Tag Archives: plumbing issues

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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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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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Emergency response plumbers bay area

Emergency Response Plumbers Covid19 and Beyond

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The spread of Covid-19 across the globe has already fueled an abundance of misinformation and rumors. From fake cures to hoaxes, these incorrect tidbits circulating the internet have caused more panic and hysteria. One such rumor is the idea that coronavirus can spread from person to person through plumbing systems, especially in high-rise buildings. However, modern plumbing codes have made such a scenario nearly impossible.

Extra Strain on Plumbing

Because of shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions designed to curb the spread of Covid-19, many residential plumbing systems are under high strain. Although this may increase the chances of sewage backups and other plumbing issues, modern plumbing fixtures and practices exponentially limit the chances of the spread of disease.

The Spread of Covid-19 Through Plumbing Rumor

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, was a viral infection that spread throughout the globe in the early 2000s. Because of the severity of the pandemic and its potential to cause mass fatalities, Covid-19 has been routinely compared to the SARS outbreak. However, one particular instance has caused members of the public to become concerned about the spread of Covid-19 via plumbing systems.

In 2003, defective plumbing caused SARS to spread through a high-rise housing complex in Jordan, leading to 300 infections and 42 deaths. This event has caused rumors that Covid-19 can spread similarly. Such information is 100% false. Due to improved plumbing practices and codes, such an outbreak is impossible in the United States. Despite the unlikeliness of the spread of disease in the United States, other countries that don’t follow codes may increase the chance of Covid-19 transmission via plumbing.

The International Plumbing Code

Developed by public health experts and engineers, the International Plumbing Code (IPC) sets the mandatory minimum requirements for plumbing system installation in the United States. Updated in 2019, the IPC protects the residents, workers, and inhabitants in residential and commercial buildings by providing safeguards against raw sewage, contaminated water, and the spread of disease.

The IPC covers:

  • Backflow prevention.
  • Anti-scalding devices.
  • Wastewater management.
  • Pipe sizing.

By addressing these issues, every building in the United States has a level of safety that ensures citizens won’t contract any disease as a result of using their plumbing.

Express Plumbing a division of EPS Inc. has been serving the Bay Area for multiple decades.  We focus on preventative care measures and work with local municipalities to rehabilitate existing systems, residential and commercial partners throughout the South Bay.  This effort avoids emergencies from arising and we are the emergency response plumbers to rely on.  We simply get it done!

How to Avoid Covid-19 Misinformation and Rumors

Before believing any social media-based information, online articles, or other word-of-mouth, you should conduct a background check of the idea in question. Snopes and FactCheck.org are two of the more reputable options online for identifying truth and misconception regarding Covid-19. In addition, you should always seek out information from reputable sources, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the official web pages or social media accounts of local, state, and federal governments.

Contracting Covid-19 is a concern of many Americans. But by maintaining proper social distancing guidelines, following shelter-in-place procedures, and ignoring untrustworthy news sites, you can separate fact from fiction. By doing so, you can eliminate unsubstantiated fears and use your toilet, shower, and sink without fear of coronavirus contamination.

As an essential plumbing service provider in the Bay Area.  We continue to service our municipal, commercial and residential customers.  We’ve advised our employees to follow the public health authorities’ guidance regarding hygiene, social distancing and personal travel, and we’ve reinforced existing company policy encouraging employees who exhibit flu-like symptoms to stay home and consult with a medical professional.

We are here to serve our community as always and you can rely on us as your Bay Area emergency response plumbers.


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Plumbing Troubleshooting Tips

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Plumbing issues come in a variety of sizes. From small matters that you can fix yourself to major problems that require the aid of a trained professional, plumbing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution.

However, troubleshooting the problem and finding the root of the issue can help determine a repair plan and save you time and money. Whether you have a leaky faucet or a sewer backup, here are some plumbing troubleshooting tips to get your pipes and water system back to full functionality. Brought to you by our plumbing company in the Bay Area.

Troubleshooting Toilets

The two most common toilet problems are a running toilet and a clogged toilet. A running toilet is fairly easy to diagnose. When you can hear water running when the toilet isn’t in use, chances are you have this issue.

If left untreated, a running toilet can run through over 200 gallons of water a day, causing your water bill to skyrocket. Checking the flapper valve, replacing the float, or checking the tank for sediment will often fix a running toilet.

Clogged toilets provide a more serious problem. When clogged, they can overflow and cause a mess of gigantic and often disgusting proportions. Most often, a plunger will do the trick, but if that’s not enough to amend the situation, you may need to call a plumber to snake the line.

Troubleshooting Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes are one of the more serious plumbing problems you may face. When pipes leak, they can damage furniture, wood flooring, and wood subflooring, as well as attract pests such as cockroaches and silverfish.

Fortunately, leaky pipes are fairly easy to diagnose. To find the problem, look for puddles of water collecting beneath your pipes. If these pipes are exposed, such as in a basement, locating them is far simpler.

However, pipes located within walls often need a plumber’s touch. In cold weather climates, proper pipe insulation is necessary to avoid pipe bursts. If you don’t see insulation wrapped around your pipes, visit a hardware store to get the necessary supplies.

Troubleshooting Faucets

Perhaps the most common and easy-to-diagnose problem is a leaky faucet. These leaks are also one of the most irritating plumbing issues. Between the dripping sound and a higher water bill, leaky faucets are enough to drive a person crazy.

The good news is that figuring out the source of the problem is straightforward. Nine times out of 10, a washer within the faucet has become worn or dislodged and needs replacing. With the right tools, this is a quick fix. If you aren’t a handy, DIYer, a quick call to the plumber is just as effective.

Troubleshooting Drains, Sinks, and Tubs

Clogged drains, sinks, and tubs pose a threat to your home if they cause overflows and spillage into places susceptible to water damage. A visual inspection of the drainage will let you know if a clog is apparent. At that point, diagnosing the underlying cause isn’t as easy. In kitchen sinks, fats, oils, and food particles can cause a clog, as well as a dirty garbage disposal.

Bathroom sinks, showers, and tubs can have the same drainage problems caused by soap scum buildup and hair. Oftentimes, you can remove the drain cover and pull out the clogging offender. If this doesn’t troubleshoot the issue, a call to Express Plumbing in the Bay Area is a necessity.

Troubleshooting plumbing issues is something every homeowner must deal with at some point in time. Armed with these tips, you can find, diagnose, and treat many simple problems, but you don’t have to be a hero. If a plumbing situation comes up that’s outside of your area of expertise, don’t gamble on the well-being of your home.

Call our professional plumbing team in the Bay Area and ask us to properly diagnose the plumbing problem. An early and correct diagnosis will save you time and money.


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home improvement plumbers

Home Remodeling Improvements You Shouldn’t Do Yourself

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Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of home-flipping, renovation, and other home improvement television shows, the do-it-yourself (DIY) remodeling craze is at an all time. And with good reason. A proper remodeling job can revamp the aesthetic appeal of your home, raise its value, or get it ready to go on the market. However, the next time you feel the urge to channel your inner Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, take a step back and call an expert. Here are just some of the home remodeling improvements you shouldn’t do yourself.

Room Additions

If you’re adding another child to the clan or you just want more room to relax or entertain, a room addition makes perfect sense. But turning your plans into reality isn’t the same.

When you’re planning an addition, there are numerous factors to consider. You have to know if the wall is load-bearing, where the pipes and wires are, and how to properly maintain the floor and new roof. In many cases, you will need an experienced contractor to perform a room addition. When in doubt about your abilities or time constraints, make a call instead of leaving it to chance.

Electrical Updates

Aside from replacing a light switch plate or a lightbulb, electrical updates are out of the question. Only skilled electricians should tackle electrical wiring or fixture-replacement jobs.

If you try to do electrical tasks without the right experience and skill set, you put yourself at risk of electrical shock or an electrical fire. An electrician can also ensure that everything is done up to code.

Plumbing Upgrades

A small leak from the faucet or a clogged toilet are no match for your DIY prowess, but any plumbing issues beyond that should be left to certified plumbers. When you try to tackle problems such as pipes or fixture replacement, you run the risk of a flood or sewage backup that can drain your bank account.

The key to a fully functioning plumbing system is preventive maintenance. By hiring a professional when you see a slow-draining sink, puddles of water in the basement, or another issue, you can avoid a plumbing catastrophe.

Major Landscaping Renovations

If you’re going to plop in a raised-bed garden, plant a new tree, or put in a few flowers and shrubs, go for it. These improvements require little expertise or labor and can add some serious curb appeal to your home. Larger jobs are another story.

When you’re planning to do a major landscaping renovation such as adding a pond, putting up a retaining wall, or building a shed, you want to make sure everything’s done to code.

Even the greatest books from the library and YouTube videos don’t always prepare you for a home remodel.

Plenty of obstacles can emerge, and juggling your job, family, and the improvement can put unnecessary strain on your life and relationships. With just one phone call, you can relax and put your trust in the hands of experienced individuals. It might cost you a little more, but you can’t put a price on peace of mind and a job well done.

Express Plumbing is a Bay Area plumbing company and a division of EPS Inc. Our company has been serving the Bay Area residential, commercial, and municipal sector.

Our plumbing technicians are experienced and can handle any plumbing and underground construction project required to get your home improvement project completed right and on-time.

If you’re looking to discuss any upcoming project, contact us today and let’s talk.


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