How to Protect Your Pipes from California’s Aggressive Water

California’s Aggressive Water: How to Protect Your Pipes

If you reside in the Golden State, you may have become aware that some of your neighbors have been experiencing issues with leaky pipes. You may be wondering if it is time to contact leak-detection plumbers in Orange County to inspect your own pipes to see if a similar problem is developing in your home. Even if you have been free of slab leaks or other issues thus far, it’s important to understand why leak problems are on the rise in California, how to keep your home leak free, and when to seek the services of a plumber in Laguna Niguel.

water filtration

Water-Treatment Chemicals Can Destroy Pipes

Those residing in Southern California receive water from a variety of sources, including area reservoirs, recycled clean water, local groundwater, and the Los Angeles Basin. Fortunately, Orange County has some of the world’s most efficient water-treatment facilities. However, as with any water-treatment plant, chemicals must be used. Most are non-hazardous to humans, but some are definitely capable of wreaking havoc on your pipes. Chloramines are a major culprit with regard to this issue, even though such chemicals are safer than chlorine when it comes to sanitizing your water.

Benefits of Chloramine

Chloramine is simply a combination of chlorine and ammonia. This formula has been used for more than 100 years to protect your drinking water from harmful by-products, viruses, and bacteria. Unlike most disinfectants, chloramine remains in the water longer because it mixes well and is associated with greater stability. This is why it is a more efficient water sanitizer than straight chlorine and similar disinfectants.

Chloramine also minimizes the buildup of biofilm inside your drinking-water pipes. Biofilm is a somewhat slimy substance, which is a by-product of coliform bacteria. Additionally, because chloramine is used with other safe sanitizing agents, disinfectant residuals in water-distribution systems can be maximized.

In order to identify known carcinogens in California’s public water supply, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act was signed into law in 1986. Thankfully, chloramine is not on the list as one of these carcinogens. Officials from numerous counties have stated that there are no documented cases of chloramine increasing a person’s cancer risk.

How Chloramine Affects Your Pipes

Even though chloramine is one of the safest water-treatment chemicals, it can damage cast-iron and copper pipes in certain environments. Such chemicals appear to erode pipes at a faster-than-normal rate. This has led some customers to purchase water purifiers to try to increase the longevity of their plumbing systems and avoid leaky pipes for as long as possible. However, both slab leaks and pinhole leaks are becoming increasingly common, particularly in Southern California.

How to Protect Your Pipes

Although the aforementioned disinfectants can certainly not be discontinued, as clean drinking water is important, there are things that can be done to decrease their impact on the pipes in your home.

For example, you could contact a plumber in Laguna Niguel to inquire about investing in a whole home-water-filtration system. You may also want to discuss the possibility of re-piping your home with products made from plastic AquaPEX or other modern materials designed to hold up better under chloramine. Having routine plumbing inspections and availing yourself of free leak-detection services are also great ways to head off problems in advance and prevent minor repairs from becoming major ones. If you have concerns about your pipes or are overdue for an inspection, contact one of our leak-detection plumbers in Orange County for a full evaluation.


Top Three Ways to Prevent Leaking Pipes

Virtually all property owners cringe at the thought of pipes leaking in their home and the damage or expensive repairs that may follow. For this reason, it is always wise to get in touch with leak- detection plumbers in Orange County if you think you have leaky pipes or suspect a problem might be under way. In addition, understanding what causes leaks can go a long way toward their prevention. Below are some tips on leak detection and how such plumbing issues can be avoided:

Stopping Leaks Before They Start

Preventing leaks is the best way to make sure you never have unnecessary plumbing bills. Fortunately, it is not difficult to take proper care of your pipes. Begin with regularly-scheduled leak inspections to avoid problems. Many plumbing companies offer leak inspections. If you have them inspect your home on a regular basis, you can catch leaky pipes in the making and entirely avoid problems. Besides preventative inspections, the following are the best three ways to avoid leaks.

Avoid the Use of Chemical Drain Cleaners

Any leak-detection plumber will tell you that using chemical drainers is one of the worst things you can do to remedy clogs. This is because, unfortunately, such formulas cannot tell the difference between the substances that are causing the clog and the pipe itself. Therefore, using cleaners of this kind on a regular basis leads to pipe damage. The chemicals in these formulas essentially eat the pipe away over time, which ultimately results in leaks and an unavoidable repair bill.

Do Not Treat Drains Like Garbage Cans

Always avoid treating your drains like trash cans. If you allow things to go down the drain that should not, clogs will frequently occur. Such blockages place unnecessary pressure on your pipes. This eventually damages them and leads to expensive repairs. For this reason, it is best to refrain from allowing grease, food particles, or any other clog-creating substance to go down your drains.

Always Hire a Licensed Plumber for Repairs

Your leak may simply be due to a loose fitting. If this is the case, you can stop the leak immediately by grasping the loose fitting with a plumber’s wrench and tightening it to an appropriate setting. For situations such as hairline cracks, fractures, serious clogs, or burst pipes, a professional should be called. Never attempt to complete complicated plumbing projects without the help of a licensed plumber, as such action typically leads to costlier repairs in the future.

Leak detection plumbers in Orange County can locate and repair existing leaks, and we will even search for signs of other problems to ensure that additional issues do not develop in the future. Ultimately, a plumbing inspection almost always saves you a substantial amount of time and money and is one of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your home.

snaking vs hydro jetting

If you have ever spoken to a professional plumber, you know that cleaning your sewer line’s main drain is an important task that must be completed on a regular basis. This is because it prevents

Clogged Sewer Line

Sewer Line Clogged with Roots

sewer backups and gives you a good idea about the condition of the sewer line. Sometimes you may even discover that tree roots must be removed from the line. Regardless of how mild or serious a clog is, however, there are essentially two primary ways to clean the sewage line: snaking and hydro jetting. Plumbers in Laguna Niguel offer both methods and understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the appropriate technique for your sewer main line. A plumber can further assist you to make this decision.

The Snaking Technique

As mentioned above, snaking a sewer is one way to dislodge clogs at the stoppage point. In numerous instances, this service eliminates whatever problem you’ve been having. Snaking is completed with an auger, which is a long, steel cable with a coil at one end that resembles a cork-screw. When the auger is pushed through a clogged sewer line, the coiled end can cut or pierces the blockages it encounters and frees a clear path through the line.

Snaking is a tried-and-true technique for clearing sewer drain clogs. Overall, it is a gentle process and does not damage old or fragile pipes. However, it is important to understand that a snake merely dislodges the clog. It does not treat the underlying cause of the blockage. For example, if your waste-lines are clogged with scale or grease, a sewer snake cannot completely fix the issue.

Hydro Jetting and Camera Inspection

Jetting is a way to clean the line as well as prevent future plumbing issues. Keep in mind that it is first necessary to complete a camera inspection to best determine if you should run a jetting system through your waste lines. If the camera inspection shows a build-up of scale or grease, or if roots are present, the plumber will likely recommend jetting.

A very strong stream of water is used for hydro jetting, typically between 3,000 and 8,000 PSI. This stream of water is forceful enough to clear any obstructions, including hair, grease, and tree roots. This technique is very effective, and it is versatile enough to use in domestic or commercial sewer lines.

Choosing a Method

Basic clogs can be removed with snaking and jetting, and each will ultimately improve drainage speeds. Plumbers in Orange County will tell you that hydro jetting is the more powerful of the two

snake vs hydro jet

snake vs hydro jet

techniques, as it not only eliminates blockages, but reduces the natural buildup of minerals and grease as well. However, your problem may be mild, and jetting may not be necessary. It is recommended you get a free camera inspection from a license plumber when making this decision. Whether your sewer is draining slowly or is completely blocked, contact one of our professional plumbers for all your sewer cleaning needs and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing the task is in the hands of an expert.



Costs of Water Damage

Financial Impact of Water Damage

Water damage has a surprising impact on a variety of areas in your home. Plumbers in Laguna Niguel can verify that water damagethis impact also carries a hefty price tag in many cases. For instance, the water that accumulates from a small leaking pipe can damage the subfloor of a room, as well as its drywall. It may even lead to the need for professional mold remediation. Similarly, a failing dishwasher not only means the appliance itself must be replaced – it may also result in additional damage to your kitchen. Leak detection plumbers in Orange County can tell you that none of these repairs are cheap. This may leave you wondering exactly what the average repair costs are, and the best way to prevent such damage in the first place. Below are some ballpark figures regarding how much you can expect to spend on water damage repairs:

Average Cost of Water Damage

Generally speaking, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1100-$4400 to clean up water damage and make repairs. However, another way to estimate your total bill is to measure the number of square feet that were affected by the water and the subsequent damage it caused. You must also factor in the overall severity of the damage. For example, if you catch the problem early, when the leak or other issue is relatively small, you can expect a lower bill than if a major leak caused damage to the subflooring, insulation and walls.

Estimating Cost Based on Water Source

Cleanup costs also factor in significantly to your final water damage bill. Just as there are different types of damage associated with water, there are also different types of water itself. When leaks occur, the water can usually be placed in one of three categories: clean water, gray water, or black water.

As its name implies, clean water refers to water that is relatively uncontaminated. For example, in most cases, the water that goes to faucets, water heaters, dishwashers or washing machines does not usually pose a threat to the inhabitants of the home. If the water damage is the result of this kind of water and is treated in a timely fashion, the cost associated for the repairs is typically around $3.75 per square foot. Property that has been damaged by clean water can be saved in most cases. Gray water is usually that which flows away from a sink, washing machine, dishwasher or similar source and is therefore contaminated with synthetic or organic substances. The cleanup cost associated with damage from gray water is approximately $4.50 per square foot. Sometimes it is impossible to save personal property that has been damaged by this type of water. Not surprisingly, black water is responsible for the most expensive cleanup bills, averaging about $7.00 per square foot. Black water is usually extremely unsanitary and comes from toilets, contaminated groundwater, or similar sources. It is virtually guaranteed to cause sickness or discomfort, as it almost always contains harmful bacteria or fungi. It is not typically possible to save personal property damaged by black water.

Factoring in Mold Remediation

Another consideration to which thought must be given is the price tag associated with mold remediation. Water DamageMold begins to proliferate within 24 to 48 hours in moist areas. The cost of mold removal usually falls between $2,200 and $6,000, if a significant area is affected. Mold can lead to serious health problems, and extensive repairs might be necessary if water is not quickly removed. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be wise to ask your insurance company about your various options if mold remediation is necessary.

Best Ways to Prevent Water Damage

Instead of waiting until water damage has taken place, addressing potential problems in advance is your best course of action. Whether you have concerns about a moist basement, leaking pipes, or failing appliances, it is always better to contact a licensed plumber for an evaluation, rather than taking your chances. Not surprisingly, the cost associated with preventative measures is much lower than the price of repairs.

Invest in Smart Water Sensors for Immediate Notification of a Problem

With advancements in technology, you can now be notified at once if a leak is detected. Today’s smart water sensors offer an alert by phone if such an incident is underway. This allows you to respond more quickly than you would have been able to in the past, which lowers your repair bills in most cases. For example, if a pipe bursts in the basement while you’re at work, it would normally be hours until you discover the problem. With a smart water sensor, you receive an alert instantly, thus significantly lessening the water damage in most instances. Battery operated water sensors of this kind cost anywhere from $20-$100.

Consider an Automatic Sump Pump if You Live in a Flood Zone

If you live near a river or beach, or if your home is located in or near a flood zone or below sea level, an automatic sump pump is a terrific option. Many of today’s models are designed to turn on automatically when they detect water. Naturally, installation is sometimes a complicated process, and because the pump requires electricity, you should have a generator or backup power source if your electricity goes out. The average cost of having such a device installed is approximately $1000, and should always be done by a licensed contractor or plumber in Orange County.

The Importance of Maintaining Exterior Drainage Systems

Potential damage from rain, a high-water table, or other environmental sources of water damage can be reduced byfrench drain simple strategies. For instance, keeping downspouts and gutters clean and free of debris can help direct rainwater away from the home’s foundation. If you have serious environmental concerns regarding flooding, consider landscaping your property differently or grading it to keep the water away. It may also be possible to prevent water damage through the installation of a French drain that redirects water in the opposite direction of the house via gravity. There is a broad range of costs associated with these measures, from $100-$5,000.

Finally, never try to tackle serious repairs as do-it-yourself projects, as this usually leads to unsatisfactory results. Always contact professional plumbers in Laguna Niguel if you are concerned about leaks or need an estimate on water damage repair.

Meta-Description: Water damage can lead to substantial repair bills. Here are some average costs associated with such repairs and the best ways to prevent them from becoming necessary.

Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Projects

Even though the plumbing system in your home may look simple, it is quite complex. Therefore, it is important to know which repairs make good do-it-yourself projects and which are better placed in the hands of a professional plumber in Orange County. Below are some quick fixes you can undertake to prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, and tips about when it is best to contact a plumber.

Showerhead Replacement

It is relatively easy to remove and replace a showerhead that is no longer functioning properly. All you need to do is simply unscrew your current showerhead and carefully replace it with the new one. A pair of tongue-and-groove pliers may be necessary if the old showerhead is difficult to unscrew. If it is excessively hard to remove, you should contact a professional.

Caulking a Sink or Bathtub

If the seals in your kitchen or bathroom are deteriorating or have become cracked, this could lead to water damage, leaks, or other plumbing issues. The easiest way to resolve this problem is to re-caulk the trouble areas. Begin by removing the caulk in the sink or bathtub with a razor blade or putty knife. Make sure you do this job thoroughly, as using new caulk over old does not yield a successful outcome. Once the old caulk is removed, create a clean work surface by vacuuming up any debris.

Next, apply an unbroken line of caulk with a caulk gun. Always smooth your lines as you go so they stay neat and professional looking. Keep in mind that caulk dries very rapidly, so try to work as quickly as you can without getting sloppy. Remember that you can always start over if you find it necessary. Call a plumber if you discover any plumbing issues or leaks after re-caulking. Leaking pipes should only be addressed by a professional.

Fix a Running Toilet 

A running toilet is an irritating plumbing issue, and, over time, it leads to significant amounts of wasted water. Virtually everyone knows about jiggling the handle, but this is usually only a temporary Toilet Flapperfix. A toilet that does not stop running typically has a broken floater valve or flapper valve, both of which can be replaced without much difficulty. First, turn off the water to the toilet, and replace the broken part by following the instructions on the package. You can purchase the new part at most hardware stores. If you have the opposite problem, and flushing is the issue, the toilet may be blocked or clogged. Try simple fixes like a snake or plunger, but if they have no effect, call a plumber to determine the underlying source of the problem.

Repair a Leaking Faucet

A leak at the faucet’s base or a drip from its spout are the two most common faucet problems. These repairs can be simple or challenging, which largely depends on the kind of faucet on which you are working. For instance, rotary-ball faucets are in general use, and your local home-improvement store will probably have the parts you need. However, ceramic-disk faucets and cartridge-style faucets are not as common, so it can be difficult to locate parts for these types.

Always turn off the water supply before replacing parts to fix a leak. The shut-off is usually located in the basement or near the sink. If you can’t find it, or if you are not comfortable completing this task, contact a plumbing expert for help.

Installing a New Faucet in Your Bathroom

Regardless of whether you’re simply looking for a new faucet for aesthetic reasons or your bathroom faucet is showing signs of serious problems, you can probably take on this job yourself. Simply turn off the sink’s water supply and take out the old faucet. Remember to take a picture of the connection points, or make note of them in your mind so that you can purchase a new faucet that is similar. Once you’ve bought it, simply follow the instructions on the package to successfully complete the job.  plumber installing a bathroom sink faucet

Unclogging Drains

Fortunately, you do not have to call a plumber for every clog you encounter, as plunging or snaking the drain may be all that is required. However, it’s important to understand that drain cleaning solvents can damage your pipes; refrain from using them. If plunging or snaking does not work, make sure you contact a professional plumber to diagnose the problem and come up with the best solution. You should also take a few simple precautions to avoid future clogs. For example, use a hair catcher in the shower, and avoid putting grease or fat down your kitchen sink. In addition, make sure you know what your garbage disposal is capable of handling and which items you should never put down the drain.

Dealing with Water Pressure Issues

If you notice decreased water pressure in your shower, it is likely the result of hard-water mineral buildup. An easy way to see if this is the case is to check the shower head for lime deposits. If a visible buildup is discovered, remove the showerhead and spray plate. This may require the use of a screwdriver. Once those parts are taken off, clean them with a descaling solution. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on any product you use for this task. Once they are cleaned off, replace them and see if this solves the problem. If you have frequent water pressure issues, however, contact a plumber in Orange County for an evaluation.

Washing Machine Hose Replacement

You should inspect and replace your washing machine hose approximately every five years to make sure that massive leaks are prevented. Begin by shutting off the water supply to the washer as well as unplugging it from its electrical source. After this, simply take off the old hose, and connect the new one to the valves and washer. Turn the water supply and the power back on to inspect your work and ensure that there are no leaks or drips.

Finally, before you take on any repairs as do-it-yourself projects, make sure you are familiar with your home’s plumbing system. If you are unsure of anything, err on the side of caution and contact one of our plumbers in Orange County who can diagnose the problem and offer the best possible solution.


Is Trenchless Pipe Liner Right for your House

Is Trenchless Technology right for you?

Trenchless Pipe Liner

Pipe damage and pipe failure are extremely difficult situations to deal with if you are not a professional plumber in Orange County. This is because there is no easy way to remedy such problems. Nevertheless, due to current advancements, you now have the option of trenchless technology, which may be financially beneficial.

Understanding Trenchless Technology

Although some may still regard it as the new kid on the block, trenchless technology has been around for quite some time, and is enjoying increasing popularity among homeowners and business owners. This is because this option allows you to avoid digging and the subsequent need for landscape repair that typically follows.

The costliest components of conventional dig-and-replace pipe repair are not the tools or materials used, but the displacement of earth, labor, and the significant number of hours spent restoring the bad pipes. Traditional pipe repair is usually 25-30 percent costlier than trenchless alternatives. With trenchless technology, technicians use liquid epoxy-resin solutions to cure new pipe sections in place within the damaged line. This is done through tiny entry points or even pre-existing points of entry and no digging is needed.

Trenchless vs. Traditional and Cost Differentials

The skills and equipment necessary for trenchless pipe repair may cost more than traditional repairs at the lower end of the price range, but this typically balances out when you reach the higher end: on average, trenchless pipe repair generally runs about $6,000-$12,000, while dig-and-replace repairs usually fall somewhere between $4,000-$16,000, with the higher end of the range accounting for manual digging. However, a lot also depends on whether or not driveways, sidewalks or utilities lie above the broken pipes. Additional labor, landscaping, and road closure also substantially contribute to the final cost of the job.

Choosing the Best Option

For shallow pipes with no obstructions or utilities nearby, manually digging through and replacing the pipes is typically more affordable than relining them internally via trenchless methods. On the other hand, if the pipes that were damaged are located underneath the sidewalk, beneath large trees, or under your driveway, dig-free pipe lining may put as much as $10,000 in repair costs back in your pocket.

Because the bill for the entire repair depends on multiple factors, the most important initial step is to find a qualified expert who can inspect your pipes and explain in detail what a trenchless pipe repair entails, as well as how the price compares to that of conventional pipe repair.

Following a nonintrusive video camera inspection by a plumber in Laguna Niguel, the most cost-effective repair option for your home can be identified. For this reason, a video inspection can potentially save you a significant amount of money in unnecessary landscaping costs. 

If you suspect you have a piping problem or need to repair sewer lines or pipes at your home or business, contact one of our qualified plumbers in Orange County to help you solve the problems, as well as prevent future issues.

Worst Emergency Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems are as unavoidable as taxes, but you can reduce the odds. It’s not difficult to avoid major, expensive problems if you know what to look for and get professional help to nip them in the bud. This is where Murphy & Sons Plumbing, the emergency plumbers in Orange County, will help. Below are listed the top nine plumbing problems people often encounter:

1. Broken Water Lines

By far the worst pluming emergency is a burst pipe. Water everywhere and a panic to find the emergency shut of valve. Meanwhile, water is ruining your floors, your furniture, and maybe more. If you’re lucky enough to have this happen when your home, the damage should be minimal, if your not home when it happens, you’ve got problems, and will need to have a company with blowers and dehumidifiers do the dry out in order to avoid mold setting in.

2. Slab Leaks

You hear water running but everything is off. Nobody is taking a shower, no toilets filling, and no sprinklers on yet you still hear the water running. Or maybe you see a wet spot in the side or back yard, perhaps a wee bit of water is always flowing into your gutter. Or worse, you suddenly find a large wet spot on your floor! If this happens, you probably have a slab leak, as so many homes in Orange County have pipes running through the slab of the house. Luckily, plumbers can do a simple reroute of your pipes, and go through the ceiling or walls, avoiding an actual repair to the slab itself.

3. Clogged Sinks

Your sinks and drains work constantly— doing dishes, brushing teeth and washing hands to name a few. Sinks clog from food, soap scum, and dirt down that go right down the drain. First you notice the water slowing down but may not do anything until the sink overflows. You can’t ignore this anymore! And when the plunger or liquid plumber don’t work, it suddenly becomes an emergency plumbing problem!

4. Blocked Drains in Bathtubs/Showers

A strange gurgling sound comes from the drain of a blocked bathtub or shower. A buildup of hair and soap scum are invariably the culprits. If you’re lucky, one of those plastic hair clog removers will remove what is clogging your tub or shower, if that doesn’t help, try a few pots of boiling water. If it’s still clogged, give us a call anytime.

5. Clogged Toilets

A blocked toilet will make weird noises, leak, flush improperly, and get clogged. And a blocked toilet is an emergency. Many people try chemicals, snakes, plungers, even coat hangers. Don’t. DIY solutions often cause structural damage to the toilet; the result is raw sewage backing up—a health hazard! A clogged toilet and blocked sewage line? Time to call us for professional assistance.

6. Leaking Pipes

You just noticed a wet spot on your wall, ceiling, or floor. Or maybe you hear a drip drip late at night. Leaky pipes can cause the most damage, as they often go unnoticed for a long time. Whether it be wood damage like dry rot to mold and mildew, slow water damage over time is one of the most expensive problems around. Although your insurance company may not pay to repair the pipes, they may pay for damage and repairs to your property. If this is the case, be sure to use an emergency plumber who does insurance work, as you can often recover thousands of dollars in costly repairs.

7. Burst Water Heater

You can’t do without hot water for showers, laundry, and dishes. Check your water heater now and then. If you see water flowing from the tank, a big problem may be brewing. A leak means paying for water you’re wasting, and, even worse, water that can damage your house and furniture. Leaks can be caused by bad heater valves or corrosion from rust. You may need overflow repair or a new thermostat. Or if the old heater is toast, it can be replaced with a tankless unit. Call one of our plumbing professionals to find the cause of the problem and discuss the best solution with you.

8  Main Line Stoppage

Various things can cause a main sewer line stoppage, most often tree roots. Large soggy areas in the yard result from broken water lines; poor water quality and insufficient water pressure are other results. Broken
water lines also bring with them bad smells and unpleasant mud, and these are health issues. Call us if you suspect a broken line, we offer free camera inspection and free leak detection.

9. Broken Sewer Line

You may not realize that your sewer line is cracked, but if you do, your nose might be the first one to notice. If you aren’t sure, find a plumber in Orange County who offers free leak detection. We are happy to come and help you solve the problem and get things flowing again.

10. Water Pressure is too high

You may not think this to be an emergency, but when too much pressure persists over a long time, eventually a pipe is going to burst. Might be the refrigerator or washing machine, or most likely one of the pipes in the wall. For this reason, many houses have a water pressure regulator installed somewhere near where the water line first goes to your house. This will keep the pressure from getting to high and damaging your water pipes or appliances. Be sure that yours is functional and your pressure isn’t to high.

Plumbing problems perplex? Murphy & Sons Plumbing to the rescue! We are one of few emergency plumbers in Orange County available 24/7. We can fix any plumbing problem and give you peace of mind.

Call us anytime at 800-545-1792.



Tips to Increase the Life of Your Home’s Plumbing System

Virtually all homeowners face plumbing problems at some point. This is because all piping systems and fixtures eventually wear out and require replacement. Fortunately, there are things Female Plumberhomeowners can do to increase the longevity of these items. Below are some excellent tips from our licensed plumbers on how you can increase the efficiency and lifespan of the plumbing system in your home:

Always Handle Grease Properly

Never put grease, whether hot or cold, down the kitchen sink. No one can avoid tiny food particles or minuscule amounts of grease going down the drain occasionally. However, if you refrain from pouring considerable amounts of greasy substances down the sink, you significantly reduce your chances of ending up with blocked pipes. One great preventive measure you can take is to flush some dish detergent and the hottest water available down the drain of your sink for approximately two minutes once a week. This is a quick and cost-effective way to flush away grease before it has a chance to build up.

Keep an Eye on Youngsters

Many children, especially those who are very young, go through a phase when they become fascinated with water and may decide to flush toys, clothing, or wads of paper towels down the toilet. If you have youngsters in your home who are going through such a phase, a toilet seat lock is an inexpensive device that can prevent substantial problems if they flush the wrong things down the toilet.

Inspect Your Washing Machine

If you are like most homeowners, you probably make an effort to always run balanced loads in your washing machine. One of the reasons for this is that unbalanced loads result in strong vibrations during the spin and rinse cycles. Over time, this movement loosens plumbing connections, ultimately leading to damaged fixtures and pipes. Costly repairs are typically the result of this problem. Make sure loads are balanced and avoid overstuffing your washer to eliminate these issues.

Detect Toilet Leaks Early

The best way to discover a leak in your toilet before it becomes a major problem is to keep an ear out for strange sounds. Hissing or lisping sounds that occur for more than half a minute or so may be a sign that a leak has begun. You can check this easily by placing an inexpensive dye tablet in the tank. If the toilet bowl water turns the color of the dye, water is being wasted, and the toilet is in need of repair.

Locate Valves

Knowing where your plumbing valves are situated in your home is essential. In particular, it is important to find the main water valve shutoff. This is because being able to turn off the water to your entire home may be crucial if you are faced with a situation that could cause flooding. Even one inch of standing water can result in structural damage to your home. The main water shutoff valve is typically not found in the house, however. Instead, it is usually located on the periphery of your property. A qualified plumber can help you find this valve if you are having trouble locating it on your own. Additionally, you should find the valves for individual appliances such as your toilet, sink, and washing machine. Regardless of which valve it is, turning it clockwise stops the running water.

Knowing When to Call a Professional

While it is true that minor issues can often be fixed without the help of a professional, major repairs do not make good do-it-yourself projects. Rather, get in touch with one of our qualified plumbers who can complete the work in a professional, timely, and cost-effective manner.

How To Locate Your Homes Water Shut Off Valve

Like most homeowners, you may eventually need to shut off the water supply to your dwelling. There are several reasons why this action may become necessary.  For example, you may be leaving for an extended period and want to make sure everything is turned off before you go. You may also be remodeling the kitchen or bathroom and need to stop the water supply until the project is complete. Unfortunately, there is another reason you may need to take this action, and that is a plumbing emergency. The latter is often a particularly stressful situation. For this reason, you do not need the added anxiety of not knowing the location of the shut-off valve. This is why our plumbers in Orange County recommend locating this device and making note of where it is for future use.

Many people are under the impression that shut-off valves are always installed in the same place, but this is not true. Because there is no universal location for such valves, do not assume it is in the same area as it was in your last home, as you may be in the middle of an emergency when you find out this is not the case. Ultimately, the location of the water shut-off valve depends on a variety of factors, such as the source of your water, the structure of your home, and the home’s geographical location or which city you live in.

Locations of Different Shut-off Valves

There are several types of shut-off valves in your dwelling. For example, there are valves to specific areas, such as your water heater, dishwasher or toilet. This type of shut-off valve is typically a knob that is situated behind or under the appliance and turning it to the right will stop the water from flowing to that area. However, only one valve shuts off the water supply to the entire house.

Water Shut Off Meter

Water Shut Off Meter

City Water Shut-Off Valve

If your water comes from a municipal source, the home’s main water line probably goes from the street directly to the foundation. In most cases, it is located between the street and the house, somewhere in the front yard closer to the street or sidewalk.  Look for a large metal water meter cover. This kind of valve is quite large, and usually has an on/off valve located close to its base before any other pipes branch off. Locating it is sometimes difficult, however, as it may be covered with dirt, grass, or shrubs, particularly if it was rarely used. One of our professional plumbers can easily locate this valve for you if necessary.

Water Shut Off Valve

Well Water Shut-Off

If your home’s source of water is from a well, look for two shut-off valves. The first is usually found between the pressure tank and the well itself or may even be located underground in a small utility box. The other valve you should look for is located between the pressure tank and your pipes. Either one can be turned off, but if you are not sure about which valve you need to shut off, contact a plumber who can advise you based on the specific issue with which you are dealing. Water can do a lot of damage to a home, and therefore it is essential to know the location of the valves in case of an emergency. Finally, do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have questions or concerns about shut-off valves or any other component of your plumbing system.

House Shut-Off Valve

In addition to the main water shut off meter, many houses have a smaller and easier to use shut off valve.  This is usually located at the closes point to the house before the main line goes into the house. Sometimes it is adjacent to the sprinkler system, utility room, or garage.  If you do not have one of these, you may want to consider having one installed by a local licensed plumber.  These valves are often easier to turn off, and in an emergency plumbing situation, this time could save your house from additional water damage.

House Shut Off Valve


Six Warning Signs Your Toilet Needs Replacement

Similar to other household items that are used on a regular basis, toilets must eventually be replaced in order to avoid major problems in your bathrooms. Fortunately, there are some obvious signs that indicate it is time to call one of our plumbers in Mission Viejo and embark upon this project. Below are six signs that your toilet should be replaced:

  1. Leaks

Leaks are always unpleasant; however, a leaking toilet can be potentially disastrous if it is ignored. Thankfully, whether leaks are internal or external, they usually give you enough warning so that you can contact a professional before a catastrophe occurs. For example, internal leaks often make a hissing or dripping sound that is not particularly loud, but is something you know you should not be hearing. External leaks are even easier to diagnose, as the water can be seen around the base of the commode or another area that should normally be dry.

  1. Wobbling or Shaking

If your toilet wobbles or shakes whenever someone takes their seat, it may simply be due to some loose screws on the base of the bowl. Obviously, this is an easy problem to remedy by simply tightening the offending screws. Unfortunately, a toilet may also wobble if the floor underneath has sustained water damage. If this is the case, the toilet should be removed and the underlying area examined by a plumber in Mission Viejo to determine the exact type of repair that is needed.

  1. Continuous Clogs

If your toilet is constantly getting clogged and you find yourself reaching for the plunger on a regular basis, it is probably time for a new toilet. One or two random clogs are common and are usually not cause for alarm. However, if they happen frequently, it is typically a sign of a larger problem and should never be ignored.

  1. Cracks

Most toilets are made from porcelain, which is a durable substance. Nevertheless, like everything else, this material wears down over time. Cracks–even small ones–in the toilet’s porcelain base can lead to leaks and small puddles around the bottom of the commode. This constant water flow can result in damaged floors and higher water bills as time goes on, making timely repairs the more cost-effective option.

  1. Continuous Running

A very common sign that a toilet may need to be replaced is if it keeps running regardless of how hard you jiggle the handle or implement other techniques to settle it down. You will be pleased to discover that sometimes there are simple reasons for this constant running. For instance, it may be nothing more than a worn-out rubber flapper. Other times, it may be a sign of a broken fill valve in the tank or something else that indicates the need for a new unit.

  1. Age Related Wear

Sometimes, a toilet has simply reached the end of its lifespan. You can usually tell when this is the case if multiple parts of the toilet have ceased to function properly or there are several different problems that occur on a regular basis. Efficiency is also an important factor to consider.  If you want to decrease your long-term water bill or if you are simply environmentally conscious, consider changing to a low-flow toilet.

Regardless of what problem you may be having, if you think one or more of the toilets in your home need replacement, contact one of our professional plumbers in Mission Viejo for an expert analysis.

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