When Should You Call a Plumber for a Clogged Toilet?

Toilet in bathroom

Prevent Blockages in Your Sewer Line

If you have children in the house, you’ve likely experience clogged toilets. Repairs can often be done by fishing out the object they flushed down it, but sometimes, that isn’t enough. Clogged toilet repairs can be more complicated, based on what was flushed or blocking the underground sewer line. 

What are the most common causes of a clogged toilet?

Clogged toilet repair can be challenging when they are clogged in the following areas: 

  • The toilet trap: This is the S-shaped section of the toilet bowl and is where the toilet is connected to the drainpipes. This curved channel holds a small amount of standing water to prevent odorous sewer gases from escaping.   
  • The branch drain line: This is a waste pipe where waste is collected from two or more water appliances and sends it to the sewer line.
  • The vent pipe: Little information is known about this part of a toilet, but are an important component of the toilet working properly and safely.  This equalizes pressure in the plumbing system to prevent water from being siphoned out of the drain traps and releasing sewer gases into your home. 
  • The main sewer line: This is located underground and runs between the house and the sewer system or septic tank. It is vulnerable to tree root penetration and causes severe problems requiring expensive clogged toilet repair. 

How can I prevent clogged toilets? 

Here are five ways you can minimize, even eliminate needing professional clogged toilet repairs: 

  • Toilet Paper. Less is more when it comes to toilet paper. Use 1-ply instead of 2-ply and use less of it. Even though it is designed to break down, it doesn’t happen quickly. 
  • Careful What Is Flushed. There are only three things that should ever be flushed down a toilet: Water, toilet paper, and human waste. Keep animal waste out of the toilet along with cotton balls, Q-tips, feminine products, diapers, and wipes. 
  • Always Close the Lid. Things get dropped and then the toilet gets flushed. Before you know it, you need emergency clogged toilet repair. 
  • Watch Tree Roots. If there are large trees planted around your home, watch the tree roots. If they grow into the drain or sewer pipes, it can break or clog the lines and expensive clogged toilet repairs are needed in the way of having the lines dug up and replaced. 

How can I tell the difference between a plugged and an overflowed toilet?

Who hasn’t experienced an overflowing toilet?!  You do your business and then flush the toilet, and up comes the water in the toilet bowl, and it keeps coming. Before you know it, wastewater is flooding the bathroom floor. 

This is the common indication of a clogged toilet drain. If you’re alert to your toilet, you’ll know it is at the flow-over point if the water doesn’t fill the bowl back up.  In addition to the things that we’ve discussed already, other things that can cause you to need professional clogged toilet repair includes: 

  • Flushing kitchen waste like FOG, (fat, oil, grease), meat trims, and veggie peels. 
  • Low-flow toilets have clogs more than standard toilets. In older toilets the internal workings of the tank are rusted and worn can cause a toilet to flush. 

How Can You Stop An Overflowing Toilet Quickly? 

If you are experiencing an overflowing toilet, the following steps are the best ways to stop the water from flowing quickly: 

  • The Shutoff Valve

There should be a shut-off off valve behind the tank close to the floor. Turn the water off as quickly as possible and leave it off until the clogged toilet repair has been completed. 

  • The Tank Flapper

If you can’t get the shutoff valve to turn off, remove the tank lid and move the flapper in a closed position over the valve. You still need clogged toilet repair, but this will stop the water from overflowing. 

  • The Tank Float Ball

If water is still overflowing, with the tank lid removed, raise the float ball up and this will stop the water from flowing. Again, you still need clogged toilet repair done, but this will give you some time. 

Underwater: Is It Time To Surrender? 

How do I know when it’s time to call a plumber? If you’ve tried all the steps we’ve listed here and you still have an overflowing toilet, call a professional plumber for clogged toilet repair. Things that can tell you if the problem is more than DIY repair are odd noises coming from the toilet when flushed. 

If you notice an odor coming out when the toilet is flushed, beyond the human waste odor, this could be an indication of sewer line problems. If you live in Santa Clarita, CA, and the toilet gurgles when flushed, you need professional clogged toilet repair. Call us at 661-201-6016 today!

How Often Do You Need a Sewer Inspection?

broken sewer line filled with garbage

Inspecting Your Sewer

If you’re having problems with slow draining sinks, tubs, or toilets, you may need to have a sewer camera inspection, also referred to as a sewer scope inspection, done by a plumber. What is a sewer scope inspection? When you can’t determine what the problem is and the normal plunging method isn’t working, a sewer camera inspection is how a technician with sewer inspection companies looks inside your sewer line and see if there is anything clogging the sewer line.

What does a sewer inspection consist of?

A plumbing technician can perform a sewer camera inspection from a few different angles. But each angle will consist of the technician using specially designed sewer inspection equipment that consists of a camera on a flexible long cable and a laptop computer. This will enable them to see the inside of your drains and sewer line.  

The different methods of how they perform this sewer camera inspection will depend on the access available. Those methods include: 

  • The technician will climb on the roof and enter the sewer camera and flexible cable through the vent stack that is located opposite where the sewer ends. From this vantage point, the inspector will have the ability to find any clogs or damage from start to finish.
  • Another method for a sewer camera inspection is done from the sewer cleanout that is located near the house. The sewer line runs from there to the street, and while this doesn’t provide the best view, it typically is enough for the technician to find any clogs or damage. 
  • Another method a professional technician will use for a sewer camera starts with removing the toilet and inserting the sewer camera there. However, this is the least common method used.

The sewer camera inspection will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The equipment will record the inspection process and the technician will provide the homeowner with a report with their findings and recommendations. Pictures from the camera will usually follow up within a day or so. 

How much is a sewer line inspection?

Plumbing and sewer camera inspection procedures cost can vary from city to city and company to company. It is recommended to call a few for estimates and for the plumbing contractor you choose, ask for recent references. A well-informed homeowner is the best customer. 

How do I know if there are roots in my sewer line?

Every homeowner love having trees around their property, but the root system can do a lot of damage. Typically, tree roots are up to 3 times longer than the height of the tree. The bigger the tree, the deeper the roots. 

The roots are what seek moisture and nutrients for the tree, so when there is any cracked sewer pipe that is leaking any humidity, the roots seek that pipe out and bust through it. As the tree root enters the pipe, they continue to grow and expand until the sewer pipe is filled and blocked. Here are 4 indicators you have tree roots in your sewer lines and should have a sewer inspection and cleaning done:

  • Drains Empty Slow: When drains are emptying slowly, or the toilet is flushing slowly, gurgling sounds in the drain, are all a hint of tree root damage. 
  • Sinkholes: Sinkholes are normal for the most part, but they can also be an indicator you have tree roots in your sewer. A sewer camera inspection will find those tree roots and the plumber will make suggestions on what needs to be done to correct the problem. 
  • Blocked & Collapsed Pipes: Nothing is more inconvenient than a backed-up toilet, and if you’re lucky it is nothing more than a toy flushed down the toilet. However, it could be from tree roots busting into the sewer pipe.
  • Bad Smells: If you’re noticing bad smells in your home or outside around it, it is likely from tree roots busted into the sewer lines. The smell is like rotten eggs and can’t be mistaken! 

What does a septic inspection consist of?

A septic system performs gets basically the same result that sewer systems do but does it a little differently. A septic system should be inspected by a professional, and in most areas, it is required. They will locate the septic tank and assess the condition. They will inspect the distribution box and absorption area as well, making sure all waste is flowing properly. 

All electrical and mechanical components of the septic system are inspected, cleaned and/or replaced, including the septic lines, filters, baffles, floats, pumps, and alarms.

How long does it take to do a septic inspection?

The process of a septic system inspection can take a little longer than a sewer camera inspection because most of it is done manually. Most sewer lines will take an hour to ninety minutes maximum unless the technician has issues. 

new sewer line sticking out of the ground

In Closing 

If you’re purchasing a property, whether it is on a sewer system or septic system, it is advised to have an inspection. If you’re financing the purchase, the mortgage company will typically require this inspection. After that, an annual inspection is recommended. 

How to Repair a Leaking Toilet

leaking toilet with water around the base

Taking Care of Your Toilet

Water is one of our most precious natural resources, we need water to live. So when you have a dripping faucet or leaky toilet, it isn’t only costing you money each month, it is wasting this valuable resource. As a homeowner, toilet repair is something that needs to be taken care of as quickly as possible, along with issues such as fixing leaking faucets.

How much water can a toilet leak in a month?

Sometimes there is a small trickly inside the toilet bowl. Many people may not consider this a water leak, but it is, and it is costing money with every trickling second. Other times, the leaking toilet repair is inside the tank. This is when you flush the toilet, and it keeps filling up the tank – something that can waste up to 200 gallons per day, or more than 6,000 gallons in a month. And that is just one toilet! 

What causes a toilet to leak?

Most toilet leaks are from the internal parts inside the tank wearing out. The parts inside the tank that make it work are either metal, plastic, or rubber. Considering that they are all under water 24/7/365, it only makes sense they would wear out, making toilet repairs necessary. 

What is the most common cause of a toilet leak?

There are eight common parts that most toilet repairs require. Ignoring any of them is costing you money with your monthly water bill as well as wasting a natural resource. Those 8 parts are: 

The Flapper

A toilet tank is where the water is held until it is flushed. When you activate the flush, there is a rubber flapper inside the tank that raises up allowing water to flow out of the tank into the toilet bowl. Once the water has emptied from the tank to the bowl, the flapper returns to its position, and the tank fills up with water.

Over time, as it sits in water, the flapper will become warped, or break and crack, making it unable to control the water flow. This results in that trickling sound you hear from your bedroom at night. This is a fairly easy toilet repair, and the parts are available at the local home improvement or hardware store. 

Sometimes the flapper is in good condition but becomes stuck in the open position. This allows water to keep running, filling the toilet bowl. This can usually be fixed by looking inside the tank and make sure the flapper and handle are connected. If it has disconnected, simply reconnect the flapper to the flush handle. 

Supply Line

Your toilet is connected to a cold-water supply line and this line will close when water isn’t needed for the toilet. This keeps air from leaking into the toilet plumbing, where it will seep out. Over time, and with a high water pressure setting, the supply line sometimes will crack. This is usually discovered when there is water around the toilet on the floor. 

You can call a plumber to repair, or you can do your own toilet repair. Start by turning the water off to the toilet, most toilets have a valve under the tank. Then carefully remove the cracked water supply line and apply plumber’s tape to the new water line and attach it where you removed the old one. Turn the water back on and you have completed a toilet repair! 

Damaged Tank

If you have water around the toilet on the floor, you need to check the tank. It could be the water supply line, which we just reviewed, or there could be a leak at the water line connection to the tank. This toilet repair can usually be one with plumber putty. Or if your toilet is older than 10 years, you’ll be better off replacing it with a new low-flow toilet. 

Float Gone Bad

If the water doesn’t stop filling the tank when it reaches the predetermined level, this is could be because the float has gone bad. The float is what sits on top of the tank water and monitors the water level. When the water has reached that level, the float disengages the supply. Fortunately, this kind of toilet repair is an easy process by simply replacing the float. In most cases, you can do this without tools.

Rusted Fill Valve

If the float is in good condition, but the tank is overfilling, it may be a corroded or rusted fill valve. The fill valve controls how much water can flow into the tank, working with the float to not let too much into the tank at one time. 

This is another toilet repair that most homeowners can do themselves by replacing the valve. There are several pieces involved, and you’ll want to check each piece to assure they are not corroded or rusted. It is recommended to turn the water off at the tank while doing this toilet repair. If you’re not comfortable with all the parts of a valve, call a plumber for a professional toilet repair.

Other Parts to Check 

A toilet is like other plumbing fixtures and has several connectors that prevent any water leaks. If those connections rot or rust or begin to disintegrate, this toilet repair requires replacing the connectors. If a toilet bowl becomes cracked, it will start leaking water, and at that point, the best toilet repair is to replace the entire toilet. If you’re not able to purchase an entire toilet, here is how to repair a cracked toilet base: 

  1. Drain the water from the toilet tank and then absorb any leftover water with a towel. 
  2. Using a waterproof epoxy or plumber putty, fill the crack and wait 24 hours.
  3. Check for any further cracks, then turn the water on and allow the tank to fill. 

Why does my toilet leak when I flush it? 

It happens, and when it does, you’re first wondering, what would cause a toilet to leak when flushed? There are several things that can be the culprit here. It could be a faulty or loose fill valve or water supply valve. Those are both easy toilet repairs for any homeowner. Or it could be a cracked toilet tank, in which case it would be best to replace the entire unit and upgrade to a low-flow toilet. Note that it can also be leaking because the valve seat is allowing the flush valve to leak. 

What would cause a toilet to leak at the base?

When your toilet appears to be leaking from around the base, you want to check the items we’ve mentioned already. Like the water supply line, fill valve, and other internal parts of the tank. If the water appears to be coming from under the toilet, it is the wax ring seal between the toilet base bottom and the floor. 

This isn’t the easiest toilet repair, and it is a two-person job. The water needs to be emptied from the toilet bowl and tank, the water turned off, and then the toilet needs to be lifted. A new toilet wax ring seal is then installed and, making sure is in the proper position, the toilet sat down perfectly onto the wax ring seal. 

What causes a toilet flapper to leak?

The toilet flapper is rubber and when that rubber has sat inside the tank full of water 24/7/365, it is going to cause it to rot. This is one of the most common toilet repair needs along with the float and the handle. 

view from above of a leaking toilet

In Closing – Can a clogged toilet cause a leak?

Yes, a clogged drain line will keep the water and waste from flushing down, and that will put added pressure on the wax ring seal. This is usually the reason the wax seal needs to be replaced, a frequently clogged toilet. 

What should you never put in a garbage disposal?

woman working on a garbage disposal unit under a sink

Dealing With a Broken Garbage Disposal

Is something smelling rotten in your kitchen? You’ve taken out the trash, all the dishes have been washed, and the dishwasher has completed its cycle, so what is that odor? Perhaps your garbage disposal lifespan has come to an end? Or maybe garbage disposal repair will save it for a few more years! 

What does it mean if a garbage disposal smells like rotten eggs?

While garbage disposals are something that once was considered an amenity, most homes are equipped with them today. They can make cleaning up after a meal or a day of baking easier and faster.  They can also be the culprit of that awful odor in your kitchen!  But that doesn’t mean it is done for and needs to be replaced.  

Chances are, your garbage disposal has had something put in it that didn’t grind up thoroughly and rinse away as intended. When food scraps don’t get broken up and ground up fully, that food is going to go bad and start to smell. There usually isn’t any major garbage disposal repair needed, just some after-care steps: 

  • Pour a bio-enzyme drain cleaner into the unit, run water and turn it on. 
  • Or go with a more all-natural mixture of baking soda and white vinegar, half a cup each, along with running hot water, and let the unit run for a few minutes. 
  • You can also place a few ice cubes or pieces of citrus fruits in the unit and let it run with hot water. 

What does it mean when your garbage disposal just hums?

It doesn’t automatically mean you need new garbage disposal simply because it is buzzing or humming. These sounds are telling you that the unit is getting power, but the blades can’t turn. This may be a clogged motor or jammed blades that can’t grind. There may be food lodged in it or there could be some non-food item in there, not as unusual as you may think!  

The following steps will walk you through doing your own garbage disposal repair: 

  1. Unplug the garbage disposer to cut the electrical circuit off and keep you from being electrocuted.
  2. At the bottom of the unit under the sink, there should be an Allen wrench in the breaker socket.
  3. Turn the tool back and forth, this will usually free whatever is jammed in the blades.
  4. If your garbage disposer doesn’t have an Allen wrench and hex hole on the bottom, force a broomstick into the garbage disposer, against one of the blades to move back and forth. 
  5. Plug the unit back in and try to use it. If this typical garbage disposal repair didn’t work, call your local plumber. 

When you’re doing a lot of cooking, holidays are the usual time this happens, garbage disposals tend to get clogged. Knowing what to do when a garbage disposal is clogged will save you from being frustrated, calling a plumber, and save you money.  

First, you should NEVER use a liquid drain cleaner in the garbage disposal!  Drain liquid cleaners are dangerous and will erode the plastic and rubber components, including the splash guard which is your protection.

Before you attempt the following cleaning process, turn the unit off, and DO NOT stick your hand in the unit! Do not attempt these steps for an unclogging garbage disposal repair if the unit is warm.

1. Manual Inspection

With the power off, using a flashlight, look inside the disposal. You maybe see whatever it is that has clogged the unit. If you see anything, use a pair of pliers or tongs, and reach inside to pull out whatever it may be, which could be a dishcloth, plastic wrap, paper towel, etc. 

2. Baking Soda and White Vinegar

An all-natural DIY remedy is a half-cup of baking soda and half-cup of white vinegar poured into the garbage disposal side of the sink. You’ll get a fizzy foam that is cutting through any food clogging the unit while it cleans it too. This will unclog things like fat, grease, and oil and makes a great deodorizer too. 

  • Pour the baking soda in first. 
  • Then pour the white vinegar in. 
  • Let the fizz work for twenty minutes.  
  • Then run hot water for 10-20 minutes to wash away the residue of the mixture and food waste. 

3. Plunge It

Sometimes, you need an old-fashioned kitchen plunger for this garbage disposal repair!  loosen and move. 

  • Covering the other drain with a stopper. 
  • Cover the garbage disposal drain with the plunger.
  • Fill that side of the sink up with water, making sure you have a watertight seal with the plunger. 
  • Now, vigorously plunge up and down, repeating for several minutes. 
  • Use a flashlight and see if there is anything that needs to be removed with pliers or tongs. 
  • Now run cold water and try the unit again. 

If none of these have worked, try the Allen hex wrench or broom handle process described above. And if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a professional plumber that knows how a garbage disposal works and offers garbage disposal repair services.

What if there is water under the sink beneath the garbage disposal? That could be where the nasty odor is coming from. Knowing what to do when a garbage disposal is leaking could save you from having to call a plumber and will minimize the amount of damage all that water under the sink can cause. 

Leaking From the Top: It is probably at the very top rim where the rubber seal and flange mount. 

  • Unplug the disposal and disconnect it from the drain. If you have a dishwasher, you’ll need to disconnect the drain hose. 
  • Remove the garbage disposal by loosening the mounting nut. 
  • Install the new gasket, following the instructions that come with the gasket. Make sure it pops into the lip of the unit and is flat. 
  • Reinstall the unit and test it. 

Leaking at the Flange: This is a common area for leaks, located in the upper area of the unit. 

  • Unplug the disposal and disconnect it from the drain. If you have a dishwasher, you’ll need to disconnect the drain hose. 
  • Remove the garbage disposal by loosening the mounting nut. 
  • Remove the flange by loosening the bolts that hold it in place. 
  • Using a screwdriver, pop the clip out and pull the top flange out.
  • Using plumbers’ putty, reseal the flange by forming a snake-like gasket wrapped onto the flange rim.
  • Replace the flange, reinstall the unit, and test. 

Where does the garbage disposal go?

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, you may be thinking about installing one. You can do it yourself, they come with instructions and there are plenty of online videos that can guide you through the process too. Garbage disposals are mounted to the underside of a two-sided sink, you can choose either one, but if you have a dishwasher, or will be installing one, it should be mounted to the side closest to the dishwasher. 

Will a garbage disposal clog pipes or will a garbage disposal harm a septic system?

With proper installation and use of garbage disposal, it should never clog your pipes. However, it is recommended to never have garbage disposal when on a septic system.  It will take up space in the tank, making your septic system less effective for what it is meant to be used. And there are methods that are greener in disposing of food waste, like starting a compost pile. 

close-up of a leaking garbage disposal unit

In Conclusion

A garbage disposal can be an addition to the kitchen. With proper use and maintenance, you should never need any garbage disposal repairs and get up to 10-12 years of use from a quality brand. 

What do you do if your house has water damage?

man repairing a water damaged ceiling

The Damage That Water Can Do

Water is a necessity, yet it is also evil for structures. How can something so good and healthy for humans be so bad for your home? The evil we’re talking about is the water damage, and the need for water damage repairs a simple leak can cause. And sometimes, you don’t even know you have water damage until the damage is severe. 

What does water damage look like?

No matter whether the water damage is from a leaking pipe or a flood, it causes structural problems. If water damage repairs aren’t done quickly, it can lead to mold, creating a health risk for everyone in the home. 

The following steps will help you identify water damage inside and outside the home. The sooner you can get water damage repairs done, the better.

The Exterior

  • A house should be built at the highest position with the ground sloping away. When the house is on level ground on the ground slopes toward the house, it puts the foundation in a vulnerable position for water damage. Repairs on a foundation must be done promptly and correctly to keep the integrity of the foundation and house. 
  • Walking around the exterior, check that the downspouts are installed so the water is diverted away from the house. Make sure the gutters are in good condition and attached securely to the house. Any leak in the gutters or down spout can damage the fascia and siding, as well as other damage, requiring extensive water repair damage. 
  • Observe if there are cracked or missing flashing or roofing shingles. This can leave the roof vulnerable to attic leaking that develops into more damage. The damage may appear to be cosmetic, but a professional inspection should be done to determine if any water damage repairs are needed. 
  • Check the exterior door and window frames for separation or soft spots. These gaps and separation can lead to humidity issues in the house, harvesting mildew and mold. Proper precautions such as water damage repairs around the doors and windows as soon as they’re needed will save you from more extensive damage later. 

The Interior 

  • Check for any water rings and stains on the ceiling or walls. These could be plumbing leaks or a roof leak. Make extra effort to look for smaller water stains where there is plumbing. If you find any, listen for water leaks inside the walls during the night when all is quiet. 
  • Sagging or soft areas of the floor can indicate leaks around bathtubs, showers, and sinks. Check around the dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, and water heater. These can be small leaks that have gone for some time creating severe water damage. Repairs should be quick within the flooring and walls around these appliances. 
  • Check the flooring for any cracks or warping, no matter if it is laminate, tile, or wood. Water damage repairs to any type of flooring is expensive. 
  • Check under sink cabinets for discolored cabinet floors or walls, warping, and dampness. If there is dampness, there is mildew and mold too and you should contact a professional immediately. From water damage repairs to mold remediation, this can become a serious issue quickly. 
  • Examine the water heater for rust on the tank, behind the tank, on the water connections and PRV. Rust in these areas can be from a previous leak or there may be a current that needs water damage repair.
  • The nose knows – if you smell mildew or must, you have a water leak somewhere. Hire a professional if you can’t find the water leak. Repairs should be made immediately. 

How long before water damage causes mold?

Water exposure can cause mildew and mold within 24 to 48 hours. Once it develops, it keeps growing and spreading until the source of the leak is fixed and water damage repairs are completed. Never assume that because you cleaned the mildew and mold up that the cause of it is gone too.  

Is there always mold with water damage?

No matter what time of year it is, summer or winter, if the water isn’t dried within 24 hours, mildew will begin. If more than minor water damage happens, the mold will start soon after the mildew. 

Who do you call to fix water damage?

If the water damage repair is due to a busted water pipe, you’ll need to call a plumber first to fix the plumbing leak. Once the plumbing is fixed, then you need to call a contractor that knows how to repair water-damaged wood, like a handyman or carpenter. If the water damage repair is needed because of a leaking roof, you’ll need to call a roofing contractor. 

You should interview a couple of different contractors and ask what their process is, including how to repair a water-damaged ceiling and how to repair water-damaged drywall. You want to make sure they are going to remove any damaged wood and replace it. Leaving any water-damaged wood behind could keep mildew and mold coming back even if the plumbing issue has been fixed.

How much does water damage repair cost?

It will depend on the amount of water damage repair needed and what is damaged. If the water damage is contained under one sink, the repair could cost $150 to $200 for labor and material. If an entire wall, or a ceiling has water damage, repairs could reach $6,000 to $8,000. 

water stains and mold on a wall

Finishing Up With a Common Question

So – what water damage is covered by insurance? Most standard homeowner insurance policies will cover water damage repairs for accidental or sudden occurrences. However, water damage repairs because of homeowner neglect, like an aging roof or water heater that should have been replaced, your claim will be declined.

When do I need emergency plumbing?

young woman dealing with a plumbing emergency and making a phone call

Dealing With Plumbing Emergencies

When is a plumbing issue serious enough to call a local emergency plumber? Think about a routine morning, getting everyone ready for the day, or perhaps a routine evening getting dinner prepared. These are busy times for many households, so when the plumbing goes crazy, you may not be able to stop and think about whether your issue is really a plumbing emergency. 

When there is a plumbing issue early in the morning, late at night, on a holiday, or on the weekend, it will always seem to be an emergency. But is it really? While it is usually necessary to get it fixed, there are many times that it could wait till the next business day. It could even be an easy fix you could take care of yourself.

How do I know it’s an emergency?

Before you call a local emergency plumber and, ask yourself these questions to determine if it can wait: 

1) Is this a problem that can wait?

This is the most important question to ask yourself before calling a local emergency plumber. So, before you dial, answer these questions honestly. Is the affected plumbing something you need right now? If it is a clogged toilet and you have another bathroom, things can wait until the next business day/hours. If there’s a leak in the basement and it’s a winter night with below-zero temps, you probably should make that phone call. 

Can you turn the water off? If you know where to turn the water off and feel comfortable doing that so that you can keep the water from flowing and there isn’t a reason to call a local emergency plumber. The situation can wait until business days/hours.

If the plumbing problem isn’t addressed right now, will it cause more damage? Maybe you can’t get the water turned off, but can you diminish the damage sufficiently enough so you can wait to call a local emergency plumber the next day by using buckets, rags, and other measures?  If the problem could create extensive collateral damage, like damaging the ceiling, flooring, or walls, make that phone call. 

2) Is the repair your responsibility?

If this is a case where water needs to be turned off, but it isn’t something you have access to, call the local emergency plumber for the city or utility company. Describe the situation to them and they will advise you on if this is something that can damage your home and other properties. 

If you live in an apartment, gushing water in your apartment isn’t going to just affect you. It could damage apartments around yours too. In this situation, calling the service for emergency plumbing for an apartment is totally acceptable and is your responsibility. In fact, not calling could get you evicted.

3) What if you do need to call a local emergency plumber

If the issue can’t wait for the next business day/hours, and you can’t do anything about it yourself, then make that call for a local emergency plumber, but ask yourself these additional questions: 

How much is a local emergency plumber service going to cost? What, if any, other fees are going to be charged?  It may be an emergency but call a few local emergency plumbers for estimates first. You may save some money. 

Can you get an emergency plumber?

In most areas, yes, there are 24-hour emergency plumbers.  The more remote location you live in, the less chance there will be a local emergency plumber available, but you can use Google to locate one nearby. If you are in a remote area, ask how long it will be before they arrive and if they have any advice on temporary solutions for you until they arrive. 

How do you get a plumber in an emergency?

Ideally, you have the number of a local, reliable plumber that offers emergency service. If not, you can ask family, neighbors, friends, and co-workers for recommendations. You can even use social media to find a local emergency plumber. You know those postcards you get in the mail from various services? One of those is probably a plumbing company that offers local emergency plumber services.  Don’t be too quick to throw those postcards away! 

In fact, you can call those plumbers before you need an emergency plumber for a toilet that’s clogged or overflowing. Have them do a general plumbing inspection – this will allow you to meet them and get an idea of the services they offer. Not every local emergency plumber is certified and licensed as an emergency plumber for boilers, for example. Better to know before you need one! 

Is emergency plumbing more expensive?

Absolutely!  Some local emergency plumber services will tout they do not charge for emergency calls and overtime, but you can be almost certain their rates will cover those emergency costs. Most plumbers have hourly rates, typically between $50 to $200 per hour for normal business days/hours. Some have a flat rate for coming out and then start the hourly rate for the repair.  It is acceptable, even expected, that you ask what the charge will be when you need to call a local emergency plumber for service. 

In Closing  – What to Do In Plumbing Emergencies 

If you own a home, it isn’t “if” you’ll ever have the need for a local emergency plumber, but “when”. So, what do you do in a plumbing emergency? First of all, you need to stay calm, then follow these steps: 

  • Turn the water 
  • Turn off all electrical appliances and gadgets
  • Clean up what you can
  • Don’t attempt the repair if you aren’t sure you can fix the problem
  • Call a local emergency plumber.

And if you’ve found yourself in need of a local emergency plumber right now, you can reach out to us by calling 661-201-6016 to get help from experienced plumbing pros.

Getting Your Home Back to Normal After a Pipe Burst

White pipe leaking water.

Will homeowner’s insurance cover a burst water pipe?

Before we get into this topic very far, we’ll answer the most popular question first, because you’ll need to know this should you have a burst water pipe.  The big question: is a burst water pipe covered by insurance?

If your home has water damage from a sudden, unexpected incidence like a burst water pipe, your homeowner’s insurance policy will probably provide coverage for the clean-up, along with repairs or replacement of flooring. In addition, the coverage will likely include the drywall and any furniture that was damaged from a burst water pipe. 

What all homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover is water damage from a leak or any long-standing issue. They will see that as homeowner neglect, even if you didn’t realize you had a burst water pipe and decline your claim. Why? Because an ignored leak (homeowner neglect) can have created other long-standing issues and problems that wouldn’t have happened if the busted water pipe leak was repaired. 

What to Do When a Pipe Bursts

So with all that stated, let’s get other common questions answered, like what happens if a pipe bursts.  Whether it happens immediately or down the road, a burst water pipe will cause damage. A  major burst water pipe can cause flooding, leaving a lot of damage behind. Examples of that damage include, but are not limited to: 

  • Damaged Walls

A burst water pipe, small leak, or major break will create water damage to the interior and exterior walls.  Then the damage will spread inside the wall, saturating the insulation, short out the electrical wiring, setting the perfect situation for a fire to spark.  The paint, plaster, and siding will be affected on the exterior walls.  As the water accumulates and saturates the timber and structural component of the wall over time, the structure becomes weak. 

  • Damaged Ceilings

If there is a second-floor burst water pipe, water will go the path with the least resistance, which means it is going down to the ceiling of the first floor. Enough wager soaking through will pour through the ceiling, flooding the lower area of the house and damage the light fixtures and wiring. The insulation will be damaged, and the support beams will weaken, making the second floor unsafe.

  • Damaged Flooring

Following a burst water pipe, the floors in the area will usually get flooded. The location of the broken water pipe, and flow rate of the water leak will affect how fast this happens. Any carpeting, cement, or wood flooring will likely be damaged. Any linoleum and wood floors will crack and warp, the carpet is soaked and begins to mildew, mold, and smell. Cement flooring that is exposed to long-term water will crack and sink.

  • Damaged Interior

A burst water pipe will often accumulate water in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and other living areas nearby. It saturates the furniture from the bottom up, and soaks into the fabric, destroying upholstery, and often destroys wood furniture. The electrical outlets can short out along with anything plugged into them like computers, lamps, televisions, etc. 

  • Mold Growth Dangers

A water pipe burst inside a house is probably the worst thing a homeowner can experience. In addition to all the damage we reviewed here, a pipe burst flood will create a breeding ground for mildew and mold. The damp drywall, fabrics, wood, and other materials are going to soak up the water and begin to mildew. Mold begins growing and becomes a health hazard. Anyone in the house that has asthma, lung, or other respiratory conditions will begin having more issues. 

Steps to Handle a Burst Pipe

Should you ever experience a burst water pipe situation, you can take control by following these steps.  The faster you act, the less damage your home will experience.

  • Turn the water main off. The first step is to turn the main water supply off. This will stop any more water from flowing into the burst water pipe and house.
  • Call the plumber. Next, call the plumber so you can minimize the damage. Most plumbers offer a 24/7 emergency service, but that doesn’t mean the moment you call, they’re available.  You may need to call several plumbers to find one immediately available. This is why turning the main water is necessary. 
  • Clean and dry up water. Clean and dry up as much water as quickly as you can.  The faster you get the water off the flooring and away from the electrical and furniture, the better. 
  • Drain all the faucets. Drain all the faucets to get the plumbing system empty and relieve pressure from the pipes. Turn the water heater off too so that it isn’t trying to heat water that isn’t there. 
  • Let in warm air. If the burst water pipe is from frozen pipes, you need to slowly warm the house and plumbing so there isn’t more damage. Turn the heat up in the house and if needed, use a hair dryer to thaw pipes under sinks. You need to do this slowly to prevent any more burst water pipes.  
  • Open the doors. Keep the warm air circulating by leaving the doors open through the house, especially bathrooms and kitchen. The warm air flow will dry things out faster. 
  • Install repair sleeves. You can purchase repair sleeves at your local home improvement stores to make a temporary fix for burst water pipes. Simply slide the sleeve over the busted pipe, covering the hole. Have the plumber do a permanent repair. 
  • Clamps, rubber, and wood. You can use clamps, rubber, and wood, for temporary fixes until the plumber is able to repair permanently. 
Woman using a wrench to fix a leaking pipe.

Closing Question 

Just a common as the question about homeowner’s insurance is, how much does it cost to fix a burst water pipe? If you’re unable to stop the leak and make any temporary repairs, an emergency plumber is going to cost, especially if the burst water pipe happens after hours, on holidays, or on weekends.  But the pipe burst repair time is not something you want to put off – the damage has happened and is only getting worse. 

The average nationwide is around $500 but can be as little as $150 and as much as $2,000. Most plumbers will expect to be paid upon completion of the job, and those prices are typically before their hourly rate is added. If you find yourself in need of help with a burst water pipe in Santa Clarita, CA you can reach out to the team at On Call Plumbing by calling 661-201-6016 to get the help you need.

How Fix a Toilet That Keeps Running?

toilet in need of repair

What are the parts called inside a toilet?

The toilet – a basic fundamental fixture in every home. Seems simple enough, yet it can be the most complicated when you don’t know anything about toilet repair. When one is backed up or not draining, it isn’t always easy to get a plumber right then. So, every homeowner should have some knowledge of toilet repair basics. Believe it or not, there are some toilet repair tasks that anyone can do! 

The base of the toilet  attached to the floor with a wax ring and a flange. The wax ring is fitted in between the flange and the toilet base, creating a seal. Then two bolts are used to hold the flange in place. At the back, bottom of the tank is the water supply that is connected to the water coming from the wall. At this location, there is a shut off valve. 

A rocking toilet is typically going to be a toilet repair of tightening the two bolts at the flange, or possibly replacing the flange and the wax ring. Should the toilet be overflowing, the shut off valve on the wall at the back of the tank should be turned until a toilet repair is complete. 

This is all sounds simple so far, but now, we’re going to get inside the tank where all the working parts are, and it can be confusing and makes toilet repair seem overwhelming. The toilet flushes when the handle is pushed down. That causes the chain or trip lever inside the tank to raise up the flapper. With the flapper lifted, water is forced from the bowl to the sewer line and fresh water fills the tank once the flapper is down. 

The parts inside the toilet tank are: 

  • Trip lever: Inside the tank, you’ll see a metal bar connected to the flush handle inside the tank. This pulls the tank ball up and then the flapper is raised. 
  • The Flapper: There is a flat stop on the chain end that lifts each time the handle is pushed. The flapper keeps water from running constantly into the toilet bowl. 
  • The Fill Valve: Water comes from the supply line and flows into the tank through this fill valve. Water fills the tank and float rises with it. When that float reaches the fill valve top, the water stops filling the toilet.

How do you fix a toilet tank, can you replace the inside of a toilet?

Yes, toilet repair can be done by replacing each of the parts inside tank. They can be purchased in a kit or individually and should include instructions how to replace them. If not, you can always find a video online, and remember to always turn the water off at the shut off valve before starting any type of toilet repair.

For a  toilet repair without flapper that has water running nonstop, follow these steps: 

  • Step One: Remove the tank cover.
  • Step Two: Turn the water supply off to the toilet.
  • Step Three: Clean sludge from the drain valve by soaking it in vinegar for 30 minutes.
  • Step Four: Adjust the ballcock valve and float. 
  • Step Five: Adjust the chain length.
  • Steps Six: Adjust the water fill height by adjusting the float.
  • Steps Seven: Adjust the water level so that is below the overflow tube top. 

Can you replace just the tank of a toilet?

Yes, most toilet bowls and toilet tanks can be purchased separately. You want to make  sure you are getting the same manufacturing brand and style so that it has a proper fit and will function correctly. 

working toilet

How much water should be in your toilet bowl?

Most toilet tanks have a mark inside of the tank where the water level should stop. This is typically one to two inches below the fill valve and below the overflow tube.

With the information provided here and the may videos available today, a homeowner with basic DIY skills can do their own toilet repair and installation. Perhaps the easiest toilet repair, handle is easily replaced by detaching it from the trip lever and attach the new handle. This type of toilet repair can be done without shutting the water off at the valve. 

There are some toilet repairs that need the experience and skills of a professional plumber. However, by knowing the part and the small toilet repairs as we’ve discussed here, it will be easier on the pocketbook and in some cases, faster than waiting on the plumber. 

One toilet repair that you should always call a professional plumber is when you’re smelling gas or sewage odor coming from your toilet. This could be the wax ring has moved or it could be the sewage line. A busted sewage line isn’t something a homeowner should attempt to fix if they don’t have the experience. Call 661-201-6016 today for your toilet repair needs in Santa Clarita, CA.

When Is It Time to Repipe a House?

new pipes from repiping project

Why is home repiping a good idea? 

Before we get into the when of home repiping, let’s define what is home repiping first. Home repiping ca be done one of two ways:

  • Completely redo the entire plumbing system with new pipe. This is from the water supply line to the kitchen and all bathrooms. 
  • Replace a single piece of pipe with a new pipe. 

As a homeowner, there are several things you need to do that will keep your home healthy and in good condition. Keeping the HVAC filter changed or cleaned, keeping up with small plumbing drips and leaks, fixing banisters, and more. One thing that most homeowners do not think about as household maintenance is home repiping. 

Most people think that home repiping is only done in extreme needs, but there are a few benefits of home repiping that you may not realize you’re missing: 

  • Pipe Upgrade: Surprise, surprise!  The plumbing pipes in your home won’t last forever. After a few decades, they start deteriorating. This typically applies to homes that are over fifty years old because that is when most plumbing pipes start reaching their end-of-life expectancy. With two exceptions: Copper piping can last up to 80 years and galvanized steel pipes can last up to 100 years.  However, just because they seem to be good condition doesn’t mean the water quality is still good. Al these years, those pipes have had their share of plumbing problems and probably a good amount of chemical cleaners going through them. Home repiping may be something to think about. 
  • Replace Materials: If your home was built between the 1970s and the 1990s, the plumbing pipes are probably polybutylene. During that time frame, the concern for using lead pipes was a big issue, and these pipes were an affordable and popular option. Yes, polybutylene pipes aren’t going to endanger you and your family with lead, but they aren’t sturdy either. In fact, they are susceptible to breaking and cracking. Maybe you haven’t had any problems yet, but you can almost put a bet on it that you will. A home repiping now may not be in the budget, but a busted water pipe later won’t be either. 
  • Color and Water Pressure: If you’re running water in the kitchen and somebody starts a shower, creating a water pressure change, or the water in your has color to it sometimes, you probably need a home repiping job. Plumbing pipes will corrode and being to flake after some time. This will create a rust color to the water or affect the water pressure, sometimes both. 
  • Leak & Water Damage Protection: There is no need to not do anything because nothing is wrong when it comes to plumbing.  If you know your home’s plumbing is older, as we’ve discussed here earlier, then you know that sooner or later, something is going to start to leak, that leak will lead to damage, and then you’re in ankle deep water. Today, one of the best options for home repiping is using PEX, a flexible type of plumbing that contractors and plumbers are in love with. It is durable, sturdy, and best of all from their standpoint, flexible. 

What is involved in a whole house repiping project?

Home repiping is a labor intensive job that should be done only by a licensed plumber. This is a general idea of the steps they will take: 

  • Cover flooring, furniture, and other personal items in plastic
  • Mark the areas where pipes are located behind walls with special tools
  • Cut those areas out to gain access to the pipes
  • Any pipes in the floors will be accessed from the basement or crawl space
  • After old pipes are removed, new pipes are installed
  • Plumbers and helper will clean up, patch up, retexture, and paint walls

You may want to consider replacing your water heater and upgrade the fixtures to low-flow styles while your home repiping job is taking place. 

Should you repipe your house?

So, maybe you’re thinking home repiping sounds like a good deal, but you’re wondering, “When should I repipe my house?”. If you notice any of the following issues with your home’s pluming, this may be the time to schedule home repiping job: 

1. Aging and Unsafe Pipes 

There are several factors that will affect your home’s plumbing. From basic wear and tear and cold-weather,  but the average age that home repiping is good timing is at fifty-years-old or older.

At that age, they’re probably lead pipes which are outlawed for new install now so the sooner you get them out, the healthier your home will be. If you have polybutylene pipes, after a few years, those will break, crack, and begin leaking. What if your home has galvanized steel pipes? They are probably already eroding. If your plumbing clacks, clangs, rattles or makes other noises, time for home repiping! 

2. Leaking Pipes 

Leaking pipes are not something to ignore. If you know you have a small leak in your plumbing, you’re setting yourself up for disaster if that isn’t fixed soon. If you have had several leaking pipes over the past year, then home repiping is the best way to stop that from happening. 

3. Visible Corrosion 

If you can see corroded plumbing pipes, they’re discolored, flaking, indented, or rusted, home repiping is the best way to get that fixed. In this case, you may be able to get by with a portion of home repiping instead of the entire plumbing system. 

4. Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be caused by several factors with the most common being corrosion and sediment buildup. These issues will block water from flowing, put pressure on other areas, causing them to burst. 

5. Discolored Water 

If the water is coming out of your spigots is brown, red, or yellow, your pipes are full of rust and sediment  and home repiping is needed, sooner than later.  Why the rush? Because you are bathing, cooking, and consuming this colored water, which is rust and sediments. These can become health hazards. 

6. Bad Smell and Taste

If the water in your home is smelling or tasting bad, it is probably because the pipes are in bad condition and you may need a home repiping job. Have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing and advise you accordingly, because it could be something outside of your home causing this issue. 

7. Fluctuating Temperature

Fluctuating water temperature could be the water heater going out or it could be the pipes. Either way, you should have a professional plumber check both out and advise you accordingly. 

Should I repipe my house with PEX?

This is something that the plumber you choose to work with can advise, but most plumbers prefer working with PEX for several reasons, one being that it is flexible. They are able to work it around in tight corners and spaces. PEX plumbing piping is freeze resistant, doesn’t degrade like copper and is less likely to burst. It is also cheaper, which will make your home repiping a little cheaper too. 

How long does it take to repipe a whole house?

This will depend mostly on the size of the house. The average repiping home size is completed in two days. Larger homes may take a full week to complete the home repiping job. 

broken plumbing

Does insurance cover repiping?

No, probably not, but you should review your homeowner insurance policy or check with your agent.  Most insurance companies consider home repiping to be a homeowner responsibility in preventing possible plumbing problems. However, if your home has a water break that floods and damages your home, your insurance will like cover the damage that is done. 

Home repiping isn’t something that you will need to do every year. Chances are, you’ll do it once and never need it again. You can relaxing knowing that all of your plumbing is brand new and possible plumbing problems are doing to be avoided. Call 661-201-6016 today for your repiping project in Santa Clarita, CA.

How effective is trenchless sewer repair?

digging for plumbing repair

Is trenchless sewer repair cheaper?

When a homeowner had a sewer line issue, they knew that not only would it be expensive, but it was destructive and intrusive. The plumber would bring in large equipment like backhoes and have to dig the yard up until they found the problem. Today, that destruction is a thing of the past with trenchless sewer repair system. 

What is trenchless plumbing repair? This is a fairly new method that allows plumbers to repair sewer lines without destroying a homeowner’s landscaping and lawn. There is no need to jackhammer the foundation and flooring or tear into walls with trenchless sewer repair procedures. Not only is it less destructive, but it is faster too. 

Because the trenchless method and process is complex, the equipment used is a new technology, like anything new, it takes some time for it to pay for itself. So, it may be as much as the traditional method of sewer line repair or even more. A trenchless sewer repair can cost up to $2,500 and for trenchless sewer replacement, $3,500. Some factors that affect the cost are: 

  • The Trenchless Method: There are different methods of trenchless technology that can affect the price you’ll pay. CIPP is the Cured in Place Pipe Lining technology that uses an epoxy pipe lining, which has a higher price tag. The Pipe Bursting technology is less expensive but will require the plumber to dig more holes.
  • The Sewer Pipe Size: The diameter size of the sewer pipe is a factor in material costing, the larger the more expensive.  How deep your sewer pipe is in the ground will affect the cost because he deeper the more the plumber will need to dig down. 
  • The Accessibility: Depending on where the trenchless sewer repair is located, under a patio or the house, if there is landscaping to work around, are things that can affect the cost of a trenchless sewer repair.
  • The Current Pipe Condition: The existing sewer line may be destroyed, making the trenchless sewer repair method impossible to take place. A cast iron pipe will need to be descaled before the plumber can proceed with the trenchless part of the job. This takes more time and could cost you if you’re paying by the hour. 

How does trenchless water line repair work?

Before any type trenchless plumbing work begins, the plumber will do a thorough inspection. Then a epoxy coated tube that has been cleaned by hydro or mechanically method is installed into the existing plumbing or sewer line.  The epoxy coated plumbing trenchless pipe replacement hardens and forms the new line. Essentially, this process is creating a new pipe within the existing pipe, completely sealing the existing and eliminating any previous issues. Including any channeling, cracks, deterioration, holes, scaling, or tree root intrusions. 

After the new lining has been installed, the plumber will use specialized robotic technology through the existing branch line pipes and reopen them. This new technology consists of cameras and a small television type screen where the plumber watches what is going on inside the sewer lines. This is all operated by a remote control. 

This tube that is inserted is flexible as it is inserted, allowing it to be navigated around any bends and plumbing connections while adjusting to any changes in the pipe diameter. After a period of curing (hardening), this liner becomes 100% solid and sealed, giving you up to 50 years or longer life expectancy. 

Can trenchless sewer repair fix a belly?

Not at this time, the trenchless sewer repair technology is adaptable to repairing a belly. The sleeve will follow the existing pipe only to end up with a belly. The belly repair requires the plumber to dig up at the belly and install new pipe.

Do I really need to replace my sewer line?

Well, it depends on what condition it is in and what kind of problem you’re having. Some indications that will tell you that sewer line repair is needed are any of the following: 

  • Gurgling noises in the toilet.
  • Shower, sink, or tub  drains become terribly slow.
  • Sewer smell in or outside your home.
  • Dark green, thick patches of the lawn are sinking.
underground sewer pipes

Is a broken sewer line dangerous?

What goes through a sewer line should answer this question. The raw sewage that passes through a sewer line from a residence is anything that is flushed down a toilet or poured into the sinks. This includes but not limited to the following: 

  • Human excrement
  • Beauty and hygiene
  • Detergents, soaps, cleaning products
  • Food waste

These things will mix together and create gas hazards, dangerous pathogens, and bacteria. The natural reactions of microorganisms that are inhabited in residential sewage is definitely hazardous.

If trenchless sewer repair is something you’re interested in for your home, you’ll want to call several plumber contractors and inquire if they know how to do trenchless sewer line repairs.  This isn’t a brand new technology, but not all plumbing contractors have taken any training and won’t have access to the equipment.  The last thing you need is a novice plumber trying something they aren’t experienced or trained to do and make your sewer line problem worse than it is already. Call 661-201-6016 today for trenchless sewer repair in Santa Clarita, CA.