Category Archives: Plumbing

Repair or Replace That Old Garbage Disposal?

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It’s unlikely that you often think about your garbage disposal. It sits there patiently in your sink, always ready to do its job. And then one day, uh-oh, something goes wrong. As a homeowner, it can be difficult to know when you should call out a plumber or replace a garbage disposal. The good news is that your garbage disposal usually gives you a clear indicator of what to do.

Not Turning On

With an overloaded or overheated garbage disposal, the overload protector (reset switch) may be tripped. This is designed to protect it from damage. To reset, locate the button under the disposal. Press the button and try to start it. If not, wait 10 minutes and try again.

If an overload is a problem, you’ll want to check the circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped. If these two solutions don’t work, it’s time to call in a technician. At Cool Blew, we offer both electrical and plumbing services to ensure we get to the bottom of your problem.

Clogs

Garbage disposals are sturdy appliances, but they’re not designed to grind all types of food. Before you call an expert, consider what you’re putting down the drain. Here’s a list of what you should never expect your disposal to grind up.

  • Bones
  • Celery
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit seeds and pits
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Potato peels
  • Other starchy or fibrous vegetables
  • Liquid grease and oil

Bad Smells

It’s no wonder your garbage disposal gets stinky on occasion. There’s plenty of places for debris and bacteria to build up. Baking soda and vinegar can help quell the smell. But, if the odor persists, call in a professional.

Leaks

If your garbage disposal begins leaking under the sink, it may be time for a new unit. Call the plumbing experts at Cool Blew. We’ll look at connections, pipes and other possible sources for the leak. But, it’s likely that a replacement is in order.

Call the plumbing and electrical experts at Cool Blew today at 623-872-2900.

3 Plumbing Tips for Labor Day Weekend

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The last long weekend of summer is here. It’s time for one final celebration of the season. What you don’t need this Labor Day is the hassles of a plumbing problem. Before you fire up the grill or jump in the pool, please read our three plumbing tips.

1. Get to Know Your Main Water Valve

Do you know how to shut off your water if you had to? If you’re like many homeowners, you might not know where the shutoff valve is. Take a few moments to locate it. The valve may be in the garage, a utility closet or outside in the yard.

What are you looking for exactly? The main valve typically looks like a wheel with spokes that turns to the right, or a lever that turns until it is perpendicular to the pipe it’s connected to. Once you’ve located it, turn the valve and see if the water is still running. If it isn’t, you were successful in shutting off the main valve.

If anything unexpected happens this holiday weekend with any of your water-using appliances, you will now know how to stop the water before experiencing a flood. And, if you’re leaving home for an extended summer vacation, it’s always a good idea to turn the water off at the main valve before leaving.

2. Prevent Clogs

Prepare for a possible holiday weekend clog by purchasing a plunger and an inexpensive three-foot auger. These two simple tools can prevent the vast majority of clogs and backups. Of course, prevention is your best strategy. Remind the kids (and the kids at heart) not to flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet. And potato peels, melon rinds and chicken bones belong in the trash can, not in the kitchen sink.

3. Watch the Washer

With summer comes lots of dirty laundry. Dirty play clothes, wet bathing suits and lots of towels can strain your washing machine and its hoses and connections. Take a few moments and inspect behind your machine for any evidence of leaks, cracks, or bulges. If something looks suspicious, consider calling the experts at Cool Blew.

As we wind down Summer 2020, we would like to remind you that you can always count on Cool Blew for all your plumbing needs. We’re here for routine maintenance to emergency calls. Call us whenever you need us at 623-872-2900.

Water Heater – Repair or Replace?

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It can sometimes be challenging to figure out when it’s the right time to replace a large home appliance, such as a water heater. Of course, you don’t want to spend needlessly on an upgrade. But you also don’t want to be investing in repairs that won’t be lasting. The following are some considerations as you weigh your decision to repair or replace your water heater.

The Age of the Water Heater

According to data from Consumer Reports, the average tank water heater lasts 10 years, and tankless water heaters have a lifespan of approximately 20 years. So, if you’re experiencing a malfunction of your water heater, it’s important to consider the age of it. If it’s nearing the end of its expected life, replacement typically makes the most sense.

Increasing Energy Bills

Your water heater accounts for up to 15 percent of your total energy bill. So, its efficiency isn’t something to just ignore. If you’re seeing your utility bill go up, it is likely that your water heater is decreasing in efficiency. This happens when it is working longer and harder to keep water temperature consistent. In other words, if your water heater is past its prime and losing efficiency, you will save in the long run by going with a replacement.

Cost of Repair

When it comes to water heater repair, you can do some simple mathematics to determine if repair is the right way to go. If the repair is more than 50 percent of what it would cost to replace, go with the replacement. If the repair cost is less than this, you will still want to consider the water heater’s age. You should also think about how many times it has broken down over the last two years. Multiple repairs signal the need for replacement.

In the Long Run

More often than not, replacement is the right strategy. Throwing money at a failing water heater will ultimately cost you more than buying a new one. Need help in making this decision or choosing a new model? Give the experts at Cool Blew a call today.

Summer Plumbing Problems – And How to Prevent Them

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Summer plumbing problems? These common household issues may never have entered your mind before. Then, one day…

It’s just a reality that many unfortunate homeowners will be caught off guard this summer by unexpected plumbing issues. So, as we kick off the hot season, we felt it was our duty to share with you the most common risks you face with your plumbing system – and how you can mitigate them.

Kitchen Catastrophes

It’s the season for corn on the cob, melon, stone fruits and barbecue ribs. All of these delicious summer foods can be devastatingly tough on your garbage disposal and pipes. Rinds, pits, bones, husks and other no-go items should always be placed in the trash. And as always, remember to avoid pouring cooking oils and grease down the drain. It’s a surefire way to cause a clog.

Toilet Turmoil

Schools out, and social distancing is still the norm. Let’s face it. Home toilets are being used more than ever. We’re seeing more backed up toilets and flooded bathrooms than ever before. Consider giving little and big household members a reminder not to overdo it on toilet paper and to be careful what they flush.

Laundry Overloads

Sweaty clothes, damp pool towels and all those bathing suits. The laundry room is a busy place from May through September. The last thing you want to deal with is a leaky washing machine hose that turns your house into a wading pool. Take a moment and inspect hoses for leaks, cracks and bulges. And, make it a best practice to stay at home when your washing machine is in use. This will enable you to address a problem quickly and, if necessary, call a professional.

Hot Water Heater Hiccups

With extra laundry and plenty of hot showers, your water heater is also working on overtime in the summer. If your water heater is ten or more years old, it’s time to call in a technician for an inspection. This will ensure everything is working as it should be and prevent any unexpected and highly disruptive situation. And, remember when it’s hot outside, the water in your pipes is heating up, too. In other words, turn down your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

Cool Blew Is Here for All Your Summer Plumbing Woes

We want you to have a relaxing and fun summer. The last thing you want to be dealing with is a plumbing problem. We get it! This is why we encourage you to be proactive and to call us if you need help. We’re fast, friendly and effective. Call us at 623-872-2900.

Your Home’s Plumbing and Coronavirus – What You Need to Know

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It seems like coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting nearly every aspect of daily life these days, and this includes home plumbing systems.

As the pandemic started to spread throughout the United States, many individuals began stockpiling essentials like toilet paper, tissues and wipes for sanitary purposes. At the same time, we’ve all been obeying stay-at-home orders. All of this has led to a perfect storm of strain on sewer systems, as well as clogged sink lines and toilets.

To minimize your risk of having a pandemic-related plumbing problem, we wanted to share some preventive practical strategies.

Don’t Flush Wipes Down the Toilet!

There really is no such thing as a flushable wipe. Whether they’re for cleaning surfaces or cleaning yourself, they simply don’t break down like toilet paper and are a primary source of the current rise in plumbing issues. In other words, the only things you want to flush are the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper.

Avoid Pouring Grease, Fat and Oil Down Drains

With restaurant doors shuttered, many of us are spending much more time in the kitchen. That’s a great thing. But, it’s important to remember that when you’re cooking, you want to place grease in a sealed container and dispose of it in the trash. Grease and oil poured down drains can adhere to the insides of pipes that carry wastewater from homes to sewer treatment facilities. Over time, this buildup can reduce the flow of wastewater and damage your sewer line.

Manage Toilet Paper Usage

If you’re one of those homeowners who has stocked up on a year’s worth of TP, it can be tempting to overuse toilet paper during your bathroom visits. Like wipes, too much toilet paper can clog toilets and damage pipes. Remember – more doesn’t always mean better when it comes to toilet paper usage. Be thoughtful in your approach to hygiene and breathe easy that you have more than a “square to spare.”

While we, at Cool Blew, are available for all your plumbing needs, we encourage you to follow these tips to help keep your system healthy and flowing.

8 Plumbing New Year’s Resolutions for 2020

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With Christmas over, our thoughts turn to the new decade ahead and New Year’s resolutions. Of course, we all want to exercise more, spend less and enjoy each and every day in 2020. But, you may want to add a few plumbing-related resolutions to your list, too. Not only will they help improve your home’s comfort-level, they can save you money by reducing your water consumption.

Here are eight plumbing resolutions that every homeowner should try and stick to:

  1. Proactively fix leaky faucets, toilets and clogged drains before they become bigger, more costly plumbing problems.
  2. Only put human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Nothing else – ever!
  3. Turn off water while shaving and brushing teeth.
  4. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only when there is a full load.
  5. Use drain guards to prevent harmful material from sliding down drains.
  6. Consider installing a water filter and/or softener. Although we’re fortunate enough to enjoy clean, drinkable water, the quality can be significantly improved with the addition of a whole house water filter or softener.
  7. Flush your water heater and have it professionally inspected at least once a year. Don’t forget that Arizona’s hard water can really wreak havoc on water heater tanks.
  8. Consider having your sewer line rodded to prevent an inconvenient and costly backup.

Here in the desert, water is our most precious natural resource. We can’t live without it, and there’s a limited supply. We encourage you throughout the year to follow these resolutions and to share them with family, neighbors and friends. Together, we can all help our environment.

And don’t forget to call us at 623-872-2900 for any and all of your plumbing needs in 2020. At Cool Blew, we’re your go-to provider of professional plumbing service throughout the Valley.

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

The Latest in Smart Plumbing Technology

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Smart technology is being integrated across our daily lives in a wide range of ways. From wearable devices that track our steps to home security systems and virtual assistants, there’s not shortage of products that are designed to make our home and lives easier and more efficient. Among some of the most intriguing products on the market today involve plumbing.

Smart Faucets

Leading plumbing fixture manufacturers are introducing faucets that integrate smart capabilities that enable them to be turned on or off with just a voice. Some even have intriguing features that let users request a specific temperature or quantity of water to be dispensed.

Advanced Toilets

The humble toilet has become increasingly advanced with smart features enabled by Bluetooth technology. These include lighting, heated seats and automatic flushing. Along with more streamlined designs, today’s advanced toilets are a quick way to enhance the look of any bathroom.

Voice-Controlled Showers

Like with other plumbing fixtures, shower faucets have entered the Internet age. Homeowners can opt for a system that turns on or off the shower by voice. They also can help manage water efficiency by enabling users to choose a specific amount of time for a shower.

Home Leak Detection

Leaks are among the most frustrating aspect of homeownership. They can cause water waste and damage before you even know anything is wrong. Today’s smart water alarm systems can help minimize these occurrences. With internet-enabled sensors placed near common sources of leaks, including water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines, a system’s sensors can identify a water leak, trigger a water supply shut down and send you a notification before the damage is done.

If you’re considering upgrading to any smart plumbing capabilities, you’ll want to include a smart phone hub that connects all your home’s systems. Options from Amazon, Google or Samsung are all solid choices and can serve as the central solution for enabling all your smart home features to work together.

Find out more about the many smart plumbing options available for your home. Call Cool Blew today at 480-610-2100.

Avoid Scary Clogs and Other Spooky Plumbing Problems This Halloween

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For homeowners, few things conjure up more fear than a clog or other plumbing problem. Not only are they always unexpected, they usually come at the most unfortunate time – like during a Halloween party or other get-together. But fear not. There are strategies you can take to eliminate and treat clogs.

Common Causes of Clogs

Inside your home, clogs can happen due to buildup of soap scum, hair, grease, fats, oils and paper. Clogs can also occur outside your home when tree roots block the main line, when the sewer collapses or when there is a major buildup of oil or scum. The good news is most of these clog-causing problems are preventable.

Preventing Clogs

Here are some go-to preventive techniques you can use to reduce your chance of experiencing a clog:

Don’t dispose fat and oil down the kitchen drain – Throw them away instead of allowing them to run down the drain.

Don’t plant trees close to your sewer or main water line – Consider your placement of trees in your yard and avoid having to eventually deal with invasive roots that cause clogs and other plumbing problems.

Don’t flush hair down drains – Cover drains with filters that capture hair and throw it away. This one simple and inexpensive trick can save you substantially on future plumbing repairs.

Use vinegar and baking soda in drains – This cleaning mix made from common kitchen items clears out grease and dissolves organic material caught in pipes. Simply mix the baking soda and vinegar and pour it down drains. Let it sit in the pipes for several hours before flushing it with hot water.

Use enzymes – Enzymes work like baking soda and vinegar but are stronger to help keep drains flowing smoothly. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to use.

Eliminating Clogs

If you are experiencing a clog, you may be able to eliminate it yourself with a tool called a plumber’s auger – a type of stiff cable with a corkscrew-like tip. To eliminate a clog, push the auger down the drain and turn the hand crank when it engages with a clog. Continue to push the cable and turn the crank down the pipe until the clog can be pierced. Then remove the auger and flush the pipe with hot water.

Main line or sewer line clogs need to be repaired by a professional. The best way to determine this type of problem is if multiple plumbing fixtures are suddenly experiencing the same problem.

Call Cool Blew when you need assistance with clogs and other plumbing problems. We promise that we’re not scary at all and we can get your plumbing back up and running in no time.

No Matter How Hard You Clean, Your Toilet Still Smells Funky – Typical Reasons for Toilet Odors

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Inspired to decorate for an upcoming family party, you hire painters to apply a fresh coat of paint to your bathroom walls. You update your mirrors and install new lighting fixtures. You purchase a full complement of luxurious guest towels and instruct the kids to keep their hands off. After three hours of intense scrubbing and deep cleaning, you stand back to admire your “new” bathroom. There’s only one problem. A day later, you can’t help but notice that darn sewer smell coming from the toilet again. Yet, you’re certain the toilet and surrounding area are spotless. You ask yourself, “Where is that smell coming from?”

You Can Clean All You Want, That Smell Is Not Going Away

One of the more vexing problems for many of our customers is the persistence of faint, foul odors coming from either the toilet or drains in otherwise pristine bathrooms. Particularly frustrating is the subtle nature of these odors. There’s no obvious reason for the bad smell, such as a clogged drain or backed-up toilet. Homeowners do their best to scrub and clean with strong disinfectants, but it only solves the problem temporarily. Inevitably, the sewage smell returns.

Here is a list of some major causes for foul bathroom odors that just won’t go away:

  • Damaged or Worn-Down Wax Sealing Ring

    Depending on how old your toilet is and how heavily it has been used over its lifetime, your toilet may have a loose wax sealing ring. A properly installed toilet does not wobble or move. If your toilet moves from side to side, it’s possible you need to replace the wax sealing ring. The wax sealing ring provides an airtight seal from the base of the toilet to the sewage drain line. When the seal is broken, sewer gas can escape and cause unwanted odors in your bathroom. Replacing the wax seal is not a job for do-it-yourselfers. We recommend you call in professionals.

  • Problem with the P-Trap

    Have you ever noticed the “U” shaped dip in the drainpipe beneath your kitchen or bathroom sinks? This is known as the P-Trap and every drain (and toilet) has one. The bottom of the “U” is always filled with water and prevents odors and gases from wafting up from the drain. Occasionally, the P-Trap may dry out or, due to a leak, lose its water. When that happens, you’ll notice that darn sewer smells. This doesn’t happen very often but may occur if a toilet has not gotten much use or if a drainpipe is leaking or faulty. Sometimes the water simply evaporates. Flushing the toilet four or five times will generally solve the problem.

  • Clogged or Faulty Vent Pipe

    All home plumbing systems have a vent pipe that is hidden behind the walls and extends up through the roof. The purpose of the vent pipe is to allow an outlet for sewer gases and to provide air so wastewater from your toilet and drains can flow freely out to the sewer lines or septic tank. If the vent pipe becomes blocked or clogged, you may notice the sewer smell (which isn’t pleasant.) Over the years, we’ve seen vent pipes blocked by bird’s nests, leaves, and debris or furry critters.

Cool Blew Takes Care of Your Plumbing Problems Too

Many Phoenix residents know us for the outstanding air conditioning services we provide. We also have some of the best plumbers in the Valley. Our friendly, experienced plumbers will be happy to find the source of your bathroom odors, clean your sewer and drain lines, install a new wax sealing ring and more. If you’ve got questions about unwanted sewage smell in your home – we’ve got answers. Give us a call today.

Jiggling the Handle and Other Common Toilet Problems That Drive You Crazy

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In 2018, Bill Gates spoke at a conference in Beijing entitled the Reinvented Toilet Expo. Long a concern of the Gates Foundation, reinventing the toilet for billions of people around the globe who don’t have access to safe, clean sanitation systems will help eliminate diseases associated with poor sanitation. Though not a glamorous subject, working toilets are essential to healthy families and communities no matter where you live.

Reinventing Your Toilet with Ingenious Home-Made Fixes

Here in the US, reinventing your toilet could mean fixing the annoying little problems that are driving you to distraction, such as jiggling the handle to get the toilet to stop filling the tank. The toilet is one of those indispensable household devices that somehow never seems to get the respect it deserves. When your refrigerator breaks down, you call to have it fixed immediately. Same with your air conditioner. However, people develop ingenious ways to temporarily fix their toilets when they malfunction – and then learn to live with the fix for months on end. Here are a few of the most common problems associated with “the porcelain throne” in your bathroom:

  • Broken Handle Mechanism

    When you push down on the handle mechanism on your toilet, it makes the trip lever rise, which in turn pulls the chain inside the tank and lifts the flush ball which releases the water to flush the bowl. Jiggling the handles helps pull the chain and reposition the flapper. Replacing a broken toilet handle can be a fun little Saturday afternoon do-it-yourself project if you enjoy doing handyman work. If not, we’d be happy to replace your handle and check your toilet for any other problems.

  • Toilet Keeps Running and Won’t Stop Filling With Water

    This is one of those annoying problems you notice a few minutes after your trip to the bathroom. You hear the noise and ask yourself, “Shouldn’t the toilet be done filling up by now?” The reason your toilet tank is continuously filling is the flapper is not properly sealing the flush valve opening. This usually means replacing the flapper and if that doesn’t solve the problem, the entire flush valve assembly may need replacement.

  • Toilet Randomly Runs for 5-6 Seconds, Then Shuts Off Again

    This is caused by a slow leak from the tank to the bowl. In other words, when your tank is full, the toilet shuts off. A few minutes later, as water from the tank slowly seeps into the bowl, your tank needs to be refilled again and you hear that aggravating high-pitched noise. This problem is generally caused by crud on the flapper seal, which is easily cleaned.

  • Toilet Is Leaking

    A leaking toilet can do damage to your floor and is not something you should ignore. One of the most common causes for a leaking toilet is a loose or worn out seal at the base. This can be due to years of use and normal wear and tear. There are many other reasons for a leaky toilet. This is not a DIY job, and we recommend you give us a call.

Is It Time to Fix or Replace Your Toilet?

Many of us have co-existed with a semi-functioning (translation: annoying) toilet for months or years. If you’ve had enough of jiggling the handle or reaching into the cold water in the toilet tank to lift the float ball, why not give us a call. Our friendly plumbing experts will solve your toilet woes quickly, and you’ll be glad they did.