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Home Improvement

Our plumbing expert is sharing how you can unclog those pesky drains without spending a fortune.

Slow drains in the house are more than just a pain, they can cause unpleasant smells in your home and even lead to expensive repair costs. 

Oftentimes, these slow drains are due to a sewer clog or backup, so we’re sharing the benefits of how a professional drain cleaning can help.

Sewer Clogs 101
Drains in the bathroom are typically due a combination of soap scum and shed hair, both of which go down the sinks and showers every day. Kitchen drains are often clogged up by food debris and cooking grease, which can leave behind a nasty smell. 

But one reason for a drain clog you may not have thought of: tree roots. If you have trees or shrubbery growing near your sewer main, you’re certainly at risk of the roots infiltrating your pipes in search of water and nutrients, thus leading to a backup of your pipes and drains. 

Time to Call in the Pros
A plumber can look at your pipes and determine just how bad the clog is, and where it’s located. Thanks to video camera technology, you won’t need to dig anything up unless that’s the only solution to your problem. 

Once your plumber knows the cause of your issues, they can suggest treatments such as hydro-jetting your pipes and drains. Other options for drain cleaning include a combination of chemicals, acid cleaners, or oxidizing cleaners that can break down whatever is holding up your pipes so that you can get things flowing again. 

Another often used method is a snake. This is one way to work on treating your clogged drains without putting harsh chemicals and products through your pipes. 

Old Man Winter will soon be here. Our plumbing expert shares how to get your pipes ready for cold weather.

Fall is just around the corner and that means winter will be here before you know it. To help you keep your home’s plumbing sound during these cold months, here are some tips to get your plumbing ready for the seasonal change!

Shut off outdoor faucets
Turn off outdoor faucets at their shutoff valves. Open the faucet and then open the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve to drain any water out of the pipe. If you don’t drain the pipe, it can still freeze and crack. Leave the bleeder cap open with a bucket underneath to catch any drips. If the dripping continues, your shutoff valve needs to be replaced.

Disconnect hoses
A water-filled hose left out in cold weather will freeze. If the hose is still connected to the faucet, ice can back up into the pipe inside your house, causing the pipe to crack. Disconnect all hoses from their faucets, drain them and store them for the winter.

Install heat cable
Heat cables are a perfect solution for vulnerable pipes. They have an integral thermostat that senses pipe temperature, turning the heat on and off as needed to keep the pipe from freezing. You’ll need an accessible outlet to plug in the cable. Heat cables are available at home centers for $15 to $40, depending on the length.

Shut the water off if you leave town
If you’re leaving town for a few days or more, turn the water off at the main shutoff. That way, if frozen pipes do crack, you’ll have far less damage. Shut off your automatic icemaker so it doesn’t continually try to make ice, burning out the motor. Even if the ice bin is full, the ice will evaporate and the icemaker will try to make more.

Insulate your garage door
If you have water lines in the garage, insulate the garage door, if not the whole garage. Consider a combination of heat cable and insulation as well. If it’s really cold, put a portable heater in the garage.

Keep the temperature steady when it gets really cold
What constitutes a cold snap depends on your climate and your home’s insulation. A temperature of 32 degrees F isn’t cause for alarm in Minnesota, but it might be in Mississippi. So during extreme cold, bypass your thermostat’s program and leave the temperature steady. You may even want to turn it up a couple of degrees.

Leave faucets running when it gets too cold
A trickling faucet acts as a relief valve for the pressure that builds up if frozen pipes do occur. That pressure relief can prevent frozen pipes from cracking. A slow trickle is all you need. It’ll bump up your next water bill a bit, but compared with major home repairs, that’s an easy price to pay. Don’t leave a faucet running if the drain is on an exterior wall, though; the drain can freeze, causing the sink to overflow.

 

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Click here for a recap of what was featured on our home design website Cincy Home Chic Home!

Here’s a recap of what we featured on our home design website, Cincy Home Chic Home:

Custom Window Treatments

Carrying Wall Color to the Ceiling

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Dining Room Decor

Introducing High Street Homes! 4 Custom Homes in Historic Downtown Milford

Timeless with a Touch of Pink

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It's happened to the best of us: a clogged garbage disposal. Read on as our resident plumbing expert offers tips that could save you time and money in the future.

Garbage disposers, or disposals, can be subject to several common problems. They can jam up when objects bind the impeller blades inside the appliance. The drain fittings can loosen and cause leaking beneath the sink. Or the drain connecting the garbage disposer to the rest of the sink’s drain trap assembly can become clogged and cause water to back up into the sink basin where the disposer is installed.

In a double-basin sink, when it’s only the disposer basin that backs up with water, the likelihood is that the drain fitting on the disposer is clogged.

Causes of a Garbage Disposal Clog

A disposal generally has no problem grinding most food waste, but it’s what happens after the grinding that usually causes a clog. Often this has to do with how ground food waste reacts to water (or lack of water) after the disposal unit grinds it up and sends it on its way toward the drain line. When a garbage disposer clogs, you will often find the problem in the drain trap assembly located on the waste discharge side of the disposal.

Disposals also can back up over time because the waste line or trap gets coated and eventually obstructed with food waste. If your disposal is draining very slowly or not at all, the problem is most likely in the drain trap—the U-shaped plumbing fitting that is located downstream of the disposal discharge pipe.

Here are some of the most common ways that users create garbage disposer clogs:

  • Lack of flushing water: Not putting enough water down the disposal when it’s grinding is a sure way to get a clog. Without sufficient water, the waste can’t be flushed through the pipes and will quickly build up. Once a full blockage occurs, water can’t flow at all.
  • Grinding up eggshells or coffee grounds: These items are a bigger problem than you might imagine. When ground up by a disposal, egg shells and coffee grounds create very tiny granular waste that will stick to any sludge found in the pipes, quickly becoming a clog.
  • Grinding potato peels: Potato peels are notorious clog makers. Once ground up, they form a starchy paste similar to mashed potatoes that will quickly clog the drain.
  • Grinding banana peels: These are a similar problem to potato peels, except they also add stringy fibers to the mix.

Not getting enough hot water? Our plumbing expert shares what you may need to boost your hot water and even save you money.

Are you struggling with low hot water in your home? Does it feel like you are constantly adjusting the temperature on your hot water heater? If these are things you find yourself constantly fighting against, you may want to consider a new solution. There are a few options on the market that could work, but the best option for your needs may actually be a booster. 

What is a Water Heater Booster? 

A hot water heater booster is a device that can be attached to your already existing hot water heater. The booster takes cold water and mixes it with hot water from an input valve. The booster helps to conserve the hot water in the tank without wasting energy. 

The water heater booster helps to ensure that you have hot water more readily available between uses than you would without it. Boosters are a good investment for those that need multiple sources of hot water throughout their home or for those who have a water heater that struggles to produce hot water regularly. These boosters can also help for those who struggle with low hot water pressure. 

Are There Benefits to Having a Water Heater Booster?

There are a ton of benefits to have a booster for your hot water heater. Water heater boosters may feel like something you don’t actually need, but they can help to save you money in the long run. Here are some of the benefits of a hot water heater booster: 

More Hot Water: A water heater with a booster will give you more hot water. That means no more running out of hot water after running the washer, dishwasher, or a few family members take a shower. These will also help to preserve your plumbing because of the improved water pressure boosters supply.

Energy Efficient: Water heater boosters use less energy to produce similar, if not better, results of a complete water heating system.

They’re Easy to Install: A water heater booster can be easily installed, as compared to a complete water heating system.

Water Conservation: A water heater booster will help you to use less water overall in your home. The booster helps to store hot water for longer between uses so you don’t have to wait for the water to get to the right temperature. 

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Click here for a recap of what was featured on our home design website Cincy Home Chic Home!

Here’s a recap of what we featured on our home design website, Cincy Home Chic Home:

Review: The At Home Chef

What Not To Do If You Have a Home Under Contract

What Is a Title Company in Real Estate?

Butcher Block Kitchen Island

Looking to Build in Madeira?

How Much Should a New Home Cost Per Square Foot?

A Floor Plan That Has It All!

 

Slow drain? Our plumbing experts weigh in on what the causes may be and how you can fix them.

Slow drains are a common plumbing issue faced in homes across the country. Whether it’s in the bathroom or the kitchen, it’s an inconvenience that no one really wants to deal with. 

Food, hair, grease, and other things going down the drain oftentimes plug up your pipes and require you to clean and find ways to get your drain back to normal. 

Here are some reasons why you may find slow drains:

Bathroom drains

Hair is the most common culprit related to a slow drain in your bathroom sink, tub or shower. Whether you’re shaving, trimming, combing or washing it, your hair can quickly slow down a drain. The problem only increases for folks with long hair. Your flowing strands wind up in the drain and often become trapped in the pop-up assembly, where they form a sort of net and accumulate all sorts of other debris, leading to a slow or even clogged drain.

Kitchen drains

The most common causes of a slowly draining kitchen sink are food related: grease and other debris get trapped in either the drain basket or the P-trap. The P-trap is the curved section of drainpipe located underneath the kitchen sink. Over time, grease, food particles and sediment can become trapped in the bottom of the P-trap, inhibiting the flow of water. Food can also restrict waterflow by getting stuck in the bottom of the drain basket.

Venting problems

For your home’s drain lines to function properly, they must work in conjunction with the vent stacks placed strategically in the bathroom and kitchen areas around your home. Most often, vent stacks take the form of those pipes protruding through your roof. The vent stacks allow air to be drawn into the drain lines to reduce the vacuum that would otherwise restrict the flow of water passing through them. If a vent stack becomes clogged by sticks, leaves or even birds’ nests the drain line associated with it will slow down significantly.

Sewer line problems

Sewer lines are the main lines that carry sewage and wastewater away from your home. Tree roots, deteriorating or collapsing pipes, and sludge buildup can all lead to slow drains in your household. When your toilet flushes slowly or clogs on a regular basis, it is most likely related to a problem somewhere in your main sewer line.

Slow drains are more than a minor inconvenience. If ignored, they can lead to major sewer problems and costly repairs. Periodic maintenance and inspection by a licensed plumber will help you prevent a complete shutdown of your home’s sewage system.

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