Quality Plumbing Services

Entries for month: May 2017

MEMORIAL DAY

May 25, 2017 · 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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There's a plumber in all of us ...

May 24, 2017 · No Comments

This was a recent ad slogan I saw during a commercial for a popular drain cleaning product.

 

I have also heard the following phrase from several customers when we are called in to clear a clogged drain, “well I used a liquid drain cleaner and it didn't do anything.” I find it interesting in their commercials that they always show the clog in the P-trap which is the U-shaped pipe underneath your sink. In general, we find the clog further down the pipe; it is almost never found in the P-trap. I also find it curious in the commercial which always shows a sink full of water and the person dumps in the product which magically sifts its way down through all that water (staying in a nice little cloud) and reaches the clog, clearing the drain. Liquids just do not work that way. 

 

Needless to say, I'm not a fan of these products and it's not just because I'm trying to make a buck or scare you away from those products. It's because not only do they usually not work very well, they can be dangerous to people, dangerous to pipes, and horrible for the environment. Even the ones that say “won’t damage pipes” will damage pipes.

 

This is a warning from a bottle of a popular liquid drain cleaner … “Never use 'our product' with other drain-cleaning products. The bleach contained in 'our product' can react with other chemicals, such as ammonia, to create toxic vapors. Also, use of a plunger can be dangerous, as the product can damage skin, eyes and mucus membranes on contact. Handling lye in any form can cause chemical burns and skin damage, and ingesting it can result in permanent injury or death.” Enough said!

 

There is no rule that says over the counter drain clog removers cannot be used or handled safely. However, I will warn you that the chemicals in these agents could eat away at your pipes quickly. In fact, they can even deteriorate and corrode metal piping, especially in older piping systems. If you use them frequently or if the chemical does not resolve the clog, it will just sit in your pipes and could cause you a major problem. 

 

For reoccurring clogs, you should always call for professional help rather than risk damage to your plumbing system. If you have a particular drain that is clogged or slow, please call and schedule an appointment and one of our drain cleaning experts will resolve the issue in a safe and effective manner. Call 847-227-0200 or 630-227-0200 where one of our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives will be happy to book an appointment for you today. 

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DOES THE HORSEPOWER OF A SUMP PUMP MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

May 18, 2017 · 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 · 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 · 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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