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5 Plumbing Tasks You Should Leave to Professionals

by raleigh plumbers on April 18, 2017

Being able to make repairs around the home is a valuable skill to have, saving both money and time, and also giving a sense of satisfaction. Many domestic plumbing tasks can be carried out by anyone who’s reasonably good with their hands — leaking faucets, malfunctioning toilets, blocked pipes — you feasibly can fix all of these yourself, especially in this age of instant information and tutorials over the internet. However, there are some types of repair that should definitely be left to the plumbing experts, and here are five examples.

Water Heaters
Aside from routine cleaning, anything involving a water heater is probably a job for professionals. When working with a heater, you’ll be dealing with water, electricity, and probably gas or oil. If you make one mistake, the consequences can be severe. Also, an amateur is unlikely to have all the right tools to ensure safety, such as those needed to detect gas leaks or carbon monoxide emissions, and your home insurance may not cover any damage caused by faulty DIY repairs.

Sewer Repair
Not only is this an unpleasant job that you might prefer to give to someone else, but you could easily make things worse by tackling it yourself. What may seem like a simple leak could in fact be caused by a blockage or other problem deeper within the system. Without the right tools, such as cameras and other inspection devices, you might only apply a band aid with your fix. If you don’t address the main problem, you risk a more severe issue at a later stage, possibly involving the expense and disruption of digging up your whole yard.

Pipe Repairs or Replacement
Tightening a loose joint is one thing, but tackling anything more complicated is risky. A pipe system is only as strong as the weakest part. Without the right tools to ensure a proper job is done, you risk failure when the system is brought up to pressure. With water pipes, this can be a damaging leak that’s quickly noticed and fixed. With gas pipes, you might not even realize there’s a problem until disaster strikes.

Major Leaks

If you’re faced with a pipe spraying water across the room, it’s time to turn off the main supply and call in a professional. It might seem a simple matter to fix the obvious fault with a replacement joint or a spot of soldering, but this might only be the tip of the iceberg. If a major leak has occurred, it’s likely that other parts of the system are also in a similar state of wear and tear, and could be close to failure, possibly in a much more damaging and hard-to-fix location. A plumber will not only deal with the immediate problem, but also will check on the health of the rest of your pipework to prevent future failures.

Multi-Occupancy Buildings
In most jurisdictions, amateur plumbing repairs are illegal in buildings where other families also live, and so a certified professional needs to be used. Whether this restriction would ever be enforced over a simple leaking tap is of course your judgement to make, but certainly for any more major work, then it’s a point to be aware of if you want to avoid legal problems down the line.

Many plumbing repairs are fairly simple, and easier and quicker to carry out yourself rather than call in someone else. However, if you’re at all unsure, and when the consequences of a mistake can be serious, it pays to consult a professional. With most good plumbers now offering free call-outs and estimates, you’ve nothing to lose by getting an expert opinion.

Renting vs. Buying a Water Heater: Debunking a New Fad

by raleigh plumbers on February 28, 2013

Renting vs. Buying a Water Heater

Many people currently rent or lease their water heaters instead of buying them. Homeowners find the idea of worry-free maintenance and repairs, free installation and low monthly fees appealing. However, if you plan to live in your home for many years, purchasing a water heater is clearly a wiser financial decision.

 

Water Heater Rental Cost Over Time
Most hot water heaters can be expected to last about 10 to 12 years. Over the life of the appliance, renters will pay far more than what the heater would have cost if purchased and installed. For example, if a homeowner paid $25 per month in rental fees, the total rental cost for 10 years would be $3000. The same water heater may have only cost around $800-$1000 fully installed.

Water heater rental fees often increase as time goes by. This can leave renters locked into an agreement to pay more and more every year for their aging unit. Some long-term rental agreements even require an expensive buy-out if you decide to switch suppliers or no longer need the water heater.

Understand Your Options
Renting may offer a convenient or even necessary option to those who will only be living in their current residence for a short time. It may also be beneficial for people living in areas of hard water where the heater’s lifespan will be compromised and repairs are more likely, but for most homeowners, the savings over time would more than cover any repair or replacement cost.

New hot water heaters are generally covered under a warranty for a limited period of time. After warranties run out, owners are responsible for all repairs, but this does not necessarily mean that the cost of repair will be unaffordable, especially when compared to paying more than four times the worth of their appliance in rental fees. Buying your hot water heater also gives you a wider variety of choices. Eco-friendly options, favored brands and high-end models may not be available as rentals.

Spend Wisely, Save More
The decision to purchase a hot water heater rather than renting it is a clear example of spending money to save money. For financially stable homeowners who plan to use their water heater for several years, buying the appliance offers more benefits in the long run.

Protect Your Pipes from Freezing Conditions

by raleigh plumbers on February 6, 2013

snow-frezzing-pipes-raleigh-plumber

Even if you live in an area in which freezing temperatures are rare, freezing pipes can be a big concern when cold weather arrives.

Freezing weather can cause ice to form in a pipe, which leads to an increase in water pressure downstream from the ice blockage. This surge in water pressure leads to pipe failure, which often results in the pipe bursting at a different location from the ice blockage. For this reason, homeowners should be sure that the entire length of their pipe is sufficiently protected.

Experts have determined that homes in southern states and warmer climates are particularly susceptible to pipe failure when temperatures reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit, although pipes can freeze and burst at warmer temperatures as well.

As a homeowner, there are a number of precautions you can take to protect your pipes from freezing conditions.

If a pipe feels warm to your touch, it is a candidate to be insulated to protect it from freezing. Use pre-fit foam rubber cut to size to insulate your pipes, using duct tape to fasten it. Be sure that the pipes are clean and dry before covering them with the insulation. Call a plumber to perform this task if you would rather not do it yourself.

Another tip is to allow the taps of your outside faucets to drip during abnormally cold weather. It is fine if the water freezes, because this action will still relieve water pressure in the pipes and prevent them from bursting.

You should also leave the cabinet doors open under the sinks in your bathrooms and kitchen. This permits warmer air to circulate around the pipes, which helps provide protection for them.

It is important to use caulk to seal any gaps or cracks in your home’s foundation or the outside walls of your house. This will prevent cold air from reaching your pipes.

If you are going to be away from your home, you can drain your pipes to prevent them from bursting. Close the main valve, turn on the taps and let them run until the pipes are empty of water.


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