How a Toilet Flushes

It took me a couple of years as a service plumber before I completely understood that toilets are an exact science (Thanks Boss). We all take it for granted that our toilets will always flush properly when need, though there are times when it doesn’t. When a toilet doesn’t flush properly you may have one of the following three (3) conditions that affect the flush; (1) poor water conditions (Hard Water), (2) the age of the toilet and then there’s (3) the chemicals we put into the toilet tank to keep the bowl clean that can, essentially, shorten the life of a toilet. Cleaning the bowl manually with a cleaning agent is always the best way to clean a toilet.

            Before a toilet can flush properly, there are three (3) different functions in the operation and every one of them must work in unison with the others for a perfect flush. (1) the tank must be filled to the proper level (Usually marked inside the tank), (2) the bowl has a level and that is at the height of the trap (Usually there is a mark left by the water on the inside of the bowl), last but not least is (3) which are the flushing ports of which there are about twenty (20) under the rim that need to be clean and in good working order for the toilet to flush properly and do its job!! If the toilet tank or the bowl is not filling to the proper levels, check the fill valve first inside the tank to make certain its doing its job, it should not only be filling the tank but putting water into the flush valve that fills the bowl, if not replace it. If you feel that you’re in need of assistance to repair your toilet, you should contact Advanced Plumbing, were always here to help.

            For the consumer, there are many different brands of toilets that can be found on the market these days, yet there are only three (3) basic types; (1) is the round bowl, (2) is the elongated bowl and (3) is the comfort height (ADA) which is two inches taller than a regular toilet. There are also three (3) different types of flushes, (1) gravity flush (2) dual flush (3) pressure assisted flush, the latter of the three being the best flush by far. Not only is the pressure assisted the best flushing, but also consumes less water, at or near 1.0 gallons per flush. In many states such as California the pressure assisted qualifies for a rebate but be ready to do the foot work here to get your rebate. Just kidding, gives us a call and we’d love to help.

Should you begin to encounter problems with one of the toilets in your home not functioning properly or you start to have an occasional problem with a toilet stoppage, it may be time to consider either installing a new toilet or doing a complete rebuild of the existing toilet tank, Advanced Plumbing will know upon inspection what the best option is but the decision is always yours. Should you decide that going with a new toilet is your best option, my personal recommendation as a plumber would be a Kohler pressure assisted comfort height toilet. Our company has been installing Kohler for over 20 years, the reason being is that we have had fewer problems with this brand.

Our trucks (a warehouse on wheels) carry both the elongated and the round bowl(s) when our plumber arrives at your home. If you decide that you are looking more towards the gravity flush comfort height or a pressure assisted(also available in comfort height) we can have one brought out to your Bakersfield, Ca residence.

By the way, the pressure assisted comfort height is awesome!!

Water Heater Care

Anode rods before and after

Anode Rodes

If someone were to asked you:  “If you could extend your water heaters life, would you?”  What would your response be? The average water heater these days only lasts approximately 10 – 12 years! In my opinion, it is because no one had ever explained that there was maintenance that could help prolong the life. Hence this short article.

Recently I pulled the anode rod (Sacrificial lamb) from a unit that was brought into our yard which was only 7 years old. Here is what I found. In the picture I have displayed to the left it shows both the old and new anode rods.

The water heaters that we have in our homes are an important necessity that gets over looked until we are no longer comforted by the hot water it produces.There are ways to extend the life of your water heater.

Would you like to Save your water heaters life? Here are two ways we can do it!

  1. You should replace this Sacrificial Lamb every 3 – 5 years
  2. Drain and Flush the unit at least once a year, twice a year wouldn’t hurt.

Should you need the assistance of a plumber we are always available, contact us today for diagnostic of your water heater or you can always contact your local plumber.

 

Drain Cleaning- What you should know!

Over the years I have found that most people are under the impression that once a drain stoppage is cleared that the problem magically goes away, IT DOESN’T! A good, well trained, Advanced Plumbing plumber knows that. So, here’s a scenario for you….

Your at home one afternoon making a light lunch and turn on the garbage disposal to get rid of what refuse is in it when all of a sudden the drain line backs up and now your in a panic as you have company arriving later that night. So, you call the plumber and wait for him to get there and when he arrives you explain the situation. He puts a snake down the drain and presto all of your problems are solved. Drain is cleared! The plumber collects his check for the services rendered, your happy and he’s happy.

But, what you really don’t understand is that the actual cause of the stoppage is still lurking in your drainage system. It’s called sludge and grease, most people say they don’t pour grease down the drain and that is true, yet all of the lotions and soaps we use contain a petroleum product in them hence the grease in the drain. Years ago I learned a term for this, it’s called “Atherosclerosis” (a medical term) which is basically a hardening of the arteries. This can be found to be occurring in your drain lines as well.

There are a couple of different measures you can take that will aid in eradicating this nasty stuff in your drain. The first would be a Bio Degradable chemical which is not harmful to the drain  (any caustic chemical is harmful such as drain-o) and is a monthly treatment you apply to infected drains before going to bed at night. This would cost you about $2 dollars per application and help keep the plumber at bay, every Advanced Plumbing plumber has at least two bottles on his truck. The second choice would be the quickest way of eradicating the sludge and grease build up from your drain lines, a hydro jetter. This would be like pressure washing your sidewalk to get it clean, only you would be doing the same to the walls of the pipe(s) beneath your home. Either way, one or the other of these solutions will make the problem of a stoppage go away, instead of just clearing the stoppage.

Nothing goes away forever yet we can take the proper measures to help keep it from happening as often as it does. I personally have used both methods when I was a plumber in the field and know that it does help a person feel more at ease knowing that their plumbing system is operating at it’s peak. This will allow you to do what you like to do Best, Get back to Enjoying Your Life!

Tip of the Month

One of the most common mistakes that we as plumbers run across daily can cause more damage to a homes plumbing system than anything else. Electrolytic Corrosion (Electrolysis) occurs when different metals are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte such as water or moisture.

You can visually inspect the most common place where this mistake occurs. Usually, it is where your main water service connects to your sprinkler system. Galvanized metals should never be directly connected to copper without either a plastic, brass or a dielectric union between the connections

How to choose a Plumber

How do you choose a good plumber? Well, simply put: First you make a list of all your questions about what it will take to resolve the plumbing issues you are experiencing and what , if any company gaurantees there are. If the replies to your questions seem vague or evasive, ask a couple of follow up questions. If the replies you are getting continue to be vague or they are accompanied with scare tactics, then it’s time to find someone else for your project.

Now lets fast forward a little, now that you have found someone that you feel more comfortable and confident with about handling your plumbing issue(s). Did you find out if they were properly licensed for their trade? Are they bonded and insured? Have you researched the company with the State Licensing Board and the Better Business Bureau. What is their online reputation? What is their level of expertise? Do they specialize in what you need to have done? How long have they been in business? What are the credentials of the person coming to your home?

You should always ask about on-site estimates and written quotes. In the end, with a written quote in hand you will always know what to expect. Sure, that may seem like a lot of questions but, here’s the deal. There are a lot of low end providers whom cannot always provide you with direct answers to your questions. So, that does not necessarily mean that they are the proper solution for the plumbing problems that you may be experiencing. Kind of reminds me of an old saying I used to hear from my grandfather, “You get what you pay for!”

Are You Exercising Your Valves

Think you’re the only one in need of exercise? Well think again. The truth is that the valves in your home need it too. Think about it for a moment, the valves in your home sit there day after day rarely moving. They are fed by the water lines in your home, a little extra sediment here and there and the next thing you know old “Mr Gate Valve” couldn’t turn over if he tried. What does this mean to you?  

Valves

Here’s the deal, if your gate valve will not close all the way then water will continue to leak through, even though you think it’s closed. Now, this can cause some problems during times of maintenance or while replacing your water heater. But here’s the scary part, Imagine what it means to your home during a time of emergency such as a ruptured pipe or a leak!  Then what?  How much damage could be caused to your home or business?

Good News is that there are steps you can take to prevent such a disaster. The first is knowing where the valves in your home or business are located. You may be familiar with the valves such as those under the sink or toilet. These are called stop valves or emergency shut-off valves; these too can be prone to leaking. But the good news is that by using a wrench to tighten the packing nut below the handle, this will often solve the problem. Just be sure not to over tighten! 

But what about your other valves? Where does the infamous “Mr Gate Valve” reside? Here’s where to look for this “sedimentary” creature. Look to your top right or left of your water heater for the valve to this appliance. Another place to find ‘Mr Gate Valve” is on the exterior, which will be your main shut-off to your home. It is located on of the exterior walls of your home & may be hidden from view by bushes so you may need to look for it. 

Here’s the cold hard truth, a little exercise for “Mr Gate Valve” can go along way in preventing disaster to your home or business. Be honest with yourself about the kind of valves your dealing with. Have a licensed plumber inspect your valves for any problems. If it makes sense to replace a valve, consider using a ball valve. It can save you from alot of worry and rarely needs any exercise. Knowing what to do before an emergency happens can save you thousands of dollars. Find out how to protect your home or business with sound advice from a licensed plumber. When you’re uncertain about what to do, call Advanced Plumbing, your local plumbing professional. 

 

 

Anode Rods

The Anode Rod

PROBLEM:

LOSS OF THE RUST PREVENTOR DEVICE CALLED THE ANODE ROD:
All glass-lined water heaters have rods of solid metal, usually magnesium suspended in the tank. The sole purpose of these rods is to slowly corrode away so that the tank will not. Called sacrificial anodes, the rods sacrifice” themselves to protect the steel tank from rusting.

CURE:
Inspect the anodes regularly and replace when needed. Generally every 3-5 years in hard water areas and where acid water is a problem, or water is softened, inspect every 1-2 years.

 

Drain Maintenance

         It’s that time of year again when weekend get togethers with Family and Friends will become a frequent event. As the gatherings continue, the use of the kitchen sink and the garbage disposal are used much more than normal which can increase your chances of a stoppage. Regular maintenance of your drainage system can decrease your chances of a stoppage.

        To keep your drainage sytem up and running it’s a much better idea to use a bio-enzyme to maintain your system rather than to purchase harsh chemicals from a store which are very caustic which may harm your drainage system or worse cause severe burns to the skin. Ask your plumber about a bio-enzyme chemical or feel free to contact us with your questions.

Maintenance

Your Water Heater is an important piece of equipment in your home, so it only makes sense that a regular maintenance schedule should be followed.

Giving Back

We all know someone who is down on their luck; maybe due to an illness, a death in the family, job loss and the recent changes in the economy. We have been affected by this in one way or another; some may have felt it harder than others. Which is why, at this time, we would like to try and give back to the community that has been so wonderful to us for so many years.

Last month, I met a wonderful person whom gave back in probably the most generous way. Mrs. Phillips had adopted 3 children with disabilities.

We were so grateful to have met someone so kind in our community that we decided to do some plumbing repairs at her house at no charge. One of the repairs was installing a new toilet. When you get the chance, give back to a total stranger.

That guy,

Jim Hinesley

The brothers with Princess Bethany and her new throne.

“Jim,

Thank you so much for Princess Bethany’s new throne. You have no idea how much we appreciate all the hard work and financial sacrifice you made for us. No one has ever been so kind to us.

Thanks again,

The Phillips Family”

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