Are you used to handwashing things like sponges, brushes, and even your toothbrush holder? There may be a more effective and germ-killing option- Your dishwasher! The temperature reached by your dishwasher is much hotter than the water in your sink, so it naturally kills bacteria. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want your sink that hot, it could scald you.
Not every home has a dishwasher, but if you do, here are 5 things you can put in the dishwasher to keep them clean. Be sure to look for the dishwasher safe symbol before you put it in the dishwasher. You don’t want to ruin the item or the appliance.
Sponges: Did you know you can clean dirty sponges in the dishwasher? Kitchen sponges carry a lot of bacteria, so if yours hasn’t been washed in a while, think about putting them in the dishwasher (top shelf of course) on a regular basis. Washing your sponges once a week can really make a difference.
Hats: We bet you didn’t know you could clean hats in the dishwasher! Washing them in the washing machine doesn’t work very well, but the top shelf of your dishwasher can. It helps clean out all the dirt, sweat, and grim while keeping shape. If the hat has a cardboard rim, we don’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher.
Toothbrush Holders: The bottom of your toothbrush holder isn’t usually a pleasant sight…and usually full of grime. Place it face down on the top shelf of the dishwasher just like a regular cup and watch it get sparkly clean.
Plastic Toys: Some of your kid’s plastic toys can even be washed in the dishwasher. Cleaning them with rags and chemicals can make them unsafe for your children, but popping them in the dishwasher can be a game changer. Put toys on the top rack to be safe and put smaller toys in a mesh bag to keep them from falling through.
Shelving from the Refrigerator: It’s hard enough to clean the shelving from your fridge. Make life easier and put them in the dishwasher. Place them on the bottom shelf just like a place and watch them get clean! If you find that the shelves are too big, you can always take out the top shelf of the dishwasher to create more room.
Of course, these are just a few things you wash in the dishwasher, but there are many others. We’d love to hear what’s worked for you!
What’s the Smell in My Kitchen?
Have you noticed an unpleasant smell in your kitchen, but you can’t figure out where its coming from? Perhaps you’ve checked the refrigerator, taken out the trash (and cleaned the trash can), but the smell persists? It could be that your kitchen sink is to blame!
The kitchen sink is one of the busiest places in the kitchen. You prep food, wash hands, clean dishes, use the garbage disposal, and so much more. With all the activity, gunk and grime can build up in the drain which can cause some of those nasty odors.
What’s worse is that food and grease can stick to the pipes in your drain, which not only can start to rot, but can also cause clogs if you’re not careful.
So, if you’ve determined that your kitchen sink is to blame for smell, here are some things you should investigate:
Clean and Take Care of the Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, when was the last time you cleaned? If you’re wondering why we’re asking that question, we can pretty much assume you haven’t cleaned it. 😊 It’s also important to note what you are putting down the drain. We have some great blogs on maintenance for your garbage disposal and what not to put in there! Check them out.
Check the Drain!
Grease, food, and oil can all build up in the drain, so its important to check it form time to time, especially if you have a smell that won’t go away. You can clear the drain by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. We recommend letting it set for 10 minutes before flushing it with hot water. Of course, if it doesn't clear, we’re always here to help.
Check The Trap
Depending on the smell coming from the sink, it may be something trapped in, well, the trap! The P-trap is the curved section of the pipe underneath your sink. It prevents gases and odors from coming up through the drain. Whether the P-trap doesn’t have enough water to trap the odors, or it’s clogged, if the smell seems more like sewer than rotting food, you should check the P-trap.
If the P-trap or other problems aren’t to blame for the bad smell, it very well could be a clogged vent. When the vents connected from your sewer line to the outside become clogged or blocked, it can also cause a smell.
Since vents are usually located on roof tops, its not impossible for these vents to become clogged with bird nests, leaves, or other debris. This one we recommend having a professional look at!
If you aren’t sure where to get started or just don’t have time to deal with the problem, you know we’re here to help. Give us a call today.
Are you a bath bomb user? Many people love using them to relieve stress or just have a sweet-smelling bath, but can it cause problems with your plumbing? That’s a great question.
Depending on the ingredients of your bath bombs, you might be left dealing with a clogged drain in your bathtub. Luckily, Tony’s Plumbing and Heating is here to help!
Check the Ingredients
Most bath bombs are made with salts, oils, and scents to help create a relaxing, yet fragrant spa-like experience. They can contain Epsom salt or baking soda to help soothe your sore muscles, which both dissolve well in water. Some of the other ingredients like cornstarch, essential oils, cocoa butter, essential oils, and glitter. Glitter never goes down the drain well. In addition to that, some of the ingredients that don’t dissolve well in water can leave behind a residue in your tube, as well as cling to the walls of the pipes in your home. As time passes, these ingredients can build up and collect other things like hair and soap to cause clogs.
Keeping Your Pipes Clear
If you want to keep using bath bombs, we think that’s a great idea! Don’t give up a little “me time” because you might get a clogged pipe or drain over time. Here are a few simple steps to keep those clogs and pipes clear:
Pretty simple steps to keep enjoying your bath bombs whenever you need a little stress relief! Of course, if you do find yourself with a clogged drain that just won’t budge, we’re here to help.
When the weather outside gets cold, we run the risk in the midwest of having our pipes freeze. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during cold weather and can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Pipes most at risk are those in unheated interior spaces like attics, basements, and garages, but other pipes can freeze as well. There is good new though! THere are simple things you can do to prevent those pipes from freezing and we're here to tell you about them:
Keep Your Garage Door Closed! If you have water supply lines in the garage, keep your garage door closed when it's not in use.
Open Up Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Doors. If you are worried about indoor pipes freezing, help the air in the home circulate by opening up your cabinet doors. This works well especially if your sinks share an exterior wall. If you have small children or pets in the home, be sure to remove objects or chemicals that may cause harm before doing so.
Set Your Thermostat to the Same Temperature. Keeping your thermostat at a consistent temperature during the day and night can help save your pipes. During a cold spell, be sure to keep it consistent as well!
Keep the Heat on if You Plan to Be Away. Planning a vacation during the winter months? Be sure to keep your heat on no lower than 55 degrees.
Consider Adding Insulation for Long Term Results! If your worried about pipes freezing over the years, consider adding insulation to your basement, crawl space, or attic. You can also consider options to heat your garage.
Of course, these aren't your only options for preventing your pipes from freezing, but we're confident this is a good place to start. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.
If you find your hot water tank is having trouble dispensing hot water throughout your home, then there are a few reasons for this.
High Water Usage. The first is the most common reason for your lack of hot water, the tank has emptied. If you are running multiple things at once that require hot water use, then you’re bound to run out of the water that has been heated. Your tank needs time to refill and heat the new water coming through. Avoid running dishwashers, clothing washers, and multiple people taking baths and showers at the same time to prevent this from happening. Your home could also have a hot water tank that is too small for the size of your home, which can also lead to running out of hot water. If you find your home frequently has this problem, consider installing a tankless water heater that can help with this problem.
Check your Thermostat. If you feel your water isn’t getting hot enough, check your hot water heater’s thermostat. This controls the temperature of the water in the tank, so you can simply turn it up to increase the temperature. Or vice versa, if you think the water is too hot. Remember, water scalds at 140 degrees, so don’t set it any higher than that. Call us at Tony’s Plumbing for a malfunctioning thermostat and we will inspect your hot water tank and thermostat to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Sediment in your Tank. If there is sediment in the hot water tank, it will stop hot water from coming out of the tank. Minerals can build up in the bottom of the tank (especially if you have hard water), which will stop the water from being heated to temperature. If there is rust in the water, then that is a sign of corrosion, and you’ll need to update your hot water tank. Remember to drain your tank once a year to clear out any sediment. If you have rust, give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing to help fix this problem.
Check the Dip Tube. There is a plastic tube at the top of the tank that goes all the way to the bottom. This is where the cold water enters the tank. The hot water is at the top, and the tube makes sure the cold water goes to the bottom, so the hot water at the top is dispensed to your home first. If the tube breaks or disconnects, then the cold water will mix with the hot at the top of the tank and cool it down. You can call a plumber for this repair.
Once you’ve established the problem the fix can be simple or a little more complex. Give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing with any questions, upgrades, or repairs you might need, and we’ll get your home’s water all warmed up.
So you’ve spotted rust at the base of your water heater… How does this happen? And now what do you do to fix it?
The cause of rust on your water heater can happen when there are loose connections. If the rust is on the bottom of your tank, then it might be that the interior liner has rusted. Your hot water tank has a part called the anode rod that pushes impurities out of the water. If it fails, it can cause the liner to rust, and the bottom of your tank to rust. If you see that the bottom of your tank is rusted, then you should call us at Tony’s Plumbing to get a replacement. With a rusted bottom, it will eventually fail and flood your home with water. If you wait, you’ll have water damage on top of the hot water tank that needs to be replaced.
Here are a few indicators that your hot water tank might be about to fail:
Rusty water - As discussed before, your tank is corroding and that is why your water has rust in it. You may be able to tell there is rust in the water, if your bathroom fixtures are stained, your clothes are getting stained in the washer, or your water has a strange taste.
Lack of hot water - If your tank is struggling to keep up with heating the water in your home, this can be an indicator that there may be a bigger issue.
Odd noises - If your anode rod fails, and the rust builds up, then it takes longer to heat water. This causes banging sounds coming from the water heater.
Old age - Water heaters are typically good for 10 years, depending on the model. Older tanks are more likely to fail. If you have an older water heater, it’s time to start thinking about replacing it. Consider a tankless option for your new water heater. These have multiple benefits over a hot water tank, including not having a rusty bottom that can flood your home with gallons of water.
Consider annual maintenance from Tony’s Plumbing, so that we can react quickly to any potential problems, like a rusty water heater, or we can prevent this from happening. If you’re ready for a new tank or an upgrade, we can help you with that too!
As a homeowner or renter, we have to deal with many issues that spring up. One of those is a leaky pipe. But what do you do? If it’s something outside of your ability to fix, call the plumber right away to have them make an emergency visit. But in the meantime, what do you do to provide a temporary fix to keep the damage to a minimum?
First thing you’ll want to do when you discover a leaky pipe is to throw a bucket underneath it to stop water from getting all over the floor. Then quickly turn the main water valve off to stop the flow of water coming through the pipes. Then turn on the faucets connected to the leaky pipe to drain those pipes. Next, you’ll want to clean up the mess, by drying the wet areas with some towels. Including wiping the leaky pipe dry to prepare it for a temporary patch.
Tighten the joints of the pipes with an adjustable wrench to fit it to the pipe’s size. If the pipe has loosened, then that may be a source of where the leak is coming from. So you’ll want to tighten them up.
Depending on the items you have in your home or have time to pick up at your local hardware store, you can patch the pipe in a few different ways. The preferred way is to apply some epoxy putty. You’ll need some rubber gloves to knead the putty by hand, and then you can apply it to the source of the leak. Wrap the putty completely around the pipe where the leak is happening about an half inch thick, taper the edges so it has a water tight seal. You can turn the water back on after 5-10 minutes after it is dry. You can also apply duct tape, by wrapping it tightly around the pipe several times while you wait for the plumber to arrive.
When you’re in need of emergency plumbing services, give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing for quality service to help you in your time of need. We can get someone to your home and to fix the leak as quickly as possible!
So you’ve discovered your garbage disposal is leaking… This is not good, you say to yourself. But before you panic, let’s go through the best way to deal with the situation. There are three places the garbage disposal can leak from and there are different ways to deal with them.
Leaking from the bottom - There are internal seals on the garbage disposal that can wear out over time, which can cause a leak. The fix is to get a new garbage disposal. They can last 5-10 years, so if it has been less time between replacing the disposal, check the warranty on the one you have installed to see if it is still valid.
Leaking from the side - This means that the leak is coming from the drain lines. There are two connections on the side of the disposal, the bottom, bigger hose pipe is the drain out the disposal to the sewage system, and the top, smaller pipe is where the dishwasher drains into the disposal. This is an easy fix. Just tighten the connections to your disposal. The metal clamp that is on the pipes can be tightened with a screwdriver. The main drain line is connected with screws, with a rubber gasket on the inside. So you can tighten the screws, or possibly have to replace the rubber gasket.
Leaking from the top - There is a seal on the top of your disposal that connects to your sink with a plumber’s putty or a flange. This can loosen or rust over time and cause the top of your disposal to leak. To fix it, you can just re-seal the disposal by removing the old putty and replacing it with new plumber’s putty. If your unit has a flange, then you can tighten the screws. It may need to be replaced, if you can’t get it to tighten. This is a bigger job to do, if you are not familiar with garbage disposals.
Some of these fixes, you can handle yourself. But if you find yourself having trouble with repairing these leaks or disposal on your own, you can give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing and we can get it all fixed up and running like new again.
Pretty much all of us operate our lives on a fixed budget. So when it comes to home repairs, it’s easy to push off any work that needs done as long as possible. Maybe you have to save some money before the repairs happen, so you prolong the inevitable. But when it comes to plumbing, delaying work can cost you.
One of the most common plumbing issues is having a leak. These can sometimes be an easy repair and it can definitely be easy to do a quick fix to delay major repairs. But what will it cost you in the long run? On the bigger scale, your small leak can easily turn into a bigger leak and cause flooding, which can damage everything. Floors, walls, furniture… On a smaller scale, if you have a leak in your bathroom sink, bathtub or toilet can lead to rot and mold issues. Leaks can also cause bug damage from water loving insects, higher water bills, and unpleasant odors. Temporary fixes can last for a short amount of time, but it’s best to call the plumber right away to fix a leak, or you’ll end up with much costlier repairs due to the damage a small leak can cause.
Mold - One of the biggest problems you could face is mold. Breathing in mold can be dangerous for those living in the house, especially for children with compromised immune systems. If left unattended mold will keep growing and can lead to having a professional to clean it up.
Water and Structural Damage - A leak anywhere in the house can lead to water damage on walls, flooring, furniture, and carpeting. And the longer the leak is left to do its business, the greater the water damage gets. In particular cases, if it seeps through cracks and floors, weakening the support of the building, leading to structural damage in the foundation.
Water Loss- Leaks can cause water tanks to work harder to pull more water into the system. And it can cause water pressure to drop, so faucets and showers have less pressure when they are running. Since your water tank has to work harder and you’re losing water, this can lead to higher utility bills as well.
So whenever you discover a plumbing issue, no matter how small, it’s best to get it taken care of right away. You may be inclined to put off spending money on smaller issues, but ignoring them can lead to much bigger issues that will cost you much more money. If you find yourself with any plumbing problems, call us today at Tony’s Plumbing and we’ll make sure your plumbing is done right.
Ewwwww… gross. There is a hair clog in your drain. This might be one of the most wretched tasks that one might have to accomplish. If you have ever cleaned out a hair clog in a drain, you know that it looks gross, smells gross, and is wretch-inducing. So, to avoid having to perform this task, let’s talk about how to prevent the hair from clogging up in the first place. You’re probably not going to remove the source of the hair-causing clogs (i.e. family members and yourself) from your home, so let’s focus on your plumbing.
Before taking a shower or bath, clean any loose hairs you see laying on the base of the tub and shower and throw them in the trash can. The same goes for the bathroom sink. This helps reduce the amount of hair that can end up down the drain.
Add a protective screen, such as a drain cover for over and under your drains. This will catch the hair and prevent it from going down the drains, we suggest the drain covers that are specifically designed to trap hair. Remember to clean the cover regularly by removing the hair and placing it into a trash can.
You can also try flushing all of your drains at once, sending a torrent of water to clear up the hair and debris. Several people will have to coordinate for this task. Close all the drains including the bathtub and shower and sinks, and then fill each one with warm water. Have someone standing by each one of your drains and toilets, then coordinate your water attack! Have everyone open the drains and flush all the toilets at the exact same moment. This could flush all the debris out of the pipes, but if this fails, further cleaning of the pipes will need to be done.
If these preventative measures don’t quite do the trick, and you still have water that won’t drain, here’s how to clean the clog. If you can see the clog, try removing it with your hands or a bent wire hanger (they also sell plastic, barbed drain-cleaners instead of using a wire hanger). If this doesn’t clear the drain, then you can try a chemical drain cleaner from the store, or you can try this natural solution. Pour ¾ cup of baking soda into the drain, and then pour ½ cup vinegar down the drain after the baking soda. Then plug the drain for about 30 minutes, then
pour boiling water down the drain. Look to see if you can see the drain is clear and run water for about five minutes to see if this did the trick.
If the clog still persists, you might need to bring in the professionals. Give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing to help with your clogged drain needs!
At Tony's Plumbing & Heating, we offer outstanding residential and commercial plumbing and heating services in the East Twin Cities metro. With our blog, we hope to bring you useful tips and tricks for ever day life!