We know that sometimes it’s just simply more convenient to wash dishes by hand rather than run the dishwasher for a small load. However, there is substantial evidence that suggests that it is not a good idea to hand wash dishes if it can be avoided. Our plumbers in Laguna Niguel have put together this list of reasons why you may want to stop washing dishes by hand.
Lessen Your Carbon Footprint
If you have ever wondered about ways to conserve water and lessen your carbon footprint on our planet, you will be pleased to discover that upgrading your dishwasher–or installing one for the first time–is a great way to reduce your water usage and help the environment at the same time. This is because it is more energy-efficient all the way around to use a dishwasher than to wash dishes by hand. This is particularly true if you opt for a new, energy efficient model when selecting a dishwasher. These units save a tremendous amount of water over time, and in certain cases, can save you more than double the amount of water you would use to wash the same load of dishes by hand.
Take it Easy on Your Pipes
When washing dishes by hand, some folks have the tendency to dump large food debris, grease, fats, or starchy foods down the drain, relying on the garbage disposal to make them disappear. However, the items we just mentioned all have the ability to clog your garbage disposal — as well as your pipes. If possible, we recommend scraping off all dishes and cooking equipment directly into the garbage can, and placing them in the dishwasher, provided that the dish or equipment is dishwasher safe.
Lower Your Water Bill
Dishwashers not only help the planet, they also benefit you financially! When you use less water, your monthly water bill decreases simultaneously. This can only serve as an advantage to your household budget. It may look like a small amount at first, but it will add up quickly as the months go on and any time you can avoid wasting money, it is wise to do so.
Eliminate Unnecessary Exposure to Bacteria
You may have heard that sponges harbor a broad range of bacteria. In fact, certain studies have shown that the average kitchen sponge may host more germs than a toilet seat. Although excess food particles are washed away, you are ultimately adding bacteria to the surface of utensils and dishes when you wash them with a sponge. Dishwashers, on the other hand, clear away the majority of bacteria on your plates, cups and utensils. Of course, you can certainly replace your sponges on a regular basis, but this is a money-wasting, temporary solution to a long-term problem.
You may not realize how time-consuming it is to wash dishes by hand, particularly if you have a large family. You may even spend up to an hour a day on this task, especially if you eat most of your meals at home. Obviously, there are more enjoyable activities that you would probably rather do than wash dishes. Time flies and hours add up, and therefore you should consider switching to an energy-efficient dishwasher and enjoying the convenience it brings.
If you want a lower water bill, less bacteria on your dishes and utensils, and a more convenient way to wash dishes, invest in an energy efficient, environmentally-friendly dishwasher. Finally, if you are experiencing any plumbing issues, feel free to contact us without delay with your questions and concerns or to schedule an in-home estimate for repairs or the addition of new kitchen appliances.
It is also essential to be able to recognize the telltale signs of plumbing problems so that you can head off minor issues before they become expensive repairs. Our emergency plumbers in Laguna Niguel have compiled the following tips to help you spot the warning signs of plumbing problems in your new home:
Learn About Your Home’s Plumbing History
It is important to learn something about the plumbing history of the home you plan to purchase. Information can be obtained from the home’s former occupants and your realtor. When you have a clear picture of the property’s history, you are in a better position to make informed decisions concerning any issues that may arise with your septic system, pipes, water tank or other system components.
Outdated Sewage System
Determining the age and condition of the home’s sewage system is also vital. Most sewer systems exit the home at its lowest point. If it is a municipal system, the wastewater is carried to a city main. However, septic tanks typically allow the wastewater to run into a larger tank located on the property. If your home has a septic tank, inspect it for water seepage of any kind, as well as for unpleasant odors. If the sewage system is particularly old, a licensed contractor should be called to complete a full inspection.
Water Heater Problems
Although most water heaters typically have a generous lifespan, they all eventually fail. Look around the bottom of your water heater to discover if there are any leaks. Even a small leak is a sign of a problem, and a professional contractor should be called. Such an individual can also determine whether or not the home’s current water heater has the appropriate capacity for the dwelling.
It is unwise to ignore toilets that run constantly. Even though such leaks may appear small and insignificant, constantly running toilets may indicate big problems. If the commode show signs of leakage around the bottom, this should be addressed immediately, as it may damage the finish of the floor or even result in structural damage to the subfloor.
Garbage Disposals or Drains That Clog Easily
If your home features a garbage disposal that clogs easily, or if any of the home’s sinks are slow to drain, you should have your plumbing inspected. Clogs should never be ignored, as they can lead to more expensive problems if they are not remedied in a timely manner.
Poorly Installed Pipes
Leaking pipes can cause serious damage. Therefore, you should look for warning signs, such as worn pipes, rusty or corroded joints–especially elbow joints, which usually rust quicker than other fixtures–and leaks of any size. If the supply pipes to your home are galvanized, they are probably quite old and may require replacement in the immediate future.
If drains appear restricted when water is flowing down, the piping system may no longer be large enough to sustain the amount of water the home uses. If your new house is very old and features asbestos insulation, never attempt even the simplest of DIY projects. Instead, call a professional who has the tools and experience to deal with the problem. Finally, always have a licensed plumber evaluate, repair and maintain the plumbing system in your new home.
If you are purchasing a home, whether you have owned property before or are investing in your first dwelling, you should strongly consider having a plumber inspect the home’s plumbing system before making an offer.
When lead was discovered in Flint, Michigan’s water supply, the importance of healthy, clean water was a constant topic of conversation throughout the country. However, many people are unaware of how to find out if their home’s drinking water is safe. Follow these helpful tips from plumbers in Laguna Niguel to help ensure that your drinking water is safe:
Lead Exposure From Contaminated Water
The Environmental Protection Agency–EPA–reports that 10 to 20% of lead exposure in America is the result of water contamination. Lead accumulates over time, and therefore even low levels can eventually cause toxicity in the human body. It is also important to understand that lead which has dissolved in water cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
The only foolproof avenue through which to discover the true quality of your water supply is to purchase a lead testing kit or ask your municipal water supplier to conduct such a test. If you are receiving tap water from your town, request a copy of their Consumer Confidence Report, which contains the results of required tests that are conducted on a regular basis. The presence of lead in water must be below 15 parts per billion.
However, even if your water source is a well on your own property, the water should be tested if a child under 18 years of age lives in the home or if a member of the household becomes pregnant. Additionally, water quality varies from one home to the next due to factors such as the age of the plumbing and whether or not lead pipes are present.
Reducing Lead Exposure in Drinking Water
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce lead exposure from drinking water, the most effective of which is to invest in a filter. However, you should only consider filters and pitchers certified by the National Sanitation Foundation International.
Plumbers also recommend regularly cleaning your faucet’s screen, as contaminants and minerals can build up on this component. If the faucet has not been used for over six hours, it should be run for 15 to 30 seconds before being used to obtain drinking water.
If your testing endeavors result in the discovery of lead or other contaminants in your home’s water supply, pipes and fixtures may be causing or contributing to the problem. However, replacing or repairing pipes are not good DIY projects. Therefore, jobs of this kind should be placed in the hands of professional plumbers who have the skills and expertise to properly complete the work.
Practical New Year’s resolutions are a new trend in 2019. Among one of the most popular is lowering utility bills of all kinds. Water certainly falls into this category, as it is easy to overlook the excessive use of water. Fortunately, there are simple tips you can follow to not only conserve this precious resource, but also to lower your monthly water bill.
Hot Water Tips
To conserve hot water, fill your sink or a basin with hot water and wash your dishes all at once. Then, rinse them separately rather than leaving the tap running the entire time you wash each item. Additionally, instead of running warm tap water over frozen foods, take them from the freezer in advance and allow them to thaw in the refrigerator or on your kitchen counter. You should also consider a tankless hot water heater, which reduces heating costs and hot water wait times.
Tips for Shortening Shower Time
Showers are responsible for approximately 17 percent of your indoor water use. Fortunately, you can save over 12 gallons of water per shower by simply shortening your shower time from ten to five minutes. You should also consider installing a modern shower head designed to conserve water regardless of how long you like to spend in the shower.
Our plumbers in Laguna Niguel have two recommendations for cutting down your shower time. The first and most obvious would be to set an alarm on your phone. The second tip is to find two songs that you can play on your phone that have a combined duration of 5 minutes.
Fix Leaky Faucets
Never procrastinate if you have a leaky faucet. A leaking faucet that drips only one time per second wastes approximately 190 gallons of water per month. Another great water conservation tip is turning the water off when you brush your teeth, and then turning it back on to rinse.
Install an Energy Efficient Dishwasher
Because of advancements in modern technology, it is now possible to obtain a dishwasher that is highly energy-efficient. Replacing an old outdated dishwasher with a newer model can lead to significantly less water usage. Other tips to conserve water when using this appliance are making sure you only run full loads and washing lightly soiled dishes by hand.
Replace Old or Leaky Toilets
Approximately 30 percent of your indoor water consumption comes from flushing your commode, and toilets waste a tremendous amount of water in the average household. This is particularly true if they are outdated models or have leaks. In fact, a commode that leaks can waste approximately 200 gallons of water per day, which significantly raises your water bill and wastes this important resource.
Adjusting your home’s washing machine to meet a lower demand is a great way to reduce the amount of water you use. This is easy to accomplish by never running the washing machine on the full setting if you are only washing a small load. Additionally, you should avoid running extra rinse or pre-wash cycles, as these settings ultimately make little difference with regard to how clean your laundry gets, but can waste a considerable amount of water in the process.
If you keep track of your water bill while using the aforementioned tips, you will likely be pleasantly surprised with how much water you conserve.
How to Remedy Common Holiday Plumbing Problems
Every homeowner knows that plumbing disasters often take place at the least convenient times; like when you are hosting a weekend party, cooking a holiday meal or otherwise entertaining guests in your home. Below are some helpful tips from our plumbers in Laguna Niguel for you to use when these problems occur:
Stopped-Up Sink Drain
When people are cooking for the holidays, their drains start working overtime. Since most drain clogs occur in the J-shaped pipe beneath your sink, they are often easier to clear away than toilet clogs.
One of our plumbers in Laguna Niguel warns against the dangers of chemical drain cleaners:
“Steer clear of chemical drain cleaners! They do more harm than good. Your first line of defense should be to boil a big pot of water, and then pour it down your sink drain in hopes that the hot water will break up the clog and flush it through. If that doesn’t work, go for the plunger. If you’re still having trouble, you can use a snake if you’re comfortable with it, but I would advise most people to call in a plumber at that point.”
Faulty Dishwasher Performance
If you have holiday meal dishes to wash, but your dishwasher has failed to properly drain from the last load, it may be clogged with food waste. If you remove the drain basket screws and pull out the flapper and basket, the problem may quickly become evident: if the basket is clogged with food particles, it simply needs to be washed and the dishwasher’s interior cleaned. Such clogs can be prevented by remembering to rinse dishes before they are placed in the machine.
Fixing a Broken Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, it is highly likely that it has become clogged at least once or twice. One way to avoid this problem is to pay close attention to what you place in the disposal. For example, avoid putting coffee grounds, potato peels, egg shells or grease down the drain, as garbage disposals are not made to process such items. It is also important to keep an eye on what guests may be placing down the disposal when visiting or attending a party.
If the disposal is running sluggish, the blades may need to be sharpened or replaced. Sharpening is easy to do by running a few small ice cubes through the disposal. If the disposal is failing to run at all, press the reset button on the bottom of the unit. If these remedies prove ineffectual, it is time to call a plumber.
Water Heater Issues
If your water heater is failing to produce hot water or you notice moisture around the base, it is likely that it needs to be repaired by a plumber. If it is a particularly old unit, it may have simply reached the end of its lifespan, at which point it must be replaced. Any new or unusual sounds coming from the unit should never be ignored. Rather, when in doubt, contact a professional for an expert evaluation of any holiday plumbing problem you are experiencing.
Even if you meticulously maintain your home, all toilets occasionally become clogged. In most cases, the proper use of a simple plunger will remedy the problem. However, if you have a major clog, you may need to use a drain snake. If you are unsure how to use these tools or you have tried them and could not resolve the problem, it is time to contact a professional plumber.
Many consumers find it awkward to open their home to a plumber or other repairman. However, the better your communication is with your plumber, the more satisfied you will likely be with the outcome of the visit. Below are some simple tips from our plumbers in Laguna Niguel on how to communicate easily and pleasantly with your plumbing contractor:
Do Not Overreact
If you have just discovered a clogged pipe or a stopped up toilet, call a plumber immediately, but remain calm. If your home has other working bathrooms or you do not have to use the kitchen sink within the next few hours, do not call your plumber and demand that he or she show up immediately to deal with an “emergency.” Try to be level headed when problems occur and allow your plumber to prioritize tasks based on his or her professional judgment.
Do Not Try to Play Host or Hostess
In most places, even though the plumber is entering your home, he or she is typically there to complete a job and would rather get straight to work, rather than drink coffee or chat. Therefore, instead of offering refreshments or trying to make small talk, simply tell the plumber to feel free to ask you any questions, and otherwise make yourself scarce.
Be Realistic About Estimates
It is important to have a mutual understanding of what an estimate is, and it is just what the name implies; an estimate. All homeowners want to know exactly what to expect, but some contractors cannot give a precise quote based merely on your verbal description of an issue.
For scheduled projects, such as renovations that you planned in advance, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a flat rate, but other types of repairs may differentiate somewhat from the initial estimate.
Ask the Appropriate Questions
If you are hiring a new plumber and you want to obtain useful information about the contractor’s level of experience, the best thing you can do is avoid yes or no questions. Instead, ask things like “how do you typically handle a situation like this?” Most experienced plumbers will be pleased to offer details when asked such questions.
Another great way to communicate about your specific plumbing problem and possible outcomes is to ask the contractor for best and worst case scenarios. You should also inquire about possible complications so that if something of that nature arises, you are not caught off guard.
Discuss Payment Schedules
It is always best to ask for an installment plan if the plumbing repairs cannot be paid for in one lump sum. Many homeowners do not have enough money on hand to pay for a large job, and some plumbers will accept monthly payments for large jobs. However, it is imperative that you communicate your wishes in advance to make sure this payment method is acceptable with your plumber.
Plumbing problems can be particularly stressful, especially if they occur on an emergency basis. However, maintaining open lines of communication with your plumber is a good way to reduce this stress.
Virtually all homeowners experience plumbing emergencies at some point. Frozen pipes, major pipe leaks, a leaking water heater, and sink and toilet clogs are all considered emergencies by most plumbers. However, the following tips are designed to help you head off small problems, as well as to determine when it is in your best interest to call a plumber.
Knowing How to Shut Off the Water
One plumber in Laguna Niguel mentioned: “Whenever a plumbing emergency occurs, you should shut off the closest water source as soon as possible. For commodes, this can be as easy as turning off the valve behind or at the base of the toilet. For flooding or larger emergencies in your home, it is essential to shut off the main valve.”
Knowing where this valve is located and how to shut it off is very important. The main water line is typically found in a crawlspace or basement or along the outer perimeter of your dwelling. Most plumbers recommend that you locate this shut off valve in advance to significantly reduce damage during a plumbing emergency.
Water Heater Leaks
If your water heater has developed a leak or your water has become extremely hot for no apparent reason, turn it off to avoid damaging the unit. This prevents heat from building up on the inside. The latter can lead to the destruction of the unit or the risk of bursting. If it is a gas water heater, you should shut off the gas before turning off the water heater. Call a plumber for any type of water heater leak, as this kind of repair is not a good do-it-yourself project.
Damage Control for Leaks
If you find an easily identifiable leak that is rather small, stuff towels and rags around the pipe or apply some plumber’s tape to the leak, the latter of which can be purchased in most hardware stores. Professional plumbers can then address the problem when they arrive, but in the meantime you can prevent additional damage by following the steps mentioned above.
Sink or Toilet Clogs
Using a plunger with a smooth, straight up-and-down motion can help to dislodge clogs in your toilet’s plumbing. If this activity proves ineffective, try using a chemical cleaner to remove and disintegrate the clog. Always check the label to make sure you are using the appropriate liquid for that type of drain. If a clogged drain is pouring water back into your house, call a plumber immediately, as this may be the sign of sewage backup or another type of problem that only professional plumbers are qualified to address.
Regular Plumbing Inspections
One of the best tips for homeowners is to have your plumbing inspected regularly. Plumbers in Laguna Niguel can check for abnormalities or leaks and deal with small problems before they become serious ones. Early leak detection and repair helps to protect your home from major problems and also saves you a substantial amount of money in the long run. Never hesitate to contact a licensed plumber if you think a plumbing problem may be underway.
Over the past 30 years of being a plumber in Laguna Niguel, I’ve heard every noise you can imagine come out of pipes. Most people expect to hear a certain number of noises throughout a house. However, some sounds indicate the need to contact a professional plumber, and it is important to understand those noises and what they mean. Below are some essential tips on how to differentiate normal sounds in a home from those that may indicate trouble.
When a faucet is turned off, regardless of where it is located in the home, it is never normal to hear a loud “water hammer” sound. The latter is a phrase used to describe a distinct banging noise that happens when pipes are beginning to feel the stress of use and age. This water hammer sound may also occur if a clog has formed in the air chambers of the pipe valves. If this is the case, the chambers must be cleaned and any worn out parts must be replaced. Loud banging almost always indicates the need for evaluation by plumbing professionals.
Many homeowners are apt to hear running water noise, if it is present, after they retire and the house is quiet. A continuous stop and start pattern of running water is most likely from a commode. However, this noise may also be heard near the home’s water heater. Regardless of its source, it should be analyzed by a plumber to determine whether or not a problem is underway.
Shaking or Thumping
Pipes always shake and move to some degree when water is being run, but if this shaking is very noticeable, the pipes may have loosened over time. Items such as mounting straps and similar fixtures may need to be replaced, and therefore a shaking sound should never be ignored.
A ticking sound is usually the home’s water meter. Although it may seem as if the sound is coming from within the home, this sound is transmitted by the pipes within the dwelling. If it is indeed the meter, the ticking sound will only be heard when someone in the house is running water. Although it may be harmless, it could also be a sign that meter replacement is needed.
Gurgling or Bubbling
A loud gurgling noise coming from a kitchen or bathroom drain is typically never a good sign: this sound indicates air pockets that are situated around clogs in the pipes. If the gurgling occurs with all the home’s drains, however, the drain vents are usually the problem. If only one drain makes this noise, simply unclogging the pipe may be all that is necessary.
Screeching or Whistling
If a noise similar to a whistle or a high-pitched whirring sound is present, the bathroom plumbing is almost always to blame. If the home has baseboard hot-water heating units or radiators, however, there may also be a problem with air in the water line. A malfunctioning or worn out pressure reducing valve in the bathroom or kitchen may be the culprit as well. Additionally, the pressure reducing valve for the entire dwelling may require an adjustment, or it may have simply exceeded its lifespan and must therefore be replaced with a new unit. Whatever the issue is, further damage may occur if plumbing noises are ignored. For this reason, it is best to have this and any strange sound evaluated promptly by a plumber in Laguna Niguel. This will ensure that small, inexpensive repairs do not turn into costly and time-consuming projects.
In most cases, blocked drains are caused by throwing items that cannot be dissolved into your drain. Lots of people think that liquids are safer on plumbing because it’s in your house but you will be surprised to learn that there are many everyday products and liquids that can cause major problems in your plumbing. Here are household items that do not belong in your drain.
Paper Towels, Wet Wipes and Cotton Balls
Toilet paper is designed to be flushed down the toilet since it breaks down when it comes into contact with water; however, other paper objects are more durable, and instead of dissolving in your drain, they tend to block up the pipes, and this increases the probability of sewer backup and ultimately overflow. And if this happens, you’ll need a lot more paper towels to sort it out.
Fact, Grease and Cooking Oil
Over time, any type of cooking fat will create a build up and lead to a blocked kitchen sink as well as blocked drains. Some of these items may be composted however they may also attract animals. There are several options for better disposal such as community center recycling as they accept this compost for bio-diesel purposes.
Hair and Dental Floss
Our plumbers know that it’s not realistic to think that people can keep every strand of hair out of the bathroom sink, or shower drain. However you should avoid throwing bunches of hair down your drain to the best of your ability. The same applies to dental floss since both hair and dental floss can stick to the inside of your pipes on their way down and ultimately cause a blockage.
Although it’s common sense to most people that diapers do not belong down the drain, you may be unpleasantly surprised at how many people actually consider and actually throw diapers down the drain. The same goes for feminine hygiene products. Once these products get clogged in your drain, a plumber will have to be called. Unfortunately, this is not a problem that a plunger can dislodge. In lots of cases, diapers and feminine hygiene products tend to get stuck deep into your pipes, and a professional may actually have to tear up your lawn to fix the problem.
Coffee and Eggshells
Lots of people are under the perception that coffee ground and eggshells belong in your garbage disposal. However, the opposite is true. These items often cause clogged drains and build up a blockage in your plumbing that could end up causing you a lot of damage and cost you a lot of money in the long run. Therefore it is advisable that these kitchen scraps are composted instead.
Believe it or not, lots of people pour paint down the sink. Under no circumstances are you supposed to pour paint down your drain. Instead, you should take it to your local community recycling center as it can negatively impact the ecosystems and the water supply in your community.
Although cleaning products are designed to clean your surfaces inside the home, many of them contain harmful chemicals and phosphates that ultimately affect the environment negatively. Some of these products combine in your drain and create a corrosive substance that eventually weakens your pipes.
So as you can see, it counts to use your discretion when it comes to what items to dispose of through your drain and what not to. Our plumbers in Ladera Ranch encounter a lot of home owners who are simply unaware that certain items can be harmful to plumbing, so we hope this article helps to prevent some future plumbing problems.
It’s an unfortunate reality that a lot of southern California homeowners are very familiar with what a slab leak is.
For those of you who have not had the misfortune of running into one, we’ll explain it briefly. Slab leaks are simply leaks that have developed in the copper water lines running below the steel and concrete slab foundation of your home. Slab leaks can occur both on the drainage and the pressure side of your foundation.
If the leak occurs on the pressure side, it can be detected relatively easily and quickly. On the other hand, the leaks on the drainage side are much more difficult to detect and a considerable amount of time may pass before you catch a hint of it. However, whatever is the case, slab leaks can cause a host of problems including steep hike in water bills, mold and termite infestation and most importantly, serious damage to your foundation.
In an effort to help homeowners minimize the damage that these types of leaks can cause to their home, our plumbers in Ladera Ranch have put together a list of tips for detecting a slab leak early on.
Steep Hike in Water Bills
If you find that your water bills have gotten up a good few notches all of a sudden, this is another sign of a slab leak.
Some other signs of slab leaks include faint rumbling sound of running water of undetected source; an improperly functioning toilet, showers or tubs; a strong moldy odor around the house.
All of the above issues may not always arise from a slab leak, nevertheless it is always wise to give a call to a leak detection specialist if you notice any of these signs. Slab leaks, if left untreated, can lead to serious and expensive damages to your whole house and foundation.
Water Meter Test
First, make sure that no water pipe is in use. That means all appliances using water are turned off, no faucets are running and so on. Now head outside and have a look at your water meter. If you find that the dial of the water meter is still moving, then it is highly likely that you have a slab leak somewhere in your home.
Again, make sure no water pipe is in use and check the reading on your water meter. Keep things as they are (that is, all pipes turned off) for at least half an hour and take the reading again. If there is an increase in the number, this is a sign of a water leak.
Some advanced water meters come with built-in leak detectors which makes the task easier for the homeowner. If the detector (typically, a small wheel or a triangle) is moving or spinning, you’ll know you have a leak somewhere.
Cracks in Floors or Walls & Mold infestation
Examine under your carpet and if you find too much moisture or mold, this is a sign of a potential slab leak. The same goes with cracks on your tile floors and walls or baseboards. As the leak happens, the water pressure underneath your foundation changes and this in time can cause the whole foundation to shift. And that can result in cracks in walls or floors. The best way to check for these is doing a regular inspection of your basement. If a leak occurs, the basement will get damaged first.
Check Water Pressure
Use a water pressure gauge to check the water pressure of your home from time to time. Screw the gauge onto the faucet that is in front of the house and from where the water comes into the house. While performing this test, all water faucets and water using appliances must be turned off. If at any time, you notice that the water pressure has gone too low from what is normal, you may be certain of a slab leak on your home.