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7 Plumbing Mistakes Homeowners Make

As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to maintain your plumbing system and prevent issues like a sewer leak, but it’s easy for homeowners to make mistakes that cause problems with their plumbing systems later on. This blog post will go over some of the most common plumbing mistakes homeowners make and how they can avoid them.

Quick Tips

When you’re dealing with plumbing problems in your home, it’s usually important to act quickly. The longer the problem goes unfixed, the more damage it can cause, and the harder it can become to repair. If you have a burst pipe or a sewer leak, for example, shut off the water immediately before further damage occurs. Then call a plumber as soon as possible. But how do you avoid these types of situations in the first place?

These are a few of the most common plumbing mistakes that homeowners tend to make:

1) Trying to DIY Projects

The reality is that most homeowners don’t understand how their plumbing works beyond turning on a faucet or flushing the toilet. There’s simply no reason for most of us to have a broader understanding of how many things work in our homes, like how electricity functions, or all the intricacies of a gas furnace. That’s what experts are for. After all, who has time to get into the wide ranging technical aspects of total home maintenance? So let yourself off the hook for once, and instead of trying to DIY your plumbing to save a few bucks, go ahead and call a local plumber. Honestly, it will save you time and money in the long run. Not to mention, if you have a messy sewer leak on your hands, trying to DIY a plumbing fix can even be a health hazard.

2) Failing to Fix Leaks Right Away

One of the most common things homeowners tend to put off for later is taking care of things like leaky faucets. Whether you’re wasting water by leaving the faucet dripping around the clock, or have hidden leaks in your pipes, not addressing these issues can result in higher water bills, or even worrisome damage to your property.

One sign of a sewer leak is an unusual green patch in your yard. Such waste water can fertilize the surrounding area, so unusual plant growth is a clue that there may be an underlying issue to blame. It’s essential to note that leaks can disturb your home’s foundation over time, and also lead to mold growth, which poses health hazards as well.

3) Flushing The Wrong Things Down the Toilet

Plumbing systems are more delicate than many homeowners realize, so there are certain things that should never be flushed down your toilets. Be sure that things like trash, paper towels, baby wipes, and sanitary products are always thrown in the trash instead. If you have children in your household, it’s also important to teach them what can and can’t be flushed down the toilets. Otherwise, pipes can become clogged, leading to expensive plumbing repairs, or even emergency plumbing services.

4) Using Chemical Cleaners to Clear Clogs

While this seems like a cheap and simple solution, it’s not. Unfortunately, using chemical cleaners can eat away at your pipes. They also emit toxic fumes that can be dangerous to your eyes as well as your respiratory system. Some chemical cleaners are advertised to be able to clear a drain blockage with just one application, but, in actuality, this is seldom effective. Unfortunately, you’re actually more likely to damage your plumbing with these “quick-fix” products.

5) Placing Grease or Food Down the Sink

One of the most common plumbing mistakes that people make is putting grease or food waste down the sink. This is generally disastrous because it ends up clogging the pipes, even if you have a garbage disposal. It’s important to remember to always dump food waste in the trash or in a special container used for grease, etc. Certain types of food can’t go down your garbage disposal. For example, it’s just not designed to take on heavy-duty substances, like fruit rinds, despite the fact that we’ve all been told to freshen things up with a lemon.

Tip: It’s also very important not to put food waste in your dishwasher because it can get stuck and cause clogs. There isn’t really anywhere for it to go.

6) Not Scheduling Plumbing Maintenance

One of the best ways to save money on plumbing repairs or to prevent major issues, like a sewer leak, is to schedule regular plumbing maintenance for your home. Rather than waiting for there to be an emergency plumbing problem, it pays to take a more proactive approach. Our advice is to have your system looked over at least once a year by a trusted plumbing company.

7) Not Hiring an Experienced Plumbing Company

Before hiring a plumber to come to your home, you really need to do a little research. You don’t want to put yourself in a frustrating position by relying on someone who doesn’t have enough experience to take care of the problem. It’s better to spend some time learning more about a plumbing company before you make up your mind. A reputable plumbing service should have reviews or testimonials on their website or social media pages. It’s also important to ensure that they’re licensed and insured so you aren’t putting yourself at financial risk if they’re somehow injured on the job.

Need Help?

Like any other system in your house, you have to take care of your plumbing to make sure it lasts a long time. If not, you risk dealing with expensive plumbing repairs or even water damage and mold. These mistakes can wreak havoc on your home, and take money and energy to fix! We hope this blog post helps you better understand your home’s plumbing. If you have any questions for us at Palo Alto Plumbing, or would like a free estimate, please give us a call at (650) 856-3400. Our friendly staff is here to help.

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Are you wondering if you need a plumber right away or if the problem can wait a little while longer? This is a common question for homeowners to have. After all, what if something seems like a minor issue, but it turns into a real mess that’s twice as expensive to fix? Not to worry—these are some times when you can be sure it’s critical to call a plumbing expert without delay.

A Burst Pipe

If a pipe has burst in your home, stop reading and contact an emergency plumber immediately. Depending on the situation, it doesn’t take very long for gallons and gallons of water to flood your home. Water can cause damage to furniture, flooring, cabinets, and even your home’s insulation and wood framing. If you know how to shut the water off, do that first. Otherwise, give us a call at Palo Alto Plumbing, and move your valuables and electronics to a safe area.

Sewage Backup

It goes without saying that sewage is a health hazard. If you have a backup, talk to an emergency plumber right away. A backup in the sewer line can be caused by things like invasive tree roots, a break in the pipe, or some kind of blockage. A sewage backup is inconvenient but it can also be dangerous. Raw sewage emits fumes and can spread pathogens.

Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can also be an emergency. If you can’t easily resolve  the issue on your own, talk to a plumber as soon as possible. The water is contaminated with bacteria, making it a health risk. If you aren’t sure of the underlying reason for the problem, a plumbing expert can help you sort it out.

You’re Without Water

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If you suddenly find yourself without running water, this is cause for concern. It impacts your ability to cook, clean, or even use the bathroom. These days, most of us don’t rely on the tap for drinking water, but a lack of running water is still an emergency plumbing problem. Talk to an expert about resolving the issue.

Flood Risks

A variety of plumbing problems can pose a flood risk. Call a professional right away to prevent the need for costly repair work to your home. Water damage can also lead to other issues. For example, mold growth. This can become a real issue in and of itself because mold can be a major health hazard. A burst pipe or a failed sump pump can lead to flooding, as well as a water valve that fails to shut off.

Clogged Drains

Only a plumber will be able to tell you if there’s a hidden reason for your clogged drain. If a drain keeps getting clogged, you likely have a bigger problem on your hands than you realize. This is especially true if there’s something stopping up more than one drain in your home. Don’t risk rising water. Give a pro a call to make sure you don’t have a sewer problem.

Water Heater Failure

Another common plumbing emergency is when your water heater gives up the ghost. Discolored water is one clue, but the most obvious sign your water heater has failed is a freezing cold shower in the morning. Another thing you might notice is that your water has taken on a strange smell. Be sure to call a local plumbing service to take a look at your water heater. You don’t want to put this off because a faulty water heater can actually have hidden leaks. The last thing you want to do is spend hours mopping up all the water from its tank.

Leaky Faucets

You might not think about it, but old hardware can cause leaks too. Even if that isn’t the case, a dripping sink, shower, or toilet can really add to your monthly water bill costs, especially in the long run. Standing water is also an unpleasant mess to clean up. It often smells bad and can cause both mold and rust. Additionally, pests are drawn to water too.

DIY Plumbing Mishaps

DIY plumbing can also lead to some costly mistakes. Some of them require emergency plumbing services. Here’s a list of the most common DIY plumbing mishaps…

Forgetting to Turn Off the Water

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to home plumbing projects is that people often forget to turn off the water before they start taking things apart. Forgetting to turn off the water will most likely lead to water spraying from the loosened connection. What’s worse is that  you probably won’t be able to stop the flooding by putting things back together until you turn the water off at the source. If you don’t know how to shut the water off, it’s hard to think clearly when you’re in a panic and water is pouring into your home.

Too Much Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners can actually do more harm than good, especially if you use them on a regular basis to deal with clogged drains. For one thing, they’re hard on your pipes. Their toxic fumes can also be a hazard to your health.

Incorrect Toilet Placement

An incorrect toilet placement is another issue we regularly see. While this might seem like a simple project you can handle on your own, it still requires specialized knowledge. Often, the new toilet doesn’t quite fit right, or the replacement bowl is the wrong shape. This can come down to incorrect measurements. For example, older homes have a different standard than more modern designs, so this is something to be aware of.

Talk to an Emergency Plumber

Here at Palo Alto Plumbing, our licensed plumbers can solve anything from a drippy faucet to a cracked sewer pipe. Our detail-oriented and knowledgeable plumbers can ensure your household’s health and safety by providing quality services. Contact us at 650-405-1460 or fill out a contact form on our website to chat with one of our representatives about all of your plumbing needs!

Common Causes for a Home Water Leak

Water leaks – the bane of any homeowners existence. It’s not only irritating – the drip drip sound is enough to drive anyone crazy – it’s also wasteful. A leaking faucet can waste gallons of water per day. In fact, a water leak that presents as a leaking faucet can waste up to 350 gallons of water per year. No matter where you live, this is bad news. You might feel the impulse to ignore a water leak. After all, a tiny leak is easy to ignore. However, water leaks do not go away on their own. If left unchecked, they can lead to further damage. There are many types of leaks and some are hard to identify. Read on to learn more about leaks and their causes.

Supply Line Leaks

Supply line leaks are not the same as faucet leaks. In the case of a supply line leak, the actual water supply line that supplies water to your home is compromised. The supply pipe is usually outside of the house, often buried underground. The supply line is connected to the water meter. If you notice that there is water in the water meter, this could be a sign that you have a supply line leak. Another sign of a supply line leak is if there’s water in the ground above where the line is buried. In this case, the leak is likely severe. If you have a supply line leak, do not attempt to fix this yourself. Call in a professional.

If your water pressure is too high, this can put wear and tear on your pipes. Wear and tear can lead to leaks in the supply line, which can get worse if left neglected. A professional can identify the location of the leak and reinforce the area that’s weak. They can also strengthen or replace other areas of pipe that look like they are close to leaking in order to prevent supply line leaks in the future.

Toilet Leaks

Toilet leaks are some of the most common kinds of leaks in the home. They are also among the hardest to identify because they are generally silent. They don’t create the noise that leaks from a faucet can create. Because the leak is going directly into another body of water, these leaks can be hard to see and hear. The best way to identify a leak in your toilet is to listen for a sound coming from the valve in the toilet. If the valve makes a sound while the toilet is not being used, this is an indication of a possible leak.

One way to discern whether there’s a leak in your toilet is to deposit dye tabs into the water in the tank. If the colored water begins to show up in the bowl of the toilet within 15 minutes or so, you likely have a leak on your hands. A professional is the best person to fix this problem. They will be able to replace or adjust valves and lines in your toilet so that the leak ceases to be an issue. Loose or worn out parts of the toilet’s plumbing system are usually to blame for the leak. If valves are diminished or damaged, they are likely the cause of the leak in your system. While this is a repair that is easy for a professional plumber to make, it’s not something that you should try at home. If you do, you may find that you do more damage than good. And you may need to pay for more costly repairs in the long run.

Clogged Drains

A clogged drain does not just present a problem on the outside. It presents a problem on the inside, as well. A clogged drain in the sink makes it difficult for water to flow through the pipes. This can lead to internal blockages that put stress on your plumbing system, eventually leading to breaks or cracks in the pipes if left unchecked. If you notice that water is draining more slowly than usual, have your plumber check for clogged pipes. Doing this can help prevent or identify leaks in the plumbing system.

Loose Joints

If the joints that connect your piping are weak or loose, they can cause a water leak to occur in your home. When you have your pipes inspected, make sure that your plumber looks to see if the joints are in good condition. If they aren’t, they may need to be replaced or repaired. One indication of possible weak joints is a banging noise when water is in use. If you are accustomed to hearing this noise, it might be time for an inspection.

Rust

If your pipes are made of metal, they should be checked periodically for rust or corrosion. Over time, metal can be worn down and can develop areas of weakness or breakage. If pipes are rusted, there is an increased risk of a water leak.

Temperature

As with all things, pipes are affected by extreme temperatures. If temperature fluctuates wildly from hot to cold, this can cause undue wear and tear on your plumbing. This can lead to a water leak. Keep this in mind if you are experiencing severe weather conditions. It might be a good idea to have your plumbing inspected after a particularly extreme spell of weather just to make sure that everything is in good working order.

Damage

The damage that can be caused by a water leak goes far beyond inconvenience. Mold growth, structural damage, and electrical danger are all potential results of a water leak that goes unchecked. It’s important to know about the causes of leaks in order to prevent them.

Contact Us

If you notice or suspect a water leak, contact us. At Palo Alto Plumbing, we have the knowledge and expertise to do the job right the first time – every time. Contact us today by calling 650-374-0868. We look forward to hearing from you.

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