How to Clear a Clogged Garbage Disposal

clogged garbage disposalGarbage disposals are environmentally friendly. They reduce food scrap waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill and create harmful methane gas. Excess use, however, can cause a backup. We’ll show you how to clear a clogged garbage disposal if the drain becomes plugged.

What NOT to Put in a Garbage Disposal

Many homeowners are surprised that a unit made to dispose of garbage can become clogged by, well, garbage. The unit isn’t made of indestructible Adamantium and can only handle certain types of garbage. Obviously, non-food waste should never go in the disposal. Food-based items not to throw in include:

  • Avocado pits
  • Corn cobs
  • Animal and fish bones
  • Grease
  • Potato peels

Clogging may also occur if you dump acceptable items too quickly.

Our residential plumbers have frequently cleared disposals in Lynnwood homes. Do you know what we almost always find? The aforementioned items. The same situation occurs when our commercial plumbers go out to clear restaurant-grade disposals. Continue Reading →

Should You Wash Dishes by Hand?

wash dishes by handShould you wash dishes by hand or leave the work to the dishwashing machine? We are actually advocates of the latter, which we’ll explain below. This is why we recommend every residence should have—and use—a functioning dishwasher.

What’s Wrong with Washing Dishes by Hand?

We are not against dish washing by hand. We just believe using a machine is more beneficial in the long run. Here are a few reasons for relying on a washer.

1. No Need for a Sponge

Just because you pour detergent on a sponge does not mean it’s clean. Here is a startling fact: 10 million bacteria reside in every cubic inch of a sponge. This makes it dirtier than a toilet seat. You can bet that some of that bacteria transfers to the dishes and utensils during washing.

2. You Save Money

Many homeowners choose to wash dishes by hand believing they’ll save water. This was true in the past. However, modern dishwashers use far fewer gallons compared to washers of decade’s past. In fact, modern washers require less water compared to handwashing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homeowners save 5,000 gallons of water and $40 every year when using an Energy Star-compliant washer. Continue Reading →

Why Is My Water Heater Tripping Its Emergency Cut-Off Switch?

Water Heater Emergency Cut-Off SwitchMost manufacturers recommend that homeowners set their water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just hot enough to prevent bacterial growth but not so hot to cause a scalding accident. However, when the water becomes too hot, the water heater emergency cut-off switch (ECO) kicks in. What causes the heater to trip its emergency cut-off switch in the first place?

Why A Water Heater Trips Its Emergency Cut-Off Switch

Faulty Thermostat(s)—Modern heaters have two thermostats, one at the bottom and another at the top. The thermostats regulate the water temperature and shut the heating element off when the water reaches the set temperature. If one or both thermostat malfunctions, the heater may continuously heat the water, prompting the ECO to kick in.

Faulty Heating Element—Most often, a faulty heating element will stop working, resulting in cold showers. However, at times, a malfunction may cause it to receive continuous power even when the thermostat sends a shut down signal. This causes continuous water heating, which causes the eventual ECO to kick in. Continue Reading →

What Is Plumbing Backflow and Why Is It Underreported?

plumbing backflowBackflow is a major residential and commercial plumbing concern. When backflow occurs it contaminates the water supply. What’s worse is that you might not know that your running water contains plumbing backflow. Because of this ignorance incidences often go underreported.

What Causes Plumbing Backflow?

Backflow occurs when clean water reverses direction in the pipes. This causes a suction that pulls wastewater into the supply. This happens as a result of backpressure, back siphonage, or cross-connection between pipes.

Why Backflows Are Underreported

If severe enough, you can usually detect backflow through foul odor, taste, or discoloration in the water. Other times, though, the backflow is indistinguishable from clean water. This may cause contaminated water to go undetected for years. Continue Reading →

Plumbing Work That Increases Your Home’s Value

increase home’s valueWelcome to 2018! With the New Year comes a fresh start. Some people kickstart the new beginning with a home renovation. We believe homeowners should prioritize repairs over aesthetic enhancements. This includes all plumbing work that may increase your home’s value. This benefits the home’s occupants as it raises the price should you decide to sell the property.

Increase Your Home’s Value with These Plumbing Fixes

1. Kitchen Upgrades

A new countertop is nice. Ditto for kitchen cabinet doors and tiled backsplash. However, consider makeovers with daily functional benefits, such as a garbage disposal or dishwasher. Homebuyers will give more weight to these upgrades since they make their lives easier. Continue Reading →

Do You Need a Whole-House Plumbing Inspection?

whole-house plumbing inspectionYour home could use a whole-house plumbing inspection in the way your body could benefit from an annual health exam. As suggested in its name, this is an inspection that examines every component of the plumbing system in your property. We’ll go into more detail about why this contributes to the health of your home.

Whole-House Plumbing Inspection: What Does It Include?

With a whole-home inspection, the exam includes:

  • All plumbing fixtures for the bathroom, kitchen, and utility rooms
  • The hoses, valves, and drains for the washer and dryer
  • All piping, including potable, condensation, gas, waste and vent, and combustible vent pipes.
  • The toilet for leaks and worn caulking
  • The isolation valves
  • The heater components for signs of leaks and corrosion

Continue Reading →

Holiday Plumbing Tips: Keep Your Drains Clog-Free this Christmas

holiday plumbing tipsWe receive an upsurge in calls during December. This is due to homes and businesses organizing large dinner parties. Big get-togethers mean heavier use of the bathroom and kitchen. We advise homeowners and businesses to adhere to our holiday plumbing tips to avoid a preventable emergency plumbing call.

Holiday Plumbing Tips for the Kitchen

Most homeowners know how to dispose of cooking grease. Remember, all grease goes in a disposable container before you throw it out. Keep a few jelly jars or milk jugs in the house for this purpose. This goes for commercial facilities as well. Don’t think your drain is safe just because it has a grease trap. We’ve lost count of how many times our commercial plumbers had to clear an clogged drain or grease trap. Continue Reading →

What Are Not Dishwasher-Safe Items?

dishwasher-safe itemsMany of our past posts have focused on the drain, toilet, and faucets. We’ve kind of neglected the dishwasher, which can also be the location of many plumbing woes. We’ll list the type of dishes and items that are never dishwasher-safe.

Items to Keep Out of the Dishwasher

Food-Covered Dishes

Not all dishwashers have garbage disposal capabilities; some only have filters. The hot water and water jets may break up some of the food particles, but these can clog the filter. If you system only has a filter, you must clear food debris before loading dishes into the washer. This goes for commercial dishwashers as well. Next to a poorly maintained grease trap, a clogged dishwasher pipe is the next most commonplace repair for our commercial plumbers. Continue Reading →

What Drain Flies Indicate About Your Plumbing

drain fliesHomeowners may occasionally see drain flies, which shouldn’t be confused with fruit flies. The pests typically gather around the sink and near the drain. They’re not harmful, but the critters are an eyesore and may also be a sign of a hidden plumbing issue.

What Are Drain Flies?

These little bugs are moth-like gnats that gather around moist areas. Sink drains tend to accumulate an organic gelatinous substance that’s invisible to the naked eye. Drain flies lay their eggs in this slime. Continue Reading →

How to Fix a Gurgling Toilet

Gurgling ToiletOther than when flushing and refilling the tank, toilets are supposed to be quiet. However, some homeowners have reported bubbling in the water and the strange strangling sounds. This is not normal. We’ll explain what causes a gurgling toilet, why it’s bad, and how to fix it.

Why Does a Toilet Gurgle?

Faulty Tank Equipment

The tank interior contains a flapper and a float and fill system. If any of these components are faulty or loose, the toilet may make a gurgling noise or sound.. All of the parts inside the tank are available at your local hardware store. A residential plumber can replace all worn parts. Continue Reading →