Santa Rosa

Plumbing tip May 2015

Here's our plumbing tip for May 2015.

Unclog you p-trap yourself.  All sinks have a p-trap.  That is, it's literally shaped like a P, and it traps sewer gas.  Water remains in the U shape, creating a "water-tight" block that the sewer gas cannot penetrate.  So, the sewer gas is "trapped" in the pipe.  It's also where hair freqeuntly gathers, and clogs the drain.  Clearing the p-trap is simple:

1. With a channel locking wrench and a a bucket in hand, locate the p-trap

2. Place the bucket under the trap to collect the standing water in the trap

3. Use the channel locks (pliers) to loosen and remove the trap "U" joint

4. Remove debri

5. Put back together

Drain cleared. 

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Radiant Heat and endless hot water

Radiant heat is the most comfortable heat.  Typically, it is installed as a warm floor.  Hot water is heated via a boiler, and circulates through the floor, heating the floor.  Then, the floor radiates the heat upward, warming the home.  For advanced efficiency, add an indirect-fired water heater to heat the domestic water.  Matching a high efficient boiler with an indirect-fired water heater will deliver virtually limitless hot water for bathing, laundry, dishwashing and cooking at a lower operating cost compared to most other alternatives.  When installed as a combination unit, you'll have the most efficient and comfortable heat.  And hot water at twice the peak flow of a tankless.  The photo here shows the boiler and indirect water heater installed in combination. A recent install by Wayne Maples Plumbing & Heating. Win! Win!

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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 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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