Healthy pipes are essential to a good, overall plumbing system. Here are some ideas if you are having trouble with your pipes or want to learn more about how to care for them so they last a long time.
Sometimes, when you turn your faucet off quickly, you will hear noises coming from your pipes. They can creak or whistle, but the most common complaint is a banging sound. This usually means that your pipes need some maintenance.
The official name for banging pipes is “water hammer.” Most locales require pipes to have a water hammer arrestor installed. This is a mechanical device that controls the flow of water, which reduces the chances that you will hear banging or any other sort of sound. If this device malfunctions, you will need to have a trusted plumber in Sarasota install a new one to get rid of the annoying noise.
You may also need to recharge or replace your air chambers. An air chamber functions as a shock-absorber for your pipes. When a faucet closes quickly, it can send a shockwave of energy through the pipes. If this isn’t absorbed properly, the pipes will absorb it themselves, and that’s the banging you hear. The air in the chamber absorbs this shock, unless the air is displaced by water.
To function properly, an air chamber needs to be installed at the highest point in your system. A plumber can usually figure out where this is and whether your air chamber is working well. Over time, the air chamber can get filled with water. This means that the air, which was absorbing the system’s shock, no longer has a place. When this happens, pipes bang.
If you suspect that your air chamber is the problem, all you need to do is recharge it. Start by turning off the water at the main valve to your house. Then turn on all of your hose faucets. Turn on all of the faucets inside, too, both hot and cold. Be sure to flush your toilets. You can even blow air into the system through a faucet spout (but not while the water is running!). All of this will help break up any waterlogging or air locks in your air chambers.
Eventually, you will hear your faucets trying to suck air in. This sound means that you have successfully recharged your air chambers. At this point, turn off all of the water you have running in your house. Turn the main valve back on, and run your faucets until the water is flowing normally. You should notice that the banging sound is gone.
If you don’t want to work on your plumbing yourself, or if you try this and it doesn’t work, feel free to give us a call at 941-322-1911 or schedule an appointment online. We’d be happy to diagnose your plumbing problems and give you a estimate to fix things.
Another common problem with pipes happens when water freezes in them during the winter. Since water expands when it freezes, this can cause the pipe to burst. When you try to use it again, it will spray water all over the place, which can cause massive damage. Even if the pipe doesn’t burst, frozen water doesn’t flow, so your faucets, toilets, and more won’t work until the pipe is thawed.
To avoid these problems, it’s best to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place. Pipes most likely to freeze are those that are most exposed to the elements, so the pipes that run water to your outdoor hoses, your sprinkler system, and any pipes in uninsulated areas are the most likely candidates.
Prevent these problems by draining water from outdoor pipes before things start to freeze. You can even have a professional blow out your sprinkler system to make sure it isn’t carrying extra water when the ground starts to freeze. Detach hoses from their faucets, and even add insulation to attics or garages if you’re concerned that pipes will freeze there. You can also insulate the pipes themselves, by wrapping them in a sleeve or with heat cable.
Even if you take every precaution, your home can suffer from a frozen pipe. If you turn on the water but it only trickles, something has probably frozen somewhere in your system. Keep the faucet open and try to find where the pipe has frozen. Use a hairdryer or other heat source to warm the part of the pipe that has frozen. You’ll know it has thawed when your water pressure has returned to normal.
If you’re not sure where the pipe has frozen, you can’t get it to thaw, or there seems to be a leak after it has thawed, you will want to call a professional plumber. Contact us at Wimpy’s by calling 941-322-1911 or scheduling an appointment on our website, and we’ll come solve the problem for you.
When to Re-Pipe Your Home
Most of the time, pipe problems can be fixed with new parts, or by replacing a particular section of pipe. However, extensive problems, like system-wide rusty water, extremely low water pressure, repeated leaks, or slab leaks can indicate that it is time to consider repiping the entire home.
A whole-house repiping job means replacing every single incoming water line. This can be a huge job, depending on the size of the home or building and where the pipes are located. It should be done by a professional plumber, to ensure that the new pipes are up to code and will function well for a long time.
Call Wimpy’s at 941-322-1911 today if you’re thinking that repiping might be the solution for your home. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your options and give you a quote for whatever job needs to be done.
If you want to avoid repiping your home, or even having to repair or replace pipes on a regular basis, there are some things you can do to take care of your plumbing system.
As mentioned before, insulate any pipes that might be in danger of freezing. You can wrap them in a special sleeve made just for this purpose, or use heat-retaining tape that you get at your local hardware store.
You can also clean your drains regularly with baking soda and vinegar. Dissolve some baking soda in a cup of vinegar and pour it down your drain. This can destroy clogs that might otherwise cause problems in your pipes.
Watch how much pressure you force your system to produce. If you are always turning on the water as hard and fast as it will go, your system is working up to twice as hard. Mind the pressure, and your pipes are more likely to last a long time.
Finally, do your best to avoid putting strong, corrosive substances down your pipes. While these may help you dissolve a clog here and there, they can also eat away at your pipes. If you are having a lot of clogs, get your pipes checked rather than using these substances all the time. Your plumber may be able to fix a problem that is causing those clogs, so you won’t have to damage your pipes.
As always, Wimpy’s is more than willing to help you with any pipe problems. Call us at 941-322-1911 or schedule an appointment on our website. We would be happy to come out, look at your problem, and give you an estimate for fixing it.