water-pressure-issues

Low Water Pressure Issues

If your water trickles out of the tap rather than gushes, this is a symptom of low water pressure. If you suddenly have no water pressure in the entire house, it can be due to a glitch in the water supply system, perhaps a broken water main several blocks away or by your own pressure regulator. You can call the water authority in your town to find out if there is a problem on their side; and a plumber to resolve issue on your side of the regulator.

Residential water pressure should ideally be in the range of 45 to 55 pounds per square inch (psi), up to 60psi on occasion. A psi reading under 40 is considered low, and a reading under 30 is far too low. In many homes the psi is set to 50psi for comfort. Checking your home's water pressure is a simple way to avoid costly water damage. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and represents the force at which water enters your home from the water main. Too much pressure and pipes can be damaged from the force. Too little and everyday household tasks from showering to doing the laundry are nearly impossible to accomplish.

Other low water pressure tasks to check on:

pressure-adjustment
  • Adjusting the water pressure from the well or from the watermain.
  • Adjusting the pressure regulator valve. Loosen the locknut and turn the adjusting screw. The pressure regulator is usually preset to 50 psi, though it can be adjusted anywhere from 25 to 75 psi (remember most household water pressure is 40 to 60 psi) with a simple turn of a screw and tightened. Use a gauge to check the water pressure by connecting a pressure gauge to the nearest exterior faucet.
  • Flushing the water heater. Sediment can affect how your hot water heater works. (Need help with draining your Water Heater? See Drainging Your Water Heater)
  • Replace corroded plumbing. Low water pressure can be caused by leaking pipes that have become broken, worn, or corroded over time. This is often an issue in older homes.

If there is limited pressure from the showerhead or faucets, it maybe the result of sediment and mineral deposits. Use vinegar to clean the showerhead and faucets to clean the aerators. If necessary, replace the showerhead.

Sometimes simple problems like the shut-off valve being closed, which you would open, or a faucet being blocked can cause low water pressure. More serious issues like plumbing blockages or water leaks decrease water pressure, as well. If it is cleaning a showerhead or opening a partially closed valve, there are tasks you can do. For others, calling the professionals at Jersey Plumbing can resolve your low water pressure problems. Returning you household to enjoying hot showers, clean clothes and dishes with full water pressure is a pleasure all its own.

FAILING-HOT-WATER-HEATER

Signs Your Hot Water Heater is Failing

Right now, summer still rules, fall though will be here faster than you realize, and as the need for consistent hot water arises, this is a good time to assess how your hot water heater is doing. Hot water heaters generally last between 8 to 12 years, and from year 12 on, is considered to be on ‘borrowed time’. And a good time to start thinking about replacing it. Your hot water heater is used for bathing, cleaning, and washing, so keeping it in good order is important.

water-heater

Signs your hot water heater needs professional care:

  • Rust.

The anode rods inside your heater are literally sacrificial rods as they are rusted to protect the metal walls. These need to be replaced over time.

  • Sediment Buildup.

When hot water is heated, mineral deposits separate and settle into the bottom of the tank. This sediment will buildup over time, reducing efficiency. (For more information see How to Drain Your Water Heater)

  • Wrong size heater.

If you have purchased a hot water heater too small to accommodate all the appliances and people in the home, it will cause the heater to work harder and it will not last as long. A plumber can help you find the right size heater for your family.

  • Poor air quality.

For combustion to occur, a water heater needs to draw air in. Issues can occur when the air quality is poor or dangerous. Make sure to keep corrosive substances like bleach and ammonia well away from you hot water heater.

  • Leaking water.

Remember that the water leaking from the hot water heater is HOT, this can damage the floor as well as the walls, which may eventually lead to mold as well as other foundation problems. For the most part hot water heaters are required to be placed against an external wall of the house. Therefore, most hot water heaters are in garages or basements. You will want to place your water heater next to an outer wall to make room for the flue. Observe at least monthly the status of the floor where the hot water heater is, for cracks, bubbles or constant weeping or dampness of the floor.

Having the plumbing professionals at Jersey Plumbing in once a year to assess your hot water heater is an excellent way to resolve issues before they become expensive problems.

DRIPS-LEAKS

Drips and Leaks

Just as you are drifting off to sleep, plink. What? Did you hear anything? And so, you lie back and wait, listening for...what may be or was it your imagine a...plink. Nope. No imagination. One of the problems with hearing drips in the middle of the night, is that they are difficult to place and they never disappear on their own. And until you get it fixed you will hear dripping noises even when there is none.

Your job when it is not the middle of the night and you have time is to:

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  • Turn faucets on and off in the bathroom, as well as flushing the toilet, and checking around the showerhead.
  • Look for dampness outside the dishwasher, run the faucets in the sink, and check under the sink for wet or dampness on the pipes.
  • In the basement look for puddles or damp areas and make sure the pipes or hoses are all connected and free of moisture.

Depending on where you find a leak, you can feel confident fixing it yourself with your tool chest of plumbing tools. (see Plumbing Tools for information) If it is a washer that needs replacing, or a bolt that needs tightening, you have the tools to do it. This is very true if the leak in question is a faucet or showerhead. As with making any plumbing repair, remember to always:

leaky_faucet
  • Do the repair on a weekday because if anything goes wrong, emergency plumbing services are pricey.
  • Turn off the water.
  • Make sure to have a bucket or towels to mop up water. There will always be more water than anticipated.

Other times, as when leaks or drips occur behind a wall, in a ceiling or attic space, getting to the precise location of the drip can be not only time consuming, but difficult to repair. Calling the professionals at Jersey Plumbing can save you time and aggravation; they have the skills, expertise, and tools to fix the problem correctly. Remember it is not just walls, but electrical lines and outlets, interior pipes, and support beams to consider. Let the professionals do what they do best, so you and your family can sleep through the night without concerning dripping noises.

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The Fix for the Noisy Faucet

Usually in the darker part of the night you hear it, sounds like a baby crying or worse yet, like someone stepped on the cat. After stumbling around the house trying to locate the noise, you decide a drink of water sounds good and then you discover the source of the noise....it is your faucet making the unearthly racket!

In all likelihood, it is the washer that needs replacing, either it’s the wrong size or isn’t secured to the stem.

As with any repair plumbing job, the first step is turn OFF the water.

  • Replacing the washer or tightening it should eliminate the noise. You get to use the tools in your tools box (see our Plumbing Tools blog for more information).

    leaky_faucet

    1. Crescent wrench
    2. Flat-head screwdriver
    3. Phillips screwdriver
    4. Adjuctable pliers
    5. Needle-nost pliers
    6. Steel wool
  • Remove the screw located under the cap, then remove the handle. Keep everything together as it will need to be reassembled.
  • Plug the drain so you don't lose any parts down the drain. Then pry the cover off the faucet tap with a flat-head screwdriver, there is usually an indentation and that's where it goes.
  • Using the crescent wrench, loosen the hexagonal packing nut so you can pull out the tap stem.
  • plumber-fixing-leaking-faucet

  • Remove the screw and rubber washer from the bottom of the tap stem, using a screwdriver or adjustable pliers to remove the screw or nut.
  • Then, get the rubber washer with needle-nose pliers.
  • See if you already have a replacement washer, otherwise take the old one to the hardware store for an exact copy.
  • Clean off any limescale with the steel wool.
  • Reinstall the tap stem, packing nut, handle, screw, and cap. Reassembling the tap is the same as disassembling it, only in reverse. So insert the tap stem into the tap seat. Tighten the packing nut with the crescent wrench making sure it is snug. Place the handle over the tap stem and tighten the screw with your screwdriver. Press the cap over the screw till it snaps into place.

    If the faucet still is noisy then check the washer seat which can become closed with residue and the limited water flow makes that sound.

    • The seat can become partially closed with residue, and the restricted water flow can cause whistling or chattering. If this is the case, clean the seat.
    • A squealing noise heard when you turn the faucet handle means the metal threads of the stem are binding against the faucet's threads.
    • Remove the stem, and coat both sets of threads with petroleum jelly. The lubrication should stop the noise and make the handle easier to turn.

    When you have questions concerning any of your plumbing issues the professionals at Jersey Plumbing are always there for you.

    Re-seating_a_Toilet-feat_img

    Reseating a Toilet Bowl

    Ever have a wobble when you sit on your toilet? Or is there a dampness around the toilet that never seems to go away? These could be signs that your toilet needs to be reseated. Sometimes the wood frame under your toilet has gotten water soaked and is collapsing, or the bolts holding the toilet in place have corroded and need replacing or the wax ring is leaking.

    reseat_your_toilet

    Can you sometimes reseat the toilet yourself?

    Yes.... with a few caveats:

    -Always turn off the water before starting any plumbing project.

    -IF the wood underneath your toilet is rotted, please call a plumber as the water damage to the flooring and sub flooring may be extensive.

    -Choose not to start this project on a Saturday but during the week. The cost of calling a plumber after hours on a weekend can be surprisingly pricey.

    -Have at least one helper as maneuvering the toilet can be difficult.

    -Bucket and sponge

    -Crescent wrench or channel lock pliers

    -Putty knife

    -Wax ring

    -Newspaper

    -Closet bolts

    toolbox

    Now to the job:

    -Disconnect the supply line

    -Flush the toilet and use the sponge and bucket to remove remaining water.

    -Remove toilet lid and place it safely out of the way.

    -Take off the nut caps using the putty knife. Putting them into the open tank will ensure that they won’t get separated from the toilet. Use a crescent wrench to loosen the nuts holding down the toilet.

    If the bolts are rusted on or you are unable to remove them, call the plumber! Using too much force may easily crack the toilet base.

    -Putting the newspaper around the toilet area will prevent wax from oozing. Straddle the bowl and lift where the bowl connects to the tank. Have your helper make sure the bottom of the toilet is clean. Remember to clean the flange as well.

    -Place the wax ring, warm wax makes a better seal.

    -If you are replacing the closet bolts, now is the time you want to set them into the floor flange. Use a washer and nut to tighten them down onto the floor. Make sure that they are even so that your toilet sits straight when you go to tighten it down. Brass closet bolts will wear better as they are resistant to moisture.

    -With the wax ring down, you are ready to reset the toilet. Lift the toilet off the paper using the same technique you used to pull it. Make sure to line up the bolts with the holes, a helper can help with lining up the toilet with the bolts. When the bolts are lined up press the toilet down, rocking side-to-side and back-and-forth to make sure the seal is uniform. With the bowl is resting on the floor check to make sure the bowl is resting straight.

    -When the bowl is set down straight, it is time to tighten it down to the floor. Using a crescent wrench tighten the nuts on to the closet bolts. Do this slowly, tightening each side evenly. Avoid over tightening as it can crack the bowl. To make sure the bowl is down tight, place your arms around it and try to rock it side-to-side and back-to-front. If it moves, continue tightening the nuts, still alternating sides. When the bowl is down tight you are ready to reconnect the water supply. The supply line needs to be hand tight only. With the line hooked up, turn the water back on and flush the toilet a few times, checking for leaks around the bowl and on the supply line.

    The professionals at Jersey Plumbing will be happy to help with this project if issues like soaked wood supports or bolts that will not turn arise. Having a functioning toilet really is one of home life’s pleasures. Jersey Plumbing can make it happen.

    pros and cons of garbage disposals

    Pros and Cons of a Garbage Disposal

    There is a certain convenience of being able to scrap plates of discarded food directly into the sink and let a garbage disposal unit grind it all down. These units though do come with some caveats.

    garbage-disposal

    Upsides of Having a Garbage Disposal

    Meal clean-up is easier.

    You can scrape small amounts of food into the sink instead of having to carry plates to the trash and scrape them there. Thereby skipping the step of first taking dirty plates to the trash. There is less likelihood of dripping gravies/sauces or dropping crumbs if plates get rinsed in the sink.

    Protecting Your Pipes

    A garbage disposal lets you grind down food debris into small particles that are less likely to get stuck in the pipes.

    Inexpensive

    Installing one is a routine and relatively low-cost job for an experienced plumber. When used correctly, a garbage disposal lasts about eight years.

    They can work with most sewage systems, even septic tanks

    If you have a septic tank, make sure the disposal unit is sized correctly and regularly maintained. Having a professional plumber install it will assure you that it is the right size for your septic tank. The infrastructure of some older municipal or town sewage systems means you may need to consult the waste management in your area.

    Downside of Having a Garbage Disposal

    Specific use

    There are certain food groups that belong nowhere near a garbage disposal. Fatty foods like cooking oil, butter and cream sauces will over time clog your pipes. Starchy food like beans, pasta and rice can gum up your pipes or your disposal. Foods that have peels, like bananas and potatoes, root vegetables like carrots are hard for the unit to grind up. Also trying to put bones or fruit pits down the disposal will shorten its lifespan. Some foods are better off in the trash. Garbage disposals are for small amounts of food.

    Properly running your disposal

    Turn on the cold water first, then start the disposal with it running. Slowly put in small amounts of food waste. When finished, turn off the disposal and let the water run for another 10 to 20 seconds to flush any remaining food particles through the disposal and down the pipes.

    Need for weekly cleaning

    Even when used correctly, some food particles can end up clinging inside the unit, which leads to decay and smelliness. Once a week, turn off the disposal, wipe down the inner ring around the opening to the drain or disposal. Use a brush to clean the inside of the disposal. To have it smell nicer, make ice cubes with vinegar or cut up small pieces of lemons and let the disposal grind them up.

    They can clog and jam

    Putting the wrong types of food down the disposal or trying to stuff too much food into your disposal can cause it to jam. If it jams, try pushing the reset button. Jams and clogs are one of the realities of having a garbage disposal. You can try fixing it yourself, remembering to turn the water and disposal OFF first, or call a professional plumber at Jersey Plumbing.

    They can break

    If one part of a disposal unit breaks or cracks, you generally need to replace the whole unit.

    protecting_your_pipes

    If you are committed to the regular cleaning and food disposal limitations of a garbage disposal then it will be a benefit to you and your family. However, if it seems like its limitations would not benefit you, the trash can is the best option.

    diy toolbox

    More DIY Plumbing Necessities

    Every Homeowner Should Have a Basic Plumbing Toolbox.

    If you read our previous post, The 8 Plumbing Tools Every Handy Homeowner Should Own, this post should round out your plumbing toolbox. 

    With the right tools fixing a leaking faucet or replacing a seal becomes an interesting repair job instead of a frustrating way to spend the weekend...
    safety_glasses

    Safety Glasses

    Always protect your eyes when fixing plumbing issues! Remember, you do not want to "cheap out" when it comes to safety glasses. Get a pair that will stay on your head as you bend down - that has the side shields - and that is comfortable enough that you won't get frustrated with them and take them off. The gift of sight is precious - protect it! Especially when cutting pipes.

    work_gloves

    Work Gloves

    Work gloves are important. They can improve your grip, and with metal pipes especially, you can protect your hands from the abrasiveness of the pipes and any metal filings.

    washers_o-rings

    Washers & O-Rings

    Get a variety pack with several different sizes. (Replace washers and O-rings that have gone bad, causing leaks. Replacing the old ones with new will give you back the tight seal that you desire.)

    plumbers_tape

    Plumber’s Tape

    Plumber’s tape is a thin tape that you wrap around the threads on pipes and fittings before putting them together. It helps the two pieces seal better to avoid leaks. Swapping out a shower head? You'll need plumber's tape. Reconnecting the U pipe under your sink? Plumber's tape. Always have this on hand.

    measuring_tape

    Measuring Tape

    Measure Twice & Cut Once!

    constuction_pencil

    Construction Pencils & Markers

    If you're measuring, you're marking. Construction Pencils & Markers are handy to have in your tool box so you don't have to crawl out of the bathroom and find a junk drawer.

    metal_file

    Metal File

    Used to smooth rough edges that are left on your pipes after cutting them, a metal file is important for your safety, and for the safety of the next person to come near your pipes.

    emery_cloth

    Emery Cloth

    If you have copper pipes, an emery cloth prepares copper pipe for the application of flux and solder.

    sealant

    Sealant

    Get a caulk gun and some silicone calk for replacing seals around sinks and tubs. Even if your seals haven't failed, perhaps they've turned brown... or worse, black. A fresh seal can provide an updated look along with more protection.

    putty_knife

    Putty Knife

    If you're replacing a wax ring or a silicone seal, a putty knife comes in handy!

    pressure_test_gauges

    Pressure Test Gauges

    Used to check for leaks and test water pressure in pipes.

    water_pump_pliers

    Water Pump Pliers

    Water pump pliers are a multi-purpose hand tool commonly used for turning and holding nuts and bolts, gripping irregularly shaped objects,and clamping materials.

    slip-joint_pliers

    Slip-Joint Pliers

    These are a fairly standard pair and are the most useful for most purposes. Buy a pair with insulated handles for added comfort.

    faucet_keys

    Faucet Keys

    Faucet keys are small, X-shaped wrenches that are made to open and close spigots and sill locks.

    jab_saws

    Jab Saws (Keyhole Saw)

    These are used for making small or difficult cuts in building materials.

    spray_lubricants

    Spray Lubricants

    Loosen stubborn nuts and pipe fittings.

    socket-ratchet_set

    Socket/Ratchet Set

    Tightening tool that uses individual and removable sockets to fit many different sizes of nuts and bolts.

    With the right tools, simple plumbing jobs become that much simpler. Don't have the tools of the trade? We're just a phonecall away. Call Jersey Plumbing: (908) 281-7101
     

    covid19

    COVID-19 Announcement ♦ updated 3/24/20 4:33 p.m.

    To our valued clients,

    Jersey Plumbing Service remains committed to ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our clients as well as our employees. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 virus recommendations from the CDC and WHO in addition to local and state agencies during this changing situation.

    We are open for business.

    We also want to be proactive in the prevention of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses.

    Jersey Plumbing will continue to take precautions as necessary to keep you and our staff safe during this time. Acting on the guidance from the CDC, local health officials, and our own protocols, here are the additional steps we are taking as we service your Plumbing Needs.

    Our workers will use a new pair of latex gloves and/or sanitize their hands with each residence they visit.

    Greetings by handshake in and outside the office are to be avoided.

    Our employees are instructed to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth area.

    ALL STAFF will follow procedures by properly washing or sanitizing their hands many times throughout the day (before/after eating, using the bathroom, after using any shared tools or office items, etc.)

    Our team members are following the federal and state guidelines for social distancing by maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others and will not attend gatherings of more than 10 people.

    Our office staff are working remotely and conducting business through online meetings and conference calls when necessary.

    Only team members that are asymptomatic are permitted to work.

    If you or a family member in the home is sick with flu-like symptoms and we are scheduled to do work at your home during this time, please inform us right away. 

    Our staff reserve the right to remove themselves from any unsafe situation; this now includes contact with someone who has flu-like symptoms.

    This is a fluid situation and we will update this page as necessary Thank you for being a valued client and we will always strive to merit the confidence you have shown in us.

     

    Rex Kinney, Owner

     

    keeping pipes healthy

    How To Keep Your Home’s Pipes Healthy

    Plumbing is rarely thought of until it breaks. However, it pays to be thoughtful about the way we use and treat our plumbing in order to avoid costly problems down the road. Learn how to care for your pipes - no matter what their age or material. 

    With healthy pipes, you can enjoy:

    • Toilets flush with ease

    • Sinks don't back up

    • Repair costs are kept to a minimum

    • Pollutants are kept from entering waterways

    Besides the obvious things to NOT put down a drain like paint and solvents and motor oil there are several others that people don't think about, but will harm drains and damage plumbing.

    Flour - Flour coats the sides of baking pans so cakes won't stick. However, tossing flour down the kitchen sink drain will in time coat the sides of your pipes. Flour coagulates and hardens inside of drainage pipes, leading to clogs. Better to toss remains in the trash.

    Medicine - It is important to remember many drugs are hazardous not only to the groundwater but also to any animals or people who use the water distributions. The better thing to do is take unused medicine to a pharmacy for disposal or see where your town has a drop off location, oftentimes a police station.

    Cooking oil and grease – Pouring out the grease from a pan down your sink drain will damage the pipes over time and with enough grease, not much time is needed. Like flour, grease will coat the pipes and become thicker as time goes on. Better to wait until the grease has cooled and pour it into a sturdy container and dispose of it in the trash.

    Fruit pits, stickers – all of these will harm pipes. The stickers that come off fruit can easily get hung up in the twists and turns of your plumbing. Fruit pits and bones simply don't dissolve and can cause issues which will turn into clogs. Better is to make sure you have a drain strainer in the kitchen sink, so things like this get trapped and then be safely thrown out.

    Hair in shower drains - Hair combines with soap scum build up and creates a difficult clump. The easiest way to make sure it doesn't become an issue is to make sure you have a drain cover for the shower/bath. Being aware of what can and cannot go down your pipes will allow you and your family to enjoy years of hassle free plumbing.

    what to do about fruit flies and drain flies

    What to Do About Drain Flies

    What are Drain Flies?

    Many people mistake drain flies for fruit flies. They are both very small flies, growing to about an eighth of an inch, but if you could compare them side by side, you’d see that fruit flies are yellow or tan in color, while drain flies are darker, either gray, brown or black.

    Drain flies are also a bit moth-like in that they have a fuzzy covering. While fruit flies often stick to the kitchen, drain flies are attracted to any area with standing water such as drains, toilets, or clogged gutters. Both fruit and drain flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time, so you'll want to get on top of eradication immediately. 

    What Are Fruit Flies?

    Fuit Fly

    Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests that are common in homes, restaruants and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.  The front part of the body is tan and the rear portion is black.  Adult males can grow to 1/8 of an inch.

     

    How to Get Rid of Drain Flies (or Fruit Flies that happen to be in your drains)

    Both drain flies and fruit flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time.

    These insects are drawn by the scent of rotting fruits and vegetables. It doesn't matter how clean you counters are, but what washes down the drain. Both can carry bacteria to the various surfaces in your kitchen, increasing the risk of unhealthy exposures. It is essential to address this problem immediately. 

    First let's address the drain itself:

      • Using a metal pipe brush, push it through the pipe back and forth as far as it will allow.
      • Follow by pouring lots of boiling water down the drain.
      • Pour 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and allow to sit overnight. You can also put duct tape over the drain until morning.
      • Follow with a pot of boiling water in the morning.
      • Pour boiling water (or boiling white vinegar) down the drain every day or two until you don't see any more fruit flies in the area.
    •  

    Fruit and drain fly traps:

    These have a very limited success rate. Even the fruit fly traps sold in box stores with a special brew have limited success in dealing with a fly infestation, however, when they're hovering in your space, you'll likely want to address this from multiple fronts so you can place out a cup of vinegar and dish soap. Add three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.

    More traditional remedies include the use of old wine or beer. Much like vinegar, fruit flies are attracted to the smell of wine. However, while theoretically the flies can't escape the skinny neck of a wine bottle, many will. One way to improve the effectiveness of a wine trap is to put a few drops of dawn in the wine to break the surface tension.

    Drain Flies can reproduce rapidly, so it's essential that you continue the process of cleaning your drain consistently for about 3 weeks. It doesn't have to be every day, but the more frequently you address it, the better off you will be... and in the future, be sure to scrape your plates better before doing dishes to prevent leaving meal deposits for future infestations. 

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