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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What Type of Water Heater is Right For Me?

When your water heater is starting to reach the end of its life cycle, many customers have a hard time figuring out which type of water heater is right for them when they need a replacement. There are many different types of water heaters which makes this such a daunting task. Luckily the experts at Bird Dog Plumbing are here to help make your search as simple as possible!   Fuel Types One of the first things to consider when selecting a water heater is what type of fuel will be used to power it. The two most common types are Gas –  Gas is used to heat most conventional forms of water heaters. It is widely available and has a relatively low energy cost. Gas also re-heat very quickly. This really comes in handy if you have a large family and know that multiple people will be using hot water at the same time. Electricity –  Like Gas, one of the major pros of electricity is that it is widely available. A major pro is that it does not have really any of the safety concerns that come with using a gas system. Electric water heaters are also smaller and easier to connect. Typically electric water heaters work best for smaller households. They are slightly slower at heating up water, and use more energy; so using them if you use lots of hot water is not super economical.   Types of Water Heaters There are a lot of different types of water heaters. This is why figuring out which one fits your house best is so difficult. However, knowing which kind of fuel you are going to use narrows down the options. Here are some of the most common types of water heaters: Storage– Storage water heaters are probably the most common, and the ones that everyone pictures when they think about water heaters. They are basically large tanks that hold hot water from the top and heats up the cold water at the bottom. The biggest pros of theses are that they are so inexpensive to purchase. They are also really good for households that use lots of hot water at the same time. However, they waste a lot of energy due to the fact that they are always on standby. Tankless– Tankless water heaters are also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters. This type of...
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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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How to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting (Video)

 Low temperatures greatly increase the risk of water a pipe bursting. Broken pipes caused by cold weather can cause significant property damage. Always protect your pipes, especially in unheated interior spaces like basements and attics. Interior water damage can cost you thousands of dollars to repair after the fact. For the best protection and peace of mind, apply the following tips to defeat the cold. Investigate Pipe Insulation Options: Pipe Insulation can cost as little as 50 cents per linear foot at the hardware store Keep Garage Doors Closed: Keeping the cold away from water supply lines in the garage helps to protect pipes. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors: This allows warm air to circulate and around the plumbing. Let the cold water drip from a faucet: Even a trickle of water through the tap can prevent cold pipes from freezing solid. Keep the thermostat set at a fixed temperature: Avoid turning the thermostat down at night even if it saves you a few bucks. Add insulation in the long term: Insulating attics, basements, and crawl spaces help maintain a safe temperature for pipes. If you have frozen or busted pipes, make sure to: Turn on the faucet Apply heat until the full water pressure is restored. Remember that an extra expense or effort often outweighs a hefty repair bill. For more information on protecting or repairing pipes, call the experts at Bird Dog Plumbing in Longview,...
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