Plumbing Tip: Be Careful of What You Put Down Your Sewer Line

Be Careful of What You Put Down Your Sewer Line

What You Should Never Put Down Your Drains? What are the Signs Your Sewer Line May Be Damaged? on this article?
In this article we will answer to those and other questions.

A particularly wasteful week at the house results in heavier trash bags piled on our curb. It’s unappealing, and perhaps makes us more conscious of what we do and don’t throw out.
Sewer Line
Our plumbing, on the other hand, tends to be a different story. Whether washing the dishes or flushing baby wipes down the toilet, it is not uncommon to neglect our sewer lines. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

The fallacy that our drains and pipes act as another trash can causes a great deal of damage to plumbing systems. In fact, sewer lines can be the most expensive portion of plumbing expenses for maintenance, repairs and replacement. Because of this, it is important to be conscious of what you put down your sewer line. The environmental implications and damage caused to pipes are too critical to ignore.

What You Should Never Put Down Your Drains

Generally, the rule of thumb is to only flush toilet paper and wash down environmentally safe soaps and shampoos. Even with a garbage disposal, food waste can cause buildup resulting in failure to your sewer lines. If you are ever in doubt of what can go down your sink or toilet, opt for the trash can.

Some commonly flushed and drained items that can cause serious damage to your sewer lines include:

  • FOG (fats, oils and grease)
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Medications
  • Egg shells
  • Paper towels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cat litter (even if it says “flushable”)
  • Car fluids
  • Paint
  • Cleaning liquids
  • Cotton balls
  • Condoms
  • Fibrous foods
  • Stickers found on produce

Additionally, you should always read and follow instructions for discarding chemicals of any kind.

Signs Your Sewer Line May Be Damaged

Although there may be many contributing factors to sewer line damage beyond improper waste flushing, such as an old system or tree growth interference, there are some symptoms to watch for that indicate your sewer line may be damaged, including:

  • Smelling sewer gas odors
  • Slow draining
  • Mold growth
  • Septic waste pooling in your yard
  • Sewage backup and blocks
  • Insects and rodents appearing in your home and around your house
  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • Sinkholes
  • Lush patches of grass near your leach field

If you notice any of these symptoms or signs, it is imperative you seek professional plumbing help immediately. Catching these issues earlier rather than later can save you a great deal of money and time, as replacing sewer lines can be expensive and time-consuming.

Do You Think You May Have an Issue with Your Sewer Line?

Whether your system was mistreated or your pipes are old and susceptible to cracks and leaks, contact a professional plumber for guidance and assistance. Stalling will only result further damage.

At Moon Valley Plumbing, we have over two decades of experience. Owner Travis Mingle and his team are not only experts in the field, they are also known throughout the valley for honesty, professionalism and dedication.

If you’re concerned about your sewer line, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926.

We’re honest. We’re affordable. We’re good.

Plumbing Tip: Never Attempt to Repair a Slab Leak Yourself

Never Attempt to Repair a Slab Leak Yourself

While plumbing issues should almost always be attended to by a professional, it is absolutely imperative that you do not attempt to repair a slab leak on your own.

slab leak
What Is a Slab Leak?

There are water lines that run below the concrete flooring of homes. A slab leak occurs when one of those water lines begins to leak.

Signs of a Slab Leak in Your Home

There are several indications that you may have a slab leak in your home. The signs may include (source):

  • No hot water
  • Cracks in your flooring or walls
  • The audible sound of running water when the water is, in fact, tuned off
  • Mildew
  • Low water pressure
  • Shifting foundation
  • Moisture under your carpeting
  • Increased water bills

How to Find a Slab Leak

Without the use of proper equipment and professional assistance, you will cause damage to your home in the search for a slab leak. Plumbers utilize electromagnetic pipeline locators as well as electronic amplification equipment to pinpoint the exact location of the leak. Without these advanced instruments, finding the leaking water line would cause excessive and expensive damage.

Once the it is found, your plumber will be able to fix the leak fairly quickly and easily.

What Causes a Slab Leak?

Generally, slab leaks are caused by a reaction between copper pipes and drinking water; however, there are typically four reasons a slab leak could occur:

  • Electrolysis—Electrolysis can occur when two dissimilar metals come in contact with each other or when your soil has a high metal content.
  • Vibrations, expansion and contracting that happen from water flow within the pipes can cause contact against concrete, gravel, or other pipes. Over time, the constant vibration can result in a leak.
  • High water pressure can cause damage to improperly installed pipes under the slab. A good way to avoid this is to install a pressure reducing valve.
  • Construction Issue. Faulty workmanship during construction can result in slab leaks.

How Slab Leaks Are Fixed

There are several options your plumber will chose from when it comes time to fix the slab leak. The method he or she chooses depends on the assessed condition of your leak.

  1. Repipe or Rerout. This method entails replacing the entire water line that is leaking and problematic. This is perhaps the most common solution, as it is typically the most effective for older plumbing systems with a history of leaking.
  1. Epoxy Pipe Coating. Typically used for systems with many small leaks, this approach involves in-place pipe coating that is applied throughout the inside of the plumbing.
  1. Spot Repair. Spot repair involves opening up the slab at the location of the leak and simply repairing the leaking water pipe. This method is generally the most cost effective option for new construction.

How Long Do Slab Leak Repairs Take?

Depending on the condition and damage, a slab leak fix typically takes no longer than two days. This includes locating the leak and preparing the site for repair.

Contacting Professional Help

If you have any of the listed signs or symptoms of a slab leak, it is crucial that you seek professional assistance right away. Stalling or attempting to resolve the issue yourself will result further damage.

If you’re concerned you may have a leak, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926. We are proud to be Arizona’s premiere plumbers since 2003.

We’re honest. We’re affordable. We’re good.

Plumbing Tip: Always Check Your Water Pressure

Feb Blog Image

Much like the human body, a home is composed of individual parts with specific jobs, working together for optimum efficiency. In this context, water pressure acts similarly to blood pressure within a body; if a home’s water pressure is too high, the rest of the house is put under stress and unable to function efficiently. Because of this, it is imperative to always check your water pressure.

Checking Your Water pressure: Why It’s Important

Low water pressure can be agitating for showers and dishwashing; however, high water pressure can cause a multitude of serious household problems. Water pressure over 75 PSI (pounds per square inch) can lead to:

  • Pipe damage
  • Water waste
  • Leaks
  • Costly damages

Fixtures such as water heaters, faucets and toilets may break down due to the ongoing stress of high pressure. What’s more, your water bill is bound to skyrocket if the pressure is not reduced to a safer level.

Signs Your Water Pressure May Be High

Perhaps your toilet runs late at night or you wake up in the morning to a pool of water around the faucet; these are both common signs that your water pressure may be too high. Additional signs include:

  • Banging pipes
  • A failing water heater
  • Spitting from your faucet aerator when it is turned on
  • Trouble with your washing machine and/or dishwasher

These signs are all indications that it is time to check your water pressure.

How to Check Your Water Pressure

Luckily, checking your water pressure is easy and affordable. All you need to do is:

  1. Buy a residential water pressure gauge from a hardware store. These affordable gauges should fit into any household hose bib. Some more expensive gauges, around $25, have a resettable needle to record water pressure overnight.
  1. Turn off any appliances that use water, such as faucets, washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators with ice makers. If you do not turn off these appliances, you may receive a false low reading due to water moving elsewhere throughout the house.
  1. Attach your water pressure gauge to a hose bib. The water outlet should be close to your home’s main water supply source. Therefore, if your water supply comes from a well, use an outlet that is close to the well’s pressure tank; alternatively, if your water is supplied by the city, choose a faucet near the water meter. Once the gauge is attached, open the water supply valve slowly (source).
  1. Once the water supply valve is open, wait for the needle on the gauge to stop moving before reading the pressure.
  1. Once you get a reading, test the pressure again to ensure accuracy.

What Causes High Water Pressure?

High water pressure may be the result of multiple causes (source). Sometimes, municipal water suppliers set the local water pressure to a setting as high as over 100 PSI for fire hydrants or tall buildings, which can impact your own water pressure. Your water pressure may also increase due to expansion from your water heater, or in some cases, be the result of a home with a downhill slope.

How to Solve the Problem

If your water pressure reads above 75 PSI, contact Moon Valley Plumbing for assistance. We will happily install a pressure regulator, which ensures the pressure inside your home is maintained to a safe pressure.

Travis Mingle and his team of professionals at MVP are equipped with over two decades of experience known throughout the valley for their honesty and professionalism. Don’t put stress on your home. If you’re concerned about your water pressure, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926.

Travis Talks About….. The Difference Between Hydro Jetting and “Snaking” or “Cabling” Your Pipes

hydro jetting

Wait – What Exactly is a Plumbing Snake or a Cable or a hydro jetting?

Before we get into comparisons between clearing blockages using the hydro jetting method versus the “snaking” or “cabling” method – you should know that a plumber’s snake and a plumber’s cable are similar versions of the same concept, and the terms are often used interchangeably. Basically, machines spin a long “snake” – (aka – cable) – very rapidly – like a drill. Different sized metal tools at the end of the cable – (aka – augers) are attached to the cables, so that when they spin they bore through whatever is blocking the pipe – whether it’s organic or inorganic.
Hydro Jetting
There are differences in the size and shape of the cables and the tools at the end of the cables.
The main differences are in the size of the drilling tool at the end of the cable, how long and/or thick the cable is, and how powerfully the drill rotates.

We have snakes with tools that are made to clear very small and narrow indoor plumbing pipes, and some are made to clear very large, underground sewer pipes. Whatever size or shape your home has – you can be sure that Moon Valley has the equipment and trained technicians to handle it!

How is Hydro Jetting Different From a Plumber’s Snake or a Plumber’s Cable?

The biggest difference between hydro jetting and snaking a plumbing system has to do with what kind of blockage can be cleared, how much can be cleared, and the amount of debris left behind after its been cleared.

A plumbing snake will punch/drill a hole through whatever blockage is clogging up a pipe so that it can move down the pipes and out through the sewer system. Hydro jetting will break the blockage down with the force of the water, and then clear the blockage away, flushing the pipes out in both directions.

The Advantages of Hydro Jetting vs. Snaking – is One Better Than the Other?

Make no mistake, both of these techniques are absolutely effective for taking care of blockages and clogs inside your pipes. When you call us to your home or business we will always do a thorough inspection – often with specialized video equipment – to determine exactly where and what the problem is, so we can advise you on what your best solution may be.

There are occasions when one method may be more useful, faster, and/or give a longer lasting result than the other, and we want you to know exactly what all your options are. Many of our customers aren’t aware of how thoroughly a hydro jetting can clear a blockage in their pipes, and that hydro jetting often offers a long-term – and sometimes permanent – answer to chronic plumbing problems!


Travis Talks About….. Hydro Jetting! Have a Tough Clog? Hydro Jetting May be the Answer!

Hydro Jetting – What is It?

One of the special technologies Moon Valley Plumbing offers is an advanced method of clearing a plumbing system called hydro jetting. This is a specialized technique for dealing with truly tough blockages, problem plumbing systems, and chronically slow pipes. We’ve discovered that people often don’t know what hydro jetting is, or if they do – they think it’s only used for commercial buildings, especially restaurants. But here at Moon Valley Plumbing, we’re proud to be able to offer our residential customers this important service too!

Hydro jetting is based on the same principle that works for power washing buildings and concrete surfaces; it actually scours surfaces harder than almost any other method of cleaning short of sandblasting; but it’s specifically built for your plumbing – it scrubs the inside of your pipes with a highly pressurized jet of water.

How Does it Work?

Our new hydro jetting equipment consists of a very large machine that will pump water from a large water tank. The machine can pump water at an extremely high velocity through a long, heavy-duty hose that has a specialized power nozzle attached to it. The hose is 300 feet long, so we can handle just about any size/length of plumbing system you’ve got.

We “thread” this nozzle and hose down into your pipes through the “cleanout” opening for your pipes; every home has at least one built-in opening like this that will give us access to your plumbing system. With this equipment, we can literally blast water through the nozzle with such force that it will cut through virtually any kind of blockage or debris; and by “force” I mean water pressures of 3,500 – 4,000 PSI and up. (and “PSI” stands for “pounds per square inch,” which is about 20 gallons per minute, and that’s a whole lot of really fast moving water, just so you know).

What Can it Do?

Here’s where hydro jetting differs from regular methods of clearing drains: it not only removes the regular kinds of clogs – hair, paper products, grease, etc. – hydro jetting will cut through sand, sediment, silt, scale build-up, and – most importantly – tree roots. Not only that, but hydro jetting also removes whatever may be clinging to the inside of your pipes as well!

Clearing your plumbing system with a snake, cable, or auger tools works very well and is extremely effective in many situations. However, while the snaking tool opens your pipes by drilling a hole through the clog, it can leave behind layers of grease mixed with hair, mineral deposits, and other kinds of sediment coating the insides of your pipes. This kind of accumulation means that the flow of water and waste through your pipes can be slowed over time, as they become narrower due to the build-up.

With hydro jetting, however, those deposits are blasted completely away, cleaning the inside of your pipes and removing anything attached to them. Your pipes are scrubbed completely clean, as open and clear as they were when they were first installed!

When you give us a call at Moon Valley Plumbing because your plumbing system is backed up, we use a number of techniques – including video inspection – to diagnose your problem first. Once we’ve identified where your system is blocked, and have an idea of what’s blocking it – we always go over all the options for clearing it with you, and hydro jetting is often one of the best and most effective ways to go. We’re happy that we can offer our customers this kind of service, because – believe it or not – we’d rather that you not have to call us with an emergency plumbing nightmare, lol. We like to have happy customers that know we’ll get the job done right the first time – and every time!