Every home has one. And chances are when you need one, you simple grab it and start to use it without really thinking much about it. I’m talking about the common household plunger. Whether the water in your sink simply won’t go down, or a flush of your toilet makes the water rise instead of head down the drain, the plunger is designed to make everything move in the right way.

But do you have the right plunger for the job? And do you know how to use the plunger in the correct manner for every situation?

how to use a plunger to unclog your toilet sink or tub How To Use A Plunger To Unclog Your Toilet, Sink or Tub

General Tips:

  • Start with the right plunger for the job. There are two types of plungers on the market today: the cup plunger and the flange plunger. The cup plunger – probably the most familiar – is the best choice for sinks, bathtubs and showers. The flange type provides an extended rubber lip that provides a better seal when working on toilets.
  • Make sure your plunger is in top shape. A plunger is something you buy once and leave in storage until you need it. Yet that sitting around time can be hard on it. Any tears, cracks or damage can take away from the proper shape, meaning the vacuum seal is reduced when in use. If you notice any cracks or tears, its time to replace.
  • Never use a plunger after pouring chemicals down the drain. Some of the harshest chemicals in our lives are in drain cleaning solutions. If you plunge after use, you risk pulling chemicals back up and splashing them not only around the surface, but also back on you, your skin and your clothing.
  • Too much water can cause a big mess and reduce the effectiveness. If your tub or sink has several inches of standing water, remove some of the water first to gain better access to the drain. It will also give you more leverage to plunge easier.
  • Make sure you have a tight seal. Make sure you have full contact with the sink, tub or toilet and cover the hole completely. This allows a full air stream to work on its targeted location.

Sink, Tub or Shower:

  • Use a standard cup plunger.
  • Cover up the overflow drain with a wet rag or cloth to give you more traction.
  • Seal the plunger cup completely over the drain opening.
  • Push up and down with forceful thrusts. Repeat for 15 to 20 seconds before checking flow.

Toilet:

  • Use the flange plunger.
  • If the bowl is full, remove water until it is half full. If it is empty, fill with water so it is half full.
  • Place the plunger in the bowl and completely cover the drain opening.
  • Push down with forceful thrusts to concentrate the pressure for 15 to 20 seconds before checking flow.
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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

What’s the one appliance in your kitchen that saves more time and makes your life easier than ever? The dishwasher. Simply load it up, turn it on, and it does all of the dirty work for you.

But when your dishwasher goes down, not only can it leave you cleaning up a mess of dishes, it can also leave you with a big mess of water to clean up too.

plumbing tips dishwasher care and maintenance Plumbing Tips: Dishwasher Care and Maintenance

Fortunately, dishwashers are one major appliance that keeps on working if you give it just a little TLC along the way. With proper care and maintenance, you should be able to get many years of worry-free performance.

Maintenance Tips

Dishwashers have two things that make them work: a built in water heater and a motor. In order for your dishwasher to work effectively throughout the years, it must be plugged into a grounded outlet or wired direct. The main socket must also be adequately rated to handle the large load required by most dishwashers. If your kitchen isn’t built to handle these two things, you are at risk of electrocution, fire or power outages. Be sure to use proper wiring and connection to ensure a long life for your dishwasher and safety for your family.

Be sure your dishwasher is level upon installation. An unlevel dishwasher has the potential to leak. And even a small leak can quickly add up to a lot of damage over time, including rot, mildew and mold.

While a dishwasher is a fairly simply appliance, it does have plastic seals along the door that create an air-tight vacuum while in operation. If these seals are damaged or simply wear out, you’ll begin to notice small leaks around your dishwasher after use. These seals should be replaced at the first sign of leaks.

Your dishwasher has a screen or filter located near the bottom. Its designed to catch large food particles or other debris. This needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent blockage. As the filter ages, it may begin to get small holes, and should be replaced to prevent harm to other parts of the dishwasher.

Over time, the holes in the sprayer arm can get clogged with minerals from the water, or from tiny food particles. Clean these small holes from time to time to ensure they stay in proper working order. You can clean them by removing the arm and soaking in vinegar, or simply clean with a pipe cleaner or tiny brush.

If you begin detecting an odor from your dishwasher, it’s the first sign of a clog somewhere in your kitchen drain. Start by cleaning the filter in your dishwasher. Then move to your backflow where the dishwasher and garbage disposal drains into the system. Clean as soon as possible, to avoid further problems.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Every day, people make the mistake of heading into their favorite store and buying one of the most dangerous chemicals they can bring into their homes … drain cleaners.

Every year over 1700 people suffer injuries from chemical drain cleaners. Everything from minor skin burns, to blindness, even death can occur if chemical drain cleaners wind up in the wrong hands.

the dangers of drain cleaners The Dangers Of Drain Cleaners

Drain cleaners are made from a variety of chemicals, including lye and sulfuric acid. These corrosive chemicals work by eating away at all materials they come in contact with, including your skin if it comes in contact. One accidental spill can put everyone in danger, including kids that may unknowingly touch it, or even pets as they walk through it.

When drain cleaner is poured down the drain, it begins working immediately. It starts working on whatever is in the drain as it makes its way down the pipes. In some cases the acids can begin producing a toxic gas, or can even cause the water in the pipes to begin boiling. As the gas is released, the effect can be a blow back situation in which water, chemicals and anything in the drain can come back up and out of the drain. If you are looking down, it can hit you in the face and eye, sometimes causing irreparable damage.

Now imagine those same chemicals not just going down your drains, but into your child as well. If you don’t keep your drain cleaner up and away from curious little hands, even the smallest of sips can lead to disaster. Just like these chemicals quickly begin working on the inside of pipes, it will also quickly begin effecting your child. Without quick action, the outcome can be deadly.

Needless to say, these chemicals should never be taken lightly.

And not only can they severely impact you, your family and your drains, it can also have disastrous effects as it heads down the system.

It begins in your pipes. Not only does it eat the stuff you want it to – the clog – it also starts working on the pipes. As the chemicals move down and out, it continues to harm the overall system in many ways. Treatment plants cannot break down these hazardous wastes. Instead, they pass through and wind up flowing into lakes and rivers, and back into the water supply. In some cases the chemicals damage the process so much that sewage is left untreated, and flows back into the water table.

Instead of putting you, your family, and the environment at risk, use simpler methods instead. Start with our suggestions for natural drain cleaners. Then try using a drain snake. And if all else fails, your blockage may be bigger than you can handle. Give us a call and we’ll have your drain cleaned in no time.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

How old your home determines the type of building materials used when the home was constructed. Different types of piping were used: plastic, copper, galvanized, Polybutylene, PVC, cpvc, polyethylene, etc.

Like other types of materials that were once considered safe, there are different types of piping used in your plumbing system that while once was the standard, now is considered anything but safe. The pipe known as Polybutylene piping falls into this category.

If your home or structure was built between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s, chances are polybutylene pipes were used. And because that was a relatively short while ago, chances are they still exist in your home.

the dangers of polybutylene pipe in your plumbing The Dangers Of Polybutylene Pipe In Your Plumbing

Polybutylene piping has an abnormally high rate of failure under many normal operating conditions that you use every day. Yet its usually very difficult to tell its failing until a major problem occurs.

Polybutylene piping is typically gray, black or blue. The gray piping is typically used inside a home, while the blue is used primarily for outside water supplies. Polybutylene piping tends to wear away from the inside out as it comes in contact with oxidants in the public water supply. The water supply is constantly running or sitting in the pipes, meaning the oxidants are continuously at work destroying the lining of the pipe. And because its working from the inside out, you’ll never see the problem until it materializes in the form of a leak or break.

When a polybutylene pipe begins to leak, it usually happens very fast. Its been weakened over years of abuse, and the entire pipe line becomes fragile in the process. Once one leak occurs, it usually multiplies rapidly, sending leaks and water throughout the system. Therefore many of the leaks may not be contained in one area of your home, they can quickly escalate and be found in many areas of your home.

The dangers of polybutylene piping are well known throughout the industry. So much so that the insurance industry has routinely started canceling or refusing policies for houses with recognized polybutylene problems. It can also be hard to market a house with polybutylene piping and will likely drop the value of the home on the marketplace.

If you think you have a home where polybutylene piping was used, the best way to find out the condition of your plumbing system is to schedule a detailed plumbing inspection of your property, and find out what condition it is in. Call us today.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Is it time to invest in a new water heater? With even a small amount of research, its easy to get confused on what water heater to buy. Everyone says to go with new technology – tankless water heaters are the best. But what about the standard tank-type water heater, is that still a viable option?

Tank Water Heaters

Most water heaters in existing homes, and even on the market today are tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters. They are insulated tanks that can hold anywhere from 20 to 120 gallons of water, depending on the the size of your home and your needs. They run either on an electric heating element or a gas burner. The storage tank feeds from the top down, with hot water stored at the top and cold at the bottom. This way you get consistent hot water until the hot water stored is depleted. Most water heaters will be rated by a “first hour rating”, which tells you how many gallons of hot water can be delivered in an hour.

Because you don’t demand hot water all the time, the tank water heater will store hot water and leave it in storage until you demand it. Even though its insulated, it will have heat loss, especially when the temperature outside drops significantly.

advantages of tank type water heaters Advantages of Tank Type Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

To address this issue, tankless water heaters were developed. The great feature of a tankless water heater is they never run out of hot water because its on demand, providing the water heating capacity is large enough to meet the needs of the hot water demands. They won’t have a stand-by loss because nothing is stored.

However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t without problems. Tankless water heaters can cost anywhere from triple to quadruple more than the average tank model, with increased installation costs as well. That means it will take many more years to break even from the initial cost.

Tankless water heaters have a significantly greater maintenance requirement than its tank water heater counterpart, meaning you may have much higher costs in keeping the unit running, especially in high demand homes. The more you use it, the more can go wrong.

Tankless also list a benefit of having hot water on demand. That depends on where your tankless water heater is, and where you demand it. If your tankless water heater is in the south side of your basement, and your bathroom is in the north part of your home on the second story, the hot water still must travel from the water heater to your faucet. Which means it can still take a minute or two to arrive, depending on the size of your home. And in some large houses, one tankless water heater simply can’t keep up with the demand, which means your investment costs may double to have an adequate supply.

Bottom line: tank water heaters, especially if you invest in one of the highest energy rated models available, still make the most sense for the majority of Colorado households. Give us a call today and we can answer any of your questions.

sidebar coupons 250 Advantages of Tank Type Water Heaters

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Every single appliance in your home is rated to last for a certain amount of time. For your water heater, you’ll typically find they will last anywhere from 6 to 12 years.

how to make your water heater last longer How To Make Your Water Heater Last LongerThere are two major factors when it comes to adding longevity to a water heater: how hard your water is, and how much water it heats over time. Hard water has more minerals than a softer water supply, meaning your water heater tank can have a build up in a much quicker time frame. And if you have a full household that demands hot water all the time, your water heater will be working harder than the norm.

In every city, you’ll hear the terms hard water and soft water. What that is referring to is the quality of the water supply, and how many minerals exist in it. Depending on the source of the water supply, it will contain many different types of minerals. It can also contain debris picked up as it travels along the system. The more minerals in the water the supply, the harder the water supply is.

How much sediment you have in your water supply largely depends on where you live and what your city supplies. A small amount of sediment won’t impact your water heater much over its useful life. But if you have harder water with a high concentration of minerals, the sediment may build up quickly, which can have a significant impact.

A deep layer of sediment takes up room in your tank, room normally given to the water. It will reduce the amount of hot water available for your use, and over time give less and less hot water for use. It can also clog the drain valve and possibly affect the efficiency of the water heater. In addition, if sediment begins to affect the heat transfer system, it can overheat and weaken the steel, and damage the lining of the tank.

The simplest way to add more life to your water heater is to perform regular maintenance and clean out the sediment on a regular basis. This can be a do it yourself project, or you can have a plumber come in for a regular maintenance check to clean out the debris and check the overall quality of your water heater.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

You’ve decided to do a few home improvement projects this year. As a part of replacing the old with the new, undoubtedly you’ll have a few things in need of disposal. The easiest way and often the most common way to get rid of it is to place it in your trash can and have it hauled to the dump with the weekly pick up service. But as we learn more, that isn’t always the safest thing to do for our environment.

Mercury can be found in many consumer and commercial products. When a mercury product breaks, the exposed mercury can evaporate and become invisible, odorless toxic vapor. And while most of us think of very few things we have in our homes that contain mercury – thermometers and barometers for instance – very few of us know the full extent of how many things in our lives contain mercury. Here are a few things to take into account when you’re replacing them, and proper disposal methods to reduce the overall impact.

 

disposing of old plumbing parts Disposing Of Old Plumbing Parts

 

Electric Appliances

In years past, washing machines, chest freezers, space heaters and clothes dryers were made with a mercury tilt switch. Mercury tilt switches were built into the lids of washing machines and chest heaters, functioning as on-off switches for lights and other functions. Tilt switches were built inside space heaters to be a shut off switch in case the space heater tipped over. While appliances today are made without mercury tilt switches, if you are trying to dispose of an older model, it is something to keep in mind.

Gas Appliances

Mercury containing thermostat probes were placed in older gas appliances that have pilot lights, such as ovens, water heaters and furnaces. They were sometimes placed as part of the safety valve that prevented gas flow if the pilot light was not lit.

Gas Flow or Gas Pressure Regulators

In homes built before 1961, they often had mercury regulators attached to the gas meters. While the devices do not create spill risks while in service, they do run a risk during the removal and disposal process.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Some heating and cooling units contain mercury switches within the thermostat for climate control devices and switches that start and shut off the systems.

Plumbing

In your home’s plumbing, mercury can reside for many years in sewer pipes, sink traps and sump pumps. Mercury can enter pipes in a variety of ways, including if items were ever broken, discarded or spilled into the plumbing system. Mercury in plumbing can settle at the low points of the system, such as the sump pump or sink trap, and remain there indefinitely.

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Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

At some point, your water heater will stop working. And usually its at the most inopportune time.

Water heaters are supposed to have regular maintenance. Regular cleaning, regular inspection, and the life of your water heater may be extended by a year or two. Yet in reality, that doesn’t happen. Its in an out of the way spot in your home, and as long as the water is hot when you want it, you tend to ignore the process.installing a new water heater Installing a New Water Heater

As it sits there, it accumulates grit and debris from the minerals in the water supply, which eventually can turn into rust and corrosion. And once it reaches the point of no return, it produces its last burst of hot water.

That’s when its decision time.

The quickest and easiest way to replace a hot water heater is to have a professional plumbing company come out and replace it. A water heater isn’t particularly hard to replace, but it will take on average 4 to 6 hours for replacement. And if you don’t have the proper tools, understand the right water heater for your home, or have a basic understanding of plumbing, you could be facing many more hours and problems along the way.

When people try it themselves, they make a variety of mistakes along the way.

Water heaters must be replaced by a water heater with the same fuel type, whether gas or electric. Changing fuel types means replacing the entire fuel system, which is a job only for a professional plumber.

Water heaters should be replaced by one of equal capacity. When home owners try it themselves, they often head in and buy a water heater larger than the one currently installed. More hot water is better, right? Until they discover the new water heater won’t fit into the current space. Water heaters are often in tight spaces, meaning you have little room for expansion.

Water heaters are bulky and heavy. If your existing water heater is down a flight of stairs or in a cramped area like a crawl space, keep in mind it’s a two person job to move it. And once you have the new one in, you need to move the old one out. You’ll also have to find some way of disposing of it, as your normal trash service will not take it. (A professional will remove it, giving you an added bonus of not having to find a disposal method after the change.)

Also keep in mind that all utilities must be shut off during the installation. The main water shutoff valve , electricity if you are installing an electric water heater, or the gas supply pipe if you are installing a gas water heater must remain off during the entire installation process.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Choosing a new water heater is an important decision. Most homeowners will only replace a water heater every 10 to 15 years Yet anywhere from 15 to 25 percent of their home energy is used to heat water.

With so many choices and so many claims in the marketplace today, how do you know which to choose?

Storage Water Heaterstypes of water heaters Types Of Water Heaters

Also know as a conventional water heater, a storage water heater is the most common and in the most home across Colorado. They heat water and store it in a tank to be available when you need it. Its not the most efficient water heating device because it creates and stores hot water all the time, even when you aren’t home and won’t use it for hours or even days.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are growing in popularity, but there are a few important things to know. Tankless water heaters are also known as instantaneous water heaters, but you won’t have instant water heater at the source – your fixture. Its called instantaneous because it creates hot water when you turn on the hot water supply at the fixture; it still takes time to travel from the water heater to your fixture. And if you have a large house, the journey could take a while. Tankless water heaters are also more expensive than a conventional water heater, though in some cases they can last 5 to 10 years longer.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use outdoor panels to preheat the water before sending it to a conventional water heater. Solar water heaters can cost more than a conventional, though it has the potential for reducing water heating bills by as much as 75 percent.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters bring together the benefits of a conventional water heater with the benefits of the tankless water heater. It provides an endless supply of hot water on demand, emits ultra low emissions , and provides a self cleaning system that prolongs its life over time.

Not sure which is right for you? Call and speak with a plumbing contractor today. We can provide you with more information and point you in the right direction for your family, your home, and your circumstances.

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Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

Are all plumbing professionals equal? When you have an emergency in your home, can any plumber you call do the job equally?

As with any industry, plumbing professionals usually end up specializing in one area. Some plumbers may specialize in installing new pipes into new construction, where some may specialize in fixing pipes in residents already in existence. Some may become very specialized, such as installing and working on fire suppressing sprinkler systems. Still others may add other tasks into their skills, including installing natural gas lines to appliances, fireplaces, and outside fixtures such as grills and firepits.

are there different types of plumbing professionals Are There Different Types Of Plumbing Professionals?

Most plumbers can do the simple, most common work, such as unclogging a drain or fixing an overflowing toilet. But if you are looking to hire a plumber for a specific job, it is smart to talk with the professional plumbing service first and see if they have experience in performing the task at hand. No matter what type of plumber you hire, you should always make sure they are licensed by the state of Colorado, and by other authorities, depending on the work to be done.

There are, in fact, several different levels of plumbing license an experienced plumber can have. Plumbers typically start out as apprentices. From there, they can test and earn a journey plumbing license, and ultimately be awarded a master plumbing license. Master plumber licenses are awarded to plumbers who have held a journey license for a certain amount of time, and have accumulated a certain amount of hours working as a licensed journey plumber. In addition, a master plumber also has to pass a state sanctioned test. A journey plumbing license is awarded to those who have held an apprentice plumbing license and have trained under a master plumber for a certain number of hours. They must also pass a state sanctioned test. An apprentice plumbing license signifies a plumber who has just begun training.

Licenses to become certified to work with natural gas lines are awarded in a similar manner to the plumbing certifications. There are master, journey and apprentice level gas fitter licenses.

By hiring master plumbers and gas fitters, you will typically find they have the skills to do just about any project you could hire them to do throughout your home.

sidebar coupons 250 Are There Different Types Of Plumbing Professionals?

Plumbing Repair Services

Quality 1st Plumbing Repair is a full-service plumbing contractor serving Metro Denver.  We are licensed and insured, and our technicians are professionally trained in the repair and installation of all plumbing systems and fixtures. We are Colorado’s FIRST Licensed and Accredited GreenPlumbers! Visit our website

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