pros and cons of garbage disposals

Pros and Cons of a Garbage Disposal

There is a certain convenience of being able to scrap plates of discarded food directly into the sink and let a garbage disposal unit grind it all down. These units though do come with some caveats.

garbage-disposal

Upsides of Having a Garbage Disposal

Meal clean-up is easier.

You can scrape small amounts of food into the sink instead of having to carry plates to the trash and scrape them there. Thereby skipping the step of first taking dirty plates to the trash. There is less likelihood of dripping gravies/sauces or dropping crumbs if plates get rinsed in the sink.

Protecting Your Pipes

A garbage disposal lets you grind down food debris into small particles that are less likely to get stuck in the pipes.

Inexpensive

Installing one is a routine and relatively low-cost job for an experienced plumber. When used correctly, a garbage disposal lasts about eight years.

They can work with most sewage systems, even septic tanks

If you have a septic tank, make sure the disposal unit is sized correctly and regularly maintained. Having a professional plumber install it will assure you that it is the right size for your septic tank. The infrastructure of some older municipal or town sewage systems means you may need to consult the waste management in your area.

Downside of Having a Garbage Disposal

Specific use

There are certain food groups that belong nowhere near a garbage disposal. Fatty foods like cooking oil, butter and cream sauces will over time clog your pipes. Starchy food like beans, pasta and rice can gum up your pipes or your disposal. Foods that have peels, like bananas and potatoes, root vegetables like carrots are hard for the unit to grind up. Also trying to put bones or fruit pits down the disposal will shorten its lifespan. Some foods are better off in the trash. Garbage disposals are for small amounts of food.

Properly running your disposal

Turn on the cold water first, then start the disposal with it running. Slowly put in small amounts of food waste. When finished, turn off the disposal and let the water run for another 10 to 20 seconds to flush any remaining food particles through the disposal and down the pipes.

Need for weekly cleaning

Even when used correctly, some food particles can end up clinging inside the unit, which leads to decay and smelliness. Once a week, turn off the disposal, wipe down the inner ring around the opening to the drain or disposal. Use a brush to clean the inside of the disposal. To have it smell nicer, make ice cubes with vinegar or cut up small pieces of lemons and let the disposal grind them up.

They can clog and jam

Putting the wrong types of food down the disposal or trying to stuff too much food into your disposal can cause it to jam. If it jams, try pushing the reset button. Jams and clogs are one of the realities of having a garbage disposal. You can try fixing it yourself, remembering to turn the water and disposal OFF first, or call a professional plumber at Jersey Plumbing.

They can break

If one part of a disposal unit breaks or cracks, you generally need to replace the whole unit.

protecting_your_pipes

If you are committed to the regular cleaning and food disposal limitations of a garbage disposal then it will be a benefit to you and your family. However, if it seems like its limitations would not benefit you, the trash can is the best option.

diy toolbox

More DIY Plumbing Necessities

Every Homeowner Should Have a Basic Plumbing Toolbox.

If you read our previous post, The 8 Plumbing Tools Every Handy Homeowner Should Own, this post should round out your plumbing toolbox. 

With the right tools fixing a leaking faucet or replacing a seal becomes an interesting repair job instead of a frustrating way to spend the weekend...
safety_glasses

Safety Glasses

Always protect your eyes when fixing plumbing issues! Remember, you do not want to "cheap out" when it comes to safety glasses. Get a pair that will stay on your head as you bend down - that has the side shields - and that is comfortable enough that you won't get frustrated with them and take them off. The gift of sight is precious - protect it! Especially when cutting pipes.

work_gloves

Work Gloves

Work gloves are important. They can improve your grip, and with metal pipes especially, you can protect your hands from the abrasiveness of the pipes and any metal filings.

washers_o-rings

Washers & O-Rings

Get a variety pack with several different sizes. (Replace washers and O-rings that have gone bad, causing leaks. Replacing the old ones with new will give you back the tight seal that you desire.)

plumbers_tape

Plumber’s Tape

Plumber’s tape is a thin tape that you wrap around the threads on pipes and fittings before putting them together. It helps the two pieces seal better to avoid leaks. Swapping out a shower head? You'll need plumber's tape. Reconnecting the U pipe under your sink? Plumber's tape. Always have this on hand.

measuring_tape

Measuring Tape

Measure Twice & Cut Once!

constuction_pencil

Construction Pencils & Markers

If you're measuring, you're marking. Construction Pencils & Markers are handy to have in your tool box so you don't have to crawl out of the bathroom and find a junk drawer.

metal_file

Metal File

Used to smooth rough edges that are left on your pipes after cutting them, a metal file is important for your safety, and for the safety of the next person to come near your pipes.

emery_cloth

Emery Cloth

If you have copper pipes, an emery cloth prepares copper pipe for the application of flux and solder.

sealant

Sealant

Get a caulk gun and some silicone calk for replacing seals around sinks and tubs. Even if your seals haven't failed, perhaps they've turned brown... or worse, black. A fresh seal can provide an updated look along with more protection.

putty_knife

Putty Knife

If you're replacing a wax ring or a silicone seal, a putty knife comes in handy!

pressure_test_gauges

Pressure Test Gauges

Used to check for leaks and test water pressure in pipes.

water_pump_pliers

Water Pump Pliers

Water pump pliers are a multi-purpose hand tool commonly used for turning and holding nuts and bolts, gripping irregularly shaped objects,and clamping materials.

slip-joint_pliers

Slip-Joint Pliers

These are a fairly standard pair and are the most useful for most purposes. Buy a pair with insulated handles for added comfort.

faucet_keys

Faucet Keys

Faucet keys are small, X-shaped wrenches that are made to open and close spigots and sill locks.

jab_saws

Jab Saws (Keyhole Saw)

These are used for making small or difficult cuts in building materials.

spray_lubricants

Spray Lubricants

Loosen stubborn nuts and pipe fittings.

socket-ratchet_set

Socket/Ratchet Set

Tightening tool that uses individual and removable sockets to fit many different sizes of nuts and bolts.

With the right tools, simple plumbing jobs become that much simpler. Don't have the tools of the trade? We're just a phonecall away. Call Jersey Plumbing: (908) 281-7101
 

covid19

COVID-19 Announcement ♦ updated 3/24/20 4:33 p.m.

To our valued clients,

Jersey Plumbing Service remains committed to ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of our clients as well as our employees. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 virus recommendations from the CDC and WHO in addition to local and state agencies during this changing situation.

We are open for business.

We also want to be proactive in the prevention of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses.

Jersey Plumbing will continue to take precautions as necessary to keep you and our staff safe during this time. Acting on the guidance from the CDC, local health officials, and our own protocols, here are the additional steps we are taking as we service your Plumbing Needs.

Our workers will use a new pair of latex gloves and/or sanitize their hands with each residence they visit.

Greetings by handshake in and outside the office are to be avoided.

Our employees are instructed to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth area.

ALL STAFF will follow procedures by properly washing or sanitizing their hands many times throughout the day (before/after eating, using the bathroom, after using any shared tools or office items, etc.)

Our team members are following the federal and state guidelines for social distancing by maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others and will not attend gatherings of more than 10 people.

Our office staff are working remotely and conducting business through online meetings and conference calls when necessary.

Only team members that are asymptomatic are permitted to work.

If you or a family member in the home is sick with flu-like symptoms and we are scheduled to do work at your home during this time, please inform us right away. 

Our staff reserve the right to remove themselves from any unsafe situation; this now includes contact with someone who has flu-like symptoms.

This is a fluid situation and we will update this page as necessary Thank you for being a valued client and we will always strive to merit the confidence you have shown in us.

 

Rex Kinney, Owner

 

keeping pipes healthy

How To Keep Your Home’s Pipes Healthy

Plumbing is rarely thought of until it breaks. However, it pays to be thoughtful about the way we use and treat our plumbing in order to avoid costly problems down the road. Learn how to care for your pipes - no matter what their age or material. 

With healthy pipes, you can enjoy:

• Toilets flush with ease

• Sinks don't back up

• Repair costs are kept to a minimum

• Pollutants are kept from entering waterways

Besides the obvious things to NOT put down a drain like paint and solvents and motor oil there are several others that people don't think about, but will harm drains and damage plumbing.

Flour - Flour coats the sides of baking pans so cakes won't stick. However, tossing flour down the kitchen sink drain will in time coat the sides of your pipes. Flour coagulates and hardens inside of drainage pipes, leading to clogs. Better to toss remains in the trash.

Medicine - It is important to remember many drugs are hazardous not only to the groundwater but also to any animals or people who use the water distributions. The better thing to do is take unused medicine to a pharmacy for disposal or see where your town has a drop off location, oftentimes a police station.

Cooking oil and grease – Pouring out the grease from a pan down your sink drain will damage the pipes over time and with enough grease, not much time is needed. Like flour, grease will coat the pipes and become thicker as time goes on. Better to wait until the grease has cooled and pour it into a sturdy container and dispose of it in the trash.

Fruit pits, stickers – all of these will harm pipes. The stickers that come off fruit can easily get hung up in the twists and turns of your plumbing. Fruit pits and bones simply don't dissolve and can cause issues which will turn into clogs. Better is to make sure you have a drain strainer in the kitchen sink, so things like this get trapped and then be safely thrown out.

Hair in shower drains - Hair combines with soap scum build up and creates a difficult clump. The easiest way to make sure it doesn't become an issue is to make sure you have a drain cover for the shower/bath. Being aware of what can and cannot go down your pipes will allow you and your family to enjoy years of hassle free plumbing.

what to do about fruit flies and drain flies

What to Do About Drain Flies

What are Drain Flies?

Many people mistake drain flies for fruit flies. They are both very small flies, growing to about an eighth of an inch, but if you could compare them side by side, you’d see that fruit flies are yellow or tan in color, while drain flies are darker, either gray, brown or black.

Drain flies are also a bit moth-like in that they have a fuzzy covering. While fruit flies often stick to the kitchen, drain flies are attracted to any area with standing water such as drains, toilets, or clogged gutters. Both fruit and drain flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time, so you'll want to get on top of eradication immediately. 

What Are Fruit Flies?

Fuit Fly

Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests that are common in homes, restaruants and wherever else food is allowed to rot and ferment.  The front part of the body is tan and the rear portion is black.  Adult males can grow to 1/8 of an inch.

 

How to Get Rid of Drain Flies (or Fruit Flies that happen to be in your drains)

Both drain flies and fruit flies are capable of laying several batches of eggs in that time, up to 300 each time.

These insects are drawn by the scent of rotting fruits and vegetables. It doesn't matter how clean you counters are, but what washes down the drain. Both can carry bacteria to the various surfaces in your kitchen, increasing the risk of unhealthy exposures. It is essential to address this problem immediately. 

First let's address the drain itself:

    • Using a metal pipe brush, push it through the pipe back and forth as far as it will allow.
    • Follow by pouring lots of boiling water down the drain.
    • Pour 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and allow to sit overnight. You can also put duct tape over the drain until morning.
    • Follow with a pot of boiling water in the morning.
    • Pour boiling water (or boiling white vinegar) down the drain every day or two until you don't see any more fruit flies in the area.
  •  

Fruit and drain fly traps:

These have a very limited success rate. Even the fruit fly traps sold in box stores with a special brew have limited success in dealing with a fly infestation, however, when they're hovering in your space, you'll likely want to address this from multiple fronts so you can place out a cup of vinegar and dish soap. Add three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.

More traditional remedies include the use of old wine or beer. Much like vinegar, fruit flies are attracted to the smell of wine. However, while theoretically the flies can't escape the skinny neck of a wine bottle, many will. One way to improve the effectiveness of a wine trap is to put a few drops of dawn in the wine to break the surface tension.

Drain Flies can reproduce rapidly, so it's essential that you continue the process of cleaning your drain consistently for about 3 weeks. It doesn't have to be every day, but the more frequently you address it, the better off you will be... and in the future, be sure to scrape your plates better before doing dishes to prevent leaving meal deposits for future infestations. 

drain water heater

How to Drain Your Water Heater

Draining your water heater is an essential annual household chore. Over time, sediment gathers at the bottom of your water heater. If left to sit, it will harden, preventing your heating source from efficiently heating your water and eventually causing your water heater to burst.

If you hear popping noises coming from your water heater, chances are you are too late. Sediment has hardened, and you should prepare to purchase a new water heater soon, if not right away, to avoid an abrupt loss of funciton (perhaps before you've rinsed all the soap off of your body.) 

However, if you maintain your water heater with regular draining, your water heater should last 8-12 years. (Most go no further than 8 or 10) To check the age of your water heater, you can call the manufacturer with your water heater's serial number. 

Draining Your Gas or Electric Water Heater

(Before performing this task, be sure no one is planning to take a shower or use the dishwasher!)

1) Gather what you need: 

  • A heat proof bucket, (unless you want to use a nearby floor drain) •
  • The garden hose

2) Determine if your water heater is gas or electric.

Remove the side panel look to see if there is a pilot light, if there is you have a natural gas hot water heater. If there is NO pilot light, then it is electric. Remember though that some natural gas heaters also will use electricity.

3) Turn of gas/power.

Turn the knob on the hot water heater's thermostat to “Off”. Turn off gas to hot water heater and turn off the breaker if it is both natural gas and electric. Flip the circuit breaker to OFF for an electric hot water heater.

4) Turn off the water.

Turn Off the cold water valve. Wait for water in the heater to cool down. (Attempting to drain scalding hot water will be problematic and dangerous.) Turn on the hot water in a sink or tub to drain water is still in the pipes, and keep them open until you're done. This will prevent the vacuum effect as you drain the tank. 

3) Attach the hose.

Attach the garden hose to the drain valve on the side of the tank. Make sure the threads are on tight, otherwise there will be leaks. Place the end of the hose in the bucket, or a drain that will not overflow.

4) Open the drain valve and drain.

5) Detach the hose.

After you have finished draining the sediment from the hot water heater, turn the drain valve off and remove the hose.

6)Turn the cold water valve ON.

7)Turn the heating elements in the hot water heater to ON.

Nearly done!

8) Keep your taps open and once they return to normal flow, turn them off.

You will need to wait 30 minutes or so to test for hot water, sediment free.

Not in the mood to haul buckets, or run around turning valves on and off? Jersey Plumbing Service provides Water Heater Maintenance services. Give us a call! (908) 281-7101

water_soft_feat

What is Water Conditioning?

What Is Water Conditioning/Water Softening? 

Water conditioning is the process of removing or altering minerals, chemicals, and contaminants from a water source. Every day, it seems there is a growing concern   about our water supplies containing a lot of contaminants such as calcium, lime, chlorine, ammonia, chloramines, and many other harmful chemicals. (Not all water contaminents, especially when it comes to minerals, are bad for your health, but can nonetheless be harmful to your plumbing.)

Water softening is the removal of calcium, magnesium, and certain other metals in hard water.  Soft water also extends the lifetime of plumbing by reducing or eliminating scale build-up in pipes and fittings. Water softening is usually achieved using lime softening or ion-exchange resins.

There are salt-based water softeners which use brine and special resin beads in separate tanks.  These beads have a negative electrical charge that attracts the positively charged mineral ions of hard water while giving off sodium ions. The attraction causes minerals such as calcium and magnesium to adhere to the resin beads as the water passes through the tank, resulting in soft water.

Salt–free water conditioners use potassium chloride and function more like a descaler than an actual water softener.  This prevents minerals from depositing through the system and can cause damage.

Calcium and lime deposits over time will harm:

Pipes                              

Water Heaters

Faucets

Dishwashers

Coffee Pots

Sinks and showers

If you have ever seen the grainy white film on your coffee pot or on your faucet, that’s it.

How to Know if Your Water Softener is Working

The easiest way to determine how soft or hard is to look for hard water spots in your shower, or just pay attention to how you feel after a shower. Is your skin dry? Do you need more soap than usual to lather? Does your coffee pot get a water stain on the bottom? All of these are signs that your water is  your water might be hard. 

Are Water Softeners Going to be Banned in New Jersey?

California was the first to ban traditional salt based water softeners due to the problems salinated water can reap on farming. Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Arizona have all created laws affecting water softeners all or in part for this reason.

While there have been no efforts yet to ban traditional water softeners in New Jersey, a large portion of the state is still comprised of farming communities, and it wouldn't be unheard of for New Jersey politics to mirror those of California's on environmental issues. For this reason, you may want to consider salt-free or reverse osmosis option if replacing your water softener. 

 

 

should i replace water heater

Should I Replace My Water Heater Before it Fails?

The time to replace your water heater is before it damages your floor/walls or belongings. If you wait for a leak to occur before replacing your water heater, you could experience expensive water damage that can easily lead to expensive mold problems.

 

If your water heater is located in an area where there is not much concern, such as in an unfinished basement with a concrete floor near a drain or sump pump, then yes, you can likely wait until the water heater has failed to replace it without too many problems.

 

If your water heater is showing signs of imminent failure, and you would like to prevent further problems, give Jersey Plumbing a call: (908) 281-7101

 

If you’re not sure if your water heater is headed for failure, check the following:

 

Dirty Water • Water that is pouring with a rusty or sandy debris can be a sign of water heater failure or old pipes that could be headed for failure. Either way, you’ll want to get a Master Plumber out to assess the problem.

 

Noises • Hearing pops or crackling noises coming from the water heater is a sign that the sediment at the bottom of the tank has hardened. This causes your heating source to work overtime, driving up your energy costs and driving down your water heater’s effectiveness.

 

You may also notice water takes longer to heat at this stage. This problem can be prevented by draining your water at least once a year, or by having an experienced plumber drain it for you.

 

However, once the sediment has hardened, it’s too late to try draining the water heater. It will eventually crack and leak.

Water Temperature • As stated above, sediment can gather at the bottom of your water heater, causing your heating source to work overtime to achieve the same results. If you notice the water isn’t getting hot, you may be able to drain the water and sediment, replace the heating element, or, if hardened sediment is the problem, replace the water heater.

 

Leaks • When there is water leaking from the water heater it is time to replace it.

 

Age • It’s best practice to keep a record of when each unit in your home was purchased. If you don’t happen to know how old your water heater is, you can call the manufacturer and supply them with the model number to find out. Water heaters last 8-10 years. If your water heater is 10 years old, we recommend replacing it. If it’s nearing 8, you may want to save up for the replacement and keep that in your emergency fund.  

5 signs water heater failure

5 Signs Your Water Heater is Failing

Jersey Plumbing Offers Quality Water Heater Repair & Replacement Services

As long as the hot water is flowing, your water heater is usually an unsung hero of the household. When the hot water isn’t so hot, however we tend to remember why we love our water heaters so much. If you’ve been neglecting your relationship with your water heater, it may be time to check for signs of failure.

If you catch these Water Heater Problems early, you may prevent the need for a replacement.

1. Dirty Water

Water that is pouring out rusty, metallic, or with sand or debris is likely a sign of failure.

2. Noises

Hearing pops or crackling noises coming from the water heater is a sign that the sediment at the bottom of the tank has hardened. This causes the water heater to work overtime, erroding the efficiency of the water heater and eventually leading to failure if left undrained.

3. Water Temperature

Obviously, the purpose of the water heater is to heat. If you notice a drop or loss of hot water, that's a big red flag for your water heater. 

4. Leaks

When there is water leaking from the water heater it is time to replace it.

5. Age

Hopefully, you have kept records of when you purchased significant units for your home including the boiler, water heater, furnace, etc. While nothing lasts forever, water heaters last between 8 to 12 years. The age of the unit can be identified using the serial number as well.

When it’s time to replace your water heater, there are a variety of options and reliable brands available. Read more about water heater replacement options here. Remember to check on your water heater once every season or so. Always listen for sounds that shouldn’t be there. The water heater should be serviced yearly to prevent sediment from collecting at the bottom of the tank.

8 plumbing tools

8 Plumbing Tools Every Handy Homeowner Should Own

Having the right tool for the right job takes the worry out of minor home repair. Although a butter knife, duct tape and an old rag can work some unexpected miracles, having a well-equipped tool box for basic plumbing repairs such as clogs and leaks can give you the confidence to get the job done, and done right.

toolbox

The Basics for Your Plumbing Toolbox:

plunger

Plunger

1. Plunger - This is the first tool to grab when dealing with clogs in bathtubs, sinks, and toilets. Remember when plunging a toilet, create a firm seal, press down and pull up. You want to vacuum the clog OUT, not push the blockage deeper.

plumbing auger

Plumbing Auger

2. Plumber's Snake, or Plumbing Auger - This is a hand-cranked drain-clearing tool with a long flexible steel cable that's effective at clearing obstructions from tubs, showers, sinks, toilets and drain lines. Use this if the plunger can’t move a clog.

tongue and groove pliers

Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

3. Tongue-and-Groove Pliers – These are the pliers to use when you need to twist, turn, tighten or loosen something. While these come in several sizes, the 9.5” and 12” will likely be most useful.

hacksaw

Hacksaw

4. Hacksaw – This is useful to cut through metal and plastic pipe, nuts, bolts and screw among other things. Hacksaws, so long as the blade is sharp, are a very versatile tool. Make sure you have plenty of extra blades. Be careful when using it as well as when replacing the blades.

Spanner Wrench

Spanner Wrench

5. Spanner Wrench - Used for the tightening and loosening of nuts on items like sink faucets. The long shaft and swiveling jaw can get up and into the narrow space behind a sink and lock onto the nuts. Make sure when buying the moving jaw has a solid setting so it doesn’t slip under pressure. Generally with wrenches two is better than one, vary the sizes.

pipe wrenches

Pipe Wrench

6. Pipe Wrench - These are heavy, large wrenches used to tighten and loosen threaded pipes, fittings and nuts. Get two as you will need one to hold and the other for turning. Although they come in sizes from 6” to 60”, the 10” and 14” should suffice.

Metal File

Metal File

7. Metal File - this smooths the edges of metal pipes after cutting, get two: a rat tail which is round and tapered also a half round a half round which has both rounded and flat surfaces.

toolbox

Toolbox

8. Tool Box - Tool boxes come in a vast array of sizes, and functionality. Some have wheels (great feature), and some can be mounted. Always get a little more room than you need as tool collections tend to grow. Many find it best to have separate toolboxes for separate jobs. (One for Electric Work, One for Plumbing, One for Carpentry, etc.)

Jersey Plumbing(908) 281-7101

Remember! Sometimes the best tool is experience. When you need a Master Plumber to get the job done right, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jersey Plumbing Service for your plumbing needs.

Jersey Plumbing Service
PO Box 7371
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Click to Email Us
Fax: 1-908-647-1517

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