Bathtub Drain Keeps Clogging Up And Guests Coming Soon? Try These 2 Easy Steps

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bathtub Drain Keeps Clogging Up And Guests Coming Soon? Try These 2 Easy Steps

If you expect overnight guests soon, and your bathtub drain keeps clogging up, you can unclog it fast with baking soda, dish detergent and vinegar. Bathtub drains don’t just clog up with hair. The drains can also develop sticky blockages from the chemicals found in your hair conditioners and bath oils. If you don’t remove the problems right away, they can eventually damage your plumbing system. Unclog your bathtub and keep it unclogged with these two easy steps below. Pour Baking Soda and Vinegar Down the Drain Baking soda contains a chemical called sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate reacts with other chemicals that contain acids, such as white vinegar, by making a gas. When the gas comes into contact with organic matter, such as soap scum, it bubbles or foams up. The bubbling and foaming action slowly dissolves the matter. You don’t need to premix the baking soda and vinegar for the chemicals to work. All you do is: Use a screwdriver to remove the cover from the drain. Set it aside, because you’ll work with it later on. Insert the end of a wire clothes hanger down the drain to create an opening in the clog. Wriggle the clothes hanger around slowly to widen the opening. You want the baking soda and vinegar to penetrate as deeply into the clog and drain as possible. Drop 3 teaspoonfuls of baking soda into the drain, then wait 5 minutes for the baking soda to mix with the water inside the drain. The wet baking soda will coat or absorb into the clog to help break it up. Pour 2 cups of vinegar into the drain. You should see a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda right away. Don’t stick your hands or fingers near the drain as the chemicals dissolve the clog to avoiding irritating your skin. Give the baking soda and vinegar 45 minutes to work. If the chemicals produce a strong odor, open up the window in the bathroom and place a circulating fan in the room. In most cases, you’ll only notice a strong vinegar scent emitting from the drain. Turn on the hot water tap in the bathtub to flush out the drain and to push the broken clog down the plumbing pipe. Wait at least 10 minutes before turning off the tap or until the water goes down the drain properly.  Clean the Drain Opener and Bathtub Before you replace the drain cover, you want to clean and sanitize it thoroughly. The drain cover is the first defense against soap scum, hair and other things. Over time, the drain cover builds up with debris and block the flow of water down the drain. Soaking the cover in hot water mixed with dish detergent for 20 minutes loosens up the debris, which keeps the opening of the drain free and clear.  After the 20 minutes are up, scrub the drain cover with a firm-bristled toothbrush, then rinse it off with cool water. Secure the cover back in place with your screwdriver, then wash the bathtub out with a 1/2 teaspoon of dish detergent. Dish detergent contains degreasers and other additives that break down oil and grease. If you use a lot of bath oils and moisturizers when you bathe, they can coat the surfaces of your bathtub over time. ...

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Does Your Furnace Need Repair Service?

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Does Your Furnace Need Repair Service?

Just like with your car, regular maintenance and simple observations will tell you when it is time to have a tech out to your home– before it dies completely. Your Bills Seem Awfully High This Winter Your furnace will naturally become less efficient as it ages, but this process takes years. Normally, your bills might go up by a few dollars each year. If your bills spike, or they are substantially higher this winter, it may be a sign that your heater is having a hard time keeping up. In the case of an extra cold winter (especially if you are using a heat pump system), this is somewhat normal, but a failing system will draw lots of power even when the temperature is mild. If you are still unsure of whether or not the heater is the source of the problem, there are a couple of ways you can confirm that the heater is the cause of your high bills. If the bill you are concerned about is the electric, there are devices that you can purchase that can clock how much current is running through the wire. Simple ones plug into the wall, but for your furnace you will probably need one that clamps around the wire. They are useful to have around, especially if you are looking to spot places where you can pare down your electrical usage, so it is a worthwhile investment. No Matter How Much You Clean, Dust Keeps Settling Part of your furnace’s job is to clean your air. Since modern homes are tightly sealed, the only way for the dirt that gets tracked inside to get back out is through either your vacuum cleaner or your furnace filter. You should replace your filter every 3-6 months at least, but many people forget to do even that much. If you have a large household or pets, then you might need to replace it as often as once a month. There are two things that happen when the filter gets too full. The first is that the fan has to work harder to pull air through your furnace system. This causes extra wear on the fan, and if left long enough, this can actually cause it to break down. The second is that larger amounts of dust will start to work their way up into your HVAC system. Some of that will pass through, which you will notice as your home gets coated in dust, and the rest will stick inside the furnace. More of the system will start to wear down as the gunk builds up, which is why the filter is there in the first place. This is primarily a preventative maintenance issue, as leaving the gunk in the system will set it on course for a break down even if you replace the filter. Your Furnace Is Making Strange Noises It should be no surprise to you that if your furnace is making odd noises, then you should have it looked at. This can come in a couple of different forms. There are a few moving parts, such as the fans, that can cause a consistent and noticeable pattern of noise when they start to break down. However, you should also listen to the pattern of noises that your furnace...

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New To Septic System Care? Tips To Avoid Damaging Your Home’s Plumbing System

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on New To Septic System Care? Tips To Avoid Damaging Your Home’s Plumbing System

When you move into your first place with a septic system, you might be unfamiliar with the unique care requirements of this type of plumbing system. It’s important to remember that anything you put down the drain in your house can affect the septic system. In fact, you may be making some drain-damaging mistakes that you don’t realize. Here are a few mistakes that many homeowners make when it comes to septic system management and some tips to avoid them. Excessive Use of Drain Cleaner Drain cleaners are an ideal way to clear out small buildup issues and restore your water flow to its normal state. Unfortunately, they can also damage your pipes if you use too much of them. Harsh drain cleaners can actually corrode the inside of your plumbing, which will worsen the clog with metal flakes and other debris. The chemical makeup of the drain cleaner can also disrupt the enzyme balance in the septic tank. Since the tank requires certain bacteria and enzymes to properly break down waste, too much drain cleaner may prove disruptive. The best way to avoid this is to limit the use of chemical cleaners. Instead, consider natural drain cleaners like baking soda with vinegar. Rinsing Grease and Other Solids When almost everything in the kitchen goes down your sink drains, it’s a recipe for plumbing disasters. Grease, in particular, is a serious issue for plumbing system integrity. Grease products will start to solidify in your drains, clinging to the inside surfaces of the pipes and inhibiting proper flow. Along with grease, another hazard for your plumbing drains is the food you’re putting down the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal doesn’t disintegrate food – it just breaks it down smaller. This means that things like rice, vegetable peels and flour can build up in the pipes and lead to significant clogs. While most residual food particles that do flush through a traditional plumbing system will be handled appropriately at the water treatment facility, a septic system doesn’t have that same luxury. Grease and some particles won’t break down as easily in the tank, which can interfere with the tank’s natural waste processing. Using Anti-Bacterial Soap and Bleach Cleaners Chances are, you probably don’t think much of using anti-bacterial soaps and chlorine bleach when you’re cleaning or doing your laundry. Although these are traditional staples of household cleaning, they’re actually disruptive to your septic system. The bleach and anti-bacterial components of the soap can kill the bacteria necessary to maintain the balance in your septic tank. This can lead to tank overflows and other backups. Flushing Non-Flushable Household Items If you’ve been treating the toilet as a backup disposal for stuff you don’t otherwise want to put down the drain, it’s possible that you’re contributing to plumbing problems by doing so. The things you flush down the toilet end up in the same primary drain pipes as the things going down your sink drains. If you’re flushing anything that isn’t biodegradable and made to be flushed, those things can not only back up in the drain pipes, but they can also accumulate inside your septic tank. This will lead to more frequent tank pumping if you want to avoid an overflow in your yard. Many homeowners overlook the fact that they can...

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2 Ways To Prevent Leaks During A Toilet Installation

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If your toilet is loose, wobbly, cracked, or leaky, then it might be time to purchase yourself a new one.  When you buy a toilet, you have the option of installing it yourself or hiring an experienced plumber to secure it for you.  Installing the toilet yourself can save you some money, but you need to make sure you do everything correctly.  Correct installation means making sure leaks are not present.  Preventing leaks during installation is easy, but if you are unsure about what to do, read through the information below. Secure the Closet Flange Properly When you purchase a new toilet, you will need to set this toilet over a device called a closet flange.  This flange sits over the soil or waste pipe allowing toilet wastes to flow out of your home.  The flange snaps in place over the pipe and a collar then attaches to the floor.  Unfortunately, your toilet can leak wastes through the floor of your bathroom if the flange and waste pipe do not stay connected.  Adhesives can help with this and prevent a disastrous mess in your basement or crawlspace. To make sure the flange and waste pipe are secured properly, purchase some PVC primer and a container of PVC cement. Place a small amount of PVC primer around the outside of the waste pipe and the inside of the flange.  This material helps to soften the PVC plastic so the solvent or cement can create a chemical reaction that fuses the PVC materials together.  Apply PVC cement a minute or two after spreading the primer.  Twist the flange over the waste pipe afterwards and make sure the collar sits flush against the floor. Once the closet flange is secured, make sure to purchase a wax ring to sit just inside the collar that attaches to your floor.  To work properly, the inside edge of the ring should line up with the inside edge of the PVC flange. Tighten the Rubber Tank Washer Toilets commonly leak water in the area between the tank and the bowl where the two parts meet.  A large rubber washer sits around the tank outlet to keep water from leaking when water is forced into the bowl when you flush.  However, it is easy to secure the tank in a crooked manner, and leaks will then form.  This happens because there are two bolts inside the toilet tank needing to be tightened.  When you tighten the bolts, the rubber washer compresses slightly and creates a seal.  If one bolt is tightened more than the other though, then water can start to force its way out around the washer where the loose bolt sits.  Also, a loose bolt will mean the toilet tank will tilt at an awkward angle to one side.  This can cause water to shift to the left or right, and the toilet bowl may not fill properly. To make sure both toilet tank bolts are secured correctly, ask a friend to assist you.  Set the rubber washer over the tank outlet and sit the two connection bolts inside the toilet tank.  Ask your friend to sit the tank over the bowl where it connects, and prompt them to keep the tank straight and still.  Use your finger to twist the two nuts in place where the bolts protrude from underneath the...

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5 Ways To Unclog A Clogged Drain

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Clogged drains are a hassle, but they’re very common, and all homeowners should know how to handle them. Here are five easy ways to fix minor clogs around the house by yourself. With a plunger Plungers are a great way to fix clogged toilets, but you can also use them to fix clogs in sinks or bathtubs. It’s easy to unclog a drain with a plunger. First, you need to make sure that there is a few inches of standing water in the sink or bathtub. Next, cover the overflow with a rag. Press the plunger against the drain, and then pull backwards. You may have to repeat this process a few times before the clog is dislodged.  With vinegar and baking soda Everyone who’s ever been to a kid’s science fair knows that vinegar and baking soda have an explosive reaction when they’re combined, but not everyone knows that this combination is also an easy way to clear a clogged drain. To do this, start by pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down your drain. Next, pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain, and quickly cover the drain with a rag. The explosive reaction will be directed downwards, into the clog, and may help to shift it out of the way. With boiling water  Boiling water can remove some types of minor clogs. For example, if your bathtub is clogged with soap reside and hair, boiling water can melt the soap enough to dislodge the clog. To do this, boil a kettle (or a pot) full of water, and then slowly pour it down your drain. You may need to do this more than once to completely melt the clog.  With a drain snake Clogs can’t always be cleared with vinegar and baking soda or boiling water. Some clogs are stubborn, and need to be physically pushed out of the way. An easy way to do this is with a drain snake. You can buy drain snakes from the hardware store, or you can make your own out of a metal coat hanger.  To clear a clog with a drain snake, first push the snake down the drain, auger end first. Twist the handle as you push the snake further into the pipe. Once you hit the clog, you will feel the snake stop moving through the drain. Twist the snake to make sure that the auger catches on the clog, and then slowly pull it back out. The clog should come up through the drain. You may need to repeat this process more than once to remove the whole clog. With dish detergent Dish detergent is a lubricant, as anyone who has ever used it to remove a too-tight ring knows. Dish detergent also works by breaking up grease, so if your clog is caused by kitchen oils or other types of grease, it can be very effective. To do this, pour a bit of dish detergent down the drain, and then flush it out with hot water. Some types of clogs will be broken up or even fully dislodged by this method. You may need to do it a couple times to loosen the clog, and if it doesn’t dislodge fully, finish dislodging the clog with a drain snake. Next time you have a clogged...

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4 Interesting Portable Toilets And Urinals You Can Find In Europe

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The porta potty is a concept that is used all around the world at events and public attractions where a large number of people gather. To improve upon the porta potty, many variations in public portable toilets have become available. Here are four different types of porta potties that you can find in many countries of Europe. Germany’s Festival Trailer Toilets If you have ever been to a festival in Germany, you may have come across this version of a porta potty. As you walk along the row of food vendors and carnival games, you might come upon the restroom trailer. Inside this portable toilet are several automated toilets with running water, air conditioning, and sometimes even music. They are usually kept quite clean as there is a bathroom attendant keeping up the inside of each toilet stall.  Patrons to this type of portable toilet usually have to pay a toilet fee, or optional tip, equal to fifty American cents. But, with this fare you will have access to running water, soap, and a clean toilet seat to sit on. This can be invaluable when you have spent an entire day at an outdoor festival. Amsterdam’s Public Urinals In Amsterdam, the idea of a public porta potty is truly an open-air facility because you can find them sitting in the middle of a public square or on a street corner. The open-air urinal in Amsterdam became a popular idea to cut down on public urination near restaurants, bars, and pub business.  Some public urinals consist of a permanently-fixed metal spiral privacy screen with a central urinal where the person does their business. Newer models of open-air urinals are about six feet tall and made from a plastic material to make them more mobile.  French Straw Bale Urinal The French design studio Faltazi designed a  l’Uritonnoir, which is a composting hay bale urinal. It is made from several metal urinals implanted around the exterior of a hay bale.  This dry urinal design was thought up specifically to be used at summer music festivals in Europe, which are often held in farming fields. Instead of hauling in traditional porta potties to the field where the music festival will take place, local hay bales are turned into urinals. The funnel of each metal urinal is wedged deep into the hay so all the urine will get deposited there. The urine’s nitrogen mixes with the carbon in the straw and starts decomposition. Over the next six to twelve months, the hay bale makes a rich pile of compost for the farmer’s field.  Scandinavia’s Composting Toilet Scandinavia was one of the first to invent the composting toilet, and they had at least 21 different composting toilets on the market in 1975. A Swedish inventor designed a commercially available composting multrum toilet, which has been used in the United States for several decades. One person using the multrum toilet will create 88 pounds of waste which would have polluted 6,604 gallons of water in a regular toilet. In this composting toilet, human excrement falls down into a receptacle, which has a double-layered bottom. Over time, the waste breaks down into compost and falls through the bottom into a separate compost area, where it can be collected for use in fertilization. Because the composting waste is...

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3 Energy Efficient Ways To Cool Your Tiny House This Summer

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Summer is coming up and it is time to start thinking about energy efficient ways to cool your tiny house. Part of the beauty of living in a tiny house is the opportunity it provides to reduce your impact on the environment by living more simply and making the use of green technology more affordable. If you are new to tiny house living and are not sure what method of cooling is best for you, or if you have simply been making due with an energy guzzling window air conditioning unit, there are some good options out there that are cheap to run and environmentally friendly. Here are three energy efficient ways to cool your tiny home this summer season. 1. Passive Cooling Passive cooling is the cheapest and most green way to go, as it doesn’t involve using any power other than that supplied by nature and ingenuity. Bear in mind, passive cooling methods will only be useful in climates that don’t get insanely hot during the summer. You wouldn’t want to use passive cooling in southern or southwestern states. In other states, it will work just fine, as the summers tend to be more mild. Some methods of passive cooling include: Putting up high quality window shades on east and west facing windows. These windows bring in the most heat, as they directly face the sun once a day. Window shades mitigate the excess accumulation of heat and keep your house cool. You can also build awnings over your eastern and western windows to further block the sun from heating up your house. Installing solar screens. According to, solar screen on your windows will reflect about 90 percent of the sun’s rays away from your house, which will help keep the inside nice and cool. Add reflective metal roofing. This type of roofing has been used for centuries to keep houses naturally cool by bouncing sunlight off of them. 2. Install a Swamp Cooler These are also known as evaporative coolers, and are great for climates that are hot and dry. Avoid them in humid climates. These coolers are really energy efficient. In fact, they only use about 25 percent of the energy of a traditional air conditioner. Swamp coolers work by cooling the air in a house through the evaporation of water. The cooler changes water into water vapor, cools it by pushing it through a fan, and releases the cool water vapor into the house. These types of coolers are inexpensive to buy and cost way less than traditional air conditioning to operate. You can install them on the roof of your tiny house. 3. Use a Mini-Split Air Conditioning System This is the closest to traditional air conditioning you can use in a tiny house and maintain your energy efficiency standard. You can get an air conditioning service and repair company to install one for you, and to provide maintenance to it as necessary. This type of air conditioning involves using an outdoor pump unit connected by cooling pipes to an indoor device that will blow the cool air into the room. These systems are normally designed for use in just one room in a regular-sized house. In a tiny house, the mini-split system is perfect for cooling the entire house. The mini-split...

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Is Your Toilet Running? Then Better Use This Guide To Catch It!

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Owning a home can be an overwhelming experience. From the initial purchase to various tasks to clean and maintain the house, it is easy to see how stress becomes a part of your life. Unfortunately, certain updates and repairs are imperative for maintaining your investment. Considering the popularity of plumbing problems for many homeowners, learning how to diagnose and repair these issues can be helpful. If the water in your toilet seems to be running continuously, figuring out the root cause is essential. Using this guide, you can catch and repair your running toilet. Running Toilet 101 Listening to the constant running water can be an unpleasant sound, but it could also be a sign of a serious issue in your toilet. However, many homeowners experiencing a running toilet learn the problem is a minor one and can repair it on their own.  To determine the cause of running water in your toilet, remove the tank lid to inspect the interior mechanisms. Place the lid on a sturdy surface to ensure it does not fall and break into pieces. Flush the toilet and watch as the water refills. In most cases, the continuous running water is due to a valve or ball problem. Diagnosing your Running Toilet In a toilet in perfect working order, the interior parts and mechanisms will operate like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, your running toilet is running for a reason. After flushing the toilet, use the following tips to determine why water is running in your tank: Float – The larger ball inside your tank is the float. If this ball is damaged or not adjusted properly, it will cause water to continuously move into the tank. Over time, the water will dribble into the bowl. Connection – If the water continues running after you flush, wiggle the flush handle to see if it stops. If moving the flush handle up and down stops the water from running, there is most likely a connection issue between the flush handle and ball. Valve Flapper – Inspect the flush valve opening after your flush the toilet. If it sticks or struggles as it recovers the drain opening, water will run inside your toilet tank. Catch your Toilet A toilet in proper working order is not only important for its function and value, but also imperative for conserving water. While surprising to hear, a constantly running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. This is harmful to the environment, but also increases your monthly water bill. If the running stops after wiggling the toilet handle, you do not need to replace any interior parts. However, you may need to replace the ball float and flapper valve using the following steps: Turn off the water to your toilet. Flush to empty the water from the tank. Use pliers to loosen and disconnect the float rod to remove the ball float. Screw the new ball float onto the existing rod. Ensure the opposite end of the rod attaches to the valve. Turn on the water to refill the tank. Wait a few minutes for the tank to refill to its normal level. Flush the toilet to determine if the water is still running. If so, turn the water off a second time and flush to empty...

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Does Your Boiler Need To Be Repaired? 3 Boiler Troubleshooting Tips

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Do you think you may be in need of boiler repair work, but aren’t sure? Maybe your boiler is making strange noises or the water pressure or temperature seems off. It’s pretty subtle, though, so you can’t tell for sure if it is real or just your imagination. Before you call a boiler repair person to come take a look for you, do some troubleshooting on your own to determine if there really is a problem. You’ll save yourself some money on the house call, and get the pride of knowing you were able to diagnose a boiler issue on your own. Here are three boiler troubleshooting tips you can use right now. 1. Start With the Obvious…Check the Thermostat Sometimes, a seeming problem with a boiler is simply a thermostat that is set at the wrong temperature. Maybe the thermostat got re-set during a power outage or surge during a storm. Perhaps someone accidentally bumped up against it and adjusted the temperature. Or, it could actually be broken. A simple check will let you know. If you have many different networked thermostats in your house, you will need to check the main one. It should be showing a temperature slightly above the room temperature of your house. If it isn’t, try adjusting it manually. That may be all you need to do to fix the problem. If you aren’t able to adjust the thermostat, it may be broken, which will affect your water temperature. You will need to call a professional water heater repair service to come out and replace it to get the boiler working properly again. 2. Make Sure the Pilot Is Working The pilot on a boiler can go out or go bad for many reasons, even if it’s just worn out from age and use. If it isn’t working (or working correctly), you won’t get good results from your boiler. Check and see if the pilot light is actually on. If it isn’t, try re-setting it. You can do this by turning off the gas or electricity to the pilot (depending on which power source your boiler uses). If your boiler uses gas, let it sit for about 10 minutes before trying to re-light it, to give the old gas a chance to leave the area. Turn the power source back on again and try re-lighting or re-igniting the pilot (depending on whether your boiler’s pilot is activated by a match or by depressing an ignition button). If it comes back on, you’re back in business. If not, it’s time to cal a boiler repair person to come repair it for you. 3. Pay Attention to the Color and Smell of Your Water You don’t even have to look at your boiler to accomplish some troubleshooting techniques. This is one of them. If your water is consistently dark or rust-colored or smells like rotten eggs, you have a problem in the pipes or tank of your boiler. The problem needs to be consistent over a few days. Just a one or two time occurrence could be a fluke, such as sediment getting into the boiler after a storm, and will fix itself as the system flushes and renews the water supply. According to, water that is consistently the wrong color or smell means...

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