Category Archives: Fixtures & Faucets

The fixtures and faucets can make a huge impact on the look and feel of your home. The one thing that can ruin that is a leaky faucet that won’t stop dripping. My Plumber CA of San Diego has many articles about what it takes to fix the most common leaks in your house. Once you have realized you need a professional, call My Plumber CA to fix all your plumbing leaks. We have technicians that will give a free estimate. Call Today!

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How to Get Your Wedding Ring from Your Garbage Disposal

We’ve all had that moment. You’re washing dishes and then you go to drain the water only to realize that your wedding ring is missing from your finger and has gone down the garbage disposal or sink drain.

lost wedding ring down garbage disposal drainBut where did it go?

A wedding ring can easily become lost in your garbage disposal or sink drain if not properly sized or if you don’t wear gloves when doing the dishes. Luckily, you might be able to get your wedding ring from your garbage disposal more easily than you think.

With a little bit of stealthy maneuvering (and a bit of luck), you could have your wedding right back on in no time.

If You Can See the Wedding Ring in the Disposal

Using a flashlight, see if the wedding ring is visible inside of the disposal. If so, then you might be able to retrieve the ring without too much trouble. Follow these steps below to attempt to retrieve your wedding ring from your disposal.

1. Unplug the Garbage Disposal

You should never begin work on your garbage disposal if you haven’t first unplugged it. It’s especially unsafe if your wedding ring has gotten jammed in your garbage disposal. Allowing the motor or blade to run with the ring inside will not only damage the ring, but also the disposal’s blade. More importantly, if you are ever reaching inside the disposal, an unplugged unit means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally grinding your hand.

Which leads us to our next point…

2. Keep Your Hands Out of the Disposal

If at all possible, don’t put your hands in the garbage disposal.

Why?

It’s difficult to see what is going on inside of your disposal, meaning that you could easily run your hand across the blade or across another piece of sharp metal. This will cause lots of blood, a trip to the emergency room, and lots of cash. Just don’t do it.

image of kitchen sink after a ring was lost down the garbage disposal drain3. Try Using a Magnet

So if you can’t stick your hand down your kitchen drain, how are you going to get your wedding ring out? First, try using a magnet. A long magnet or a plain old refrigerator magnet tied to a string will do the trick. Dangle the magnet just inside the kitchen drain and see if it picks up your wedding ring. Got a ring made out of silver or gold? Sorry, your wedding ring isn’t magnetic. You’ll have to try something else.

4. Try Using Pliers, Tongs, or a Long Wooden Spoon

Shine a light down your kitchen drain. Can you see your wedding ring? If so, try using pliers, kitchen tongs, a long cooking spoon, or other useful device to scoop up the ring. Remember – refrain from putting your hands in your garbage disposal.

5. Check if Your Wedding Ring is Stuck in the P-trap

Still haven’t found your wedding ring? It is possible that your ring went all the way through the disposal and is stuck in the u-shaped pipe below the kitchen sink. Many p-traps have drain plugs or cleanout plugs at their lowest point. This make it easy to open up the p-trap and remove any waste that has collected there. Place a bucket under the pipe, remove the drain plug, and (hopefully) discover your wedding ring inside.

If your p-trap does not have a cleanout plug, you’ll have to remove the slip nuts on either end of the pipe and take out the entire u-shaped section. You can do this yourself, or have a professional do it just to be on the safe side.

6. Still No Luck? Call a Professional Plumber

If you still cannot locate your wedding ring in your garbage disposal, it is likely that the ring is stuck inside the unit itself. In this case, we recommend calling your local plumbing professional to disassemble the garbage disposal and reveal your wedding band.

If You Can’t See the Wedding Ring in the Disposal

If you can’t see your ring but you’re positive that it fell into the sink drain, don’t lose hope. Call your local plumber and have them inspect your garbage disposal. It could be that your ring is stuck somewhere inside the disposal or in another section of easily accessible pipe.

Remember – don’t run the disposal if you think your ring is inside of it. You will only cause damage to your wedding ring and ruin or jam your disposal in the process. My Plumber CA offers garbage disposal repair in San Diego and beyond. Call us today to schedule a plumbing repair appointment ASAP.

Common Ways to Fix Any Kitchen Sink Problem

Your kitchen sink is one of the most important parts of your kitchen. It is because of this that it’s so important that everyone know how to fix a kitchen sink.  If you have a problem with your sink, you’ll have a problem cooking food, cleaning dishes, and keeping your work area clean.

Anything can go wrong with your kitchen sink. The faucet may drip, the drain or faucet might leak, or the sink might become clogged. Here are a few things you can do to fix your kitchen sink if you experience these or other problems with it:

Clear a Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is one of the most common kitchen sink problems. Food or hair can get into the drain, or oil can harden in the pipe. The next thing you know, you have water and sludge backing up into your clean sink.

You can use a number of chemical drain cleaners to remove the clog. If these do not work, you can try a drain snake to remove the offending material or use a plunger the same way you would on a toilet. You should be able to clear most minor blockages on your own using one of these methods.

Fix a Leaky Drain or Pipe

If some part of your kitchen sink is leaking, such as the drain, the faucet or the pipe, you should easily be able to repair it by tightening the part. Tighten all washers and other connections to start. If that does not solve the problem, you will need to inspect the seals around the area that is leaking. If the seal is broken or cracked, you will need to replace it.

Call a Plumber

The very best thing you can do to fix any kind of problem with your kitchen sink is to call a qualified plumber like My Plumber in San Diego. You could damage your drain by putting the wrong cleaners in your sink or using materials to try to clear clogs. You could easily overlook problems that are contributing to leaks, and you could make problems worse by trying to repair them. Always call the professionals to for plumbing repairs in your San Diego home. You’ll get the job done right and will protect your investment.

Common Hidden Leaks in the Home

Do you have a leaky pipe behind your walls or beneath your slab? There is only one way to really tell for sure. Have a professional leak detection service. Slow leaks are insidious and can cause damage to your home over the long term. They can result in warped structure supports, rotted beams and mold and mildew issues. All of which can compromise the health of your home and family.

Checking for Hidden Leaks

If you think you might have a hidden leak, there is a simple way to check. Turn off all of the faucets and toilets at the shut off valves and then check the water meter. Leave everything shut off for at least two hours and check the meter again. If the dial has changed, you have a leak somewhere in your system. If you find that you do have a hidden leak you’ll need a professional to help you locate and fix it.

Other places you might have leaks include near and around the tub, your toilets and your sinks. In fact, the majority of leaks happen in these places.

Splash Leaks

Splash leaks are the most common bathroom leak – even more common that toilet leaks – and they can signal some serious repairs. These leaks happen when water splashes out past shower doors or curtains. The leaky water seeps down into the subfloor and causes it to rot. Repairing this type of leak is as simple as caulking the bottom of the shower door or making sure that the shower curtain is inside the tub edge when taking a shower.

Toilet Flappers

Toilet flapper leaks are the next most common type that you can have in your home. These leaks don’t cause damage to your home in any way but they can cost you a lot of money. A single leaky flange can cause your toilet to run and use an extra 600 gallons of water a month. To test for this type of leak put a few drops of food coloring in your reservoir tank and let the toilet sit for half an hour. If you notice that there is color in your toilet bowl, you have a leak. Replacing the flapper is relatively easy and can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Sink Rim Leaks

Sink rim leaks are another oddball, but all too familiar, leak that our plumbers deal with more often than you would think. The edges of the sink sometimes are not sealed fully and a wet sponge or sprayer overflow could cause water to pool behind the sink and leak down through the crack between the sink and the counter top. Check for this type of leak by dripping water from a sponge behind the sink and waiting to see if water runs down into the lower cabinets. If you have a leak like this a simple bead of caulk can fix it.

In any case, if you haven’t checked your home for hidden leaks in the last year, this is a good time to do so. You may be surprised in what you find.

 

Plumbers Insights – Our Christmas Gift to You

When you call a plumber it will cost you over $100 just to get us in the door. That’s an expense you don’t want to have to deal with in the weeks leading up to Christmas. So what we’ve decided to do is give you a few insights from our experienced staff that will allow you to navigate your plumbing service this season. These tips and tricks range from DIY standbys for those of you who have a bit of technical skill and are willing to get a little dirty in the process to ways to limit water damage when you have a broken faucet or leaking toilet. Most plumbers won’t tell you this kind of stuff because they make a pretty penny on an easy fix, but in the spirit of the season, we’ve become quite a giving bunch!

  1. If you can wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to get service, schedule ahead. We get the most calls on Mondays when wives are calling us to fix what their husbands “fixed” over the weekend.
  2. Don’t know a reputable plumber in the area? Call us. Or, if you want to get an unbiased opinion, call a local plumbing supply company for a recommendation. They won’t usually work with unlicensed or below average plumbers.
  3. Don’t put a brick or half gallon of water in your toilet reservoir. Your toilet was designed to flush with a specific amount of water. Changing it could keep your business from going down the drain (not something you want to deal with if you have guests over the holidays). Instead, if you want to save money, invest in a low flow toilet. They aren’t excessively expensive and can pay for themselves in water savings in just a few years.
  4. If you do have a clog, avoid using over the counter liquid drain cleaners. They are caustic and not only can be harmful to you, but to your pipes too. Use a plunger, or better yet, purchase a hand auger (drain snake). The snake will come in handy and pay for itself on its first use.
  5. Clogs are the bane of most bathrooms. If you happen to have a long locked beauty in your home, invest in a drain cover to catch all of the excess hair that comes out during a shower. Not doing so can lead to slow running drains and even full clogs (another good use for that drain snake).
  6. Replace the rubber hoses on the back of your washing machine with stainless steel reinforced ones. The flimsy ones will break over time and are one of the top insurance claims from homeowners. Even a small leak can cause a problem because the washing machine is almost always in a low traffic area. The drip can go on for quite a while before being caught. We suggest (if you still have the flimsy rubber hoses) that you check the hoses every time you do the laundry.
  7. Don’t let drippy faucets and leaking toilets go. Get them fixed right away. A single dripping faucet can waste up to 8 gallons of water a day. A leaky toilet up to 200! If you don’t want to pay for the fix, you’ll be paying for it when your next water bill comes. And the bill after that and the bill after that. You get the picture.
  8. Do you find yourself jiggling the handle of your toilet to get it to work properly? If so, you probably need a new drain flap – they cost about $5. They are quite easy to install and will stop your need to jiggle without having to shell out a Benjamin just to get a professional plumber in the door.
  9. When you purchased your garbage disposal it came with an Allen wrench. This is a manual way to advance the interior grinding mechanism when the disposal gets jammed. Keep it under the sink (taped to the unit is best) so it is there when you need to clear a jam.
  10. Get multiple estimates for any large plumbing job that you need to have completed. The estimates should be within 25% of each other. Any that are excessively high or low may indicate either an overpriced company or a company that is going to try to nickel and dime you with hourly charges.
  11. Asking for quotes is good, but asking for references is better. Get them from customers that have used the service in the past 3 months. Also realize that plumbers can change their names or company name at any time they wish. So look for a well established company that has a good track record to be on the safe side. Again, if you don’t have any personal references to go from, contact a plumbing supply company to get their recommendation.
  12. Always work with a plumber that warranties his work for at least a year on all major installations and repairs. A plumber that doesn’t stand behind his work is a plumber I don’t want messing with my pipes.
  13. Don’t be afraid to ask us to check your water pressure or those pesky banging signs in the supply lines under your sink. Just do it after we’ve completed the work we have been contracted to do. Plumbers never turn down the potential for new work.
  14. Do you have a wire hanger handy? If you do you can easily fashion a hook that can be snaked down your bathtub drain to remove hair and soap scum clogs. Remember, about two inches down almost all bathtubs have a 90 degree drain turn. This is where the clog is likely to strike.
  15. Learn where your shut off valves are. This is an invaluable piece of information. When a leak starts you can literally have minutes until you are dealing with an interior flooding situation. Locate both the main shut off for your home and the interior shut offs (usually under the sinks and behind the toilets). Know where they are can literally save you thousands of dollars in damages.
  16. If you have some food coloring handy, you can check you toilet for leaks with a dye test. Simply drop a few drops of food coloring (we prefer green) into the reservoir and let the toilet it for half an hour. Check the bowl. If you see colored water you have a leak. The darker the color, the worse the leak. Replacing the flapper valve is usually the solution.
  17. Don’t buy a brand new low flow faucet to reduce your water usage. There are aerators that will thread on to your existing faucets for about 1/10th of the cost and will do the exact same thing.

 

Hopefully at least a few of our insights will help you save some cash or trouble. If you happen to have other questions or concerns about the plumbing in your house, send them in to our professionals. We will be starting a monthly readers question and answers section to our blog. And again, a happy holiday to yours from every one of us at My Plumber Ca!

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Faucets and Showers and Leaks? Oh My!

What happens when you have a leaky faucet or a drippy shower? Do you simply ignore it, thinking that it isn’t really costing you that much? If you do – here’s some math for you.

Drip + Drip + Drip = $$$

If you have one faucet that drips once every minute (this is a leak you might not even notice), it will waste 34 gallons of water a year. That’s not too bad. But most leaks that you notice are closer to a drip every few seconds. At a rate of one drip every second you’ll be wasting 2082 gallons almost a 3 full HCFs (748 gallons). That would be about $10.50. Now multiply that by the number of leaky faucets you have – it starts to add up quickly. Now look at your shower. If the showerhead is leaking at the same rate as the faucet, the cost is the same. A house full of leaks could easily add up to hundreds of dollars every year. Do your calculations here.

Some of these leaks can be changed by a handy DIY guy, but most of the time you’ll need a professional. Here’s when you should be looking for professional help:

Professional San Diego Leak Repairs

If you have outdated or broken-down faucet handles, shower heads or other hardware that is showing signs of age, you may need a professional to remove and update your fixtures for you. You don’t want metal flakes getting into your water.

Where’s That Water Coming From?

You may also need help if you can’t identify where a leak is coming from. Not every leak comes through the tap, sometimes leaks are due to improper seals or clogs lines creating pressure on pipe joints. A professional plumber can find these problems and fix them fast without having to do a bunch of exploratory digging through your walls.

What Happens if The Drain Clogs?

We can always handle your drain cleaning needs, but you might have to call in a San Diego water damage restoration company if the water overflows and causes any material damage. That’s why it’s important to call at the first sign of trouble.

A Real California Low Pressure Problem

If you have low pressure in your fixtures, that can also be the sign of a leak or blockage. You may have a build-up of calcium or iron in your pipes or worse, you might have corroded pipes with pinhole leaks. Blockages can be cleared with a high pressure pipe cleaning but corrosion often requires a full pipe replacement.

If you have low water pressure or broken bathroom fixtures, call the bathroom plumbing pros at My Plumber CA. We can answer all your questions about bathroom plumbing repairs, replacements or plumbing problems right now! You can also visit our faucet repair page to learn more.

 

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Sink Installation By the Numbers

As a local plumbing expert, My Plumber CA knows that there are several competent do-it-yourselfers out there. But we also know that most people haven’t got that much experience doing work on major home systems. Even some of the jobs that seem like they are simple, can end up disastrous if they aren’t done correctly. One of these is a sink installation. Whether you are replacing an old kitchen sink or putting in an entire new bathroom, there are several common mistakes that DIYers make.

Major DIY Sink Installation Mistakes

The most common problem that we’ve seen is a violation of local building codes. This happens because the homeowner doesn’t know the regulations. And, while understandable, ignorance of the law is not a defense, so any home improvements that are not up to code will have to be fixed the first time a licensed plumber is called in.

Many of the following mistakes are also violations of building code:

  • Improperly joining copper pipe to existing galvanized lines
  • Failing to level fixtures
  • Forgetting to use PTFE tape or pipe compound on threaded joints
  • Improperly adjusting stop valves
  • Failing to install an air gap for fixtures
  • Cutting supply lines too short to install shut offs
  • Using improperly sized pipes (usually too small)
  • Failing to remove excess bonding agent from previous installations
  • Compressing pipes while cutting them

Sink Installation Process

Free Standing Sink

  1. Use a cutting wheel to cut the end of the copper supply lines for both hot and cold water. Leave at least 1 ½” of the pipe extending past the finished wall to allow for a shut-off  valve connection.
  2. Build the faucet according to the instructions contained in the packaging (there are simply too many types of faucet to describe in detail here).
  3. Flip the sink over so the bottom is facing up and install the escutcheon (cover plate), coupling nut, compression ring and valve.
  4. Tighten the coupling nut. This will require two wrenches (crescents make this much easier because you don’t have to match the nut and coupling sizes). The nut will make a quick squeal when it has been properly tightened. Do not over-tighten the compression seal. This can cause cracking.
  5. Flip the sink back upright and set it on top of your cabinet (or stand it up if it is a pedestal).
  6. Connect the J-trap to the drain line and the main drain line to the J-trap. Tighten as necessary.
  7. Turn the water on and check the shut-off  valves, drain line and basin for leaks.

Drop In Sink

  1. Make sure the sink that you purchase fits the space in your counter-top. The lip should sit squarely on the routered edge of the hole, within 1/8″.
  2. Install the faucet in the sink body before dropping it into place. You can attach it after the sink is secured, but it will be a bigger hassle unless you have two people that are very good at working with each other. Do not attach the supply lines to the sink, yet.
  3. Set the sink in place and align all the supply and drain lines before screwing it into place. Screw the sink in using the included underside brackets (use the screws that came with the brackets, longer screws will not fasten completely because they will hit the sing edge.
  4. Place a bead of silicone caulk around the top side of the sink. This will prevent water from getting between the sink body and the cabinet.
  5. Turn on the water and check for leaks.

Of course, the easiest way to install a sink is to hire professional to do it for you! You didn’t think we were going to miss an opportunity like that did you? So, if you aren’t a big DIYer or simple would rather spend your Saturday doing something else, give My Plumber CA a call and let us take care of it for you.

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How To Repair a Kitchen Sink

Your kitchen sink is a very helpful piece of equipment to have. But if the pipes become clogged or get a hole in them a lot can go wrong. Water can leak out and wet the floor which can cause you or someone else to slip and get hurt. Moisture causes black mold, which is also a severe problem if not caught early. Also, if you don’t have a dishwasher, a clogged sink or leaking sink pipe can keep you from washing dishes or using your sink for anything else.

Leaks are more difficult problems than clogs, and you will probably not want to tackle them yourself as the tools are somewhat specialized. If part of the plumbing under your sink leaks, it may be an isolated incident, like a leaky seal. But if it’s coming from the pipe itself, the leak is likely caused by corrosion, which means it’s likely more cost-effective in the long run to replace all those pipes with PVC piping than it is to fix another leak every six months. Your plumber will take a look and give you a rundown of possible solutions.

But in case you are interested, here is a general plan for how the plumber will tackle your kitchen sink repair job:

  • First he will place a bucket beneath the kitchen sink’s drain assembly. This is to catch the waste water from the p-trap. Then he will loosen the nut holding the p-trap with a pipe wrench.

  • When the water has almost completely stopped draining from the p-trap he will remove the p-trap from the drain assembly and throw it away.

  • Then he will loosen and remove the nut that connects the sink strainer to the sink basin, the extension pipe and the nut that connects the wall drain pipe to the wall drain extension pipe and discard all the old pipes.

  • Next he will need to use PVC adapters to merge the old metal piping to the new PVC piping he will be putting in. PVC piping is glued together, not soldered, so there will be no open flames.

  • Then he will use an array of PVC parts, just like the metal ones he removed, to replace all the traps and extension pipes.

  • Once everything is put back together, he will test and make sure there are no longer any leaks. If there are no leaks then he is done.

So if your kitchen sink is leaking, give us a call immediately and we’ll be there. You can also visit our sink repair & installation page to learn more. If your leaking sink manages to cause damage to your floor, you may also need help from a water damage restoration company in San Diego

Toilet Won’t Stop Running?

Every plumbing service soon gets to know the pet peeves of their customers. Along with slow-moving drains, low pressure and a high water bill, a toilet that won’t stop running is a thorn in peoples’ sides.

Troubleshooting a toilet that won’t stop running:

1      Jiggle the handle. If that solves the problem, the issue is likely that the chain is wrapped around the flush handle arm. You can fix this by taking the cover off the toilet tank and straightening out the chain. You may want to cut the chain with wirecutters if there’s more than an inch in excess chain. That should help prevent the problem in the future.

2      If jiggling the handle doesn’t work, the next step is to see if the tank is leaking. There are toilet dye tablets, but you can use food coloring if you like (not red, it can stain your tank. Blue is your best bet.) Drop the dye into the tank and wait a few minutes. If there’s coloring in your toilet bowl, you have a leaky flapper. Turn off the water, flush the tank, remove the flapper (it’s usually a simple snap-on fitting) and head down to your local home supply store for an exact match.

3      Not the flapper? Check the float. Does it stick? Mineral buildup can sometimes cause the float to stick. If this is the case, it will have to be switched out.

Those three steps will account for 90% of toilet problems. If it’s still running (or you just don’t feel like messing with it yourself) give My Plumber San Diego a call at 877-697-5862