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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.

How to Handle an Emergency Water Leak

Dealing with an emergency water leak is not generally one of the average homeowner’s preferred activities, but sometimes plumbing emergencies happen and require immediate intervention.

The worst part about water leaks? They’re sneaky. A leak isn’t always as obvious as the alarming gush of water from a broken pipe. They can show up as a slowly growing puddle of water on your floor. Perhaps a leak has formed a bubble under the skin of your wall paint, slowly expanding like a water balloon ready to burst. Leaks can start out small and grow gradually bigger, all the while dripping into the foundation of your home, collecting mold and attracting unwanted pests.

The least pleasant leak situations involve issues with the main sewage line. If you’re experiencing urgent problems, such as sewage backups, burst pipes, or flooding, you’re bound to feel a bit of panic and confusion: Where is all this water coming from? How bad is it? How do I stop it? This is not how I planned on spending my morning!

Take a breath and get moving. Signs of a severe water leak require immediate attention. If you find yourself with a water leak, acting quickly and intentionally can help prevent lasting damage to your home.

Act Fast: Turn Your Water Off

If you are able, immediately locate your water meter and turn off the water to your building. This step is crucial to stopping even more flooding from occurring. It is also a good idea to unplug electronics and appliances. If necessary, some may prefer the precaution of turning off the whole circuit breaker. However, should accessing the circuit breaker require you to stand in wet areas, wait for a professional. Water and electricity are a deadly combination that you don’t want to risk.

Clean Up the Mess

Clean up the spillage immediately. Still or standing water can cause serious damage to floors. If left to sit for too long, dampness can cause wooden planks to expand, grow mold, become uneven, develop stains, and buckle. These unsightly symptoms of water damage are also hazardous to the health and safety of those that live in your home, especially if the leak is coming from a broken sewer pipe.

Wear protective gear, such as boots, gloves, and goggles, and grab a mop. To soak up larger amounts of water, you’ll need towels and anything absorbent that you can spare. After you clean the water from the floor, wash and sanitize the parts of the house that the water has touched to prevent contamination. It’s best to use a dehumidifier and fans to dry out a room after it has been flooded. Leave these running overnight and keep the area ventilated, otherwise you risk mold and mildew.

Call a Professional Plumber

Serious water leak emergencies could be a symptom of a problem with the sewer main line. To prevent guesswork and fix the problem before the damage worsens, it’s best to get a professional assessment. Licensed plumbers will have the equipment and expertise to find the root of the problem quickly and perform the required maintenance. Do not try to independently fix a plumbing issue that caused flooding—you may unintentionally cause more damage.

Search for the Source

While you wait for plumbing services, play detective and try to find the source of the water leak. See if you can find where the flood originated from by listening for dripping or hissing sounds. In a pinch, silicone tape can temporarily patch over smaller leaks until a professional arrives. If the source comes in the form of a faulty sink or a clogged toilet, don’t worry—you’ve already turned the water off, so no additional flooding will occur. If you’re stumped about where the leak could be coming from, wait for your plumber. They will be able identify the cause and source of the leakage.

Dealing with Damage

The best piece of advice for dealing with water damage is to prevent it in the first place, but sometimes emergencies are inevitable. Do what is in your power to ensure that you deal with the original spillage in the moment. Deep clean and dry all rugs, furniture, and floor pieces that were soaked. If you have already incurred damage on your drywall, insulation, walls, or flooring, these may need to be removed and replaced. Dispose of damaged items that are no longer safe to use.

Keep Monitoring

Especially in the first few months after flooding or leakages, pay attention. Is your water bill abnormally high? Is there any new wall discoloration developing? Do you hear hisses or drips anywhere in the house? If you find that the answer is yes to any of these questions, you are likely dealing with another leak. Address any new plumbing problems promptly.

Make Maintenance a Habit

Regular plumbing maintenance helps prevent emergency problems like severe water leaks. Even after you receive plumbing services and get any obvious leaks repaired, it’s important to schedule regular plumbing maintenance checks at least every two years. Taking care of your home’s plumbing system decreases the chances of plumbing emergencies, and it also ensures that your systems stay safely up to code.

Making sure that your plumbing system is routinely inspected decreases the chances that leaks will sneak up on you. Plumbers can detect problems before they start. Catching small issues early on might require a little extra preparation on your part, but it will save you from emergencies, damage, and much larger bills down the road.

Contact Us

If you’re experiencing a water leak, we can help. Call us at 650-374-0868 or fill out a contact form by clicking here to get connected with one of our representatives.

At Palo Alto Plumbing, we pride ourselves on providing excellent service. Our two decades of experience serving clients in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities make us the preferred local choice for quality plumbing services. We can handle all of your emergency or run-of-the-mill plumbing problems. Give us a call and let us take the problem off of your hands.

Common Plumbing Myths That Can Cost You More Money

Plumbing is one of the least glamorous aspects of home ownership, and every time a plumbing issue arises you can expect it to be a troublesome and inconvenient time for everyone in the household. Sometimes circumstances can worsen to the point that repair costs become more expensive because of misconceptions about the plumbing system. Below are some common ones that can cost you money: 

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What Causes Yellow & Orange Balls in Your Plumbing?

If you notice yellow or orange beads in your toilet, sink, bathtub or anywhere in your plumbing system, don’t worry too much. These are generally non-toxic and can be flushed out of your plumbing system. Ignoring these beads, however, can be harmful to your plumbing, as they may clog up smaller passages in fixtures and appliances.