Removing Hard Water Stains on Shower Doors

d815a81dfc32833ba23886dcc4ab93c7.jpgStart with some “elbow grease”. Before getting into expensive or potentially toxic cleaning products, try using these scrubbing techniques first.

  • Use “magic” and “eraser” cleaning pads or other non-scratching scrubbing sponges to safely scrub your glass surfaces. Try to remove as much as you can by scrubbing with one of these moistened sponges.
  • Never use hard-bristled brushes or abrasive cleaning tools when cleaning glass to avoid scratching or etching the glass surface.
  • Scrubbing works best on smaller hard water deposits, newer stains, and those that are not firmly set in.

Use baking soda. If you’re dealing with older stains or large areas of heavy hard water build-up, you will need more than just elbow grease. Baking soda is a very effective non-liquid home remedy that’s all-natural and probably already in your pantry.

  • Baking soda is a base (alkaline), so it can be used to chemically counteract the effects of hard water mineral deposits.
  • Because it is a natural, biodegradable product, baking soda is considered to be a safe, environmentally-friendly alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.
  • There are two schools of thought for using baking soda to clean: one camp claims that you can mix baking soda with vinegar to make an effective paste, while others claim that you should not use vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base) at the same time because they will cancel out each others’ pH benefits.
  • As a compromise, try applying some white vinegar to the stain first, waiting 30 minutes, and then applying baking soda before scrubbing and thoroughly rinsing away the stain.

Brush on some toothpaste. Many home cleaners use toothpaste as an alternative to baking soda.

  • Apply some regular toothpaste to a moist towel and rub it over the stain using circular motions.
  • Wait a few minutes, and then rinse off the paste with equal parts water and vinegar to remove all residue.

Use commercial paste cleaners. There are several commercial cleaning products for hard water stains that come in a paste formula.

  • The main benefit of using a paste over liquid cleaner is that the paste will not leave its own liquid streaks or water marks.
  • A downside to using paste products, though, is that they can leave behind a foggy haze if not buffed off of the glass. Be sure to follow all the label instructions to avoid this side effect.

 

How to Fix Water That Keeps Running in a Tub Faucet

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Step 1

Turn off the water to the tub faucet by closing the valves in the wall (accessed through a panel behind the wall on which the faucet is mounted) or by turning off the home’s water main near the water meter.

Step 2

Pull the cap off the top of the faucet handle and unscrew the Allen-head screw under it. If your faucet doesn’t have a cap, it will have a set screw on the side of the handle. Find the screw and remove it with an Allen wrench.

Step 3

Take the handle off the faucet head and look for a small retainer clip around the edge of the cartridge underneath. Use a pair of pliers to remove this clip. If there is a bonnet cap or washer, loosen and remove this either by hand or with a pair of pliers.

Step 4

Slide the cartridge out of the faucet head and install a new cartridge in place of the old one. Press it to the back of the faucet head and then fit the clip around it to secure it, or reinstall the washer to hold it in place.

Step 5

Put the handle back on the stem of the cartridge and fasten it with the set screw to hold it in place. Turn on the water and test the faucet.

How to Fix a Stinky Sink

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First, make sure you have a proper P-trap installed under the sink. This trap holds water and provides a seal against sewer gases getting up into the bathroom. Without a P-trap, gases will leak in constantly, and will be displaced by water down the drain which can force the gases up into the bathroom even if normally it’s not detectable.

Also make sure there is a proper vent for the sink. Even with a P-trap, if there’s nowhere for back-flowing gases to go, they’ll bubble up past the trap. (And even if you don’t have a vent, that might be OK.)

One more thing it could be is the overflow drain. Depending on the design of sink, the overflow can hold a small amount of water at the bottom where it T’s in to the main drain, which can become stagnant. Run water down the drain and you’ll force some air up the overflow (to make way for the water coming down), which will have that stagnant smell.

To diagnose this, plug the sink and begin filling it; you shouldn’t get any musty smell at first because there’s no air movement. Once the water level hits the overflow drain, you will start smelling the musty smell for a while because the water is displacing the gas, which wants to rise above the water and so will move up into the bathroom. If this is the problem, you can ameliorate it with some foaming pipe snake; pour it down the overflow drain and it will clean out any caked-on gunk which contributes to the smell, and which may be trapping the water. The real fix is to make sure there’s no “damming” effect of construction defects at the bottom of the overflow drain (a lip of porcelain, issues where the overflow meets the metal drain downpipe, etc).

Does it smell when you turn on the tap and catch the water in a bowl (so it doesn’t go down the drain)?

 If so, it’s something in the faucet. Take off the aerator cap and look for gunk inside. Also, look in the barrel of the faucet and clean it out if you can. And of course you can also consider replacing the faucet.

If this doesn’t work, it’s something in the basin, drain, trap, or overflow drain. KeithS has some good answers above, but I also recommend the following:

– Take out the drain stopper and look down the drain pipe for gunk. Clean it out with a snake or unraveled coat hanger if you can.

– Spray bleach down the drain and overflow drain to kill anything nasty in there. You can bleach the basin too for cleanliness.

– Get a large bowl or 1-5 gallon bucket. Fill it with water. Quickly but carefully pour all the water down the drain. The goal is to fill the basin and displace all/any water in the overflow drain and trap. Sometimes there can be nasty things in there that float so they don’t go through the trap, and this forces them out the drain pipe.

Dangerous Water Valves

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A gate valve for a property usually has to be closed if plumbing repairs or maintenance are needed inside the building. In some instances, particularly if the main control valve is a gate type valve, the valve may not close completely. In many cases a gate valve repair or replacement may be needed. But many times other remedies are available.

A gate valve not closing completely is typically due to sediment that has built up inside the body of the valve. The sediment becomes lodged between the gate that lowers, and the inside of the valve body itself. Ball type valves do not suffer from this problem, as they operate on a different principal than a gate that raises and lowers inside of the valve body .

The typical reaction when a gate valve will not close fully is to exert addition force on the handle. Using force to close a valve is absolutely the wrong response. Brute force can cause permanent damage to the valve and a loss of water supply to the building.

Leaking Air Gaps

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The simplicity of the air gap not only makes for an elegantly effective device, it also means there are fewer opportunities for malfunction. But that isn’t to say things can’t go wrong:

  • The most common issue with air gaps is a blockage somewhere along the line, usually due to bits of food and grease accumulating over some time. These kinds of blockages are most likely to be found in the hose between the air gap and drain/disposal (where there’s less pressure to move things along). When a blockage becomes large enough, water coming out of the dishwasher will begin to back up, spilling out of the air gap into the sink basin. Try disconnecting the hose and flushing it out.
  • If a blockage can’t be found in the hoses, there could be something inside the air gap itself – a bottle or pipe brush may be handy in clearing out the unit. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it’s possible the blockage lies past the hoses: in the the disposal itself, or the trap(s) under the sink. While you would probably notice such a clog well before the dishwasher brought it to your attention, this would be the last obvious place to look. Remove the p-trap and clean out any blockages.
  • Ensure that there are no kinks in the hose(s), and that no length is too long; there should be little slack when all is said and done. There should be just enough hose to get to the air gap inlet (or reach the highest point under the counter if using a high loop), and just enough to reach the drain or garbage disposal. The final run of the hose to the drain/disposal needs to be free of any sagging “traps” resulting from excess length, in which debris can accumulate and cause a blockage.
  • If the dishwasher is connected to a garbage disposal and constantly spits water from the air gap during draining, it’s possible that the knockout plug on the disposal inlet was never knocked out. It happens! Disconnect the power supply, and use a screwdriver and hammer to punch it out. A pair of long-nose pliers will be helpful in fishing out the plastic plug from the disposal.
  • Avoid using standard corrugated, plastic hoses – they’re easier to damage than high quality rubber hoses, and the ridges inside are perfect for accumulating debris, which can lead to a clogged line.

How much does a leaky faucet cost per month?

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Drip, drip, drip. Whether in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room a leaky faucet can be one of the most frustrating issues.

This simple small leak can cost you about $20 per year. A more significant faucet leak can produce 30 to hundreds of gallons of wastewater per day. The average costs of these fast dripping faucets will end up costing you $60 to $200 per year!

A leaking faucet or sink can not only cause a mess and annoying noise, but it can run up your water bill. It might be a simple fix, or you may choose to have the appliance completely switched out. Maybe you just want an upgrade. Whatever the case, our licensed plumbers have the resources to locate the problem and get it fixed for you.

Dangers of Old Water Lines and Piping

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Every home has a water line that delivers fresh water and every home is going to have a leak in their water line at some time.

This line may come from the city meter or from a well, or even from a community water system. This line is called a “water service”. Your water service may be made of copper, Galvanized steel (as seen above), Polyethylene, or PVC.

The effective lifespan of these different materials vary greatly. Our plumbers are trained to locate the area of the leak and determine if repair or replacement is necessary. Should you choose to replace the line (most commonly selected option), we can get this job done in quickly so you have the least amount of inconvenience possible. Also, we have the ability to install the new line with minimal disruption to your landscape.

Even past your main water line, pipes leak – we can handle it.

Our licensed plumbers have years of experience to draw from in finding and repairing leaks inside your home. Most of the time only a small hole is required pinpoint the source and repair the problem.  Our licensed plumbers can repair all types of pipes in any location of your home.

Older homes will need to be repaired. Our licensed and professional plumbers can carefully plan the new system for you and keep demolition of your walls and ceilings to a minimum. Quite often we can install piping in existing chases or hollow areas, and reuse the existing holes. With new plumbing pipes, you not only increase the value of your home, but it becomes a joy to bathe and cook with bountiful amounts of fresh clean water.

Whatever option you choose, you can be sure that the job will be done quickly, professionally and correctly at a price that you approve up front!

Tired of Plumbing Leaks? Reduce ‘Pipe Stress’

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Time takes its toll, sure. But stress on the pipes is a big cause of plumbing leaks. Too much stress over time and you’ll have to replace your entire plumbing system, costing you thousands of dollars.

Two things causes plumbing stress:

  • High water pressure
  • Hard water (water filled with high mineral content)

We’ll explain why and what you can do about them.

Why high water pressure causes pipe stress

High water pressure stresses your pipe joints and faucets. And it makes appliance valves work harder, too. To see if your water pressure is too high, attach a hose bib gauge to an outside water spigot and open the water line.

Normal water pressure is 40 and 85 psi. If it’s above that range, your water pressure is too high.

What to do about it: Hire a plumber to install a pressure reducer.

Just to let you know, using low flow shower heads won’t reduce water pressure in the pipes; it only reduces water pressure where the water exits.

Need a professional Seattle plumber?

Whether you want to reduce water pressure or soften your hard water, Plumbing Today can help. Contact us online for help.

3 Signs Your Sewer Line Is Clogged

Not sure if your main sewer line is clogged or if it’s just a regular clog?

Well, if the problem is your main sewer line, you’ll notice these 3 signs:

  1. Multiple drains are backed up
  2. Water overflows into different plumbing fixtures
  3. Drainage in sewer clean out

Let’s take a closer look at each of these signs.

Have you confirmed that you have a clogged sewer line? First, shut off your main water valve then contact us for help. We’ll send over an experienced plumber ASAP.

Sign #1: Multiple backed up lines

You’ll know you have a clog in the main sewer line because it will eventually back up other plumbing fixtures in the home. If it is just an issue with a smaller branch line, it will just be an isolated problem in one appliance.

You see, your home’s sewage system is setup like a tree: there are multiple drain lines from different water appliances that all feed into one main “trunk”. So when there’s a clog in the main trunk, the water draining from the smaller branch lines have nowhere to go, except back.

Not sure if you have multiple backed up lines? Well, do you hear all the following plumbing fixtures making a gurgling noise?

  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Showers
  • Sinks

Clogged Drain Air Waste Water Blockage

If so, you most likely have a main sewer line clog. As wastewater slowly moves past the clog it hits air pockets, forcing air bubbles to the surface of the water (which creates gurgling sounds). The more water you use, the more pronounced this sound will be. It can also produce a strong sewage smell as the blockage worsens.

Sign #2: Water overflows into different plumbing fixtures

If you have a main sewer line clog, water will back up and start to overflow into different plumbing fixtures. This happens because water from one branch line tries to drain away, but the main sewer clog blocks it and forces it to back up into other smaller drains.

Remember that overflowing water seeks the lowest point, so water fixtures in the basement or lower floors will usually be the first ones to overflow.

Not sure if this is happening in your home? Here are a few easy ways to test for this:

  • Flush your toilet, then check if water gurgles or comes up your tub or shower drain.
  • Use your washing machine, then look for overflow in your shower drain or toilet.
  • Turn on your bathroom sink, and watch if toilet water rises or bubbles up.

See water overflowing after any of these tests? Then you most likely have a sewer line clog.

Sign #3: Drainage in sewer clean out

Sewer Clean Out Home Drainage

Your sewer clean out is marked by a circular plastic or concrete lid labeled “Clean Out”, but if you have a home built before 1978, you may not have one.

Once you find your clean out, remove the cap. If you see sewer water flowing out of the pipe or standing in the pipe, this also indicates you have a sewer line clog.

Have a clogged sewer line? Turn off your main water supply ASAP

Shutting off the main water supply valve will stop excess water or sewage from flooding your home.

To turn off your main water supply, you’ll first need to locate the valve. This is usually located in:

  • The basement or crawlspace
  • An area close to your water heater
  • The garage

Water supply valves can vary by home. Most look like one of the two pictured below. Follow the instructions on the images to shut it off. For the red handle valve, simply turn it horizontally to be in the “Off” position.

Shut Off Valve Wall Type TurnMain Water Shutoff Valve Red Handle

Sometimes your main water valve is located in water meter box outside your home near the street. To shut off your main water supply line, follow the instructions on the image below:

Meter Shut Off Water Valve Home

Call a plumbing professional

Next, you should call a professional sewer line cleaner. Most experts use a 2-step process to clear a sewer line clog:

Step 1: The plumber will run a drain auger (also called a “plumber’s snake”) through the sewer clean out to clear the clog.

Step 2: If the auger doesn’t clear the clog, the plumber will use a fiber optic sewer line camera to look down the sewer line. This will identify what caused the clog and determine what needs to be done to clear it. Usually, the plumbers then use water jetting technology to blast through and clear the clog.

Need your sewer line cleaned? Southwestern Plumbing has you covered. Schedule an appointment or call us today (206) 932-1777