Fall Plumbing Maintenance Checklist

Did you know that your home’s plumbing system accounts for approximately 15% of the property’s total value? It’s also probably one of the systems that you personally value the most. As such a vital component of your home, it only makes sense to take proper care of it. Keeping up with maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your home’s plumbing system will provide you and your family with fresh, clean water and remove waste and wastewater from your property in a safe, efficient manner.

Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t give their plumbing systems much thought until trouble arises. With the temperatures beginning to fall and the days getting shorter, now is the time to

start thinking about fall plumbing maintenance. Because winter really takes a toll on residential plumbing systems, it’s important to take steps to ensure that your property is ready for the months ahead. Here are a few tips for taking care of your plumbing system this fall.

Outside Plumbing Maintenance

  • If you have a garden hose, remove it from the outdoor spigot.
  • Cover all outdoor spigots with insulation covers.
  • If you have shut-off valves for your outdoor faucets, turn them off and drain the water from the lines.
  • Have your irrigation system winterized.
  • Check outdoor faucets for leaks.

Inside Fall Plumbing Maintenance

  • Check all water lines and faucets for leaks. Have any problems repaired immediately.
  • Inspect, test and clean out your sump pump.
  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Flush the water heater’s storage tank to remove sediment.
  • Test the water heater’s pressure relief valve. To do this, simply lift the lever and allow it to snap back. If it is working properly, this will allow a burst of hot water to enter the drain pipe.
  • Insulate hot and cold water lines in cold areas like crawl spaces, basements and garages.

If you need assistance with fall plumbing maintenance in the Hagerstown, Maryland area, contact Larry & Sons. To schedule an appointment, please call 301-733-5428, or schedule online here!

Causes of Common Plumbing Disasters: A Tip From Frederick, MD

What are some of the costliest repairs in your Frederick home? Costly can be characterized by lost money or lost time – or both. You may have experienced some of these so-called “disasters” and wondered what you could have done to prevent them. In particular, let’s talk about disasters of the wet variety – plumbing problems.

It goes without saying that nothing is built to last. Parts and products will eventually wear out and need to be repaired or replaced. But the rate of repair or replacement has a lot to do with how well things are maintained, especially common plumbing fixtures and appliances in the home. In order to identify some of the disasters caused by plumbing fixtures and appliances, let’s identify the source of the problems – and their location in the home.

We spend a lot of time ikitchen bathroom plumber frederick mdn the bathroom so let’s start there first. What disasters happen in the bathroom? At least three come to mind: running toilet, leaking shower head, and clogged sink (also found in the kitchen so let’s kill two birds with one stone here). First, the toilet.

Bathroom Plumbing in Frederick

A running toilet is annoying and wastes several gallons of water by the hour. It is often caused by a defective flapper inside the tank, not properly sealed and causing water to leak from the tank. Next, the shower head. Leaks often occur when something as simple as a small rubber washer is worn out, breaking the seal and allowing water to leak. Lastly, the clogged sink. The most common culprit of a clogged sink is something that will not decompose or wash away, namely human hair, bits of plastic or fingernails, etc. All of these bathroom backups can cause extensive water damage to walls or floors. In the most severe cases, a bathroom’s structure can be compromised by something as small as a dripping faucet – if left unchecked over time.

Kitchen Plumbing in Frederick

The next place we spend a lot of time is in the kitchen, another prime area for plumbing disasters. Two appliances that drive homeowners nuts (when malfunctioning) are garbage disposals and refrigerator ice makers.

First of all, garbage disposals are not made to dispose of everything. Utensils, plastics, bones and other goodies do not grind up but rather, bind up a disposal. A backed up disposal can shut down the sink drain and spill over its top. Just as annoying is a refrigerator icemaker, which depends on a plastic or copper tube for its water source. A break in the tube or crimp in the copper line can back up the water and cause a major leak behind or below the refrigerator. And like the bathrooms disasters, damaged flooring and walls can be the result.

Water Pipes & The Danger of Frozen Pipes

Maybe the biggest plumbing disaster of all comes from something unseen by the naked eye: frozen water pipes in crawl spaces or attics. Water pipes in uninsulated areas can freeze when outside temperatures fall below the freezing mark. Often, homeowners are unaware of the problem because they are away from the home for extended periods of time or have failed to properly insulate pipes, crawl spaces, or attics. Frozen pipes can burst, causing extensive damage and lead to an even more dangerous situation: mold growth.

How can you avoid common disasters? Make sure your fixtures and appliances are maintained and if needed, serviced by a professional plumber. You may also want your plumber to give you a whole-house inspection, which can pinpoint potential trouble spots where your next plumbing disaster might be brewing. When you need a plumber in Frederick, MD, contact Larry & Sons! Click here to get an estimate now!

Preparing Your Home for Winter Storms

The first major winter storm has yet to strike the Hagerstown area, but one could pop up at any time. In January 2016, Winter Storm Jonas brought the city to a grinding halt, and you just never know when the next big storm could hit. As a homeowner, it’s crucial to get your home ready for the worst.

Here are a few tips from FEMA and Larry & Sons to help you get your home ready for snowstorms and extreme cold.

Preparing for Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

Preparing Your Home for Winter Storms
Need help preparing your Hagerstown home for winter storms? Give us a call!
  • Stock your emergency kit. Every home should have a general emergency kit. Add the following items to prepare for winter:
    • Rock salt to melt ice on stairs and walkways
    • Sand to improve tire traction if you get stuck
    • Snow removal equipment, including a shovel, snowblower, etc.
    • Adequate heating fuel
    • Extra blankets and clothing to keep you and your family warm in case of a heating outage
  • Make a family communication plan. Do you know how to reach everyone in your family if you aren’t all together when a warning is issued or disaster strikes? Create a family communications plan to make sure everyone knows how to get in contact and what to do in the event of a winter emergency.
  • Maintain your heating system. Check your furnace filters, and replace them if necessary. Have your heating system professionally inspected, and have any problems corrected before disaster strikes.
  • Invest in a generator. Winter storms can cause extended power outages. Investing in a standby generator is the best way to make sure that your family will be cozy and warm even if there is no power.
  • Get your vehicle ready. During the winter, it’s best to keep your vehicle ready to go for emergencies. Check your antifreeze levels, oil, air and fuel filters and windshield wiper equipment. Also, have a good set of winter tires installed, and keep your gas tank full.You should also update your vehicle’s emergency kit and make sure you have:
    • A shovel
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-operated radio
    • Ice scraper
    • Bottled water
    • Snack food
    • Batteries
    • Hats, mittens and gloves
    • Blankets
    • Sand
    • First aid kit
    • Necessary medications
    • Flares
    • Jumper cables
    • Tow rope/chain
  • Insulate your pipes. Insulate your pipes – especially those that run through basements and attics – to prevent them from freezing and bursting during extreme cold.

Winter Home Preparation

If you need help with winter home preparation, Larry & Sons can help. From standard maintenance to full system replacement and everything in between, we can help make sure your home is ready to handle anything Old Man Winter throws our way. To schedule service, contact us today by calling 301-733-5428.

Frederick Plumber’s Guide: How to Read a Water Meter

Do you know much about water meters and their main function? The answer is probably too obvious, the main function of your water meter is to meter the amount of water usage by your Frederick plumbing.

Easy to check, unless you don’t know where your water meter is, that is. In most cases, the water meter is located at the front of your property near the street – located there for easy reading by water department utility “meter readers.” The meter could also be located in a home’s basement, too.

To take a reading of your meter, locate the white numbers on the right side of the meter dial with the black background. These numbers count the number of gallons of water that have passed through your meter since it was installed or reset. Don’t be surprised to find a lot of numbers, particularly in an older home. The American Water Works Association estimates that the daily use of water per capita is 69.3 gallons. Multiply that by several years and the numbers become very big.

If you want to take a sampling of your daily usage, do the following:

  • Select a day to take the initial reading.
  • Write down the numbers on the meter odometer.
  • The next day (or week or month) at the exact same time on the 24-hour clock you took the initial reading, write down the new odometer reading.
  • Subtract the initial reading from the new reading and you get the consumption for that sampling time period. When you water bill comes from the city, you may want to “compare notes” to see if your billing is accurate.
  • Remember that events like overnight guests, filling a pool or hot tub, or excessive showering will impact the readings.

If you take the time to understand the numbers, it may also help you decide on ways to conserve water. It may also provide a hint to any possible water leaks in your home from sources like a toilet valve or garden hose. A meter reading can lead to you calling your Frederick plumbing for a repair.

Reading a water meter may not require rocket science mentality but understanding the numbers could be very beneficial to your wallet and your well-being. For more tips about how to maintain your Frederick home’s plumbing, heating & cooling, give Larry & Sons a call!