WINTER PLUMBING MAINTENANCE

When it comes to preparing your plumbing for winter, you don’t want to be left out in the cold. At GAC Plumbing Company, we can help you with all your seasonal plumbing maintenance needs. Below are five quick and easy ways to get your plumbing ready for cold months.

1. Check for Leaks

Now is the time to look for any plumbing leaks around your home. Check faucets and shower heads and take note of any low water pressure. If you see any leaks, call a professional to repair them right away. Even small leaks add up quickly, wasting precious water as well as money.

2. Disconnect Your Outdoor Hose

When the temperature drops, hoses are the first victims. One of the most important plumbing maintenance tasks this time of year is disconnecting and storing any outdoor hoses to prevent freezing. This also helps protect pipes inside your home. Try to do this ahead of time so your hose is safely stores before the first wave of cold temperatures. Also during the freezing temperatures it is a good idea to locate the shutoff valves for outside faucets and turn those off.

3. Have Your Pipes Inspected

If you’ve never inspected your pipes before, a professional can check them to make sure that they are in tiptop shape for the winter months. They can also prevent pipes from bursting by insulating them to protect your home and replacing them if they are faulty. Bursting pipes can be devastating to a homeowner.

4. Keep Your Home Warm

This tip may seem simple, but cool indoor temperatures can be the biggest cause of pipes bursting in the home. Check to see that your thermostat is set and activated, and make sure that the temperature in your home does not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Take Care of Your Sinks

Using a sink as a garbage disposal can be problematic. Particularly during winter, oils and fats poured down the drain can freeze once temperatures drop. This can clog your drains and cause more problems. Be sure to dispose of grease properly to keep your pipes clear and be ready for the big chill.

If you want a hand with your plumbing maintenance tasks this year, the experts at GAC PLUMBING COMPANY are happy to help. Contact the team today to schedule an appointment.

Winter Plumbing Tips

Winter Plumbing Tips

How to prepare your plumbing system to prevent freezing pipes and other common cold weather plumbing problems

When it comes to plumbing, there are certain ‘cold weather’ preventative measures that will help maintain a healthy, efficient water system and avoid excess water loss and excessive bills. In addition to the harsh winter weather, the holiday season adds extra stress to your plumbing system due to increased activity from guests. In fact, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Thankfully, you can prevent many common plumbing problems by being proactive and following GAC Plumbing Companies maintenance tips to help safeguard your system throughout the winter months.

Turn off outside water valves to prevent frozen pipes

When the temperature drops below freezing, water pipes in your home have the potential to rupture, creating an expensive disaster in your home’s basement. The average homeowner’s expense for a pipe rupture is about $15,000, according to State Farm Insurance.

To protect against frozen pipes, turn off all outside water valves and then look for pipes in un-insulated areas of the home, such as those running along the home’s outer walls. These pipes are the most likely to freeze and should be wrapped with foam or towels for the season. In cases of extreme cold, it’s a good idea to let faucets drip slowly in order to encourage water flow.

Know the location of your home’s main water valve

In case of a major incident – such as a pipe bursting – when you might need to immediately shut off all the water in the home, it’s critical to know where the main water valve is located. This valve is usually located next to the water meter and should be kept in good condition. To maintain your home’s main water valve and keep it in working order, open and close it once a year.

Conserve your home’s energy – but don’t go too low!

If at any time during the winter you’ll be away from your home, you may be tempted to turn down the heat to save energy. However, turning the heat too low increases the risk of frozen and ruptured pipes. The damage caused by such an accident will be even greater if the rupture goes unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months.

To best prevent a pipe rupture, the home’s temperature should be set no lower than 45F. This solution offers maximum savings while protecting against frozen pipes.

Conserving energy during the winter months while staying cozy indoors can be tricky, but follow are thermostat recommendations for when you’re home to make sure you stay comfortable and avoid high bills!

Make sure your water heater runs properly

Your water heater is more important now than any other time of the year, so this is the perfect time to make sure it is running optimally. A professional plumber can service the unit by checking the tank’s sacrificial anode rod and making any repairs or replacements necessary due to wear or corrosion.

When it comes time to adjust the heater’s water temperature, don’t set the dial above 125 degrees F. This will prevent scalding water as well as reduce energy waste.

Don’t clog kitchen drains and be careful with the disposal

The holidays inspire some of the largest meals you’ll prepare during the year, so how you dispose of cooking-related messes, leftovers, and table scraps can significantly impact your plumbing system.

For example, fats or oils accumulate while preparing many meals, but these leftovers should NEVER be poured down your drain as they can congeal and clog pipes. Instead, allow grease to congeal in the cooking dish and then scrape it into the trash.

In terms of your garbage disposal, it is best to turn it on first and then add the food debris. After the machine has done its work, shut it off and run plenty of water down the drain to clear the system for the next time you need it.

Prepare outside drainage

Winterizing your lawn can help improve drainage from snow and rain. Removing debris from your yard to ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear before the winter will improve their ability to drain runoff.

Consider installing insulation

Preventing frozen pipes can be as simple as a little planning and installing foam insulation. Insulating foam sheaths are sold at most hardware stores in a variety of sizes and are easy to install. Make sure to insulate the entire length of pipe from the point where your home’s main water line emerges from the ground to the point where it enters the heated space of your home. You should also insulate any pipes that are outside the heated portion of your home, like those in attics, unheated basements and outdoor hose bibbs. If pipe insulation is not a DIY job for your home, call a GAC Company plumber.

Hire right the first time

Your home is typically one of the biggest, most important purchases you can make – the result of a painstaking search that might have taken months or even years. Therefore, when it comes to home maintenance – from  repairs to plumbing maintenance – it only makes sense to hire someone who is qualified and will do the job well. GAC Plumbing and Construction offers competitive pricing coupled with impeccable craftsmanship.

CALL GAC PLUMBING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY NOW!

707-538-8000

Tips for Summer Plumbing Success

Three Tips for Summer Plumbing Success

Summer is the season of outdoor fun and entertaining. Unfortunately for your plumbing, summer can also be the season of sewage backup, clogged drains, and cracked hoses. At GAC Plumbing Company, we know one of the best summer tips is taking the time to inspect your system before the season starts to ensure it’s well maintained and ready for action. Here three tips for summer plumbing success.

Inspect Sewer Line Pipes

Thanks in part to summer storms and rainwater, backups in your sewer line are extremely common. Storm water enters sewer pipes through small cracks and creates congestion. Root development from trees can also put strain on a sewer line since they grow toward the water source. The best way to make sure your sewer line pipes are ready for the season is to have them inspected by one of our expert technicians. He or she will look for signs of damage, and repair any potential cause of backup.

Protect the Garbage Disposal

Another part of your plumbing system that is sure to see increased activity in the summer is the kitchen garbage disposal. Barbecues, social gatherings and pool parties are all great reasons to fire up the grill, but don’t go putting all of that corn on the cob down the disposal. Of the three tips for summer plumbing, this one is the simplest to follow. To prevent clogs, do not put cornhusks or other stringy foods down the disposal. Fatty foods can also stick to drain pipes and cause clogs, so don’t put any leftover hamburger meat down the drain.

Change Washing Machine Hoses

Whether it’s you or your kids, someone is bound to have dirty clothes throughout the season. Make sure your washing machine is prepared for the extra work by having the hoses inspected for cracks, leaks, or bulging. It’s also a good idea to change washing machine hoses at least once every three years.

Contact GAC Plumbing Company at 707-538-8000 for more information on these three tips for summer and other plumbing tips.

Sewer Odor Testing

Summer is a good time to smoke test sewers due to low flows and suitable weather.
 

Why do I want to smoke test my sewers? If you are getting complaints from residents about sewer backup into their basements, you already know one of the answers. The other reason is that USEPA (and, hence, state agencies) are increasingly “on the case” when it comes to untreated sanitary sewage overflows. If you haven’t already heard from them, it’s probably just a matter of time.

It’s not unusual for older sanitary sewer systems to have high flow rates during storms due to water entering through cracked pipes and gaps in manhole walls.
There are also all of the homes where, over the years, the owners have quietly connected downspouts and sump pump discharges to the sanitary sewer.
Smoke testing is generally intended to find:
• buildings that have illegal downspout, cellar, yard or foundation drain connections to the sanitary sewer
• illegal sump pump discharges into a sanitary sewer
• points of groundwater or surface water intrusion into sanitary sewers
• any cross connections between sanitary and storm sewers
Give it a try!
If you haven’t already tried smoke testing, Give  GAC Plumbing Company   a  CALL at 707-538-8000 and we can find that smell within your bathroom or Basement or walk-in Freezer.

GAC Company

707-538-8000

Sewer Odor Detection

Sewer Odor Detection: How to Get Rid of Sewer Gas in Your Home

Rotten eggs? No one likes smelling this particular odor walking into their home after a long day. After googling it – you may have poured chemicals down your drain for temporary relief however, you might be putting a Band-Aid fix over a larger problem.

What does it mean when you smell sewer gas in your house?

If you have that sewer gas smell in your house, apartment, or condo there may be several reasons why this is occurring. It could be your P trap in your sewer drain lines. You may be asking yourself, “why do I smell sewer gas in my house?” In sewer systems a P-shaped trap is typically filled with water – the water provides a seal to keep out the sewer gas smell. What causes sewer smells in a house? If that water seal is broken then the sewer gases smell will travel up the drains into your bathroom, kitchen, or the entire home. In older homes, the deterioration of the sewer cast iron pipes can be a reason why sewer gas smells enter into your home.

How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

Since there could be several ways sewer gas smells can enter into your house, an odor detection test is a good place to start. The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball. This traps the smoke inside the plumbing system. If there is a fault in the drains the smoke will flow from the failure point.

Whether you’ve been struggling with on-again-off-again sewer gas smell in your home for years or have just encountered your first sewer gas problem then this situation can be easily solved by a sewer odor detection test.

Slow or Stopped Drains

Five Ways to Fix a Slow Sink Drain

Overflowing bathroom sink

Adam Gault/Getty Images

A slow, sluggish sink drain is a very common plumbing problem. The bathroom sinkis the one most frequently afflicted with this particular problem, and several things can contribute to a slow sink drain. Often the pop-up that is used to stop up the sink can collect a lot of hair and debris because the sink is used on a daily basis. Also, soap and other products that are washed down the drain can slowly collect in the drain pipes. The build-up that naturally collects over time reduces the size of the drain, effectively slowing the progress of draining water. This drainage issue happens naturally over time and usually cannot be avoided. The only solution is to clean the drain periodically to keep it flowing.

There are several ways to address a drainage problem, as outlined here.

Clear Out Debris With a Zip-It Tool

Zip-it tool

Amazon

The first step to getting the sink drain flowing again is to clear out any hair and debris that has collected there. One quite easy way to do this is to use the Zip-it tool, an inexpensive tool that works wonders in just minutes. The Zip-it tool can be put into the drain to catch hair and debris, which can then be pulled out. The Zip-it can be used in a sink drain with or without a pop-up because it is thin enough to fit in the drain even with a pop-up in place.

Remove the Pop-up

Pop-up bathtub drain

Jack Hollingsworth/Getty Images

The shape of the sink pop-up is such that it often collects debris and build-up. If you do not have a Zip-it tool, or if the tool was not able to clear out all debris, another option is to remove the pop-up and clean it out. Most pop-ups are held in place with a nut attached to the drain just under the sink. To remove the pop-up reach behind the drain pipe under the sink to find the pop-up nut. Once the nut is removed, the pop-up can be pulled out of the sink drain, cleaned, and then reinstalled.

Clear the Sink Overflow
Sink with overflow drain circled

 Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

One purpose of the overflow opening is to divert water into the drain if it accidentally rises too high in the sink, of course. But another important purpose is to allow air into the drain when the sink is filled with water. The air that comes into the drain through the overflow helps water in the sink to drain faster. The sink overflow is another place where debris and build-up can collect over time. If a sink is draining slowly and cleaning the drain does not seem to solve the problem, it is a good idea to clean the overflow as well.

Use Homemade Drain Cleaner
Foaming drain cleaner in a sink

Image Source/Getty Images

A mild homemade drain cleaner can be used to clean the drain pipes after the larger debris has been pulled out. The reaction caused by combining two common and inexpensive household products can help to break down the mucky build-up on the inside of the drain pipes. Getting even a little of the build-up out of the drain can help get it flowing freely again. By using homemade drain cleaner, you avoid using harsh chemicals and save money as well.

Use a Plunger
Plunger

 Floortje/Getty Images

A plunger can be used on a slow sink drain; it does not have to be reserved for a complete drain stoppage. A little plunging can help to loosen and dislodge hair and debris that is collected in the pipe. To be sure that the plunger is effective, cover the sink overflow with a rag or some duct tape before plunging. Covering the overflow helps create a seal, which is needed to clear any blocked pipe.

Any Questions Please CALL NOW

GAC PLUMBING COMPANY

707-538-8000

Stop Kitchen Sink-sprayer hang-ups

Use pipe insulation to prevent sprayer snarls

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GAC Plumbing Company      707-538-8000

If you have to jiggle the hose as you pull out your kitchen sink sprayer,   chances are the hose is catching on the shutoff valves. For smooth operation, slip 1/2-in. foam pipe insulation over the pipes and shutoff handles. Use Tape it if it won’t stay on. You can find insulation at home centers for about $6.

Handy Plumbing Tips and Tricks