How to Prevent Your Kitchen Sink from Clogging

After a long day at work and coming home to cook dinner, there is nothing worse than discovering your garbage disposal is clogged. None of the food you put down it is passing through the drain, and you’re left with tepid water in both sides of your sink. This problem is entirely preventable should you maintain your sink drain regularly.

Cleaning Your Sink

To keep your kitchen sink plumbing functioning optimally, you need to make a habit of cleaning your sink regularly. Cleaning your sink and disposal is fairly easy and can be done without using harmful cleaners or chemicals.

What You Need

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon (or lime)
  • Ice
  • Old toothbrush
  • Soft sponge

What to do:

For daily cleaning, use soap and a nylon sponge or rag to wipe down your sink. Be sure to avoid ammonia, bleach, or other abrasive cleaners on stainless steel. These can tarnish your sink’s finish.

For a deep cleaning:

  1. Wash out your sink and sprinkle baking soda on it.
  2. Scrub it until it becomes a paste.
  3. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes until it settles in and then rise with warm water.

Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

Regularly cleaning your garbage disposal is imperative to break up food that has accumulated down there, especially grease and pasta. This will prevent what everyone dreads—a clogged kitchen sink.

What to do:

  1. Put a half cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the sink and let sit until it fizzes.
  2. Boil water on your stove and then pour it down while the baking soda and vinegar fizz together.
  3. Add ice to the sink and run your garbage disposal until it fully grinds the ice. (You can add salt to help break up the ice.)
  4. Some people like to add chopped lemon or lime halves to the sink while the disposal runs. This helps your sink smell fresh and clean!

Prevent Your Sink from Clogging

There are several steps you can also take to prevent future sink clogging after each use.

Be careful what you put down there!

No-No’s: cooking grease, coffee grounds, anything stringy (banana peels, raw meat, etc.), potatoes, and pasta (which expands in water).

Use cold water!

Also, run cold water while you are grinding food waste, and keep it running a few seconds after you use the disposal. The cold water helps the grease in the sink solidify and break into smaller pieces. A tip for grease: put it in an old coffee container and then throw it in the trash. Whatever you do, keep grease out of your sink!

Clean every night!

Even if you’re exhausted, try to clean your sink habitually. Don’t let junk sit in your disposal overnight—it’s smelly and can cause a buildup.

These tips should help keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and keep it running optimally. If you take care of your sink and garbage disposal, you’re less likely to need a kitchen plumbing repair. And, you can extend its lifespan. In the unfortunate case that you have a clogged sink, it is best to call a plumbing company to take care of it. We know the hassle and inconvenience having a clogged sink is and can help you with this plumbing repair in no time.

When to Tell Your Water Heater to Kick the Bucket!

You probably don’t think of your water heater on a daily basis, but it labors faithfully in the background, creating the steaming water that pours out of your tap for showers, laundry, dishes and more. It’s only when something goes wrong that the water heater intrudes into daily life, and at that point, you start wondering what the heck to do pretty quickly.

The main question is this: Can your water heater be repaired, or has it given up the ghost? Is it time to tell it to kick the bucket, or can you still salvage some meaningful years from this important investment?

These are good questions all. Before you set aside time and money to call in a plumber, therefore, it’s helpful to understand the issues at stake. What are the signs of trouble? What parts can be repaired, and what signals the end of the road? And lastly, what should you call in a plumber for?

Trouble in the Air

When your plumbing breaks down, it’s usually pretty obvious. A pool in the basement, a rumble or tick when there shouldn’t be one, or an icy shower at six a.m. are unpleasant wake-up calls that indicate something is wrong.

One of the main signs? If you notice the water heater leaking, which never happens when the appliance is shipshape. Another is when you simply can’t get hot water, when there isn’t nearly as much as there used to be, or when the water pressure drops significantly. If you notice any of these plumbing-related problems, it could be due to a number of factors. These include:

  • A burner or heating element fails
  • A loose drain valve, which is one of the most common causes of water heater leaking
  • A pipe or valve gets blocked by buildup or debris
  • The thermostat breaks
  • The pilot light on a gas heater goes out
  • A circuit trips
  • The thermocouple comes loose
  • The water heater simply outlives its useful life

This last occurrence cannot be overcome, and we will discuss that in later sections. First, though, which of these issues can be repaired so that you can hang on to your appliance for a bit longer?

Can It Be Repaired?

Luckily, it’s easy to replace or repair many of these parts. Valves, circuits, thermostats, thermocouples and other parts are typically quite inexpensive, ranging from $10 to $40 or so, or possibly a bit higher depending on the exact type of part you need. The water heater repair service cost to install parts, examine thermostats or relight pilots is also relatively inexpensive, usually ranging from $100 to $200 or so, depending on your individual water heater’s requirements.

If you want to avoid the occasional water leak or loss of hot water, one of the best ways to ensure this is by flushing the tank once a year to get accumulated sediment out of the system. When you do this, it’s less likely that a piece of sediment will break off and block a valve or pipe, which is one of the main reasons for a water leak. Plus, your water heater will work better, saving you money. You can do this during your water heater repair appointment, or during an annually scheduled maintenance call.

Water Heater Repair

Feel free to get in touch or request a quote for water heater service so you can get back to the life you’re used to living, hot showers and all. Of course, sometimes it’s not as easy as a repair. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s just time to tell your water heater to take a hike.

Sorry … That Water Heater’s Done!

Conventional water heaters have a lifespan ranging between 10 and 13 years or so. If you experience a problem after or around that time, you can try to repair it, but it’s more than likely you’re going to need to call a plumber and get a replacement.

Even if your heater could theoretically be repaired, it’s sometimes necessary to replace it anyway to ensure it matches building codes specifying everything from the size of the vent system to the types of drain pipes to the water heater mount. Your plumber can walk you through these issues to help you make the best decision. You will also need to settle on many other choices as well, such as:

  • Will you get a conventional, tankless, heat pump or solar water heater?
  • What brand will you choose?
  • Do you want it to meet Energy Star efficiency standards, which can qualify for a federal tax credit?
  • How much are you able to pay?

Again, plumbing companies such as MET Plumbing can help walk you through these and other questions, so you can make the best possible decision about your new water heater. Feel free to give us a call today to learn more about your options and how we can help. Just pick up the phone and dial 281.599.3336 and we’ll set up an appointment for you right away so you can get back to the life you want to lead … hot showers and all.

How to Prepare for Plumbing Emergencies

We’ve all been there. One day the plumbing works just fine and the next day it doesn’t. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent unnecessary maintenance on your plumbing. Keep this handy checklist around the house as a friendly reminder of what to avoid so you can save some money in your pocket.

Plumbing emergencies

  • Keep the garbage disposal free from large chunks of food and other debris. Run the disposal daily to keep the drain clear from food and water backups.
  • Do not pour grease down the drain; dispose of it in the trash bin instead.
  • Stay away from or minimize usage of “flushable” wet wipes. Contrary to popular belief, they are not very friendly to septic tanks.
  • Check the hose behind the washing machine for any kinks in the line and straighten if necessary. It’s also best to opt for the durable stainless braided hoses over cheaper rubber types if it’s time for a replacement hose.
  • Avoid drain cleaners with heavy toxic chemicals. They are bad for the environment and there are better ways to unclog a drain.
  • Unclog drains with a snake or plunger. Wire hangers can also be used for small or shallow clogs. Finish up with some good old fashioned salt and vinegar to cleanse the drainage pipe.
  • In colder climates during the winter, turn faucets on occasionally or let them drip a little while away for longer periods of time. This will help prevent frozen pipes and bursts.

 

When all else fails, give MET Plumbing a call for your plumbing emergencies at (281) 599-3336.

Five Tips for Maintaining a Kitchen Disposal

Kitchen disposals are indispensable in the modern kitchen, but few homeowners take the time to properly care for them. Take a look at the following tips for maintaining a functional, odor-free disposal.

Maintaining a Kitchen Disposal

  1. Clean it regularly.

While the disposal is off, wipe the underside of the rubber flaps to remove any grime or residue. On occasion, drop ice cubes and citrus rinds into the disposal to clear debris and provide a fresh scent.

  1. Always check to make sure it’s clear before running the disposal.

Many homeowners have accidentally mangled a spoon by not checking that the disposal is clear of objects. Always check for any stray items before turning on your garbage disposal.

  1. Know what you can and can’t put down your disposal.

Don’t put hard, fibrous or spongy items down your garbage disposal, as these can damage the blades or wrap around the mechanism.

  1. Run cold water while the disposal is in use.

Running water will help wash the debris down, preventing it from sticking to the blades. Use cold water to prevent overheating and keep the water and disposal running for 30-60 seconds after grinding to ensure that all debris is clear.

  1. Avoid disposing of onion in the sink.

Although the blades will have no problem grinding up pieces of onion, the thin tissue and skin of an onion can stick to the sides of the plumbing, eventually rotting and creating a nasty odor.

If you’re having problems with your kitchen disposal or sink plumbing, contact Met Plumbing today at (281) 599-3336.

How to Reduce the Cost of High Water Bills

Have you recently found yourself scratching your head over a skyrocketing water bill? Don’t fret! There are several common plumbing issues associated with high water bills, and, once you find the problem, you can easily decrease unnecessary expenses related to excess water usage. If you are having trouble identifying the source of the problem yourself, we recommend contacting a plumber to help you make a proper diagnosis.

Common causes of high water bills include:

  • Leaky Faucets
  • Running Toilets
  • Dripping Shower Heads
  • Broken Water Pipes
  • Water Softener Malfunctions

Common Plumbing Issues

Some plumbing problems are easier to find than others. For example, if your toilet continues to make the sound of running water long after flushing, then you know it’s a problem with the toilet. However, other water leaks aren’t always as easy to discover.

Before you begin looking for the source, be sure to turn off any running water in your home and then check for leaks in the following areas:

  1. Main Level: Check for leaky pipes under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
  2. Hot Water Heater: Listen to the hose and drain connected to the water heater. If you cannot hear running water, there might be a leak or blockage.
  3. Toilets: Listen to the connection at the water heater, if you hear running water there might be a leak.
  4. Swimming Pool: For homes with pools, there might be a leak if you have to regularly refill the water to maintain a full level.

If no water leaks are found in these areas, it could also be a problem with spigots, irrigation systems, or the main water line. For assistance with identifying and fixing water leaks, contact MET Plumbing today at 281-599-3336.

What’s the Deal with Hard Water?

Let’s face it: Hard water is super annoying. Not only does it leave unsightly spots and stains on your shiny surfaces, but it can cause home appliances to go absolutely haywire. Some studies have shown that hard water can wreak havoc on your health, too. This is because it contains minerals like lime, silica, calcium, and magnesium.

After a while, these mineral deposits accumulate and often require support from local plumbing companies, and, in rare cases, a diagnosis from your primary physician.

Plumbing companies

One of the most common problems associated with hard water involves residue. Have you ever noticed white spots and streaks on your tableware after washing the dishes? That’s because you have hard water. Luckily, there are many solutions available to tackle the problem. We recommend having a soft water system installed in your home to combat buildup. Alternatively, distilled vinegar and little elbow grease is another great option for removing some of those tougher stains.

Appliances like water faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines are also at risk because the minerals found in hard water often lead to plumbing problems. If one of your appliances is on the fritz, there’s a good chance it is related to calcium and magnesium deposits left behind.

Perhaps most alarming of all, hard water can potentially affect physical health. One study found that babies living with hard water were 87% more likely to develop a skin condition known as eczema.1  Other findings reported risk factors for:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Growth retardation
  • Reproductive failure
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Renal insufficiency2

Needless to say, soft water is the smart way to go. However, if you are experiencing problems with your appliances as a result of hard water buildup, give Met Plumbing a call today at 281-599-3336.

Sources

  1. http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20160601/hard-tap-water-linked-to-eczema-in-babies
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775162/

What Causes Washing Machine Drainage Problems

Is that pesky washing machine acting up again? Don’t fret. Drainage issues are a common occurrence for these types of machines, and there are plenty of quick fixes for troubleshooting the problem. Here are a few key areas that can help you easily identify the culprit:

  1. Hose off: One of the most frequent issues related to water drainage involves the hose. If your machine is having trouble with the drainage system, make sure the hose does not have any kinks in it. If you find a kink, just straighten out the hose, and that should remedy the issue. If a problem continues to persist, try removing the hose between the bottom of the tub and the pump, and be sure to have a water pail on standby in case of spills.

Drainage system

Ever wondered where those phantom socks go after a load of laundry? There’s a good chance they wound up in the hose, which can cause clogs that prevent water from draining properly.

  1. Pump it up: Pumps can also cause all sorts of problems, so this is another key area to inspect if the hose solution doesn’t work. You should be able to hear the pump while the machine is operating. If it doesn’t make a sound, it might need to be replaced or inspected for jams.
  2. The ol’ switcheroo: Most washing machines have a sensor known as the lid switch or door switch. This switch prevents the machine from operating when the lid is open. A defective switch can cause the washing machine to encounter an error during the spin and rinse cycle.
  3. Belt it out: The drive belt is an essential component for a machine’s ability to function. Sometimes the belt simply needs to be readjusted back into its proper place. However, if the belt continues to fall out of line, this is a sign that it’s time for a replacement belt.

When in doubt, give your friends at Met Plumbing a call at 281-599-3336. Our experts are here to get your washing machine back up and running in no time.