Monday, February 25, 2013

3 Ideas for a Great Bathroom Remodel

While your bathrooms are probably the smallest rooms in your home, they're also the most used (along with your kitchen) and they're the best place to get the highest return on investment. Most people today aren't just looking for a functional and practical bathroom but a comfortable sanctuary to escape the stress and just relax.

Your bathroom remodeling plans may be very basic -- such as switching out the toilet -- or even redoing the entire plumbing to install a new walk-in shower or soaking tub. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get your project underway -- and how a great plumber in Rancho Cucamonga can help!

Replacing the toilet?

If you're going to replace the toilet, make sure you carefully inspect the flooring underneath to look for water damage. You may not have realized it, but a leaking toilet could have been working its magic on the subflooring for years. It's important to have someone install new subflooring if this is the case before a new toilet is installed.

When it comes to installing a toilet, many homeowners think they can do it themselves but make one or two small mistakes that can lead to disaster down the road. For instance, over-tightening the bolts during installation can crack the base and a new wax seal must be installed before the seating is in place. Avoid these problems by hiring a professional plumber to install your new toilet for you.

Want a shower for two?

Showers build for two are all the rage today in master baths, most of which have dual showerheads and controls on each wall so two people can comfortably shower at once. Some people even choose to install an overhead rain showerhead in the center for a truly luxurious shower experience, or a build-in bench. Did you know a plumbing company like Inland Empire Plumbing can help you design and then install the shower of your dreams?

Updating your vanity?

The vanity in your bathroom is really the focal point and sets the theme for your whole bathroom. If you want a bathroom remodel that wows, think about replacing a boring and practical vanity with something more stylish. If you're getting a single vanity, you can easily afford to get fancy with marble countertops and high quality dark wood, or you can attach your vanity to the wall for a modern floating design to open up a small space. Either way, a great plumber can help you install a new vanity and take care of any changes to the plumbing that will make it work.

Image: Andrechinn at Flickr

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Problem with Untreated Slab Leaks

A slab leak can occur anywhere on your service line on a cold water supply line, a hot water supply line or a drain line. These leaks are enough to fill any homeowner will dread and you may be wondering if your homeowners insurance will cover the damages and how much you'll need to pay.

Unfortunately, these leaks often go on for some time before they're detected and you may not even realize you have a problem until you notice a wet spot on the floor. What's worse, homeowners insurance rarely covers the cost and you may be facing a cost upwards of $2,000 to fix the slab leak by hiring a plumbing company like Inland Empire Plumbing.

Still, these leaks do need to be fixed as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the worse the damages -- and cost. Here are some of the worst problems that can happen if you let the problem continue.

1. Damage to Your Foundation

Your home's foundation is basically just a piece of concrete with steel supports in it and damage will occur from a slab leak eventually. Slab leaks have been known to make your foundation crack, move or rise up, which compromises your home's integrity.

2. High Water Bills

Even a very small leak can cause you to waste thousands of gallons each month, potentially adding hundreds to your water bill every single month until it's addressed. While slab leaks can be expensive to repair, it can easily be more expensive to leave it untreated.

3. Floor Damage

With water leaking beneath your home's foundation, it will eventually run out of space and move upward. Slab leaks can destroy carpeting, cause tile floors to crack, make linoleum bubble and utterly destroy hardwood.

4. Mold Growth

Dangerous mold can become a real problem when water from the leak starts to get into your home. Drywall acts as a sponge, absorbing water from the leak and moving it through your walls, which is an ideal setting for mold growth. It takes only days for mold to start growing in the walls and mold spores can cause everything from asthma to an upper respiratory infection, or worse. Once it's in the walls, you'll also need someone who specializes in mold removal along with a Riverside plumber.

5. Musty Odors

Once the slab leak has been sitting for awhile, your home will take on an unpleasant musty odor. If the leak is in a sewer line pipe, you can just imagine how your home will start to smell in a week!

6. Destroyed Lawn

Slab leaks often occur in a sewer line or water main line and the leak could be under your lawn instead of your house. In this case, you can face thousands in damage from destroyed landscaping and dead grass. It can also cause structural damages if it occurs near a pool.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Do I Have Banging Plumbing Pipes?

One of the most common home repair problems homeowners face is banging, noisy pipes, particularly when heating systems are used with the home's plumbing system. While a silent plumbing or heating system simply doesn't exist, loud banging noises usually indicate a problem that can be fixed. Noisy pipes are actually very common, especially if your home is older, and persistently loud noises may indicate anything from a worn-out washer to a blocked pipe or a leak. Here are some of the most common causes for banging pipes and how a professional plumber in Rancho Cucamonga can help.

Air in the Pipes

The most common cause of banging pipes is air in the pipes, which makes the pipes produce that tell-tale vibrating noise or short bursts of banging. This trapped air can be removed by flushing the line or installing a p-trap. This problem is easily mistaken for the second most common cause of noisy, banging pipes: water hammer.

What is Water Hammer?

Water hammer, or banging, may be a series of bangs you hear followed by a much louder bang, or you may hear a bang when you turn a faucet on or off in the home. If you hear the bang when you turn on a faucet, it's probably air in the pipes. If you hear it when you turn off water or your dishwasher changes its cycle, it's most likely water hammer. The most common fix for this problem is having a plumber in California install water hammer arrestors.

Do you Hear Squeaking or Banging in One Area?

If the noise seems to be isolated to a certain area of your home, it may just be that the pipes haven't been properly secured and need to be tethered to the wall or ceiling. They may also be expanding or contracting with temperature changes, which can cause them to rub together. In this case, they'll need to be re-spaced and tethered down again or the channel through which they travel should be widened.

What is Jackhammering?

This term applies to a rapid drumming sound you hear, most often when you're running a dishwasher or washing machine. It's typically a sign that the solenoid fill valve in the appliance needs to be replaced.

Pipes that Shriek, Whistle or Hum

These noises may indicate you have an obstruction or blockage somewhere in the pipe that's causing high water pressure. This may be a very easy fix that requires only replacing a washer or it may require replacing some of the pipes.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tankless vs Traditional Water Heaters -- Which is Better?

Heating water is one of the biggest expenses you have, whether you know it or not. Simply heating water accounts for about 30% of your energy bill so it's important to choose an energy efficient water heater to keep this bill low. You may have heard a lot about tankless water heaters, which could end up saving you substantially. So, what are tankless water heaters and how to they compare to the traditional version? Is it worth it to buy a tankless model and hire a plumber in Upland or your city to have it installed? Let's take a look.

What are Tankless Water Heaters?

Tankless water heaters may be powered by propane, gas or electric and don't store hot water in a large tank. Instead, they use a heat exchanger to quickly heat up water as it passes through and this heat exchanger is activated whenever you turn on a hot water faucet in your home. Because this system has no tank, you'll end up saving a lot of space in your home as they can be installed near a bathroom to get hot water even faster.

How Tankless Water Heaters Save Money

With a traditional water heater, the water in the tank stays hot 24 hours a day and the heater just turns on or off as needed to keep a constant temperature that you set. Most water heaters keep up to 75 gallons of water hot all day and night, despite the fact that you only use hot water a few times each day to wash dishes, shave or take a shower.

Standby loss is the energy your heater uses to keep this water hot when it's not being used it accounts for up to 30% of the energy your tank heater uses. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not have standby loss because they're on on-demand system. The system only turns on to heat water when you actually need it. If you replace a 40-gallon tank water heater with a tankless water heater, it's estimated that you can save 25% on your energy bills each month.

Downsides to Tankless Systems

Of course, there are a few downsides to the tankless water heater. To begin with, the heat exchanger may not be activated if you're only requiring a small amount of water. Plus, while they do heat water very fast, it's not instant hot water. There is always cold water in the pipes that must be pushed through before you get warm water. If you have an electric heat exchanger, you could end up with no hot water if your power goes out as well.

These systems are more expensive as well. While the up-front cost compares to a traditional water heater, tankless systems must be professionally installed by an Upland plumber. This will add to the cost. The system itself is also more expensive to maintain so expect more frequent service calls to a plumber. Heat exchangers can crack in the cold weater and a unique vent is required for their operation.

Image credit: JohnE777

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips for Hiring a Qualified Plumber

Hiring an experienced plumber just makes sense considering even small leaks in your plumbing can end up causing thousands of dollars in property damage. Of course, experience is the key; just as there are plenty of qualified plumbers to fix the leaking sink, help with your remodeling or locate an underground leak, there are also those who lack the knowledge or expertise for the problem.

So, how can you make sure you hire the right plumber for the job? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Finding Local Plumbers

Remember, there are usually two types of plumbers: those who specialize in installing new systems and those who perform repairs. Start by asking friends or family if they can recommend a good plumber and check the Yellow Pages and online business listings such as Yahoo Local, and Yelp to find local plumbers in Riverside or your city. Start your search by gathering a list of around 5 plumbers so you can begin the screening process.

Screening Plumbers

To screen plumbers and find the right professional for the job, have them bid on the project to compare quotes between companies. Of course, you'll need to narrow down your list first and compare bids from only qualified plumbers. To do this, you'll want to look at the following things:

  • Are they licensed? Most states in this country require plumbers to have the proper business license and most also have a number you can call to double-check that the plumber's license is current with no complaint. A qualified plumber will also maintain a workers' compensation policy and liability insurance, which protects you as a homeowner.
  • Do they have feedback? Search for online reviews of the plumber or business to see what past customers have to say. You can find reviews on websites like,, and, to name a few.
  • What is their experience? You'll also want to make sure the plumber has been working in the community for awhile or at least has a permanent place of business.

Develop a Relationship

Once you've selected the right plumber for the job, be prepared for plumbing emergencies by establishing a relationship with a local plumber before you really need services. For example, hire the plumber to do regular repairs or install new fixtures in your home during normal business hours. This makes it more likely that they'll be there to help you when you have an emergency late at night on the weekend.

Image: Eli Duke

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why Do I Have Low Water Pressure? Part 2

In an earlier post we discussed the common causes of low water pressure. Now let's go into more detail to explain how you can pinpoint and possibly fix the problem. If you want to test your water pressure, you can also read this post to learn how to do that: How to Check Household Water Pressure.

Are the valves partially closed?

This is the easiest possible solution for low water pressure. Start my making sure the shut-off valve on your main water supply is completely open. These valves are often found right where plumbing enters the house. You may also find valves at the cold water inlet for your water heater. You may find one of two common types: the gate valve or the ball valve.

A ball valve has a long handle that indicates the position of a small ball diverter inside the pipe. If the handle is lined up with the pipe, water is flowing freely. If it's turned 90 degrees, water is completely shut off. Any position of the handle between this will restrict the flow of water.

Gate valves have a rotary handle that determines the position of a small gate inside the pipe. Turning the valve clockwise will close this gate and stop the flow of water. The valve needs to be turned all the way to the left to pen the gate fully.

Is it the PRV?

Many homes have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) or a backflow preventer installed. A PRV has a number of small parts that regulate water pressure going into your home and these parts can fail over time, causing the flow of water in your home to become restricted. Before disassembling the valve, make sure you water is completely turned off. If your PRV is installed before the main shut off, you'll need to have the water turned off at the meter first. Many times these parts become corroded and require complete replacement. While you can do this job yourself, you may want to hire a qualified plumber.

Are the pipes corroded?

Steel and galvanized pipes often start to clog with mineral build-ups or become corroded after about 20 years. There is no way to fix this problem without replacing the piping. Unfortunately, this is an expensive and very time-intensive job that requires a professional. Most of the time, houses with internally corroded pipes have full flow fixtures in the home so flow restrictors and aerators installed on shower heads and facuets may appear to help the problem while you're showering or using the sink.

If you suspect corroded pipes or a failed PRV, contact the professionals at Inland Empire Plumbing right away to get the problem taken care of before it gets worse.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dishwasher Problems: Is it Time to Call a Plumber?

Dishwashers are low-maintenance appliances, although that doesn't mean they aren't without problems. Your dishwasher requires regular maintenance like anything else, including checking for clogs, cleaning the screen or filter, checking the gaskets for signs of deterioration and more. Here are some general maintenance guidelines for your dishwasher -- as well as some advice when it's time to call a professional plumber about a malfunctioning or leaking dishwasher.


General Dishwasher Maintenance

Before you perform any maintenance on your dishwasher, start by turning off the power to the appliance at your circuit breaker box. Remember that dishwashers also pose a shock hazard as they have a built-in motor and water heater. It's a good idea to check that your dishwasher is installed level to prevent leaks. You can do this easily by opening the door and placing a small level on the edge just inside. If it isn't level, you can adjust the feet at the bottom or add a wedge.

Checking the gaskets: The gaskets are the small seals along the door of your dishwasher that make sure you have a water-tight seal. If you've noticed water pooling around the dishwasher, it could be caused by faulty gaskets, which develop cracks and deteriorate over time. If the gasket has damage, you can remove it with a screwdriver and order a replacement.

Checking the sprayer arm: Next, check the sprayer arm for clogs, which may be mineral deposits, food or any other debris. These tiny holes need to stay clear for the dishwasher to work. You can remove the arm from time to time and soak it in warm water mixed with vinegar to loosen any clogs, then clean it with a pipe cleaner.

Checking the screen: At the bottom of your dishwasher you'll find a screen, which sits above the drain to catch food. Try to clean this screen every two or three weeks to keep your dishwasher functioning properly.

Common Dishwasher Problems

  • Dishwasher won't drain. Try to clean the filter and then run your dishwasher again. If this doesn't fix the problem, call a professional plumber.
  • Dishwasher won't fill. Make sure the water is on, the door is latched and then check your circuit breaker. There may be problems with the inlet hose as well. If this didn't fix the problem, you may need to make a service call.
  • Dishwasher is making unusual noises. If the noise sounds loud enough that it could be damaging dishes or it's a sound you haven't heard before, you may need a plumber to run diagnostic tests.
  • Dishwasher leaks water. Check that the appliance is level then make sure there aren't too many suds causing the problem. Check the seals along the door and contact a professional plumber if the water is more than a few drops or this doesn't solve the problem.
Image: Joanna Bourne at Flickr

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why Do I Have Low Water Pressure? Part 1

Is there anything as wonderful as turning on your shower in the morning and feeling a nice strong blast of hot water? Unfortunately, an issue of low water pressure can give you little more than a limp drizzle of water. This problem doesn't just occur with shower heads, either; you may notice low water pressure, or low flow, at any faucet in your home.

There are a few possible causes for this problem so let's go over them one by one and help you decide when you need to contact a plumber in California.

Single sink faucet problems

If the problem is occurring with just a single sink faucet, it may be one of three things:

  1. Faucet supply valve. The problem may be caused by the supply valve not being open all the way. This valve is located under the sink and has a handle to turn. Make sure the valve is turned all the way to the left (but don't force it!). You can also check if any flexible plastic tubes under the sink have a kink or have become crushed.
  2. Faucet aerotor. If your faucet has an aerator (and most do) it may be clogged. This aerator is threaded onto the end so try removing it and look for debris like sand or mineral build up. Clean it then reinstall, testing both the hot and cold water.
  3. Defective faucet. The issue may also be caused by a defective faucet. Follow manufacturer instructions to clean your faucet or contact a plumber from Inland Empire Plumbing who installs faucets to take care of the problem.

Whole house problems

If you notice the problem with every fixture in your home, there could be many possible causes, including corroded piping, a failed pressure relief valve or a valve that's left partially closed. In this case you'll want to contact a professional.

A note about low water pressure:

Low water pressure actually refers to low flow when at least one of the fixtures in your house aren't giving you enough water flow. While there's a relationship between pressure and flow, you can have good water pressure and still notice low flow problems.

In the next post we'll go over how to test your water pressure and explain in more detail some of these problems, including PRV or backflow preventors and how to fix partially closed valves.

Image: Steven Dopolo

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Clogged Sewer Pipes: DIY Plumbing Task or Leave it to the Pros?

Courtesy of Wonderlane at Flickr
You can usually tell when you have clogged sewer pipes when your toilet or bathtub starts to bubble back up when you flush or drain the water. There may be other symptoms as well, including poor drainage and inefficient pipes. These clogs are caused by a very large obstruction that prevents water waste from being disposed of. This problem needs to be addressed right away as it could cause extensive damage to your plumbing if ignored. If you're thinking about taking care of the problem yourself without a professional plumber, here are some things to keep in mind.

Think Twice Before Using Drain Cleaner!

If you have PVC pipes in your home, you may want to think twice before you try to use drain cleaner. These cleaners are great at dissolving things clogging your pipes, although they can also attack the cement that's been used to weld your pipes together. You also can't use drain cleaner to get rid of a clogged sewer pipe.

Using a Plumbing Snake

Most clogged sewer pipes are actually cleared with tools like plumbing snakes, which you can rent at a hardware store yourself. Snakes can be fairly easy to use; just insert the cable into the pipe you think is blocked. When you feel like the cable is hitting the clog, you start to rotate the handle to force the cable through the block.

Clearing clogged sewer pipes is a dirty job and it may take you a few hours. You'll also face the expense of renting the necessary tools to clear the clog, including a plumbing snake. For most homeowners, it's easier and even more affordable to just call a professional plumber to clear the clog. Taking care of the problem as soon as possible can even reduce the expense of the repair! Contact Inland Empire Plumbing if you suspect you have a clogged sewer pipe to have your sewer drains inspected and fixed in no time.

Friday, February 8, 2013

3 Problems with DIY Plumbing

While many home plumbing maintenance jobs like a clogged toilet can be handled easily for most homeowners, fixture installation and major repair jobs are best left to a professional plumber. Taking care of your own plumbing problems may sound like a great DIY project for the weekend, although it doesn't take a lot for a simple little repair to turn into an expensive disaster.

Remember: just because a DIY plumbing project looks easy on your favorite home improvement show doesn't mean you can tackle it yourself without experience. Also, don't make the mistake of assuming you know how to fix the problem just because you've diagnosed the issue.

Problem 1: Voiding Home Warranties

Did you know attempting your own repairs can cause you to void your home warranties on appliances like the dishwasher or garbage disposal? Home warranty companies are notorious for this and, while many receive complaints from consumers, most problems with these companies stem from homeowners who simply don't know the limitations of their agreement. Attempting to fix the problem yourself without the help of a professional plumber is the most common disqualifier for home warranties.

Problem 2: Creating a New Problem

If you don't know what you're doing, including how the complete plumbing system in your home works and how it's put together, you may inadvertently fix one problem only to cause another that doesn't become apparent for some time. At this point, calling a professional is necessary but it'll end up costing more than if you'd just had the pro take care of the first job.

Problem 3: Issues Selling Your Home

Finally, attempting your own DIY plumbing projects can end in disaster when you try to sell your house. If your plumbing repairs aren't up to code or they don't pass inspection, you can either lose out on a potential buyer or end up putting more money into the problem to get your home sold.

There are DIY projects that are rewarding and save you money and then there are plumbing projects. If you've attempted your own plumbing project and you find you're in over your head, get reliable plumbing services from a professional in town. Major problems are especially likely if you have old plumbing or it was poorly installed the first time.

Image: Daniel Morrison at Flickr

Thursday, February 7, 2013

8 Most Common Plumbing Problems in Riverside

Residential plumbing repair is one of the most common yet annoying issues every homeowner faces at some point, whether it's a clogged drain or a water heater that's starting to leak. The most common problems are actually issues you can fix yourself with a little know-how and the right tools, although most people would rather rely on a local plumber in Riverside to tackle the problem.

Here are the 10 most common household plumbing problems in Riverside that you'll probably face at some point.

1. Clogged drains

Clogged sinks are used so often that it's rather easy for them to become clogged. Sinks in a kitchen clog more often than bathroom sinks as they're involved with preparing food, although the sink in your bathroom can get clogged with hair from shaving. Clogged drains, including clogs in the toilet and shower, can usually be avoided as long as you're careful about what goes down the drain.

2. No hot water

This is the most common reason homeowners call up a plumber and may sometimes be fixed without calling a professional. If you have a gas powered water heater, check to make sure the pilot light is lit. Next, make sure the temperature setting is high enough to give you enough hot water and determine if your water heater is actually big enough for the house. This problem is most common in new homes.

3. Dripping faucet

If the faucet in your bathroom or kitchen is dripping, it may be caused by worn-out washers in the faucet. This is a fairly and affordable fix, although you should take care in the future to avoid turning off your faucet too hard to extend the life of the new washers.

4. Leaking water pipe

This issue can cause a great deal of property damage, whether it's inside the home or underground. Signs of a leak include mold or mildew, standing water in the basement, a warm spot on your floor if your home sits on a slab and unexplained rises in your water or electric bill. Leaking pipes need to be fixed as soon as possible to avoid expensive damage to your foundation, belongings, flooring or ceilings so you should hire a plumber that specializes in leak detection for this job.

5. Running toilet

Toilets that are running usually have a humming noise and water will continue to run in the bowl long after it's been flushed. This issue can be taken care of rather easily by a plumber as it indicates there's a single part of the toilet that needs to be replaced.

6. Leaking toilet

Did you know a leaking toilet can cost you $100 in water costs each year? This problem can often be fixed by replacing the rubber gaskets and spud washer, although it can require a more complicated repair job.

7. Installing a new faucet

While some DIYers prefer to install their own faucets, some simply prefer calling a plumber to handle the job. Most plumbers will guarantee their work so you won't have to panic if you run into problems after installing it yourself.

8. Problems with a garbage disposal

Like all household appliances, your garbage disposal will occasionally stop working properly or give out. Many stop running after they trip the circuit breaker, often when something has caused the appliance to overheat. You can usually fix this issue by hitting the red button under the unit under your sink. Other common garbage disposal problems include leaks and obstructions under the blades.

Image credit: Maegan Tintari at Flickr

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Detecting Underground Leaks in Ontario

Did you know even a tiny leak can waste 250,000 gallons of water in only three months and add over $200 to your water bill? Leaks don't just occur at your facuets and toilets, either; underground leaks can quickly become one of the costliest problems, creating thousands of dollars in property damage if undetected. There are plenty of professional plumbers operating in Ontario, California who can fix the problem, although many use old-fashioned leak detection methods that take more time and cost you more money. It's important to work with a plumber like Inland Empire Plumbing who uses modern electronic techniques for quick detection and fast repairs.

Leaks in your underground plumbing can be caused by many things, including stray electric currents from utilities that cause premature rust on piping, driving over the pipes with heavy equipment, poor installation, freezing and thawing, leaking joints and simple rust from aging pipes.

Leak Repair Courtesy of Ben+Sam at Flickr

Signs You Have an Underground Leak

  • Water pooling on the lawn or wet spots in landscaped areas of your yard
  • A single spot that's greener, mossier, softer or moldier than the rest of the lawn
  • A noticeable drop in your water pressure
  • Sudden issues with rusty or dirty water
  • An irrigated area suddenly turning brown or dying
  • Cracked pavement
  • Sink holes
  • A structure on your property is leaning
  • Sudden spike in water use or water bills that are climbing steadily for no reason

Checking for an Underground Leak

Unfortunately, most people don't realize they have a leak until they see their water bill climbing for no reason. You may realize there's a leak in your water line if you have copper pipes as well, as copper is a very good conductor of sound and the faucets in your home act as small amplifiers.

Start by checking all of the valves in your house to ensure nothing is running, even a small trickle. Check the toilets and hose faucets in particular as many toilets run without any notice. Turn the toilets off at the supply stop and, if you notice this stops the problem, you'll simply need to contact a plumber in Ontario, California to tune up your plumbing system.

Finally, inspect your entire home for any signs of water damage, including under sinks, your water heater and dishwasher. Pay careful attention to the floors, walls and ceilings as well to spot moisture. If none of these steps turned up a problem, it's time to contact a leak detection professional.

How the Leak is Isolated

If you want, try to isolate the leak before the plumber arrives to fix the problem. Start by turning off your main water cut-off valve, which may be neaer your water heater or outside of the house. This shuts off all water to your home. Test it by opening a faucet to remove the pressure and drain it until the water stops flowing. Now listen carefully. If you don't hear any water running, the leak is probably under the floors of the house.

If you still hear water running, it's probably a leak in the water main which runs under the ground between your main water cut-off valve and the water meter. Walk along the ground where you believe the water lines run and look for wet areas in the ground or even a spot where you see water bubbling up.

Contact Inland Empire Plumbing Today

At Inland Empire Plumbing, our licensed plumbers specialize in diagnosing and repairing underground leaks, including slab leaks. We use modern electronic detection equipment to quickly pinpoint the leak without the time-consuming and ineffective "listen, hit and miss" approach. Our extensive experience in underground leak detection can save thousands by finding and fixing the problem before it causes unnecessary damage to your property.

Contact the experienced professionals at Inland Empire Plumbing today to save water and money and avoid expensive repairs in the future!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Clean Your Water Pipes

Keeping your water pipes clean and free of debris is just one of the many wonderful parts of home ownership. Learning how to do this job yourself can also save you a lot of money over time, both on plumber's services and by avoiding costly repairs that become necessary when the pipes become clogged, rusted or roots begin growing into the pipes. Cleaning your water pipes isn't as difficult as it sounds and there are a few methods you can use today to keep your pipes clear.

Chemical Cleaners

There are a number of commercial water pipe cleaners on the market you can use to eat away at the rust, lime and calcium deposits that have built up over years. The amount of chemicals and natural minerals running through your pipes depends on where you get water from, and these minerals and chemicals slowly build up along the pipe walls without proper maintenance.

Chemical cleaners should be poured into your main supply pipe, although it's absolutely necessary to flush out the water before you use it for drinking or cleaning. There are also some downsides to using commercial cleaners as strong chemicals can actually cause the pipes to deteriorate over time, possibly requiring replacement or leak repairs from a plumber in the future.

Muriatic acid, or hydrochloric acid, is a popular chemical for removing mineral and scale deposits. It's sold in hardware stores and it's safe to use on copper pipes. To use muriatic acid, pour it into the pipe and let it set for one minute. Then flush the pipes by running water. Inland Empire Plumbing recommends always wearing protective gear while using chemicals like muriatic acid.

Water Softeners

Do you live in an area with hard water? If so, you've probably noticed a lot of white scale deposits on the inside of your pipes and a flaky build up around faucets and shower heads. These deposits, which are made of calcium, lime and a few other minerals, eventually cause major clogs in your water pipes and damage to the entire system. Consider installing a water softener to filter out the minerals. While it won't remove the minerals completely, it will cause enough of a reduction to keep your pipes from from build-up for many years. A qualified plumber in Fontana or elsewhere can install a water softener for you and recommend any other steps you can take to reduce hard water.

Removing Lime Build Up

Hot water pipes are very prone to developing a build up of lime, which is caused by the hot water that dissolves the lime, allowing it to flow freely. Once the water cools off, the lime left over in the pipes will settle, which eventually causes clogs or even a decrease in water pressure.

To fix this problem, empty half of the hot water heater in your home and add lime remover. Refill the tank, let it set for at least a few minutes then run hot water through every faucet until it's free of bubbles. You may need to do this every couple of months, depending how often you use hot water and how bad the problem is.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How to Check Household Water Pressure

Learning how to test your own household water pressure is a skill every homeowner should learn. Testing the water pressure regularly doesn't just help detect leaks; it can also find potential problems with your water system. Testing your water pressure is fairly simple and a quick preventative measure that ensures you always have even water flow and catch leaks before they lead to expensive water damage or repairs. Unfortunately, most people don't test their pressure until they notice a difference in water flow.

Here are the steps you can take to test your own household water pressure. You'll need a water pressure test gauge, which you can buy from any home supply store for a few dollars.

1. Start by finding your outside water faucet. Make sure the faucet isn't leaking, which can ruin the resuts.

2. Attach your gauge to the outside faucet and turn the water on completely. The gauge will read the pressure for the house. The pressure can range anywhere from 40 psi to 100 psi, so you'll need to check with your water department to find out what the average range should be in your neighborhood. If the reading is outside of this range, you may have an issue that needs to be addressed by a plumber. At this point, you'll need to contact a professional plumber in California.

3. Next, turn off your outside faucets and test the pressure for each floor of your home. Start by testing the pressure in your shower, the kitchen sink or anywhere with running water. You can test indoor water pressure by removing the faucet nozzle or shower head and attaching the gauge as you did before.

4. If you're getting inconsistent readings from the test, start attaching the gauge to each faucet in your home to pinpoint the problem.

If you or your plumber finds the water pressure is too high (anything over 80psi is too high for a home), they may recommend you install a pressure-reducer valve, or PRU, to reduce the pressure to an acceptable limit. Your plumbing system can also be protected against pressure surges in the future by installing a thermal expansion tank, which gives hot water from the water heater space to expand.

Even if you have a pressure regulator installed by your plumber, make sure you regularly test the water pressure as these devices can wear out over time. Usually failure is subtle and you'll notice drops in pressure when the water is being used. Some also fail to limit spikes in the water pressure over time, leading to faucets that leak mysteriously.

Contact Inland Empire Plumbing today if you find your water pressure is outside the normal range to get to the bottom of the problem and have a pressure-reducer valve or regulator installed.