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Protect Your Washer with a Little Care

 

Laundry day may not be your favorite day, but if your washer breaks down, it won’t take long for you to discover how important it is to your household. That’s why routine maintenance is not only  important for extending the life of your washer but also for avoiding down time and expensive washer repairs.

Maintenance actually begins with installation. When installing your washer remember to properly level your machine. Laundry room floors are rarely completely level, so washers are made with adjustable feet with this in mind. Use the level to adjust the feet on the washer to ensure it is perfectly level. Even being a little off level can cause the drum to spin off balance putting stress on parts causing them to break.

If you have a front load washer, make certain you are using the high-efficiency detergent. Using the wrong kind can result in serious damage to your machine. Be sure to remove wet laundry shortly after washing because leaving wet laundry too long can produce a musty smell, and even progress to mildew and mold. After your final load, dry off the door, inside the washer, and particularly around the door gaskets. Mildew can start to grow very quickly around the gaskets.  Leave the door open a few hours to allow air to circulate and dry any remaining moisture.

Every couple of months check all hoses and connections for any that are loose, cracking or showing signs of wear. Tighten any loose hoses and connections, replacing ones with cracks or worn out. Giving your washer a thorough cleaning periodically is also a good idea.  There are special cleaning products designed to remove residue build up that can cause odors.

For detailed information specific to your washer, check your manual for filter locations and cleaning procedures. Following the recommended schedule will help your washer work more efficiently. In addition, sticking to a maintenance schedule can prevent undo stress and problems with your washer. So, take a little time to show your washer a little TLC and it will serve you faithfully for years.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

Dealing With a Clogged Drain

 

Clogged drains are a nuisance any time of the year, but especially when family and friends are visiting. Even the most conscientious homeowner will most likely deal with clogged drains at some point, so below you’ll find some steps to remedy the situation:

A Plunger – Sometimes the best fix is the easiest. The plunger has been around for a long time and should still be your first step in dealing with a clogged drain. Fill the clogged sink about a quarter of the way with water. If you have a double vanity sink, block the opposite sink drain with a towel or rag. Next, place the plunger over the clogged drain, move it up and down quickly until the water starts to drain. Doing this should remove any small blockage.

Baking Soda and Vinegar – If the sink remains clogged after plunging, move on to the next tried and true method, baking soda and vinegar. You may remember these items being used in creating a volcano science project. The same premise works here, just in the opposite direction.

To do this, you will need to remove as much water as possible from the clogged sink. Then pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and use a handle from a spoon to pack it down into the drain pipe. Next, pour a cup of vinegar into the drain, replacing the stopper immediately. This will force the mixture down into the pipe. Allow the mixture to work for five minutes. If the drain is still not cleared, pour four cups of hot water into the sink.  At this point, if the drain is still clogged, then a more advanced step is required.

A Cable Auger – This next solution is more difficult and is best handled by a professional plumber. A cable auger (sometimes called a snake) can be used to remove the obstruction. Place a bucket under the sink to catch water, then detach the trap or J-joint underneath the sink that connects the pipe to the sink. Next, remove the pipe going into the wall. The cable auger can now be used to slowly slide down the pipe by spinning the crank clockwise. Once you reach the clog, turn the auger counter-clockwise to grab the cable, and hopefully, the obstruction. If all goes well, this will take care of your problem.

A Professional Plumber – At this point, if the drain cannot be unplugged, then it’s definitely time to call in the professionals.  Calling a plumber is important to avoid causing any damage to your pipes.

Remember that the drainage system in your home is a complex, engineered system.  Trying to clear a clogged drain from a small obstruction is something most homeowners can do.  However, it’s always best to leave it to the experts for the more complicated issues.  They know how to remove the problem while keeping your plumbing system in good working order.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

Plumbing Inspection When Buying a Home

Buying a home can be an exciting, yet stressful, experience. Finding the house you want to make your home is often overshadowed, albeit temporarily, by the stress of making sure all is well with your wonderful find. Fortunately, thorough home inspections can provide peace of mind. However, some areas, like plumbing, can be costly if issues arise. So how can you be certain that everything is okay and covered in the inspection? Knowing a few things you can discuss with your inspector or plumber will help.

Some things to ask about:

1.  Water Heater(s) – Water heaters are usually an afterthought to most people, but it’s an appliance workhorse. Because of how dependent we have become on them, making sure that the one in your new home is in good working order is key. An inspector will check for leaks and corrosion, as well as ensuring the PRV valve is working properly.

2.  Toilets – Another item in our homes that get a lot of use, but can be neglected, is the toilets. Small leaks at the back of a toilet can cause big problems if not found and fixed in time.  The water stop valve should be checked for leaks, and the toilet itself checked for stability. A rocking toilet can also cause leaks. TIP: Signs of leaks can be found in the flooring. They include vinyl turning purple from water damage, and grout lines turning white or darker at the toilet base.

3.  Sinks – Kitchen and bathroom sinks should be inspected. The hot and cold stop valves should be checked for leaks or corrosion. TIP: Water stains on the bottom cabinets can be an indication of a water leak.

4.  Showers/Tubs – For enclosed showers, the baseboard and drywall that butts up against the shower pan needs to be assessed. A leak at the base of the shower can cause the baseboard to swell and the drywall to be soft. Shower and tub combos that use shower curtains, can produce problems as well. A shower curtain not properly closed during showering can allow water to run over the tub corners, causing damage to the flooring. TIP: Vinyl flooring lifting or discoloring, or a softness when stepping on or touching the area, can be an indication of damage.

5.  Basement/Crawl Space – For finished basements, the inspector will look for wet spots, or water stained areas, pointing to a pipe leak. Unfinished basements and crawl spaces enable the inspector to assess the water pipes directly for leaks. This is the time they can look for subfloor damage under kitchen and bathrooms caused by leaks.

Knowing these things will ensure the house you are purchasing is getting a thorough review.  Then all that’s left is to relax, and enjoy getting settled into your new home.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day. If water runs through it – We Do It!

Mold: Winter’s Unexpected Challenge

 

imagesSome may think that because the weather is now colder and the heat in our homes is running, mold is not an issue. On the contrary, mold can be more prevalent this time of year. Although heating our homes may cause the air to be drier in most areas, some places may have higher levels of humidity because of reduced ventilation. Small bathrooms — steamy from showers — and kitchens — full of steam from cooking and running dishwashers — are two especially vulnerable areas.

Recognizing that wintertime can be a heightened season for mold growth is the first line of defense.  The second is being observant and watching for mold growth. Here are a few things to track:

Manage Moisture

Keep an eye out for condensation or peeling paint on window sills as this can be an indication of a moisture problem. Check under sinks, around shower stalls, and bathtub area for leaks or standing water. Dry wet areas immediately, and repair plumbing, window or roof leaks as soon as possible.

Maximize Air Flow 

If possible, improve the ventilation in your home. Cold weather isn’t compatible with opening doors and windows to the outside, but opening doors between rooms — even closet doors  — can improve ventilation. Moving furniture slightly away from walls will also help.

Monitor Humidity Levels

Keep check on your homes humidity level by using a moisture meter that can be purchased at your local hardware store. It is recommended that your home’s humidity level stays between 30 and 60 percent.

Eliminate Mold 

If you discover mold in your home and plan to remove it yourself, wear a good quality allergy mask, goggles and gloves. If you are sensitive to mold, have someone else clean up the affected area. Use a mold remover and disinfectant rather than bleach to ensure the mold is killed. You may also want to consider using a mold sealant that when sprayed on surfaces can prevent the growth of mold up to two to four years.

Even if no one in your home has a mold allergy, you can still suffer the effects of being exposed to mold. They can be as minor as eye irritation, coughing, and headaches or as serious as nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems. So, its important to be aware of areas where mold can grow so your family can have a safer and healthier wintertime environment.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day.  If water runs through it – We Do It!

Helping Your Garbage Disposal Survive the Holidays

At this time of the year many people are planning for parties and large family meals in their homes. With that in mind, give some consideration to how all this might affect your garbage disposal. The best way to kill a festive mood is to have a stopped-up sink with a house full of guests.m2850070

However, large meal preparations can mean a bigger strain on your garbage disposal. Below are some tips to help you avoid overworking or straining your disposal and kitchen plumbing:

  1. Don’t pour fats or cooking oils down the drain or into the disposal. These greasy liquids will solidify in your pipes and cause blockages. Allow a pan with grease to sit and cool, then remove with a paper towel. If you have a lot of grease remaining — after cooling — pour into a plastic container with a lid and dispose of the container.
  2. Never overload or force large quantities of food into your disposal. By forcing too much food into the disposal it can cause the motor to lock up. Put small amounts of food into the disposal and process through before adding more.
  3. Stringy, fibrous foods like onions, celery, asparagus, and artichokes should never go into your disposal. The fibers can tangle and jam the blades causing the motor to lock up.  Any fibers that might process through can block drains.
  4. Be careful of putting too many potato peels through the disposal. The starch in the potatoes can turn into a paste that can cause the blades to stick.
  5. Never put pasta or rice into your disposal. These expand with water and can clog and jam pipes.
  6. Don’t put glass, plastic, metal or paper in your disposal.
  7. Avoid putting coffee grounds into your sink or disposal. It won’t harm the disposal or pipes, but they can accumulate in the drain traps causing clogs.
  8. Never use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage disposal blades and water pipes. Borax is a natural cleaner that can be used to sanitize and remove odor from your disposal.
  9. Always run cold water, not hot, when using the disposal. Start the water before turning on the disposal, and run the water during the entire disposal process. Leave the water running for 10-15 seconds after turning off the disposal to flush out any remaining particles.
  10. Use ice to clean and sharpen the blades. It can help with removing grease build-up and sharpening the blades. Do this once or twice a month to keep your disposal in good working order. You can also freeze vinegar in ice trays and put through the disposal to clean and eliminate odors.

Putting these tips into practice can help keep your disposal working well throughout the year, but especially during these busier times of the year.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day.  If water runs through it – We Do It!

Beware Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be deadly.  Most people know that cars emit carbon monoxide, but forget that any fuel burning items can produce this gas. Gas burning furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens, dryers, fireplaces, propane stoves, portable generators, charcoal and gas grills can all turn from useful to dangerous if you’re not aware of how to manage them.

Statistically, more carbon monoxide poisoning cases are reported during the winter than any other time of the year. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are common (i.e., headache, dizziness or light-headedness, and nausea), so many people don’t realize the cause of their sickness. Below are ways to ensure your family is protected.

  • Have your heating systems, water heaters, and other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances inspected by a professional
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors. These should be placed near the fuel burning appliances. Remember to change the batteries once a year.
  • Never use generators, camp stoves, charcoal grills, or any other gas or oil burning items inside your home. If using any of these outside make sure not to have them near a window.
  • Never run a motor vehicle inside the garage, even with the door up.
  • Make certain that all your fuel burning appliances are properly ventilated.
  • Never heat your home with a gas oven.

 

 

By following the above guidelines, you can help make certain your family is protected not just during these wintry months, but year round.

Have more questions? Call us – we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day.  If water runs through it – We Do It!

Hot Water Heater Temperature Changes

Does it seem to you that the hot water in your shower runs out quicker now that the weather has turned colder?  Well, it might not be your imagination. Cold weather can be hard on some appliances, and your hot water heater is one of them. With the dropping temperatures, the cold water coming into your home is also colder. This requires your hot water heater to work harder to get the water heated to your set temperature.

Here are some things to consider:

What is the environment around your water heater?  A lot of water heaters are located in the basement or garage.  What is the temperature in those areas?  Re-caulking any windows or doors to reduce any outside airflow may help. 12814721_1539557743041497_2945426110015825869_n

Insulating the hot water pipes with a foam pipe insulation can help the heat from dissipating while in the pipe. You can also cover your water heater with a blanket. This is a specially designed cover that wraps around your water heater to provide insulation. You can increase your hot water temperature by five to 10 degrees to help with this problem.  Although, if using an insulation blanket, you might be able to drop your temperature by five to 10 degrees.

If, after checking these areas, your hot water output is still not normal, your problems might be mechanical. The burner assembly could be malfunctioning and unable to properly heat the water. There could be sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank preventing the water from heating.  If you have no hot water at all, your problems could be electrical or the pilot light. You will want to call a professional to inspect your hot water heater to determine the exact cause of your problem.

At this time of year, many people have friends and family visiting, and the last thing you want to deal with is no hot water in your home. While at this point, your lower hot water output might not seem like a major issue, it can become one overnight with increased usage. So, take the time to do a little maintenance, even calling for a professional opinion, and mark one less worry off your list.

And remember we install instant hot water heaters as well! Read more here about the different types we install.

Have more questions? Call us- we’d love to help! Call the professionals at Go Green Plumbing at 336-252-2999 for service 7 days a week/24 hours a day.  If water runs through it – We Do It!

Dealing With a Flooded Basement

 

For individuals who have basements, dealing with water problems may be something you have dealt with, or something you worry about dealing with. Whichever may be the case, there are a few things you need to know to help prevent flooding in your basement, in addition to understanding what to do if or when it does happen.

Below are some preventive measures to implement:

1.  Keep water away from your foundation by keeping gutters cleaned to avoid overflow that can pool around your foundation.

2.  Make sure your yard is properly sloped to drain water from your foundation.

3.  Insulate water pipes in your basement to reduce condensation.

4.  Use a sump pump to keep unwanted water out.  A well maintained pump is necessary for it to do its job correctly.

5.  Waterproof your basement floor and walls.  This will stop water seepage.

And what should you do if your basement does flood?  Here are some suggestions:

1.  Turn off the water to the basement immediately. This might require cutting off the water to the entire house. download

2.  Next, disconnect the power to the basement.  Water and electric don’t mix, and you want to avoid anyone being electrocuted.

3.  Call a plumber to determine the cause of the water problem, then call your insurance agent.  Most homeowners policies will cover basement flooding damage.

4.  Remove all items from the area. If carpeted, pull up carpet and padding.  You might be able to have the carpet cleaned and disinfected, but keep in mind it could shrink.

5.  Get rid of the water.  Using a wet/dry vacuum is the easiest way, but mops and towels will work also.

6.  Dry out the area. a) If you have doors or windows, open them to get air circulating.  Using fans and a dehumidifier can speed up the process. b) If you have a finished basement, trim work, sheet rock and insulation will also need to be removed. Wooden trim work might be saved if removed quickly and dried before warping.

7.  Make sure to disinfect the area properly, especially if the water came from a backed up sewer.

8.  Treat all surfaces that were wet with a good mold prevention spray. This can be sprayed on most surfaces, and kills mold spore roots preventing new growth.

Hopefully, you will be able to take the steps to prevent any water problems in your basement.  But, if you have the unfortunate happen, act quickly to reduce damage and prevent mold problems.