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Wednesday, July 15 2020
Summer’s here, so you may be heading on vacation. You may already have your bags packed and one foot out the door. But before you leave for your destination, there are some plumbing tasks to handle.
Make sure you handle these plumbing priorities before you leave so that you don’t return to a plumbing nightmare.
Turn Of Your Main Water Supply
One of the worst things that could happen while you’re gone is a flood. Turning off your main water supply minimizes the amount of water that’ll flood any part of your home if a pipe leaks or bursts.
Now, you may have a pool or sprinklers. In this case, you can turn off water to all of your indoor fixtures such as your sinks and toilets.
Check on the Sump Pump
Turning off the main water supply minimizes chances of flooding, but the sump pump insures against it in your basement. Without the sump pump, you could come home to thousands in water damage to your basement and any belongings down there — not to mention health-hazardous mold and mildew.
Check your sump pump by pouring water in it. If it kicks on, you’re good to go. But if it doesn’t, you’ll want to have a plumber come and fix it.
Clean Your Garbage Disposal
Your garbage disposal takes a lot of abuse. Food particles can get stuck in there over time. When you’re gone for a long time, leftover food particles will rot and create an unpleasant odor. Plus, these food particles create a perfect environment for bacteria, mold, or mildew growth.
You can buy special garbage disposal cleaners from the store. We’d suggest talking to a plumber to see what brand they recommend. Alternatively, you can DIY a garbage disposal cleaner using baking soda and vinegar.
Like your garbage disposal, an unattended drain can cause bacteria, mold, and mildew to fester. Time to clean them.
Don’t use drain cleaning products, though. That can damage your drains. Again, you can use baking soda and vinegar. However, you can always call a plumber if you don’t want to DIY.
Turn Off the Water Heater
This one is less about safety and more about efficiency. If you won’t be home, you can turn off the water and save on your electric or gas bill.
Electric water heaters should have a switch nearby that you can use to turn the heater off. If you have a gas heater, turn the temperature setting down all the way so that the pilot light is still on. As for the electric components in the heater, there may be a switch. Otherwise, head to the breaker and flip it off.
The last thing you want to stress about on vacation is your plumbing systems. Now is a great time to ensure everything is in good working order. The plumbing professionals at Barner Murphy can inspect all of your plumbing and fix any problems before they become big issues. Contact us today — you deserve a stress-free vacation.
Wednesday, July 15 2020
Drain clogs are a pain to deal with. Plungers can work for minor clogs, but you’ll find that some clogs are too much for this simple implement.
A drain auger, known by most as a plumbing snake, is a wonderful tool for dealing with clogs that a normal plunger can’t handle.
With that said, plumbing snakes are a bit more difficult to use properly. If you don’t use this tool correctly, you can cause worse problems by damaging pipes and causing leaks.
It’s vital you know how to use a plumbing snake the right way. Remember, if you have any doubts about your ability to DIY a plumbing issue, don’t hesitate to call a plumber like Barner Murphy. Better safe than sorry!
How Does a Plumbing Snake Work?
A plumbing snake is a flexible metal cable with an uncoiled spring (the auger) on the end that is used to clear up clogs. They tend to be about 50 feet long. You can coil up your plumbing snake for easy storage when not in use.
As for how they work, you insert the cable down the drain and slowly uncoil the snake until the auger breaks through whatever is causing the clog.
Using the Plumbing Snake
Prepare the Area (and Yourself)
Put on some clothes that you don’t mind dirtying. Grab some gloves and lay towels under the pipes you’re working on.
Consider Removing P-Trap and Trap Arm
This step is optional, but can help you get closer to the obstruction. You may even find the obstruction is in one of these.
But even if it isn’t, removing these makes it easier to get to the obstruction.
Now, if your trap arm is glued in place, don’t remove it.
Thread the Snake Into the Drain
Carefully thread the snake into the drain or into the access point if you removed the p-trap/trap arm.
Emphasis on “careful” here. Forcing the auger in too fast could lead to you damaging your pipes and creating much worse plumbing problems.
Slowly Uncoil the Auger
Begin uncoiling the auger while keeping the snake handle as close to the drain/access point as possible. Stay consistent with the pace of your unwinding. Once you feel resistance, you may have encountered the obstruction.
Carefully Move the Auger Around
Slowly move the auger up, down, and side to side to wear through the obstruction. If you hear scraping sounds, that’s your pipes — readjust so that you don’t cause damage.
If you think your auger is stuck, wind your snake back up. You might just pull the obstruction clean out.
Reassemble and Check Your Sink
Clean off the auger, reassembly any components you removed, then check your sink. There shouldn’t be any clogging issues if you removed the obstruction successfully.
Although unclogging drains with a plumbing snake is one of the easier plumbing tasks homeowners can do themselves, you may not be able to beat the clog.
In that case, don’t try harder. You don’t want to cause costly damage to your plumbing. Instead, you’ll want to call a plumbing professional.
If you have a clog that’s tough to beat in your Bucks or Montgomery County home, look no further than Barner Murphy. We’re happy to help you beat the clog and get your plumbing in full working order. Call us today!