Author Archive

5 Ways to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

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Call your Local Plumbers in Naperville if you have frozen pipes! Winter can prove an enchanting time for many people. Family members gather for the holidays, while some hard-working homeowners flee for sunnier climates or winter sporting opportunities. However, many of the season’s events also pose special challenges for your home’s plumbing system.

If you want to enjoy your winter as thoroughly as possible, you should understand these seasonal challenges so you can take preventative measures against them. Start by adopting the following five strategies for keeping your plumbing safe and functional all winter long.

4 Reasons to Consider a Shut-Off Valve Replacement for Your Home

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If you have a water emergency in the house, the shut-off valve becomes one of the most important areas to access. A shut-off valve will block all water access to the home and end leaks that could occur in kitchens, bathrooms, or other areas.

The valve itself is most likely ignored a majority of the time, but an inspection every few years will help determine if the valve needs replacement. A replacement valve can make a big difference in an emergency. Learn some of the reasons to consider a shut-off valve replacement and some signs to look for to know when to replace yours.

5 Reasons to Rely On Professional Plumbers for New Product Installations and Upgrades

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Upgrades to the plumbing in your house can make big differences in the way you use your water daily. A new showerhead could provide increased water pressure. New kitchen sink faucet features could change the way you do dishes and make the process easier. When you purchase plumbing upgrades, you may feel confident following directions or watching tutorials.

Unfortunately, when you deal with plumbing, one error could lead to massive water damage. While you can purchase any upgrade or product you want and find the best deals on those products, you should contact a plumber for professional installation. The use of professionals comes with many benefits and allows you to enjoy the upgrades without problems.

3 Plumbing Repairs Ideal for First Time Parents

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Being a first-time parent comes with a lot of stress, busy days, and focus on the new baby. With the new baby in your life, you may find it easy to let some other household tasks fall on the wayside.

Thankfully, a professional plumber can help along the way and help first-time parents get over all of those plumbing hurdles. Follow this guide to learn about some plumbing issues that may come up in the first few years of a baby’s life and how a plumber can help with repairs. Ignoring the issues early on could lead to much bigger problems in the future.

4 Reasons to Use a Power Rodding Service Once School Starts

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Plumbing services should not just cover emergency situations. If you want your home’s plumbing to run smoothly, then maintenance appointments will provide essential services to help prevent problems in the future. One service to consider for your home is power rodding. Power rodding involves a metal cable that plumbers will feed through drains.

The metal cable has a small rotating cleaning tool on the tips that can spin and break apart clogs without causing any damage to your pipes. As the children in your home plan a return to school, you have an ideal time to schedule a power rodding service. Learn why this specific timing is beneficial.

5 Signs You Need a Sillcock Replacement

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Access to an outdoor faucet on the exterior of your home comes with many advantages, such as easy access to water for gardening or to clean items like bikes and lawn mowers. The main spout of an exterior water access point is known as a Sillcock. This outdoor faucet is also referred to as a spigot, spicket, or hose bib. A Sillcock connects to your main water line. Unfortunately, outdoor conditions can change the way the Sillcock works.

If you feel like your Sillcock has not performed correctly or is in need of a repair, then look for some key signs. You may have noticed the signs in the past and ignored them, but the issues could lead to bigger problems with your home’s plumbing. Check out some of the signs to watch out for, and learn when you should call a plumber for a Sillcock replacement.

5 Sounds That May Signify Plumbing Problems

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If you’ve ever found yourself kept awake by things that go bump in the night, you already know that homes can generate all kinds of odd, apparently inexplicable noises. While some of these sounds may stem from foundation settling or other non-urgent issues, others can occur due to plumbing problems that require professional care.

Once you know what kinds of sounds a plumbing issue can create, and what those sounds may signify, you can recognize a problem and contact your plumber for an inspection before that issue can develop into a crisis. Pay special attention to the following five sounds that often signal plumbing trouble.

4 Plumbing Issues That Can Impact Your Utility Bills

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Young Couple Working on Their Utility Bills — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
Homeownership can sometimes feel like business management, in the sense that you must constantly stay on top of the various threats to your household budget and expenses — including utility bills. The amount of money you must spend on electricity, gas, and water can vary greatly, especially in the face of a plumbing problem.

If you’ve struggled to understand strange and unexpected increases in your monthly utility bills, you may need to look for a potential plumbing issue that drives your usage up without your knowledge. Take a moment to explore four kinds of plumbing issues that can cost you a lot of money while also creating other problems for your family.

Questions and Answers About Basement Plumbing Problems

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Basement Room with Stone Trim Walls — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Basements can serve as wonderfully useful and convenient additions to a home. You may have converted your own basement into a laundry room, for instance, or added a sink assembly as part of a remodeling upgrade to turn the basement into a hobby room. However, plumbing problems can make your basement inhospitable or even dangerous.

If you want to preserve both your home’s value and your basement’s utility, you need to know what kinds of plumbing problems can cause trouble for this often-ignored subsurface structure. Consider the following questions and answers about the various kinds of plumbing problems that can affect your basement.

What Plumbing Problems Can a Basement Laundry Room Experience?

A basement can make the perfect site for a laundry room, especially if it already offers easy connections to your home’s water heater and plumbing lines. Bear in mind, however, that washing machines can develop mechanical issues as they age, and that some of those issues can leave your basement laundry room flooded.

A laundry room flood may stem from a failed seal or leaks in the hose that goes from the washing machine to the plumbing system, especially if clogs in the hose have caused abnormal pressure buildup. To avoid problems, have your hot and cold water shut off valves to the washing machine installed properly. Floods may also occur if your washing machine pumps more water into your basement drain pipe than the pipe can handle, forcing the water to back up.

Whenever a basement flood involves electrical appliances, you must shut off the power to those appliances as a safety measure to prevent electrocution. If your basement houses a sink or toilet, avoid using these appliances as well until your plumber can identify and fix the underlying problem. A failed laundry pump or sump pump can also cause flooding.

How Can Cold Weather Damage Your Basement Plumbing?

Illinois sees more than its share of frigid weather. As water freezes within plumbing pipes, it expands. The pressure from this expansion can cause plastic or metal pipes to crack or even explode. You can largely avoid this catastrophe by letting your outdoor water lines drain out completely before winter weather hits. On freezing days, let various sinks trickle to prevent pressure buildup.

How Do Sewer Line Blockages Affect the Plumbing in Your Basement?

Your entire home’s plumbing system works as an integrated network of lines, all of which send wastewater out to the main sewer line. Unfortunately, what normally goes out can also come back in. A slow or clogged basement drain line can cause or contribute to such backups, creating problems for the basement and other areas.

If your home’s main sewer line gets clogged, wastewater may bubble up through your basement floor drain whenever you flush the toilet. This problem can occur when the toilet’s line fills up with items it can’t pass easily, or when ingrowing tree roots block the water flow inside the line.

This wastewater may enter your basement drain and then recede without you realizing it. However, if you smell raw sewage in your basement or see bubbles coming up into your toilet, you could have either a clogged basement drain line or a clogged main sewer line. Get these symptoms checked out immediately.

How Do Basement Plumbing Problems Affect Your Home’s Air Quality?

Your home’s plumbing pipes allow for ventilation of sewer gas as well as the movement of water. For this reason, the system needs proper ventilation as well as clear hoses and pipes. Without this ventilation, your family could risk exposure to toxic (and potentially combustible) carbon monoxide in the air.

Even the smallest leaks in your basement plumbing can add unwanted moisture that fosters mold growth. This mold can trigger or aggravate allergies and breathing problems while also damaging the drywall and other surfaces in the basement. If you see (or smell) mold in your basement, schedule a plumbing inspection.

What Can Happen if Your Basement Sump Pump Fails?

When a plumbing malfunction or natural disaster causes your basement to flood, your sump pump should come to the rescue to some extent. This device sits in a pit dug at your home’s lowest point, making the basement a natural location for it. Excess water flows into the pit so the sump pump can drive it into a nearby drain or well.

If you don’t provide your sump pump with regular upkeep, you can’t know for sure whether it will engage and do its job when flooding threatens to destroy your basement. Ask your plumbing technicians to schedule periodic inspections of your entire plumbing system, including the sump pump, and fix any problems that they find. Consider having your plumber install a battery back-up sump pump system as well.

If your basement plumbing presents you with puzzling or worrying questions, rest assured that Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., has the answers. Call (630) 964-2222 to schedule a routine plumbing inspection from our experienced technicians or ask for help with a particular basement plumbing problem.

7 Top Causes of Plumbing Leaks

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The signs of plumbing leaks often manifest as unsightly marks on walls and ceilings or mold growth under the sink. These signs can catch any homeowner off-guard and make you wonder about the exact cause of the leak. Worry no more, as the outline below describes seven top causes of plumbing leaks.

Smelly Shower? FAQs About This Odd Odor

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Does your shower smell? You clean the tub, tile floor, and walls regularly. But every time the scented spray dries, the odor returns — and you’re left wondering why your bathroom smells more than just off. If your shower smells, take a look at what you need to know about your home’s plumbing system and the possible culprits behind the odd odor.

Can You Find the Source of the Smell?

You may need to play detective and sniff out the source of the problem. Even though it may seem like the shower is at fault for the offending odor, it’s also possible the sink, toilet, or another area of the bathroom is the cause. If the entire room smells, it’s unlikely that you could pinpoint the source by yourself. But if the scent is significantly stronger when you stand over the shower’s drain, you may have found the plumbing problem.

What Should You Do If You Can’t Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

You could cover the scent with air fresheners, but this won’t fix the problem and could result in additional plumbing problems or damage. If you can’t sniff out the source of the odor, contact a qualified plumber to inspect and assess the issue. A plumber has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to locate the cause, diagnose a potential problem, and repair your shower or its plumbing system if needed.

What Should You Do If You Can Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

The answer to this question is also to contact a qualified plumber. Your detective skills paid off and your sniffing revealed a pungent smell coming from the shower’s drain. What should you do next? While it’s tempting to clean or clear the drain area yourself, this type of DIY approach can cause more problems or fail to fix the real issue at fault. Even though you believe that you’ve found the source of the problem, you need a professional to diagnose the issue and clean or repair the drain or other part of your shower.

Why Does Your Shower Smell?

Now that you know more about the first step to take (finding the source of the smell), you may want to learn more about the possible problems that could cause an odd or offensive odor. While some shower smells come from mold, mildew, or other surface-level debris issues, others start deep inside of the drain.

Common reasons behind a shower odor (other than mildew, mold, or failure to clean the surface) include biofilm inside of the drain or pipes, other types of buildup inside of the drain or pipes, clogs, a problem with the p-trap, leaky pipes, or sewer line clogs or cracks. Only a qualified plumber should diagnose and repair any of these potential problems.

Are There Other Signs To Look For?

The plumber will need to know if you’ve noticed other issues that go beyond the odd odor. Many of the causes behind shower odors such as clogs and debris-coated pipes also come with other noticeable symptoms. If the odor is the result of a drain clog, you may also notice that your shower is slow to drain or there is constantly standing water in the tub. The same is true for debris-coated pipes. However, if a leak or cracked pipe is the issue, you are likely to see water on the floor, or the ceiling below the shower, or have an abnormally high water bill.

What Should You Do If Your Shower Smells Like A Sewer?

While many shower smells come from directly under the tub or stall floor, it’s possible the odor has worked its way up from the main sewer line or is the result of a serious leak. At higher levels, sewer gas may pose a risk to your health. The hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide compounds could cause throat and respiratory system irritation, headaches, fatigue, organ failure, or other serious health issues. This makes it essential to find the cause of the sewer gas and repair the problem as soon as possible.

Clogs in your home’s main drain, dry or malfunctioning p-traps, blocked vents, and cracked pipes can all result in the release of sewer gasses. A plumber can find the source of the problem and repair it fully. Without the proper fix, the backup could continue and sewer gas could make its way into your shower and bathroom again.

How Will the Plumber Stop the Odor?

There isn’t one answer to this question. The repair or remedy necessary depends on the specific problem. If the shower odor is the result of a clogged or debris-coated drain, the contractor may need to power-rod or power-jet the pipes. While this type of professional-level cleaning will stop a backup-related smell, it won’t fix a leak. Instead, the plumber will need to find the source of the leak and repair or replace the pipes.

Do you need to schedule a plumbing assessment or repair? Contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for more information.

Remodeling Your Home? Consider These 5 Plumbing Improvements

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Woman Wetting Toothbrush in Sink — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncA new year often means a new desire to make things better than ever for yourself and your family. As you make your plans to eat more wisely, get more exercise, and finish long-delayed projects, you may decide to renovate or remodel your home, in which case you may also want to look at your current plumbing system.

A general home remodeling project presents an excellent opportunity for you to correct inefficiencies, damage, or outdated components that need replacement in your plumbing system. Give serious thought to making the following five improvements.

Forget the DIY Faucet Installation and Hire a Professional

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Sink — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncWhy should you hire a plumber to install a new bathroom sink faucet? The DIY blogs and video tutorials may make this plumbing job seem easy. But in reality, this is a service that often requires professional help. If you’re ready to remodel your bathroom or replace the faucet, take a look at what you need to know about this fixture, your home’s plumbing, and the installation options.

Do You Really Need to Replace a Bathroom Sink Faucet?

4 Tips for Keeping Your Sump Pump Working Properly this Winter

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Sump Pump — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncIf you have a sump pump in your basement to help prevent basement flooding, then you may believe the common misconception that this sump pump is only important during the rainy months of the year and not during the cold, snowy winter.

However, your sump pump is just as important during the winter months as it is during the spring and summer because it helps divert melted snow and ice away from your basement to prevent flooding during the many freeze-thaw cycles that accompany the snowy season.

For this reason, you should always take steps to keep your sump pump working properly during the winter months and keep an eye out for any pump problems that can occur during the cold months of the year.

Read on to learn four tips for keeping your sump pump working properly this winter.

4 Advantages of Power Rodding Over Hydro Jetting

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Power Rodding — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncA professional plumber is your best resource to clear clogged drains. Two of the more common ways to get rid of deep clogs are with a power rodder or a hydro jet. The service option you choose can make a big difference for your pipes. While both may get rid of the main clog, you will find many advantages with a power rodding service.

Learn about power rodding and all of the advantages that it has versus hydro jetting.

1. Chops Clogs Up

Gas Pipe Problems: Questions and Answers

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Gas Pipe — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

According to the most current data from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), the ignition of natural gas accounts for some 4,200 residential fires and an average of 40 deaths per year. Even when explosions don’t occur, U.S. fire departments must address an average of 340 daily calls involving gas leaks that don’t involve fires.

Unless you know your residential plumbing inside and out, you may not understand how gas circulates through your home, what kinds of problems can affect gas line function, and how your plumber can help you fix or prevent such problems. Get up to speed on the subject with these frequently asked questions and their answers.

8 Plumbing Issues to Look Out for in Older Houses

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Plumbing Issue — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncOld homes have an irresistible, rustic charm that entices many homeowners. However, your charming period home may be hiding numerous plumbing problems that can frustrate you if you don’t get them taken care of. Explore some common issues below.

1. Outdated Pipe Materials 

Plumbing materials have evolved to give way from metal to more durable and flexible options like PVC and PEX piping. Historically, plumbers have used lead, copper, cast iron, and concrete as pipe materials. When buying an older home, have a plumber look at the type of pipe material it has. Additionally, an expert plumber can check the condition of the pipes and recommend necessary repairs.

4 Things to Know About Power Rodding

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Power Rodding — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

If you are calling around about preventative maintenance for your sewer line, or if you have a clog present in your sewer line, you may hear plumbers tell you about power rodding. Power rodding is a term that the average person may not be familiar with, even though it is a technique that is regularly used by plumbers.

Learning about power rodding can give you insight into this plumbing technique so you can better understand plumbers who may be offering services to you. Here are four things you should know about power rodding.

  1. What the Benefits of Power Rodding Your Sewage Line Are

Power rodding involves the use of a metal cable that rotates, helping to loosen and break up debris. Ultimately, this helps to clear up a breakage

5 Kitchen Upgrades Ideal for Home Chefs

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Kitchen Upgrades — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

If you are an avid home chef, then you may not realize that you can add many kitchen upgrades to your home that can make meal preparation and cleanup quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.

Read on to learn about five kitchen upgrades that are ideal for home chefs.

  1. Chef’s Sink

One kitchen upgrade that has become very popular among avid home cooks in recent years is the installation of a chef’s sink. A traditional residential kitchen sink typically comprises just one or two sink bowl compartments and a faucet. On the other hand, a chef’s sink, also called a workstation sink, contains many additional components designed to aid in food preparation and cleanup. 

5 Plumbing Home Improvements That Increase Home Value

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Bathroom — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncIf you plan to sell your home soon, then you may wonder if there are plumbing upgrades that can increase the value of your home when you place it on the market. While the return on investment (ROI) of any home improvement project can vary based on where a home is located and many other factors, there are some plumbing-based upgrades that tend to have a great ROI throughout the country.

Read on to learn about five plumbing-based home improvements that can increase the resale value of your home and why.

  1. Replace Outdated Plumbing Pipes

If your home is filled with plumbing pipes made from outdated materials, such as galvanized steel, then replace these pipes with pipes made from

Is a Tankless Water Heater the Right Choice for You?

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Tankless Water Heater — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
In many homes, hot water comes from a large tank where water is heated, spent, and heated again. But one of the latest innovations of home utility comes in the form of a water heater with no tank at all.

Tankless water heaters come with many benefits and, like most appliances, a few drawbacks to keep in mind, but ultimately their use depends on how good of a fit they are for you. Learn more about these heaters so you can decide if one of them is right for you.

What Are Tankless Heaters?

4 Bathroom Upgrades Ideal for Family Use

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Do you have a growing family? Perhaps you’ve recently married or had a partner move in. No matter your family situation, you need the bathroom space and functionality to meet the needs of all family members. The same way you adapt other rooms in the home, you should consider some plumbing upgrades in your home bathrooms.

Discover some easy-to-implement upgrades for your bathrooms.A Couple Brushing Their Teeth — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

  1. Double Vanity Sinks

Another person in the house means you have another person going through the same daily bathroom routines like brushing teeth and washing hands. To help make the bathroom use more manageable, consider the installation of a double vanity sink. With a double sink, a family member can have their own side with items like a toothbrush and toothpaste.

For adults, teenagers, or older children sharing a bathroom, this will allow for less stressful and more productive bathroom routines. You don’t have to coordinate schedules for when each person uses the sink, and you benefit from additional room so you don’t have to squabble over counter space for bathroom supplies.

4 Modern Outdoor Water Faucet Types and Their Unique Benefits

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Woman Washing Hands in Outdoor Water Faucets — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Now that springtime is on its way, learn about all of your outdoor water faucet options to determine if your home has the faucet type best for the family’s needs.

The most common outdoor faucet type consists of a spigot, or a hose bib, coupled with a simple compression valve. While this faucet style allows your family to obtain cold water outdoors when necessary, it lacks many of the benefits of today’s modern outdoor water faucets.

Learn about four modern outdoor water faucet types and each of their unique benefits.

4 Eco-Friendly Toilet Upgrade Options

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Toilet — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Older toilets can end up using a lot of water on a daily basis. If you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and energy bill, then consider upgrading the toilets in your home. A newtoilet and professional installation come with many benefits that directly impact you and the environment.

Learn about the eco-friendly upgrades and how each one helps the environment.

  1. Toilet Tank Replacement

The older your toilet is, the more water waste the plumbing fixture creates on a daily basis. Toilets have improved over time to reduce the amount of water used and a full replacement can make a big difference in your home.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Water Shutoff Valves

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Hand Spins Water Shutoff Valve — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
Every homeowner should know where their home’s water shutoff valves are located and how they work. These valves help you control the flow of water into and throughout your home. They can also help you prevent extensive home water damage if a water fixture malfunctions or a water pipe bursts and you need to shut off the flow of water in your home in a hurry.

Read on to learn more about your home’s water shutoff valves, the valve types available today, and the signs you need new valves.

Shutoff Valves Present in Homes

3 Seemingly Small Toilet Problems That Can Have Big Consequences

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Cleaned Toilet — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

While many toilet problems are obvious, such as a clogged toilet or toilet that just won’t flush, others are less apparent. However, many small toilet problems can be symptoms of larger problems. If not resolved, they can lead to even bigger problems.

Read on to learn about three small toilet problems that should not be ignored.

1. Gurgling

If you hear a gurgling sound coming from your toilet bowl when it is not being flushed, do not ignore this noise, because toilet gurgling is typically a symptom of a much larger plumbing problem.

Two plumbing problems that can cause a toilet to gurgle include a clogged main sewer line and a clogged vent stack. Your home’s vent stack is a pipe that allows sewer gasses to escape from your home.

Plumbing Misconceptions That Can Damage Your Home

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Modern Bathroom — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncThrough the years, plumbing misconceptions have been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, this misinformation could lead to more problems than solutions.

Learn about some of the biggest plumbing myths, problems that can occur, and ways to avoid the problems so your plumbing runs smoothly in the future. If you have accidentally fallen for any of the misconceptions, you will also learn some of the solutions plumbers can use to help.

1. Using Bricks to Save Water

3 Plumbing Terms All Homeowners Should Know and Understand

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Toilet Tank — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncFrom bringing water into your home to disposing of water and waste, plumbing is a key part of your home. However, the plumbing system is not just a series of pipes that transport water and waste to and from your home — it also consists of various fixtures and appliances. While the system is important and prominent, homeowners may not fully understand each element of their plumbing or septic systems.

By knowing a few key plumbing terms, you will have a better understanding of your home’s plumbing system, the way it operates, the problems it might incur, and the best techniques to maintain it. Learn about three important plumbing terms you should know and understand.

1. Flapper

4 Plumbing Services Ideal for Old Home Purchases

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Plumbing for Old Homes — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncAn old home comes with a lot of history, character, and unique architectural designs, but as a homeowner of an old home, you must also deal with some of the older technology that may not serve you as well for modern times. Before you get settled down into your home, learn about plumbing services to help get the house up to date and to provide smooth water operations.

From the kitchen to the bathroom, plumbing services will go a long way in providing you with a functional home. The services will also help prevent some major disasters in the future.

1. Power Rodding

5 Strange Plumbing Symptoms and Their Meanings

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Plumbing Symptoms — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.Not all plumbing problems explain themselves through their outward symptoms. While you might immediately recognize an obvious water leak on your kitchen floor or a clogged drain that makes a sink or tub unusable, other trouble signs may only produce confusion rather than pointing toward clear causes and solutions.

Here are five unsettling issues homeowners may encounter.

1. Shaking or Knocking Fixtures

Sometimes a plumbing fixture may start to shake or vibrate for no clear reason. You may have noticed this shaking motion in your kitchen sink faucets, shower heads, or other points where water drains from the system. This motion may occur alongside rattling or knocking noises at the fixture or from wall-mounted pipes.

A Guide to Choosing a Sump Pump for Your Basement

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Sump Pump — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.If you own a home with a basement that tends to flood when it rains, then you may have considered installing a sump pump. Sump pumps offer an economical way to direct water away from your basement to keep it dry, and these pumps are especially effective when basement flooding is from water seeping between the basement slab and foundation wall or you live in an area prone to general flooding.

Like many homeowners, you may know what sump pumps are but do not understand what all of your pump options are and how to choose the right sump pump for your home.

Read on to learn about sump pump types and how to choose the right sump pump for your home.

Sump Pump Types

To effectively prevent basement flooding, you should choose one standalone sump pump powered by electricity and one backup pump that requires no electricity to run while continuing to direct water away from your basement during a power outage.

Understanding 4 Frustrating Toilet Failures

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Of all the household devices that you depend on to do their job when you need them the most, the toilet surely ranks toward the top of the list. Toilets contain a variety of hoses, valves, seals, and moving parts. A problem in any of these components can suddenly leave you with a frustrating problem.

Even if you have every intention of leaving the fixes to the experts, you may rest easier simply by knowing what’s probably going wrong in your toilet. Take a look at these four all-too-common toilet-related failures.

  1. The Toilet Simply Won’t FlushPlunger Next To Clogged Toilet - Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer

Your toilet may fail to flush when you push the flush handle. This common occurrence can cause considerable inconvenience and embarrassment until you can finally eliminate the solid or liquid waste from the toilet bowl. Fortunately, plumbers can usually correct this kind of problem with ease.

Your toilet flushes by dumping water from an overhead tank down into the bowl. This clean water replaces the wastewater in the bowl, pushing it downward through the toilet’s p-trap and into the sewer line. The flush handle uses an attached chain to raise a rubber flapper in the bottom of the tank.

Any failure in this relatively simple assembly can prevent your toilet from flushing. For instance, the flusher handle’s chain may detach from the rubber flapper, leaving the flapper closed when you push the handle. Alternatively, the flapper may not align properly or form a good seal with the hole in the bottom of the tank.

A toilet may refuse to flush even when the flush handle chain remains solidly connected to the flapper and the flapper fits the tank hole perfectly. In these situations, a length of the chain may sit between the flapper and the hole. This prevents the tank from filling with enough water to provide a solid flush.

  1. The Toilet Never Stops Running

You can usually tell when you have a flush chain or flapper problem because you won’t see or hear the water filling the toilet tank. However, you may suffer the opposite problem: a toilet tank that never stops running. You may see water pouring out of the flush valve even though the tank’s water level never rises.

Your toilet tank gets its water supply from a plumbing pipe located next to the toilet. This water runs through a fill tube perched over a cylinder called an overflow tube, which directs water to the bottom of the tank. As the water level rises, a float valve rises with it. At a certain height, the float valve shuts off the water flow.

If your toilet tank’s water level never seems to rise, your fill tube may have either detached completely or gotten dislodged from its usual position directly over the overflow tube. Either way, your tank may never collect more than a small amount of water, never reaching the proper level to shut itself off.

If your overflow tube seems to do its job correctly, then you may have to turn your attention to the flapper. A worn flapper that has lost its sealing power may allow water to drip through the tank instead of accumulating in it.

  1. The Toilet Has Sprung a Leak

Any plumbing problem that results in a wet floor can prove understandably alarming. If you see water around the base of your toilet, you need to contact a plumber before you use the toilet again. In the meantime, turn off the water supply at the wall valve.

You may find out that the water on your floor has leaked out of the wall valve directly. Your plumber may need to replace the malfunctioning valve to restore normal, trouble-free service.

Sometimes, the base of a toilet experiences a malfunction that causes it to leak. Your toilet’s bolts may have come loose, for instance, or its wax seal may have broken or worn out. Another possibility is a broken toilet flange or collar. However, you can’t always attribute mysterious puddles of water to leakage. The water might come from condensation dripping down a cold toilet.

  1. The Toilet Smells Like a Sewer

Normally, the p-trap in your toilet keeps sewer gas out of your bathroom. This curved length of tubing traps holds a certain amount of water at all times, creating a barrier between the sewer line and your home.

A toilet that smells like sewer gas may have developed a critical breach that undoes this safeguard. A failed wax seal can sometimes allow sewer gas into the bathroom. A toilet that has no water in it at all (has gone unused for months) will permit sewer gas to creep up through the p-trap.

The experienced plumbers at Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., can resolve these and other annoying toilet problems quickly and effectively. Call us at 630-964-2222 to set up an appointment.

3 Common Home Sewer Line Problems and How to Prevent Them

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

One very important part of your home’s plumbing system is your lateral home sewer line. All wastewater created in your home, including the water that flows down your home drains and wastes you flush down the toilet, flows out of your home through this line and into your city’s main sewer system.

If this line becomes clogged or damaged, then it can lead to plumbing problems throughout your entire home. Read on to learn about three common lateral sewer line problems and how to prevent these problems, if possible. 

Child Flushed Toys Down the Toilet? What to Do

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Bathroom

Children do the funniest (and most inconvenient) things with their toys. They put toys up their nose, lose them in the backyard and, occasionally, flush them down the toilet. If you’re the parent of a small child, someday you may find yourself dealing with a toy that’s been flushed down your toilet. If this happens in your home, knowing what to do can help you get the toilet back to normal as soon as possible.

Here are some actions you should take to protect your plumbing from children’s toys.

5 Things You Should Know About Garbage Disposals

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5 Things You Should Know About Garbage Disposals

If your kitchen does not have a garbage disposal, you may seriously want to consider installing one. These handy appliances, mounted underneath the sink, collect and grind food waste. The garbage disposal uses electricity, which is why it needs to be near an outlet.

Once everything is connected, you simply flip the switch and turn on the garbage disposal. An impeller plate inside the garbage disposal turns rapidly and pulverizes the food into bits. This is how a garbage disposal works. Before installing one, learn about some more things you should know.

Signs of Water Heater Failure and New Water Heater Options

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Water Heater Tanks

No water heater lasts forever, and eventually, all water heaters fail. While tank-style water heaters can last up to 15 years with routine maintenance, neglecting this maintenance can greatly reduce their lifespans. Read on to learn some telltale signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater and whether you should opt for a tankless water heater or a traditional tank-style heater.

What Are Some Signs of Water Heater Failure?

While your plumber can help you make the final decision whether to repair or replace your existing water heater, the following are signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater. 

4 Situations That Are Plumbing Emergencies

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Pipe Burst

Your plumbing system doesn’t come with a warning system. When something is about to go wrong, there’s no flashing red light that warns of impending problems. In most instances, proper maintenance and regular plumbing inspections will warn you of major plumbing problems.

However, if you’re a homeowner, you are bound to have unexpected problems with your plumbing at one time or another. Many companies offer plumbing services outside of normal work hours. However, these services can be expensive. A plumbing job during normal business hours can easily cost twice as much when handled after hours.

A Comprehensive Guide on Power Rodding

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Systems, Plumbing Tips

When a stubborn clog comes between you and your plumbing system, you want it taken care of right away. Your trusted plumber will have plenty of tools in their arsenal to quickly dislodge clogs and return your drains to normal.

Power rodding offers a powerful way of tackling tough clogs and other obstructions that prove difficult or even impossible to remove any other way. Read on to discover everything you wanted to know about the tools and processes behind power rodding and how it benefits your plumbing system.

What Can You Plant Over Your Septic Drain Field?

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Septic system professionals warn property owners not to plant trees too close to their septic drain lines or mounds. Trees send out tiny feeder roots that invade and clog septic drain lines. However, you’re encouraged to establish vegetation over your septic drain area. Here’s what you need to know about plants and your septic system.

5 Reasons Why Septic Drain Lines Fail

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Systems

Waste drain lines and septic lines under your home and under the soil can collapse, develop pinholes, or crack. When waste and drainage lines are damaged in the above ways, the septic lines can eventually fail and cause your septic system to stop working. Here are five reasons why waste and drain lines stop working.

3 Tips to Keep Your Ejector Pump in Good Shape

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Do you have basement or first-floor plumbing fixtures that are located below the street sewer drains? If so, it’s likely that you have an ejector pump on the lower level of your residence. Ejector

pumps can cause problems including home flooding. Here are three ways to keep your ejector pump working properly this spring.

A Guide to Tree Roots and Sewer Lines

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

If your wastewater drains are slow or the home’s wastewater frequently backs up into tubs and showers, the cause of the drain issue may be tree-root invasion of your home’s sewage lines. Tree roots can wreak havoc on underground drainage lines if the root invasion is not caught and cleared in time. Learn what you should know about tree roots in your drainage lines.

6 Remodeling Ideas to Make a Small Bathroom Seem Larger

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Small bathrooms can be frustrating for homeowners, but certain changes can make them look larger. With a creative bathroom remodel, your small bathroom can be made to look more spacious. By choosing your fixtures wisely, installing a curbless shower, choosing colors that push back the walls, and lighting the space properly, you can make a small bathroom look more comfortable.

Break Bad Shower Habits to Save Your Bathroom Plumbing

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

You might not realize it, but bad shower habits can impact your bathroom plumbing in ways you wouldn’t expect. Common problems including clogs and leaks can come from careless and sometimes dangerous shower habits.

Bad habits die hard, but overcoming some shower habits can give your bathroom plumbing a new lease on life. You will not only enjoy more reliable plumbing and fewer service calls but also conserve more water and pay less for the privilege of using your shower. The following are a few things you can do to break those habits and ensure your bathroom plumbing works efficiently.

5 Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Your toilet is not a garbage can, and you should never use it as such. While this sounds easy enough to remember, you would be surprised by how many people use their toilet to get rid of certain items. Of course, flushing certain things down the toilet is not always done on purpose.

This is especially true if you have small children, who sometimes make a game out of seeing whether their sibling’s favorite toy is flushable. Even if you do not have children, just flushing something down and forgetting about it might be tempting. However, according to professional plumbers, the only things that should go down the toilet are human waste and toilet paper.

If you wonder why Kleenex or baby wipes are not flushable, this is because they do not easily disintegrate in the water as toilet paper does. Even flushable wipes should never go down the toilet. Besides wipes and Kleenex, here are five more things you should never flush down the toilet.

4 Main Causes of Sump-Pump Failure

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Can your sump pump manage the drainage in your basement or crawlspace? Or does your pump fail at the worst times? If you need reliable water removal in your basement, you may need to replace your pump with one or more new sump pumps.

Sump pumps fail for a number of reasons. When you know the reason (or reasons) why your sump pump failed, you can choose a better model next time. Here’s more about four main causes of sump pump failure to help you understand your sump pump.

4 Reasons to Have Your Outside Faucets Replaced

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Upgrade your outdoor water capabilities this summer with new exterior faucets installed by a qualified plumber. Here are four great reasons to schedule an exterior spigot update.

  1. You Have a Pool or Pond

Whether you’ve bought a new pool or you’re refilling the old one, you need a lot of water before you can swim. At 40 pounds of water pressure, a standard 1/2-inch diameter garden hose needs at least nine hours to fill a 5,000-gallon pool or pond. A 5/8-inch-diameter hose only takes five hours to deliver the same amount of water to your outdoor water features.

6 Common Substances That Cause Sink Clogs

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Clogged sinks are a common household plumbing issue. In many cases, these obstructions seem to appear virtually overnight with no readily apparent cause. The seemingly sudden appearance of sink clogs is due to the fact that many blockages happen over time as certain substances stick to the sides or bends of your pips and begin to block normal water flow. Eventually, the ball of gunk becomes large enough that your sink drains slowly or not at all.

Understanding how these clogs form can help you prevent the inconvenience and potential damage of sink drainage issues and backups. In this blog, we list six of the most common substances that cause residential sink clogs.

5 Facts About Outdoor Faucets and Fixtures in Winter

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Outdoor water supplies are lifesavers during warm months. You water plants, flush out gutters, and wash the car easily because of your outdoor faucets and fixtures. In winter, pay attention to your outdoor water supplies to protect hoses, faucets, and your indoor plumbing.

Your plumber can install several devices to reduce problems with your faucet over the winter. One of these devices helps when you have issues in summer, too. Here are five things you should know about your outdoor faucets during cold weather.

10 Invisible Signs of Hard Water

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

 

Hard water is a common household plumbing problem. Hard water occurs when a home’s water gathers a high level of trace minerals like calcium and magnesium on its way through the municipal water supply system. These minerals can then affect the performance of a home’s plumbing system.

Once you suspect that hard water has become an issue for your home, you can take steps to address the issue. A reputable plumber can test for hard water, recommend and install a water softener, and correct any existing effects of hard water on the home’s plumbing system.

Unfortunately, many of the signs of hard water aren’t immediately obvious unless you know what to look for. In this blog, we list 10 invisible signs of hard water so you can notice a problem and address it before the hard water causes too much damage to your home.

Don’t Let Low Water Pressure Get You Down

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Low water pressure can be frustrating, especially when you’re taking a shower or washing a sink full of dirty dishes. Sometimes low water pressure is due to a simple problem, like a clogged aerator screen on a shower head or faucet — a condition that is easily fixed.

But when the problem is more complex, you’ll need the help of a professional plumber. In that case, a plumber can take several steps to identify and fix the problem. When you call a plumber, these are some of the things they might do to resolve the issue.

4 Reasons Not to Try DIY Drain Cleaning

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Drain clogs are some of the most common plumbing issues homeowners face. Clogs also can seem like one of the most straightforward projects for the handyman in your home. However, do-it-yourself drain cleaning methods are unreliable at best and potentially hazardous at worst.

In fact, your best course of action when you notice a persistent drain clog is to call in a professional plumber from a trusted company. In this blog, we list four of the main reasons to leave drain cleaning to your plumber.

Is Your Hot Water Heater Ready for Winter?

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Water Heaters

You rely on your hot water heater for routine tasks you complete throughout the day, from preparing your morning coffee to washing your child’s sports uniform to relaxing in a bubble bath after a hard day’s work.

If your hot water heater is the appropriate size and kept in good condition, the unit should be able to accommodate your everyday hot water needs with little to no delay. However, when winter weather arrives, the change in moisture and temperature could affect your heater’s performance and your daily routine.

In this blog, we discuss how winter conditions can impact your hot water heater as well as how your plumber may winterize your hot water heater to prevent common seasonal issues.

3 Ways New Bathroom and Kitchen Faucets Enhance Your Life

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Replacing your kitchen and bathroom faucets is a worthwhile investment, especially if your faucets haven’t been updated in 15 years, which is the average lifespan of faucets. Now is a good time to pick out some new faucets, there are many choices in faucet styles and materials are available to meet the design of every household.

As you plan your kitchen or bathroom remodel, research the various types of faucets that will work in your home. Get the most use out of your new faucets by following the three tips listed below.

Tips for Frozen Pipe Prevention

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Frozen pipes can cause serious water damage when they thaw. Fortunately, frozen pipes are an avoidable problem. Preparing your home for cold temperatures this winter and taking measures to protect your pipes when cold weather arrives can help you take care of your property.

Insulate Your Pipes

Pipe insulation protects exposed pipes from cold temperatures. If you don’t properly insulate your pipes before winter, they could freeze and then burst. If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, it’s a good idea to contact a plumber in the fall and have them insulate your pipes.

Pipe insulation is especially helpful in parts of the home that are unheated, such as the basement, crawl space and attic. Pipe insulation can also come in handy in any sheltered, isolated parts of the house, like in the space underneath cabinets and in closets.

What to Do if Your Basement is Flooding

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

It’s another peaceful morning, and you’re ready to tackle a few chores, including laundry. As you head down the basement stairs with a full basket tucked under your arm, you notice a horrific sight: your basement is flooding. Your first instinct might be to drop the basket and begin saving as many items as possible.

Unfortunately, mishandling even minor flooding in your basement can lead to unnecessary damage, or you might even get hurt. Here are some suggested steps to take once you discover your basement is filling with water.

What’s The Big Deal About Flushing Tissues And Paper Towels Down Your Toilet?

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

It’s bound to happen at some point—you’re taking care of business only to discover that you’re fresh out of toilet paper. But it just so happens that you have a roll of paper towels or a box of facial tissues nearby. Nature’s calling, and at that point, substituting tissue or paper towels for toilet paper doesn’t seem all that terrible. Unfortunately, doing just that could be more dangerous for your toilet than you think.

With Kids Home for Summer, Follow These 7 Tips to Prevent Plumbing Problems

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Summer has arrived, and if you’re a parent, that means your kids are off from school and spending more time around the house. While it can be a pleasure having the kids around all day, their presence also makes plumbing problems more likely.

Problems that have been brewing for a while may become more serious, and new problems may arise as well. Follow these seven plumbing tips to protect your plumbing from the kids.

6 Common Springtime Plumbing Problems

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Systems

Spring’s temperate weather can provide welcome relief from the cloudy skies, slick roads, and freezing temperatures of winter. However, the sudden change in weather, especially if you have several warm days punctuated by a cold spell, can wreak havoc on your plumbing system.

In this blog, we list six of the most common plumbing and drainage problems that arise this time of year.

Don’t Turn Your Sink Into a Trash Can: Be Kind to Your Disposal

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Sadly, one of the most abused aspects of home plumbing is the kitchen garbage disposal. Many people treat the disposal as a “catch all” for food scraps and even non-food items. If you want your disposal to last, however, it’s best to use it properly.

Maintaining your disposal is easy. When you only use your disposal for its correct purpose, you’ll have little, if any, trouble with it in the future. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re being kind to your kitchen disposal.

Take These 5 Steps Now to Reduce Basement Flooding

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

If you own a property that has a basement, you should have a plan to deal with potential flooding. It isn’t just a broken levee or swollen creek that causes water to pour into a home. Roof damage, foundation cracks, and improperly sealed windows can all lead to water pooling in the basement.

Flooding in a home damages structural elements and leads to mold and mildew growth. It’s best to practice prevention to avoid the risk of flooding, but you should also have the tools on hand to manage potential flood events.

Determine Your Risk of Property Flooding

If you live high up on a hill, far away from a body of water, with adequate landscape drainage in a well-sealed home, you’re in a great spot. As long as a tornado or fallen tree doesn’t take out a section of your roof, you’re at a low risk of suffering a flood event. It’s still a good idea to keep a wet-dry vacuum cleaner and spare mops on hand in case a toilet overflows or a window is left open during a rainstorm.

If you live close to a river, your home has clogged gutters, or you’ve experienced flooding in your basement before, you’re at a high risk of a future flooding crisis. Property owners who are lower in elevation on gravity-fed sewer lines often get hit hardest as storm water flows downhill into their basements. If this describes your property, you’re also at high risk.

Is Your Sump Pump Ready for Spring Rain? Don’t Wait to Find Out

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Systems

As an individual, you may be looking forward to the end of winter. As a homeowner, however, you know that you need to prepare your home for the change of the season to minimize the risk of flooding, leaky pipes, and other common spring problems.

In this blog, we discuss what a reputable plumber can do to prepare your sump pump.

Schedule an Inspection in Advance

The purpose of a seasonal sump pump inspection is to check that all components of the pump are functioning correctly to reduce the risk of home flooding. Your plumber will perform a visual inspection and a series of tests to determine your pump’s preparedness.

Blocked Sewer Vents: An Often-Overlooked Plumbing Issue

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

When you think of clogged plumbing, blockages in drain pipes are probably the first issue that comes to mind. But there’s another part of your plumbing system that can become blocked: your sewer vents. Located on the roof, these vent pipes allow gases to escape from your sewer system. They regulate the air pressure in your system, allowing waste to flow freely. If they become blocked, your system won’t drain properly. Here’s a closer look at this issue.

Signs That Your Sewer Vents Are Blocked

The signs of a blocked sewer vent often mimic those of a blockage in the drain pipe. For this reason, some cases of blocked vents go undiagnosed for months or years while the homeowners try DIY fixes to clear drain lines-but to no avail. The following are common signs that your sewer vents could be blocked.

Gurgling Noises

You may hear gurgling or even see water bubbling up and out of the drains as they drain. You may also hear gurgling coming from your toilet shortly after you flush. The gurgling is caused by air escaping through the drain. The air should be flowing up and out of the sewer vents, but since they are blocked, it has nowhere else to escape but through the drains.

Note that in some cases, you may hear gurgling in drains other than the one you’re using at the moment. For example, if you flush a toilet, you may hear gurgling in the tub. This indicates that these two plumbing fixtures share a vent-and it is blocked. In some cases, gurgling noises indicate that there is no vent for that particular drain or fixture.

Slow Drains

A single slow drain usually indicates a blockage in the drain itself. And slow drains can certainly be an indication that there’s something clogging your main sewer pipe. However, if all of the drains in your home are slow and you’re also noticing the other issues described in this section, blocked sewer vents are more likely to blame.

Sewage Odors

The air emitted from your sewer lines doesn’t smell like a bed of roses! If you notice sewage odors coming from your drains and toilets, but you don’t see any overt sewage backups or spills, what you’re probably smelling is the air escaping through the drains.

Causes of Blocked Sewer Vents and Their Solutions

There are a number of possible causes of blocked sewer vents. These three are the most common.

Snow Buildup

If you started to experience the problems described above after a snowstorm, snow on the roof is probably blocking your sewer vent. This is most likely to occur on a flat roof, from which the snow does not drain properly, or after a really heavy snowstorm that results in several feet of snow on the roof.

In the short-term, your plumber can fix the issue by clearing snow away from the vent and melting any snow that has made its way down inside of the vent. However, to prevent this issue from occurring again, they’ll also want to replace your vent pipe with a longer one that extends above the level of snow on your roof.

Debris Buildup

Your plumbing vent should be angled at the end to prevent leaves and other debris from making their way into it. If your sewer vent is filled with debris, your plumber may remove it using a special grabbing tool. Then, the vent pipe may be re-angled and a new cap may be put into place to keep debris from clogging it again.

Sewage Clogs

There may be a clog in the sewer line right where it meets the vent pipe. This blockage keeps air from traveling up the vent pipe properly. Sometimes, these clogs comprise materials like wet wipes and feminine hygiene products, which homeowners commonly flush even though they are really not designed to go down the drain.

This kind of blockage is the hardest to remove. Your plumber may need to access the blockage through the vent on the roof, pushing a plumbing auger down through the system to grab onto the offending material and pull it out. In the future, sticking to flushing only human waste and toilet paper will keep you from dealing with the same problem again.

If you’re having trouble with slow drains and sewer odors, and plunging your drains has not fixed the issue, then it’s definitely time to call Jim Dhamer Plumbing. Whether the blockage truly is in your vent pipes or in your main sewer line, it’s important to deal with it promptly before it results in raw sewage or smelly air flowing into your home.

Remodeling Your Kitchen? 5 Benefits of Working With a Professional Plumber

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Remodeling can help you craft your dream home, regardless of your home’s current condition. However, for the renovation to be as beautiful and functional as you imagine, it’s important the job be done correctly. In a previous blog, “Bathroom Remodeling 101: A Homeowner’s Guide to a Successful Remodel,” we provided a number of bathroom-specific tips and stressed the importance of working with a professional. In this blog, we discuss five benefits of working with a professional, licensed plumber during your kitchen remodel.

  1. Ability to Rearrange Appliances

Think about your desired kitchen design. Are any of your appliances going to change location? Are you replacing some or all of your appliances? Are you adding a new appliance? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s in your best interest to work with a plumber.

Plumbing systems in the kitchen are complex, especially if you’ve never worked on piping before. Even installing a new refrigerator or moving your oven to a different location may require rearranging a small amount of the pipework, including the gas line.

Additionally, if you plan to move or upgrade an appliance that is connected to a water source, like your dishwasher or sink, you’ll want the help of a plumber. In some cases, newer appliances require that you rework the plumbing where it attaches to the appliance. Professional help is particularly important if you want to place an appliance in an unconventional location, such as a kitchen island.

If you try to remodel your kitchen on your own, the changes you can make to your appliances may be limited. With the help of a plumber, you can achieve the kitchen layout you imagine.

  1. Evaluation of Current Plumbing Conditions

Before you begin the process of actually remodeling, it’s important to have your home systems inspected. These systems include your wiring and your pipework. If you fail to have your plumbing system evaluated, you may need to remove appliances or pull up your new materials to make major repairs in the near future.

A professional plumber can assess your pipework, make any necessary repairs, and provide you with recommendations to keep the system healthy and functional. This inspection serves as an opportunity to identify and resolve any existing problems or to prevent other issues from developing over time.

  1. Ideas Backed by Expertise

Unless you have a contracting or plumbing background, your vision for your kitchen may not include the most practical or efficient options. When you work with a professional, all of his or her suggestions are backed by experience.

A plumber can help you decide on the most energy efficient appliances, avoid common layout pitfalls, and reduce your daily water usage through design choices.

  1. Reduced Risk of Water Damage

Whenever you perform a DIY project involving pipework, you run the risk of serious water damage. A mistake as simple as forgetting to turn the water off can ruin your materials, cause structural problems, and delay your renovation.

Instead, have a trained team handle any tasks that require proximity to water pipes. A professional plumber’s presence can protect you from leaks, burst pipes, and other serious forms of water damage.

Not only does working with a plumber prevent these issues during the initial renovation, but correct plumbing work protects you from plumbing problems after your project is complete. If a leak or other problem should appear at a later date, having your worked backed by a warranty and professional experience is important.

  1. Simplified Permit Processes

Like your plumbing system itself, obtaining the correct building permits can be complex. While some building codes are state or county-wide, some restrictions or guidelines may apply to smaller areas such as your specific city.

If you remodel without all the appropriate permits, you do not have the correct documentation for the construction. You may be unable to sell your home without an inspection, retroactive permits, and a potential fine in the future.

A plumber who routinely serves homeowners in your area has the knowledge to advise regarding the necessary permits. Once the work is complete, you’ll have a record of these permits that legitimizes all your kitchen renovations. These records can simplify inspections related to resale or insurance claims, as well as put potential buyers at ease when deciding whether to invest in your property.

As you anticipate your kitchen remodeling work, remember that the right tools and expertise are just as important as your materials and design. Work with a professional to take advantage of the benefits listed above. Planning a renovation in the Chicagoland area? Work with Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. to ensure that the final product matches your vision.

Have a Clog? Don’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Tips

You know the signs of a clogged drain all too well. Instead of flowing quietly through your plumbing, the water gurgles and glugs. Over time, the small pools that form around your drain as you wash dishes or your hands eventually turn into little lakes. In some cases, the water backs out of your drain after seeming to go down, and what comes up looks dirtier than what you originally rinsed away.

You also know that if you don’t handle the clog quickly that it could contribute to leaks and flooding. You don’t want to go through the hassle of calling a plumber, so you feel tempted to rely on a chemical drain cleaner instead. After all, the advertisements suggest that the formula will quickly scour your pipes and break down any debris. Soon you can go back to washing your clothes or bathing your children as normal.

But don’t grab that plastic jug just yet.

Despite manufacturer claims, chemical drain cleaners may do your plumbing more harm than good. Unless you use a product specifically recommended by your plumber, your cleaner may have the following problems.

1. The Fumes Are Toxic

Take a quick look at your drain cleaner’s label. You’ll likely see a lengthy list of warnings describing the negative health effects. Although these health effects vary depending on the product, you can experience skin irritation or even severe burns if you spill the cleaner on your skin.

Even if you were to exercise the utmost care when pouring the chemicals down your drain, the formula will still release fumes into the air, and these fumes can linger for days after usage. If inhaled, many drain cleaners cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, and fainting.

2. The Chemicals Erode Pipes

Different products rely on varying chemicals to unclog your pipes. Caustic drain cleaners, for example, use caustic potash or lye to dissolve clogs. Oxidizing cleaners often feature nitrates, bleach, and peroxides. Acid drain cleaners have hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.

But no matter which product you use, you can expect your chemical drain cleaner to react with the hair, scum, and debris in your plumbing and create heat. The reaction and resulting heat can soften modern PVC pipes and corrode older copper, steel, and cast-iron pipes, especially if used incorrectly.

If your pipes have already suffered minor damage or corrosion from general wear and tear, the chemicals could worsen the condition of your plumbing and increase the likelihood of leaks.

3. The Formula Upsets Bacterial Balance

If your plumbing connects to a septic tank rather than a municipal sewer system, you should avoid chemical drain cleaners as much as possible.

Septic tanks contain a delicate balance of bacteria colonies and chemicals. When you flush waste down your plumbing, the bacteria break down and consume the debris that accumulates in your tank, and the remaining water flows away into your drain field.

However, experts have found that only 12 grams of bleach (or similar drain cleaner) can effectively kill many of the bacteria colonies in your tank. Without adequate bacteria in your septic tank, the waste will accumulate, and you’ll have to pump and replace your failing system.

4. The Results Are Temporary

If you have a small, manageable clog, a mild store-bought drain cleaner might help you clear away some of the debris and allow the water to flow smoothly once more. But keep in mind that drain cleaners have limits, and they won’t compensate for undersized, outdated, or damaged plumbing.

Clogs can occur for a variety of reasons, not just the food you toss down the
disposal or the hair you shed in the bath. If you have a backed up sewer line, broken pipe, or non-dissolvable item (such as a toy or tool) lodged in your plumbing, drain cleaner will only address surface buildup rather than the underlying cause.

If you’re lucky, the product will give you enough clearance to restore minimal water flow, but your pipes might clog again and again and again, despite frequent cleanings. If you’re unlucky, the drain cleaner will sit on top of the clog and continually eat at your already compromised pipes, resulting in additional damage.

Call Your Plumber Whenever You Have a Clog

Chemical drain cleaners have a lot to offer homeowners: convenience, affordability, and speed, to name a few. But unless you know the precise nature of the clog, the overall condition of your pipes, and how the ingredients will react in your plumbing, you’ll be better off skipping the drain cleaners and talking to a reliable plumber.

When you schedule professional drain cleaning, you can rest easy knowing that the plumber will only use professional equipment. Additionally, your plumber can thoroughly inspect your pipes and pinpoint any problems that would result in repeated clogs.

Water Heaters: Tank Vs. Tankless

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

For every shower, clean dish, or fresh shirt, you need hot water. Without it, cleaning might not be as effective, and showers can be painfully chilly. But while a water heater benefits every house, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right water heater for your needs.

Today, tankless water heaters are available, giving the average homeowner an alternative to the traditional tank water heater. But how does this tankless option compare to a tank water heater? To learn more about the pros and cons of each water heater, keep reading. We’ll discuss how they’re different and how they’ll affect your home life and wallet.

Tank Water Heaters

With traditional water heaters, a large tank fills with water and heats it up. When you use some of the water, the tank refills and continues to heat to make up for the lost water.

Pros

Traditional water heaters are used in plenty of homes across the country, and despite being an older technology, they still have their advantages:

  • Reasonable repairs and maintenance. If something should go wrong with your tank water heater, the maintenance and repairs are fairly inexpensive compared to tankless water heaters.
  • More affordable installation. Out of the two water heaters, tank water heaters can cost less to install.
  • Easy installation. While tank water heaters are easy to install, they also have fewer limitations as to where they can be placed. They don’t always require electricity, so as long as they get enough fuel, they’ll operate smoothly just about anywhere in your utility room, basement, garage or another suitable place.

You might decide that with these benefits, a tank water heater is best for your home.

Cons

However, like any appliance, tank water heaters have their downsides too. But, depending on the size of your family and home, some of these may not be much of a nuisance as all:

  • Large in size. Tank water heaters are rather bulky, so if you don’t already have a place for one, it can be difficult to locate a suitable space. Or, even if you do have an area for it, it can take up prime space in your garage or closet.
  • Short life span. When the two water heaters are set side by side, tank water heaters may not last as long. On average, they last about 10 to 15 years, and then they’ll need to be replaced.
  • Costly utility bills. Because these water heaters constantly keep water hot, they use up quite a bit of fuel to maintain the same temperature. Compared to tankless water heaters, this option results in more expensive utility bills.
  • Limited hot water supply. Water heater tanks only hold so much water at a time, and it takes a while for it to fill up again. So, if everyone in your family takes a lengthy shower, the last person might get a spray of icy cold water.

If these downsides are too much for you, consider a tankless water heater instead.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand by heating the water as it flows through the heater. For instance, some tankless water heaters heat two or three gallons of water per minute at a constant rate.

Pros

The setup and operation of a tankless water heater allows a few helpful benefits, and you may find that these suit your situation better than your tank water heater.

  • Small size. Unlike tank water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t constantly hold water. As a result, these water heaters are quite a bit smaller, so they can fit in slimmer areas.
  • Requires minimal maintenance. Tankless water heaters don’t need a ton of work or repairs over the years, so you don’t have to worry too much about them breaking or slowing down. Annual flushing/descaling is recommended.
  • Long-lasting operation. Despite not needing a ton of maintenance, tankless water heaters do have a longer life span than tank systems. These can last over two decades, so you can rest assured your water heater will last for some time.
  • Constant hot water. With tankless water systems, you don’t have to worry about running out of water. Since water runs directly through the water heater and heats instantly, you can count on getting hot water whenever you need it.
  • Lower utility bills. Because tankless water systems only work on demand, you’ll use less energy on a regular basis, and you won’t have to pay as much for monthly utilities.
    If these benefits are what you’re looking for, a tankless water heater is a great option.

Cons

This newer technology also has its disadvantages in regards to your wallet. Depending on your finances, tankless water heaters may not be the best option.

  • Expensive installation. While tankless water heaters can be more inexpensive in the long run, they cost quite a bit more to install than their tank counterparts.
  • Limited installation locations. Tankless water heaters need to be in close proximity to a power source, and this can complicate the installation a bit. You may need a little bit of electrical work done to accommodate the water heater placement.
  • Costly repairs and maintenance. If something does go wrong with your water heater, it can be an expensive affair. Be sure you’re prepared for the expense just in case.

If your primary concern is the amount of money a new water heater will cost, tankless might not be a great option for you.

When you’re trying to decide between tank and tankless water heaters, use the information above. But if you’re still having trouble, speak to Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. We can help you find the best fit for your home or business, and once you make a decision, we’ll professionally install the water heater for you.

8 Signs Your Toilet Needs to Be Replaced

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

You put a lot of effort into maintaining your home and ensuring everything is in working order. One of the most important systems you need to maintain is your plumbing. And when your toilet doesn’t work properly or it appears to be damaged, the ordeal can be frustrating, and it can be difficult to determine when it’s time to give in and replace the toilet entirely.

Below, we’ll discuss eight signs that it may be time for a toilet replacement.

1. Constant Clogging

Nobody likes to deal with a clogged toilet. While they’re not uncommon, random or recurring clogs can indicate an issue. If you have an old, lowflush toilet, you may experience stoppages far too often. If you experience clogs more than once a week, or the clogs seem random and odd, you should probably replace your toilet.

If you don’t want to lose the water-saving benefits of a low-flush toilet, simply replace your current toilet with a more efficient and effective commode. Modern technologies have come a long way, and low-flush toilets are much better than they used to be.

2. Cracks

When you notice puddles of water around your toilet, you may want to check for cracks in the porcelain. While the toilet may work fine, leaks can waste a lot of water, and that water exposure can damage your flooring over time. It can also result in mold or mildew growth.

Look for cracks in the bowl or the tank of the toilet. If you notice any, or if you hear constant running from your toilet, replace it right away before the situation gets worse. If you can’t tell if there’s a crack, put dye in the water of the tank or bowl and see if the dyed water makes it to the floor.

3. Plentiful Repairs

Toilets shouldn’t need to be constantly repaired. If you find yourself regularly calling for a plumber to fix the toilet, replace it. Frequent repairs can add up, and you can save yourself a bit of cash over the years if you invest in a new toilet.

Or, if your toilet requires numerous repairs all at once, it may be cheaper to replace the toilet instead. Discuss the situation with your plumber, and he or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.

4. Excessive Age

Even if your toilet is a little old, it may work just fine. But older toilets are often more inefficient than the newer models, so it may be a good idea to replace your toilet and save some money and water. Consider a toilet with a dual-flush feature. It allows you to partially flush for liquid waste and fully flush for solid waste. That way, you can maximize your savings both in water use and utility costs.

5. Wobbling

If your toilet wobbles, it may be a simple problem of loose screws. A plumber can easily tighten the bolts and ensure everything is properly placed. But wobbling can also signify a bigger problem. The floor beneath the toilet may be rotting away or water damaged, so if you notice wobbling, call a professional to check it out.

6. Inefficient Flushing

When you find that your water bills are high, investing in a new, water-efficient toilet can help you keep your bills down. The average toilet uses three to five gallons of water with each flush, while a low-flush toilet uses about two gallons for every flush. If you have a large family or are environmentally conscious, such a change can help lower your water bill and water usage.

7. Surface Damages

If you have a lot of scratches on the surface of your toilet, you may want to replace your toilet for cosmetic reasons. Excessive scratches can make it difficult to keep the fixture clean. This damage is more common with older toilets that have been scrubbed numerous times over the years, so if you find that you’re cleaning your toilet more often than you should, it could be time for a replacement.

8. Built-Up Mineral Deposits

In areas with hard water, the minerals in the water can collect in the inlet holes and syphon tube. Such buildup can keep water from flowing effectively, making the toilet inefficient. In some cases, you may be able to clear some of the deposits away by chipping at the buildup, but this step is not always successful. If the buildup gets bad enough, your toilet may need replacement.

 

There can be several different signs that your toilet needs replacement, but no matter the reason, be sure you call a professional to do the job. Rely on Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for any of your plumbing needs. We can replace your toilet efficiently, and we can help you find the right solution to your problem.

What to Do When Your Bathroom Floods

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Modern indoor plumbing includes some of the most useful inventions in the history of humanity. When the toilet overflows or when the shower drain backs up and floods your bathroom, you may be faced with an unpleasant situation.

When your bathroom floods, take action immediately. Follow these steps to minimize the damage to your home that the water (and maybe sewage) can do.

Improving Your Water Usage With Modern Technology

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

When you wash your hands, flush the toilet, or take a shower, you may not realize how much water you actually use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average four-person American family uses as much as 400 gallons of water a day, just completing necessary daily activities.

Luckily for the environment and your wallet, modern manufacturers have developed new appliance models that drastically reduce water usage and offer other benefits as well. If you’re ready to lower your water bills and create a more eco-friendly home, replace your older appliances with a modern alternative.

Interesting Highlights From the History of Indoor Plumbing

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Systems

Where in the world do you think the first modern plumbing systems appeared? Perhaps Europe during the Renaissance when ingenious thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci were introducing innovative ideas right and left? Or maybe ancient Roman aqueducts represent the first major step towards flushable toilets and running water?

To find the real answer, you have to go back much farther and visit a different continent. According to archaeological estimates, around 4000 to 3000 BCE, India’s Indus River Valley featured the first water pipes and sewage systems known to humankind.

Today, thousands of years later, many people enjoy the convenience of indoor plumbing every day—and consider it more of a necessity than a luxury. But indoor plumbing made some interesting stops on its way to your home. Below, discover five intriguing stories from the history of indoor plumbing.

1. Bathrooms Fit for a Mummy

Ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their dead royalty. These elaborate structures had many amenities—including bathroom-like pipes. Specifically, excavators found copper piping in the pyramid for King Suhura at Abusir. Priests likely used these copper pipes to drain water after performing daily rituals.

This early pyramid wasn’t the only one to contain indoor plumbing. Another tomb, built for the body of the god Osiris, contains a huge moat. The moat surrounds a figure of Osiris on his throne and still gets filled with water from the Nile via underground pipes 5,000 years later.

2. Pure Water for the Ancient Mayans

Around 2,000 years ago, the Mayans built the city of Tikal in what is now Guatemala. According to scholarly work done by a team from the University of Cincinnati, the city featured many notable water amenities. They created a system of reservoirs that collected rain and supplied water to the city, which was not near any major waterways.

In addition, many parts of this water collection system contained simple sand-filled filters. The sand cleaned the water and made it safer for human use. Water that didn’t pass through these filters likely aided in agriculture.

3. A Toilet Built for a Queen

Elizabeth I ruled England during a fascinating time in the nation’s history. Her contemporaries included playwright William Shakespeare and adventurer Francis Drake, and she herself accomplished much during her 44-year reign, including the legendary defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

The English Renaissance also inspired Elizabeth’s godson John Harrington to invent an early version of the flush toilet, complete with seat, bowl, and water tank. His model used a basic valve to empty the contents of the bowl after use. He installed one at Richmond Palace for Elizabeth to use and one at his own residence.

4. A Toilet Your Nose Can Appreciate

Of course, John Harrington’s rudimentary toilet wasn’t perfect. One major flaw was that the water inside the tank emitted a foul odor. Luckily, Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings devised an ingenious solution to this problem in 1775, paving the way for indoor plumbing to become commonplace.

Cummings created a trap that separated the bowl from the sewage beneath. A small valve would slide open whenever a user emptied the bowl, but then it would slide close and allow some clean, not smelly water to remain in the bowl. The trap’s shape also forced it to hold clean water, and smelly gas could not pass through to stink up the bathroom.

Today’s toilets have similar traps that perform the same function. In fact, most plumbing fixtures use traps to block sewer gas from entering a building.

5. Hot and Cold Water Join Forces

How many times have you gone to wash your hands, only to discover that the water was either too hot or too cold? The same circumstance happened to Alfred Moen in 1937, and it inspired him to create the faucet that releases both hot and cold water.

As a mechanical engineering student, Moen was uniquely qualified to solve this problem. Plus, he recognized that essentially everyone could benefit from such an invention. He designed and built prototypes but struggled to find a manufacturer. Finally, in 1947, the single-handled faucet began to sell for approximately $12 each, and demand for the product quickly rose.

Moen’s faucets are one of the most popular plumbing inventions of the 20th century. According to the Los Angeles Times, around 70% of kitchen faucets sold in the US today are the single-handled variety. And Moen himself continued to invent products that enhance indoor plumbing, including a solution for being shocked by cold water in the shower.

 

When you wash your dishes or use the restroom, you may not think much about how those conveniences became a part of your daily life. But now that you’ve read these interesting stories, you may pause and appreciate the amazing toilet, the streamlined faucet, or the hardworking showerhead. And if you experience problems with any of these fixtures, call Dhamer Plumbing for expert help resolving those issues.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.plumbingsupply.com/pmegypt.html

https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/discover/2005/march/article2.html

History of Plumbing Timeline

Plumbing

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/a-mayan-water-system-with-lessons-for-today/?_r=0

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/apr/20/local/me-53360

Bathroom Remodeling 101: A Homeowner’s Guide to a Successful Remodel

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

You consider your home a sanctuary-a haven where you go to escape the pressures of work and the world. It’s a space that’s uniquely yours, and it provides you with all the luxuries and comforts you want.

But what if you want certain areas of your home to be a little more luxurious? What if you want to upgrade the look and functionality of one space just to make your home a little more welcoming at the end of a long day? And what if you want to remodel your bathroom but fear that the project won’t be successful?

As a homeowner, you know that a bathroom renovation could cost a lot – but it will also add value to your home. You don’t want to risk a flopped project, yet you aren’t sure what you need to do to ensure its success.

Below, you’ll find several tips that you should use as you plan for your next bathroom remodeling project.

Make a Design Plan

The first thing you need to do when you choose to remodel your bathroom is to create a design plan. After all, any professionals who assist you can’t do their jobs correctly if they don’t know what you want. You can draw a rough sketch of what you want the space to look like, or you can simply make a list of things you’d like to change.

For example, if you want to retile the floor, convert your tub to a shower, hide the toilet in its own closet, and install new accent features, write these items down on a list. The more concrete, set ideas you have before the project begins, the easier and faster it will be to complete.

Determine Your Budget for the Project

Once you’ve come up with a design for your updated bathroom, set a budget for the project. How much are you willing to spend on materials and labor? You can always talk to a professional plumber and get a quote so you know how much the remodel could cost. On average, homeowners spend a little over $9,000 on bathroom remodels.

Additionally, you should include emergencies in your budget. For example, you may run out of materials or there may be an unforeseen problem with the plumbing.

Always Use a Professional’s Assistance

You’ve got your design plan, and you’ve set your budget for the project. Now, you need to turn to the professionals. Unless you are a certified plumber or electrician, it may be wise to engage the help of a professional technician.

Your home’s plumbing and electrical systems are complex, and licensed plumbers and electricians ensure that each step of the remodel is completed correctly. Always use an expert as you start your remodel.

Choose the Materials Beforehand

When you begin any project, you need to have all the materials on hand and ready to go. This fact is even truer with bathroom remodels. You don’t want the renovation to take longer than necessary. So by purchasing your materials beforehand, you make your plumber’s job much easier and faster.

Additionally, your plumbing expert won’t have to guess on the kinds of fixtures or materials you want-you’ll have already made the decision and he or she will fully understand your vision for the space.

Splurge on One Item

As you choose the materials for your remodel, pick one item in your bathroom to splurge on. Install granite countertops or marble flooring in the space. Convert your small tub into a larger tub and shower combo. Or, add in-wall shelves to increase your storage space.

This one splurge adds an extra splash of luxury and elegance to the space, and you’ll appreciate the aesthetic it provides.

Install Energy- and Water-Efficient Fixtures

While you’re remodeling your bathroom, why not help save the environment-and lower your water and energy bills? Ask your plumbing professional to install energy- and water-efficient fixtures. These fixtures include water-friendly showerheads and toilets, as well as energy-efficient lights and water heaters.

Though these items may cost more upfront, you’ll more than make up for the cost as you save money on your monthly bills.

Find Out If Your Plumbing Services Will Be Disrupted

Finally, talk to your plumber and see if any of your plumbing services will be turned off during the remodel, especially if you have children or seniors living with you. As experts upgrade your bathroom and work on different fixtures, they usually have to turn off your home’s water. Your technician will likely tell you at least a day in advance if he or she will turn off any plumbing service so you can plan accordingly.

How to Get Started

Ready to create the bathroom of your dreams? Use the information in this blog to create a design plan for your project and to ensure you have the perfect bathroom for you and your home. When you need assistance with the entire venture, get in touch with the qualified, licensed plumbers at Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.

Sludge, Gunk, and Grime in the Tub: What You Need to Know About Sewage Backup

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Systems, Plumbing Tips

Your home’s plumbing system is made up of an effectively designed combination of pipes. Each pipe fits perfectly into a set order so your home can receive fresh water when you turn on the tap and remove wastewater with the flick of a handle.

For your home to work properly and efficiently, all of these pipes must function as they were designed to. The pipes that bring water into your home should only ever provide clear, clean water from the spout. And the pipes that remove wastewater should never let water come back into your home.

Sometimes, though, the pipes that lead from your sink to the sewage system don’t work as they should. Sometimes, sewage and water back up through the pipes and reenter your home.

Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about sewage backup and why you should take immediate action if you notice it in your tub, shower, or sinks.

Causes of Sewage Backup

More often than not, you’ll experience a backup for one or more of the following reasons:

Sanitary Main Issues

If the sanitary main for your neighborhood has a block or stops working, you could experience sewage backups in your home. Your city public works office monitors and clears the mains frequently to prevent backups. But when a blockage isn’t detected in time, pressure will build in the main, causing the sewage to backflow. The sewage will then enter your home through the plumbing as the built-up pressure pushes it back.

Tree Root Growth

As trees grow, their roots descend deep into the ground looking for water and nutrients. If the roots come into contact with your pipes, they’ll find a way to break through these fixtures to access the water inside. The roots continue to grow, absorbing water and nutrients from your pipes. Eventually, the roots will become so thick and tangled that they can block your pipes entirely.

Heavy Rainfall

Sometimes, heavy rainfall can cause sewage to back up into your home. If they city’s draining systems can’t withstand the sudden onset of water, the water will find any available drain and use it as an escape hatch.

Additionally, if your home’s drainage system and landscaping don’t drain water away from your home properly, you are more likely to experience backups during a storm.

Signs of Sewage Backup

Even if you know what causes a sewage backup, identifying one can be difficult. Take the following steps to determine if you have a backup in your home:

  • Look for sludge or sediment in your tub, shower, or sinks.
  • Pay attention to foul odors. You’ll typically smell sewage from the pipes in your tub, shower, or sinks.
  • Run your plumbing fixtures. Watch out for water that backs up after you flush your toilet or run water down your sinks.

If you notice any of these signs, contact a plumber as soon as possible. He or she can work with your city’s public works department to determine if the main is blocked or if your sewer line needs rodding from your home to the street.

Effects of Sewage Backup

Because sewage backup contains human waste, exposure to raw sewage can have adverse side effects. If you’re exposed to the bacteria for too long, you could develop health issues.

If you’ve been exposed to sewage backup and you experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, visit a health care professional immediately.

Backup Classification

When wastewater backs up into your home, it can be classified into one of two categories. The type of sewage backup that flows into your home determines the kind of action you should take to get rid of it.

Greywater

Greywater is a form of unsanitary, contaminated water that can make humans sick if they consume it. You’ll experience greywater backups if your sink, dishwasher, or washing machine overflows. The water doesn’t contain feces or pathogens, but if left alone for 48 hours, greywater degrades into blackwater as bacteria and pathogens grow in the stagnant water.

Blackwater

Blackwater, on the other hand, is much more toxic to humans. This kind of backup contains feces, urine, and other pathogens that could cause a human to become ill. Blackwater usually backs up from the toilet, but it can also back-flow through your other drain pipes. Additionally, any water in your home that sits stagnant for more than five days is considered blackwater.

Ways to Remedy Sewage Backup

If you ever experience a sewage backup in your home, contact a plumber immediately. Once your plumber arrives, he or she will inspect your home’s drainage system to find the source of the problem. Then, he or she will make the necessary repairs and provide you with tips to prevent a backup in the future.

How to Identify 5 Common Drain Problems

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Think of the different plumbing features in your home. Drains are used daily to flush all kinds of contaminants and waste products into the sewer system. 

Below, you’ll find a list of common drain problems you may encounter. Keep in mind that if you don’t have any experience with plumbing, you should leave the repairs to someone with the proper knowledge and tools.  Your licensed plumber can do a thorough job.

The Drain Slows or Backs Up Due to Fat, Oil, and Grease Buildup

You might think that when oils and liquid fats from meats go down the drain, they flush all the way out with running water and end up at the treatment plant with everything else. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. When fats and oils go down the drain, the cool pipes around them turn them back into a solid, and they then line the sides of the pipe.

As more grease goes down the drain, the more the buildup coats the inside of the pipe until eventually it forms a total blockage. Even if you pour boiling water down the drain, it might not do enough to defeat the grease plug.

The Drain Slows or Backs Up Due to Hair Buildup

Hair gets stuck around tiny imperfections in the pipe’s interior. It also sticks in shampoo, scented oils, and any other products that may go down the drain.

Tree Roots Grow Into Your Drainage System Down the Line

Tree roots follow moisture through the soil. So it should come as little surprise that they would grow towards your pipes, especially if your plumbing has tiny flaws that let little droplets leak out. The tree roots will grow towards the moisture and then insert themselves into the pipe’s flaws. As the roots grow, they can cause a rupture in the pipe as well as block the water that passes through it.

Additionally, these roots can catch toilet paper, food waste, hair, and anything else that goes down your drain and create a formidable clog. If that’s the case, you will not be able to solve this drainage problem on your own.  Call your plumber to power rod and/or hydro jet your main sewer drain.

A Sentimental or Monetarily Valuable Item Goes Down the Drain

You don’t want toys, wedding rings, money, or anything else with sentimental or fiscal value going down the drain. But accidents happen.  Your plumber can help you safely take apart your drain pipes to search for your lost valuable, and will reconnect your plumbing system properly and to code.

The Drain Slows or Backs Up Due to Frozen Pipes

When pipes freeze, they don’t burst right away. The water simply sits in the pipe and turns to ice. Any water that comes up behind it exerts pressure. So if you have frozen contents in your home’s drainage system, don’t run any water or put anything in the drain until you’ve had a professional plumber come and help. You may not be able to solve this problem on your own as thawing pipes often reveal many leaks.  Your plumber can repair any leaks or replace the affected pipes.

Keep in mind you can always have our plumber perform regular drain maintenance and we’re here to assist in case of your emergency

Can Toilet Paper Clog Your Toilet?

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Does your toilet get clogged frequently? It’s a messy, unpleasant, inconvenient experience, and you probably would be glad if it never happened again. In order to prevent clogs, you make sure to never flush anything that could be damaging, like food, feminine hygiene products, or trash. But what if the clogs keep forming?

As strange as it sounds, toilet paper may cause your constant clogs. Not all toilet paper is made the same, and some kinds may get stuck in your plumbing. This blog can help you figure out why toilet paper might clog your toilet and what to do about it.

Why Does Toilet Paper Form Clogs?

You would think that since toilet paper is designed to go into the toilet, it wouldn’t cause any problems.  However, that isn’t always the case – there are a few reasons why toilet paper clogs form:

  • Low-flow toilets. You may have chosen a low-flow toilet for its efficiency. After all, you care about the environment, and you don’t want to waste water. You also want your water bill to remain low. However, because low-flow toilets use less water, the water pressure isn’t as high. Therefore, thickness of the toilet paper used is something to be aware of.
  • Rough pipes. New pipes are smooth and clean, which means that waste goes through them easily. However, the pipes get coated in grease and waste over time, and the edges may get rougher. All of these factors can cause toilet paper to become stuck more easily. Older cast iron pipes can be more at risk for clogs.
  • Too much toilet paper. As you have doubtless observed, too much toilet paper can clog your toilet. Generally, adults tend to know how much toilet paper is too much, so this probably isn’t an issue for you. However, if you have a child who is still learning, you may have to deal with clogs frequently.
  • Toilet paper that doesn’t dissolve well. You may love getting ultra-plush toilet paper-you want a product that is soft, absorbent, and strong. However, if you get a toilet paper that is too thick, it may not dissolve very well, which means that it can get stuck in your pipes and cause clogs. If you eliminate other reasons why your toilet is clogging, your toilet paper itself might be to blame.

Your clogging problem may be caused by one issue or a combination of problems. You may have to do some experimenting to get rid of the problem.

How Can I Stop Clogs?

In order to stop frequent clogs, start by taking easy steps. For example, if your children are using too much toilet paper, try teaching them to count the squares so they don’t take too much. Alternatively, some parents draw a line on the wall under the toilet paper dispenser. The child can pull the toilet paper down, and when it hits the line, they know they have enough.

If you’re worried that your toilet paper is too thick, there is an easy test. All you have to do is put a square of your toilet paper into a toilet. Wait a few minutes, and then go check on it. If the toilet paper is at least partially dissolved, the toilet paper is probably not an issue. However, if it still looks the same as when you put it in, the toilet paper is too thick. Try to get a product that is thinner next time you shop.

If you’re worried about low-flow toilets or about rough pipes, hopefully switching your toilet paper and limiting the amount of paper will be enough to prevent clogs. However, if it isn’t, you’ll need to contact a plumber. A professional will be able to help you decide if your toilet and pipes are doing their jobs correctly and can repair or clean them if they aren’t working.

What About When I’m Away From Home?

Did you know that in many countries, you aren’t supposed to flush the toilet paper? Generally, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US all flush toilet paper, but much of the rest of the world doesn’t-and if you try to do so in those areas, you might clog the pipes. You probably don’t want to cause or deal with a plumbing emergency while on vacation.

If you plan on traveling in an unfamiliar country, make sure to look up how they handle toilet paper before you leave. However, if you are traveling now and you aren’t sure, just check the bathroom. If there is a wastebasket that has toilet paper in it already, you should probably throw the paper away instead of flushing it.

If your toilet keeps clogging just from waste and toilet paper, make sure you are using a small amount of the right kind of toilet paper. However, if you have further problems, contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer. Inc. We can help you address the problem and discuss your options, including replacing the toilet fixture.

The Beginner’s Guide to Sump Pumps

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Systems

If you own a home in the Chicago area, you’re no stranger to humidity, rainstorms and snowstorms.

Chicago’s location and weather conditions can make the area susceptible to floods. For instance, in June of 2015, a storm set off tornado sirens across the city and it rained hard enough that the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning.

If you live in the top half of an apartment complex, you don’t need to worry about floods ruining your property. But if you live in a suburban home, complete with one or two stories and a basement, you need some way to deal with potential floods.

Because of this flood risk, most homes in the area come equipped with sump pumps, which keep floodwater out of your basement. Of course, sump pumps only protect your property if they’re well maintained, so read on to learn more about how these units function, how a plumber can help you maintain them, and how often they need to be replaced.

What Are Sump Pumps, and How Do They Work?

Sump pumps are small pieces of equipment that a plumber installs at the deepest part of your home’s basement or in your crawlspace. This miniature pump has one job: to move water that pools beneath your house away from the home’s foundation. When the pump functions correctly, it should prevent water damage to your basement, foundation, and crawlspaces.

Plumbers usually position sump pumps in a sump pit. The water that pools beneath your house runs into the sump pit, and the pump then funnels this water away through a discharge pipe. Usually, the pump directs the water into a dry well or storm drain.

Sump pumps should not funnel into sewage systems as per most municipal codes. The pipes from old homes might still channel into the local sewer system, so if you recently purchased an older home, contact a plumber. He or she can figure out where you sump pump runs and install a new run-off system as needed.

Most homeowners have one of two types of sump pumps:

  • Submersible pumps are self-contained pumps with a waterproof seal around the motor.
  • Pedestal pumps sit on pedestals that elevate them above the water.

Most modern homes already have sump pumps if needed, but a plumber can retrofit your home to fit one if you live in an older house. A plumber can also talk to you about the right type of pump for your home based on factors like its layout and location.

What Are the Most Common Problems My Sump Pump Experiences?

If you experience a problem with your sump pump, one of the following culprits might be to blame:

  • Your sump pump can’t cope with its current load because it’s too old or hasn’t been well maintained.
  • Your sump pump was installed incorrectly.
  • Your sump pump is backed up or clogged.
  • Your sump pump’s operating switch is stuck. If you have this problem, some force has shifted the pump so the switch is jammed, or a piece of debris has jammed the switch.
  • Your sump pump’s pipes have frozen.

The length of time your pump lasts can vary. You want to consider having your plumber check your pump every spring, just in time for the rainy season.  A reliable working pump brings peace of mind.

How Do I Know If My Sump Pump Works?

Because your sump pump shouldn’t have to work as often as your other appliances, you might not know if it’s experiencing any of the problems listed above.

Of course, you don’t want to wait until the middle of a storm to find out if your sump pump works or not. Fortunately, you can identify a few key signs that indicate if it might be failing:

  • You notice mold and mildew around your house, especially in the basement or crawlspaces.
  • You can see mud and debris around your sump pump.
  • You can hear your sump pump’s motor running constantly.
  • Your basement feels unusually humid.

If you can see water pooling in the basement, contact a plumber to fix your sump pump as soon as possible.

Get in Touch With a Plumber

If you think you have a problem with your sump pump, call a plumber who can diagnose the issue and replace or repair the pump as needed.

With a little maintenance and the occasional repair, your sump pump can effectively keep you and your property safe from floods all year long.

 

Scrub-a-Dub-Dub: Comparing Showers and Baths

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

Every day, there’s one task you can’t skip: your daily cleanse. Your bathroom may have a tub-shower combo, just a shower, or both fixtures independent of each other. Which method do you use to freshen up? In this blog, we’ll compare bathing to showering and offer tips for helping you enhance the time you spend washing up.

The Big Question: Water Usage

When comparing showering and bathing, you face one unavoidable question in today’s eco-conscious world: which method uses more water? If you guessed showering, you’re right-most of the time.

In general, people will use less water during a 10-minute shower than they would taking a bath. Obviously, large whirlpool or freestanding tubs require quite a bit of water-70 gallons or more with a person inside. Average-sized five-foot tubs hold closer to 45 gallons when someone bathes in them. By contrast, a 10-minute shower under a regular showerhead will release about 25 gallons of water.

Of course, the length of your shower can hugely affect how much water you use. If you indulge in a shower that lasts 20 minutes or more, you’ll use a minimum of 50 gallons of water. Based on those numbers, you may want to choose a bubble bath instead if the point of your activity is extended relaxation.

Now that we’ve addressed the most intriguing question, let’s talk about the pros of each cleaning method. Each has its own vocal supporters.

Reasons People Love Showers

Showers are far and away the most popular cleaning method. People prefer this method for several reasons, including the following three.

1. Showers Take Less Time

Many people can get their daily scrub finished faster when they shower. Some individuals even have it down to a system. They can shampoo and condition their hair, shave, and wash off grime and sweat in under 10 minutes.

2. Showers Help People Feel Alert

Those who love to shower often choose to perform this task as soon as they roll out of bed. The warm water helps them wake up and start the process of preparing for the day.

3. People Feel Cleaner After Showering

Many people who prefer showering over bathing feel that they get cleaner when they shower. They dislike the idea of sitting in water that gets dirty quickly, and they like knowing that most of the grime they wash off goes down the drain immediately.

Reasons People Love Baths

While baths are less popular than showers, they have some very big fans. A few reasons people relish bath time include these advantages.

1. A Bath Can Be More Relaxing

Some people enjoy taking regular baths so they can spend time relaxing in private. They can turn their bathroom into a mini spa by lighting candles and putting bubbles, bath salts, or essential oils in the bathwater.

2. Baths Give People More Thinking Time

Many people choose to bathe when they want to give their mind a rest or think through a nagging problem. People also use their bath time for reading or other multi-tasking activities that can’t be done while they shower.

3. Your Shower Curtain Doesn’t Accumulate Mildew When You Bathe

When you shower, the water hits your shower curtain, and much of that water remains when you step out of the shower. Over time, that water creates mildew on the plastic liner, and the mildew can be hard to clean off. On the other hand, when you bathe, you don’t need to use a shower curtain, and you can prevent further mildew accumulation.

Ways to Enhance Your Shower or Bath

Whether you stick to either bathing or showering or use each cleaning method for specific reasons, you can take a few steps to make your daily scrub more beneficial and enjoyable. Try the tricks below.

  • Invest in a low-flow showerhead. You’ll use even less water when you shower, so you’ll feel less guilty about indulging in a long shower or an extra-full bath from time to time. An expert plumber can recommend and install a suitable showerhead in your bathroom.
  • Take a cold shower. Scientists have linked many benefits to an occasional cold shower, such as healthier skin and hair, reduced stress and depression, and improved immunity.
  • Soothe your skin. If you have dry skin, a bath in water that’s not too hot can help you moisturize. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil to the water to enjoy this effect.
  • Lower your blood pressure. According to research, a soak in a hot bath improves your circulation and can help lower your blood pressure. Remember to consult your doctor before you take baths for this reason if you have any heart conditions.

Use these tips to enhance your next shower or bath. For a truly enjoyable experience, remodel your bathroom and put in a state-of-the-art shower or tub-or both. Talk to our expert plumbers about your options.

4 Ways Your Plumbing Can Help You Save Water-And Money-This Summer

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Plumbing Tips

When you live in green, lush Chicago or the surrounding areas, you might not think about wasted water very often. The year-round humidity and thick shrubbery mask the fact that the last several summers have been the hottest on record worldwide.

Recently, droughts in places like California and Colorado have gotten the most airtime, but Chicago isn’t exempt. In spite of chilly winters and summer rainstorms, Chicago suffered from an extreme drought in 2012 and 2013, and there’s no guarantee that something similar won’t happen in upcoming summers as well.

How can you do your part to conserve water this summer? Making a few simple changes around the house, performing a few energy-efficient upgrades, and changing some crucial habits can help you help the earth this summer-and you might just help your wallet along the way as well.

1. Fix Leaks As Soon As You Notice Them

Leaky taps don’t seem like a massive problem, especially when you only notice one drip of water slipping through the tap every minute or so. A steady stream of drips can distract you, but you still might not know just how much money this seemingly tiny problem can cost you.

According to the EPA, faucets that drip once per second waste 3,000 gallons annually-and all those tiny drips add up over time! Fixing a leak as soon as you notice it will conserve those 3,000 wasted gallons, plus help you cut down your water bill.

Of course, one leaky faucet won’t drain your bank account. Hopefully the water in your city is affordable and clean. But if you have a few leaky faucets, a running toilet, and a dripping pipe, you might start to see an increase in your water bills. As soon as you notice a leak in your house, get in touch with our capable plumber.

2. Update Old Appliances

Appliances that are 10 years old or older don’t work as well as they used to. If you properly maintained your water heater, for instance, it could last for around 15 years. But eventually, all old appliances need to be replaced.

Simply updating your fixture improves its energy efficiency for energy standards have improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years alone. However, when you upgrade your plumbing fixtures, consider investing in ENERGY STAR appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances go the extra mile to reduce your energy footprint. You might even qualify for a tax rebate if you invest in certain ENERGY STAR products.

You might also consider switching the make and model of certain fixtures. For instance, tankless water heaters warm your water the instant you turn on the tap. Thanks to this technology, you don’t have to run a faucet for a few minutes to wait for the water to warm up. But tankless water heaters aren’t for everyone-they can run out of water quickly, so they don’t work well for large families.

Ask our plumber about which plumbing fixtures you should update around your house. We can also recommend the right brand, make, and model for your property and living situation. 

3. Make a Few Small Upgrades Around the House

If you have relatively new fixtures and appliances, you don’t necessarily need to replace them all with the most energy-efficient models on the market. Instead, you can make a few smaller upgrades to cut down on your home’s water consumption:

  • Install low-flow shower heads. You won’t have to cut your shower short to save water, and you likely won’t even notice a huge difference in the water pressure.
  • Install low-flow faucet aerators. Just like low-flow shower heads, low-flow faucet aerators decrease the amount of water your sink uses without reducing how quickly you can clean your dishes.
  • Add insulation to your water pipes. Insulation protects your pipes from freezing in the winter. It can also reduce the amount of time you have to wait for your water to heat up.

These small changes won’t cost you much, but they could save you quite a bit of money later on.

4. Run Full Loads

If you invest in an energy-efficient laundry machine and dishwasher, you won’t have to worry as much about wasted water every time you run a full load of clothes or dishes. However, you can maximize your energy savings but only running these plumbing appliances when you have a full load of clothes or dishes. If you have to wash a small load, you can change the settings on your appliance to circulate less water.

Ask Your Plumber for More Information

As summer approaches, it’s up to you to save water around the house-and your plumbing fixtures can help you. Combine high-quality appliances with good habits and you’ll save much more than money on your energy bills. You’ll also contribute to making a better world for future generations.

If you have other questions about how to make your plumbing systems more efficient or reliable, don’t hesitate to contact our plumber.

3 Signs of a Failing Water Heater

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Water Heaters

Hot water is a modern convenience none of us can do without. Fortunately, over the past several decades, accessing hot water at the turn of a tap has become simpler than ever. Thanks to your water heater, your entire household can enjoy hot water all day long for showering, washing dishes, doing laundry, and enjoying a relaxing soak in the tub.

However, your water heater does quite a bit of work to ensure your family stays comfortable and happy. After years of performing the hard work of heating water whenever you need it, your water heater can start to falter and, eventually, break down entirely.

Fortunately, several warning signs indicate whether your water heater is on the verge of failing, which means you can nip the problem in the bud before you have to suffer through cold showers. If you notice any of these symptoms of a failing water heater, get in touch with a plumbing professional right away to discuss your replacement and repair options.

1. Your Tap Water Looks Discolored

Your water heater is made of metal, and since it stores large amounts of water, it needs some way to prevent rust from forming inside the heater. Every water heater has a component called an anode rod, which uses electrolysis to absorb corrosion and protect the heater’s metal.

If you don’t have a functioning anode rod, or if your water heater is several decades old, the anode is probably covered in corrosion. Since the anode rod can no longer do its job, rust might have spread throughout the unit.

However, if you have an old piping system, rusty pipes could be your problem-not a rusty water heater. Before you panic and purchase a new heater, make sure the unit is the real problem. Call a plumber to examine and drain the water heater. If the water still comes out rusty after your plumber fills several buckets, your rust problem lies in the heater, not the pipes.

2. Your Unit Is Over 10 Years Old

Some water heater units have a longer life expectancy than 10 years, especially tankless water heaters, which can last for decades. However, after 10 years, you can expect most units to start experiencing problems. If you don’t yet have many problems but want to replace your water heater before they happen, look at your unit’s serial number to determine how old it is.

Most manufacturing companies use similar date codes on their water heaters’ serial numbers. Your serial number should start with a letter from A to L. A, the first letter of the alphabet, represents January, the first month of the year. The letter should be followed by a two-digit number, like “12.” If your unit’s serial number starts with “A12,” your unit was manufactured in January of 2012.

Again, some companies don’t follow this practice, so look up the manufacturer’s information to determine if you can follow this date code guideline.

After 10 years, your unit could start leaking, rusting, or losing energy efficiency. Even if your water heater seems to work fine, get in touch with a plumber for seasonal maintenance to prolong your aging heater’s life. You could also consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient appliance to avoid future problems that stem from old age, and save extra money on your monthly utility bill.

3. Your Unit Takes Too Long to Heat Water or Makes Loud Noises

If you have to wait several minutes for your water to heat up, calcium deposits could be to blame. Have a professional drain your water heater and inspect it for hard water deposits. You can also have a plumber perform regular maintenance to deal with chemical deposits from hard water. Your plumber can even install a soft water filter to protect your appliance.

If you clean your water heater regularly, it should last for a very long time. However, if you haven’t cleaned your water heater in the entire time you’ve owned it, it could be too late to salvage it from hard water deposits.

Plus, if you hear a rattling or banging noise when your water heater turns on, you might have no choice but to replace it. This sound means that deposits and sediments have hardened on the bottom of your water heater, which can no longer operate efficiently. Check for leaks if you hear banging or rattling noises.

Talk to Your Plumber for More Advice

Still unsure about whether or not you should replace your water heater? Talk to your plumber. They can evaluate your tank’s current condition, weigh replacement costs with repair costs, and make a recommendation on how you should proceed. With a little help from your local plumber, you and your family members can go back to enjoying the convenience of hot water in no time.

CONTACT US

Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.

630-964-2222

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