Why do some winters cause plumbing problems, and some winters don’t?

That can be a frustrating question to ponder. When it seems like nothing has changed in the way your home operates, even the winter may not seem as harsh as some of the winters before, there it is anyway, a freezing septic system. And a big mess.

Freezing Problems With Septic Systems

In reality, septic systems can freeze due to a variety of reasons.

Very little snow cover – Snow actually serves as insulation over a septic tank. When there is little snow, deep freezes and frosts can go deeper into the ground, potentially freezing your septic system.

Compacted landscape – The area above your septic tank should be kept clear of use. When driveways or paths occur over a septic tank, cars, animals, ATVs, tractors, even foot traffic can compact the area above the septic tank, allowing a deep freeze to move deeper into the soil.

Lack of plant cover – If your septic system is new, or was replaced in the late summer or early fall seasons, adequate vegetation may not have covered up the land before the cold and snow set in. Vegetation helps attract snow to the area, providing more insulation above ground.

Irregular use – Was your septic system designed for a large family, and now you’re down to one or two? Do you spend months away from your home, enjoying a lifestyle in a warmer climate during the cold winter months? If a system isn’t used as it was intended, it can begin to stress and allow freezing temperatures to infiltrate the system.

Leaking plumbing – You know that small trickle of water you can hear even when your toilet hasn’t been flushed? Those tiny leaks in your pipes can cause a thin film of water into the system. These trickles are more susceptible to freezing, and can build up quickly over time, allowing your system to freeze completely.

Cold air entering the system – When was the last time your septic system was looked at and inspected? If risers are uncapped, inspection pipes or manhole covers not reinstalled correctly, they can allow cold air to enter the system. Freezing isn’t far behind.

While some septic systems never have problems, the only way to avoid them in the future is to be proactive every year.

  • Mulch is a good insulator. If you’ve changed your landscaping or added a new septic system late in the year, a solid cover of mulch will help provide insulation in the coming months.
  • Let the grass grow longer in the fall to act as an insulator and allow snow to accumulate better.
  • Use warmer on a regular basis. If temperatures are cold and dip low quickly, allow as warm of water as possible to flow through your pipes.
  • Fix any leak in your plumbing as soon as you know it exists. Don’t let small trickles of water create a costlier problem.
  • Double check risers, pipes and manhole covers whenever you access your septic system. Make sure they are sealed tight.

If you suspect your septic system has frozen, its time to call in a professional plumber. The root of the problem must be determined and fixed to avoid further freezing problems either in what’s left of this winter, or as the temperatures freeze again next winter. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to help.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Starting a remodeling project? Statistics show that kitchens and bathrooms are not only the top rooms to have remodeled in your home, they are also at the top of the list of adding to your home’s overall resale value.

Nothing can be more exciting than starting the process. As you pour over home improvement magazines and websites showcasing the latest trends, you can quickly pick out the things you would love to have, and things that aren’t quite as important. The double oven … yes. The eight burner stove … maybe not.

Don’t Neglect Your Plumbing During A Home Remodeling Project

But as you start down the remodeling road, chances are you’ve focused your attention on the aesthetics of your project rather than the functionality. And with good reason. If you aren’t a contractor as your day job, you probably have never thought about how things work and what keeps them working day after day.

Usually home improvement projects have some degree of plumbing work involved. It may be as simple as replacing a faucet or adding a new toilet, or more complicated such as adding a double sink to the master bath, or a pot filler faucet near the stove. With the amount of resources available to today’s consumers, many are determined to do at least some of the work themselves. HGTV makes it look so easy; why not?

This is where problems can occur very quickly.

Plumbing is one of the most important – and most dangerous – systems in your home to work with, especially if you have little experience in doing so. Here are a couple of scenarios we’ve encountered over the years.

  • One couple completely gutted and remodeled their master bath, adding a walk in shower and moving the double sink vanity over a few inches. While they put their all into securing the plumbing, they missed a tiny leak, and sealed it in behind the shower tile. The leak was small – just a drip or two every day. But water doesn’t take long before it escalates into big problems. In a matter of months, they noticed their shower walls were “soft”. When they removed a few tiles to find the problem, they quickly discovered black mold; and had to have an entire remediation team fix the problem.
  • One homeowner remodeled their 1960s kitchen with DIY techniques. They didn’t change the floor plan; instead just added upgraded cabinets, appliances and countertops. The look added value and made a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the home. But what the homeowner didn’t realize is the old piping was weak, filled with corrosion, and should have been replaced during the upgrade to avoid leaks that were inevitable in a short period of time.

Even with the simplest of remodeling projects, even if you choose to do much of the work yourself, it pays to have an experienced plumber inspect your plumbing system, and make changes as necessary. Water damage can cause disasters. Its better to be safe and know your remodel will last for years.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

What’s one of the most exciting things you can do to your home? Remodel. It allows you to add your own personal touch to each space, changing things up and making them perfect for the way you live.

The great thing about remodeling in today’s world is if you can dream it, you can do it. If you are the creative type, and want your home to be different from anything you would find in your neighborhood, you will find it with a little patience and research.

Plumbing Hardware – Adding Uniqueness To Your Bathroom

While installing new sinks, new toilets, new showers new tubs, new flooring and new colors are important to your overall look and feel, the details come from the plumbing hardware. Plumbing hardware can come in a variety of colors, a variety of styles, with multiple functions, and create any ambiance you desire. Want old fashioned charm? Not a problem. Want sleek and modern? There are many options there too.

There are a many ways to go about finding unique plumbing hardware. While you can find a variety of options at your local big box store, uniqueness won’t be a part of it if you limit your shopping there. They choose consumer grade; something that will please the masses.

To move beyond the norm, you can start by doing a simple Google search. There are many resources out there to help you find the hardware you are looking for.

If Google doesn’t provide you with the right look, you can head out to look through flea markets and antique shops in your local area. While antique plumbing fixtures can add beauty and originality, be sure you understand what each fixture is made from. Many fixtures dating back decades were made from lead, meaning they can be dangerous if installed in your home and connected to a main water supply.

If you have any questions about plumbing hardware, the best place to start is with a plumber. With decades of experience behind us, we have many resources available to help you find the look you are trying to achieve.

For example, we understand wanting to find an original look and choosing antique hardware to compliment the rest of your bathroom’s décor. We have many manufacturers that we trust that can provide you with the perfect fixture, while providing modern day assurances that your water supply will be safe from contaminants such as lead, and can even provide you with low flow functionality to help reduce your water consumption. (Something that was never considered decades ago.)

Finding the right fixture can help you make first impressions in any room in your home. Let us help you with your remodeling project today.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

What’s one of the worst things you have to do as a homeowner? If you’re like a lot of people, its probably dealing with those emergency situations where you know you have to put in a call to the plumber for immediate service, yet knowing you might not get the best deal (or the best service) available.Hiring A Plumber? These Tactics Should Make You Say NO!

Its hard talking to someone when you start the phone call by imagining all of the things that can go wrong. They might not fix the problem correctly. They might charge too much. They might provide bad service, requiring them to come out again and again. And while you can hope that everything goes smooth from the beginning, with the many horror stories that make the circuit even in your own friend group, its hard to expect anything but a bad experience.

Here’s the thing. In most cases, the bad experiences should have been spotted even before the plumber entered the home. With just a little research and common sense, some of the biggest horror stories can be avoided.

Working without a license or uninsured

Everyone has to start out somewhere – and many plumbers get their start by learning the ropes as they go. But if you use an unlicensed plumber, there is no where to turn if they do a poor job. A building inspector can require you to rip out and replace work that doesn’t meet expectations, and if the plumber is working without a license or doesn’t have the proper insurance for when things go wrong, you could be the one footing the bill and finding another plumber to handle the work. When hiring a plumber, always take the time to verify they are licensed, and have proper insurance – liability insurance to compensate you if the work fails, and workers compensation insurance in case someone is injured on the job.

Getting an estimate

With an emergency, its easy to want to get results fast. But even with immediate problems, remember a good plumber can’t provide you with exact costs from a simple phone call. “I have a flood in my basement,” isn’t enough information for a plumber to know where the true problem lies. He can provide the cost of a new water heater, or how much he charges as an hourly fee, but until he comes to your home and sees the problem, he won’t be able to provide a true estimate. If a plumber gives you a quote over the phone, be leery that additional fees won’t be tacked on when the work is completed.

A lowball bid

The best guidance dictates that you should receive three quotes before selecting a plumber to work with. Its easy to select the bid that is the lowest, but what about if its substantially lower than the others? This may be a sign of a potential problem. Plumbing scams often bid based on materials alone, then add in the extra labor charges – often at substantially higher rates – once they begin the work. If something doesn’t seem right, always ask. It’s the only way to avoid problems down the road.

Showing up unannounced

If a plumber knocks on your door asking for work, and you don’t have an appointment, turn them away immediately. Some of the biggest scams occur from contractors knocking on doors and looking for work. No matter how much of an emergency your plumbing problems may be, it still benefits you to do your due diligence first. Ask for referrals from friends or neighbors. Look at online resources, including a plumber’s website, and review sites such as Angies List. Search Google with a potential plumber’s name to see what kind of information exists. Even 10 minutes of research could save you weeks of frustration.

Wanting payment before work begins

While it is reasonable for a plumber to ask for a down payment before work begins, especially for larger jobs, it isn’t okay to ask for full payment before completion. Never settle the bill until all work is complete, you’ve had a chance to inspect the work, and are fully satisfied with the work that has been done.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

“This is the year that I’m finally upgrading my master bathroom. I’ve dreamed of having a great shower, one with his and her showerheads, walk-in space so I don’t have to worry about cleaning clear glass doors, and one with lots of extra features like built in seats and wall niches for bottles. Can I take out the tub, which I never use anyway? Or will that hurt resale down the road? Any other suggestions?”

Plumbing Tips: Must Haves In A Shower Remodel

When it comes to bathroom remodels, they are top on the list for adding value to your home. But if you are thinking of upgrading your master bath with an elegant shower and removing the tub, keep in mind that it will change the terms of how your home is listed. Five piece baths include both the tub and the shower; to some people it’s a deal breaker. That said, an elegant shower with lots of benefits (and bells and whistles) can add value to those that love their showers. And as long as you have at least one tub somewhere else in your home, it shouldn’t negatively impact resale value.

When you start planning for a shower remodel, spend some time contemplating the best features for your situation. Showers can be simple and be easy to install on a DIY budget, or can be a significant investment by adding multiple water features.

  • Do you want to include universal design features into your shower that will give your flexibility as you age?
  • How large of a shower do you desire? What space does it currently occupy, and how do you see the space once the remodel is complete?
  • What water features do you see in your new space? How will the water supply need to be moved?
  • What built in features are important? Seats? Shelves?
  • What maintenance level are you willing to accept? Clear glass shower doors require more maintenance than walk in showers with floor to ceiling tiles.
  • What extra features do you want – steam showers, hand held showerheads, etc?
  • How does your budget match your list of wants and desires?

Its easy to get caught up in the details of design – what color tile to install, or falling in love with the perfect rainshower. Yet before you decide on the details, its important to create a space that works not only for you, but for your home as well. While simple remodels can often be DIY projects, more complex projects should always use contractors for advice and optimal results.

As a plumber, we can provide you with advice on how to move and add water to new places within your bathroom layout, and can help you choose fixtures that you won’t find at your local big box stores, often for better pricing too.

A shower is a big investment and all of these choices should be carefully considered. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to provide you with a quote, and provide advice to help you make the best decisions for your home.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Few things are as frustrating as a clogged pipe. In some circumstances, you may notice a buildup along the way; in other cases it may be an instantaneous thing.

No matter how big or small, when a clog occurs, your first instinct may be to grab a chemical drain cleaner to solve the problem. However, chemical drain cleaners can corrode or damage your pipes, which can cause irreparable problems down the road. And in a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, the chemicals can also immediately impact the plastic components and the metal blades within the unit.

To avoid damaging your garbage disposal, do these few things instead.

Start by unplugging the garbage disposal – never work on a unit that has power.

How To Unclog Kitchen Sinks With A Garbage Disposal

Use a natural drain cleaner consisting of ¼ cup baking soda, followed by ½ cup white vinegar. Allow it to fizz for a few minutes. Then run the faucet with very hot water over the drain for two to three minutes. Repeat as necessary until the clog is removed.

If you still have a clogged drain, shine a flashlight down to see if you can find the clog. Is there a foreign object in the drain – a meat bone or even kitchen utensils have been known to cause severe problems. If you see the potential problem, reach in with a pain of tongs or a needle nose pliers.

Run water and turn the garbage disposal on. Does the water run clear? If its still clogged, continue to the next step.

If you have a dishwasher, locate the drain pipe underneath the sink that connects up with the garbage disposal. Clamp the end of the dishwasher drain line where it enters the disposal by placing a clamp over the nozzle. The clamp will prevent the hose from popping off the disposal nozzle as you plunge the sink drain.

Place the plunger directly over the sink drain so the plunger bell completely covers the drain basket. Run the faucet so the lip of the plunger is covered in water. Vigorously plunge the drain for up to a minute.

Lift the plunger and check the water flow. If still clogged, repeat this process a few times to see if you can release the clog. Once the water flows, run hot water for a few minutes to clear any residue.

If you still have a clog, its time to call in a professional.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

If you’ve ever had a home with a sewer malfunction, you know the process is anything but fun. Raw sewage entering your home, sometimes even into your living space can take weeks to recover from.

Should You Have A Sewer and Drain Camera Inspection?

But even if you’ve repaired your sewer line in the past, plumbing is an ever-changing system throughout your home. Problems will occur again at some point in time. Which means the only way to prevent big problems is to know what to look for, and act before problems occur.

Sewer problems rarely occur without advance warning.

  • Slow drains
  • Problems with more than one appliance (for example, your toilet has trouble flushing and your shower has trouble draining)
  • Backups occurring again and again and you can’t find the problem

If you begin noticing a problem with your plumbing, don’t ignore it. It will only get worse over time.

A sewer and drain camera inspection is the best way to determine where the potential problem lies, and to determine if it’s a one-time clog, or may be a reoccurring issue from a deeper problem. A professional plumber will send a line with a tiny camera attached to it down into your plumbing, and review all the potential problem areas that may exist. The inspection typically takes about two hours of time, and will identify things like deterioration from aging, damage from digging, unruly clogs, intrusive roots or other damage from landscaping, a crushed pipe, or simply a grease clog that has become stuck over time.

When you clear a drain clog with a simple, natural solution, or use a tiny drain snake to reach a problem a few feet away, you can never be quite sure if you’ve reached the root of the problem. A sewer and drain camera inspection will provide you with full assurance your pipes are clean and in good working condition.

Whether you’re worried about a potential problem that exists in your home, or want assurance the property you are about to purchase is free from immediate potential plumbing problems, a video inspection will give you the answers you need. Give us a call today and schedule your sewer and drain camera inspection – you’ll be glad you did.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Have you walked down the toilet paper aisle at your favorite store lately? Shelf after shelf is lined with promises of softness, thickness, and a great quilted feeling you’re sure to love. You can go generic, you can go earth-friendly, you can go with a top name brand. You can choose a four pack, a twelve pack, or stock up for months with the largest jumbo sized package you can find.

But, while toilet paper companies are touting to you the benefits of choosing their brand, the one thing they aren’t telling you is how their brand might not be so great for your plumbing. Thick, soft toilet paper may be a great thing for you, but your plumbing doesn’t agree.

How Toilet Paper May Be The Cause Of Your Plumbing Problems

There are three ways in which toilet paper is doing your plumbing harm:

1. Pipes

When your plumbing pipes are first installed, the newness lets anything sail right through. But over time, the inside of your pipes begins to change. Oil and grease begins to congeal and adhere to the pipes, causing them to have rough edges and slight variations to the regular flow. Small particles begin to build up. And depending on the age of your plumbing, tiny cracks may allow landscaping to begin the search for water, and enter your pipes in the process. All of this causes tiny ridges for toilet paper to get stuck on, and continue building up the problem in your pipes at an accelerated pace.

2. Low Flow Toilets

There’s the good and the bad of low flow toilets. The good comes from saving water, which in our drought-ridden and water thirsty world is a good thing. The bad comes from lack of power. Less water means less water pressure to push waste down the pipes. If it doesn’t have the power to make it where its suppose to go, it can build up over time.

3. Flushable Wipes

A new product entered the market a few years ago, and is wrecking havoc across the Front Range. Flushable wipes say they are biodegradable, but study after study shows they aren’t. They take much more time to break down than standard toilet paper, and because of their thickness, they don’t move through your pipes as fluidly as toilet paper. An added problem is you have a low flow toilet too.

Here’s a quick way to see if you have the right toilet paper to avoid future plumbing problems. Take a sheet or two of toilet paper and drop them into your toilet. If a few minutes pass and they still look like sheets of toilet paper, they are too thick and are putting your plumbing at risk. Choose a lighter, thinner option; your plumbing will thank you.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

If you live in the Denver Metro area, there are many ways to take advantage of the current rebate programs that help you become more water wise throughout your home. Denver Water offers several different rebates to help both inside and outside, but what if you don’t live in Denver? Not a problem; many of our local community water boards are committed to water conservation.

Don’t Live In Denver? 2015 Water Rebates Are Available In Many Cities

Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

The ACWWA is currently offering a $100 rebate on the purchase of a qualified high efficiency clothes washer, and up to $50 on the purchase of qualified rain sensors. They will also provide you with free leak detection dye tablets to determine if your toilet is leaking.

Castle Pines

Castle Pines is currently offering complimentary water audits, and a rebate program that focuses in on making irrigation more efficient.

Centennial

Centennial offered rebates on both a qualified toilet purchase, and on rain sensors for your sprinkler system in 2014. They are currently evaluating their 2015 program, and will announce more in March, or check in with their point of contact for more information.

East Cherry Creek Valley

The East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District offers a rebate program on both high efficiency toilets and clothes washers. Customers can qualify for up to $100 credit toilet that consumes 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less, and up to $125 credit for a new Tier 2 or 3 clothes washing machine.

Castle Rock

Castle Rock experienced overwhelming response to its 2014 rebate program, and will be announcing its 2015 plan in March 2015. In years past, they offered incentives to replace water thirsty landscaping with more efficient xeriscape plants, as well as smart irrigation controllers and rain sensors.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Want to know what continues to be a resolution year after year in households across Colorado? Water conservation.

Even when we have a good year across the Front Range, as we did this past year, its hard not to be a little concerned when you see photographs coming out of drought strickened areas like California. Yes, there is a finite amount of water here on earth. And just because we’ve had a great year one year, doesn’t mean the same will hold true year after year. We’ve had our share of drought; we can make simple changes that will have an impact.

2015 Is Still A Good Year For Water Rebates

Some of the changes are so simple, you can do them in no time at all. And the best part is in some cases, you can actually receive money back for doing them as well.

In 2015, Denver Water is once again offering water rebates on a variety of things you use in your home every day.

Toilets

If you haven’t upgraded your toilet to a WaterSense labeled toilet, now is the time. Start by looking for a toilet specifically marked with the WaterSense label. A 1.0 gallon per flush or less toilet qualifies for up to a $150 rebate; a 1.28 gallon per flush or less can qualify for up to a $75 rebate. You can find eligible models listed here, or your plumber can make sure you’ve installed the correct toilet and have everything in place to collect your rebate.

Sprinkler System

If you haven’t upgraded your sprinkler system in a while, it may benefit you to do so now. You can upgrade, make your system more efficient, and save money in the process. Denver Water provides up to $2 rebate per sprinkler head, and up to $100 rebate for a WaterSense labeled controller to be installed in your home. There are a variety of eligible models; check the Denver Water site for more information.

Commercial

Water rebates are not just for residential properties; commercial properties can enjoy the benefits as well. If you are a customer of Denver Water, you may qualify for one of the many rebates they currently offer for 2015. Water rebates can be found on many different commercial items, including WaterSense labeled toilets and urinals, coin operated laundry equipment, as well as WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and more. Be sure to check Denver Water’s list to see a full line of what is included this year in the rebate program.

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

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