Questions and Answers About Basement Plumbing Problems

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

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

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

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

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

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

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

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

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

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?

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Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.

630-964-2222

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