Older Homes Can Have Serious Plumbing Problems

Older Homes Can Have Serious Plumbing ProblemsWhile you may love the look and feel of an older home, our team at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster warn you to be careful because older homes can have serious plumbing problems. It could be a leak or water damage, even a completely outdated plumbing system that will need to be replaced. So, if you’re looking at purchasing an older home, make sure you have the plumbing thoroughly inspected. Nothing ruins the joy of owning a charming old home more than unexpected and major repair problems.

When we say that older homes can have serious plumbing problems, we’re talking about a broad range of issues that you should keep an eye out for when considering a home to buy.

Signs of Water Damage

As you walk through a house, you should look for signs of water damage on the ceilings, walls, or floors. Are there sagging or bulging ceilings or floors, or maybe discolored spots? If so, this could point to a big problem. It might be a roof issue, which can be expensive to repair. It could also mean you have major plumbing issues to address, as well as structural damage that will need to be fixed. You could even have an issue that’s affecting the integrity of the home’s foundation.

Pipes

Before maxing out your budget on a home that you think only needs cosmetic repairs, find out if the home has old cast iron or lead pipes. If the plumbing is not updated, you might have to replace the whole system by putting in copper or plastic pipes. This is not a cheap fix, so if you go forward with buying the house, be sure to give us a call for a proper and professional installation.

Water Pressure

Since older homes can have serious plumbing problems, make sure you check to see if it has adequate water pressure and good water quality. These are huge issues that you don’t want to overlook.

Sewer Lines

You’ll also want to take a look at are the sewer lines. If you give us a call, we can use our professional video inspection equipment to examine your sewer lines, making sure they aren’t broken, collapsed, or clogged. This method allows us to see what’s going on without having to dig up your yard, so we’ll be able to save you time and money right up front.

Maintenance

If the home you’re interested in buying has been empty for a long time, it probably means the plumbing has not been used and there’s been no maintenance done. This should be seen as a warning of potential plumbing problems. A complete inspection can tell you the condition of system plumbing and how much it will take to make it safe and usable. If possible, ask the previous owners for maintenance records.

Even with maintenance records, you should always check out the home with one of our professionals at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster. While older homes can have serious plumbing problems, knowing what the issues are and how much they’ll cost to fix can help you decide if you have the budget to make it all safe and functional. For plumbing help at your home, or on a potential new purchase, get in touch.

Plumbing Problems Will Cost You More if You Delay Repair

Plumbing Problems Will Cost You More if You Delay RepairIf you’ve been putting off dealing with that leaky faucet on your to-do list, it’s time to call in a plumber to fix it for you. At Lakota Plumbing in Westminster, we advise all of our customers to take care of issues as soon as they’re discovered. In the end, you’ll save money because plumbing problems will cost you more if you delay repair. Let’s take a look at how a small leak can wreak havoc on your home.

At first, you notice a little water and just wipe it up. You think you’ve taken care of it. Then you notice it again. Now you know it’s a small plumbing leak, but you decide to put it off. You stick a bowl under that dripping pipe below the kitchen sink, close the cabinet door and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Now, you’re just wasting water. And you would probably be really surprised at how much.

In fact, according to the EPA Water Sense program, a single leak can add up to 10,000 gallons of wasted water per year. While you’re not spending money on actually fixing the problem, you’re now throwing money away every day that you put off repairs. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

A leak could be from a supply line or a drain pipe or maybe even a loose fitting. It’s not always easy to tell. It’s always better to call in the professionals than try to take care of it yourself. They can pinpoint the cause of the leak, fix it right away and you’ll be all set. This is important because a leak, even a small one, can provide enough moisture to start mold and mildew growth.

As everyone knows, mold and mildew are serious. They can cause major respiratory problems, allergies and other serious health issues. And mold remediation is both complicated and expensive.

Rotting wood is also a big concern with a leak. Water tends to spread just about everywhere. From the wood cabinets where the leak is under your sink, to adjoining cabinets and even down into your floor. Now, on top of money wasted on leaked water and dealing with potential mold-related issues, you take on the expense of having to replace a floor or cabinets. All because you kept meaning to do it yourself.

One final issue to be aware of is that a leak around the toilet seal or a backed-up sewer line might cause you to be exposed to raw sewage. Obviously, that’s a very serious problem. This type of exposure could easily and quickly create serious health issues for you and your family.

Leaky pipes or faucets should never be ignored. You could end up with a bigger problem, major home repair and even serious health issues. Because plumbing problems will cost you more if you delay repair, save money now by calling Lakota Plumbing in Westminster. We serve the Denver metro area and will help you with leaks, drips and anything else going on with your plumbing.

Call or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What Causes Water Pressure Problems?

What Causes Water Pressure Problems?When you take a shower, you don’t want a weak stream of water from low water pressure. But high water pressure can cause plumbing damage. So what causes water pressure problems and how can you fix it? Our plumbers here at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster know how to address all water pressure issues and can even identify when there’s a bigger problem. Let’s take a look at some of the more common things you might encounter.

Low Water Pressure

If you hear a faint whistling sound coming from your faucets or your notice the water coming from the faucets are not a full stream, you probably have low water pressure.

Using a water pressure gauge, the water pressure can be tested. If it shows that your water pressure is under 30 psi, it is considered low and you need a plumber to help fix it. There are a few things that can be causing your low pressure.

  • Water Leak

You may have a leak. A leaking pipe can cause your water pressure to drop. It also increases your water bill, wastes water and could be causing major damage to your home or business.

You can easily get an idea if there may be a leak. Read your water meter. Turn off all your water usage like faucets, washing machines and even you ice maker for two hours. Then read the water meter again. If the water meter increased without any water on in the house, you probably have a leak.

  • Restriction in the Pipes

If you don’t have a leak, what causes water pressure problems could be a restriction in the pipes. This can be caused by a mineral buildup from hard water. Sometimes buried pipes can cave in and that creates a big blockage. When you call us, our plumbers will use a camera to find out where the blockage is located.

  • External Causes

Occasionally, your low water pressure may be due to your town’s water system. We can help you fix that too by installing a pressure tank, we can raise the pressure of the water. It’s most common to use pressure tanks with well water systems, but they can work wherever more water pressure is needed.

High Water Pressure

On the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe your water is coming out too hard. That could be too high of water pressure. The problem with high water pressure is that it causes a strain on your pipes which over time can cause your pipes and fittings to fail.

If you hear a loud kind of thumping sound when you turn your faucet off, that could be a sign of high water pressure. Again, using the pressure gauge, we’ll look for a water pressure over 80 psi to determine if your water pressure is too high.

So, what causes water pressure problems like this? Location is a big factor. If you’re located at the bottom of a hill, water traveling through city pipes has increased pressure of gravity. Also, if your home or business is located next to a large building with major water needs, it can cause you to have excessive water pressure. This can be alleviated by installing a pressure regulator on your main line.

Too high or too low of water pressure can be a problem. Our plumbers at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can help you find out what causes water pressure problems and fix it. Contact us or give us a call, and we’ll send our plumbers over. It’s always a good idea to handle plumbing problems right away before they snowball into a bigger, more expensive repair.

Are Tankless Water Heaters Right For You?

Are Tankless Water Heaters Right For You?Would you like hot water on demand? Do you wonder, are tankless water heaters right for you? Our plumbers at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can explain the pros and cons of tankless water heaters to help you decide.

Most American homes use conventional tank water heaters. These water heaters store gallons of hot water, keeping it at a steady temperature so that hot water is always available when you want it. There are also tankless water heaters that heat the water directly as needed instead of using a storage tank.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a tankless water heater compared to a conventional.

Pros of Tankless Water Heaters

  • Energy Savings

Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient. Levels will vary, but if you look at the Energy Guide stickers on tankless and conventional water heaters, you’ll see a significant difference in estimated energy consumption.

Different tankless water heaters have their own energy-saving features, but they are all more energy efficient than conventional heaters because tankless heats as needed and doesn’t have to store water. Compare this with a conventional water heater that stores water and uses energy by constantly cooling and re-heating.

  • Small Size

A tankless water heater’s small size is also a benefit. These heaters are about the size of a briefcase which allows you to install one almost anywhere, which frees up space in your home.

  • Lasts Longer

If you take care of your tankless water heater by providing routine maintenance, you can expect it to last up to 20 years. A conventional water heater only lasts 10-13 years.

  • Increased Home Value

Adding a tankless water heater to your home can increase your home value. This is because buyers appreciate the energy savings and convenience that comes with tankless water heaters.

Cons of a Tankless Water Heater

  • Purchase Price

The purchase price of a tankless water heater is higher than conventional water heaters. The installation is also more costly, and you will need a professional plumber to install it.

You may want to calculate whether you will be in the home long enough to see the savings from the energy efficiency compared to the upfront purchase and installation costs.

  • Amount of Water Heated

Tankless water heaters should be sized to the amount of hot water needed in the house. Sometimes conventional models can put out more hot water than the tankless heaters depending on the water demands. If you have a lot of people needing hot water at the same time, a conventional model may be a better choice.

  • Water Waste

Both types of water heaters require a short time to get the hot water to the faucet, but the tankless heater takes a little bit longer. This creates additional water waste.

If possible, install the tankless water heater closer to the faucet that will require the most hot water to combat these issues.

If you are wondering, are tankless water heaters right for you, our plumbing experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can help you decide if a tankless water heater is best for your home. We’ll help weigh the pros and cons of your unique situation and provide our expert recommendation. Once you’ve made a choice, we can complete the installation for you so that you can enjoy hot showers for years to come.

Garbage Disposal Upkeep and Maintenance

Garbage Disposal Upkeep and MaintenanceTo keep your drains running properly and avoid clogs, garbage disposal upkeep and maintenance are important. While our plumbers at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can always help you unclog drains and provide any other plumbing services you might need, we know how frustrating it can be when the pipes back up. Here, we’ll give you some tips to help avoid any problems.

A garbage disposal provides a ton of convenience in your kitchen. To prevent clogs, keep your disposal in good working order and extend its life, the most important thing you can do is to be mindful of what you put into it. It’s not a magic and it has its limitations. Let’s take a look at what you can and can’t do.

Don’t Put This in Your Garbage Disposal 

  • Large bones in your disposal is a bad idea and can instantly cause issues.
  • Avoid putting potato peels, banana peels, and other starchy foods down your drain because it can make a paste that slows down the disposal blades.
  • Never put coffee grounds and egg shells down the disposal. It can accumulate in pipes and clog your drain.
  • Always throw fat and grease in the trash, not your drain. Grease coats the disposal blades and drain pipes, which can then cause clogs and lead to horrible smells wafting out of your drain.
  • Any fibrous vegetable like celery and asparagus should not be put down the garbage disposal because the fibers can tangle up around the disposal blades.
  • Don’t put paste and rice down the drain because it can expand in the pipes and create clogs.

Okay to Put in Your Garbage Disposal 

  • Garbage disposals are able to grind small pieces of ice which can help scour the inside of the disposal. You can also add a little bit of rock salt to help clean it.
  • The disposal can process small pieces of biodegradable food. You should throw away any large pieces of food so it doesn’t clog the drain.
  • Small citrus peels can help clean and deodorize your disposal.

When in Doubt, Throw it Away

How strong your disposal is and what it can handle depends on the type of disposal you have. Durability levels and motor power vary by manufacturer and model, but we don’t recommend pushing its limits.

If you have doubts about what you can put down the garbage disposal, just throw it in the trash can. It’s better to be safe than having to call us out on a Sunday night because you put 5 pounds of potato peels down the disposal and hoped it was up to the task.

Run Your Disposal

You should use your disposal periodically to keep it in good shape. As mentioned above, grinding ice, rock salt, and citrus peels can help keep your disposal clean, fresh and in good working order. Not using it can be equally detrimental, allowing gunk to build up and create clogs, stinky odors, corrosion, and possibly mechanical failure.

Clogs

If your drain gets clogged, there are a few things you can try before picking up the phone:

  • Some disposals have a small wrench attached to the bottom. Use this wrench to turn the blades from the outside and hopefully dislodge whatever is stuck.
  • After unplugging the disposal, use a flashlight to locate the obstruction, then attempt to remove it with long-handled tongs or needle-nose pliers. Never, ever, ever stick your hand in there.

One last tip that we pass along to our customers is to avoid using a drain cleaner or other chemicals on your disposal. This can damage or corrode your blades and pipes.

Garbage disposal upkeep and maintenance can prevent clogs and extend the life of your disposal. If you follow the tips above, you should be good to go. However, if you run into any problems or need a new disposal, call our plumbing experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster. Serving the entire Denver metro area, we’re available 24/7 for clogged drains, frozen pipes and much more. Call or contact us today.

Plumbing Leaks Cost You Money, More Than You Can Imagine

Plumbing Leaks Cost You Money, More Than You Can ImagineIt pays to pay attention to your plumbing because plumbing leaks cost you money, more than you can imagine. Our plumbing experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster warn that in addition to water damage from plumbing problems, you need to be careful about leaks causing mold and mildew. 

Plumbing leaks can come from old pipes, high water pressure, cracked seals, and pipes freezing, among other causes. Even a small plumbing leak will also cost you money on the wasted water. So when you hear the drip, call Lakota Plumbing. 

According to the EPA, a leak in a single American household can waste over 10,000 gallons of water each year, or up to 1 trillion gallons across all states. That’s a lot of wasted water and money, as well as a huge environmental problem for our country. Making a few easy plumbing fixes will ensure you’re not contributing to the problem, as well as save you up to 10 percent on your monthly water bill. And Lakota Plumbing in Westminster is here to help. 

Leaks can come from a dripping faucet, appliances, a broken seal in a supply line, faulty toilet flappers, a busted sprinkler system, or even a pinhole leak in the plumbing behind your walls. You can visually inspect most of these areas for leaks. You can also take a look at your water meter when you know no one is using water and see if it still shows usage. According to the EPA, if you’re a family of four, you may have a serious leak if your winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month. 

You can usually fix a leaking shower head by making sure there is a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. If this doesn’t work, you may have to replace it. Toilet leaks often come from an old, faulty toilet flapper that wears out or gets mineral build up on it. You can fix this by just replacing the whole rubber flapper. Again, a replacement might be necessary if the fix doesn’t affect your overall water usage numbers. 

You should also have your sprinkler system checked to make sure Colorado’s freezing winter temperatures did not damage it. Your garden hose could also be a leaking culprit. See if it’s leaking at the spigot connection. If so, try replacing the washer and tighten the connection to the spigot with a wrench. 

As for your toilet tank, here’s a quick test. If you put a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank and the color comes up in the bowl within 10 minutes without flushing, you know you have a leak. If you try this test, just be sure to flush soon after the test so you don’t stain the tank with the food coloring. 

Also according to the EPA, a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s about 180 showers. If you have a leaky faucet, first try checking the washers and gaskets and replacing them if needed. 

If you have a water leak and these DIY fixes aren’t solving your issue, call our experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster because plumbing leaks cost you money, more than you can imagine. We’ll get your leaks under control, help you conserve water and hopefully reduce your water bill each month. Contact us today for information.

Keep Your Sump Pump in Good Working Order

Keep Your Sump Pump in Good Working OrderHeavy rains and bad drainage mean you need to keep your sump pump in good working order to keep your basement dry. Lakota Plumbing in Westminster can check your sump pump to make sure it’s functioning properly or install one for you.

A sump pump is great because when the rain starts falling or the snow melts, you can feel confident that you will have a dry basement, but you need to make sure it is in good shape to get the job done. Some people forget that a sump pump needs maintenance from time to time. It needs to be inspected, cleaned and maintained regularly.

Here’s what you need to do to keep your sump pump in good working order:

Inspection

Our plumbers at Lakota Plumbing can come inspect your sump pump and let you know if it is functioning properly. This is important because finding out it isn’t working when you have a problem may be too late. Be proactive, then when the rain comes you know your basement will not be flooded.

After our initial inspection, you can check it every week or so to make sure it is still working.  One way to do this is to slowly pour water into your sump pit and see if it starts up automatically. If it does, you’re good to go.

Clean and Maintain

If your sump pump has been used, over time it gets mud, leaves, pebbles and other bits of stuff in it. If you let this debris gather, it can create a clog and cause premature shutoff of the pump or standing water in your basement. When you’re cleaning the filter, just go ahead and completely clean the entire pump and pit.

After you’ve cleaned the filter, you should unplug the sump pump and disconnect the drain line, and take them both outside. Use a garden hose to flush out all the debris and clogs. Then go ahead and flush the entire unit with water.

Before you put it back together, clean the sump pit. Make sure you take off anything that might clog the drain line. When the pump is reconnected, pour some water into the pit and check to see if the sump pump comes on.

Battery Replacement

Another thing to remember is that some sump pumps have a backup battery. Check your owner’s manual and don’t forget to replace the batteries. Sometimes heavy rains and electrical failures go hand in hand. If this happens, your battery backup could save your basement.

This procedure for routine maintenance will help prolong the life of your sump pump. But even the best cared for sump pumps eventually wear out. In fact, most sump pumps will have to be replaced about every seven years. That’s why an inspection by a professional plumber is important. You don’t want to wait until you have an emergency to find out that your old sump pump has failed.

You need to keep your sump pump in good working order so you’re ready when the heavy rain and snow melt comes. To keep your basement dry, let our plumbing experts at Lakota Plumbing in Westminster check your sump pump to make sure it’s functioning well or install a new one for you, so you are always ready.

What is a Plumbing Sound Test/Leak Detection?

What is a Plumbing Sound Test/Leak Detection?When you want to know the latest way to find a plumbing leak, you should be asking what is a plumbing sound test/leak detection? This procedure uses state-of-the-art electronic sound equipment to locate the exact location of the leak and to trace any water damage. This allows plumbers to fix the plumbing leak with minimal damage.

Water leaks can increase your water bill, create drainage problems, tear up your yard, and cause water damage. Lakota Plumbing in Denver says many people don’t even know they have a leak until they get a high water bill. But there are other signs, including the sound of water running when nothing is on, water on the floor, a water heater that continually runs, and a cold water tap that runs hot.

The difficulty becomes in locating the leak. New technology supports an easier and quicker solution with electronic leak detection.

If you have an underground pipe leak, the problem increases. Plumbers used to have to dig into the ground, trying to guess where the leak is located and then fixing it, often leaving a very ripped up yard to repair.

Electronic leak detection may be your best option if you have metal pipes such as; copper and galvanized. Electronic sound equipment does not work on plastic pipes. It has a proven success rate of over a 90 percent for locating the problem on the first try.

When you have a leak, turn the water off at the water supply. The plumber will disconnect the pipes located at the hot water heater and pressurize using nitrogen. There will be a high pitch noise that is found using electronic leak detection equipment. The plumber will hear the noise through a high-tech headset. When it’s heard, the leak is located. This method makes leak repair effective and efficient.

Electronic leak detection equipment has three parts – a box, a mic, and headphones. The box uses a scale and a few controls to determine the exact location of the plumbing leak. The scale measures from 0-100, with 100 being the loudest sound. Using the headphones, place the mic on the floor near the leak and move it around until the sound gets louder. This will allow the plumber to locate the leak and fix it without the trial and error of the old days.

What is a Plumbing Sound Test/Leak Detection? It is an easier and more accurate way to find those hidden water leaks. Lakota Plumbing in Denver notes the new high-tech system saves time and money, and prevents unnecessary digging in your yard.

Tips for Keeping Your Bathroom and Kitchen Drains Clog Free

Tips for Keeping Your Bathroom and Kitchen Drains Clog FreeAre you looking for tips for keeping your bathroom and kitchen drains clog free? Lakota Plumbing in Denver says a few simple steps can keep your drains open and prevent clogs.

Periodically pull up the stopper in the sink and the drain cover in the shower or bathtub and remove the gunk and debris. Rinse it and put in back in the drain. Sometimes you may need to gently use a bent wire to clean out the debris and hair.

Use a sturdy brush to clean out the garbage disposal or you can grind up a few cups of ice and some salt to cut the grease and other residue on the sides of the disposer. Rinse it with cold water and a half of a lemon or lime. This will help  to deodorize it.

Remove the overflow plate on the bathtub and raise the pop-up assembly to reach the spring or rocker arm. Get rid of all the accumulated debris and rinse it.

Starting a compost bin can save water and energy and prevents clogged drains.

Don’t let children play with small toys in the bathtub and teach them not to flush toys down the toilet.

Don’t use any chemical cleaners. Many small clogs can be fixed with a good quality plunger or auger.

Using a bacteriological drain cleaner can help maintain all of the drains.  A bacteriological drain cleaner that is biodegradable and non-corrosive will prevent damage to the plumbing system.

One of the best things you can do is to put mesh screens over or under all of your drains, including bathtub or shower drains. The mesh will catch hair, food particles, and other debris.

If you brush your hair before you shower, it will prevent hair from going down the drain.

A great idea is to wash pets outside or lay a wash cloth over the shower drain to catch the dog hair. If you use a washtub to wash your pet, you can just dump it outside, so nothing goes down the drain.

Use less detergent, shampoo and toothpaste.

Put as little as possible in the garbage disposal. Do NOT put grease or cooking oil, coffee grounds, bones, egg shells, pasta, potato peels, rice,  bread, gum, or food stickers in your garbage disposal.

Don’t put anything but toilet paper in your toilet.  Do NOT put hair, baby wipes, napkins, paper towels, any feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, dryer sheets, and cat litter.

Pour a little bleach into the sink drain. Let it sit overnight or for at least an hour and rinse it with water.

Pour dish washing soap into the kitchen sink drain, followed by boiling water, a little bit at a time to get rid of grease build up.

Pour at least one tablespoon of salt into the bathroom drain followed by 1⁄4 cup of plain white vinegar, and let it sit for an hour. Run hot water down the drain to clear the drain.

By using these tips for keeping your drains clog-free, it will save you from having to call a plumber. Lakota Plumbing in Denver advises prevention is always better than repair.

Hiring a Licensed Plumber vs. Unlicensed Plumber

Hiring a Licensed Plumber  vs. Unlicensed Plumber You know you need a plumber, but you don’t know if licensed vs. unlicensed plumber matters. It does. Lakota Plumbing in Westminster knows all too well that plumbing done incorrectly can be a danger to you and your family, cause property damage and can get unnecessarily expensive. A licensed professional is a must. You should always ask up front if the plumber is licensed, bonded and insured.

According to www.buildipedia.com website, a plumbing license is a certificate showing that a plumber has had appropriate education and training, and legal permission to provide plumbing services in your area. A licensed plumber is also held accountable to the regulatory board that gives the license and can be held liable for violating its rules. Many licenses require continuing education to keep the license. These controls over the profession keep the consumer safe.

Of course, all licensing requirements vary from state to state. But in general, plumbing requires a highly specialized skills in math, mechanics, manual dexterity, and sharp problem-solving abilities. They also spend thousands of hours working in plumbing apprenticeships so they can learn the best methods and practices for dealing with every type of plumbing repairs and installations.

After the apprentice plumbers finish their specialized plumbing training, they must then apply for a professional license from the state’s board or regulatory agency for licensing. In most states in order to get a plumbing license they must; pass a criminal background check, complete any additional prerequisite training, pass the licensing exam, file a business name, and have commercial liability insurance.

If you hire an unlicensed plumber, none of these protections are available to you. Whether or not they have had the necessary training to install plumbing correctly and follow code will be a mystery. Some states feel so strongly about protecting the consumer that it is illegal to hire an unlicensed plumber. Hiring someone who does not know what they are doing can be a danger, causing injury, illness, and possible property damage.

As mentioned earlier a good plumber should also be both bonded and insured to protect both you and the plumber from unforeseen costs and damages. You can confirm this by asking to see proof of the plumber’s commercial liability insurance and a surety bond before hiring them.

It is important for the plumber to have commercial liability insurance because occasionally problems do occur. Liability insurance will help cover claims related to property damage or bodily injury.

When the liability insurance doesn’t pay it all, the plumbers surety bond can cover any additional expenses.

In addition to understanding why it is important to hire a licensed vs. unlicensed plumbers, Lakota Plumbing in Westminster recommends asking for references and checking their credentials.