The Root of the Problem: Spring Growth and Underground Plumbing

How Tree Roots and New Plant Growth Can Be Detrimental to Home Plumbing

While most everyone loves to look at the beautiful flowers and new growth that come with the spring season, what is happening underneath the ground may be less pleasant. New root growth among plants and trees can cause plumbing problems, but solutions exist. This article will go over the problems that intrusive roots can cause and what professionals can do to fix them.

Why Tree Roots Cause Plumbing Problems

When the air begins to warm and plants begin to wake from winter slumber, those plants are bound to start growing. This new growth means that roots are also growing, penetrating more deeply to look for moisture and nutrients in the soil. If the roots can detect the water in the underground pipes, they can snake through the smallest cracks or a weak pipe joint. They will continue to grow into the pipe as long as the roots find water and nutrients there.

What Problems are Caused By Invading Roots

rootsWhile this sounds like a bad thing, what are the results of root invasion? Does it cause problems for underground pipes? It does make a difference in the function of home plumbing. Here are a few things that can result from roots breaking into the pipes.

  • Clogs: Roots can cause serious clogs because they cause a net-like trap for things coming down the drain. Persistent and recurring clogs can result from clogs.
  • Leaks: As the roots try to grow their way into the pipes, they open up any weak spots and cause leaks that may, in turn, damage the yard and drown the plants trying to benefit from the water. Leaks can also cause structural damage to the home.
  • Slow Draining: Even if it doesn’t result in a full-blown clog, roots may cause drains to move very slowly, which can be inconvenient.
  • Water Pressure Problems: If the roots get into the supply lines to the home, then it can make for inconsistent water pressure at best and reduced water pressure at worst.
  • Water Waste: If supply lines leak, this can lead to high water bills and waste.

Professional Solutions For the Beleaguered Pipes

rootsTree roots may be a nemesis of underground plumbing, but plumbing professionals have solutions to roots. They can use several methods to remove the roots, perform leak repair, and prevent further intrusion. 

  • Hydro jetting clears the roots with a high-pressure stream of water
  • Ultrasound and sewer cameras can be used to find leaks
  • Resin-infused cloth can be used to repair breaks in the pipe
  • Root barriers can be placed to protect the pipes from further invasion

Roots don’t have to win this summer. Plumbing professionals can protect any home’s underground plumbing from an unwelcome root invasion.

About All Pro Plumbing

All Pro Plumbing provides award-winning plumbing services to Lakeland, FL, and the surrounding areas. Call anytime for emergency plumbing services and upfront, flat-rate pricing.

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Slab Leaks: Everything You Need To Know

The 411 On Slab Leaks - A Brief Guide

Any homeowner that's experienced a slab leak at some point knows that it can be one of the most frustrating, stressful, and expensive plumbing problems ever. But for those homeowners fortunate enough to have avoided them, slab leaks can be a total mystery. 

That can be a blessing, but it can also wind up being a curse - if homeowners aren't sure how to spot signs of a slab leak and don't understand the risks they pose, they won't be as well equipped to deal with them before any major damage is done. So this article will walk homeowners through everything they need to know about slab leaks, including what causes them, why they're so dangerous, and how professionals fix them!

Slab Leaks Explained

To understand slab leaks, it helps to clarify what exactly a "slab" is. In this context, a slab is a concrete foundation on which many homes are built. Generally 4-6 inches thick, this concrete slab covers the entire home footprint. In homes with slab foundations, there are typically water supply lines and sewer lines installed a few inches underneath the slab. A slab leak refers to a leak in one of those underground pipes.

Slab leaks can be caused by various factors, including corrosion, abrasion (from the surrounding soil or debris inside the pipes), soil erosion, shifting soil (due to earthquakes, flooding, foundation shifts, etc.), or pipe degradation due to old age.

Why Are Slab Leaks So Bad?

saveSince slab leaks are, by definition, located under a thick layer of concrete, they can often go unnoticed for months at a time. Even if the leak is a relatively minor one, this can waste hundreds of gallons of water every month. That can lead to some pretty high water bills. To make matters worse, that perpetually moist environment can lead to mold growth - if that mold spreads and gets into the home, it can have negative health consequences for everyone in the house.

In many cases, the water from a slab leak can also cause the surrounding soil to shift or become loose and muddy, which may cause the foundation to shift, sink, or even collapse. This can damage the home's framework and compromise its structural integrity. Not to mention that foundation repair and releveling can be exorbitantly expensive!

With all of these potential consequences, it's easy to see why slab leaks should be avoided or, at the very least, nipped in the bud as quickly as possible. Homeowners should always be on the lookout for these signs of a slab leak:

  • High water bill (but no visible leaks)
  • Walls are cracked in parts of the house
  • Uneven floors
  • Foundation cracks
  • Warm spots on the floor (indicates a hot water line leak)
  • Low water pressure in the house
  • Wet areas around the house's edge (or spots where grass grows thicker)

How Do Plumbers Deal With Slab Leaks?

detectionIf homeowners suspect that they have a slab leak, the first step is to call a professional to perform slab leak detection. This typically involves using acoustic listening devices, thermal imaging, or video inspection (feeding a tiny camera into the pipes themselves) to find the exact location of the leak.

Once the leak is found, plumbers and slab leak specialists have a few options for repairing it and will work with the homeowners to determine which repair method is most appropriate for their specific situation. Depending on the extent of the damage and the homeowners' wishes, pros will either:

  • Excavate the pipe by breaking through the foundation
  • Seal the pipe by inserting an epoxy pipe liner into it (often called trenchless leak repair)
  • Re-pipe or re-route, which involves installing a new pipe in a different location to replace the damaged one
  • Tunnel under the slab to repair the affected pipe without breaking through the floors or foundation

These slab leak repair options can vary significantly in cost and duration, so hiring a reliable and trustworthy plumbing contractor who will work closely with homeowners to find the right solution for their budget is essential!

About All Pro Plumbing

Since its founding in 1996, All Pro Plumbing has become one of Lakeland, Florida's most trusted and highly-rated plumbers. Their dedication to honesty, unbeatable service, and top-rate workmanship have made them a 7-time Angi Super Service Award winner. Their trustworthy licensed experts are available for emergencies 24/7, so don't wait to call All Pro Plumbing for slab leak repair in Lakeland, FL!

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Don't Get Pinched By High Water Bills This St. Paddy's Day!

3 Ways To Conserve Water This Saint Patrick’s Day

Everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in their own way - some hit the town and party it up, while others stay home and enjoy a nice dinner of corned beef and cabbage. But everyone upholds one tradition: wear something green or get pinched!

A similar rule (though not quite as festive or fun) applies to homeowners: save water or feel the pinch of inflated water bills! Even though homeowners may not realize it, many little things can add up to massive amounts of water waste every month. So this article will reveal a few of the most common causes of water waste - and how homeowners can avoid them!

Use the Tap Sparingly

tap waterOne of the most powerful ways to reduce water waste is to turn off the faucet whenever it’s not being used directly. The most obvious example of this is brushing one’s teeth - leaving the water on while brushing can send multiple gallons of water down the drain each time. The problem is less noticeable for things like handwashing or dishwashing - just turning off the tap while scrubbing or soaping can make a big difference for a day.

Another water-saving habit along these lines is to turn off the shower while lathering up or shampooing. The average shower lasts around 8 minutes and uses about 17 gallons of water, so leaving the water off for even a couple of minutes will significantly impact water usage. These habits may seem somewhat inconvenient at first, but with a little practice, homeowners can make a fun game of saving water wherever they can!

Invest In WaterSense Fixtures and Appliances

On top of reducing the time the home’s water taps stay on, homeowners can replace those taps with more water-efficient fixtures. The Environmental Protection Agency gives its “WaterSense” stamp of approval to fixtures that reach a certain water efficiency standard. 

For example, today’s standard sink faucets use 2.2 gallons per minute, while WaterSense faucets use only 1.5 gallons. WaterSense showerheads have a maximum flow rate of 2.0 GPM (gallons per minute), down from the 2.5 GPM of typical showerheads. Toilets are by far the biggest consumer of water in an average home. Still, upgrading to water-saving models (which use only 1.28 gallons per flush instead of 1.6 or more) can go a long way toward water conservation.

Upgrading to a high-efficiency washing machine or dishwasher can also have a lasting impact on water consumption and energy usage. These changes may require a bit of an upfront investment. Still, they can save homeowners money in the long run with the reduced utility bills - especially when combined with the other water conservation habits discussed here!

Flush With Care

toiletA clogged toilet is an annoying and unpleasant problem, but most people don’t realize that it can also waste a significant amount of water. When a toilet gets partially clogged, it can cause a pressure imbalance between the toilet bowl and the drain pipe, causing water to siphon out of the bowl. Homeowners may have noticed that their toilet bowl fills up to the normal level only to drain over time - this is the siphoning effect at work.

Homeowners will then need to refill the bowl for the toilet to flush properly, doubling the amount of water used per flush. Even without the siphoning effect, homeowners may need to flush multiple times to fully empty the toilet bowl since water is having trouble getting around the clog.

This is why preventing toilet clogs also helps conserve water in a roundabout way. Fortunately, preventing clogs is easy. First, homeowners should only ever flush toilet paper (and human waste, of course) down the toilet - that means no napkins, paper towels, tissues, hygiene products, contraceptives, or baby wipes. Secondly, homeowners should avoid flushing too much toilet paper at once - occasionally, flushing twice is better than clogging the toilet! And if the toilet does become clogged despite their best efforts, homeowners would do well to call a plumber to fix the problem as soon as possible, before any more water is wasted!

About All Pro Plumbing

All Pro Plumbing has been proudly serving the Lakeland community since 1996. Their commitment to outstanding customer service and unbeatable workmanship has earned them numerous 5-star ratings and awards, including the Angie’s List Super Service Award for 7 years. They offer up-front pricing, 24/7 emergency plumbing service, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job - so there’s no better choice for plumbers in Lakeland, FL!

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Make Plumbing Maintenance Part of New Year's Resolutions

What is Included in Plumbing Maintenance?

A common New Year's resolution is getting healthy. Every year people flock back to the gym at this time of year in an attempt to undo a year's worth of bad habits. Unfortunately, a lot of people fail once enthusiasm wanes. 

The secret to keeping good habits alive all year long is to figure out how to implement tasks in small steps so that the habit becomes natural. Sometimes it is best to get started on a small, easy task and use the skills learned to coast onto bigger things. A great place to start is around the home with plumbing maintenance. 

Plumbing maintenance makes a great New Year's resolution because it is a small habit that pays dividends in the long run, just like good health. For the last year, plumbing has had a lot of work to do, and the best way to ensure that it keeps doing its job is to give it some TLC from a professional. Here is a quick guide to what plumbing maintenance entails and why it can be a great way to start off the new year. 

Drain Cleaning cleaning

Drain cleaning is the perfect place to start for good plumbing health. Last year drains had to handle kitchen grease, soap scum, and hair, all while performing flawlessly. Unfortunately, these things can cling to pipes and slowly cause big problems. To start over fresh, homeowners can try some DIY durian cleaning tips or hire a professional. 

Some DIY drain cleaning tips that experts approve include:

  • Flushing drains with hot water
  • Cleaning P-traps
  • Pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain
  • Snaking with approved devices 

Chemical drain cleaners should be avoided since they can cause serious damage to pipes. Professional drain cleaning can be hired for homeowners who aren't confident in these methods. 

Professional Plumbing Maintenance 

Just like a yearly checkup at the doctor, plumbing maintenance is a yearly checkup for plumbing. Plumbing maintenance allows an expert to perform tasks like: 

  • Checking for leaks
  • Stopping running toilets
  • Test the water pressure
  • Inspect pipes

Allowing a professional the chance to inspect plumbing can give the homeowner advanced notice about potential problems. This allows them to plan for repairs instead of being blindsided by a plumbing emergency. Homeowners may also notice benefits like reduced utility bills and fewer necessary repairs. 

Water Heater Maintenance maintenance

The water heater is one of the most important appliances in any household, and it works tirelessly to provide hot water for washing and cleaning. It needs some annual attention to keep up the hard work year after year. Some of the steps that a professional will perform when they show up for a water heater maintenance visit are: 

  • Draining the water tank
  • Flushing sediment from the bottom of the water heater
  • Inspecting the anode rod 
  • Checking the heating elements
  • Looking for signs of corrosion
  • Inspecting for leaks

With yearly water heater maintenance, homeowners can expect their water heater to last longer and operate more efficiently, saving them money as the years go by. 

About All Pro Plumbing

All Pro Plumbing is a top-rated contractor ready to handle plumbing maintenance in any home or business. With highly-rated reviews and emergency plumbers, they are always ready to solve plumbing problems fast. Call today for plumbing maintenance in Lakeland, FL. 

Put a Sump Pump on the Holiday Wishlist

Installing a Sump Pump Over the Holidays

Every year, it seems harder and harder to shop for some people’s Christmas gifts. Some people just seem to have everything or, at the very least, want very little. This means that friends and family have to think outside the box to find a gift that can be meaningful instead of just good enough to fulfill an obligation. 

An outside-of-the-box idea for a Christmas gift is a new sump pump. Homeowners with sump pumps will love the originality and helpfulness of such a gift. The truth is that homes equipped with sump pumps need to be protected from the excess water that their sump systems handle. Here is a handy guide to get started for those on the market for a sump pump as a gift or for themselves. 

Why are Sump Pumps Important?

sump pumpSump pumps are crucial to the health of certain properties. Sump pumps are engineered specifically to deal with excess water that threatens a basement or foundation of a home. Sump pumps are commonly found in basements, used to pump sewage upward to a sewer line and landscaping where rainwater runoff tends to pool or wash away soil from a foundation. 

When sump pumps fail, the results can be disastrous. Most often flooding is the direct result since water, or sewage, can’t be pumped away. In the case of a sewage sump pump, sewage will backup and fill an existing space like the basement. This is why it is always crucial that sump systems are reliable and functioning. 

Types of Sump Pumps

pumpsDifferent sump pump styles are used for different applications. Along with different applications, each style of sump pump has pros and cons. The options for sump pumps are: 

  • Submersible Sump Pump: Submersible sump pumps sit in a sump pump basin with the entire motor and pump housing submersed in fluid. They are quiet and reliable but can be a repair or replacement mess. 
  • Pedestal Sump Pump: The pump housing on these sump pumps is submersed, but the motor is up out of the sump pit. This makes these sump pumps louder, but they are generally cheaper. 
  • Combination Sump Pump: Combination sump pumps offer total security for a home with primary and secondary sump pumps. 

When considering a sump pump for a gift, it is a good idea to research what pump is already used in a home and find a suitable replacement. 

Back Up Sump Pumps 

Sump pumps do important work protecting a home from excess water. This means there should be no opportunity for failure. Unfortunately, too many homeowners will only find out their sump pump has failed once the property has flooded. That’s why every sump pump should have a backup or secondary sump pump. 

Secondary sump pumps should be in place in every location where a sump pump is located. Most models have some type of alarm system to indicate the failure of the primary pump. Additionally, a secondary sump pump should have a backup battery system to operate even during a power outage. 

About All Pro Plumbing

All Pro Plumbing has over 25 years of experience protecting local homes from floods with sump pump installation and repairs. Their award-winning service is available 24 hours a day for emergency plumbing service. Call today for superior sump pump service in Lakeland, FL.