Winterizing Your Summer Home

Winterize Your Summer Home & Prevent Plumbing Disasters

winterize summer home

Prevent Burst Pipes & Protect Your Summer Home

The summer is fading, but what a summer it was! The fishing and boating! The grilling on the deck! Nothing is like a sunny day fading into night with fireflies flickering and crickets chirping, sitting outside with family and friends; dogs panting and the little ones close by and falling asleep.

Now is the time to think about closing up the summer place, and when done correctly, setting up for the next season in the sun, without having to replace burst pipes. 

Prepare Your Summer Home for Winter with These Ten Steps:

1. Turn off the water supply to the house. The main water valve is usually near the water meter on the home’s exterior, or in the basement.

2. Drain water pipes. Do this by: Starting by turning on the faucets from top to bottom in sinks and showers and tubs, until no water runs.

3. Pour RV antifreeze into the drains and toilets to prevent any remaining standing water from freezing.

4. After pouring antifreeze into the drains, cap them. Cover the toilet with plastic wrap. This will stop the possibility of sewer gas from entering the house through the drains.

5. Shut off the gas hot water heater. Usually this is a valve near the bottom of the heater, close to the drain. Sometimes there is a sticker giving you further instructions.

6. Turn off the water supply to the hot water heater by closing the water supply valve found at the top of the water heater.

7. Drain the water heater by attaching a hose to the drain valve and opening up the drain.

8. Drain the pool, if you have one. This is a several step procedure, involving a submersible sump pump. You may want to consider hiring a pool specialist.

9. Turn down the thermostat to 55 degrees, generally considered to be warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

10. Toss out any liquids remaining in the home from the kitchen to the bathrooms as sometimes winters are fierce and heaters fail. Nothing is quite like returning to a home with surprise gooey messes about.

Regardless of how blustery the winter or how long it sometimes seems, being able to return to a summer home when that season is upon you and only having to ‘turn it back on’, ie reversing the steps taken to put it to sleep, will make your summer home and summer itself that much more appealing and enjoyable.

Worried You'll Miss Something? Jersey Plumbing Service can winterize your summer home for you. Call (908) 281-7101 

10 signs sewer line

How to Identify Sewer Line Problems

sewer line

10 Signs of Sewer Line Problems

Catching potential issues early on can prevent extensive - and expensive plumbing repairs. It's important to recognize and address sewer line problems early.

Sewer Line Problems Can Cause Significant Damage Inside - and Outside of the Home, Including Potential Damage to Your Foundation. Keep an eye out for these symptoms of potential sewer line problems to be sure you address these issues quickly. It can be helpful to have a plumbing professional check your lines on a yearly basis.

1. Sewer Blockages

If you have a backup or drainage issue in multiple drains throughout the house, it is likely that your main sewer line is the culprit, as all drains rely on the main sewer line to drain properly. However, if only one drain empties slowly like the one in the kitchen, then the issue will likely be with that drain, and may have a solution as simple as cleaning out your U-Pipe. Regular backups may be a sign of broken sewer lines.

2. Sewer Gas or Odor

Smelling sewer gas in or around your home is a tell-tale sign that there is a crack somewhere in the sewer system. In some cases, though backups and sewer odors can occur as a result of clogged sewer vents due to debris such as nests entering the vent pipe from the roof.

3. Mold Problems

Mold growth is yet another sign of a break in the sewer line behind your walls. Mold requires moisture in order to thrive. If you smell a “musty” smell, you are actually smelling the digestive byproduct of mold. Possible sources of moisture include roof leaks, window leaks, and AC unit leaks. If you do not detect any of those problems, chances are you have a failed pipe somewhere. If sewage smell is comingling with the musty smell, chances are it’s the sewage pipes.

4. Slow Drain

If your pipes drain slowly despite regular attempts to clear the lines through traditional methods (do not use chemicals for this problem as they can lead to the breakdown of your pipes.) If clearing the lines does not work there is a good chance that broken pipes or root intrusion are the culprit. A sag or belly occurring along the line can also lead to slow draining and will lead to an eventual failure and should be addressed by a plumber

5. Really Green, Lush Patches of Grass

A good sign of a sewage leak is very lush, bright green grass. Remember that sewage acts as a fertilizer and gives the surrounding area extra nutrients resulting in a very lush appearance. As pretty as that area of your lawn may be, the cause is decidedly un-pretty.

6. Indentation In Lawn or Under Pavers

A cracked sewer main can allow soil to dissipate as the ground is always getting saturated because of seepage. This will cause your walkway or lawn to sink and appear as a dip above the pipeline.

7. Foundation Cracks & Leaks

In addition to the creation of sinkholes, seepage from sewer line breaks can drain directly toward your foundation, and left unaddressed, will cause cracks and leaks in the foundation. This is one of the worst case scenarios of a neglected sewer line, and one of the main reasons to have your sewer checked regularly by a plumbing specialist.

8. Sewer or Septic Waste Pooling in Yard

This issue may be a broken or damaged septic tank, clogged drain fields, or again a cracked main pipeline. This is not what you want to have on your lawn.

9. Rodent Issues

Yes, rats. The problem can start with a rat or three entering your sewer line from the city/town line pipes that tie in to your home’s lines. Rats need very little space to crawl in, and once in, generally are annoying to get rid of.

10. Insect Infestation

If your sewer lines are compromised, any number of insects will opt to enter them, cockroaches among them. If pest control doesn’t contain the insect issues, calling on a certified plumbing expert to check your lines needs to be considered.

Jersey Plumbing Service serves Middlesex, Morris, Mercer, Hunterdon, Essex, Union, and Somerset Counties, New Jersey. If you are in one of these NJ Counties, and suspect you may have a broken sewer line, please do not hesitate to call us!

Jersey Plumbing Service
(908) 281-7101

how to unclog your sink trap

My Sink Won’t Drain When I Plunge it – How Do I Unclog the Sink Trap?

We’ve all been there. We notice the sink draining more and more slowly. We find ourselves having to plunge it from time to time. Most of the time, one plunge does the trick and we’re back to full-speed draining and washing dishes like normal.
Sometimes, though, things don’t go back to normal after a plunge. At times like these – you don’t necessarily have to rush to call a plumber. If you’re a little bit handy, cleaning out your sink trap can be an affordable way to solve the problem.
Your sink trap is a U-shaped pipe under the sink. The shape of this pipe is extremely beneficial to your nostrils, as it helps keep the stink of your sewage from creeping into your kitchen or bathroom. Unfortunately, the shape also makes it easier for gunk to accumulate.

What You Need:

    • Bucket or Dish Pan (depending on how much room you have under your U Pipe)
    • Cleaning Brush
    • Optional: Old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and a soft knee pad to protect your joints.

First, you will want to clean out under the sink and place your bucket/dish pan underneath the U-pipe.
Next, you will notice there are two slip joints at each end of the U (or J) shape. These can be unscrewed (carefully) by hand.
Let the debris spill out of the U joint and into the bucket. Take your brush and clean out the clog.
Reattach the sink trap and run the water, slowly at first to check for leaks, then more quickly to verify there are no leaks where you were working.
Once you have confirmed that there are no leaks, let your water flow a while to see if your drainage problem is solved. If there is a blockage further down the line, it may take a minute for the water to back up through the pipe, so be sure the sink trap was the problem before calling it a day.
If you find that your sink trap was not the source of the problem, and that you still have drainage issues, then you’ll know that a plumber is your next best step. Keep in mind that harsh chemicals that are advertised to clean your drains can cause damage to your pipes – and damaged pipes can cost you a lot of money in residual repairs.
It’s best to either snake the line or call Jersey Plumbing Service to get your drains flowing the way they were meant to.

4 easy toilet repairs

4 Easy Toilet Fixes You Can Do Yourself

Ah, Toilets. A Fixture we use constantly, but seldom think about. But when we have no choice but to think about them, its best to know how to fix the problem quickly, and get back to happy flushing in as little time possible.

4 Common & Easily Repaired Toilet Problems

The Water Level in the Tank is Too Low

First look at the valve, if it is off, turn it back on. Water in the tank needs to be about one inch from the top of the overflow tube. Then monitor the water level in the tank to make sure it refills to the right level.

The Lift Chain Isn’t Working

The lift chain, which attaches the flapper to the flushing handle on the outside of the toilet, can be too long, making the handle unable to raise the flapper. This causes a weak flush on the toilet. Shorten the chain length to let the chain raise the flapper off the flush tube and allow water to flow when the handle is pushed. 

Weird Water Levels in the Tank or Bowl

If the water level in either of these places is not what it used to be, remove the tank lid, look for the rubber flapper. Its job is to release water when the toilet is flushed and then seal the water intake hole afterward, maintaining the right water level. The flapper may be bent or too damaged to do the job. Turn off the water and drain the tank before removing the old one and putting it the new flapper. 

Clogs

With luck, plunging can do this common job. If plunging the toilet bowl is not sufficient to remove the clog, use a water closet auger (aka snake). Being careful to not scratch the porcelain bowl, put the end of the auger into the drain hole, and twist the handle while pushing the rotor downward. Afterwards, flush the toilet. 

None of These Solved My Problem

Jersey Plumbing is here to help! When all of the above fail, give us a call! 

Jersey Plumbing Service: (908) 281-7101

 
How to Determine if Your House has hard water

How to Determine if Your House has Hard Water

Hard water just makes life harder. (Pun intended.) From the extra scrubbing on bathroom appliances to the dry skin and hair, hard water is a nuisance long before it wreaks havoc on your plumbing fixtures such as pipes, water heater, etc.

Hopefully , you’re finding this list with enough time to save your plumbing system from damage.

How to Spot Hard Water:

    • White Spots

Take a look at your bathroom and kitchen faucets. Do you see white spots? Are those white spots resistant to cleaners?

    • Dry Skin & Hair

Some people just don’t have luck with great hair or skin – but oftentimes, brittle, dull hair and dry skin can be a direct result of excessive amounts of minerals in your water. If you notice that lathering your shampoo or soap is difficult, this may indicate the same.

    • Gray Whites in the Laundry

A lesser known indication of hard water is your laundry. If you notice that, even after diligently separating your whites from colors, that your whites are coming out with a gray hue, this could be an indication of hard water. You may also notice that colored clothing fades sooner than normal.

    • Dishwasher Splotches

If your dishes go through the dishwasher and come out with white spots no matter how good a cleaner you use, that’s a strong indicator of hard water. If you wash your dishes by hand, you may have better luck preventing the spots, but you will likely notice the white mineral stains on your dish-drainer.

    • Shower Film

If your bath or shower seems to have a film on it, no matter how often you clean, there’s a good chance minerals in the water are to blame.

    • Not-So-Hot Water

If your water heater seems to be working overtime just to warm up for a shower, there’s a good chance it’s succumbing to scale. Scale will lead to the expensive problems in all of your water using appliances, requiring regular part replacements or worse. If you are worried about scale in your pipes a failing water heater, or want to install a water conditioning system to avoid those problems,  give us a call.

Jersey Plumbing Service

(908) 281-7101

sump pump failure

April Showers Bring ‘Mayflowers’ as well as ‘Mayhem’ to Basements Across NJ

flooded basements
Call Jersey Plumbing

Let's be honest. Most people don't even notice their sump pump until it's failed and their basement has a few inches, or feet, of water in it.

After late winter or early spring rains or when it rains all week, it's important to check your sump pump for signs of failure.

What is the Purpose of a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. Its job is to help keep the area under the building dry and to prevent it from flooding. Usually, sump pumps are installed in specially constructed sump pits. 

Sump pumps for home use are powered by electricity and use standard household current, so they don't require specialized wiring beyond a grounded outlet. Since the pump is always in or near water, it's a good idea to have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on the outlet to prevent accidental electrocution. The same storm that floods your basement can also knock out the power, so having a battery back up is a good idea.

Signs of a Failing Sump Pump

• Running when it should not or constantly running through its cycles
• Issues turning on and off
• Noisier than usual…listen for thumps, thuds and rattling
• Age of the sump pump. Sump pumps generally last about 7 to 10 years: factors include how often the sump pump runs, the electrical source that powers it and the quality of the pump itself.
• The pump’s mechanical parts become clogged with silt, or there is no pump cover so debris and silt accumulate, which increases the likelihood of slowing down or stopping.

Prevent Sump Pump Failures with Regular Maintenance:

Cleaning your sump pit is an essential step in sump pump maintenance. To clean the sump pit, remove dirt, gravel, and other debris to increase the efficiency of the pump. Your discharge line opening should be free of obstruction so that the water can be pumped through the line and out of your basement/crawlspace.

It's important to test your sump pump regularly to be sure your home is ready for the next big rain. To test the pump, pour a bucket of water in the pit. The pump should remove the water and shut off shortly after. You'll want to be sure the check valve and float aren't stuck.

To Have your Sump Pump Tested and Maintained by 
Jersey Plumbing Service, Call us Today, (908) 281-7101.

 

signs water heater is failing

The Death Throes of a Water Heater: Signs Your Water Heater is Failing

Even the best water heaters on the market will fail you eventually. Depending on where you live, the quality of water and the quality of your water conditioning equipment**LINK, your water heater may be headed for doom sooner than it was designed to. Hard and acidic water will lead to corrosion faster, but in the end, all water heaters will face the reality of worn out parts, cracked tanks or corrosion damage.

If you’ve experienced a power outage, you already have a glimpse at how fun and exciting life will be without hot water. It’s a time of adventure and discovery: How will we wash the dishes? How will we wash our pots and pans? How will we wash ourselves?
To prevent this experience, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the signs your water heater is failing.


Age • If you don’t know how old your water heater is, you can verify the date with the serial number label. The month and date may be in an alphanumeric code, but the manufacturer’s website should provide you with the ability to decode it. Manufacturer information should also give you the estimated lifespan of your water heater. The current average (when lumping all models, new and old, in one heap) is 8 to 12 years. Modern replacements have a slightly better average at 12 to 14 years.


Quick to Cool • If you notice that your water temperature isn’t as high as it used to be, or is running out a lot faster than usual, it’s possible your water heater is coated with mineral sediment. This tends to happen after about ten years. A licensed plumber **LINK should inspect your water heater. If you’re lucky – it’s just the heating element in need of replacement.
Rusty Water • The anode rod in your water heater should be checked regularly and replaced when needed. This rod is meant to attract the corrosive elements in your water to the rod in lieu of your tank. If not replaced when needed, corrosive materials will damage the entire water heater, which will inevitably lead to rusty water. Rusty water could also be a sign of pipe damage, but the water heater is a likely villain when hunting for a rusty criminal in your plumbing. If it’s rusted to the point of red water, it’s time to say goodbye now – before it springs a leak.


Water Everywhere • This is usually more a sign that your water has failed than a sign that it is failing, however, depending on the defect that caused it, your water heater may be salvageable.


Snap, Crackle, POP • If your water heater makes loud pops has it heats, sediment has settled and hardened, causing your water heater to work harder. This results in a rapid expansion of the tank, and the loud banging noises that come with it.

If your water heater shows any of these signs, just remember that Jersey Plumbing Service is just a phone call away.

7-plumbing-donts

The 7 Don’ts of Plumbing that Every Homeowner Should Know

1. Don’t block water supply valves or sewer cleanouts.

If you have a plumbing emergency, the last thing you want to do is fight with 100 under-the-sink cleaners, artificial plants, furniture, waste-baskets and other household items to access various water valves as water spews into your home.

2. Don’t close a tap too tightly.

When you close taps tightly, seals wear down faster. Be gentle with your plumbing fixtures to prevent the most common household leaks.

3. Don’t cut into walls, ceilings or floors blindly.

You may be surprised to find out how many pipes are in the walls, ceilings and floors of your home. Don’t ever cut into something in your home without knowing what’s behind there. Aside from rupturing pipes, you could also be getting the shock of your life.

4. Don’t attempt a do it yourself plumbing fix on a Sunday or holiday.

When easy plumbing fixes take a turn for the worse, having a plumber out after normal business hours can cost you more than your little project was budgeted for.

5. Don’t pour hot water into your toilet.

Toilet bowls are usually very cold. A drastic change in temperature can crack the bowl.

6. Don’t store things near your water heater.

Most people know enough not to store things near a furnace, but your water heater gives off an immense amount of heat as well. Be careful not to store anything too close to your water heater to prevent fires.

7. Don’t pour fats, coffee grinds or cooking oils into your drains.

These waste materials can build up in your pipes, or in sewer pipes, causing blockages, backups, and sewer overflows. A little mindfulness can save you a lot of money over the life of your home.

replace old plumbing

Is it Time for Your Old Plumbing to be Replaced?

As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The age of your pipes is a factor in their eventual failing, but performance is everything. Each home has a different water supply. A home with more acidic water may wear out your pipes much faster than a home fed by a clean natural spring nearby.

Signs Your Pipes are Failing:

·         Your water has an odor

Your water supply should never smell. Most of the time, any odor coming from your pipes is indicative of bacteria growth. When pipes begin to scale, bacteria can start to gather and fester. This is a good sign a section of your plumbing may need to be replaced. A less common cause of odor is methane in the water supply. Methane is flammable and is not a welcome guest in any pipe system. Lastly is chlorine. If you smell chlorine, it’s not a sign that your pipes are failing, but it may be a motivating factor for improving your water conditioning system. Chlorine is actually recommended by the EPA to prevent the spread of bacteria and disease, but too much of is generally unpleasant.

o   If your water has an odor, you should have your water tested by a plumber. Contact Jersey Plumbing services today for a quick and easy water test. (908) 281-7101

·         Cloudy or colored water

Dark water is an indication of corrosion in your pipes. As your pipes rust, the particles will be swept into the water supply, resulting in tinted water. Pipes with corrosion problems are more likely to clog, which can result in a burst pipe.

Cloudy water is almost always a result of air bubbles, which is not a problem. Occasionally, cloudy water is from mineral or sediment deposits. Water with a lot of sediment is more prone to clogging your pipes. In rare cases, cloudy water can be a sign of methane gas, which may or may not have an odor.

o   If your water is discolored, you should have your water tested by a plumber. Contact Jersey Plumbing services today for a quick and easy water test. (908) 281-7101

·         Water Stains or a Musty Smell

When your pipes start to leak behind the walls or in the ceilings, it may not become apparent until there are brown water stains on your walls/ceilings or a musty smell in any room of the house. When something smells “musty” what you actually smell are the waste products of mold. (Essentially, you smell mold farts.) Mold grows only in moist areas, so if you smell their byproduct, or see signs of mold on your walls/ceilings/floors, there’s a good chance you have a leak somewhere.

o   If your notice any of these, you will want to get a plumber immediately. Water damage gets more expensive to repair for every minute that it’s left to sit and seep into your home. Contact Jersey Plumbing Service at (908) 281-7101

 

 

Call Today!(908) 281-7101

Would you like to have your pipes professionally assessed? Contact Jersey Plumbing Service Today!