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Storing Your RV In A Steel Building During The Cold Months Of Winter

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Storing Your RV In A Steel Building During The Cold Months Of Winter

If you are purchasing a large RV, have you determined where and how you will store it when it’s not being used during cold, wintry months? Snow accumulating on an RV can do some serious damage, especially if the snow becomes heavy enough to cause the roof to fail or collapse. Here’s what you need to know. Snow can damage the lightweight construction of an RV roof Placing a tarp on top of the roof can reduce the risks of water and melted snow from getting into seams and expanding when temperatures drop below freezing, but there’s still the weight of the snow to contend with. Due to the rising costs of fuel, many RV manufacturers are building RVs to be lightweight to improve the mile-per-gallon performance of the RVs. One way they’ve made it possible to improve the fuel usage is with lightweight roofing. Many RV roofs are too thin to be walked on, so you can imagine the weight of several inches of slushy snow can be concerning. Other cold weather elements can also damage your RV Sunlight can dry out the tires and damage them. The ultraviolet rays can weaken points in the tire. To compound the situation, flat spots on the tires can occur from the weight of the unmoved RV. Together, these issues could easily cause the tires to weaken and rupture. Sunlight can also cause the paint to fade and the interior upholstery to fade as well. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on the plumbing, appliances, and electronics inside the RV. And humidity levels during winter months can cause excessive moisture inside your RV, which can frost over and ruin those components and the interior surfaces. And of course, whenever there’s excessive moisture, there’s a risk of mold growth when the temperatures begin to rise after a long, cold winter. Protection from elements of weather in an RV garage There are several ways you can protect the investment in your RV. The RV can be parked underneath an RV port, which is similar to a car port. While this may seem like a good idea economically, your RV can still be susceptible to other weather elements. The ideal way to store an RV for the winter is in a building that is, preferably, climate-controlled, such as a large RV garage made out of steel or pre-engineered metal buildings. Steel buildings are ideal for RVs because they can easily withstand the elements of weather and require very little maintenance to perform well. They also can be built in a shorter amount of time than other types of garage construction methods, such as concrete block garages. Incorporating a climate-control system in the building to keep the temperatures above freezing and the humidity levels optimal can help to the risks of damage to your RV. An RV garage will allow you to have extra space One great benefit of parking and storing your RV in a steel building for the off-season is you, your family, and your friends will be able to use the RV as extra living space and still be comfortable due to the climate-control of the garage itself. The RV can become a man-cave or a place for your teenagers to hang out in with their friends. It can also give you a...

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Uplifted: Raising A Church Building And The Cranes That Make It Happen

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Uplifted: Raising A Church Building And The Cranes That Make It Happen

Your church building fund has successfully reached its targeted goal. The contractor has been hired, the volunteers have been organized, and your entire congregation is excited to see the progress as its new church home becomes a reality. You may communicate the ongoing building process with your church members via social media, a newsletter, and updates from the pulpit. Bringing attention to the big milestones, big equipment, and big blessings along the way will help keep the congregation and community engaged and uplifted about the prospect of worshiping in their new church. Some of the most exciting events during construction are when the cranes the contractor rents are brought on the property to lift and position essential building components. Ideal for photo opportunities, the big equipment use marks important milestones toward the church building project’s completion. A Crane for the Basement and Foundation A solid foundation is imperative for a church’s beliefs – and for its house of worship. To build a strong foundation for the church building, precast concrete panels are often the material of choice. The panels are delivered on a large flatbed truck. A spectacular-looking, heavy-duty crane is used to set the enormous slabs in place. A professional crane operator and workers experienced in making sure the concrete walls are upright, plumb, and even are the crew responsible for getting the foundation (and basement) perfect for further building. TIP: Use a telephoto lens to get great pictures of this activity because you’ll need to stay a great distance away for safety’s sake. Cranes Used for the Walls and Roof Depending on the architectural design of your new church, it’s likely that one or more types of cranes will be used in getting the most visible portion of your church built. Delivery truck cranes. Large pallets of lumber, brick, and sheetrock are off-loaded from the delivery trucks by cranes that are custom-built into the trucks. On-site cranes. The general contractor may rent a modest-sized crane for multiple on-site tasks. These cranes may be used to re-position building materials for more convenient access by the construction workers. This type of crane is typically mounted on wheels to be driven to various parts of the property, depending on the task it must be used for next. Cranes for metal building installation. If your church has opted for a pre-engineered metal building design, several different types of cranes will be brought onto the property to handle installation of the steel columns, the roof support system and the exterior wall panels. A crane for roof trusses. For a traditional church design with a pitched roof, wood trusses must be lifted high and placed on the top of the walls. This type of work is accomplished with a crane that has an articulated arm that not only goes up and down, but also can be rotated for precise positioning. TIP: Make sure that all church members are aware that they must stay off the building site at all times, especially when the heavy equipment is being operated. You may coordinate with your contractor to give tours for a limited number of interested persons – only at convenient times and with the proper safety helmets and precautions in place. The Crane for the Finishing Touches For a church with classic architectural features, lifting...

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Tips & Tricks For Maintaining Your Hot Tub

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips & Tricks For Maintaining Your Hot Tub

Maintaining a hot tub can be a lot of work. The tiny body of water can be difficult to keep clean and balanced. There are many things you can do to make the maintenance easier. Here are some tips and tricks to maintaining your hot tub. Use Tennis Balls Soaps and oils can damage the filtration system. Even if you don’t put them directly into the water, they still come off of your body when you get into the hot tub. Tennis balls are perfect for attracting these oils. If you put them into the skimmer, the lotions and oils will stick to the balls when you skim the water. If you are a heavy lotion user, you can put the tennis balls directly into the water when you get in as well. Bleach the Cover Most people don’t even think about the hot tub cover when they are cleaning their hot tub. However, the cover usually starts smelling like mildew after a while. You don’t need to live with a hot tub that stinks every time you take the lid off. Make sure you wipe down the inside of the hot tub lid every few months or so. You don’t need to use bleach by itself. Cleaning solutions generally suggest a 1:10 solution, meaning you want 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, making bleach only about 10% of the solution. Clean Filters The filters need to be cleaned periodically. In your home, you change your air filter every few months to keep the air flowing through it properly. If you don’t clean your filters in your hot tub, the water isn’t going to flow through it properly. Remove your hot tub filter and spray it off with the garden hose. The pleats tend to keep grime hidden, so make sure you spread them apart with your fingers and spray in between them. This should be done on a weekly basis to keep them working properly. Once you have sprayed it off with the hose, spray it down with a bottle of filter cleaner. You can purchase a specialized bottle of hot tub filter cleaner from a pool and spa store. If you don’t want to purchase the filter cleaner, you can make your own cleaning solution. One type of cleaning solution you can make is a bleach solution. You can use the same 1:10 solution that you use for your hot tub lid. The only problem with bleach is that it’s corrosive and it will reduce the life of your filter. You will likely need to replace the filter more often if you use bleach. If you want to use something more gentle, consider using a cleaner with white vinegar instead of bleach. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and the smell evaporates, so you don’t have to worry about your hot tub smelling like vinegar. Drain Periodically When the hot tub starts getting really dirty, a lot of people start dumping a lot of extra chemicals in to try and clear up the algae and rebalance the pH. Hot tub chemicals are expensive, and you can end up spending more in chemicals than you would to just refill the tub. You also need to be mindful of how many chemicals are going to wind up on your...

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What’s The Deal With Your HVAC System Leaking Water?

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s The Deal With Your HVAC System Leaking Water?

It’s no fun coming home to a soaked patch of carpet or visible puddles on your floor, but it might not be your home’s plumbing that’s the culprit. Believe it or not, your HVAC system could be springing a leak. HVAC water leaks aren’t uncommon, and they can be a bit of a pain to deal with. But before you pick up the phone and call your HVAC technician, take a look at how you can put a stop to those leaks on your own. It’s All About Condensation Condensation is a natural occurrence during the air conditioning process. As the evaporator coil on your A/C system absorbs latent heat from the surrounding air, it also lowers the relative humidity of the air, reducing its ability to hold large amounts of water vapor. That water vapor condenses into liquid droplets that eventually end up in the condensate drip tray. The water that winds up in the drip tray is eventually drained elsewhere, usually outdoors or through a floor drain located near the unit. But issues with this system may cause leaks.  Common Causes for HVAC Water Leaks There are plenty of reasons why your A/C system may suddenly spring a water leak: Clogged drain line – A clogged drain line can cause water to back up in the condensate drip tray, eventually causing the water to cascade over the tray edge. Cracked or rusted drip tray – Damage to the drip tray itself can also lead to water leaks. Cracks, loose joints and fittings and other damage – A cracked drain line or a line with loose pipe fittings can allow water to seep through. Absent P-trap – P-traps are usually added to the condensate drain line to prevent air from entering the line and blocking water flow. It’s not unusual for HVAC contractors to forget this crucial step, which could set the stage for a future water leak. Frost/ice formation – Excessive frost buildup on the evaporator coil can create excess water when melted, resulting in the drip tray and drain being overwhelmed by the excess. Taking Care of Water Leaks Before you do anything else, you’ll want to clean up the mess made by your leaking A/C system. A wet/dry shop vacuum or a good quality mop can quickly take care of any major puddles. If there’s any water in hard-to-reach crevices, you can use an absorbent cloth or sponge to coax the water out. If the cause of your A/C system’s water leak stems from a clog in the drain line, you can put your shop vacuum’s suction to good use by placing the nozzle over the drain inlet. The force of the vacuum should pull most clogs out. For more stubborn clogs, you may need to use a small plumber’s snake to break up the clog before removal. If your water leak stems from the condensate drip tray, you’ll want to inspect it up close for any stress cracks or chips that could let water seep through. For trays made from steel, you’ll want to check for signs of rust or corrosion. It’s a good idea to completely replace the tray if there are any signs of damage, but minor damage can be temporarily fixed using a two-part epoxy or water sealant. For damaged drain...

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Forklift Drivers: Stay Safe on the Job with These 3 Safety Checks

Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Forklift Drivers: Stay Safe on the Job with These 3 Safety Checks

If you work in a warehouse, you face some inherent risks every day you go to work. Accidents are rare, but they do occasionally happen—and workers in warehouses can get injured. In 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5.2 work-related injuries or illnesses reported for every 100 full-time warehouse workers. If you drive a forklift at a warehouse, here are some safety checks you can perform to reduce the chances that an accident occurs while you’re on the job. Check Your Forklift’s Tire Pressure Forklifts, like any material-handling equipment with wheels, should have their tires properly inflated. If your forklift’s tires are under- or over-inflated, the machine may not handle properly. Even if you don’t notice a difference in the way it steers when you first start your shift, you might have a hard time controlling the forklift once you pick up a full pallet. In addition to affecting a forklift’s steering, under- or over-inflated tires can also cause a forklift to tilt slightly. One improperly inflated tire might not cause much of a change, but two improperly inflated tires on the same side of the forklift could cause enough of a tilt to unbalance a load. To check your forklift’s tire pressure, look up what it should be in the user’s manual. If the manual isn’t kept with the forklift, your supervisor should have a copy of it filed somewhere, or you can try looking up the information on the manufacturer’s website. Once you know what the tire pressure should be, use a tire pressure gauge to check each tire before driving the forklift. If any tires are off, you can let air out with the pressure gauge or add air with an air compressor. If your warehouse doesn’t have a pressure gauge and air compressor, ask your supervisor to get one of each. Test Your Forklift’s Horn If there is a crisis, such as an impending collision, while you’re driving the forklift, the machine’s horn can alert everyone around. You don’t want to wait until there’s about to be a collision to make sure your forklift’s horn works, though. When you first turn on your forklift, give the horn a slight push to make sure it’s in good, working order. If it doesn’t beep, alert your supervisor so they can get the horn fixed as quickly as possible. Make Sure Your Forklift Is Driving Smoothly When you’re transporting heavy pallets of materials and goods, you need to drive smoothly. Any jerking motions could cause your load to become unbalanced, and its inertia could make it topple over or tip the forklift. Not only should you be careful to always drive smoothly, but you should also make sure your forklift accelerates and decelerates without jerking. To check its driving, simply turn it on and drive around for a few minutes. Make sure you go forward and backward and turn left and right before picking up any loads. All of these motions should be smooth. If there are any sudden jerks when you’re testing out your forklift’s driving, make a note of the problem and ask to have the forklift fixed. If your warehouse has multiple forklifts, you may be able to use a different one while the first one you tested is being repaired....

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How To Replace A Damaged Pull-Out Disconnect On Your Air Conditioning System’s Condenser Unit

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Replace A Damaged Pull-Out Disconnect On Your Air Conditioning System’s Condenser Unit

Your home’s central air conditioning condenser and compressor are located in the outdoor unit, and their power supply passes from the house to the unit via a pull-out disconnector handle. This handle is located inside a small box located near the outdoor unit and will be mounted to your home’s exterior wall. On occasion, these disconnect boxes can be short-circuited if the handle is not pushed into its socket; this loose connection causes damage to the panel and handle if arcing occurs. Fortunately, replacement is easy and inexpensive, and below is how you can perform this work yourself: Tools and materials needed 60 amp pull-out disconnect rated for 240 volts Rubber washers and grommets Diagonal cutting pliers Punch Hammer Screwdriver Step-by-step procedure 1. Shut off the electrical power at the circuit breaker panel – Before you begin to perform the replacement, it is critical to shut off the electrical current that flows through the disconnect box. The 240-volt current is strong enough to kill or seriously injure anyone touching it, and you don’t want to risk making accidental contact. Locate the wiring diagram on the circuit breaker panel door to identify which breaker should be switched to its “off” position, then flip the switch firmly to ensure the current is disconnected. 2. Understand the layout of the disconnect box – Once you have shut the power off to the disconnect, open the small metal cover to the box by swinging it upward and out of the way. Inside you will see the black plastic disconnect handle and several wires connected to the wiring panel. Immediately beneath the disconnect handle, there are four parallel terminals with wires connected to each; beneath the terminals, there is a ground bar with two terminals and two additional attached wires. The top four terminals are where the current-carrying wires are attached; the outer two terminals connect power from the house supply, while the inner two wires lead to the condenser and compressor unit. On the disconnect panel, the house supply terminals will be labeled as “line” while the condenser/compressor terminals are designated as “load.” Finally, the silver-colored bar at the bottom is where ground wires from both the supply and outside unit are connected. 3. Remove the wiring and old disconnect box – After double-checking the breaker switch to ensure power hasn’t been accidentally restored, begin by unscrewing the terminal connectors attached to each of the six wires. Carefully pull the wires free from the terminals and straighten them to make removing the disconnect box an easier task. Next, loosen the retaining nut inside the disconnect box that attaches the wiring conduit to the box and slide the nut out of the way. Locate and remove the mounting bolts that hold the disconnect box to the wall of your home. At this point, the box should be gently pulled over the wires and away from the wall. 4. Prepare the new disconnect box – Installing the new disconnect box is simple, but it will require some advance preparation of the box. Looking at the old box, find the two knockout plugs located on the new box that correspond to where the previous holes were made. Next, using a steel punch and hammer, sharply strike the center of the knockout plugs, and the metal plugs...

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Thinking Of Keeping Carpet After A Flood? Consider These Factors

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Thinking Of Keeping Carpet After A Flood? Consider These Factors

If you have had a flood in your home, you will want to have water damage cleanup done. This helps to remove the water and any bacteria and germs that live in the water, and it prevents mold from developing. When a flood occurs and drenches your carpeting, you may have the decision of having the damage company clean and keep your existing carpet or having it replaced. However, there are a few key factors that you should consider when making this decision. Here are a few of the factors that you will want to take into account when deciding whether or not to keep your carpet after a flood. What Type of Water Flooded Your Space One of the most important factors to consider when determining whether or not to keep your carpet after a flood is what type of water has been in contact with your carpeting. If the flood was caused by a sewage leak, and sewage has been sitting on your carpet, you should discard it. The cost of cleaning and restoring carpeting exposed to sewage is high and typically not worth it. On the other hand, if the water was clean water from a pipe bursting or a damaged water heater, you may decide to keep the carpet. How Long Water Has Been Sitting on the Carpet Another key factor that should come into play when deciding whether or not to keep carpeting after a flood is how long the water has been sitting on the carpet. The general-guideline is that you should replace carpets that have been exposed to flood water for 24 hours or longer. The reasoning behind this is that mold can begin to develop in as little as 24 hours and you don’t want to have to deal with the possibility of mold in your home. However, there are other factors that may come into play. If the temperatures have been hot or you live in a humid environment, you may have less time. As such, it is important that you bring in a water damage cleanup company as quickly as you can when dealing with a flood. The Age of the Carpet When deciding whether to keep carpet after a flood, another factor to consider is the age of the carpet. Carpet has an average lifespan of 5 to 25 years, depending on the grade of carpet, what material it is made from, how much wear and tear it is exposed to and how well maintained it is. If your carpet is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may not make much sense to invest time and money into cleaning the carpet up and having it sanitized following a flood. However, if your carpet is newer and still has many years left, it may make sense. The Cost of Cleaning Versus Replacement The last factor you need to consider when deciding whether or not to have the carpet in your home cleaned or replaced after a flood is the cost to clean it versus the cost to replace it. Following a flood, the carpet and padding need to be removed from the space so that the sub-floor can be properly dried and cleaned. The carpet and padding are also properly dried. Once the sub-floor and carpet are dried,...

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Check For Vermiculite Insulation When Buying A Pre-1991 Home To Protect Your Family From Asbestos

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Check For Vermiculite Insulation When Buying A Pre-1991 Home To Protect Your Family From Asbestos

Most people have a home inspection completed before closing on a house. A home inspection typically includes many checks for potential hazards. If you’re buying a house that was built before 1991, there is one thing you should specifically ask your home inspector about. Ask your home inspector to look for vermiculite insulation. If there is any present in the home, you might want it removed before moving into the home. Using Vermiculite Insulation Prior to 1991 A natural fiber, vermiculite itself isn’t a danger to people. It’s even used today in gardening, as a medium for storing bulbs, germinating seeds and growing plants. Most of the vermiculite used before 1991, however, contains asbestos — a known carcinogen. The EPA reports that asbestos was present at a vermiculite mine near Libby, Montana. Much of the vermiculite used between 1919 and 1990 — including vermiculite used for insulation — came from this mine and could be contaminated with the harmful mineral. The EPA says that more than 70 percent of vermiculite used in this time period was affected. Therefore, if you’re purchasing a home that was built before 1991 and it has vermiculite insulation, there is likely asbestos inside the insulation. The best way to protect your family from the asbestos is to have the insulation properly removed before you move into the home. Identifying Vermiculite Insulation Asbestos testing costs anywhere from $50 per sample for off-site testing to $1,200 for on-site air sampling, according to Because most vermiculite products made prior to 1991 contain asbestos, however, there’s little need to pay for testing. If your home inspector finds vermiculite insulation, treat it as a contaminated substance. It’s important to specifically ask your home inspector to look for vermiculite insulation, as this check might not be included in their standard home inspection. Even if a home inspector doesn’t normally look at the type of insulation in a home, they should be able to easily identify vermiculite insulation for you. Asking the Seller to Remove Vermiculite Insulation If your home inspector finds vermiculite insulation, you should ask the home seller to remove the insulation. Not all sellers will be willing to pay for this service, which HomeAdvisor says can cost between $800 and $4,000. A motivated seller might be willing to pay for the removal, though, if it helps sell their home faster. Even if a seller refuses to have the insulation removed, though, you’ll still be able to use the cost of removal when negotiating the closing price of the home. The seller might agree to reduce the price you ultimately pay by a portion of the insulation removal’s cost, effectively splitting the financial burden with you. If this is the agreement you arrive at, you can have the insulation taken out as soon as you close on the house. Paying for New Insulation Regardless of who pays for the vermiculite insulation removal, you should offer to pay for the installation of new insulation. Most sellers would have the cheapest type of insulation put in, since they’ll soon not own the house. You’ll likely want a higher-quality insulation. There are several insulations that you might have installed, all of which have a different R-value. (Higher R-values indicate better insulating capabilities). has a list of different insulations with their...

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Discovered A Wood Floor Under Carpet Or Vinyl? What You Need To Know About Saving The Hardwood

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Discovered A Wood Floor Under Carpet Or Vinyl? What You Need To Know About Saving The Hardwood

When it comes to flooring, few materials compare to the charm and beauty of hardwood. In older homes that have passed through several owners, hardwood floors may be covered by layers of unsightly vinyl tile or carpet. If you move into an older home and discover hardwood flooring beneath synthetic flooring, you may be able to save the wood and give your home an aesthetic upgrade. The following guide on refinishing hardwood provides you with a primer on what you need to do to save the natural flooring material. Determining if Floors Can Be Saved A hardwood floor that has been hidden under layers of vinyl, adhesives and old carpeting may look hideous to you at first sight. However, most hardwood floors can be salvaged. Even if the floor has squeaky floorboards, glue-damaged surfaces, small holes, shallow scratches and stains from liquids, it can be saved. There are a few problems that may make it more logical to pull up the flooring and start over including severe termite infestations, floorboards with extreme movement and structural problems in the subflooring. If you are unsure about whether or not you can save your hardwood flooring, consult a contractor that specializes in refinishing hardwood. Preparing Your Floor for Refinishing Every single of bit of vinyl or carpet material must be removed from your floor. Vinyl tile can be a challenge to remove because of the strong adhesive used to apply the material to the floor. The top layer of the tile must be cut away with a sharp knife, in small sections, one at a time. You will also have to use a putty knife to help remove the bottom layer of vinyl. Any remaining vinyl material must be removed with a heat gun and a floor scraper. Removing carpet involves pulling up the carpet and padding while making sure you do not injure yourself on tack strips and staples. For hard to remove carpet, you may have to cut the material into strips to make it easy to pull up from the floor. Taking up old vinyl and carpet is not a task for the faint of heart and you may want to pay your refinishing contractor to perform the job for you. Understanding the Refinishing Process Refinishing a hardwood floor that has been covered for years is a multi-day process. It requires wearing protective gear including gloves, goggles, a dust mask, ear plugs and knee pads. In addition, you will need to seal off the room to keep dust and fumes from entering other parts of the house. The first thing a refinishing contractor will do is clean and sand the surface of the hardwood with a heavy duty power sanding machine. While you can sand the floor on your own with a handheld sander, if you have no experience in refinishing hardwood, you could end up damaging the floor if you use the wrong kind of sandpaper with the sander. Professionals will use several grades of sandpaper, beginning with a coarse abrasive for the first pass and gradually moving to finer abrasives until the floor is completely smooth. If there are any nicks and gouged spots on the floor, the contractor will fill them using wood putty and then sand the area to make sure it is smooth. When...

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Is Your Wet Yard Due To A Leaky Septic System Or A Broken Water Pipe?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Your Wet Yard Due To A Leaky Septic System Or A Broken Water Pipe?

It’s not surprising to see standing water and puddles after a rainstorm, but you may need emergency help if you notice water welling up on a dry day. However, a sudden sodden area in the backyard could be caused by a leaking water pipe that a plumber must fix, or it could be a sign of serious septic system problems. Figure out which type of emergency assistance you need by determining the most likely cause of your soggy soil. Indoor Problems If it’s the septic system flooding your yard rather than a damaged water main or other buried pipe, you’ll notice some obvious signs inside the house too. Watch for Slow drainage in your toilets, sinks, and other drains Water and raw sewage backing up into the drains, toilets, and other appliances Unpleasant odors rising up from the drains Loud gurgling and bubbling noises as water drains out of a sink or tub. When any of these indoor signs are accompanying your wet yard, you should call a septic service technician first. If everything’s working just fine inside the house, keeping checking for other signs instead of immediately assuming it’s a plumbing problem. Unpleasant Odors Odors are one of the clearest signs you’re dealing with sewage and not fresh water. The moisture from water mains is clean and odorless, but a leaking tank puts off an obvious smell of waste. It’s not healthy to be in contact with the soggy part of your yard when there’s standing raw sewage, so consider recruiting a family member to fan the air towards you from the opposite end of the wet area so you can get a whiff of what’s going on without getting too close. However, you can likely smell the odor from anywhere in the yard once your septic tank is backing up so bad that there’s water standing on the surface of the soil. Water Colors Try to get a good view of the puddles, without stepping in them, to check the color. Fresh water from a broken pipe can look obviously clear, or it might becomes muddy and red or brown as it bubbles up through the soil and mixes with mud. If you notice a murky and dark gray color like a thunderstorm cloud or even pitch black water, you’re most likely facing a septic problem instead. Don’t try to take a sample to see the color more clearly. It’s safer to let an emergency plumber handle the water testing if you can’t determine the color from a distance. Moving Meters Perhaps the easiest-to-monitor indicator of a leaking water line involves the meter tracking your usage. Shut off the main water connection where it comes into the house, then watch the meter for a few minutes to see if it’s still moving at all. You can also leave the water off for a few hours and check regularly to catch the slowest and smallest leaks. If your water meter is locked by your local utility service, call them to help you check the meter. They can also help diagnose the problem, usually for free, so you don’t have to spend money until you’re sure you need an emergency plumber. Damaged Devices Finally, don’t forget about shutting off all those sprinklers, drip lines, and other irrigation tools you...

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