Why should you clean your drains?

Why write an article about clean drains? With all of the myriad topics one could choose to write about you might be wondering how I ended up choosing this one. Well, plumbing happens to be near and dear to my heart ( been in the business for 18 years), and dirty drains are something I see on a daily basis.

Over the last 15 years, homeowners have become increasingly able to handle routine and not-so-routine jobs around the house. With the proliferation of home renovation shows these days it seems folks are able to maintain their homes better than ever. The one exception to this (there’s probably more than one, but you get the point) is drain cleaning – most people don’t have either the equipment or expertise to manage this on their own. If you live in Langley you should call Langley Plumbers to get your drains cleaned professionally   – but I’m guessing the VAST majority of you out there don’t so I’m going break down a list of reasons to call a pro to assist.

So why clean your drains?

1. The Stench–  the most embarrassing symptom of a fouled drain is the smell. This will often be an early indicator that we have a problem. Typically worse in warm months than in cooler seasons. If this gets bad enough it can actually pose a real hazard. Although extremely rare – methane explosions have occurred in the past when a homeowner has let this problem fester too long.

2. Pipe and Drain Damage. If drains are not cleaned, it can lead to permanent damage that could potentially require re-piping. So how often should you be cleaning your pipes? Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this as it depends upon a number of factors. The first thing to consider is how is the particular sink/drain being used. Is it in the shower (lots of hair), in the kitchen (potentially lots of grease), or in a little-used bathroom? Are you being diligent about flushing the drain with hot water regularly, and being careful of what goes down the drain? These and many more factors come into play when considering how often your drains need cleaning. One rule of thumb I can give is that if you’re moving into a new place – have a good look at the drains, and call a plumber to have a look. It might seem like overkill to pay a plumber $100 to just come over and do a quick inspection but it could save you $1000’s down the road.

3. Clogged Drains. The most obvious reason to maintain your drains is to prevent a clog. Lots of damage can occur if a drain isn’t maintained properly and clogged drains are one of the most easily preventable plumbing problems. Beware really corrosive drain cleaners – they can cause permanent damage and are horrible for the environment. Just remember to flush your drains with hot water regularly and don’t put stuff in the drain that doesn’t belong there. Of course, accidents happen – if that’s the case call your plumber and he/she can often advise over the phone if a home visit is necessary or not.

Drain Cleaning may not be the sexiest DIY project out there and I highly doubt we’ll be seeing a drain cleaning themed show (Drain Diva’s anyone?) anytime soon but nonetheless your drains shouldn’t be ignored. Make sure you keep ’em clean and you should have years of trouble free enjoyment!

Looking for more advice? Check out this article from This Old House.

Winter is coming (and how to protect your home)

Preparing for the winter season involves more than bringing out winter clothes from the back of your closet. Winter may not always bring heavy snowstorms, but the cold season can change many aspects of your living habits. And the first place where those changes can be seen and experienced is inside your home. More often than not, the culprit is your roof.

Many home maintenance experts will agree that autumn and summer are the best periods of the year for roof repairs and installations. Among other things, roofs in less than optimal condition can contribute to a heat loss of up to 25% inside homes during the winter. So the smart thing to do is to perform prevent roof damage before this time of the year, either by hiring a roofing company to do any necessary repairs to your roof or by doing it yourself.

5 Roof Repairs That Protect You From Winter

Missing or Damaged Shingles – When shingles are amiss or start showing signs of wear and tear, a repair is in order to preserve the integrity of your roof. But don’t wait until springtime to make these repairs—the harsh winter weather will have caused more harm and structural leaks by then. Ideally, shingles should be repaired before the cold season: fall or summertime.

When shingles are replaced, the heat from the Sun helps to seal them airtight against each other. This prevents heat from escaping through the roof during winter. The temperature must also be suitable to nail the shingles against the roof. If it’s too cold, shingles can crack or break when nailed, making your roof repair less effective.

Roof Leaks – Among the most beneficial home repairs is roof leaking repair. Leaks might not be easy to spot, which is why proactive leak prevention is recommended (you can do this by rejuvenating the shingles covering your roof (if applicable) or even by applying some roof coating). The spot where the water is seen to be leaking is always going to be further down than the actual location of the leak. When a leak has been located, the inspection should be thorough and include nail holes and shingle seals.

Water usually travels between old roof layers to the underlying wood until it can be seen from the interior of your house. What happens next is that the resulting humidity starts to degrade the insulation or structural material. If this isn’t repaired in a timely manner, a complete section of the drywall will have to be removed to locate the exact source of the leak. Roof replacement might be advisable, depending on the severity of the damage.

Dark Spots on the Roof – In a typical composite roof, mold spots can occur if water has penetrated the different roof layers. However, this is unlikely in a house with metal roofing. The durability of a metal roof is evident in its ability to resist fading, cracking and mold which usually affect asphalt, composite, or wood shingles. Metal roofing can more easily withstand brutal heat and wind storms, while enhancing the elegance of your building.

But if you can’t invest in a metal roof, you can still get rid of those annoying fungus with chlorine bleach, for example, or chlorine bleach mixed with trisodium phosphate. For asphalt roofs, bleach-free alternatives are products like “Spray and Forget”, “Moss Out!” or “Endurance BioBarrier”. Prevention is key and for this purpose, zinc strips or algae resistant shingles are your best friend. And don’t forget that fungus absolutely loves humid wood roofs; wood structures in humid environments are a big no no.

Wind and Hail Damage – Under severe hailstorms or blizzards, shingles and other roof elements such as slates, skylights, gutters, and vent hoods might be damaged. This can vary with the different types of roof and the angle at which a roof is hit by the storm. If a leak isn’t apparent after a storm, the damage that the roof may have suffered could still compromise its integrity.

It’s important to thoroughly check the roof according to the severity of the storms in your area. Prefinished standing seams provided by some roofing companies offer excellent protection against these harsh elements.

Roof Coating – You may want to ponder on whether your roof can be enhanced with a coating. Roof coating requires a drying time before full protection, but it’s only a matter of hours. Roof coating help to lower maintenance costs and can drastically extend the life of your roof (up to two decades). They are extremely effective barriers against water, hence, excellent leak prevention. Well-applied, they withstand considerable physical punishment, and offer some protection against the natural elements.

Be Proactive And Inform Yourself

Home maintenance should be done on a preventative basis, rather than waiting until it becomes an emergency. So you should always be aware of potential roof issues endemic to the seasons. This is the best way to increase the lifespan of your roof and save repair costs over the years. A well-treated and healthy roof increases your home’s value, and the winter season is more pleasing and calm. The same logic applies to plumbing, issues that might call for an electrician or any other aspect of home repairs and improvement.

Finally, searching for a trusted company to repair or replace your roof doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Asking for references and foreign feedback is valuable to find the most appropriate roofing partner. Look for expertise and specialization with your particular type of roofing to ensure that you get the best service. You just have to hire a roofing company ahead of time because they are typically very busy during the… busiest months.