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Thawing Frozen Pipes – Part Three

During the winter months in North Carolina, it’s not uncommon to experience several days of sub-freezing temperatures. This winter, the Piedmont Triad has experienced some of its most brutal cold weather in years. Consequently, many Triad residents have faced the dreaded issue of having their pipes freeze.

While frozen pipes do burst, if you can thaw them before the pressure builds and cracks the pipe, you may be able to save yourself a significant amount of grief. If you are not comfortable thawing the pipes, please call a professional to help you do so. However, if you feel good about your ability to do so, get your pen and paper ready. Below you’ll find four ways to thaw your frozen pipes.

Before you begin, please read these previous posts to make sure you have prepared and have taken the appropriate safety precautions. In addition, before you being thawing the pipe, make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is. If the pipe begins to burst, shut off the main water supply immediately to limit the amount of damage to your home.

To thaw accessible frozen pipes:

(Whichever method you choose, make sure to continue to apply the heat until the water from your faucet returns to full force.)

Use a Hair Dryer. This is an oldie but a goodie. Grab your hair dryer, turn it on high heat and point it at the area closest to the faucet and slowly move down the pipe.

Use a Heat Lamp or Portable Space Heater. If you own a one of these devices, you’re in luck. This is one of the fastest ways to thaw a frozen pipe. Simply move the heat lamp or space heater to a spot close enough to the pipe for the heat to reach the frozen area.

Use a Hot Towels. Though this is a slower process, placing hot towels around the frozen pipe can still be effective. Simply run a hot bath or shower and wet your towels with the steamy water. Then wrap the towels around the frozen pipe.

Use Electrical Heating Tape. Last but not least, electrical heating tape which can be purchased from your local hardware store is an excellent option. Simply attach the electrical heating tape to the frozen pipe, and the tape will distribute heat along the pipe.

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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!

 

 

Thawing Frozen Pipes – The Risks


Although warm weather has provided a brief respite from freezing temperatures, they are back with a vengeance. Consequently, so is the likelihood of frozen pipes. In earlier posts, you can find tips to how to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Unfortunately though, there is not a way to guarantee that you will never have frozen pipes, regardless of the precautions you take.

That’s why understanding how to thaw pipes is an important and helpful skill to have. But before you get started, it’s important to know that there are risks involved:

Starting a Fire. Because most methods to thaw pipes involve a heat source, if the process is not managed using caution, the possibility of an accidental fire is real.

Potential Electrocution. Often, the means to thaw pipes involves electrical appliances that are plugged in to an outlet. So, if you are thawing the pipes in the manner, remember that electricity and water can create a dangerous situation instantaneously if a pipe does burst. Because of this, it’s critical to plan carefully to avoid this possibility.

Bursting a Pipe. If frozen pipes are not thawed correctly, the pipes can and will burst. You’ll not only have a mess on your hands but a potentially dangerous situation that can cause significant harm to your home.

If you decide to thaw the pipes yourself, then Part Two of this series will explain the safest ways to do this. But if you would prefer to call a professional, make sure that they are insured and bonded. Though they may cost you more upfront, if anything goes wrong, it can literally save you thousands of dollars.

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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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Everyday Wisdom from your Plumber – Part One

 

Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NCMost people only talk to their plumber when there is a problem that needs fixing. But few take advantage of the wealth of knowledge he or she can provide regarding how to prevent those very issues before they start. To that end, below you’ll find several nuggets of wisdom from Go Green Plumbers to help make sure you’re doing what is best for your plumbing system and your home .

EVERYONE in your home should know where the main shut off valve is located. If there is a leak, or a pipe bursts, the first thing you need to do to minimize damage to your home is to turn of the water. This can be critically important to protecting your home.

Never, ever, ever flush “flushable wipes” … or any wipe other than toilet tissue for that matter. They will clog your toilet-even though their marketing information says otherwise-causing you expensive plumbing repairs. Toilet tissue is the only tissue that should be flushed.

The cost of a yearly plumbing inspection can be worth its weight in gold. These annual check-ups for your plumbing system are equivalent to your annual physical. An inspection is the perfect opportunity to find issues that could grow into bigger, more costly problems, ultimately saving you time, frustration – and money.

A water heater is only meant to last a certain number of years, it will not last forever. After the manufacturer’s “life expectancy” has been reached, it’s reasonable to expect expensive issues to arise. Thus, purchasing a new water heater in a timely manner is often the more economical choice if you begin running into larger repair expenses.

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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!

Teaching Your Children To Use Toilet Paper

When it comes to toilet paper, a little good judgement goes a long way. While most adults have a sense of how much is too much, young children can have a harder time discerning the proper amount of toilet paper to use.

Thankfully toilet paper isn’t that expensive, but using too much can add up over time. To make matters worse, too much toilet paper can lead to problems like clogged and overflowing toilets. It can also create bigger problems for your septic system down the road which can mean costly repairs.

To help teach your child the finer points of toilet paper use, consider trying one of the following tactics.

Count the squares. This one is pretty straightforward. Determine a number of toilet paper squares that you and your child decide is appropriate and let them count out the squares and then tear them off.

Draw a line/Mark the Spot. This is as easy as it gets. Take a pencil and simply draw a line on the wall under the toilet paper roll to show your child how far to pull the toilet paper out. When they reach the line, tear the toilet paper. If you prefer, you can mark the spot with a small arrow sticker.

Make a measuring ribbon. This one takes a little more time, but it is probably the most aesthetically pleasing. Either purchase an attractive ribbon, or find one that you have at home. Measure the length that represents the number of paper squares that you’ve agreed on and cut the ribbon, leaving about an inch to an inch and a half extra on each end. Then affix the ribbon to the toilet roll holder and slip a small bead on the opposite end of the ribbon to add some weight. Finally, tie a knot adjacent to the bead and let the ribbon hang. Voila!

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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!

 

Holiday Home Prep (Part 4): Electrical Systems

As you prepare for holiday house guests, it’s important to remember your home’s electrical systems. Carving out some time to ensure all your systems are functioning safely and properly can mean a more comfortable visit for your friends and family.

Furnace Check Up. If you haven’t already done it, schedule your annual furnace check up with your local heating and air service provider. Once complete, you can enjoy your guests with confidence, knowing you’ll be warm and toasty as you sip your mulled cider this holiday season. In addition, take a few minutes before they arrive to change your air filters, especially if family members or friends staying with you have allergies.

Lamps and light fixtures. Do you have any bulbs out? Or maybe a switch that’s not working correctly? Take some time to fix these so that you and your guests aren’t bothered by unnecessary dark corners or closets.

Child-Proofing Outlets. If you guest list includes small children, make sure that you’ve gone through your home to child-proof your home as much as possible. While no home is completely child-proof, a handful of safety plugs for your electric outlets and rearranging furniture to avoid easy climbing are small tasks that your guests will be ever grateful for when they arrive.

Fire/Carbon Monoxide Alarms. With the holidays come flickering candles, fires in the fireplace and cold weather that requires cranking up the heater. And while all of these are simple pleasures, they can bring dangers if not monitored properly. If you’ve been meaning to get those carbon monoxide detectors and just haven’t done it yet, put it on your to-do list and make it happen.

Also, grab extra batteries for your fire alarms and schedule some time this weekend to test and replace batteries to ensure your alarms are fully functioning. (Daylight Savings is this Sunday, Nov 5, and is a good time to schedule alarm checks and battery replacements).

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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: The Kitchen (Part 2)

 

Now that you have the big picture with regard to preparing for your house for the holidays, get your pencil and paper out. Below are some helpful tips for inspecting those appliances.

Refrigerator/Freezer. Besides your oven, what will be the most used appliance in your home in the next couple of months? You guessed it. Your refrigerator/freezer. The best advice comes from the experts at Popular Mechanics magazine, who recommend tightening screws on door handles, fixing loose or misaligned door gaskets and repositioning food in your refrigerator and freezer around the cold air and freezer vents. And while you’re there, inspect the freezer vent to be sure it isn’t blocked with ice. Next, replace bulbs where needed – you’re going to want to be able to find what you’re looking for in that full refrigerator!!

Oven. Unless you plan to clean your oven in the next week or two for the holidays, you may want to wait until the New Year. Why? While your oven’s self-cleaning feature is convenient, it is also very taxing on your oven. With the amount of cooking that you’ll be doing, combined with a self-cleaning run before, it can be too much for your oven, resulting in a complete shut down. Something you definitely don’t want on Thanksgiving Eve.

If you’re desperate, the alternative would be to clean your oven old-school style and save the self-cleaning option for after the holidays.

Dishwasher. Check your drain to remove any debris, be it paper, glass or food particles that have gotten lodged there. And any dishwasher will benefit from a good wipe down. Run a damp cloth over the key players: the door gasket and outside of the dishwasher as well as the spray arm and the dishwasher tub.

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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!

Is That Rust In Your Water?

 

So you turn on your faucet for a refreshing glass of water and after your first sip, you realize the water tastes metallic. Upon further inspection, you see small orange particles floating in your glass. What is it? In most cases it’s rust. And while it’s an annoyance and something that needs to be addressed, fortunately, it’s not harmful to most people. The only exception would be for people who have hemochromatosis, which allows the body to accumulate excessive iron levels.

Rust can truly happen to anyone, depending on the age of your pipes and water heater, as well as your local water supply system. And while some people may go a lifetime and never deal with rust in their water supply, others will face this challenge. So what should you do if you think you have rust in your water supply? Find its location.

The potential source of rust is one of three locations: Your pipes, your hot water heater or your local water supply system. To help identify the location, you can run your own test. First, turn on the cold tap and fill a glass of water. Second, turn on the hot water tap and take a second sample. And lastly, let the tap water run for a few minutes and take a third sample.

If you see rust in either the cold tap or the hot water tap, then the problem is potentially in your home’s water system. The cold tap would signal rust in your piping, while the hot water tap would point to the hot water heater. However, if the rust is in all three samples, then the source may be your local water supply system.

Regardless of where the rust is, to identify the exact location you’ll need a professional plumber to help you. Once you’ve found the culprit, the only solution is to replace materials in question to get you on your way to rust-free water again.

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!

 

Is Your Toilet Leaking?

Toilet leaks can be difficult to identify. Consequently, they can continue for a long time without being noticed. During that time, hundreds of gallons of water and money can be wasted and damage done. The good news? Most toilet leaks can be fixed without too much of a hassle. So what should you do if you suspect your toilet has a leak? Here are a few tips for you to try.

To detect a leaking toilet, remove the tank lid and place a few drops of food coloring in the back of the toilet tank. Wait 30 minutes and check to see if any food coloring has entered the toilet bowl water. If the water is clear, the toilet is not leaking. If you see food coloring in the bowl you have a leak. So, what now?

There are a few common toilet leak issues that are relatively easy to fix. First, a leaking toilet can be caused by a worn or cracked flapper, which is the rubber valve in the base of the tank that lifts up when the toilet is flushed. If the flapper is damaged, water can flow from the tank into the bowl without flushing.

Second, if your flush handle is not functioning properly, your toilet will run continuously, wasting gallons of water daily. Typically, this is because your flush level bar and chain or the flush handle are sticking. Simply adjust the nut that secures the level bar and chain in the toilet tank and/or replace the flushing handle.

And third, you may have an issue with your overflow tube. In a perfect world, your toilet water level should even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank which is about half an inch below the overflow tube. If the toilet water is too high in the tank and is spilling into the overflow tube, you can adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by gently bending the float arm downward so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.

If you find that your leak is not resolved after checking these issues, you should call a professional to assess the situation quickly and ensure that no further damage is done. It is critically important to resolve any water leak issues quickly and effectively so that they do not lead to much larger issues.

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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!