Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Plumbing’

How Often Should I Schedule Plumbing Maintenance?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The plumbing of your home does a tremendous amount of work each day, bringing in fresh water to multiple taps and appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers; running hot water from the water heater; and removing wastewater from drains to the sewer system. Considering the amount of punishment that plumbing can take over weeks, months, and years, it is surprising that homeowners don’t often consider scheduling regular maintenance to check on the integrity of the plumbing system.

Maintenance is something your plumbing must have in order to keep working optimally, without the risk of leaking, corrosion, breaks, and blockages. The complexity of the pipe system in a house, which consists of freshwater, wastewater, and hot water lines made from different types of material, requires that professionals handle the maintenance. Contact the experienced team at Saddleback Plumbing in Irvine, CA for plumbing maintenance that will keep your home’s vital water system in the best shape possible.

The Frequency of Plumbing Maintenance

How often is it necessary to have a maintenance inspection for your plumbing? Annually, just as you do for your heating and air conditioning system. (You are having those done annually, right?) Any major system in your home that received daily use needs to have a professional check-up once a year.

Consider all that a plumber needs to inspect during a maintenance visit, and you’ll understand why it is so important to have this work done every year:

  • Water pressure check to see if there are possible leaks or if the pressure is too high because of problems elsewhere in the system, such as mineral buildup from hard water.
  • Leak detection to spot places where hidden leaking may be occurring.
  • Garbage disposal check.
  • Backflow preventer check to make sure sewage can’t enter into the freshwater lines.
  • General drain cleaning service to clear out the buildup of residue inside frequently used drains like those in the kitchen.
  • Sewer line inspection to see that the line is in good shape and not in danger of blockages from tree roots.
  • Inspecting the water heater to see that it doesn’t have impending repair needs.

A thorough inspection will see that your plumbing is both safe and efficient. It will help you avoid repairs in the future and ensure that all parts of the system are working in peak condition.

Regardless of how well you maintain your plumbing, repair needs can crop up, so make sure that you have a reliable company in Irvine, CA for plumbing repairs that can get the work done fast and accurately. Look to the more than 30 years of experience at Saddleback Plumbing for repairs and maintenance that will keep your plumbing working for you instead of causing hassles.

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What Does the U-Bend in My Plumbing Do?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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.

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How Mother Nature Can Damage Your Plumbing

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature… but Mother Nature can turn vindictive and damaging even if you do nothing to anger her. Sometimes, Mother Nature can inflict major injury to your home’s plumbing—even in a place like Southern California where we don’t have to worry about the plumbing plague much of the rest of the nation faces: frozen pipes.

Whatever problems bother your plumbing in Laguna Nigel this season, whether caused by nature or human error, you can rely on Saddleback Plumbing. We’ve taken care of home plumbing in Orange County since 1981.

Natural damage to your plumbing

  • Root infiltration: Damage to your sewer line is one of the most potentially catastrophic issues that might develop in your plumbing. It can lead to flooding in your basement and foundations and can stop all your drains from working. One of the most common reasons for the sewer line to become blocked or broken is the growth of tree roots. Roots naturally move toward damp areas, and they can start to grow into the sewer line, blocking it. Worse, the pressure from the roots can lead to it breaking. Sewer line repair needs immediate professional attention.
  • Landslides and earthquakes: California has trouble with both of these. Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence; even a small temblor can break older pipes. Landslides often occur during our rare rains because the loose upper soil is unused to heavy rainfall. Landslides are another reason for breaks in sewer lines, since they can cause underground shifting. If you notice water flow problems or sink clogs in the aftermath of a quake or a slide, call for plumbers immediately.
  • Corrosion: Corrosion is a natural occurrence when water and metal meet in the presence of oxygen. If you have predominantly copper or plastic (usually PEX) piping in your home, corrosion will usually not be a major concern. However, older galvanized steel pipes are prone to serious corrosion over time, and will eventually start to leak from pitted corrosion (“pinhole leaks,” which are serious despite the name) and break. If you have steel piping in your home, it may be wise to arrange for replacement pipes with corrosion-resistant material.

You can’t fool Mother Nature, but professionals can fix her damage

Don’t allow any plumbing damage to go without repairs, even if you don’t notice a problem at first. And if anything occurs with your fixtures that might indicate damage (reduced water flow, persistent clogs, odors from the drains), call for expert plumbers right away. Our Saddleback Plumbing staff can remedy the damage Mother Nature dishes out, so give us a call at the first sign of trouble.

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Common Winter Plumbing Problems to Watch Out For

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Plumbing in Tustin has to account for the unique conditions of our California winters, which are usually fairly mild, but can still catch you by surprise. Because we don’t suffer from snow and cold temperatures the way people do further east, many residents assume they have nothing to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, our mild winters make it all too easy to become complacent, creating problems you never could have anticipated. Here are some common winter plumbing problems to look out for.

The biggest danger in Southern California comes from plumbing that isn’t in an insulated area of the house. Pipes can become quite cold when temperatures drop at night, which can affect your water adversely. Burst pipes are rarely a problem, but you might need to concern yourself with water freezing in them, particularly on cold nights in parts of the house near external walls. You can combat this by having a plumber insulate those pipes, and/or adding insulation to those parts of the house that need it. As a precaution, you may want to leave a thin trickle of water from nearby faucets, to keep water from freezing in the pipes overnight.

A subtler problem occurs with a lack of hot water in general, which can be caused by a troublesome water heater. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem, but cold weather might force your water heater to work harder, which means slower delivery of hot water. You can counteract this by having your water heater services by a trained plumber. He’ll check for any problems, clean up any sediment, drain and flush the heater and replace the anode rod to help prevent rusting. Ideally, he may suggest that you add an insulation blanket or similar upgrade to help it function at its best.

Even though we live in a warm area, there are still common winter plumbing problems to watch out for. Plumbing in Tustin will serve you better and last longer with help from the experts at Saddleback Plumbing we can handle all manner of problems with your plumbing as well as standard maintenance issues, so don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

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Five Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Plumbing Service

Friday, September 20th, 2013

When you hire your next plumbing contractor, you must consider five major factors. Doing your research can help to ensure your family and finances stay safe. When a plumbing service arrives at your home, think of it like an interview. Be prepared to ask the questions so you can be certain they are a credible company that stands behind their professional work. The five major factors that should be asked about are licensing, liability insurance, workman’s compensation, financial stability, and customer service.

1. Is the Plumber Licensed?

Every state requires plumbers to be licensed (and rightly so!). Plumbing directly affects the health of a home’s occupants. From proper waste drain layout to gas piping to a toilet installation, each area can pose serious health risks if not installed properly. This is why most state’s require a plumbing apprentice to attend years of schooling along with years of work experience. Once their final major exam is passed, only then will they receive their state plumbing license. Be sure to check your plumber’s license status on your state’s website too, making sure they have the credentials to provide professional work which ensures your family’s health.

2. Does the Plumber Have Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is your next factor to check on. Don’t be afraid to ask your plumber for proof of liability insurance. As an extra precaution, you can also ask to have their certificate printed with your name and information on it. This can help ensure you are covered for any future problems related to the work, if the company were to go out of business. Things go wrong with plumbing. Even the most professional company with highly trained plumbers cannot avoid mistakes 100% of the time. That is why it’s essential to do your homework, protect your finances, and get that proof of insurance!

3. Does the Plumber Have Worker’s Compensation?

Worker’s compensation is a state requirement in most of the United States, but that doesn’t mean every company has it! In fact, many small companies and “fly-by-night” plumbers do not. Plumbing work can involve sharp tools, heavy materials, hazardous waste, and flammable gas. If a plumber is injured on your property and they do not carry worker’s compensation, you will be footing the bill for their bodily harm! This is a huge factor that many homeowners pass over. Every time you don’t ask for proof, you put your family’s finances at risk.

4. Is the Plumber Responsive to Calls and Voicemails?

The next factor to look into is customer service. Does your plumber answer his phone or even return his voicemails? When it starts raining in your kitchen, can you rely on your plumber to answer and respond quickly? This is an extremely important factor to consider. Sure, an unlicensed “fly-by-night” plumber may be cheaper, but why is he cheaper? More often than not, it’s because they cut corners on customer service options such as a phone service, or any of the other above mentioned factors. This topic leads us into our final factor, financial stability.

5. Does the Plumber Look Financially Stable?

Your plumbing company’s financial stability is something most people over look. Did your plumber arrive in an old rusty truck and offer you amazingly low prices? If these prices sound too good to be true, beware! Sure, there are ways to cut the cost of plumbing down, but they all involve sacrificing quality, workmanship, and customer service. Once these qualities are cut, a business will not be around for long. When you have a plumbing issue in the future due to poor workmanship, your plumber won’t be around to honor a warranty (if they even offer one!). So be sure to hire a reputable plumbing company with sound business practices that takes pride in professional repairs and installations. You’ll know they’ll always be around to honor their warranties and help you in the future.

So there you have it, five factors to address when hiring for your next plumbing service. Choosing a plumbing company with proper licensing, customer service, financial stability, worker’s compensation and liability insurance can help to ensure a professional, responsible company is hired. Remember, that doing your research first not only protects your home, family and finances, but also helps to clear the market of unlicensed and dangerous contractors.


About the Author:

Ross Pickett is the owner of Cahill Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Westborough, Massachusetts. His online presence has been geared toward helping homeowners protect their homes and support the professional contractors of America. Cahill Plumbing & Heating has been providing Massachusetts with top quality plumbing services for over 40 years. He can be reached by email at or through his website,

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3 Water Saving Plumbing Upgrades

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Water prices seem to be going up every year and when you live in Southern California you know how precious our water supply is. Every homeowner is looking for ways to conserve water and we here at Saddleback Plumbing wanted to offer 3 plumbing upgrades that could help you do that. Give us a call today if you have any questions or if you’d like to learn more about our plumbing services in Tustin.

Plumbing Upgrades in Tustin to Save Water

Check out some of our water save plumbing upgrades that could help you reduce the amount of water that you use in your home.

  • Low-flow toilets – Many of us remember when the low-flow mandate went into effect in the 90’s. Manufacturers adjusted their toilets flush capacity but made no design changes which led to poor flush performance. However, new low-flow models of toilets have been redesigned to perform well even while using less water which could help you greatly reduce the amount of water that you use in your home.
  • Low flow fixtures – According to the EPA, your showerheads account for up to 20% of the total water usage in your home. Typical showerheads distribute 4.5 gallons/minute. If you were to replace that with a low-flow, 2.5 gallon/minute model you might be able to save around 20,000 gallons of water each year.
  • Faucet aerators – Another good way to reduce the amount of water that you use is with a faucet aerator. These devices break up the flow of water with air so that water still comes out but it is mixed with air. The EPA estimates that aerators could reduce the amount of water used at your faucets by up to 60%.
  • Change your habits – Finally, another way to reduce the amount of water that you use at your home is to make small changes to your behavior. For example, instead of watering your yard during the middle of the day, do it in the evening, morning or on cool days so that it reduces the amount of water that gets evaporated by the hot sun. You can also make sure to only run your dishwasher or laundry when they are completely full in order to maximize the water usage.

If you need any services for your plumbing in Tustin just give us a call here at Saddleback Plumbing, Inc.

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What is an Earthquake Emergency Gas Shut-Off Valve?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

California is a great place to live, but sometimes we get some pretty serious earthquakes. Earthquakes can sometimes be so powerful that they actually crack the gas lines coming into your home. If this happens, then fuel may start to leak into or around your home. Downed power lines or other sources of electricity and fire can cause the fuel to ignite, which would obviously pose a huge threat to your safety. A great way to potentially protect yourself from this danger is to get an earthquake emergency shut-off valve for your home’s gas line. We know that many homeowners may not even be aware of these components so we put together a quick explanation of how they work and why they’re so important.

The Irvine plumbing professionals at Saddleback Plumbing offer complete installation, repair and maintenance services for earthquake emergency gas shut-off valves.

Earthquake Emergency Gas Shut-Off Valve Installation

The installation process for an earthquake emergency shutoff valve should always be handled by a professional Irvine plumbing contractor. The project needs to be coordinated with your local gas company because the gas will need to be turned off in order to complete the installation. The Irvine plumbing professionals at Saddleback Plumbing have years of experience installing these kinds of components.

How Earthquake Emergency Shut-Off Valves Work

When you have an earthquake emergency shutoff valve installed at your home, you can rest assured that when an earthquake hits, your home will be protected from gas leaks. When your shutoff valve senses the seismic activity of the earthquake, it quickly closes its valve and stops the flow of gas into your home. If the gas lines in your home are damaged, there won’t be any gas flowing through them that would put your home or family in danger. The Irvine plumbing experts at Saddleback Plumbing can help you find and install a good shutoff valve for your home.

For all your Irvine plumbing needs, just contact the expert plumbers at Saddleback Plumbing. 

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Plumbing FAQ 5 : Tank or Tankless Water Heater?

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Are you satisfied with how much hot water you have at your disposal? Are you in the market for a water heater for your new home build? Today, homeowners can enjoy a wide range of brands, sizes, and types of water heaters. People often want to know whether tank or tankless water heaters are superior. Answering this question depends on your hot water needs, your home, as well as your budget. The decision is not as straightforward as it may seem. In today’s post, we’d like to review this FAQ: what are the differences between tank and tankless water heaters? Above all, you need to make sure your new water heater receives professional installation by a qualified plumber. Call Saddleback Plumbing for all of your Irvine plumbing needs.

Let’s break down the question by taking into consideration three factors: energy efficiency, performance, and cost-effectiveness.

  • Energy efficiency. A tank water heater operates by heating a large tank of water to a certain temperature and keeping it there until it is used. A tankless water heater operates according to an on-demand principle. It does not keep an entire tank of hot water ready for use because it is able to quickly and efficiently heat water as you need it. Therefore, there is less standby energy loss associated with tankless systems, and they may save you energy in the long term.
  • Performance. You need your water heater to perform. As long as it’s properly sized, it should do a fairly good job of meeting your hot water needs. If you have a tank model, you can depend on a large amount of water waiting to be used, but also to be used up. At a certain point, there may not be enough hot water left to take another shower. Tankless models have a virtually endless supply of hot water, but they are often taxed when they need to supply multiple appliances constantly.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Generally speaking, tank water heaters are less expensive to purchase and to install than tankless models. While tankless models boast greater energy savings in the long term, their upfront cost is typically more than tank storage models.

We hope this brief guide helps you make a better informed descision, but remember that only consultation from a professional plumber can ultimately match a water heater to your hot water needs. Call Saddleback Plumbing today for comprehensive Irvine plumbing services!

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Plumbing Tip: The Importance of Drain and Sewer Jetting

Monday, May 6th, 2013

The professional Irvine, CA plumbers at Saddleback Plumbing, Inc. have performed a lot of plumbing services over the years. In many cases, the repair services that we found ourselves completing could have been avoided. Many homeowners fail to realize how serious seemingly minor problems, such as drain clogs, can actually wind up being. If you have any issues with clogged or slow moving drain and sewer lines, call Saddleback Plumbing, Inc. right away. You need the quality plumbing services that only a skilled professional Irvine CA plumber can provide. When it comes to plumbing in Irvine, CA, we’re the company to call.

When a drain is backed up or a sewer is moving slowly, it is the first instinct of many homeowners to reach for a bottle of chemical drain cleaner. This may work decently enough to let some water pass through the drain or sewer, but it is far from a comprehensive solution. There is simply no way for you to know for sure that the clog has been cleared completely. If even a small piece of the clog is left behind, you may find that it has built back up again before long. By using our drain and sewer jetting equipment, our Irvine, CA plumbers can ensure that your clog is resolved completely and effectively.

Clogs can cling to the sides of the pipes in your drain and sewer system. This means that you can wash away the bottom of a clog with harsh chemicals, but the parts that are left will accumulate new debris quickly, reforming the clog. By using highly pressurized water to obliterate the clog entirely, a professional Irvine, CA plumber on our team can ensure that the job is completed properly. Plus, this equipment is much easier on your pipes than harsh chemical cleaners, and better for the environment. Only water is used in the process.

If you would like to learn more about drain and sewer jetting, or if you are ready to schedule service, contact Saddleback Plumbing, Inc. today. We have the years of training and experience to handle any plumbing job you need completed. For outstanding plumbing in Irvine, CA, just give us a call.

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Plumbing Tip: How You Know You Need a New Water Heater

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

We rely heavily upon our water heaters throughout the year. We use them every day to keep ourselves, our laundry and dishes clean. Our lives would be much less pleasant and convenient without them. Because of the amount of wear and tear they endure, water heaters require regular maintenance as well as professional repairs, when necessary. But if your water heater becomes old, or needs frequent repairs, then you may have to consider replacement as an option. But, how do you know? We’ve compiled a few ways to tell that you need a new water heater in this post. However, there’s no substitute for professional, hands-on diagnosis. For comprehensive Irvine CA plumbing services, call Saddleback Plumbing today!

  • Old age. If your water heater is old, and doesn’t heat the water as well as it once did, then it might be a good time to consider replacement. It’s best to speak to your local plumber about your options because such assessments truly need to be made in person.
  • Brown water. If your hot water looks rusty or brown, then you may have a serious rust problem in your water heater. While tank storage water heaters are equipped with a sacrificial anode rod to keep the electrolysis deterioration at bay, when this fully erodes, the water within your tank can begin to oxidize your tank lining. This often requires replacement.
  • Frequent repairs. Today’s water heaters, both tank and tankless models, are much more energy efficient than those of made just a decade before. If you spend a lot of time repairing your water heater, then you may be bolstering an obsolete inefficient system. Make sure that you’re making the right investment in the future of your home comfort. It may make more financial sense to purchase a new water heater that will operate more efficiently and effectively than your old model.

Make sure you speak with your local plumber today about whether a water heater replacement is right for you. For comprehensive plumbing services, call Saddleback Plumbing today!

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