Holiday Plumbing Tips: Keep Your Drains Clog-Free this Christmas

holiday plumbing tipsWe receive an upsurge in calls during December. This is due to homes and businesses organizing large dinner parties. Big get-togethers mean heavier use of the bathroom and kitchen. We advise homeowners and businesses to adhere to our holiday plumbing tips to avoid a preventable emergency plumbing call.

Holiday Plumbing Tips for the Kitchen

Most homeowners know how to dispose of cooking grease. Remember, all grease goes in a disposable container before you throw it out. Keep a few jelly jars or milk jugs in the house for this purpose. This goes for commercial facilities as well. Don’t think your drain is safe just because it has a grease trap. We’ve lost count of how many times our commercial plumbers had to clear an clogged drain or grease trap. Continue Reading →

What Are Not Dishwasher-Safe Items?

dishwasher-safe itemsMany of our past posts have focused on the drain, toilet, and faucets. We’ve kind of neglected the dishwasher, which can also be the location of many plumbing woes. We’ll list the type of dishes and items that are never dishwasher-safe.

Items to Keep Out of the Dishwasher

Food-Covered Dishes

Not all dishwashers have garbage disposal capabilities; some only have filters. The hot water and water jets may break up some of the food particles, but these can clog the filter. If you system only has a filter, you must clear food debris before loading dishes into the washer. This goes for commercial dishwashers as well. Next to a poorly maintained grease trap, a clogged dishwasher pipe is the next most commonplace repair for our commercial plumbers. Continue Reading →

What Drain Flies Indicate About Your Plumbing

drain fliesHomeowners may occasionally see drain flies, which shouldn’t be confused with fruit flies. The pests typically gather around the sink and near the drain. They’re not harmful, but the critters are an eyesore and may also be a sign of a hidden plumbing issue.

What Are Drain Flies?

These little bugs are moth-like gnats that gather around moist areas. Sink drains tend to accumulate an organic gelatinous substance that’s invisible to the naked eye. Drain flies lay their eggs in this slime. Continue Reading →

How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet

Gurgling ToiletOther than when flushing and refilling the tank, toilets are supposed to be quiet. However, some homeowners have reported bubbling in the water and the strange strangling sounds. This is not normal. We’ll explain what causes a gurgling toilet, why it’s bad, and how to fix it.

Why Does a Toilet Gurgle?

Faulty Tank Equipment

The tank interior contains a flapper and a float and fill system. If any of these components are faulty or loose, the toilet may make a gurgling noise or sound.. All of the parts inside the tank are available at your local hardware store. A residential plumber can replace all worn parts. Continue Reading →

Avoidable Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

Common DIY plumbing mistakesIf the faucet is leaking or the toilet is clogged, the first instinct may be to try to fix the problem yourself. You’d feel good about correcting a household problem without the cost of bringing in a handyman. However, if something goes wrong, you can exacerbate a problem that would’ve been minor. Always contact a residential plumber to have the issue diagnosed and fixed. However, if you insist on being your own handyman, avoid these common DIY plumbing mistakes for everything to flow smoothly.

Not Shutting Off the Water

Always shut off the main water valve before examining a pipe or water fixture. The main water shutoff valve is usually located in the basement or right outside the house. Bathrooms and kitchens usually have localized valves that shut off the supply to just that area. Continue Reading →

Why You Should Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners

chemical drain cleanersChemical drain cleaners are a double-edge sword. On one hand, they’re a quick-fix solution for the DIYer. On the other hand, they’re notorious for causing long-term damage to pipes. What do our residential plumbers think about drain cleaners for clearing drainage obstructions?

Our Take on Chemical Drain Cleaners

We believe that drain cleaners are quite effective and actually do what they advertise to do. As such, they’re quite effective as a DIY measure for clearing a clogged sink or shower drain. They work because the ingredients include oxidizing chemicals, which break down clogs by removing or adding electrons to the hair, grease, and other debris that make up the obstruction. The liquid indiscriminately burns away whatever it comes into contact with, and therein lies the problem. Continue Reading →

Will a Toilet Tank Brick Reduce Water Use?

toilet tank brickPlacing a brick inside the toilet tank to save water is a time-honored trick. It’s an easy DIY method that doesn’t require a residential plumber’s intervention. The method makes sense when you consider that the toilet itself makes up about a third of indoor water use. However, is this tactic really as useful as it seems? Is it one we recommend?

Does a Toilet Tank Brick Really Save Water?

The short answer is yes. A brick in the toilet tank does curtail water use every time you flush the toilet. Most toilets actually don’t use a lot of water to begin with. Most models manufactured after the early 1990s only use about 1.6 gallons per flush. Some use as little water as 1.28 gallons. Older models, however, use around 3.5 gallons, with some using as much as 6 gallons. That is a lot of water for a single flush.

However, toilets may not flush properly if they don’t use the amount of water they’re designed to use. For sanitary reasons, you want the waste to be flushed properly and not stuck in the sewage line. If waste becomes stuck, you’ll need to bring in an emergency plumber. Toilets require the designated amount of water to shuttle waste along the pipes and prevent clogging.

To save water, we recommend investing in a newer toilet model if you have a pre-90s toilet. If you still insist on using the brick method, then use a plastic bottle filled with sand or rocks. A brick can erode in water. Continue Reading →

Is Your Water Boiler Kettling?

water boiler kettlingThe sound of a kettle boiling is welcoming when you’re preparing tea. You do not, however, want to hear your water boiler kettling. You’ll recognize the sound as a deep rumbling noise when the unit is in operation. It’s not a problem to ignore. Call an emergency plumber to come examine your boiler.

What Causes a Boiler to Kettle?

Kettling occurs due to a lime scale buildup on the heat exchanger. This is the pipe that water travels through while it’s being heated. The buildup restricts water flow and causes it to become trapped in the exchanger. The trapped water continues to heat and eventually turns into vapor. Water expands by about 1600 times as it vaporizes. The expansion places tremendous pressure on the exchanger pipe. Continue Reading →

The Dangers of a Pinhole Leak on Your Copper Plumbing

pinhole leakIn professional plumbing, there is a saying that there is no such thing as a small leak. This is especially true with respect to a pinhole leak. The holes leaking water from the pipes may be small, but they can cause enormous damage over time. We’ll explain what a pinhole leak is and why you need to bring in an emergency plumber if you suspect this type of pipe leakage.

What Are Pinhole Leaks?

The word “pinhole” may lead some to believe a pinhole leak is a minor issue; it is far from minor. This type of leak occurs primarily in copper pipes.

Copper is usually touted as being corrosion resistant, though this isn’t entirely true. It’s actually prone to one type of corrosion called pitting corrosion. This is a form of corrosion believed to result from formaldehyde in the air. Exposure to formaldehyde causes copper to become dull and form grayish patches. Some of these patches give way, forming small holes.

Why Pinhole Leaks Are Problematic

The leak can cause extensive damage to the drywall and wall studs. It can also cause wood rot if the water gets on the floor. The exact location of the leak can also be difficult to locate. This is why it’s essential to leave the diagnoses to a residential plumber. Pinhole leaks are also problematic because the homeowner almost never notices them. Continue Reading →

Bellied Or Channeled Pipes: Two Common Plumbing Issues

bellied or channeled pipesPipe bellies and pipe channelings are two common causes of backup plumbing. It’s not unusual for our emergency plumbers to diagnose a faulty pipe as having one of these two problems. Both are somewhat similar but indicate very different problems with the sewer line.

Pipe Belly

A belly in the pipe basically refers to a sag in the pipeline. The sag causes a dip, which in turn causes water and other debris to accumulate in that area.

A pipe belly is often caused by geological events, such as an earthquake, soil erosion, or foundation settlement. The sag usually occurs right at the fitting and rarely ever in the middle of a solid pipe.

Pipe Channeling

Pipe channeling occurs when a section of the bottom of a pipe has completely eroded away. The erosion leaves an opening for tree roots and insects to make their way into the pipe. This can cause a backup and/or lead to impurities in the water. Pipe channeling is especially common in horizontally positioned cast iron pipes. Cast iron has a lifespan of about 25-30 years before corrosion begins to occur. Continue Reading →