Though April is filled with several memorable events, one of the most important (yet least heralded) is coming up soon. Earth Day is April 22 – and Metro wants to make sure that our Chattanooga neighbors are ready and motivated to take part! The annual celebration, marking the anniversary of the environmental movement in 1970, has become an international event. Coordinated celebrations take place all over the world, with more than a billion people actively participating. Metro wants to help our neighbors live more efficiently while simultaneously helping the environment. We’ve compiled some tips from various Earth Day initiatives for making homes more eco-friendly. Celebrate Earth Day everyday by implementing these simple suggestions:
Create an Herb Garden
Start an herb garden in your backyard and enjoy fresh, natural herbs while cutting out the waste of product packaging.
Starting a compost area in your back yard will help reduce the use of your compactor, reduce the amount of trash your home produces and will help to inexpensively fertilize that new herb garden.
Outside Fire Alternatives
That wood you burn in the fire pit or chimenea can release harmful toxic carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Consider burning alternative products made from soy, coffee beans and recycled sawdust (wood pellets).
Hang Dry Your Laundry
The spring and summer are the ideal seasons for drying your clothes outside. Hang drying clothing helps to reduce carbon emissions and will keep darks from fading. Modern collapsible clothes racks are less conspicuous than clothes lines – and can be folded and put away after use.
Consider planting flora that is native to your area. This will protect the local environment and ensure a healthy yard. Local Tennessee plants include: Blazing Star flowers, Tickseed flowers, Jacob’s Ladder flowers, Red Maple trees, Yellowwood trees, Buttonbush shrubs and many more.
Be mindful of the products that are thrown away on a daily basis on your home. Try to wash and reuse glass jars and plastic bottles. Bags – both paper and plastic can be used to line garbage cans. carboard boxes and other receptacles can be reused to carry or store items.
Buy Bamboo Products
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth. The products made from it are durable and age better than wood. Help to save our forests and put your money behind bamboo dishes, furniture and other home essentials.
Low Flow Fixtures
Replace the water fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom with modern low-flow fixtures. EPA WaterSense-approved fixtures use less water, but perform just as well as similar (less efficient) designs on the market.
Replace the incandescent bulbs in your home with LEDs. LED lightbulbs are 85% more efficient than incandescents and can last for up to 9 years. The huge savings in electricity and longevity more than make up for their higher retail price.
Install Energy Efficient Windows
If your windows are 20 years or older, consider replacing them with energy efficient models. New windows will help maximize your heating and cooling system – while saving energy and lowering utility bills.
Stop using toxic cleaners to clean countertops, sinks and the bathroom. Make your own powerful cleaner with natural ingredients that you already have in your home. Baking soda and vinegar is an effective cleaning alternative – and has been a household staple for decades.
Keep your market tote bags (the ones you never use) by the front door so that they aren’t forgotten on the next trip to the store. Always make an effort to use your own bags to cut down on the consumption of paper and plastic.
Keep your home environmentally safe and running efficiently all year with these Earth Day tips – and the professionals at Metro. Remember that an eco-friendly home also encompasses plumbing and HVAC systems that are running efficiently. Metro can help you with all of your essential home maintenance needs – including indoor air quality solutions. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule a maintenance appointment or an IAQ assessment.
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
It’s spring again in Chattanooga, which means warmer temperatures, vibrant, blooming flora – and a wide variety of allergens. Chattanooga was rated the third worst city in America for allergy sufferers last year. It is “worse than average” for both pollen levels and the amount of people on allergy medication. If you are an allergy sufferer in the area, you are probably already aware of this fact. It isn’t something that you can easily overlook.
While the home service experts at Metro can’t help you with your allergies outside of the home, we can definitely give you some tips for dealing with them indoors. We have been assisting our Chattanooga neighbors with allergy triggers for years. Our indoor air quality solutions and practical tips for combatting allergies in the home can help drastically minimize the symptoms. Last month we went over strategies for creating a better IAQ after the long winter. This month we specifically target indoor allergens; which can be even more extreme if your household is not prepared.
We’ve complied a short list of indoor spring allergy tips for you to consider:
Dealing with outdoor allergies in Chattanooga is difficult enough without having to deal with them in your home as well. Being proactive about your indoor air during allergy season will help minimize those allergy triggers. Above all, keep your home clean and be mindful of outdoor activity and what you could be bringing inside the house. If these DIY solutions are not enough to reduce your symptoms, remember that the Metro experts can help with additional IAQ solutions. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an assessment today!
Looking to remove indoor allergens from your Chattanooga home? Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
The post Combating Spring Allergies in Your Chattanooga Home appeared first on Metro Sewer & Plumbing.
One of the recurring plumbing problems that our plumbers experience in Chattanooga homes is a clogged drain. While this won’t come as much of a surprise, the fact that most of them are preventable is worth discussing. A clogged drain can be a huge inconvenience; it can upset daily schedules and prevent essential cleaning and hygiene care. For most homeowners, the first, best solution is to purchase a product filled with harmful chemicals to remove the clog. Most of these brands are not only harmful to the environment, but they are highly abrasive and can hurt your plumbing.
The more stubborn clogs need the assistance of a professional plumber, which is great for our business – but not so much for the homeowner. Metro believes in educating our neighbors on sensible plumbing maintenance, so that when you do need us for a job, it’s a problem that was unavoidable. Most issues are the result of homeowners putting things down the drain that simply shouldn’t be there – in addition to the hair and soap residue commonly cycled through baths and showers. We have compiled a short guide of helpful actions to help keep your plumbing clog-free.
Mesh Drain Screens
One of the easiest, most effective ways to keep drains free from clogs is to install mesh drain screens throughout the home. Drain screens are ideal for catching hair, soap scum, food and debris that can compromise your plumbing. They are also very inexpensive and easy to install.
Once a week clean the drains in your home by removing any excess debris from around the pop-up stoppers, drain covers and sink strainers. This is especially important for the drains in your bathroom, which can be compromised by the combination of hair and soap buildup.
Once a month it’s good practice to clean the drains with a homemade, nontoxic formula. This preventative method will help keep grease, hair and debris buildup to a minimum. One of the simplest recipes for a non-invasive cleaner is to combine one cup of baking soda and one cup of cider vinegar. This recipe also works for clogged drains, but is ideal as a preventative cleaner for every drain in the house.
Wash Pets Outside
When the weather permits, always try to wash your pets outside. Pet hair in the bathtub and shower can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. If you have to bathe them inside, make sure that the drain is covered with a cloth when draining. Fine pet hair can get through mesh screens and can end up clogging your plumbing. Consider investing in a wash tub or pet bath to ensure your drains are completely free from hair.
If you have a healthy head of hair (and a family with equally impressive locks), making a habit out of brushing your hair before a bath or shower is a good idea. Brushing your hair will get rid of lots of follicles that were loose and would otherwise float down the drain. Mesh screens are good at catching (human) hair, but they don’t catch everything. Consider making this a ritual before every bath or shower.
Throw Trash in the Garbage
Make sure that everyone in the family understands that a sink is not a trash can – and neither is the garbage disposal. The bathroom sinks are for washing and grooming only, while the kitchen sink disposal is only for minor dish and cookware detritus. Metro has blogged about garbage disposal tips before; read our previous blog for more information.
In addition to investing in some mesh drain screens, keeping a sturdy plunger around is always a good call. Catching slow drainage with a plunger before it can back up entirely is another good way to keep clogs at bay. Remember that the professionals at Metro can assist you with every plumbing problem in your home. If you ever do experience a clogged drain that you can’t fix yourself, our experts have the skills and experience to help. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 today to schedule an appointment.
Have a clog that requires the assistance of a professional? Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Bathroom
Your bathroom has probably received a lot of attention these past few months with holidays and events being so close together. From Thanksgiving to Christmas and Hanukah all the way to New Year’s and the Super Bowl, your friends and family have become closely acquainted with your home’s bathroom. More holidays are on their way for the Summer and family vacations are right around the corner. Give your bathroom some love with a few of these deep cleaning tips.
If you had multiple guests use your shower, chances are it’s not looking the best. In order to get an effective clean, you’ll need to start from the top and work to the bottom. Pour some white vinegar into a plastic zip lock or grocery bag (enough to submerge the showerhead nozzle) and tie it over the nozzle overnight to soak.
While the showerhead is soaking, grab your plastic shower curtains and liners and throw them through the wash with a few towels and your regular detergent (the towels will act as scrubbers to help get rid of soap scum and mildew).
If you have fiberglass showers and glass doors, be careful with how you clean these surfaces. You will need to clean them with a nonabrasive cleaner (all-purpose bathroom cleaner, pine oil or baking soda). Do not use abrasive cleaners and avoid scrubbing pads because they can scratch or dull the finish.
Fill your tub with hot water to warm the tub and drain it before spraying a bathroom cleaner and cleaning the tub. This doubles the effectiveness of alkaline cleansers. Use abrasive scrubbing pads to remove bathtub rings and deposits on shower floors.
Scrub tile grout with tile brushes dipped in bleach. Grout is susceptible to bacterial growth. To help prevent moisture and grime from infiltrating grout, seal it every six months.
Pour a cup of baking soda into the bowl and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it. If there are still spots, you can find a pumice stone to scrub the rest of the spots off.
Spray a vinegar and water solution on the base of the toilet as well as the outer bowl, tank, toilet seat and lid before wiping it down with a cleaning cloth.
For an added measure, you can clean your toilet cleaning wand by soaking it in a bleach/water solution.
Sink and Faucet
To help clear out the drain, pour white vinegar or baking soda down the drain and flush with hot water. The best way to clean your faucet is to use disposable disinfecting wipes. Cloths can move the bacteria around rather than disposing of it.
Use your vinegar and water solution to spray down the sink and wipe clean with a cleaning cloth. For hardened deposits, you can use abrasive or soft-scrub cleaners along with cleaners formulated with bleach. This will help remove toothpaste spots and sanitize at the same time. Don’t forget to clean your mirror! You can use a typical class cleaning spray and wipe down with a paper towel or microfiber cloth (or a newspaper). Using a wash rag will create smudges and streaks.
Your bathroom floor should be the last thing you clean. Mop with a cleaning solution that has bleach in it to help sanitize your floors. If your bathroom floor has tile on it, scrub out the grout with a small brush and bleach. If you don’t want to use bleach, mix a solution of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. As you mop, start at the furthest end of your bathroom and work your way towards the door. This will make sure you are not having to walk over the spots you just cleaned and ruin the great job you did of mopping. Once you are done, let the floor dry and give yourself a pat on the back!
If you come across any plumbing issues during your deep cleaning, give us a call at 423-616-1025. Our Clean Guarantee ensures that our plumbers work with cleanliness or you will receive a $50 Cleaner Gift Card!
Check out these other tips for a bathroom deep cleanse:
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
If you’re looking for a home maintenance project over the long Spring Break, flushing out your tank water heater is a simple and effective way to ensure peak performance. If you own an insulated tank water heater (like the majority of homes), minerals from the water, in addition to sand and debris from the water line, will eventually start to settle at the bottom. This sediment build-up happens over time and can affect the water quality and performance of the unit. Sediment can also clog up the drain and complicate annual maintenance – which essential for an extended life.
A typical gas or water heater should be flushed every couple of years, depending on the mineral content in your water. If your source is a well or your city water supply contains a high percentage of sediment, you should flush out your tank every year. A typical water flush shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to complete. If you’ve never attempted it before, give yourself a longer window to make sure that each step is performed correctly. Some water in tank heaters can remain scalding hot for several hours after the unit has been turned off, so either turn it off the night before – or wait a few hours before maintenance. Always read the manufacturer’s directions before attempting any DIY work on your water heater as some might have different design components.
The first step is turning off the water supply to the tank. The cold water supply valve is located at the top of the unit. Simply turn it clockwise to shut it off. Wearing work gloves to protect your hands is recommended.
If you own a gas unit, set the thermostat to the “pilot” setting. An electric water heater must be turned off at the breaker box.
Toward the bottom of the tank you will find the drain valve. Some units may have a cover to protect the valve, so a bit of searching might be involved. Once you locate the valve (which is similar to a water fixture outside your home) attachment a common garden hose. Place the other end of the hose near a drain or a driveway; somewhere the hot water can flow safely. Some people use a bucket to catch the water if there isn’t a convenient place for the water to drain. Make sure to take extra precautions if using a bucket.
To alleviate pressure and to ensure that the water drains quickly, find the nearest sink and turn on the hot water tap.
After you have alleviated pressure in the system, open the drain valve. Now the water should flow freely from the tank – unless there is sediment blockage. If the water doesn’t flow at a good pace, the drain valve might be clogged. If you have any issues with the drainage you should call a plumbing professional to assess the problem. Once all the water has been drained, add some more water by turning on the cold water supply. This will help stir up the remaining sediment at the bottom. Watch the water coming from the hose and make sure that it runs clear. If there appears to be more sediment, turn on the cold water again. Repeat this step until the water coming from the hose is clear.
After the water has been drained successfully, close the valve and remove the hose. Turn on the cold water supply and begin to fill up the tank. Check the hot water tap that was opened and, when it starts to run cold water, turn it off. Make sure that the drain valve is shut off and not leaking any water.
Once the tank is filled, switch the gas valve from the pilot position back to “on” – or restore the power back to the electric unit.
Remember that if you ever have a problem with your tank or tankless water heater, our licensed, experienced staff can help! We can also flush the tank for you if you’d like a professional to oversee the job. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an appointment today!
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
The history of plumbing is a long and complicated one. Industrious minds created the first true advances centuries ago beginning with clay sewage pipes. The trajectory of the growth and domination of the industry encompasses the entire globe, with innovation coming from the Egyptians, Romans, French and many other societies around the world. Plumbing has provided the world with easy access to one of our most precious resources: water. It has kept civilizations from deadly epidemics, furthered international industry and ensured the propagation of society as we know it.
Today, as we celebrate World Plumbing Day, Metro looks back at some of the major milestones in the history of plumbing.
4000 – 3000 B.C.
The first known water pipes, made of clay, were discovered in the Indus River (in India) by archeologists. The remnants date back from 4000 – 3000 B.C.
Sophisticated plumbing systems were developed by the Egyptians for the pyramids. Copper pipes were used for intricate irrigation and sewage system for the dead to use in the afterlife.
1500 – 1000 B.C.
Industrious minds in Crete invent complex underground sewage and drainage systems.
500 B.C. – 455 A.D.
The Roman Empire was responsible for some of the most complex plumbing systems up to that time. They created bronze and lead piping that fed aqueducts, public baths and underground sewers.
The first cast-iron plumbing line was created at the behest of King Louis XIV. The plumbing delivered water over 155 miles for disbursement to the palace fountains.
Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings developed the prototype for the modern toilet. One important advancement made by his design was the inclusion of the S trap – which keeps a small amount of water in the bowl. This kept the smell of sewage down to a minimum – and allowed for easier cleaning.
Plumbing is introduced to the White House on the first floor.
The first city in the country to install an extensive sewer system was Chicago.
Massachusetts builds the world’s first drinking water treatment systems.
The elevated water tank becomes the most popular design for closed toilets. This is still the most common toilet found in homes today.
A copper shortage leads to the manufacturing of plastic and non-metallic plumbing.
To conserve water, California enacts a law that prohibits the use of toilets that use more than 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf).
Japan introduces the first sensor-flushing toilets. This technology is later utilized for other service fixtures.
The Environmental Policy Act of ’92 was passed by Congress to help conserve water. The policy mandated a maximum amount of water consumption for fixtures.
The EPA creates the WaterSense program providing performance standards for fixtures that conserve water.
Metro is proud of our plumbing professionals and celebrate their work today – and every day. Since 1989 we have been committed to providing the most efficient and experienced plumbing techs in Chattanooga. If you ever need plumbing repair or service, call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 and we’ll schedule an appointment today!
A mild winter and early spring temperatures in Chattanooga means that central air systems will inevitably get some use well before summer officially begins. At Metro, we believe in empowering our customers and neighbors with practical DIY advice for their plumbing, heating and air systems. With this mind, we thought we would offer some early HVAC maintenance tips before the temperatures dictate turning on the A/C.
We’ve stated many of these essential procedures before, but they’re worth repeating; especially if you have an older system. Keep in mind that these steps are not that technical in nature and can be tackled by anyone – even if you’ve never touched your condenser (outdoor A/C component). While we are still experiencing lows in the 30’s, it’s a good time to begin thinking about DIY maintenance for you’re A/C. Following these easy tips will help ensure that your central air system runs at peak efficiency throughout the spring and summer.
Clean the Condensing Unit
The condenser is the outdoor component of your air conditioning. It’s the square or dome-like unit that is connected to the side or back of your home. Its location isn’t as important as what surrounds it. A condenser situated close to bushes or trees should be monitored closely to ensure that limbs and leaves don’t compromise the air flow. Yard debris can also find its way into the interior and harm the compressor, condensing coil and other parts housed inside.
Make sure to keep at least two feet of space between the unit and any other structures. This will ensure sufficient space for the flow of air – and keep the contamination minimal. Remove any debris from around the condenser and trim any limbs or plant life that might have grown too close. You will also want to take a hose to the unit if it appears to be dirty/dusty from the months of non-use. Before you wash it off, be sure to turn of the electricity feeding it first.
Change the Air Filter
In the spring, it’s important to change the HVAC filter before the summer season begins. The basic rule for air filters is that they should be changed (or cleaned if reusable) every three months in fall and spring – the off-seasons. During peak operating times, in the summer and winter, a filter should be changed every month. These windows can vary depending on usage and a combination of things. If you own pets and your city has poor air quality, you might consider looking at your filter once a month and checking the condition. A dirty air filter will cause a system to work harder, raise the electricity bill and provide less protection from airborne contaminants. A compromised filter will also shorten the life of your HVAC system.
If you are buying a filter for the first time, you will want to make sure to pay attention to the EPA’s minimum efficiency reporting value (or MERV). Listed on the packaging of every HVAC filter, the MERV scale rates the effectiveness of residential brands from 1 to 12. The higher the number, the better the filtration capacity. But be mindful of the higher-rated brands as they require more energy for the air to properly run through. So it’s important to weigh filter effectiveness versus higher energy costs when comparing options. Fortunately, most hardware and home improvement stores carry a wide variety of brands and MERV ratings.
Check the Thermostat
Chattanooga homes have probably had their heat on at some point in the past few weeks. Morning lows in the 30’s have kept most people reaching for the thermostat – regardless of the warmer-than-average highs. If there were something wrong with your thermostat, you would already know it by now. But it’s important to check your thermostat when going through your first air conditioning cycle because it can help in detecting problems with the unit. If you own a digital/programmable thermostat that has been functioning properly with your heating unit, but has difficulty communicating with the A/C, there might be problems with the condensing unit. Is your central air still run by a mechanical thermostat? Technical problems with your HVAC are more easily discovered with a digital device.
Schedule Annual Maintenance
Because your HVAC is such an essential part of keeping your household healthy and comfortable, ensuring it runs in optimal condition is important. Annual maintenance performed twice a year will help extend the life of your system, increase energy efficiency and help reduce your utility bills. It will also help identify problems before they become major repair issues – potentially saving you hundreds on repairs. Most manufacturer warranties include provisions that annual maintenance be performed to ensure they remain valid. If you are not signed up for Metro’s Heating and Air Conditioning Maintenance Plan, you should consider participating. About 70% of our repair calls could be prevented with proper annual maintenance. If you are on the plan and would like to schedule an early service inspection for later this month, contact us today!
Keep your HVAC running at maximum efficiency with regular DIY and professional maintenance. The combination will ensure your central air system lives a long life and keeps repair bills at a minimum. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an appointment today!
Want to keep your HVAC running efficiently? Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
Early Spring IAQ in Your Chattanooga Home
At Metro we are big proponents of healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). We’ve discussed the detrimental effects of toxins in the air – and various solutions. However we have yet to cover what can happen to the air in your home over the transitional post-holiday season. We’ve been fortunate in Chattanooga this year as it’s been a mild winter, but that can present a different set of IAQ challenges for your home. Back in November we wrote about using plants to help clean your indoor air. In December we shared a list of common signs that might indicate an unhealthy IAQ. This time we are reviewing the problems stemming from a mild winter and early spring – a combination that can wreak havoc on your indoor air.
Our unseasonably warm winter has prompted early blooming from the local flora, which is great to look at, but bad news for those who suffer from spring allergies. The weather insures one very long allergy season – which can affect your home’s IAQ. If you have people in your household who suffer from allergies, be proactive in fighting those allergens. Shoes, clothing and pets will pick up allergens and contaminate the home. Consider investing in a vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. These particular models can filer out 99.7% of small particles in your home. Vacuum all flooring (carpeted, wood and any other surface) at least once a week. If you have animals, vacuum twice a week.
If you own pets that require a certain amount of time outside, they are tracking in allergens. If you are walking a dog twice a day, you are also tracking in allergens – on your shoes and clothing. If you live near a park or an area with considerable plant growth there will be a certain amount of contamination even without pets. Make sure that during this transitional period, you give your dogs a bath on a regular basis. Take off your shoes at the front door and wash your clothing after use. Almost all commercial detergents contain artificial fragrances; consider using a non-toxic detergent to clean your clothes. Also consider buying a pair of athletic shoes just for walking and wash them as often as you wash your pets.
In the spring, it’s always a good idea to open windows for healthy ventilation. But it’s not spring just yet – regardless of what the weather might have you believe. Keep the windows closed for now and focus on dusting your home, which has probably been closed up tight for the winter. The recycled air promotes dust, which has been collecting on your ceiling fans, blinds, wall art and exposed cabinets. Ceiling fans are an especially aggressive dust collector – and can contribute greatly to poor IAQ. Dust your home with a microfiber or electrostatic cloth (both are good for collecting dust particles). Try to use your HEPA vacuum wherever possible, but cloths are good for the places your vacuum can’t reach.
Fear the (Unnatural) Fragrances
Many people use synthetic fragrances to imbue their home with festive scents throughout the holidays. Most of the more popular products on the market (including wax melts and scented oils) emit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that are toxic or potentially hazardous. Some of them are derived from petroleum products and, because of certain FDA loopholes, have never been tested for adverse effects. There are dozens of potentially harmful products that contain VOCs including paint, cleaners and pesticides. But the high concentration of “manufactured scents” during the winter can be especially bad for your IAQ. Consider getting rid of all your air fragrances and explore using non-toxic alternatives – or try making your own from natural products.
We always like to remind our Chattanooga neighbors to replace the filter on their HVAC before there is a seasonal shift in the weather. Our early spring might dictate an additional replacement in May, depending on how much you use your central air. Be sure to replace your filter with a strong polyester/cotton design supporting a MERV (minimum efficiency rating) of around 8 – 12. A high-efficiency filter will help greatly in removing the airborne contaminants that have settled in your home over the winter.
Remember that Metro can help if you are dealing with severe invasive IAQ problems. From mold infiltration to environmental allergies, we have a wide array of IAQ solutions that we can tailor to your individual needs. Call us today at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 and we will schedule a detailed inspection of your indoor air.
Looking to improve your indoor air quality? Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!
The majority of residential plumbing problems revolve around sink or toilet clogs. Most homeowners have had to deal with these minor issues, many of which can be easily taken care of with a plunger or commercial drain cleaner. But problems with your sewer line aren’t as easily remedied. A clog in your home’s sewer system can be inconvenient, invasive and very expensive to fix. It can also lead to significant damage in your home if there is a sewage backup.
Clogged sewer lines, especially those in older homes, are often very complex and require the help of professionals. Most homeowners don’t think much about sewer line maintenance until it’s too late. Don’t make the same mistake. By following these tips you can help keep your sewer lines performing at peak efficiency for years to come.
Cleaning out your pipes every month with an enzyme cleaner is recommended for a healthy sewer line. There are a wide variety of cleaners on the market, but make sure that you avoid a chemical-based cleaner which is not good for your pipes or the environment. You’ll find a wide selection of cleaners at your local home improvement store with specific directions on how to administer the chemical. Accessing the sewer line in your home is very easy. Most every drain leads to the sewer line, but the toilet or a basement drain are the largest access points.
Replace Old Clay Pipes
If you live in an older home that was built before the mid 50’s, you probably have a clay sewer line. Clay pipes should be replaced as they crack easily and can require a lot of repair work. They are also easily infiltrated by tree roots because of the permeable nature of the clay. Slow moving drains and odd gurgling noises are some of the first signs that your sewer system has been infiltrated by roots. If your home is 60 years or older and you are experiencing these minor problems, have your system assessed immediately. Even if your system seems to be working fine, consider having it replaced if it is made of clay.
Keep Plants Away from the Sewer Line
One of the most common (and costly) reasons that a sewer line backs up is the infiltration of tree and plant roots. As stated previously, this happens frequently to lines that are made of clay. But even modern sewer lines can be compromised by roots depending on a number of factors – including tree placement. It is a good rule of thumb to plant trees and bushes several feet away from the sewer line. Before planting something new, make sure you research where the sewer line is located.
Avoid Flushing Trash Down the Toilet
There are only two things that should be flushed down a toilet: human waste and toilet paper. There are no exceptions. But another common cause of sewer blockage is trash. Some of the blame must be put on the advertising of certain products that claim to be “flushable.” Wipes are not flushable in any form and can wreak havoc on plumbing. Feminine hygiene products, tissues, floss, cotton balls, cat litter, condoms and cigarette butts are all common culprits. Throw these items in the trash – and keep your sewer line free from blockage.
Perform Maintenance Once a Year
Annual cleaning will remove any debris or other matter that might compromise the sewer line. If you experience consistent problems, annual professional maintenance (along with a monthly enzyme cleaner) will keep those issues to a minimum.
Contact Metro Plumbing today for a complete assessment of your sewer line. We can help diagnose any recurring problems and offer solutions for clay plumbing replacement. Call us at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an assessment today!
Thinking about a unique Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one? Is the relationship beyond the expected candy and flowers? If so, you would be surprised what a little “out of the box” thinking can inspire. While Metro is not particularly known for gift ideas, we are a leader in plumbing and HVAC services – and know a few things about what home owners find attractive. This is especially true when it comes to plumbing and bathroom fixtures.
Low flow shower heads, modern faucets, vessel sinks and other unique kitchen and bathroom fixtures are popular additions in remodels, new builds and replacement installations. If you are looking for a unique token of affection this holiday, consider one of the popular home service fixtures on this list. Practical gifts like these are definitely not for everyone, but for the right homeowner these products are much more coveted than an expensive dinner or disposable trifle. Metro has put together a list of recommended items that are both unique and desirable.
Low Flow Shower Heads – Help them lower their utility bill and conserve water with a low flow shower head. There are a wide variety of designs with different comfort settings that offer the user the same experience as a traditional shower head. WaterSense certified products (EPA approved to help save water, energy and money) use the lowest amount of gallons per minute (gpm) and have high performance ratings. Look for their logo on the packaging when searching for the ideal product.
Modern Faucets – Faucet fixture designs have come a long way in the last 20 years. The modern homeowner has gravitated toward unique designs that offer both form and function – and manufacturers have risen to the occasion. Sleek ergonomic designs available in a variety of finishes, dimensions and price points can be found at most hardware and home improvement stores. There are also basic and classic designs that perform better than their previous iterations. For some people, there is nothing more attractive than a new faucet fixture.
Vessel Sinks – In recent years designers of kitchen and bathroom fixtures have been playing with form; rethinking the shape and functionality of basic essentials. One design that has really taken off is the vessel sink. Available in hundreds of different iterations, a vessel sink is the deconstruction of the classic design. It’s a combination of a typical sink bowl and an old world basin. Visually they are quite striking, giving the appearance of large ceramic or glass bowls sitting on the sink. You’ll find a wide array of styles, colors and sizes with price points from the reasonable (under $100) to the extreme ($1,000 +).
Modern Bathtubs – A bathtub is obviously not a gift that you can give just anyone, but for the appropriate person it’s a bold, symbolic gesture of affection. Modern bathtubs are designed with both style and utility in mind – with many options starting in the low hundreds. Alcove, free standing, drop-in and walk-in tubs are the most common in modern homes. Comfort features such as whirlpool jets and tub heaters are becoming more standard – and affordable. The typical tub is made from acrylic (which is both durable and inexpensive), but different materials are being used more frequently including cast iron, enameled steel, fiberglass and copper. Could there be a special person in your life who might benefit from a bathtub? You might be surprised at how easy and affordable they have become. Check your favorite home improvement site for specifics.
This Valentine’s Day, think practical and personal with a fixture for your favorite homeowner. Remember that Metro can help whenever you need installation, maintenance or repair on your bathroom fixtures. Call us today at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an appointment for help with that Valentine’s Day gift – or guidance on a design choice.