WINTER PLUMBING DISASTERS
JAN 18, 2017
It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting colder, the pipes are freezing, (depending on where you live) and it’s been so long since the last maintenance to your home. Let us give you some great advice on taking care of those troublesome tasks during this winter season.
PLUMBING DISASTERS: GARBAGE DISPOSAL IS CLOGGED
Solution #1: Your garbage disposal is likely to clog up during the holidays with the wide variety of foods thrown in the sink. If this happens, use a plunger to unjam the drain. For best result, fill the sink so there is an inch or two of water. You’ll want the head of the plunger to be submerged; this will allow the for better suction. Using the same motion as is typical for a plunger, push and pull several times. Lift the plunger and see if any water moves down the drain. If nothing happens, try turning on the disposal. If no water moves down try again or see solution #2.
Solution #2: Unplug your garbage disposal. The plug is typically located under the sink. Using a flashlight, look into the drain and see if any food or nonfood items are visible. If so use extreme caution to retrieve the items that may be causing the blockage. If you can’t see anything, proceed to solution #3.
Solution #3: It’s time to call a plumber. You may not need to replace your garbage disposal, but blockage from inside the garbage disposal needs to be removed. Or perhaps some of the components are jammed and need to be reset by a professional. Either way, this should be handled by professional plumbers such as Donley Service Center technicians.
PLUMBING DISASTER: CLOGGED TOILET
Solution: Are your small children throwing strange items down the thrown? Have a plunger handy. If you can’t get the clog to loosen with the plunger, you may have a leak further down the drain pipe. Let the toilet sit a few minutes and see if the water goes down. If so, try the plunger again. If not, call an expert to snake the drain.
Also, make note of the water shut-off valve on your toilet so that you can quickly turn the water off should the porcelain potty start to overflow. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few towels close by either so you can save your flooring and cabinets should an emergency occur.
PLUMBING DISASTER: LOW WATER PRESSURE
If you all of a sudden have low water pressure, one of these several things could be the issue.
Solution #1: Clean the faucet. Many faucets, including the showerhead, have flow restrictors that limit the amount of water that passes through the mechanism. If the flow restrictor becomes clogged it can severely affect the water pressure.
- Detach the shower head from the wall pipe.
- Remove the plastic disk inside the shower head using a thin piece of metal. A small screwdriver or paperclip should do the trick. Not all shower heads have a detachable flow restrictor, so if you don’t see one you can try soaking the entire shower head in a mixture of half water/ half white vinegar to release the debris. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to buy a new showerhead.
- IMPORTANT! You must reinstall the disk exactly as it currently sits, so be sure to remember (or mark with a Sharpie) the side that faces the wall pipe.
- Once the small disk is removed, use a small straight pin or another object to clean out the small holes. Soak in the water/vinegar mixture if needed.
- Inspect the disk to make sure each hole is debris-free. Clean again if necessary.
- Rinse the shower head and disk to make sure no debris is left behind.
- Install the small plastic flow restrictor disk and reattach the shower head to the water pipe.
Solution #2: You may have a leaking pipe. Check under all sinks around your home. If no leaking pipe can be found, the culprit may be underground. For either case, call a plumber to secure the leak
PLUMBING DISASTER: WATER HEATER NOT WORKING
Solution #1: Check the Circuit Breaker. Electric water heaters have heating elements inside the water tank that warm the water. If a breaker is tripped or electricity is somehow not flowing to the unit, you will not have any hot water. Therefore, check your breakers to make sure nothing is tripped. If you suspect the heating element is burnt, call an expert to replace them.
Solution #2: Check the pilot light for gas heaters. The pilot light on a gas heater can go out for a number of reasons. 1) you don’t have any gas reaching the pilot. 2) the pilot is corroded and has a hard time lighting. 3) The gas valve is malfunctioning and is obstructing the flow of gas. In any of these cases, we recommend calling an experienced water heater expert to examine the issue.
If you come across other issues not listed in this article, check out our blogs with tips on how to handle other common plumbing and heating issues. If you need more of an expert touch, call our office anytime and we’ll be right out to help.