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Spring 2011 Newsletter

Stop Those Clogs Before They Start – Easy Clog Prevention Tips

No one likes a clogged drain. Even before a drain gets fully clogged, the slow recession of water can be frustrating and it’s generally not very good for your plumbing system. Luckily, this is one of those plumbing issues that can be completely prevented if you just take a few simple steps well before a problem occurs.

Keep the Bad Stuff Out

Simply put, there are some things that don’t go down drains well. They might go down once or twice, or maybe a hundred times, but eventually they will clog and when that happens, it will take time and money to unclog the pipes. Here are a few things to keep out of your drains:

  • Cooking Grease – Always pour grease into a separate can and keep it away from your kitchen sink. The grease will bind with other bits of food and debris and eventually cake over the walls of your pipes. No matter how little you let into the line, it will eventually solidify and cause a clog.
  • Non Disposed Food – If you have a garbage disposal, use it fully to grind the food you put down the drain. Don’t put even the smallest vegetables or grains down the drain without first running your disposal.
  • Flushable Only – Only put flushable items down your toilet. Most toiletries will say “flushable” on the packaging if they can be successfully flushed down the drain – paper towels, tissues and baby wipes are generally not designed for this.

If you avoid putting these things down your drain, you severely reduce the risk of a clog right off the bat. But, even still, there are other things you can do to reduce your clog risk.

Strainers and Stoppers

Have a strainer placed on every drain in your home, including the bathtub. If you have a push button stopper for your tub, install a strainer beneath it to stop the hair from clogging the pipe. Also, clean the stoppers and strainers regularly – at least once every week – to avoid problems.

If you notice a clog coming on, act fast – don’t wait for something to happen and then lose access to your bathroom for a day or two until it is cleared. Get a plunger, use a snake or run hot water down the drain well before the system gets so clogged you can’t use it.

When the Clogs Occur

If a clog does occur, don’t use chemicals that can cause damage to the lining of your pipes or make you sick. Chemical cleaning of a drain is almost never necessary and it can be incredibly dangerous for both you and your home’s plumbing. A plunger will get most shallow drains, and a snake or auger will take care of the deeper ones. If, for some reason, you still can’t get the clog out, call in a professional. They have the tools and expertise needed to target even the most stubborn of clogs.


How to Stay Affordably Cool this Summer

The first thing you should do every spring, before it gets too warm is make sure your air conditioner is working as efficiently as possible. The best way to do this is to have a professional come out and take a look at it once a year or so. The spring is a great time for this because it gives you the opportunity to have any problems repaired before the heat really sets in.

During a regular maintenance visit, a technician will go through your entire air conditioning system to make sure everything is working properly. They’ll clean your coils and remove any sediment that has built up over time. They’ll also check for and replace any worn out parts that could cause a problem in the near future.

Regular maintenance also helps sustain your air conditioner’s energy efficiency, which saves you plenty in energy costs all summer long. It will also help to prolong the life of your system, generating even more savings.

Things You Can Do Around the House

But in addition to making sure your air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible, there are also some things you can do to make its job easier as the temperature outside rises. For one thing, it’s a good idea to make sure your house is well insulated and that the spaces around your doors and windows are well-sealed.

This keeps warm outside air from getting in and expensive air conditioned air from escaping into the world outside. That means your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard or use so much energy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

Keep the Attic Cool

Another way heat can seep into your home in the summer is through the attic. Especially if your attic isn’t a living space, you probably have very little reason to go up there, so you may not realize how hot it can get in the summer. But as the sun beats down on your roof all day long, a lot of that heat finds its way into the attic and from there into the rest of your home.

There are a couple of ways to protect yourself from this heat infiltration. One is to have some sort of attic fan installed. These devices fit right into your roof and automatically switch on when the temperature in your attic reaches a certain point. When it’s running, an attic fan can efficiently transfer hot air out of your attic, keeping it cool and stopping the spread of heat throughout the rest of your home.

In addition to an attic fan, proper insulation is important when you’re trying to stay cool indoors. In particular, insulating the floor of your attic will keep the cool air down in the rest of the house and keep the heat in the attic from warming your living spaces. This means lower energy bills for you because your air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your house cool.

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Just wanted to let you know that Eric and I figured out what the issue was... the much-dreaded "programmable" thermostat! I'm going to save up to afford to have Eric back to install the regular digital thermostat. Thanks so much for all your help, and Eric's help. He's the Best!

- Rhonda Cameron

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