Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric Blog: Archive for the ‘Plumbing’ Category

Our Holiday Plumbing Guide

Monday, November 20th, 2023

The holidays are upon us! We hope that this brings a smile to many of our customers’ faces as they reminisce on the beautiful traditions, snow, and activities that come with this time of year.

You’re probably excited about cooking some wonderful meals over the next few weeks, but in order to do this properly you’re going to need a functioning plumbing system.

Plumbing pipes are complicated. They can seem perfectly fine from the outside but inside they could be gurgling, clogging up, and eventually ruining your day. Nothing can make an otherwise fun holiday into a stressful event like a drain clog, which is why we’d like to propose this nifty holiday plumbing guide.

Many of these tips are absolutely free and can be done by homeowners to help keep things running smoothly. But if DIY tips and tools don’t work, you can always count on us for drain cleaning services in Worcester County, MA.

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The Three Worst Things for Your Drain

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

Life can be crazy. Not everyone is a licensed plumber and has the forethought to treat their drains perfectly with every use. From the kids dropping an action figure down the drain, to family members deciding paper towels belong in the drain instead of in the trash, these kinds of things can happen and they’re not really anyone’s fault.

Taking the blame out of the situation can be the first step towards fixing a problem that’s gotten out of hand. And if your drain is starting to slow down or clog up, then that problem is definitely in need of some help. Our team specializes in drain cleaning as well as plumbing repair in Millbury, MA. Whether you need a new drain entirely or your drain just needs to be cleared of clogging material, we can help.

But how exactly did it get this bad? How does a drain go from working perfectly one year to being completely clogged up in another? The answer might surprise you.

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Don’t Overthink Your Plumbing System

Monday, July 10th, 2023

Technology, especially the newest and most advanced tech, always sounds like a good idea. You can probably remember how your mind was blown when you were first introduced to smartphones almost twenty years ago. Sometimes, it just feels great to be ahead of the curve.

However, some parts of a home can’t really be innovated. The more you try to upgrade and change things, the more failure points you’re adding to an already pretty simple and revolutionized system. Plumbing can be one of those areas where overengineering can be the cause of serious issues.

For instance, you might be bored or unimpressed at the piping materials you see at a hardware store, or offered by our plumbing services in Southborough, MA. But before you try to innovate a new solution, remember that there are hundreds upon thousands of years of knowledge and engineering behind just a simple piece of copper or PVC.

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Everything to Learn About an Anode Rod

Monday, June 5th, 2023

The most common water heater in America is the conventional, storage tank water heater. These things are robust, affordable, and they work exceptionally well. But as your local water heater professional, we’d like to help some of our customers learn about one of the most important components of these systems.

Without this component, your storage tank water heater would last half as long as it’s supposed to. That component is the sacrificial anode rod, a metallic part that helps your system resist corrosion and remain structurally durable for a longer period of time.

Is it your first time learning about this component? Or perhaps you’re troubleshooting your water heater repair in Marlborough, and you’re wondering whether corrosion is the culprit. Either way, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn more about this vital component of your home water heating system.

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Our Emergency Plumbing Leak Checklist

Monday, May 15th, 2023

Hey you! You’ve finally made it to a helpful blog. After several frantic minutes of searching online for help, you’ve come to the right place. A plumbing leak can be a horrible experience, especially if it’s in the morning as you get ready for work, or in the middle of the night while you’re trying to sleep. We get it, it’s not fun.

So, firstly make sure you congratulate yourself and take a deep breath. You made it here, and this is the first step toward getting this taken care of.

We’d first like to introduce ourselves. We’re a local team of plumbers that can help with emergency plumbing in Millbury and beyond. See the number listed on the top of our website? You can just call that hotline right now and get someone on the phone to address your plumbing leak.

Then, let’s talk about what you can do right now to mitigate this issue.

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It’s Sump Pump Season!

Monday, April 24th, 2023

Are you tired of turning on the light in your basement only to be greeted by several feet of floodwaters? It’s common here during the spring season as the snow finishes melting and the rain begins to fall. But it doesn’t have to be common.

Many homeowners already don’t deal with floodwaters in their basements, primarily because they utilize the powerful effect of a sump pump. These systems are great at keeping floodwaters at bay while you use your basement for other things like a game room, a man-cave, a she-shed, or even just for storing valuable family heirlooms.

The truth is that floodwaters can be a huge hassle and damage your home. With the help of a sump pump, you can stop them in their tracks and use your basement the way you want to. Let’s talk about how sump pumps work and why it’s such a vital plumbing service in Marlborough.

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The Different Plumbing Services We Can Help With

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Plumbing can often be split into two categories–the plumbing work you can do yourself, and the plumbing work that should always be done by a professional. Plunging your sink, for instance, can usually be done by a homeowner as long as it’s done correctly. But plunging might not do enough for a clogged drain and you might require a professional plumber to step in.

Similarly, repiping is a plumbing service in Shrewsbury that can be complicated and almost always requires professional support. Trying to figure out what kind of plumbing material to install, how to install it correctly, and how to avoid disasters in the future is way too much for a homeowner to learn in such a short time. Not to mention the fact that equipment to perform this kind of work can be expensive and just downright inaccessible to regular people.

So, let’s talk about some of the best plumbing services we can help with right now. Then you can feel more comfortable deciding what plumbing work can be DIY, and what requires a pro.

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What a Plumber Does To Restore a Plumbing Vent to Like-new Condition

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Although they haven’t changed much in the last 100 years or so, residential plumbing systems are still complex. The pipes you see exposed that lead to sinks and toilets are just a small part of a much larger system that provides clean water and removes waste from your Sutton home. One crucial part of every plumbing system is the plumbing vent. Although you may not know what a plumbing vent does, you’ll certainly notice if one or more vents in your home become clogged. That’s why, if you’re having plumbing problems, it’s important to call our team to see if a clogged vent might be the culprit. Here is a basic outline of what a plumber does when they discover a clogged plumbing vent at your home.

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How Do I Flush My Water Heater’s Tank?

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Taking a long, hot shower after a hard day of work is one of life’s finest luxuries. However, have you ever stopped to consider where it’s coming from? The hot water tank is an essential piece of your home’s plumbing system, but it can fall into malfunction over time. Performing routine maintenance like flushing the water tank is important in order to get the most out of it. Fortunately, water heaters are relatively easy to care for as far as household appliances go. That means flushing the tank a task that many homeowners can comfortably do on their own. This guide will provide you with a step-by-step checklist for how to flush the water tank.

Why You Should Flush Your Water Tank

Flushing the water tank yields a variety of benefits for everything from the tank itself to your pocketbook. As minerals collect inside the tank, they gradually decrease the system’s performance and lifespan. Gas-powered units may experience uneven heating that can lead to cracks forming along the wall of the tank. For electric heaters, the lower heating element may burn out as sediment accumulates along the bottom of the tank. Both types of heaters may develop clogged drain valves as a direct result of mineralization.

Letting the sediment sit for a long period of time will allow it to calcify and harden, making it extremely difficult to remove. If the problem gets bad enough, you may have to have the entire unit replaced. Luckily, you can prevent these problems and more by periodically flushing the tank. If you notice your water heater making popping or rumbling sounds, then your tank is most likely suffering from some serious mineral build-up. This telltale sound is produced by gas bubbles struggling to rise through the layer of gunk. These bubbles can create something called “hot pockets” inside gas-powered units, which can eventually cause serious damage or even premature failure.

When Should My Water Tank Be Flushed?

Plumbers recommend flushing the water tank once per year. If you live in an area with hard water, you may need to do it more often. There are a few signs to look out for when your water heater is ready to be flushed. The one homeowners usually notice most often is that they’re getting less and less hot water from the tank before it runs out. If you’ve noticed a gradual drop in hot water quantity, there’s a good chance that mineral build-up is to blame. The second sign requires a bit of investigation work. You’ll need to take a closer look at the water coming out of the tank’s drain valve. If it’s cloudy or white, that means it contains a high level of sediment.

If you haven’t had your water heater flushed in years, it’s best to leave the job to a licensed plumber. This is because sediment can create small cracks along the bottom of the water tank. You won’t notice any water leaking out as long as the sediment remains in place, but once it’s removed via flushing, those cracks will open up and are free to leak water. A leaky water heater can be a crisis situation for a homeowner on their own, but a plumber can patch up the problem before serious damage occurs.

If you do decide to flush your water heater’s tank on your own, we recommend following these steps:

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you start tinkering with the machine, you’ll want to make sure it’s not actively receiving water. You can do this by turning off the cold-water supply valve located on top of the heater. If you live in an older home, you may have to do this by turning off the water where the main supply line enters your house. Once this is done, you have one more step: powering down the unit. To turn off an electrically powered unit, you need to flip the switch on your home’s circuit breaker. For a gas-powered unit, you’ll have to locate the thermostat and switch it to “pilot” mode. Give the unit a while to cool down before you start handling it to minimize the chances of being burned.

2. Attach a Garden Hose to the Drain Valve

Now it’s time to grab a clean garden hose. A ton of water is going to flow out via the hose, so you’ll want to place one end in a floor drain or outdoors if it reaches. Once your hose is in position, attach the receiving end to the drain valve located at the bottom of the water heater.

3. Open the Drain Valve

This step has two parts. First, you’ll need to open a nearby hot water tap to help the tank drain faster. Next, you need to open the drain valve to allow the water to flow from the tank. Keep in mind that this step requires some patience since most hot water tanks hold between forty and sixty gallons. Sediment build-up can slow this process down even further, so be prepared to wait a bit.

4. Turn the Water Supply Back On

Once the tank is fully emptied, it’s time to flush it. You can accomplish this by keeping the drain valve open and turning the cold water back valve back on. As the cold water filters through the tank, it will remove any leftover sediment. Keep repeating this step until the water running out of the garden hose is clean and clear.

5. Close the Valve and Restore the Heat

After the tank has been fully flushed, you should close the drain valve, remove the garden hose and turn off the hot water tap. Next, power the unit back on. For gas heaters, you’ll have to turn the natural gas valve back on. Electrical units can be powered up by flipping the circuit breaker back into the “on” position. After everything is up and running again, be sure to check for leaks and tighten the valve if needed.

What About Tankless Water Heaters?

Despite not having water tanks, tankless water heaters can also suffer from mineral build-up and scaling. Due to their unique architecture, the process of flushing a tankless water heater is totally unlike flushing a traditional unit. Most hardware stores carry tankless water heater flush kits that are relatively easy to use.

Quality Water Heater Services

Although flushing a water heater is relatively simple, not all homeowners are comfortable doing it on their own, and that’s okay. Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric has a team of licensed plumbers who would be more than happy to provide expert maintenance. We’ve been in business since 2008 and are proud to have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. In addition to water heater service, we also provide a range of plumbing solutions like drain cleaning and plumbing repair as well as electrical services. Visit our website to learn more about financing and our partner plan!

Give Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric a call to schedule water heater maintenance in Worcester County or learn about our additional service offerings!

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Do Flushable Wipes Damage Plumbing Systems?

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Although flushable wipes are labeled and marketed as being safe for toilets, they easily rank among the worst things that you can send down your commodes. If you or anyone else in your Sutton, Massachusetts home has been using flushable wipes, now is the time to stop. Even if you haven’t had any problems with these products moving through your plumbing system before, you may be on track for major plumbing issues in the future.

Why Are Flushable Wipes Marketed as Being Flushable if They Really Aren’t?

Just as their manufacturers suggest, flushable wipes can indeed be flushed. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Although these products will successfully go down your commodes more often than not, they aren’t guaranteed to pass through the entire length of your plumbing system without causing issues. Moreover, when flushable wipes do pass through residential plumbing systems unimpeded, they can still cause trouble once they enter the sewer. The cumulative effects of ongoing and widespread use of flushable wipes have been incredibly detrimental in this respect. Currently, they are the only flushable product on the market that doesn’t decompose. That’s because unlike toilet paper, these wipes aren’t actually made from just paper.

What Flushable Wipes Are Really Made Of

Like toilet paper, wood pulp serves as the basis of moist wipes. This, however, is where the similarity ends. To ensure that these products stand up to heavy use without breaking down, they’re reinforced with synthetic, petroleum-based products. Many flushable wipes are reinforced with polyethylene, polyester, and other like plastics. Moreover, they’re also coated in micro-plastics. These micro-plastics add additional reinforcement, and some even come in the form of cleaning agents.

When you flush toilet paper, moving water breaks it into small-sized pieces in virtually no time. When you send flushable wipes down the commode, these products maintain their integrity indefinitely. This means that they have a higher likelihood of getting caught up on snags on their way out of your plumbing system. Over time, these wipes and the solid wastes that adhere to them can create major blockages.

How Flushable Wipes Affect the Environment

If you’re thinking about using flushable wipes in your home or have been already, it’s also important to note how these products affect the environment. Not only are they marketed as being flushable when they really shouldn’t be sent down into plumbing systems, but they’re also labeled as “biodegradeable.” This places consumers under the mistaken assumption that flushable wipes really do break down over time. However, there’s a big difference between being biodegradeable and being able to decompose.

Natural products that aren’t reinforced with synthetic, petroleum-based materials break down completely. Flushable wipes simply shed small fibers over time. These polyethylene and polyester fibers remain intact for decades. More importantly, the micro-plastics that coat them continue to contaminate public water supplies long after they’ve been sent into plumbing systems. As such, not using flushable wipes as part of your personal care is better for both your plumbing and the environment.

What Plumbing Problems Can Flushable Wipes Cause?

There’s really no limit to the amount of problems that flushable wipes can cause. These products can cause issues even before they’ve successfully cleared the toilet. For instance, if you send them down with lots of human waste, toilet paper, or other flushable wipes, you could be dealing with a messy overflow in no time. Flushable wipes can also:

  • Create blockages in plumbing systems that lead to burst pipes
  • Cause whole-house back-ups that flood the home with black water
  • Create problems at residential plumbing-to-sewer connections

They’re also capable of creating something known as fatbergs. Once wipes are introduced into plumbing systems, any fats that are present in the surrounding waste will adhere to them. These fats attract more fat and more flushable wipes until a large, solid mass is formed. This process is expedited in the alkaline environment of sewer systems, but if you’ve got dirty, grease-covered drains, you run the likelihood of developing fatbergs directly inside of your plumbing system.

Are Flushable Wipes Safe for Septic Tanks?

Flushable wipes are just as bad for septic tanks as they are for residential plumbing systems that connect to municipal sewer systems. In fact, they may be even more so. Just as fatbergs are prone to forming in sewers, septic tanks offer the ideal environment for fatberg formation, too.

Are There Easy Alternatives to Flushable Wipes?

Flushable wipes are easy to use and they help people feel fresh. However, the drawbacks of using and flushing these products far outweigh their benefits. One easy way to get the same clean feeling that flushable wipes provide is by investing in low-cost toilet paper sprays. These are gentle cleansing products that turn standard toilet paper into a comfortable, cleansing cloth. They don’t contain any plastics or micro-plastics, and they don’t affect toilet paper’s ability to break down. You can find options that include soothing aloe and other non-irritating, skin-supporting ingredients. When you think about it, this is far preferable to cleaning up with solutions made from micro-plastics.

There are also low-cost bidets that can be installed directly in standard toilets. You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a luxury toilet in order to get the functionality of a bidet. These products are offered at home and hardware stores at a fairly nominal cost. Best of all, installing them is simple enough that many homeowners can do it themselves. If you want to install bidets in your home toilets, you can also outsource this job to a trusted plumber.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to both treat yourself and enhance the value and marketability of your home, you can always opt for a toilet upgrade. A reputable plumber can help you learn more about the best options at your targeted price point. Many products offer bidet functionality, music, heated seats, and lights.

Why It’s Important to Get Everyone in the Home on Board

Flushable wipes may be lurking in more areas of your home than you think. Given that these products are handy, people tend to use them all the time. Moreover, nearly all of them are clearly labeled as being “flushable” and thus, people who aren’t in the know will continue sending them down your commodes. You may have people in your home who are using these or similar products as makeup removal cloths or household cleaning tools.

The best way to avoid backups is to let everyone in your home know the truth about flushable wipes. Sure, they can be flushed, but they probably shouldn’t be. Unless wet, flushable wipes are used to clean bottoms and human waste, it is both safe and sanitary to dispose of them in the trash. Rather than using flushable wipes for personal care after visiting the commode, purchase toilet paper spray or a bidet. You don’t have to subject your plumbing system to extra wear and tear just to feel good about yourself after leaving the bathroom.

At Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric, we’re committed to helping residents of Sutton, MA and the surrounding area keep their residential plumbing in top condition. We’ve been providing reliable HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services since 2008. If you’ve got plumbing problems, we’ve got solutions. Call us today to schedule an appointment for service.

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