Brooks Plumbing Co. Blog: Posts Tagged ‘WA’

Garbage Disposal Repair: Why is My Garbage Disposal Making Noise

Monday, July 30th, 2012

When you are looking for garbage disposal repairs in Olympia, call Brooks Plumbing Company. One of the more common service calls we get for kitchen plumbing repairs is a broken garbage disposal, particularly for “humming” garbage disposals. A humming garbage disposal can mean there are a few possible scenarios happening, but first, you’ll need to know what signs to look for.

A humming garbage disposal usually means that when you flip the switch to turn the disposal on, it doesn’t grind the food. Instead, it just makes a humming noise instead of the normal noises of a fully-functioning garbage disposal. This typically means that the blades are not working to chop the food waste. Here are a few reasons why this may have occurred and why you could need a repair service.

The first potential reason for a humming garbage disposal is a stuck flywheel. The flywheel is located just above the lower hopper chamber, and it is the device that turns the blades. The humming noise could mean that the blades are not turning because the flywheel is stuck. This is an easy repair that our technicians can take care of fairly quickly.

If the garbage disposal does not work after we fix the flywheel and reset it for you, the humming could be caused by a seized motor or a frozen bearing. In most cases, a seized motor or bearing means that the unit will need to be replaced. Before you try to repair or replace a garbage disposal yourself, it is best to call Brooks Plumbing Company to schedule an appointment.

Whether or not you need a replacement, Brooks Plumbing is the plumbing contractor to call for garbage disposal repair and replacement services in Olympia. If you decide that you want us to install a new garbage disposal, we can remove the old unit and replace your disposal with any number of new models to suit your needs and your budget. We carry a large selection of the latest models, and our technicians make it a priority to provide expert service for any plumbing job. Call today!

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How Slab Leaks Can Cause Damage for Homes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Slab leaks in Olympia, or also known as a foundation leaks, can cause a serious problem in your home. A typical cause of a slab leak occurs when the foundation for the home is poured. While the cement is still wet and setting, copper plumbing is installed, and it is laid in to run wherever it needs to go for the plumbing system of the home. This is a fairly common practice.

The problem occurs when the copper piping is soft. As the cement hardens, any kinks, bends, nicks or other imperfections in the pipe are exacerbated. Over time, these problems can become more and more magnified, eventually resulting in one or more tiny leaks in the pipe. This causes water to leak directly into the concrete foundation.

This causes a number of problems for homeowners, both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, it reduces water pressure and increases water consumption, resulting in higher monthly bills for poorer water delivery. These are inconveniences and annoyances, but nothing compared to the long-term damage that a slab leak can cause.

The moisture in the foundation becomes a breeding ground for mold. This mold can spread throughout the foundation and the house, which is a serious health risk for you and your family. Mold and mildew spores negatively impact air quality and can lead to illness. Plus, the moisture weakens the foundation gradually over time. Eventually, you have a home that is less structurally sound and may succumb to mold, which can cause thousands of dollars to eradicate and repair.

Slab leaks can be repaired, but sometimes after repairing one, another will crop up shortly thereafter. However, they still must be repaired immediately before the problem spreads and becomes too big to handle.

There are a few different methods for repair, including breaking up the foundation with a jackhammer and laying new pipe or lining the existing pipe with epoxy. Consulting with a professional is the best way to figure out which method is right for you.

Common symptoms to detect slab leaks early are reduced water pressure or inexplicably high water bills. If you notice either of these occurring in your home, you may have a slab leak, so call a professional to get it checked out right away before it leads to much bigger problems.

To fix a slab leak quickly contact Brooks Plumbing Company.

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Things to Remember When Remodeling Your Bathroom

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Remodeling your bathroom in Olympia can be a great way to not only make it look better and more inviting, but also more hygienic, while giving the resale value of the whole house an upgrade.

As with any big home project, there are some caveats and tips to doing it right. Here are some of those tips to consider before diving right in

  • Before starting on your plumbing or any remodeling project, work out a budget first. Establish what you want it to look like and how much you have to spend, then choose the options that fit into that framework. There are few things worse than having a bathroom left unfinished because you ran out of money halfway through the job.
  • Remodeling is a great opportunity to assess the ventilation in your bathroom and upgrade it if necessary. Proper ventilation improves air quality and prevents mold growth and water damage, so an upgrade in equipment can be an investment that is well worth the expense.
  • As tempting as it may be to make wholesale, sweeping changes to everything in your existing bathroom, try to avoid moving any plumbing around. It’s costly, messy and can really extend the time it takes for the job to be done. Is it really worth an extra week of work to have the tub against another wall?
  • Finally, to save your budget, consider refinishing certain fixture versus replacing them. Refinished tubs and tiles can look just as shiny as new, but without the extra cost and labor.

Keep those tips in mind as you consider that bathroom remodeling job, and you are likely to have the whole experience work out much more pleasantly for you…and isn’t that the whole point?  If you have any questions about bathroom remodeling please call Brooks Plumbing.

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How to Clear Pipes and Sewer Lines with High Pressure Water Jetting

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Many plumbers in Lacey have started using a high pressured water jetting to rid sewer lines and drains of debris and clogs. This new tactic for plumbing maintenance was adapted from industrial water jet cutters which are powerful enough to cut through stone, metal, and composite materials.

How it Works

The basic idea of water jetting is very straight forward. Water is pumped under high pressure through a large diameter hose into a jetter nozzle with a much smaller diameter hole. A thin stream of water shoots out of the nozzle at pressures that can reach 100,000 PSI for industrial jetters. Lower pressures are used for plumbing applications, usually in the 3,000 to 5,000 PSI range, otherwise the water stream would be unmanageable and could damage the pipes.

Sewer jetter nozzles have a forward-firing jet to break up clogs, and back-firing jets to push the nozzle through the pipe while scouring the walls. The nozzle is attached to a long hose that delivers the pressurized water. The nozzle pulls the hose along with it as it moves down the pipe. Debris, grease,  and other material loosened by the jets are pushed back to where the nozzle entered the pipe. Plumbing contractors typically have water jets that can clear up to 200 feet of pipe.

High pressure jetters are most frequently used to clear exterior drains,  sewer, and septic lines. But they can also be used to clear interior waste pipes.

Benefits over Traditional Techniques

The traditional way to clear sewer and drain lines is to run a flexible metal cable or “snake” through the line which rotates and scrapes the inner walls of the pipe. Snakes do a good job, but they don’t always clear grease or mineral deposits. Snakes can sometimes push through a clog without really clearing it or loosening it.  They can also become snagged on tree roots.

Water jets can efficiently remove grease, mineral deposits, and other debris clogging the sewer line. The jet can also cut through roots that have worked their way into the line. The properties that make water jetting so valuable as an industrial tool make it well suited for plumbing applications. Water is non-toxic and doesn’t react with plumbing materials. Water jetting doesn’t release noxious fumes and doesn’t cause the metal piping to heat up. The spent water just continues down the drain flushing any loose sediment with it.   Please call Brooks Plumbing Company with any questions.

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Plumbing Repair Tip: Troubleshooting Drain Problems

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It’s Saturday afternoon and you are preparing dinner for a number of guests. The kitchen is packed with groceries and you start to clean a lot of veggies for dipping. But there is a problem. The drain in your kitchen sink is “acting funny.” It drains slowly and is making a gurgling sound. In fact, it’s beginning to smelly funny, too.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Before you hit the panic button, let’s take a moment to troubleshoot the problem. Maybe there isn’t much of a problem with your Olympia plumbing after all.

First of all, is the problem confined to just the kitchen sink? There may be similar problems in other sinks, which would indicate a larger problem with the plumbing in your home. Hopefully, the kitchen sink is the only area you need to be concerned with.

Next, if you have a two-basin sink who should check to see if both sides are clogged or just one. Remove all dishes and utensils and run water on both sides. If water drains from one and not the other, there is a clog somewhere in the pipe leading to the union of both pipes. You have now centralized the drain problem. If both sides back up, the clog is further down the pipe. But it is still not a big problem.

One way to troubleshoot for drain problems is to simply run very hot water down the drain. This tends to break up clogs of grease by melting it away. The fix can also be as simple as running the garbage disposal long enough to dislodge any debris. You may even want to grind up some food you were planning to dispose of or take some lettuce greens and use the disposal on them. If this food takes a long time to grind or doesn’t at all, the disposal may be the culprit, leading to blocked drains.

And if you are preparing for your party by taking a shower and the shower drain is acting funny, don’t hit the panic button just yet. You may just have a build-up of hair or skin on the drain cover or screen. Use you foot to swish around the water and if water drains more quickly when you do this, the fix can be as simple as reaching down and picking up the debris. Having a plunger nearby helps, too.

None of this is brain surgery and quick fixes are easy to do. But if the problem persists and you don’t have the time or patience to work on your drain problem, call a Olympia plumbing professional such as Brooks Plumbing Co.!

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How a Storage Water Heater Works

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

For decades, residents of Olympia have used water heater tanks to heat and store hot water for future use. These tanks are very simple and in many cases have become much more energy efficient, but you probably are wondering how they actually work. Here is a quick overview of a storage water heater tank and how it works.

The Basics

A storage water heater is exactly as it sounds. A large volume of water is funneled into a storage tank of between 20 and 80 gallons and heated for future use. When you turn on a hot water tap, water from the top of the tank is removed through the hot water outlet and cold water enters the tank through the cold water inlet – replacing the displaced volume and heated by the gas burner beneath the tank.

Water heaters can be electric, gas, propane or oil depending on what is available in your area. When the water temperature falls (as hot water is pulled from the tank), the thermostat opens and the gas burner ignites, heating the water until it reaches the preset temperature of the thermostat and it closes.

The Tank

When a tank is turned on, it is constantly heating the water supply. As a result, standby heat loss occurs. However, modern tanks are being built with exceptionally high insulation ratings (up to R-25) to minimize the loss of such heat. Additional heat loss occurs in gas and oil water heaters that must vent fumes and gasses through an internal flue. Fan assisted gas tanks and sealed combustion tanks reduce this type of energy loss in gas water heaters.

Determining the Best Water Heater for You

If you would like to install a new water heater for your home, make sure you do your research and learn what types of water heaters will minimize heat and energy loss without reducing your comfort level. Modern tank water heaters are surprisingly efficient, but only certain ones. Call Brooks Plumbing Company to help you determine which option is best for you.

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Compression vs. Cartridge Faucets for Homes

Friday, March 16th, 2012

If you are like most people in Lacey, you probably do not think too much about what goes on inside your faucet when you turn it on and off. All you need is for the water to flow when you want it to and to stop when you do not. But when the time comes for a kitchen or bathroom remodeling, it is helpful to know a little bit about how the different types of faucets work and what the pros and cons of each can be.

The oldest and most common types of faucets are compression faucets. When one of these faucets is in the off position, a small washer inside creates a seal that keeps water from flowing through and into the tap. But when you turn the faucet on, the stem inside raises up, which takes the pressure off of the washer and breaks the seal. That allows the water to flow until you lower the stem back down again by turning the faucet off.

These faucets are generally easy to find and relatively cheap. They are also easy to install or repair on your own, and this is fortunate because they do tend to develop leaks periodically. That is primarily because the washer inside will wear out over time and need to be replaced. This is rather straightforward plumbing maintenance, but if you do not want to have to deal with it, you may want to consider your other option.

The other main type of faucet on the market today is a cartridge faucet. Instead of washers, these types of faucets employ a cartridge which seals to the faucet base with several O-rings. These types of faucets can often be quite a bit more expensive, although you can certainly find some that are reasonably priced. They are also much less prone to developing leaks, and when they do they are quite easy to repair as well. If you have any questions please call Brooks Plumbing Company

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Common Water Line Problems

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Everyone needs water in Lacey. It keeps us clean, provides us with a clean drinking source and helps us cook food and wash clothes. So, when a problem occurs with the water line, it can be disruptive to every aspect of everyday life. Here are some common water line problems and solutions you can implement to solve them as fast as possible:

  • Burst Pipe – The biggest problem you can have is a burst pipe. This is a major problem and one that needs plumbing maintenance immediately. If your pipe bursts or starts to leak, turn off the main water supply immediately and call an emergency plumber. You’ll want to have it patched as soon as possible to return normal water service to your home.
  • Noisy Pipes – Noise in the pipes is a slightly less disastrous problem but it can lead to bigger problems down the road if not dealt with. Usually, it is due to air in the pipes which can create a loud banging sound. If your pipes are vibrating or banging, the easiest solution is to turn off the water supply and drain your pipes completely, then fill them back up to remove the air build up.
  • Water Pressure – Low water pressure can be due to a number of problems, from a small leak somewhere to an issue in the incoming water supply. If you notice water pressure dropping in your home, call a professional to inspect the problem and offer potential solutions.
  • Sediment in the Pipes – If suddenly you are seeing excess sediment, rust, or other debris in your water it is probably from an aging pipe. While this doesn’t necessarily signal that your pipe is about to burst, it can be a sign of potential problems in the future. Build up from hard water or erosion can both be major problems if not fixed right away.

Water line problems can range from small nuisances to major disasters that threaten your entire home, but they should all be treated with equal import. If something happens to your water line, don’t waste time trying to track down a solution. Turn off the water supply and call a professional right away.  Please call Brooks Plumbing with any questions.

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How Can I Prevent Clogged Drains in My Home?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

One of the most frustrating plumbing issues any home owner will encounter is a clogged drain. Not only are clogged drains a nuisance, they are largely avoidable, so it becomes that much more frustrating when it happens since you know that you could have taken preventative measures long before the problem occurred. To help stop your drains from clogging in the future, here are some useful preventative tips:

  • Set Cooking Grease Aside – Cooking grease is thick, viscous and clings to the sides of almost all types of pipes. So, instead of pouring it down your sink and hoping it clears out on its own, pour it into a coffee can and set it aside. There are a number of places where you can recycle old grease.
  • Flush Garbage Disposals – When you use your garbage disposal, it is imperative that you flush cold water through the system at the same time. Without water to flush the food particles through the pipes, anything ground up in the disposal will become stuck and with the application of grease or other food particles can easily become a thick clog.
  • Pour Boiling Hot Water Down the Pipes – At least once a week it is a good idea to pour 2-3 quarts of boiling water down your sinks and bathtub to loosen any pre-clogs that have formed. Things like soap, grease, food, and hair can all be dislodged by an application of hot water on a regular basis.
  • Taking Care with Your Toilet – A toilet is not designed to flush anything that will technically fit down the hole. Even for paper products that seem to be flushable, take care in what goes into the toilet bowl. Paper towels, garbage, and wrappers should not be flushed or they are likely to cause clogs.
  • Use Strainers – Install strainers on all of your sinks, including the ones in your bathroom plumbing. A simple strainer will catch excess bits of food, hair, and other grime that has a habit of falling down the drain and getting flushed along with the dishwater or during a shower.

With care, your drains will remain clog free and never require the services of a snake or a plumber. If you do get past the point of no return, do not panic just yet – there are a number of steps you can take to remove a small clog without chemicals or professional help. However, if the clog refuses to budge or begins to backup, know when to call Brooks Plumbing.

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Plumbing’s Tip: Detecting Leaks with Your Water Meter

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

When you notice a leak in your Tumwater home, you fix it right away, but what happens when you don’t notice a leak for days or even weeks? The damage it causes can have a profound impact on your water bill and the good repair of your home. To avoid hidden leaks – the ones that hide in your walls or your yard, keep a close eye on your water meter.

The Hidden Leaks

Obvious leaks are…well, they’re obvious. They pour water down the walls, leave puddles in your bathroom or create ponds in your backyard. Unfortunately, the majority of leaks are much less obvious. They result from small drips between pipe joints in your walls or a hairline fracture in your water main or drain pipes. They may not even appear where you can see them.

If this happens, it’s important to have a keen eye for the signs that a water leak has occurred. Specifically, look for jumps in your water meter readings.

Watching the Water Meter

Your water meter tracks every drop of water consumed by your family. To check for water loss, record the reading at the same time every day and watch how it changes. To be sure of a leak, you can turn off all the fixtures in your home and watch for the meter to move. If the meter moves despite the fact that no one in your home is consuming any water, it is likely a leak.

You can also compare your bills from one month to the next. If your bill rises suddenly, without any clear reason, check the meter readings and the rates. If the meter reading increased suddenly and the water rate did not, there might be a leak to blame. If that’s the case, call a professional to inspect your water lines immediately – what is hidden to you might be a relatively obvious, straightforward repair to someone else.

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