A&A Plumbing

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Avoid Falling for these Plumbing Myths

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Indoor plumbing has come a long way over the years, yet there are some myths that have developed over time. As professional plumbers, it’s our job to educate our customers about their plumbing, and that includes dispelling the untrue myths they may have heard.

“Flushable” Wipes Un-Flushable

While you may have seen or used sanitary wipes marketed as “flushable” – they’re not truly flushable because they don’t dissolve like toilet paper. This means they can cause drain blockages. These include baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels.

If you use these products for long, it is only a matter of time before your toilet backs up and can become a costly mess.

The Problem with a Slow-Dripping Faucet

It may not appear to, but did you know dripping faucets waste a LOT of water and drive up your water bill? A single drop of water leaking from a closed faucet every second seems insignificant, but did you know that single drip can eventually account for over 3,000 gallons per year?

With millions of homes around the world having dripping faucets, that means billions of gallons of fresh water wasted. Many areas on the planet don’t even have a readily supply of clean drinking water, and we simply must conserve this precious resource.

Hot Grease Down the Kitchen Sink?

Many homeowners and renters think it’s okay to pour hot grease down the sink. While hot grease is very liquid at the time, it quickly cools and sticks to the insides of their pipe. There it can harden and continues to build up over time until it fully clogs that drain and sink. To avoid this, we recommend you pour hot grease into a steel can until it cools and pitch that in your trash.

DIY Chemical Drain Cleaners?

Well advertised as the go-to solution for a clogged drain, the chemical drain cleaners found in hardware stores, grocery stores, etc. can make some SERIOUS problems for your plumbing system. They are simply not that effective at eating away blockages and can do damage to your pipes. Plus, the chemicals in these products are incredibly toxic, with even the smallest splash on your skin possibly causing burns. We suggest the use of Bio-Clean, an effective and environmentally safe waste eliminator.

Grinding Lemon Peels in a Garbage Disposal

Of course throwing some fresh lemons into your garbage disposal will grind them up and smell lemony fresh, but most people don’t realize lemons contain citric acid – which can corrode a garbage disposal’s metal parts. If you want a safe and natural cleaner for your garbage disposal, we recommend simply using ice.

The Problem with Fluctuating Water Pressure

Despite what some people have heard or think, fluctuating water pressure can be a sign of a problem. Water pressure should remain consistent otherwise, it may be a sign of a leak somewhere or a failing pressure reducing valve. Get it checked out!

That Brick in the Water Tank Saves Water?

While it is accurate that placing a brick in your toilet’s water tank may conserve a little bit of water per flush, many people don’t realize that over time bricks decay and crumble and may damage a toilet’s mechanics. If you want to save water, have a high-efficiency toilet installed.

Keeping Toilets Clean with Bleach Tablets

There’s no question that bleach is a powerful cleaning product, but putting bleach tablets inside a toilet or its tank potentially may do more harm than good. Toilet parts including the gaskets, washers, and pipes are prone to corrosion. Having a corrosive bleach tablet sit in your toilet’s water may take its toll on it’s functionality.

Bleach may also damage the glazed finish of your toilet if it sits there for a long period of time at full strength before rinsing it. If you do use bleach or any other product containing bleach to clean your toilet, we recommend you wash it off with warm, soapy water soon after application.

8 Things to Consider Before Getting a New Toilet

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If your toilet is becoming a nuisance, it may be time to review the cost of having it repaired or replacing it with a new one. Installing a new toilet could be the best option, but it is not necessarily the only solution. We have seen it all in toilet issues over the years. Sometimes an adjustment or new part can make it work like new. The key is knowing when to repair a toilet vs completely replacing it. The following will help you to decide:

  1. Constant Clogging – Nobody likes to deal with a clogged toilet. If you are having to flush multiple times or (worse yet) grab the plunger to clear the bowl, it’s a sign you may want to upgrade to a new, more powerful toilet. But did you know that most of the newer toilets not only flush more effectively, but they save water doing so? Yes! Toilets have come a long way and the new line of water savers work much better.
  2. Cracks – If you notice puddles of water around your toilet, you need to check for cracks in the porcelain. Nearly invisible hairline cracks can develop in the tank or bowl of a toilet over time or through being struck. Unfortunately, these small cracks can turn into a flood of water at the worst possible time. We recommend you check your tank and bowl each time you clean the toilet. If you find one, we recommend you replace it right away, before it breaks completely. An unnoticed leak can lead to a ruined floor over time – a very expensive repair.
  3. Repairs, Repairs, Repairs! – Weighing the cost of repair or rebuild versus having a brand new toilet installed is a wise idea. If you are planning on replacing your toilet anytime soon, we recommend you save the money on the repair and upgrade to a new one. While it may be a larger expense up front, you should save money in the long run.
  4. Excessive Age – Everything in our homes has a limit to its age of usability. If your toilet is very old, a new one may be in order.
  5. Wobbling, Unstable Toilet – There are few things more unsettling than sitting on a wobbly toilet. It could be a simple fix of having shims installed. It could be floor structure damage. Have it checked out by a professional.
  6. Inefficient Flushing – Multiple flushes are annoying and can be embarrassing if you have guests. Plus, they waste a LOT of water. If it’s not flushing properly on the first flush, have it looked at to see if it can be adjusted, fixed, or should be replaced.
  7. Surface Damage – Over time if a toilet’s porcelain gets worn or scratched, it will become increasingly difficult to keep clean. If you find yourself having to scrub and clean the toilet more often, it might be time to have a new one installed and rid yourself of the extra maintenance.
  8. Built-Up Mineral Deposits – The water supply in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa is very high in minerals. These build up over time and if your toilet is not performing as expected, you may need to have parts replaced or simply to get a new, more efficient one.

Without considering the cosmetic issues of color, style, and the condition of the surface, there are still a few reasons when getting a new toilet is a good idea. To help you determine when to replace a toilet please give us a call.

How to Find a Plumbing Water Leak

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If you find or suspect a water leak in your home, tracing it to the source quickly is necessary to avoid potential water damage that can get very costly to repair. Identifying the leak’s source depends largely on the type of leak happening. A leaking pipe under the sink is far easier to identify than to find one that is hidden within a wall or in the ceilings.

Check the Water Meter

One of the easiest ways to tell if your home has a water leak is to check the water meter. Go to the water meter, typically located near the main water shut-off of your home. Note exactly where the water meter reads and write it down or take a photo of it with your phone. Confirm that you have a water leak by shutting off your water-using appliances and fixtures. This includes faucets, showers, washing machines and refrigerators. Check back in a few hours, just make sure all the water stayed off. If the reading has advanced, this indicates a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.

Large Appliances

Wherever possible, carefully move appliances to look for the source of the moisture. For example, a loose or damaged water line to a dishwasher will leak water under and around the appliance.

Kitchen & Bathrooms

Open all cabinets under your sinks and clear out supplies and other products so you can more easily examine the space for water, dampness, stains, mold or mildew, and buckled or peeling material. Shine a bright light inside to look for moisture around all the joints and at the bottom of the P trap. Signs of a leaking pipe may also include corrosion on the supply lines, and pipe fittings and valves. If possible, tighten fittings and wipe away any moisture present.

Turn your water back on to see if you still have a water leak problem. Sometimes the leak is in the supply valve or line, and it will be evident when the supply is turned off and then activated again. If this is the problem, have the leaking supply line replaced.

Like any plumbing problem, attending to it quickly can save you a lot of money in repairs. If your house is more than 20 years old, your plumbing system may require a professional inspection.

Floors, Walls & Ceilings

Water leaks can be tricky to find. Try these tips to look for any that may be inside walls, above ceilings, or on the floor:

  • Examine the flooring around fixtures and appliances that use water, including toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Cracked or warped flooring or soft, “spongy” spots in the floor most likely mean moisture is present and a possible leak.
  • Check the ceilings throughout your home. Stains on the ceiling indicate a leak somewhere coming from above.
  • Also examine the walls in your home for water damage, such as bubbled paint, stains and cracks. Leaking water pipes may also leave wet spots on the wall. But the location of this damage is not usually the exact location of the leak. Water may run the length of a broken pipe and pool at a different location in the wall.

Contact us to inspect for, confirm, and repair the leak BEFORE you begin ripping out walls or floors.

Basements & Crawlspaces

Inspect all the exposed pipes you can see in your basement and crawlspaces. Moisture and/or corrosion around the pipes are an easy indicator you have a leak.

If you discover rotted wood, mildew around these pipes, your leak is most likely in this area. Water will travel downward because of gravity, and occasionally the location of water stains is not the exact location of a leaking water pipe. Still, it is a good indicator of the general area of the source of moisture.

Checking Outside the Home

Walk the circumference of your home and check hoses, spigots, and (if you have one) the irrigation system. Just a tiny pinhole leak can account for losing and wasting over 6,300 gallons of water a month.

Call A Trusted, Trained Plumbing Professional

If you have any plumbing problems or concerns at all, give us a call today at (402) 932-3899 or visit our website at anaplumbing.com. Since 2009, A & A Plumbing & Drain Services is the leading plumber serving Douglas and Sarpy counties and surrounding areas. We offer commercial and residential plumbing services, drain cleaning, water heaters, and much more.

Keeping Tree Roots from Damaging Your Sewer Line

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There are many benefits of having trees in your yard, including adding value to your home; breaking the cold winter winds to lower your heating costs; and providing food and shelter for wildlife.

Unfortunately, a poorly placed and planted tree can be a hazard to your sewer line.

The roots of trees and shrubs naturally grow toward sewer lines. The sewer pipes can be a bountiful source of water, oxygen, and nutrients that they crave. When a root discovers a sewer line leak, it will rapidly grow and expand into the pipe – and can slow the flow of waste, cause blockages, damage pipes, and other serious problems.

Sewage leaks are unsanitary and have been shown to cause health problems. Repairing the sewer line damage caused by tree roots can be very costly, sometimes thousands of dollars!

The professionals at A & A Plumbing & Drain Services offer the following tips to help you avoid costly repair bills by taking a few steps when planting trees and maintaining your home’s pipes.

 

  • Choose Only “Sewer-Safe” Shrubs & Trees

When planning out your landscaping, educating yourself is the best way to avoid future problems and potentially expensive repair bills. First, limit the number of plants you place near the sewer lines. If you are planning to plant larger trees, be sure they are far enough away from sewer lines so that, as they mature, roots are not within reach of the pipes. If you believe you want a tree closer to a sewer line, select slow-growing trees with a smaller mature root impact area.

 

  • Be Aware of the Warning Signs

In plumbing, there is one thing you can eventually rely on – clogged drain lines. For infrequent clogs, there are often simple solutions to clear a drain that most homeowners may try. But if your drains clog frequently or completely, it could be a sign of a larger problem. Root damage to sewer lines can lead to slow-flowing, clogged, or even overflowing drains – sometimes accompanied by a gurgling noise from the toilet.

 

  • Having an Inspection and Maintenance

When drains clog frequently, are difficult to clear, and emit gurgling noises, call A & A Plumbing & Drain Services to have the drain and sewer lines inspected. We can inspect your drain pipes by running a camera probe through them to look for damage or issues and can (if necessary) recommend repairs or replacement.

 

To avoid major sewer repairs, we can clean your sewer lines regularly and inspect the structure of the pipe system. Regular maintenance will help prevent root growth inside the pipes. Sewer-line maintenance involves us threading a cable through the sewer pipe that cuts through any clogs or tree roots, clearing the sewer pipe so the sewage can flow freely out of and away from your home.

With more than 20 years of experience, we have been serving first-class residential and commercial plumbing throughout the Omaha metro area. We believe our customers deserve service that is reliable, responsive, and complete, with GUARANTEED satisfaction. If you have any plumbing questions or concerns, call your friends at A & A Plumbing & Drain Services at 402-932-3899 or visit our website www.anaplumbing.com