Rain-Caused Plumbing Problems

rain plumbing, rain problemsAt first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a connection between rainfall and your home plumbing system. However, there is, in fact, a correlation, and it tends to be negative. Here’s some important info about how rain causes plumbing problems and what you can do.

Added Pressure in Pipes

The pipes underneath your yard are durable but do have a weight limit. Rain saturates the ground, turning the dirt into mud. Mud weighs more than dirt. This can increase the exterior pressure on the pipes. Pipes already subjected to excessive weight can give way and sag. The pipes may also shift, causing the joints to separate and rupture.

Debris Infiltration

Rain water may carry solid debris with it. This can get into pipes with existing cracks and openings. This can cause a blockage, which in turn can lead to water backing up in the basement. In addition, the water can accelerate tree root growth. The roots can extend in the direction of the pipes and cause further damage.

Basement Flooding

As just mentioned, backed-up water may redirect into the basement or crawlspace. Excessive standing water in the home’s interior can cause mold growth. It can also be detrimental to the concrete foundation.

The Solution

A plumbing service can’t stop the rain, but it can inspect your residential pipes. A healthy plumbing system should have no trouble withstanding a downpour, even if it’s raining cats and dogs. This is a good time of year to schedule an inspection since this is the season of peak rainfall in the Pacific Northwest.

We Minimize Rain-Caused Plumbing Problems

With winter here, many homeowners are having their heaters checked. We suggest an accompanying plumbing inspection. Plumbing and Heating Specialist has special offers that make our services affordable. The connection between rain and plumbing is one that warrants homeowner attention.

Residential Plumbing Inspection

Serving Customers in Snohomish, King & Pierce Counties, including Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Snohomish, Shoreline, Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Maltby, Lake Forest Park, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens & Woodway

How to Get a Strong Toilet Flush

strong toilet flushDo you find yourself flushing the toilet twice because the flush is weak and fails to send everything down? Not only is this a nuisance but it’s also a water waster. Here’s why it has become weak and how you can get a strong toilet flush.

Check for a Backup

The weak flush may be due to a clog that partially blocks the waste pipe. Water struggles to flow through and consumes pressure that otherwise contributes to flushing power.

To check for a backup, fill the toilet bowl with water and flush. If the flushing power remains the same, then you have a partial backup. Try to remove the backup with a plunger. If that doesn’t help, then contact plumbing services.

Clean the Rim

The rim holes where the flushing water flows through may be blocked from mineral deposit buildup. For a quick way to create a strong flush, open the toilet lid and pour one to two cups of toilet bowl cleaner into the flush valve opening. Do not use the toilet for the next several hours. The cleaner will flow through the channels and dissolve the hardened deposits. Continue Reading →

How to Repair a Leaky Outdoor Faucet

faucet repair, leaky faucet, outdoor faucetMany homeowners notice a leaky outdoor faucet but take no action. Since it’s outside the home, they believe the ramifications are not important. Ignoring the issue, however, can result in hundreds of gallons of wasted water and a skyrocketing bill. Fortunately, the problem is fixable.

Locate the Leak

In most instances, the leak occurs at the stem. This is the part of the faucet where the handle is located. Water typically leaks from behind the handle. The stem wears out over the years as you constantly turn the handle on and off. In addition, hard water, quite prevalent in the Snohomish area, can stiffen the washer, leading to a leak.

If left untreated, the leaking water can puddle around the foundation, gradually leading to concrete damage. Continue Reading →

Why Is the Tap Water Cloudy?

cloudy tap waterDoes your faucet produce milk-colored water? It looks disgusting and unfit for general use. Is this a cause for alarm? Here’s important info regarding the reasons for cloudy tap water and what you can do about it.

Why Is the Tap Water Cloudy?

Cloudy tap water is technically known as turbid water. Turbidity is a term used to describe the degree to which water loses its natural transparency. Turbidity occurs due to a number of reasons, such as excessive minerals, air bubbles, and methane gas. Let’s examine these causes in more depth.

Air Bubbles

Cloudy tap water may be due to the dispersion of small air bubbles. This is common after some form of plumbing work. Air penetrates pipes during repairs, causing bubbles to form that create a cloudy appearance. Air bubbles are harmless, and the water clears up after a few seconds. If the problem persists, consider installing an air elimination valve. Continue Reading →

How to Clear a Garage Floor Drain

garage floor drain, garage drainThe garage floor can accumulate a lot of liquids, from flooded water to engine oil. This makes the garage floor drain an invaluable, albeit often overlooked, plumbing structure. Here are some helpful tips on how to clean and clear the drain of obstructions.

What Causes a Clogged Garage Floor Drain?

Garage floor drains can become clogged for the same reason as shower and sink drains. The source of the backup, though, may differ. Common sources include car oil and fluids.

One typical cause of backup is pipe crystallization. When liquids, such as soap water, urine, and grey water enter the drain, they leave behind solid sediment. The accumulation of solid debris over the course of years can eventually lead to a backup. This leads to puddling water, which can seep into cracks in the concrete and cause further damage. Continue Reading →

Bad Shower Habits that Harm Your Plumbing System

shower habits, bathroom plumbingA shower is quite refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. However, the way you bathe could adversely impact your shower’s drainage system. Let’s consider together some bad shower habits that could be detrimental to the bathroom’s plumbing.

Not Using a Shower Cap

Always use a shower cap unless you are washing your hair. Hair comes loose from the scalp during showering, and that hair goes down the drain. This gradually clogs the pipes, leading to a backup. Aside from wearing a shower cap, also use a drain cover.

Taking Long Hot Showers

A hot shower is akin to a relaxing spa. However, lengthy hot showers are bad for several reasons. For one, they cause wrinkly skin. Secondly, a hot shower leaves behind hot vapors that create an ideal breeding ground for mildew and mold. Limit hot showers to under 10-minutes. If you have a ceiling vent, be sure to turn it on while you shower; then leave it running for a few minutes after you finish. Also, stick to warm water rather than the hottest setting. Continue Reading →

Five Common Summer Plumbing Problems

plumbing problem, summer plumbing problemHave you noticed that some plumbing problems tend to arise in conjunction with summer? This is no coincidence. We examine the common summer plumbing problems: why they occur and what homeowners can do about it.

1. Shower Drain Backups

Why are backups such a common plumbing problem in the summer? Hot weather means sweaty bodies, which means more showers. Naturally, more hair and other debris get into and block the drain. Keep solids out of the drain with a mesh cover.

2. Toilet Backup

Our plumbing service responds more often to toilet backups in the summer. With school out and people staying inside to avoid the heat, more people are in the home more often. This means increased toilet usage; ultimately, this also leads to more backups. Remind your children to use only as much toilet paper as necessary. Continue Reading →

Improve Plumbing with These Three Kitchen Upgrades

kitchen upgradesEvery few years, homeowners make major updates to their homes. The kitchen is one area we recommend for renovation. New fixtures and appliances can improve plumbing and water efficiency. Here are three kitchen upgrades that we believe belong in every Snohomish residence.

New Faucets

Most homes have outdated faucets. Some modern fixtures utilize low-flow or motion sensor technology to cut down on water use. This saves you money and helps the environment, so everyone benefits. Our plumbing service includes faucet installation. Definitely consider this kitchen upgrade if the faucet is leaking around the seams.

Water Filtration

Install a water filtration system under your sink. This will make your life significantly easier because you will not have to rely on refillable pitchers or buy bottled water. You’ll have access to drinkable water just by turning on the tap. Some of these filters even use reverse osmosis technology not unlike those used by professional water companies. Continue Reading →

My Water Is Taking Too Long to Heat; What Do I Do?

too long to heatEven in the summer, people tend to take warm showers. The idea of a cold shower just doesn’t sit well with most folks. Have you noticed that your water is taking longer than usual to warm up? What do you do if the water is taking too long to heat?

Why Is Water Taking So Long to Heat?

This can be attributed to a number of causes. Some possible reasons include:

  • Low volume restrictor: Your shower may have a low volume restrictor. While this saves water, it can also prolong the time it takes the water to heat up adequately.
  • Failing water heater: Like all other appliances, water heaters become less efficient as they get older. A plumber can inspect your heater and suggest a repair or replacement.
  • Sediment buildup: The heater tank accumulates sediment over time. This is especially the case in regions with hard water, which deposits calcium and other minerals on the bottom of the tank. When sediment covers the heating element, it insulates the water from the heat source.

Continue Reading →

Can You Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger?

unclog toiletA plunger seems like the obvious solution for a DIYer. However, what if it doesn’t work? What if you have no plunger at all? What are the other options? Fortunately, you don’t need a plunger to unclog a toilet. Plenty of other methods are at your disposal.

Hot Water

Pour about a gallon of hot water down the drain. Do this gradually and let the water sit for several minutes. Mild heat may be enough to loosen hair and other clog-inducing debris.

When we say hot water, we mean hotter than lukewarm but not boiling. Boiling water can cause the ceramic to crack.

Dish Soap

Pour about a cup of dish soap and let it sit for 30-minutes to an hour. Soap can break down some clogs. In lieu of dish detergent, you may also use shampoo or a similar cleaner that produces foam. Don’t use any fancy salon-grade cleaners; just stick with basic detergent. Continue Reading →