How to Clear Any Clogged Drain (Tub and Auger Edition)

If you haven’t check out our previous article in relation to cleaning clogs for your sink or toilet. On this segment we will be explaining the cleaning of tub clogs as well as effective use of an electric auger in any clogged drain. Tub drains are generally slower moving creatures than toilets or sinks and may build up over a period of weeks in most cases. Just like any clog you will want to begin with a plunger to simply try and force the clog through with pressure. There’s a reason the plunger is every plumber’s favorite tool of the trade. Pop the drain and attempt to clear any soap or hair that may be residing there. Then stuff the overflow hole with a wet rag and plunge if getting rid of the soap and hair didn’t quite finish the job. If that fails, get out your auger to do the job.

To use a cable auger, take off the overflow plate to begin feeding the wiring into it. Grab about 30 inches of that sweet wiring and put it into the overflow cavern. Turn that crank with all you are able to muster while pushing forward at the same time until you have made it through the P-trap that will likely be giving you resistance the whole way. Get that cable back to dry land and replace the cover of the escape trap and power some piping hot water down that there drain.

Now that we’ve covered the main types of clogs that can occur in any residence we’re going to try and instruct you on how to properly use a toilet auger and other various types of augers. If your toilet plunger didn’t wreck that toilet clog, you’ll want to grab yourself a closet auger. Put that bad thing into the toilet with the tip facing up. Crank and push down as you hold this tool as steadily as you can manage. Dispense all the cable, including 3 feet of it and get it back by pulling up and cranking. Flush your pretty toilet to get rid of any clogging. If your toilet is still acting a snail be sure to do the same process to the left and right sides of the drain to clear out the whole thing.

We almost forgot to mention how to clear the ever-bothersome floor drain and you are not going to want to miss this part of the show. Your central air, washing machine, and water heater are carrying away wastewater that is carried away under your floor drain. Anything you can imagine ends up being collected under here including soap scum, lint, sand, and slimy bacteria, or even small goblins can be removed. Get your handy dandy electric auger to take care of these pesky drains straight away or call Hurry Curry Plumbing and we’ll get the job done for you. Rent one of those smooth 50-foot-long super powerful auger cables that gets that job done right. Take out the plug to feed your auger right in and feed it directly into the pipe. Your electric auger once it is fed will be able to turn by itself. If you loved this presentation on cleaning out drains you’ll be sure to enjoy “How to Clear Any Clogged Drain” by Merle Henkenius.   

How to Clear Any Clogged Drain (Toilet or Sink Edition)

Having trouble with a clogged drainage system in your home or office? Get it fixed with a few easy steps anyone can do. If you don’t get the issue resolved after trying these techniques be sure to contact us, your local plumber, and we’ll get it taken care of right away for you. Dislodge basically any type of clog you can think of without threating the integrity of your pipes or needy to contact us, unless you totally need to of course.

The most common clog that is seen in any home is the clogging of a toilet. Fix this problem with simple tools you can find at most any store. Have you heard of a plunger before? Well certainly you most likely have. Besides toilets a plunger is able to help clear sinks and tubs as well. If your plunger isn’t effectively doing the trick, there are some other tools you can use called a cable auger or plumber’s snake. These long flexible steel cables may range up to 100 feet, though most residential homes will only require approximately 25 feet of length. Closet augers are tools made exactly for cleaning out the toilet and are crafted in such a way to flexibly go through a toilet at the proper angle and is supplied with its very own hand crank. If your experiencing special difficulty with the task of getting out your clog, it’s a big one, or far away from the entry point consider the rental of an electric auger to get the job done. No clog is too strong for this machine. Consult the renting agent to determine how to safely operate any machinery associated with the auger.

The next most common drain to unclog is the sink and this is usually a bit more complex than your average toilet to fix. However, even most sink clogs can be simply solved with a plunger. Just fill the sink with water partially and start plunging like there’s no tomorrow. Use a rag for any double sink to provide pressure and stoppage to the near sink while plunging the other one. Just the same as with the toilet if your plunger is not successful you can use your auger in the same manner. The first measure after the plunging or if the plunging is unsuccessful is to eliminate the sink trap with a wrench. PVC plastic many times may be removed by hand.

Finally, when working with a clogged sink drain your job is to destroy this clog. Unscrew the trap arm to feed the cable of the auger as far as you can go and feel resistance. After doing so crank your cable like your life depended on it in the clockwise direction, allowing the cable to be forced deeper into the pipe. Remove 18 inches of cable and give it another go until you have successfully destroyed the blocked area. If catching results be sure to turn your crank in a counterclockwise motion. When you have successfully eliminated a clog run hot water down a drain to flush it out. If this isn’t working call us and we’ll be glad to help. Tune back in for more clog clearing tips as well as check out the article “How to Clear Any Clogged Drain” by Merle Henkenius.

Don’t Let Your Pipes Freeze and What to do if They do

A very important cost saving measure has to do with frozen pipes and making sure they are not an issue in colder climates where they can do devastating damage to homes. Preventative measures are the most important to keep from pipes bursting. Fast action is required if the unthinkable event occurs of freezing pipes bursting. Freezing pipes may not necessarily burst, but with freezing pipes they may come with a considerable amount of buildup from the expansion of the frozen water. Small leaks at serious breaking points can create a huge opening and bursting pipe. Water damage resulting from a burst pipe is one of the most common home insurance claims and we here are trying to limit these claims as much as we can.

Pipes need to be evaluated from time to time for the potential frozen or bursting pipe. Bulging pipe or pipe with frost on the outside is a telltale sign of freezing. Many pipes are in locations that are much harder to see and identify, however. Un-flushable toilets or sink are an obvious sign of pipes that are frozen.

The next step after identifying a frozen pipe is to be able to thaw out the pipe before it becomes a major issue. Turn off the water feeding a pipe or shut off the system of water to the entire house if it is so required. After a thawing be prepared for any leaks that may be realized with a mop bucket or towel. Heat lamps, space heaters, and thermostatic tape can do the job of thawing pipes to the best ability. Fire risk may be prevalent with a propane torch, so don’t take the risk with using one.

Say you take precautions or don’t and the unthinkable happens and a pipe bursts here are some steps that you will want to take immediately to stall what could be a home destroying occurrence. Of course, it doesn’t need to be such and now you will be prepared for this occasion. As quickly as you can, and not panic, shut of your whole water supply in your home. Then call us immediately after because you likely won’t have the proper tools or preparation for taking care of a large flooding in your home. Dry the water any way that you are able if you are able with a wet/dry vacuum, a mop, or sponges. These tried and true drying instruments will prevent mold and mildew from occurring in your home. Finally, get a dehumidifier to completely dry out a room until it is bone dry. As dry as you can possibly get it without the need for sand or a cactus planting in your living room.

As needs not be stated it seems, be prepared to know where your emergency shut off valve for the water supply in your house so that you’ll know exactly where to go when calamity strikes. Make sure your water shut off valve has been properly inspected by a plumber and it may be in your best interest to have it replaced with a newer ball valve that can save you exorbitant amounts of money in the future. Go to your valve at least once a year to turn your valve and make sure it is functioning properly and loose and ready when it is needed. Thank you to HGTV and Douglas Trattner for his article titled “How to Unfreeze Pipes & Prevent Damage”.

The Process to Becoming a Master Plumber

Thinking about becoming a plumber? It can be an amazing rewarding career that has a greater scope than most people know about. High paying and doesn’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree to do it. Many plumbers these days have gotten much older on average (in their mid-50’s). Demand for plumbers today is at an all time high and this could be the right career path for you.

The first part of any job is what that job entails and that is no different when it comes to the great profession of plumbing. Plumbers for instance will test and repair pipes, leaking pipes, plumbing repair, emergency work, drain cleaning, and backups. Besides the work and production of plumbing plumbers need to work with blueprints, estimates, malfunctioning systems, and evaluating the material needs required for any job. Plumbers may be required to get in tight spaces as well as roofs and ladders to work on different things around the house or a business.

Most importantly for any job you must make money doing it. Fortunately, plumbers make a good amount of money compared to other trades because of the high demand for the position and it being particular work many people may not desire to do. Plumbers had a median wage of $54,000 and in the state of Wisconsin there is a minimum wage for the position of $33.44. As any other occupation the greater experience or training of plumber will allow for greater wages, as well as the location of a plumber and the amount of work that is available.

Along with the pay for plumbers you will want to know the qualifications that are necessary to start the job. College degrees are not a requirement, just a high school diploma with proficiency in algebra and basic math skills. Laborers in the field need to have a strong back, legs, and knees because of the stooping and physicality of the work. Besides the high school diploma requirement in the plumbing field most plumbers enter into the field by way of an apprenticeship program. Training in these programs can span 4 to 5 years in length and will be paid, allowing for workers to pay for their coursework. Proving yourself as a well skilled plumber in larger cities may be required to lock down a position.

Finally, we would like to talk to you about how your apprenticeship in the plumbing field might work. With any apprenticeship an aptitude test is required to evaluate basic skills for the job. When approved for a position passing the exam apprentices will increase in their percentage of earning by 10%, starting at 50% of the minimum wage. Apprentices will do classes 1 or 2 nights per week in their first 4 years at a trade school. Journeyman plumbers will come out of these apprenticeships after they have successfully taken their certification exam. Licensure is the next required step based on the state’s requirements and stipulations. Over time a journeyman will work towards becoming a master plumber.  Beyond that plumbers may decide to start their own plumbing business and work for themselves, which can be very rewarding. We’d like to thank Craig Gustafson for his article “How to Become a Plumber” for his insight on this issue and you can check out his article for more information on the topic.

Wastewater Treatment Plants and Sewage for Urban Communities

We left off on our last article after talking about the need for septic tanks in rural areas with a cliff hanger on the need for waste treatment facilities and how they operate. Most of the wastewater is collected by coming together by gravity and meeting in the sewer below the middle of the street. People’s drains from their homes flow collectively together towards a wastewater treatment facility. There will be manhole covers that run vertically into the horizontal pipe for maintenance that may need to be done if the situation arises. Sewer mains start with small pipes until they run into progressively larger ones arriving at the waste facility. Many times, these pipes will follow the trail of other water systems that flow naturally downhill to arrive at the plant. For locations where there cannot be purely gravity grinder pumps and lift stations are used to bring waste uphill.

When wastewater finally makes it to the facility it needs to go through several processes to be filtered. Plants will have between 1 and 3 stages of filtration based on their complexity. Just like a septic tank the initial treatment lets materials settle to the top, bottom, and leave water in the middle. Landfills or incinerators do the work of removing solids by burning them or disposing of them. The first part has a screen with pools that sit and allow for different density materials to fall to their correct locations. Some plants will only have this step and remove half the solids and then chlorinate the water before discharging the water. Facilities with secondary treatment allow bacteria to then eat up organic materials and nutrients that may be remaining in large aerated tanks. 90 percent of materials are generally eliminated with 2 stage facilities. The third stage can be used at certain wastewater treatment plants call the tertiary treatment that applies chemicals in the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from the water. Chlorine as usual is applied to eliminate anything that may be left in the water after this point.

Finally, with any good wastewater treatment plant examining the effectiveness of the plant effectively is necessary. pH measures the acidity of the water that leaves a plant. pH levels should be like the water where it is being released to match the corresponding environment. BOD or bio-chemical oxygen demand is a measure of the oxygen necessary to correctly process the rest of the material in the water. BOD will hopefully be at a zero level.

Dissolved oxygen to the opposite of BOD should be as high as possible. This will be healthy for marine life it comes into contact with. Suspended solids should be at a zero amount. Nutrients remaining in the water is calculated by the measure of total phosphorus and nitrogen. Chlorine levels should be at an absolute minimum to protect the environment and should be filtered out after they have completed their use. Lastly, the coliform bacteria count is accounted for. Hopefully, this number is nothing. There may be birds that produce fecal matter that will get this amount off. “How Sewer and Septic Systems Work” by Marshall Brian has great resources on much of these plants and how they work and much more.

How Sewers and Septic Systems Work

Curious about how sewer and septic systems really work? Let’s find out! The sewer system is capable of moving billions of gallons of water and being able to clean it and purify it from so much waste and debris. There are many reasons you don’t want to just go dumping your wastewater out in your yard or in a local water supply. Polluting the air comes to mind first, and this causes neighborhoods and cities to smell badly. Wastewater has a bunch of harmful bacteria and dangerous E-coli that shouldn’t be released into the environment. Keep your community safe and remove a huge health hazard by working with local wastewater treatment. Finally, you need to be careful of chemicals and solids that are left within the water that can be seriously detrimental to the environment. Wastewater will cause things to grow easily fouling the water because of algae growth. Fish and other marine biology can be devastated by doing this where it can permanently destroy their ecosystems. Many fish will die in this process. These are the few of the things that are fixed by having a good wastewater elimination process.

Because of all these serious issues communities would much rather the sewage system be used, even if they must pay a little more for it. Septic tanks are one kind of system that is used for a home when there is not another option available in the local community that is shared.  Septic tanks will create three layers with water in the middle, scum at the top, and denser than water sludge on the bottom. Sewer pipes from the house effectively feed these septic tanks. Systems are set in place so that the gas that is naturally produced from them does not flow back directly into the house. Vent pipes above homes are used to direct this gas high up into the air where it can be released higher into the atmosphere.

Drain fields are where the displaced water flows out to when there is more material added to the septic tank. Ground in drain fields is used to effectively absorb the water safely into the ground. More porous drain fields require less surface area to drain into while less porous areas, like clay may require a much larger area. Systems like a septic tank are powered by the hand of gravity that easily brings solids and liquids closer to the ground. Drain fields will surprisingly be some of the greenest places of grass because of all the fertilizing materials. Of course, you probably won’t want to stand by there.

Urban and suburban areas the systems for treating water are much larger in size and scope of what they accomplish to handle the much greater demand for an area. Wastewater treatment facilities are the best choice for dealing with this high demand. Like a septic system it’s best to keep the system passive by using gravity to flow to the sewer system. Check out are next article as we keep exploring urban sewer systems and how waster water treatment plants work. We would like to thank Marshall Brian for helping us with this info in his article “How Sewer and Septic Systems Work”.

Plumbing Tips for Beginners

We all have to start somewhere on so many things and plumbing is no exception. Here are 5 useful tips if you want to start off on the right foot and not knee deep in sewage water. There are many instances you won’t need a major fix or to send out a professional to do the job. Of course we always love to assist but we can also help you do it yourself.

By doing some of these simple things you won’t need to get the experts involved. Having the right tools is of course a necessary first step to getting a plumbing job done correctly. If you come up with a problem you’re not sure how to handle keep our number handy (989) 623-4551 in case catastrophe occurs.

Tip #1 – Don’t Shy away from Replacing Toilet Parts

We know, the toilet can be a scary beast, but don’t fear it’s not as bad as you may assume to do some minor fixing to it. There are a lot of simple things to replace in your toilet, such as your toilet’s flapper or faucet cartridge. These products are inexpensive to buy and can easily remedy small leaks that may be occurring from them being worn down. The package to these products tells you how you, yes you, can easily replace these. If your toilet is running you can just grab some replacement parts and swap them out easily and painlessly.

Tip #2 – Removing Clogs with no Chemicals

There is a lot of hype around chemical drain cleaners but these are usually not necessary to get the job done. Grab yourself a drain snake and manually remove those things that are making it harder and harder for your water to go down the sink. Sometimes a shop vacuum can get out the culprit as well if you don’t have a drain snake.

Tip #3 – Examine Your Showerhead for Potential Issues

Take out your thread tape if you haven’t already to wrap around your shower heads threads to create a tight seal that prevents that annoying shower head leak. Make sure to wrap the tape in a clockwise direction, then re-attach the shower head. To unclog a showerhead you can simply soak it in warm water and vinegar. After soaking simply take a small brush to unclog any mineral deposits that could be blocking your stream of water.

Tip #4 – Thread Tape is Better than Thread Sealing Compounds

Thread tape in general will work just as well or better than pipe sealing compounds. Compounds can be a lot more messy than tape and will drip and smear. Multipurpose tape is generally white. The thicker ones are easier to handle. Wrap the tape around 3 times for best results.

Tip #5 – Create a More Efficient Water Heater

Sometimes you could be wasting energy and not even know it. This is evident in keeping a water heater higher than necessary. 115 degrees F is a good temperature to give most people enough hot water for their needs and not waste extra energy in heating. Make sure your water tank is insulated to conserve heat the longest. If you are in an area that sediment collects in your water heater drain a quart of water from your water heater once every 3 months. Be sure to turn off the water heater before draining it to protect yourself from hot water. Open the drain into a steel bowl or bucket and this will cause your water heater to run more efficiently.