What Can Cause a Sink to Clog

Thankfully, a clog sink is relatively easy to deal with, but the cause of it can be triggered by many things. To avoid a clog in the future, here’s a list of what probably caused it in the first place. 

The most common things to a clog a sink are hair, food, soap scum, or grease. 

What Clogs a Bathroom Sink

If your bathroom sink is draining slowly, or not draining at all, the culprit is likely hair. It’s the perfect material to clog drains: it clumps, is stringy, and easily sticks to surfaces. Pipe walls often catch hair clumps as they travel down the drain, so the hair sticks and gathers more and more hair as time goes on. This is also what causes your shower or bath to slowly drain. 

All hair clogs drains: from men’s hair, to women’s hair, from thin hair to thick, and even pat hair — it’s all a culprit. To reduce the number of clogs in the future, try to catch the hair before it goes down the drain using a drain straining device, or pick up the hair manually instead of flushing it away with water. 

Soap Scum

Soap scum can clog any sink, but is particularly common in the bathroom and laundry room. Soap scum occurs when chemicals in the soap react with calcium and magnesium ions in water. It looks like a filmy substance that clings to the bottom of the sink and the walls of pipes. Overtime, it can cause clogs and build ups. Like hair, it catches itself and other falling materials, creating a clog over time.

 Soap scum can create particularly frustrating clogs because it’s sticky. It’s not easy to clean away with a pipe snake or professional tool, or chemical to dissolve it. 

Having a water softener helps tremendously with reducing soap scum build up. The filter cleans out the calcium and magnesium ions, making it harder for the chemical reaction with the soap to occur. Heavier chunks of soap may also catch in the p-trap, so having a drain strainer will help with that too. 

What Clogs a Kitchen Sink?

The biggest thing that stops up a kitchen sink is food. It seems obvious, but certain foods aren’t meant to go down the drain, especially if it’s larger chunks. Any food that’s washed down the drain can get trapped in the P- or J-trap in the pipe system. Overtime, anything that’s caught in the pipes will catch other things, thus causing the build up to grow. 

To remove them you’ll need to use a drain cleaner or plumbing snake, or a drain friendly cleaner. 

To avoid getting food stuck in the drain, avoid putting it down there in the first place or installing a garbage disposal. 

Grease 

Grease kills pipes and drains because it is notorious for causing clogs. Grease creates sticky sediment that acts as glue in your pipes. It catches and traps other things and they get stuck for a very long time. A garbage disposal can’t dissolve grease either, so there is little you can do without chemical cleaners, professional tools, or new pipes all together. 

To avoid these clogs, don’t pour grease, fat, or oils down the sink. They should always go in the garbage. If you do put fat down the drain, run the garbage disposal and use cold water to help chop the fat up and move it through your piping system. 

Damaged Pipes

All kinds of pipe damage can cause clogs. When pipes corrode, the rust built up on the inner pipe walls can constrict water flow. Dented pipes will constrict or completely block off water flow if they’re damaged significantly enough. Even pipe joints can wear out or come apart, which could cause pipes to sag and block water flow. If pipes aren’t securely fastened, they could shift over time until they become displaced or disconnected.

Pipe damage is difficult to avoid because all pipes get worn down over time. 

Need a Plumber? 

Some clogs are just too stubborn to get out on your own, or you may need new pipes. If that’s the case, call a reliable plumbing service. If you’re in Tucson, give Economy Plumbing Service a call. Their plumbers are experienced and can get into any space to repair your pipes or unclog a sink. 

Economy Plumbing Service trucks are fully stocked and ready to repair all kinds of plumbing leaks and issues. Water heaters, toilets, faucets, stems, or cartridges, and all makes and materials of piping and fittings.

They will always answer the phone to help. Contact them today

When to Replace a Toilet or a Sink

When it comes to a sink or a toilet, it’s not always obvious they need to be replaced. At Economy Plumbing Service, we often get calls to repair sinks and toilets. In many cases, a replacement would better suit the homeowners needs than a repair, but it is often hard to spot the difference between a need for a repair and a replacement. So we compiled a helpful guide to explain just that: when you should replace a toilet or a sink. 

When to Replace a Toilet

There are a few obvious signs that should get you thinking about a replacement toilet, such as cracked porcelain that leads to a leak, or deep scratches that you just can’t clean out. If you notice a pool of water, you should replace your toilet right away instead of trying to repair it. Call a plumber to get their advice on what is causing the leak and get their advice to take appropriate action before mold or water damage forms. 

Besides cracked porcelain, scratches that are becoming increasingly difficult to clean, a leak, or a broken exterior, there are a couple of obvious signs for when you should replace a toilet. 

It Frequently Clogs

Does your toilet require plunging more than once a week? Or does it need more than one flush most of the time? This indicates that your toilet is probably old, or there is something not working right within it. Both are signs that you should be looking for a replacement. 

While frequent clogging isn’t necessarily a sign of a broken toilet, it can be cumbersome to have to use a plunger on a regular basis. The problem may be solved by replacing the inner workings of the toilet, but this can be a challenging task for someone who isn’t trained. 

It Needs Too Many Repairs

As mentioned above, repairing a toilet isn’t the most straightforward — it can require replacing quite a few things in the tank, such as its handle, flapper, and fill valve. Some repairs are simple, like replacing the flushing mechanism or untangling the chain that connects the handle to the flapper. Others can be as complicated as sealing a crack, replacing piping underneath the toilet, or resealing it all together. 

If you find yourself repairing your toilet often, it’s probably time to replace the entire unit.  

To Save Water and Money

Older toilet models often use too much water and are not as efficient as newer models. If you do not have a low-flush toilet, it may be beneficial to replace your toilet to save money on your water bill. An efficient toilet uses less than 2 gallons of water per flush, while older models can use between 3-5 gallons. 

Think of it this way: you can use 15 gallons of water per day for 3 toilet flushes, or you can use 6 gallons for the same amount of flushes. This will not only save you money on your utility bill each month, but is better for the planet. 

When to Replace a Sink

Like toilets, sinks have quite a few working parts that shouldn’t need constant repair or replacement. It’s not always easy to notice when a replacement is needed, save for a leak, a broken faucet, or a large crack. 

The first thing you should be looking for in older sinks are leaks. If you hear dripping water, investigate immediately. It could be the sound of a broken sink. Leaks can cause extensive damage to your home if not found and repaired quickly. If you’re not sure where to look, start by searching for any visible wear and tear on the sink itself, the faucet, and the pipes underneath. 

Damage could range from a chipped basin to a crack forming up the side. No matter how big or small the damage could be, it’s important to assess it as quickly as possible.

You Are Constantly Repairing Your Sink

A general rule is that anything that consistently needs to be repaired should be replaced. If your sink isn’t able to retain any water or it’s clogged continuously, those are a telltale sign that your sink or the pipes underneath it will need to be replaced. 

If the repair isn’t a simple fix, call a plumber. They may be able to help patch the problem, or can install your new sink for you. 

Your Sink Is Outdated

There was an era where pink, blue, and yellow bathrooms were all the rage. If you’re not into that, or are looking to sell your home, you should probably modernize your bathroom, including the sink. The sink may still be functional, but if it’s not aesthetically pleasing, then you should swap it out with something you like. 

An outdated sink and faucet can also waste water and not be as efficient as newer models. 

If any of this sounds familiar, consider getting a replacement and calling a plumber to help install it for you. 

Why is PEX Plumbing Bad?

PEX tubing has become one of the most popular building materials out there, widely used in plumbing, we particular like PEX tubing use it to great effect. But as with anything that becomes popular there is going to be some hubbub about the potential negatives, and to be clear, that’s totally reasonable! Every material out there has pros and likely some cons. It’s why we know there’s an argument to be made about when to use PEX or when to go for copper. You may have heard that you should avoid PEX but without must behind it, leaving you wondering ‘Why is PEX plumbing bad?’ Let’s clear the air, address where those concerns are likely coming from and help you understand what the situation really is.

PEX Tubing

PEX has been around for decades as a cost-effective alternative to traditional copper piping, it’s resistant to acids, it’s easy to use and install, and it’s flexible by nature making it incredibly simple to run through a home without potentially leaky fittings. So what’s the problem?

Some folks worry there might be a safety issue. To be clear, there isn’t but read on to understand where that’s coming from.

PEX Safety Concerns

The concern over PEX safety is rooted in two things: plastics and a taste. 

The Plastic Issue

BPA is a chemical compound found in many plastics that we are more and more understanding has the potential to leak into water. There is a worry that perhaps PEX being some sort of plastic has the same problem. Here is the thing: PEX is free of BPA. Period. That particular chemical compound is not in PEX. Past that there is a bit more to discuss. Plastic as a material is more permeable than copper for instance, and if used improperly could fail, that’s totally possible.  But when it comes to the BPA safety issue as being the reason why PEX plumbing is bad, the argument just isn’t there.

The Taste Issue

Some homeowners with PEX tubing have said that their water seemed to taste funny. This is possible with certain kinds of PEX tubing (not what we use mind you) and if the water sits too long in the pipe. That potentially off-taste is not a safety hazard though, and will dissipate after a few uses or if you let the water run for a bit before filling your glass.

Understand PEX

We spent a whole blog on the stuff and we talked about it a ton elsewhere. Put briefly we find it to be an amazingly flexible, durable, adaptable, an all-around great pipe to work with. But there are pros for using copper in certain instances too! Where you’d rather have a rigid pipe connection for instance.

But as for those concerns, they’re mostly unfounded. PEX does not contain BPA, and there is no conclusive evidence that PEX leaches any sort of harmful chemicals into the water. Any concerns about the taste of the water can usually be rectified by simply letting the water run for a bit. But if you’re still concerned the best way to ease your mind is through communication and education. You can find out more about PEX piping safety from this Norwegian study performed in 2011, and if you want to speak with an expert give your local plumber a call.

Here at Economy Plumbing Services, we stand by our PEX as a quality and safe material for installations and repiping jobs. If you want to know more about our process and materials, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help ease any concerns. And if you decided that you’d rather go with traditional copper pipes, we got you covered.

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!

What is the Downside to a Tankless Water Heater? What About Positives?

Tankless water heaters are a hot new option for creating an energy-efficient home. Unlike traditional water heaters that continuously heat and reheat water as they store them in their tanks, keeping them always hot, tankless water heaters instead focus on warming just the water that’s being used. Sounds great right? It is if that’s all you’re after. But when it comes to installing a water heater system, it’s important to understand all facets of it. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re asking what is the downside to a tankless water heater, what are the benefits?

Tankless Water Heaters

As we started to discuss, tankless water heaters heat just the water that’s being used, rather than keeping an entire 55gallon tank warm and at the ready. It does this by using electric coils or high-powered gas burners to superheat the water instantly as it’s needed. At that moment the unit sure uses more power but because it’s only doing it once that used power isn’t lost while the water sits and cools waiting for reheating, meaning the tankless water heater will use less energy overall, making it more energy-efficient…in the right situation. Some units might in fact use more energy, it depends. So with that laid out let’s dive into the pros and cons of these systems.

The Upsides of Tankless Water Heaters

Instant Hot Water

On the most basic level, tankless water heaters deliver what you want – instant hot water. After the initial cold water is flushed of course, all without a storage tank filling up your basement, closet, or laundry room.

Longer Lifespan

A huge benefit to going with a tankless unit is that it’ll still be there for you years down the road! While a standard water heater can last a decade or more, a tankless one can live double that! Just stay on top of your regular maintenance and this investment will be paying off for a long time to come.

Lower Month-to-Month Costs and No Standby Loss

While these systems are expensive to install initially (more on that later) they are also leagues more energy efficient. Some consumer reports put them at being 22% more efficient than standard units. This means every month your bill will be lower and you’ll save potentially hundreds of dollars a year. The key way that tankless water heaters keep usage low is by eliminating standby loss. Traditional units reheat water repeatedly, using energy (and raising your bill) every time it does so. More often than not that water isn’t being warmed because it’s new and needs to be, but because the tank has sat for a bit and cooled down. Tankless systems don’t have to reheat anything.

Save Space

Tankless water heaters are much smaller than their traditional cousins and can be installed in inconspicuous places. If your home is smaller, that saved space will be huge!

Speaking of Smaller Homes…

In addition to the space-saving wonder, tankless water heaters are great if you don’t have a huge demand for hot water. If your household is made up of just two or even three people, these more efficient units will put out enough hot water without the need for a tank (and the standby loss that comes with it). 

Never Run Out of Hot Water

Perhaps the biggest pro of them all, you’ll never run out of hot water! Some people experience a loss of hot water, say after two or three really long showers in a row. This is because the tank is drained empty and needs time to refill and reheat.  Not so when it comes to tankless heaters! Since they don’t rely on a storage unit of reserved hot water, the tankless heater will keep pumping out equally hot water as it’s needed so those three showers are no issue (so long as they are taken one at a time of course).

Options Available

Tankless water heaters are often powered by natural gas, but electric models are also available. Depending on what your home is set up with in regards to electricity and gas, there’s a tankless water heater option for you. 

The Downsides of Tankless Water Heaters

Inconsistent Temperatures, Limited Water

One of the more common complaints about tankless water heaters is inconsistent heating. Some heaters don’t turn on when a faucet is only slightly opened meaning the hot water that comes out is never actually heated, making for seemingly ‘spotty’ heating performance. Another reason for it is that and it has to do with the ability for a heater to instantly heat and send water to multiple different fixtures or outlets at the same time.

That brings up their limited supply. Tankless water heaters can supply a steady stream of hot water as needed, but it won’t last forever. If one person is taking a shower, or doing the dishes it’ll do just fine. But if another person in the home jumps into the shower while another runs a load of laundry the tankless water heater will struggle to keep up.

These are downsides of usage really, so long as everything is done in a certain manner, for example, the faucet all the way opened when in use, only one person showering at a time, etc. you should be able to avoid this downside.

Higher Installation Cost and Potential Extra Equipment

No getting around this one, tankless water heaters cost more to install than traditional heaters. Just the way of it. For the time being. In addition to the higher cost of just the water heater, there is often more equipment needed to make sure the heater works as it should. A water softener is usually necessary for instance. Of course, all this extra equipment adds to the initial installation price tag.

One of the hidden costs that many don’t realize is the need to reroute gas lines (if it’s a gas water heater). Tankless water heaters require a non-traditional setup and a contractor might have to reroute lines or add venting to make sure it works safely.

Recouping That Price Tage Takes Time

While month-to-month water heating costs are cheaper with a tankless unit, it takes time for that savings to make up the cost of the initial installation. Depending on usage of course. Over time you’ll end up ahead but it can take a few years to get there. 

There are Other Options Out There

Tankless water heaters are not the only efficient option; solar water heating is a huge potential area, especially here in Arizona (thanks 350+ days of sunshine!) 

New Energy Star certified traditional storage water heaters are also available and these are energy efficient as well. If your goal is to be as energy-efficient as possible, it might make more sense to go with one of those for the time being. Chances are your home is already set up with the right gas lines and or electrical needed for it operate making it an easy purchase.

Changing Water Usage Habits

A tankless water heater is not the only way to make your home water use more efficient.  home’s water system more efficient. By changing your showering habits your family could lower your water use (and bill) drastically. Installing low-flow plumbing fixtures will save you more every day. And in Arizona, we know about water conservation – we rely on it!

So, What’ll It Be?

You know the positive and the negatives of this new energy-efficient appliance, which way you going to go with it? Need to talk to a professional? Give us a call and we’ll talk you through the models and options we have available and what will be the best option for you! 

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!

“Plumbing Herpetology” – The Study of the Plumbing Snake

Alright so we might have made up the term “plumbing herpetology” but it was too good to pass up. The plumbing snake is one of our key tools here at Economy Plumbing Services and it’s often the first thing people go to when they’re having clogged line troubles. “Can you snake it?” Might just be one of your most common questions. This time on the blog we want to tell you all about the plumbing snake, when we use it and when we’re best off going with something else. Knowing is, after all, half the battle!

The Plumber’s Snake, or Plumbing Snake

It has a few names, the plumber’s snake, plumbing snake, or drain snake, but they all refer to the same thing: a long, flexible drill-like device called an auger. The long and short of it is this, the snake is inserted into a drain line to handle serious clogs that just won’t budge with a plunger.

There are a few different varieties of snakes including hand augers, closet augers, or the suped-up drum auger. 

Hand auger

The hand auger style of plumbing snake is mostly useful when it comes to clearing sink and bathtub drains. It isn’t suitable for toilets because of it’s narrow size and the potential for damaging the porcelain. For those, you’d want a toilet auger.

hand auger or plumbing snakeToilet auger

The toilet auger (also known as a closet auger ((as in water closet))) feeds a relatively shorter auger through a hook-shaped length of metal tubing. It has a hook shape that makes it easier to maneuver into a toilet and has a plastic boot to it that will protect the porcelain. Since most toilet clogs occur in the trap built into the toilet itself, the short cable is usually enough to break up and remove the clog.

Drum augers

This heavy duty option is motorized and outfitted with blades, designed for all sorts of pipes. These are powerful enough to clear through tree roots that may have grown into the line and blocked off the flow. They can also just as easily damage or destroy plastic pipework like nobodies business, they are best left to professionals.

plumber using a drum augerAll of these work on the same principle so let’s get to that.

How the Snake Works

Every snake is made up of a length of wire that has a helix shaped component at the end. This helix has varying space in the coil, so that it can grab ahold and firmly lodge itself into whatever obstruction it finds. Essentially, a plumber will insert the snake (or auger) into the pipe or drain pushing it until the end of the snake comes into contact with the blockage. The snake is then manipulated and pressure applied to either break or clear the obstruction. Here’s the process step by step.

  1. Push the end of the snake into the drain opening and turn the handle on the drum that contains the coiled-up snake, pushing until you feel resistance.
  2. You may have to apply pressure, when cranking the handle to get it to bend around the tight curve in the trap under the sink for instance. After turning the curve, the snake usually slides through easily until you hit the clog.
  3. Rotate the snake against the blockage until you feel it feed freely into the pipe.
  4. The rotating action enables the tip of the snake to attach to the clog and spin it away or chop it up. If the clog is a solid object, the auger head entangles the object. If you don’t feel the auger breaking through and twisting getting easier, pull the auger out of the drain — you’ll likely pull the clog out with it.
  5. Run water full force for a few minutes to be sure that the drain is unclogged and clear of obstructions.

Sometimes, the clog flushes right down the drain no fuss at all. Others we’ll bring the snake out and with it the prize.

There you have it! Everything you need to know about a plumbing snake and when we use it. Want to know how you can clear a clog without having to call in an expert and their snake? We got you covered with this blog on just that. If you’re having any sort of plumbing problem, any at all, don’t hesitate to reach out! After all…

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

Maintaining Your Water Heater

Water heaters are a crucial part of the home plumbing system that many folks might not think about.  Water heaters, as you may have guessed, are the appliance responsible for heating up your water for your baths, showers, fixtures, and other appliances. That’s right, the water heater is tied into so many other critical systems in your home that you rely on it every day. And everyday use is bound to build up some heavy wear and tear. That’s why giving your water heater the proper maintenance it needs is crucial! This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog, tuning up your water heater!

Water Heater Maintenance and You

Real quick, let’s go over the four main types of water heaters. They can roughly be broken down into four categories: tank, tankless, hybrid, and point-of-use water heaters. The most common are tank and tankless, while hybrid heaters are build for energy efficiency. Point-of-use heaters are a perfect solution for fixtures or appliances that are a distance away from the main heater itself, supplying hot water, faster. Regardless of which of the four kinds of water heaters you have, good maintenance is essential

Why Regular Water Heater Maintenance is Important 

Regular maintenance is important for just about everything, from cars to computers so it should come as no surprise that even plumbing systems need regular looking after. Maintenance will increase the lifespan of your water heater, ensuring its long use and efficient performance for as long as possible. Not only that, but regular maintenance will also save you money on your utility bills! Nice!

Here’s what to look out for!

Increased Sediment Reduces Efficiency

Sediment is any natural material that ends up sitting at the bottom of a liquid. That’s the dictionary definition at least, for us that means any of the dirt or material that ends up building at the bottom of your tank. Sediment can be anything from dust, dirt, calcium, and other metals found in the water. This the worst enemy of your hot water heater tank. Sediment can cause all of the following: 

  • Corrosion
  • Decreased efficiency
  • Decreased water volume
  • Shorter life

Sediment shortens the lifespan of your water heater, making it work harder for less and burning itself out. Sediment builds up naturally, that part is totally normal but over time it will get to a point where it will severely damage your system. 

In a gas water heater, sediment can create hot spots that will cause damage. In an electric water heater, these minerals can cause the heating element to fail. Flushing and maintaining your water heater regularly will help.

Regularly flushing your hot water heater will get rid of any sediments that built up over time. The flush will empty out the tank of the current sediment build up, putting it in the perfect place to keep working as it should for another year or so. Flushing your water heater will save you money and help your system heat the water faster! It also allows your hot water heater to maintain full volume. 

Tips for Flushing Out Your Water Heater

You can flush out your water heater without the help of a professional, if you know where all the water valves are and have access to a drain. Once you know how it’s surprisingly simple and this is a job you should look at doing every six months to a year, depending on the quality of your local water lines.

Corrosion Causes Catastrophic Failure

Check for signs of corrosion at least once a year Corrosion is the gradual destruction of metal due to a chemical reaction to the environment. We’ve talked about it before, it’s the low level electrical current running through the soil and dirt that changes the chemical composition  of the lines, depending on their make. More simply, it’s rust. 

If you find rust on the outside of your tank or on your waterline, it’s definitely a cause for concern. Contact a professional immediately, we can decide if repairs can fix the problem or if you need a replacement. 

Ignoring the damage won’t make it go away! In fact, it could lead to the line or heater failing, leaking, pipes bursting, or flooding your home causing catastrophic damage. One way to know if there’s any rust in your plumbing is to look at your water. Rust can have a number of effects on the quality of your water,  including a metallic flavor and discoloration. Watch out! This can stain your sink, appliances, and skin. 

Check the Temperature Relief Valve 

The temperature relief valve protects your water heater from problems if the temperature or pressure inside your tank gets too high. It is basically the unit’s failsafe switch. If you notice that it seems damaged, or are worried that it’s not working properly, a professional can check it out to ensure it’s letting out pressure and keeping everything in check. Test the valve at least once a year to make sure it’s working as it should.

And of course…

Schedule Regular Inspections and Tune Ups

The best thing you can do to keep your water heater in order is to have regular inspections and repair work handled by professionals on a yearly basis. A qualified plumber like Economy Plumbing Service will check all wiring, plumbing connections, fixtures, and appliances for signs of corrosion to ensure everything is working like it should. If somethings wrong, we’re already on the scene to get it repaired or replaced in no time.

Worried your electric water heater isn’t working like it should? Unsure if you have a clog that needs help? Give Economy Plumbing Service a call and we can get you sorted in no time!

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

Galvanized Plumbing & You

Welcome back to the Economy Plumbing Service blog where we dish all the tips, info, and know-how you might need to handle your own plumbing problems and to better understand what it is plumbers like us can help with. The more you understand, the better we all can diagnose potential problems and get it sorted. So, without further ado, let’s talk about galvanized plumbing!

What is Galvanized Plumbing

Galvanized plumbing or piping means that the pipes used in your plumbing system are galvanized. Galvanizing is a process in which a protective zinc coating is added to steel or iron (for plumbing it’s typically iron) to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, in which the parts are submerged in a bath of molten hot zinc.

Galvanized pipes became popular in the early 20th century, before that all plumbing pipes were lead or a cast iron. 

Why Should I Be Concerned About Galvanized Plumbing?

Well, there’s a few reasons actually. For one, if you’re trying to sell your home you’re bound to find that the presence of galvanized piping detracts from the appraised value of the house. If you’re looking to purchase it will drive the cost of the home down and for good reason. 

Galvanized Plumbing Will Fail

The galvanization process was meant to make a better pipe, preventing rust but it doesn’t work quite like that. The pipes will rust from the inside out, first building up a layer of plaque on the inside of the pipe which will cut off water supply and mess with the water pressure. The plaque also will flake off into the water leading to rusty color or other visible impurities in the water.

The presence of an electrical current in the ground, nearby grids, or the natural electrical charge that exists (though imperceptible to us) also can cause chemical corrosion in the pipe. More importantly than any visible impurities is that these pipes can fail catastrophically and flood your home or cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of water damage.

That’s the big problem with these pipes for most Americans right now. In ideal conditions, galvanized pipes have a lifespan of about 70 years at the max. And around the country we have passed that or are fast approaching the end of the line. Thousands of homes, commercial properties, are sitting on piping that might as well be a ticking bomb.

What do I do about my galvanized plumbing?

That’s easy. You replace it. Since the end of WWII plumbers all around the world have been using newer materials for plumbing, replacing galvanized piping with copper or pex piping

Repiping a whole home is by no means an easy task for most homeowners, but for us in the bizz we’ve been doing it day in day out for years! That’s why Economy Plumbing Service can guarantee a 2 Day repiping for any house. We know what we’re doing, we know how to get it done right, and we know how to get it done fast! If you’re worried your home has galvanized pipes, or know it does and are ready to make the change before disaster strikes, give us a call!

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

How Does Plumbing Work?

Last time on the blog we dialed it back and talked about the basic plumber services available here at Economy Plumbing Service LLC. This time we’re going to stick in that angle of bigger picture discussion and answer a question many might have but feel a bit silly to ask: just how does plumbing work? Curious? Read more, we’ll give you a basic rundown of this wonderful system.

How Does Plumbing Work

Plumbing works on a few different laws of nature. Gravity, pressure, the natural movement of water. It leverages those forces to direct the water where we want it to go. Let’s simplify it even further.

Think of a giant hose. This is your city’s utility lines. The hose is turned on and water flows out the end. But lets say the end of it is blocked, like a spray nozzle is added to the hose. The water stops flowing but the hose stays full right? That’s because of water pressure. Now imagine a hundred small hoses all with faucets, all running from that giant hose. These are the plumbing systems in your neighborhood. With the water to the giant hose still turned on, those small hoses all fill up and are ready to be used! You open the faucet of the smaller hose and water comes out, pushed out from the small hose which is pushed out from the giant hose.

That’s all because of pressure. That pressure is built sometimes by gravity, by having water towers higher up, the water wants to shoot down, creating that pressure down the pipes and lines. Of course, pumps can also be used to move water where gravity and pressure alone don’t do that job.

 

The Two Plumbing Subsystems

Plumbing is made up of two different water systems. One to bring freshwater in, the other to take away wastewater.  The pressure we talked about is only present in the freshwater system. That’s what allows clean water to go up through walls, around corners, move upstairs and get wherever else you need it to. When the freshwater is used it then enters the drainage systems.

Drainage systems do not depend on the pressure as the freshwater (or supply) system does. Instead, wastewater leaves your home through drainage pipes that are angled downward, allowing gravity to get to work and pull the water (and waste) down with it! There are a few more pieces involved in drain lines to make sure everything works like it out to including traps, vents, and cleanouts. They help the wastewater flow correctly, as well as create seals with water to prevent gas or smells from developing.

 

Let’s lay it all out in a sort of step by step process.

  1. Water comes through the city utility supply lines via pressure.
  2. The water moves through the supply lines into your home pipes and fixtures.
  3. The water is used, flowing from the fixtures to fill sinks, basins, water heaters, etc.
  4. The used water drains down the sinks and drains into drain lines, running away from your home (thanks gravity!)
  5. The wastewater runs to treatment plants where it is processed and made somewhat usable again.

Where Does Our Clean Water Come From? 

The end of that step by step process might have made you a little scared. ‘The wastewater does what now?’ Don’t worry! Here in Tucson our clean water comes from groundwater, specifically two sources: local precipitation and the Colorado River. That water moves from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project canal, some 335 miles from Lake Havasu to just past Tuscon.

Alright, let’s wrap it up here. We hope this little bit has helped you understand how plumbing works.  Luckily for you, if you’re not a plumber you can say ‘Ah forget it!’ and give us experts a call whenever you need the help!

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

Plumber Services 101 – What We Offer

Turns out some folks think plumbers only handle toilets and drains. The truth however is that plumber services cover a range of different parts of your home. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re giving a brief rundown of the different work we do, plumber services for residential and commercial clients!

What Do Plumbing and Plumber Services Cover?

While we know it’s not the ‘best’ way to begin an essay in college, it’s worth mentioning here, the Merriam Webster’s definition of plumbing is a: the apparatus (such as pipes and fixtures) concerned in the distribution and use of water in a building b: an internal system that resembles plumbing, especially: one consisting of conduits or channels for conveying fluids.

Plumbing is the pipes and fixtures that move fluids about your home. That includes things like:

  • potable cold and hot tap water supply
  • plumbing drainage venting
  • sewage systems and septic systems with or without hot water heat recycling and graywater recovery and treatment systems
  • Rainwater, surface, and subsurface water drainage
  • fuel gas piping
  • hydronics, i.e. heating and cooling systems utilizing water to transport thermal energy, as in district heating systems, like for example the New York City steam system.

Plumbing Installation

Perhaps the biggest job of all is the initial installation of plumbing lines and features! Pipes from the city lines under your home and up through the walls to the fixtures they need to go.  If you ever expand your home, or renovate a space and need to run water to or from (or gas) you’ll need a plumber to install the plumbing!

Expert installation services include:

  • New toilets
  • Tubs
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • New outdoor hose bibs
  • Water heaters
  • New pipes

Plumbing Repair

The most common services we perform and the most self-explanatory. When something isn’t working right, we repair it.

Expert Plumbing Repair Services 

  • Pipe replacements
  • Repiping
  • Repairs for water heaters
  • Sewer lines
  • Drain cleaning
  • Clog removal

Leak Detection

Not all leaks are so easily spotted. If you suspect a leak hidden leak, it is crucial to get a licensed, trusted professional plumber out for leak detection and repair as soon as possible. There are some signs to look for to indicate you may have a hidden leak that needs immediate attention.

Signs You Have a Hidden Leak

  • Water meter readings change even when not using water
  • Increased water bill when water usage has not changed
  • Unusual plant or grass growth in the yard or lawn areas
  • Toilets that are continually running or dripping faucets
  • Running water sounds when nothing is in use
  • Spongy, soft, or discolored walls or ceilings
  • Musty odor from floors, walls near drains, or sewers
  • Cracked or unusually damp foundations or slabs
  • Sewer backup problems that become chronic
  • Visible mildew or excessive moisture under carpet

Water Heaters

Water heaters a critical piece of any plumbing system. They allow us to have hot water, on-demand, whether in our sinks, dishwashers, or morning showers. Your water heater is used every day (the average family of four uses about 65 gallons of hot water a day)! If it’s not working as efficiently as it should, your day to day comfort will immediately be impacted. Water heater services include repair, Same Day Replacement, and Installation.

Sewer Lines

Services that fall under this umbrella: 

  • Sewer lines 
  • Sewer line repairs
  • Cleanouts
  • Installations
  • New sewer connections
  • Repairs for collapsed pipes
  • Repairs and replacements for old cast iron pipes
  • Repairs for cracked pipes

Gas Lines

This you might not expect to find under plumber services but we absolutely do it! Repairing or installing gas lines is a crucial step in maintaining or building a home. From minor repairs to complete replacements of gas lines, the experts at Economy Plumbing Service LLC can fix it all and keep you and your family safe.

Repiping

Similar to plumbing installation, repiping is when we replace all the pipes in a home with new pipe. Whether it’s replacing old galvanized metal pipes with PEX piping, or other materials, repiping gives a home a whole new lease on their plumbing life.

The plumbing experts at Economy Plumbing Services come into the home and assess the current network of pipes. Thankfully, there is a standard way of doing things and this means most plumbing is laid out in a fairly straightforward way, no matter who works on the plumbing. After the assessment, EPS will go through the wall, attic, wherever necessary to run new pipes throughout the home. For us at Economy Plumbing Service LLC, we get these jobs done in two days 

No matter what plumber services you require, Economy Plumbing Service LLC is here to help!

If water goes through it or to it, we do it!

Summer Fun, Plumbing Problems

Summer is fully here! Aside from the intense heat, it also means schools are out, kids are home, and folks are getting up to all the fun activities summer has to offer! Believe or not, summer can cause some plumbing problems for you! So here are some considerations for you from the experts at Economy Plumbing Service LLC!

Summer Fun and the Plumbing Problems to Look For

Outdoor Activities Makes Plumbing Difficulties.

Okay, this one might be a bit of a struggle year-round here in Tucson thanks to our lovely weather!  Whether it’s heading out camping, going hiking, or taking trips to the beach, it’s a safe bet your home is going to have a lot more dirt and dust coming its way.

Washing up post-adventure is what to be aware of here! Your home’s drains weren’t designed with tons of mud, gravel, and grit in mind! Do your best to use a hose outside or knock loose any excess mud etc from your clothes before washing them and you’ll be doing your due diligence to prevent clogs or damaging your pipes.

Garbage Disposal Vigilance 

Your garbage disposal does some heavy-duty defense work for your drains year-round but some summertime favorites are especially difficult for it to handle! Fibrous foods should never go down the disposal as they can jam it something fierce. Doing a lot of grilling? Make sure no bones or fat find their way to your disposal. Bones will blunt and break the machinery inside and fat is a one-way ticket to clogs-ville.

Winter Coats = Summer Clogs 

Some pets shed heavily come the summer as they get rid of their bulkier winter coats. All this excess hair can get into your tub drain or washing machine and clog it up right quick. To avoid that, make sure you brush your pet plenty to get rid of their hair before it covers your clothes and finds its way into the wash. Wash your dog outside if at all possible to prevent any hair from finding it’s way to the drain – you should do this anyways, the amount of dirt and mud a dogs fur can hide is astonishing!

Include Plumbing Preparation in Your Summer Vacation Plans

Hoping to travel this summer? Make sure your home is ready for your extended absence! Check your appliances for any leaks, turn the water heater down to save energy (some even have a vacation setting!). If you’re going to be gone awhile consider turning off the water to your water heater and draining it entirely. 

With all that handled you should be ready to have a great summer! Does your plumbing need a bit of a professional touch before vacation? Already have clogs you need to handle? You give Economy Plumbing Service LLC a call and we’ll get you sorted. No job is too big for us to tackle! 

If water runs through it or to it, we do it!