What is Electronic Leak Detection?

Maybe you’ve heard the term and are wondering, what is electronic leak detection? And how can it help me? Today’s homes are primarily built on concrete slabs, which makes early leak detection difficult. If your water usage fluctuates without incident or you notice an increase in usage, there may be a small to substantial leak under your slab, without you having any way to know about it. All water leaks create some amount of noise, even if imperceptible to our ears. Different types of leaks have different sound frequencies determined by the degree of pressure in the pipes. An electronic leak detector can pick up these frequencies, and a professional who is trained to understand the acoustics of plumbing can decipher these sounds. An electronic leak detector can find leaks in toilets, drains, water systems, steam pipes, and pipes that transport other liquids, such as oil.

The electronic leak detector has a transducer which is sensitive to the types of sound that come from pipe systems. When a sound is registered on the machines it is transmitted to the security system at a higher frequency. A plumbing technician will assess all information regarding where a potential leak may be happening and use an electronic leak detector, line tracing equipment, camera inspection, and static pressure testing to locate the specific source of the leak. Even a very small leak can cause cracks in the slab and flooding damage. By utilizing the current technology and understanding how they work to create a full ‘picture’ of what is happening out of sight, a leak can be detected long before the homeowner would become aware, avoiding severe and costly water damage to their home.

So, what is electronic leak detection? It just might be the thing that can answer that nagging question… do we have an unknown leak? Call Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating for complete slab leak detection service!

You Know You Need Drain Cleaning Services When…

You know you need drain cleaning services when you start experiencing these typical issues:

Bad Smells
Foul or sour odors coming from the drain are not just unpleasant, they can signal a drain problem. A drain clogging up with hair and grease will accumulate food particles that begin to rot when not washed down. Small rodents can even get trapped in drains, causing bad smells and clogging the drain.

Water Back Ups

When water starts coming up into the sink or tub this can signal a blockage in the drain. It could be a buildup of FOG (Fats, Oils, Grease), a small object that has wedged into the pipe, or a damaged drain system.

Toilet Overflows

If you have a clogged toilet that a home plunger cannot address, or you are continually needing to plunge, you most likely have a clog deeper into the line. This will probably require a plumber to properly clear the drain.

Slow Draining

Often clogs begin as buildup causing them to drain more slowly as the pipe narrows. Unfortunately, we don’t always pay attention in the beginning and a small problem becomes a bigger one. Don’t wait ‘til it’s too late!

And the obvious – Clogged Drains –
If a drain has been draining well and suddenly slows or stops draining, it is probably a foreign object somewhere in the line, it may even be tree roots or other damage to the main pipes and should be addressed right away.

The good news is that technology has greatly improved, and with new drain cleaning equipment your professional plumber can locate the problem faster and can solve the problem much more quickly than in the past, which means less expense for you!

When you know you need drain cleaning services call Jerry’s Plumbing & Heating and we’ll get you flowing again in no time!

Time for a New Toilet?

You may be thinking it’s time for a new toilet because you are having issues with your current one. Perhaps the style or color is outdated. Or, you believe it’s time for a new toilet because you want to conserve water. Whatever your reason, there are few things you should know before contacting your plumber to install a new toilet.

Be aware of current water conservation laws. California requires that toilets average 1.28 gallons per flush (look for a “WaterSense” label). Low flow toilets were known to cause some problems when they first arrived on the scene, but they have improved dramatically. New technology can reduce per person water usage by 35%, without the multiple flushes that the original ones often needed. The law also requires pre 1994 homes be retrofitted with low flow plumbing fixtures by 2017. (for information on California’s conservation laws go to www.energy.ca.gov)

The height of a new toilet can make the difference between loving it, or longing for your old one! Standard toilets have a rim height of 14 or 15 inches. However, many people are now opting for “comfort height” seats of 17 to 19 inches. Try different heights to determine the best fit for you. Bowl shape is also a consideration. A round bowl will take up less space in a small room, but an elongated bowl provides more seating area, and some find it more comfortable.

Often we don’t think about replacing our toilet until we begin having trouble. Multiple flushing or recurrent clogs can signal big problems. These can be very costly if not dealt with promptly and properly. A professional plumber will be able to detect and correct your issue before it becomes a disaster!

Whether you are experiencing issues or just want a new look, Jerry’s Plumbing & Heating are the experts you’ll want to call when it’s time for a new toilet!

What To do In Case of a Plumbing Emergency

We depend on our plumbing without even thinking about it, but if something should fail, are you prepared? Do you know what to do in case of a plumbing emergency? From overflowing toilets to a busted water pipe the first thing to do is stop the flow of water! Here is a list of things you should know to be prepared in case of a plumbing emergency:

  • Know where the main water shut off valves are (often there is one in or near the home and one by the street)
  • Have any necessary tools required for shut off handy (including flashlight)
  • Know how to shut off water to sinks, toilets and all water using appliances (washing machines, dishwashers, icemakers)
  • Have your plumber’s number handy!

Stopping the water from gushing into your home, or yard is critical. Every minute makes a huge difference in overall damage. You do not want to be running around in a panic looking for tools or a flashlight! Know where shut offs are, be prepared and call your plumber right away!

Now you know what to do in case of a plumbing emergency that is obvious, but sometimes even little leaks can lead to big problems. It is also important to be alert to these plumbing emergency warning signs:

  • Leaking faucets
  • Loose or ‘rocking’ toilets
  • Damp cabinets, walls or floors
  • Dripping or leaking refrigerators

While a leaky or rocky toilet may be an irritation, a flood can be devastating. Yet it is not just flooding that can cause damage to your home. Over time the moisture that is released from leaky fixtures can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. It is important to seek professional plumbing help if you detect any of these issues. Call Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating for an in home assessment today!

Unseen Plumbing In Your Bathroom Remodel

Don’t underestimate the importance of the unseen plumbing in your bathroom remodel. Whether for personal enjoyment or to increase the value of your home for resale, a bathroom remodel is a high impact change. Visually there are so many choices for each of the main categories:

  • Flooring / Walls
  • Countertops / Cabinets
  • Fixtures / Hardware

It is easy to focus on the design aspects when beginning a remodel. Choosing colors, selecting surfaces and picking out finishes can keep you busy. Deciding on fixtures is important, however the plumbing that is hidden is vital and should not be overlooked. How much unseen plumbing in your bathroom remodel will need attention? This will depend on the age of your home, condition of pipes, leaks, clogs etc. Whether or not you have major plumbing issues to tackle during your remodel, don’t forget to replace:

  • Drains / Washers
  • Valves / Risers
  • Pans / Liners

These unseen plumbing aspects will increase the function of your new fixtures. A beautiful faucet in a brand new sink loses its charm if it’s leaking or clogged. Leaks around faucet handles will quickly build up water deposits. Repeatedly clogged sinks, showers/tubs will leave ugly rings and are hard to keep clean. So keep your bathroom remodel looking new for years to come by remembering to replace the unseen plumbing too.

The installation of new toilets, sinks, baths, and showers is important. Bathrooms will be used every day, by many people. Incorrectly installed, they can lead to future leaks which will ruin flooring and cabinets. Leaks in unseen areas, will create mold damage. If you’ve been considering a bathroom remodel, call Jerry’s Plumbing & Heating. The best results for your project are our top priority!

Slab Leak Detection & Repair

Slab leak detection and repair can be tricky and excessively destructive if attempted without proper knowledge and tools. Do-it-Yourselfers can tackle some minor plumbing issues successfully, but slab leak detection and repair should always be done by trained professionals. Non-destructive leak detection requires electronic amplification equipment and electromagnetic pipeline locators, this will allow leaks to be found with minimal property disruption.

If you have any of these symptoms you may have a slab leak:

  • Cracks in your floors or walls
  • Moisture or mildew under carpeting
  • Running water sounds when nothing is turned on

Higher than normal water bills can indicate a water leak. First run a meter test to determine water loss. Check meter numbers, turn off valves to toilets and do not use any water for a 30 minute period, then check the numbers again. If there is still water consumption contact a professional plumber and ask for a non-invasive slab leak detection.

If a slab leak has been determined and located you will want to go over these possible slab leak repair options with your plumber:

  • Spot Repair – if property or plumbing is newer and location is clear, the slab can be opened at point of leak and the pipe repaired.
  • Pipe Coat – if there are a number of smaller leaks an in-pipe epoxy coating can be applied to the inside of the pipes to seal leaks.

Full plumbing line replacements and the reconstruction that is necessary afterward is extremely expensive. Hence, doing a spot repair or epoxy coating is the most economical and least disruptive solution.

Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating are here to help, from detection through repair our specialized service technicians will provide the best solutions for your slab leak requirements.

Water Saving Tips

We don’t need to be in a drought to know that saving water makes sense and saves money! The very first step is to make sure that your plumbing fixtures are installed correctly and there are no leaks. A dripping faucet or leaking toilet basin can be very costly over time. Also, consider installing energy-efficient appliances, which can save hundreds of gallons of water each month:

  • Water-efficient Dishwasher – Saves 3 to 8 Gallons per Load
  • Water-efficient Washing Machine – Saves up to 16 Gallons per Load
  • High-efficiency Toilet – Saves 19 Gallons per person per day

Controlling water flow will save gallons of water every day. Install an aerator on your kitchen faucet to reduce flow to less than 1 gallon per minute, and install low-flow showerheads which save 2-3 Gallons for every shower taken.

Be mindful of the way you use water and develop better usage habits. For instance, not leaving the water running while brushing your teeth. Here are some other ideas which can help you save water:

  • Soak dirty pans and dishes rather than running water while scraping them
  • Don’t’ use water to thaw food, instead defrost in the refrigerator
  • Instead of running water, plug the sink while shaving

And don’t just think ‘inside the box’… homeowners will find that a large percentage of their water usage is outdoors. Making landscaping choices which require less water is a great start. Here are some other outdoor ideas:

  • Install a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees and flower beds
  • Creating a mulch layer around trees and plants will keep the soil cooler and reduce evaporation.
  • Make sure sprinkler heads are adjusted to keep water off of paved areas and program them to go on at night. This will allow for deeper soaking with less evaporation and create a healthier landscape which will require less water.

Stop the Drop… Call Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating for all your water repair and installation needs!

What is Trenchless Sewer Replacement?

Everyone knows that an underground sewer line problem can be a nightmare. Digging long trenches to get to those underground pipes can be extremely costly as well as disruptive. When pipes that run underground need repairing, the things above ground may need to be torn up, such as:

  • Lawns, Gardens & Trees
  • Patios & Pathways
  • Driveways & Sidewalks

Many unforeseen problems and obstacles can also come up unexpectedly, causing initial estimates to keep rising. No one wants to have to go through all of this destruction, yet for years this was the only option if a problem occurred underground.

Trenchless Sewer Replacement has made that nightmare a thing of the past! The latest technology is used to replace sewer pipes without digging up the whole sewer line. Only a few strategically placed holes are needed to access the line. The existing damaged sewer is used as a guide for the installation of the new pipe. A large cone shaped bursting head is hydraulically pulled by a steel cable through the old sewer line, breaking the old line apart while at the same time pulling into place a seamless pipe that is the same size or larger than the old pipe. Once completed the new seamless system is:

1- Root proof
2- Leak proof
3- Earthquake resilient
It’s easy to see why Trenchless Sewer Replacement is the best choice for those who want the least amount of destruction and landscaping restorative costs. Always utilize professional, certified technicians who are experienced in pipe bursting methods. At Jerry’s Plumbing & Heating our service technicians are trained in the latest technology and have the current tools and equipment to ensure that your job is done properly, safely and cleanly.

Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Clean

A garbage disposal is one of those modern conveniences most of us have become quite dependent on, here are some tips to keep your garbage disposal staying clean, smelling fresh and functioning well:

STAYING CLEAN

Pour a few drops of dish soap inside, run for a full minute with cold water after washing dishes. This will help clean and deodorize the unit.

Grind food waste with a good flow of cold water. This will cause grease and oils to solidify, and they can be ground into smaller pieces before reaching the trap.
Ice Cubes work great for keeping the blades sharp and the unit clean, add some rock salt to really get a good scouring action.
NEVER: Place your hands inside the unit to clean it or retrieve objects!

SMELLING FRESH

Once a week grind slices of lemon, lime or orange. This will help clean the blades and deodorize the unit. Use your ice cube tray to freeze white or apple cider vinegar. Grinding these will naturally kill odor causing bacteria.

Pour a good amount of baking soda into the unit and let it dwell for a few hours. Then run the garbage disposal with a stream of cold water.
NEVER: Use harsh chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners!

FUNCTIONING WELL

Frequent use will prevent rust and corrosion, and keep parts moving. Letting objects enter the unit without grinding will cause them to harden, becoming obstructions (not to mention stink bombs!)

Cut up larger items. Put them down the garbage disposal one at a time. Don’t overstuff the unit before grinding.
Wait to until grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal and then let the water continue to run for 15 to 20 seconds.
NEVER: Pour grease or oil into disposal, or grind fibrous items like corn husks, aparagus or celery!

Every make and model has different specifications and performance levels, and you should always consult your manual. If these general maintenance tips are not working or you have a more serious issue, call Jerry’s Plumbing and Heating right away!

Why Does the Shower Heat Up When the Toilet is Flushed?

You know the drill: when someone is in the shower, you don’t flush the toilet … If you do, the poor person who is showering gets a face full of scalding hot water!

It’s unpleasant, painful and probably due to your water pressure in your home. That’s right, water pressure is to blame for your suddenly boiling shower. But how does it work? How does water pressure affect your shower’s temperature?

Usually plumbing is configured in a trunk and branch system. The water runs from one side of the building to the other in a large pipe, with small offshoot pipes that connect to different plumbing fixtures, like your shower, washer, toilet or sink. If you have lower water pressure in your home, when a fixture takes some of that water from the trunk pipe, it means there is less water for the rest of the fixtures. When you flush the toilet, it calls for cold water to fill up the tank. The toilet draws water from the trunk pipe. If you’re showering during this time, the shower will have less cold water to draw from in the trunk pipe, and compensate with more hot water. This heats up your shower!

This doesn’t only happen with your toilet. It could happen if someone turns on the washing machine, the sprinklers or gets a drink from the kitchen sink.

The easiest way to prevent a scalding shower is to limit how fast water fills up the toilet tank. You can do this by closing the supply valve on the wall behind the toilet slightly. This will make the toilet tank fill more slowly and allow for more water pressure to accommodate the shower. Never place a brick or other heavy object in the tank to decrease the amount of water used to fill up the tank. It may cause your toilet to overflow instead of flush, or not get solid waste down the s-bend.

Simply twist the supply valve behind your toilet to change your water pressure.

You can also purchase a pressure-balanced valve that will provide water at a constant temperature in your shower, regardless of if your water pressure changes in the hot or cold water lines. A pressure-balanced valve recognizes the drop in cold water when a toilet is flushed, and makes sure the hot water drops the same amount. The water temperature is the same, but the pressure of the water may be lessened. Jerry’s Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning can install this type of valve in your plumbing system.