If you’ve read our first post on how to avoid buying a home with plumbing problems, you’re in luck. This is our follow-up article on how to avoid plumbing problems after buying a house. As with anything, prevention and inspection are key to avoiding mishaps. Don’t get stuck in a home with expensive plumbing repairs—follow these tips first.

 

Plumbing Problems After Buying a House: 3 Tips

 

  1. Check the Water Meter to Find Leaks

If the home you wish to buy is equipped with a water meter, checking the reading is a good way to look for leaks. In Arizona, most homes have their water meter located outside. Your first step is to turn off all of the faucets in the home. At this point, your water meter should be still—this is an indication that no water is actively running inside of the home.

But if you notice that the water meter is still moving, that could be a sign of a leak. While you should get a plumbing inspection in any case, this is definitely a situation to call a plumber for leak detection. Be sure that the seller resolves any leaks before you settle into a new home.

 

  1. Check the Shut-off Valve

There’s no universal location for a home’s shut-off valve, but you might find it in a few different places. Does the house have a basement or underground space? Check these areas first.

Is the home built on a slab? Go ahead and inspect the garage or water heater area for signs of the valve.

If you’ve looked in every feasible location inside of your home but don’t find it, you will need to look outside. Check near any outside faucets. This is an especially common location for warm climates like those of Arizona since we don’t often have to worry about frozen pipes.

You might have a wheel valve that twists or you might have a valve with a handle. To shut wheel valves off, twist them clockwise until you can’t twist anymore. For valves with handles, lift the handle up one quarter of the way until it’s directly perpendicular to the pipe.

Once the shut-off valve is off, try to turn on any faucets in the home. No water should drip or gush out. In the case that it does, you’ll know that the shut-off valve needs repairs.

 

  1. Check Your Pipes

To avoid plumbing problems after buying a house, determine the age and material of the pipes within. If the pipes seem like they’re old and haven’t been replaced, you will probably want a plumber to take a closer look at them.

Copper or plastic pipes are usually an indication that the pipes have been replaced. Galvanized steel pipes tend to be fairly old since they were commonly used between the 1930s to 1980s. Since they degrade and rust easily, you will probably want to request a complete repiping of the home.

If the house has lead pipes, you will definitely need to replace them since they’re unsafe. Lead can cause significant health issues if it gets into your drinking water.

 

Trust Us to Catch Plumbing Issues Before You Buy

Need a plumber to come out to your dream home and perform a home inspection? Our plumbing professionals are happy to provide you with a free estimate. Call us at 602-883-2761.

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Clogged pipes are a no-go when you have a house full of guests ready to eat or shower. Having to call a plumber in the middle of your party or gathering can be embarrassing and put a damper on your festivities. Instead of letting your guests undergo second-hand sheepishness, avoid the clogs altogether and follow these tips.

 

5 Tips to Warn Off Clogged Pipes

Two of the biggest reasons why pipes become blocked off are because of waste and overuse. Here are a few simple ways to prevent these risks.

 

  1. Spread Out Showers and Laundry Loads

If you’re having guests over long enough that they’ll need showers and laundry done, then spread these events out as much as possible. Try not to have too many people shower one after another. If possible, clear the shower drain between each person. Similarly, try to complete laundry loads throughout the day instead of overloading your drains all at once.

 

  1. Dispose of Fats, Oils, and Grease Properly

If you’ve read our post on holiday plumbing tips, you’ll know that the best way to avoid clogged pipes is to store fats, oils, and grease in jars. But what do you do after that? The next step is to store your jars in the refrigerator to let these fats cool and solidify (if you’re able to store them alongside your leftovers). Afterwards, place these jars in the garbage can. But be sure to keep them upright to avoid spillage.

 

  1. Clean Your Plates for the Dishwasher

Before placing your plates in the dishwasher, be sure to scrape all the leftover food and sauce off. Either throw the food waste in the garbage or in your compost bin. This prevents your pipes from being clogged with leftover food and allows your dishwasher to do a better job of cleaning. The same goes for your pots and pans. If you’re having trouble scraping the food off, be sure to soak them beforehand to loosen up any food.

 

  1. Avoid Corrosive Drain Cleaners

Plenty of drain cleaners use corrosive materials that can eat through your pipes. While they might temporarily clear a block in the short run, they cause damage in the long run. This damage can prove expensive, especially if you have to replace pipes. Your best option is to call a plumber that can clear any clogs or blockages without degrading the material.

 

  1. Leave Tough and Fibrous Foods Out of Your Disposal

Your garbage disposal cannot handle fruit pits, coffee grounds, bones, potato peels, pasta, or any manner of tough foods. While it can handle the soft parts of fruits and veggies, avoid adding any particularly fibrous foods like celery.

If clogged pipes become an issue, call Custom Plumbing of Arizona at 602-883-2761. Depending on how blocked your pipes are, a drain snake might not be enough to clear them. Hydro-jetting is another service we offer to get rid of particularly tough blockages. For more information on how we unblock pipes, click here.

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While Thanksgiving is over, the holidays haven’t quite ended. Chances are, you’re planning on cooking another great feast (props to you). But preparing another large holiday dinner can create a huge burden on your pipes. We firmly believe that prevention is just as important as treatment. But preventative maintenance is often less expensive than treating problems after they cause damage to your home. Before you go cooking your holiday ham and inviting family over, here are five maintenance tips to prevent plumbing disasters.

 

Prevent Plumbing Disasters: 5 Tips

  1. Request water heater maintenance
  2. Check for slow drains
  3. Fix leaks
  4. Get your garbage disposal under control
  5. Use your toilets and sinks for what they’re intended

 

  1. Request Water Heater Maintenance

Freezing cold water is not the best way to surprise your guests. If you have a few years left on your water heater, you probably won’t need to replace it—but you should request maintenance on it. A plumber can inspect your heater for any damage or rust as well as perform a much needed tune-up. That way, your heater can work all winter long.

 

  1. Check for Slow Drains

Slow drains are not only frustrating (and slightly gross if you’re standing in dirty shower water), they can be a sign of clogs. Before any guests arrive, use a drain snake to clear your pipes of any debris. A drain snake is a thin, flexible wire that helps unclog your toilet, sink, and bathroom pipes. If your drain snake isn’t heavy duty enough to handle the clogs or blockages, call your local plumber.

If you can, check the drains occasionally throughout your gatherings and ensure that drains work as intended.

 

  1. Fix Leaks

If you have random pools of water around your toilet, bathtub, or sink, that’s a likely sign that you have a leak. Other signs include wet or moldy patches on your carpet or walls, and higher water bills. Before your holiday party, be sure to fix these leaks as soon as possible. They can cause mold damage, heinous smells, and dismayed guests.

 

  1. Get Your Garbage Disposal Under Control

Every holiday, we talk about the importance of managing what goes into your garbage disposal—but we can’t emphasize it enough. Leave grease, oils, and large chunks of food out of it. Citrus rinds and small pieces of fruits and vegetables are okay to chuck inside. Artichokes, banana peels, corn husks, and other tough or fibrous produce are off limits though. For best results, always be sure to run cold water while you’re using your disposal.

 

  1. Use Your Toilets and Sinks for What They’re Intended

Another easy but important tip to prevent plumbing disasters. Don’t use your toilets for anything but waste and toilet paper. Feminine hygiene products, flushable wipes, toy trucks, and anything else are off limits. Yes, even flushable wipes—they often don’t degrade and can cause clogs. Don’t use your sinks for food scraps, grease, or oil. Only use them for water and other non-toxic liquids that don’t congeal or solidify (think fruit juice).

 

Call Us for Your Plumbing Disasters

Some way, somehow, someone at your gathering might accidentally violate one of these tips and cause one or two plumbing disasters. That’s what Custom Plumbing of Arizona is here for. We’re available 24/7, even on holidays. Call us at 602-883-2761.

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While Christmas is a few weeks from today, you should start preparing to receive guests now. The sooner you begin your prep, the sooner you can successfully fend off any holiday plumbing incidents. Here are 5 basics to prepare your home to receive guests this holiday season.

5 Holiday Plumbing Tips to Follow

  1. Keep Plungers in Your Bathrooms

The kindest thing you can do for your guests is to keep a plunger in your bathroom. In the case that they experience a clogged toilet, they can skip the embarrassment and go straight to fixing the problem. This is especially important during the holidays, where your bathrooms receive a ton of use. In fact, overuse and excess toilet paper are two of the most common reasons behind clogged toilets.

An extra bonus is keeping air freshener stocked in your bathroom in case of any, uh… incidents.

 

  1. Find Ways to Store Grease

While plenty of holiday food produces grease or drippings, you shouldn’t pour these liquids down your sink or garbage disposal. Grease can solidify in your pipes, causing clogs that no one wants to deal with on a holiday. Instead, use leftover cans or jars you don’t use to store excess grease or oils. If you have a large amount that you can’t comfortably store, ask your local recycling center what the recommended disposal method is.

 

  1. Make Covers for Outdoor Faucets and Pipes

While the weather in Arizona is usually nice and hot, the temperatures can drop much lower in the evening. The last thing you need are frozen pipes during your festivities. Water expands as it freezes, meaning your pipes may form cracks or even break altogether. Burst pipes can cause severe water damage that is expensive to fix. To avoid these issues, place covers on your outdoor faucets and pipes to prevent freezing.

 

  1. Clean Out Your Septic Tank

If your home has a septic tank, be sure to perform maintenance on it before having lots of guests over. A septic tank is an underground container. It holds your wastewater and treats it before returning it to the ground. So when you flush your toilet or clean your dirty dishes, all the water is going through that tank. A professional should be pumping, flushing, and rinsing your septic tank every three years or so. Before your toilet is subject to plenty of use, get this tank pumped out.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Water Heater Works

Have guests staying over? Between showers, dish washing, and sink use, your water heater will receive a lot of use during this time. Don’t let anybody’s hot water run out in the middle of their shower—make sure your water heater is up to date. If it’s been 10 years since the last installation, it might be best to replace it.

 

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

 

Follow these holiday plumbing tips to make sure your gatherings are full of joy and laughter. Got an issue you can’t fix on your own? Call our plumbing experts at 602-883-2761.

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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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