Author Archives: Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating

What Are Common Plumbing Emergencies?

The benefits of emergency plumbing specialists

What makes for a valid need for emergency plumbing repairs? That answer can vary from person to person and problem to problem. If you have a bathroom or kitchen sink not draining, or you have a continuously dripping faucet, or maybe an overflowing toilet, it may not be considered an emergency by some, but when it is you, any of these situations can be an emergency. Plumbing repairs are needed sooner than later! 

In reality of it, any issue where an unaddressed plumbing matter exists and could cause material damage is when emergency plumbing repairs are legitimate. When a plumbing problem can make your home uncomfortable or unsafe for your family, like busted water pipes, backed-up drains, or leaking gas lines, you need to see emergency plumbing repairs. 

What are the most common causes of emergency plumbing repairs? 

No matter how easygoing, and relaxed person you may be, when there is a plumbing emergency, you can find yourself in a panic. A toilet that is backing up is probably the top of the list, with sink, shower, or tubs that won’t drain being next in line. There isn’t any time that is the best time for an emergency plumbing repair need. And the following are 5 of the most likely to cause panic: 

  • TOILET OVERFLOWING. A toilet overflowing is sure to incite panic, especially if you’re not at home! The toilet is the most used and hardest working fixture, so when it becomes clogged, it needs to be fixed soon – real soon! That constitutes an emergency plumbing repair service if you’re not able to get it fixed in a few steps yourself. 
  • THE SINK DRAIN IS CLOGGED. A sink drain that is severely clogged will cause water and waste to flow over instead of draining. If you’re not able to clear the clog easily and quickly, you have an emergency plumbing repair need. 
  • BUSTED PIPES. A busted pipe will typically have a significant amount of water gushing out from built-up pressure. When this happens, the water will begin causing damage to the walls and flooring around it, causing you more than just the cost of emergency plumbing repairs.
  • LEAKS AND RUST. Leaking faucets or toilets are annoying and will cause a significant increase in your monthly water bill. And then there is the mess caused by the leaking water.  This calls for emergency plumbing repairs as well as making repairs needed from any standing water before mold and rust begin.
  • BACKED UP SEWER. A sewer backup may be the worse and definitely is an emergency plumbing repair cause. This is more than just incoming water, it is also the wastewater that is meant for the sewer lines that are contaminated. If your sewer lines are backing up, it can become a health issue.

What doesn’t constitute an emergency plumbing repair?

While you may have a slight panic when the drain isn’t draining or the toilet is backing up, it doesn’t always have to result in an emergency plumbing repair call to your plumber. For instance, a minor leak under the sink can be stopped by shutting the water off with the valve is not an emergency. You can shut the water off using that valve and call the plumber on a day and time that won’t fall under emergency plumbing repair rates. 

The same with an overflowing toilet. There should be a valve under the tank close to the floor. Turn the water off there and then use a plunger to attempt to clear the clog. Once you hear the clog go on through, turn the valve back on. This has saved you from having an emergency plumbing repair bill! 

Are emergency plumbing repair services expensive?

Absolutely – think of the emergency room at the hospital! Anytime the word ‘emergency’ is involved, you should be prepared for an expensive result.  

Is there a way to avoid emergency plumbing repair costs? 

Yes, don’t call a plumber after hours or on non-business days, and definitely not on holidays! Another thing you can do is keep your plumbing healthy with routine home remedies of pouring baking soda and white vinegar down the drain once a month. 

Next, you should avoid putting things down the drain or flushed down the toilet that shouldn’t be put down or flushed down, including: 


A good rule of thumb is just because it says it is flushable, doesn’t mean it is! Some of the things we’ve listed here can actually be recycled by adding to your plants, like coffee grounds, tea grounds, and eggshells. Stuff like FOG (Fats, Oils, Grease) should be allowed to cool and gel then scraped into the trash can and never poured into the sink or disposal.

Watering It All Down 

With a monthly dosage of 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup white vinegar poured down each drain, followed by 5 minutes of hot water, you’ll keep your drains clean, clear, and healthy! 

Can I Get Shower Installation in One Day?

Spacious bathroom in gray tones with heated floors, freestanding tub, walk-in shower, double sink vanity and skylights. Northwest, USA

About Shower Installation

In recent years, there have been advertisements for one-day shower installation services. If it can be done that quick, then you’re probably asking yourself, “Can I install a shower myself?” For DIY homeowners with confidence in basic tools, yes, you can do your own shower installation

Steps to Take

So, your first question should be ‘what is needed to install a new shower?’, and the following is the information you need. From how to install a shower drain to how to install a shower head to how to install a shower door and everything in between: 

If your shower installation is replacing an existing shower, there will be some different steps if the existing shower walls were nailed to the wall studs or glued onto the drywall. Your new shower installation should be the same type of installation. 

The tools you’ll need for your replacement shower installation are: 

  • Hammer
  • Hole Saw
  • Level
  • Pry bar
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife

You can benefit by having a power oscillating tool and reciprocating saw as well for your shower installation project. With these tools on hand, you’re now ready for the steps on how to install a walk-in shower: 

  1. Turn the water supply off to shower.
  2. If the existing shower has a door and frame set up, remove the screws, and cut the caulk away with the utility knife. You may need to use the pry bar to pull the frame off. 
  3. Next, remove the showerhead, faucet knobs, and surrounding trim. You should have exposed water supply pipe ends. 
  4. Take the drain assembly out, some will unscrew others will have caulk or putty to be scraped off using the utility knife. 
  5. Using the utility knife, cut lines of caulk along shower panel walls.
  6. If the existing shower walls are nailed to wall studs, you’ll need, follow these steps to remove: 
    1. Using an oscillating power tool with metal/wood blade, cut the drywall about 1-1/2″ out from the visible edges of shower panels to expose the flange edges nailed to the studs.
    2. Pry the drywall out to expose nailed edges.
    3. Pry flange and nails off the studs.
  7. Pry or pull the wall panels off the walls, some panel pieces may need to be cut with the reciprocating saw.
  8. Pry the shower pan up from the floor. 
  9. Clean up any debris and wipe the floors and walls clean in preparation for the new shower installation.
  10. Scrape the sealant off the drain.
  11. Measure the new panels then marking where they will be installed on the wall, using the level to guide the placement.
  12. Measure where the plumbing will go relative to the shower panel.
  13. Using the hole saw, cut the holes for the faucet and showerhead.
  14. Install the shower pan, using the level to confirm it is level.
  15. Place the wall panels in position to assure they are a proper fit.
  16. Now apply adhesive to the drywall and attach the new shower walls.
  17. Install the plumbing fixtures and insert the drain assembly and connect.
Image of new design light bathroom interior with shower

What goes behind a shower wall?

Before you begin with the panel part of the shower installation, the walls will need preparation. It only makes sense to protect the drywall or wall studs from moisture and direct water.  Absolutely, you want to install a cement board or any type of backing material that is moisture-resistant behind the shower walls. So, should you put plastic behind shower walls? Yes, you need plastic installed under the shower pan and behind the shower wall panels. Any panel wall joints should be caulked. 

Do not use any type of paper-faced backer board or paper-faced drywall. Should any moisture or water make its way behind the shower wall panels, you’ll have mildew, mold, and wood rot sooner than later. 

In Closing – Time Line

You know your HVAC air filter should be changed or cleaned every 30 days, roofing typically needs to be replaced with in 20 to 25 years. But what about a new shower installation, when should I replace my shower?

The key indications that it is time for a new shower installation are: 

  • Shower Door Issues: If your shower has doors and they are a constant problem, like not sliding easily, the glass has chips or cracks, it is time for a new shower installation. 
  • Water Leaks and Spots: If you’re noticing water pooling on the floor or wet spots on the wall, this is a major indicator there is a water leak. Sometimes, you can re-caulk the edges and seams, but sometimes, a new shower installation is needed. 
  • Stains and Rust: When it comes to cleaning your bathroom, if you take time for routine maintenance around the shower, The hardware and tiles will attract rust and stains. For minor areas of mildews, stains, or water spots, a scrub brush and basic bathroom cleaning products will remove them. But if the rust won’t clean, it may be time to get a new shower installation done. 

Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating provides skilled shower installation in Saddle Brook, NJ. Call 551-257-6200 today to find out more about your options.

How do you fix an overflowing toilet?

close-up of a man plunging a toilet

Dealing With Toilet Issues

What is more aggravating than the toilet overflowing and not flushing? And when you have one, is that considered a feasible reason to call for emergency plumbing service? Or will an overflowing toilet fix itself? In time, yes, a clogged toilet will unclog itself because most of what goes in a toilet are water-soluble, meaning, they eventually dissolve. As they dissolve, flushing creates enough pressure, the pipes clear as the matter dissolves.

However, that isn’t always the case, making it necessary to call for emergency plumbing services. To determine if you need emergency plumbing help, answer these two questions: 

1. What caused the toilet to clog?

The only way a toilet can unclog itself is if the matter causing the clog is a degradable, organic material. If there is anything other than human waste, self-unclogging isn’t going to happen. The following are things that should never be flushed down a toilet or you will have emergency plumbing needs: 

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers
  • Flushable wipes
  • Animal feces
  • Food

2. How big is the clog in the toilet?

The next thing consideration in determining if you have an emergency plumbing need is how big the clog is. A toilet that backs up a little and then slowly drains indicates a partial clog, which is the easier clog to clear if it doesn’t unclog on its own. 

Give it thirty minutes to an hour and if the clogging material is going to dissolve, it will do it in that time frame. The longer you can wait, the better. However, if it doesn’t, or the toilet isn’t draining at all, try plunging the toilet. 

How do you fix an overflowing toilet without a plunger?

If this is the case, and you’re trying to avoid that emergency plumbing bill, here is what to do with an overflowing toilet with three different methods that have been successful for unclogging toilets. You should have these things around your home already, and if not, make the investment: 

  • A toilet brush: If you don’t have a plunger for self-help emergency plumbing, use a toilet brush.  No, this isn’t as effective as using a toilet plunger, but it can do the same job by forcing water through the toilet plumbing with more pressure than the basic, normal flush has, dislodging the clog and letting the water freely flow.
  • A plumbing snake: when the toilet brush or plunger isn’t working for your emergency plumbing needs, having one of the plumbing snakes on standby is a good idea. If you don’t have one, make one by using a wire clothes hanger. The basic idea of a plumbing snake is a long wire that is pushed down the drain and breaks up the clog. Just be careful not to scratch the porcelain! 
  • Just hot water: A slow draining toilet can be cleared of any clog with hot tap water, not boiling hot water. Get the water hot in the tub or sink then pour it into the toilet bowl, this should dissolve and rinse the clogging problem down the drain. 

The Combination: You may need to try using all three of these methods for a self-help emergency plumbing job.

So, these are solutions for an overflowing toilet bowl, but what about when you have an overflowing toilet tank? The following three steps should get it to stop: 

STEP 1: Remove the toilet tank lid and reach inside it, lift the fill valve, or float up. This will stop the water from coming inside the tank. Keep the float up while you pull the refill tube out. 

STEP 2: Turn off the water at the valve behind the toilet at the base. This cuts the water supply to the toilet off. 

STEP 3: Turn the water off at the main water valve. This will turn the water off to the entire house. If the toilet tank is still filling, you need emergency plumbing service. If the water quits filling the tank, clean up any standing water on the floor and call for regular plumbing service that won’t cost the extra that emergency calls do. 

out of order sign on top of a toilet

In Conclusion

If you have an overflowing toilet and tub, turn the water off at the main valve and call for an emergency plumbing service. How do you get a plumber in an emergency? If you don’t have a plumber that you’ve used before, then do an internet search for ‘emergency plumber in my area” and you should get a list. 

Make sure you’re calling a plumber that services residential or if you need an emergency commercial plumber, make sure they service commercial properties. Yes, plumbing is plumbing, up to a certain point. Commercial plumbing is more detailed and must meet certain requirements and standards that residential plumbing doesn’t.

What Do I Do If I Have a Burst Pipe in My Home?

wrench around a busted pipe

Busted Pipes Can Be Such a Headache

Winters here in Saddlebrook, New Jersey, and surrounding areas can be brutal, and with the freezing temperatures come freezing pipes. It doesn’t matter if you have a burst pipe in the walls, a burst pipe in the ceiling, under the house, or underground — nobody wants to deal with the cost and the mess of burst pipe repairs. 

What does a burst pipe sound like?

 If you have never experienced a burst water pipe, then that question may sound odd to you, but there are noises associated with the burst water pipe. And as a homeowner, it is not one you want to hear. But in this part of the country where it gets bitterly cold for weeks, water pipes freeze then burst and it seems like everyone is needed burst pipe repair at the same time.

The areas of your home that is the most susceptible to water pipes freezing enough to burst are: 

  1. In the basement
  2. In the garage, attached or detached
  3. In crawl spaces
  4. Inside exterior walls

As winter will only get colder from this point forward here in New Jersey, if you haven’t experienced water pipes bursting to know what it will sound like, keep reading: 

  • Popping Noise

If you hear a loud popping sound inside a wall, this is often from a water pipe bursting. Why does a pipe burst when they freeze?  Water expands when it freezes, and as chucks of that ice press against the pipe, it blocks the water flow.

That expanded ice distorts the water pipe and where they are weak, they burst with a loud pop, almost like a backfiring car. You won’t hear a popping with every pipe burst, it is usually just the first one, relieving pressure off the other pipes. That doesn’t mean you’ll only need one burst pipe repair though. 

  • Running Water Inside the Walls

If you don’t hear the popping sound, you may hear the after-effect of water cascading, running down inside the wall. No, it won’t be that gurgling sounds when the sewer line is clogged, or the water pressure is varying. It will be an abnormal sound because water isn’t supposed to be running inside a wall. 

Don’t hesitate to get help for burst pipe repairs! Who fixes a burst pipe? Call a local plumber, one that offers emergency service. In the meantime, turn the water off at the main until the plumber can get there. The longer you let that water run, the more damage it is doing to the walls, floor, and even the foundation, not to mention your water bill! 

  • Unexplained Absent Water

Inconvenience is the next indicator you need burst pipe repair service. You turn on the water in the kitchen and nothing comes out. You try the bathroom, and laundry room, and still no water. 

First, check with the utility company and see if they are working on the water lines. If that proves not to be the possible issue, then you probably need to call a plumber for burst pipe repair. 

What happens when a pipe bursts?

A burst water pipe can create major damage to your home. And the longer it goes unnoticed, the more damage it creates. Here are 5 areas where the key damage happens: 

  • The Walls

A burst pipe creates water damage to both exterior and interior walls.  The water damage to the exterior will coat and saturate the plaster, stucco, or wood, accumulate in the wood structural components, and weaken their stability. On the interior walls, the electrical wiring is exposed to water, risking shorting out and sparking a fire. 

  • The Ceilings

A second-floor water pipe burst will usually soak through to the floor below, damaging the ceiling. Enough water leak could flood both the upstairs and downstairs area. The light fixtures on the first floor can fill with water, short them out, and spark a fire. The insulation and support beams get wet and weakened. 

  • The Flooring

The floors surrounding the burst pipe become flooded and based on where the burst pipe and the water flow, it can ruin more than just the flooring. No matter if you have carpeting, cement, linoleum, or wood flooring, enough water can cause damage, leaving you needing more than burst pipe repairs. 

  • The Interiors

A burst water pipe will allow water to accumulate in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, and other areas of the house and saturate the furniture from the bottom up. The water will soak into the fabric, usually destroying the upholstery. Anything electrical is ruined along with the outlets, including appliances, computers, lamps, and televisions.

  • Mold Growth

Even with minimal water damage, the damp drywall and wood will mildew and breed mold. That mold will lead to illness for everyone in the house, especially anyone with asthma, lung conditions, or other underlying health issues. The sooner all the water is cleaned up and things are dried out, the better. 

Will a pipe burst if it freezes?

It isn’t a steadfast rule that every time it is cold enough to freeze pipes, burst pipe repair will be needed.  However, the risk is high as they thaw, and it can be worse as the pressure in the pipes increases. Therefore it is recommended by plumbers to leave your faucets dripping when the temperature is below freezing. This keeps the pressure off the pipes when they do begin thawing. This will minimize the chance you’ll need any burst pipe repair. 

If you do have a burst pipe and the plumber is going to be a while, here is  how to repair a burst water pipe temporarily: 

Turn the water off at the main. Spread an epoxy putty over a crack or hole in a pipe. Remember, this is a temporary fix only!  You can also use a fiberglass tape with polyurethane-type resin for a more durable patch along with the epoxy putty.  Another option is to slide a sleeve over the pipe and attach a clamp.  

How long does it take to repair a burst pipe?

It will depend on where the burst pipe repair is needed and how it is situated.  A burst pipe under the kitchen sink can take less than an hour. A burst pipe repair under the house or in a wall can take several hours. 

Are burst pipes covered by insurance? 

This depends on your individual policy, but in most cases, if you have burst pipes repairs needed because you turned the heat on in the middle of the winter and take other preventive steps, then no, you will not have coverage. 

A small, slow leak that has caused damage over time will not be covered either. However, an accidental leak or sudden pipe burst may be covered. You should review your policy before you find yourself knee-deep in water waiting on a burst pipe repair job.

If you need help, reach out at 551-257-6200 as soon as you can!

Can you repair your own sewer line?

close-up of a sewer line being repaired

How do you know if your sewer line is clogged?

Every drain in your home drains into one main sewer line. From there, everything you pour down a drain from your home goes into the municipal system – that is, unless there is a problem that needs sewer line repair, like a clogged sewer line. 

When you have a clogged drainpipe in your home, it will usually happen at an inconvenient time, but fortunately, most issues can be fixed with a household plunger. However, if the clogged problem is in the main sewer line, it’s a bigger problem and becomes an emergency that needs to be fixed by a professional plumber. 

You’ll know it is the main sewer line if there is sewage backing up into the bathtub and other places within your home. The anxiety and overwhelming feelings will begin to overflow too as you flush a toilet and the waste fills your shower or tub. Or you may find that when the washing machine drains, it backs up into the kitchen sink. These are indications that you have a main sewer line problem and likely need sewer line repair. 

Can I unclog my own sewer line?

Maybe, if the clog isn’t all the way down into the main sewer line. If you’re lucky, the clogged sewer line is right there at the drain, which is possible to clear the sewer line yourself. Using a household sewer auger, available at any hardware store or home improvement center, sometimes referred to as a drain snake, you may be able to unclog your sewer line. 

If the clog is further down the auger or drain and a snake can reach it, you’ll need to hire a professional plumber. This could be a broken sewer line and only a professional plumber can do sewer line repairs. 

How do you unclog a main sewer line? 

Unfortunately, sometimes, as a homeowner, you can’t. When the main sewer line is blocked, none of the drains in your home are going to drain. This isn’t an acceptable or livable condition, so you need to get it cleared quickly. This means calling a professional plumbing service. 

Trying to unclog it yourself is simply wasting time. The main sewer line runs between the outside of your home and connects to the main city sewer line. That sewer line is further down than any household auger or drain snake that you may have in your homeowner arsenal of home repairs. And if the sewer line is broken, you’re going to need a professional that can do sewer line repair, which is a good chance that is the problem. 

What is the best sewer line cleaner?

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover is the most commonly recommended and recognized product. Plumbers typically advise against using any OTC chemical cleaner. However, if you’re going to attempt to clear your own sewer line, and hopefully sewer line repairs aren’t needed, this one is effective and safe when directions are followed. An affordable, all-around drain opener can be used in any of the following: 

  • Garbage Disposals
  • Metal Pipes
  • PVC Pipes
  • Septic Systems

How do you repair a broken sewer line?

A backed up or broken sewer line is a frustrating, messy, and smelly problem. Pinpointing where the clog can be challenging, which is why it is best to leave this to the professional. If the clogged sewer lines end up being broken, cracked, or otherwise damaged, repairs are going to have to be done by a professional anyway.  

There are two options for sewer line repair: 

  • Dig a trench where the sewer line repair is needed
  • A trenchless sewer line repair

Can you repair your own sewer line?

If you feel like digging a trench, and keep digging until you find the problem, you’ll need to relocate your family until it is fixed. A clogged sewer line that keeps backing in your home is not healthy or safe. 

If you choose to have a professional plumber do the sewer line repair, the most cost-effective and fastest repair is a trenchless sewer line repair method. Minimal to no digging is required, meaning less destruction to your property.

 To start the trenchless sewer line repair process, the technicians will dig a small hole that a video camera can be inserted into the problem sewer line. This will show them exactly what and where the problem is, and then they will proceed with one of the two methods: 

1. Pipelining: This sewer line repair method is where the technicians will insert an epoxy coated inflatable tube into the sewer line. When the tube has reached the damaged sewer line, the tube is inflated so that it presses against the existing sewer line. The epoxy coating cures, hardens, and repairs the leak. The inflatable tube is then removed.

2. Pipe bursting: Sometimes a sewer line is damaged beyond the pipe lining method to work. Still trenchless, but a more invasive sewer line repair can be done. The technicians will feed a cone-shaped bit through the existing sewer line and bust the remaining existing pipe with a new pipe inserted right behind that process. This is more expensive and takes longer, but they are still able to avoid digging a trench and destroying your property. 

Last, but only a last resort, if these two methods aren’t possible, the plumber will need to resort to traditional sewer line trenching and replacement methods. Not only is this more invasive, but because of the additional manpower and heavy equipment, this sewer line repair method is more expensive. 

How long does it take to repair a broken sewer line?

The location of the broken sewer pipe, the size of the pipe, and the damage will determine how long the sewer line repair will take. For a trenchless method, it can take only a few hours in most cases. The traditional trench digging method can take only one day in most cases, sometimes it can take up to five days. 

What is the fastest way to kill roots in a sewer line?

You may or may not have these 2 ingredients on hand for killing tree roots that have caused you to need sewer line repair. However, they are worth having around, so now is the time to buy them and keep them on hand because you’ll minimize the reasons to call a professional plumber. 

  • Copper Sulfate: This salt-like crystal is bright blue and found in most hardware or home improvement stores. A natural herbicide that can kill small tree roots that are invading your sewer lines. Simply flush half a cup of these crystals down the toilet and you’re done! Do not use this product if you have a septic system. 
  • Rock Salt: Maybe you have some of this around from making your own ice cream?! Rock salt will have a similar effect that copper sulfate does on tree roots, but you can use it if you’re on a septic system too! One application is sufficient to kill tree roots, be careful not to overuse it though because you could kill the tree. 

A Worthwhile Note

Tree roots are an invisible enemy of plumbing. These DIY remedies can work great temporarily. However, in the near future, you are likely going to need to hire a professional plumber. 

worker providing sewer line repair

A Homeowner’s Hope

Is sewer line repair covered by homeowner’s insurance? When it comes to sewer line repair, homeowner’s insurance will generally be unlikely to cover the issue, unless certain circumstances have led to the need for repair. If any part of the sewer line on your property has been damaged by a sudden or unexpected issue, your policy will probably have some coverage. If the sewer line repair is for a chronic issue, the sewer line repair or replacement will be out-of-pocket.

Why did my garbage disposal stop working?

leaking garbage disposal unit

Dealing With a Broken Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal is going to quit working, there can never be a worse time. And what time is that? Well – pretty much any day. Whether it’s Thanksgiving morning or a typical Saturday evening, you don’t want to add garbage disposal repair to your to-do list. Fortunately, the problem might just be something minor that you can take care of on your own. And this leads to questions like “Can you repair a leaking garbage disposal yourself?” 

A leaking garbage disposal is almost certain to be messy, and dealing with it can be a hassle until you get those garbage disposal repairs done. Leaving a garbage disposal unrepaired isn’t an option either, because if you don’t fix it, other problems can arise. However, there are some repairs you can do yourself and save money on before hiring a plumber, and this is what we’re going to review here today. 

Stay Safe While Working

Safety and preparation should be taken care of first and foremost when doing garbage disposal repairs. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Turn the garbage disposal off and unplug the unit before doing anything else.
  2. Place a small bucket or garbage under the garbage disposal. 
  3. To find the leak, fill the sink halfway with water. 
  4. Add a bright food coloring to the water. 
  5. Examine the garbage disposal from the bottom and sides, looking at the pipe going out and the pipe coming from the dishwasher. The food coloring should help you identify where the leak is located. 

The first place to look for garage disposal leaks is where the unit connects to the sink and at the drain hose. The food coloring in the sink won’t help you find every leak. However, if you run the dishwasher long enough, leaks will appear there if that is where they are located. Finding them is the first big step in taking care of any needed garbage disposal repairs.

Next, look where the drain line and the garbage disposal connect under the garbage disposal unit. If there is any food coloring water in this area, you’ve narrowed it down to this spot and have come closer to taking care of your own garbage disposal repair. If you’re ready to get the job started, here are the steps to take.

The Sink Flange

If your garbage disposal is leaking around the flange, you may be able to do a garbage disposal repair with plumber’s putty and/or by tightening the flange. Sometimes, the flange has become corroded and replacing it may be the best solution. To do that, follow these steps: 

  • Turn the power off and unplug the unit. 
  • With a screwdriver and wrench, disconnect the disposal under the sink.
  • Scrape off the preexisting putty, reseal with new putty, and then reinstall the existing flange or a new flange. 
  • Make sure the screws are tight around the flange to compress the plumber’s putty seal. 
  • Now, reconnect the garbage disposal and try it. 

Broken Interior Seal 

If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, that is typically an indication that the interior seal is broken. However, it can also be nothing more than just a worn-out garbage disposal. In this case, the big question about your barbage disposal – repair or replace – is quickly answered: replace it. 

A good garbage disposal that was properly installed and that has been maintained without being abused can give you up to 10 years of service. If after five years you begin having trouble with the unit, it may be best to replace the unit instead of attempting garbage disposal repairs. The same is to be said if your garbage disposal is leaking at the reset button; in this case, replacement is better than a garbage disposal repair. 

Another Big Question

The garbage disposal is jammed. How do I fix my garbage disposal myself? And can I?

Most of the time, yes – you can do your own garbage disposal repair for a jammed unit. Any time you’re going to work on your garbage disposal, make certain it is turned off and unplugged before doing anything. And though you’ve probably heard this a thousand times, we’ll repeat it for safety’s sake – never place your hand inside a garbage disposal! If the sink has water in it and it can’t drain, use a bucket, glass, or pot to empty the water. Now, follow these steps for your garbage disposal repair attempt at unjamming:

1. Locate the factory-supplied wrench, which is usually fastened to the bottom of the unit. 

2. Locate the hole on the bottom of the unit and insert the wrench. 

3. Turn the wrench back and forth, and note that this may take some force. Don’t be worried about harming the unit – the wrench will bend before the garbage disposal is damaged. 

4. Once the wrench is turning in circles in both directions, go to the next step. 

5. Under the sink, locate the overload protector. This is the small red square button. Press it gently. If doesn’t stay pushed in, wait 10 minutes, and then try again. 

6. With a flashlight, check inside the garbage disposal at the grinding chamber. If you see anything in there, use tongs or a similar instrument to pull it out. 

7. Turn the water on and then turn on the garbage disposal. If it jams up again, use the wrench process we described once more, and note that you may need to do this several times. 

If all of these steps fail, you’ll need to call a professional plumber to inspect your garbage disposal. Repairing it may not be an option, and they can advise you of that fact once they have inspected the matter. 

Dealing With a Noisy Garbage Disposal

Can you do a garbage disposal repair for humming noises? 

The garbage disposal is a simple, yet still incredibly valuable machine in today’s kitchens. When it quits working, everything else stops, or so it may seem until the garbage disposal repair is complete. So a humming garbage disposal is never entertaining, especially if it’s not working. 

If yours is buzzing or humming and the blades aren’t turning, all is not lost. It’s still getting power, so it could be clogged or jammed. The clog could be pieces of food under the impeller blades or in the drain. Try the steps we listed above for jams and see if that gets your garbage unit working again. 

Other issues that can cause a garbage disposal to hum and not work could be a foreign object stuck inside the unit. This could be somebody that’s been put in there that shouldn’t have been – often, it’s because a child has tossed something into the sink.

However, the problem could also be a dripped GFI switch or the GFCI electrical outlet. Either of these can keep the unit from working, though the motor could still buzz or hum. Pushing the reset button on the part under the sink will usually fix that problem. However, if none of these suggestions or tips work, call a professional plumber. 

Who to call for garbage disposal repair?

A professional residential plumber is your best source for garbage disposal repairs. But this may have you wondering “How much does it cost to repair a garbage disposal?” This will typically depend on the plumber you use and any extra work they need to do. Professional plumbers charge approximately $75 to $80 an hour for labor plus the parts needed for the garbage disposal repair. A lot of work may leave you with repair costs around $250.00 or more.

Leading to One Final Question

 Is it worth it to repair a garbage disposal?

At that point, $250.00, you may want to look at what a new unit and installation will cost. If the repair is 50% or more of a new unit, then a garbage disposal repair is generally not worthwhile. And you may be wondering, are garbage disposals hard to replace? 

If you have basic DIY homeowner aptitude and basic knowledge of plumbing and electricity, it is fairly easy. New garbage disposals will come with instructions, there are multitudes of YouTube videos available, and manufacturers often have videos on their websites. However, if you feel you are going to be in over your head attempting the replacement, don’t risk damaging anything in your kitchen. Call a professional plumber! 

view of garbage disposal unit under the sink

In Closing

In all matters of garbage disposal repairs, we cannot stress the importance of safety first and foremost. Always make sure the unit is turned off and unplugged. If you can’t find or reach the spot where it is plugged in, turn the circuit breaker to the unit off. And always remember, electricity and water are not friends. Proceed with caution as you attempt any garbage disposal repair. 

Do Water Heaters Need to Be Inspected?

water heater installed in room

Well, do water heaters need to be inspected?

If you have your home for sale, yes, it will need to be inspected for the potential buyer. Is water heater inspection “mandated” or “required” for day-to-day living purposes? No, not yet anyway, however, for general homeowner responsibility, doing a basic water heater inspection of your own won’t hurt. 

As the homeowner, if you’re wondering, “How do you check a hot water heater?”, the following steps can provide you a hot water heater inspection checklist: 

  • Monthly, check the tank for leaks or rust. Check the floor around the water heater for water, the hose and pipe connections for leaks.
  • Annually, flush the water heater to remove sediment buildup. This will improve the efficiency and keeps your water clean, clear, and healthier. 
  • Check the PRV (pressure relief valve), the small lever and following the instructions by the manufacturer. If you ‘re unable to release the lever, call a professional plumber to complete your water heater inspection. The PRV is under pressure, extreme care and caution are recommended. 
  • Check the anode rod for any corrosion or rust and replaced if more than 1/2”  is on the anode rod. 
  • For a gas water heater, check the gas connection is tight and make sure the pilot light has a small blue flame.
  • Check the top vent to make sure it has a clear opening through the ceiling. Carbon monoxide can build up, creating a deadly situation.

Who does water heater inspections? 

Other than your own as a homeowner, water heater inspections can be done by a license plumber or a home inspector. For your own water heater inspection, call your local plumber. If you have a new water heater installed, inquire if they offer a maintenance program where annual inspections are included. 

Home inspectors perform water heater inspections for potential buyers. Cities or local governments that require building permits for water heater to be replaced will require a water heater inspection before they tag the job as complete. 

How often should water heater be inspected?

A hot water heater inspection by the homeowner should be a monthly routine, along with changing the smoke alarm batteries and the air filters.  Professionally, water heater inspections will depend on the age of the unit.  

A brand new water heater shouldn’t need inspecting for the first 2 years. Then you should have a professional water heater inspection every other year until the 8th year.  At that point, if it has needed several repairs, you’ll want to have it inspected annually by a professional plumber. Because most water heaters won’t last longer than 10 to 12 years, you’ll probably be replacing the unit before that 10th year hot water heater inspection.

How many years does a water heater last?

A quality water heater with proper maintenance and decent water intake will last 12 to 15 years.  Anything past that 12th year is a bonus because the average lifespan is 10 years. If your area has hard water, it could shorten the lifespan to 8 years, which makes annual water heater inspections even more important. 

water heater near HVAC

What are the signs that a water heater is going bad?

If you learn to recognize these early warning signs of your water heater is  going out, then you won’t be surprised with a cold shower one morning. Or a garage full of water from a busted water heater. The indicators to watch for are: 

1. Not enough hot water

If there isn’t enough hot water for one shower, or you have to wait after the dishwasher or a load of laundry has been done before you can shower, you may need a new water heater. Check the thermostat first and make sure it is at 120 degrees minimum. If that didn’t help, flush the water heater and once all the sediment build up is out, it may hold more hot water. 

2. Water temperature varies

If the water is going from cold to hot and back again, check the thermostat. If that is in the right setting, then you should get a professional water heater inspection. It could be the heating element or thermostat needs to be replaced. 

3. Water heater is leaking 

If there is water dripping from the water heater, pooled up around the bottom of it, this needs immediate attention. Water is the enemy to our homes! Check all the water connections are tight, and if the water is coming from the bottom of the unit, check the TPR valve. There may be water pressure built up and the TPR valve failed.  Anything else, call for a professional water heater inspection and repair, possible replacement. 

4. Reduced water flow

When the water flow or pressure slows down, it is usually because of scale or sediment in the tank and/or the plumbing. Flush your water heater and see if that helps. If not, call a professional plumber for a water heater inspection. They can advise you if it the water heater  or the plumbing itself. You may need to invest in a water softener system. 

5. Loud concerning noises

A water heater should operate fairly quiet, so when you start hearing unusual noises and sounds, like banging, boiling, crackling, gurgling, popping, or whining, your water heater is probably filled with sediment and going out. Get a professional water heater inspection and they can advise you accordingly. 

6. Discolored or smelly water

If the water has gotten a strange odor or smell, or has turned brownish rust color, the tank is probably rusted inside, or you could have a busted pipe underground coming into the house. Drain and flush the tank and see if that helps. If not, a professional plumber can do a water heater inspection as well as check the other pipes and confirm the problem. 

To avoid unexpected problems with your water heater, inspections on a regular routine by you and annually by a  professional plumber can help. You’ll find small issues that can be corrected before they become big problems. Call 551-257-6200 today for your water heater inspection needs in Saddle Brook, NJ.

How Do You Fix a Leaking Underground Pipe?

damaged pipes

Leaking underground pipes

Winter has finally departed the New Jersey area and your family is outside enjoying the warm (almost hot) weather. At the end of the day, you notice there is a puddle of water around the foundation of the house. You make sure the water hose and sprinkler are turned off, but the next morning, that puddle has gotten bigger. This could be indication that you need a water line repair – and soon. 

You dread this happening, first because of the cost and inconvenience, but you also dread your landscaping and lawn getting dug up. Fortunately, today, in many cases, plumbers have a way to complete a water line repair without digging up the landscaping or lawn.  

First though, you may be wondering how do you know if you have a water leak underground? An underground water leak can create massive problems, even disastrous, if not found and the water line repair addressed as soon as possible. It can go from that small puddle at the foundation of your home to sinkhole fast. 

As a homeowner, you need to be alert to any indication of an underground water leak. Some of the indications could be as follows: 

  • Puddles or unusually soggy areas in the lawn when there hasn’t been any significant rain. 
  • Greener, taller grass around your home, or a moldy surface on the ground. 
  • A drop in the water pressure.
  • Air or dirt in the water lines. 
  • Bulges or cracks in the driveway.
  • Potholes or sink holes in the driveway or lawn.
  • Leaning or unlevel house or structures.
  • A sudden increase or steady increasing in the water bill.

If there hasn’t been any of the signs, but you hear what could be water running underground, as hissing or whooshing sound, you should have it inspected. 

How do plumbers find leaks?

Today, plumbers and water line repair contractors have listening discs that can help them hear sounds of water leaking inside walls, under cement, or underground. This type of technology is just as common for a plumber to use today as a crescent wrench in doing their water line repair specialty. 

Other water line repair tools for finding leaks is heat scanners when the leak may be too deep, or the surrounding area is too noisy for that acoustic technology. These heat scanners find where there is a temperature change from the escaping water and with that, the plumbing contractor will know where the water line repair is needed.  

A third piece of technology that plumbers have today is video pipe equipment. With this technology, the plumber is able to precisely find the leak with a miniature camera that is mounted on fiber optic cable.  The camera send images of where the damage is. With that image, the plumber is able to determine the best way and what is needed for the water line repair. 

How deep is the main water line?

For most states in the southern and western areas, water supply lines that connect to the household plumbing is required to be no less than three feet underground.  In far northern states like New Jersey, the minimum requirement is four feet. When possible, it is preferred the  water supply line be installed a loop system so there is minimal dead-ends. 

What is the best pipe for water lines?

PEX piping is made from a durable plastic and has been the number one choice for many plumbers since 1980s. They are easy to install because they are flexible, they don’t freeze up in the winter, and for any homeowner looking to change out their copper pipes, PEX is the most recommended. However, there are some instances where the plumber may recommend and the homeowner request using copper for any water line repairs.

water bursting from pipe

How much does it cost to fix an underground water leak?

As it is in any state, the cost for a water line repair can vary due to several factors, with one being the how bad and how much line is damaged. Another factor is the location the water pipe repair is needed, they type of materials to be used, and what labor & tools will be needed. 

The average cost of a professional plumber in New Jersey will start around $90 per hour. The cost of materials any additional labor required will be added to that hourly rate. Any after hour, holiday, or weekend calls to repair a water line will usually be charged double that hourly rate or more. 

While summer has finally arrived, homeowners should be aware of possible water line damage from the winter. It could take some time before it starts to become obvious, so being aware and getting water line repairs done as soon as possible is recommended. Use the indicators we listed and keeping your ears and eyes open at all time could save you a lot of money and inconvenience. Call 551-257-6200 today for your pipe repair in Saddle Brook, NJ.

Should I repair or replace my toilet?

toilet in need of repair

What’s always sitting around at the ready to be used? 

The toilet. We take them for granted, it stays in one place doing nothing until we need it.  Then when something does go wrong with it, we panic. In this piece today, we’re going to discuss toilet repair basics, because, for the most part of any needed toilet repair, there isn’t much to it.  

Before you can do any toilet repair though, a toilet repair diagnosis is needed. Thankfully, there aren’t that many moving parts to diagnose, and most of it is simple. So, let start from inside the tank with the most basic question, what are the parts called inside a toilet?

From the exterior, there are two-part. The bowl and the tank.  The bowl is the part you sit on and is secured the floor with a flange and a wax ring. Yes, literally a thick ring of wax that creates a seal between the toilet bowl and the floor.   The flange is fastened to the floor by extra-long bolts going through the base of the toilet bowl. Fortunately, most toilet repair jobs won’t require replacing the flange or wax ring. 

Now, we’ll review the parts inside the tank. What goes on inside the tank is important and when any of those parts aren’t working right, can you replace the inside of a toilet? Yes, most of the parts are simple to replace and by knowing basic toilet repair, you could save a lot of money by not having to call a plumber. 

  • The Fill Valve –  Also referred to as the ball cock, this is the tall slim barrel shaped mechanism on the left inside the tank. Attached to that is the float. 
  • The Float – This bulb sphere shaped is attached to that fill valve by the float arm and floats with the water level inside the tank when flushed. 
  • The Float Arm – This is a metal or plastic arm connected to the float by the shut-off lever. 
  • The Float Arm Adjusting Screw – This connects the float to the shut-off lever via the metal rod or plastic arm. A  clockwise turn of this screw allows water to flow into the tank. 
  • The Flush Valve – This mechanism is in the center of the tank inside. The overflow tube is to one side and mounting ears attach the flapper to regulates the water passing tank to the bowl with each flush.
  • The Refill Tube – A 1/8” diameter plastic tube connected to the ballcock mechanism on one end and into the overflow tube at the other end. Water flows through this during the flush cycle and then replenishes the water.
  • The Overflow Tube – A 1” diameter cavity tube connected to the refill tube that allows water to pass to the bowl. As the water inside the tank is too high, it redirects the water to flow in the toilet bowl.
  • The Flapper – The flapper controls the water volume that passes between tank to the bowl with each flush and is connected to the flush valve to create a seal so that water does leak between the tank and the bowl in between flush cycles. 
  • The Flapper Seat – This is a hard, round surface at the base of the flush valve, resting on the seat when the flush valve closes, surrounding the two inch opening at the flush valve base. 
  • The Flush Handle – Located at the upper left front of the toilet tank, this is the handle you push when flushing the toilet. 
  • The Lever Arm – This is usually a metal extension inside the tank  and is connected to the flush valve. Approximately six inches long and extends between the handle to the flush valve or the flapper.
  • The Chain – Connected between the lever arm and the flapper, the chain pulls the flapper up to allow water in the drain to the toilet to flush the water inside the toilet bowl. Many toilet repair, chain is the most common part. It can either be adjusted or replaced. 

What is the lifespan of a toilet?

Fortunately, this main household fixture will last up to 15 years. There isn’t anything else in a home that is used as much as the toilet, so when it does malfunction, toilet repair is crucial, especially if there is only 1 in the house. 

Is replacing a toilet difficult?

If a toilet repair isn’t enough and your toilet needs replacing, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but it isn’t an easy job either. First of all, the bowl and tank are made of ceramic and are very heavy. It must be drained of all the water first, then lifting the two parts often takes 2 people. 

Next, positioning the new toilet must be precise with the wax ring and the toilet repair flange. Once the bowl is set in place on the wax ring, there is extraordinarily little movement allowed because that wax begins to seal immediately. 

toilet in need of repair

Can you replace just the tank of a toilet?

Okay, maybe the few parts inside the toilet are confusing, can you replace the whole tank instead? Absolutely. Again, it is made of ceramic and it is heavy, you’ll still need two people to remove the old after all the water is drained and to position the new tank on the bowl. 

Key to this project is to make sure you purchase the right tank, matching the manufacturer brand and model. Otherwise, you won’t have a proper install which will affect the overall function of your toilet. Call 551-257-6200 today for your toilet repair needs in Saddle Brook, NJ.

How do you fix low water pressure?

low water pressure from shower head

How do I check water pressure?

Who doesn’t like a good hot shower with strong water pressure? Maybe your home has hot water, but not strong water pressure. If that’s the case, how do you increase your water pressure, or can you?  Before we talk about increasing the water pressure in the shower, you need to check the water pressure for the entire house. 

Your local hardware store or big box home center sell water-pressure gauges, they aren’t expensive.  You connect it  to a hose bib or the outdoor faucet and follow the instructions. When the bib valve or faucet is open, you should have a reading on the gauge between 40psi and 60 psi.

With a good pressure reading there, that narrows down the problem to your shower. Follow these steps: 

  • Check to see if showerhead is clogged. If not, take the next step. 
  • Remove the showerhead and run water into a buck for 10 seconds. 
  • If you get between 1⅓ gallons and 1⅔ gallons, this is equivalent to eight to ten gallons per minute, then you need a new showerhead. 
  • If you don’t get that much water in 10 seconds, the shower valve needs cleaning or replacing.

If the entire house shows to have low water pressure on the gauge, then adjust the PRV (pressure-reducing valve) following these steps: 

  • Typically found at the water meter is conical valve with bolt inside a cone sticking out.
  • Loosen the locknut and clockwise, turn the bolt as you watch the gauge to keep the pressure within limits. Tighten the locknut back. 
  • If that doesn’t improve the water pressure, ask your neighbors what kind of water pressure they have. If they have good water pressure, call your water company, and request they check the valve on their side of the meter. 

If it appears that low water pressure is common in the neighborhood or your own a water well, then you can install a water pressure booster for house. A water pressure booster and tank will help meet your home’s daily water demands. No need to worry about this addition being noisy, most quality water pressure booster pump quiet when in use. 

How can I check my water pressure without a gauge?

What if you don’t have a water pressure gauge and going to get one isn’t a option right now?  No worries, there are three methods you can use to check your home’s water pressure:  

Method One: Garden Hose and Measuring Tap

  • Attach the garden hose to the outside faucet. 
  • Turn the water on and raise the hose up till water stops coming out. 
  • With tape measure, measure the gap between the garden hose end and the water faucet in feet. 

This gives you the water pressure in water feet. Now divide that number 2.31 to convert the number into PSI (pounds per square inch) This is only an approximate figuration. 

Method Two: A Jug and a Timer

  • Get a two-liter jug that is clearly marked with measurement. 
  • Set the timer for six seconds and begin filling the jug with water. 
  • When the timer goes off, turn the water off. 
  • Measure the water in the jug and multiply by ten. 

If you have less than 10 liters of water in the jug, you have low water pressure. 

Method Three: A One Gallon Bucket

  • Make sure all water faucets are off. 
  • At the water faucet close to the main water supply that doesn’t have any restrictions. 
  • Place the one gallon bucket below the faucet and begin filling with water.
  • With a timer, see how long it takes or the water to fill the bucket. 

If you get over 6 gallons of water per minute, you have high water pressure. When water pressure is too high, it can bust older pipes and fittings. Purchase a water regulator so it can regulate the water pressure before you have to hire a plumber.

How do I know if my water pressure is too high?

Residential water pressure typically is 40 psi and 60 psi (pounds per square inch). As we just mentioned, when water pressure is too high, it can cause plumbing problems, one of which is busted water pipes and fittings .

So, how do you know if your home’s water pressure may be too high? Here are six common problems to check or have a professional plumber check. 

  • Leaking Water Pipes: A high water pressure puts a strain on the plumbing system which loosens joints or bust pinhole into the pipes. When not addressed and repaired, the leaking waterpipes lead to mildew, mold, and other water damage, even putting your home structure at risk. Leaking water pipes aren’t always visible though. There could be a tiny drip behind a walls, in the ceiling, or under the floors. If you’re smelling mold and can’t find the source, call a professional plumber. 
  • Water Hammering: That  loud banging and clanging noise when you turn on the bathroom or kitchen faucets is called water hammering. This is a hydraulic shock caused by water pressure making an abrupt change to high water pressure, making the plumbing pipes bang and clang into one another and the surrounding framing of your home. Not only is this annoying, but it is damaging the pipes. You need to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing and fix the problem before a bigger problem is created. 
  • Appliances Damaged: High water pressure isn’t simply hard on the plumbing. It damages your appliances too from the dishwasher to the water heater and washing machine. The warranty on these appliances will be voided  too. Check your appliances and make sure they aren’t leaking and if you’re hearing that banging and clanging next to any of these appliances, it is time to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing. 
  • Water Bill Increases: Check your water bill and if there is a sudden increase, it could be high water pressure. How does high water pressure make the water bill increase?  It is increasing the psi each time you turn a faucet on. Instead of using 30 gallons at 50 psi for a 10 minute shore, you’re using 36 gallons at 60 psi. 
  • Leaking Water Faucets: Do you have one or more faucets dripping, spitting, or spraying? This is an indicator of high water pressure. 
  • Toilet Running: If you have a constant running toilet and you’ve replaced the inside tank parts, but it didn’t help for long, you may have high water pressure wearing the valve and other parts out faster. 
good water pressure

Why is my water pressure so low all of a sudden?

When the water in your home suddenly starts trickling at full open faucets, it is frustrating, and it could be a water leak or some other problem causing this water pressure problem. A few troubleshooting things you can try: 

  • Determine the Problem: Is it just one fixture, like the showerhead?  Remove the showerhead and clean it by soaking in water and white vinegar overnight. This will remove any limescale buildup. Is the water pressure low throughout your entire home at every fixture? Check the valve at the main shut-off, usually close to the street or may be in the basement, crawlspace, or garage. If your home is over 20 years old, it could be iron & steel pipes are clogged. If all is well in your home, then check with a couple of neighbors.  It could be the city is working on a water main in the area.  A quick phone call to the city can confirm that, and if they aren’t working on a water main, they may have a problem!
  • Check the Water Heater: If the cold water pressure is good but not the hot water, check the water heater. Make sure the shut-off valve is opened fully. If the shut-off valve is open, the tank may be full of mineral and sediment. You can try to drain and flush the tank, but if it is that full, you probably need a new water heater. Check the water pressure regulator or the PRV. If it is broken, it will cut the water pressure down on the hot side, which is what its supposed to do for safety.  A professional plumber can replace that for you quickly. 
  • Leaks: There can be plenty of water coming into your house, but if there is a leak somewhere between the better and your house, that low water pressure could indicate you have a leaking pipe somewhere. Sometimes they are obvious, sometimes they aren’t. You can check this by turning all the water using appliances and faucets off and check the water meter. If the needle is moving, you have a water leak. 

Yes, water booster pumps and tanks can be costly, so what can you do if the budget can’t afford one? An easy water pressure booster is start by identifying why you have low water pressure.  Use one of the three methods we provided to test your water pressure and if it under 40 psi, then check for the following and repair or replace as needed: 

  • Clogged Pipes
  • Malfunction Valves
  • Leaks
  • Water Pressure Regulator
  • Faulty Fixtures
  • Water Rationing 
  • High Water Demand

Have you noticed low water pressure in your home in Saddle Brook, NJ? Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating is here to help! Call us today at 551-257-6200.