6 Tips to Avoid a Winter Plumbing Leak

Common Plumbing Hazards

 

All industries have their health risks. The same holds true for plumbers. Every day we come in contact with chemicals and other hazards that can be a detriment to our health. Education and training is key in maintaining a safe work environment for you and your loyal staff. Let’s go over some plumbing safety risks that you or your staff may come across every day.

1)      Chemical Hazards

One of the first things you need to watch out for in plumbing safety are hazardous chemicals. Asbestos and lead are some of the most common plumbing safety risks you may come in contact with. Here’s why. Many older homes built before the 1970’s commonly have asbestos and lead in the building materials used at the time making asbestos and lead a serious plumbing safety concern. Asbestos and lead can cause serious health problems such as respiratory infections and cancer. Taking the proper precautions can alleviate some of the plumbing safety risk. Wearing proper gloves, eye goggles, and breathing masks are part of dealing with these dangerous chemical hazards. Make sure you and your team is well trained to handle these hazards.

 

2)      Electrical Shock

Plumbers may come in contact with areas that also have electrical connections. This poses a plumbing safety risk because water and electricity just don’t mix. The plumbing safety risk of electrical shock should be common sense but never the less requires certain precautions to be taken. Plumbers should use power tools with ground fault circuit interpreters. Always test exposed wires to see if they are live before starting work. In addition simply turning off the power in the vicinity you are working in can greatly reduce the plumbing safety risk of electrical shock. Again it boils down to proper training and safe practices.

 

3)      Mold

Mold grows really quickly and thrives in damp, warm areas. Leaks associated with plumbing fixtures is a common safe haven for mold; making mold a very common plumbing safety risk, not just for the plumber but the customer as well. Needless to say plumbers will probably encounter this plumbing safety risk on a daily basis. Wearing proper protective gear like gloves, long pants, long sleeves, goggles, and a respirator mask are very important. In addition make sure the area is properly ventilated if using chemicals such as bleach to aid in the cleaning process.

 

4)      Plumbing Physical Strains

As plumbers you spend a lot of time in cramped areas, bending over, lifting heavy materials, and working with your hands. All of these repetitive motions can create a plumbing safety concern if you are not taking care of yourself. Some main areas of concern are: back problems, knee problems, and carpel tunnel. Ensure that you and your team are lifting properly, using proper tools for comfort such as back braces and knee pads, taking breaks periodically, and stretching. These simple practices can help alleviate some of the plumbing safety risks associated with plumbing physical strains.

 

As a plumber you work very hard in the field every day. It is important to guard your health and the health of your team by avoiding and alleviating some to the plumbing safety risks of the industry.

 

SAVE MONEY WITH THESE NEW YEAR’S PLUMBING RESOLUTIONS

As the New Year begins, New Jersey residents are no doubt thinking about resolutions for 2015. Many of us vow to work off the holiday weight gain, while others resolve to save more money. However, taking better care of your home is a resolution that can pay off in a variety of ways. Specifically, homeowners should pay closer to attention to their plumbing. The reality is that, more than any other facet of home-ownership, plumbing is susceptible to many potential problems. Don’t let these pesky issues get the best of you this year. Instead, focus on making the next 12 months problem-free with these resolutions:

Take preventative measures

Prevention is key to avoiding almost all plumbing disasters down the line. Just as going to the dentist ensures the life of your teeth, so does maintaining the health of your pipes, drains, sinks, etc. Most likely you haven’t thought about these things in a while – all the more reason to perform a status check.

It doesn’t take much to see how your fixtures and infrastructure is doing. You undoubtedly notice if your main bathroom or kitchen sink isn’t draining, but what about the guest bathroom? When’s the last time you looked in on it? Similarly, if you haven’t had your water heater flushed in over a year, it’s time to clean it out. Otherwise, debris can build up and force you to replace the appliance earlier than you’d like.

Fix all issues in a timely manner

Procrastination is a common theme in New Year’s resolutions. No matter the area of your life, vowing to be more productive and do away with procrastination is always a noble goal; the same idea can be applied to your plumbing. Usually if a sink drips or a dishwasher fails to work as efficiently as it should, we let it slide for as long as possible. However, we’re actually wasting money by doing this. That’s right, procrastination doesn’t just hurt the performance of appliances, it actually drains your bank account as well.

If your plumbing isn’t living up to its potential, don’t wait. Contact the most skilled plumbers in New Jersey. Green Apple Plumbing can tackle just about any plumbing problem, urgent or not. Our team of technicians will service your home quickly, so you can meet your anti-procrastination policy.

Use less water

Hopefully every New Jersey resident should be aiming to use less water. Despite recent bouts of rainfall, we’re still gripped by a serious drought. If you haven’t been paying close attention to your level of water consumption, this is a great time to start. (Among plumbing resolutions, it’s also one of the easiest ways to save money on your water bill). You can take simple steps such as turning off the water while you hand-wash the dishes, taking shorter showers, collecting and re-using water from the sink to hydrate your lawn, and more. So call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at 888-315-5564

Don’t Let A Plumbing Emergency Ruin Your Christmas.

With family gathering to celebrate the holidays this Christmas, consumers may find their plumbing systems are not up to the task of entertaining.

In addition to clogged toilets and drains, all that rich holiday food sometimes chokes garbage disposals and causes build up in kitchen pipes. Finding a plumber willing to cut their holiday short to assist you might prove difficult, and you can expect to pay a premium for the service.

However, there may also be less than stellar businesses and scammers out there waiting to take advantage of an already stressful situation.

In 2015, Better Business Bureau received more than 4,100 complaints against plumbers. Most complaints alleged that the actual cost greatly exceeded the estimate or work was not done properly. Some consumers alleged that the plumber they hired caused additional damages while performing the work. Many said they had trouble getting someone to repair the work or refund the cost of the work.

To avoid getting cleaned out by a plumber this Christmas, BBB offers the following tips:

  • Do your research. View the company’s BBB Business Review to see its accreditation status, the length of time the plumber has been in business, its complaint resolution efforts and any past advertising concerns BBB may have found.
  • Check licensing and insurance. Ask for the Responsible Master Plumber’s name and license number. Master Plumber license numbers begin with the letter “M”. License numbers which begin with “A”, “T”, “J” or any other letter are not Master Plumber license numbers.
  • Understand the price up-front. Determine whether you will be billed hourly or a flat rate for the job, exactly what work will be performed, how the plumber will contact you if further work is needed and acceptable payment methods.

 

5 Home Plumbing Myths That Cost You Money

Are you a homeowner who needs to learn about maintaining your plumbing system? If so, it’s important that you learn how to do so effectively without trying practices that may damage your system or your pipes. Here are five myths about home plumbing you’ll want to avoid.

Myth 1: Lemons Clean Your Garbage Disposal

While running a lemon rind through the disposal may make your drain smell better, it won’t actually get it clean. To disinfect your garbage disposal, you will need to use a cleaning solution that includes a mild soap and warm water. Before you attempt to use it, however, make sure you disconnect the disposal from its power source. Spray the cleaning solution into the disposal, give it a few minutes to work, and then use a cleaning brush to scrub the disposal itself.

Myth 2: Running Water While Using The Garbage Disposal Helps The Waste Travel Smoothly

Many homeowners believe that they can put just about anything down their garbage disposals as long as they run water. The truth, however, is that some things do not belong in a garbage disposal no matter how much water you run. Hard or thick food items, such as banana peel and eggshells, can damage your disposal, which may require an expensive repair or drain cleaning. If you’re considering putting thick foods down your disposal, you’ll need to break them up thoroughly and mix them with water beforehand.

Myth 3: As Long As Things Keep Going Down My Drain, It Isn’t Getting Clogged

Even when your garbage disposal is operating, it may still be at risk of a serious clog. One of the early warning signs of an impending problem is a slow moving disposal, or waste fragments that remain on the discharge pipe. If you notice either of these signs when you use your disposal, it’s developing a clog, even though it may still be working. Stop using it right away until you have the clog removed.

Myth 4: You Can Clean Plumbing Fixtures With Hand Soap

Depending on the type of plumbing fixtures you have, hand soap may actually be damaging to the surface. Brass plumbing fixtures, for example, should be cleaned with gentle solutions such as cut lemons and baking soda. Toilet bowls, however, need to be cleaned with an effective disinfectant to kill germs and prevent infection.

Myth 5: Plumbing Fixtures Require Little To No Maintenance

This is one of the most dangerous home plumbing myths of all, because homeowners who believe it may run into serious problems later on. Pipes may be obstructed by clogs, wayward tree roots, or shifting home foundations. Homeowners should also inspect their sewer cleanouts for obstructions. All of these issues may lead to expensive plumbing repair, such as a sewer line replacement or a pipe replacement. The fixtures inside the home such as sinks, faucets, and tubs also need regular maintenance to avoid serious drain clogs. For any of your plumbing problems call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ 888-315-5564

How To Avoid Winter Plumbing Problems

If they’re not repaired quickly, many simple plumbing problems like clogged drains and leaky pipes can cause serious damage to your  home, including structural failures and mold growth. In the winter, some problems are more common than others, and the following guide will help you to avoid winter plumbing problems:

Heat Loss From Pipes

Although it’s rare to have sub-freezing temperatures in the Los Angeles area, your home’s pipes should still be insulated to prevent heat loss, especially those connected to the water heater. Use foam insulation on any pipes that are exposed to the weather or routed through uninsulated areas. If freezing temperatures are expected, make sure pipe insulation is in good condition, disconnect outdoor hoses and drain any outdoor lines, if possible.

Clogged Drains

As the temperatures become colder at night, oils and fats that are washed down the drain may start to congeal, leading to a clog. To prevent clogs, minimize the amount of fats and oils that are allowed to go down the drain, and rinse the garbage disposal with cold water for 30 seconds before and after each use. To unclog the drain, use a plunger, a snake, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or open the trap, if accessible.

Clogged Gutters

Leaves and other debris that are washed into the gutter can prevent the system from draining, especially if the temperature becomes cold enough to form ice. When the gutter is clogged, the water may back up and start leaking into undesirable areas, such as behind the siding, causing water damage. Have gutters cleaned as often as necessary, and consider installing gutter guards that prevent debris from accumulating.

Travel Preparations

If you’re taking a trip during the winter, make sure all the pipes are well-insulated, leave the thermostat at a minimum of 50 degrees and have a friend or neighbor check on your home often.

For other ways to avoid winter plumbing problems, talk to our experts at Green Apple Plumbing NJ. Call toll free at 888-315-5564

Checklist To Winterize Your Plumbing

The cold winter months can wreak havoc on your home’s plumbing system if you aren’t prepared for the temperature drop. Frozen water in pipes can be inconvenient at best and destructive at worst. As a good preventive measure get ready for winter with this winterize plumbing checklist.

1.  Fix Leaks

Even the smallest water leak can turn into a big problem when temperatures drop. Take the time to check all exposed pipes indoors and out for leaks. If you wait for the water to freeze the damage to surrounding pipes is likely to be more significant. If your pipes are insulated feel for moisture that might have been soaked up by the insulation if there is a hidden leak.

2.  Insulate Pipes

A basic preventive measure you can take is to make sure that any exposed pipes are well insulated. To locate exposed pipes look in your attic, crawl space, and garage. If you can see the pipe it needs to be wrapped with insulation foam. Pipe wrap insulation is inexpensive and easy to install and it can save you on heating costs as well as keeping your pipes protected.

3.  Swamp Cooler

An evaporative cooler, also known as a swamp cooler, is another source of water that needs to be drained before winter. To winterize your swamp cooler turn off the water and power to the unit first. Drain the water out of the cooler and the water supply line to the unit as well. This is a good time to clean the interior and change the pads. Finally, cover the swamp cooler with a cover or tarp to keep it dry over the winter months.

4.  Pump House

Prevention and planning are key for a smooth winter season when your water comes from a well. Proper insulation of the pump houses can keep pipes from freezing. For added protection it is important to insulate any exposed pipes in the pump house. A heat source is also needed to keep the temperature of the pump house above freezing.

5.  Outside Hose Bibs

Protecting the hose bibs and pipes from the cold is very important. Start by removing any garden hoses that may be connected to outdoor faucets. By removing garden hoses you ensure that water doesn’t stay trapped in the hose bib where it can freeze and damage pipes. Drain any water the hoses may have in them before storing. Protect garden hoses by storing them in the garage or shed during winter.
To protect hose bibs from the cold you can drain collected water and insulate them. In places where temperatures drop significantly every winter many homes have dedicated shut off valves for outdoor hose bibs or faucets. If you happen to have a shut off valve you can turn the water to the hose bibs off. You will then need to drain any water that is already in the pipes. This can be done by opening the hose bibs and letting the water drain completely. If you don’t have a shut off valve you can protect hose bibs and outdoor faucets by insulating them with hose bib covers. Hose bib covers are inexpensive and easy to install. The insulation that these foam covers provide will keep the hose bibs from freezing.

6.  Sprinklers System

The pipes of your irrigation system are a likely place for water to collect and then freeze in cold weather. To winterize your sprinkler system turn off the water and flush out any collected water by turning on each valve.

7.  Locate Your Water Main

Lastly you should be sure to locate your water main in case of an emergency. Should you be faced with a burst pipe due to freezing you’ll want to be able to shut off the water quickly to minimize damage. You can always call your friends at Green Apple Plumbing NJ toll free at 888-315-5564

Winter Plumbing Maintenance Tips

The arrival of the winter season and cold weather invite a multitude of potential plumbing problems into our homes. Frigid morning showers, frozen or cracked pipes, broken radiators, flooding, and leaks are just a few of the many unwanted plumbing issues brought on by cold winter weather.

Fortunately there are things that you can do to prevent or minimize the likelihood of these winter plumbing mishaps. Horizon Services offers these plumbing maintenance tips to keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape during the winter months:

  • Preventing Clogged Drains: Once a week, treat your sink and bathtub drains to this quick, safe and environmentally-friendly cleaning process. Make up a mixture of 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Pour equal amounts into your various drains and follow it with 2 cups of boiling water for each drain.
  • Pipe Insulation: Use foam padding sleeves or special insulating tape to guard your pipes (both hot water and cold water) against freezing. Any exposed pipe or plumbing fixtures should be kept warm with space heaters (lamps) from a safe distance. Every few days, check out pipes in basements or little used areas of the house to make sure no ice or frost is accumulating or cracks developing.
  • Running Water: Be sure to run water from every valve in your house at regular intervals throughout the winter.  This will prevent freezing.
  • Don’t Forget Outdoor Spigots and Hoses: Unattach your garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive in the fall. Close the shut-off valve on the pipes which lead to your outdoor spigots. Drain any residual water from spigots or hoses. Don’t leave hoses attached to outdoor faucets over the winter; roll up and store till spring.
  • Be Careful with Holiday Cooking: Cooking grease and oils put a real strain on drains, pipes and garbage disposals.  Grease and oil are more likely to collect and clog when your plumbing is colder, so do your best not pour down the drain. Also, refrain from putting hard to grind objects or stringy substances down into the disposal. Always run cold water through the disposal for at least 15 seconds before and after each use. Be sure to turn the disposal on before filling it with food debris.
  • Spread Showers Throughout the Day: At least 10 minute intervals between showers is optimal to maintain hot water and proper pressure. You may also want to turn up the water heater during the cold season as well; to prevent burns, do not put it above 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Eliminate Drafts: Check around your home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas and take measures to prevent the flow of cold air in these areas. Examples: basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature becomes cold.

If Your Indoor Faucets Freeze:

  • Leave the cabinet doors under the faucets open so that they can get more heat.
  • If it gets intensely cold, run a little bit of water from each valve in the house each day. Let the water trickle very slowly into the sink.
  • Heat every room of your home, not just a few rooms. Allow warm air to circulate freely throughout your house.

If Your Pipes Freeze, Burst or Crack This Winter:

  • Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve so that you don’t have problems as the ice melts.
  • Leave the faucets on to relieve pressure as the ice melts.
  • Use a blow dryer or heat gun to thaw frozen pipes.
  • DO NOT use any torches or open flames to thaw pipes.

Top 5 Tips to Prevent Plumbing Problems This Thanksgiving

For many, the day after Thanksgiving is about family time and the Black Friday shopping extravaganza. For residential plumbers nationwide, it’s the single busiest day of the year. In fact, plumbing problems spike 50% the day after Thanksgiving. Think about it. You’ve delighted in turkey and sweet potato casserole, and now your wayward scraps and greasy dishes are stressing your sink and clogging your drains.

 

Would you prefer to spend your money on presents or plumbing issues? To keep your pipes clear and clog-free, it’s important to know what you can safely put in the disposal and what you can’t. Here’s the skinny:

1. Don’t Treat the Disposal Like a Trash Can

As much as possible, throw leftovers in the trash or compost pile. When you do use your disposal, feed waste gradually to prevent overloading.

2. Be Picky About What You Toss

Don’t put turkey bones, poultry skin, potato peels, celery and fruit down the garbage disposal.

3. Keep Grease to a Minimum

Avoid pouring fat and cooking oil down the drain and wipe off greasy pans before putting them in the sink.

4. Run Water

Run water when you use the disposal and keep it running for a few seconds after you turn the disposal off.

5. Don’t Run the Dishwasher

Don’t operate the dishwasher if you think there’s a problem. It discharges into the disposal.

This Thanksgiving, don’t be sitting on the sidelines waiting for your handyman to arrive for an impromptu plumbing fix. Show your drains a little love so you can keep your focus on food, family and all the freebies you get if you’re first in line on Black Friday.

Flushed with Pride: 1850s Bathroom Boasts Early Plumbing Technology

In 1850s America, most people relied on privies and outhouses for their bathroom needs. But the Davis family of Natchez, Miss., had something few other Americans did: indoor hot-and-cold running water and an indoor toilet.

Now this marvel of 19th-century technology is getting a new home, moving from the Dunleith Historical Inn to another mansion nearby operated by the National Park Service. The new lodging will give the public a chance to see a pre-Civil War version of a luxurious lavatory, complete with shower/bath combo.

“This is a rare example of a mid-19th-century bathroom that had survived for 150 years,” said National Park Service historian Jeff Mansell.

Most 1800s bathrooms have been renovated out of existence, Mansell said — and few families had indoor plumbing at the time, anyway. The White House only got running water in 1833, for example, and it wasn’t until 1853 that the presidential family got running water in their second-floor washroom. [See Photos of 1850s Bathroom]

The best bathroom technology

The Dunleith bathroom consists of a washbasin with two faucets, a toilet and an L-shaped tub-and-bathtub combination, also with two faucets. Pipes pumped water up from the first-floor laundry room, where water was heated, Mansell said. The pipes led to three cisterns in the attic, which drained down to fixtures in the third-floor bathroom whenever someone opened the faucets or flushed the toilet. Waste from the toilet would have gone to a primitive septic system, Mansell said, joining waste from outdoor privies on the property.

The oval-shaped showerhead was large, about 10 inches (25 centimeters) across and would have created a rainfall effect, much like showerheads in upscale bathrooms today.

“In the 19th century, you had what everybody’s trying for today, the rain shower,” Mansell said.

A man named Alfred Vidal Davis, who, in 1859, bought the house that would become the Dunleith Inn, most likely installed the bathroom the year he moved in, Mansell said. When the preservation team was deconstructing the bathroom to remove it from its third-floor location, they found a packing slip from a New Orleans retailer called Price & Coulon, he said.

“Davis could have seen it there or may have read about it,” Mansell said. “We think there was a catalog that was advertising this particular system.”

National Park staff isn’t sure how much the system would have cost Davis, but indoor plumbing would have been a privilege reserved for the elite.

The future of the Dunleith bathroom

The Dunleith Historical Inn decided to donate the fixtures to the National Park Service because they are renovating the wing where the bathroom was. The bathroom was at the top of a steep stairwell, said Dunleith general manager John Holyoak, and because of its inaccessibility had been used for storage for the past 10 years.

“It’s just not conducive for anybody to ever see the bathroom,” Holyoak said.

To get the fixtures, including a 400-pound zinc-lined cistern, down from the third floor and attic, construction crews had to build a specially designed ramp. For now, the disassembled bathroom is in storage, but the National Park Service plans to reinstall them in the nearby estate of Melrose, another wealthy home from the same era. Historians know that Melrose had some sort of washroom in the 1850s, but they aren’t sure whether it was as elaborate as the Dunleith one.

“There’s some indication that they had had some sort of indoor plumbing system, but it was removed right after the turn of the century,” Mansell said. “So we don’t know what it looked like.”

Soon, however, visitors will be able to see with their own eyes the private perks of pre-Civil War wealth.

“Most people, when they think of the mid-19th century, they don’t think of this kind of technology existing,” Mansell said. “Even as sophisticated as Natchez was, with people here with a lot of money, you didn’t find a lot of indoor plumbing.”