plumbing terms

Plumbing Terms Made Easy

Plumbing Terms Made Easy

The world of plumbing is so easily taken for granted. We use water in so many different ways throughout our day that it’s almost impossible not to. Then when one part of your system breaks down and a plumber shows up it’s like they’re seemingly speaking a different language. You feel lost and alone. It’s like you’re on foreign soil and you don’t understand a word this guy just said. Well, we here at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing wanted to put together a glossary of common plumbing terms and words to make you feel less like an alien when it comes to your waterworks. Call if you have any other questions for our plumbing pros!  (562) 242-3218

Actuator: Button used to start the flushing process. It’s usually on the left side or top-center of the tank. If you have a new toilet installation there will most definitely be an actuator involved!

Auger: A drilling device or drill bit. In plumbing the “plumber’s snake” or “toilet jack” is a flexible auger used to bore through blockages helping to dislodge clogs. 

Balancing Valve: A valve in water heaters that controls flow and balances the distribution of heat as water flows to each faucet.

Copper: Copper tubing or piping is the most commonly used to of line to deliver hot and cold tap water and also for refrigerant in HVAC units. Typically the tubing has a label of either soft or rigid. Rigid is the most common choice for water line and “soft” is common for moving water around impediments and obstructions.

Corrosion: The deterioration of a metal as a result of chemical reactions. Galvanic corrosion occurs when zinc erodes and the water attacks the underlying metal. The corroding zinc will ultimately cause lead build-up.

Galvanized: To layer or coat metal, iron or steel, formerly with tin but more commonly with zinc. Most older homes with galvanized plumbing are typically steel pipes with a protective layer of zinc.

Hard water:  Water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water”), often the result of the water percolating through deposits of limestone and chalk resulting in liquids largely made up of calcium and magnesium carbonates. Hard water can even affect toilets with a build up. Take care of hard water with a soft water system today!

More Plumbing Terms:

Hydro jetting: Pressurized water ranging from 5,000psi to 50,000psi,  delivered through a hose and nozzle. The tank containing hot or cold water can be gas, electric, or a diesel-powered engine.

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.

OHM: Unit of electrical resistance.

one piece toilet
Interested in a modern one-piece toilet? Let the pros at Mitch Clemmons provide an expert toilet installation for you today!

One-piece Toilet: A toilet, usually with a lower profile, in which both the tank and bowl are together as single fixture. These are beautiful, sleek and easy to clean. Call Mitch today for your new toilet installation.

Oxidation: Any chemical reaction in which an element gives up an electron when it comes in contact with oxygen.

PEX: a medium- to high-density polyethylene containing cross-link bonds introduced into the polymer structure. PEX tubing has great freeze-resistant properties and its high-temperature properties  (250–300°) remain stable by reducing “creep”, the tendency to flow. Chemical resistance through resisting dissolution in enhances it’s integrity. PEX is the material of choice in some potable-water plumbing systems because tubes made of the material can expand to fit over a metal nipple and it will slowly return to its original shape, forming a permanent, water-tight connection.

Pilot: Small flame used to ignite the main burner of a gas water heater.

Reverse Osmosis: a method of extracting essentially pure, fresh water from polluted or salt water by forcing the water under pressure against a semipermeable membrane, which passes the pure water molecules and filters out salts and other dissolved impurities. Interested in clean drinking water? Check out our RO information.

Rooter: Derived from the removing of “roots” from drains and pipes. The machine is commonly called a “roto-rooter”. If you need your drains cleaned check this page.

Scale: An oxide, especially an iron oxide, occurring in a “scaly” form on the surface of metal brought to a high temperature.

Soft Water: In nature, this is the rain water made pure by rocks or through flowing rivers running over stony surfaces. In a home, this is possible with a system that removes the calcium, magnesium, and other metals that would over time cause limescale and build-up in pipes. A soft water system enhances the value of your home, saves pipes, and hot water heaters. Click here to learn more about getting soft water in your home.

Hopefully this list of plumbing terms was helpful in making some strange words seem not so strange. We’ll be periodically adding more words and terms to this list. As technology, building codes, and materials change we’ll do our best to keep you informed. And in the event you need one of our services, when we arrive at least we know, we’ll be speaking the same language.  (562) 242-3218

hydrojet

The Hydrojet vs The Hydroplane

Wondering how hydrojet pipe cleaning relates to the hydroplane?

Well… Man has always had a love for by speed; whether in the air, on land, and even on water. Since the 20’s many have used the laws of physics to skirt the waves of the ocean in order to achieve extreme rates of speed. Using the idea of “planing” to glide along the water to avoid the drag of the water’s surface. Hydroplanes gained much notoriety in the May issue of Popular Mechanics in 1935.

The hydroplane’s success only encouraged our need for speed. With each decade the water speed record seemed to be falling at greater and greater speeds. In 1978, Ken Warby of Australia set the record at 317mph and it still stands to this day.

hydrojetNow the “hydrojet” sounds like it would be the heir apparent to the hydroplane. Yet this hydrojet would only be successful in cleaning said vessel. High-pressure water cleaning has been around for nearly a hundred years but only recently has it been a method for clearing out pipes in your home’s plumbing system.

The most common method for clearing out blockages or clogs in your pipes has normally been the tried and true plumber’s snake. So why has the hydrojet become a go-to for plumbers today?
Here are a few reasons why go with hydrojetting over snaking or rooting:

  • Hydrojetting Provides Complete Cleaning

    Hydrojetting is a very comprehensive way to clean your pipes. The high-pressure water is able to remove limescale, grease, soap build-up, hair, rust and mineral deposits, and various types of debris. Some hydrojets are even powerful enough to cut through tree and plant roots.

  • Hydrojetting is Cost-effective

    Since hydrojetting is such a thorough way to clean your pipes it can often save you money. It does this by removing the need for other services down the road. Maybe you need to just clear a large hair clog? Consider that since hydrojetting is powerful enough to clear out those tree roots why not knock them out while you’re in there?!

  • Hydrojet Nozzles Have Excellent Accessibility

    The old school plumbing snake has changed and adapted over the years. One such adaptation includes various nozzles and tubing of a hydrojet can reach places a bit easier than a cumbersome auger. Also, shoving a metal snake down some pipes can damage older or fragile pipes. Hydrojets have an easier time navigating up and around pipes that bend at severe angles.

  • Using Hydrojet Cleaning on your Drains is Environmentally Friendly

    Not many things can be safer to use than pure water. Hydrojetting uses the force of high-pressure to remove stubborn build-up instead of harmful chemicals or solvents. Many of which run down your drain and out to the ocean, filling up the very waters you may be fishing later this summer. Not only does it not require the use of harmful agents it also can remove them like residue bacteria from foods and liquids.

Mitch Clemmons Plumbing offers advanced hydrojetting along with Camera Inspection Technology. This helps our plumbers to know exactly where the blockage is and attack the issue efficiently and accurately. Call us today for an inspection.

Leak vs. Leek

When you ask most folks if “they know anything about leaks?” most will ask, “you mean like a plumbing leak?” Or they could say, “you mean like a water main leak?”

Yet if you ask a cook, chef, or someone in food service that might say “Leeks? Yea, they’re great; especially in Potato and Leek soup.” YUM! Leeks can find their way into all kinds of dishes from all over the World. From your most basic salads to the famous Vichyssoise. The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales and is a heavy influence of much its cuisine. The Bible contains several references made to leeks being in abundance in ancient Egypt. Emperor Nero consumed leeks in excessive amounts in hopes that it would strengthen his voice, make him a great orator. Now while they are bloviating about the wonders of this garlicky, chive-like plant you have a pin-hole leak slowly filling your cabinet underneath your bathroom sink with water.

Now, much like veggie leeks around the globe, a plumbing leak can pop-up just about anywhere around your home. And there are several ways to go about looking and checking for leaks.

plumbing leakDETECTION DEVICES FOR A PLUMBING LEAK

  • Several devices on the market can help you find the plumbing leak . A moisture reader helps to determine if there’s moisture in your walls which may have be the result of a leak behind the wall. Infrared cameras are also capable to help locate hot or cold areas that may be the result of moisture. You can purchase either of these at your local hardware or home improvement store.
  • Installing a flow sensor or fluid switch can help not only detect leaks but help to isolate the issue without having to cut off water to other areas of your property.
  • Specialized audio devices can also locate leaks behind solid walls or underneath concrete flooring. The process involves pushing air through pipes then the device finds where the air is seeping out from. This is most likely the origin of your leak.

HOW TO PREVENT LEAKS

  • If it’s notably colder in the winter in your area, disconnecting the hoses from your outdoor faucets can help prevent cracks forming in your pipes. Also for colder areas, adding pipe insulation for areas like basements, detached garages, or any exposed piping can help prevent pipes from freezing and cracking. With pipe insulation costing as low as .30-.40 cents a foot this can be a great cost-effective measure to save even more time and money down the road.
  • Keeping spaces underneath your kitchen and bathroom sink clear can also help prevent leaks. Often objects in a crowded cabinet beneath a sink can knock pipes around and loosen connectors and seals. Also, if there is a slight leak, objects underneath may block your view of your pipes and often a small leak that would be easily visible doesn’t become noticed until there’s a small puddle in your cabinet.
  • If you’ve ever disconnected any pipes in and around your property, it’s imperative that not only are they reconnected properly but that you use the appropriate compound and/or tape. Joints, connectors, and threading may still leak if not dressed properly before installing.

SLAB FOUNDATION LEAKS

  • Plumbing leak in large concrete slabs can make it very difficult to address issues with your plumbing. Whether it’s finding pipes or accessing sewer lines, the repairs done inside a large chunk of concrete can be time-consuming, costly, and cumbersome.
  • Now if you have a slab foundation it can be difficult to know if you have an issue and when you do realize, it’s often too late. So unless you get a clue of the leak before any substantial damage you’re basically waiting for it to reveal itself.
  • In areas where earthquakes, flooding, and/or powerful storms are common, you should be testing your foundation for structural integrity frequently. Your local plumbing professional should be able to perform these types of test. They can also test your foundation prior to other types of repairs.
  • Getting a slab leak detection test before purchasing home is a great idea as well.

Always check to see if you home owner’s insurance includes water damage caused by pipes in your foundation. This may change the way you decide to attack repairs. Sometimes replacing old pipes in a slab may be cheaper than repairing old ones. In addition, if the old pipes have a crack now…they’ll probably crack again or in another area.

DIY SOLUTIONS FOR A PLUMBING LEAK

  • Turning off the main valve then switching off water to the problem area, if possible, should always be your first step. Once the water is off, turning on the faucet to remove any water left in the pipes is your next step.
  • If you’re going to tackle fixing any plumbing leak be ready for the worst possible scenario. Spillage, clogs, and possible further damaging pipes are possibilities so always start any job with the proper tools and equipment.
  • Most simple fixes can be handle with putty/ epoxy on a small leak. Sometimes a pipe may need complete removal. Depending on the prior installation, this can be as simple as buying a standard replacement or cutting out part of the pipe with a metal saw and soldering or welding in the new piece.

Now if the task seems a bit daunting and you aren’t sure if you doing it yourself is going to be cheaper contact Mitch Clemmons Plumbing. 562-242-3218

The pros at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing can give you a proper estimate that will not only explain the job-at-hand but a variety of ways to approach it. The plumbers at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing not only have decades of experience with a plumbing leak, leak detection and repairs but are continuously trained on the latest leak detection equipment.

The folks at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing are the very best at servicing leaks in your pipes and they have a great recipe for Braised Leeks too. Give em a call!

Hot Water Heater Problems?

Got a problem with your hot water heater?hot water heater

  • Can my hot water heater be repaired?

    Yes, repairing a hot water heater is possible. If there is a leak, and it is something on the outside of the water heater, we can usually fix the leak. If the water heater is not getting hot, normally there are some components we can replace on the gas controls to fix that issue as well. Either way we can come out to provide a free estimate for repairs or replacement if you are in our local service area. If you do need a new water heater we can often do the replacement the same day once you approve the work. Call today (562) 242-3218 to schedule your appointment.

  • What does it cost to replace my hot water heater?

    Replacement of a 40 gallon standard gas water heater is $1480, and a 50 gallon is $1580.  Some upgrades may be needed to meet plumbing codes. That may mean some additional costs. But we always give you the prices before you commit to the work.

  • How do I know what size hot water heater to buy?

    Your existing water heater is probably the right size for your home. However, we will help you decide about the size of your new hot water heater based on your home’s size and the amount of people living in the home.

  • What about the tankless hot water heaters?

    Tankless water heaters are a great option for some customers. But, it can be a significant expense to convert from a tank to tankless water heater since there are some upgrades that are necessary in most cases. If you desire a quote for a tankless water heater we can send out a qualified technician to give you an estimate.Tankless water heaters

  • Some of the benefits of tankless hot water heaters:
    • Tankless hot water heaters are smaller than regular hot water heaters. Therefore, installing the tank in a smaller area is possible.
    • Tankless hot water heaters last up to 20 years. A regular tank water heater can last 10 to 13 years.
    • Tankless hot water heaters do not retain a tank full of hot water. As water flows through the heat exchanger coil in becomes hot and ready for instant use.
    • A recirculating hot water system can provide continuous flow of hot water. These are called inline, on-demand, or instant hot water machines. Great for tea or instant coffee!
    • Call the pros at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing serving La Habra, Anaheim, Fullerton and surrounding areas (562) 242-3218 to schedule your appointment.
  • Why does it take so long for hot water to get up to my shower and what can I do about it?

    When hot water has to travel a long way through the pipes in the house the water can naturally cool. When the hot water finally arrives in your shower a lot of water has been wasted! A great solution is to install a hot water recirculating system. This will circulate the hot water in a loop between that fixture and the water heater, so that the fixture in question, and any fixtures in between that fixture and the water heater, will have hot water almost instantly.

  • What is involved in the installation and how long does it take?

    A typical water heater replacement of a like-for-like water heater normally takes around 2-3 hours. Some can take a little longer, and some can go a little faster. In either case we use flat rate pricing, so you can count on the price not going up if the job takes longer for some reason.

  • Can I finance my new hot water heater?

    We offer some very good financing options for plumbing services through Synchrony Financial. Please see our financing page here for details.

  • Should I wait and see if the hot water heater stops leaking?

    No, don’t wait! If you have any problem with your hot water heater, call the professionals at Mitch Clemmons Plumbing. We serve residents in La Habra, Anaheim, Fullerton and the surrounding areas. Call us today!   (562) 242-3218

Fawcett vs Faucet | Leaky Faucet?

Leaky Faucet or Farrah Fawcett? The surname Fawcett is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from several different variations. In the early 1200’s, Faxide, Fausyde, Facit, Fagheside, Fawsyde all seem to mean the same thing – “a brightly colored hill side” or “a fox on a hill side”.  The first record of any version was in 1189 when Aedmundus de Fayeside was as a witness to the granting of Tranent Church. Several centuries later the first Fawcetts left Europe for the States in 1654.
 
Leaky Faucet La HabraThen, in 1947, the most famous Fawcett of all-time is born in Corpus Christi, Texas. Farrah Leni Fawcett was a blonde bombshell that catapulted out of southern Texas to international stardom. She was the star of the, arguably, the most famous poster in history. It was the 70’s and this fox would do her namesake well by posing for a poster in a brightly-colored bathing suit that would sell over 20 million copies. Farrah would later appear in the hit TV show Charlies Angels. She went on to become one of the most iconic symbols for beauty.
 
Now, your home has faucets in and around it. They may even be leaky faucets. Some may be bright and beautiful others… not so much. The faucet out in your garden probably isn’t looking nearly as gorgeous as the one in your ornate master bathroom. This version of “faucet” comes from the old French word fausset. It’s the same word we get the musical term falsetto from. When someone sings in falsetto it sounds like a melodic high pitch shriek. This is probably how the tap or spigot came to get it’s French moniker. Often when you turn off the tap it makes a squeal, kind of like a someone singing falsetto—badly. While this is quite common it’s probably not really a cause for alarm. However, a constant and consistent squeal when your turning your faucet off can be a sign of wear.

Here are some other things to look for when it comes diagnosing a problem with your faucet including a leaky faucet: 

  • Leaky faucets: If this is problematic it’s usually going to be a simple o-ring replacement. These wear out quite often and will cause other problems if not taken care of.Leaky Faucet
  • Faucet screeching: Again, replacing the simple rubber washing inside of the faucet often can do the trick. If doesn’t help consult your manual or click here.
  • Water comes out of faucet slowly: This could be a issue with blockage or a crack in your pipes. It also could be as simple as turning up your water pressure. If it is your faucet, it may just be the aerator filter or screen at the opening of the faucet. This is usually easy to remove and clean.
  • Water no longer sprays or streams: If you have a faucet that allows you to change to different types of flows and now none of them seem to work, this could be due to the diverter that is in the faucet. Taking a part the faucet and cleaning the diverter in a natural cleaner like vinegar might help. You can also try to call the manufacture for a replacement part. 
  • Faucet is rattling: This can be something that is deeper within in your pipes or could also be a crack in your faucet. If it’s a complex, multi-function faucet it may have parts that you can address directly and purchase. Yet, this may not be an option if it’s a simpler, seamless piece.

Can’t fix your leaky faucet? No problem! Call the experts at
Mitch Clemmons Plumbing at (562) 242-3218.

Interested in replacing your old leaky faucet with a new brushed nickle faucet but need help installing it? No problem! Give Mitch Clemmons Plumbing a call to have it done right. (562) 242-3218 or fill out our online form.

Pipe vs Pipe and Copper Pipe

Whether it’s in music, cooking, or tools to smoke various leaves the word pipe can mean so many things to many people. If your kid is being a bit unruly, the old phrase “pipe down” might be useful. Some say this was an old sailing term used to tell soldiers to traverse down a ladder or staircase to retire for the night. Or how about when your food is “piping hot”? Most believed the whistle of a tea pot when water has reached its boiling point is where the term came from.
 
Hundreds of years ago the Baluka tribe of the Congo established a tradition in Africa of using large gourds as smoking pipes. The tradition traveled to Europe and helped develop the use of the Calabash gourd to fashion the style of pipe portrayed in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Then there’s piping used to make various woodwind instruments like flutes and recorders. Now if you look at a hollowed squash and a brass piccolo, you would never confused the two. Yet they both can be consider pipes.
 
Wood, ivory, bone, cane or other various metals are options for musical pipes or smoking pipes. Your plumbing pipes are typically of copper or a new material called “PEX”. For centuries lead was the metal of choice for plumbing because of its malleability; a metal’s ability to be shaped and formed. In our previous blog we mentioned where the term “plumbing” originates; lead in Latin is the word plumbum. The use of lead for porting water took a sharp dive after World War 2 when lead poisoning cases rose dramatically.  

Galvanized (zinc coated steel) pipingcopper pipe

Many years ago galvanized (zinc coated steel) piping took over as the more common choice for indoor plumbing after growing lead poisoning concerns. Galvanized pipes can last about 70 years but eventually give way to rust from the inside out. This can happen quicker or slower depending on the minerals and other elements in the water. 
 
Back in the 60’s the use of galvanized pipe began to decline. Other types of metal pipes began to find favor because they were easier to work with.

Copper Pipe

That brings us today’s metal of choice for plumbing – copper pipe. Copper pipe has several advantages and benefits over the older metals used.
  • Copper pipe is light and rigid needing less fittings and supports and sag less over time than heavier metals.
  • Copper’s ability to handle high temps makes easy to adjoin copper pipe therefore there’s no need harmful chemicals or adhesives when installed.
  • Being easier to install, needing less material can make an fully-copper installation much cheaper than pipes made of cheaper material.
  • Copper pipe is a natural metal that actually inhibits bacteria growth and is naturally corrosive resistant. This helps lessen concerns about mold or disease growing behind your walls or underneath your sink.
  • Copper pipe can handle extreme heat or cold conditions.It can also with stand more than a 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

PEX Pipes

Then there’s PEX pipe. PEX is the newest technology in plumbing. PEX stands for PolyEthylene with cross-links (X). Cross-linking is the bonding of one polymer (plastic) chain to another. All PEX pipe come with specifications and classifications. Prior to PEX, PVC (polyvinyl choride) was the most used plastic piping. Yet, PEX pipe holds several advantages over its older cousin and even over copper pipe.  
  • Easiest to install: PEX pipe requires even less fittings than copper pipe. It also requires no soldering or welding of metals. 
  • Most Flexible: Both PVC and Copper require elbows to maneuver around beams and corners. PEX tubing can bend, contort, and run along walls and edges with greater ease.
  • Cost: Since PEX pipe needs less space, material, and equipment it can cost considerably less than both Copper pipe  and PVC.  
  • Life Expectancy: While Copper pipe is highly resistant to extreme cold and heat, PEX pipe is even more so. PEX pipe is the most resistant to freezing, cracking, or bursting from extreme conditions and pressure.
Now while PEX pipe to seem to have more benefits than it’s alternatives it does have some drawbacks that one would need to take into consideration.
 
First, it is plastic. So that means there is often an after taste and smell that accompanying using PEX pipe. It can and usually does go away after some time but the initial odor and taste can be an issue.
 
Secondly, as with any synthetic polymer there can be chemical concerns. Recent reports and studies have shown no conclusive evidence of PEX piping causing any health issues yet some builders and environmental groups are still hesitant to embrace PEX as alternative.
 
Lastly, some insects find it tasty! Certain insects can in fact puncture PEX piping if left to chew at it long enough. Most notably the Western Conifer Seed bug of the Rocky Mountains. 
 
So what’s right for you, your residence, or building can be depend on a number of different things. Whatever your piping needs may be, Mitch Clemmons Plumbing can help you determine what suits your budget, environment, and daily needs best.
 
Call Mitch Clemmons Plumbing today for your Galvanized, Copper pipe, or PEX pipe consultation.

Plumb vs Plum and Homeade Drain Cleaners

Plumb vs Plum and Homemade Drain Cleaners

The word plumb is quite interesting. Originally, it meant a lead weight attached to the end of string to determine when something was truly straight. It also helped determine how straight and deep something could be.

Then there’s Prunus domestica which we know as the plum. One of history’s first domesticated fruits. While we think of dried plums as prunes, Prunus is the actual scientific name of the plum. Did they come to get their name from their dark color and high metallic mineral content of manganese and copper? Since plums were one of the first domesticated fruits, I wonder if they got their name from how they hang? Like a plumb bob.

So how does the word plumb correlate with a plumb-er? The Latin word for Lead is plumbum. In ancient times, it was used in making roofs, drains, conduits, pipes and baths. The term “plumber” could apply to anyone who worked with lead. Nowadays, lead is a no-no in pipes. Yet the term plumber remains.

So really, though you’re not working with lead, if you’re working on your pipes, drains or fixtures, you’re essentially a plumber!

home made drain cleanersHomemade Drain Cleaners

The first step when you need to clear your drains is to manually get any hair or other material out of the drain area. You can use a specially made hook they sell at the hardware store or even a hanger that you set up so it will go down the drain and clean out whatever is in there.

The second step to is to clearing any clogged pipe or drain is to use a store bought drain cleaner. Whether it’s Drano or Liquid Plumr, you can find a number of chemical-based liquid products you can pour down your sink to help loosen and break-up hair clogs, grease and oil build-up, and food deposits. But, with those products there can be some issues to take note of:

  • Chemicals can be damaging to your pipes, fixtures and finish.
  • Most are quite toxic and fumes can be harmful to you, your family or pets.
  • Once flushed through your septic system they can prove hazardous to the environment.
  • Some are ineffective. The actual issue may be something else but now you have a tub full of hazardous fluid.

A better alternative would be a more natural homemade drain cleaner that is just as effective but not nearly has harmful.

Here’s one you can try:

Materials:
1-2 cups vinegar
2 cups of Baking Soda
1 Large Pot of Boiling Water

Drain all the water from the sink, bowl, or tub. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then, pour about half of the what boiling water down into the drain. The mix of baking soda and boiling water should start eating at the build-up in the pipes.

Next, pour 1 more cup of baking soda down the drain along with 1 cup of white vinegar. You should plug the drain right after pouring in the vinegar.

Once you start hearing bubbles and fizzing you’ll know somethings happening. When the bubbles and fizz stops–pour the rest of the boiling water in.

Here’s another drain cleaner that uses bleach to clear the hair in a drain.  Click here ->

Keep using this homemade drain cleaner as much as needed.

plunger to clear drainsWhat if liquid drain cleaners don’t work?

The next option could be using a plunger to pull and push the clog. This often times can help move the clog along. But remember, a plunger is meant to bring the stuck stuff back up, not pushed down! You want to get out whatever is blocking the pipe.

It can also be fool’s gold. If you do push the material down further into the drain, the clog may move out of the way temporarily or partially break apart enough for water to pass.

What if a plunger doesn’t work on my clogged drain?

Another option is using a “snake”. A plumber’s snake is basically an auger with a flexible bit. Now these can be effective in drilling through and attaching to some clogs. Then reverse action of the auger would pull the clog out. Problem with snakes is the damage they can do to pipes if the pipes have cracks, rust, or are brittle. The bit can also do damage around the entry. But plungers can be very effective as a drain cleaner.

How can I prevent a clogged drain and therefore avoid these drain cleaners?

Ultimately the best thing would be to avoid habits that cause clogs and engaging in routine maintenance that would help clogs from forming.

clear drainsThese steps can included:

  • Use mesh screens in your sinks to catch food, hair and other objects.
  • Use your garbage disposal less. Save food waste for more environmental use like a compost pile.
  • Don’t think of your sink as a trash can. Much easier to replace garbage bags versus a bathroom sink.
  • Pour boiling water and baking soda down your drains once a month.

Encouraging and educating your household on the importance of properly disposing of waste and actively taking these steps will lessen your chances for clogs greatly!

If you have a clogged drain that you want cleaned correctly and thoroughly call the professionals at Mitch Clemmon Plumbing!
Your very best drain cleaner!
(562) 242-3218

 

high water bill

Bill vs Bill

High Water Bill? 

You may wonder why you have a high water bill but let’s start with the word ‘bill.’

The word “bill” has a number of meanings and uses. Probably most common is its use as first name. How William becomes Will and/or Bill has always been a bit confusing. If Will is short for William, shouldn’t Bill be short for Billiam? That would be an interesting name.

There’s also the legislative “bill”. In 1792, George Washington exercised the first veto on a bill. It would’ve divided the seats in the House of Representatives giving a few more seats to the North. Though he thought me might come off as a bit biased to the South, Washington nonetheless stopped its passing. Since the cherry tree, image was always a concern for ole George.

Another bill most are familiar with is their utility bill. Whether it’s your electric bill, gas bill or water bill, you see some bill once a month. Your water bill fluctuates greatly throughout the year for a number of reasons but there are some you can definitely control. An average family of four uses about 400 gallons of water a day and rates for running water can greatly vary from state to state. If you’ve seen a huge spike in your water bill, here are a things to look for:

Toilet Leaks

One possible source of a high water bill is your toilet. Your toilet uses more water than just about every other item in your home. Roughly nearly 30% of all water used inside your house goes through your toilet. Often your tank will leak back into the bowl. Now sometimes you can actually see or hear the leak if it’s strong enough. Other times the leaking water could be so subtle you’ll never notice it; until you get the bill.

If you want to be certain, you can place a few drops of food coloring into the tank. Come back after some time and if you see the color in the bowl, well, you have a leak. Normally a faulty valve in your tank is the cause for that leak. Most home improvement stores or even big-box stores will carry what’s commonly known as a flapper.

Sprinkler System

High water bills can arise because of a leak in your sprinkler system.  Many lawns nowadays have a timed watering system. So over-watering usually isn’t the culprit. What could be over-watering your lawn are cracks or breaks in pipes under your grass. Or maybe a water leak in one of the fixtures. If you had this installed by a landscaper make sure to alert them to it immediately.

New Dishwasher, Refrigerator, or Washing Machine

New appliances in your home can be very exciting. They can also cause spikes in your water bill if they use water when the previous appliance didn’t. Most newer appliances have settings that can regulate how much water they use. Make sure to have those settings dialed-in by a professional.

Change in Routine?

Are you getting up earlier for work? So perhaps you’re taking showers earlier in the morning and letting the water run longer to heat up. If there’s no way around you taking a cold shower perhaps take a shorter shower to compensate for the time waiting for the water to warm up. Also switching to a WaterSense showerhead could save about 2900 gallons of water a year. Think about this when it comes to high water bills.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Running your water while your brush your teeth can equal up to 2 gallons of water. So shutting it off can save about 200 gallons a year. Yet sometimes when you shut it off you might not notice the slow leak costing you. Or do you have any faucets you rarely use? Sometimes older homes will have faucets and fixtures in the oddest places.Those too could be leaking so slowly that it goes completely unnoticed. If you’ve recently moved into a home and aren’t aware of all the faucets, take a stroll around the garage and/or the basement. Check behind large pieces of furniture or cabinets. Another common issue is with homes that previously had a pool. The former equipment could have been improperly disconnected. Have a professional check your property thoroughly to be certain.

If you have a high water bill check closely into the above items.

Defective Meters

Misreads of meters are not uncommon. Human error does occur from time to time. It’s well within your right to ask for a reread. Also meters can become defective. Check with your local public utility service to find out more info on requesting a reread or to have your meter inspected. 

New Tenant

Son or daughter move back in with their endless amount of laundry? Your uncle staying in your extra room and just loves to run the water while shaving? Any extended stay guests can add a significant amount to your water bill and create a high water bill.

Water Conservation

Most of us now are use to having water at every faucet whenever we want it. Yet issues like those in Flint, Michigan and with the Dakota Pipeline Access show us how precious water still is. Conserving water is not only environmentally responsible but the best way to save you money on your water bill. After fixing and resolving any issues with your current plumbing, here are some tips to preserve water and ultimately keep your high water bill down:

Water Conservation Tips:

  • Water your grass and plants when temperatures are at their lowest. High temps will cause water to evaporate causing the need to water your lawn more.
  • If you are a fan of a cold beverage, store more in your refrigerator. Using your tap for cold water or to constantly make ice cubes can be costly down the road.
  • Changing out older toilets for units that are more efficient can be a huge money saver. If you don’t have the money to do that there are devices you can add to your tank that can lessen the amount of water used at each flush.
  • Locate your main shut-off valve. If you don’t have one, getting one installed by a professional is a great idea. It can be a lifesaver in the event a plumbing emergency erupts.
  • If you don’t have a dishwasher consider investing in one. A dishwasher can save costly gallons of water over hand washing dishes.
  • Washing your dishes with running water can cost up to 20 gallons of water. Filling the sink saves half those gallons.
  • In the event of rain, make sure to turn off your sprinkler system.
  • If you’re looking to buy new appliances make sure they are EPA WaterSense certified.
  • Avoid running the washer or dishwasher with less the full loads.

If you do have a high water bill and wonder what the source is call Mitch Clemmons Plumbing serving La Habra, Fullerton, Brea, Anaheim and surrounding communities.

(562) 242-3218

Clogged Drains – Clog vs Clog

Clog Vs Clog

The good ole Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “clog”as a “thick piece of wood” or a “wooden soled overshoe.” Though they took the fashion world by storm in the 80’s they’ve been around since the 13th century.  They’ve inspired dancing known as “clogging” and even the ever-classy tap dance owes its popularity somewhat to the clog. Now, the Oxford Dictionary has another entry that states a clog as “an encumbrance or impediment.” It also lists a clog as a verb meaning to “block.”  However, this clog has never been embraced quite like the great pine loafers from Sweden. Nowadays, when we hear the word ‘clog’ we think clogged drains! No fun!
Rooter Services Fullerton
Plumber unclogging a tub drain with an electric auger.

The history of this “clog” dates way back. In previous blogs we’ve mentioned that indoor plumbing dates back to 3000 BC. You can bet that clogs are just as old. And the things that caused clogged drains in the ancient world are many of the same things that are causing clogs today. So lets take a look at some of the most common reasons for clogs:

Design Can Cause Clogged Drains

Improperly designed and installed plumbing may be why you are experiencing clogged drains or slow drains. Therefore, if clogged drains are constantly plaguing you it could be a design issue.  Both drain pipe venting and slope affect how well drains work.
 
When an substantial amount of air is entering the vent, the water and waste will drain properly.  For example, when you flush your toilet it will swirl and empty quickly when the air vent is installed and located properly. Clogged drains caused by a poor installation of a vent can cause odor and therefor distress to the homeowner.

clogged drainsHair Can Cause Clogged Drains

As long as teenage girls have been washing their hair in a bath, shower, or sink, subsequent clogging has occurred. Nowadays we might even have a Lhasa Apso rinse causing some minor blockage.  There are many ways that hair can be removed from the sink. We do not recommend heavy chemicals that can damage pipes. Get your clogged drains cleaned out properly by calling a professional.

Oils Can Cause Clogged Drains

Whether it’s a large industrial galley on an ocean liner or a small kitchen in a studio apartment cooking grease can wreak havoc on pipes.  Wait for oil to cool after cooking and then dispose of it in the trash. Pouring oil into your pipes is a surefire way to cause clogged drains.

Garbage Can Cause Clogged Drains

Are you using your toilet as a typical bathroom trash can? If so, that may be the reason why your toilet is becoming clogged. People throw items meant for the garbage into the toilet and that will cause toilets to back up. Whether it’s feminine hygiene products, cotton-tipped swabs, dental floss, diaper wipes, paper towels, or food. Only throw toilet tissue down the toilet… everything else needs to go in the trash! 

Soap Can Cause Clogged Drains

After water, soap may be the one thing that washes down your drain most frequently. When combined with dirt, skin, hair, and other particles soap “scum” can a myriad of issues on your pipes. Many people think that soap will clean out the pipes but soap leaves an oily residue that causes clogged drains. 

Here are some tips avoid clogged drains:

  • Since hair is commonly the cause of many drain clogs, especially in showers and bathtubs, place strainers in those drains. And then make sure to clean them periodically.
  • Be careful of things you wash down your sink. Motor oil, paint, lacquer, and wax can harden in pipes and cause clogged drains with severe blockage.
  • Cooking oil, grease, or lard should not be wash down your kitchen sink. These items will cling to your pipes and cause other things that  go through your pipes to grab ahold as well. To avoid clogged drains, make sure to put all used cooking fluids into a garbage can. 
  • Hair products like shampoos and conditioner often wash down a sink with no issue. Yet, if your washing out dyes or coloring products those can cause problems. These can leave a residue that builds up causing clogged drains. Running hot to boiling water immediately after using any hair substances will help to keep that build up to a minimum.
  • There’s lots of things that should and should not go down your toilet. The only thing that belongs in a toilet other than waste, is toilet paper. Make every effort to place everything else in a trash can. A clogged toilet can be a real problem.
Make sure to follow these tips to keep your pipes clear and running smooth.
If you do run into clogged drains or a stopped up toilet call the professional plumbers  serving La Habra, Fullerton, Anaheim and surrounding areas. Call us today at (562) 242-3218
Sewer Camera Inspection

Sewer Camera Inspection & Line Location

Drain Clog? Find an Expert in Diagnosing Sewer Drain Problems

Today’s technology allows drain clogs to be addressed quickly and easily. It used to be that these issues were extremely difficult to find and fix. However, now our Sewer Camera Inspection equipment can accurately identify problems in a pipe. This can save lots of money when you can concentrate on a specific issue and is less invasive than tearing out walls or cutting into concrete.

Here are a few other benefits of finding your drain clogs and then using Mitch Clemmons Plumbing’s Camera Inspection service :

  • Save time by eliminating the guesswork about where the drain clog is coming

  • Identify problems with a pre-sell or pre-buy inspection of a property

  • Line location prior to expanding on your home

  • Locating items lost or trapped in pipes

Give us a call to find out how we can use or Camera Inspection services to work for you.
Call Mitch Clemmons Plumbing today at  (562) 242-3218
 

Can I fix this drain clog on my own?

There are times when there is a drain clog in your toilet, a drain clog in your sink, or a drain clog in your slab. When your drains are clogged and you don’t know where the clog is coming from it’s time to call the professional plumbing pros that work in Fullerton, Brea, and surrounding areas to get in there with a camera and find out what is really wrong.
You can save a lot of money by getting a camera into your drain to get to the bottom of the issue right away before serious damage is done.
Call Mitch Clemmons Plumbing today at  (562) 242-3218
 
Check out our Sewer Camera Inspection page