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Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (135)

Five Garbage Disposal Tips

Most people don't think twice about what they put down their kitchen disposal. Depending on the horsepower rating of the unit, it may be able to handle tough jobs like bones. But most disposal used in the home are 1/4 to 1/2 horsepower units that can be damaged if care is not taken with the types of food waste put down the disposal. Keeping your disposal working properly is simple if you keep the following tips in mind.

Garbage Disposal Tips

1. Only put the proper kinds of waste into the disposal

These include:
  • Soft foods
  • Ice cubes
  • Some softer bones
  • Softer fruit pits
  • Citrus peels
  • Coffee grounds

2. Avoid putting these types of waste down your disposal

Fibrous material like:
  • corn husks
  • artichokes
  • celery stalks
  • onion peels
  • seafood with shells, like shrimp

3. Always run a full stream of cold water

Let the water run for another 30 seconds after you turn off the disposer. Don't use hot water while you're grinding waste, although it's fine to use hot water when the disposer is off.

4. Let the disposal run only as long as it takes to grind the waste

This is usually less than 30 seconds, but can take longer in some cases. Running the disposal without waste can cause premature wear and tear.

5. Avoid using chemical drain cleaners in a disposer


The chemical drain cleaning products found in most stores can damage your home's plumbing and can be extremely corrosive when in contact with metal plumbing fixtures. Chemical drain cleaners can also be dangerous to store and require safe handling. Don't take chances,  if your disposal is jammed or backed up, call a professional plumber to clear the drain line.
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 00:00

Preventing Water Leaks Around the Home

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While water leaks can add up to higher utility bills over time, they can also cause extensive damage to your home and furnishings. Undetected water leaks can cause mold to grow inside the walls of your home, causing health problems.
Here are some areas to check for water leaks around the home.

1. Washing Machine Hoses

One of the most damaging water leaks that can occur in the home is a burst washing machine hose. If the washing machine is on the main floor or upstairs the damage can be even more extensive. Check the hose connections to make sure they are tight. If the hoses are over 5 years old, or show signs of cracking or buckling, they should be replaced. Consider installing braided stainless steel hoses, which can withstand more pressure than rubber hoses.

2. Leaking Toilets

Leaking toilets are often the most overlooked leaks in the home because they are the least likely to be noticed. To test for leaks add a few drops of food coloring to a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet tank. Without flushing the toilet if the coloring appears in the bowl there is a leak.

3. Water Heater Leaks

Water heaters that a beyond their life expectancy (typically 8-10 years) are most susceptible to leaks. Rust and corrosion inside the tank will eventually cause water to start leaking. To keep your water heater working reliably and reduce the likelihood of corrosion, flush sediment from the hot water tank annually.

4. Outside Faucets

That slow, constant drip can add up to hundreds of wasted gallons of water every year. In addition, water dripping against the house can cause decay and create an inviting environment for pests like termites and ants.

Have plumbing questions? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.

Sewer & Drain Line Maintenance Tips

We don't often think about our drains and sewer line until there is a problem, but there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that your home's drains sewer line and are kept in good condition both from inside and outside of the pipe.

Sewer & Drain Maintenance Tips

Homeowners are responsible for keeping the sewer lateral, the pipe that connects to the municipal sewer main.

You can help keep your home's plumbing system flowing freely from the sink drain to the sewer main by following these simple tips:
  1. Keep cooking fats and grease out of your kitchen drain. Pour cooking oil and grease into a disposable container and place it in your freezer. Once it solidifies you can dispose of it in the trash.
  2. Don’t flush wet towels, wipes, diapers, q-tips or hygiene products down the toilet.
  3. Avoid planting trees and plants where the roots may spread near the sewer line. Root intrusion is one of the most common causes for sewer line damage.
  4. Have ABC periodically inspect your sewer line to check for and fix the little problems before they become major repairs. Video sewer line inspections can find problems like cracks, tree root intrusion and obstructions.
For all your sewer and drain needs, you can trust ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning to keep your system running smoothly.

3 Tips to Make Your Water Heater Last Longer and Work More Efficiently

Many people purchase a conventional tank water heater and simply forget about it until it stops working and it's time to replace it. However, with a few simple water heater maintenance steps you can increase the lifespan of the unit while also making it work more efficiently.

Water Heater Maintenance Tips

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. Draining the tank will remove the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank which will allow the burner to work more efficiently.

Check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your model of water heater.

2. Check the anode rod and replace it if needed

The anode rod hangs in the tank to help prevent its inside from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. Replacing a badly corroded rod is far cheaper than replacing the water heater.
Without a good anode rod, hot water will rapidly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its life.

3. Insulate the water heater tank

This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent.

Have questions about maintaining your water heater? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
Low Water Pressure

If your home's water pressure doesn't seem strong enough there are a number of possible causes. First, if the water pressure is only low in a few places, such as a shower head or faucet, it could be that the shower head or faucet aerator are clogged with mineral deposits. Soaking the fixture in vinegar overnight will dissolve the buildup and get the water flowing.

If low water pressure is a problem with all plumbing fixtures, inside and outside the home, consider the age of the home. If the home was build in the 1960 or 1970s it may have galvanized steel pipes. The galvanization was designed to prevent corrosion of the steel pipes. However, when the galvanization wears away, rust can build up over time. The result is reduced water pressure. To fix the problem, the pipes will need to be replaced. If the house was built in the 1980s or later, there is likely another issue with the plumbing. Check that the main water shut-off valve is fully open.

Perform a Water Pressure Test

Water pressure can be tested using a pressure gauge on an outside water spigot. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and normal water pressure is typically between 30 and 80 PSI. If the reading is less than 40 psi, the city may be delivering water at a low pressure. If the city can't boost the pressure, consider installing a water pressure booster system.

Have questions about water pressure in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help with all your plumbing needs.
If you have a tank-style gas or electric water heater you can extend the lifespan of the unit by regularly flushing the tank to remove sediment build-up that can reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of the unit. Sediment is caused by minerals in the water that accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank removed the buildup and helps the burner work more efficiently. It also reduces the likelihood that the bottom of the tank will develop corrosion and leaks.

Sarasota Water Heater Maintenance

How often you should flush the tank depends on a number of factors, including the size of the tank, the number of people in the household and how hard your water is. Here is a general guide for how often you should flush your tank.

1 or 2 person household - Inspect the water heater every 6 months and flush the tank every 12 months.

3 or 5 person household - Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 8 months.

6 or more person household: Inspect the water heater every 4 months and drain the tank every 6 months.

Need help maintaining your water heater? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help with all you home pluming maintenance needs.
While municipal water treatment is able to meet water quality standards, many homeowners are looking for safer, more effective solutions to guard against chlorine-resistant microorganisms like Giardia and Cryptosporidium which can cause serious health problems.

Southwest Florida UV Water Purification

One of the best solutions for removing biological contaminants from drinking water is UV water purification. A UV water purifier exposes water to ultraviolet rays, effectively deactivating harmful viruses, bacteria, molds and pathogenic disease-causing microorganisms.

Here are some of the advantages of UV water treatment.

Highly Effective & Reliable – Kills 99.99% of microorganisms.

Fast and Efficient – Provides instant purification without reducing water flow.

Environmentally Friendly – UV purification requires no chemicals and produces waste byproducts.

Low Maintenance - Only the UV lamp & sleeve need to be replaced annually.

Low Energy Use – UV bulbs use approximately 60 watts of power, roughly equivalent to the average light bulb.

No Wasted Water – Unlike other water treatment methods such as reverse osmosis, which require that the filtering membrane be occasionally flushed with water to maintain effective filtration, UV water filtration doesn't waste a drop of water.

FDA Approved – UV purification is one of only a few methods approved for disinfection by US Food & Drug Administration.

Have questions about UV water purification for your Southwest Florida home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help.

If you're hearing gurgling sounds after using your sink, shower or toilet, there are several possible causes. The most common cause of slow clearing drains is an obstruction caused by a build-up of grease or waste on the inside of the pipe. A thorough drain cleaning using a drain snake or water jetting can clear the residue from inside the pipe and get the water flowing again.

Vent Stack Obstructions

In order for wastewater to flow out of the home air must be able to fill the vacuum left behind by the escaping water. A vent pipe serves this purpose by extending from drainpipes out through the roof of the house. All plumbing fixtures must be connected to the main vent pipe through a re-vent pipe which that spans across to the main vent stack that exits through the roof. In some cases, usually with basement plumbing, the vent may exit out of a side wall if allowed by local building codes.

If you hear gurgling sounds when you flush a toilet or turn on a faucet the vent pipe may be obstructed and in need of clearing. For example, there could be a birds next obstructing the pipe, or it may have been damaged by a storm. It could also be a sign that the plumbing system is faulty needs a new vent line. Another symptom of an obstructed or insufficient venting is plumbing odors, as vent pipes also allow fumes to exit through the airway behind the draining water. In either case, ABC Southwest can inspect the vent pipes to ensure they are working properly.
Keeping your drains clean will not only help remove the buildup that can lead to clogged drains and sewer line problems, it can also reduce the unpleasant odors caused by food waste in kitchen drains.

Southwest Florida Drain Cleaning

If water starts to drain slowly, we recommend trying natural methods rather than store-bought chemical cleaners that can present a safety hazard and risk damaging metal finishes on plumbing fixtures.

First, try quickly pouring about two quarts of boiling hot water down the drain. Wait several minutes, then pour cold water to solidify the remaining grease. Repeat the process again with hot water rinse away the remaining congealed residue.

If odors are a problem, deodorize and clean drains with white vinegar. Heat 4-6 cups of vinegar until just simmering. Wait one minute. Pour 2-3 cups down the drain, rinse with cold water, then pour the remaining hot vinegar down the drain.

For stubborn drain residue, first, run hot water down the drain. Turn the water off. Add a cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, pour 2 cups of hot vinegar down the drain. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and scrub the residue from the drain. After a half hour flush the drain with hot water.

To keep garbage disposals clean and fresh, grind ice cubes occasionally to clean residue off the blades.

Hi-Tech Bathroom Features That Add Luxury and Convenience

Hi-Tech Bathroom Ideas

As technology makes its way further into our everyday lives, our homes are becoming more connected and hi-tech than ever. The bathroom is just the latest room in the home the take the leap into the future. Here are some of the tech features you can add to your bathroom.

Hi-Tech Showers

Set the perfect mood with LED lighting that changes color with the temperature of the water while rocking out with bluetooth shower heads and sleek, powerful speakers with high-fidelity sound. For a more entertaining shower, include a waterproof TV that's integrated into a mirror a sleek, futuristic look. Forget knobs and levers, today it’s digital LED controls that accurately control temperature, lights and music.

Luxury Toilets

Stylish toilets like the TOTO offer features like motion detection opening and closing lid, auto flush, heated seat, a self-cleaning the bowl, lighting, and more.

Bathroom Privacy Glass

Have a great view from your bathroom that you don't want to block with blinds or drapes when you need privacy? Consider privacy film can be cut to fit any window, and when plugged in it turns the glass transparent or opaque, using an app as the remote control.

Towel Warming Drawer

Keeping towels in a heated drawer not only makes the bathroom neater and more organized, it provides a toasty warm towel for those cool winter days.
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