Plumbing Topics

Dealing with Stubborn Drains

Clogged and slow drains can be a symptom of bigger problems in your home or commercial plumbing system that when not addressed, can lead to much bigger issues —– like a clogged sewer. If the clog isn’t removed, you could get damage from sewage coming into your home at the lowest points of the system. (filling the basement or craw with feces and other matter) If you are experiencing any type of plumbing problems like slow drains or toilets, give the pros at Atlas Butler a call. We can pinpoint the cause of the clog and recommend the best way to get rid of it.

Causes of Clogged Pipes

  1. Grease and fat. Cooking grease and fats that get poured down the drain can congeal and clog the pipes. The fat coats the inside of the pipes and congeals and the layers of grease eventually form a clog.
  2. Hair, dirt and debris. In a residential setting, hair can easily clog drains in the bathroom. Dirt and debris are more commonly seen in a commercial/industrial setting where they can easily stop up drains.
  3. Tree roots. Roots from trees and other vegetation can penetrate outdoor pipes and cause major clogs. Another signal that this is the problem is if you find unusual wet patches in the grass.
  4. Foreign objects. If you have raised kids, you know that toddlers are fascinated with the toilet and toys and other objects are flushed for their amusement.

Fixing blocked and slow drains

The best solution to opening a clogged drain is to start with a cable, this gives the professional a look into the cause of the blockage and will solve a large majority of them. Based on the cause of the blockage other recommendations may be made such as jetting, your professional will gladly cover the recommendations with you. Liquid drain cleaners are a tool to try before calling a plumber for more heavy-duty methods but can be dangerous and cause property damage if not done correctly. On larger drains a plumber can use a camera to inspect the drain and determine the best course of action.

One of the more effective ways to clear larger drains and main sewers is a process called hydro jetting. The jetting process uses  high-pressure water to breakup and dislodge clogs. A back-end flow of water removes mineral build-up inside the pipes, which is an extra benefit of jetting. Jetting is particularly effective with grease and dirt clogs and can remove some of the largest roots from the line. Clogs caused by excessive trees roots may require more extensive treatment, including excavation.

Preventing sewer line clogs

There are many ways to prevent clogged pipes. Here are a few:

  1. Dispose of cooking grease and fat properly. Pour it into a container then put it in the trash, rather than down your drain.
  2. Keep your bathroom drains free of hair. You can clean the drain coverings yourself or buy an inexpensive “hair catcher” to put inside your drain to catch loose hairs.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about what can be put down the garbage disposal. Avoid eggshells, coffee grounds, bones and vegetable peelings.
  4. Only human waste and toilet paper should be put in the toilet.

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with clogged pipes very often, but if you do, call Atlas Butler Plumbing. We will assess the type of clog and its location and recommend the best way to remove it.  We have proudly served the Central Ohio for decades with expert drain cleaning services and can help you get rid of clogged pipes, no matter what size or location. Call us at 614-681-2183 or request an appointment online today.

September 22nd, 2020|Maintenance|

Checking Downspouts

Preparing Downspouts for Winter

Those colorful autumn leaves may be great to look at, but you won’t remember them so fondly during the winter months, when they’ve clogged up your gutters and downspouts. Winters in Ohio are harsh enough, without the headache of frozen downspouts to add to the misery. If your downspouts are clogged with leaves and other debris, water from rain and melting snow can refreeze in the downspouts which will cause them to expand. This can cause the downspouts and gutters to pull away from the house. Clogged gutters can also contribute to the formation of ice dams, which is that thick layer of ice that forms around the edge of the roof and eaves of the house. The icicles might be pretty, but the constant freeze-refreeze cycle can cause roof damage and moisture can even seep further into the house, weakening and staining ceilings. During warmer weather, stagnant water along with damp and decaying leaves and debris in the gutters will trap moisture, which can lead to dry rot.

Even if your gutters are in good shape, they are useless if the downspouts are clogged. Leaves and other refuse can get lodged in the downspouts or in the underground downspout drain that carries water to the curb. You also need to pay close attention to the elbow joints (the area where the gutter joins the downspout), which are particularly susceptible to clogs or ice. Another thing to check is to make sure that water from the downspouts flows away from your house. Otherwise, standing water can cause serious foundations problems.

If you are concerned about a clog in your downspout drain, call the pros at Atlas Butler Plumbing. We can come out and inspect your drainage to see if there is a clog that would keep your gutters from draining properly this winter. In fact, for a limited time, we are offering a $99 downspout drain inspection special.

DIY Your Gutters and Downspouts

You can also clean your downspouts yourself. You need a ladder, hose, spray nozzle and plumber’s snake.

  1. Remove any visible debris from the top of the downspout.
  2. Insert the hose into the top of the downspout and spray a forceful jet of water downwards. This will help loosen the clog.
  3. If the clog persist, insert the plumber’s snake and start cranking.
  4. Keep repeating the process until the clog is completely broken up.

If you think that your downspouts are not draining properly, give Atlas Butler Plumbing a call at 614-681-2183 or request an appointment to have one of our technicians inspect your downspouts.

 

 

August 26th, 2020|Maintenance|

Signs Your Water Heater is On It’s Last Leg

Your water heater may be one of the most valuable appliances in your house. Not only does it provide hot water on demand for showers and baths, but it also provides hot water for your other appliances – washing machine, dishwasher, etc. So when your hot water tank goes out, you will begin to notice signs of wear and tear. Here are a few signs that your hot water tank is starting to go.

Decreased water temperature

If you like a nice hot shower in the morning, you’ll notice a drop in temperature. A drop in temperature indicates that the heating elements are not functioning properly. A licensed plumber can inspect the heating elements to ensure they are functioning properly.

Discolored water

When you turn your faucet on, if you see rust colored or brown water flowing from the tap, that may be an indication that you water tank is going bad. The most common reason for a failing water tank is a build up of sediment in the tank, which over time will damage the interior of the tank, and that sediment is what causes the water to turn colors.

Water leaks around the tank

If you notice water leaks around the base of the tank, the sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank and over time has damaged the internal tank. This sediment build up can lead to corrosion, which leads to the leaks you see on your floor.

A noisy water heater

For the most part, hot water heaters are quiet, so if you hear noises coming from your hot water tank, it may be a sign of a future repair or replacement.

Your tank is getting old

You can tell the age of your water tank by looking at the serial number. The average lifespan of a hot water tank is 7-10 years, which is the timeframe in which you will see these types of issues pop up. If you have an old water tank, it may be time to have a new water tank installed by the pros.

If you are seeing any of these signs, the pros at Atlas Butler provide service for hot water tanks. Our experts can examine your hot water tank and let you know if the existing unit can be repaired or if you are better off replacing the hot water tank. You can request an appointment online or call our team at 614-681-2183 to get an appointment with Atlas Butler, Central Ohio’s leading HVAC and Plumbing company.

August 11th, 2020|Hot Water Tanks|

Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters

We turn on our hot water faucets several times every day for bathing, hand washing, doing dishes or laundry – without giving it a second thought. But, when you turn on the shower and get hit with an icy blast, that gets your attention! According to Consumer Reports, about 20% of the average household budget goes to heating water. Today’s homeowner now has another choice to make, when choosing a water heater — traditional vs. tankless. The professionals at Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling can help you weigh the pros and cons of each type of water heater to see which would be the best fit for your household.

Traditional water heaters

The traditional water heater is probably the one you are most familiar with – the big tank that’s usually in the basement. This type of water heater heats and stores the water in its tank to be dispensed when any hot water tap is turned on. Once the hot water supply in the tank is depleted, you have to wait until more water heats up. If you have the right-sized water heater for your household needs, you should be able to simultaneously run the dishwasher, washing machine and even take a shower.  The average life of a traditional water heater is 8-to-12 years. Cost of the water tank will vary based on size.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters dispense “on-demand” hot water. These compact units take up a lot less space than a traditional water heater because they are wall-mounted. Water passes through the unit and a heat exchanger heats it and distributes to throughout the house. While hot water on demand is a great concept, the drawback to a tankless heater is it may not be able to keep up with the demand when multiple sources are drawing hot water. Tankless water heaters are more expensive than traditional tanks, but the cost-benefit is they can last up to 20 years. Tankless water heaters are more complicated to install and should be installed by a licensed plumber.

If you decide on a tankless model, you’ll need a gas line run to the tankless location as well as a route to vent the exhaust, both of which may require some light construction. That may be difficult in an existing home, which may require opening walls and ceilings, but a tankless water heater may be a better choice for a new build or if you are remodeling your house. If you decide to stick with a traditional water heater, the good news is that today’s models are much more energy-efficient.

We service and install both

Atlas Butler has been around since the 1800s, and we provide service and installation to the greater Columbus area. We have the largest fleet and crew of technicians in Central Ohio, so we can be responsive to your needs. Call us 24/7 and we will have somebody at your home the same day with our Same-Day Comfort Pledge. Our licensed plumbers will determine why your water heater isn’t working properly and recommend whether you need repair or replacement. Our motto through the years has been “Strength Through Service,” and we stand by it today. Call us at 614-681-2167.

March 9th, 2020|Hot Water Tanks|