The Oddest Place You Will Find Sewer Flies

If you happen to notice insects flying around you may find that you have an infestation of drain flies or sewer flies.

Sewer flies are black or brown and furry with big wings. Sometimes they can be mistaken for moths. If you suspect you may have sewer flies but cannot pinpoint where they are coming from, you can place a piece of tape over your drain and check back to see if there are flies on the tape.

Sewer flies can be found in bathroom or kitchen sinks, toilets or even outdoors. Sewer flies feed on organic material in drains and lay their eggs in this same material. It is important to clean your drain in order to eliminate the flies.

You can clean your drains using the following:

  • Use a long handled brush to reach inside of your drain
  • Use a plumbing snake if the material is hard to reach
  • Rinse thoroughly with hot water to remove any remaining material

Sewer flies while pesky are not really harmful, but can carry bacteria. They multiple quickly so it is important to clean your drain as soon as possible.

The Beginner’s Guide to Plumbing/Sewer Maintenance

If you are a new home owner, along with your enjoyment of your new home there are some new responsibilities – such as home maintenance. Home maintenance is worthwhile, as a little maintenance from time to time will save your money and time in the long run – keeping you from having large costs later on.

One area of maintenance that you should know is the use of your plumbing system – avoid putting some items into your plumbing system and you will avoid problems later:

  • Do not pour grease into your drain.
  • Do not put items that are supposedly “flushable” into your toilet, such as paper towels, moist towelettes, diapers, or tampons. The only thing that is really flushable is toilet paper.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, do not put egg shells, bones, watermelon rinds or potato peels in the disposal. These items do not dissolve and may causes problems later on.
  • Do not put antifreeze, solvents, chemicals, paint or paint thinners into your drain. Find a hazardous waste disposal facility to take these items.

An ounce of prevention will save a lot of headaches later. Your plumbing and sewer system will stay in good repair longer if you follow a few simple rules.

Why Are Cleanouts a Good Idea?

Cleanouts provide access to sewer lines from outside of your home, which allows maintenance or repairs to be completed outside of your home. For example, if you came home to a basement full of sewage you would be able to remove this without coming inside the home. Using a cleanout you can look right down into the sewer. It is a great troubleshooting tool – if you notice standing water, you will know exactly where the problem is located.

In order to install a cleanout, you will need to obtain an estimate from an excavating contractor. Ask the contractor to install a plastic T (do not use a Y). A “T” can go toward the house and out towards the street. Cap the plastic T at ground level.

One final bit of advice – do not bury the cleanout or remove it. Don’t park your car or stack firewood on it or use it as a flower pot! It needs to remain accessible when the time comes.

Why Use Water Filters

Depending on where you live and the environment around your water supply the water – your water may have a different taste or odor than normal drinking water. Even if your tap water has a normal taste, you may still want to filter your drinking water. All public water sources go through a disinfection process using chlorine or chloramine. The EPA regulates 91 water contaminants, however, municipal water treatment plants do not remove lead or synthetic organic chemicals.

Use of a water filter will remove impurities by use of a physical barrier, a chemical process or a biological process. A filter removes small particles – home filters include granular-activated carbon filters used for carbon filtering. There are many different types of filters:

  • Countertop, faucet filters or under counter filters work well for cooking and drinking water
  • Shower filters remove chlorine from your bathing water
  • Whole house filters work for drinking, cooking, and bathing water (using UV Sterilization)

Chose the water filter or filter system that best meets your needs for safe, clean, good tasting water.

What Experts are Saying About Roof Vents

What are roof vents? Do I need a roof vent? These are common questions that are asked during construction of a home, regardless of the climate.

Roof vents are used in hot climates to expel solar-heated air from the attic or room to reduce the cooling load and to reduce the strain on your air-conditioning system.

Roof vents are used in cold climates to maintain a cold roof temperature to avoid ice dams that develop from melting snow and to avoid excess moisture from the attic.

In mixed climates roof vents are used for the reasons listed above and if used properly you can achieve both of these goals.

Make sure you consult an expert in ventilation systems to make sure the construction of your roof vent achieves the best possible energy rating, as this will be important when you plan your budget for your energy bills.

Why Are Refrigerator Filters a Good Idea?

Why purchase filtered water when you can have purified water and ice cubes made from your new refrigerator? An inline water filter reduces chlorine, rust, sediment and odors from water and ice dispensing refrigerators.

To install a water filter on your refrigerator, first make sure that your main water supply is turned off. Turn the shutoff valve and disconnect the supply line from the valve. Make sure that you have a bucket handy to catch any water in the supply line. Mark the filter width on the supply line and cut it. Tighten the pipe cutter in small increments to avoid pinching the soft copper tube. Splice the filter into the refrigerator water supply line.

Last, attach the filter to a support to take stress off of the tubing. Write the install date on the filter so you will be reminded to change it in six months.

Changing the filter is quick and easy with the quick snap fittings. Enjoy your filtered water from your new refrigerator.

The Best Ways to Utilize Humidifiers

There are three basic types of humidifiers, table top, console, and in-duct humidifiers. A comparison of these will help you to determine which will best meet your needs:

  • Table top – these work well if you are wanting to humidify one room. The small models should be cleaned and filled daily. You can use a warm air humidifier or a cool air humidifier – both add moisture to the air, a warm air humidifier heats the air to steam and adds warm air into the room. Cool air humidifiers put cool air into the room.
  • Console – these models tend to be noisier, but can humidify more than one room. They can also be rolled from room to room, and require less frequent filling due to a larger water tank, but it may be more cumbersome to fill the water.
  • In duct – these require professional installation but will humidify your entire house. These systems are quiet and require minimal maintenance and are the least expensive, at a cost of about $30 per year.

Any of these systems will work to add moisture to the air to prevent itchy eyes, sore throat, and cracked skin that is caused by dry winter air. Select the system that best fits your needs depending on the size of the area to humidify, maintenance, and cost.

The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Grease Traps

Restaurants and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes need to dispose of grease in large quantities. In fact, there are specific regulations that ensure that grease is not released into the sewer system which could cause a backup of untreated sewage into the environment. Grease, lard and oil solidify when cooled and this can cause blockages or drain clogs.

Grease traps go all the way back to the 1800’s and they are basically boxes within the drain that catch grease and solids before they enter the sewage disposal system. Common wastewater at your home will contain a small amount of oils that is slowly broken down in the septic system. When large amounts of grease and oil are used, a grease trap is needed.

Restaurants and institutions may use an interceptor, which is a larger capacity in ground tank. The brown grease is pumped out and taken to the landfill. Today there is also the option to use a GRD (Grease Recovery Device) which will automatically remove recovered grease and yellow grease can be recycled.

Problems With Heavy Rainfall: Basement Flooding

We have had a lot of rain in the past month in the Peoria, IL area. Did you know that a 12 inch rainfall, for example, can result in 8.34 pounds per gallon hydraulic force? This explains the reason basement water is common during the rainy season.

Some of the things you can do to avoid a wet basement are the following:

  • Divert rainwater away from your home – extend rain gutter spouts and make sure your yard surfaces slope away from your home.
  • Clean gutters and extend them away from your home.
  • Invest in an automatic sump pump and a battery operated back up pump

You may want to invest in an emergency power generator to keep critical systems going during a power outage, such as electrical, well or septic tank pump, sump pump, furnace, and refrigerator.

Why Do People Think Garbage Disposals Are a Good Idea?

Garbage disposals are a good idea, particularly if you select the one that is right for you and use it properly. Garbage disposals are considered “green” and it is possible to have one if you have a septic system. Here are some tips in selecting a garbage disposal:

  • Select a disposal that has at least a 1 HP motor and stainless steel components. (Stainless steel components will not rust or corrode).
  • If you have a septic system, select a disposal that has the components that meet your needs for a septic system – a stage 2 grinding system and injection of microorganisms to help break down the food.
  • An auto-reverse motor will help to dislodge jams.

Regardless of the kind of disposal that you select, make sure that you use it properly – after you hear the food clear from the disposal, run water for an additional 15-20 seconds in order to clear the waste from the pipes.