Take Action To Prevent Sewage Backups In Your Home

Sewage backups are a homeowner’s worst nightmare.  It’s not only messy, but it’s also dangerous. No one wants to see sewage coming out of their drain or get sick from it.  With regular maintenance, it’s possible to prevent sewage backups in your home and all the public hazards that come with it. If you’re currently experiencing sewage back-up, it’s best to hire a service provider like All County Sewer and Drain to quickly diagnose and repair the cause of the problem.   

Causes of Sewage Backups

Backups normally occur when there is a problem with the sewer system or septic system.  This could mean a broken sewer line or an overfilled septic tank. It could mean something is clogged like a toilet, sink, or tub.  While cleaning the drain sometimes does the trick, if every flush continues to create a sewer backup or a flood in your home, the situation may mean that the main sewer line is blocked.  This causes a backup at the lowest point of your property and, unless the blockage is removed, the overflow will continue to damage your home or business area.  

Sometimes, large tree roots damage the sewer line, causing a backup. Tree roots can grow into the pipes creating holes and blockages that damage the sewer line. Lastly, if your sewer line is damaged, whether through old age, rust, or tree roots, water from the ground can seep into the pipes creating increased overflow and flooding.  There are many reasons why a sewage backup may be occurring, and if you unclog a toilet or sink and the problem still exists, a professional will need to determine what is wrong and provide service to repair the problem.   

Risks Posed By Sewage Backup

Sewage backups present a huge risk to your livelihood because it’s not just disgusting and smelly, it involves fire hazards, health hazards, and property damage. Water that is contaminated contains a variety of germs, viruses, and bacteria that can make you sick.  If you consume harmful bacteria from sewage, you can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and even contract Hepatitis A. Touching sewage with bare hands can cause skin irritation and infection, especially if you have cuts or sores. Therefore, regular inspections of your property by a licensed professional to prevent sewage backups in your home can literally save your health.     

When your property is underwater for too long and exposed to sewage, damage to your residence is inevitable. Flooring and insulation materials become soaked.  Exposed mattresses, leather products, toys, and paper products like books and documents can be ruined. Your furniture and washable fabrics soaked with sewage can also be destroyed.  Property damage, sometimes causing thousands to tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, is one reason to take preventing sewage back-up seriously and invest in regular inspections and preventative maintenance.    

If disease and property damage isn’t bad enough, a sewage backup is also a fire hazard.  The oils, fats, and sewage that flood your house are highly flammable. Immediately leave the building if water levels have reached plugs, extension cords, electrical outlets, or gas-burning equipment. Don’t touch anything, leave, and call a professional for the risk of a fire is now enormous.  If electrical equipment is still safely above water, turn the power off. Make sure you’re standing on a dry surface. Don’t touch anything metal and shut off the main switch with a dry wooden stick or at least rubber gloves. People usually only worry about sewage a backup after it happens, but preventing it with regular maintenance is the key to protecting your belongings, your health, and your assets.      

Proactively Prevent Sewer Backups in Your Home

The absolute best way to prevent a sewage backup is to regularly inspect, maintain, and clean all the pipes and valves on your property. Unfortunately, most people only consider maintenance after a sewage back-up disaster.  This is when it hits home just how important regular maintenance is. While checking all the pipes is hard to do by yourself, hiring a professional for regular inspection is likely your best preventative measure. A sewer and drain professional will not only help fix a sewage backup after it’s occurred but also through regular inspections to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is a key maintenance service for both homeowners and building owners.      

What you can do on your own to prevent sewage backups in your home? Make sure to keep your drains clean and clear.  Don’t flush napkins, tissues, diapers and other solid wastes down the toilet that cannot easily be dissolved.  Importantly, don’t wash your grease pan out in the sink. Grease hardens and turns into a thick sludge that easily clogs drains.  You can clean grease with a paper towel and then throw it away in the trash. Lastly, avoid planting trees above or near your sewer lines, as tree roots often damage sewer lines. You may want to consider plastic piping that tree roots cannot damage.

Sewage backups are no joke and there are tens of thousands of sewage backups recorded in the U.S. annually.  To avoid this mess, call All County Sewer and Drain for regular preventative maintenance at 1 (800) 834-3102 today!

How to Fix Toilet Problems

The most common toilet problems are often easily fixable requiring only some cleaning or the replacement of a part.  If you cannot figure out the issue on your own, it requires a professional plumber to assess the toilet, make repairs, and sometimes, install a new toilet.  Below are three common toilet problems that you can often fix yourself.

Weak Flush

One common toilet problem is the weak flush and most often occurs when minerals such as calcium and lime build up on the rim feed and jet holes of the toilet bowl.  The way to fix this weak flush is to clean the rim feed and jet holes and once doing so, you’ll regain your toilet’s strong flush. To do this, turn the water supply valve off and hold the flapper open.  Then, let most of the water fall out of the tank.

Use a toilet bowl cleaner to pour 1-2 cups of cleaning solution down the valve.  Stick a wire hanger into the valve and scrape back and forth to break away any hard build up.  Then, turn the water supply on and let the tank refill.  This effort will remove the buildup and create a stronger toilet flush.

Running Toilet

A running toilet can cost you hundreds of dollars per year in wasted water.  Running toilets are often a simple fix and are brought on by a faulty fill valve or flush valve in your toilet’s water tank.  The first step is to clean the fill valve to wash away any debris that might be causing your running toilet.   To clean the fill valve, first turn off the water and flush your toilet.  Reach into your tank with your right hand and lift the float cup.

Grip the gray shaft and hold it in this position for now.  With your left-hand, grab onto the cap and place your thumb on the side of the plastic arm. Twist the cap and plastic arm counterclockwise 1/8th of a turn and press down on the cap while making this twisting motion.  Lift up on the cap and move it away from the top of the valve.   Then, turn the water on full force for 10-15 seconds, which will clean the debris in the valve.  Make sure to place a cup above the valve, covering the valve and protecting yourself from spraying water everywhere.  Finally, reverse the steps to put the top back on the valve.  Turn on the water and flush the toilet to make sure the problem is resolved.  If cleaning the fill valve doesn’t work to stop your running toilet, you’ll need to replace the fill valve first.  If you still have a running toilet, then replace the flush valve as well.

Leaking Toilet

Another toilet issue commonly seen is a leaking toilet, where water leaks from underneath the toilet.  If you see small puddles below your toilet, the problem is likely either that the tee bolts are loose or the wax seal is damaged below the toilet.  For starters, re-position the toilet and tighten the tee bolts.  If they’re lose and you tightened them, wait to see if your toilet bowl still leaks.  If not, the problem is fixed.  If the leak continues, you’ll have to now replace the wax seal beneath the toilet.  First, go to the hardware store and purchase yourself a new wax wing.  Then, prep the toilet by shutting off the water.  Flush the toilet twice to remove as much sitting water as possible.  To remove leftover water, unscrew the nut holding the fill valve and catch the excess water with a small bucket.

Next remove the toilet by unscrewing the water supply line and the tee bolts from the floor.  Move the toilet over or set it down gently on its side revealing the old wax ring.  Begin removing the wax ring.  Next, install the new wax ring placing it over the flange while the tee bolts are secured in their place.  Then re-position the toilet back to its usual position.  Reinstall your toilet by screwing the tee bolts in place but do not over tighten them.  Keep in mind the toilet must be leveled and centered properly.  Then reconnect your waterline, turn the valve back on, and flush.  Here, closely inspect your toilet to make sure no water leaks from the new seal.

Conclusion

Toilet problems can cause mold to grow, increase your water bill, and damage both the floor and the ceilings of your house.  It’s best to get these issues fixed right away.  If you need help assessing and fixing toilet clogs and back-up, we can handle all your needs at All County Sewer and Drain.  Give us a call at (800) 834-3102.

Save Your Sewer From Halloween Horror: How To Prevent Clogs

A good Halloween scare is usually fun, but it’s not fun to have a Halloween scare in your sewer system. There are a few Halloween activities that can make a mess of your drains, causing severe clogs and back up.  It’s best to keep your plumbing in mind this Halloween in order to prevent clogs and keep away a nasty mess that requires costly repairs.    

Pumpkin Pulp Will Clog Your Drain

Most people carve their pumpkins and throw the pulp down a drain.  They also tend to wash their pulpy hands letting the pulp fall down the sink drain.  The people who do these things will damage their plumbing. Not only is sticky pulp thick enough to cause a clog, but once the pulp hardens, it can cause a multitude of other issues, like ruining garbage disposal blades and giving off a foul odor. Be sure you and your children prevent messy clogs by throwing out all pumpkin guts into the trash. Be especially aware of any pulp that sticks to your hands while hand washing.  

When carving your pumpkin, place a thick bed of newspaper underneath your pumpkin and then wrap any of the guts in the newspaper, throwing it in the trash when it is time for cleanup.  Never, ever put seeds or pulp in the sink drain, garbage disposal, or toilet. By throwing pumpkin guts into the garbage, you will avoid the risk of clogging your drain.  We recommend taking the pumpkin seeds and roasting them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. It’s delicious!  

Cleaning Up Candy-Wrappers and Make-Up

The next risk is candy wrappers.  Often, candy wrappers accidentally find their way down the drain, causing a clog.  Make a pile of these wrappers in order to track them and throw all of them into the trash.  Additionally, remind your children to throw away their wrappers in the trash when they’re done eating their candy and not down the drain.  

Finally, a lot of costume make-up is made using grease, which is terrible for drains.  Grease, as you know, hardens and turns into a sludge-like material that slows drainage.  When cleaning any costume make-up, use a disposable wipe and throw this wipe into the trash rather than washing the make-up off in the sink. This simple clean-up method will prevent clogs and keep your sewer system healthy. 

Regularly Prevent Clogs With These Tips

You can also prevent clogs and slow drainage by implementing a few strategies on a regular basis.  

  1. Firstly, always throw grease in the trash – make sure to save your cooking grease in a container and then throw the container in the trash.  Again, grease hardens, turning into sludge that clogs drains.
  2. Don’t throw any solids like coffee grounds into the sink or garbage disposal.  This will also stuff up drains, causing a clog.  
  3. Run hot water in your sink after cleaning your dishes.  Hot water keeps oils in the food running down and through the drain instead of building up on the interior surface of your pipes.  
  4. Throw a handful of baking soda into the drain and follow it with hot water – Baking soda is great for cleaning a drain and has the added benefit of eliminating foul odors.  
  5. Pour one cup of vinegar down the drain, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then wash it out with hot water – This is another great way to clean your drain regularly.

The most important thing you can do to avoid clogs is to not allow your pipes to build up with oils, grease, and solids. This will not only cause back up and clogs but also fill up your septic tank or cesspool.  

If you need your cesspool pumped or a pipe inspection, call the experts at All County Sewer & Drain and we will help keep your sewer system in working order!

Plumbing Maintenance Tips for Property Managers

When you manage a property such as an apartment complex, nursing home, hospital, or hotel, you are responsible for the well-being of hundreds of people, including families with children, the elderly, and the sick. The last thing you want is a plumbing issue affecting all those people, especially if the issue is completely preventable. That’s why it is important for every property manager to do some preventative plumbing maintenance.

Get Your Maintenance Staff on Board

Make sure your maintenance staff understands how important it is to stay on top of the plumbing. You don’t have to wait for a resident to inform you of an issue. Have your maintenance staff check faucets, inspect for leaks, and keep an eye on exposed pipes and water heaters. Additionally, emphasize to your residents to report any small plumbing issue to you or your maintenance staff right away so it can be taken care of before the issue grows to catastrophic levels.

Remind Residents How to Care for Their Drains

Residents can be proactive in preventing plumbing issues by being taught or reminded about proper plumbing care. 

 

  • They should not flush anything down the toilet that is not toilet paper – not even “flushable” wipes (they’re not really flushable!). Not women’s sanitary products. Not even tissues. Nothing. Just toilet paper. 

 

  • When they bathe or shower, they should take care not to let loose hair go down the drain, as that hair builds up and causes clogs. 

 

  • When they cook, they should not pour excess grease down the sink – or even flush it down the toilet – as it will build up along the sewer line and cause what is called a “fatberg” – like an iceberg, but made up of fats and oils (we know – gross!). 

Be Strategic About Your Washing Machines

When hundreds of people are using the same laundry machines, you want to make especially sure those machines are not going to cause a leak or a flood. Replace any connection hoses with sturdier steel braided supply hoses. These hoses will be less likely to burst or dry out. Place an overflow tray under your washing machine just in case any water leakage does happen, to prevent that water from spreading everywhere and causing more damage.

Hire a Sewer Company for Plumbing Maintenance

With all this precautionary work on your part, it is still important to have professional sewer maintenance experts come in and perform preventative checks and procedures to keep everything in top working order. At All County Sewer and Drain, Inc., our experts will work with you to make sure you don’t experience any disruptive and expensive sewer and drain issues! Let us help you manage your properties the best way possible by setting up a plumbing preventative maintenance plan.

5 Top Methods for Preventative Maintenance of Commercial Plumbing

When you run a commercial property, the last thing you need is a plumbing emergency. Leaks, backups, and certainly floods can shut your company down for days and cost you money, time, and energy on repairs and lost business. Luckily, this can all be prevented with regular maintenance of your plumbing system, so you can keep your business up and running without plumbing disruptions. Here are a few tips and strategies to keep up preventative maintenance of your commercial plumbing.

1. Look for Leaks

You may not notice small leaks right away, but they’re important to find. Small leaks are an indication that something isn’t right with your plumbing, and they can quickly become bigger problems if ignored. It may be inconvenient and costly to fix a small leak, but trust us, it’s even more expensive and disruptive to fix a devastating flood and damaged plumbing.

Additionally, some leaks are not visible but could be costing your company hundreds of extra dollars per year on your water bill. If you notice your water bill is higher than usual or doesn’t make sense, bring in a professional to inspect your plumbing system and look for silent leaks that could be doing behind-the-scenes damage and wasting water.

2. Fix Leaky Faucets

A leaky faucet is more than annoying. Every drip contributes to a huge waste of water, and it can actually cost you significant extra money in your water bill. Leaky faucets are not that difficult to fix. You can either try to fix it yourself by replacing the gasket or other small faucet part that is part of the sealing process, or you can call in an experienced sewer and drain technician.

3. Watch Out for Slow Drains

Does a sink or tub in your building take a long time to slowly drain water? This is not normal and can indicate a growing problem in your plumbing system. Aside from being an annoyance to your customers and staff members, the problem can grow over time and become much more serious. If you notice slowly draining water, it is probably time to bring in a professional plumber to assess the situation and fix the problem before it becomes worse (and more expensive).

4. Locate Your Cut Off Valve

Your cut off valve is the thing that will keep your building from completely flooding should you notice a leak, backup, or other plumbing issue. The cut off valve essentially turns off the water supply to your pipes so that no more damage can be done until the plumbing issue is fixed. This is a last resort strategy to keep in your back pocket should you encounter a plumbing issue despite regular maintenance (or if you become lax on the maintenance of your plumbing).

5. Schedule Regular Plumbing Inspections

The best kind of preventative maintenance of commercial plumbing is having an experienced technician conduct an inspection at regular intervals. Many plumbing issues are not immediately obvious until they become bigger problems, and you want to make sure your business never gets to that point. 

At All County Sewer and Drain Inc., our experienced sewer and drain technicians are always available to keep your commercial plumbing working its best. Whether you are looking for an inspection or you have a plumbing issue of any size, we will make sure your business is not interrupted – or interrupted as little as possible – as we get everything back in working order. With regularly scheduled inspections, you will be able to have peace of mind about your plumbing.