What to Do About a Buzzing Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is supposed to destroy the food waste you put down the drain. Put too much of or the wrong type of food down the train, though, and you could place too much stress on the impellers, those parts that everyone thinks of as blades.
If your garbage disposal has started buzzing, but not grinding, when you turn it on, chances are it got overwhelmed the last time you used it. It’s easy to fix; however, it can also be an indication of more serious issues, especially if your current disposal is old.

Buzzing Noises

Normally when you flip the switch to turn on the disposal, you hear a loud grinding sound. If all you’re hearing is a low buzzing, something has likely caused the impellers to stick. They’re jammed or they’re plastered in place by dried food, for example. After the buzzing, the disposal might stop making any noise.
To prevent this problem from happening in the first place, be careful about what you put in the disposal. Avoid putting rice (both cooked and uncooked) into the disposal; uncooked rice can become wedged under the impellers, forcing them to stop. Cooked rice can dry on the blades and make them stick in place. The same goes for cooked pasta.
Also avoid super-hard items like bones; those will only create more jams. Sticky foods like candy can also cement the impellers in place.
If you hear buzzing, turn off the disposal. Running it when it’s jammed will merely cause it to overheat, not solve any problems. Next, look under your sink for a hex wrench (it looks like a long Allen wrench) that came with the disposal. If you can’t find one, find a broom handle that you don’t mind damaging a bit.

Jams and Frozen Impellers

If you have the hex wrench, look under the disposal (a mirror would help here) for a slot for the wrench. Insert the wrench, and then try to move it back and forth. It will likely not move at first, but eventually the pressure will force the impellers to move, breaking up the jam.
If you have to use a broom handle, insert the handle into the disposal and try to push the impellers with the handle. Be sure the disposal is off! Remove the handle when done.
Turn on the cold water and try running the disposal. If you still hear only a buzzing sound, look for a red button under the disposal near the hex wrench slot. If the button is popped out, you need to reset the disposal. Press the red button back in; if it stays, turn on the cold water and try running the disposal again.
If the button keeps falling back down, you need a professional plumber to inspect the disposal.

Signs the Disposal Needs Replacement

If you’re careful about what you put down the disposal but keep having to unjam the impellers, it’s a sign the disposal needs to be replaced. The appliance could be too weak to effectively grind up the food you put down the drain.

Ice and Citrus Rinds

Once you have the disposal working again (or the new one in place, if you had to go that far), occasionally throw a few small ice cubes and small pieces of lemon or orange rind into the disposal. Run the cold water and turn on the disposal.
The ice cubes and rinds will both help clean out gunk that was splattered onto the undersides of the rubber gasket at the opening of the disposal and help deodorize the interior section.
If none of this is working, or if you keep having trouble and want to replace the disposal, contact Candu Plumbing & Rooter. Let a professional plumber make short work of those disposal jams.

3 Things You Can Do to Maintain Storm Drains

Storm drains are designed to quickly and efficiently capture rainwater as well as melted snow and ice. If you live in a town or city, chances are that your home is close to a storm drain.
Should a storm drain be located on or adjacent to your property, it is important to take time to maintain the drain on a periodic basis. Proper maintenance will allow the storm drain to do its job well by preventing flooding and environmental contamination.
Below is more information about storm drains and three specific things you can do to maintain them.

What Storm Drains Do

In most locales, storm sewers are separate from sanitary sewers – the systems that dispose of wastewater from homes and businesses. Storm sewers route captured water toward safe disposal locations, which are often streams, lakes and other bodies of water.
Storm sewers are designed to handle water and some solid materials, but they can become clogged by excessive amounts of debris. Since storm drains are the entry points for storm water, keeping them clean and well-maintained is the key to keeping the system operating.

1. Keep Storm Drains Free of Debris

The first hint for keeping a storm drain functional is to clean the drain grate and remove debris from the area. Debris commonly found on top of storm drains include leaves, dead grass, sand, gravel and a variety of household trash.
If debris pile up on top of the storm drain or blocks its entrance, water will likely accumulate and contribute to local flooding as a result. In addition, trash on top of the drain is likely to be washed into the storm sewer where it can contribute to blockages or cause downstream pollution.
Whenever possible, take a few minutes to clear away built up debris from the storm drains in your home’s vicinity. A flat-tipped shovel or even a small snow shovel is excellent for scooping up matter from drain grates. In addition, you can use a garden hose or pressure washer to loosen stubborn debris that won’t easily come up with the shovel.

2. Properly Dispose of Lawn Clippings and Leaves

Another hint for maintaining a storm drain is to prevent lawn clippings and leaves from entering the gutter. As mentioned, these objects are likely to form mats of debris that cover drain grates, and keeping them out of the gutter is a way to stop that from occurring.
That means clippings and leaves should always be bagged or piled up for vacuuming if your locale provides that service. In addition, avoid using a leaf blower to push trash into the street, and sweep up anything that lands in the gutter after mowing or trimming.

3. Contact Your Local Works Department When Necessary

While you can perform much of the maintenance yourself when it comes to storm drains, there are some tasks you should hand off to the experts. For example, do not attempt to remove the heavy metal grate that covers the drain. You can be injured during the process or may be unable to replace the grate.
In addition, never enter a storm drain under any circumstances. Drowning, suffocation, wild animals or dangerous debris are significant hazards that may await you.
Instead, contact your local works department if you have unresolved concerns about your storm drain. They possess the equipment and expertise to perform whatever work may be necessary.
If you have questions about your home’s plumbing, either interior or exterior, be sure to contact Candu Plumbing & Rooter for assistance. Their professional staff are able to assist with repair and can restore your plumbing to its original state.

What Causes A Toilet To Run Every 5 Minutes?

Toilets run, sometimes for no reason. Mysterious running and flushing noises, known as “ghost flushes” are a natural phenomenon that can occur when parts of the toilet develop defects or begin to deteriorate. Luckily, ghost flushing can be fixed. Understanding the way your toilet works and what can lead to ghost flushing can help you fix your problem without calling a plumber.

Toilet Operation 101

The toilet tank is separated from the toilet bowl by a piece of rubber called the flapper. The flapper forms a seal over the flush valve and prevents the water in the tank from entering the bowl.
When your toilet flushes, the chain inside the tank lifts the flapper, allowing the water in the tank to rush down into the bowl. Gravity pulls the water down through the bowl and into the drain, flushing the contents of the toilet along with it.
When the water leaves the tank, the fill valve at the top fills the tank with water until the level reaches the float. When the float is pushed up by the surface of the water, the fill valve turns off and the flush is complete.

Common Causes of Ghost Flushes

Ghost flushing occurs when the water in the tank slowly leaks into the bowl, causing the level in the tank to drop. When the water level in the tank is low enough, the fill valve turns on, refilling the tank. This creates a noise similar to a flush. This noise is a ghost flush.
Toilet tank leaks can have multiple causes.
1.    Algae or mineral deposits on the flapper. Sometimes the flapper will develop a buildup of slimy algae or minerals along the edge that forms the seal with the toilet. This allows water to leak into the toilet bowl in tiny quantities over long periods of time.
2.    Deterioration of the flapper. When a flapper gets old enough, it may become brittle and cracked. This can cause a slow leak that can lead to ghost flushing.

Test for Toilet Tank Leaks

If you suspect that your toilet tank has a leak, one way to find out is to put 10 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. After waiting about 15 minutes, come back and check on the toilet. If the bowl has colored water in it, this is an indication that your toilet tank has a leak.

Fix Your Leak

Fixing a toilet bowl leak is easy enough that most DIYers can handle it without a plumber.
1.    Turn off the water. Most of the time the water shut off will be located on the wall behind the toilet. If the water shutoff is not near the toilet, turn off the home’s main water source.
2.    Empty the toilet. Flush the toilet until the tank is empty.
3.    Lift the flapper and detach it from the toilet tank assembly, then inspect. Run your fingers along the edge of the flapper and feel for a buildup on its surface.
If the flapper has algae or mineral buildup on it, clean off the debris and put the flapper back in the tank. If the flapper seems to be clean, this is a sign that the flapper itself should be replaced. Take the flapper to the nearest home improvement center to buy another one.
Install the new flapper and turn back on the water. Your toilet should be working once again!

Need Help? Contact Your Local Plumber

If replacing the flapper doesn’t help, it’s possible your toilet has a more serious problem than a damaged flapper. At Candu Plumbing & Rooter, we provide plumbing assistance and advice to people of North Hollywood. If you’re in need of help with your toilet, we can help! Contact us today at 818-982-1299.

4 Best Practices for Reducing Water Usage and Lowering Your Bill

Water is a precious resource, and wasting it costs homeowners a lot of money in the form of higher water bills. Fortunately, most homeowners can reduce their water usage by adopting good conservation practices. Below are the four best practices that will help you lower your water bill.

1. Install High-Efficiency Flush Toilets

Homeowners can save substantially on water bills by replacing older toilets with high-efficiency toilets. Nearly one-third of all water used by homeowners is literally flushed down the toilet, so reducing the total amount of water per flush is one key to lowering bills.
Toilets have had a long history of high water usage, but modern toilets are extremely efficient in comparison. For example, toilets manufactured before 1980 used up to eight gallons per flush, and even up until the early 1990s, it was common for toilets to use over three gallons per flush.
However, since 1992, toilets manufactured in the United States can use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, and many are able to flush with less than that amount. In addition, dual-flush models offer homeowners the option to use less than a gallon of water per flush for disposing of liquid wastes.

2. Install Low-Flow Showerheads

Another means of reducing water usage is installing low-flow shower heads. Low-flow showerheads are designed to restrict the amount of water used without compromising the quality of the shower.
Older showerheads use several gallons of water per minute, but today’s models can provide good service at under two gallons per minute. The technology used to lessen water usage depends on the particular showerhead, but many are equipped with a fixed flow restrictor inside the shower head itself.
Other showerheads have adjustable settings that enable users to change the flow rate by varying the spray pattern. As another option, you can lower flow rates by installing a simple shut-off valve between the showerhead and supply pipe; this adjustable valve enables you to tailor the volume of water passing through the showerhead.

3. Irrigate Your Landscape with Care

A beautiful lawn and lush landscape is a plus in the eyes of homeowners, but keeping everything green requires water. In many cases, homeowners waste a lot of water needlessly on their lawn and landscaping.
Homeowners have several options to help reduce the amount of water used to water grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. For example, manual sprinklers should be replaced with automatic sprinklers. Automatic sprinklers use timers to control when watering occurs and can prevent over-watering and waste by turning on and off as scheduled.
Another option for saving water when irrigating is by using a drip system. Drip irrigation relies upon the use of perforated hoses that deliver tiny but steady amounts of water over time. Drip systems help cut down on evaporation and maximize water usage as a result.

4. Maintain Your Plumbing

A great way for homeowners to save money on their water bills is to ensure their plumbing is well-maintained. Poorly maintained plumbing can waste a lot of money by allowing good water to enter the sewer system or the ground.
For example, it isn’t unusual to find toilets that consistently leak water from their fill valves, thus leading to a steady stream of water running into the bowl. This type of leak can be easily fixed by replacing a defective fill valve with a low-cost replacement; most homeowners can perform a replacement in well under half an hour.
Another source of water loss is leaky faucets or spigots. A constant drip can create a substantial amount of waste over a period of time. However, as with a leaky toilet valve, most faucets and spigots can be quickly repaired for a reasonable cost. Repair typically entails replacing a rubber washer in the case of conventional faucets or changing cartridges in a cartridge-style faucet.
If you need more tips and hints for saving water, be sure to contact Candu Plumbing. The friendly professionals at Candu Plumbing can provide advice and perform water-saving repairs as needed.