"Should I replace my toilet?"
We've had a good amount of calls lately at the office regarding whether or not homeowners are due for a new toilet. You use it every day, but chances are you never think about the need to replace it. Even though we all agree the toilet is one of the most important utilities in our household, neighbors tend to underestimate the importance of updating their "throne." "How do I know it's time for a new toilet??" Flushing your $ away: The most recent update to federal standards on toilet flush efficiency occurred in 1994, when toilets were capped at 1.6 gallons per flush. So if your toilet is older than that, there’s a good chance you could get a boost in water efficiency by upgrading. If you really want to save water, don’t settle for 1.6 gallons -models marketed as water-efficient toilets may have flush ratings as low as 1.28 gallons or lower. There are also dual-flush toilets that offer a full flush for solid waste but a partial flush for liquid waste. Wobble Wobble: If your toilet is wobbling, the best-case scenario is that the bolts connecting it to the floor have simply come loose. Unfortunately, many cases of wobbly toilet syndrome lead to the discovery of a rotten floor underneath the toilet, often the result of long-term water damage. The best way to confirm this diagnosis is to completely remove the toilet from the floor, which should also make it easier to confirm whether a leaky toilet is the culprit. But even if the toilet is OK, the necessary bathroom remodel that will result from a rotten floor creates a perfect opportunity to upgrade to a newer toilet if you so choose. Cracks and Leaks: Given enough time, many toilets will begin to develop hairline cracks in the tank, bowl and other areas. Once these cracks develop, they can expand and progress into leaks. Because your toilet is always holding water, even a tiny leak can cause a serious moisture problem over time. Cracks that can be located can sometimes be repaired by a plumbing professional, but some can be so severe or difficult to reach that replacement is the only practical solution. Allow an experienced plumber to help assess the condition of your toilet.
25 Water Conservation Tips!
2013 was the driest year on record in California, and 2014 is off to a pretty dry start as well. With that, Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent voluntarily, and mandatory rationing could be ordered soon so that homes, businesses and farms don’t run dry over the summer. To aid with that reduction, we wanted to give out some tips that might help you in reduce water usage that you may not have occured to you. If you want any more information or any help with some plumbing, heating, or air conditioning, please do not hesitate to contact us! Kitchen Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy. Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients. Laundry Room Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color. When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load. Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for codes. Bathroom Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste. Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water. One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks. General Indoor Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks. Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month. General Outdoor Plant desert-friendly plants to limit the amount of water needed in your yard. Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days. Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute. Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance. Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those that spray water into the air. Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too. Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. Were a pipe to burst, this could save gallons of water and prevent damage.
AIR CONDITIONING - It's getting Hot, Hot, Hot!
The weather is changing and temperatures are rising! Did you know that our guys at Santa Margarita Plumbing also specialize in Heating and Air? We take pride in our A/C troubleshooting and repair. One of our clients in Mission Viejo today called us to schedule an AC "check up" this week before his house starts heating up. We wanted to take a moment to remind all of our neighbors how beneficial it is to schedule something like this. Most home owners rely on the fact that their air conditioner will be running and keeping them cool. That is until of course your AC unit out of the blue breaks down. Out of sight, out of mind until it’s too late. A good way to avoid this happening is to have a regular scheduled maintenance. Your AC unit should have the filters cleaned or replaced every two months or less. A clogged AC filter will make your unit work harder. Other things to check at least once a year are make sure the drain channels are clean and not clogged, window seals are tight so no air is escaping, and be sure to clean your evaporator coils too. Thanks for doing business with us. Sincerely, Randy Gardner
Santa Margarita Plumbing
Are You Overlooking These Seemingly Small Problems?
The last person most people want to see in their driveway tends to be a plumber; however, there are some problems that can occur out of sight that you want to make sure you are keeping an eye out for. Catching a problem early on and performing preventative maintenace, in addition to saving you money, can also keep your family and home safer. LEAKS Have you ever thought that you heard water running when you are positive that there shouldn't be any water flowing in the house? Have you felt a warm spot from underneath your flooring? Just because there is no water appearing does not necessarily mean you do not have a leak. Over time, for many reasons, the pipes in your house can spring a small pinhole leak and begin to leak into your house. If that pinhole leak occurs under the concrete slab your house on, that is what is known as a slab leak. If you think you have a leak, we have the tools to locate that leak and repair it with minimal drywall damage and without touching your flooring. AIR FILTERS Dirty air filters are a very common problem when it comes to under-performing heating or air conditioning systems. If your filter is not replaced or cleaned regularly, dirt and other contaminants build up in it and cause the system to have to perform that much harder to acheive the same desired temperature. This causes the unit to wear down quicker and can mean a shorter life-span. In addtion to shorter lives, those dirty filters are causing your unit to circulate dirty air and contaminants through your house which can leak to more health risks to you and your family. Make sure you or your HVAC technician are inspecting your air filters on a regular basis. DRYER VENTS Along with HVAC air filters, dryer vents need to be checked and maintained regularly to ensure top-level performance and to guarantee safety as well. Over time, dryer vents build up residue on the inside and can diminsh the efficiency of your dryer. Along with reduced efficiency, clogged vents will cause a back up of exhaust into your home which can lead to higher risks of starting a fire. For these reasons and more, make sure you are checking your vents regularly. HIGH WATER PRESSURE Your house more than likely has what is called a water pressure regulator valve on the outside of it to maintain a safe level of water pressure to your home. If that valve starts to get too old or malfunctions, you could have a rise in water pressure, most likely noticed in your sinks or showers. If this occurs, it should be addressed immediately because too high of water pressure can lead to pipes bursting at connections, resulting in a flooding of your home. If you've noticed a rise it water pressure, make sure to have a plumber check it immediately. WASHING MACHINE HOSES If you have a washing machine in your home, you most likely have the standard rubber water supply lines. If your water lines are made of rubber, we strongly recommend that you trade those out for stainless steel, braided hoses. As with any other water supplied device, those connections to the hoses are constantly receiving water pressure, and over time those rubber hoses start to wear down and lose strength. If it does lose too much strength, those hoses can burst and with the amount of water that is supplied to your washing machine can result in horrible water damage. So check out your hoses today and if you have rubber water hoses, we strongly urge you to change them to stainless steel! If you would like for a plumber or HVAC technician to look at any of these or other issues, or just have a question, please do not hesitate to contact us today!
Attic Fans versus HVAC Systems: What Is Right For You?
With summer quickly approaching, we wanted to discuss an option to help keep you and your home cool. Every now and then we get questions and requests for estimates on attic fans, also known as whole-house fans; and to be honest, we are quite surprised that we do not get more of these inquiries. Southern California is the absolute perfect climate for a whole-house fan, with its dry days and cool nights. Attic fans are an extremely cost-efficient way to cool down your home. They are installed in your attic and create a circulation of cool, night air that comes from the outside (through open windows or doors) and pushes that air through and exiting from the roof in your attic (through a new vent that would be installed). The sun beats down on your roof all day which results in a heat load in your attic that makes it hard to cool your home with an air conditioning system alone. The circulation of air from an attic fan aids in the cooling of your home while also reducing the temperature in your attic. This circulation reduces that heat load and increases the length of time that your house remains cool throughout the day. Attic fans are incredibly cost efficient when compared to standard air conditioning systems. A fan can be run all through the night keeping your house cool at a fraction of the cost of a HVAC system. Many fans will run on a regular basis without a steep increase in your electric bill; like your air conditioning system would. It is comparable to having a ceiling fan, or any other standard electrical appliance run through the night. If you would like more information on attic fans, or if you would like an estimate on having one installed in your home, please do not hesitate to contact us! We would love to help educate you in your decision.
Bathroom Pests: watch out for these water lovin' bugs
Listen, this isn't exactly our favorite topic of discussion either. However, its something worth chatting about. It's commonly known that the kitchen and attic welcome pesky insects with open arms, but what a lot of people don't realize is that your bathroom could potentially be doing the same. Water leaks can cause pest problems in homes, schools, and businesses. Most people are unaware of the association between plumbing problems and pests, but the fact is that the two are intertwined. If you have a leak, it will attract pests. The constant moisture coming from the tub, sink and toilet create the perfect environment for bugs that thrive in and around water. "No bugs here!" You might think, "What if I haven't seen any bugs with my own eyes?" Be careful, if you have any sort of leak in the bathroom that you've been putting off, chances are you have bugs crawling around. We say this because bugs like Silverfish, Mites, and Cockroaches usually sneak around in the middle of the night to hunt for food and water. To get rid of pests, and keep them from coming back, you have to deprive them their basic survival needs: food, water, shelter. Did you know that German cockroaches can survive a couple of weeks without food, but they will die within a few days if they do not have access to moisture? What should I look for? In the bathroom, make sure that there is a good seal around the water pipes where they enter the room from the wall. A good caulk seal assures that even the smallest insects can’t enter. Also, check grout around bathtubs and toilets. A poor seal around a bathtub can allow water into the surrounding floor and walls, and if the wax ring around the bottom of a toilet isn’t sealing properly, you could create a watering hole for critters every time you flush. Regular maintenance such as fixing leaks, are key components of a smart, sensible, and sustainable pest management program. Recognizing the value of pest prevention is an important first step. Drip, drip, drip goes the faucet … stopping those drips saves water, helps the environment, and protects you from pests!
Be Thankful For Your Disposal!
With Thanksgiving upon us this week, we want to take a moment to remind everyone that your GARBAGE DISPOSAL IS NOT A TRASHCAN!!!!! When you are getting ready to do your dishes, you should be scraping as much off your plate into the trash can as possible. While your disposal is definitely a helpful tool, it is not designed to break down large objects, it is meant for left over scraps. A standard disposal is quite strong, but they are not indistructable and have quite a short life, compared to other kitchen appliances; so the better you treat it, the longer it will last. With the holiday parties and busy schedules, we can not always promise that we will be able to make it to your home at a moments notice. Make sure you are checking for any signs of stoppages before the big day and call us ahead of time! If you are having any plumbing or HVAC problems, call us today and we would be happy to try and get you on the schedule before Turkey Day! Happy Holidays! Below is fun graphic about the "5 Furious Foods of Garbage Dipsoal Death!" from Angie's List! Haha, while it is quite comical, it is very true! USE YOUR TRASHCAN!
Celebrating 30 Years in Business! (A message from the owner)
To my loyal customers, Wow, 30 years! It’s gone by so fast. I must say that it’s been a great experience and a thrill for me and my family to have had the opportunity to assist our neighborhood with all of their Plumbing and Air Conditioning needs over the years. There have been so many changes in our industry as well as in our day to day life since we started in 1987. I mean, we didn't even have cell phones or pagers in the beginning because they hadn’t been invented yet. To communicate with my employees during those early days we had to use pay phones, HA! There wasn't Internet nor fax machines yet so every proposal had to be sent verbally by phone or hand delivered to the customer. How did we even manage this? It might be why that to this day I believe so passionately about clear communication with customers. To me, it is the most important ingredient of a successful business whatever that business may be. Clear communication along with honesty and integrity will take you a long way in any business and help keep you afloat during those recessionary down times that we've definitely experienced in Orange County during the past 30 years! I would like to thank all of our customers, my family, and my outstanding employees for their support over the last 30 years. I look forward to being there for you in the future just as we have been since 1987. Sincerely, Randy Gardner
Do We Live in Shangri-La?
Would you consider Rancho Santa Margarita to be Shangri-La? We would! This is a 20/20 episode back in the 1980's that featured a new, master-planned community called Rancho Santa Margarita.We think RSM has only gotten better and we are beyond proud to have been here from the beginning. This video takes a trip back in time when the city was still very early on in development and is very fun to watch! Take a look and see if there are any places you recognize. Also, check out Barbara's hair! Got to love the 80's.
Do you have Backyard Flooding Problems?
Keep calm and let us fix it If you are experiencing water pooling in yard, you cannot get rid of standing water, drain rainwater, we know how to achieve better yard drainage We know area drains can affect many areas of your home or business, plumbing problems suddenly appear out of nowhere your entire household or business suffers. even minor plumbing issues can cost your business time, money, and productivity. When our professional technicians arrive on your Home or Business, we know to resolve it Drain Cleaning, Hydro Jetting & Underground Camera Work - We carry an assortment of drain-cleaning machines to suit your needs. Our high-quality camera equipment can quickly and efficiently diagnose any problem. Our hydro-jetting process utilizes high pressure water (4000 psi) to efficiently and effectively cut tree roots and remove grease from sewer lines Santa Margarita Plumbing has been dedicated to customer service and quality workmanship at a fair price. Whether you need drain cleaning, water heater repair or Hydro-jetting, our plumbers provide the best options and prices When you need quick, professional drain assistance in Santa Margarita or the nearby areas, call us at 949-858-3818 and schedule a free estimate today or send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kindest Regards!
Don't Sweat All Summer
Summer is in full swing and does not seem to be going anywhere. It will be nearing triple-digits on Friday, so make sure you do not wait until then to test your air conditioning system! We've had many people call already this summer and then have to wait in the heat for a few days until we can get there, and we hate when that happens. Make sure you are testing your system beforehand and to not delay in scheduling your service appointment for your unit. We recommend servicing your unit once a year in order for the until to run optimally. When servicing your unit, we make sure that everything is running at maximum efficiency, check the levels of freon and add any if needed, and check for any leaks that your unit might be suffering from. These practices are to ensure that your unit is not wasting any of your money and will continue to work long into the future. Call us today to set up a time, or if you have any questions, we'd be more than happy to answer them! 949-858-3818
Don't let Plumbing Issues Bog Down Your Holiday Plans
Happy Holidays! Are you expecting guests and extended family this year? As most holiday celebrations include 11 or more family and friends gathering at your home – which means more people using a home’s plumbing system, preparation is the name of the game. If pre-existing build up is clogging drains or pipes, then the extra stress during the holidays will easily cause a plumbing crisis.
Plumbing Preparedness for the Holidays: Tips to Keep Drains Clear If you’re expecting visitors, keep aware of the demands you’re going to be putting on your plumbing system. Ask guests to wait 10-15 minutes between showers to allow time for the drains to clear. Place empty trash bins in each bathroom so visitors have alternatives to flushing things.
Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts
Even if you have a garbage disposal, don’t put the following items down your sink: Bones Fats Skin from poultry Cooking oils Potato and onion peels Fibrous vegetables like celery and pumpkin What can you do to prep your plumbing system?
Fix slow drains, leaky faucets, and check for improperly installed appliances right away.
Locate your home’s main water shut off valve, as well as the hot and cold water supplies to bathroom and kitchen faucets.
If you do have a plumbing emergency, shut off the water supply and call Santa Margarita Plumbing, Heating & Air for emergency services. We’re here 24/7.