Thursday, June 27, 2013

6 Signs You Have a Water Leak Hiding in Your Bathroom

For many homeowners, a leak is a serious nightmare, capable of causing untold thousands in damage to floors, walls, paint and worse. While the signs of plumbing issues in your bathroom may be obvious, they aren't always. Keep an eye out for these signs that you may need to contact the professionals at Inland Empire Plumbing to fix a problem before it gets worse!

1. Damaged Wallpaper or Paint

If you notice your wallpaper or paint is blistering, you may have a water leak. Most of the time, steam from a hot shower shouldn't cause paint or wallpaper to loosen. Water or moisture getting behind the paint and the wall, however, will eliminate the bond and cause paint to rise off the wall and fall away, just like wallpaper. That adhesive that normally holds wallpaper to the wall will loose its stickiness when it comes in contact with water.

2. Damage to Your Wall

Warped or stained walls that are damaged for no apparent reason are a very clear sign you have a water leak. Drywall that gets exposed to water or moisture will get soft and bubble, and then warp and break. If the leak gets into the ceiling, it will cause sagging and some of the accumulated water may drip down.

3. Damage to Your Floor

Unless you allow water to pool on your floor, the floor in your bathroom shouldn't get water damage without a leak. If you notice buckling, cracks or stains with no cause, there may be a hidden water leak. This may be from a pipe under the floor, or water that has traveled from somewhere else. You may also notice a spongy or soft feeling to your flooring, or tiles that are easy to remove with noticeable water underneath. If you pull back the flooring, you will usually see your subfloor is damp.

4. Presence of Mold or Mildew

Regardless of how well yo keep your bathroom clean, mold and mildew can start to grow if there's a hidden water leak somewhere in your bathroom. Mold loves dark, moist areas and a leaking pipe offers the perfect environment.

A small amount of mildew is perfectly normal in the corners of your shower or other damp areas, but it should not be present on other walls or in the corners of your bathroom unless you have a leak. Remember: the longer you take to contact an Ontario plumber to fix the issue, the easier and faster mold will grow in your bathroom.

5. Ceiling Stains

For bathrooms on the second floor of your home, you may notice stains on the ceiling directly below the bathroom. Still, water does have a way of traveling very long distances so you may notice stains even farther away. Look for copper or brown stains on your ceilings, or sagging ceilings which shows that water is reaching this area.

6. Tell-Tale Smell

Finally, you may even notice that tell-tale smell of a leaky pipe. If you notice an earthy, musty smell after cleaning your bathroom, you might have a hidden leak that can never dry.

If you notice any of these signs of a hidden leak in your bathroom, contact a professional plumber in Ontario as soon as possible to keep the problem from getting worse.

Image: ClutterBusters/Flickr

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

8 Clogged Plumbing Drain Tips

Who hasn't experienced a clogged drain at least once? When the water starts pooling around the drain, you probably get that sinking feeling in your stomach. You may even be tempted to try fixing the clogged drain on your own before calling a Corona plumber to save some money. The good news is most clogged drains can be corrected on your own without calling a professional plumber.

Most homeowners can get a clogged drain cleared up in a few hours using one of these tips. If this doesn't work, though, you'll need to bring in a professional.

1. Before using powerful commercial chemicals to clear a clog, which may actually damage your plumbing, try this first: Pour 1/2 cup of salt down your drain and follow it with boiling water. Flush with hot tap water to see if the clog clears up.

2. Pour a cup of fruitless yogurt down your drain and let is sit for a few hours to see if it will break up the clog naturally.

3. If your drain is clogged from hair, Nair, or leg hair remover, may work. Try pouring a bottle down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes, then pour hot water down your drain. It will break down the hair further down the pipe as it moves through.

4. Try putting dish soap like Dawn down the drain, followed by hot water.

5. If you have a slow running drain, try shaking half a box of baking soda into the drain, then one cup of vinegar. This combination will foam up a lot so cover it with a towel and, once the foaming stops, flush it with hot water for two or three minutes.

6. If possible, acccess the drain pipe and open it. Put a water hose through the drain and turn it on. It may just wash out the clog without chemicals.

7. You can clear up the plumbing in your home with a plungers, which can be used on your sink and bathtub as well. Keep plungers designed for tubs, sinks and toilets in the house for those occasional clogs. To use a plunger properly, use a lot of force to press it over the drain. Wait one minute and see if the clog cleared up.

8. If none of this works, invest $30 in a drain clearing snake, which you can buy at a hardware store. Snakes quickly clear up many clogged drains with no chemicals by grabbing into the clog and pulling it out.

If all else fails, it's time to call a professional plumber in Corona to fix the problem for you. The clog may just be worse than you think and a professional will get to the bottom of the problem.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Why Grease Trap Cleaning is Necessary for Restaurants

While cleaning out grease traps is certainly not an enjoyable job, it's very important that these traps are maintained to prevent serious problems from occurring later. Everything removed from the grease traps also needs to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. This is why most restaurants choose to hire a reputable plumber or company that disposes of this trap waste in a licensed facility, so the grease can be recycled into something else.

Routine cleaning prevents the build-up of grease and allows the system to work efficiently and safely. A restaurant kitchen that ignores this important maintenance will face serious problems. All the grease and oil drain into the plumbing system, where they may create a blockage that prevents water from draining to the sewer system. Once this occurs, this simple, affordable maintenance turns into a very big expense.

Grease trap interceptors are designed to be added to commercial drains, which prevent this grease from draining into the public waste system, where it may clog lines and cause other issues. Commercial grease traps are designed to retain about 90% of the fat and grease, allowing liquid through. Ask any Upland plumber and they will tell you: these grease traps are your first line of defense against major sewer back-ups and other problems that lead to business down time.

This material is made primarily of fat, and it can't be disposed of normally. It will take a great deal of time to break down and decompose naturally, and during this it will become rancid and emit bacteria into the air, creating an unhealthy environment.

The best way to prevent a build-up is developing a relationship with a local Upland plumber. Always ensure the plumber is licensed and experienced in dealing with commercial drain cleaning and grease trap cleaning to make sure you get the best service.

Along with having a plumber in Upland clean your grease traps regularly, keep in mind that leftovers should always be scrapped off dishes to avoid allowing any fibrous material into the drain. Do not rinse hot pans or pots down the drain but instead scrap off the cooking fat and grease into an empty container, which can be thrown away. Do not use natural bacteria in your grease trap to decompose the oil and grease, as it will kill natural bacteria and inhibit the desirable separation process. Always contact a commercial plumber in Upland before using any chemicals to clean your traps.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Do You Have Sweating Water Pipes?

With summer underway, you're undoubtedly trying to find ways to keep cool. The days get humid and we begin to change out our wardrobe for summer, often placing our winter clothing and out-of-season belongings in the basement. But what happens when you go to retrieve your belongings later and find wet laundry and wet cardboard boxes?

You probably know just how a leaky water line can create substantial damage if it goes unnoticed for some time, but what about water damage that's caused when there's no actual leak? If your basement isn't flooded and the damage is minimal, the source of water probably isn't coming from inside the pipes but the outside.

This is known as sweating water pipes and it's caused by water condensation forming along and underneath your plumbing pipes. Condensation on your water pipes occurs when it's hot and the water inside the pipe is colder than the outside. This condensation will build up and actually drip just as if there was a small leak.

The good news is this can be minimized and controlled by insulating your pipes. You can contact a Riverside plumber, or do it yourself if you think you're up to it. Self-adhesive tape of pipe insulation can be wrapped around your pipes to catch these drips and control the moisture, although it needs to be applied correctly.

Before you apply the tape, make sure you dry your pipes as much as possible, and wind the tape to completely cover the pipe as well as the fittings. There shouldn't be any signs of sweating water pipes after this and your belongings will be safe.

If you find your basement still has excessive water, it's a good idea to call a plumber in Riverside to get to the bottom of the issue, as the sweating water pipes may have only been one problem, with something else lurking and needing to be fixed.

Image: polkadotcreations/Flickr

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Do I Need a Sump Pump?

Unfortunately, too many homeowners learn too late that they need a sump pump when their basement floods after a heavy rain, leaving up to 15 inches of standing flood water, ruining their belongings.

Sump pumps are unique devices; you don't see them and you don't actually use them. If your home sits in an area with a water table high enough around your home to seep into your floor or foundation, a sump pump will automatically pump away water that collects in a pit in your basement and pump it away from your home. Sump pumps have a float switch, which works like the float in your toilet tank. This float turns on the motor when water in the pit reaches a certain level.

Not all homes need a sump pump. If your home is on high ground and the ground naturally slopes away from your home for drainage, and you've never had a moisture problem before, a sump pump is a completely unnecessary and expensive addition. If there's a possibility that heavy rain fall could seep into your home's foundation, though, it's important to talk to a trustworthy Ontario plumber, who will take a look at your home and decide if this is a worthwhile expense.

If there's a possibility of water seeping into your basement, you could wake up one morning to 6+ inches of water, with the risk of fire from short-circuiting appliances and long-term damage to your home. This water will harm not only your foundation but anything made from water or wood, destroying any belongings in the basement and breeding mold and mildew.

Sump pumps are the most effective way to prevent a flood in your basement, even more so than a waterproofing system. If you're still not sure if you need a sump pump, the answer is probably "yes" if any of these are true:

  • Your home has flooded before
  • Your home is in a flat or low-lying area
  • You live in an area with heavy rain fall

There are actually two types of sump pumps a plumber in Ontario can install for you: a pedestal pump or a submersible pump. Pedestal pumps have an electric motor with a column and an impeller in the sump pit. This type is usually fairly noisy. A submersible pump is designed to work under water and it's usually the best option. Along with being quieter, this type will usually last longer because it's waterproof.

If you're at all worried about a flooded basement, a sump pump is your best defense. Still, even these reliable devices can fail if they aren't installed properly or they're overwhelmed. To find out if your home needs a sump pump, contact the professionals at Inland Empire Plumbing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Plumbing Myths that Cost You Big Money

Conventional "wisdom" with plumbing is one of those things that may be costing you big -- you just don't realize it. You may be guilty of some of these seemingly good ideas, which may sound great but can actually be harming your home's plumbing system. Here are some common myths about home plumbing systems and what to do instead.

1. Putting Lemons in Your Garbage Disposal Makes it Smell Better

Sure, putting lemons down your garbage disposal will give you a temporarily fresh smell, but the truth is that citric acid is corroding the metal in your disposal! A much safer and more effective option is using ice to polish up the blades in your disposal. While it's loud, it works like a rock tumbler that polishes rocks. You can then power wash the scum away from your drain without running your disposal.

2. In-Tank Cleaners Keep Your Toilet Clean

Those in-tank cleaners are supposed to make chores a breeze and reduce the time you spend scrubbing the toilets. What actually happens is these cleaners simply bleach the build-up on your toilet without removing it, and the build-up will eventually cause problems and have you running to the nearest professional plumber in Corona. The trick is to use vinegar down the overflow tube instead, which actually removes that build-up for a lot less money.

3. Running Water While Using the Disposal Helps

It seems like a great idea: allow the water to run while you use the garbage disposal to make sure the waste drains. Who hasn't done this? Actually, following the waste with faucet water doesn't help a blockage that forms. A better way to do it is filling your sink with 4:1 water to waste, allowing the waste to separate and flow down better.

4. Everything is Working if Everything Goes Down the Drain

Just because it's out of sight does not mean it should be out of mind. Many foods like rice and pasta will bloat with water once they're in your pipes, causing blockages and clogs that prevent water from passing through. Without enough water to rinse it away, waste will also build up in your pipes. Always use toilets, showers and sinks the right way. Fill basins with faucet water before draining and use a hair screen in your shower to prevent hair clogs.

5. Water Pressure Regulators Always Work

Water pressure regulators are important, but you can't always trust their readings. Make sure you check your water pressure on your own because high pressure is a huge cause of leaks and continuously running toilets.

6. Soap Won't Hurt Fixtures

Be careful not to leave soap and water on your fixtures or faucets, which causes corrosion, peeling and bubbling. Wipe your fixtures after every use as soap will actually void lifetime warranties.

7. All Plumbers Know What They Are Doing

Unfortunately, just because a plumber has this title does not mean they know what they are doing or are properly licensed. All plumbers should continue receiving education and additional certificates. If the plumber you choose installs something improperly, you'll need to call someone else to fix it. Use the state boards, BBB and online reviews to make sure you're hiring a qualified, licensed Corona plumber before you make that call.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

How a Small Leak Can Cost You Big

Most homeowners see a small leak in their home as a minor inconvenience and, possibly, a problem that can be put off until a more convenient time. The truth is small leaks are very serious problems that will not take care of themselves but only get worse over time. While you have no choice but immediately getting a broken faucet fixed, you may not be so quick to call a Corona plumber when you notice a small drip from your ceiling after the rain or a drip under your sink. This can come back to bite you!

1. Slow, Serious Damage to Your Home

The first way a small leak will end up costing you big is through the damage it does to your floors, walls and everything else it touches over the course of months. This damage can easily cost thousands by the time you notice and fix the problem!

2. Mold Issues

Small leaks in your home also lead to mold, a serious health hazard that can put someone you love in the hospital. If you allow the problem to go on, it may cost you thousands to have the mold professionally and safely removed once the leak is fixed and it will make your home impossible to sell until it's taken care of.

3. Poor Plumbing Performance

Finally, you may notice poor performance with your plumbing system if you have a leak. While this is the least of your problems, reduced water pressure can be a pain when you need to wash dishes or take a shower.

If you have a small leak in your home, realize that it will only get worse and bigger the longer it's ignored. As soon as possible, make that call to the professional plumbers at Inland Empire Plumbing to have the problem identified and fixed right away. You'll end up saving money in the long run and enjoying the peace of mind that comes with taking care of a small issue before it gets serious.

Image: Rockinfree/Flickr