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Home Plumbing Maintenance
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Blog 06/5/19

Home Plumbing Maintenance

The best way to avoid emergency plumbing and drain repairs is by preventing them. While not all problems can be foreseen, there are plenty of home plumbing maintenance tips that can go a long way in eliminating middle of the night emergencies.

Plumbing Preventative – Drains

The best way to prevent drain clogs is to use caution when using them. Normal use can cause minor clogs, but usually only in the case where there is already an issue somewhere in the pipe.

Kitchen Drains

The most important thing for homeowners is to never put grease, fats, and oils in the kitchen drain.  Organic materials create more than just drain clogs, they can lead to unsightly drain smells.

Most homeowners take special care to drain pans of cooking grease into the trash or a jar before placing the cookware into the sink for washing. But, even the residual grease and oils left on pans, and plates, enter into the line. These fats easily stick to the inside of the pipe and buildup over time. This can close off the pipe so even water can become a clogging agent for garbage disposals. As the organic materials harden and rot, foul odors escape into the home and can even draw fruit flies.

Tip: Wipe down plates, pots, pans, and plates before rinsing them in the sink or putting them into the dishwasher.

Garbage disposals are another way to speed up kitchen clogs. Disposals are great additions to the home, but are only meant to push small particles down the line. Disposal manufactures make incredibly powerful disposals and claim to be able to break down even heavy duty food items. But, plumbers recommend avoiding putting leftovers down the sink at all times. Anyone who has had a backed up kitchen sink on Thanksgiving can tell you potato peels will wreak havoc on your drains.

Pro Tip: Scrape all food into the trash and when using the disposal, run cold water for approximately 30 seconds.

Bathroom Drains

Sinks – Most common clogs in bathroom sinks happen due to excess product buildup in the line or when items fall in. To eliminate product buildup, homeowners can run hot water in the drain after brushing their teeth, washing their face or using lotions. Men’s grooming can also lead to clogs, but can be avoided by placing something in the sink to catch falling hairs.

When an item falls in the sink, whether it is a toothpaste cap or expensive jewelry, it can fall into the drain getting stuck and causing a blockage. Having the proper pop-up assembly installed can help stop falling items from entering the drain.

Pro Tip: If a priceless item has fallen down the drain, stop using the water and immediately call one of our Professional plumbers. We can use a camera and attempt retrieval.

Showers – Hair is the number one cause of backed up shower drains. Even though most showers and tubs have a strainer permanently installed, the holes are usually too large to catch all of the hair.

As hair builds up, it can also cause pressure in the drain. If the drain is older, it could damage the pipes and cause leaks.

Pro Tip: Install a small mesh strainer in the shower or tub; they can be found in most local home stores.

Toilets – Toilet clogs can happen from normal use, problems further in the main sewer line, and abuse. There are many products available that claim to be flushable, but the only item that is truly safe to keep your toilets flushing easily is toilet paper.

If the toilet is clogged, but no other drains are, homeowners can attempt a plunger. However, only use plungers made for toilets specifically. When using the plunger, use proper force to avoid breaking the seal and causing a leak at the toilet base. Improper use of a plunger will do more harm than good.

Pro Tip: Do not put feminine hygiene products, paper towels, or any “flushable” product in the toilet.

Water Heaters – Plumbing maintenance for water heaters can help homeowners increase energy efficiency and get the most out of their water heater. An annual water heater flush is ideal for both tank and tankless water heaters.

For traditional tank water heaters, the flush empties the tank flushes out the sediment and replenished with fresh clean water. Sediment can eat away at the interior of the tank causing leaks and deterioration over time. Sediment also gets recirculated back into the home’s water supply and is hard on a home’s plumbing pipes and fixtures.

Tankless water heater flush services keep the mechanical components free of hard water buildup extending the life of the system.

Pro Tip: Schedule a water heater flush with a professional and licensed plumber every year.

Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixture leaks are most often caused by aging fixtures and excessive water pressure.  The best preventative maintenance is having an annual water pressure evaluation.

When the city water comes into the home, it is often too high. Our plumbers recommend installing a pressure regulating device.

Clogged fixtures, such as showerheads, are quite common in San Diego. Because of the hard water, scale can quickly build up and reduce water flow and eventually lead to a need for replacement.

Homeowners can install water filtration systems to protect their pipes and fixtures form hard water and clean them with calcium, lime, and rust removal products.

Pro Tip: Soak shower heads in hot water and vinegar and easily remove hard water buildup.

Water Lines

Water lines inside of walls and underground can leak due to wear and tear, excessive pressure, and age of the home. Because they are not accessible, there is not a lot for homeowners to do to prevent leaks, but they can be aware of common signs of water leaks. At the first sign, schedule a plumber to assess the problem before it turns into a major issue causing water damage.

– Loss of water pressure

– Warm spots on floors

– Damp carpeting

– Mold or mildew growth along baseboards

– Water stains on ceilings

– Excessive water bills

Pro Tip: Install a whole home water filtration system and a pressure regulating device to keep pipes in top working condition.

Home plumbing maintenance is mostly achieved through homeowner vigilance and ensuring the proper plumbing systems are in place to protect your home. Homeowners can also schedule an annual plumbing inspection to assess any potential issues and make recommendations to keep your home protected and damage free.

For the best customer service and plumbing education for your home, trust the experts at Bill Howe. We have been serving San Diego for over 35 years. Our plumbers and drain specialists are trained, knowledgeable in troubleshooting all repairs, and make recommendations for keeping your home’s plumbing system in prime condition.

Call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469), book an appointment online, or connect with us on Live Chat today.


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Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

August 2019


What Rick M says about us

We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

August 2019


What Carolyn Housman says about us

This was our second excellent experience with Bill Howe. We had a blocked kitchen sink drain 8/5. I was able to get a same day appointment which is AMAZING. Person on phone was very courteous and set me up right away. Tony arrived at the house (called me 30 minutes out so I was able to be ready). He diagnosed the issue (blocked drain, not the garbage compactor) and was able to snake it and ran the water for 10 minutes to be sure the drains were clear. He cleaned up everything and you would not have known he was even there. Thank-you Tony and Bill Howe, you always know how.

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Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

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What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

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I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

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