Thursday, February 28, 2013

How To Keep Your Home Free Of Leaks When You Are On Vacation

Here are a few suggestions to keep your home free of floods and leaks while you are away.

10 Plumbing Tips Before You Leave on Vacation:
  1. If you don't need a sprinkler system or a pool pump to run, be sure to turn off your main plumbing shut off valve before you leave for an extended period of time. There will still be water in your plumbing system, but additional water won't enter into the system while you're gone. This is a great opportunity to check that the plumbing main shut off valve is working properly.
  2. Can't shut off the main valve? You can shut off individual valves under your sinks, behind your toilets, behind the refrigerator, and behind the washing machine. Only turn off the valves that are in good working order.
  3. If you turned off your plumbing main shut off valve, this is still a good time to look at all your shut off valves and supply lines under your sinks and toilets to be sure none are wet or leaking before leaving.
  4. If you have plumbing behind your refrigerator, pull the refrigerator out and check to be sure nothing is wet or corroded.
  5. Look all around your water heater and water softener, make sure there is no water present. These items also have their own shut off valves that can be turned off to lessen the chance of water damage. 
  6. If the water heater is in good condition, turn the thermostat down so that it isn't constantly running to heat the water while you are away. On an electric water heater, turn the breaker off at your main electrical breaker box. This will avoid wasting energy while you're away.
  7. Add water to all drains before leaving to keep them wet. This will minimize odors in your pipes when you return.
  8. Do an inspection of the outside of your home, make sure nothing is leaking before you leave the house. Be sure to check the hoses, sprinklers, etc.
  9. If you have a drinking water system, make sure your drinking water system is newer, as older lines on these units can crack and break and are often the culprit causing water damage in many homes. Some of these systems can be turned off individually at the valve under the sink to lessen the possibility of water damage.
  10. While you're away, have someone check inside and around your home to ensure that nothing has broken or was forgotten while your family is enjoying their vacation. An unattended plumbing problem can be very costly and frustrating to return home to.
If you live in the Naperville-Plainfield-Aurora, Geneva-Batavia-St.Charles or Wheaton-Winfield-Warrenville-Glen Ellyn area, contact AquaTech Plumbing at 630-416-3555, 630-377-9555, or 630-462-3555 for any of your pre-vacation plumbing questions and needs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Do You Prevent Your Household Sinks From Clogging?

How do you prevent your household sinks from clogging? The short answer-- Stop dumping stuff down the drain! The main culprits behind a clogged or slow moving drain are usually hair and food. The bathroom sink drain gets full of hair and the kitchen sink drain gets full of food and debris. If you could keep hair and food out of the drain you would prevent 99% of the clogs before they happen.

How to keep your Kitchen drain clear:

Keeping food out of the kitchen sink drain can be easy, if you have a sink strainer. It's cheap and readily available and saves you from potential plumbing catastrophes. Most strainers are the basket type with holes or there is the screen style which just sets over the drain opening catching all the big food particles. You simply lift out the screen and dump it in the trash when it's full or when the water won't drain. Anything that will slip past this screen is small enough so it won't cause a back-up. They can be bought at Home Depot for around $3.00.

How to keep your bathroom drain clear:

When it comes to the bathroom sink (or tub), your drain's biggest enemy is hair. Unfortunately there isn't a screen that fits a bathroom sink. Bathroom sinks, unlike kitchen sinks, usually have a pop-up drain assembly with a lever right behind the faucet to lift and lower the stopper. The best prevention here is to wipe up any loose hair before it enters the sink drain. You will occasionally need to remove the pop-up in order to clean out the hair. It's a messy job but one that needs to be done. Some tubs have a fixed metal screen and some have a loose rubber plug. If you have a fixed drain cover you'll need to remove this cover so a hair stopper will fit.

Over the years the inside diameter of your drain pipes get smaller and smaller. You'd be shocked if you could see inside your pipes but this is an indicator of the health of your plumbing. There are a number of drain cleaners on the market both organic and caustic but those are not recommended. Always contact a professional plumber before putting ANYTHING, organic or not, down your drain. If you are experiencing slow draining or clogged pipes, contact Naperville area AquaTech Plumbing for all of your drain cleaning needs!