5 Plumbing Tips

1.) Don’t pour oil or grease down the drain.

Fats and oils, like butter, chicken fat and others are liquid until they reach room temperature, then they solidify and turn solid. Hair, dust, dirt and debris stick to these fats likes glue on paper. If you dump them down the drain, it will slowly clog your sink. The fat sticks to the inside of the pipes like cholesterol on a corroded artery. Eventually a total blockage happens and you get a sink full of water.

(fatberg pictures below - Source:BBC)

Always avoid dumping any fats, oils or grease down your drains.


2. ) Use a strainer in your showers and sinks.

Power rodding kitchen sinks and showers are an everyday thing here at our shop. Hair, soap residue, coffee grounds and bits of food debris get caught in the pipe. A simple cost-effective tool can help prevent a majority of these clogs. It works in the shower and the kitchen as well. It’s a simple one dollar strainer. This will prevent a majority of clogs from happening. A simple mesh wire strainer will catch extremely small bits of food particles and hair.

A wire mesh strainer is a must have for any household.


3.) Don’t flush wipes or paper towels.

Flushable wipes wreak havoc on the sewer systems across the planet. Old wipes collect into nasty blobs called “fatbergs” that clog up sewer systems. Similar problems can appear in your home sewer system. A wipe hits a turn in the pipe and gets stuck, then it accumulates and creates a blob that clogs the sewer. The problem is so bad that a professor at the university of toledo is trying to develop a wet wipe that turns into regular toilet paper when flushed.

Don’t flush any type of wipe down the toilet.


4.) Find your main water shut-off valve.

Water lines have a lot of pressure behind them, up to 55 PSI. If you spring a leak, you’ll need to know in a hurry how to turn off the water. The longer it leaks, the worse the damage will be. The shut offs can be found near the front of your home (facing the street) in the basement or by the water meter.

Locate your main water shut off in case of an emergency.


5.) Find out if your toilet seal is leaking.

The flapper / seal around your toilet tank can degrade with time. Water leaking into the toilet bowl can go unnoticed / forgotten for long periods of time. An easy trick is adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank, if you see it leaking into the bowl it’s time to replace the flapper.

Check your toilet flapper to reduce your water usage. 


You Can Count On Us

If you have a difficult plumbing problem, you can count on Green Tech Plumbing to help. Our plumbers are fully licensed, bonded and insured. We offer 24-hour emergency plumbing service. We are conveniently located in Des Plaines, IL and serving the North & Northwest suburbs of Chicago.




Chicago Attempts to Fix its Lead Problem

lead pipes

Chicago is one of the last cities to stop using lead in the service lines. It was so widely used that it wasn't until 1986 when congress officially banned the practice that Chicago stopped using it. Now over 400,000 homes in Chicago are using lead service lines, that's 4x more than Detroit. They anticipate replacing 2,400 homes per year for 45 million per year.

Today the Chicago Tribune featured the plans and objectives of the city. You can read it here.

Is there a safe lead limit?
The EPA measures what limits of contaminants are consumable without adverse health reactions. These health goals are based on possible health risks and adequate margins of safety. In the case of lead, the EPA has ruled that zero is the maximum contaminant level for drinking water because lead is toxic and accumulates in the body over time.

Adverse Health Effects of Lead

In Children
Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:
Behavior and learning problems
Lower IQ and hyperactivity
Slowed growth
Hearing problems
In rare cases, the ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma, and even death.

In Pregnant Women
Reduced growth of the fetus
Premature birth
Find out more about lead's effects on pregnancy:
Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk. Read more on lead exposure in pregnancy and lactating women (PDF) (302 pp, 4.3 MB, About PDF)

In Adults
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
Cardiovascular effects increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.
Decreased kidney function.
Reproductive problems (in both men and women).

If you have an old lead service line (from the street to your home) and you want it replaced, give Green Tech Plumbing a call. We've been serving the Northwestern Suburbs for more than a decade. We can help you change out that water service line from Lead to Copper, type K, which meets or exceeds building codes in all fifty states.

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