Residential Plumbing Most Commonly Asked Questions

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Residential Plumbing Most Commonly Asked Questions

Residential Plumbing Most Commonly Asked Questions

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When your residential plumbing system is functioning at full capacity, you probably don’t think too much about it. It’s only when something fails, there’s a drip that keeps you awake, or the toilet backs up that your mind finally starts to wonder about the pipes beneath the floor or behind the walls. While even a novice DIYer can fix some plumbing issues, others may require a more professional approach. Either way, getting the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about residential plumbing is the most direct path to keeping your plumbing in business and your mind at ease.

What Should I Do If My Toilet Starts to Overflow?

An overflowing toilet doesn’t just induce panic. It’s downright gross and can damage your home’s flooring, baseboards, and more. But before you have a meltdown, familiarize yourself with the steps to prevent a major catastrophe.

If your toilet starts to overflow, the quickest way to fix it is to take the lid off the tank, reach in, and push down the flapper. Hopefully, this solves the issue.

If the bowl continues to fill, look down at the base of your toilet. You should see some flexible pipe running to the wall. Follow this to the shutoff valve and turn the water off to avert disaster.

What’s the Best Way to Fix a Clog?

Although Drano and other drain cleaners tout themselves as the top solution to plumbing clogs, they’re environmentally unsafe. They may work, but if you don’t want to pollute the water supply, you still have other options.

In bathtubs and showers, the solution is usually easier than you think. Put on a pair of gloves, remove the grate, and reach down inside. A majority of the time, the issue is just a thick clump of hair and soap that’s built up over time. Once you remove this, it should solve the issue.

For your kitchen sink, you should first try a plunger. The suction can force the clog down the drain. If that doesn’t work, pour some baking soda down the drain and follow it up with a few quarts of boiling water.

When Should I Tackle a Plumbing Problem on My Own?

The most important thing to consider when fixing a plumbing issue is if you have the right tools for the job. Many plumbers use a variety of tools that you won’t find in a basic toolbox, so that’s where to look first.

Next, think about your confidence and knowledge to fix the problem. If you aren’t confident or aren’t sure what you’re doing, don’t force the issue.

Sometimes the Smart Move Is to Call a Professional

Even if you’re a driven individual that’s handy with a set of tools, don’t tackle plumbing problems that are over your head. Oftentimes, this can make the problem worse. Instead, call a professional plumbing crew.

By hiring a seasoned plumber, you can make short work of any plumbing problems and, hopefully, solve them before they become a major issue. The plumber may not love you looking over his shoulder, but maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.  At Express Plumbing, we’ve helped residential, commercial and even municipal customers when they run into plumbing issues anywhere in the Bay Area.  Give us a call, we’re happy to help.


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Fall Plumbing Adjustments Around the House

Fall Plumbing Adjustments Around the House

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Fall isn’t just a time when the leaves start falling, the kids go back to school, and the summer ends. It’s also a great occasion to do stuff around the house, and in particular, plumbing. Now that the hectic pace of summer has died down, you finally have time to do all the things you wanted to do months ago. And since your plumbing has probably taken a beating due to lockdowns and quarantines, it’s the perfect time to get a jump-start on everything before winter rears its ugly head. Here’s what you should do.

The Water Heater Debacle

Traditional Tank water heaters aren’t a bad investment per se. But if you live in a family of five or more, you certainly don’t want to be the last person to take a shower. While a cold shower might invigorate you and conceivably save water as you rush through your bathing regimen, upgrading to an on-demand water heater is perhaps the better option.

Although a bit more expensive than tank water heaters, you’ll know just where your money went. Every time you turn on the shower or faucet, you have instant hot water, essentially circumnavigating the cold-water issues you had in the past.

Our team at Express Plumbing can evaluate your water heater situation and make a recommendation.  We have helped hundreds of homeowners in the Bay Area make the switch from a traditional water heater to a tankless water heater.

Garbage Disposal Repair

Have you noticed that your garbage disposal isn’t crushing up food particles as it has in the past? It’s nothing you did; it’s just the nature of garbage disposals. Like any other type of appliance in your home, it’s going to need maintenance from time to time.

To fix your garbage disposal, start with the easiest remedy: ice. When you pour ice down the drain and turn on the disposal, it effectively sharpens the blades, which could be the source of your problems.

If the problem is with draining, you have two other options. A plunger is a great way to remove clogs while baking soda and hot water solutions can help remove more stubborn clogs. Toss in a lemon afterward to clear the smell and your garbage disposal is like new.

Got any more questions about common plumbing problems?  Give us a call, we love helping our neighbors and residents throughout the Bay Area.

Sprinkler Maintenance

Depending on where you live, fall means more rainfall. In the spirit of water conservation and saving money, you may as well conduct some sprinkler maintenance and take care of nature’s natural watering. Some things to look for include:

  • Puddles of water, which indicates a leak in the system
  • Sprinkler heads spraying the wrong way, which means they’re clogged or obstructed
  • Dead zones, which may be the result of broken lines or mechanical malfunction

If you keep your eyes on these problems, you can make sure your sprinkler is ready for the spring and turn your yellowed lawn into the green envy of the neighborhood.

Since sprinklers run at odd hours, you may not see the problem right away.  Make sure to manually run your sprinklers during the day at least once a month and monitor each location for any leaks.  Avoiding or ignoring this problem can be costly in the long run.

Cleaning the Gutters

With the torrential downpours of fall also comes a potential flooding hazard with respect to your gutters. When gutters are clogged, water goes closer to your house, which may result in leaks in the basement foundation. By cleaning the gutters of debris, you force the water flow away from your house, keeping your basement bone-dry in the process.

Know When to Call a Pro

Not every fall plumbing adjustment is easily handled by a novice DIYer. For those jobs, enlist the help of a plumbing professional. With just a quick call, you can fix minor problems before they become a huge issue in the winter. All that’s left to do is enjoy the change in foliage, Halloween, and maybe just the idea of the kids being out of the house.

We have been serving the Bay Area for multiple decades.  EPS Inc. dba Express Plumbing is equipped and staffed to handle any size project.  No job is too small or too big for our crew to handle, simply give us a call and we’ll be there to take care of your plumbing issues 24/7 including holidays and weekends.


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Clogged Garbage Disposal at Home What Should I Do

Clogged Garbage Disposal at Home: What Should I Do?

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You’ve probably been there before. You put some end-pieces of food down the garbage disposal, turn on the water, and flick the switch. Quickly the sink fills up with water, and even the grinding of the disposal does nothing. You have the dreaded clogged garbage disposal. But as frustrating as it is, don’t stress. By learning what causes a backup and following a few tips, you can get your garbage disposal up and running in no time at all.

Why is my garbage disposal backing up?

Our San Mateo plumbers serving the Bay Area have reported that several culprits can cause clogged garbage disposal, but the most common reason is improper usage. Many people throw all types of food in the sink that shouldn’t go in there. Furthermore, if you’re not using enough water when you use the garbage disposal, the system can’t flush the food particles down through the trap and pipes.

One of the less common reasons that you should consider if you’re using enough water and only flushing the right types of food down the drain is the condition of the blades. Over time, food can dull the blades of the system, and they’re no longer sharp enough to cut the food into small enough pieces.

Furthermore, a unit that’s 15 years old or more may be at the end of its useful life.  If you end up with a clog, give our experienced technicians a call.  As your local Bay Area plumber, we’re here to make sure drains flow properly so you don’t have to worry about it.

How to drain a clogged garbage disposal?

The good news is that you have several options to drain a clogged garbage disposal. Before getting into these, it’s important to note that you should avoid drain cleaners. While these may work, they’re not environmentally friendly and should only be used as a last resort.;

One of the most efficient ways to clear a clogged garbage disposal is to use a plunger. You can use a toilet plunger, but for sanitary reasons, you may want to consider a sink plunger, which is also a bit smaller and makes it easy to plunge away.

Another option is to use an environmentally-friendly mix of baking soda and white vinegar. Pour one part of baking soda down the drain followed by two parts white vinegar. This will cause a fizzy chemical reaction that can break down food in the line. Flush it clear with water after about 20 minutes.

As a last resort, you may have to give us a call to amend the problem. Don’t go under the sink and start taking apart pipes or the garbage disposal unless you’re confident in your abilities. Otherwise, you might make the problem worse or your sink inoperable.

How to avoid a clogged garbage disposal?

If you want to avoid a clogged garbage disposal, don’t put any of these foods down the drain:

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit pits
  • Pasta
  • Grease and oil
  • Celery
  • Bones

Each of these items can clog or even break the garbage disposal. If you have quite a bit of acceptable food, make sure to put it down the drain in small batches to avoid overworking the unit. You should also keep the water running while you’re grinding up food to flush it down the drain and through the pipes.

Finally, you should conduct proper maintenance on all your drains and plumbing throughout the house. Throw ice in the drain once a week to sharpen the blades, as well as a lemon, which can help break down certain foods and provide a better odor.

A clogged garbage disposal is a nuisance, but with preventive ideas and maintenance, you can steer clear of the problem altogether.

These tips and more are available from our experienced crew of plumbers in the Bay Area.  We’ve been serving our community for multiple decades and operate 24 hours if you ever need us.  We look forward to serving your home or business.


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You’ll Love These Cool Plumbing Hacks Around the House

You’ll Love These Cool Plumbing Hacks Around the House

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The easiest way for a homeowner’s day to be ruined is waking up to the drip of a leaking faucet, or the backup of water in the shower or tub. However, you don’t have to let these occurrences keep you from other obligations or activities. These five easy and quick plumbing hacks will allow you to remedy the problems and enjoy the rest of your day.

Homemade Drain Cleaner

Poor drainage is generally a small, but annoying indoor plumbing problem. This lack of water flow is usually caused by minerals, food, or hair buildup. If you have tried the usual baking soda or pot of hot water down the drain and came up empty-handed, a concentrated homemade drain cleaner is the quick and easy solution.

To create this homemade drain cleaner, start by pouring a pot of hot water down the drain. Then, add ½ a cup of vinegar and ½ a cup of baking soda into the drain. Let sit for 10 minutes. Follow up with two pots of boiling hot water to clear the drain. If the drain isn’t cleared, give our team of Bay Area plumbers a call, we’ll get your clogged drain flowing right quickly.

Increased Shower Water Pressure

Showers can be the most relaxing part of your day. It can be a time to unwind and de-stress before or after an event. But if your shower’s water pressure isn’t quite up to standard, a soothing experience becomes an annoyance. Fortunately, you have numerous ways to increase your shower’s water pressure, even if you aren’t a DIYer.

Three simple fixes could turn that shower into a high-pressure stream instead of a dribbling hose. The first is to dip your showerhead in a bowl filled up with vinegar and let it sit overnight. Afterward, clean the surface of the head with a toothbrush to break up any particles or debris.

The second option would be to check for kinks or knots within the hose if your shower uses a flex pipe instead of PVC or metal piping. If you have PVC or metal pipes, simply check to make sure all valves are opened. The third and final tip would be to flush the lines in your water heater to improve water pressure and flow.

Stop A Running Toilet

The constant drone of a running toilet is not only an annoying sound but a telltale sign that it needs a bit of TLC. However, you can easily resolve the issue in a few simple steps.

One way to stop a running toilet would be to check the required water height and examine the float. If the water levels are low in the toilet, it could cause the toilet to run continuously. Checking the float and the water levels could help alleviate this problem.

If the water levels are normal, you could have just a simple issue with your flapper. Check your flapper and see if the lack of suction is the reason your toilet will not flush properly or continues to run. If this seems to be the case, drain your tank, remove the flapper, and take it with you to the hardware store to find another flapper that fits your toilet. You can also order a one size fits all flapper online if that suits your needs.

Handy Options for the Novice Handyman

Even if you aren’t the handiest homeowner, knowing a few quick, simple, and long-lasting fixes can make homeownership just a tad easier. With any luck, you can put these problems behind you and enjoy a functional plumbing system that makes cooking, cleaning, and bathing a cinch.

If you’re a homeowner in the Bay Area, we’re here to help you with all your plumbing issues.  From clogged drains to leaky faucets, repairs, and new installations.  Whether the issue is above or underground.  Give us a call for a plumbing quote.


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Costs are Rising, Use these Cost Saving Tips Around Your Bay Area Home

Costs are Rising, Use these Cost Saving Tips Around Your Bay Area Home

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In April 2021, inflation rose by 4.2% — the biggest year-over-year change since September 2008. As a result, nearly every basket of goods in the consumer price index is rising, making budgeting and cost-cutting a necessity for American households. However, cost-saving tips aren’t limited to buying less. Employing certain hacks can save money around your Bay Area home, giving you more money to spend on the things you want or need. Here are some options to put more money in your pocket each month.

Install Low-Flow Faucets in Your Sinks

According to some studies, replacing your current faucets with low-flow options can save up to 60% on your water bill. In most cases, you don’t need a commercial-strength faucet to cook or wash your hands, so putting these in your home is a no-brainer. If you like strong water pressure for your showers, leave the showerheads and replace everything else.

You can also add a water aerator to your faucets as an alternative or in addition to low-flow faucets. These devices screw onto the faucet tip and dilute the water stream with air, which uses less water without a marked decrease in water pressure.

Our plumbers in San Mateo have installed thousands of faucets throughout the Bay Area.  Ask us for a quote today.

Install Curtains and Blinds

If your Bay Area home has a significant number of windows that face east or west, curtains and blinds can reduce your energy costs. Reflective blinds can deflect sunlight during the summer, saving you as much as 45% on your energy bills over the course of the year. In the winter, turn the heat on and close the drapes to reduce heat loss by up to 10%, saving you even more on your bills.

Quit Drinking Bottled Water

Bottled water is a major drain on household expenses throughout the year. Even at $5 a week, that adds up to an unnecessary expenditure of $260 a year. Plus, the plastic bottles can pose a threat to the ocean or end up in a landfill where it could take up to 450 years to completely decompose.

Tap water is potable throughout the Bay Area, giving you an almost free source of H2O. If you’re averse to tap water, buy a water filter. Even with the cost of the unit and the disposable filters, you can still save around $200 a year.

EPS Inc. a division of Express Plumbing works closely with local municipalities on potable water tank inspections.  If you ever have a question about drinking water and what you can do around the home, simply give us a call.

Insulate the Water Heater

Unless you have an on-demand, tankless water heater, insulating your water heater tank can save you as much as 9% on your energy bills each year. All you need to do is buy an insulating blanket and wrap it around your water heater, which enables the unit to keep 40% more heat in. With the blanket in place, you won’t have to feel guilty staying in that hot shower a little while longer.

On-demand water heaters are our specialty.  We’ve installed them at homes and businesses throughout the Bay Area.  Need to know more?  Simply reach out to us and we’ll be glad to help.

Come Up with Your Own Hacks

The tips mentioned above are easy to do and can save you hundreds of dollars a year, but don’t stop there. Come up with your own hacks around the house, do a job that you normally pay someone else to do, or have a family meeting to come up with ideas. The money you save just might be enough for that summer vacation you’ve wanted.  If you have new ideas you’d like to share with others, send them to us and we’ll be happy to share them in our future articles.


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How Do I Know if My Plumbing is Bad

How Do I Know if My Plumbing is Bad?

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A working plumbing system is vital to the comfort of living in your home. However, you can’t simply ignore it. Plumbing requires at least yearly appointments from a professional, but sometimes you can curb plumbing issues by remaining vigilant. By keeping an eye out for these telltale signs, you can tell if your plumbing is bad and get the proper maintenance you need before it becomes a serious or catastrophic issue.

Slow Draining in Fixtures

A kitchen sink or a shower draining slowly is an obvious sign that you have a plumbing issue. Typically, this is the result of hair, food, or soap scum build-up within the area below the drain or in the pipe.

In most cases, you can fix the clog yourself. Simply remove the drain cover in your bathtub or shower and pull out the hair. In a kitchen sink, clear the food out of the pipes or run your garbage disposal. If neither of these fixes the issue, you may need to give us a call to snake the line.

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure is a common issue in older homes, especially those homes that haven’t been retrofitted with wider PVC pipes. However, a temporary lack of water pressure isn’t always an issue, as it could be the result of a water main issue.

If you consistently have low water pressure, it’s the sign of a larger issue. You may have several leaks or clogs in your pipes that can significantly reduce water pressure. Over time, this can cause more severe leakage or clogs that can cause your drains to back up. So don’t neglect this issue.

Our San Mateo plumbers use leak detection cameras and other methods to inspect the lines in your home.  Identifying any potential problems early will help you fix them quickly and cost less in the long run.

Dirty Water

Discoloration of your water is another problem that homeowners often face. Sometimes, the local water company will identify this as a system-wide problem, which often results in boil orders.

If a boil order hasn’t been issued for your neighborhood or city, it could be an issue with your pipes. Brownish water is often the result of iron seeping into the line from older pipes or a problem with your water heater. If you notice blue or green water, corrosion might be the culprit. Either way, you’ll need to call us just to make sure.

Noisy Pipes

A properly functioning plumbing system should never make any audible noises other than the sound of water running through the pipes when you turn the water on. If you notice rattles, whines, or any other suspect noise, you could have bigger issues.

When your pipes make noises, it’s usually a surefire signal that you have a leak or your bleed-off system isn’t working right. Both issues are not easily fixed by a novice, so make sure to contact us as your local plumber so we can identify and isolate the problem.

Even if you’re not a natural handyman or DIYer, simply looking for symptoms of bad plumbing can protect your home and investment. Once you’ve identified any problems, don’t hesitate to call our experienced local plumbers.  It could make the difference between a small issue that can quickly be fixed and a massive plumbing problem.

 

 


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How Plumbing Improves Our Daily Lives and Our Planet

How Plumbing Improves Our Daily Lives and Our Planet

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Modern plumbing has changed the lives of Americans over generations. In 1950, 25% of households and 50% of rural areas lacked either running water, a toilet, or a bathtub/shower. Today, just 0.64% of American homes are without running water — a testament to the prevalence of modern-day plumbing. But with the advancement of plumbing has also come another boon: saving the planet. With water-saving fixtures in abundance, Americans enjoy convenience at home and the satisfaction of preserving the world — one drop of water at a time.

The Convenience and Innovation of Modern Plumbing

As innovative products continue to hit the market, plumbing has become more than just a modern convenience; in many instances, it’s a luxury item. From the amazing to the borderline excessive, here’s a look at some of the current plumbing products that continue to revolutionize the housing market.

Tankless Water Heaters

The days of the giant water heater tank are over, well, at least if you have the budget to upgrade to a tankless water heater. Using a heat exchanger, these systems heat water as it flows through the device, providing on-demand hot water without the need to wait. In addition, tankless water heaters can save up to 34% on energy costs compared to traditional water heaters, saving you money each time you turn on the tap.

If you’re looking into a tankless water heater in the Bay Area, call us for a free estimate, our team of experienced plumbers have installed hundreds of instant water heaters for homeowners throughout the San Francisco Bay.

Smart Products

Smart products are becoming a part of daily life for many Americans. From doorbells to virtual assistants, these products are all designed to make life just a bit easier. In the past five years, smart products have branched out into the plumbing sector. This includes products that detect leaks, purify water and alert you of any bacteria via Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth showerheads.

Touchless Faucets

Although touchless faucets have been around in commercial buildings for a decade or so, they’re becoming more popular in homes. Using a sensor to detect the presence of an object, these faucets turn off and on without you turning the tap. Not only is this more convenient, but it can also save you money while you’re multitasking in the kitchen or bathroom.

How Modern Plumbing Improves the Planet

While modern-day plumbing offers the utmost convenience, it also improves the well-being of the planet. Droughts and water shortages have become a regular occurrence in many parts of the world. But with water-saving plumbing fixtures, these instances are becoming a thing of the past.

Furthermore, modern plumbing practices in the U.S. are being applied in other areas of the world that don’t have access to clean water. Through various international initiatives, underprivileged areas are now receiving water for the first time — helping to quench thirst and eradicate waterborne diseases at the same time.

Express Plumbing is a division of EPS Inc. which specializes in underground construction, civil engineering and is also involved in working with local municipalities to regularly inspect underground drinking water lines.

Like any other industry, the plumbing sector continues to evolve and grow. With more new homes built every year and the plumbing profession growing by 4% over the next 10 years, chances are that new products will continue to make indoor plumbing safer, convenient, and planet-saving.

As your Bay area plumbers for multiple decades, our goal is to have you enjoy your home without plumbing issues but to also preserve our planet by advocating for advanced environmentally friendly plumbing solutions.  Contact us for all your residential and commercial plumbing needs.

 

Sources:

https://www.portapotty.net/plumbing

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm

 


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Spring Home Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Spring Home Plumbing Maintenance Tips

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Although you may have your sights set on warmer weather or cleaning the house after a long winter, the spring season is also the perfect time to take care of your home plumbing maintenance. Not only will regular maintenance decrease the chance of more catastrophic problems, but it will also help you assess your needs moving closer to summer.

Checking the Pipes Underneath Your Home

One of the top priorities for spring home plumbing maintenance is checking the pipe underneath your home. During the winter, pipes underneath the home become susceptible to cracks and damage that can cause significant problems in the spring. Therefore, you should look for puddles of water or leaks around these pipes to ascertain the severity of the damage.

Along with water pipes, sewer lines also run underneath your home. Because of the issues caused by a sewer backup, you’ll want to inspect the sewer line every spring and drain it as necessary. Some telltale signs that your sewer line is clogged includes:

  • Several plugging fixtures clogged
  • Water backs up into a tub or shower when flushing the toilet
  • Drains running exceptionally slow

If you find that your plumbing is suffering from any of these, you may want to drain the sewer lane and check it for clogs. In most cases, this is more easily done by a professional. But if you have some knowledge, find the main sewer line and run a snake through it to fix the issue.

How To Maintain Your Pipes and Drains

Remember that everything you put down the sink, toilet, or shower ends up in your pipes. As a result, you might want to discuss the issue with your family members. Make a specific list of objects and substances that shouldn’t go down the drain, including:

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fat and oils
  • Paper towels
  • Paint and cleaning solutions

By keeping these out of your drains, you can avoid clogs and other plumbing issues.

Test Your Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump in the basement, spring is the ideal time to ensure it’s in working order. To test your sump pump, dump a bucket of water into the pit where the sump pump is located. If it’s working properly, it should turn on, drain the water, and then deactivate the pump. If it fails to do so, you may need to consider replacing your sump pump.

Flush Your Water Heater

If your water heater is around 15 years old, it could be near the end of its useful life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take the proper steps to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Inspect the bottom edge of the water heater for corrosion, flush the water heater during the summer, and check the fuses.

Not everything on your list of spring home plumbing maintenance tips are for the novice DIY homeowner. In some cases, you might require the help of a professional.

So if you notice any problems or need the knowledge of an expert, don’t hesitate to contact us at Express Plumbing in San Mateo.  We have been serving the entire Bay Area since 1989.  Our residential, commercial and municipal customers rely on our expertise to get the job done efficiently.

Rely on our plumbing experience and transition to summer by enjoying your home headache-free.


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