Recent Water Damage Posts

Common Drainage Problems in Your Yard

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

The 4 most common yard drainage problems

When you think of drainage problems, most homeowners immediately think of drains inside the house. However, just like inside drains, yard drain issues can affect your quality of life just as well. Many of these issues are easily avoidable just by doing a routine visual inspection, or periodic maintenance.

1. Clogged Yard Drains and Area Drains

Many things can clog yard drains. Because many yard drains are located near a grass area,  the usual suspects are leaves, twigs, grass cuttings, and trash. It’s always a good idea to periodically check your yard and area drains. You can see a small portion of yard drain from above the grating. It should be easy to see if an accumulation of debris or sediment is obstructing the water flow. This cure can be as simple as opening the grate when necessary and removing these items lying in the base of the drain. This is an easy fix; you can use a garden scoop, or simply put on a rubber glove and use your hand.

<pattachment-486">A clogged area drain can allow water to enter a basement

It is not advisable to flush them with a garden hose, as these items then tend to clog the pipe itself. If there is a long-standing problem that has made its way into the pipe, a sewer cleaning or water jet may be needed. In some cases pushing a pressurized garden hose in and out of the pipe can flush out the debris.

2. Dirt and Debris in Yard Drain

During the Fall season, a heavy load of dirt and debris can easily enter the yard drain. As the leaves begin to dry and fall from the trees, many of them get stuck under the grate. Carrying out yard maintenance and regular cleaning or mowing can help prevent clogging. Before heavy Spring rains occur, always make sure your yard drain gratings are cleaned of any sediment or leaves. This simple step can save you from a flooded area, or property damage. This is particularly true of area drains that are located just outside of an entry door.

While leaves are common culprits, tree roots present the more serious threat. Tree roots often look for the nearest source of water. Since area and yard drain lines are shallow, it is not unusual for roots to penetrate yard drainage lines. Yard drains provide the moisture that the roots need, and roots are strong enough to penetrate through old pipes, causing breaks and blockages.

3. Low Lying Areas with Poor Drainage

Sloping is another factor. The flooded areas in your lawn, or finished areas, are possibly caused by improper sloping or grading of your yard itself. If this is the case, check how the grading is structured in your property. This can be done using a line level, which is simply a line of rope with a level hanging off of it. A more sophisticated device is a lazer level.

<pattachment-485">Pooling water can create health issues

Affected areas usually have a poor drainage design, or no drainage system at all. Even when your own yard water usage does not cause the flood, your neighbor’s sprinkler systems can be the problem due to grading issues. But most frequently it is due to rainwater. In some rare cases dislodged sanitary home drain lines can seep waste water to outside the house itself. Needless to say, this poses the most severe health danger.

4. Stagnant Water

Pools of standing water in your yard is clear sign of drainage problem. If this is the case, there can be multiple underlying issues. As an example, existing hardpan (soil with a high clay content has very poor drainage qualities) in your property and poor grading. A hardpan calls for site-wide inspection and possibly a new drainage plan. The solution may involve excavation in wide areas of the lawn. In areas with high rainfall, pools of standing water make your yard not only aesthetically unpleasing but also a breeding ground for insects, hence health problems. Stagnant water creates the perfect environment for the following insects to breed and thrive: Mosquito, Fly maggots, Dragonfly nymphs, and Water scorpions. Some insects are more than just nuisance. They are known to be carriers of dangerous diseases.

DIY Bathroom Cleaners for Every Surface

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

DIY BATHROOM CLEANER INGREDIENTS·

A heavy-duty cleaning or gardening spray bottle·

1 Cup White Vinegar (Heated)·

1 Tablespoon Dawn Blue Liquid Dish Soap

HOMEMADE BATHROOM CLEANER DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Heat the vinegar on the stove top until hot (NOT boiling) or use your microwave for 60 seconds or less (avoiding a boil). Pour the hot vinegar into the spray bottle.

Step 2: Add the tablespoon of Dawn dish soap or its equivalent to the spray bottle. (Tip: To avoid a vinegar-y smell, use lavender-, citrus-, or tropical-scented dish soap. Regardless, the smell will be rather strong, so consider opening a window or running a fan.)

Step 3: Shake gently.

Step 4: Spray the mixture immediately and liberally onto the intended surface. Because of the heated vinegar, this cleaning solution needs to be used right after preparation, otherwise it will eventually clog the sprayer due to a residue developed by the soap and the acidity of the vinegar as it cools. Only make the amount you need. Discard the rest and thoroughly rinse your sprayer with hot water afterward. (If the surface is grimy from extended periods of dirt or soap scum, then let the concoction sit for 10 to 30 minutes before taking the fifth step.)

Step 5: Use a wet sponge to wipe the grime. Prepare yourself for the shock of how easily it washes away.

How to Detect Leaks in Your In-ground Sprinkler System

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Since much of your home's automatic sprinkler system components are located underground with gallons of water regularly cursing through, how do you know if a leak occurs? In addition to wasting water, in-ground sprinkler system leaks can damage your lawn and garden if they aren’t caught and repaired quickly. Depending on your sprinkler system design, you likely have valves and water lines that run throughout your lawn and landscape that are prone to leaking issues.  Unless you installed a DIY sprinkler system, you may not know precisely where those lines and valves are located.

Spot Leaks in Your In-ground Sprinkler System 

-Look at the differences in water pressure and if the system is spraying low water pressure when it is on

-Mold and mildew on the lawn or grass and plant damage caused by fungus

-Areas that are much greener above the water lines or around the sprinkler heads of your system 

-Water bubbling up when the system is running or a depressed, sunken area in your lawn

-Small holes in your yard

-A sprinkler system line that sprays dirty water

-Signs of animal damage or digging that could cause a leak

Fix a Leak in Your Sprinkler System 

Many leaks can be fixed without professional intervention, saving you a ton on sprinkler system costs.

Step 1: Look for sprinkler heads that don’t spray properly or have low water flow

First, you must locate the leak. If you think the leak is in a water line, look for sprinkler heads in a zone that isn't working or that has very low pressure. You’ll likely find the leak or water line issue somewhere between a working sprinkler head and several non-working ones, especially if that area stays wet and soggy. 

Step 2: Dig Until you Find the Issue 

After you’ve found the leak, carefully dig until you find the component that’s causing the issue (contact your utility company before you start digging). In some cases, you may just need to tighten a clamp or joint, or maybe replace a damaged or torn seal or valve. In some cases, you may need to replace an entire section of pipe.

Step 3: Minimize Leak Issues with Proper Maintenance 

To minimize leak issues, make sure to operate and maintain your in-ground sprinkler system properly. 

Observe all the zones in operation at least weekly during watering months to watch for heads that aren’t spraying correctly and to make sure that the heads are positioned to supply adequate water to all areas of your lawn and garden. Take care when operating lawn mowers and other equipment around sprinkler heads, and keep vehicles off the grass.  Check your control panel regularly to make sure the settings are correct and pay attention to the water pressure when the system is operating.  Keeping a close eye on your automatic irrigation system will help you nip small problems in the bud before they become big ones.

Water Heater Noises?

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

water heater Water Heater Noises?

The water heater may be the most overworked and under-appreciated piece of mechanical equipment in a house. We usually assume it’s doing its job as it should and leave it alone, unless it starts to makes weird and scary noises.

To help you avoid a potentially dangerous and expensive plumbing crisis, we’re looking at four frightening sounds your water heater can make and what they mean.

  1. Popping Sounds

    One of the most common sounds a water heater can make is popping. When that happens, it’s usually an indication that your water heater has an excess of mineral deposits and sediment at the bottom. This is especially problematic in areas that have hard water. Mineral deposits (mainly lime and calcium), sand, and any debris that might travel through the water supply can stick to the bottom of your water heater.

    Eventually, the buildup of gunk at the bottom may trap water beneath the sediment. Think of a pot of water you have on the stove. If you’re not paying attention, and if the heat is too high, the water will boil, and it will continue to boil until it flows over the sides of the pot. In the case of your water heater, at some point, the pressure from the steam bubbles will cause the water tank to explode if your model is older.

    The Solution

    Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to this problem. The best way to prevent sediment from building up is to have the water heater flushed out to remove all of the mineral deposits and sediments. 

  2. Screeching Sounds

    Screeching noises are sometimes indicative of water flow restriction. The most likely cause is the inlet control valve on the water heater. A partially closed valve will prevent water from flowing through the pipes.

    The Solution

    Easy: check the valve to make sure it’s open! If it’s halfway open, turn the valve so it’s now wide open. If that was the problem, the sizzling should stop.

  3. Crackling Sounds

    If you have a gas-powered water heater, it’s possible there’s condensation on the burner. Although the noise may be annoying, it is not a sign of anything wrong with your water heater. No action required, here.

  4. Sizzling Sounds

    If there is a leak in your water heater, that could cause a sizzling sound. The sizzle occurs when leaking water drips onto the burner. If you don’t have hot water, or if you see water on the floor around your water heater, it’s probably coming from a leak.

    The Solution

    Unfortunately, this fix isn’t as easy. A water leak isn’t going to repair itself. Besides the wasted water, you’re wasting energy because the water heater is heating water that no one can use.

    Call SERVPRO of Morro Bay/King City with any questions! 805-674-5771