Sometimes plumbing problems can be large and quite complicated. But, at other times they can be pretty simple and you, as a home owner, may be able perform your own maintenance, saving money and giving you a feeling of accomplishment.

Check out the following for some common problems and simple solutions that may solve your problem.

Foul odors coming from your garbage disposal

Foul odors coming from a garbage disposal are usually caused by food debris remaining in the disposal after it is used. If your disposal smells like a dirty pair of gym socks, try putting a couple of ice cubes and a couple pieces of lemon or orange peels in your disposal and run it for 30 seconds. While it is running, put a small amount of liquid dish soap in the disposal and run cold water through it for 30 seconds to clean out the debris. Try this a couple of times and see if the odor doesn’t go away.

Garbage disposals that clog up

Although they are called garbage disposals, they are not intended to eliminate the need for a garbage can. Disposals are designed to grind up or liquefy food items sufficiently so that they will pass through the drain and into the sewer system. Disposals do their job pretty efficiently, but there are some food stuffs that are just not disposal friendly.   Things like chicken skin or some vegetable and fruits, i.e., celery, carrots and banana peels, are too fibrous or stringy for a disposal to process, and need to be thrown in the garbage not in the disposal. To help prevents clogging, run cold water down the disposal for 10 or 15 seconds after each usage. Each week, run hot water down the disposal to help flush out residue that may cause future clogs.

Faucets and shower heads that spray out the side and/or have lost flow

Commonly, faucets and shower heads that spray out the side or have lost some of their flow is a result of mineral or calcium build up in them, caused by hard water. This is not always the case, but it is quite common. Most faucets have an aerator in them where the water comes out of the spout. The aerator can be unscrewed from the spout and rinsed off, or cleaned with an old tooth brush. Be sure you notice how all of the components fit together so it can be reassembled and screwed back into the spout after cleaning. Shower heads can be unscrewed from the shower arm and rinsed and cleaned just like an aerator.

If the buildup is too severe for rinsing and cleaning with a brush to remove it, place the aerator or shower head in a cup of vinegar overnight. This will dissolve and soften the buildup. In the morning, gently scrub them with an old toothbrush and reinstall them.

Slow draining sinks

Slow draining sinks may be caused by soap scum, grease and hair that accumulate in the drain. We do not recommend homeowners trying to use a liquid or granulated drain cleaner like Drano or other commercial brands produced to remove these types of stoppages. The crystals can solidify and make the blockage harder to remove from the lines and the harsh chemicals can damage pipes and septic tank flora.

If you have any of the problems addressed above, please give us a call at (520) 682-2233 for our courteous advice and professional service to solve your situation.