When in Doubt, Call in the Plumbing Experts

By | backflow device, backflow prevention | No Comments

drinking water

A licensed back flow plumbing technician can save you
time and money!

It’s easy to take clean running water for granted.You turn on the tap and there it is. When the flow stops running altogether or your water quality degrades significantly, it’s time to call in an expert. You’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

I had a restaurant call me to certify their brand-new backflow.

Backflow preventers are used to keep your water supply from becoming contaminated. A properly installed device helps keep fresh water flowing into your water lines while keeping possible contaminants out. Another company recently installed this backflow preventer, but the technician wasn’t licensed and couldn’t certify the work.

When our licensed backflow plumbing technician arrived, he knew right away that it wasn’t the correct backflow for that installation. Since city requirements change all the time and there can be new ordinances, he tried to call the municipality to double-check if they would accept that backflow for the restaurant.

Our technician was unable to get a hold of the city’s official, but there were only two options: Replace the backflow completely or chance it and pay to have the backflow certified. The customer decided to gamble on the city accepting the backflow at inspection and paid for our tech to certify it.

Gambling can pay off, but it can also cost more money, time and effort in the long run. When the city official inspected the work, the backflow preventer did not pass. In order for the restaurant to continue operating, it had to have the right backflow preventer installed, certified and then re-inspected by the city.

More time. More money. More effort.

The restaurant owner paid for two backflow preventers and two certifications, and was closed until the restaurant passed its inspection. It was a costly mistake that could’ve been easily prevented. This happens a lot, especially in restaurants, because each city has different requirements. Only licensed backflow testers know these regulations. Their continued training and licensing demand it.

Our motto is and always has been to do it right the first time. In the long run, you’ll save time, money and peace of mind.

Troubleshooting Sewer Gas Smells

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When your house smells like sewer gas or methane, here are 5 things to know and check:

  1. The first step is finding where the odor is coming from. Because methane is a heavier gas, it’ll sink rather than rise. When the smell seems to be coming from an area completely away from any drain, look higher and upstream from the air current. Float a feather or a small piece of thin paper to determine air current direction rather than lighting a match when you’ve got methane. Methane can be flammable.
  2. Check the drains. Dry drains can be a major culprit for sewer gas leaks. The drain trap dries out and gets smaller, causing a break in the seal. Re-wet the drain by pouring a 5-gallon bucket of water into the drain, or running the faucet for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Check the pipes under the sink. Is the odor stronger there? If so, is there a leak that you can see? Is there a vent? Call a professional to replace worn and broken parts, ensuring a proper fit and a better smelling area.
  4. The sewer line may be clogged. Do you have a lot of larger trees nearby? Do you have older clay sewage pipes that link your home or business to the city’s sewer lines? Tree roots can grow into clay lines and block waste water leaving your premises. It can make toilets flush slower or incompletely, or even create a sewage backup in your mechanic’s room or basement. When you live with a lot of trees or have older clay pipes, call a professional to clean your sewer line cleanout regularly. It’s well worth it to have good flushing toilets and free-flowing drains!
  5. The roof line stack might be blocked. This feature is usually found around your roofline, and helps pressurize your plumbing, creating the “oomph” to make toilets flush and waste water leave your building. The biggest tipoff to a blocked stack is when toilets don’t flush. A professional can help you here, too, by having the right equipment and experience to clear the blockage and bring back free-running drains.

Keep your place smelling great by keeping these five tips in mind.

Troubleshooting Sewer Gas Smells

The Plumber Who Saved Christmas

By | plumbers | No Comments

Plumbing isn’t for the faint of heart. Or amateurs.

( The following is a true story that happened to our friend and content writer: Lisa Butcher)

For three days, we’d wandered around our 110-year old house, trying to find the source of that distinctive sewer smell. It was so strong it made our eyes water. All we wanted to do was get rid of it! We wracked our brains: Maybe the basement drains were too dry and let gas into the house? Maybe the master cleanout needed to be re-snaked? Maybe the main stack was clogged?

A couple of gallons of bleach poured into all of the drains, a re-caulked floor drain, a call to the drain guy who snakes our cleanout valve twice a year, and a call to the stack guy who cleans out the breather valve on our roof, but to no avail. Where was that smell coming from?

It was the day before Christmas and all through the house, we were gagging on air with the windows pushed out. Holy moly, we had to do something. The whole family was coming into town and we expected a houseful of people in less than 24 hours. Did we have to tell them not to come? That we had a house emergency?

We called in the expert: a certified plumber.certified plumber

Our plumber re-snaked the drains, re-checked the air flow in the roof stack and then checked one last thing: the toilet. The toilet is on the second floor. What would happen with a toilet? It flushed fine, most of the time. Sometimes, we had to flush it twice, but other than that, we didn’t notice anything untoward. The plumber insisted, thinking maybe some of those baby wipes were stuck in the works.

By the way, even if those baby wipes say they’re flushable, they’re not. They can get tangled in sewage systems and shut down part of the waste water system for days.

But we didn’t have a baby, we assured him. We didn’t use baby wipes. Even so, he was pretty adamant. He was pulling the toilet. If it was nothing, well, at least we’d know for sure.

After he turned off the water supply, emptied both the tank and bowl, he pulled the toilet out and stared down the sewer pipe. Sure enough, it was blocked, but not by baby wipes or too much toilet paper. There were tree roots in the sewer pipe of a second-story toilet.

Even the plumber was surprised. A second floor was usually well beyond the reach for tree roots. And yet there they were, blocking the draw on the toilet, causing sewer gas to leak from the base of the toilet, down the stairs and into the main rooms of the house.

Our house had been vacant for a couple of years before we took residency. And we’d had a couple of years where the rains were nearly nonexistent. When it was dry, the neighboring trees searched for the best water source they could find: standing water from the toilet in our house.

The plumber snaked the toilet lines just like he would a cleanout valve. Once he was sure the lines were clear, he reset the toilet, turned the water back on and cleaned everything up neatly.

Honestly, we never would’ve imagined tree roots in a second-floor bath. But when you call in an expert, you get the answers and the solutions you need without a lot of wasted time and money.

Christmas went off without a hitch. And our plumber is on our Christmas card list from now on.

Why You Should Hire a Plumber, Not DIY

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If you want to ensure your home’s plumbing runs at maximum efficacy, hire a reputable plumbing professional for all of the work you need to be done.

We’ve all had those gut-wrenching moments when a waterline burst or our toilet didn’t flush; It happens. When it comes to plumbing, some repairs and replacements can be extremely complex with a high risk of making the problem even worse. For example, replacing a broken inch and a quarter copper waterline; a repair of this caliber requires certain tools and specialized training. Although costs for hiring a plumber can be steep at times, it’s worth it to have a difficult job done right. Let’s go over some key reasons on why you should leave your plumbing to the professionals.

Specialized Training

Professional plumbers are experienced and trained in identifying and fixing a variety of plumbing problems, which means there’s nothing they haven’t dealt with or know how to fix. Plumbing problems require specialized tools like a flaring tool, strap wrench and pipe cutters. You could hire a professional who already has the specialized tools and specific training necessary to complete almost any repair. You don’t want to risk destroying your plumbing or worst off, injuring yourself.

It Could Ruin Your Home

Major plumbing jobs, such as moving bathroom fixtures or swapping a bathtub, can go horribly wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you don’t get everything properly installed and tightened, you can end up with a leak, possibly one that goes unnoticed for ages until it weakens a wall to the point of a catastrophic rupture. Of course, that would also be true if a plumber hired by you made the same mistake, in that case, the plumber would be at fault and would have to pay for the damage. It’s best to leave it to the professionals for the sake of your home and your sanity.

Detailed Diagnostics

An enormous big benefit of hiring a plumber is that you are going to get a very detailed diagnostic report. There are many plumbing problems that the layperson wouldn’t be able to identify. A professional who is well trained can find the problem’s cause and give you a detailed report. Plumbers can check your whole system so that they can find any problems.

Another key benefit of hiring a professional plumber is that you’re given a detailed diagnostics report. A highly-trained professional will be able to locate the source of the problem and provide you with a comprehensive diagnostic report.

Permanent Solutions

When you call a professional plumber, you are going to have someone who can offer you a permanent solution to your plumbing issue. If you hire a competent, professional plumber, you shouldn’t encounter the same problems again. If you are remodeling or adding new construction to your home and you need projects completed in your kitchen or bathroom, a professional is the best option to mitigate the risks of doing it all yourself.

As you can see from what we just went over, you should leave the plumbing to the professionals. Plumbing is a very complicated process that requires years of training and on the job experience. If you want to ensure your home’s plumbing runs at maximum efficacy, hire a reputable plumbing professional for all of the work you need to be done.

Hire a reputable plumbing professional for all of the plumbing work you need to be done.

This article was written by Nina Wells from Clearwells. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.

Peek at the Plumbing before You Purchase

By | plumbing trouble, Uncategorized | No Comments

Are you buying a new home?

Check the plumbing in the new home before you purchase.

Often we hear about people buying a home and then finding out they have plumbing issues that could have been detected before purchase. We’ve composed this list to help you avoid that happening to you.

Check the pipes. A lot of pipes may be hidden in walls, so you may not be able to see everything. Even so, look in the mechanics room or in the basement, under sinks and around toilets. Look for poor connections where leaks are most likely to happen. If you see evidence of water damage, stains, dampness and/or mold, start asking questions: Was this fixed? When? If you’re not getting specific answers, it may indicate that there are expensive repairs in the future.

Check the shut-off valves. You’ll find them around the water heater, behind bigger appliances, to the outside of the house for hoses and sprinkler systems, and to the main water supply. Do the valves twist easily or require a good deal of force? Do they leak when you turn the water off and back on? Do the taps still work a little even though you’ve turned the water off? You may want to have these replaced as a precaution if you have trouble turning the valves or they drip when you test them. When the valves are in poor working order, it’s best to replace them before there’s an emergency.

Check the taps and flush the toilets. How does everything work? Do you see any leaks? Is there a problem with the water going down? Do the taps continue to drip once you turn them off? All of the fixtures in a house may need basic maintenance, such as taps needing new washers or the main cleanout valve needing a cleanout.

Even if you detect some plumbing problems, you may decide the pros outweigh the cons. If you decide to buy anyway, your best bet is to ask for a professional plumbing inspection to provide an estimate. This decision can work to your benefit, as you can negotiate repairs into the final asking price, and avert problems before you move in. We can help.

Call City Wide Plumbing for quality plumbing at an affordable price. 480-966-8795