Category Archives: Plumbing

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.

This Earth Day Don’t Forget Your Plumbing

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This year on April 22, we celebrate the 49th Earth Day. Created to increase awareness about the environment, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the planet by taking part in eco-friendly activities. Because we, at Cool Blew, focus on conserving water and other “green” plumbing-related strategies each and every day, we wanted to share a few tips that can help you save water. And, as an extra bonus, these tips can help you save some “green” in your wallet, too!

Switch to a Low-Flow Showerhead

Consider that a conventional showerhead uses approximately four gallons of water per minute. With a low-flow showerhead, you can slash this in half. This means that this one simple change can save nearly 3,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four.

Check Toilet Tanks for Leaks

You may be surprised to learn that water leaks account for about 12 percent of all water use in the average American home. One of the most common sources of leaks is toilets. Take a few minutes and test for leaks. Simply remove the tank lid and drop a dye table or a couple of drops of food dye into the upper tank. Wait about 15 minutes. If you see color in the toilet bowl, your toilet is leaking.

Consider a Water Heater Upgrade

If you have an aging water heater, you’re likely using more water and energy than you need to be. Today’s tank water heaters and tankless water heaters can help you save substantially on your water and energy consumption.

Get Faucet Leaks Fixed

Do you have a faucet that drips? This is a major contributor to water waste. Call Cool Blew, your local plumbing experts, to look for and stop leaks throughout your home. You’ll start seeing the savings on your water bill immediately.

Make the message of Earth Day something that’s with you every day by preventing water loss around your home. Call Cool Blew today to schedule an appointment. We can help you with everything from toilet and faucet leaks to water heater replacement.

Sprung a Leak? It Might Be Time for a Spring Plumbing Tune Up

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Spring has sprung and one thing’s for certain – plumbing emergencies are no fun. Do you have leaky faucets or a trickling toilet with a handle that always needs jiggling? Sometimes, winter weather can affect water pipes and fittings adversely, especially under the house or outside. When homeowners notice pesky little plumbing problems, they often tell themselves they’ll “get to” the needed non-emergency repairs some quiet Saturday afternoon. However, with today’s busy schedules, finding a free Saturday can be a real challenge. Running back and forth to the hardware store for parts can be a time-consuming hassle. Meanwhile, water’s running down the drain, and the monthly water bill is going up. If you’ve noticed plumbing issues in your home, remember, spring is the perfect time of year to schedule a home plumbing tune-up.

The Nature of Plumbing Problems

Let’s face it, homeowners don’t spend a lot of time thinking about plumbing. In fact, many home plumbing systems (drains, sewers, water pipes, faucets, etc.) work perfectly for years unnoticed in the background. Water heaters can provide faithful service for decades without being touched. Then, often without warning, something goes wrong, and a faulty water heater, a clogged drain or a broken water pipe will require immediate remedial action.

At Cool Blew, we believe a proactive approach to plumbing will make for a happier home. A yearly plumbing inspection will ensure that everything is working properly and will provide you with peace of mind. Here are just a few of the items we will check during a spring tune up:

  • Faucets – Examine all faucets, including checking for drips and leaks and ensuring they are working properly.
  • Toilets – Check that all toilets are in good working order, with tight seals, flushing properly, with firm handles and fittings, water tanks filling correctly, not wasting water, trickling or seeping.
  • Water Heater – Inspect water heater and examine all fittings, check for corrosion, flush the sediment, look for any damage, review temperature settings to make sure you are conserving energy.
  • Drains – Verify that sink, shower and tub drains and sewers are unobstructed and flowing freely.
  • Water Lines – Check visible water lines, fittings and connectors to washing machine, water heater and faucet supply lines to make sure everything is in good working order.

Minor Plumbing Problems Repaired Before They Become Big Issues

At Cool Blew, we pride ourselves on fixing the small issues before they become big problems. Our friendly and knowledgeable plumbers have seen it all. Upon completing a spring inspection, we will provide you with a full assessment and discuss with you any needed repairs or recommended improvements. Why not put our experience to work for you?

Prepare and Protect Your Plumbing for the Holiday Season

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There’s a lot to do before the holidays. Meal planning, housecleaning and decorating all come to mind. Yet, it’s easy to overlook one very important holiday checklist item – the plumbing. Yes, plumbing. The biggest day of the year for plumbers is the day after Thanksgiving, followed by the day after Christmas. Why? Plumbing emergencies tend to arise after a big holiday meal and when there’s a house full of guests. And, a leak or a clog is nothing to celebrate!

To avoid having to deal with an unexpected holiday hassle, here are some tips to help you prepare and protect your plumbing for the season:

  • Ensure bathrooms have a plunger and extra toilet paper before any guests arrive. Also, have a garbage can in every bathroom. This will help ensure that guests won’t be tempted to flush items that shouldn’t be placed in the toilet.
  • Watch what you put down the disposal. Food items like potato peels, pumpkin guts, egg shells, pasta, stringy vegetables, gravy, and grease should be thrown in the trash and not down the drain.
  • Check the water heater for leaks, rust or corrosion. Don’t take the chance of having hot water issues during the holidays.
  • Clear drain clogs in sinks and tubs. A simple plunge usually clears out small clogs. Larger ones may require the assistance of a plumber.
  • Address plumbing problems now before the guests arrive. Small issues like running toilets, minor leaks or unresolved shower clogs can turn into bigger problems that put a damper on holiday festivities.

Your Go-To Plumber During the Holidays and Throughout the Year

Hopefully, you will have a holiday free from any plumbing problems. But, if you do experience a leak, clog or other issue, you can rely on Cool Blew. With valley-wide emergency service, we’re here to help keep your holidays on track and running smoothly.

3 Reasons to Choose a Tankless Water Heater

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The vast majority of homes in Phoenix, Arizona have traditional gas or electric tank water heaters. These are the big white tanks typically installed in garages or basements. While this type of water heater is ubiquitous in homes across the valley, it’s not the only option. A tankless water heater system is an option that a growing number of homeowners are moving to because of the notable advantages.

What Is a Tankless Water Heater?

Also called instantaneous or continuous flow, tankless water heaters heat water as it flows through the device. They do not retain any water internally, except for what is in a heat exchange coil. A tankless heater can be installed either at the point-of-use or in a central location to provide hot water for an entire home.

What are the advantages of this alternative to traditional tank water heaters? Here are three benefits to consider:

Lower Costs

Because tankless systems heat water as needed, rather than keeping an entire tank hot for your use, it typically costs much less to operate. There is also less water waste as you don’t have to run the tap while you wait for water to warm up. Over time, this monthly savings offsets the cost of a new water heater system.

Never-Ending Hot Water

It’s definitely no fun when you’re in the middle of a shower, and the hot water runs out. With a tankless system, you’re not using a limited tank of hot water. So, there’s never any risk of running out. As long as the tankless water heater is functional, you’ll always have plenty of hot water.

More Garage Space

If you have your water heater tank in your garage, you’re well-aware of the space it takes up. In many smaller, older homes, there’s simply not enough room to accommodate a bulky water heater. When every square foot counts, a tankless system is the right choice.

Are you ready to learn more about replacing your water heater with a new tankless model? Call the plumbing experts at Cool Blew today!

Don’t Ignore Toilet Leaks

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You may be surprised to learn that water leaks account for more than 10 percent of all water use in the average American home. And, toilets are among the most common sources of these leaks. Just one toilet leak can waste up to five gallons of water a minute. That adds up to 7,200 gallons of water each day! This isn’t just wasted water, it’s wasted money.

How can you tell if your toilet has a leak? The most common sign is the sound of running water. This can be a subtle hiss or an irritating trickling sound. Yet, water can also flow through the tank silently. This is why leaks often go unnoticed for an extended period of time.

Check for Leaks

If you suspect a toilet leak, there’s an easy test that you can do to check. Remove your toilet tank lid and drop 10 drops of food coloring into the tank. Put the lid back on, but do not flush. Wait 20 minutes and then look in the toilet bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak.

Another way to identify a leak is to check your water meter. First, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your house. Locate your water meter and check the leak indicator to see if it’s moving. If the dial is moving, you have a leak.

Causes of Toilet Leaks

Leaky flapper valves and fill valves are among the most common causes of a leaking toilet. Flush handle problems are also common. If the handle needs to be jiggled to stop the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain may be sticking. Overflow tube leaks can also occur. The water level should be set so that it is about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank. If the water is too high in the toilet tank, the water level can be adjusted by turning the adjustment screw or by bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.

While some homeowners tackle toilet leak repairs as do-it-yourself projects, Cool Blew also provides professional toilet repair and replacement services.

Preventable Plumbing Problems for Perspicacious Property Owners

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In life, and in plumbing, there are pressing problems that arise seemingly out of nowhere which demand immediate attention and prompt remediation. Take for instance, an Arizona resident who recently arrived home from a two-week vacation only to find three inches of water covering the kitchen and family room floor. Through absolutely no fault of the homeowner, the foundation had shifted, splitting a water pipe that caused the slab leak which resulted in expensive flooding. How do you prevent a problem like that?
However, the most frustrating plumbing related issues are the preventable plumbing problems that make homeowners want to scream out loud when they realize an ounce of prevention would’ve saved a lot of time, trouble, expense and frustration. Here are the preventable plumbing problems (also known as the three Ps) that you can check on immediately and hopefully save yourself some trouble and money down the road.

Faulty Washing Machine Hoses

When was the last time you thought about your washing machine water hookup hoses?
Answer:
a.) Never
b.) The last time I purchased a washing machine and they charged me for the hoses.
c.) The time my washing machine hose burst and caused a huge mess and cost a bundle.

Would you believe that faulty or bursting washing machine hoses are one of the most common causes of catastrophic water damage in homes? In a moment of understatement, an insurance agent once wrote, “Washer hoses are largely ignored until they fail.” It’s hard to ignore two to four inches of water on the floor. Old rubber hoses tend to lose pliability with age and are subject to a fair amount of stress as the water repeatedly turns on and off. Over the course of time, these hoses can simply fail without warning and cause expensive flooding. It’s a great idea to have your washing machine hoses checked and replaced with stainless steel braided hoses, if need be.

Jiggle the Handle on the Toilet – Endlessly Filling the Water Tank

Have you ever been sitting in your family room watching television and vaguely noticed a high-pitched water noise coming from the toilet many minutes after you’ve used the bathroom? This is an extremely common problem where water spills into the overflow tube and the toilet does not shut off properly. Many times, you simply need to jiggle the handle to stop the water tank from over-filling. No big deal, right? Except for the times when you’re not there to jiggle the handle. Or your kids use the toilet and go outside to play, and the water runs unchecked for hours. You can literally waste hundreds of gallons of water without being aware of it until you get your water bill. There’s a second variation on this theme where the float in the toilet tank is not adjusted properly so water fills up in the tank for fifteen or twenty seconds, then shuts off, then resumes filling a few minutes later. This cycle can go on endlessly until the toilet float is replaced or set correctly.

Don’t Be Such a Drip

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the slow drip-drip of leaky faucets can add up to some staggering statistics. Did you know, ten percent of homes in the United States have leaks that waste up to 90 gallons of water per day? A leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second adds up to 3,000 gallons of water wasted annually. In the big picture, minor water leaks account for more than a trillion gallons of water wasted each year in the US. Though water leaks account for significant loss of this precious resource, many homeowners simply tell themselves they’ll fix it tomorrow (but tomorrow never comes.) Drips and leaks and the resulting water waste is a very preventable plumbing problem that will pay for itself in lower monthly water bills and you’ll rest easier knowing you’re conserving water.

If You’ve Got Pesky Plumbing Problems Call in the Professionals

If you’ve got plumbing issues or if you have questions about plumbing problems you’ve noticed in your home, Call Cool Blew today. We will do a complete inspection and professionally repair all your plumbing problems quickly, efficiently and affordably.

3 Signs Your Water Heater Is Going to Tank

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With temperatures creeping up into the triple digits, the last thing on many homeowners’ minds is their hot water heater. Yet, even during the hottest days, we still rely on this household workhorse. This is why it’s important to keep tabs on it year-round and to know the signs when it’s time for a replacement.

Sign One: It’s Old

Your typical water heater will last about 10 years. Not sure about the age of your tank? Usually there will be a serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker that will tell you its age. Often, the date is within a code that can look like G0425783. In this case, the G represents the month. As the seventh letter in the alphabet, G indicates that it was manufactured in July – the seventh month of the year. The first two numbers are 04 for 2004. In other words, the water heater was manufactured in July 2004, and it’s probably in need of being replaced sooner than later.

If the code doesn’t follow this convention, check the manufacturer’s website for clarification.

Sign Two: It’s Noisy

Aging water heaters often have a build up of sediment at the bottom of the tank. Here, in Arizona, our water is hard which can lead to even faster sediment build up. With the ongoing heating of water in the tank, the sediment hardens and can cause rumbling or banging sounds. These are the sounds of a water heater that is crying out for replacement.

Sign Three: Rusty-Looking Water

Red rocks in Sedona are among the most stunning features of our wonderful state. Red water pouring out of your faucets isn’t quite as amazing. In fact, it’s a signal that the interior of your water heater tank is rusting. With rust, comes weakness that will eventually give way to a leak.

Don’t Take Chances with Your Water Heater

A water heater leak can ruin flooring, and furniture in the escaped water’s path. Why wait for this to happen? If you have any of the above signs of a potential water heater failure, call Cool Blew today.

We’ll provide you with a detailed quote and seamless installation of a high quality, durable water heater.