Category

Plumbing

Protect Drains and Pipes from Damage

How to Protect Your Frisco Drains and Pipes from Damage

By Plumbing

There are many old homes in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, and they come with all the plumbing problems familiar to homes built long ago: Bad repairs by previous owners, antiquated pipes, and shifting foundations and drains. All of these factors can lead to frequent drain clogging.

Drain clogs are one of those messy, unpleasant home problems that no one wants to handle. Most kitchen sink or dishwasher drain clogs result from foreign objects, grease, or food. For bathroom clogs, the culprit is usually dirt, skin flakes, or hair that binds to soap scum in your pipes. In either instance, clearing these clogs up is an urgent yet unwelcome task. 

Ways to Protect Your Pipes

One of the best ways to avoid clearing a clog is to prevent it in the first place. Consider some of these ways to keep your pipes clear.

Keep the Junk Out

One of the simplest ways to prevent a drain clog is to keep the garbage out of your pipes in the first place. 

Remove as much grease and oil as possible from your dishes before putting them in the sink or dishwasher. Make sure the barbecue plates have been scraped thoroughly of those beef drippings and sauce. Remember scrape grease and large chunks of food into the garbage can, not the sink! 

As for your bathroom drains, practice regular drain cleaning to remove hair and other debris from your drain. That way, the buildup won’t go down the pipe and affect your plumbing.

Hot Water Treatment

Pour boiling water down your pipes periodically to help loosen the buildup of any scum or debris. Then run hot tap water to rinse away whatever debris you loosened. Boiling water can also break up and clear away some minor clogs. 

Drain Covers

If you don’t have drain covers, think about getting them. They can prevent the need for drain cleaning when used properly. You can usually find different cover sizes and styles at any hardware store. Those little wire nets that fit most drains will keep a tremendous amount of hair and other junk out of your plumbing, preventing a severe clog for a minimal investment.

Keep Drain Covers Clean

Once you’ve invested in those drain protectors, make sure you keep them clean. Don’t let gunk build up in the drain covers! Occasionally, you may want to pull the drain covers off the drains and run them through a dishwasher cycle. Washing them will make sure they’re free of any slime, oil, or grease buildup.

Ways to Clear Your Drains

If you haven’t kept up with your drain cleaning or some other drain-related disaster has occurred, you may want to try some of these standard drain cleaning remedies before calling the professionals.

Remove a Visible Clog

If you can see the debris causing the clog, try to remove it by hand. Put on rubber gloves, then use tweezers or a wire coat hanger so that you’re not directly touching whatever gunky mess there is. Both of these utensils make excellent clog removal tools.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

One of the simplest methods of drain cleaning involves standard household supplies. Mix one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Pour that mixture down the drain and let it sit for at least three hours. Next, pour boiling water down the drain. You can repeat this several times if necessary. 

Some people pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of table salt and a cup of white vinegar. If you choose this technique, let the mixture sit for ten minutes, then flush the drain with boiling water.

Drain Snake

If you have a drain snake (also known as a plumber’s snake), you can run it down the drain to break up or displace the clog. Drain snakes are great for drain cleaning, and they come as reusable or disposable. If yours is reusable, make sure to wash it after the job is done.

Plungers

Plungers work on any drain where you can create suction. They may be a challenge to use if your drain has an overflow valve (also known as a relief valve) because this device will prevent you from generating suction. Still, plungers are a valuable tool if you can cover the drain and get the power you need to pull out or push forward the clog.

Boiling Water

Sometimes, the most straightforward drain cleaning remedy is the best. Try pouring boiling water down your clogged drain. If the clog results from grease or soap scum, the water may well melt through it. You can repeat this strategy as many times as necessary.

Commercial Drain Cleaners

Chemical caustic or acidic drain cleaners may work well on your clog, but they have many downsides. These drain cleaning agents can damage your pipes, and if misused, can cause gusher-like backup and chemical burns or blisters on your bathroom fixtures. 

Drain cleaners also put poisonous chemicals into the water supply and can create toxic fumes in their efforts to de-clog your drain.

Enzymatic Drain Cleaners

Today, there are also enzymatic drain cleaners that consist of bacteria used to feed on your clogs. You can use these cleaners periodically as a preventative measure as well as a cleanser. Monthly treatment with this type of product can keep your drains running clean. 

Clean the Drain Trap

If you’re confident and somewhat skilled, you can remove the U-shaped portion of your pipe (also known as a P-trap) at the bottom of your drain and clean it out. Most plumbers recommend you leave this task to the professionals, as an error can cost you money in repairs. 

Bring in the Experts

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work to keep your drains clean or how hard you’ve tried to clear a problem on your own, you are still stuck with a stubbornly clogged drain. In that case, you’ll wonder, “how do I  find someone to do a plumbing repair near me?” That’s when you should call a skilled plumbing professional who can diagnose your clog and use the appropriate tools to fix it promptly, safely, and expertly.

At Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we’re just those professionals! Give us a call if you need assistance with drain cleaning or de-clogging.

Myths About Plumbing

Common Myths About Plumbing in Plano

By Plumbing

Plumbing is one area of home maintenance where people are quick to try their solutions instead of calling in professionals. Some home remedies have merit to them, but many are based on myths and misconceptions.

Don’t throw sound judgment down the drain. Let Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning dispel the most common myths about plumbing for you so that you can make the right decision the first time.

“Flushable” Wipes

Some homeowners see their toilets as a handy way to dispose of just about anything. That is a big mistake, and we’re sure that many readers have already learned this the hard way. Many items have no business going down the toilet.

Baby wipes are one such item. These wipes do not break down like toilet paper, so they can cause major clogs and blockages if flushed. Anything vaguely similar to these products—such as make-up removal wipes and wet wipes—shouldn’t go down the pipes, either. Even wipes advertised as flushable can create disastrous clogs and other issues once they reach municipal wastewater treatment facilities.

Faucet Drips Are Nothing to Worry About

Many people think it’s best to learn to live with leaky faucets. They don’t consider it a big deal and assume repairs are more trouble than they’re worth. In reality, leaky faucets are a primary source of wasted water across the entire country.

Not only do leaky faucets contribute to water shortages, but they’re also bad for your fixture. Leaving leaks unfixed can damage your equipment over time, and the constant dripping and depositing of minerals can leave unsightly marks in your sink bowl.

Tightening Faucets Can Fix Any Leaks

The average person’s response to a leaky faucet is to turn the tap as far as to the right as it can go. Some homeowners even take a wrench to it, almost always damaging the tap beyond repair. Leaky taps aren’t a major undertaking like slab leak repair, so bigger tools won’t help.

People do everything they can to avoid what they consider a drastic response—googling “plumbers near me” and calling in the professionals. However, tightening any plumbing fixture too much will strip threads and make leaks worse, possibly damaging more parts in the process. After that, you’ll definitely need to call for help.

Emergency Water Heater Repairs for Any Bump or Clank

Water heaters contain a lot of hot water, leading many homeowners to become overly fearful of explosions. They hear strange sounds and assume the worst-case scenario is about to happen. There’s no particular need to worry when you hear the following:

  • Popping
  • Rumbling
  • Clunking
  • Ticking
  • Knocking

These sounds are typically just air bubbles escaping from sediment on the bottom of the tank. Simple annual flushing of your unit will prevent these noises, which are a symptom of a relatively minor problem. You could also consider a tankless water heater installation, which can have numerous benefits. Still, concern over exploding tanks shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Boiling Water to Break Up Stubborn Clogs

Boiling water has been a drain cleaning method for centuries, but it doesn’t really have a solid basis. It works under the same principle as chemical drain cleaning agents—that they should soften and break up any clogs.

However, boiling water rarely does the trick. If a clog isn’t dissolvable in water, the temperature of the water won’t make a difference. And that’s essentially the end of this myth! Time to bring in a professional for drain snaking.

The Safety of Liquid Drain Cleaners

Drano and other liquid drain cleaners are often the go-to solutions for major clogs. However, homeowners are likely doing more harm than good since these chemicals can be just as harsh on your plumbing as they are on clogs.

That fact is especially true for toilets, where chemicals can eventually damage and crack the porcelain. As a result, you’re going to need a toilet replacement, not a toilet repair. The substances can eventually corrode both metal and PVC plumbing over time, as well.

Ice Cubes for Garbage Disposal Repair

This is one of the strangest plumbing myths because it doesn’t seem to have any grounds in logic or common sense. Most other myths at least seem plausible, but why would ice ever sharpen steel blades? There’s no question that ice cubes will dull your blades, not hone them.

Ice is harder than most things you put down your garbage disposal; therefore, it will damage your equipment more than regular food waste. Sharpening or replacing blades are simple garbage disposal repairs that any professional can handle. Using ice is just a waste of your time and may have you sinking more money into your disposal in the end.

Running Water Helps Maintain Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals are versatile tools for disposing of food waste. People often think that they can get better performance out of their equipment by running water whenever they use it. However, doing this merely wastes water and for no noticeable benefit.

You might think that running water would help sweep food along or push big chunks through the drain. The truth is that the water running doesn’t provide much pressure or current to help food along. The water from your tap certainly doesn’t carry enough force to dislodge jammed chunks of food.

Lemon Peels for Managing Garbage Disposal Smells

One of the most common complaints about garbage disposals is foul odors. When chunks or juices from food waste are left behind, they can give off unpleasant smells. One of the traditional methods for handling these smells is sending lemon peels into the disposal.

Lemos may smell nice, but they’re not good for your garbage disposal blades. The rinds are highly acidic and will corrode both your disposal blades and your plumbing. The real solution to a stinky garbage disposal is using a mixture of white vinegar with baking soda.

Leaving Plumbing Work to Amateurs

Plenty of people try fixing their own plumbing issues, leading to disaster most of the time. Even those who know better often go with unlicensed tradespeople instead of tracking down an actually certified plumber for the job.

Plumbing is a trade that requires expertise and knowledge. When you go with an amateur, you’re risking significant damage not just to your equipment but to your entire home. These workers are often uninsured as well, meaning you’ll be in real trouble if something goes wrong.

Reliable Plumbers Near Me with Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning

Sirius Plumbing and Air Conditioning provide the residents of Plano and the surrounding areas with reliable plumbing repairs and installations. From clogged drains to tankless water heater installations, we handle it all. Contact us today to choose professional and licensed plumbers you can trust.