Lifeline Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Blog

How to Prevent Winter Plumbing Issues

November 13th, 2017

emergency plumbing servicesWinter is around the corner, whether we like it or not, and nothing stinks more than plumbing problems during the colder season.

As a homeowner, there are a few things you can do to prevent any possible plumbing problems from wreaking havoc on your home. Remember these tips to make sure that your home is protected and that you won’t be stuck with a spewing water pipe during holiday family dinner. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Preventing Your Basement Floods

Since it’s still fall, this is the perfect time to start working on things around the house to help winterize. Before the first snowfall, check your basement for any leaks and check to make sure that your drainage area isn’t full of leaves and branches. When it becomes more brutal outside, check the drainage areas to make sure that they aren’t full of snow and ice. It’s important to keep them as clear as they possibly can be. If you don’t, you’re risking flooding your basement. A 2,000-square-foot home that experiences a one-inch flood may face about $20,920 in damages, so that’s something you should avoid.

Keeping Your Hot Water Heater in Working Condition

In order to ensure that your water stays warm throughout the winter and that you even save some money, check to make sure that your hot water heater is working. Check the area of the hot water heater to make sure it’s warm and make sure that there are no spaces for a draft, like open windows, near the unit.

Keeping Your Indoor Pipes from Freezing

This is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your home. To keep your pipes from freezing, simply make sure that your indoor temperature stays at above 13 degrees all winter long. This is crucial to note even when you’re away from home. You can even insulate your pipes for extra protection.

By taking the above steps, you’re preventing yourself from having to call emergency plumbing services for plumbing repair, sewer line replacement, drain cleaning, trenchless sewer repair, and other emergency plumbing services. Taking the steps and preventing emergency plumbing services from having to stop by your home when you’re rushing around trying to wrap presents and cook dinner will make for smooth sailing throughout the holiday season.

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3 Signs You Need to Contact an HVAC Company Immediately

October 31st, 2017

hvac companyPeople with home cooling systems count on them to keep them cool during the hot months, but during this time of year people are finally making the transition to heating. No matter the season, millions of people think of their HVAC system as their lifeline and feel as if they would suffer without it. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioning units, and here in Illinois, a heating system can literally save your life come winter. Unfortunately, because we use these systems so often, a home HVAC system may stop working or become unreliable overnight.

If you rely on your heating and cooling system to help you out, it’s important to keep it in good working condition at all times. However, that’s especially important during the transition seasons of spring and fall. By making sure that you have regular HVAC services and HVAC repairs performed on your unit, you’re helping to prevent any issues that may arise.

However, there are situations in which you may need to call an HVAC company for emergency repairs. Here are some signs you should look for that would require you to call an HVAC company immediately.

Weird Smells or Sounds

If you notice any weird smells or sounds coming from your home cooling system, it’s imperative that you contact an HVAC company immediately. These unpleasant sounds or smells are usually a sign that a part of the system has been seriously damaged. If you hold off on getting the problem checked out, permanent damage can occur. You should also be wary of foul smells and weird sounds because those could also be the sign of damaged or burning wires. Regardless, any time you smell or hear something weird in your system, unplug it immediately and contact an HVAC company.

A Small Amount of Air Flow

If you notice that there is little to no air coming from your system, you could have an issue. The lack of air could signify blocked air ducts or a failing blower. If you notice that no air or a very small amount of air is coming out, contact an HVAC services company as soon as you can (but try changing your filters first!).

It Suddenly Stopped Working

If your home cooling system just stops working all together and you’re not getting any response whatsoever, that is a major reason to contact an HVAC company immediately. Of course, just like with HVAC filters, try changing your thermostat battery and checking circuit breakers first. If these simple fixes don’t restore your system, then it could mean that there are some major issues within the system. That is definitely something you want to have addressed as soon as possible.

If you have any problem with your home cooling or heating system, even if you think the issue isn’t a big deal, you need to contact an HVAC professional immediately. A smaller problem can lead to something much bigger, and if you can prevent that from happening, you’re going to save yourself time and money.

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Common Causes Of Indoor Flooding And How You Can Prevent Them

October 5th, 2017

plumbing contractorOne of the worst scenarios every homeowner dreads is indoor flooding. Indoor flooding is a big problem in itself, but then it can also cause a whole slew of damage once it’s fixed. The good news is that emergency plumbing services are only a call away to come help you before your indoor flooding problem becomes a disaster.

But what causes homes to flood in the first place? After all, if you haven’t had an indoor flooding incident before, you’ll want to be prepared to keep it from happening in the future. Below are some of the most common problems that plumbers see when it comes to indoor flooding.

  1. Clogged sinks
    Possibly the number one cause of many indoor flooding incidents are clogged sinks. Although a clog can sometimes allow for water to continue to drain, your sink can still overflow if you forget about the slow drainage. The best way you can help to avoid an indoor flooding problem caused by a clogged sink is to fix the clog as soon as you begin to notice the water draining slowly. A plumbing repair company will be able to fix the problem a lot faster the earlier the problem is detected. Additionally, the earlier you detect a problem the more likely you’ll be able to save money; homeowners can save up to 10% on their water utility by fixing household water leaks early on.
  2. Clogged gutters
    It’s typically recommended that homeowners clean their roofing gutters at least twice a year. This is because when debris and leaves build up in your gutters, the water it’s meant to drain, well… doesn’t drain. Instead, it builds up, backs up, and overflows onto your roof, your foundation, and finally the inside of your house. This can result in molding as well as indoor flooding. Therefore, be sure to keep your gutters clear and regularly cleaned.
  3. Clogged drain pipes
    If the water in your shower, toilet, or sink refuses to drain there may be a problem with your main drain pipe. Depending on the size of the clog, you may need a professional plumbing contractor to swing by and remove it. A plumbing contractor can use a mechanical snake to remove the clog from your main drain pipe.

Indoor flooding is something no homeowner wants to deal with, which is why it’s so important to know the early signs of a sink, gutter, or drainage clog. Early detection and routine maintenance performed by a professional plumbing contractor can keep a plumbing problem from becoming a plumbing disaster.

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3 Common Plumbing Mistakes To Avoid

September 21st, 2017

plumbing contractor

Indoor plumbing may date back to at least 2,500 B.C., but the problems that homeowners face today likely weren’t around back then. For example, needing an emergency plumber. There are several reasons to contact an emergency plumber that aren’t necessarily the homeowner’s fault like weather or just the age of a home. But mistakes happen, which may require a plumbing contractor to fix them.

To help you avoid committing one of these mistakes, we’ve outlined a few of the more common ones that homeowners suffer from. Here are a few of the more common mistakes that will lead you to call plumbing services:

Using The Garbage Disposal Too Much
A garbage disposal, despite the name, is not a place where you should put all your food waste. In truth, a lot of it simply doesn’t fit and will clog the system. The blades will stop turning, and then you’ll have to contact a plumbing contractor to get them unstuck. Items like potato peels and large or tough food scraps should never go into the garbage disposal.

Overusing Drain Cleaning Chemicals
This might come as a surprise, but drain cleaner is actually not good for your drains. They’re very strong, very heavy-duty, cleaning products. They remove clogs but can involve extremely harsh chemicals that can damage pipes and wear them away.

Don’t feel the need to use drain cleaner on clogged toilets or pipes, either. In these situations, you should contact a plumber. Sometimes things are simply out of your hands, and you’d best turn to a professional to handle the issue.

Leaving The Hose Connected In Winter
This is a very common mistake, but you should always disconnect your garden hose in the winter. You could even turn off the water line that leads to your outdoor spigot. Not doing this can lead to a pretty devastating indoor flood, as the pipes can freeze and burst.

Taking a few minutes to disconnect the outdoor plumbing and water lines can save you a disaster and a need to call an emergency plumber. Do this before the first hard freeze and you should be just fine.

Being a homeowner is a difficult thing, especially if you’re new at it. You want to make sure that you do everything in your power to avoid the little mistakes, like the ones above. Doing so will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

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3 Fall Plumbing Preparation Tips

September 8th, 2017

plumbing companiesFall is just around the corner, and that means preparing your home for cooler weather. One of the best ways to prepare your home for the upcoming season is to look at your plumbing systems.

Having a plumbing inspection performed by professional plumbing companies can be a good way to gear up for the colder months. This is especially true if you live in areas like the Midwest, which see significantly colder temperatures.

You might not think that you need to have your plumbing checked, but somewhere around 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more a day. With the risk of freezing pipes, these leaks are serious stuff for professional plumbers. Here are a few things you should do to get started on fall preparations:

Check Your Home Sewer System
You might not believe it, but the fall, winter, and spring months can actually overwork your sewer systems. If you’ve had issues in that past that might occur again in the future, or have had the same issue multiple times, then you might need to contact one of your local plumbing companies to take a look. There’s nothing worse than having to call an emergency plumber in the middle of the night because your sewer system ruptured.

Perform Water Heater Maintenance
Annual maintenance on your water heater is crucial to extending the life of the heater itself. While most water heaters will last anywhere between eight and 12 years, flushing them yearly tends to increase their efficiency. That means you can save money on your future utility bills. If you’re looking for an easy way to save, look no further than routine water heater maintenance.

Turn off Your Hose Bib
This is important. If your hose bib isn’t turned off properly, water can freeze in the supply line and burst the pipes. And that’s one of the worst situations to be in. You want to make sure that you turn off your hose bib and the inside of your water supply line. You’ll likely need a professional to do this, so contact one of your local plumbing companies. Having a frost-proof hose bib installed before the first frost is also a good idea.

Take the time to do the little pre-winter preparations on your home listed above. Doing so will save you money and frustrations down the line, and keep your home in great condition.

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Keep Your HVAC System Running Stronger, Longer

August 14th, 2017

top rated hvac systems

You probably don’t think much about it, but you use your heating and cooling system (or your HVAC system) daily to either heat or cool your home. As the seasons and the temperatures change, your system can undergo a lot of wear and tear that can hurt even top rated HVAC systems. You shouldn’t ignore this until its too late and you’re calling a local HVAC company or HVAC repair contractor.

You should try to get the most out of your system by putting together a plan to take care of it, and you can start with a few easy things:

  1. Make Sure It’s Properly Sized
    You need to make sure that you have the proper size for your unit and your capacity needed. A unit that is over capacity will not be as energy efficient, while an undersized one will result in uncomfortable temperatures, especially during climate extremes.
  2. Change Filters Regularly
    Energystar.gov encourages homeowners to change filters on the regular — at least once every two to three months. This can help keep your air quality pure and clean and keep you from getting sick. Clogged filters can also damage your system’s parts and result in costly repairs. You should check it at monthly to keep up to date on its status.
  3. Get Routine Maintenance
    Even top rated HVAC systems need routine maintenance to keep them in the best condition, and you need to do your part in this. Inspect wiring for any damages caused by wild animals and sweep away yard debris and similar things.
  4. Have Professional Seasonal Maintenance Done
    Preventative maintenance contracts are usually some of the best things that you can do for your HVAC unit. They should be scheduled semi-annually and should be viewed as a proactive approach to taking care of your system. Contact HVAC service companies to get the best plans for your unit.
  5. Understand Efficiency Ratings
    When making an investment in your air conditioner, furnace, or heat pump, you should inquire about the efficiency rating. This can tell you how that unit will utilize fuel and energy sources, and how much of an increase or decrease in costs per month you can expect.

These are just a few ideas of what you can do to keep your HVAC unit in the best condition for the longest time. If you have further questions or want to make a professional maintenance plan, contact us. We’ll be glad to help.

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Why Replacing Your Sewer Line Should Be Left To a Professional

July 27th, 2017

sewer line replacementIf you’re dealing with sewer line repair, it can be difficult to know what exactly you’re up against. Sewer line replacements might not seem like a do-it-yourself project, more of something for your local plumbing contractor, but sometimes that can cost thousands of dollars. It can be tempting to do it yourself.

Sewer lines can be having issues from clogs or broken lines, and that can cause backflow water, and create a disgusting odor. You should make sure you’re ready to fix it right away.

But before you start with the repairs or a sewer line replacement, you should keep these tips in mind:

Find The Source
One of the best ways to do this is getting a camera that can be pushed into the pipes. It can cost a few hundred dollars, but it can save a lot of money in the long term. Now, there can be many issues, including the two above, so you need to find them, and address them based on what the issue is.

Get The Local Plumbing Codes First
But, before you start, you better do some research and find the local plumbing codes and safety regulations. They can have valuable information regarding regulations for plumbing repairs.

Some states, like Illinois, states that all piping more than five feet from building foundations are to be considered as part of the septic system. This kind of regulation could put a hamper in your repair plans, or change them, so you’re better off knowing.

Also, getting the advice or assistance of a professional for things like sewer line replacement can save you hassle, especially if you don’t really understand the regulations. Do it yourself might be above you, and there’s no shame in that.

Find Local Plumbers
If you feel that the project is above you for whatever reason, turning to the assistance of a local plumber can be a good idea. You should shop around for the best professional services by asking your friends, or by checking online forums. Check their years of experience and what kind of feedback they’ve gotten, primarily.

You want to get the most information before hiring anyone to fix something as vital as the sewer system of your home.

Sewer line replacement isn’t a job that just any home owner can do themselves, and should really be left to professionals. If you think you can handle it, make sure you know what you’re fixing or replacing, and know the regulations for your local area. If not, contact a plumber. We’ll be glad to help you.

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Clogged Drain? Here Are Some Methods To Help

July 12th, 2017

drain cleaning

There are a lot of reasons that your home could require drain cleaning. A chemical concentration, good product, grease accumulation — all reasons that your drain could become clogged. These clogs could require plumbing services if left alone or not prevented.

However, there are ways that you can perform drain cleaning on your own and prevent the need to reach out to local plumbers for assistance for simple matters. Keep in mind that these methods only work on clogs that are small and not yet serious.

If you have a serious issue, please call a plumbing contractor. A professional plumber spends four to six years as an apprentice in some states as a requirement to get their license, and so they are experts in these fields.

Flush With Hot Water
Hot water is an easy solution that is often overlooked due to how simple it is. You can clean your pipes by flushing them with hot water through a combination of water pressure, heat, and force.

Running hot water through the pipes for around 15 minutes is the optimal time frame for this solution. The best part is that it requires nothing more than a working faucet.

Use Your Own Tools
A plunger, a drain cleaning snake, anything that might be in the average home can be used for a DIY cleaning method. There are even specially made sink plungers to unclog your bathroom or kitchen sink drains.

A drain snake can be purchased at a local home improvement store for around $25 to $50, and it offers a return on investment after a single use. These are what most plumbers would use to do basic drain cleaning.

Using one is rather simple, but here are some techniques to try:

  1. Begin by feeding the snake into the pipes and turning the handle until you encounter resistance.
  2. Rotate the snake against the blockage, allowing it to latch on to the clogging material.
  3. Slowly pull the snake from the pipes to remove the materials and run the water to remove residue in the pipes

And there you have it — a simple, easy, and perfectly acceptable way to do drain cleaning on small blockages.

Try Liquid Cleaners
If the above methods don’t work, you can turn to liquid cleaners or chemical cleaners. If you’re worried about the damage that a commercial cleaner can have, you can try a home-made mixture instead. They break down and dislodge any drain pipe buildup affecting the pipes and don’t run the risk of pipe damage or deterioration after extended use.

A common one is a simple vinegar and baking soda mixture. They react when combined to break down materials in the pipes, and they don’t have effects on the structure of the pipe walls.

To use this mixture, pour one cup of each down the drain pipes, then follow with a pan of boiling water after five or so minutes. This should dislodge any materials in the drain.

Those are just some methods of at-home drain cleaning to consider. However, it is recommended that you call a professional if you feel that you won’t be able to properly clean your drain or don’t want to risk causing more harm than good. If you have any questions about hiring a professional plumber or performing drain cleaning, give us a call.

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Keep an Eye Out for These Common Plumbing Mistakes!

June 27th, 2017

plumbersEvery home has a plumbing system set up, so it is crucial that every homeowner does what they can to ensure their plumbing runs as smoothly as possible. However, there are plenty of plumbing myths floating around the Internet that are not approved by our Elgin IL plumbers. Here we set the record straight for you by clearing up some common plumbing mistakes that we see often.

The Mistake: Leaving your outdoor hose connected in the wintertime.
Leaving your outdoor hose on during colder temperatures can cause your water lines to freeze, and even worse, rupture completely. So when you are cleaning up your yard for the winter, be sure to remove the house and turn off the water supply to that specific faucet.

The Mistake: Using drain cleaner in your toilet.
Drain cleaners are appropriate to use in sinks and tubs, but never in toilets or washing machine drain pipes. If you need to clean these areas make sure to contact your nearest plumbers so they can do it effectively the first time.

The Mistake: Overusing the trash disposal.
Despite its name, a trash disposal is not meant for any and all trash. Only small, easily broken down items should be used with the trash disposal — so keep the watermelon and pumpkin rings, vegetable and fruit peels, and even oils away.

The Mistake: Hanging your toiletries on shower heads.
Simply put, placing too much weight on your shower fixtures will cause them to snap right off and potentially create a leak and a broken shower wall. Instead, invest in shower storage to minimize your risk.

The Mistake: Joining different metals without proper connectors.
In the world of plumbing, not all metals are created the same. Copper and silver metals, for example, can only be connected with a specific tool that minimizes leaks and corrosion. This small piece of equipment also has the potential for making your wallet happy, as it will cut down the amount of water you waste every day. Considering that 10% of all homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more a day, imagine what you would be able to save!

If you have found that you have accidentally fallen victim to any or all of these mistakes, don’t worry yet! There are many plumbers near you willing to help you out and get your plumbing back to normal in no time.

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Don’t Take The Risk Of Fixing It Yourself – Contact a Plumbing Professional

June 14th, 2017

plumbing serviceYou put a lot of money into your home. Whether that be the flooring, the walls, the appliances, or just the various pieces of furniture within it. You put a lot of your time, energy, and money into making that space a home for you.

Which is why it’s critical to protect your home and that investment from anything that could harm or ruin it. A plumbing issue is one such thing.

Your average 2,000 square foot home that experiences a one-inch flood of water from a leaking or burst pipe can face about $20,920 in total damages. That is including damages to the home, and to the property in the home.

In those key situations where your home has experienced these issues, or you suspect that it may soon experience them, you need to make the right call. You may have confidence in your ability to repair the damage yourself, but should you really risk it?

Unless you’re a trained and certified plumber, you might not have the skills or knowledge necessary to fix some issues, and it’s not as simple as replacing a pipe or taping a leak.

Plumbing service providers have the ability to work on a large scale of issues, including the advanced ones that could cause you to lose thousands of dollars. Plumbing contractors offer a worry free solution to your plumbing repair needs.

They work on your home, giving you the knowledge that a trained professional is there, doing the work, and you can feel secure. Often, they will even give advice on how to avoid the issue in the future.

Some of the benefits of contacting a professional plumbing service provider are that you don’t have to purchase the tools to do the job yourself, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake (as there’s no guarantee you’ll do the job right), and you can have many problems fixed in one visit.

There is also the knowledge that any mistakes that have been done by the plumber that may cause more damage to your home, is covered by insurance through the company you hired. Something that you couldn’t claim had it been your own hands that did the work.

If you have any questions about how a plumbing services company could benefit you, or just on general plumbing issues, contact us. We’ll be happy to answer them for you.

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