Plumbing Tips for Spring; After an Unforgiving Chicago Winter – By our Niles Plumbers

Spring Plumbing Tips

The harshest winter in recent memory has just passed Chicago. The snow has melted and falls remains lye underneath. So the best thing to do is a home check down from top to bottom back to front to ensure your home is up to and beyond standards. With high wind gusts, and double-digit negative temperatures this winter, it is important to check all plumbing related pipes and equipment for weathering, including your yard.

 

Checklist

Most all homes have different plumbing set ups. Some people have outside sprinkler systems and lines. It would be important for this person to check the sprinkler heads and make sure they’re intact. Another important thing you can do is to make sure nobody shoveled over them resulting in cracks or complete breaks.

 

Now, if we walk over to our storm drain covers, or storm basins and make sure they are clear of old leaves and debris this can improve water flow around the yard and prevent it from entering the house during spring showers. In the front of the house, check your sewers flood controls and clean-out caps, make sure there exposed and in tact. Make sure to take the time to do some spring sewer line cleaning. Maintenance rodding and extensive rodding are two perfect steps to getting this done. If you have need for flood control or flood prevention, call your local Niles Plumbers.

 

Now that the landscaping is covered lets check our back, side, or front floor drains and window wells along the side of the house. Check to make sure there clear of debris, grab a five gallon bucket of water and poor them down the drains to make sure there draining properly. Finally, you need to get handy and grab a step latter or extension latter and check your gutter lines to make sure they are clear of leaves so the water will drain off the roof. Once these things are complete call a Niles Plumbing company to camera your sewer and make sure it’s clean and clear of tree roots and waste. This is cheap insurance to what could be an in home flood or yard flood!

 

Do it Yourself Basic Toilet Repairs – From Your Skokie Plumber

Do It Yourself

Basic toilet repairs are bound to be necessary from time to time, given that the toilet is a hard working machine. However, with care and attention, you can perform basic toilet repairs yourself rather than paying an expensive plumber.

 

For the purposes of toilet repairs, the toilet can be divided into two parts – the toilet tank and the toilet bowl.

Toilet Repair – The Bowl

 

If the wax or other material that was used to seal the base of the toilet bowl is defective, a leak may develop and result in a damp bathroom floor. You need to turn off the water supply to the toilet before you attempt this toilet repair!

 

Once the system is “dry”, remove the bowl and clean the old join and pipe. Then replace the bowl and reseal thoroughly.

 

If the seal is fine and the bowl is still leaking, it may be that there is a crack in the porcelain. This is extremely unlikely. However, if this is the case toilet repair is impossible and the whole bowl will need to be replaced.

 

Toilet Repair – The Toilet Tank

 

The most common toilet repair issue is a tank that is constantly running, which is caused by a leak somewhere in the tank. The best way to test whether your toilet is suffering from this toilet repair problem is to place a few drops of food coloring into the tank, and see if the water in the bowl becomes the same color. If the bowl water colors, you have a leak.

 

Replacement parts for the components for this toilet repair are not expensive. Examine the components carefully to see what has failed.

 

Before you order any replacement parts, see whether the problem can be remedied by making adjustments to the length of the lever wire or the positioning of the tank ball.

 

However, if you cannot solve the problem with adjustments, you may have to replace some parts.

 

A common toilet repair issue in toilet tanks is the deterioration of the valve at the bottom of the tank called the flapper. This can deteriorate as a result of the use of bleach and other common “in tank” cleaning products.

 

If the flapper is in good condition, check the ball cock. It has to rise adequately to shut off the refill valve. They sometimes get waterlogged, and need to be emptied or replaced.

 

 Hope This Helps!

 

The North Coast Family! 

 

 

AMBER ALERT – Frigid Freezing Weather Warning – Skokie Plumber

The worst period ahead for skokie plumbing is upon us. The North Coast Family wants to explain the importance of paying close attention to the Amber Alert, frost freeze warning.

Frozen Plumbing Pipe

With the temperatures expecting to drop below 0, the worst types of accidents can happen to your home and its piping. Below freezing drafts can cause pipes to burst, freeze and cause water heaters and furnace units to blow out.

 

There are things a homeowner can do to prevent such anomalies. At night time it is imperative that you let a faucet in the house preferably up stairs to run constantly so that the water in the house runs consistently, creating a steady flow. This will prevent the water from freezing and expanding in your pipes. This tactic should only be utilized for below zero temperatures. In your mechanical rooms to the house check your windows for drafts, install the clear insulation window raps if it gets cold through the window sills and panes. Also on the outside of the house remove your hoses if you haven’t done so already, this could prove to be your best move of the year. Its very common for home owners to leave them connected (some still on) it puts pressure on the pipe and can cause them to burst more easily from the added pressure that creates swelling.

 

Finally, contact your local Skokie plumber and have them install a winterized faucet. When you turn off your water it leaves a space between the shutoff and the tap, usually 12 inches. This will allow enough space between the water to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.

 

Hope this was helpful!

 

The North Coast Family

5 Tips to Avoid Common Plumbing Problems

Tools needed- screw driver, crescent wrench, plunger and a toilet auger. (Nylon Tights)
Cartoon Plumbing Joke

1. Check all toilet connections to your newly installed toilet. Every bolt should be checked flush it a couple of times to make sure there are no leaks. Countless times we come to homeowners homes because there toilet is leaking. A simple spin of the screwdriver and elbow Braun could have saved many a service call. Tools needed for toilet maintenance screwdriver and crescent wrench. Be careful not to over tighten you can crack the porcelain.

 

2. Often times we get a call for tubs that are draining slowly. Fill your tub up with water and water stop in. remove the drain cover just under tub faucet, that is the waste and overflow be careful not to drop screws in drain. Wet a nice rag and stuff it in the waste and overflow remove water stop and begin to plunge, often times you can get your tub to start draining with this simple fifteen minute routine. The rag stops the air from traveling up the waste and overflow allowing the plunger to plunge the blockage instead of just air. Tool needed plunger and screwdriver.

 

3. Most recently over this past weekend I received a service call for a blocked laundry tub. It was blocked because there was nothing stopping the dirty water coming from the wash machine. Meaning the discharge from the wash machine should have a nylon sock tied around the discharge to catch fabric and lint. This way only water will be going down your drain. Especially for older homes.

 

4. This one is an important one. We are not asking you to disassemble the insides of your flood control, just open the manhole cover. Check to make sure the inside is dry. It will tell you everything is functioning the way it should be. Too many times I come to a home to find they have a blocked sewer or a burnt out pump. This simple routine once a month can save you from flooding. Nothing is easy about owning your own home, it takes heart and responsibility.

 

5. This one takes a little more guts. Every once in a while a clogged toilet is too tuff for a toilet plunger. Go buy a toilet auger and keep in your house. Its four feet long and breaks up any human waste. This simple and easy tool can be extremely resourceful and a nice money saver. It cost about fifty bucks for a decent one. And a typical charge for the service call is above that. After one use it pays for itself.

 

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Installing a New Toilet

 Materials and Tools Needed:

  • Putty Knife
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Sponge

 

First step to installing a new toilet is to remove your old one! The angle stop located directly under the toilet tank with a supply line attached to it. Make sure this supply line is shut off. You spin your angle stop knob to the right to tighten and then remove the supply line attached to the toilet tank you do this with a pair of channel locks spin to loosen.

 

Once the angle stop is shut off the next step is to remove all water from the toilet and tank. Flush the toilet until there is nothing left to flush. Then proceed to the bolts at the bottom of toilet. There is one on each side. They might even be covered with white caps. You are to take a crescent wrench to the bolts and loosen them till you can remove them. Once the bolts are removed proceed to pull the toilet up and off the bolts attached to closet collar (a part the toilet gets tightened to). Remove toilet to discharge.

 

Installing a new toilet

 

 

Once the toilet is removed check the collar and remove old wax ring(s), please use gloves because it is messy and dirty. Remove old toilet bolts install the new toilet bolts the same way you took them out.

 

Once the bolts are in place, place new jumbo wax ring on closet collar, directly in the middle. Pick up newly assembled toilet and place on top of toilet bolts and then sit on toilet till it works its way into the wax ring making a tight air free connection. Tighten the new bolts with proper washers. But do not tighten to tight because you can crack the porcelain.

 

Place the caps to cover bolts. You then need to reconnect the toilet supply line. Tighten tight to angle stop and hands tighten to toilet tank.

 

Your toilet is designed to use either 1.4 or 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Adjust the flush volume in the tank by adjusting the water level to the appropriate water line, the water lines are marked on the flush valve. To raise the water level pinch the C-clip and slide it up the float rod.Once complete turn on angle stop and enjoy your new toilet.

 

There is no need to hire a plumber or sewer expert to install a new toilet, but if you feel the need to have it done professionally to assure no mistakes are made, we are more than willing to help!

The North Coast Family

The Importance of Annual/Bi-Annual Sewer Maintenance. What Every Homeowner Should Know and Do

 

We received a service call from a customer in Skokie in early October. When we arrived, their pump was going off and water was coming up in their kitchen sink. Our immediate attention shifted to the main sewer line.

 

I had asked them if they had access to their sewer system. They had told me that everything was in the crawl space. So I went down into the crawl space with a flashlight and noticed a pool of water around their 4inch sewer stack. However, there was no access and their main sewer line was blocked. This was obvious because the pump was kicking on and the water still had nowhere to go.

 

The lowest drain opening was the kitchen sink because it was a tri-level home. The next was to install a cleanout outside, which gave access to the outside sewer for future plumbing maintenance. Their sewer had never been rodded before, so the tree roots completely blocked the sewer line.

 

The next step was to remove the customer’s toilet and insert a see snake camera into the plumbing line so that we could get an exact location to work from. Once this was located, we went outside and dug down to the location of the camera excavating approximately 2 feet of sewer line. The hole was filled with dirty water, we immediately had to start rodding until the sewer line had been cleared so that the water could drain properly.

 

Once the water dissipated, we installed a 6-inch clean-out service, with a riser to ground level for future maintenance purposes. We did this to make their plumbing system more accessible. Every homeowner should rod their sewer once a year to avoid these types of tragedies. So the most important thing to know as a home owner is where your sewer access is, and if you do not have one, you should get one installed so you do not get caught in an unfortunate situation like our client above.

 

The North Coast Family

 

 

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