Main Sewer Line Clog: 7 Reasons Why

Main Sewer Line Clog: 7 Reasons Why

  • drain cleaning
main sewer line clog inspection done by McHales

A main sewer line clog is a common plumbing issue that can cause major problems for homeowners. A clogged sewer line can lead to slow drains, backed-up toilets, and raw sewage in your yard. It’s essential to understand why your main sewer line is clogged so you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. 

Why Your Main Sewer Line is Clogged

1. Roots

The first reason your main sewer line may be clogged is due to roots from trees and shrubs. Roots are naturally attracted to the moisture and nutrients in your sewer line. Over time, roots can grow into the pipes. Once the roots get into the pipes, they can cause blockages and damage them, leading to leaks and other problems. To prevent roots from clogging your main sewer line, keep trees and shrubs trimmed and away from your sewer line. If you have a persistent root problem, you may need a professional to remove the roots and repair any damage to your pipes.

2. Grease and Oil

Another common cause of clogged main sewer lines is grease and oil. When you wash oily dishes, grease can accumulate in your pipes. Over time, this buildup can cause a clog in your sewer line. This is why it’s important to avoid pouring grease down your sink and to dispose of oil and other fats properly. Instead of pouring grease down the drain, let it cool and solidify, then throw it in the trash. Also, try to wipe down dishes and pans with a paper towel to remove as much grease as possible before washing.

3. Non-Biodegradable Items

Non-biodegradable items such as wipes, sanitary napkins, and diapers can also cause clogs in your main sewer line. These items do not break down like toilet paper and can create blockages in your pipes. To avoid these clogs, it’s important only to flush toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. If you have small children in the house, it’s also a good idea to keep all flushable wipes, toys, and other small objects away from the toilet.

4. Foreign Objects

Foreign objects such as toys, jewelry, and clothing can cause a main sewer line clog. These items can fall into the toilet or be accidentally flushed down the drain, leading to blockages in your pipes. You can prevent this kind of clog by keeping all foreign objects away from your toilets and drains. You can also install drain screens in your sinks and shower to catch foreign objects before they reach the sewer line.

5. Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits can also build up in your main sewer line over time, causing clogs. Hard water, which contains high levels of minerals, can leave behind buildup in your pipes, leading to clogs. Regular drain cleaning can help prevent this from happening. In addition, installing a water softener system can reduce the number of minerals in your water, preventing buildup in your pipes.

6. Corrosion

Corrosion can also lead to clogs in your main sewer line. Over time, the pipes in your sewer line can corrode, leading to cracks and leaks. When this happens, debris and other materials can get into the pipes, causing blockages. Regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent corrosion and its associated clogs. If your pipes are made of iron or other metals prone to corrosion, you may want to consider replacing them with PVC or other corrosion-resistant materials.

7. Sagging Pipes

Finally,  sagging pipes occur when the soil shifts and moves the pipe out of place. This is often caused by heavy loads on top of the pipes or water moving the soil around. To prevent sagging pipes from causing clogs, it’s vital to prevent underground leaks and manage drainage around your home. Additionally, you should always address any issues as soon as they are identified.

What to Do With a Main Sewer Line Clog

If you suspect your main sewer line is clogged, you need to act quickly to prevent further damage and potential health hazards. Here are some steps to take if you have a clogged sewer line:

  1. Call a professional plumber: A professional plumber will have the tools and expertise to diagnose the issue and provide the necessary repairs.
  2. Avoid using your plumbing: If you have a clogged sewer line, it’s best to avoid using it as much as possible to prevent further blockages.
  3. Try a plunger: If you have a clogged toilet, try using a plunger to see if you can clear the blockage.
  4. Use a drain snake: If your sinks or bathtub are clogged, try using a drain snake to see if you can clear the blockage.
  5. Consider hydro jetting: Hydro jetting is a powerful and effective method of clearing clogs in your sewer line. A professional plumber can use high-pressure water to blast through the blockage and clear your pipes.

By understanding the causes of main sewer line clogs and taking steps to prevent them, you can help keep your plumbing running smoothly and avoid costly repairs. If you are having trouble with your sewer line, you should call a professional plumber as soon as possible. They can assess the situation and recommend the best course of action to get your pipes back in working order.

Additionally, it’s important to have your main sewer line regularly inspected to catch any potential problems before they become more extensive and more costly to fix. Regular maintenance can also help extend the life of your pipes and prevent more serious issues from developing.

Main Sewer Line Clog: Bottom Line

In conclusion, clogged main sewer lines can be a major problem for homeowners. Understanding the causes of clogs, such as roots, grease and oil, non-biodegradable items, foreign objects, mineral deposits, corrosion, and sagging pipes, can help you take steps to prevent them from happening in the first place. Regular maintenance and proper disposal of waste can go a long way in keeping your sewer line clear and functioning correctly. 

McHales is running a $48 Main Drain Opening special right now, so don’t put off this critical piece of maintenance! Call McHales today, and don’t forget to check out our stellar Google reviews!

By McHales

6 Winter Plumbing Tips To Prevent Problems

6 Winter Plumbing Tips To Prevent Problems

  • Plumbing
winter plumbing maintenance from mchales

Winter can be a tough time for homeowners when it comes to plumbing issues. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze, drains to clog, and water heaters to malfunction. In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common plumbing problems and our winter plumbing tips to prevent them.

Winter Plumbing Tip #1: Insulate Frozen Drain Pipes

Frozen drain pipes can be a major problem during the winter months. When water in the pipes freezes, it expands, causing the pipe to crack or burst. This can lead to major water damage and costly repairs.

Source of the issue

Drain pipes are often located in unheated areas of the home such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. These areas are more susceptible to freezing temperatures, which can cause the water in the pipes to freeze.

Damages or repairs

A frozen drain pipe can cause water damage to your home and can also lead to costly repairs. If the pipe bursts, it will need to be replaced and any water damage will need to be repaired.

Winter plumbing tips for frozen drain pipes

To prevent frozen drain pipes, homeowners should insulate pipes in unheated areas of the home. This can be done by wrapping them in insulation or using pipe sleeves. It is also important to keep the temperature in the home above freezing during the winter months.

Winter Plumbing Tip #2: Avoid Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are another common problem during the winter. Cold temperatures can cause grease and oil to solidify, which can lead to clogs in the pipes.

Source of the issue

Drains can become clogged during the winter months due to a buildup of grease and oil. When the temperatures drop, these substances solidify and can cause blockages in the pipes.

Damages or repairs

Clogged drains can cause water damage and can also lead to costly repairs. If left untreated, the clog can cause the pipe to burst, resulting in water damage to your home.

Winter plumbing tips for clogged drains

To prevent clogged drains, homeowners should avoid pouring grease and oil down the drain. Instead, they should be disposed of in the trash. It is also important to keep an eye on drains and address any clogs as soon as they are noticed.

Winter Plumbing Tip #3: Water Heater Issues

Water heaters can also experience problems during the winter months. Cold temperatures can cause the water in the tank to freeze, which can damage the heater.

Source of the issue

Water heaters are located in unheated areas of the home such as basements and garages. These areas are more susceptible to freezing temperatures, which can cause the water in the tank to freeze. Normally, the tank won’t freeze. However, if your water heater is no longer heating the water inside due to a compromised heater or energy supply, this issue can occur.

Damages or repairs

A frozen water heater can cause the tank to burst, resulting in water damage to your home. The heater will also need to be replaced, which can be costly.

Winter plumbing tips for water heaters

To prevent water heater issues, homeowners should insulate the tank and any pipes connected to it. It is also important to keep the area around the heater above freezing during the winter months.

Winter Plumbing Tip #4: Address Sump Pump Issues

Sump pumps are used to remove water from basements and crawl spaces. However, they can experience problems during the winter months due to freezing temperatures.

Source of the issue

Sump pumps are located in unheated areas of the home, making them susceptible to freezing temperatures. When the water in the pump freezes, it can cause the pump to malfunction. It’s not uncommon for your sump pump to work overtime during the winter either. When snow melts and the ground thaws, excess water can cause your sump pump to be constantly working.

Damages or repairs

A malfunctioning sump pump can cause water damage to your home and can also lead to costly repairs. If the pump is not working properly, water can build up in the basement or crawl space, causing damage to the structure and any personal belongings stored there.

Winter plumbing tips for sump pumps

To prevent sump pump issues, homeowners should make sure the pump is in good working condition before the winter months. This includes checking the float switch, ensuring the discharge pipe is clear, and checking the power supply. It is also important to keep the area around the pump above freezing temperatures during the winter months by insulating it or using a heating device.

Winter Plumbing Tip #5: Insulate Septic Lines

Frozen septic lines can cause problems during the winter months. When the water in the lines freezes, it can cause blockages and damage to the septic system.

Source of the issue

Septic lines are located underground and can be susceptible to freezing temperatures. Cold temperatures can cause the water in the lines to freeze, which can cause blockages and damage to the system.

Damages or repairs

Frozen septic lines can cause sewage backups and can also lead to costly repairs. If the lines burst, they will need to be replaced and any damage to the septic system will need to be repaired.

Winter plumbing tips for septic lines

To prevent frozen septic lines, homeowners should make sure the lines are properly insulated. This can be done by covering the lines with insulation or using pipe sleeves. It is also important to keep the area around the septic system above freezing temperatures during the winter months.

Winter Plumbing Tip #6: Prevent Basement Floods

Basement floods can be a common problem during the winter months due to frozen pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning sump pumps.

Source of the issue

Basement floods can occur due to a variety of reasons, including frozen pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning sump pumps. Cold temperatures can cause the water in the pipes to freeze and expand, causing them to burst and flood the basement. Clogged drains can also cause water to back up and flood the basement, and malfunctioning sump pumps can cause water to build up in the basement.

Damages or repairs

Basement floods can cause water damage to the structure of the home and personal belongings stored in the basement. The cost of repairs can be significant, and it can also lead to mold and mildew growth.

Winter plumbing tips for basement floods

To prevent basement floods, homeowners should take steps to prevent frozen pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning sump pumps. This includes insulating pipes, avoiding pouring grease and oil down the drain, and keeping an eye on the sump pump. It is also important to keep the temperature in the home above freezing during the winter months.

Winter Plumbing Problems Solved

In conclusion, it is important to be proactive about winter plumbing problems and address them before it’s too late. By taking steps to prevent common issues such as frozen pipes, clogged drains, and malfunctioning water heaters, homeowners can avoid costly repairs and water damage to their homes. Don’t wait for the problem to happen, take necessary precautions and be prepared for the winter months. Call McHales if you are experiencing any of the listed issues, or if you need an expert plumber otherwise! Don’t forget to check out our Google reviews!

By McHales

200 Amp Electrical Panel Upgrade: 3 Reasons To Get One In 2023

200 Amp Electrical Panel Upgrade: 3 Reasons To Get One In 2023

  • Electrical
200 amp electrical service panel upgrade

As a homeowner, it is important to stay on top of the latest advancements in technology and safety when it comes to your home’s electrical system. One of the most important updates you can make in 2023 is a 200 amp electrical panel upgrade. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of upgrading to a 200 amp panel and why it is essential for your home’s electrical system.

Increased Safety and Reliability

One of the main reasons to upgrade to a 200 amp panel is the increased safety and reliability it provides. A 200 amp panel is able to handle a larger electrical load, which means it can safely power more appliances and devices in your home. This is especially important if you have a larger home or plan to add more electrical devices in the future.

A 200 amp panel also provides increased reliability by reducing the risk of power outages and electrical fires. The larger load capacity of a 200 amp panel means it is less likely to overload and cause a power outage or fire.

Future-Proofing Your Home

Another important reason to upgrade to a 200 amp panel is that it future-proofs your home. As technology continues to advance, more and more devices and appliances will require more power to operate. By upgrading to a 200 amp panel, you are ensuring that your home will be able to handle the increased power demands in the future.

Cost Savings

Upgrading to a 200 amp panel may seem like a costly endeavor, but it can actually save you money in the long run. A 200 amp panel is more energy efficient and can help reduce your energy bills. Additionally, upgrading to a 200 amp panel can also increase the value of your home, which is beneficial if you plan to sell in the future.


A 200 amp electrical panel upgrade in 2023 is a smart move for any homeowner. The increased safety and reliability, future-proofing, and cost savings make it a worthwhile investment. It is important to hire a licensed and experienced electrician to handle the upgrade, to ensure that it is done safely and correctly.

By having a 200 amp electrical panel upgrade done, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home’s electrical system is up-to-date, safe and reliable, and ready for the future. Call McHales today to schedule your upgrade to a 200 amp electrical panel, and don’t forget to check out our Google reviews!

By McHales

What Is The Best Heating System For Your Home?

What Is The Best Heating System For Your Home?

  • Heating
boiler heating system for home

If you are considering updating your home’s heating system, you may be wondering what type of system would best suit your needs. Your decision will likely come down to a few common choices: heat pumps, furnaces, ductless mini splits, and boilers. Each option has its own benefits that must be weighed in order for you to make the best decision for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at each option so you can decide which is the best heating system for your home!

Heat Pump Benefits

Heat pumps are an efficient choice if you live in an area with moderate temperatures year-round. In the winter months, heat pumps use the air outside to heat the air inside your home. This process takes very little energy, making it an economical choice for many homeowners. Additionally, during the warmer months, heat pumps can also cool air inside of your home by drawing warm air out and pushing cooler air in.

Key features why a heat pump would be the best heating system for you:

  • versatile
  • energy efficient
  • good for temperate regions

Furnace Benefits

Furnaces utilize either gas or electricity as a fuel source to warm air inside of your home via a ventilation system that circulates the heated air throughout all areas of the house. Furnaces offer a consistent temperature that is difficult to achieve with other systems such as fireplaces or space heaters. Furnaces are less expensive than some other options but require more energy than other systems such as heat pumps or ductless mini splits.

Key features why a furnace would be the best heating system for you:

  • lower initial costs
  • availability

Ductless Mini Split Benefits

Ductless mini splits offer one major benefit over traditional heating systems: they do not require ductwork like furnaces or boilers do and therefore cost significantly less money to install and maintain than those traditional systems do. Additionally, these systems tend to be more efficient because they have adjustable thermostats in each room allowing occupants to control temperatures on individual levels rather than one temperature for the entire house like other systems provide. Ductless mini splits also provide excellent indoor air quality due to their filtration capabilities that reduce allergens and pollutants from entering your home environment via airflow from outside into inside spaces.

Key features why a ductless mini split would be the best heating system for you:

  • more control and adjustability
  • improved air quality
  • no need for ductwork

Boiler Benefits

Boilers are incredibly efficient when it comes to energy consumption; however, they tend to be more expensive than other options and installation requires complex piping that some homeowners may prefer not having visible within their homes. For those who prefer hot water radiators or under-floor heating instead of forced-air vents for heating purposes, boilers offer an ideal solution since they supply hot water rather than hot air like most other heating options do today. Boilers also tend to last longer than most furnace models but require regular maintenance checks in order keep them running efficiently throughout their lifespan—which can exceed 20 years with proper care and upkeep!

Key features why a boiler would be the best heating system for you:

  • versatile
  • long-lasting
  • efficient

Best Heating System For Your Home

Deciding which type of heating system is best for your home depends largely on where you live. It also depends on how much money you want to spend upfront on installation costs versus long-term operational costs. Heat pumps are ideal for moderate climates while furnaces work best in cold climates; meanwhile, ductless mini splits combine efficiency with affordability while boilers offer superior longevity along with energy efficiency if budget allows for higher initial installation fees associated with them. Be sure to consider all options before deciding which system is right for you, and call McHales for when you’re ready to move forward with your home-improvement project. Don’t forget to check out our amazing Google reviews!

By McHales

7 Christmas Light Safety Considerations

7 Christmas Light Safety Considerations

  • Electrical
christmas light safety considerations mchales

With Thanksgiving over and more holidays around the corner, you may feel that it’s finally appropriate to start hanging decorations. For those who celebrate Christmas, that means lights around the tree, outdoors, and more. These lights can draw a significant amount of energy and pose a safety hazard if not properly installed. Here are some Christmas light safety considerations to keep in mind while hanging your decorations this year.

Christmas Light Safety Considerations

1. Never leave the lights on without supervision

The number one rule to keep in mind before installing Christmas lights is to never leave them on without supervision. You should never leave them on if you have to leave your home, or while you are sleeping. While you may be home while sleeping, it’s easy for an issue to go unnoticed, causing a much larger and more dangerous problem. 

2. Application matters (indoor/outdoor)

Don’t overlook this crucial safety consideration when buying lights for your home. While indoor lights may be less expensive, they are NOT made for outdoor use. Outdoor Christmas lights are sealed and protected from the elements. Indoor lights are not built with the elements in mind, so avoid installing them outside. 

3. Consider their environment

When hanging Christmas lights, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, you need to consider their environment. If you are hanging Christmas lights on a metal tree, any imperfections in your lights could pose a very dangerous scenario. Christmas trees are the number one source of house fires during the holiday season. And this isn’t solely due to metal trees. Keeping a live tree watered and maintained can reduce your risk of fire. When the tree dries out, its risk of catching fire increases dramatically. Considering the heat that some lights generate, keeping your tree well-watered is crucial.

4. Type of bulb matters (& age)

When you’re buying your Christmas lights, consider choosing LEDs over incandescent lights. Going back to heat, LEDs produce much less heat than incandescent lights. This will reduce the risk of setting your live tree on fire. Older incandescent lights tend to have fewer fail-safe features built in, such as fuses. Fuses will prevent further damage in the event of a surge or short. Additionally, since incandescents draw more power, never string them to LEDs.

5. Properly secure your lights

Securing your lights goes along with choosing the appropriate environment for them. If your lights were to fall, would they come into contact with anything that could be dangerous? Properly securing your lights to your roof, tree, or whatever fixture they may be tied to is critical in preventing hazards. Even if they won’t hit anything that could be an issue, the wires or bulbs can break leaving an open, live circuit. That itself can cause a host of issues. Something to keep in mind is to NEVER use staples, nails, or any construction hardware to secure your lights. Fasten the appropriate hangers to string your Christmas lights for safe and secure application.

6. Don’t plug too many into one outlet

Christmas lights are convenient in that they typically allow owners to stack cords into one outlet. Seems great, right? Well, to an extent. Your outlets are designed to manage a certain amount of current. When that current exceeds the rating of the outlet, you are creating an unsafe situation. How many you can safely plug into your outlet depends on the draw of the lights.

7. Use caution with extension cords

Extension cords used for extended periods of time should be avoided. Sometimes, for temporary applications such as Christmas lights, it makes sense to use them. You should keep in mind where they are run to avoid issues. If the extension cord will be around water or snow, especially at a low point, they are vulnerable to moisture. It should go without saying that water and electricity do not mix, so this should be avoided at all costs for proper Christmas light safety.

If you need your home electrical system inspected before you run your Christmas lights this year, feel free to schedule an inspection with us here at McHales! If you don’t already know how great we are, check out our wonderful reviews!

By McHales

What To Do If Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

What To Do If Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

  • Sewer Replacement
Sewer backing up how to prevent mchales

When it comes to your sewer, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t apply. There are many preventable, common reasons why your sewer might be backing up. Nobody wants to deal with toilets not flushing, washing machines overflowing and sinks not draining. Check out these common reasons why your sewer keeps backing up, and some simple steps to prevent it from happening in the future.

Why Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

Some common reasons why your sewer may be backing up are:

  • Clogs
  • Blockages
  • Compromised Pipes
  • Municipal Problems

The next step is figuring out how you can prevent some of these issues in the future.

How To Prevent Sewer Back-Ups

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, don’t forget about these easy preventative measures to make sure you don’t experience any issues!

Food & Grease

This one is common, especially if you have a garbage disposal. Avoid putting scraps of food down the drain to prevent the chance of a build-up occurring further down your sewer pipes. This includes grease, fats, and oils that would otherwise coagulate and create stubborn build-up on the inside of your sewer system.

Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes really are not all that flushable. Where regular toilet paper is designed to break down, wipes are much more durable and can snag or collect anywhere within your sewer pipes.


Outside of the home, you must be mindful of planting trees or large plants, including bushes, around sewer pipes. Their roots can dive deep under the surface and cause expensive blockages and repairs for your sewer.

Prevent Your Sewer From Backing Up

To prevent wastewater from backing up into your home after entering the sewer system, ask to install a sewer backup valve. This one-way valve will allow wastewater to leave your home but not come back in.

If you are regularly having sewer problems and backups, don’t bail and call McHales today. Be sure to check out our amazing reviews!

By McHales

6 Tips to Maintaining a Clog-Free Toilet

6 Tips to Maintaining a Clog-Free Toilet

  • Plumbing
Maintaining a Clog-Free Toilet McHales

As a homeowner, chances are good that you have already experienced the displeasure of a clogged or overflowing toilet. In addition to the mess, a toilet that clogs or overflows frequently can cause lasting damage to floor coverings, sub-floors, plumbing infrastructure, and even the ceiling below, when the toilet is located in an upper-level bathroom. In addition, any moisture that remains after the clean-up can result in unhealthy mildew and mold growth long after the job has been completed. These tips will help you avoid any problems in maintaining a clog-free toilet.

The Cost of a Poorly Maintained Toilet

According to census data published by the United States Census Bureau, the numbers of new home constructions with three or more bathrooms each now outnumber new homes built with one to one and one-half bathrooms by a ratio of nearly ten to one, based on the samples taken. With the number of home toilets rapidly growing, the cost of damage from clogged or overflowing toilets also rises exponentially. 

Clogged or overflowing toilets can result in costs to homeowners. This includes:

  • replacement/repair costs to flooring, subflooring, walls, and trim materials
  • replacement/repair costs to plumbing pipes and fixtures
  • repairs to drain and sewer lines
  • possible mold remediation from frequent or latent water infiltration
  • higher water bills when toilets are not operating correctly and must be flushed multiple times to move waste through the system

In addition to monetary costs, families who frequently deal with clogged or slow toilets are being forced to sacrifice much of the enjoyment they should get from living in the home. The good news, however, is that homeowners can avoid this type of damage to their homes with these simple tips designed to help keep home toilets functioning properly.

1. Teach Family Members What Objects & Materials Should Never Be Flushed

Many clogged toilets are caused each year due to improper use. In most of these cases, family members, both children and adults, attempt to flush materials down the toilet that should not be introduced into any type of sewage disposal system. These materials include common household items, such as: 

  • Paper products – including cleaning wipes, feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, paper towels, facial tissues, diaper liners, and excessive amounts of toilet tissue
  • Miscellaneous household waste products – including kitty litter, human or pet hair, grease, oils, dental floss, ashes, potting soil, and dust and dirt from vacuums or dust pans
  • Other objects or materials – including children’s toys, small articles of clothing like socks, medications, pet food, potting soil, sand, gravel, or other miscellaneous materials or objects

2. Provide Alternate Disposal to Encourage Proper Toilet Usage

A great way to prevent inappropriate objects and materials from being placed into the toilet is to provide an alternate disposal option for family members and guests who use your bathroom. To do this, place a small trash can near each toilet in the home. Doing this is an economical, effective way of preventing future clogged toilet issues because something was flushed that should not have been flushed. 

3. Keep Surfaces Clear of Small Items That Could Easily Fall Into the Toilet

Many clogged toilets also result from accidents where an object is knocked into the toilet accidentally. This often happens when nearby counters or over-the-toilet shelving is filled with small objects, such as jars, bottles, sponges, and cosmetics. When these objects land in the toilet and are flushed accidentally, a clog situation is a likely result. Keeping these areas clear of small items will improve your efforts in maintaining a clog-free toilet.

4. Flush Twice When Necessary

If the toilet has a large amount of waste or toilet paper in it, flushing twice may be necessary to completely empty the bowl. But a toilet that always needs to be flushed multiple times probably already suffers from some type of clog or plumbing problem.

If a toilet in your home is having to be flushed multiple times, the extra water usage is placing an additional burden on both your plumbing system and the family water bill. When this problem occurs homeowners may want to prevent excessive water bills and further damage to their plumbing by having the problem diagnosed and repaired by a professional. 

5. Learn to Plunge & Do So As Needed

Another cause of clogged toilets and the damage that results is ignoring or postponing obvious signs that the toilet is malfunctioning. Even when the toilet does empty by flushing it multiple times, flushing over and over is not healthy for the plumbing system and can cause more serious plumbing problems over time.

Homeowners who experience slow flushing action may be able to relieve the problem by using a plunger to help free the clog and push it through the pipes. To do this effectively, follow these steps: 

  • Insert the plunger into the toilet bowl, tipping it to allow any trapped air in the bell of the plunger to escape
  • Position the plunger over the drainage hole and plunge vigorously to move the water both directions in the drain to loosen and free the clog
  • Be patient and repeat the process until the clog is freed and the toilet bowl empties
  • If plunging does not give results and the clog remains firmly in place, calling a professional to clear the clog may be necessary

6. Know When You Need Professional Help

Plumbing problems that go unsolved are one of the most common reasons for water damage and mold issues in homes today. This is all the more reason to be proactive about maintaining a clog-free toilet. If you are a homeowner with toilets that flush slowly, threaten to overflow, or require the frequent use of a plunger, calling McHales to fix the problem quickly will help you avoid the costly, inconvenient home repair bills later. Check out our customer reviews if you are unsure!

By McHales

7 Electrical Emergencies You Need to Know

7 Electrical Emergencies You Need to Know

  • Uncategorized

For some, an electrical emergency is a power outage that prevents the use of electronic devices for an extended period of time. For others, an electrical emergency is an outlet that emits a burning odor or wires that produce smoke. Regardless of what you classify as an electrical emergency, you should know exactly what to look for in order to identify serious electrical threats as well as those that are minor in nature. These emergencies have the potential to damage your home and your valuables.  An electrical emergency can even threaten your well-being as well as the safety of your loved ones.

The Dangers of Electrical Emergencies

A surprising number of people do not know what an electrical emergency really is. As a result, these individuals are incapable of properly pinpointing the telltale signs of such emergencies. This lack of knowledge jeopardizes human lives, the well-being of pets, the condition of property and so much more. As an example, an individual who is unaware of the threat posed by antiquated home wiring or another electrical flaw is at a higher risk for personal injury. His lack of awareness could lead to fire, the inhalation of smoke or an electrical shock. Fire and smoke also have the potential to ruin an individual’s prized possessions, including his living space.

In the worst case scenario, ignorance of electrical emergencies can result in death. Though most electrical emergencies do not end in the death of the homeowner or apartment tenant, financial losses stemming from such emergencies are more common than most assume. It isn’t just the damage caused to one’s possessions that inflicts financial harm. Repairs to the home and appliances are also quite costly. Physical injury caused by an electrical emergency often requires expensive medical treatment that has the potential to bankrupt the victim.

The Many Benefits of Understanding What Constitutes an Electrical Emergency

If you have an idea as to what sort of conditions and happenings represent an electrical emergency, you will drastically reduce the odds of injury and property damage. Those who can identify electrical emergencies will spend significantly less on home repairs and the replacement of valuables damaged or ruined by smoke, fire or other threats. Timing is of the essence. If you spot any questionable circumstances relating to electricity, appliances or other devices in your home, do not hesitate to reach out to an electrician for professional assistance.

Electrical Emergencies Everyone Should be Aware Of: Burning Odors

If you notice a burning odor coming from your home’s cords, walls, appliances or other devices that use electricity, don’t shrug it off! Though some brand new appliances emit odd odors after initially being powered up, this odor should not last. Any strange smell stemming from an outlet should be tended to right away. Unplug all devices connected to the outlet. Make everyone in the home aware of the problematic outlet. Refrain from using the outlet until a savvy electrician has inspected it. If you notice a burning odor from your breaker panel or fuse box, reach out to an electrician right away for professional assistance. When in doubt, err on the safe side so you don’t put your home, your loved ones and your valuables in harm’s way.

A hot Service Panel

Service panels should never reach the point where they are warm to the touch. There are extremely strong currents moving through your home’s wires. If your home has an antiquated wiring system or one with tangles, the currents pulsing through them are likely quite robust. If you notice changes to your electric panel like browning, warmth, frayed wiring or dim/flickering lights, there is an issue that requires the attention of an experienced electrician.

Arcing Wires

If wires are live and arcing, they have the potential to create life-threatening fires that consume everything you’ve worked so hard to obtain. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution issues and lighting equipment fallibilities are responsible for more than 20,000 home structure fires and hundreds of civilian deaths each year. Arcing wires often induce sparks and melting that lead to such a fire. Do not underestimate the devastating potential of this seemingly minor issue.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent and invisible killer. If your home’s appliances aren’t properly installed or malfunction in some manner, they can leak carbon monoxide and put your life in danger. Physical signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include blurred vision, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea and general weakness. Make sure that a carbon monoxide detector is installed in each of your home’s hallways, especially those by bedrooms. Check and replace these detectors’ batteries as appropriate.

Wiring or Devices Emitting Smoke

Any sign of smoke in your home should be cause for concern. If smoke is generated by wiring or devices, stop what you are doing, take stock of the problem and obtain assistance from a knowledgeable electrician. The presence of such smoke is a warning sign that your home’s conditions are ripe for an electrical fire. This is not the type of problem the average layman can solve on his own. Contact a trusted electrician to diagnose the issue and perform the appropriate repair or replacement.

Unexplained Power Outages

Mysterious power outages are a clue that there is something wrong with your home’s electrical system. If your home’s wiring is decades old, it might be time for a replacement. Perhaps you are overburdening the system with energy-eating appliances and other devices. Do not assume that your neighbors are also experiencing similar power outages. Ask around to find out if others in your neighborhood endure similar problems. If their power remains on when yours goes out, it is time to seek assistance from a trustworthy electrician. 

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Things That May Be Wrong If Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

Things That May Be Wrong If Your Sewer Keeps Backing Up

  • drain cleaning
  • Plumbing
  • Sewer Replacement
Sewer Keeps Backing Up

If your sewer keeps backing up you already know you have a problem. It’s just a matter of how big of a problem you have. Sewage backing up into your home or onto your property is a worrying and disgusting headache for any home owner. There’s plenty of things you may have to fix with your plumbing if its backing up regularly. Sewers are fairly complex systems that the average homeowner doesn’t pay much mind to, but they play an important role keeping our lives sanitary and healthy. Wastewater contains pathogens and various other disease-causing microorganisms.


Clogs are the easiest sewage problem to solve, since they’re the only ones the homeowner has any real sense of control over. Flushing plumbing inappropriate materials ends with them getting stuck up in the pipes and blocking the wastewater, causing it to backup through the pipes. When your toilet won’t flush or your sink drains slowly, it can be easy to mistake it for an issue with that plumbing fixture alone. And backups are a common symptom of a common plumbing clog. What separates them is that a sewer clog occurs further down in the plumbing; most commonly the lateral or the mainline, which connect your home’s pipes to the municipal sewers.

A number of things cause these types of sewer clogs including, but not limited to:

  • Pouring fats, oils, and grease (FOGs) down the kitchen sink
  • Baby wipes
  • Solid waste deposits
  • Hair deposits
  • Soap scum
  • Tree roots

Collapsed Pipes

Being so far out of sight, it’s hard to tell exactly when a pipe somewhere along the line breaks down. When this happens, however, you can probably be able to guess when it happens based on the amount of sewage backing up through your toilet and up into your yard. Pipes normally don’t collapse on their own; their typically made to last longer than most of us will be around. However, tree root intrusions are liable to  grow outward and damage roots. When roots grow, they seek out water and are naturally attracted to the water within the pipes. A collapsed pipe is a serious problem that requires a full pipe replacement to fix.

Municipal Issues

Unless you’re on a septic system, your sewer line connects to the municipal sewer system. The main line in your home that connects to the city’s sewer system, from which point it goes to the treatment plant for cleaning and processing. Most local municipalities by law do a very thorough cleaning and service of their sewer systems but occasionally things do take unexpected turns for the worst. In the event your sewer backup is related to the municipal system, there’s not a ton you can do as a homeowner short of calling the city and urging them to act on the problem.

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10 Questions to Ask Before Furnace Replacement

10 Questions to Ask Before Furnace Replacement

  • Furnaces
  • Heating
furnace replacement

The wind is getting colder, the leaves are changing color, and Halloween décor is already creeping it’s way into local stores. Fall is here and it’s here in force. And as the temperature drops, nothing could be more important than being comfortable in your own home and having peace of mind. Having the right home heating system for your home and specific needs can provide that comfort and peace.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, home heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the average homeowner’s utility costs. If your home has an outdated, inefficient older furnace, it could be needlessly raising your energy bill. Likewise, if you purchase a new, energy-efficient furnace model that is incorrectly sized for your home, you could still be at risk for higher costs.

Careful consideration when selecting a new furnace provides many benefits. Your new furnace will be able to handle the comfort needs of everyone in your family, reduce your utility bill, improve your indoor air quality, and extend your furnace’s lifespan, allowing you to enjoy a warm, stress-free fall and winter for years to come.

Various characteristics of your new furnace unit, such as type, size and efficiency, affect the amount it will cost to keep your home toasty when the temperature drops, as well as how long your furnace will continue operating at peak levels after years of use during the peak heating season. Purchasing the incorrect furnace for your home will result in a variety of potential issues that will cause stress instead of keeping you warm and comfortable during the winter months:

  • Poor system efficiency – Each home has its own specific heating needs. The incorrect system, even an energy-efficient model, can be inefficient in your home due to size or type.
  • Increased repair and maintenance costs – When you install the wrong size or type of furnace for your home’s size or needs, it can put stress and strain on the unit to keep your home comfortable, resulting in more frequent maintenance and need for repairs.
  • Shortened furnace lifespan – When your furnace struggles to keep up with your heating needs, it will cycle on and off frequently, increasing wear on your system, and eventually require replacement, whereas a unit suited to your home will provide years of service.
  • Inconsistent heating during fall and winter – Your furnace needs to be carefully selected for your home and your geographical location to ensure that it not only provides sporadic heating during cooler fall months, but can handle constant use during frigid winters.
  • Increased safety risks – Installing a furnace that is incompatible with your home’s specific size and needs can greatly increase the chance of residential fires as well as heighten risks of carbon monoxide exposure.

Asking the Right Questions About Your New Furnace 

When it comes to time to select a new furnace for your home, there is no such thing as a bad question. In order to reduce headaches due to heating issues created by purchasing the wrong system, here are some basic questions all homeowners should ask themselves and their heating contractor before any installation begins:

  1. How has your family’s heating needs changed since the last time you purchased a furnace? If you have added members to your family, they might have different comfort needs than yours. For example, welcoming a new baby or an elderly parent into your home may require higher temperatures.
  2. What are your heating needs other than “warm air?” Newer furnace models are able to be programmed to heat specific rooms or areas, and automatically turn on or off as scheduled.
  3. What energy-efficient models are available, and how can you compare them? Higher-rated annual fuel utilization efficiency models can save you considerably on your utility costs.
  4. What brands of furnaces are available? Some of the more popular brand names include Trane, Lennox, Goodman, Rheem, York and Carrier. Find out which models are available in your area to compare them.
  5. Are there any special deals/ warranty/rebate? In addition to specific deals offered by your contractor or the furnace company, many government agencies and utility companies offer incentives such as rebates and tax credits to encourage purchasing energy-efficient furnaces.
  6. How much space do you have in your  home? The square footage of your home is an important consideration in order to select a furnace model that can tackle heating that specific size of indoor space.
  7. What areas of your home need the most heat? Many systems offer furnace types that can specifically heat only certain rooms or areas, so that the furnace only sends warm air to spaces that need it.
  8. How is your indoor air quality? Many people suffer from allergies due to indoor air quality issues such as mold, mildew, pollen and dust. Upgrading your system can significantly improve your indoor air quality.
  9. What fuel type should you choose? Depending on your geographical location, there are a variety of fuel type options available, such as gas, electric or solar.
  10. What is the age of your current furnace? Heating technology has seen big advancements in the last decade. If your current furnace is more than 10 years old, it’s time to consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient model. Even if it is still keeping your home warm, it’s most likely costing you more to run than a newer model.

No matter what type of furnace you ultimately choose to heat your home, you should always select the most energy-efficient model you can afford. The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) is the standard measure of furnace efficiency determined by how much of the energy entering a furnace converts to heat for your home. In order to be certified by Energy Star, gas models in northern states must have an efficiency rating of 95% AFUE or greater, and those in southern states must have an AFUE rating of 90% or higher. Oil furnaces in all regions must have an efficiency rating of 85% or higher. By choosing the highest efficiency model you can afford, you will save the maximum amount on your seasonal heating costs. 

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