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Pipe Jetting

How Does Pipe Jetting Work?

Pipe jetting, also called hydro-jetting or water blasting, is a method of spraying high-powered streams of water into a pipe to clear blockages and prevent lengthy, expensive repairs. How exactly does pipe jetting work and when is it the right course of action if your home or business Pipe Jettinghas a blocked plumbing line?

Pipe Jetting Process

Once contacted regarding a blocked plumbing line, a professional plumber will insert a fiber-optic camera into the affected pipe to view the blockage up close. He will also inspect the plumbing line’s condition, ensuring it can withstand the water pressure from pipe jetting.

The plumber will insert the hose at least two feet before turning on the spray. For cleaning in-house plumbing, the hydro-jetting hose is inserted through the drain access point, not from inside the home, such as a toilet or sink. When cleaning a sewer blockage, the hose is placed into the sewage drain, which is usually accessed in the building’s lowest level.

After calculating the water pressure needed to break apart the blockage without damaging the pipe’s interior lining, the plumber will turn on the machine, which can be powered by either gas or electricity. Using pressures up to 4,000 pounds per square inch, the blast will quickly cause the backed-up grease or waste to dissipate, continuing on its journey out of the plumbing line. Pipe jetting can even eliminate tree roots that may be inhibiting fluid flow.

Once the water begins to flow freely, the plumber will inspect the blockage’s location again using the fiber-optic camera. He will make sure all clumps of tree root, gravel and hardened debris are completely eliminated. Multiple rounds may be required for clearing away stubborn blockages.

Training and Experience Required

No homeowner should buy or rent a high-pressure pipe-jetting machine. Only certified plumbers with the necessary protective equipment should be called upon to complete the procedure. While the hydro-jetting takes place, the plumber pays close attention to the water pressure inside the pipe. He will slowly lower the water pressure as the blockage is removed. This prevents water from spraying up into the building through drains, sinks and toilets after clearing the blockage.

Amateurs may also lack the equipment needed to complete a thorough camera inspection before the procedure begins. If high-pressure water is used in already deteriorating pipes, the spray could cause the plumbing line to burst, resulting in a serious, more expensive repair. A seasoned plumber will spot signs of chipping metal and rust inside the pipe and be able to determine whether removal and replacement is a better repair choice to avoid water damage from a potential burst pipe.

If your home or business has a plumbing line blockage, call Captain Plumbing immediately. Get a professional inspection of your pipe blockage and find out if pipe jetting is an efficient solution for your situation.

Sump Pump

What You Should Know About Sump Pumps

What do you know about sump pumps? If your basement gets wet in a storm, as 60 percent of basements do, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors, you should be informed Sump Pumpabout how sump pumps work, how they can keep your basement dry and how you can maintain the machine and minimize water damage to your basement.

How Do Sump Pumps Work?

Professionals dig a hole two feet deep in the lowest corner of the basement. They place gravel at the bottom of the hole and install the sump pump. The sensor at the base of the pump signals the machine to turn on once water collects and rises to a predetermined level. The water is expelled through an outlet drain that runs outside of the home, away from the foundation. Most outlet drains include a check valve that prevents the backflow of water into the sump pump cavern.

What Is the Power Source?

Almost all sump pumps are powered by electricity. The sump pump must be installed close to a grounded 110-volt electrical outlet. Depending on your local electrical building code, you may or may not have to ensure the basement outlet is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GCFI). The benefit of using a GCFI outlet is electrocution protection. Since the sump pump is an electrical machine constantly near water, this type of outlet will trip as soon any of the electrical current fails to return to the outlet. The same feature counted as a benefit can also be considered a downside, as GCFI outlets are sensitive to tripping. If any current interruption takes place, the sump pump will shut off and will not turn back on without a reset. For homeowners who cannot always check their automatic sump pumps, this is a dangerous risk.

How Do You Maintain the Machine?

Homeowners should test the machine’s function once every few months. Pour a bucket of water into the pit and ensure the pump engages. Watch the flow of water from the exterior of the house. Remove any blockages impeding the correct progress away from the home’s foundation. In high-risk flood areas, homeowners should consider purchasing a generator to keep the machine running during power outages. A battery-powered backup pump can provide further peace of mind.

How Long Do Sump Pumps Last?

While most manufacturers build their products to last for 10 years, the machine may expire before then, depending on how often it runs. If you don’t know your sump pump’s age, purchasing a backup machine is a smart decision so as to prevent any lapses in basement drainage coverage.

Contact Captain Plumbing for information concerning all you should know about sump pumps, including an individual needs assessment at your property.

Saving Money on Water Bills

Four Ways to Save Money on Your Water Bill

Most people are interested in ways to save money on their water bills, so it’s good to learn how to perform some simple home maintenance and repair projects that will help you get started. Saving Money on Water BillsChanging water usage habits takes a concerted effort by every household member. Conservation techniques can seriously lower your monthly charges, but it may take time for a household to adapt. However, you can take some steps that will lower your water bill immediately.

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, showers account for 16.8 percent of the average household’s daily water use. Switching to a low-flow showerhead is an inexpensive, simple procedure. Once complete, the shower will no longer use 2.5 gallons per minute – the standard amount for traditional shower heads. Low-flow showerheads only use 2 gallons or less per minute. Besides using less water, a low-flow showerhead will also cut down on energy use. Less hot water used means less energy expended on heat. Over the course of a year, this adjustment can save the average household $70, paying for the cost of the product and then some.

Repair Running Toilets and Leaking Faucets

The EPA estimates that homeowners could regain 10 percent of their water bill by repairing running toilets and faucet leaks. Throughout the United States, 10 percent of home plumbing systems waste at least 90 gallons daily. When a toilet continues to run, it is normally due to a worn-out rubber flapper. This part is inexpensive to purchase and will include installation instructions. Dripping faucets usually occur when mineral deposits build up or washers and O-rings deteriorate inside the feature. If your plumbing expertise is insufficient to quickly repair the leak, a plumber can offer speedy assistance with either of these common water-wasting problems.

Add Insulation to Hot Water Pipes

Simply slipping insulation coverings on your hot water pipes can reduce waste and save on your electric bill. Insulation can raise water temperature 2 to 4 degrees. If it takes less time to heat water before a shower or when washing dishes, you will not have to leave the faucet running as long beforehand.

Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances

Purchasing Energy Star certified appliances are a solid investment and a sure way to cut down on water bills. According to Energy Star, their certified washing machines use only 10 to 20 gallons of water each load. A noncertified washing machine uses 30 gallons or more. According to the organization, dishwashers over 10 years old waste $35 per year. An Energy Star certified dishwasher will save homeowners 1,600 gallons throughout its life cycle.

Follow these helpful guidelines when working to save money on your water bill, and contact Captain Plumbing for all professional plumbing repairs and expert appliance installation.

Natural Gas

Residential Natural Gas Line Safety

Natural gas line safety is ensured through regular maintenance and quick attention to gas line problems. Because homeowners are responsible for maintenance of their natural gas lines Natural Gasbetween the meter and their home, it is important to regularly inspect for corrosion, leaks and other dangerous and potentially life-threatening problems. Read on for some tips to keep your natural gas lines safe and in good working order.

Where are Natural Gas Lines Located?

Make sure you know where your natural gas piping is buried. If the meter is at the curb, the entire expanse of piping from the meter to the gas appliances inside the home is the responsibility of the homeowner. Property owners may not be able to pinpoint the exact piping route when pipes are buried deep in the soil, but an experienced plumber can trace them and inform homeowners of their location.

Avoid Damage to Pipes

Before homeowners begin a renovation project that requires excavation of their yard, it is vital to know and visibly mark the location of all natural gas lines. Once excavation begins, it’s important to only use hand-operated digging tools to remove dirt within 24 inches of any pipes. Even if the excavating equipment does not penetrate the pipe, any scrape or nick on the surface can lead to a leak in the future.

Signs of a Leak

An excavation project, a natural disaster like a flood, or regular wear and tear can all cause gas leaks. A leaking gas line is a serious emergency. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the less damage it likely will inflict.

The most apparent sign of a leak is the smell. Another method of detection is by listening closely near piping. A soft hissing sound may signify a leak. Always conduct visual inspections, both inside and outside. If you notice rust, call an experienced plumber. Other indications of a leak or pipe wear are dead grass over a buried pipe, or if a previously buried pipe is exposed due to fire or flood.

Be Prepared

All property owners should know the exact location of the gas turnoff valve. Keep an adjustable 12 inch wrench on hand at all times. To shut off the flow, grasp and turn the valve until it is positioned crosswise to the pipe. As soon as you notice a leak, turn off the valve with caution. In certain cases, faulty wiring could have directed an electrical charge to the meter.

Homeowners should also know where each turnoff valve is located for all gas-powered appliances. If the leak is due to a malfunctioning appliance, you will not have to cut off gas to the entire home. After smelling gas or identifying a leak, do not use electricity in your home until the leak is repaired. Educate each member of your family on a specific evacuation plan so everyone can quickly exit the house after the smell of gas is identified.

Prevention Measures

Have a reputable professional inspect your natural gas lines, especially if you suspect corrosion or leaks. Also schedule regular inspections of gas-powered appliances such as a water heater and stove. Do not place any items near appliances that could interfere with their proper function.

Call Captain Plumbing for specialized, professional repairs and inspections to make sure the natural gas lines in your home are safe and working properly.

Garbage Disposal

How to Rid Your Home of Garbage Disposal Odor

Is it possible to eliminate garbage disposal odor forever? It is disheartening to clean your entire kitchen and still encounter a disagreeable smell coming from the general direction of your sink, Garbage Disposalthough you regulate how you use your disposal and ensure it is cleaned weekly. But take heart — you can regain a fresh-smelling kitchen.

Watch What You Dispose

Never put anything into your garbage disposal without first running water through it. Always remove all substances that will not break down easily into tiny pieces. Here is a short list of foods to avoid:

  • Fibrous vegetables like celery
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes
  • Cooking grease or oil
  • Pasta and rice — both expand in water

In addition, never dump coffee grinds into the disposal, even though some sources state the coarseness may assist in cleaning. As the grinds make their way through the plumbing, they can clump and produce a clog. Eggshells are another waste product to recycle or toss in the trash. The shell itself will break down, but the interior transparent film may become entangled in the disposal’s mechanism.

Bad odors begin when congealed food particles and grease build up in the upper portion of the machine. By steering clear of putting the previously mentioned foods in the disposal, it is more likely your machine will completely rid itself of all debris, leaving no clinging refuse behind. Do not turn off the garbage disposal until grinding has ceased, ensuring all waste has been successfully expelled.

Clean Regularly

Much like a refrigerator and dishwasher require upkeep to maintain a pleasant odor, your garbage disposal is no different. On a weekly basis, feed ice cubes into it and run cold water before and after. For an extra cleaning measure, pour in baking soda and let it soak for an hour before running the ice cubes through. You can also sprinkle kosher salt into the disposal along with the ice cubes. The combination of crumbled ice and coarse salt will help chip away built-up residue on the metal parts. Also try cutting up a lemon or orange into tiny pieces and feeding them into the disposal. The citrus will freshen the machine. Pour vinegar in as well, or simply clean with ice cubes made of vinegar.

Purchase a Drain-Cleaning Product

For stubborn, lingering odors, consider cleaning with a stronger product. Do not use typical drain-cleaning chemicals, as substances such as bleach may cause early corrosion and speed up wear and tear. Select a natural cleaner consisting of non-abrasive materials.

Safety is of the utmost importance when cleaning. Never put your hand into the drain. Only use metal tools when the disposal is disconnected from the electricity source. Call Captain Plumbing today for instructions about the proper use, consistent cleaning and healthy upkeep of your particular model of garbage disposal so it will be odor- and problem-free.

Commercial Plumbing

When Do You Need Commercial Plumbing Repair?

When should you call for commercial plumbing repair and what can you repair the problem on your own? Here are a number of scenarios in which an experienced commercial plumber can Commercial Plumbingbe invaluable to keeping your business operating and your customers satisfied.

Broken Water Heater

If you notice water temperatures dropping, your water heater may have expired. A broken water heater can leak and cause flooding, exacerbating the initial issue. Do not attempt to repair the water heater on your own. Specific regulations regarding water heater replacement exist for a reason – gas water heaters pose serious risks and could even explode, causing extreme damage and injury.

However, you can take a few troubleshooting measures so you are able to report the issue to your commercial plumber. Check to see if the pilot light is on. If not, it could indicate the need for a new thermocouple or an entire water heater replacement. If the main problem is the water temperature, adjust the settings to see if the thermostat itself is defective – a common issue a commercial plumber can repair.

Sewage Overflow

A sewage overflow may be a business owner’s worst nightmare. To counter the devastating effects, you need to call in professional help right away. Even in cases of a toilet overflow minus human waste, bacteria from the system can contaminate every surface it touches. This poses a serious health and safety risk to your patrons. Once the harmful waste is removed, a commercial plumber can quickly identify the original cause of the overflow.

While you cannot personally remedy a sewage backup without the proper equipment and training, you can stay aware of the warning signs to protect your commercial property. If you notice frequent toilet clogs and gurgling noises in sinks and drains, it’s time to get an in-depth inspection of your sewer system.

Faucet or Toilet Leaks

With a commercial property to run, you may not always notice a running toilet or dripping faucet. Professional plumbers are able to test toilets and plumbing lines for silent water leaks. Attempting to repair leaks on your own could quickly escalate into a time-consuming, expensive job if you do not have proper training.

Here’s what you can do: always keep a watchful eye on your water bill. You want your business to make a profit, and that will not happen when needless funds are spent on operating costs. If your water bill spikes, call a commercial plumber to test your plumbing.

Clogged Drain or Grease Trap

Businesses with working kitchens depend heavily on functioning drains. If proper waste disposal procedures are not followed with grease or oil-based substances, a drain blockage may upend the kitchen’s operation.

It is vital to have drains and grease traps powerfully cleaned at least once per year, and pipe jetting is an effective solution. Commercial plumbers use high-powered streams of water to unblock buildup and increase water flow.

Most importantly, developing a regular plumbing maintenance schedule for your commercial property is the ideal method of identifying and preventing potential issues before they arise. Contact Captain Plumbing for all your professional commercial plumbing repair needs.

Slow Draining Bathtub

How to Repair a Slow-Draining Bathtub

You might be able to repair a slow-draining bathtub on your own if you follow these handy suggestions. Soap scum and hair can build up over time, causing water to drain slowly and leave a film behind. Get your bathtub pipes back in working order with these tips.Slow Draining Bathtub

Remove Drain Cover

Remove the drain cover and clear out the hair. Dig even deeper — you might find clumps of debris lodged in the metal crooks. Don a pair of rubber gloves and clear out the drain space underneath.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

These two common household items combine to form an acid-based reaction. While some resources suggest combining the baking soda and vinegar before pouring them down the drain, this is not the best option. Instead, pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for five minutes. Then pour in one cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction taking place in the stopped-up drain will substitute for the much-needed deep scrubbing where you can’t reach. Let hot water run and clear the pipes afterward.

Purchase a Drain Snake

Drain snakes are available for purchase at home-improvement stores. They are long, flexible tools that can be inserted into your bathtub drain. Push the drain snake in as far as it can go and turn it clockwise until it hits the blockage. Reinserting, pushing and turning on the blockage can eventually cause it to loosen. Follow the process by pouring hot water into the pipes to flush out the debris.

Grab a Plunger or Use a Shop Vacuum

Fill the bathtub with enough hot water to cover the drain and begin plunging repeatedly. If a plunger’s air pressure won’t dislodge the clog, you could attempt suctioning out the blockage with a wet/dry shop vacuum. Purchase a suctioning attachment for your shop vacuum, or cover the vacuum’s hose mouth with a washcloth, tightening the towel around the hose with a rubber band. In addition to clearing out blockages in your bathtub, this method is also ideal if a valuable piece of jewelry goes down the drain.

Tips to Keep Your Bathtub Drain Working Properly

Make sure you do not pour chemicals down any drain in your home, including the bathtub. Grease, paint and wax-based substances should all be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way, not by way of your plumbing system.

Hot water is an acceptable drain-cleaning agent, but do not pour boiling water down a drain if the pipes are made of PVC. These plumbing systems are connected with rubber seals which can melt if exposed to boiling water. If you encounter a drain blockage that exceeds your repair ability, contact a professional plumber for repairs.

If none of these solutions succeeds at repairing your slow-draining bathtub, contact Captain Plumbing for assistance.

Flooded Basement

How to Prevent Basement Flooding

Homeowners want to prevent basement flooding and avoid the expensive and time-consuming cleanup process that goes along with it. Whether your basement is fully finished or a cement Flooded Basementstorage space, it could still cost you thousands of dollars to dry out and restore your lower level, not including the cost of replacing destroyed belongings. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States, and average flood claims from 2008-2012 were upwards of $40,000 each. How can you prevent basement flooding and protect your home and your finances?

Assess Your Flood Risk

You must first assess your flood risk. Using, you can enter your address and see the risk of flooding in your region. Living near the coast, a body of water, or in a 100-year floodplain will up your chances of experiencing a flood. Other weather-related flooding causes include prolonged periods of rain or dramatic snow melts. Knowing your likelihood of flooding will dictate the seriousness of your preparatory measures, helping you determine what alterations you should make to your property and what type of insurance to purchase.

Make Landscape Changes

If your house is built on a slope causing water to drain from your yard and pool around your home’s foundation, it might be time to invest in underground drainage systems to direct water away. Hiring a professional for lot drainage may be worth the investment. If your home’s foundation is surrounded for years by soil with a high moisture content, it could result in a cracked foundation, or the entire home could shift.

Examine Your Foundation

In an unfinished basement, check each wall for cracks and signs of moisture. To seal the foundation crack against water entry, power wash the crack, removing all dirt and crumbling debris. Once clean, allow the area to dry completely. Use an epoxy product to fill the crack. If you spot future cracks or the sealed crack reopens, that is a sign of foundation movement, which should be addressed by a professional.

Maintain Exterior Drainage Systems

Your gutters and downspouts are not for decoration. Exterior drainage is one of the most important systems in your home, safeguarding the home’s interior against a formidable enemy: water. Have your gutters cleaned regularly. To check the function of your downspouts, go outside during a rainstorm and make sure all water is flowing away from the foundation. Each downspout should extend six feet away from the home. You can purchase pipe extensions if needed to assist proper water flow.

Invest in a Sump Pump

The average cost to install a sump pump runs about $1,200, according to Sump pumps automatically gather and drain groundwater before it has the chance to penetrate your basement. While these machines are highly effective at preventing floods, they require power. If you live an area with frequent flooding and power outages, you might want to purchase a generator as well to ensure the sump pump functions.

Service Your Sewer System

A sewer system backup is a common cause of flooded basements. Sewer blockages happen for many reasons: a large object was flushed into the system, a tree root grew into a pipe, grease buildup ruined proper water flow, and more. Make sure your sewer system is regularly inspected by a professional so blockages are spotted and cleared before causing flooding throughout your home.

Now you’re aware of the steps you must take to prevent basement flooding and keep your property dry, even when a severe flood watch is on the horizon. Contact the water removal professionals at Captain Plumbing if you need assistance restoring your flooded basement and preventing future mishaps.

Septic Tank

How to Maintain Your Septic Tank

Not maintaining your septic tank could be a costly — not to mention smelly — mistake. You might take your advanced waste system for granted, but don’t forget that a well-maintained home septic system keeps your house clean and dry, providing a healthy environment for up to Septic Tank20 years. An overloaded, overworked septic system can become a homeowner’s No. 1 nightmare by leaking sewage into the home or yard, but not if you follow these tips.

Know Where the Tank is Located

You might be at a loss as to where the septic tank is in your yard or how to find it. If you have the initial plot drawings of your home, the location will be marked. To receive a copy of your home’s drawings, head to your town records office. If you have difficulty pinpointing the exact spot, a licensed plumber can find it using soil probes. It is vital to know where your tank is located so that you can protect it. You should never plant trees or large shrubs nearby, as growing roots can puncture the pipes or the tank. Never park your car or pave the ground near your septic tank, as pressure on the system’s drain field could cause backups and malfunctions.

Get a Tank Inspection

A plumbing inspector should examine your septic tank once every three years at the minimum, as suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency. A typical inspection involves measuring the levels of each type of wastewater in the tank. The inspector should also check all plumbing leading to the system, including the drain field and the tank itself. Never attempt to inspect your tank yourself — leave it to a licensed professional. Coming into contact with human waste is dangerous and the gases contained in septic tanks are lethal.

Regularly Have Your Tank Pumped

On average, septic tanks should be pumped once every three to five years. The thickest waste that settles at the bottom is called sludge. The oily top layer of waste is called scum. If the sludge level is at least one third of the total liquid in the tank, it should be pumped. Talk to your trusted local plumber to determine how often you should pump your tank, based on gallons in the tank and how many people live in your home.

Call the experts at Captain Plumbing if you are looking for thorough septic tank inspections and service. If you properly maintain your septic tank, one of the most important components of your home’s plumbing, that $7,000 septic system replacement might not have to happen for years, or even decades, to come.

Water Filter

Reasons to Get a Home Water Filtration System

Why should you get a home water filtration system? The earth is made up of 71 percent water. More than 55 percent of the adult body consists of water. Water is vitally important to life, and clean, pure water is essential to health. You might try to stay healthy by eating organic and Water Filterhaving at least three servings of fruits and vegetables, but have you considered the quality of the water you drink?

Increase Water Quality

Your unpurified water could be killing you. The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1974 and updated twice since, currently regulating the presence of 91 unsafe chemicals in drinking water. That might seem impressive, but what the law doesn’t control are the thousands of other chemicals in American water supplies, some of which have been linked to cancer risks. Do you want your family members exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic, lead or other illness-inducing contaminants?

Save Money Long-Term

Bottled water is a legitimate option for those who would rather avoid tap water, but it can add up. At a discount or bought in bulk, bottled water costs 25 cents per bottle. A family of four, with each member drinking two bottles per day, would spend two dollars every day, or $700 per year, and that’s not even drinking the recommended amount. Additionally, plastic bottles might pose health risks and are a major source of consumer waste. Investing in a filtration system is a one-time purchase, with minimal maintenance costs.

Investigate Your Area

Pay a visit to your town’s water department. Most towns are ready and willing to hand over a copy of the water-quality report. You can find out if your town has traces of dangerous substances in the water, and if so, which ones are highest. Knowing this can help you choose a home-filtration system geared toward lowering the hazardous elements you want to target.

What Are Your Options?

You can choose between two main types of filtration systems: point-of-entry systems or point-of-use systems. Point-of-entry systems are installed at the main, filtering all water entering your home, even if it is not intended for drinking.

Point-of-use systems are installed where the water exits the faucet. Filters can be placed in or under sinks, showerheads or refrigerators. You could also utilize a filter-fitted pitcher or personal bottle to avoid installing a system. Personal filtered bottles have an added benefit: take it with you and fill up at any tap or public fountain for free.

No matter which route you take, make sure you replace the system’s filters and membranes regularly. Get a home water-filtration system and drink freely, without fear of toxins and chemicals.