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Fall 2013

The Causes of Blocked Drains and Why You Need to Call a Plumber

From toilets and showers to kitchen sinks and dishwashers, the plumbing system in your home gets so much use every single day that an eventual clog becomes inevitable. So what are some of the causes of these clogs? We’ve put together a quick explanation of some of the most common things.

  • Food waste. Clogs commonly occur in kitchen sinks, due to all the large food waste that they have to deal with. Many homeowners assume that their garbage disposal is virtually indestructible, which often leads them to put many types of waste down it that shouldn’t go there. Animal bones, melted fat, grease and fruit pits are all examples of things that shouldn’t go in your garbage disposal.
  • Hair. Whether they come from shaving your face or brushing your hair, strands of hair can form impenetrable clogs in the drains of your bathroom fixtures that often require a drain auger to remove.
  • Hard water and soap scum. Hard water means that the water from your plumbing has excess minerals in it. These minerals often get deposited throughout your plumbing system in the form of limescale, which can be harmful to your plumbing. Also, when mixed with soaps from showering or washing your hands, hard water minerals can form soap scum. Both limescale and soap scum can completely clog of your drains and require the services of a professional plumber to fix.
  • Pressure. Your plumbing system uses a delicate balance of pressure in order to operate. As water flows through your pipes it pushes air ahead of it and creates a vacuum behind it. In order to accommodate this, your plumbing system uses vent stacks to allow air to enter and escape. If the pressure in your pipes becomes imbalanced, it will prevent waste water from flowing properly and could cause a clog or create gurgling sounds in your pipes.

Whenever you’re having any problems with your plumbing system, whether it’s clogs or leaks, make sure that you call your local plumber. Your plumbing system is too valuable to leave in the hands of amateurs. 

Five Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Furnace

For many people, the sound of a furnace kicking on reminds them of the winter and a warm home. But while furnaces are regarded as one of the most efficient and consistent heating systems on the market, they will eventually break down and need to be replaced. Knowing when that time has come for your furnace can be difficult though. Take a look below to see some of the signs that indicate a need to replace your furnace rather than just repairing it.

  • Rattling. If your furnace makes a rattling noise, it could just be a loose part. But it could also be a cracked heat exchanger allowing carbon monoxide to leak into your home. (Your furnace’s heat exchanger is a long tube of metal that gets heated by the burner and warms the air coming into your home.) The exchanger is also responsible for removing all of the dangerous combustion gases from your home. If it gets cracked, it almost always needs to be replaced instead of repaired.
  • Rust. If your furnace is coupled with an air conditioner system, condensation from the AC can actually drip down onto the furnace. This usually happens when the condensate drain system gets clogged and overflows. The water often drips onto the heat exchanger and rusts it until a hole develops in the heat exchanger, necessitating replacement.
  • Inefficiency. As your furnace ages, it will start to deteriorate. Even if you get it serviced twice a year, time marches on and your furnace won’t be able to heat your home as well. If you start to notice an increase in your utility bill, you should probably call for repair or replacement. Your heating technician can tell you whether he or she can repair the system and improve its efficiency or if it’s time to start thinking about replacing it.
  • Frequent repair. Your furnace shouldn’t require that much professional attention except for some maintenance visits each year. If you have to call for repairs on a regular basis, you may be better off spending that money on a new system.
  • Age. Age can be a very important determining factor in whether or not you decide to replace your furnace. You don’t always have to wait until your furnace is completely dead in order to consider replacing it. As your furnace ages, it will likely develop several of the issues listed above. You could save yourself a lot of headaches by replacing it early.

Whenever you detect any problems with your furnace, make sure that a professional performs any replacements and installations. Also, be sure to call early when you notice any problems so that you can keep them from developing into larger, more costly issues.