Plumbing Tips

Silver faucet with blue green background. Tips for summer plumbing maintenance

Summer Maintenance Tips

5/22/2018

Now that the winter is over, it’s time to check up on your plumbing. Harsh winter months can take a toll on your pipes, causing unprotected pipes to easily freeze, crack, and burst.

Make this summer stress free by checking now for cracks and burst pipes before the damage gets worse.

Check for Leaks

If your home has had pipes freeze and burst over the winter, it’s important to get them fixed immediately. Failing to do so can lead to flooding, water damage, money loss, and even greater damage to your pipes later.
Many leaks are easy to detect as they create visible water damage on walls and ceilings, and flooding in the home.

If no visible signs of leaks are present, you can perform your own analysis to detect hidden burst or leaking pipes.

Use your Water Meter to check for leaks caused by winter freezes

Detect leaks by using your water meter:

  1. Shut off all faucets and running water in the house. All running water needs to be stopped to clearly detect a leak.
  2. In your water meter, you’ll notice a small triangle or spin dial. In the picture shown, this dial is the blue star. This small dial indicates when water is moving in your pipes, so any movement may be a sign of a leak.
  3. Try to find where the leak is by looking for signs of water damage in your yard or in the home.
  4. If you’re still not sure where the leak is coming from, call Mathews Plumbing to have a professional plumber look at it.

Inspect Gutters

Frozen gutters during winter

During the fall and winter months, gutters collect a lot of leaves and debris which clog the drainage system. To make sure spring rains will properly drain, clear all gutters and downspouts of this debris.

Harsh winter freezes and heavy snow piles can cause damage to common roofline gutter systems. After the snow has cleared, make sure to inspect all gutters for any damage from the harsh freezes. Gutter seams and anchors may also be loose or broken, pay especially close attention to these spots.

 

Contact Mathews Plumbing for additional information about burst pipes, hidden leaks, and summer plumbing maintenance. Mathews Plumbing will be able to locate the leak, fix the broken pipe, and prevent any further damage.

Eastern Idaho Plumber fixing plumbing under a sink

Need a Residential Plumber in Eastern Idaho?

4/27/17

By: Karli Willden

On any given day, without warning, you may find you are in urgent need of a local plumber. You might have found you are unexpectedly out of hot water with a household full of guests. Or, maybe you have clogged drains or leaky faucets which have progressively gotten worse. Trifling with leaking pipes, leaking water heaters or broken garbage disposals, or trying to install new faucets or plumbing could end up costing you more than it would cost to hire a professional in the first place. A number of things could go wrong with your household plumbing, and only a plumber can inspect and repair these issues in the least amount of time. Here is what a residential plumber can do for you.

Plumbing Inspections and Repairs

When you opt to call a plumber, here are a few things you can expect. A plumber will arrive at your home and assess the visual traces of water leaks and malfunctions. Each plumber coming on the scene will know exactly what to look for and where to look first. Having many years of experience doing many plumbing jobs, he or she will know the common signs and will quickly find the root of the problem in what would ordinarily take you hours or days to find.

Some plumbing problems, however, are difficult to find, even for plumbers. That is, if they don’t have the proper equipment. Not all plumbing leaks are created equal and some are much more difficult to pinpoint without the proper equipment most homeowners lack. A professional plumber, however, comes prepared to find even the most difficult leaks and malfunctions.

For example, plumbers carry with them special plumbing instruments able to detect even the faintest sound of a water leak. Other equipment used will help to detect moisture differences in a room or in the walls. If the plumbing issue has yet to be revealed at this point, the plumber will resort to pipe video inspection which will eliminate any doubt of what the issue is. Plumbers are able to quickly find the source of a problem with their high tech equipment, which means the issue can be resolved at a faster rate to minimize damages.

Plumbing Installations: Homes &  Businesses

If you are planning a home remodel project in the near future, or are looking to build a new home or business, finding a good plumbing contractor will make or break your building experience. Nothing is more frustrating than to build or remodel a brand new home or business, only to have plumbing problems a short time later. One small leak can mean significant property damage and costly repairs, which is why you want to hire a proven, professional plumber to install your plumbing systems in your homes or businesses.

If you are looking for a residential plumber in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Shelley, or Rexburg, Mathews Plumbing is a great choice! As a well-known plumbing contractor, we have the experience and certifications to install new construction plumbing, plumbing for bathroom and kitchen remodels, installation of sinks, showers, bathtubs, garbage disposals, water heaters, water softeners, sewer and waste lines, and much more. Give Mathews Plumbing a call today for a free estimate at 208-357-3439.

Mathews plumbing in Shelley

What to Do When Your Plumbing Stinks

9/28/15
By: Karli Willden

Dealing with Odors from your Plumbing

One item within your home that is often taken for granted is indoor plumbing. As it has been a mainstay in construction for almost 100 years, and its basic technological premise has remained unchanged for a large portion of that time, it is often overlooked. However, there are various odor issues that can arise from your household plumbing and pipes that may just drive you crazy. In this article, we will discuss the most common problems, some simple fixes and when you should hire a professional.

Simple Quick Fixes

There are several issues surrounding possible odors and different ways to try and solve them before calling a professional plumber.

Sink Stinks

Every sink, toilet or basin in your home should have a P-trap. It is a simple way to keep the smells of the sewer from backing up into your home, by essentially having a water plug stop smells from reversing into your home. However, if you have a large home or multiple sinks that do not get used very often, the water in these P-traps can often evaporate. This removes the water plug that prevents the smell from entering the home. Simply run water for a couple minutes in the offensive sinks to reinstall the water plug.

Smelly Toilet

Generally, the toilet is not an olfactory bed of roses, but if yours smells particularly bad just after use your toilet’s wax seal may need upgrading. There is a wax seal that seals your toilet to the floor drain, if this seals breaks, hardens or is non-existent, it may be leaking air into the bathroom after each flush. Removing your toilet and fixing the seal is relatively easy, just make sure to turn off the water before you do.

Garberator

If you have a garbage disposal unit in your kitchen sink, there is a possibility that it has collected waste into its nooks and crannies and that smell is lingering. You can clean out your disposal unit with a simple wash process. Two home remedies may help this. Put in a tray of ice cube and some lemon peels for 30 seconds, adding a little bit of dish detergent while it is running. Then run hot water through it for an additional 30 seconds. The alternate recipe is to pour 1-2 cups of pure white vinegar into it while it is running for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds of hot water.

Problems for the Pros

Smells all Over

If you have noticed that multiple sinks, basins or toilets are releasing sewer gas, you may have a sewer blockage or leak. Do not attempt to fix this, call a professional plumber right away.

Basement Drain Odor

If one of the basement drains is odorous there may be a clog in one of the sewer branch lines. It’s best to have it scoped to see if there is a problem by a pro.

If you have tried the simple fixes above and still find a smell emanating from your drains or sinks, it’s time to call in the pros for an inspection. Give Mathews Plumbing a call today at 208-357-3439.

Kitchen Sinks Idaho Falls

What Not to Put Down Garbage Disposal

4/30/15
By: Karli Willden

Idaho Falls Plumbing Tips

Sometimes the sink disposal is used for all the wrong reasons. Many people think if you have old food in the your refrigerator, you can put it down the garbage disposal with no worries. WRONG. This type of thinking can cause lots of plumbing issues by putting the wrong things down the pipes. While the disposal can grind the food, there are issues with the grinded food making its way through the pipes. The sink disposal is not the food garbage of the house, and should be used sparingly. It is important people are aware of what they should or should not put down their garbage disposals to save them money in the long run. Continue reading

Bathroom Sinks Idaho Falls

Water Leaks: Detection & Issues

3/27/15
By: Karli Willden

Water leaks in your home can be costly if not caught in advance. From high water bills, to home damage repairs and more, you will want to catch a leak long before it becomes a major issue. At Mathews Plumbing we offer licensed Idaho Falls plumbers at your service. For plumbing issues or suspected leaking problems, give us a call and we can assure the problem is inspected properly. Let us help you recognize the signs of a leak and help you to prevent a major water leak, before it becomes too late.

Signs of Water Leaks in Pipes 

  • Slow Leaking Pipes
  • Mold
  • Water Damage
  • Flaking or Peeling Paint
  • Corrosion and rust
  • Broken seals on pipes
  • Water Stains, Loose Flooring
  • High Water Bills

 

If your home or business has one or any of the previous signs listed above, contact a plumber near you today. Mathews Plumbing offers Idaho Falls plumbing solutions for every plumbing problem today.

Water Leak Issues 

Mold: Areas more exposed to water or humidity will have a higher chance of growing mold. Mold releases harmful toxins in the air which could result in more serious health problems. If you own a business mold can be a major threat, because it can shut you down if the issue is left unresolved. It is important to prevent or resolve issues with mold as soon as you are aware of them. Also be aware that not all surfaces are the same. Some surfaces are more water absorbent than others, thus speeding up mold growth. 

Water Damage: A leaking pipe can be the cause a multitude of problems, but water damage can be one of the more costly issues. If there is a water leak in the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else in the house which goes undetected, your floors or ceilings are at high risk for water damage and may need replacement. Carpet and sheetrock replacement can be a high cost expenditure, so prevent water damage today through a  simple plumbing inspection. 

High Water Bills: With a continual leaking pipe you can expect a higher water bill. To prevent a higher water bill, your pipes should be inspected immediately. 

Water Waste: Not only will you have a higher water bill with a pipe leak, but you will also have water waste you are paying for. Areas where there is water shortages or water rationing should be especially careful with water leaks and water waste. 

How to Find & Handle the Water Leak 

There are several different approaches you can take if you suspect a water leak on your hands. The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is to act quickly and take even small issues seriously before they can become disastrous.

Check Water Pressure : If you suspect a water leak or a broken pipe in your house, there are a couple of ways to check. One way is to check the water pressure. This can be done by turning off all the water in the house, all the faucets and the shutoff valves, and then check to see if the dial has moved. If so, you have a water leak in the supply.

Locate the Leak: There are several places you can check to see if your home has a water leak. The first place you can check is to look under all the kitchen or bathroom sinks. It is not uncommon for there to be water leaks under the sinks, as pipes may wear out with age. Next, check for leaky toilets or a lack of shower pressure, as these may sometimes be the issue. Continue your inspection throughout the house, checking all the likely water sources. If you find areas with water stains, mold or rotting wood, paint flaking, or bulges in the ceiling, then you will need to act quickly.

Dry the Area: Once you have found the source of the leak, take measures to dry the wet area. Use a towel to dry the area, open the cupboards, and place a fan to dry the area. Place a water collector under the leak it until it can be fixed. Make sure the water is wiped up and kept dry to prevent mold from growing.

Contact Your Idaho Falls Plumber: Once you have located the leaking source, contact your local Idaho Falls plumber immediately for a proper inspection. In the end there will be less costs and damages if the plumbing problem can be taken care of immediately. For questions, concerns, or to schedule an inspection with one of Mathews Plumbing licensed plumbers, give us a call at 208-357-3439.

Rexburg Heating Bill

How to Cut Down On Your Heating Bill

2/9/15
By: Karli Willden

We have all been in the situation where we have opened the heating bill to find more digits than we were expecting. We may wonder why the bill may be so high or what we can do to lower the bill next time. The good news is there are many small things which can be done to lower your next heating bill. Here are a few tips and tricks to gradually lower your heating bill month after month, but before then, let’s first explore why heating bills may be so high.

Major Reason For High Heating Bills

Lack of Insulation

How well your house was built and insulated can determine how well it retains your desired temperature. Some homes lack sufficient insulation throughout the house, the garage or the attic which can make it difficult to heat or cool your home. The problem with lack of insulation is that it’s not a quick fix and it can be costly; however, in the long run it will be the fastest way to solving your heating issue. If you are in the middle of building a new house, make sure the builder properly insulates your home.

Unaware of Heating Costs

Many people when they move into their first apartment or home are often clueless about the local heating costs. Unfortunately, the time they find out is usually after they receive their first outrageous heating bill. Find out what the average heating bill is before flipping on the heater. Some older heaters will have a much higher bill to run than those which are newer and more efficient. Avoid the unpleasant shock of finding out that your heating bill is much higher than you expected.

Cold Drafts 

Drafts make it difficult to keep cold air out and warm air in. Some houses may be more drafty than others, depending on how old the house is, so it is important to find the source.

  • Check the windows and window panes; add caulking or weather strips.
  • Check gaps underneath the front or garage door; replace the weather strip.
  • Close unused heater vents during the day. If you are not using your heater, make sure to close the vents so cold air will not seep into your house.
  • Check the attic; improve its insulation.

 

Little Things Do Matter

Rexburg Plumbing

 

Often it is the little habits that cost us the most in our heating bill. If we could learn to use our resources more efficiently, we could cut down on excess heating and, our bills would be a lot lower. Take a personal inventory of your family’s daily routines to see where personal improvements could be made.

 Do’s & Don’ts

  1. Keep house temperatures consistent: Some people drastically turn down or up the house temperature, instead of keeping it consistent throughout the day. A steady, consistent temperature will make it easier on the heater to produce heat and is more cost efficient. Another issue is when some are misled to think they should turn off their heater all together when they don’t use it. This misconception can actually be risky in the wintertime, and can lead to pipes bursting and a higher heating bill. When the heater is turned off and then turned on high later in the day, it makes the heater work twice as hard to produce heat.
  2. Adjust Heater During the Daytime: If you wanted to save more money on your next heating bill, then turn down your heating during the day. Some prefer to set the heater for around 68 or 70 during the day, when they could be comfortable at around 60 or 65. It is usually warmer during the daytime anyway, so you can turn it down an extra couple of degrees to save money on your next bill. If you are still cold, you can make up for less heat by wearing more layers of clothes. A few degrees could be significant in costs.
  3. Adjust Heater During the Night: You can also get away with turning your heater down a couple degrees when you go to bed at night. Keeping it a little cooler at night might actually help you sleep better. Use a few extra blankets if you get cold, or sleep with a few more layers. Do not turn the thermostat down so low it will make the heater work harder in the morning to get it back up to its normal temperature.  An ideal temperature for the night is around 55 or 57.
  4. Close the Doors: Every attempt to keep the heat in will help. If your family is in the habit of leaving doors open longer than they should, then change. Be more conscious of how long the doors are open and close the doors  immediately after you exit. When you run out to the car to grab groceries, don’t leave the doors open. Keeping the doors or garage doors closed will help to keep the heat in and the cold air out.
  5. Cut Shower Time: Cut down on your shower time or use less bathwater. Not only will these help on your heating bill, but you will also look less like a prune when you get out!
  6. Use Curtains & Rugs: A simple way to better insulate your home is through curtains and rugs. Curtains help to insulate your windows to keep the warm air inside your home. Rugs help to insulate those cold floors for your feet, and if you have blinds, closing them at night will also help to keep the heat in.
  7. Fireplace: If your home has a fireplace, consider using it more often. A fireplace is a great way to heat your home, so you can avoid fully relying on the house heating system. If there is a fan in the fireplace room, consider switching it on to circulate the heat throughout the house. You will be amazed how much you can save using a fireplace to heat your home.
  8. Reverse Ceiling Fans: Whether you are using a fireplace or house heater to heat your home, a smart trick to save money is to circulate the heat throughout the house is to turn the ceiling fans on reverse. This helps to spread the warm air to different rooms in the house and get more heat circulated.
  9. Reuse Heat: If you have just finished baking in the oven or filled a tub of bath water, reuse the oven’s heat and leave the bath water in a little longer to heat up the house. These small little habits of course will need to be supervised with small children around, but can be a great source of additional heat.
  10. Space Heater: If you have high heating bills, a space heater may be a great solution to lessen your reliance on the whole house heater. Space heaters cost much less to use, and can be a quick way to warm up. Use the space heater when needed, and turn it off when you can get by without it. 

If you are having troubles with your home’s plumbing or heating in Rexburg, Idaho Falls or Pocatello, feel free to contact Mathews’ Plumbing at 208-357-3439 for more tips and information on how to cut down on your next heating bill.

 

 

Rexburg Plumbing Pipes

Common Pipe Noises

1/30/15
By: Karli Willden

It’s common for pipes to make noises periodically, but obnoxious and loud noises aren’t normal and should be resolved. The majority of plumbing noises are of less significance; however, they can eventually become more serious. While it is difficult to diagnose plumbing issues without a proper inspection, these suggestions may or may not apply to your current suggestion. If you lack the confidence or experience to address your own plumbing issues, call Mathew’s Plumbing at 208-357-3439 or a local plumber near you.

 

Find the Source

There are many possible sources of plumbing noises. Check the bathroom, the shower, the water heater, the kitchen sink, etc. The faster you discover where the noise is coming from, the faster the problem can be resolved.

Distinguish the Sound

Each sound gives a clue of what the problem may be. Listen carefully to determine what distinguishes the sound from other sounds. The following list describes a variety of problems and their sounds with their possible solutions.

 

Loose Pipes & Pipe Expansion: (Banging, Rattling, Squeaking)

Plumbing Shelley

Loose pipes are a common cause for increased noise from the pipes. If you hear either a banging or a rattling sound, check the pipe anchors to see if this is the source. The noise is caused when there is too much space between the pipe and the anchor, causing it to rattle.

Solution: Tighten the pipe anchors or place a buffer between the pipe and the anchor. New clamps, or pipe fasteners, and cushioning may be needed between the pipe and the anchor to prevent additional noises.

*Note: When placing a buffer around the pipe, leave enough room around the cushioning for the pipe to expand in changing temperature conditions.

 

Water Hammer: (Loud Banging, Thumping)

If you hear a loud banging noise when you turn off the water faucet, it is likely a water hammer. A water hammer occurs when water or gas gets trapped inside the pipes and has no place to go. A wave within the pipe is set off as the fluid or gas is impacted by a change in velocity, which means a change in speed or direction. This disrupts the water flow and causes the fluid or gas to bounce around irregularly in the pipe, like a wave. The change in speeds also may cause it to slam against the end of the pipe. While a water hammer is a common plumbing issue, it is not one to quickly dismiss. If the water hammer is not resolved pipes can burst, or it can eventually wear on the pipe fasteners, loosen it and cause for uncontrolled water movement. Basically, a pipe fiasco.

Solution: Turn off the main water supply and drain all the pipes. This is the best do-it-yourself solution. Other solutions may need the assistance of a licensed plumber.

 

Higher Water Pressure: (High-Pitched Whining, Squealing)

Common Plumbing noises explained - Shelley Plumbing

High water pressure can be damaging to your home appliances if not resolved quickly. High water pressure is often caused by damaged or leaking pipes.

Solution: Purchase a home water pressure gauge and have it installed by a plumber. Once installed it will be easy to determine if there is a problem with high water pressure. A water pressure gauge is used by turning off all the house water sources, except the faucet which has the gauge. Turn on the water and check the gauge. The gauge should generally read between 50-70 PSI. For specific PSI measurements dependent on different locations, contact your local plumber.

 

With a constant flow of water and natural pipe expansions, pipe noises should be expected. While a completely silent plumbing system is a bit of stretch, there other are ways to lessen the noise. Contact Mathews Plumbing today for more tips on noisy pipes or a more thorough and in depth inspection of your pipes. Call today at 208-357-3439 and our experienced and licensed plumbers will gladly assist you with your questions or concerns.

Bathroom Plumbing Rexburg

5 Tips to Avoid a Clogged Toilet

1/30/15
By: Karli Willden

With the holidays in full swing, there will be more parties, more food and unfortunately more plumbing problems. While clogged toilets are sometimes unavoidable, there are some things to keep in mind to prevent another blockage.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Watch what you flush! Plumbing Shelley

Well, not literally, but before then. While the toilet may seem like a second disposal to you or your children, it should be used only for natural waste and toilet paper; everything else should be disposed elsewhere. Whether it’s food or feminine sanitary napkins, tissues or floss, hair or plastic, these should should be disposed in the trash. Materials should be able to dissolve in water, but this does not mean to go flushing diapers down the toilet. Cotton from feminine products or other facial wipes get caught in the pipes. A clogged toilet is not worth the convenience of using it for other things.

Avoid too much toilet paper.Plumbing Shelley

If the toilet won’t flush, individuals are probably using more toilet paper then they need. Big wads of toilet paper, along with the wrong type of tissues and napkins, can easily get stuck in pipes and cause plugging. It does not take much to clog a drain or a toilet, so be sparing in your use of toilet paper. Use enough to get the job done, but don’t over do it.

Keep an eye on little children around toilets. Plumbing Shelley

Often toys, pencils and other household objects end up in the toilet, causing costly fixes. Shut the bathroom door, close the lid of the toilet and listen for your children. After all, it’s not the most sanitary place for your children to be playing anyway. Fingers can be smashed and other unwanted messes can be the result of children playing around the toilet area.

Avoid placing items on back of the toilet.Bathroom Sinks Idaho Falls

With the toilet lid open, it is easy for items sitting on the back of the toilet to be knocked off and fall in. Place the decorations from the back of the toilet to maybe the countertop instead. It’s not worth it getting ruined by falling off the back of the toilet, and possibly getting stuck inside. Be cautious and aware of the costly fixes that come from items that fall in the toilet.

Avoid using the restroom immediately after someone else.

A toilet with weak water pressure, will likely plug more often. Toilets that have weak water pressure and are flushed frequently, will likely not flush when it’s your turn. Give the toilet enough time to refill with enough water for the next use. Every toilet is different, so the time you will need to wait before the next use will depend on the toilet. Sometimes it can take 15 minutes, other times it can take less or more time. Just be aware of the water pressure needed for a good flush.

If your toilet clogs frequently, the toilet may need to be checked by a licensed plumber. Older toilets will plug more frequently and may need to be replaced. There also may be problems with the toilet piping, which may need inspection. For more questions or help with your plumbing issues, contact Mathew’s Plumbing at 208-357-3439.

How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Spring

Every Spring, especially in Southeast Idaho, when all that snow is melting, there are a few essential things you should check off your list so that you aren’t facing any bigger plumbing problems later in the year. We want you to have a wonderful Spring, so we have put together a checklist of what needs to be inspected and fixed so that your Spring will uneventful regarding your home’s plumbing. The bathroom has the most to check for potential problems, so it’s a good place to start. Continue reading

Mathew's Plumbing, plumber idaho falls id

When to Get Your Pipes Checked

Looking down at your feet, you see that the water is no longer draining. You watch as the level of water rises towards the edge of the shower. You shower faster, trying to beat the impending flood threatening to overflow out onto the bathroom floor. Hurrying to turn off the water, you step out of the newly formed lake, and turn to glare at the drain. The glaring turns into a one-sided staring contest as you look for any sign that it’ll start draining again.

Giving up, you turn away and hurry off to get ready for the day. It’s only after you return later do you find the shower finally free of the watery lake of a puddle you’d left. Sighing, you grab the Drano under the sink and dump even more down the drain. “Maybe that will last for a little longer than last time.” Continue reading