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How to Find a Plumbing Water Leak

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If you find or suspect a water leak in your home, tracing it to the source quickly is necessary to avoid potential water damage that can get very costly to repair. Identifying the leak’s source depends largely on the type of leak happening. A leaking pipe under the sink is far easier to identify than to find one that is hidden within a wall or in the ceilings.

Check the Water Meter

One of the easiest ways to tell if your home has a water leak is to check the water meter. Go to the water meter, typically located near the main water shut-off of your home. Note exactly where the water meter reads and write it down or take a photo of it with your phone. Confirm that you have a water leak by shutting off your water-using appliances and fixtures. This includes faucets, showers, washing machines and refrigerators. Check back in a few hours, just make sure all the water stayed off. If the reading has advanced, this indicates a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.

Large Appliances

Wherever possible, carefully move appliances to look for the source of the moisture. For example, a loose or damaged water line to a dishwasher will leak water under and around the appliance.

Kitchen & Bathrooms

Open all cabinets under your sinks and clear out supplies and other products so you can more easily examine the space for water, dampness, stains, mold or mildew, and buckled or peeling material. Shine a bright light inside to look for moisture around all the joints and at the bottom of the P trap. Signs of a leaking pipe may also include corrosion on the supply lines, and pipe fittings and valves. If possible, tighten fittings and wipe away any moisture present.

Turn your water back on to see if you still have a water leak problem. Sometimes the leak is in the supply valve or line, and it will be evident when the supply is turned off and then activated again. If this is the problem, have the leaking supply line replaced.

Like any plumbing problem, attending to it quickly can save you a lot of money in repairs. If your house is more than 20 years old, your plumbing system may require a professional inspection.

Floors, Walls & Ceilings

Water leaks can be tricky to find. Try these tips to look for any that may be inside walls, above ceilings, or on the floor:

  • Examine the flooring around fixtures and appliances that use water, including toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Cracked or warped flooring or soft, “spongy” spots in the floor most likely mean moisture is present and a possible leak.
  • Check the ceilings throughout your home. Stains on the ceiling indicate a leak somewhere coming from above.
  • Also examine the walls in your home for water damage, such as bubbled paint, stains and cracks. Leaking water pipes may also leave wet spots on the wall. But the location of this damage is not usually the exact location of the leak. Water may run the length of a broken pipe and pool at a different location in the wall.

Contact us to inspect for, confirm, and repair the leak BEFORE you begin ripping out walls or floors.

Basements & Crawlspaces

Inspect all the exposed pipes you can see in your basement and crawlspaces. Moisture and/or corrosion around the pipes are an easy indicator you have a leak.

If you discover rotted wood, mildew around these pipes, your leak is most likely in this area. Water will travel downward because of gravity, and occasionally the location of water stains is not the exact location of a leaking water pipe. Still, it is a good indicator of the general area of the source of moisture.

Checking Outside the Home

Walk the circumference of your home and check hoses, spigots, and (if you have one) the irrigation system. Just a tiny pinhole leak can account for losing and wasting over 6,300 gallons of water a month.

Call A Trusted, Trained Plumbing Professional

If you have any plumbing problems or concerns at all, give us a call today at (402) 932-3899 or visit our website at anaplumbing.com. Since 2009, A & A Plumbing & Drain Services is the leading plumber serving Douglas and Sarpy counties and surrounding areas. We offer commercial and residential plumbing services, drain cleaning, water heaters, and much more.

Keeping Tree Roots from Damaging Your Sewer Line

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There are many benefits of having trees in your yard, including adding value to your home; breaking the cold winter winds to lower your heating costs; and providing food and shelter for wildlife.

Unfortunately, a poorly placed and planted tree can be a hazard to your sewer line.

The roots of trees and shrubs naturally grow toward sewer lines. The sewer pipes can be a bountiful source of water, oxygen, and nutrients that they crave. When a root discovers a sewer line leak, it will rapidly grow and expand into the pipe – and can slow the flow of waste, cause blockages, damage pipes, and other serious problems.

Sewage leaks are unsanitary and have been shown to cause health problems. Repairing the sewer line damage caused by tree roots can be very costly, sometimes thousands of dollars!

The professionals at A & A Plumbing & Drain Services offer the following tips to help you avoid costly repair bills by taking a few steps when planting trees and maintaining your home’s pipes.


  • Choose Only “Sewer-Safe” Shrubs & Trees

When planning out your landscaping, educating yourself is the best way to avoid future problems and potentially expensive repair bills. First, limit the number of plants you place near the sewer lines. If you are planning to plant larger trees, be sure they are far enough away from sewer lines so that, as they mature, roots are not within reach of the pipes. If you believe you want a tree closer to a sewer line, select slow-growing trees with a smaller mature root impact area.


  • Be Aware of the Warning Signs

In plumbing, there is one thing you can eventually rely on – clogged drain lines. For infrequent clogs, there are often simple solutions to clear a drain that most homeowners may try. But if your drains clog frequently or completely, it could be a sign of a larger problem. Root damage to sewer lines can lead to slow-flowing, clogged, or even overflowing drains – sometimes accompanied by a gurgling noise from the toilet.


  • Having an Inspection and Maintenance

When drains clog frequently, are difficult to clear, and emit gurgling noises, call A & A Plumbing & Drain Services to have the drain and sewer lines inspected. We can inspect your drain pipes by running a camera probe through them to look for damage or issues and can (if necessary) recommend repairs or replacement.


To avoid major sewer repairs, we can clean your sewer lines regularly and inspect the structure of the pipe system. Regular maintenance will help prevent root growth inside the pipes. Sewer-line maintenance involves us threading a cable through the sewer pipe that cuts through any clogs or tree roots, clearing the sewer pipe so the sewage can flow freely out of and away from your home.

With more than 20 years of experience, we have been serving first-class residential and commercial plumbing throughout the Omaha metro area. We believe our customers deserve service that is reliable, responsive, and complete, with GUARANTEED satisfaction. If you have any plumbing questions or concerns, call your friends at A & A Plumbing & Drain Services at 402-932-3899 or visit our website www.anaplumbing.com

Is Your Sump Pump Operational and Ready for Spring?

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Like the old saying goes, “March came in like a lamb and therefore is expected to go out like a lion.” And with that, the risk of basement flooding is much higher.

With warmer temperatures in the Omaha metro, the combination of snow melting and frozen ground thawing might lead to basement flooding if your home’s sump pump is not working properly. Unfortunately, many people don’t even think about their sump pump until an emergency has already happened.

Like any appliance or system in your home, it should be inspected regularly to be sure it is in working order. Below is a checklist of our recommendations for you to complete to ensure it’s operational. If there are any issues found from this checklist, we suggest you call your plumber to check it out, and if necessary, remedy the problem or repair the unit.

A home sump pump is an electric water pump used to remove water that accumulates in a water-collecting “sump basin,” most oftentimes found in a property’s basement. Excess water can sometimes enter through the outside drains of a basement waterproofing system, channeling down into the basin or in some cases because of rain or quickly melting snow.

Sump pumps are used where basement flooding has happened and sometimes to solve dampness in cases where the water table is above the home’s foundation. Sump pumps divert water away from the property to where it is no longer a problem. This could be a nearby municipal storm drain or a dry well.

Follow these steps to ensure your pump is operational and ready to keep your home’s lowest level dry and safe:

  • Clean the Screen.
    Start by unplugging the pump from the electrical power supply. Disconnect it from the discharge pipe, then lift the pump up and out of the sump. Clear away and spray away any debris that has accumulated on the screen at the pump’s base. Then wipe down and rinse off the housing. If required, lubricate the pump bearings. (Consult your unit’s owner’s manual to be certain.)
  • Inspect the Check Valve.
    If the pump’s internal flap doesn’t easily swing free, flush it out with fresh water. If you find mineral deposits, soak it in vinegar. When reconnecting it back to the discharge pipe, be sure the arrow points upwards.
  • Test the Unit’s Float Switch.
    To test that the automatic switch kicks on when water enters the sump, pour a few gallons of water into the sump. If it automatically kicks on and sucks out the water, the floater switch (and pump) are operating properly. If not, contact your plumber to repair or replace the switch.
  • Check Your Outlet.
    Building codes require that all sump pumps must only be plugged in to a GFCI receptacle. This is the type of outlet with a built-in circuit breaker which will shut it off if it becomes wet. For your safety, check it by pressing its test and reset buttons.
  • Battery Backup
    It’s a good idea to consider having an uninterrupted power supply in case you lose power to your home when you need the sump pump. If you already have a backup battery, see if it’s the type of unit that needs to have its cells full. If it is, and the cells are low, fill them with distilled water, as needed.

A sump pump is a small investment for a home that could face serious water issues from high ground water level, or the possibility of melting ice and snow, or our very common heavy rain storms Nebraska and Iowa face each year. If you don’t have a sump pump, but have experienced water in your basement (or just want peace of mind), call A & A Plumbing & Drain Services at               (402) 932-3899 to assess your situation and give you an estimate.

Plumbing Checklist For Home Buyers

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We don’t have to tell you that buying a home is a huge investment – it’s usually the biggest investment you’ve ever made! That’s why we recommend you get a whole home plumbing inspection done by your trusty plumbers (hey, that’s us!).

Sure, the home inspector will go through the home and find a lot of the flaws. But, we’ve seen more than a couple cases where there were plumbing issues that should have been found, but weren’t.

Not only is that scary, who knows what could be going on in those pipes, but it’s a missed opportunity. Knowing what kind of pipes and drains you have, and what condition they’re in can be a very useful negotiation tool.

To avoid any surprises down the road, inspect these three things before purchasing a home.

Main sewer line

It’s always a good idea to have a plumber perform a camera inspection on the main sewer line. Not only will it alert you of any clogs, but it can show you the overall condition of the line. If your line is severely deteriorated, this inspection will make you aware of a hidden, costly issue.

Water heater

The rule of thumb is that a water heater will last about ten years. Granted, that estimate is dependant on the water quality, how the heater is being used, maintenance, and installation. For example, if it heats your home and delivers hot water to all of your faucets, there’s a good chance it won’t make it a full ten years.

Having a plumber inspect the water heater to see what condition it’s in and if it’s a good fit for your water needs is a must. A lot of times, families will downsize their water heater after the kids move out, because they’re using less water. So, it’s important to ensure the home’s water heater will meet your family’s needs.


A lot of toilets leak at the base. It’s an insignificant problem most of the time, except for when the issue persists. Over time, it can cause serious damage and in some cases, it can make your floor rot.

Luckily, identifying a leaky toilet base is fairly simple:

  1. Look for discoloration or warping around the toilet base.
  2. With your foot, check if the floor moves or feels soft at the base.
  3. Check to see if the toilet bowl will rock from side to side. If it does, it signals that the seal is bad, the toilet isn’t properly secured to the flange, or the flange itself isn’t secured.

We’re not trying to scare you out of buying a home. In fact, we’re trying to inform and empower you. If you have a house you’d like us to inspect or any additional questions, just give us a call!

Plumbing 101: Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

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Welcome to Plumbing 101! If you’ve resolved to become handier around the house this year, then you’re in luck. We’ve compiled some tips that we think every homeowner should know.

Lesson number one, identify this object:


  1. Chair
  2. Desk
  3. Toilet
  4. Invention of the future

Just kidding, we know you know what a toilet is. You chose option C, right?

In all seriousness, here are the real Plumbing 101 tips:

When in doubt, shut off the water valve.

The last thing you want is to do while performing maintenance is to make things worse by creating a mess, or worse, causing water damage. If you’re working on your plumbing, shut off the valve to that area of the house as a precaution.

Locate the valve for your toilet before you need to use it.

One of the most common issues we see is the good, ol’ overflowing toilet. If you’re unable to stop the water from sloshing out all over your floor, you may be looking at some pretty costly water damage.

Luckily, every toilet has an emergency shut-off valve near it. Many times, it’s located on the wall near the lower half of your toilet. Find it? Good, now commit it to memory in case you ever need to use it.

Find your home’s main water valve.

This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with what we just said. Ideally, you want to know where these things are before you need to use them.

Know how to fix a dripping faucet.

Often, dripping faucets can be fixed by simply replacing the washer. To do so, remove the faucet handle cap and use a socket wrench to remove the valve from the faucet.

Do you see the faucet washer now? Great, take the old one out of there and replace with a new one. Screw everything on, and you’re good to go.

But wait, did you remember to shut of the water to that area of the house before working on the faucet? If not, you better get in the habit of doing so. Trust us, it will save you in the long run.

These are just a few tips to get you going. Expect to see more posts like this in the future, we have a couple more tips up our sleeves.
We sincerely believe that everyone should know how to do simple plumbing tasks. But don’t worry, we’re always here for the tasks you can’t handle on your own.

Frozen Pipes: What You Need To Know

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We’ve all heard them – horror stories of pipes bursting in winter, causing hundreds of dollars of damage. Those stories are exactly why it’s so important to understand what happens when a pipe freezes and how to prevent it from ever happening in your home.

We’re sure you remember learning that water expands when frozen. It’s a lesson every kid in grade school learns, and remembers when a frozen water bottle bursts in their car years later. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands and causes the pipe to crack, no matter how sturdy the pipe was before.

Generally the most vulnerable pipes are those exposed to the outdoors such as hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and pipes located in higher or unheated areas like attics, garages, crawl spaces, and outside walls.

One of the most noticeable signs of a frozen pipe is a drastic decrease in water pressure. More times than not, if your water pressure suddenly decreases in the winter, it’s probably due to a frozen pipe.

There has to be a way to prevent pipes from freezing though, right? You’re in luck! We’ve compiled a fairly lengthy list below to try and save you the trouble of calling us, even though we love hearing from you.

  • Installing your pipes in either an insulated or heated area can help to keep them warm.
  • If your pipes are already installed in an uninsulated area, you can fit them with insulation sleeves or wrapping. You can also install a heating cable to run alongside pipes.
  • Burying outdoor pipes lower in the ground, specifically below the frost line, can be very effective.
  • This one seems obvious, but turning up the heat indoors can help. We know you want to save money on your heating bill, but is a few dollars of savings worth hundreds in repair?
  • Believe it or not, opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom can help the heat reach pipes nestled in the wall behind them.
  • If you have pipes in your garage, make sure to keep the garage door closed at all times to help retain as much heat as possible.
  • Never let your thermostat reach below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, this even applies when you’re going out of town.
  • In extremely cold conditions, and we mean extremely cold, letting a faucet drip can help prevent a pipe from freezing or a frozen pipe from bursting.
  • Outdoor winterization is extremely important. Before the first freeze, make sure to remove, drain, and store all outdoor hoses. Close the inside valves supplying water to the hose bib and then open the outside bib to allow any remaining water to drain. You can even leave the outside bib open throughout the winter. That way, if there is any water still in there, pressure is never able to build and cause a pipe to burst.

We know it’s a lot to take in, but taking five minutes to learn about frozen pipes can really save you a lot of hassle in the long run. If you suspect a frozen pipe, please call us immediately! Acting quickly can help to prevent any further damage.

Common Winter Plumbing Problems

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It’s that time of year again – the holiday season! A time to welcome long days and nights spent with friends and family. What you don’t want to welcome are plumbing emergencies.

However, more times than not, plumbing emergencies tend to occur at the most inopportune times. If your home is the hub of holiday activity, your plumbing system is left vulnerable. The added guests using your sinks, toilets, and tubs can seriously strain your plumbing system.

Below are some of the most common winter plumbing issues and how to avoid them. The last thing anyone wants is for their holiday season to be tarnished by a plumbing emergency.

Clogged Kitchen Sinks

The holidays are often accompanied by plate after plate of delicious foods. It is important to be careful when preparing and disposing of those foods. Don’t ever pour grease, oil, or coffee grounds into your sink. Also, avoid disposing of fibrous foods with the garbage disposal. Instead, just toss them into the trash.

Water isn’t able to rinse these types of liquids and foods down the drain, leading to buildup in your pipes and an inevitable clog.

To learn more about keeping your pipes clear this holiday season, read this blog we previously wrote on the subject. And, if a clog does occur, please call us instead of using an over-the-counter drain cleaner – you’ll thank us in the long run.

Water Line Leaks/Breaks

Winterizing your plumbing is a lengthy but necessary process. If you fail to winterize correctly, it can lead to a lot of time and money down the road.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare is to completely drain all garden hoses and shut off the valves leading to them. If an undrained hose is left connected after a freeze, the ice in the hose gradually builds pressure in your home’s water lines. This could lead to either a break or a leak.

Broken Hot Water Heater

Like we mentioned above, emergencies always occur at the worst times. That’s exactly why your hot water heater is liable to quit as soon as there’s a chill in the air. The cold air takes a toll on the heater, but with proper maintenance, your water heater should continue functioning correctly.

It is important to never let your water heater’s temperature gauge surpass 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If your gauge is set at that or below and your water isn’t very hot, it’s time to give us a call.

As you can see, there are a lot of plumbing issues that can arise in the winter months. We firmly believe that knowing what the issues are and the symptoms of each is half the battle – the other half is a simple phone call to your friendly plumbing guys!

Handle Your Plumbing Emergency Like A Professional

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No one likes to think about what they would do in emergencies, especially plumbing emergencies. But situations arise and you need to be equipped to deal with them.

If handled incorrectly, a plumbing emergency could result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. The number one threat in most plumbing emergencies is water damage, which can cause irreversible damage to your home and be pricey to repair.

So, what is considered a plumbing emergency? A plumbing emergency is any situation that cannot wait until a scheduled appointment. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Extremely hot water coming from faucet could mean your water heater is overheating.
  • Frozen pipes could lead to major pipe damage and leaks.
  • A leaking hot water heater could lead to a major flood.

What do you do in a plumbing emergency? Since the damage has already been done, your goal is to prevent further damage from occurring. The following four steps are a great start to handling any plumbing emergency.

Turn Off Water

The first thing you should do in any plumbing emergency is shut off the water. It’s helpful to know how to do so before emergency strikes, just like we discussed in our blog about flooded basements. If you cannot turn off the water directly to the affected area, you’ll need to turn off the water to your entire home. The valve to do so is generally located near the water meter.

Clear Area

After turning off the water, you should clear the area. This means moving furniture and valuables, and mopping up any standing water on the floor. Not only will clearing the area make it easier for the plumber to maneuver, but it will also prevent your possessions from incurring further damage.

Assess Damage

After clearing the area, take a moment to calmly survey to the damage. It is now that you decide whether your emergency warrants an immediate visit from your plumber or if it can wait for a scheduled appointment.

Call Plumber

Believe it or not, in their frantic states of dealing with an emergency, a lot of people forget to actually call the plumber. When you do call the emergency plumber, it is best to give as much detail as possible. Make sure to include what fixture is affected and what you have done to temporarily stop the problem.

Often times, the more you can describe over the phone, the quicker the issue will be resolved.

We wholeheartedly believe the most important thing to do in an emergency is to act rationally. While it is an extremely stressful time, acting irrationally will neither solve the problem nor resolve it quicker. In any emergency, feel free to contact us day or night – that’s what we’re here for.

Don’t Dry Out This Winter: Consider A Whole Home Humidifier

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That time of year is swiftly approaching – the time where dry skin and frequent static electricity shocks become a part of daily life. There isn’t much humidity in the frigid air outside, and there is probably even less indoors.

You may be about to haul out a fleet of humidifiers but, before you do, have you ever considered a whole home humidifier?

Even if you place an individual humidifier in every room, they simply cannot add enough moisture to the air to maintain an ideal humidity level. Not only that, but with individual humidifiers, you’re constantly refilling the water tank and cleaning them out.

Whole home humidifiers are much easier to maintain. They’re made to integrate seamlessly with your heating and cooling system, and can be controlled through the thermostat. An added bonus is that they only need to be cleaned once or twice a year.

All of this talk of humidifiers has probably left you wondering why you shouldn’t just forego one altogether. Why deal with all of the hassle? Well, there are a few compelling reasons why you should try to maintain your home’s humidity at ideal level, usually between 30-50%.

Your Health

Did you know that dry air can wreak havoc on your health? Aside from general discomfort, dry air can cause the following health concerns:

  • Many viruses thrive in low humidity settings, leaving you more likely to fall ill.
  • Dry environments leave people more susceptible to infection.
  • The conditions can aggravate both asthma and allergy symptoms.
  • Dry air can cause sore throats, nosebleeds, and cracked skin.

Home Preservation

When the humidity in your home is low, it can lead to the damage of your wood floors, furniture, artwork, and musical instruments. Because the humidity is so low, the moisture is drawn out of these items.

Energy Savings

Increasing the humidity in your home can lead to increased energy savings. Dry air can often feel colder, meaning you have to turn up the heat. When the air has the correct level of humidity, you will likely be able to turn down the heat a couple degrees. By just turning down the thermostat one degree, you will save an estimated 4% on your entire energy bill.

As you can see, maintaining the proper levels of humidity is important for many reasons. Don’t suffer through the winter with dry, cracked skin – instead, install a whole home humidifier.