Charlotte Plumber Interviewed for North Carolina Homes Magazine

I was recently interviewed for an article for North Carolina Homes Magazine!
You can check it out here:

Check out my interview, How to Repair a Toilet on North Carolina Homes, one of the top sites for North Carolina real estate, including Youngsville, NC real estate. North Carolina Homes also services South Carolina real estate and Georgia real estate.

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Charlotte Plumber Advice: How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Charlotte Plumber Advice: How to Fix a Broken Drain Trap

Sometimes the problem is simply that the slip nuts holding the drain trap assembly to the drain and the drainpipe have loosened. Tightening them may solve the problem. But if the metal has corroded through, if the slip-nut threads are damaged, or if other damage has occurred, the only solution is replacement.

Drain trap assemblies and parts to fit just about any possible installation requirement are readily available at most hardware and all plumbing supply stores. Chrome-plated thinwall brass traps are popular, especially where appearance is important.

Polypropylene (PP) plastic traps, notable for their ruggedness and longevity, will outperform all other types. ABS plastic traps are also in use, but they become deformed and eventually fail when forced to handle frequent passage of boiling water and caustic household chemicals. In addition, they may not be allowed by your local plumbing code. Ask the plumbing clerk at your local building materials retailer for recommendations.

Whatever the material, there are typically two trap diameters: 11/2-inch traps for kitchen sinks and 11/4-inch traps for lavatories. Take the old trap with you when you buy the new one; if possible, also take the old tailpiece and drain extension. In most cases, trap replacement is simple. Here’s how:

Step 1: If trap is equipped with cleanout plug on bottom of curved section, remove plug with wrench and let water in trap drain into bucket. Otherwise, unscrew slip nuts and slide them out of the way.

Step 2: If trap is a swivel type, curved trap section(s) will come free. However, keep trap upright as you remove it, and pour water out after part is free. If trap is fixed and does not swivel, remove tailpiece slip nut at drain flange and slip nut at top of trap. Shove tailpiece down into trap itself, then twist trap clockwise until you can drain water in trap. Pull tailpiece free, and unscrew trap from drain extension or drainpipe.

Step 3: Buy drain trap of proper diameter, new tailpiece, drain extension, or other fittings, as necessary. A swivel trap is the easiest to work with because it can be easily adjusted for angled or misaligned drainpipe/fixture installations. A clean-out plug on a trap is handy so trap can be cleaned out without removing it.

Step 4: Replace parts in appropriate order, making sure you have slip nuts and compression seals, or large washers, lined up on the proper pipe sections. Couple parts together loosely with slip nuts, make final adjustments for correct pipe alignment, and tighten nuts snugly but not too tight. Plumbers’ joint tape or compound is not usually necessary, but you can use either.

Step 5: Run water into new trap immediately, both to check for leaks and to fill trap with water to provide that all-important barrier against sewer gases.

Whatever type of drain repair is needed, it’s best to address it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you may wind up with a big problem on your hands — and all over your floors.

Need a Charlotte Plumber? ER Plumbing Services Can Help

Give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form and we’ll replace that old drain trap for you. We’re open 24/7, 365 days a year.

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Charlotte Plumber Advice: Drain Trap Q&A

Drain Trap Q&A 

What is a drain trap?

The purpose of a drain trap is to constantly maintain water in the pipe to keep the sewer gas smells from evading the drain.

Where are drain traps located?

There is a trap located at every drain because the drains are connected to drainage systems, which can lead to an outlet for sewer gas. The water acts as a seal, or protective layer, that blocks sewer gas from passing through the drain pipes.

What do drain traps look like?

Drain traps can be in the shape of U, S, or J. The reason the pipes are in these shapes is so they are able to retain some water in its curved section.

Why are drain traps important?

Drain traps are essential for drainage systems as well as for health and safety. The sewer gases that the retained water blocks in the drain traps can be harmful and hazardous. Therefore, if the trap leaks, this water barrier could disappear, allowing the unsafe sewer gases to enter the household.

What problems are common with drain traps?

One common problem is a clogged drain trap, which can be visibly spotted because the drain flow will be slower or stopped.

Another problem that is harder to notice is leaking or seepage from the drain trap. Therefore, it is important to check on them every once in a while to detect if quick repairs are needed.

What are the most important parts of a drain trap?

There are three very important parts to a drain trap. There is the tailpiece, the trap, and the drain extension.

What is the tailpiece of a drain trap?

The tailpiece is a short piece of pipe that descends from the drain outlet in the sink or lavatory.

What exactly is the trap piece?

The trap itself is the curved section of the U, S, or J-shaped pipe that holds the water.

What is the drain extension of a drain trap?

The drain extension is the piece of pipe that extends from the end of the trap, or the U, S, or J-shaped pipe, to the drainpipe outlet in the wall or floor.

What is the material of these pipes?

These pipe pieces are all made of thin metal that can be affected by corrosion, seal failure, and mechanical damage.

How do I fix drain trap problems?

Stay tuned to further DIY articles or contact ER Plumbing Services.

Need a Charlotte Plumber?

ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

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Charlotte Plumbing Advice: FAQ About Septic Tanks

Charlotte Plumbing Advice: FAQ About Septic Tanks

Do you want to learn more about septic tanks? Have you heard of them before but never knew what they were? Well, this Q&A is definitely right for you.

>What is a septic tank?

Usually underground, a septic tank collects and stores sewage to decompose before draining.

>Why is it needed?

Septic tanks are typically for areas that have no connection to main sewage systems and pipes, and local governments or private corporations usually provide them.

>What potential problem can occur with a septic tank?

After some time, scum, sludge and debris can collect in a septic tank.

>When does the waste need to be pumped out of the septic tank?

When floating scum is six inches (approximately 15 centimeters) from the outlet pipe.

>When does sunken sledge need to be removed?

When the layer of sunken sledge is 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) from the outlet pipe it needs to be removed.

>How often do you need to have your septic tank inspected?

Because of the occurrences with floating scum and sunken sledge, it’s best to check your septic tank annually.

>How often should you have your septic tank system pumped?

You should not wait more than three years for your tank to be pumped

>Are there materials on the market that can delay your system’s pumping and inspection?

There are materials that can delay septic tank pumpings; however, it is recommended that they should not be used in place of the scheduled inspections and pumping.

>What happens to all the septage in the septic tank?

Septage can be dumped into landfills as well as being taken to waste treatment plants or cesspools, which is where the waste is broken down into effluent matter.

>Can the septage be reused for anything?

Septage can sometimes be transformed into fertilizer to grow food or even into a source of electricity. Methane generates as fecal matter breaks down, and then when the methane breaks down, it can be utilized as a clean source of energy to power homes.

Need a Charlotte Plumber?

Need help with your septic tank? ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

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Charlotte Plumber Advice: Tips on How to Fix Leaky Water Pipes

Pipe Repair Tips

Tips on how to fix leaky water pipes

If you know you have a leak, you should fix it right away. Leaks are costly, and your water bill can skyrocket thanks to the innocent-looking leak. (Besides water from the leak, noise could be an indication that there is a leak in a water pipe.) The following are tips on fixing a leak on your own. Of course, when in doubt, give us a call and we’ll fix it for you.

There are several different solutions to fix a small leak in a water pipe, which include patches, waterproof tape, compound sticks, and epoxy paste.

1. Temporary patches

The most effective temporary patch is a rubber pad and clamp because they typically won’t damage the pipe.

A good temporary patch can hold permanently as long as the rest of the pipe is working well.

2. Waterproof tape

Dry the affected area completely before placing the waterproof tape. This will ensure the stickiness of the tape. Furthermore, you want to make sure you have enough tape for the area.

The tape should begin about 2 to 3 inches (5-7.5cm) from the leak and continue the same distance beyond the leak.

3. Compound stick

A compound stick is another effective way to fix a small leak on a water pipe and can be used even when the water is flowing.

4. Epoxy paste

Epoxy paste is another way to fix a leak, but first, make sure the water off is off. Next, dry off the affected area of the pipe. The epoxy paste can only be applied to a dry pipe.

>Tips on how to fix condensation on water pipes

Condensation on the pipe could also cause dripping water from pipes. Condensation occurs because the water inside of the pipe is considerably lower than the temperature of the surrounding air.

Insulate the pipes

Insulation of the pipes can prevent condensation as well as maintain the temperature of the water inside of the pipe.

>Tips on how to fix frozen water pipes

For any method, begin to heat the pipes near the faucets so that the pipe does not burst from a build up of steam. Starting at the faucet will create a free flow of water for the thawed water.

Also with any method, shut off the water supply completely to that part of the plumbing.

Hot towel or heat tape

Wrap a hot, heavy towel or heat tape around the frozen pipe.

Space heater, heat lamp, or hair dryer

With any of these three types of heaters, thaw the frozen length of the pipe, starting near the faucet.

>Tips on how to fix unsecured water pipes

If attaching the pipes more securely does not work, then try adding a non-metallic buffer such as wood or rubber between the pipes.

**Please keep in mind that although there are easy, effective ways to fix a leaky pipe, one leak could indicate corrosion of the pipe. So ultimately, more leaks will probably occur.

Furthermore, if there is a section of the pipe that needs to be replaced, a professional will need to do this. They may have to cut the pipe section, and then thread it, followed by replacing the fittings at either end.

Got a Leak Somewhere? Need a Charlotte Plumber?

ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services or Charlotte leak detection services 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

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Charlotte Plumbing Advice: DIY Environmentally Safe Drain Cleaners

DIY Environmentally Safe Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners nowadays can be both expensive and toxic. The chemicals sulfuric acid and lye, among many other active ingredients in drain cleaners, are very corrosive. There are several home recipes that can do the job without doing the damage on your wallet or on the environment.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water in the drain every 1 to 2 weeks will clean the drainpipe as well as prevent the drainpipe from being clogged.

Simply heat up about a gallon of water until it boils, and then pour the water in small amounts, with a few minutes interval, down the drain. This boiling water will loosen the debris in the drain and prevent it from clogging the drainpipe.

Baking Soda

If the water is draining slowly in the above approach, try baking soda instead. First, pour a cup of baking soda in the drain proceeded by three cups of boiling water. The baking soda, which will be more alkaline from the boiling water, will be a stronger tool to fight against clogs and debris.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

A very popular and powerful method of drain cleaning is the collaboration of vinegar and baking soda.  First, pour ½ cup of baking soda in the drain sink followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. This strong combination will dissolve through debris of grease, food, and hairs. If this clog seems to be pretty stuck, heat the white vinegar beforehand because it could be more effective. Furthermore, you could also pour a few cups of boiling water after the vinegar, to cleanse the drainpipe of the blockage.

*Please note to not use a commercial drain cleaner after this combination because it could create a chemical reaction.

Washing Soda

If water is not moving down the drainpipe at all, washing soda is the method for you. First, pour a cup of washing soda down the drainpipe followed by the white vinegar and baking soda method.

*Please note to not use washing soda too often because it will damage the PVC pipe due to its high pH level. Also, do not combine commercial drain cleaner after this method because it could create a chemical reaction.

Plunger

A plunger may seem too old-fashioned, but they can do the trick of a clogged drainpipe. The suction caused by a plunger can be strong enough to unclog whatever is stuck in the pipe.

Any of these methods will leave your drainpipe and household healthy and happy!

Stubborn Drain? Need a Charlotte Plumber?

ER Plumbing Services can help. Call 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

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Charlotte Plumber Do It Yourself Video: How to Use Leak Detection Equipment

Charlotte Plumber Do It Yourself Video: How to Use Leak Detection Equipment

Think you might have a leak but aren’t sure where?

Not sure how to read your water meter? Not sure if your water meter is working? Has your water bill spiked, and you’re not sure if your water meter is broken or if you have a leak in a hidden area?

Watch our video to find out:

How to read your water meter

How to determine if your water meter is broken or working

If you have a hidden leak

How to use leak detection equipment to find a hidden leak

Click Here to Watch Video

Need a Charlotte Plumber? Call 704-269-1066 for immediate emergency plumbing services in Charlotte.

 

 

 

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Seven Signs You Need Plumbing Services

7 Signs You Need Plumbing Services

Every home and business has a plumbing system that sees a lot of action every day. Whether it’s a long, hot shower or it’s just the constant strain of toilet-flushing throughout the day, modern plumbing is under a lot of stress. In order to keep it functioning, regular maintenance is required to ensure that minor problems don’t become bigger problems.

Charlotte plumber, emergency plumber Charlotte

Not Sure If You Need a Plumber to Handle the Job?

Even with routine maintenance and proper care, there are certain warning signs to look out for that could indicate you need plumbing services. Here are the 7 signs to watch for that could mean you need to have your system serviced.

#1. You’ve Got Lower Water Pressure

 

When you turn on the water for a warm bath, you should get a strong, steady stream of water. If you don’t get any water, that’s a big warning sign! Most of the time, what you’ll see is a stream of water that has less pressure and strength than you’d normally see. Sometimes this is caused by scale build-up that is reducing the flow of the faucet, which is pretty common in areas that have had water issues.

There are a number of issues that can also cause this problem that could quickly become a plumbing emergency. A damaged water heater, a broken pipe in the floor or walls, or even just a simple blockage that has formed within the pipe because of mineral scale are all problems that can cause lower water pressure. If you’ve cleaned your affected faucet or if you experience lower water pressure throughout the home, then calling for plumbing services is a good idea.

#2. You’ve Got Slow Drains

The classic plumbing problem is a slow drain. It’s caused by a blockage that occurs somewhere within the plumbing system. Many slow drains can be resolved by an over-the-counter anti-clogging product you can find at many stores, but that’s not always the case. If you’ve got a slow drain that wasn’t resolved by the caustic liquids or gels you normally use, you could be brave and remove the drain trap on the slow drain. Make sure you’ve got a bucket underneath it before you do! Then you can manually remove the clog if one is there.

If you don’t see the clog, then it is likely further down in your plumbing system. You’ll want to call for plumbing services that can help to snake your system clean with specialized equipment so that your drain can flow freely once again.

 

#3. You’ve Got Higher Water Pressure

Just because you’ve got a running toilet doesn’t mean that you’ve got higher water pressure than normal. A running toilet is usually caused by a faulty seal within the tank. Leaking faucets usually have a similar problem. If your seals keep getting busted out even after being fixed, however, then you’ve likely got a high pressure problem. That pressure needs to go somewhere, so it’s forcing water out of your plumbing system.

This is a problem that needs to be fixed right away if you suspect it. High pressure levels can cause water heaters to fail, fittings and pipes to break, and basements to flood. A professional plumber can inspect your system and install equipment, such as a pressure reduction valve.

#4. You’ve Got Water That Isn’t Clear

Any time you have water that suddenly isn’t clear, you’ve got the potential of having a problem with your plumbing system. If you’ve got water that is suddenly cloudy after being clear, then there’s likely some air in your plumbing system somewhere. Water that turns to a different color, like brown, can mean there is rust in the system or just be a natural variation from a well or a problem from the water mains. The most immediate issue, however, is if you see water that is green or blue. This means you’ve got corrosion in your pipes and you’ll want a plumber’s help right away.

#5. You’ve Got Water That Smells Bad

Smells are often a water source problem more than a plumbing system problem, but not always. The classic smell that you’ll have is that of rotting eggs, which means you’ve got a sulfur issue coming from somewhere. If your water smells like bleach, it is because there are high levels of chlorine being used to remove dangerous bacteria at the treatment source and this is normal. Water that smells like fish usually has barium in the water, which could mean a filter failure in your plumbing system. If the source is reportedly clean, then talk to a plumber about your odor concerns. You might have vent piping problems.

#6. You’ve Got Less Warm Water

If you’ve got a hot water heater, then your plumbing system has a maximum capacity. If you’ve taken a long shower, you’re not going to have hot water for a while because the system needs to recharge. If however, you’ve got hot water that suddenly goes cold with no usage, then you’ve got a problem. This usually means the element in the hot water heater needs to be replaced, but you could have leaks in your hot water plumbing.

#7. You’ve Got Strange Noises

It’s the classic children’s story. There are things that go bump in the night, the noises scare the child, and in the end it is the plumbing. Good plumbing doesn’t make loud noises, however, when it isn’t being used. If your plumbing goes bump in the night, then it’s time to call for a plumbing inspection. There are a number of problems you could be facing, from loose fittings to leaks in the water supply. A plumbing professional can inspect your system for you, track down the cause of the noise, and determine if a repair is needed.

Your plumbing system could be telling you everything you need to know about its health right now. Keep these 7 signs in mind every day and you’ll be able to proactively prevent many major problems that can develop!

A big thank you to both Emily Ford and Jonathan the Plumbing King for sharing their expertise on the topic. Please connect with Emily on google plus and feel free to add any thoughts in the comment section.

Charlotte Plumber: ER Plumbing Services

ER Plumbing loves to partner with home improvement experts like Emily and Jonathan in Australia. If you have Charlotte plumbing needs, give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our contact form for Charlotte plumbing services 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

 

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Common Causes of Clogged Pipes

Common Causes of Clogged Pipes

Drain Pipe Blockage

If you are a homeowner and have lived there for any good amount of time, you have more than likely experienced some form of drain pipe blockage. When we wash our hair, wash dishes, wash our clothes, mop the floors, do yard work, etc., we could be inviting lots of unwanted material into our drain pipes.

You may get a good idea to use a plunger to try and fix the problem on your end and save some money, but, in most cases, you only fix the problem temporarily. On the other hand, there are those who have no problem forking out the cash for a professional plumber just so that they can have the peace of mind to know that their drain system is in top working condition once again. While we know some of the everyday things that may build up in our drains over time, these are some of the things that cause the most drain blockage:

Fat and Grease Products

Believe it or not, this is the most common of all causes of blockage in pipes, yet it’s also the easiest one to prevent. Fatty matter that is washed down the sink tends to stick to the inside of pipes. This will, over time, build up so much that there will be no liquids able to pass through the pipe. You can prevent this from happening if you keep a careful watch over the liquids that you decide you want to send down the drain. Pouring something fatty down the drain should be followed immediately by really hot water and a little dish soap to break it up.

Tree and Leaf Matter

In the fall when you are racking leaves, think about removing the leaves that are heading towards the outside drainage systems on the edge of your home. Also, pick up and throw away as much debris as possible.

Tree roots will also cause havoc on your pipes if the roots get caught around them. They can squeeze and tighten themselves and crack pipes over time, because their roots can become so large. If you have a hairline crack in a pipe, the root will manage to get inside the pipe and widen the crack, eventually blocking the pipe.

Hair

Hair buildup is a very big problem for pipes. If not cleared out on a regular basis, hair, over time, will accumulate and clog your drain. This will stop any liquid from passing through. Use a hair catching device in the drain before it gets into the pipes, yet, still keep a close eye on this situation. It is a problem that can be avoided.

Need Plumbing Help?

Need a Charlotte plumber to unclog a drain? We use top of the line equipment to clear drains.

Give ER Plumbing Services a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for immediate Charlotte plumbing service.

clogged drain Charlotte

We use a cable to pull out tree roots from clogged drains

 

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How Much is that Leaky Pipe Costing You?

How Much is that Leaky Pipe Costing You?

The best, low-cost way to fix a leaking pipe is to fix it yourself. This will most likely mean that you will need to be able to weld and have the equipment to do the job. It is quite unfortunate that most DIY people don’t have the skills nor the equipment to perform this kind of job properly. The next step is to look into hiring a professional.

What is That Leak Costing You Really?

Before we get into costs of repair and finding a good plumber, if you are hesitant to repair your leak, you should know how much that leaky pipe could really be costing you in home damage.

According to the American Water Works Association (source: wastewater.org), leaks in pipes waste (per 24-hours, at 40 pounds of water pressure):

  • 1/32″ leak – 170 gallons
  • 1/16″ leak – 970 gallons
  • 1/8″ leak – 3600 gallons

To give you perspective, a 1/16” leak is the size of a pencil point.

You probably don’t realize how much a pipe leak can cost you, but experts estimate that a hairline crack (1/16”) can cost you between $100-$600 just for the monthly water usage alone.

Water damage can be a homeowner’s worse nightmare. Leaking appliances and bursting pipes can cause mold and mildew, not to mention the rotting of drywall, flooring materials, and wood.

If you hesitate to repair your leak, you could end up with appliances falling through thin floors, flooding basements and living rooms, lung problems associated with the growth of mold, and a host of other problems.

When this happens, your next concern appears: Will my insurance cover it? Bob Passmore, of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America says, “Out of every $100 paid in insurance claims, $12 goes to water damage and freezing claims, not including water damage from flooding rivers and seas.”

So, when you come across a leaky pipe, don’t ignore it. Find out the estimated cost and then do some research as to who would do the job credibly.

Research

Most people will want to do some research before hiring a professional plumber. Before you research which plumbing company is the best, a good idea is to first calculate just about how much that company should be charging you. I came across a great online tool to help you do just that.

Job Cost Calculator

One of the best ways to estimate how much your plumbing work should cost is to use a cost calculator. Just do a search for “cost to repair a plumbing leak,” and you will be able to find one online. The one I found was updated in January of 2014. All you do is enter your zip code, type in how many leaks you are trying to estimate, click on “update” and it automatically calculates a few things for you. Leak repair labor (these are the direct labor expenses to repair your plumbing leak). Of course, the more leaks you enter, the higher the price.

Next, it calculates the leak job materials and supplies (this is the cost of the supplies that they may need to repair your leak including the fittings, connectors and mounting hardware.

Lastly, it gives you the total cost of the leaks you entered and the average cost per leak.

Repair That Leak

Need a Charlotte plumber to repair that leaky pipe? Think you have a leak, but aren’t sure where the leaky pipe is? We use top of the line leak detection equipment to detect leaks, and then we fix them, no matter where the location of the leak. Under concrete? Slab? Your home? No problem. We’ll leave your property looking great, with the leak repaired.

Give ER Plumbing Services a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form for immediate Charlotte plumbing service.

 

 

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