Benefits from Regular Plumbing Maintenance

Many people are aware that routine maintenance is required for HVAC and electrical systems, but some will neglect the importance of routine plumbing maintenance and inspections. Ignoring routine maintenance of your plumbing and water systems can catch up to you and lead to an emergency repair.

Plumbing systems can be very expensive so it makes sense to avoid problems through routine maintenance rather than paying for issues one by one as they arise. Waiting for plumbing issues to pop up can cost you in emergency repair fees and subsequent damages, not to mention the headache they can cause you and your family.

Having a professional plumber inspect your system regularly can save you money and improve your lifestyle by:

Preserving the Value of Your Property

Routine plumbing is an important part of maintaining your property and receiving a higher return on your home when you sell. Potential buyers will check many things when preparing their offer on your property. One thing they will check for is the condition of your pipes and their connections. Homes with well-maintained plumbing systems are more likely to receive higher offers from buyers. Molds and mildew from pipe leakages can significantly decrease the value of your home. Damaged walls, floors and foundations due to prolonged plumbing leakages can also result in reduction of property value.

Increasing the Lifespan of Your Plumbing System

Regular maintenance from a professional plumber can help to detect clogged pipes and plumbing leaks before they put pressure on your plumbing system. If these issues are prolonged, they can lead to extensive damage and costly repairs.

Routine drain maintenance can catch small issues before they become big problems. Our plumbers can spot overflowing pipes, pipe clogs and aging pipes early, before further damage occurs.

Water Heater Maintenance

Tank type water heaters should be flushed annually to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty and to flush sediment from the tank. Tankless water heaters should be flushed every 2-4 years depending on usage. Flushing your water heater will help maintain energy efficiency and prolong the lifespan of the water heater.

Saving You Money

Many people think that they are saving money by avoiding plumbing maintenance and checkups under the notion that maintenance is unnecessary. However, the fact is that preventive maintenance can save you time and money. Routine care and maintenance can preserve the integrity of your plumbing system before damage happens. Regular maintenance can be far less expensive than part replacements and also save you money on emergency repairs.

A well-maintained plumbing system can improve how fast your sinks, bathtubs and showers drain. Clogging and buildup can cause your connections to take longer to drain. Slow drainage is more than just annoying, drainage problems should be treated at the earliest opportunity to prevent issues from escalating.

How Often Should I Schedule Maintenance?

How frequently you need to schedule maintenance depends on a few different factors. First, the size of your property, larger properties should be inspected more often due to the amount of pipes in the home and the size of the water systems. Other factors that should be considered are how many people are in your household and how much water is being used by your household. On average, homeowners should consider scheduling a visit from a professional plumber at least once a year.

The professionals at Eastern Plumbing are well trained and knowledgeable on how to repair and maintain any plumbing system. Give us a call at 252-758-7579 for all your plumbing needs from a routine checkup to emergency repairs and replacements.

Maintenance Your Pipes May Need

Many fixtures and devices in your home rely on properly functioning plumbing. You need to be aware of best practices to protect your plumbing fixtures that keep your home running smoothly.

Schedule routine maintenance with a trained plumber to help stay on top of fixtures such as:

  • Sinks and Faucets
  • Toilets, Bathtubs and Showers
  • Water filtration Systems
  • Washing Machines and Dishwasher Lines
  • Water Heaters

Clean water and properly running systems are vital to creating a healthy home or workplace, check that your pipes are in good shape with properly maintained filtration. Hire a plumber you can trust to conduct any system repairs and perform any upgrades your home or workplace may need.

Good Systems Save Money

Preventative care and routine maintenance can save you money by reducing your water bill. It only takes 4,000 drips to fill a liter of water, which means the price of a leaky faucet can add up quick! Small leaks dripping only once an hour can lead to up to 34 gallons of water waste per year.

Routine Maintenance Prevents Mold and Unwanted Moisture

Water waste from leaks and busted pipes can cost you money and cause damages when left standing. Dampness in you walls or other household surfaces can quickly grow mold and pose a health risk to you and your family. If measures are not taken to sanitize your house quickly after mold starts growing, your whole house can become infected with mold spores. These spores are spread around through air conditioning and heating units causing mold to grow outside of the original source.

If left untreated, mold can begin to permeate wood and even grow fungi. Once penetrated by fungi, wood can become structurally damaged and harmful to your health. Cold like symptoms such as runny eyes and cough can be a sign of mold exposure. Individuals with respiratory health issues such as asthma are more susceptible to health issues due to mold and fungus pollution. A well-maintained plumbing system and air system can help keep excess moisture out of your home, protecting you from potential mold spores. If you feel mold may be growing in your home contact a mold removal professional to help.

Address Problems Before They Happen

Take small steps to keep your plumbing system in good shape and avoid emergency visits from a plumber. Many emergency plumbing visits are the result of clogged drains. A slow drain in the kitchen is usually a sign that food has gotten stuck in your drain or pipes. One way to prevent this from happening is to purchase a strainer that sits on top of your kitchen drain. One of these strainers can be purchased at any local grocery store and can catch food before it gets washed down your sink.

Another way to avoid clogged drains is to pour excess oil and grease into a container for disposal after cooking. Never pour oil or grease down your drains. Bathroom drains can also become slow due to build up, typically hair build up. You can avoid hair clogging your drain by purchasing an inexpensive drain stopper for your bathtub or shower. If used properly a simple drain stopper can save you money on clogged drain repairs.

Avoid Frozen Pipes

During colder seasons it is important to take necessary measures to avoid water from freezing inside your pipes. On nights where temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, it is a good idea to maintain water pressure by leaving a faucet dripping overnight. A small steady drip is enough to keep liquid moving inside your pipes so the pipes will not freeze. If your pipes do freeze, reach out to a professional plumber immediately. A plumber can also help you avoid frozen pipes by installing insulation.

Does a Plumber Have to Conduct all of My Maintenance?

Although it may be possible to maintain some of your home’s plumbing fixtures yourself, it is crucial to have a trained plumber to help with repairs, replacements and emergency issues. With the trained professionals at Eastern Plumbing routinely inspecting your home’s water systems, you can be rest assured that your home will be well taken care of and emergencies can be prevented.

How to Maintain a Water Heater

One of the most important parts of your home is your water heater. It provides hot showers, clean dishes, and fresh laundry, so if it breaks on you, it could create some big issues. The average lifespan of a water heater is about 11 years, but without proper maintenance it might not make it that long. Here are some things you can do to keep it working for as long as possible:

Check the Temperature

Pay attention to your water heater’s thermostat. A lot of manufacturers set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit by default, which is hotter than most households need. This can cause scalding, as well as accelerated mineral buildup and corrosion in the pipes. To help prevent you tank from damage, a recommended setting for water heater maintenance is no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Perform a Mini Flush on Your Tank

It is a good idea to flush out about one-quarter of the tank in your water heater a few times each year. This can easily be done by turning off the cold-water supply, hooking up a garden hose to the drain valve and then running the water until it looks clear. Draining the tank will help clear away sediment and maintain the heating efficiency of your water heater.

If this isn’t something you’ve ever done, or feel comfortable doing, call the professionals at Eastern Plumbing to help – but our first tip is to make sure you turn off the power or gas supply for safety before beginning.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

A pressure relief valve that is working properly should release a burst of hot water into the drainpipe after you raise and then lower the test lever. This should be done regularly to check the pressure and to clear out debris.  If the valve isn’t letting out a big burst each time, then you need to call a professional plumber to get a new one installed.

Water heaters are complex and require regular maintenance. If you have any problems that you cannot solve yourself, call Eastern Plumbing and let us take care of it for you.

Preventing Fall Plumbing Problems

 

It’s cooling down, the leaves are changing colors and everything is getting an added dose of pumpkin spice, which can only mean one thing – fall is here! But before you pull out your hoodies, decorate for Halloween or start up the fireplace, it is important to make sure that your plumbing is as ready for fall as you are. The best way to avoid plumbing problems is with preventive maintenance. Here are a few tips to help make sure this autumn is the most comfortable one for you and your home.

Protect Your Pipes

Here in eastern North Carolina we usually have a pretty mild fall season, but there can be unexpected freezing days as well, especially as winter gets closer. Much like you bundle up in that hoodie to protect from the cold, it is important to do the same to your pipes. This fall, make sure that your pipes are properly insulated. If you’re not sure how to insulate your pipes, call the plumbing experts at Eastern Plumbing in Greenville and New Bern today! Oh, and if you have pipes outside, like many of us do, make sure to cover them too!

Wrap Up Your Water Hose

Your outdoor water hose was a blessing all summer long, but once the chilly season approaches that means it is time to wrap it up until next spring. If you leave your hose hooked on the outdoor faucet, the water in the pipe may freeze, causing damage to both your hose and your pipes.

Drain Your Water Heater

We dare say that no other home appliance is more important than your water heater in the fall and winter months! Nothing beats the cold like a warm bath or hot water for cup of coffee or tea. That’s why you should make sure that you drain your water heater. Draining your water heater empties out any sediment that may have built up over the months. This is especially important if you live in an area that uses hard water.

Tame The Leaves

Keep an eye on falling leaves and take notice to where they land. Remember that leaves don’t just fall on the ground below the tree – the wind, rain and traffic can move them in masses around your yard often times in hollows like eavestroughs, basement window wells and gutters. These falling leaves can block your drain spouts and cause your gutter system to clog. Backed-up water can get into your roof and foundation and cause major headaches, especially in the upcoming winter. Be sure to rake up piles of leaves and bag them immediately so they don’t disturb your yard a second time.

Get An Inspection

At Eastern Plumbing, we recommend regular inspections of your drains and plumbing. Fall is the perfect time to schedule one for your home. Before it gets colder and plumbing problems become much more damaging, Eastern Plumbing can:

  • Identify and repair cracked or leaking pipes,
  • Check your hot water heater for full efficiency, and
  • Conduct any faucet repair you may need.

We know how quickly the weather can change in eastern North Carolina, so we suggest getting your fall plumbing maintenance done now. At Eastern Plumbing, we want everyone to have a cozy fall and winter. Contact us today to make sure your plumbing is ready for the colder weather – and don’t forget we’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency!

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.

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.

All About the Plunger

 

It has saved you many times. It always has your back. When there is nobody to turn to, it can always be the hero in your war with the toilet (and kitchen sink! How to unplug your kitchen sink using a plunger). Everyone has one but most people don’t really know it’s story, and a lot don’t know the proper way to yield one.

Best All-Around

The plunger has a very shady past. The exact inventor and invention date are not known. What is known is that the science behind what makes plungers effective is utilized by many different industries, like in music, auto care and healthcare. It’s effectiveness and usefulness has made it one of the most versatile household instruments around today.

They’re Diverse

There area couple different types of plungers. The classic version is known as the cup plunger. This type is best for sinks, bathtubs and showers. There is also the toilet plunger, which has an additional flap on the inside. The accordion plunger is made of plastic, has a smaller cup and several layers to get maximum suction. The Taze plunger is for more commercial-style clogs, and has a composition that is a little more complicated.

Treat it Well

Make sure to clean your plunger after each use. This will disinfect the germs that are located on the cup and help with potentially bad smells. It is also a good idea to invest in a form of storage for your plunger if it does not come with one. This will aid you in not having to search for it in your time of need as well as protect it from damages.

Game Plan

Before the battle starts, make sure you choose to correct weapon. Figure out the best plunger for your needs. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts, plug all drains around you. This includes showers and sinks. Another expert tip is to spread petroleum jelly on the outside of the plunger. Now it’s time to rock and roll. Be sure to stretch and warm up, and get your mind right. After you ensure the entire rim of the cup is touching the toilet and surrounding the hole, start plunging as linear as possible. Alter the speed of force you use for about 30 seconds, and then try again. If this doesn’t get the job done, it may be time to call in Eastern Plumbing for some backup.

Spring and Summer Plumbing Tips

 

With the rise in temperatures and rain showers, there are preparations homeowners will need to make. Your pipes are coming off of the cold season, and with the change in weather, comes a new set of things to check for and potential problems.

Check Pipes

Due to increased water usage from outdoor actives and consumption from warmer weather, pipe issues can be amplified. Be sure to check pipes throughout your house in order to avoid any spring or summer plumbing issues. Damaged pipes lead to leaks, standing water, wasted money, wall/ceiling/floor damage and that means time and money.

Check Water Heater

In order to save on utility bills, lower the temperature on your water heater and hot water supply. Don’t lower it too much, just a few degrees can save you money each month. This will also help decrease your electricity usage. It is also suggested that if your water heater is more than 15 years old, you consider replacing it. The older a water heater is, the more likely changes in weather could cause a major plumbing problem.

Be Aware of Mold

The hot season brings an increased risk of mold inside and outside the house. Soak up standing water and be on the lookout for any condensation that develops. Mold is typically found in basements, attics, air conditioning units and outside areas. Standing water mixed with warmer weather can also cause damage to your plumbing and health.

Clear Debris

Check all drains, gutters and spouts outside for items that could be blocking water flow. After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.

Inspect Washing Machine

Check for leaks, bulges and damages to cords. This is also another opportunity to look for standing water, which is a sign of a leak somewhere in the piping, machine or surrounding area. It really “stinks” to have either your washing machine or dishwasher stop working.

Call Eastern Plumbing, we’d be happy to assist you through any seasonal changes.

Warnings that You Need a Pipe Repair

As the weather gets warmer, rain in eastern North Carolina will rise. Coming out of the winter season, the temperature elevation combined with this increase in precipitation puts a lot of demand on your pipes. It can bring to light problems that already exist, but it can escalate issues that may be minor. It’s important to diagnose these issues as soon as possible so that immediate action can be taken to save you time, money and headaches. Here are a couple of signs to be on the lookout for this Spring and Summer season.

Low Water Pressure

This warning sign is noticeable in the shower, washing dishes, washings your hands, brushing your teeth, etc. If you notice the water is not coming out of your shower head or faucet as powerful or consistent as it used to, do further inspection – a pipe repair might be in the future for you.

Pipe Leaks

Leaks in pipes can be heard and seen. If there is a dripping sound coming somewhere in your house, this is a clear sign that something needs to be done. Leaky pipes need to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid monetary and time consequences.

Damp Spots in Walls, Floor or Ceiling

When spotted, wet spots in your home are always a sign of a bigger issue. It is highly recommended to get the help of a professional before investing large amounts of money on something that may or may not fix the problem. While most of the time this is a major indicator of a pipe issue, it is best to be sure before going further.

Water Discoloration

If water coming out of your fixtures smells bad, is discolored, or has any unusual properties about it, this is a possible issue. It is best to further investigate before consuming or using any more water in your house.

Inexplicably Rising Water Bills

If your water bills are higher than normal and you are not sure why, your pipes could be behind it all. If you have a leaky pipe or two, water could be wasted daily. By leaking out, you may run more water because of low water pressure. This causes your bills to rise, which will get higher the longer it takes you to discover and fix it.

Weird Noises

It is possible to hear the sound of water running through your pipes in your house. If there is an uncommon noise associated with this, that’s a red flag. This noise could be the result of a blockage, a leak or pipes that are too old and need attention. Be aware of peculiar sounds, especially in the walls of older homes.

Corroded Pipes

Inspecting your pipes up close can also reveal rusty and/or corroded pipes. Even if the pipes that are located outside are rusty, that is an indication that the pipes inside the house are rusty as well. Corroded pipes can cause subsequent problems throughout the house. It can hurt entire plumbing systems, cause foul odors, stain fixtures and produce health problems.

If you need a pipe repair or are unsure, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

All Natural Cleaners – Ingredients & Recipes

Natural cleaners and ingredients can help you save time, money and make your home safer. Each appliance and surface requires a different type of cleaner. It is important to realize that these natural options are only meant for certain appliances and surfaces. Below is a list of some of the most popular natural cleaners as well as some recipes.

Ingredients

These individual ingredients have many uses when used alone. These can be found in grocery stores, home improvement stores and most of these could probably be found in your home right now!

Lemons

Lemons have strong cleaning properties in addition to a great, clean scent. This can be used in multipurpose cleaners as well as refrigerators and floors.

Vinegar

Vinegar can be used to clean because of its bacteria killing properties. Specifically, white vinegar can be used all around the house to clean surfaces like the toilet, microwave and countertops. Vinegar can be mixed with water in a spray bottle for easy application.

Baking soda

Baking soda has natural cleaning and deodorizing qualities to make it a very effective alternative to chemicals. It can be sprinkled on the surface or a sponge and used to clean the sink, oven or your grill.

Borax

Borax can be used to clean carpets and pests. It can also be used to get outdoor furniture ready for the summer and to clean the garbage disposal.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic and a natural bleaching and cleaning agent. It has many uses; like disinfecting, removing mold, washing carpets, floors and windows and even mouthwash!

Essential oils

Natural essential oils have two important qualities that can boost any natural cleaning recipe; their natural scent and their cleaning properties. They are naturally non-toxic while still being effective at killing germs.

Recipes

Using all-natural ingredients, these recipes are non-toxic and are safe for use in the home. There are no harmful chemicals in these recipes that could lead to health hazards for you, your family or your pets.

All purpose cleaner 

Hydrogen peroxide, lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil and peppermint essential oil

Carpet Cleaner 

Baking soda and Borax powder

Glass Cleaner 

Hot water, cornstarch, rubbing alcohol and white vinegar

Drain Cleaner

Boiling water, baking soda and white vinegar

Laundry Soap 

Borax, Washing soda and organic/homemade soap

Air Freshener 

Baking soda and essential oil of choice

Liquid Drain Cleaners – Risks

 

When it comes to unclogging your drains, liquid drain cleaners are easiest. They are effective and time efficient. But while they save time now, they will cost you later. After several uses, liquid chemical drain cleaners can have damaging effects to you and your plumbing.

Dangers of Chemical Cleaners

Liquid drain cleaners can have negative effects on your drains and health. Each liquid cleaner is different in its chemical makeup and its subsequent effects.

Drains

Because liquid chemical cleaners are designed to dissolve things like hair and fingernails, they can cause damage to unwanted things as well. If they get on surrounding wood or countertops, this could result in damages. Damage to your pipes themselves can also be a side effect. The chemicals in the cleaner can eat away at the pipes and result in corrosion and weakening. The bigger the clog the greater the effects due to the length of time the chemicals are stagnant and “eating.” So while the clog may have been fixed, over time this could lead to a much bigger problem down the road.

Health

Due to the harmful effects chemical drain cleaners have on steel pipes, it is not farfetched to realize they can have harmful effects on you as well. The same chemicals that can eat away at clogs and pipes can have detrimental effects on your skin, clothes and anything it touches. The main ingredient in most chemical drain cleaners is either sodium hydroxide or sulphuric acid. Both of these are highly toxic and can lead to severe health problems if ingested by swallowing or breathing. If the chemicals get on your skin or eyes, burns and blindness can occur.

There can also be very harmful effects if chemical drain cleaners mix with other household chemicals. This can happen with something already poured down the drain or something nearby. When this happens, there is a chance of an explosive reaction that can cause any number of issues and concerns.

Better Alternatives

Instead of risking the health of your pipes and body, choose one of the alternatives to liquid chemical drain cleaners.

Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme drain cleaners are safer liquid drain cleaners that do not contain harmful chemicals. These cleaners contain bacteria that interact with the clogs and break them down. These concentrated enzymes also kill the organic matter that can cause bad odor.  While these might be slower than chemical cleaners, they are safer to pipes and you.

Another advantage of enzyme cleaners is that they are biodegradable and environmentally-friendly. Once these bacteria are sprayed or poured, they activate and start to multiply. After the job is done, these bacteria die and are completely safe for the environment.

Physical De-Cloggers

Unclogging your drain physically yourself is much safer than chemical drain cleaners. There are no chemicals involved or harmful side effects. This can be done with a plunger, drain snake or physically removing the pipe among other methods. This eliminates the risk of pouring something down the drain.

Contact a Professional

Clogged drains can be a very tricky problem. The best solution is to enlist the help of a professional. Contact Eastern Plumbing today and we’ll get you up and running normally.

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.