The Importance of Gas Pressure

Gas pressure might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to plumbing. For one, most people don’t realize that plumbers are frequently But, like so many other facets of plumbing, it’s these un-thought of things that are crucial to the proper operation of your home’s systems. Without delaying any further, let’s talk about why gas pressure is so important.

The Importance of Gas Pressure

Natural gas fuels many homes furnaces, water heaters, ovens, or other fixtures. This gas, made predominantly of methane, is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. Gas companies add in a specific odorant, which most people describe as rotten eggs, to help identify a gas leak fast before disaster strikes.

Now, why is pressure important? Gas is delivered to your home via a pipeline, and the gas moves through it thanks to the power of pressure! There are compressor stations along the pipeline that exert pressure on the line to keep the gas moving from the high pressure areas to the lower pressure places (that’s how pressure works). The gas moves from the pipeline to your local gas-supply grid. Here the pressure changes into a few different paths, moving to high, medium, or low pressure lines throughout the distribution system. When gas enters your home it’s at a rate of about ¼ psi – 60 psi. There’s a range and it depends on the home/business the gas is serving. The building will have a round regulator next to the gas meter to well, regulate, the pressure of the gas coming into the building. 

Regulators, as you might imagine are quite important as well! These are designed to completely shut off the flow of gas into the home when gas isn’t in use. The regulator is able to allow more, or less, gas into the home as well to meet the specific demand, whether it’s just an oven or if the water heater and furnace need it as well.

Once inside the home, each of the specific fixtures/appliances that use gas have different constructions, nozzles, pipes, etc to ensure that they get the proper amount of gas at the proper pressure.

Now here’s the big nugget, here’s why gas pressure is so crucial.

If the gas pressure is too high, the gas will flow too fast. Gas flows too fast and the risk of fire increases drastically. Look at it like this, If too much gas flows into the furnace for instance, the furnace will generate more heat than it is designed to handle. Your furnace’s fan and exhaust won’t be able to handle the excess heat and soon it will overheat. The same is true of other appliances! They’re designed to work with a specific amount of gas, if the pressure is too high they’ll get too much gas and they won’t be able to function correctly. Things overheat and break down and the risk for trouble rises.

That’s why your home has a regulator, to prevent the pressure from being too high – but if this should malfunction you have to keep your eye out and have regular inspections and maintenance of your home’s various systems.

Is your gas systems up to snuff or working fine? Do you even know? It might be time to have a licensed plumber come out, perform an inspection and ensure you home’s gas systems are as safe as can be! If you’re in the Tucson area, give Economy Plumbing Service a call!

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It (and Also Gas!)

Gas Line FAQ!

This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog we’re looking at some of the more common questions we hear when it comes to gas lines. A lot of people might be confused that plumbers also handle gas lines in the first place, after all isn’t plumbing just water? The truth is there is a lot of overlap in skills. After all, when you think about it, both utilities are just pipes pumping something into your home, whether it’s a gas (like gas) or a liquid (like water). Anyways here are some quick answers to your potential quesitons!

How to Install Gas Lines

You hire a plumber! No, seriously! Installing gas lines is not something you want to poke around with if you aren’t specifically trained. Gas can be dangerous and if you’re Googling “How to install gas lines” well you shouldn’t be trying to DIY it.

Now, for professionals, the way we install a new gas line, to a stove for instance, goes like this:

  1. Have the right materials, the right size pipes for the job.
  2. Turn off the gas before doing anything.
  3. Use fittings, pipes, and valves to extend existing pipes to reach the appliance. 
  4. Use flexible piping where possible.
  5. Test the air tightness of the line to ensure a proper fit and safe use.
  6. Once the safety is ensured, go ahead and turn the gas back on to test the flow of gas.

How to Pressure Test a Gas Line

Pressure tests are conducted by licensed experts to ensure the right amount of gas is getting into your home and to your fixtures. If the pressure is too high, you may have too much gas pumping into the fixture and create a serious risk.

The pressure test looks something like this:

  1. Disconnect the gas line at the meter.
  2. Install the test gauge as close to the meter as it can be. Your meter may have some effect on where the gauge can be placed.
  3. Turn off all the valves at the appliances that use it. (may include: water heater, stove, etc.) 
  4. If you have a main gas shut off at the house, make sure this is on. The test has to be on 100% of the gas piping system from the meter to the appliance locations.
  5. Pressurize the gas system using the valve on the test gauge. This can be done with an air compressor or a hand pump.
  6. This then shows the pressure in the gas system. It should be no higher than one and a half (1 ½) times the working pressure, and no less than 3psi. Outside of that range and it’s no good.

How Deep to Bury Gas Line

Gas lines are buried at least 2 feet deep into the ground. Some service lines may rise to a depth of 18 inches. Don’t take this as gospel however! Your city/state may have different requirements for utility lines and such so make sure to check with local officials before you start digging anything up

How to Ground a Gas Line

It’s probably something you don’t realize but gas lines need to be grounded. The national codes on all this require homes have a grounding system that has a ground rod driven into the ground nearby your electric meter. To ground gas lines, a bare copper wire will run from your gas line to the grounding system.

 

Gas lines are one of those things that need professional care and attention to handle – if something goes wrong it can go wrong bad. For all your gas line needs, turn to Economy Plumbing Service! Now normally this is where we’d use our catchy slogan but that doesn’t really apply here so let’s try this one out…

If gas runs through it or to it… we… well we do the gas lines! We’ll keep your family safe whether it’s repairs or a complete line replacement. Contact us for more info!

Give Us a Call Today!

Why is My Hot Water Heater Leaking?!

People rely on their hot water heater day in and day out. Showers, laundry machines, dishes, washing hands, and on and on it goes. You notice that the hot water isn’t lasting like it used to or stepping into your laundry room and you’re greeted with wet feet. The water heater has sprung a leak. Here are some of the most common causes why your hot water heater is leaking.

Why is My Hot Water Heater Leaking – Probably One of These…

Here are four of the most likely causes of a hot water heater leak!

The Water Connections

First take a gander at your cold and hot water connections. These are where the cold water runs into the tank and where the hot water is pumped out from it to whatever fixture needs the heat. If these are the cause of your leaks it can be a simple fix. Just get a wrench and tighten them and that might be all you need! If it’s not a simple loose connection, there may be some faulty pieces in the assembly that need replacing, or certain seals may be corroded and needing replacement. 

The Relief Valve

The temperature and pressure relief valve is a crucial component to keep the water heater operating as it should. This valve relieves the pressure when it gets too high and drains the tank when the water is too hot. To spot this leak look for water running down the side of the tank from the valve. The valve may be broken, loose, or it may even just be doing it’s job! If the tank has too much pressure it forces water out through the temperature and pressure relief valve as a way to release pressure.

If you spot a leak coming from your valves, have a plumber come out and identify which is the cause and how to address it.

The Drain Valve

Just like the temperature and pressure relief valve, the drain valve is another likely culprit as to why your hot water heater is leaking. Typically, if this is leaking it might just be loose or not closed completely. But this valve should be airtight, and if water continues to leak from it well, it’s probably time to replace it. Thankfully it’s an easy repair and cheap replacement!

Corrosion

Without a doubt, the most likely cause of your leaking hot water heater is due to corrosion! As your hot water heater endures frequent use draining and refilling with water it accrues sediment from the water. That sediment, if it’s not drained and flushed properly and regularly, will eventually start to corrode through the bottom of the water tank. And thus causing the leak. Even with flushing and regular maintenance, after enough years the sediment will do it’s work to the tank, it’s just a matter of time. When this happens it’s time to buy a new water heater.

Now that you have a likely idea of why your hot water heater is leaking, it’s time to repair it! Call in a licensed plumber who can handle everything and get your water heating the way you need! Call Economy Plumbing Services today.

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

Plumbing Basics – What to Know For Your Home’s Plumbing

Every homeowner should know a few plumbing basics. No we’re not just talking about how to use a plunger (though boy howdy is that important!), we’re talking about how certain features function in your home, or where key fixtures are located. This time on the Economy Plumbing Service LLC we’re talking plumbing basics and what you should know.

 

Plumbing Basics to Know

Where’s Your Water Main

If you know nothing else, know where your water main is located! The water main is the first access point for water heading from the supply to your home and it’ll typically be found outside or in the basement near a water heater. On the water main sits the shutoff valve. This when turned this valve will completely cut off the flow of water to your home. This is crucial in case you have a major plumbing disaster or project. Pipe break in the kitchen? Hit the water main, turn the valve (usually a lever or a wheel) and stop that flow of water fast! 

 

How to Handle a Clogged Drain

It’s going to happen at some point – despite your best efforts, a drain is going to clog. Food debris goes down the pipes, hair and skin goes into shower drains and given time they will start to collect, first slowing the flow of water until it is fully blocked off. When this happens you are going to be tempted to jump to a liquid drain cleaner – after all, those commercials show the industrial sludge turning gross pipes into sparkling beauties! But don’t fall victim to that trap! Get a physical tool like a snake to remove clogs, these will remove the breakages entirely and not risk damaging your pipes with harsh chemicals.


Treat Your Toilet Right

Toilets are one of those plumbing fixtures that get the most use day in and out and if you’re not treating it right it’ll cause problems fast! The first thing to do is make sure that nothing but waste and toilet paper are going down the toilet. There may be many different materials that are disposable and one use only in bathrooms (like wipes, cotton swabs, hygiene products, etc.) but none of those belong down the toilet. Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down in water and plumbing, where swabs and wipes are not. They’ll get stuck in a pipe, never break down and soon your bathroom floor will be flooded with nothing good.

While you’re at it, make sure you have a plunger on hand – that’s something it’s better to have and not need than need and not have. And trust us, everyone needs a plunger eventually.

In addition, make sure you’re keeping an eye out for leaks. Leaks can start out fairly minor but can lead to larger water bills and trouble down the line. An easy way to do just that requires food coloring and a half hour. Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and go for a walk, make a sandwich. Done? Nice now go back and check the water in your toilet bowl. See any color? If so you have a leak. If not you’re golden!

 

Don’t Disrespect the Disposal

Garbage disposals are another fixture in your home that get a lot of use day in day out. Some people might over rely on their disposals though and there-in comes the problem. Garbage disposals may be marketed as some sort of… super-powered-grinding-destruction machine that can handle everything. 

But disposals can’t take everything! Oils, grease, fats, bones – those types of things shouldn’t be sent down the drain and if they do they can catch a hold of the side of the pipe. The grease and oils will then cool and thicken. Then the next batch comes down and cools. Then the next… and the next. You see where we’re going with this? Soon enough your pipe is clogged over.

So, the moral of the story? Don’t be careful about what you’re putting down the garbage disposal. Want to know more about what to avoid? Here’s 11 things not to put down the drain.

 

Now is that everything? Of course not, these are just the most basic of plumbing basics that every homeowner should understand. There’s always more to learn out there if you’re interested! If you’d rather just leave all plumbing to the professionals, we got your back! Need help clearing a clog or repiping a whole home? Economy Plumbing Services are the folks for you!

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

The Benefits of a Cold Shower

Earlier this month the temperatures finally hit past 100 degrees for the first time this year, so it’s safe to say summer is fully here! Last time on the blog we answered some water heater FAQs. This time let’s go the other direction and look at the blue side of the thermometer. While it might not be ideal for some, cold showers have some surprising benefits – so if your water heater is on the fritz and cold showers are in your future here’s what you have to look forward to!

Benefits of Cold Showers

Believe it or not, a cold shower can have a number of benefits for you including:

  • Soothing itchy skin
  • Waking you up
  • Increasing circulation
  • Reducing soreness in muscles 
  • Better hair and skin
  • Even weight loss!

Let’s look a little closer at each of these!

Soothe Itchy Skin

This one is pretty straight forward. Itchy skin or skin conditions that make you scratch can be beaten by the cold! The cool water overcomes the sensation, relaxing the skin irritation – at least for a little while.

Wake You Up

Cold showers are a classic way to wake you up in the morning! The cold water creates a bit of a shock reaction in your body which means increased oxygen, increased heart rate, and alertness! It’s a small shock that primes your body for getting done what it needs to get done!

Better Circulation

This benefit follows off the last one. Cold increases your heart rate and constricts the blood and circulation near the surface of your skin. This then in turn increases the circulation of blood throughout your body as it tries to catch up to keep your body temperature ideal.

Reduce Muscle Soreness

Have a particularly tough workout? A cold shower can start you on the way to recovery! Cold water will reduce inflammation and help flush out the build-up of lactic acid. All of this gets your muscles on to the recovery stage faster.

Better Hair and Skin

Cold showers might be just what the doctor orders for your skin and hair. According to some studies, cold water tightens the blood flow near the surface of the skin which can create a healthier-looking glow. Unlike hot water, the cold water won’t dry out the sebum layer on your scalp that protects your skin and air, keeping it healthy.

Even Help Lose Weight?!

That’s right, well, maybe. Some doctors argue that certain fat cells called ‘brown fat’ can generate heat by the burning of fat. They do this when your body is subjected to cold, like a cold shower!

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with cold showers so be aware! If you’re already cold or in a cold environment the cold water won’t help you warm up and get your body going any faster, and if you’re sick the cold might be too big a shock on your body to help your immune system work as it should!

Whether or not you enjoy a cold shower is your choice but don’t let the cold shower be the result of a faulty water heater! Get yours fixed right away so you have a choice in the matter!

And remember….

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

Water Heater FAQ

We’re deep in the summer now and the temps are rising! Speaking of heat, let’s take a look at the key fixture in your plumbing that ties into just about everything else. You rely on it for showers, baths, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers – that’s right this time on the blog it’s all about water heaters and answering some frequently asked questions we see!

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

The lifespan of a water heater varies, mostly based on the type of heater and how well it is maintained. Generally speaking, water heaters can last  from 10 up to 20 years.

How Do You Know Your Water Heater is Going Out?

Not sure if your water heater is going to last much longer? Look for these signs to tell you your unit needs to be replaced:

  • Age of the Unit (12 years or older)
  • Running Out of Hot Water Fast / Low Water Volume
  • Higher Electricity Bill
  • Red Water

All of these point to something not working as it should in your water heater. If you’re experiencing any of these contact your plumber – it may just need a repair, and it’s better to catch it soon than later!

What Kind of Water Heaters Are There?

Glad you asked! There are a few different kinds of water heaters, depending on who you ask. For our purposes we’re going to look at four different kinds: the conventional, tankless, and solar-powered heaters.

The conventional storage tank water heater is the most common. It sits in a closet, a garage or outside. The tank is filled with water which is then warmed using a heating element. The warmed water then waits to be used. These’ll last about ten to fifteen years.

Tankless water heaters are a more compact appliance. These heat water as it is needed, which offers some energy-saving benefits, however there won’t be as much hot water ready to use at a given moment (and if multiple fixtures are pulling from it at once performance will suffer.) Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years if treated right.

A solar-powered water heater does just what it says on the tin! These water heaters will be placed outside, where solar collectors can warm the water inside the tank before its pumped into the house.

What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

What size water header you need for your home will have a number of factors to consider. The average household (in America) uses about 60 gallons of hot water on a given day, with average showers accounting for a quarter of that. So how many people are in your home? How many shower daily? Do they shower around the same time? For every person multiply by 15 to get a general idea of the amount of hot water you’d need for them to be able to use if they showered around the same time. That will be the biggest bar to meet, once you do that you can work around it safely.

For instance, if you have a house with two adults and they each shower once a day, a 40 gallon tank will probably serve you just fine – just don’t expect to run the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time!

How Much is a Water Heater?

Looking to replace an old unit? The cost of a new one can vary on a number of things, but the national average runs roughly $1300. Again, that’s just an average and depending on the type and size of unit you look for. 

How to Drain a Water Heater

Draining a water heater is a reasonably easy task for most homeowners, and it doesn’t require much in the way of tools! You’ll turn off the power to the heater, open some valves and allow the water to drain from the bottom of the tank into a drain, flushing out any built-up sediment. There’s a bit more to it that than but not too much. Here’s a full blog we wrote on how to drain a water heater. 

If you have any other water heater questions about your unit, don’t hesitate to give us a call directly! Our plumbers are here to help, no matter the problem!

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

6 Frequently Asked Questions All About Plumbing

Welcome back to another entry here at the Economy Plumbing Services blog. This time around, rather than give you the whole lowdown on a sewer system or discuss the types of sewer pipes under your home, we’re going to do a rapid-fire Q & A, answering some more frequently asked questions we see that may not require a whole blog to themselves. Ready to go? Alright let’s get to work!

6 FAQS All About Plumbing

When Was Indoor Plumbing Invented?

Plumbing has a looong history but indoor plumbing as we know it today can be traced backed to the first half of the 19th century. Before that it was only found in the homes of the wealthy elite, and looked much different from what we see today. If you want to trace the ancient roots of plumbing, Wikipedia is a great place to start!

How to Winterize Plumbing in a Vacant House?

Winter’s not coming around for a bit (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!) but if you want to know how to handle it here’s a quick list for winterizing your plumbing.

  1. Shut off the main water valve, and turn off the water pump and water heater.
  2. Open all drain valves and all taps. 
  3. If able, use an air compressor to blow excess water out of the pipes.
  4. Drain your hot water heater.
  5. Flush toilets to remove as much water as you can from the tanks and the toilet bowls. 
    1. If all water cannot be removed, add antifreeze to prevent any remaining water from freezing (and cracking the porcelain!).
  6. Similarly, check the drain traps. Add antifreeze to them to prevent the water that’s in the traps from freezing and cracking.

How to Tell if Plumbing Vent is Clogged?

We covered this recently actually!  If your sink is not draining right, but there’s no clog you can find or the toilet seems to flush on its own randomly – you may have a clogged vent. If you are having troubles that seem to indicate a clog in the sewage lines but there’s no such clog that you can identify, it’s possible that the clog is there just not where you’re looking!  The plumbing vent may be clogged and messing with your plumbing. Want to know how to clean a plumbing vent?

How to Use a Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is pretty simple to use, once you know what you’re doing. You feed one endinto the drain line, and using either a hand crank or an automated one you turn the snake as it moves through the drain to grab ahold and loosen clogs. We cover a lot more on this blog all about the plumbing snake.

What Plumbing Work Can Be Done Without a License?

Plenty of minor and seemingly majhor things can be done without a license. Changing fixtures, replacing faucets, installing a new toilet, all of those and more can be done without a license. However if you start needing to change out lines, you’re going to need to get a license!

While you may be able to do all these, there’s no saying you have to or can. Don’t hesitate to call in a professional to get all your plumbing needs handled correctly, and safely, the first time.

How Long is Plumbing School?

Check out our blog on how to become a plumber. The short answer? Plumbing school itself is about 2 years.

That’ll do it for this entry here at the Economy Plumbing Service blog! We have plenty more info to share, so give our other blogs a read, and if you need professional service in the Tucson area don’t hesitate to give us a call! From total repiping to unclogging a stubborn drain, EPS takes care of everything!

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

The Sewer System

Out of sight, out of mind, but if the sewer system broke down modern civilization as we know it might go with it! Ok, that might be a little hyperbolic – but only a little! This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we’re going to take a look at the big picture, what all of our home plumbing systems tie into and make it a smoothly operating system.

Why Sewer Systems Are Important

When we said civilization would collapse, we were only being somewhat hyperbolic. Sewer systems provide huge benefits to people, especially when we all live in dense urban areas. The other option would be to run the waste water to a lake or stream but that just isn’t gonna work. The big reasons sewer systems are crucial.

Sewage Stinks!

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way, sewage stinks. If waste water didn’t have anywhere to go things would get really gross, really quick. If that waste water was directed into a source of water that water would quickly become fouled.

Sewage is Full of Bacteria

Sewage is full of harmful microorganisms and bacteria. Human waste for instance naturally contains E. coli. When those bacteria enter water the entire body of it becomes a potential health hazard. Instead, moving it through a system designed to treat it first is the only way to safely neutralize the danger.

Sewage Contains Solids and Chemicals That Can Be Harmful to the Environment

Sewage isn’t just the human waste, (though that’s a big portion of it). It’s also the waste from a shower or bathtub drain, the sinks, etc. Any of these could be the source of wastewater and sewage all of which contain solids and chemics that can harm the environment. Some will act as fertilizers, encouraging algae growth in a body of water. Others will be consumed by environmental bacteria to decompose it, but the decomposition will consume oxygen in the water, killing fish. When the algae is increased and the oxygen decreased, the natural order of wildlife of fish and other creatures will breakdown.

All of that means that without a sewer system we’d end up living in a smelly, murky, hazardous place without readily accessible water and devastated wildlife – in short, not a great place.

The Sewer System

So, water is supplied to your home, where it moves into the fixtures for your use – now what? It goes down the drain and off on the second half of its life! If you live in a city like Tucson, your drains lead to sewer pipes (all pipes that carry waste are sewer pipes, as opposed to the water main that deliver fresh water) that flow from each building to a sewer main that runs underneath the nearby street.

The sewer main is a larger line of pipes, usually between 3 and 5 feet wide. They’ll have vertical pipes at regular intervals that go to manhole covers or into buildings that allow for direct access to the sewer mains and system for maintenance. In the average sewer system there are thousands of miles of pipes running beneath the surface.

All of these mains flow into larger and larger pipes, until they reach the treatment plant. Because most of the work of sewer system is performed by gravity (remember the power of drainage we talked about?), treatment plants are typically located in a lower area, by a river or stream. Most the time the land isn’t as cooperative as the city planner would like. In these cases there will be a pumping station built. These allow the wastewater to move up and over elevation.

Once it reaches the treatment plant, it’s time for the next step.

Water Treatment

Since the wastewater is so full of dangerous bacteria and solids, it’s absolutely necessary to treat the water to prevent any contamination or sicknesses from spreading. To do that, the wastewater goes through several stages of treatment. These may vary by city and needs, but they usually go something like this.

Preliminary Treatment

The first treatment will remove larger particles such as sand and gravel from the wastewater. This is a filter system that uses either an actual filter, or a sand that can be cleared and reused. Either way, once the larger things have been removed from the water the preliminary treatment is complete.

Primary Treatment

The wastewater is moved into a space that holds it for a time. The solids are allowed time to sink, anything oily is allowed to float to the top. The settling and floating matter are then removed and the remaining liquid moves on the next step.

Secondary Treatment

The liquid flows into the next phase where any biological matter (those bacteria and microorganisms we talked about earlier) are dissolved and removed. Once these have been cleared the water moves on to it’s next and final step.

The Final Treatment

The solid particles have been removed, the biological matter has been negated now it’s time to treat the water that remains. Chemicals like chlorine or UV light are used on the water to completely neutralize and “clear”  the water.

There is a bit more work that goes into the waste pulled from the water to ensure it is safe to be disposed of but that’s basically the process. From your drains to the water treatment facility and beyond!

Once the wastewater hit’s the sewer main, it’s the city’s concern. But if there are problems in the line before it gets there it is likely going to be up to you to fix! When you have a clog, call the professionals at Economy Plumbing Services to help get you through it!

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

The Different Types of Sewer Pipes

Curious about the different kinds of sewer pipes? Well, be curious no longer! This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re covering just that. The different types of sewer pipe, when they’re used and more. So let’s talk about that!

Sewer Pipe

Sewer pipe is the workhorse of your plumbing system. It’s what carries all the waste water from your home. For most folks, you won’t know what kind of pipes you have unless you’ve bought your home, just built and that info was provided, or if you have had to do repairs in the past. Digging up your yard, replacing pipes is never a fun time, so we don’t blame ya!

Knowing what kind of pipe you do have however, can make the process of repairs easier, or at least take the sting out a bit as you’ll know ahead of time what kind of pipes are running through your yard and what you’ll need to do when it’s time to repair them.

For the most part, the easiest way to estimate what kind of sewer pipes you have? The age of your house.

Newer Builds –  1970s to Now

Homes built in the 1970s til now are more likely to use plastic sewer pipe. If the home is built in the 70s there may still be older clay or cast iron pipes. Regardless, these new pipes will extend from the home a few yards where they meet with the city sewer main. If the home has been remodeled, or had pipes repaired, there may be some old style sewer pipe that connects the sewer main to the new home pipes.

If you were to have a home built today, you’re likely going to be looking at PVC or ABS plastic pipe. Plastic pipe is infinitely easier to work with (though it may not have as long of lifespans)

Older Builds – Pre-70s

Older buildings, especially those built pre 1950, you may find a few different kinds of sewer pipe. Clay, cast iron, or even a type of pipe called Orangeburg. If you were to do some digging and found clay or cast iron piping, no worries! Both of those pipes can stay in the ground, so long as they’re still working. Orangeburg however is a problem and you should look at replacing it. We’ll get into that more later.

It’s just as possible to find newer plastic sewer pipes in an older home! Over time, the wear and tear on sewer pipes will need replacement and using newer plastic piping is often way easier to install after the fact than older style pipes.

Plastic Sewer Pipes

We talk about plastic pipes all the time here at Economy. When it’s inside the home we’re talking PEX, when we’re looking at the heavy duty sewer pipe we’re talking about PVC and ABS. Both of these sewer pipes have incredibly smooth surfaces to allow for easy carrying of waste to the sewer main, as well as for resisting roots from finding any place to grab ahold.

Cast Iron

Cast iron, while an older staple can sometimes still be used today. Cast iron makes for incredibly strong sewer pipes, able to withstand tons of pressure without breakage. It’s also nonflammable, which while not a problem when it’s buried underground, if you do use it in your home you can feel safe it won’t melt in a fire.

Clay

Clay piping is an old, old style but can still be used today. Clay pipe is inert, meaning it is more resistant to chemical degradation. However, where plastic pipes are smooth, clay sewer pipes are porous, giving tree roots something to grab ahold on and break though.

Orangeburg

Now this is one you probably have never heard of before today! Orangeburg is a type of pipe made up of wood pulp and pitch. It was a water resistant pipe, but it doesn’t have staying power. Back in the day it was used because it was easy to carry and cut, but these pipes won’t last long. Their upper limit is 50 years, could fail in 10. Most building codes have taken it off as an acceptable building material.

There you have it! The four different types of sewer pipe that might be in your hard right now! Remember, start first by looking at the age of your home and that’ll narrow down what to expect when you break ground and start digging.

If you need help running new lines in your home, you know who to call. Economy Plumbing will come out, diagnose the problem and get it sorted – whether or not you know what kind of pipe ya got!

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

What is a Sewer Cleanout?

The name ‘sewer cleanout,’ you would be forgiven if you thought it was a cleaning process. “Oh no, my drains are clogged, I need sewer cleanout!” But that’s not what its! This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog we’re going to tell you all about this part of your home’s plumbing system!

What is a Sewer Cleanout

So a sewer cleanout is a pipe that has a cap that allows for direct access to the sewer line. It allows for blockages in the sewer line to be more easily tackled. The sewer cleanout is usually located along the lateral sewer line, or sewer lateral, is the bit of plumbing that connects your home’s plumbing system with the public sewer system.  Sewer cleanouts might be located in the basement or just outside the home, on the property line, or somewhere inbetween. Many homes will have multiple! 

Do All Homes Have a Sewer Cleanout?

Unfortunately, not all homes have a cleanout for easy access. But they should! If you’re looking for your homes cleanout and can’t find it, it is definitely worth it to hire someone to install. It might cost a little bit of money now, but the headaches it can save are worth it!

Why Do You Need a Sewer Clean Out

The public sewer system is maintained by your local government and your home’s plumbing is obviously your responsibility. When the waste water moves from your home through those lateral lines towards the public sewer system it is still your responsibility, despite being ‘out’ of your home. Should a blockage occur in this stretch of plumbing your whole home will suffer but it won’t yet be a public sewer system problem. Having a sewer cleanout allows you (and your plumber) to have easy access to sort anything out before it becomes worse.

City Sewer Cleanout

While not the focus of this blog, it’s worth mentioning that your public sewer system will have 

The public sewer system that is maintained by your local municipality also has sewer cleanouts, although they are larger, which are located periodically along the municipal sewer line. The city is responsible for cleaning and removing blockages from those lines.

How to Use a Sewer Cleanout

A bad blockage in the sewer line can cause waste water to back up into your home, causing an absolute mess. Sewer cleanouts let you respond to those clogs fast, if you know how. The cap on the cleanout can be removed simply enough either using a wrench or by hand depending on the cap. Once the cap has been removed, a plumbing snake (or auger) can be run into the line to clear it. A plumbing snake is a long cable with an end that is designed to grab ahold of blockages and break them loose. Having access to the line via the sewer cleanout makes the job a whole lot easier for plumbers, and can help prevent any mess from inside your home. 

If you have a sewer line blockage, and need a professional to help – Call Economy Plumbing Services!  We can run some video into the pipe, do a quick inspection and know just what the problem is and how to fix it!

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