Buying a Home? Look for Signs of Bad Plumbing

House shopping is a time-consuming experience. If you’ve finally found your dream home and feel ready to make an offer, wait — you might have faulty plumbing in the residence that can be costly to repair. Use this guide to identify signs of bad plumbing in any home you want to buy.

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Add Home Value With Master Bath Upgrades

Can plumbing help to sell your house? While the number of bedrooms and the size of the yard can attract buyers to your home, the bathrooms can hook them. If you’re considering a value-increasing home remodel, take a look at these master bathroom projects to consider. Read more

3 Common Reasons for Clogs in Your Kitchen Sink

A clogged kitchen sink is stressful but can also be dangerous. Food and other debris clogging your pipes place unnecessary stress and pressure on your plumbing, increasing the risk of damage and water leaks. In addition, food, bacteria, and cleaning chemicals inside the drains can lead to unappealing and toxic odors inside your home.

Understanding why your sink drains clog is key to preventing chronic clogs and costly plumbing problems. This guide will help you understand and avoid a few most common reasons why your kitchen sink clogs. Read more

Simple Detection Tips to Identify Leaking Pipes

A small leak coming from one of the plumbing pipes in your home might not seem like an immediate threat, but the leak has the potential to cause serious damage within your home over time.

Leaky pipes should never be overlooked. Exposure to water could ruin your priceless family photographs, leave your electronics inoperable, and cause your water bill to skyrocket. A lot of the pipes that make up a residential plumbing system can be hidden behind walls and beneath flooring. This makes spotting a leak almost impossible.

Here are some simple detection methods that you can use to help identify potential plumbing leaks that are putting the safety and stability of your home at risk.

 

Check for Puffy Paint

Most walls are protected by a coat of paint. This paint offers a buffer for the drywall against environmental contaminants, and it can also help to add color to your interior living space. Leaking pipes behind painted walls can take a toll on the quality of the paint finish.

The most common sign of a water leak near a painted wall will be the appearance of puffy paint. The moisture that leaks from a damaged pipe will work its way between the paint layer and the drywall in your home. The bond that helps hold the paint in place will be compromised, and water can begin to pool in certain areas.

This leads to the creation of raised areas that give a painted wall a puffy appearance. Have a plumber take a look at the pipes near puffy paint to see if leaks are the source of your paint problems.

 

Look for Water Stains

The sudden appearance of water stains on the ceilings or walls of your home can be a tell-tale sign that you have a moisture problem.

You won’t be able to identify the source of the water based on the color of the water stain alone. Gravity can cause water to travel through many layers of building materials before it seeps through your drywall or ceiling materials. The water will collect all sorts of contaminants as it travels, resulting in many water stains having a yellow, brown, or reddish appearance.

If you spot water stains in your home, you need to have a licensed plumber inspect the property for leaking pipes. Failure to repair pipe likes quickly can lead to the spread of water stains and a weakening of the structural stability of your home.

 

Search for Stagnant Water

Leaking pipes can contribute to standing water within your home. Stagnant water can pose a serious threat to the safety and health of your family.

Pools of water act as a prime breeding ground for mosquitos, which can lead them into your home. Mosquitoes can carry many viruses (like West Nile virus or malaria) that can be transmitted to humans. Stagnant water can also attract rodent and other insects that could be carrying diseases. Another potential danger that stagnant water creates is the risk of mold growth within your home.

Standing water can increase humidity levels in the air, creating a comfortable environment where mold and mildew can thrive. Some mold spores will travel through your living space. They could cause respiratory problems or spread mold to areas of your home that are far removed from the leaking pipe.

Anytime you see stagnant water in your home, the help of a plumber should be requested to identify the source of the water and make the necessary repairs.

Leaky pipes might seem innocuous, but they can be quite dangerous if they aren’t repaired quickly. Contact Cleary Plumbing for a free estimate if you suspect that your home is plagued by leaking pipes.

3 Common Causes of Clogged Shower Drains and How to Prevent Them

When you are trying to enjoy a nice, hot shower, few things are as frustrating as a rising water level stemming from a clogged drain. Unfortunately, drain clogs are exceptionally common, causing problems that range from a dirty shower basin to bad odors. However, if you recognize the causes of clogs and learn how to prevent them, you can keep your bathing areas cleaner.

Here are three common causes of clogged shower drains and how to avoid them. 

1. Hair Accessories

While most people are familiar with the fact that hair can clog shower drains in no time, it’s easy to overlook hair accessories like hair ties, bobby pins, and barrettes until they have washed down the drain.

Unfortunately, once these smaller hair accessories have escaped your shower basin and entered into your drain, they can become lodged inside of the p-trap beneath your drain, where they create a snagging area for passing hair and soap scum.

Additionally, since chemical drain cleaners aren’t designed to dissolve inorganic materials like hair accessories, your clog clearing efforts might be in vain unless you have a plumber physically remove the drain cover and fish out the rogue accessories.

If hair accessories get deeper into your plumbing network, they can even cause clogs that require professional augering. Fortunately, if you remove all bobby pins, tiny rubber bands, or other small objects that could get stuck in the drain before you shower, you may be able to keep your drains clear.

2. Soap Byproducts

Vegan soaps, shampoos, and body washes aren’t just popular because they discourage animal cruelty. They also help to prevent drain clogs, since they don’t contain animal fats that are commonly found in body cleansing products. Many commercially available soaps contain ingredients like tallow and stearic acid, which are derived from animal fats.

While these animal fats are great for creating a long-lasting lather and a moisturizing finish, they can also coat the inside of drains, which can create clogs. Unfortunately, these fat residues can also decompose, making drains smell bad. In fact, these animal fats are same culprit that can give washing machines a musky smell. 

However, you can prevent these frustrating smells and drain clogs by switching to non-soap cleansers or vegan products, which aren’t made with fatty oils. Non-soap cleaners typically contain synthetic ingredients that won’t break down the same way organic materials will, which can help protect your drains while you get squeaky clean.

3. Hard Water

While keeping hair ties and fatty soaps out of the shower will definitely help to keep your drains clear, microscopic scales inside of your water supply can be just as damaging. If you live in an area where hard water is common, your water may contain high levels of magnesium, calcium, and even some metallic elements.

In addition, hard water itself can also create hard scales that coat everything from shower heads to drain openings. These scales are rock hard, and can coat the entire interior of pipes, making it difficult for water to pass through the area. Hard water can also leave an invisible film on your skin and hair, drying out your skin and causing your hair to appear dull and lifeless.

However, you can keep your body and your shower cleaner with a water softening system. These special units are designed to pull superfluous minerals out of water, so it is cleaner and less damaging.

Although shower clogs can be incredibly frustrating, you can always find help by calling our team here at Cleary Plumbing. With a commitment to 24 hour care and excellent customer service, we can help you diagnose and resolve plumbing problems in no time. Contact us the next time you have any type of plumbing need.

3 Plumbing Issues That Alarm Home Buyers

Buying a house can be stressful, because some properties can have serious maintenance problems. The only way to protect yourself from these serious maintenance problems is to negotiate repairs during the sale process, or walk away from the purchase.

Plumbing problems can do damage to the structure of the house, causing rot and even mold. You can avoid these issues by watching out for certain plumbing problems when looking at homes to buy. Here’s what you need to watch for when going to home showings during the home buying process.  

1. Old Water Heater

Water heaters usually last, at most, about 12 years. However, old water heaters can develop leaks that do serious damage inside homes. If the home you’re thinking about buying has an old water heater, you may have to buy a new one after the home purchase.

The home warranty (if the house comes with one) may cover the cost for a replacement water heater when the old one breaks. Homeowners insurance may repair the water damage. However, you won’t be able to recover the time and energy spent drying the house and making repairs if your water heater breaks down.

If you buy a home with an old water heater, you may be better off replacing the appliance before it breaks. It’s often hard to tell how old a water heater is just by looking. The best way to find out is to ask the real estate agent representing the seller, or ask the home inspector when you have it inspected.

2. Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene (PB) pipes are a type of inexpensive, plastic pipes that were popular decades ago from 1978 through 1995. These pipes are not typically installed in modern homes, so most residential PB piping is several decades old. Over many years, polybutylene pipes will flake apart and start to leak at the joints, causing water damage.

PB pipes are often found in the supply lines that feed water into faucets. Pipes connecting drains to the sewer are often made out of another plastic material known as PVC, so you probably won’t be able to tell just by looking under the sink whether or not a home has PB pipes or PVC pipes.

The best way to determine whether or not a house has PB pipes is to ask the real estate agent representing the seller. Sometimes this information will also be available in the listing. If you buy a home that does have PB piping, you may be replacing those pipes in just a few years.

3. Sewer or Septic Tank Problems

Sewer and septic tank problems can do hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Though these issues aren’t always easy to identify, you might be able to tell if a home has a clogged sewer or septic tank by flushing the toilets and running water down the drains.

If there’s a clog in the main line or the sewer, the lowest drains in the house may drain slowly. You might also notice a gurgling noise in the drains.

When flushing the toilets, you may see water backup into the bathtub. These situations could all be signs of a serious problem. If you are able to identify signs of a sewer or septic tank problem, have the sewer or septic tank inspected carefully before making an offer on a home.

Work With the Experts

Old plumbing can be a problem. Talk to your real estate agent to negotiate repairs before finalizing the sale, or ask for a discount during the negotiating process.

If you’re a home buyer who is thinking about purchasing an older home, contact a plumbing expert for advice and information about old home plumbing. At Cleary Plumbing, we’re happy to answer your questions about plumbing and buying a home. Call today for more information.

5 Ways to Protect Your Plumbing & Your Young Children

When you have young children, you probably worry about everything from their food to their future educations. What you might not realize is that you also need to worry about their access to the plumbing in your home. Young children are naturally curious, which can lead to some serious plumbing and health problems. Not only that, but there are things that you might do as a parent that have negative effects on your plumbing. Here are five crucial ways to protect your plumbing and your young children.

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Plumbing Checklist for Home Buyers

You have your eye on a new home, and everything seems perfect, so it’s time get down to examining the not-so-obvious functional features, specifically the plumbing. Plumbing problems in a home do affect its overall value. Certain features should be assessed by you or a plumbing professional before you ever make an offer. Here are five things to check about a home’s plumbing before you buy.  Read more

Types of Toilets to Choose From

A constantly clogging toilet typically warrants a call to the plumber. But when the fixture needs more than just a quick fix, you may decide to have the pro install a new one. Even though they all serve a common purpose, not every toilet is the same. Before you buy a toilet, take a look at the different options you have to choose from.

The Mechanism

All toilets, other than the port-a-potty variety, flush. But there are different ways that the flushing happens. The two primary types of flush options are gravity-feed and pressure-assisted.

Gravity-Feed

The gravity-feed option is the most common type of residential toilet. Like the name says, it uses gravity to flush. When you push the gravity-assisted toilet’s handle, the flush valve opens, and water drops from the tank into the bowl. The moving water then carries the waste away.

Given the popularity of these toilets, you can easily make repairs and find replacement parts for models with this option. Gravity-feed toilets are also typically quieter than the pressure-assisted variety.

Pressure-Assisted

Pressure-assisted toilets are more powerful and use less water than ones with a gravity-assisted flush. Instead of gravity, these toilets use compressed air to push waste down the drain. Even though these toilets work more efficiently than traditional gravity-assisted models, they are noisy and often more expensive.

If you’re not sure which way to go, the newer dual-flush toilet is the best of both worlds. This toilet uses a combination of gravity and compressed air, depending on which type of waste is being flushed — liquid or solid.

The Style

When it comes to the outward aesthetic, you have several different options. One of the options is to choose a single or two-piece model. The single or one-piece toilet is exactly what the name implies — one continuous ceramic piece. Likewise, the two-piece toilet consists of two pieces. These include the tank and the bowl.

The Flush

Again, a flush isn’t always a flush. Not only can you decide which flush mechanism option your want (gravity or pressure-assisted), you can also select from a single or double flush. A single flush, like the name says, uses one flush to move waste away. This type of toilet comes with a set water usage per flush, giving you an idea of how many gallons you’ll use each time.

A double or dual-flush toilet has two flushing options. This flush system allows you to press the handle or lever half-way or lightly in order to remove liquid waste. This uses less water, saving you money in the long-run. When you need to flush solid waste, press the handle all the way down. This uses more water but provides the full flush you need.

The Bowl Shape

The two primary toilet bowl shapes are round and elongated. Round bowls are fairly traditional, whereas elongated toilets have an oval-shaped bowl that is longer than a traditional round. Some elongated toilets also come in a compact version. This gives you the same oval shape as an elongated model but comes in a shorter or smaller size.

Choosing one shape over the other comes down to personal preference, depending on your bathroom design goals. Even though most new toilets come with coordinating seats if you need to replace yours it needs to match the shape.

The Size

Along with the shape of the bowl, toilets also come in different sizes or heights. The most common toilet is a standard height model. These are typically comfortable for most older children, teens, and adults.

Adults with mobility restrictions or limitations may benefit from an ADA-compliant toilet. These are taller than standard models, making them easier to maneuver around.

Do you need a new toilet? Contact Cleary Plumbing to choose the toilet that suits your needs.

3 Reasons to Add a Garbage Disposal to Your Kitchen

Preparing a meal in your kitchen can be affordable and nutritious. However, if your kitchen doesn’t have the right tools, then the inconvenience of food preparation tasks may prevent you from eating in as often as you would like.

One of the tools that every modern kitchen needs is a garbage disposal. The addition of a garbage disposal to your kitchen sink can greatly enhance your cooking and cleaning experiences.

Upgrade your quality of life by opting to install a garbage disposal in your kitchen. Read more