Avoiding Plumbing Emergencies When You Head Away on Vacation

Many families look forward to summer for months on end: backyard barbecues, pool parties, beach weather, and traveling out of town. If you’re planning on hitting the road for an extended time this summer, make sure to take certain precautions to prevent plumbing emergencies in your absence. Doing so may save you from having to call on emergency Pittsburgh plumbing services when you return from your trip!

Below are three ways to prevent plumbing emergencies while you are away on your summer vacation.

Shut Off the Water

The most obvious way to prevent leaks and water damage while you’re on vacation is simply to shut off the main water line that leads into your home. The shutoff valve for your house’s main line might be in a vault (plastic or concrete box) buried in the ground out by the street. If this is the case, you should be able to lift the lid, reach in, and turn the valve handle clockwise all the way. Be sure to call your local water utility for guidance if you have any questions or concerns.

For other homes, the water shut-off valve may be in the basement or outside storage room, with a lever attached under or near your water heater. This type of lever uses a ball valve and simply requires that you turn the handle 90 degrees to shut off.

Once you’ve shut off your mainline and are ready to leave for your trip, run the faucets to double-check that the water has been shut off properly.

When you return from your trip, be sure to leave the faucets open before you turn your main water line back on again. This can prevent sudden spurts in water pressure that can damage your pipes and valves.

Clean Your Sprinkler Heads

Now, shutting off the water is great for those of you who don’t plan on watering the lawn while you’re away. But if you continue to water your lawn in the summer, especially using an automated sprinkler system, then you should clean your sprinkler heads before taking that long trip. If the heads become clogged they can cause major problems while you’re away – like leaks in the pipes inside and outside your home. And even if they’re only partially clogged, that can still result in a lot of wasted water which soaks the area near the sprinkler head but leaves your lawn with yellow patches of dead grass. You don’t want to come home to that!

Have a Neighbor, Friend Or Relative Check On Your Home

Even with the precautions above, there’s no way to know that everything is fine while you’re on vacation because there’s nobody there to double-check. That’s why it’s ideal to have a next-door neighbor keep an eye on things while you’re gone. If you aren’t very close with your neighbors, then try to at least have a trusted friend or family member stop by daily for a property a walk-through.

While you’re on vacation this summer, the last thing you want to do is worry about the condition of your home, so take some precautions to prevent possible plumbing problems. If you’re not able to do these things yourself, then call reputable plumbers to take care of it for you. Better to be safe than sorry.  The professionals at Mister Sewer will help you to take every precaution in order to keep your plumbing in tip-top shape for your return! Schedule your appointment today.

What to Do When Your Drain Starts to Gurgle

As a homeowner, you want to be aware of any problem that arises with your home in order to take care of it immediately. If not, it may turn into an even larger problem. So when you are using your kitchen or bathroom sink and hear a gurgling sound coming from the drain, should you panic? Should you ignore it? Is something wrong? Do you need to hire a drain cleaning service? There are several reasons for this issue, some requiring a professional plumber.

What Causes Your Drain To Gurgle?

That gurgling sound is actually air bubbles forcing their way up from inside your drain. When a clog forms down in your pipes, a pocket of air can form around the clog causing the trapped air to make its way up as water flows down from your sink.

There are also ventilation pipes that diverge from the water pipes and lead to the roof. These airways allow gasses from the sewer line to escape through the roof vents. But if those vents become clogged, usually with bird, rodent, and insect nesting materials and debris, the gasses are forced back down into the water lines and make their way up to your drain.

Lastly, the sewer line that leads from your home to the street can also become clogged. If this is not addressed promptly, major and costly damage can occur.

So when your sink starts to gurgle, something is definitely wrong and should be addressed sooner rather than later. A professional drain cleaning may be in order. Below are some steps to take to help you fix your drain and sewer pipes before more damage is done.

Step 1: Isolate The Cause Of The Gurgle

If the sink itself gurgles when in use, then it may be that the problem is limited to that particular sink and the vent or drain line that extends from it. However, if you notice the sound coming from the sink when you flush a toilet or drain the tub, perhaps even from another bathroom,  then that shows that the problem is with the main vent.

Step 2: Use A Snake Or Auger To Clear The Vent And Drain Pipe

If you have the tools and experience to tackle this job on your own, then feel free to work on it yourself. If you think the vent is blocked, then try hosing the vents up on the roof to clear any debris that has accumulated there. You can also use a sewer auger from the roof vent opening, pushing it all the way down to wherever the blockage has occurred.

If you think the clog is in your drain pipe, try removing the drain plate and using a snake to push through the clog. If you have a small drain along the outside of your home, you can also try inserting the snake there and pushing through the sewer line out to the street.

Step 3: Call A Professional

Please be advised that all of these options require the right tools, knowledge, and experience. If you are unsure of what you’re doing, it’s possible to make matters worse, causing extensive damage and perhaps even voiding your home warranty or insurance coverage. If you aren’t 100% ready to do the job correctly, then call a professional plumber for assistance. Mister Sewer has years of plumbing experience and is ready to help with all of your plumbing needs.  Call us today!

Detecting Water Leaks Anywhere in the Home

A water leak in your home can be quite costly.  In fact, a continuously running toilet can nearly double your water bill, and just a 1/8-inch leak in a fixture can waste as much as 114,000 gallons of water each month.  That adds up!  If you want to start saving money and avoid a startling surprise on your next utility bill, here are several ways that you can detect water leaks anywhere in your home.

Check Your Meter

Did you know that you can check for water leaks in your home using your water meter?  It’s a fairly simple procedure.  If you don’t know where your water meter is located, call the utility company and ask them.  Then, turn off anything using water in your home and check your meter.  Some meters have a leak detection indicator that will tell you if water is moving through the system.  Otherwise, take a meter reading, wait several hours (don’t use water during this time) and then read the meter again. If the numbers have gone up, you likely have a leak.

Toilet Leaks

Toilet leaks are common causes of water waste in the home, and they may be occurring without the tell-tale sound of “running” of water.  Toilet leak issues can be isolated to such things as flapper valve leaks, flush handle problems, or overflow tube leaks.  Some toilet leaks are simple to diagnose but don’t be afraid to enlist expert help by researching plumbing services in Pittsburgh.

Leaky Faucets

Leaky faucets are another frequent cause of wasted water in homes that can add up to boosted water bills.  A common problem that is found is due to worn rubber washers under handles or corroded plumbing fixtures.  Some of these fixes are simpler to diagnose and fix than others, and many require shutting off the water to repair.  Seek the help of professional plumbing services if you are unsure how to proceed.

Water Line Leaks

Water line leaks are the most serious kind of water leaks.  They are both more difficult to diagnose and to repair.  If you suspect that the problem may be within the walls of your home, under the home, or under your yard, don’t hesitate to call the a professional for assistance.

Finding the source of leaks in your home can save you a lot of money, both in the short and long-term.  Enlist the professional plumbing services of Mister Sewer to help out with all of your plumbing diagnosis and repair needs.  If you are searching for plumbers near Pittsburgh PA, we’d be happy to help. Contact us today!