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!
Preventing mold in your bathroom is supposed to be easy, but sometimes your bathroom isn’t set up in the best way to prevent moisture build up. Sometimes extra steps have to be taken to avoid mold, but if you follow these, you shouldn’t have a problem. Mold builds up because moisture isn’t allowed to escape the room. If you have a small bathroom without a window, you know what it’s like to get out of a hot steamy shower and realize the walls are covered with a thin coat of water. These are the things that will cause mold to eventually take over your bathroom.
The first step to avoiding mold in your bathroom is a regularly scheduled good old fashioned scrubbing. Cleaning your bathroom regularly will help stir up any forgotten dust or dirt, and dry out any left over water left laying about. Your bathroom should be thoroughly cleaned once a month, with regular check ups once a week. Clean towels, and clean floor mats, means a healthier bathroom for all! Replacing your towels often seems like an obvious solution to keep mold out, but cleaning your bath mats should also be done regularly! Doing both once a week will make all the difference.
Another way to ensure that you’re avoiding mold in your bathroom is by making sure that not only are you using your fan every time your shower, but that you’re letting it run for up to 30 minutes after you are finished showering. This is important to keep it through the whole shower, but also afterwards so that it assists in drying the walls and shower quickly.
Regrouting your shower is also a wonderful way to keep mold out. Once mold starts, it’s hard to kill, so doing this will keep mold from growing in between your shower tiles. Regrouting is also a nice way of sprucing up your bathroom! Whether you have grouted tiles or a plaster tub, using a squeegee will help remove leftover liquid from your shower. We recommend purchasing one to use on the walls alleviating some of the work your fan needs to do!
The last way we can recommend keeping your bathroom mold-free is by removing shower items when not in use. Things that lay about in your shower are great breeding grounds for mold and other icky things. By keeping your shower clean and free of everything, you’re making sure that it’s also free of moisture!
Mold is a serious health risk, and shouldn’t be left to its own devices in your bathroom! Keeping your bathroom clean and free of moisture is great for the whole family, and will help keep potential costs of redoing a bathroom down. These are just a couple of small ways you can avoid mold growth in your bathroom, but once you have it, it’s best to bring in a professional. If you suspect you have water leaking in your bathroom or some plumbing issues leading to mold growth, give Tony’s a call for a check up!
You can find emergency kits out there for everything. So we thought why not have your own plumbing emergency kit? Plumbing emergencies are just as likely, if not likelier, than other emergencies. While we don’t recommend long term fixes come out of these emergency kits, we do recommend short term problem solving to keep the damage at bay before a professional can take a look! So here goes, a quick guide on your very own Plumbing Emergency Kit.
City life has blessed us with things like clean drinking water, flushable toilets, and all kinds of other fantastic indoor plumbing concepts. Every home is outfitted with a device called a RPZ, otherwise known as a Reduced Pressure Zone. This device protects your water from various contaminants. An RPZ valve is a requirement for every home, or any building that features irrigation, a large boiler, or a fire suppressant system.
An RPZ or backflow device is in place to protect your drinking water. Pesticides and bacteria can enter our water from the weed killers you spray on your lawn, or simply from water reversing the way that it flows in your pipes. Backflow is something to be cautious about because it can happen at the fault of others. There are numerous reasons water can backflow, including city water main break, the use of a fire hydrant, or if the water pressure in your home or the city drops.
If there’s a drop in water pressure, your RPZ valve will open and dump out the water to ensure that contaminated water isn’t flowing through your faucet. Imagine what could happen if this valve wasn’t functioning properly. You could be drinking or bathing in dangerous water. This is how backflow testing comes into play. This is an important step in your routine plumbing maintenance. Backflow can result in mild to severe contamination either through siphoning or pressure from the reversal of water flow, which can result in serious illness, or disease and sometimes even death.
In today's world, the most frustrating part of backflow is sewer back up. Historically you’d be dealing with things like salmonella or typhoid. For the most part these days you’re going to see hazardous chemicals like sodium hydroxide and insecticides enter your water, which is better than dysentery but still pretty bad for your body! The RPZ device is placed at plumbing cross connections in the home, where drinking water is most likely to be contaminated. You can also find RPZ valves placed in your irrigation systems, to avoid the fertilizers you use in your lawn from entering your drinking water. Backflow testing can only be done by a licensed plumber. Lucky for you, we know a guy! Call us today to schedule your annual backflow test, and ensure safe drinking water for your home!
In our world, it’s hard to know what’s going on with the tap water that’s coming through your faucet. You can control the environment of your home, and what appliances the water flows through, but you can’t control the minerals that water picks up as it works its way through the ground into our waterways. Our water is often full of various minerals - but the ones we’re most worried about are calcium and magnesium. According to a U.S Geological Survey, 85% of Americans have hard water in their homes. These minerals, while great for you when properly absorbed, are extremely hard on your home. Here are some signs that you may have hard water and need to invest in a water softener:
Every house makes some kind of noise, right? At night you can hear the floors creak and the attic moan, but when are those noises cause for alarm? If you haven’t heard it yet, here’s to hoping you don’t ever encounter this common homeowners annoyance; water hammer. Water hammer, also known as hydraulic shock, occurs when running water is abruptly shut off, creating pocket of forced water. The water rushing through the piping has nowhere to go but stay its course, so it slams against the shut off valve at full speed. The thudding noise that follows is referred to as water hammer, it is both alarming, and could cause unforeseen damage to your home!
The force of water rushing through your pipes and slamming against the shut off valve, can cause other issues in your home, such as unhinging pipes, leaks, and potentially cause for flood. Water hammer is a likely cause of the knocking of pipes in your home, whether that is into other pipes, the structure of your home (wood, brick, or concrete). Most commonly, copper piping is affected, but water hammer can be found in newer homes with alternative piping as well. Some appliances can also be the cause of water hammer, things like your dishwasher or washing machine can go from using water at full force to shutting off in a split second, causing the pipes to jerk from the sudden change in water pressure.
If you’ve heard some creaking pipes and loud banging, you likely need to have a plumber out to inspect your home. Traditionally speaking, older homes are equipped with long sections of tubing called air chambers. These are vertical pipes are kept close to your faucets and inlet valves. They are installed to absorb the shock of water when it’s suddenly shut off. Overtime, these can fill up with water, which doesn’t give the air anywhere to go. If this occurs, the air chamber is no longer effective and will need to be recharged. This happens by turning off your water supply and draining your pipes, allowing air to refill these chambers.
Water hammer leads to a whole slew of other piping issues, like pressure leaks and pipes that have become unhinged due to banging. If you’ve experienced any strange and new noises in your home, it is likely due to a hiccup in your plumbing. Call Tony’s to come out and inspect your home and potentially save money in the long run today!
We don’t have to tell you that winter can be brutal here in Minnesota. This year seems to be no different than the last. We face some very chilly days, and due to that constant cold, we’re also often facing some pretty disastrous plumbing malfunctions! Here are five of the most common plumbing issues, and our recommendation on how to handle them! Surprise, you’re going to have to make a call to your favorite plumber.
Water damage brings on a whole slew of issues in your home. Aside from the actual damage, and the costs associated with repair, what do you do about the potential hazards it has caused? It doesn’t take large amounts of water to create huge problems, because mold doesn’t take much moisture to blossom into a deadly unwanted fungi. You require some simple tools; fans, cleaners, and a few buckets of bleach.
Here are some simple yet extremely important steps to follow in the event you have even just minimal water damage in your home:
How often do you think you run your faucet in any given day? And how many times out of that, do you think you’re using hot water? Your water heater is used every day, unless it’s intentionally shut off. Just like any appliance in your home, maintenance is required from time to time, but how do you know when? For the most part, water heaters are straightforward and easily maintained monsters. They have few parts, and do their best to do their jobs. You can typically fix most small issues by watching a quick youtube video or calling your dad, but there’s always a time in life where youtube and dad just aren’t enough. If your water tank itself has gone to pot, then it’s time to replace the whole unit. Unless you have any real plumbing experience, that’s going to take an expert.
We often hear complaints of a “popping” noise coming from your water heater. If you’re sitting at home and start hearing popcorn going off, it’s likely not a ghost. Your water heater eventually gathers enough sediment that it needs to be flushed. If you live in an area with high mineral content in your water, this is likely to happen to you. As the layers of sediment build, pools of water get trapped underneath. The water eventually heats up due to the burners, and we all know that when water heats up. It creates steam that naturally rises. The noises you’re hearing are simply steam bubbles pushing through layers of sediment. This sediment builds up, and doesn’t go away without a proper flush. The more sediment in your water heater, the harder it works and the higher your utility bills will be!
Leaks are another common issue with a water heater. Sometimes though, it’s hard to tell if that leak is from an actual issue, or if it’s purely condensation. Some leaks can’t be fixed, but if you do find one, call a professional and see if they can repair it. If not, you’ll be in the market for a new water heater. The issue could be a simple as a loose valve, or as complicated as erosion. Don’t wait around for the problem to get worse, call and have a technician out as soon as possible.
The last thing we’d like to mention is if the water heater has blown the breaker switch at home. The first thing you need to do in this situation is turn off the water heater, then immediately call your plumer. You need to avoid using hot water until the problem is fixed, and don’t bother replacing your breaker with a higher rated one unless you’ve heard from an electrician. You could have a bad heating element, a bad thermostat, or just bad wiring problems. Either way, you’re mixing water with electricity, and it’s best left up to the professionals.
You can always depend on us to fix your issues, and just because youtube is cheaper, doesn’t mean it’s the smarter option. A DIY repair gone bad can mean an even higher repair bill in the long run! Efficiency says you should call us today if you’re having any issues at all with the plumbing in your home. We look forward to hearing from you!
There are many reasons a drain can clog, but that doesn't mean you have time to deal with it. A giant wad of toilet paper, a ball of hair, or even a children's toy can be to blame. It's never a fun situation to be in to have your toilet overflow or the sink fill with water that just won't go down. So what do you do?
Here are a few simple tips for unclogging a drain, but remember it's not always easier to "do it yourself".
Clogged Kitchen Sink:
Left over food can accumulate on the drain pipe wall which can clog a sink.
You can try:
Always make sure to dispose of oil and grease by letting them solidify and throwing in to the garbage.
There are several reasons why the toilet can clog!
How do you prevent it from happening?
Make sure your household is only flushing water and paper that quickly dissolve in water. Items like cotton swabs, dental floss, diaper wipes, and feminine hygiene products do not belong in the toilet.
Keep your toilets clean to help fresh water flowing freely!
Clogged Drain Pipes
Dirt and gunk can accumulate on the walls of your drain pipes which can reduce water flow.
Clean out the drain stoppers regularly to prevent clogs. You can also use a hair strainer/drain cover to prevent items from going down the drain.
These are just a few examples of clogged drains with a few fixes for simple problems. If you find that they aren't working or it's stressing you out to think about fixing it yourself, give us a call. After all, that's what we are here for!
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!