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The Homeowner's Guide to Your Forever Home

When you commit to your forever home, you're committing to taking care of your home as much as it takes care of you and your family. But taking care of a home forever can be daunting! Our professional plumbers are sharing some of our top tips to help you take care of your home...forever.

Plumbing Questions to Ask About a New Home

If you're looking for your first home or searching for your forever home, finding the right place with all the right appliances can be overwhelming. Keep these questions in mind as you search for a home to find the best choice for your family!

How old is the water heater?

A well-maintained water heater will last about ten years. If you aren't budgeting for a new water heater, make sure the one in your new home isn't too close to this deadline. Ask the seller or realtor for information on when the water heater was installed. If they can't tell you, or if you are still uncertain, hire a professional to check it out.

Where is the water heater located?

Location matters. If the water heater is set up on hardwood or carpet, will your floors be ruined if it leaks? Will the drywall have damage?

How big is the water heater's tank?

Necessary tank capacity varies by how large your family is—a 1-2 person household may only need a 36-gallon tank, but families of 5+ will need a tank that can hold over 56 gallons of water. Does the water heater hold enough water to fill up that pretty bathtub with warm suds, or will you end up with chilly baths?

Bad Habits That Harm Your Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most heavily trafficked rooms in your home. One misstep and you could be dealing with a major clog, water damage, or a safety hazard. Some problems can be a quick and easy fix, while others can be more costly or damaging.

Break these bad habits to save your bathroom (and the bank):

  • Neglecting to use the ventilation fan. If you forget or opt not to turn this fan on, the moisture sits in your bathroom and can lead to major issues such as mold and mildew growth, or even water damage.
  • Ignoring "small" leaks. Hidden leaks can lead to water damage that is both expensive to fix and hazardous to the long-term health of your home.
  • Treating drains poorly. Knowing which foods can and can't go down the garbage disposal is just as important as preventing clogs in the bathroom sink.

Taking care of your bathroom can be as simple as flipping a switch (literally). Preventing clogs at home can take awareness, but anyone can learn!

Common Grooming Products That Clog Drains

You probably don't think twice about running your hands under a sink if you apply too much lotion or when you wash your face in the morning, but the reality is that even these small actions can add up to a clogged drain.

Some common beauty and bath products that can clog your drains include:

  • Heavy body lotions with ingredients like shea and coconut butter
  • Clay face masks and facial serums
  • Contact lenses
  • Facial moisturizers, especially those with sunscreen and exfoliators
  • Shaving creams and hair removal products such as Nair
  • Bath products such as bath bombs and coffee scrubs
  • Hair products like shampoo, conditioner, and hair masks

Some homeowners may be surprised that products such as bath bombs and exfoliating scrubs are on this list, but common ingredients such as heavy oils and coffee grounds only add to drain problems. Oils can congeal and stick to hair or an existing blockage in a drain and make the problem worse. Beauty products like exfoliating coffee scrubs can also create a sticky mess that's hard for your drain to clear on its own.

4 Easy Ways to Prevent Clogs in the Bathroom

The best way to reduce clogs is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Dispose of all Beauty Products Correctly

It may seem like all liquids can and should go down your drains, but by simply tossing old products in the trash, you can save time, money, and headaches.

Use Makeup Wipes

Items like makeup wipes help you take off makeup without rinsing it down your drains. Opt for reusable cotton pads for a more sustainable option.

Invest in a Drain Catcher

Drain catchers are a great way to prevent clogs. Simply place the drain catcher on top of or into the drain and clean it off every week to see how much really goes down the drain.

DIY Solutions

If you really can't (or don't want to) give up bath bombs, create a DIY bath bomb holder! Simply cut the foot off a pair of stockings, place your bath bomb inside and tie off the end. The bath bomb will still fizz and release colors, but any solid particles such as confetti or flower petals will stay in the stocking to be tossed.

Preventing clogs is the best way to take care of your bathroom plumbing, but if you're struggling with recurring or persistent clogged drains, professional help may be required.

How can you tell a water heater needs to be replaced?

1. Water Around the Base

One of the more obvious signs it may be time for a replacement is water around the base of your water heater. Even small leaks can quickly turn into a major headache. If you fail to replace the heater when it is leaking, you are putting yourself at risk of additional costs such as pests control for insects and rodents attracted to excess moisture or exorbitant costs of repairing the floors from water or mold damage.

2. Brown or Rusty Water

A common sign that your water heater has reached a point in time when replacement is needed is rust in the hot water. Rust in your hot water means that the inside of the tank is rusting, which can lead to leaks. Brown tap or bath water is a sure sign that your water heater's best days are behind it.

3. Strange Taste

Hot water that has a flavor that's redolent of metal may denote a heater that needs full replacement service as soon as possible. Faulty and aging hot water heaters don't only have flavors that remind people of metal, either. Your water may frequently smell like metal as well.

4. External Signs of Corrosion

Rust on inside your water heater is a big problem, but rust on the exterior of your tank is a sure sign that the unit is ready to spring a leak. If you notice that the water coming out of your faucets is rusty or if you notice rust around the pressure relief valve attached to the water heater, drain several buckets of water from the heater and check for signs of rust in the water. This way, you'll be certain the rust is coming from the water heater and not your piping system.

5. Not Enough Hot Water

Nothing is worse than stepping into what should be a warm stream of water, only to have the icy chill of cold water jolt you awake first thing in the morning. Insufficient amounts of hot water often point to a water heater in need of replacement.

6. Unusual Noises

Sediment accumulates inside of the tanks of water heaters as they get older. Repeated sediment heating leads to the development of a tough texture or build-up that eats up a lot of energy. The sediment will take up room in the tank, meaning you have less hot water, and the heater will be using more energy, spiking your energy bills. Inexplicable growling sounds caused by sediment are a sure sign it's time to contact a professional for service.

How often should you flush your water heater?

You can increase the lifespan of your water heater by flushing out your tank to prevent any build-up of sediment. Most companies will suggest that you flush your water heater annually to prevent build-up from solidifying and causing more problems for your home and your energy bills.

Contact our team for assistance completing this task or follow these instructions to DIY the job yourself!

When should I replace my water heater?

Your water heater should last up to 8-12 years, depending on care and maintenance. If your water heater is already within this age range, it's likely most cost-efficient to invest in a new unit rather than putting an expensive band-aid on a water heater that may require more repairs within a few months.

If you aren't sure how old your water heater is, ask a professional to assist you or check the sticker from the manufacturer to find the installation date.

When you need plumbing assistance, contact the professional plumbers at EJ Plumbing online or by phone: (650) 513-8852

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