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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!

 

 

Everyday Wisdom From Your Plumber – Part Two

Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NCWish you could have prevented that plumbing issue that created thousands of dollars of damage? Sure you do. And do you know where to find that information? It’s as easy as calling your plumber. To get you started, below you’ll find a few nuggets of wisdom from your technicians at Go Green Plumbing.

If you are using a septic tank, know that it must be emptied periodically. This is an issue that can cause unnecessary headaches and very real problems. If your septic tank is full, inevitably your plumbing system will back up and it won’t be pretty – or inexpensive.

Identifying and using a good bacteria and enzyme product on your septic system is a wise investment. The bacteria and enzymes will work to break down the waste in the septic, helping to alleviate any back up issues that may begin otherwise.  There are a few different brands, but one that Go Green Plumbing recommends is BioClean.

Limit your use of bleach if you are on a septic system. Though you’re using the Clorox in your home for cleaning, when it’s flushed or washed down the sink, it can kill the good bacteria that is working to break down the waste in your septic tank.

Have your water tested periodically. Heavy levels of sediment and minerals can damage fixtures internally and externally and will shorten the lifespan of their system. If you have a high level of sediment or minerals in your water supply, consider a water purifier for your home.

Washing machine hoses are the number one cause of home flooding. Checking, replacing, making sure they have braided stainless steel hoses instead of plastic hoses can save you several thousands of dollars in the long run.

Always disconnect outdoor hoses from hose bibs when you expect freezing temperatures. In addition, always cover the outdoor faucet for temperatures below 32 degrees.  If you don’t do this, the frozen water in hoses and faucets can create the perfect storm causing water lines to burst.

Turn off your water at the main valve when you are on vacation. By doing this, you’re preventing major damage to your home in the event of a water leak or burst 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!Go Green Plumbing, Greensboro, NC

Protect Your Pipes

Protecting your pipes from freezing this winter is no small matter. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, from 2005-2015, total claims for damage due to frozen pipes exceeded four billion dollars. The good news though is that frozen and burst pipes can be prevented with some regular maintenance and preventive action.

Keep in mind that your goal is to keep your home warm and thus your pipes warm, using your heating system supported by good insulation. This is yet another reason to have your HVAC checked each fall to make sure it’s in top shape. Also, each year about this time, take a walk around your home to determine what areas need the most attention, be it more insulation or a little extra insulation around pipes.

Keep your garage doors closed, especially if you have access to water lines in your garage.

If you expect a hard freeze, let your faucets drip and open lower cabinet doors to let the heat in under your sink to keep those pipes warmer.

Wrap exposed or vulnerable piping with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves that you can purchase at your local hardware store. Remember: any piping that runs through unheated areas like attics or basements are especially vulnerable to freezing.

Drain and disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets and store them for the winter. Next, wrap the outdoor faucets with foam or fiberglass sleeves. If you don’t have either of these on hand, grab an old t-shirt or towel, wrap it around the faucet, cover with a plastic Ziploc bag and duct tape it closed around the base of the faucet.

If you are going out of town and you expect temperatures to dip below freezing while you’re gone, turn off the water to your home and open all faucets to drain.

Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night.

If you do find yourself in the position of dealing with frozen and/or burst pipes, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we will send one of our expert plumbing technicians over as soon as possible.

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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: 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!