Our Most Common Service Calls and How to Avoid Them
Ever have a plumbing or heating issue with your rental? Want to avoid those needless expenses that chip away at your bottom line? These pearls of wisdom are worth committing to memory.
What’s in a name? When the name contains the words ‘Day & Nite’, certain questions always get asked.
“Do you really get called out in the middle of the night?”
Yes! We really do get called out in the middle of the night…several times a week, every week of the year.
“Really? What do people call you on most often?”
Well, the most common calls we get are related to a couple of systems we all have in our homes. Here they are, with a few simple pointers on how to avoid that expensive Emergency Service Call in the middle of the night.
Plumbing and Overall #1 Service Call…”My Drain is Clogged!”
Easily the single most common emergency service call we get is a clogged drain; and it’s usually either a toilet or a kitchen sink.
If the clog is in a toilet, and the owner can’t clear it with a plunger, the tool we use, and recommend, is the elegant, yet simple, toilet auger. A toilet auger is just a drain cleaning cable attached to a rod, including a crank handle, which makes it’s easier to use. It has a rubber boot so it won’t mark up the toilet too bad when cranking.
They’re a little bit tricky to use, but there are several good ‘how-to’ videos on You Tube that will clarify what to do. They are sold everywhere from hardware stores to Walmart.
Since the clogs that need clearing with a toilet auger are usually caused by “helpful” small children, I frankly doubt we’ll ever avoid these clogs altogether. My recommendation here; if you have children around, you’d better have a toilet auger around too.
If the clog is in a kitchen sink, then it’s usually due to the fact that someone has put too much too fast down the drain or the garbage disposer. For some reason, when we get busy in our kitchens we often start jamming lots of food waste down the kitchen sink and/or garbage disposer, and it gets clogged. Usually, we plumbers have to pull off the P-Trap and get into the drain with a drain cable and snake it. So, how do you avoid it? Two ways. Either put far less food waste down the drain, or run lots and lots of water into the drain before, during and after trying to get rid of the food waste, so it’s thoroughly diluted.
Heating # 1 Service Call…”My Furnace Won’t Heat!”
Another very, very common call, especially as things start to cool in the fall and the furnace kicks on for the first time in months, is that the furnace on the central heating system won’t heat. Either it won’t run, it runs a little bit and quits, or it runs, but it’s blowing cold air. The single most common reason for the problem; no regular maintenance and the filter is clogged. In fact, 4 out of 5 times these ‘no heat’ calls are simply due to the fact that there has been no regular maintenance done on the system.
Often, we show up and pull the old filter and it’s so clogged and matted we have to ‘bag it’ before we carry it out to the trash.
If our customer is lucky, things run fine after we do a basic cleaning and install a new filter. But sometimes, the clogged filter has been on the unit so long, that it has ruined the safeties or caused the heat-exchanger to over-heat to red hot, and the repairs are extensive.
So, the moral of the story is that our most common service calls can be prevented by a little bit of maintenance or being a little prepared for life’s ‘little’ blessings in surprising places…. I hope these help!
Bruce Davis Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating, a 68-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heating business in Lynnwood, Washington.