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Prevent clogs

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!

Summer Plumbing Tips

Family Having Fun Playing In Garden

When thinking about the summer, plumbing issues likely aren’t the first thing to come to mind. Yet warmer months tend to be prime time for plumbing problems that may not occur during the rest of the year.

Protect your home and property from any issues this summer by keeping the below in mind:

Washing Machine Maintenance
Spending more time outdoors can lead to more loads of wash – and you’ve got to make sure your washing machine is prepared. Check its hoses for any leaks, cracks, or bulges. If you haven’t replaced the hoses in the last several years, now may be the time to do so.

Clogged Disposal
Be cautious of what is thrown down your garbage disposal, especially after cookouts. Remember, stringy foods (think corn husks, celery, etc) can easily wrap around the blade, clogging the drain. Greasy foods should also be avoided as they leave a film over the disposal’s blades, diminishing their effectiveness.

Standing Water
Give your yard a thorough inspection for any areas that are too wet and with unusual plant/grass growth. This could mean you have a standing water problem, commonly from a damaged sewer line. Standing water is not healthy for children or pets and can be a breeding ground for pesky insects!

Clogged Toilets
Household toilets are used more regularly in summer months – what with children home from school. Make sure all members of your household aren’t overusing the toilet paper and are flushing only after they actually use the bathroom.

Following these tips will keep your home’s plumbing system running smoothly this summer. If you do run into a problem, don’t hesitate to contact Patterson Plumbing and Heating at (719) 544-4922. Like us on Facebook for even more plumbing tips.

What Not to Put Down the Garbage Disposal

Group Of Friends Having Dinner Party At Home

With guests coming over for your Memorial Day celebrations, the last thing you want is a malfunctioning garbage disposal. As convenient as this appliance is, if it’s not operated or maintained properly, it can easily break down, block, and clog your drains causing a whole laundry list of problems.

So how do you ensure you are using it properly? Start by making sure you aren’t putting any detrimental items down there! Here are the top foods you should avoid putting down your disposal:

  • Grease – Any oil or hot, liquid fat should not go down the disposal (let alone the drain). When grease cools, it solidifies in the drain – leading to clogs down the line.
  • Starchy Vegetables – Keep any stringy, fibrous, or starchy vegetables (think potato peels, lettuce, or celery) out of the disposal as they can easily wrap around the blade clogging the drain.
  • Pasta – The longer pasta sits in water, the more it expands, ultimately clogging your drain over time.
  • Bones – A garbage disposal isn’t strong enough to handle bones from chicken, pork, lamb, or beef. Throwing them down there will get them caught and wear out the disposal.

It’s important to remember your disposal shouldn’t be used in place of your trash can. If you do find yourself with some clogs after your company leaves – don’t panic, we’re here to help. The experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating are available for all of your plumbing needs, give us a call today!

Foods to Avoid Putting Down the Garbage Disposal

Pouring water

Your garbage disposal – a handy appliance that has rescued you from unwanted odors. It’s primary function is to shred food waste into pieces small enough (generally less than 2mm) to pass through plumbing. But this doesn’t mean ALL food waste should skip your garbage or compost and head straight for the disposal. In fact, many foods can actually render your trusty assistance useless.

As we head into the holiday season, the last thing you want to deal with in the midst of holiday gatherings is a faulty disposal. Below, we’ve listed some items to avoid putting down the disposal and some other maintenance tips to keep everything functioning well through the New Year!

Foods to Avoid:

  • Greasy Foods (meat fats and cheese) – These foods leave a film over the disposal’s blades, which can diminish their effectiveness. They may also clog your drain!
  • Hard Things (any shells, bones, seeds, etc) – Anything hard has the power to dull or worse, break, the blades and jam the unit, causing the motor to burn out.
  • Peels (carrots, bananas, potatoes, etc) – These foods’ peels can easily wrap around the blades and keep the motor from operating.
  • Expandable Foods (pasta and rice) – Even SMALL amounts of these foods can swell with water and clog the trap.
  • Egg Shells – Their stringy membranes can wrap around the shredder ring while the shell itself is ground to a sand like consistency that can clog pipes.

Be sure to practice proper disposal maintenance in case any of these damaging foods do slip in – you’ll be prepared. Always keep the water running for 30-60 seconds after the food has cleared the drain because the waste still has a ways to go. The water will help the waste go down easier, pushing it as it goes. Also, always use cold water. Using hot water can melt fat which can then re-solidify as a blockage further down the drain. Finally, throw some ice cubes down it every once in a while. The cubes will not sharpen the blades (as commonly believed) but it does knock off any debris build up that keeps the disposal from grinding food properly.

At Patterson Plumbing & Heating, we’re available for all of your plumbing and heating needs. Give one of our expert technicians a call today: 719-544-4922. Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates and industry news.

Unclogging Your Shower Drain

washing day

Clogged shower drains are a common problem that every household will have to deal with at some point – think about all of the things that get washed down it each time you take a shower.

Just because this is a common problem doesn’t mean that it has to turn into a headache. Use these quick fixes to turn your swimming pool back into a bathtub:

Use Your Hands
Before using any of the below methods, grab a screwdriver, flashlight, and rubber gloves. After unscrewing your drain stopper, shine the flashlight down the drain and look for a clump of hair sitting just below the surface. If this is the case, you can simply put on your pair of gloves and grab it with your fingers. If the clog is not immediately present, try one of the other methods.

Plunger
When your toilet clogs, your first instinct is probably to grab the plunger. What many people don’t know is that a plunger can also be used to unclog a shower drain. Turn your shower’s water on for a few seconds so that the area around the drain is wet. This will help the plunger seal better. Place the plunger around the drain and give it 15-20 pumps, and recheck the drain with your flashlight to see if the cause of the clog is now visible.

Home-made solutions
If you can’t get it manually, you can let some common household items do the work for you. Make a mixture using a ratio of 1:1 parts baking soda and white vinegar and pour it down the drain. Cover the drain with a rubber stop or anything else that you may have in order to make sure your concoction stays in the drain (wash clothes work well too!). After letting it sit for 30 minutes, remove the cover and pour warm water down the drain to see if the clog has been eliminated.

Call a plumber
If all else fails, you can always call a local plumber. If you are in Pueblo or Fremont County, call Patterson Plumbing & Heating. Colorado’s leading plumbing company is just a phone call away at 719-544-4922. You can also schedule an appointment online and find additional information.

3 Common Summer Plumbing Problems and How to Prevent Them

Image courtesy of jiggoja / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jiggoja / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Homeowners don’t usually anticipate running into plumbing issues during the summer months. However, the summer brings its own set of plumbing problems unique to this time of year. See below for three common summer plumbing problems and how to prevent them:

Clogged Garbage Disposals

With warmer weather comes fresher produce, and who doesn’t love stocking up on ripe fruits and veggies? Unfortunately, hard fruits and vegetables can wear out your garbage disposal’s blades and lead to stubborn clogs. Avoid discarding of scraps from cantaloupe, carrots and other firm produce in your garbage disposal and you should remain clog-free!

Clogged Toilets

Your home’s toilets get used more heavily in the summer thanks to the kids being home from school. This can lead to clogged toilets and flooded bathrooms. Prevent bathroom disasters by teaching children to use toilet paper sparingly, and remind them to only flush when they’ve actually used the toilet.

Sprinkler Problems

Everyone wants that perfect green lawn and in-ground sprinklers make it easier than ever. If you haven’t already, be sure to thoroughly check and clean your sprinkler heads. When it comes time to mow the lawn, proceed with caution. Keep away from sprinkler heads while pushing the mower to avoid damaging them.

Following these prevention tips will keep your home’s plumbing system running smoothly this summer. If you do run into a problem, don’t hesitate to contact Patterson Plumbing and Heating at (719) 544-4922. Like us on Facebook for even more plumbing tips.

Spring Cleaning Checklist: Check Your Plumbing

Winterizing your home plumbing system is to prepare it to survive the harsh, winter months. Likewise, de-winterizing is preparing your plumbing system for regular, every day use. As we welcome the new season, now’s the perfect time to de-winterize your home to guarantee safety of its plumbing and fixtures.

See below for ways to include a plumbing check up on your spring cleaning checklist this year to ensure a summer free of hassles:

Check your drains, spouts and gutters – We want April showers to bring May flowers, not damage. Having your drains, downspouts, and gutters blocked can bring water damage, leakage and mold growth! Clean out any leaves or debris that may have settled in your gutters over the winter.

Check your hose bib – leaks are common, especially if the hose has been left on the hose bib throughout the winter. Check your water supply pipe – if it froze during winter months there’s a good chance it has expanded and cracked. This can cause major leaks and should be replaced ASAP!

Have a sump pump? Make sure it’s ready to do some work. Test it by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit; it should kick on in a few seconds to allow the flow of water and then turn off automatically. If it doesn’t do this, give us a call!

Be sure to check for leaks in the home, like faucets and your toilet. Repairing even the smallest leak will save you water AND money. See our previous blogs for more details: Leaky Faucet » and Leaky Toilet »

Prevent clogs – Keep filters on each drain to prevent hair, soap, or other debris from causing clogs. Make sure your shower head is clean as well! Hard water mineral deposits left on your shower head eventually will lead to a clog. Try putting some white vinegar in a zip-lock bag and placing it on your shower head. Wrap the bag with a few heavy rubber bands to hold it in place and leave it on for 24 hours to break down the mineral deposits!

Once you’ve successfully given your home a once-over – call one of our experts at Patterson Plumbing & Heating to take care of any problems you may find. 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!