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!

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.

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!

Winter Plumbing Prep!

Here’s the thing, in the night in Tucson we can still dip below freezing temps, so having some idea what your pipes need for the season is a good one! Plus, not all of our audience is local to the area, or if you’re snowbird prepping your home in the midwest for the trip down to Tucson this winter – this blog’s for you! This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we’re talking winter plumbing prep! Here are a few steps to take to keep your plumbing and pipes working come the spring!

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate!

Insulate Pipes

The number one thing you can do to keep your pipes safe during the cold months? Insulate them! If you have any plumbing that runs through an unheated area like an attic, garage, or crawl space. 

Insulate The Garage Door

While you’re in the garage take note. How many water lines do you have running through there? If there’s a few, insulating the garage door (if not the entire garage) might be the way to go to keep things warmer and prevent freezing over.

Turn Off Outdoor Faucets

Chances are you’re not going to be out using your faucets during the winter so shut them off using their shutoff valves. Drain any water out of the pipe, otherwise the water stuck inside could still freeze over and crack the pipe.

Disconnect and Store Hoses/Bibs

While we’re at it with the outside faucets, take a look at the hoses you have. Any hose with water left filling it up is just asking for a frozen and broken pipe. Disconnect the hose, empty it out and store it for the winter. Then cover the hose bibs with an insulated cover (these are cheap too, just a couple of dollars at most places).

Seal Around Rim Joists

Arizona readers skip ahead, chances are you don’t have any rim joists to worry about. Rim joists are the most common spots for cold air to push through into your home or walls. Seal these cracks or holes using a simple expandable foam, then insulate between the floor joists. Just make sure you don’t insulate the pipe from the heat that’s in the home, that can cause more problems than you’d like! Look around the for holes where pipes, wires, or cables pass through the exterior wall and insulate where able either with expandable foam or caulk.

Heading South For the Winter? Shut off the Water!

Heading to visit family in the Grand Canyon State? Make sure if you’re leaving town for even just a few days, to turn off the water at the main shutoff. This way, if disaster does strike and your pipes freeze and crack they’ll do way less damage. 

Prep Against A Snap

No, we’re not talking about Thanos here! We’re talking about cold snaps. These depend on location for sure, as a quick dip below 32 degrees isn’t much of a concern in Maine, but in Arizona? Yeah might be something to look at!

Come spring your pipes will thank you for all your help, and if something did break down, well you know who to call!

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

How Much Does a Plumber Cost?

So you need a new garbage disposal. You call out a local plumber, they take a look, and luckily they have the unit you need on the truck! He comes back inside and after about 20 minutes under the sink and they’re out the door.

“Excellent, that’ll be $400 for the repair/replacement.”

“How much does a plumber cost? $400 for 20 minutes?!” you think.

There’s more to it than you realize! This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog we’re going to look at answering that question and why an experienced, skilled plumber is worth every red cent!

How Much Does a Plumber Cost

Without diving into specific dollar amounts, when you hire a plumber to do a replacement, repair or fix on your home’s plumbing you’re paying for a few things:

  • The parts
  • The labor
  • The experience of the plumber

All three of those are necessary! You can pay for the part, but then who is doing the necessary repairs? Ok, what if you hire a plumber, or somebody off craiglist who has the parts and the time? Sure it’ll come in cheaper but there’s no guarantee the job will be done right. You might end up with a new disposal installed, with pipes and hoses mismatched or the job incomplete, just begging for disaster.

No, the key to all of this is that when you’re hiring a plumber you’re getting all three of those things for one price tag. 

Plumbing, like gas or electric, is a utility for your home that you absolutely don’t want to mess up. An incorrectly installed pipe or fixture can lead to flooding and thousands of dollars worth of damages, and potentially harm to the inhabitants of the home.

So, how much does a plumber cost? Not even half of what they are worth.

If you look at it as a purely numbers game, the money that having a plumbing repair done correctly can save you in the long run as compared to an amateur or DIY job is clear. 

Ready to hire an experienced plumber who can get the job done, get the job done quick, and get the job done right?

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

Plumbing Fixtures Lifespans – Key Facts to Know For Better Performance!

Last time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog we talked about how to identify and hopefully repair a leaky garbage disposal. And that got us thinking! This time on the blog we’re going to give a rundown of all the plumbing fixtures in your home and some basic facts about them. If you’ve wondered how long your toilet is likely to last, or when to replace shower heads – this blog is for you!

Plumbing Fixture Lifespans and You 

First a quick definition, just like school used to teach us. A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to a plumbing system to deliver and drain water. Thanks Wikipedia! Now on with the show.

Bathtubs

You know a bathtub is! These are in most homes, some even have two! They are made up of thermoformed acrylic, porcelain-enameled steel, fiberglass-reinforced polyester, or porcelain-enameled cast iron.

Expected Lifespan: Depends entirely on the material! Acrylic tubs are likely to get you 10-15 years of good use out of them.

Hose Bibb

The hose bibb is the fixture outside of the home that allows you to connect a hose to. 

Expected Lifespans: A hose bibb should last you 15 to 25 years easy – but there are certain complications that could decrease it. Heavy use, inclement weather or having a winter freeze can all cut years off them.

Sinks

Kitchen or otherwise. Sinks are also called washbowl, hand basin, wash basin, and simply basin. Used for washing hands, doing dishes and other purposes. They have taps that supply cold and hot water, may include additional faucet attachments as well. Sinks can be made out of all sorts of materials including: Ceramic, Concrete, Copper, Enamel over steel or cast iron, Glass,  Granite, Marble, Nickel, Plastic, Polyester, Porcelain, Resin,  washbasin, Soapstone, Stainless steel, Stone, Terrazzo, Wood.

Expected Lifespan: Again, this is largely dependent on the type of material used in making the sink. If it’s made from an acrylic, expect it to give you a good 50 years of use. Copper, glass, stone, or porcelain might last a bit longer than 20 years. 

Showers

Showers feature a few common components. A drain in the floor, a showerhead and/or adjustable nozzle. Showers are most commonly made using the same materials as bathtubs (many in fact combine the two) such as fiberglass, acrylic, PVC, solid surface materials, steel and cast iron.

Expected Lifespan:  Showers made of tile can last a good 20 years but they’ll need regular (yearly) maintenance. Showers made of prefabricated acrylic or fiberglass can stil get you plenty of life at about a decade with less upkeep. 

Pipes

The means by which water gets from the supplies to the fixtures and from the fixtures to the sewer and drain lines. We’ve talked a ton about pipes in the past. In fact, we’ll just include a link to those pieces here and here. Pipes can be made out of a few different materials including copper, PVC, pex, and others.

Expected Lifespan: Copper pipes can last up to 70 years, galvanized steel pipes even longer! Pex tubing and piping in your home has a life expectancy of about 50 years – thankfully they’re incredibly easy to replace!

Those lifespans might seem like so long you have nothing to worry about but just think when your home was built, and when those pipes were install… right?

Tapware  

Tapware is an industry term for plumbing fixtures consisting of faucets or tap valves (or taps for Brits!) and their accessories, such as water spouts and shower heads. Tapware can be made of all sorts  Plastic, Zinc and zinc alloys, stainless steel, brass are common options.

Expected Lifespan: Tapware is handled constantly and because of this heavy usage it is more likely to need repair or replacement before it’s run its natural lifespan (based on materials), otherwise you can expect a good 10 years.

Flush Toilets

We really don’t need to describe these do we? Toilets are likely to be made up of ceramic, concrete, and plastic.

Expected Lifespan: The toilet can last 50 years easy – but that’s not without upkeep! You’ll need to replace flappers, seals, and other components that have a shorter lifespan than the solid construction of the toilet itself.

 

This has been just a brief rundown on some of the more common plumbing fixtures (there are plenty more!) and their expected lifespans. With proper maintenance and upkeep you can get many years out of most fixtures – so make sure you stay on top of it!

Not sure if your fixtures need some TLC? Call in a local experienced plumber to get your sorted out! 

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

Leaky Garbage Disposal? Here’s What to Know

Garbage disposals are one of those work horse plumbing fixtures in the home. We put them through absolute hell and back – after all, it’s a motor with a shredder attached to it it’s meant to handle it! But what happens when you see a puddle of water flowing from under your sink, bust open the cabinets and discover water dripping from the bottom of your garbage disposal?

Let’s talk about it!

Leaky Garbage Disposal

Leaking garbage disposals can often go unnoticed and unattended until you have that sopping wet cabinet or a foul smell from under the sink gets you to take a look. Regardless, you’ve spotted it, so now what? There’s a couple possibilities, depending on where the leak is so first things first, you need to discover where the leak is actually coming from!

How to Find the Leak

First unplug the disposal from the wall outlet. Now is not the time to get yourself electrocuted! Turn off the power from the break box as well to further make things safe. Then, put the stopper in your sink drain and dry off the disposal unit.  Then fill a cup or bowl with some water and put some handy food coloring into it. Then, pour the freshly colored water into the stopped drain.

Grab a flashlight and take a look under the sink! There are three likely spots for a leaky garbage disposal: the top, the side, or the bottom. Ok that’s sounds a bit simple but it’s the truth those are going to be the three likely weak points.

The Top

This is where the disposal meets the sink drain.

The Side

This is where the main drain pipe or dishwasher hose connect to the disposal.

The Bottom

The bottom of the unit. There should be know pipes or connections here, which makes potential leaks  that much worse.

Use a flashlight and look for any colored water. Leaks in the top of the disposal, where it connects to the drain are possible while the drain is still stopped. If you’re not seeing any from the top of the disposal then continue your way down and open up the stopper. Look again. Leaks coming from the side or bottom of the disposal might need more water to be going down the drain.

How to Fix the Leaky Disposal

Top Leaks

If the leak is at the top of the garbage disposal, its simple! Reseal the connection, tighten the flange and you’re in business. The Flange is the metal portion that sits inside the sink drain. It is usually sealed with a type of plumber putty and secured with bolts. If either of those connections loosen or the putty deteriorates (which is totally possible over time) the seal won’t be watertight anymore and allows for leaks.

To reseal this connection you need to first loosen up the bolts securing the disposal to the sink and drain pipes. Then loosen the screws in the mounting ring that connects the disposal to the mounting assembly beneath the sink. With it loosened up you should be able to remove the disposal entirely, set it down on a dry surface. 

Then lift the flange from the top of the sink. Take a putty knife and scrape off the old putty that has broken down and clear it away. With a fresh working surface you can reapply a new layer of putty that should do the trick. Take a handful of the putty, roll it into a rope and place it along the edge of the flange. Place the flange back into the drain until it’s tight. Go back and reinstall all the mounting hardware and pipes and after some time the putty should dry and seal everything right up – leak be-gone!

Side Leaks

If the leak is coming from the side of the disposal, you want to tighten the connections between the disposal and the drain lines, and potentially replace worn out gaskets.

There’s typically two drain lines that come of the side of garbage disposal. One that goes to a nearby dishwasher (the dishwasher hose) and th main drain pipe that connects the disposal to the sewer. Which of these two places is the leak coming from?

If it’s coming from the connection where the dishwasher hose meets the disposal, it may mean the clamp connecting them has loosened. Use a screwdriver to tighten and you should be in business.

If the leak is coming from the main drain pipe, loosen the screws that secure the drain and take a look at the rubber gasket inside the pipe. If it needs replacement, replace it and retighten your screws.

Bottom Leaks

Bad news, if the leak is coming from the bottom of the disposal (such as from the reset button), you are going to need to replace the whole disposal. These leaks indicate that one of the seals inside the disposal that protects the motor from water has deteriorated enough that water is now getting through and damaging the inner components. There’s no easy fix here, you just need a new unit!

Do you need a new garbage disposal? Need a professional to come out and diagnose the leaks! Economy Plumbing Service is here to help! Give us a call today and we’ll be out in no time to get you and your disposal back in action!

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