Tag Archives: holiday plumbing problems

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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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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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End of Year Household Plumbing Tips

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With any luck, you’ve gone another year without any plumbing mishaps. No leaks, bursts, backups, or overflows have damaged your home, and as the year draws to a close, it’s time to give something back.

Before the hectic time around Christmas and New Year’s, follow these end-of-year household plumbing maintenance tips that are sure to keep your fixtures and pipes running like clockwork.


Outside Plumbing Maintenance Tips

You may think only of your sink, washing machine, or bathroom when it comes to plumbing, but don’t neglect the outdoors.

The first step to maintaining your outdoor plumbing is to remove all of your garden hoses.

If exposed to the elements, the water in the hose can freeze and expand, causing significant damage to interior pipes and fixtures. Make sure to disconnect these hoses, turn off the shut-off valve, and drain any excess water.

Insulate Your Pipes

One of the costliest plumbing repairs occurs when a pipe bursts in the home. This can cause excessive flooding and damage that can drain your emergency savings account.

However, the problem is avoidable. Wrap any exposed pipes in your basement or crawl space with foam pipe insulation. Available from hardware or plumbing supply stores, this foam insulation keeps your pipes’ temperature above the freezing point.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

Whether you’re cooking for 10 or 100 during the holidays, your kitchen goes into overdrive. Your stove, oven, and dishwasher can usually handle the extra workload, but pay attention to your garbage disposal.

Even one that’s fully functional in mid-November can cause problems come January. During the holidays, use the acronym FOG to avoid:

  • Fats.
  • Oils.
  • Grease.

These three items can gum up your garbage disposal, rendering it inoperable when you need it most. You should keep coffee grounds, egg shells, and bones out of the garbage disposal to increase its longevity. Running only cold water also helps the device from overheating.

If you still run into problems, a trained technician is the only surefire way to repair the issue.

Fix the Leaks

You might notice an occasional drip of water coming from your sink or bathtub, but it doesn’t motivate you to fix it. That said, even a slow drip can add up. Just one drip per minute can add up to 34 gallons a year, wasting tons of money and freshwater in the process.

Drips in other places such as the basement or utility closet can also cause water damage that further drains your bank account. If you notice a leak or drip, the end of the year is the perfect time to fix it so you can start fresh come January 1. Although some of these are easily fixed with the turn of a wrench, don’t hesitate to call a plumbing professional if the problem is over your head or outside your DIY expertise.

With gift buying, parties, and New Year’s resolutions, you have plenty to worry about at the end of the year. Don’t add a plumbing disaster to the list. By following this checklist, you’re assured of a pristine plumbing system that won’t let you down.

All of us at EPS Inc. Express Plumbing wish you and your family a very happy holiday season, free from plumbing disasters and lots of cheer.


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Avoid Thanksgiving Plumbing Issues

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Thanksgiving is one of the most exciting times of the year. You invite friends and family into your home to celebrate what you’re thankful for while feasting and drinking to your heart’s desire. Unfortunately, the added company can also wreak havoc on your plumbing and home sewer system. Follow these easy tips to avoid Thanksgiving plumbing issues.

Don’t Abuse the Garbage Disposal

When used correctly, the garbage disposal is among the most convenient appliances in the home. If it’s abused, you’re on a dangerous path to clogs and backups. While it can easily grind organic matter such as the flesh of soft veggies and fruits, other items are problematic. Avoid bones, coffee grounds, eggshells, starchy vegetables, oils, and fats, as these can cause significant clogs that only a licensed plumber can repair. A sink strainer is a nice fail-safe if you have little helpers, or you haphazardly throw items into the sink by habit

If you’re Eco-conscious, throw all of the organic items you can’t put in the garbage disposal into a separate container. Together, the vegetables, fruits, coffee grounds, and other leftovers make one amazing compost that’s perfect for the garden.

 

Create Bathroom Ground Rules

Everyone has their own habits when it comes to the bathroom, but don’t let that prevent you from being the supreme ruler of the commode and shower. Space out showers at least 15 minutes apart to allow the drains to clear. Put up a sign that informs others that only toilet paper can do down the toilet, and if you have any hints of plumbing issues involving your flushing mechanism or a float, fix it before the holiday. By following these two simple rules, the chances of a sewage backup go down exponentially.

Don’t Play Handyman

Modern websites like Wikihow and YouTube have turned generations of bashful DIYers into proactive versions. In a perfect world, this means you could fix your plumbing just by watching a video or reading a short excerpt from a book. In reality, you could mess up your plumbing to the point of no return. Ignore Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It inside your head, and leave the problem to a professional.

Prevent Plumbing Issues With Proper Maintenance

If you notice some warning signs of plumbing issues such as slow draining sinks or showers, leaks, low water pressure, or a lack of hot water, tackle the problem immediately. A call to a licensed plumber before Thanksgiving is a surefire way to fix the issue and eliminate it at a fraction of the cost. Procrastination only exacerbates the problem and leads to further repairs and costs down the road — just when you’re saving up for Black Friday.

Some home plumbing and sewer issues are unavoidable, but with just a bit of forethought, you can avoid a Thanksgiving plumbing meltdown. That’s something you can definitely be thankful for.

Our crew of experienced plumbers have been serving the Bay Area since 1989.  Got a question? Give us a call or send us a message.


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Most Common Holiday Plumbing Problems We’ve Seen in the Bay Area

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You’re right, plumbing problems aren’t specific to geographic locations, but we can only speak about our plumbing emergency experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This time of year, everyone is in a festive mood as they should be, but there’s nothing worse than a plumbing disaster striking right in the midst of a holiday event, but our plumbing crew will tell you it happens all the time.

As a Bay Area plumber since 1989, we’ve been called night and day to deal with plumbing emergencies for businesses, homeowners, even municipality plumbing issues , the number of residential plumbing problem calls always increase around the holidays, why?  The plumbing does take a large beating with the above average use during this season.  Here are the most common residential plumbing problem calls we’ve received.

Common Plumbing Problems and Prevention

Garbage Disposal Stops Working

With so many tasty dinners around the holidays, of course their are many broken garbage disposals. There are however a few things you can do to prevent this from happening or at least delay it so you can remain in a festive mood.  Your garbage disposal is not a dumpster.  Keep things out of it, it’s that simple.

Sure, many will tell you to cut things into smaller pieces, or to only put certain types of foods down the garbage disposal.  As your trusted Bay Area plumber, we say to avoid it all together around the holidays because we want you to enjoy the holiday season free from any unexpected plumbing issues.

Broken Water Heaters

We get called for this all the time, and it’s always fun when the water heater is not broken at all, the igniter goes off and no more hot water.  This is usually a quick fix and we all get back to our holiday festive moods.

One year a San Francisco resident was so excited after finding out her water heater was not broken at all, it had just shut off, she had our tech Joe stay for dinner and celebrate Christmas eve with her family.  It’s moments like these that we enjoy and help us love what we do even more.

We serve our community with dedication and a rapid response 24 hour a day, 7 days a week including the weekends and holidays.  We do it with a smile.  If you have a plumbing problem in San Francisco, call us and you’ll get a live person whenever you call.

Here are a few things you can do if you have a traditional water heater when you’re expecting a few overnight holiday guests.

Turn up the temperature, but never go over 120 degrees, it can be dangerous, this will help you stretch your hot water and insure everyone gets a nice comfy shower.  Remember to turn it down right after they’re gone so you don’t waste too much and save energy.

If you have an on-demand water heater (tankless water heater), you don’t have to worry about hot water at all.  When you want it, it’s there.

Last but not least, we hate to talk about a pesky, stinky plumbing matter, but we simply can’t avoid it because it’s one of the most common plumbing problems during the holidays.

Clogged Toilets or Sewer

With so many guests in and out of the bathroom, that’s bound to happen.  Not to mention, after a few drinks, who knows what’s being flushed down the toilet.  If you don’t normally keep a waste basket close, get one!

Remind your guests not to flush sanitary napkins, baby wipes, facial tissues, etc.

We’re always available to help including holidays and weekends, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a plumber near just in case.  Leak detection, Sewer repair or replacement is our specialty.

These are just a few of the calls we’ve received in the past, we hope these tips will help you and from our entire plumbing and engineering team at EPS Express Plumbing, we wish you and your family a festive, holiday season filled with love, laughter and free of plumbing problems.

Rapid Response:

The Holidays seasons is one of our busiest months, we serve the entire Bay Area, but call us when you need a trusted, fast response:

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307 N. Amphlett Blvd San Mateo, CA 94401
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