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Tinley Park, IL

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Residential and Commercial plumbers and plumbing contractors available in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Midlothian, Oak Forest, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, and the surrounding Chicago South Suburbs. 24 Hour Emergency plumbers.

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Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing Blog

Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing is Tinley Park, Orland Park, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Orland Hill, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Crestwood, Palos Heights, Oak Lawn, local plumber. Read our blog for advice, tips, a good laugh, and basic home improvement.

**We are moving our old blog to our new and improved website. Too see all our posts visit kevinszabojrplumbing.blogspot.com

Filtering by Tag: Home Owners

Plumbing Problems That Most House Owners Ignore

Rona Regan

Plumbing Problems that most house owners ignore

In a survey it was concluded that 30% of new house owners actually see their dream turning into nightmare just because they didn't give any value to the plumbing problems before they made the purchase.

Do you know if you have a leaky faucet that drips twice per minute, you’ll waste over a gallon of water in a week?

You must have heard of the story of a new house owner who found out that his gas supply was coming from the garden? Or of a professional handyman who fixed the leaking roof problem of the previous owners by hiding it behind a fresh coat of paint? How about $5 million house with a beautiful bathroom & kitchen renovations all put on an old clay sewer that collapsed shortly after the settlement? The previous one cost the new owner $30,000 to rectify.

The scariest thing about these real life stories is that the house owners had the properties checked prior to the purchase, still then none of the issues were highlighted. Most buyers don’t even bother to check the plumbing before they buy the house because it isn’t their area of expertise, but some experts do not have those expertise either. So make sure you read this blog till the end & get the necessary awareness.

LET’S START FROM THE ROOF

A little check before the purchase may prevent you from spending $15,000 - $30,000.

1. How old is the roof? 

You should actually go to the roof and check the roof if it is rusty. If it is, then you need to raise a red flag. Some roofs even have seedlings growing from them.

2. Is it renovated or newly painted?

Is this a cover up or a spruce up?

3. Hidden access points

Normally if people have something to hide they do it on the roof or the subfloor area, they do it with the help of access points. Be very cautious if you find an access point and inquire further if you find one.

THE ACTUAL INSIDE OF HOUSE

Most of the faults related to water are hidden from the new owner, which can add significantly to the final budget.

4. Tiling job done bad

If your tiles are in a slapdash manner, imagine what the underneath waterproofing is like. A shoddy waterproofing can result in a huge drain on the funds as you’ll need to pay for the leak detection, then small repairs & eventually a full bathroom renovation.

5. Kitchen & Bathroom renovations

When you were purchasing the home who did the renovation: either the building company or the own builder. In any of the case potential buyers should be aware of the quantity of the renovation & inspect it with a fine-toothed comb.

6. Where is the drainage diagram?

Now days most of the contractors have the sewer service diagram attached. If there is no diagram you should ask for it. Principle advantage of the diagram is that it consists of all the drainage repairs occurred. If the homeowner fail to present the diagram this should raise a red flag for you.

THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOME

A major storm water issue might cost you $15,000+, so make sure to keep an eye on the open ended problems right before you final the deal.

7. How old is the hot water unit?

This information is usually available on the badge of the hot water unit. Normally they have a life of 8-10 years if poorly maintained or 18-22 years old, factor in the cost of a replacement in the near future ( starts around $800 but averages $1500 - $2500)

8. Are there any Galvanized pipes?

You need to make sure that pipes are not exposed in any way. If there are copper pipes, run your hand along the surface: rough, pitted or thick ones could be galvanized & will need instant replacement, so keep that in mind.

9. Sewer pipes

Normally the sewer system will break, so consider replacing your drainage system. If it is a shared common sewer watch it is not shared with the neighbor. Moreover, inspect that if the down pipe or garden pipe which is a avoidance of clay pipes.

10. Is it concrete? 

Check for the piece of concrete with a square cut out if it is, it means there were drainage issues. If there was a problem in the past, make sure it has been fixed properly, not just forgotten.

Ensure that your building instructor knows what the current drainage issues are. And if you face any drainage issues make sure to correct them prior to the purchase.

In this era of technological advancement there are couple of companies that are selling great quality online plumbing parts, you can try them and do most of the plumbing work yourself.

**In Illinois all plumbing work must be performed by a Licensed Plumbing Contractor

Guest Contributor, Ailsa Ewert

9 Things In Your Crawl Space You Should Know About

Rona Regan

How Homeowners Can Easily Maintain Their Crawl Space

Few of us have a desire to go exploring in the dark recesses of our crawl space. Why would we? Cobwebs, dirt, dust, and ductwork is all that there is to greet us — well, hopefully. Additionally, most crawl spaces leave little space to move around, much less walk.

Unfortunately, this lack of easy accessibility causes many homeowners to ignore their crawl space area entirely — a mistake that can sometimes cost them thousands of dollars later on.

There are 9 common things that every homeowner should know to keep an eye out for when it comes to maintaining their crawl space area. We’ve got a list of them for you — along with what you should do when you encounter each one.

Keeping your crawl space clean

1. Dirt

Most homeowners in the Greater Seattle area have bare dirt or exposed rock ground as the floor of their crawl space area. Sometimes homes may have had a vapor barrier or insulation installed years before, of which pieces still remain. While there isn’t much harm in dirt itself, there are issues that come along with exposed dirt floor in the crawl space.


What to do about dirt:

Install a vapor barrier. These help prevent moisture and condensation coming up out of the dirt and into the air of your crawl space. Thanks to the Stack Effect, the air of your crawl space is suctioned up into the rest of your home. In fact, up to 40% of your air circulating through your house has come from your crawl space!

Vapor barriers are comprised of thick plastic sheets laid across the floor and secured with stakes or tape. They contribute to lessened moisture build-up as well as helping your home air stay clean. If you can see dirt in your crawl space, it’s best that you have a professional come in to install a vapor barrier as soon as possible.

2. Ductwork

Many home appliances run through the crawl space area. The accompanying ductwork is usually exposed. Washers and dryer ducts are all commonly found running along the ceiling of the crawl space on their way to your home exterior or to external holding tanks. The ductwork for your homes HVAC system will also typically be found down here.

What to do about ductwork:

There’s nothing wrong with having ductwork running through your crawl space, but it does need to be properly insulated. If HVAC ductwork is not insulated, you run the risk of wasting energy and increasing the cost of heating and cooling your home. Additionally, the changes in temperature can encourage excess moisture and mold development. All this heat and moisture attracts pests, who in turn can damage your ductwork and insulation while diminishing the air quality of your home.

Yeah - big ramifications to such a simple issue.

If you’ve got uninsulated ductwork in your crawl space, the best thing to do is to call a professional crawl space team to come in and install insulation. Insulate the ductwork incorrectly, and you’ll have all the exact same issues as if you hadn’t insulated at all — possibly worse! Ductwork and pipe insulation isn’t a DIY job, so find a reliable, affordable local business to come in and help you out.

3. Plumbing Pipes

Just like ductwork, most homes have at least a few lines of plumbing that run through their crawl space on their way to the septic tank or sewer system. These pipes are usually heavy duty and seemingly impervious to threat — unless it’s from a clogged drain.

But plumbing lines can actually create a pretty poor crawl space environment very quickly. Changes in temperature thanks to water flowing through them and the seasonal temperature changes can cause condensation on the pipes, especially during the coldest and warmest months of the year. This condensation can easily lead to mold infestations if not dealt with properly.

What to do about plumbing:

Call in the experts! A good crawl space cleaning team will insulate and wrap your ductwork and plumbing pipes all in one go. This insulation has to be done carefully, however, as trapping moisture against the pipes can still lead to mold growth and possible damage to your pipes. Be sure you work with a crew who knows what to wrap, how, and when.

4. Electrical Wiring

Wiring sometimes dangles like spider webs from a poorly kept crawl space. These cables and wires usually run along beams as they supply energy to various areas of your home. All you need to do is make sure these wires are protected from the gnawing teeth of mice and rats.

What to do about wiring:

Tack electrical wiring snugly against the beams with nail-in cable clips. Ideally, these electrical cables would lay underneath your crawl space insulation. This keeps them out of easy reach from any crawl space invaders who have made it into your home.

5. Drain and Pumps

Some crawl spaces have been installed with a drain or pump system. In most cases, the pump is a sump pump, designed to carry excess water away from the home in the event of a flood. Drains would have been installed for the same purpose, usually draining the water to a culvert, septic tank, or sewer system.

What to do about a drain:

Do not ever cover a drain or pump! These devices should be left open so that when water does gather, it can be easily drained away. You should occasionally check on pumps and drains to ensure they are still in working order – after all, a plugged drain will not do you any good when a flood occurs. Sooner, in this case, is always better than later.

6. Vents

Most crawl spaces are equipped with multiple vents along the bottom or top of the walls. These vents allow air movement through your crawl space.

What to do about vents:

Do not block your crawl space vents! Many homeowners mistakenly think that by blocking these vents, they’ll help keep their crawl space warmer/cooler. These vents are actually very important in allowing proper ventilation. Check that the mesh of the vents is secure and without holes. The mesh should be fine enough to prevent insects from squeezing through, yet still allow for air movement.

7. Exposed Beams

The beams in your crawl space are what keep your home standing. These foundational beams run vertically and horizontally throughout your home. Ensuring that these are in good shape is a hugely important part of keeping your home safe.

What to do about exposed beams:

Leave them be! Do not ever cut out beams or boards that are ‘in your way’. However unimportant they may seem to you, these are actually vital in the stability of your home. What you can do is once a year or after a flood check these beams for any signs of decay, termite damage, or cracking.

8. Dirty or Damaged Insulation

Insulation is one of the most vital aspects of your crawl space. You can lose up to 45% of your home’s energy through non-insulated crawl spaces. If your crawl space features dirty, ragged or limited insulation, you’re probably wasting a lot of money each month on your heating bills. Additionally, crawl spaces with dirty insulation are more likely to encourage mold growth and attract insects, rodents, and other bothersome pests.

What to do about insulation:

Replace it. Ensuring your crawl space is well-insulated is definitely worth the investment. Not only will you be keeping your energy bills lower and your home more comfortable, you’ll also be deterring pests and lessening the chances of mold and mildew growth. Some homeowners see up to 30% reduction in energy bills following the installation of insulation in the crawl space. It’s easy to see how a crawl space cleanout can rapidly pay for itself.

9. Pests

Most crawl spaces will have some vermin — especially those that have not been maintained. The dark, warm area naturally attracts pests of all sorts, including mice, rats, squirrels, snakes, spiders, ants, beetles, termites, and many more types of pests.

What to do about crawl space pests:

Getting these pesky invaders out of your home can be challenging. For some DIY-ers, home remedies and traps will do the trick. (If that’s you, here are some handy resources on how to remove rodents and snakes from your crawl space). For large-scale, persistent invasions or for those homeowners who prefer to have the issue dealt with professionally, there are great local pest control services available as well.

After the pests are eradicated, it’s time to clean up the mess. Rodents and some types of insects can leave quite a mess behind. Chewed insulation, ripped vapor barriers, feces, and carcasses all need to be removed. In most cases, it’s better to leave the reparation job up to the professionals.

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  •   I'm the marketing manager for Clean Crawls, a Pacific Northwest crawl space cleaning & insulation company. At home I love to spend time with my wife, 4 children, and golf. At work, I help connect my clients to their customers through content that helps people solve problems. 

Guest Contributor, CleanCrawls.com