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!

Summertime Sadness– er, Plumbing Problems!

OK, maybe we don’t need to have a Lana Del Rey song in our title, but it just stuck out! Anyways! Most folks might not realize it but the change of the seasons from Spring to Summer bring just as many potential complications as the freezing temperatures of winter. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we’re going over some of the unexpected summertime plumbing problems that you can keep an eye out, for now, to save yourself a world of hurt later!

Garbage Disposal Abuse

The summer typically comes with a few more things: flexible schedules, more parties, get-togethers, barbecues, or just more people. Because of all of that there’s bound to be an uptick in food, both preparing and enjoying! Make sure that your garbage disposal is being treated right, and that you or any of your quests aren’t putting anything down the drain that could clog it, or harm the disposal unit.

Remember, the only things that should be going into your disposal are biodegradable – and even then remember to avoid:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Egg Shells
  • Bones
  • Celery
  • Pumkpin
  • Squash
  • Fruit Pits
  • Peels and Skins

But sinks aren’t the only things in danger of clogging…

Clogged Toilets

Summer break and vacations means people are home a lot more during the day, and with the potential for pool parties, barbecues, and a get togethers, your toilets are going to be used much more frequently than normal. With all that extra use comes more wear and tear and risk for disaster. If you are a family with children the first thing to do is be sure to teach your children proper bathroom etiquette. What belongs down the toilet (toilet paper) what doesn’t (everything else!) and how much is ok to use. When it comes to guests it’s not nearly as simple as teaching them the right way to do things, could you imagine? “Hey Bob, let me show you something about the bathroom!” No, it’s decidedly better to follow best practices for your toilet ahead of time and after to ensure no clogs are developing. Clear your drains, perform any needed maintenance promptly, replace faulty parts as needed, and your toilet drains should be able to stay functioning this summer.

But always keep a plunger nearby!

Heat Makes Stink

This problem could crop up throughout your house wherever the plumbing fixtures are, including the bathroom and kitchen. The summer heat can really turn up the stench factor of drains if they’re not clear and draining properly. Avoid that by making sure nothing goes down the drains that shouldn’t and that your seals are all replaced as needed!

Sprinkler Sadness

No matter the time of year, our sprinklers get a lot of work in – if your yard isn’t xeriscaped or using local low water usage plants. During the summer you may find you need to mow more frequently as the grass shoots up, and the potential for kids to play in the yards more often may increase the risk of damage to the sprinkler heads. If your sprinklers are damaged, make sure to replace them quick before the heat has the chance to kill off your yard or you accidentally flood one spot when the sprinklers are set to run.

Pool Problems

While pools might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we’re talking plumbing troubles, it bears mentioning here! Pools are going to use up a lot of water this summer and get a lot of good use! Make sure you’re performing all the proper maintenance on your pool so you don’t have any clogs in your skimmer lines, or bust a pump. Any of that and you’ll have a problem with 

We’ll leave it there for now. Summers are a very … particular time here in Arizona, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em, having to deal with any plumbing issues won’t put you in any better mood with the heat.

Notice any problems that need attention right now? Call Economy Plumbing Services today!

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 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.


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!

The Importance and Power of Drainage

Drainage. It might sound gross, but it is such a crucial component to a healthy, working plumbing system. If your plumbing doesn’t have adequate drainage, or something goes wrong with it you’ll quickly learn just how crucial it is. This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog, we’re taking a look at half of your plumbing system and as we Explain the Drain(age)!

The Importance of Drainage

Plumbing systems are made up of two key systems: supply and drainage. Supply brings clean water into your home. Drainage takes away all waste water – broadly speaking this is any water that has gone down a drain. Where those systems meet are the fixtures in your home, your faucets, showerheads, and the like.

While supply lines use water pressure and pumps to move the water, drainage systems rely on gravity to carry away waste. All drainage lines will angle downwards, allowing the pipes to carry the waste along to the sewer lines. Sewer lines use this same downward flow to move the waste water from the home lines all the way to the sewage treatment facility, or to a septic tank.

While that might sound obvious, there’s a lot to drainage that helps everything flow smoothly. And believe us, you really want everything to be flowing smoothly! There are vents, traps, and cleans outs, built into the drainage system that keeps everything moving.


Vents allow fresh air to enter the drainage system. If there wasn’t any air supply from the vents, waste water wouldn’t flow correctly, the water would get stuck in traps and the potential smells that would be filling your house would be no bueno.


Traps are absolutely crucial to a properly operating drainage system. Look under the sink in your kitchen or bathroom and you’ll see a trap. It is the curved or S-shaped section of pipe below the sink. Water will drain from the sink down these pipes with enough force to go through the trap and out into the drain pipe, leaving some water in the trap. This forms a seal preventing gas from the sewer from backing up into your home. This makes them an absolute necessity for every fixture in your home. Thankfully,  toilets have traps built into their structure, so they don’t require one down the drain. There are a few different kinds of traps out there depending on the situation.

Clean Outs

A clean out is a bit less consequential all things considered but it makes things work a whole lot easier! A clean out is basically a plug in the drain that will allow easy access to potential clogs. This helps, well, clean out the drain lines and keep them clear and free.

Now, all of this works with gravity to pull waste water away from your home, into sewer lines, and keep your plumbing, clean, clear, and ready to go.

The Power of Gravity

All of this comes down to working smarter, not harder. While supply lines need pumps and such to move the water to your home, up the walls and to fixtures,, the drainage system is built around making gravity’s job easier. Removing any hurdles and streamlining the process for Mother Nature to do her job and pull everything away from your home. In this case Mother (Nature) does know best!

Drainage is just one component of your plumbing system. And if you’re experiencing any troubles with yours call the experts to properly diagnose and treat the problem. Whether it’s a supply line bringing in rusty water or a drain that just won’t, well, drain, Economy Plumbing Service is here to help!

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

Spring Cleaning Your Plumbing

March is here and with the temperatures starting to heat up it’s time to start the yearly tradition of Spring Cleaning! Now, we’re not here to talk about how to rearrange your furniture or the best way to clean your windows but there is plenty you can do yourself to get your plumbing ready for the new season! This time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog – Spring Cleaning Your Plumbing!

Tips to Spring Clean Your Plumbing!

These are the easiest DIY steps you can take to care for your plumbing.

Check Your Pipes

First, take a look at all your pipes in and around your home. You’re looking for leaks and drips, you’d know if you had a burst pipe, that’s for sure. When water freezes it expands and that can cause pipes to crack or their fittings to get loosened when the ice thaws, causing leaks and drips. So grab a flashlight and check out all your pipes, under the sinks, in the cabinets, in the garage, and outside – Wherever they’re immediately visible take a look and if you notice anything that seems off, make a note of it!

Tend to the Toilet

While you’re cleaning your bathrooms as a part of a no doubt much more robust Spring Cleaning process, make sure you give the toilet all the attention it needs! Make sure you clean out behind the toilet and inspect a few areas: the base where it connects to the floor, the wall and the pipes connecting it, the flusher, and inside the tank. If anything is loose, tighten it. A lot of the upkeep and repairs for a toilet are surprisingly doable yourself.

Drain Time

Now drains don’t just need attention when they’re clogged! Like so many things a bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way to keeping your drains working as they should. Use a drain snake or some cleaner to clear away any debris or clogs that might be starting to form. By regularly clearing away anything gathering on the insides of your pipes you’ll prevent clogs from ever developing. Nice!

Start by using a drain snake to clear any immediate clogs. Simply take the snake, insert it into the drain, feeding it as far as it will go. Then slowly but firmly pull it back out of the drain to catch and free any clogs.

After you’ve used the snake, if you’d like to use drain cleaners or white vinegar rinses now is the time. With the biggest problems cleared away, the drain cleaners can break down the more difficult to snake debris.

And hey, drainage is huge. Come back next time to learn more about the power of drainage.

Breakdown Mineral Buildup

While you’re working on all the drains, look up at all of your faucets, including your sinks and the showerheads. When water flows through these fixtures, the minerals that are in your water will gather on the faucets. This can create a buildup that will ruin your water flow and can cause further problems. Thankfully these are pretty easy to handle!

Get yourself some white vinegar, plastic baggies, and rubber bands or tape. Fill a plastic sandwich bag with white vinegar and slide it over the showerhead. Using the rubber bands or tape, secure the bag to the pipe or faucet and allow it to sit. The vinegar will work at the minerals breaking and freeing them up.

While you wait, why not handle the soap scum and other gross gatherings in the tub or shower. Any accumulation like this can cause problems down the line so it’s best to break them down now. The sooner the better!

After the vinegar has had time to work its magic, about 30 minutes, you can remove the baggie, give the showerhead or faucet a quick wipe down and turn the water on. Any lingering mineral build-ups should be blasted away with the water. Nice!

Garbage Disposal … Disposition

Alright listen, we’re running out of titles I guess! Anyways. While you’re working with your sinks, take a look at your garbage disposals. Most garbage disposals have a pretty tough job, breaking down food waste so that it can get washed down the drain. There are a couple of different at-home garbage disposal cleaning processes, some involving ice and salt, others that use mostly vinegar. Find one you like and get to it.

Now with a freshly cleaned disposal, treat it right and remember what should and shouldn’t go down it in the future. Just because it can handle it, doesn’t mean it should.

Watch the Water Heater

Have you checked your water heater recently? It’s something you should be looking at more regularly than you’d think! For now, check the temperature and make sure it’s sitting at about 120 degrees. If you’ve never drained or flushed your water heater you might want to call in a plumber for the rest.

With all that taken care of your plumbing will be in decent shape! Make sure you stay on top of regular maintenance and if you noted any problems, or need help with more robust repairs, call a professional! 

At Economy Plumbing Services we can help you with any job, from water heater maintenance to repiping a whole home!

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

How to Clean Plumbing Vent

Last time on the Economy Plumbing Services Blog we threw out some quick answers to frequently asked questions, but here’s the thing, not all questions are so easily answered! This time on the blog we are going to walk you through how to clean plumbing vents, how to know if you need to, and why it’s important. If it’s about plumbing vents, this blog should cover it!

How to Clean a Plumbing Vent

How Does a Plumbing Vent Work?

You might not even be aware how a plumbing vent works, so before we go into how to clean one let’s address how they should, ideally, work.

Plumbing vents (sometimes called plumbing vent pipes) are designed to help regulate the air pressure in your plumbing system and remove odors and gas that are common in them. They let fresh air into the system which keeps water flowing smoothly. These vents are located on the roof of your home, they look like pipes sticking vertically straight out of your roof.

The vent pipe is necessary so that the drainage pipes can work correctly. Drainage pipes will carry waste from the home, but if there weren’t vent pipes there wouldn’t be any way for new air to push into the lines. It would create suction that would prevent drainage from flushing/draining correctly.

How to Know if Your Plumbing Vent is Clogged

Is your sink not draining right, but there’s no clog you can find? Does your toilet flush on its own randomly? 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.

What Clogs a Plumbing Vent?

The most common causes of a clogged plumbing vent are:

  • Bird nests
  • Leaves, branches, debris or trash
  • Rodent or bird carcasses
  • Balls

OK, so we know how they work, how you can tell if it’s clogged and what could cause it, it’s time to address…

How to Clean and Unclog Your Plumbing Vent

There’s two paths, you can do it yourself, or call in a professional.

The Do It Yourself

To do the job yourself you’re going to need a ladder, a flashlight, garden hose, someone’s help, and potentially a plumber’s snake to run down the pipe. Climb up on top of your roof and clear any leaves, branches, nests, or other debris that might be built up around the pipe. Then take the flashlight and look down the pipe to see a blockage.  Then get the garden hose, maneuver it into the pipe and have your partner turn it on. This should push the blockage further down the pipe and toward the drain. Should being the key word here.

Call in the Professionals

Not certain it’s a vent issue? Don’t want to climb up on your roof and work? Want to avoid potential injuries (and get the job done quick?) You call in the professionals!

Cleaning a plumbing vent can be easy, but there’s also no reason that you should have to handle it on your own when there are potential challenges and risks. Instead call an experienced plumber out to your home, they can get the clog cleared quick!

If you’re in the Tucson area and you need a plumber, give Economy Plumbing Service a call! No job is too large, no job is too small!

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

6 FAQs About Plumbing

Welcome back  to another entry here on the Economy Plumbing Services blog! This time we have no overarching angle, we’re just going to answer a bunch of frequently asked questions we see about plumbing that might not need a full blog on their own to answer. So if you found your way here through the ol’ Google, scroll on and you’re sure to find your question answered!

6 Frequently Asked Questions about Plumbing

How Long Do Copper Pipes Last?

Traditional copper pipes are going to last you about 50 years. That might seem like a long time and goods news but for most homeowners, if your house has copper pipes installed the house and plumbing was constructed decades ago – meaning they might be on their last legs.

Will Baking Soda and Vinegar Damage Pipes?

Ah so you’re looking to do an at home pipe cleaning job huh? For those who don’t know, baking soda and vinegar, when combined, create a chemical reaction that is thought to create pressure that can push out a clog. Most drains are clogged by fats, oils, and greases, and if they’ve built up enough the baking soda and vinegar trick might not be that effective. Ineffective? Maybe. But the baking soda and vinegar wont damage your pipes, no. 

What Are the Different Pipes In my Home?

Chances are your plumbing system at home is made up of a few different types of pipes. The most common are copper, galvanized, PEX, and PVC. It’s not uncommon for a house to have galvanized pipe running to a point, then a system for PEX and PVC to take over. We’ve talked a lot about the differences in pipes in the past.

Will PEX Piping Fail?

All materials can fail but that’s a big difference between can and will. PEX piping or tubing is susceptible to failure when it’s installed incorrectly, if it is exposed to the sun before installation or if it’s used to transport chlorinated water, that sort of thing. For the most part PEX is a perfectly safe and sturdy material to work with.

Can You Drink Water from PVC Pipes?

While you might be thinking ‘I can do anything,’ you really shouldn’t drink water from PVC pipes! PVC pipes aren’t rated for drinking water, meaning that they have a high risk of toxicity for the pipe to leach into the water and thus making it dangerous. 

What Are the Most Common Plumbing Problems?

Not sure if your problem is unique or an easy fix? No worries. The most common plumbing problems plumbers see are leaky faucets, clogged drains and toilets, low water pressure, issues with water heaters, running toilets, and the like. These happen to just about everyone at some point or another so don’t feel too distraught if it happens to you. These are common problems, so any plumber worth their salt should be able to get you sorted out in no time!

Phew, alright we’ll take a break there for the day. We hope this blog has answered any lingering questions you’ve had about plumbing and potential repairs. If you’re suffering from one of those common plumbing problems or worse, give us a call! At Economy Plumbing Services we tackle it all!

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