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Prevent Plumbing Problems – A Home Owner Perspective

At Sal’s Plumbing – Beach Cities we care about our Redondo homeowners and their needs. This is an excerpt from an article that gives a unique perspective on how to care for your home’s plumbing. Not only will it help you be more knowledgeable of your plumbing but also help in keeping the value of your home up!

1. Don’t go galvanic. You often see copper and galvanized-steel plumbing mixed in residential water systems with nothing separating them other than a little thread sealant or Teflon plumbing tape. The galvanic connection (copper to steel) can be trouble-free for years, or the steel plumbing can begin to corrode almost as soon as the connection is tight.

What to do: Use a plumbing fitting called a dielectric union to connect copper pipe to galvanized steel. The fitting uses a steel collar on the steel side and a copper collar on the copper side and isolation bushings to keep the parts separate.

2. Flow out, not back. Back flow occurs in municipal water systems (or within a house) when there’s a sudden and severe drop in water pressure that causes water to flow back through pipes in the opposite direction than it normally flows. When a runaway car severs a fire hydrant, for example, parts of a municipal system will see a flow reversal as water gushes out the hole where the hydrant once stood. The same thing can happen if there’s a massive leak within your house.

What to do: If your house’s water is supplied by a municipal water system and you do a lot of work outside with a garden hose, use a vacuum-breaker fitting threaded onto the end of the hose bib (the valve mounted on the outside of the house). These fittings prevent back flow from a garden hose and attachments in the event of a massive shift in pressure. Some municipalities require their use, and they’re not a bad idea even if you have a well. Suppose you’ve left a garden hose in a bucket of sudsy water and the severed-fire-hydrant scenario occurs. The vacuum breaker prevents water from being pulled out of the hose and bucket and into the municipal water system. If you’re replacing a hose bib, use a freeze-proof type with a built-in vacuum breaker. Common-sense measures apply, too. For example, don’t leave a hose unattended in a bucket and don’t leave a hose in a puddle on the lawn.

Likewise, if you replace or repair the main supply and valves entering the house, you may likely be required to install a back-flow preventer.

3. Use the right connector. Don’t forget, gas lines count as plumbing, too. Connecting a new gas range or dryer to an existing gas line seems simple, but the job can quickly go awry when you try to hook up a flexible gas connector to the line and find that the connector doesn’t fit or you can’t make the connection gas-tight, no matter how tight you make the connection.

What to do: This is a thread-compatibility problem usually brought about by a mismatch between the iron pipe supplying gas and the fitting on the end of the flexible connector you intend to use to bring the fuel to the appliance. The simplest solution is to buy a universal connection kit for a dryer or for a gas range. The kit will come with a variety of adapters to help you make the transition from the pipe and fitting supplying the gas to whatever appliance will be using it.

4. Know where your pipes are.Pounding nails and driving screws is all well and good, until you puncture a copper or plastic supply or drain.

What to do: Buy a stud sensor that also detects pipes and wiring. You can also look around in the attic or the basement (if it’s unfinished) to get a sense of where pipes are hiding. Finally, if the wall will be covered by whatever you’re building or installing, you can always carefully cut a test hatch to find plumbing lurking in the walls.

5. Know the code. Plumbing is a tricky business, with rules that dictate how far you can place a fixture from the home’s drain-waste-vent line based on the pipe diameter and other arcane matters. The only way you can handle a big job yourself is to know the code and what it calls for in pipe sizing, fixture spacing and related matters.

What to do: There’s lots of reference for ambitious do-it-yourselfers. Buy a copy of the International Plumbing Code or the Uniform Plumbing Code. One of the best references that we’ve used here over the years is Code Check, a handbook that’s updated as building codes are updated. One of its best features is that it’s written to cover common problems and things that even professionals get wrong.

6. Cut right, fit tight. You can’t make a neat water or gas connection tight unless the parts are neatly cut.

What to do: Buy pro-level tubing cutters, reciprocating-saw blades, hacksaw blades and a plastic pipe saw. For example, you’ll be amazed by the difference between a professional tubing cutter from Ridgid, say, and the $5 special from the home center. Likewise, it seems silly to spend $20 for a plastic pipe saw when a standard handsaw works pretty well. The thing is, the plastic pipe saw works better and leaves less of a burr, since its teeth have very little set compared with a saw meant for cutting wood.

Remove burrs from plastic and copper and thoroughly clean both types of plumbing materials before soldering or gluing. Copper is best abraded with plumber’s cloth (aluminum-oxide sandpaper on a spool), and plastic requires material-specific primer that softens the plastic so that the adhesive can create an optimal bond. When pipe feels greasy or dirty, use pipe cleaner before applying primer.

7. Seal the deal. Only a soldered or glued joint doesn’t require sealant; everything else does.

What to do: There are two types of sealant tapes in hardware stores and home centers: tape for sealing water connections, in a blue spool, and tape for sealing gas, in a yellow spool. Yet there’s no need for you to be satisfied with just those choices. Pros often carry brushable sealant, with variations specially formulated for threaded plastic or galvanized steel. Visit a plumbing supply house or shop online to find these varieties. Professional varieties have a higher percentage of gap-filling solids and better ensure a tight joint — no small matter, given the lack of thread engagement that you often find today with badly made plumbing materials, valves and fixtures.

8. Don’t overtighten. If seal is good, really tight must be better, right? Wrong.

What to do: Given what I just said about the hit-or-miss quality of many plumbing components today, you’d think that a generous application of wrench torque is called for. Not so. A clean, properly cut and fitted joint that’s been sealed just doesn’t need to be massively tightened. In many cases, after bringing the parts together firmly hand-tight or using a wrench, often all it takes is another half a turn. Brass–copper gas fittings are particularly vulnerable to wrench damage from over-tightening, while steel pipe is more forgiving.

For more tips on Plumbing and Homecare stay tuned to our blogs & social media outlets on Facebook and Google Plus .  Or simply give us a call in Redondo – (310) 618-8476

Thanks For Reading!

Avoid Common Plumbing Problems

Sals Plumbing, your Redondo Beach plumber  is dedicated to giving exceptional service. We wanted to share this article written by Experience Project about common plumbing problems. We have written about this particular subject before, but want to give our readers a more detailed refresher course!

“Who has not had their share of plumbing snafus? Whether a person owns their home or rents an apartment, they will run into a few toilet, sink or bathtub challenges along the way. It is not always possible to get a plumber to the scene right away, either, so it is important to know what to do about a few common plumbing problems.

Toilet Will Not Flush

This can sometimes be a very basic problem that can be remedied by a relative novice. The first thing to do is to take the lid off of the tank and look inside. Inside the porcelain tank, there should be a chain with a hook attached to the flushing handle and a rubber stopper. Sometimes the hook and chain have simply fallen out of the handle. Thread it through, replace the tank’s lid and bingo! It now flushes and all is well.

Broken Chain or Handle

There are times when the internal flushing device has broken due to breakage of the chain or even the external handle, if it’s plastic. In this case, remove the broken parts, place all in a plastic bag and drive to the local home improvement warehouse in your neighborhood. Go to the plumbing aisle and find a device that matches the broken one. Return to the malfunctioning bathroom and replace. That is it! The important thing in amateur repair jobs is to notice where everything goes before taking it apart.

The Toilet is Clogged

Too many tissues or feminine hygiene products can cause the apparatus to clog up. What is a homeowner to do? This is when a basic tool known as a plunger comes in handy. Every bathroom should have one. The plunger is a tool with a rubber suction cup attached to a pole. The internal toilet opening in the back of the bowl underwater is first covered with the rubber suction cup. The tool is pushed up and down repeatedly forcing the clog to be pushed on its way down and out into the sewer system.

Garbage Disposal Will Not Turn On

Garbage disposals are handy appliances for getting rid of foodstuff by grinding it up and sending it out through the pipes. There are times that something has caused it to stall and it simply will not turn on with a flick of the switch. What to do? Well, before panicking, calling a plumber or replacing the disposal, open the cupboard doors and peer in below the sink. There upon the black cylindrical disposal, is a tiny red re-set button. Push it. Try the switch again. Most of the time, like magic, the garbage disposal will reset itself and be grinding away again.

We hope this plumbing article was helpful to you. Please consider Sal’s Plumbing whether you are looking for a plumber in Torrance, a plumber in Redondo Beach or a plumber in El Segundo.

We are available 24/7 For All Your Plumbing Needs!

ondo-plumber-shower-head

Fix A Broken Shower Head in Minutes

Sals Plumbing, with its new location in Redondo Beach has been servicing the South Bay for 30 years wants to share how we fix, a common problems that we see every day on the job – Broken Showerheads.

Shower heads can have several problems. Leaks can occur most commonly where the head connects to the shower arm, which makes for a pretty intimidating problem for a person that is not familiar with plumbing.  Follow these simple plumbing steps and you will have the shower head fixed in no time!

For fixing a shower head leak at the arm connection, You will need only two materials:  Adjustable wrenches or strap wrenches and Plumbers’ joint compound or tape. To stop the showerhead leak, first unscrew the shower arm from pipe with strap wrenches. If you use different wrench, tape pipe to avoid scratching it.  Secondly, clean arm threads and coat them with plumbers joint compound or wrap plumbers joint tape around them. Lastly, screw the head back on and hand-tighten it. Remove any excess compound or tape.

For More tips from the South Bay’s Best Plumber visit  Sals Plumbing on the web, or give us a call for an estimate on your plumbing needs at (310) 618-8476.

We are available 24/7 to help you with your household plumbing needs.

Going Eco Frendly In Your Bathroom!

Sal’s Plumbing, South Bay’s family owned plumbing business for 30 years is determined to bring our customers top of the line information when it comes to taking care of your home plumbing and many the other DIY needs for your household. This particular plumbing article is about keeping your bathroom “green”.

“Daily water usage in the typical single family home is 69.3 gallons, with showers accounting for 16.8 percent of the total. After washing machines and dishwashers, your shower is the third-largest water guzzler in your home.

By implementing a few simple changes, you can cut your bathroom water consumption significantly. For instance, installing low flow shower heads could help you save almost 8,000 gallons of water per year. If every American used just one less gallon of water per shower, the annual water savings would be more than Finland’s domestic annual water use.

With some green thinking, you can reap big eco-savings in the following areas of your bathroom.

Shower efficiency: Less is more

Low-flow showerheads, which use 2.5 gallons of water or less per minute, restrict the flow of water and create a high-velocity spray by forcing compressed air into the water stream. You’ll average five fewer gallons of water than a typical bath and can save up to $145 a year in electricity costs.In fact, these fixtures may reduce your water use by 7,800 gallons per year. Turn off the water while you soap up in the shower and you’ll save an additional 15 to 20 gallons per shower.

Toilets: Go with the low-flow

Your toilet is responsible for about 28 percent of your home’s total water usage.  In an effort to promote water conservation, Federal law mandates that all residential toilets manufactured after 1994 must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf).   As of 1997, commercial toilets were also required to reach this standard, and  urinals were required to use no more than 1 gpf.  However, older models are still very common in many residences and use between 3.5 to 7 gpf.

Sinks: Watching what’s down the drain

American households consume 47 percent of the water supplied by US utilities with the average home using about 90 gallons of water a day. Over the course of a year, that really adds up. Indeed, bathroom and kitchen faucets are responsible for more than 15 percent of indoor water use in US homes—that’s more than 1.1 trillion gallons of water used annually. Using simple faucet, fixing leaks, and learning to turn the tap off when water isn’t needed are just a few of the ways to green-up your sink.”

We hope this factual article was helpful to you. Stay tuned for our blogs every week throughout the remainder of the Spring and Summer to get more DIY tips and informational facts for your home. We pride ourselves in being the most reliable plumber in Manhattan Beach and the surrounding South Bay Areas!

Please visit our Facebook page, to stay informed of the latest plumbing and home improvement tips, and please call us for any plumbing services or questions, here are happy to helop!

Sals Plumbing – Beach Cities – (310) 618-8476

Serving the entire South Bay – Torrance, Hermosa, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes & Manhattan Beach

 

Plumbing Tips – Unclogging Drains

Torrance Redondo Plumber

There are all types of drains in you home. They come from your Showers, Sinks, Bath Tubs, and Toilets. Each household structure requires a specific touch in order to free the drain from a clog. Check out these tips and learn how to unclog each of them.

Kitchen Sink and Bathroom Sinks: Make sure to have standing water on both sides of the sink. Place the stopper or towel on one side and plunge the other. It may be helpful to have someone help by holding the stopper in place since the plunging action may pop it out. If this doesn’t clear it try switching sides.

Toilet: A plunger works here most of the time and I believe you should have one handy for those emergencies. Some good back and forth plunging action can save you a service call from your plumber.

Showers: No air holes or overflow to cover; just put the plunger over the drain and plunge.

Bathtubs: Tubs are by far the most “daunting” to try to unclog. This is because the drains are a bit more intricately built. You have to block off that overflow before you give it a good plunging. All of the water and force generated by the plunging action will come out the overflow.

When in doubt just give us a call at Sal’s Plumbing  – (310) 782-1978.  

We’ve been helping our friends in the South Bay for 30 years!

 

The Sink Plunger and the Toilet Plunger – The Difference

The Sink Plunger

The sink plunger is commonly mistaken for a toilet plunger. They are the plunger with the typically red, flat rubber end. They are flat because they are meant to be applied to flat surfaces, i.e. sinks and bathtubs.

All too often, people use these plungers on their toilets. And then they call us because they can’t plunge what needs to be plunged. The physics of the situation just doesn’t work! The way a sink plunger is designed doesn’t create the necessary vacuum for the proper plunging of a toilet.

The Toilet Plunger

Often called the toilet plunger, this plunger is technically called a flange plunger. Instead of the plunger end being flat, this plunger has an extended rubber cup, perfect for jamming in the business end of your toilet.  They are typically plastic, though, and not as durable. Don’t make the plunging mistakes of generation’s past: Buy a sink plunger for your sink and a toilet plunger for your toilet.Of course, some times plungers don’t do anything and you have to get the snake, but that’s a post for another day. Stay tuned!

For more tips on Plumbing and Home Care stay tuned to our blogs & social media outlets on Facebook and Google Plus .  Or simply give us a call  – 310.692.4183

Thanks For Reading!

Child Proofing Your Bathroom

Sal’s Plumbing cares about the clients and families that we serve every day here in the South Bay. We wanted to share with you an article we found to be very educational and interesting when it comes to keeping your home (specifically your bathroom) child-proof and safe for you family. This article was written by The Baby Center.com

 

Like the kitchen, the bathroom can be one of the more hazardous rooms in your home for your baby. The following tips will help keep your baby safe and out of mischief:

  • Make sure your baby doesn’t find his way into the bathroom unsupervised by installing a hook-and-eye lock high on the outside of the door or by placing a childproof cover over the doorknob.
  • Remember to keep the toilet lid down, and install a toilet lock to prevent your baby from lifting the lid. Small children are curious, uncoordinated, and extremely top-heavy. If your baby leans over to peer into the toilet bowl, he could easily lose his balance, fall in headfirst, and drown in as little as an inch of water.
  • Put razors, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, and other sharp utensils in a locked cabinet or high up in a linen closet well out of your baby’s reach.
  • Unplug your blow-dryer, curling iron, and any other appliances that create heat, and put them away after each use to prevent burns.
  • Keep all cosmetics and medications — including prescription drugs, antacids, aspirin, and mouthwash (which contains more alcohol than wine does) — in a high cabinet secured with a child-safety lock. Even medications that have safety caps, which are only child-resistant and not childproof, need to be placed out of reach.
  • Treat all vitamins and other supplements with the same caution you’d use with medications, storing them in a high locked cabinet. Iron pills and multivitamins containing iron are poisonous to young children. Minerals, herbal remedies, and other supplements are hazardous, too.
  • Don’t keep anything plugged in near the sink or bathtub. Water conducts electricity, so if a hair dryer fell into the tub while you were giving your baby a bath, it could electrocute you both. To be extra safe, make sure all electrical outlets near the sink or tub are protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), an inexpensive device that senses a change in the current and quickly stops the flow of electricity. GFCIs are standard in most new homes to comply with construction codes, but if you have an older home, an electrician may need to replace the bathroom outlets.
  • Set your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). A lower water temperature helps ensure safe bathing by reducing the chance of scalding (it takes just three seconds for a child to get a serious burn). You can also install an anti-scalding device on your faucets.
  • Place a nonslip rubber mat in the bathtub and a nonslip bath mat on the floor next to the tub to prevent falls.
  • Put a soft plastic or rubber guard over the tub spout to protect your baby from accidentally bumping his head.
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub, not even for a moment. If the doorbell rings, scoop him up in a towel and take him with you. Bring your cell phone or a cordless phone into the bathroom if you feel you can’t miss a call.
  • Teach your baby to stay seated in the tub at all times. If he’s the active type, you may have to repeat this message many times before it sticks, but his safety makes the effort worth it.”

For more tips on Plumbing and Home Care stay tuned to our plumbing articles, tips and strategies.

Thank You !

Sal’s Plumbing – South Bay’s Family Plumber

Apartment Dwellers: Reduce your Plumbing costs and overall Utilities

Sals Plumbing serves lot of Aprtment dwellers in the Southbay areas. They always inquire if we have and advice or tips on how to reduce thier utility costs; check out these simple tips.

Turn Off the Faucet: people leave the faucet running when washing dishes or when brushing their teeth. Turning the faucet off in intervals when the faucet is not needed results in big savings in water and big savings on the water bill. Only turn on the faucet when you are wetting your toothbrush and again when you finish and rinse out your mouth. Clean dirty dishes instead of using water to push the excess scraps into the drain. Also when wetting a paper towl use a water bottle instead of turning on the sink.

Flush Less: Two to eight gallons of water are lost on average every time a toilet is flushed so save water by only flushing the toilet when necessary. While excrement should not usually be left sitting in the toilet, urine can be flushed the next time the toilet is used. Saving flushes even once or twice a day can result in savings on your plumbing costs while also helping the environment by saving approximately 3,000 gallons of water a year.

Leaks: A dripping faucet can waste gallons of water over the course of a month and these gallons add up to a lot of financial waste annually. Shut off each faucet completely when you are done using it and also inspect your pipes for water leaks. The apartment owner needs to pay for repairs as long as you didn’t cause the damage so have any leaks fixed immediately ( and preferably before you move into the apartment) to prevent getting charged for wasted water.

Showers are good…Taking baths bad: It takes significantly more water to fill up a bathtub than it does to take a shower on a daily basis. Baths waste a lot more water and are therefore a lot more expensive than showers are. Limit your bath-taking and only take one five-minute shower a day to reduce water usage and cost. This is the most well known way to save water and the cost of utilites but there are other ways as well.

Get a list our our services and for for more tips Please visit our Facebook page, we post new ones every week. If you would like us to help with your home plumbing issues please call us at (310) 692-4183.

Tips to Keeping a Clean and Happy Home

-Sals Plumbing wants everyone to have a clean happy home. Here are some tips for home care! Use safe, non-toxic cleaners throughout the home. This includes bathrooms, kitchens and those shiny wood floors you have. You can either make them yourself, as I have posted about before, or buy over-the-counter cleaners from companies like Method or Seventh Generation.

– Be sure to use low or VOC paints and glues. These can be found anywhere paint is sold, and the quality is exactly the same as regular old toxic paint. Paint fumes can be a killer, and they off-gas for quite some time after going up.

– Avoid synthetic carpets, furnishings and clothing. This one is harder to do, as it is difficult sometimes to find these things at reasonable prices. But it is easy to find organic cotton mattresses, for example, or organic cotton jeans, like the ones I purchased the other day.

– Keep your home clean and mess-free. I know in our house we are constantly chasing dust bunnies everywhere, especially since our cat has been shedding like mad lately with summer coming. The more stuff you don’t have floating around, the cleaner your air will be.

– Open windows and/or skylights often. Some people will tell you NOT to do this as it lets in dirty air from outside, but nothing could be worse than trapping any bad air inside the house and not airing it out. Imagine sitting in a freshly painted room – you would not be able to breathe. So open up your house!

-Make sure your bathroom has a window you can open while showering, or at least a fan that pulls the steam out of the air. Wet, humid bathrooms make a good home for mold, which while in small amounts probably won’t hurt you, a build up can be very dangerous.

For more tips on Plumbing and Homecare Stay tuned to our blogs. Also go like us on Facebook!

 

Common Water Myths

Sals Plumbing wants to educate people on water quality and safety. We took this excerpt from the Water Quality Association website. This is very information and educational.

 

“Is softened water more corrosive?No.
Because the Langlier (calcium saturation) Index is lowered in      water that has had calcium removed, skeptics sometimes consider softened water to be more      corrosive. But softening of water via cation exchange does not make water more corrosive. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the American Water Works      Association have both recently corrected their enclosed brochures as to the misconception      that ion exchange softening has an effect on the corrosivity of water.

WQA has recently completed a research study with Tom Sorg and      Mike Schock in the USEPA Drinking Water Research Division in Cincinnati, Ohio to clarify      the noncorrosive effect of the ion exchange softening process. The study is on well waters      with 23 and 11 grains per gallon (gpg) total hardness and softening to less than one gpg      to examine any differences between the hard and softened waters in corrosion rates and      leaching from lead, copper, copper tubing with 50/50 solder, galvanized pipe, and brass.      Results from the study shown no increased dissolution of lead in the softened water. The      final research report is now available from the WQA Publications Department, and states      the same conclusion—that ion exchange softened water does not produce higher metal      levels than nonsoftened water.  Research results, such as these, confirm the minimal      effects of hardness minerals on corrosion.

WQA also has available other materials to show that ion      exchange softening does not affect any of  the factors which contribute to water      corrosivity. Neither the water pH, dissolved oxygen content, TDS concentration, electrical      conductivity, ammonia, chloride, or sulfide amounts, temperature, nor flow velocity are      significantly altered by home water softening. While it is true that soft water will      deposit less scale coating on metal surfaces, the softening itself will not change a      water’s corrosivity or lack of it. Corrosion of copper pipe, for example, is most often      caused by oxygen concentrations in the water. Oxygen corrosion is usually found with      surface water supplies and in deep well supplies in arid regions.

Municipal water systems often use calcium carbonate      saturation indices to help control precipitation in city water mains. This information is      useful where utilities try to lay down a protective film in hopes of retarding the rate of      corrosion in municipal distribution systems. The Langlier Index (LI) is such a calcium      carbonate saturation index that measures the potential of a water to deposit calcium      carbonate scale. Water with an LI greater than zero tends to be of higher hardness and      alkalinity and therefore to be scale forming. An LI less than zero represents water that      tends to dissolve CaCO3.

However, these calcium carbonate saturation indices do not      rate the corrosive tendency of the water itself, nor the effect of scale in household      plumbing. While some scales are capable of such protection, scales in a household water      system are often porus or soft and thus non-protective. It is rare that hardness scale      formation is uniform in household plumbing, for the heaviest scale usually forms at points      of greatest heat transfer and at low points in a system. In a water heater, for example,      most scale forms at the bottom where heat is applied, while the top of the heater tank may      show little or no scale. Thus, even in hard scale-forming water, thousands of water      heaters can show that corrosion has occurred under or through the scale, or in locations      where protective scale has not formed. Thus, it is clear that corrosion protection in      household plumbing is not assured simply because a water heater will precipitate calcium      carbonate, as indicated by various scale indices. Further, none of these indexing methods      take into account the effects of dissolved oxygen, ammonia, chlorides, hydrogen sulfide      and other sulfur compounds, water flow velocities, the presence or absence of solid      particles or the volume of water through the system which markedly affect water      corrosivity.

The simple replacement of hard water calcium and magnesium with soft water sodium or potassium has no detrimental effect on water contacting materials. In fact, the nonscaling characteristic of soft      water is a benefit to such pumping and plumbing appurtenances. Ion exchange      water softening neither causes nor controls corrosion. Please call the Water Quality      Association if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these materials.”

Get a list our our services and for for more tips Please visit our Facebook page, we post new ones every week. If you would like us to help with your home plumbing issues please call us at (310) 692-4183.

 

 

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