Author Archives: SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc.

Why did my garbage disposal suddenly stop working?

a garbage disposal unit

Garbage Disposal in your home

The garbage disposal is a modern-day invention. It is rare to find one in homes over 40 years old unless it was installed “aftermarket”, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a new home built without one.  A Wisconsin architect, John W. Hammes invented this kitchen appliance in 1927. It would be 1935 before he received his 1935.

It was 1940 before he put his invention on the market under the company name of InSinkErator, but GE would dispute it as being the first garbage disposal, with claims that their disposal was first introduced in 1935. Either way, whether it was Hammes or GE, the garbage disposal has become a mainstay in many, if not most, American homes.

Today, if you have a garbage disposal or not, most of us take the garbage disposal for granted. So much so, that when it isn’t working, we may panic, especially if we’re amid cooking a big dinner. While most of us can’t live without this kitchen appliance, we know little about them, and with that, we will answer some commonly asked questions, like: 

How does garbage disposal work?

The garbage disposal is mounted under the cabinet, attached to the drain. It is powered by electricity and with the aid of water flowing into the drain, enabling it to grind up food scraps that are put in the drain. Today, local safety codes require the electrical switch for a garbage disposal to be so many feet away from the water source.  When you consider electricity and water are not a good combination, this makes sense. 

Inside the garbage disposal is a grinding chamber consisting of shredding blades that break down food. Then there is an impeller arm that uses centrifugal force to force the ground particles and liquid down through the drain which is shared with the dishwasher. This shared drain allows the large food particles to be ground up thoroughly before reaching the drain.

Do I need a plumber to install a garbage disposal? 

If you are a handy DIY person, there should be instructions that come with garbage disposal. Also, there are many YouTube videos available that can walk you through the installation. However, calling a licensed plumber is recommended. This will assure that it does the job and if there are any incidents with the existing plumbing, you’ll have the professional on-site already. If local building codes require a GFCI outlet for the electrical part of a garbage disposal, you will need to call a licensed electrician before the plumber can do their part.

How long does a typical garbage disposal last? 

The life expectancy for most garbage disposal units depends on the size of the motor and the usage. The average lifespan with normal usage is between 8 years and 15 years, not as long the life of your roof, but for several years. The more it is used, the quicker the blades wear out, or the motor quits. There are 8 food items that can damage a garbage disposal and make it necessary to replace it before it has reached its life expectancy.

  • Fruit Skins & Vegetable Peels: The peeling and skins from apples, mangoes, onions, and potatoes can get caught around the disposer blades and prevent the garbage disposal from working. If you do use the unit to dispose of these, experts recommend cutting in small pieces and only process a few at a time.
  • Pasta & Rice & Tea Grounds, Tea Leaves: Pasta, rice, tea grounds, and tea leaves stick to the blades and pipes, creating a clog in the sink.
  • Celery Stalks & Stringy Vegetables: Celery is rubbery and has strings, spinach is stringy, and both can cause the same effect as apple skins and potato peelings inside the garbage disposal.
  • Bones & Shells: Bones and shellfish shells can break and dull the blades in a garbage disposal, causing it to jam and thwart the blades from functioning. Over time, this will eventually burn out the motor.
  • Fruit Seeds & Pits: Cherry, durians, nectarine, and peach seeds are hard and typically large. They can blunt the blades over time and can even cause the garbage disposal to freeze up.
  • Fats, Grease, or Greasy Foods: Foods that are fat and greasy, or direct fat, grease, or oil will coat the blades with a film and reduce their effectiveness. In time, that grease film will putrefy, causing the garbage disposal to smell the entire kitchen with a pungent odor, perhaps the entire house. In addition to this smell, the pipes get clogged and the grease will harden inside the drain, which will keep it from working properly.
  • Egg Shells: A rumor got started somehow that eggshells sharpen a garbage disposal blades, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. There is a stringy membrane layer inside eggshells that become wrapped around the shredder ring. While they will grind up to a consistency like sand, over time, it will clog the pipes.

Additionally, if it isn’t a food item, it doesn’t belong in the garbage disposal! Professional plumbers have found some items in non-working garbage disposals that have no business being there to start with, such as:

  • Cigarette butts
  • Fabric
  • Plant clippings
  • Pull tabs
  • Rubber bands
  • Sponges
  • Spoons
  • Twist ties

These are things that cannot break down in a garbage disposal and will only end up clogging the drain after it burns the garbage disposal motor.  If something accidentally gets in the garbage disposal, you’ll know this by the garbage disposal is humming loudly, like a dishrag or utensil, UNPLUG the unit before you attempt to remove it. If you can’t easily remove it without pulling on it, thus risk bending the blades, call a plumber.

Will a garbage disposal cut you?

Garbage disposals fling inserted debris with centrifugal force, bouncing it around until it is broken up or chewed up. A garbage disposal doesn’t have a downward suction, so pushing a hand down inside the unit before turning it on, will yes, cut it, maybe break your fingers, but it won’t pull your arm in. 

Why does my garbage disposal smell so bad?

Theoretically, garbage disposals are self-cleaning. However, from time to time, gooey and sludge will build up inside them and food particles stick to the grinders. When this happens, a phantom odor will overtake your kitchen, maybe your whole house. No need to panic though – your garbage disposal simply needs to be flushed. 

You can do this yourself by plugging the drain, filling the sink with hot water, and then adding a good amount of dish liquid. Turn the garbage disposal on, then pull the stopper out so the water can flush through the unit. 

For the next step, drop some ice cubes and a half cup of kosher salt in the drain where the garbage disposal is and turn it on. The ice will knock any stuck-on food off and the salt will scrub the sides. Repeat the process for good pressure but add grounded lemon peels (remember to ground them up!).

recycling peels and food waste

Grind with Care

Your garbage disposal is an awesome kitchen assistant, but like any other component of your home, it needs to be taken care of. Starting by not abusing it with items and products that it isn’t meant to grind up. Doing the cleaning part that we described at the end of this article on a monthly basis will keep it from smelling, and the ground up lemon peel will make the whole kitchen smell fresh. For garbage disposal repair in Sherman Oaks, CA, call 818-574-8522 for SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc..

How Often Should Water Heaters Be Inspected?

A Plumber Inspecting a Water Heater.

Do Water Heaters Need to Be Inspected?

Water heaters are essential to any household. They offer hot water so we can clean, wash clothes, and bathe. Its a complex system and a lot of things can go wrong with the tank if its not properly serviced. If you have a water heater and you want to extend it’s life, then getting a water heater inspection is crucial. Water heaters are constantly working, so if they aren’t examined from time to time, they can develop issues that can result in repairs or a complete replacement. Not only can water heater inspections extend the life of a water heater, but it is also a great safety measure. Some water heater issues like leaks can be dangerous; if water comes into contact with anything electrical or water develops into mold, this can be very dangerous to you and your family. A lot of people ask, “How often does a hot water heater need to be serviced?” Water heater inspections should take place at least once a year. Other times you should schedule an inspection is if your water heater is displaying issues that are not normal or water heater inspection after installation to make sure the installation was done correctly. On top of safety reasons and extending the life of the water heater, there are other reasons why water heater inspections are necessary.

  • Comply with Codes: By getting a water heater inspection, you can make sure that your water heater is in compliance with building codes.
  • Conserve Energy Efficiency: You can save money in the long run by getting an inspection as examining the water heater will determine if its energy-efficient or not.
  • Prevent Issues: Water heater inspections are able to detect issues before they turn into major problems.
  • Lower Potential Damage: Water leaks and other damages to the water heater can cause property damage–but with an inspection, you can make a conscious effort to avoid this from happening.

How Do You Service a Water Heater?

Many people who are in need of water heater inspections typically want to know what it entails. There might be a water heater inspection checklist through your city, but mostly you can find checklists online that show you what a plumber will do when they are inspecting your water heater. Things that will be looked at during an inspection is whether the manufacturer installation instructions are attached to the water heater, if it has flue clearance, venting, a pressure or temperature relief valve, or sediment trap, where the shut off is. Mostly inspections will depend on what type of water heater you have, gas, electric, tank, or tankless, and where it is located (the garage, attic, or closet). Those things can really determine how an inspection will go since there are different variables for these specific things. For example, if a gas water heater manufactured after 2003 is located in a garage, the water heater must be elevated. A lot of people ask, “Why does a water heater need to be elevated?” it is due to fire safety purposes because of the ignition source.

How Do I Get My Water Heater Inspected?

If you are in the market for a water heater inspection, then you might be wondering who does water heater inspection services. Plumbing companies are who you want to call if you need your water heater inspected. They will be licensed and insured to work on your water heater and know exactly what to look for and how to repair or replace it if there are damages. Just like you wouldn’t call anyone but an HVAC technician for Goodman service, you shouldn’t call anyone but a plumber for water heater inspections. A lot of people assume that electricians can inspect water heaters, but because they deal with a water system, a plumbing contractor will be able to handle the inspection.

Water Heater Inspection Cost

An Up Close Picture of a Plumber Inspecting a Water Heater.

Call Us Today!

Depending on who you go to for a water heater inspection will depend on the cost. Not every plumber is created equal, some will charge a lot and some will be pretty cheap. You don’t want to go too cheap as they might not inspect everything you need inspected but you don’t want a plumber who is going to charge you an arm and a leg for an inspection. If you need water heater inspection in Sherman Oaks, CA, contact SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc.! We are able to offer affordable water heater inspections for your home. We can inspect typical gas or electric water heaters or water heating systems like a high recovery water heater. Whatever type of water heater you have, we will be able to inspect it. If we find any issues with your water heater while we are inspecting it, we can be the ones to repair it. The cost of repairs will be dependent on where the repair is located, the age of the water heater, as well as the extent of the damage. To learn more, call us at 818-574-8522!

Is a Sewer Inspection Necessary?

A Plumber Connects a Sewer Camera.

What does a sewer inspection consist of 

While a sewer inspection is not pretty, it’s a necessary part of plumbing maintenance. Most issues with sewer lines are not obvious, until you suddenly find your bathroom or other areas of your home flooded with raw sewage back-up. When you get a sewer inspection, a qualified plumber can search for major problems like clogs, tree roots, collapsed lines, cracks, or leaks. With a sewer inspection, you get an overall picture of your sewer’s condition. These inspections are most often provided when people are buying a new home, but recommended if you’ve had problems like clogs with your sewer.

In the past a sewer inspection may have required the plumber to dig up lines or crawl under the home, and do a lot of guesswork. Today, with sewer camera inspections, the plumber and homeowner get an accurate look through all the whole sewer line. With this type of inspection, the plumber sends a camera attached to a flexible rod through the line, while watching the results on an HD monitor. This camera gives the plumber the clearest view of the sewer system available. The camera is the primary sewer inspection equipment used by plumbers.

If you are buying a home, or have problems with your sewer line, call SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. for an expert sewer camera inspection in Sherman Oaks, CA. To schedule your inspection, call 818-574-8522.

Sewer line inspections are as important as HVAC maintenance when it comes to maintaining your home and ensuring all systems are working properly. 

What is a sewer scope inspection?

A sewer scope inspection is the same thing as a sewer camera inspection or sewer line inspection.

How much is a sewer line inspection?

Sewer line inspections on average cost between $250 and $500. The costs will vary depending on the length of the pipes and whether or not other work such as a sewer inspection and cleaning is done as well. Sewer cleaning involves sending blasts of high pressure water down the line to clean it, a technique known as hydrojetting. Other work may include repairs to leaks or clog clearing services, or even replacing damaged pipes. It may require excavation of lines or removal of tree roots, one of the leading causes of back-ups.

Call 818-574-8522 to request an estimate on our sewer line inspection services. We offer the most affordable rates in the Sherman Oaks, CA area.

How do I know if there are roots in my sewer line?

You should be concerned about tree roots in your sewer line if you have trees growing near the line. Tree roots are the primary cause of back-ups because they can get into the lines and cause them to collapse. As with other clogs, with tree roots in the line, you may notice that your drains are slower, or your toilets may stop flushing as well as normal. While unpleasant odors coming from your drains and toilets may be caused by grime and soap scum in your pipes, it’s also possible sewage is not draining properly because of a blockage.

Trees roots aren’t the only objects plumbers find causing trouble for your sewer line. Here are some other things a sewer inspection can find in your sewer line: 

  • Blockages caused by other materials
  • Mud and sediment
  • Broken pipes
  • The type of pipe used in the line
  • Systems connections like fittings and tees 

What does a septic inspection consist of?

If you manage your waste with a septic system, it’s recommended that you have a septic inspection at least once a year. If you get a full system inspection, the inspection involves not only a visual inspection of the full tank, but an inspection of the tank after it is pumped.

With a full septic inspection, the liquid levels are checked first to see if the tank is leaking or if it is too full. If the level is normal, then water is sent through the system to ensure it is flowing from the house to the tank and then to the absorption area. Following this, the tank will be pumped to check for backflow from the absorption area. The flow is checked again to make sure there are no blockages in the plumbing or sewer line. Some inspections will use a camera to examine the system. Inspections may also include a dye test, in which dye is added to the plumbing to track the flow of waste.

How long does it take to do a septic inspection?

Generally, a septic inspection will take anywhere between 45 minutes to 3 hours. Much of this will depend on the complexity of the system, as well as the findings the inspector makes. A written report is usually received by the end of the next business day.

Tree Roots in a Drain Pipe.

Sewer inspection companies

While there are plenty of companies offering sewer inspection in the area, when you want a thorough sewer inspection in Sherman Oaks, CA, you can rely on the expert services from SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc.. Call us today at 818-574-8522 to schedule an appointment.

Should I Repipe My House?

Copper Pipelines In A Home

How Long Does It Take to Repipe a Whole House?

For homeowners contemplating a whole home repiping, it is important to consider the ultimate timeline for such an endeavor. Whole-home repiping usually takes between two days to an entire week to complete. Ultimately the process will vary depending on the size of your home and the type of piping system that is already in place.

How Much Does it Cost to Repipe a House with PEX?

Whole home repiping can be accomplished utilizing the innovative PEX material. For those who are looking into replacing the plumbing pipes in a home, homeowners should expect to spend between $2,000 and $8,000 for PEX piping. In contrast, copper piping can cost far more – between $2,500 and $15,000, including labor and materials. The estimates will vary and be smaller depending on the size of the job. For instance, repiping a small bathroom with PEX piping can cost from $2,000-$3,000.

What is the Best Pipe to Use for Plumbing?

There are many different pipes that homeowners can use for their plumbing. Here is a list of the potential pipes that homeowners can utilize for their whole-house repiping.

  • Stainless steel. If cost is a consideration, and for many homeowners it is, stainless steel is expensive. This type of pipe is typically used for areas subject to corrosion and near coastal zones. It is important to note that stainless steel pipes are different from galvanized pipes.
  • PEX. PEX piping is known as a flexible plastic piping that can be utilized for residential and small business applications. Important considerations include the fact that PEX requires minimal maintenance and incorporates a fast installation process.
  • Copper. Copper pipes are usually the most traditional plumbing pipe used due to their extensive duration and reliability. Copper pipes are incredibly resistant to corrosion and can be used for hot and cold water.
PEX Piping In The Basement Of A Home

Does Repiping a House Add Value?

Let’s break down exactly what whole-house repiping entails. Whole house repiping involves installing new water lines to replace the old ones. Having a functional plumbing system is integral to the daily life of a home. Water is used for toilets, washing dishes, and doing laundry. At the end of the day, whether or not a home provides the basic function of providing hot and cold water to a household is important. Certainly, repiping a home will add value, as it eliminates the need to repipe the home for many years to come. For those who are considering kitchen remodeling in CA it is highly likely that the value of your home will escalate. As in many states, a kitchen remodel breathes efficiency and design into the home in a way many potential homebuyers will appreciate.

How Long Does PEX Plumbing Last?

In general, the durability of PEX piping is estimated to last fifty years or more. Plumbers consider PEX piping to be far more durable than copper piping. PEX piping is used for an incredible number of applications. This range of applications includes radiant heating systems for residential and industrial plumbing. As with many home appliances and architectural elements, with routine maintenance and care, PEX piping can last longer than the typical estimate.

Home Repiping With PEX

For homeowners who are considering repiping their home, usually, they are faced with the dilemma of choosing between copper and PEX piping. The difference between the two materials is not only cost but related to a number of other factors. Pex piping is a flexible material that’s easy for a plumber to install. Pex piping has fewer joints, which makes the installation process easier for plumbers. Pex also possesses the admirable quality of being resistant to breaking down during cold weather, making it less likely to burst due to its flexibility.

Complete Home Repiping

Sometimes it can be difficult for homeowners to determine whether or not their home requires whole-home repiping. It is important to understand that replacing all the pipes in the home is a major task, and is probably the largest plumbing repair that can be undertaken for a residence. Homeowners should consider a whole house repiping if their home is older than fifty years old if water pressure is dropping and clogs are increasing. Finally, homeowners should also consider whole-home repiping if regular maintenance has determined that the targeted problems underlying a pipe issue are too big for a repair or patch.

Repiping a Home

For homes that are older than sixty years old, homeowners should make it a habit to check all exposed pipes. This means checking in basements, crawlspaces, and utility rooms for any irregularities. The tubing should be checked for discoloration, stains, dimpling, pimples, or flaking. Each of these symptoms is a sign of pipe corrosion. During this time, please keep a watch for leaks. Small ones can be repaired, however, if a large leak has occurred, it is possible that a whole-house repiping is in order.

Home Repiping Process

While this blog has discussed that the process for a whole home repiping usually takes between two days to a week, it’s also important to understand the process that is involved. Most of the plumbing work involved revolves around the complete water shut off that must occur. Furniture and carpet must be covered and removed. Cuts will be taken in the wall and drywall. After the new system is installed, the drywall and other materials will be repaired, patched and retextured to optimal effect.

Have you experienced a plumbing issue that has you considering whole home repiping? Our friendly operators at SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. are available now at 818-574-8522 to schedule your whole home repiping in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are a big financial investment.

Is it Time to Replace Your Hot Water Heater?

Most traditional tank water heaters have a lifespan of about 8-12 years. If you water heater is coming up on that age mark, have you considered replacing your unit? There are many water heating options on the market, but a constant debate we see is between tank and tankless water heater units. Which is better? Which is worse? When choosing a water heater for your home, there are many things to consider. You shouldn’t have to worry about who will install your new water heater. The professional plumbers and technicians at SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. are ready to help. Call us today, 818-574-8522, for tankless water heater installation services in the Sherman Oaks, CA area.

SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. are experienced with all kinds of water heater installation services.

Tank Water Heaters vs. Tankless Water Heaters

When deciding between a tankless and a tank style water heater, it’s important to understand how each unit operates.

A tank style water heater uses gas, propane, or electricity to maintain gallons of water at a certain temperature. When hot water is needed, the water heater then mixes hot and cold water for the correct temperature and dumps it for use.

A tankless style water heater does not hold or maintain gallons of water at a time. Instead, using gas, propane, or electricity, water is pulled and immediately heated up to the correct temperature and then dumped for use.

Depending on your house needs, either option can be beneficial. More importantly, the plumbers and technicians with SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. can perform both a tank water heater installation as well as a tankless water heater installation. We have fully-stocked trucks with everything we will need for an installation. We can also remove your old water heating unit and install the new unit in its place.  Contact us today, 818-574-8522, for more information about a tankless water heater installation in the Sherman Oaks, CA area.

Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters have many benefits for homeowners, including:

  • Smaller units: Tankless water heaters are significantly smaller than tradition tank units, making them space-saving. These are great for homes with smaller square footage or that just want a smaller unit.
  • Water “on-demand”: Tankless water heaters can quickly heat water, so it seems like there is always water on demand. Rather than having to wait for a traditional tank water heater to bring the water up to temperature.
  • Long warranties: Most tankless water heaters offer very long warranties because the lifespan of these units is so much longer than traditional tank heaters.
  • Longer lifespans: As mentioned, tankless water heaters have a lifespan that is essentially double that of a traditional tank water heater. Instead of lasting about 8-12 years, tankless water heaters can last 15-20.

Tankless water heaters are also great because of how energy efficient they are. Since they don’t have to main water at a certain temperature, there is less energy output produced. Many homeowners find this very advantageous as it can help save money to be allocated for other purposes.

Disadvantages of a Tankless Water Heater

  • Upfront cost: A big factor against tankless water heaters is the cost. These units are an investment, so the upfront cost is going to be much higher than a typical tank water heater.
  • Modifications: While tankless heaters are smaller, they can require certain electrical modifications to accommodate the different type of water heater. Which can also add to the initial cost of investing in this unit.
  • Smaller tank, less water: The smaller the unit, the more likely a tankless water heater is going to operate past its abilities. Especially if too many people try to use hot water at the same time or back to back.
  • Maintenance: Though tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan, the maintenance required is no less than a traditional tank water heater. This means yearly inspections and regular maintenance, which can be costly.

When considering a tankless water heater, it is important to remember that this is an investment. Any investment will have advantages and disadvantages, but a huge part of that does also come down to the installation. Working with a reputable and reliable plumbing company can help take away a lot of that stress. SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. is the reputable plumbing company in your area. We have the necessary experience to quickly and efficiently perform a tankless water heater installation in your home.

For a tankless water heater installation, contact SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc..

Contact SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. for Quality Water Heater Installation

SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. is a family-owned business in Sherman Oaks, CA. We have over 10 years of experience with plumbing, pipe repair, and water heater installation. As tankless water heaters have become more and more popular, we educated ourselves and our technicians with the most up-to-date information and methodologies. We are prepared to help assist with your tankless water heater needs. Contact SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc., 818-574-8522, for tankless water heater installation services in Sherman Oaks, CA as well as the surrounding areas.