Blog

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.

How do you unfreeze frozen pipes?

frozen pipes with icicles

Do all frozen pipes burst?

Winter in the New Jersey can be brutal, but Winter 2021 seems to have hit the whole country with a deep freeze wham, leaving millions without electricity and frozen pipes. It doesn’t matter if you have copper or PVC pipe frozen or burst pipes is never a good thing but is often the results of a harsh winter like the one we’re having now.

What makes it worse, when your water pipe is frozen, you don’t always know right away you have a busted pipes. When you do know though, you can bet on one thing: You’ll have frozen pipe emergency, and if you don’t know how to take care of this, you’re going to need frozen pipe help by a professional plumber. We are going to answer some common questions about frozen pipes in this article, providing answer that can help you navigate the freezing and thawing of winter 2021 and others to follow. 

Frequently, frozen pipes happen in areas that are unheated. Examples would be an attic, basement, crawl space, or the garage. It is a common misconception that all frozen pipes burst. The following are three of the most common misconceptions of frozen pipes: 

Misconception One: Ice expansion triggers frozen pipes to burst.

It has long been believed that frozen pipes burst when ice expands in the pipe where water once flowed. Actually, it is the pressure that is built up when the water freezes inside pipe as the molecules expand. Those expanded water molecules form an ice blockage, preventing the unfrozen water from flowing. The upstream areas of the pipe won’t burst because there isn’t much pressure, so the water isn’t blocked. It flows back to the source it came from  and the pressure resulting from unfrozen water between the ice and the closed faucet has created a pressure, causing frozen pipes to burst. This is why plumbers advise us to leave the faucets dripping and trickling when temperatures are getting to the freezing mark and below.  

Misconception Two: Frozen pipes burst as they are freezing.

Water pipe do not always burst when they freeze, nor do they burst while they are freezing. Frozen pipes burst when they begin to thaw. Again, it is the pressure created between ice and the closed faucet. Keeping your faucet dripping or trickling is the trick to preventing frozen pipe from bursting. 

Misconception Three: Homes in the north have more frozen pipes than other areas. 

Just read the news about Texas during the month of January and you’ll learn quickly that is not accurate!  If any area is more vulnerable to frozen pipes in the winter, it is areas like Texas and the entire Southwest. Homes in the northern clients are built for cold weather, meaning the water pipes are built inside a structure’s insulation and deeper in the ground where the Earth’s heat keeps them warm. In the southwest, pipes are not buried deep, most are not insulated, leaving them unprotected because they typically don’t have temperatures below freezing for long period of ties. 

At what temperature do pipes burst?

Typically, your home will have frozen pipes once the thermometer drops to 20 degrees outside. After the temperature has been at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is usually dropping lower as the sun starts down, you’ll have frozen pipes within four to five hours. 

Will frozen pipes thaw on their own?

Sure, just like the ice in the ice trays will melt on its own. However, you’re taking a risk with that wait-and-see method. When water is caught in the middle of the ice of the frozen pipe and the faucet, as we mentioned earlier, that will cause the frozen pipes to bust because of the increased pressure. It can’t be said enough, always leave the faucets dripping or trickling to keep that pressure minimized and the chance of bursting pipes minimized too. 

pipes with bursts

How do you fix frozen pipes?

Before you worry about fixing any frozen pipes, it helps to know ahead of time if you have any. The first indication is no water coming out of when you turn on the faucets. At this point, you need to check all plumbing areas including the attic, basement, and crawl space. If you still have water on there, then you’re in good shape at this point. What if you find that you do have frozen pipes though? Here are two options: 

  • Call a  professional plumber and hope he can fit you into his schedule. In the winter, you can be certain they are busy and are working around the clock, first call – first served. 
  • Attempt to thaw your frozen pipes yourself. This needs to be done with care, or you may end up with bigger problems than frozen pipes. 

Okay, so you’re not a handy DIY homeowner, not everyone is, and that is why you need to rely on the professionals, and in this case, a plumber. However, the plumber can’t get there for another day, maybe two days. Here are few tips on how to thaw your frozen pipes yourself:

  • Keep all faucets open, every sink, shower, tub. Yes, you may have water running as the frozen pipes thaw, even some steam from the hot water, but this is necessary. Keep all the faucets open even once the water begins so the water keeps moving in the pipes. Once it stops, it will freeze up again.
  • Use heat on the areas where you have frozen pipes with either a heating pad wrapped around the pipe, hold a hair dryer on the frozen pipes, and you can wrap hot wet towels around the pipes too. Never leave the heating pad or hair dryer unattended. 
  • Knowing what not to do with frozen pipes is just as important as knowing some tips to thaw them. For example, do not use a blowtorch, kerosene heater, propane heater, or a charcoal stove. Any open flame will do more than thaw frozen pipes, it can start a fire. An electric space heater is good to thaw frozen pipes, but extreme care and caution is needed, making sure there isn’t anything flammable in the area and never leave the space heater unattended.  
  • Once you start applying heat to the frozen pipes, keep it there until the water is flowing again. Once the frozen pipes have  successfully thawed, turn all the faucets on full blast to make sure there aren’t any more other frozen pipes.

What happens if your pipes freeze in your house? If you have frozen pipes inside the walls, you can use the same methods we just listed to thaw them out.  However, if any frozen pipes do burst inside the wall, this is a situation that can get serious fast. Call a professional plumber immediately and be prepared they may have to cut into the walls so that warm air can reach the pipes.

Can You Run Out of Water with a Tankless Water Heater?

tankless water heater installation

Can a Tankless Water Heater Fill a Tub?

Do you have a large or a small tub? If you have many appliances and a large home with lots of water necessary on-demand, then you will want to invest in a larger water heater. Conversely, if you have only one or two people living on a property, and thus less demand, a smaller water heater will be perfectly acceptable. Either way, you will need to speak with a professional plumber to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your property and your over-arching water needs.

Can You Run Out of Hot Water With a Tankless Water Heater?

When you have a tankless water heater installation, you will be very pleased with the amount of water you have access to. As with any appliance, it is important to understand the limitations of what they can do. While a tankless water heater will not run out of hot water, it can become overwhelmed by demand. For instance, if multiple showers are on at once in addition to a running dishwasher and laundry machine, then the water heater will struggle to keep up with all the extra demand.

Can a Homeowner Install a Tankless Water Heater?

If you are a homeowner, you may believe that installing a tankless water heater is a great idea. This is true. However, it is not something that should be attempted on one’s own. Here is a list of reasons why hiring a professional plumber for your tankless water heater installation is a good idea.

  • A professional plumbing company will have the proper credentials and experience to tackle any hurdles.
  • Time and efficiency.
  • Respect for a job well done.
  • Safety.

All these reasons and more are why it is vital to only utilize a plumber for important plumbing and appliance installations.

What is the Downside of a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless water heaters are a vast improvement over tank water heaters. It’s important to consider that as they are more technologically advanced, they will be more expensive to install. However, tankless water heaters do last longer than standard tank water heaters. According to many leading experts in the industry, the chief drawback to tankless water heaters is the fact that they have a high up-front cost. However, since they last longer and have more durability, this upfront cost can be countered with a good cost-benefit analysis.

How Long Does a Tankless Water Heater Last?

As previously alluded to, tankless water heaters have a long shelf life. This means that tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of beyond twenty years. In addition, tankless water heaters also have easily replaceable parts. That means that replacing any parts that get worn down will be quite easy and extend the life of your tankless water heater by many years.

Tankless Water Heater Installation Near Me

One of the best tools at your disposal is a smart computer or smartphone. With your preferred internet search engine, you have access to lots of wonderful services, including tankless water heater installations. You can complete a quick search using relevant search terms. These search terms include “tankless water heater installation near me.” After you type these search terms into your computer, you can see a list of places near you pop up in the results. Once you have these results, you can thoroughly review the credentials of each plumbing company and ascertain which one you want to use for your tankless water heater installation.

Which Tankless Water Heater Do I Need

Are you wondering about which tankless water heater you need? An established plumber will be able to give you a bird’s eye view of exactly what kind of apparatus you will need. For example, if you have a large family and a lot of demand for hot water, you will likely want to choose a larger installation. For a smaller family, your demand will necessitate selecting a smaller tankless water heater.

tankless water heater

Tankless Water Heater Requirements

Did you know that there are tankless water heater requirements? Due to the fact that tankless water units heat water on demand, they require higher BTUs. This will require a higher ‘jolt’ of electricity. As a consequence, they will require a minimum ¾” gas line. They will also require a constant provision of gas. In order to make sure that you can transition from a tank unit to a tankless unit, it will be pertinent for you to make sure that your home has the proper measurements and access to gas.

Our team is more than ready to get started on your tankless water heater installation in Saddle Brook, NJ. We have the skills and capability to deliver the best plumbing service in the area. You can get in touch with us at our phone number, 551-257-6200.

How do you detect a gas leak?

burner

Smelling a gas leak

Natural gas doesn’t have an odor, there is no smell for natural gas. What you do smell when the  gas is turned on or if there is a gas leak is mercaptan, a chemical that give natural gas an odor like rotten eggs. So, if you come home and smell rotten eggs or a sewer odor, bur then realize you had a gas leak for 2 hours, you need to take immediate steps, but no need to panic.

It is definitely not good to leave a gas appliance on like the oven or stovetop, and Dearborn heaters or anything with a pilot can blow out, creating a gas leak. However, if you handle right, in a short time, that rotten egg odor will be gone. 

  1. Avoid Electricity and Open Flames: Even the smallest flame or spark will ignite a gas leak. Until the house is aired out, do not turn on any appliance, lights, or an open flame. 
  2. Turn the Gas Off: Check the oven and stove, making sure all the knobs are in off position. Check all-natural gas-powered items that could have a natural gas pilot light like the Dearborn space heaters or water heater. If the flame blows out to a gas pilot light, the gas is still on, creating a gas leak.
  3. Open Every Door and Window: This will allow the house to air out and ventilate. Within two to three houses, the house should be clear of that rotten egg odor. If not, you need to call the gas company and request a gas leak check.
  4.  Vacate the House of Everyone: For their own safety, vacate everyone, including pets. Even the slightest gas leak can cause health issues for some people and pets. 

How do I know if I smell gas?

You’ll know the smell of once you’ve smelled it, it is hard to forget.  What smells like a gas leak but isn’t? If you smell anything like rotten eggs, gas leak or sewer smell, but you aren’t cooking any eggs, and you don’t have sewer backing up, then you probably have a gas leak.  The odor of a gas leak is like smelling a skunk that has sprayed.  Once you’ve smelled that odor, you can’t forget it, no matter how hard you might try. In fact, some people say that a natural gas leak smells like skunk spray to them. Like we all have different taste, we have different perceptions of odors and smells too. 

Is a small gas leak dangerous?

It can be, but fortunately, because of the chemical, mercaptan, that is added to natural gas before it is released to the public, gas leaks are rare.  Luckily, explosions and fires are even more uncommon than a gas leak because of that rotten egg or skunk odor from a gas leak.  That odor gives us a heads up that something needs to be taken care of promptly. 

What makes a gas leak dangerous, small, or otherwise, is gas being flammable. The smallest spark can cause a small gas leak to explode and a house or any structure catch on fire. Other than an appliance not being turned off or a pilot flame blowing out, what can cause a gas leak? 

Natural gas leaks can happen if when a gas pipe is damaged. This can happen at construction and roadway sights when an underground gas pipe is hit by construction equipment. It can even happen if a homeowner is digging holes in their yard and get too deep. 

A gas leak also happens when the gas line fittings become loose. Another cause of a gas leak is an appliance not being connected properly.  This is why it is always recommended to have an experienced contractor install any appliance that is operated by gas.  

How do you use a gas leak detector?

There are several tools that a homeowner with natural gas can benefit from that will assist in pinpointing a gas leak source: 

Carbon Monoxide Detector:

When you have a gas leak and carbon monoxide detector will monitor that silent killer. Carbon monoxide comes from burning natural few, oil, wood, or other types of fuel. It is invisible and odorless. Most gas-powered appliances, such as furnaces and stoves are vented so that the CO is removed safely. However, if the chimney or vent is blocked, the CO can leak into the home and becomes a silent poison. Anyone exposed to CO can become nauseous, sleepy, week, and if they inhale enough, it can kill them. 

UEi Test Instruments Combustible Gas Detector:

This is the all-around detector that detects and identifies a variety of toxic gases. This alerts you to ventilate the area immediately or leave. This can be a helpful tool for homes with an attached garage or a room over the garage. A homeowner that works on cars or with wood should have one of these to detect issues with the several toxic chemicals used for those hobbies. 

Informant 2 Refrigerant & Combustible Gas Leak Detector:

This gas leak detector will alert the homeowner when there is airborne refrigerant gas in the home. The home should be vacated, and a professional plumber called for repair. 

Dish Liquid, Water, and Spray Bottle:

There are over-the-counter products, but you can do a basic check using your own mixture of dish liquid and water in a spray bottle. In fact, you can use a basic household cleaner in a spray bottle. Spray over where you believe there is a gas leak, typically at a connection. If it bubbles, tighten the fitting, and if it still leaks, it would be advisable to call a professional plumber at that point. 

gas line leak

Why can I smell gas but no one else can?

If we do an internet search to answer this question, we find that it is a possible phantom or neurological issue of the person that smells the gas leak. Another thought to this matter that won’t send you into a frenzy reading WebMD is that everyone simply does not pick up the same odors. Nor do we hear the same sounds or like the same tastes and sights. 

It is important that even if only one person smells a gas leak, that attention be given to that and source where it is coming from; if unable to pinpoint the gas leak, evacuate the house and call a plumber at 551-257-6200.

Are Electric Water Heaters Good?

3d rendering of white electric boiler with smart control on the  wall. Energy saving concept

Learn More About Electric Water Heaters

When it comes to heating your property there are many options available from tank, tankless, gas, and electric water heaters. Depending on your lifestyle and preferences you may be able to choose the one that’s right for you. However, an electric water heater is a great way to streamline your energy and source your water heater’s power from existing electrical lines. Having an electric water heater won’t take up as much energy as one would think and features many advantages such as longer life expectancies and smaller sizes that won’t take up as much space. If you’re curious as to how an electric water heater works read on and afterward make sure to speak to an expert HVAC company for more information. Here is some general background information regarding an electric water heater that may prove of use to you in the meantime.

Are new electric hot water heaters more efficient?

An electric water heater is able to reduce excess heat loss and the smaller the tank the higher the efficiency rating will be. They are more efficient as water will not need to be heated constantly which can lead to energy savings. They will also not take up as much space since they won’t need the addition of a release exhaust.

Do water heaters use a lot of electricity?

An electric water heater with a tank will run 3-5 hours a day which can cost a little over a dollar per day if it’s with a 4,000 watt heater. 

How many years does an electric hot water heater last?

An electric water heater can last about 8-12 years based on the manufacturer’s service life yet this amount of time will vary by the design of the unit, the location, following with maintenance schedules, the quality of initial installations, and water quality. With proper maintenance, a tank electric water heater can last up to 15 years and a tankless one can surpass 20 years. Checking your unit’s warranty will give you the realistic expectation of a timeline.

Are electric water heaters dangerous?

An electric water heater can result in danger if they are installed incorrectly or are neglected from a lack of routine maintenance. They can result in electric shocks, fires, severe burns, and explosions.

How often should you flush your water heater?

An electric water heater should be flushed every six months yet if hard water is running through it will be necessary to do it more often. Depending on the mineral content of your local water supply your electric water heater system will need to be cleaned in order to avoid corrosion or buildup.

Should I turn my water heater off at night?

When it comes to using an electric water heater turning it off at night is 100% efficient for heating. You can use a timer to set up a schedule to turn off water heating during sleeping hours or when you are away from the property.

Is it better to leave the water heater on all the time?

It will be up to you on whether you prefer to make the effort of turning off or on an electric water heater. With tanks, as long as there is a good insulating jacket water can be kept hot all day without needing to be constantly heated. As such it is better to turn off the heater to save on energy use.

Does an electric water heater need a vent?

Unlike a gas tankless water heater an electric water heater won’t require any venting.

How do I choose an electric water heater?

When it comes to selecting your electric water heater there are things to consider such as size, energy efficiency, and cost. To provide your property with the maximum energy efficiency you’ll need the right size water heater. Consider the family size and how often you’ll use your water heater to determine the right capacity. To save the most on costs and maximize energy use you’ll want to see how energy efficient a water heater is based on proven ratings. Finally, estimate the annual operating costs of your water heater in order to figure out which energy-efficient models are the best for you.

Electric water heater with cut out the room reaches a certain temperature, close up view

What is the best electric water heater?

  • Rinnai RLX Series HE+ Tankless Hot Water Heater
  • Funwill Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater
  • Eemax EEM24027 Electric Tankless Water Heater
  • Denshine 50L/13 Gallon Electric Hot Water Heater
  • Ariston Andris 8 Gallon Mini-Tank Electric Water Heater
  • Rheem 240V 3 Heating Chambers RTEX-24 Residential Tankless Water Heater
  • Camplux ME25 Mini Tank Electric Water Heater
  • Tankless Water Heater Electric by ECOTOUCH
  • Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater Tronic 3000
  • Stiebel Eltron 36 Trend Tempra Tankless Water Heater

Get Assistance With an Electric Water Heater Today

If you’re interested in an electric water heater speak to an expert HVAC representative to see what your options are. Based on your property specifications and other information the right electric water heater model can be determined that will save you in energy costs and provide smoother operations. Enjoy hot water and heated rooms with an electric water heater today and speak to a professional soon to get started.

If you’re interested in an electric water heater in Saddle Brook, NJ call 551-257-6200 with Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating!

What Are the Signs of a Broken Sewer Pipe?

A New Sewer Line Being Installed.

What are the signs of a broken sewer pipe?

As a homeowner, one of the last things you want to deal with is a broken sewer line. You can end up with costly damage, and risk exposure to dangerous pathogens that might be in waste material. Sewer line repair is something you want to take care of quickly. The problem is, a broken sewer line isn’t always readily apparent because the lines run underground and under your home. Also, a sewer drain line clog doesn’t always signify a break. To figure out if you have a sewer line break, check for some of the following signs:

  • Sewer gas odor: Anytime you smell bad odors coming from your drains, there is likely a crack in the sewer pipes. Properly functioning pipes won’t give off odors. 
  • Slow drains: One slow drain might be a sign of a blockage, but multiple slow drains are probably an indication of a problem with a broken sewer line.
  • Multiple clogs and back-ups: Similarly, multiple clogs and back-ups usually indicate a serious problem with the pipes.
  • Oddly lush, green spots in the lawn: If areas of your lawn are much greener than others, this could mean your grass is drawing water and nutrients from a leaking pipe.
  • Soggy spots in lawn: Pipe leaks often make areas of your lawn soggy and bad odors might be coming up as well.
  • Insect and rodent infestations: Rodents often make their homes in sewer lines and insects are also attracted to water from leaks. They may make their way inside your home.
  • Mold and mildew growth: Anywhere excess moisture builds up, mold and mildew usually follow. Moisture from pipe leaks will often build up on walls, ceilings, or floors. 
  • Cracks in foundation slab and walls: Leaks from sewer lines often wash away soil under your home and that can lead to foundation cracks or cracks in your walls.

If you are seeing any of these signs and need sewer line repair in Saddle Brook, NJ, you can always count on the professionals at Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating. Find out how we can help you by calling 551-257-6200.

Can you patch a sewer line?

Unlike a leaking pipe under your sink, a sewer line repair requires more than a simple patch. The closest thing to a patch for a sewer line is pipe relining. With this repair, a cured-in-place resin line is sent down the length of the sewer line. The resin hardens and seals up leaks. Essentially, this is a “pipe-within-a-pipe” repair. 

How long does it take to replace a sewer line?

The time it takes a sewer line repair or replacement can vary. The location of the pipes will play a big role in determining how long it will take to repair or replace the pipes, as will the type of damage. It might take just half-a-day to remove a major clog under a house but aging pipes that are collapsed or damaged by tree roots could take 3 to 5 days to replace. Older, outdated pipes may create complications that could require more time to repair. Often sewer repairs require excavation and digging the pipes up will take time, although trenchless repairs are also becoming common. Overall, a sewer repair takes anywhere between 1 to 3 days.   

How does trenchless sewer line repair work?

A sewer line repair without digging is a trenchless repair. Actually, trenchless repair does require a small amount of digging for access to lines but doesn’t require plumbers to dig huge trenches through lawns and landscaping to get to the lines. There are two basic types of trenchless repair: pipe bursting and pipe relining.

  • Pipe bursting: Once access is gained to the line, a replacement pipe is pulled through the old damaged pipe, breaking it apart. The new pipe takes its place.   
  • Pipe relining: A new pipe lining is sent down the line. The lining is a cured-in-place resin that hardens making pipe-within-a-pipe. 

Sewer line repair under house

A sewer line repair underneath a house is often much easier and less time consuming than a repair in the yard or on a street. If there is a crawl space to access the pipes, the repair should be simple, otherwise, the plumber might have to go through the floor to get to the pipe. Trenchless repairs are also an option in this case.

Who pays for broken sewer line?

Because part of a home’s sewer line connects to city-maintained sewage lines under city streets, homeowners often assume the city is responsible for paying for a sewer line repair under the street. This might not always be the case. In most areas, homeowners are responsible for the lower lateral sewer line, which often runs under the street. The lower lateral line connects the home’s sewer line to the main sewer lines. To find out exactly who is responsible for line repairs under city streets contact your local city officials or sewer departments. Some city sewer departments will assess the damage and even perform repairs and then bill residents if it is determined the homeowner is responsible for the sewer line.  

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer line repair?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover sewer line repair. Exceptions may be if the damage was caused by an outside party like a tenant, neighbor or contractor, or an “Act of God” event like a tree falling on and breaking a line.

A Plumber Repairs a Sewer Line.

Sewer line repair near me

If you have a broken sewer line and need sewer line repair in Saddle Brook, NJ, let the trusted professionals at Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating help you. We provide a wide range of repair services suitable to your situation. Find out how we can help by calling 551-257-6200.