Category Archives: home improvement

Top 5 Culprits of Home Flooding

Home flooding sucks. There’s just no two ways about it. You may lose your home or valuable possessions, certain types of water damage may not be covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the costs for cleanup are often exorbitant and if the damage was due to a burst pipe or faulty appliance you are also liable for the water bill, and it can take months to
restore the damaged parts of your home and you may not even be able to remain in your home during cleanup or restoration if mold or other health concerns are a factor.

Before you fall into the depths of despair, though, there is good news – many of the top five causes of home flooding or home water damage are preventable! Let’s explore the main
culprits behind home floods and what you can do to help prevent or mitigate them.

1. Natural flooding

One of the most common and easily recognizable causes of home flooding is nature. Heavy rains can cause rivers to overflow, wastewater systems to become overwhelmed, and urbanized areas to fill up with water very quickly. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather phenomenon are often accompanied by heavy rains or can cause substantial damage to dams, levees, or municipal plumbing systems and wreak havoc on an entire city or region. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do to prevent water damage to your home from these causes aside from making sure your home has been built above the base flood elevation with a good foundation, ensuring you have a working pump, and taking emergency measures in the event of a storm.

2. Drainage problems

toilet-backup

Drainage problems can be related to storms or other weather phenomenon – for example, overwhelmed
municipal water lines backing up into your home – but are more often related to poorly maintained drains in and around the home. If your main line has a clog, wastewater can back up and flood the house through toilets, sinks,
showers, and floor drains. Typically, these are smaller floods affecting only one area of the home like the bathroom or basement, but if left unchecked for a long period of time there can be substantial damage.

However, you can take steps to help prevent drainage problems in your home by making sure to keep sink, toilet, shower, gutters and other drains clear of common clog-causing substances or debris, installing backwater valves, and having your home’s drainage system regularly
inspected every few years by a licensed plumber to ensure there are no problems.

Learn more about how to prevent clogged drains

3. Appliances

waterheater-flood

Faulty appliances or their connections to your plumbing
system are notorious for causing home floods. Some basic appliances use large volumes of water and if a supply line bursts or the shut-off mechanism fails, all that water has nowhere to go but onto your floors and through your home. The most common culprits for appliance-related water damage are washing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, and refrigerators.

Fortunately, appliance-related water damage is fairly easy to prevent with modern devices like FloodStops and WaterWatchers that will monitor your appliances for leaks and turn off the
water supply or device before too much damage is caused.

Learn more about choosing flood prevention devices for your home

4. Broken pipes

pipe-spraying

Depending on the size of the pipe and the size of the leak, a broken pipe has the potential to fill your home with water in minutes. As with almost everything, there are many reasons a pipe could break – frozen pipes burst, fittings spring a leak, the pipe gets damaged by homeowner activities, poor water quality wears down the material, and the list goes on.

Making sure you properly maintain your plumbing is the very best way to prevent water
damage from faulty pipes. Know where pipes are in your walls when decorating or remodeling, take care when digging in the yard, address problems with your water quality, and have your plumbing regularly inspected by a licensed plumber to make sure there are no problems.

You may still eventually have a problem, though, and it is good to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Make sure everyone in your home knows where the main water shut off valve is located and how to turn it off, and keep a few temporary repair items handy in case your plumber can’t get there immediately.

Learn more about temporary emergency pipe repair

5. Poor foundation

A poor foundation will definitely cause problems during a natural flood, but it can also cause flooding problems in areas that don’t have many natural floods. The foundation of your home is a concrete (ergo non-permeable) slab resting comfortably in the ground when the soil is fairly dry. When the ground becomes over-saturated during a big storm or the spring snow melt (even if the water doesn’t rise above ground), your foundation is essentially floating on top of all that groundwater. Water doesn’t compress – it will find its way through any nook or cranny it can – and if you have cracks or other flaws in your foundation, that water will end up in your foundation and possibly in the basement or ground floor of your home.

While it can be upsetting and scary just to think about your home flooding, it is often worse if it
actually happens. We encourage you to educate yourself on natural flood risks in your area and do what you can to protect your home and valuable possessions from water damage caused by
appliances and your home’s plumbing and drainage systems.

Have you experienced a flood in your home before?
Share your story in the comments below!

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The Pros and Cons of Outdoor Misting Systems

This article can now be found at thePlumber.com

How to Buy a Laundry Sink

Whenever you’re thinking about adding a new plumbing fixture to your home, it’s a good idea to do your homework first and purchasing a laundry sink is no exception. If you’re replacing an existing sink, you probably have a few more limitations than someone installing a sink fresh, but you should still be asking yourself the same types of questions.

 

What am I going to use the sink for?

What are you going to use your laundry sink for? This is probably the most important question you should ask yourself as it will influence all of your other sink-buying decisions. If you’re a single lady who only wants a handy place to rinse delicates and scrub stains, chances are you don’t need the same kind of laundry sink a family with 10 school-aged boys all on various sports teams needs. Ask yourself what you do in the laundry room already and what you would *like to do in the laundry room – and try to be realistic. A utility sink is really more of a convenience, and it helps to be specific about how this purchase is going to help you. For instance, will it save you having to run upstairs/downstairs just to rinse a quick stain, does it solve a practical problem like providing drainage for your washing machine, or is it going to keep your house cleaner or more organized by offering a designated place for wet towels, muddy soccer uniforms, handwash only items, etc.?

You should also ask yourself if there are any not-so-frequent laundry tasks you need to be equipped for. Some families dye hand-me-down clothes to hide old stains and give them a new look before they’re passed on to younger siblings, others use the laundry sink as a place to rinse cloth diapers before washing, and still more rinse mops, paint brushes, and gardening tools in their laundry sinks. Consider how frequently you really will use the sink and for what kinds of jobs before you begin shopping – it will definitely save you a lot of time and keep you from making an impulse purchase you might regret later.

 

Which size sink do I need?

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This will directly depend on your answers to the first question. If you’re only doing small jobs in the laundry room, a small sink is just fine. If you need to soak a whole soccer team’s grass-stained uniforms, you might need something bigger. Also, take into consideration the space you actually have available, especially if you’re buying a larger sink. This might require some prioritization on your part – for example, can another element of the laundry room be moved or eliminated to make room for a big sink? Or could the sink be relocated to another area close by like the garage?

 

Do I want a freestanding, wall mounted, or counter mounted sink?

Many people like the traditional freestanding laundry tub, and this can be a good option for areas where you have enough space for a big sink, but not enough and/or you don’t want to add a cabinet. Most wall mounted models also let you put a big sink in a small space, but keep in mind that you’ll need an available wall area sturdy enough to hold a tub full of water. On a side note, you can store things underneath both of these types of sinks, but it won’t be terribly aesthetic.

If you don’t need a large sink, your money and space might be better utilized with a counter mounted model. Counter mounted sinks definitely offer you the most versatility in style and construction materials since you can use pretty much any sink you want (kitchen, lavatory, or one designed specifically for utility/laundry rooms), but you will have to also install a cabinet for them to rest in – which can serve as extra hidden storage for supplies.

 

What kind of construction material am I looking for? And what can I afford?

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Our customers tend to favor stainless steel or Veritek™ (a compressed molded material) laundry tubs over the other options we offer. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t great utility tubs available in other materials, but we find that our customers are generally satisfied with these sinks and they’re great at standing up to the abuse of typical residential use – stainless steel is preferred for commercial applications due to its strength and heat-resistance.

A stainless steel laundry sink is going to be a lot pricier than Veritek™, but at the same time it will most likely last you longer. The biggest thing to consider when purchasing stainless steel is what gauge you’re buying. The lower the number, the thicker the steel – we suggest anywhere from 20 to 16 gauge. Why? Well, 22 gauge stainless steel is builder quality and super cheap, but it’s also very thin and isn’t going to wear well. On the other hand, 14 gauge stainless steel will last a single family home a very long time, but you really don’t need a sink that heavy-duty or that costly for typical family use or even for use by a small to mid-sized apartment complex.

laundrysink-veritek-2

If you’re not super committed to stainless steel, it won’t fit into your laundry room design, or you just don’t have the budget for stainless steel, Veritek™ could be the option for you. Veritek™ has two main things going for it – it is incredibly affordable and it is super easy to maintain. The way this material is made, a solid color runs throughout the material so it won’t fade, and it is non-porous so it is easy to clean and resists mold and mildew. Generally, it only comes in white or beige, and it isn’t the prettiest sink you ever saw, but it will serve the purpose of a reliable utility sink at an affordable price.

 

And there you have it. Now, we’re sure there are other considerations for choosing a quality laundry sink, but hopefully the tips discussed here will help you get started on the right track. Happy folding!

How To Install a Kitchen Faucet – Video

Plumbing is intimidating for most people, especially when it comes to the kitchen. Think about it – you may have your main kitchen sink with a faucet, a prep sink with its own faucet, a pot filler faucet near the stove, a dishwasher, a refrigerator ice maker, drinking water filters, and more going on in there – and many of these things could be connected to one another. However, plenty of the typical things homeowners want to do with the plumbing in their kitchens are easy enough for a proficient DIY’er to handle.

One of the easiest kitchen upgrades you can do yourself is installing a new faucet. While certain situations may be trickier than others, faucet installation isn’t rocket science. Join our go-to guy, Mike, as he walks you through everything you need to know to make your kitchen faucet installation go smoothly.

 

5 Easy Plumbing New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is a positive time for most of us. We’re inspired with hope by the idea of a fresh start and what the year may bring. Then there’s all the New Year’s Resolutions. So many of us resolve to save money or get our bodies in shape – but what about also getting your plumbing in shape this year? Here at PlumbingSupply.com® we’ve come up with 5 nifty plumbing-related resolutions that we think everyone should try over the course of the new year!

 

Drawing of trees 1. Go green.

Water is one of our most precious natural resources – we cannot live without it, and yet there is a very limited supply. If you’re thinking of doing a kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room remodel this year, choose water-efficient faucets and low flow shower heads or place a point-of-use water heater in areas where you consistently run the taps while waiting for the water to heat up. Outdoors, you can install a drip-irrigation system instead of a new sprinkler or consider setting up your own rainwater harvesting system to collect water to use in watering plants or washing your car.

 

picture of toilet2. Fix your toilet.

It can be helpful to think of your toilet as another appliance in your home. Anything with moving parts can break or wear down – and that includes the moving parts of your toilet. Save water and avoid costly problems later with good maintenance this year.

 

image of water heater tank 3. Flush your water heater.

Ideally, your water heater should last between 10 and 15 years, but without proper maintenance many fail after 5 or 6 years, leaving you frustrated and sometimes causing significant damage to your home. An annual flush and all-around check to make sure all the parts are functioning well can help you avoid cold showers, save you money, and extend the life of your water heater.

 

image of drain4. Keep your drains clog free.

Nobody wants to deal with the hassle (and often major expense) associated with clogged drains. This year, take steps to prevent clogs before they happen by placing mesh screens or strainers in your sinks, tub or shower, etc., not putting anything down the drain or toilet that doesn’t belong (i.e. grease, baby wipes, razors, etc.), and by using non-corrosive, septic-friendly bacterial drain cleaners regularly.

 

image of sand separator5. Install a water filter.

While we’re blessed with an abundance of clean drinkable water in the United States, there are still some things we can and should filter out of our water, like sand, dirt, and unhealthy chemicals. Whether you need a whole house sand separator to keep your drains, faucets, and water heater free of sediment build-up, or just want to eliminate chlorine in your shower with a filtered shower head, purer water is always a good thing.

 

We would like to encourage you throughout the new year to follow these and other plumbing maintenance resolutions you may form, for the benefit of yourself and your family, your neighbors, and our environment. As always, PlumbingSupply.com® wishes you a safe and happy New Year!