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!

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.

Setting the Record Straight – 5 Plumbing Myths

Homeowners can save a lot of money and feel more in control of their home’s plumbing by learning how to maintain it. There are a lot of old wives’ tales out there, but not all of them are safe for your system. Here are five myths about residential plumbing that you’ll want to steer clear of to properly safeguard your pipes and fixtures.

Myth #1 – Lemons Clean a Disposal

Putting lemons in the garbage disposal in small chunks will not harm the appliance. It will certainly make it smell better, but that’s about it. If you’re using lemons as a natural, chemical-free way to clean the appliance, let us give you a better option.

Disinfecting your disposal is a good idea. It sees a lot of bacteria. The best way to do this is to mix together a cleaning solution of warm water and mild soap. Spray the appliance with the solution and then use a scrub brush to clean the disposal’s blades. Make sure you turn the power off to the disposal before doing this to avoid injury.

Myth #2 – Run Water while Operating the Garbage Disposal to Move Material through the Pipes

This is a myth that is partly true, but mostly misleading. Running the water while running the disposal and for a short time after the appliance is turned off keeps small particles moving through the blades and into the water pipe. The misleading part of this advice is that you have to be careful of what you dispose of in the first place.

Unfortunately, many homeowners find out very quickly that running tap water while grinding up the wrong waste can still lead to jams and other problems. A disposal is not meant to be used as a trash compactor. Certain things like egg shells, pasta, banana peels, and hard or thick food waste cannot be grinded in the disposal no matter how much water runs through the disposal during operation.

Myth #3 – Water Is Flowing through the Drains, So I Don’t Have to Worry about Clogs

Not true! If you’ve experienced stubborn clogs in the past and only treated the symptoms and not the actual problem, you may be able to use your drains without incident for a while. However, if there are still blockages inside of the pipes that weren’t properly taken care of, you’ll soon find it difficult to use your sink, toilet, or bathtub/shower.

Treating clogs with powerful, professional drain cleaning right away is the best way to ensure that the problem is completely eradicated. Services like vista-cars.ru Plumbing recommend regular drain cleaning and video camera inspections to take care of small clogs before they become major obstructions.

Myth #4- You Can Clean Your Fixtures with Any Solution

Plumbing fixtures require specific cleaning habits depending on the fixture. For example, brass plumbing fixtures fare better when cleaned using gentle, mild solutions. Toilets, on the other hand, need to be sanitized and are built tough. Use powerful disinfectants to kill germs. One-size-fits-all cleaning solutions just don’t cut it when taking care of plumbing fixtures.

Myth #5 – I Don’t Have to Maintain My Plumbing System

If you think your plumbing system was designed to take care of itself, you may be in for a rude awakening. While water pipes, drains, and other components of residential systems are designed to work well for many years, that still doesn’t mean they don’t require a little TLC.  Sewer lines should be inspected to make sure tree roots aren’t growing into the line. Water heaters need to be flushed regularly to get rid of sediment and even faucets, sinks, and toilets need attention to keep tough clogs away.

Don’t let old wives’ tales keep you from properly caring for your plumbing system. For more tips, give your friendly plumber a call today!

How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

You can save yourself some time and a lot of frustration by learning how to unclog a bathroom drain yourself. If it’s becoming more of a hassle than a pleasure stepping into a nice warm shower because of water pooling at your feet, it’s time to take action.

Here are some tricks for clearing the clog yourself.

Grab a Plunger

That plunger under your bathroom sink isn’t just for nasty toilet clogs. It also alleviates tub clogs. The trick to using a plunger on a bathroom drain is to make sure all overflow drains and other holes connected to the drain are covered to improve suction. Place the plunger over the clogged drain and pump it several times. With any luck, this will take care of the problem.

Use Boiling Water

When plunging doesn’t work, try pouring boiling water into the drain. Stubborn clogs sometimes respond better to boiling water.

But, WAIT!

Before you go this route make sure you know what type of piping you have. PVC pipes should not be treated with boiling water because the high temperatures can damage pipe seams.

Grab a Hanger

Do you still use wire hangers in your closet? If you have one of these contraptions handy, you can take it apart and straighten it out. Very gently push the wire with the hook into the drain and try to dislodge the clog. Hopefully, when you pull the hanger out, you’ll have the source of the clog on the end of the hook.

Purchase a Drain Snake

Local plumbing stores have this usual plumbing tool available at an inexpensive price. The drain snake is placed in the drain and then you’ll use the crank to force the head of the snake further into the pipe. Snaking is a highly effective way of getting rid of tough drain clogs and can even be used for toilet clogs.

Call the Plumber

Sometimes, no matter what you do, that clog just won’t go away. If you’ve tried the methods mentioned above with little success, it’s time to call a licensed plumber. The clog may be too big for DIY methods. You may need to have the drain hydro-jetted or, in some cases, there may be something more serious going on.

A licensed plumber will perform a thorough inspection and make suggestions for repairs.

vista-cars.ru Plumbing offers drain cleaning services 24 hours a day, seven days a week for residents in parts of Arizona, California, and Texas. Call us today to find out if we service your community.

Warning Signs of a Main Line Clog

Your home’s sewer line may be hidden, but that doesn’t mean it should be considered out of sight, out of mind. A damaged sewer line has the potential to cause massive damage inside a home if ignored. Unfortunately, the average homeowner doesn’t have much knowledge beyond the basics of how their sewer line functions. In fact, most people don’t even give the sewer line a second thought until a clog forms.

A main sewer line clog is not something to take lightly. This kind of obstruction can cause raw sewage to back up into the drains requiring extensive sewer line repair and replacement.

How can you prevent such a significant repair? Here are some things you should be observant about as you use the plumbing in your home.

Clogged Toilets

Sewage problems do not happen overnight. There are red flags that alert sharp-eyed homeowners to potential problems. If you listen to what your home is saying to you, it’s possible to thwart a major disaster.

Toilets that back up frequently or gurgle are trying to tell you something is wrong. Randall Smythe, a vista-cars.ru Plumbing technician, says, “If you notice that when you drain the bathtub your toilets backup, this is a very big sign that something isn’t working the way it is supposed to.”

Blockages can occur in the secondary lines too, not just the main sewer line, Smythe reminds us. Ideally, secondary line blockages are easier to resolve and cost less to fix because the problem is isolated to one area of the home. You can tell if you have a secondary blockage if only one plumbing fixture is experiencing problems. For example, if you flush your toilet and it won’t drain.

Symptoms of a main line clog are flushing that same toilet and the water backing up into your bathroom sink or water pooling around a floor drain in your basement. In cases like these, you’re most likely dealing with a main line obstruction.

What Causes a Main Line Clog?

If you own a new home, main line clogs often occur because of poor flushing habits. Feminine hygiene products and too much toilet paper are the two main causes of clogs in newer homes.

Homeowners with older properties often have to contend with tree roots that have grown into the sewer line. Usually by the time this problem is detected the majority of the damage has already been done.  Tree roots can cause large amounts of the main line to be crushed and operation is affected.

Relieving the Pressure

Gaining access to the sewer clean out is a good way to alleviate the pressure and get waste water flowing out of the home and into the yard. Remove the cap that is over the clean out pipe. This will release the pressure. However, waste water in the yard is not a permanent solution.  You’ll need to call a plumber to help you repair the problem.

Calling a Plumber

When you call a plumber, ask for a clean out and also a video camera inspection. The average price for a clean out using a drain snake or hydro-jetting service is around $150 depending on the geographical area and the service you use.

If the pipe is damaged, you’ll need to have the line relined or replaced. This is a repair that is more extensive than the average clean out, but thanks to new technology like trenchless sewer line repair there are cost-effective repair options.

For more information about main line clogs, contact your friendly vista-cars.ru Plumbing pro today!

Common Plumbing Problems for Arizona Residents

Don’t let mild desert winters fool you into thinking you don’t need to winterize your plumbing system. Arizona homes and businesses are just as much at risk of developing problems with their systems when temperatures dip as structures in other parts of the country. If you live in an area of the state where temperatures fall below freezing, follow these suggestions to protect your building’s plumbing system.

Hot Water Problems

When the air cools, you may find a longer, hotter shower quite inviting. Hotter and longer showers put additional stress on your water heater, requiring more energy to maintain the heat. Before cooler temperatures arrive, we recommend that you have your water heater inspected. At vista-cars.ru Plumbing, our technicians check the following during a routine inspection:
• Pilot light (gas models)
• Temperature sensor
• Pressure relief valve
• Wiring and connections

We can also flush your water heater to get rid of built-up sediment and clean the tank for optimal performance.

Frozen Pipes

A hard freeze in the Phoenix or Tucson area is not a common occurrence, but temperatures can fall enough for this to happen from time to time and it can take homeowners by surprise. Outside water lines that are not turned off can freeze when this happens and burst. Indoor piping may be better protected, but if it is not insulated well freezing can occur.

We recommend that Arizona residents have a plumber take a look at their pipes before the weather has a chance to turn cold. If you have an older property, your piping may not be insulated well enough to handle this sudden change in temperature. Also, protect your plumbing system by draining and disconnecting outdoor hoses when not in use.

If a pipe does burst, locate the main water shut-off valve and turn off the water before you call a plumber. This one small action can prevent flooding and extensive damage to your home.

Clogged Drains

The winter months seem to coincide with an increase in clogged drains. We attribute this rise in service calls to the increased amount of entertaining during the holidays and staying indoors more. To protect your drains, we urge our customers to use common “drain” sense when using toilets, sinks, bathtubs or showers.

Many clogs can be prevented with regular drain cleaning services like hydro-jetting. You can also protect your drains and sewer by doing the following:
• Only use septic-safe toilet paper
• Do not treat your toilet like a trash can
• Avoid flushing non-organic material down the toilet such as cleansing wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper products other than toilet paper
• Dispose of grease, cooking oils, and fat in a mason jar or in the trash can. Do not put these substances in kitchen sinks or grind them up in the garbage disposal.

A little bit of drain sense goes a long way toward preventing drain and sewer problems.

Don’t Let Colder Weather Take You by Surprise

Arizona is a climate that boasts beautiful weather year-round, but sometimes Mother Nature likes to throw a curve ball. Be prepared during the winter months to protect your plumbing system from failure and expensive repairs. A quick call to vista-cars.ru Plumbing can help you prepare for falling temperatures.

vista-cars.ru Plumbing operates in major metropolitan locations such as Phoenix and Tucson, service communities like Buckeye, Gilbert, and Oro Valley. Call us today to see if we service your area.

Frequently Asked Questions by Landlords

Rental properties can be a great source of income. More and more people are opting to invest in this kind of real estate as a way to generate residual income. However, as with any investment, there are risks that can affect your profits. In the rental industry, the biggest risks are choosing the wrong tenant and dealing with unexpected repair costs. If you’re new to the rental business, check out these frequently asked plumbing questions by California landlords. Being in the know will keep you in business.

What Is a Habitable Residence?

In California, all landlords are required to make sure their properties are safe and habitable for their residents at all times. State and local building codes make it clear that if plumbing problems exist that threaten a building’s sanitation the structure could be deemed uninhabitable. An uninhabitable structure is a building that won’t generate income because, legally, you can’t have people living in such a state.

Here are just a few reasons why an inspector could deem a residence uninhabitable:
• Cold and hot water systems are not working properly
• Property is not connected to public sewage or a private septic system
• Plumbing components like water pipes, toilets, sinks, faucets, and other fixtures are not in working order

How Long Do I Have to Fix a Problem?

Landlords are allotted a reasonable timeframe to fix problems that arise. The exact amount of time you have varies depending on the problem and is not spelled out specifically in California Code. Let’s take a look at two different situations.

Example #1: A toilet in the master bathroom of your rental home in Mission Hills is backing up. Tenants call to inform you of the problem. There is only one other bathroom in the home.

In a case like this, the tenants have a reasonable expectation of fast service. Toilet clogs can usually be hydro-jetted, snaked, or otherwise fixed in a quick manner. Most plumbing services like vista-cars.ru Plumbing can send a plumber to the residence right away to make repairs the same day. Therefore, in a situation like this, it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours for repairs to be completed.

Example #2: The sewer line in the backyard of your San Diego rental home has busted. Raw sewage is saturating the backyard.

This is a repair that may take an additional day or two to complete depending on the extent of the damage to the sewer line. Sometimes, trenchless sewer line repair can be done reducing the amount of time necessary for repairs, but the only way to know for sure is to contact a plumber for a complete evaluation.

When plumbing problems take several days to repair, it may be necessary to help your tenants find temporary housing or reimburse them for the expense of short-term relocation.

I Don’t Want to Pay the Costs for Relocation. How Can I Prevent Major Plumbing Problems from Happening?

Routine maintenance and proper usage are the best ways to ensure that major plumbing problems like busted pipes, slab leaks, and broken sewer lines do not occur. We recommend that landlords participate in regular preventive maintenance services like drain cleaning and video camera inspection service, so little problems can be addressed right away.

Tenant education is also important. If toilets or sinks are frequently clogging or backing up, speak with your tenants about what their flushing down the toilet or rinsing down the sink. Communication between you and your tenants is a great way to keep plumbing problems away.

Who Is Responsible for Payment?

In most cases, the landlord assumes this obligation. Any plumbing problem that is caused by normal usage is not the tenants’ responsibility. There are exceptions, though. If a tenant has purposely neglected a component of the plumbing system, you may require them to pay for repairs or reimburse you. Speak with an attorney for more information about these situations.

If you need plumbing service, call vista-cars.ru Plumbing in California today. We have plumbers available around the clock to help you keep your rental property safe and habitable.

Clogs Sinks and Leaky Toilets: What Is Your Responsibility to Your Tenants?

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure the dwellings your tenants occupy are safe and sanitary. One area that should not be overlooked is a building’s plumbing system. Your tenants rely on the plumbing system to work well. Toilets should flush, sinks and bathtubs should drain, and any leaks or backups should be taken care of right away. California law is very specific about landlords making repairs in a timely manner. Landlords that do not repair or replace faulty plumbing parts in a reasonable amount of time can face harsh penalties and could be putting their occupants’ health at risk.

Is Your Building Habitable?

A piece of property doesn’t have to look like it is a slum for it not to be the state’s requirements for habitable living. In fact, there are plenty of properties in many neighborhoods that look perfect from a cosmetic standpoint, but are, indeed, inhabitable according to state and local health and building codes. Landlords can use this checklist when inspecting their properties to make sure the structure is legally habitable.

Habitable Checklist

  • Working smoke detectors
  • Unbroken windows
  • Working locks
  • Safe and working electrical, heat, and plumbing
  • Accessible fire exits
  • Intact roof and walls

If any of these areas of the property are in disrepair, the building could be deemed inhabitable.

What Is Essential Plumbing?

In California, all rental properties are required to have working sinks, showers, bathtubs and toilets, according to California Civil Code section 1941. Of course, clogs and leaks can occur due to normal wear and tear. As a landlord, you should expect this to happen from time to time and have a plan to take action. While you are granted a responsible timeframe for making repairs, it’s imperative that you call for service as soon as possible.

Who Is Responsible for Calling for Service?

Each landlord has his or her own procedure in place when a toilet clogs or a sink won’t drain. Some landlords will allow their tenants to call a plumber of their choice to make the repairs; whereas, other landlords may have an existing relationship with a plumbing service like vista-cars.ru Plumbing to expedite service. A lot of landlords prefer the latter situation because it makes billing and payment easier. In nearly every case, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay for repair or replacement services.

But, not always . . .

When Is the Tenant Responsible for the Repair Costs?

When plumbing components breakdown due to normal wear and tear, it is always the landlord’s financial responsibility. In cases when gross negligence or outright neglect for a fixture or other component is evident, the landlord can require the tenant to pay in full for the repairs.

If you’re requiring your tenant to make the repairs, keep in mind that they may want to choose their own plumbing service. This is their right. However, if a tenant cannot make the repairs right away due to financial reasons, it is still your responsibility as the landlord to see to it that the repairs are made quickly to ensure a habitable environment.

In a situation like this, you may be able to recoup the expense from the tenants by deducting the amount from their security deposit, billing them directly, or adding the cost of the repair to their monthly rent amount in small increments. To make sure you’re protecting your property and acting within your rights as a landlord when collecting the repair costs, you may want to consult with an attorney.

Tenant Rights

Tenants have the right to withhold rent until repairs are made. So, if you have a unit with a leaky sink, a raw sewage problem, or any other plumbing issue, call your friendly California plumber right away to arrange service. Keeping your tenants happy and safe is always good business!

Prevent Displaced Tenants with these Plumbing Repairs

Back in April of 2015, a Walmart store in Pico Rivera, CA, closed its doors indefinitely due to plumbing problems that the company says were a result of persistent leaks and clogs. This incident laid off nearly 500 workers and left shoppers inconvenienced. As a commercial property owner, the last thing you want is for an incident like this to happen to your business or to the tenants that rent space in your building. By taking swift action when small problems pop up and making routine maintenance a part of your action plan, you can have a better handle on plumbing issues.

Commercial Drain Cleaning Keeps Water Flowing in the Right Direction

Commercial properties are at a greater risk of developing large obstructions in piping systems because of the sheer amount of usage toilets and sinks are subjected to every day. In California, many of the commercial properties are older buildings with aging pipes. A combination of frequent usage with deteriorating piping is the perfect setup for clogs to form.

The easiest way to address this potential problem is to have the drains and pipes in your building cleaned regularly by a professional plumber. Don’t rely on drain cleaning solution or your janitorial staff to plunge persistent clogs. These are only temporary fixes that don’t address the situation fully. Instead, call a plumber in California like vista-cars.ru Plumbing that offer Scour Jet service.

Our Scour Jet service is a powerful drain cleaning tool. It uses pressurized water to scrape away dirt and debris from the inside of the pipes. As powerful as this method is at eradicating the toughest clogs, it’s surprising to many of our customers that it is the gentlest solution for dirty pipes. Gentle and effective drain cleaning means fewer problems in the future.

You May Need to Consider Re-Piping

Re-piping is considerably more labor intensive and expensive than drain cleaning. It’s a solution to consider if you have pipes that are showing signs of aging or are no longer able to support the usage your plumbing system is experiencing. Re-piping can be a challenge for business owners who want to stay operational during the project, but it’s not impossible. Also, you may not need to re-pipe the entire building.

Plumbers who have experience with commercial re-piping should be able to develop a solution that will work best for all parties involved with as minimal inconvenience as possible.

Encourage Your Tenants to Use the Plumbing Correctly

Sometimes it is plain ignorance that causes plumbing problems such as persistent clogs. Unlike a residential plumbing system, many people believe a commercial plumbing system is designed to handle anything and everything. What does this mean? It means that your tenants, employees, and customers are more likely to flush things down the toilet and pour substances down the drains that they would never think of doing in their homes.

Post signage in bathrooms and break rooms that specifically says what can and cannot be flushed or rinsed down the sink. Maybe even include a friendly reminder in the employee newsletter or in a casual company-wide email. Bathroom business can be uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s better to address it in theory before it becomes a reality.

For more information about commercial plumbing problems, including what your responsibilities are in terms of repairs as a commercial property owner in California, check out our other blog posts or give us a call today.

5 Most Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

Most people don’t have the time to study the intricacies of all their pipes, fixtures, and appliances, but a little bit of knowledge is both practical and essential for anyone. Homeowners with questions or concerns about the basic functions of their pipes, fixtures and appliances can learn a lot from the answers to these frequently asked questions.

How do I keep my drains running smoothly?

Use hair catchers and schedule regular maintenance for your system. Installing a guard on your drain keeps out hair and other objects that often get stuck in the pipe immediately below the drain hole. They are easy to install, and cleaning them is only a matter of swiping up the hair and tossing it in the garbage.

It’s also a good idea to have your drains professionally cleaned with hydro-jetting and other tools to remove mineral scale, sediment accumulation and tough blockages that you can’t handle on your own. Serious clogs can shut down your entire system or even lead to pipe bursts, so don’t wait too long to deal with them!

Why is my water bill suddenly so high, and how do I lower it?

A sudden increase in your water bill is an indicator of a hidden leak in your system. Toilets are often the source of water leaks, although any pipe or fixture could be to blame. Have your home inspected by a professional plumber with mobile video cameras and other utilities to identify damaged components. If you have consistently high water use, then installing flow-limiters may help curb the costs.

What are simple techniques for making my home more eco-friendly?

Install faucet aerators, smaller toilet tanks or on-demand water heating. Aerators are tiny screens that cap sink faucets, reducing the rate that water comes out without killing the pressure. Reducing toilet tank size also helps cut consumption by using less for each flush. Tankless water heaters can also help conserve energy and provide a more reliable supply of hot water.

How do I stop pipes from freezing in the winter?

Drain pipes connected to the outdoors and others in vulnerable areas should be insulated. Disconnect and completely drain garden hoses, as well as any line that connects to the outdoor faucet. Shut off the valve and let the remaining water flow out. For indoor pipes in basements and crawl spaces, you can wrap them in tube insulation to ward off the cold. You can also leave your faucets dripping slightly overnight to prevent freezing on particularly cold days.

Why does my garbage disposal keep getting clogged?

Don’t put grease, fruit waste or meat into your garbage disposal. Fat and grease harden when it cools, so it will coat the inside of your disposal and drain with a layer of waxy residue. Fruit and vegetables are also not plumbing-friendly, so dispose of those in the garbage can instead. Eggshells, pieces of plastic and other objects can also block up your disposal, so be careful about what you toss in the sink!