Bathrooms are wet places. The faucet that occasionally drips from time to time, or the low ledge tub that doesn’t hold water in the way you’d like, there’s often water droplets on the floor even when you don’t know where they came from. If you’re regularly cleaning up water from the base of your toilet, though, this could be more than shower run off. Toilets leak, that’s a fact of life. Some toilets will leak from the tank, some leak from the bowl, but what do you do when your toilet is leaking out of the base?
We all know that water leaks are dangerous, water getting into the structure of your home is a means to an end, it can cause structural damage, mold, and a whole slew of awful things. This means you need to be aware of two of the following things; loose tee bolts, or a damaged wax seal. While there are many reasons a toilet can leak, these are two of the most common reasons the base could.
A loose tee bolt can cause a leak because the tee bolt seats your toilet, and secures it to the floor. If you’re standing in front of your toilet, at the base you will see two plastic nubs. The bolts reside underneath those nubs. If they are loose, bent, or damaged in any way, the toilet can unseat and cause a leak. The good thing about a leak from a loose tee bolt is that it’s an easy fix.
If you’re seeing water pool underneath the toilet, or if you experience a rush of liquid every time you flush, that’s a big indicator that your toilet is in need of some repair. Underneath the toilet, there is a wax ring that can dry out, crack, or become warped. This is sometimes due to age, or various other things. Most toilets should last you quite some time, upwards of 25 years!
Leaky toilets may sound like no big deal, but they are dangerous and could cause mold to grow underneath your toilet. If you have a caulked toilet, it’s especially important to ensure that no liquid gets trapped between the base of your toilet and your floor. Caulking can prevent you from noticing leaks, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t present. This is also a red flag if there’s bacteria trapped underneath your toilet, because it will lead to mildew.
Before attempting any repairs to your toilet, you need to ensure that you know exactly what you are doing. Over tightening, or leaving a bolt too loose will allow water to get trapped under your toilet. If you attempt to replace a wax ring alone, you could face similar issues. It’s best not to do anything you aren’t 100% confident in, so if you have any concerns about either tightening bolts or replacing the ring, give us a call. We are here to help and want to make sure your toilet is getting the care it needs.
Garbage disposals are one of the best parts of the modern kitchen. They allow you to rid your sink of small amounts of leftovers, and alleviate some of your stinky garbage. Each garbage disposal is different, so it’s important to always read the manual when you have specific model related questions. That being said, we’ve compiled a rule of thumb guide on what you must never put down the drain, and a few disclaimers on items that people disagree about!
We hear it all the time, either you believe it or someone you know believes it; egg shells can go down the disposal. The theory behind this is that the sharp edges of the shells sharpen the blades of your disposal. They eventually become manageable small pieces and end up going down the drain. This is sound logic, but we still err on the side of caution here. They don’t actually sharpen the blades, and the shells are covered in a thin membrane that coats them making them work harder than normal. A great alternative to putting them down the drain would be to compost them!
Shells, nuts and onion skins are items we suggest tossing as well! These items are all tough to breakdown and cause damage to the blades of your disposal. None of these items should be put down the disposal, seafood shells can be disposed of. Onion skins are fibrous and can get wrapped around the blades and dull their effectiveness.
An absolute do not ever put down the drain is grease of any kind. Oil, butter, fat, leftover cooking fluid all counts as items you should never put down your drain if possible. It should all be stored in a container and cooled before being thrown out. It may be liquid after cooking, but will harden inside your pipes causing a massive clog.
Cleaning products like harsh chemicals should also never go down the drain. Over the counter cleaning products do not belong in your disposal either contrary to popular belief. This includes some of the all natural cleaning methods such as putting coffee grounds down the disposal. This may smell wonderful, but the grounds accumulate in the base of the disposal and collect into a paste. The best way to clean your disposal is to put ice cubes and dish soap inside and run it with cold water. It will harden any oil or grease and go down the drain!
The three things we’d like to leave you with, are to remember to regularly run the disposal, run the disposal with water, and make sure it’s cold. In the off chance you accidentally send some food or oil down the drain, running it with cold water will allow the oil to harden and breakdown faster. Make sure to keep non biodegradable items in the trash, and you should keep your disposal in good shape for a long time! If you ever accidentally put something down the drain that doesn’t belong there and causes a clog or damage, let us know! We are always around to help.
One of the unsung heroes of your home is your plumbing system. The plumbing work of any facility is often overlooked, except ours of course! That’s why we often surprise our customers when we point out the little things that they are doing to sabotage their own systems. It’s hard to know what you don’t know, right? On that note, here are some common things we see our customers doing that backfire and end with a frantic call to us.
Your drain seems like a logical place to dumb kitchen liquids, but it’s actually one of the worst things you can do for your pipes! Anything greasy or oily needs to go in the trash. The grease may be liquid when used for cooking, but eventually hardens inside your piping. Overtime, the greasy patches can catch other items attempting to travel through the drain, and cause catastrophic clogs. Be mindful of anything you are putting down your drains!
This one goes out to the DIYers of the world. If you’ve ever grabbed your flashlight and taken a look under the sink, maybe tightened a fitting or two, this is for you. We naturally tighten things to ensure that they’re secure, after all, you don’t want water to leak out everywhere. This intuitive thinking is great, but misplaced here. Over-tightening in plumbing actually causes the fittings to crack overtime. This goes for plastic fittings, hex nuts, all of the above. You can actually destroy your porcelain toilet by over tightening, so be cautious and if you’re ever unsure, contact us!
The market leads us to believe that chemical drain cleaners are the way to go, but we are here to say the opposite. This is yet another common mistake that homeowners make when taking clogs into their own hands. Chemical drain cleaners are bad for the environment, and bad for your plumbing! These cleaners create a lot of issues for galvanized plumbing, including speeding up corrosion. There are natural ways to unclog toilets, such as using an auger, or vinegar and baking soda solutions. If you have a stuck clog that’s too much to handle on your own, you know who to call.
The last thing we’d like to leave you with, is something that’s fairly straightforward. Your drains are for fluids, the toilet is for bodily waste. Some plumbing is so finicky it can’t handle toilet paper, so keep that in mind when you flush. Nothing should go down your drains beyond what they are intended for, so keep trash, hygiene products, and anything else out of the toilet or garbage disposal! This will keep your plumbing working it’s best for longest.
As always, we are around for any mistakes you may make with your plumbing. Your secrets are safe with us, judgement free! We aim to help in any way possible, so even if you just have some questions about the how or why of a product or repair, we are here to help! Call Tony’s today for any and all your plumbing needs.
Have you ever walked over to your sink and run the faucet, intending to grab a glass of water? Of course you have! Who hasn’t drank tap water, once or twice in their lives. It’s a foolproof way of staying hydrated. Now, have you ever turned on the faucet and noticed small floating things inside? This is a much less appealing part of tap water, but not always cause for alarm! There are more than a couple reasons that you could have sediment or floating specks in your water glass. So, in order to lay some worries to rest, we compiled a list of a couple items you may find at the bottom of your glass!
We are blessed to live in a society with running water, and one of the greatest inventions of mankind; the toilet. When there’s a problem with your toilet, especially when you only have one, it’s an issue the whole family feels. Not every clogged toilet is a plumbing emergency, and sometimes it’s hard to identify why your toilet is acting up. We’ve compiled a list common issues to be aware of, so you can identify the preliminary issues on your own before having to call in a professional.
The most common issue with a toilet that won’t flush is that it’s clogged. This is the first thing you should be checking off your list if there’s an issue with your toilet. Some homes have delicate pipes, so it’s important to take into account the number of people in your home, if you have children with missing toys, and the quality of your toilet paper. Your pipes can occasionally develop partial clogs that mean there’s waste or debris sitting in your pipes hindering your water flow. The easiest fix here is to attempt plunging the toilet on your own. We don’t suggest any other DIY attempts for a clogged toilet. If you have a stubborn partial clog deep within the plumbing, it’s best to give us a call so we can diagnose and repair for you.
We often see toilets that aren’t holding enough water in their tank. This is yet another extremely common issue with toilets. If there’s not enough water in the tank, when you flush you’re not releasing enough water into the bowl, which leads to a lower pressure and a weaker flush. This is sometimes caused by low water pressure, the toilet water being partially shut off, or a faulty flapper. There should be a mark inside the toilet indicating the level of water necessary for a full flush. Each toilet has a different system though, so the best way to tell if your toilet tank is holding enough water is to make sure that it’s about an inch beneath the overflow tube. If you’re not getting enough water, let us know.
Our last most common issue we find with toilets is when the flapper or lift chain are damaged. The flapper is, as you might have guessed, the flap that covers the piping into the bowl of your toilet. If that piece is warped or damaged in any way, the toilet will not hold the correct amount of water, and will experience issues when flushing. The lift chain is the piece that connects the flapper to the arm extending to the flush lever. If this chain is too short or gives too much slack, the flapper will not properly lift and won’t flush your toilet either. These parts of the toilet are utilized every time your toilet flushes, so as you can imagine, that’s a lot of opportunity for wear and tear. The pieces can be replaced at home, but if you’re ever unsure, please give us a call. We really don’t mind.
Toilets are an important member of the household in any and every home. If it’s not in working order, everyone will be painfully aware. These are just some of the common issues we see toilets face, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only problems your toilet could have. If you’re experiencing issues with your toilet, and you can’t diagnose the problem on your own, we’re always here to help. If you diagnosed the problem but can’t fix it, we’re here for that too. Give us a call today and see what we can do for your home.
We get it, home repair is expensive! Nobody wants to spend money on the “boring” or unexpected stuff. You want to spend money on stuff that’s fun and brings enjoyment, right? Who doesn’t! That’s why this month we decided to write a list of things you can do around your living space that will make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and saving money where it counts, at home!
The Minnesota State Fair always signifies the end of summer, and if there’s one place it’s packed and hot at the end of summer, it’s the State Fair! Summer is starting to wind down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay committed to having a good time! Here’s a list of places we think you should go, instead of, or maybe on top of the fair, to enjoy what’s left of summer while also staying cool!
Plumber “Misconceptions” because nobody likes to be called a liar… but whoever spread these certainly wasn’t telling the truth about us! This month we’d like to educate people on some common misconceptions we hear on our day to day at Tony’s. For starters, no two people are exactly the same, so I’ll bet you can imagine that no two plumbing companies are the same, either. These are misconceptions that float around about all plumbers, and while we can vouch for ourselves, we can’t vouch for all the plumbers around town.
In today’s world there’s a whole slew of false information at our fingertips. You see all kinds of things, erroneous claims and misinformed posts on the internet, some of them are downright comical. Due to the ever revolving door of nonsense out there, we wanted to shed some light on the myths that circulate the plumbing world, and potentially save you some cash from avoiding a couple hazardous mistakes!
Grilling season is upon us. Who doesn’t love charcoal smoke, standing on the patio grilling a burger in the sun, beer in hand? Even if you prefer propane, the rest of that sentence sounds pretty great right about now, doesn’t it? The worst thing about grilling season is the beginning, but cleaning up your grill after a long harsh winter doesn’t have to be the hardest thing you accomplish this week! Here’s a few tips and tricks to get that grill ready for your summer grill life!
Gunk is a problem. If you’re inspecting your grill and it’s got black flakes on the underside of your hood, that’s not chipped paint; it’s burned-on residue. This presents a fire risk! The grates, burners, and inside surfaces should be thoroughly roughed up with a non-scratch sponge or nylon cleaning tool! If your grill is uncoated, you can use wire brushes, but make sure before using anything with a harsh surface! Scratching a treated surface can introduce rust. After you’ve removed any chunks, wash all your surfaces with soap and water, rinse, and dry. If your grates are rusty or chipping, you should consider replacing them, but if it’s minimal and they’re uncoated, you can use an SOS pad or steel wool to remove the rust. If your grill has cast-iron or metal accessories, you should season them similarly to a cast-iron pan to add a layer of oil between your food and the grates and to prevent future rust!
Inspecting your tank is one of the most important first steps to take with your grill. It needs to be cleaned up, but it also needs to heat up! Running a leak test will help you know if you need to replace any parts on the grill. By coating the regulator, valves, hoses, and other items in soapy water, you can determine whether bubbles form which indicates leaking gas! Run this test a couple of times for good measure, make sure everything is tight before you go replace items with suspected holes.
Check everything out for bugs. Some grills don’t come with guards to protect them from insects or spiders. Small insects often climb into your grill through the venturi tubes, which supplies gas to the burners. Once you’ve ensured there’s no bugs to cook up with dinner, make sure that you fire up the grill and see that it’s heating evenly. Even heat means your food is not only cooked properly, but tastes best! Any burners clogged by debris can be cleaned out with something as simple as a paperclip. Follow up this step with the white-bread test. One of the easiest ways to test how even your grill is heating is to throw a loaf of white bread on the grates and cook them on high for a few minutes. Each piece face down, flat across the grill to identify which parts of the grill toast the bread fastest. This will give you an idea of where in your grill is hottest, for items you need cooked in direct heat, and which areas are cooler for things that don’t need to cook as quickly.
These are just a couple of our simple go-to steps to take for your grill. We take grilling very seriously here at Tony’s Plumbing & Heating. While we can’t necessarily fix your grill for you, be sure to know that when we’re out, we’ll be making mental notes of what kind of grill person you are. 😊
We hope we’re impressed with your grill skills as much as we are with our own! Call Tony’s for any of your plumbing 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!