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Category Archives: Drain & Sewer

Lake Almanor Springtime Home Safety Checklist

UPDATED MARCH 6, 2018

Well, the time has come when we have to start thinking about preparing our homes for the summer.  The 2017-18 winter has been particularly warm, so it is a good time to start planning things.  We have provided a home maintenance checklist PDF below.  

As the days warm up and we are able to return to our cabins in the Lake Almanor area and poke around the outside of our homes, it becomes time to inventory the toll that Mother Nature has inflicted over the winter.  Whether you are performing regular inspections of your mechanical systems or one of our professionally trained technicians comes to your home, it is important that you have a plan.  I have compiled a handy checklist for homeowners to help them put together a springtime home safety inspection so that they can better identify potential hazards before they become much bigger problems.  Please take the time to study the guide and contact Slusher Plumbing Heating Cooling Electric  if you have any specific questions regarding troubles at your home.  Download and print off a copy of our list to take with your while you perform your inspection.

Happy Spring Cleaning,  

David Jr.  

Water System

  1. Confirm main water shut-off turns freely.  If valve is tight after 2-3 full cycles, replacement should be considered.
  2. Purge air on start-up from both hot and cold water lines at every fixture.
  3. Once water has been turned on to the house, check under all sinks and toilets to ensure shut-off valves, supply lines, and traps are leak free.
  4. Adjust water level at toilet fill valve if needed and listen for a leaky flapper.  Replace if necessary.
  5. Make sure water heater drain, shut-off valve, water supply lines, and temperature and pressure relief are leak free.
  6. Check exterior hose bibs for leaks.
  7. Run dishwasher, washer machine, and ice maker.  Check for leaks behind and under the appliances.
  8. Check and replace cracked or bulging washer machine hoses.  

Electric System

  1. Confirm all air has been purged at water heater on start-up by testing (manually tripping) temperature and pressure relief valve before energizing water heater.  It is safe to energize once a full stream of water has discharged.  
  2. Test all GFCI and AFCI circuits (manually trip).  
  3. Test surge protectors (manually trip).
  4. Test motion and dawn to dusk sensors at exterior lighting.
  5. Replace flickering or burned out light bulbs and ballasts.  
  6. Clean dust from behind, front, underside of refrigerator for increased efficiency.
  7. Clean and dust ceiling fan blades and motor.
  8. Clean and dust electronics.  

Gas System

  1. Confirm LPG tank has sufficient gas to operate appliances, greater than 30%.
  2. Light all standing pilots at gas appliances.
  3. Confirm all air has been purged at water heater on start-up by testing (manually tripping) temperature and pressure relief valve before lighting or energizing water heater.
  4. Inspect all gas appliances for sooting or abnormal ignition (lazy or jumping flame) which may indicate unstable gas pressure.  Contact a professional gas technician to adjust.
  5. Clean and inspect Gas BBQ.  Fill LPG tank, check for cracked hoses and leaking valves.
  6. Inspect flue pipe caps for snow damage (crushing) and critter infestation that may block exhaust flow.  

Irrigation System

  1. Inspect irrigation backflow and control valves for leaks once water has been reestablished.  Replace any valves that are hard to turn or are leaking.  
  2. Reset irrigation timer.  Replace battery backup.  
  3. Uncover and clean weather sensor.    
  4. Manually test each station at the timer to ensure proper control function.  
  5. Inspect all sprinkler heads for breaks, inadequate flow, and erratic spray.

Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

  1. Replace batteries at carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.  Test (manually trip).  
  2. Replace HVAC systems filters.
  3. Manually operate heating system for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure heat is produced and safeties are working normally.  
  4. Remove air conditioner cover.  Vacuum and wash pine needles/ leaves, pollens and dust from coils.  
  5. Manually operate air conditioning system for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure cooling is produced and safeties are working normally.  
  6. Service and test evaporative cooler.  Replace pads, clean sump, lube bearings, inspect and replace worn belts.  

Woodstove/Fireplace

  1. Inspect chimney/flue for cracks and water leaks.
  2. Inspect chimney cap for snow damage (crushing).
  3. Clean firebox and catalytic converter.  
  4. Schedule a chimney cleaning if not done in the fall.  

Septic System

  1. Septic tanks should be pumped every 4-6 years, spring is best.  
  2. Add septic treatment (bottled anaerobic bacteria cultures) to jump start system digestion.  
  3. Test sewer pump alarm (manually trip).
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3 Ways to Detect a Water Leak In Your House

Here are a few tips to find out if you have a water leak in your home

Over time water pipes can fail because of age, cold winter weather, and many other factors.  This can especially be true in the Plumas, Lassen and Tehama areas.  It can be frustrating when a homeowner discovers a leaky pipe. Sometimes it can be difficult finding those small pesky leaks, which, over time, can cause damage and increase utility bills. It is important to find and repair any leaking water pipes early.  Doing so can save you money and help to avoid costly damage to your walls, flooring and other parts of your home or property.  Here are some signs that you may have a leak and should consider hiring a professional plumber.

No Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be annoying. There are number of factors that can cause low water pressure.  If low water pressure is only coming from the hot water outlets, this might indicate an issue with your water heater or a potential under-slab leak.  Little to no water pressure on both the cold and hot water sides of your water system may indicate a more severe leak, a problem with your well equipment, sediment build-up in your plumbing fixtures, or maybe a malfunction with your water filtration system.  Any one of these scenarios can be quite difficult to remedy and you may want  to consider calling a professional plumber.

Visually Inspect all Fixtures in the Home  

Visual inspection of your plumbing is the number one thing a homeowner can do to prevent costly damage from a leak.  Routinely check all accessible locations within your home that have plumbing fixtures. Make sure all faucets are closing properly and that the surrounding areas are not showing signs of a leak or mildew. If only one faucet in your home has low water pressure, this might indicate there is a water leak, a clogged screen from sediment build up, or you’re beginning to see signs of frozen pipes.

Make sure you check the toilet in each bathroom.  Is there a noticeable sound of water dripping or running? Remove the top lid on the toilet and listen for any noise.  Sometimes the flapper is not properly seated and may require replacement.  A little handy trick is to place a few drops of food dye into the top tank.  After an hour or two look to see if the color is showing in the bowl. This can usually indicate that your toilet tank is leaking through into the bowl.  A continuously running toilet can drastically increase your water bill and also lead to the premature failure of your septic system’s drain field.  

Also, make sure that you check the water shutoffs underneath each of the sinks and toilet. Look for moisture or mildew. Be sure to check the walls and floor for evidence of an intermittent leak that may indicate a leaking pipe inside the wall or under the floor.  A water stained or soft and spongy floor or wall can indicate there is a leak.   

Your Water Bill has Increased

Another important step in finding a possible water leak is to check your service meter.  This can help you determine if your water usage has gone up over time.  The first thing you need to do is determine if your daily water usage has not increased from such things as a broken sprinkler head or misadjusted irrigation timer. This can be especially true with seasonal homes in the Lake Almanor or Quincy CA. areas.  Make sure you consider any changes in use before turning your attention to a possible leak.  Once you have ruled out an increase in consumption, you can turn your attention to hunting for that leak.  Make sure all faucets are turned off and stop any appliances that require water.  If the indicator dial at your meter is still running after an hour or so, this might be a sign that you have a leak somewhere on the property.  

I Know I Have a Water Pipe Leak, but Cannot Find it.  What Next?

If a leak is not showing any evidence of its location, hiring a professional plumber can be a cost effective solution to your problem.  Water leaks under a slab or deep within the ground may be difficult to detect. We can pin-point the location of your hidden leak with accuracy and without the expense of hunt-and-peck style demolition. Our minimally invasive service can reduce property damage and restoration costs.  Locating leaks non-destructively requires the use of modern tools such as electronic amplification equipment, electromagnetic pipeline locators, and infrared imaging. With the proper equipment, leaks can be found and repaired with minimal disruption to property. In many cases, only a single floor tile needs to be removed and replaced.

We will coordinate with your insurance company during all phases of construction to ensure your leak is repaired in a timely manner and make sure your building returns to its original condition.

Does your home in Lake Almanor, Quincy or Susanville areas have a water leak?  Call Slusher Plumbing Cooling Heating Electric at 530-258-3474 or schedule plumbing service online

 

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The Importance of Regular Plumbing Maintenance

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote is as relevant today as it was when he was pioneering our new country 250 years ago.   Franklin, who was a thrifty and keen businessman, understood that frequent, small maintenance expenses far outweighed the cost of having his equipment broke-down and unproductive for any amount of time.

The biggest part of a professional plumbers job and perhaps the most rewarding for me is educating clients about their house’s plumbing and sewer systems.  Conducting regular maintenance is important so that they can avoid unnecessary, costly repairs.  At Slusher Plumbing Heating Cooling Electric, we believe it is important to build relationships with our clients by empowering them to understand how and why their systems function the way they do so that we can work together towards implementing a comprehensive maintenance program for their property.  Investing in your property rather than just “fixing” things when they break can actually free up money for other needs and wants.  


7  important things you can do right now  to prevent unexpected plumbing expenses?

 

Whether you are performing regular inspections of your plumbing system to check for leaking pipes or one of our professionally trained technicians comes to your home, it is important that you have a plan.  At a minimum, that plan should include the following areas of importance:

Drains– Slow drains indicate an existing problem with your waste piping.  A stoppage is  frequently accompanied by unhealthy and toxic sewage leaks.  These leaks are usually in hidden locations and can cause considerable damage to your structure.  

Leaks – Persistent water leaks are the most common and costly cause of damage to your home.  Routine inspections in locations like cabinets, closets and underfloor areas where pipes and plumbing appliances reside and that are infrequently accessed is an important practice.    

Toilets – Is your toilet water continuing to run? Excess water consumption due to  leaky components can cause high water bills and may do irreversible, costly damage to your leach field.  

Water Heater – Inspections can identify intermittent leaks that can lead to costly water damage and loss of service due to malfunctioning controls.  Regularly scheduled draining and descaling of sediments from the vessel can also greatly increase energy efficiency.

Water Pressure – High water pressure can lead to excessive wear and premature failure of your plumbing fixtures and appliances.  High water pressure can also cause pipes, fittings, and hoses to leak and or burst.  

Water Softener and Iron Filter – Regular maintenance of your water filters are key to maintaining clean and safe water, avoiding a loss of service, or damaging filter equipment or other plumbing fixtures and appliances beyond economical repair.  

Septic Maintenance – Regular pumping is imperative to maintain an optimal microbial action and can greatly prolong the life of your leach field.  In conjunction with pumping, a leach field test should always be performed to confirm the ground is draining waste water at an adequate rate.  A healthy septic system can also help to ensure clean drinking water for people who have on-site well water.   

Remember, maintenance can help prolong the life of your mechanical systems and will help to avoid potential catastrophic failure and emergency service fees.  If a problem is identified as a part of our inspection and maintenance program, we will explain to you what options can be taken and work towards a solution that fits your budget and timeline.  As always, estimates are free and completed in a timely manner.  

Schedule regular maintenance

We can also set up a maintenance program for your heating system, air-conditioning, electrical equipment, wood stove, and stand-by generator.  
Schedule a free on-site consultation today.

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