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    Archives for Plumbing Resources

    Subtle Toilet Leaks and How to Solve Them

    Some leaks are obvious. A burst pipe sprays hundreds of gallons of water in a short amount of time into your basement and walls. Other leaks are just irritating. That constant drip-drip-drip from your bathroom faucet is sure to annoy. However, there are also leaks you may not even know are there.

    These secret leaks could be in a number of places, but today we are going to discuss the subtle leaks in your toilet tank. Water from the tank can slowly seep into the bowl and then down the drain. Because the toilet never leaks any of this water onto the ground, it can be easy to overlook this issue and procrastinate on scheduling repair, but that doesn’t mean it wastes any less water!

    What Causes a Toilet Leak?

    More often than not, the leak in your toilet is going to be caused by old, faulty toilet flapper. If you take off your tank lid, you’ll find a small hole at the bottom of the tank covered by a rubber seal. The toilet level lifts this seal and activates the flushing process. If this seal, however, is compromised, water will continuously leak from the tank into the bowl.

    The Dye Test

    You may have heard of a leaky toilet referred to as “running.” However, not all leaking toilets creating the signature whooshing sound as the water leaks. For these situations, we have the handy dye test to provide conclusive evidence of a leak.

    If you suspect that your toilet tank is leaking, drip a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and let it sit. Do not flush the toilet. In a few hours, check back on your bathroom. If the dye has found its way into the toilet bowl, you know the tank is leaking.

    Contact Four Seasons if You Find a Leak!

    If you do discover a problem with your toilet, don’t hesitate to contact Four Seasons! Our professional, licensed plumbers will assess your issue and provide immediate solutions. From a new flapper to a whole new toilet, answers can be found with Four Seasons. Contact us today!

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    valve

    Where to Find Your Main Water Valve

    Knowing where your main water  valve is could mean all the difference, especially in the case of an emergency. When a pipe bursts and hundreds of gallons of water sprays into your basement, floors, or walls, every second counts. So when you purchase a new home or during the buying process, ask your Realtor to show you the location of the water valves. If you don’t know where the water valve is in your current residence, it’s time to take a look around.

    Finding Your Plumbing Valve

    The location of your main water valve greatly depends on the construction of your home. Check the list below for the home arrangement that most closely resembles your residence and search at the noted location.

    • Basement: If your home has a basement, the shut-off valve is most often located near the front foundation wall. This should be where your main water enters the home through the foundation and the valve should be in its immediate proximity. Sometimes it could also have been redirected to enter the home through a mechanical room of some sort in the basement.
    • Crawlspace + Basement: For homes with both a basement and crawlspace the situation could be a little different. In most instances, the water valve will be located on the front foundation or in a mechanical room just like any other home with a basement; however, older homes have been known to place their valve in a crawlspace. If this describes your home and there is no secondary valve elsewhere in the basement, make sure you have a clear path to this valve in the case of an emergency.
    • Crawlspace with No Basement: Seek out your water heater and chances are your shut-off valve won’t be far off, but this is not always the case. As above, the valve could be located in the crawlspace, so locate a secondary valve or make sure the route through your crawlspace is easily accessible.
    • Slab-on-Grade Construction: Most often, the valve will be by your water heater, but all homes are different.

    The Next Step: Contact a Four Seasons Plumber!

    Now that the water has been turned off, it is time to address the problem at hand. Contact the licensed plumbers at Four Seasons for immediate assistance and expert solutions. Regardless of the nature or scope of your plumbing problem, there is a Four Seasons professional in your neighbor ready to lend a hand.

    Contact us today!

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    Hot water tank

    Why You Should Drain Your Water Heater

    Our water heaters account for about 25% of our energy use just to keep hot water ready on demand. Furthermore, we depend on our hot water system for showers, laundry, dishwashing, and numerous other chores and activities. So, it is very important to not only equip your home with the most efficient hot water option available but also ensure that your water heater operates in peak condition.

    Part of this maintenance involves draining your unit every year to remove a sediment layer from the bottom of the tank.

    Why Does the Tank Need to Be Drained?

    Over time, a layer of sediment forms on the bottom of your hot water tank. This sediment is composed of any solid that was unable to dissolve in your water supply and may consist of anything ranging from sand to metals like iron and magnesium. Now, a small layer is normal and will not affect the water heaters operation, so it is not necessary to have a completely spotless tank. However, after a year of use, the sediment layer is reaching a point where it could diminish the efficiency of the tank or worse yet, cause it to malfunction.

    Benefits of a Sediment-Free Water Heater

    • Increased Efficiency: The sediment acts as an insulating layer between the heat source and the water in the tank. This forces your water heater to expend additional fuel to achieve the desired water temperature. Remove the sediment and ensure your unit will operate as efficiently as possible.
    • Increased System Lifespan: Leaving the sediment to accumulate will degrade your unit and eventually cause it to fail by clogging the drain valve. Protect your investment and get the most out of your hot water tank.

    Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Hot Water Tank!

    Four Seasons offers high-efficiency water heaters with same day installation! Instead of fighting with an old inefficient unit, upgrade to a new hot water tank with the Guardian System™ and Sensor. This system protects your home from water heater malfunction by immediately shutting off your hot water tank as soon as it detects a threat. Any risk is immediately neutralized, and Four Seasons’ 24 hour emergency repair service can be on its way at a moment’s notice.

    Contact us today for a FREE estimate on your hot water tank replacement!

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    Cracked Toilet

    3 Possible Ways Your Toilet Cracked

    It’s often the doom of a toilet. A hairline crack in the bowl or tank can be sealed with epoxy, but if left to grow, it could be beyond repair. But the question still remains, How did the toilet crack in the first place? Porcelain is certainly not indestructible, but it can be depended on as a durable material in the low-impact activities of a bathroom. It can just seem so unlikely that damage would come to the toilet.

    Surprisingly, several factors could have caused or contributed to your cracked toilet. If your toilet is leaking water from the crack, turn off your water and contact Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewers for assistance.

    Toilet Crack Causes

    • Impact: We’ll start with the most obvious. Something hit your toilet. Did a vase or heavy tissue box holder fall off the counter? Has anyone slipped in the bathroom? Accidents happen and sometimes they can damage your toilet.
    • Cracks from DIY Projects: As durable as porcelain may seem, the average DIY repair could easily lead to a damaged toilet. Even something as simple as over-tightened bolts can crack the tank. Furthermore, when placing the tank lid back on the toilet, remember to lay it down gingerly. The lid can be heavy and a sudden drop can crack the top of the lid. When repairing a toilet, it is best to leave it to professionals.
    • Cracks from Age: Nothing lasts forever. As toilets age, they become more vulnerable to cracks. When cleaning your bathroom, be sure to inspect your toilet for any damages and keep an eye out for developing cracks.

    Repairing or Replacing Your Toilet: Look at the Crack!

    The nature of your crack will determine the outcome. Of course, not every situation can be boiled down to an either-or situation, but the following can operate as a rule of thumb. If a crack is a small, single hairline crack, it can be repaired in most situations. However, if the crack breaks off into different threads and resembles something like the veins on a leaf, this is bad news. This almost always requires a complete replacement of the toilet.

    Contact the Licensed Plumbers at Four Seasons for Timely Plumbing Solutions

    Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewers exclusively employs licensed plumbers to address the needs of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Equipped to handle projects large and small, our team is standing by and ready to help. Contact us today for a free estimate on your plumbing project!

    Schedule Plumbing Service!

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    rogue plumber

    ABC7 News Warns of Rogue Plumbers in Chicago!

    In a detailed report on July 23, Jason Knowles of ABC7 exposed a dangerous problem for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana residents. Unlicensed and uninsured plumbers are posing as credible businesses to lure homeowners into drastically overpaying for plumbing services.

    Rogue plumbers charged one homeowner $10,000 for emergency repairs. When he filed an insurance claim for the job, his agent told him his repairs should have only cost $1,800.

    Another homeowner also hired the same plumbing company to restore running water to her home. When it was all said and done, her bottom line for the repair soared to $17,800, but her insurance company would only cover $13,000. This left her to pay the difference of over $4,000 out of pocket.

    These are prime examples of home repair fraud, and this company was only one rogue of many.

    Read the full ABC7 Report here!

    Rogue Plumber Red Flags

    Don’t be the victim of a rogue plumber! Before you hire any contractor, be sure to research the company’s legitimacy.

    • Contracts and Estimates: If a plumber does not provide an estimate or contract for your job or presents one with branding other than their own company, this is a red flag! Verify their connection to the represented brand or ask for a contract and a quote before any work begins!
    •  Business and Plumbing Licenses: Verify the company and plumber’s license numbers and make sure it is printed on any contract they present you. Rogue plumbers will rarely have a licensed number, and if they do, it could be forged.
    •  Fully Bonded and Insured: Verify that the contractor is fully insured and bonded. Liability insurance covers you if the plumber does damage to your property. Bonding, however, works a little differently. A company’s bond will protect you if the contractor fails to complete the job, doesn’t cover the cost of permits, or fails to fulfill other financial obligations. It is absolutely crucial that the contractor you select for your home is fully bonded and insured.
    • BBB Accreditation and Years in Business: Many of these rogue plumbers operate under two or three company names at the same time. None of these companies last very long and many of their business addresses are also their home addresses. Research the company through the Better Business Bureau, see how long they have been in business, and read customer experiences with this group. You’ll get a good sense of their legitimacy with just a few key facts.
    • Professionalism: You can learn a lot about the plumbing company just by their professionalism. Is the plumber wearing a uniform branded with the company logo? Does their service vehicle share the same branding? Legitimate companies are trying to earn your repeat business, and as a result, will conduct themselves as such. A rogue plumber, on the other hand, is only looking to get in and get out with as much money as possible.

    Trust Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s True Plumbing Professionals

    Four Seasons is licensed in both Illinois and Indiana, and we only hire licensed and experienced plumbers to address your needs. We have an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and have won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for six years in a row. The difference between a true plumbing company and a rogue is clear. Contact Chicagoland’s most trusted source for residential and commercial plumbing today and receive a FREE estimate (with a written contract)!

    Schedule Service Here!

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    brown water

    What’s Causing Your Brown Tap Water?

    It’s quite the shock early in the morning to turn on your shower or sink to find it spewing nauseous brown-colored water. It certainly brings the whole morning routine to a halt. After the initial surprise has passed, what do you do? Why is the water brown in the first place? Is it dangerous to the health of my family? Will it go away on its own? The questions go on and on, but what’s most important is how you respond to this issue and restore clean water to your home.

    Brown Water Origins

    Chances are if you have brown water coming from your pipes, your problem is rust somewhere within your pipeline. Galvanized iron pipes can rust internally, and the rust flakes will dissolve in your water and turn it an unappealing shades of brown.

    Furthermore, it could be your hot water tank causing the brown water. Water heaters have a sacrificial anode rod designed to delay rusting inside of the tank. If that sacrificial anode rod is entirely used up and not replaced, the inside of your hot water tank will begin to rust.

    If it is a pipe, which pipe is rusting and where it’s located in the pipeline is another question entirely. If you are hooked up to a municipal water source, it could be a rusty city line causing the problem. If not, then the pipe in question resides somewhere on your property. Call your city and ask if there have been any rusty water complaints for your area. If they haven’t received any, it is time to call the professionals at Four Seasons.

    Water Use in the Home

    So, the water is brown. That doesn’t mean that life can stop! It just means that much of the convenience of running water is going down the drain for a while. Don’t wash your clothes in brown water, the rust will stain most bright colors and especially white. We do not recommend you cook or clean with rusty water either. Instead, we recommend going to Laundromats and purchasing large jugs of fresh water at your local convenience store to tide you over until the problem is resolved.

    On the bright side, the toilet should work normally.

    Contact the Professional Plumbers at Four Seasons!

    Four Seasons offers 24 hour emergency plumbing repair throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. If you encounter rusty water and need an inspection of your plumbing system, trust the licensed plumbers at Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewer.

    Contact Us Today!

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    plumber

    Drain Technicians vs. Our Licensed Plumbers

    When a plumbing issue like a clogged drain or septic problem strikes your home, who do you call? Whether you search online or in the phone book, you are sure to come across to options to solve your problem. Some companies may use “Drain Technicians” but Four Seasons only employs licensed and experienced plumbers. While the difference between these two positions may not be obvious at first, the difference in quality after a job is sure to show through.

    Drain Tech vs. Plumber Qualifications

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    Flood carpet

    Cleaning Up After a Flood: Carpeting

    Regrettably, this week’s blog post is going to directly apply to too many families after the recent storms we’ve had, and it doesn’t look like they are going to slow down anytime soon. Even with only an inch of water, the damage can be extreme and the repairs can be expensive. It’s important to handle this situation correctly and address all the issues at hand.

    There’s too much information to cover every step in one short blog post, so for the moment we will focus on one of the most pressing issues, the carpet.

    Flood Cleanup and Prevention

    First and foremost, get in touch with your insurance provider. Your agent will be able to tell you the details of your flood insurance if you have any. Be sure to take a lot of photographs as you clean. You will need the documentation later. From there, you can address your carpet.

    The key to salvaging your carpet is to act quickly.

    Cleaning: Pull up the carpet and drape it outside as quickly as possible. Use a hose to rinse out any dirt in the carpet and use a disinfecting carpet cleaner on any soiled spots. Still, mildew can develop while the carpet dries. Rinse the carpet again with a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water. However, this solution is not to be used on wool or nylon carpets. This carpet must now be thoroughly dried before replacing.

    Stuck in Place: If for whatever reason, the carpeting cannot be pulled up, use a wet/dry vacuum and dehumidifier to suck up as much water as possible. Be sure to open windows to encourage ventilation.

    Replace Entirely: Some carpeting cannot be salvaged. If sewage-contaminated water has soaked into the carpet, it is best to replace entirely for health and safety reasons.

    Flood Prevention Systems

    If your home flooded once, there’s nothing to stop it from flooding again. Consider a battery backup system and or a standby home generator to ensure your sump pump has the power it needs when the next storm hits. Don’t delay, contact the licensed plumbers at Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewer to schedule service and protect your home today!

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    Plunger

    A Handy Shower Remedy: Use a Plunger!

    If you own a toilet, chances are you own a plunger as well. It just comes with the territory. Every so often, circumstances will cause your toilet to clog, and in most instances, a plunger can address the problem deftly and decidedly. But outside this narrow window of responsibility, your plunger just sits in the closet waiting to be used.

    When our shower and tub drains clog, do we ever think to turn to our plunger? Most of us rush out to the store to buy some chemical-based drain cleaner which will only delay the inevitable and could corrode your pipe lining with continued use. The truth is that the hair and soap scum clogging your tub or shower is best removed through natural or professional means.

    How to Use Your Plunger in the Shower!

    •  Remove the overflow plate: It will likely be screwed into place, so if you cannot do it by hand, grab a screw driver and carefully remove the overflow plate. Make sure you don’t drop the screws down the drain!
    • Inspect Your Drain: You might be able to see the clog, and if you can stomach it, remove the clump of hair or soap scum. If not, ready your plunger.
    • Just Add Water: Fill the shower/tub with just enough water to cover the bottom of the plunger.
    • Plunge it: Through deliberate forceful plunges in a steady rhythm, you should be able to loosen the clog.
    • Inspect Your Drain Again: Is the water draining quickly? No? Repeat!

    Tub or Shower Won’t Unclog? Call Four Seasons!

    Some clogs are just stubborn. No matter how much plunging you do, they simply won’t give. You need to call in the professionals. Four Seasons only hires licensed, professional plumbers and services the entire Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana area! For emergency service 24/7 with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays, contact Four Seasons today!

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    plumbing

    Why Copper and PVC Pipes?

     

    The plumbing system of our homes is an intricate network of pipes carrying water of different temperatures to various spigots, faucets, appliances, and showers. It can be easy to take this important system for granted, but a lot of thought, work, and planning goes into each plumbing system.

    For example, the piping material alone greatly affects the longevity and durability of your system. Whatever material is chosen must be able to withstand both extremes of temperature, up to 80psi of pressure, and maintain sanitation levels within the flowing water.

    Almost universally, plumbers choose a combination of copper and PVC piping to construct and repair the plumbing systems of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana… but why?

    The Right Plumbing Material for the Job

    • It’s Easy to Work With: Copper is softer than other metallic alternatives which makes it far easier to cut and handle. Additionally, PVC piping is a plastic and even easier than copper to shape.
    • It’s Safe: Considering plumbing piping used to be made with lead, it is no surprise that copper and PVC are so popular. Each is completely safe to house and transport your drinking water.
    • Non-Corrosive: There would be few worse than pipes being slowly eaten away by the water than flows through them. Imagine how often you would have to replace pipes! That’s another great reason to choose PVC and copper—neither material corrodes in water.
    • Inexpensive: In comparison to other materials, copper and PVC piping is a very cost-effective choice especially considering the durability of the materials.

    Need Plumbing Help? Contact Four Seasons Today!

    The Four Seasons plumbers are all licensed in both Illinois and Indiana and come prepared with years of experience in the field. Capable and competent, our plumbers address all manner of residential and commercial issues. If you are interested in new piping for your home or any other plumbing need, Four Seasons is ready to help. Contact us today!

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    How To Save Water

    Top 4 Foods that Will Destroy Your Garbage Disposal

    We tend to think of our garbage disposals as unstoppable grinding machines capable fo crushing and disposing of anything and everything we throw down there. Just press a button, turn on the water, and watch your waste disappear…

    The truth is much less extreme. While garbage disposals can comfortable remove a wide range of foodstuffs, there are some things that are better placed in the garbage can, and then there are those foods that could destroy the disposal itself.

    Keep these Foods Away from Your Garbage Disposal

    • Bones or Large Pits: Your garbage disposal is not unstoppable, and really tough items like bones or large pits that you would find in a peach or avocado will be too dense for the blades. Even chicken bones which are notoriously frail should not be placed down the disposal.
    •  Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables: We’re talking about celery, corn husks, asparagus, and any fruit or vegetable composed of long strands bunched together. While this organic waste is certainly soft enough, the blades of the garbage disposal may not cut through all the strands. Instead, they will wrap around the blades and eventually clog the whole system.
    •  Egg Shells: This one may come as a surprise, but egg shells will actually stick to the sides of the disposal and accumulate over time. They can also catch over food waste as it goes past and accumulate into a serious clog.
    • Grease and Oil: Not only is grease and oil bad for your garbage disposal, it is bad for your drain as a whole. Grease is not washed away by water alone (that’s why we have to use soap). So, pouring grease or oil down a drain will cause it to cling to the sides and act as an adhesive. Other foodstuffs will also be caught and form a nasty clog just like egg shells.

    Need Help? Call a Four Seasons Plumber!

    Whether your drain is clogged or your garbage disposal is jammed, there is a Four Seasons Plumber on call and ready to lend a hand. We offer 24 hour emergency service for all manner of residential and commercial plumbing issues, so don’t hesitate to call!

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    Green Clean Bathroom

    Green Clean Your Bathroom!

    When guests are soon to visit, the bathroom has to be presentable. Even your closest friends and family do not want to encounter stains, mildew, or buildup when using the facilities. Still, the store-bought bathroom cleaners create those noxious fumes which irritate your eyes, nose, and lungs when used properly. If improperly mixed, they can even create a toxic gas. There was a time before these chemicals were in every home in America, and people still managed to clean their bathrooms. How did they do it, you say?

    Two Ingredients for a Green Cleaned Bathroom

    Your two main ingredients in your green clean arsenal are vinegar and baking soda. With just these two substances (probably already lying around in your house) your bathroom can sparkle every week. Let’s quickly run through the fixtures and explain how it’s done.

    • Toilets: Start with an easy one, combine a half cup of vinegar with a spoonful of baking soda and pour it into the toilet bowl. Let sit for 30 minutes and scrub with your toilet brush. That’s it! You can now focus on the next part of the bathroom.
    • Sinks and Vanity: Alright, let’s move onto something a little more involved. Because the sink and vanity won’t get quite as dirty as your toilet and showers, you need to dull the power of your vinegar and baking soda. So, make a spray cleaner by combining two cups of baking soda, ½ cup of natural dish soap, 1 cup of water, and finally a ½ cup of vinegar. Use this to spray down the sink and counters like you would any other spray cleaner. To make your fixtures shine, use a combination of 1 part vinegar, 1 part baking soda.
    • Shower and Tub: Onto the heavy hitters! The shower and tub are bound to be the dirtiest, the most stained, and would normally require the most intense chemical combinations to purify. Instead, just mix some baking soda with an all-natural dish soap. This will thicken into a paste perfect for removing soap scum as well as rust and hard water stains. Apply with a sponge and rinse with warm water. If you are menaced by mildew, switch to your other weapon, vinegar. Fill a spray bottle, spritz the mildew, and let it dry. Follow up with a second spritz and wipe the mildew away. For the shower head itself, treat it like you would your sink faucet, and voila! Your shower and tub should be just as clean without any of the unpleasantness of harsh chemicals.

    Contact a Four Seasons Plumbing Professional

    Having a clean bathroom is one thing, but having one that works is another matter entirely. If your toilet fails to flush, your drains don’t drain, or anything leaks, a Four Seasons Plumber awaits your call! Contact Four Seasons today for emergency service 24/7 with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays.

    Contact us today!

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    How To Save Water

    How to to Conserve 20,000 Gallons of Water this Year!

    For perspective, 20,000 gallons of water is enough water to fill a swimming pool. Seem impossible? It’s not!

    Every day, we consume far more water than we realize, and with just a few simple steps, we can drastically reduce our usage, save energy, and save money. It’s also important to note that all the numbers below are for a single man or woman living alone. For an estimate on family values, multiply by the number of family members. So, get ready to follow along with the math as we try to reach 20,000 gallons!

    20,000 Gallons of Water in a Year

    • Upgrade Your Toilet: Toilets are some of the largest consumers of water in your home and for good reason. Outdated toilets have been known to use between 5-7 gallons per flush. Plus, many homeowners use their toilet as a second garbage can. So if one were to use just one less flush per day by no longer flushing tissues, cue-tips, and scrap paper and upgraded to a high-efficiency toilet, they could save…
      • 5gpf X 5 (average flushes per day) = 25 X 365 = 9125 gpy
      • 28gpf X 4 (new average flushes per day) = 1868.8 gpy
      • 9125 – 1868.8 = 2 gallons saved per year per toilet
    • Install a Low-Flow Showerhead: According to National Geographic, a low-flow showerhead can save up to 15 gallons in a 10 minute shower. This simple upgrade alone can make a massive difference in your annual water consumption.
      • 15 gallons X 365 showers a year = 5,475 gallons saved per year!
    • Turn the Faucet Off While Brushing Your Teeth: You hear this one a lot, right? There’s no need to run the faucet while you are brushing your teeth. The water spent there is completely wasted, but do you know just how much water?
      • 2 minutes spent brushing teeth X 2 gallons/min = 4 gallons per brushing session.
      • 4 gallons X 2 sessions X 365 = 2920 gallons
      • .25 gallons spent with tap off X 2 sessions X 365 = 182.5 gallons
      • 2920 – 182.5 = 2,737.5 gallons saved per year
    • Use a Dishwasher: I know; this one is a hard sell. Use perhaps the most convenient appliance in the kitchen? C’mon! Still, an EnergyStar dishwasher will go a long way in conserving water. However, depending on method of washing, quality of dishwasher, and frequency of loads will affect these numbers greatly.
      • 2 gallons per minute X 27 minute average hand-washing time = 54 gallons per cycle’s worth
      • 54 gallons X 2 cycle’s worth per week X 52 weeks = 5616 Gallons spent hand-washing per year
      • 8 gallons per dishwashing cycle X 2 cycles per week X 52 Weeks per year = 603.2 gallons per year
      • 5616 – 603.2 =8 gallons of water saved per year

    Total Water Saved = 20,481 Gallons

    Bonus Tip! Fix Leaks Immediately with a Four Seasons Plumber

    All leaks are different, but each one will waste hundred of gallons of water if left unchecked. If your faucet, pipes, or any other plumbing fixture springs a leak, contact Four Seasons 24 hours a day, seven days a year for plumbing service with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays.

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    What Protects Your Water Heater from Rusting?

    As we all know, water over periods of exposure creates the chemical reaction which turns metal into rust. How is it then that a hot water tank, a device constantly filled with water, avoids rusting? Is the fate of every hot water tank to eventually corrode from the inside out? Of course not! Instead, hot water tanks are fitted with a galvanic anode or otherwise known as a sacrificial anode.

    The Sacrificial Anode and Your Water Heater

    • What does it do?
      The sacrificial anode is placed inside the tank of your water heater for the sole purpose of rusting. With an anode in place, the interior of the tank will not rust. The sacrificial anode will corrode instead leaving your hot water tank free to continue functioning normally.
    • How does it work?
      Essentially, the anode is made from a more “active” metal, and when introduced to the water alongside the standard metallic materials in a water heater, the sacrificial anode becomes a much more “attractive” option for rust to form upon. So long as bits of the anode remain to rust away, no other component of the hot water tank will suffer.
    • How long do they last?
      On average, your sacrificial anode will last between two and 6 years, but the longevity can be influenced by a number of factors including heat of the water. If your hot water tank is over 6 years old, your sacrificial anode has likely corroded away. This leaves your hot water tank vulnerable to rust.

    Contact Four Seasons for a Rheem Hot Water Heater!

    If your hot water tank has experienced difficulty, can no longer provide enough hot water for your family, or is growing old, Four Seasons can replace your tank today! Plus, with the Trade in Your Tank program, we will properly dispose of your old tank and even credit you $100 towards your new one.

    Schedule your FREE estimate today!

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    Heavy Rain and Sump Pumps

    4 Ways to Prevent Flooding this Spring

    We just entered the month of March and that means soon the snow will thaw and spring will be here. Of course, with Spring comes green grass, budding flowers, and heavy rains. If your home is not properly prepared for the precipitation, you could find yourself dealing with a serious flood. Prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage with these flood prevention tips!

    Protect Your Home from Flooding!

    • Gutters and Downspouts: Be sure your gutters are clear of debris by spring. Over the course of the winter, twigs, dirt, and other blockages could have formed. When the water eventually thaws and the rains come, these obstructions will cause the water to overflow out the side and pool at your foundation.
    • Window Well Covers: If your basement has windows it is absolutely essential you purchase window well covers. Otherwise you could find yourself with inches of water accumulating in these pits just waiting to seep through your windows.
    • Septic Tanks and Sewers: Be sure to have your sewer line inspected! Heavy rainfall is sure to hit Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana at some point this spring and an overburdened sewer line or septic tank could flow back into your home.
    • Foundation Cracks: Cracks in your foundation are the most direct path for water to enter your home. Before spring arrives, search the exterior foundation and your basement’s walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill in any cracks and masonry sealer indoors.

    Contact Four Seasons for a Zoeller Sump Pump!

    First and foremost, your home needs a capable sump pump system with a battery backup. The majority of flooded homes occur during a power outage when the sump pump can no longer remove water. Ensure your home is covered with a Zoeller Sump Pump and the Midwest’s most trusted plumbing resource, Four Seasons!

    Contact us for pricing on your new sump pump!

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    Sump Pump Preparation

    This winter was recorded with the 3rd most snowfall in document history with just shy of 80 inches of snow! While most of it has come and gone, there’s still plenty of snow and ice out there that needs to thaw and melt in the coming weeks. Tack on the April showers we have come to expect, and Chicago land is poised for some serious flooding this spring season. To prevent home flooding (and the hardships it brings), it is highly recommended to have a working sump pump ready to alleviate any water buildup, but after months of ice and snow, how can we be sure the pump is still operational?

    Testing Your Sump Pump

    Every sump pump is equipped with a manual test procedure you can follow to determine whether or not the device is fully operational. Sump pumps are triggered when a certain amount of water accumulates in the sump pump pit where it is housed. So, to manipulate this, we are going to artificially simulate a flood by dumping a 5 gallon bucket of water into the pit. This should be enough fluid to trigger the device without actually overflowing into your basement. Once the additional water has be dumped, the sump pump should activate and drain the water in the pit back to normal levels.

    Battery Backup for Sump Pumps

    Fantastic! Your sump pump is working as expected! With this device in operation, your home is protected against most flooding risks. However, this system does have an Achilles Heel. A sump pump is directly connected to the home’s power supply. Thus, if this power supply were to ever become compromised, your home would be left defenseless. Unfortunately, powerful storms, blackouts, and flooding go hand in hand.

    This flaw in the system is easily correct by a battery backup available from Four Seasons. With this security device installed, you can achieve peace of mind knowing that even in a blackout, your sump pump is still in operation and ready to protect your home from a rapid thaw or thunderstorm.

    Contact Four Seasons today to discuss sump pump options for your home.

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    Black Rings Inside a Toilet Bowl

    Black rings around the toilet not only look disgusting, but they may be a buildup of toxic materials that smell bad and can potentially put your health at risk. A constant shift between wet and dry conditions inside a toilet bowl makes the perfect breeding grounds for dirt and mold. Knowing what type of stain you are trying to remove will help determine the proper cleaning solution.

    What Creates Black Rings Inside a Toilet Bowl?

    Hard Water Deposits: Anytime a surface that comes in contact with your home’s water supply on a regular basis such as faucets, shower heads, and toilet bowls, it becomes susceptible to an accumulation of residue. Water flows from the toilet tank and into the bowl through series of small holes or ports located under the rim. Over a period of time, hard water deposits will begin building not only in the ports but also around the port openings and the rim of the toilet. When this happens, residue provides a non-slick coating for waste and other grime to collect where it will not wash down the drain after each flush.

    Mold and Mildew: Your toilet is its own enemy when it comes fighting off mold and mildew. Both fungi require a moist environment to stay alive. Because water deposits build-up under a toilet’s rim, it can take only 24-48 hours for colonies to start breeding. As it grows, you will see what looks like black debris or rings inside the bowl. This can cause respiratory problems for people as the mold and mildew release tiny spores into the air.

    Sewer Organisms: These are living things, not visible to the naked eye that feed off waste in sewer systems and drain pipes. During hot and humid weather, they may pass through a toilet’s trap and make their way into the bowl. Once this happens, they will live under the rim and release a smell similar to a sewer after each flush.

    Get Rid of those Rings!

    Commercial cleaners and bowl scrubbers alone will not entirely get rid of the black ring in your toilet. For hard water deposits, add ½ cup of vinegar into bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes before adding ½ cup of baking soda. You will notice the ingredients in the water will begin to fizz. When this happens, oxygen is being released and starts to breakdown the stain. Use brush to remove leftover residue. To clean, sanitize, and eliminate mold/mildew stains or sewer organisms use bleach. Flush toilet before cleaning. Apply 6 oz. under and around rim to coat the inside of bowl. Scrub entire surface and allow solution to sit for 5 minutes for sanitizing; then flush. Do not allow anyone or pets to access the toilet during this time. Because your safety is our top priority, please use proper safety measures when addressing these stains! Use rubber gloves and safety glasses when cleaning.

    NOTE: Never mix cleaning solutions! When certain chemicals are combined, they will release a toxic gas that is extremely dangerous or fatal when inhaled.

    If your concerns go beyond a simple cleaning of your toilet or require a professional, contact us. Four Seasons only hires licensed plumbers with years experience capable of addressing any plumbing job large and small. We offer emergency plumbing services 24/7 with no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. Contact us today!

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    Biggest Plumbing Mistakes

    Top 4 Biggest Plumbing Mistakes You Can Make!

    Everyone makes mistakes; it is part of being human. Sometimes mistakes cost money, sometimes they make a mess. When it comes to plumbing, big mistakes are both expensive and a pain to clean up. So, to help you avoid the worst pitfalls in home plumbing, we’ve assembled the top four plumbing mistakes.

    •  DO NOT use to much drain cleaner: while commercial drain cleaning solutions can be a tempting quick fix to a stubborn clog, they rarely deliver a complete solution. Instead of clearing the pipe, most drain cleaners will only create or widen a small hole for water to flow through. This leaves your pipe vulnerable to clogging soon after and prompts you to once again resort to drain cleaner. Do not fall into this hazardous cycle! The powerful chemicals that compose the commercial drain products will dissolve both PVC and metal pipes if overused. It is best to treat these options as a temporary fix before a plumber can truly solve the problem.
    •  DO NOT leave an outside hose connected in winter: the hoses outside our homes are absolute necessities to anyone who gardens, has landscaping, or washes their car on the driveway, but in the winter months, these trusty faucets are less than useless. If left attached during a cold snap, they increase the likelihood of frozen and burst pipes.
    • DO NOT mismatch your pipes: When a small leak springs in the piping, many homeowners choose to replace the pipe themselves in an effort to save time and money. Because they are not experienced plumbers, however, they often select the wrong pipe size or material. This small mistake could make all the difference. For example, galvanized metal pipes should not directly connect to copper pipes due to the increased chance of corrosion.

    The Biggest Mistake, Not Choosing an experienced plumber!

    Four Seasons is Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s most trusted source for residential and commercial plumbing. Our reputation for excellence and track record of superior service has earned us the 2015 BBB Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, the organization’s highest honor. So, the biggest plumbing mistake you can make is not choosing the award winning, licensed plumbers at Four Seasons. Contact us today for plumbing projects of all sizes.

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    The Clogged Drain

    Clogged drains, though common, are still a problem best left to a professional. While there are hundreds of chemicals, bottles, vinegars, and more commercial products designed to correct this type of issue, these items may do more harm than good.

    • Minimum Effectiveness: These chemicals oftentimes only dissolve the tiniest portion of the clog—just enough to allow a little water to flow once again. Sure, the drain works once more, but in all reality, this is a temporary fix. In a short while, you’ll be back at the general store buying more drain cleaner.
    • Acidity: The biggest problem with these cleaners is their high acidity. Because these products don’t completely remove the clog, you’ll have to use them again before long. Frequent of chemicals and acids can overtime dissolve the pipe joint itself creating a much larger mess, and a much more expensive repair.

    The Alternative

    The other option is to hire a professional trained to assess and solve situations exactly like this. Our licensed plumbers use drain snakes and pipe rodding to eliminate clogs, thus removing the problem entirely instead of putting it off another day. Next time you have a plumbing predicament, call the true plumbing professionals at Four Seasons Plumbing & Sewer.

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