Reasons Why Your Plumbing Sweats in the Summer

If you are tired of finding condensation around your fixtures and pipes during the summer months, here are some solutions you may find helpful:

It’s all about the dew point.

The dew point is the temperature air needs to be cooled to in order for it to release water vapor, and the dew point changes with the humidity level. The higher the humidity, the higher the dew point. Once the temperature is below the dew point condensation occurs.  When air cools on contact with chilled surfaces (such as your water pipes and toilet tanks), it releases water vapor in the form of droplets. Condensation on pipes and tanks is more noticeable during the summer months simply because it is more humid with a higher dew point than other times of the year.

Accumulated drips can cause damage over time.

A little bit of water should not cause problems as long as it dries. When humidity is really high, the condensation that forms on your water pipes and toilet tanks can be substantial enough to puddle on floors and inside cabinets, this is where it could possibly cause damage. Even worse, that dampness in a dark, closed space, such as under a sink, creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow.

Add insulation to prevent hot, humid air from contacting your cold pipes.

One of the easiest ways to keep water pipes from sweating is to cover them with insulation. Pipe insulation has a slit along the length of the tube that easily slips over your water supply pipes, making this easy for anyone to install. Also, the factory-applied adhesive at the seam activates when you close it, which makes an effective barrier to prevent humid air from reaching the cold pipes in the first place.

Increase the water temperature to decrease condensation.

Raising the temperature of your water a few degrees could be enough to make surfaces slightly warmer than the dew point, making it likely to reduce condensation. A water-mixing anti-sweat valve connects to both the hot and cold-water supply lines so it can introduce hot water into the cold line when needed. The amount of hot water can be adjusted to prevent your toilet tank from sweating while using as little hot water as possible.

Install a ventilation fan to reduce bathroom humidity and prevent toilet tank sweating.

The humidity caused by steamy showers increases the dew point so installing a ventilation fan will help remove the moisture in the air. Less moisture in the air means less moisture accumulating on cool surfaces.

6 Summer Plumbing Problems (and How to Avoid Them)

Summer is for fun – relaxing, entertaining, traveling and recharging. So don’t let summer plumbing problems spoil this fun time of the year! Here are some common (and preventable) situations to look for and avoid this summer.

1. Outdoor fun = indoor mess.

Whether your summer fun involves hiking trails, ATVs, or sand and surf, it’s a good bet that it comes with some extra dirt or sand. When washing up after your adventures, make sure you keep as much of it out of your drains as possible, so they don’t become clogged or damaged. Instead, hose yourself—and any kids or pets you took with you—off outside and knock the debris from clothes you plan to place in the washing machine. Your drains will thank you!

2. Summer is your sprinkler system’s busiest season.

If you had your sprinkler system inspected after winter’s disuse, then you are a step ahead in keeping it in working order this summer, but there are still a couple things to look out for:

  • Watch where you’re mowing. Aboveground sprinkler heads are easily damaged by mower blades.
  • Prevent pet damage. Bits of plastic and tubing may be tempting chew toys!

3. Some summer foods don’t agree with your garbage disposal.

Your garbage disposal works hard year-round, but summer can pose some additional challenges.

  • Grilling Out? To keep your garbage disposal running at its best, don’t let your guests put bones or fat down it.
  • Enjoying summer fruits and vegetables? Fibrous parts, like corn husks and cobs, celery

strings, banana peels and artichokes can jam up your disposal, as well as hard seeds and pits.

4. Is Spot a summer shedder?

Some dogs (and most cats) shed all year, while others grow a bulk winter coat that sheds in late spring/early summer. Whatever your breed’s schedule, you’ll want to prevent all that hair from clogging your pipes and causing backups.

  • If possible, avoid bathing a pet in the bathtub. If that’s not possible, make sure to trap fur and debris before it goes down the drain. There are devices on the market that can help with this.
  • Brush your pet regularly to reduce the amount of hair that hitches a ride on your clothes and linens and into your washing machine—or into your tub drain during the next bath.
  • Pre-rinse especially dirty pets. A fur coat can pick up a lot of gravel, sand and mud!

5. When it rains, it pours—into your basement.

Heavy summer rainfall can overwhelm your gutters and other drainage. Consider these tips:

  • Keep your gutters, downspouts and other drainage systems clear of debris.
  • Install a Sump Pump to collect and dispel any water that collects in your basement. If you already have one, make sure it is in good working condition.
  • Consider having a professional look at your property’s grading. You may need to shift some earth or add more drainage to keep water away from your foundation.

6. Make sure your travel plans include time for plumbing prep.

If you have summer travel plans, make sure your home is ready —especially if you are going to be away for weeks at a time.

  • Make sure all indoor and outdoor taps are completely off.
  • Arrange to have a trusted friend or neighbor check in on your house and make sure everything is ok.
  • Check your water-using appliances for loose or cracked hoses, leaks or other malfunctions.
  • Turn your water heater down to its low, pilot or vacation setting. No need to waste energy heating water that won’t be used!
  • Empty the dishwasher and washing machine, and leave them open to air. While you’re at it, make sure your garbage disposal and plumbing traps are clean. That way, you won’t be coming home to musty, unpleasant odors.
  • If your irrigation system is on a schedule, make sure it will run as desired while you’re away.
  • If you’ll be away for an extended amount of time, consider turning off your water main and water heater and draining your pipes and tank.

We hope these tips will help you avoid common summer plumbing problems, but if you do need service or repair, call Eastern Plumbing!

Plumbing Tips for Spring

As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers” and the onset of spring, which means it is time for some spring cleaning!  Eastern Plumbing offers these spring plumbing tips to protect your home against possible plumbing problems into the spring and summer!

1. Check Your Water Heater

Check your water heater for any signs of leaks and corrosion. Look for puddles, rust or soot around the control panel. If you see any of these signs, give call us.

2. Check Your Water Valves

You may want to turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on again to keep the parts from becoming stuck.

3. Check Your Toilet & Faucets for Leaks

Look for any drips and/or leaks that may need repairs. Also, examine your toilets and tanks for any hidden leaks or cracks and make sure your toilet is not constantly running – a running toilet can run up your water bill.

4. Check Your Sump Pump

With heavy spring rain, it is important to inspect your sump pump to ensure it is functioning smoothly.

5. Clean Your Gutters & Down Spouts

Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out and open, and free of debris.

6. Watch for Leaks Connected to Sprinklers & Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor pipes can easily freeze and break over the winter. When outside temperatures heat up, watch your pipes for signs of leaks. If you notice a water leak in your home the first time you turn on your hose or other faucets, this is a sign that one of your pipes froze and broke over the winter.

 

Eastern Plumbing are your plumbing experts. We can install, replace or repair any of your plumbing needs. Contact us today at 252-758-7579.

At Home Outdoor Water Activities for Kids

With summer comes more hours of daylight for families to be outdoors. So, now’s the perfect time to try these low-budget water activities to add some family fun, and with the help of your outdoor plumbing.

These fun outdoor activities are sure way to bring a smile to you and your kids, as well as keep them occupied for hours.

Slip Sliding Fun

One low-cost way to have fun outdoors is running through the sprinklers. It is not only fun for the young but also the young at heart – we dare you not to smile like a little kid!
Running through the sprinklers can be fun for the entire family and will also keep the yard looking green. If you don’t have a sprinkler, the kids can take turns holding a finger over the hose to make your own sprayer, or you can buy a hose nozzle with different settings.
It’s also easy to set up a homemade water slide for your kids and their friends by laying out a big sheet of plastic or a tarp, then spraying it down & keeping it wet, and rubbing it with some dish detergent or shampoo to make it slippery. What a fun way to stay cool!

Hose Fight Alternative

With these hot days, it might be tempting to have a water hose fight. But, since Eastern Plumbing is interested in helping you save money on your water bill, we are suggesting water gun fights instead! This is just as fun and will save you water and money in the process.

Not only do water guns allow for more strategic fun, they also use less water than a hose. As an added bonus, water guns are much easier to run away with and avoid attacks.

Water Balloon Battle

Another great activity is a water balloon fight. You can make teams of boys vs. girls, parents vs. kids or just throw water balloons at each other! Much like the hose vs. water guns issue, using water balloons also saves water.
Whether it is a friendly competition or not, water balloon fights are a great activity for family and friends alike and offer the same fun a snowball fight would offer in the winter.
So, this summer, we hope you will find time to enjoy these fun water activities we’ve shared with you! At Eastern Plumbing we want you to make the most of the hottest days of the summer, and just maybe this will become a new family tradition.

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.

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.

Outdoor Misting Systems – Pros & Cons

As the weather warms up, your desire to get cool will rise again. Attendance at ballgames and pool parties increase and there are a lot more popsicle-related stains to worry about. And, as things heat up people will try to find ways to cool off. Misting systems are popular answers for restaurants and homeowners alike. But before you invest in a misting system, make sure you know the pros and cons.

Pros

Effective

Misting systems are very effective way to cool the surrounding air and helping lower your body temperature. Whether you’re enjoying a cold beverage or hanging out on the patio, misting systems can help you stay cool while enjoying traditional summer activities.

Multiple Benefits

While misting systems give you the opportunity to stay cool, they are also very versatile in their uses and benefits. One example is as an alternative use as a watering tool. You are able to water your garden on a more automatic schedule instead of having to do it manually.

Efficient

Even though it may seem like misting systems use large amounts of water, they are actually very efficient. With new innovations and developments every year, this will continue to evolve. Compared to a central air conditioner, outdoor misting systems use considerably less energy and water.

Easy to install

Whether installing a system yourself or getting a professional to help with your patio upgrade, the complexity is rather moderate. Most systems come with a kit that has everything you need. All you need is to add a little elbow grease and you’re ready to “chill” out.

Easy to operate

Most misting systems can be operated from the hose on the side of the house. This is very convenient when the system is only being used during certain parts of the year. The upkeep on misting systems may require additional alterations and check-ups, like winterizing before the cold weather months.

Cons

Regular maintenance required

Due to temperature changes, leaks, low water pressure and other potential problems, regular upkeep and maintenance is required. This may not always require a professional to come to your home, but in some cases that is suggested. Make sure to check water pressure, hoses and pipes on a regular basis to ensure wasting water and money is kept to a minimum. Regular maintenance is also recommended to prevent any adverse effects to your home or yard.

Can be expensive

Because of the regular maintenance that is required and the initial cost upfront, outdoor misting systems can get pricey. While outdoor misting systems are going to use less water and energy than your air conditioning, they’re going to use more water than you’re currently using.

Misting systems come in a variety of set-ups and types. Their pressure ranges from low to high and each one will require different maintenance, upkeep and requirements. Make sure to do research prior to purchasing to ensure you’re investing in the right misting system.

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.

Tips to Avoid a Holiday Clog

 

The upcoming Holiday season is sure to bring many wonderful things. Time spent with family, good food and quality rest are all things to be enjoyed in the coming weeks. While there are so many great things to come, one of the worst things that you are at risk for are clogging drains. Whether it’s a sink or toilet, Holiday clogs are no fun. Here are a few suggestions to avoid dealing drain pains.

Throw Leftovers in the Trash-NOT Toilet or Sink

Turkey legs, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy all need to go in the trash. Bones, skin and other feast paraphernalia will destroy your pipes and cause stoppage. Even if you cook the greatest turkey in the South, your toilet and sink will spit it out. Guaranteed.

Don’t Pour Grease Down the Drain

Grease and your drains should not spend any of the holidays together. Grease will harden inside and cause significant damage to the flow of your toilet and/or sink. Keep them away from each other, just like those two fighting relatives.

Go Easy on the Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is a wonderful thing. But, it is not superman. Bones, grease, noodles and fruit pits are a few examples of things not to throw down there. A best practice is to always feed the garbage disposal slowly instead of trying to choke it. If you rush it, you will pay for it later.

Mesh Screens Save the Day

Everyone should be using a mesh screen in the sink. If not, invest in one this Holiday season. Besides potentially rescuing valuable items from going down the drain, it saves you time and money from clogs and odors. Parts that are too big to go through the screen should not be going down the non-disposal side of your sink. But instead of doing extra work worrying about that, wash without care and let the screen do it for you.

With these tips in mind, Eastern Plumbing knows that accidents happen. If one does, call us, we are always there for you. Feel free to have some holiday cake while waiting.

Preparing Your Pool for Fall and Winter

It’s time for pool owners to think about winterizing. Unless you live in one of the United States warmer climates, if you haven’t already, you’ll likely be taking your last dip in the pool shortly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all procedure for winterizing your pool. The pool design and accessories, as well as the climate and location, will affect the steps you need to take to keep your pool clean and in good condition until spring arrives next year. If you’re unsure what your pool needs, a knowledgeable plumber can help you prepare for the winter season and can give you advice on what you need to know moving forward.

However, there are a few best practices for most outdoor pools. If you’re going the Do-It-Yourself route and want to be sure you’ve thought of everything, you can pay attention to these steps:

  • Don’t drain the pool unless your specific pool design requires it. Draining and refilling a pool every season uses a large amount of water which could simply be re-treated next season. And, empty in-ground pools could suffer structural damage from the pressure of the soil against the outer walls, and rising groundwater can make a pool float out of the ground.
  • Reduce the water level. Many pools will have a freeze line indicator that shows the proper water level for winterization. This is usually about six inches below the inlets.
  • Use an algaecide from the start of the off-season and check directions to see if you need to reuse in the middle of winter. Preventing algae growth in the winter helps prevent staining and reduces the amount of time and chemical supplies you’ll need to get your pool ready in the spring.
  • Adjust the pH level one final time. In most climates, an appropriate pH falls between 7.0 and 7.8; however, you should consult with a local pool or plumbing professional to determine the ideal level for your pool.
  • Run your pool filter and vacuum thoroughly before shutting down for the winter. Once done, remove, clean and store all external equipment such as pumps and vacuums.
  • Completely drain all external lines. If you live in an extremely cold climate, it may be necessary to pour antifreeze into some of the lines to prevent cracking.
  • Keep your pool covered all season, preferably with a high-quality, all-weather cover designed specifically for your pool. Keep the pool cover clear of leaves, tree branches, snow and other debris as needed throughout the season.
  • The last step is to shut off the circuit breaker, and then your pool equipment is ready for next spring.
Shutting down your pool for the winter can be a big job, and not doing it correctly could result in costly damage. It is definitely worth doing it right the first time, so if you’re unsure of how to protect your pool, call in the pros. Contact Eastern Plumbing today!

Help Your Overworked Summer Plumbing

 

You might be having a relaxing summer, but your plumbing isn’t. Whether you know it or not, your plumbing gets more of a workout during the summer than any other time of year. This is due to the number of outdoor activities that we enjoy. By following these tips, you can keep your plumbing running smoothly during its summer workout while saving money at the same time!

Check your washing machine regularly.

With more time spent outdoors, that also means more dirty laundry. Since your washing machine will be used more often in the summer, inspect it regularly for leaks or cracks. A leaking washing machine can waste large amounts of water while causing expensive damage to your home. An increase in washing also means an increase in drying. Be sure to dispose of dryer lint regularly to avoid fires and save energy!

Use your dishwasher instead of hand washing.

Most dishwashers today are energy efficient and save gallons of water compared to washing dishes by hand.

Know what can and can’t go in the garbage disposal.

The food at the backyard cookout was great, but now it’s time to clean up. Stringy and fibrous foods like cornhusks, lettuce, and onion peels will cause clogs and should be disposed of in a trash can. Grease and oil are also bad for your drains and should be avoided. If you are cleaning greasy or oily foods, run cold water at full blast for 15 seconds before and after to help your disposal flush everything down.

Be wary of sewer line backups.

This is a common problem during the summer months because rainfall can enter your sewer line through cracks in the pipe. This added pressure may cause the sewer line to back up. Tree roots may also end up causing problems as they search for water during the hot days. Contact Eastern Plumbing today to have one of our trained technicians inspect your sewer line and ensure there are no problemsYou might be taking it easy this summer, but your plumbing is hard at work. By following these tips, you can help your plumbing handle any challenges that come its way and keep your summer worry-free.

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.