Cat Litter in the Toilet

Disposing of cat litter can be a tricky task. Not sure where to put your cat’s dirty litter? After doing some research we can advise you the only safe place for cat litter to be disposed of is in the trash can outside of your home. It is best to double bag the litter and move it to an outside location to prevent the bad smell in you home.

Why can’t I put dirty litter anywhere else?

  • It is not advised to place litter inside your kitchen trash because it can have parasites in it and could contaminate other things in your kitchen.
  • It is not acceptable to dispose of litter in your yard because it can contaminate ground water.
  • It is the most hazardous to flush litter down your toilet. Cat litter clumps and expands when wet and can clog your pipes or damage a septic system (even the ones that say flush-able).
  • Newer water saving toilets don’t use enough water or pressure to move the litter through your pipes.
  • Cat waste hardens up fast and dries out, this could be difficult to move through pipes as they bend and turn.
  • Flushing litter can introduce a parasite, named toxoplasma gondii, into the water supply. T. gondii is commonly found in cats and flushing this parasite down the toilet can contaminate water supply. Supply treatment centers may not be able to clean all of the parasite out of the water. This increases the possibility of a public infection. Those most at risk are children, elderly people, and pregnant women.

The EPA has classified pet waste as a pollutant that can cause harm to fish and wild life. It can kill native vegetation and cause unsafe water.

What prompted us to write this?

We received a call last week. Our customer was complaining about clogged pipes. We went to the home the same day we received the call. Upon cabling the customers line, our technician pulled back cat litter. This made us wonder how many other customers are unaware of the havoc that can be caused by litter.

Sources: https://www.epa.gov/

Glass in the Disposal

Having glass or other foreign objects in your garbage disposal can turn into a major problem. It can cause the blades to get bent, clog your pipes, and even cause your disposal to jam possibly blocking your kitchen sink drain and dishwasher if it is connected. It is best to remove an item that is lodged.

thekitchn.com

The first thing to do if you have glass in your disposal is to turn off your disposal and to be safe, if possible, switch off the breaker too.

DO NOT STICK YOUR HAND IN THE DISPOSAL!!

Use a tool similar to needle nose pliers to fish out the pieces of glass.

You can also try an industrial size vacuum like a Shop-vac if you have one available.

Make sure you twist the blades to ensure you’ve gotten all the glass. You can do this with a hex key from underneath the disposal or by using a tool. DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS.

Once you are sure you’ve gotten all the glass, you can restore the power to the unit. Run the water to ensure you’ve gotten everything out.

Always keep in mind, retrieving things from a garbage disposal is a dangerous task. If you feel there may be something stuck in your disposal and do not feel comfortable getting it out, please give us a call.

It’s Vacation Time!!

Just an announcement about next week for our company. Sept 30th – Oct 4th is a vacation week.

What does this mean?

  • Half of our crew is on vacation.
  • Projects and estimates will not be scheduled for this week. We will be scheduling for the week of Oct 7th.
  • Emergency and small repair jobs will be taken and done as needed.
  • If there is no answer, please leave a voicemail. We will return your call as soon as possible.
  • Our Accounting department is closed during this time. Crissie will follow up with everyone when she is back in the office.

We will resume business as normal the 7th of October.

Thank you everyone!

Getting to Know Your Toilet

Knowing the different parts of your toilet can help you better understand where a problem may be coming from. If you notice a bad smell or if you have an overflowing toilet these key parts could prevent you from cleaning up a giant mess.

  • Tank- The tank is the back part of your toilet that holds clean water used for flushing the toilet and filling other components.
  • Bowl- The bowl holds the waste water.
  • Flush Handle- The flush handle is the part used to flush the toilet. It is connected to the trip lever.
  • Trip Lever- The trip lever lifts the flapper, allows water to leave the tank during a flush, and lets soiled water out.
  • Float Ball- The float ball is used to measure the amount of water inside the tank. It lowers and rises as the water moves through the system. When the tank is full, the ball stops rising.
  • Overflow Tube- The overflow tube leads to the toilets drain. It stops the tank from overflowing and pushes out any excess water.
  • Flapper Valve- The flapper valve is attached to the flush handle and the trip lever with a chain. Its main use is to keep water inside the tank. It creates suction to help force soiled water down the toilet drain. If your toilet is overflowing, you can try pushing the flapper down.
  • Stop Valve- Also referred to as the toilet supply valve, this valve controls the water supply. It is usually located behind the toilet near the floor.
  • Supply Tube- The supply tube supplies water to the toilet from the main water line into the refill tube.
  • Refill Tube- The refill tube refills the bowl with clean water through the supply tube when the float ball is down.
  • Trap- The trap is a seal that prevents water back flowing and prevents odors from seeping through from the main sewer line.
  • Wax Ring- The wax ring is a seal between the toilet and the main sewer line. Typically if you have a leak at the bottom of your toilet this is where it is coming from.

Tree Root Damage

07/30/19 In the first photo you will see the toilet drain (This is what is under your toilet) with the roots still intact . In the second photo you will see the roots that have been removed from the drain. These customers had noticed sewer returning and slow draining.

Tree Roots are drawn to the moisture, oxygen, and nutrients that are present inside of sewer pipes. The vapor that is released into the soil when there is a leak or crack inside your sewage system can attract roots to grow toward the pipes.

The most invasive species of trees are:

  • Hybrid Poplars
  • Willows
  • American Elms

The average cost to remove tree roots from sewer pipes is between $100 and $600. For larger roots causing more severe damage, that cost can go up to as much as $2500 for complete re-piping of the system.

If you notice a slow flowing drainage system or gurgling noises coming from your toilet bowl, please give us a call!

Backflow Device Testing

During summer months you may notice your lawn is dry and wilted but, before you decide to turn on the sprinklers, make sure you’ve had your back-flow device tested. On average, around 25% of back-flow devices will fail, possibly putting someone else’s health at risk. The number one cause of back-flow device failure is due to dirt and debris that flows through the pipeline.

Not sure what a back-flow device is?

Back-flow devices or preventers keep contaminated water from moving the wrong way though your waterlines. It’s sole job is to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated due to back-flow. Back siphon-age can occur when the pressure in a tank or water trough is lower than the pressure of the water system. Your water quality may not be affected however, it may cause someone to get sick from drinking contaminated water.

If you need your back-flow devices tested, please call and make an appointment. Please remember, if you need any repairs, they should be made by a certified technician.

Underground Water Leak

A few weeks ago we repaired an underground water leak for one of our clients. A few things that would suggest you may have an underground leak is usual wet spots or pools of water on the grounds surface.  If you notice a drop in your water pressure from normal you may want to investigate as this could also be a sign of a leak. Pay attention to your water bill and your monthly water usage because if you have a leak you could see a sudden increase. And remember our guys are here to help if you need a water leak repaired.

Pipe or Stud??

     When drilling or nailing into your walls it is essential to know what is behind the hole you are creating. This image is an example of what can happen if you aren’t certain it is a stud you are hitting. Behind your walls are items such as pipes for plumbing and/or natural gas and wires for your electricity. It is very important to know you are not hitting and damaging those items when drilling or nailing into your walls. The best way to find the studs in your wall is to use a stud finder that differentiates the studs from pipes, there is also usually a separate indicator light for the presence of electrical wiring. Even after you feel certain you have found the stud drive a panel pin through the wall, if you feel the resistance of the wood you will know it is the stud. Creating a hole in the wall blindly can cause major problems. In this case the pipe was thought to be a stud and several holes were drilled into it creating a water leak. The pipe was replaced but is a great example to all of us what can easily happen.

 

 

The do’s and don’ts of garbage disposals

      Many garbage disposal problems can be avoided altogether with the proper care and maintenance. When using your disposal start by letting cold water run through it for 15 seconds before turning it on. Allow the water to continue running and begin to slowly feed the food into the disposal until the grinding stops. Turn off the disposal and allow the water to continue to run through the disposal for about 30 seconds to make sure the disposal is clear.

      Never put items such as plastic, metal, glass, or any kind of paper products into the disposal as these items will cause damage to the blades and or motor. When putting food into the disposal make sure you do not put foods with tough skins such as potato peels or fibrous food such as celery stalks into the disposal. These types of foods can wrap around the motor or cause clogs. Grease should also never be poured into the disposal, because the grease will solidify and accumulate causing clogged pipes or bad odors.

To keep your disposal clean and fresh. Run hot water and soap through the disposal daily. Freshen up your disposal by chopping up lemons or limes and grinding them up in the disposal. Vinegar is also a great way you can eliminate odor causing bacteria from your disposal.  Maintain your disposal and keep it in great shape to avoid unnecessary repair cost.