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clogged drain

The Dangers of Drain Cleaners

The Dangers ofDrain Cleaners

If you’ve got a clog in your toilet, sink, or shower, you might be tempted to reach for a bottle of Drano. While this is a quick and effortless way to clear the clog, it is not necessarily a good choice. In fact, Drano even admits that you shouldn’t use their standard product on your toilet.

The experts at Patterson Plumbing know a thing or two about getting rid of clogs – they only have been doing it for more than 30 years. Here are a few reasons why they say you should avoid using these chemical drain cleaners:

  • They are harmful for your health. Drain cleaners emit harmful fumes that are dangerous to inhale. These chemicals can stick around long after the product has been washed down the drain. Coming in contact with the cleaner can also cause severe burns to your skin.

  • They are harmful for your drains. The main ingredient in these cleaners is hydrochloric acid, a chemical that deteriorates pipes. Plastic pipes can be affected right away, and metal piping can corrode long-term if you use these cleaners frequently.

  • They are harmful for the environment. Drain cleaner doesn’t magically disappear after it is flushed through your pipes, and can have damaging effects on aquatic wildlife.

So, what should you use to clear your drains?

Using a plunger or a plumbing snake is usually an effective way to remove a clog without damaging your plumbing system, but you can also make your own homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how:

  1. Flush the drain by pouring boiling water down it.

  2. Dump in ½ cup baking soda. Allow to sit for five minutes.

  3. Combine 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup hot water. Pour it down the drain.

  4. Your drain should fizzle up. Allow the chemicals to react for a few minutes, then flush again with hot water.

If you’ve got a clogged drain that you can’t seem to clear up, the professionals at Patterson Plumbing are here to help. If you live in Pueblo County, Colorado, count on us for all of your plumbing needs! Contact us online, or give us a call at (719) 544-4922.

Prevent Plumbing Problems This Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just about here – a day where your kitchen is in overdrive. Unfortunately, the traditional Turkey day meal and fixings have been known to cause some major stress on your plumbing.

We want to make sure you are thankful for clear and clog-free pipes this Thanksgiving – follow the tips below for a problem free holiday:

Don’t treat your garbage disposal as your trash can. Scrape any leftovers into the trash or compost pile. When you do use your disposal, careful not to overload it. Gradually feed waste to prevent any blockage or slowed blades.

Be careful of what you DO put in the disposal. Any starchy, stringy vegetables (like potato peels or celery) should be kept away from the disposal. These pieces can easily wrap around your blades and clog your drain. You also want to avoid throwing any turkey bones down – your disposal isn’t strong enough handle them and instead will wear it down.

Dispose of grease properly. Do your plumbing a favor, and discard used cooking oil or grease the right way. While there are many ‘right’ ways to do this – we can tell you the wrong way is pouring it down your drain. Instead, find an empty plastic container and allow the grease to cool slightly before pouring inside. Then, place it in the freezer until frozen. With a quick twist – pop the now frozen grease out like an ice cube tray and drop it into a freezer bag to dispose.

Keep water running. Keep cold water running for 30-60 seconds after disposing items in the garbage disposal. This will help the waste go down easier, pushing it along. Try not to use hot water, this can melt any fat inside which can re-solidify as a blockage further down the drain.

Don’t let a plumbing mishap interfere with your holiday or seasonal plans – give the experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating a call today!  Our team has helped Pueblo homes since the fall of 1984 and are available for any of your plumbing needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922.

Types of Plungers

Did you know, plungers actually aren’t a one size fits all tool? And since clogged drains are a common plumbing problem, having the right one for the job would save you some struggle. Take a look below to see what we’re talking about:

Cup PlungerCup/Sink Plungers: When you think of a plunger, most often this one comes to mind. While this is good for kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and bathtubs – it actually isn’t ideal for a toilet. The cup plunger works best when it has a flat surface to lay over. This way, it can easily form a seal to dislodge the clog.

Flange Plunger
Flange/Toilet Plungers: Now this is the one specifically designed to unclog toilets. It still has a cup like that of the above plunger, but also has an extra rubber flap that folds out from inside the cup. This flap fits snugly in the toilet drain, making it easy to create the vacuum necessary to properly plunge a toilet clog.

And there you have it! Next time you have a clog, make sure you have the right plunger on hand. You’ll want to plunge directly up and down, tilting at an angle won’t give you the force needed and the deal can loosen. If the plunger does not work – you may want to try some natural solutions to help get the job done.

If all else fails, remember the experts here at Patterson Plumbing & Heating are ready to answer your call! Our plumbers and drain techs are dedicated to technical and service excellence, offering fast, friendly, and courteous service to the Pueblo, CO area. Give us a call today: 719-544-4922.

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Don’t Spook Your Plumbing this Halloween

PumpkinCarving

It’s prime pumpkin carving season – but homeowners beware, putting stringy pumpkin pulp and seeds into your drain or garbage disposal can be pretty scary for your plumbing.

Pumpkin innards are notorious for getting stuck around disposal blades and clogging drains. Flushing pumpkin guts down the toilet is also another big no-no.  So avoid any plumbing mishaps, think twice before putting pumpkin pulp where it doesn’t belong!

If you plan on carving pumpkins in your household, keep the below tips in mind:

  • Spread out newspapers in your carving area before beginning – do this away from your sink, outdoors if possible.
  • Create two piles when carving – one for stringy pulp and one for seeds.
  • Dispose of the pulp in a compost pile or garbage can.

Now as a treat – save the seeds for roasting! Lay the seeds flat on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and other seasonings (salt, pepper, cinnamon, etc), and bake them in the oven until seeds begin to brown.

If you’ve read this too late – give us a call! The experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating are here to help your Halloween be a little less scary. For any plumbing issues you may encounter this season, give us a call at (719) 544-4922 for fast service!

FAQs About Your Drains

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Most of us don’t give our drains a second thought – until we notice something unusual about them. At the end of the day, drains are an important part of your day to day life – so we want to make sure yours continue operating as smoothly as possible.

See below for some of the most frequently asked questions about drain cleaning that homeowners ask:

Why is water coming into my sink when I run the dishwasher?
Since there’s usually a connection between the dishwasher and drain from the garbage disposal, if food is left behind it can clog that connection. Before running the dishwasher – make sure your disposal is food free!

Are store bought liquid drain cleaners safe?
In short, not exactly. While they may provide a temporary fix – the reality is that over time the cleaner will actually erode and cause damage to your actual pipes. Opt for natural cleaning solutions to play it safe.

Why do I hear a gurgling sound in my sink after I flush the toilet?
Hearing this sound may not seem too alarming, but it can turn into a bigger problem if you let it persist. This noise is a common sign that the pipes aren’t properly vented – which can lead to blockage as well as slower water flow.

There’s a foul odor coming from my garbage disposal, help!
Odors generally come by a buildup of food debris. For an easy way to remedy the situation, try tossing a few ice cubes or orange peels into the disposal and letting it run for 30 seconds. This will help rid any debris, while providing a citrusy scent.

If you notice issues with your drains, get it taken care of as soon as possible! Contact us today to have one of our specialists come by, diagnose the plumbing problem, make recommendations and prepare pricing by the job – not the hour – so there are no surprises.

Avoid Plumbing Disasters This Weekend!

Memorial Day weekend is perhaps the most popular time of year to throw a barbecue. And if you’ve invited friends and family over, you’re probably already feeling the heat. Don’t let a plumbing disaster cause you even more stress!

An influx in guests often puts more pressure on your plumbing – and the last thing you want to deal with on your Monday off is a backed up kitchen sink or a clogged toilet. While clogs often require the assistance of a professional to remove the blockage, there are still some steps you can take to remove or prevent one from occurring this weekend:

Sink Clogs:

  • Clogs can often be dislodged by using a sink plunger (smaller, differently shaped than a toilet plunger). Place the plunger over the sink’s drain hole, ensuring there’s enough water at the bottom to form a seal. Pump the plunger up and down – while keeping a good seal – to help dislodge a clog.
  • Whatever you do, avoid using over the counter drain clearing products! Instead, opt for hot or near boiling water. Pour this down the drain to try breaking up any organic compounds or soap scum. A combination of hot water and baking soda also adds more power to your drain clearing efforts.

Toilet clogs:

  • Use a plunger as your first line of defense with a clogged toilet. But if a plunger doesn’t work, a drain auger (commonly referred to as a “snake”) can be pushed in the drain to break up the clog. Be sure to use these carefully, while they wont harm your pipes – they may scratch porcelain or ceramics.
  • Toilets often endure items being flushed that should instead by thrown away such as paper towels or baby wipes. Those items can quickly block a drain line; especially in homes where tree roots have infiltrated the main sewer line.

Remember, Memorial Day isn’t just a day for backyard barbeques and celebrating an extra day away from the office – it honors the men and women of the US Armed Forces who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country. Take a moment during your Memorial Day BBQs to remember the sacrafices made. And if you do notice issues arising with your plumbing fixtures, give us a call at Patterson Plumbing & Heating today!

Prevent Clogged Drains, Avoid These Items

While we all know that water should be the only thing going down the drain, we’ve all had that “whoops there goes the pasta!” moment at some point. This can be harmless, until blockage builds up and you have a clogged sink on your hands.

So during your spring cleaning this season, work to prevent poor plumbing habits. Thanks to the Huffington Post, here are 11 things that commonly create blockages in pipes that you might not expect:

  1. Bacon Fat – Instead of pouring this down the drain, wait for it to cool off in the pan, wipe it with a paper towel and toss it.
  2. Grease and Oil – Avoid this problem from the start and put it into your compost bin where other organic materials can soak it up.
  3. Orange Peels – Don’t confuse your pipes with garbage disposals, throwing these bits down the drain wont make anything smell good.
  4. Coffee Grinds – Flushing these down your pipes can cause a sludgy, drain-clogging mess. Good thing is grinds are GREAT for gardening, so take these outside!
  5. Eggshells – Even the smallest bit can create granular waste that can easily get stuck to oil and grease and clog up a sink, toss these!
  6. Tea Leaves – If you are a loose leaf tea fan, be careful you don’t wash a bunch of these down the drain – they can pile and build up in the pipes.
  7. Semolina – This is what many pastas are made with can cause blockage when wet. It’s ok to drain pasta water – just be sure not to let the noodles down too!
  8. Medicines – When cleaning out your cabinet, refrain from dumping expired liquids down the drain. Metamucil in particular forms a ‘hard jello’ that can be very difficult to get rid of.
  9. Jello – Speaking of Jello, anything with gelatin as an ingredient has the potential to cause clogs.
  10. Potato Peels – When potatoes absorb too much water they can get gummy and very sticky. Don’t want that building up in your pipes!
  11. Rice – Another food that gums up the pipes and causes water to back up. Don’t let these grains fall down the drain!

Have you accidentally tossed a bunch of these down the drain? Call Patterson Plumbing & Heating to get your drains cleared today! A specialist will come by, diagnose the plumbing problem, make recommendations and prepare pricing by the job – not the hour – so there are no surprises. Give us a call at 719-544-4922!