What Does the U-Bend in My Plumbing Do?

July 17th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

It is often items we see every day that escape our attention the most. For example, the U-shaped bend in the drainpipe under a sink: You’ve seen this often in the fixtures of your home and many other places. But have you ever wondered why so many drainpipes have this same specific shape? The answer is interesting, and it’s not quite what people expect.

When you need answers for all of your plumbing questions, call Saddleback Plumbing. Since 1980, we have delivered quality services for plumbing in Laguna Niguel, CA and the rest of Orange County. We’re here for your heating and cooling needs as well.

That “U-bend” is Actually the “P-Trap”

The plumber’s name for that distinctive drainpipe bend is “p-trap.” Although it may seem U-shaped when you look at it from the front, if you take a view from the side you’ll see the similarity to a capital letter “P”.

The p-trap’s function is to create a water seal between the opening of the drain in a sink and the wastewater further down the pipe. The decomposition of wastewater in the plumbing releases sewer gases with unpleasant odor, and this gas naturally rises back up the plumbing. However, gravity traps water inside the dip in the p-trap, and this water plug prevents the sewer gas from escaping up through the drain and into a house.

If you ever detect the smell of sewage coming from a sink that hasn’t been used much, the reason is probably because the p-trap has dried up and there is no water to halt the sewer gas. Turn on the taps and run water down the drain for about a minute to restore the water plug, and this should solve the problem. (If it doesn’t, call for a plumber; you may have more serious issues down in the sewer line.)

The p-trap can turn into an issue for your plumbing, since it will often catch more than water: soap scum, hair, and grease will begin to build up inside it, and this can eventually lead to serious clogging. If you cannot clear out the clog using a plunger, call a plumber instead of resorting to using toxic and acidic chemical cleaners that could damage your pipes. A plumber can use a motorized drain snake or a hydro-jetter to remove the obstructions, and in extreme cases can detach the p-trap from the other pipes and clean it.

If you have a clogged p-trap in your plumbing in Laguna Niguel, CA, call Saddleback Plumbing today and let our fast and professional plumbers take care of it.

What Does Low Pressure in My Plumbing Mean?

July 15th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Although it’s possible for you to still take care of a number of basic chores in your home after you experience a drop in water pressure from your faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures, it’s not only and inconvenience, it’s also a warning that there may be a serious issue in your plumbing that needs repair—before it worsens.

There are a number of reasons for a pressure drop in your plumbing, ranging from benign to major emergencies. When you have any doubt about the cause, call for professional plumbing repair services from Saddleback Plumbing. We have handled professional plumbing repair in Tustin, CA since 1981, and have the skill and experience to find the source of the water pressure drop and fix it fast and correctly.

Some of the Reasons for a Drop in Water Pressure

It’s possible that the low pressure comes from issues in the municipal system, such as an abrupt drain on the water supply because of firefighting. Check with your neighbors to see if they are also experiencing water pressure troubles before you proceed with any other steps. Make a call to the utility company if you want to double check.

Pipe leaks are the most common cause for water pressure drops, and are one of the important early warnings you can receive that leaking is occurring. (Pipes with leaks are often concealed behind walls and floorboards.) For this job, you will need plumbers with experience performing leak detection to find the spots that need repairs.

The most serious possible cause for water pressure decline is trouble with the water main that brings in water from the municipal system. If this line breaks or develops blockage, it will threaten your entire water supply, and it could also lead to flooding on your yard or into your home. This is one of the reasons you should always have professionals investigate water pressure problems: the cause might be minor… or it might be a water line break.

In some cases, the water line isn’t damaged; it is simply too small for the amount of water your home now uses. Replacing the smaller water line with a larger one will help your plumbing keep up with water demands.

Don’t “Tolerate” Low Water Pressure

If you shrug off low water pressure and wait for it to improve, you might place the water supply and risk and even allow damage to your home. Although it is possible for the water pressure to return if the issue is with the utility company, don’t take the chance. Once you’ve checked on the possibility of an external reason for the drop in pressure, call Saddleback Plumbing to handle the necessary plumbing repair in Tustin, CA that will get your running water back to running the way it should.

What’s Causing Problems with My Water Treatment System?

July 10th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

When it comes to protecting our health in our homes, and protecting our plumbing systems as well, a good whole-house water treatment system is often a necessity. You can’t always trust the water from the Orange County municipal supply to be free of unhealthy contaminants and the minerals that create hard water. With the right water treatment systems in an Irvine, CA home, you can have protection from nitrates, arsenic, pesticides, calcium, magnesium, sulfurous oxide, and other chemicals and pollutants that enter the water supply.

Water treatment systems sometimes need help as well, both through regular maintenance and from repairs. If your water treatment begins to fail at its job, call for repairs from Saddleback Plumbing right away, and we’ll find what out what is plaguing your water treatment and fix it.

What Can Go Wrong with Water Treatment Systems

  • Clogged or bad filters: This is the most common reason for problems in a whole-house water treatment system. If the system uses filters to clean water, those filters will eventually become clogged, which will not only stop the filter from working properly, it will lead to a reduction in water pressure. To help avoid these problems, arrange for yearly maintenance for your water treatment system, which will make sure the filters are cleaned and/or replaced as necessary.
  • The wrong system was installed: It’s extremely important to have professionals install your water treatment system. Amateur installation often means receiving a system that either a) doesn’t treat the specific problems in your water you need, or 2) is the wrong size to properly do its job. There is a great variety of water treatment systems available, each designed to target different issues in the water, and installers need to know exactly what problems in the water need remedy before choosing a system. They then need to size it right for the level of water use in your home. If your whole-house water treatment system does not appear to be improving the water quality, call on professionals to see if the right unit was originally installed.
  • Excess salt from a water softener: An issue that homeowners sometimes encounter when they install a water softener is that it adds too much salt to the water in order to balance the calcium and magnesium ions. If you start to notice salty-tasting water, you might need to install a reverse osmosis system to balance the pH level from the water softener.

There are many other possibilities for water treatment malfunction. We recommend annual check-ups and maintenance to keep your home’s treatment system working as well as possible. Call Saddleback Plumbing today to arrange for a maintenance visit, or for plumbing repairs for your Irvine, CA home.

Leading the Way with Independence Days!

July 4th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

The term “Fourth of July” is the popular name for the U.S. federal holiday officially known as Independence Day. It isn’t surprising that we would come up with a different name from the official one, since “Independence Day” is one of the most common holiday names across the globe. Most of the nations in existence today won their independence from another power, whether through wars, treaties, or long transitions.

What might surprise many people is how old U.S. Independence Day actually is compared to the similar holidays of other nations. Although the U.S. is still considered a young nation, it was one of the first to make a full break for its colonial master with a new constitution. Most countries that celebrate a national Independence Day are commemorating events that occurred in the second half of the 20th century, when many older empires at last relinquished control over their colonies.

How substantial is the difference in time for the U.S.A. and the rest of the world? U.S. Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, making our country unusual in that almost no existing nations celebrate an independence event from the eighteenth century.

In terms of age, there is only a tiny handful current countries that celebrate an independence day that occurred earlier than the United States. Switzerland celebrates its independence from the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans in 1291 with “Swiss National Day,” held every August 1—although this only gained status as a national holiday in 1994. Sweden Celebrates “National Day of Sweden” to commemorate events in 1523 and the election of King Gustav I during the War of Liberation against Christian II of Denmark and Norway. Romania comes almost a hundred years after U.S. Independence, with its 1877 freedom from Turkish rule.

The most recent Independence Days to come into existence are for Montenegro, which gained independence from Serbia in 2006 and celebrates the day on May 21, and South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and celebrates the day only a day after the U.S., on July 5.

Does anyone else celebrate a literal “Fourth of July,” an Independence Day that also falls on the fourth day of the seventh month? Yes: Abkhazia, a small Central Asian country that declared its independence from the Republic of Georgia in 1999 (although not all countries recognize it). Coming a day (like South Sudan) on July 5 is the independence of the small Atlantic island nation of Cape Verde, which became free from Portugal through signed agreement in 1975.

Everyone at Saddleback Plumbing hopes you and your family enjoy a vibrant Independence Day/Fourth of July this year!

Signs of Damage to Your Water Line

June 27th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

When you consider the amount of water that you use in your house on a daily basis—for cooking, cleaning, bathing, drinking—it’s astonishing that the pipeline that carries the fresh water into your home can endure as long as it does. But the continuous movement of water will eventually take a toll and you will end up with clogs, breaks, or leaks in the water main. In Southern California, damage from earthquakes are a particular worry, although you may not notice issues in the pipe immediately after a temblor.

Aside from outright losing your water supply, there are a number of specific signs to look for that can warn it’s time to call a plumber to investigate potential damages that may require the water line repair. For Mission Viejo, CA water lines, you can trust the job to Saddleback Plumbing; we’ve served Orange County with quality plumbing for over three decades.

Watch for These Indications of a Damaged Water Line

  • Drop in water pressure: One of the earliest warnings that there is a leak or block in the water line is when the water pressure suddenly plunges. If you notice that faucets and showerheads throughout your home have lost pressure and the flow of water is weak, the problem might lie with a damaged water line. (It’s also possible that there is an issue in the municipal system, so you should check with neighbors to see if they are experiencing similar troubles.)
  • Contamination in the water: Breaks in the water main will allow dirt and soil to enter into the pipes. Should your water take on a sudden reddish-brown discoloration, or an unpleasant taste, the issue is likely because of a breach in the water main. Call for repairs immediately.
  • Water flow in your yard: Should the water line spring a leak, the escaping water will flow up into your yard, and sometimes come through cracks in the sidewalk. The problem could come from unrelated pipes, but you nonetheless need to contact a plumber to determine the source of the leak.
  • Hissing and rumbling noises: The point where the water main enters your house will make hissing and rumbling sounds when water is flowing from a tap in your home; this is normal. But if you hear this sound when there is no water flowing inside the house, it indicates that water is running out of the line somewhere between where it exits the municipal supply and where it enters your home. Call right away for plumbers to look into the situation.

You don’t want to have your water supply abruptly vanish because of a damaged water line, so pay attention to any of these warning signs and call for a team of plumbers that knows how to handle plumbing repairs in Mission Viejo, CA that include water line damage. Trust the work to Saddleback Plumbing for fast and professional service. Contact us today to schedule a plumber at the first sign of damage to your water line.

Why Should I Contact a Pumber for Drain Cleaning?

June 26th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Clogged drains are a hassle that homeowners expect to happen now and then—there’s just no avoiding them. But although accidents will occur when an object tumbles down a drain and blocks it, you don’t have to deal with clogs afflicting your plumbing on a regular basis because of buildups of soap scum, grease, hair, and food. With the help of professional drain cleaning, you can eliminate current clogs and help prevent future ones.

If you’re wondering why you need professional plumbers to handle this job, we’ll explain what trained and licensed plumbers can bring to the task and how it will help you. To get started, call our staff at Saddleback Plumbing. We will arrange for drain cleaning service in Lake Forest, CA that will clear out clogs and give you healthy plumbing.

Why You Need Professionals Plumbers to Clean Your Drains

  • Because liquid drain cleaners are terrible for drains: Yes, in spite of their name, chemical drain cleaners you can purchase next to the mops and laundry detergent in aisle #3 at the grocery store are absolute “no-nos” for drains. They are harshly caustic, which makes them damaging to the interior of drainpipes, and they are potentially hazardous for you and your family. If you cannot clear out a clog using a plunger, don’t reach for these “cleaners.” And don’t rely on them for regular “cleaning” either.
  • Professionals have comprehensive cleaning methods: A skilled plumber won’t just get rid of a clog. He or she will use methods that will clear out thick levels of contamination so that your plumbing will have far fewer problem from clogs and high water pressure in the future. Using non-invasive procedures such a hydro-jetting will wipe away all the build-up of grease, soap-scum, and other deposits from the inside of pipes.
  • Professionals have the best equipment: Plumbers have access to expensive plumbing tools unavailable to the consumer (and too difficult to use without training). Hydro-jetters, mechanical drain snakes, and video pipe inspection equipment are all part of the arsenal that plumbers bring to the job of targeted cleaning in a home’s drains.
  • Professionals can handle the job fast: Finally, it is worth it to have plumbers handle drain cleaning because they can take care of the work quickly, causing minimal inconvenience to you. You will have both a thorough and rapid drain cleaning job with the right plumbers on the task.

At Saddleback Plumbing, we recommend that you schedule regular drain cleaning and not just when you have a clogging issue. Make this a part of your annual checkup for your plumbing system, and you should have an (almost) clog-free home life. We also offer comprehensive plumbing services in Lake Forest, CA. To schedule your next service appointment with us, give us a call today.

Common Problems Associated with Bathroom Plumbing

June 20th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Your bathroom is one of the most frequently used parts of your household, and you need the sinks, toilets and showers to perform without a hitch day in and day out. When problems arise, you need to take care of them as quickly as possible. Here in Laguna Hills, bathroom plumbing problems are a regular occurrence and can be handled by a number of qualified bathroom plumbing services. Here are some common problems associated with bathroom plumbing that you should keep an eye out for.

  • Clogs. Clogged drains are the scourge of many homeowners, and can get particularly bad in the bathroom. Human hair is surprisingly strong, and it can collect in your faucet or shower drain. There, it mixes with soap scum, toothpaste and similar materials to make a very strong clog. Store-bought cleansers can rarely dent such clogs, but a professional plumbing service can usually make short work of them.
  • Hard water. Hard water is water with an unusually high amount of mineral content (usually calcium and magnesium). It’s harmless, but it can create a crumbly white build-up on your faucet heads, and even clog up the faucet if left untreated. Hard water can also leave you skin feeling raw and red after bathing. A water filtration system can soften your water and a plumber can deal with egregious deposits left by hard water.
  • Leaky Toilets. A leaky toilet is usually caused by a breach in the line between the toilet tank and the rest of your plumbing system. The seal, valve or the line itself can usually be replaced fairly easily. A more substantial leak may be caused by a crack in the porcelain, in which case you will probably need to get the entire toilet replaced.

Whenever you’re faced with common problems associated with bathroom plumbing, the best solution is to call the experts at Saddleback Plumbing to help. Bathroom plumbing problems of all varieties are our specialty, and we won’t rest until you are completely happy with our work. We also provide a variety of other plumbing services in Laguna Hills, CA. Pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

Scheduling AC Repairs During a Heat Wave

June 13th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Air conditioning repair in Tustin, CA doesn’t always arrive at the most convenient times. We’ve already seen our share of hot temperatures this year and the summer is looking like one for the record books. Ideally, your air conditioner will perform reliably throughout the cooling season, which you can help ensure by scheduling regular maintenance sessions. But what happens when your air conditioner conks out at the very worst possible time? What do you do about scheduling AC repairs during a heat wave?

Generally speaking, you should turn your air conditioner off any time there’s a problem, regardless of whether it will still run or not. To do otherwise risks serious damage to the system with a correspondingly higher repair bill. Once the unit is off, you need to gauge the general safety levels to the heat and whether you can safely stay in your home. If you have access to fans, run them. Keep hydrated with plenty of water, and close blinds or curtains to keep the sunlight from shining into your home. If you can, head somewhere that offers air conditioning, whether it be a friend’s house, a nearby shopping mall or a public library. That way, you can stay cool and comfortable while you plan for a repair session.

With your immediate concerns out of the way, you should look for a service that provides quick and reliable repairs. Ideally, they should offer 24 hour service. Even if you don’t need it, it’s a sign of a company that can work confidently under pressure, and get you air conditioner repaired as quickly as possible. In those cases, the experts at Saddleback Plumbing are on call to move with speed. Summers in Southern California can be a killer and emergency air conditioning sessions, while unwanted, can be a serious matter. We handle all kinds of air conditioning repair in Tustin, CA and our trained staff is ready to handle any problem you might encounter. That way, you can get back to a comfortable home without worrying about the health and safety of your family. If you’re interested in scheduling AC repairs during a heat wave, then pick up the phone and give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!

3 Causes of Problems With My Kitchen Faucet

June 12th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Your kitchen faucet is one of the most heavily used appliances in your home, and when it runs into trouble, you need to get it fixed immediately. Problems with your faucet can range from leaks to clogs to issues with water pressure, but here in Mission Viejo, CA, kitchen plumbing can always be fixed by trained experts. In most cases, you should always call in a plumber when you encounter an issue with your faucet, to ensure that it gets corrected efficiently. Here are 3 causes of problems with your kitchen faucet that you should look out for.

  • Food clogs. Not every piece of food should be rinsed away down the sink. Fibrous vegetable matter such as potato peelings can easily block the flow of water, as can chicken bones, peach pits and other hard materials. In particular, beware of hot grease or fat poured down the faucet. As it cools down in your metal pipes, it will solidify, and create a serious back-up. Plumbers can treat the problem with specialized equipment designed to correct the problem properly.
  • Leaks. Leaky faucets are a considerable nuisance, and while the causes can be simple, they need proper training to correct. The common cause of a leaky faucet is a faulty valve or washer in the faucet head, which means he head needs to be dismantled and then put back together with the replacement part in place. Leaks stemming from the pipes themselves – under the sink, for example, are more series and usually require the plumber to install a replacement length of pipe.
  • Backflow. Backflow in your kitchen faucet is usually caused by problems elsewhere in your plumbing, resulting in unbalanced pressure and contaminated water flowing back out of your faucet. It can be solved with the installation of safety valves to help equalize the pressure.

Here at Saddleback Plumbing, we can spot the causes of problems with your kitchen faucet, and make corrections with speed and efficiency. Kitchen plumbing needs to be handled by people in the know. Give us a call today; we’ll fix the problem right! We provide a wide array of professional plumbing services in Mission Viejo, CA.

These Are Your Choices for a Sump Pump in Laguna Hills, CA

June 6th, 2014 by Bill Chronister

Here in Laguna Hills, sump pump technology remains a reliable and effective way of preventing home flooding. We have our share of flooding problems during the rainy season, thanks to shallow sewer systems and our hilly terrain. A sump pump, which is placed in a pit in your basement, can swiftly pump floodwaters out of your home: keeping your property and possessions dry in the process. As always, it pays to consult with a professional when selecting a model for your home, but in general terms, these are your choices for a sump pump in Laguna Hills, CA.

  • Pedestal pumps. Pedestal pumps are less expensive and easier to install than other types of pump. They’re mounted on a stand above the pit, keeping the motor out of the water. They work best in areas that get a lot of flooding, though their position above the pit means that they can be fairly noisy.
  • Submersible pumps. These pumps are placed directly in the pit, and are designed to operate while under water. They cost more to install, but tend to be more efficient, and because they’re underwater, they don’t make as much noise.
  • Back-up pumps. Most pumps are run by electricity from your home. A back-up pump is battery powered and intended for use when the electricity goes out.
  • Sewage pumps. These pumps are specifically designed to remove sewage waste and semi-solid materials from you home. This is a significant consideration in Laguna Hills, were our flooding issues often entail overflowing sewers.
  • Combinations pumps. Combination pumps merge a primary pump and a battery-powered back-up pump into one system. It’s a solid choice if you want to cover all your bases without a lot of additional hassle.

A qualified expert plumbing service in Laguna Hills, CA can discuss your choices for a sump pump, then perform an installation once you’ve found the best model for your home and budget. The professionals at Saddleback Plumbing have the skills and expertise to help you out in all stages of sump pump installation. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!