That doohickey right up there ^^^ above this text is a shut-off valve. Knowing where in your house you can find these babies can save you thousands of dollars if you ever find yourself with water flooding into your home due to broken pipes or malfunctioning fixtures.
First, a word on how this simple valve works. The red handle should* turn (often 1/4 rotation) and the water should stop flowing. Some fixtures, such as toilets, sinks, washing machines and showers have their own, smaller shut-offs. Those look like this and are located right next to or under the fixture:
Depending on the type of shut-off, these may turn a 1/4 turn, or they may require several turns to shut the water off.
If you need to shut off water to the whole house, locate the main shut-off (1st picture) which will likely be near where water service comes in to your house. This could be on the 1st floor, or possibly in the basement. Once the water is turned off, start mopping up the spilled water and give us a call.
Shut-offs fail periodically and some fixture installations are done without adding a new shut-off. It's smart to have a plumber come check your shut-offs periodically to make sure they are in working order when you need one.
If you'd like us to give you a hand, please give us a call, we are happy to help.
*There are several kinds of shut-off valves on the market. Some are cheap, $6-$8 like the kind found at the home improvement store. We have seen those valves fail so many times, we never install them in customer's homes. Because it is so important that shut-offs work when needed, we only use the brand that we trust. Sure, it costs a couple of bucks more but if for some reason there's water pouring on to your floor, all you'll care about is that it works.
See that thing stuck on the end of the snake there? Yep, that's a wash cloth.
Pro tip: don't flush washcloths.
We saw this shower head and completely fell in love. It is gorgeous, puts out a ton of water and would be a delightful addition to any bathroom.
...then we looked at the rest of the room. What's with the trip hazard shower pan? What keeps water from splashing all over the place? Why the bummer lighting? We know it's and ad but....really? Really?
What do you think? Is this a hit, or a miss?
There are 2 basic ways to clean out clogged pipes, conventional drain snakes and hydrojetters. In the image above, the snake is on the top and the hydrojetter is underneath. Both methods require accessing pipes directly through a clean-out and both methods employ sending a probe down into the pipes to physically clear them of debris out but that's about where the similarities end.
A hydrojetter uses water pumped in at high velocity to break up clogs or cut damaged roots. A snake uses any of a variety of heads (chosen based on the clog type) to break up clogs or cut roots and pull them out of the lines.
Our company uses snakes exclusively, and for good reason. If pipes have roots, that means that they have already been breached and are no longer at 100% strength. If pipes are older than 20 years (which is often the case for homes in older neighborhoods such as Hillcrest, South Park, North Park, University Heights, Normal Heights, Kensington, Talmadge, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill and other central San Diego neighborhoods), pipes can break or crumble under the high pressure blasts from a hydrojetter. Inexperienced hydrojet operators can end up causing more damage than they came to fix. Our #1 job is to help homeowners solve their plumbing problems without causing new ones, so we don't take the risk of using a hydrojetter when a snake can do the job without having to worry about breaking already fragile pipes.
If your lines are draining slowly, let us know and we'll come out and let you know what's going on and suggest a solution for you. Give us a call, we are happy to help.
It doesn't snow in San Diego, but it does get chilly in the winter months. If you live in an older home, you probably don't have much in the way of insulation and, if your house is anything like ours, you probably have your share of louvered windows (aka jalousie windows, aka the most leaky windows on the planet).
So what is a person to do to keep warm in the bath?
One option is using heated towel racks. Stepping out of a steamy shower into a chilly room can be no fun it all but wrapping up in a pre-warmed towel feels like the height of luxury for not too much dough. Heated towel racks come either permanently installed or as a stand-alone appliance.
Another good choice is using a rug or a towel on the floor to keep off of cold tile.
Finally, a luxurious robe and slippers can make any bathroom feel like a spa.
Thank you all for a fantastic inaugural year here at Community Plumbing. Here is to a fantastic 2018.
What does it mean when there is root intrusion in your sewer pipes? And how do those suckers get in there?
Amazingly, it's simple biology: roots like water. And, as we all know, here in San Diego --> water is in short supply.
When trees, bushes or large plants grow near* pipes, they are attracted by the moisture near the lines. (Thanks, condensation!) If the lines have cracks or small imperfections, roots can start to grow into these cracks to get at the water inside of the pipes.
In the initial stages, you may not even know that a root issue is starting to form. Pipes are underground, your sewer flow hasn't been obstructed, all is well.
Fast forward a few months or years and these tiny root tendrils have become thicker and longer. Once they get large enough to catch debris like toilet paper, you may start to notice that the drains aren't working like they used to. This is the time to call a plumber out.
As you can see from the pictures, calling sooner is better than waiting.
Our client was lucky and we were able to clear the roots from the lines but once roots get as large as these, there is almost certainly some real damage to the pipes as well.
If roots can't be cleared from the lines or if the pipes are too damaged, the only way to fix this issue is a pipe replacement.
So - how does a homeowner prevent this from happening?
*Near is a relative term here. Some trees, such as ficus, can send their roots as far away as several neighbor's yards once full grown. Even relatively small trees can have huge root systems. Amazingly, if you've got a ficus tree with a 6" root diameter, the roots will be about 20' wide.
We are excited to announce that, thanks to you, we were voted a 2017 neighborhood favorite on Nextdoor!
It's been a crazy few months here at Community Plumbing. We have met so many of our wonderful neighbors and we are proud that we could help make your homes more comfortable places to live. Thank you for supporting us.
We are looking forward to all of the good work we can continue to do for you in 2018!
During this season of hustle and bustle, sometimes all you need is a little time to relax and unwind. Here are some simple changes you can make to your bathroom to turn it into a spa-like happy place.
1. Remove Clutter
Looking at counters full of lotions and potions, a magazine rack full of 2 year old issues and laundry on the floor is a bummer. Soothe your busy mind and boost your spirits by decluttering. If a bottle is covered in dust, it's time to toss it out (or, if it is unopened, donate it). If a towel is on the floor, hang it up. If the laundry has escaped the hamper, it's time to get on it. Consider grouping like items in baskets and putting items away in closets. A clean counter top leads to a happy heart.
2. A Bathtub Tray can Save the Day
What would a home spa be without a book or a glass of something yummy? A tub tray can change your life. Add a tub pillow and you may never want to leave.
3. Dim the Lights
Candle light is nice but sometimes you need a little more. A dimmer switch is a perfect DIY way to make a big impact in a small room.
4. Shower Massage
Replace that boring old shower head with a massaging head. Better yet, add a hand shower. ;)
5. Make an Appointment
These ideas are great and all but if you never actually use your home spa, what's the point in having it? Set aside time on your calendar to take care of you. Especially at the end of the year, we are so focused on creating joy for others, we can sometimes forget that we need time to pamper ourselves. So go ahead and schedule some for yourself. You deserve it!