Plumbing Tip: Stop Sink Clogs Before They Start

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A clogged bathroom sink can disrupt your morning routine. A clogged kitchen sink can make preparing dinner a frustrating task. Stop those annoying plumbing problems before they happen in your Winter Springs home by understanding how clogs occur. The main culprits are grease, hair, and food.

Hydrophobic and Hydrophyllic

In the world of chemistry, substances that dissolve in water are hydrophyllic. Salt and sugar are the most obvious examples. Substances that don’t dissolve in water, such as grease, oil, and organic solvents, are hydrophobic. They will quickly cling to any available surface that allows them to separate from water. Grease and oil from different sources will clump together rather mix with water.

When grease and oil are poured down a sink, they coat the inside of the drain pipe. Water will not remove them. Soaps and detergents are effective cleaners because they have both hydrophobic and hydrophyllic properties. They can pull some of the grease and oil away from the walls of the drain and into the  water, but the base layer of grease stuck to the pipe will not move. Over time, the grease stuck inside the drain accumulates. Hair and food debris gets caught in the grease. Eventually, the clot becomes large enough to stop the water from moving. No matter how much water you flush down the drain, the grease clot stays put.

Hair and Food

We all know we’re not supposed to flush things down the drain, but when we use a bathroom sink for routine grooming, it’s almost impossible to prevent an occasional hair from falling into the drain. When cleaning the dishes after meals, a small amount of food waste inevitably makes its way into the kitchen sink drain.

Over time, the strands of hair and bits of food accumulate in the U-shaped portion of the drain called the trap. Once an object becomes snagged inside the trap, it becomes an anchor for other objects to grab hold of. A clot of hair,  food particles, and other debris slowly accumulates.

Preventing Clogs

Most homeowners know that cooking grease should never be poured down a sink. But they may not realize that many foods, even lean foods like chicken or fish, give off small amounts of grease or fat when they cook. Scraps of food ground up in the garbage disposal can release grease that clings to the walls of the drain. For any busy kitchen, it’s nearly impossible to prevent some grease or oil from making its way into the drain. To help prevent a grease build up in the kitchen sink, add some dish detergent whenever you put cooking liquid, food scraps, or plate scrapings into the sink. Follow up with lots of hot water. For bathroom sinks, when you see a hair fall into the sink, try to wipe it away with tissue before it slides down the drain.

For any Winter Springs plumbing repairs, give Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. a call!

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Plumbing Question: What is a Faucet Aerator?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Saving water is something that everyone would like to do, and your Orlando plumber can tell you about all the upgrades available today, one of which is a faucet aerator. A tap aerator or faucet aerator is located on the tip of water faucets which are used indoors such as kitchen and bathroom sink faucets.  Their purpose is to spread the water stream into a number of smaller streams, in essence adding air to the water stream.  This saves the amount of water which comes out of the tap at one time while also reducing the amount of backsplash which occurs when the faucet is turned on.

Utilizing faucet aerators can be one of the most inexpensive ways to save money on your Orlando home’s water consumption and save energy.

There are two main types of faucet aerators, some which use metal or plastic screens to separate the water, and some which do not use screens. One advantage to those without screens is that they eliminate problematic clogging which occurs on screen aerators due to sediment buildup.  There are also aerators with off-valves and swivel aerators which allow users to direct flow to wherever the water spray is needed.

There are three main flow-types seen today. The needle method creates a circular pattern of small, single streams of water with no water-flow in the very center.  The aerated method created a tubular flow with air mixed into the water, creating a single stream of bubbly water.  The laminar method has no air mixed in which makes for a single stream of water with no bubbles.

Many aerators are designed as more economical low-flow aerators which optimize the water flow while still providing optimal water-flow performance.  In kitchens these low-flow options decrease flow from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1.5 gpm or 1.0 gpm, saving anywhere from 32% to 54% of water-usage.  On bathroom faucets the water-flow is decreased from 2.2 gpm to 1.0 gpm or even 0.5 gpm saving from 77% to 84% of water usage.  When engineered properly, low-flow or economic aerators can provide increased perceived water pressure while in actuality helping to save water.

When purchasing new faucet aerators, ensure that you find the proper type (male or female) and the proper size (regular or small).  There are dual-thread options for those who do not know whether a male or female aerator is necessary.  Also, look at the tap aerator’s price in conjunction with how much savings it can provide in water usage annually and see how little must be spent on each faucet in order to save hundreds of dollars. Your Orlando plumbing experts at Modern Plumbing Industries can help you find the perfect fixtures for your home.

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Ocoee Pipe Replacement Tip: Warning Signs of Leaking or Broken Pipes

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The plumbing system in your Ocoee home consists of an extensive network of pipes and fixtures that can wear down over time, even if they are well-maintained. Your pipes should be inspected at least once a year, particularly in older homes.

Some broken or leaky pipes can be repaired easily, but you may need to replace your pipes. If you have any questions or concerns about your plumbing system, call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. to speak with one of our certified plumbers.

Here are some warning signs of hidden leaks and broken pipes:

Abnormally High Water Bills

Unusual hikes in your water bill could indicate a leak, from broken or corroded pipes.  You should monitor your water bills to help you keep track of abnormal price increases.

Water Pressure

If you notice any sudden drops in water pressure, or if your washing machine or dishwasher takes longer to run through cycles, you could have a large leak in your pipe system. Call a plumber if it continues to be a problem.

Water Discoloration

While it could be sediment or mineral buildup getting through the municipal filtration system, water that contains red flakes or has a bitter taste could potentially indicate corrosion. You should call a professional plumber if this happens. Not only is it a health hazard, but you may need a pipe replacement.

Cast Iron Pipes in Older Homes

If you buy an older home with iron pipes, you should have them inspected by a certified plumber. Home inspectors can give a preliminary inspection, but they are not equipped or trained to provide a comprehensive inspection. Because cast iron pipes are made of rougher material than PVC piping, cast iron pipes tend to get clogged more easily, so you could have a potential disaster on your hands.

A professional plumber can provide a video camera inspection of your pipes to make sure there are no major clogs, root penetration, or corrosion on the inside of the pipe. This is why an Ocoee plumber should handle any of the plumbing repairs in your home.

Call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. to handle all of your plumbing installation, repair, or maintenance needs.

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