Hard Water? What to Do About It

Hard Water

What Problems Are Caused By Hard Water

Have you noticed that soap scum tends to show up quickly in your sinks and tubs? Maybe there are mineral deposits around your faucets and fixtures, or perhaps you’ve noticed that your skin feels dry after showering. These are all signs that you have hard water. While many homeowners simply shrug their shoulders and ignore the issue when they find out they have hard water, it really is important to take action when you make this discovery.

Hard Water? What to Do About It

What Problems Are Caused By Hard Water?

Ignoring hard water often ends up costing you in the long run since it eventually causes the following problems.

Mineral Deposits in Pipes

Hard water is, by definition, water that contains a high concentration of dissolved calcium and magnesium. These minerals slowly settle out of solution, building up in pipes and around faucets. If you’re starting to see mineral deposits around your faucets, you can bet they’re starting to form in the pipes, too.

Mineral deposits in your pipes can slow the flow of water, leading to reduced water pressure. If they grow large enough, they may block the flow of water entirely. This is an expensive problem to deal with and often requires your plumber to remove and replace the affected pipe.

Dry, Itchy Skin

The calcium and magnesium from hard water also deposit on your skin. This causes your skin to itch and flake. You may get some relief from moisturizers and lotions, but you have to use a lot of them to stay comfortable. Moisturizing washes and soaps are only so effective, and you have to use a lot to get them to lather properly since the minerals interfere with the formation of suds.

Damaged Appliances

Think about all of the appliances in your home that use water. You probably have a coffee pot, washing machine, ice maker, dishwasher, and perhaps a few others. Minerals slowly settle out of hard water, leaving deposits inside of these appliances. This can interfere with the water flow and eventually cause the appliances to break prematurely. A washing machine that would last 15 years in a home with softened water, for example, may only last eight years in your home.

In addition to the issues above, hard water also causes a lot of other small challenges. It leaves foggy-looking deposits on your glassware, makes your hair drier and harder to handle, and leaves your laundry stiff. People with dandruff often find that using hard water makes it worse.

What Can You Do About Hard Water?

If you think you have hard water, give your local water department a call. They can confirm whether the water in your area is, indeed, considered hard. If your water department tells you that hardness varies throughout the district, have a plumber come test your water. A reading of 1.7 ppm or higher is considered hard.

Once it is confirmed that you have hard water, the best thing you can do is have a whole-home water softener installed. This is a device that treats water as it enters your home through the main pipe. Essentially, the water softener removes the dissolved magnesium and calcium from the water before they have a chance to deposit in pipes, in appliances, or on your skin.

While a water softener is a bit of an investment, it costs a lot less than having to replace your appliances and pipes prematurely due to mineral buildup. With proper maintenance, most water softeners last at least 10 to 15 years.

 

If you suspect you have hard water, don’t simply deal with it. Though it is a very common occurrence, it doesn’t mean it’s an issue you shouldn’t care about. Talk to your plumber to learn more about having a water softener installed to prevent future issues like low water pressure and damaged appliances.

Roots in the Sewer Line? Oh No! A Guide to This Common Problem

Roots in the Sewer Line?

December 2016 Blog Post Image

When you think of your home’s plumbing system, the first components that come to mind are probably your toilets, sinks, and perhaps the garden hose. But there’s another element of your plumbing system that is easy to forget about because it’s located beneath your home and yard: your main sewer line.

This wide pipe collects all of the waste from your home and carries it into the municipal sewer system. Homeowners don’t usually give their main sewer line a second thought until they have an issue with it, and that issue usually comes in the form of tree roots.

How Do Tree Roots Destroy Main Sewer Lines?

Tree roots are naturally drawn towards moisture. If your main sewer line develops even the smallest crack, which is quite common in aging pipes, the tree roots will quickly start to infiltrate the line, drawing water from it to nourish the tree. Over time, the tree roots grow denser and denser until they either clog the sewer line completely or cause it to collapse in on itself.

What Are Some Signs That Tree Roots Are Growing Into Your Sewer Line?

One of the signs below will clue you into the fact that there’s a problem with your sewer line.

Sewage Backups

One overflowing toilet probably indicates an issue that’s isolated to that toilet. However, if your toilets back up frequently, you probably have an issue with your main sewer line. The sewage you’re flushing can’t pass through the main line, so it’s coming back up and into your home. You may even see sewage coming up through your bathtub or sink drains if you don’t have backflow preventers installed in these drains.

Slow Drains

Once again, a single slow drain probably just means you need to plunge or snake that drain. But if all the drains in your home seem to be draining very slowly, you probably have an issue with the main sewer line.

Sudden Surges in Tree Growth

Do you have a tree that seemed to languish or stay the same size for years before recently shooting up in height or developing more vibrant leaves? This may be a sign that its roots have burst into the main sewer line and are now receiving plentiful water and nutrition.

Moisture in the Basement

There are many possible causes of moisture in the basement. However, if you’re suddenly seeing water seep in through the floor or walls, that water may be coming from a nearby sewer pipe that has been burst open by tree roots. If the water coming in has a putrid sewage odor, then this explanation is particularly likely.

What Can Your Plumber Do About Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line?

Your plumber will probably start by sending a camera down into the sewer line. This will allow them to visualize any roots that are in your pipe. If they do detect roots, the recommended treatment will depend on the extent of the growth. Common solutions include the following.

Cutting the Tree Roots

A special cutting tool with a rotating blade may be sent down into your sewer line. This will temporarily cut away the roots so that sewage can flow through freely. Eventually the process may need to be repeated since the roots will grow back.

Chemical Eradication

If the root growth is in its beginning stages, your plumber may recommend sending a chemical agent down into the sewer pipe. This agent will kill the tree roots and prevent them from growing back for at least a few years.

Replacing the Sewer Line

When the tree roots have caused the pipe to collapse or have clogged it completely, sometimes the best option is to remove and replace the damaged section of pipe. This can be costly, but it is a more permanent solution than cutting away the roots or treating them with chemicals.

If you’re having issues with slow drains, sewage backups, and dampness and odors in your basement, it’s time to schedule a camera inspection of your main sewer line. It’s likely that tree roots have grown into your line, and this problem is only going to get worse until you have it professionally addressed.

Common Causes of These 5 Pipe Noises

Pipe Noises

Common Causes of These 5 Pipe Noises

You rely on your plumbing system to deliver water throughout your home for cooking, bathing, and waste disposal. But you may become all too aware of your pipes when they begin making strange noises throughout the day.

Unexpected plumbing noises can be annoying and even startling. In some cases, these noises also indicate serious plumbing issues.
Pipe Noises
So what are your pipes trying to tell you? In this blog, we list five common pipe noises and the usual cause of the ruckus.

1. Banging

Usually, banging noises in the pipes come from a problem with water pressure or water flow. Two of the most common causes are water hammers and trapped air bubbles.

A water hammer occurs when a faucet or valve is shut off suddenly. The water that was rushing toward that exit has a high amount of momentum and, when it meets the closed valve, causes a loud bang. Water hammers can also result in a series of smaller bangs in your pipes.

Air can become trapped in your pipes due to issues in the water line. If banging is caused by air in the pipes, the noise will mostly occur right when you first turn on a faucet. You may also notice sputtering as the air bubble travels.

Both of these issues can occur for several reasons, so you may need a professional to evaluate and address the problem.

2. Humming

When your water pressure is too high for the system’s capacity, it can leave your pipes vibrating. This vibration may result in a humming noise, especially when the water is running.

Overly high water pressure can occur in any home, but is particularly common in homes that rely on well water. If you have a well, check the pressure at the tank. Generally, this setting should be no higher than 55 pounds per square inch.

If you do not have access to a reading of your water pressure, have a professional test the pressure and make adjustments to eliminate any humming noises.

3. Gurgling

When your pipes have difficulty draining, they may protest with a distinct glugging or gurgling sound. Usually this noise indicates the presence of an obstruction in the pipes. This obstruction may consist of an item that accidentally washed down the drain, built-up soap scum or other debris, or mineral and hard water deposits on the sides of the pipes.

A professional drain cleaning takes care of pipe obstructions and, by extension, most gurgling or sucking noises.

4. Rattling

Your pipes travel mostly behind walls, ceilings, and floors. Pipes that hang suspended must be securely fastened. If a fastener becomes loose or falls away, you may notice a rattling noise when water moves through that section of pipe.

Because the pipe is most likely hidden, you may need a professional to find and secure the pipe and get rid of the noise.

5. Squealing or Whistling

Your plumbing system relies on many small components to make the faucets and valves work properly. When a washer or other small component wears out, you may notice squealing or whistling when that section of plumbing is used.

Most commonly, broken and worn washers occur near your dishwasher or washing machine. If you notice squeaks or squeals near those appliances when you run them, have a plumber check that all the valve components are working properly.

 

Use the information above to determine how best to quiet down your pipes.

In many cases, loud plumbing noises require the diagnosis and treatment of a professional. If you need drain cleaning, pipe reattachment, or system calibrating, trust the team at Cleary Plumbing.

5 Signs You Need Your Plumbing Drains Cleaned

Understanding your plumbing system and how it works could save you from a plumbing nightmare.

Sanitary Floods are one of the biggest causes of personal damage in the Florida. One of the best ways to prevent stopped up plumbing lines is preventative maintenance. The big question is how do you know when it is time to schedule your drain cleaning service? Below are some signs that you should be aware of.

1) Water Coming Up in House

The first one is an obvious one. Seeing water coming up in your house is sign that you are having drainage issues. There are many examples of this but one of the most common is when you flush your toilet the water comes up into your tub or shower. This is happening because there is an obstruction in the bathroom drainage branch and the waste has nowhere to go but an open drain like the shower. The Tub/Shower is the lowest fixture so that is why is comes up in there first instead of your sink. In most cases the toilet will need to be pulled and the line will need to be snaked from there. Sometimes you may have to get on the roof and snake the line from the roof vent stack. Scoping the line with a camera may also be an option to see what is causing the obstruction.

2) Water Coming Up From Pipe Outside of Home

Most single family homes, condos, apartments, and townhomes have cleanouts on the exterior of their homes. A cleanout is an access point to your main drain line.  These are installed for two reasons. The First reason is if you ever do have a stoppage you can unscrew the cap on the cleanout and the sanitary waste will discharge outside instead of inside your home. The second reason is for cleaning the line. When you schedule preventative drain cleaning you are able to clean the main line from the outside of your home instead of picking a toilet up and snaking it that way.

If water is coming out of the cleanout then you have one of two problems or a combination of both. You either have a main line stoppage that needs to be cleared or if you have a septic system, it may be full. Most homeowners do not have septic systems, so that would not pertain to you.

Scheduling preventative drain cleaning will keep your drains clean and flowing properly

3) Gurgling Noises or Bubbling Up

Sometimes you will notice the toilet bubbling up or you will hear a gurgling noise when water is draining through your fixture drains. This usually is caused by a partial obstruction. The obstruction causes noises and bubbles while the water drains. This ultimately means you are on your way to a complete stopped up drain. Before it gets to that point the drain should be cleaned and cleared. Too many people ignore this sign. It’s always better to address a problem before it turns into something major. It will save you time and money if caught before main back up occurs

4) Slow Draining Line

A Slow Draining Line is Not Normal.  A slow draining line is the easiest sign to pick up on and it is the easily the most ignored sign. Just because it has always drained that way or it seems to always eventually go down does not mean your waste line is draining properly.  A slow draining line is BIG WARNING letting you know trouble is on the way. I can almost guarantee a clogged line is coming. Debris and Scale build up are the usually the main cause of a slow drain. Preventative maintenance will push the debris out and clean the scale build up from your drainage walls. You notice a significant difference once the lines are cleaned. No more standing in a foot of water when taking a shower.

5) Unpleasant Drain Odors

Do you notice a bad odor in your kitchen or bathroom shower? Think about everything that goes down your drain lines; I take that back. Most fixtures have traps. Traps are meant to hold water to prevent sewer gases from coming up through the pipes. If those traps are filled with unpleasant things, you will get odors. You may also have other issues like a broken pipe but the smell will automatically give it a way that you probably have a drain line issue. Keep your traps clean and watch what you flush down your lines.

 

It is always good to be proactive with your plumbing system. Preventative Maintenance can be geared for your home specifically. Snaking and cleaning your drains ensures that your lines stay clear and flowing properly. Being aware of the signs above will allow you to prevent a major plumbing back and it will ultimately save you time and money.

6 Signs Your Water Heater is Failing

Signs Your Water Heater is Failing

Six Signs Your Water Heater is Failing

After a long day, a hot shower can be soothing and relaxing. But when you’re instead hit with the spray of cold water, it can be an unwelcome shock, and it can also mean your water heater is kaput. To avoid this sudden surprise, you need to maintain your water heater and keep an eye out for signs that something is wrong.
6 Signs Your Water Heater is Failing
To determine if your water heater is on its last leg, read on. We’ll discuss indicators that your water heater is failing and needing to be replaced fairly soon.

1. Age

Most water heaters last about 10 years. So, if your water heater is older than a decade, it may be time to replace it or have it checked out by plumber. But, if you have a large family or your water heater is used rather often, the life expectancy of your water heater can diminish, and you may experience issues earlier than anticipated.

2. Metallic Smell or Taste

When the water heater is at the end of its life, you may notice your hot water has an unusual smell or taste. It’ll have a metallic scent or flavor, indicating the water heater is breaking down and in need of replacement.

3. Rust in the Water

Along with the metallic smell and taste, you may also see flakes of rust in your hot water. This rust most likely came off the rusting interior of the water heater. Rust indicates that the water heater is slowly deteriorating and could develop leaks within a matter of time.

Sometimes, rusty galvanized piping can be the cause of your rusty water. Rust from the piping can get into the water heater and then make its way into your hot water. If you notice rust in your water, call a professional to take a look at your water heater and determine what the cause is.

4. Dirty or Muddy Water

Over time, sediment and dirt can collect in the water heater, turning the water muddy or sandy. This can often be an indicator that your water heater needs to be replaced, but in some cases, you can simply have the water heater drained and cleaned. Consult a plumbing specialist to examine the water heater and determine where it stands.

5. Odd Noises

It’s not unusual for a water heater to make regular humming noises, but when you start to hear loud pops or cracks, it’s time to call a professional. These noises often mean that scale or mineral deposits cover the heating element inside the water heater. The sediment can harden over the heating element, and as the heating element burns the sediment away, the process can produce some strange sounds.

6. Leaks

When water puddles around the bottom of the water heater, replace it immediately. Normally, a puddle means there’s an internal problem with the water heater, and if the leaking progresses, you might have troublesome flooding on your hands. Leaks or slow drips usually can’t be repaired, and such damage usually indicates the end of a water heater’s life.

 

When you notice any of the above signs, call an experienced plumber, such as Cleary Plumbing. We can take a look at your water heater and determine if it needs replacement or just a little maintenance. And if you have any questions about your water heater, we’ll be happy to answer them.

If you do need a new water heater, our helpful team can help you select the right one for your home and install it efficiently and properly. We can also provide maintenance and repair services for your new water heater, should you ever need them.