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Why You Should Never Pour Hot Oil Down Your Drain

Why You Should Never Pour Hot Oil Down Your Drain

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Your plumbing system is the lifeblood of your home. Without it, you can’t wash dishes, take a shower, or water the lawn. As such, you should treat every component with the utmost care. However, situations arise that can potentially damage your plumbing. One of these is drain clogs. While these can be caused by many scenarios, one of the most common problems is pouring hot oil down the drain. Find out why you should never pour hot oil down the kitchen sink and other tips to keep your drains and sinks flowing smoothly.

Never Pour Hot Oil Down the Kitchen Sink

It seems like a no-brainer. Hot oil is a liquid, and liquids go down the drain. However, the hot oil is a substance unlike any other. Regardless of the type of oil, these substances can clog or cake the insides of the drain.

For example, coconut oil, bacon grease, and vegetable shortening are spectacular for creating stir-frys or creating delicious meals. But while they liquify at high temperatures, they solidify at room temperature. When you pour these down the drain, they eventually reach room temperature, creating an impenetrable clog that can prevent proper drainage and water flow.

And while olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil are liquid at room temperature, they’re also hydrophobic. In short, that means they don’t like to mingle with water. When you pour these oils down the drain and turn the water on, they immediately separate. Instead of being flushed through the plumbing system, they cake on the sides of pipes. Over time, this can create a bottleneck, which eventually leads to significant clogging that requires the work of a plumber.

How to Properly Dispose of Hot Oil

If you regularly use butter, oil, or fat for cooking, proper disposal is essential. Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult. Start by selecting a container such as a coffee tin or other vessel that won’t melt due to the high temperature of the oil. Pour any leftover oil or fat into the container each time you cook.

Once you’ve filled the container, you have two options. The easy choice is to just chuck the container in the trash. But if you’re more of an environmentalist, call one of your local recycling centers. Most of the time, they’ll take your fat/oil concoction and give you a few pennies for your trouble.

Other Drain Clog Prevention Tips

The kitchen sink isn’t the only drain you should keep clean. Bathroom sinks, bathtubs, and showers are equally as important. That’s why you should take these tips to heart:

  • Put a drain guard over sinks and shower drains to keep out hair and soap scum
  • Brush your hair before you take a shower or bath
  • Don’t flush certain objects down the toilet such as paper towels or other bulky items

Because so much depends on clear, clean drainage lines, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. If you’re iffy about whether a substance can go down the drain, don’t pour it down the sink. Instead, dispose of the substance properly. As a result, you’ll have a clean plumbing system that you can depend on when you need it the most and avoid clogged drains throughout your home.

Express Plumbing has residential plumbers in San Mateo County standing by to help you if you ever need us, but part of our commitment to the Bay Area community is to provide you with preventative tips in order to properly take care of the plumbing pipes and drains in your home.


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Your End of Year Plumbing Checklist Is Here

Your End of Year Plumbing Checklist Is Here

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As the year comes to an end, you have plenty to worry about. Getting prepped for next year, hanging out with family, and finishing up year-end projects are all part of the plan. But one thing you shouldn’t neglect is your plumbing. With this end-of-year plumbing checklist, you can make sure all your fixtures and pipes are ready for winter and next spring.

Have Your Sewer Inspected

One of the most severe plumbing issues (and grossest, too) is when your sewer backs up. This is especially important with more use during the holidays or if you work from home due to COVID. That’s why you should have your sewer inspected by a professional. By taking a proactive approach, you can avoid any nasty situations, as well as determine any potential problems that need to be addressed in the near future.

Toilet Maintenance

According to some estimates, a running toilet can waste up to 26 gallons a day. In a year, that translates to around 10,000 gallons. Multiply that by the average U.S. price of water ($1.50 for 1,000 gallons), and you’re throwing away $15 a year for each toilet in your home.

While that doesn’t sound like much, analyze the alternative. Replacing the flapper or float on your toilet costs just a few bucks and makes your toilet run like new. If you’re already running down a plumbing checklist, this task is a no-brainer at minimal cost or effort.

Check for Leaks

Leaky pipes and fixtures aren’t just a money pit. They can also impact your house through water damage or mold, which can adversely affect your health. As a result, you should always check your home for leaks at the end of the year. Always check areas such as crawlspaces and the basement, as these are notorious places for leaks.

Leaking fixtures are easier to check. For sinks, just turn them on and look under the sink for moisture. In bathtubs and showers, turn them on and search for water coming out from anywhere other than the spout or showerhead. If they’re leaking, you might just need to tighten the bolts, replace the washers, or soak the showerhead in CLR or vinegar.

Inspect and Flush the Water Heater

During winter, your water heater is your best friend. You should treat it as such with a quick inspection and maybe even a flush. Make sure that the temperature gauge remains around 120 degrees, and that you don’t see any leaks, rust, or condensation on the tank. If you haven’t flushed your water heater, now’s the time. This will remove sediment that can reduce efficiency or substantially shorten the life of the water heater.

Although you can probably manage many of these tasks with minimal knowledge about plumbing, don’t let important or potentially serious issues fall by the wayside. For tasks you can’t complete on your own, make sure to call our experienced Bay Area plumbers at Express Plumbing. If you’re looking for a gift for the homeowner in you, check out an annual preventive maintenance plan. With one of these in place, you can minimize the chance for catastrophic damage and ensure your plumbing system keeps humming all year long.

From our entire team at Express Plumbing, we wish you a happy and healthy new year.


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Do You Know What Ends Up in Plumbing A Few Interesting Things Found!

Do You Know What Ends Up in Plumbing A Few Interesting Things Found!

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Few people can remember the time before indoor plumbing. A time when using the bathroom meant a trip outside, regardless of the weather or temperature. But today, indoor plumbing is a luxury that many people take for granted. It makes every person’s life easier, as long as they maintain their pipes and plumbing system.

However, plumbers have plenty of amusing stories. All kinds of items end up in pipes, toilets, sewer lines, and other fixtures throughout the home, leaving your plumbing professional with tales to tell for years to come. Here are some of the best.

Strange Items in the Toilet

Plumbers already have to deal with nasty clogs and human sewage. But these natural byproducts and substances aside, they still find strange or interesting things from time to time.

Dentures

If you have to hurl, make sure to take your dentures out before doing so. One plumber in California complained about a clog, and when the plumber snaked the toilet, a pair of dentures came out. Turns out the owner of the home had a meeting with the toilet after a night of heavy drinking.

Hair…Lots of Hair

Hair is a common blockage in many bathrooms drains. But some are longer than others. On several occasions, plumbers across the country have removed hair clogs totaling more than 8 feet. That’s just gross.

Toys

Toys end up in the toilet all the time. But when kids flush them down, the weirdest blockages occur. Plumbers have reported everything from dinosaurs to rubber duckies and more.

Rings

A plumber in Ohio reported finding four class rings in one plumbing job. Going the extra mile, he returned the rings to the individuals, creating an impromptu class reunion. Few other ring loss stories have such a happy ending.

How to Prevent these Items from Entering Your Plumbing System

Prevention and good habits are a one-two punch that can prevent extra phone calls to the plumber. Some tips to keep foreign objects out of your plumbing include:

  • Keeping your ring in a box or safe place; never laying it next to the sink
  • Having a small chest or container in the bathroom for bath toys
  • Cleaning the hair from your drains regularly, especially if visible, or add a strainer at the drain to catch the hair.
  • Supervising children in the bathroom at all times

Sometimes, random items will enter your pipes even when you take the proper steps. In these instances, you can always try plumbing or snaking the drain yourself. If that doesn’t work, enlist the help of a trusted, reputable, and qualified plumber.

Other Items to Keep Out of Your Plumbing System

In addition to random objects, jewelry, and toys, you should also keep these items out of your plumbing system:

  • Grease
  • Dental floss
  • Harsh drain cleaners
  • Fibrous vegetables and other food items such as egg shells, rice, onion, celery
  • Wet wipes (even the “flushable” variety)

Each of these items can cause a nasty clog that’s often unremovable without the help of a plumber. Therefore, it’s best to prevent these from entering the plumbing rather than trying to clear the clog afterward.

Although the above stories are amusing, they’re far less entertaining when they actually happen to you. So, make sure to take the necessary steps to keep foreign objects out of your toilet and keep up on routine and preventive maintenance. By doing so, you ensure a fully functioning plumbing system that won’t become the source of funny or horrifying plumber folklore.

With the holidays upon us, and kids at home, there’s a lot for you to handle, just know we’re here to assist when you need us 24/7 including holidays and weekends.  Consider us your “always ready” local plumber.


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What Is No-Contact Plumbing During COVID-19?

What Is No-Contact Plumbing During COVID-19?

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Critical to the infrastructure of businesses and residences, our Bay Area plumbers are still essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many homeowners may justifiably feel uneasy about individuals in their home for an extended period of time. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed COVID-compliant guidelines to protect both plumbers and homeowners from exposure.

By following these protocols, no-contact plumbing has become the new normal for our San Mateo plumbing crew, allowing us to make repairs and conduct routine maintenance. Paired with our own safety guidelines, homeowners should feel at ease. Here’s a glance at how we are practicing no-contact plumbing during COVID-19.

What Is No-Contact Plumbing?

In general, no-contact plumbing is a set of guidelines in the COVID-19 era that help maintain safety between homeowners and plumbers. Both the CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have presented methods to limit exposure to the virus. Some of the basic ideas of these no-contact plumbing protocols include:

  • Asking questions as to whether the maintenance is absolutely necessary to help limit contact between individuals
  • Social distancing and mask-wearing
  • Personal protective equipment worn
  • Scheduling to prevent contact between individuals

By adhering to these guidelines, our customers and employees have far less risk of exposure to COVID-19, as well as reduced fear or anxiety.

Personal Protective Equipment

Due to sanitary reasons, and company guidelines our crew is already equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we now take extra precautions. Our plumbers wear masks, eyewear, gloves, and any other PPE deemed necessary for the job. In addition, we may also include a face shield to further reduce the risk of spreading or exposure to COVID-19 where it is deemed necessary.

Scheduling

Another method of reducing exposure to COVID-19 is through various scheduling methods. In the COVID-19 era, we strategically schedule each appointment to minimize contact and offer scheduling appointments via the internet or phone to reduce contact between individuals.

If the repairs are outdoors, we make arrangements with the homeowners to schedule the service even if they’re at work.

No-Contact Plumbing Service Payment Options

While cash is king in the business world, the CDC and OSHA, now prefer no-contact payment options after service. COVID-19 can survive on paper products for 24 hours and plastic for two to three days. As a result, cash and credits cards aren’t the preferred method of payment. Instead, homeowners can now pay through various mobile payment options.  Ask us about all the no-contact payment options we have to put your mind at ease.

Fully functional plumbing is a necessity in any household. Ignoring a problem until it’s too late can not only cause potentially unsanitary conditions, but also cost you two or three times the amount of the original maintenance.

You shouldn’t wait to call us as your local plumbing company when necessary.  In the wake of Covid-19, our interactions may have changed when we come to provide you with a plumbing service, but by following proper no-contact plumbing guidelines, both parties can maintain safe distances without fear of exposure to the virus. That’s a win-win for both sides.

Consider us your trusted San Mateo experienced plumber.  We look forward to providing you with a safe no-contact plumbing appointment when you need one.


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Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Fall

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Fall

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Although you may have numerous home improvement projects that need your attention this fall, don’t forget about your plumbing. Because many problems aren’t easily seen—especially to the novice plumber—they can spiral out of control without proper care and maintenance. Even little issues such as a running toilet or a leaky faucet can cost you tons of money on your monthly water bill. That’s why you need to employ these seasonal plumbing tips for fall if you live in California. By doing so, you can resolve any issues or problems that can end up costing you a small fortune.  Our team of Bay Area plumbers loves sharing tips without community that will save them from plumbing disasters and unnecessary spending in the long run.  Here are a few you can easily implement this fall.

Adjust Your Sprinkler System

Lawns still need the same amount of water during fall, so resist the urge to dismantle or winterize your sprinklers. Instead, use the fall to maintain your sprinkler system so it’s functional in the fall and ready to go in the spring. Remove each of the sprinkler heads and wash them to remove debris. Then, take out the nozzle body and wash them using a few drops of dish soap and water. Finally, place the sprinklers back in the ground and turn them on to remove the last bit of silt and dirt.

Check the Outside of Your Home

The fall is also the ideal time to check the outside of your home for potential problems. For example, leaves can decompose and clog gutters and downspouts, making a potential water damage hazard. You should also inspect the roof of your home for any issues, which can be done when cleaning the gutters. Finally, make certain that your downspouts are connected to the gutter so that water flows to the appropriate areas.

Inspect for Water Leaks

Often, water leaks can cause damage to homes simply because they’re hard to identify. During the fall, take time to inspect areas where you may find leaks or potential water damage. Basements are notorious for having leaky pipes, so search for any pools of water or moisture. In addition, you should inspect the areas around your toilet, bathtub, and shower. If the caulk around these fixtures is broken, water can seep into your flooring. If you find a lack of caulk, remove the old bead and put down a new one.

Take Care of Your Water Heater

As the temperatures cool, the last thing you want is cold water in the shower. Therefore, you can take a few steps to ensure your water heater is working properly. Flush the water heater to remove any residue and check your water heater supply lines to ensure that they’re free of corrosion.  Express Plumbing also recommends looking into an instant water heater which is commonly referred to as a tankless water heater.  Immediate hot water and big savings!

Check Your Sewer System

The threat of a sewer backing up into the home is a scary thought. Fortunately, fall is the perfect time to check your sewer system for potential hazards. Because tree roots won’t grow as fast during this time of year, you can check to see if they’re impeding your sewer line and fix them appropriately. If you have a septic tank, have it pumped during fall to ensure it works during the holidays.

 

By taking the time to create a fall plumbing checklist and scheduling annual maintenance, you can reduce the chances of a catastrophe—even in the mild California winter. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your plumbing system during the extensive use of the holiday season. That’s a holiday present that’s worth giving to yourself.

 

Our Bay Area plumbing team is always eager to assist you whether you need a repair or new plumbing installation.  Contact us with any questions you have.

 

 


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How CDC-Compliant, No-Contact Plumbing Works

How CDC-Compliant, No-Contact Plumbing Works

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Deemed essential workers by the United States government, plumbers continue to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, homeowners in need of plumbing shouldn’t put off necessary projects due to the current situation.

With guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), our San Mateo plumbing crews are maintaining proper safety protocols, all while getting the job done. If you’re apprehensive about hiring a plumber during the pandemic, don’t be. Here are the ways our Bay Area plumbers adhere to safety guidelines while they perform their duties.

The COVID-19 Plumbing Scenario

Working in unsavory conditions isn’t a foreign concept to plumbers. Whether they’re working in a crawlspace of fixing a sewer line, conditions aren’t always sanitary. Yet in a COVID-19 world, this particular aspect of plumbing provides an extra layer of protection for homeowners.

Plumbers are habitually used to wearing masks and personal protective equipment, making COVID-19 safety protocols easy to maintain. Plus, with the extra safety precautions laid out by the CDC, your family’s safety shouldn’t be a massive concern with the extra precautions we take.

How Plumbers Are Maintaining a CDC-Compliant, No-Contact Solution

As a Bay Area plumbing company and residents ourselves we are aware of the concerns that many homeowners have about the spread of COVID-19—especially as plumbers move from home to home and customer to customer. That’s why we are implementing the following guidelines to keep their clients’ minds at ease.

Social Distancing

In adherence with the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), plumbers maintain a strict six-foot gap between themselves and customers. By doing so, the incidence of spreading COVID-19 becomes lessened dramatically.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Including Masks

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, plumbers were already wearing PPE. Now, plumbers wear this same equipment with extra precautionary measures. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), plumbers should wear face masks, gloves, eyewear, and other safety equipment. In addition, OSHA also recommends a full-face shield to further protect the plumber and customers from COVID-19 infection when necessary.

Sanitizing Techniques

Because plumbers have to work with dirty water on occasion and are in contact with a variety of surfaces, they must practice strong sanitizing techniques. To exacerbate the issue, the CDC recently said that COVID-19 can live for differing periods of time depending on the surface, including materials that plumbers often use:

  • Copper – four hours
  • Cardboard – 24 hours
  • Plastic – two to three days
  • Stainless steel – two to three days

Because of the resiliency of the virus, plumbers are taking precautions to sanitize every surface they work with, and encouraging our clients to do the same.

 


 

Contactless Payment Options

When the project is finally completed, plumbers are using contactless payment options to keep customers clear of any potential infections. Credit cards are the preferred option over cash to minimize the chance of COVID-19 infection.

Proper plumbing is a necessity in any household, especially as the pandemic has caused many families to stay at home. By following social distancing protocols and wearing personal protective equipment, the chance for COVID-19 to spread is essentially nonexistent.

So, if you have a leaky faucet or a major plumbing problem, give the professionals a call. Not only will you enjoy a well-functioning plumbing system, but the extra flushes and water usage won’t add any more stress to your life.

As a Bay Area plumber, we have been serving our customers for multiple decades, our employees, family and friends all reside in this area, we all must do our part to support each other and avoid the spread by following proper protocols.

If you need us, we are here for you and you’ll be in good hands.  Contact us to discuss your upcoming project or plumbing repair in the Bay Area.

 

 


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EPS, Inc. dba Express Plumbing is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and customers. Read More

Express Plumbing
307 N. Amphlett Blvd San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone: (800) 246-6425 $246 - $6425
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