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.

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.

Strengthen Your Water Heater

Prolong Your Water Heaters Life with an Inspection

Your water heater is one of the main devices in your homes comfort system. It supplies hot water for use in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks and showers. Other than your HVAC system, it also uses the most energy. Given its importance, the stakes are high when it comes to keeping your hot water heater running in peak condition. With proper maintenance, you can extend its life and delay the moment when you need to purchase a new model. Read on to learn more.

Getting the Most from Your Household Plumbing

There are several steps you can take yourself to keep the water heater running smoothly:

  • Inspect the Temperature/Pressure Relief Valve. Make sure your pressure valve is working correctly by turning off the power and water to your hot water unit and then tripping the valve. Air, water or vapor should come out – if they don’t, you need to replace the valve. A malfunctioning valve could cause an explosion if the tank becomes over-pressurized.
  • Flush out Your Tank. It’s a good idea to empty the tank once a year or so to remove any sediment that has accumulated inside; and, it’s convenient to take care of this when you’re checking the pressure valve. Turn off the water and power to the water heater, hook a hose up to the drain valve and place the other end somewhere where it’s safe to discharge hot water. Next, with the pressure relief valve already open, flip open the drain valve and let all the water flow out. Close the drain valve and the pressure relief valve. Turn on the water supply for the water heater and turn on your hot water faucets. Wait until water starts coming out before you power up the heater again.
  • Check on Your Anode Rod. The anode rod helps prevent corrosion in your hot water tank and is an essential tool for prolonging its life. You can check on this while the tank is drained by unscrewing the hex head at the top of the tank and pulling out the rod. If there is not much left of the anode rod it is time to replace it. They are typically between three and four feet long. In general, anode rods should last about five years, but it’s a good idea to check on them annually.

Put Your Household Plumbing in Expert Hands

Now is the time to be thinking about your water heater maintenance. With the colder weather your water heater must work harder, so the more vigilant you are about maintenance, the less likely you’ll need an emergency repair or replacement. In addition to your own interventions, a yearly visit from a qualified plumber can catch any problems you missed or weren’t able to resolve and extend the lifespan of your water heater even more.

If you need your hot water heater inspected, or have any other problems with your household plumbing, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

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!

Tips for Remodeling your Bathroom

Spring is the busiest time of the year for remodeling your home. People are coming out of hibernation with the warmer weather and are ready to change their surroundings. The bathroom is a practical area to renovate first, and it’s one of the best ways to improve your home’s resale value. Are you considering remodeling your bathroom? Read the following tips before you begin your next home improvement project.

1. Investigate.

Before purchasing new materials for your bathroom, make sure you evaluate the current structure of the room. If you have any hidden rot, rusty pipes or frayed wiring your project can quickly escalate in cost.

2. Plan.

Check the blueprint of your home to determine the plumbing and electrical layouts. You’ll save time and money if you work with the existing system, as rerouting plumbing and electrical lines is expensive.

3. Measure.

Don’t forget to measure your bathtub and any fixtures that you’ll be replacing. Try the showroom samples out before you buy and check to see if the products are user-friendly before you mount them in your bathroom.

4. Choose the right products.

Think about your carbon footprint and choose plumbing fixtures that will help you save money on your water bill. Consider energy-efficient light bulbs to brighten your bathroom. Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs can make your bathroom appear bigger than it actually is. Additionally, a pedestal sink takes up less space than a vanity. If you need extra storage, consider installing a medicine cabinet.

5. Order beforehand.

Large items like special-order toilets and vanity tops can take several weeks to arrive. Before you demolish your bathroom, make sure everything you need is on hand. Waiting for parts to arrive can be frustrating, but it’s better than tearing up your fixtures and having an unusable bathroom until the new items arrive. When your new products arrive, you’ll know if you need to do any extra work before you rip up your walls.

6. Don’t be afraid to call a professional.

If any part of remodeling takes you out of your comfort zone, call a professional. You might need Eastern Plumbing’s help if your water or drain lines need to be moved. When you’re dealing with electrical or plumbing, DIY mistakes can be a costly disaster.

At Eastern Plumbing, we specialize in remodels and installs. Give us a call today for help with your home renovations.

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.

5 Home Plumbing Myths That Cost You Money

Are you a new homeowner or someone learning how to maintain your home plumbing system? There are many myths surrounding home plumbing, all of which can lead to costly repair to systems and pipes. Before you take your mother’s advice and go the “DIY” route, read below for some of the top myths of home plumbing you’ll want to avoid.

Myth #1: Lemons Clean Your Garbage Disposal.

Many people believe that if your drains smell clean, they are clean. However, this is not the case. While running a lemon rind through your disposal may make your drain smell better, it won’t actually get clean. If you want to clean your drains, you will need to use a disinfectant. Spray the cleaning solution into the disposal, wait a few minutes for it to work its magic, and then use a cleaning brush to scrub the disposal. As an added tip, always remember to disconnect the garbage disposal from its power source before you clean.

Myth #2: Running Water While Using the Garbage Disposal Helps the Waste Travel Smoothly.

While using a garbage disposal, many homeowners believe they can put just about anything through the system as long as the faucet is running water. This is not the case, as hard or thick food items such as eggshells, banana peels and even sticky spaghetti can cause a blockage and damage the disposal blades. Before you put thick foods down your disposal, break the food into small pieces and mix them with water to ensure the waste will be disposed of properly.

Myth #3: As Long As Water Keeps Running Down My Drain, It Isn’t Getting Clogged.

This is another common misconception. Blockages are caused from a long term build up on the inside of the pipes that occurs over time. You can prevent and maintain blockages by making sure you routinely use an anti-blockage chemical as well as a drain filter to ensure that hair and non-perishable items do not go down the drain.

Myth #4: It’s OK To Clean Plumbing Fixtures With Hand Soap.

When cleaning the kitchen or bathroom, it is common to see people cleaning their sinks and faucets with hand soap. The truth is, this method is actually causing damage to the surface of material. Sinks, faucets and toilet bowls should always be cleaned with a strong disinfectant to keep them free of germs. Gently clean your faucets with a solution made from cut lemons and baking soda.

Myth #5: Plumbing Fixtures Require Little to No Maintenance.

Out of all the common plumbing myths, this is a dangerous one that will likely cause you the most problems in the future. Pipes are often obstructed by clogs, trees roots, or shifting home foundations, which can result in expensive plumbing repair such as sewer line replacement or a pipe replacement. Homeowners should routinely inspect and maintain sinks, faucets, toilets and pipes to make sure any sign of damage is addressed immediately. Remember, prevention is better than the cure.

Choosing the right plumbing service will be so much more beneficial to you and your family in the future. Having a trustworthy and professional plumbing service such as Eastern Plumbing, on call any time, will provide you with a peace of mind. You can be assured that all of our plumbers are continuously trained on all of the latest plumbing techniques and technological advances to stay ahead of the rest. Eastern Plumbing is always here to assist you with all of your plumbing needs and resolve any plumbing issues quickly, efficiently and at an affordable price.

Drip…Drip…Drip…

Your faucets act as a dam for water entering your home, the water is under pressure, therefore a watertight seal is necessary to hold back the incoming water until you are ready to use it. A dripping faucet is generally a sign that this seal or another component is worn and needs to be replaced.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School, leaky faucets drip once per minute, that’s an average of 1,440 drips per day, 34 gallons of water per year. Those gallons down the drain translate to money down the drain, fixing the leak can save up to 10% on your water bill.

Culprits of a leak may include:

  • an O ring becoming loose or worn due to over usage
  • water sediment build up/corrosion on the valve seat
  • worn washers or seals from repeat friction with valve seats
  • an improper installation of the washer
  • loose parts caused by continuous usage

When a drip is noticed, whether you DIY or call Eastern Plumbing for a professional plumber, it’s important to address the repair immediately.

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring

Spring is here, which means it’s time for “spring cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Eastern Plumbing offers you these quick and simple tips to protect your home against seasonal plumbing problems.

Kitchen/Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.

Appliances

  • Flush your water heater tank to clear out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Check your water heater manufacturer’s website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years. Use stainless steel hoses where possible; they are more reliable and less prone bursting.

General

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

Outside

  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris. If you let the debris build up, gutters and drains can clog, causing water damage, leakage and mold growth – not something you want to deal with!
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

Completing this inspection will prepare your home for the heavy rains of spring and will help you discover sooner and not later any damages caused by a long, cold winter. Contact Eastern Plumbing today to ensure you are ready!