How to Stop a Running Toilet Before Calling a Plumber

Are you annoyed by the sound of running water coming from your toilet? A continuously running toilet is enough to drive anyone crazy, especially after a long day at work. A running toilet is usually a sign of a problem inside the tank and, most of the time, you can fix it yourself.

Here are some things you can check on your running toilet before calling in the professional at Eastern Plumbing.

  • Check the Fill Valve – toilets work by measuring how much water is in the tank by using a float. After a flush, which causes the water to drop below a certain level, the fill valve allows the water to fill back up in the tank before the next flush. A faulty fill valve will allow too little or too much water into the tank, which will cause the toilet to not function properly.
  • Check the Float – the float is the plastic part shaped a little like a cup on the fill valve, this is what lets the valve know when the water level is correct. If it is set too high, the water will go into the overflow tube and the water will keep running. If it is too low, the flapper will stay open.
  • Check the Handle – the exterior handle of the toilet is attached to the flush rod, the piece connected to the chain that leads to the flapper. Make sure the chain has just enough slack to open the flapper.
  • Check the Flapper – many times the flapper can be the cause of running toilets. The flapper must create a proper seal, or water will leak from the tank into the bowl, which will cause the water to continuously run to make up for the water line dropping inside the tank. In order to examine the flapper, you must drain the tank first and then shut off the water coming into the toilet using the shut-off valve.
  • Check the Flapper Chain – if the chain is too long it may get caught under the flapper preventing a seal. If the chain is too short, then there is too much tension on the flapper and will prevent it from sealing completely. This is an easy fix….adjust the chain length,

In most situations, a running toilet can be an easy fix, however if you have done the troubleshooting and none of these steps are working, give us a call. The professionals at Eastern Plumbing are happy to come out, take a look, diagnose and fix your running toilet issues – the first time. Give us a call at 252-758-7579 for all your plumbing needs.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking?

Garbage disposals sure are convenient when you are cleaning up your kitchen, however, there’s the possibility it could develop leaks over time. This can lead to water damage under the kitchen sink if it is not fixed right away.

Here are some common reasons why your garbage disposal may be leaking:

  • Leaky Sink Flange – Your sink flange is the piece that connects the garbage disposal to the sink drain and they are typically connected to your sink via the flange and plumber’s putty. Leaks could occur because the connection isn’t tight any longer or it has corroded over time.
  • Worn Out Gaskets – When your garbage disposal leaks you should check the gasket between the flange and rubber seal. If you discover any water drips, then your gasket is probably defective, and it needs to be replaced.
  • Loose Drain Lines – Garbage disposals can leak from the drain lines, so check the spot where the appliance meets the lines. If you find a leak, then check the clamp that holds the garbage disposal to the dishwasher and tighten. Side not, the screws on the dishwasher disposal line may need to be tightened too.
  • Loose Seals or Pipes – Since the space under the kitchen sink is typically used to store items such as cleaning supplies, it could be that someone or something hit the pipes causing a leaking garbage disposal.
  • Split or Cracked Body – Check for large cracks on the surface of the garbage disposal – these could cause the garbage disposal to begin leaking and happens if the disposal is really old.
  • Dishwasher Connection – A garbage disposal leak could be from the dishwasher connection to the drainpipe. The dishwasher is connected to the garbage disposal because the dishwasher dumps food waste into the unit and leaks can occur from cracked or loose hoses.

Fixing a garbage disposal leak isn’t always a difficult task requiring a professional plumber, but if you are not up for the task, then call in the experts at Eastern Plumbing today, 252-758-7579!

Items You Should Not Put Down Your Drain

The holidays are approaching quickly, which means many of us will be spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals and treats for family and friends. It is very easy to let food scraps go down the kitchen sink drain, but there are many foods that should NEVER go down your drain, even if you have a garbage disposal.

To help keep your holiday celebrations from being interrupted due to plumbing issues, do not put the following items down your drain:

1. Grease, fat and oils

These three things seem to be the trifecta of most kitchen plumbing issues. They act as a binder for all sorts of materials and can coat your pipes until nothing can pass through them. We encourage clients to put bacon grease, meat fat and other substances similar to then into a can or jar to allow them to cool and then put in your trash.

2. Coffee Grounds

Over time coffee grounds can get stuck in your garbage disposal and build up in your pipes, which can lead to a serious clog over time – which is fairly common!

3. Eggshells

Eggshells may seem harmless, but when the garbage disposal grinds them up, they can get stuck to fat, grease and oils to create a thick mess that can easily clog your pipes.

4. Rice & Pasta

Starchy foods like rice and pasta will expand when wet and clump together. Even after cooking these two products expand and get sticky. Pasta can easily get caught in your disposal trap causing a clog. A few strands of spaghetti probably won’t hurt anything – just large amount could cause plumbing issues.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal may not directly cause a clog, but it clumps and sticks to anything it comes into contact with, acting like cement to bind scraps together forming clog.

6. Stringy vegetables

Stringy vegetables such as celery and asparagus are difficult for your garbage disposal to grind up and therefore the strings can get wrapped around the blades.

7. Bones

Bones from chicken, beef or lamb are too hard and dense for your garbage disposal to properly grind – they can get stuck in the flywheel and can cause the blades to break. It is best to throw bones in the trash. Fish bones are the only exception because they are usually very tiny bones.

8. Produce Stickers

These little stickers may fall off easily in the sink while washing your produce, however, they can cause big problems inside your pipes if they go down the drain. If they make it past your pipes, they can then get caught in wastewater treatment pipes and filters, which causes problems with the equipment designed to treat your water.

This holiday season, remember to think twice about what you are putting down your drain. If you are unsure and in doubt, dispose those items in the trash to help avoid a plumbing nightmare. But should you forget and end up with a holiday crisis, call the specialists at Eastern Plumbing at 252-758-7579.

When to Replace Your Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet

When it comes to your plumbing, you should be on the lookout for signs of wear and tear or possible damage to your faucets. Your kitchen and bathroom faucets play such an important part in your everyday life that they’re easy to overlook — that is, until they start leaking!

Water leaks can lead to serious damage in your home and can turn into expensive home repairs if you don’t fix them when they first start. But if you do a minor repair and still have drips and leaks, it’s time to replace your faucet.

When to Replace Your Faucet

Faucets aren’t made to last forever, and over time they start to break down from use. The older the faucet, the less likely it will run efficiently which means your water bills could become more expensive. Here are a few signs to look for in determining when to replace your faucet:

  • Does your faucet have mineral deposits? Mineral deposits can build-up inside your faucet, causing them to perform less than optimally. It can affect appearance as well as the inner workings of the faucet.
  • Does your faucet handle stick or crack when you try to move it? Does it take a few seconds for water to come out when you turn it on? These are signs of internal rusting and corrosion. Once this happens, its time to replace it.
  • Does your faucet constantly need repairs? When your faucet needs constant repairs to function, it’s time to replace it. A few repairs here and there are normally cheaper than a full replacement, but if the repairs begin to add up, you might as well save your money and replace it.
  • What is the age of your faucet? A good rule of thumb for replacing any appliance is by its age. Most will last for about 8-10 years. If yours is nearing the end of its lifespan, it might be time to consider a replacement.
  • You may want a more efficient faucet. Older faucets can waste a lot of water, so if you’re trying to cut down on utility costs, consider getting a new modern faucet.

Damaged faucets are much more than a plumbing nuisance; they can cause serious damage in your home if not taken care of right away. So, if it’s time to replace your kitchen or bathroom faucet, call the professionals at Eastern Plumbing. We’ll help you get new faucets installed quickly and efficiently – give us a call at 252-758-7589 today!

Summertime Plumbing Tips

Summer is an exciting and fun time for all. Kids are out of school which means lots of outdoor activities such as taking vacations, going swimming, bike riding, playing ball, summer barbecues and gatherings with friends.

All of these activities mean increased traffic in your home, including many more flushes of the toilet, loads of clothes to wash and dishes to clean. You will probably use the water hose more in the summer to fill pools, water flowers and the law. And many people take more showers during the summer months.

With all of this going on, we sometimes forget to question whether the home’s utilities are ready for all the extra summer traffic. Plumbing remains as one of the most important of those utilities because the pipes and pumps that brings water to us and sends it away are essential to basic sanitation and nutrition.

Trouble with the pipes can range from common and simple, to unusual and complex:

  • Running toilet
  • Clogged toilet, garbage disposal or drain
  • Leaky faucets or spigots (often need an O-ring)
  • Low/declined water pressure
  • Loose toilet or sink
  • Incorrect grade of drain pipes
  • Improper support of pipes, which sometimes makes a hammering noise
  • Pipes to outside not sealed sufficiently
  • Water heater fails, leaks or does not heat
  • Pipes burst or crack
  • Pipes will not flow due to obstruction

There are many proactive and preventative plumbing measures you can take to prepare for summertime so you can enjoy the warm weather instead of worrying about leaks, clogs, low pressure and other plumbing problems.  No matter the concern, it is best to figure it out early before it becomes a big, expensive problem.

Start your summer by going through this check list:

1. Get to Know the Main Water Valve.

It is always good to know where the main water shutoff to your home is located and how to use it. Some homes have a shutoff valve within the structure, such as the basement, garage or utility closet. Others have one outside in the yard or near the water main in the street, curb or sidewalk. You can also consult a plumber during your next call and ask them to show you where it is.

2. Pinpoint the Pressure.

With all the activity that your shower, washer and other utilities will see in a summer season, it is even more important to maintain good water pressure. You can check and measure the household water pressure with a store-bought gauge that you attach to an outside spigot. Generally, the household standard is 40-45 pounds per square inch.

3. Watch the Washer.

Start your summer with a springtime inspection of the washer and all its parts. Pull it away from the wall and check the connections and appearance of the hoses and replace those that are cracked or look distressed.

4. Check Sprinkler Systems. 

Check sprinkler systems thoroughly for leaks — plus, inspect and clean the sprinkler heads at the beginning of the season. If you find any that are broken, not working, rusted or damaged, you can remove the head and replace it.

5. Save Water, Save Money. 

Dripping water at a rate of 1 drip per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons of water in one year. Some ways to conserve water are  lather hands with the water off, turn water off when you brush your teeth, soak dishes rather than scrubbing dishes with water running, wash the car at a car wash and when buying new appliances, choose Energy Star that signifies efficiency.

6. Consider the Code.

Each project, repair, remodel, etc. that involves plumbing must be done to a certain code of standards, whether you live in a city or rural township. States usually set the code and licensed plumbers know and adhere to it.

Call Eastern Plumbing to help you get ready for summertime and remember, good plumbing makes for a happy summer!

Signs You May Need a New Garbage Disposal

You use your garbage disposal every day.  It will shred food waste and other waste and help keep your kitchen drain pipes clear of debris.  Your garbage disposal may last up to 15 years, however that may not always be the case.  Here are a few ways to tell when you need a new garbage disposal:

1. You hear unusual noises.

Look in your drain to see if something’s blocking it, such as a piece of silverware. If you do find something, remove it carefully and try the disposal again.  If it still makes an unusual noise, give us a call.

2. An odor that will not leave.

Rinse and run your garbage disposal several times to see if the odor goes away. Dropping ice chips into the disposal and turning it on for a minute or so can help clean the blades as well.  If not, there may be particles stuck in the disposal that is causing the smell.  You may need a professional to help remove the trapped particles or replace it altogether.

3. Water is leaking from the disposal.

If this is happening, then it may mean you have a crack in the unit and will likely need a replacement.

4. Your disposal will not turn on.

If you have to press the reset button often, and one day it just will not turn on, it is time for a new one.

 

Even the best garbage disposal does not last forever. Give us a call if you need a repair or replacement.  We are ready to help!

Type of Services Offered by Eastern Plumbing

Eastern Plumbing’s services can benefit both residential and commercial buildings. Every homeowner or business owner will eventually encounter an issue with either clean or septic water. That is why eastern plumbing provides services that keep water channeled where it needs to go. With services spanning from installation to repair, maintenance to piping systems, we can fix almost any issue you may encounter.

Our services

Replacements for Old Parts

Even when installed by a professional, toilets, faucets and pipes can suffer wear and tear from daily use. This damage, if ignored, can cause other issues with your property. For example, old pipes are prone to leaks, these leaks can easily go unnoticed and cause damage to your floors, walls and even your foundation! To avoid costly damage, call Eastern Plumbing for all of your part replacements and home water system checkup needs.

Drain Cleaning

Homeowners should always be cautious of what they are putting in their drains to avoid clogging. However, no matter how closely you monitor your drains, dirt and debris can build up in your pipes and begin to clog. These clogs can result in foul odors or even leaks. It is essential to get your drains analyzed and cleaned regularly by a trained professional, like the team at Eastern Plumbing, to avoid further damage.

Inspecting Pipes

When experiencing plumbing issues, you may struggle to determine which pipe is causing your problems. In these situations, it may be necessary to hire a trained professional to inspect your pipes. Inspecting pipes can help determine which pipes are leaking, broken, old or may have a higher chance of bursting. After inspecting, the professional may find that some pipe connections need to be tightened while others need to be repaired. Inspecting your pipes save you from the headache of leaks, or pooling, while keeping your family comfortable and safe.

Modern technology and cameras have given plumbers the ability to see beyond walls, under floors and into plumbing systems. Eastern Plumbing utilizes the latest technology to provide quality service to all of its customers. Our plumbers use cameras to examine drain lines and sewers. This allows them to find blockages and leaks and make necessary repairs before issues escalate.

Installation, Repair and Replacement of Water Heaters

Water heaters are significant plumbing mechanisms that require a trained professional to perform repairs. Plumbing services on water heaters are especially crucial for those residing in multi-story buildings due to the number of pipes and heaters running to each living space. Water heater systems contain water pipes and electrical connections that can be very dangerous when handled by someone untrained.

Sink, Toilet and Faucet Installation

Installation of new or replacement of old toilets, faucets and sinks are crucial to a healthy and happy home. All home plumbing units should remain clean and contain properly functioning equipment.

  • Regular cleaning and repairs to kitchen faucets and drains can keep germs and harmful bacteria from backing up into your sink.
  • Toilet replacement and maintenance can keep septic water from coming back up your pipes.
  • Replacing leaky faucets can save money by reducing your water bill.

All of these can be made possible with the help of a professionally trained plumbing company.

Emergency Plumbing Services

Even with proper maintenance, plumbing emergencies can still happen. That is why Eastern plumbing is here for you through pipe bursts, clogging and leakages. Our speedy repairs can help you avoid further damages and save you money. We are available 24/7 and can help you keep your plumbing in top shape.

Routine Plumbing Maintenance

You do not have to have a problem to give your pipes a checkup. During routine maintenance, your plumber will check to ensure all of your plumbing is operating properly. After your plumber’s analysis they will highlight their results in a checklist. Some of the items on the list may include leaks, testing fixture valves, corrosion, water pressure, inspection of joint and pipes, corrosion and more. A regular inspection can help you understand the state of your home plumbing.

Sewer Lines and Water System Management

When you purchase a home, hire a professional to check and ensure that your sewer system and water lines are working properly. A water efficient system can help save you money and proper sewage drainage can help keep your home healthy and safe.

At Eastern Plumbing, we pride ourselves on providing professional maintenance, installation and upkeep. Our background checked; trained plumbers use advanced technologies to help you with all of your plumbing needs. Call us today at 252-758-7579.

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

No one wants to deal with a clogged kitchen sink, whether it’s a slow drain issue or fully clogged. At some point you will probably find yourself in a situation where the clog is tougher than drain cleaner (which we do not recommend you using!) And what could make it more complicated is if the item causing the clog is something important that was accidentally dropped in the drain and you are hoping to get back.

Here are a couple quick things you can try, but to prevent damage we always suggest calling in the professionals.

1. DIY Drain Cleaner: How to Clear a Slow Draining Kitchen Sink Clog

Chemical drain cleaners are not good for your pipes or the environment, and they can be expensive! You can use vinegar and baking soda for an environmentally friendly solution. Follow these steps:

  • Remove kitchen sink drain cover or sink stopper
  • Pour ½ cup baking soda in drain
  • Pour 1 cup white vinegar in drain
  • Wait 10 minutes & then pour boiling water down drain

Often times the chemical reaction from this solution is enough to dissolve the slow drain and repair the clogged drain.

2. Directions for Plunging a Clogged Kitchen Sink

This method is best to use for standing water clogs. Remember, use a kitchen plunger rather than a bathroom plunger to avoid spreading germs. Follow these steps:

  • If you have a double sink, then make sure to plug up the sink drain on the opposite side with a wet rag to help deliver pressure directly to the clog.
  • Fill the clogged side of sink with a small amount of water for the plunger.
  • Start plunging (remember it is all about the up motion, not pushing down). Hopefully, any food or paper products locked in the pipes will budge when you do this.
  • If plunging won’t fix the problem, you do have a few other options for resolving a clogged kitchen sink.

3. Use a Drain Snake to Clear Out the Clog

If the above methods did not work, then the clog may be farther down the drain so you will need to follow these steps:

  • Run a drain snake down the kitchen drain. These can be purchased at your local hardware store.
  • If this still doesn’t work, try taking the trap beneath the sink apart and snake the drain more directly. Be sure to put a bucket beneath the trap to catch any dirty water. Then begin snaking the drain.

4. Use a Wet Vacuum or “Shop Vac”

Wet and dry vacuums have a lot of suction.

  • Set a wet vacuum to “liquids” and cover the vent
  • Create a tight seal around the drain and cover the overflow tube with your finger or a rag.

       The power of a wet vacuum can often be enough to draw the clogged material up and unclog the drain. Check the bag to identify the source of the clog.  A wet vacuum can also work when you need to recover jewelry from a drain.

5. Last Step:  Call in a Professional Plumber

When you have tried everything and nothing has worked, it is time to call a licensed plumber like Eastern Plumbing at 252-758-7579.

Plumbing Safety Tips for Kids

It is just a fact of life that kids are curious. But when it comes to their favorite toy swimming in the toilet, it is probably time to teach them some plumbing safety. You should show your kids what to do, and not do, but also show them safety measures they can use in case of an emergency.

Safety:  Water Valve

As kids get older, they could find themselves at home alone. Go ahead and show them where the water valve cut off is located. So, in case of an emergency, like a flooded basement or overflowing toilet, they can shut it off.

Safety:  Tools for the Job

We think kids should know the basic difference in what tools are used for different things such as plumbing, carpentry and mechanics. Some common tools used for plumbing include a plunger, basin wrench, plumber or drain snake and a pipe wrench. Just like being able to change a car’s tire can come in handy, knowing how to use these tools could prevent, or stop, any future accidents.

Safety:  Toilet & Sink are Backed Up

Kids can be taught at an early age how to identify and remedy a backed-up sink and toilet. First of all, teach them what can and cannot go in the toilet before they start wanting to watch their toys swim. 

Parents, no matter what the packaging says, DO NOT flush baby wipes! They don’t break down like toilet paper, so you will end up with a backed-up sewage tank. And teach your children not to flush Q-tips, cotton swabs or feminine hygiene products down the toilet. This can lead to septic tank issues which could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

The same approach can be applied to the garbage disposal. Much like the toilet, there are things that do not belong in your garbage disposal. Some kids may like to hear the sound of the grinder tearing up food, but everything isn’t meant for the disposal or your pipes. Some of these include celery, coffee grounds, eggshells, grease, bones, and pasta – just to name a few!

Safety:  Water Heater

Your teens should know how to turn off the water heater, especially if your home has a gas water heater. For electric water heaters, there should be a breaker in the panel box that can shut it off with the flick of a switch.

Another safety issue to teach kids with regards to water heaters is storage, what can and cannot be stored by the water heater.  Toys, paints and solvents and combustible items can start a fire if they are stored too close to the water heater.

At Home Water Science Activities for Kids

Are you looking for fun and interactive outdoor projects to work on with your kids? Then start by gathering some everyday items from around your home so you and your kids can perform these simple water science projects. Teach your kids the science of water with these fun projects!

1. Basic Water Science Experiments

    • Floating vs. sinking: Gather some of your child’s favorite toys along with other household items — measuring cups, plastic toy animals, small plastic cars, blocks, an egg, and coffee filters. Fill a bowl with water and drop the items into the bowl to see which sink and which  float. Older children can make predictions about which they think will sink or float.

For an advanced water science trick, show how the egg sinks when placed into the water alone but floats when sitting on the coffee filter.

    • Air bubbles: Show the magic of water by experimenting with air bubbles submerged in water. Stuff a piece of a paper towel into the bottom of a small cup. Then, with the top down, submerge the cup in the water inside a bowl. When you take it out of the water, have your child try to explain how the paper towel stays dry.
    • Colored bubbles: Drop food coloring down the side of a clear cup. Submerge the cup, top down, into the bowl or tub of water. Watch as the colored dye dissolves into the water, but above, the air bubble stays in place.

2. An Anti-Gravity Water Trick

You will only need a glass, a t-shirt and water for this science trick. To begin, place the cloth over the mouth of the glass, then use your finger to press a slight indent into the fabric. This will help the glass fill with water and dampen the material. Then, fill the glass about three-quarters full of water, and pull the fabric tight over the cup.

At this point, you have two options — either flip the glass quickly, using one hand to hold the fabric tightly, or place one hand over the top and use the other to hold the material and slowly turn the glass upside down. Either way, you will notice the water will not pour out. This trick uses gravity and the high surface tension in water to keep everything in place using the cloth. Now, see what happens to the water if you dab detergent or other liquids on the cloth.

3. The Pepper and Water Experiment

The pepper and water science experiment explores the surface tension of water. For this project, you will need a shallow dish, pepper, dishwashing liquid, and water.

Fill the dish with water and sprinkle pepper over the top, then dip your finger in the water — nothing will happen. Then, do the same with a bit of detergent on the tip of your finger, and watch as the pepper retreats to the edges of the plate. With the detergent addition, the surface tension of the water is lowered.

We hope you enjoyed these experiments with your children, for common or emergency plumbing services and installation, call Eastern Plumbing! Our experienced technicians are available 24/7 at 252-758-7579.

Teaching Kids About Plumbing

Teaching kids about plumbing is a great way for them to learn helpful skills like conserving water and other responsible behaviors.

At an early age kids are fascinated with water, toilets, and everything else they can get their hands on. Teach them what is and is not okay to do in the bathroom to help prevent plumbing issues in the future.

Kids should be taught not to flush:

  • Toys – it’s okay to play with toys in the bathtub, it’s not okay to give the toys a bath in the toilet
  • Wipes – baby wipes, cleaning wipes, “flushable” wipes
  • Q-Tips – they are small, but they can still cause an obstruction in the pipes
  • Dental Floss – it can snag into something and cause blockage.
  • Hair – hair from the shower drain or the hair brush should go in the trash.
  • Diapers – Kids who are learning to potty train should be taught not to take off their diaper and put it in the toilet.

Extra tip: As kids brush their teeth, make sure they keep the water off until they are ready to rinse, this helps the family conserve water and helps lower the utility bill.

Kids who are old enough to do dishes

Helping out can be fun and instills good habits early on. Make sure they know:

  • What NOT to put down the garbage disposal (bones and grease.) You can put food such as  pasta and pieces of veggies in the disposal, but in moderation. This means not a whole pot of pasta or whole carrots😊
  • How to properly clean the dishes before loading them into the dish washer.
  • To only run the dishwasher when full which helps save water.

Old enough to be home alone

Giving your kids independence also means giving them responsibility. When they are home alone, make sure they know how to:

  • Shut the water off  in case there is an emergency leak.
  • Plunge the Toilet if it becomes clogged.
  • Plunge the sink if it backs up.

Teaching kids to be independent and teaching them how to handle simple plumbing issues will be helpful for you  now and in the future. We hope that you will never need us, but if you do, Eastern Plumbing is available 24/7 for all your emergency needs.

Using a Plunger Your Sink

We know, we know, that title may sound a little funny. You may have never thought about using a plunger on your sink. The plunger is just for the toilet, right? But when you have a clogged sink, what do you do about it? We’ve heard of pouring hot water down the drain, using chemicals, and even trying to fish out the clog with a hanger. While some of these may work, more often than not a plunger is actually the best option for your sink. A plunger is a great option for unclogging drains all around your home, provided you know what you are doing.

Remember, plungers are not a one-size-fits-all tool. You need to use the right one for the job. When using a plunger on the sink, we recommend using one that is flat on the bottom, as opposed to a protruding flange plunger. Because sinks are flat on the bottom, using a flat plunger as well will help create a tight seal.

Once you feel you have a tight seal, gently compress the plunger, and use force to pull it back up. Continue this even up-and-down motion. The suction from the plunger will pull the clog up and out of the sink, as opposed to becoming further stuck in the drain. Once the clog is freed, run hot water for several minutes to flush any debris down the drain. This can dissolve soap scum and help prevent new clogs from forming.

Even if you correctly use a plunger on your sink, you may still find that the drain is clogged. This is common! Don’t start taking the whole sink apart to remove the clog though. Instead, call the experts at Eastern Plumbing in Greenville and New Bern, NC. Our professionally trained plumbers have the knowledge to handle this job. Remember, when plungers are not getting the job done, a local professional is just a phone call away!

How to Increase Your Water Pressure

Starting or ending the day with a weak shower isn’t satisfying for anyone. When you start to notice that your water pressure is low, it usually doesn’t rank high on your priorities. If you are a homeowner, you probably have other around-the-house fixes that seem more important, and you just learn to live with low water pressure. But you shouldn’t have to tolerate the trickle. Here are a few things to try to see if it is an easy fix or if it’s time to call a plumber.

Ask Your Neighbors

If you live in a neighborhood, ask around to see if others are having the same problem. If so, the issue could be the city’s water system. Just like the pipes in your home, these systems are also subject to leaks, clogs, buildup, and corrosion.

Clear the Clogs

Overtime, fixtures, valves, and pipes can develop a buildup of mineral deposits. In extreme cases, this buildup can prevent water from freely flowing through. This will leave you with a pitiful drip when you turn on the shower or sink. While some extreme cases can require a professional’s help; you can take care of clogs at your system’s exit points by dissolving any minerals that are gumming up the works inside your faucet fixtures and shower heads.

Place an open zip-lock bag filled with vinegar over your shower head or faucet, tie it in place with some string, and leave it overnight to soak. Rinse off your cleaned fittings the next morning. If this trick doesn’t work and you believe you have a more severe mineral clog inside the pipes, call Eastern Plumbing and we’ll take a look.

Piping

Corroded pipes are a common cause of low water pressure. If you live in an older house with galvanized iron pipes, they could have accumulated corrosion inside over the years. The accumulated corrosion eventually restricts the water flow. Other common piping issues that cause water pressure issues are debris and kinks in piping as well as improperly sized piping.

Check the Valve

Your home has a main water valve, usually located near the meter, which controls the flow of water into your home’s pipes. Locate the valve and check to see if it is completely open. Sometimes the valve gets accidentally turned during routine repairs and maintenance. If, for example, your drop in pressure coincides with recent work you have had done on your home, your contractor may have turned off the main water supply and at the end of the job only partially reopened the valve. This resulted in restricted flow and reduced pressure. Fortunately, the valve is easy for you to adjust yourself!

Look Out for Leaks

Damaged pipes may result in leaking water as it travels through your pipes, leaving you with just a trickle at the tap. To determine if your main pipe has any damage, make sure all faucets indoors and outdoors are turned off, then turn off the water valve in your home and write down the number that appears on your water meter. Return in two hours and take the meter reading again. An increased reading is a sign of a leak—and a sign that it is time to give us a call.

If you discover any concerns or want a professional to take a look at why your home’s water pressure is not up to par, contact Eastern Plumbing today!

How to Maintain a Water Heater

Your water heater probably isn’t something that you think about often. That is, until it stops working! You probably don’t even realize how many times a day you and your family rely on the hot water heater. Your hot water heater works hard to provide you with warm showers, clean clothes and sparkling pots and pans. Did you know, the average life span of a water heater is 11 years? But, without proper maintenance, it may not make it that long! To keep your water heater in top shape, and avoid breakdowns, here are a few ways to show some love to this often-neglected appliance. Note: These tips are specifically for traditional (tank) water heaters.

1. Check and Adjust the Temperature

It is important to keep an eye on the temperature that your water heater thermostat is set too. By default, most manufactures set the temperature to 120 degrees. This is temperature is adequate for most households need. At Eastern Plumbing, we recommend setting the water heater thermostat no higher than 130 degrees. With higher temperatures, you increase the chances of scalding and severe burns. Lower temperatures can extend the life expectancy of your water heater and will also save you money on your electricity bill.

If you have a gas water heater, it is very easy to adjust the temperature. Just locate the thermostat on the tank. For an electric hot water heater, first you need to shut off power to the appliance by flipping the breaker in your service panel. Next, remove the covers and pull back any insulation to reveal the thermostat. You will need to use a screwdriver to change the temperature. Make sure to set both thermostats to the same temperature.

2. Drain the Tank

It is a good idea to flush out your hot water heater tank once per year. Draining the tank gets rid of any sediment that has built up and can clog water lines. A buildup of sediment also reduces your water heater’s energy efficiency.

Draining the tank is a very simple process. Simply, hook a standard garden hose to the drain valve located near the base of the tank. Place the other end of the hose in an area where the hot water and sediment will not cause any damge. Then open the drain spigot to flush sediment from the bottom of the heater. Allow the water to flow until it runs clear.

3. Test the Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety mechanism that prevents your water heater from exploding if too much pressure builds up. If the pressure inside the tank gets too high, the valve will open automatically to release it. Obviously, this is a pretty important part of your hot water heater!

To test the pressure relief valve, place a bucket under the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe is a long, copper or plastic pipe leading down from the tank. Once your bucket is under the pipe, lift the lever. If water comes out of the pipe, you are good to go. If lifting the lever doesn’t open the valve or the valve leaks after you test it, it needs to be replaced.

If you have any questions about water heater maintenance or need any kind of water heater repair, contact the experts at Eastern Plumbing. We have pros experienced in installation and repair of both traditional and tankless water heaters. And, because we know water heater problems can be a real mess and inconvenient for you and your family, Eastern Plumbing offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency service. Give us a call today!

Smart Technology To Save Money on Your Utility Bill

Smart technology is starting to become a norm in households today. Homeowners are implementing all kinds of smart technology to help save money on heating and cooling. However, many are overlooking the smart technology that is available for lowering water usage. Thankfully, there are several in-home technology products that will save you money on your water bills and help the environment at the same time!

The average U.S. household uses about 90 gallons of water every day and a lot of this water is wasted. Showers and toilet flushing are the two biggest culprits when it comes to wasting water with dishwashers, washing machines and outdoor watering right behind them.

Here are some everyday activities and their water usage:

  • Taking a shower for 10 minutes with a regular shower head uses 50 gallons of water.
  • Taking a shower for 10 minutes with a water saving shower head uses 20 gallons of water.
  • Flushing an old toilet will use up to 3  gallons of water.
  • Flushing the toilet with a low flow, flushing toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water.
  • Using a regular dishwasher uses 16 gallons of water.
  • Using an EnergyStar rated dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water.
  • Taking a standard bath uses 36 gallons of water.
  • Outdoor watering for 30 minutes uses 60 gallons.

Other than cutting down on water consumption by taking shorter showers and doing fewer loads of laundry, here are a couple of things you can add to your home to help reduce your water usage:

  • Energy-efficient washers: Typically, an ENERGY STAR washing machine uses 25 percent less electricity than its non-eco-friendly counterparts do, and close to 50 percent less water! You’ll save even more money by washing your clothes in cold water.
  • High-efficiency faucet aerator: Cut your water consumption in half by installing a high-efficiency aerators on your faucets.
  • Smart toilets: Can help you save water, as well as eliminate toilet paper waste. The EPA states that toilets labeled with WaterSense labels can reduce water usage by 20-60% and save around 13,000 gallons of water per year.

When it comes to the latest plumbing trends and the up-and-coming use of smart technology, more and more plumbers are being asked to install more efficient and advanced systems.  Whether you’re looking to upgrade your systems with new technologies or simply looking for a better, more eco-friendly way to use resources, Eastern Plumbing can help you make the transition. Our team is experienced and ready to help so, give us a call today!