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When To DIY and When To Call A Professional Plumber

Let’s explore common plumbing projects that homeowners can confidently tackle, provide insights into the essential tools needed, and discuss critical DIY mistakes to avoid.

When dealing with plumbing issues or embarking on renovation projects, homeowners have to decide whether or not they want professional help with their home’s plumbing system. DIY plumbing projects can quickly go awry, thus making things significantly more expensive.

5 Plumbing problems that are NOT DIY

  1. Frozen Pipes – Frozen pipes can cause your pipes to expand and burst, which can lead to flooding. Contact a licensed plumber like Plumb Pro+ to handle the thawing process.
  2. Leaking Pipes – Typically this is more than a simple fix. Repairing leaking pipes could mean tearing through walls, floors, or ceilings. A welding torch may be required for these necessary repairs. You’ll need a pro for this to prevent damage to your home and damage to your person.
  3. Severely Clogged Toilets & Drains – Plungers can do more harm than good. Foreign objects like wipes, too much tissue, etc. If the clog doesn’t rectify quickly or easily, call a pro.
  4. Water Heater Trouble – Water heaters contain sensitive materials along with electrical components and heating elements. To avoid the risk of burns, explosions and chemical reactions, call a pro.
  5. Low Water Pressure – Rectifying low water pressure involves more than using a plunger a few times. Locating the root of the cause is essential before multiple pipes burst and flooding occurs.

DIY Red Flags

First and foremost, if you encounter a problem that involves the main water lines, gas lines, or sewer lines, it’s wise to step back. Mistakes here can lead to significant issues like major leaks or backups, which are not only inconvenient but also potentially health hazards.

While it may be easy to deal with a single clogged drain, if your home has multiple slow-draining sinks, tubs, or toilets, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Plumbing systems with significant water pressure issues may also require more than a basic fix.

Additionally, if your plumbing repairs involve extensive alterations to your existing plumbing system—such as moving pipes, installing new fixtures in different locations, or repairing multiple faulty components throughout your home—these are usually tasks best left to professionals.

5 Plumbing Problems That May Be DIY

  1. Installing/Replacing Certain Plumbing Fixtures – Most homeowners should be able to install new plumbing fixtures or replace old ones that are damaged or old. Using basic tools, you should be able to effectively:
    • Replace faucet washers or cartridges
    • Replace showerheads
    • Install a new toilet seat
    • Hook up new appliances
    • Replace hose bibbs
  2. Unclogging Shower Drains of Hair – You should also be able to fix clogged drains within your home by using needle-nose pliers or natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar.
  3. Fixing Running Toilets – Toilets may run more than they should due to a faulty flapper or float inside the tank. Toilet replacement parts are easy to find and often come with easy-to-follow instructions.
  4. Adjusting Water Heater Temperature – If you can follow basic safety precautions, you should be able to adjust the temperature on your water heater, which can improve your home’s energy efficiency and also increase comfort.
  5. Repairing Leaky Faucets – A dripping faucet can not only be an annoyance, but it can also be a waste of water. Leaky faucets can normally be fixed with basic tools and a basic understanding of how they work.

Before You Decide

There are many stories out there about someone who decided to save money on plumbing repairs by doing it themselves, who ran into trouble and ended spending far more than they would have had if they hired a plumber in the first place. A few examples from around the Internet suggest these disasters are common. Searching on YouTube brings up over 2,000 videos about DIY plumbing disasters, for instance.

Flooding can be a problem, but more often homeowners run into unexpected complications and find they can’t turn the water back on, or they damage parts with improper tool use, or they uncover additional problems that are beyond their ability to handle.

Even if a project goes smoothly, the savings may not be as great as anticipated. While often general tools may be used, some specialized plumbing tools must be factored into the cost of the job. Also, the time of the homeowner is not exactly free. Whatever hourly rate the homeowner would charge for that free time should be compared against the cost of hiring someone to do it. For complex jobs, the inexperienced homeowner may spend much more time accomplishing the same task as the knowledgeable plumber.

There can also be legal issues. Many plumbing projects require permits, the exact rules vary by state and municipality. Repairs are usually safe, but making major changes will probably require permits. Your plumber will know when permitting is required.

A good plumber will notice other issues that need attention as well. Plumb Pro+ provides a free plumbing inspection with every repair. This can give you peace of mind and possibly save you money in the future.

Before You Begin

If you are still convinced you would like to tackle a plumbing project on your own, there are a few things you should do to get ready.

Make sure you know all the places to turn the water off and on. You should be able to isolate the project, of course, but also know where to turn off the water for the whole house, if necessary.

Have a good general knowledge of how your system works as a whole. If everything goes right, you may only need to understand the system you are working on. But if there is a problem, you can handle it better if you understand the whole picture.

Put together a complete basic toolkit. Having the right tools on hand makes things go more smoothly, and it reduces the chances of damaging parts and components when trying to force things.

A typical homeowner plumbing toolkit should include:

  • Channellock plyers, both 10 inch and 12 inch.
  • Basin wrench. A wrench with a swivel jaw can get those hard-to-reach nuts.
  • Pipe wrench. The big wrench that says ¨plumber¨ You should get two, a 10-inch and a 14-inch model.
  • Adjustable wrench, at least two: 6-inch and 10-inch. Locking pliers are a common alternative.
  • Needle nosed pliers
  • Hacksaw, with extra blades
  • Metal files, both a half-round and a rat-tail file.
  • Tubing Cutter: the best tool for cutting pipe.
  • Plunger. The most basic tool for clearing drains.
  • Plumber’s snake. A long flexible cable is used to clear drains when the plunger fails.
  • Plumbers tape, or Teflon tape.
  • Plumbers putty is used to seal unpressurized joints.
  • Caulk and caulk gun.

No matter how good a DIY plumber you are, even the best-planned project can run into unexpected snags, and once you start taking things apart, you can’t be sure everything will go back together properly. Having a backup plan makes sense.

If you have a plumbing issue you simply cannot fix, don’t hesitate to call the PROS at Plumb Pro!

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Traditional Water Heater vs. A Tankless Water Heater

A definitive guide to the pros & cons of a traditional water heater and a tankless water heater.

Water heaters are an appliance most home and building owners don’t often think about. These forgettable but important appliances are “out of sight, out of mind” – that is, until they aren’t doing their job. One day you either have no hot water because the water heater has reached the end of its life or has an unexpected issue. A traditional tank water heater needs to be replaced about every 8 to 10 years. This lifespan can be reduced by a number a factors, ranging from quality of water to lack of maintenance. When it comes time to replace a non-functional or poorly operating storage tank model, it could be time.

Two Types of Tankless Water Heaters

Gas-Powered Tankless Water Heaters

For natural gas or propane-powered tankless water heater, plan to pay between $1,000 to $1,500 to install. If your home is situated near a natural gas line, it’ll be rather simple for you to tap into existing lines (and you may even be required to do this). But you’ll need to purchase propane on your own if you don’t have natural gas in your area.

Electric-Powered Tankless Water Heaters

An electric tankless water heater is slightly less expensive than a gas model. On average, an electric water heater costs between $800 to $1,500 to install. The lower price reflects the fact that the installation is much simpler. Despite this, common complaints about electric-powered heaters are slow heating time and higher utility bills.

If you have a clogged drain you simply cannot fix, don’t hesitate to call the PROS at Plumb Pro!


Features Tankless Water Heater Traditional Water Heater
SIZE

Small

  • Up to 30″ tall & 50 lbs.
  • Suitcase-sized & hung on a wall.

Big

  • Up to 60″ tall & 300 lbs.
  • Require closet-sized space.
COST

$$$

  • More expensive to install, and may require extra vent & gas lines.
  • Over the life of the unit, they can save up to 25% in energy costs.

$$

  • Less expensive & easy to install.
  • Require Use more energy every month to keep water heated 24/7.
CAPACITY

Unlimited

  • For higher use homes, multiple tankless heaters may be necessary to keep up with multiple sources.
  • Units will only heat water when needed.

40-50 Gallons

  • This can increase with a large capacity tank but will use more energy and cost more to run as it heats that additional water constantly.
FLOOD RISK

None

  • Tankless water heaters hold no water, so water damage risk or leaks is nil.

Some

  • Traditional Tank water heaters hold large amounts of water, which can cause damage if leaking or flood.
LIFESPAN

20+ Years

  • With proper maintenance, tankless models will last 2-3x longer than traditional water heaters.

8-10 Years

  • Replaced more often than tankless water heaters.

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Ghost Flushing

This spooky occurrence makes you think your bathroom may be haunted when you hear your toilet flushing and no one else is home.

When you hear a flushing sound from your toilet every few minutes (or even every few hours), that is a sign of a slow leak from the toilet bowl or tank. The leak causes the water level to drop below a certain point, causing the float to give the signal to refill the tank. Then comes the sound of the ghost flush.

Here are some suggestions to solve Ghost Flushing:

1. Check to see if your toilet is leaking internally.
Is water leaking on the floor? If not, more than likely the ghost flushing is caused by an internal leak. Something could be wrong with the rubber flapper that allows water to run out of the drain, therefore causing the toilet to continually refill.

2. Evaluate the rubber flapper’s effectiveness.
For some Halloween fun, you can get out the food coloring to find out if it is your flapper causing the leak. Simply put a few drops of food coloring in the back tank of the toilet. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If you see that same color in the toilet bowl, you will know the issue is the flapper.

3. Check for damage on the toilet flapper.
Clean the flapper and the surface area of the flush valve. Then, check to see if the chain to the flapper fits properly, allowing the flapper to fit well over the drain opening.

4. Replace the rubber flapper if needed.
This is a very common solution for internal toilet leaking. You can easily buy one at the hardware store or online.

5. Still leaking? Check your refill tube.
Make sure the refill tube is not inserted too far into the overflow pipe. In this case you should pull out the tube and attach it to the outside overflow pipe. This keeps the tube from entering the overflow pipe and usually will stop an internal leak from the tank to the bowl that caused the ghost flushing.

6. Replace the entire flush valve.
If you have done both of the above and still have a ghost flushing toilet, you may have to replace the entire flush valve. This is not a beginner level DIY endeavor, but those with more experience (and probably an extra pair of hands) may choose to take it on. If you think you’re ready for the job, we recommend doing more internet research before you get started.

7. Is your toilet leaking on the floor? Check the water supply for visible leaks.
If you find water on the floor from your leaky toilet, first clean and dry the area to then look for the source of the leak when a new puddle forms. See if the water is coming from underneath the toilet or around the base. Examine the following to confirm the leak is coming from underneath your toilet and not from a loose supply tube, cracked tank or sweaty bowl, or defective shutoff valve.

Water leaking on the floor from underneath the toilet can sometimes be easily fixed by making sure the bolts that secure your toilet to the floor are tight. If that does not solve the external toilet leak, you may have to replace the wax gasket underneath your leaky toilet.

8. Check to see if water is dripping from the bottom of the tank.
This could be another external toilet leak source when water is found on the floor. By looking and feeling underneath your toilet tank you may discover wetness. This is a good indication that the tank-to-bowl sponge gasket needs to be replaced.

You would not intentionally flush money down the toilet, but if your toilet is running and causing high water bills, money IS going down the drain! Don’t get spooked by ghost flushing.  Call Plumb Pro Plus if you need assistance — we ain’t afraid of no ghost (flushing)!

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Maintaining Your Sump Pump

What do you do if it breaks?

If you own a home with a basement, you should consider the risk of basement flooding, and the benefit of using a sump pump. If you use the basement as a living area or store important items there, you may want to consider more protection. But even if you keep it unfinished and use the area only for appliances, there can still be corrosion, mold, and mildew issues because of flooding. Even without a basement, there is always a risk of water accumulating in the crawlspace under a house, leading to damage.

The most common solution to basement flooding is to have a sump basin, a small pit for water to flow into. A pump then drains the sump when it fills with water. If you live in an area where basement flooding is common, the house may already have a pump installed. When water begins to accumulate in the pit, a sensor is triggered and the pump activates, pumping the water through a pipe that discharges away from the house. Unfortunately, sump pumps are not devices you can just throw into the sump pit and forget about. They can fail for many reasons, often without warning. You may not realize anything is wrong until you are in the middle of a big storm and you find that your possessions are six inches deep in water.

How Do They Work?

Sump Pump diagram

Your basement should be set up so that the floor drains to a low spot, which then drains to a sump basin or pit. This pit is usually about 2 to 3 feet deep and holds 15 to 25 gallons. The pump is the device that drains the basin whenever it gets too full. They can either be submerged or sit above the water on a pedestal. The pump is activated by a float valve or a pressure switch that tells it when the water has reached a certain level.

The pump will push the water through a line to a location outside the home. In the past, sump pumps often discharged into the sewage system, but now this is generally frowned upon and, in many places, illegal.

What Can Go Wrong?

Like any device that exists primarily to be used in an emergency, they can fail at the worst possible moment. If something is wrong with your sump pump, how will you know? The moment you find out the pump has failed is the moment when you really need it to work. There are several things that can go wrong, and understanding them is the best way to be prepared.

Initial Setup Problems

Many failures go back to the initial installation. Any of the following can result in it not being ready when you need it most.

Pumps that are the wrong sump pump repairsize for the job will not drain enough water fast enough. Sump pumps are measured in horsepower, which is proportional to how much water they can pump and how far they can pump it. The length and relative height of the discharge line, along with the anticipated peak amount of water in gallons per minute are the factors that tell you how powerful the pump needs to be. In the United States, most are either ⅓ or ½ horsepower, but more powerful pumps are available.

Discharge lines need to be laid out properly and unobstructed. If a discharge line is bent, obstructed, or if the outlet is at a higher point than expected, the load on the pump can cause failure. Improper installation can lead to a variety of problems. Installing a sump pump should be done according to manufacturer instructions. If the check valve is not properly placed or the discharge is not vented, the pump may seem to run normally but it will not pump water when needed.

The pump will be either mounted underwater or expected to function in a very wet environment, so the wiring needs to be done properly. A breaker or fuse of the proper size should protect the pump.

Conditions That May Cause the Pump to Fail

Usually when something goes wrong, everything else goes wrong as well. Flooding can happen by itself, but it may also be part of some other disaster that includes power failures, frozen pipes, or lots of debris. All of these conditions can affect the performance of the pump.

Power failures frequently accompany weather events that lead to flooding. The basic setup will not work in these conditions. Many homeowners choose to have a backup plan in place. This can include a secondary, battery powered pump or a backup pump that is driven by the pressurized municipal water system. Another option is to have a generator in place that can activate in a power failure and power the sump pump. Frozen discharge pipes can be an issue. The best prevention is to make sure the discharge line is drained completely when not in use.

It is also important to keep the discharge line free of debris. A grated discharge can be used to protect it.

Routine Maintenance and Testing Can Ensure the Pump is Working

At regular intervals, the pump should be tested, along with the float valve or actuator. The pump should be cleaned along with all the vents and air holes. Many homeowners prefer to have a professional do a periodic check-up and cleaning of the sump pump and system.

The pumps wear out over time. The number often given for how long a sump pump should last is ten years, however, cheaper models or units working under heavier stress conditions may only last three. Some last as long as twenty.

Conclusion

Flooding and water damage affect over 60% of homes in the United States at some point. A properly installed and maintained sump pump can be an excellent investment. Many new homes now come with one installed, and in many places having one installed is a requirement. However, if your home is older, or if don’t think the installed set up is adequate protection for your valuable home and possessions, you may consider having us check your installation or upgrade the system as necessary.

If your current sump pump is struggling to get the job done, we’ll be able to quickly tell you if it’s tie for a repair or a replacement. If it is time for an upgrade, we’ll walk you through your options and answer your questions before we proceed.

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Preventing Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks can result in considerable damage to your property, costing you both time & money. Take action now to prevent plumbing leaks in your home or business.

We’ll go over some of the best plumbing leak repair and prevention tips that you can take to make sure that your pipes will remain intact and will save you money overall.

  • Prevent pipe corrosion
  • Install a water softener
  • Reduce your water pressure
  • Tighten the fittings and seal the joints
  • Schedule a professional inspection

Protect Pipes During Cold Weather

When water inside your pipes freezes, it expands. This creates outward pressure on the inside of the pipes, and it could lead to a rupture. You can minimize the risk of pipes freezing by following a few helpful tips.

First, wrap exterior pipes with foam, cloth or other insulating materials when a freeze is expected. Inside the building, allow faucets to drip slowly to keep water moving inside the pipes. In addition to these steps, you can leave the cabinet doors open to the spaces underneath your faucets. This allows the heated air from your HVAC or furnace to more easily reach the exposed pipes.

Get a Plumbing Inspection Annually

Another step that you can take to prevent plumbing leaks from developing is to schedule an annual plumbing inspection on your pipes. Pipes will show signs of wear and tear before they rupture or leak in some cases, and a plumber can let you know which pipes may need to be repaired as a preventative measure to minimize the risk of a ruptured pipe.

Plumbing leaks can be a pain to deal with, and in many cases, they can be costly and damaging to the property. As a property owner, you can take steps to reduce the chance of developing a leak. These tips can minimize the risk of a plumbing leak inside your home or business.

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Sewer Line Repair Services

Sewage backups can cause a number of different issues, such as water damage and foul odors. Regular sewer line maintenance can help avoid sewage backups in your home or yard.

Every bit of waste that leaves a home or building has to go somewhere and for most building it’s the “sewer”. Your sewer system could be older than the building making it essential to ensure it receives the proper care throughout its lifetime. For the most part, this active part is not given much thought unless something goes horribly wrong!

The big question for most property owners is: “Do I have a problem and when should I call a professional for sewer line repair services?”

A sewer line blockage in one of the drain pipes is typically an easy fix; however, sewer line breaks, cracks, or collapses further down the piping could result in a bigger problem if not resolved quickly. This prevents the sewage from reaching its destination thus resulting in a nasty smell and a potential mess inside or outside. In these instances, a plumber specializing in sewer line repair is your best bet for getting the problem resolved quickly and affordably.

A Deeper Look into the Problem

Grease, waste, paper, and foreign objects are among the variety of items capable of blocking sewer lines. Beyond a blockage, the pipes also begin to weaken over time making it easier for a pipe to break, crack, or corrode. The presence of these problems is often unknown unless a large visual sign is provided or the common smell arises.

The following are typical sewage disposal issues seen by sewer line repair contractors:

  • Breaks, Collapses, or Cracks – This sewer pipe issues can be the result of a number of problems including soil shifts, freezing, weakening lines.
  • Line Blockage – Grease, soap, hair, food, and additional objects easily stick to the inner walls of pipes and collect in different areas of the sewage system. The items creating the blockage limit or prevent the flow from the structure to the main system.
  • Corroded Pipes – Pipes over time deteriorate or break without any sign of a problem. As these problems get worse, it is possible for a section of the piping to collapse thus restricting the flow of waste.
  • Pipe Bellying – A section of the line dips for a short period and then comes back up. The flow is naturally decreased because waste now has to travel uphill to reach the main sewer line.
  • One or Multiple Leaking Joints – Each pipe making up the sewage system has a joint where a seal exists to prevent leaking. When the seal in this joint becomes deteriorated or damaged, water escapes the piping and leaks into the surrounding area.
  • Root Penetration – Roots from nearby trees or plants have made their way into the piping making normal cleaning processes less effective.
  • Old or Off-Grade Piping – If the current pipes were derived from poor materials then they will corrode or deteriorate at a faster rate requiring repairs or replacement to be done sooner.

The first telltale signs of a problem are the nasty sewage smell coming from pipes or drains within the structure. Another easy to distinguish problem is a slow drain within the structure such as a tub or sink drain.

Additional things to look for when it comes to evaluating your current sewer situation are:

  • Sewage Backups
  • A Cracked Foundation
  • Sudden Lawn or Paved Area Indentations
  • Extra Green or Wet Lawn Patches
  • Gurgling Noises in the Plumbing
  • Signs of Mold on Ceilings below Drain Areas

If water pressure has suddenly decreased or the water bill has drastically increased with no apparent cause, it might be time to contact a sewer repair professional as well. When one or many of these issues has surfaced, a professional has ways to unobtrusively perform a further inspection and identify the root cause of the problem.

How to Prevent Costly, Extensive Repairs

As with any part of your home or business, preventative maintenance is the best line of defense against unforeseen sewer issues. Routine cleaning is an easy way to identify any larger issues and repair them before they continue to expand throughout your sewage system. These cleanings also reduce the chance of a blockage in a pipe that leads to the main sewer line. It would be great if your drains only handled water; however, they are actually required to handle an array of items that easily pile up under the wrong conditions.

Sink, toilet, shower, and tub drains are a big contributor to build-up within one or multiple pipes leading to the main line. Sending the wrong items down them quickly leads to a drainage problem. Cleaning is your first line of defense, as this one action greatly reduces the chance of a blockage or backup. A routine cleaning should be performed once every 1 to 2 years to avoid blockages or backups.

Routine maintenance is one of many steps you can take to prevent an expensive sewer repair. Another option is to use a professionally recommended biodegradable product designed to prevent clogging. Having a professional also inspect the lines at time of cleaning can help in spotting a developing problem before it becomes costly. A professional is able to look at the piping with an in-line camera inspection. This will identify specific problems with the piping such as root penetration, collapses, cracks, or breaks.

What Are Your Sewer Repair Service Options?

It is easy to assume digging is necessary to fix a problem in your sewage line; however, it is not the only solution. Blockages are easily resolved in most cases by using a high pressure cleaning method. This method involves shooting a pressure stream of water through the pipe to free the blockage. Another option is using a snake to push through the pipe and remove any blockages. This method is sometimes used when the piping is older to avoid further damage from the high pressure stream.

The fiber optic camera professionals use today makes it easy to identify the source of the problem and come up with the best repair option. For example, if the problem is with a specific area of piping, sometimes an unobtrusive option may be used to resolve it. In less severe situations, an experienced professional will be able to clean a drain clog or blockage. They also offer services for cleaning the main sewer lines to ensure waste flows properly.

In more sever situations where a pipe has collapsed, broken, or cracked, the following might be required:

  • Digging to Access the Sewer Lines
  • Installation or Replacement of Lines
  • Repairs on an Existing Pipe or Joint
  • Repairs on Internal Fixtures or Water Pipes

When a root is in the way or a pipe has burst, you need a reliable sewer repair contractor to evaluate the problem and provide fast, affordable options for resolving it.

Plumb Pro offers a comprehensive collection of plumbing and sewer repair services backed by more than 20 years of experience. Our services are 100% guaranteed! Give us a call today to discuss your sewer repair options and schedule an inspection for your home or business.

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Water Heater Takes Too Long To Heat

If your hot water takes too long to flow from your tap, there are some things you can do to your water heater to make it happen faster.

Do you have to turn on your water well ahead of time to heat up your shower or do the dishes? Do you feel like you waste your time, water and money? When you want hot water inside, you don’t want to wait. If your hot water takes too long to flow from your tap, there are some things you can do to make it happen faster.

First, it’s important to know that there could be several reasons why it takes a long time to get hot water:

  • Distance: The further away your hot water heater is from the faucet or shower, the longer it will take to get there.
  • Low Volume Restrictor: You may have a low volume restrictor installed on fixtures like your shower which can cause delay on water delivery.
  • Failing Water Heater: Water heaters older than ten years can fail completely or become less effective at heating your water. It would be helpful to call a professional to evaluate if your water heater is working properly, provide regular maintenance on your unit, or determine if it is time for a full water heater replacement.
  • Sediment Buildup in your Water Heater: Over time, sediment can build up in your water heater tank. The sediment consists of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium that settle at the bottom of the tank. The sediment buildup will displace the amount of hot water in the tank making less available and take a longer time between refills.

hot water anatomy

How Does a Hot Water Heater Work?

Gas and electric tank water heaters fundamentally work the same way, though gas-fueled water heaters cost less to operate. Both tank heaters convert energy to heat and transfer that heat to the water inside.

The tank has an incoming cold water supply pipe and one or more outgoing hot water pipes, which feed the heated water to taps and appliances throughout your home. A thermostat detects the water’s temperature and regulates fuel delivery to the burner. And a temperature pressure relief valve on or near the top of the tank automatically opens when the temperature or pressure inside exceeds safe levels.

What are my option to get hot water more quickly?

Hot Water Recirculation System

A hot water recirculation system can reduce the amount of water wasted waiting for it to heat up from the tap. A recirculating system moves water more quickly from the hot water heater to the desired tap. It recirculates your used water back to the heater and keeps hot water close to the faucets. They are usually activated by a timer or by a thermostat. Systems that are in continuous use increase your energy consumption.

The recirculation system can be either mounted near your faucet or attached to your water heater. The version attached to your water heater includes a pump and a timer that is turned on to keep the hot water circulating.

Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater is another option to provide on-demand hot water continuously without having to wait for a traditional water heater storage tank to refill itself. The result is endless hot water and a reduction of heating costs because the tank isn’t heating unused water.

In addition to whole-house tankless water heaters, there are also point-of-use tankless water heater units. These smaller units address hot water output for individual faucets and can be installed in a sink cabinet or closet. These are a good option for a heater that doesn’t have the capacity for the entire home.

Don’t forget to consider contacting a professional to evaluate your current water heater system. Water heaters can account for as much as 25 percent of your home’s energy use. Add that to money literally being thrown down the drain in wasted water, your hot shower can cost you too much! Call the PROS at Plumb Pro+! We are currently running some amazing specials. See Below.

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Fix An Outdoor Leaky Faucet

An outdoor leaky faucet can be easy to repair, and you only need a few simple tools & patience. Here are a few steps to repair your dripping outdoor faucet.

There’s nothing quite so annoying as an outdoor leaky faucet, as you watch beads of water form, either quickly or slowly, and drop to the ground. A leaking outdoor faucet is more than an annoyance, however; in addition to the moisture that can build up next to your house, you also lose money with every drop of wasted water. Fortunately, a leaking outdoor faucet is easy to repair, and you only need a few simple tools and a little patience. The tools you need to gather before you start are an adjustable wrench or vise grips, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and a rubber washer. Here are some steps to take to fix that pesky leaking outdoor faucet:

Step 1: Turn off the water to your house

You can do this at the main water shutoff inside your house, typically located near the water heater, or at the street. The latter method requires a curb key, also called a water main key, which is sold at most home improvement stores. To use the curb key, open the cover to your water meter and insert the key at the notch inside the meter that controls the flow of water from the street to your house. Use the key to turn the notch clockwise about a half-turn, or until it won’t turn anymore.

Step 2: Drain The Line

Now that you’ve turned off the water to your house, you’ll want to make sure all the water is out of the line that runs to the outdoor faucet. Turn the valve of the faucet to the on position, and wait until the water has stopped flowing. If water continues to come out after about 15 seconds, check to make sure you have turned the water completely off.

outdoor faucet parts

Step 3: Fix the Broken Washer

After you’ve drained the faucet, you’re ready to get to the likely source of the leak: a broken or disintegrating washer. To reach the washer, it is necessary to take the faucet apart. First, use a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screw that secures the valve (the part that turns the water flow on or off). Pull gently to remove the valve, and set both the valve and screw aside.

Next, remove the packing nut (the thick nut about 1/2″ in diameter) by using your adjustable wrench or vise grips to unscrew the nut from the threaded part of the faucet; set this nut aside too. Finally, again using your wrench or vise grips, unscrew the larger hexagonal-shaped nut and set it aside as well. You should now be able to remove the faucet; you may need to gently but firmly twist the faucet while pulling to remove it from the house. At the end of the faucet is the washer that’s most likely causing your leak. Gently remove it (this may require the use of a flat-head screwdriver to nudge it out of place), and replace it with a new washer.

You’ve now fixed the leak, and the only thing left to do is to reassemble the faucet.

Insert the faucet back into the house, and screw the hexagonal nut back in place; use your wrench or vise grips to tighten the nut. Next, screw on the packing nut, and again tighten it with the wrench or vise grips. Finally, put the valve back onto the end of the faucet, and use the screwdriver to tighten the screw that holds the valve in place. Turn the valve clockwise completely to the “off” position, and then turn the water to the house back on. Check for any leaks. If water is leaking from somewhere other than the original leak from the spigot, be sure to tighten all the nuts until the leak stops.

Plumbing projects may seem intimidating, but fixing a leaky outdoor faucet is pretty simple. It will be worth the effort when you save money on water bills and save yourself the frustration of watching water drip all day long.

If you have a leaky outdoor faucet you simply cannot fix, don’t hesitate to call the PROS at Plumb Pro+!

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How To Unclog A Hairy Drain

Here are several techniques to unclog a hairy drain naturally without the use of harsh chemicals that can be damaging to your family and your pipes.

It’s a hairy situation, alright — by the time you finish your shampoo, condition, rinse, and repeat, you’re standing in an inch of water. Hair above and below your drain screen is one of the fastest ways to back up your pipes.

There are ways to unclog your shower drain without the use of harsh chemicals that can be damaging to your family and your pipes, and there are several techniques you can try on your own to unclog the shower drain naturally.

But first – what’s the harm in using a chemical drain cleaner?  Not only can these chemicals burn your eyes and skin and cause permanent damage, the harsh chemicals in drain cleaners can also wear away at your pipes.  For these reasons, it is much better to remove the clog naturally. 

Unclogging a Shower Drain Naturally

  1. 1. Unscrew the drain screen.

    Use caution with the screws – you don’t want to lose them down the drain. Once the screws are loosened, use a piece of tape to pull them up and keep them secured while you work on the clog.

  2. 2. Use a Zip-It tool to unclog the drain.

    This tool was designed for this very problem, and it’s your simplest chance at a DIY fix. For less than ten dollars, we recommend that everyone keep this reusable tool around the house. The Zip-it comes with instructions, and there are plenty of helpful videos online.

  3. 3. Use a wire hanger or drain snake.

    If you need to clear your drain NOW, and running to the hardware store isn’t an option, your grandpa’s old wire hanger trick is still worth a try. Take a wire hanger (or any piece of wire) and bend it with pliers so that it has hook on the end, about a 3/4 inch.   Use the hook to pull out any debris. This option won’t catch us much debris as a Zip-it, but it might clear things up enough that standing water can slowly drain.

  4. 4. Get out the plunger.

    Still not draining? You may have a clog further down the pipe than your wire/Zip-it can reach. It’s time to, literally, turn up the pressure. First, stop up the tub’s overflow opening with a wet rag to make sure that the plunger is effective (you’re creating an air lock). Next, fill the shower with just enough warm water to cover the bottom of the plunger. Begin plunging vertically. After about 5-10 strong plunges, lift the plunger to see if the water drains away quickly.  Continue plunging until the water starts to drain quickly.

  5. 5. Use baking soda and vinegar.

    If the extracting and plunging methods are unsuccessful, begin by removing any existing water from the shower. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain and use a spatula to force it down the drain if needed.  Next, pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the drain with a drain cover or damp towel to force the vinegar and baking soda to the clog.  Hold the cover over the drain until the fizzing stops.  Lastly, uncover the drain and flush it with boiling water.

If the shower drain is still clogged, it’s time to call a plumber.  Call Plumb Pro+ before you use more forceful methods or harsh chemical drain cleaners. These methods can damage pipes and cause larger plumbing problems. 

How to Avoid Clogged Shower Drains

  • Use a Hair Trap

    Stop clogs before they start with this handy tool. We recommend removing your drain screen and inserting a basket-style hair trap. Clean the trap out every few uses to prevent errant hairs from finding their way through the basket.

  • Clean shower drains regularly with baking soda and vinegar. 

    Whenever you clean the shower, use the baking soda method when you are done cleaning to prevent clogs.

If you have a clogged drain you simply cannot fix, don’t hesitate to call the PROS at Plumb Pro!

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Pet Proof Your Plumbing

Pet Proof You Plumbing

Four Important Plumbing Tips for Every Household With a Pet

Pet Proof Plumbing

You might be surprised to learn that nearly 85 million families, or 67% of households, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey. As a result, many households need to know the potential plumbing issues that come with having pets, especially pets that shed.

Here are three action steps you can take to pet-proof your home’s plumbing:

  • 1. COVER UP EXPOSED PIPES
    Pets are curious creatures, and love to chew. Pipes that stick out are very tempting to an animal. Biting through a pipe can harm the pet, and the repairs are expensive and annoying. Protect your home, your plumbing, and your beloved pet all at once by covering up the pipes. Consider plastic or rubber casings.

  • 2. KEEP PET WATER BOWLS FULL
    When the water bowl is empty, pets are known to drink out of the toilet to quench their thirst. Check water bowls several times a day and refill at least twice, and they should avoid the toilet water and surrounding plumbing. If they just won’t leave the toilet alone, keep the toilet lids closed.

  • 3. AVOID CLOGS – RINSE DIRTY PETS OUTDOORS
    Rolling around in the mud is a dog’s delight, but it can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Muddy, matted fur clumps together easily, so at the very least, rinse or wipe your dog before heading into the bathtub. It’s helpful to use a drain stopper or strainer to catch some of the debris.

  • 4. NEVER FLUSH CAT LITTER
    Some brands claim you can flush their cat litter. Don’t believe them. Kitty litter has been specifically designed to form hard clumps by soaking up all the surrounding liquid—which is the perfect recipe for a disastrous clog in your pipes!

If your furry family member has caused a major plumbing problem, don’t worry. Just contact the pros at Plumb Pro.

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