Drain clogs are quite common and can occur in your home every now and then, depending on a variety of factors. We realize that preventing or planning in advance for plumbing issues is not always possible. However, because drains are such a crucial part of daily life, you typically notice it immediately when one begins to clog. Our plumbers in Laguna Niguel have responded to several prevalent questions that numerous homeowners have asked about drain cleaning:
What is that “gurgling” sound when I flush the toilet?
We’ve covered this topic before in our blog regarding common plumbing noises and their meaning.
A gurgling noise is a telltale sign that a clog or plumbing ventilation problem may be occurring before the drain is vented. Once you hear this particular sound or notice water beginning to bubble in the shower when the toilet is flushed, call a plumber in Laguna Niguel without delay, as you likely have a drain problem underway.
How do I get rid of that foul odor coming from my garbage disposal?
Fortunately, you can implement an effective home remedy to resolve this problem. Simply place ice cubes in the disposal and turn it on for approximately 30 seconds. This helps eliminate debris and buildup on your disposal’s blades. After the ice cubes have been run through the system, flush it with cold water to remove any left over debris.
You may also find it helpful to cut small pieces of a lemon to run through your disposal as well.
Should I use a liquid drain cleaner for a clogged sink or slow drain?
Our plumbers in Laguna NIguel have cautioned property owners before about the dangers of chemical drain cleaners. We know that it’s tempting to buy a $5 solution to your clogged drain — but using these types of drain cleaners could potentially cost you a fortune in the future. The chemicals contained in the formula cannot effectively remove the clog in its entirety. In addition, your pipes may sustain damage from these same chemicals. In certain cases, the lining of your pipes may erode if you overuse liquid drain cleaner.
What are some day to day measures I can take to prevent drain clogs?
Minimizing the amount of food particles that go into your garbage disposal is a good place to begin to prevent the unit from becoming clogged. Our plumbers advise our clients to avoid putting starchy foods, grease, and fibrous or stringy vegetables down the disposal.
Sink and Bathtub
The easiest way to prevent clogs in a bathtub or sink is to make sure you always have strainers in place. The latter stop unwanted materials, such as hair, from traveling into and clogging the drain.
Always follow the golden rule of flushing only human waste and toilet tissue down the commode. You should even avoid placing “flushable” wipes in the toilet bowl, as many are not actually flushable after all.
If you have a question that you would like us to answer on our blog, reach out to our plumbers in Laguna Niguel at email@example.com.
Mold is one of the most common problems homeowners face each year, particularly those who live in warm climates. Most plumbers would agree that mold is also a frequent issue in homes that have suffered water damage, whether the latter was major or minor. This defacing substance is not only unsightly, it is also associated with health hazards.
Common Mold Hosts
Many materials provide a breeding ground for mold, such as the cellulose found in drywall. However, moisture of some kind must be present for such growth to occur. Often, this irksome substance begins growing in damp areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, cellars and kitchens. Homes that have sustained moisture damage are especially susceptible to mold as well.
The Importance of Preventing Mold Growth
Preventing mold growth is a vital task for any homeowner. There are several reasons for this, including the following:
Damage to the Home
Mold is ugly and can ruin almost any surface through discoloration. Although some people resort to painting over mold, this does nothing to remedy the situation. If you try this, you will quickly find that it eventually resurfaces, resulting in the same problems as before.
Health Hazards Associated with Mold
Mold can also lead to health problems, whether mild or severe. Symptoms of mold exposure can include sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose, or more severe problems, such as laborious breathing or continuous coughing. Even memory impairment, headaches and chronic fatigue are now attributed to mold exposure. Although not all individuals are sensitive to mold spores, those suffering from diseases such as asthma or COPD may experience serious exacerbations of their symptoms when mold is present.
A Difficult Problem to Remedy
If mold growth is left unchecked, it proliferates at a very rapid pace and nothing stops the process until the source of moisture is removed. This means that you should pay special attention to leaking pipes or other problems that may create a constant source of moisture in your dwelling. Contact a plumber in Placentia immediately if you suspect such issues are present.
It is essential to understand that not all mold can be seen with the naked eye, but the following signs are good indicators that mold is present:
- Wall or paneling discoloration
- Smell of mildew coming from walls or other areas
- Warped wood
- Peeling or cracked paint
- Loosening of drywall tape
- Ceiling stains
- Black stains on bathroom or kitchen tiles
- Presence of respiratory problems allergies among those living in the home
When To Seek Professional Assistance
With the exception of mild problems, attempting to handle mold remediation without professional help is usually a bad idea. In doing so, you may inadvertently make the problem worse. For instance, you may disturb dormant spores, which will subsequently spread the mold to new areas of your home.
Additionally, it is unlikely that you have access to the appropriate protective gear, and therefore may expose yourself to potential health hazards. Because of these and other factors, mold remediation is best placed in the hands of a professional. If you suspect a moisture or mold problem in your home, contact a licensed plumber in Placentia as soon as possible to evaluate the situation.
Learning how to prevent plumbing problems such as leaks, clogged drains, and burst pipes is the easiest way to avoid costly repairs. Below are some tips to help you identify plumbing issues before they become major problems:
Identifying Toilet Leaks
Leaking toilets are not uncommon. However, identifying a leak early can save you a substantial amount of money on repairs. If you think a leak may be underway, pour a bit of food coloring into the tank and if it shows up the next morning in the bowl, the flush valve should be replaced. If you cannot identify the leak, call a local plumber as soon as possible.
Kitchen Sink Clogs
Grease, cooking oil and food particles can quickly clog the pipes under your kitchen sink, leading to potentially serious problems. Fortunately, using strainers to catch waste and regularly flushing the drain with boiling water and dish detergent are great ways to prevent clogs of this kind.
Clogged Bathroom Drains
Bathroom drains can easily become stopped up, but there are ways to prevent a major backup. For example, try clearing the drain with a wet-dry vacuum. This is a handy trick that is much more effective and less time-consuming than using an auger–also referred to as a “snake.”
Plumbing Problems in the Laundry Room
The rubber connection hoses on your washing machine sometimes become damaged and burst. This obviously creates a flooded laundry room, which can lead to serious damage, especially if you do not notice it immediately. Thankfully, this problem can be avoided by regularly checking hoses for blisters and cracks. You may also want to consider replacing the hoses with steel models, the latter of which are not susceptible to the aforementioned problems.
Water Heater Breakdowns
A water heater typically has a life expectancy of up to 20 years. Nevertheless, such units do eventually wear out and major damage can occur if serious leaks take place unexpectedly. Checking the water heater at regular intervals for signs of leakage or rust is the best way to spot potential trouble areas and give you time to contact a plumber in Placentia before a major disaster occurs.
Replacing Old Pipes
Pipes made from obsolete materials are major trouble sources. This is because they can crack or become invaded by roots. Even steel pipes are prone to internal rusting, which presents another set of problems. Instead of waiting for a leak to occur, consider having a professional evaluate the condition of your old pipes to determine whether or not they need to be replaced.
Locating Your Main Water Valve
The best way to avoid serious flooding during a plumbing emergency is to locate your main water valve in advance. It is typically situated at the lowest level of your house, close to the street. Once you have located the valve, test it to make sure it is in proper working order. If you are planning a lengthy trip, it is a good idea to turn this valve off prior to your departure.
All homes are susceptible to plumbing problems, but following the tips outlined above can help you head off issues before they become serious. Always contact a professional plumber to complete repairs, as this is the best way to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
Although it is something that most people do not want to face, even the highest quality toilet eventually requires replacement. However, unless your toilet literally falls to pieces–which is highly unlikely–it can be challenging to know when the time is right to invest in a new model. Below are five of the most overt signs that you need to call a professional to replace your toilet:
Clogged toilets quickly lead to headaches for most people, and you are probably among the ranks of those who do not have time to constantly plunge your commode. Although you should not be alarmed at a random clog here and there, consistently clogged toilets should be considered a red flag. Older models or low-flush toilets often experience frequent blockages when their interiors become worn due to age or other issues.
There are several reasons a toilet may wobble when you sit down. For example, loose screws at the base may cause this to happen. If this is the case, you can simply tighten them and the problem is solved. Unfortunately, wobbling may be a sign of a more serious situation, such as water damage under the floor preventing the screws from staying tight. This does not automatically mean the unit must be replaced, but it does indicate that a larger problem is underway.
If your toilet runs continuously no matter what you do, it may be a sign that the rubber flapper at the tank’s bottom has become damaged or worn. It may indicate a broken fill valve in the tank as well. Although both situations are sometimes fixable, they can also mean that a new toilet is your only viable remedy.
Cracks in the Porcelain
Toilets are typically built from porcelain because it is a highly durable material. Nevertheless, similar to other substances, porcelain eventually wears out. Cracks in the toilet’s base can result in leaking and frequent puddling, and this constant flow of water needlessly increases your sewer bill. It can also do serious damage to your bathroom floor.
The Benefits of Replacing a Worn Toilet
Replacing a faulty toilet is important, but you may also want to exchange your current model for one that is more efficient. In 1992, The Energy Policy Act was created when the EPA discovered just how much water is wasted by conventional toilets. This Act mandates that residential toilets use a maximum of 1.6 gallons of water for each flush. Today, you have numerous low-flow options that use even less water. Therefore, consider changing to such a model if you want lower water bills or if you are simply an environmentally-conscious homeowner.
If you are like many homeowners, you may enjoy completing do-it-yourself repair projects. However, with regard to your home’s plumbing, it is wise to stick to simple projects and place more complex repairs in the hands of a plumber. Below are some easy repairs you can probably tackle on your own, as well as those that require the help of a licensed contractor:
A constant drip from one of your faucets may simply indicate the need to replace the washer. If this is the case, you can shut off the water, unscrew the handle, and inspect the washer and O-ring for damage. If you replace the washer and the drip continues, you should call a plumber, as you may be dealing with loose parts or broken plumbing components.
Clogged drains can often be freed up with simple solutions of salt or baking soda and hot water. You can also try using detergent designed for washing dishes by hand: place a good portion of detergent down the drain and then flush hot water after it to allow the soapy mixture to unclog the drain. For tough clogs, store-bought formulas may be necessary. Certain clogs are lodged so deep within the pipes that solvents of any kind–including those containing chemicals–are simply not strong enough to break them up. If this is the case, a licensed plumber in Laguna Niguel should be contacted without delay.
A Running Toilet
If you notice that water continues to run after you flush the commode, the chain within the tank may have become separated from the lever. If this is the problem, you will likely find the chain in a small pile on the bottom of the tank and you can simply re-attach it to the flushing handle. If the chain is damaged, however, it should be replaced.
Not all toilet repairs make good DIY projects. For example, a constantly leaking or overflowing toilet is not a repair you should attempt without assistance. Similarly, if your toilet’s water supply is suddenly not strong enough, a plumber should be contacted to determine the reason. Finally, if raw sewage ever begins backing up into your toilet or bathtub, a plumber should be called to your home immediately.
Erratic Shower Head Spray
If your shower head sprays water at odd angles or seems to have a strong flow from one part of the shower head while only coming out at a trickle in another, you may have a buildup of lime scale on the spray plate or shower head. Fortunately, these components can be soaked in a descaling solution, which should eliminate the problem. However, if the water pressure itself seems to increase and decrease at odd intervals, a plumber should evaluate the unit.
Malfunctioning Water Heaters
If your water heater is making an odd sound, emitting a strange odor, or otherwise performing improperly, contact a professional to evaluate the unit. Whether the water heater is tankless, electric or gas, water heater repairs are not generally good DIY projects. Whenever you are in doubt about any repair, always err on the side of caution and contact a professional plumber.
All bathrooms eventually experience plumbing problems. Although you may be able to complete minor repairs on your own, complicated tasks should be handled by a licensed plumber. Below are some bathroom plumbing issues you should never ignore:
Although a loose toilet may not seem like a major problem, we can tell you firsthand that it should never be ignored. This is because if it wobbles long enough, its watertight, wax seal may break. If this occurs, water will quickly seep out from the base of the bowl and make its way to crawl spaces, cracks, gaps. It could also potentially flood the room below it, and cause water damage that could potentially cost thousands to mitigate.
One of our clients in Aliso Viejo offers her words of caution: “My upstairs toilet had been wobbly for a few months and I really didn’t think anything of it. It was a minor inconvenience and I thought it would be an easy fix that I could just have dealt with next time I called a plumber out for a clogged drain or something, right? Wrong! Water had been leaking into the crawlspace, and eventually burst through the ceiling of the guest room and soaked everything!”
Water Stains on the Ceiling
Reddish-brown discolorations on your ceiling are not just unattractive, they are almost always the warning sign of a pipe leaking from above. Therefore, if the room overhead is a bathroom, there is a high potential for extensive and costly damage if it is not dealt with immediately. A plumber in Laguna Niguel will be able to look at stains and determine their source and how best to remedy the problem.
Each of the aforementioned concerns can easily lead to expensive repairs if they are ignored. Therefore, when in doubt, contact a professional to evaluate the situation before simple problems become major, costly repairs. A lot of plumbers will even perform leak detection free of charge.
Missing Tile or Grout
The last line of defense tile has against water is its grout. If there are gaps in the grout and water makes its way through the cracks, moisture eventually builds up behind the tile, and this means the tile may come loose from the wall. If you suspect water is seeping in behind your bathroom tiles, contact a plumber before the problem gets worse.
Faulty flapper valves waste a significant amount of water and greatly increase wear and tear on the toilet. When this component leaks, water slowly drips out of the tank to the bowl and down the drain. Eventually, the slow leak trips the fill valve of the toilet, causing the valve to allow water into the tank. This is what is often referred to as a toilet that will not stop “running,” as this cycle typically goes on until the flapper is repaired.
Drains Clogging on a Regular Basis
Light clogs can often be remedied with over-the-counter products or by simply plunging the drain. However, if more than one drain is clogged at a time or if bathroom drains clog repeatedly, there may be an underlying issue of a serious nature. For example, a heavy build up of deposits may require professional drain cleaning. Similarly, a clog deep within the piping or the sewer line is not a repair you should attempt without assistance.
Replacing a washer may be all it takes to remedy a dripping faucet. However, if you try this simple repair and it does not stop the drip, it is best to contact a plumber.
Low Water Pressure
If the water pressure seems low when you flush your toilet and this is not coming from a municipal problem, you should call a plumber in Laguna Niguel right away. You may have a major leak somewhere in your home or the source of the problem may be a water main blockage.
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.