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The Plumber's Wife Blog

The Plumber's Wife Blog is your source for Park's Plumbing and Sewer News, Specials, and information about Flood Control Systems.

Tips for a SPOOKtacular Halloween

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Plumbing Disasters you will want to avoid this Halloween.

We all know this time of year is filled with scary stories, movies, costumes and haunted houses. It's all fun and games until the nightmare is happening in your own home. 

With changes in weather, you may start to hear weird noises around the house such as screeching pipes within the walls. If you are hearing these unfamiliar noises you may need to get your pipes inspected by a plumber.

Another nightmare to avoid, clogged drains! It's so much fun to carve pumpkins with the kiddos but make sure you are disposing the pulp and seeds correctly. Do not throw the pulp or seeds down any drains or the garbage disposals. The pulp can get tangled in the blades of the disposal or harden in pipes and this can cause serious damage. Toss pulp and seeds in the garbage or save the seeds and roast them in the oven for a tasty fall treat.

If you do happen to run into any issue, call us today and we will be on our way! (847)676-1931

6 Reasons Why you may need a Dehumidifier

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dehumidifiers can have a huge impact during the summer, a rainy spell or any time a temperature of more than 60 degrees combines with high humidity. Dehumidifiers eliminate excess moisture in the air, which may have a huge impact on your home. The lesser-known benefits of dehumidifiers include preventing the peeling of wall paper, protecting home electronics and music equipment, preserving documents, and keeping sofas, chairs curtains from smelling. Eliminating those unpleasant odors is one of the top benefits of running a dehumidifier.

Here are 6 reasons you may want to invest in one:

1. There's a musty smell in your home. - Moisture in the air tends to hold and trap odor. A dehumidifier will dry out the air and take away this moldy scent.

2. There is condensation on your windows. - This is an indication that the humidity in your home is too high. Constant condensation can lead to water dripping into sills and it could damage your wood frames around the window.

3. Leaks in your basement are a common occurrence. - Especially after a heavy rain, if you have water dripping, sweating walls or rings of mold spores you probably want to set up a dehumidifier to dry out the area. If your basement is damp in the summer months it is a good idea to keep one running throughout the season.

4. You like to hang laundry to air dry in the basement. - Having a dehumidifier can lessen the drying time for clothes that are hanging, it can also speed up your drying time if you are painting.

5. You or family members suffer from allergies. - If you have allergies that stem from mold, mildew and dust mites a dehumidifier may provide some relief. A damp space creates a thriving environment for mold, mildew and dust mites and running a dehumidifier can drastically improve the air quality. Look for one with antimicrobial technology. 

6. Foods go stale or get moldy quickly. - Cereal will stay dryer and bread will last longer. 

For more information on dehumidifiers or to read the full article please click on the link below


Brain-damaging lead found in tap water in hundreds of homes tested across Chicago, results show

Friday, April 13, 2018


Even with $1 billion upgrade, Deep Tunnel swamped by winter storm as streets and basements flooded

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Despite a new $1 billion flood-control reservoir more than 20 times bigger than Soldier Field, rain and melting snow swamped the largest section of the Deep Tunnel project in less than a day last month, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

Starting on Feb. 20, more than 2 inches of rain flushed a torrent of sewage mixed with runoff from rooftops, streets and parking lots into stormwater tunnels stretching from Wilmette to Westchester, rapidly filling the McCook Reservoir built to hold wastewater until it can be treated.

After the 5.1 billion-gallon system swelled to capacity, leftovers from the storm surge began backing up in basements and pouring out of overflow pipes into the Chicago River and other area streams during the next two days.

Nearly 4 billion gallons of raw sewage, debris and runoff gushed into the waterways, most of it from a pair of pumping stations that convey waste from homes and factories on the North and South sides to the district’s treatment plants, according to a summary compiled by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District at the Tribune’s request.

Another government agency, the Chicago Department of Water Management, fielded 510 reports of basement flooding during and after the storm, and recorded 240 cases of standing water on city streets.

Officials at the water reclamation district said the Deep Tunnel worked as planned. By diverting 3.5 billion gallons into the McCook Reservoir and holding another 1.6 billion gallons in the stormwater tunnels, the system limited flooding and other damage in Chicago and suburban Cook County, said David St. Pierre, the district’s executive director.

Yet the February storm also highlighted the shortcomings of a system billed as an engineering marvel and model for flood-prone communities throughout the nation.

Frank Pajak, director of the Central Stickney Sanitary District in the southwest suburb, said his constituents were repeatedly assured that one of the nation’s most expensive public works projects would solve their chronic flooding problems.

“I’ve been hearing about Deep Tunnel forever,” said Pajak, who posted a complaint on the district’s Facebook page about the system’s performance during the storm. “I was at the ribbon-cutting (for the reservoir), and it looked great. So why am I still getting calls about people standing in ankle-deep sewage in their basement?”

While the reservoir will be able to hold 10 billion gallons after a nearby quarry is mined out by 2029, officials at the water reclamation district were alarmed by the rate of sewage and runoff rushing into the section that opened in December. If the storm had dumped a little more rain on the area, St. Pierre acknowledged, even the larger reservoir would have been filled within a day.

But without the reservoir, St. Pierre said, the district likely would have been forced to release sewage and runoff into Lake Michigan — the outlet of last resort when streets and basements are flooded.

“Before McCook came online, we would start seeing (sewage overflows) almost as soon as it started raining,” St. Pierre said. “This time the system held on for 20 hours, which makes me fairly optimistic that what we saw last month will be relatively rare.”

With the bulk of the project completed, even some of the project’s most ardent backers say the city and county need to start focusing more intensely on neighborhood-focused improvements that allow runoff to soak into the ground before it reaches local sewers.

Yet state legislative leaders in Springfield have blocked measures that would authorize the water reclamation district to spend taxpayer funds on the smaller-scale initiatives, which can help prevent sewage from backing up into basements and take pressure off the larger system of sewers and stormwater tunnels.

Meanwhile, staff turnover at the city has slowed progress on a pilot project in the low-lying Chatham neighborhood on the South Side, where the nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology has drafted plans to direct downspouts away from homes, seal foundation cracks and install rain gardens and other landscaping improvements to absorb runoff.

“They are good at what they do,” Scott Bernstein, the center’s co-founder, said of the Deep Tunnel’s operators. “But we are seeing more intense storms like what happened in February, and it’s clear we still aren’t ready to deal with all of that rain.”

St. Pierre agrees. “We are not going to be able to solve this with pipes alone,” he said. “Once again, this storm shows why you shouldn’t build a large city in a swamp.”

The problem starts with sewers in Chicago and older suburbs that combine runoff with waste from homes and factories. When it rains, the combined sewers quickly fill up and begin spilling the waste through dozens of overflow pipes into local streams.

A Tribune analysis last year found that sewage and runoff flowed into the Chicago River and connected waterways about once every six days during 2016, and even more frequently during the May-to-October recreation season.

Lake Michigan has been hit more frequently since 2008 than it was during the previous quarter-century, district records show.

The Deep Tunnel is supposed to sharply reduce, if not completely eliminate, those problems. Technically known as the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, the project has been in the works since the mid-1970s and became the metropolitan area’s official response to the federal Clean Water Act.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel often cites the Deep Tunnel as an example of the region’s commitment to protecting Lake Michigan and revitalizing the city’s long-abused river.

Two separate, smaller sections of the project, serving the Calumet region and communities near O'Hare International Airport, have essentially put an end to raw sewage and runoff pouring into local waterways during and after rainstorms. But there are lingering questions about whether the larger system can handle quick, powerful storms hitting the region more frequently as the climate changes.

The Calumet and O’Hare systems collect runoff from 102 square miles combined. By contrast, the McCook Reservoir's service area is more than double that amount: 252 square miles, stretching from Wilmette south and west across a vast swath of Chicago and including western suburbs along the Des Plaines River.

Hawthorne, M. (2018) Chicago Tribune


Tips to prevent outside pipes from freezing.

Friday, December 29, 2017

With the continued frigid temperatures,  frost lines may have gone deeper into the ground than usual. As a result, water service pipes that would not normally be at risk for freezing can be vulnerable and residents are advised to keep a very small amount of water running through their water service at all times during the severe weather. This is particularly important for water pipes on exterior walls, but with this season's prolonged cold, it is advised even for properties that do not have water pipes on exterior walls. Additionally, keep cabinet doors that have piping inside open to allow for air circulation. These tips are especially essential if your home has previously experienced frozen pipes.

If a pipe does freeze or burst in your home please don't try to fix the issue yourself unless you have experience with these extreme weather situations. Call our office right a way to schedule a service call.

Here are some tips to keep your outside pipes from freezing:

Carefully check your irrigation system and turn off or adjust run times and spray patterns to avoid creating over spray that could create dangerous ice.

Caulk around pipes where they enter the house and make sure to close all foundation vents. Open vents are the biggest cause for frozen or split water pipes. Once the Spring comes remember to open foundation vents to prevent dry outs.

Disconnect hoses from outside faucets. This prevents water being trapped in them and avoids the possibility of the water freezing. 

Familiarize yourself and anyone living in the home with the main water shut off valve. The valve is usually located about 18" from the foundation located where the water line enters the home.

Protect outside pipe and faucets from freezing temps. For most newer homes, most hose bibs are frost free, meaning the shut off valve is deep inside an insulated wall to prevent freezing. If you are not sure if your hose bib is frost free you should wrap the bib with rags covered in plastic or molded foam insulated covers to wrap the faucets. You can pick up molded foam covers at most plumbing or hardware retail stores. 

Shut off and drain in-ground sprinkler systems, including the Back Flow Prevention device installed on your irrigation system. Some systems require a blow out with a large compressor. If your system needs to be blown out it should be done by a professional, we can help with that!

Flood Headlines issued by the National Weather Service

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

As temperatures rise, so does the potential for heavy rains. Here are a list of the headlines used by the National Weather Service and their meaning.

  • FLASH FLOOD WARNING : Water levels are forecast to rise rapidly, causing inundation within a few hours. Rapid rises in small streams, urban areas, and downstream of dam or levee failures pose a serious threat to life and property.
  • FLOOD WARNING: Rising water over a period of time will impact life and property across widespread areas. This warning may be issues hours to days in advance of the event.
  • FLOOD ADVISORY: Issued when rising or ponding of water could cause a significant inconvenience but does not pose a significant threat to life or property.
  • FLASH FLOOD WATCH: Conditions are favorable for flash flooding, but occurrence is neither certain or imminent.
  • FLOOD WATCH: Rising water over a period of time may result in flooding. In situations where a river crest is moving down stream, the watch may be issued days in advance.

Sources: Frank Wachowski, National Weather Services Archives


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mark your calendars for the EPA's 9th annual Fix a Leak week which takes place March 20-26, 2017.

Did you know, more than 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide are wasted annually from household leaks?

Visit the EPA's website for a list of events happening in your area to educate yourself on how to save money by fixing leaks.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, your Flood Control System is another year older!!! 

Our Clean & Check department officially reopens March 20th, 2017.

Look out for your reminder post card in the mail to take advantage of the coupon attached and don't forget to call in and schedule your annual maintenance check. 847-676-1931.

We can also check any Sump Pumps, Yard Drainage systems, and Battery Back-ups.  

Do's & Don'ts during a Flood

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Please read below for some tips of what to do and what not to do during a flood event or a torrential downpour.

  1. Stay tuned in to any local news stations or radio stations and follow any instructions that are given. 
  2. Sign up for any emergency alert systems your local area offers. Nowadays, most areas can notify you via text or email to alert you of any severe weather conditions that are headed your way.
  3. Majority of the time when we are experiencing severe weather, we also have to worry about power outages. Make sure to keep extra batteries handy for flash lights and battery operated radios. 
  4. Make sure cell phones are charged or invest in a portable charger.
  5. Electrocution is also a very serious matter to keep in mind during a flood event, current passes very easily through water. Avoid any downed power lines or electrical wires
  6. Stay indoors if possible but also be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
  7. Avoid walking through flowing water. Six inches of moving water can knock the average person off their feet.
  8. Avoid driving if possible; six inches of water can also reach up to the bottom of most passenger cars, this can cause stalling or loss of control.
  9. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where your car has stalled in a flooded area, evacuate immediately or as soon as you can. Floodwaters can rise at a rapid rate or even sweep your car away.
  • * some of these tips were found in the Northbrook Newsletter.

Village of Skokie Home Improvements Program

Friday, June 17, 2016

Excerpt From the Village of Skokie News Letter:

Your house should be protected from sewage backup that can cause costly damage and unsanitary conditions. The Village has made improvements to the sewer system to handle most normal rain storms; however, in severe rain storm sewers can fill up causing water to backflow into basements. Although there are several ways of preventing this, the two best methods are to install overhead sewers or a backwater valve flood control system. In an overhead system, waste water from the first or second floor is removed from the house through a pipe connected to the Village sewer that is at a higher level than the Village sewer. The higher elevation of the pipe helps prevent water from backing up into the house. An electric pump in the basement ejects any water from basement bathrooms, laundries or drains into the pipe that is connected to the sewer. Backwater valve flood control systems, on the other hand, stop sewage backup before it can enter the house with a check valve on the sewer line. This system generally requires the construction of an underground structure in the yard where a check valve is located. This valve lets waste water flow out of the house while keeping sewage from coming back in. It is important to maintain this valve annually to prevent failure during a storm event. These systems often contain an electric pump to force water out of the house system if the sewers are full. Both systems require electricity and should have a backup battery or generator system to assure their continued operation if the electricity goes out. The pumps in these systems require regular maintenance and may need replacement because of heavy usage. Homeowners can perform some of these home improvements themselves, while other improvements require a contractor or licensed plumber.

Financial assistance is available to income qualified households to make repairs as part of the Village’s Home Improvements Program. Please contact the Building and Zoning Division at 847/933-8223 to discuss your home repair issues, determine if a permit is required, get a list of contractors who have done work in the Village and to see if you are income-qualified for a grant or loan.

For the full article click the link below.