Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips: Be Sure not to Overstress the Pipes this Holiday

thanksgiving plumbing tips, holiday plumbing, plumbing tipsThanksgiving is a day of delicious food, and lots of it. This also means more cooking, which entails heavy use of the sinks, dishwasher, garbage disposal, etc. This holiday, be sure not to overtax your pipes. We outline some Thanksgiving plumbing tips to follow which will keep the plumbing in good health.

1. Garbage Disposal ≠ Trashcan

The garbage disposal is not made of kryptonite; it has its limits in terms of what it can process. The disposal blades have a difficult time grinding up fibrous foods, such as lettuce, onions, and celery. Grease and coffee grinds are also a no-no. Also, avoid throwing rice in the disposal. Rice absorbs water and expands, which can cause a backup.

2. Be Careful of Grease

Most people know never to dump grease into the drain. However, we always have to remind homeowners. This is especially important since residential homes do not have grease traps. Soak up all grease and oils on a paper towel before washing dishes and pans. Continue Reading →

What Is the Odor in Your Tap Water?

tap water odor, tap water smellWhile many people don’t drink tap water from the faucet, the water is generally safe. However, at times, you may notice a strange odor in the water. Is this normal and should you be concerned?

Metallic Odor

You may notice a metallic smell in the H2O. This usually emanates from mineral deposits of iron, manganese, or zinc. These might be deposits that occur naturally in most water sources. They might also come from metal particulates from the pipes or water heater. In either scenario, this is no cause for serious alarm.

However, the metallic tap water smell could also be an indication of lead. Older pipes made before 1986 contain lead, which may leach into the water as the metal corrodes. This is a safety hazard and requires immediate attention from a plumber.

Musty Odor

A musty odor isn’t as serious a concern as most people think. City aquafers acquire water from a source that contains algae blooms. While a filter prevents the algae from reaching the water supply, the algae’s residual smell may still linger. Continue Reading →

Can You Clear a Drain with Soda Pop?

soda pop drain clear, drain uncloggingWhen you have a clogged sink or toilet, the first reaction is to head to the hardware store and pick up a drain cleaner. However, some homeowners also swear they use a can of soda pop to clear a drain. Is this a legitimate DIY plumbing remedy for unclogging a drain?

The Truth About Unclogging a Drain with Soda Pop

Believe it or not, this is actually a viable home remedy. How does a can of Coca Cola clear a backed-up sink drain? The power lies in the phosphoric acid, which gives the beverage the slightly tangy texture. The phosphoric acid, as suggested in its name, is quite acidic. This makes it effective as a dissolving agent. This is also why soda pop is hazardous for your teeth; the acidity erodes tooth enamel.

How to Apply This Remedy

Some people just pour in a typical 12-ounce can of soda pop to clear the drain. We suggest pouring an entire two-liter bottle. Once you empty the bottle, let the carbonated liquid sit for one to two hours before flushing the drain with water.

Keep in mind that not just any bottle of soda will work. Root beer, for example, does not contain phosphoric acid and will have no effect. We also suggest using diet soda. Regular soda may leave behind a sugar-syrupy film inside the pipe’s interior, which can cause debris to stick. Continue Reading →

Plumber or Handyman: What’s the Difference?

plumber or handymanWhen you have a leaky pipe, you call a plumbing service; that seems pretty straightforward. However, some homeowners phone a local handyman instead. So, should you choose a plumber or a handyman? What’s the difference, if any, between a plumber and handyman? Are they simply different terms to denote the same profession?

The Difference Between a Plumber and Handyman

The main difference is that a plumber is licensed. A practicing license is required in 46 of the 50 states. Washington is among the states requiring licensure. This is why we highly recommend a plumber for issues ranging from installing a sink to repairing a heater. A plumber has completed vocational training and an apprenticeship program.

What about a handyman? The term is a bit looser and usually describes a general contractor versed in various home repairs. Yes, this might include general plumbing issues, but it also involves other services, such as carpet installation, interior painting, etc.

There are no requirements for becoming a handyman. In Washington, however, a handyman who works as an independent contractor does need to register with the state. Continue Reading →

Summer Heater Maintenance: Why This Is the Best Season for Repairs

summer heater maintenanceThe heater is probably the last appliance on your mind during this time of year. This is precisely why you should address any potential issues. Summer heater maintenance will ensure you have a fully functioning furnace come the cooler seasons of autumn and winter.

Why Maintain the Heater in the Summer?

Even though you’re not using the heater, you’re probably using the AC on full blast. The AC and heater share the same ductwork. The two also share the same thermostat. If this unit is faulty, then it will affect both systems. This means a problem with one can affect the other. The heater and AC are interconnected, forming a single HVAC system.

Save Money

Labor prices fluctuate according to demand; the plumbing and heating industry is no exception. So, heating unit maintenance prices are lower during the summer. The same goes for the AC, where repairs are cheaper in the winter and higher in summer.

The same rule applies for purchasing a new appliance. If your furnace is beyond repair, then you want to purchase a replacement during summer. Most suppliers at this time provide pre-season prices. Cost of installation also tends to be lower. Continue Reading →

Why Flushing Disposable Wipes Down the Toilet is Dangerous?

flushing disposable wipesIf you can throw toilet paper into the toilet, why can’t you do the same for disposable wipes? What’s the harm? While convenient, flushing disposable wipes down the toilet is unwise, even if the wipes are labelled flushable.

What Does “Flushable” Mean?

Disposable wipes with the flushable label simply means the wipes are small enough to fit through the drain pipes. An accumulation of these wipes can still clog drains. As far as “disposable” goes, that means you discard them—in the trash—after a single use.

We can’t tell you the number of times our plumbers have cleared a toilet clog. Want to guess what the primary source of the clog was?

Other Problems with Flushing Disposable Wipes Down Toilet

Disposable wipes are also non-woven. This means the material consists of multiple natural and synthetic fiber types, such as cotton, rayon, and plastic resins. Some of these materials are non-biodegradable or they take an exceptionally long time to fully disintegrate. This contrasts with toilet paper, which manufacturers designed to disintegrate when the material comes into contact with water. Continue Reading →

How to Remove Toilet Bowl Rust Stains

toilet bowl rustThe toilet bowl is probably the most difficult place in the bathroom to keep clean. Rust stains in the toilet bowl are particularly annoying. Fortunately, removing rust is an easy process. You can restore the toilet bowl so it looks almost clean enough to eat out of it.

What Causes Rust Stains in the Toilet Bowl?

Rust stains often appear in a reddish-brown color. They arise due to the presence of iron in hard water. The rust may also appear on other fixtures, such as sinks, bath tubs, and heaters. The air combines with the iron, causing oxidization.

Removing the Rust

The key to rust removal is removing the iron. Many homeowners attempt to remove the rust by scrubbing the surface with bleach. While this seems like an easy DIY fix, the bleach actually causes a chemical reaction with the iron. This hastens the onset of more unsightly rust.

Multiple methods are available for removing rust the natural way. Start by opening all windows and turning on fans for ventilation. Proceed by concocting your own homemade rust remover. Feel free to use any of the following solutions:

  • Salt and lime. Let the solution sit on the rust for two to three hours and scrub with the lime rind.
  • Baking soda with white distilled vinegar. Scrub with aluminum foil or a tennis ball to avoid scratching.
  • Cut a potato in half and dip the cut-end into dish soap. Use the soaked potato to scrub away the rust.

Continue Reading →

Are You Guilty of These Bad Shower Habits?

bad shower habitsDo you follow certain rituals during your showers? Many homeowners engage in bad shower habits without even realizing it. Some of these habits are bad for your health, while others gradually wreak havoc on your plumbing. As plumbers, the latter especially worries us.

1. Long Hot Showers

Who doesn’t love hot showers? We love them, too, but the constant supply of hot water is a strain on your heater. Aside from premature furnace wear, too much hot water also causes wrinkly skin. We recommend sticking to mildly warm water and limiting showers to a maximum of 10 minutes.

2. Not Using a Shower Cap

You should don a shower cap if not washing your hair. Most people don’t realize that hair does fall from the scalp during showers. Even if you have a mesh covering over the drain, some of the hair can still slip through. A single strand here and there may not seem like a big deal. However, the accumulation over several years can eventually lead to a backup. Continue Reading →

How to Retrieve Jewelry from a Drain

retrieve jewelry from drainSome people have a habit of placing their wedding ring or other jewelry on the soap dish while conducting personal hygiene. A minor slip of a finger can cause that invaluable item to fall into the drain. Fear not; you can retrieve jewelry from the drain using simple household items. You do not need to employ any sophisticated MacGyver-like tactics.

Use a Coat Hanger

You may have seen people do this on TV. To the surprise of many, this method actually works to some extent. You may not be able to fetch smaller items like an earring, but you might be able to retrieve a necklace or larger piece of jewelry. Remove the drain catch and bend a metal hanger into an elongated rod with a hook on the end.

Suck It Out

You can also try a wet/dry shop vacuum. Place the hose into the drain if it can fit into the hole. Hopefully, it will have enough suction power to suck your jewelry up. Place a pantyhose over the hose so you don’t suck the jewelry into the vacuum bag. Continue Reading →

Pet Owner Plumbing Tips

pet owner plumbing tipsDo you have a canine or feline among the household? Unbeknownst to some homeowners, pets may affect the plumbing, and vice versa. We’ll outline a few pet owner plumbing tips and what you can do to prevent pet-induced plumbing issues.

Plumbing Tips to Keep in Mind if You’re a Pet Owner

Never Leave the Toilet Seat Up—Does your dog enjoy the occasional sip of water from the toilet bowl? This isn’t a major concern since the water itself isn’t particularly harmful. However, the water and bowl may contain residue from chemical cleaners that pose a health concern if ingested.

Never Flush Kitty Litter—Some cat litter brands are marketed as flushable. Even so, we don’t recommend flushing the contents down the toilet. Your cat may consume foods that are not fully digestible, such as bones. You don’t want this matter ending up in the toilet drain. Continue Reading →