Eco-Friendly Ways to Unclog Drains

Clogged toilets, sinks, and floor drains are a hassle and can be quite nasty. If you’re faced with kitchen or bathroom clog and you want to get back to business as usual, there are measures you can take to alleviate the blockage.

At vista-cars.ru Plumbing, we believe in using eco-friendly approaches to clearing drains. We highly discourage the use of chemical cleaners not only because they are destructive to water pipes and drains, but can pose a serious hazard to children and pets.

So, what are my options?

That’s a great question. Here are three solutions you can try that often yield good results.

Pick Up the Plunger

Every household should have a plunger. Yes, this tool isn’t pleasant, but it’s the first line of defense against a tough clog. Plunging works well for shallow clogs. Blockages that have moved past the toilet trap or are further in the piping that attached to your sink may require professional drain cleaning.

Related Posts: How to Choose the Right Plunger for Maximum Results

Try Baking Soda

Sometimes plunging a toilet doesn’t remove all the debris. If the drain is still moving slowly, try pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by three cups of boiling water. This mixture works well at loosening debris left behind and may help you achieve that clear drain.

Add Vinegar

If the clog is resistant to plunging and baking soda, try a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. The best ratio of baking soda to vinegar is 1:1. In this case, start with ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of warm vinegar.

If these solutions don’t get your drains clear, it’s time to call your local plumber. vista-cars.ru Plumbing plumbers have specialized drain cleaning equipment like the hydro-jet to get rid of tough clogs.

To learn more about your drain cleaning options, get in touch with a vista-cars.ru Plumber today.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Basement Dry and Leak-Free

Houses, old and new, can experience basement leaks that can lead to flooding. Luckily, there are precautions that homeowners can take to prevent this expensive and damaging situation. By installing a sump pump, fixing leaks early, and taking action to make sure your yard slopes away from your foundation, you can stay ahead of flooding issues.

Here are some tips to follow to give you peace of mind and a dry basement.

Install a Sump Pump: A sump pump consists of a pit insert into the foundation of your home where water is collected. Piping extends from the top of the pit and attaches to an exterior basement wall so the sump’s pump can expel the water out of the pit when the levels get too high. Sumps can thwart flooding during heavy downpours and days of unrelenting rain.

Related Posts: The Benefits of Installing a Sump Pump

Call a Plumber of Leak Inspection: Hidden leaks beneath a home’s concrete slab can lead to structural failure. Slab leaks happen when piping breaks, corrodes, or stops working because it was installed incorrectly. Too high of water pressure and hard water can also cause leaks to form in underground pipes. Yearly leak detection service can help you spot potential problems before a pipe bursts and make the appropriate repairs.

Consider Regrading Your Yard: Over time the soil shifts in your yard and it can cause its slope to change. If your yard is sloping toward your foundation, your basement could be at risk for flooding. Water has a tendency to pool around the foundation and if there are any cracks, even hairline cracks, that’s all the water needs to slither through into your basement and cause problems. A landscaper can help you with grading issues.

Regular Maintenance Prevents Flooding

Even with a sump pump, it’s still important to consider annual leak detection and other plumbing maintenance services. Sump pumps, like any other mechanical device, can wear out and break down. The protection you think you have in place is no longer there.

Plumbers like those at vista-cars.ru Plumbing can help you maintain all your plumbing components and inspect your foundation for leaks. Don’t wait until the problem has escalated. Regular maintenance and vigilance go a long way toward protecting your home.

How Galvanized Plumbing Could Cost You Thousands

Homeowners living in homes built before the 1980s may have hidden plumbing issues on the verge of costing them thousands of dollars. This is because many homes built prior to 1980 were constructed using galvanized plumbing.

What’s wrong with galvanized piping? A lot, says Ron Herring of vista-cars.ru Plumbing in Houston, TX.

“Galvanized piping has an expiration date, so to speak,” says Herring. “Over time, corrosion occurs and this can cause a lot of problems for homeowners.”

Problems that homeowners like Lacee Kramer know about all too well.

“We bought a 1960s bungalow in the Woodlands area of Houston. My husband and I fell in love with its charm and vintage appeal,” Kramer recalls. “What we didn’t realize was that the vintage feel extended to the plumbing behind the walls.”

Shortly after buying their home, Lacee and her husband began to notice that the water pressure was significantly lower than what they were used to. They contacted the municipal water supply only to find out everything was just fine on the utility company’s end. This is when the Kramers started to get worried.

“We called our local plumber and he quickly determined the problem was rust inside our pipes. At the moment, the rusting was only affecting the water pressure in the master bathroom shower, but it was only a matter of time before other problems would start happening.”

What happened next? The Kramers opted to replace the galvanized plumbing throughout the 1400 square foot home – not an inexpensive plumbing job.

What’s the lesson here? Homeowners who have older properties or are considering purchasing older homes should have the pipes inspected for signs of aging. Aging pipes not only have evidence of corrosion, but they are more susceptible to leaks. A burst pipe in the middle of the night is not something you want to wake to and it can cause a great deal of water damage to walls, flooring, and a home’s foundation.

Related Post: Do I Need a Permit when Changing My Plumbing?

The best solution, when faced with aging galvanized pipes, is to replace them with CPCV pipes. CPCV material is the industry standard and much more durable, designed to stand up to heavy usage.

Replacing the piping system in a home isn’t cheap. It can run homeowners anywhere from $6, 000 – $10,000 for full replacement, but the peace of mind it brings is priceless.

Homeowners in the Houston area can contact vista-cars.ru Plumbing for more information about pipe replacement and to schedule a free estimate. vista-cars.ru Plumbing is also available in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson) and many areas in Northern and Southern California.

Why Is My Water Pressure So Low?

Low water pressure can make the simplest tasks such as doing laundry and washing dishes very difficult. When water pressure is low, taking a shower can be a frustrating experience and it can leave you wondering what’s going on with your home’s plumbing.

Low water pressure is a plumbing problem that is easily solved once the source is identified. Luckily, experienced plumbers know which usual suspects to investigate.

Dirty Pipes

It doesn’t take much debris to cause problems. But what kind of debris could be in my pipes, you ask. Pipes catch all sort of debris from dirt, pollutants, sand, and mineral deposits. Sometimes this debris enters the system because of a fracture in the main pipe, but not always.

Plumbers determine if this is the problem by examining small sections of piping for mineral buildup. If a plumber finds buildup, the solution may be hydro-jetting or using chemicals to dissolve the clog.

Leaky Pipes

Pipes that are fractured will leak. When there is a leak, water doesn’t flow at the same rate. It’s that simple. Identifying the source of the leak can be a bit trickier. Homeowners who suspect a leak can perform a simple test that will help them give their technician a bit more information upon arrival. This test is conducted by turning off all the water to the house for a period of a couple hours. Check the water meter after you do this, go see a movie, and when you return, check the meter again. If the meter indicates water usage while the water has been turned off, it’s pretty obvious there is a leak in the main line.

Related Post: How Hard Water Is Affecting Your Plumbing System

When a plumber comes to you home, he or she will perform a video camera inspection to figure out exactly where the leak is in the pipe. This amazing service saves a lot of time and money by pinpointing the exact location almost immediately.

Corroded Pipes

If you home has galvanized or steel pipes, the cause of the low water pressure could be corrosion. These kinds of pipes are built to last decades, but that doesn’t mean that buildup can break them down over time. When corrosion occurs, repairs are not always possible. In a case like this, you may need to replace the pies.

Related Post: How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

Municipal Water Supply Problems

Lastly, if a plumber comes to your home and cannot find the source of the low water pressure, it could be an issue that needs to be taken up with your municipal water supply company. Municipal water suppliers can experience the same kinds of problems with the pipes at their buildings as homeowners just on a bigger scale. Call the water supply company to find out if other customers are having problems and for a resolution timeline.

As with any plumbing problem, it’s important to call for repairs right away. Waiting for the problem to solve itself will get you nowhere. Your handy, local plumber has a number of solutions for all problems and budget.

Contact vista-cars.ru Plumbing

vista-cars.ru Plumbing is a multi-state plumbing service responding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to home and businesses throughout Arizona, California, and Texas.

3 Ways to Maximize Your Water Heater’s Performance

A water heater that is well maintained is a water heater that will last longer and performs better. Better performance saves YOU money and reduces the chances that you’ll have an unexpected repair bill. While we always suggest that you call for professional maintenance services like the ones we offer at vista-cars.ru Plumbing, there are still little things that homeowners can do to make sure their water heater is working its best year-round.

Inspect Your Water Heater for Leaks and Drips

Leaky water heaters not only underperform, but when these leaks go unnoticed they can cause water damage to flooring, foundations, and walls. Water that sits for long periods of time can cause rot, mold, and even lead to structural issues.

Leaks can come from broken valves or damaged pipes. You don’t need to be a plumber to identify a leak. Most leaks are noticeable right away because they have caused puddling on the floor.

Expert tip: Is your water heater located in a utility closet or in a dark corner of your basement? Take a flashlight with you and be methodical when searching for leaks. Leaks can go undetected when heaters are in dark, tight spaces.

Inspect the Pressure Release Valve

Your tank water heater, whether it is gas-powered or electric, has an overflow pipe with a pressure release valve that should be inspected annually. Homeowners can test this valve by pulling on it very gently. A working valve will release water from the overflow pipe. You want this valve to be in good working order because it is designed to relieve pressure when it builds up. Without this valve, a water heater’s pressure could build to a point where the heater could explode.

Drain the Tank Annually

Water heaters are susceptible to sediment build up and will last longer when the tank is drained once a year. Tanks with too much sediment don’t heat as well or stop heating altogether. Sediment can clog heating elements and will reduce the tank’s efficiently, making it work harder for less than ideal results. If you have hard water and do not have a softener or whole-house filtration system, you may benefit draining the tank once a year.

Before you drain the tank, make sure to turn the water supply off. Also, turn off the fuel or electrical supply (depending on the kind of heater you have) before doing any work. Draining a water heater tank isn’t rocket science, but most homeowners feel better letting the pros take care of this maintenance task.

At vista-cars.ru Plumbing, we offer a menu of residential plumbing repair and maintenance services that includes water heater draining. Give us a call today to learn more or, if you’re outside of our service area, call your local plumber for assistance.

Does Your Commercial Plumbing System Need a Tune Up?

Businesses can spend a lot of money repairing major plumbing problems, or they can spend a little money taking preventive action. Periodic maintenance to a commercial plumbing system will always save you money in the long run and it will reduce the chances of work stoppages due to unexpected shutdowns.

If you have a commercial property, give its plumbing system a tune-up!

Add Drain Cleaning Services to Your Maintenance Routine

Did you know that most plumbing calls are not for big-ticket repairs like sewer line replacement or slab leak repair? The most common calls are for clogged drains in public restrooms, floor drains in warehouses, and industrial sinks in restaurants. Fortunately, most obstructions can be prevented with proactive drain cleaning.

Over time, drains will clog due to the buildup of food waste, human waste, and other debris. It’s only natural for this to happen due to heavy usage. You can combat the effects of normal usage by adding Scour Jet service to your routine maintenance routine.

Insulate Your Building’s Plumbing

Homeowners aren’t the only ones that need to worry about frozen pipes when temperatures dip. Commercial properties are susceptible too, especially businesses that are located in smaller structures or buildings that used to be used for residential purposes. Call your local plumber to discuss what measures you should take to protect your pipes from colder weather.

Tip: Even properties in warmer climates can benefit from insulating services. All it takes is a quick drop in the temperature for pipes used to warmer weather to burst.

Routine Maintenance Checks Are Fast and Easy

Some commercial property owners forgo maintenance checks because they don’t want the normal flow of daily operations to be affected. If you hire a professional, licensed plumber, this won’t happen. However, most business owners can perform the same check on their own and only call in a plumber if they spot a problem.

Here are some things all commercial property owners should keep an eye out for:

  • Be alert for signs of leaks that include water stains and puddles.
  • Check for any exposed piping.
  • Look for corrosion on exposed pipes. Corrosion usually first presents itself as discoloration on pipes.
  • Pay close attention to water pressure. If water pressure is abnormally low, this could be a sign of a leak. Call a plumber for further diagnosis.
  • Be aware of orange, rust-colored water. This is a sign of sediment in the pipes or in the water heater.
  • Check toilets to make sure they flush easily and check toilet mechanisms to make sure they are easy to use.
  • Test all sinks and toilets to make sure there are no drainage issues.

Don’t let your building’s plumbing problems get out of hand. Stay ahead of the situation with routine maintenance. Contact your local plumber to schedule a check today.

Contact vista-cars.ru Plumbing

We have over 20 years of experience handling residential and commercial plumbing systems. We have plumbers available to come to your place of business today in parts of Arizona, California, and Texas. Our top-notch technicians are the best of the best!

How Much Do You Know about Commercial Plumbing?

In the plumbing industry, there are different types of plumbing systems. Each one of these systems is designed in a particular way to meet various needs. Examples of the different kinds of systems include:

  • Residential
  • Institutional
  • Industrial
  • Commercial

And, just to keep things interesting, there are subtypes that are under the commercial umbrella. These include medical centers, office building, restaurants, gas stations, etc. The list goes on and on.

Why the distinction between systems? Although all plumbing systems have similar components, each individual system requires special skills set when it comes to installation, maintenance, and service.

How to Pick the Right Plumber for the Job

If you need commercial plumbing installed or repaired, it’s very important you choose the right company to make sure the plumbing system is handled correctly. First and foremost, the plumbing company should carry the correct plumbing contractor’s license. In California, one of the areas vista-cars.ru Plumbing operates, that license is called a C-36 California Plumbing Contractors License.

Once you determine the company meet the correct licensing requirements, the next step is determining their expertise. The various commercial plumbing systems and their subtypes have different challenges and require precise training. Plumbers with experience working with industrial systems, for example, will be more likely to accurately troubleshoot the situation and offer long-term solutions instead of applying a Band-Aid to the problem.

Large plumbing companies may have the ability to handle all commercial, industrial, and institutional systems while smaller companies or independent contractors may specialize in just one of these areas.

Picking a plumber with the right experience can also keep your business running with minimal interruptions. A plumber who isn’t comfortable working with commercial systems could end up causing more harm than good and cost you valuable production time.

How Do Commercial Plumbing Companies Help Local Businesses?

The obvious answer is that these companies keep water flowing in the right direction and prevent clogs, leaks, and broken piping. But commercial plumbing companies offer many other services that can benefit a business. Retrofitting, tenant improvement, backflow prevention, design and build services, Scour Jet service and new construction plumbing are just six examples of commercial plumbing keeps properties’ plumbing systems updated and clog-free.

For more information about commercial plumbing, click on the tags below for more articles about these systems or give us a call. We service commercial properties in parts of Arizona, Northern and Southern California, and Texas.

4 Ways You’re Harming Your Plumbing System

Did you know that the average plumbing repair costs between $180 and $250? Although this isn’t an outrageous number, it’s still less money that you have in your wallet at the end of the day. While serious plumbing problems can occur for a number of different reasons, the majority of issues are the direct result of silly things homeowners do.

Here are four ways you may be abusing your plumbing system without even realizing it.

Toilets Are not Trash Cans

If you’re in the habit of flushing anything and everything down the toilet, it’s a habit that needs to stop now. Residential plumbing systems are not as tough as you may think. While they are built to last, the drain pipes connected to the toilet and the toilet itself are not meant to be stuffed with things like paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and general trash.

Drain Cleaning Products Are not the Best Solution

So, you’ve treated your drains badly for years, and now you think the only solution is to pour gallons of drain cleaner into your pipes. While this may work once or twice, relying on this solution should not be a long-term strategy for clearing clogged drains. These products contain harsh chemicals that can corrode and weaken your water pipes, which can lead to leaks and other problems. If the clog isn’t responding to drain cleaning solution after the first or second time, do yourself a favor and call a plumber.

Stop Pouring Grease, Fat, and other Oils in the Garbage Disposal

Okay. We get it. The garbage disposal is supposed to be a hungry kitchen monster that will eat anything. And, it will, but it won’t necessarily be able to digest what it’s consuming. Homeowners that pour oil, grease, fat, and even grind up fatty pieces of meat, are just waiting for a problem to happen. These substances will harden as they cool and even if they make it past the disposal; they may harden further in the drain pipes and form a clog. Substances that harden as they cool should be thrown in the trash or stored in a container.

Drills Are Not a Plumbing System’s Best Friend

Are you installing new cabinets or renovating a bathroom? Maybe you’re just drilling a hole for a screw to hang a picture in your bedroom. No matter what the reason is that you’re drilling into the wall, it’s important to make sure there isn’t any plumbing in the wall that could be damaged by the drill. It happens more often than you think. Before you begin any DIY task, make sure there are not any hidden pipes in the way.

Yes. Mistakes happen. Sometimes these mistakes lead to a plumbing problem. If you find yourself in a jam, don’t panic. Call your trusted vista-cars.ru Plumber for immediate assistance.

Could One of these Creatures Be Lurking in Your Toilet?

There are plenty of urban myths out there of man-eating rats, scary crocodiles, and venomous snakes waiting to take advantage of your most defenseless moments. The truth is that the idea of these situations happening is far-fetched. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible for certain wildlife to make its way into your plumbing system.

Just to have a little fun, let’s take a look at four creatures that could find their way into your toilets if they were so inclined.

Frogs

This amphibian does like damp places and what is damper than water pipes, sewers, and drains? The likelihood of a frog making its way through your pipes and jumping out of the toilet when you open the lid is almost non-existence, especially in the places that vista-cars.ru Plumbing serves. But, that isn’t to say this doesn’t happen in other places in the world.

In humid, tropical locations such as Australia, Puerto Rico, and throughout the Caribbean there have been incidents reported to local plumbers of frogs being found in toilets. What’s the takeaway? While you’re probably out of the woods at home, if you have a tropical vacation planned you may want to double-check before you use the toilet.

Rats

Rat-in-toilets incidents are actually something that may be more common than you think. While it’s certainly not something you need to lose sleep over, these rodents have been known to make their way through the sewers and into residential plumbing systems. The largest rat-in-toilets infestation occurred in 2008 in the state of Washington.

The Health Department theorized that these rats found their way into homes because they were following the scent of food. Food waste that was rinsed down various drains in homes across the area attracted the rodents, who then became confused when in the plumbing systems and found their way out through toilets instead the kitchen sink.

We don’t know how you feel about it, but we think a rat in the sink isn’t too much better than a rat in the toilet.

Poisonous Spiders

Do you have an outhouse at a cabin you own? Maybe you have a vacation home that isn’t used regularly? Although poisonous spiders in toilets are rare, if you have an abandoned toilet that isn’t used on a consistent basis, it is possible that spiders could spin webs below the toilet seat. In some areas of the world, black widow spiders have a habit of doing this.

Snakes

Many urban myths exist about vicious, blood-thirsty snakes traveling through plumbing systems and waiting to attack unsuspecting homeowners. Unfortunately, this is one myth that will never die. It is also just that – a myth.

Could snakes travel through a plumbing system? Small, water snakes may be able to traverse through the pipes but these snakes aren’t venomous and non-threatening.

However, snakes of all types have been known to make their way into basements through floor drains surprising homeowners when they move piles of laundry. If you live in an area that is prone to snakes, our advice is to install a mesh covering to keep these reptiles out.

A DIY Plumbing Maintenance Checklist for You

Regular maintenance goes a long way toward sustaining a working plumbing system. Homeowners who are on top of kitchen and bathroom plumbing maintenance will reap the rewards. Minor repairs are less expensive than major repair or replacement services. While it’s always a good idea to call a licensed plumber if you have questions, we know that educated homeowners experience fewer problems. That is why we put together this professional grade plumbing maintenance checklist for you to identify and repair small problems on your own.

Kitchen Plumbing Maintenance

Your home’s kitchen can be a source of plumbing leaks and clogs. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your sinks and drains in top condition.

  • Inspect your sinks for leaks. This is the hardest-working fixture in the kitchen. Leaks can form quickly and virtually anywhere. Check your faucet, garbage disposal, under-sink piping, and the faucet’s sprayer.
  • Look for signs of water damage under the sink.
  • Use your garbage disposal according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Clean the sink drain regularly to get rid of debris. There are chemical cleaners that are safe or you can search online for natural solutions.

Bathroom Plumbing Maintenance

The #1 service call we receive at vista-cars.ru Plumbing is for a clogged toilet. But, toilet clogs aren’t the only bathroom plumbing problems that our customer experience. Check out these maintenance tips for a watertight bathroom.

  • Clear drains. If drains have hair or other visible debris, remove it by hand or by using drain snake.
  • Check the base of the toilet and around faucets and shower heads for leaks.
  • Repair running toilets. This is a cheap and easy fix that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes.
  • Clean faucets or shower heads that have limescale buildup. If necessary, replace the fixtures if cleaning doesn’t work.

Septic and Sewer Maintenance

Sewer line repair is a major expense. Don’t let this home plumbing problem take you by surprise. There are things you can do today to prevent a busted sewer line or raw sewage from backing up into your home.
• Use an enzyme additive on a regular basis to clean the septic system.
• Schedule regular inspections by a professional plumber. Annual inspections are recommended.
• Do not plant trees or other types of shrubbery with long roots near the sewer line. Landscaping should be planted at least 10 ft. away from sewer lines to prevent tree roots from growing into the line or strangling the line.
• Have the sewer line cleaned annually.
• Call for professional service immediately if you suspect a problem.

vista-cars.ru Plumbing has over 20 years of experience helping homeowners and businesses with their plumbing problems. We serve metropolitan areas in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson), Texas (Houston) and California (Southern and Central CA). To schedule an inspection or to learn more about the plumbing maintenance and repair services we offer, call us today.

We offer same-day service, free estimates, and affordable pricing. No one beats our commitment to quality workmanship and excellent customer service!