Do's And Don'ts For Clogged Drains

Screenshot (1759).png

There are many occasions where our Spartakus Plumbing experts have seen a simple clogged drain turn into a much bigger nightmare! You might think a clogged drain is simply an annoyance to your everyday bathroom use. However, if left unfixed, this small inconvenience can become a big problem for your entire plumbing system.

For minor issues, it’s a great idea to have a few at-home remedies ready to use when needed. So, our experts wanted to share a few “hacks” to help you unclog your own drain. If you’re the DIY type, see the tips below on what you can do! And, for the rest of us (LOL!), just call the experts here at Spartakus Plumbing.  

WHAT NOT TO DO
How frustrating is a clogged drain or toilet? Have you ever taken shower in a puddle? UGH! We’re here to tell you that it’s extremely important to be properly informed on what the easy solutions are, and why, in some instances, it could be the last thing you want to do.

Clog remover solutions are often not recommended by plumbers, as over time, they can harm the piping, especially if you have a reoccurring clog. 

That being said, if you’ve already used one in your sink or shower, It’s OK!

However, regardless if you’ve already used one in your sink, you should NEVER use everyday clog solutions in toilet bowls. The chemicals can linger in the bowl itself, damaging the porcelain and in some cases, cracking the bowl.

THE BAKING SODA & VINEGAR METHOD
For a natural way to unclog a drain, try using baking soda and vinegar. These two are great to have in your household cleaning toolbox, as they can be used for just about anything, including small clogs. You’ll want to start with a pot of boiling water and pour that down the drain. Next, grab your baking soda and pour about a half cup down the drain. Let it sit for about a minute. Finally, mix a cup of hot water and a cup of vinegar. Let this stand for about five minutes before rinsing with tap water. Remember, this method works best for small clogs. If your drain is still pooling when this method is finished, it’s probably time to call Spartakus Plumbing!

THE SODE METHOD
This method is a bit unconventional, but it works for small clogs! If you have a 2-liter bottle of cola, simply pour it down the drain and let the bubbles do the work. The ingredients in cola have shown that they have the capabilities to diminish small clogs and, long term, prove to be a less harmful method than other solutions. Strange, but true. Give it a try for yourself and be sure to rinse with warm water when the cola has drained.

PLUNGERS
Some clogs take a little bit of elbow grease to remove. While you may have a plunger for your toilet, consider investing in a plunger for your sink or shower drains. What you must know is the difference between the two. Many people don’t realize that plungers have different shapes for different purposes. If you use a sink plunger on a toilet, it likely will not have the same impact and your clog will still be present.

For your sink, you’ll want to choose a cup-shaped plunger. For your toilet, you’ll want a plunger that’s bell shaped, but with a small extension to the bottom that can fit into the bottom of the toilet, called the flange. The right plunger will work wonders when used properly.

CALL A PRO (Hint…That’s US!)
When you’ve tried it all, and the clog is still present, it’s time to call Spartakus Plumbing. A plumbing expert can typically identify the cause of the issue before taking an action plan. This will ensure the right unclogging method will be used from the outset as it may not be as simple as a clog.

As pipes get older or are less maintained, they are more likely to be corroded, which could also cause this issue. This would require other repairs to replace the pipes and prevent it from happening in the future.

MAINTENANCE
Once you’ve said good riddance to your pesky clog, make a good effort to prevent it from happening again. Here are some ideas to maintain your drains.
    · Invest in a drain catcher to prevent loose items from entering your pipes.
    · Never pour grease or food into your drain.
    · Once a week, boil water and pour it down your drain, rinsing with cold water from the sink. (Repeat this twice.)
    · Avoid using harsh chemicals in your drains.
    · Clean your kitchen sink and disposal.

A clear pipe is ideal for any household, but the reality is, clogs will happen. Keep these tips in mind the next time you see your drain slowing and take action by giving Spartakus Plumbing a call as soon as possible, to prevent it from getting worse

Baby…..It’s Cold Outside!!

Screenshot (1717).png

We get asked all the time, why do pipes freeze and burst? Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands and gets close to freezing. This causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe and when that pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures. 

And what happens if they do freeze? It’s not always a crisis, but it can escalate very quickly. Most of the time your water pipes are safe from freezing. But if they run through any part of your house that isn’t heated, or if your heating system fails, the water inside can turn to ice. When water in a pipe freezes, it extends and puts tremendous pressure on both metal and plastic pipes. 
 
When the weather hits extreme lows, as we are expected to see this weekend, it is not a foregone conclusion that your pipes will freeze. There are preemptive measures that can be taken to avoid this costly issue. 

Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, can help prevent pipes from freezing. Also, keeping your thermostat set to the same temperature, both during the day and at night, should help to keep your pipes at a more regularized temperature.  If you plan on being away this weekend, or during any prolonged cold spell, leave the heat on in your home and be sure to set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees F. 
 
But what happens if your pipes do freeze? It’s not the freezing that causes the burst, it’s actually the thawing pipes that leak and spew water after a hard freeze. Responsible use of a space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer can help thaw the frozen length of pipe. Wrapping frozen pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape (from $50 to $200, depending on length) is also an effective way to quickly thaw a trouble spot. 
 
The bottom line is, with some simple preventive measures, you can work to prevent what could be a major plumbing emergency in your home. If you have questions, or need to have a plumbing consultation performed at your home, the experts here at Spartakus Plumbing are here to help 24 / 7 / 365.

5 New Year Resolutions For Your Plumbing System

Like most people, we here at Spartakus Plumbing get reflective towards the start of a new calendar year. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What can we do better?

While we tend to make new commitments to ourselves at this time of year, what other types of resolutions do we make? Ever thought about making new resolutions for your home? How about your plumbing system? No? Well maybe you should be!

While everyone floods to the gyms and health food stores to work on dropping that extra 10 pounds, we here at Spartakus Plumbing want to help you try to drop those extra expenses that come along with unexpected plumbing problems.

The Spartakus Plumbing “diet” for 2018 is more about awareness, rather than sacrificing the things you love. Following these few easy guidelines (resolutions) will help reduce the risk of those costly plumbing emergencies, and maybe even save you some money along the way through responsible conservation.

So what can you do to ensure your plumbing functions better this year?

Be Kind To Your Garbage Disposal:

Don’t just throw everything from your plate in your disposal. Learn what actually is supposed to go in a disposal and what doesn’t.  Also, be sure to run your water whenever you use your disposal to eliminate waste buildup that causes unwelcome odors in the house.

Turn It Off If You Don’t Need It

Sometimes it’s easy to not recognize just how much water we waste in a day. This is perhaps the easiest resolution, with the greatest personal gain. Simple adjustments, such as turning the water off when brushing you teeth, can save as many as 3,000 gallons of water a year.  You’ll suddenly notice that your wallet grew a few inches at the end of each month. Also, switching to an energy-efficient, tankless water heater is a great way to save water and energy throughout the year. The experts here at Spartakus Plumbing can show you the way. 

Don’t always remodel - sometimes it’s ok to Re-Imagine

It’s nice to change your bathroom’s look every now and then. Switching up the decor can be refreshing to everyone in your house and guests that regularly visit your home. Even simple updates, such as replacing faucets or installing cabinets, can have a significant impact on your bathrooms function and value. However, larger jobs are best left to the professionals. 

Your Toilet Is NOT A Garbage Disposal:

Stop being mean to your toilet. Flushing things such as Q-Tips, hair, tissues and wet wipes are just a recipe for disaster for any toilet / plumbing system. Hey, they don’t make fancy bathroom trashcans for nothing do they? 

Warm Up Your Pipes For The Winter:

As mentioned in our last article, don’t let your pipes get beat up in the winter by cold temperatures. Burst pipes can be an extreme inconvenience and a very expensive fix. Make sure they are properly insulated to avoid such disasters.

Follow this advice and you should have minimal plumbing problems around your house. However, if you’re ever in a pinch and need the help of a professional plumber, Spartakus Plumbing is here to help!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Don't Let Your Pipes Freeze - And Steps to Take If They Do

spartakusfrozenpipe.jpg

According to StateFarm

What's worse than a major home maintenance disaster? Try several major home maintenance disasters at once. When a house's water pipes freeze, the situation is not as simple as calling a plumber. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

Frozen water pipes are a problem in both cold and warmer climates, affecting a quarter-million families each winter, and it can happen in homes with both plastic and copper pipes. It's all too common, especially considering this damage is largely preventable.

In addition to taking the usual preventive precautions, here are a few steps you can take to keep your pipes from turning frigid nights into inconvenient, and expensive ordeals.

When The Mercury Plummets:

Even if you've taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you're asleep, but further drops in the temperature—more common overnight—could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Before You Skip Town:

Travelling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don't forget to think about your pipes before you leave. What can you do?

  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.

If Your Pipes Do Freeze:

What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don't panic. Just because they're frozen doesn't mean they've already burst. Here's what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our plumbing experts contact us today.