Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Plumbing’

What is Backflow Testing, and Why Does it Matter?

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Have you ever noticed water coming back up out of your drains? Not a clog, where water just refuses to drain, but a situation where water is actively flowing backwards through the system. If so, you have a backflow problem. Backflow is a serious issue that can cause serious damage, prompting thousands of dollars in repairs. Read on to find out more about backflow, and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

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How Hard Water Can Destroy Your Plumbing

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Before the water that you use in your home comes out of your tap, it is treated by the city you live in. Any harmful chemicals or minerals are removed, then the water is sent into your home. However, there are several mineral types that, while not harmful to you, can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. Water that contains high amounts of these minerals is known as “hard” water, and it’s a pretty big problem for a lot of people across the country. Read on to discover the effects that hard water can have on your plumbing system, and how you can prevent them.

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Plumbing Tip: Avoid Putting these Items Down the Drain

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

When you have a plumbing system in need of repair, it’s never convenient. Plumbing issues can occur in the middle of the night, right before you planned to leave for work, or in the middle of a dinner party. The best way to keep such problems from occurring is to keep your plumbing system maintained. Schedule regular maintenance and drain cleaning with a professional, and keep your drains maintained by keeping certain items out of the drain.

You probably know to keep non-food items, like cigarette butts and plastic wrappers, out of the kitchen sink. The garbage disposal simply cannot process these items, and you may end up with drain clogs or a defunct disposal unit. But you should also avoid these common food items, many of which can be detrimental to your plumbing.

  • Fats, Oils, and Grease: This is perhaps the substance that most surprises homeowners when we inform them of its potential effects. These solidify when they cool down, and when they do so in the pipes, clogs occur. Additional debris collects until you have a major clog on your hand that requires professional repair.
  • Hard Food Items: Of course, you should avoid large hard food waste like meat bones, as these will stop the disposal and may put unnecessary strain on the motor. But you should also avoid smaller hard food items like popcorn kernels.
  • Fibrous Foods: This category includes things like celery and potato skins, which are difficult to break up and may get wrapped around the impeller, slowing down the disposal motor.
  • Expandable Foods: Even something as seemingly innocuous as spaghetti could cause trouble for your drains. But expandable foods like rice and pasta may expand in the pipes, stopping the drains and allowing waste to backup into your home.

Schedule drain cleaning with a professional if you’d like to make sure that your plumbing system is in good condition. A plumber will inspect your drains and use special equipment to pull out clogs and clear out the lining of the pipes. Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing for quality plumbing services in Bethesda.

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The Benefits of Sump Pump Installation

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Low water tables or burst pipes can cause water to flood into your home and damage your most valuable items or the structure of your home. If your home is prone to flooding, you may consider calling a professional for sump pump installation. A sump pump is one of the best plumbing installations you can purchase to protect your home. While some of the benefits are fairly clear, we’ll go over them in detail in this guide.

When you need plumbing installation in Rockville, MD, rely on the experienced professional plumbers at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing.

How Sump Pumps Work

Before we get into the benefits, let’s take a look at how these systems work. A sump pump is installed at the lowest point in the basement of your home. A technician digs a pit into the ground and the pump is either submerged inside of the basin or sits atop the hole on a pedestal, depending on the type of unit—submersible or pedestal. A motor sucks in water through a pipe that drains outside.

The Benefits of Professional Sump Pump Installation

The advantages of sump pump installation are fairly clear—no more flooding inside of your home! Let’s take a closer look at how this benefits you.

  • Protect Your Belongings: When flooding becomes too serious, it can damage some irreplaceable items, but a sump pump gives you peace of mind and protection against this possibility.
  • Secure the Structure of Your Home: Water damage can seriously affect the structure of your home, leading to major renovations and construction that could force you out of your home for a period of time.
  • Prevent Illness: After a flood, you may have pools of water left behind that can lead to illness or that may aggravate respiratory problems in some family members.
  • Increase the Property Value: Even if you’ve never had a flood before, a sump pump can increase your property value, alerting potential buyers that their protected against future damage.

Sump pump installation is a job best left to experienced professionals, who know where to install the unit and how to properly set up the drainage. When you’re in need of any plumbing services in Rockville, MD, call the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing.

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Causes of Backflow in Your Plumbing

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Backflow is a serious issue in plumbing that can lead to contamination of a home’s drinking water. Unlike blockages, which simply stop the flow of wastewater down pipes, backflow is the active movement of wastewater up into the fresh water supply, which occurs either because of excess pressure on sewer side, or a drop in pressure on the fresh water side.

Backflow testing can determine if your plumbing is suffering from this problem, and the plumbers who perform the testing will have solutions to stop it. Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing: we care about your health, and we will send a plumber in Bethesda, MD to see if you need our backflow prevention services.

Why Backflow Might Occurring in Your Plumbing

Understanding backflow requires understanding some of the basics of home plumbing. Most sewage removal systems in homes rely on gravity and ventilation to carry wastewater from a home. However, the fresh water that enters your home is pressurized. Should the balance between these two change—pressure develops in the wastewater system, pressure drops in the fresh water system, or a combination of both—it will result in waste material forcing its way back up into the freshwater pipes.

A common reason for a loss of pressure on the supply side is due to an issue in the municipal system such as a break in a water main or a large amount of water used for firefighting. The pressure drop from this loss of water will suction up wastewater into the drinking water system. This is known as back siphonage.

If the pressure of the wastewater system increases above that of the fresh water system, it is called backpressure. This can occur because of problems inside the sewer system, or a break along the sewer line that leads from your house. If there is already reduced pressure from the supply side, it will not require much rise in pressure from the sewer system to cause backpressure backflow.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Backflow

Air gaps built into your plumbing helps prevent siphonage, but this is often not sufficient. If a technician determines that your plumbing is suffering from backflow, there are a number of methods to deal with it. The most effective is a backflow preventer that uses a check valve to make sure that wastewater can only move one direction and cannot force itself back up a pipe. A backflow preventer must receive professional installation so that it works with your plumbing; do not attempt to install a backflow preventer yourself.

Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing offers full services to install and maintain a backflow preventer if your house requires one. Give us a call and talk to an expert plumber in Bethesda, MD today to schedule backflow testing to see if we can assist you with protecting your drinking water.

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Why is there a Strange Smell Coming from My Sink?

Friday, April 25th, 2014

It’s a question you never want to ask: “why is there a strange smell coming from my sink?” Plumbing problems come in all shapes and sizes, and not all of them involve water pooling across your kitchen floor. When it comes to plumbing, Rockville, MD residents can expect all kinds of issues to pop up, including suspicious smells. The good news is that a trained plumber can usually get to the bottom of it fairly quickly, and the causes of the smell typically have a very simple explanation.

If you check the plumbing underneath your sink, you should see a pipe with an odd curve in it. It looks a little like a “p” turned on its side, which gives it its name: the p-trap. At first glance, it doesn’t look like it makes any sense. Why include a little loop like that? The loop helps keep water from overflowing into your sink, but it also serves a much more important purpose: it serves as a barrier between your home and the sewer line. The vent system linked to it keeps the pressure equal, letting noxious gases escape through the vent into your home. That depends on the p-trap staying wet and maintaining the seal. If it dries out, the sewer gas moves up the pipe and you get that horrible smell.

In most cases, the p-trap dries out only after you haven’t used the sink in a while (if it’s in a spare bathroom, a vacation home, or somewhere similar). In those cases, you can usually resolve the problem by pouring a little vinegar and baking soda down the drain, letting it sit for an hour or so, then slowly flushing it with hot water. (It works best if you fill a big pot with hot water, then slowly pour it down the drain.)

If it happens in a sink you use on a regular basis, however – or if the efforts described above don’t work – then the problem requires a professional. When you’re in need of plumbing service in Rockville, MD, trust in a reliable company such as Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. If you’re asking “why is there a strange smell coming from my sink?” give us a call to have a look. You’ll be glad you did!

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Copper Piping

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

In the long history of plumbing, many different materials have been used, starting with hollowed-out wood. In the era of modern indoor plumbing, the most popular material for many decades was galvanized steel, which proved more durable than any metal used before. Steel allowed indoor plumbing to become common, and many homes and businesses still have steel pipes today.

But because of steel’s tendency to corrode over time, copper pipes have superseded galvanized steel as the metal of choice during the last 70 years. Copper faces competition today from plastics such as PEX, PVC, and CPVC, but it still remains a popular choice. We’ll look at what makes copper an attractive choice for plumbing—and why sometimes plastic is the better option.

When you need a plumber in Gaithersburg, MD to take care of your plumbing, no matter what it’s made from, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing.

Copper Pipes: Advantages

Copper is a naturally corrosion-resistant metal, while galvanized steel will eventual leak and break because of corrosion damage. Although it is a durable metal (capable of withstanding 1,000 psi of pressure), copper is also lightweight, which makes it easier to work with (saving on labor costs) and also easier to extend over long stretches without supports. It’s also less expensive than steel and lead-free.

Copper is more environmentally friendly than plastic pipes because it consists of naturally occurring metal, whereas synthetic plastic creates a large amount of emissions during its manufacture.

Copper Pipes: Disadvantages

Although copper pipes are superior in almost all ways to galvanized steel pipes, there are places were PEX and CPVC pipes surpasses copper. Although copper costs less the steel, it costs more than plastic. Copper pipes also encounter problems from water acidity, so they are not good to install for plumbing systems that draw water from a well.

Copper is flexible as far as metals go, but plastic pipes can bend to fit into almost any space necessary. The color-coding of plastic pipes makes them much easier to use for plumbers, who can designate certain colors for hot and cold piping.

When it comes to providing plumbing for your home, you don’t need to make a decision of all copper pipes or all plastic pipes. A skilled plumber will mix the two, using copper for main lines and then PEX and CPVC for branching lines, identifying the best material for each job. This is why you should always trust your plumbing to a knowledgeable professional instead of an amateur.

Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing offers high quality service when you need a plumber in Gaithersburg, MD. Call us today for all your needs for pipe repair and replacements.

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Why You Need Backflow Testing

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Backflow is a potentially hazardous problem that can affect your plumbing. It refers to when your home’s wastewater enters into your fresh water supply, a mixture that can lead to serious health problems. Your home’s plumbing is designed to avoid this backflow, but it can never be foolproof.

One way to help prevent this problem is with the installation of a component onto your plumbing called a backflow preventer. You should also consider having professional backflow testing to make sure that the preventer is working correctly and that your drinking water is not in danger of contamination from other sources.

Call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing when you want to schedule backflow preventer installation or backflow testing for your plumbing in Rockville, MD. We are also available for free second opinions should you need them.

Backflow Testing

How important is it to keep your potable water and wastewater separate? The consequences of wastewater contamination can be severe, leading to numerous diseases and public health hazards. It’s important for the health of your family that you keep your plumbing in good condition and safe from the dangers of backflow.

The drinking water in your plumbing is pressurized, but the wastewater is not; it instead moves through gravity and ventilation. The design of plumbing, with different pressure areas, is what prevents cross-contamination between wastewater and potable water. A drop in water pressure can cause wastewater to flow into the potable water pipes through back-pressure. A plumber can install a backflow preventer at a strategic point to prevent this from occurring. There are other sources for backflow trouble: any faulty cross-connections—such as bypasses, jumper connections, or change-over devices—can lead to backflow.

Backflow testing is an important procedure to discover out how best to prevent contamination in your water supply. A proper test can identify the type and location of backflow preventer to help keep your fresh water clean. After a backflow preventer is installed, you should still schedule yearly testing to see that the device is working correctly.

Testing is a basic procedure for professionals: they connect a testing kit to the backflow preventer, shut off the water downstream from the device, and check that the preventer is working correctly. Because the backflow preventer is installed outside your house, you do not need to be home for the test.

Contact Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing to start with backflow prevention: we can perform the testing to see where your plumbing can use help to keep your fresh water safe, and we’ll install backflow preventers to help. For safe and healthy plumbing in Rockville, MD, trust to us!

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How Does a Sump Pump Work?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

A sump pump is a device placed in your basement designed to protect your home from flooding. Most of the time, it works during heavy rainstorms, which we get our share of here in Maryland. In the unfortunate event of burst pipes, the sump pump can do the job as well: removing the excess water and giving you a clear basement for the plumber to fix the pipes. But how does a sump pump work?

The sump pump is placed in a sump pit, which is dug at the lowest point in your basement and usually runs about two feet deep. Because it’s at the lowest point in your house, floodwaters will gather there as they leak into the basement. That’s when the sump pump goes to work. A float activator detects the presence of the water and turns on an impeller, which spins around and pushes the water to the sides of the pump. That creates a low-pressure spot at the center of the impeller, which pulls in the water and forces it up through a pipe. The pipe leads outside the basement where it can then safely discharge the water and leave your basement dry and safe.

Sump pumps are designed for use in emergencies, which means that ideally you’ll never need to use it. When the rains fall and the waters rise, it can be worth its weight in gold. It also helps to have in installed by the right plumber, and Gaithersburg MD residents have one with Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We have the expertise to install a sump pump at the ideal spot in your basement, and ensure that it functions exactly as intended when the time comes. If you need specifics on how a sump pump works or want to schedule an installation, give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

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Signs Your Water Line Needs Repairs

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Your water line connects your home to the water mains. As such, it is one of the most important components to the house: delivering clean water for drinking and bathing. When it runs into trouble, it can be a tremendous headache, and even in towns with reliable municipal services like Bethesda, a plumber is usually necessary to help make repairs. The sooner you can call one in, the better, which is why you need to be able to spot the signs your water line needs repairs.

The biggest sign is a severe drop in your home’s water pressure, rendering faucets and showers unusable. In some cases, a problem with the city’s water mains might result in a loss of pressure, but you can resolve that question quickly simply by calling the water company. A second, more overt sign is the sudden creation of puddles or even actively leaking water coming up from the ground in your yard. In those circumstances you need to shut off the water supply to your home immediately and call in a plumber for help.

Less severe damage results in less severe signs, which require a little more attention to notice. For example, you might still be able to spot damp spots in your yard. It might even be a question of the grass in your yard being greener in one spot for no apparent reason.

Other signs of problems could include discolored or smelly water coming through your pipes, or unusual sounds emanating from faucets or shower heads. Once unifying factor in all of these situations: the signs occur throughout your entire household, instead of just one sink or shower. (If it affects only one section of your plumbing, the problem is likely localized inside your home.) In any case, if you spot the signs your water line needs repairs, then call on Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. If you need a plumber in Bethesda, give us a call today!

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