Advantages of a Sewer Line Camera Inspection

sewer line cameraA sewer line camera is now a powerful tool in the plumbing industry. We understand the value it offers our customers.

That is why we have invested in a sewer line camera to better meet our customer’s needs. Most homeowner’s do not understand that the sewer line buried underground on their property is their responsibility should it crack, break or no longer provide the service it’s intended to provide. As your home gets older, so does this sewer line. Your “sewer line” refers a pipe carrying water with human waste at atmospheric pressure.

Leaks and breaks are commonly caused by aging, corrosion, extreme temperatures, or settling or shifting of the ground. If this line fails, repair or replacement could cost thousands of dollars and most homeowners insurance policies or home warranty companies do not cover repairs. So, in these cases, we use our sewer line camera to inspect your sewer line. Here are some advantages:

Sewer Line Camera Inspection

It all starts with a sewer line inspection. An inspection allows our technicians to identify current or potential problems in your sewer line. Real time video image transmission allows our technicians to determine the condition of the inside of the pipe and understand any existing or potential problems. The images can also be saved for a permanent record. For example, you might not have a problem right now; but if and when you do, we  have a record that enables us to quickly identify the problem the next time.

Value of a Sewer Line Camera Inspection

Here’s the value to you. Let’s say we identify a potential problem in your sewer line. For example, the ground has shifted and perhaps we have signs of aging. Yet, you may not have a break or major problem for another five years. This gives you ample time to perhaps find an inexpensive insurance solution to your problem. On the other hand, if your line is corroded or obstructed with sludge, dirt or other debris, we might be able to clean it with our sewer line jetter.

sewer line digHere’s another major advantage of a sewer line camera inspection. We can often avoid or minimize the “dig.”  The dig is an expensive and labor intensive process. Obviously, its much less expensive to the homeowner is we can clean the sewer line with out jetter.

Or perhaps we don’t have to completely replace the entire sewer line. With our inspection, we might be able to determine if the problem is localized. In that case, we can minimize damage to your property and simply replace a section of your sewer line.

In summary, we have added a sewer line camera to our plumbing services. With our camera we can better serve our customer’s needs. The sewer system is something most homeowners don’t think about until there’s a problem. With a sewer line camera inspection we can help our customers avoid much higher costs. While this article focused on residual homeowners, this service is also available to our commercial and municipal customers.

Call our office for more information or

to schedule your sewer line camera inspection:

240-222-3205

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Backflow Protection Means Safe Water

Backflow Protection Means Safe Water

Backflow Protection

Backflow protection and prevention are essential to our community in order to provide the safe drinking water we have come to expect.

People in developed countries turn on the tap and safe drinking water flows, a dramatic health benefit they tend to take for granted.

Crumbling water infrastructure is a daunting challenge. This article originally appeared at Ensia . People in developed countries turn on the tap and safe drinking water flows, a dramatic health benefit they tend to take for granted. That complacency dramatically was disrupted last year when children in Flint, Michigan, […]

While the above article provides the big picture overview of the problems and challenges in protecting our drinking water, the purpose of this article is to provide a smaller scale, local look at backflow protection. Backflow protection is an integral part of protecting our drinking water locally.

What is Backflow?

Backflow is a plumbing term for an undesired and unsafe flow of water in the reverse direction. This creates a potentially serious health risk because it leads to the contamination of potable or safe drinking water. In other words, backflow is anywhere “bad water” has the chance to mix with “good water”.

What is Backflow Protection?

Backflow protection is managed by any number of devices designed to prevent backflow or back siphoning of possible bad or contaminated water into a potable/drinking water system.  These devices are installed in commercial and some residential water systems depending on the degree of danger that has been established by each State or County health department.  All backflow devices are required to be tested and certified annually.  These tests can only be performed by specially trained and certified technicians licensed in the state of operation.

Why is Backflow Testing Necessary?

State regulations require some residential, but all commercial and industrial customers served by a public water system to protect the public water system from potential contamination. The water from private plumbing can flow into the public water distribution system (or backflow). In order to prevent potential backflow, these customers are required to install and maintain backflow prevention devices on the main water service lines. Furthermore, these commercial establishments are required to have their backflow protection devices tested once a year.

To be certified to perform a backflow test in our area, our plumbers have to take a class on backflow prevention. In other words, they must complete the Maryland Cross Connection/Backflow Prevention Certification Training Program. The plumber must complete 32 hours of training, then pass a a comprehensive written examination. Also, like any small business, testers must comply with state, county, and local regulations.

Jerry’s Plumbing has a team of certified and experienced backflow technicians ready to perform all aspects of backflow protection to include device testing, certification, repair and installation. Just call our office and set up an appointment.

3 Signs That You Need a Water Line Repair

water line repairWater Line Repair is expensive! The purpose of this article is to help our readers understand the cause and effect of water line problems, and to help you identify the most common signs of water line damage.

As a homeowner, you do everything you can to keep your homes and your loved ones safe.  It’s a constant battle. You may have a warranty for appliances, health insurance for your pets, and take other preventative measures. However, most of us don’t think about our water and sewage lines, which when damaged can cause serious property damage, an increase in water and sewer bills and costly repairs. Water line repair often involves digging up your yard. This is a major expense.

You may think that this may not happen to you, but the truth is – many homeowners will suffer through this dilemma this year. In fact, based on information from the “Water is Your Business” campaign – every day there are 650 water main breaks in America, a loss of 7 billion gallons of water.

 

What’s more? Your local water utility or municipality is not responsible for the pipes that run through your property – you are. In other words, you are financially responsible for any necessary repairs. It may also surprise you to know that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the repair costs of your water lines, which leaves your biggest investment vulnerable and your pockets empty.

 

Water Line Repair: Cause & Effect

Having fresh water piped into your home is essential to a comfortable daily life. And when something upsets that water flow, it’s nearly impossible to relax. This isn’t something that just happens out of the blue, the truth is there are a number of factors that make your pipes susceptible to damage over time. They include:

  • The age of your pipes: The majority of the water pipes in America were installed after World War II and are in serious need of replacement. Having an idea of the age of your pipes will help you determine whether they need to be repaired or replaced – 50 is typically the magic number.
  • The presence of mature trees: The tree roots of mature trees can grow into the pipes and cause blockages and clogs. Invasive tree roots often seek out pipelines because they provide vital nutrients (like water and oxygen) that the trees need to grow.
  • Poor soil conditions: If you live in an area where the soil may have a high chloride content or low soil resistivity, it can cause your pipes to corrode faster than normal. If this happens, it can lead to contamination and leaks.

 

Water Line Repair: 3 Signs of a Damaged Water Line

There are several warning signs that can help you stop your water line damage in its path before things get worse – and more expensive. Some of them include:

  • Soggy spots in your yard: If the skies in your area have been clear for a while but there are still damp spots on your lawn, this may indicate that your water line is cracked and leaking water.
  • Low water pressure: If you notice that the water pressure in your home has decreased, your water line may have a leak. While there are other reasons for low water pressure, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consult a professional to determine the cause.
  • Water discoloration: Does your tap water have a rust colored tint? This type of discoloration typically happens if your pipes are rusted or even due to soil and dirt entering the cracks.

 

Conclusion

Because water line repair and replacement is not typically covered by homeowner’s insurance, these types of issues can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Furthermore, most homeowners do not even think about their water lines. You can’t see them, so you don’t worry about them. Thus, it’s important that you take preventative measures to keep your home protected from water damage to keep more of your money in your pocket. Pay attention to any slight changes that may affect your water lines and consult a professional for regular inspection and maintenance to avoid water line repair.

Stayed tuned for our follow up article on: 3 Factors That Impact Water Line Installation and Cost

 

 

Quick Tips on Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

frozen water pipesFrozen water pipes create huge problems for homeowners. When outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, the water pipes inside your home can easily freeze. Freezing water expands. This expansion causes the pressure inside the pipes to increase, leading to bursting water pipes in your home. During the cold winter months, you are probably not going to experience any problems because these now broken pipes will most likely remain frozen. However, when Spring hits, these broken water pipes will thaw as temperatures warm. That’s when these leaks cause huge problems. These leaks can be extremely hard to find, but they have to be found to keep water from spoiling your home. This creates an expense that you need to avoid.

High winds add to the problem. As we write this article, we are expecting a significant snow and wind blizzard in the DC and Maryland area tomorrow through Sunday. When these freezing winds, expecting to gust up to 55 miles per hour, hit your home, they threaten your inside water pipes. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are most vulnerable to freezing. There are ways to prevent frozen water pipes. We want to give you some quick and easy tips to use throughout these winter months.

Here are some tips to help prevent frozen water pipes:

  1. Ensure that critical areas are adequately heated. Every home is different and their location is different. Based on forecasts, it seems that these freezing winds will come from the Northeast. You may or may not know exactly where your home sits and how this may impact you. With high winds come drifts. If the drifting snow is piling up in the front of your house, ensure that the front of your house is adequately heated. That should be your primary focus during a storm or major cold weather event.
  2. Maximize the heat you’re already generating. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are using your oven to bake or cook your dinner. Your oven generates excess local heat in your kitchen. If you have water pipes in your kitchen, as most people do, open your cabinet doors to allow this excess heat to warm your pipes.
  3. Keep the temperature in your home consistent. A lot of homeowners moderate or control their heating system depending on whether they are home, not at home or in bed under cozy and warm covers. You may pay a little more in energy costs, but certainly a lot less if you have frozen water pipes eventually streaming unwanted water into your home. Keep the temperature set at the same levels during these events. You may even want to overheat your home by a few degrees.
  4. Use space heaters to heat your most vulnerable areas. Grant it, you are not going to run to Walmart to purchase portable heaters. Most homeowners in our area have already done their shopping and have prepared their families for this blizzard. However, if you have some portable heaters, use them to protect the most vulnerable areas in your home.

Proper insulation in select areas of your home can help prevent a costly unwanted expense associated with frozen water pipes. But, the purpose of this article is simply to provide some quick tips to help you during this impending blizzard and upcoming winter months. If you need help or advice, we are here for you; just give us a call for more information.

Sewer Line Cleaning: What You Need to Know

Let’s face it, most of us know nothing about sewer line cleaning. If you are included in this group, don’t fret, your questions will be answered today in this follow up article to sewer line jetting. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding sewer lines. Here they are:

 

What exactly is a sewer line? What does it do?

sewer line maintenanceSewer lines are the system of plumbing pipes in each home. They move waste water from the home to the sewer mains. Each homeowner is responsible for sewer line pipe that connects the pipes in their home to the main sewer line, which is usually in a street. Because the pipes that connect their home are buried and out of sight, homeowners usually don’t have any clue to potential problems until it’s too late. And, when it’s too late it creates a very expensive job.

When should I clean my sewer line?

Generally, sewer lines should be cleaned as needed. But, it is important to note that neglected sewer lines can lead to a clogged system. A clog will eventually cause a backup of the line and raw sewage to spill into your home. A backup can cause a lot of damage and you will have to repair the sewer line or replace it. To prevent any issues, it’s important to have your sewer lines inspected by a professional about once a year.

When should my sewer line be inspected?

Your sewer line should be inspected if it’s over forty years old. But, this may need to be done sooner if any of the following factors apply to you:

  • You suspect tree roots may have penetrated your underground sewer lines
  • Your plumbing lines are draining slowly

According to Pain in the Drain:

Mature trees add beauty and shade to landscapes, but their roots can cause extensive damage to sewer pipes. Roots grow into the pipes because they like it there! Sewer pipes contain water, nutrients and oxygen-the essential elements for trees to grow. 

 

How can I tell if my sewer line is clogged?

Before a clogged sewer lines back up, it provides clues that alert the homeowner that something is wrong. In this way, it is possible to get help before disaster occurs. Some of these clues include:

  • A raw sewage smell coming from your drains
  • Your toilets and drains start to make gurgling/percolating sounds
  • Water pooling around or backing out of toilets or drains.

 

I’ve heard so much about high-pressure cleanings. What is it and how does it work?

One of the best ways to clean your sewer line is with with high-press water jetters. This method is more effective than a drain auger, also known as a snake or cable, because it cleans the lines instead of just removing blockages. In fact, when a high pressure cleaning is performed by an extensively trained plumbing professional, it will remove food, hair, mineral, deposits, grease, and other blockages.

 

How can I keep my lines clear and avoid plumbing problems?

You can keep your lines clear without using harsh chemical-based drain cleaners. Simply, fill your sinks with water once or twice a month and drain them. The water pressure will remove any waste that’s in the line and will make sure that water can flow through your pipes properly.

 

Important Considerations

If you decide to get your sewers cleaned professionally, call two companies, at the very least, to help you find the best deal for your needs. Also, do a little bit of research to make sure that the plumber that you hire is insured, has a good reputation, and has the proper license to work in your area. And, if you have any questions, we are here to help. Just give us a call.

 

Other Sources:

  1. http://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-i-clean-my-sewer-drain.htm
  2. http://www.angieslist.com/articles/warning-signs-main-sewer-line-clog.htm

 

Praising our Service

Great customers are taking the time to actually send us emails praising our service. These are customers that make an extra effort and take time out of their busy schedules to write us a personal email thanking us for our professionalism.

Here’s one from Patrick in early July:

“My name is Patrick and I just had to let the supervisor of Ms. Heather know that she was very, very, very professional and kind!!!… when she came to fix my air conditioner unit on July 9 in Clinton, MD. Keep up the Excellent work Ms. Heather. YOU GO GIRLLLLLLL.”

Check out this email we received from Demetrice in Upper Marlboro on July 21:

“I am reaching out to you to inform you that the HVAC service I received on Saturday from Heather was wonderful. From the beginning to the end she showed impeccable ability and professionalism. She quickly assessed our problem and got to work restoring our Air Conditioning to our home. My husband and I were very pleased.

Thank you for the wonderful experience; and if we need our unit serviced again in the future, we know exactly whom to call.”

Marvin in Upper Marlboro also took the time from his busy schedule to send us this awesome email review in late July praising our service:

“I am writing to recognize your HVAC technician Heather for her hard work and diligence in resolving my problem with my HVAC system. After making arrangements with my warranty company to initiate service with your company, Heather was called in to make it her number one priority to solve our problems. She listened when I knew I wasn’t making any sense explaining my problems. She was patient and actually tried different configurations with the system when previous technicians basically looked at it, and said there was nothing they could do.

My family thanks her for her outstanding service and to you for hiring her to represent your company.”

This great email review was received from Dave and Nancy in Leonardtown, MD on 5 August:

“Good morning Stephanie (our super customer service rep). All is well at the moment! Just to let you know that the new Pump-Motor & Holding Tank and associated plumbing installed on 23 July has been working fine and keep up with water demands since we had the new 20 Amp circuit breaker installed on 30 July. The breaker is no longer tripping. We sincerely appreciate everything Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating has done to help us out with this problem. Your Senior Technician, Doug, did and absolutely outstanding job throughout the entire and check-out the pump system. He stood by us all the way until the system was working properly. We will call on your technical assistance for our future plumbing problems. And, we will highly recommend Jerry’s to our neighbors and friends.

Appreciate all your help with this problem.”

Here’s another fantastic review from Bobby C in Waldorf, MD.

“Good morning. I like to express my extreme pleasure with the service I received from Heather. Her professionalism, enthusiasm and love for her job was unlike anyone I have ever seen. Totally impressed! I will definitely recommend Heather/Jerrys to all my family and friends should they require your services. She should be promoted!!!

Warm Regards,

Bobbie”

Our management team recognizes the accomplishment of all our techs, but there is no better recognition then those received from our satisfied customers praising our service. And, for that we thank all our customers!