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Preparing Pipes for Winter

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Winter brings with it many fun and wonderful activities — snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen and drinking hot chocolate. Unfortunately, these simple joys coincide with cold temperatures, treacherous roads, dead car-batteries and damaged shingles. While many of the problems winter throws at us remain beyond our control, avoiding damage to your home from frozen pipes simply requires taking a few precautions.

When the temperature drops into the single digits, the water in your pipes solidifies, causing pipes to expand. In some cases, this expansion causes pipes to burst, generating thousands of dollars in water damage. Along with paying to replace the busted pipe are the additional costs of warped wood, damaged furniture and mementos and possible mold infestation.

To prevent frozen pipes, take these simple precautions:

  1. Keep The Heat On: As one of the busiest times of the year for travel, winter sends families away from home for days or weeks at a time. It can also be one of the most expensive times of the year forcing many homeowners to try to save money by turning down or even completely shutting off their heat while out of town. This mistake likely costing more money when they finally return home. Keeping the temperature of a house five to ten degrees above freezing will help to ensure returning to sound home.


  1. Insulate Exposed Pipes: Insulating exposed pipes prevents them from freezing, especially in attics and basements where your heating system often barely reaches. Wrapping pipes in heating tape or filling the spaces around them with insulation keeps them warmer than the surrounding air. When using heating tape, remember to follow the instructions and keep it away from flammable materials.


  1. Let Faucets Drip: Allowing faucets a slow drip may seem counterintuitive to saving money, but serves as a great strategy to prevent pipes bursting. Leaving a faucet slightly open gives the system an outlet to relieve pressure if the pipes freeze.

When enjoying the winter months this year, stay safe and protect your home from costly damages due to frozen pipes. Simple precautions taken before the temperature drops reduces the likelihood of a cold weather disaster.

For more information about prepping your pipes for winter from the experts at Rapid Plumbing & Drain Service, please contact us here or call us directly at 800.937.5667.

How To Eliminate Odors From Drains

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Drains with odors make using the sinks in your house an unpleasant experience. Often, simply cleaning your drain fails to properly eliminate the problem. When selling your property, nothing turns off potential buyers than strange odors emanating from your sinks. Fortunately, when handled by a trained professional, drain cleaning successfully eliminates foul odors and keeps them from returning.

Most smells in a drain originate from the p-trap. This bend in the pipe collects water, which prevents sewer gases from escaping through the drain and into your home. If there’s a leak or not enough water in the p-trap, those gases pass through the drain and into your house. Substances like toothpaste and hair also get caught in that bend, and the subsequent buildup causes a substance called biofilm to form.

If a low water level exists, you simply need to turn the faucet on and fill it up. If a leak in the pipe exists, patching the leak helps stop the smell. If you are experiencing bad smells caused by biofilm, cleaning out the p-trap helps. This is done by pouring a bio-enzyme cleaner or vinegar and baking soda down the drain, using a long scrubbing tool to clear out the biofilm or removing the p-trap and washing it out.

If the changes above are unsuccessful, or if multiple sinks and toilets in your home smell bad, the problem probably lies with the plumbing vent. These vents help to regulate the pressure in sewage lines, preventing sudden changes in pressure from forcing sewer gas back up through your drains and into your home.

If a leak in the plumbing vent or a blockage exists, it needs to be remedied. Clearing any blockages and patching any leaks helps to prevent bad smells from escaping into your home and prevents further complications.

For more information how to eliminate odors from your drains, please contact us here or call us directly at 800.937.5667.

Signs of Septic System Failure

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Septic system failures make for unpleasant, frustrating and costly problems.

Your septic system handles all of your raw sewage, meaning that a system failure leaves sewage with nowhere to go — except into your yard or back into your home. Many people also understand little about septic systems, leading most to simply replace the septic tank, which might not be the source of the problem.

Fortunately, when signs of septic system failure exist, those who catch them and call trained professionals stand a good chance of successfully fixing the problem.

The primary warning signs of septic system failure include a rotten egg odor around the septic tank, sinks and drains gurgling or draining slowly, sewage backing up and wastewater pooling in and above the drainfield. If the drainfield is in danger of flooding, the grass above it may also be growing exceptionally well. When these symptoms arise, many people diagnose the problem as the septic tank. These signs, while indicators of a problem in the septic system, do not necessarily mean the septic tank is at fault.

There are two main sections of a normal septic system. The septic tank receives solid wastes from the house and uses anaerobic bacteria to break down the solids into simple gases and liquid. The processed liquids then travel to a drainfield, where the liquid waste is absorbed into the ground.

A common problem with this system consists of one of the pipes getting clogged by physical waste, which causes backups in the pipes. Another problem occurs when the anaerobic bacteria in the septic tank fails to decompose the physical matter quickly enough. In this case, physical waste is sent to the drainfield, gathers at the edge of the field and develops into a biomat. This biomat eventually spreads to cover the entire drainfield and prevents water from being absorbed into the ground.

While the septic tank can fail, other possibilities exist. If you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above, call a professional and get their opinion on the situation.

For more information on identifying and preventing septic system failure, please contact us here or call us at 800.937.5667.

The Right Water Heater for You

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Purchasing the wrong water heater for your home causes no shortage of troubles. Buying a smaller water heater leads to shortages of hot water, forcing you to deal with ice cold showers and faucets. On the other hand, owning a larger one drives up energy costs to heat more water than you need.

The right water heater provides you with the right amount of water at an affordable price. The information below provides a guideline for determining the right water heater for you.

First, you need to determine if you prefer a tank or tankless water heater. Traditional water heaters use tanks, and they operate through maintaining a large volume of hot water to dispense throughout the home. Water heaters with tanks typically keep water around 120 degrees Fahrenheit constantly.

On the other hand, tankless water heaters only heat water as needed.  This makes them more energy efficient – however, you can draw more water than it can heat, making hot water less consistent.

Next, determine the amount of water you need for your choice of a tank or tankless water heater. For ones with tanks, we suggest using the chart below created by the Home Depot:

No. of People in Household Gallon Capacity
1 – 2 23 – 36
2 – 4 36 – 46
3 – 5 46 – 56
5 or more 56 or higher


For tankless water heaters, we suggest you add up the gallons per minute (GPM) that every individual fixture and appliance needs and find the total GPM your house needs. The Home Depot’s chart below can give you an idea of how to rate each fixture and appliance in your home:

Fixture/Appliance Typical Flow Rates
Bathroom Faucet 0.5 – 1.5 GPM
Kitchen Faucet 3.0 – 7.0 GPM
Shower 1.0 – 2.0 GPM
Dishwasher 1.0 – 2.5 GPM
Clothes Washer 1.5 – 3.0 GPM


Finally, you need to consider the types of energy available to you. Water heaters typically use either electricity, natural gas, or propane as their energy source. Not all areas of the United States give access to all energy sources, so check with your local energy provider to determine the availability of the energy source for the water heater you want.

For more information about purchasing a water heater, please contact us here or call us directly at 800.937.5667.

How High-Pressure Water Jetting Works

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While many plumbers prefer the short-term solution of simply unclogging your drain, Rapid Plumbing & Drain Service specializes in high-pressure water jetting — the most effective way to clear blockages, grime and other sediments that build up in your drains.

Drain blockages present a large problem to individuals and businesses that rely on their drains to operate properly. For example, restaurants constantly wash dishes and cooking implements, dumping food particles down the drain and causing a buildup of biological material. High-pressure water jetting, also known as hydro-jetting — represents a low-cost, reliable and environmentally-friendly solution for removing blockages and preventing them from reoccurring.

Hydrojetting works through blasting water under high pressure into a pipe. Typical water blasters use pressures anywhere between 7000 PSI (pounds per square inch) to 60000 PSI depending on the situation. Increasing the pressure helps to knock hardened grime and other materials loose, while increasing the flow of the water helps to carry softer materials down the drain.

The head of the hose uses small nozzles that increase the pressure and direct the stream of water.  Forward-facing nozzles remove the blockage, while rear-facing nozzles help push the hose down the pipe and wash out loose debris. High-pressure water jetting also reuses water, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to other cleaning solutions on the market.

Preventing blockages with high-pressure water jetting is just as feasible as removing them.  For businesses like restaurants, having your drains cleaned on a regular basis ensures long-term build ups pose little to no problem, and prevent losing time and money due to a need to address a clogged drain.

For more information on the benefits of high-pressure water jetting, please contact us here or call us at 800.937.5667.