Keeping Your Drains Clean and Preventing Plumbing Problems

Plumbing is the network of pipes that delivers potable water and removes waste from homes and businesses. Local and state authorities regulate it for public health and safety.


Blocked drains can cause flooding, structural damage to homes and unpleasant odors. To prevent this, regular maintenance and cleaning is required. Visit for more information.

Keeping your drains clean is one of the best things you can do to prevent clogs and other plumbing problems. This can be achieved by avoiding putting down the drain such items as cooking grease, coffee grounds, and cigarette butts. Instead, save grease for later by pouring it into a can and throwing it in the trash. Throw away coffee grounds, and put your hair trimmings in the garbage (or use them in a garden). Finally, never pour chemical drain cleaners down your drains; they can damage your pipes.

To keep your drains flowing smoothly, try a natural drain cleaner like vinegar or baking soda. Vinegar is nature’s organic solvent and can help dissolve the fats and oils that build up in your pipes. Baking soda is another natural clog fighter that can be used on its own or with salt to clear minor clogs. To use it, drop a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of hot or boiling water. The resulting fizzing indicates that the drain is cleaning itself. Be sure to flush the drain with a large amount of water afterward. This is especially important after using chemical cleaners. The hot water will help melt any remaining clog material.

Ongoing Drain Cleaning Maintenance

Having the right equipment to keep drains clean helps technicians prevent the need for emergency plumbing repairs. This includes a wide range of tools that can break up and dissolve clogs, as well as powerful equipment to flush the pipes. For example, many maintenance and engineering managers will specify hydro-jetters, which use motors to place water under extreme pressure. The high-velocity forward-facing jets clear the pipeline, while the backward-facing jets scour the inside of the pipe and remove virtually any kind of buildup.

Other tools for maintaining drains include flexible manual snakes with thousands of small hooks to grab and pull out soft clogs such as paper, hair and sanitary products. These and other mechanical tools can reduce the need for chemical treatments, which are toxic and irritate skin, eyes and respiratory systems.

When regular drain cleaning is performed, the risk of sewage backups is substantially reduced. Standing water in a drain line creates a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria that can irritate health issues. In addition, it can also cause structural damage to the walls and floors of a home or building.

A homeowner can make drain cleaning a routine with a few simple steps. For instance, a homeowner can run a pot of boiling hot water down the drain at least once each week to melt away grease and debris. Another way to improve drain performance is by applying a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or an organic-type drain cleaner regularly. These types of products are much safer and less expensive than caustic chemicals, which corrode aluminum, copper and cast iron drains and traps and can leak into kitchen and bathroom faucets.

For those with serious clogs that don’t respond to simple fixes, the best course of action is to call in a professional plumber to perform a thorough drain cleaning. These professionals have the tools and experience to remove even the most stubborn clogs. They also can inspect the condition of a drain line to see if it is in need of repair or replacement. This type of proactive approach saves money, prevents the need for emergency repairs and extends the life of the plumbing system.

Clog-Free Drains

The best way to avoid drain clogs is with routine cleaning. However, if you have a serious clog or persistent smelly drains, it’s time to call a plumber. Persistent or recurring clogs may indicate that there is an issue deeper within the pipes, which requires professional help to resolve.

Kitchen and bathroom drains see a lot of soap scum, food waste, hair, toothpaste, and other drain-clogging materials on a daily basis. That’s why it’s so important to have a nontoxic, homemade drain cleaner that you can use on a monthly basis. Mixing equal parts baking soda and white vinegar will fizz away the sticky stuff that accumulates in your pipes, and it will also deodorize your drains.

If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, it might be time to pull out a drain snake. Richard demonstrates how to do this and explains the different types of mechanical drain cleaners available, including a closet auger (K-3 model manufactured by Ridgid) and a sewer snake (M-18 model manufactured by Cobra Tools).

A sewer snake is an effective tool for breaking up and pushing apart tough clogs like sand, gravel, and slimy bacteria that settle inside long pipe runs. To use a sewer snake, first remove the pop-up drain assembly in the sink. Feed a few feet of cable into the drain while cranking the handle. Once the snake makes some progress, stop cranking and back out a few feet of cable. Repeat this process until the clog is broken up and flushed away.

Investing in a garbage disposal will prevent many of the issues that lead to kitchen drain clogs and slow draining bathtubs. If you’re not ready to get a new disposal unit, try pouring hot water down the drain once a month. This will remove any built-up gunk that’s collected and keep your drains flowing smoothly. A hydro jet is an effective way to clear and clean a clogged pipe but should only be used by professionals as it can worsen the condition of rusty pipes. A drain snake can also be useful for removing grease and other oils that can build up in your pipes.

Call a Plumber

A plumber is a skilled professional who specializes in the installation, repair and maintenance of water fixtures. They can help prevent a minor problem from becoming a major one by responding quickly to service calls and completing repairs efficiently.

A successful career as a plumber requires more than just physical strength. They must be able to think critically and weigh the pros and cons of various solutions when faced with challenging problems. In addition to their technical skills, they must be able to communicate effectively with customers and explain complex issues in simple terms.

Plumbing is a trade that requires a high school diploma or equivalent and extensive on-the-job training, usually through an apprenticeship program that lasts four to five years. Apprenticeship programs combine classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training and are sponsored by unions, employers or the state.

Plumbers must be licensed by the state in which they work to practice their trade. This requires passing a background check and a drug test, as well as meeting education and experience requirements. It’s important to research the licensing requirements for your state, as they vary widely.

You should always choose a plumber who is properly licensed, insured and bonded for your peace of mind and the safety of your family and home. When choosing a plumber, ask for referrals from friends and neighbors who have used them in the past. Also, be sure to check the company’s reputation with local business organizations.

Choosing the right plumber can make all the difference in the quality of your plumbing services. A good plumber will be thorough in his work, listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions. He will also respect your property, making sure not to damage or contaminate your home while working on a project.

A bad plumber will be rude and unprofessional, leaving you with a more expensive repair bill than necessary. Take the time to compare rates and find a plumber who is both affordable and experienced. And remember, the best way to save money on plumbing is to keep it in tip-top shape in the first place!

Pier Installation – Lifts and Stabilizes Your Home

Piers lift and stabilize a foundation, transferring the weight of your home to load-bearing soil. Typically, the process is simple, efficient, and cost-effective.

Pier Installation

However, pier installation is not without its challenges. Common access limitations include sidewalks, driveways, porches and decks, trees next to the house, plumbing drain lines, and large air conditioning units. Click Here for more information.

Foundation piers are the best solution for stabilizing and raising your home, whether you have sinking walls, a bowing foundation or other structural damage. The process begins by excavating the area around your foundation and removing any shrubbery that may be in the way. Next, the piers are installed. Once completed, the soil that was removed is backfilled and any landscaping can be replaced.

Before starting any work, contractors will examine the foundation and surrounding area to make sure that your home is in need of a pier installation. They will use tools such as a laser level to locate the areas where the settlement is occurring and the cause of it. Once this is complete, the experts can begin working on a solution.

In many cases, the reason for a sinking or settled foundation is due to water and soil conditions. Red clay soil expands when it is wet and contracts when dry, causing movement that can cause the foundation to sink or shift. This type of movement can be exacerbated by poor drainage that causes soil to wash away.

When a pier is used to repair this type of issue, the experts will dig a hole beneath your foundation and install a helical deck pier or push pier under your foundation. The pier is then screwed into the ground using a hydraulic pump. This method of piering is effective because it transfers the weight of your house to more stable ground layers, like bedrock or stronger soil strata, rather than relying on unstable, shifting soil underneath your foundation.

Another option for stabilizing your foundation is a steel slab pier, which uses a hydraulic system to drive a steel shaft into the ground, much like a screw. This process is done on a job-by-job basis and requires more excavation than a push or helical pier, but it can be an effective and long-lasting solution for your settling or sinking foundation. This type of pier can also be installed in homes with basements, as it can transfer the weight of your home to stable ground levels.


Concrete piers are a long-lasting foundation solution that require little to no maintenance. They are also able to handle a variety of environmental conditions, including high moisture levels and harsh weather. They can even be made to resist corrosion from chemicals and salts. This makes them a great choice for areas with high rainfall or coastal regions. Concrete is a strong material that can help to support your home or building, and it can also be used to reinforce existing structures. It is a great choice for areas with poor soil conditions, as it can help to increase bearing capacity and improve ground stability.

When your home is sinking into the ground, a slab pier may be the best option for you. This type of underpinning bolsters and strengthens the structure by driving galvanized steel piers past unstable soil and into deeper, stable earth that can support your foundation and lift it back to its original level position. This solution can help to repair cracks and gaps in the foundation, eliminate tripping hazards, and restore your property value.

Historically, people built their own piers using concrete. This process required digging a hole that was about 24 inches in diameter and then pouring a concrete footing. It was important to use the right type of concrete, as it had to be able to bear a heavy load. The concrete must also be poured to the proper thickness, as a mistake could weaken the pier and cause it to fail.

Today, most piers are constructed of pre-mixed concrete, which is more efficient and effective than concrete that is poured on site. A professional will measure the height of the building, determine how many piers are needed, and then fill each of the holes with pre-mixed concrete that is reinforced with steel. It is crucial to ensure that each pier is placed at the correct depth, which requires a builder’s optical level or transit.

The number of piers that are needed to support your home or building can affect the price of the project. In general, a contractor will provide you with an estimate for the number of piers that will be installed and will include them in your quote so there are no surprises once the work begins. The location of the house or building is another factor that can impact pier installation costs, as some regions have different soil compositions that may require piers to be driven at deeper depths than others.


When the piers are in place, a crawl space can be created under the house. This makes it easier to access plumbing, sewage and electrical lines. It also allows for moisture damage to be inspected and repaired.

The next step is to install beams perpendicular to the piers. These can be made of treated lumber, concrete or steel. Once the beams are in place, it’s important to check their levelness with a spirit level. This can be done from inside or outside the home.

A major part of a pier and beam foundation is the soil it sits upon. A pier and beam foundation is more susceptible to settlement problems if the soil surrounding the home is loose or sandy. However, a problem with the foundation can occur even if there are no loose or sandy soils around it if poor drainage is present.

If the soil underneath a pier and beam foundation is not properly compacted, it can cause a lot of pressure on the structure. This pressure can force the foundation to sink or shift and may create other problems, such as uneven floors or cracks in walls and ceilings. If this happens, it’s best to hire a professional for a pier and beam repair.

In addition to a proper soil condition, it’s also important that the pier and beam foundation be watertight. This can be accomplished by installing a drain system that directs water away from the foundation. This prevents water from pooling around the foundation, which can increase the pressure on it. It can also lead to wood-eating pests like termites attacking the wooden piers.

Another way to protect a pier and beam foundation is by adding a water filtration system. This helps to prevent water and contaminants from entering the basement or crawl spaces.

If you’re having a pier and beam foundation installed, it’s a good idea to talk to the company about setting up a drainage system to help protect the pier from water and other contaminants. This may include a French drain or a tile drainage system. This will keep the soil around your foundation dry and reduce the chances of it becoming muddy, which can lead to ruts that can damage the pier and cause the foundation to settle or shift again.


A pier-supported foundation raises and stabilizes a home, but it doesn’t necessarily level the building. This is because the piers aren’t attached to the foundation, and they don’t have the same load-bearing capacity as the concrete slab. It’s possible to level a pier-supported house, but it isn’t usually necessary or recommended.

After the piers are installed, your foundation repair contractor will make a visual examination of the cracks in the walls and stucco, and then take floor elevation measurements. This step is important because it allows the foundation repair expert to see whether or not the piers have lifted your home back to its original position. If not, they will need to lift it further.

Most homes built on a slab foundation will experience settling over time, which is why most homeowners consider a pier and beam foundation. This type of foundation is a more stable alternative because it lifts your home above the ground, eliminating the possibility of flood and moisture damage. It also creates enough space beneath your home for workers to access utility lines like plumbing, sewage and electrical. This is also helpful in reducing the risk of pests entering your home through damaged foundation walls or crawl spaces.

If your slab foundation has sunk, you may need to have helical piers installed. These piers are effective because they don’t depend on the strength of your foundation footing, but rather on the density of the soil underneath. This makes them an excellent choice for foundations with damaged or missing footings.

Once the helical piers are installed, you can proceed with other foundation repairs. This can include repairing cracks in the walls, installing waterproofing measures and encapsulating your crawl space. Once your foundation is repaired, you’ll have a stronger, more reliable home that’s more energy-efficient and has fewer problems with insects and other pests.

A pier-supported foundation is a permanent part of your house, but that doesn’t mean it won’t need maintenance from time to time. This is particularly true if you live in an area that experiences high levels of rainfall or flooding. When this occurs, water tends to seep into the soil around your foundation, re-hydrating it and potentially causing it to sink or shift.

The Benefits of Window Replacement

Whether you’re looking to replace your old windows or want to upgrade the look of your home, window replacement offers many benefits. Window brands provide a variety of styles, sizes, and shapes to meet your needs.

Window Replacement

If your existing window frames are rotting or damaged, full-frame window replacement is a good option. This replacement removes the original structure of the studs and installs new frames and window panes. Contact Your Home Exterior Solutions for professional help.

Whether you live in an area with hot or cold climate conditions, energy-efficient windows can make a big difference. By limiting heat loss and air leakage, these windows help reduce your home’s peak cooling and heating loads, so your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard. This can save you money on your monthly energy bills and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases your household produces.

If you’re thinking about window replacement, consider upgrading to a model with high energy efficiency ratings. You’ll likely find that the initial investment is quickly recouped by reduced electricity and gas bills. Additionally, your new windows will help to minimize drafts and moisture intrusion, which can lead to mold, mildew, and rot around your windows and framing.

A good quality energy-efficient window will have a lower U-factor (the factor that measures a window’s resistance to heat flow through its frame) and a higher R-factor (the factor that measures the insulation value of a door or window). They’ll also be made of durable materials, such as vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum, that will stand up to extreme weather conditions without fading, warping, cracking, or rotting over time.

You’ll need to do some homework before purchasing and installing new windows, especially if you’re considering full-frame models that require a complete frame removal from the sill, jambs, and head jambs. The best way to determine the ideal window for your home is to consult with an experienced installer who can walk you through the different options and offer advice based on your specific needs.

A good installer will take the necessary steps to protect your existing interior and exterior finishes during the window replacement process. This may include tarping the work area, covering plants or flower beds with drop cloths, and using barriers to contain dust. They’ll also know how to properly install the new windows, ensuring they fit securely and provide maximum insulation benefits. You can also check with your local utility companies for rebates or other incentives to help offset the cost of energy efficient windows.

Increased Curb Appeal

There are a number of ways to enhance the curb appeal of your home. You can plant flowers or trees, hang a welcome sign, add a mailbox, or paint your house a new color. But one of the most cost-effective and effective ways to improve the appearance of your home is to get replacement windows installed. They can help make your home look fresh and updated and will increase its value.

Whether you’re thinking of selling your home in the future or simply want to give it an upgraded, modern look, window replacement is one of the best investments you can make. It’s not only a great way to improve your home’s aesthetic, but it can also provide energy efficiency and other benefits.

Many homeowners overlook the impact windows have on their home’s curb appeal. They’re often out of sight and out of mind, but they can add a lot to the overall look of your home. The right windows can match or enhance your architectural style and blend in with the neighborhood, while others may stand out as a unique feature on your street.

You can choose from a wide variety of frame colors and grid systems to fit your personality and style, so you’re sure to find something that will look beautiful on your home. If you’re looking for a more dramatic effect, you can even select black or another bold color to create an eye-catching statement.

Depending on the type of windows you choose, you can either install them as inserts or full-frame units. Sash replacement kits—like the ones Tom used on his Newton house—give existing window frames new movable parts, including jamb liners and sash, which are then slipped into place. Full-frame replacements are more extensive projects, and they typically require a professional installer to do the work.

Whichever type of windows you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy the increased curb appeal that comes with them. Then, when it’s time to sell your home, you’ll have an easier time attracting buyers because you will have a well-maintained, up-to-date, and stylish property that offers a high return on investment.

Increased Value

New windows are an investment that pays off for the homeowner. They can expect a return of around 74% in home value when they replace old windows with energy efficient ones. The return on this investment isn’t just in higher home values, but also in lower monthly utility bills.

One of the biggest reasons homeowners have a hard time spending money on replacement windows is that they don’t understand how much more efficient the new designs are. The more they learn about how their new windows can save them money, the easier it is to convince them that this is a project worth investing in.

They can start by showing them that their older windows lose a significant amount of energy in the form of air drafts and heat loss. These air drafts can make it hard to get their home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A new set of double-paned windows can cut these energy losses by a significant margin. With reduced energy consumption, the homeowner’s HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard, so it consumes less power and costs less to operate.

The insulated nature of the windows can also help reduce drafts and moisture buildup. They can even provide extra protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Many of your customers may find that their old windows are leaking and causing expensive utility bills. If they notice moisture seeping into the frames or a sticky feel to the windows, this is a sign that it’s time for replacements.

Replacing the windows can be a great way to prepare their home for sale. By improving the curb appeal, they can increase their chances of a quick sale and earn more money for their property. You can encourage them to choose double-pane windows and other energy efficiency options to maximize their resale value. In addition, if they plan to move soon, you can offer them the option of financing their window installation so they can pay for it over a longer period of time. This can also be a great way to ensure they have peace of mind knowing that their investment in the project will pay off for them.

Easy Maintenance

If you’re like most Anne Arundel County homeowners, you have a to-do list for your home that includes everything from replacing the kitchen countertops to refinishing the hardwood floors. Window replacement is also a great addition to any home renovation project, and for many homeowners, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to increase their home’s value and improve its energy efficiency.

There’s no definitive formula for when it’s time to replace your windows, but there are some telltale signs that you should start looking into the options. These include fogging glass, higher energy bills in the summer and winter, rotting frames, and more. By installing new replacement windows, you can eliminate these problems and enjoy your home’s beauty and functionality for years to come.

Another reason that homeowners love replacement windows is that they are much easier to maintain than their old windows. They don’t require a lot of time or effort to clean, so you can spend your time doing more important things. Plus, the materials that are used to make replacement windows are designed to last and resist the elements well. So you won’t have to worry about repairing them or repainting them any time soon.

You can also choose from a variety of operating styles and frame materials for your replacement windows, which will further help you maintain your home’s aesthetic. You may also want to consider adding a sash stop or shims if you’re replacing windows with existing stops that are worn out or ill-fitting.

Some homeowners choose to have their replacement windows installed using the insert window method, also known as “frame-in-frame” or pocket windows. This allows you to preserve your home’s existing trim and siding while enhancing its look and function with new, modern windows. In this method, the existing sash and operating hardware are removed, and the replacement window is inserted into the opening, where it is anchored, insulated and sealed.

When choosing a contractor to install your replacement windows, be sure they’re FENSA approved. This will give you peace of mind that your installation meets building regulations and that you’ll receive a professional service.