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!



What to Expect When You Repipe/Replumb Your Home

Undertaking an entire home repipe/replumb project is not something you will want to attempt on your own. It requires the use of plumbers with experience in repiping/replumbing, like the experts at MET Plumbing.

Repipe Replumb Your Home

Why Would You Need to Repipe/Replumb Your Home?

Just like other things in life, the pipes that deliver hot and cold water throughout your home, as well as drain water and sewage away, do eventually wear out and need to be replaced. They have a useful lifespan, which can range from 25 years to eighty years. However, there are certain signs you should watch for, as these could shorten the anticipated lifespan of your home’s plumbing.

If you notice a drop in water pressure, rusty or cloudy water, or are springing water leaks in pipes in different areas of the home, these are all potential signs you are due for a repiping/replumbing. Other reasons you will want to consider getting your home outfitted with new plumbing could include:

  • You bought a fixer-upper. Since you are already planning on renovations and remodeling, this is a good time to get the entire home replumbed. As most renovations typically require tearing out drywall and other parts of interior walls, it provides easy access for our plumbers.

plumbing inspections

  • Your home is more than fifty years old and still has the original plumbing. The pipes are either getting near the end of their usefulness or have already exceeded it. At this stage, you will want to make sure to have annual plumbing inspections performed to identify potential problems before they become major home repairs.
  • You have had problems with broken and bursting water pipes, and they keep occurring. As pipes wear out, they are not able to handle being under constant water pressure. This will cause fittings to start to leak and could even cause weakened sections in the pipe walls to burst.
  • Dripping and running water inside the walls of your home, basement, or crawl space is not good. Not only can it lead to problems with mold and mildew, but also damage wooden support structures, insulation, and electrical wiring.
  • Problems with pipes freezing on those few cold winter days. While it doesn’t get too cold in Houston that often, every now and then we do have a day or two where temperatures dip down below freezing. When pipes freeze, the ice inside expands and, if they don’t burst or break, could weaken and damage the interior walls as well as the fittings.
  • The entire home has polybutylene plumbing. This is a type of plastic resin that was widely used by builders for homes built in the 1970s through the 1990s. The problem with this type of plastic piping is it can become brittle and break easily, especially if your water is chlorinated or chemically treated.
  • The home still had lead pipes. Homes built in the first part of the 1900s were plumbed using lead pipes. At that time, people had no idea that the lead in the pipes could leach into the drinking water, let alone the health hazards associated with lead.

Replumbing Your Home

What Are the Benefits of Repiping/Replumbing Your Home?

Depending on the type of materials used to repipe/replumb your home, you may only need to do this major type of renovation once during your lifetime, especially if you keep the home. On the other hand, if you will eventually sell the home, updated plumbing could potentially increase the value and selling price since the new buyer will know they do not have to worry about this type of home repair project.

Other benefits you might gain could include:

  • Reduced water bills if you have city water.
  • Increased water pressure if you currently have low pressure.
  • All leaks, worn out fittings, and other plumbing problems will be resolved.
  • Better quality and safer drinking water.

What Type of Plumbing Pipe Materials Are Available?

Two of the more popular choices for repiping/replumbing projects are copper pipes and PVC/PEX plastic pipes. Copper has a longer life expectancy than PVC/PEX. In addition, copper has natural antibacterial properties.

Plumbing Pipe Materials

However, the costs for copper can push entire home replumbing costs up higher compared to using PVC/PEX pipes. PVC/PEX pipes cost less and are flexible. This means that entire replumbing project can be completed faster since fewer sections of walls have to be removed.

To determine what materials would be best for your home, we recommend scheduling an in-home plumbing inspection with one of our plumbers. This will allow us to see what concerns and issues you currently have, as well as answer your questions. In some cases, an entire replumb is not always necessary.

How Is a Home Repiped/Replumbed?

There are several detailed steps to the entire process. To give you an idea, the following is a general overview:

  • Step 1: The water is turned off and all water lines drained out of the faucets as best as possible.
  • Step 2: Drop cloths, tarps, and other protective coverings are put over flooring and furniture.
  • Step 3: Precise cuts are made into drywall where the pipes run and are required to access and replace them.
  • Step 4: The new pipes are installed and connected to the appropriate locations: i.e., toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and so on.
  • Step 5: The water is turned back on and water lines tested for leaks.
  • Step 6: If there are no leaks, or once any leaks have been corrected, the drywall is replaced.
  • Step 7: The drywall is sealed and painted.

Home Repipe Replumb

On average, it takes between three and seven days to do an entire home. The amount of time it will take to repipe/replumb your home depends on the size of the home, amount of water lines that need to be replumbed, the type of piping materials being used, and other such factors. In some cases, it may only take a day or two, especially if you have a much smaller home or the majority of pipes are easily accessible from your basement or crawlspace.

What if I Cannot Afford an Entire Home Repipe/Replumb?

If your home needs to be repiped/replumbed but you have budgetary concerns, MET Plumbing can work with you to develop an effective solution to address your needs and budget. For example, we could start with replacing essential incoming water lines that we can access without having to remove drywall.

Since the pipes are easier to access and replace, it costs less to do the work and takes less time. Then, as your budget allows, we can address other areas of the home and gradually replace all of the pipes over a period of time, rather than all at once.

Cases Where Repiping/Replumbing May Not Be Required

There are a few different cases where your plumbing problems may suggest you need to get the entire home repiped/replumbed but are actually being caused by some other issue.

Rusty Water – If you have an older hot water heater, there could be sediment and rust in the bottom of the tank. This would make your water seem reddish or brownish in color anytime you ran hot water. If this is the only cause for rusty water, then a replumb would not be needed. Instead, you would just need to get a new water heater installed, which our plumbing company can also do for you.

Reduced Water Pressure – If you have well water, mineral and calcium deposits from hard water can build up inside the pipes. There are different methods we can use to descale the pipes and attempt to restore water pressure. Again, if this were your only problem, then a full repipe/replumb might not be required. However, badly scaled pipes may need to be replaced.

plumbing servicesFor more information about repiping/replumbing your home, your different options, and different plumbing services we offer, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336 today!

We also offer hot water heater installation and repair, toil installation and repair, clogged drain cleaning, garbage disposal repair, faucet installation and repair, and air conditioning services and installation in Houston and the surrounding areas.

Why Are the Pipes Making Groaning and Other Noises in Your Home?

There can be several different underlying causes for noises coming from the water pipes within your home. It is important to determine what type of sound the pipes are making to better diagnose and troubleshoot the problem.

Water pipes that make a groaning or hissing noise are often indicating a constriction somewhere in the water line. As the water flows through the narrower section, it will create this noise. This problem commonly develops in faucets and toilets as washers and internal fixtures wear out.

Plumbing Problems

To determine the source of the problem, you will want to check both the hot and cold water lines. Start by turning on just the cold water. Then shut off the cold water and turn on just the hot. If the sound is evident with either just the hot or cold water on or is persistent with both water lines, the faucet needs to be replaced.

TIP: If you notice the noise occurs in all the faucets of your home, chances are there is a restriction somewhere in the plumbing lines.

With toilet hissing sounds, the flapper and/or ballcock valve could be worn out and need to be replaced. Remove the back toilet cover, flush the toilet, and watch how the tank refills. If it continues to fill with water past the desired shutoff and runs down the overflow, this, too, could create a hissing sound.

Another type of noise your pipes can make is a pounding or banging sound. This noise occurs when the force of the water flowing through the pipes is abruptly stopped. For instance, as your washing machine is filling with water, you may notice this type of sound when it stops filling.

You may also notice this sound if the pipes inside your walls are not secured in place. As the water flows through the pipes, it can cause movement and a “banging” against the interior wall. To remedy loose pipes, have your plumber secure them in place using different methods.

For more persistent banging noises, there are special “shock absorbing” devices that can be incorporated into your home’s plumbing. These devices contain air and are added as “T” sections in different areas. When the water is shut off, rather than “bang,” it will attempt to force itself into the “T,” and the noise will be stopped.

Water Pipes Groaning Noise

In addition, depending on the type of plumbing used in your home, hot water lines can make different noises as the water goes from cold to hot. This is referred to as thermal expansion. There are different ways to resolve this problem. Again, you will want to consult with a professional plumber to determine the most appropriate resolution for your home.

TIP: Do not ignore the noises your pipes are making. In many cases, your home’s plumbing is alerting you to a problem that needs your immediate attention. Ignoring it and not getting it checked out could lead to more costly plumbing repairs later.

To schedule a plumbing inspection for your Houston-area home, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing at 281-599-3336 today!

How To Manage Water Damage

Owning a home or business property can be one of the most satisfying experiences, but it comes with a variety of responsibilities and risks. In addition to taking care of general building and property maintenance, there is also the possibility of damage. While structural damage can take many forms, one of the most common and frustrating sources of damage is the presence of excess water.

Manage Water Damage

Common Causes and Repercussions of Water Damage

Whether it’s standard rainfall, flooding, or an old water heater leaking, there are several ways in which unwanted water can cause problems on a given property. The following are just a few common causes of water damage to homes and businesses:

  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation cracks
  • Poor soil grade around foundation (leading to pooling and leaking into the basement)
  • Flooding
  • Broken or burst pipes/fixtures due to freezing, poor maintenance, existing damage, etc.

The possible repercussions of water damage can vary dramatically, depending upon where the water damage occurs in the structure, how much water was/is involved, what kind of air movement there is in the affected space, and numerous other factors. Damage may be as minor as slight staining or as major as significant, potentially hazardous black mold growth.

How to Tell if Your Home or Business Has Been Damaged

Sometimes, water damage is obvious: A pipe bursts, turning your floor into a wading pool. Other times, the presence of water goes unnoticed, damaging your walls or floors slowly in ways you may not be able to see for some time. Because it’s best to address water damage as soon as possible, there are a few key things you should keep an eye out for:

  • Water spots on the ceiling or walls (especially if they continue to grow)
  • Yellow or copper-colored stains along room or basement walls (may indicate previous flooding)
  • A musty smell, particularly in the basement or crawl space
  • Black spots, which can indicate mold growth
  • Visible pooling of water in the house or around the foundation
  • Warping floorboards
  • Foundation damage
  • Roof/shingle damage that may allow rainfall to leak in

Repercussion of Water Damage

If you notice any of these things (especially if you notice more than one at a time), you may have a water leak or other unseen concern that needs to be addressed before you can correct the damage you see. Even if the staining or spots are small, the situation behind the wall may be much more severe than it appears from the outside.

What to Do if You Find Water Damage

If the cause of the damage is ongoing, like a broken pipe that continues to leak water, the first thing you’ll want to do is shut off the water main. There should be an easily accessible shut-off main somewhere on your property. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the location of this valve and know how to operate it before an incident like this ever has a chance to occur.

Broken old pipes

Once you’ve stopped the flow of water, you can begin attempts to dry out the area and salvage any affected belongings. At this point, it’s a good idea to call a professional plumber to fix the leak so that you can restore water to your home.

If you’ve just noticed a water spot, staining, or possible mold growth, you’ll want to contact a professional plumber, roofer, or water damage restoration company to take a look at the situation and determine whether there is an ongoing issue. Obviously, if the damage appears to be coming from the roof, you may want to contact a roofing company. If the damage seems to be around the base of your toilet, call a plumber.

It’s also a good idea to take a look at the original inspection report from when you purchased the property. It may turn out that something you requested be fixed was not properly addressed, or that the previous owners were likely aware of an issue they did not disclose. Of course, you should also reference your insurance policy and contact your agent if you suspect the damage may be covered.

Addressing the Damage

The first thing a professional will do when they arrive on your property—aside from addressing any emergencies like continued water flow—is to assess the nature and extent of the damage. This may involve entering the attic, crawl space, or other unusual locations, so be prepared to provide access to these areas as needed. Once he or she has completed the inspection, you can discuss a game plan.

If there is staining, warping, or flooding due to leaking pipes or fixtures, a plumber will replace any damaged pipes or parts to prevent future water damage. If there is standing water present, he or she may also assist with its removal. When it comes to mold growth, misshapen floorboards, or ugly wall stains, you’ll need to schedule specialized removal and repair work with an appropriate contractor. Mold, in particular, is especially important to address, as its presence can cause allergies, illness, and/or further damage.

Ceiling Water damage

Prevention Is Key: Avoid Leaks and Fix Existing Damage with the Help of MET Plumbing

Once water damage occurs and things like mold, stains, and floor buckling take hold, the cost of repairs can add up rather quickly. As with any other risk, prevention and regular maintenance are the most important aspects of management. To prevent water damage from occurring in your home or business, you should make sure that all of your plumbing and water-connected fixtures (toilets, sinks, washing machines, showers, etc.) are in good condition.

At MET Plumbing, we know that even if they appear normal, old pipes can rupture or leak at any time. In addition to fixing damage in emergencies and providing maintenance to specific fixtures, our plumbing experts can also replace all the old pipes throughout your home or business for a long-lasting, reliable plumbing system.

As a family-owned, 24 hour plumber with more than 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry, and we’ll put our expertise to work to give you the best plumbing solutions no matter what the situation. To learn more about how we can help you prevent water damage from ever occurring in your home or business, contact us today at (281) 599-3336!

Why do Pipes Burst? We’ll Tell Ya!

When most people think about pipes bursting and water rushing out and into their homes, they picture cold winters in northern climates where temperatures drop below freezing. While this is one of the more common reasons for burst pipes, it is not the only one. Before we look at other reasons for burst pipes, let’s discuss why and how freezing temperatures cause this problem for homeowners.


In areas of the home where there are exposed pipes on the exterior, under the crawl space, or in the basement, and which are not properly insulated from the cold, the water inside the pipes can freeze in the colder winter months. As the water freezes, it restricts water flow, causing an increase in pressure inside the pipes.

Any water in front of the ice blockage is slowly pushed forward in the pipes. If water is not running, it has nowhere to go. As a result, the pressure slowly starts to build in the area in front of the ice in the water lines—until it becomes so strong that it blows out a section of the pipe.

Normally, the blowout occurs in a weakened area, like a connection, fitting, or even weakened part of the pipe. Granted, here in Houston, we do not have to worry too much about freezing temperatures that often. However, you should still take precautions, as we never know when we will have another cold winter with record lows, which could include temperatures below freezing.

plumber service

Ideally, you should have your plumber make sure all exposed pipes along the exterior of the home, as well as under the crawl space or in your basement, are wrapped in protective insulation. This way, if we do have a record cold winter with freezing temperatures, you will not have to worry about ice forming in the pipes and causing the lines to burst.

Insulating your pipes also has benefits during the hot Texan summers, as it will keep water temperatures cooler inside cold water lines. This will help conserve water, too, because you will not have to run the cold water as long to get warmer water out of the water lines.

Now that we have discussed how uninsulated water lines can freeze in colder weather, let’s turn our attention to other causes of burst pipes that could affect your home here in Houston at any time during the year.

Hard Water

If you get your water from a well, it is almost always hard water. The hardness of water refers to the calcium and magnesium contained within the water. While these minerals are not harmful to drink, they can cause damage to water lines and faucets in the home. Plus, hard water leaves a white residue on tubs, showers, and dishes.

Over time, the minerals in the hard water will start to build up on the inside walls of the pipes in your home. Eventually, the water flow will become constricted, much like it is when water freezes. Since the water cannot flow correctly, pressure starts to build up in the pipes and will eventually burst.

water treatment system

Solution: If you have hard water, you should consider getting a water treatment system installed that can soften the water and remove the excess calcium and magnesium. This will help prevent the buildup from forming on the interior walls of the water lines and faucets inside the home. Here at Met-Plumbing, we install whole house water filtration and treatment systems, depending on what type of solution you need for your home.

TIP: Investing in a water softener system will help save you money over time. Soft water requires using less soap and detergent to do dishes and wash clothes. Plus, you will find you are using less soap, shampoo, and conditioner and notice your skin feels softer.

Rusty Pipes

If you have an older home with metal steel pipes, rust can be a problem and cause burst pipes. As the pipes corrode, the metal becomes thinner, resulting in weakened pipe walls. If there is a sudden increase in water pressure, it can cause this section of the pipe to blow out.

In addition, eventually, the rust will eat all the way through the water line and create a water leak. While not an actual pipe burst, this small water leak can quickly become your worst nightmare. As the water slowly drips out of the pipe, it is eroding and removing rust from the pipe, making the hole bigger and bigger.

pipes bursting and water rushing

As you might have already guessed, as the size of the hole increases, more water flows into the home, creating more severe water damage. Not only will you have to replace the broken water line but, also, fix any water damage, like replacing rotting wood, dry wall, and damaged insulation.

Solution: To avoid costly water damage repairs, the best solution is to inquire about plumbing repiping services. Repiping your home with modern plumbing pipes will stop the corrosion and rust, as well as get rid of rusty, smelly drinking water. Feel free to contact us to arrange a home consultation appointment to learn about different types of repiping solutions for your home.

Improper Installation/Plumbing Repair

Pipe bursts can occur if they were not installed correctly by a non-professional. While some people might attempt to save money replacing pipes or doing minor plumbing repairs around the home, there are several things that can go wrong.

One of the more common problems we have encountered is the improper crimping of water line connections. If the connections are crimped too tightly, they can restrict the flow of water. This can create a higher water pressure on the other side of the crimp and cause the pipe on that side to burst. Even if you installed PEX pipe, connections must be properly crimped to the right tension without restricting the water flow.

Plumbing Repair

Solution: To ensure repairs to water lines, faucets, and other plumbing is done correctly, it is highly recommended to use one of our professional plumbers.

Worn Out Appliance Water Lines

The water lines used to connect your dishwasher or washing machine do wear out over time. These types of water lines are typically made of wire mesh or rubber, both of which deteriorate. Eventually, the side walls on either type of water line can weaken and result in a burst section.

Solution: You should get into the habit of inspecting your washing machine hoses at least twice a year and replacing them every five years. After five years, the likelihood of the rubber hose bursting starts to increase significantly. For dishwasher water lines, you should replace mesh piping with either copper or PEX piping and have this installed by a professional.

Improper Water Pressure

Improper Water Pressure

Many newer homes have a water pressure gauge—a pressure switch that can be manually adjusted. Sometimes, people will turn the water pressure up, like if they are power washing their driveway, siding, or pool deck, and then forget to turn the pressure back down. The increased water pressure on interior water pipes inside the home can cause pipes to burst unexpectedly.

Solution: Avoid turning up the water pressure, and you will not have to worry about this problem. If you need increased water pressure for outdoor tasks, we would be happy to discuss viable solutions, like splitting a water line and installing a separate pressure gauge you can use on exterior lines, while not risking damage to interior piping.

affordable plumbing services

To summarize, burst pipes are not only caused by ice forming inside water lines in the cold winter months but, also, a variety of other reasons, which can occur year round. For emergency plumbing repair, home repiping services, water filtration and softeners, hot water heaters, and other affordable plumbing services in the Greater Houston Area for your home, please feel free to contact Met-Plumbing at 281-599-3336 to request service or to schedule a consultation to obtain a free quote today!