PLUMBING TIPS & TRICKS
Don't you wish you had a plumber in your back pocket? Well, when you're in a bind, reference this page for tips and tricks on what you can do to get yourself out of a plumbing situation. Otherwise, give us a call....we're here to help.
Pex And Copper Duke It Out
First of all, what is pex!
PEX Pipes pluming is a flexible and durable alternative to copper pipes plumbing made from cross linked polyethylene that is very durable. Cross linking is when the molecules in the plastic are formed in bridge-like shapes, which increases strength and longevity.
Pex is a much more cost effective way of plumbing, not only because the raw materials used in making PEX are less expensive, but also because the time of installation is minimized by the flexibility of the PEX tubing. Also, PEX is not a valuable commodity like copper is. If you live in an area where theft is a possibility, you'll want to use pex.
Copper plumbing pipes are very durable and will last years and years. In some cases copper can last 100 years or more. Taking care of copper pipes are a key factor in their longevity. One benefit of using copper, is that you can use it both inside and outside of your home, whereas PEX can only be used inside your home.
Some Basic Standards To Help You Decide Which Is Best For You:
If you live in a freezing cold tempurature zone, pex is ideal for you.
If you live in a high theft area, pex is ideal for you.
If you're looking for a long term solution for your plumbing, copper is your choice.
If you're looking for a more cost effective solution, pex is your choice.
If you're looking to repair or install plumbing outside of your house, copper is the best solution for outdoor plumbing.
Where is my shut off valve?
During a plumbing crisis is not the time you want to run around looking for your water shut off valve. Shut off valves are often hidden in some dark corner of the house. Check your basement or crawl space for your shut off valves.
Home water systems have two types of shut off valves, a street side shut off valve and a house side shut off valve. Typically your water department does not want you messing with the street side shut off valve and would prefer that you call them to shut this valve off. They prefer you use the main shut off valve located inside your house. In addition, most new homes have fixture supply stops on fixtures like toilets, washing machines and sinks. These individual stops can be used to shut off the particular piping just for that fixture, allowing you to still use the water in the rest of your home. If your fixtures don't have fixture shut off valves, your plumber can install these on your fixtures for you.
If you're not sure where your main shut off valve is or aren't sure how to use your fixture stops, give us a call, we'd be happy to help you locate your valves and explain how to use them.
Spring Clean Your Plumbing
Spring clean my plumbing? What? That's right! Spring is a great time to do some maintenance on your plumbing, in order to be prepared for the fun times that lay ahead for the summer.
Water consumption goes up in the summer and conservation is necessary. Take a notepad and walk around your home. Check for leaks and make repairs to save on water.
Listen for running water. Are your toilets running? Jiggle the handle to make sure you don't need some repairs on your toilet. Again, saving water is important for those long dry summer months ahead.
Keep those traps wet by pouring a gallon of water into infrequently used drains to fill the trap and prevent odors from filling up the house. A common area where this can occur is in the floor drain in the basement. If you find that the water is slow to drain down, a quick snake to the drain will do the trick. For more difficult drain cloggs, calling a plumber might be necessary.
Now is a great time to clean your gutters, downspouts and outside drains of leaves, dirt and debris. A little maintenance goes a long way in avoiding costly plumbing problems down the road.
If you're pressed for time or just feel uncomfortable handing your plumbings spring cleaning. Give us a call and we'll send an experienced plumber out to walk your home and make the necessary repairs.
What the heck is a hose bib?
Making sure to care for you outdoor spigot, otherwise known as a Hose Bib, is the easiest way to effectively winterize your home.
If your outdoor Hose Bib is begining to show signs of freezing, this can be the first sign of a possible freezing problem in your home. Remove the Hose Bib attachments in the late fall, before the first freeze. Often times a frozen hose can be the cause of a damaged hose bib.
The next step in preparing your Hose Bib for the winter months, is to shut off the valve. The valve should be located just inside the interior wall (basement or crawl space) before the pipe exits into the outside hose bib. If you're having trouble locating or shutting off the valve, give us a call and we'd be happy to help you locate your shut off valve and winterize your plumbing.
There are several ways to insulate the outdoor Hose Bib. The most common is a foam cover that can be purchased at most hardware stores. This simple little attachment slides on over the spigot and attaches to the house using pressure. There are other methods to protecting the spigot from harsh weather, though the foam insulator seems to be the least of an eye sore to your home. In a pinch you can wrap old towels, newspapers, or rags around the extension. Cover the insulation with a one or two plastic grocery bags and secure with rubber bands or duct tape. The final plastic layer will prevent moisture from entering the spigot.
Feel free to email us if you have any questions.
Vacation Plumbing Tips
Water Heater, Laundry, Toilets, Drains...Oh My! Don't let yourself be rushed out of the house and off to the beach cabin before you take the time to make sure your household plumbing is taken care of. Piece of mind while lying on the beach is worh the extra time it will take you to do some simple household plumbing before you go.
Take a quick peek at the water heater tank to be sure there are no signs of rust building up or signs of leaking. If so, call a plumber to service your water heater before you go. For an extended vacation, cut down on costs by shutting off the water heater before you go away. Shutting off the heater also helps prevent a possible fire, should your tank become compromised. Once you have the power to the water heater shut off, you can shut off the valve to the water heater. When you return, simply turn the power to the water heater back on and turn the valve to allow water to flow through again.
Check your machine hoses and make sure they are all firmly attached and are in good shape. Shut off the water supply to the washing machine to prevent leaking while you're gone.
Turn the shut off valves to the toilet to ensure that no major leak occurs while you're gone.
Dried up drains can cause odor issues that will haunt you when you return home. Simply adding some water to the drain before you leave, will help minimize the chance of them drying up while you're gone.
A little plumbing maintenance will go a long way to easing your mind while on vacation. If you are in a rush and would like to have a licensed plumber do your pre vacation maintenance for you, give us a call, we'd be happy to help.
The Portland Area Plumbing Rush?
Have you noticed how busy plumbers are in the Portland area lately? We have been getting calls from customer's who can't seem to find a plumber to help them out in a timely fashion. While we're busy ramping up staff, here are some tips to help you schedule what you need, when you need it.
Develope a relationship with a good plumber: Using the same plumber all the time and not just grabbing the cheapest and most available plumber when you need one, will form a relationship where you and your plumbing issue are a priority on their schedule.
Plan ahead: If you're thinking about doing a plumbing project, call your plumber right away and ask about their schedule. Waiting till the last minute can sometimes mean a few weeks wait time before your plumber can get to a bigger project. Getting your plumber lined up first thing is a great way to cut back on plumbing down time.
The best plumbers are the busiest plumbers: Be aware that if you call a plumber that you are unfamiliar with, and his schedule is wide open, that might be a red flag as to what his track record and experience level is. The best plumbers are busy during rush times like this and this makes planning ahead all the more important.