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5 Reasons to Avoid a Plumbing Snake

DIY Plumbing Snake Problems

When you have a drain that’s hopelessly clogged, it’s tempting to grab a plumbing snake to take care of it. Also called pipe snakes, these coiled wire tools can be effective at clearing clogs, but they can also cause a great deal of damage if you don’t know what you’re doing.

5 Reasons to Avoid a Plumbing Snake

The top plumbing problem homeowners face is clogged drains. There are a number of tools you can use to unclog a drain, the most frequently used being a plunger, a plumbing snake and a drain auger. The last thing you want to do when using a snake to unclog a drain is to do further damage to your home. Here are five reasons you may want to hit the pause button before reaching for a plumbing snake:

#1: You May Have The Wrong Type of Snake for the Job

Most homeowners don’t realize there are several different types … Read Full Post »

Signs of a Hidden Water Leak

Detecting and eliminating unwanted dampness

Hidden leaks can waste thousands of gallons of water per year and often result in serious damage to the underlying structure of your home. Watch for these signs to detect leaks so you can take action before they become severe.

Increased Water Bills

A sudden spike in your water bill is one of the telltale signs of a hidden leak. If you can’t find any reason for the change and your bills remain high even when you’re trying to be conservative, it’s time to have the plumbing checked.

Discolored Patches

Hidden water can cause dark places, rings, or other color changes to appear on the ceiling and walls around your home. In some cases this may be the result of a leaky roof, but it could also mean that the pipes are sending water where it shouldn’t be going.

Peeling or Blistered Walls

Water inside walls can cause wallpaper and paint to … Read Full Post »

Is Your Plumber Properly Licensed?

If you’re like most homeowners, you want to solve unexpected plumbing problems as quickly and cheaply as possible. When a drain gets clogged or your toilet won’t stop running, you may be tempted to call a friend who knows a thing or two about plumbing. It’s possible that an amateur can indeed fix a small problem if it turns out to be what he expected. However, if something goes wrong, the integrity of your entire house could be at risk. Unless you’ve always wanted to turn your home into a mold-infested water park, go the safer route and hire a licensed professional plumber instead.

The Value of a Plumbing License

It’s not easy to get a plumbing license. Plumbers must pass rigorous tests and obtain years of hands-on experience to make the cut. Unlike an amateur, a licensed plumber is prepared to handle any potential problem that arises while they’re working. They … Read Full Post »

What Not to Do When Your Pipes Clog Up

Avoid these DIY clog-clearing disasters

When your pipes are clogged, it can be tempting to try every trick you can think of to clear them. However, no matter how annoying it is to have standing water in your sink or a toilet that won’t flush properly, there are a few things you should never do in an attempt to get rid of clogs.

Don’t Poke at It

Drain snakes, also called augers, can be useful tools if you know how to use them. If you don’t, all you’ll wind up doing when you stick one down the drain is stuffing the clog further into the pipes. Using an auger is pointless for large clogs if they’re located further down than the instrument will reach.

The same thing goes for unbent coat hangers. These might work to clean out a clogged vacuum hose, but putting one down the drain in the hopes that it will … Read Full Post »

Are Your Pipes Feeling Their Age?

And how do you know when it’s time to update your plumbing system?

Even if you don’t have a commercial plumbing system that sees dozens of uses per day, your home’s plumbing will eventually wear out. You may notice small leaks, problems with your water pressure and constant fluctuations in temperature. If you wait too long to make necessary repairs, you could face a high repair bill and other unpleasant consequences, including property damage. These are some of the clearest benefits of making a timely plumbing upgrade:

More Efficiency

If you have an older plumbing system that hasn’t been upgraded in some time, it’s probably not as efficient as a modern system. In turn, this can lead to higher water bills and unnecessary water waste, a potentially serious issue in our drought-prone neck of the woods. Despite their upfront cost, low-flow toilets, showerheads and sink fixtures tend to pay for themselves over time.

Avoiding … Read Full Post »

Is Your Toilet Running Up Your Water Bill?

Put an end to high bills with professional help to stop this annoying and expensive problem

Is your toilet running? This might sound like a corny take on an old joke, but a toilet that runs when it hasn’t been flushed can be a big problem when it comes to your water bills.

The Phantom Flush

The noise you hear when your toilet suddenly starts running out of nowhere isn’t a flush. It’s actually the sound of water filling up the tank or bowl without stopping. This is a pretty good indication that there’s something wrong with the internal workings of your toilet and that you need to take a look before it starts costing you money. To determine if you are in fact dealing with a leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait a little while. If the color winds up in the bowl, a … Read Full Post »

ABC Austin Featured on Time Warner Cable News


The Importance of Keeping an Eye Out for Leaks in Austin

Master Plumber Mike Yazalina and Arborist Scott Martin are members of ABC Home & Commercial Services’ Austin plumbing team, and they were recently featured in an article and video for Time Warner News. The duo discussed some of the dangers that can be caused by leaky pipes, including unexpected tree root growth in undesirable areas.

How Do Leaks Impact Tree Roots?

When most people think of a leaky pipe, their primary concern is the many problems that water damage can cause within their home. However, it’s important to remember that not all of the piping that provides your house with water is positioned in a manner that would cause it to leak indoors. Instead, these leaks can go into the soil underneath and around your home, and this is a recipe for disaster if you have trees on your property.

Tree roots seek … Read Full Post »

Say Goodbye to Dry Hair With Water Softeners

Want your hair, skin and everything else to shine like it should?

At some point in your life, you’ve probably taken a shower that just didn’t make you feel very clean. It’s possible that the soap didn’t lather properly. Maybe your hair felt dry and frizzy as soon as you shook out the excess water. Whatever the effects of this unsettling experience, it’s likely that it was due to hard water. Many homes in the San Antonio area have hard water, but there’s a relatively easy fix that can preserve your sanity.

What Is Hard Water?

According to chemistry experts, hard water is any type of water that contains dissolved minerals. Just like there’s a pH scale to determine the concentration of oxygen and hydrogen ions in water, there’s a gradient scale that measures the “hardness” of water. Although municipal water is rarely as mineral-rich as water that occurs in nature, even small … Read Full Post »

Beat the Heat: What Summer Means for Your Pipes

Plumbing trouble isn’t just a cold-season phenomenon

Winter isn’t the only season that can wreak havoc on your pipes. In central Texas, the mercury exceeds 100 degrees on dozens of days per year, and an unprepared plumbing system can take a serious hit as a result. Below, we outline some of the most common hot-season plumbing problems and offer some common-sense tips for dealing with them.

Sweating Pipes

When the weather warms up, your skin isn’t the only thing that sweats. Poorly insulated pipes can “sweat” excess water and create serious leaks that eventually threaten the integrity of your ceilings or floors. Due to contraction in the pipes themselves, sweating pipes that are already constrained by clogs can suffer catastrophic backups.

Sewer Backups

Although summer tends to be a fairly dry season in central Texas, occasional thunderstorms and unseasonable rains can cause unexpected sewer backups that devastate your home’s lower levels or yard. Likewise, tree … Read Full Post »

10 Things You Should Never Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Save them for the trash bin—and save your garbage disposal’s motor

If you were fortunate enough to have a garbage disposal when you were growing up, you probably weren’t very careful about what you threw into it. After all, that scary motor seemed to take care of just about anything. Over time, though, you may have learned that garbage disposals are just as susceptible to clogs and breakdowns as other appliances. Now that you’re older and wiser, take care not to throw these 10 items down yours.

1. Non-Organic Trash

It might seem obvious, but plastic and metal can seriously damage your garbage disposal blades. Even smaller items like paper and cigarette butts can wreak havoc.

2. Grease and Animal Fat

Once it passes through the disposal, this stuff can congeal in your pipes. This often has devastating effects for your plumbing system.

3. Rice, Pasta and Other Starches

This stuff expands dramatically when soaked and is … Read Full Post »