Technician standing next to equipment in van

How to Prevent a Flooded Basement

July 22nd, 2019

During heavy rains, a flooded basement is a legitimate concern. To help keep your below-ground basement dry, here are some proactive steps you can take to help prevent a flooded basement. Keep your gutters and downspouts clean gutters that are full of detritus can block the free flow of water during rainstorms. If the water does not flow freely, it can pool up against your home’s foundation and seep into the basement. And if you don’t like getting on a ladder to clean the gutters, consider installing a leaf guard system. Your downspouts should have extensions on them to direct water at least three feet away from your house. Install a sump pump, Sump pumps are responsible for pumping excess groundwater from the basement or crawl space to the outside of your home. They are installed underneath the floor of basements and crawl spaces to collect groundwater before it can threaten to flood your home. Groundwater can easily rise through the cracks in the foundation of your home during long periods of rain, and the sump pump helps prevent that from damaging your basement. Repair your foundation cracks A crack in a foundation is not going to repair itself. A [...]

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How to Clear a Clogged Shower Drain

June 7th, 2019

We can all agree that clogged shower drains are gross. When you’re in the shower trying to get clean, the last thing you want is to be standing ankle-deep in murky, dirty water. A clogged shower drain can ruin your morning routine, or worse, cause you to slip and fall on all the built-up grime. Here are a few DIY clogged shower drain cleaning tips: Don’t use chemicals to clear your drain. Chemicals are corrosive and may damage your pipes, which may result in hundreds if not thousands of dollars of damage. Take the drain cover off and look for the clog. In general, clogs form when hair and other debris gets caught under the drain cover. Take it off and inspect it. Maybe use a flashlight. If you see the clog, pull it out with pliers, or maybe try using a screwdriver. There are also specialized tools available at home supply stores that are designed for tackling this problem. Pour boiling water down the drain. Even if you’ve pulled the clog out, this is a good step to try to loosen any grime that has built up. Hot, boiling water is an excellent solvent. If your clog is recurring, [...]

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Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

May 10th, 2019

Water heater leaking can become a huge problem for homeowners. Any amount of water leaking may cause damage to your home’s floors and walls. If it’s a big leak, it can cause a flood, which may result in expensive repair bills. If your water heater is leaking, it’s probably one of these components. Cold water inlet valve failure. If you find a pool of water on top of your water heater it's often an indication that there's a leak on either the water inlet or outlet pipe. Corroded pipes. Look at the water inlet and outlets on top and see if there’s any water leaking from where the pipes meet the tank. Temperature and pressure relief valve failure. The temperature and pressure relief valve (T and P valve) is either located on the side of the tank or on the top. Look for this valve and see if water is coming from this area. Drain valve failure. If there is a pool of water near the bottom of the tank, the drain valve may be leaking. Internal tank failure. When the water heater is not drained regularly, it can cause the internal tank to fail due to a build-up of sediment [...]

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Spring Plumbing Checklist

April 29th, 2019

Plumbing is probably the last thing you think about as the azaleas are blooming, but a spring plumbing checklist can help stave off nasty problems later in the year. Just add these tips to your regular spring cleaning list to prevent future plumbing problems! Here’s your spring plumbing checklist: Indoors Have your water heater professionally inspected and drained. You should drain it once a year. After heavy rains, inspect your basement walls for signs of moisture, cracks or leaks. Check to make sure your sump pump works properly. You can pour water into the pump silo to raise the float and activate the motor. If it is not working correctly, call Mr. Plumber. Remove water stains with half a lemon for a quick faucet fix. Thoroughly clean your garbage disposal to reduce the risk of future clogs. (And remember, never put these foods down the disposal!) Inspect the grout and caulk around sinks, tubs and showers, and repair or replace the damaged areas. Clean your shower heads to reduce mineral buildup and mold. Inspect and replace your washing machine and ice dispenser hoses. Install a water alarm to protect your home against flooding caused by spring storms or failing appliances. [...]

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Should I Drain My Water Heater?

March 11th, 2019

How often does your car need an oil change? Depending on the make and model, it’s likely that it’s every 3-5 months or 3000-5000 miles. Regular oil changes help keep things running smoothly and extend the life of your car, in addition to scheduled maintenance. It’s the same with your water heater. Most manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater at least once a year. But there’s a major caveat: You need to maintain it consistently, draining it year-after-year, or you may experience a leaky mess. Read on to find out what you need to know about draining your water heater. Why being consistent with draining your water heater is important: When sediment has collected at the bottom of the water tank, it’s usually not evenly distributed and tends to collect in particular spots in the tank. These spots are then subjected to higher heat, as the sediment displaces the water from the bottom of the tank. This increased heat exposure breaks down the steel more quickly in those spots, resulting in a thinning of the metal and multiple potential failure points. A yearly inspection and flush by a certified plumber can clear out the sediment and keep your water heater [...]

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Practical Tips to Prevent Plumbing Emergencies

February 13th, 2019

Plumbing emergencies are unpredictable and can cause very expensive repairs. With a bit of foresight and understanding, you can stave off stress and rest assured knowing your plumbing is safe. Read on for practical tips to prevent plumbing emergencies. Tips to Prevent Plumbing Emergencies Never pour fats, oils, or grease down the sink When you rinse these fats down your sink, they’re usually in a liquid state. As fat travels down the drainpipe, it coagulates and becomes sticky. This sticky mass attracts other detritus and can cause a nasty clog. Always let fats, oils, and grease solidify, then dispose of them in the trash can. Don’t use flushable wipes The majority of “flushable” wipes on the market don’t biodegrade quickly enough to avoid clogging your pipes. If you use them, don’t flush them down the toilet. Instead, dispose of them in the trash can. Don’t hang anything from exposed pipes If your home has exposed pipes, it might be tempting to hang clothes, wet towels, or even decorative accents from them, but don’t do it. Extra weight puts stress on the joints, weakens them, and can cause a nasty failure when you least expect it. Don’t use drop-in toilet bowl [...]

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Why Am I Running Out of Hot Water?

January 17th, 2019

If it seems like you're always running out of hot water lately, ask yourself: “Did the change happen slowly or quickly?” If you’ve experienced a gradual decline in performance, that’s most likely a build-up of sediment in your water heater tank. If performance has dropped off a cliff, then it might be a broken dip tube. Learn more about why you’re running out of hot water, and a few suggestions from Mr. Plumber that might help! Gradual Decline: Sediment Build-Up Sediment is generally made up of minerals and deposits that are naturally in your water supply. These deposits could include sand, silt, and rust. Sediment build-up causes you to run out of hot water for two reasons: Sediment displaces water and takes up space in the tank, leaving less room for hot water to be heated and stored Sediment acts as an insulator, forming a barrier between the heating source and water; reducing efficiency and performance If you suspect a sediment build-up, contact a professional to inspect, drain and flush your water heater. There are plenty of DIY tutorials out there, but this is one that’s best left to the pros. Check out our FAQ on flushing your water [...]

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What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

December 18th, 2018

If your pipes are frozen and possibly broken (water expands roughly 9 percent when it freezes), the last thing you want to hear is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You need a quick solution to the problem. Here’s what to do if your pipes freeze: Keep the faucet open. As water starts to flow, it will help melt the ice in the frozen pipes. Heat the frozen pipe with a heating pad or hair dryer. Do not use open flames such as torches. As bad as frozen pipes are, you don’t want to make it worse by burning down your house. Heat the area near the pipe with a space heater. Make sure there’s nothing flammable near it, and follow the operating instruction manual for safety. If you cannot find the frozen area in the pipes, you might have a plumbing emergency on your hands. Time to call in the professionals to diagnose and fix the problem. To prevent future freezes, employ the following tips: Schedule an appointment with a professional plumber for a comprehensive inspection. Insulate your pipes, an inexpensive solution that prevents costly repairs. Slowly drip water from the cold faucet that runs [...]

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Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts: Holiday Edition

December 5th, 2018

Everyone seems to have an overly-helpful family member who surfaces during the holidays. Sometimes that relative, let’s call him Uncle Steve, causes major plumbing problems. (Sound familiar?) Keep reading for tips on how to take care of your garbage disposal this holiday season. After a big holiday meal, one problem that can manifest in a hurry is when Uncle Steve is cleaning up the dishes and tries to shove everything he can down the garbage disposal to set some sort of disposal-grinding record. It seems as if he enjoys or takes pride in almost breaking the system, perhaps because it’s not his own. Before your relatives ruin your disposal and clog your pipes, make sure to give them this list of items to never put in the disposal. Make sure they read it, and keep an eye on them just in case. Never put the following items down your disposal: Bones Celery (and other stringy vegetables) Coffee grounds Egg shells Fruit pits Grease Pasta Potato peels You may also want to teach your family to compost these items instead of forcing them down the drain. Composting can turn organic matter into what some gardeners call Black Gold, as it is [...]

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Be Prepared and Purchase These Plumbing Tools for Your Home

November 13th, 2018

A water meter key to quickly turn off water supply at street When you are faced with a busted pipe that’s quickly turning into a flooding disaster, you need to quickly turn off the water supply to your house. Most likely, you have a water turn-off valve located where your water meter is. Owning a water meter key will save you time and money when dealing with these issues. They usually cost under $20 at a tool supply store. Once you turn off the water, call Mr. Plumber to provide an emergency repair service. Three different types of plungers: cup, flange, and accordion Cup plungers, which are more commonly seen in homeowners’ bathrooms, are better placed on a flat surface. Flange plungers have a portion that extends out of the cup. Accordion plungers look like an accordion, and may produce significantly more force when used correctly. Depending on the severity of the backup and type of toilet, you may need to deploy two different types to dislodge the blockage. Hand auger (plumbing snake) When a plunger doesn’t work, it’s time to deploy a hand auger. Also referred to as a plumbing snake, it is a tool that can “snake” through the [...]

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