My name is Roy Lance. I am a master plumber and owner of Lance Plumbing. I've been working and doing business in the plumbing and heating industry for over 15 years. I currently live and operate my business out of Saratoga Springs, New York and do business all throughout the capital region.
My business model follows a couple of simple concepts of providing a high quality product with great service. Lance Plumbing has been creating positive feedback from our customers for over 10 years by delivering what is expected out of the products and services we provide. Our attention to detail and delivering projects on schedule is what keeps our customers happy and returning for business.
Roy Lance, Master Plumber + Owner
You are not required to drain your water heater and it is recommended that you don't - despite popular belief. When you drain the water heater you are stirring up all the sediment that has collected at the bottom which then forces it out into you pipes causing poor water pressure and clogged faucets.
Pipes can be drained and pressurized with air to get all water out that might not drain naturally. Pipes can also be filled with safe antifreeze to prevent them from bursting. A pump is used to pump the antifreeze into the water lines through a hose connection or boiler drain. Toilets and sink traps usually need antifreeze to keep from freezing and breaking as well.
Vents generally don't need much attention as they dont hold any water and are not in danger of freezing and breaking.
Winterizing a house generally consist of draining out the pipes that hold water so they dont freeze and break. Hiring a plumber for this job is the best thing to do. It can be a complicated process figuring out the best way to winterize a house. Sometimes fully winterizing a house is not always the best solution. Gaskets and seals can dry out causing a host of leaks and problems.
Always run water when using your garbage disposal, since the moisture helps break up the food, even when disposing of fat and grease. Soft or brittle debris like egg shells, cooked carrots, peas, mashed potatoes and small pieces of meat will be ground up by the disposal and flushed down the pipes, but hard materials like bones and coffee grounds will wear out the disposal and dull the blades. Fibrous materials like corn husks can jam up a disposal.
Your faucet may have a plugged aerator. You can remove the end of your faucet and clean out the screen, then replace tightly back onto the faucet.
This problem is usually caused by the shower valve being a non-pressure balanced shower valve. The solution is to install a pressure balance shower valve. This usually happens in older homes with older plumbing. Newer homes all have these pressure balancing shower valves installed.
Clogged Sink or Tub Drain
Sinks and tubs whisk away a lot of stuff, including dirt, soap, shampoo, hair, dead skin — a lot of material that can build up in the drain. While we may be quick to grab a drain cleaner or try a plunger when water won't go down, sometimes a simple cleaning out can do the trick. Feed a drain snake (if you don't have one, try straightening a wire clothes hanger) a few inches past the stopper, twirl it around and slowly pull it out. This will be easier if you can remove the stopper. There's a good chance you'll snag a clump of hair and gunk. Keep doing this a few times until the water drains and you can't remove anything else. Now's a good time to follow up with a drain cleaner or a simple combination of baking soda and vinegar, followed by very hot, but not boiling, water.
Know Where Your Shut-offs Are
Before you start any plumbing project, even if it's tightening your toilet seat, you should locate all of your shutoff valves and know what they control. If you have a nice system that was installed with some thought, you might even have shutoffs for each bathroom.
Most of these valves are found in the basement, though some might be hidden behind access panels. If you're unsure what a specific valve controls, just close it off and start turning on your faucets and flushing your toilets.
Most importantly, always know where the main house shutoff is. It's usually right where the water line enters the house. Keep in the back of your head the fastest route to the shutoff. You could be sprinting there someday.
What are some tips to save big bucks in plumbing?
If you are getting pricing on your installation project feel free to try to negotiate pricing with your plumber. Most of the time the plumber you want to do the job would rather come down to the competitors price vs. losing the project.
Buying your own plumbing fixtures will save you the mark up from the contractor. Usually 20 to 30%.
Having the areas where the work is taking place be clean and easy to move through will most definatly save you money.
High Water Bills
My water bill recently appears to be rather high and none of my faucets seem to be leaking, is there anything else that could be causing the sudden increase?
The first thing you should check is your toilets to make sure they are not leaking. Then you can check to make sure your fill valve inside the tank is not overflowing through the overflow pipe. There is a small tube that should be connected to it, you want to make sure the water level is about 1 inch below the overflow tube or level with the manufacturers mark inside the tank. The last thing you can check is your flapper is in good working condition.