5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Toilet

Len The Plumber Toilet ReplacementWhile it’s an unfortunate truth to accept, toilets don’t last forever. Whether it’s because of time, use, or catastrophe, sometimes they need to be replaced. Unless your toilet literally explodes (don’t worry, it doesn’t happen often), it’s hard to tell when it’s time for a new one. We’ve gathered the five most obvious signs that it’s time to replace your toilet below. They’ll help you be more aware of when it’s time to call the professionals in for a swap out.

It’s constantly getting clogged.
Toilet clogs are stressful and headache-inducing. Plus, who has time to constantly plunge the bowl? Random clogs aren’t uncommon and one or two happening shouldn’t be alarming. When they start happening regularly, though, it’s a sign of something bigger. Older low-flush toilets tend to have frequent stoppages when they age and their interiors get worn out.

It wobbles.
A toilet wobbles when you sit on it for a few different reasons. One of them is that the screws at the base of the bowl have gotten loose. If that’s all the problem is, it can be solved quickly just by tightening them. Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason toilets wobble. A more serious cause is water damage to the floor underneath causing the screws to not be able to hold as tightly. While the wobble doesn’t always mean your toilet itself needs to be replaced, it does mean that there are bigger problems at play.

It’s constantly running.
If your toilet keeps on running no matter how hard you try, there are a few potential causes. Sometimes it means that the rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank is damaged. It can also mean that the fill valve in the tank has been broken in some way. Either way, while sometimes fixable, these problems can be a grade-A sign that it’s time for a new toilet.

It’s cracked.
Porcelain is a sturdy material, but like with all things, it can still wear down. Cracks in the porcelain base of your toilet can lead to frequent puddling and leaking. This constant flow of water can damage flooring and lead to water bill increases over time, wasting hundreds of dollars yearly.

It’s old and inefficient.
The four other signs on this list are signs that it is necessary to replace your toilet. This last point is more about efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency created the Energy Policy Act in 1992 when they noticed how much water conventional toilets wasted. This act requires residential toilets to use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. These days, there are many low flow options that use half that much water or less. If you’re environmentally conscious or just want to lower your long term water bill, it might be time for a change.

If you think it’s time to replace the toilet in your home, call the experts at Len the Plumber and we can send someone over same-day for an professional analysis.

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How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Len The Plumber Garbage DisposalGarbage disposals are the power horse of the average kitchen. They suck away food waste, slurp up flat soda, and in general help make homes a little less wasteful and a little more eco-friendly.

It’s not too difficult to keep your garbage disposal working at its best. First things first, know what things aren’t supposed to be put into the garbage disposal. Fibrous materials, coffee grounds, liquid grease, bones, fruit pits, or egg shells. These are all things that can dull blades, cause clogs, or generally impede the performance of your garbage disposal. Next up is regularly cleaning it. We’ve listed a step-by-step process for deep cleaning your garbage disposal below.

First, flush it out with water.
This is going to work to dislodge any loose food waste, dirt, and grime. The best way to do this is by plugging the opening to your garbage disposal and filling the sink until there are around three inches of hot, standing water. Add some dish soap, swish it around, and then remove the plug so it can flush through the disposal’s pipes. Hot water is needed because it will liquify any grease or similar crud that’s built up on the insides of the pipes.

Next, throw some ice cubes and salt down the disposal.
This might seem like a peculiar step, but trust us when we say it works. After the ice and salt are in the disposal, two and one cups of each respectively, turn on your disposal. It’ll be loud, but don’t worry – that’s part of the process. Turn on water from the tap to run during this process and the combination will work to remove sludge and other debris from the inner walls of your disposal. An added bonus of this step is that grinding ice works to sharpen your garbage disposal blades, improving its overall performance.

Now you want to give it a good scrub.
Let us preface this by telling you that you absolutely should not put your hand inside your garbage disposal. We recommend using a long-handled scrub brush or an old toothbrush to reach inside and manually clean the inner walls of any remaining debris. You can do this with just water or with the help of some dish soap to be especially thorough. Like with previous steps, rinse it out with water afterwards.

Voila! Your garbage disposal is now clean. If you’d like to take further steps to freshen up the useful appliance, you can throw some citrus peels or essential oils inside and run it for added fresh scent.

If you’re interested in a garbage disposal installation, or have a clog you can’t quite clear, get in touch with the pros at Len the Plumber.

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4 More Ways to Pet-Proof Your Plumbing

pet proofing your plumbingAccording to the American Pet Product Association, approximately sixty-eight percent of US households have a pet. That’s nearly one hundred million households! Nearly one hundred million households have to account for the potential problems that come with having pets. Pets tend to put a special strain on all kinds of household fixtures–especially plumbing.

Last time, we covered a few ways to protect your plumbing from pets (and vice versa) and we only scratched the surface. Here are four more tips you should follow to pet-proof your home’s plumbing. Keep up with each one of these best practices, and you should never have to worry about pet plumbing problems again.

Cover up exposed pipes

It’s the same idea as childproofing a home. Just like children love to open cabinet doors, pets love to chew on things. Avoid an unnecessary trip to the vet by covering up exposed pipes and wires.

If a pet bites through a pipe, fixing the resulting burst could be a pricey problem. It might also damage the surrounding home or, worst of all, hurt your pet! Turn concealing your home’s piping into a fun creative project. You’ll protect your home, your plumbing, and your pet all at once.

Keep plenty of water out

Pets drink out of the toilet because they’re thirsty. If you make sure they always have something else to drink, they generally stay out of toilet water. As a general rule, check on and top off your pet’s water bowl at least twice a day. Make sure they always have a non-toilet drinking option, and they’ll use it.

Rinse dirty pets off outside

Rolling around in the mud and muck is every dog’s dream, but it can also be a plumbing nightmare. When you wash a muddy dog off in the bath, it’s guaranteed to lose tons of muddy, matted fur. Unfortunately, that muddy, matted fur clumps together just as stubbornly in a drain as it does on your dog. Nothing can create a clog quite as quickly or reliably as a muddy dog bath.

To counteract the worst of the drain-clogging potential, we recommend stages of dog bathing. Pre-rinse your dog while you’re still outside to remove the worst of the grime. Once you’ve removed enough mud to see the dog underneath, take them inside to finish the job. If you rinse your dog outside, at least your pipes won’t have to contend with a deadly mud-fur combo.

Keep cleaning chemicals out of reach

If pets get into your bathroom cleaning supplies, they could make themselves seriously sick. Make sure your bathroom cleaners are either up out of reach or behind locked cabinet doors.

Avoid having chemical drain cleaners in the first place. Not only are chemical drain cleaners poisonous to pets, they’re actually damaging to the pipes, too.

 

If your beloved family pet has caused a plumbing problem, don’t worry. Just call the professionals at Len The Plumber. No matter how stubborn the clog or bad the burst, we have just what you need to fix it.  

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5 Steps to Turn Your Bathroom Into a Spa

How do you like to unwind after a long, tiring day? While everyone has their own routines and guilty pleasures — it’s safe to say that many enjoy a long, hot shower or bath to wash away the stress (ugh, such heaven). To give yourself the spa experience you know you deserve, this is what you need to do:

bathroom installations

1. Control Your Lighting

Soften up the mood in your bathroom by installing a dimmer switch. This will allow you to control how much light you want while you kick your feet up in the tub. Having a bright light shining directly on you while you soak isn’t exactly relaxing. So opt for this mood-enhancing switch to help give you a sense of calm.

2. Remove Clutter

When you walk into a spa, do you notice how clean and simple everything looks? This is because clutter can cause stress, which is why all items remain out of sight — the same should go for your bathroom. Make it a point to throw away any unused toiletries and to place the rest in hidden storage spaces. For smaller bathrooms, consider placing toiletries in small jars or baskets (this can become a lovely part of your bathroom decor).

3. Showertime Massages

Installing a deep soaking tub is the epitome of receiving spa-like treatment. However, it’s not always the most affordable option (even though we all dream to own one, *swoon*). The most affordable option is installing a massage shower head. With multiple settings to choose from, you can get massaged by the tiny hands of water droplets.

4. It’s In the Air

Add some ambiance to your newfound spa by placing soy-based candles throughout the room (soy is the cleanest burning for air quality purposes). Not only will you be able to stare at a flickering flame as you unwind, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the scents of the season. For those who aren’t going to be on top of their candle safety, opt for natural essential oils and diffusers.

5. A Tray For Your…

Now, what would a home spa be without a glass of your favorite bubbly or wine? We’re sure you have it stocked in the kitchen along with a few glasses, but do you have an area in your bathroom to place your most prized possessions? This is where a tub tray or wine holder will come in handy! Now you’ll have a place to put down your glass (or entire bottle) when it’s time to get cleaning.

Creating your own personal spa doesn’t require a ton of money nor a lot of remodeling — just a few additional pieces! When you need new plumbing fixtures installed for your own personal spa (or you just need a leak fixed), contact Len The Plumber. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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How to Remove and Prevent Bathroom Mold

Bathroom mold can easily occur, but isn’t always the easiest to remove. And unfortunately, it’s not always obvious, as it can begin growing beneath plumbing fixtures, surfaces, and walls. Every homeowner should know how to remove any mold they currently have and how to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

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What Causes Bathroom Mold?

  • Excessive moisture due to lack of proper ventilation
  • Leaky plumbing fixtures and pipes
  • Constant presence of damp towels, rugs, wallpaper, curtains, etc.

How to Remove Bathroom Mold

  • Check all caulking within the bathroom. If you happen to find some with mold growth, completely remove that section and replace it with new caulking.
  • Any surfaces with small traces of mold should be cleaned with bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Keep windows open during mold removal to help dry out any excess moisture and to provide the bathroom with some fresh air.
  • Areas with a large amount of mold should not be handled by the homeowner, as disturbed mold can spread further and be dangerous to inhale. Instead, hire a professional to remove the mold (especially since a lot of mold lies beneath plumbing fixtures and walls).

How to Prevent Bathroom Mold

  • Always use the bathroom ventilation fan before turning on the shower or drawing a bath. If your full-sized bathroom doesn’t currently have a ventilation fan, have one installed.
  • Open the window or leave the bathroom door cracked when showering to allow excess steam to escape.
  • Purchase a mildew-resistant shower curtain and wash it regularly.
  • Avoid keeping bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and soap in the shower, as they can cause mold to grow beneath them.
  • Wash bathroom towels, rugs, and other fabrics regularly to keep them from being damp.

Bathroom mold isn’t just unsightly, it can be harmful to your bathroom’s surfaces and even your own health.When you need plumbing leaks fixed or new plumbing fixtures installed, contact Len The Plumber. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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How to Make Your Tile Smile :)

Have you ever seen a bathroom with dirty, stained tiles? It’s not exactly the prettiest sight to see and can be completely embarrassing when you have company over! The good thing is, cleaning your bathroom tiles isn’t difficult at all — you just need to know the right cleaning method.

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Removing Hard Water Stains and Mineral Buildup

If your bathroom tiles are covered in hard water stains and limescale buildup, you’ll want to address this first. Spray down the tiles with a mild limescale remover (a normal or “extra strength” remover can strip the tiles of their protective finish). As an alternative to a limescale remover, spray warmed vinegar on these stains and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

Cleaning the Bathroom Tile

If you have the option to use a natural cleaning solution, why wouldn’t you? Create a natural cleaning solution by mixing together:

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of ammonia
  • 1/4 cup of a borate detergent
  • 1 gallon of water

Cover your bathroom tiles with a layer of baking soda. Throw on a pair of gloves, grab yourself a sponge, and start scrubbing your bathroom tiles with your homemade cleaning solution.

Pay Attention to the Grout

Cleaning your tiles is only half the battle — don’t forget about the grout! Create a natural cleaner by mixing together equal parts of lemon juice and cream of tartar until a nice paste forms. Apply this cleaning paste to the grout and proceed to scrub it with a soft-bristled brush. You can also spot-clean dirtier areas with more paste and a smaller brush, so you can really get in there!

How to Prevent Tiles From Getting Too Dirty

Rather than heavily cleaning your tiles on a non-regular basis, keep up with routine care to avoid too big of a cleaning session.On a regular basis, spray down your bathroom tiles with a solution of 2 tablespoons of all-purpose cleaner mixed into a gallon of water. Allow this solution to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping down with a damp sponge.

Dirty and tired looking bathroom tiles can make even the nicest of bathrooms look like something out of a horror movie. For those who are sick of hard water stains and limescale, consider installing a water softener or whole house filtration system. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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The Best Way to Give Your Dog a Bath

Giving your dog a bath might seem like a simple process, but everyone knows how messy things can get. You want to give your furry friend a good cleaning, but things can get hectic real quick! Here’s a list of tips that will help you clean your pup with minimal mess.

Bathing Frequency

How often should you bathe your dog? The answer varies, but you really shouldn’t wait months like most owners do. For dogs with skin infections, allergies, and those who are constantly making a mess, more frequent bathing is recommended. Aim for once every other week.

Gather Your Supplies

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Before you call your pup into the bathroom, make sure you have all of your supplies ready to go.

  • Shampoo recommended by your veterinarian for that specific breed (or for a specific skin condition)
  • Cotton balls (to place inside of its ears)
  • A brush
  • Multiple towels
  • Drain blocker (or a piece of steel wool)

Before the Bath

Right before you place your pup in the tub, brush your pet to remove as much loose hanging fur as possible. Skipping this step will fill your tub with more hair than you care to have, which will end up down the drain. Plumbing pipes filled with hair are a common cause of blockages that will inevitably require drain cleaning.

Wash Away

Begin washing your furry friend by rinsing them off with lukewarm water. Once rinsed, apply shampoo generously from the neck, all the way down to the paws and tail. Keep an eye out for fleas and ticks looking to escape from this sudsy nightmare. After a nice scrub, wash all soap and shampoo from the dog.

Drying and Cleanup

To avoid water from being splashed all over the place, drain the tub before letting your dog out. Then lay a towel down outside of the tub for them to stand on. Place another towel across their body, with another one being used to dry their head and ears. The more towels you use, the less water will end up on the floor — and on you.

Pampering your pet is no easy feat, but it needs to be done — and we’re here to help! If your plumbing does develop clogs or blockages, contact Len The Plumber. If you’re looking for a reliable plumber, check to see if you live in one of our many service areas!

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