10 Warning Signs of Drain And Sewer Problems

drain and sewer problems

10 Warning Signs of Drain And Sewer Problems

  • Drain & Sewer

Although maintaining a fully functioning drain system is a vital element to the upkeep of any home, this luxury is often taken for granted. Indeed, the literal lifeblood of any home, although most people discount the vitality of maintaining a functioning drain system, its importance becomes evident just moments after it begins to malfunction. Rather than waiting until you are forced to endure mishaps such as leaking, frequent clogging, and more, the following is an overview of 10 warning signs that you have a drain and sewer problems.

1. Water Flooding in the Basement

One of the top tell-tale signs of a drainage problem is spotting standing water in your basement. Given that this is the lowest point of your home, it should come to no surprise that waters from things such as overflowing gutters or a fluctuating water table would convene here. 

2. Strange Gurgling Noises Coming from Drain

Your drain/ sewer system should be virtually noise-free. Although there are certainly some exceptions, for the most part, you should not be able to hear what’s going on in your drainage system. If you hear strange gurgling noises coming from your system, this is a sign of some sort of blockage that should be addressed immediately.

3. Foul Odor Coming from Fixture Drains

In addition to that, if you smell any unexplained, unpleasant odors coming from your drain system, this is also a sign of an issue. You should never be able to smell things such as raw sewage assuming your day-to-day activities. If you notice a foul smell that can be likened to that of raw sewage, you may want to contact a plumbing professional as soon as possible. 

4. Home Came with Older Drainage System

Moreover, as with all elements of the home, your drainage system is subject to regular wear and tear. Perhaps, more so than most other elements of your home, your drainage system is one of the most often used parts of your home. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that having a home with an older drainage system would be subject to occasional to frequent malfunctions. 

5. Unexplained Spike in Water Costs 

When your water bill suddenly has an unexplained increase, there may also be an indication of a drain issue. This is largely due to the fact that sewage system issues are related to things such as leaks and frequent clogs, each of which tends to waste an excess of water which causes an increase in your monthly fees.

6. Poor Water Quality

Has there been a deterioration in terms of your quality of water? This is a serious sign that you should have your drain system checked immediately. Having drain problems can wreak havoc on your entire water supply by introducing an array of toxic materials and other potentially harmful contaminants. If you notice you water supply appears to be cloudy in nature, that it has a foul odor or anything else you feel is a cause for concern, contact a plumbing professional and have your drain system checked immediately. 

7. Low Water Pressure

If you have noticed that the pressure coming from your sink, bath, or toilet, you should definitely have your system checked. Many systems succumb to things such as tree roots or even feminine hygiene products, among other things. Once your system is sufficiently clogged, you will need a professional to remove the obstruction and get your system back in working order. 

8. Multiple Clogged Fixtures 

Although every drain system is subject to an occasional clog, if you have multiple fixtures in your home all clogged at the same time this is a cause for concern. Given that sewage systems tend to get clogged in the most unreachable places, if your drains seem to be moving more slowly than usual, you may have a massive clog in an unseen area of your home.

9. Slow Drainage

Furthermore, even if your system isn’t actually clogged and is just moving more slowly than usual, this is also a warning sign. In addition to potentially being clogged, your system may just begin to become more sluggish as things cease to work as sufficiently as they once did. 

10. Frequent Overflowing of Toilet

Lastly, if your toilet overflows frequently, this can be a massive sign that you need to have your drain system replaced. Indeed, while a well-functioning drainage system does not typically have such issues, a drainage system with issues with having sporadic issues in regards to the random rising and falling of toilet water levels and more. 

Overall, if you do not pay close attention to the early warning signs of drain and sewer problems, you may end up paying dearly in the end. Not only will you be forced to endure hours, days, or even weeks without a properly functioning drainage system, but you will also put your home at risk for water damage, spikes in service fees and much more. 

If you’re home is suffering from drain and sewer problems, then its time to schedule service with Papalia today!

By admin

7 Common Signs That You Need a Holiday Drain Cleaning

holiday drain cleaning

7 Common Signs That You Need a Holiday Drain Cleaning

  • Plumbing

Clogged drains can be a frustrating nuisance, but having a dirty drain during the holidays could mean bursting pipes in your home. The winter season already puts enough strain on your plumbing, freezing your pipes and wearing down your water heater. No homeowner wants a home flooded from a burst pipe, which is why it’s important to keep your drains clear this holiday season. Here’s our list of signs to watch for that you need a holiday drain cleaning.

When You Should Clean Your Drains

Plumbing problems can be frustrating, and a dirty drain can disrupt your daily activities. It might be tempting to overlook one clogged drain, but a clog left untreated can result in costly damages. Your plumbing is complicated, but you can avoid most plumbing catastrophes by thoroughly cleaning your drains and routine maintenance. The more you clean your drains, the better, as it never hurts to be proactive with your plumbing. Clogs however, can happen despite how often you clean your drains, which is why it’s important to know the warning signs of a dirty drain. To avoid needing holiday drain cleaning here’s what to look for:

  • Water starts to back up. When using the faucet, bathtub, or shower, the water should always drain. Water should never go up your drains, but if you notice after flushing a toilet or running the faucet that water starts to back up versus drain down, it could be a clogged drain.
  • Foul odors. One of the most unpleasant warning signs of a clogged drain is the foul odor of sewage. A drain that’s clogged accumulates all the waste that’s flushed down the drains until the odors come back out the drains. Kitchens with garbage disposal can also be notorious for foul sewage odors, especially when enough food particles build up inside your drains.
  • Odd sounds. Listen carefully to your drains. When a drain is blocked, water is then forced through small spaces or to change course which can result in bubbling or gurgling sounds. If you start to hear odd gurgling sounds from your drain, it’s time to clean your drains. 
  • Frequent clogs. Clogs can be a common plumbing problem, but if they happen often enough, it could be caused from a clogged drain. Some clogs can be resolved with a plunger or drain cleaner, but if you notice the same fixture keeps clogging regardless, you’ll need a plumber to professionally clean your drains.
  • Multiple clogs at the same time. Not all clogs require calling in a plumber, but multiple clogs at once is problematic. If you notice multiple different fixtures have clogged all at once, it means there is a clog deeper inside your sewer line and requires a professional drain cleaning.
  • Slow drains. A slow drain is one of the most common signs of a clogged drain, as no water fixture should have a slow drain. Watch your sinks and water appliances. If you notice it takes more time than usual to drain the sink or your washer or dishwasher is still full after the cycle, it’s time to clean your drains.
  • Fruit or drain flies. Any buildup of food or waste inside your drains will attract flies. Tiny fruit flies are more than just an annoying pest; they can become a health risk, and are usually attracted to the scent of a clogged drain. Drains flies are another pest to watch out for, as they like to breed in drains and sewer lines. If your home has some clogged drains, you might start to notice drain flies buzzing in your bathroom.

How to Clean Your Drains and Keep Them Clogged Free

Knowing when to clean your drains is a good place to start, but it’s best to start habits that keep your drains clean and prevent future clogs. A clogged drain left untreated can result in costly plumbing problems, but luckily they can be avoided with proper care and cleaning practices. Here’s what you can do to keep your drains clean this holiday season.

  • Avoid chemical drain cleaners. Although chemical drain cleaners can be an easy and instant fix for some clogs, they’re incredibly toxic and eat at your pipes over time. There are several non-toxic drain cleaners available such as vinegar and baking soda, which work naturally well to eliminate odors and flush down any stuck waste.
  • Avoid flushing down food waste. Garbage disposals are great if you have them, but contrary to what you might think, it’s to flush down as little food waste as possible. Most foods will clog your drains and break down the blades. Kitchen sinks without a garbage disposal are even less equipped to handle any food waste that goes down the drain. Do your best to avoid flushing food down by scraping and rinsing your plates. Avoid flushing down fats, greases, and oils, as well as starchy foods.
  • Use drain strainers. It’s not just food waste that clogs your drains, but hair, soap scum, and other random debris, which is why it helps to place drain strainers on top of your drains. Make sure to periodically clean out your drain strainers so that your drains can drain properly.

Keep Your Holidays Fun and Festive with Clean Drains

A clog can be a frustrating, if not common plumbing problem, but the winter season adds the additional threat of your pipes freezing. No homeowner wants a flooded home in the dead of winter, that’s why it’s important to keep your drains clean and clear this holiday season. Not all clogs, however, can be cleaned yourself, and that’s where the professionals come in. Papalia can treat your drains and guarantee your holidays stay dry and happy. Don’t wait until you smell sewage, call a Papalia Plumbing today for holiday drain cleaning!

By admin

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

Boiler Maintenance Tips for the Holidays

  • Heating
  • Plumbing

Hot water is essential to your well-being and your health. And during the holidays, you need it for everything from cleaning pots and pans after a festive meal to taking a long, luxurious bath once all your guests have gone home again. But if your boiler is not working properly, then your life suddenly becomes a whole lot less comfortable. That’s why we’ve put together a list of boiler maintenance tips for the holidays:

  • Check the gas light. The gas light should burn a steady blue. If it’s yellow or some other color or if you notice soot marks around it, then it’s a sign there’s something wrong with the combustion. Call a professional immediately instead of trying to fix it yourself.
  • Remove any clutter. You need to maintain at least two feet of clearance around the appliance at all times. During the holidays, this can be more challenging, especially if you’re looking for extra storage for gifts, decoration boxes or other holiday-related items. Nevertheless, since this is about safety, you still need to keep the boiler free of clutter.
  • Perform a visual inspection. Inspect all sides of the appliance for dings, dents or leaks. If you notice serious damage, corrosion, or a leak, you’ll need to get it fixed. You should also carefully check the valves and pipes for leaks or other damage.
  • Make sure the boiler has the right pressure. While your boiler is properly calibrated for the correct pressure when it’s first installed, it will lose pressure over time. This is completely normal, so there’s no need to worry. However, you do need to maintain correct pressure. The best way to go about doing this is to review the manufacturer’s manual for the correct pressure and follow the instructions on how to adjust it.

More Advice for Safe Boiler Ownership

In addition to these tips, you need to keep your and your family’s safety top of mind. When a boiler malfunctions, it can release carbon monoxide — an odorless, clear and tasteless gas that can be fatal for people and pets. Because it’s basically impossible for humans to detect, you need to make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detection system installed. It’s the only way to guarantee you and your family will be alerted in time in the unfortunate event of a carbon monoxide leak due to a malfunctioning boiler. 

Finally, even if you’re good at maintaining your boiler yourself, you should also schedule annual tune-ups by a professional technician. He or she can perform a good cleaning of all the appliance’s parts, check to make sure they’re in good working order and replace any that aren’t. Your technician will also advise you about your options when it’s time to replace your current boiler. 

Call Papalia Home Services Today!

If you need boiler service after reading our boiler maintenance tips for the holidays then contact Papalia Home Services today and keep you house warm through the season!

 

By admin

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

  • Plumbing

Winter Guide to Gas Hot Water Heater Maintenance

The winter season is almost here, which means it’s time to prepare your home for the snow and frigid temperatures. You’ve insulated your plumbing, cleared your gutters, and prepped the standby generator, but there’s one appliance you can’t forget. Just like the furnace, homeowners will rely on their gas water heater during the winter season, but your gas water heater is just as strained from use due to the drop in temperature. Proper maintenance for your gas water heater not only ensures you can enjoy heated water throughout the holiday season, it prevents a plumbing catastrophe. Check out our winter guide to gas hot water heater maintenance now!

How You Can Prepare Your Gas Water Heater this Winter

A damaged gas water heater poses a lot of problems beyond the frustration of a lack of hot water. Over time and use, your gas water heater can wear down, especially for homes that run on hard water. Pipes can rust and contaminate your drinking and bathing water, a leak can cause costly water damage, and even worse, your gas water heater tank can explode. Luckily with proper maintenance, you can enjoy your heated water without a plumbing catastrophe. Here’s how you can stay warm and dry this winter season.

  • Flush your gas water heater. Your water heater works the hardest during the winter season, and over time mineral deposits can settle at the bottom of the tank and break down the water heater. Mineral deposits prevent your gas water heater from operating efficiently and it can clog your water lines. That’s why it’s important to flush your gas water heater at least twice a year to clean out the mineral deposits.
  • Check the pressure valve. Your gas water heater has a pressure valve called the TPR valve that releases pressure whenever the tank becomes over pressured. To test your TPR valve, life the trip lever on the valve and release it again. You should see some water exit or hear a faint hint of air exiting the valve. If you don’t see anything exit the valve or water just keeps flowing out, you might need to replace the TPR valve. It’s a good idea to check your gas water heater’s pressure valve every six months to check for clogs or leaks.
  • Check the filters. Some gas water heaters have a filter to catch any problematic debris. Your water heater works best when it’s clear and clean of sediment and debris, which is why it’s important to routinely clean or replace your filters if your gas water heater has one.
  • Inspect the thermostat. Some heating problems aren’t caused by the appliances themselves, but a malfunctioning thermostat. A functional thermostat is important for all your heating appliances, as it prevents your gas water heater from overworking itself to keep up with inconsistent temperature settings.
  • Check the anode rod. The anode rod is another important component of your gas water heater that works to capture any corrosive material in the water. Your gas water heater tank is susceptible to rust and corrosion, which is why it’s important to occasionally check the anode rod. Watch for any calcium deposits, missing parts, or if the rod itself has dissolved to less than half inch thick. Anode rods can last up to 5-10 years, but they can last longer if routinely cleaned.
  • Adjust the temperature. The winter season makes it difficult to be energy efficient, especially when you heavily rely on your heating appliances. Adjusting the temperature setting on your gas water heater, however, can save in energy costs and prevents your gas water heater from overheating.
  • Insulate your tank and pipes. Just like the rest of your plumbing this winter season, a little insulation can go a long way. Covering the tank and attached pipes with an insulated material can help to keep the hot water in the pipes warmer for an extended period of time.
  • Clean out air intake and exhaust vents. Like your furnace, your gas water heater needs proper ventilation in order to function. Snow is a common issue for your gas water heater’s air intake and exhaust vents during the winter season. Snow and other debris can clog inside the vents and cause damages to your gas water heater. Fencing off snow and installing a metal mesh to keep pests out helps to keep your vents clear and water heater running efficiently.

Stay Warm this Winter by Taking Care of Your Gas Water Heater

A home with a damaged gas water heater makes for a miserable holiday season. A poorly maintained gas water heater is more than a nuisance, but a costly plumbing problem. Luckily you can stay warm and dry thing winter with routine maintenance. Proper maintenance however, can only help so much; sometimes you’ll need professional help. A licensed plumber can help guarantee your gas water heater is fully functional and prepared for the incoming winter season. Don’t wait until there’s water in the basement, call a Papalia Home Services Today.

Follow our winter guide to gas water heater maintenance and don’t lose your hot water when it’s cold out. Call Papalia Home Services Today!

By admin

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

  • Heating

10 Warning Signs That a Furnace Replacement Is Imminent

The summer is fast fading and when that happens we know what to expect – shorter days and cooler nights.  If you are a homeowner who lives in a snowy climate, chances are you will be checking your furnace for proper performance.  Now would be a good time to troubleshoot it or you may not have heat during the fall and winter. A furnace that hasn’t been tuned up will run you into high energy costs, not to mention the price you must pay for maintenance or repairs. Getting it done now will give you peace of mind, ensure that you have reliable heat for the winter and save you the risk of replacement later, or having to worry about repair costs.  Here are 10 warning signs that a furnace replacement is imminent.

1. Your Furnace Sounds Like a Monster

No furnace is completely soundless, but if it is making noises like a hungry tiger on the prowl for food -groaning, whining, banging – repair may include replacing a loose belt, priming the ignition, or finding the correct component to replace it with.  Troubleshooting as soon as you hear those noises and you will be on your way to to quickly remedying the situation.

2. Turning Up the Thermostat Doesn’t Do the Job Anymore

Your natural reaction to feeling cold is to turn up your thermostat to a temperature where you feel comfortable again.  Lately, however, this just doesn’t work anymore. Now you won’t have the proper heat during the cold season months.  This suggests that the thermostat may be on the blink, or your ducts might be leaking.  For constant, reliable heat, call in a specialist to see if the problem is your thermostat and he will suggest a replacement.

3. Your Electric Bill Skyrocketed

When you’re paying more than you normally do for electricity it means your furnace isn’t working properly.  Rather than doing guesswork , it is best to call a specialist in so that they can remedy the problem.

4. Yellow Pilot Signal

If you notice that the pilot light on your furnace is glowing yellow you probably think everything is alright. This is just as big a warning as the yellow traffic signs on street corners.  A yellow light indicates that the gas balance of your furnace is not in good condition.  What you want is for the flame to be blue, which means that the gases are perfectly balanced.  Yellow means that carbon monoxide is being emitted, which is dangerous, and lethal to you and your family.

5. You Have Difficulty Starting and Keeping Your Furnace On

This is a sure sign that you need furnace repairs.  Problems can range from improper wiring, a broken fan motor or getting a new pilot light.  Most furnace repair companies will provide easy financing provided you catch the problem before it becomes too severe.

6. Your Family is Experiencing Respiratory Problems

When your furnace needs fixing you may notice that it is linked to frequent problems with breathing such as asthma and chest related illnesses.  A system that doesn’t work properly pours dust, mold and other pathogens in the air which circulate in your home. Diminished air quality is an incentive for getting your furnace fixed as soon as possible.

7. Hot and Cold Spots

If you constantly feel a draft while your furnace is on it means that it is no longer strong enough to heat your entire home.  If you find ice forming on your roof this may indicate that the heat from your house is escaping through the attic rather than keeping place in the living section where it is supposed to be.  Getting your furnace tuned-up will provide greater efficiency by getting rid of those cold and hot spots.

8. Air Condensation

You may not need furnace repairs for condensation, but if it keeps up it could mean you’ll be making constant calls for checkups that could lead to a higher risk of replacement. It is best to only allow two minor furnace issues occur in succession before you call for a maintenance person.  

9. Your Furnace is a Dinosaur

The average furnace last between 10 to 20 years with a good unit lasting into the upper level of that range. If you have had your furnace for over 15 years, now is a good time to begin looking for a new one.  A new furnace gives constant, reliable heat, eliminates repair costs and maintenance visits.

10. Your Furnace Gives Off an Unusual Odor

Your furnace is only supposed to have the scent of fresh gas or oil if you are using it for the first time of the season.  If after several consecutive uses, there is still a strange smell during your generator use, then something isn’t normal. Contact a specialist right away to diagnose the problem.  Strange odors are more serious than you might think.  Not only does it mean your unit is not functioning properly, but it also poses safety hazards to your environment.

Call Papalia Home Services today if you check any of our 10 warning signs that a furnace replacement is imminent!

By admin

A Homeowners Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

kitchen sink drain

A Homeowners Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

  • Plumbing

As a responsible homeowner, you probably know that it’s equally crucial to keep those parts of your home that you can’t see in just as good a shape as the parts that are visible. One of those important parts that you can’t see is your plumbing system. If you don’t properly maintain it, all sorts of issues can occur, ranging from leaking pipes and clogged sewer lines to sediment buildup and blocked drains. One of the most important things you can do to prevent some of these issues from occurring is to keep your kitchen and bath drains in good working order. Here’s what you need to know.

Keeping Your Kitchen Drain in Good Shape

If you’re like most households, you make heavy use of your kitchen drain. You use it to wash your hands, wash dishes, and do food preparation. You might even have a garbage disposal you use to get rid of organic cooking waste. However, this heavy use can easily clog up the drain over time.

To prevent this from happening, you should avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain. Instead, you can dispose of this by pouring it into a bottle and throwing it away. Also, don’t throw any food waste down the drain unless you run the garbage disposal, and never throw anything made of metal, glass, or plastic into the drain.

In addition, you should clean the drain around once every two weeks. You can do this with a simple, homemade drain cleaning solution. Boil a kettle of water and pour it into the drain. Then pour in half a cup of baking soda and let it work for about 5 minutes. Next, mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of hot water and pour it into the drain. Cover the drain with the plug, and wait for five to 10 minutes. Finally, flush the drain with another kettle of boiling water. To clean your garbage disposal, you can fill it with ice cubes, cover it, and run it for a couple of minutes. The friction from the ice cubes will remove any grease and sediment buildup. Then rinse the drain with boiling water.

How to Keep Your Bath Drain in Good Working Order

Your bath drain might not be as heavily used as your kitchen drain, but it can still get clogged, especially due to hair and soap. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning it once a week. If you have a bath drain with a stop, remove the stop and clean it. Then use the same method as above to clean out the drain itself. You can also use a commercial drain cleaner, but be sure to wear protective gloves and follow the instructions to the letter.

Of course, it’s always possible that despite your best efforts, you can experience a clogged drain or other issues. If you can’t resolve the issue yourself, you’re best advised to call Papalia Home Services as soon as possible. Remember: Paying a little bit of money for some repairs right now can save you a lot of hassle and expenses instead of waiting until the issue gets out of hand!

If you are experiencing drain problems in your home, call Papalia Home Services today! 

By Dan Burrows