Our Current Blog Articles
December 13, 2016
Older Homes Can Have Serious Plumbing Problems
While 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 It could be a leak or water damage, even a completely outdated plumbing system that will need to be replaced.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November 28, 2016
Plumbing Problems Will Cost You More if You Delay Repair
If 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.
November 8, 2016
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.
October 28, 2016
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.
October 20, 2016
Garbage Disposal Upkeep and Maintenance
To 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.