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Cleaning Bathroom Mold & Mildew

So how do you prevent mold growth? The first step is to be vigilant about keeping your bathroom dry and well-ventilated. When you take a shower or bath, turn on your vent fan or even open a window. After bathing, make sure any accidentally spilled water is off the floor and your towel is hung up so that it can dry thoroughly. Don’t throw it down and let it sit in a corner – that’s asking for trouble. In addition, wiping the water around your sink up on a regular basis can help keep the moisture at bay.

But what to do if mold and mildew are already growing? There are several different options from borax to bleach, but one of the most natural and effective methods is using white vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar reportedly can get rid of up to 82 percent of molds. So why not give it a try before bringing out the harsher chemicals?

If you’ve discovered mold growth in your bathroom, fill a small spray bottle with undiluted vinegar. Spray the area that you want to clean with vinegar and let it sit for up to two hours, but no less than one hour. Next, take a soft clean cloth and scrub the mold. If you need something stronger, a scouring pad or old toothbrush are great for this task as well.

After you’ve scrubbed away the mold, rinse the area thoroughly. If you can still see a few spots, mix a paste of three parts baking soda and one part water. Next, apply the paste to the hard-to-remove and hard-to-reach areas, then spray with white vinegar. Scrub with old toothbrush or scouring pad again and then rinse.

At this point, unless the mold is severe, you should have a clean area. In the case that you still have mold that’s not budging, it may be time to break out the bleach for further cleaning. If you do this, make sure that you’ve thoroughly rinsed the area with water so that the bleach and vinegar do not mix.

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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!

Common Summer Plumbing Issues To Avoid

Now that summer has arrived, the last thing you want to deal with is plumbing issues. Unfortunately, there are some issues that arise more often during the summer months than others. Below you’ll find a list of those most common summer plumbing issues and how you can avoid them – and move on to more important issues – like vacation.

Clogged Disposal. With fresh produce at the ready during the spring and summer, homeowners can put extra stress on their disposals and not even know it. To avoid it clogging, limit – or avoid altogether – disposing of hard produce such as melon rinds or corn cobs in your garbage disposal. Also, be sure not to pour used cooking oil or grease into the disposal.  When you are using it for appropriate biodegradable items, run cold water briefly before and after you use it help flush the food through the disposal.

Sewer Line Backups. Summer is the time for late afternoon thunderstorms and rain. While we need rain to make our flowers and gardens grow, an abundance of rain can enter into sewer pipes through cracks and cause the sewer line to back up. Tree roots that spread underground can also cause cracked pipes. If you see any signs of sewer line trouble such as water from the toilet backing up into the bathtub drain, call a qualified plumber right away. He or she may recommend a sewer line replacement if the damage is extensive.

Washing Machine Maintenance. Your washing machine may get more of a workout during the summer as well. With children out of school and more time spent outside, including days at the pool or the beach, there’s more laundry to wash, consequently more stress on your washer. And note, it’s best to stay at home while the machine is running, so that if a problem arises you can stop the cycle immediately and call a professional if needed.

Clogged Toilets. Household toilets are also used more regularly in the summer, thanks to children using the bathroom during the day. Most clogs are fairly simple to clear with a plunger, but if you need additional help, call in a professional.

Sprinkler Issues. If you have sprinklers embedded in your lawn, be sure to inspect and clean the heads before the season begins. When you are mowing the lawn, be careful to do so when the sprinkler heads are lowered to avoid damaging them.

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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!

 

Handling Problems With Your Residential Well Pump

 

If your home has a well as its water source you will encounter issues that those living with municipal water access do not.  Although a well provides lower monthly costs, the maintenance and repairs involved in having a pressure tank, switches and pump come with their own issues.  Below are some areas to check if you begin having problems.

Check the power supply if you have no running water.  Power surges and blackouts can trip your electrical circuit breaker, shutting down your system.  Locate the correct circuit breaker for your well pump, switch off, then on again.  Once the circuit breaker is back on, you should have running water again if this is the problem.

Too much of a demand on your water system can trip the pressure switch, and shut the system down.  Locate the pressure switch, a silver bar on the side of a gray box on top of the feed line.  The pressure switch should be at an upward angle.  If  tripped, it will be at a downward angle.  To reset, close the water valves going to the delivery system.  Lift the pressure switch until it engages.  Once the pressure tank refills, slowly reopen the water valves.

Next, check the pressure tank for correct pressure.  The default setting for the pressure switch is 30 psi (pounds per square inch), and the tank should be 2 psi less making it 28 psi.  A lower air pressure can indicate a waterlogged tank, or an air bladder break.  Both issues would require a professional to determine if a repair can be done, or if a new tank is needed.

Discolored water or smells from rust, iron, sulfur, calcium, magnesium and other minerals can also present problems.  Contacting a water treatment specialist can help determine what steps are needed to correct the problem.  Keeping your well pump maintained and in good repair will keep it working for many years, providing your family with all the water it needs.

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!

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!

Household Cleaners:  Taking Control of Their Impact on You, Your Home and Environment

It’s no secret that we all enjoy living in a clean, germ-free home.  That’s why we’re always looking for household cleaners that will effectively disinfect surfaces and keep our homes free of harmful organisms while removing dust and big and small stains.  But beware. Many household cleaners can also negatively impact your family’s health and environment.clean-counter

From watery eyes and skin rashes to chemical burns and respiratory irritation, reactions to certain household cleaners happen all too often. Even bleach — though a popular cleaner and disinfectant — if not handled carefully, can be hazardous. For example, if bleach is accidentally mixed with ammonia, chlorine, lye or acids, (all of which can be found in oven cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners) the combination can be toxic.

While cleaners can impact homeowners’ health, it’s not surprising that some can cause incremental damage to our home and its surroundings as well. Harsh drain cleaners — while effectively unclogging your drain — can also damage your pipes.  Even the suds and residue from cleaners, soaps and shampoos can build up over time, causing clogs while weakening your plumbing.

Unfortunately, even when the best efforts are made to limit exposure to our environment, it’s difficult for even the most conscientious homeowner to prevent some of the cleaners from entering community water systems. For example, chemicals from drain and other household cleaners are washed or flushed down our drains into our water system each time we clean.  Although most pollutants are removed by waste treatment facilities, nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia remain. The result is an overgrowth of vegetation and algae in our waterways that can harm wildlife.

All that said, there are times we may need to use some of these powerful chemicals for cleaning. The goal though, is to be aware of the effect they can have on us and our environment so that you can benefit from their strength while limiting their negative impact on your family, home and environment. By limiting their usage, it also encourages you, the homeowner, to identify more natural ways to keep your home spotless.

Wondering what some of those natural cleaning remedies are? Make sure to check out our next blog where we will be touching on natural, effective ways to keep your humble abode clean!