Plumbing problems are unavoidable and unpredictable. Whether you’ve moved into a new home or refurbished your home, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with dripping faucets, leaking pipes, and clogged sinks. Calling your plumber to fix every clog and repair every leak may turn out to be expensive. So what do you do? You have to invest in a home plumbing tools kit. Here’s a couple of handy tools that we recommend highly.
1.) Adjustable pipe wrench – without a doubt, a plumber’s best friend and the most versatile plumbing tool in a DIY tool kit. This wrench has a fixed jaw and a movable serrated jaw. Very handy for opening nuts, compression fittings, and gripping pipes while plumbing. The 6-inch retails for $12 while the 10-inch costs $15-$20.
2.) Tongue-and-groove pliers – also known as water pump pliers or channel locks, tongue and groove pliers have a serrated jaw that’ll come in handy when turning, holding, twisting, or loosening bolts, nuts, and pipe fittings. The 10-inch pliers costs $10 while the 12-inch pliers about $20.
3.) Plungers: vital tools for dislodging clogs from sinks, showers, tubs, and floor drains. We recommend the cup plunger for unclogging your sinks and tubs and the flange plunger for toilets. Also consider the bellow plunger, it’s a good alternative. The cup costs roughly $4, the flange $10-15 while the bellow plunger retails for $8-12.
4.) Hacksaw – another handy tool for cutting through metal or plastic pipes, nuts, and hardware. Retails for roughly $15-$25. The cutting edge is replaceable. Before using it, make sure the blade is tight.
5.) Caulking gun: a nifty tool for applying caulk to seal the seams on the edge of your tub or sinks. Retails for $15-25.
6.) Metal file – to remove blurs, get a metal file. It’s a handy tool for smoothening the edges around the metal pipes after cutting them. We recommend that you get both the round metal file and the flat metal file. You can get either for roughly $8-$10.
7.) Hand Auger: commonly referred to as a plumber's snake, this 25-ft. steel cable comes in handy when clearing clogs or obstructions from the toilets, showers, sinks, and drain pipes when the plunger fails. The hand auger retails for roughly $20-$30.
8.) Tubing Cutter: this tool resembles the C-clamp. It comes in handy when cutting through copper cut. We recommend the standard-size tubing cutter which retails for $10-$15 and the close-quarter mini-cutter which costs roughly $15-$20.
9.) Basin Wrench: has a characteristic long shaft and swivelling jaw. Very useful for tightening nuts that hold the kitchen faucet in place. Invaluable too when working behind narrow space behind the sink. A standard basin wrench costs roughly $10-$20.
10.) Allen wrench set: the L-shaped tool comes with hexagonal heads off various sizes. It’s very useful for fixing stuck garbage disposals. A set of wrenches retails for $10-$15.
It's a great idea to have these tools on hand to help fix a minor problem in a jiffy. If you don't know how or don't feel comfortable using tools on the piping in your home never hesitate to call a professional. Without the proper knowledge and training, a simple fix can turn into an even stickier situation so always make sure you know what you're doing or have someone around who does. For first rate advice and professional plumbing services visit us at Plumbing Plus. We'll help you fix your plumbing problems promptly. With 24 hour emergency services, we're here when you need us the most!
In honor of Earth Day coming up this month, we thought it would be a perfect time to blog about water conservation, why it is so important and how we all can help. Conserving water is not only important, but will save money on the utility bill and will help stop pollution in local lakes and rivers. Another huge benefit from water conservation is the extended life your septic system. Using less water means there is less water/sewage flowing through the system, which can lessen the risk of pollution. If an entire community can maintain water conservation it can even prevent sewage system expansion in a community. Here are a few tips for adults and a few tips that kids can get excited about to conserve water.
1.Check for leaks
Leaking faucets, toilets or pipes will increase utility bills and can waste anywhere from 20 gallons of water to hundreds. A quick check a couple times per month can ultimately save you money and conserve water at the same time.
2.Check your water meter
The water meter for the house can show you when there is a leak as well. Check the meter and do not use water for a couple of hours. Then check the meter again and if is not the exactly the same there is a leak.
3.Upgrade to water-saving faucets and shower heads
Installing water-saving faucets and shower heads in your home will save water and save money. Most of the water-efficient add-ons are inexpensive and will pay for themselves within the first couple months.
How to get you kids involved?
One of the best ways to get your kids involved is to make learning about water conservation fun and interesting. Here are a few quick tips to help out.
1. Online water conservation resources geared toward kids of all ages and are a great way for them to learn while having fun. Here are a few great links for the kids.
2. Get your kids involved and have them help you check for leaks throughout the house. It can quickly turn into a fun and interesting time together.
3. One of the best water conservation experiences I remember as a kid was visiting the local dam. It was amazing and a great way to not only have a wonderful day with the kids, but teach them about water conservation at the same time.
For more information regarding water conservation or water saving faucets and shower heads contact our experts at Plumbing Plus today and start saving water tomorrow.
Water damage can be one of the most costly and inconvenient effects of plumbing problems. It can lead to mold, rust, rotting wood, and other structural decay issues. Some damage might not even be immediately perceptible or apparent, so it’s best to recognize the warning signs before it’s too late. Knowing the different types and classes of water damage will help you know what precautions to take and who to call if the damage gets bad enough.
Water damage type refers to the source of the water damage and what kind of health risk it poses to humans. This is important to know because it will tell you how urgent your situation is and how safe it is to be around it.
- Clean Water: The water source doesn’t pose a health risk to humans and usually involves broken water lines or sink and tub overflows.
- Grey Water: Poses a slight to moderate health risk to humans due to contaminants in the water that can range from urine to bacteria. Examples come from dishwasher and washing machine discharge or overflowed toilet bowls with urine.
- Black Water: Contains a high level of contaminants that pose a significant health risk to humans. Sewage, seawater, floods, standing water, and toilet backflows (originating from beyond the toilet trap) can all be considered as sources for black water damage.
The class of water damage refers to how fast the water can be evaporated based on the kinds of materials that were affected. This information will help you determine what kind of equipment and services will be needed to mend the situation.
- Slow Evaporation: Water damage affects only a small part of the room and a minimum amount of moisture is absorbed by the affected areas.
- Fast Evaporation: Water damage affects the entire room under a height of 24 inches.
- Fastest Evaporation: The source of the water damage has typically come from overhead and the entire room is being affected.
- Specialty Drying: The materials being affected by the water damage absorb very little moisture (hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster) and require low, specific humidity to complete the drying process.
While all of these situations require attention, some are more urgent than others and some are more preventable. Black water damage, for example, is a more urgent situation than clean water damage due to the risk posed to human health. Similarly, the fastest evaporation class is more urgent than a slow evaporation class due to the potential for infrastructure damage. However, water damage doesn’t always have to require emergency plumbing services. By having regular inspections and replacing old pipes and water systems, you can prevent water damage before it has the chance to turn into any type or class.
Regardless of your situation, Plumbing Plus provides both 24/7 emergency services and thorough preventative measures to make sure water damage doesn’t harm you or your home.
Chances are you’ve heard about home remedies and do-it-yourself tips to help maintain, fix, or even improve your plumbing. Whether you heard it from a neighbor, a relative, or a home improvement store attendant, their hearts were definitely in the right place. However, if they suggested one of these five common plumbing myths, their knowledge of plumbing was unfortunately in the wrong place.
Lemons clean your garbage disposal
One of the most common myths about plumbing is that putting lemons in your garbage disposal will clean it and help it smell good. While the latter might be true (at least momentarily), the truth is lemon juice will corrode the metal in your disposal and won’t do much to clean it. A better option is to power wash the gunk off and polish the blades by putting ice in your disposal.
Running water helps waste go down
This tip has some validity to it, but if you’re running water down the drain simultaneously with the waste that’s going down, it won’t help very much. It’s best to fill your sink with water to separate the waste and then let your sink drain.
Soap and water cleans fixtures
Although soap and water might be good for cleaning your hands, when it comes to faucets and fixtures, soap corrodes, peels, and bubbles their surfaces. It’s much better to be diligent about wiping off fixtures after each use.
In-tank cleaners are good for your toilet
Although these cleaners do bleach the gunk in and on your toilet, they don’t get rid of it. Unfortunately, the gunk builds up but you don’t see it because it’s white, and this can damage your toilet. Instead, try pouring vinegar down the overflow tube. Not only is it a cheaper option, but it also removes smelly build-up more effectively.
Drain cleaners are good for your drainpipes
Do you ever wonder how a drain cleaner dissolves the gunk that clogs your drains but somehow leaves your drainpipes intact? Well, it doesn’t. Drain cleaners are so corrosive that they can eat a hole right through your drainpipes if used regularly. In the case of a clogged drain, nothing beats an experienced plumber.
While there are things that you can do to keep your plumbing functioning properly, it’s best to be informed about which options work and which don’t. In the long run, it will save you a lot of money and a lot of time. And for those plumbing problems that don’t have an easy fix, you can always rely on Plumbing Plus to get you out of a sticky situation.
Plumbing Plus, a Poway California based plumbing company specializing in 24 hour residential and commercial Plumbing service and repair, has earned the service industry's coveted Angie's List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013.
The award means a great deal to Plumbing Plus, and is a direct reflection of their high standards for customer service. Angie's List is one of the most reputable review sites out there.
When asked what earning the award meant, Mike DeSilva owner of Plumbing Plus stated, "It is an honor that shows the quality experience and care that goes into serving our customers. And we are excited to be able to provide this level of service to the San Diego community for many years to come."
The Angie's List honor is just one of several earned by Plumbing Plus, which has provided plumbing for countless San Diegans since 1984. Plumbing Plus also enjoys an A+ rating (highest possible) from the Better Business Bureau.
"Only about 5 percent of the companies Plumbing Plus are eligible to earn our Super Service Award," said Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks. "It's a mark of consistently great customer service."
Angie's List Super Service Award 2013 winners must meet strict eligibility requirements, which include an "A" rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie's List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie's List operational guidelines.
Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie's List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.
Guide to Saving Water
Water saving is great way to not only save water, but will also save you a lot of money over time. There are numerous ways to save water that do not take much extra time or effort and will save you much more money than you put down on any upgrades that use less water.
Whether you want to begin using less water inside or outside of your home, there are many ways to do so. Water is a precious thing and even costs more than a soda nowadays.
Unfortunately, we use up more natural fresh water each year than the earth can produce resulting in recycling water and filtering it in water treatment plants and using it again. Water saving is good for your wallet, the environment and the earth itself.
At Plumbing Plus, we thought it would be a great idea to create a “water saving tip guide” to be shared and spread around. Please feel free to add to our list if you know any great water saving tips that we missed or contact us for more information.
Indoor Water Saving Tips
-Household Water Saving
When doing laundry, it is best and most efficient to wash full loads of clothes so that you do not overuse water with a small load. (If you are buying a new washer, try to purchase a water saving model)
If you are lucky enough to be building your new home, try to shorten up the distance between the showers, sinks and the water heater to avoid waiting for the water to heat up which results in a lot of wasted water. (If you are not building a new home, try your best to insulate your hot water pipes wherever it is possible)
-Bathroom Water Saving
Taking showers rather than baths are a great and easy way to save water. According to nationalgeographic.com, filling up a bathtub takes nearly 70 gallons of water!
If you have an older model toilet, you can save water by placing a brick or similar item in the tank to take up space and require less water per flush.
It is crucial to check on a regular basis for any leaks in your bathroom sink, toilet or shower and fix them right away when spotted. This can save you a lot of money as well.
-Kitchen Water Saving
When using the dishwasher, only turn it on for full loads. (If you are buying a new dishwasher, purchase a water saving one)
Most dishwashers are very efficient nowadays and do not require you to rinse the dishes before putting them in. This is also a great for water saving.
Check for leaks frequently and fix as soon as you can to avoid water and money loss.
As advanced as our plumbing systems are these days, we still manage to keep clogging our drains at home. Whether it’s kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, or toilets, something always manages to wedge itself into the pipes. The problem is actually more common than one might think, and it can happen over a long period of time, so it’s usually not just one culprit that is to blame.
Hair, food, and grease are the most obvious drain clogs, and everyone in the household contributes to their accumulation in your drains. Unfortunately, there’s not really much you can do to avoid these types of clogs except be somewhat vigilant about not letting too much solid material go down your drains (and always keep some drain cleaner nearby!).
The more difficult and unexpected suspects include cell phones, ponytail holders, jewelry, and children’s toys. These things can’t exactly be dissolved by drain cleaner, and they often require professional help to clear them out of your plumbing and prevent further blockage. For gentlemen, it is quite common for a cell phone to slip from a hand during a conversation and accidentally plop into the toilet. Of course, the easy solution to this problem is to either put the person on the other end on hold or to “hold it” (we recommend not using speakerphone).
For females, ponytail holders and jewelry are common items that accidentally make their way down both sink and toilet drains. You can imagine how easy it is for a ring to accidentally slip off while you’re washing your hands or for a ponytail holder to fly out as you’re fixing your hair. The same is true with children and small toys, which is another frequent, if sometimes mysterious, occurrence that might be a little more difficult to control. Regardless, the effect of these items on your plumbing system might not be readily apparent, but with time the build-up can cause problems, and the only way to get them out is to fish them out or snake them out.
That’s where we come in. At Plumbing Plus, we’ve seen it all, and we don’t judge. So whatever is clogging your drains and causing you plumbing trouble, we’ll get it out and get your pipes running like new.
Drop that Sponge, and Don't Scrub with these Bad Bathroom Cleaners
The old assumption that giving your home a nice thorough cleaning would make your home a healthy environment has come into question after Environmental Working Groups (EWG) published a list including the worst cleaners for your bathroom. The list is unfortunately extensive and even shocking as many of the household cleaners once thought to be “safe” are in reality the complete opposite. Many of the everyday use cleaners contain extremely harmful and even fatal chemicals that most users are unaware of. The bathroom is often the dirtiest and grimiest place in the house, even when you give it a fresh clean once a week. With that in mind, it is easy to understand how potent the chemicals have to be in order to truly cleanse the bathroom.
Amongst the dangerous chemical enhanced cleaners, many hailed from the bathroom and could cause serious health problems or even death if not used properly. Toilet bowl cleaners showed up more often than I would like on the list and some of them were from name brands most people have grown to depend on. The first bathroom cleaner on the list is Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner, and I was shocked to hear that it contains chemicals that are strong enough to require goggles, gloves and a mask to prevent serious and irreversible eye damage, skin irritation, allergies, asthma and if it seeps through your skin it can even harm your DNA. According to organicauthority.com, the label on this product calls it a “health hazard.” That fact alone should be more than enough to stay away from this product, especially if you have young children. There are numerous other toilet bowl cleaners named that can also be extremely harmful.
One of the most concentrated and popular all purpose cleaners on the list was Simple Green. The most ridiculous fact about Simple Green is that it is recommended to be significantly watered down before use, even if you are cleaning the worst possible place in your home, yet they sell it in a spray bottle misleading the consumer tremendously. Why would they sell it in a spray bottle if it needs to be diluted with water for even the toughest of spills? If it makes contact with skin and seeps through, Simple Green can cause damage to red blood cells and seriously irritate the skin. On top of that, some of the chemicals used in this product are illegal in Europe.
The best thing to do is always check the label for warnings and decide if you really want to use that product in your home. If your bathroom is beyond cleaning, do not hesitate to contact us at plumbingplus.com to remodel your bathroom exactly how you want it.
Worst Plumbing DIYs
Some of the worst plumbing DIY’s began as a “simple” fix that somehow went wrong and became a disaster with a waterfall flowing down your staircase.
With the internet and all of the informative articles or videos available, many will attempt to try something new regardless of their experience, even with plumbing. “If they can do it, I can do it” you may say, and may be right, but how much longer will it take? Do you have what you need to fix the problem? Tools, replacement parts etc.? How do you know which parts need to be replaced and which do not? A lot more goes into plumbing then other household DIY’s that most will not think about. For example, when taking something apart, it is easy to forget exactly how to put it back together properly. This will not only waste time, but if the sink is not put back together correctly, a professional will be needed anyways.
If you are not a professional plumber or do not have any experience with plumbing, I do not recommend attempting to fix or replace any leaking or busted pipes. This can quickly become a lot more dangerous and hazardous. If you are unsure of exactly where the leaking pipe is, it would be best to call a pro to prevent any extra damage while looking for it. Many home owners will try to dig up the yard and find the leaking pipe, only to accidentally hit the pipe elsewhere causing yet another leak or even worse, a burst. It can be much worse if your home has a very old plumbing system and will break without you even touching it. At that point you have a 50/50 chance it will be either clean water going into your home or filthy sewage coming out of your home all over you.
Another plumbing problem that should be done strictly by a professional is hot water systems and water gas heaters. These two involve systems that have the potential for explosion if not done properly and will cause serious damage to not only your home, but to you. Plumbers are required to go through extensive training in order to be licensed to handle these types of plumbing problems safely.
If you are planning on doing any repairs, always shut off the water first. This is commonly forgotten as people do not remember where their shut off valve is or they have it blocked with something or other and cannot get to it easily. The shut off valve is often found in the basement of homes and the main shut off valve is normally close to where the water enters the home. Knowing where these are is huge, and can save you a lot of money and time if a pipe blows above your living room. A little extra research on your homes plumbing system is always good and will at least give you an idea of your plumbing needs. It is also wise to start a project only if you have a complete set of tools so you do not have to stop in the middle of a project to go buy a tool.
Having plumbing problems or have questions concerning your home plumbing system? Feel free to visit us at PlumbingPlus.com and let our professional plumbers assist you with all of your plumbing needs.
DIY Dos and Do Nots
Did you ever wake from a sound sleep because of an annoying drip coming from the next room? You probably know that if you don’t fix a leaky faucet, you won’t get a good night’s sleep until you stop the drip. Even if you have the tools and expertise to fix a minor plumbing problem, you may be too busy to tackle the job until the weekend, and by then, you’re likely to be exhausted from lack of sleep
For those that have a bit of experience, and some tools laying handy, try these DIY Dos:
Any competent DIYer can try their hand (and luck) at replacing faucets and shower heads, installing toilets, and hooking up sinks and washing machines. And there are other jobs that require the expertise of a professional plumber.
Debating whether a DIY is right for you? Be sure to heed these DIY Do Nots:
A typical homeowner should never attempt to expand or modify a home's water-supply lines or hot-water heating system, which typically comprises copper pipe and fittings soldered together with a propane torch.
Plumbing Plus can take care of minor plumbing problems as well as major troubles quickly and efficiently and help get your life back to normal again. We also offer a unique help line, so whether you have a late night plumbing emergency, or an early morning DIY gone wrong, we are available 24/7 to offer a helping hand.
If you’re handy with tools and have plenty of time, you may want to replace a faucet, repair a small leak or unclog a drain without getting help from an expert. If you’re confident about your ability, you may save money by doing those jobs yourself. However, some people have found that DIY work can eventually cost more than the price of hiring an experienced plumber who has the proper tools and knowledge to do the job right.