Sump Pumps – What They Are and What They Do!

When wet basements become a problem, basement sump pumps can be a reliable solution to deal with it.

Basement sump pump systems are especially useful in circumstances where basement flooding is possible or when leaking due to foundation cracks is common.

While every situation is different and may require other types of intervention, basement sump pump solutions can be effective in place of other more expensive or invasive repairs to stop basement leaks or protect against flooding. 

How Do Sump Pumps Work in Basement?

Basement sump pumps work by detecting water collecting in a sump basin, then pumping it out through a discharge pipe.

Basement sump pump systems include a French drain system which collects water leaking through walls and floors, diverting it to the sump basin which is a pit that is dug out of the floor.

The pumps, set for a specific water level, sit inside the basin.

When enough water collects in the basin that it reaches the activation level, pumps turn on and siphon collected water out of the pit and out of the house through the discharge pipe. 

What Are the Types of Sump Pumps?

There are two types of sump pumps used in basement sump pump systems: pedestal pumps and submersible pumps.

  • Pedestal pumps are installed in the sump basin with a motor that sits on top where it cannot come in contact with the water in the basin.
  • Submersible pumps are installed within the basin and they can run while submerged in the water.

Due to these differences, submersible pumps tend to run more quietly than pedestal pumps, but they are also considerably more expensive to install.

Many homeowners choose the more affordable pedestal pump but must then tolerate its noisier operation when the pump is running. 

When Do Sump Pumps Work Best?

Basement sump pump solutions are a great option in situations where leaking is common or when flooding is possible due to high rainfall and other causes.

The one detail that homeowners must keep in mind is that basement sump pumps require electricity to run.

To avoid problems if the primary pump fails due to a power outage, every basement sump pump system should be equipped with a secondary battery backup pump as well.

Together, both pumps will keep a basement dry during storms and other conditions that result in water coming into the basement, even if the power goes out. 

Let's Get to Work!

Basement sump pump systems are recommended for properties with basements in low-lying areas and within flood planes or homes that deal with regular water leakage due to high water content in the ground.

While every wet basement problem should be diagnosed by a foundation specialist to determine which repair is most suitable, affordable basement sump pump solutions may be one of a few options.

What is CIPP Pipe Coating and How Is It Done?

Pipe coating is one of a number of trenchless pipe coating and lining techniques used for sewer line repair when it is possible to utilize a trenchless method.

This technique, called cured-in-place-pipe lining or CIPP, is a fairly easy way that damaged sewer lines can be repaired of cracks or leaks and strengthened overall without digging up the old pipes.

It is a great option for homeowners dealing with sewer leaks, as drain pipe coating repairs are faster, less expensive, and much less invasive than traditional sewer line replacement.

How Is CIPP Done?

How is CIPP coating for pipes put in? The process is very simple and involves only a few steps:

  • Clean the Damaged Pipe - To provide a clean surface on which to apply coatings for pipes, the existing line is first cleaned out of any debris and roots, then flushed through. 
  • Bypass Sewer Line Service - A sewer line bypass is connected at the beginning and the end of the section of drain line to be repaired when the line must still be used during the process. 
  • Vacuum Out Sewer Line - After connecting the bypass, the damaged sewer line will be suctioned with a vacuum to clear out any additional water and debris after cleaning and during the repair process. 
  • Insert Liner Coating - Pulling from the street connection point, a flexible, epoxy-coated felt drain repair coating liner will be slid down through the whole sewer line creating a new interior pipe line.   
  • Cure Liner Coating - Once in place, the pipe coating is then exposed to heat and/or UV light, which will cure it in place, bonding it to the old pipe and hardening it. 
  • Restore Sewer Line Service - After the pipe coating is fully cured the sewer line bypass is removed and normal sewer service can resume.

CIPP Is So Much Better

As quickly and easily as cleaning out the existing drain line, sliding in a liner coating for pipes, and curing that coating, CIPP pipe coating can restore a damaged, leaky sewer in a fraction of the time and cost of excavation.

Best of all, since this technique is so much more convenient than traditional methods, homeowners do not have to worry about their driveways or lawns being dug up or the days-long mess that excavating out old sewer lines can cause. 

Let's Add This Up!

Safer, cleaner, and quicker, CIPP drain repair coating is the best way to repair foul-smelling, leaky sewer lines in as little as one day.Contact a sewer repair service to learn more about trenchless pipe coating techniques including CIPP!

Sinking Foundations – Causes and Solutions

Foundation sinking can be one of the more damaging foundation problems that any homeowner can deal with.

Though minor settling is always normal, more extreme sinking requires immediate foundation repair to prevent possible destabilization of the entire house.

Why does it happen and what can be done about it?

Read on!

What Causes Foundation Sinking?

When signs like sticky windows and doors, uneven floors, cracked basement walls, crooked chimneys, cracked outside staircases, interior dampness, or even water leaking in the basement appear, a sinking foundation is a likely culprit.

It is a common problem in older homes that were built using inferior foundation construction techniques or anywhere the ground was not properly prepared and compacted before a foundation was built on it. 

Foundation sinking happens due to problems with the soil on which the house was built, such as drainage issues, poor soil compaction, soil erosion under the foundation, and soil expansion and contraction that can happen due to weather extremes like droughts, floods, and deep freezes.

As the soil becomes more destabilized and foundations continue to sink and shift, structural damage to the foundation and the entire building can occur.

If no foundation repair is done, a building could suffer so much foundation sinking damage that the danger of collapse becomes very real.. 

What Foundation Repair Methods Help Sinking Foundations?

When dealing with foundation sinking, there are a number of repairs that may be required to solve this issue.

There are three foundation repair methods used to correct this sinking:

  1. Push pier systems for standard foundation.
  2. Helical pier systems for standard foundations.
  3. Slab pier systems for slab foundations.

When installed beneath a sinking foundation that is jacked back up and put back to the correct level, all of these repair solutions stabilize the structure and prevent more sinking and the additional damage that would continue if the shifting and sinking are not stopped.

After a pier system is used to stabilize the structure and prevent more foundation movement, foundation repair addressing cracks and other interior problems can then be performed. 

Don't Ignore Your Foundation Sinking Problems!

Foundation sinking is a very serious problem that can destroy a home over time if not remedied as soon as possible.

Homeowners seeing any of the symptoms noted here, especially if they are slowly worsening over time, should contact a professional foundation repair service and arrange an inspection.

Depending on the cause and severity of the problem, an appropriate repair can be made to stop additional sinking or level the building using a support pier system and other methods.

How Do Plumbers Perform Difficult Kitchen Drain Clearing?

A clogged kitchen drain is an annoying problem that happens in most households sooner or later.

When practical home remedies for kitchen drain clearing fail because the problem is more serious, it is time to call in a plumber.

How do they clear out drains blocked by food and gunk?

It is done first by diagnosing the problem and then using some great tools that are perfect for resolving the problem and creating clear, clean kitchen drains!

Determine The Problem

The first thing that any plumber will do before reaching into their drain clearing toolbox is try to figure out where the problem lies and what the blockage might be.

This involves a quick pipe inspection of the drainage lines leading from the kitchen sink to the main sewer line to locate the blockage.

Frequently done using a pipe camera, plumbers actually look inside the clogged pipe to choose the right tools to clear out drains depending on what the blockage consists of and how far down it is positioned.

Tools to Clear Out The Drain

After the approximate location of the blockage is determined and what it causing it, the plumber will then clear out drains using one or more of these useful plumbing drain clearing tools:

  • Plungers - Typically used to push toilet clogs through, plungers can also be used to dislodge food clogs in a kitchen sink. They are the first go-to tool that plumbers reach for when the clog is minor and closer to the sink as opposed to being further down the drain line and closer to the sewer.
  • Manual or Motorized Drain Snakes - Snakes are long, corkscrew-like cables that can be twisted down into a drain pile to dislodge a blockage by either pushing it through or pulling it up. Manual snakes have a gear that the plumber turns to rotate the snake and larger, motorized ones are either wired or cordless, making them more powerful.
  • Drain Auger - Similar to drain snakes, augers are useful to clean kitchen drains if the blockage is far down in the line and within one of the larger pipes.
  • Hydro-Jet - A hydro-jet is a high-pressure water cutting tool used when larger pipes are clogged or blocked. Though they are not used from the kitchen sink side of the problem, they could be used from the sewer drain side if the blockage is severe enough.
  • Cable Root Cleaning - Another tool used when kitchen drain clearing problems are not actually in the kitchen drain itself, but further along one of the larger drainage lines. Cable cleaning is the process of unblocking a drain and cleaning the inside using a twirling cable equipped with sharp blades that cut away at all the debris.

Kitchen Drains Can Be Cleared!

Fortunately, most kitchen drain clearing is easy to resolve as long as the blockage is not too deep into the drainage pipes.

When clean kitchen drains require a deeper solution, plumbers may attack it from the other side with more powerful tools.

Is Trenchless Sewer Repair Really Any Good?

Sewer drain problems are bad news for homeowners as repairing damaged drain pipes can be a messy, destructive, and expensive process.

Gaining popularity over the past decade, trenchless plumbing offers a cleaner, faster, and much less destructive option when pipe rehabilitation is necessary.

In those circumstances where it is appropriate, trenchless plumbing repairs are preferred to patch and seal damaged drain pipes or those that have experienced some kind of crack or failure.

What Is Trenchless Pipe Replacement?

As it happens with many newer techniques, people wonder if trenchless pipe replacement actually works and is a worthwhile method to try.

Based on how it is done, trenchless plumbing repair of sewer and drain pipes has been a very effective repair method over the standard technique.

With minimal digging required, entire yards are not disrupted and there is minimal destruction of concrete, plus a faster repair that can be completed in a third of the time of traditional sewer line repair or replacement.

How Does Trenchless Plumbing Work?

How does it work? Trenchless plumbing is actually quite simple.

When a leak, burst pipe or blockage is detected in a sewer line, replacing the whole line is usually the best option.

To do this, a small access hole is dug where the private sewer line connects with the main sewer line and then another smaller access hole where the line connects with the plumbing system inside the home or building.

With both ends accessible, the line is cleaned out and any blockages removed, and then a thin, unbreakable polyethylene pipe sleeve is threaded in and connected.

Once that sleeve hardens and cures, it is just like having a brand new sewer line. It is as simple as that!

When Does Trenchless Plumbing Work Best?

Trenchless pipe replacement works very well for most applications where older pipes have become damaged, blocked, or porous and no longer work effectively.

It can also work using a slightly different technique called pipe bursting, to completely replace old sewer lines that are falling apart underground.

It is a great solution for most sewer line issues as it is more affordable and does not involve the kind of invasive digging that requires destroying floors, yards, and driveways to install new sewer pipes.

Don't Dig – Get Trenchless Plumbing Done!

Before committing to having their property dug up, anyone facing the issue of drain line replacement or pipe rehabilitation should talk to a plumbing service trained to do trenchless plumbing first.

Suitable for most sewer line repair and replacement jobs, it is a better, cleaner, and less invasive repair method that is changing how sewer line management is done!

Santa – Is That You In My Attic?

The holidays are right around the corner, and as we await the arrival of Santa Claus, many smaller Texas wildlife are awaiting the arrival of the colder weather and a move indoors.

Wintertime is a busy time for wildlife control services, as this is the time when many people realize they have unexpected company in their attics.

Pay attention to the cues that you have critters as the days get shorter and the nights get cooler to know whether you need a critter control company to pay a visit.

Is There Noise Coming From Your Attic?

A very common sign that it might be time to schedule a visit from a wild animal control service is the noise coming from your attic.

The sounds of scratching, scraping, and running from above the ceiling in your house could possibly mean there are squirrels, mice, possums, raccoons, or other small wildlife nesting up there where it is nice and warm at night.

Are There Bad Smells In Your House?

Another indicator that there are critters living in your attic and you should have a wildlife control service out is the occasional presence of a musty smell in certain spots in your home.

That mustiness is the smell of the urine and feces of rodents and other small wildlife.

If you go up into your attic and the musty smell gets stronger, it likely means there is a nest somewhere up there.

Are There Signs in Your Attic on Nest-Building?

While you are up there, if you notice any ruined boxes or belongings, stains on the attic floor, shredded paper, pieces of insulation, or other potential “nesting materials” scattered around, this is another sign that there are furry squatters hiding up there.

They may not be around in the daytime when you go to check, but if there is an active nest somewhere they will be back at night.

Get Help From a Wildlife Removal Service

What should you do when noticing these things? Reach out to a local wildlife removal service to handle your critter control issue.

They will come to your house and investigate to determine whether you are hosting wild animals in your attic, what type, and plan the best way to capture and remove them for you.

The service can then also help with animal damage repair, including closing off entry points to keep them from returning.

It Isn't Santa In Your Attic!

This holiday season, as eagerly as you might be awaiting a visit from Santa, make sure that noise is not just critters moving around in your attic.

If it is, a local wild animal control service can help!

Sealing Your Basement – Can I DIY The Work?

Sealing your own basement can be an easy way to deal with a wet basement using a wall coating that can be purchased at any home center.

Unfortunately, many homeowners find that putting on a coating is enough for a little while, but only for a little while.

Whether it has to do with the product and how it is applied or a need for foundation repairs first, there are many times when painting on a sealant just isn’t enough and can actually allow more damage to happen.

Basement Sealer Paints – Not Much Lasting Effect

While basement sealer paints do serve their purpose, they tend only to be useful in the most basic of cases when the wet basement issue is very minor.

They can work well in conjunction with other foundation repair methods, but most of the time they are not worth the money, time, and effort made to apply them by themselves.

These sealers must be applied using a special technique to ensure they actually seal, and not before diagnosing where the water is coming from in the first place.

Why Do Basement Sealer Paints Fail?

Cheap basement sealer paint fails for a number of reasons. Unless applied correctly so it gets into the porousness of the basement walls and floors it will not adhere properly.

It can peel and flake after a short time, allowing moisture to enter once again. Additionally, basement cracks, no matter how fine, must first be located and then sealed with a crack repair sealer to close them off.

Trying to seal over cracks with a layer of paint will not work. Surfaces must also be completely dry and clean during the application or the paint will not adhere well.

Must First Discover Source of Leak

The most important factor when trying to decide on foundation repairs to remedy a damp or wet basement is knowing what the source of the water is. Many times, the problem can and should be resolved using some other method.

Problems like drainage too close to the house and exterior foundation damage must be properly corrected, as a thin coating of waterproofing is not going to stop that water and damage from progressing.

In some cases, interior drains and sump pumps might be the best resolution to the problem.

Consider Calling A Foundation Service

Before spending money on gallons of expensive and messy basement sealer and putting in the hours required to empty your basement and then paint the whole thing, consider calling a foundation repair service out first to diagnose the problem.

A sealant may still be a part of the repair plan, but not before a water source is determined and other damage assessed, and repaired.

Basement Sealing – Is DIY Enough?

Sealing your own basement can be an easy way to deal with a wet basement using a wall coating that can be purchased at any home center.

Unfortunately, many homeowners find that putting on a coating is enough for a little while, but only for a little while.

Whether it has to do with the product and how it is applied or a need for foundation repairs first, there are many times when painting on a sealant just isn’t enough and can actually allow more damage to happen.

Basement Sealer Paints – Not Much Lasting Effect

While basement sealer paints do serve their purpose, they tend only to be useful in the most basic of cases when the wet basement issue is very minor.

They can work well in conjunction with other foundation repair methods, but most of the time they are not worth the money, time, and effort made to apply them by themselves.

These sealers must be applied using a special technique to ensure they actually seal, and not before diagnosing where the water is coming from in the first place.

Why Do Basement Sealer Paints Fail?

Cheap basement sealer paint fails for a number of reasons. Unless applied correctly so it gets into the porousness of the basement walls and floors it will not adhere properly.

It can peel and flake after a short time, allowing moisture to enter once again. Additionally, basement cracks, no matter how fine, must first be located and then sealed with a crack repair sealer to close them off.

Trying to seal over cracks with a layer of paint will not work. Surfaces must also be completely dry and clean during the application or the paint will not adhere well.

Must First Discover Source of Leak

The most important factor when trying to decide on foundation repairs to remedy a damp or wet basement is knowing what the source of the water is. Many times, the problem can and should be resolved using some other method.

Problems like drainage too close to the house and exterior foundation damage must be properly corrected, as a thin coating of waterproofing is not going to stop that water and damage from progressing.

In some cases, interior drains and sump pumps might be the best resolution to the problem.

Consider Calling A Foundation Service

Before spending money on gallons of expensive and messy basement sealer and putting in the hours required to empty your basement and then paint the whole thing, consider calling a foundation repair service out first to diagnose the problem.

A sealant may still be a part of the repair plan, but not before a water source is determined and other damage assessed, and repaired.

Fix That Uneven Walkway During Fall Home Maintenance!

As the end of the summer draws near, this is the time to start ticking items off your home maintenance list.

It is also a good time to take care of that uneven walkway leading up to your front door that might not seem like much of a problem, but uneven walkways are a huge liability for homeowners.

With a little mudjacking, a simple and quick repair that can be done in a matter of hours, you can get that maintenance item off your list and make the path to your door safer, and more welcoming.

The Dangers of Uneven Walkways

Mudjacking repairs make it possible to preserve that walkway before the damage increases, or worse yet, someone gets hurt.

Did you know that slip-and-fall, or tripping accidents, are the most common liabilities that homeowners face?

Most of those accidents happen when visitors to a home trip on damaged or slippery walkways, too.

An uneven walkway where the seams do not meet or concrete slabs have raised or sunken edges is a risk factor that increases the chances of someone falling, and you being sued for it!

Sure, you may have insurance, but things can get complicated if your walkway is found to be damaged and you’ve neglected to take care of it.

Repair of Uneven Walkways is Easy

Fortunately, uneven walkways can be repaired very easily with a process called mudjacking.

Performed by many foundation services, mudjacking is a technique where the concrete is leveled by injecting cement under the low spots to raise them up so they are even with the rest of the walkway.

Minor mudjacking services to make your walkway safer are inexpensive and can be done in as little as a few hours.

The Value of Mudjacking

Whether walkway slabs have sunk because the earth beneath them has settled or they are pushed up by a tree root, a mudjacking service will determine the cause of the problem, then remedy the issue to prevent it from happening again.

In most cases, all it takes is a little bit of cement injected under the crooked slabs to make the walkway smooth and level again.

Trip hazards are greatly reduced when your walkway is level, with all edges even which makes it much safer to walk up to your front door, but it also looks nicer.

A Great Fall Project

This fall, as you review your home maintenance “to do” list, take a good look at your front walkway.

If it is uneven, or there are cement slabs damaged in any way, think about getting it repaired by a mudjacking service.

It is a one-time home maintenance repair that makes your home safer to give you peace of mind.

Leaning Foundation Walls – How Can They Be Fixed?

Home foundation problems like minor leaks and small cracks are common.

Corrected while they are still “minor issues,” they rarely pose any serious problem; however, if you let them go, these small concerns can quickly turn into a need for major foundation wall repairs, especially if wall shifting starts to occur.

Foundation wall leaning is a serious problem that affects both concrete block and poured concrete foundations and must be corrected sooner rather than later.

Failing to do so can compromise the entire foundation.

Foundation Wall Bowing

Foundation wall bowing or leaning is when the foundation wall begins to crack significantly and push inward, from the outside.

This can happen to poured or block concrete foundations and indicates that a repair to strengthen the wall is necessary.

It usually begins with small cracks in the wall and water seeping in from the outside and as the problem worsens, actual inward bowing or more significant cracking can be seen.

Left unrepaired, these cracks and pushed in places will deteriorate faster to the point that the affected part of the foundation could be completely compromised.

Why Do Foundation Walls Lean or Bow?

Foundation wall leaning or bowing happens when the soil pressure against the outside of the foundation is greater than what it can support.

It occurs due to the natural shifting of the soil and is more prevalent in some soils than in others.

Foundations that are weakened in any way or simply not robust enough to support that pressure can end up slowly failing, beginning with small cracks and leaks.

What Can Be Done About Foundation Walls Bowing?

The most important factor with this type of foundation problem is to have it diagnosed right away as soon as little cracks and leaks are detected.

If bowing is detected, the walls can be supported using braces that will prevent further movement.

In severe cases, or if the problem is not detected early enough, a major repair that involves excavating the soil away on the outside to relieve the pressure and then repairing the wall must be done.

Pay Attention to Foundation Wall Issues!

Since the latter is a much more expensive and time-consuming repair, the recommendation is that homeowners noticing fine cracks and seeping on their foundation walls get in touch with a foundation repair service right away.

The sooner that foundation problems like this are diagnosed, the faster an easy repair can be made.