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Showing posts from 2020

Personal Story: Broken Water Heater Burner

People in the plumbing industry need plumbing help now and then. Your humble author had his 4-year-old water heater go out. After a loud bang akin to a small explosion the heater stopped outputting any hot water. Patrick came out the next day and verified that the burner assembly was dead. Because it was under warranty our plumber didn't end up making the repairs but his expertise analysis and opinion, along with advice on where to turn to next in order to get it serviced, proved to be invaluable assistance.

Gas Line Repair

Depicted is our plumber Patrick conducting a repair on a gas line leak with his helper technician. The line underneath the concrete going to the house had sprung a leak.

Gas leaks, especially ones inside the residence or business, have the potential to be dangerous. Thankfully, they can be easy to detect and the reliability of plumbing professionals like those at Smart Plumbers will ensure that the repair is done safely and thoroughly. 
If you suspect you have a leak somewhere, we recommend calling PG&E as the first step you take. The PG&E technician will come out, shut the gas off, and assess the situation before telling you the next step. If they instruct you to contact a plumber, that's where we come in to conduct the repairs. As always, call Smart Plumbers at (408) 247-2400 or email us at

Jammed Garbage Disposal

When you go to use your disposal and you hear a humming sound without the unit turning on, that's letting you know that something is stuck and it's jammed.  The humming sound is a good sign because that means the motor is working on the disposal.  The first thing you want to try is the reset button under the sink on the disposal (it will be a red button).

Push and hold for about one minute, then switch the power on to see if it works. You will need a flash light to see what is stuck inside the chamber; it could be something very small next to the walls of the disposal.  Never put your hand inside and make sure the power is off. There is no one way to get whatever it is that's stuck inside out of the disposal so try several ways, like maybe duck tape at the end of something long or a thin flat head screw driver etc. Sometimes a broom stick will work to help un-jam the disposal (put the end of the broom stick inside the sink hole and try to get the bottom or the blades of th…

Camera Inspections (video)

A plumbing camera inspection looks for and finds problems inside pipes or lines that cannot be seen with the eye. Most inspections are prompted by drain blockage, backup, and overflow or flooding. A camera can find damaged sections of pipe that have been cracked or rusted to the point of deterioration. It can also find misaligned joints or sections of pipe that have separated.

Items that shouldn't be flushed

Please be aware that these items should never be flushed down the toilet.  Paper towels and Flush able wet wipes.  Although the wipes say flush able they do not break down like toilet paper the same with paper towels..  These items will clog your drain and in time can be very costly.

We are taking necessary precautions to still be at your service through the Corona virus epidemic.

Call Smart Plumbers and Rooters 408 247-2400 for all your plumbing needs

Waterline Repair Report

Most homeowners experience house water main problems (or house water service line problems) at one point or another, and in many cases, a professional is needed in order to remedy the situation.

Your water main is the primary pipe bringing water to your home. Labeled “private water service line” in the diagram above, it’s usually located underground and connects your home to your community’s water source. Your water line should not be confused with your sewer lateral, which takes used water and sewage away from the home.
Here we have Federico and his helper finishing up a repair on a customer's water service line.

Sump Pump Repair

Look at the full screen ^^^ 042820-1 Tue 04. 

New Water Heater Repair

This is us

This is us......

Drain Cleaning                                           Garbage Disposals
  Water HeatersFaucets & Toilets       Gas & Water Lines     Trench less Pipe Work
 Excavation/  Hydro-JettingVideo Line Inspection

            Doing what we do best...   

This is us....

This is what we do...

Drain Cleaning                                           Garbage Disposals
  Water HeatersFaucets & Toilets       Gas & Water Lines     Trench less Pipe Work
 Excavation/  Hydro-JettingVideo Line Inspection

 You can count  on our plumbers  to get the job done.

Plumber Profile: Rafael Balili

This is one of our plumbers Rafael Balili.  Although Rafael has not been with Smart Plumbers and Rooters very long, Rafael is knowledgeable, courteous, honest, friendly and hard working.  One of the things he likes about plumbing is the challenges, learning new things and working with our customers.  Rafael is always in good spirits and very positive.

Rafael has been Plumber of the month three times in the short time that he has work for our company.  He is an exceptional plumber and we are happy that he works for our company.  Great job!  Rafael keep up the good work.

Smart Plumbers and Rooters here to help with all your plumbing needs.  (408) 247-2400

Company Safety Procedures

We want our customers to know that our company is practicing safe operational procedures during this trying time. All of our staff will be working from their homes in addition to practicing recommended hygiene standards. Business will proceed as normal and you should not notice any change in services.

Under-house drainline repair (video)

The sewer line is the 4-inch line that all other drains empty into. The drains inside the home are typically 2-inch lines. There are also vent lines, which keep drain smells from lingering in the home, traps, and cleanouts. All drain line components help keep the home free of sewer gases, enable effective methods of snaking and cleaning out the line, and trapping odors and debris in the line.

In this instance we have Smart Plumber technicians Joel and Rafael performing a drain replacement under the house.

Home Remedies: (to clear a clogged drain)

Things you can try at home to unclog drains:

 Plunger:  Of course the first thing we would try is a plunger to unclog a drain but if that don't work you can try these other methods before calling a plumber.
A wire hanger can be extended and bend a hook at the one end of the hanger to fish out anything that may be clogging the drain.

Boiling water and dish soap:  Boil about 2 liters of water and 2 table spoons of dish soap and slowly pour it into kitchen sink drain.  This may take a few times but will turn grease into a liquid form to help grease travel out of the drain and clear.  You may want to do this on a regular basis as a precaution to keep the drain clear of grease.

Baking soda and Salt:  About a 1/2 cup each mix together and let sit a hour or more then add boiling hot water.

Baking Soda and Vinegar:  Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar into drain wait about 1 hour then add boiling hot water.  This should clear the line.

Salt, Borax and Vinegar:  Take 1/4 cup salt …

Mr. Jin Lee

Mr. Jin Lee has been in the plumbing business for over 20 years. When Mr. Jin Lee was still a boy he was fascinated with the way things worked.  He enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back  together.  Plumbing was always something that interest him. Jin Lee came to the United States from Korea in 1995.  That's when he pursed his plumbing career. Jin Lee did a lot of research on plumbing problems and solutions.  In 2003 he started his own company.  Smart Plumbers and Rooters.  Smart Plumbers and Rooters is a full plumbing service firm and is Diamond Certified.

We service residential, commercial and industrial.  Installing and repairing drains, faucets, toilets, gas and water lines, garbage disposals, water heaters, video line inspections etc.  we also do excavating , hydro jetting, trench-less pipe work  and more. We service  Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties   Mr. Jin Lee is a very intelligent and hard working, not to mention he is nice person.  He likes …

Replacing the Water Service Line (video)

Tackling A Toilet Clog For A Commercial Building

A clogged drain in your commercial building can be the cause of extreme inconvenience, an unpleasant mess, or even significant damage to the building or its interior. In cases where self-administered plumbing fixes at a basic level aren't enough, Smart Plumbers stands ready. Here we have Joel cabling a pulled toilet drain to make quick work of the back-up.

Where is your main shut off valve?

Most people do not know where there main shut off valve is at there home. Hopefully this will help you locate the main shut off valve.
Main shut off valves allows water to come into your home when open and when closed will shut water down water to the entire house.  Water main shut off can be inside or on the perimeter of your of your house.   Reason being that is where water first enter your home. Always the side facing the street.  Water lines run from water main to the shut off valve.
One thing to remember is if your in a basement you will be looking eye level or up if you are on the ground level you will be looking down.  In the basement you will look towards the from of the house.  From the utility box in front of your home stand on top of the utility box and walk the shortest path in a straight line to your house your shut off valve should be in that area,  if it is not visible it will be behind a panel.
Sometimes the shut off valve will be located near the water heater or in t…

What You Should Know About Replacing Your Main Water Line

Many houses in the Bay Area have cold water lines that are in need of replacing. Modern pipe materials for this purpose include copper, plastic, and galvanized steel. When combining copper pipe with galvanized steel the material placement is very important.

The normal lifespan of copper pipes is about 50 years, while galvanized steel pipes only last about 10 years. In the first picture, you can see the corrosive build-up of rust in a steel pipe over a span of 30 years. When the rust from a galvanized steel pipe spreads to a copper pipe, corrosion will quickly occur and form a pinhole leak. The bottom picture shows an example of a copper pipe with rust caused by water coming through the galvanized part.

We strongly recommend placing copper pipe first in the line before the galvanized section.

Smart Plumbers and Rooters Monthly Meetings

Once a month we have a mandatory monthly meeting here at Smart Plumbers and Rooters.   The meetings are usually scheduled very early in the morning.  These meetings involves everyone that works for Smart Plumbers and Rooters.  At these meetings we discuss any problems that have taken place during the month, safety issues, customer concerns, employee concerns and how we can improve our company and service.
 Our plumbers hard work never goes unnoticed and all plumbers are appreciated and thank by the owner for working so hard each and every day.  Each plumbers work is reviewed all  month  and in our meeting we announce one plumber for Plumber of the month with an award.
This is probably the only time that all the employee's gather here at the office at the same time. After the meeting we enjoy coffee and breakfast supplied by the company owner.  One of the biggest concerns this month was safety cause of the Corona virus.  Health is always a concern and is in the best interest for o…

Water Line Repair Under The House (video)

Tools every home should have:

It's always a good idea to have tools in your home:

Often times something will come up and you need a certain tool for the problem.  The list below are some of the tools that will come in handy,  not just with plumbing but are good to have in case something arises.

Plungers and Auger:  There are drain cleaning tools that will come in handy for those unexpected problems.

Zip-It:  This can be used on the sink drain and also the tub drain.  This is used to pull hair and gunk that may be clogging your drain.  It's a long thin piece of plastic ( about 2 or 3' ) with teeth to catch hair and gunk as you pull it out of the drain.

Bucket:  for catching water if needed

Garbage disposal wrench:  To turn shredder and clear clogs

Adjustable wrench:  For Hex shaped nuts.

Allen Wrenches:   used to drive and remove nuts

Tongue and groove pliers:  turning and holding nuts and bolts

Stubby Screw Drivers (Flat head and Phillips:  insert and remove screws

Washer and O Rings: dripping faucets

Plumbers …

Six type of vent pipes

Six Types of Venting Stacks:  depending on the purpose they serve:

Soil Stack:  Receives discharge from sinks, showers, tubs and toilets but never from urinals or water closets.

Waste Stack:  Tie into clean water fixtures.

Vent Stacks:  No liquid runs through the vent stack only air flow through the drain system.

Leaders:  Rain water these extend horizontally.  Storm drain or combined sewer drain to roof.

Branch drains:  These lines branch off like a tree vertically to toilets sinks, dishwasher, washing machine etc.  These lines carry waste to basement underground drain lines

Horizontal underground lines:  are underground main lines that are under the slab usually in common areas and are slightly pitched cause they are gravity powered.  These line carry waste to the city sewer.  The horizontal lines that receive from waste and soil stacks run in building sewer line.

Call Smart Plumbers and Rooters to schedule an appointment for all your plumbing needs

Mobile Home Plumbing:

Have you ever wondered where the plumbing pipes are for your mobile home?  Unlike a house where a lot of your plumbing is underground, in a mobile home the plumbing is under the bottom flooring system or belly board. The area under the flooring is insulated; this helps keep everything in place. In a mobile home most of your pipes come up through the floor, not through through the roof like in single family homes. You will usually find the main line clean out in the back of the mobile home. It will have a cap that can be remove to gain access in case the line needs to be cleared.

Apartment plumbing system overview

The plumbing system for a apartment building is the same as a single family home system, only it branches out to provide water to each unit..  One of the most difficult things in a apartment buildin is getting enough pressure for water to reach each unit.
All plumbing systems have one with fresh water coming in and one that carries waste that goes out.
Fresh water uses pressure to get fresh water to all the units but the waste water system always aims downward and vents in the system lets air in this allows waste to flow much easier.  Traps in the system stops waste from coming back up.

Plumbing Vent Pipes:

Plumbing vent pipes

When your plumbing vent pipes are not working properly neither will the plumbing in your home.
Often plumbing vent pipes or vent stacks are overlooked.  Plumbing vent pipes can also get clogged with debris or damaged. The plumbing system and vent pipes work together.  Vent pipes help regulate air pressure in the plumbing system to help water flow through drain pipes easier.  It also helps keep your house smelling fresh.
If your vent pipes are clogged you will notice sewage odor.  That's because sewage gases have no where to go so they re-enter your home causing your home to smell like sewage.  Another sign is you may hear your toilets and drains making gurgling sounds or you may also have slow drains.
If your vent pipes become completely clogged you will no longer hear gurgling sounds and the smell of sewage will come into your home.  Although clogs can be cleared it will only be temporary.
A clogged vent pipe can cause further damage to your plumbing that can …

Bathtub Drainpipe Fix

Recently one of our customers called Smart Plumbers to report a smell coming from their bathtub. When our plumber Patrick investigated the crawlspace he observed a misaligned tub drainpipe. After removing the debris and installing a new coupling, the newly-sealed pipe prevented any untoward sewer smells from escaping through. Way to go, Patrick!

New Water Heater Install

Smart Plumber tech Federico recently installed a new water heater at a commercial facility, which is an especially critical situation given a business' urgent need for hot water at a temperature that is acceptable for an inspection. Way to go, Federico.

Faucet Aerators


Aerators are a small mesh screen that has air coming through that reduces splashing and controls the flow of water.
Dirty aerators can cause low water pressure due to build up of sediments in bathroom sinks, showers, and kitchen sinks. The aerator can be cleaned by removing the screen on the front of the faucet or shower head.   Aerators should be cleaned once every 6 months or so to keep the water pressure right.  Aerators come in different sizes.  You can use coins such as a dime or a nickle to tell the size of aerator you may need, simply by removing the insert and washer and placing a coin on top of the aerator.  That will determine the size.

Give Smart Plumbers and Rooters a call to schedule a appointment to have one of our professional plumbers come out and take care of your plumbing needs

Be Wary of Liquid Drain Cleaners

The vast majority of liquid and some powdered drain openers are highly concentrated caustics products like lye; some are concentrated acids like sulfuric acid. These chemical drain openers can potentially be hazardous to your health, your kids, pets, and some time to your plumbing system when you’re trying to open a slow drain. Injuries to eyes, lungs, and skin as well as damage to clothing and plumbing pipes and trim can be serious and expensive.

Past reports from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) report that the body areas most involved in chemical drain cleaner injuries were the head (16% of the time), Trunk (28%), arms (28%), legs (28%) and shockingly eyes (64%). While the risk of a chemical drain cleaner injury is low, the CPSC said the consequences of serious and sometimes permanent bodily damage are significant in any event that does occur.

In addition, mixing different drain cleaning products in the same slow drain can generate toxic and sometimes fatal fumes i…

Breaking Down Our Own Main Water Service Repair

Today we follow-up on our previous post detailing the procedure undergone after we discovered a leak under the concrete slab here at the Smart Plumbers shop. Nothing depicts the action quite like video.

Repairing the Main Water Line Here At Smart Plumbers (Video Coming Soon)

As we recently documented in an earlier article, we had previously been dealing with a leak here at the Smart Plumbers that was located under the concrete slab of our property. Rather than dig up the old pipes to painstakingly search for and pinpoint the leak, we completely replaced the water line. Stay tuned for an accompanying video detailing the repair procedure soon.


Take The Lead Against Unpleasant Bathroom Odors

Unsavory smells in your bathroom are never a good time. There can be several causes for unpleasant odors coming from your toilet in particular. One possible reason to check is the slope of your drain line. If the pipe doesn't have enough slope, waste and water will collect in the pipe instead of draining sufficiently. 

The same problem will happen if the inside of the pipes are rusted and waste doesn't have enough
space to properly flush away. 

Call a Smart Plumbers service technician to check on your bathroom drain line if you suspect any of
these problems.

Camera Sewer Line Inspection

Camera inspection of sewer lines:

 Sewer Cameras are used to inspect the main line for cracks, roots, clogs, collapsed lines or the line can be off set. The sewer camera is not used to detect leaks.  The reason being is that the camera is entering through the opening of the sewer pipe.  A leak would be detected on the outside of the sewer pipe.  With the camera you can also detect bellying or bulging in the pipe.  The convenience of having a camera lets us see exactly where and what the problem is.  If there is a crack in the line over time roots will grow into the crack and into the pipe causing clogs and damage to the sewer line.  An off set can be caused by the earths movement; it causes the ground to shift and this will cause the sewer line to off set.

Remember to always call Smart Plumbers and Rooters to schedule a appointment to have one of our professional plumbers take care of all your plumbing needs. .

Garbage Disposal and Sink Pipe Repairs

We responded to a call involving leaking kitchen sink pipes recently. Chris the Smart Plumber discovered heavily-corroded pipes under the sink that the leak was coming through.

Chris replaced the pipes with rust-immune plastic and also swapped out their garbage disposal, leaving everything in new and working order.

by Hormuz B

Kitchen Sink Back-Up Rescue

This customer called us to report a clogged kitchen sink drain line that Joel was more than happy to make quick work of.

As we've discussed with sewer lines before, having a cleanout (in this instance, for the kitchen drain) serves as a big relief for both the plumber and, perhaps most importantly, the customer's wallet.