Plumbing Questions when Buying a House

Plumbing Questions to Ask Before Buying a House

You make an offer on the home of your dreams and it’s accepted. Per your realtor’s advice, you order an inspection and everything looks good. Or does it? These days, having an inspection done before closing is an expected part of the home buying process. Unfortunately, sometimes these inspections aren’t all that thorough when it comes to plumbing.

More often than not we find that the homeowner didn’t know the existing condition of their plumbing system and within just a few months of moving in they are having to give us a call. Each home’s plumbing system can be different and can have its own problems. So, before you buy the home of your dreams, be sure to have these questions answered.

How Old Is The Plumbing?

If you’re buying a house from the earlier half of the 1900’s or before, you have a good chance of finding the original plumbing and it’s more than likely in need of replacement. Even the best plumbing can’t last much longer than 80-100 years before needing to be replaced. Thankfully, re-piping a house is a fairly straight forward job for any plumber. The price can vary widely depending on the size of the house, which is why it is so important to have a professional take a look so that you can factor the cost of replacement into your home buying budget.

Has The Home Experienced Any Water Damage In The Past?

A good inspector can usually tell if water damage has occurred, and any damage should be disclosed by the previous owner at the time of sale. Nevertheless, you should:

Check that exposed pipes in unheated areas are insulated.

Make sure washing machine hoses are in good condition.

Look for signs of pervious toilet leaks, such as discoloration and/or warping around the base of the toilet.

Often, water damage leads to moisture problems and moisture problems lead to mold. So, if you know there’s been major water damage in the home you have your eye on, you should have a professional check for any signs of mold before signing on the dotted line.

How Old Is The Water Heater?

Having to replace a hot water heater right after purchasing a new house is not ideal for any new home owner. Knowing the age of the home’s water heater before you buy will help you better prepare for when/if it needs to be replaced. Keep in mind, most water heaters have a life expectancy of about 13 years and a new high-efficiency water heater can cost anywhere between $900 and $2,000, depending on the size and model you choose.

Family Size Demand Gallon Capacity Needed
    Electric Gas
5+ High 75
  Regular 80 50
3-4 High 80 50-75
  Regular 50 40
2-3 High 50 40-50
  Regular 40 40
1-2 High 40-50 40-50
  Regular 30 30

How Big Is The Water Heater?

This is a question most home owners don’t think about until they are already living in their new home and have experienced a few too many unwarranted cold showers. To avoid fighting for the first shower every day, make sure the water heater in your future home is big enough to cover the needs of your household. Here’s a helpful guide:

What Are The Monthly Utility Costs?

Knowing the average cost of the utilities bills for your dream home will help you better prepare your monthly budget. It can also help you decide where you might upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances to save on energy costs.

Bonus: Test the Water Pressure

Not everyone likes the same water pressure, so be sure to check it throughout your potential new home to make sure it is just right for you. If it’s not up to par, contact the professionals at Eastern Plumbing to help!

Knowing everything you can about your potential new home’s plumbing gives you a leg up on surprises and helps you budget. The little bit extra you’ll spend on minor maintenance and inspection can go a long way towards knowing what you’re about to purchase, or whether it’s worth buying at all.

With over 15 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in Eastern, NC with their plumbing needs. Our top-notch plumbing technicians are here to help – give Eastern Plumbing a call today!

Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them

 

From bad water pressure to annoying dripping faucets, homeowners endure their fair share of plumbing troubles. Check out these common plumbing problems to learn how to fix them and when it’s time to call in the professionals.

Poor Water Pressure

Low water pressure can affect your shower, sink, and/or toilet. If it only affects one faucet or shower head, it should be an easy fix. The first thing you will need to check is if the low water pressure is affecting both the hot and cold water. If both the hot and cold water have low pressure the most likely cause is the aerator. To clean out a faucet aerator, carefully remove the aerator, wash any debris and put it back on.

However, if the low water pressure seems to be impacting your entire home, it’s time to call in the pros. Low water pressure throughout your home could be a sign of a hidden leak or blockage in your plumbing system, which isn’t something you should tackle on your own.

Slow Draining Sink/Tub

From the kitchen to the bathroom, all drains are susceptible to clogs if they are not maintained properly. If you start to notice slow drainage in your kitchen or bathroom, try cleaning in and around the drain. In the shower, be sure to remove accumulated soap scum and other debris (like hair) from around the drain. In the kitchen, running the garbage disposal to remove food scraps can help your slow draining problem.

If slow drainage persists, you may need professional clog removal and drain cleaning. Don’t hesitate to call Eastern Plumbing; we have been setting the standard in quality service for over 15 years.

Dripping Faucets

Whether they’re producing just an occasional drip or a constant stream of excess water, leaky faucets will drive you crazy. The constant noise of water dripping can be irritating, plus the water you are wasting can drive up your bill. To combat the drip, first try to turn the faucet as far toward the off position as possible. If that doesn’t stop the dripping, the faucet more than likely needs a new washer.

Replacing the washer may be an easy fix for you if you are comfortable taking your faucet apart. If plumbing isn’t your forte though, don’t hesitate to call Eastern Plumbing for help. We’re no strangers to leaky faucets, and our professional technicians can stop those annoying drips in no time.

Malfunctioning Toilet

From overflowing to clogging to continuously running, toilets can have all sorts of problems. If your toilet hasn’t experienced any problems with clogging or overflowing before, you should be able to remove the clog by using a plunger or a plumbers snake. On the other hand, if clogs and overflowing have become a regular occurrence you will want to call a professional so that they can locate the root of the problem. Extreme clogs and excessive overflows typically require professional assistance, since the problem could be a sewer line blockage or a septic tank issue.

Most running toilet problems can be resolved by adjusting or replacing the flapper valve inside the tank. However, sometimes the problem goes deeper, if your toilet is continuously running after every flush, even after a flapper valve replacement; don’t hesitate to call us at Eastern Plumbing.

If you need to consult a plumber, give the experienced professionals at Eastern Plumbing a call. With over 15 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in Eastern, NC with their plumbing needs. Call us today! Greenville 252-758-7579 • New Bern 252-514-0002

5 Drain Issues That May Require A Professional Plumber

 

Do you consider yourself a savvy DIY-er or handyman? That’s great! If you can fix something yourself, you’re going to because it saves you money and you won’t have to worry about finding someone else to do it. Just remember though, not every problem has an easy fix – especially when it comes to plumbing issues. While it is true that minor clogs can be cleared simply by using a plunger or chemical drain cleaner, remember that often times home drainage issues indicate a larger, long-term problem that requires the attention of a professional plumber. If you notice any of these 5 warning signs of drainage issues in your home, contact a professional plumber at Eastern Plumbing right away!

1. Overflowing Toilet

If your toilet overflows it can cause serious damage to your home. Items that don’t belong in the toilet and get flushed can become logged in the pipes. If your toilet overflows multiple times, you should call a plumber. Often times a clog in your toilet is part of bigger drainage issue that will get worse over time.

2. Slow Drainage

As a homeowner, you should never take drainage problems lightly. While it may be easy to just go to your local hardware store for chemical drain cleaner to solve the problem, it can escalate into a much bigger issue. Slow drains can be caused by the early stages of a clog, pipes that have been narrowed by mineral or grease buildup, or even improper grading of your drainage system. Call a professional at Eastern Plumbing to pinpoint the source of the problem – before it damages or breaks your pipes.

3. Foul Odor

Odors emanating from your drains or sinks can be a sign of a major issue. When a blockage begins to form, it can send foul odors into your home. Call a plumber immediately to determine the origin of the smell. The professional plumbers at Eastern Plumbing can use sewer cameras to inspect your lines. This will give them an accurate location to work in and the issue can be eliminated.

4. Major Leaks

If you notice water in your basement and/or near a floor drain, or if you see water bubbling up from the ground, then you may have a major leak in your sewer drain. Leaking drains can require major cleanup and cause environmental damage. It is important to call a professional the moment you notice standing water. Preventing the situation from progressing and correcting it quickly is Eastern Plumbing’s top priority.

5. Unusual Sounds

If you hear gurgling or other strange noises coming from your toilet, drains or pipes, call an expert immediately. This could be an indication that your wastewater isn’t draining properly and an overflow may be on its way.

As you can see not all plumbing issues can be tackled alone. Luckily, the experts at Eastern Plumbing are here to help! Give us a call today.

Choosing The Right Toilet For You


How much thought should you put into picking a toilet? Actually, probably more than you think! While it isn’t the most visually stunning, it is still one of the most important plumbing fixtures in your bathroom. When it comes to choosing a toilet: size, seat height, color, function and other factors should play into your decision.

There are tons of different styles of toilets on the market today.

Two-piece toilets have the tank bolted to the top of the bowl. This is typically the most common and affordable style.

A one-piece toilet has an integral tank and bowl. While they can be a little more expensive, they are much easier to clean because they have no seam connecting the two components.

Wall-mounted toilets can add sleek drama to the space and give your bathroom a more modern feel. Cleaning under a wall-mounted toilet is breeze. However, this high-end fixture can be more expensive to install because it requires a thicker wall to mount the toilet and house the tank. Remember, that with this style, future maintenance could require reopening the wall.

Once you’ve decided on the style of your toilet, consider the size of your toilet bowl and seat as well as the flushing mechanism.

 

Many people find that an elongated toilet bowl and seat is much more comfortable.

In a small bathroom a round toilet bowl and seat can save you space. Consider the size of your bathroom to determine what bowl style will work best.

Push-button toilets are becoming more and more popular. They give your bathroom a modern, spa feel – even if the rest of your house is more traditional.

Lever toilets are usually less expensive. They also have a much more classic look.

While style and cost matter, how much water it uses and how much it can flush matter a little more. The ideal toilet will both conserve water and effectively clean the bowl in only one flush!

If you have questions about choosing or installing the ideal toilet for your space, Eastern Plumbing in Greenville and New Bern can help. Our technicians are experienced in all kinds of toilet installation and bathroom plumbing.

Plumbing Tips For a Worry-Free Holiday

 

During the holiday season, our homes often become the hub for family and friends, but all the hustle and bustle of family gatherings and holiday parties can put a strain on your plumbing. There’s nothing worse than running out of hot water mid-shower when all the cousins are in town or a toilet getting stopped up before the ball even drops on New Year’s Eve. To avoid the issues and have a worry-free holiday remember these plumbing tips…

1. Go Easy on Your Sink

Coming together with family and friends to enjoy a holiday meal is one of the staples of the season. With Aunt Abby’s fruit cake, Uncle Tim’s ham, Grandma’s fudge and all the food in-between it’s almost impossible to clear your plate and you are bound to have some scraps. Avoid a clogged drain and an over-worked/ill-performing garbage disposal by throwing your food scraps into the regular trash and NEVER pouring grease, oil or fat down the drain.

2. Don’t Run Out of Hot Water

If you have a lot of holiday guests using your shower, your hot water could run out pretty quickly. To avoid running out of hot water mid-shower, turn up your water heater to increase its capacity to meet holiday house guest demands (we suggest not exceeding 125ºF). Spacing out the times people shower and allowing the hot water tank enough time to heat up between uses will also help ensure that everyone has plenty of hot water.

If the lack of hot water isn’t just a holiday issue, consider switching to a tankless water heater that will heat water as it is used to make things more convenient. Bonus: you won’t have to worry about running out of hot water for countless holiday seasons to come!

3. Prevent Frozen Pipes

Fitting pipes with insulation, either in sleeve form or wrapping, can help prevent them from freezing. Keeping interior cabinet doors open can also help keep your pipes warm. Pipes are often located in cabinets. When the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to keep these cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes warm as well.

If you are afraid a pipe will freeze on a bitter cold night, it is also a good precaution to allow your faucet to drip slightly. Allowing the faucet to drip will relieve pressure in the system. If a pipe does become frozen, it is the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. Allowing the faucet to drip will prevent this pressure from building up and thus, keep the pipe from bursting.

4. Prevent Clogged Toilets

If your toilet already seems to have a slow or weak flush, this can indicate that a clog is forming in your toilet drain. Instead of waiting until your home is filled with holiday guests and your toilet won’t flush at all, go ahead and take care of the problem (just call us). It is also a good idea to remind your holiday guests to ONLY put toilet paper in the bowl. Flushing facial tissues, wipes, napkins, paper towels, floss, coffee grounds, hair, feminine hygiene products, grease and other fats or oils, medications, plastic and diapers will only contribute to more clogging.

Remember these plumbing tips to avoid issues and have a worry-free holiday AND if a holiday plumbing emergency does occur, don’t forget that you can always call Eastern Plumbing we’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency!

Protect Pipes and Tankless Water Heaters From Freezing Temperatures

 

“Make sure to drip your faucets,” is a piece of advice we often hear from others when the temperatures begin to drop below the freezing mark. You’ll be happy to know these advice givers are right! Leaving your faucet open during cold weather will help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting – which can lead to very expensive damages to your home. In addition to dripping your faucets, there are more ways to prevent winter from wreaking havoc on your plumbing system. Keep these tips in mind as things begin to cool down.

1. Keep Your Heat On

If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, especially around the holiday season, or if you are looking to winterize your vacation home, be sure to keep the heat on. You do not have to set the temperature as high as you normally would if you were actually there, but keeping it set above 50° is advised. This should provide enough warmth to keep the water inside your pipes from freezing.

2. Open Cabinet Doors

You may not know this, but pipes are often located in the cabinets. As the temperature begins to reach the freezing point, it is a good idea to keep cabinet doors open so that the heat from the rest of your house can keep these pipes warm as well.

3. Use Domes on Outside Faucets

To reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing and causing a costly leak, place an insulating dome or other covering on any outdoor faucet or spigot. You can purchase these inexpensive covers at your local hardware or home improvement store.

4. Insulate Your Pipes

It is important to insulate the pipes in your home’s attic, crawl space or other areas that may not have proper insulation. Fit your pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing.

5. Seal Cracks and Holes

While you are in the basement or attic insulating exposed pipes, take the time to look for any holes or cracks that may exist near pipes. Caulk any holes you see on both interior and exterior walls. By doing this you are helping to keep warm air in and cold air out. Remember that in severe cold, even the slightest hole can let enough cold air in to cause pipes to freeze.

Old Man Winter does not look kindly upon plumbing systems. In addition to protecting your pipes from freezing, you should also take measures to prevent your tankless water heater from freezing as well.

6. Insulate External Pipes

While tankless hot water heating systems contain freeze prevention heaters, the hot and cold water plumbing lines leading to and from the water heater do not. Protect these lines from freezing by insulating them with items such as pipe covers, solenoids or heat tape.

If your pipes or tankless water heater freezes despite taking these preventive measures, don’t panic. Just because your pipes are frozen does not mean they have already burst. If you turn the faucet on and nothing comes out, leave it turned on and contact Eastern Plumbing right away. We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency.

Garbage Disposal Do’s & Don’ts

 

Garbage disposals may be one of the handiest appliances in your entire house, or at least we think so! If you disagree, you can at least admit they make things much easier in the kitchen. That is…as long as they are maintained and used properly. When not maintained and used properly, garbage disposals can easily break down, clog and block your drains. Unfortunately, these break downs and clogs can cause a long list of expensive plumbing problems. Don’t worry – we have put together a few Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts to keep our favorite kitchen appliance running problem-free!

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

DON’T just throw everything in it

A garbage disposal is NOT a trash can. You should only use your garbage disposal for small table scraps. Adding too much food at once can result in some serious clogging.

DON’T grind the following items:

  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Metals
  • Cigarette butts
  • Paper
  • Non-food items
  • Large bones
  • Banana peels
  • Fruit Pits
  • Coffee Grounds

Foods that have a lot of strings or fibers such as, corn husks, onion skins and artichokes are also bad for your disposal. If any one of these items from the above list falls into your disposal, turn it off at the circuit breaker and retrieve it safely.

DON’T pour any grease in it

Oils, fats and grease are not good for your disposal. They do not drain properly and will accumulate around the blade system and clog your drains.

 

Garbage Disposal Do’s

DO use it regularly

Frequently using your garbage disposal will help prevent it from rusting and will keep things from getting stuck down there.

DO sharpen the blades

Small chicken bones and fish bones are good for keeping your garbage disposal blades sharp. Running these items through the disposal will help clean grease and other debris from the inside walls of the unit as well. Ice cubes are also a good option for keeping your disposal blades nice and sharp.

DO remember that size matters

How you put things into your garbage disposal and how much you put in your garbage disposal is just as important as what you put in there. To keep your disposal running smoothly and to avoid clogging, just remember to toss your larger food pieces in the trash or chop them up small enough so that the disposal can grind them more easily.

DO flush the disposal every time you use it

Any time you have your garbage disposal running you should have your water running. It is also best to continue running the water for 15 seconds (or more) after the disposal is done grinding so that the water can flush the food down the drain.

DO clean it

Running a little dish soap through your disposal and flushing it with cold water for about 15 seconds after each use should keep your garbage disposal nice and clean. Freezing vinegar in ice cube trays and placing the frozen cubes in the disposal while it runs with cold water will also clean your disposal.

If you are looking for a more heavy-duty clean you can let 1/4 cup of baking soda sit overnight in your disposal, then in the morning (or a few hours later) pour vinegar into the garbage disposal. The combination should bubble and clean the inside of the unit for you.

DO know when to get help from an expert

If you are still having garbage disposal problems, it may be time to call the professionals at Eastern Plumbing. We are available 24/7 for your plumbing emergencies; just give us a call at 252-758-7579 for Greenville, NC and surrounding areas or at 252-514-0002 for New Bern, NC and surrounding areas.

Halloween Plumbing Nightmares… and How to Avoid Them

 

The spookiest season of them all is in full swing, from watching your favorite scary movies to trick-or-treating, the last thing you need is a plumbing problem to spoil your plans. So leave the plumbing tricks to us and starting enjoying all the treats this bewitched season has to offer by avoiding these halloween plumbing nightmares!

1. Double, double toil and trouble; Pumpkin carving and drains will bubble…

Trouble is right… pumpkin pulp and seeds are not meant for your sink or toilet. If pumpkin carving is part of your Halloween plans then it is important to stay mindful of where you choose to dispose of your goo and seeds. As you remove the insides from your pumpkins, keep the guts away from your drains. The sticky pumpkin pulp can stop up your sink drains and clog your toilets. The guts may seem soft, but they can harden in your pipes and cause problems. Pumpkin pulp and seeds can even land those of us with garbage disposals in the middle of a halloween plumbing nightmare. Keep your plumbing damage free and simply toss all of your pumpkin parts in the trash!

2. Put a stop to all the spooky sounds

Are strange noises keeping you up at night? The haunting sounds of your pipes banging, thumping and rattling are scary for more than one reason. When you hear your pipes making these noises it may be a warning sign of something seriously wrong. Your water pressure may be too high or worse, some of your pipes could be loose. Loose pipes can cause flooding in your home among other issues and you should have them fixed ASAP to avoid a real Halloween plumbing nightmare. Find out the cause of those spooky noises by contacting us at (252)758-7579 or (252)514-0002

3. Beware of leaky faucets

Frightening enough, a leaky faucet is a major signal for potential underlying problems with your plumbing system. Unfortunately, that isn’t the scariest thing about a leaky faucet. According to National Geographic, leaks contribute to about 14% of your average water use each day. Which means the scariest thing about a leaky faucet is all the money you are wasting on your water bill. Even small and slow leaks add up. Have a professional fix your leaky faucet and stop your money from going down the drain.

4. Don’t be a scaredy cat, you aren’t alone!

If a plumbing nightmare does strike your home this Halloween season, we are here for you. Our professionals are available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, no matter how scary it may seem!

Contact Eastern Plumbing Today!

The Biggest Plumbing Myths – Busted

 

They have been passed down from generation to generation, but it is time to put a stop to the unnecessary damage and learn the truth behind some of the biggest plumbing myths around. The guide below will help you understand how to maintain your plumbing system and keep the plumbing folklore from ruining your efforts!

Some of the biggest plumbing myths busted:

Myth #1: Lemon is a Natural Way to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

While it may seem like a good idea to freshen up your smelly disposal by running a lemon through it, a lemon will only temporarily take care of the smell and wont actually give your disposal the cleaning it needs. Lemon peels can also be very damaging to your disposal blades. If you are looking for a way to rid yourself of the smell and want to thoroughly clean your disposal without damaging it you’ll need to use warm water, soap, and a brush. If you are looking for a great natural way to clean your disposal try opting in for an all natural soap instead. Before you get to cleaning, make sure to disconnect the disposal from its power source then you are free to clean away!

Myth #2: Running Water While Using the Garbage Disposal Helps the Disposal Function Smoothly

Probably one of the most common plumbing myths is that running water while using the garbage disposal will always help the disposal function smoothly. While this is generally true and most foods, in moderation, can be put down the garbage disposal, many homeowners believe that they can put just about ANYTHING down their garbage disposals as long as they run water. The truth is, certain items should never be put down your disposal, no matter how much water you run. Non-food items and hard or thick foods can severely damage your disposal. Below is a list of some of the biggest disposal no no’s.

Disposal No No’s:
  • large bones
  • coffee grounds
  • egg shells
  • fruit pits
  • grease
  • banana peels
  • any non-food items

Myth #3: If It Seems To Be Working, It’s Working

Just because everything seems to be working as it should, doesn’t mean it is. We have all heard it and/or experienced it, just “jiggle the handle.” Sometimes, the water in your pipes just runs a little slower or it takes a slight adjustment to get the water in your toilet to stop running. These little ‘tricks’ may seem like minor inconveniences now but your plumbing could be on the brink of failure. If your faucets are gradually losing water pressure, there could be tiny leaks and cracks setting you up for a serious situation shortly down the line. If your drains are running slower than usual, they could be getting blocked by debris which can lead to a more serious clog if left unattended. A home’s plumbing system is delicate and even seemingly minor issues can throw the entire system out of order. So, next time you go to “jiggle the handle” on your toilet remember that “if it seems to be working, it’s working,” is just another common plumbing myth.

Myth #4: In Tank Toilet Cleaners Will Keep Your Toilet Clean

Cleaning a dirty bathroom isn’t exactly an appealing job and cleaning the toilet in that dirty bathroom can seem even less appealing. Given the dirty nature of bathrooms, and toilets in particular, it only makes sense that we want to find a fast and easy way to clean them. That’s why many people choose to use the drop-in tank toilet cleaners. While they might look like they are cleaning your toilet on the surface, tank toilet cleaners actually cause more trouble and damage than good. Plastic and rubber parts, such as the gaskets and washers are highly susceptible to corrosion and wear from these cleaners. After using tank toilet cleaners for some time your toilet can start leaking and stop flushing properly. Don’t fall for the tank toilet cleaner myth and try cleaning your toilet manually on a regular basis, directly in the bowl, with cleansers and a brush.

Myth #5: A Leaky Faucet is Nothing to Worry About

For most people a leaky faucet isn’t a big deal, despite this myth, leaky faucets are actually a major signal for potential underlying problems with your plumbing system. All faucets in your house should maintain proper water pressure and should be free from leaks and drips. On top of the potential for underlying problems, ignoring the dripping from your faucet will cost you extra on your water bill. According to National Geographic, leaks contribute to about 14% of your average water use each day. Which means that leaky faucet, that didn’t seem like such a big deal, is actually costing you some real money. If you notice a drip in your faucet, even a small and slow one, don’t ignore it. Bust this myth and have a professional fix your leaky faucet so you can stop your money from going down the drain.

Myth #7: All Plumbers Are Exactly the Same

Many people assume that all plumbers are the same or that a ‘handy man’ can handle the job, however it is important to pick a respected company that you know you can trust in order to be satisfied! You should only accept experienced professionals when it comes to the plumbing in your house so you know the job will be done right the first time.Through quality service, the use of proper plumbing practices, and implementing the newest technologies to provide more energy efficient plumbing practices, Eastern Plumbing has established itself as one of the strongest plumbing companies in eastern North Carolina. Don’t trust your pipes to just anyone when you can count on the experienced professionals at Eastern Plumbing!

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

DIY – Emergency Plumbing Solutions

 

An emergency plumbing situation can occur at anytime of any day. Knowing how to fix urgent plumbing problems in advance is the best way to come up with solutions at the time of an emergency. Knowing how to spot potential plumbing problems can also help you determine whether you will be facing an emergency plumbing situation in the near future. Learn how to prepare and temporarily fix your next emergency plumbing crisis until the professionals are called in.

 

What You Need On Hand:

You never know what emergency plumbing situation you will find yourself in, which is why you must always stay prepared and have these items ready to go in case you spring a leak (or any other plumbing emergency mishap occurs).

  • Use a bucket as your ‘emergency plumbing tool holder.’ If you spring a leak mid-project, it will catch the water and help keep your home nice and dry.
  • Keep heavy duty paper towels or old towels/rags in your ‘emergency plumbing tool kit’ to clean up whatever your bucket doesn’t catch or water from small leaks.
  • Wrenches, wrenches, wrenches – wrenches are an essential tool of any plumber. A pair of medium sized slip joint pliers and an adjustable wrench should cover most jobs. However, it never hurts to have other various sized wrenches ready to go as well.
  • A multi-bit screwdriver is the perfect ‘emergency plumbing tool.’ It is versatile and can help reduce the number of tools in your ‘emergency plumbing tool kit.’
  • Keep a forced cup plunger and a regular plunger handy. Each plunger has its own specific use and provides extra unclogging power!
  • Duct tape and/or leak sealing tape can help out in a plumbing emergency until a permanent fix can be made.
  • Wire coat hangers are a household item that every amateur plumber should keep handy.

Emergency Tips

When it comes to emergency plumbing situations it’s not enough to just have the right tools to take on the job, you have to know a thing or two about how to handle the situation too. These tips will prepare you for your next emergency plumbing crisis.

  • If a pipe bursts, turn off the water supply. While you wait for a professional to arrive and remedy the situation, drain the entire system by turning on all the cold water taps in the house and flushing the toilets. Next, turn your water heater off and turn on all the hot water taps and drain them out as well. When there is no more running tap water, the leak will stop.
  • Use two wrenches at once, turning in opposite directions. This absorbs the stress from the plumbing when tightening or loosening a plumbing fitting.
  • If the water in a clogged toilet keeps rising every time you flush, take a wire coat hanger and bend it into a curved shape and try to remove the blockage inside the toilet bowl. Once you have loosened the blockage, try using a forced cup plunger to fully unclog the toilet. Unclogging a toilet with rising water can be messy job. Be sure to use old towels and rags on the floor to keep the bathroom from getting wet and slippery.
  • Use duct tape or pipe sealing tape to pull together a crack in a pipe. The tape will reduce the leak as a temporary solution.
  • When unclogging the sink or garbage disposal in the kitchen, make sure to turn off the switch for the disposal before trying to unclog or clean it. First, use a long spoon handle or tongs to clean out the fragments of leftovers. Make sure to never put your hands inside the disposal. Next, use two plungers to unclog the sink/disposal. Using a second plunger to cover the other drain will allow you to get the most force. After cleaning the disposal out and plunging the drain, turn on the hot water, turn the power on again and turn on cold water to check if the clog has been cleaned out.

These tips will help to sustain the damage until a professional plumber can be called in to make the repairs.

 

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

What You Need to Know for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

 

The Beatles, denim and Grease with John Travolta— just a few things that will never go out of style. It’s a shame bathrooms aren’t the same way. Years ago you may have loved the wallpaper that adorned your hall bathroom, admired the big gold fixtures on your soaker tub or smiled when you saw your pink tiled countertops. But now, not so much! Or maybe you need to add a tub where there once was a shower in order to accommodate your growing family. For whatever reason, you’ve decided it’s time to give the outdated or non-functional design a well-deserved retirement. So, now begins the remodel process. But before you get started here are a few things you should think about before “demo day.”

 

Toilets

If you’re simply changing out an old toilet for a new one, you may consider tackling this project yourself. But if plumbing is a completely new territory for you, you may want a professional to handle this one and ensure there are no leaks— and trust us bathroom leaks can be messy.

If you are moving a toilet to a new place in the bathroom, there are other things you will want to keep in mind. The first thing to consider is where there are toilet drains and toilet vents. If you move the toilet no further than 48” from the toilet vent, you won’t have to move the vent, you simply have to move the toilet drain. Also, know that the cost of moving both the toilet vent and the toilet drain can get pricey.

 

Sinks

Sinks can be tricky, not because of the installation process, but because of the number of options and varying costs. You could get a pedestal sink, a vessel sink, a wall-mounted sink; the list goes on and on. Decide what type of sink fits best in your space and what style you like the most. Don’t forget to consider if you need cabinet storage under your sink.

It is not unusual to move plumbing lines when it comes to sinks because there are so many styles of sinks. So, don’t be afraid of having to do this. This bathroom sink remodel will likely cost a few hundred dollars in addition to the cost of the sink itself.

 

Showers

When it comes to remodeling the shower, you may be presented with two options: a shower/bathtub combo or a stand-alone shower. A shower/bathtub combo will cost you between $300 and $900 for the tub and walls. For a stand-alone shower, the cost is limited only by your imagination. With this option you will get to choose the tiles, backsplash, doors, and lighting. You may also choose to add extra showerheads in the walls or ceiling.

If you’re relocating the shower, expect to pay about the same as toilet relocation. There are specific codes that plumbers must follow in order to make sure drains and vents are properly angled and securely fitted.

 

Tubs

When choosing a new bathtub, the first thing you need to decide is what general style of tub best fits your needs. Do you want a standard tub that is made for a quick bath? Or do you want a luxurious spa bath designed for soaking?

The average cost of a tub ranges from $200 to $2,000 or more. Moving bath drains and bath vents are comparable in cost to the shower and toilet.

 

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel or in the middle of your own bathroom DIY project, we would love to help.

Contact Eastern Plumbing:
With over 15 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in Eastern, NC with their plumbing needs. Our top-notch plumbing technicians can accurately install any bathroom equipment for any renovation project you decide to tackle!

 

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

5 Most Common Summer Plumbing Problems… and How to Avoid Them

 

Summer is all about having fun – backyard barbecues, enjoying the outdoors, traveling and relaxing. However, the warmer months are a prime time for plumbing problems that may not occur at other times of the year. Here are five common plumbing problems to watch out for, so you can spend more time having summer fun!

1. Clogged Drains

Whether your summer fun includes sandy beaches, surprise muddy afternoon rain showers or grassy sprinkler play, it’s a good bet that it comes with some extra sand/dirt at the end of the day. When washing up after your days adventure, make sure to keep the worst of it out of your drains. They weren’t designed to handle sizable amounts of sand, mud or other debris, and could become clogged or damaged. Instead of hoping right into the shower, hose the kids, any four legged friends and yourself off outside. Knocking any extra debris from clothes, you plan to place in the washing machine, while outside will also give your drains a hand.

2. Washing Machine Maintenance

With the kids at home for the summer, your washing machine will be running a lot more than usual. Those summer activities we love so much, like spending days at the pool or the beach, will also results in more laundry to wash, which can put additional stress on your washing machine. To prevent creating an indoor swimming pool in your house, check the hoses at the back of the machine for any possible leaks. Moving the machine out from the wall a little will help prevent the hose from kinking as well.

3.  Clogged Disposal

With all the barbecues going on and guests running around your house, you will need to be careful of how you dispose of waste food. Avoid flushing hard fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and corn, down your garbage disposal. These types of produce can damage the blades in your disposal or cause unwanted clogs. Hard seeds and pits, including popcorn kernels, can also be a hazard. You also shouldn’t pour leftover grease and oil down the drain after grilling out. Grease and oil can solidify inside a garbage disposal and cause clogs in the drain pipe. It is always (not just in the summer months) a good idea to run cold water through your disposal for a few seconds before and after you use it to clear any remaining bits of food. Following theses tips can help keep your disposal clean and fully functional all summer long!

4. Sprinkler Issues

Having your lawn’s sprinkler system heads inspected and cleaned before the season begins is the first step to having happy and functioning sprinklers all summer long. Throughout the summer it is important to be careful while mowing the lawn. Aboveground sprinkler heads are easily damaged by mower blades and broken sprinkler heads can waste water and cause the grass to die.

5. Sewer Line Backups

Sewers can backup when afternoon summer showers or thunderstorms hit and over saturate the ground. Excessive rain can get into sewer pipes through cracks, causing the sewer line to back up. Servicing your sewers before the summer comes can help you avoid the worst of the issues. Installing a drain plug can also help prevent water from backing up during summer storms. However, if you do see signs of sewer line problems, such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a plumber right away!

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

Saving Water Outside – Tips

 

Outside water use accounts for a large portion of consumption, especially during the summer. To help conserve resources and money, here are a few best practices for this year.

Adjust the height on your lawnmower

By increasing the height of your lawnmower, the grass will be cut at a taller level. Taller grass improves shade on the ground underneath which holds moisture better. This lessens the need to water your lawn as often, therefore saving water.

Aerate your lawn every so often

By inserting holes every couple inches throughout your yard, more water reaches the roots. This also lessens the need to water your lawn as often.

Get rid of weeds every chance you get

Weeds compete with grass and other growth for water and nutrients. This can increase the water needed to ensure desired growth and care.

Go easy on the fertilizer

Using too much fertilizer can increase the amount of water needed for growth. When fertilizer is used, plant growth is promoted, which means the plant needs more water than normal. Allow plants to grow at a normal rate to eliminate the need for excessive water.

Wash your car on the grass

Without the expense of damaging your lawn, park the car on the lawn as you wash it. The runoff water will go into the ground and water your lawn at the same time. Make sure not to use too many chemicals if you use this method. This saves water and also eliminates water running down the driveway and into the street. This same method can apply to washing your pets, but isn’t recommended for humans.

Give your car a “military shower”

When you’re washing the car, turn the water off. Only use the water to wet the car and to rinse at the end. This can save a large amount of water and not at the cost of a less-clean car.

Repair broken or cracked pipes

Water seeping through these pipes can be underneath your house or throughout your yard. This leads to large amounts of water being wasted and used. Eastern Plumbing is ready, 24/7, to help you, contact us today.

All About the Plunger

 

It has saved you many times. It always has your back. When there is nobody to turn to, it can always be the hero in your war with the toilet (and kitchen sink! How to unplug your kitchen sink using a plunger). Everyone has one but most people don’t really know it’s story, and a lot don’t know the proper way to yield one.

Best All-Around

The plunger has a very shady past. The exact inventor and invention date are not known. What is known is that the science behind what makes plungers effective is utilized by many different industries, like in music, auto care and healthcare. It’s effectiveness and usefulness has made it one of the most versatile household instruments around today.

They’re Diverse

There area couple different types of plungers. The classic version is known as the cup plunger. This type is best for sinks, bathtubs and showers. There is also the toilet plunger, which has an additional flap on the inside. The accordion plunger is made of plastic, has a smaller cup and several layers to get maximum suction. The Taze plunger is for more commercial-style clogs, and has a composition that is a little more complicated.

Treat it Well

Make sure to clean your plunger after each use. This will disinfect the germs that are located on the cup and help with potentially bad smells. It is also a good idea to invest in a form of storage for your plunger if it does not come with one. This will aid you in not having to search for it in your time of need as well as protect it from damages.

Game Plan

Before the battle starts, make sure you choose to correct weapon. Figure out the best plunger for your needs. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts, plug all drains around you. This includes showers and sinks. Another expert tip is to spread petroleum jelly on the outside of the plunger. Now it’s time to rock and roll. Be sure to stretch and warm up, and get your mind right. After you ensure the entire rim of the cup is touching the toilet and surrounding the hole, start plunging as linear as possible. Alter the speed of force you use for about 30 seconds, and then try again. If this doesn’t get the job done, it may be time to call in Eastern Plumbing for some backup.

Spring and Summer Plumbing Tips

 

With the rise in temperatures and rain showers, there are preparations homeowners will need to make. Your pipes are coming off of the cold season, and with the change in weather, comes a new set of things to check for and potential problems.

Check Pipes

Due to increased water usage from outdoor actives and consumption from warmer weather, pipe issues can be amplified. Be sure to check pipes throughout your house in order to avoid any spring or summer plumbing issues. Damaged pipes lead to leaks, standing water, wasted money, wall/ceiling/floor damage and that means time and money.

Check Water Heater

In order to save on utility bills, lower the temperature on your water heater and hot water supply. Don’t lower it too much, just a few degrees can save you money each month. This will also help decrease your electricity usage. It is also suggested that if your water heater is more than 15 years old, you consider replacing it. The older a water heater is, the more likely changes in weather could cause a major plumbing problem.

Be Aware of Mold

The hot season brings an increased risk of mold inside and outside the house. Soak up standing water and be on the lookout for any condensation that develops. Mold is typically found in basements, attics, air conditioning units and outside areas. Standing water mixed with warmer weather can also cause damage to your plumbing and health.

Clear Debris

Check all drains, gutters and spouts outside for items that could be blocking water flow. After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.

Inspect Washing Machine

Check for leaks, bulges and damages to cords. This is also another opportunity to look for standing water, which is a sign of a leak somewhere in the piping, machine or surrounding area. It really “stinks” to have either your washing machine or dishwasher stop working.

Call Eastern Plumbing, we’d be happy to assist you through any seasonal changes.