During this time of year, most people are looking to clean up and clean out, finding things they don’t have use for and throwing them away, or in some cases, finally figuring out a way to use what they have in a better way. Service Line Warranties of Canada is doing some spring cleaning of its own. We are working on revamping and improving our blogs and social media, and we will be debuting our new format next week!
This week check out some helpful spring plumbing tips:
- Clean all drain strainers in the sink and showers to prevent hair, soap and debris from clogging drain lines.
- Check toilets for leaks by adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the color appears in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak.
- Clear mineral deposits from shower heads by soaking them in a plastic bag with vinegar overnight and then gently scrubbing with a toothbrush.
- Check appliances with water hoses, such as the washing machine, ice maker and dishwasher, for bulges, leaks and hose weakness.
- Clean the washing machine tub and lint trap to maximize performance.
- Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains, including floor drains, to fill the trap and prevent odors. Slow floor drains should be snaked so they perform as expected in the event of a flood.
- Inspect your home for leaks by taking a water meter reading before bed and then again the next morning where no water was used overnight. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
- Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are clear and free of leaks and debris from the winter months.
- Check outdoor faucets and hoses for cracks or leaks.
- Check for unusually damp spots or soft ground in the yard, which may indicate a plumbing problem.
For more information on other ways to be prepared for spring, visit www.slwofc.ca.
Have you ever walked past a sewer pipe that smelled like rotten eggs? While there probably isn’t a rotting egg in the pipe, hydrogen sulfide could be present, which can be very corrosive for sewer lines. In addition to a rotten egg smell, high levels of hydrogen sulfide could also smell musty or swampy.
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable and highly toxic gas known for its pungent rotten egg odor. Many might recall the scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” when grandpa lights a cigar and drops the match by the storm sewer.
According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in sewers, manure pits, well water and volcanoes, as well as oil and gas wells. Because of their density, low-lying and enclosed spaces are attractive to hydrogen sulfide, which makes confined spaces (such as pipes) very dangerous. Prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide, even at low levels, poses dangerous health risks – ranging from headaches, eye irritation, loss of consciousness and the inability to smell to death.
A simple chemical test can help determine the levels of hydrogen sulfide to which you are exposed and can be obtained at most home improvement stores, from a local plumber or the health department. If water lines contain excessive hydrogen sulfide, a homeowner has three options for rectifying the situation:
- Find an alternative water supply, such as drilling a new well or contacting your local water authority.
- Purchase bottled water to use for food preparation and drinking; however, this is not a cost-effective measure.
- Remove the impurity. There are numerous treatment options available, which will be determined by the levels of chemical impurities in the water, the possibility of bacterial contamination and the volume of water.
The best advice is to let a professional handle any kind of chemical contamination because they have the tools and knowledge to do the job right and protect your health and wellbeing.
Raw sewage left untreated contains a variety of pathogens, chemicals and nutrients – many of which pose a serious health risk. Additionally, research shows billions of gallons of raw sewage flow into waterways every day, putting the health of millions of people at risk.
When sewage backs up into the home, the overflow leaves behind germs on the surfaces with which it’s been in contact. The degree of danger depends on how long the sewage was in contact with a surface, the type of materials contaminated by sewage and how long the occupant was exposed to the sewage. Left untreated, exposure to sewage could leave you with gastrointestinal (GI) distress, hepatitis, skin rashes or infections. In extreme cases, sewage can also contain rat urine, which could lead to Weil Disease – which can result in liver and kidney damage if not treated and can be fatal.
While sewage germs are rarely airborne, in an emergency it’s important to seal off any backups until a professional can rectify the situation. If you must handle raw sewage to clean, always use protection, including rubber gloves, eyewear, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. If available, a breathing apparatus is highly recommended.
If you discover a backup, remember:
- Contact your warranty service provider and/or a local professional about the situation.
- If there is standing water near electrical appliances or outlets, turn off the power to that location.
- Do not flush toilets or drain sinks. If you must continue using sinks, plug the drain or use a bucket until the drains have been cleared.
- Keep children and pets away from the sewage.
- Wash your hands immediately after coming into contact with raw sewage and never touch it without gloved hands.
- If your home has a septic system, contact the local health department for advice on how to properly dispose of the water/sewage.
- Contact a professional to clean up large jobs to ensure you eliminate the possibility of health risks.