Drains 101: What’s Wrong With Your Drains?

Whatever the problem is with your drains, the Santa Cruz plumbers at Rosenthal Plumbing can help you get them working again. We can get the work done quickly to get your water flowing, whether your drains need to be cleaned out or replaced.

My Drains Smell Bad

Once in a while, we get a call from someone who has a stinky drain but can’t place the source of the odor.  If an unpleasant odor is emanating from your drains, it could be a sign of a more serious and unsanitary problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Check Your P-Trap

Drains that emit a foul odor typically have a p-trap issue. This curved pipe should be installed beneath each and every sink. One of the most obvious uses for a p-trap is to prevent clogs in the pipes by collecting debris that gets flushed down the toilet or sink. However, the bend in this pipe causes water to pool. This water prevents any harmful gases from rising and entering your home. When this pipe dries up, there will be a terrible stench.

Check Your Drain Vents

A faulty or poorly designed drain vent system may occasionally be the source of a foul odor. Sewer gasses are always present in your plumbing system; it’s just the way these things work. These gases must be vented so that they do not cause problems or odors in your drain lines. When gasses cannot vent properly, they can raise the pressure in your system, causing water flow issues as well as foul odors. When this becomes severe enough, the gasses can push past or through any obstruction, allowing them to enter your home.

It Could Be Your Sewer

Finally, a foul odor may indicate a problem with the sewer line itself. It’s critical to get these fixed as soon as possible, or you may end up with more expensive repairs down the road. If you have bad odors coming from your drains, we would be happy to inspect your plumbing system and provide you with a free estimate to fix the problem. Contact Rosenthal Plumbing right away to have your drains cleaned.

Drain Care

If you want your drains to keep flowing well for a long time, there are some simple things you can do to help them work well. 

Keep hair out of the drains

After you shave, instead of just rinsing the sink, give the sink a good wipe down. To prevent hair from going down the drain, use a small container of water to rinse your razor, and then strain the water using a fine strainer. Before jumping into the shower, give your long hair a good brushing. A single hair probably won’t clog a drain, but hair accumulation over time can lead to problems.

Use a mesh screen over your drains.

These are great for the bathroom or kitchen sink, but they really shine in the shower. They act as a filter, collecting anything that tries to enter your drain before it has a chance to build up and cause a clog. To prevent the screen from obstructing your drain, you should regularly remove it and throw it away.

Keep fats, oils, and grease out of your drains. 

Although these are fluid when first poured, they solidify as they cool. As they harden, they can bind to your drain, reducing its diameter and entrapping more debris. Major bottlenecks can form from these.

Remember: Garbage Disposals Can’t Do Everything!

Finally, keep in mind that there are some things even a garbage disposal can’t do. Don’t put any fibrous materials or bones (even tiny ones!) through it (like corn husks). These can either cause permanent damage to the disposal or allow debris that will eventually clog the drain to pass through. If you use your disposal sensibly, your drains will last for a long time.

Call Rosenthal Plumbing for Drain Cleaning in Santa Cruz Today!

Call Rosenthal Plumbing if you’re unsure of whether an item will cause damage to your pipes. Let us come out and take a look, and if any repairs are needed, we can provide you with a free quote. Get in touch with a Santa Cruz drain cleaning service right away!

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Keep Your Drains Clear This Holiday Season

We see a lot of clogged drains over the holiday season. It makes sense, actually. You may have a lot more people in your house than you usually do, or you may be cooking a lot more food, in larger quantities, than normal. Both of these things can lead to an increase in clogged drains all over your home. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent these problems!

Avoid Putting Grease Down Your Drains

When you’re cooking a lot of food and you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to just pour all of the grease down your drain. However, grease congeals into a gel-like substance that sticks to almost everything else you put down your drain. You can create a huge clog over just a few days! Instead, pour your grease into a resealable container and throw it away. 

Put Food Waste in the Trash

Most food waste shouldn’t go down your garbage disposal, especially in large quantities. It can get stuck in your drain and cause a clog or immobilize your garbage disposal blades. You should especially avoid putting eggshells, coffee grounds, corn husks, potato peels, and bones down the disposal. 

Don’t Flush Solids Down Your Drains

Don’t let anyone flush anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the drain. This applies to feminine hygiene products, cotton balls, dental floss, paper towels, hair, tissues, Q-tips, cat litter, and anything else that someone might decide to flush. Just don’t do it! Make sure there is ample trash can space so that people have other options. 

Clean Out Drain Overflow Spaces

Get to know your sinks! Most have pop-up drain assemblies that can be pulled out and cleaned regularly. These are designed to trap water and soap in the sink when you need them there, but they can also collect soap scum, hair, and more. To clean them, close the pop-up valve. Fill your sink with water and a little bit of soap until the water line is just below the overflow hole. Add a cup of bleach to the water, then turn the tap on and run hot water for about 10 minutes. When you’re done, drain the entire sink again. 

Rinse Out Your Garbage Disposal

Every few days, pour a half cup of dishwashing fluid down your drain, then run lukewarm water for a minute or so after it. This should clean out your drains and keep them flowing freely. You may want to do this every day during the holiday season if you tend to have drain problems.

Call for Drain Cleaning in Santa Cruz

You can always call us at Rosenthal Plumbing for help with your drains, too. When our professional plumbers come to your home for drain cleaning they will, identify the source of your clogged pipes and clear it out fast with either a plumbing rod or using a high pressure water stream, a method called hydro-jetting, clean up anything that needs to be and make sure you’re satisfied with the result before leaving so you can get back to your holiday fun! Give us at Rosenthal Plumbing a call any time for emergency plumbing help in Santa Cruz and we’ll be there fast!

When to Call a Plumber for Drain Cleaning

Does your clog need some TLC from a professional Santa Cruz plumber?

When a drain clogs, most people run for the drain cleaner or grab the plunger. Those aren’t bad options, but they aren’t always the solutions you need, either. Sometimes, your drain needs professional attention if you want to remove the clog and keep your plumbing working well. Here are a few signs that you should call a plumber for drain cleaning services!

You Can’t Get to the Clog

If the clog is deep in your system, drain cleaner won’t usually work and neither will the plunger. Some clogs even go beyond the reach of the plumbing snakes that you can rent! Deep clogs require the skills of a professional plumber to access the clog safely, then remove it without causing any further problems.

You Use Drain Cleaner Every Week or Every Day!

Using drain cleaner once in a while is a great way to resolve an occasional clog. If you find yourself pouring it down the same drain over and over, though, then it’s time to bring in a plumber. Not only is the drain cleaner not actually resolving the clog, but it is spending a lot of time sitting in your pipes. Since drain cleaner is made to dissolve things, this isn’t a great idea. Instead, get a professional plumber to resolve the clog once and for all.

You Have One Drain that Always Clogs

It’s normal for drains to clog now and then. If you have one drain that clogs regularly, though, there’s more going on down there than a simple clog. Call a plumber to find out why the drain is clogging and get rid of it for good. You may resolve an even larger problem in your drain!

You Think You Have a Sewer Clog

If you suspect a clog in your sewer line, call a professional right away. No amount of plunging or drain cleaner is going to fix that clog! It will take the services of a pro to locate the clog, determine its makeup, and decide on the best way to get it out of your way. Before long, though, your drains will be flowing easily once again.

Santa Cruz Drain Cleaning Experts

If you have a clog that needs some professional TLC, call us at Rosenthal today! We can also help you decide if you need the services of a plumber or if there are other things you should try first. Our plumbers would love to help you out today!

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How to Unclog a Shower Drain

Are you having issues with your shower or bathtub drain? Is the water pooling or draining more slowly than usual? Then you’ve come to the right place! There are several different methods you can try to unclog a shower drain or a bathtub drain. If you’re not entirely comfortable with any of them, give us a call at Rosenthal Plumbing! Our drain cleaning service experts would be happy to do the unclogging for you. If you’d like to tackle the project yourself, though, read on to learn how to unclog a shower drain!

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Use Your Hand

Sometimes, it’s possible to simply reach down the drain, grab whatever’s causing the clog (usually hair) and pull it out. We definitely recommend putting on a pair of gloves before you do this as drains can be pretty nasty on the inside. If the clog is just barely out of reach, an unclogging tool or something like a screwdriver can help unclog a shower drain.

Try A Home Remedy

Sometimes, clogs are just too deep to grab. If that’s the issue you’re having, try dissolving it with some common household substances. Start by pouring some hot water down your clogged shower drain, followed by a cup of baking soda, and finish it off with a cup of vinegar. Let the concoction sit for about 10 minutes, then run some hot water down the drain for a few minutes more. Sometimes, this can unclog a bathtub drain fast!

Plunge it Out

Contrary to popular belief, plungers aren’t just for toilets; they work on all sorts of drains. Just be sure to get a good seal around the clogged drain, then start plunging away. After a few minutes, the clog can be moved around enough that you’re able to grab it and pull it out (see method 1 above) or that it flows down the drain when you run the water.

Get Your Shop Vac

If you have a shop vac, this can be a powerful way to remove a stubborn shower or bathtub clog. Set the vac to liquid vacuuming, place the hose over the top of the drain and then turn it on. It’s possible for the vac to produce enough suction to either bring up the clog or dislodge it enough that it can flow down the drain with some running water.

Try a Plumbing Snake

If you don’t already own a plumbing snake, renting one from your local hardware store is a fairly straightforward process and can help unclog your shower drain. Unless you’re familiar with how to operate one, however, we caution against this as a plumbing snake can get stuck in the drain, causing even more damage than that stubborn clog.

Clogged Drain Experts in Santa Cruz

If, after trying the methods above, you still can’t get your clogged shower drain or clogged bathroom drain unclogged, or you’re just hesitant to try it yourself, call us at Rosenthal Plumbing. Our drain cleaning experts are standing by and are ready to get everything back to normal for you ASAP!

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