Dealing with plumbing can sometimes be overwhelming but doing basic maintenance or check-ups can definitely help increase the lifespan of your plumbing system and prevent potential problems in the future. That’s why we’ve rounded up experts from plumbing companies to help you feel confident next time you need to fix or upgrade your plumbing. Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about plumbing.

What are the signs of a sewer line blockage, and how can you address it?

A sewer line blockage can quickly turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare, causing a range of issues from foul odors to potential backups. Identifying the signs early on can save you from costly repairs and extensive damage. Here’s what to look out for and how to address a sewer line blockage effectively.

Signs of Sewer Line Blockage:

1. Slow Drains: If multiple drains in your home are slow to empty or gurgle when water is flowing, it’s a red flag that a blockage might be forming.

2. Foul Odors: Unpleasant odors, resembling sewage, in or around your home could indicate a blockage preventing proper waste disposal.

3. Backups and Overflows: If wastewater backs up into sinks, toilets, or tubs, or worse, onto your floors, there’s likely a significant blockage downstream.

Addressing the Issue:

1. Professional Inspection: If you suspect a sewer line blockage, it’s essential to call in a professional plumber, like those at Bonney Plumbing, Electrical, Heating & Air, for a thorough inspection using specialized cameras to pinpoint the blockage’s location and severity.

2. Hydro Jetting: Plumbers employ high-pressure water jets to blast away debris and clear the pipes. Hydro jetting is an effective method to break down even the toughest blockages.

3. Regular Maintenance: Prevent future blockages by scheduling routine sewer line inspections and cleanings. At Bonney Plumbing, Sewer, Electrical, Heating & Air, we offer this proactive approach that catches issues before they escalate.

4. Tree Root Management: Intrusive tree roots are a common cause of sewer line blockages. Regularly maintain trees and shrubs near your sewer line to minimize root infiltration.

Swift action is crucial when dealing with a sewer line blockage to prevent extensive damage and unsanitary conditions. By recognizing the signs and seeking professional assistance, you can maintain a healthy plumbing system and a comfortable home.

Bonney Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Air

Most common acid (products) used by plumbers to unclog drains?

Sulfuric acid is classified as one of the best chemical drain cleaners. Sulfuric acid will eat through hand wipes, sanitary products, food scraps, and organic matter and will also melt fats. It is essential not to use sulfuric acid with stainless steel, aluminum, or galvanized steel drain pipes but is safe to use with plastic PVC piping. Potassium hydroxide and Sodium Hydroxide are also used as chemical drain cleaners and also should not be used with aluminum and steel pipes. Acid drain cleaners are freely available to purchase at plumbing and hardware stores and must be handled with extreme caution.

King Plumbing

What are some tips and tricks to install basic plumbing?

A couple of tips and tricks you can do to take care of your own plumbing system in your home: 1) Remove a couple of quarts of water from the bottom of your water heater to remove contaminants and extend the life of your heater. 2) Use food coloring in your toilet tank if you believe the flapper is failed and it runs periodically without being flushed. Put a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank and wait a couple of minutes, if you see the food coloring in the bowl, you have a bad flapper. 3) Have frost-free hose bibs installed on your home and just remove your hose at the end of the fall before it freezes to prevent failure. 4) Locate and always turn off your main water valve whenever you will be away for a prolonged period of time.

MyGuy Plumbing

What should be done to prepare plumbing for summer?

Warmer weather and longer days provide the perfect opportunity to give your plumbing a little extra attention. It’s the perfect time for draining and cleaning your water heater, inspecting hose bibs for leaks, and performing a bacteria test if you have a well. Inspecting your plumbing now will help avoid emergencies in the future.

Hague Quality Water

What should be done to prepare plumbing for winter?

For people who get to live in beautiful southern California, there is not a lot you have to do to your plumbing system before the Winter.
However hot water demand increases during our Winter months, it’s important that you have a qualified plumbing technician perform a tune-up on your existing hot water system or at least do a quick inspection to make sure that it would make it through the winter months (most plumbing companies do this service for free).  For tankless water heaters, it’s recommended to flush them once a year, if you have not done it, now is a perfect time.  For systems that use hot circulation pumps, make sure that you set your pumps on the timer position or to the on position (most people only use their circulating pumps in the winter months).  Hot water slab leaks are very common as well.  Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to prevent those. There are a few different ways you can solve this problem, here in California we recommend a reroute or repipe with L type copper or PEX material.

American Plumbing

How to identify damaged plumbing before it’s too late?

As the saying goes ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure’. All properties should be inspected annually by a qualified licensed plumbing and heating engineer. All gas appliances and boilers should be serviced annually! As property owners, you want to protect your investment from day one. Make a start today by giving your own home a good once over. If anything looks odd or out of place. Then invite qualified licensed plumbing and heating professional to check it out.

Platinum Emergency Services

What’s the best way to use plumbers putty?

Plumber’s putty is used as a sealant on the strainer portion of the garbage disposal where it meets the sink in addition to the strainer portion of the pop-up assembly of the lavatory sink (i.e. bathroom sink.) It’s also used where faucets meet counter-tops, with the exception of when the sink and/or counter-tops are made of cultured marble. Cultured marble is porous and absorbs the oil from the plumbers putty and results in staining and/or cracks on the cultured marble where it was applied. In cases where you’re looking to avoid this by using a substitute for plumber’s putty, you can choose all-weather pure silicone instead.

ABC Plumbing

How to identify and eliminate sewer smell?

There are a few possible reasons why you might be experiencing a sewer smell in your home. One possible cause is an issue with your plumbing, such as a clogged drain or a leaking pipe. Another possibility is that the P-trap, a U-shaped pipe under the sink that helps prevent sewer odors from entering your home, is not installed correctly or has become dry. To fix a dry P-trap, you can run the water for a few minutes to refill it.

Another potential cause of a sewer smell is a blocked or damaged vent stack, a pipe that extends from your home’s roof and helps ventilate your plumbing system. If you have a septic tank, it could also be the source of the smell. In this case, having a professional inspect and clean your septic tank may resolve the issue. If these steps do not eliminate the sewer smell, it may be a good idea to consult a plumbing professional for further assistance.

– Matt Hagens, Mr. Kitchen Faucets

What is PEX plumbing and why is it not recommended?

Pex Plumbing is color coated tubing material. That comes available in Red or Blue. It is used by an expansion tool for each end before connecting to a brass fitting, with a crimping tool to make a connection from one end to the next. Deemed secured.

Under Illinois State Civil Statue, 225 ILCS 320/SECTION 890. Appendix A, Table A – Approved Materials for Water Service Pipe. PEX is not rates or approved for usage under the Illinois state law and or plumbing code. Nor is it listed for approval under 225 ILCS 320/ Section 890.210 Sub Part B – Materials.

–  Aquaduct Plumbing

How often is it recommended to do maintenance?

There are a many of areas in your home, office, or building that need plumbing maintenance. Let’s start with your toilets – this is the number one fixture that can lose water frequently and drive up your utility bills.  A yearly maintenance is helpful to inspect if there is any leaks or other issues causing water waste. The second item in your home that needs yearly attention is your water heater. This maintenance includes flushing the system, as sediments, minerals, and other deposits accumulate at the bottom of a tank.  Flushing your system prolongs the life of the water heater and prevents any future malfunctions.  In addition, there’s a sealed combustion chamber on the tank that contains an air filter that should be thoroughly clean and inspected yearly. Should you forgo this maintenance the unit could shut down and any warranties that apply could be voided, costing you additional funds.

 – Bonney

What are the most common plumbing terms?

  • Male or female fitting:

This refers to whether the fitting/fixture is an internal or external fitting. The male fitting goes inside the female fitting hence why they use this name to explain it.

  • PVC pipe:

Stands for polyvinyl chloride which is the most commonly used type of pipe used for sewer drainpipes and stormwater drain pipes.

  • Copper or Pex services:

This refers to whether the piping is made from Copper or Cross-linked polyethylene Pipe (PEX). These piping materials can be used to run gas or water services at your premises.

  • Pressed or welded copper fittings:

This refers to whether you will be using copper fittings that use a mechanical crimping tool to seal the joints or whether you will be welding the joints using Oxy and acetylene.

  • Elbow:

Refers to a fitting that is made at a 90-degree angle. These fittings are made in all types of materials such as Steel, Copper, PEX, Brass, and PVC pipe.

Silver Water Plumbing

What are some necessary plumbing tools to keep at home? 

  • Expandable pliers (brand name Channel Locks).
  • 14-inch pipe wrench, either Rigid or name brand.
  • Screwdrivers, Philips head, and flathead.
  • Small tub of plumber’s putty.
  • Teflon tape.
  • Teflon pipe dope.
  • Hack saw.
  • Box end wrench set.
  • Flashlight. The headband ones are great and keep your hands free to work.
  • Tape measure.

Dymek’s Freedom Plumbing

By conducting regular plumbing maintenance checks and following the advice of these experts, you can ensure a sense of peace knowing that your plumbing system will work smoothly. You can also consider a home warranty, as it offers a layer of security. Plumbing complexities can lead to unexpected issues that might strain your budget. However, by having a home warranty in place, you can mitigate the financial burden of unexpected plumbing repairs. Remember that always, if needed, hiring a professional plumber can save you time and provide even better results.