How Plumbers Clear Backups!

Backups are perhaps the worst experience most folks will encounter when it comes to plumbing problems. When wastewater starts flowing up through the tubs, drains, and out of toilets – well you KNOW something is wrong. When this happens you’re dealing with a backup (the water is back flowing ‘up’ into your home).

 

How Plumbers Clear Backups

 

When you experience a backup the first thing to note is you need to call a plumber right away! Even if the water goes down and seems to ‘clear’ on its own, the next time you run a washing machine or shower it’s liable to flood right back up.  When you call a plumber out here’s how they’ll clear that backup problem.

 

Drain backup problems are caused by a clog down the line, the cause of that clog can be a few different things including a clog from things that shouldn’t have been flushed down the toilet to a problem in the sewer line pipe itself, or even intruding roots (you might be surprised how often that is the case).

Locate the Cleanouts

The first thing the plumber is going to do when they get to your home is to look for the cleanouts. A plumbing cleanout is an easy access point for a plumber to gain further access to your plumbing drain lines to clear clogs and debris. These are often a simple black pipe with a twist-off on top sticking up in the front yard. Plumbers can remove the cap and begin running their snake down the line.

 

If you can, make sure you know where your cleanouts are to save some time, and be a huge help in a tough situation, such as if the call is at night, or if your yard is a bit overgrown.

 

Run the Snake

We have talked about snaking pipes a ton on here. With the cleanout access, the plumber can start running the snake down the drain line to clear whatever the source of the clog is. The snake will be pushed down the line, then the snake, if it’s able, is twisted to spin and push through the blockage, breaking it apart. In some cases, this is all that needs to be done to clear the line!

 

Replace Sewer Lines

Sometimes backups are caused because of a break down in the sewer line. The pipe might be breached, or even collapsed. To diagnose this problem a plumber will find the clean out and run a camera line down the pipe. They’ll be able to find the clog (if its still in the line) and see what might be causing the problem. There might be ovaling in the pipe, suggesting that the material has failed, the ground has shifted around the pipe, or most likely, a tree is growing nearby and the root system has penetrated the pipes. 

 

Whateve the cause, if your sewer lines are damaged they need to be repaired or replaced so that the backup is cleared and doesn’t come right back. It’s often the most expensive option, but it will fix the issue – so long as the issue isn’t caused by flushing things down the drain that shouldn’t be!

 

If the drain line is damaged or old and breaking down, the other good news is you’ll be getting newer, better-made materials installed in their place. Longer-lasting durable pipes that are designed to keep working for years to come!

With the line replaced, your backup troubles should be completely taken care of! Hopefully you weren’t without water for long, that can be a headache all it’s own.

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!

What To Do When Your Sewer Backs Up

A sewer backup is probably the worst thing many folks will deal with when it comes to their plumbing. You’ll have wastewater overflowing into your tubs and floors, creating a serious headache when it comes to cleaning up, not to mention a serious health hazard! This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about sewer backups!

What is a Sewer Backup

Your home has two main lines for its plumbing, the supply line, and the drain line. The supply line brings fresh, clean water from the city into your home. The drain line is the line that takes all of the wastewater from your sinks, toilets, and drains and moves it to the city sewage lines. A sewer backup is when your sewer line doesn’t drain, and instead, the wastewater comes flowing back into your home, usually through the drains in tubs or under toilets if the seals on them are broken. This is caused because there is a serious blockage in the line.

 

What Causes a Sewer Backup

Causes You Can’t Control

The fact of the matter is, not everything is within your control. There are a few situations that can arise without your say so and you’ll just have to roll with it when these happen, unfortunately.

  • Flooding
  • Clog in the City Line
  • Soil Settlement

Causes You Can Control

  • Tree roots
  • Age of pipes
  • Pouring grease, oils, fats down drains
  • Poor design!

How to Spot a Sewer Backup Early

When your sewer line first starts to develop problems you’ll likely notice a few signs but you might be inclined to dismiss them as normal. But please, for your sake and ours take these signs seriously!

Slow Drains

The first sign of a problem is slow drains throughout the hose. If a single drain is slow, that points to a problem in that fixture, that can usually be cleared on your own using a hair remover, or a plunger (never a chemical cleaner!). But when the slow down seems to be hitting multiple drains, that’s a total sewer line problem.

Waste Backing Up

When wastewater from the toilet backs up into the tub or a washing machine pushes water out a toilet, you know things are a problem. A serious problem

Is it an Emergency?

Yes. If your sewer line is so backed up that waste water from your toilet is hitting other drains and sending filth and germ-filled matter into the floor of your bathroom – it’s an emergency and needs help fast. Make sure everyone stops using the plumbing in your home and place a call quick.

What to Do When The Sewer Backs Up

The first thing to do is make sure no more water is flowing to this waste line. If it’s from a faucet, turn the faucet off, close whatever valves you have or turn off the washing machine. If the water is getting close to an outlet or other electrical fixtures turn off the electricity to the area. If you know your breaker box and fuses well you can just shut those particulars off, otherwise turning off the electricity to the whole house will be a solution.

Now you can start to address the problem. You do not want to use chemical cleaners for this and there’s a few reasons for it. For one, clogs can be caused by physical things in the line that the cleaner might not break down. For two it can further eat away and damage the pipes. For three when they dont’ work and you call out a plumber to hep they could be injured by the chemical cleaner stuck in the pipe. So just don’t do it.

First, you can attempt to clear the clog by using a plunger to clear out the clog shaking it loose using the pressure. Another option is to use a snake to try and clear the clog, one that’s made for catching hair can be a great option to start clearing the line.

If the wastewater is still backing up, well, you need to call in the big guns and fast. Until a plumber comes out and fixes your drain you won’t be able to use any of the fixtures in your home. No showers, no tubs, no sinks, no toilets. Any time you do use one the water will get stuck in the drainage system and have to flow somewhere and when it does – it isn’t pretty. So call the plumber.

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Economy Plumbing Service LLC is family-owned and operated, has over 27 years of experience, and is licensed, bonded, and insured. But we wouldn’t be all those things without YOU.

When we started our operation in 90’s it was smaller, much smaller. With just a handful of tools equipment, the right people and the passion to do it right we started to offer Tucson and the surrounding era plumbing services they needed. Now, almost three decades later we’ve grown and we’re doing bigger and better jobs.

We couldn’t do what we do, and live our lives without YOU!

So as we sit down around the table this holiday, to share our thanks with our friends and family we’ll be sharing that we’re thankful for you – our customers, our clients, our community.

Thanks from all of us here at Economy Plumbing Services, and Happy Thanksgiving!

What to Look Out For This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a pretty special holiday when you think about it. It’s one of the few we have that isn’t about giving gifts to one another or celebrating a cause – it’s about thankfulness, realizing what we have to be grateful for as we continue our lives. It’s also more than a little bit about getting around that dinner table and enjoying an incredible meal together!

 

With all that gathering and cooking and eating, well they can do a number on your home’s plumbing! Here are some top tier plumbing pro tips to survive this Thanksgiving and avoid disaster!

 

Don’t Put Leftovers Down the Drain

Ok, here’s the biggest thing you can do to save yourself a plumbing heartache – don’t put leftovers down the drain! It might be tempting, but this is almost certainly a guaranteed way to clog it up. Throw those leftovers in the trash or a compost pile instead. While you’re cleaning up after cooking make sure you’re not pouring any fats or oils down the train – those will solidify in the pipes and cause you serious trouble. Instead take paper towels to mop up the grease from pots and pans and toss those in the trash, or use a jar to save and reuse the grease. But whatever you do, don’t put it down the drain!

Run That Garbage Disposal Right

The garbage disposal is a hell of a tool that we have ourselves these days but you need to use it correctly to get the best results. Start running your disposal before you put any food in, running water to let the drain fill with water. Then put the food waste into it. Allow the disposal to run and let the water to continuing running for a bit after turning the disposal off to make sure the waste doesn’t end up clogging the drain.

Use Drain Strainers

This is a tip you can start right now in all of your drains. Use sink and drain strainers to prevent any food from passing into the drain and clogging it! Keeps the water flowing while making sure nothing gets into the drain and clogs it. Use these in your bathrooms sinks and tubs as well to keep hair etc. from running down the drains and ruining your day! Remember, all of your waste lines, your sinks and drains and toilets, all run into one main sewer line away from your home.

 

Strainers are an ounce of prevention – which we all know is worth a pound of cure!

 

Wait Between Showers

Another common situation to arrive in the Thanksgiving holidays is hosting guests. If this is the case for you, make sure you are all spacing out showers enough – it’s not just about the hot water! Each shower washes dirt, grime, and hair down the drain. Waiting at least 10 minutes between showers allows your plumbing enough time to disperse all the water through the lines and into the city mainline. This is especially crucial if you didn’t take our earlier advice about using drain strainers!

Have Your Plumbing Checked Out Before Thanksgiving

There’s still time! Have a plumber come out and give your plumbing a look and assess the current state of things. You’ll be happier you did this than having to deal with a clogged line in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner! We said it before but we’ll say it again – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and getting a plumber to make the repair before it becomes an emergency is definitely the more cost effective option!

Need a plumber right now? Want to get a checkup done before the holiday hits? You know who to call!

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!

Everything You Need to Know About Toilet Installation

If you start seeing cracks or leaks from your toilet, or it uses too much water when flushing, then you should consider replacing it. You may call in the plumber or go the DIY route. If you want to DIY, it’s not an easy task and may take the whole day, but it would save you some cost. In this case, here are the steps to follow.

Before installing the toilet

Before installing the toilet, examine the bathroom to ensure it doesn’t have manufacturing defects that may prevent its results in leaks or cause it not to seal thoroughly. Sometimes, the inlet connecting the bowl to the tank or the bottom outlet may be deformed and cause problems.

Be sure to confirm the toilet measurements and check the installation instructions before you cut the hole into the floor to install the waste line for the toilet.

Installing the toilet

  • Ensure the toilet foot is flat. Otherwise, it has a higher tendency to rock and break the seal, leading to leakage and odors.
  • Confirm that the floor frame for the toilet installation is adequate. Your toilet should ideally be between two sets of joists set about 12 inches on-center, and the blocking is nailed on one side of the drain as reinforcement for the closet flange area. This will reduce movement at the fixture that can break the wax ring’s seal.
  • Locate the flange assembly and toilet waste pipe in the finished and rough floor to space the toilet reasonably. If the toilet waste connection is too close to the toilet wall, it may make replacement impossible without moving the waste pipe which is a lot of work.
  • Cut the hole in the subfloor to fit the waste line and make it a little larger than the drain. Also, it’s ideal for the toilet to sit on the finished flooring, so you don’t have a dirt-trapping joint with the finished floor abutting the fixture. Make sure that the waste pipe connection opening has proper sizing. The waste hole should typically have a diameter between 3 and 4 inches. The waste pipe cutout opening must have a small diameter to securely bolt the toilet’s mounting flange to the waste pipe.
  • Secure the closet flange to the subfloor after installing it using stainless steel or brass screws. If you have a vinyl floor, the flange can be on the subfloor directly but if it’s a tile, raise the flange to the tile’s height using the plywood spacer. You can ensure longevity by using brass closet nuts, bolts, and washers instead of plated steel often packed with the toilet. Then place the sealing wax ring of the toilet on the closet flange before setting the bowl in place.

Be sure to get your toilet mounting bolts ready before you set the toilet on the toilet flange.

  • Install the two mounting bolts of the toilet by sliding the heads in the toilet mounting flange. Then position the mounting bolts of the toilet properly opposite each other and in a parallel line to the wall behind the location of the toilet. If you set the wax ring on the flange, it will help to hold the toilet mounting bolts and make them upright. Some people may prefer to securely push the wax ring to the clean toilet bottom around the waist opening of the toilet. Then you stand straddling the toilet’s bowl and hold it over the waste pipe. You may or may not need a spotter to lower the toilet base or bowl down from on top of the waste opening.
  • After setting the toilet and pushing it down to the toilet flange, rotate the toilet slightly right and left one or two inches to seal the wax rings together. You can also seal a single wax ring between the upper surface and the underside or bottom of the waste pipe and toilet mounting flange.

With this approach, you’ll be able to provide plenty of wax and a thorough seal that minimizes the risks of future leaks from the toilet base. In addition, the toilet bolts are supposed to protrude up through the mounting holes at the toilet base.

  • Tighten the nuts gradually on the bolt of the closet, alternating between the two sides until it’s snug but make sure you don’t over tighten it.
  • Lastly, apply a silicone caulk bead to the front and sides of the toilet foot and leave the back unsealed. This will enable you to spot leaks before it develops into severe damage.

Conclusion

Doing your toilet installation by yourself can be stressful and may take a whole day, but it’s not impossible. You may as well save yourself the stress by calling a professional plumber.

Tankless Water Heaters and You

Tankless water heaters, also called instantaneous or demand-type, provide hot water when needed only. Unlike storage water heaters, it only provides hot water when you need it, so it prevents unnecessary energy losses.

A plumbing contractor understands the benefits of using tankless water heaters, such as energy efficiency, water-on-demand ability, longer life expectancy, etc. However, as a regular homeowner, you may not have the same information about this device. So you may not know whether or not the tankless water heater is beneficial and why you should buy one. That’s why we’re writing this article to keep you informed.

How the tankless water heaters work

These water heaters directly heat water without using a storage tank. When a user turns the hot water tap, cold water moves into the unit through a pipe, and the electric element or gas burner in the unit heats the water passing through it consistently. So it can provide hot water constantly without waiting for enough hot water to fill a storage tank. However, the output limit of the tankless water heater may limit the flow rate.

Tankless water heaters typically provide up to 7.6 – 15.2 liters (2-5 gallons) of hot water per minute. The gas-powered tankless water heaters have a higher flow rate than the electrically-powered ones. However, sometimes, even the most significant gas-fired models may not supply enough hot water for multiple households to use simultaneously. For instance, running the dishwasher and taking a shower simultaneously may stretch the device to its limit.

So if your home uses lots of hot water, you should consider installing more than one tankless water heater to cater to your burning water needs.

Benefits of tankless water heaters

  • Energy efficiency

The cost is the bottom line for many people, and tankless water heaters help reduce monthly electric bills because of their energy efficiency. You can quickly determine the amount of hot water your household needs daily and educate everyone about the energy efficiency of this device.

If you have a small family or use less than 41 gallons daily, these water heaters provide more efficiency by 24% and 34%. So it helps to save hundreds of dollars per year.

  • Extended life

The traditional storage water heater can last up to a decade – which is a very long time. However, the average tankless heaters have twice their life expectancy, so they can last up to two decades – which is a very, very long time. If you’re a homeowner staying put in your house for a long time, then you’ll value the importance of this life expectancy more than those planning to move on to another home.

  • Space-saving

Another aspect of tankless water heaters is that they’re space-saving, which is an extra selling point for many people. Storage water heaters have an average size of 60 x 24 inches and have its closet where it resides. However, a tankless water heater averages the size of some shoe boxes. This gives homeowners more space to store other things instead of storing hot water that they may not need in another 5-6 hours. This feature is a pretty interesting one for homeowners looking to maximize the space in their homes.

  • No waiting for hot water

These heaters are called instantaneous water heaters, too, because they provide hot water instantly. Unlike the storage heaters that take a while to heat the water in the storage tank, tankless water heaters heat the water as it passes through it and provide hot water immediately. This device will continue to heat water passing through it constantly and instantaneously as long as you leave the tap running. So they’re not only energy and space-efficient, but they’re also time-efficient.

  • Safer

A big concern for many families, especially those with young kids, is the safety of the device they’re buying. However, tankless water heaters are very safe, so they don’t have to worry about anything.

The traditional storage water heater may overheat, and in a few instances, may explode. However, tankless water heaters hold little to no water in them, which reduces the threat of explosion or overheating.

Also, if you use a storage heater and have experienced a water heater leak, you know how much damage you can get from a storage heater. However, leaking is unlikely in tankless units because of the minimal amount of water in them. And if the leaking happens, it’s unlikely to cause any significant damage.

Conclusion

Tankless water heaters have many benefits over the traditional storage heater, which makes them considerably better. If you’re considering a water heater, you should think twice before settling for the tankless option.

Drainage Systems

The drainage system in residential areas is essential as it helps to remove excess water. A sound drainage system takes water away from the driveways, roofs, and walkways to prevent flooding. It also helps prevent structural damage of buildings due to water buildup and prevents mold, mildew, and rotting.

Ensuring that water runoff is properly corralled and dispersed is crucial because water is needed for many things, such as watering the vegetation. However, you don’t want to drown them either. That’s why this excess water needs to be channeled appropriately.

Additionally, the collected water can also replenish the fresh water supply in the environment. Water becomes contaminated by sitting on a surface for too long, but you can prevent this by passing and dispersing the water through a correctly set drainage system.

Types of Drainage System

There are different types or classes of drainage systems. You must be able to comprehend each one correctly, understand the role of each one and how they can be combined to work together.

There are four basic types of drainage systems are:

  • Surface drainage system
  • Subsurface drainage system
  • Slope drainage system
  • Downspouts and gutter drainage system

In this article, we’ll be explaining the four basic types briefly to give you more understanding.

Surface Drainage System

The surface drainage system helps to remove excess water from the earth’s surface through ditches and channels. In many cases, the land surface is graded or shaped such that it creates a downward slope towards the channel. This drainage system consists of shallow ditches dug parallel to each other and act as canals or passageways for water running off on the ground surface. These ditches primarily guide the water to the main drain to avoid flooding or water pooling.

There are also different types of surface drainage systems:

  • Humps and hollows
  • Grassed waterways
  • Levees
  • Open drains

An excellent example of what a surface drainage system looks like is a cast-in-place trench drain.

Subsurface Drainage System

A subsurface drainage system is implemented under the top layer of the soil, hence the name subsurface. It is also sometimes called the French drain. This drainage system works at the root level to take off excess water. To create the subsurface drainage system, you have to dig ditches first, then install the pipes to drain the water at the subsurface level. It also involves the installation of a large collector drain that collects the water as it flows out of the pipe.

There are different subsurface solution options, so you need to be careful about the one you’re choosing. Your choice has to be based on the location of the drain and other things you would need.

Slope Drainage System

The slope drainage system is built to allow water to flow in a downward slope direction from a structure. This system is built using pipes that are set in the direction of the downward slope. The pipe is installed in a way that is anchored towards an incline to guide the water down the pipe and take it away from the building.

Downspouts and Gutter Systems

The downspout and gutter system is the first defense of a structure or building against the over-saturation from stormwater. This water is often drained into a buried drain pipe, a rain barrel, an aluminum extension, or other available solutions. This is done to carry the water away and route it to another drainage system on the sidewalk or the street. They may also be connected to a sewer line underground, sometimes using underground drains or gutter drains.

The downspout system typically takes water from the gutter and diverts it to the ground. It is mainly connected to the gutter system for buildings, takes water from the roof of the building to the ground, and empties the water into a slope to prevent it from pooling at the downspout base.

Drainage systems play an essential role in preserving and conserving water in ways that many people rarely understand or talk about. To perfectly understand the different drainage systems and their usage, you may need to look at them individually. However, you may also find that multiple types of drainage systems also work together to remove water and guide it into a more appropriate place. Therefore, seeing how they combine may aid your understanding of the individual drainage system.

Water must be moved from a structure or building or from an area that has become water-logged or formed a pool. The earlier this water is moved, the better for everyone that is involved.

How to Find a Plumber

A pipe busts and all the sudden your floor is flooded. Now you need to get this fixed and fast!

Finding reputable, trustworthy help can be difficult, doubly so when it needs to happen quick, we get that. Who can you trust to come into your home and get the job done right at the right cost?

How to Find a Plumber You Can Trust

If it helps you can break down plumbers into two groups: a plumber who handles basic repairs and a plumber who specializes in full on remodeling, construction, and addition projects. We’re just going to look at the everyday plumber for now, as this is the help you’re most likely going to need.

The Everyday Plumber

For just about everything you might need under the sun – the everyday plumber is the guy for you. They handle drips, drains, clogs, leaks, new appliance installs, and anything else you can imagine.

If you can, hire a plumber for a smaller nonemergency job before disaster strikes so you can A) get a good feel for them and B) have ‘a guy’ ready to help when emergencies crop up.

To find and select a plumber, look for proof of license, as just about every state requires plumbers to be licensed to perform the work. These will have a number that you can call to verify that yes the license is real and current and there aren’t any ongoing complaints against the license holder. Look for them to be insured as well.

Often the best way to find a plumber, and any other sort of service, is to look for reviews and ask around. Friends and family can give you their recommendations, neighbors can also point you in the direction of someone who definitely works in your nieghborhood. A surprising resource is real estate agents! Real estate agents have to have plumbers on speed dial to get issues fixed before a sale goes through, so any real estate agent in your life might be a serious resource in this pursuit.

Are you in the Tucson area and searching for your ‘Guys’? Economy Plumbing Service is here.

We have a 4.8 Star rating on Google from over 50 Tucson locals, and we’ve been proudly serving the Tucson area for years. Here’s just one recent review from customer G. K. !

“The guys showed up on time, looked at a tough job and got busy! My old water heater was really hard to get to but they got the whole job done, heater replaced and out the door in just about 3 hours. The price for the work was very fair. I will definitely use this service again when I need a plumber. Top marks”

No matter the job, big or small, we’re here to help!

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!

Water Heater Installation – What it Takes

Water heater installations seem like a big job at first glance, after all that water heater is a pretty big appliance and it’s connected to just about every other water fixture and appliance in your home. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we’re going to run through what it takes for water heater installation and what you can expect from your plumber doing the job!

The 4 Steps of Water Heater Installation

The Call

The first step is the initial call, when the customer gives the plumber a ring and the process begins. This will lead to a consultation which might happen in person or just over the phone depending. During the consult your plumber will consider the placement of your unit, the available space, budget, and your household’s water use.

The more info you can provide your plumber the better, including:

  • Size of current water heater 
  • Where it’s located 
  • If the heater is gas or electric
  • If it’s a tank or tankless unit

The call will end with an appointment being scheduled. With this info in hand your plumber can adequately plan and prep the installation.

The Prep

While the plumbers are finishing their preparation there are a few things you can do to prepare for the appointment yourself! First, ask your plumber if they’d like to have photos of the area. If so,  take photos of the area where the new water heater is going to be installed. A visual reference point like these photos can help make sure the installation goes smoothly. Make sure you capture:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Vents
  • Connections
  • Surrounding area

With the photos squared away you can then move on to the next and maybe most important bit – cleaning up the area where the water heater installation is taking place.

Make sure to remove any clutter or debris from the area (you should keep your water heater and surrounding area clear in general). Make sure there’s a clear path from the entrance to the work area so your plumber can safely and easily bring the water heater into your home.

The Appointment

Here is what you can expect the day of your appointment. Your plumber will call you when they are on the way, giving you a heads up that the process is about to start. When the plumber arrives they’ll confirm that everything discussed in the call and prep stage are accurate. Then they’ll get to work!

The actual installation process should only take a few hours, but there is the is always the potential for some unknown factor that couldn’t have been accounted for cropping up. Also, depending on what sort of water heater installation this job is (tank water heater to tank water heater, tank to tankless, or tankless to tankless) the time will vary.

Tank to Tank

Replacing a water heater with a similar model can be done in a couple of hours, typically. The tank is first drained, taking up to an hour, then disconnected and removed. Getting the new unit in place might take a half hour or so then another hour to secure all the connections, make sure it works and – of course-  it is up to code.

Tank to Tankless 

If you’re changing over from a water heater with a tank to a tankless option, it takes a bit longer as new lines for power and water as well as air vents are typically required before the unit can be mounted and connected.

Tankless to Tankless 

This is an easy swap  as, like tank-to-tank, the connections and proper lines should all be there ready to go!

The Wrap Up

After the water heater installation is complete it’s time for the old unit to be removed. Your plumber will take care of all that and you just have to worry about enjoy your next hot shower!

Ready to get your new water heater installed? Look no further! 

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!