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Showing posts from 2020

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…

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.

Home Plumbing Checklist

Check the plumbing in your home.  Of course you will not be able to check all plumbing. But you can  check and clean aerators for faucets and bathtubs and shower heads  while your checking the aerators you can also check that all fixtures are working properly and that there is no leaks, no slow drains, clogs and odor.  The same for the toilet and toilet tank and that all parts are working properly.  Basically you can check anything that is exposed and visual.  Unfortunately there will be things that you cannot see until it is a problem.  Another thing to be aware of is your water bill if it gets unusually high it is possible there may be a leak somewhere.

Smart Plumbers and Rooters is always ready to help.  Give us a call to schedule an appointment to solve all your plumbing needs.

by Judy P

Troubleshooting Water Hammering Noises

Water hammering can sometimes happen when a faucet is turned on too fast.

How to get rid of noises coming from your pipes: first turn off the main water supply valve that can be found outside or inside your home.

Next, locate all faucets inside and outside the home, starting with the faucet closest to the water supply valve. Start turning on hot and cold sides of the water line and work your way out to the furthest from the water supply shut off valve.  Run all water out of the supply lines. All sinks, tubs, showers, washing machine, dishwasher and outside spigots.(all water must be on and running for 10-15 minutes but do not turned on all the way to high.  Don't forget to flush all water out of toilets.  Run the rinse cycle with a cup of water for the washing machine and dishwasher.  Wait until you see a steady flow of water and you don't hear any noises coming from the pipes anymore. Now your ready for the last step.

Turn water supply valve back on allowing the water to run…

On The Job: Fixing A Misaligned Tub Drain

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!

Performing A Trenchless Sewerline Repair

Trenchless repairs are a less invasive option to repairing sewer line problems compared to traditional sewer repairs. With traditional sewer repair, there is much digging and excavation to remove broken and cracked pipes. The trenchless method can repair pipes underneath existing structures without disturbing them. Here, we have Smart Plumbers technician Federico and his crew performing this kind of repair on a customer's line.

Smart Plumber Chris and Federico at work on replacing a clean out for one of our customers

Call Smart Plumbers and Rooters for all your plumbing needs.

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

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.

Yes, Even Plumbers Need Plumbing Repairs! Copper Repipe Job Here At Smart Plumbers, Inc.

Recently at our shop here we experienced a leak below the concrete slab (the foundation of a property). Normally, one would turn to their preferred resource of choice to look up a plumber, but in a business that consists almost entirely of them, help was not far away.

3 Ways Small Leaks Can Lead Into Big Problems

1. Over time a small leak will eat away at the floor, walls, and pretty much anything else it comes in contact with. This will not happen overnight, but over the course of several months standing water which is constantly added to will cause damage. This is even more so the case if you cannot see the leak and clean it up from time to time. 2. Mold is a major problem, and the main culprit is moisture. A small leak can lead to mold and related issues in no time at all. Mold is a health hazard for those living in the house. To go along with this, it will also make your home nearly impossible to sell if the time ever comes. Nobody wants to buy a home that has been affected by mold. It is expensive to repair, and if left alone, harmful to your health. 3. A leaking pipe can lead to poor performance. This may not be a huge problem, but when you turn the water on it will feel like something is a bit “off.” This may be the least of your concerns, but one that should tip you off that something…

Shower Kit Installation

Smart Plumbers' expert technicians are here to provide professional-level shower repair and shower installation services including (but not limited to) running shower issues, unclogging shower drains, and shower replacements and installations.

Modern bathrooms have a widevariety of shower and bathtub options including sophisticated shower heads, mist-providing water-saving choices, spa-like water jets, and many innovative faucet designs. We're here to help wih them all.

Here we have Smart Plumbers' senior technician Joel installing a new shower kit for a customer.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you need any new parts installed for your shower, contact Smart Plumbers & Rooters and (408) 247-2400 7 days a week, 24 hours.

Quickie Guide to Tankless Water Heaters

Water heaters come in different varieties. With an energy-efficient tankless water heater you are looking at the potential to gain savings on your utility bill. With a tankless unit, water is "on demand"; it's only heated as you need it by running the water over a heating element. The other benefit is how compact in size and how much space you'd save in comparison to a more common 40 gallon water heater.

Tankless water heaters also protect you from scalding yourself with hot water via sensors and automatic shut-off valves that control the unit and prevent it from overheating.

Smart Plumbers and Rooters is always happy and ready to help solve your plumbing needs.
Call and schedule an appointment for one of our professional plumbers to come out to you. We're happy to answer any further questions you have about tankless water heaters, as well.

The Rundown on Hard and Soft Water

Hard water verses Soft water:
Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of limestone and chalk that are made of calcium and magnesium. Hard water causes dishes to have spots and film, white build up on shower heads, fixtures and faucets, and will stain or leave a rusty ring of scum build-up around tub, toilet and sinks.  It can build up inside drain lines and eventually become clogged.  Clothes will wear-out faster and become dull.  It also causes dry skin and itchy scalp leading to eczema and dandruff.  These are just some of the effects hard water has.

Soft Water feels silky and leaves your skin and hair feeling soft, essentially doing the opposite of hard water. It also prolongs the lifespan of water heaters and dish washers and can save on your energy bill.

When considering a softener remember there are many to choose from and you can call Smart Plumbers and Rooters for all of your plumbing needs.

How to keep the kitchen drain line clear

Kitchen Drain Line:

One of the reasons a kitchen drain line would back up is grease.  We often put grease down the kitchen line when we shouldn't; it could be grease left in the pan or on dishes. After time grease accumulates sticking to the sides of the line like scum until the build up eventually clogs the drain. Let's take for example our skin: if we never showered we would have build up on our skin from day to day and eventually we would end up with a thick layer of grime.

Well the same goes with the kitchen line, after time the build of grease turns into sludge and gets hard like cement so when you snake the line you can unclog the drain (Like picture#1) but you will still have the harden grease stuck on the inner part of the pipe (Like picture #2).  Now there are two problems with the kitchen line one: is the grease build up will cause corrosion over time. Corrosion will eat up at the pipe causing it to leak.  The second problem is that a kitchen line requires a 2"&…

Water Heater Swap-Out

Water heaters have a relatively long lifespan of approximately 8-12 years. Certain factors, such as not maintaining a regular flushing schedule, can hamper this longevity and pose problems. One insightful customer suspected his water heater tank needed a flush. The unit was old enough that Chris the plumber went ahead and installed an entirely new unit.

Then we did something not typically done as part of our clean-up procedure. After we brought the old water heater back to the shop (as a courtesy we haul away the old one for the customer), Chris cut open the tank to reveal the insides. You don't get to see a water heater dissection done very often!

It turns out that there wasn't much sediment inside the tank, but it was heavily rusted inside - definitely warranting a unit change. Bang-up job, Chris!

More About Cleanouts And Why Every Homeowner Needs One

Whether or not your property has a cleanout is one of the first questions Smart Plumbers will ask you over the phone after you share your problem with us. They're so important that this topic has now become a 3-part series (click here for our earlier entry on sewer cleanouts). Here, we'll visually demonstrate the difference it makes.
Our master plumber Joel is using a line locator to pinpoint the area where the obstruction is posing a problem. The cleanout allows Joel to do whatever he needs to right at the point of entry for the pipe.

This customer in Mountain View, on the other hand, lacked a sewer cleanout on their property. In this scenario, Joel with the aid of a second helper to feed the line at ground level went up on their roof to cable the sewerline through their roof vent.

We will get the job done this way, but it's more expensive and poses more safety challenges. Either way, our expert plumbers will be happy to solve your problem. At the same time, we cannot re…

Leaking Shower Head? Smart Plumbers Can Fix That!

A long-time customer called in today complaining of a leak coming from their showerhead. We dispatched Smart Plumbers technician Christopher to assess the situation and make any necessary repairs.
Behold, the before picture. Nice set-up, but the leak is posing a serious problem to the user.

Chris proceeded to cut open the tile in order to perform some behind-the-wall shower surgery. With the guts revealed he was primed and ready to work on fixing the leak.

Not only was the problematic showerhead replaced, but with the wall already open anyways the customer gave the go-ahead to...well, go ahead and replace the shower control valve as well. Out with the old, in with the new.

Like To Save Money? This Customer Does. Cleanout Installation Underway

In an earlier article we broke down what a property-line cleanout is and the function it serves in allowing easy-access to your drainage system. Here is the process of installing a cleanout in action, courtesy of Smart Plumber Patrick.

This will save any homeowner substantial amounts of money in the future should they ever have to call a plumber. Without a cleanout, removing the toilet for drain-access or going on the roof to access the vent can amount to a job totaling twice as much or more than simply running a cable through the cleanout.

Tales From the Job Field: A Sewer Lateral Repair

The city of Belmont did a sewer lateral rehabilitation project on one of our customer's properties - without actually connecting their lines! This left them without a proper sewer service. Luckily, Smart Plumber Patrick was up to the task. He discovered that the pipe was off-set and our cable wasn't able to proceed down to clear any obstruction. Our drainline camera also couldn't proceed down for that reason. Using a locator we found where the problem was at, meeting the sewer lateral. Putting the camera down in the neighbor's cleanout to identify how close we were at the spot to dig led us to find out the lines weren't connected at all (because it's the city lines they're supposed to be connected and tap in from the same source). We informed the property owner about these findings and made the initiative to get the city involved. The city signed off on the work after we got authorization and ended up making all necessary repairs. Smart Plumbers can be the…

More About Slab Leaks

Slab leaks:

A break or crack can occur on the lines under the foundation of your house.  This can happen to the water or sewer lines.  Water will seep out causing the ground to stay wet.  Eventually if left undetected the ground may shift and offset not only your plumbing but also cause damage to your home, such such as the foundation to crack or buckle also mildew and mold will start appear. As you know mold is very bad for your health. This type of problem can be very costly both to your health and your wallet.  You will notice warm wet spots on the floor, low water pressure and increased water bill.

Call Smart Plumbers and Rooters for any of your plumbing needs.

5 Smart Plumber-Worthy Plumbing Tips

Here at Smart Plumbers & Rooters we're always just a phone call away from coming to your aid for whatever plumbing problems you have in your home or business. With that being said, sometimes a little preventative maintenance or general plumbing know-how on the customer side of things goes a long way.