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.

Ice Maker FAQ

 

It’s lemonade season. Sun-soaked summer days mean fun outside as well and the need for cool drinks. Your ice maker this time of year is relied upon daily.

Why is my ice maker not producing any ice?

If your ice maker is not making ice, there could be several causes. The most common cause is frozen water in the line. To fix this, first unplug the refrigerator. Then locate the shut-off valve and turn it off. After it is turned off, pour warm water over the water line to defrost it and get water running again. Other methods for thawing out the water line include using a hair dryer, warm towel and just leaving the refrigerator unplugged for awhile.

Why does the ice smell or taste bad?

There are several potential causes for your ice smelling or tasting bad. One is your water filter. If the water filter is old, then it can cause foul odor and taste in the ice. A best practice is to replace the water filter every 6 months or so.

Another potential cause is the food in your freezer. If food has spilled into the ice maker, this could cause odors and bad taste. This could be worse if there is spoiled or bad food in the freezer.

Low usage can also be the culprit. Ice can actually become old and stale, and absorb food odors. Make sure to run the ice machine a couple times a week just to make sure this does not happen.

If different minerals or materials get into the water supply, that can cause bad tasting ice. Make sure to check and see if this is happening before making other changes. This will have to be fixed by a professional.

Why is my ice maker leaking or dripping?

There are several things to check if your ice maker is leaking or dripping. Check the water valve for leaks as well as the water line fittings. If these are not secure or have cracks, that can cause problems with the ice maker.

The refrigerator also needs to be level. If it’s not level, that can cause an uneven flow of water and lead to leaks and drips.

There could also be leaks in different parts of the ice machine or refrigerator. The diagnosis and treatment of this depends on your exact model of refrigerator.

If the ice maker is leaking onto your kitchen floor, then turn off the ice maker and the water supply before anything else is done. This will help you be able to fix the problem and not waste water.

How do I clean my ice maker?

The exact method depends on the model of your refrigerator. But, these are the general guidelines that need to followed. The first step is to lift up the ice maker bar. This will stop the machine from making any more ice and enable you to clean it thoroughly. After you remove the ice maker, fill your sink with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Dip a rag in the water and then wash the ice maker unit in the freezer. After you dry this, wash the ice bin the same way. Now it’s time to sanitize the storage bin. Mix 1/2 cup of bleach in a gallon of water. Dampen a rag and wipe down the ice maker in the freezer. Do the same with the storage bin. After this, run the storage bin through the dishwasher on a sanitizing cycle and then dry off the bin and ice maker unit.

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.

Frozen Pipes – Preventing and Thawing

 

As colder weather sweeps the country, there are many threats to your home’s plumbing. One of these is frozen pipes. When water inside your pipes freezes, it expands. This expansion can wreak havoc on the pipes that run throughout your house, causing ruptures and cracks. There are several steps you can take to prevent freezing from happening, as well as thawing them back out if it does.

Preventing

The best method to ensure healthy plumbing is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Disconnect outdoor water hose

A garden hose left out in the cold can cause a chain reaction of freezing to take place throughout your home. Water could freeze in the hose and then move into the water lines.

Insulating all water pipes

Use foam/rubber pipe insulator or some other safe method to keep pipes dry and help prevent freezing. This needs to be done correctly in order to prevent mold growth and decay by generating and retaining moisture inside.

Keep pipes heated

This can be done in a variety of ways. Heat tape and heated reflector lamps are two examples of ways to keep pipes from freezing.

Keep home warm

Turning up the thermostat will help in limiting the amount of cold air circulating throughout the home and increase the temperature of everything inside. It is also important to keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help avoid the forming of condensation.

Turn off sprinkler system

Not only does the main water supply to the irrigation system need to be shut off, but it also needs to be protected. Make sure that it is wrapped in insulation or some other form of shelter to protect it from freezing temperatures. This can even be done with mulch or pine straw.

Drip faucets

Keep water running through the pipes at a slow rate by dripping your faucets. This helps to avoid the settling of water. Another tip is to attach a string to the faucet that hangs down to avoid annoying dripping sounds.

Thawing

If pipes do freeze, there are best practices when it comes to thawing them back out.

Apply heat to pipe and surrounding air directly

This can be done with a hair dryer, heat gun, electric heating pad, space heater, bare incandescent bulbs, heat lamps and other methods. This heating needs to be applied gradually and evenly and monitored closely to avoid pipe and water damage.

Wrap with heat tape/cable

This can be purchased from most hardware stores. Wrap this tape/cable around the pipe in a single layer and then plug it in. Do not overlap electric heat tape/cable. It is recommended to wrap around pipe in a spiral motion.

Open faucets slightly

This is the same idea as prevention. Flowing water will help reduce stagnant water and result in less freezing. Also, the running water will help thaw out the ice if it does develop.

Pour salt down frozen drain

Salt lowers the melting point of ice. Start with pouring a tablespoon of salt down the drain and then give it a few moments to start working.

If you’re leaving your house for an extended period of time this winter, there are certain steps that should be taken to avoid coming home to frozen pipes and subsequent damage. Shut off the main water supply and open all faucets. This will help empty the water out of the pipes and reduce the sitting water left. Also, flushing all of the toilets helps accomplish this. Before you leave, set your thermostat no lower than 55º F. Doing so will aid in limiting the amount of cold air circulating throughout your home.

There are many ways to prevent and thaw out frozen pipes. Prevention is always the better route to avoid any serious and long-term damage. If a freeze does happen, locating the frozen pipe and then taking the necessary steps can be very tedious and difficult. It is recommended to get the help of a professional before acting uninformed. Contact Eastern Plumbing for all of your frozen pipe needs.

Expanding Your Shower – Tips

 

Most Americans shower daily. When you add it up, you’ll see you’re spending a lot of time spent in an enclosed space so you might as well be comfortable. Unfortunately, home shower stalls are often three by five feet or smaller. Most are barely large enough for an adult to spread out their arms. A bigger shower would allow you more space, however, you may not want to break the bank on a plumbing rehab. If you’re lucky in your current bathroom configuration, there may be a way to expand your shower space without spending a fortune or rearranging your pipes.

Limited Space, Limited Options

Your options for expanding your shower will largely depend on your bathroom’s layout. If you’re on a budget, you don’t want to knock out or move any of the walls. It’s also easier if you can avoid moving your supply lines or getting into other plumbing repairs. So, that limits your expansion options to two directions – away from the shower head and away from the side wall.

If you’re fortunate enough to have some spare space, the project to move the shower walls or door by a foot or more may not be too daunting – either of which could make a huge difference in your bathing experience. You could also upgrade the space with features like a bench, or smart bathing technology. A larger shower area can also make your bathroom more accessible to those with limited mobility or disabilities.

Putting the Pan in Place

The most critical aspect of enlarging your shower is replacing the shower pan. If you’re an expert DIYer, you can build your own custom shower pan using cement and a special membrane. However, most people will have an easier time purchasing a pre-existing shower pan, which will limit your options with the size and dimensions of the shower and may also require you to move the floor drain to line up with the hole in the pan.

It’s absolutely crucial that you install the shower pan correctly; otherwise, water can leak around it promoting mold and mildew growth and slowly undermining your infrastructure. Once the pan is in place, reinstalling larger shower walls and a door is a much less complicated affair – just make sure all the seals around the door are tight so water won’t leak out onto the floor.

True Comfort in Your Bathroom

Expanding your shower can be a tricky, time-consuming process, but the rewards are self-evident when you enjoy all that extra space while you bathe. If you need help with a bathroom remodel or any other plumbing repairs, get in touch with Eastern Plumbing today.

Tips to Avoid a Holiday Clog

 

The upcoming Holiday season is sure to bring many wonderful things. Time spent with family, good food and quality rest are all things to be enjoyed in the coming weeks. While there are so many great things to come, one of the worst things that you are at risk for are clogging drains. Whether it’s a sink or toilet, Holiday clogs are no fun. Here are a few suggestions to avoid dealing drain pains.

Throw Leftovers in the Trash-NOT Toilet or Sink

Turkey legs, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy all need to go in the trash. Bones, skin and other feast paraphernalia will destroy your pipes and cause stoppage. Even if you cook the greatest turkey in the South, your toilet and sink will spit it out. Guaranteed.

Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

Grease and your drains should not spend any of the holidays together. Grease will harden inside and cause significant damage to the flow of your toilet and/or sink. Keep them away from each other, just like those two fighting relatives.

Go Easy on the Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a wonderful thing. But, it is not superman. Bones, grease, noodles and fruit pits are a few examples of things not to throw down there. A best practice is to always feed the garbage disposal slowly instead of trying to choke it. If you rush it, you will pay for it later.

Mesh Screens Save the Day

Everyone should be using a mesh screen in the sink. If not, invest in one this Holiday season. Besides potentially rescuing valuable items from going down the drain, it saves you time and money from clogs and odors. Parts that are too big to go through the screen should not be going down the non-disposal side of your sink. But instead of doing extra work worrying about that, wash without care and let the screen do it for you.

With these tips in mind, Eastern Plumbing knows that accidents happen. If one does, call us, we are always there for you. Feel free to have some holiday cake while waiting.

Strengthen Your Water Heater

 

Prolong Your Water Heaters Life with an Inspection

Your water heater is one of the main devices in your homes comfort system. It supplies hot water for use in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks and showers. Other than your HVAC system, it also uses the most energy. Given its importance, the stakes are high when it comes to keeping your hot water heater running in peak condition. With proper maintenance, you can extend its life and delay the moment when you need to purchase a new model. Read on to learn more.

Getting the Most from Your Household Plumbing

There are several steps you can take yourself to keep the water heater running smoothly:

  • Inspect the Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve. Make sure your pressure valve is working correctly by turning off the power and water to your hot water unit and then tripping the valve. Air, water or vapor should come out – if they don’t, you need to replace the valve. A malfunctioning valve could cause an explosion if the tank becomes over-pressurized.
  • Flush out Your Tank. It’s a good idea to empty the tank once a year or so to remove any sediment that has accumulated inside; and, it’s convenient to take care of this when you’re checking the pressure valve. Turn off the water and power to the water heater, hook a hose up to the drain valve and place the other end somewhere where it’s safe to discharge hot water. Next, with the pressure relief valve already open, flip open the drain valve and let all the water flow out. Close the drain valve and the pressure relief valve. Turn on the water supply for the water heater and turn on your hot water faucets. Wait until water starts coming out before you power up the heater again.
  • Check on Your Anode Rod. The anode rod helps prevent corrosion in your hot water tank and is an essential tool for prolonging its life. You can check on this while the tank is drained by unscrewing the hex head at the top of the tank and pulling out the rod. If there is not much left of the anode rod it is time to replace it. They are typically between three and four feet long. In general, anode rods should last about five years, but it’s a good idea to check on them annually.

Put Your Household Plumbing in Expert Hands

Now is the time to be thinking about your water heater maintenance. With the colder weather your water heater must work harder, so the more vigilant you are about maintenance, the less likely you’ll need an emergency repair or replacement. In addition to your own interventions, a yearly visit from a qualified plumber can catch any problems you missed or weren’t able to resolve and extend the lifespan of your water heater even more.

If you need your hot water heater inspected, or have any other problems with your household plumbing, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

Preparing Your Pool for Fall and Winter

It’s time for pool owners to think about winterizing. Unless you live in one of the United States warmer climates, if you haven’t already, you’ll likely be taking your last dip in the pool shortly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all procedure for winterizing your pool. The pool design and accessories, as well as the climate and location, will affect the steps you need to take to keep your pool clean and in good condition until spring arrives next year. If you’re unsure what your pool needs, a knowledgeable plumber can help you prepare for the winter season and can give you advice on what you need to know moving forward.

However, there are a few best practices for most outdoor pools. If you’re going the Do-It-Yourself route and want to be sure you’ve thought of everything, you can pay attention to these steps:

  • Don’t drain the pool unless your specific pool design requires it. Draining and refilling a pool every season uses a large amount of water which could simply be re-treated next season. And, empty in-ground pools could suffer structural damage from the pressure of the soil against the outer walls, and rising groundwater can make a pool float out of the ground.
  • Reduce the water level. Many pools will have a freeze line indicator that shows the proper water level for winterization. This is usually about six inches below the inlets.
  • Use an algaecide from the start of the off-season and check directions to see if you need to reuse in the middle of winter. Preventing algae growth in the winter helps prevent staining and reduces the amount of time and chemical supplies you’ll need to get your pool ready in the spring.
  • Adjust the pH level one final time. In most climates, an appropriate pH falls between 7.0 and 7.8; however, you should consult with a local pool or plumbing professional to determine the ideal level for your pool.
  • Run your pool filter and vacuum thoroughly before shutting down for the winter. Once done, remove, clean and store all external equipment such as pumps and vacuums.
  • Completely drain all external lines. If you live in an extremely cold climate, it may be necessary to pour antifreeze into some of the lines to prevent cracking.
  • Keep your pool covered all season, preferably with a high-quality, all-weather cover designed specifically for your pool. Keep the pool cover clear of leaves, tree branches, snow and other debris as needed throughout the season.
  • The last step is to shut off the circuit breaker, and then your pool equipment is ready for next spring.
Shutting down your pool for the winter can be a big job, and not doing it correctly could result in costly damage. It is definitely worth doing it right the first time, so if you’re unsure of how to protect your pool, call in the pros. Contact Eastern Plumbing today!

7 Easy Plumbing Tips to Save Money

 

Have you ever gotten a water bill that was much higher than you expected? Or have you had to call an emergency plumber because your main drain is backed up? These expenses add up, but they can easily be prevented. Follow these simple tips to save money and avoid unnecessary hassles.

Turn off the taps.

Drip. Drip. Drip. A dripping drain makes an annoying sound, but it can be even more annoying when you get your water bill. One dripping tap can waste 15 gallons of water a day and can cost you around $100 every year. Make sure all of your taps are fully closed to prevent dripping. If a fully closed tap continues to drip, call Eastern Plumbing in Greenville at 252-758-7579 because having it repaired or replaced will save you money in the long run.

Low-flow is the way to go.

A low-flow shower head is easy to install and saves much more water (and money) than a normal shower head, which can use over 42 gallons of water per shower. Your teenagers might not appreciate a low-flow head, but your wallet will.

When your toilet talks, listen.

If your toilet is talking to you by making an odd gurgling sound, it may indicate a problem with your main drain. If your main drain was put in before 1980, there’s a chance that it is made of clay and can be easily penetrated by tree roots. A gurgling toilet usually means that roots are putting pressure on your pipes and can lead to them breaking. If your toilet is talking to you, call Eastern Plumbing to inspect your pipes before it is too late.

Keep your drains happy.

With so many ways a drain can become clogged, why not help it out as much as you can? Pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down your drains monthly to keep them clean and avoid buildup. This combination is better for your drains (and the environment) than harsh chemical products.

Floss and drains don’t mix.

Dental floss is good for your teeth, but bad for your drains. Make sure you throw away your floss instead of flushing it. Today’s dental floss is shred resistant and can block pipes when it enters the sewage system and joins together with other waste.

Same goes for hair.

Just like floss, hair is bad for your drains. Throw away your discarded hair instead of flushing it down the drain to avoid your toilet becoming backed up.

Test for hidden leaks.

You may be a pro at finding leaks in your home, but some can be hidden and hard to find. To test for hidden leaks, check your water meter before and after a period of time when no water has been used. If the meter has moved, there is probably a hidden leak somewhere in your home. Hidden leaks are best left to the professionals, so call Eastern Plumbing if you discover you may have one.

By following these tips, you can conserve water, lower your water bill and avoid unnecessary emergency calls to a plumber. However, if the time comes and you have an emergency, call Eastern Plumbing and our experience staff will be there for you.

Help Your Overworked Summer Plumbing

 

You might be having a relaxing summer, but your plumbing isn’t. Whether you know it or not, your plumbing gets more of a workout during the summer than any other time of year. This is due to the number of outdoor activities that we enjoy. By following these tips, you can keep your plumbing running smoothly during its summer workout while saving money at the same time!

Check your washing machine regularly.

With more time spent outdoors, that also means more dirty laundry. Since your washing machine will be used more often in the summer, inspect it regularly for leaks or cracks. A leaking washing machine can waste large amounts of water while causing expensive damage to your home. An increase in washing also means an increase in drying. Be sure to dispose of dryer lint regularly to avoid fires and save energy!

Use your dishwasher instead of hand washing.

Most dishwashers today are energy efficient and save gallons of water compared to washing dishes by hand.

Know what can and can’t go in the garbage disposal.

The food at the backyard cookout was great, but now it’s time to clean up. Stringy and fibrous foods like cornhusks, lettuce, and onion peels will cause clogs and should be disposed of in a trash can. Grease and oil are also bad for your drains and should be avoided. If you are cleaning greasy or oily foods, run cold water at full blast for 15 seconds before and after to help your disposal flush everything down.

Be wary of sewer line backups.

This is a common problem during the summer months because rainfall can enter your sewer line through cracks in the pipe. This added pressure may cause the sewer line to back up. Tree roots may also end up causing problems as they search for water during the hot days. Contact Eastern Plumbing today to have one of our trained technicians inspect your sewer line and ensure there are no problemsYou might be taking it easy this summer, but your plumbing is hard at work. By following these tips, you can help your plumbing handle any challenges that come its way and keep your summer worry-free.

6 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Vacation

Summer is a time for vacation. School is out, the weather is nice, and that trip you’ve been planning for months is finally here. You might be ready for vacation, but that doesn’t mean your home is.  Without proper planning, a plumbing emergency could instantly ruin your trip once you return home. Take a look at these tips to ensure that your home is as ready for vacation as you are.

Check your laundry machine hose.

Your laundry machine hose only lasts about three years. Before you leave make sure your hose doesn’t have any cracks or calcium deposit build up.

Visually inspect your appliances for leaks.

Make sure there is no water on the floor, which could indicate a leak in your appliance. If this is the case, give Eastern Plumbing a call immediately. Inspecting your appliances will help prevent mold and damage that could occur while you’re away.

Avoid foul odors.

You never want to come home from a nice vacation only to have your house smelling bad. Before you leave, run ice cubes and cold water down your garbage disposal to push any food particles down the drain. This will ensure they wash away properly and don’t cause an odor.

Turn off the main shut off valve if you will be gone for multiple weeks.

If you’re going to be gone for a few weeks, consider turning off your main shut off valve. This will not let any water enter your home and will help prevent flooding emergencies. Just be sure to run the remaining water out of your drains after your shut the valve off.

Shut down you water heaters

There is no point in heating water that you aren’t using, so shut off your water heater or put it in vacation mode before you leave. This will help save money on your electric or gas bill depending on what type of water heater you have.

Provide a list of emergency contact numbers.

If you have someone looking after your home while you’re away, leave them a list of contacts in case of emergency and be sure to include Eastern Plumbing!

Summer vacations should be worry free and by following these simple tips they can be. However, if you happen to return home to a plumbing emergency, give Eastern Plumbing a call. Our 24/7 emergency service and highly trained staff can help you with any problem that occurs, hoping to help keep your vacation a great memory.

Tips for Remodeling your Bathroom

 

Spring is the busiest time of the year for remodeling your home. People are coming out of hibernation with the warmer weather and are ready to change their surroundings. The bathroom is a practical area to renovate first, and it’s one of the best ways to improve your home’s resale value. Are you considering remodeling your bathroom? Read the following tips before you begin your next home improvement project.

1. Investigate.

Before purchasing new materials for your bathroom, make sure you evaluate the current structure of the room. If you have any hidden rot, rusty pipes or frayed wiring your project can quickly escalate in cost.

2. Plan.

Check the blueprint of your home to determine the plumbing and electrical layouts. You’ll save time and money if you work with the existing system, as rerouting plumbing and electrical lines is expensive.

3. Measure.

Don’t forget to measure your bathtub and any fixtures that you’ll be replacing. Try the showroom samples out before you buy and check to see if the products are user-friendly before you mount them in your bathroom.

4. Choose the right products.

Think about your carbon footprint and choose plumbing fixtures that will help you save money on your water bill. Consider energy-efficient light bulbs to brighten your bathroom. Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs can make your bathroom appear bigger than it actually is. Additionally, a pedestal sink takes up less space than a vanity. If you need extra storage, consider installing a medicine cabinet.

5. Order beforehand.

Large items like special-order toilets and vanity tops can take several weeks to arrive. Before you demolish your bathroom, make sure everything you need is on hand. Waiting for parts to arrive can be frustrating, but it’s better than tearing up your fixtures and having an unusable bathroom until the new items arrive. When your new products arrive, you’ll know if you need to do any extra work before you rip up your walls.

6. Don’t be afraid to call a professional.

If any part of remodeling takes you out of your comfort zone, call a professional. You might need Eastern Plumbing’s help if your water or drain lines need to be moved. When you’re dealing with electrical or plumbing, DIY mistakes can be a costly disaster.

At Eastern Plumbing, we specialize in remodels and installs. Give us a call today for help with your home renovations.

8 Essential Plumbing Tools You Shouldn’t Live Without

Plumbing tools are good to have on hand when a sink clogs or a toilet overflows on the weekends, holidays or before a dinner party. For big problems, such as a burst pipe, shut off your water and contact Eastern Plumbing. DIY plumbing requires not only the proper skills, but also the right equipment, to ensure the project is done well. You’ll be able to fix everyday annoyances if you have these essential plumbing tools at your disposal.

1. Plunger.

No home should be without this handy tool. There are several types of plungers and each of them is used for a specific fixture. The cup plunger is used to clear clogs in tubs, showers and sinks. The flange plunger is used to clear toilet clogs.

2. Pipe Wrench.

This tool is useful when it comes to something threaded, such as an iron pipe. It delivers a strong grip and leverage, which allows you to loosen or tighten fixtures, pipes, joints and plumbing parts. Buy two pipe wrenches–one for gripping and holding, one for turning.

3. Sink Snake.

Also referred to as a sink auger, this tool is a must-have when getting rid of clogs in your sink or tub drain. It breaks down solid materials into smaller pieces so you can grab them out of the pipes.

4. Toilet Auger.

This tool is also known as the water closet augur or closet auger. It works like a sink auger only that it’s specifically designed for toilets. Toilet augers allow people to break up clogs and retrieve obstructions that are causing blockages.

5. Faucet Packing and Washers.

Having faucet packing and washers on hand will save you a lot of hassle during plumbing emergencies that involve your faucets. Use these tools when your kitchen tap leaks or your tub faucet is loose.

6. Screw Drivers.

Most likely, you already have one of these tools lying around the house. Various shapes and sizes are preferred because there are so many different types of screws to remove when doing plumbing repairs.

7. Hacksaw.

This versatile saw is used to cut through metal pipe, hardware, screws, nuts and bolts and plastic pipe. Make sure the blade is tense in the frame for tough cuts, and be sure to keep extra blades on hand. Consider more than one type of saw if possible, such as one large and one small, for different repairs.

8. Caulking gun.

A caulking gun has a metal frame and a trigger that holds and applies caulk to seal seams around the edges of tubs and sinks. Caulk can be made of silicone or latex, and is used to bond a wide-range of materials.

7 Bad Home Plumbing Habits to Avoid

Plumbing chores are a routine household issue that everybody has to endure every now and then. Your plumbing system is critical to your home. Much like any sophisticated operation, it has rules that must be followed if you want it to run smoothly. There are some common mistakes you may not realize you are making until serious damage has occurred to your plumbing. Are you guilty of these bad home plumbing habits?

1. Leaving outside hoses connected.

A hose that is left attached to an outdoor faucet in extreme winter weather can become damaged, which may result in a leak when warmer spring weather comes. The damage usually requires a new water tap. In addition, the hose may degrade if it goes through many winter freezes.

2. Overusing drain cleaner.

Drain cleaners may seem like an effective and affordable solution to getting rid of blockages in drains if you use them carefully. When you are cleaning a drain, make sure you don’t use too much or you could corrode the drain and make the blockage worse.

3. Damaging hidden pipes.

When working on home improvement projects, don’t forget to consider where hidden plumbing pipes are located while using an electric drill, screwdriver or hammer on your drywall. If you are not careful, you can puncture a pipe, which may result in water pouring out of the wall.

4. Contaminating a septic system.

Be careful about pouring harsh chemicals or cleaner down your drain, including chlorine bleach, paint and anti-bacterial soaps. They can disrupt waste-eating bacteria in your septic tank, resulting in a sewage backup. Septic systems rely on healthy bacteria in the tank to function effectively.

5. Misusing garbage disposal.

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know it’s a useful appliance that makes chores less strenuous. However, disposals are not trashcans. If not maintained properly, a garbage disposal can break down, block and clog drains. Read your manufacturer’s manual to find out what is and isn’t acceptable to put in your disposal.

6. Careless use of kitchen sink.

When washing dishes, it may be tempting to pour food scraps down the sink. Oils and fats should not be poured down the drain, as they will harden as they cool and block drains. Not only will you need to call a plumber, but it will also cause a terrible smell. A sink strainer is able to prevent this from happening.

7. Improper toilet flushing.

One of the most common plumbing emergencies is a blocked toilet. Never flush feminine products, wet wipes, cotton balls or q-tips. If a waste pipe becomes blocked, this may result in other pipes in your system blocking up. Anything other than human waste and toilet paper should go in a trashcan.

The best way to avoid costly repairs is to prevent problems in the first place. Make sure you explain proper plumbing procedures to all members of your household, especially young children. If you find yourself with a plumbing problem, you can trust us at Eastern Plumbing for prompt and professional solutions.

Keep Your Water Heating Bill Low This Winter

 

Winter has arrived, which means harsh temperatures and pricey utility bills. Water heating is the second largest energy expense, accounting for about 18% of your household’s utility bills. The good news is that you can make small, easy tweaks to lower those costs and conserve energy at the same time. Read on for ideas on how to cut down on hot water use this winter.

Reduce your time in the shower.

With the temperature dropping outside, it’s tempting to take long, hot showers. But did you know that water comes through your home’s plumbing at an average of two gallons per minute? Think of all the water you’re paying to heat up! Keep your showers short and bundle up with a big towel and fluffy robe afterward.

Lower the temperature.

Water heaters sometimes come from the manufacturer with the temperature set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The Federal Department of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat on your water heater set to 120 degrees. For every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you can save 3-5% on your water heating costs.

Insulate your tank.

Help your water heater preserve its warmth by insulating the storage tank. This will prevent the water from cooling down and forcing the unit to work overtime. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing insulation so you don’t accidentally cover up the thermostat or burner compartment.

Install a timer.

If you have an electric heater, install a timer that turns off at night or times when you don’t use it. You can also use the timer to turn off the water heater during your utility’s peak demand times. A timer is relatively inexpensive and it saves money on your water heating bill over time. For gas heaters, you can keep the temperature turned down most of the time and manually turn the temperature up about a half hour before you need it.

Flush your water heater annually.

There are several benefits to flushing the sediment from your hot water heater at least once a year. By flushing your water heater, you’ll have more room in your tank to store hot water. You’ll also keep bacteria from growing in your tank. Most importantly, you’ll save money on your utility bill because your tank will operate more efficiently.

Try out these tips for saving energy and see how much you can save. If your water heater is old, it might be a good idea to look into getting a new one. Today, new water heaters are more energy efficient. If you need service for your water heater or plumbing, give Eastern Plumbing a call.