Thursday, January 2, 2014

Frozen Pipes ... What To Do

This weekend is set to be the coldest in the past few years with temperatures dropping to the single digits overnight.  While we know to bundle ourselves up to keep warm many people forget to check to make sure their pipes stay warm as well.

Ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs.  Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream -- between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end.  Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed.  

Here are some tips to help avoid this common cause of winter property damage:

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Pipes that have frozen in the past or near exterior walls are obvious candidates for special attention.
  • Insulate areas where vulnerable pipes are located.
  • When insulation isn't enough, consider pipe wrappings embedded with electrical coils (heat tape) that provide an outside source of heat.
  • Remove hoses from outside yard faucets. The faucets can't drain properly with a hose attached and will freeze and break if the hose is left attached.
  • During severe cold weather, resist the urge to lower your thermostat to save money while you are gone for the day.
  • Open the doors to kitchen and bathroom cabinets under your sinks so heat from the room will help warm the pipes.
  • Running water does not freeze very readily. During severe cold weather, keep a stream of water trickling out of faucets or spouts attached to vulnerable pipes.
  • If you have a sprinkler system, drain all outdoor pipes and turn off the water supply to the system.
  • Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located.

 Winterizing Your Home If You'll Be Away For An Extended Time

  • Turn off the water supply at the main shutoff valve by the street.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets and open these faucets to drain them.
  • Drain the water heater. Turn off the pilot light on gas water heaters and be sure to turn off the electricity to electric water heaters before you drain them.
  • Use an air compressor to blow any trapped water from the water pipes. Open all faucets and leave them open. This will help keep condensation from freezing and bursting the water lines.
  • Flush all toilets (to empty the tank) and every faucet (to drain water from pipes) in the home, including outdoor faucets.
  • Empty all toilet bowls by siphoning or bailing and sponging. Pour a mixture of food grade antifreeze and water into all toilet bowls and traps of all sinks, showers and bathtubs. Don't drain these traps. The water in them keeps sewer gases out of your house
  • If your water supply is from a well, switch off the pump and drain it along with the above-ground pump lines and the tank.

 What To Do If A Pipe Freezes

  • To prevent a frozen pipe from bursting, open the faucet it supplies with water. Then add heat to the area where the pipe is located.
  • Turn off the water supply to that line.
  • If a pipe does burst, immediately turn off the water to your home.
  • Know where your main water emergency shut-off valve is located.

Stay warm,

Be safe during this winter season, and think reasonably, not dangerously.

Your friends at Cameron Group, Inc
Brian, Elizabeth, Donna, & Monika

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Cameron Group, Inc
55 Old Turnpike Rd., Ste 602
Nanuet, NY 10954
Ph:  (845) 627-2130 / Fx:  (845) 818-4110

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How To Install/Replace A Toilet

One Of The Most Common Plumbing Jobs In A Home Is Replacing A Toilet That Has Stopped Working, Or Has Inadequate Flushing Power. If You Own Your Home, Eventually This Is A Project That You Will Have To Undertake, And If There Is No Serious Complications With Your Sewer Or Water Lines That Require The Attention Of A Licensed Plumber, You Can Install Or Replace A Toilet Yourself By Following A Few Simple Steps. So Roll Up Your Sleeves, And Let's Begin !

1. Remove The Old Toilet. 

First, Turn Off The Water Supply Valve And Flush The Toilet, Getting As Much Water Out Of The Toilet As You Possibly Can, Then Unscrew And Save The Water Supply Line From The Toilet And Cold Water Supply Valve. If You Are Saving The Toilet, You Have To Remove The Bolts That Attach The Toilet To The Flange. Commonly Known As Johnni Bolts, You Can Use A Wrench Or Pliers To Unscrew The Bolts From The Base. Often, And Especially If The Johnni Bolts Are Rusted, The Bolts Will Spin Around Or Otherwise Will Be Difficult To Unscrew. In That Case, You Can Use A Hacksaw or A Cordless Mini-Hacksaw To Cut Through The Bolts. You Can Then Take The Toilet Up By Gently Rocking It Off The Flange. If You Are Discarding The Toilet, You Can Simply Smash The Base And Pull The Toilet Up. Don't Forget To Remove The Johhni Bolts That Will Still Be In The Flange, And Scrape Off The Remainig Wax From The Wax Gasket On The Flange. Remove Any Plaster Of Paris, Cement, Or Caulking Used To Seal Down The Toilet. Check The Condition Of The Flange, And Make Sure It Is Secured To The Floor.

2. Install the New Toilet.

Assemble Your New Toilet. If Your New Toilet Is Pre-Assembled, Set It Off To The Side. Insert The New Johnni Bolts Inside Of The Ring Of The Toilet Flange, Then Place A Wax Gasket ( Or Wax Ring, As Most Plumbers Call It ) On Top Of The Toilet Flange. Next, Mix Plaster Of Paris Or Concrete To Create A Bed For The Base Of The Toilet To Sit On, Plumbers Usually Do This To Ensure A Leak-Proof Seal Around The Base Of The Toilet. Line Up The Johnni Bolts In The Flange To The Holes Located In The Base Of The Toilet, And Place Your Toilet Into The Bed Of Plaster Or Concrete, Pressing Firmly To Make Sure The Toilet Is Properly Embedded. Bolt Down The Toilet To The Johnni Bolts ( Do Not Over-Tighten), And Wipe Off The Excess Plaster Around The Base With A Damp Sponge Or Rag. Connect Your New Supply Line To The Toilet And Cold Water Supply Valve, And Turn On The Water Slowly, Making Sure All Of Your Bolts Are Properly Tightened Before You Turn On The Water Full Force. Finally, Check And Adjust The Water Level Inside The Tank To The Water Line, And You Are Ready To Use Your New Toilet !

Toilet Installation
Toilet Installation

If You Are Fairly Handy, This Can Be A Simple Job Which You Can Do In An Hour Or Less. This Method Only Applies To Residential Toilet Installations, Commercial Toilets Such As Flushometers Generally Require A Licensed Plumber To Install Due To More Direct Plumbing Connections Involved. Remember, The More You Do It Yourself, The More You Can Save !!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Guide To Roofing Materials

In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy, Many Homeowners Need To Replace Or Upgrade Their Roofing. As The Summer Is Almost Here, This Is The Season For Roofing Contractors To Ply Their Trade. Whether You Are Upgrading Because Of This Devastating Hurricane Or Simply Want To Replace Your Roof, This Guide Should Help You Understand  The Difference Between The Various Roofing Materials. In This Chart, "Cost" Refers To The Relative Cost Of Materials Only ; It Does Not Include Labor Costs. Bear In Mind That The Labor Costs For Certain Types Of Roofing Installations - Like Slate, Tile, Wood Shingles And Shakes - Will Be Significantly Higher Than Today's Standard Roofing Materials Like Asphalt Shingles Simply Because Of The Special Skills And Tools Involved To Insure A Proper Installation. "The Minimum Slope" Is The Slope At which A Particular Roofing  Material  Begins To Provide Adequate Protection Against Water, But As The Slope Increases Other factors Such As Appearance And Durability Come Into Play. "Durability" Is The Manufacturer's Determination Of How Long A Roof Will Last With Proper Maintenance And It's Relation To Generally Temperate Climates.

                                             COMPARISON GUIDE

1. Asphalt Shingles
Cost : Inexpensive
Durability : 12 - 25 Years
Minimum Slope : 2 in 12
Advantages : Easy Installation ; Available In A Variety Of Colors ;  Easy To Repair ; Requires Little Maintenance.
Disadvantages : Poor Fire Resistance ; Subject To Algae And Molding In Damp Climates ; Crinkles And Curls From Excessive Sunlight Over Time.

2. Roll Roofing
Cost : Inexpensive
Durability : 10 - 15 Years
Minimum Slope : 1 in 12
Advantages : Easy Installation And Maintenance
Disadvantages : Poor Fire Resistance ; Drab Appearance

3. Wood Shingles/Shakes
Cost : Moderate To Expensive
Durability : 15 - 30 Years (Shingles) 25 - 75 Years (Shakes)
Minimum Slope : 3 in 12 ( Steeper In Humid Climates )
Advantages : Attractive Rustic Appearance ; Natural Insulator
Disadvantages : Highly Flammable Unless Specially Treated ; Shingles Must Be Installed Over Open Planks

4. Slate
Cost : Expensive
Durability : 50 - 100 Years
Minimum Slope : 4 in 12
Advantages : Attractive Traditional Appearance ; Fire Resistant
Disadvantages : Heavy ; Brittle ; Requires Sturdy Roof Support ; Long And Delicate Installation Requires Special Tools ; Needs Regular Replacement  Of Damaged Pieces ; Difficult To Repair

5. Ceramic Tiles
Cost : Expensive
Durability : 50 - 100 Years
Minimum Slope : 4 in 12
Advantages : Attractive Traditional Appearance : Fire Resistant
Disadvantages : Heavy ; Brittle ; Requires Sturdy Roof Support ; Time-Consuming Installation ; Requires Special Tools ; Availability Of Certain Styles Unreliable ; Difficult To Repair

6. Metal Panels
Cost : Moderate
Durability : 25 - 50 Years
Minimum Slope : 2 in 12
Advantages : Easy Installation And Patching ; Can Be Painted ; Fire Resistant
Disadvantages : Subject To Wind Damage, Falling Trees, Extreme Contact

Use This Handy Guide When You Are Deciding To Re-roof, Knowing The Pros And Cons Will Give You the Edge When Selecting  The Type Of Roof You Want To Install. Remember, Your Roof Is One Of The Most Important Components Of The Structural Framework Of Your House, And Having The Right Materials, Proper Installation, And Reputable Contractor Will Ensure The Life Of Your Roof For Many Years To Come !

Asphalt Shingles