Root Infiltration

Root Infiltration

Did you know that your landscape could cause you plumbing problems? Tree roots will travel long distances to find water, especially when drought conditions persist. When trees and shrubs get thirsty, they follow the trail of moisture vapors escaping from small cracks, holes or poorly sealed joints in water and sewer lines. Roots penetrate these openings to reach the nutrients and moisture inside the pipes. If not stopped, roots can completely fill a pipe with multiple hair-like root masses at each point of entry. These root wads quickly become clogged with grease and other debris flowing from homes to the main sewer line, resulting in reduced flow and slowed drains. A complete blockage may occur if the roots are not removed. With nowhere to go, waste water and sewage may back up into your home. Root systems are extremely powerful – everyone has seen cement sidewalks actually buckle from their pressure. They can also place considerable strain on a crack or pipe joint, often breaking the pipe and resulting in a costly repair or replacement. If your home is over 25 years old you probably have either steel pipes (which are susceptible to corrosion) or clay (terracotta) pipes. These pipes have a porous characteristic requiring an additional level of care as they have likely reached the end of their useful life. Clay pipe, which is most common in older water and sewer lines, is also easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. Concrete pipe and PVC pipe may also allow root intrusion, but to a lesser extent than clay. PVC pipe usually has fewer and more tightly fitted joints which are less likely to leak as a result of settlement around the pipe. If incoming water or...
Your Insurance May Not Cover Pipes Broken Due to Negligence

Your Insurance May Not Cover Pipes Broken Due to Negligence

Homeowners insurance can be a lifesaver. If you have a major disaster, like a fire or a flood, you could be out tens of thousands of dollars for repairs or renovations. Fortunately, in most circumstances, your insurance should be there to pick up most or all of the cost. However, there are some scenarios where your insurance could refuse to honor a claim, leaving you responsible for the entire bill. For example, if you experience a plumbing leak caused by your own negligence, you might be on your own. Read on to learn more. Gradual Leaks Need Not Apply Water damage is one of the most common causes of homeowners’ insurance claims. And while your insurance company is there to help you in a time of need, that doesn’t absolve you of the basic responsibility to take care of your plumbing system. That means you’re still responsible for maintenance to prevent or remedy normal wear and tear. A prime example – if you experience gradual water damage from a hidden plumbing leak, your insurance policy is unlikely to cover the expenses, because finding and fixing the leak is considered a part of normal home maintenance. Similarly, if you have an old washing machine or dishwasher that has been acting up for a long time, you could be exposed to repair costs when the appliance finally bites the dust in a puddle of water. What’s more, most homeowners’ policies won’t cover sewage backup without a special rider, and flooding from an outside source like a river is almost never covered without specific flood insurance. Sudden and Accidental Damage Frozen pipes are another...
Avoiding Garbage Disposal Clogs

Avoiding Garbage Disposal Clogs

If you have ever experiences garbage disposal problems then you know that the leftovers may be long gone, but your garbage disposal failure is still fresh.  Fortunately, using your garbage disposal properly and keeping it well maintained is actually a fairly simple process. Abide by these tips, and you’ll not only make it through without a clog — you’ll extend the life of your disposal. Avoiding Clogs and Other Problems Run cold water before, during and after activating the disposal. The flow of water will carry food particles down the drain, and the cold water will help fat and grease solidify so that it doesn’t coat the blades. While the cold water will help with trace amounts of grease, you should minimize the amount you send down the drain. After cooking bacon or other fatty foods, drain as much grease as possible into a disposable container, then wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Don’t put potato peels in the disposal. The starches turn into a paste that can build up and slow the motorized blades to a halt. Chop up larger foods into small pieces before feeding them into the disposal, and avoid overloading the disposal with too many pieces at once. You can dispose of large volumes of food waste safely by feeding them in gradually. Avoid using fibrous foods like celery, asparagus and artichokes, because the tough fibers can become tangled and jam up the blades. Don’t dispose of large bones, but smaller ones, like fish bones, are OK. Avoid sending coffee grounds down the drain. They won’t hurt the disposal, but they can accumulate...
How to Prevent Cracked Plumbing Seals

How to Prevent Cracked Plumbing Seals

Your household plumbing system is more than a collection of pipes. You also have your hoses and fixtures, and notably, the rubber gaskets that connect them to the pipes. Gaskets are essential for creating airtight seals in your fixtures and preventing plumbing leaks. Unfortunately, the rubber parts of the plumbing system can also dry out and crack over time if they aren’t used. Read on for tips on how to keep your hoses, gaskets and seals in good condition, and what to do when they deteriorate. Dried and Cracked Rubber Seals Rubber hoses, like the ones that connect to your washing machine, don’t last forever. Nor do the gaskets in your sinks and showers. If you don’t inspect them frequently and replace them as needed, there will be a day when they start springing plumbing leaks and you’ll have to make an emergency repair. However, there is one major mistake that you should avoid so you don’t artificially shorten the life of your rubber plumbing components. The trick with gaskets and hoses is they need to be exposed to water or they will start to dry out — and from there, crack. So, for example, if you are taking an extended vacation, it’s not necessarily a good idea to shut down your water system. A total shutdown could prevent a catastrophic flood, but it could also hasten the deterioration of your plumbing seals. A better solution if you are going to be away for weeks or months is to have someone house-sit or at least stop by periodically to run the water and make sure everything is okay. Point of...
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