Plumbing

Don’t Let These Items Go Down a Drain

Don't Let These Items Go Down a DrainOne of the most common causes of clogged and damaged drains is a foreign object that should never have got into the drain in the first place. Practicing basic drain safety will keep your fixtures free of clogs and damage.

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Should Get a Plumbing Upgrade? How to Decide

Should Get a Plumbing Upgrade? How to DecideIf you’re like most homeowners, you may not pay a lot of attention to the plumbing system in your home until age-related issues start to develop. You can avoid the headaches of dealing with serious leaks that cause costly water damage and require extensive repairs if you learn how to spot the subtle warning signs that a plumbing upgrade is needed.

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Need a New Toilet? Use Our Tips to Help You Choose

Need a New Toilet? Use Our Tips to Help You ChooseIs it finally time to retire that old toilet and pick up a new one? You don’t have to go on this little adventure alone — we’re here to help! Just follow these simple tips and you’ll find that perfect unit in no time:

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Take Precautions to Prevent Winter Pipe Bursts

Take Precautions to Prevent Winter Pipe BurstsAs temperatures drop in the Grand Traverse County area, your pipes have a higher chance of freezing. If this happens, your pipes could end up bursting and causing considerable water damage to your home. Keep the following tips in mind to prevent pipe bursts this season.

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Checking the P-Trap for Clogs

Checking the P-Trap for ClogsThe traps in your plumbing perform an important function. Traps are the curved section of the drain pipe — S-shaped, U-shaped or J-shaped — that hold on to a small amount of the water that goes down the drain. The water forms a seal and blocks sewer gases from entering through the drain.

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Plungers, Augers, and Snakes — Oh My! A Look Inside the Plumber’s Toolbox

Plungers, Augers, and Snakes — Oh My! A Look Inside the Plumber's ToolboxIt’s often said that to get the best results with any project, you need the right tool for the job. That’s why the licensed plumber carries around an extensive array of specialized tools — much more, in fact, than most handymen are likely to have at their disposal.

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Conserve Water in Your Home With These Plumbing Fixtures

Conserve Water in Your Home With These Plumbing FixturesModern plumbing fixtures have come a long way in terms of conserving water. Homeowners have recognized the benefits of these newer, more efficient appliances, as they learn they not only save on their water bills but also help safeguard their community’s water supplies for coming years.

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Using and Maintaining a Garbage Disposal

Using and Maintaining a Garbage DisposalA garbage disposal is handy to have, but if not maintained properly, it can end up worse than useless. Use and care for your disposal correctly, though, and it will stay in good shape for years.

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What to Know About Water Shutoff Valves

What to Know About Water Shutoff ValvesEvery home has them, but most people don’t pay attention to them except in an emergency. The simple water shutoff valve is a vital component of any plumbing system. This guide will explain the pros and cons common water shutoff valve types.

Washer Valve

A washer valve has a rubber gasket inside that gets pressed down when the handle is turned, blocking water.

Pros: Washer valves are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Cons: The rubber wears out quicker than materials used in other valves.

Ball Valve

A ball valve has a quarter-turn handle attached to a steel ball inside the valve. A hole has been drilled through the middle of the valve. When the handle is turned off, the ball is rotated so that the solid part of the ball blocks water flow. When the handle is turned on, the ball rotates so that water flows through the hole.

Pros: The steel construction of the ball makes it very sturdy. The design makes it the most trustworthy for completely blocking water flow.
Cons: Ball valves are somewhat expensive. Because the handle only turns a quarter turn from off to on, ball valves don’t work in extremely tight spaces.

Gate Valve

A gate valve has a piece of metal inside that is lowered like a gate when the handle is turned to the “off” position. When lowered, the gate sits in a groove at the bottom. When the gate fits firmly in the groove, water flow is stopped effectively. However, if the gate is only partially lowered, the bottom of the metal piece is subjected to the flow of water. This will wear away some of the metal to the point where eventually it won’t fit perfectly in the groove.

Pros: As long as the gate valve is in good condition, it works very well.
Cons: The valve will leak if the bottom of the gate has worn away.

To get more information about water shutoff valves or for any plumbing questions in Grand Traverse County, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water shutoff valves and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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Tips for Plumbing Emergencies

Tips for Plumbing EmergenciesFew problems around the house can get your attention faster than a plumbing emergency. Water spewing from pipes or stopped-up drains can cause serious damage to your home. While some plumbing problems are avoidable by keeping drains clear and fixing leaks, sometimes the worst happens.

Prepare ahead of time by:

  • Putting together a tool kit for plumbing emergencies. It should include an assortment of adjustable pliers and a pipe wrench, Teflon tape, spray-on pipe sealant, a flashlight and Allen wrenches. Keep them in plain view in a 5-gallon plastic bucket.
  • Keeping a plunger under the kitchen sink to clear slow-draining sinks, and a clearly-marked separate one in the bathroom for a clogged toilet.
  • Teaching everyone how and where to shut the incoming water supply to your home off. Water can cause untold damage to your home’s walls, ceilings and floors if it’s not turned off quickly.
  • Having a supply of old towels or absorbent blankets to wipe up big spills quickly. A wet and dry vacuum is an indispensable tool to have in a plumbing emergency.
  • Learning where the isolation valves are for each of your sinks and plumbing fixtures. They’re located on the water hoses that go to the toilets, sinks, tubs and showers, as well as the dishwasher and washing machine. They should open and close easily, but it’s not uncommon for them to be somewhat stiff since their faucets or shut-off levers are seldom used.
  • Identifying the circuit breaker or gas shut-off valve for a water heater.

Although it’s hard to second-guess what’s happening inside the pipes, pay attention to the early signs of sewer problems like bubbling or gurgling sounds coming from plumbing fixtures. Rusty water coming from hot water faucets could be the first sign of impending water heater failure.

Being prepared for a plumbing emergency might help you avoid the serious consequences that unchecked water problems can do to your home. For more information, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing, providing top-notch services for homeowners in Grand Traverse County and the surrounding areas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about plumbing emergencies and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”


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