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Plumbing Tips

Plumbing Tips (47)


If you notice a smelly sewer odor in your home, there are several possible causes. Here are some things to check:

1. Check the floor drain trap. Without water to block the sewer gas from escaping, odors will enter the room. Pour water down the drain to refill the trap.

2. Check the cleanout plug inside the floor drain. Remove the grate that covers the drain and make sure there's a plug inside the drain bowl. If the plug is missing, sewer gas will be able to bypass the water trap. A replacement plug can be bought at most hardware stores.

3. Check the toilets. When toilets are unused for a long period of time the water in the trap can evaporate. Simply flushing the toilet will refill the trap.

4. Worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring seals the toilet flange to the toilet base. If the wax ring leaks, sewer gas will escape from under the toilet. If the ring is broken, the toilet will need to be removed and and the wax ring replaced. If the toilet is loose on the base, shims can be used to ensure that a rocking toilet doesn't break the new wax ring.

5. Other possible causes of sewer odors include a broken or cracked sewer line or, less often, a loose connection joint in an interior wall. If you've checked the other possibilities above, it may be time to contact your plumber to hunt down the cause.

Have sewer and drain line questions? Call Grand Lake Plumbing, we can help.

WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which helps to promote water efficiency and enhance the market for water-efficient products, programs, and practices. Similar to the EnergyStar program that helps consumers choose energy-efficient appliances, WaterSense helps consumers to choose water-efficient products by specifying the maximum flow rates and minimum performance levels. Products certified as meeting current WaterSense product specifications are eligible to carry the WaterSense label.

WaterSense makes it easy to find and select water–efficient products that can help your wallet and the environment. Just look for products bearing the WaterSense label at your local retailer.

WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party testing and certification, and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. When you use these water–saving products in your home or business, you can expect exceptional performance, savings on your water bills, and assurance that you are saving water for future generations.

For a list of products like shower heads, toilets and more that meet Watersense certification, visit the Watersense Products page.

The first step in choosing a water treatment system for your home is to understand what's in the water by having your home's water tested. You may be experiencing high mineral content, strange odors or have other concerns. A water test will diagnose the cause of the problem and help you select the right water treatment solution for your needs.

Because not all water filters are going to be effective for the same group of contaminants, once you have identified the specific contaminants in your water check the NSF's water filter certification page. The NSF certifies different water treatment systems by the types of contaminants they remove from the water.

There are two basic types of home water filtration systems. Whole house/point-of-entry (POE) systems typically treat all or most of the water entering a residence. They are usually installed after the water meter (municipal) or pressurized storage tank (well water). A water softener is an example of a POE system.

Point-of-use (POU) systems typically treat water at the point of consumption, such as at the kitchen sink, refrigerator or shower head. Some may install inline while others will dispense filtered water through a separate faucet.

Need help choosing a water filtration system? Call Grand Lake Heating and Plumbing. We can test your home's water and help you choose the right water filtration system for your needs.
Keeping your sewer and drain lines working smoothly doesn't have to involve dangerous chemicals. Natural drain cleaners like BioOne offer a safe, effective way to remove buildup in drain lines that can eventually lead to an obstruction. BioOne is made of naturally occurring cultures that can be introduced directly into plumbing and septic systems. The patented BioOne Hungry Bacteria get to work immediately on degradation of fat, oil, grease and organic waste build-up through natural biological digestion. BioOne has earned the EPA's Safer Choice Program certification. Only products that are made of the safest possible ingredients are eligible for the program.

Keeping your home's sewer and drain lines working smoothly doesn't have to involve harsh chemicals. Natural drain cleaners like Bio-Clean and BioOne offer a safe, effective way to remove buildup in drain lines that can eventually lead to an obstruction. Both use naturally occurring cultures that can be added directly into drain and septic systems. Bacteria get to work immediately on degradation of fat, oil, grease and organic waste build-up through natural biological digestion. Both have earned the EPA's Safer Choice Program certification. Only products that are made of the safest possible ingredients are eligible for the program.

To remove minor drain clogs, try this homemade drain cleaner: Boil 3 to 4 cups of water. Pour one cup each of baking soda and white vinegar into the drain, followed by the water.

Natural Sewer Line Treatment Products

One of the most common reasons sewer lines fail is tree root intrusion. When a small crack forms in the sewer line tree roots are drawn to the moisture and nutrients inside the pipe. Eventually, tree roots will obstruct the sewer line.

One of the most effective biological sewer line cleaners is RootX. RootX kills roots in residential sewer lines, storm pipes and septic systems. A root intrusion left untreated can restrict flow, cause complete blockage and can eventually destroy a sewer or septic system, costing you thousands of dollars to repair or replace.

Need help clearing your sewer or drain lines? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. We can help clear the toughest clogs.
Universal design is design is a design system that works to make home's accessible to the widest range of occupants, whether young, old, big, small or physically disabled. Creating an accessible bathroom involves more that just making entry and exit as safe and easy as possible. There are other considerations as well, including:

1. Space - If the shower must be large or accommodate a wheelchair, it should be big enough to safely maneuver around with room to spare. If the bathroom is too small for a large shower, consider creating an open bathroom without walls between the shower, sink and toilet. Instead the bathroom can have a central floor drain and use waterproof materials.

2. Curb-less Stalls - To allow ease of entry and prevent tripping, compressible plastic strips can be installed on the floor to contain water. The strips can be stepped on but won't create a tripping hazard.

3. Non-Slip Surfaces - Tile with a matte finish and wider grout can provide a better gripping surface. Consider adding contrasting accents to tile floors and shower walls, which can help visually impaired occupants.

4. Lighting - Waterproof, compact LED light fixtures are perfect for providing bright light inside shower enclosures.

5. Seating - Consider adding built-in or a fold down seating inside the shower.

6. Storage - Wall niches provide a safe, convenient place to store shower accessories. Having niches at different heights will make them accessible to children and adults.

7. Shower Heads - When it comes to shower heads there is no one-size-fits-all installation height. For the most flexibility consider a rail mounted shower head that can be moved up and down to accommodate everyone from children to tall adults.

8. Grab Bars - Installing grab bars at an angle will make them easier to use at a range of heights.

Need help making your shower more accessible? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating. We can help.

Many of the plumbing problems we see could have been avoided if homeowners had followed some simple maintenance tasks. Here are some maintenance procedures that are best performed at least once a year to keep your plumbing system working smoothly.

1. Repair leaks. That leaking shower head or faucet is more than just an annoyance. It could be costing you lots of money every year on your water bill. Replacing worn out washers is simple and inexpensive.

2. Clear out slow drains. Eventually that slow sink, shower or tub drain is going to clog, leading to a major clog that will require professional help to clear.

3. Clean faucet aerators and shower heads. If you're experiencing low water pressure the culprit may be mineral deposits that have built up in the fixture, reducing water flow. Remove aerators and soak them overnight in vinegar to remove mineral build up.

4. Have your sewer line inspected. One of the most costly and disruptive plumbing problems a homeowner can experience is a backed up sewer main. A video sewer line inspection will find any potential problems, including breaks, misalign pipes, and tree root intrusion that can lead to sewer line failure.

5. Flush your water heater tank. Flushing your water heater tank will prevent rust and sediment from building up at the bottom of the tank where it can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the life of the water heater.

6. Fix that flapper. A running toilet can waste a lot of water. Replacing the flapper is inexpensive and simple to do.

Have a tankless water heater? Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the line filter.

Have questions about maintaining your home's plumbing system? Call Grand Lake Plumbing & Heating, we're here to help.
When water heater problem arise they usually present a few symptoms, these include:

No Hot Water

With a gas water heater, this is usually caused by a faulty pilot light, thermocouple or pilot control valve.

Hot water is running out too fast

Sometimes the tank is simply too small to meet the demands of the household for hot water. Other reasons could be a broken dip tube that is allowing cold and hot water to mix or a gas supply issue that is preventing the burner from reaching the preset temperature.

Discoloration of water

Rust colored water is usually an indication that corrosion is happing inside the tank. If the anode rod has failed corrosion can start attacking the inside glass lined tank, discoloring the water.

Water odors

Rotton egg smells could mean there is bacteria growing in the tank. Sediment fed by the corrosion of the tank anode tube is usually the cause. Flushing the tank can remove the sediment and the odors.

Unusual noises such as rumbling, popping or whining
When excessive sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank it can cause the water to boil and make noises as it percolates upwards. The tank should be flushed to remove the sediment.

Water leaks near base of the water heater

If the water tank is getting up in years it could be a leaking tank caused by excessive corrosion. If this is the case the water heater will need to be replaced.

Have questions about your water heater? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we can help.


Tankless water heaters will all make some noise when starting up and heating water, but the noise levels are usually reasonable and not cause for concern. When the noise occurs when there is no hot water being used, it's likely there is a vacuum that's siphoning water away from the unit and causing loud noise and vibration. In most cases the solution is to have a plumber install a check valve in the water line to prevent other plumbing fixtures from interfering with the flow of water to the water heater.

Another common problem that can create noise in tankless water heaters is a dirty flow sensor which controls how much gas is sent to the unit. Other sources of noise include blocked or inadequate ventilation or a defective or improperly set pressure valve.

Because there can be many causes of the noise, it's best to have your plumber diagnose the problem and fix the unit if needed.

Have questions about your tankless water heater or other plumbing systems? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we're here to help.
While every home is required to have a shutoff valve inside to turn off water when plumbing work is being performed or in the case of an emergency, the location can vary. Knowing where your shutoff valve is important, so here is how to locate the valve.

Basement Shutoff Valve

Basement shut-off valves are usually located near the front foundation wall. The main water supply will come through the concrete floor or the wall. The valve is typically within 3-5 feet of where the main water enters. In other cases, the main water may enter somewhere else, like a utility room, up through the floor, or near the water heater.

Crawl-space and a Basement

The shut-off valve may be where the water enters the basement or in some older homes, the shut-off may be inside the crawl space.

Crawl-space with no basement

The shut off valve will usually be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink, but may be in another location. It may be inside the crawl-space; in which case, you may want to consider a secondary valve located up in the living space (near the water heater or under a sink).

Slab-on-grade construction

The shut-off valve will typically be located near the water heater or under the kitchen sink.

Have questions about locating your home's water shutoff valve? Give Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating a call, we would be happy to help.
The average tank-style water heater will last approximately 10 years. But the reality is it can last much longer with regular maintenance. By following these simple tips you can increase the lifespan of your water heater while also improving its efficiency. 

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Flushing the tank will remove sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce the heating efficiency of the burner, which in turn will make it run more often, shortening its lifespan. Accumulated sediment can also cause premature rusting of the bottom of the tank. 

2. Inspect the Anode Rod

Because most water heater tanks are made of steel coated with a thin layer of glass, the lining will eventually crack and begin to rust. To head off corrosion a metal "anode rod" is used to increase the life of the tank. The anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that encapsulates a steel core. The rod is screwed into the top of the tank and suspended in the water. An electrochemical process causes the exposed steel of the rod to react with the corrosive elements in the water. By causing a primary corrosive reaction inside the tank the rod sacrifices itself to help protect the steel tank from corrosion, greatly extending it's life.

One of the most important plumbing maintenance task is to ensure the anode rod is still working inside the tank. The rod can be accessed from the top of the water heater by unscrewing it and sliding it out. If the rod has significantly eroded away it should be replaced with a new rod. Replacing a worn out rod is far less expensive then replacing an entire rusted out water heater!

3. Use a Water Heater Blanket

This isn't a maintenance task, and you only have to do it once. Wrapping the water heater tank in an insulated blanket will reduce heat loss and reduce the time the burners are running, increasing the lifespan of the unit.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call Grand Lake Plumbing. We're here to help.
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12208 US Highway 34
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