Help & Tips

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

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 [...]

2018-12-18T22:38:44+00:00 December 18th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing|

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

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 [...]

2018-12-06T17:36:26+00:00 December 5th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing|

Be Prepared and Purchase These Plumbing Tools for Your Home

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 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 [...]

2018-11-20T19:33:51+00:00 November 13th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing|

Prepare Your Plumbing Plan for Winter this Fall

Football’s on TV, leaves are falling from the trees, the weather is crisper, days shorter. What should you do when it’s halftime? We say, be productive (during at least one of the games) and get your plumbing plan ready for winter. The average person can complete the following fall plumbing fundamentals in the time it takes your team to get back on the field. And you would score some points with your significant other for not failing to plan. Because if you fail to plan, your pipes might fail you this winter. Turn off your outdoor sprinkler system and drain the lines. The mess and cost to replace burst sprinkler lines is outrageous. Please take the time to turn off your system and drain. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty surprise of burst pipes, leaking water, and a ruined lawn. Insulate your exposed pipes. We’re not in Alaska, but it gets cold enough here for your exposed pipes to burst at just the wrong time. Take a little time and do it now. Seriously. Schedule an inspection of your water heater unless you like cold showers in the dead of winter. Imagine: It’s December 24. It’s cold outside [...]

2018-10-15T13:50:40+00:00 October 15th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing, Water Heaters|

So Your Home Has Water Damage. Now What?

Leaks and floods are nightmare situations for homeowners. But they do happen! Whether it comes from the sky or a broken pipe, you need to have a plan to address water damage in your home. Here are some tips for quickly and effectively dealing with this issue. Think About Safety If you are dealing with a high volume of water in your home and the power goes out, make sure to turn off your circuit panel. This way, if the power comes back on unexpectedly, you don’t have to worry about major safety concerns like electrical shocks. If the water damage is caused by a plumbing leak, it’s also important to quickly turn off your main water valve to prevent the issue from escalating further. Get the Important Stuff Out and Start Drying Disasters have a habit of bringing friends with them. When dealing with severe water damage, you might end up with some structural issues and the loss of personal possessions. Water and fire are two common reasons experts suggest you keep your important identity, financial, and insurance documents in one place that can be easily moved out of harm's way. Be sure valuables and important documents are not [...]

2018-09-18T13:24:19+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing, Uncategorized|

Can You Use Plumbing While The Power’s Out?

Have you ever wondered if it’s safe to use the toilet or shower in your home while the power is out? You may have access to water through your plumbing line, but you should be cautious. Follow these tips to know how you should use your plumbing system during a power outage. Water Heater Water heaters, even those that burn a fuel like natural gas, need electricity to run. Fuel-based water heaters use electricity to start the heating process. No power means no hot water. If you have heated water in a tank, it may stay warm for a little while after the power goes out. But sometimes, hot water is an absolute necessity. In those cases, you might consider getting a generator to run your water heater. Faucets and Sinks Even without hot water, you may notice that your faucets still run fairly normally during a power outage. Homes that are connected to the local water supply should still have access to cold water. People who use an electric pump to draw water out of a well may temporarily lose access to water. If the power outage relates to flooding, you may be concerned about water contamination. Follow the [...]

2018-09-18T13:26:39+00:00 August 13th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing, Uncategorized, Water Heaters|

3 Basement Plumbing Issues You’re Probably Overlooking

This article is by Vincent West. West is a graduate from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Engineering Design.  Even though we have made huge technological leaps in many areas, plumbing systems have not changed much over the last few centuries. Although not every home has a basement, those that do have one require special attention. For this purpose, we have compiled a small list of plumbing issues that every homeowner should attend to on a regular basis. Basics of Basement Plumbing Before addressing some of the most common plumbing issues in basements, let’s do a brief rundown of the basics of basement plumbing. The first thing every responsible homeowner should know is the location of the shutoff valve. Usually, the shutoff valve is located either where the main supply pipe enters the house, or next to the water meter. Some properties may have an additional shutoff valve right outside the house hidden in a ‘’buffalo box’’ or meter box.  The buffalo box can be found either at the edge of your property or buried in the ground between your fence and the street. You can pry open the box and turn off the water supply by hand [...]

2018-08-08T19:55:56+00:00 August 8th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing|

Baths vs. Showers: Which Is Really Better for Water Conservation?

If you’re a thoughtful homeowner who wants to reduce utility bills and be mindful about water conservation, you may be wondering whether people save more water by taking baths or showers. Standing in the Shower or Soaking in a Tub? When it comes to comparing how much water you use when taking a bath or when showering, you have to take into account how long you let the water run for showers. A typical filled bathtub uses about 36 gallons on average according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Older showers may use as many as five gallons of water every minute. This means that if you showered for longer than seven minutes (not uncommon!), you will be using more water every time you shower instead of drawing a relaxing bath for yourself. Ways Improve Water Conservation The USGS notes that newer, more efficient low-flow showerheads only use about two gallons per minute, meaning that you could take an 18-minute shower and use about the same amount of water as you would if you had opted for a soak in the tub instead. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, investing in water-saving fixtures and appliances can save families more than $380 from [...]

2018-07-27T14:20:59+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing|

Common Kitchen Plumbing Mistakes and Their Effects

We’ve all been there: you’re in a rush while cleaning the kitchen and need a quick fix for unclogging your dishwasher or getting rid of grease. It’s easy to use popular drain cleaning products to unclog your drain or to quickly pour that pan grease down the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” can actually lead to more time-consuming and expensive problems.

2018-07-23T20:11:27+00:00 July 9th, 2018|Drains, Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing, Sewer Systems|

6 Ways to Save on Your Water Bill

Do you dread opening your water bill every month? You’re not alone. Many homeowners deal with high water bills and look for ways to cut back and save on these costs. Thankfully, there are several easy options when it comes to addressing this issue. 1. Don’t Let Your Faucets Run Many people are guilty of letting their faucets run while brushing their teeth, doing dishes, and cooking. To save water and money, turn off your faucets when you aren’t directly using the water. Once you get your toothbrush wet, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and turn it back on to rinse your mouth. When you are doing dishes by hand, fill up the wash side of the sink with soapy water and fill the rinse side with clean water. If you are prepping vegetables or meat, try to prep everything prior to turning on the water to rinse or wash your hands rather than letting the water run while you prepare each item for rinsing. To further reduce your water consumption, consider purchasing low-flow aerators for your kitchen and bathroom faucets. 2. Pay Attention to How You Use Water in the Shower Showers can waste a [...]

2018-06-20T15:41:42+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Help & Tips, Homeowner Tips, Plumbing, Uncategorized|