it your basement, crawlspace, garage, and attic. Pipes alongside exterior walls or pipes that have little or no insulation surrounding them risk the possibility as well. Pipes usually freeze when temperatures fall below 20 degrees for a few hours or more. There are a few things you can do to help prevent frozen pipes.
- When the temperature is below 20 degrees leave your faucets dripping slowly.
- Insulate any outside piping.
- Disconnect outside hoses, drain and store them inside.
- Drain water from pools and irrigation systems.
- Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawlspaces to help maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are supply lines present.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate.
- Keep heat set at the same temperature during the day and night.
- If you leave for long periods of time, leave you heat on no lower than 55 degrees.
Drain cleaners seem like an great idea when you’re having drainage problems. Kitchen sink clogged? Shower clogged with hair? Drain cleaner seems like the easiest solution for most home owners. However, most home owners are unaware of the dangers lurking in that bottle of chemicals.
The most common drain cleaners suggest pouring them in to the clogged drain and allowing the mixture to sit and break down the clog. The chemical sits as it is continuously reacting and generating heat to break down the clog. This heat can cause toilet bowls to break, it can cause plastic or PVC pipes to soften, melt, or warp. It eats away at the glue that is used to hold the pipes together. Pipes that are older and already have corrosion damage, may be susceptible to more serious damage that would cause more costly repairs. The physical damage that can be caused by back splash of chemicals can be detrimental. Just as it melts the hair ball in your pipe, it will melt skin. When using a plunger or auger to clear the clog, it is possible for the water containing the cleaner to splash on you. If you do not flush all of the drain cleaner down with water and mix a cleaning chemical it can cause toxic fumes that can damage your lungs and heart. If you have any questions about drain cleaners please call us at 704-934-0015.
Disposing of cat litter can be a tricky task. Not sure where to put your cat’s dirty litter? After doing some research we can advise you the only safe place for cat litter to be disposed of is in the trash can outside of your home. It is best to double bag the litter and move it to an outside location to prevent the bad smell in you home.
Why can’t I put dirty litter anywhere else?
- It is not advised to place litter inside your kitchen trash because it can have parasites in it and could contaminate other things in your kitchen.
- It is not acceptable to dispose of litter in your yard because it can contaminate ground water.
- It is the most hazardous to flush litter down your toilet. Cat litter clumps and expands when wet and can clog your pipes or damage a septic system (even the ones that say flush-able).
- Newer water saving toilets don’t use enough water or pressure to move the litter through your pipes.
- Cat waste hardens up fast and dries out, this could be difficult to move through pipes as they bend and turn.
- Flushing litter can introduce a parasite, named toxoplasma gondii, into the water supply. T. gondii is commonly found in cats and flushing this parasite down the toilet can contaminate water supply. Supply treatment centers may not be able to clean all of the parasite out of the water. This increases the possibility of a public infection. Those most at risk are children, elderly people, and pregnant women.
The EPA has classified pet waste as a pollutant that can cause harm to fish and wild life. It can kill native vegetation and cause unsafe water.
What prompted us to write this?
We received a call last week. Our customer was complaining about clogged pipes. We went to the home the same day we received the call. Upon cabling the customers line, our technician pulled back cat litter. This made us wonder how many other customers are unaware of the havoc that can be caused by litter.
Having glass or other foreign objects in your garbage disposal can turn into a major problem. It can cause the blades to get bent, clog your pipes, and even cause your disposal to jam possibly blocking your kitchen sink drain and dishwasher if it is connected. It is best to remove an item that is lodged.
The first thing to do if you have glass in your disposal is to turn off your disposal and to be safe, if possible, switch off the breaker too.
DO NOT STICK YOUR HAND IN THE DISPOSAL!!
Use a tool similar to needle nose pliers to fish out the pieces of glass.
You can also try an industrial size vacuum like a Shop-vac if you have one available.
Make sure you twist the blades to ensure you’ve gotten all the glass. You can do this with a hex key from underneath the disposal or by using a tool. DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS.
Once you are sure you’ve gotten all the glass, you can restore the power to the unit. Run the water to ensure you’ve gotten everything out.
Always keep in mind, retrieving things from a garbage disposal is a dangerous task. If you feel there may be something stuck in your disposal and do not feel comfortable getting it out, please give us a call.
Just an announcement about next week for our company. Sept 30th – Oct 4th is a vacation week.
What does this mean?
- Half of our crew is on vacation.
- Projects and estimates will not be scheduled for this week. We will be scheduling for the week of Oct 7th.
- Emergency and small repair jobs will be taken and done as needed.
- If there is no answer, please leave a voicemail. We will return your call as soon as possible.
- Our Accounting department is closed during this time. Crissie will follow up with everyone when she is back in the office.
We will resume business as normal the 7th of October.
Thank you everyone!
As Winter rapidly approaches, please keep in mind your irrigation system and Backflow device can freeze and burst. If you leave water in the system it can freeze and damage the valves and lines. Preparing your sprinkler system for the Winter months is easy.
Here are a few helpful tips for your irrigation system
- Turn off the timer. Turning off the timer allows the controllers to maintain your settings so you won’t have to reprogram. If you disconnect the power you will need to reset your timer.
- Shut off the water supply using the main valve. Shutting off the main valve will protect your system from having water flowing through it.
- Above ground pipes, valves and devices should be insulated. You can purchase insulation for these devices at most home improvement stores.
If you need any help with your devices please give us a call at 704-934-0015
Knowing the different parts of your toilet can help you better understand where a problem may be coming from. If you notice a bad smell or if you have an overflowing toilet these key parts could prevent you from cleaning up a giant mess.
- Tank- The tank is the back part of your toilet that holds clean water used for flushing the toilet and filling other components.
- Bowl- The bowl holds the waste water.
- Flush Handle- The flush handle is the part used to flush the toilet. It is connected to the trip lever.
- Trip Lever- The trip lever lifts the flapper, allows water to leave the tank during a flush, and lets soiled water out.
- Float Ball- The float ball is used to measure the amount of water inside the tank. It lowers and rises as the water moves through the system. When the tank is full, the ball stops rising.
- Overflow Tube- The overflow tube leads to the toilets drain. It stops the tank from overflowing and pushes out any excess water.
- Flapper Valve- The flapper valve is attached to the flush handle and the trip lever with a chain. Its main use is to keep water inside the tank. It creates suction to help force soiled water down the toilet drain. If your toilet is overflowing, you can try pushing the flapper down.
- Stop Valve- Also referred to as the toilet supply valve, this valve controls the water supply. It is usually located behind the toilet near the floor.
- Supply Tube- The supply tube supplies water to the toilet from the main water line into the refill tube.
- Refill Tube- The refill tube refills the bowl with clean water through the supply tube when the float ball is down.
- Trap- The trap is a seal that prevents water back flowing and prevents odors from seeping through from the main sewer line.
- Wax Ring- The wax ring is a seal between the toilet and the main sewer line. Typically if you have a leak at the bottom of your toilet this is where it is coming from.
A running toilet can waste around 200 gallons of water per day, that equals thousands of gallons per year. On average, a running toilet adds approximately $200 per month to a water bill. If you notice your toilet is making noises after flushing it, you could be wasting money. To be sure of this, you can add a few drops of food coloring into the tank and let it sit. If the food coloring leaks into the bowl, you know your toilet is running.
Replacing Possible Culprits
- The toilet bowl only needs to be replaced if it is cracked.
- Flappers last around 4-5 years on average, however, certain cleaning chemicals used to clean toilets may shorten that to a year or less.
- Handles should be replaced if you have to jiggle it for the water to stop running, if you have to hold the handle down to flush, or if the water runs constantly.
- Wax seals should only need replacement every 20-30 years.
During summer months you may notice your lawn is dry and wilted but, before you decide to turn on the sprinklers, make sure you’ve had your back-flow device tested. On average, around 25% of back-flow devices will fail, possibly putting someone else’s health at risk. The number one cause of back-flow device failure is due to dirt and debris that flows through the pipeline.
Not sure what a back-flow device is?
Back-flow devices or preventers keep contaminated water from moving the wrong way though your waterlines. It’s sole job is to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated due to back-flow. Back siphon-age can occur when the pressure in a tank or water trough is lower than the pressure of the water system. Your water quality may not be affected however, it may cause someone to get sick from drinking contaminated water.
If you need your back-flow devices tested, please call and make an appointment. Please remember, if you need any repairs, they should be made by a certified technician.