Combating Frozen Pipes – Heating Tape It finally looks like winter is coming to an end here in the Northeast and hopefully your pipes made it out okay. As I’m sure most other companies do, we at Resolve Trenchless receive an influx of calls during those harsh winter months regarding water pipes bursting. When water is exposed to temperatures below freezing, science indicates that it is going to freeze (imagine that), and being in your pipes makes no exception to this phenomenon. When water freezes in your pipes, they become fragile and can burst, leaving you without utilities. As you know, one pipe breaking (even to that utility sink in the garage) can affect the entirety of your home plumbing. Insulation can only do so much in keeping exposed pipes warm in harsh cold conditions. Luckily, there’s a product out there to help known as Heating Tape. Available in multiple variations, heating tape is essentially wrapped around exposed pipes and plugged into an outlet. While plugged in, the tape keeps the pipes warm enough to prevent water inside from freezing. Heating tape is fairly inexpensive to purchase. Some more complex variations are even thermostat regulated, and will only turn on when the temperature in that area drops below a predetermined number. Heating tape does require use of your electricity (thus hiking up the electric bill a little), but the cost is minimal at most (think in the realm of $100-ish over the few months needed). While heating tape is certainly a quick fix and most likely not a permanent answer to some exposed water piping, it can certainly prevent some pipes from bursting in the mean time and at an affordable price. Speaking of affordable pricing, if you are one of the unfortunate homeowners bothered by bursting pipes, definitely give us a call at Resolve Trenchless at 888-973-7658, or 215-441-5544 local.
Benefits of a Video Inspection So you’ve been experiencing reoccurring blockage in your sewer line that just doesn’t appear to get the hint. You’ve plunged what seems like hours of your life away, tried some of the liquid plumber stuff and had even rented a snake to try and clear the drain. Try as you might, these only temporarily worked and a few weeks later, you’re met with yet another clog. At this point, it sounds like you’re well over due to have your sewer line video inspected. As the name indicates, a video inspection involves sending a small camera through your line and recording as it winds through. The technician on the other end can look at the feed and determine what the exact issue is and exactly where it is occurring. Prior to the introduction of video inspection, plumbers would need to do some “exploratory digging” (uh-oh) to figure what is going on with your pipes. As the word exploring connotes, this was at–most an educated guessing game that could leave your yard in shambles and you sometimes still knowing nothing about the issue at hand. Providing a minimally intrusive alternative to exploratory digging, video inspection seems like a no-brainer when it comes to identifying and solving plumbing issues. That being said, people seem hesitant to have their lines inspected this way. First and foremost, the worst thing you can do is wait for an issue to become an emergency before addressing. Video inspecting your line at least annually can help prevent future disasters from occurring, saving you a ton of money in the long run. In a society so focused on convenience and efficiency, it’s a wonder why anyone would spend more time than they need to attempting to clear reoccurring clogs. A quick video inspection by a trained professional can expedite any potential solution needed. In the end, its all about saving time and money, both of which we can do here at Resolve Trenchless via a video inspection of your line. Give us a call today to schedule yours at 888-973-7658, or 215-441-5544 local.
Plunging Tips It seems like it should be common sense, but plunging out clogs in your home plumbing takes a little more thought than one might anticipate. First, are you using the right plunger for the job at hand? Your standard sink plunger (think what would you commonly see in cartoons) works well on flat surfaces. An Accordion Plunger works best in toilets, as the smaller cup fits snuggly in the drain, creating a tight seal for optimal suction. Hybrids of these will fit specific scenarios a little better than others, but owning both of these types should address most of your common drain clogs. Now that you have the right plunger, creating a tight seal is your first objective. To do this, make sure the plunger is submerged. Add water if needed, as having the water around the cup helps create pressure. Next, slowly press down on the plunger to release any air that may be hiding in the cup. Pulling back up on the handle will lock the plunger in place and create suction. Using some force, push up and down on the plunger. Try your best to do this vertically, as an angle will only hinder the power created by each push. If there is an open hole (think in your sink or bathtub), be sure to plug it so air does not escape. The vacuum created by the seal and constant back and forth suction will hopefully dislodge any clogged materials that may be wreaking havoc in your pipes. While plunging may solve some clogs, others may need to be examined by a professional. Know when to quit. If your clog does not clear within the first few minutes of plunging, it’s likely something that’s out of your control and will require use of more advanced / complex tools to help break it up. Luckily, your friends over at Resolve Trenchless Solutions are always available and at affordable prices for any problematic clogs you may encounter. Give us a call 24/7 & toll free at 888-973-7658, or 215-441-5544 local.
Say ‘No’ to Liquid Drain Cleaner 20 minutes into your shower and you notice you’re basically taking a bath. The water has just surpassed your ankles, gah! We’ve all experienced troublesome clogs in our bathroom or plumbing in general and almost always think we can fix it ourselves. While a simple plunger to the drain or running a snake may clear some clogs, any sort of liquid drain cleaner should be last on your list of possible solutions. Here’s why: First and foremost, most liquid drain cleaners are essentially a diluted acid. We’ve all seen horror movies where the villain meets his demise falling off a scaffold into a vat of acid. Pretty gory. While definitely exaggerated, there is of course some truth to it. Use of this stuff should be done with caution. Contact with your eyes or skin can lead to some pretty serious burns or scarring in extreme cases. Beyond potential physical harm – old or plastic piping are very susceptible to corrosion as a result of running acidic chemicals down them. As common sense would dictate, if there were a clog, the liquid drain cleaner would likely meet it, and then stick around in that spot for an extended period of time. This prolonged exposure of acid to your piping is just not ideal, simply put. What if some other type of chemical made its way into your plumbing (either naturally, accidentally or even by your own doing) and found its way to some remnants of the liquid drain cleaner? Given the right circumstances (which seriously happen way more than you would think), your pipes could literally explode. What about use in your toilet? With the wax seal used to connect the fixture to the plumbing (keyword here being ‘wax’), any exposure to an acidic chemical can eat away at the seal, leaving you with both a clogged and now leaky toilet. Also, the porcelain of the bowl and liquid cleaner do not tend to mix well. If left for an extended period of time in the bowl, the cleaner can heat up, causing cracks. While liquid drain cleaner may not destroy piping, toilets or wax seals with occasional use, reoccurring clogs indicate that there is a deeper root to the problem at hand. Contacting a professional, like your friends over at Resolve Trenchless Solutions, before you corrode the pipes beneath your sink away is your best bet. And if all that was not enough to steer you away from liquid drain cleaner, think of the environment. One way or another, those chemicals your flushing down your drain will end up in the ocean your family’s vacationing in that summer. Bottom line, leave clogs to the experts and save yourself some money in the long run by giving us a call 24/7 & toll free at 888-973-7658, or 215-441-5544 local.
Trees are great. They provide shade, oxygen, wood and a great space to lose cats, amongst other things. While a tree may adorn your property with all of the aforementioned things, they can also be a complete hindrance to homeowners alike. Between leaves clogging gutters, limbs falling on roofs and roots making their ways into your sewer line, trees sure can go out of their way to cost you a ton a money. Naturally, we here at Resolve Trenchless are concerned with the latter; though we wish you luck with your leaf filled gutters. Too common of an occurrence, tree roots can wreak havoc on main sewer lines, damaging the piping and rendering your facilities useless. While snaking your line may dislodge a temporary clog, tree roots are resilient. Because trees grow, so do their roots. Simply put, this is likely not something you can tackle on your own and will most definitely reoccur if not handled correctly. That’s okay though, we at Resolve Trenchless are close by, affordable and would love to help you out with your tree root issues. The best way to resolve issues relating to tree roots in your sewer line, you ask? Easy, pick up your phone and call toll free at 888-973-7658 or 215-441-5544 local, 24/7 to set up an appointment with one of our trained technicians.
So to your peril, you just opened up your water bill for this past month to find it $50 bucks higher than the previous few. Odd. Unless you’re washing each individual item of clothing by itself, or turning on all your faucets overnight for enjoyment, the likely culprit is your toilet. Toilets account for something like ¼ of indoor water usage, which makes sense when your flushing a gallon of water literally (and figuratively) down the drain multiple times a day. Imagine in addition to regular usage, you’re now losing upwards of a hundred gallons of water a day due to it running or leaking…. or that $50 you just had to fork over to the water company. Let’s take a look at this toilet. Right off the bat, an obvious leak would be apparent. Are you currently reading this, standing in an inch of water? Looks like a leak. Do you hear a hissing sound but live in an area not indigenous to snakes? This is probably a cry for some additional investigation. Perhaps a call to your friends over at Resolve Trenchless is in order? Or maybe the leak isn’t so apparent. Try to dye test. Grab some food coloring from your pantry and put a few drops into the water tank. Check back in an hour. Is there colored water anywhere (floor, bowl, side of tank, etc…) other than the tank? Confirmed leak, my friend. The good news is, most toilet leaks can be fixed by replacing an old, worn out Flapper. This is relatively inexpensive and quick to do. However, if you just had to ask yourself “what’s a flapper?”, it’s probably a good idea to call one of our expert technicians here at Resolve Trenchless. Give us a call 24/7 toll free at 888-973-7658, or 215-441-5544 local.
Few home issues rival the frustration one will encounter when dealing with a clogged toilet or drain. Some clogs may be imminent no matter how careful you are, but there are some things to keep away from your drains to help avoid and prolong them from occurring:
- Hair: Animals aren’t the only species subject to shedding. You may not be aware, but you lose an incredible amount of hair when showering. Don’t worry, this is healthy and usually grows back, so there’s no need to avoid the shower to keep yourself from balding. Your hair ends up entangling and clumps together in the drain piping. This decreases the water removal rate of your drain and can cause water to back up in the tub.
- Soap and Hard Water: Hard Water can be a real jerk (see our recent discussion on the subject). When soap and Hard Water combine, the outcome is a really tough soap scum that sticks to the linings of your drain piping. This unwanted lining will both catch objects passing though the pipes and restrict the amount of room that your used water has to flow through.
- Grease and Fats: This one pertains mostly to your kitchen sink and garbage disposal. You’ve definitely poured bacon grease down your sink drain. When it is hot it looks like a liquid that would pass through like water would, but have you ever left the grease in a pan for a bit? It turns into a gel like substance that’s incredibly hard to wash off. Once this hot grease or oil cools down or hits water as it passes through your pipes, it will congeal and most likely clog them.
- Foreign objects: Duh. I think we all agree that it should be pretty common knowledge not to flush a stapler or pair of socks down your toilet, but there are several items that people flush on a daily basis that may not be so obvious. Feminine products, q-tips, paper towels and trash should all find their way into the trash can, not down the drain. Basically, if it’s not toilet paper or your own human waste, keep it away from the toilet.
We all know that with summer looming in the not so distance future, increased temperatures and humidity will also be showing their not so welcome faces. We also know that these increased temperatures often mean an increase in our electricity bills. While there may be no compromise to running those air conditioners all day long just to make staying inside bearable, there are ways to cut down on some other bills that will have little to no effect on your daily routine or living habits. One valuable resource that we overuse immensely, often times without even realizing it, is our water. Below are some helpful hints on how to decrease your water consumption and thus also decreasing your water bill. Some of these may seem common sense oriented, but many would be surprised at just how many wasteful habits we inherently have when it comes to water use. If you’re paying for all the water that comes out of your faucets, make sure you’re using all of it. If you paid to fill your tank up at the gas station, but only received 75% of the gasoline you purchased, you’d obviously be upset. You should feel the same way when it comes to the water you’re purchasing. Although it seems minimal, if you practice the following habits daily, you can save hundreds of gallons of water each month:
- Washing your hands after using the bathroom? Put soap on your hands prior to turning on the faucet.
- Time to get rid of that 5 o’clock shadow? Don’t run the water throughout the duration of shaving. The same goes for brushing your teeth.
- Nothing beats an ice cold glass of water. So actually add ice instead of running water until its cold. Another alternative is to fill a pitcher and place it in the fridge.
- Have some nice filets to cook but need them to thaw? Try thawing them in the fridge overnight versus running water over them. Thawing them in the fridge does not use any water while running water on them uses… well, a lot.
- What’s worse than having to wash dishes? Having to pay to wash dishes. Running your faucet the duration of washing your dishes can waste up to 14 gallons of water each time. Fill up your sink with warm water and wash them out of there to keep chore costs down.
- Or, are you using a dishwasher? Try scraping any food residue off of the plates instead of rinsing them in the sink. That’s kind of the whole purpose of the washing machine…
- Speaking of dishwashers, try to only run them to wash full loads. Unless you only own one plate and glass to drink from, you surely can get by with letting the machine fill up before using it.
- On a similar note, did you know that 22% of in-home water use stems from washing machines? Yikes! For those of you who didn’t know this, “it’s laundry day” was never more of a viable excuse to wear sweatpants in public. Cut that 22% down by only washing full loads of clothes.
- Baths are great, but the average tub takes almost 70 gallons to fill. A candle lit shower is a bit awkward, but definitely the more cost effective of two.
- Before you go to work in the morning, write down the reading on your water meter. When you come back from work later that day, assuming no one was home to use water, the reading should match what it was before you left. If this is not the case, you most likely have a leak.
- It can be difficult to tell if your toilet has a leak. One way to check if the tank is leaking is to add some dye and check back in a half hour. If the dye has made its way onto your floor or in the bowl, there’s a leak there that needs to be addressed.
While the tell-tale sign of a leak in your home’s drain pipes is usually as easy as looking for a backup of water, there are other several other indicators that can occur well before your clog is so extreme that it causes a backup. If you notice any of the following things, you’ve most likely got a clog coming your way that you should take care of sooner than later. Sinks and Showers:
- Drains Slowly: While water may not be entirely backing up, does it appear as though it’s draining slower than it should?
- Gurgling Sounds: Your pipes are meant to allow whatever is put down it to run smoothly. If you hear a gurgling sound coming from any of your drains, it’s a sign that that something may be obstructing its path.
- Rotting Food Smell: This mostly pertains to your kitchen sink or garbage disposal. If you smell a foul food odor coming from your drain, it’s probably because there’s food stuck in your drain. While your sink may not be backing up now, all it takes is a few additional pieces of food to stick and cause a major clog.
- Toilet Constantly Running: This could be a sign that your toilet is trying to push through a clog. If it’s randomly refilling without being a flushed, you may have an impending clog on your hands as well.
- Poor Flushing: If it seems like your toilet is struggling to flush or won’t flush at all, it could be the result of some blockage or build up.
- Leaks around the Toilet: This could be a myriad of problems, among them being a clog. See our entry on how to detect toilet leaks to help pinpoint the issue at hand.
- Hissing Sound: If you hear a hissing sound or water trickling in your tank, chances are that something is up and you’ll want to address quickly.