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How to Prevent your Bathroom Sink from Clogging

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A slow-draining tub or bathroom sink is an inconvenience many homeowners face from time to time. They may find themselves standing in ankle deep water when bathing or constantly cleaning a dirty ring left around the tub or sink. You might be surprised to learn that the hair you shed naturally when shampooing or brushing is a major cause of slow-moving bathroom drains. Hair, especially long hair, can become entangled in the drain assembly where it will trap other debris and residue and slow down or stop up your drain completely. This post will outline some simple measures you can take to prevent hair from clogging your bathroom sink.

Protect your Drains
An easy and inexpensive solution to prevent hair from clogging your tub or bathroom sink is by using a hair catcher or screen. Sold at many hardware or drug stores, the simple device is designed to fit over most drain types and catch the hair before it enters the drain system where it can do harm. Installation and operation is easy as you simply lay the device over the drain and remove the collected hair between each use.

Avoid Brushing your Hair
While your hairbrush collects the bulk of the hair you shed naturally when brushing, you might be surprised at how much falls to the wayside. If you regularly brush your hair over the bathroom sink, as many people do, any hair not collected by the brush will fall into the sink and eventually get washed down the drain where it can cause trouble. You can avoid this problem by using a different mirror entirely or simply standing far away from the bathroom sink so the hair falls harmlessly to the floor.

Dispose of Debris Appropriately
Many folks treat their bathroom fixtures—tubs, toilets and sinks—as garbage disposals by assuming that if it will fit down the drain, it is okay to wash it down. Hair, cigarette butts, feminine products, pet litter and even Q-tips often find their way into the drain or sewage system. These products are a nuisance to sewage and septic tank systems and can cause extensive damage to your plumbing and home. Follow this simple rule—if is does not come out of you, don’t flush or wash it down the drain—to prevent these products from harming your home’s plumbing.

If you are experiencing sluggish or clogged drains, contact your plumbing contractor as soon as possible to avoid additional damage and home repairs.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Tips to Lower Your Water Bill

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Below you will discover valuable tips that not only conserve one of our most valuable resources but can also save you some money by reducing your monthly water bill. Freshwater is one of the many natural resources sometimes taken for granted. You turn on the tap and a seemingly endless supply is at your fingertips. However, the cost of freshwater has risen due to the demands placed on its supply from pollution and an ever-expanding population. Here are some ways we can conserve water in our own homes.

Repair Faulty Plumbing

Don’t drag your feet when it comes to repairing dripping faucets, leaking pipes or running toilets. A single faucet that drips 60 times a minute will waste 5 gallons of freshwater per day or 2,082 gallons per year. A professional plumber will make quick work of these simple repairs and help you to conserve water, reduce your bill and avoid costly home repairs resulting from the potential water damage.

Reduce Bathing Times

Reducing the length of your shower — by just four minutes — can conserve up to 4,000 gallons of fresh water per year. This can reflect an annual savings of $100 dollars per year on your water bill. In addition, shorter showers lead to a reduction in hot water use, which can also lower other utility bills such as gas or electricity.

Go Low-Flow

Replace dated toilets, shower heads and faucets with efficient low-flow fixtures. Inefficient toilets can use as much as six gallons of freshwater per flush. When you compare that to the 1.6 gallons-per-flush of today’s models, you can easily comprehend the potential savings. Do not use your toilet as a garbage can. Aside from the harmful effects cigarette butts, chewing gum and feminine products have on septic tanks and sewer systems, placing them in the trash does not require precious freshwater.

Do not let it Run

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving. Many gallons of freshwater are wasted each year from this one, bad habit. When shaving, simply fill the basin with hot water to rinse your razor and keep disposable cups in the bathroom for rinsing after brushing your teeth.

No Half Loads

You can save on both your water and electric bill by utilizing the maximum capacity of your dishwasher and washing machine. If you must rinse your dishes before loading the dishwasher, fill the sink or a container with water for rinsing; do not let the faucet run.

At the end of the day, by doing your part to conserve water, you can help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint as well as save a little money on your monthly water bill.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Flickr

Ten Things You Should Never Flush Down the Toilet

Monday, March 14th, 2016

The toilet is one of the hardest working components in your home. The device is often overlooked because of its reliability and most folks would struggle without its contribution to our daily lives. After each flush, your home’s plumbing system directs the waste to your septic tank or local sewage treatment plant. Since the toilet, septic system and/or sewage treatment plant were designed to treat and dispose of bodily waste, nothing else should ever be flushed. With that being said, the following items are things you should never flush to avoid damage to your home’s plumbing system and our environment.

  • Grease, fat, cooking oil and shortening should never enter your home’s drain lines. It may be a liquid when you pour it in, but it will solidify once it cools and lead to a blockage.
  • Dental floss is not biodegradable and it can become entangled or snagged within the pipes and lead to an eventual blockage.
  • Condoms or prophylactics and their wrappers are also not biodegradable. The trashcan was invented to handle materials such as this.
  • Kitty Litter is another inert material that should never enter a septic system or sewage treatment plant. In addition, since pet waste is also harmful to septic systems, it should be disposed of properly by placing in the trash.
  • Hair is one of the leading culprits when it comes to a clogged drain. Most often, it affects the bathroom sink or tub drain by becoming tangled in the pop-up drain assembly. However, it can have the same effect in your sewer line by becoming snagged and trapping other waste, which leads to a blockage.
  • Feminine products are designed to absorb moisture through expansion. It should go without saying what happens when they enter a confined space full of water.
  • Paper towels are an absorbent material much thicker than toilet tissue. They can save the day in an emergency — no toilet tissue — but should never be flushed. Place dirty paper towels in a plastic bag and dispose of them properly, in the trash.
  • Cigarette butts are an inert material that does not degrade in your septic system and that is where they end up if you flush them. They can kill the microorganisms in your septic tank required to break down organic material. If this happens, you will face an expensive repair bill to say the least.
  • Band-aids contain plastics that are not biodegradable and should never be flushed.
  • Expired medication and other drugs that are flushed eventually find their way into our water supply. They should never be flushed or placed in the trash for that matter. Your local pharmacy will gladly dispose of your unwanted prescriptions free of charge.

Simply stated, the things you should never flush include everything but bodily waste and toilet tissue. Following this advice will keep your plumbing flowing smooth and help protect our environment.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image source: www.flickr.com

Image link: https://flic.kr/p/cSuKFf

Image photographer: Laura Ritchie

Image Title: Toilet

Home Plumbing: How You May Be Causing Damage

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Damage to your home plumbing system can often lead to unexpected repairs and/or inconveniences. Often, these unfortunate circumstances could have been avoided if the homeowner had just practiced some good plumbing sense. The information below will explain 1. What you can do to maintain your plumbing system and 2. Practices you should avoid (as they could lead to a plumbing contractor visit):

Ignoring the Signs

When there is trouble brewing within your home plumbing, there are often telltale signs of the pending failure. This is especially true when it comes to your sewer lines. Slow draining sinks and toilets that frequently clog are an indication of a pending blockage somewhere within your sewer line. Ignoring the symptoms will only allow the problem to grow worse over time. This can lead not only to additional damage in your plumbing system, but also major impairment to your home should the sewer lines backup and overflow.

Using Harsh Chemicals

Most homeowners have resorted to store bought chemicals that promise to clear away plumbing blockages. Although they are sometimes effective for clearing minor blockages, the corrosive chemicals present in the solutions can damage your pipes and can even cause bodily harm. Homeowners that own a house connected to a septic tank system would be wise to avoid using harsh chemicals as they can kill off or upset the natural balance of microorganisms crucial to the system.

Flushing No-no’s

A toilet is an ingenious device designed to rid our homes of organic waste. It was never intended to double as a garbage disposal. Flushing anything other than organic waste and bathroom tissue could damage the toilet, the sewer lines and septic tank systems. Feminine products, cosmetics, diapers, cigarette butts, paper towels and floor sweepings are harmful to your sewer lines and can lead to blockages.

Not Insulating

Many homes have exterior plumbing pipes subjected to outside weather conditions. Exterior plumbing pipes should always be insulated to prevent freezing. A frozen pipe can rupture, burst or leak causing untold damage to your home.

Failure to Drain Outdoor Plumbing and Fixtures

Exterior irrigation, fountains and their related pumps can freeze during the harsh winter months. Damage could include broken pipes, cracked foundations and shattered pump housings. These systems should be drained, insulated and protected before the onset of winter to avoid damage and repair costs come spring.

Protecting your home plumbing system is a sound investment that should never be ignored. For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Septic Tank Systems 101

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

If you want to avoid costly repairs, maintaining and caring for your septic tank system is crucial. Many homes in rural parts of the country where municipal sewer lines are not available depend on septic tank systems to dispose of and process household wastes. Without these efficient and cost effective systems, many people would rely on the traditional out house. Below you will find the basics of how a septic tank system works and what you can do to maintain its efficiency.

How It Works

A basic septic tank system is an on-site sewage treatment and disposal system most often buried beneath the ground. There are two main components of basic septic tank systems: 1. The holding tank and 2. The absorption field. Several things happen once household waste enters the tank:

  • Organic solids float to the surface forming the scum layer. There, the solids are digested by bacteria.
  • Inorganic/ inert solid materials and byproducts from bacterial digestions sink to the bottom forming the sludge layer.
  • Clear/gray water or effluent resides in the middle layer.

The Absorption Field

Often referred to as the drain field, the absorption field is a perforated circuit of pipes resting in a bed of gravel buried beneath the ground. The effluent/gray water in the septic holding tank flows into the pipes, drains into the gravel and is absorbed by the ground.

What to Avoid

Since septic systems rely on bacteria to break down and digest the organic material/solids, bacteria is vital to maintaining proper septic tank functionality and reduced pumping/cleaning. If bacteria die, your tank will quickly reach its capacity and will require frequent pumping to maintain any sort of function. Several household products can hurt or kill off the necessary bacteria in a septic tank.

  • Laundry detergents
  • Bleach and chlorine
  • Disinfectants
  • Acids
  • Petroleum products
  • Cleaning compounds
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
  • Drain openers

Aside from the aforementioned products, you should never allow the following items to enter your septic system.

  • Cigarette butts
  • Feminine products
  • Baby diapers
  • Pet waste
  • Kitty litter
  • Plastic/household trash

The bacteria present in your septic system are your friend. Without their diligent digesting of the scum layer, waste would quickly accumulate, overflow into the absorption field and prevent proper drainage rendering your system inoperable.

Maintenance

Septic tank systems require little maintenance aside from periodic pumping. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection recommends a septic tank pumping once every three years. If your home utilizes a garbage disposal, your tank should be pumped annually.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

How Local Sewer Damage Can Affect Your Home

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

One of the worst possible scenarios homeowners often face is sewer damage. Raw sewage can infiltrate bathtubs, sink drains and can cause toilets to overflow. When this is happening, these homeowners are subjected to possibly thousands of dollars in related costs. Some homeowners dealing with sewer damage are forced to repair or replace flooring, walls, furniture, and even electrical systems. What’s worse? Severe sewage damage can render your home uninhabitable as raw sewage can pose major health hazards.

What Is Local Sewer Damage?

A local sewer is a sewer system that is part of your city or county’s main sewer system. These large series of pipes are commonly located beneath the street. A pipeline connects your home to the main sewer line. The sewer line channels solid waste and effluent away from your home. When a problem develops — like a blockage — in the main sewer line, your home’s sewer lines will fail to drain and raw sewage will back up into your home.

What Causes Sewer Line Damage?

Several circumstances can lead to sewer damage. Here are some of the most common causes of sewer line damage:

  • Time: Many of our nation’s municipal sewer line systems are over thirty years old. The aging lines (which have been subjected to decades of wear, tear and obstruction) sometimes fail or become obstructed— leading to backups.
  • Overwhelmed Systems: Recent sewer construction projects have put both sewer and stormwater runoff in the same system. During heavy, prolonged rainfall and/or flooding, the systems are subjected to mass volumes of water that may overwhelm the system. The waste has nowhere else to go and often finds its way back into your home.
  • Municipal Blockages: Main sewer blockages can lead to sewage system backups and overflows in your home if not detected in time.
  • Residential Blockages: Tree roots as well as neglected, collapsing sewer pipes are the main culprits of residential sewer line problems. The sewer line connects your house with the main sewer located beneath the street.

Preventing Sewer Backups

You can take matters into your own hands. Help prevent or reduce the chances of sewage from backing into your home by doing the following:

  • Hire a professional plumber to inspect and/or clean your sewer line annually. This will help identify potential problem areas and keep your lines clear, and reduce the chance of blockage.
  • Dispose of grease and food properly by placing it into the trash. Food particles, fats, cooking oils and grease should never enter your home’s plumbing system. When they do, they carry the risk of collecting or building up in the drain line or main sewer line until a blockage occurs.
  • Your toilet is not a garbage disposal. You should never flush anything besides human waste or toilet paper. Cigarette butts, diapers, cosmetics, food, paper towels and feminine products can all lead to a blockage.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Summer Septic Care Tips

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

During the summer months, the last thing folks think about is septic care. However, an increase in activity during this time of year could be putting a strain on your septic tank system. Additional laundry, houseguests and the rainy season are typical activities during the summer. Without proper septic care, you could be faced with non-flushing toilets, sewage backups or a stinking, saturated backyard. The following tips can help you avoid septic tank problems and reduce or eliminate costly service calls and repairs.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

One reason a septic system could fail is lack of regular maintenance. Although opinions vary when you should have your septic pumped, it is commonly agreed by professional plumbers that you should have your tank pumped and inspected every three years. This helps to prevent scum and solid waste from contaminating your leech field — drain field — and preventing it to drain properly. If your leech field fails, soon after you will experience household backups and an overflowing septic tank.

Conserve Water

Because your septic tank can only handle so much water at a time, it is important to conserve water whenever possible during the summer months.

  • Repair running toilets or replace with high-efficiency, low-flow models
  • Repair or replace leaking faucets
  • Choose the right load size on your washing machine to avoid wasting water
  • Avoid washing all of your dirty laundry on the same day to allow your septic tank to recover

Defend your Septic Tank

A well-maintained septic system will provide years of faithful service, but it needs your help. Keep heavy objects, like cars, away from your septic tank and drain field. Avoid flushing things down the drain that are detrimental to your septic system. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cat litter
  • Facial tissue
  • Cigarette butts
  • Grease
  • Petroleum products
  • Condoms
  • Feminine products
  • Bleach or harsh household cleaners
  • Paint
  • Coffee grounds
  • Plastic

Garbage Disposals

If your home uses a septic tank system, garbage disposals are not recommended. Not only do they waste valuable water, but can also allow food particles to enter and clog the drain field.

Landscaping

Keep deep-rooted plants and trees at least thirty feet from the septic tank and adjoining drain field. Roots can quickly destroy your drain field and even crack the septic tank itself.

Proper septic care will reduce the likelihood of costly repairs and keep your system running efficiently for many years.

For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr

Reduce septic tank maintenance by not flushing harmful items

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Septic tank maintenance is a common occurrence for homes using one of these systems for their sewage disposal.

Avoid excessive maintenance and costly repairs by knowing what to avoid flushing into the septic tank. Most people realize that flushing things like feminine products and soiled diapers into a septic tank is not a good idea. However, other products and everyday items that are not as obvious can also harm your septic system.

Chemicals Products

Chemicals should never be introduced to your septic system. Cleaning products are the main component of this list. Common cleaners such as ammonia, glass cleaner, bleach, disinfectant etc. should not enter the system. All of these products and products like them can destroy the natural balance of bacteria in a septic system; bacteria that is needed to breakdown and consume the solids entering the tank. If the bacteria is killed off, it is more likely that your septic system will experience a failure.

Septic Tank Additives

There are plenty of septic tank additives on the market claiming to be beneficial to your septic system. These products promise a future of carefree septic tank maintenance for many years to come. It is best to avoid these products unless a plumbing professional recommends them. They can upset the balance of friendly bacteria and cause total system failure in the future.

Poisonous Products

Paint, weed killer, antifreeze, paint thinner, solvents and other toxic chemicals should never be flushed down the toilet. These materials should be disposed of responsibly and according to your local waste management office. Aside from wreaking havoc on your septic system, they can also damage the surrounding environment.

One Flush Disposal

Although it provides an easy and convenient way to dispose of undesirable products and materials, the toilet should not be used as a garbage disposal. Hair, feminine hygiene products, diapers, razor blades, condoms, pet litter and pet waste can all damage your septic system.

Leftovers

It is a myth that flushing scraps of leftover food, vegetables and grease are beneficial to your septic system. This is the furthest thing from the truth. Food scraps actually increase the amount of solids in the tank and are slow to breakdown once they are introduced. Cooking oil, grease and fats can also damage your system requiring premature cleaning and pumping.

Knowing what not to flush into your septic system is a great start to eliminating costly repairs and reducing periodic septic tank maintenance. Understanding how it all works will help you to properly maintain and care for your septic system.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image: Flickr