Common Sewer & Drain Issues During The Winter

Most homeowners know how the winter season can wreak havoc on their plumbing system. This is a primary reason why it is essential to keep up with plumbing maintenance throughout the year because if you neglect doing so or shrug off any minor issues as “no big deal,” you will find that those same issues intensify during the winter months. With that said, let’s take a look at some of these common winter plumbing problems that should be met with immediate action.

Frozen Pipes

Anytime the weather drops to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, poorly insulated or exposed pipes become vulnerable to freezing, meaning they are now in danger of bursting. If this goes unaddressed, a burst pipe can cause costly water damage to your home, while also creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew. So, when the weather starts to dip, you will want to check any pipes that could be at risk of freezing. Look out for layers of frost on the pipes as it may indicate there is a frozen block of water inside. Another potential sign of a frozen pipe includes faucets producing a weak stream of water or no water at all.

Clogged Drains

We all know better than to wash oil and grease down our drains, however, things happen. Pipes collect all kinds of debris such as hair, soap scum, or sludgy cooking substances and these things build up over time. So, when the cold weather hits, anything stuck in your pipes will solidify or combine with the frozen water leaving you with a fully stopped-up sink or shower. If you encounter any winter clogs, you may want to try pouring boiling water down the drain to thaw the obstruction. 

Water Heater Problems

Your water heater is hard at work throughout the year, but more so during the winter due to the increased demand for hot showers, and heavy loads of laundry and dishes. This increased wear and tear can cause a water heater to break down, especially if you have neglected to have regular maintenance on it for the past year. Lukewarm or chilly water could be a sign of an overworked or failing water heater. Additional signs to look out for are strange sounds coming from the water heater, or signs of leakage around the base of the appliance. If you notice any of these, then you will need to act fast because a busted water heater, like a burst pipe, can be very costly to deal with if left unaddressed.

The winter season can be brutal to your plumbing system and if you have not kept up with regular maintenance, now would be a great time to get started before some of these issues become even more costly down the line. Get in touch with All County Sewer and Drain today at 1 (800) 834-3102 to schedule an appointment with one of their professionals to come and take a look into your system.

Unfreezing The Drains In The Winter

As we are deep into the winter season, it is important to understand that your household drains are susceptible to freezing and thus making it difficult to unclog them while using traditional drain cleaning methods. You might be asking, which drains are at risk of freezing? The answer to this question would be drains that are more exposed to the elements, or ones that are along the outside walls of exposed basement walls. A few examples of these drains would be downspout discharge drains, shallow sewer lines, and shallow drains.

How To Prevent Freezing Drains

Now, it is important to keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the freezing temperatures will not affect your drains. However, the following solutions can help to prevent a drain block:

  1. First, you should cover your pipes with insulation sleeves
  2. Insulate any unfinished basements or other areas where the pipes and drains are exposed to colder temperatures
  3. Turn up the heat in any area where your pipes and drains are exposed
  4. Be sure to carefully pour hot water down any used household drains that are used infrequently
  5. Make sure you remove any debris from the outdoor drains and keep them clear throughout the winter months.

What Happens If Your Drain Becomes Frozen

When it comes to clearing frozen drains and pipes, here are a few DIY approaches you might want to consider. First, if it is an outdoor drain, using hot saltwater or just hot water along with a deicing agent can help to clear a line, however, be prepared for some water to back up towards you until you have cleared the block. For indoor pipes, they may respond by exposing them to the heat from a hair dryer. You will want to be cautious not to expose the pipes to heat for too long as it can cause more damage. Now, while using the DIY approach might work, you might want to contact a drain cleaning professional like All County Sewer & Drain for safety reasons. All County Sewer & Drain uses their drain cleaning cameras to get deep into the drain and see exactly where an issue is. Doing so allows them to know exactly where they need to work and save you time and money.

So, if you happen to notice that your drain is freezing up or it already has become frozen and you are in need of professional assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to All County Sewer & Drain today at (800) 834-3102!

Preventing Bathtub Clogs

Home fixtures are bound to break down over time, but, luckily there are ways you can prevent some emergencies while lowering your repair bills. For example, the bathtub is an easy daily fixture to maintain. Regular caulking and cleaning are a couple of common ways to avoid costly repairs. Another way to avoid costly repair work would be to prevent a clogged bathtub drain. These require immediate attention, so let’s take a look at a few ways that will help you prevent bathtub clogs.

The Bathtub Hair Trap

Hair and other debris are some of the major culprits to a bathtub drain clogging up. So, your first line of defense against these clogging agents will be the bathtub hair trap. Also known as a drain protector, the hair trap is both inexpensive and easy to “install.” In fact, you can find silicone, plastic, or even metal hair traps at any home improvement store or online for under $10. The way these hair traps are designed is that they are circular and feature many small holes that allow water to flow down the drain. The idea being that while water can pass through the small holes, hair and other debris will not. Keep in mind that you will have to clean your hair trap every few weeks as a lot of hair and debris may get caught in the trap. But, once it is cleared, water will be able to drain readily through the holes.

Removing Existing Hair and Debris

When it comes to debris, some of it you can see with your eyes and some are so microscopic that you will not be able to notice it. Hair is one type that you can easily remove from inside the entrance of the drain in the event you don’t have a hair trap to block it from getting through. What you will need is a wire hanger or a mini snake and simply scratch around to collect the hair and other debris. You should repeat this process until there is no more debris caught by the hanger.

Flushing Natural Cleaning Substances

Another method to prevent bathtub clogs is by using chemical drain liquids. Keep in mind, however, that these can be harmful to the environment and may even damage pipes after excessive use. So, an alternative would be environmentally friendly options such as bleach, baking soda, vinegar, and soda. If you are connected to a public sewer system, you can try pouring bleach down your drain to help dissolve hair and other acidic fibers. You will want to give the bleach time to work its magic before flushing it down with hot water. Baking soda and vinegar work together and produce fizz which will rise out of the drain opening. They won’t however, dissolve hair, but they will lift much of it up and out of the drain.

These are just a few tips that can help you prevent bathtub clogs. Remember, handling these issues early can save you plenty of money down the line. If you would like more information or are in need of professional assistance, feel free to call All County Sewer and Drain today at 1 (800) 834-3102!

Maintaining The Drainage in a Hospital Building

When it comes to modern hospitals, they are amongst some of the most complicated buildings in the world and this is because they specifically designed to be used for various kinds of patients, in different care settings all while using a plethora of treatments and equipment. So, with that in mind, their drainage systems are by nature also very complex. Health facility managers are also well aware of what a headache it can be when these systems break down. For example, a sewage backup occurring behind a blockage and flooding a hospital ward, while not uncommon, can mean having to move patients to other busy wards in order to clean that area. All County Sewer & Drain is well equipped to handle the maintenance of a hospital’s drainage system and provides the following tips to ensure your system remains in top shape.

 

Know Your Drainage System

Most hospital buildings have been developed as necessary over the years and the mapping of the drainage systems sometimes does not keep up with these changes due to a myriad of reasons such as inaccurate or incomplete plans, or even misconnections in the hospital pipework. This can make identifying the source of a drainage problem much more difficult and thus responding to those problems can become close to impossible. So, the best way to mitigate these issues is to map the entire drainage system so that you can identify the connections, water flows, system capacities, and asset condition.

 

With All County’s sewer camera system, they can provide high-quality video footage inside the pipes to give a clear view of the system allowing you to better map things out. This is the first step to having a quality maintenance strategy as you can easily identify which parts need to be fixed immediately and which can be saved for a later time.

 

Effective Maintenance

Performing regular preventative maintenance will be essential due to the unique demands placed on drainage systems. You will find that in older hospitals, many of the downpipes are cast iron reducing their capacity due to oxidization. Common hospital items can also accelerate this process like caustic chemicals, sanitation gels and detergents can also build up within the pipes. In addition to what goes on inside the building, outside blockage issues can be a burden to patient services. For example, tree root infestation and drain collapses are common causes of sewer blockages. All County Sewer & Drain has many different techniques to rectify these issues if necessary.

 

Control What Goes Down The Drains

Typically, whatever a patient or a healthcare worker would do at home, they are likely to do in a hospital. Therefore, it is not uncommon for many sanitary products and wet wipes to be disposed of wrongly down hospital toilets on a regular basis. Along with this, in hospital canteens and kitchens, you will notice a lot of fats and oils finding their way down the drains in residual amounts of through irresponsible disposal. For this reason, it is imperative to be in control of what is being put in the drains. So, be sure to train the staff and be on high alert when it comes to patients and visitors.

 

These are just a few common tips that can help maintain an effective drainage system within a hospital building. As mentioned, All County Sewer & Drain is well equipped to handle these kinds of drainage systems, especially with their sewer camera system that will allow them to get deep into the pipes and determine root causes of whatever drainage issue your building might be facing. For more information, feel free to call All County Sewer & Drain at 1 (800) 834-3102!

Tips To Keep Restaurant Drains Fresh

For restaurant owners, there are a host of things that one must keep track of. One of the most important things to think about is proper drain care. At All County Sewer and Drain, we have all the necessary tools and experience to help keep restaurant drains in top shape. So, let’s take a look at some tips that can help you take care of your drains and avoid health hazards in the process. 

 

Keep Grease Traps Clean

One of the best ways to keep your drains in top shape is to make sure the grease traps are clean. These are designed to stop certain materials from getting into your plumbing system which would result in clogging. The primary culprits include oils and fats which can cause many plumbing issues if they manage to get past your grease traps. So, it will be imperative to know how often your grease traps need to be pumped and when the grease trap line needs to be cleaned. Both of these measures will depend on how much grease you dispose of, so be sure to find an interval that works best for you.

 

Use Natural Solutions

Many times, even with minor clogs, people are quick to go for a chemical drain cleaner. Now, while these can be effective, the harsh ingredients and compounds used to break down clogs can also cause other types of problems that can be quite expensive to fix. An alternative solution that is more natural would be to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar which work together to take on grime and grease. Another natural solution to look into is hot water and bleach which helps to clear funky smells. These natural solutions are unlikely to damage your pipes which will be beneficial for you in the long run.

 

Install A Drain Cover

Drain covers or drain grates help to keep out any large debris, ensuring that your pipes and grease traps stay cleaner. On the bright side, these do not cost too much to install and would end up paying for itself over time as they would help you avoid any costly plumbing problems due to its assistance.

 

Eliminate Any Food Scraps

Even the smallest food scraps can cause some issues if they make their way down the drain. So, you will want to ensure that employees clean off plates thoroughly into the trash can. This will help you have some peace of mind that you won’t have to deal with any waste causing clogs or drain issues. The added time spent on cleaning up will certainly save you a bigger headache down the line. 

 

These are just a few tips that restaurant owners can use for preventative maintenance on their drains. For further information or assistance, be sure to call the professionals at All County Sewer and Drain and we would be happy to take a look at the problem for you and get you and your restaurant back on the right track. Give us a call at 1 (800) 834-3102!