How To Protect Your Plumbing From Roots
When you think of a sewer clog, you might envision excessive amounts of waste blocking the pipe. Non-flushable wipes, diapers can certainly prevent water from reaching its final destination.
However, one of the biggest contributors to sewer clogs has nothing to do with what you pour down your drain or flush down your toilet. Rather, your primary source for backed-up pipes may be shading your window right now: your trees.
Tree roots thrive in moist, nutrient-rich environments, and naturally, your plumbing seems like the perfect place for those small shoots to explore. But if left unchecked, those roots can worm their way into the hairline cracks of your pipes and grow large enough to block your drain. In some cases, tree roots can wrap around your pipelines and cause them to collapse completely.
If you want to avoid expensive plumbing repairs in the future, use the following techniques to keep roots under control.
1. Plant Trees and Shrubs in Appropriate Locations
Although root systems vary from tree to tree, the average root system extends out at about 1.5 times the height of the tree. Consequently, you’ll need to account for the tree’s root system and the location of your sewer line as you plan your landscape.
Ideally, you’ll want to plant larger trees far away from any pipes. But if you need to plant a few trees and shrubs nearby, look for slow-growing species that have a small root ball. Some appropriate trees could include Amur maple, Japanese maple, flowering dogwood, ginkgo, crab apple and sourwood.
2. Install a Physical Root Barrier
As you plant, you can insert physical barriers that redirect roots away from your plumbing. Depending on your budget and your needs, you can select from a variety of materials and styles.
- Solid barriers. These corrosion-resistant barriers rely on fibreglass or plastic to create an impermeable wall. But keep in mind that they may keep the water from draining properly, and roots can still grow around the barriers if you choose the wrong size.
- Permeable barriers . These mesh screens allow water and small roots to pass through, but they prevent larger roots from pushing into your plumbing. Permeable barriers, like solid barriers, won’t work effectively if you choose a small size.
If you’re not sure what type of root barrier to pick, talk to a professional landscaper and arborist for advice.
3. Insert a Slip Line or Replace Your Pipes Entirely
Unless you tear out your trees entirely, you can’t always pick and choose where your trees grow when you move into an older home. Furthermore, planting a root barrier doesn’t work as well when the root system is already established and wrapped around your plumbing. However, you can keep roots from doing further damage with a few minor adjustments to your plumbing.
If you have older pipes, hire a professional to lay new lines. The newer materials will be less likely to leak and crack, so roots can’t penetrate your plumbing. And if you have fairly new pipes that have already suffered damage, hire a plumber to insert a new slip line. This seamless liner feeds into your existing pipes to create another barrier that roots can’t breach.
4. Try Foaming Root Killer
For trees that have an extensive root system, you can remove some of the growth inside your pipes without damaging the rest of the tree.
When you hire a plumber to clear your pipes, he or she can flush the system with root foam. The combination of metam sodium and dichlobenil sticks to the walls of the pipe. As roots contact the chemical, they’ll dry out and die within a few hours. The remaining residue will deter new roots from growing in the same location.
Enjoy Clear, Efficient Pipes and Plumbing
These four tips should help you keep your tree roots under control. If you follow them carefully, you can prevent unnecessary damage to your plumbing and save hundreds of dollars on repairs and replacements.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing toll free at 888-315-5564
Today Is The First Day Of Fall! Protect Your Plumbing
Fall has arrived!, and in New Jersey that means a profusion of glorious colors as the leaves turn from green to red and gold. What’s slightly less intriguing for the homeowner, however, is the problems caused by those leaves when they drop into the drainage system. The backup they cause in the pipes can lead to a variety of sink plumbing problems, both in your kitchen and bathroom sink. Here are our 3 top tips for preventing Fall plumbing problems.
Tip #1: Clean Up Regularly
Keep an eye on falling leaves and take notice of where they come to rest. They don’t just fall on the ground below the tree – wind, rain and traffic can cause them to migrate en masse to hollows found in your yard such as:
- Basement window wells, and
If you find leaves collecting in a particular area, there’s a good chance it’s an escape route for water from somewhere, and that could mean it enters the drainage system. A blockage in the drainage system can cause sink plumbing to clog, so rake up the leaves at least once a week and bag them immediately, to prevent them being distributed across the yard a second time.
Tip #2: Fit Drain Covers
A variety of covers is available for keeping leaves and other debris out of your drains. Some covers are specifically engineered to catch fallen leaves, for the express purpose of preventing sink plumbing problems. Whether you fit a solid cover manufactured to fit your particular type of drain, or a DIY solution made from some wire mesh weighted down with rocks, as long as the material is dense enough to stop even the smallest leaves and seeds from entering the drain it will work. In instances where you need to do regular drain cleaning and inspections, a DIY cover might be easier to remove when necessary.
Tip #3: Get an Inspection
Green Apple Plumbing NJ recommend regular inspections of your drains and plumbing, and Fall is a good time to schedule one. Before it gets any colder, arrange to have your Green Apple Plumbing NJ plumber do the following:
- Conduct a camera inspection and identify any cracked or leaking pipes
- Check your hot water heater for full efficiency, and
- Conduct any faucet repair you might need
Check your sink plumbing throughout the home, too, because once everything is frozen outdoors it can be challenging even for the best-equipped professionals to gain access.
Preparing for Winter
The Fall is also a good time to prepare generally for Winter, by checking the insulation on all exposed pipes, making sure your sump pump is working effectively and repairing any signs of damp in your basement. Remember, a basement wall that is just wet in summer will be freezing cold in winter, and could cause lasting damage to your home’s foundation or items stored in your basement. Cover your outdoor faucets with Styrofoam cones, available from your local Home Depot, or Lowe’s at around a dollar each.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Mechanical NJ toll free at 888-315-5564
Fall Heating Prep Checklist
Fall is just about here in New Jersey and that means cooler temperatures are settling in. While you may still be able to crack the windows to achieve a comfortable indoor temperature, pretty soon it will be far too cold for that. It’s time to start thinking about having your furnace inspected and tuned-up so you don’t have to deal with an unexpected breakdown in the dead of winter.
At Green Apple Plumbing NJ we are your certified specialists for home heating system maintenance. We offer the following services:
- Forced air gas furnaces
- Hot water boilers
- Steam boilers
- Radiant heating
- Electric furnaces
- Oil furnaces
- Heat pumps
Why have a pro get your system ready for the season? Proper system maintenance can help lower utility costs and extend the lifespan of your system and its parts. Your system will work more efficiently and there’s much less of a chance for a breakdown when you need your equipment most.
If you have any concerns regarding any of your plumbing, heating and air conditioning needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at
The Best Tips To Prepare Your Plumbing For Fall
Fall is just around the corner here in the New Jersey area. What some people tend to forget to do for their homes for the fall is to check their plumbing before winter sets in.
Do you usually focus on the outer beauty of your home and neglect the inner beauty? Never fear! Here are nine essential tips to help you in preparing your pipes for the imminent wild winter weather:
Safeguard Those Pipes! What’s the easiest way to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting? Why, vigilance, of course! Be sure that your pipes (and even the wall cavities in which they reside) are well insulated. If you’re not sure if your pipes are well insulated or not, give us a call, and we’ll inspect your pipes for you!
Leaky Faucet? Fix it! If there were an opportune time to fix any and all leaky faucets in your home, now is the time! You’ll want to check those pipes out before the temperatures dip into the low, bone-chilling, slightly-above-freezing level. Check out all faucets in the kitchen, bathroom(s), and any utility room locations. If they’re leaking, tap into your inner handyman to fix it! If you’re not able to or don’t know a family member who can help, we here at Green Apple Plumbing NJ would be more than happy to lend a hand or two!
Drain Your Hot Water Heater: This is especially necessary if you happen to live in an area that uses hard water. When your hot water heater isn’t drained enough, extra amounts of sediments could build up in the tank, and rust could begin to develop in the tank. Fall is the PERFECT time to drain your hot water heater! If you find that your hot water heater is too old or is rusting, you should probably consider getting a new one. You don’t want to go throughout winter taking cold showers!
Disconnect Outside Water Hoses: Remember when you used to go outside to fill up the kids’ pool or wash your prized car in the summertime, thanks to your trusty outdoor water hose? Well, now’s the time to disconnect your beloved water hose and put it away until springtime. If you leave your outdoor hose connected to the faucet, the water that’s still left in the hose can freeze and expand during the fall and winter months, which can cause your faucets and the connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and, ultimately, freeze. Not only will you be hindered from your future summer outdoor activities in the coming year, but you will also have to foot a hefty repair bill if you neglect to disconnect the hose!
Your Outdoor Faucets Matter, Too! While you’re caring for your indoor faucets and piping, don’t forget about your outdoor faucets! Make sure they aren’t dripping or leaking; if they are and aren’t fixed, this could lead to some nasty accidents in the future, especially when the temperature goes below the freezing point.
Close and Drain Shut-Off Valves Leading Outside: If your house is furnished with interior shut-off valves leading to any outside faucets, be sure to close them and drain the water from the outside lines. If the water remains in the lines and freezes, it could cause a good amount of damage and could cost you a pretty penny to repair.
Inspect and Clean Sump Pump and Pit: Before you feel the autumnal chill in the air (or, at the very latest, see snowflakes!), it would be very wise to inspect and clean your sump pump and the pit in which it’s situated. When your sump pump is exposed to extreme cold, it can freeze, which in turn prevents the pump from operating. Without a properly working sump pump, water can enter your basement and can easily cause flooding, especially when precipitation is high.
Got Outdoor Pipes? Wrap ‘Em Up! Do you have any pipes that are not within an insulated area? Wrap them in heat tape before the weather grows cold so they will operate properly and be less prone to freezing or bursting. Uninsulated garages and beneath mobile homes are good examples of places where pipes can be without being insulated.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your plumbing or HVAC needs please feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at 973-943-0927
Winter Home Plumbing Problems
Temperatures dipping below freezing? Your home’s plumbing is susceptible to a variety of common problems brought on by winter weather. Awareness of these potential issues can help prevent potentially serious home damage.
Failing hot water systems are a common problem in the winter due to pervasive cold weather, and water heating issues in general are one of the most common reasons plumbers are called into action at any point of the year. You’ll want to ensure the temperature setting on your water heater is set high enough. Additionally, if you possess a gas water heater with a pilot light, this light needs to be lit. If adequate hot water is still not attainable, you’ll want to contact your plumber, although it is always best to have your water heater serviced ahead of the winter season when it is not being pushed to its limit.
Frozen pipes are a common household occurrence during cold weather months and are caused by high water pressure from the main combined with below freezing temperatures. The most obvious giveaway of a frozen pipe is restricted water flow, so keep an eye out for changes in flow during the winter months. If you suspect a pipe is frozen, consider leaving your tap open slightly in order to allow water to flow. This water movement can prevent freezing, although it will affect your water bill over extended periods of time. If leaving the tap open isn’t an option or freezing persists, you’ll want to cut the water main switch and contact professional assistance as soon as possible.
A water line leak or break will cause severe damage to your home. Perhaps surprisingly, frozen garden hoses can lead to this damaging occurrence. When a garden house is left connected following a freeze, the ice within the hose will gradually build up pressure in your home’s water lines, eventually leading to a leak or break if it is not attended to. Ensure that your garden hoses are drained and disconnected prior to a cold snap, and drain all outdoor pipes during this maintenance. Also, the installation of insulated faucet jackets on your outdoor faucets is recommended to shield against freezing winter temperatures. Finally, use shut-off valves within your home, if available, to drain water from your pipes. These valves are often located under sinks and alongside water heaters. You can always call your friends at “Green Apple Plumbing NJ” toll free at 888-315-5564
Keep Your Plumbing in working order for Thanksgiving
It’s probably not too shocking to hear that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for a plumbing company. While we pride ourselves on excellent customer service, we know you don’t want to have to call a plumber for service over the holiday, or to deal with the hassle and inconvenience of a plumbing clog or leak when you are preparing for one of the biggest meals of the year. Here’s how you can get ready for those holiday meals without putting too much strain on your plumbing.
Replace older plumbing components
If you’ve considered replacing a sink, faucet, or garbage disposal for any reason, now is the time. Here are a few reasons to upgrade your kitchen plumbing components:
- A leaky faucet: This wastes water and may only get worse as demand on the faucet increases.
- Difficulty cooking or cleaning: Install a faucet with a removable spray feature or one that is positioned higher to make it easier to fill up deep pots with water or for ease of cleaning.
- Slow or stopped garbage disposal: You can’t be without your disposal when preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Replace your broken disposal unit today!
Know how to use the disposal
Keep anything inedible—wrappers, turkey bones, popcorn kernels—out of the disposal. Break up food into smaller chunks to reduce the unit’s workload, and slow down on the disposal use during cleanup—put as much of the turkey in the trash can as possible! Know that rice expands in water, and may also threaten to clog your drains. We also recommend that you don’t pour fats, oils, and grease into the drain, as these can solidify in the pipes and lead to major clogs.
Schedule professional drain cleaning
One less conventional suggestion we have for homeowners trying to avoid drain clogs is to schedule drain cleaning service with a professional plumber. Professional drain cleaning can remove grease and residue in the drain and sewer line and reduce the chances of a clog, since debris has nothing to cling to in the pipes. Call your friends at “Green Apple Plumbing NJ” toll free at 888-315-5564
A brief history of bathrooms – From the tin bath to indoor toilets
It seems almost inconceivable today that you could have a home without at least one bathroom. In some houses, one is still not enough.
However, it remains a fact that the bathroom is actually a relatively modern invention. In fact, it was only about half way through the last century that most houses started to have bathrooms at all.
Personal hygiene in the Victorian era and almost every single era that came before that was not quite the big deal it is today. Men and women would wash their faces and hands on a semi-regular basis but the rest of the body was often left to its own devices (don’t try too hard to imagine it). It might seem that the smell would have become an issue but then if everyone else is giving off a similar odour, then it probably doesn’t matter so much.
What you have to remember is that the idea of bacteria – that there were tiny microscopic organisms living on and in you – didn’t exist. It wasn’t until the early 18th century that the idea was proposed and it certainly didn’t enter popular consciousness until much, much later. So, what was the big deal? You smelled but so did everyone else, and germs didn’t exist yet. So why would you need a bathroom? The toilet, as was the case almost universally, was outside as there was no internal plumbing.
Of course, the idea of bathing was not new in itself. Romans had been using baths and natural springs for years. Crusaders had discovered the joys of hot baths too. However, in Britain, it was only the extremely wealthy and privileged who had any kind of access to indoor baths and plumbing.
During the industrial revolution, workers were moved into small terraced houses that often had appalling hygiene conditions with many families sharing one toilet and one tap. As the middle classes emerged towards the end of the 19th century, the idea of inside bathrooms became more common. Internal plumbing started to be more commonplace too. With running water, toilets could be moved indoors and bathtubs could be used rather than metal tubs dragged in from outside.
As the 20th century moved on and personal hygiene became more important, soap and detergents were developed to kill bacteria and keep people clean. Slums were cleared and replaced with better quality housing with indoor bathrooms. Washing facilities were installed in houses that predated bathrooms, and indoor plumbing became first essential, and then a legal requirement for any property.
We’ve come a long way but who knows what the generations of the future will think of our washing and hygiene habits when they look back in years to come!
Tips to Avoid Plumbing Problems This Thanksgiving
Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest of the year for residential plumbers? Big holiday meal preparation and cleanup can lead to excessive waste in the kitchen drain and garbage disposal. Also, a house full of holiday guests who require additional clothes washing, showers and toilet flushes puts a strain on household plumbing.
Often, a house already has partially clogged drains that go unnoticed until holiday guests arrive and overwhelm the system. Hectic houses full of people and frantic hosts can quickly lead to plumbing problems throughout the holiday season.
Even more problematic is that virtually every traditional Thanksgiving dish is a supreme drain clog culprit.
Incoming calls to plumbers for kitchen jobs alone will jump 50% above the average Friday. The four-day Thanksgiving weekend averages a 21% increase over any other Thursday through Sunday period during the year. Most plumbing businesses prepare with additional staff to address the increase in calls and jobs.
Thanksgiving hosts can avoid a visit from their plumber over the holiday weekend by following these clog-preventing tips:
— Never pour fats or cooking oils down drains. They solidify in pipes. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and throw them in the trash.
— Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. Poultry skins, celery, fruit and potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently broken down.
— Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don’t wait until it’s full to turn it on.
— For homes hosting weekend guests, it’s a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job.
— Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or facial scrub pads down a toilet. They don’t dissolve and will cause clogs.
— Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive. However, in holiday emergencies, don’t hesitate to ask up front about extra holiday service fees.
As always, know your limits. Minor plumbing problems often turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly. You can always call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at 888-315-5564
7 Bathroom Plumbing Supplies You Must Have
Every homeowner should have certain tools and supplies on hand in case of a plumbing emergency. Here are a few bathroom plumbing supplies that will give you the basics for repairing or at least stemming the flow of most plumbing problems.
We all have to deal with a leaky sink, a toilet that won’t flush, or water that won’t turn off at some point. The best way to deal with this is to make sure you always have repair kits on hand. You can pick up simple toilet-repair kits at any big-box store or hardware-supply store. They generally include all the basic parts needed to repair a toilet.
Sink-repair kits will generally have bolts, nuts, and washers included, and some may have the stem for the handle, as well.
While plumber’s putty won’t cure a leaky pipe, it will certainly work in a pinch. You can buy this in small tubs at most hardware stores. It’s designed to form a temporary seal for leaky pipes or similar parts. If you discover your bathroom sink is leaking from the connector, this is the best thing to apply until you can either call a plumber or arrange for a more permanent fix. Having this material on hand can potentially save you lots of money in water-damage repair.
Epoxy is similarly not a permanent fix to a hole in a pipe or hose, but it will plug it up long enough to get it fixed. Just as with the putty, the epoxy is good to use in a pinch. The difference is the epoxy can generally be used on wet or dry surfaces and forms a more secure bond. Use sparingly, though, as it can be very difficult to remove later.
You never know when you’ll need to tighten a bolt in a hard-to-reach place. Pipe wrenches are designed just for this. They are large enough to reach and grip the farthest pipes in the back of a cabinet or wall.
Washers, Bolts, Nuts
These are so inexpensive that it’s silly to not have some extra ones on hand. You can store these in a small decorative jar or even an old coffee tin under the sink. If you have them, you won’t have to worry about running out in the middle of a repair to get them.
If a drain isn’t draining properly, or, worse, a toilet keeps backing up, the easiest fix is to use a snake to remove the clog. Letting a clog go untreated will only make it worse and can potentially cost you a lot more down the road in repairs. You can pick up an inexpensive snake for around $20. Just keep it in the package and tuck it under the cabinet somewhere out of sight, and then you will have it when you need it.
A Well-Stocked Toolbox
Keep a toolbox handy and accessible. More than that, make sure you have all the essential tools inside it. Screwdrivers with both flat and Phillips heads, wrenches of different kinds, extra screws, hammers, a level, etc. This will prevent you from scurrying around later trying to find a misplaced tool when you need it most.
Tips For Clogged Sinks & Homemade Drain Cleaner Recipe
Here’s a tip sheet listing a few methods to clearing out drains in the kitchen sink (plugged bathtubs can benefit from these too). At the bottom you’ll find a suggestion for monthly maintenance and a homemade recipe to keep them as trouble free as possible.
- Baking Soda: Remove as much of the liquid that’s backed up as you can. Toss 1 cup of baking soda into the drain then pour a large pot or kettle of boiling hot water over top. If it empties completely, pour down another kettle to give it another hot flush and then let cool water run from the tap for a couple minutes.
- Vinegar: Tried and true method: Remove as much liquid as you can. Toss in 1 cup of baking soda, then pour down a cup of household vinegar, plug with the stopper then let sit for half an hour. After about 30 minutes, unplug and pour a kettle full of hot water on top. This is the method I’ve grown up with and it works even if there’s still liquid backed up (although it works faster without water). Just double the baking soda & vinegar amount, give it about an hour and things have fully emptied, dump more fresh batches of boiling water 2 or 3 times to completely clear out the gunk.
- Plunging: Use a small plunger to try forcing things to clear. You’ll need a few inches of liquid in the sink to help make a vacuum seal for the plunger and a few forceful plunges to make this work. You can buy a plunger that’s about a 1/3 of the size of a regular toilet plunger. These are only a couple bucks, need very little room and they’re great to keep just in case trouble rears. You can use a full sized one if you can’t find a small one.
- Poking & Taking Apart: Remove the trap or clean-out plug underneath the sink to try clearing the blockage. Use a plumber’s snake or a wire coat hanger to poke down and break apart the mass. You’ll need an empty bucket on hand to catch all the liquid as well as eye goggles firmly in place.
- Desperate Situation & Water Won’t Empty: Chances are if you do a treatment with baking soda and vinegar, have the stopper removed, and leave the backed up mess overnight, you’ll find the liquid should have emptied by the morning. The vinegar and baking soda should have worked some of the buildup free on its way down. Do a hot water flush first thing and if the liquid empties as quickly as it normally would, you should be ok–do a couple hot water dumps though just to make sure. However, if the liquid empties slowly, you might want to check the trap to make sure there’s no mass blocking it. If there isn’t, try a couple more treatments of the Flush throughout the day. You just might get away with not having to call in the plumber.
- Sluggish or Slow: If you notice that things are emptying slower than usual but it’s not completely clogged or backed up yet, do the “Flush” technique right away to prevent a full blockage. Make sure to finish off with a few more hot water dumps.
If you’re dealing with is a double sink, make sure to insert the stopper on one side, then work on the other side.
Be careful if using chemical commercial products, wear eye goggles since the liquid can splash back up at you. If you’ve used a commercial product and it didn’t clear out the clog, call a “Green Apple NJ” plumber toll free at-
- (888) 315-5564
. You don’t want to add anything to the backed up liquid that might react badly to the chemicals in the cleaner. Also don’t try removing the trap since the chemical water can splash into your eyes and face. A professional is better equipped to handle this situation.