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Building Sewer and Cleanout inspection and Repair at Time of Sale

Have you heard about the new time of sale requirements for testing property sewer lines?  In Norcal many municipalities are requiring that sewer lines pass a water test at the time of sale.  The concern is infiltration and exfiltration.  For infriltration, this occurs during heavy rains.  For example, root intrusion into sewer lines results in sewer pipe pentetration, or holes in the line.  When it rains, water enters the city sewer system via the holes left by root intrustion.  This causes undue over capacity at municiple treatment plants.  Simply, the plant is unneccesarily treating rainwater.  For exfiltration, this occurs when a property sewer line allows wastewater to vacate the line into the soil through the same holes left by root intrustion.  Exfiltration and infiltration can occur anytime there is disruption in the line.  This can be from roots, separation or age.  The basic test requires that the sewer line be able to hold water for approximately 30 minutes, then measured for verification.  For this test the house line to the street will need to be isolated via 2 cleanouts.  That is, a cleanout at the house, and one at the sidewalk or street using sewer test baloons.  Then, the isolated portion will be filled with water at the house cleanout until in reaches the top of the same cleanout.  Wait 30 minutes, then measure and verify.  If the test fails, then there is infiltration, and a repair will likely be required.  Stay tuned.  We'll post a video of the process in the near future.  See the March 2015 plumbing tip blog for information on how to locate your property's cleanout. 

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March 2015 plumbing tip

Here's our plumbing tip for March 2015.

Locate your home's sewer clean out.

Do you know where your sewer clean-out is?  Do you know what a sewer clean out is?  Very simply, it is what it says it is.  It's the access to your home's sewer system that allows a plumber to CLEAN OUT your sewer line.  When your main drain backs up, you'll likely need to call a plumbing company that offers sewer drain cleaning.  The first thing he/she will ask is "do you know where your exterior clean out is?"  If you have a clean out, its most often located on the street side exterior.  If not, you may want to have one installed, making it easier for cleaning out.  Absent an exterior clean out the plumber will need to gain access by removing a toilet on the inside.  This is less preferrable, as it requires bringing the sewer machine indoors.  And no one wants that. 

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What is good water pressure

Do you have a device like the one pictured?  If yes, then the water pressure on your home or property is being regulated, or reduced.  Residential water pressure should not exceed 80 pounds per square inch, or PSI.  Sometimes water is supplied to houses at 100 or even 150 PSI.  A water pressure gauge allows property owners to test thier water pressure.  A water pressure regulator can be installed at the service point of entry to the home. The regulator will protect the properties water distribution system.  When water pressure in a residence is too high, it can result in pipe damage, wasted water and leaks.  Leaks caused by high water pressure sometimes appear intermittently, as when toilets run when not being used.

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Plumbing Tip February 2015, turn off that leaky faucet

Every have that leaky faucet that just won't shut off?  What if it becomes a steady stream, or even a gusher?  You'll need to shut off the water suppy, and it may be that you have to get it shut off quickly.  An emergency has just occurred.  Next question, where do I find the shut off?  Some may think the shut off is outside, at the point of entry for the water main.  More than likely, though, it's directly below the sink, in the cabinet.  Behind those cleansers and towels.  When you have time, take a look below your sink and see if your situation is similar to the picture here.  If correct, hot should be on left and cold on the right.  The shuts offs work like screws and bolts, or "righty tighty and lefty loosy".  Turn to the right to shut off, and left to turn on.  To be safe, know where your shut offs are before an emergency catches you unaware.  When the water is safely shut off, then you'll have time to assess your situation. 

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landscape protection and a sewer line install

Need to replace that old, clay sewer line but your concerned about protecting your lanscaping?  Alot of the time  a trenchless sewer line can be installed and your yard will be saved the large trench in the yard.  There are times, however, when a trenchless line is not a possible option.  When that happens you need the right equipment.  Many companies have very small excavators that dig straight and precise trenches, without creating a large footprint.  When you choose a plumbing company for your new sewer line, be sure they are prepared for all circumstances.  Especially protecting your landscape.  See the photo. Like we were never there.   

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Plumbing tip January 2015: Stop that running toilet

Plumbing Tip: January 2015, Stop that running toilet

1. Identify the float ball and float arm inside the tank.  This is the mechanism that shuts off the water.  Once it floats to the correct level it will activate the shut-off.

2. With tank lid off, and while the toilet is filling after a flush, observe to make sure the float is reaching the proper height.  If not, the toilet will continue to run, as the water will fall down the overflow tube.

3. If your float is not reaching the correct height, simply bend the float arm down. Do this near the middle of the arm.  This will allow the float arm to travel a bit further, and reach the shut-off point.

4. Flush the toilet and observe to see if the bend did the job.

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Here's a tip that can keep your kitchen drain smelling fresh and clean.

Do you ever get a "whiff" of your kitchen drian?  It can kinda make you plug your nose.  Here's our plumbing tip for December 2014 to help keep your kitchen drain smelling fresh and clean. 

1. Peel yourself an orange.

2. Once peeled, send your orange peels down the disposal.

3. Your drains will smell fresh and clean.

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Shower drain cleaning made easy

Here's a great tip for a simple shower drain cleaning.  Shower drain clogs are usually a result of hair in the drain, and it will stop up the drain like a cork.  Here's what you can do.   You'll need to remove the screws and drain cover, then:

1. Take a simple screw driver (flat preferred), and an old toothbrush.  Tape them together as shown.  Be liberal with the tape, as you want it to hold.

2. Place the toothbrush end down the drain until it stops as shown.  This is likely where the hair has collected, at the "U" in the trap.

3. Turn the screwdriver slowly, counter or clockwise.  Serveral turns.  The hair will be caught in the brush brissles.

4. Slowly pull the screwdriver out.  The hair will come out attached to the brush. 

5. Drain clean.  Money saved.

6. Save the tool, you'll need again. 

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sewer problem location accuracy

Locating sewer drain problems is not for the faint of heart. Especially when traversing through a well kept landscape.  You need more than just a sewer camera with a location device attached.  You need 3 things.  First the locating equipment.  Second, a trained expert to interpret the located problem.  Finally, you need trained experts to excavate and make the repair with pinpoint accuracey.  Thus, saving the beautiful landscape.  Like we were never there.!

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New water heater efficiency requirements are coming

Water heaters are changing.  Again.  That is to say that efficiency requirements for storage water heaters are increasing.  For the most part, standard storage heaters from 40 - 50 gallons will remain the same, as they already meet the minimum efficiency.  However, anything above 50 gallons will require increased effiency.  As usual, that will result in a price increase.  Even more, water heater manufacturers will use the new requirement to increase the price of all water heaters.  Even those that already meet the efficiency standard.  I've been told to expect a 15% increase by April 16th, 2015.  For a standard install that will be an increase of $150 approximately.  So, if you're water heater is near the end of it's life, consider a replacement before April 16th, 2015.  Of note, all tankless water heaters already meet the efficiency standards.  And, provide endless hot water. 

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