Cold Tempratures – Are Your Pipes Going to Survive?

Whether you own a home or a condo – make sure you are prepared for winter!

Water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.

We grew up with water all around us and so this expansion phenomenon seems natural, but interestingly, it is a chemical anomaly. Most liquids do not expand just before transition to solid. You should be thankful for this; it is one of the reasons that life exists.

When a liquid cools the molecules slow down (temperature really is just a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules). This slowing down allows the molecules to get closer together and increases the density of the liquid. This happens with water too, and when water is cooled down, it gets denser and denser, down to 3.98°C then, something interesting occurs; it starts to expand again.

BOTTOM LINE  – Don’t let pipes FREEZE!

How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, (WHICH  IS  NOW!)  protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. (or if you have a basement – keep it at 55!)

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Slow Running Bathroom Sink Drains

The dreaded slow running drain!  UGH!

A slow, sluggish sink drain is a very common plumbing problem. And the bathroom sink is the one most frequently afflicted with this particular problem because of it’s heavy daily use.

There are several things that can contribute to a slow sink drain. The first, most common issue, and easily  fixed,  the pop-up that is used to stop up the sink. It can collect a lot of hair and debris as the sink is used on a daily basis. Check that first.

Second – soap and other products that are washed down the drain can slowly collect in the drain pipes. The build-up that naturally collects over time reduces the size of the drain, effectively slowing the progress of draining water. This issues with drains happen naturally over time and can not usually be avoided. The only solution is to  periodically clean the drain to keep it flowing.

A great do-it-yourself  method  is  with  baking  soda, vinegar  and  BOILING  WATER. Take  about  ¼ cup of baking soda, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 1 large pot of water to boil. Have a rag or sink stopper handy. Pour the baking soda into the drain. Make sure that most of the baking soda falls directly into the drain rather than around it in the sink. Pour in the cup of vinegar. You may hear a fizzing noise or see bubbles come up due to the chemical reaction. This is completely normal and should mean that the chemicals are eating away at the blockage in your sink. Plug the drain with a rag or sink stopper. Doing so will stop the bubbles from rising up and will keep the chemical reaction concentrated on the clog.

Wait fifteen minutes. Allow the baking soda and vinegar reaction to fully work their magic here! While waiting, you should heat up the pot of water to boiling point.

Pour in the pot of boiling water. This step will push down the baking soda, vinegar, and blockage. Watch as you pour in the water to see if the sink is draining any faster. If it is, but still not at its normal speed, there may still be a bit of a blockage. Try repeating the process once more if this is the case.
If this does not work – you might have a blockage in the pipes, in the wall.
If you hear any kind of a “blub blub” or “glug glug”  or  gurgling noise coming from behind the sink or possibly in wall, it might be  from the main drain and might mean that there is a problem with the drain system itself, such as a partial drain blockage or it could even be  a drain venting problem.  We might have to get onto the roof  to investigate the vent. Or it might be  possible for us  to clear the blockage, using  one of several different tools, to snake down inside the drain and get to the root of the problem.

 

GOODE   PLUMBING

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Fall Winter Plumbing Tips

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Cooler  fall temperatures serve as a  reminder that when winter arrives it can be sudden, often leaving homeowners unprepared for the troubles associated with extreme Chicago cold. A few simple plumbing preparations now will help prevent headaches and costly repairs later.

    • Disconnect outside water hoses. If left connected, water in the hoses can freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.
    • Make sure outside faucets aren’t dripping or leaking. Make the necessary repairs or call a plumber before freezing temperatures arrive. Be aware that when pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks – no matter if the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damage or flooding.
    • If your home is equipped with interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets, close them and drain water from outside lines.
    • Cover outside faucets using a Styrofoam faucet insulation kit available at home centers.
    • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
    • Seal leaks around doors and windows to reduce cold air penetration.
    • Your water heater works harder during winter months. Flush it out and remove sediment buildup, which causes corrosion, shortens life span and reduces heating efficiency. Drain several gallons from the faucet near the bottom of the tank. Connect a hose to the faucet and direct water into a nearby drain. Check your water heater manufacturer ‘s website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
    • Carefully test the water heater’s pressure relief valve (Danger: water is very hot) by lifting up on the lever and letting it snap back. The valve should allow a burst of hot water into the drainpipe. If not, call a professional to have a new valve installed. Caution: if your water heater is more than five years old and the pressure relief valve has never been tested, you can actually cause a leak by testing older valves that have corroded or stuck seals. A plumber should be consulted.
      • Check the temperature setting on your water heater’s thermostat. Set at 120°F for optimum performance.
      • Clear leaves and debris from outside gutters and downspouts to ensure easy drainage when water freezes and thaws throughout the winter season.
      • Inspect and clean sump pump and pit. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing the pump from operating.
      • When leaving home for extended periods, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F.

      Caution! These plumbing tips are intended for homes that will be inhabited throughout the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that will be left unattended for weeks or months at a time. Seek professional help for winterizing such properties.

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Quick and Easy Spring Plumbing Tips

chicago-plumbers-spring-time-cleaning-tips

Whether you are a renter  or  home owner – Spring is a good time  to check everything over and make sure it’s  running smoothly.

 

  • Check your toilet for leaks. A fast and inexpensive way to do this is to put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If there is a leak, the food color will end up in the bowl within half an hour. While you’re at it, check out the bowl for any cracks or leaks.
  • ALSO  be sure your toilets  are flushing correctly. If you must hold or shake the handle, you need to replace the parts of the toilet which are responsible for flushing. They do not cost much and in fact will save you money on your water bill. LANDLORDS DO NOT WANT TO WASTE  MONEY!  Trust me, they will fix it!
  • Check your water supply valve by turning on and off occasionally. This will prevent them from sticking. If it leaking even the slightest bit – GET IT REPLACED  before a huge problem  explodes!
  • Your sink takes forever to drain.  In the bathroom – Pull out the sink’s pop-up plug. Any accumulation of hair or other debris can prevent water pouring into the sink from draining through. You can take the pop-up out and clear out the drain by manually pulling out the debris using tools like needle-nose pliers, or you can get special plumbing tools that are designed to clear out drains.

    ALSO  – use a plunger in order to dislodge clogs. Plungers can be extremely effective in unstopping stopped-up sinks. Make sure the sink overflow is covered with something like duct tape before you start plunging. Covering the overflow will help ensure that you get the best possible suction as you plunge.

  • Clean your shower head with vinegar to remove mineral deposits that can clog. I know most people don’t know this little trick of the trade. Take a Zip Loc bag and fill it with white vinegar. Place the Zip Loc bag on the shower head in place and wrap the bag with a few heavy rubber bands securing the bag to the shower head. Leave for 24 hrs and the mineral deposits should breakdown leaving your shower clean as a whistle.

By checking the bathroom, kitchen, appliances, equipment and more common areas, both within and outside the home, you can be prepared and help prevent any plumbing problems that occur. Just think of it as an extension of your spring cleaning project!
Check your drains, gutters and downspouts – which should be clear and free of debris to ensure proper operation. Many regions of the country experience a large amount of rainfall this time of year and you want to make sure you’re ready. If you let the debris build up, gutters and drains can clog, causing water damage, leakage and mold growth – not something you want to deal with!

 

NEED  HELP?    We can offer –

  • Code violation correction
  • Drain cleaning (rodding and hydrojetting)
  • Catch basin cleaning/pumping
  • Water heaters (traditional storage type)
  • Water heaters (tankless/”on demand”)
  • Water heaters (hybrid systems)
  • Water filtration systems
  • Faucet and fixture repair and installation
  • Gas pipe repairs and installation
  • Slab leak repairs
  • Drain and Water Supply Leaks
  • Main supply replacement
  • Overhead sewer systems
  • Flood Controls-Our Systems Are Second To None!
  • Pump installation
  • Many types of upgrades.
  • Rare and high end fixture repair and replacement
  • Pressure correction
  • Complete and partial plumbing system repair and replacement

GOODE   PLUMBING

chicago-plumbers-rated-BEST

 

 

The BEST Warranty on Plumbing in Chicago

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WE THINK WE’RE THE GREATEST! 

In the beginning, Goode Plumbing started out using a Volkswagen Microbus and a handful of tools. Since that time, we have grown the business while still maintaining our original philosophy of providing  the ultimate in customer satisfaction. We truly want you to be thrilled (well, as thrilled as one can be with a plumber in their home) with our service. We care about your home, we care that you feel you received good value. We want you to wave to us when you see one of our plumbing technicians in public.

We back up our claim of being great by sending professional plumbing technicians to your house, who will put on shoe covers before entering and give you an honest solution to your plumbing problems and a price up front whenever possible. And we will sell and install only excellent quality parts, products and materials.

We don’t give you the legally required one year warranty-we give you a MINIMUM two year warranty that covers parts AND labor.

Our water heaters come with a LABOR as well as  parts warranty from 6 to 20 years depending on model and use in residential applications.

And something should not fall apart because we put it together poorly. So we back our workmanship up for life against defects.  I don’t know of any other plumbing service companies doing that!

Plumbing Remodeling and Vintage Fixtures

chicago remodeling plumbers

REMODELING & NEW CONSTRUCTION

We do not typically do new construction plumbing, but may be able assist you or point you in the right direction. We work with plumbers who specialize in new construction and can help put you in contact with one of them.

We can help you with most plumbing small and mid size projects. In addition to the service work mentioned above, we also offer plumbing remodeling (bathrooms, kitchens, complete home, etc), as well as upgrades such as food controls and overhead systems, and ecological upgrades.

We can help you with your plumbing remodeling project, as well as put you in touch with Chicago’s best carpenters, tile installers, electricians, etc. We have a lot of experience with those sleek, unusual projects the other guys are afraid to touch. Should you choose Goode Plumbing for your project, we will do our best to give you something you can be proud to show off, as well as a system that efficient in operation.

 

Renovating--vintage-bathroom-fixtures-chicagoVINTAGE FIXTURE RESTORATION

Have a vintage faucet or tub that seems to be at the end of its days, but you just can’t let go? Or perhaps you’re looking to put together a period bathroom for your vintage home.

We often have a selection of vintage fixtures available, and we can locate what we don’t have much of the time. We can also restore what you already own.

As with everything else we do, our restorations are done right.

Take our clawfoot bathtub restoration, for example. We don’t just spray on a coat of  new porcelain and brush some paint on the outside and call it a day. We remove your tub, and clean it completely. The legs are removed as is the waste and overflow. The exterior is media blasted and then POWDER COATED for an incredibly durable, long lasting finish. We have     new porcelain glazing sprayed on the inside. The legs can be powder coated or nickel plated (nickel is correct, chrome is not-although that is an option too if you want it). The tub is reinstalled, and a new waste and overflow kit is installed.

We can correctly restore your vintage toilet as well, using correct, brass parts.

If you have a rare faucet, chances are we can get the parts or have them made, and in some cases, upgrade it internally while keeping the exterior correct.

Best Plumbing Service in Chicago

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SERVICE-OUR SPECIALTY – LIFETIME WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEE

Goode Plumbing LLC doesn’t try to be all things to all people. We have the knowledge and experitise to service the plumbing system in your home or business accurately and percisely. If you have an ancient faucet or a high tech shower system or a strange looking toilet that has sent your previous plumber heading for the hills, give us a call-we have probably seen it. If not, we have the patience and resources to figure it out. We ONLY use quality parts and materials that we have chosen through years of research and testing, whether it is a faucet repair, a new or remodeled bathroom project, or complete plumbing system.

 

We offer:

  • Code violation correction
  • Drain cleaning (rodding and hydrojetting)
  • Catch basin cleaning/pumping
  • Water heaters (traditional storage type)
  • Water heaters (tankless/”on demand”)
  • Water heaters (hybrid systems)
  • Water filtration systems
  • Faucet and fixture repair and installation
  • Gas pipe repairs and installation
  • Slab leak repairs
  • Drain and Water Supply Leaks
  • Main supply replacement
  • Overhead sewer systems
  • Flood Controls-Our Systems Are Second To None!
  • Pump installation
  • Many types of upgrades.
  • Rare and high end fixture repair and replacement
  • Pressure correction
  • Complete and partial plumbing system repair and replacement

 

If you are buying or selling your home, why not have us do a complete home plumbing inspection? We’ll go through everything and give you a written report with pricing on what we find.

 

Ask us about water heater maintenance.

It’s often overlooked, but should be done every two years in the Chicago area, and once a year if you are in a “hard water” area or using a water softener. Regular maintenance will greatly increase the life of your water heater and allow it to operate much more efficiently.

GOODE   PLUMBING

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How to Keep Your Drains Flowing

keep drains water flow flowing

Slow running drains are a common problem. But  some preventative actions,  are the way to keep the water flowing down the drain.

Whether you rent or own, you want to make sure all the drains (Kitchen and shower) have some sort of strainer in place, to catch debris and hair. One of the simplest ways you can prevent clogs and slow running water  is to use a sink strainer. These simple items prevent objects from going down the drain and clogging it.

For the kitchen, a larger-holed strainer will likely do the trick. Consider a combination strainer and plug to make doing the dishes even easier. In the bathroom, think about getting a finer mesh strainer to keep the drain hair and soap scum free. You can pick these up at Home Depot, your local hardware store and even Target.

 

If your kitchen sink does not have a garbage disposal, be careful what goes down the drain.

Some things should never go down the drain. Many, many kitchen sinks are clogged from common food items. Grease, coffee grounds and other food items are common culprits of clogged drains in the kitchen. Here are a few tips to help you dispose of these items properly:

  • If you’re cooking with grease, let it solidify in the pan after you’re done cooking. Scrape it into the garbage can afterwards. Try wiping out the pan with a paper towel post-scrape to ensure that you get all that grease. Don’t want to wait? Pour the liquid grease into an old can, then throw it away after the dishes are done.
  • Coffee grounds should always go into the garbage. If you’d rather make an eco-friendly choice, coffee grounds are an excellent addition to a mulch pile or compost area. Never put them down the drain.
  • Other bits of food that end up in the sink should get caught by a strainer or pulled out before they go down the drain. If you have a garbage disposal, this may not be such a big deal, but if the food is on the other side, catch it before it goes down. Small bits of food may stick to grease in your pipes and cause a clog. AND SMELL!

Take precaution with your TOILET also.  Flushable cat litter – SHOULD NOT BE FLUSHED. Whoever came up with this idea, should be shot! I tell all cat owners, do not flush it and risk it clogging the line.

Other things NOT TO FLUSH;  condoms, feminine hygiene products, dental floss and large amounts  of toilet tissue and kleenex. Keep a little waste can in the bathroom for excess paper products.

Preventing a clog doesn’t have to be a challenge. With a little prevention, you’ll be able to keep your pipes clear and free. Before you spend hours unclogging your drain and calling a plumbing professional, try stopping these issues in the first place with these tips.

 

 

Green Plumbing Choices Chicago

green-plumber-plumbing choices chicago

 

Everywhere  we  look,  we see more and more “green” choices in the products and services available. These products and services* have a lower impact on our environment than standard products. Green plumbing puts the focus onto what’s most important … you and conserving our most precious resources.

Eco-friendly plumbing can also save you green – cold, hard cash. If you want or need to repair or replace your plumbing fixtures, are remodeling, or building a new home, call GOODE PLUMBING to discuss your options and choices.

We specialize in eco-friendly and sustainable plumbing solutions.

We will give you water and energy saving options such as high efficiency water heaters.

We specialize in eco-friendly and sustainable plumbing solutions.

We will give you water and energy saving options such as high efficiency water heaters, WaterSense toilets, shower heads, and faucets.

We also install residential fire sprinkler systems, rainwater harvesting systems, and grey water systems.

Virtually every plumbing service today has sustainable cost saving options as new emerging products and technologies continue to be developed. State and Federal Governments along with utility companies continue to offer attractive rebates for installing green plumbing solutions in your home or place of business. These money saving rebates are an excellent incentive to go green.

 

At Goode Plumbing, LLC, we are continuously working to make our company more ecologically friendly. Goode Plumbing has available, and encourages clients to ask about our high efficiency water heaters, on-demand water heaters, on-demand water faucets and dual flush toilets.

We  use low VOX chemicals, including PVC cement and primer. We recycle all cardboard and plastic packaging and all metals. And, our Sprinter diesel vans and restored Volkswagen Vans (modified with emissions controls!) average 20-25 mpg vs. the typical plumbing truck which averages 8-12 mpg.

We will continue to make changes to our company that aid in the protection and preservation of the environment. We recycle our waste metals, cardboard and plastic packaging.

 

*Some products labeled “green” are not necessarily so. Check purportedly green products for 3rd party verification of these claims. US EPA WaterSense and EnergyStar labels ensure that fixtures and heaters are “green”.