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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The post How To Prevent Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Start to Drop appeared first on Lightfoot Plumbing.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/10/18/prevent-frozen-pipes-temperatures-start-drop/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/09/20/winterize-your-plumbing/
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.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/09/09/quick-guide-water-softeners/
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/08/22/clogged-pipes/
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.
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.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/07/31/6-common-plumbing-problems/
You invested in a water filtration system to ensure that you can easily get clean, safe and healthy water for your whole family at home. You can rely on your water filters for quick and easy drinking water when you’re in a rush, and it has become part of your daily routine. However, without regular and proper maintenance, your filtration system can become less effective at removing contaminants from your water, leaving a less pleasant taste in the liquid you drink every day.
It is quick and easy to get in the habit of cleaning and maintaining your water filter system on a regular basis, which will help to enhance the effective and efficient performance, making it last longer. Consider trying some of these hints and tips to improve the lifespan of your filtration system.
Cleaning the inside of your water filter system frequently and thoroughly is important to avoid a build-up of minerals, contaminants or dirt in the filter. Try not to use any harsh cleaning products and gently rinse the system with warm water. You do not want to add any harmful toxins to your system that could be absorbed into the water that you and your family drink. Make sure to clean all elements of the system, preferably on a weekly basis. Ensure you sanitize the different parts of the system when cleaning your water filter, including the water dispenser, line, and cap assembly.
The water softener that you use may contribute to a build-up of salt in your water filter, meaning you will need to clean your system more often. Newer water softeners are efficient in how salt is used in the water, causing the excess to sometimes form a blockage within the system. When cleaning out your water filter, simply switch off the system, remove the majority of the salt and use hot water to dissolve the blockage.
Remember to monitor your water filter whenever you use it, looking out for signs that it may need cleaning. There is often also a monitoring system on your water filter, which can differ depending on the brand or type you have.
The control unit displayed on your filtration system will show you when the filter needs changing. This may be indicated by a daily status on the system itself or the changing colors of a read out.
You can maintain your filtration system by regularly changing the filter, which, if left for too long, can become clogged. Note down the date you last changed the filter cartridge and follow the guidelines provided for that particular cartridge type and your individual system regarding how long this should last. The lifespan of a water filter cartridge can be measured in both months and gallons and will have a specific expiration date. When changing the filter cartridge of your filtration system, remember to assess the condition of the O-rings, ensuring there are no leaks or drips originating from this area.
Some systems have specific maintenance requirements, such as the reverse osmosis filtration systems. With particular types of water filters, it is important to pay close attention to the guidelines provided, as some cleaning products can damage the system.
Like all household appliances, your water filtration system has a suggested lifespan, after which it will eventually need replacing. You may experience problems that can be easily remedied with a regular maintenance routine, but continuing to use an old water filter can result in contaminated drinking water and an inefficient system. A good maintenance routine will improve the lifespan of your filtration system, for cleaner, better tasting and healthier drinking water for you and your family.
Need a New Water Filter for your Home, call Lightfoot Plumbing. We service Weatherford, Burleson, Granbury, Aledo and Fort Worth, Texas.
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from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/07/19/maintain-your-water-filtration-system/
As your home ages, you may find that plumbing problems begin to arise – pipes can become brittle over time and may leak or a tree’s roots could damage your underground pipes by growing around them. Although, your home can be a new build and still experience plumbing problems.
Leaking or burst pipes are one of the more obvious problems, but there are many more potential plumbing problems that homeowners are commonly affected by. With the majority of plumbing problems, you will need to call in a profession plumber to get the problem fixed. Below are some of the most common problems that you could experience with your plumbing.
– Leaking or broken pipes are a common problem all year round, but during the winter months more people may experience them due to the change in temperature. If you think that you have a leaky or burst pipe, it’s important to get it fixed immediately. The longer you leave it, the more water damage your home will suffer from – this also means more money needs to be spent on water damage repair. It is not always obvious that you have a leaky pipe until there is evidence so keep an eye out for any mysterious wet patches on your ceilings or the ground.
– Dripping faucets are very common. Many homeowners don’t even notice that they have a drippy faucet, or if they do, they just ignore it and don’t think much of it. Although it may seem like an insignificant problem, it’s still something that you should get sorted out. Ignoring a dripping faucet not only wastes water, but it also wastes your money. It may only be a drip, but those drips do add up. Getting a plumber out to fix the drippy faucet won’t cost you much at all. If you choose to ignore it, you’ll probably end up paying more for the drips on your water bill than you would on having the problem fixed.
– If you have a drain that is clogged, don’t be tempted to sort out the problem yourself with a plunger or a store bought drain cleaner. Drain cleaners that you buy over the counter can actually damage your pipes by softening the plastic or corroding them. You should always call out a plumber as they will have experience in dealing with clogged drains – they won’t use any harsh chemicals, and they will try and not be invasive.
– When a home has a running toilet, many homeowners aren’t aware of how much water it is wasting. Up to 200 gallons of water can be lost every day if it is left unfixed. If you have a running toilet, call out a plumber to fix the problem as soon as possible. Leaving the issue will result in a lot of wasted money.
– During the spring and summer, it’s very common for homeowners to get a leaky hose bib. Hose bibs can become damaged or cracked during the cold winter, so when owners go to use them in the spring or summer, they may leak water. If you do not already have one, buy a frost-proof hose bib. This will prevent leaks in the future, and it won’t need to be replaced as much.
– With the correct maintenance, water heaters can last homeowners around 8 – 12 years. Plumbers are often called out because of water heaters not working and either needing a repair or replacement.
– Low water pressure is quite common in older homes as opposed to newer ones although this doesn’t mean that newer homes can’t experience low water pressure. If you have low water pressure, you may need to clean your showerhead or your faucets aerator screens. You may need to change your showerhead, as you could have a leak in your home somewhere or inside of your pipes there could be corrosion.
If you experience any of these problems don’t hesitate to call Lightfoot Plumbing.
from Lightfoot Plumbing http://lightfoot-plumbing.com/2016/07/04/common-plumbing-problems-revealed/