How To Detect A Water Leak

How To Detect A Water Leak

Having a water leak in your home can be a nuisance, and it can also be very expensive. It’s not always obvious that you have a leak, so if it goes unnoticed, it can make your water bills rocket. Kitchen sink leaks are a lot easier to notice than a toilet leak, as more of our time is spent in the kitchen than the bathroom.

You need to be aware of what to look out for so you can avoid having to pay for water that you aren’t even using. If you think you have a water leak, then get in touch with a local plumber. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and get it fixed for you as quick as possible.

Check your water meter

Checking your water meter is one of the easiest ways to see if you have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. When you read the meter, make sure that no water is being used inside or outside while you check it. There should be a leak indicator on your water meter, if this is moving, there is a very high chance that you have a leak.

Another way to test if you have got a leak is to take your meters reading, wait for a few hours, and then take it again. Don’t use any water inside or outside of your home in the hours between the readings. If the reading has changed, you have a leak somewhere in your system.

Once you have established that there is a leak, you then need to figure out if the leak is outside or inside. You can do this by following these steps:

• Find the main shut off valve to your home’s water supply then use it to turn off your water. This can be located in a variety of places, but most commonly it will be found behind your outdoor faucet.

• Once the water is shut off, check your water meter again using either the reading method or the leak indicator. If the indicator is still moving, or the reading has changed, then your leak is outside. If the indicator isn’t moving, and the reading has stayed the same, then the leak is inside of your home.

Although the plumber you call out will be an expert in what they do, it does make it a lot easier for them if you have located whether it’s inside or outside. If you can’t determine where your leak is, don’t worry, it’s not mandatory that you know before calling a plumber for help.

Indoor leaks

• Leaking faucets – When you have a leaky faucet, it’s often because the rubber washer has worn down. Replacing these isn’t a big job, and it’s pretty easy, but you need the correct tools for it. The plumber will have to shut off your water at the main shut-off valve or under your sink, then remove the faucet handle, as the rubber washers are located under the handle.

• Leaking toilets – Toilet leaks aren’t the easiest to notice, as they are often silent. They can waste gallons of water and lead to an expensive water bill. Surprisingly, toilet leaks are quite easy to repair and aren’t too expensive. A great way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to put some food coloring or a dye tab into the toilet tank then leave it for around 30 minutes (don’t use or flush the toilet while doing this). If the water in the toilet bowl has some of the dye color in it, then you have a leak. If the water is still clear, then you do not have a leak.

• Leaks in the overflow tube – One of the causes for toilet leaks is if the water level in the toilet tank is too high. The water level should be around half an inch below the overflow tube. If the water is higher than this, it will spill into the overflow tube. This problem can be sorted out at home, but it’s best to call in a plumber as doing it on your own can cause more trouble, and the plumber will know exactly what they are doing so it can be fixed quickly.

• Flapper valve leaks – Flapper valves are the most common reason for toilet leaks. The flapper is a rubber valve that’s in the bottom of the toilet tank. For the flapper to cause leaks, it may not be working properly. It could be cracked or worn and if so, it will allow water to flow from the tank into the toilet bowl continuously.

Outdoor leaks

When it comes to leaks that are outside of your home, they are going to be underground. If you think you have an outdoor leak, then you can look around your property for wet patches or feel the lawn for them. If you come across one then keep an eye on it, if it doesn’t dry up then you most likely have a water leak below it.

Whether you live in San Antonio or Seattle, it’s always best to call in a local plumber. Not only will they have more experience with the water in your area, but you’ll also be supporting local companies.

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Keep Your Home Free From Clogged Pipes

Keep Your Home Free From Clogged Pipes

Clogged drains are one the most common plumbing problems that homeowners have to deal with. When you notice that water is pooling around your drain, this is a sign that your water pipes are clogged. Pipes can become blocked incredibly easily, and their performance can become highly hindered just by certain items going down the drain. If you want to avoid clogged drains in your home, it’s important for you to know what’s prohibited and what’s not when it comes to putting stuff down your drains.clogged pipes

How to Avert a Clog from Occurring

No homeowner wants to have a clog in their pipes. This issue can bring a lot of stress and disturbance to a household. A blockage can cause some plumbing appliances such as baths and showers to become out of use, causing disruption to your daily routines. Avoid getting a plumbing clog by learning how to look after your pipes properly.

Here are the do’s and don’ts that will keep your home blockage free:

Grease – When you’ve been cooking something greasy or oily in your kitchen, and you have leftover oil or grease, do not pour it down your drain. These liquids stick to your pipes, and when other forms of debris find their way down the drain, they get stuck to the grease and oil. Eventually, you’ll create a stubborn clog, and your home will be suffering from the effects. When disposing of grease or oil, pour them into an old bottle, yogurt pot, chip packet or anything that can hold liquid and throw it in the garbage.

Trash can – Besides toilet paper, you shouldn’t flush any other product down your toilet. Items such as tampons, sanitary towels, baby wipes, cotton balls or pads, diapers and much more have not been designed to get flushed away. As toilet paper in flushed, it soaks up the water, becomes fragile and quickly breaks up. The other listed items do not properly dissolve and can cause a large clog if you frequently flush them. Keep a trash can in your bathroom for these types of things.

Solidifying – Be careful with what you put down your drain. Just because it’s in liquid form when you pour it down, doesn’t mean that it will stay as a liquid. Substances such as paint, wax and glue can solidify in your pipes and cause clogs.

Strainers – Hair is one of the biggest reasons drains get clogged. When you’re washing your hair in the shower or bathtub, all of your loose hairs get washed away. To avoid hair-ridden blockages, you should get strainers installed on all of the drains around your home. They won’t just stop hairs from getting into the pipes; they’ll also prevent other solid items such as food from going down. Make sure you clean them on a regular basis to remove all of the dirt that’s it’s collected.

Disposal – When you’re finished using your garbage disposal, make sure that the pipes are clear by running cold water down it for fifteen seconds or more. If there is any food or debris remaining inside, the water will remove it.
So if you can’t fix it yourself give Lightfoot Plumbing a call.

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How To Prevent Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Start to Drop

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Start to Drop

Many homeowners don’t think about their plumbing until a problem arises. With winter just around the corner, you don’t want to leave your pipes unprepared to deal with the freezing temperatures up ahead.

Frozen pipes are more common than you would realize and can cause serious problems for your plumbing system. Luckily, there are several different ways you can prepare your pipes for a severe drop in temperature. From calling in a professional for help to performing a bit of DIY maintenance, we offer our tops tips for preventing frozen pipes during the winter. Frozen Pipes

Why Do Pipes Freeze in The Winter?

Let’s start off with what causes pipes to freeze during the winter. You may think that the answer to this question is obvious – they freeze because it’s cold outside. Yes, this may be the case, but there’s a lot more to it than just that:

● Pipes are more likely to freeze in a home that hasn’t had accommodation for an extended period.

● If there is a lack of insulation throughout your home, the water in the pipes can freeze up during the winter.

● If you go on holiday for the winter, and while you are away there is a furnace failure or power outage, there’s a high possibility that you will come back to a home with frozen pipes.

How to Avoid Frozen Pipes

Many people think of winter as a magical time of the year, but there’s nothing magical about frozen pipes and no water. Fall is beginning to settle in, and winter will hit us faster than we realize. Before the temperatures drop to freezing, follow some of the tips below to prevent your pipes from freezing:

Fix Leaks

If you’re aware of any plumbing leaks in your home, call in an expert plumber and get them fixed now.

Maintenance

You can also call in your plumber for a plumbing maintenance check before winter comes to ensure that your plumbing system is ready for the cold.

Insulation

If you live in an area where the climate is traditionally warmer, you may have noticed that your home doesn’t have much insulation. If this is the case, it’s worth spending some money on having your home and the pipes professionally insulated. The weather is unpredictable and just because the winters are typically mild doesn’t mean they’re always going to be. When an unusually cold winter day hits you, you’ll be glad of the insulation as it will prevent the pipes from freezing.

If you live in a newer home, built in an area that is used to freezing temperatures during the winter months, then you will likely already have insulation. However, if you do not, then we recommend phoning in a professional as soon as possible. Frozen pipes can crack or split when they freeze, and you’ll need to spend money on pipe repair. Don’t risk broken pipes this winter, get your pipes and home insulated.

Outdoor Hose

When the warm months have passed, and winter is setting in, disconnect the outdoor hose from the faucet. If you leave the hose attached, any water that is left inside can freeze and then expand – this can also freeze the outdoor faucet and any connecting pipes.

Sump Pump Pit

When exposed to freezing temperatures, your sump pump can stop working. When your pump malfunctions, your basement has the potential for flooding. Clean and inspect your sump pump and the pit before the cold hits.

Shut Off Valves

If your home has shut off valves for the outdoor faucets, you should close them off and drain the water from the outside lines. If you aren’t sure how to do this, call in your trusted plumber. If there is any water left in the lines, it can freeze and cause damage.

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Winterize your Plumbing

Simple Solutions To Common Winter Plumbing Issues

During the winter, the temperatures drop and your home’s plumbing can suffer from a range of different problems that all have the potential to cause significant damage. There are always solutions to any plumbing issue, whether that’s performing a DIY task or needing to call in a professional plumber for advice or help.

All homeowners should be aware of the potential problems that can arise with their plumbing when the winter months hit. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common plumbing issues that homeowners face with every winter and how to resolve them.drain cleaning

Clogged Drains and Gutters

Over time, your drains and gutters can collect a lot of dirt and debris. When you have a buildup in your plumbing system during the winter, ice can form on top of the rubble. The ice will cause extra weight, and it can result in the drain breaking or the gutter falling.

Throughout fall, the trees shed their leaves; this is where a lot of the debris build up comes from. Before it gets icy and cold, check your gutters and drains and give them a good clean out. You can also install gutter guards to prevent large amounts of dirt and debris from gathering.

Cooking Oils and Grease

During the winter, when the temperatures are colder, cooking oils and grease are a lot more likely to solidify in your pipes. Grease and oils already take their toll on drains and pipes in the first place, so don’t add extra strain to them during the winter.

Try and avoid pouring these liquids down your sink at any time of the year, but especially during the winter. Instead, pour the oil or grease into a container, an old chip packet or a yogurt pot then let it solidify and put into your garbage bin.

If your drains or pipes have become clogged with oils or grease, don’t attempt to use off shelf drain cleaners as they can cause more damage. Instead, call in a local plumber.

Insulating Your Pipes

During the bitter cold winters, it’s not uncommon for pipes to freeze due to the cold temperature. When pipes freeze, there’s a chance that they could crack or burst. When your pipes are damaged due them freezing, repairs can be costly. With Christmas not too far in the distance, the last thing you need is to fork out money for pipe repairs. You can avoid damaged pipes this winter by having them insulated.

Depending on where you live, and how old your home is, most homes now are built with insulation. If your home is lacking insulation, don’t worry. Pipe insulation doesn’t cost much, so if you’re feeling up to it, it can be a DIY job. If you’re not much of a do it yourself person and you’d prefer to employ a professional to carry out the job, it can be done quickly and for quite an affordable price.

Outdoor Faucet

During the winter, it’s very uncommon for us to use our outdoor faucet. When it comes back round to the summer, and you go to water your lawn, your valve may not work due to it freezing during the winter and the washer breaking. You can avoid a broken outdoor faucet by replacing the washer with a frost proof one.

Sump Pump Backup

Before the transition from fall to winter is complete, inspect and clean your sump pump pit from any debris or dirt. During colder months, you may also find some ice in the pit; this will also need to be removed. If your sump pump is not clear, it can lead to clogs and flooding.

If you have any questions as to how to prepare your plumbing for the upcoming Winter just give us a call.

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A Quick Guide To Water Softeners

A Quick Guide To Water Softeners

If you live in an area where hard water is present, you may hear a few people complaining about it. Hard water can be a nuisance as it can cause scale build-up and it also stops shampoo and soaps from lathering properly.

A lot of people ask, do I really need a water softener? Below is a guide that will introduce you to what hard water is, how to determine if you have hard water and more. This will help you to understand whether or not water softeners are for you.

What is hard water?

Hard water is very natural; it hasn’t been touched by a chemical process. Hard water is rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium – these are quite beneficial minerals to the human body, but they can cause damage to appliances that use water and items that are washed with the water.

Many people are put off from having hard water due to the scale build up in appliances and the plumbing system. One of the most common reasons for people wanting soft water is that hard water gives off a strange smell. The smell is often an earthy, sulfur like smell, and is due to the minerals found in the water.

Do I have hard water?

You can only have hard water or soft water in your home; there’s no in between. If you aren’t sure what type of water your home is receiving, it’s relatively easy to identify. After you have washed your dishes, inspect them. If the plates, glasses, or cutlery have spots, stains or appear foggy, there’s a high chance you have hard water. Hard water can damage dishes due to its abrasiveness.

Hard water produces a lot of scale. You may find a lime scale build up in kitchen appliances that use water. The scale can also build up in your plumbing system and boiler – it can affect the appliances by making them work harder – this makes them less efficient. If the scale builds up within the pipes too much, it can stop water from being able to run through them properly, and this can be an expensive problem to sort out.

Hard water not only affects appliances, it can make sensitive skin itchy and dry, and it can also make your hair feel dull and dry. Hard water can make clothing and fabric fade a lot faster, as well as affecting white clothing, making it grayer in appearance.

What is a water softener?

A water softener removes the minerals and ions from the hard water – the process is known as an ion exchange. When you install a water softener, all of the negatives of hard water won’t happen anymore. You’ll find that soaps lather as they should, limescale won’t build up, and there won’t be any further stains on your glasses, dishes, and cutlery.

There are many different types of water softeners – shop around and ask for some professional help, you want to purchase one that suits your home.

Do I need a water softener?

If your home has hard water, a water softener is recommended. Although hard water is not unsafe to drink, it can cause damage to appliances in your home that use water. To prolong the lifespan of these, have a water softener installed by a professional plumber.

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Clogged Pipes.

Quick and Easy Ways to Unclog Your Pipes

There are a number of ways that your pipes can become clogged, from foreign objects that can become stuck to a build-up of grease and plants or tree roots that start to grow into the pipes. Clogged pipes or drains can be an annoying and stressful problem that interferes with your daily life.

If the clog is left without any form of treatment, it will become worse over time and may result in a flood in your home, costing you a lot of money in plumbing fees. Avoid this worst case scenario and save yourself some money by trying some of these simple and easy tricks to unclog and unblock your pipes at home, before it starts to overflow. Plumbers_snake

Using Household Items to Un-Clog your Drains and Pipes

One of the best-kept secrets in managing clogged pipes at home is the use of simple household items. While it is always helpful to have a plunger to hand in the case of a blocked drain or clogged pipe, there are other things that you can use to tackle a minor clog. Try using some of these simple household remedies before picking up your plunger.

Dissolving a Clog

The first thing that you should try when addressing a minor clog is boiling water. Simply boil some water and pour a bucketful down your drain. This will help to melt the grease or fats that could be causing the clog. If this doesn’t work, there are other remedies you can try before getting out the plunger. Boiling water will help to clean out your pipes, without using any toxins. You can keep using this method throughout the day, allowing time for the water to dissolve the blockage. If this does not work, then you may want to try another approach or call a plumber for further advice.

Alternative Uses for Soda

Find an alternative use for a bottle of fizzy soda by pouring one down the drain of a clogged or blocked pipe. A two-liter bottle of soda that is high in phosphoric acid will dissolve any clog or blockage as it has a highly corrosive action that works well on a range of different substances. (Just think what it must be doing to your teeth!)

Homemade Drain Cleaner

You can buy a variety of different kinds of drain cleaner in supermarkets and household stores that will work to unclog your pipes, however, there is a cheaper alternative that can work just as well. Make your own drain cleaner at home with a few items that you will already have in your kitchen cabinet. All you will need to do this is two cups of baking soda, one cup of vinegar and four cups of boiling water from your teakettle.The store bought pipe cleaners are very caustic and can damage the PVC pipes.

First, empty your sink of all water and pour one cup of baking soda down the drain of the affected pipe. Next, pour two cups of water boiled in in the teakettle down your drain. Wait a few minutes for the mixture of boiling water and baking soda to begin dissolving the blockage in your pipes.

After a few moments, pour the second cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. You need to use white vinegar for the process to work properly. Put the plug into the drain and wait for it to start bubbling. Once the bubbles have begun to disperse, you can pour the last two cups of boiling water down the drain.

This homemade drain cleaner should remove a clog that is made up of grease, fat, lime scale or hair. You can repeat the process if necessary and use this method as a preventive measure on a monthly basis, for clean pipes.

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6 Most Common Plumbing Problems

6 Most Common Plumbing Problems

Depending on the age of your home, you may find yourself calling the plumber out more than you want to. As our homes age, the plumbing does too. This means that pipes can become brittle, and plumbing problems can arise. There are many potential plumbing problems that any home could suffer from at any time, some of these problems tend to happen more often than others. clogged-drain-and-sink Lightfoot Plumbing

When a plumbing problem occurs, it can often send the homeowner into a bit of a panic. Homeowners can resolve some of the most common plumbing problems on their own, but with many it’s best to call in Lightfoot Plumbing. The longer you leave a plumbing problem, the more damage it could create. Below are some of the most common plumbing problems that technicians are called out for.

Leaking pipes – Leaking pipes are a lot more common during the winter due to the temperature changes, but they can also occur at any time throughout the year. The pipes tend to begin leaking around their joints, but they can also leak if there are any cracks. If a pipe that is under the floor, in the ceiling or behind a wall begins to leak, you won’t be able to notice it until water is visible. Keep an eye out for any unexplained wet patches on the floors, ceilings or walls. If you spot any, you will need to call out a plumber immediately. If you leave the problem for too long, severe water damage can be caused.

Dripping faucet – Unless you can hear a dripping faucet while you’re trying to get to sleep, they’re often a problem that goes ignored. If you have a faucet that is dripping, its washer will have worn out and it needs replacing. You may not realize it, but a dripping faucet wastes a lot of water. If you left a bowl under the faucet for a whole night, you would be surprised at how much water can collect. Not only are you wasting water when you have a dripping faucet, but you’re also losing money. Every drip adds up, and you’ll be surprised at how much it can affect your water bill. This can be fixed quickly by yourself or by a professional plumber for a small amount of money, so there’s no excuse to ignore it.

Leaking hose bib – During the winter, hose bibs can crack due to the cold weather. You may not notice that you have a leaking hose bib until you come to use your hose in the spring or summer. Weatherproof hose bibs are available – this will prevent any leaks in the future and from you having to change the hose bib as often. You or a plumber can easily replace the hose bib.

Low water pressure – Low water pressure is common in older homes, but it can happen in newer homes too. Low water pressure can be caused by many things such as a leaking pipe, needing a new shower head, corrosion in your pipes and more. A professional plumber will be able to find the cause of the low water pressure and get it fixed for you in no time.

Slow or clogged drains – If you have a drain that is running slow it could mean you have the beginnings of a clog. Many people use over the counter drain cleaners to try and break up the clog, but professional plumbers do not advise this. Over the counter drain cleaners can be quite damaging as they can cause the plastic pipes to become brittle and crack. Call in a plumber and they will use professional tools to remove the clog.

Running toilet – A running toilet wastes an enormous amount of water – up to two hundred gallons every day. If you notice that you have a running toilet, then call in a plumber to fix it. A running toilet will be costing you a lot, so it’s best to get the problem fixed as soon as possible.

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