4 Reasons to Hire a Professional Drain Cleaner

 

With summer quickly approaching, your home’s plumbing drains are more susceptible to being clogged. Kids are home from school and will most likely get into some mischief around the house. Beach trips have become the norm and washing off sand in the shower can build up over time. Bathroom drains seem like an easy thing to fix yourself, but there are many benefits to leaving the task to a professional drain cleaner like Eastern Plumbing.

  1. Safety.
    Chemical cleansers are dangerous and can lead to serious injury if not handled with care. Even store-bought tools won’t perform an adequate job and can also be hazardous without proper training. An experienced plumber like Eastern Plumbing handles hundreds of clogged drains every year and knows how to treat the issue safely.
  2. Efficiency.
    Store-bought solutions don’t always treat the clog the way it should. In many cases, the clog can lead to more plumbing issues down the line. Professionals have access to speciality equipment and can treat the clog right the first time.
  3. Saves money.
    When you use chemical cleansers, you could potentially damage plumbing pipes or other components of your system. This can lead to costly repairs. Eastern Plumbing is licensed and bonded and offers quality work, ensuring that your pipes aren’t inadvertently damaged while repairing a drain.
  4. Experience.
    Having a properly working drain is an important part of our daily lives. When your drain gets backed up, it makes simple household tasks more difficult. When choosing a drain cleaning service, it’s wise to choose a well reviewed, experienced, established and insured service. If you choose not to hire a professional, you could end up spending a lot more money in the long run.
If you have a clogged drain in your kitchen or bathroom, give the experts at Eastern Plumbing a call. We have the experience and skills to fix the problem right the first time, every time.

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.

Preparing Your Plumbing for Warmer Weather

 

Spring is upon us! It’s the time of year that many people associate with fresh starts, new beginnings and rejuvenation. While spring cleaning may be on your mind, you may not have thought about maintaining your plumbing system for the new season. With proper care, you can avoid costly repairs and damage in the future. Follow these tips as you prepare your home for sunny days and warmer weather.

  1. Make sure all faucets are functioning normally. Check both inside and outside water lines. Turn each line on and off, one at a time, and listen for any unusual sounds. Low water pressure can mean you have a leak in your line, in which case you may need to call a professional plumber like Eastern Plumbing.
  2. Inspect exposed pipes. Winter weather may have cracked your pipes, which may lead to house damage. Check each pipe and keep an eye out for any green, moldy, damp or mossy areas. The excessive growth may reveal a leak.
  3. Check your toilet for leaks. For every toilet in the house, add a few drops of food coloring to the water tank. If you notice the food coloring in the toilet bowl after several minutes, you have a leak. To repair the problem, the flapper will need to be replaced. Call Eastern Plumbing for assistance in fixing your toilet.
  4. Don’t forget to check outside. Make sure your downspouts are situated away from your foundation and that your storm drains are clear of debris. Dispose of as much buildup as possible to prevent future clogs and flooding.
  5. Drain your water tank. Flush your heater to remove mineral deposits and sediment buildup. If you moved the temperature gauge earlier in the winter,  bring it back down to 120 degrees to save energy. If you’re using an old heater, consider replacing with a tankless water heater.
  6. Inspect your septic system. If your home uses a septic tank, walk around the area where the tank is stored. Any water puddles or wet spots are suspicious and should be evaluated by a professional plumber like Eastern Plumbing.
  7. Test your sump pump. The sump pump is integral to the protection of your home’s foundation, and an improperly working pump can lead to expensive water damage and repair costs. Locate the pump and pour water into the pit. Watch for the pump to run its full cycle. If it fails to turn on or drain the water, you’ll need to contact a professional plumber.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary or see any red flags listed above, contact Eastern Plumbing for a plumbing inspection. In addition to repairs, we can also help you determine best ways to save money throughout the spring and summer season by installing green technology and water conserving fixtures.

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.

Cold Emergency

Don’t Get Caught in the Cold with a Plumbing Emergency

The temperatures are dropping. This is the time of the year where your home is most prone to plumbing problems. Serious plumbing problem like cracked and frozen pipes should be left to plumbing professionals. However, there are many things homeowners can do on their own to prevent plumbing mishaps during the cold weather.

Be Wise. Winterize.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure your outside hoses are disconnected from faucets. To ensure your outside pipes don’t freeze and expand, causing serious leaks and flooding, turn off and drain the pipes.

Shut-off valves.

Close your valves and drain the water off, which makes the shutting down of external pipes easier. Once the exterior faucets are disconnected, they can be protected from the cold weather with lagging.

Insulate Pipes.

Use heat tape or insulating sleeves, available at most hardware stores, to protect your pipes from extreme temperatures.

Seal Windows and Doors.

Increase energy efficiency by sealing doors and windows from drafts. You can use materials that you can find in any home center. This will add a few degrees of warmth to your pipes and fixtures, keeping warm air inside your home.

Check Hot Water Heater.

Your water heater has an extra burden placed on it during cold months. Flush your heater out to get rid of any build-up sediments to prevent corrosion. Check the water pressure release valve, which should snap back into place when lifted after allowing a spurt of water to the drain. If you notice a slack, get a professional to replace the release valve.

For optimum performance during the cold season, set your water heater’s thermometer to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to clean dead leaves and other debris from around the downspouts to allow for better drainage.

Bring Your Faucets to a Slow Trickle.

Prevent ice build-up in your pipes during the cold months by leaving your faucets on at a very slow trickle, especially at night when temperatures can take a sudden plunge. This will ensure that water doesn’t accumulate in one place and freeze.

Close Main Water Valve.

If you plan on going on a winter vacation for an extended length of time, it’s a good idea to close the main water valve. Open the faucets at the top and base of the house to drain the system, keeping the heat on as you do.

Use Your Pipe Wrench.

A pipe wrench is an important tool to use in plumbing maintenance. The wrench enables you to get a good grip on pipes and fittings. Another good tool is a pair of pliers, which will help you adjust nuts and bolts. For bigger home plumbing jobs it’s best to get the help from a professional.

Contact Eastern Plumbing

Setting the standard in quality service for over 15 years, we help thousands of homeowners in eastern North Carolina with plumbing needs. The best defense to making sure your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late. Our team of professionals consists of some of the most experienced and qualified plumbers working today. We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency.

Top 5 Plumbing Tips For the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for family, friends, fun and cheer. More people in the home mean more toilets flushing, more laundry being washed, extra showers and more hair going down the drain. The last thing you will need is for a clogged drain to become part of your entertainment plans. To avoid these problems and costly plumber fees, here are five important holiday plumbing tips.

Watch What You Pour Down Your Drain.

If there is one plumbing disaster that is likely to spoil your winter holiday it will be a problem with your drainage, and one thing that will almost guarantee that your drain will not be functioning properly will be something that you pour down it. Never pour grease, oil, or fat down the drain. This can harden and clog your drains. Before washing your greasy dish ware, let them cool and wipe grease off with paper towels and place into the garbage.

Use Your Garbage Disposal Properly.

The kitchen is the biggest holiday culprit for plumbing issues, with the garbage disposal being one area that is often misused. Your disposal is not able to sufficient grind certain items that will ultimately clog your sink drain. Some of the more common culprits are pumpkin pulp, poultry skins, celery, fruit, potato peels, lettuce, egg shells and vegetable peels. Anything that is not able to be ground properly will very likely cause a blockage.

Ensure Enough Hot Water and Proper Pressure.

Much of the hot water used at home is in the bathroom, with members of the family and guests taking showers or soaking in the bathtub. Turn up your water heater to increase its capacity to meet holiday house guest demands. However, to avoid scalding water, don’t exceed 125ºF. The best way to ensure there is enough hot water for everyone, is by spacing out the times people shower or bathe. This will give the hot water tank enough time to heat up between uses.

If water pressure while taking a shower is weak this could be because of mineral deposits in the shower head. A simple solution is to tie a plastic bag filled with vinegar over the shower head. Leave it overnight and scrub off those mineral deposits with an old toothbrush the next morning.

As an added tip, use a drain screen to stop hair from clogging the drain. The drain screen will help filter out the water but keep the hair from going down the drain.

Prevent Frozen Pipes.

You can prevent pipes becoming frozen by fitting them with insulation, either in sleeve form or wrapping. You should also prevent faucets dripping during freezing weather. New piping should be installed, where possible, in places which are already insulated or heated. Another good idea when burying pipes under the ground is to ensure they are installed below the frost line.

Identify And Repair Broken Pipes.

Should you suffer broken pipes during the holiday season, the first thing to do is turn off the water at the mainline. Identify the broken pipes by checking out your home’s water pipe layout. When you discover where the problem is, the damaged pipe can be removed and the replacement piping wrapped with insulation.

Contact Eastern Plumbing.

If your home and plumbing system is five years or older it is a good idea to have the plumbing inspected by a licensed and bonded plumber, Eastern Plumbing, to determine if there are any hidden problems you may not be aware of that will cause you unexpected problems and expenses during these cold days ahead.

Setting the standard in quality service for over 15 years, we help thousands of homeowners in eastern North Carolina with plumbing needs. The best defense to making sure your plumbing systems are running properly is to schedule annual maintenance inspections, and keep on top of your systems before it’s too late. Our team of professionals consists of some of the most experienced and qualified plumbers working today. We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency.

How to Winterize the Plumbing in Your Home

In the coming weeks temperatures will continue to drop, so now is the best time for homeowners in eastern North Carolina to begin preparing their homes for plumbing problems associated with cold weather. To prepare your home for the harsh winter months ahead and to ensure you avoid any unwanted plumbing nightmares, our experts at Eastern Plumbing have compiled a list of fall maintenance tips.

Disconnect Water Hoses.

If your water hoses are left connected, the water in the hoses can freeze and expand, causing faucets and pipes inside your home to break. Make sure to disconnect all outside water houses to prevent a potential flood.

Check Faucets.

Inspect your outside faucets to make sure they are not dripping or leaking. If they are, make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before the freezing temperatures arrive. When pipes freeze, water pressure builds up causing cracks. A tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damaging or flooding. If you have an underground sprinkler system this will also need to be turned off by a professional.

Clear Gutter Debris.

Remove fall leaves and other debris from exterior gutters and downspouts. Throughout fall, winter and spring, temperatures will drop and rise and water will freeze and melt. Clearing your gutters and downspouts will ensure easy draining throughout the ever-changing seasons.

Flush Water Heater.

Your water heater works its hardest during winter months. Be sure to flush your water heater during this time of the year. When left untouched, sediment can buildup and cause corrosion, which shortens the life span of the water heater and reduces heating efficiency. To flush, drain several gallons of water from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. As an added tip, test your pressure relief valve yearly. If the valves are dripping, have them replaced. Over pressurized tanks are dangerous if not addressed. For information regarding your specific make and model of water heater, visit your manufacturer’s website.

Insulate Pipes and Seal Leaks.

Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as crawl spaces and garages, especially if your water heater is in the garage. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing. Seal leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.

Serious Summer Plumbing Problems

Protect Your Property From Serious Summer Plumbing Problems

When we think of potential problems for homeowners in the summer, plumbing issues may not readily come to mind. However, the warmer months are a prime time for plumbing problems that may not occur at other times of the year. How can homeowners protect their property from serious summer plumbing problems and what particular issues should they be careful to avoid? Here are five of the most common plumbing problems that arise during the summer.

  1. Clogged Disposal: Are you having plenty of cookouts this summer? If so, you will need be careful of how you dispose of waste food. While produce may be organic, it is generally not good for your in-sink garbage disposal, particularly if you are getting rid of hard fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or corn. These types of produce can damage the blades in your disposal unit or lead to stubborn clogs. Used cooking oils are also damaging to garbage disposal systems. Avoid pouring the dirty grease down the drain after grilling out. It is also 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.
  1. Sewer Line Backups: Certain areas of the country may be prone to summer rain showers or thunderstorms, especially as the air heats up in the afternoon. Excessive rain can get into sewer pipes through cracks and cause the sewer line to back up. You might also experience trouble if tree roots spread underground and crack the pipes. If you see any signs of sewer line trouble such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a qualified plumber right away. He or she may recommend a sewer line replacement if the damage is extensive.
  1. Washing Machine Maintenance: Your washing machine may get more of a workout during the summer, especially if you have children who are out of school. Spending days at the pool or the beach results in more laundry to wash. This can put additional stress on your washing machine. It is best to stay at home while the machine is running, so that if a problem arises you can stop the cycle immediately and call a professional if needed. You should also move the machine out from the wall a little to prevent the hose from kinking.
  1. Clogged Toilets: Household toilets are also used more regularly in the summer, thanks to children using the bathroom during the day. Teach your kids to use a modest amount of toilet paper and to flush only after they actually use the bathroom. Common clogs are fairly simple to clear with a plunger, but if you need additional help, call in a professional.
  1. Sprinkler Issues: If you have sprinklers embedded in your lawn, be sure to inspect and clean the heads before the season begins. When you are mowing the lawn, be careful to do so when the sprinkler heads are lowered. This helps with avoiding damaging them.

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring

Spring is here, which means it’s time for “spring cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Eastern Plumbing offers you these quick and simple tips to protect your home against seasonal plumbing problems.

Kitchen/Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.

Appliances

  • Flush your water heater tank to clear out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Check your water heater manufacturer’s website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years. Use stainless steel hoses where possible; they are more reliable and less prone bursting.

General

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

Outside

  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris. If you let the debris build up, gutters and drains can clog, causing water damage, leakage and mold growth – not something you want to deal with!
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

Completing this inspection will prepare your home for the heavy rains of spring and will help you discover sooner and not later any damages caused by a long, cold winter. Contact Eastern Plumbing today to ensure you are ready!