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!

Hagerstown Air Conditioning Tip: Variety of Ways to Cool Your Home Naturally

It is normal these days to simply switch on your Hagerstown air conditioning when the temperature begins to rise outside. But this can get expensive quickly, so it is a good idea to look into some alternative cooling methods as well. Fortunately, there are actually some great ways to help keep your home cool without turning up your air conditioning at all.

Using fans, ceiling fans in particular, can certainly help to keep you cool on many moderate summer days. But they are far from the only options available. In fact, the design and composition of your house itself will have a lot to do with how easy it is to keep it cool all summer long.

One of the main reasons that your house gets so hot inside during the summer is that sunlight heats the air inside when it hits the walls, roof and windows. Closing your blinds will help to keep some of this out, but there will still be plenty of heat from the sun working to increase the indoor temperature.

What you really want to do to keep your house from heating up because of sunlight is to actively reflect the sun’s rays away from your home. You can do this by having light colored roofing and exterior paint or siding put on. While the dark colors typically used for this type of work absorb the vast majority of the sunlight that hits them, lighter colors will reflect it away.

This works well for the walls, but on your roof it can be a bit more difficult to stop the absorption of heat from the sun because of the nature of typical roofing materials. What you can do, however, is add a reflective coating like white latex on the roof. This will dramatically reduce the amount of heat that is able to come into your home in this way.

Also, natural shade can do a lot to keep sunlight from getting to your home to begin with. Planting trees close enough to your home that they will block out the sun but far enough away that they have room to grow will eventually help to keep your home much cooler without any extra work whatsoever. For more tips on how to use your Hagerstown air conditioning system effectively, give Larry & Sons a call!

Frederick Plumbing Tip: Septic System Basics

Have you ever wondered what happens to waste water when it leaves your Frederick home? How does it become safe for consumption again and return to the water supply? The basics of this process are summarized below.

In the Septic Tank

The role of your Frederick septic tank is to hold on to some of the waste that separates naturally from the water before it moves on. What typically happens in a the waste water system of a private home is that the water flows from the toilet or drain into the septic tank. Usually, this flow is directed by gravity alone, although there may be a pump involved when a fixture is lower than the level of the septic tank– if you have a basement bathroom, for example.

Once the water is in the septic tank, much of the oil, grease and solid waste is separated from the waste water, as it settles due to gravity. Some preliminary treatment of the water may also eliminate microbes within the septic tank. The waste water is therefore significantly cleaner when it flows to the next step in the waste treatment process.

The Leach Field

With the solid deposits left behind, the material that leaves the septic tank is just liquid. From there, it flows into the leach field, which is a collection of networked pipes. These pipes are perforated, allowing the waste water to leach out into the surrounding gravel and into a trench system. This leach process provides another level of filtration, as any tiny solid bits still suspended in the waste water are filtered out naturally by the sediment and gravel of the leach field.

End of the Cycle

From the leach field, the twice filtered liquid begins its return to nature. In addition to the solid filtration provided by the gravel, there are bacteria and other microbes that grow around the leach field which consume some of the lingering toxins in the water. Nitrates, nitrites and other pathogens are all digested and filtered out of the water by these organisms as it travels from the leach field through the trench system and back into the water table.

Keep in mind that these are just the basics of waste water treatment as they apply to one type of private residential setup. Waste water treatment systems may vary, and some areas require more advanced waste water techniques to fully clean and filter the water for consumption. If you need your septic tank repaired or replaced, give the Frederick plumbers at  Larry & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call!

Frederick HVAC Tip: Why Routine Maintenance Improves IAQ

Furnaces and air conditioners in Frederick are by far the most common way to circulate air throughout homes, offices and institutions, heating in the winter months and cooling in the summer.  Adjust the thermostat and controlled air is delivered almost immediately.

If a system is not regularly and properly maintained, however, that air can be dirty, dusty and full of odor, having passed through the heat exchanger, filters and ductwork that have accumulated a build-up of residue over time.  IAQ or interior air quality quickly deteriorates.

The Basics

HVAC systems heat or cool air at a central point, often a furnace in the basement.  The air passes through filters to sift out dust and unwanted particles, then travels through a system of ductwork to be delivered to the space.  Return air ducts bring it back to the central point.

Along the way, the air accumulates the dust, germs and debris of the places it inhabits.  Over time, the filters become clogged and eventually contribute more contamination to the processed air than they can clean.  The enclosed and hard to reach ducts are also deposits of dust and decorated with spider webs that are quickly another form of filter that gives back more than it receives.

The Costs

Without routine maintenance, the system runs poorly and distributes more dirt into the living space than it is able to filter and clean, reducing the quality of life for the inhabitants.  Poor air quality can lead to serious health issues as well as the loss of time.

Not only does the quality of the air decrease, the strain on the system lowers efficiency.  Having to work harder consumes more energy, creating an immediate and noticeable rise in utility bills.  The stress also reduces the lifetime of the system and requires more rapid replacements of parts or the entire furnace, a huge financial cost.

Regular Maintenance is the Easy Solution

To maintain high levels of quality air, it is essential to schedule regular replacements of filters and a clean-out of the ducts.  The filters are accessible as part of the furnace and air conditioners and easily swapped out by the home owner once or (better) twice a year.

Ductwork, however, is enclosed and often out of site, just as easily out of mind and certainly harder to reach.  Scheduling a duct-cleaning along with an inspection and routine maintenance of the entire system with a licensed Frederick  HVAC company such as Larry & Sons ensures longevity and efficiency along with peace of mind.