How to Handle a Plumbing Emergency

An overflowing toilet, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning faucet is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention. What do you do? First of all, don’t panic and follow these steps recommended by the specialists from Chesapeake Plumbing.

Shut off the water. If you can, shut off the water supply to the pipe that’s causing an issue, but if you don’t know your way around your plumbing system, just turn the main water shutoff valve. It’s typically located in the basement or outside your house. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the plumbing before the emergency occurs. Label the pipes and valves so that they can be easily identified.

Contain the damage. Once there’s no more water contributing to the flood, attempt to contain the disaster area. Prevent the water pooling on the floor from spreading any further by piling towels, blankets, scooping it out or directing to the drains.

Take preventive measures. If a plumber finds that an old pipe burst due to age, rust and corrosion, it can be a sign of future trouble. It might not be long until other pipes fail in a similar way. Talk to the plumber to find out how serious the problem is and what can be done to prevent it from reoccurring.

Different Types of Water Heaters – Maryland Water Heater Services

faucetMany of us are used to having hot water at our disposal and don’t really consider it a luxury. We don’t have to rely on anyone for the hot water supply: we conjure it ourselves with the help of water heaters! And with heating technologies constantly evolving, we now have quite a selection of water heating methods to choose from.

At Chesapeake Plumbing, we know from extensive experience that the most common variety of water heaters is the storage tank water heater. It heats cold water and stores it in a big tank to have it ready whenever you turn on the faucet. It is extremely popular and has many benefits:

–          This technology has been around for years and has proven effective in keeping up with household’s hot water demand.

–          Tank water heaters are much cheaper than their tankless counterparts. This includes low replacement and installation costs.

–          When your water heater’s capacity matches your household size and hot water needs, you shouldn’t experience any problems with hot water supply.

If you have a smaller family and/or travel frequently, consider that:

–          The general concept of applying energy to heat the water when it’s not being used is not the most eco-friendly way. However, many modern tank water heaters now qualify for Energy Star certification, which makes them more energy efficient.

The second type of water heaters is a tankless water heater, also called “instant” or “on-demand” water heater. Just like its name suggests, it heats water only when you need it thus eliminating stand-by heat loss and associated high energy use. However, don’t be misled by the word “instant:” you will still have to wait till hot water travels through the piping into your faucet. Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient, however, as with all heaters, they do have their limitations. On average, tankless water heater runs 5 gallons of water per minute (5 GPM), while most homes have a demand of 6 to 12 GPM.  Therefore, some installations may require additional modifications.

Your choice of water heater will largely depend on your household size and water use habits. If you do a lot of laundry, prefer longer showers and nice water pressure, then storage tank water heater is the way to go. If you are concerned about environment and energy use, you can opt in for a tankless heater.

We have performed hundreds of Maryland water heater installations, and will be happy to help you choose the system that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Sewer Line Backups

root

Spring/Summer Tip
Sewer line backups are common this time of year due to summer rainwater entering sewer pipes via cracks. New tree root growth from the spring can also cause sewer backup issues as roots are drawn toward the sewer line as a source of nutrition. Have Chesapeake Plumbing Inc. inspect your sewer lines to let you know if you are susceptible to a sewer line backup problem or if damage has already occurred. Give us a call today 410-437-3888

How to Lower Your Water Bills and Reduce Water Use in Your Home

dripping faucet

We are so used to readily available water at consistent pressure and desired temperature – only travelling abroad makes us realize that water is a scarce resource in many parts of the world. If you are like most Americans, your household probably uses more water than you need.

Fortunately, at Chesapeake Plumbing Inc., we know a few steps you can take to avoid wasting water. And if helping the environment is not motivating enough, think about how much you could save on water bills.

Reduce the water flow in your faucets

It’s likely your faucets operate at a higher rate of flow than necessary. To reduce the flow, install an aerator on the end of your faucet (it might have come with the faucet, so check first). This small and inexpensive addition can help you preserve as much as 1,500 gallons of water a month without affecting the water pressure. A low-flow, water-saving showerhead will do the same for your shower.

Update your toilet

If you are at the point when it’s time to remodel your bathroom, we suggest replacing your current toilet with a low-flow option. In a household that doesn’t conserve water a toilet can use as much as 20 gallons of water per person per day. Different low-flow models have different technology to use water more efficiently, such as the Dual Flush technology.

If you are not ready to replace your toilet just yet, there are still a few things you can do to make it perform better:

–    Flapper tends to deteriorate over time, so replace it regularly

–    Install an adjustable flapper to control the flush volume

Check your plumbing for leaks

A single dripping faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. If you have leaky pipes that drip so much that you have to empty the containers several times a day – we could be talking hundreds of gallons!

If you discover a leak, call us as soon as possible. The sooner it’s fixed, the sooner you can start saving and potentially prevent a mold situation that can be very costly.

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget About the Sink.

sink drain

Think twice before using heavy-duty drain cleaners. Every certified and licenses Maryland plumber will tell you that while these chemically-loaded cleaners will help dissolve the clog, they might also corrode your pipes, significantly reducing their lifespan. Consult with your plumber, as he or she might find a less invasive and more eco-friendly drain cleaning solution.

Bonus tip: know your drain’s enemies! Different sinks in your house are subject to different conditions:

  • Kitchen sink drains often get clogged due to food remains and grease accumulation. To keep the drain healthy, use a fine-mesh strainer to keep even the smallest particles out and never empty cooking grease into the sink. Instead, pour it into a container and throw away with other trash.
  • Bathroom sink and shower drains can get clogged with hair and bathing products, especially oil-based ones. Remove the drain stoppers and clean them on a weekly basis to reduce the chance of clogging.
  • A utility sink is often used to help with very dirty projects, such as cleaning a paint brush, washing off boots after a long hike, etc. Be careful with large debris that can end up in the drain – always use a strainer.

Does it seem like a lot to do? We know your spring cleaning list of chores is already long, but keeping sink drains clean and clog-free is very important. If you need a hand, our Annapolis plumbers will be happy to take care of plumbing inspection and cleaning for you. Just give us a call at 410.437.3888.

Frozen Pipes

If your pipes freeze, open the cold water faucet nearest to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure.

Frozen pipe
Not Good

How to be a Better Homeowner

pipe leak

Know your house

This might seem silly, but not everyone knows their own house well enough, especially if they take minimal part in the house maintenance. Ask yourself this question:

–      Do you know where your main water shut-off valve is?

Solve the problem with backup power

When every other thunderstorm leaves you without power for 10 hours, it significantly disrupts your lifestyle. You know what we mean if you live in an older house. The good news is you don’t have to wait in the darkness until the power comes back on. Take matters in your own hands and install a backup power generator. Choose a portable unit or a stand-by one that will automatically kick in once it detects the power outage.

Remember, once the power is out your sump pump also stops working. If this is a concern, choose a stand-by power generator or install a backup sump pump.  Depending on where you live, you can opt either for a battery-powered option or the one that runs off of water pressure.

Be prepared

Unfortunately, none of us is safe from plumbing misfortunes, but it always helps to be prepared. Have a plumber’s number (here’s ours: 410-437-3888) in your phone or pinned to your fridge or cork-board, so that every panic-stricken family member knows where to call in case you need an urgent drain cleaning.

Also, don’t skip on maintenance. Water heaters, sump pumps and even pipes are not meant to last forever. Such factors as your location, lifestyle, water chemistry and many others can positively or negatively affect the lifespan of your plumbing equipment. Don’t wait till it breaks: get things checked out and tuned up every once in a while – Chesapeake Plumbing will gladly help you with that!

An overflowing toilet, a burst pipe or a malfunctioning faucet is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention. What do you do? First of all, don’t panic and follow these steps recommended by the specialists from Chesapeake Plumbing.

Shut off the water. If you can, shut off the water supply to the pipe that’s causing an issue, but if you don’t know your way around your plumbing system, just turn the main water shutoff valve. It’s typically located in the basement or outside your house. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the plumbing before the emergency occurs. Label the pipes and valves so that they can be easily identified.

Contain the damage. Once there’s no more water contributing to the flood, attempt to contain the disaster area. Prevent the water pooling on the floor from spreading any further by piling towels, blankets, scooping it out or directing to the drains.