Phantom Flushing: What Causes Your Toilet in Snohomish to Self-Flush?

phantom flushing SnohomishDo you regularly hear your toilet flushing and the tank refilling on its own? If so, no need to call the Ghostbusters. This is a common plumbing problem and not the work of a ghostly entity. This phenomenon is known as phantom flushing, and we’ll explain what it is and why it occurs.

How Phantom Flushing Occurs

Phantom flushing is actually just a fancy term for a leaking toilet. A leak may occur in the tank, causing it to automatically refill with water. The problem is often attributed to a faulty flapper. Over time, the rubber in the flapper begins to deteriorate, affecting its seal. As the seal disintegrates, the toilet leaks more and more.

Why Is Phantom Flushing a Problem?

A leaky toilet means you’re wasting water at a rapid rate. If the toilet is leaking non-stop, you could be wasting as much as 200 gallons of water every 24 hours. That’s bad for the environment AND your monthly water bill.

The Food Dye Test

You can do an easy DIY test to determine if the toilet tank is leaking water. Place a few droplets of food dye into the toilet tank and wait 20 to 30 minutes. If remnants of the dye appear in the toilet bowl, then you have a leaky toilet.

How to Fix It

Replacing the flapper should resolve the issue. However, if the issue persists, then another underlying cause may exist. In this case, bring in a plumber to diagnose and resolve the problem. A leaky toilet may also be due to a bad flush valve gasket, or water escaping through the overflow pipe. Call Plumbing & Heating Specialist to stop a leaking toilet. Our special offers make plumbing and heating repairs affordable. Toilet phantom flushing is a problem that can result in needless and massive water waste.

Residential and Business Phantom Flushing Repairs in Snohomish

Serving Customers in Snohomish, King & Pierce Counties, including Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Snohomish, Shoreline, Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Maltby, Lake Forest Park, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens & Woodway


Posted on May 13, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Why Shouldn’t You Pour Grease Down a Drain?

grease down a drain

Many of us have heard it’s not a good idea to pour grease down a drain.  However, most homeowners don’t know why this is bad. Nor do they know precisely what happens once the grease enters the drains and pipes.

 So Why IS Pouring Grease Down a Drain Such a No-no?

Grease undergoes chemical alterations under temperature fluctuations. Grease also mixes with other debris and chemicals in the pipeline and sewers, and it can form a solid mass.  This mass ends up blocking the pipes and making a mess in your kitchen.  One study revealed that 47% of sewer backups in the U.S. occur due to grease buildup. Roughly half of our plumbing service work involves some form of blockage removal.

This Is Not a DIY Fix

When you pour grease down a drain,  it travels through the pipes and begins breaking down into its molecular components—glycerol and fatty acids. These components bind with calcium deposits resting in the sewers to form a glob-like compound that clings inside the upper sides of the pipes when water levels rise. Plumbers even have an informal name for this glob— they call it a fatberg.  Fatbergs, if left unattended, can get really large. One plumbing company in the UK, in fact, found a 17-ton fatberg in a sewer ceiling!  The lesson here? Keep grease away from the drain. If you have an existing backup in your drain, don’t treat it using a store-bought drain cleaner. This temporary fix only pushes the fatbergs further into the sewers, creating a bigger problem down the line. Always call a professional.

We Treat Grease Buildups

Let Plumbing & Heating Specialist treat any drain blockages you run into. See our special offers on our website. We also repair heaters and install new fixtures. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs.

Pouring Grease Down a Drain–Ask the Experts

Serving Customers in Snohomish, King & Pierce Counties, including Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Snohomish, Shoreline, Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Maltby, Lake Forest Park, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens & Woodway


Posted on April 13, 2020 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

What Happens During a Furnace Inspection?

Furnace Inspection Procedure | Plumbing and Heating SpecialistFurnace Inspection Procedure in Lynnwood

To keep your furnace operating optimally, it’s imperative to have it inspected on a regular basis. Ideally, you want an HVAC technician to look at it biannually (in the spring and fall) so that you can resolve any relatively small problems before they exacerbate and become more expensive to repair. Find out what the furnace inspection procedure entails.

Furnace Inspection Procedure at a Glance

There is much more to it than changing your filter and making sure the thermostat is functioning properly. Here is a list of some of the work the technician will accomplish during the inspection.

  • Inspect and clean the furnace’s blower motor, the wheel, and housing.
  • Check the combustion motor for lint and other debris. A cleaning will follow if necessary.
  • With a gas furnace, the technician will check for any gas leaks.
  • Check the condensate lines and the pan. The technician will drain the pan if it needs draining.
  • Check the evaporator coil.
  • Inspect the burner and clean it if necessary.
  • Check the ignition and the safety controls, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Perform an inspection on the heat elements/heat exchanger.
  • Check the flue system for rust and corrosion.
  • Inspect all electrical systems, including the control box and associated connections and wiring.
  • Check the air filters and replace as needed.
  • Examine the ductwork for leaks.
  • Run system startup to look for errors.
  • Listen for any sounds or vibrations that may indicate a problem.
  • Detect odors and track the source
  • Check the furnace system pressure (including high and low side, as well as the manifold).
  • Measure temperature rises and make adjustments.
  • Check the ventilation system while the furnace is in operation

Continue Reading →

Should You Be Concerned About Seeing Black Specks in Your Water?

black specks in waterYou turn on the faucet and are horrified to find black specks accompanying the water. Should you be alarmed? It’s certainly not normal, that’s for sure. Here are some of the reasons why you might see black specks in the water and what you can do about it.

1. Mineral Traces

The plumbing system may contain excess traces of minerals, mainly iron and manganese. These are not harmful to ingest, but the black specks are disconcerting. They may also stain the sink surface, dishes, or whatever else they come into contact with.

2. Pipe Corrosion

Old pipes may begin to corrode after several decades. Bits of the interior surface may start to peel off and end up in the water. Black specks from pipe corrosion usually occur with aged copper pipes. Contact plumbing services for a possible switch to updated cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes.

3. Heater Corrosion

Do you only see black specks when turning on hot water? This may indicate extensive corrosion in the heater water lines. You may not even notice the black specks coming out of the water. However, you may notice black shavings and black smears around the sink or tub after use.

4. Granular Activated Carbon (GAC)

Most modern water filter systems use GAC as a filtering material in its cartridges. GAC appears as hard particles similar in shape and texture to coffee grounds. If the filter is overdue for a replacement, some of the GAC may make its way into the water. Replacing the cartridge may fix the problem.

We Trace the Source of Black Specks in Water

Give Plumbing & Heating Specialist a call if you see black specks in the water. We will identify the source and take corrective action. Our special offers make diagnosis affordable. Black specks in water are not normal and warrant your attention.

Prompt Residential Plumbing Services

Serving Customers in Snohomish, King & Pierce Counties, including Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Snohomish, Shoreline, Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Maltby, Lake Forest Park, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens & Woodway

Rain-Caused Plumbing Problems

rain plumbing, rain problemsAt first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a connection between rainfall and your home plumbing system. However, there is, in fact, a correlation, and it tends to be negative. Here’s some important info about how rain causes plumbing problems and what you can do.

Added Pressure in Pipes

The pipes underneath your yard are durable but do have a weight limit. Rain saturates the ground, turning the dirt into mud. Mud weighs more than dirt. This can increase the exterior pressure on the pipes. Pipes already subjected to excessive weight can give way and sag. The pipes may also shift, causing the joints to separate and rupture.

Debris Infiltration

Rain water may carry solid debris with it. This can get into pipes with existing cracks and openings. This can cause a blockage, which in turn can lead to water backing up in the basement. In addition, the water can accelerate tree root growth. The roots can extend in the direction of the pipes and cause further damage.

Basement Flooding

As just mentioned, backed-up water may redirect into the basement or crawlspace. Excessive standing water in the home’s interior can cause mold growth. It can also be detrimental to the concrete foundation.

The Solution

A plumbing service can’t stop the rain, but it can inspect your residential pipes. A healthy plumbing system should have no trouble withstanding a downpour, even if it’s raining cats and dogs. This is a good time of year to schedule an inspection since this is the season of peak rainfall in the Pacific Northwest.

We Minimize Rain-Caused Plumbing Problems

With winter here, many homeowners are having their heaters checked. We suggest an accompanying plumbing inspection. Plumbing and Heating Specialist has special offers that make our services affordable. The connection between rain and plumbing is one that warrants homeowner attention.

Residential Plumbing Inspection

Serving Customers in Snohomish, King & Pierce Counties, including Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Snohomish, Shoreline, Brier, Mountlake Terrace, Maltby, Lake Forest Park, Everett, Marysville, Lake Stevens & Woodway

How to Get a Strong Toilet Flush

strong toilet flushDo you find yourself flushing the toilet twice because the flush is weak and fails to send everything down? Not only is this a nuisance but it’s also a water waster. Here’s why it has become weak and how you can get a strong toilet flush.

Check for a Backup

The weak flush may be due to a clog that partially blocks the waste pipe. Water struggles to flow through and consumes pressure that otherwise contributes to flushing power.

To check for a backup, fill the toilet bowl with water and flush. If the flushing power remains the same, then you have a partial backup. Try to remove the backup with a plunger. If that doesn’t help, then contact plumbing services.

Clean the Rim

The rim holes where the flushing water flows through may be blocked from mineral deposit buildup. For a quick way to create a strong flush, open the toilet lid and pour one to two cups of toilet bowl cleaner into the flush valve opening. Do not use the toilet for the next several hours. The cleaner will flow through the channels and dissolve the hardened deposits. Continue Reading →

How to Repair a Leaky Outdoor Faucet

faucet repair, leaky faucet, outdoor faucetMany homeowners notice a leaky outdoor faucet but take no action. Since it’s outside the home, they believe the ramifications are not important. Ignoring the issue, however, can result in hundreds of gallons of wasted water and a skyrocketing bill. Fortunately, the problem is fixable.

Locate the Leak

In most instances, the leak occurs at the stem. This is the part of the faucet where the handle is located. Water typically leaks from behind the handle. The stem wears out over the years as you constantly turn the handle on and off. In addition, hard water, quite prevalent in the Snohomish area, can stiffen the washer, leading to a leak.

If left untreated, the leaking water can puddle around the foundation, gradually leading to concrete damage. Continue Reading →

Why Is the Tap Water Cloudy?

cloudy tap waterDoes your faucet produce milk-colored water? It looks disgusting and unfit for general use. Is this a cause for alarm? Here’s important info regarding the reasons for cloudy tap water and what you can do about it.

Why Is the Tap Water Cloudy?

Cloudy tap water is technically known as turbid water. Turbidity is a term used to describe the degree to which water loses its natural transparency. Turbidity occurs due to a number of reasons, such as excessive minerals, air bubbles, and methane gas. Let’s examine these causes in more depth.

Air Bubbles

Cloudy tap water may be due to the dispersion of small air bubbles. This is common after some form of plumbing work. Air penetrates pipes during repairs, causing bubbles to form that create a cloudy appearance. Air bubbles are harmless, and the water clears up after a few seconds. If the problem persists, consider installing an air elimination valve. Continue Reading →

How to Clear a Garage Floor Drain

garage floor drain, garage drainThe garage floor can accumulate a lot of liquids, from flooded water to engine oil. This makes the garage floor drain an invaluable, albeit often overlooked, plumbing structure. Here are some helpful tips on how to clean and clear the drain of obstructions.

What Causes a Clogged Garage Floor Drain?

Garage floor drains can become clogged for the same reason as shower and sink drains. The source of the backup, though, may differ. Common sources include car oil and fluids.

One typical cause of backup is pipe crystallization. When liquids, such as soap water, urine, and grey water enter the drain, they leave behind solid sediment. The accumulation of solid debris over the course of years can eventually lead to a backup. This leads to puddling water, which can seep into cracks in the concrete and cause further damage. Continue Reading →

Bad Shower Habits that Harm Your Plumbing System

shower habits, bathroom plumbingA shower is quite refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. However, the way you bathe could adversely impact your shower’s drainage system. Let’s consider together some bad shower habits that could be detrimental to the bathroom’s plumbing.

Not Using a Shower Cap

Always use a shower cap unless you are washing your hair. Hair comes loose from the scalp during showering, and that hair goes down the drain. This gradually clogs the pipes, leading to a backup. Aside from wearing a shower cap, also use a drain cover.

Taking Long Hot Showers

A hot shower is akin to a relaxing spa. However, lengthy hot showers are bad for several reasons. For one, they cause wrinkly skin. Secondly, a hot shower leaves behind hot vapors that create an ideal breeding ground for mildew and mold. Limit hot showers to under 10-minutes. If you have a ceiling vent, be sure to turn it on while you shower; then leave it running for a few minutes after you finish. Also, stick to warm water rather than the hottest setting. Continue Reading →