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When is a sewer inspection necessary?

worker opening the cover to a sewer line

Understanding Sewer Inspection

It may not be visible, but the sewer line is an important part of your home’s plumbing. You won’t realize that until you have drainage or issues flushing the toilet – situations that can be major inconveniences. To minimize the chances of that happening, having routine sewer camera inspection is recommended. 

Okay, but what does a sewer inspection consist of that can help minimize the possible problems with a sewer line? Having a professional sewer camera inspection performed will consist of the technician finding the entrance to the sewer line and then inserting a flexible cable with a camera into the opening.

That camera will feed images and video back to a monitor. The camera will be run through the drainpipe and into the sewer lines. The plumber will be able to see any breaks, cracks, or other flaws and imperfections.  If there are any serious problems, the sewer camera inspection will find them, and the technician will make recommendations of what should be done next. 

The entire sewer camera inspection process can usually be completed within an hour. It may take longer if the technician has problems with the flexible cable and camera getting through the sewer line.

What does a septic inspection consist of?

First, understanding what a septic system is will make understanding the inspection process easier.  A septic system does what a sewer system does, but the waste is contained to the property instead of proceeding to a waste center. A septic system is typically found in rural areas where homes are not on a city system.

A septic system will consist of inspecting three major parts: 

  • The septic tank
  • A distribution box
  • A drain field

A septic system has been used way before the 1880s when Thomas Crapper invented the toilet and the sewer system was designed to accommodate that invention. In a septic system, it will digest organic matter (human waste) and then separate the floatable matters like grease, oil, and solids from the wastewater.

With a properly functioning septic system, a discharge of the wastewater goes to the distribution box. There are perforated pipes running from the distribution box to the drain field, and there, the wastewater, referred to at that point as effluent, is then slowly drained into the drain field. 

There are two different septic inspections: 

The Visual Inspection

The inspector will do a visual inspection that includes checking the age of the septic system and reviewing the maintenance history. They will flush toilets and run faucets to check the pressure and that the water is flowing correctly into the septic system.

They will perform a visual check of the drain field, making sure there isn’t any standing water. Standing water in a drain field can cause health issues and would need to be addressed immediately. 

The Full Inspection

A full septic inspection will involve the inspector opening the tank cover and checking the level. They will check that the wastewater is flowing out of the house and into the tank, sometimes using a dye for easier visual. 

The inspector will test for any water flowing back into the septic tank from the drain field. And testing is performed to check for possible blockages in the system. If the level inside the tank is too high, this indicates an issue with the drain field and may require the septic system to be replaced.

How long does it take to do a septic inspection?

In most cases, a septic inspection will be completed within an hour, or perhaps two hours at the most. The amount of time it takes will also depend on any issues or problems the inspector finds during the inspection process, especially if there are any urgent issues that need to be taken care of.

What is a sewer scope inspection?

A sewer scope inspection is done by licensed sewer inspection companies that will use special sewer inspection equipment like a flexible cable with a camera attached to the end. They will insert this sewer camera inspection equipment into the privately-owned sewer pipeline that runs between the house to the municipal-owned sewer line. With this process and technology, they can inspect the entire sewer line to check for any blockage or damage to the pipeline.

How much is a sewer line inspection?

The cost can vary across the state and is often a combined service of sewer inspection and cleaning. While the technician is cleaning the sewer line, they will perform the inspection using their sewer camera inspection equipment too. 

You’re getting two services at the same, which will be less expensive, and worth the cost. Your home is a valuable investment, and a sewer camera inspection and sewer line cleaning are part of the maintenance that protects that investment. 

blue PVC sewer line

A Final Question

How do I know if there are roots in my sewer line? The root system of a tree is two to three times longer than the height of the tree. Those roots seek water and if there are any cracks in sewer lines or water pipes, humidity forms and the roots will find that moisture. If the cracks aren’t addressed and the roots stopped, you’ll have busted sewer lines!  

The four most common signs that you may have tree roots in the sewer lines are: 

  • Drains are slow to empty
  • Sinkholes in the yard
  • Blocked and/or collapsed pipes
  • Strong sewer odors

Any or all these symptoms are reason enough to schedule a sewer camera inspection service. The sooner you find out the problem and have it fixed, the better.

The Hot Water Heater Inspection Checklist

close-up of a hose being attached to a water heater

Inspecting Your Water Heater

When was the last time you flushed your water heater? Have you ever had it inspected other than when it was installed? If your answer to both questions is “never” or “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.”, you aren’t the only one. Yes, you should have a water heater inspection, and manufacturers recommend a routine flushing of the unit once a year. 

How often should a water heater be inspected?

 With the recommended water heater inspection and flushing, a water heater should last up to 12 years, sometimes longer.  Always follows a manufacturer’s recommendation for care and upkeep of your water heater, inspection, and flushing, just as you do your car’s maintenance and upkeep. Most manufacturers of tank-style water heaters recommend annual water heater inspection and flushing. 

It is important for the homeowner to either have your water heater inspection, flushing, and tested annually by a professional plumber or you can do it yourself. These are the things that a professional plumber or home inspector that knows how to inspect a water heater will check during a water heater inspection: 

  • The energy source
  • The venting connections
  • The TPR (temperature/pressure-relief) valves
  • The Watts 210 valves
  • The seismic bracing
  • The manufacturer, size, age, and overall condition
  • The drain pan
  • The water connections
  • The elevation from the floor
  • Listen for gurgling or rumbling sounds when in use

How to Diagnose Water Heater Problems

There are 4 problems that are common with water heaters. The following can help you diagnose the problem and allow you to give a plumber more information when you call for a professional water heater inspection of the problem: 

Temperature issues – Probably the most common problem plumbers are called for repair request, and is typically one of these three things:

  • Water is cold – water isn’t getting hot is either a power issue (breaker for an electric unit and pilot light for a gas unit), the heating element has burned out, or the thermostat has gone out. Start by testing a water heater for power, the breakers, or the pilot light, then check the switch is on and last, check the thermostat is getting power.
  • Water is warm, but not hot – when the water doesn’t get hot enough, it can be that the unit is too small to meet the needs of the household. Sometimes, the cold and hot water lines have been mixed up in connections, the heating element has burned out, or the thermostat is bad.  Start by turning the water supply off and then turn on a hot water faucet. If water is coming out, then change the cold & hot water lines around and try again. If that doesn’t fix it, you should have a professional plumber come do a water heater inspection testing of the element and thermostat. 
  • Water is too hot – When the water gets too hot, that is typically the thermostat setting. Simply lower it to 120 degrees as recommended by the Department of Energy. 

Leaks – Water leaks are common problems that can be caused by multiple things, including:

  • A faulty T&P valve (temperature and pressure relief valve)
  • High water pressure
  • Overheating
  • Stuck valves
  • Plumbing connections
  • Loose heating elements
  • A bad gasket
  • A leaking tank

As the homeowner, you should check the plumbing connections and tighten them. If that doesn’t stop the leak, check the heating element bolts and tighten if needed. If there is still leaking around the heating element, the gasket probably needs replacing and should be done by a professional plumber. Last, check the storage tank for leaks. 

Discolored water – when the water coming from the water heater is rusty, the tank is corroded on the inside because the anode rod has corroded. This needs to be replaced by a professional plumber after they have completed a water inspection to rule out other issues. 

Odd sounds – As sediment builds up in the water heater, it will begin making different sounds, a common complaint plumbers hear on service calls. As the homeowner, follow the flushing procedure as provided by the manufacturer and if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a professional plumber for a water heater inspection. After they have examined the water heater, they will likely advise you it is time to replace the unit.

When plumbers are requested to do a water heater inspection, they have a standard protocol for water heater testing procedures that allows them to narrow down the problem and determine the best scenario. 

The process they follow for testing a water heater thermostat is to start with the lower portion thermostat by touching one lead of a multimeter to a common terminal located next to the temperature setting and a second lead of the multimeter to the left heating element terminal. Zero is considered a good reading on the multimeter. 

When they are testing a water heater for a gas leak, which you can do yourself, by spraying soapy water at the gas connection. If it bubbles, you have a gas leak and should turn the gas off and call a plumber immediately. If the smell of gas is apparent, vacate the premises and call the gas company. 

If you have discovered the pilot light is out on your water heater, proceed to test the water heater gas valve by following the instructions for lighting the pilot light. The instructions should be on the water heater near the thermostat. Typically, the process is the same and is done by pressing the pilot button down and using a match or lighter to the pilot. If it doesn’t stay light, the thermocouple is bad and you’ll need to call a plumber to replace the piece. 

hot water heater sitting in a utility room

Finally – The Heating Element

We’ve mentioned it a few times in this article, the heating element. They will burn out with age, but the question is, can you test a water heater element? Yes, this is part of the testing the thermostat steps we discussed earlier. Each heating element in a water heater will have a thermostat connected to it, so when you’re testing the thermostat, you’re testing the heating element too. 

Can you really fix a toilet with Ramen Noodles?

uncooked instant ramen noodles

Really… Ramen Noodles?

You will probably have a hard time finding a professional plumber in the United States that would recommend using Ramen noodles for toilet repair, but there it is, on the Internet! From China’s Douyin to America’s Twitter, a man uses Ramen noodles to repair ceramic cracks in toilets

So – why are people repairing things with ramen noodles? The claim is that epoxy and resin combined with the starch from the noodles create a low-quality ceramic. A warning to never to put your whole weight on the toilet after the toilet repair. After all, it is Ramen! 

Clogged toilets are not any fun; in fact, they are very inconvenient. When they happen, the timing usually isn’t the best, and waiting on a professional toilet repair by a plumber isn’t always feasible. Fortunately, most toilet problems are common and easy DIY repairs. 

Common Toilet Problems

The first step in toilet repair is toilet repair troubleshooting what is wrong. So, what are the most common toilet problems and how do you fix common toilet problems?  

Clogged Toilets

This is most likely the most common of any required toilet repair, especially in a home with small children. In most cases, the clog isn’t that far down, and a plunger can easily unclog the toilet. However, if there is an object that has caused the clog, and a flange plunger didn’t work, you may need to remove the toilet bowl from the floor and flush the object out from the bottom side. 

Toilet Leaks

If you flush the toilet and water leaks from the bowl, it can be difficult to detect what toilet repair is needed. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and then flush the toilet. Then flush the toilet and if you see colored water leaking out, you’ll know where the leak is located. 

If the toilet bowl is leaking, can you repair a toilet bowl? No, you’ll need to replace the bowl. If the leak is from the tank, the common cause is usually the flapper, the valve seat, or the gasket that needs to be replaced. There are kits at hardware stores that have all these parts in one package, replacing all of them is the best toilet repair. 

If you don’t know how to replace a faulty toilet flapper, there are instructions on the package and there are video instructions online that can walk you through the procedure as well as other toilet repair tasks, including how to fix a running toilet.  

The Toilet Bowl Isn’t Filling

If the water level is overfilling in the bowl, this is usually because the toilet is clogged; we’ve covered this toilet repair earlier.  If you are wondering why your toilet is clogged, there are four possible causes: 

  • The fill tube is damaged – this toilet repair is simple by replacing the tube. 
  • Cracked toilet bowl – the only toilet repair is to replace the bowl. 
  • Faulty vent – every toilet has a vent in the roof. If this becomes blocked, it needs to be unclogged or replaced. 
  • Damaged fill valve – this component is what makes sure the toilet is refilled with each flush. When it becomes worn out, the toilet bowl can’t fill up and needs to be replaced. 

A Whistling Tank

If you’re hearing more than water traveling through the plumbing, like a whistling sound, then you will likely need to replace the fill valve. Fortunately, this toilet repair isn’t too difficult, either. 

Is it better to fix or replace a toilet?

And how do you know when a toilet needs to be replaced? Other than cosmetic issues, there are situations where toilet repair isn’t sufficient. Some things to consider in determining if another toilet repair is feasible or installing a new toilet is the better choice: 

  • Too Many Repairs: Like anything, after so many repairs, it comes to a time that replacing is better. If you have had to replace the fill valve, flapper, and other internal parts more than once every year, replacing the unit will be better financially in the long run.  
  • Frequent Clogs: If plunging is needed 2 or more times a week, it is time to have the toilet replaced. 
  • Cracks: There may just be a hairline crack in the bowl or tank, but it will grow. Replace the toilet! No toilet repair you can do will guarantee you that the crack won’t grow. 
  • Visible Scratches: If the toilet is worn out with scratches, it can be difficult to clean. Those scratches are holding bacteria and germs, it can never be thoroughly clean and sanitized. 
  • To Save Money: If you have a toilet older than 10 years, then you don’t have the low-flush style and it is costing you money with every flush. Time to upgrade with a new toilet. 
plumber performing a toilet repair

A Closing Question: What is the average life of a toilet?

The average lifespan for a toilet is 50 years. Does that mean you’ll never have to replace your toilet? No. You’ll have repairs throughout the years, and the wear and tear of a toilet will shorten the life span. The water quality where you live can play a factor on the lifespan of your toilet too. The more sediment in the water, it wears the mechanisms in the tank out faster. Much like it does the water heater.

When should you call a plumber for a clogged drain?

kitchen sink overflowing with dirty water

Identifying Plumbing Emergencies

With the cold weather keeping everybody inside, what can be more stressful than a clogged drain? Clogged drain cleaning could be as simple as a few pushes with a plunger, but then what if that doesn’t work? Is a clogged drain reason enough for an emergency plumber call? 

When is a clogged drain an emergency?

Most clogged drains are not an emergency. However, there are times when clogged drain cleaning can only be done by a professional plumber. One example would be when a clogged drain has created flooding, like a toilet. This can often indicate the sewage line is clogged, or worse, broken. 

Can a clogged drain fix itself?

No – if anything, it will get worse, especially if this is a drain you use frequently, like a toilet or kitchen sink. Clogged drains left unaddressed will get worse, possibly backing up into your home if the drain doesn’t open up. What can happen if you ignore the need for clogged drain cleaning? 

  • ODORS: The odor in your bathroom or kitchen drains are flushed on through because you have water running in them. When a drain is clogged, the inside of the pipes dry and then foul odors will fill the room, and eventually your home. 
  • DRAINAGE: When clogged drain cleaning needs are ignored, especially with the toilet, the water will eventually start backing up into your home. 
  • LEAKY PIPES: Can a clogged drain cause a leak? Absolutely! A severely clogged drain can’t flow on down as intended, and if it can’t back up anymore, it will pressurize and bust the connections or even the pipe. This will lead to unexpected and expensive repairs. 
  • STRUCTURAL DAMAGE: Clogged drain cleaning will keep a clogged drain from backing up into or under your home. When drains back up and the pipes or connections bust under your home, the water can damage the structure, weaken it, and create more problems. 
  • AESTHETIC DAMAGE: The structural damage described above will lead to aesthetic damage in a short matter of time with discolored walls and water stains.
  • CONTAMINANTS: Clogged drain cleaning keeps the contaminants found in wastewater washed out of your home, protecting your family’s health. Clogged drains are a breeding ground for bacteria, germs, mold, and other contaminants that can make you and your family extremely ill. 
  • INSECTS: Where there is the odor of foul, stagnant water, the insects will come. They will nest and breed, and even critters will find their way into your home because clogged drains are a source of food for some. You also need to factor in the diseases critters and insects carry and spread will infect you and your family. 

What can you do for a clogged drain?

And what can clear a clogged drain? The nastiest of clogged drains must be addressed with tenacity! You need to get that goo dissolved so that it flows and flushes on to the main sewer line. Yes, there are the commercial over-the-counter products, but too much of those can cause further damage to pipes. 

First, you want to try natural, basic household products for clogged drain cleaning. You may find yourself asking, “Can vinegar clear a clogged drain?” Yes, in fact, this is one of the first things that you should try for a clogged drain, following these steps: 

STEP 1: Pour boiling hot water down the drain.

STEP 2: Pour a mixture of one cup baking soda, one cup white vinegar, and one cup water. 

STEP 3: Cover the drain opening and let the mixture work for 10 minutes. 

STEP 4: Pour more boiling hot water into the drain again. 

The baking soda and vinegar will create a bubbling reaction that loosens whatever is clogging the drain and the water flushes it on through. You can do this once a month for maintenance instead of waiting for clogged drain cleaning. 

Can bleach clear a clogged drain?

Three-fourths of a cup of household bleach is amazing for killing germs and sanitizing a clogged drain. However, for cleaning a clog out of the drain, bleach is not going to do the job. Bleach can’t eat through the layers of food, fats, grease, oils, hair, soap scum, and toothpaste that get trapped in drains and cause clogs. 

How do you use a clogged drain remover tool?

Other than the plunger, you can purchase a plumber’s snake for clogged drain cleaning. This tool has a long metal piece wound up on a handheld reel. Place one end into the drain and then crank the handle on the reel, using some force to push it through and down the drain.

If you meet resistance, you’ve hit the clog. Use a little more force and get it further down the drain. After that, slowly wind it back up on the reel, and you may see some of what was clogging the drain. Wipe it off and repeat the process. 

dirty bathtub drain being plunged

In Closing – What is the difference between a clogged drain vs septic backup?

A clogged septic tank and a clogged drain can create similar problems. It is important to know the difference so you can perform clogged drain cleaning. Or do you need to call a professional plumber? 

A septic tank is a holding tank buried underground. The wastewater from your home drains into this and fills it up slowly. When wastewater reaches a certain level, it drains out of the tank, soaking into the ground. If the pipe that leads to the drain field gets clogged, the septic tank fills up, doesn’t drain, and eventually, that wastewater will back up into the pipe and into the house.

How does a plumbing snake work?

plumbing snake down sink

What is a plumbing snake?

What does a plumbing snake do and what does snaking mean? Well, first, snaking means the plumber (or you) will use equipment that “snakes” through the plumbing and either pulls out a clog or pushes it on through. A plumbing snake (or auger) is a tool that plumbers use to reach down into clogged drainpipes. It is one step above a household plunger and one step below a roto-rooter job. 

Because they are plumber snake is more powerful than over-the-counter drain cleaners or the household plunger, they are harder to use too. If you aren’t careful, using a plumbing snake and snaking a drain can do more damage than good. So, how does a plumber’s snake work? 

The snake part is a flexible cable made of metal and is connected to an auger. The auger is like a drill and spins as it pushes that metal cable, snaking it, into the clogged drain.  The metal cable is uncoiling as it goes down the drain, usually 50 feet for a home-use plumber snake and pulls up whatever is clogging the drain. A professional plumber’s snake goes further than 50 foot. 

Can you snake a drain yourself ?

Yes, a homeowner with DIY ability and confidence can definitely snake their own drains and toilet. Because it is a powerful tool, it is important to how, where, and when to use a plumbing snake. There are multiple videos online that can walk you through these steps: 

  1. Put on your old clothes and get some old towels around and under the drain you’ll be snaking. It shouldn’t get that messy, but it can, and it is better to be prepared than not, especially when removing the clog will require removing the P-trap. 
  2. Removing the P-trap could make the drain snaking easier to complete, so if you want, go ahead, and remove it now. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch any water or waste that may come out. You should be able to unscrew it by hand, but if not, use an adjustable wrench. 
  3. Next, remove the trap arm that is located between the p-trap and pipe going into the wall. It may have a curve at the wall but should come loose by hand or again with the adjustable wrench. By removing this, you’ll get a better access to the drainpipe. 
  4. Check the P-trap, the trap arm, and in both ends of the drainpipe, remove any obstruction that you see.
  5. Thread the auger head into the pipe by hand and then place the head of the snake in the drain or the wall pipe. If you put it in the drain, run cold water as you’re snaking.  Push with gentle force so you don’t damage the pipe. 
  6. Now, using the handle, uncoil the snake, keeping the handle close to the pipe entrance so that there is little slack for the auger. Keep rotating the handle with a steady pace and when you feel pressure in the drain, you’ll need to give it a little more pressure. 
  7. Moving the auger up and down, back and forth when you reach the obstruction should loosen and break it up so that it flows on through. The obstruction may get hung on the end of the auger. So as you pull the auger out of the drain, be prepared to clean it off. 
  8. Check the sink for any obvious signs of obstruction and then replace the trap arm and P-trap. Now check to see if the drain is working, which if the auger got the only obstruction, it should be clear now. 

Can a plumbing snake go down a sink?

Yes, following the steps we provided, you can usually do a successfully snaking to get a clear bathroom drain. The kitchen can be a little tricky because of what goes in the kitchen drain can harden, making it impossible for the snake to penetrate into the clog. 

At that point, if the P-trap wasn’t already removed, that needs to be the next step.  The job will definitely get messier at this point, make sure you have plenty of old towels in the area.  If removing the P-trap didn’t help, snaking the drain didn’t help, then you’ll need to call a professional plumber.  This may be more than clogged drain. 

Fixing a pipe

Can a plumbing snake go down a toilet?

Yes, if a toilet plunger isn’t clear the clog, use a toilet auger or plumbing snake. The same metal flexible coil that is used on pipes to clear obstructions, all without damaging the toilet and its plumbing. 

Use the same process of snaking the auger end of the cable in the toilet bowl, being careful to not scratch the toilet bowl. Keep a slow steady pace of cranking and you’ll come to the clog. Then with a little bit of force, you can push the clog apart, so it flow on through or pull the clogging matter out. You can use the plumbing snake for bathtub clogs too in the same manner as with the sinks and toilet. 

What to do when a drain snake doesn’t work?

Call a professional plumbing service!  You’ve done all a homeowner can do on your own at this point. Anything more can cause damage to your plumbing, creating more expense. Call 818-980-5570 today for your plumbing needs in Sherman Oaks, CA.

What is considered a plumbing fixture?

fixtures and fittings

Defining plumbing fixtures

There is often confusion between plumbing fixtures and fittings, are they one in the same, or are they different? Perhaps the same could be said about plumbing fixtures and faucets being confused as one in the same too? So, let’s take a moment to clarify what that plumbing industry considers to be plumbing fixtures. 

Pipe fittings are used to attach pipes to each other, lengthen a pipe run or change the direction the water will flow within a plumbing system. Plumbing fittings combine, divert, or reduce water flow and are in a variety of sizes to fit a variety of pipe sizes. Plumbing fitting “fit” plumbing pieces together.

Plumbing fixtures are part of the plumbing system we know today. They have a primary function of plumbing fixtures to move water from one area of your home to another area with a distinct and particular use. Each plumbing fixture has a general design and function. There are 5 basic and common plumbing fixtures in every home and if you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve used each of these at least once today:

  • Bathtub
  • Faucets
  • Showers
  • Sinks
  • Toilet

Today, here in America, and in other countries, there are other plumbing fixtures and their uses that aren’t as common, like the bidet.  Here in this country, the bidet has made a resurgence in higher-end, custom built homes, but has been in use in Europe for decades. 

Every plumbing fixture in a house has a specific function and use, like the kitchen faucet. We use the kitchen faucet to clean and cook, whereas the toilet, another plumbing fixture has its own function and use. Nowhere in a normal day would you confuse one with the other, right? Well, until somebody gets on TikTok with a challenge anyway. Professional plumbers are waiting for those phone calls! 

So, is a water heater a plumbing fixture?  While the water heater is part of your home’s plumbing system, it not typically considered to be a plumbing fixture. In real estate, the water heater is a ‘permeant’ fixture in a house because it is connected and fixed to the house. 

What bathroom fixtures are popular?

Without a doubt, we’d have to say the toilet and the sink are the most popular bathroom plumbing fixtures, right?  Otherwise, we’d be in the woods with the bears, and well, we don’t want to go there. From there we’ll say the bathtub and shower are an even tie.  

Some prefer a shower, but as it is thought Winston Churchill said, “Why stand when you can sit?”, others prefer a bathtub. (What he actually said was, “Economy of effort. Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.”). 

When it comes to which is the better plumbing fixtures, the bathtub or the shower, square footage concerns, a shower takes up less and a shower uses less water, so environmentally, the shower wins. Today, when we see home renovation shows, and the homes being built today, they lean toward a separate stand-alone shower and a separate bathtub. In this manner, a home has both options. 

What are the best bathroom fixtures?

Once you have your shower, sink, and toilet installed, the plumbing fixtures that become more than functional hardware. They are the statement and style; They are what can save water and complement the appeal of the bathroom. 

Here we have the 2021 ratings for bathroom faucets: 

  • Best Overall: Moen Banbury 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet 
  • Best Budget: Glacier Bay Constructor Centerset Low-Arc Bathroom Faucet 
  • Best Single-Hole Faucet: VIGO Satro Single Hole Bathroom Faucet 
  • Best Splurge: KOHLER Purist 8 in. Widespread 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet 
  • Best Single Handle: Moen Eva One-Handle Bathroom Faucet 
  • Best Touchless: Gangang Touch Free Automatic Sensor Faucet 

What are the best shower faucets?

When you get ready to buy any new plumbing fixtures, the shower faucet should have a lot of forethought in the form and function. Here are the most popular choose for 2021: 

  • SUMERAIN  – Shower Faucet Brushed Nickel,
  • SUMERAIN – Shower Faucet Brushed Nickel
  • Delta Faucet – T14294-RB Linden 14 Series
  • DELTA – Windemere Single-Function Tub and Shower Kit
  • SR SUN RISE – 10 Inches Bathroom Luxury Rain Mixer Shower Combo 
  • EMBATHER – Shower System- Brushed Nickel Shower Faucet Set
  • SR SUN RISE – SRSH-F5043 Bathroom Luxury Rain Mixer Combo Set Wall
sink fixture

What are the best faucet brands?

You want to get the best your budget can afford when it comes to plumbing fixtures, especially the faucets.  The faucets, along with the toilet, will get the most workout of anything. The following are the well-known brands, and for a reason, and not in any particular order:

  • Delta Faucets
  • Kohler
  • Moen
  • Pfister 
  • American Standard

Get quality plumbing fixture installation in Sherman Oaks, CA. Call SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc. at 818-980-5570.

How Do I Know If My Garbage Disposal Is Good?

garbage disposal

Damaged garbage disposal

Fixing a broken garbage disposal is the last thing you need on busy Saturday afternoon, and yet here you are with broken garbage disposal. Repairing one isn’t in your portfolio, but using one, you’re an expert. Is there something wrong with the garbage disposal, or is it an electrical issue? 

Ask yourself, “How do I know my garbage disposal is broken?”, then keep reading as we discuss the signs garbage disposal is broken and more, even a few tips on how to do your own garbage disposal repairs and when you need to call a professional. Believe it or not, a garbage disposals aren’t as complicated as you may think and knowing a few ways how to fix a garbage disposal is just a few words away here! 

We all want and expect reliable plumbing in our homes, like the garbage disposal. Of  all the appliances in our home, it seems the garbage disposal has the most basic job: Chew up food waste put in the drain and rinse it down the sewer line with water. Right? 

So, when that isn’t happening, is the garbage disposal kaput or is it possible for garbage disposal repair?  The following 5 situations are what will tell you that garbage disposal repair isn’t possible and it’s time for a new unit: 

  • Its Leaking: Any time there is a puddle of water under the sink or in the floor around the sink, it isn’t good news. Every year, American homes waste approximately ten thousand gallons of water because of leaking plumbing. So the first thing you should do is check the pipes under the sink for a water leak. If all the pipes look good, check the garbage disposal for any cracks on the outer casing. Once there are cracks in the unit, garbage disposal repair isn’t possible.
  • Slow Draining: If the garbage disposal has started draining slower and slower, it could be a clog in the P-trap. A garbage disposal can only grind up so much and fats, grease, and oils are three things it can’t. FOG as those 3 substances are referred to will only clog the disposal and the drain as they congeal. Unplug the garbage disposal unit from the electrical outlet (typically under the sink). Then reach inside to see if there is any foreign object that you can pull out. If there isn’t use the following to clear possible clogs further inside the unit and the pipes: Pour one-fourth cup of baking soda and half cup of vinegar in the garbage disposal drain. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then pour boiling hot water in the drain followed by running hot water. You may need to repeat this process again. Now try the garbage disposal and if it still has a slow drain, or not draining, your attempt of garbage disposal repair didn’t work. Time to call a plumber. 
  • Unusual Noises?: Why is my disposal humming and not working? Any humming, rattling, or screeching sounds are a sign the unit may be beyond garbage disposal repair. However some sounds can be fixed, like metallic rattling, which is usually like a fork, knife, or spoon that accidently went down the drain.   A humming sound is typically something is hung up on the blades, like a dishcloth or paper towel. These are easy garbage disposal repairs done by removing the object. An unusual screeching sound  however is more mechanical caused and garbage disposal repair isn’t going to happen. That sound is usually the bearing,  flywheel, or motor is or is about to break. These are internal parts of the sealed up unit and not something for the unexperienced to attempt repairing. 
  • Foul Odors: When your garbage disposal has foul odors emitting from the unit, it could be nothing more than some food particles that didn’t wash down the drain. It could also mean that the garbage disposal unit is broken. Over time, food particles can get trapped around and under the blades, and after some time, the blades become stuck and can’t spin. Those food particles eventually will begin to smell and become embedded in the drain line and inside the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal unit is 12 to 15 years old, it is time to replace it. 

Can I run the dishwasher if the garbage disposal is broken?

In most cases, yes, running the dishwasher is possible when the garbage disposal is broke. You’ll want to rake off any food in the trash before placing it in the dishwasher so that it doesn’t sit there and start smelling. 

garbage disposal leak

How long does a typical garbage disposal last?

Most garbage disposals come with only a 1 year warranty. Why? Because manufacturers know they go through a lot of abuse, and they aren’t going to warranty the misuse of a unit.  Some good brands made with high quality (yes, expensive) garbage disposal will come with a 10 to 12 year warranty and last 15 years or longer when used properly. The average lifespan for a busy household is 8 to 10 years. 

The Common Question: “Can I replace a garbage disposal myself?”, and the answer is yes, you can with just a few basic household tools. Most garbage disposal units will come with instructions and there are multitudes of videos online that can walk you through the process step-by-step. Garbage disposal repair and replacement do not always require a professional plumber, however, there is a sense of peace when you do hire a plumber. Call 818-980-5570 today for your garbage disposal repair in Sherman Oaks, CA.

How do you fix a water line?

water line

Will a slow water leak seal itself?

Water is a natural resource and not something any of us need to waste. Whether you have a toilet that keeps running after its flushed and filled or you have an underground water leak, you are wasting water. Getting water line repair as soon as possible should be a priority for everyone. 

A water leak should be a daunting problem until you have it fixed. Why? Because the water meter is spinning away towards hundreds of dollars every minute. Even a slight drip can cause a lot of damage over time, even create a flood when a water line repair is ignored. Yes, calling a plumber could cost you hundreds of dollars for a water line break repair, but that is cheap in comparison to what could happen. 

Will a water leak eventually stop? Maybe, if the water in your home has a high mineral content, then yes, it is possible that it will create a temporary repair around the water pipe repair fittings. Where a water leak repair won’t happen by itself is in the water pipe itself. If by any chance enough mineral deposits collect to do a self-water line repair, it will definitely be a temporary fix until the water pressure becomes great enough to bust that mineral deposit collected at the break or around the fittings. 

How do you know if your main water line is leaking?

As much as ninety gallons of water a day are wasted from water leaks according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Those 90 gallons of water are coming from 10% of the homes in this country, each needing water line repairs. Is your home one of those ten percent? Keep reading and you learn 7 things to check to find out if your main water line is part of that water waste: 

  • Water Puddles: Unexplained water puddles on the floor or under the sink are usually an indication of a main water line leak that needs water line repair now. An underground broken water line is indicated by a puddle in the yard when the rest of the yard is dry, or you notice water gushing in the street from your house, or a sidewalk with wet spots that can’t be explained, like the water sprinkler isn’t on. 
  • Bubbling,  Hissing, Whistling Sounds: You won’t always see water when you have a water leak. Water pipes that have banging, bubbling, gurgling, hissing, and whistling sounds is an indication that something isn’t right, and it frequently is from a broken water line. These strange noises are telling you that you need a plumber and water line repair now, not later. 
  • Low Water Pressure: If the water pressure in the bathtub, shower, or sinks has gotten weak recently, you may need a water line repaired or unclogged. 
  • Ceiling & Walls Have Water Damage: Water stains on the ceiling could be a roof leak, or if a bathroom is located above those stains, there could be a water line busted. The same with water stains on the walls, it could be a leaking roof, or it could be from an upstairs bathroom. Either way, you need a water line repair soon. 
  • Mildew &  Mold: When you hear M&M in the plumbing industry, it isn’t the popular candy. This is mildew & mold and when they are present, there is a water leak somewhere and that moisture build up has mildewed the surface, allowing mold to form. The damage that mildew and mold can do to your home is expensive and it creates an unhealthy setting for your family. 
  • Discolored Water: The water to your home will become discolored when there is a  water line breaks and that discoloration is from contaminants like dirt getting access to the water source. This discolored water can be harmful if consumed. Getting this type of water line repair is important for your family’s health. 
  • Water Bill Spike: If you haven’t noticed any of the signs we’ve mentioned already, you’ll notice a spike in your water bill. Any unexplained or unexpected water bill spike should be investigated, and attention paid to any water line repairs needed. 

How do you find a leak in an underground water line?

“Out of sight, out of mind” is not the right philosophy or theory when it comes to needing water line repairs. If something seems wrong, like the water bill shooting up all of the sudden, act now before the annoying issue becomes a major problem: 

  1. Water Meter Check 
  • Turn off all water access point inside and around the outside of your home. 
  • Watch the water meter needle and if it is spinning, you have a water leak. 
  • If there isn’t a needle, write down the reading and then check it again in 30 minutes. If has increased, you have a water leak. 
  1. Look for underground leaks like water pooling on the lawn, listen for water dripping or running under the house. Do you have areas in the yard with dark, lush, and thick grass or do you have sink holes? Is the water pressure dropping lately? Or if you have air, dirt, or rust coming from of the faucets, you need water line repair now.
  2. Professional leak detection by a professional plumber is recommended if you have any of the things listed above. 

How do you fix underground water pipes?

The days of having to dig your entire lawn up to find perform water line repair job are almost non-existing. Today, plumbers can often do a water line repair method that is trenchless. They dig a small hole and insert a pipe that is acrylic, or resin coated and push it into the busted water pipe. Once it is in place, they expand the new pipe, and it creates a new pipe within the old pipe. 

water line damaged

Does homeowners insurance cover main water line replacement?

Water line repairs are not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies. For an example, if you need repair water line to toilet, the repair or cleanup of damage caused won’t be covered. However, if your home needs any water line repair or replaced that was caused by a sudden, unexpected natural disaster, like an earthquake, that caused significant damage, the repair and cleanup may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Each policy varies and each insurance company has certain stipulations. It is recommended to look at your policy from time to time so that you know where things stand should this happen to you. 

When you have a water leak, it is important to address the matter immediately with water line repair yourself or call a plumber.  A water leak that isn’t addressed can cause more damage than the busted water line. Call 818-980-5570 today for your water line repair in Sherman Oaks, CA.

How long does it take to replace a hose bib?

hose bib and pipes

Are all outdoor faucets the same size?

Most homes have a hose bib, more common name recognized is outdoor faucet or spigot. Rarely does this device need special attention or maintenance, but occasionally, a hose bib replacement is necessary. This is what makes washing the car, watering the lawn, or filling the kiddie pool easier than toting water from inside the house.  

The hose bib is important to your outdoor convenience where water is concerned. A small device is either attached to the inside of your home or a pipe coming out of the ground next to your house, so when there is a malfunction or problem with it, a hose bib replacement is necessary.

Outdoor faucets or hose bibs are a common size range of half inch or three-forth inch, referring to the water pipe’s diameter. When selecting a hose bib replacement, the correct size is important for proper fitting and functioning so that you have a good water pressure. A smaller pipe will provide a stronger water pressure. 

What is the standard garden hose fitting?

Springtime is going to be here any day, so many homeowners are getting their water hose caddies out of storage and hooking them up the spigot or hose bib. If this is your first spring to enjoy homeownership duties, one of the most frustrating things you’ll experience right now is a water hose end that  doesn’t fit the faucet, spigot, or hose bib. 

At first glance, all water hose ends, and spigot connections look the same, but guess what? They aren’t!  The standard hose fitting has an internal diameter of 5/8″ with a  11.5 threads per inch. However, not all water hose connections and spigots are the same size. 

While there are some great details to this subject, some professional water hoses, considered high-flow hoses, are 3/4″ in size.  Cheap water hoses, like those you get at a discount store for under $10, are 1/2″ size. Rare are residential hoses are found to have a thread pitch any different. 

How do I know what size hose bib I have?

What happens when you need to do a hose bib faucet replacement or install a  hose bib replacement handle and you don’t know the size of your hose bib? This is an easy find because the hose bib will be one of two sizes: half inch or three-forth inch, the most common sizes. To find out the size, connect your garden water hose. If it is either of these sizes and fits, then you’ll know the size of the hose bib.  Simple testing and try it on method and you’ll have your hose bib replacement completed in no time. 

How do I replace the hose bib on the outside of my house?

Many homeowners will call a plumber for an exterior hose bib replacement  because they believe it is a difficult and tedious procedure, when in fact, it is one of the easiest things you can do for your home plumbing. 

Step One: Locate the Connection Point

Locate the connection point between the water supply and the hose bib, which if your basement is unfinished, this should be really easy. Note where the hose bib is located on the exterior of your house using a window or some other landmark.  With a measuring tape, find the exact distance from that landmark and you should be right on the connection point inside. 

Step Two: Determine the Type of Connection

The connection type is where the hose bib connects to the water supply and could be any of the following: 

  • MIP Connection – The male iron pipe threads on the end of hose bib are exposed, and thread into the FIP adaptor connection point.
  • FIP Connection – The female iron pipe threads at the end of the hose bib are internal and the MIP adapter is soldered at the connection point so that the hose bib can be screwed onto the adapter.
  • Sweat Solder Connection – This is a hard connection where the hose bib end has a solder fitting cup at the connection and slides over the water pipe. This may be only time you would need to call a professional plumber if there is any soldering to be done. 

Step Three: Find the Hose Bib Length

Determine the hose bib length, note that frost proof hose bibbs are available in different lengths, so their connection points will be closer and further inside the wall. Hose bibs in general come in lengths between 4” and 24” and are in two inch increments. Manufacturers now have the directions posted on their websites for measuring a wall’s thickness. However, common sense should prevail what is on these websites because this length can be shortened or increased if needed. 

Step Four: Choose Connection Type

If you are installing a frost proof faucet, choose connection you plan use based on the information we provided above.  

Step Five: Turn the Water Off

Turn the water off and drain any water remaining in the line going to the hose bibb. Unthread either the FIP or MIP connection with channel locks and a  pipe wrench. After you have the old faucet  removed, install the new one through the same opening then use Teflon plumbers’ tape on the male threads and screw the new hose bibb into place.

Step Six: Turn the Water On

Now turn all faucets on inside the house and the new hose bib, then turn the water back on at the main supply. Let the water run until all the air is out and the water is flowing freely. 

How do you winterize a hose bib?

Preparing a hose bib winter is simple and can be done in four steps: 

  1. Locate the shut-off valve –  the shut-off valve to the hose bib is typically inside the house, either in the basement, crawl space, or the utility room.
  2. Shut off the indoor valve – each hose bib will have its own indoor valve, be sure to shut them all off.
  3. Detach water hoses – detach, drain, and store them for the winter. It is recommended to store them where they are in the heat if possible.
  4. Leave outdoor spigots open – with the main water valve to the outdoor spigots off and the garden hoses off and stored. 
hose bib adapter

What Is the Frost Free Hose Bib All About? 

If you’re going to replace your hose bib, go with a frost-free hose bib. These are considered to be the best hose bib replacement you can have because of the six to twelve-inch stem. That extra-long step prevents your pipes from freezing in super cold weather because the stem washer and seat valve are located inside the house. For your hose bib replacement in Sherman Oaks, CA, call 818-980-5570 today.

What Does Repiping Mean?

copper pipes and fittings for carrying out plumbing work.

Learn More About Whole House Repiping

If your property has pipes of a certain age whole house repiping is often taken into the initiative in order to save a property from plumbing issues. In certain cases, you may see. With damages to the pipeline repiping is an option to consider as it will renew the system with new pipe materials. Speak with your local qualified plumber about your options, until here is some general background information regarding whole house repiping that may prove useful to you.

How long does it take to Repipe a whole house?

When it comes to whole house repiping it can take anywhere from a few days up to a week. This will depend on the size and specifications of your home as while a smaller home may take as little as a few days larger ones with more bathrooms may take longer. During the time of repiping, you may be able to use your plumbing while sometimes you won’t be able to.

Should you Repipe your house?

If there are extensive leaks or you have repetitive plumbing problems that won’t seem to be resolved with repairs then consider having whole house repiping completed. It’s important to know that if there is corrosion within your piping system it can’t technically be reversed. Sections of pipes or perhaps the whole system of piping will need to be replaced as a result.

What does Repiping a house entail?

Whole house repiping will begin by covering the work area in plastic sheep to protect furnishings. Surgical cuts will be made to drywall as well as the ceiling to access any older pipes. After pipes are installed the area will be patched, painted, and smoothed over.

Does insurance cover Repiping?

Homeowners’ insurance won’t typically cover whole house repiping as most policies consider it to be a preventative measure. Therefore you may need to pay out of pocket for costs. If however, damages were caused by failing pipes of corrosion most policies will cover those damages.

What is the best pipes for a house?

The best pipes for whole house repiping are commonly PVC otherwise known as polyvinyl chloride. The white of this piping is commonly used in plumbing applications and are an affordable and versatile option as it can come in different sizes and fittings. PVC is essentially good for most warm and cold water applications.

Is PEX better than copper?

PEX as whole house repiping won’t degrade like copper and will be able to handle more freezing water than copper. It will have a higher PSI rating so it will still burst from freezing pipes up to a certain degree. PEX tubing itself is still more resistant to freeze-breaks than copper or any other rigid plastic pipe. Finally, PEX tubing will be cheaper as it won’t require as much labor to install.

Steel tubes stack with reflection

How often should you check your plumbing?

Make sure that you check your plumbing system at least once every two years. 

How often should you replace plumbing?

  • Copper Pipes: 70-80 years 
  • Brass Pipes: 80-100 years
  • Galvanized Steel Pipes: 80-100 years

How do you know if something is wrong with plumbing?

There are many signs that plumbing has something wrong with it, one such sign is when there is lower than normal water pressure around the house like with showers or sinks. Slow drains may be caused by clogs, yet if this is happening around the home it could point to tree roots or another type of clog in the main sewer line. If you smell any pungent smells this can point towards a break in the line as well. Not only with a smell, pay attention to the sounds you may hear such as rattling in the pipe, banging, or a shock wave referred to as a “water hammer.” This typically occurs with high water pressure in pipes or flooded air chambers in the pipe system. Rattling may point to loosened pipes that need to be secured once more.

What plumbing pipes are bad?

There are certain types of piping materials that aren’t considered to be a good option due to how they react. Take for instance lead pipes, if they infiltrate the water into your home that this can lead to poisoning as it is very toxic. Another piping material that may be something to avoid is galvanized steel which relies on its zinc coating to avoid corrosion. Finally, polybutylene pipes can become brittle and leak-prone with chlorine-treated municipal water that may run through them. 

Get in Touch With Your Plumber Regarding Whole House Repiping

Make sure to get in touch with your local plumbing company regarding whole house repiping. Only with a professional plumber will you able to have the right materials and secure fittings that will have your plumbing system working optimally for years to come. Get secure plumbing with whole house repiping today. 

Get assistance with whole house repiping in Sherman Oaks, CA call 818-980-5570 with SAL Plumbing and Rooter Inc.!