Category Archives: Tubs

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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Which Drain Cleaner Should I Use?

When most people experience a clogged drain, they automatically reach for one of two things – the phone so they can call a plumber or a chemical drain cleaner. If this is their first time dealing with a clog, many people want a recommendation for which chemical drain cleaner is best and what is the best way to use it. While we always advocate calling a plumber for any plumbing issue you don’t feel you can handle yourself (and some that you think you can handle and shouldn’t), we NEVER recommend using any kind of chemical drain cleaner for a number of reasons.

1. They are harmful to your and your family’s health. If some of the drain cleaner were to splash on your skin or in your eyes, or if you inhaled too much of it, you could potentially experience serious injury – not to mention the potential for young children or pets to accidentally imbibe them with fatal consequences.

draincleaner

2. Everything you put down the drain eventually ends up in our environment somehow, whether that be in our groundwater, oceans and rivers, atmosphere or soil. Chemical drain cleaners aren’t any safer for our
environment than they are for our bodies.

3. Chemical drain cleaners work by eating away at
whatever is causing the clog. It just makes sense that anything that caustic is also eating away at your plumbing system. While certain pipe materials like PVC or galvanized steel might hold up a little longer than copper, all pipes exposed to caustic chemicals will eventually start to wear down and you’ll experience leaks from holes in your pipes that could require extensive, costly repairs or a complete re-plumbing of your home.

So what are the alternatives? Well, before you decide to call a plumber, we recommend grabbing a good sturdy plunger or a drain snake and trying to remove the clog yourself. If neither of those methods work, try a half and half mixture of baking soda and vinegar and let it sit overnight. If that STILL doesn’t work, we suggest calling a plumber. They are experienced in removing all kinds of clogs – and have the expertise and equipment to do it without damaging your fixtures or pipes.

Once your drain is clear (or before you get a clog!), there are several things you can do to help prevent future clogs. Regular drain cleaning should become part of your home maintenance routine, and the best part is that it’s easy and inexpensive. For a brief tutorial on how you can clean your drains and tips for preventing clogs, check out our Guide to Easy Drain Maintenance and do your part to protect your plumbing system, your family’s health, and the environment!

Read more:
How to Unclog Your Toilet
Public Service Announcement: Save Our Sewers!
10 Tips for Preventing Toilet Troubles

What Kind of Tub Drain Do You Have?

Most of us can easily identify a trip lever style tub drain; the name itself tells it like it is. But what about all those other ones that don’t have a trip lever? If you’ve ever wondered what your tub drain is, read on!

There are five basic types of bath tub drain stoppers:

  • Toe Touch (Foot Actuated, Foot Lock or Toe Tap)
  • Push-Pull or Lift and Turn
  • Flip-It
  • Pop-Up: Activated by Trip Lever, Cable, Turn Style, or other
  • Trip Lever or Turn Style (internal plunger/stopper)
toe touch style drain
Toe Touch
push pull style drain
Push Pull
Flip it style drain
Flip It
pop up drain
Pop Up
strainer cover plate
Trip Lever

Identify which stopper you have:

If your tub does not have a trip lever, it is either a Toe Touch, Push Pull, Flip-It, or a Lift-and-Turn style stopper. The Flip, Toe Touch, Lift and Turn and Push-Pull stoppers work without a trip lever mechanism. These are generally the easiest kind to remove or replace since they do not need the removal of the trip lever.

Toe Touch: The stopper opens and closes with the push of your toe.

Push-Pull: The stopper has a knob in the center and you must push it down to close and pull it up to open.

Lift and Turn: This looks very similar to the Push-Pull style, but you will need to lift and turn the stopper (in opposite directions) to open and close.

Flip-It: This stopper uses a toggle that when flipped from side to side, will open or close.

Pop-Up: This style can have a Trip Lever or Turn Style mechanism on the overflow that moves an internal push rod against a rocker arm attached to the stopper to raise or lower the stopper. Pop-Ups have a visible stopper in the tub drain, and cannot be covered by a strainer.

Trip Lever or Turn Style: These two styles use an internal plunger to stop water flow. When the overflow plate is activated by tripping a lever or turning the plate it causes the plunger to raise or lower. Trip Lever and Turn Style assemblies normally do not have a visible stopper in the tub drain. The drains simply have a strainer of some sort covering the drain.

Your turn: What’s your favorite style of tub drain?

Read more about this subject here.