Make a New Year's Resolution to Stay on Top of Plumbing Maintenance This Year!

What’s Involved in Plumbing Maintenance?

When most people make a list of new year’s resolutions and things they’d like to do this year, they probably don’t put plumbing maintenance anywhere on it. The fact is, it’s easy to forget that the home’s plumbing system even needs maintenance at all. After all, if the faucets aren’t dripping and the toilets aren’t clogging, why mess with the plumbing?

But that’s just it - maintenance helps ensure that these issues (and many others) don’t come up in the first place. The pipes, fixtures, and water-using appliances in a home see a lot of use, so without maintenance, they can develop a host of problems as they succumb to wear and tear. So this article will explain what plumbing maintenance entails, why it’s so important, and how homeowners can keep up with it - both on their own and with the help of a pro.

Cleaning the Drains

drainOne of the most important aspects of plumbing maintenance is drain cleaning. Over time, hair, soap scum, oils, and other gunk can collect in the home’s drain pipes. This not only leads to the formation of clogs but can also cause unpleasant odors and encourage mold growth, so it’s necessary to clean the drains periodically to remove this nasty buildup.

Homeowners can do a little DIY drain cleaning every once in a while by pouring equal parts baking soda and vinegar (typically about ½ cup each) down the drain, letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then pouring hot water down the drain. In general, it’s best not to use chemical drain cleaners, as these can damage the plumbing, produce noxious fumes, and kill vital bacteria in septic systems.

DIY drain cleaning will go a long way in keeping drains clear, but it’s still best to hire a professional to perform preventative drain cleaning every year or two. This typically involves the use of a hydrojetting machine, which can wash away debris and grime as far down as the main sewer line using a special high-pressure water hose.

Scheduling Professional Plumbing Maintenance

It's a good idea for homeowners to schedule annual maintenance with a professional plumber. They will thoroughly inspect the system, often using special video equipment, to find any signs of leaks, clogs, or corrosion and determine the best solution. They will also typically check the water pressure and adjust it if need be, secure any loose pipes with brackets to prevent vibration, and even test the home’s fixtures and values to see if they are working correctly. 

Professional maintenance can help homeowners save money on leaks and costly plumbing emergencies, extend the life of the plumbing system, and increase the value of the home (plumbing systems typically account for around 10% of a home’s value) - so it’s a service that no homeowner can afford to do without!

Maintaining the Water Heater

maintenanceRoutine maintenance is also required for the water heater. This includes flushing the storage tank to remove any sediment buildup, testing the temperature and pressure relief valve, and checking/replacing the anode rod (an anti-corrosion device inside the tank). Professionals will also clean gas burners, check gas lines for leaks, test safety devices such as the thermocouple, and inspect and clean the exhaust flue. 

There are many benefits of professional water heater maintenance. Not only does it extend the life of the unit and ensure that it’s operating at peak efficiency (both of which help save money), but it also brings peace of mind from knowing that all work is being performed safely and according to code!

About Quahog Plumbing

Since opening its doors 15 years ago, Quahog Plumbing has quickly become one of Somerset’s most trusted and highly-rated plumbers. Their licensed and trustworthy technicians are available for 24-hour emergency service and always work efficiently to get homeowners back to their routines as quickly as possible. They offer same-day service, flat rate pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job. Call them today for plumbing maintenance, drain cleaning, or water heater maintenance in Somerset, MA.

Burst Pipes: Causes and Prevention

Prevent Burst Pipes, So They Don’t Disrupt Holiday Gatherings

No one wants to deal with a pipe bursting. This kind of plumbing emergency can ruin any holiday event or even a quiet evening at home. While frozen pipes are a common cause of burst pipes, age, corrosion, and stubborn clogs can also cause a pipe to break. This blog will discuss the causes of pipe bursts and some tips to help prevent them.

Avoid Pipes Freezing With Pipe Insulation

freezingEveryone knows that water freezes at 32℉/0℃, and unlike most liquids, water actually expands due to its crystalline structure when it freezes. This presents a danger when pipes freeze. When the weather gets cold, the water in exposed pipes can freeze and then expand, putting a strain on the line and possibly causing it to burst. Pipes exposed in unfinished basements and crawl spaces are the most vulnerable to the dropping temperatures outdoors. The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is by installing pipe insulation.  There are two main types of pipe insulation: foam and fiberglass. 

  • Foam Pipe Insulation: This is a foam tube (think pool noodle) with a split down one side. It comes in various diameters according to the size of the pipe it insulates. The foam slides over and secures the line like a bun surrounding a hot dog. A special tape is then used to seal the open side. It is easy to use and can be installed relatively quickly.
  • Fiberglass Pipe Insulation: This insulation is very similar to the insulation put on the walls of most homes. It comes in the form of a tape roll and has a metallic backing instead of the paper typically used in attics and walls. It is also suitable for directly under sinks where the pipes tend to have a lot of bends.

Avoid Corrosion and Slow Decay

corrosionWhen a pipe ages, it is often subject to corrosion, another cause of burst pipes. Corrosion is the breaking down of a material, typically metals, through chemical reactions or environmental interactions. Pipes may corrode for several reasons, including the following events:

  • Metal-to-metal contact
  • Loose fittings
  • Chemical drain cleaners
  • Inappropriately disposed chemical waste

A particular culprit of corrosion that homeowners can easily avoid is the liquid drain cleaner. They may be able to clear a clog, but they should be avoided because they usually end up doing more harm than good. The chemicals in them can corrode and worsen the conditions of a home’s pipes, leading them to burst.

Avoid Clogs

Clogs are a problem that almost every homeowner has dealt with in the past. They are one of the most common, and usually one of the easiest for plumbers to handle, plumbing issues. However, they can lead to much worse plumbing emergencies like a burst pipe if left untreated. 

Thankfully, professionals offer drain cleaning services that can clear an existing clog, keep a clog from growing too large and causing significant damage, or prevent clogs from forming in the first place. So to avoid clogs that can lead to pipe bursts, homeowners should have their pipes regularly maintained with drain cleaning.

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has dependable plumbers serving Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas for over 15 years. They provide straightforward pricing, same-day services, and the latest technology. Call them today for drain cleaning or burst pipe repair in Somerset, MA

Get Your Water Heater Ready for Cold Weather

Signs a Water Heater Needs Repair

The water heater is one of the most important pieces of plumbing hardware in the home. Homeowners should be on the lookout for warning signs that the water heater needs repair. Fixing minor problems early can help to prevent a total system breakdown and add years to the lifespan of the hardware. 

This blog discusses several signs that a hot water tank is in need of repair. Homeowners should try to maintain, repair, or replace their water heaters before the temperatures drop in the winter. It may be more challenging to complete the installation in freezing winter weather, and nobody wants to take cold showers during the winter! 

Temperature Issues

temperatureNot having any hot water is an obvious sign that the water heater is not working correctly. Other symptoms of a broken water heater include fluctuating temperature, not enough hot water, or water taking a long time to warm up. All of these problems are more common in aging water heaters. A new water heater should provide consistent temperatures. 

Fluctuating water temperatures are a sign that the water heater needs repair. There could be a problem with the heating element, or the water heater is simply getting too old. When the shower or bath runs out of hot water right away, this is also a sign that homeowners need to call a plumber to work on solutions. 

Water Heater Leaks

leaksWhen water is heated up in the hot water tank, it can cause minerals to bind into solid sediment. Over time, this sediment can build up into a slurry of debris that corrodes the inside of the tank until it begins to leak. It’s necessary to drain and flush the tank one or two times a year during a part of routine maintenance to remove sediment buildup and prevent corrosion. 

Some leaks can be an easy fix, such as a leak around a plumbing connection. However, a leak from corrosion usually means that the whole water tank will need to be replaced. It can be difficult to stop corrosion once it begins, meaning the leak will worsen until it is repaired. 

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Water heater replacement is typically done every 10-15 years. Tankless water heaters can last over 20 years. However, homeowners usually begin to notice needing more frequent repairs after around the 10-year mark, especially if maintenance is neglected. It may be more cost-effective to replace an old water heater with a new energy-efficient model than back-to-back repairs on a failing water heater. 

It requires the experience of professional water heater technicians to install water heaters safely. Without the necessary training and tools, an amateur could install the water heater incorrectly, causing problems from the start. Because of the high temperatures and many gallons of water within the water heater, it’s essential to leave installation and repairs up to a professional for safety reasons. 

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving Somerset, MA, and the surrounding neighborhoods. They provide straightforward pricing, same-day services, and the latest technology. Call them today for water heater services in Somerset, MA.

Prevent a Plumbing Emergency From Ruining Halloween

Guard Against Plumbing Scares This Halloween

Even if someone likes the thrills and chills that come with this time of year, they likely don’t want to be startled by a sudden drain problem, clogged toilets, or cold showers.  Homeowners can help prevent all of these plumbing issues with some planning and preparation, so if a homeowner has plans for the holiday, they can be sure that everything will go off without a hitch.

Cleaning Drains

Drain cleaning is important to maintain the proper function of a plumbing system and to prevent clogs. Neglecting to clean drains can lead to serious consequences, such as flooding, water damage, and sewage backup.

Liquid drain cleaners are not recommended as they can contain toxic chemicals that can cause damage to the pipes themselves, causing corrosion that can lead to cracks and leaks in the pipes. Professional drain cleaning services can be hired to unclog drains or prevent them. Regular drain cleaning will keep the plumbing system running smoothly and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Preventing Toilet Clogs

toiletA clogged toilet is perhaps the most common plumbing problem in any household. Most of these clogs are preventable if a few bits of advice are followed. Here are a few suggestions for preventing toilet clogs:

  • Don’t Flush Items Other Than Toilet Paper: Avoid putting things in the toilet that cannot be flushed. This includes a long list of items like tampons and wipes. Even if the wipes say they are flushable, they will not break down as quickly as toilet paper and may cause clogs in the sewer line if not the toilet.
  • Conserve Toilet Paper: Using too much toilet paper doesn’t just cause clogs; it can also strain a household budget. Using only a minimal amount of toilet paper helps keep the pipes open and the waste moving.
  • The Double Flush: This is a good method if using more toilet paper is essential. The technique is flushing to break up the amount of toilet paper flushed at once to prevent clogs.  

Stay on Top of Water Heater Maintenance

maintenanceA cold shower is only good if that’s what a person wants or expects. An unexpected cold shower due to a broken water heater can be startling and uncomfortable. This is a clear reason to get water heater maintenance. A broken or neglected water heater is not just about cold showers. Rusty-colored, smelly water can also be the result. It can affect water pressure due to scale buildup and go lukewarm before it completely fails. A failing pressure release valve can even cause an explosive hazard. 

These are some of the things a professional will do when maintaining a water heater:

  • Flush and descale water heater tank
  • Check the anode rod and replace it if needed
  • Check electrical connections
  • Check plumbing connections
  • Test the pressure release valve (PRV) and replace it if needed
  • Clean and test the heating element or burner

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas. They offer same-day services, straightforward pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call them today for drain cleaning or water heater maintenance in Somerset, MA.

Easy Ways to Prevent Clogged Toilets

Why are the Toilets Always Clogged? 

The bathroom is one of the house's busiest rooms but doesn’t really get the appreciation it deserves. Most people spend lots of time in the bathroom using its various plumbing fixtures. It isn’t until something goes wrong that people start to pay attention, and one of the worst things that can go wrong is a clogged toilet. 

Clogged toilets can make nasty and embarrassing situations for everyone involved, so learning to prevent toilet clogs is in everyone’s best interest, not just homeowners. Here is a list of the three common causes of toilet clogs and how to avoid them. Learning the causes and implementing strategies to eliminate them can virtually eliminate the chance of suffering from a clogged toilet. 

Keep an Eye on What Gets Flushed

flushedWhen toilets are flushed, the water's turbulence helps break up waste and toilet paper, so it flows down the sewer line easier. Clogs are almost a certain consequence when things are flushed that don’t break up as easily. Only toilet paper should be flushed down a toilet. 

A few things that should never be flushed are:

  • Tissues
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • Paper towels 
  • Wipes, even if they are labeled “flushable”

Instead, people should discard these items in the garbage to prevent clogged toilets. Also, lowering the lid of the toilet prevents foreign objects from falling into the basin. 

Get in the Habit of Using Less Toilet Paper

toiletThe second common cause of a clogged toilet is using too much toilet paper. The clog occurs when there is too much toilet paper for the turbulence of the water to break up. The result is a tangled mess forced into the drain and sewer line without breaking up. This is becoming more common as families shift to low-flow toilets to save water. 

Instead of flushing too much toilet paper, get in the habit of using less toilet paper or flushing several times to split up the amount of toilet paper used. This prevents a clog of toilet paper from forming and ensures everything flushed down the toilet will properly break up and flow through sewer lines. 

Keep the Sewer Line Clear of Clogs 

All of the drains in a home eventually connect to one central line called the sewer line. The sewer line is responsible for delivering all the waste in a home to the municipal sewer lines so it can be treated. The sewer line must be able to handle everything that goes down the drain, so it’s no surprise that they will often clog due to bad habits among those in the household. Clogs in the sewer line are another cause of clogged toilets, so preventing sewer line clogs helps prevent clogged toilets.

Sewer line clogs most often form slowly over time. Grease and debris get stuck on sewer line walls and gradually reduce the flow of the sewer line. Practicing good habits for drains and toilets is a great start, but sometimes more is needed. Periodic professional drain cleaning can help eliminate drain and sewer line clogs before they start. 

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving the residents of Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas. They provide flat-rate pricing, same-day service, and the latest technology. Call them today for a clogged toilet repair in Somerset, MA.