Drain Cleaning Tools for Clogged Drains

Inside the Drain Cleaning Process

Clogged drains occur when a blockage prevents water from flowing through the pipes. The problem is a common one that most homeowners experience but one of the easiest for plumbers to resolve with the right plumbing tools. Homeowners can help prevent clogged drains with routine drain cleaning. 

Signs drain cleaning is needed include:

  • Slow drains
  • Bad smell
  • Frequent overflows
  • Backed-up water

Clogged and slow drains not only cause homeowners inconvenience, but they can also cause serious health problems and the need for professional plumbing repairs. Clearing and cleaning the drains now can help prevent the potential issues that clogs may create. However, when clogs do happen, here are the tools that a plumber will likely use.

The Flexible Drain Snake

snakeThe drain snake is the tool plumbers most commonly used to clear drains. The drain snake works wonders on minor clogs near the surface of the septic system but may not be as effective for deep clogs.

Generally, plumbers feed the long ‘snake’ cable into the drain and push it through the line while turning the handle. This cable spins inside the pipe, which dislodges the clog.  Plumbing drain snakes usually are about 50 feet long. Any clogs deeper than 50 feet typically require another solution.

Drain snakes can be used in toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and other spaces with draining systems. Thanks to the ribber shields attached to the end of the drain auger, fixtures won’t get scratched.

Heavy-Duty Hydro Jetting

Hydro jetting is another popular solution plumbers use when clearing clogged drains. Hydro jetting uses high-pressure water to cut through tough clogs and flushes it down the drain. No clog stands a chance against this effective plumbing solution.

Plumbers place the hose (with a special nozzle on the end) into the sewer pipe where they find the blockage.  Water pumps up to 4,000 pounds per square inch through the hose to break up stubborn clogs. 

Hydro jetting is one of the latest plumbing technologies available for homeowners, providing them with an affordable solution for many types of clogs, including grease, hair, sludge, and paper. Hydro jetting can also be used as a preventative measure in cleaning pipes to prevent clogs. 

Detailed Video Inspection Equipment

videoVideo inspection equipment provides plumbers with an in-depth view of clogs, arming them with the knowledge needed to better clear clogged drains. Video inspection equipment aids plumbers during the unclogging process. Without video inspection equipment, plumbers must use other methods to find and clear clogs.

Video inspection equipment is an important part of any plumber’s toolbox. It’s one of the most effective solutions for locating clogs so they can be removed. Drain inspection cameras are built especially for plumbing systems. Plumbers move it through the pipes so they can see clogs and their exact locations. The camera can record the inspection and assist plumbers as they clean the clogged drain.

The benefits of video inspection equipment include:

  • Cleaner than other inspection methods
  • Better insight/knowledge of the clogged drain
  • Fewer potential plumbing problems

About Heil Plumbing

Heil Plumbing is a locally owned and family-owned company with an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. They provide straightforward pricing, top-of-the-line service, and trustworthy technicians. Call them today for drain cleaning services in Jessup, MD, and the surrounding areas.

National Wellness Month Special: The Danger of Gas Leaks

How to Identify Dangerous Gas Leaks

Natural gas is completely safe as long as it is used properly and doesn’t leak. Because it is highly flammable, it can cause fires and poisonous fumes without the right safety measures. Identifying the issue is the first step to preventing gas leaks from wreaking havoc at home.

5 Signs of a Gas Leak

foul smellNatural gas is made up of hydrocarbon gasses as well as methane. If a gas leak occurs inside the house, this means toxic fumes are uncontrolled. Typically this happens with old gas lines, but it can also occur in newly built homes. Here are signs of a gas leak:

  • High gas bills: Since natural gas cannot be seen, the first clue is usually found in the gas bill. Monthly gas bills increase when gas escapes into various areas of the house. Since the gas is not being used for its intended purpose, it must continuously pump more air to heat the home. Although the cost of gas can fluctuate, gas leaks tend to increase the price all at once radically.
  • Foul smells: Gas leaks have a particular odor that tends to smell like rotten eggs. This can be sensed throughout the building or just in one room. If the smell is detected throughout the entire residence, this means gas has spread, and it’s no longer safe to stay inside. The rotten egg smell is a non-harmful odorant called “mercaptan” that is used to detect natural gas leaks.
  • Faulty Pilot Light: A pilot light is likely to burn out if a gas leak occurs. This is also true for gas stovetops. Unfortunately, since not all gas-burning appliances have a pilot light, this can be difficult to rely on without additional clues. If physical symptoms are also present, this is a good indicator that a leak is to blame.
  • Dizziness: A gas leak can cause several physical symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, or nausea. If there is a high concentration of gas, this can even lead to asphyxiation. Gas leaks in smaller houses or apartments are more likely to create physical symptoms because the gas is confined.
  • Damaged plants: For larger spaces where it may be more difficult to detect gas leaks, dying plants can be a clue. Several plants that wither simultaneously can be due to poisonous air. Indoor pets that become suddenly sick may also indicate harmful gas.

How To Handle a Gas Leak

Gas leaks can occur in pipes and appliances. If a gas leak is suspected, it’s possible to find the source. However, since these fumes are poisonous, the first choice needs to be safety. The number 1 priority at this moment is to evacuate the building.

Nobody in the house should use any sort of flame if a gas leak is suspected. Homeowners should also never turn on lights and appliances like hair dryers. Lighting a candle or cigarette could cause massive danger because of all the chemicals floating in the air.

Shutting off the natural gas can be done outside the house. The shutoff valve is designed to cut the gas supply to help prevent further damage. Although this will help the situation, it is not a solution.

Evacuating the building must be done immediately, even if someone thinks they can fix the leak from inside. Checking the source of the leak and turning off the valve is not enough. After exiting the building, it is important to call for help. The door to the house can be left open to air out the indoor space until a qualified professional arrives. Homeowners can use the fire department and the state’s natural gas-emergency line in case of emergency.

Preventative measures are important to avoid gas leaks from occurring in the first place. Some gas leaks can be prevented by checking household appliances. All appliances should be in working order and free from wire damage. Ideally, appliances should be checked monthly.

Routine inspections are also recommended. Gas lines should be monitored throughout the year to ensure that all appliances operate safely. A plumber usually does this with specialized equipment to detect damage.

Professionals Can Help

gas detectorGas leak repair should always be left to professionals. One wrong calculation and tenants are put in jeopardy. Trained professionals use a detection kit to determine if a leak has occurred. Since not all leaks provide noticeable symptoms, relying on smell alone can be dangerous. An electrochemical sensor is typically used to find carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the air.

Metal oxide semiconductors can also be used for gas leak detection. Metal oxide semiconductors use a film that produces electrons to detect air currents. These operate in low-humidity ranges for areas that cannot rely on electrochemical sensors.

Homeowners can also get gas detectors installed inside their homes to detect gas leaks and protect their homes and families. This is used primarily as a preventative measure to detect gas in the air. Some special models can detect both natural gas and carbon monoxide.

About Heil Plumbing

Heil Plumbing is a local, family-owned company with over 40 years of experience serving Jessup, MD, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, top-of-the-line service, and trustworthy technicians. Call them today for gas leak detection and repair in Jessup, MD.

When Is It Time To Get a Water Softener?

What Is Hard Water? 

The U.S. Department of the Interior notes that, inevitably, minerals accumulate in water over time. Some homeowners don’t notice these minerals since the water heater eliminates them. However, if calcium and magnesium are in a plumbing system, one may experience “hard water.” 

While unpleasant, hard water doesn’t have to last forever. Using a water softener can eliminate or reduce the minerals in the plumbing system. A water softener uses a process called ion exchange to eliminate the minerals that make up hard water.  

What Is a Water Softener? 

softenerHard water contains a lot of minerals. The plumbing system must get rid of those minerals to get rid of hard water. This involves installing a water softener. Here’s how a water softener works: 

  • Hard water enters through the plumbing system and into the water softener. 
  • The water endures ion exchange, and resin beads attract the minerals. 
  • Finally, the water exits the water softener free of minerals. 

Homeowners can have whole home water softeners in different places. Some may have them installed near their water mains where water enters the plumbing system. Others may have them attached to their water heaters. 

The Four Signs of Hard Water 

signsHard water isn’t dangerous, but it’s inconvenient. Some signs of hard water include: 

  • Spots on dishware. After removing dishes from the dishwasher or washing dishes by hand, one may notice grayish spots on their glasses. These are built-up minerals on the surface due to hard water. It prevents dishes from getting as clean as they could. 
  • Dry skin and film left after washing hands. After washing their hands in hard water, homeowners may find that their skin is very dry and that a film remains on their hands. Again, this is from the minerals in the water. 
  • Water doesn’t stay as hot. When sediment builds up in the plumbing system, the minerals prevent the water from getting (and staying) as hot. Build-up occurs faster with hard water, which is more than inconvenient but can increase one’s energy costs. 
  • Faded clothes. When washing clothes with hard water, the colors of certain garments may fade quicker over time, and clothes can wear out faster. 

The Many Benefits of Water Softeners 

There are many reasons to install a water softener in one’s home. Some reasons include: 

  • It expands appliances’ lifespans. Hard water is hard on washing machines and dishwashers. Soft water is better for pipes and increases the likelihood that these fixtures and appliances will last longer. 
  • Cleaner dishes. Soft water erases hard-to-remove stains left by hard water and leaves glasses sparkling every time. 
  • More hydrated skin and hair. Taking a shower should make one clean––not covered in calcium and magnesium. These minerals found in hard water dry out skin and hair. With a whole home water softener, hair and skin can stay hydrated. 

About Heil Plumbing 

Heil Plumbing is a local family-owned company with over 40 years of experience serving its neighbors in Jessup, MD, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, 24/7 emergency service, and professional values. Call them today for plumbing services in Jessup, MD.

Spoiling Dad This Father’s Day

Give Dad the Relaxing Father’s Day He Deserves

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, many people are scrambling to figure out what to give their dad to show him how much he means to them. While some may opt to give their dad a standard best-dad-in-the-world mug or some tools or grill utensils, there are other creative gift ideas that he’ll be able to use for years to come. 

Those who want to step it up a notch might consider getting him a bathroom remodel or plumbing upgrades such as a new and improved showerhead, an upgraded toilet system, or even fixing any leaky fixtures. 

Upgrade the Showerhead

showerShowerheads are often an overlooked feature of bathrooms. However, there have been many technological advancements with showerheads that can add to the showering experience. These showerhead upgrades can provide homeowners with a relaxing experience when taking a shower. 

Some showerheads have LED lights that change color depending on the temperature of the water or personal preference. There are also rain showerheads that produce a calming rain-like effect, showerheads with wireless speakers for music enthusiasts, high-pressured showerheads with adjustable jets that can alleviate back pain, and so many more. 

These new and improved showerheads can transform a mundane bathroom into a truly spa-like experience that dad is sure to love. With so many options available on the market today, there’s no doubt that homeowners can find one that suits their or their father’s needs.

Upgrade the Plumbing for a Nice Surprise 

Plumbing upgrades are also a great gift idea to give dad this Father’s Day. For example, upgrading the old sink faucet to a new touchless faucet would be a great present for dads who often have dirty hands from woodworking, vehicle maintenance, or yard work. 

Another great idea would be to invest in a new and upgraded toilet. There are hi-tech and smart toilet systems with a dual flush for water-saving benefits, heated seats, built-in bidets, no-touch flush systems, built-in lights, Bluetooth speakers, and more. 

Not only can upgrading things like the toilet and faucet give homeowners more comfort, but they can also provide a modern aesthetic and cut back on water usage, decreasing the monthly water bill. 

Fix the Leak

faucetHomeowners may often find their dad complaining about an annoying leak that he hasn’t been able to fix yet. Now would be the perfect time to fix the leak and give him peace of mind by taking it off his to-do list. 

Fixing leaky faucets, showerheads, or pipes can help decrease the water bill and save money. It can also help prevent additional damage to the walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, and other items. Leaving leaks unattended for too long can cause significant damage to pipes and the home, resulting in even costlier repairs down the road, so it’s best to get these fixed as soon as possible. 

Helping dad fix these leaks can ensure that the home remains safe and comfortable and will provide dad with the peace of mind of not having to worry about the leak anymore. 

About Heil Plumbing 

Heil Plumbing is a local family-owned company with over 40 years of experience serving the community of Jessup, MD, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, top-of-the-line service, and trustworthy technicians. Call them today for plumbing services in Jessup, MD.

How To Spot a Hidden Water Line Leak

Pro Tips for Finding Underground Water Leaks

Plumbing leaks can come in many forms, from running toilets and dripping faucets to frozen pipes and loose pipe fittings. But of all the types of leaks, none is more insidious than an underground water leak. Hidden leaks can go unnoticed for months or possibly years, but those in the underground plumbing system can be even harder to detect than those hidden behind walls or under floors.

Any hidden pipe leak can waste dozens of gallons of water every day and cost homeowners hundreds of dollars on their utility bills, so it pays to know how to spot them. Keep reading to learn a few ways to tell if the home has a hidden water leak!

Watch Out for Common Signs of a Leak

water billWhen it comes to spotting leaks, it’s best to start with the easiest method, keeping an eye (and an ear) out. Hidden leaks inside the home will often be accompanied by visual evidence such as peeling paint, bubbling wallpaper, warping, or discolored spots. With an underground water leak, visible signs include soggy spots or puddles in the yard and patches of grass that grow thicker or faster than the rest of the lawn.

Unusually high water bills may indicate a leaky water pipe, as even a tiny leak can dramatically increase the home’s monthly water consumption. Low water pressure could also be the result of a hidden pipe leak. If homeowners notice a sound like running water (typically a muffled hissing) when no one (or no appliance) is using water, the likely culprit is a water line leak. 

The Water Meter Test

For a more definitive sign of a leak somewhere in the home’s water supply system, homeowners can perform the time-honored “water meter test.” The first step is to ensure no faucets or water fixtures are in use anywhere in the home (including outdoor hose bibs and irrigation systems). The next step is to find the home’s water meter, typically located either down by the street or on the side of the house itself.

A series of numbers will be displayed on the meter face, either on a digital screen or mechanical counter. Homeowners need to write down the numbers they see, then wait one hour, making sure not to use any water in the meantime. After the hour is up, they can compare the number they wrote down with the one on the meter. If the numbers are different, there’s almost certainly a leak.

Homeowners whose meters are located by the street can perform an additional step to get a general idea of where the leak is located. First, they’ll need to shut off the home’s main water valve (usually in the garage or basement), then go down to the meter and repeat the process described above. If the numbers are the same this time around, the leak is in the house. The leak is located in the main underground water pipe that carries water from the city water central to the home if they’re different.

Hire a Leak Detection Serviceprofessional

Once it’s been established that there is a leak somewhere in the home’s plumbing system, the next step is to track down its exact location. The best way to do this is to hire a professional. Professional water line leak detection involves using specialized tools like susceptible acoustic listening gear and flexible waterproof camera systems. This allows pros to pinpoint leaks with extreme accuracy.

Upon finding the leak and determining the root cause, a pro will recommend an appropriate solution. In some cases, hidden leak repair may require excavating the damaged pipe and replacing it. In other cases, a less invasive (and less messy) trenchless repair may be possible – such as running a line with a smaller diameter through the existing line or simply rerouting it to bypass the damaged pipe. 

Detecting and repairing hidden leaks is one of the best things homeowners can do for their plumbing systems – not to mention their monthly water bills!

About Heil Plumbing

The award-winning Heil Plumbing is a local, family-owned company that has served its neighbors in Jessup and the surrounding areas since 1977. They provide straightforward pricing and are available to answer after-hours calls, so call them today for plumbing services in Jessup, MD.

Detecting Hidden Water Leaks’ What Homeowners Need To Know

Three Ways to Tell if There is a Hidden Water Leak

It is never fun to deal with a hidden water leak, especially since it can cause so much damage to a home. One small leak can seep gallons of water slowly into a house, damaging flooring, the overall framework, or even areas in the front or back yard.

There are several ways to tell if there is a hidden water leak. When homeowners notice these signs, they should immediately call a plumber before the damage worsens. A plumbing expert should fix a hidden water leak because they have the proper tools and years of expertise.

Loud Running Water Sounds

running water soundsHomeowners that start hearing running or rushing water should be concerned and try to look for the exact cause. Sometimes, these hidden water leaks are easy to locate and found underneath sinks. But what happens when the water leak is not underneath the sink or in another obvious place?

When this occurs, homeowners should turn off all other sounds and try to find the general area where the sound is coming from. Sometimes, the looseness of a faucet causes the water to drip, while other times, there is a hidden water leak underneath the floor or inside the walls. Plumbers have leak detection tools to help them more accurately locate a hidden leak.

Swampy Areas in the Yard

swampy spot in the yardIf the water leak is coming from outside, the signs will differ. It may not be as simple as a sound, but a soggy and wet area in the yard can signify a leak. Although it is not uncommon for some spots in the yard to have dips that collect water during rain and with the sprinkler system, the water should not remain there afterward or during clear days.

That is a sign that something is wrong. Sometimes, wet spots are hidden since grass thrives on water, and the constant water activates the nutrients in the soil. Homeowners should note that if their grass is growing taller and more quickly, this is likely caused by a broken water line. This can occur when the roots of a plant or tree break through the underground water pipes.

Low Water Pressure and a High Water Bill

Sometimes, a hidden leak’s main cause or location is unknown, but a higher water bill can signify its existence. When this is the case, homeowners are also likely to notice lower water pressure. A leaking water pipe will cause water to go somewhere else instead of only to a faucet or plumbing fixture.

Higher water bills and poor water pressure are signs a water line needs repair since the pipes have either loosened, cracked, dented, or burst. If homeowners notice any of the signs above, they should call a plumbing contractor to fix the issue before any damage worsens.

About Heil Plumbing

Heil Plumbing is a local, family-owned business that has provided exceptional plumbing services to the residents of Jessup, MD, and Baltimore and Howard counties since 1977. They offer straightforward pricing and top-of-the-line service from trustworthy technicians that are background checked, drug tested, and fully licensed and trained. Call them today for plumbing services in Jessup, MD.