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Benefits of an Under Sink Water Filtration System

August 16, 2014

At Plumbing Plus, we like to keep our customers in the know about new technologies, so we want to introduce the concept of under sink water filtration systems. There are many different types of water filtration options for homes. These options include filtration systems for kitchens, baths, and showers, faucet-mount filters, and refrigerator filters. But if you live in a larger household and need to filter large amounts of water for drinking and cooking, an under water filtration system could be an ideal option for you.

According to GE, most under sink filters use an activated carbon filter that reduces the bad taste associated with chlorine taste and odor. Some also have pre-filters that remove sediment, dirt, sand, silt, rust and limescale. More advanced filters may also remove other contaminants as small as 0.5 microns, including: lead, microbial cysts (cryptosporidium and giardia), algae, mercury, pesticides, herbicides and volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Before making any decisions on under sink filtrations systems, make sure you test your water so you can determine what types of contaminants need to be removed.

Having access to the clean refreshing taste of bottled water in your home is a wonderful luxury, but there are also other benefits to an under sink filtration system. An under sink filtration system reduces many pollutants and contaminates such as lead, mercury, chlorine, and chemicals. Having a filtration system filtering out contaminants is good for your health.

Not only is an under sink water filtration system beneficial to your health, but it is also a less costly option to reverse osmosis filtration, both in terms of water waste and financial expense. Another benefit to an under sink filtration system is that is it much more environmentally friendly than using bottled water. Think about how many bottles you can save by having your own clean fresh water on tap! And buying bottled water can also be very costly as well. Not to mention lugging it into your house every week!

Plumbing Plus is happy to answer all of your questions and help you find the perfect water filtration system that suits your needs. To receive a free estimate or more information about under sink water filtration systems, get in touch with us!

 

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Unclogging a Drain

July 15, 2014

At one time or another, we all have had problems with a clogged drain.  One day your shower is draining perfectly the next you are standing in a tub full of water.  Most clogs usually start off with a slow drain and if left untreated, eventually lead to nothing draining at all! A clogged drain can be more than a mere annoyance.  Whether it be your toilet, sink or shower, a clogged drain is disruptive.  Before calling a plumber, here are some “do it yourself” tips for unclogging your drain.

Kitchen Products:

One way to unclog a moderately clogged drain, while at the same time avoiding harmful chemical products, is to use ingredients from your own kitchen.  All you need is ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of vinegar.  Start by pouring the ½ cup of baking soda down the drain followed by the ½ cup of vinegar.  Let it set for about 3 hours and then run water. 

Boiling Water:

Another natural remedy and way to fix a moderately clogged drain is boiling water.  Bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Next, pour boiling water down the clogged drain ½ cup at a time until the water is gone.  Simple but usually effective. 

Wire Hanger:

If any of you remember the film Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford hated wire hangers.  However, for us, a wire hanger found in our home or closet can be a great tool to unclog a stubborn drain.  First, straighten the hanger as much as possible.  Second, bend one end of the hanger over to create a small hook.  Third, put the hanger in the drain and start pulling out hair, dirt and gunk.  In no time, the clog should be gone. 

Drain Snake:

If a wire hanger isn’t enough to remove the clog, a drain snake can be a cost effective way to remove a clogged drain.  Drain snakes can start around $15.00 and treat moderate clogs.  First, take the drain cover off.  Remove any excess hair or gunk at the surface before using the drain snake.  Once any excess gunk is removed, put the drain snake down the drain.  Start pulling out the gunk! The spiral metal will pick up gunk as you pull it out.

Clogs can create more than mere annoyances, however, we can attempt to get rid of moderate clogs by using some of the above easy methods.  With more severe clogs or with help removing a stubborn clog, always consult a professional.

For help with unclogging a drain or for any other plumbing problems/solutions visit Plumbing Plus.

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How to choose the right water heater

June 14, 2014

Every household has different needs, so it is important to know how to choose the right water heater to keep from getting overwhelmed with all of the options. There is a formula that will help point you in the right direction, and we will give you that formula to help you feel confidant when selecting the right water heater. Say you have a 4 bedroom house and you have 1 person in each room. To determine what kind of water heater you will buy, take the first hour rating (FHR), this measures the amount of hot water the heater will generate during the busiest time of the day, which is the first hour in the morning. Take the given amount, Plumbing Plus Water Heaterwhich is usually 12 gallons per person, and then look at the number of bedrooms and add 1. In this case we will use 5 (4 bedrooms + 1) and multiply by 12 (gallons per person). The product given is 60, which is the minimum FHR your home needs.

Say what?! Okay, to make things a little more simpler for those of you who hate math, start with the fuel source you have; solar energy, propane, natural gas fuel, oil, or electricity to find water heaters that will work. Now, we have all heard that size matters, and it could not be more true when it deciding on how to choose the right water heater. You don’t want something too big, because you are heating water that will never be used, and you will waste money this way. Likewise, you don’t want something too small because you will run out of hot water in the middle of your shower. The rule of thumb is that water heaters generally last about 10 years, and the reason most need to be replaced is due to corrosion on the heater itself. Look at the product reviews, the longevity of the warranty, and how expensive the warranty is. The longer the warranty usually points to a better product. A shorter warranty usually means you could have costly repairs in a shorter time.  Compare the cost of the water heater you want with a more expensive, and less expensive one and compare the costs with energy efficient models.

One last consideration to keep in mind is that there are also Hybrid water heaters, tankless water heaters and condensing water heaters on the market. While these all sound like great products, they aren’t always a practical solution for your HOT water needs. You will need to consider upfront costs, plumbing upgrades and what your main desire of the heater will be…we know you want the heater to make hot water, but what other benefits could you gain? Energy cost savings? Space savings? Endless hot water for a large family? These are all factors that will ultimately decide if your 10-20 year investment will pay back in any way or just consume energy to produce hot water. Don’t just replace what you’ve got with what you’ve got. Take the time to decide before your water heater leaks and you don’t have the time to make this decision. To minimize the confusion and feeling overwhelmed, please let our experts at Plumbing Plus help you decide.

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Plumbing Tools you Should Have at Home

May 19, 2014

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.

Leaky Pipes

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.

Straight Pipe Wrench

Bottom line:

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! 

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Celebrating Earth Day with Water Conservation

April 13, 2014

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.

Water Conservation

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.

-http://www.epa.gov/watersense/kids/games.html

-http://www.thewaterfamily.co.uk/index2_content.html

-http://www.watereducation.org/doc.asp?id=1022

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.

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Avoiding Harmful Water Damage

March 20, 2014

Water DamageWater 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. 


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. 

 

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5 Common Plumbing Myths

February 22, 2014

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.

 

5 Common Plumbing Myths

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.

 

5 Common Plumbing Myths

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.

 

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Plumbing Plus Wins Angie’s List Super Service Award!

January 21, 2014

13ANG0007_SuperServiceLogo_Final_LessGradient-2200pxPlumbing 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.

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Water Saving Tip Guide

December 5, 2013

 

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.

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Clearing Common Clogs

November 27, 2013

Common Clogs 


clearing-a-clogged-toilet-with-a-snakeAs 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.

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