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Why You Should Avoid Store Bought Drain Cleaners

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The water in your sink has been progressively draining slower over the last couple of months until one dreaded day when the water begins to pool. It’s official, you have a clog in your drain and there’s no way you can continue to ignore it any longer. But before you reach for the ever-so convenient store bought drain cleaner, you should read up on the effects they can have on your plumbing.

We know that pouring drain cleaner into your sink is both an easy and cost-effective solution, but they often do more harm than good. Most store bought drain cleaners contain highly corrosive chemicals meant to ‘eat’ through the clog. While they are a great solution in the short-term, they will damage your pipes over time. Years of intermittent use can lead to severe structural damage on your drain pipes, meaning they will need to be replaced sooner than usual.

In addition to damaging your pipes, store bought drain cleaners don’t always remove the entire source of the clog. Often, waste is left behind and acts as a starting point for future clogs. Have you ever noticed that after using drain cleaner to get rid of a clog, another soon forms? The extra waste left in the pipes is exactly why that happens!

Store bought drain cleaners can be very harmful, and even toxic if used incorrectly. The chemicals used in drain cleaners are extremely dangerous – they are meant to corrode metal! Not only are the chemicals dangerous if you come in contact with them, but the fumes can be deadly when mixed. A good rule of thumb is that if you try one drain cleaner and it doesn’t clear the clog, never immediately try a different brand of drain cleaner. There is a chance the chemicals could mix, resulting in toxic fumes.

If you have small children or pets, you should be even more cautious about keeping such dangerous chemicals in your household.

So, what should you do when a drain clogs? You should call a professional to have it removed. Having a professional remedy the problem will help you to avoid costly repairs in the future and will help prevent serious clogs from forming.
If you have any questions about store bought drain cleaners this blog didn’t cover – please don’t hesitate to contact us! That’s what we’re here for.

Common Toilet Issues

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We don’t have to remind you that your toilet is one of the most important appliances in your home. There are a lot of appliances that are nice but not necessary, and the toilet is not one of them. Because it is so important, we think everyone should have a basic understanding of how the toilet works and some of the most common issues people experience with their toilets.

Let’s talk about how the toilet functions. You push the lever and the wastewater magically disappears and is replaced with clean water, right? Not quite. There are five steps that take place each time the toilet is flushed.

When you push the handle to flush, a chain lifts the flapper valve. Water from the tank then flows through the flush valve opening into the toilet bowl. The water from the tank forces the wastewater in the bowl through the trap and into the main drain. Once the tank is empty, the flapper valve closes and the fill valve opens, refilling the tank. Once the tank is full, the float ball shuts off the fill valve.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the toilet’s inner workings, let’s tackle four of the most common problems people encounter with their toilets.

Running toilet

Have you ever heard a toilet that always sounds like it has just been flushed? That’s what a running toilet is. It’s also referred to as a ‘phantom flush’. A running toilet is caused when the flush valve ages and hardens, allowing water to constantly escape into the toilet bowl. This issue is definitely an annoying one, but it can also be quite messy if not repaired properly.

Leaking toilet bowl

A leaking toilet bowl is most often caused by a defective wax ring. In rare cases, it can be caused by a crack in the porcelain of the toilet bowl.

Partial flush

A partial flush is when the toilet flushes, but not all the way. If your toilet isn’t flushing fully, there are generally three potential causes:

  1. There could be too much slack in the lift chain.
  2. There could be too low of a level of water in the tank.
  3. The flapper may not be installed properly or isn’t the correct model.

Strong but partial flush

This issue is very similar to the partial flush, but is signified by the flush seeming to be strong, yet still not flushing all the way. This issue is often related to the flush valve volume. If the valve becomes waterlogged and is dropping too fast, the strong but partial flush will occur. If you take the lid off your tank and watch as you flush the toilet, the flush valve should stay up until about 80% of the water has drained from the tank. If the valve does not stay up that long, it’s time to install a new one.

 
Of course, reading this won’t make you an expert on toilets, so give us a call if you encounter any issues – we’re always happy to help!

Flooded Basement? Here’s What You Need To Do

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No one wants to walk downstairs to find their basement flooded. However, it’s bound to happen at one point in your life, and it’s important to know how to handle the situation. The following steps should help you navigate your flooded basement with ease.

Shut off the source of the flood as soon as possible.

This seems like an easy enough task unless, of course, the water is coming in because your area is flooded. In order to turn off the source of water, you will likely need to turn off the plumbing in your entire home. Don’t know how to turn off the plumbing? It’s better that you learn now, when you don’t need to know, than wait until disaster strikes.

Oh, and if the source of the water is a sewage backup, it’s imperative you don’t use any appliances that use water, such as the toilet or dishwasher.

Examine the damage from a distance.

You need to assess the damage but do not attempt to wade through the water; there is a very real potential for electric shock. If you must walk through the flooded area, make sure you can complete the following steps, first:

  1. Turn off the power in your home.
  2. Wear protective gear, especially if the flood is from the sewer line.
  3. Ensure there are no gas leaks.
  4. Check for structural damage.

Again, if you cannot complete the steps above, do not attempt to walk through the water. Assessing damage can wait if your safety is in danger.

Call the plumber immediately.

We understand that plumbing emergencies happen at all hours of the day. Never be afraid to call outside of business hours, that’s what we’re here for.

Call your insurance company.

Your very next call after us should be your insurance company. The sooner you call, the more likely they will be to cover the majority of the damage. Taking photos and video of the damage is also a good idea. And don’t forget to save the receipts from any emergency repairs or purchases you make. A lot of times those expenses will be covered by your insurance or at least count toward your deductible.

Prepare for the future.

Your basement flooded and there is a chance it may happen again in the future. To try to avoid this in the future, we’ve provided three preventative measures you can take:

  1. Store valuables in watertight containers.
  2. Install a sump pump.
  3. Upgrade your foundation’s drainage system.

Taking these preventative measures will not only make you more prepared for a flooded basement in the future, but also will make your insurance company more likely to satisfy your claim.

 
Only after completing the steps listed above will you be ready to clean and restore your basement to its former glory. But don’t worry, A&A Plumbing is always just a phone call away if you have any questions or a plumbing emergency.