When Should You Call an “Emergency” Plumbing Service?

When plumbing problems occur in the evenings or over the weekend, it is very tempting to pick up the phone and make an emergency service call. However, emergency service calls can come at a premium, so how do you know when to pick up the phone and make an emergency call and when to wait?

There are two types of problems, ones that are minor and can wait until the next business day, and others that are a true emergency and you probably shouldn’t wait – these will probably require an after-hours call.

Here are the things that we consider an emergency and suggest picking up the phone and calling Eastern Plumbing any day or time.

  • Burst Pipes:

If you have a burst pipe in your home, you could have a mess on your hands. You should cut off the main water valve to prevent flooding and water running through the house. Since most people cannot wait until regular business hours when they’ve had a burst pipe, we recommend placing an emergency call.

We’d like to point out that the damage caused from flooding can cause significant damage to structures and therefore, should be addressed as soon as possible. Other emergencies that can cause flooding issues are a failed sump pump or a water shut off valve failure.

  • Sewerage Block and/or Back Up:

This is a true emergency that requires immediate action and a permanent resolution. A blocked or backed up sewer line can create a health hazard. It can prevent your family from using the bathroom or running water, which will make your life difficult.

Finding out where the problem occurred, inside the underground pipes, can be a big task. One of the most common causes are tree roots. Tree roots naturally grow toward sewer lines because of the temperature and nutrients. The roots can enter and block the line, and the pressure can eventually cause the sewer line to crack.

If you are constantly encountering clogs around  your house, you may have a blocked sewer line requiring an immediate solution.

  • No Hot Water:

Most people need hot water for everyday uses. They need hot water for bathing, cooking and cleaning, especially during the winter. Not having access to running water is also a safety concern because, like a sewer issue, it prevents your family from using the restroom.

Losing hot water can wreck your day. If this happens, call a plumber with experience working with water heaters – call Eastern Plumbing.

Keep in mind, just because you place an emergency call doesn’t mean that when your  plumber arrives after-hours that they will have access to all the required parts to complete the repair job.

If a problem can wait and it isn’t a true emergency then you may want to reconsider making the call. One benefit of waiting for a regular business day is that your plumber will have better access to supplies if they don’t have the exact part to complete a job. 

These are a few less urgent issues that wouldn’t require an emergency service call:

  • Clogged or slow running drains
  • Inspections
  • Flushing a water heater
  • Running toilets
  • Leaky faucets
  • Repair or replacement of your garbage disposal or ice machine

If you’re searching for an emergency plumber in eastern North Carolina, or even a plumber to provide standard maintenance services, look no further. Call the plumbing professionals at Eastern Plumbing. We’re here to help, day or night, 24/7, give us a call at 252-758-7579.

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.

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.

House Mold 101

The Spring and Summer months bring an increased risk of mold in and out of the home. Mold is a very serious issue that needs to be taken care of before it results in damage to your house and health. There are many different kinds of molds that have different physical appearances, effects on things around them and treatments to eradicate them.

While there are several types of mold that can be found inside the house, there are a couple forms that are more common than others.

Alternaria

While usually found outdoors, this form of mold fosters in damp places and under sinks. Water damage and leaky pipes can be big contributing factors to the development of this type of mold. Because of it’s ability to lodge in the nose and mouth, it can cause a reaction to people who are subjected to it.

Aspergillus

This type of mold is known as the most common one found in homes. Also found in wet environments, Aspergillus can be found in house dust. Exposure and inhalation of this mold can result in disease and lung problems.

Aureobasidium

Usually found outdoors, it can be found on wooden and painted surfaces. It can be black or pink in color (it’s also called “Pink Mold”), and most people will have a bad reaction when exposed to it.

Cladosporium

Known as the most common type of outdoor mold, this nuisance can enter the home through any opening and airway. HVAC is one of the most common and can result in it being spread to areas inside the house. If breathed, it can cause respiratory issues and trigger bigger health issues.

Mucor

This form of mold grows very fast and has a usual origin in soil. It appears as white or grayish in color and it’s physical makeup is like that of cotton. Inside the house, it might be found along ducts and air conditioning vents. This can cause infections of the sinuses called Zygomycosis.

Penicillium

A very mobile form of mold, it grows is areas that have been succumbed to water damage. It appears blue or green in color and can cause severe sinus infections.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

Also known as “Black Mold,” this slimy, toxic mold can cause several health problems. It produces mycotoxins that could potentially result in fatigue, asthma issues, depression and respiratory complications.

Don’t let mold grow out of control in your home. It can cause serious health issues and result in physical damage to your home. Contact a mold remediation specialist today to take care of any mold you may find in your home.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

The temperature of my hot water seems to be higher than what I think it needs to be, what temperature should it be set on?

The standard temperature manufacturers’ use when pre-setting hot water heaters at the factory is typically 120°F. This is a sufficient temperature for most households; however you can adjust the temperature to meet your needs. Both thermostats should be set to the same temperature. Keep in mind that hot water also helps in minimizing the growth of bacteria. Consult Eastern Plumbing for the recommended temperatures for your particular needs.

NOTE: You should turn off the electricity to the water heater before performing any maintenance. There may be exposed wires behind the panels which could result in shock.

What could the rumbling sound I hear coming from the water heater be?

Rumbling sounds can be an indication that sediment has built up on the bottom of the water heater. Water may become trapped in the sediment and begin to boil. If this is happening, the water heater is not operating efficiently and the sediment isn’t allowing the heat to transfer to the water in the tank. You can try draining a few gallons of water off the bottom of the tank. Water heaters should be drained on an annual basis to remove sediment. Contact Eastern Plumbing if you require maintenance or have questions about your hot water heater.

WARNING: Hot water is dangerous. Discharge the water into a floor drain, laundry tub or bathtub. Hot water will kill your grass if allowed to run on your lawn. Turn off power to water heater prior to draining.

What happens when roots get inside drain lines?

Roots from shrubs and trees can completely fill a pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. These root masses quickly become clogged with toilet tissue, grease and other debris flowing from your home to the main sewer, resulting in reduced flow, slow running drains and in most cases a complete blockage. Once roots have entered the pipe, they continue to grow and expand, exerting considerable pressure at the crack or joint. This increased pressure often breaks the pipe and may result in total collapse, which requires repair or replacement. Some pipe materials are more susceptible to root intrusion than others. Clay tile pipe is easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. PVC pipe has fewer joints and when properly installed is almost 100% effective against root penetrations. Allow Eastern Plumbing to use state-of-the-art inline drain cameras to view and record your drain problems.

What is the white substance around my shower head and faucet?

The unsightly buildup is mineral deposits. To remove these deposits from the shower head, take a plastic bag and pour a cup of vinegar in it. Place the bag over the shower head and 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 deposits. You might be able to remove the aerators from the faucets and allow them to soak in the vinegar overnight. A professional at Eastern Plumbing can explain water softening and conditioning options available to you.

How can I eliminate the odor coming from my garbage disposal?

This is a common plumbing troubleshooting question. Foul odors occur from a buildup of food debris within the disposal. To eliminate odors, place ice cubes and lemon peels or orange peels in the disposal, and run for 30 seconds. Next, squirt a little liquid dish detergent into the disposal while it is still running. Finally, run cold water for about 30 seconds to rinse all the debris away.

What is the recommendation for replacing a toilet in my home?

When considering any new fixture for your home, we recommend that you choose a fixture made by one of the major manufacturers. Poor mounting and deteriorating rings and seals may cause leaks which can cause costly damage to your home. Keep in mind that many of the new toilets conform to new government standards that require they use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush which can save you money on your water and sewer bills. If you need help with replacing a toilet in your home, contact Eastern Plumbing.

What could be the cause of my recent high water bills?

You may want to check to see if a toilet is leaking. Check the water level in the tank to see if water is overflowing into the overflow pipe. This is the pipe in the middle of the tank which has a small tube connected to it. In the event water is running into the overflow pipe, adjust the fill valve to stop the flow approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube or to the water level mark stamped on the side of the tank. Periodic maintenance by an Eastern Plumbing professional will ensure proper operation.

I have a problem with the plumbing in my house making groaning and honking noises.

Hammering pipes can be cause by various things within your piping system. Loose fittings, toilet fill valves and the absence of an expansion tank on your water heater a just a few things which can cause pipes to hammer. If are hearing noises from your water pipes, contact Eastern Plumbing to get a professional diagnosis.

I think my kitchen drains are partially clogged because the sink drains slowly. What do you recommend?

First, you can try using a plunger. Second, you can remove the trap and remove any debris. Third, if the clog is beyond the trap, there are drain augers that extend from about 15 feet to about 50 feet. There are also special enzyme-based drain openers, which may help dissolve buildup in pipes in older homes. You can also call the professionals at Eastern Plumbing and we’d be happy to help.

My Toilet ‘Burps’! What’s Going On?

The common issue of drains that gurgle or burp is caused by inability of air to get into or out of the drainage system. All plumbing fixtures require a p-trap, to keep sewer gas from entering the home. The drainage system requires vents to allow air to move freely through the drainage system. If the vent line becomes obstructed, the air will compress within the system and then push through the p-trap which causes the gurgling or burping sounds. If you are having this problem, please call Eastern Pluming to determine proper solutions.

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.

What to do in a Plumbing Emergency

Plumbing emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Whether it’s a random occurrence or a problem that has been building for years, they’re sure to cost money and ruin your day. What you do during a plumbing emergency can either limit the damage or make it worse. Follows these tips to keep your emergency as small as possible.

Turn off the water.

This is the first thing you should do for almost all plumbing emergencies. Shutting off the water will stop it from continuing to flow into your house and will minimize damage. If there is only one fixture causing the problem, shut off the water going directly to that fixture. If there is a larger problem, shut off the main valve that can be located somewhere in your home or near your water meter.

Turn your water heater off.

Once your water is off, pressure and hot water can build in your water heater. This can lead to your water heater busting, which would be a plumbing emergency in itself. It can also lead to overheating and could burn someone who uses the hot water for the first time once the water is turned back on. Turn off your water heater to avoid these extra problems.

Open outside spigots.

This will drain the water from your pipes once your water is shut off. By opening the outside spigots, you are directing water outside of your home, which will hopefully lessen the damage inside.

Assess the damage.

Before calling a plumber, try to assess the damage. The more information you provide the plumber beforehand will give them a better idea of the problem when they arrive. This will allow them to fix it faster.

Call a plumber.

Calling a plumber can be the difference between a minor emergency and a major disaster. Whether it is just a leak or your whole house is flooded, a plumber will be able to professionally fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

No one wants a plumbing emergency, but knowing what to do when they happen can make the difference between a small problem and catastrophe. If one should occur, Eastern Plumbing is here to help. Our trained and experienced staff is on call 24/7 and will quickly and professionally fix any emergency you encounter!

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.

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.

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.

How to Solve Low Water Pressure Problems

Low water pressure is an annoyance for any homeowner. Inadequate water pressure increases the time it takes for simple tasks like showering, washing dishes and watering outdoor plants, and it also increases the amount of water used which means higher water bills. A water pressure reading tells you how forceful your water is in PSI (pounds per square inch). Normal water pressure is generally around 50 PSI. If you find your water pressure isn’t desirable, there are a few steps you can take to fix the problem.

1. Identify Water Leaks.

Check visible water pipes for cracks or leaks. Damaged pipes allow water to seep out, which can negatively impact the water pressure in your home. If you are unable to identify any leaks, turn off the main water valve in your house. Check the water meter reading, wait two hours and read the meter again. If the number on the meter has gone up, it means you have a leak.

2. Check Your Pressure Regulator.

You can find a pressure regulator below the hose connection attached to your house. When a pressure regulator breaks or stops working, you will notice low water pressure coming from every faucet in your house. You’re much better off leaving this kind of plumbing repair to a professional plumber. Trying to fix a broken pressure regulator on your own can cause more damage.

3. Check the Elevation.

The position of your water storage tank can impact water pressure. If your house is situated higher than the tank, water pressure will be difficult to maintain. Whenever possible, make sure your tank is elevated higher than your house to ensure great water pressure.

4. Identify Faulty Valves.

If the main water valve in your house is turned off or closed slightly, it can dramatically impact water pressure. Valves can also unexpectedly slip without you realizing it. If you are experiencing low water pressure, locate your main water valve and make sure it is wide open.

5. Check For Mineral Deposit Buildup.

Overtime, mineral deposits can clog water pipes, block faucets and shower heads, and cause a low water pressure problem. To clean mineral deposit buildup, try using a commercial cleaner or a simple solution of white vinegar and baking soda. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove stubborn deposits. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may need to hire a professional plumber.

Remember, any plumbing task you can’t easily handle on your own requires the help of a qualified plumber. You can turn a simple plumbing problem into a dangerously costly one if you don’t know what you’re doing. Setting the standard in quality service for over 15 years, Eastern Plumbing helps thousands of homeowners in eastern North Carolina with plumbing needs. 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.