How to Prevent Sink Clogs

Sink clogs are an incredibly frustrating problem for all homeowners. Nearly everyone has dealt with a clogged sink at some point, and the first question they always ask is “How did that happen?” Over our 13 years of experience, we have seen more clogged drains than you can imagine. Bird Dog Plumbing knows what causes them, how to prevent them, and most certainly, how to clear them.  If you have a clogged drain, we will be happy to come out and take a look at it for you, but here are some ways that you can prevent those clogs from happening in the first place.   Preventing Kitchen sink clogs Grease- Never, EVER, pour grease down a drain. Even small amounts will build up over time and eventually cause a clog. Instead, pour the liquid grease into a sealable, disposable container, to be thrown out once it is full. Coffee Grounds- Like grease, coffee grounds need to stay out of the drain. They will build up over time and cause severe clogs and problems later on.Avoid Putting troublesome foods down the drain (with disposal) – Anything that your disposal cannon easily grind up, should not go down the drain. Some examples are banana peels, eggshells, potato skins, or bones.Run cold water while using the disposal – Running cold water while using the disposal helps ensure all of the waste is washed out of the disposal and through the system.Avoid putting any food down the drain (no disposal) – If you do not have a disposal, you should never pour food down your drain. Instead, use a removable drain strainer.Use hot water once a week. About once a week, slowly pour hot or boiling water down your drain. This will help melt away any grease or sticky foods that could be building up in your drain.   Preventing bathroom sink clogs Clean stoppers – Make sure you frequently clean your drain stoppers in your sink. The stoppers catch lots of hair, soap, and other nasty gunk that can eventually clog your sink. So every few months, remove the stopper and clean it. At this point, you know everything that you need to know to keep your drains clean. However, sometimes no matter what you do, you still get that clog. If that happens, that is where we come in. Bird Dog Plumbing has been helping Longview homeowners, solve every plumbing...
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When should Homeowners Repipe Their Homes

Dealing with your home’s plumbing can be a pricey and complicated task. That is why it is important that homeowners understand what actually needs fixing, and what can wait. At Bird Dog Plumbing, we always want our customers to understand this distinction. When it comes to plumbing repairs, the one that every homeowner dreads even thinking about is pipe replacement. Re-piping a house can be expensive, so know when it is actually needed is important. Especially when it involves replacing more than one or two leaky pipes. There are a couple of different aspects to consider when it comes to major plumbing repairs:    Age of the House:  The general rule of thumb when it comes to pipes is that they need to be replaced if your home was built before 1970. If the home still has original pipes, they are probably made out of out-dated metals. Many of these metals corrode quicker, so replacing saves money, and also helps make sure your water is clean. Having this done also adds value to the house.    The Telltale Signs: When taking a look at your home’s plumbing, there are a few tell-tale signs that signal it being time to get your home repiped. Noisy Pipes: If your pipes are making banging or squeaking noises, that is a pretty good sign that they need to be replaced. This is typically a sign that the pipes have warped or are corroding.Corrosion or Rust on Pipes: Checking your pipes for corrosion can be difficult, especially if they are difficult to access, but this is one of the easiest ways to see if your pipes need to be replaced.Leaky Pipes: The most clear-cut sign of pipes needing replacement is a leak. If your pipes are leaking, especially if it is in more than one area, it is time to replace them. Leaking pipes not only mean you are wasting water, but leaks can also cause water damage to the areas surrounding the pipe over time. Water Discoloration: If the color of your water has a reddish or brown tint, that is a sign that your pipes are rusty. Off-Smelling/tasting Water: Similar to discoloration, bad-smelling/tasting water is another sign that the pipes are rusting and need to be replaced.Water Pressure Problems: If you notice a significant decrease in water pressure, or if you have an older home and it was never that good, to begin with,...
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Should I Buy a Solar-Powered Water heater?

Solar energy is a fast-growing form of energy collection for homes across the North Texas area. This is leading many people who already have solar-powered homes, or are looking into making the switch, to wonder “should I buy a solar water heater?” There are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to buying hot water heaters, and it is important to sort out the truth from the myth when it comes to making a purchase and commitment as big as a solar hot water heater. Price: While not so much a misconception, it needs to be understood that solar water heaters are by far the most expensive type of water heater. They typically cost upwards of $3000 in installation costs. Energy Costs: Solar water heaters are the absolute best way to save money on your hot water bills. Solar water heaters have the potential to decrease a household’s carbon footprint by at least 50%. Colder areas: In areas that have the potential to freeze from time to time, (North Texas) heaters will need an anti-freeze system installed. Another additional cost upfront. Home location: The location of your home is extremely important when deciding if your home would be a good candidate for solar water heating. Making sure you live in a location that gets relatively consistent sun is important. In our area, the main concern would be houses that have a lot of large shady trees. Bad Weather: Typically, another upfront cost is a backup energy supply. This will come in handy if you have an extended period of cloudy, bad weather. Maintenance costs: Since solar water heaters are so complicated, the water heaters require much more maintenance. If you think a solar water heater is right for you, or have any more questions, please contact the expert Longview plumbers at Bird Dog. Our technicians are always ready to help find the water heater that fits your household’s...
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How Do Instant Hot Water Heaters Work?

Switching to an instant (tankless) water heater is a fast-growing trend in the US right now. Instant water heaters are smaller, last longer, and are more efficient than their tank counterparts. As great as all of this sounds, it is important to understand how they work before deciding if a tankless water heater is right for your home.   How do instant water heaters work? One of the most important things to understand is the water heater does not have a tank to store the hot water in, so it must “instantly” heat it up. One advantage of not storing the water is instant water heaters have a much higher lifespan than tank heaters. Not having water constantly sitting inside the system prevents rust from damaging the system, increasing the life span by nearly 2-5 years. In order to heat the water, it flows through a pipe in the heater, and is heated by a heating element as it flows through the heater. There are two main ways this is achieved: Electric – When using electricity, water heaters use a coil that heats up around the pipe, warming the water inside. Electrical units are more efficient in terms of lost heat, however, they require a lot of energy. Electric instant water heaters also are generally able to heat less water at a time, making them more attractive as a point-of-use heater. Gas – Gas instant water heaters work by using gas burners placed around the pipe to heat up the water as it flows through the heater. Gas instant water heaters provide more heat over a period of time, making them better for whole-house heaters. The water is then pushed to the open tap. One drawback to this is that the heater must be constantly be heating the water until the tap is turned off because the water can lose its heat as it makes its way to its desired tap. Typically, instant water heaters require extra, special ventilation since they use high-powered burners. Gas heaters also usually require a larger gas pipe than the rest of the house has. Due to these reasons, installation costs can be high.   How much do they cost? Speaking of costs, instant water heaters are expensive upfront. In fact, some models are up to 3 times more expensive than tank water heaters. Installation costs are also relatively high. Gas models especially require...
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How Do I Clean My Garbage Disposal

Few things are less inviting in the kitchen than a stinky garbage disposal. Despite the fact that most of us them every day, garbage disposals are easy to overlook when it comes to basic home cleaning. Doing dishes is not fun as it is, but doing them when your disposal stinks makes it ten times worse. Fortunately, getting rid of that odor coming from your garbage disposal is not a difficult task. Here are a few tips from the expert Longview, TX plumbers at Bird Dog Plumbing to make this task as easy as possible. Remember, before you start cleaning or put your hands anywhere near the garbage disposal, remember to unplug it, or turn off the disposal’s breaker.    Clean the visible portion of the garbage disposal Using some dish soap and a brush, clean the areas around the disposal, such as the joint where the disposal meets the sink. This area is particularly susceptible to food getting trapped, making it a haven for mold to grow.   Clean under the baffle The rubber baffle at the bottom of your sink is a prime location for food particles to get stuck in the folds. Using a brush be sure to scrub this area.   Clean the grinding chamber Use a soapy sponge or brush, scrub around the grinding chamber where food particles could be stuck in the grinder or the walls of the chamber. Make sure you are rinsing the sponge and sink and continue this process until the sponge comes up clean from the disposal. Here are a few more things you can do which require that the disposal be running, so remember, hands out!   Citrus Using citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, or oranges is a really effective way to give your disposal a fresh scent. Simply throwing the peels, or the entire fruit (chopped into wedges) into the disposal does wonders. The oils that come out of the peel coat the disposal and help keep the disposal fresh for an extended period of time. Interestingly, the rough peels actually help pull gunk off the blades and walls.   Ice and rock salt Ice and rock salt are great for scraping food and waste of the inside of the pipes and blades. The best way to keep your disposal clean is the easiest of all. Routinely flush your disposal with water after each use. This...
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