Monday, December 31, 2012

Prevent A Clog During The Holidays

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and quite a few plumbing emergencies. A majority of Americans take part in holiday parties with 11 or more guests around Thanksgiving and Christmas. These extra guests put a serious strain on a home's plumbing system, which results in more emergency calls to plumbers.

Big holiday meals require a busy kitchen. Too much grease and food finds its way into the kitchen drain or disposal. Holiday guests also equate to extra showers and baths as well as lots of extra toilet flushes. It all adds up to potential plumbing disasters.

Pipes clog because of a gradual buildup over time from grease, hair, soap, or food particles. All it takes it one major overload, like a house full of guests, to exasperate the situation and create a clogged drain. Follow these following tips to avoid a plumbing disaster after this holiday season.

In the kitchen:
  • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposal (i.e. poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp, or banana peels). The disposal can't sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposal to flush waste down the main line.
  • Turn on the disposer before adding food debris.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.
  • Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots.
In the bathroom:
  • Plan ahead, spread out showers throughout the day; wait 10 minutes between showers rather than taking one right after another.
  • If shower pressure is weak, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag, place it over the shower head, and soak. Use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the mineral deposits to help restore water flow.
  • Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. To avoid scalding, do not exceed 120°F. 
Now that your home is quiet and your drains are draining slowly, contact the Naperville area plumbers of AquaTech Plumbing. We can help!

Have a safe and happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Focus On Preventative Maintenence For Your Home

Plumbing disasters happen unexpectedly and are usually costly. Because our plumbing is hidden in our walls, attics, basements, and other inaccessible locales throughout our homes, it is usually too late for preventative measures when disaster strikes. The good thing is, even though we can't see what's going on behind our walls, we can take steps to prevent disaster from happening. Think less of "plumbing disasters" and focus on "preventative maintenance." This will save you a fortune. If you're not interested in saving money you needn't read on.

Steps for preventative maintenance:
  • Familiarize yourself with your home's main water shut-off valve. Learn how to use the meter key to stop water flow in case disaster strikes. Impeding the flow of water in a plumbing emergency is of critical importance, consider it as "stopping the bleeding." Your home's main shut-off valve may be tricky to find.
  • If you happen to have older plumbing such as galvanized water lines, look for rust around the fittings and the pipes themselves. If you happen to find any vulnerabilities, contact us immediately for an evaluation.
  • Check your water heater. This is one of the most common causes of interior water damage. Same as the aforementioned, check for rust! Check the connections, pipes, and surrounding areas.
  • If you leave for a long vacation this holiday season, turn your water off and set your heat to "vacation mode." This will prevent a plumbing disaster in your absence.
  • Perform a monthly inspection. Check for leaks in the bathroom and kitchen. Check under the sink. If there is a mildew smell, look into it. Water leaks can lead to serious health issues when mold comes in to play.
Following these simple steps can help avoid any plumbing surprises. Contact Naperville area AquaTech Plumbing today if you have any issues with the plumbing in your home or business.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Here Are Some Helpful Tips From AquaTech Plumbing For Winterizing Your Pipes

Prevent your pipes from freezing this winter: 
  • Unscrew your garden hoses and store them in the fall before winter arrives.
  • Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket. Nearly 15 percent of an average home energy bill goes to heating water. 
  • Open outdoor faucets so that any residual water can drain.
  • Prevent burst pipes by shutting off the water to your hose bibs by draining the lines.
  • Be sure to seal any cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations. Look for areas where phone lines or cable TV enter the house.
  • If you use a hot water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly. You can close them when water appears.
  • Wrap pipes that are not insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces, with pre-molded foam rubber sleeves or fiberglass insulation, are available at hardware stores. You can also wrap pipes with electric heating tape. Be sure to purchase heat tape with a built-in thermostat that only turns heat on when needed. Be sure to check garages, crawlspaces, and basements.
  • On extremely cold nights, try leaving the cabinet doors under the faucets open so that they can get a bit more heat. 
If your pipes DO freeze:
  • Turn the water off at the main shut-off valve! 
  • Leave the faucets on to relieve pressure as the ice melts. 
  • Use a blow dryer or heat gun to thaw frozen pipes. 
  • Don’t use a blow torch! Way too dangerous!
Prevention is key when avoiding costly plumbing repairs. You know winter is coming, why not be prepared? A few simple steps can save you money. Check around your home and see if you’re ready for the inevitable arrival of, "Old Man Winter."

For additional informaiton or for help with winterizing your pipes, contact the Naperville area Plumbers of AquaTech Plumbing.

Preventative Plumbing Tips From AquaTech Plumbing:

  • Place a strainer over kitchen and bathroom drains if they do not already have one; this will prevent hair, pieces of soap, food, bugs, and other debris from clogging your drains. Clean the strainer as needed. Keep a trash bin nearby for convenience.
  • Always unclog a drain mechanically rather than chemically whenever possible.
  • Use chemical drain cleaners sparingly, especially if your pipes or traps are made of brass, steel, or cast-iron, as some chemicals may corrode metal pipes. Instead, try this: 
  • Pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down your drain every month. This will help to prevent clogs and isn’t harsh on your pipes.
  • The drains in showers and in bathroom sinks typically need extra care-- pour two or three gallons of boiling water down each bathroom drain about once a month to clear out hair and greasy particles. Preventative measures are NEVER regretted.
  • Every week or two remove sink and tub pop-up stoppers and rinse them off. You can even run them through the dishwasher.
  • Every three or four months remove the overflow plate on the tub and pull up the pop-up assembly to reach the spring or rocker arm. Then, remove accumulated hair and rinse thoroughly.
  • If your shower drain is plugged up, try a plunger first...
  • If the plunger doesn't unplug the drain, contact one of our professionals to mechanically unclog the drain. 
  • Prevent drain clogs by putting a lint trap on your washing machine discharge hose. Quite a bit of debris can get through if you don’t.
For additional information or for help with preventing clogged drains, contact the Naperville area Plumbers of AquaTech Plumbing.