PLUMBING SERVICES

We offer many plumbing services for both residential plumbing needs and commercial plumbing projects. With more than 40 years in the plumbing business, we have seen it all and can handle it all! We have a deeply knowledgeable pool of licensed and professional plumbers on staff to take care of your routine maintenance or emergency plumbing – day or night – with rapid response times. If you’re interested, take a look below at some of the more detailed descriptions of our services.

DRAIN AND SEWER STOPPAGES

We are going to take care of the sewer and drain cleaning in every part of your house or business. Examples include:

  • Kitchens Drains. Kitchen drains block as time passes. They run slower and slower as fats, greases, detergents, and soaps deposit along the inside walls of your pipes and ultimately result in obstruction. Our plumbers can de-grease, clear, and remove all build-up.
  • Bathroom Drains. From showers and tubs clogged with hair & hair products, to sinks filled up with toothpaste & other grime – bathrooms present their own problems when it comes to drain cleaning. And then there’s the toilets; toilet drains are often jammed up with toilet tissue & other non-flushable “items” (if you have young children, you might be surprised at what we find in toilet drains!).
  • Floor Drains. Floor drains are common in driveways, garages, laundry rooms, patios, bathrooms, and commercial kitchens. These drains are equipped with a trap that should be kept filled with water to prevent foul smells and sewer air from coming back into the environment. Maybe more so than other drains, floor drains are subject to a lot of foreign debris that gets “swept” into them and causing problems in the trap.

Whatever is stopping or backing up your drains, we have the know-how, experience, and gear to clear it all out quickly!

LEAKS

Leaks can be small and unnoticeable – but are big precursors to catastrophes like pipe bursts (check out our Knowledge Center article to prepare yourself in case of Emergency Water Leaks). Often times, leaks may not even be that obvious and could be concealed behind a wall or under a counter. The problems with leaks are both financial and health concerning. A small water leak can easily cost you an extra $20 – $50 per month, depending on where it is and if it’s a cold water or hot water leak.

Whether it’s a visible faucet leak or an oddly high water bill, give us a call to perform a leak detection (and repair, if necessary) that could save you thousands of dollars in property and health damage.

FIXTURES

Fixtures include things like sinks, faucets, shower heads, and shutoff valves. While many of these can seem the same, there are differences you may not know about. For example, when it comes to faucet design, you’ll see the same four mechanisms: ceramic disk, ball, cartridge, and compression. Each of these refer to the way water flow is managed inside the faucet and each is better suited for different applications. Because we really listen to our customer’s needs, we can advise you on the best fixture repair approach or best fixture to install based on your needs and preferences.

HOT WATER HEATER & WATER SOFTENERS

If you’re just not getting enough hot water, give us a call. We install, repair, or replace all types of water heaters including tankless, propane, natural gas, and electric for both residential and commercial uses. If it’s not the temperature of your water that worried about, but the quality, we’ll help you identify and install the right water softening solution for you.

RE-PIPING

Re-piping is the process of replacing all of the water pipes in your house or business. Sounds daunting, right? While it is a major overhaul, it doesn’t have to be a headache! Not only do we excel at minimizing the disruptiveness of the process, but doing it can save you from having bigger headaches when leaks create significant water damage. Take a look at our detailed explanation of re-piping in our Knowledge Center article “What is Re-piping & Should I Re-pipe My House?“. Also, research your options of pipes with another one of our Knowledge Center articles “Types of Pipes & Their Pros and Cons.

LOW WATER PRESSURE

Experiencing low water pressure problems? Low water pressure is a frustrating issue and, unfortunately, decently common in the Tampa Bay Area. Fortunately for those of you experiencing this problem, we have years of experience fixing low water pressure problems and we can do it a reasonable price.

BACKFLOW

Backflow refers to contaminated water flowing backwards in a pipe (generally in a low water pressure situation) and possibly affecting the potable water supply. Backflow prevention is a serious matter and is regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974. In fact, we’ve added a dedicated FAQ about it on our home page and you can read about it by following this link: Backflow Testing.

IF YOU NEED EMERGENCY PLUMBING SERVICES, PLEASE CALL

(813) 655-7520

IMMEDIATELY, WE’RE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY.

9:36 pm9:36 pm

So, You’ve Dropped Something Down The Drain?

We’ve all done it – dropped something in the toilet or down a sink drain. Sometimes it’s our cell phone and relatively easy to retrieve (if not sometimes gross). Other times it is a favorite necklace or a wedding band.  In stranger cases, it’s usually a child playing “hide” the keys or favorite toy. However it happened, our sinks, tubs, or toilets can become receptacles for our possessions. And it is not as easy as it may seem on t.v. or some internet blogs lead you to believe. Here’s why your best option is to call a plumber to retrieve your goods rather than using a YouTube DIY video.

The Internet can be wrong and/or misleading.

A few taps on the keyboard and you have hundreds of thousands possible links claiming to have the answer you are looking for. Reading through some of them you may see what is called a “P-trap” mentioned again and again. A P-trap does indeed exist and it can indeed have captured the ring that went down the sink. These traps aren’t actually intended for catching valuables that make their way into the drain. These traps are designed to trap sewer gas and prevent it from seeping into your home though the sink drain. Should you remove the P-trap, you may end up with a foul smelling home filled with a potentially dangerous gas. If you remove it improperly, you could manage to flood the kitchen or break a seal, leading to future leaks and a trip from the plumber regardless. So save yourself the headache and call a pro in in the first place.

Drains, too, can be misleading.

How anyone has ever gone to the bathroom prior to having a smartphone, we will never know. Even those of us who have been around since before the first portable cellular telephone became available to the public may wonder how we managed to drive anywhere without a map app. The danger of such a habit is the risk we take in dropping said smartphone in the toilet. And with their thin, sleek design, it can be easy for cell phones to make their way into the drain of the toilet. If this should happen to you, whatever you do, do not put your hand down the toilet. That drain is not as wide as you think it is. It will be much like trying to steal snacks out of a snack machine. Your hand could become stuck and it is less embarrassing to call a plumber for help retrieving your device than it is to have the fire department cut your hand out of the toilet.

Avoid flooding your kitchen, stinking up your home, or becoming a viral “most embarrassing story” online and give us a call if you have managed to lose something down a drain.

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Common Plumbing Myths

Homeowners and renters alike have heard numerous tips and “advice” on how to take care of their plumbing systems. Some of it passed down from family and other times it may have been advice from online. And most of it, wrong. We have complied a list of major plumbing myths and the correct advice to go with each.

 

Myth # 1: A drain can’t be clogged if water is still going down.

Truth: Clogged pipes may still have some room for water to flow; if you notice water draining slower than usual, this may be your problem. Disposals can also lead to clogged pipes by allowing people to put more food particles down the drain than they normally would. Although disposal grind up food, particles can be left in the drain pipes, causing clogs.

Myth # 2: Use lemons to clean you garbage disposal.

Truth: Lemons will make your disposal smell better but they do not actually do any cleaning. Lemon peels are thick and hard to break up which can cause a clog. If your disposal is in need of cleaning, your best option is to turn off power to the disposal and take it apart for a thorough scrub.

Myth # 3: Run water while the disposal is on will help the waste go down.

Truth: No amount of water will prevent eventual clogs from the wrong types of food going down your disposal. Grease, fats, peels, and eggshells should never be put into the disposal because of their clog risk. Hard or thick food items can also damage the disposal.

Myth # 4: Plumbing fixtures do not need regular maintenance.

Truth: This is a dangerous, misleading advice that can lead to major plumbing repair issues. Fixtures, including sinks, faucets, tubs, and showers among others, are all connected to pipes. Pipes are essentially what people think of when they think of plumbing. Proper care and maintenance of fixtures can prevent clogs and leaks in the future.

Myth # 5: You can clean fixtures with regular soap.

Truth: Some fixtures can actually be damaged by the ingredients of traditional hand soap, like brass fixtures for instance. Brass fixtures should be cleaned with a mixture of lemons and baking soda to avoid tarnish and to still kill germs. Check with the product manual (if you still have it) for proper cleaning methods. You can always test a cleaner on a non-visible side of the fixture for possible reactions.

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Hard Water Problems

Hard water can be problematic and it is usually a regional issue, unluckily for us Floridians, we fall into the affected region. Hard water is caused by minerals like calcium, aluminum, magnesium, and iron in tap water sources. These minerals come from water passing through layers of limestone in the ground. The high concentration of minerals in the water can cause a number of problems:

Funny Taste and Smell

The minerals in the water are not harmful, they can actually have some health benefits, but they can sometimes give the water a strange smell and taste. Some people report a metallic taste and smell coming from their tap water.

Difficult Showers

Hard water can make shower time a bit difficult as the minerals in hard water can make it difficult to work up a soapy lather of shampoo and body soap. The minerals in the water also make rinsing soap away problematic.

Soap Scum

Soap scum accumulates in showers and tubs with hard and soft water but it is known to accumulate faster in regions with hard water.

Dish Spots

Much like rinsing soap away in the shower, dishwashers have just as much trouble. The rinse cycle in the dishwasher can leave behind water spots on cups and dishes.

Messed Up Clothes

Doing a load of laundry is also affected by the effects of hard water. Clothes can feel scratchy or still after a round in hard water and colors can fade faster in it as well.

Mineral Build-up

As the minerals hung on the water as it passed through its source, it will cling to anything else it passes though, pipes, faucets, appliances, water heaters, etc. Mineral build-up can cause damage and additional wear and tear to appliances.

Should you be experiencing hard water problems of any extent, contact a specialist at Alvarez Plumbing to test for hard water and go over possible solutions.

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Plumbing And Kitchen Remodel

So, you’ve finally had the chance to remodel your kitchen and you can’t wait to pick out the new cabinets and countertops! So much happens during a renovation, especially if you choose to do some or all of the upgrades yourself. While giving your kitchen a facelift, keep in mind that in order to avoid an expensive gaffe there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Pick out your new sink first

Sink designs may not be on your list for selecting remodeling options and if they are, they rank behind cabinets and countertops in priority. We recommend selecting your sink first and then building the rest of the kitchen around it. Too often do people install their cabinets only to realize the space left for the sink is too large or small for the sink selected. You may also find that the current plumbing you have does not line up with the type of sink you picked out. This leads to altering the cabinets, the current plumbing, or having to search for a sink that fits a limited range of specifications.

  1. Check for plumbing vents

When installing new sinks or other appliances in the kitchen, look to see if a plumbing vent has already been installed. Plumbing vents allow air and sewer gases a way to leave the home while letting in oxygen required to for waste to properly decompose. The oxygen also regulates the drainage pressure. Forgoing the installment of a plumbing vent can leave you and your family exposed to toxic gases and slow drains.

  1. Match your old pipes with your new pipes

Always stick to the same type of plumbing you currently have. Mismatching different types of piping can actually cause the piping to become corroded and leak. Either use the same type of plumbing on new fixtures and appliances or replace all of the piping to match the new pipes you wish to install.

  1. Don’t forget to install flooring

Don’t cut corners and install flooring after cabinets and appliances are already in place. Cutting the flooring to fit around these obstructions leaves an unnecessary amount of gaps in the flooring, opening it up to many problems. Place the flooring across the whole of the kitchen and then install cabinets and appliances on top of the new floors.

  1. Sometimes professionals are the best option

It can be a lot of work to remodel a kitchen yourself and mistakes can easily be made. Trust in a professional, especially if you are not skilled in particular areas (for example, do not repipe your kitchen if you know nothing about plumbing).

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DIY Plumbing Toolbox

There are times when you may need to make a quick fix yourself on your pipes so its important to have the right tools in your toolbox. Use this helpful guide to stock your tool box and understand what each is best used for.

  • Flashlight

You will be dealing in small, dark spaces when working on most of your pipes. Lighting will be sparse so having a flashlight handy will allow you to see what you are doing.

  • Adjustable wrench

An adjustable wrench is a versatile tool to have at your disposal when working on your plumbing. You can use it to tighten connections, grip pipes, test valves, as a temporary hammer, and so much more.

  • Pliers

A set or two of pliers, including a pair of needle-nose pliers, can come in handy when a wrench just can’t get the job done. There are times when you need to adjust small components that a wrench is just too big for and a pair of pliers is just what you need. Having needle-nose pliers helps when you need to remove a clog from a pipe.

  • Caulk or putty

Either can be used to fill gaps around sinks, tubs, or faucets. Over time caulking can wear down and need replacing. It also comes in handy if you are replacing sink hardware and need to reapply the caulking.

  • Silicone tape

Silicone tape works great as a temporary stop leaks or at least slow it down until a plumber arrives. Careful not to confuse it with plumber’s tape or Teflon tape which a different type of plumbing tool. Plumber’s tape is used on the threading of pipes before they are connected together.

  • Towels

When dealing with pipes, you’re going to need towels on hand to clean up any leaks or spills. They also serve a secondary purpose; they can be used to grab a hold of hot pipes, clean your hands of grease, or adding traction when using the wrench.

2:20 am2:20 am

3 Water Heater Problems

Water heaters make up a large part of your plumbing system. It connects to all pipes going to sinks, showers, tubs, dishwasher, and other appliances. It provides us the hot showers we enjoy at the end of a long day. It allows us to wash our clothes and dishes. Without one, we would be living in the past, so if you are experiencing any of these signs, you have a water heater problem. Call us to fix or replace your water heater and get back to your everyday life.

  • Water Heater Is Leaking

If you notice a leak, puddling around your water heater, or an excess amount of water in the drip pan, then check the valves and gaskets on your water heater for a possible leak. Large amounts of water are a sign of a major problem and the sooner it is cleaned up and repaired the better. Mold and water damage can set in in as little as 24 hours.

  • You Have No Hot Water

You may run out of water if the hot water is used for an extended period of time – like long or multiple showers. This is fixed by allowing time to pass and the water heater to do its thing and heat up some more water. This scenario is normal. It is when no hot water comes out on the onset of use that should cause concern. Check your breaker before calling a professional to save yourself from a costly bill to correct a minor (and easily corrected) error.

  • Your Water Has An Odd Smell

Foul or unusual smells are typically an indicator that something is wrong, no matter what we are talking about. It holds true even for water heaters. Rust can emit a sulfuric smell as can bacteria in your water source.

4:43 am4:43 am

Why Does My Kitchen Sink Smell?

Fouls smells haunting you in your kitchen even after you have cleaned and taken out the trash? The culprit my surprise you – your kitchen sink. Most likely food particles can find themselves trapped in the pipes or in your disposal if you have one. Another possible culprit is gas escaping from a drain trap or vent and making its way up into your kitchen. Luckily, there are ways to attempt to solve this problem at home.

To Rid Smells From Food Particles

Food particles, grease, and oil can end up down the drain (even though they aren’t supposed to, it happens). After sitting in the pipe for a while, these particles begin to rot or even grow mold, hence the bad smell.

There are a few solutions to rid your kitchen of this smell:

Bio-enzyme cleaners are effective and not as harsh on the pipes as chemical cleaners or drain clog removers.

Another natural cleaner is a combination of baking powder and vinegar. First, sprinkle half a cup of baking powder into your drain and wash it down with a cup of white vinegar. The combination of the two will cause foam to expand back up the pipe, like it does when used to make a science fair volcano. Allow the foam to sit in the pipe for a few minutes and wash it down with hot, not boiling, water.

If it is your disposal that is the issue, run ice cubes and some citrus fruit pieces through it. The ice will help to knock food particles from the blade while the citrus pieces will leave a fresh clean smell in its wake.

Sewer Smell From Traps or Vents

If you have tried the above tricks but the smell still remains, you may be smelling sewer gas that escaped from a sink trap or sewer vent. A sink trap is the “U” shaped pipe found under your sink. A small amount of water can typically be found in a trap at all times; it helps prevent the gas from traveling up the pipe. The standing water found in a trap can evaporate after a period of time of nonuse, such as a vacation or empty house for sale. All you have to do is run some water back down the drain to reestablish the standing water inside the trap. If you haven’t been gone for an extended period and use your sink regularly, there could be a leak in the trap, dropping the water level and allowing the gas to escape. Fix the leak, remove the smell.

Another possibility is that the smell is coming from a plumbing vent. Water pressure in a home fluctuates; high water pressure leaves more water in a sink trap and low pressure leaves little water in the trap. Because of this homes have plumbing vents, which run vertically up your home and empty out onto the roof, to allow for the fluctuation in pressure without the risk of escaping sewer gas. A blockage in your drain vent can prevent it from functioning properly and causing the smell in your home.

Our technicians are well equipped to handle stinky pipes and get your home back to normal, so if you are having an issue, contact us today for a solution to your problem.

1:27 am1:27 am

All About That PEX

PEX piping is made from a high-density Polyethylene with cross linked bonds in the polymers structure. This means it has improved elevated temperature properties making it ideal for plumbing. PEX piping is the newest and greatest thing to hit the plumbing industry. Here is a general breakdown of PEX piping and how it compares to other plumbing options, including another plumbing favorite, copper pipes.

UP TO CODE

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) was developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). PEX piping is approved according to their standards, although there may be specific restrictions on certain types of connections. Professional plumbers are aware of these requirements and can reduce the stress of plumbing fixes. Call Alvarez Plumbing for any of your repiping needs.

SPECIAL TOOLS

Should you choose to embark on the project yourself or are just curious about PEX piping then knowing what tools you will need for the job is important. Crimp rings and cinch clamps can be used when PEX piping and the corresponding tools for tightening the connections will suffice. You may also need a cutting tool to trim the PEX pipe as needed. You could use stab-in or compression fittings to make the connections but these may pose to be too expensive for the average DIY job.

WHY PEX PIPES

PEX vs COPPER

  • PEX piping is a third of the cost of copper so repiping your home can be done for the fraction of the price if you select PEX over copper.
  • PEX does not corrode unlike its copper counterparts.
  • PEX is much easier to install, it has been compared to running a hose from fixture to fixture, and connections do not require soldering.

PEX vs CPVC

  • PEX pipes are great for cold climates because they are unlikely to burst when frozen, unlike CPVC. Precautions should still be taken to cover up exposed pipes.
  • PEX piping is also flexible, allowing you to snake it through the more difficult installation areas.

RELIABILITY

Although PEX piping has recently become popular in the States, it has been in use for decades in other countries. Most issues that arise in homes with PEX piping are from bad connections or poor installations. PEX piping can handle freezing temperatures and do not corrode when in use in areas with acidity in the waters.

EXPANSION AND MOVEMENT

PEX expands and contracts more than copper does. Be sure to leave a some slack when installing to prevent the stretching from pulling your piping from its connections. Also, PEX moves as it expands and contracts so be sure to use plastic straps rather than metal ones to keep it in place to prevent cutting into the pipes.

MANIFOLDS

Manifolds are not required when installing PEX pipes, they can be installed just like any other type of pipe with pipes branching off a main line. This method isn’t an effective use of PEX piping because of all the connections. It is recommended to use the manifold method where the manifold is installed in a space close to the main line and water heater. Then run a PEX pipe from there to each plumbing fixture. Although it may use more pipe, it only requires a connection at the manifold and at the fixture and fewer connections means there is a reduced the risk of leaks.

PEX piping cannot be connected directly to a water heater. According to the Uniform Plumbing Code, you will need 18in of clearance from the water heater before attaching PEX piping.

COLOR CODING

PEX is available in red, white, or blue. You can color code your hot and cold lines if you desire or use one single color for everything; there is no wrong or right choice. Color coding can be easier to differentiate between the lines if an issue arises down the line involving only the hot or cold water.

ABC’s OF PEX

There are three grades of PEX piping; PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C. They are manufactured a little differently, resulting in a slightly different grade with A being the best and C coming in third. Grade-A PEX is slightly more flexible and a few cents more than the other two options. You can purchase whichever grade is readily available at your local home improvement store or go with which ever grade is commonly used by the plumbing company you have hired. No real reason to stress over the different grades.

 

 

 

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Types of Pipes & Their Pros and Cons

There are a few different materials that your pipes may be made out of – some of which may require you to replace due to the dangers that it poses. Luckily there are several viable options to choose from when repiping your home. Each type of material has its benefits and flaws. Here is a thorough list of available metal and plastic options, although the most common options are PEX or copper pipes.

METAL

Copper Pipes

  • Has been used since the 1960s and is still functioning properly in most homes; proven reliability.
  • Older homes used lead-base solder on copper pipes and most of the affected homes have been replaced to remove this threat.
  • Can be used in indoor and outdoor plumbing.
  • Copper pipes have a high tolerance for heat but a low tolerance for freezing temperatures. They require extra care in the winter to prevent from freezing over or bursting.
  • Copper pipes are not prone to leaking and can be counted on to last for a long period of time.
  • If you are repiping, old copper pipes can be recycled.
  • Copper pipes are expensive; 100 feet of copper piping can cost around $285.

Galvanized Steel

This is an outdated material, use primarily between 1930 and 1980, that is lacking in benefits and requires repiping if it has not been done yet.

  • Galvanized steel is heavy.
  • Has a zinc coating that leads to rusting and discoloration of water.
  • Commonly become clogged and have reduced water pressure.
  • Lead can be released into your water source from the corrosion.

Stainless Steel

  • More expensive than copper but is corrosion resistant and sturdy.

Cast Iron

  • Cast Iron is a heavy yet durable pipe.
  • For a cheap repair, use PVC piping as it is compatible with cast iron pipes.

Black Iron

  • Black Iron metal piping is made for carrying gas. It is not made, nor should it ever be used for, plumbing.

 

PLASTIC

Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (PVP Pipes)

  • PVC Pipes do not rust, corrode, or degrade over time.
  • Inexpensive and easy to work with.
  • Commonly used to carry the main water supply into you home because it can handle high pressured water.
  • Does not handle heat well and can warp under extreme heat.
  • Also commonly used in sinks and bathroom drain lines.

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (CPVC Pipes)

  • Easy to work with, even for DIY home repair.
  • More flexible than regular PVC and contains extra chlorine in the pipes, making it safe for drinking water.
  • Can be used for hot and cold water but can break if they become frozen.

Cross Linked Polyethylene Pipes (PEX Pipes)

  • Extremely versatile: can be used for hot and cold water supply, prefect for retrofits, and can be snaked through walls easily.
  • PEX pipes are also heat resistant.
  • Although this type pf piping has been approved for use, many are still concerned that PEX pipes can pose a threat to the environment because of its manufacturing method.

Grey Plastic Polybutylene Pipes (PB Pipes)

  • Inexpensive alternative to copper pipes.
  • PB Pipes are easy to work with and install so they a good medium for DIYers.
  • A major downside to this type of piping is that they are prone to leaks.

High-Density Polybutylene (HDPB Pipes)

  • Can be used in a wide variety of plumbing needs because they are flexible and are corrosion resistant.
  • HDPB Pipes also have a long life span.
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Are Chemical Clog Removers Safe?

Just because it goes down the drain, doesn’t mean its gone.”

Clogged pipes can occur from a number of reasons like hair going down the tub drain or food particles going down the kitchen sink. Clogs are common enough, so why call the plumber every time? You can try to fix the clog yourself through a few easy steps and if you can’t fix it – pay someone who can!

Remove The Clog By Hand

Put on some gloves (the ones that go past your wrist) and remove the drain cover. Pull out any debris that you can reach. Try using a pair of pliers to reach further than your fingers can. Once the debris has been removed, test the drain to see if it is draining properly. To avoid future clogs in the tub, purchase a drain cover that catches hair but still allows water to drain.

Take It Apart

If the clog is in the sink, remove the U-shaped pipe from under the sink and clean it out. Be sure to turn off the water and have a bucket underneath the pipe to catch any leaks. Replace pipe and test the sink and see if the clog has been removed. To avoid future clogs in the sink, mesh drain covers are available that can catch small food particles.

Try a Plunger or Auger

Plungers with a flat base can be used in a sink or the tub. Make sure the plunger is sealed around the drain completely and pump the plunger for about 30 seconds. The plunger should help loosen the clog and get it moving through the pipes. Another option is using an auger, which is a plumbing snake, to break up the clog and pull it out. Both plungers and augers can be found for a reasonable price at your local hardware store. Some grocery stores may even carry them in their cleaning product aisle.

Try these different ways to unclog a drain before resorting to store bought clog removers. Chemical clog removers can actually be harmful to your pipes, especially if you use them often. Drains that are completely blocked, leave the chemicals to sit in the pipes, wearing away at them. And using multiple chemicals to unclog a drain can cause a noxious combination that can travel back up through your pipes that is harmful to you and your family so if one chemical doesn’t work, don’t add another. 

If clogs keep returning, especially from the same sink or tub, you may want to reach out to a professional to see why.

 

 

 

 

10:08 pm10:08 pm

Clogged Toilet?

Unclogging your toilet can be a very simple task – a few pumps with the plunger and its gone. However, not all clogs are that easy and there are a few tips to keep in mind.

Never use a store bought clog remover to unclog a toilet. Clog removers are designed to enter the stopped up drain but since the toilet bowl sits with water and drains when flushed, the chemicals in the remover will just sit in the bowl. Even if you were to try and flush it, odds are that the toilet will overflow, releasing the clog removing chemicals all over your bathroom floor. Another issue to consider is remnants of the chemicals you last cleaned your toilet with may still be in the bowl and can create a volatile reaction to the chemicals in the clog remover. Depending on the chemicals in both products, the reaction can result in the release of a noxious gas or even an explosion.

Your best option for unclogging a toilet is with manual manipulation rather than chemical. Try removing the clog with a plunger or an auger (plumbing snake). Plungers loosen a clog, allowing it to go down the pipes whereas an auger breaks up the clog to clear it. Plungers with a rounded base are best suited for toilets. Be sure the plunger creates a seal around the drain and pump it for 30 to 60 seconds. If the clog does not clear after a few attempts with the plunger, try breaking it up with an auger. An auger is a long, flexible metal band that you feed clockwise down the toilet. The twisting motion is designed to break into clogs, separating it so it can fit through the pipes. Items that are flushed down a toilet that are not meant to be flushed can be pulled back out with an auger. Items like feminine hygiene products, the not so flushable “flushable” wipes, and if you have a toddler in the house, your car keys, an action figure, and “Mr. Stuffy” may be rescued from the pipes.

The best way to treat a clogged toilet is to prevent one. Avoid using “flushable” wipes, bury the pet goldfish, and never flush tissues or paper towels as they are designed to absorb moisture, not break down when they get wet like toilet paper.

If you have a stubborn clog that you can’t clear yourself or the entire bathroom is clogged (toilet, sink, shower, and tub) then it is time to call it quits and bring in a professional.

4:26 am4:26 am

Water Heater Maintenance

With the following water heater maintenance suggestions, you can extend the lifespan of your water heater while possibly shaving off a few dollars in your energy bills.

  1. Set the Proper Temperature

The average temperature setting for a standard water heater is around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping your water heater at this temperature or at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature can help prevent any accidents involving scalding water and help you can reduce your heating bills, too. Every 10 degrees the water heater is lowered is about 5% savings in energy costs. A great tip you can keep in mind is to measure the temperature of the water itself, as the temperature control system may be giving you an inaccurate reading.

  1. Insulate Your Water Heater

You most likely will not have any insulation problems if your water heater is new but if you have an older model with an R-value lower than 24, then you can insulate it to make your water heater a lot more energy efficient. You can reduce heat loss from anywhere about 25 % to 45% by doing this. Adding insulation, can in turn, save you up to 16% when it comes to your heating expenses. You can buy specially made insulation blankets and cut them so that they correctly fit your unit. If you are having problems insulating your water heater, contact a pro at Alvarez Plumbing & Air Conditioning.

  1. Test the T&P Valve Bi-Annually

All water heaters have a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. These are safety devices that can detect if your unit is producing more pressure than it should. If this device is not working correctly, it may not to be able to release the excess pressure causing your tank to become damaged or even explode. To check your valve, pump the test valve until it lifts the brass stem that it is connected to. If the valve is working, a gush of hot water should come out of the drain pipe.

If little or no water comes out, then you will need to replace the valve.

  1. Check Your Anode Rod

Anode rods are installed in many water heaters to protect them from rust. That is because anode rods attract corrosive elements frequently found in water. Over time, the rod itself can corrode to the point of being useless. Anode rods typically last up to five years so checking it annually will ensure that it is in working order. Replace the rod if it is less than half an inch thick or if over six inches from the core steel wire is exposed.

If you follow these guidelines, you can make your water heater last longer. Setting up a maintenance check up plan yourself or through a professional will help you catch common water heater plumbing problems before they get even worse. Take good care of your heater, and it will take good care of you, providing all the hot water that you need during your day to day life.

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Noisy Pipes a Problem?

Creaking, rattling, roaring, and groaning noises coming from your pipes will definitely make you wonder what is happening within your walls. If any of these sounds are coming from your plumbing, try one (or all) of these easy fixes to see if they solve your problem. If not, give us a call today for a solution to your noisy pipes.

Rattling

If a rattling sound is emitted within your walls when you turn your faucet on there is a chance that a pipe came loose from its strap or bracket that held it in place. Attempt to locate where the sound is originating from. If you are lucky, the loose bracket is in an exposed, easy to reach area. Reattach or add another bracket to secure the pipe back to its resting place. If you are less lucky, the loose pipe is behind the wall. If you don’t want to tear down a section of wall you can check to see if the pipe leads to an exposed area where you can wedge padding between the pipe and wall to stop the rattling.

Groaning

Groaning noises can be the result of too much or too little air in the plumbing system.You will need to empty your water lines.

  1. Turn off your main water valve.
  2. Start at the furthest faucet from the main shut off valve and turn it on. Also flush toilets and start you dishwasher and washing machine. Keep them on (or flushing) until the water stops draining.
  3. One the water has stopped draining you will need turn off all the faucets. Begin at the closest faucet and begin to shut off each one, flushing the toilets one last time as you go.
  4. Slowly turn the main valve back on.
  5. You can test to see if it worked by turning on a faucet. If air comes sputtering out then it confirms that it was the culprit. However, if the water turns back on without any air being forced out, consider hiring a pro to take a look at the pipes.

Banging

A banging sound coming from within your walls when you turn off a faucet, you could have a very serious issue at hand. Water hammer is when the water flow is abruptly stopped by a faucet or shut off valve. The water hits the stopping point and is rebounded back though the pipe, making a hammering sound. Clearing your system like you would if there were air in the pipes could solve the issue. If however, the sound continues, contact us today.

Post-Flush” Sound

A creaking or a sound that makes you thing the toilet is still running (when its not) could be the result of a too high water pressure. This is easy to test for and correct. All you need is a water pressure gauge. If you don’t have one they can be picked up for about $10 at any hardware store. Once you have the water pressure gauge, locate a spigot and screw the gauge in. Turn on the water and read the psi level – if it is over 80psi then you will need to install a pressure regulator at the water main. Set up an appointment with us to complete your installation.

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Advantages of electric water heaters over gas water heaters

Consumers have many alternatives when it comes to water heater replacement. Traditional water heaters can hold up to 80 gallons of hot water in a large storage container. When hot water is being used, cold water enters underneath of the tank and is then heated to a preset heat. This ensures that the storage tank is always filled with water.

A tank-less water heater, however, is a more efficient method of water heating. A demand water heater just heats the water needed for instant use. Unlike a tank water heater, this method comes with no energy loss. Home and business owners can choose from electrical, natural gas, geothermal, heat pump, fuel oil, propane, and solar energy water heaters. Of all these options, the one that has the most energy-saving method of hot water heating is with a demand electric water heater.

Although the price differences between gas and electricity and the effectiveness of gas water heaters might persuade you to choose a gas water heater over an electric water heater, we will discuss a number of reasons why an electric water heater is better than a gas water heater:

  • The cost of setup: With a gas water heater, you have to vent the exhaust through the flu. That means you must set up PVC tubing up through your home and on your roofing. With an electric water heater, you simply install a particular outlet or bare wiring. There is no need to drill holes into your roof.
  • Safety: Your chances of having an explosion in your house as a result of the gas leak is greater than electrocution from bad wiring to your tank. Also, the damage to your home after an explosion far exceeds many damages that an electric tank could inflict.
  • Space requirements: Gas water heaters require at least 6-18inches of ventilation on all sides and top, which means you cannot just install the tank in a closet. An electric tank can be set up in confined spaces without the fear of an explosion or gas buildup. There are even small electric water heaters that are used under the sink.
  • The cost of purchase: Electric water heaters cost less than gas water heaters of the same size.
  • Life expectancy: Since electric water heaters use fewer parts which are not subjected direct heat, they will last for many years beyond the lifespan of a gas water heater.
  • Gas heaters no longer make the excuse that they can work even when the power is out: Now that many gas water tanks make use of electric ignitions when the electric power goes out, so does your hot water except what is left in the tank.
  • No Pilot Light: In line with safety, electric water heaters do not use a pilot light, so you do not have to be concerned about reigniting the flame if it accidentally burns out. However, many new gas heaters use electric ignitions, not pilot lights.
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4 Advantages of Having a Tankless Toilet

 

Millions of households and commercial properties in the world are switching to tankless toilets. The conventional toilet is not yet a thing of the past, but the growing popularity of tankless toilet is surely unnerving its omnipresence.  It’s common for homeowners to be conscious of their energy consumption.  Water is a form of energy, although we consider it more as a utility. Water conservation is as important, if not more important, as reducing consumption of electricity.

There are many advantages of having a tankless toilet.

  1. Size

A tankless toilet is significantly smaller in size than a traditional toilet with a cistern or tank. Just imagine not having the tank and you would know how nifty it would look. The absence of the tank allows you to install a tankless toilet almost anywhere. Of course you would need the fixture to be connected to the plumbing infrastructure and you wouldn’t install a toilet anywhere randomly. But the fact that you don’t need to account for a certain space for the tank offers you the liberty to toy with the design and layout of the bathroom.

  1. Style

Being tankless the toilet is certainly more stylish and trendy than a traditional toilet. It will enhance the aesthetics of your bathroom, if not that of the entire house. While it may be premature to say that a tankless toilet will have a direct impact on the value appreciation of your property but it will have an impression on the prospective buyers should you choose to sell your home.

  1. Water Conservation

A tankless toilet doesn’t hoard water unnecessarily. Typically, tanks hold up to three gallons of water and many tanks hold more. A tankless toilet will not withhold any water, which you can use for other purposes. A tankless toilet will also help you save water with dual flush features wherein you can use much less water for flushing down liquid waste. You don’t need three gallons when you don’t have solid waste. Most traditional toilets don’t discriminate between solid and liquid waste. A tankless toilet exerts more water pressure, which makes the flushing more effective.

  1. Fewer Problems

A tankless toilet will have fewer or no problems that traditional toilets have. Imagine the valves, floating balls and the inlets that need maintenance, also replacement when they go kaput. A tankless toilet will have no such problems.

 

 

 

 

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5 Common Causes of Broken Pipes In your Homes

Damaged pipes never present a good situation for a homeowner, they cause water leaks and increase your expenses. If you are lucky, you will notice the issue immediately.  Some symptoms such as a reduced water рrеѕѕurе, indiсаtе thаt a leak iѕ damaging the base of your house creating a hazardous environment for mold and mildew. In this article, we will discuss several reasons why pipes burst

1.Freezing

Freezing is one of the main causes of broken pipes. We are all familiar with the fact that water exposed to cold air will freeze and when this happens, the water changes the state into ice. The ice will then expand and the pressure will increase until it eventually breaks the pipes. Unless you take proper steps to winter-proof your pipes, you may encounter a major problem when winter comes.

2.Blocked Pipes

Your home’s drains and toilets may become blocked, and then back up into your house. Not only is this situation untidy, but it can also be a serious health risk, especially if wastewater and sewage are involved. Also, clogged drains and sewer lines can cause water pressure to accumulate in your pipes, which can result in ruptures or leaks. If construction is being done near your house, your pipes may fail as a result of environmental circumstances. Construction activities near your home may block your toilet by bringing sand into your pipes. When the pressure is intense, and your pipes cannot handle it anymore, they are going to rupture. This is more likely to happen if you are not doing constant maintenance on your plumbing system.

3.Old Pipes

Sometimes the reason a pipe may bursts is because it is too old. The main issue that can occur is due to an erosion of the surface, forced by a reaction and the acidity of the drinking water. Worn-out pipes such as steel are very susceptible to corrosion and alkaline water which can rapidly decrease the integrity of the pipe.

4.Irregular Maintenance

This is the leading reason houses just get flooded. Ignoring the indicators such as when the water line is leaking or a toilet is clogged can lead to a lot of repairs in the future.

5.Tree Roots In Pipes

Though very rare tree roots and mature trees near the water lines may lead to burst pipes. They grow naturally below the ground in the direction of a water pipeline and causeblockagess that lead to serious problems. Regardless of how strong your pipes are if the root grows around the water system, it can wrap the pipeline until it bursts.

10:18 am10:18 am

How to prevent Plumbing Leaks

We all love a plumbing system that works, because it makes life easy as far as dispensing and draining water are concerned. Nevertheless, no plumbing system is free from plumbing problems including leaks, so you need to pay attention to your system to ensure that it is fully operational throughout.

Learning to stop plumbing leaks is important. As we all know, leaks can be quite damaging especially when they go unnoticed and they are not handled quickly. The possibility of flooding anytime there is a leakage is very possible. Obviously, it can damage your structures and may even bring about health issues.

Major Causes of Plumbing Leaks

In order to prevent plumbing leaks, you should know what causes them.  Below are some of the major causes of many of these leaks.

Clogs: Drainage clogs are the major contributors when it comes to plumbing leaks; these could be as a result of hair, tissue paper, food, grease, toys and many others. When your pipes get clogged, drainage of water is quite slow which could result in leaking, or even worse, serious overflowing from bursts.

Condensation: Condensation could also lead to leakages; you need to ensure that your HVAC models have systems to deal with waste materials water.

Sedimentation and Rusting: Sediments in water heaters can easily clog up the system and lead to water leaks.

Damaged pipes: Eventually, wearing out the pipes may lead to rusting.

Roots in pipes: Roots coming from surrounding trees could also burst open your pipes and result in clogs and leaks.

Plumbing Leak Prevention

Avoiding leaks from occurring or perhaps destroying your home is not a very hard. Adhere to the following to prevent plumbing leaks:

 

Keep your water pressure at a reasonable level

You won’t want to have the water pressure at an extremely low level, as this will make it hard to clean dishes or perhaps take a shower. While high water pressure might look as if it only has advantages, in the longrun, it can put serious strain on your pipes thereby reducing the life span of your plumbing system. All of the components of your plumbing system, such as valves and joints, are put under increased stress as water pressure escalates.

 Lag your pipes

When the temperature outside is below zero, any water logged in your plumbing system will certainly freeze and expand, which usually strains joints and can result in leaks when the water defrosts. There are a range of different methods you can use to prevent your plumbing from freezing and leaking, but one of the simplest and most effective is lagging them with pipe insulation. You can do this yourself, although it might be a bit of a lengthy procedure for an untrained person and an expert contractor may be better-equipped intended for the task. Pipe insulation includes a number of additional benefits and also preventing plumbing leaks; among the key benefits of the product is usually its energy-saving potential. Pipe insulation works in a very similar way as cavity wall and loft insulation, in thаt it prevents heat transfer. Thiѕ will kеер your соld water cold and your hot water hot thereby helping you reduce your electricity bills for decades.

Keep your boiler serviced

Ensuring that your boiler is regularly serviced will certainly make you to find out  if there are underlying problems with the central heating system before these types of problems become serious. Unless you have an annual boiler service, you might actually find out that the boiler warranty becomes invalid.

Know the location of your pipes

It may sound obvious, but a whole lot of plumbing emergencies happen when people рut a nаil оr screwdriver in thе wall withоut firѕt сhесking what is within the wall. Drilling through your pipes might seem like a headache, but think how lucky you were that you did not drill through an electric wire instead!

It pays to maintain the plumbing system. You can sustain your plumbing system by changing old pipes, faucets, cleaners and seals whenever the need arises. You can also easily stop leaks by monitoring the water consumption. Know how much water you use monthly; likewise keep an eye out for unaccounted consumption. Insulating your domestic plumbing system is important as it helps prevent the pipes from getting stuck, which is a major cause of leakages. We also recommend that you could have a scheduled plumbing repair service. This helps you to handle pending plumbing problems and usually keeps your system in a very good condition.

Plumbing leaks can be avoided by playing an active part in ensuring that your system is within great condition. It is recommended that you regularly inspect your homes for any plumbing leakages.

4:03 pm4:03 pm

DIY or Professional Plumbers?

Have you tried everything you know about plumbing to unblock a clogged kitchen or bathroom drain or even a toilet? You may be keen on DIY projects, but the time will come when you need to give in and call professional plumbers to get the job done for you.  Still not convinced that you need a plumber? Below are some rеаѕоnѕ why you should еmрlоу thе services оf a рrоfеѕѕiоnаl plumber.

1 . Experience

A professional plumber has many years of experience and can tell how you can fix a clogged drain in just two seconds. They do not have to waste any resources or time trying to research on something that has been instilled in them. It is what they are trained to do, and have been practicing for a long period. This can not be compared to your 10 minutes of-of Google research or “Google storming.”

  1. Unexpected Emergencies

An emergency such as a broken pipe can occur whenever it wants to, often саtсhing уоu by surprise аnd unprepared fоr it. You саn easily enlist the plumbing services of an expert who will help repair your problem in a short time. Even if you wanted to do it yourself, you might not have right tools to handle a burst pipe in the middle of the night.

  1. Remodelling Houses

If you are remodeling or renovating your house, you need to hire a plumber to assist you. You may find out that renovating some parts of the house may leave you with accidentally damaged pipes. To prevent this, you can hire the services of a professional plumber who will after repairing the damages, be able to advise you on an ideal direction to take to avoid future damages. If you may need to reposition some pipes to fit the newly renovated home, then a plumber will be able to help you out.

  1. Cleaning Your Drainage

Have you ever had to bend over, and try to unclog a drain all the while trying to avoid been stained by the dirt?  An expert plumber is updated with the latest trends in the industry and could have some tricks of their own that will help unclog your drainage in just a matter of minutes.  This is a service that could be costing you if you chose to do it yourself.  Additionally, you can also get plumbing tips from the plumber by asking for approaches that will help you keep your drainage system in good condition.

  1. Extra Services

Even as the plumber is fixing your plumbing issues, he/she has a trained eye that can point out any potential problems or disasters that could happen anytime soon. So if they are repairing your clogged drain, yet notice that one of your pipes is unusually rusty, they may offer to repair it for you, or at least let you know so that you are aware of the situation. This is certainly something you may not have discovered had you been trying to fix your drainage on your own. You can always ask about things you have never had the chance to find out about regarding plumbing.

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Why should I call a plumber?

Whenever you find yourself faced with a leaky tap or pipe, most likely you are going to look for plumbers to resolve the problem for you. They can give you a superb service that is so important anytime you are facing these serious plumbing problems. However, many people today take these plumbers for granted because they do not offer the kind of service that someone requires on a daily basis. Plumbers are great at fixing the plumbing problems that you may not be able to fix by yourself. These professionals can offer you a wealth of knowledge and a wide variety of tools that you may never see anywhere else. All of these great tools will be able to fix any plumbing related issue anywhere in your home.

Bathroom Issues

One of the most prevalent problems that plumbers are often called for is issues with your bathrooms or sinks. There are a lot of people who use a plunger when their toilet is clogged but, this can, in fact, lead to worse problems. Instead, let your local plumber become the greatest hero because sincerely speaking, no one can go on without a working toilet in their house. With their special tools, they will have the ability to unclog any stubborn clogs that you encounter in your home.

Sink Issues

Sink related issues are also as important as the toilet problems. You may find that you have a big clog in your sink which can not be fixed with some of the conventional methods. Also, people have been known to lose things that have great value down all those pipes and despair since they feel they will by no means see them again. Well, guess what? Your plumber can retrieve all those valuables and maintain your pipes in good working condition as well.

Other Issues

Another reason why you should consider hiring a plumber is to install any pipes you may need. Without the proper installation of pipes in our homes and offices, we would not be able tо enjoy thе basic sanitary pleasures thаt уоu enjoy today.  Also, you will not have the pleasure of getting clean water into your home without the pipes.

Without all the new piping of today, you would end up having to drink out of wells and using the outhouses of years gone by. These methods are a lot less convenient and even more unsanitary. Although there are still people of today that still use these methods, more people choose to enjoy the pleasures of pipes today.

So as you can see, a plumber is relevant to your entire day to day living. Nevertheless, a lot of plumbers are getting bad reputations because they are not daily. Now that you have read this article let us hope that you realize that they рrоvidе a  valuable service tо today’s society. Without the plumber, you would not be able to appreciate all the comforts of your home today. Likewise, if there are any complications, you would have to deal with them by yourself which does not work all the time.

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5 Most Common Plumbing Problems

No problem is as difficult to fix as the problems that hamper the working of a good plumbing system. Whilst your plumbing system was originally meant to provide you comfort and ease, its problems can ԛuiсklу take you оut of your соmfоrt zоnе. Many оf thеѕе  plumbing problems could be dealt with simply by repairing, replacing, or installing various domestic plumbing parts, but properly determining these problems and making use of the necessary solutions may not be an easy task to undertake, especially if you know nothing at all about do-it-yourself plumbing.

1.Clogged Drains

It  is caused by soap residue, oil, hair, and other foreign things that clog the drains. The main symptoms are slow drainage as well as water coming back into the kitchen sink. This is the most common problem encountered amongst the general population at all times. When faced with a clogged toilet drain, a person tends to go berserk due to the foul odor that spread all around. The flow of water is usually blocked due to excessive amount of waste materials present. A good way to fix this is to use chemical  products or lubricants which usually would break up the waste by reacting with it. This allows the blocked material and waste water flow through with ease. Another method would be to use water from another source to introduce even more pressure for the movement of the waste material.

2.Driррing Water Hеаtеrѕ and Hоt Water Tаnk

A broken or dripping water heater can cause a wave of frustration, еѕресiаllу in thе wintеr season. It iѕ hard to imagine a  family functioning all through the day with no basic need for hot water. Condensation is deemed to be the major reason for such a water heater failure; it tends to destabilize the heater in general. Presently there isn’t much a person can carry out to prevent this except for controlling the temperature and keeping it above 115degree Fahrenheit consistently.

3.Low Water Pressure

Water pressure within the home can differ based on the location, type and height of the property, and also the type of appliances used and  how much water is being used by others. Water pressure may differ at different times of the day. Pressure is normally highеr lаtе аt night whеn vеrу littlе wаtеr iѕ being tаkеn  from the mains network and most people’s taps are turned оff. In thе mоrning whеn people аrе tаking a bath оr ѕhоwеr, or watering their garden on a hot evening, there is usually a bigger demand for water which could cause low pressure.

There is nothing like a soothing hot shower after a hard day’s work.  It’s often pitiable if the pressure in the shower is not adequate enough to provide you with your level of comfort that you need. Normally, this is because of the corrosion or partial blockage of the pipe that  contributes to the low water pressure.  The only way to keep this under control is to get pressure regulators installed.

4.Toilet Won’t Stop Running

Another very infuriating plumbing issue is actually when the water in the bathroom won’t stop running. Thiѕ iѕ mainly duе to thе brеаkаgе оf intеriоr components  of the toilet, and can only be regulated simply by shutting the water supply off when the toilet is not being used. If not fixed promptly, these are the problems that are prone tо соѕt уоu thе mоѕt in wаtеr billѕ. If уоur toilet fluѕhеѕ,  but the water keeps flowing, then you will have to fix the tоilеt flush tаnk and thе most common problem there аrе  flush valves that don’t seal properly, refill valve leakages, and float that is way too high or too low. Flushing tissue in the toilet can also trigger issues and can result in clogged or slaw drainage. A rest room leaking at the base is another prevalent issue that can be fixed by simply shutting off the valve. You will still need to diagnose the situation and in most cases, can be fixed by applying a light coating of pipe-joint compound.

5.Blocked Garbage Disposal

Many people try to dispose of items that are hard for the grinder to deal with. Whenever we attempt to go through with these kind of waste products, the garbage disposal рiре uѕuаllу gеtѕ соngеѕtеd аnd сlоggеd. What you саn do to avoid this kind of blockage is to apply hot water initially throughout or concentrate on the softer waste products for grinding.

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