An unusable toilet during a busy holiday party is the stuff of nightmares. Whether you’re at a gathering or hosting the get-together yourself, nobody wants to be stuck in a bathroom without a working toilet. If you’re in a pinch, here are a few of the most common holiday plumbing issues (and their respective solutions). Stay prepared!

3 Most Common Holiday Plumbing Issues

  1. Your Toilet Keeps Running

If your toilet is receiving lots of heavy use during the holidays, then your toilet might continue running and running. When the toilet bowl won’t stop flushing and filling with water, we’ll be discussing two fixes to avoid ruining your festive fun.

Solution: Close the Flapper

Take the lid off of your toilet tank—do you see a chain? That chain is connected to the flapper. If it becomes too short or tangled, the flapper stays wide open, allowing water to continue running. Your solution is to adjust the chain sufficiently so that the flapper can close. If that doesn’t work, you might need to buy a new flapper.

Solution: Adjust the Fill Height

Your fill valve is responsible for bringing water into the toilet tank after you flush and stays on until the tank is filled with water again. Connected to the fill valve is the float. Your float is responsible for making sure your tank doesn’t overflow—it’s a piece of plastic floating in your tank that looks like a balloon. Adjust your float if it’s too high or too low as it can allow water to get through the flapper or not allow enough water in at all.

  1. Your Toilet Doesn’t Flush

A toilet that doesn’t flush is a huge burden (especially when the line to the bathroom fills up the hallway). But there’s no need to panic—here’s how to fix this problem.

Solution: Adjust the Flapper

When water is running but your toilet doesn’t flush, you might have an issue with your flapper. If it’s not sitting properly, wiggle the attached handle around or reach your hand in to adjust the flapper yourself.

Solution: Add Water Manually

No water running at all? Time to pour some water down your toilet. If you happen to have a bucket or garbage can handy, fill the container up with water. Pour it down your toilet in one quick movement—this should prompt the toilet to flush.

  1. Your Toilet is Clogged

If you spot a plunger, this is the time to use it. Stuck with no plunger? Here are a few solutions.

Solution: Pour Soap Into the Toilet

Pour plenty of shampoo or dish soap down the toilet. Still have that bucket or garbage can handy? Fill it with a gallon of hot water to chase the soap down. Wait a few minutes… Your clog should be clear. If it’s not, repeat these steps a few more times.

Don’t Let the Holidays Go to Waste

Holiday plumbing problems shouldn’t stop you from having a great time. But if you plan to have lots of guests over, your toilet might not be equipped to handle it. If you need a 24/7 emergency plumber to handle your holiday emergency, call Custom Plumbing at 602-883-2761.

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Buying a new home is an exciting time—until you try to shower and discover the irritatingly low water pressure. We don’t have to tell you twice, but your plumbing is one of the most important systems in your home. Casual inspections usually don’t catch these issues so you’ll need to take a closer look. Before buying a house with plumbing problems, take these steps to catch any major plumbing repairs.

Avoid Buying a House with Plumbing Problems: 3 Tips

  1. Inspect faucets, sinks, and toilets
  2. Inspect your sewage system
  3. Inspect the water heater

 

  1. Inspect Faucets, Sinks, and Toilets

These three elements can be a great indicator of the water pressure and quality of your plumbing system. To ensure that you don’t buy a home with major plumbing problems, complete the following:

  • Turn on every faucet to check for water pressure, leaks, or discolored water
  • Check for leaks below and around the sink fixtures
  • Flush every toilet and ensure that all the water drains away
  • Check the base of each toilet for leaks
  1. Inspect Your Sewage System

You need to pay attention to your main sewer line, in particular. A main sewer line can develop a number of issues—tree roots may be growing in the line or the pipes could be degrading due to old age. While you might be able to find issues by detecting bad odors, the best way to check for problems is a professional plumbing inspection. An inspection will include snaking a camera down the sewer line to catch any blockages or other problems.

If there are issues with the sewage system, they are usually very expensive repairs—so be sure to catch them early!

  1. Inspect the Water Heater

If you’ve ever endured a freezing cold shower because the hot water ran out, you know just how essential your water heater is. Before purchasing a home, check the water heater label to see when it was first installed. If it’s 10 years or longer, then it’s time to buy a new water heater. Additionally, you should ask a trusted plumber to check for other signs of damage as it may be cracked or rusted.

Recommended Reading: No Hot Water? 5 Water Heater Warning Signs to Watch Out for

Did You Buy a Home with Plumbing Problems?

If you bought a house and are already recognizing a few plumbing problems, your first step is to call a plumber. Have your plumber complete a professional inspection to diagnose any of the issues in your home. If the issues are small and don’t cost a ton to repair, then it may not be worth it to get the previous owner involved. However, if there are major plumbing issues, move on to the next step.

Your next step is to figure out who’s responsible for the repair. Consult with your lawyer and real estate agent. The previous owner may be responsible for the repair if:

  • The purchasing agreement stated that the seller would make the repair.
  • There was no reasonable expectation for you to find the issue before buying the home.
  • The seller intentionally deceived you about the condition of the plumbing.

Your last step is to hire a trusted plumber to complete the repairs in your home.

Need an Inspection or Repair?

Before buying a house with plumbing problems, call Custom Plumbing of Arizona at 602-883-2761 to complete a professional plumbing inspection.

Need repairs after the fact? Let us provide you with a free estimate!

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While there are plenty of jobs you need to call an expert plumber for, there are some basic plumbing tips that every homeowner needs to know about. The tips on our list are here to prevent you from creating costly issues that require extensive repair.

6 Plumbing Tips for Every Home

  1. No grease down the drain
  2. Use a basket strainer
  3. Clean soap scum
  4. Flush only toilet paper
  5. Don’t poke holes in your pipes
  6. Take care of leaks as soon as you find them

 

  1. No Grease Down the Drain

While many liquids are safe to pour down the drain, grease and oil aren’t. They’re piping hot liquids once you finish cooking bacon or draining ground beef—but they solidify at room temperatures. Once they congeal or become solid, they create pipe blockages. Grease will coat your pipes and gradually build up. You probably won’t notice it at first. Slowly but surely, however, oil and grease clogs your drains.

 

  1. Use a Basket Strainer

Have you ever pulled out a tangled, greasy mess of hair and soap from your shower drain? (If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.) If you use traditional bar soap, this soap actually tends to solidify more often inside of pipes, unlike liquid soap. In the kitchen, your drain might be catching all of the food waste coming off of plates, pots, pans, and the like.

A quick way to prevent this is to simply use a basket strainer in all of your drains to catch any particles of hair, soap, or food that might escape inside.

 

  1. Clean Soap Scum

Another thing to remember is that actual chunks of soap certainly create clogs, but so can soap scum. Soap scum is the residue left behind when soap mixes with water; it’s made up of minerals and other fatty acids. If you neglect your drains, scum can build up along your pipes and create blockages. An easy solution is to pour boiling hot water down your drains every so often.

 

  1. Flush Only Toilet Paper

Besides the obvious bodily waste that must go down the toilet, be sure to flush only toilet paper. Wet wipes—even the ones that say “flushable”—still clog your pipes over time. So do sanitary pads, diapers, cotton balls, medicine, and all other animate and inanimate objects.

Similarly, if you use lots of toilet paper, try to cut down (or buy a bidet).

 

  1. Don’t Poke Holes in Your Pipes

While you’re probably not fiending to puncture your pipes on purpose (we hope), it’s easy to accidentally create leaks when you’re tearing down walls or otherwise undergoing construction. Before drilling holes or hammering nails into your walls, be sure to locate any plumbing and exercise caution where there is.

 

  1. Take Care of Leaks as Soon as You Find Them

Leaks can not only be annoying to listen to, they can cost you lots of money in the long run. A small drip every now and again doesn’t seem like it would cost you much, but leaky faucets can waste up to eight gallons of water a day. Leaky toilets are even worse—they can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. Furthermore, they can cause plenty of structural damage that becomes even more expensive.

 

Staying proactive with these plumbing tips is a no-brainer. With a little bit of effort now, you can possibly prevent tons of damage later.

For more complicated plumbing issues, call Custom Plumbing of Arizona at 602-883-2761 today. We’ll come out to your house for a free estimate!

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Unless you’re an ice bath enthusiast, chances are that you prefer a nice warm shower at the beginning, middle, or end of your day. Your water heater is one of the most important elements to making that happen. So when it breaks down, it’s easy to go into panic mode. Luckily, it’s easy to be proactive—here are 5 water heater warning signs to watch out for.

5 Water Heater Warning Signs

  1. No hot water
  2. Age
  3. Rusty water
  4. Odd noises
  5. Leaking

 

  1. No Hot Water

No hot water is the most jarring symptom of a water heater gone rogue. But other times, the symptoms can be more subtle. You might notice that your water temperature is inconsistent or that you run out of hot water quickly.

Some of the heating elements, like the burners, might have gone bad—or your thermostat might be broken. Other times, you might have clogged valves that don’t allow you to flush out any dirt, rocks, or other sediment. Lots of built-up sediment can leave little space for heated water, causing your steamy showers to end abruptly.

So if you’re often met with a sudden blast of freezing water in the middle of your shower, it might be time to check your unit.

 

  1. Age

Most water heaters, whether they’re in the traditional or tankless style, tend to last for about 10 to 12 years. Your unit should have a sticker on it with the installation date on it—if you’re past the 10-year mark, keep a close eye on it. At this age, it’s likely cheaper to replace the whole unit altogether than to keep replacing any malfunctioning parts.

 

  1. Rusty water

Water heater tanks have metal components susceptible to rusting. When you first buy a unit, it has a solid coating that helps prevent rust on the inside of your tank. Over time, that coating begins to break down. Eventually, you might find smelly, discolored water running out of your faucets. While it doesn’t harm your health, the taste is definitely something to be sour about. Rusty water can damage any appliances you use, however.

 

  1. Odd noises

Strange noises can indicate a deeper problem with your water heater. If you hear loud pops, cracks, gurgles, or other weird sounds, you could have a problem with built-up sediment or a broken heating element. If you hear boiling sounds, be sure to call a technician as soon as possible — your water heater could be experiencing intense pressure and overheating.

 

  1. Leaking

If you notice water pooling around the bottom of your tank or dripping from the tank itself, you likely have a serious problem on your hands. Some loose connections inside the unit could be causing the leak, which just calls for tightening. But if the tank itself is damaged, you’ll need to replace the whole water unit.

 

Check Your Water Heater

Now that we’ve covered the 5 water heater warning signs to be aware of, your first action step is to check the age of your water heater. Even if you’re not seeing any obvious signs of damage, you might want to consider replacing the unit if you’re past the 10-year mark.

Need a plumbing expert to take a look at your water heater? Custom Plumbing of Arizona is here to help. Call us at 602-883-2761 for a free estimate.

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Clogged drains are not only a headache, but they can lead to other issues in your pipes as well. In these situations, most people will try to DIY their plumbing before they call an expert in. That usually means they scramble for the store-bought drain cleaner and hope for the best. But does drain cleaner work? The answer is often no—so let’s take a look at why.

What Types of Ingredients are in Your Drain Cleaner?

Drain cleaners are either chemical-based or enzyme-based. Both formulas work to digest or burn through the obstructions blocking your pipe.

Chemical-based cleaners tend to use acids, oxidizers, or caustics. This includes ingredients like sulfuric acid, sodium hypochlorite, lye, or caustic soda. While these solutions create lots of heat to burn through blockages, they can damage your pipes if you use them too much and too often.

Enzyme-based cleaners contain bacteria that produce enzymes when they meet organic matter, like food, hair, or mold. Enzymes help break all of that gunk down into bits and pieces that are easy to flush away with water. These cleaners tend to be much easier on the environment and on your home pipes.

Long-Term Damage from Drain Cleaners

Chemical-based drain cleaners might work in the short run, but they cause damage to your drains (and even your health).

  1. Leaks

Caustic chemicals, such as lye, can create cracks in your pipes, sinks, and toilets. These newly formed cracks and crevices can cause leaks that are expensive to repair. Furthermore, cracks in your toilet are hard to repair—and will likely need to be replaced.

  1. Burst Pipes

Pipes are vulnerable to the corrosive ingredients in many drain cleaners. This is especially true if you live in a home with older pipes. Corrosion can lead to burst pipes, which usually causes disastrous flooding.

  1. Unsafe for Skin and Clothes

Drain cleaner liquids can burn or irritate your skin, eyes, and lungs. Mixing drain cleaners with other cleaning products can be especially dangerous.

Additionally, avoid using these solutions in standing bodies of water, such as in clogged toilets. They can splash on your skin or clothes. Keep in mind that even professional plumbers use extreme caution with these chemical-based solutions.

Does Drain Cleaner Work Well?

Slimy to the touch, biofilm is a thin film of bacteria that lines your pipes. It’s the sludge that holds clogs together in your drains. A drain cleaner can potentially break down the solid chunks of organic matter within the biofilm and unblock your pipes. However, a liquid drain cleaner can never coat the entire drain or pipe. There will likely still be organic matter where a drain cleaner can’t reach it.

That’s why you need a plumbing expert to unclog your drain instead.

Say No to Chemical Drain Cleaners

Does drain cleaner work? In some instances, this solution does work—but it often damages your pipes or leaves the entire problem unsolved. For a more permanent solution that won’t corrode your pipes, call us at 602-883-2761. We’ll send a plumbing specialist to your house for a safe, cost-effective solution.

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