Lutz Plumbing, Inc. Blog : Archive for October, 2019

7 Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips For Your Home This Fall

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

If you’re like most Kansas City homeowners, you’re probably looking forward to fall activities and cooler temperatures. But what about your plumbing? Are your pipes ready for fall weather? When temperatures dramatically drop, your plumbing can be affected if you haven’t done everything possible to ensure your pipes are working properly. Here are seven basic plumbing maintenance tips, along with some considerations and warnings.

1. Check Indoor Faucets

Now is the best time to check every faucet in your house for possible leaks or drips. If you find any, have them repaired before winter arrives. Inspect your shower head for damaged parts and leaks, along with checking plumbing fixtures on toilets. Leaky plumbing fixtures can result in wasting a lot of precious water, besides causing a spike in your utility bill.

2. Examine Outdoor Faucets for Leaks or Drips

Since water remaining in a plumbing line can freeze and cause considerable damage to your plumbing, it’s important to check your exterior faucets to see if they’re leaking or dripping. Also, be sure to completely switch off outdoor faucets, besides turning off their interior valve.

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3. Drain and Remove Garden Hoses

In addition to draining your garden hoses, stow them away in your garage or shed so that they’ll last longer. If you don’t drain your hoses, any water that remains inside them can freeze and expand, which can lead to a hose breaking.

4. Check Pipe Insulation

Without the right insulation, your interior and exterior pipes are likely to freeze and burst. Thus, it’s imperative that your pipes receive a thorough inspection, which includes pipes in your garage. To be sure all your pipes have adequate insulation, get a licensed plumber to examine them and add insulation if needed.

5. Get Your Water Heater Inspected

Your water heater needs to be operating properly, particularly during harsh winter weather. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a highly qualified, licensed plumber check your water heater to see if it’s in good shape so that you’ll have warm water. Just be sure to keep the temperature of your water heater under 125 degrees F to avoid skin scaling as well as an increase in your utility bill.

6. Check Your Sump Pump and Have It Cleaned

Another item to check is the sump pump to ensure it’s in good working order. Consider that a sump pump needs to be cleaned twice a year or more in order for it to continue functioning well. Do you have a basement? If you do, then having the sump pump and its surrounding pit cleaned is even more crucial. This is important in preventing the nightmare of having heavy rains or melting snow seep into your basement.

7. Clean Out Your Gutters

Your gutter needs to be free of debris before temperatures drop. When gutters are blocked, all types of problems can occur, such as gutter damage and foundation issues. Clogged gutters can even lead to roof and siding damage because retained debris and frozen water can create excess weight that can’t be sustained.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • In most cases, the most common location where pipes rupture is on a home’s exterior.
  • When away from home during freezing weather, have your water kept at a slow trickle so that it can keep flowing.
  • If you’re a “snowbird” and head south for the winter, it’s even more critical to have your plumbing checked before leaving town.
  • Even minor pipe leaks can lead to costly repairs when they’re undetected for several months before you get back home.
  • Protect your outdoor fixtures by covering them with an insulation kit, if you don’t have a hydrant that’s frost-proof.
  • If you have a sewer line, have it inspected for possible issues.
  • Drain your water heater at the onset of fall to prevent sediment from building up and creating rust. This is even more important if you have hard water.
  • If your water heater takes a long time to heat up, you should get a new one so that you won’t be concerned about your water heater not working in the dead of winter.

Why not enjoy the beautiful fall season and cooler weather instead of worrying about potential plumbing problems? Preventative maintenance can help in preventing larger issues, so contact us for all your plumbing needs and learn more about our wide range of services.

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10 Things About Plumbing Every Homeowner Should Know

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Being a good homeowner, or even a savvy renter, is all about understanding how your home works. If you want to get the best performance and call for the fewest repairs, all you have to do is master your maintenance and know how to identify a serious problem when it crops up. This is particularly important if you want to minimize your household plumbing problems.

To help you get amazing performance from your plumbing and keep even old pipes in good condition, we’ve put together a handy list of ten things every homeowner should know about their home’s plumbing.

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Know Where to Find…

1) Your Water Main

Your water main is where water flows into your house from the municipal water supply. Or, if you have a well, the main valve where the pumped well water connects to the house. Know where this is, how the shut-off valve works, and make sure you can use it in a pinch. At the very least, you may need to show a plumber where it is one day.

2) Your Sewer Clean-Out Valve

The same goes for your sewer clean-out valve. Should you ever experience a clog so deep under the house that no amount of plunging or S-trap deconstruction will ever break it up, your plumber may need to open that clean-out valve to, well, clean it out.

Know How To…

3) Shut Off the Water to Sinks, Toilets, and Appliances

Every sink, toilet, shower, and water-running appliance has a connection to the plumbing and a shut-off valve so you can work on them locally without causing a flood. Explore your house and find each and every one. Usually, they will be behind the appliance or hidden inside some nearby cabinetry. Make sure you can shut these off if necessary.

4) Replace Your Sink Aerators

Sink aerators do three things. They save water, they soften water, and they lightly filter water. They also get filthy and eventually wear out. Know how to replace an aerator for each sink faucet. It’s about as easy as swapping bottle tops, so don’t worry.

5) Unclog Your Toilets, Sinks, and Shower Drains

Clogs happen. So you’ll want a few plungers, Zip-its, and vinegar in the house just in case. Know how to tackle every kind of clog, from traditional toilet clogs to kitchen sink clogs. On that note, know how to open an S-Trap to find lost items as well.

6) Repair a Running Toilet

A running toilet is a serious problem. It’s not just a waste of water; it’s also loud and can make your toilet hard to flush at the right time. Know how to replace each surprisingly simple part of the internal toilet tank array. After turning off the water, of course.

7) Un-Jam the Garbage Disposal

Got a fork, rind, or something worse jammed in the garbage disposal? Check the model; you probably have the kind that can be un-jammed with an alan-wrench-looking tool that will twist the blades back and forth until they release whatever was caught.

8) Recognize and Fix Hard Water Problems

Hard water can be as minor as white spots on your stemware or as serious as constant drain clogs and appliance break-downs. It’s just minerals in the water and breaks up with vinegar, but know how to identify and solve hard water when your house runs it through the taps.

Master the Maintenance For…

9) Drains to Prevent Clogs

Know what not to put down the drain. Know how to use drain traps and screens. Know that cooking grease and eggshells down the garbage disposal are not a good idea, and know how to run fizzing vinegar down the drain in a pinch.

10) Water-Based Appliances

Get familiar with any appliance in your home that runs water. The washer, the dishwasher, the ice-maker in your fridge- all of it. Know where the water comes from, how to shut it off, and how to do basic maintenance if there’s a problem.

 

Taking care of the plumbing in your home is a lot easier than most people realize. By understanding how water runs into, through, and out of your home, you can quickly master a surprising amount of plumbing maintenance. For more helpful tips or assistance dealing with a serious plumbing problem that takes more than elbow grease and a shut-off valve to solve, contact us today!

 

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