26
Jan

Clogged ?

Ahhh, the frustration of a clog.  They typically happen at the most inopportune time, like when you have company.  Extra people in the house inevitably cause extra stress on your plumbing system.  Not all clogs require a call to your plumber, though.  Following are some tips you can try before calling in the professionals:

  • Clogged Bathroom Sink or Tub Drain-
    • Remove the drain cover by unscrewing it. Using your fingers or needle nose pliers remove as much debris as you can, typically you’ll find a combination of hair, soap residue, and some unrecognizable gunk.
    • If that tactic does not seem to get your sink flowing again, then you can try using an inexpensive plastic contraption called a “Zip-It” tool. It is a long, flexible plastic “stick” that has barbs on it to catch hair and debris when you pull it out of the drain.
    • The next option for unstopping a clogged bathroom sink or tub drain is to use a plunger with a flat base to get things flowing again.
    • For your sink drain, if those methods don’t work, then you can remove the “U” shaped pipe, called a “P-trap”, from underneath the sink and attempt to clear the clog. Be sure to put a bucket or bowl underneath the “U” before you take it apart to catch any residual water.
    • If none of the previous suggestions clears your clog, it may be further down the line. You can try buying or renting an auger or “snake” to clear the line. Properly running a “snake” does take some skill, so, unless you are familiar with the process, we suggest that you give us a call so that we can get one of our professionals out to get your drain flowing again.
  • Clogged Toilet-
    • The best option for a clogged toilet is the handy-dandy plunger. A plunger with a round base will work best on a toilet. Unless you have a little one flushing toys down the toilet, the plunger will most likely remedy your toilet clog.
    • A “snake” is the next option for unclogging a toilet. Again, running the “snake” does take some skill and there is the possibility of breaking your toilet if it is not done properly.
  • Kitchen Sink-
    • Inspect the drain to make sure that there is no visible debris, if so, manually remove it.
    • Next, try using a plunger with a flat base to get things flowing again. Be sure to plug off the adjoining sink when you plunge because the pipes underneath join together.
    • If those methods don’t work, then you can remove the “U” shaped pipe, called a “P-trap”, from underneath the sink and attempt to clear the clog. Be sure to put a bucket or bowl underneath the “U” before you take it apart to catch any residual water.

Water draining

If you have more than one drain that is draining slowly, it is most likely a clog in or problem with your main sewer line, and you should call Able Plumbing, Inc. at 281-532-2253.  We, as most professional plumbers, strongly discourage the use of drain cleaning products!  They are not only dangerous for the environment, but they can cause costly damage to your plumbing.

Able logo 7-14 (2)

Picture from: Can Stock Photo


16
Jan

Dripping Faucet

Bored

Tired of living with a drip?

Drip…drip…drip…all night long.  It is annoying, costly, and wasteful!  There are several things that could be causing your faucet’s incessant drip:

 

 

  • Damaged Parts are the most common cause of a dripping faucet. There are a lot of tiny parts in faucets and some of the parts can wear out over time. The dripping could be caused by a worn out washer, O ring, inlet seal or outlet seal. If you are a handy person then there is a good chance that you can take the faucet apart, replace the worn out parts, and cure the problem for a minimal cost, but we suggest that you pay very careful attention to how the parts are assembled to ensure a successful repair.

Plumbing parts

  • A Worn Out Cartridge is another common culprit. Most single handle faucets have a cartridge in them that is necessary for the faucet to work properly. If your single handle faucet is dripping then the cartridge might need to be replaced. Replacing the cartridge is relatively easy as long as you have a replacement cartridge that is the correct size. The best way to ensure that you install the correct cartridge for your faucet is to order a new one from the maker of the faucet.

Wrench & Cartridge

  • Water Pressure will sometimes cause your faucet to drip. If your faucet drips intermittently then high water pressure could be to blame. Reducing the force of your water pressure slightly should remedy the problem.

Sink Leak

  • Broken Plumbing is not a common reason for your faucet to drip, but it does happen from time to time. Pipes and fittings can crack and leak underneath the sink, which will affect water pressure and cause the faucet that is connected to drip occasionally. If you have tried the previously mentioned solutions to no avail and suspect that you have a broken pipe or fitting then we strongly advise that you call Able Plumbing, Inc. and let us check out your water plumbing system.

Able logo 7-14 (2)

Adapted from: doityourself.com

Images from: Can Stock Photo


15
Jan

Signs Your House Needs A Repipe

Faucet drip

1. Low Water Pressure

Have you noticed a lack of water pressure in your home?  From a less than impressive flow in the shower or a mere trickle from a sink faucet, to it taking too long for your dishwasher or washing machine to fill up, low water pressure is the number one sign that it is time for a repipe.   As galvanized pipes age they corrode and rust closes up the inside of the pipe restricting water flow, much like an unhealthy diet does to a person’s arteries.

canstockphoto17758505

2. Changes in Water Pressure

Is flushing a toilet while someone is taking a shower a big no-no in your house?  The lack of flow in old pipes will result in changes in water pressure.  A whole house repipe will fix the problem.

Leaky Pipe

3. Leaks

Have you had a pipe leak or multiple pipe leaks?  If you have had a leak in your old galvanized pipes, then there is a good chance that there are more leaks to come.  Unfortunately, the secondary damage caused by a pipe leak is a real nightmare.  Replacing all of the water pipes in your house will assure that you will not have to deal with the messy aftermath of pipe leaks.

4. Rusty or Discolored Water

Does your water have a rust color when you first turn the tap on?  If so, then the old pipes in your house are rusting on the inside and more problems are on the horizon.  Get your home repiped before the problems occur.

Ghost

5. Noisy Pipes

Do your pipes make creaking or banging noises when your water is on? If your pipes are making so much noise that you think your house may be haunted then it is time to consider repiping the house and put the pipe ghosts to rest.

Skunk

6. Water Smells Funny

Does your water have an unpleasant odor?  If your water stinks then it is time to get some new pipes for it to flow through so that is doesn’t smell like it came out of the south side of a skunk.  YUCK!

Corroded pipe

7. Corroded Pipes

Have you noticed corroded pipes?  If you are seeing corroded pipes, then the pipes that you cannot see are corroded, too.  Getting your home repiped before they start leaking will save you a huge headache later.

Houston House

8. House is 15+ Years Old

Is your house older than 15 years old?  Even though 15 is not that old, if you’re having any of the problems listed above and your home is older than 15, then it is probably time for a whole house repipe.

Broken Pipe Art

Able Plumbing, Inc. does multiple whole house repipes each week.  Our crews have the experience, knowledge, and appropriate tools to get the job done quickly and correctly so that you can get on with your life.  If you think that your house may need to be repiped call Able Plumbing, Inc. at 281-532-2253 for an estimate today.

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Images from: Can Stock Photo


 

 

 

14
Jan

“Flushable” Wipes

To flush or not to flush?  That is the question…

wet_wipes_tub

Cottonelle, Charmin, and Scott are all bombarding the airwaves with what they claim are “flushable” wipes.  They sound so convenient and who doesn’t want to walk away from the potty extra-specially clean?  Unfortunately, if you want a clean “bum” and not have it affect your plumbing in a less than clean way, then you had better throw those not-so-flushable wipes in the trash instead of the toilet.  The claims that these companies make that their wipes are “sewer and septic safe” and “breaks up after flushing” is, to put it nicely, a bunch of bologna.

Consumer Reports has put these “flushable” claims to the test.  Using the same tests used to check how well toilet paper breaks down, testers discovered that the so called flushable wipes did not break down at all, even after going to extremes such as running them for ten minutes in a mixer.

Sewer officials in Vancouver, WA decided to test the claims as well after spending $1 million replacing several sewage pumps that were routinely clogged by the offensive little wipes.  They dyed some of the wipes bright colors and sent them through the sewer for a mile.  When the wipes were retrieved from the system they were still intact and only showed minor rips and tears.

Essentially, every time you flush one of the wipes you are taking a chance that you are going to clog your toilet or your sewer line.  Even using them sparingly can still be a problem.  It is very common when our technicians clean out a stopped up sewer for them to pull wipes out of the line.

So, the answer to the question, “to flush or not to flush?” is a resounding, “NO”!  Thumbs down

If you’re having a problem with a backed up toilet or sewer line, call Able Plumbing, Inc. at 281-532-2253 and we’ll get your sewer system flowing again.

Able logo 7-14 (2)

Adapted from:

ForThePeople.com “Flushable Wipes Lawsuit”

ABC 30 Action News “Are Flushable Wipes Really Flushable?”

Clipart from: pixshark.com


 

9
Jan

Freezing Weather: The 3 P’s (Pipes, Plants, & Pets)

As freezing weather assaults southeast Texas folks are going to hear a lot about the 3 P’s…protect your pipes, plants, and pets!  Plants and pets are pretty straight forward, right?  Cover them up, bring them in, or give them shelter from the cold, but what about the pipes?  You can’t just pick them up and move them to a warmer place; however, you can take some simple steps to protect your home from damage caused by frozen pipes.

The pipes at the highest risk of freezing are water pipes that are exposed, for example, pipes in an un-insulated or under insulated attic, crawl space or garage, outside hose bibbs, swimming pool supply lines, sprinkler system supply lines, etc.  Failing to properly prepare water lines for the cold snaps that hit the region each year can result in costly repair expenses.  A little bit of preparation can make a huge difference in your pipes weathering the freezing temperatures.

Scientific Analysis: How the damage occurs…

When water freezes it expands, unfortunately, your pipes do not…thus, frozen pipes will frequently break.  Then when the ice thaws the mess begins.

Plan Ahead: Before the cold weather hits…

Swimming Pool and Sprinkler System Supply Lines- Drain the water according to the manufacturer or installer’s guide lines.

Outdoor Hose Bibbs- Detach and drain the water hose and store it away.  Cover the hose bibb with an insulated cover (found at most hardware stores), or wrap it with a cloth and secure it with tape.

Other Exposed Pipes- Insulate the pipes with an insulated pipe sleeve (found at most hardware stores).

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: During the freeze…    

Pipes in the Garage- Keep the garage door closed.

Pipes in the House- Open your cabinet doors so that warm air is able to circulate around the pipes and keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature.

Hasta La Vista: Leaving town during the winter…

Pipes in the House- Open your cabinet doors so that warm air is able to circulate around the pipes.  Leave your heater on and set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.   *OR* Turn the water to your house off at the main supply near the meter, open up the taps and allow the water in the lines to drain out.  If there is no water in the line then it will not freeze.

Uh oh, too late: Thawing frozen pipes…

Locate the main water supply line to your home and be prepared to turn it off if the frozen pipe has already broken.  Open up the faucet that the frozen pipe feeds, and keep it open.  As the pipe thaws the water will flow out which will help to melt more ice.  Use a heating pad, electric hair dryer, towels soaked in hot water, or a portable heater to heat the frozen pipe.  Do not use extremely hot heat sources such as blow torches, open flames or propane heaters to thaw the pipe because it will cause damage to the pipe, as well as, present a serious fire and carbon monoxide hazard.  Apply heat to the pipe until full water pressure is restored.   If you are unable to locate the frozen pipe, the frozen area is not within reach, you cannot get the pipe to thaw, or the pipe has broken, call Able Plumbing, Inc. at 281-532-2253, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Able logo 7-14 (2)

Adapted from:

Winter Storms: Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes, Texas A & M University

ClipArt from:

clker.com