What Do Those Bad Smells from My Drain Mean?

July 30th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

A sewage-like odor emanating from one or more of the drains in your home is hard to miss. Not only is it unpleasant, but it may indicate a more serious problem with your plumbing that will need the assistance of plumbing professionals. In some cases, the trouble can be fixed in only a few minutes…in others, the work might require a few days, but you can’t afford to ignore the problem.

Since 1960, the team at Larry & Sons, Inc. has helped Middletown, PA with drain repair services and other sewer line and septic services. If you have bad-smelling drains and the simple solution (which will explain below) doesn’t correct the problem, contact us as soon as you can and we will send one of our experienced plumbers to look into the problem and find an answer.

Reasons for Bad-Smelling Drains

  • Dry p-trap: “P-trap” is the name for the curved pipe section directly beneath your sink. The shape of the pipe is designed to trap a plug of water between the down pipe sections and the drain opening, and this prevents rising sewer gas from escaping up into the house. However, if a sink is not used for a long stretches (this can often occur in the bathrooms of guest houses) the water in the p-trap will evaporate and allow noxious gas to get through. This is easy to fix: run water down the drain for a few minutes to restore the water level in the p-trap.
  • Blocked drain vents: To prevent a build-up of sewer gas pressure inside pipes, drain vents move the gas up to openings on the roof of your house. Should these vents become blocked because of debris or animal nests, it will force the sewer gas back down the pipes; the pressure will be sufficient to push the gas through the water in the p-traps. If you hear a gurgling sound in your drains along with the bad smells, then clogged vents are probably the cause of the problem. Don’t climb up to the roof to unblock the vents yourself! Stay safe and call for professional assistance.
  • Sewer line issues: This is the most serious of all possible causes for bad-smelling drain. Should the sewer line that takes the wastewater from your home out to the municipal sewer system in the street or to your septic tank become blocked from root infiltration or burst, it will start to back up sewage into your drains. If the bad smells are coming from multiple drains, it is likely that the sewer line is responsible. You need to call for help immediately, since this problem can lead to sewage flooding your basement or your home’s foundations.

Larry & Sons, Inc. is a trusted source for drain and sewer services in Middletown, PA. We also handle septic systems and many other plumbing services. If you think that those bad drain odors mean you have repairs that must be taken care of right away, make us your first call.

Common Repairs You May Need for Your Septic System

July 21st, 2014 by Mike Corbett

For homes that do not have access to a municipal sewer system and waste treatment plant, a septic system is indispensable for removal of wastewater from a home. As with any waste disposal system, a septic system must remain in good repair so that it works efficiently, keeps your home and property clean, and does not cause health risk from exposure to bacteria and waste solids.

Septic systems will need occasional repairs, although with regular septic tank pumping and maintenance you can avoid the majority of malfunctions. You certainly do not want to tamper with your septic tank, septic lines, or the drainfield on your own, so call up the local septic repair service in Williamsport, MD: Larry & Sons, Inc. We’ve helped plumbing in our community since 1960.

Some Common Septic System Repairs

  • Emergency tank pumping: A septic tank requires pumping at least annually to remove the solid sludge that develops along the bottom of the tank as it filters out waste from the water before moving it into the drainfield. Sometimes a tank will need to have immediate pumping because the level of sludge has risen high enough to block the intake and outtake lines, leading to sewage backing up into the house or entering the drainfield and then rising up through the ground.
  • Fixing drainfield piping: The pipes of the drainfield that distribute the water after it passes through the septic tank can sometimes break because of shifting in the ground, the growth of tree roots, or construction on the ground above. Pipe problems in the drainfield will cause severe drainage issues. The drainfield will need excavation to repair the broken pipes.
  • Replacing broken septic baffles: The baffles inside a septic tank are designed to prevent solid material from exiting the tank and entering the drainfield. The baffles can become damaged from sulfuric acid or rust, and when this happens you will need professionals to replace them. Septic baffle problems are often early warning signs of a full septic tank failure; your technician will be able to tell you good long term solutions.

At Larry & Sons, Inc., we handle a full range of services for septic systems, from maintenance to complete replacements. We can determine if you will benefit from repairs, or if the time has come to install a new septic tank. Give us a call whenever you need septic tank services in Williamsport, MD, or to arrange for regular maintenance and tank pumping that will give your system a long and useful life.

What Is Trenchless Pipe Replacement?

July 15th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

A vision many homeowners have when they think about replacing the water or sewer line that runs under their property is of a power digger ripping apart the grass of their lawn to reach down to where the pipe lies buried. The excavation work in this scenario looks as extensive as if an in-ground swimming pool were being put in…except the end result isn’t anything so luxurious.

This nightmare image isn’t far from the truth of pipe replacement. Or at least, what pipe replacement used to be. Today, you no longer have to worry about plumbers turning your yard into an archeological dig when you need to have pipe sections of your sewer or water line replaced. Thanks to trenchless no-dig technology, the job will only take a few hours and leave your yard virtually untouched.

Larry & Sons, Inc. can handle Middletown, MD trenchless pipe replacement that will make your life much easier and keep the outside of your home looking beautiful. Make us your first call for all major and minor plumbing needs.

So How Does Trenchless Pipe Replacement Work?

The core concept of trenchless pipe replacement is feeding a replacement pipe into an older pipe, then expanding the replacement segment so the outer pipe cracks apart and the new one takes its place.

To start the job, the trenchless technicians locate the two ends of the pipe section they are replacing, then dig two small access holes down to reach both ends. If one of the ends opens up inside your home, then they will only need to dig one hole. The plumbers slide the replacement pipe into one end of the older pipe, and a hydraulic system on the other end draws the new pipe completely through and into position. Once this step is finished, a device called a pipe-burster pushes through the new pipe, which expands to shatter the old pipe and fix the new one in its place. The plumbers connect the ends of the new pipe to the existing plumbing system.

The clean-up afterwards is simple: the plumbers only need to fill in the two holes and cover them over, and your yard is back to what it was before with almost no trace of the work. The whole process should only require a few hours.

Call Us for Trenchless Pipe Replacement

You no longer have to sacrifice your front or backyard to the ravages of power digging equipment that will keep the outside of your home looking like a construction site over multiple days. Just contact our Middletown, MS trenchless pipe replacement experts at Larry & Sons, Inc., and we can have the work done fast and leave you with a pristine lawn. Give us a call today to set up your next appointment.

Signs That You Need Drain Repair

July 10th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

The drainage system on your property plays a crucial part in keeping your home pleasant and hygienic. Whether you drains empty into the municipal sewer system, or into a septic system, it is important to keep the drainage in good condition. Should your sewer line start to develop issues such as breaks, clogs, corrosion, or root infestation, call for professionals to handle the repair work immediately.

There are a number of warning signs you should watch out for that will indicate you need to schedule drain repair service for your home in Wayneboro, PA. When you notice any of these signs, put in a call to Larry & Sons, Inc. We have more than 50 years of experience protecting homes with quality sewer and septic repairs.

Warning Signs That It is Time for Drain Repair

  • Consistent clogs throughout the house: When the sewer line from your home becomes clogged, it will cause a backup in the drains throughout the house. You will find slow drains and clogs in sinks, showers, and toilets. A single clog usually means an obstruction in the drainpipe, but if the clogs are everywhere it usually means an emergency issue in the sewer line that will need professional plumbers.
  • Foul odors: If the drains in your home are emitting unpleasant, sewage-like smells, you need to call for plumbers immediately. This often indicates a sewage backup from poor drainage that is forcing sewer gases up through the p-traps in the sinks.
  • Damps spot and pools in the yard: If the sewer line or septic tank line springs a leak, the wastewater will begin to rise to the surface and create damp pools that emit noxious odors. When you notice this occurring on your lawn, it’s time to call for plumbers to look into the matter.
  • Water stains in the basement: Be cautious about any water stains that start to show up in your basement, which indicates that sewage is starting to backup because of poor drainage. An increase in vermin like rats will also point toward a problem.

Drainage issues are serious and need immediate attention from professionals; if you let the signs of trouble go without taking action, you risk serious damage to your home from sewage backflow. Even if the drainage problem ends up as an issue in the municipal system (this can sometimes happen), you will still need to hire professionals to reduce the damage in your home.

Give us a call and reach out to Larry & Sons, Inc. whenever you have needs for drain repair or other plumbing services in Waynesboro, PA.

The Famous Painting of the Declaration of Independence Isn’t What You Think It Is

July 4th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

If you grew up in the United States, you probably first saw John Trumbull’s painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence in an elementary schoolbook. This oil-on-canvas 12’ x 18’ painting hangs in the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. It is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the country and almost every citizen can conjure it from memory.

Except… the painting isn’t of the singing of the Declaration of Independence. The actual title of the work is Declaration of Independence, and although it does portray an important moment in the history of the document that announced the Thirteen Colonies’ decision to break away from British rule, the event in the painting occurred on June 28, 1776, not July 4, 1776.

John Trumbull, a Connecticut native who fought in the Revolutionary War and whose father was the state governor, was commissioned to create the painting in 1817. He did painstaking research on the figures in the picture and also visited Independence Hall to see the actual chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. Trumbull only included 42 of the original 56 signers, because he could not find adequate likenesses for 14 or them, and added a few figures who were not present (most of whom declined to sign the actual document). In fact, the men depicted in the painting had never been present in the same room at one time.

So if the painting does not portray the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what is happening in the image? The Trumbull’s scene depicts the presentation of the draft of the declaration to the Continental Congress for editing and approval. The five-man drafting committee (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) is handing over their finished work, which congress would then edit carefully over the next few days before voting on it and signing it on the day that we now celebrate as the start of the United States of America.

One last, odd, fact: two of the five-man drafting committee, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th—although many years later.

Our family at Larry & Sons, Inc. hopes that your Fourth of July (or Twenty-Eighth of June if you decided to start celebrating early) is a memorable and happy one.

3 Common Methods of Drain Cleaning

June 27th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

Clogs are one of those “everyday” plumbing problems. We sincerely hope that you aren’t experiencing sink clogs every day (and if you are, give us a call immediately), but they are an occurrence that people expect to happen on a routine basis.

Sometimes you can clear out a clog with a plunger, which is a safe and simple method to do the job. If the plunger doesn’t work, do not resort to liquid drain cleaners purchased from the store. Instead, call for a plumber for professional drain cleaning in Greencastle, MD. Larry & Sons, Inc. handle drain cleaning that will eliminate clogs and also thoroughly clean your drains to prevent future clogs… we’ll removed the “­everyday” from “everyday clogs.”

3 Ways Professionals Approach Drain Cleaning

  1. Drain augers: Also known as “drain snakes,” these incredibly useful devices are effective at cleaning out most major clogs from sinks without needing to resort to harmful chemicals. They operate similar to corkscrews, except on a long, flexible line. A coil of wires goes down the drain until it reaches the obstruction. Then, a motor turns the end of the wires (some augers are hand-cranked) so they drive down securely into the clog. The plumber can then pull the clog out or break it apart and wash down the rest of the debris.
  2. Hydro-jetting: This advanced technique clears out drains and eliminates large amounts of build-up from the sides of the pipe using the action of high pressure and high temperatures. A hydro-jetter consists of a motorized device to place water under high pressure and a hose with a nozzle that goes down inside drainpipes and blasts out the scalding water to scour the pipe interior. Hydro-jetting is potentially dangerous in amateur hands, so only allow trained plumbers to perform this work on your pipes.
  3. Video pipe inspection: A large part of cleaning drains is finding out what needs to be cleaned and where. Advanced video pipe inspection equipment eliminates much of the guesswork in this process and allows for faster and more effective drain cleaning jobs. Using miniaturized cameras fed down into the pipes and the feed sent back to a monitor, plumbers can ascertain exactly how to best clean out pipes. (This equipment is also invaluable for leak detection and repairs.)

Drain cleaning isn’t a task you should schedule only when clogs are causing problems. Having regular cleaning done every year will help you avoid future clogs and keep safe water pressure levels inside your plumbing.

Call Larry & Sons, Inc. for preventive drain cleaning or other important plumbing services in Greencastle, MD. With our training, equipment, and more than 50 years of experience, we will keep your plumbing at its healthiest. Call us today and speak with one of our qualified plumbing experts.

Why Is Septic Tank Pumping Important?

June 20th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

When you live in area where your home does not have access to a public sewer treatment system, a septic tank is a necessary part of removing wastewater safely from your home, taking out the dangerous bacteria, and distributing it to a septic field into the ground.

Most of the time, a septic system will work fine without you needing to think about it—and that’s just how it should be. When the septic system develops problems, however, your need to do something about it right away before the situation turns unpleasant and even damaging to your home and property. To avoid repairs issues and dilemmas with your Middletown, MD septic system, arrange for regular septic tank pumping from the team at Larry & Sons, Inc. We have helped people care for the septic systems with repairs and maintenance for over 50 years now.

Why Regular Septic Pumping is Crucial

To know why a septic tank must be pumped, you need to understand how the tank functions and the role it plays in the system. The purpose of the tank is to separate solid sewage from the wastewater that enters it. The solid waste falls to the bottom of the tank as sludge, and the light waste made of oil and grease remains at the top as a scum layer. The water in the middle remains mostly free of solids, but contains the nitrogen and phosphorous chemicals that are helpful as fertilizer. Pipes reaching into the center of the septic tank remove this fertilizer water and filter it down through the septic field and into the earth.

The solid waste and scum do not leave the tank, however. They must be kept out of the earth to avoid horrible smells and harmful bacteria contaminating the soil. Some of the sludge decays due to the action of bacteria, but this cannot eliminate all of it. Eventually—every 3 to 5 years—the tank must have pumping the removes this sludge from the tank and dispose of it. This needs septic professionals to perform.

Without septic pumping, the sludge will eventually build up and cause two serious issues. First, the sludge can start to block the drainage from the home and begin to back-up the sewer lines. This will clog sinks and drains and send terrible odors into the home; it might even cause sewage to flow into the house. Second, the sludge will start to enter the septic field and the soil, which will not only poison the ground and hurt the environment, but it will also seep upwards and create horrible smells across your property.

How often a tank needs pumping depends on its use, but you should have septic maintenance done once a year to check on it, and to see if there are any other troubles developing. Larry & Sons, Inc. offer professional septic tank pumping and other septic tank services in Middletown, MD whenever you need it. Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment with us.

How Does Video Pipe Inspection Work with Drain Cleaning?

June 13th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

Drain cleaning may sound like a simple process, which is why many homeowners make the mistake of using store-bought bottles of chemicals to do the job. But no professional plumber uses these “cleaners” in his or her work: they are caustic and can severely damage the interior of drainpipes. Instead, dedicated professionals use an array of other tools to take care of cleansing drains to reduce the risk of clogs and high water pressure.

One of the important modern devices used in drain cleaning is the miniaturized camera. When you contact Larry & Sons, Inc. for drain cleaning service in Williamsport, MD, we will use special video pipe inspection equipment to provide you with targeted and effective cleaning that will leave your home’s pipes pristine and undamaged.

How Does the Video Pipe Inspection Method Work?

The basic set-up of video pipe inspection is a miniaturized camera, LED light, fiber optic cable, and video monitor. The camera is mounted, along with the LED light, at the end of the long and flexible fiber optic cable. The plumber snakes the cable down a drain or other access point deep into the plumbing. The camera sends a video feed back to the monitor, giving a clear image of the interior of the pipe.

Using this visual information, a plumber can discover exactly what needs cleaning, how best to clean it. This takes away the guesswork of drain cleaning: the plumber will know which method to try, and also where to apply it. This is especially helpful with problems in sewer lines, since it allows the plumber to see if roots have entered the pipe and if they can be dealt with using non-invasive procedure that will not require any digging. Video pipe inspection helps prevent unnecessary work that takes up time and money… and could lead to damage to your house.

Trust to Drain Cleaning Professionals

Although you can find video pipe inspection equipment for sale at some specialty websites (almost any professional-grade equipment is now available this way), it is both prohibitively expensive and too difficult to use. Unless you are a trained plumber, you will not be able to analyze the images on your own and come up with solutions to your drain cleaning problems. Save yourself time and money when you’re in need of professional drain cleaning or other plumbing services in Williamsport, MD.

You will have a hard time finding plumbers with more experience at cleaning drains than Larry & Sons, Inc. We are now in our fifth decade of service to the community. Give us a call today to schedule your next service appointment with us.

Reduce the Risk of Repairs with Drain Maintenance

June 6th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

Plumbing systems are a staple of every household, and most homeowners are accustomed to the reality of occasionally having to unclog the drains. If you’re having problems with your drain, there are plumbing services in Chambersburg PA with plenty of qualified plumbers ready to clear them up for you, but far better than repairing it is setting up a routine maintenance schedule for your system. Not only can you reduce the risk of repairs with drain maintenance, but you can help your system perform more efficiently as a result.

The maintenance service itself doesn’t address any specific problem. Rather, it’s kind of a tune-up session designed to catch multiple problems before they start. The technician arrives and performs a standard inspection of the drains, using a miniature video camera sent down the pipes to get a unique “inside” view of any problems. He or she can then note particular trouble spots, such as leaky spots or areas where build-up may eventually clog the system. With that knowledge in mind, he or she can then perform a general drain cleaning designed to remove any build up, as well as getting rid of tree roots and other potential mischief maker before they infiltrate your system. If further repairs are needed, you can schedule a session at your leisure: picking a time that works with your busy schedule rather than being forced to make time because of a plumbing emergency.

It’s not hard to see how you can reduce the risk of repairs with drain maintenance. By catching little problems before they have a chance to grow into big ones, the technician improves efficiency and helps your system perform at its peak. Even if repairs are needed, they’re likely to be less expensive than they might otherwise be: putting money back in your pocket and reducing the time spent on such repairs. If you’d like to set up a regular maintenance session for your drain, Chambersburg PA has the perfect service with Larry & Sons, Inc. Give us a call today to make an appointment, and let us help you keep your plumbing system running the way you need it to!

The Basics of Trenchless Technology

May 30th, 2014 by Mike Corbett

What happens to your yard when you need to have major repairs or replacements to your sewer line or water main? If you immediately have a vision of something out of the front lines of France during World War I, only minus the brambles of barbed wire, then you’re almost right. The standard way of making repairs to buried pipes involves deep excavations.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Thanks to the invention of trenchless “no dig” technology, you no longer need to have sewer or water line repairs look like the British Army has encamped in your yard to hide from German mortar attacks. Instead, professional plumbing experts with the best technology only need to make a few small holes and finish up the job in no time at all—and for a lot less money.

Larry & Sons, Inc. performs work in Charles Town, MD with trenchless technology. If you have water line or sewer line problems, call us for the clean and fast work that will restore your plumbing without shredding your property.

Wait…how does this “trenchless” repair work?

Glad you asked. It’s remarkable in many ways, and it relies on a combination of hydraulics and expanding pipe replacement liners. We’ll use the example of a leaking sewer line that needs replacement for our demonstration.

The plumbers come to your house and locate from above ground the area of pipe that is leaking and needs to be replaced. They don’t dig a huge trench to reach the buried pipe, however. Instead, they make two small holes at either end of the pipe. Usually, one of the holes will go in a spot closest to the street where the pipe is about to enter the municipal sewer system. On the other end of the pipe, the trenchless experts insert a pipe replacement line—essentially, the new pipe material that will replace the broken pipe. On the other side, the plumbers attach a hydraulic system. The hydraulic system then pulls the replacement pipe through the older pipe until it emerges on the other side. Now a “pipe burster” goes through the replacement pipe, forcing it to expand; as it does so, it causes the older pipe to shatter and… presto!, you have a new pipe in place of the old one. The plumbers then secure the fresh pipe to the rest of the system and carefully fill in the two holes and landscape them.

The process is fast and clean and leaves behind little evidence that the plumbers were ever there. Don’t let the “war zone” treatment affect your property the next time you have sewer or water main trouble; call Larry & Sons, Inc. for trenchless pipe replacement and other plumbing services in Charles Town, MD.