October 2, 2019

Troubleshoot a clogged toilet.

To ensure that your toilet doesn’t overflow, remove the lid from the toilet tank and close the rubber flapper—unless you have a pressure-assisted tank. You may also reach behind the toilet and turn off the water supply. (Make sure you turn the supply back on when you’re ready to flush again.)

PLUNGER

Grab a heavy-duty rubber plunger—one with a fold-out rubber flange to help form a tight seal. First, run the plunger under hot water to soften the rubber. Submerge the plunger into the bowl allowing air bubbles to escape as you cover the hole. Start slowly—the first plunge will push air into the bowl. An excellent method is to ease firmly down and pull up with a snap to loosen the obstruction.

It may take 15 to 20 plunges and several attempts to loosen a stubborn clog. If the water in the bowl gets too low, add water to bring the level back up to normal.

TOILET AUGER

If plunging doesn’t work, a toilet auger funnels through a toilet’s trap-way to remove obstructions. Plumbing snakes are okay; however, the auger has a rubber coating that will protect your porcelain. Lower and feed the cable into your tank until you feel a block. Slowly turn the handle clockwise. When you feel resistance, rewind the snake and repeat this several times. When the water lowers in the tank, flush to see if the water drains properly.

The toilet auger is long enough to reach past the toilet, often to the main soil stack. If the clog lies beyond that point, potentially in the main sewer line, try an Enzyme Wast Removal product or call a professional.

Although not as efficient as the plunger and auger, you can try a WET/DRY VAC if you want to exhaust all methods. If you need to replace your toilet, using a WET/DRY VAC is an excellent way to empty the bowl.

WET/DRY VAC

It’s essential to use a WET/DRY VAC and not a regular vacuum cleaner because of the risk of electric shock. Grab a pair of gloves and vacuum the water out of the bowl. Push the vacuum hose into the drain a few inches and wrap a washcloth around the hose to create a vacuum seal. Keep pressure on the washcloth and turn on the vacuum to (hopefully) suck out the clog.

The following methods are ideal for small traps such as your sink or shower. They can also be used in your toilet; however, they may be less effective than the tactics mentioned above.

BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR

These two non-toxic household items are also excellent at cleaning surfaces, deodorizing—and helps with keeping drains running smoothly. Add one cup of baking soda to your drain. Slowly add two cups of vinegar. When combined, these two items will create bubbles. Allow the bubbles to work for 30 minutes then check.

DISH SOAP (OR SHAMPOO) AND HOT WATER

Not as exciting as watching bubbles, this combination is also powerful at softening clogs. Heat a gallon of water on the stove. Squirt some dish soap into your drain. Slowly pour the hot (NOT BOILING) water into the drain. Wait for 30 minutes, and hopefully, the clog will be gone.

If your toilet and sink are both draining slowly, you might consider the clog is in your main sewer line. Enzyme Wast Removal is ideal for unclogging organic matter that may exist in your main sewer line or septic.

ENZYME WASTE REMOVAL PRODUCT

Consider an enzyme waste removal product over a drain-clearing chemical because it will not harm the environment, pipes, or septic. Follow the instructions on the product label. Pour the suggested amount into your slow drain and let the product sit overnight.

If a clog persists or you notice that your tub and sink are draining slowly as well—or not at all—you may be dealing with a clog in your main sewer line. Give us a call for a Sewer-Cam video of your main sewer line.

Keep Reading

Troubleshoot a Tripped Circuit Breaker.

Troubleshoot a Tripped Circuit Breaker.

When a breaker trips in your home, it’s due to overcapacity or a short: The breaker trips, stopping the flow of electricity as a safety measure. A tripped main breaker will cut the power off to your entire house. SOME COMMON CAUSES CAN INCLUDE: too many appliances; appliances that require too much electricity; damaged breakers;

Read More  
Troubleshoot uneven heating.

Troubleshoot uneven heating.

Routine maintenance makes sure your heat pump is working at peak performance. But if one room is typically colder than the rest of your home, here are a few DIY tips you can do to help. Test your thermostat. Affix a thermometer on your wall next to your thermostat. Place a towel behind the thermometer

Read More  
What is emergency heat?

What is emergency heat?

What is emergency heat—and why do I need it? As a follow-up to our recent blog “My A/C won’t keep my house cool enough on a 95-degree day,” we’re taking a look at how heat pumps use emergency heat to perform adequately during the winter. Emergency or auxiliary heat is a supplemental heating component installed

Read More  
My A/C won't keep my house cool enough on a 95-degree day.

My A/C won't keep my house cool enough on a 95-degree day.

It’s 95 degrees outside, and you can’t get your indoor temperature to go below 75 degrees—even with your thermostat set on 72 degrees. It seems as if the AC can’t keep up. First thing you might think; okay, let’s get a larger AC to keep perfectly cool when summer temperatures hit above 93 degrees. However,

Read More  
After the Flood.

After the Flood.

One year ago in May, severe rain in Charlottesville, Va. caused the banks of rivers and streams to flood; so much so that people lost their lives. I recently sat with Diana and Scott outside their home in White Hall to talk with them about the flood and how it changed their perspective on service.

Read More  
How will the R22 refrigerant phase-out affect me?

How will the R22 refrigerant phase-out affect me?

If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, an R-22 refrigerant phase-out has been taking place in the air conditioning industry (since 2013) that will affect you—if it hasn’t already. (Some systems after 2010 were manufactured with the use of R-22. You can check the nameplate on your condenser for the refrigerant type.) The R-22

Read More  
Clearing The Air.

Clearing The Air.

There are many steps you can take to create a more air-friendly indoor environment. Some of the devices and claims can make the topic of air filtration confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Read our blog and take a look at the simplified diagram to see if we can help clear the air on

Read More  
Finding value. It starts with a conversation.

Finding value. It starts with a conversation.

Defined as relative worth, merit, or importance: value is different for everyone. The “best” may not always be the right value for your home. And this nuance is important to consider when it comes to replacing your HVAC system. Start with the right HVAC consultant or technician; they will walk you through a series of

Read More  
Snow, ice, and a little peace of mind.

Snow, ice, and a little peace of mind.

Snow and ice are in the forecast for us (again). If you’re off to grab a few provisions, don’t forget to build in a little time to make sure your heat pump is ready for snow. A few simple steps can go a long way in ensuring you stay comfortable and safe during the snow

Read More  
Five Signs it’s Time for a New Heating System

Five Signs it’s Time for a New Heating System

There comes a time in every home owner’s life when they realize their furnace just isn’t what it used to be. Years of wear took its toll, and your once young and powerful heating system is now struggling to keep your room warm. We know it is hard to say goodbye, but delaying its replacement

Read More  
Preparing for Baby: Ideal Home Temperature

Preparing for Baby: Ideal Home Temperature

As you prepare to welcome your little one, there are probably a million things running through your mind when it comes to “baby-proofing” your home. While we cannot cover every safety tip out there, there are some important steps you can take to keep your family comfortable and safe during this new stage of life.

Read More  
Service Titan: The Future of Customer Service

Service Titan: The Future of Customer Service

A Smarter and More Efficient Way to Manage As manager of the call center, there is never a dull day for Chrissy Kelly. Her job involves overseeing all of the operations in the department, meaning she must keep track of a lot of information. The call center team works together to handle all follow-up coordination,

Read More  
Ten Benefits of Programmable Thermostats

Ten Benefits of Programmable Thermostats

There is a reason why more and more homeowners are making the switch to programmable thermostats every year–well… ten reasons actually: 1) It Saves You Money (Really) The best way to combat those high bills is to reduce your energy usage. Instead of heating or cooling your house while you are away, you are able

Read More  
Customizable Smart Home Technology

Customizable Smart Home Technology

After decades of experience providing reliable plumbing, electric, and HVAC services, W.E. Brown has expanded their products/services to include smart-home technology. While the idea of smart-home devices may be intimidating for some, Jay Taggart (CEO of W.E. Brown) saw this addition as a natural progression for the company. After all, they have been installing the

Read More  
Pursuing Her Lifelong Dream at W.E. Brown

Pursuing Her Lifelong Dream at W.E. Brown

Seven years ago, Jessica Pritchett began to dream about becoming an electrician, but put her goals aside to care for others. Despite all odds, her unwavering passion led her to pursue that dream at W.E. Brown years later. Her whole life, Jessica has been passionate about fixing things and discovering how they worked. However, pursuing

Read More  
W.E. Brown's Everyday Heroes Save Cat

W.E. Brown's Everyday Heroes Save Cat

When a family’s cat was in serious danger, duct mechanic Roy Haislip and call center employee Jennifer Perry did not hesitate to come to its rescue. Their heroic actions and compassion for others exemplify what we always aim to achieve at W.E. Brown. Read about how the event unfolded through the eyes of Roy and

Read More  
A Smart Way To Keep Your Cool. Plan Ahead.

A Smart Way To Keep Your Cool. Plan Ahead.

Everything working together to create your whole-home comfort (your HVAC, dishwasher, washer, and dryer) has a lifespan. A lot of people tend to wait until their system fails or gets entirely run into the ground before having it replaced. Something to consider, however, if you know the manufacturer’s lifespan on any of your products, is

Read More  
Rolling in 2018 With a Fleet of New Trucks

Rolling in 2018 With a Fleet of New Trucks

New Look, Same Reliable Service Here at W.E. Brown, we are always striving to go above and beyond for our customers, and there is no detail too small when it comes to providing an excellent experience. From the moment our trucks hit the road, our goal is to provide customer service that is both personal

Read More  

Forecasting The Health of Your Pipes With Video Certainty

Yep, and we give this video ‘Two Thumbs Up.’ As a routine check-up, a Sewer Camera video inspection of your main sewer line is a noninvasive and cost-effective way to forecast your home’s plumbing health as well as identify an invasive root before it grows, collects debris, and turns into a significant clog in your

Read More  
Building A World Of Efficiency— Starts Behind The Drywall

Building A World Of Efficiency— Starts Behind The Drywall

Let me cover another W.E. Brown focus group favorite—knowledge sharing. Something that is near and dear to my heart is new construction and home efficiency. It’s not obvious and so I’ve created an article and blog on the topic: The choices you make behind the drywall should be as remarkable as the ones in plain

Read More