3 Problems Happening Behind the Scenes of Your Shower

Some of the biggest issues in your shower could be the ones that you can’t see. There is a lot going on behind the scenes in your shower, including all your pipework. When an issue occurs there, it can cause a lot of damage before you become aware of the problem. Here are five problems that occur behind the scenes and warning signs that may help you spot the problem sooner.

Are These Issues Happening Behind the Scenes of Your Shower?

Hairline Cracks Letting Moisture into Your Walls

If a leak is flowing onto your floor, it’s pretty easy to spot by the puddle left behind. But if a hairline crack is allowing moisture into the area behind your shower, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to detect. Hairline cracks can happen in the tub itself (especially if a lighter, less expensive material is used). They can also happen along the seal where the tub meets the wall. Old tile may be to blame for the leak as well. Hairline cracks can happen where old grout wears away and lets water slip in. In some cases, these hairline cracks are best treated by replacing the shower instead of trying to repair it.

What are the warning signs?

  • Water stains on walls behind the bathroom or on the ceiling below the bathroom
  • Mold or mildew appearing in areas other than the shower walls
  • Warped walls or flooring around the shower

Drain Sizes Not Up to Code

There are very specific building codes attached to the size of drain required in your bathtub or shower. These codes have changed over time, too. If you are living in an older house that’s never had a bathroom renovation, there is a good chance your drain sizes aren’t up to code. They may not be up to code if a builder installed them who didn’t know better. But why does size matter? Because it’s going to affect how the shower drains. If your drain is too small for your shower, you could end up flooding the shower pan and causing water damage. Even if you haven’t encountered this issue yet, it’s one that you’ll want to address before it becomes a problem in the future.

What are the warning signs?

  • Bathtub or shower drains slowly
  • Standing water while you are showering

Corroded Pipes Leaking Behind Your Drywall

Unless you have x-ray vision, it’s tough to know what’s going on with your pipes. Unfortunately, pipes don’t last forever. Pipes can corrode over time, especially if the plumbing system hasn’t been properly maintained. Corroded pipes can become weak and allow leaks to start. Because these pipes run through your walls and all over your home, a leak can cause a lot of damage. If you live in an older home, it’s a good idea to have your pipes inspected to determine if they need replacing. New homes aren’t immune, though, either. Poor quality pipes can spring leaks even when they are new, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out.

What are the warning signs?

  • Water stains on drywall of walls or ceilings
  • Warped walls or flooring, including bulging or giving way when you touch it

Worried About What’s Happening Behind the Scenes in Your Shower?

If you suspect that problems are happening behind the scenes of your shower, you need to contact our team right away. The sooner we can diagnose the issue, the less water damage is likely to happen. We will help you diagnose the issues happening with your plumbing system and get them fixed. We can help address minor leaks or major plumbing renovations throughout your home.

5 Reasons To Get Indoor Air Quality Tested

5 Reasons to Get Your Home’s Air Quality Tested

Homes are getting more energy-efficient, and that’s a good thing. Good insulation and new windows keep your home comfortable, reduce your monthly energy bill, and do their part to protect the environment through reduced energy usage. But as homes are built to seal up drafts and keep treated air locked inside, they can simultaneously ruin your home’s indoor air quality.

The first step to knowing if your home has poor air quality is to get it tested. A professional HVAC company can send out a technician to test your home’s air. They can zero in on common causes for poor air quality and offer recommendations to make sure fresh air circulates through your home.

Here are five reasons to take that first step:

1. You or your family’s medical conditions are getting worse.

If you have asthma or allergies, you probably stay inside when there’s pollen or poor air quality outside. But many of those irritants can come inside without having a way back out of your house. Every time someone comes inside or opens the front door, pollen, dust, and air pollution follow them. If your HVAC doesn’t have a clear way to pump them outside, they will accumulate on the filter. Finer toxins will slip through the filter and endlessly circulate through your home.

A certified technician can test the air and make sure your filter is doing its job to pull irritants out of it.

2. Toxins can give people sick building syndrome.

You may have heard about sick building syndrome becoming a problem in offices more than in homes. When large commercial buildings made their windows unopenable and sealed the buildings to make them meet environmental regulations, the air inside the buildings grew stagnant. Printer ink, germs, mold on a large scale, and chemical residue built up in the air and people’s respiratory systems started to suffer.

The same thing has started to happen in homes. While your house might not face the same industrial chemicals or high amounts of foot traffic like in office buildings, the contaminants, smoke, and mildew can build up until your air isn’t safe. Even if you don’t have a preexisting health condition, poor air quality can give you sick building syndrome.

3. Poor air quality is noticeable to potential buyers and tenants.

If you plan on putting your home on the market or opening it up for tenants, you know that first impressions matter. You can clean your house, cover cooking smells, and plug-in air fresheners, but nothing can mask the feeling of poor air quality. New visitors can sense the contamination or even develop a slight difficulty breathing while touring your home, even if there isn’t a smell. This sixth sense can make buyers or tenants reconsider.

4. You added new windows and doors to an older home.

Many new homes take air quality into consideration when the plans are being made. Because architectural firms know that more and more people are buying energy-efficient HVAC systems and double-paned windows, they plan out better ventilation to keep the air clean. But if you added these new, green features to an older home, your home’s ventilation wasn’t designed to keep up.

If you have installed new doors or windows or have added new insulation to your house, have a professional test the indoor air quality just in case. You might not yet have noticed a buildup of toxins, and you can stop problems before they start.

5. You can smell mold or stagnant air.

Many times, you can sense a problem just like new visitors can. Whenever you get home, the air feels stagnant. Food smells from the previous day linger throughout the house. Bathrooms or your laundry room always smell faintly like mold. All of these warning signs mean contaminants aren’t being pumped out of your home. Instead, they’re being circulated throughout the house or, even worse, building up.

Whether you feel sicker, sense that something is off about your home’s air, or just did a lot of renovation, don’t wait. Contact us at SWAN Plumbing, Heating & Air of Denver for a quick indoor air quality test. Once you have the results, our experts can recommend the next best steps to make your home safer.

What Is A Kitchen Plumbing P-Trap

The Kitchen Plumbing P-Trap Explained

If you've ever encountered problems with your sink's drain, you've probably heard the term "P-trap" thrown around here and there. While the P-trap is a simple device, few homeowners understand how it works and why it matters. Here's a quick overview of P-traps that you can reference when sink-related plumbing issues arise.

What Is a P-Trap in Plain English?

In a nutshell, a P-trap is a U-shaped bend in the waste pipe that connects a sink's drain to a home's septic tank or to a municipal sewer system. Under normal circumstances, P-traps always contain a certain amount of water much like the trapway of a toilet.

Why Are P-Traps So Important?

The most critical task of the P-trap is to prevent noxious gases such as methane from making their way into a home. P-traps also allow homeowners to quickly and easily recover small items that fall down the drain. Long story short, P-traps are an integral part of responsible modern plumbing design.

P-Trap Problems You're Likely to Encounter

By far the most common issue associated with P-traps is the accumulation of debris in the bend. Over time, things like hair, food, grease and mineral deposits build up and reduce the diameter of the drain pipe. Eventually, the drain will clog up and have to be thoroughly cleaned out.

The other big problem with P-traps is that they can eventually vent sewer gases into a living area. This usually occurs because the water in the P-trap evaporates over the course of several weeks and isn't around to capture expanding gases. Fortunately, this problem can be remedied by periodically running water through drains that are seldom used.

3 P-Trap Cleaning Techniques

If you have a sink that's draining slowly, the simplest way to deal with the problem is by running a drain cleaner through the pipes. Drain cleaners attack and destroy grease or mineral deposits on the walls of a pipe to increase water flow through the P-trap assembly.

Another great way to deal with a fully or partially clogged drain is running a "snake" through the conduit to dislodge obstructions. Snakes are simply flexible cables that are inserted into drains for the purposes of scraping pipe walls. Good snakes have a handle on them that allow users to rotate the cable to grind off deposits.

If a chemical cleaner or a snake won't clear a clogged pipe, physically removing the P-trap and cleaning it by hand is the only solution. Once removed, P-traps should be scoured thoroughly to ensure that waste water flows through efficiently. Care must be taken when reinstalling the P-trap to guarantee that no seals or PVC welds leak.

What to Do When P-Trap Problems Arise

When drainage issues plague a sink in your home, it's likely that a P-trap problem is to blame. Bringing in an a local Denver plumber to assess and rectify the situation is highly recommended. Doing so will save you time and money when all is said and done.

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