Is Your Home’s Plumbing Ready for the Holiday Season?

Keep It Running Smoothly with These Five Tips!

The holiday season is a great time for family and friends to get together, visit, eat, and share in their favorite holiday traditions. This means an influx of more visitors than at any other time of the year. Plus, most people will use their kitchens more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day for preparing holiday meals, baking holiday treats and cookies, and other festive delights.

Plumbing Ready for the Holiday Season

Both your kitchen’s and home’s plumbing will also be used more often during this time of year. If you do not plan ahead and do some preventive maintenance ahead of time, you could end up with clogged sinks, backed up drains, and overflowing toilets. Finding a 24-hour plumber who can come help, especially on a holiday, can be difficult because they are in high demand.

Tip #1: Prevent Clogged Drains

Never try to put large objects, food materials, hair, grease, and other such things down your drains. Granted, we cannot prevent or stop everything from going down the drain, but you can minimalize how much gets into the drains by using drain screens/filters. These items will collect larger objects and most hair and prevent it from becoming a potential clog.

  • Bonus TIP: If you notice you have slow draining sinks before the holiday season, this indicates a clog is developing. Call a plumber right away and have your drains cleaned, rather than waiting until it becomes an emergency house call.

Prevent Clogged DrainsTip #2: Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems

Garbage disposals are great kitchen appliances that help deal with a wide array of food waste materials. However, certain types of materials should never be put into the disposal because it can create stresses on the disposal, causing it to overheat and stop working correctly. Plus, you can quickly develop a sink clog because the materials aren’t being broken down.

  • Never put bones of any type in the disposal. Bones are hard and difficult for your disposal to break down. Plus larger pieces can get stuck in the drain openings in the disposal and create an instant clog.
  • Never put potato peelings in the disposal. Potato peelings do not get broken down that easily, and they end up creating a clog and huge mess in your sink. Not to mention, they can cause your disposal to overheat and burn out completely.
  • Never put fruit rinds, hard veggies, or other fruit/vegetable peelings in the disposal. Hard rinds can damage the blades and do not break down that well, much like bones. Fruit and vegetable peelings do not get broken down, just like potato peelings, and they create clogs.

revent Garbage Disposal Problems

  • Never pour hot grease into the disposal. Grease can cause problems in the disposal as well as your drain pipes. As soon as it cools, it hardens and eventually creates bigger problems. Furthermore, the grease will create a foul smell coming from your sink, as it does “rot” to a certain extent.
  • Always run water when operating the disposal. You need water in the disposal to help move out smaller food particles and transport them down the drain. The cold water also helps to keep the blades and moving parts inside the disposal from overheating.

Depending on how much you use your disposal, at least once a year—especially right before the holidays—have the disposal professionally cleaned by your plumber.

Tip #3: Prevent Overflowing Toilets

Your home’s toilets will be used excessively during your holiday events, parties, and family gatherings. Toilets can clog from too much toilet paper or people attempting to flush other objects down them that they were not designed to handle. In addition, some toilet clogs occur when there is not enough pressure during the flush cycle from various types of toilet plumbing problems.

  • Check around toilets for signs of water leaks.
  • Open the back cover and verify the flushing mechanism and flapper are working correctly.

If you discover problems with your toilets or already know one or more has certain problems, you do not want to wait to get them fixed. Nothing ruins a great holiday party faster than seeing water running out from under the bathroom door and into the hallway or down the stairs.

Prevent Overflowing Toilets

Since you cannot control how much toilet paper your guests will use, and you do not want to be a toilet paper Scrooge, it is best to keep plungers next to the primary toilets everyone will be using. In addition, make sure to set out trash cans in plain sight where guests can see them. Then, hopefully, they will toss waste not meant for your toilet into the can instead.

  • Bonus TIP: If you hear water running occasionally and the toilet has not been recently flushed, this indicates a bad flapper seal. You should have this fixed because not only are you wasting water, but it can also reduce the amount of pressure during each flush.

Tip #4: Fix Drips and Leaks

Check under sink cabinets and other accessible areas for signs of leaks and drips. Some drips and leaks are more evident if there is a crack in plumbing pipes or loose fittings. Others can be less subtle because they are very slow leaks.

For instance, if you notice water stains under your kitchen sink but do not notice a leak when you are running water, chances are it is a slow leak. If you ignore it, the leak will gradually become worse. No one wants to turn on their kitchen sink on Christmas Day only to have water come running out of the cabinet onto the kitchen floor.

Fix Drips and Leaks

For sinks, showers, and tubs in your home, if you notice water continues to drip when you shut off the faucet or notice water leaking from around the faucet when the water on, these two issues indicate faulty washers. The washers are no longer tight and are allowing water to leak out.

Depending on the age, type, and design of the faucet, you may only need to have your plumber replace the washer. However, for older faucets or ones that are “single-piece” designs, it is best to get these replaced with new faucets.

Tip #5: Get Your Hot Water Heater Flushed

If your water heater is a tank-style model, sediment can become an issue to the hot water heater’s performance. If you hear snapping, cracking, or popping sounds coming from the water heater when it is heating hot water, sediment could be the cause.

When a hot water tank fails, several things can and do go wrong, creating headaches for homeowners, including:

home's plumbing for the holiday season

  • No hot water to wash dishes, do laundry, or take showers and baths.
  • Water can become over pressurized and the hot water will come flowing out of the pressure release valve.
  • Tanks can develop leaks around the bottom where hot water will seep out constantly and can flood the home if there is no drain pan or drain under the heater.
  • Water can overheat and tanks can explode, causing damage to your home and potential injuries.

Having a plumbing professional flush the tank can help remove much of the sediment. In addition, your plumber will inspect the tank for other problems which could indicate the tank is nearing the end of its useful lifespan.

  • Bonus TIP: If you need to replace your hot water heater, consider tankless models for on-demand and constant hot water. You will never have to worry about running out of hot water when guests visit and stay at your home over the holiday season!

For more plumbing tips to ensure your home is ready for all of your holiday parties and guests, please feel free to contact MET-Plumbing at (281) 599-3336 to schedule a plumbing inspection or preventive maintenance services today!

Is Your Toilet Running? Here’s What We Suggest

When a toilet starts to run, it can be quite annoying. Ignoring the problem won’t do any good. Hearing your toilet when it should not be making noise means something is wrong. A leaking toilet is never a good thing because water can seep out and cause damage to your flooring, insulation, and walls. For the best possible outcome, call a plumber to diagnose and fix the source of the problem right away.

test toilet for leak

Leaks often recur without professional plumbing repairs. Here are some common causes of toilet leaks:

  • There’s a loose or worn supply line, or its rubber lining is worn out.
  • The flush handle and flapper are stuck, causing water to continue flowing into the tank.
  • The tank is cracked; water leaks while the fill valve continues to replenish the supply.
  • Watertight connections have loosened or worn away.
  • The flapper, fill valve, or float has worn out or failed.

If there’s a problem, the toilet may continue running, or it may start spontaneously by itself. To check for a leak:

  • Open the tank lid and check the water level. If it’s below the water line, add some dye and wait 10-15 minutes; you’ll see colored water in the bowl if there’s a leak.
  • Add food coloring, and wait 25 minutes to see if the color appears in the bowl; if so, the flapper may be leaking or dirty.
  • Mark the water level in the tank and come back after 10 minutes. If the level has fallen, the flush valve might be leaking.

Plumbing Companies Can Resolve Your Toilet Trouble

common causes toilet leaks

There are ways to test a toilet for a leak. The problem should be found and corrected because the water bill will go up if a leak is present. However, checking for one yourself can lead to more flooding if you have a clogged toilet. A plumber can easily address this issue with the proper equipment. Even if you check the water level in the tank, it may still be dripping out somewhere, and this doesn’t fix the problem.

A professional plumbing company can remove objects stuck in the pipe. It can also provide toilet repair services that address issues with the supply line, tank, or any mechanical elements needed for the system to work properly. If the parts need fixing, Met Plumbing & Air Conditioning will get your toilet working again. Other times, a new unit is needed, and we can quickly replace your toilet with a newer model; our plumbers are skilled at toilet installation, so your bathroom will soon be fully functional again.

A licensed plumber has the skills to safely and effectively fix a leaking toilet. If it is a routine visit, an appointment can be scheduled, but there is no need to wait if it’s an emergency. Our team is available day or night, at any time.

Last, schedule a service call on our website if you suspect a problem, or give us a call at 281-599-3336.

Environmentally Friendly Toilets for Your Home? Yes, There Are!

Toilets are an essential part of every home whether you have one shared bathroom or two or three bathrooms throughout your home. They help safely control and dispose of human waste. However, conventional toilets tend to waste a lot of water. Older toilets use six gallons of water to flush the waste down the drain.

Consider a family of four, who on average flush the toilet six times each throughout the day. This amounts to 24 flushes and 144 gallons of water each just to use the bathroom. Now, if the family were to replace their existing water-wasting toilets with new environmentally friendly toilets that only use 1.6 gallons per flush, they could help conserve water.

Environmentally Friendly Toilets

With the new eco-friendly and water-saving toilets installed, now this family of four only uses 38.4 gallons of water each day to flush their toilets. This is a 105.6-gallon reduction in water usage. Over the course of a year, this family would help conserve and save 37,171.2 gallons of water! In addition, they would notice a major reduction in their water bill each month since they were using less water.

Now imagine this family lived in a small subdivision with 24 homes and each home on average was also using 144 gallons of water every day to flush their toilets. If every home upgraded to new low flush toilets, the entire community could have conserved and saved 892,108.8 gallons of water every year!

Other Eco-Friendly Toilet Options

There are also low-flow dual flush toilets that use even less water. These toilets have two different flush opens—one for liquids and the other for solid waste. The liquid waste flush only uses 0.8 gallons of water, while the solid waste flush uses 1.6 gallons of water.

TIP: You can upgrade an existing toilet to a dual flush toilet by having your plumber install a dual flush control.

Eco-Friendly Toilet

If you want to save even more water, look for toilets with the WaterSense label. These toilets meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) criteria for low-flush/low-flow toilets and use twenty percent less water than standard 1.6-gallon flush toilets.

You can also combine WaterSense toilets with dual flush controls. This would result in using 1.28 gallons of water for solid waste flushes and only 0.64 gallons of water for liquid waste flushes.

Fun Fact: Based on the EPA’s calculations, if all homes in the United States replaced their inefficient toilets with WaterSense models, it would result in conserving and saving 520 billion gallons of water each year, which would fill approximately 10.4 billion garden-sized bathtubs!

If you want to save even more water, you can convert the lid on the back of the toilet into a small sink. When you flush the toilet, fresh, clean water flows out the faucet so you can wash your hands. Then it drains into the tank on the back of the toilet. There are conversion kits you can use on existing toilets to add this feature.

For more information about eco-friendly, water-saving toilets for your home, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336 today!

Source

  1. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/residential-toilets

Boo! Is a Halloween Ghost the Cause of Your Home’s Pipes Making Noises?

Are you hearing strange noises in the middle of the night like banging, clattering, or hammering coming from inside your walls? Have you noticed the kitchen sink drain makes a gurgling sound at different times? Or do you hear the sound of dripping water, but can’t figure out where it is coming from?

While you might initially think your home is being haunted by a Halloween ghost, these are all indications something is wrong with the plumbing in your home. The noises in water pipes at night are often more noticeable since there are fewer background noises, especially after you have shut off the TV and are getting ready for bed.

Halloween Ghost

Finding the source and cause of the problem is important because, if you say it’s a ghost and do nothing, it can lead to more costly plumbing repair services down the road. Once you identify the reason for the noises, you can then assess whether it is something you can do yourself or if you need help from professional plumbing companies, like us, here at MET Plumbing.

Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Noises

The first thing you will want to do is make sure there is no water running anywhere in the home. Next, turn on the cold water of one faucet to see if you hear any of these sounds. Then, shut off the cold water and repeat with the hot water. Repeat this process for every faucet in the home.

If only one or two of the faucets make noise when shutting off the water, it often indicates the pipes do not have an air chamber or have filled with water. Air chambers are special attachments that cushion the flowing water and prevent noise. Without an air chamber, the water is not cushioned when you shut the faucet off, and it will attempt to flow backward, resulting in a banging, clattering, or hammering noise.

Plumbing Companies

If only a few faucets make these noises while water is running, it could indicate loose fittings and attachments that hold the plumbing lines. Since there is nothing to hold the pipes securely, they can move as the water flows through them and bang the inside of walls.

If all of your faucets are making this noise, then it is probably because the air chambers have filled with water or do not have air chambers installed. It could also indicate the plumbing was not correctly installed in the home and all the water lines are not secured correctly.

Fixing Banging, Clattering, or Hammering Problems

There are a few simple things you can do yourself before calling in a plumber for help. First, check to see if there is a pressure regulator attached where the water comes into the home. If there is, you need to make sure it is set at 55 PSI or less. Anything higher, and it can create excess pressure that can cause pipes to bang and hammer and also damage appliances, like your dishwasher, refrigerator’s ice maker, and washing machine.

Clattering Hammering Problems

The other self-check you can do is to shut off the main water line into the home. Next, open the faucet at the highest point in the home, and then the faucet at the lowest point, which could be your outdoor water faucet. Once all the water has drained out, shut off the highest point faucet.

Now, turn the water back on, leaving the low-point faucet open to allow the air to flow out of the lines. If you no longer hear noises when turning the water off, this means the air chambers were previously filled with water.

By draining the water out of the lines and allowing air in, it refilled the air chambers. If you still notice noises, then your plumbing is most likely missing air chambers, and you will want to have these installed by your local plumbing company.

Gurgling Sounds Coming out Drains

For plumbing lines that are not secured, it is best to leave this to a professional because you need to make sure to use the right hardware to secure pipes in place. In addition, it could require cutting into drywall or flooring to access the water lines.

Gurgling Sounds Coming out of the Drains

Gurgling sounds could occur if water is being run in another part of the home and is attempting to draw air into the drain lines. For instance, if you flush the toilet and notice a gurgling sound coming out of the bathroom sink drain, this means the toilet is attempting to draw air into the drain from the nearby sink.

Gurgling is often indicative of improper plumbing venting or there is a blockage in the vent. Plumbing vents are those pipes you see on the top of your roof where the bathrooms are located in your home. Sometimes small objects and animals can fall down the pipes, if they do not have screens, and can cause a blockage.

Fixing Gurgling Sounds

Fixing Gurgling Sounds

You will want to make sure none of the vents are blocked. Your plumber can do this for you because it can require using a long plumber’s snake to reach all the way down and through the vent. You will also want to install screens over the top of vents to prevent objects or small animals from falling down inside the pipes.

Dripping Water Noises

If you hear what sounds like dripping water, you need to find the source immediately. This indicates there is a water leak in your home’s plumbing. The first thing to do is to make sure all water faucets are shut off and not dripping themselves. Late at night, when everything in the home is quiet, a dripping faucet can make it seem like it is coming from the walls because the sound carries everywhere.

Finding the Source of Dripping Water

An easy way to check for slow dripping faucets is to make sure the sink is dry, close the drain, and also wipe dry the end of the faucet. Wait an hour, and then return and inspect the sink and faucet. If you see water in the sink and notice the end of the faucet is also wet, this means a faulty shutoff valve in the faucet.

Have your plumber replace the shutoff valve and washers or have them install a new faucet. If none of your faucets are leaking, yet you hear water dripping, then the problem becomes more serious. It could mean a fitting between pipes has become loose or the pipes have developed a small crack.

Finding Source of Dripping Water

Depending on the location of the sound in your home, there are a few different self-checks you can perform, as follows:

  • Feel around the bottom of the wall for dampness, as well as wet spots on the floor or carpeting.
  • In basements, look around where you hear the sound for wet spots and puddles of standing water.
  • Check your crawl space in the location where you hear the sound for wet spots or puddles of water.
  • If you notice falling down or wet insulation from the basement ceiling or under the crawl space, this often points to the source of the leak.

Even if you cannot find the source of the dripping sound, it is still highly recommended to contact a plumber for assistance. Small drips and water leaks can damage insulation, cause wood rot, create mold and mildew, and damage the support structures of your home.

Crackling, Snapping, and Popping Sounds

If you notice these types of noises coming from your hot water heater tank, it is a good indication there is sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank. Sediment can form from calcium deposits and minerals in hard water, as well as be caused by rusted particles inside the tank.

Removing Sediment from the Water Tank

Contact your plumber to request that the water heater tank is drained and flushed. This is an extreme and potentially dangerous process, and it should only be performed by an experienced plumber since they will be draining out scalding hot water.

For water tanks more than ten years old, the tank could be near the end of its useful lifespan, so it may be time for a new water heater. Your plumber can advise you on your options, such as energy-efficient tankless hot water heaters.

Removing Sediment from the Water Tank

From whooshing sounds to banging and clattering, these types of noises do not mean your house is being haunted by a ghost. Rather, your home is trying to tell you something is wrong with your plumbing.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the noises your pipes, faucets, toilets, and plumbing make are all unique and indicate different types of problems. Diagnosing and troubleshooting the causes and remedies will often require the help from our expert plumbers at MET Plumbing.

Feel free to give us call at 281-599-3336 for help resolving your noisy plumbing today! Remember to ask about our current promotions and plumbing specials!

Do Homemade Drain Cleaners Really Work?

Many drain cleaners are sold commercially but aren’t always the best to use. A clogged drain can be tough to fix yourself. Although homemade solutions don’t work in every case, they’re often better alternatives to commercial options that can be corrosive, toxic, and damaging to sink and tub materials. However, some homemade drain cleaners are as effective as calling in a plumbing professional.

Drain Cleaning Tricks to Try First

There are many reasons a drain can become clogged, and probably just as many methods to resolve the problem. We’ll start with the most general first. Perhaps the most universally discussed are drain cleaners with baking soda and vinegar—and rightfully so. With the water gone from the sink or tub, perform the following steps:

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Add 2 cups of boiling water to the drain.
  • Pour down another cup of baking soda, plus 1 cup of white vinegar.
  • Plug the drain and wait until the bubbles start to subside.

This works because hot water is effective at dissolving pipe sludge. The baking soda and vinegar create a bubbling foam that helps dislodge any material blocking the way. Pour more water down to get all the material down through the pipe—voila! You may not need to call a 24-hour plumber.

baking soda and vinegar

Homemade drain cleaner without baking soda: Not every clogged drain can be fixed with baking soda, which doesn’t dissolve the fat, oil, and grease that commonly clogs kitchen sinks. In fact, some experiments have found hot water and detergent are better at dissolving such clogs.1

Natural drain cleaner hair dissolver: Water, vinegar, or baking soda won’t do much if there’s a lot of hair in the pipe. Enzyme drain cleaners can actually eat through the hair. Although not necessarily homemade (it’s hard to concentrate enough bacteria and enzymes on your own), these are worth mentioning. They can clear a clogged drain in an efficient and eco-friendly manner.

Another homemade drain cleaner—salt, vinegar, and borax—is effective for many types of clogs. Combined with hot water, it can clear a blockage if given enough time. If you can unclog a drain with salt and other compounds, great. You’ve found a DIY drain cleaner without baking soda. Many people still prefer this time-tested product. Combining baking soda with lemon juice may smell better than vinegar, and will foam up and can resolve your plumbing problems just as well if the hot water is run for several minutes.

Do Homemade Drain Cleaners Always Work?

homemade drain cleaners

It depends exactly what is blocking the pipe. A severe blockage is not going to be removed with baking soda or vinegar, nor is a large foreign object that’s stuck there. You may need a plastic drain cleaner to remove it.

Sometimes, the safest drain cleaner for pipes is an emergency plumber. When a homemade unclogger doesn’t work, consider a safe drain cleaner for old pipes, for example, or a professional plumbing inspection, to avoid serious damage. For prompt and effective plumbing repair, contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-599-3336 today!

Source

  1. https://brendid.com/why-you-should-never-use-baking-soda-and-vinegar-to-clean-clogged-drains/