Tag Archives: plumbing tips

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DIY Home Improvement Plumbing Projects During Quarantine

DIY Home Improvement Plumbing Projects During Quarantine

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As the second wave of COVID-19 plagues the nation, many homeowners are finding solace in DIY home improvement projects. And while a kitchen remodel or painting the cabinets may come first on your list, don’t neglect your plumbing.

With this guide from our San Mateo plumbing team and supplemental online materials you can turn your plumbing system and fixtures into a true asset. Here are some of the top DIY home improvement plumbing projects you can undertake during quarantine.

Replace Your Faucets

Are you tired of looking at outdated brass faucets or something that doesn’t match your individual tastes? Don’t fret. Instead, modernize your home replacing your faucets. Local hardware stores will have a vast selection of styles, finishes, features, and handles for you to choose from, allowing you to pick the best option to fit your home decor and tastes.

But before you replace anything, make sure to turn the water off!

Once you’ve shut the water main off, begin by loosening the nuts underneath the sink. This will allow you to detach the water line and remove the faucet. Once completed, simply put the faucet in place, reattach the water line and tighten the nuts.

Replace Your Showerheads

When your showerhead has a meager flow that doesn’t wash off soap or shampoo, you can’t get the relaxation and refreshment you need to start your day. That’s when you should consider replacing your showerhead. But before you do, you might find that cleaning solvents such as CLR can clear the calcium deposits from the showerhead, returning it to like-new condition.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need a new showerhead. Choose whatever type and style you like, and remember to turn the water off once again. After removing the old showerhead with a wrench, apply Teflon tape to the thread and screw the new showerhead into place. Turn the water back on to ensure that no leaks occur, and voila. You now have a powerful, wake-you-up-in-the-morning, high-pressure showerhead.

Caulk Around Sinks, Showers, and Tubs

Have you noticed the caulk cracking around sinks, showers, and tubs in your house? Typically, this starts to crack after five to 10 years, so if you haven’t picked up a caulking gun in awhile, now’s the time.

 

Caulking isn’t just for aesthetics; it also prevents water from seeping into areas and causing water damage. Thankfully, caulking is one of the easiest DIY plumbing projects. All you’ll need is a caulking gun, isopropyl alcohol, a 5-in-1 tool, and a tube of silicone caulk.

Once you have these items, start by removing the old caulk. To make this process easier and kill mold/mildew, spray the area with isopropyl alcohol. Next, use a 5-in-1 tool to scrape off the caulk and discard it. Once again, clean the area to ensure that no debris is left.

After that, use your caulking gun to apply a bead of caulk. Then, wet your finger. Apply steady, light pressure to the bead with your finger as you run it along the bead. Wipe away any excess. With any luck, you’ll have a beautifully caulked area that’s pleasing to the eye and protected from water.

Like any other type of home improvement project, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Some projects require the assistance of a trained professional. Our Bay Area professional plumbers are very happy to help you when you need us.

We’ve been serving as the go to plumbers in San Francisco and surrounding areas for multiple decades. Feel free to contact us and we will direct you to speak to our residential plumbing team.

If you have any doubts, hold off and call us. But if you want to upgrade your house and feel a sense of accomplishment, these projects are fulfilling and should have just what you need.


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Money Saving Tips with Plumbing Choices Around the House

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardships for many families across the country. With millions of furloughed workers and over 40 million unemployment claims, families and homeowners are searching for ways to cut costs wherever they can. One such way to save money during these uncertain times is to make sound choices about plumbing expenses. Use these tips to keep your fixtures and pipes running smoothly without breaking the bank.

Learn How to Shut the Water Off

If a pipe bursts or the sewer backs up, knowing how to shut the water off is the difference between spending $100 or a few thousand. Typically, the shutoff valve to your home is located in the basement or around the utilities on the exterior of your house. If you notice an excessive amount of moisture or a catastrophic volume of water in your home, turn the water off and call a plumber immediately.

Prioritize Your Plumbing Problems

Not every plumbing issue requires immediate attention. Others may require an emergency call to a licensed plumber. However, you’ll have to use your own judgment to prioritize these situations. If your toilet is running, you may be able to hold off calling a plumber whereas a burst pipe will need prompt attention.

Cut Your Costs on Plumbing Fixtures

Sure, a toilet with a heated seat or a showerhead that pumps out high pressure is nice to have. But if a budget toilet or regular showerhead will suffice, don’t spend the extra money on a luxury. You may also find that cheaper fixtures use less water, saving you even more cash on each flush or shower.

Go With PVC

Whether you suffer a plumbing disaster or you just need to update the pipes in your home, opt for PVC. PVC pipes, or polyvinyl chloride pipes, are a type of plastic pipe that cost up to one-third less money than traditional aluminum or copper piping. In addition, PVC pipes are flexible and can expand if your pipes freeze. As a result, you can avoid the disaster of a burst pipe while putting more money in your wallet.

Switch to Cold Water

Heating the water accounts for a huge portion of your monthly utility bill. Therefore, you can cut costs by making the transition to cold water. You can use cold water to wash your clothes with the same results as warm water. In addition, a cold shower is a great way to relax after a long day or give you the eye-opener you need to get the day started right.

Check Your Home for Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can cause your water bill to spiral out of control. So each month, check your basement, crawl space, and other areas of your home for leaks. Not only will this lower your water bill, but you can catch certain problems before they become catastrophic.

While you can use these tips to cut costs on plumbing issues, some situations require the attention of a qualified plumbing expert. Our plumbers in the Bay Area have been serving the community for multiple decades.  While we resolve plumbing issues, we focus on providing money-saving tips to our residential clients to help them long term.

Contact us with any plumbing issues you have, we look forward to serving you.


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Plumbing flood floor drying tips

How to Dry Flooring In Case of a Plumbing Flood

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A plumbing flood is avoidable with proper maintenance, but when a pipe bursts in your home, chaos unfolds.

Not only is your furniture at risk of severe damage, but your floors can suffer as well. The porous nature of subflooring, carpet, and wood can retain water for days and even weeks after the leak.

Therefore, you need to be diligent when it comes to cleanup. Before the problem calls for a total flooring replacement, follow these tips to save your floor — and your investment — before it’s too late.

As a Bay Area Plumbing and Engineering Contractor, we want you to avoid plumbing problems all together, but if you can’t, use these tips to help you properly dry the area.

Before You Begin

Before you start to cleanup, photo-document the affected area. Armed with these photos, you have evidence of the flood to give to your insurance company. If you have any cloth furniture that’s salvageable, remove it from the room and set it outside to dry. The power of the sun will take care of most of the moisture. When it’s overcast or cold outside, set the furniture near a heat source.

Soak Up Excess Water Immediately

Use a squeegee or a wet/dry vacuum depending on the location and severity of the problem. You can easily find these tools for sale or rent at a local hardware store.

Once you have the right tool for the job, remove as much water as possible. Speed is crucial. If you can remove a majority of the water within 24 hours, you lessen the chance of irreparable damage. The longer you wait to rid your home of water, the more chance moisture has to seep into hardwood flooring or carpet, necessitating a full replacement.

Use a Fan

The next step to dry your flooring is to use a high-powered fan. A household floor or desk fan usually isn’t strong enough to get the job done, so you may have to purchase or rent a fan with enough power to remove excessive moisture.

If you have wooden furniture such as a dresser or armoire in the room, remove the drawers and open any doors to ensure you remove the moisture from these areas as well.  In addition, this fan will help circulate fresh air, which can also lessen the musty, mildew smell caused by flooding.

Unleash the Power of a Dehumidifier

Even with a thorough vacuuming and a fan, your room will undoubtedly still have moisture hiding somewhere. To remove this final bit of water, rent or buy a portable dehumidifier.

These dehumidifiers remove water vapor from the air that you otherwise couldn’t eliminate. Remember to empty the water drawer frequently to make sure you don’t have another water spill on your hands.

Disinfect All Affected Areas

When a pipe bursts, there’s a chance that the water has come in contact with sewage or bacteria. Because of the health risks posed by bacteria and subsequent mold, you should disinfect and sanitize any area touched by the water.

This includes not only the floor itself, but also baseboards, walls, and furniture. In more severe cases, consider hiring a professional.

Any time a pipe bursts in your home, it’s a catastrophic situation that requires due diligence. So push the stress aside and get to work drying your floors. The value of your home and your pocketbook depend on it.

Our professional plumbers are standing by to answer any questions you have relating to plumbing.  We service the entire San Francisco Bay Area and are relied upon by residents, commercial clients and municipalities due to our experience, advanced equipment and techniques.


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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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Plumbing Tips For Summer

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This Summer’s Quick and Easy Plumbing Tips By Your Bay Area Trusted Plumber.

Increased water usage is a given during the hot days of summer, whether it’s indoor or outdoor, homeowners generally use 25% to 40% more water during the summer months.  Our plumbing company always provides Bay Area homeowners and business owners with tips to improve their plumbing and reduce cost.  So here are a few you may want to consider.

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Away on Vacation?

If you’re going away for a week or so during the summer, turn down the water heater before you leave, this will help you save on energy during the time it is not in use.

Traditional water heaters generally have a life span of 8 to 11 years, know how old your water heater is before you leave to avoid any disasters while you’re far from home.

Tip: If you’re unsure of the age of your water heater, look at the last four digits of the serial number, they generally represent the month and year the water heater was manufactured.

For the future, you may want to consider a tankless water heater to avoid issues, and enjoy long term savings.

summer plumbing tips

Entertaining at Home?

Whether you have a pool or not, laundry loads tend to increase during the summer months.  The heat is on! So it’s no surprise we change our clothes more often.  Enjoy special summer promotions and replace old appliances around the house to energy efficient appliances, or conduct a quick visual inspection of all the hoses on your appliances to insure no leaks are occurring from the increased usage.

Outdoor cookouts and indoor get-togethers are a blast during the summer months, but avoid shoving left overs down the garbage disposal and the drains.

Landscaping Around the House?

Keep an eye out for the trees around the house, no one wants to deal with a sewage backup or tree roots finding their way into the sewer line instead of having summer fun.  If you suspect anything, give our Bay Area sewer experts a call, we’ll quickly inspect and help you avoid or fix any clogged sewer line quickly so you can get back to enjoying summer.

Water your lawns early morning or late evening when the sun is not around.  If you water your lawn while the sun is out, the water is evaporating and you’re wasting energy.

There are hundreds of ways to avoid plumbing disasters, and many more tips to save on energy in your home or business.  Plumbing challenges do come up no matter what the season is, but we want you to know our professional plumbers at Express Plumbing are here to assist you any time you need us.

We’ve been serving the Bay Area’s trusted contractor since 1989, and we hope you’ll have a fun filled summer free from plumbing problems.


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Why is Pipe Insulation so Important?

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Applications of pipe insulation are often overlooked and misunderstood by homeowners. They never understand how important pipe insulation is when it comes to plumbing. However, if you knew where and how to use pipe insulation, you would not only end up increasing the face value of your house but also improve the overall energy efficiency.

energy efficient

There are a large variety of materials for pipe insulation. You can find pipe insulation in either polyethylene, rigid foam, rubber, glass or mineral wool. The purpose remains the same in every type of insulation. Take a look at the following advantages of pipe insulation, regardless of the type of materials employed:Why You Need Water Backflow Preventers 2

Thermal Insulation In Cold Weather

Imagine taking a shower in extreme cold weather and you notice that there is no hot water. This is a worst case scenario that can happen during the cold winter months due to the bursting of pipes. This would then result in taking a cold freezing shower. Pipe insulation can help prevent such accidents and also save you from the crippling repair and cleaning costs that follow thereafter.

Pipe insulation allows for the smooth flow of water by slowly transferring the heat to the much colder environment outside from the pipes, preventing the liquid from freezing up. Therefore, it is also important that during installation of pipe insulation, immense care is taken to avoid any gaps that might expose the pipes to external cold air.

Providing Warmth Within The House

Pipe insulation is quite handy during the cold winter months as it brings a new option to the table for keeping each room in your house warm and cozy. This means that no matter what the temperature is outside, your house can stay as warm as you want. Insulation pipes make it quite sensible for application due to ever increasing heating and fuel prices. If you use sleeves to clad the pipe, you can insulate your cold and hot pipes quite effectively and deal with any damage caused by extreme temperatures.

Energy Conservation

Efficiency of the water heater can be greatly improved with the help of pipe insulation. The amount of heat lost within the surrounding environment is greatly reduced. The reason why it is hard to retain hot water without the insulation is because pipes can generally bleed heat out into the surrounding areas creating a drop in the temperature of hot water.

To sum it up, a good pipe insulation can help you improve the overall efficiency of your house, save energy and save hundreds of dollars spent every year on energy bills. It is important that you do not ignore the small wear and tear of the insulation pipes as they may turn out to be a big expense for you one day.

We’ve been providing quality plumbing and engineering services in the Bay Area since 1989.  We take great pride in giving our clients information that will help them save time and money.  If you have other home improvement ideas you’d like to share, let us know and we’ll be happy to mention you when we do.


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