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URGENT INFO: Preventing Frozen Pipes – Part One

With below freezing temperatures continuing in the Triad, it’s critical that you as a homeowner know how to protect your pipes from freezing as best as possible. Just this week, Go Green Plumbing has received hundreds of calls reporting frozen pipes and while we are doing our best to get to everyone, with that number of people, the challenge is real.

While there is no foolproof plan to guard against frozen pipes, it’s important you understand what you are fighting against.

The most dangerous issue with frozen pipes is not that they are frozen, it is that they will eventually thaw, and you, as a homeowner, won’t know if the until it’s too late if the expansion from the freezing has cracked a pipe. As soon as it starts flowing again, you could have a flood. And most homeowners dont have flood insurance.

This issue is especially common if you have galvanized or copper pipes. These types of pipes are more likely to freeze than a plastic PEX Pipe.

If many of your pipes run on exterior walls, or your pipes are in a crawl space or uninsulated basement or garage area, leave all faucets dripping for the night, and set an alarm and wake up at least every three hours to run the water in those fixtures until the water runs hot.

While it may be difficult to do for this specific cold spell, to pre-empt these issues, you can install heat trace wire on wells and water heaters, or fixtures that run along exterior walls. You can also add insulation to pipes on crawl spaces, basements and garages. When the weather warms up, you may want to consider making these changes or have a plumber take care of it for you.

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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!

 

 

Home Holiday Prep: Your Plumbing System (Part 3)

 

So your kitchen appliances are ready to roll when guests arrive next month. What’s next? Your plumbing system. The reality is that with additional guests in your home, your plumbing system will endure added stress during the holidays. Here are a few things you can do to help ensure a problem-free holiday.

Toilets. Have your toilets been flushing slower than normal? Have you noticed an atypical odor or slight wetness around the base? These are signs that there may be trouble on the way. Have your toilet, pipes and system thoroughly inspected immediately. In addition, if you have a toilet handle or small issue that needs repairing, now’s the time to take care of those issues.

Sinks. If you have a slow draining sink, it may be as simple as a hair clog, but it may be more complicated. You can pull out the drain to see for yourself or have a professional inspect it for you.

Garbage Disposal. If not properly maintained, your home’s disposal can be a source of serious plumbing problems, not to mention an unpleasant odor. Especially during the holidays monitor what you are putting into your disposal. No-no’s include bones, celery, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits, grease, pasta and potato peels.

Ice Maker. It’s never a bad idea to dump your ice maker and give the ice bin a good cleaning. Just make sure it’s rinsed thoroughly before returning it to your freezer.  As it reloads, monitor it to make sure it’s loading properly and in a timely manner. If it’s slow or not functioning properly, you’ll need to do some investigating (or have a professional do it for you) to find the source of the problem. You can never have too much ice with several guests in your home!

Tubs/Showers. With multiple guests come multiple showers. Carve out some time to clean your shower heads and inspect it for clogged holes. And while you’re there, unscrew the drain cover and inspect your drain for unwanted debris, including hair.

Once you’re done, your home will be closer to providing a stress-free holiday season (at least with regard to your plumbing) for you and your guests.

 

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!

Protect Your Plumbing During a Major Storm or Flood

It’s no secret that Hurricane Season 2017 is upon us. Americans have already seen four strong hurricanes wreak havoc in the Gulf and the Atlantic. Thanks to many years of great communication campaigns, most people know exactly what to pack in their hurricane kits. But did you know there are a few steps you can take to help protect your home’s plumbing?

Check your drainage system. From gutters to downspouts, you want to make sure there are no blockages so that water can run freely away from your home. It’s also a good idea to check curbside drains and street culverts close to your home to rid them of any debris that may keep them from draining properly.

Check your sump pump. If you have a sump pump, check it to be sure it’s in good working order. This powerhorse can can be a big help in protecting your plumbing lines from flood waters as long as you have power. Before extreme situations, a battery back-up should be a consideration.

Know how to shut off your water. Before a major storm or rain event, it’s critical to locate your main water shut-off valve. Long before waters begin to rise, shut off the water in your home to prevent contaminated water from entering your system.

Check your sewer line. Are you experiencing drainage issues? Do you suspect a larger sewer line problem? Be sure to tackle these issues before storm season arrives. Heavy rains not only create problems for sewer lines, but they also make current problems much, much worse.

Inspect your property after the storm. Heavy rains, major storms and floods can wreak havoc on your home’s property. After the storm passes, check your foundation for cracks or water damage and determine whether shrubs or trees have been moved as displaced roots can cause problems for underground sewage lines.

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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!

 

Fall Home Maintenance – Part One

As you say goodbye to August and hello to September, now is a good time to begin preparing your fall home maintenance list. With school activities, football games, holidays and family gatherings, there’s little time to complete these important tasks. To lend you a hand, the next few posts are dedicated to important tasks to schedule and complete this fall. So mark this page and read on!

Your Indoor Checklist:

Clean your refrigerator. Fall means family and friends’ gatherings. You’ll want to make sure you refrigerator is doing its job. So break out your favorite cleaners and some old-fashioned elbow grease. You can do it!

Clean your stove and oven. From baking pumpkin pies and chocolate chip cookies to roasting that turkey and Grandma’s favorite casserole, your oven will be seeing its share of activity this fall as well. Get it ready to shine!

Inspect the furnace. Have a heating professional inspect your furnace to ensure there’s no damage and that all is ready for the chilly weather ahead.

Clean your clothes washer. If you haven’t already done this, now’s a good time. Just check your owner’s manual for any specifics related to your model and get cleaning.

Check your dryer exhaust tube and vent for lint and debris. Clothes dryers can be a hazard if they aren’t well maintained. If you aren’t sure how to complete this task, contact a professional who can make sure your dryer will work safely into the next year.

Clean out your laundry room. Because dryers can be a hazard, keeping your laundry
room clean and free of extra clutter is another positive step in making sure your home is safe.

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a no-brainer. You can test them if you’ve recently replaced batteries. However, if you’re not sure you last changed batteries, toss the batteries and install new ones. A few extra dollars could save your family and your home.

Clean out your mudroom. This one’s simple. Remove all the summer items like pool towels, sunscreen and flips flops and make room for gloves, coats and hats.

Clean your chimney. Contact a professional who can ensure your chimney is ready for the first fire of fall.

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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!

What Not To Flush

 

While some toilet clogs are accidents – maybe a toy or other object was flushed accidentally – others are from lack of knowledge regarding what is appropriate to flush and what is not. Below, you’ll find a thorough list of items that are frequently flushed that can cause serious damage to your plumbing system or even the environment.

Feminine products – There’s a reason that commercial buildings’ restrooms are lined with, “Please do not flush feminine hygiene products” signs. The damage these can do can be very costly to business and homeowners alike.

Cooking grease/food – If it’s grease or oil or food, it doesn’t go in the toilet. Period.

Baby wipes/Wet wipes/Cleaning pads – It’s tempting. They look like toilet paper, but they’re not. Reality is that wet wipes are not designed to disintegrate like toilet paper.

Dental Floss – Floss is not biodegradable and can knot and tangle to cause seriously clogs.

Q-tips and Cotton Balls – They look like they should flush easily, but cotton balls can build up and clog easily, especially in the bends of the pipes.

Bandaids – The non-biodegradable plastic bandaids are made from means a potential nightmare for your plumbing lines as well as the environment.

Diapers – Though you can flush their contents down the toilet, a flushed diaper is a big no-no. If you actually manage to flush it, it’s next to impossible for it not to become lodged at some point in the plumbing lines.

Cat Litter – There are multiple reasons why this is a bad idea. From the toxicity of the litter to the potential contamination of your water supply by your cat’s feces, take the time to put it in the trash instead.

Prescription medication – So many homeowners look for a “safe” way to get rid of old medications. And while “out of sight” is safe for little ones, flushing medications is definitely not safe for ground water supply or wildlife.

Paper Towels – Paper towels are just not made to be flushed. While they may make it out of the toilet bowl when you flush them, the likelihood that they will cause a headache for you in the future is significant.

Cigarette butts – If you flush your cigarette butts, you’re creating potential toxic issues for septic systems and ground water supply.

To keep your toilet and plumbing lines in good working order, the best thing to do is flush toilet paper only. Anything else has the potential to create costly and sometimes embarrassing visits from your plumber.

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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!

Some Common Plumbing Myths

 

Indoor plumbing and access to water is one of the great luxuries of the modern world. However, it’s easy to take for granted the complexity of the plumbing mechanism unless it stops working. Below are a few common plumbing myths debunked to help prevent problems for your plumbing system now and in the future.

 

Myth: Flushable wipes are perfectly okay to flush down your toilet.

Fact: The truth is that “flushable wipes” can cause stress to your plumbing system. These wipes do not disintegrate properly and can cause blockages over time. The bottom line is that whether they are for your face or for your baby/toddler, it’s best to trash them and not flush them.

 

Myth: Normal to have low water pressure occasionally.

Fact: If you have low water pressure, you have an issue somewhere. Whether it’s a leak or a growing clog, any low water pressure should be investigated. It’s better to find a leak early, before it has time to cause greater damage, including mold growth.

 

Myth: Citrus peels are good for your drain and disposal.

Fact: Peels from lemons, limes, etc. may reduce bad odors, but they are not necessarily good for your disposal. Reality is that sometimes disposals don’t handle citrus rinds or peels very well and you then create a problem rather than fix one. The only thing that will really do the job without harming your disposal is an appropriate disinfectant and soap and water.

 

Myth: If water is going down your drain, then everything is functioning properly.

Fact: There can be a buildup down the line that will grow over time that you are unaware is present. If you are putting things down your drain, such as grease, oil or other liquids or foods that are not friendly to plumbing, beware. Your plumbing will at some point “bite back.”

 

Myth: Wire hangers are a good alternative to a professional “snake”

Fact: Wire hangers can damage your plumbing lining. While many people have used this method over the years, wire hangers can absolutely damage the inner surface of your plumbing.

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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!

Do You Have a Break in Your Sewer Line?

Unless a homeowner is a plumbing professional or has taken time to specifically learn about plumbing issues, it can be difficult to know when your home has a potentially serious plumbing problem.

One such issue is a breaking or broken sewer line. If you begin to notice the following issues around your home, it’s a good idea to take those signs seriously to prevent further or severe damage.

Easily clogged drains. While every home is bound to deal with clogged drains every now and then, drains that consistently clog in various areas of the home–even after attempts to clear them–could be a good sign that it’s time to call a professional to do some investigative work.

Slow draining sinks, tubs, dishwasher, etc. If you’ve previously cleared a sink or tub drain and it continues to drain slowly, or worse, it stops draining altogether, it may be time to call a professional.

 Soggy spots on your lawn. When a pipe in your sewer line breaks, the water will escape into the surrounding soil, thus creating a wet spot in your lawn. If you step into the wet area, it sometimes will make a “squish” sound.

Increase in your water bill. An average home’s water bill may fluctuate $10-15 dollars a month. However, if you find that your water bill has increased significantly and you have no specific reason to point to, it’s worth having a professional explore the issue.

Foul odors. If you are noticing frequent sewer gas odor in your home, it’s likely you have a problem, especially if the odor is combined with any of the above signs.

Are you breathing a sigh of relief, or have these items confirmed that you may have an issue? If it’s the latter, don’t wait to call a professional. Especially with plumbing and sewer lines, it’s much easier to fix a small problem before it becomes a bigger problem resulting mold or pest problems.

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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!

When Your Pilot Light on the Gas Hot Water Heater Goes Out

 

It can be frustrating to find out that the pilot light on your gas hot water tank is out.  Discovering that it has gone out often occurs at the most inconvenient times, like standing in your shower waiting for the hot water or trying to fill your sink to wash dishes.  Determining the reason why there’s no hot water can be a bit of trial and error since there can be several reasons for this problem.

Before moving on to more technical issues, lets begin with the basics.  Has there been an interruption in your gas supply?  Has there been any work done to any of the gas lines in your home?  What about any utility work in your neighborhood where the main gas line was turned off?  Even a brief interruption to your homes’ gas supply can cause the pilot light to go out.  Try relighting to see if that solves the problem.

If the pilot light won’t stay lit when there is a problem with the thermocouple.  What’s that, you ask? The thermocouple is a safety device that uses an electrical current powered by the pilot’s heat to determine if there is an unlit pilot.  If so, it turns off the gas supply to the pilot light.  A dirty, curved or damaged thermocouple can prevent your pilot from staying lit.  After turning off the gas, use a piece of sandpaper to clean the thermocouple.  If curved or bent, straighten it back to its original position.  If the thermocouple is damaged it will need to be replaced.  An experienced DIYer can do this, otherwise call your local plumber to handle it for you.

A few other reasons could be a dirty pilot tube, flex tube or main control valve.  If you’re wondering which of these issues is causing the problem, your best contact is your local plumber.  Whichever of these problems might be the issue, getting it resolved quickly is vital for everyone.

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!

Your Plumber Can Do More Than “Fix-It”

 

Many people believe that the only time to call a plumber is when you have a clogged pipe or a leaking water line.  But in reality, there are many occasions when a licensed plumber is needed. Are you building a new home?  Do you want to add a bathroom, or move a sink in your existing home?  Then a licensed plumber is just what you need.

When building a new home, there is a ton of work to get your home water system (sewer lines, water lines and drains) installed, and a professional plumber can get it done efficiently.  Each state has specific guidelines for the installation of plumbing in a new home, and a professional plumber is trained and licensed to meet these guidelines.  This ensures that all of your home water system is working properly, and gives you peace of mind.

What about that kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room remodel?  All these projects can require removing old water lines, installing new pipes, relocating sinks, showers and tubs.  With the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room being busy, popular rooms in your home, you need the plumbing supplying water to them working at their best.  Your local professional plumber can make certain everything is installed correctly and passes local state code requirements.

So, think of your local plumber as more than just a fix-it company.  They are available to help with many home projects, both new construction and existing home improvement.  Give them a call to discuss any projects you might be considering to make certain your home water system performs at its best.

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!

Remove Odors From Your Refrigerator

The new year is here, but there may be some leftovers from 2016 hanging around — literally. After the dinners, parties and celebrations, your refrigerator may still be housing leftovers, expired items, or produce that’s past its freshness, causing bad smells to take over your refrigerator and be difficult to remove. The following steps can help you deal with this problem.

  1. Remove and Clean.  To start, turn the temperature control to off to prevent the refrigerator from cooling while you have the door open to clean. Next, remove all items from the refrigerator, discarding any old or out-of-date items. Then, remove shelves, vegetable bins and inside door sections to prepare for washing. Using warm, soapy water, wipe down the sides, inside the door, bottom, and any non-removable shelves. Be sure and clean the rubber seal around the door as well. Make sure to dry everything well after washing.
  2. Deodorize. Place an open box of baking soda or a plate of freshly ground coffee in the refrigerator for 24 hours to absorb odors. Some people like to leave a box of baking soda in the refrigerator all the time to help prevent odors. If using the ground coffee, after the 24 hours, add it to your soil to fertilize your garden.
  3. Set Temperature. Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are set to the manufacturer’s recommended settings. The temperature being too high or too low can contribute to spoilage, and reduce the life of produce. This can lead to more odors issues.
  4. Freshen.  Add a few drop of Vanilla (extract or essential oil) to a cotton ball and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Lemon slices placed around the refrigerator can also create a nice aroma.
  5. Prevent. Different foods require different storage conditions to maintain the longest shelf life. Make sure foods are kept in sealed containers and stored in the proper bins (i.e., vegetable, dairy, meat) to help them last longer. Check your refrigerator weekly to remove old food and prevent odors from developing.

 

Your refrigerator is a work horse for your family. Cleaning it regularly will keep it fresh and odor free.

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!