To Flush or Not to Flush? That Is the Question…

Our toilets can sometimes seem like magic. You turn the flush handle, the bowl fills up and whatever is inside disappears down into the sewer. But being careless about what you send down can have serious ramifications. A clogged toilet, a call to the plumber, and not to mention damage to the city’s water treatment system and the environment, are all possible outcomes.

flushing-medicationThe answer to the question of what can be flushed is very simple: human waste and toilet paper. Anything other than that should be disposed of in a trash receptacle. Here’s a list of some common and uncommonly flushed items that should NEVER be sent down the toilet.

  1. Wipes: Pre-moistened baby wipes and adult wipes may seem like good candidates for flushing, but they don’t break apart like toilet paper. This can lead to clogging and damage to sewer systems.
  2. Medication: Flushing medication may seem like a good way to get rid of it, but filtration and water treatment systems don’t always remove them, leaving them to affect water supplies and harm wildlife.
  3. Feminine Products: Tampons and pads are designed to absorb moisture, meaning they can expand and cause massive blockages in your plumbing. Make sure to throw them away.
  4. Cat Litter: This one might make sense, because it’s waste, but the particles in kitty litter are designed to suck in moisture and clump together, a perfect recipe for a clog.
  5. A Snake: Hard as it may be to believe, an Australian man was surprised one day to find a python nearly ten feet in length in his toilet! This should go without saying, but snakes or other live animals should never be flushed!

 Of course, should any clogs arise, don’t hesitate to call MET Plumbing! You’ll be glad we met!

How to Tell You’re Ready for a New Toilet

Your toilet is one of the most critical installments in your home, and having one in disrepair can be very distressing. Knowing when it’s time to call a plumber and replace it doesn’t have to be a mystery, though. There are a few things to look out for to clue you in on when it’s time to upgrade your throne.

toilet-replacement

The most obvious sign is damage to the toilet itself. Are there any cracks in the bowl or tank? Even a tiny crack will eventually get larger, leading to serious water leaks and potential damage to your floors. An investment in a toilet replacement today will pay dividends when it saves you from more expensive repairs down the line.

Another easy tell is age. An older toilet, even an older low flow toilet, will use much more water than a modern toilet. Your bathroom uses the most water of any room in the house, and your toilet is responsible for much of that. Switching to a newer, more efficient toilet will pay for itself in the long run.

More subtle signs can let you know when it’s time to make a change. Do you spend a lot of time on maintaining your toilet? Do you find yourself unclogging it every week, or needing to make multiple flushes after each use? Is it always running, making hissing and trickling noises, or leaking from the bottom? These are signs of worn out components. This might be as simple a fix as replacing the specific parts, but costs can quickly add up, and upgrading to a newer toilet might be your best option.

Creepy Crawling Creatures That Can Crawl Up Your Toilet!

For most of us, the thought of skittering creatures being anywhere near our bums is pure nightmare fuel. If you’ve spent time browsing the internet, chances are you’ve seen some terrifying pictures of toilets containing uncomfortably large spiders and other unwelcome hangers-on.

Plumbing

Unfortunately, it’s not all urban legends and internet memes. The following are a few examples of real pests that can actually show up in your toilet.

Drain Flies

One of the most common bathroom drain pests is the aptly-named “drain fly,” which reproduces in stagnant water. To get rid of them, clean the toilet thoroughly, snake out any grime, and swat any remaining adults.

Rats

There have been numerous examples of rats getting into sewer pipes and escaping through a toilet. Unbeknownst to many people, rats are excellent swimmers, capable of making their way up full drains rather quickly.

Frogs

As amphibians, frogs are naturally adept at swimming. Of course, toilet drains aren’t their ideal environment. According to the Tampa Bay Times, toilet frog sightings can be prevented by putting a mesh screen over the toilet vent and leaving nearby house lights off at night.

Snakes

Just as a plumber can snake a drain, a real snake can do it, too. So long as the snake is able to get into an open sewer and swim comfortably through the system, it’s entirely plausible (though rare) to find one sitting in the bowl.

Want to know more about how to prevent and deal with unexpected toilet critters? The experts at Met Plumbing can help! Call us at (281) 599-3336 to ask questions or make an appointment.

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.

Vinegar: The Magical Drain Cleaner

It’s not always feasible to call a plumber for a clogged drain, and although there are a variety of drain-cleaning products on the market, some chemicals can be harsh on your pipes. Fortunately, there’s a DIY option that most homeowners already have on hand: plain vinegar.

drain cleaner

Whether it’s a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or shower drain that’s giving you trouble, the acidic nature of vinegar—especially when combined with baking soda for a foaming reaction—packs a powerful punch. Not only can the baking soda and vinegar combination break down clogs, but according to Heinz spokesperson Michael Mullen, a 5% solution of vinegar can kill up to 99% of bacteria.1 This makes vinegar a natural deodorizer!

To clean a drain with vinegar and baking soda, try the following2:

  1. Pour approximately ¾ to 1 cup of baking soda into the drain. You may need to push some of the powder into the drain manually.
  2. Next, pour ½ cup of vinegar into the drain. To keep the reaction from foaming out of the drain, cover it immediately (a small plate is fine for this purpose).
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for one half hour (without using the sink).
  4. When finished, uncover the drain and turn on the hot water. The heat and pressure should help push everything through.
  5. Repeat as necessary for especially difficult clogs.

By keeping a bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda on hand, you can easily unclog, sanitize, and deodorize your drains on a regular basis without fear of damage.

Sources:

http://www.frugalfun.com/vinegar.html

http://tidymom.net/2011/unclog-drain-with-baking-soda/

MET Plumbing: Flushing Your Troubles Away for Over 20 Years!

Proudly serving Texas for over 20 years, MET Plumbing has become a respected leader in providing full-service plumbing for local residences and commercial businesses. We’re dedicated to providing top-notch service for the Houston metro area, including Katy, Cypress, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and the Spring areas.

Plumbing companies

Our plumbing services include:

  • Water Heaters Installation and Repairs
  • Toilet Repairs
  • Water and Gas Leaks
  • Bathroom Plumbing Repairs
  • Drain Cleaning
  • Kitchen Plumbing Repairs
  • Garbage Disposal Repairs

It all started with the vision of Mr. Marion Tucker, owner and operator of MET Plumbing. What began a small family-run business has evolved to become a fully-staffed operation with licensed plumbers who are true experts in the field.

No matter the problem, big or small, you can count on us to provide speedy repairs at a price you can afford. We assess drains, pipes, gas lines, sewage lines, and much more. Once an assessment is made, we use that knowledge to conduct repairs and replacements, as well as general maintenance and testing wherever necessary.

We also offer special discounts for new and existing customers! Take advantage of our current deals right now:

  • $25 Off Drain Cleaning
  • $25 Any Service Call
  • $150 Tankless Water Heater Installation

As we say goodbye to 2016, we would like to extend a big thank you to our loyal customers. We owe a large part of our success to you and pride ourselves on delivering quality service each and every time!

For plumbing installation and repairs in the Houston area, give MET Plumbing a call today at (281) 599-3336. Happy Holidays from the MET Plumbing Family!

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.