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A household drain has only one purpose in life: to move water from point A to point B. 

But when water starts returning to point A, or bursting through an underground pipe to points C, D, E and beyond, the result can be unpleasant, to say the least. 

So how can you prevent drain clogs before they cause you headaches, and cost you money?  Let’s have a look: 

  • Check your sink and tub stoppers at least four times a year for hair and bio-film buildup.
  • Once a month, fill each sink in your home to the brim – one at a time – and then pull up the stopper. The volume and weight of the water will help flush the drain.
  • Every couple of weeks pour an organic drain cleaner down each of your drains.  Products like Bio-Clean (which we carry!) work much better than chemical drain cleaners and won’t damage your fixtures or pipes.
  • Never pour oil or grease down a drain…instead, use a jar that you can later discard.

But should a clog occur anyway, try using a plunger first, but don’t use a plunger after applying a chemical drain cleaner.  Chemicals can damage steel and iron pipes, eventually causing them to leak or burst. Plus, chemicals can splash back and harm you. 

You can also treat a clogged drain with about one cup each of baking soda and distilled white vinegar.  Let that mixture sit for about a half hour, then pour a tea kettle full of boiling hot water down the drain.  If that still doesn’t solve the problem, try repeating that procedure. 

And, of course, when all else fails, just pick up the phone and call Connor Plumbing.  We’ve been solving residential and commercial drain problems for a very long time, and we’d be happy to assist you, too.  Plus, we guarantee your 100% satisfaction. 

There are two things you depend on from your water heater.  The first one is obvious:  a steady and reliable source of hot water for your cooking, washing, bathing, and cleaning needs. 

What’s the second thing?  To operate as safely and reliably as possible for the well-being of your home and family.  Of course, it’s still only a water heater, so to fulfill goal #2, it needs a little help.  And we’re just the people to provide it. 

One call to Connor Plumbing is all it takes to start the process of outfitting your water heater with its own shutoff valve. Once the installation is complete, your water heat will automatically shut itself off at the first indication of a water or gas leak.    

The benefits are obvious:  

  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Reduced risk of water damage
  • Added years of life from your water heater

Most water heaters fail within 7 – 10 years from the time they’re installed, resulting in about 5 million water heater tank failures every year. And yet yours doesn’t need to be one of them. 

Here’s even more to like about having a water and gas shutoff valve:

 

  • Fully mechanical, requires no external power supply.
  • Can be used to shut off water to other tanks, fixtures and appliances, including boilers, pumps and well-tanks
  • Sits in a drip pan under the water heater and is activated when leaking water accumulates to a predetermined level
  • Easily installed on new or older water heaters.

Contact Connor Plumbing today to start enjoying the added peace of mind that comes with a water heater water and gas shut-off valve.

Getting your kids to clean up is a chore all by itself, but getting them to enjoy it might qualify for miracle status. 

Still, when you consider how much of the mess they’re responsible in one or more of your bathrooms, isn’t it worth the effort?  Sure it is, and here are a few helpful tips on how to get them into a bathroom cleaning groove:  

The squeegee: Introducing your kids to a squeegee is simply the best. They love the sound it makes, they love how quickly it works, and they love pretending to be window washers! Spray down the shower walls and the mirror, and let the kids go to town! 

Change the towels: Changing the way you hang your towels will make things much easier on everyone. Instead of folding towels or getting them just so on a towel rack, use hooks instead. You can also roll towels up. These look neat and are much easier for kids than traditional folding. 

Shaving cream: Shaving cream rubbed onto a mirror is not only a complete joy to play in, make shapes, faces, and write your name, but it keeps mirrors from fogging up. So lather up and, at worst, you’ll have the kids out of the way while you tackle other chores. 

Flush it away: Take away the toilet scrub brush, and you have one less weapon for your kids to dangle and shake all over the house.  Instead of brushing your toilet clean, switch to toilet tank tablets.  The bowel stays clean, smells nice, and the kids will marvel at the blue water for months! 

Get them a basket: A cleaning basket or bucket that they can decorate, put their name on, and call their own gets them better focused on using what’s inside.  Start by getting a basket for each child. Help them paint it, adhere stickers, or affix glitter. Next, fill the bucket with what they need to accomplish their individual chores. A sponge, small squeegee, spray bottle, and mini garbage bags, perhaps. You can get all these items from the dollar store, and they will be happy to spray, wash, and wipe that bathroom clean. 

Sounds good at least in theory, right?  But definitely worth the try as one or more of these novelty cleaning inducers is bound to hit the mark.  Speaking of which, you can count on Connor Plumbing to hit the mark of excellence anytime you have a bathroom plumbing repair or installation need.  Contact us today for the service you need, when you need it.

 

By Mike Connor, Jr. 

It’s 9pm on a Saturday, you’re snuggled up with your favorite blanket, watching your favorite show when suddenly you notice a chill in the air. You check your heat vent, then the thermostat, only to discover that your heating system has stopped working. Ah, the joys of home ownership. 

You know what the say – anything that can go wrong, most often will. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be ready for all those ill-timed household emergencies that will inevitably pop up. Here are tips on how to handle 5 common misadventures you’re bound to encounter as a home owner.  

Kitchen Fire

Keep a household fire extinguisher in case of small fires and be sure to familiarize yourself with its use. Do not try to smother flames with a towel or anything else that could catch fire. Instead, use a pot lid to extinguish stove top flames or sprinkle them with baking soda. If you’re faced with an oven fire, keep the oven door closed and carefully turn the oven off; the fire should put itself out. If you are unable to extinguish a kitchen fire quickly, evacuate your house and call 911 from a safe location. 

Gas Leak

If you notice that familiar rotten egg odor associated with a gas leak, evacuate the premises and call your gas company’s emergency help line or 911 from a safe location. Do not reenter your home until you are told it is safe to do so.

Locked Out

At one point or another, you’re bound to get locked out of your house. And while keeping a spare key under the doormat or in a magnetic key hider is convenient, it can also pose a security risk. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member. 

Animal Intruder

If an unwelcome guest finds its way into your home, keep it contained in one room or area of your home as best you can. Close all interior doors and open a window where the critter is contained, thus giving it a convenient escape route. If it chooses to linger beyond your patience threshold, contact your local animal control center. 

Burst Plumbing Pipe

If you see water gushing from a pipe, prompt action is necessary to prevent damage to your property or belongings. First, shut off the water valve to the burst or leaking pipe, then shut off the main water valve. Once all water has been shut off, place a bucket or large bowl under the damaged pipe and slowly open the two valves to drain any remaining water. Then, contact your trusted plumber to assess and remedy the problem. 

Enter Connor Plumbing:  your trusted Beaumont area plumber since 1908.  And here today for any plumbing need you might have.  Contact Connor Plumbing for the service you need, when you need it.

Some people have spacious and cozy mudrooms for all their wet boots and coats. For everyone else, it’s make do with what you have.  This blog is dedicated to the latter group with some fresh thinking (we hope!) on how to keep all that mud and water out of your living spaces.

Vertical spaces: Not everyone has enough space for a large organizing piece of furniture, but everyone has walls. You can install hooks for coats, backpacks, or purses. Even hanging baskets for hats and umbrellas can sit nicely on a hook by the door. 

Floors: Keep all that mess off your floors by using a plastic tray filled with decorative rocks as a buffer, and then placing the boots on top. The water will drip into the tray while allowing the boots to thoroughly dry. 

Closets: Removing the door(s) from an entry way closet allows for more openness in creating your faux mudroom. You can add shelves, storage baskets, hooks, and even a small bench for taking off gear. Add a bright paint color and good lighting and, just like that, you’ve added more than greater functionality.  

Garages: Utilizing the space in the garage can be a creative way to make a mudroom. Clear a wall nearest the doorway from garage to house and place cushion on the seat and back for comfort.  You can even create an accent wall behind with for a little added décor while creating a separate area for the depositing drying out of wet clothing and outerwear.   

Height: Most people have more room than they think in their entry way because there is space over your heads. So why not maximize that space and install a high shelf in your hallway or foyer for added storage space.  Its placement won’t create or add to visual clutter, but will provide a new space for storage baskets and the like. 

You know another way water can end up on your floors? From a leaking pipe or backed-up toilet, etc. Well, when that happens, you can’t simply mop up the water and call it “problem solved”. Instead, contact Connor Plumbing and, just like always, we’ll solve it for you. Leaking pipes, clogged drains, blocked toilets, we do it all.

Your toilet shutoff valve (located on the wall behind your toilet) can leak simply from being turned too far to the left, i.e., counterclockwise.  So, if yours is leaking, try turning the valve in the other direction to see if that solves the problem.

If not, you’ll be glad to know that repairing the valve is a fairly simple procedure, one that starts with shutting off the water supply to your entire house and draining the pipes up to the location of the shutoff valve.  Let’s start from there:

Grab a pan or small tub

After turning the shut-off valve to the full “off” position (all the way to the right), detach the steel hose. But first, place a small tub or pan on the floor to catch any water that might still be present.

Untwist the nut

Next, dis-assemble the valve, remove the screw from the handle and untwist the packing nut. Remove the threaded valve system. In the process, remember the position of the neoprene washers for ease of re-assembly.

Clean the washers

Clean the washers with a rag to remove any mineral deposits.  Keep cleaning until their flexibility returns.

Re-assemble the Valve

Make sure the washers are positioned properly, and then tighten the packing nut a little at time with your wrench or pliers. Do not use plumber’s putty or you might have a hard time fixing the shut-off valve in the future. Also, be sure not to over-tighten the nuts as that could damage the valve.

Re-attach the hose

Re-attach the steel hose to the valve assembly.

Turn the Water Supply Back On

First, re-engage your main water supply and then do the same with your toilet relief valve. If the valve is still leaking, it needs to be replaced, but at least you gave it a heckuva try.

Or, maybe this DIY plumbing stuff just isn’t for you.  If that’s the case, one call to Connor Plumbing is all it takes for any plumbing repair or replacement job, including toilet relief valves.

Upgrading your home with smart technology can save you money, time, and help turn your home into a safer environment. It could also increase the value of your home! Here are a few simple upgrades that you can make now:

Temperature Control

A digital thermostat is an easy way to regulate indoor temperatures and save up to 15% on your energy bills.  Using the pre-programming function, you can set a schedule so your home is perfectly comfortable upon your arrival while easing back on the warm or cool air when no one’s home.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have moved up in the world! Detectors can self-test, and send updates to your computer or smart phones. They also can detect the difference between smoke and fire, and slow burning and fast burning fires.

Motion Sensing Lights

The motion sensing lights you have at work can also be installed in your home. No more having to holler at the family to turn off lights when they leave a room, or worrying that you left a light on as you pull out of your driveway. Also, if you have a pet that is home alone sometimes, you don’t have to leave any more lights on than you’re comfortable with – the light will find them whenever they enter a room with a motion sensing device.

Keyless Entry

This one is a favorite! Not only can you avoid losing your house key, you also can give a family member or your children access to your home without the transfer of keys, or having keys get stolen. The key pad also is back lit for easier use at night.

Refrigerators

Smart refrigerators have a computer screen on the door that can access the internet, provide cooking directions, music, or your favorite cooking show. They also can show you the inside of your fridge to help you never forget that last item on the grocery list and avoid opening and closing the door any more than necessary.

Showers: There are lots of upgrades to be made to the modern bathroom, but water power is one of the most popular. With a smart shower head, for example, you’ll enjoy a great shower with plenty of water pressure while using less water than conventional shower heads consume.  Shower heads also can make a unique wave pattern that creates the feeling of more water while using less.

Speaking of bathroom upgrades, contact Connor Plumbing for professional plumbing assistance if a kitchen or bath upgrade is on your drawing board.  We can introduce you to a world of new options and help you choose what makes the most sense for your home and budget – just like always.

You’ve got your toolbox stocked and ready. You’ve done some research, and maybe even watched a few “how-to” videos. And now, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle that pesky plumbing issue on your own:  proud to do it yourself, and happy to save a few bucks in the process.

DIY home repair has its place. After all, calling in a professional for every minor fix can add up quickly. Still, it’s important to know when to don the overalls and when to reach out to a qualified plumber.

Here’s what a professional plumber can bring to your current plumbing situation – beyond being licensed and insured, that is!

  • Professional plumbers have industry knowledge. Not only do they bring years of experience to bear, a plumbing professional is up on the latest industry techniques, materials, codes, and standards. They’re trained to work on routine maintenance, routine or emergency repairs, and new installations.  Which means that whatever your plumbing need might be, you can trust that it will be taken care of properly.
  • Plumbers can see and predict things that the average homeowner can’t. Everyone experiences a clogged toilet at least occasionally. But while you might chalk it up to a common annoyance, a qualified plumber will looker further. Perhaps the toilet’s capacity is too small for household needs. Or maybe the sewer pipe is partially blocked. The point is, your plumber brings all his (or her) training and experience to bear, no matter how simple or isolated your problem might first appear to be.
  • As they say, time is money. We understand how important it is to save both. When you hire a plumber, you save yourself the time – and headache – of going back and forth to the home improvement store for the right tools and materials. You also can save yourself the frustration – and money – of trial and error fixes. And, when you hire the right plumber, you get a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.  As in:  if it isn’t fixed correctly the first time, they’ll return to resolve any lingering issues at no additional cost to you.

At Connor Plumbing, we encourage and applaud DIY skills and the willingness to do more yourself.  Feeling like you have the current situation well in hand?  Then by all means go for it.  But if you get stuck, we’ll be right here to pick up where you left off.  And that’s just one reason to put your trust in Connor Plumbing, your Beaumont area plumbing professionals.

 

Did you know that a cooking fire is more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than at any other time? All those extra guests and increased activity in the kitchen can cause even the most careful cooks to become distracted and, for example, forget about that pie in the oven.

That’s why it’s so important to plan in advance for the safest possible holiday experience, and here are several tips we’re sure you’ll find useful:

  • Make the stove area a kid and pet free zone, keeping them at least three feet away from hot ovens and stove tops.
  • Don’t leave that turkey to roast on its own; leave the errands for another day or leave someone in charge if you must head out of the house.
  • Use a timer to remind you to check on cooking food, especially those that require extra cooking or baking time.
  • Keep pot holders, dish towels, and other flammable items away from the stove top or any other heat source.
  • If you’re thinking of using an outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryer, you may want to reconsider. They can lead to serious oil burns and even destruction of property.
  • Whether you’re using an electric knife, a crockpot, or warming dishes, make sure that cords are out of reach of children.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended, and make sure they too are out of reach of children.
  • Test your smoke detectors and make sure your fire extinguisher is full and ready to go.

Another common Thanksgiving mishap is either a clogged drain or garbage disposal.  Never mind common, they’re rampant!  So much so that plumbers all over America refer to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday, too, because it’s our busiest drain cleaning day of the year.  And while Connor Plumbing to lend a helping hand at your home this Thanksgiving or anytime at all, you help prevent any drain or disposal problems by:

  • Keeping grease, fats, and oils out of the drain
  • Grinding up only small amounts of food at a time
  • Placing meat bones and fibrous foods like lettuce and soft vegetables in the trash

From all of us at Connor Plumbing, we hope yours is the best Thanksgiving ever.

Home plumbing problems have a way of sneaking up on you, often at the worst possible time.  Not that there are good times for problems to occur, it’s just that some are worse than others.

Well, no matter when it might occur, doesn’t it make sense to be better prepared the next time a plumbing problem comes calling?  We think so, and now you can be by observing these six plumbing DIY tips:

1. Be on the lookout for water leaks. Small water leaks can lead to big watery messes. So be alert to signs that more trouble is on the way: leaking faucets, damp cabinets, rocking toilets or dripping refrigerators all require fast and decisive action.

2. Repair problems early. A leaking faucet isn’t just annoying; the moisture it releases increases the wear and tear on sink fixtures and can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Another way to detect plumbing leaks is to check behind your refrigerator once a month or so.  If you do spot water on the floor, keep in mind that the smaller the amount, the greater the potential problem.  That’s because water could be leaking through your floor into your sub-flooring where, over time, structural damage can occur.

3. Plumbing overflows. If water is gushing from your sink or toilet, turn off either that water supply valve or your home’s main water supply valve.  Don’t exactly where they are?  Now’s the time to find out before you need to act.

4. Locate your sewer shut-off valve.  Your house is equipped with a sewer shutoff valve to help minimize damage from an overflowing toilet.  Find it, learn how to use it, and you’ll save can potentially spare yourself a ton of grief.

5. Learn how to tackle small problems yourself. With a plunger, pipe wrench and a sewer snake, you can take care of a host of small plumbing problems and, in the process, save yourself both time and money.

Still, not all plumbing repairs are of the DIY variety.  Sometimes, only a pro will do, and when that time comes, Connor Plumbing will be on hand to lend all the assistance you need, just as we have been for well over 100 years.

         
 

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