How To Pamper Your Plumbing

Taking daily steps to prevent drain clogs is so important. In the kitchen, this means not pouring grease, fats, or oils (including cooking oil and butter) down the drain. These products will eventually coagulate inside of the drains, and if the clog is in the drain outside of the home, then the repair can really get expensive.

Proper use of the garbage disposal is also important for preventing clogs. When using your garbage disposal, you should turn the water on before running the disposal and leave the water running for a good 15 seconds afterward to help rinse the debris through to the main line. You should also avoid putting certain foods in the disposal, including fibrous foods like banana peels and celery, as well as foods that are difficult to process, like potato peels and cucumber peels.

In the bathroom, you should reduce your use of bath oils and avoid using chemical clog removal products. You should also avoid flushing anything other than human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Things like tampons, diapers, and other garbage items will quickly cause a clog if you try to flush them.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing needs call us toll-free at 888-315-5564

Save Money On Central Air By Doing This

GET A PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION AND CLEANING DONE ANNUALLY

Before each cooling season, it is a great idea to get a regular maintenance check and cleaning done on the unit by a Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ HVAC professional. Service professionals inspect the control box; coils; fan motor and blades; and compressor and tubing; among other things. Additionally, refrigerant levels are inspected and adjusted if necessary, and the unit cleaned.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you’ve ever had your central air conditioner quit working on the hottest day of the year, you fully understand that preventative A/C maintenance is definitely preferable to repairing or replacing it due to neglect.

Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of your HVAC or plumbing concerns call toll-free at 888-315-5564

We Bet You Didn’t Have These On Your Plumbing Radar

Make sure your travel plans include time for plumbing prep.

If you have summer travel planned, make sure your home is ready for it—especially if you’re going to be away for weeks or months at a time.

  • Arrange to have a trusted friend or neighbor check in on your house and make sure everything is ok. Even an absence of a couple of days could lead to a big and costly mess if a leak goes undetected.
  • Check your water-using appliances for loose or cracked hoses, leaks or other malfunctions.
  • Turn your water heater down to its low, pilot or vacation setting. No need to waste energy heating water that won’t be used!
  • If you’ll be away for an extended amount of time, consider turning off your water main and hot water heater and draining your pipes and tank.
  • Empty the dishwasher and washing machine, and leave them open to air. While you’re at it, make sure your garbage disposal and plumbing traps are clean. That way, you won’t be coming home to musty, unpleasant odors.
  • Make sure all indoor and outdoor taps are completely off.
  • If your irrigation system is on a schedule, make sure it will run as desired while you’re away.
  • Green Apple Plumbing & Mechanical NJ are the experts you can trust. We have been serving the NJ area for years with professionalism and expertise. Customer service and care are always our number one priority. If you have any questions or concerns call us toll-free at 888-315-5564

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Right

Garbage disposals are great for getting rid of unwanted leftovers, expired food, and discarded peels. But we often take our disposal for granted—until it becomes clogged or stop working altogether.

5 Common Summer Plumbing Problems

While you’re having a good time in the backyard with your guests and the kids, your plumbing may be suffering under all the extra wear and tear.

6 Easy Summer Plumbing Tips

The heat is on!  Summer’s rising temperatures often coincide with an increase of water usage, both indoors and outdoors. 

Frozen Pipes: How to Prevent and Fix

Frozen pipes are one of the most distressing problems a homeowner can encounter. Here’s how to prevent freezing pipes and how to un-freeze pipes if you’re in a fix.

Freezing can create leaks because the frozen water expands and cracks the copper tubing. Not only do you have little to no water supply, but when the pipes do thaw out, you can have some serious leaks to repair.

Rules to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep all water-supply piping away from outside walls, where it could be exposed to cold winter weather.
  • If it is imperative to have pipes located on an outside wall, they must be well-insulated. Piping insulation is sold in both rubber and fiberglass.
  • Insulate pipes in all other unheated areas as well, such as crawl spaces, basement, attic, and garage. Fix the source of any drafts (such as near cables, dryer vents, bathroom fan vents, windows) and insulate pipes at risk.
  • Before winter, close the water shut-off valve inside your home that provides water to outside spigots, and then drain each line by opening its spigot until it no longer drips. Close the spigot.

What To Do During Subfreezing Temperatures

  • Keep garage doors and outside doors closed, and plug up drafts.
  • Open all faucets, both hot and cold water, to just a trickle, to keep water moving in the pipes to help to prevent icing.
  • Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees F both day and night–no lower. Higher is even better, especially if your home is not well-insulated.
  • Keep doors to all rooms open to allow heat to flow to all areas, which helps to warm the pipes in the walls.
  • Open the cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks so that the warmer air temperature of each room can flow around the plumbing. (Be sure to keep cleaners and other hazardous chemicals away from children and pets.)

Tips to Fixing Frozen Pipes

  • If no water comes out of a faucet, or it comes out slowly, suspect a frozen pipe. Check all faucets in the house to determine if the situation is widespread. If it is, open all faucets, turn off the main water to the house, and call a plumber.
  • If only one pipe is frozen, turn on the appropriate faucet to help get the water moving in the pipe once it thaws. Locate your nearest water shut-off valve to the break. Don’t turn the water off at this point, unless you find that the pipe has actually burst.
  • Try the hair-dryer trick. Locate the area where the pipe has frozen. Then, starting at the faucet and working backward along the pipe line until you reach the frozen section, work the dryer up and down the pipe. Continue warming the pipe until full water pressure returns to the open faucet. Then reduce the faucet flow to a trickle until the cold snap has ended. Caution: When using a hair dryer, be sure that it and its cord will not be near any water that might start to flow through a crack in a burst pipe.
  • If water starts to gush out of the pipe while you are warming it, unplug the hair dryer and close the nearest water shut-off valve immediately. Keep the faucet open. Call a plumber to fix the burst pipe.
  • If you can not reach a frozen pipe to warm it, call a plumber and shut off the water supply to the pipe. Keep the faucet open.
  • If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at 888-315-5564

Cold weather survival tips: From saving frozen pipes to warming Valentine’s hearts

With a blast of Arctic air set to sweep into New Jersey this weekend, now is the time to make sure furnaces are in working order and your home’s pipes are protected.

Low temperatures on Saturday night into early Sunday morning will approach zero and could slip below zero in our area, according to the National Weather Service.

“The combination of wind and cold will make for dangerous conditions for the homeless and those not properly dressed this weekend,” according to AccuWeather.

Dressing for cold weather is both an art and a science. Think layers and choose the right fabrics.

Recognizing the warning signs of cold exposure — hypothermia — could save your life.

Here are some tips on what to do to keep pipes from freezing — and what to do if it happens anyway.

How to prepare:

  • Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
  • Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don’t disturb it.

When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:

  • If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.

If your pipes freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

Who to call for help:

  • If pipes inside the home are frozen, call us at (973) 943-0927.
  • If there is no water or low pressure, and neighbors are experiencing the same situation, it could be a water main break, and customers should call the 24-hour customer service line at 1-800-652-6987.

When you are away:

  • Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
  • A freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
  • Residents are also reminded to clear snow from hydrants. Substantial snow accumulations combined with the after-effects of plowing roads and parking lots can leave fire hydrants partially or completely buried in snow.In these conditions, extra precautions should be taken to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of carbon monoxide-related deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
 
In these conditions, extra precautions should be taken to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. NJ has one of the highest rates of carbon monoxide-related deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
 
Though the worst of the cold weather is expected to concentrate on the weekend, winter weather at any time can force schools to delay opening or decide to cancel classes altogether. 
 
Sunday is Valentine’s Day, of course, so bars, restaurant and entertainment venues will be bustling, especially Saturday night.
 
If you decide to cuddle up at home with your sweetie, though, how about making some chocolate-covered strawberries to enjoy while watching a romantic movie?

Plan budget with repairs in mind

Being a home owner is a very rewarding experience. Owning property and not having to pay a landlord is very freeing. However, it is also a huge responsibility and comes at a cost in the form of repairs. Rather than calling a landlord, it is on the home owner to take care of any issues and they can add up fast! It is best to budget and save money to cover these small disasters when they occur.

Plumbing

One thing someone does not want to live without is plumbing. If something were to go awry, a home owner would want to fix it immediately so it is good to have money saved to handle these repairs. Toilets, sinks, and laundry lines can all experience issues that will alter day-to-day life. Clogged lines, leaky faucets and valves and blocked toilets can all require a few hours of labor from a plumber in addition to materials. These repairs can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the severity of the issue.

Two plumbing issues that may prove to be quite costly are water heater and well replacements. Paying for repairs like this puts stress on finances, but that burden may be eased with the help of savings. Without savings, home owners may need to take out a loan or borrow money from family to cover costs.

Replacing a water heater starts at a few hundred dollars and planning ahead to cover this cost is the best way to stay in hot water.

Even more painful is a well pump replacement or a full well replacement. Replacing an old well can cost several thousand dollars which most people cannot pay out of pocket.

Electrical

Electrical fixes may seem small, but it is best to hire a professional and not try any do-it-yourself repairs when it comes to anything with electricity because of the high risk of injury.

Small issues can occur requiring an electrician such as replacing a ceiling fan, fixing a faulty switch or broken outlets. Most electricians charge by the hour and while these repairs should not take long, it is better to have the costs covered with money from a savings account rather than cut into the monthly budget.

An expensive electrical repair is replacing the breaker box on a home, which can run a few thousand dollars. Older breaker boxes can be faulty and may not trip correctly resulting in a fire. A general contractor or electrician can determine if a breaker box needs to be replaced to decrease risk. Another reason to replace the breaker box is with a big renovation. Adding central air to a home may require breaker box replacement in order to power the new feature. Also, when selling a home, if the box does not comply with local codes, a replacement could be necessary before a sale can happen.

Furnace

The last thing a Michigander wants during the winter is a broken furnace. The furnace is a complex unit and should be regularly maintained to prevent many repairs. However, even regular check-ups can not prevent everything. The ignition or pilot light could break and need to be replaced or a mechanical problem may arise. Hopefully a full replacement is not necessary but if it is, savings will be crucial as it is several thousand dollars to replace a furnace.

Remember, it is always better to overestimate a cost than underestimate and not have enough funds. Visit www.lansing-realestate.com and click on the buyers/sellers tab to find a service provider or ask a REALTOR® for a recommendation for any home repairs.

Plumbing Resolutions For The New Year

According to a study done at the University of Scranton, of the 45% of people who plumbing resolutions make New Year’s resolution, only 8% successfully achieve their goals. While this number is quite low, we’re encouraging all of our customers (new and old) to at least consider our New Year’s resolutions.
In 2016 we hope you consider the following resolutions:
 
1. Be nicer to your garbage disposal.
This year, try to make a more conscious effort about what you’re throwing down your disposal. Here’s a great reference to see what you should and shouldn’t put down your disposal.
 
2. Give your water heater a little T.L.C.
Just like the oil in your car, your water heater needs regular maintenance as well. Our technicians will ensure your system is running properly by flushing the system making sure to get rid of any buildup or sediment.
 
3. Save Water.
If you’re in the market for a new toilet, consider installing low-flush toilets. This will save you water and money on your next water bill.
 
4. Keep your pipes warm.
Winter temperatures can affect your pipes. Make sure they’re properly insulated to avoid pipes bursting in your home. Follow these important tips to winterize your plumbing!
 
5. Get your home’s plumbing system inspected.
When we’re in your home, you’re entitled to a free home plumbing inspection. While some people decline this service, we encourage you to allow our technician to make sure everything is in good working order. You never know when that hidden leak could start costing you a lot of money!
 
6. Fix plumbing issues sooner rather than later.
Keep your eyes and ears open for leaks, drips, noisy water heaters, running toilets etc.
 
This year, we hope that you’ll make your first resolution to get a hold of us as soon as you think you have an issue with your plumbing.