Quality Plumbing Services

MEMORIAL DAY

May 25, 2017 · By Diane B · No Comments

                                              

In honor of this weekend in which the country will celebrate Memorial Day, we here at Quality Plumbing Services would like to provide you with some interesting facts about this day of remembrance. The origins of Memorial Day date back to the Civil War and it was originally dubbed Decoration Day due to veterans decorating their fallen comrades' graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. The day of remembrance was also originally held on May 30th and it was not until 1967 when federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name and set its date to the last Monday in May. There are certain customs held on Memorial Day created to honor the fallen men and women who have given their lives for our great country. These customs include flying the flag at half staff until noon which is then raised to full staff at sunset. In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks for a pause at 3:00 PM from all Americans to have a moment of silence for those who have fallen defending our country. Memorial Day is celebrated by all Americans across the entire nation, with everyone having their own personal ways of celebrating, but it is always nice to remember where its roots came from. Quality Plumbing Services hopes everyone has a wonderful, safe weekend, and we ask that everyone take a moment to honor the fallen heroes of our great country.

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DOES THE HORSEPOWER OF A SUMP PUMP MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

May 18, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

This is a question we get asked from homeowners over and over again. A common misconception is that higher horse power means a better sump pump. Higher horse power will draw more amps and may cost a little more to operate as it usually uses more electricity. Also, you may need larger diameter discharge pipe to handle the flow if you use a pump with more horsepower. Most sump pumps are sold based on the basis of the motor’s horse power. They are usually sold in increments of 1-horsepower (hp),  .5-horsepower (hp), .33-horsepower (hp), and .25-horsepower (hp) are the most common sizes.

 

As plumbers, we don't consider horsepower as a determining factor when selecting a proper sump pump for the application. We rate sump pumps by its pumping capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift. Head or lift is the vertical distance that you are able to pump the liquid. Without getting too technical, all pumps have a pump curve chart provided by the manufacturer. The higher the liquid is pumped, the less gallons per minute (GPM) the pump can remove. Industry standard uses 10’ feet of head or lift, generally because the average basement ceiling is 8’ feet high and the sump pump basin is 2’ feet deep. Therefore, a better way to measure a sump pump's capacity is its gallons per minute at 10’ feet of head.  

 

A good sump pump will pump anywhere from 40 to 50 gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head or lift. This is a much more important rating than overall horsepower. Many of the pumps you'll find at the big box stores or home centers show you the pump's horsepower but not its pumping capacity. Another trick and this is especially true of the battery back up systems they carry … is that they show pumping capacities in gallons per hour (GPH). They try to dazzle you showing you a pumping capacity of 1500 gallons per hour (GPH). If we do the math, that equates to about 25 gallons per minute (1500 gallons / 60 minutes =  25 gallons per minute). What they do not tell you is that usually this rating is at 0 head or lift. So if you're factoring in the height the sump pump has to pump the water to evacuate it from your basement, that GPM drops off even further and you may have pumping capacity only 15 gallon per minute (GPM). In heavy rains like we experienced recently, the incoming water may overcome your sump pump. Even though your sump pump is currently working, it is unable to keep up with the amount of water flowing into your home.

 

When assessing your sump pumps capability it's very important to look at the individual sump pump's pumping capacity in gallons per minute (GPM) at 10’ feet of head, rather than just its overall horsepower rating. This is a far better indicator of how your pump will perform, and allow you to select the most efficient pump for your application.

 

If your sump pump has failed or you're simply looking to replace an aging sump pump, let a member of Quality Plumbing Services expert team help you choose the proper sump pump for your home. Call today 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and one of our knowledgeable and friendly customer service representatives will be happy to make an appointment for you today. Don't wait until it's too late!!

 

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SUMP PUMP TIME OF YEAR

May 11, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

April showers bring May flowers …

and sometimes thunderstorms and basement flooding. Most basement flooding in our area occurs due to a failed sump pump. The average life expectancy of a submersible sump pump is 5 to 10 years. While the average life of a sump pump switch which controls when the pump will turn on and off is 4 to 7 years. However, sump pumps are not equipped with a cycle counter like an odometer on your car, or a warning light that your sump pump is about to fail. Your sump pump may work fine one minute and not the next which is a big problem for homeowners. 

 

The lifespan of any sump pump depends on many factors such as how often the pump cycles, cycle time, pipe size, length of piping run, etc. Unfortunately, no one can predict when your sump pump will fail. 

 

Somethings you can look for when assessing your sump pump:

 

Pay close attention to how your pump sounds strange or loud noises, humming sounds, grinding noise, or vibration. Any of these maybe a warning sign that something is wrong or about to go wrong with your sump pump. 

 

You can fill the pit with water making sure the sump pump both starts and stops as designed. A properly operating sump pump should expel the water very very quickly (quicker than you can refill the pit even using a garden hose). 

 

Always check to make sure that the sump pit is free of debris children's toys and items stored around the pump can fall into the basin. Also mud, leaves, rocks, and even original construction debris can get into the unit or hinder the float mechanism causing the sump pump to fail. 

 

Always inspect the check valve check valves are designed so that when the sump pump shuts off no water will go back into the sump basin. Often, you'll hear a thumping sound at the end of a pump cycle. That's the check valve slamming shut. Pay special attention to check valves using rubber couplings to connect them to the discharge piping. These rubber connections can rot or dry out overtime. Look for signs of leakage or discoloration around these connections on the discharge piping, as these rubber connections can loosen or become detached after years of operation.

 

If you know you have an aging sump pump or recognize any of these warning signs, please call Quality Plumbing Services and let one of our sump pump experts help you choose the right pump for your application. Quality Plumbing Services carries a wide variety of sump pumps. We offer submersible sump pumps, pumps with built in high water alarms, duplex systems, pedestal pumps backed by a 20 year warranty, as well as battery back up systems.

 

Whatever your sump pump needs, Quality Plumbing Services can help before it's too late. Call today and schedule an appointment 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200. 

 

 

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DOES MY INSURANCE COVER FLOOD DAMAGE DUE TO A FAILED SUMP PUMP?

May 04, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

     With this past weekend's rain, this is a question our plumbers were asked by several customers. I am by no means an insurance expert. For any specific questions, I recommend you contact your insurance agent. I am merely passing along some general knowledge from my years of experience. The honest answer is, maybe? It depends on each homeowner's individual policy and any “endorsements” or “riders” you may have purchased or are included.  

     A homeowners policy in its standard form will not cover water that has “backed up” through a drain, toilet, sump pump, etc. If your home has a sump pump that fails or is over-come by large volumes of water, you may not be covered for damage to property or the clean up of water. If you live in Chicago or one of the surrounding suburbs and the municipal sewer system becomes overloaded and water enters your basement, you may not be covered either without additional water back-up coverage.  

     This is not flood insurance. My understanding is that insurance companies consider a “FLOOD”  as water that enters the house over the foundation.  Flood insurance as categorized by insurance companies is designed for low lying areas where flooding occurs easily.  Homes that are located within a flood plain will most likely be required to purchase additional flood insurance in order to be covered from this type of flooding.

     Water back-up coverage or Water and Sump Pump Backup” coverage would cover drains, sump pumps, and toilets, etc. basically anywhere excess water can “back-up”  into your home.  This type of flooding can occur in many ways such as a failed sump pump, overloaded municipal sewer, clogged building sewer, toilet overflowing, rear stairwell drain, etc.  This water most likely will be dirty and disgusting and could cost several thousand dollars to clean up and dry out the affected areas. Not to mention, any damage to or loss of personal property.  On most policies you can buy an endorsement or rider to cover any damage or repairs. Do not assume you have this endorsement. Many agents will leave “Water and Sump Pump Backup” off a policy in order to get their client the best price. They are under no obligation to offer it to you, unless you ask.  

     So, if you are a current homeowner who may be at risk of a wet basement, and you have any concerns about your coverage, talk to your insurance professional. A small fee is well worth the protection and peace of mind in wet weather.

     Although I feel it's a good idea to check your insurance coverage for any gaps, especially if something unfortunate were to happen.  I also feel you can take some preventive measures so you never have to use you insurance coverage.  If you have any concerns about aging sump pumps or are even unsure of your sump pumps age, I highly recommend you have it checked.  If you have not had your sewer rodded in some time, or would like your sewer video inspected to check its condition, Quality Plumbing Services has the best rodding equipment in the industry to throughly clean your sewer. We offer conventional cable rodding, as well as jet rodding in which high pressure water is used to clean and flush your sewer. We offer state-of-the-art camera equipment to perform a thorough assessment of your sewer's condition. We have many sump pump options from submersible pumps to Tramco pedestal pumps.  We can provide duplex sump pump systems to provide you redundancy in the event of sump pump failure, or high volumes of incoming water situations. We also have high water alarm systems, and battery backup systems in the event of a power outage.

     If you have any doubts about your sump pump or sewer condition, let one of our knowledgeable and experienced plumbers evaluate your system so hopefully you never have to use that insurance policy I encouraged you to purchase.  Please call Quality Plumbing Services at 630-227-0200 or 847-259-0200 and one of friendly customer service representatives will be happy to make an appointment for your today!

 

 

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EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT

March 24, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

An Exciting Announcement: We've Added A New Division!

 

Quality Plumbing Services Inc. proudly announces the addition of our new division Quality Sewer Services.

Best jet factoring service in chicago

Our brand new, state-of-the-art combination truck allows us to provide another great service to our customers. We can now provide high-pressure jet rodding services and sewer vactoring services. This capability allows us to further meet all our residential and commercial customers' sewer needs. 

 

Quality Sewer Services will offer the same great service and professionalism you've come to know and expect from your Quality Plumbing Services Team.

 

Please visit our new website qualitysewerchicago.com for more information or to see a list of services provided or call Quality Sewer Services at 630-227-0200 for all your jet rodding or sewer vactoring needs.

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WWETT SHOW 2017

March 17, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

This past February several of our team members had the opportunity to attend the Water and Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transportation (WWETT) Show at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

The WWETT show was an exclusive opportunity for us to meet and learn from other industry leaders from around the country. We had the opportunity to see several products and services from a wide variety of fields, from excavating and grading services, to grease pumping and disposal services, water treatment methodology and some of the newest advancements of industrial sewer equipment. 

 

Aside from seeing many exhibits, system components, and display trailers, our team members also had the opportunity to attend several classes on a number of different topics, ranging from OSHA safety classes, pipe cleaning classes, as well as equipment maintenance classes. 

 

Along with being interesting and educational, it was a great experience for all our team members who attended. It gave us some perspective on what challenges others are facing around the country and the technology and innovation available to overcome these obstacles. WWETT was a fantastic opportunity for us to see what the future holds for our industry. 

 

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Wipes: Bad for sewers, Bad for the environment

March 02, 2017 · By Wally W ·

Being in the plumbing industry, over the last few years we've noticed an increase in more and more clogged sewers caused by "flushable" wipes. Aside from causing sewer problems for homeowners, I was also aware that increased use of this product is wreaking havoc on municipal sewer systems around the country. What I didn't realize until I read this article is that they are having similar sewer issues in other parts of the world as well, due to wipes. One of the most interesting aspects I found was the growing environmental concerns "flushable wipes" are causing. Just wanted to share what I found to be a very interesting article.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/are-wet-wipes-wrecking-the-worlds-sewers/504098/

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OUTSIDE SILLCOCKS/SPIGOTS

February 24, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

If you are tempted by the very early beautiful weather we are experiencing, to drag out the hose and wash the winter grime off the car, hose off the driveway, or for any other reason, we just wanted to offer a brief word of caution when using your outside sillcock or spigot for the first time after winter.

Years ago … before winter and before frostproof sillcocks were being installed, homeowners would have to shut off water to an outside spigot and drain the line of water in order to prevent any freezing of pipes. If an older style faucet would freeze and burst during the winter, water might not leak immediately as long as it remained frozen.  However, water would start leaking as the piping warmed up and thawed.

 

Today … most older style sillcocks and spigots are being replaced with frostproof sillcocks. Frostproof sillcocks do not need to be drained prior to winter due to the design which is one less thing the homeowner has to worry about. Frostproof sillcocks look and operate the same from the outside; but have the shut off mechanism further inside the piping, away from the outside wall, and drains out naturally when the valve is turned off. This configuration does prevent frozen pipes and less worries, but it is not a guarantee against freezing and bursting. For example, if a hose was left attached to the outside faucets during winter, or the sillcock was installed without proper pitch, water can remain trapped in this section of piping and could freeze and burst. If that occurs, you will not notice the leak right away. Even on a warmer day after the pipes thawed, a frostproof sillcock will not show signs of leaking.

 

Keep this in mind … a frostproof sillcock will only leak when it is turned it on. It is very important you are aware that you will only notice a problem when you use the faucet. This can cause a major problem such as flooding and a lot of property damage to your home because water will be running into your basement, crawlspace, sometimes behind walls and in ceilings depending on location of the sillcock. This can go on for hours and water can be leaking unnoticed while you're washing the car, tending to your garden, or whatever chore you are doing with the hose. Remember, you're outside.

Our advice … the first time you use the water outside after winter, leave the water on but go check inside or have someone else check inside for any signs of trouble. A frostproof sillcock that may have burst over the winter will be a major leak.  You should be able to detect it quite quickly. You may be able to hear water running or spraying in a wall or ceiling if the valve is covered up with drywall. Other things to look for is water accumulating in the basement or crawlspace, or if you notice weak pressure at the end of your hose this could be an indication of a burst pipe.  

The last thing you want is to come inside after enjoying a beautiful day only to discover as you were watering on the outside of your home, you watered your basement as well.

If you experience any issues with your outside faucets, or need assistance with any other plumbing needs, call Quality Plumbing service immediately at 630-227-0200.  Our friendly and courteous customer service representatives will be happy to schedule an appointment.

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DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR SHUT OFF VALVE IS?

February 09, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

 

Have you ever heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At Quality Plumbing Services Inc. we answer the phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it always amazes our on call managers how many people do not know what to do in a plumbing emergency. Knowing where your shut off valves are located could save you thousands and thousands of dollars in flood damage.

 

If a pipe burst in your home, or your water heater starts to leak, do you or your family members know what to do? Your plumbing emergency does not even need to be as severe as a burst pipe or leaking water heater. A supply line leak to a faucet, toilet, or ice maker line can cause severe property damage. Knowing how to stop or isolate the water could limit the damage to your home.

 

There are two types of valves in your home. There is the main shut off valve which will turn off all the water to the home, and then there are isolation valves or angle stops at each fixture i.e., water heater, toilets, faucets, dishwasher, ice makers, etc. Let me start by saying not all homes will have all the valves I’m describing, but this is typically what we find in most cases.

 

This article will deal with locating and operating the main shut off valve to your home. The main valve will turn all the water off to the entire house. Finding your main shut off valve can be difficult … it may be located in a dark corner of the basement, perhaps in the mechanical room, but typically towards the front of the basement and usually located at or near the water meter.  

 

So, knowing where your water meter is and what it looks like can be a good start in locating the main shut off valve. Most homes in the suburbs have water meters generally located in the basement. There may be shut off valves on both sides of the meter or only one side.

 

Not every water meter is in a wide open basement. In a finished basement, the water meter may be behind walls or boxed in to an enclosure (hopefully with an access panel). It is a good idea to know where your water meter is prior to needing it in a plumbing emergency.

 

What if your home does not have a basement? Typically water meters can be found in crawl spaces, mechanical rooms near the furnace, water heater, laundry rooms, etc. Keep in mind that water meter and main shut off valves may be behind the water heater or furnace, and not always visible. Taking the time to familiarize yourself with the valves can help you avoid a disaster later.

 

What if your home does not have a water meter? Many older and some single family homes in Chicago do not have water meters.  If your home is on a well system, you will not have a water meter. If that is the case, you will need to find the main water supply pipe that enters the home. The incoming water supply pipe should have a shut off valve near where the pipe enters the home.

 

There are two types of main shut off valves. One is a gate valve which will consist of a wheel handle and requires multiple “clockwise” turns to stop the flow of water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other is a ball valve which have a lever style handle and only requires a quarter turn which will stop the flow of water.

Ball valve on Ball valve off
   

                                 

 

Please keep in mind the color of handle will vary based on manufacturer and the size of the valve will be based on your home's plumbing needs, but the basic operation is the same as described. Gate valves or wheel handle valves are a bit more difficult to operate (move) and require multiple clockwise turns. In addition, be aware gate valves can leak as they are being turned on and off.  Don’t let that stop you from turning it all the way off in an emergency. This type of valve may leak or drip when it is not all the way open or all the way closed.

 

One more word of caution … if for whatever reason you have to turn off the water to your home or an individual fixture, when opening up any valve or angle stop do it very, very slowly and open one or more faucets. This will prevent any shocks to your plumbing system, remove the air, and reduce the chance of stirring up sediment and debris in your piping.   

 

Don't wait until you have a plumbing emergency to try and find your water shut off valves. Minutes could seem like hours in that situation. Unfortunately, It can even take a professional plumber several minutes once we arrive at your home to locate your main shut off valve.

 

Please return to our site next week for isolation (angle stop) valve information.

 

Please call us at 630-227-0200 with all of your plumbing needs.

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Catch Basin Maintenance and Cleaning

February 02, 2017 · By Wally W · No Comments

Hopefully our last blog gave you some idea on how to determine if you have a catch basin, where it might be located on your property, and what a catch basin's function is and why they were used. Now what?

Most homeowners have no idea that a catch basin needs maintenance so a home can go through several owners without ever being cleaned.

 

Clogged catch basin

 

Sometimes we hear from homeowners “I have my catch basin cleaned. There's a guy that comes around every so often and he cleans it for me.”   Someone may come in with some type of scoop or "honey dipper" and skim off the top layer and claims your catch basin is clean. This type of cleaning is not very effective and does little to protect your home from a potential sewer back-up. Skimming off the top layer does not remove the sediment and debris that has accumulated over what could be years. Catch basins are often 5-6 ft. deep, and the sediment and debris build up over time and can eventually block outlet pipes which could lead to sewer back-ups, basement flooding, property damage, and flood clean-up.

The only way to properly clean your catch basin is with a vactor truck. Quality Plumbing Services' vactor trucks vacuum out and remove the top layer of grease as well as the sediment and debris down to the bottom of the catch basin. This cleaning process restores the original retention level of the catch basin, and allows it to function and flow freely as designed. All of our vactor trucks come with pressure washing equipment to help break up and remove any hardened grease and sediment.  The sidewalls, inlet and outlet piping, and the baffle are pressure washed and cleaned. Once the catch basin and its components are cleaned and the basin is empty, it can be throughly examined for condition and proper function, and any failure points can be addressed.  

 

Clean Catch Basin

Any contents removed from residential catch basins are considered “special waste” and require a special waste haulers license, and separate pumpers license, both issued by the state. Once the waste is removed from a catch basin, it simply cannot by dumped down the sewer or thrown in the garbage. It must be properly disposed of and the homeowner is responsible for the waste removal from their property. Large fines and penalties can be imposed if caught dumping waste illegally (makes you wonder what the “honey dipper” cleaner was doing with his waste). Quality Plumbing Services will thoroughly clean and examine your catch basin. We have all the proper licenses required by the state. All of the material and waste we remove will be hauled away and properly disposed of in accordance with all Illinois EPA regulations.

Quality Plumbing Services can help with all of your catch basin cleaning and maintenance needs. Please call 630-227-0200 to schedule an appointment.

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