4 Steps to Unclog a Toilet with a Plunger

Have a clogged toilet ruining your day? No problem. A beginner in home repair can unclog that toilet and have it flushing properly in just mere minutes without making a huge mess. Here’s the proper way to unclog a toilet with a plunger:

Step 1. Stop The Water Flow ASAP
If you don’t want a messy overflow and sewage backing up, then do this step as soon as possible. Take the tank’s lid off and find the toilet flapper. The flapper is the part in the tank that stops the water from the tank going into the toilet bowl. Take the top off before you hit the flusher. Keep one hand in the flapper just in case the water rises dangerously to the top.

Step 2. Add Dishwashing Detergent and Hot Water
Heat up water and put in a few cups mixed with dishwashing detergent into the toilet bowl before you start the plunging process. Let it sit for around 2 to 3 minutes and hopefully, the blog will have softened or cleared up. This will make the plunging so much easier than it is working with a hard clog.

Step 3. Get The Plunger
Not all plungers are made equal. If you want to get the best and the most efficient plunger, pick the funnel-cup plunger as it has a flange that provides a good seal. You can wear rubber gloves to get a better grip and use it as a protective shield in case things get worse.

Make your rubber pliable by running it under hot water for a few minutes to loosen it up.

Step 4. Do The Plunge
The very first plunge must be a gentle one. The bell will be full of air, and doing a hard plunge will force that air back, escape the seal and blow up the water in the toilet!

When the pocket of air is out, then it’s time to get down and dirty. Focus on pushing the plunger down with force while maintaining the seal between the flange and the toilet’s exit hole. The upward pull is just as important as the downward push.

Work up a good upward and downward motion for a few minutes, then flush the toilet. Keep your hand on the flapper to prevent overflows. Be patient, as it could take several plunging sessions to break up the blockage. The key to an effective plunge is to always have enough water to cover the seal.

Repeat the sequence until the clog has disappeared and your toilet is working again.

Great AC Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Unit Working Well This Summer

Your AC unit works its hardest during hot summer days. What are the things you can do on your end to keep your air conditioning unit working its best? Here are some tips to consider:

1. Replace Your Filter

Checking and seeing if your Air Conditioner’s filter is up to par is one the best ways you can save on electricity bills and maximize the efficiency of your unit. Do a regular check-up and see if the filters need replacing at least once a month. Clogged filters will make your air conditioner work double time as it struggles to maintain the cool air.

2. Use Your Ceiling Fans

A simple mechanism change in your ceiling fan can do wonders for cooling your home. Try to run it counter-clockwise in the summer to push the cooler air down. You can save up on air conditioning costs and make your AC run better in lower temperature.

3. Install Window Tints

Consider having films installed on the inside of your windows to save on energy. The main idea here is to keep your home cooler in the summer and keep the warmth from escaping during winter time.

4. Save Your Thermostat

Avoid placing any kind of heat source near your thermostat. This means that TVs, lamps and other appliances that produce heat should be kept in distance from it. When your thermostat senses the nearby heat, it thinks that it hasn’t done its job well and works on for a longer period of time. If you’re installing a new unit, don’t place the thermostat under direct sunlight.

5. Schedule A Professional Tune-Up

Think ahead and schedule a maintenance service from a professional technician before the summer even begins. Include all of your AC units and make sure that they are in good condition to work during the hot summer months.

6. Opt For A Smart Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can go a long way in keeping your AC unit working efficiently throughout the summer. You stand to waste less energy and electricity costs because you know the exact temperature of your home. Also, consider the degrees of temperature your AC unit is running- a bump in the dial means you can potentially save money in the long run.

7. Consider An AC Upgrade

Sometimes it’s best to retire your old AC unit in favor a newer, more efficient model. The initial cost might be more expensive, but the cost of operation will be certainly lower than if you were running your old HVAC system. Make sure to choose the right type of air conditioner- too little power and it will struggle to cool a room while having a too-large one will reduce the unit’s overall cooling efficiency.

Must Know Things About Your Sink and Toilet

In college, you learned several things and some of them you only applied in the exam, and since then, you have not even come across situations where you can apply them in a practical scenario. Amazingly, we sometimes seem uninterested in learning more about the things we need in our everyday life, but sometimes they can be what matters most.

A good example of something you need every day but you have never bothered to learn about is the toilet you probably just used this morning. Unless you don’t need your bathroom and kitchen, it’s good to know a few simple things about what you should do and should not do when using them. Toilet, sink, shower and tub are all important plumbing items.

Care of Drain and Disposal Systems

clogged sinkYou should never drain oily water on the kitchen sinks because the oil or grease can coagulate and block your kitchen sink pipes. Although this will not happen immediately, and sometimes takes months to show, the oils and fats in the water will collect, and hot water alone will not remove it.

Sometimes such a scenario might lead to a professional sewer line cleaning or a replacement of the whole pipe affected. Avoid spending money on things that you can avoid. Therefore, it is best to dispose of that grease and oily water elsewhere, and avoid draining it on the kitchen sink.

Use Garbage Disposals for the Solid Waste in Your Kitchen

Some waste should not be place in the garbage disposer. Bones, lemon and lime peels, shellfish shells, grease, paper or plastic should never be place in the disposer. Only soft food items. Teach your kids why they should avoid inappropriate disposal of solid waste and that only waste that can be easily ground should go into the garbage disposals.

Toilet Tips You Should Know

clogged toiletDepending on the public waste disposal system implemented in your area, there is some solid waste that should not be flushed through the toilet. Often in the rural areas, you will find septic tanks in many homes. Cotton, sanitary pads, and thick tissue papers should not be flushed in toilets or septic systems. These waste items might lead to blockages in both types of systems. Therefore, flushing sanitary pads and other cotton materials through the toilet can lead to clogs that affect a wide area.

There are other several ways of protecting the plumbing system, and you are encouraged to continue reading our blogs. If you need our drain cleaning services, you can contact us through our website www.dallasplumbing.com or give us a call.

Fix Minor Plumbing Issues- DIY

Are you ready to become a DIY plumbing expert, or at least someone who can fix the minor plumbing issues that come up? There are a number of reasons why you may need to hire services of a plumber, but most of the time some minor problems can be avoided easily. If you equip yourself with a few plumbing tips you can be in a position to combat common plumbing issues from occurring. This will save you lots of unnecessary hassles and money in the long run.

The following are some plumbing tips that you can use for both inside and outside your home to prevent common problems.

The Basement 

The basement of your home is one of the areas where problems arise. But if you adhere to the following simple plumbing tips you can prevent these issues.

  • One of the things that you can do is ensure you check your water heater settings frequently to ascertain it is at a maximum. You will reduce energy usage and prevent the instances of too hot water when you shower.
  • It is also advisable to make sure you pour water regularly if you have drains in your basement. Gases emitted by the sewer can lead to a high concentration of unpleasant smells, but if you pour a lot of water down them, you can prevent this problem.
  • In addition, for those people who have septic tanks in their basement, it is essential to hire a professional to inspect it and make sure it is pumped at least once every 3 years. If you ignore this, you may be required to change the filter field, which is a bit expensive.

These few simple steps in caring for your basement plumbing system will keep your system in tip top shape and prevent bigger, more expensive problems from occurring.

In the Kitchen / Pantry

The kitchen is another area that gives rise to the most common plumbing issues, but there are a few plumbing tips to adhere to as well. One of the golden tips for the kitchen is to restrain from disposing of greasy substances down the drain. If you do this you might end up blocking the drain.

  • Ensure kitchen plumbing maintenance is to keep your faucet’s aerator clean.
  • Low water pressure from the faucet/sprayer or water leaks from the handle are usually caused by lime buildup and sediment blocking the small openings inside the aerator.
  • The garbage disposal is another area that poses common problems in the kitchen and you are advised to avoid disposing of wrong types of food stuff down it.

In the Restroom

  • Check the toilet’s water level to be sure that water doesn’t rise above the overflow pipe. Check it by locating the pipe in the center of the toilet’s water tank (it’ll have a piece of tubing connected to it).
  • It’s easy to ignore that little drip from the sink, but the EPA reports that a leaky faucet that drips one drop per second wastes about 3,000 gallons of water a year. That’s equal to 180 showers! Can you afford to waste money on water you aren’t even using? If water won’t stop flowing, then you may need to shut off your main water valve. Approach leaks with caution to prevent greater damage. Start your cost-savings today by putting a stop to leaky faucets.
  • Be cautious of what goes down your toilet in the bathroom. Make sure nothing else goes down except toilet paper. When you notice your bathroom faucets are leaking, get someone to fix them because they can cause serious water wastage and cause more expensive problems in future.

Outside the Home 

  • Ensure you clean any leaves or debris from your drains and gutters on a regular basis. For instance, you find a buildup of such materials in vent pipes can give rise to serious problems.
  • Check regularly for stagnant water in your home yard as this might be an indicator of a leaking pipe, and if notice them ensure they are fixed as soon as possible.

To wrap up the loose ends, it is worth to mention that the above plumbing tips for inside and outside your home can help to prevent common issues which might need a professional to solve them. So, keep your home safe and avoid the common plumbing problems by adhering to the above tips.

Choosing The Right Heating and Cooling Company

Choosing the right heating and cooling company may be difficult if you don’t have the prior knowledge of the process. In fact, this can cost you extra money if you don’t know the right company for the job. Here are some factors to consider to help you find the best heating and air repair service.

Professionalism of the Heating and Air Conditioning Service Company:

It is a quality claimed by many but demonstrated by few. So many people hire heating and cooling firms without checking on their professional status. An expert in the field of commercial heating and air conditioning service should be qualified by industry institutions of accreditation.

This simply means that a professional heating and cooling firm should have one or two certificates to prove competence before servicing prospective clients. Professional accreditation is required by law in Texas, and current license numbers must be displayed on vehicles, advertising and documents.

It’s no affront to ask about these qualifications from your selected heating and cooling company. Don’t take the next step until you are confident that they have the required certification and licensing,

How Long Has the HVAC Company Been In Business?

Believe it or not, firms who have history in the industry can best meet the needs of prospective clients. If you need emergency service, find out how long the company has been in business. A service company the continues year after year providing top-rated, professional services, can usually be trusted to serve your needs. Just ask them. It’s a valid question when planning to choose a heating and cooling company.

Does the Company Have Insurance Coverage and a Satisfaction Guarantee?

One of the biggest factors that cannot be underestimated when searching for a professional heating and cooling firm is insurance coverage. To be clear here, insurance coverage protects you the prospective customer, from any damage to your property and future problems arising from the work performed. This coverage is never 100%, so it’s a good idea to check your own homeowner’s coverage.

Many people usually ignore or overlook this step when choosing an air conditioning company. Using this factor will help you get insured and covered when hiring a commercial plumbing company. In fact, you will always be comfortable after asking about the insurance coverage of your selected firm.

Do You Have A Budget/Money Issue?

Ask about the rates and costs before you commit to an appointment. Service technicians usually charge by  the hour and the time varies depending on the tasks, environment, parts required, and installation variables, some of which cannot be determined in advance. Never hire or chose a heating and cooling company without asking about costs. It can be a painful experience if things turn out the wrong way. If your project is extensive, ask for a quote before you commit to having the work done. For this reason, it is important to carry out your search effectively. Only settle for the best firm that suits requirements and your budget, but keep in mind that the quality of the job done is most important. Choose carefully and get it done right.

In a Nutshell, Here’s Your Quality Assurance Checklist for Choosing the Right Air Conditioning and Heating Company

  • Professionalism
  • Licensing and certification
  • Satisfaction guarantee
  • Reputation
  • History of success
  • Insurance
  • Cost estimate

Common Causes of Air Conditioner Problems

Imagine it’s hot outside and your air conditioner breaks down, leaving you exceptionally uncomfortable. Air conditioner problems are common and we want comfortable conditions restored quickly.

Unexpected air conditioner problems are bad enough, but failed repair attempts can be worse and even more frustrating. When a very important house appliance stops working, we want it repaired quickly and properly the first time.

Common air conditioner problems are:

  • Frozen Air Conditioner Coils – generally caused by dirty air conditioner filters or a coolant leak. Frozen coils need immediate air conditioner repair to avoid total breakdown, which is obviously more expensive to fix.
  • Air Conditioner Making Louder Noises Than Normal – may be due to a fan belt that needs to be replaced,  something loose or a motor or compressor failure.
  • Air Conditioner Not Cooling – could mean a number of things. It needs an immediate and accurate assessment by a trained professional to find the cause and make the needed repair.
  • Air Conditioner Leaking Moisture In The Cabinet, Closet or Room – calls for immediate air conditioner repair servicing. It may also be due to mold, mildew or other biological growth that is stopping up the necessary drain for the natural condensation that occurs.

Does my air conditioner need repair or replacement? 

To help you decide, we assess:

  • The age of your AC system. AC units work efficiently for approximately 5-10 years depending on a number of factors. After that, it may be more practical to replace rather than repair it.
  • Number of times it malfunctioned. If this is not the first time your AC unit needed repair consider upgrading to a newer model, which will likely prove to be a less expense in the long run.
  • Whether you choose to have your AC unit repaired or replaced, always count on the expertise of professionals who are licensed, fully trained and certified to install, repair and replace your system. It is advantageous to have things done correctly the first time or it can be much more costly later.

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How To Extend The Life Of Your Water Heater

Yes, there are ways you can extend the life of your water heater. For many home owners, their water heaters have a life span of about 5 years due to lack of maintenance, but if maintained properly, a water heater can work effectively for 10 or even 20 years. Water heater tanks these days are manufactured using steel and are lined using glass or porcelain. As a result of this lining, oxidation takes place over time. Due to oxidation, deterioration takes place which may even lead to leaks.

The main reason for deterioration of water heaters is sediment build-up. However the water heater would still function properly in the short-term even if affected by sediment build-up. Hard water can accelerate this build-up. There are some ways to extend the life of your water heater, including replacement of the anode rod, expansion tank installation, cleaning the tank, install a pressure regulating valve, as well as water softener. A anode rod in good condition can help prevent the corrosion in the tank. The reason is that the anode rod is made up of either aluminum or magnesium which corrodes over time protecting the tank itself from corrosion. Installation of an expansion tank is another way to control water expansion.

When water is heated to temperatures of 100°C water expands, which can have an impact on the inner surfaces of the water heater and also on the plumbing connection of your home. This expansion effect can be controlled by installing an expansion tank. Expansion tanks can double the life of your heater. Sediment built-up can be prevented by cleaning the water heater once in a year.

This is applicable only for older water heaters since the latest models have a built-in cleaning mechanism. A pressure regulating valve helps control the pressure inside the water heater preventing it from sudden failure. Water softener can also prevent your water heater from scaling. If you need professional help, or to upgrade your water heater, call Dallas Plumbing Company. We offer free estimates for new water heaters.

Electric Heaters for Homes

Many people choose electric heaters for homes because they are affordable and do not emit carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. In addition, there are many models to choose from such as:

Space Heaters – which are suitable for heating smaller areas or rooms. They are quiet and can directly heat a specific area.

Baseboard Heaters – which are portable, easy to maintain and safe because they have overheat protection. They are suitable for bedrooms because they have no fan and are therefore very quiet.

Garage Heaters – which are designed for heating areas of approximately 150 to 560 square feet, that are without enough insulation to retain heat. They are spot heaters, meaning they can be pointed toward the people or objects needing warmth.

Infrared Heaters – which are silent and extremely efficient because they directly heat the objects facing them.

Oil-Filled Heaters – which are radiator heaters that are recommended for heating rooms as well as small spaces such as under desks or on table tops. They are easy to maintain because they use oil that need not be replaced and never burns.

Electric Fireplace Heaters – which can be an alternative to real wood-burning fireplaces without any of the mess. They operate at a cost as low as a few cents per hour.

Electric Wall Heaters – which are effective for use in small rooms such as bathrooms. They can be installed in a recessed wall cavity and are available as convection or radiant heat models.

Many electric heaters for homes are self-contained with built-in thermostats. They are not recommended to be installed in exterior walls to avoid problems with condensation and exterior insulation. The best electric heaters for homes are those that meet your efficiency and cost requirements.

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Pipes Freezing? How to Prevent It

Cold Weather Plumbing Tips
Cold weather comes with a risk of frozen pipes. That’s a problem because, when water freezes within a pipe, the water expands inside the pipe, creating a pressure that can cause the pipe to burst. Burst pipes can send hundreds of gallons of water into your home and create thousands of dollars worth of damage. The pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are those that are located in outside walls, under sinks on outside walls, and/or in unheated crawlspaces. What can you do to prepare your pipes for frigid temps?

  • Before cold weather sets in, disconnect all garden hoses that are connected to your outdoor faucets (also called hose bibs). In addition to the valve that turns water on and off outdoors, it’s also a good idea to locate the water shut-off valve indoors that can shut off water to the faucet.
  • Pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures should be covered with insulation. You can insulate pipes that run through unheated spaces with foam insulation wrap. You could also wrap problem pipes with electrical heat tape. And you can purchase outside faucet covers at your local warehouse store or Walmart.
  • During very cold weather, let both cold and hot faucets drip slightly in order to keep the water in the pipe from freezing.
  • Open the cabinets where pipes are located in the kitchen and bathroom to expose them to your indoor heated air. You can also use a small portable heater to heat the pipes within the cabinets, as well as to add above-freezing warmth in unheated crawlspaces.
  • If you have plumbing in the garage, don’t leave the garage door open in very cold weather. Add a space heater anywhere indoors you think the temperature could drop below freezing.
  • If a pipe has frozen, but hasn’t burst, you can try several common thawing techniques, depending on the location. Heat lamps or blow dryers can be used, but don’t use un-grounded electrical appliances outdoors. Also, never use a flame torch because it creates a fire hazard and could lead to a much worse problem.

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Tips For Reducing Your Plumbing and Heating Costs

Every year, it seems that there is a steady increase in water and heating bills for homeowners. In order for you to limit the additional expense that will surely cause a lot of pressure on your budget, it is best to try out some cost-saving measures when it comes to your plumbing and heating.

In the house
Regularly check pipes all over your house for leaks. In the kitchen, if you wash down the drain leftover food, be sure to let the water run for several seconds after the disposer has emptied. Accumulated food wastes will cause pressure on drains, and will add to your plumbing and cleaning due to leaks. For the shower, use a sprayer that has adjustable flow, so you can switch to lower force when the stronger flow is not needed. This will conserve both your cold and hot water usage, which means lower water and energy bills. Check your toilet as well for leaks every so often. If you notice the sound of running water, the culprit could be the toilet flap, which you should immediately adjust or replace. If you are planning to renovate and change your toilet, choose a model that uses less water for flushing.

When you plan to be gone for more than four hours, set your thermostat three to four degrees warmer in warm weather and colder in cold weather while you are away. Consider adding a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically adjust to your various needs. They are proven to save energy.

Doors and windows
Consider installing drapes or blinds on your windows for added insulation. This will lessen the need to turn up the thermostat, keeping your heating bills low during the cold months. Replace old weather stripping around windows and seal leaky doors as well to keep the warmth in when it is cold. Make sure you have at least 12 inches of quality insulation in your attic, and consider adding a radiant barrier. Check with your electric and gas utility companies to see if they have a program that offers insulation incentives to homeowners.

Outside the house
If you have plants all around your home, set the nozzle of your garden hoses at the spray pattern that uses less water. Only turn the hose on when watering plants.

Doing these simple cost-saving measures will help you keep your plumbing and heating bills low even when the price of water and electricity increases.

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