main water supply

How to Turn Off the Main Water Supply to Your House

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First, locate your property's water meter. Follow the path leading away from the meter towards your house. The pipe will either lead inside, possibly underground to through your foundation or lead to a large metal or plastic box attached to the pipe near ground level with small handles or spigots protruding from it.

How to Shut off Your Water Main

When to shut off the water to your house:

If you suspect a water leak anywhere in your home, turn off the main water supply. If you do not know where the leak is, turn off the main supply to prevent further water damage requiring large clean-up costs and possibly more extensive repairs. Water damage from a water leak can be even more costly than the leak itself. Water can damage your foundation, drywall, and carpeting. It can also lead to mold growth which can cause respiratory problems for family members especially small children and older people.

If you are doing major plumbing repairs, such as repiping a section of your home or placing an addition that requires additional piping, shutting the main water valve can prevent any chance of flooding. For many minor repairs, however, there are local shut-off valves, such as at your toilet or under your sink.

To shut off the water to your house, you will either turn the wheel or rotate the lever on your shut-off valve. Follow this up by opening your faucets and shower to drain the pipes of any remaining water.

plunge

How to Use a Plunger

For a simple tool, for those who have never used a plunger before, it can be a little nerve-wracking. Typically, the situation is messy and no one wants to make it messier. To confidently handle a plunger, just follow this simple tutorial.

A simple rubber plunger is the most common. To use a rubber plunger you simply position the hole in the plunger as evenly over the hole in your drain (toilet or otherwise). Once in position, press firmly to push the air out of the plunger. Don't let the plunger lift up from its position around the drain while you press down. This will give you a vacuum seal.

When you release the pressure, the suction should hopefully pull up from the drain that did not want to go down. If you have an excessive amount of tissue paper in a toilet, for instance, due to an over-eager child using more wipes than should ever go down the pipe at once, you can use the plunger to pull the wad of wet paper away from the drain as it flushes. Then, with a plastic bag and rubber gloves, you can move that paper to a trash bag. It may be gross, but no worse than flooding your toilet if you insist on trying to force more down a hole then will fit.

Learn This Essential Skill Now!

Regardless of whether your clog needs to be pulled away or go down the drain, you may need to plunge a few times before the clog becomes dislodged. If no amount of plunging is doing the trick, you will want to pick up a plumbing auger from the hardware store.

There are a ton of videos on YouTube that can show you exactly how to operate a plumbing snake (auger), though there are many varieties out there, so you may have to fish around for one that matches the type you purchase.

If your toilet clogs frequently, you should have a plumber out to assess the situation. It may be as simple as too little water going down from your tank. Or it could be as serious as a backed-up septic or collapsed drain pipe. But the sooner you identify the problem, the more money you are likely to save in repairs.

Do not be tempted to use a drain cleaning fluid. Such chemicals can cause damage to your pipes.

rising cost of plumbing supplies

The Rising Cost of Plumbing Supplies

As we continue to move forward and through this worldwide pandemic, the impact on the supply chain is being felt everywhere. Including here at home with the rising costs of plumbing supplies.

Orders placed for supply are not only more expensive than they've been in the past, but they can be slow to arrive, stalling jobs that are mid-progress. In some situations, a needed part can be completely out of stock, forcing contractors to travel from dealer to dealer in hopes they can continue their project.

According to the Independent Pipe and Supply Corporation, hot-rolled coil prices have increased by about 80% in the last eight months, copper has climbed by 75%, and steel pipe costs have soared by 138 percent.

It is no secret that the price of copper has been on the rise for some time now. Copper is a critical component in many plumbing supplies, so when its cost goes up, it causes the overall cost of these supplies to go up as well.

The cost of copper is currently $4.320 per pound. Though, in 2006 it was $1.45/lb and in 1998 it was $0.76/lb!

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an end in sight for this trend and the pandemic did nothing to slow the progression.

This is certainly not good news for those of us needing to purchase plumbing supplies in the near future. Thankfully, there are some ways to help offset these costs.

One way to keep your costs down is to shop around for the best prices. Compare what different stores are charging for the same items. You may be able to find a better deal online or at a store that is not as popular.

Another option is to consider purchasing used or recycled supplies. While they may not be as nice as new.

One option is to look for suppliers that are offering discounts on bulk orders. You may also be able to find deals on copper and other plumbing supplies through online marketplaces.

Whatever you do, don't wait until the last minute to purchase what you need. The prices are only going to go up from here!

bidet

The New Dawn of the Bidet in the USA

bidet

All over the world, bidets are commonplace and expected. The USA has long lagged behind this trend, however, due to toilet paper shortages in the early days of the pandemic, more and more Americans are realizing they've been missing out on the benefits of having a bidet for their personal bathroom hygiene.

Where in the World do People Use Bidets?

All over the world people use bidets as a standard practice. In Asia, for example, it is normal to find them in public restrooms and even some stadiums. It is common to find bidets in South America and Europe, too. Bidet use has been increasing in the USA as well with many new homes having bidets already installed.

More and more Americans have been using bidets and realizing that they actually love them. Indeed, the new dawn of the bidet in the USA has arrived. If you're considering getting a bidet just consider this:

Benefits of a Bidet:

  • Hygienic
  • Prevents hemorrhoids and UTIs
  • Easier care for those with hemorrhoids or other bowel conditions
  • Good for women post childbirth to prevent future infections and tears that can lead to pain and discomfort, as well as urinary incontinence

Why Are Bidets More Hygienic?

Bidets clean more thoroughly than toilet paper, helping to wash away fecal matter and bacteria that can lead to illness. There is also less irritation to sensitive areas that may become sore and more susceptible to infection.

How to Use a Bidet:

  1. Adjust the temperature to your comfort level (if available)
  2. Position over the bidet so that water doesn't spray outside the target areas
  3. Aim for additional areas, including behind and in front of the genitals, as well as the rectal area, being sure not to touch any sensitive areas with the sprayer nozzle itself.
  4. For full hygiene, repeat twice more on each side of the body, front and back where appropriate.
  5. Dry.

Types of Bidets:

A classic bidet is a stand-alone bidet that usually comes with assorted taps and nozzles that splash or spray water.

A wall hung bidet attaches to the wall above the toilet.

Integrated bidet toilet seats fit on top of your existing toilet with a control panel outside the bathroom. Some have their own water tank and only require cold water while others have hot and cold for more consistent temperature control. Some are fairly high-tech while others are low-tech.

No matter what type of model you prefer (and price point), there is a new energy of information and interest surrounding new bidets. Bidets are the new "it" thing for those who wish to be as germ-free as possible by reducing their contact with fecal material during their daily routines.

If you're ready to take the plunge - or in this case, splash - call the team at Jersey Plumbing Service to schedule a new bidet installation.

winterizing

Winterizing Your Summer Home or Rental

Did you know that about 250,000 homes are damaged by frozen and burst pipes each year? Many of these estimated 4 to 5 Million dollars in damages will be experienced here in New Jersey where it's not uncommon to have summer home at the shore, or up in the woods of PA or NY - all areas that enjoy both a hot summer, and frigid cold winters.

While our team can help you winterize locally, many of our clients have faced these preventable problems with other out-of-area properties. Which is why we'd like to arm you with the facts you need to properly winterize your home.

Winterizing Your Home:

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 power and water to your water heater and drain it.

6. 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.

7. If feasible, turn down the thermostat to 55 degrees, generally considered to be warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

8. If not running your heater, first consult your user heating unit's manual. Some units require specific methods for draining water and may require antifreeze. Others do not. An HVAC specialist or Master Plumber may be needed to do this properly or even to guide you the first time you winterize the property.

9. Clean your gutters. Many post-winter leaks aren't from your pipes at all. Ice dams can cause significant damage and you want to ensure good flow in your gutters. Be wary of gutter guards as they have been known to exacerbate ice dams. Trim back any branches that may be dropping debris into your gutters as well.

10. Unplug all appliances.

11. Winterize your outdoor spigot (This applies to your year round home as well!) Disconnect your hoses and drain them. If you have an interior shut off valve to your spigot, shut the water off. Otherwise, insulate your spigot. Consider a faucet cover, which is a padded dome that can be placed over your spigot through the winter.

Remember, it is best to do this right. Water damage can be financially devastating to a property, and more so for properties that are unattended. Do not be shy about asking for professional assistance if you are worried you don't know the proper way to winterize your pipes.

Copy of 6 Common Boiler Questions

The Lifespan of a Boiler: How Long Should a Boiler Last?

The generally accepted lifespan of a boiler is 10 to 15 years. If your boiler is still functioning at 16+ years, it may still be a good time to upgrade, as today's systems are far more efficient than their predecessors.

Factors that affect the lifespan of your boiler:

220. Burham Boiler with Bradford White Water Heater

Do you have the right system?

If your boiler is the wrong size for your home, it may not reach its projected lifespan. If the system is too big, it won't take long to heat your home, and will go through more on/off cycles which can wear out the motors and other boiler components. Short cycling is a sign that you have a system that is too large for your home or building. A system that is too small can become taxed, operating at full capacity in a vain attempt to keep the temperature up and eventually wearing out the system components. You may notice you are still cold despite the boiler constantly running if your system is too small for your home or building.

toolbox

Do you service your boiler every year?
Like we covered in last month's blog post, you should definitely have your boiler serviced every year. In fact, not doing so may void your warranty. Why? Because it's much more likely to fail during the span of your warranty instead of after as a result. With Annual Boiler Maintenance from Jersey Plumbing, we Rigorously Inspect and Maintain Your Equipment for Optimal Performance. Our team will:

- Clean and inspect the heat exchanger
- Inspect all wiring and connections
- Test water pH levels
- Inspect condensate system and clean/flush as needed
- Inspect and clean flame sensor
- Inspect and clean ignitor
- Inspect and clean burner assembly
- Full inspection of the venting system for deterioration, corrosion, blockages or failed joints and connections
- Examination of air inlet and vent terminations
- Inspect and test safety controls 

What kind of boiler do you have?
A cast iron water or steam boiler may last much longer than a condensing boiler. 

What kind of fuel to you use?
A gas boiler has a longer lifespan. Electric Boilers tend to last 8-10 years rather than 10-15 years.

6 Common Boiler Questions

6 Common Questions About Boilers: Answered

1) Can a Boiler Explode?

BoilerExploding

Yes. A Boiler can explode. However, newer boilers are far less likely to explode than their older counterparts due to innovations in technology, especially as a result of high pressure. A boiler can explode either with a fuel or air explosion, or due to water or steam pressure. High Pressure in an older boiler is more dangerous than in a newer boiler because newer systems are designed to shut off when the pressure is too great.

A boiler can also explode due to overheating or a weak outer shell or other weak components. Boilers are designed to withstand a certain amount of pressure, but if your system is corroded or rusting, it's far more likely to face a catastrophic failure. If you are worried your boiler could explode, you should certainly have one of our plumbers out to examine your system.

2) What Happens If Your Boiler Pressure is too Low?

PressureMeterSmallest

Low boiler pressure usually results in poor performance. If you notice that your boiler is on, but it just doesn't seem to be getting warm in the house, low pressure is definitely a possibility. Luckily - the only damage this is likely to cause is to your wallet, as you'll be using a lot of energy for very little results. The team here at Jersey Plumbing can get your boiler back up and running efficiently in no time, or assess if anything else may be a bigger concern.

3) Is a Leaking Boiler Dangerous?

Leaking Boiler

A water leak in your boiler is actually quite serious. You should shut the boiler off right away and call the team here at Jersey Plumbing. Boilers are not cheap to replace, and if you allow it to run with a leak, you're going to be headed that direction. A boiler leak is often due to an internal component failing such as a seal or a valve. The leak can cause the electric components to fry, as well as lead to damaging corrosion and rust. In many cases, we can repair rather than replace the boiler, but the sooner you call, the more likely your boiler can be saved.

4) What is a Dangerous Boiler Pressure?

Pressure Relief Valve

Anything over 1.5 bar on the boiler pressure gauge on a switched off boiler is too high. But don't worry.  The biggest danger is most likely to affect things you value in the spill radius of your boiler (drywall, carpet, furniture or belongings that could face water damage.)  In most cases, a PRV (Pressure Release Valve) will shut down your boiler before damages can occur. But be sure to check that gauge before trying to turn it back on.

If the Pressure Release Valve is leaking - don't even consider turning the boiler back on. Get a pro from Jersey Plumbing Service out right away.

If the PRV isn't leaking, but the gauge is above 1.5 bars, you can bleed the system to achieve the desired pressure of between 1 and 1.5 bars.

5) Can I Bleed the Radiator with the Heat Still On?

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Definitely not. It won't work properly, it could be too hot to touch, and you could get sprayed with hot water. Turn off the boiler before bleeding the system.

6 How Often Should I Get My Boiler Serviced?

Kneeling-Pad

You should have your boiler serviced once a year, preferably a few months ahead of when you'll need it. You want to be ready for the cold season. Keep in mind that neglecting to service your boiler may result in your warranty becoming invalidated. We'd love to help you keep your boiler in tip-top shape. Give our team a call!

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Underground Pipes

Underground Pipes

Underground pipes are the homeowner’s responsibility all the way up to where they connect with the main sewer or water line, which may be in the middle of the street or under the sidewalks. Leak or damage to them is often covered by homeowner’s insurance for the repairs, but you may want to check your policy to be sure! Insurance for these pipes may also be available through your utility company.

The difficulty is the pipes are not usually easily accessible as they are either under the foundation, or cement or mortar if behind a wall. Underground pipe leaks cause damage to your home’s foundation leading to more expensive repairs if not caught early. 

Any issues or concerns regarding your underground pipes are best left to the professionals at Jersey Plumbing Service. We have the tools to find the leak or damaged pipes.

Underground water leaks flow out of the area where the pipe is broken. The problem arises when leaking water has no place to go and can erode either your foundation or cause excessive seepage into the soil, leading to sinkholes in your yard or the road out front.

Causes for damaged pipes and leaks in underground pipes:

  • Tree roots: Roots don’t ‘seek’ out pipes but the water and nutrients they contain will attract them. Roots can cause blocks and blogs and sometimes can crush pipes. The older lead and clay pipes are more vulnerable to damage by tree roots.
  • Soil conditions: Poor soil can cause the insides of your pipes to corrode. Clay soil is prevalent in Northern New Jersey. The heaviness of such soil can lead to leaks and water contamination. Clay soil is among the most corrosive of all soils and can quickly break down your pipes if you do not have your pipes checked regularly.
  • Extreme Temperatures: Think of any season in Hackettstown or Morristown, winters can be mild or bitter, summers can be pleasant or sweltering. Sometimes if a pipe is already weakened, a 10-degree shift in temperature can be enough to turn weakened into broken.
  • Corroded Pipes: Depending on the age of your home, old plumbing materials such as iron and galvanized steel eventually corrode; this can lead to pinhole leaks or restricted water flow inside the pipes. Galvanized pipes were commonly used in construction before 1930s but are found in homes well into the 1950s.  You can check the shutoff valves and faucets. If they look really old or there just is not a shutoff valve, your pipes are likely old as well.
  • Pipe leak: A leak could be something simple like a pipe connection has come undone.  Or it could mean there is a split in a water pipe.  Even if it a ‘simple’ fix, the fact that it is under your home makes it an issue.
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Dealing with Water Main Leaks

Dealing With Water Main Leaks:

Some leaks, make a sound only when exposed, like the ones from a main water supply line. The loss of water can be significant and will appear in the form of an increased water bill.

The first step in either identifying a leak or fixing one is turning OFF the main water valve. Your water main is the link that connects the plumbing system in your home to the public water supply or a well. The pipes behind your walls and foundation will often last for several decades or much less if damage occurs.

Here are some of the signs of a water main leak in your home.

  • Puddles

When there is a leak in the main water line, there isn’t anywhere for the water to go, except out into the street or your yard.  If you see burbling water in the street in front of your home or your yard is spongey without any rain, call the professionals at Jersey Plumbing Service ASAP.

  • Wet Walls and Floors/Discolored Dry Wall

Check the floors, walls, as well as ceiling for moisture.  Excessive moisture is a sign of a leak in your pipes.  Check each room of your household to see if the walls are damp. It is important to check your ceiling for any wet rings or mold. If the signs of a water line leak are not addressed, it can lead to more serious problems like damage to the structure and foundation of your home.  Get an inspection by a licensed plumber on your plumbing system.

  • Cracks in the Outside Foundation

It is best to have a professional plumber address these issues if you believe you may have a water line leak.  As a homeowner, a simple way is to check for cracks.  Look at the drywall and exterior paneling of your house to see if you notice obvious symptoms of a leak, like water spots or drip marks. Also, look at the concrete foundation outside your home to see if there are cracks.

  • Low Water Pressure

Obviously, if the main water line is damaged, water doesn’t go where it is supposed to, and it will result in lowered water pressure.  This becomes apparent in the shower or sink. This may mean that there are ruptures in the water lines or even clogs in the pipes.

  • Sound of water

Hearing noises of any kind like bubbling, whistling, banging, and dripping means there is an issue with the line or pipes.  These sounds are usually caused by a broken pipe within your home’s plumbing system.

Getting the professionals of Jersey Plumbing Services to inspect your water main is critical to repairing the problem before mold and further water damage occurs.

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Spring Plumbing Tasks

Now that winter is done, there are a few tasks to be taken care of, several you can do on your own, and a couple others best left to the professionals at Jersey Plumbing. 

Check your hoses and outside faucets - Of course the hoses should have been rolled up and put away, it just doesn’t always happen.  Hoses need to be checked for leaks or splits.  Faucets, even if they have been covered, still need to be checked for any leaks. Depending on how cold the recently past winter was and whether there was any water left in the pipes leading outside, ice could have formed and damaged or broken the seals, or the interior pipes themselves.

Test Your Sump Pump!!!

Spring in all its moods brings rain and often a lot of rain. Having a functioning sump pump can make the difference between watching blooms bud and trying to hire someone to pump out the basement.  Signs your sump pump is struggling:

  • Obvious leaking.
  • Runs all the time.
  • Irregular cycling.
  • Water present after a heavy rain
  • Visible rust.

This appliance that makes life so much better and dryer only have a lifespan of about ten years.  People often don’t realize the sump pump has malfunctioned until it has stopped working. Depending on where you live in northern New Jersey, in Budd Lake or East Orange, rain may or may not have a place to exit. If the only place for rain to exit is your basement, having a working sump pump can make all the difference.  The professionals at Jersey Plumbing Service can inspect, repair, and if need be replace your sump pump.

Jersey Plumbing Service
PO Box 7371
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
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Fax: 1-908-647-1517

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