Quality work at fair price. Jerri Solomon
Not to be combined with other discount offers. Does not apply to evaluation. May only be used once per individual customer.
- 5% off first time plumbing replacement
- 10% off first time drain cleaning
- 15% off first time plumbing repair
If your toilet isn’t flushing or you have to flush twice to get everything down, there could be several reasons. Let’s take a look at some things you can check yourself, and which issues a plumber may need to address.
A Clogged Drain
With kids home from school and the toilet being used more frequently, your toilet drain may have become clogged with paper towels, feminine products or something else that shouldn’t be flushed. Even “flushable” wipes could clog the toilet since they don’t always dissolve. Try using a plunger and if that doesn’t help, you may need to hire a plumber to snake your drain.
An Obstruction in Your Plumbing Pipes
Farther down in the ground, something in the pipes could be preventing water from getting through. A tree root could have grown into the pipe or there could be a ball of debris that just won’t dissolve. A skilled plumber can use a special inspection camera to determine the location and reason for the clog and fix it.
A Low Flush Toilet
Although low flush toilets are supposed to save water, if yours doesn’t work well enough to create a good suction, you’ll end up having to flush twice. Consider splurging on a better model, but ask your plumber just to make sure this is the problem.
Hard Water Buildup
Frederick County homes often have hard water. This means minerals like calcium and magnesium can cling to the sides of plumbing pipes and clog pathways where water needs to get from the tank to the toilet bowl. And without enough water in the bowl, the waste won’t go down. Before you use a chemical cleaner to try to to get rid of hard water stains, ask a plumber to see which products are safe. The best solution may be a whole house water softener.
A Broken Flapper
Toilet flappers are small, but their job is important. If yours has a crack in it it will let tank water leak into the bowl and when it’s time to flush, there won’t be water in the tank to force the waste down. Check the condition of your flapper and replace it if needed. If you have to hold the handle down in order to flush, the chain may be too long so the flapper is closing too early. Try shortening the chain and see if it allows you to flush without holding the handle.
Call Putman Plumbing for Your Middletown Plumbing Problems
If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with your toilet, leave it to the experts! Putman Plumbing would be glad to figure out how you can have fewer flushes so you can lower your water bills!
If you can never seem to get a piping hot shower, your dishes are never crystal clean, and your clothes fade quickly, you could have hard water. This buildup of mineral content can lead to several problems, so keep reading to find out how Putman Plumbing can help.
3 Signs of Hard Water
Faded Fabrics and Lousy Linens
The minerals in hard water leave a residue on your clothing, making bright new colors fade quickly. The residue also can cause your soft clothing and sheets to become rough and scratchy.
Hard water causes sediment to buildup in your hot water, which doesn’t allow the water to heat up as hot or as quickly as it should. A hot water heater that’s not able to work efficiently will lead to increased energy bills, so keep an eye out for that too.
The minerals in hard water settle in as residue on dishes which even the best dish soap will have a hard time rinsing off. You’ll also notice filmy shower doors that are impossible to clean, and your hair and skin will even feel slimy from buildup.
How Putman Can Get Rid of Hard Water
Our plumbing professionals can install a water softener in your home, which replaces excess calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. Sediment and residue will be reduced because sodium ions help the minerals to dissolve more easily, leaving you with brighter clothing, softer sheets, cleaner dishes, healthier hair and lower energy bills. You’ll be amazed at the difference — even if you didn’t even realize you had hot water!
Putman Plumbing is Always Happy to Help
We are pleased to be a trusted Middletown plumbing company and would love to help you enjoy the water in your home. Just give us a call any time you have a plumbing question!
Low water pressure can affect everything and everyone in your household. It can make rinsing dishes take forever. It can mean your clothes don’t get thoroughly rinsed in the washing machine. It can make it impossible to run two showers at the same time, throwing off your entire morning schedule.
Sometimes water pressure problems can be fixed by a plumber, and sometimes it requires a call to the city water department. Here are a few reasons the pressure could be low.
If there’s a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing system, it won’t allow water to flow efficiently to where it needs to go. If you’ve noticed an increase in your water bill along with reduced water pressure, it’s a good indication there’s a leak, and you should call a plumber to find and fix it.
Steel water piping systems can start to corrode and prevent water from flowing as it should. The fix for this problem is complicated since it requires that a plumber swap out old pipes for new ones, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much your water pressure will improve when water is able to make its way through the pipes.
A Closed Main Shutoff Valve
Your home’s main shutoff valve needs to be fully open for maximum water pressure. You can check for this yourself. This valve can usually be found in the basement or garage. If it’s a gate valve, make sure the handle is turned fully in the counterclockwise direction, and if it’s a ball valve with a lever handle, the handle should be parallel.
Problems With the Water Meter Valve
If you have recently had a repair that required your water to be shut off at the outside meter, it’s possible that the valve did not get fully opened back up which can affect your water pressure. Call the city water department and they should be able to check it out fairly quickly.
Water Problems in Frederick County Cities
Your water pressure problem could be caused by a malfunction in a municipal water supply system. City piping can leak or be blocked by debris, affecting water pressure in multiple homes. If you talk to neighbors who seem to be having the same problems, call your local city water supply company to ask if there are issues that could be affecting your water pressure at home. Hopefully it’s something they are addressing promptly.
If we can fix your water pressure problem, let us know! Just call Putman Plumbing today!
As we approach October in Frederick County, you may be making plans to head to one of the spooky seasonal activities nearby. Whether you’re heading to Zombie Paintball at Crumland Farms, a Ghost Tour at Brewer’s Alley, or going to see Into the Woods at Frederick Community College, we hope you have a scary good time! You can find more information about each of these Frederick events here.
While going to a haunted house or watching a scary show is fun, ignoring a scary sound coming from your plumbing system is not. If you notice any of these issues, call Putman Plumbing right away.
What’s That Sound in My Plumbing Pipes?
If you hear a high-pitched squeal, you need to call a plumber to prevent damage to pipes and fittings. Squealing pipes, AKA caviation, happens when water from a large pipe flows into a smaller pipe. A plumber could just adjustment the pressure valve, but it may require replacing a worn washer or valve.
A Screaming Tap
A screaming sound could indicate that you need a new washer or that the tap stem needs lubrication. These are simple, quick fixes, and making an easy fix is much more desirable than dealing with leaks down the road.
A loud banging sound coming from your pipes is referred to as water hammer in the plumbing world. It can happen when there’s a sudden change in water pressure, usually when a tap is shut off. This sends a surge of pressure into the tap or valve, and if the pipes are loose, they may bang into the walls. What’s even more scary than the sound is that eventually, it lead to broken pipes, damaged fittings, or damaged appliances. To fix it, a trusted plumber may install a pressure-limiting valve at the main line, and sleeve or clip the pipes to stop them from hitting walls.
A Gurgling Toilet
Fixing a gurgling toilet could just require replacing a worn-out valve or faulty ballcock, or it could mean there’s a backed up sewer line. Yikes! If the toilet doesn’t run while it gurgles, make sure to call Putman Plumbing right away to avoid a super stinky disaster.
We hope you enjoy this month of spooky activities ahead. If you need a trustworthy Frederick County plumber, give us a call.
September is National Preparedness Month, established by FEMA as a reminder that families should have a plan in case of a natural disaster or other unexpected event. Considering the recent outbreaks of hurricanes in the Atlantic, it’s a good idea to discuss how your household would handle such a disaster if it happens in Frederick County. Since our expertise is fixing plumbing problems, we’d like to tell you how to get safe drinking water if your plumbing system fails.
How to Handle Plumbing Problems in a Natural Disaster
During hurricanes or flooding, plumbing pipes can get cracked causing drinking water to become contaminated. If you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, you will need to know how to turn off the water at the main valve. So this is a good time to locate your shut-off valve for the water line — usually in the basement or not far from the water heater. Label this valve now for easy identification.
If you have enough notice that a large storm is coming, you should stock up on drinking water — at least 3 gallons per person in your household. If you don’t have enough notice to buy water, keep reading.
Sources of Clean Water Already in Your Home
Here’s what you can safely drink to stay hydrated in an emergency:
- Melted ice cubes.
- Liquids from canned goods such as fruit. Be careful with vegetables and soups, as these contain a lot of sodium which can dehydrate you.
- Boiled water, if faucets are running. (see information below about boiling water).
- Water drained from the water heater. To do this safely, turn off the electricity or gas, then open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Turn off the water intake valve at the tank and turn on the hot-water faucet to get water flowing. After you hear that clean water has been restored, you’ll need to refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity back on.
The Importance of Boiling Water, And How to Improve Its Taste
According to the CDC, boiling is the surest method to kill disease-causing organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since boiling water can make it taste flat, some prefer to pouring it from one container to another and then let it to stand for a few hours, OR add a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of boiled water. For more information on boiling, visit the CDC website.
Dangerous Sources of Water in the Home
While you’re discussing with your family how you will find drinking water in an emergency, make sure to mention the unsafe sources including:
- Hot water boilers.
- Water from the toilet bowl or flush tank.
- Water beds. Fungicides added to the water or chemicals in the vinyl may make water unsafe to drink.
- Swimming pools, since chemicals in them are too concentrated for safe drinking.
Call Putman Plumbing if You Have Any Questions About Safe Drinking Water
Hopefully we won’t have any hurricanes or flooding problems anytime soon (or in the distant future). If you are uneasy about your knowledge of safe water, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
If it’s time for you to replace your water heater or you’re just looking for a more energy-efficient option, ask your plumber about a gas condensing water heater.
In a conventional water heater, fuel is burned in an open chamber and hot combustion gas rises through a flue in the center of the tank. Most of the heat is used to warm the water in the storage tank, but some of it gets wasted when it exits through the vent pipe.
Condensing gas water heaters have a tank as well, but they are more energy efficient. In fact, some of them are Energy Star certified. Instead of sending the exhaust gases up and out the flue, the condensing unit blows gases through a coil at the bottom of the tank. Cold water that comes in flows around the hot coil and gets heated quickly. The exhaust is cooled to where there is condensation. Like gas condensing furnaces, gas condensing water heaters require venting through a vertical PVC pipe and a condensate drain, so it’s important to have a plumber who is knowledgeable in installing them.
After switching to a condensing water heater, you’ll notice lower gas bills and run out of hot water less often. That’s a big deal, especially if you have a large family who enjoys warm showers every morning!
Call Putman Plumbing for Water Heater Advice in Frederick County
Go ahead and do some research. Take a look at Energy Star recommended models of water heaters and then call us. Whether you’re thinking about a tankless water heater, a condensing water heater or just a more energy efficient conventional water heater, we can help you make a decision and help you choose the correct size and brand of water heater for your home, and install it right the first time. We look forward to speaking with you soon.
If you’re buying a home in Frederick County this spring, you’ve probably already made your wish list including the number of bedrooms, preferred neighborhood, and whether you’d like a two-story or a ranch. But a lot of potential homeowners don’t realize that even when they find the “perfect” home, they need to pay attention to the condition of the home’s plumbing system.
Here are a few things that should always be checked when looking at homes. Some of them you can look for yourself, but some areas are better left to an expert plumbing technician at Putman Plumbing:
- Make sure the toilets flush right away and don’t keep running for too long.
- Check the base of the toilet for stains which could indicate leaks or water damage.
- Check for a “soft floor” by straddling each toilet and rocking back and forth to see if the floor feels spongy, which indicates rotting.
- Turn on the dishwasher to make sure there’s no loose connections. An improperly installed dishwasher can cause a huge amount of damage to not only the kitchen but also surrounding rooms and all the way into the basement.
- Turn on the faucet to check the water pressure. If it’s slow, there may be calcium and mineral deposits built up in the pipes.
- Check the inside of cabinets for signs of water damage.
- Examine the hot water tank for rust and if you can’t find a date on it, ask how old it is. If it’s over 15 years it’s almost time to replace it, so you’ll need to add that into your budget.
- Check exposed piping for signs of leaking or recent repairs and ask for a full history of leaking or flooding.
- If there’s standing water anywhere outside, it may indicate that there’s an irrigation problem or there could be faulty sewer pipes that are leaking. This could end up with a big price tag, so you definitely want an expert plumber to take a look.
Plumbing in an Old Home
Old houses around Middletown have amazing character, but older homes may require a lot of plumbing maintenance. Old pipes made from iron, steel, clay or copper deteriorate over time, so buying an old home may mean upgrading the entire plumbing system to modern plastic pipes.
Modern plumbing pipes are made from plastic but they used to be made from clay, iron, steel or copper. These materials deteriorate over time and if the home you plan on buying still has its original plumbing, you’ll need to budget for an entire upgrade to plastic pipes.
Why You Should Hire Putman Plumbing to do a Plumbing Inspection
Often, there are problems that can only be detected by a skilled plumbing technician. For instance, if you’re looking at a home on a property near trees, there could be roots in underground pipes that will cause plumbing problems. To check for this and other problems, we can do a video inspection of underground sewer pipes, check your meter, outside hose bibs and gutters, and can detect signs of leakage in crawl spaces and basements that you may not catch. We’ve helped ensure lots of eager home buyers in Frederick County that they were making the right, or sometimes wrong, purchasing decision. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you find the home of your dreams.
As much as we loved the business that all the rain in Frederick County brought us last week, we’re hoping for our customers’ sake that it stays dry for a while. Many of the wet basements we encountered were due to faulty sump pumps, so if you were a victim of a flooded basement, now is a good time to ask a few questions.
How do I know when to replace my sump pump?
Obviously if we were pumping water from your basement last week, you know your sump pump wasn’t working well. But a few other ways you can tell are by:
- Age – Most sump pumps have a typical lifespan of 10 years, so if yours is close to that, start looking into a new one before you have problems.
- Sound – If you don’t hear the pump kicking on when it’s raining a lot, it’s probably not doing its job.
- Wetness – Overflowing water around your sump pit usually means your pump isn’t pumping out water fast enough.
Which type of sump pump do I need?
If it worked well, you’ll probably want the same kind of model you had before. Here is a breakdown of the different types available:
- Submersible – This type of pump sits in a hole cut into the floor of your basement or crawlspace. The motor sealed and waterproofed. When water around the pump rises to a certain level, it kicks on and flushes water through piping that runs outside and away from the house.
- Pedestal – This type of pump has a motor that stands about two feet above the water, and only the part that pushes water out is inside the pit.
There is a theory that pedestal pumps last longer since they motor stays dry, but quality submersible pumps made of cast iron often outlast their plastic counterpart.
What can I expect to pay for a sump pump?
A standard 1/3 horsepower sump pump costs between $100 and $200 and removes around 2,000 gallons of water per hour, which is the amount that builds up in a decent flood.
Live in a major flood zone? A 1/2 horsepower can handle 3,000 gallons an hour and costs between $150 and $350.
If there’s a possibility of enduring 5,000 gallons in an hour, your sump pump needs to be 3/4 horsepower which costs from $175-$350.
What if the power goes out?
There are a few options to keep your sump pump working without electricity.
- A rechargeable battery pack can keep your sump pump running. Some new models come standard with a battery back-up.
- A second, battery-powered, sump pump isalmost as powerful as the main pump, and it kicks on not just when the power goes out, but any time the primary pump stops working.
- Water-powered backup is plumbed to a water line in the basement and uses pressure in the pipe to suck water from the pit like a vacuum. This type of backup pump is not an option if you have well water since there’s no water pressure during blackouts.
Why do I need a plumber to install a sump pump?
A wet basement can cause all kinds of problems, from the headache of sopping belongings to the health hazards of mold. A plumber can recommend the right model as well as examine the rest of the components such as the sump pit liner and electric wiring. You’ll rest assured knowing that it will do its job the next time a big rain comes.
Don’t wait until you have to call a plumber in the middle of a storm. Call Putman Plumbing now and let us help.
It’s hard to comprehend that things you’ve been told for years about home maintenance could be wrong. But when it comes to the plumbing system in your Frederick County home, it’s best to believe the experts in order to prevent damage.
Here are a few assumptions our Putman Plumbing customers have had that simply aren’t true.
Myth: Running Water Helps Waste Travel Smoothly Through the Garbage Disposal
Truth: The most important thing about this is that some things don’t ever belong in a garbage disposal, whether you run water or not. Hard, course waste such as eggshells and celery can cause damage to your disposal so they should always go in the trash. If you do want to put thicker foods down the disposal, you should break them up and mix them with water beforehand so they aren’t so hard.
Myth: Lemons Clean Your Garbage Disposal
Truth: Lemon rinds can make your disposal smell great, but they don’t really clean it, and can actually clog it. A better choice is to mix a cleaning solution of mild soap and warm water into a spray bottle, spray it into the disposal, then after a few minutes scrub the disposal with a cleaning brush. Just make sure you disconnect the disposal before you start to clean.
Myth: It’s Best to Clean All Plumbing Fixtures With Hand Soap
Truth: Hand soap can be damaging to some surfaces, and are not effective enough to disinfect others. Brass should be cleaned with gentle solutions, like lemons and baking soda, and toilet bowls need disinfectant to kill germs.
Myth: Putting a Brick in the Toilet Tank Saves Water
Truth: If you displace too much water, your toilet bowl won’t fill up enough to carry waste away, so you’ll actually have to flush twice as often. And since bricks deteriorate, components in the tank such as the flapper can break. So the brick doesn’t end up saving you money at all — it just leads to higher water bills and broken pieces that need to be replaced.
Don’t believe everything you hear. Instead, give us a call and ask us before you end up with a big problem!
The kids of Middletown and surrounding cities still have a few week left until school starts, and we know what that means: your toilet is still getting a lot of extra action. As if summer water bills aren’t already high enough, if your family is flushing twice to get rid of all their “business,” your water bill is even higher. So what’s the solution for a stubborn toilet? It could be something easy or it could be a tough job that a plumbing expert should handle. Let’s look at some possibilities.
Your Low Flush Toilet’s Water is Too Low
Low flush toilets are supposed to save water, but if they don’t create enough suction to do their job, you end up having to flush twice and using more water. You might want to think about replacing it with a better model.
The Bowl Has Hard Water Buildup
Many areas in Maryland have hard water filled with calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cling and clog the pathways that lead water from the tank into the toilet bowl. When there’s not enough water in the bowl, the toilet can’t flush enough waste down. Don’t rush into pouring harsh chemicals into the toilet to try to get rid of hard water stains. Talk to a plumber to see what an easy, safe fix might be. If hard water seems to be the problem, you may want to look into a whole house water softener.
There’s a Flapper Issue
If you have an old flapper, it can crack and let tank water leak into the bowl. When it’s time to flush, there’s not enough water in the tank to force the waste down the drain. You might try replacing your flapper.
If your toilet flushes all the way when you hold the handle down, but not if you let it go, try shortening the chain. It could just be that the chain is too long so the flapper closes too early to let enough water fill the bowl.
The Drain is Clogged
A toilet drain can be clogged for several reasons. If you’ve been using “flushable” wipes, they don’t always dissolve and can be compacted into a large ball that blocks water from getting through. If you have kids, chances are paper towels or other things that aren’t supposed to be flushed could be the culprit. You can try using a plunger and see if that helps. If it doesn’t, you may need a plumber to come out and snake your drain.
There could also be a tree root that has grown into your plumbing pipes, which would require immediate attention. The only way to know for sure is to have a skilled plumber investigate. Using a plumbing camera inspection, a plumber can determine the location and reason for the clog and fix the problem quickly.
Putman Plumbing would be happy to help figure out your problem. Give us a call and soon you’ll be enjoying fewer flushes and lower water bills!