DIY – Emergency Plumbing Solutions

An emergency plumbing situation can occur at anytime of any day. Knowing how to fix urgent plumbing problems in advance is the best way to come up with solutions at the time of an emergency. Knowing how to spot potential plumbing problems can also help you determine whether you will be facing an emergency plumbing situation in the near future. Learn how to prepare and temporarily fix your next emergency plumbing crisis until the professionals are called in.

 

What You Need On Hand:

You never know what emergency plumbing situation you will find yourself in, which is why you must always stay prepared and have these items ready to go in case you spring a leak (or any other plumbing emergency mishap occurs).

  • Use a bucket as your ‘emergency plumbing tool holder.’ If you spring a leak mid-project, it will catch the water and help keep your home nice and dry.
  • Keep heavy duty paper towels or old towels/rags in your ‘emergency plumbing tool kit’ to clean up whatever your bucket doesn’t catch or water from small leaks.
  • Wrenches, wrenches, wrenches – wrenches are an essential tool of any plumber. A pair of medium sized slip joint pliers and an adjustable wrench should cover most jobs. However, it never hurts to have other various sized wrenches ready to go as well.
  • A multi-bit screwdriver is the perfect ‘emergency plumbing tool.’ It is versatile and can help reduce the number of tools in your ‘emergency plumbing tool kit.’
  • Keep a forced cup plunger and a regular plunger handy. Each plunger has its own specific use and provides extra unclogging power!
  • Duct tape and/or leak sealing tape can help out in a plumbing emergency until a permanent fix can be made.
  • Wire coat hangers are a household item that every amateur plumber should keep handy.

Emergency Tips

When it comes to emergency plumbing situations it’s not enough to just have the right tools to take on the job, you have to know a thing or two about how to handle the situation too. These tips will prepare you for your next emergency plumbing crisis.

  • If a pipe bursts, turn off the water supply. While you wait for a professional to arrive and remedy the situation, drain the entire system by turning on all the cold water taps in the house and flushing the toilets. Next, turn your water heater off and turn on all the hot water taps and drain them out as well. When there is no more running tap water, the leak will stop.
  • Use two wrenches at once, turning in opposite directions. This absorbs the stress from the plumbing when tightening or loosening a plumbing fitting.
  • If the water in a clogged toilet keeps rising every time you flush, take a wire coat hanger and bend it into a curved shape and try to remove the blockage inside the toilet bowl. Once you have loosened the blockage, try using a forced cup plunger to fully unclog the toilet. Unclogging a toilet with rising water can be messy job. Be sure to use old towels and rags on the floor to keep the bathroom from getting wet and slippery.
  • Use duct tape or pipe sealing tape to pull together a crack in a pipe. The tape will reduce the leak as a temporary solution.
  • When unclogging the sink or garbage disposal in the kitchen, make sure to turn off the switch for the disposal before trying to unclog or clean it. First, use a long spoon handle or tongs to clean out the fragments of leftovers. Make sure to never put your hands inside the disposal. Next, use two plungers to unclog the sink/disposal. Using a second plunger to cover the other drain will allow you to get the most force. After cleaning the disposal out and plunging the drain, turn on the hot water, turn the power on again and turn on cold water to check if the clog has been cleaned out.

These tips will help to sustain the damage until a professional plumber can be called in to make the repairs.

 

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

What You Need to Know for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

The Beatles, denim and Grease with John Travolta— just a few things that will never go out of style. It’s a shame bathrooms aren’t the same way. Years ago you may have loved the wallpaper that adorned your hall bathroom, admired the big gold fixtures on your soaker tub or smiled when you saw your pink tiled countertops. But now, not so much! Or maybe you need to add a tub where there once was a shower in order to accommodate your growing family. For whatever reason, you’ve decided it’s time to give the outdated or non-functional design a well-deserved retirement. So, now begins the remodel process. But before you get started here are a few things you should think about before “demo day.”

 

Toilets

If you’re simply changing out an old toilet for a new one, you may consider tackling this project yourself. But if plumbing is a completely new territory for you, you may want a professional to handle this one and ensure there are no leaks— and trust us bathroom leaks can be messy.

If you are moving a toilet to a new place in the bathroom, there are other things you will want to keep in mind. The first thing to consider is where there are toilet drains and toilet vents. If you move the toilet no further than 48” from the toilet vent, you won’t have to move the vent, you simply have to move the toilet drain. Also, know that the cost of moving both the toilet vent and the toilet drain can get pricey.

 

Sinks

Sinks can be tricky, not because of the installation process, but because of the number of options and varying costs. You could get a pedestal sink, a vessel sink, a wall-mounted sink; the list goes on and on. Decide what type of sink fits best in your space and what style you like the most. Don’t forget to consider if you need cabinet storage under your sink.

It is not unusual to move plumbing lines when it comes to sinks because there are so many styles of sinks. So, don’t be afraid of having to do this. This bathroom sink remodel will likely cost a few hundred dollars in addition to the cost of the sink itself.

 

Showers

When it comes to remodeling the shower, you may be presented with two options: a shower/bathtub combo or a stand-alone shower. A shower/bathtub combo will cost you between $300 and $900 for the tub and walls. For a stand-alone shower, the cost is limited only by your imagination. With this option you will get to choose the tiles, backsplash, doors, and lighting. You may also choose to add extra showerheads in the walls or ceiling.

If you’re relocating the shower, expect to pay about the same as toilet relocation. There are specific codes that plumbers must follow in order to make sure drains and vents are properly angled and securely fitted.

 

Tubs

When choosing a new bathtub, the first thing you need to decide is what general style of tub best fits your needs. Do you want a standard tub that is made for a quick bath? Or do you want a luxurious spa bath designed for soaking?

The average cost of a tub ranges from $200 to $2,000 or more. Moving bath drains and bath vents are comparable in cost to the shower and toilet.

 

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel or in the middle of your own bathroom DIY project, we would love to help.

Contact Eastern Plumbing:
With over 15 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in Eastern, NC with their plumbing needs. Our top-notch plumbing technicians can accurately install any bathroom equipment for any renovation project you decide to tackle!

 

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

5 Most Common Summer Plumbing Problems… and How to Avoid Them

Summer is all about having fun – backyard barbecues, enjoying the outdoors, traveling and relaxing. However, the warmer months are a prime time for plumbing problems that may not occur at other times of the year. Here are five common plumbing problems to watch out for, so you can spend more time having summer fun!

1. Clogged Drains

Whether your summer fun includes sandy beaches, surprise muddy afternoon rain showers or grassy sprinkler play, it’s a good bet that it comes with some extra sand/dirt at the end of the day. When washing up after your days adventure, make sure to keep the worst of it out of your drains. They weren’t designed to handle sizable amounts of sand, mud or other debris, and could become clogged or damaged. Instead of hoping right into the shower, hose the kids, any four legged friends and yourself off outside. Knocking any extra debris from clothes, you plan to place in the washing machine, while outside will also give your drains a hand.

2. Washing Machine Maintenance

With the kids at home for the summer, your washing machine will be running a lot more than usual. Those summer activities we love so much, like spending days at the pool or the beach, will also results in more laundry to wash, which can put additional stress on your washing machine. To prevent creating an indoor swimming pool in your house, check the hoses at the back of the machine for any possible leaks. Moving the machine out from the wall a little will help prevent the hose from kinking as well.

3.  Clogged Disposal

With all the barbecues going on and guests running around your house, you will need to be careful of how you dispose of waste food. Avoid flushing hard fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and corn, down your garbage disposal. These types of produce can damage the blades in your disposal or cause unwanted clogs. Hard seeds and pits, including popcorn kernels, can also be a hazard. You also shouldn’t pour leftover grease and oil down the drain after grilling out. Grease and oil can solidify inside a garbage disposal and cause clogs in the drain pipe. It is always (not just in the summer months) a good idea to run cold water through your disposal for a few seconds before and after you use it to clear any remaining bits of food. Following theses tips can help keep your disposal clean and fully functional all summer long!

4. Sprinkler Issues

Having your lawn’s sprinkler system heads inspected and cleaned before the season begins is the first step to having happy and functioning sprinklers all summer long. Throughout the summer it is important to be careful while mowing the lawn. Aboveground sprinkler heads are easily damaged by mower blades and broken sprinkler heads can waste water and cause the grass to die.

5. Sewer Line Backups

Sewers can backup when afternoon summer showers or thunderstorms hit and over saturate the ground. Excessive rain can get into sewer pipes through cracks, causing the sewer line to back up. Servicing your sewers before the summer comes can help you avoid the worst of the issues. Installing a drain plug can also help prevent water from backing up during summer storms. However, if you do see signs of sewer line problems, such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a plumber right away!

We’re available 24/7 for any plumbing emergency, contact Eastern Plumbing today.

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.

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.

5 Jobs Best Left to a Professional Plumber

As a homeowner, you know firsthand that plumbing repairs are needed when you least expect it. Your first instinct is to follow directions you find online or in repair manuals. However, some jobs are better left to professionals. You could spend hours of valuable time fixing the problem. If you don’t repair it correctly, you can end up paying more money out of your pocket. A small water leak can quickly turn into thousands of dollars of damage, and plumbers charge a premium to make an emergency call.

Here are several examples of jobs you should consider hiring a professional plumber for:

1. Permits

A bathroom remodel or adding a gas line to your backyard for your grill will require a permit and inspection. A professional stays up to date on local, state and national codes and regulations and will know what permits to pull and make sure the job will pass inspection.

2. Low water pressure

Many factors can cause low water pressure, occurring anywhere between the well or city water supply and the water lines. If you try to find the cause by yourself it can take hours, but a professional plumber can quickly troubleshoot the problem and fix it.

3. Sewer line problems

A tree root may be the cause of your sewer line not draining properly. You can rent a machine to fix the problem, but trying to remove the tree root can cause extensive damage to the sewer line. A plumber can resolve the issue without causing further damage.

4. Problems with the main line

Notice any backup in your tub or shower? Your main line may be blocked. Repairing the main line requires special equipment most homeowners do not have. You can rent the equipment, but professionals have the experience to use it to get the problem fixed quickly.

5. No hot water

A number of problems can cause a loss of hot water. If your tank isn’t visibly leaking, it can take hours to find the problem. A professional can troubleshoot both gas and electric heaters to quickly find the problem and make repairs.

Frustrated with plumbing repairs? Our experienced and reliable plumbers are here to help. Give Eastern Plumbing a call!

7 Bad Home Plumbing Habits to Avoid

Plumbing chores are a routine household issue that everybody has to endure every now and then. Your plumbing system is critical to your home. Much like any sophisticated operation, it has rules that must be followed if you want it to run smoothly. There are some common mistakes you may not realize you are making until serious damage has occurred to your plumbing. Are you guilty of these bad home plumbing habits?

1. Leaving outside hoses connected.

A hose that is left attached to an outdoor faucet in extreme winter weather can become damaged, which may result in a leak when warmer spring weather comes. The damage usually requires a new water tap. In addition, the hose may degrade if it goes through many winter freezes.

2. Overusing drain cleaner.

Drain cleaners may seem like an effective and affordable solution to getting rid of blockages in drains if you use them carefully. When you are cleaning a drain, make sure you don’t use too much or you could corrode the drain and make the blockage worse.

3. Damaging hidden pipes.

When working on home improvement projects, don’t forget to consider where hidden plumbing pipes are located while using an electric drill, screwdriver or hammer on your drywall. If you are not careful, you can puncture a pipe, which may result in water pouring out of the wall.

4. Contaminating a septic system.

Be careful about pouring harsh chemicals or cleaner down your drain, including chlorine bleach, paint and anti-bacterial soaps. They can disrupt waste-eating bacteria in your septic tank, resulting in a sewage backup. Septic systems rely on healthy bacteria in the tank to function effectively.

5. Misusing garbage disposal.

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know it’s a useful appliance that makes chores less strenuous. However, disposals are not trashcans. If not maintained properly, a garbage disposal can break down, block and clog drains. Read your manufacturer’s manual to find out what is and isn’t acceptable to put in your disposal.

6. Careless use of kitchen sink.

When washing dishes, it may be tempting to pour food scraps down the sink. Oils and fats should not be poured down the drain, as they will harden as they cool and block drains. Not only will you need to call a plumber, but it will also cause a terrible smell. A sink strainer is able to prevent this from happening.

7. Improper toilet flushing.

One of the most common plumbing emergencies is a blocked toilet. Never flush feminine products, wet wipes, cotton balls or q-tips. If a waste pipe becomes blocked, this may result in other pipes in your system blocking up. Anything other than human waste and toilet paper should go in a trashcan.

The best way to avoid costly repairs is to prevent problems in the first place. Make sure you explain proper plumbing procedures to all members of your household, especially young children. If you find yourself with a plumbing problem, you can trust us at Eastern Plumbing for prompt and professional solutions.

Keep Your Water Heating Bill Low This Winter

Winter has arrived, which means harsh temperatures and pricey utility bills. Water heating is the second largest energy expense, accounting for about 18% of your household’s utility bills. The good news is that you can make small, easy tweaks to lower those costs and conserve energy at the same time. Read on for ideas on how to cut down on hot water use this winter.

Reduce your time in the shower.

With the temperature dropping outside, it’s tempting to take long, hot showers. But did you know that water comes through your home’s plumbing at an average of two gallons per minute? Think of all the water you’re paying to heat up! Keep your showers short and bundle up with a big towel and fluffy robe afterward.

Lower the temperature.

Water heaters sometimes come from the manufacturer with the temperature set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The Federal Department of Energy recommends keeping the thermostat on your water heater set to 120 degrees. For every 10-degree reduction in temperature, you can save 3-5% on your water heating costs.

Insulate your tank.

Help your water heater preserve its warmth by insulating the storage tank. This will prevent the water from cooling down and forcing the unit to work overtime. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing insulation so you don’t accidentally cover up the thermostat or burner compartment.

Install a timer.

If you have an electric heater, install a timer that turns off at night or times when you don’t use it. You can also use the timer to turn off the water heater during your utility’s peak demand times. A timer is relatively inexpensive and it saves money on your water heating bill over time. For gas heaters, you can keep the temperature turned down most of the time and manually turn the temperature up about a half hour before you need it.

Flush your water heater annually.

There are several benefits to flushing the sediment from your hot water heater at least once a year. By flushing your water heater, you’ll have more room in your tank to store hot water. You’ll also keep bacteria from growing in your tank. Most importantly, you’ll save money on your utility bill because your tank will operate more efficiently.

Try out these tips for saving energy and see how much you can save. If your water heater is old, it might be a good idea to look into getting a new one. Today, new water heaters are more energy efficient. If you need service for your water heater or plumbing, give Eastern Plumbing a call.

Protect Your Property From Serious Summer Plumbing Problems

When we think of potential problems for homeowners in the summer, plumbing issues may not readily come to mind. However, the warmer months are a prime time for plumbing problems that may not occur at other times of the year. How can homeowners protect their property from serious summer plumbing problems and what particular issues should they be careful to avoid? Here are five of the most common plumbing problems that arise during the summer.

  1. Clogged Disposal: Are you having plenty of cookouts this summer? If so, you will need be careful of how you dispose of waste food. While produce may be organic, it is generally not good for your in-sink garbage disposal, particularly if you are getting rid of hard fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or corn. These types of produce can damage the blades in your disposal unit or lead to stubborn clogs. Used cooking oils are also damaging to garbage disposal systems. Avoid pouring the dirty grease down the drain after grilling out. It is also 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.
  1. Sewer Line Backups: Certain areas of the country may be prone to summer rain showers or thunderstorms, especially as the air heats up in the afternoon. Excessive rain can get into sewer pipes through cracks and cause the sewer line to back up. You might also experience trouble if tree roots spread underground and crack the pipes. If you see any signs of sewer line trouble such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a qualified plumber right away. He or she may recommend a sewer line replacement if the damage is extensive.
  1. Washing Machine Maintenance: Your washing machine may get more of a workout during the summer, especially if you have children who are out of school. Spending days at the pool or the beach results in more laundry to wash. This can put additional stress on your washing machine. It is best to stay at home while the machine is running, so that if a problem arises you can stop the cycle immediately and call a professional if needed. You should also move the machine out from the wall a little to prevent the hose from kinking.
  1. Clogged Toilets: Household toilets are also used more regularly in the summer, thanks to children using the bathroom during the day. Teach your kids to use a modest amount of toilet paper and to flush only after they actually use the bathroom. Common clogs are fairly simple to clear with a plunger, but if you need additional help, call in a professional.
  1. Sprinkler Issues: If you have sprinklers embedded in your lawn, be sure to inspect and clean the heads before the season begins. When you are mowing the lawn, be careful to do so when the sprinkler heads are lowered. This helps with avoiding damaging them.