Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Inspecting Your Sump Pump

Spring arrives in 13 days, 4 hours and counting – have you begun your “honey-do” list yet?

Procrastinating can and will cost you a lot of money in the end.  Your basement flooding is most often caused by water build up in the soil that makes its way into your basement. There are many ways for water to enter your home and many ways to prevent it from entering. A sump pump is a your last defense against flooding because it pumps out water from the lowest section of your basement before the water level reaches the basement floor. As groundwater levels rise, it is diverted into the sump hole and when the water reaches what is called ‘the critical level’, the sump pump begins to pump it out through a pipe that leads outside and away from your foundation.  

Inspecting your sump pump should be a task that you put on your calendar twice a year: once during the spring and once during the fall when Daylight Savings Time comes around. It is a very simple task: you fill a pail with water and pour the water into your sump pit and repeat until the pump turns on or the water level is at the top of the pit. If your pump does not turn on, make sure it is plugged in. If it is plugged in and has not turned on, call the Plumb Magic team of licensed plumbers as soon as you can. If you wait and we get a severe thunderstorm it may be too late to save your basement and all your valuables.

Sump pumps don’t last a lifetime and they may not always function at their optimal capacity. Your pump could become clogged, the float can get stuck and stop the motor from working or someone may have inadvertently unplugged the pump without you knowing. There are simply too many variables to allow it to go without at least bi-yearly maintenance. There is however some protection for your home and valuables that you may not know exists.

How will YOU know that your sump pump has failed? You usually find out when your basement is flooded and all the furniture you were saving to give your kids when they go off to college is floating in 2 feet of water. But by the time your basement is flooded it's too late. Wouldn't it be great if there were some way you could be warned BEFORE the basement flooded? Wouldn't it be great if there were an alarm to sound an alarm warning you of the impending catastrophe?

Simply stated, having a sump pump is not enough to make your home secure and flood free when heavy rains and floods occur. The sump pump can break down and go unnoticed until the water destroys the entire basement. That is why it is advisable to add a sump pump alarm. You will never have to worry about your basement flooding again. The alarms have water detectors that are designed to go off when it comes in contact with water. When the water detector senses the presence of water at its tip, the alarm sounds and you are alerted that your sump pump is malfunctioning or has stopped working altogether. Using this simple and cost effective device enables you to save your home in time before real damage occurs.

Call the team of Plumb Magic plumbing wizards now to set up an appointment. Your basement, your home and your family can be worry free in no time. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Home Plumbing Maintenance Checklist

Homeowners – it is that time of year.  Time to check through your home’s plumbing system.  I know that there are many things on your “honey do” lists and the plumbing maintenance is just one of them.  Though it is not a task you enjoy it is one that should be kept up with throughout the year.  I have created a checklist to help you look for plumbing problems as well as potential problems that should be addressed before they become a real issue.

Going line-by-line on the checklist will help you with preventative care and maintenance of your home’s plumbing.

When thinking about your plumbing system, you need to first realize the number of appliances and pipes that are included in the system. This doesn’t only cover the plumbing system that operates toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs in your home, it also covers laundry facilities in your home for your washer, utility sinks, and drains that may be installed.

❏ Look for signs of leaks in exposed pipes, where pipes run through the walls or the foundation of your home. Signs of a leak include puddles of water and watermarks.
❏ Look for signs of corrosion. Corrosion of pipes can cause leaks and bad pipe connections if not corrected. A sign of corrosion is green stains around brass and copper fittings and on shutoff valves, and yellow or orange stains on old steel pipes.
❏ Test water pressure. Water pressure is how much force the water comes out of the sinks faucet and showerheads. Low water pressure can be a sign of sediment build up in the faucet or showerhead. It may also be a sign of a problem with the water line.
❏ Remove the showerhead to look for any sediment that may have collected in it. This may be a cause of low water pressure.
❏ Check each sink, shower and tub drain for the speed of drainage. Slow drainage usually indicates a clog in the drain or a blocked vent pipe. Your drains should have a full swirl when draining. If bubbles appear when water is draining, this is usually a sign of a problem. If there are gurgling sounds, there may be venting problems
❏ Check the flushing handle and inside parts of the toilets. Flush each toilet to make sure that it is flushing properly. Check the parts inside the tank of the toilet to see if any parts are broken, rusted, or missing. Make sure the toilet water does not continue to run after flushing and make sure there is no sign of water on the floor around the toilet.
❏ Look for cracked tiles in the shower, around sinks, or near water pipes in the home. Loose or hollow tiles can be an indication that there is, or was, a leak that has caused rotting underneath or behind the tile. Water that goes through the cracks will look like a plumbing leak on the ceiling below.
❏ See if tub, sink or toilet caulking is coming off.
❏ Check for mildew, which is caused by standing water that may have dried up again.
❏ Push and pull gently on each toilet to see if it rocks or moves.
❏ Look inside the burner chamber of the home’s water heater. See if there are any flakes of rust inside of the chamber. Also, check the flame of the water heater, which should be a blue color with no signs of yellow in the flame. If you see a yellow color, this may mean that the jets need to be cleaned.
❏ You should drain the water heater to remove sediment that may have built up in it.
❏ Turn on all of the faucets in your home to see if there is any water coming out of the handles and valves.
❏ Check the washing machine hoses to make sure that there aren’t any cracks and that the hoses are not brittle or leaking. Washing machine leaks are common insurance claims. The best hoses are braided stainless, or other high-pressure material.

By running through this checklist on an annual or bi-annual basis, you can check your home for plumbing problems or potential plumbing problems. Addressing these problems on a regular basis can help you to prevent the problems from becoming worse, which can save you quite a bit of money on the long run. Taking a few minutes to inspect your plumbing system is time well spent.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How To Clean Your Water Pipes

Water pipe maintenance should be part of your regular home maintenance. If ignored, damaged water pipes can cost you a huge amount of money. Since clogging, rusting and mineral deposits occur through time, you have to keep your system clean to prevent these problems from happening. Plumb Magic plumbers recommend the use of Bio-Clean rather than using harsh chemicals and commercial cleaners to maintain the plumbing system. 


WHAT IS BIO-CLEAN?


BIO-CLEAN is... a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are natural, not genetically-engineered. The enzyme concentration is the most powerful on the market.


SAFE
Bio-Clean is non-poisonous. It creates no heat, no fumes, no boiling. It does not attack live tissue nor inorganic materials, only organic wastes like grease, hair, food particles, paper, cotton & sewage. This makes BIO-CLEAN safe for people, plumbing and the environment. BIO-CLEAN changes the waste particles into water, carbon dioxide and mineral ash which run harmlessly out of your waste system. These elements are then available for plant life.


EFFECTIVE
Within an hour after pouring the bacteria into the drain, the bacteria begin to eat their way into the waste that has accumulated on the sides and top of the drain pipe. This is their natural food. They digest the waste and spread throughout your system, cleaning it completely.


MULTIPURPOSE
• Residential and commercial applications.  All drain and sewer pipes, including: 
• Kitchen Sinks 
• Lavatories 
• Bath tubs 
• Showers Floor drains 
• Laundry drains 
• Septic tanks and drain fields
• Garbage disposal odors
• Grease traps
• Sewage ejector sumps
• Outdoor outhouses and cesspools
• R.V. & boat holding tanks
• Lift StationsCat Litter Boxes


ECONOMICAL
• 100 drain treatments per 2 lb. container
• 2lb. container treats 1,000 gallon septic tank
• Eliminates the need to clean grease traps and cable drains
• Eliminates the need to buy dangerous chemicals
• Eliminates the need to buy deodorant blocks (urinals.)
• Eliminates costly compensation to employees that have been injured by using dangerous chemicals.

Call one of our Plumbing Professionals anytime 540-370-0752 to learn more about BioClean.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tankless Water Heaters - An Endless Supply Of Hot Water

The holidays are here.  They bring with them all the things we look forward to all year: fun, good cheer and way too much food.  Then there are the houseguests.  Your Mother-in-law, Father-in-law and your 2nd cousin-twice removed now take over what was once your peaceful abode.  If ever you needed a nice hot shower to soothe your fragile nerves it is now.  But you find yourself waiting in line behind family members you decided you couldn't live with year ago and of course your 2nd cousin.  When you finally get to the shower you find nothing but a floor filled with wet towels and noting but ice-cold water.  I have a solution to the hot water situation but for your houseguests and the pile of wet towels you are on your own.  How?  Good question.  There can be a constant flow of hot water available from any faucet of your home, no matter how large or small, by simply investing in a tankless water heater, also known as demand water heaters or instantaneous heaters.


You may ask how that is possible and I can tell you but in order to understand how a tankless water heater works it is important to know how a standard water storage tank heater operates. In a traditional storage heater system, there is a large tank that continually holds and heats usually 50 gallons of water. In order to give you hot water when you need it, the tank has to continually heat that water to maintain a constant temperature. As you use it the system refills the tank and has to start the cycle again therefore using a high energy load as it fills and then holds the contents of the tank at a constant temperature. The energy used to keep the water hot even when it's not being used is called Standby Heat Loss. Tankless systems are able to avoid the "standby heat loss" by only heating water as you need it. This is why they are referred to as demand or instantaneous heaters. This elimination of the "standby heat loss" is what makes a tankless system more efficient and where the majority of your savings will come from month after month.

A tankless water heater uses a heat exchanger to raise the temperature. A heat exchanger is a device that conveys heat from one component of the system to another. In this case, it conveys heat generated by electric coils or a gas-fired burner to the water that travels through the coils and eventually comes out of your faucet. Unlike standard storage tank water heaters the exchanger is activated by the incoming flow of water and is dormant using zero energy when not in use. When you turn on your hot water tap, the incoming water circulates through the activated exchanger, which heats the cold water to your preset temperature. Then all you need is some soap, shampoo and a good lock and you're ready to wash, rinse and repeat.

There are two types of tankless systems: Point-Of-Use heaters and Whole-House heaters. Point-Of-Use systems are smaller units only heating water for one or two faucets or fixtures such as your kitchen sink. They are generally electric and due to their size, can fit under a cabinet or in a closet. They're beneficial because they can be installed closer to your fixture. Whole House heaters are gas fired or electric and designed to serve an entire house, apartment, condo, or cabin, where multiple points of water use will exist.

The installation of a tankless water heater requires a licensed, qualified plumber or technician to do the job for several reasons. First, in order to make sure that the manufacturer's warranty remains valid, the plumber or technician must install the water heater according to the manufacturer's specifications or the warranty may be void. Secondly, installation may also require a permit and must meet building code requirements. Lastly, if you don't buy the right size or type of water heater system, it will not work correctly. This is not a do-it-yourself project please let your licensed plumbing contractor handle the job.


Tankless water heaters are a viable and easy way to save thousands of dollars over their lifetimes. Besides the energy savings we mentioned earlier they are designed to last 20- 30 years compared to the 15-20 years from the conventional water storage units. Like the conventional units, maintenance is suggested to optimize your unit's lifespan and efficiency. Maintenance is easy but should be done by a qualified and licensed plumber. Without maintaining your tankless water heater you may only get half it's expected lifespan and your efficiency returns may not give you the return on your investment as expected. So be sure to protect your investment by having a plumber thoroughly flush the tank and give your equipment general maintenance once per year.

Enjoy your holidays and treat yourself to a gift that will continue to save you money month after month and year after year.

Michael Taggert, Licensed Master Plumber and Owner of Plumb Magic LLC. has over 20 years experience in the plumbing industry. Mr. Taggert is a Certified Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Installer and Dealer. http://www.PlumbMagicllc.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Simple Tips To Fix A Clogged Drain


The fact is, most chemical drain cleaners generate heat through the use of caustic chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Lye) or reclaimed sulfuric acid (Battery Acid) Do You really want this stuff in your home? There are some safer methods.

Two simple plumbing tips:

Use a Plunger:
The plunger, referred to as the "plumber's friend", will often clear up the clogged or slow drain. If you do not already own a plunger you can purchase one at your local home improvement store.
You will need to get the most suction as possible. If you are working on a clogged double sink plug the other sink with a stopper or wet rag. (* plumbing tip put a thin coating of petroleum jelly on the base of the plunger to get a tighter fit and better suction) Place the plunger over the drain and push down - pull back just a bit without breaking the seal. Do this 10-15 times then pull up quickly. If the water rushes down the drain you're done. If not try the process again.
You can repeat this process several times however, if the clog remains after the first few times it may be time to try something else. If you can locate your trap under the sink, simply remove the clean-out plug and pull the materials causing the problem from the trap. This will require some tools and some minor working knowledge of plumbing. If you do not have access or do not want to try this on your own call a plumbing professional to assist you or simply try the natural enzymes below.
Using Natural Enzymes:
Another cause of a clogged drain could be a result of a build up of biofilm (and occasionally a small toy). Basically, biofilm is a glue like substance that holds clogs together. There are many products on the market today but how do you know if you are using the best of the best. If you are unsure or you simply want someone else to handle the issue for you - call your plumber. However, if you wish to tackle this very annoying plumbing issue look for a product that contains natural enzymes. Natural enzymes turn most drain build ups into harmless liquids and send them safely down the drain. In fact using a natural enzyme product on a monthly basis will keep your home's plumbing systems clean, safe and running freely for the lifetime of your home.
Brought to you by Michael Taggert, Licensed Master Plumber and Owner of Plumb Magic LLC. Mr. Taggert has over 20 years experience in the plumbing industry, studying and working under the tutelage of his father. Mr. Taggert brings his eye for design and quality to your home to make your plumbing woes disappear. www.PlumbMagicllc.com

Simple Tips To Fix A Clogged Drain


The fact is, most chemical drain cleaners generate heat through the use of caustic chemicals such as Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Lye) or reclaimed sulfuric acid (Battery Acid) Do You really want this stuff in your home? There are some safer methods.
Two simple plumbing tips:
Use a Plunger:
The plunger, referred to as the "plumber's friend", will often clear up the clogged or slow drain. If you do not already own a plunger you can purchase one at your local home improvement store.
You will need to get the most suction as possible. If you are working on a clogged double sink plug the other sink with a stopper or wet rag. (* plumbing tip put a thin coating of petroleum jelly on the base of the plunger to get a tighter fit and better suction) Place the plunger over the drain and push down - pull back just a bit without breaking the seal. Do this 10-15 times then pull up quickly. If the water rushes down the drain you're done. If not try the process again.
You can repeat this process several times however, if the clog remains after the first few times it may be time to try something else. If you can locate your trap under the sink, simply remove the clean-out plug and pull the materials causing the problem from the trap. This will require some tools and some minor working knowledge of plumbing. If you do not have access or do not want to try this on your own call a plumbing professional to assist you or simply try the natural enzymes below.
Using Natural Enzymes:
Another cause of a clogged drain could be a result of a build up of biofilm (and occasionally a small toy). Basically, biofilm is a glue like substance that holds clogs together. There are many products on the market today but how do you know if you are using the best of the best. If you are unsure or you simply want someone else to handle the issue for you - call your plumber. However, if you wish to tackle this very annoying plumbing issue look for a product that contains natural enzymes. Natural enzymes turn most drain build ups into harmless liquids and send them safely down the drain. In fact using a natural enzyme product on a monthly basis will keep your home's plumbing systems clean, safe and running freely for the lifetime of your home.
Brought to you by Michael Taggert, Licensed Master Plumber and Owner of Plumb Magic LLC.  Mr. Taggert has over 20 years experience in the plumbing industry, studying and working under the tutelage of his father.  Mr. Taggert brings his eye for design and quality to your home to make your plumbing woes disappear.  www.PlumbMagicllc.com