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.

Buying a Home: Why Plumber Inspections Are Important

Why Plumber Inspections Are Important

Plumber Inspections are always very important before buy a home.

Plumber Inspections

So, you found your dream home.

Often, the buyer makes an offer before ordering a home inspector to assess the home’s condition and functionality. And while the property may appear to be in satisfactory condition to the home inspector, it’s crucial to have a plumber also examine your potential new home before you make an offer to ensure the its longevity and easy maintenance.

If a plumber is called after the purchase of a new home, you may be at risk for expensive surprises that could have been avoided.

Common Plumbing Conditions That Are Overlooked Before a Home Is Purchased

There are three major plumbing issues that are often overlooked before a buyer purchases their new home, resulting in exorbitantly expensive repairs and replacements (source).

  1. Water Heater Risks

Signs of a Potential Issue:

A water heater over ten years old is always a reason for concern. Water heaters that heat a home in addition to supplying the hot water will often need to be replaced before the ten-year mark. Additionally, the location of the water heater may also be a red flag for past or imminent damage.

The Risk:

A water heater precariously located close to wood flooring, carpet, drywall or valuable assets of the property is a risk for damage. It’s equally important to assess the age and size of the water heater to ensure overflow and accurate volume availability for your needs.

For example, if the previous homeowner downsized to a smaller water heater after their children moved out for college, it’s important to make sure the water heater is big enough for your needs—particularly if you have a young family.

Why a Plumber is Necessary:

The age of a water heater can be determined by its model and serial number. A plumber can not only assess the water heater’s location and size, but also whether it is safe and up to code.

  1. Issues with the Main Sewer

Signs of a Potential Issue:

If the home of your dreams seems to have drains that clog incessantly, there is a reason—and the cause may be more serious than you expected. This frequent clogging may be a sign of an issue with the main sewer line.                                                                                                              

The Risk:

If there is an issue with the sewer line, such as deterioration, repair is critical in order to avoid a hefty replacement fee. Catching an issue with the main sewer before purchasing a home can save you thousands of dollars.

Why a Plumber is Necessary:

Plumbers will conduct a camera Plumber Inspections to determine if clogging within the home is more serious than anticipated. The camera can catch problems along the sewer line that are impossible to determine by a simple home inspection.

  1. Leaky Toilets

Signs of a Potential Issue:

Small leaks around the toilet have a tendency to go unnoticed and unrepaired for years. When inspecting a home, plumbers look for warping and discoloration around the toilet’s base, soft flooring around the toilet that moves when pressure is applied and a toilet bowl that can move from side to side.

The Risk:

While a leaky toilet may seem like a minor plumbing issue, over time the moisture causes rot in the subfloor and can get between the subfloor and the finished floor.

Why a Plumber Is Necessary:

Plumbers will pick up on the seriousness of a “minor” plumbing condition immediately and notice if the previous homeowner attempted to resolve the issue by sealing it themselves, which often exacerbates the problem.

Contact Moon Valley Plumbing Before You Buy Your Dream Home

At Moon Valley Plumbing, we want to ensure you are getting the best price for a safe home you can be happy in for the long-term. Finding out the true condition of your future home’s plumbing gives you the ability to negotiate an appropriate price and gives you peace of mind before moving in. Contact Moon Valley Plumbing to fully Plumber Inspections your dream home before it’s officially yours.

Plumbing Tip: Check Under Your Sink and Water Heater to Make Sure There Are No Leaks

April Blog Tip

When it comes to home plumbing problems, leaks are not uncommon. While some leaks may be quick fixes, some may also indicate a much larger problem. By regularly checking your hot water heater and under your sink for leaks, you can prevent excessive water damage, prevent health issues caused by mold and mildew and even catch a potential problem before it becomes a much more expensive one.

Checking Your Hot Water Heater for Leaks

Water dripping from the hot water tank or pooling below the heater itself can indicate several potential problems, such as corrosion, loose valves or something as simple as condensation. Because it can happen suddenly, it’s important to routinely check your water heater for any signs of leaks as it can also be a sign of a much larger problem waiting to happen.

Determine if Your Water Heater is Leaking

Pools of water and moisture around your hot water heater may simply be caused by condensation. If you notice a suspicious pool of water around your water heater, wipe it up before inspecting the surrounding plumbing, such as water softener discharge lines, the body of the water heater itself and the pipes overhead. If you are unable to pinpoint the source of the leak, continue checking the area for several days. If the water returns, it is likely that your water heater is, in fact, leaking (source).

What to Do if There Is a Leak

If you were able to find the source of your leak, turn off the power to your water heater. On electric heaters, simply switch off the breaker for the water heater in the circuit breaker box. For gas heaters, avoid closing the gas shut-off valve when shutting the power off.

Secondly, turn off the water supply. It’s important to remember that the water inside these tanks can reach temperatures of up to 190 degrees, so if you are unable to access the gate valve safely, turn off the water supply to the entire home.

If the source of the leak has yet to be found, leave the water supply on. This will help you and your plumber pinpoint the problem quicker.

Inspect the Area for the Source of the Leak

There are multiple parts of the water heater that could be the source of your leak. While inspecting the area, make sure to check:

  • The cold water inlet and hot water outlet
  • The temperature and pressure relief valve
  • The heater drain valve
  • The base of the hot water tank

A leak coming from the hot water tank itself is common and typically indicates degeneration. Unfortunately, this usually means the tank must be replaced.

Checking Under Your Sink for Leaks

Similar to hot water heaters, it is important to check under your sink for any potential leaks that may result in water damage, health issues or even indicate a much larger problem. Luckily, leaks under the sink are typically easy to fix when found, often coming from the faucet itself, supply hoses or drain pipes. The source of a leaky sink is typically much easier to find than with a water heater.

Determine if There Is a Leak Under Your Sink

Generally, a saturated floor or wet cabinet is the first indication of a leak under your sink. There may even be water spraying or a pool forming underneath or around the sink itself. However, if a faulty seal is to blame, the leak may not be evident until the sink if full of water.

What to Do if There is a Leak

Often, dripping water is a sign of a loose connection, although it may imply faulty pipes as well. In the event that any of the pipes fittings are too loose, a simple tightening will often fix the problem and prevent further water damage. However, if you are unable to locate the source of the leak, chances are the sink drain or faucet itself is leaking (source).

Contacting Professional Help

If you are unable to identify the source of a leak from your water heater or under your sink, you may benefit from contacting a plumber for assistance. Additionally, if you discovered a problematic leak, ensure your safety by reaching out to a professional. What may seem like a small plumbing issue can turn into an expensive plumbing failure or flood. If you’re concerned about a leak, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926.

Plumbing Tip: Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Plumbing Tip: Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Don’t Forget to Flush Your Water Heater

Water heaters enable the luxury of warm water and hot showers with only the turn of a handle. These typically cylinder-shaped systems are often tucked in the basement corner, made of steel and insulated to retain heat. While water heaters are generally low-maintenance, it is crucial to flush your them regularly.

Flush Your Water

Flushing Your Water Heater: Why It’s Important

Water heaters hold a large volume of water inside its tank. Overtime, iron sediment settles to the bottom and can stir up whenever the bathtub or washing machine is used, causing an unappealing discoloration of the water. In order to control the buildup of mineral deposits and to optimize the operating efficiency and life of the heater, it is important to to flush this system regularly (source).

When You Should Flush Your Water Heater

Generally, it is recommended that you flush your water heater annually (source); however, the recurrence of your maintenance will depend on your water heater model and your home’s water source. If your water heater is getting older or if you just moved into your home, it’s a good idea to flush your water heater right away to assess its quality. Additionally, if you have a water softener that uses salt, it is necessary to flush your water heater at least once a year or once every six months.

How to Flush Your Water Heater

If you wish to flush your water heater yourself, there are quite a few steps to follow:

  1. Locate the and disable the main power source of your water heater

An electrical heater will be powered by a breaker or fuse box, whereas a gas heater will use a thermostat.

For a breaker box: disable the circuit that powers your electrical water heater. If you are unsure which branch circuit breaker this is, you may turn off the main circuit breaker. Remember, if you do this, the power in your home will be off throughout this procedure.

For a fuse box: remove the fuse box powering the water heater. This fuse box will have a handle that may be hot, so be careful when pulling it closed.

For a thermostat: turn the setting to “pilot” on the gas heater.

  1. Turn off the cold water inlet into the water heater

The shut off valve will be located at the top of the tank. If you have a ball valve, this will simply close with a quarter-turn, whereas a gate valve will take more rotations to shut completely.

  1. Turn on the hot water spigot in your sink
  1. Attach a garden hose to the tank’s valve

This valve will be located at the bottom of your heater.

  1. Place the draining end of the hose in a safe location

Because the water dispensed from the hose will be extremely hot, make sure to place the end of your garden hose in a safe location, such as a sink, outdoor drain or driveway.

  1. With the pressure relief valve open, open the water heater’s drain valve
  1. Let the water run

After a several minutes, if the water appears clear and has cooled, use a drinking glass to collect the running water. Once the water settles in the glass, look for any remaining sediment.

If the water is still clouded, continue flushing until it is clear. If for some reason the tank empties before the water appears clear, turn your cold water supply on and partially fill the tank to continue flushing.

  1. Close the drain valve

Disconnect the garden hose, turn off the hot water spigot and turn on the cold water inlet to the tank.

  1. Power-up

Finally, turn on your water supply to let the tank refill. Reopen the pressure relief valve slowly, closing it once any compressed air has vacated. Close the water heater drain, only turning on the water supply once the hot water starts running; at this point it is safe to turn on the power source again.

Need Some Guidance?

Many opt for professional service when it comes time to flush a water heater. If your schedule is too busy, the process seems overwhelming or if you stumbled upon problems, Moon Valley Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today for assistance!

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!



The Secret to Hiring a Good Plumber

When you need help with the plumbing in your home it can be hard to figure out which plumber to call. Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing put together a quick list of some of the things that you should look for when you hire a plumber in your area.

Licensed and Insured

One of the most important things that you should check is to make sure that your plumber is licensed to perform plumbing services and that the plumbers are insured. If something happens while the plumber is on your property you want to know that you’re shielded from any legal liabilities. At Yes! Air Conditioning and Plumbing, our plumbers are all fully licensed and insured so that you have nothing to worry about.

Offers Complete Services

Your plumbing system is intricately designed and connected. When you start to have problems with one component it could mean that another part of the system is in trouble as well. Unless your plumber offers a wide range of services they won’t be able to tell if a piece of equipment on the other side of the house needs attention as well.

Another reason that you want to find a plumbing contractor that offers a wide range of services is so that you don’t have to call anyone else. Hiring a plumber that can fix your pipes and your water heater will save you from having to call another plumber if both of those components need attention.

Check Reviews

Another fairly reliable source of information is customer reviews on popular review sites online. Obviously, you can’t trust everything that you read on the internet. But if you take what you read with a grain of salt, or see a lot of the same types of comments for a particular company, you should be able to get a fairly reasonable idea of how reliable the company is.

Written Estimate

Another main thing that you want to make sure that you get from your plumber is a written contract with a final price on it. This will make sure that things don’t change as the project progresses and that you don’t have to worry about having “the meter running”.

When you need a good plumbing technician call a local trusted expert. The plumber you hire should have years of experience working with all kinds of plumbing systems and components, and should be able to talk with you about water heater repair, water treatment systems, and a full range of drain and sewer problems.


This guest post appears courtesy of the Los Banos, CA plumbers at All American PHA. Click for more information about plumbing repair or other services.