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How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

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When your toilet clogs or overflows, most people go into panic mode, looking for a simple solution. But what if you do not have a plunger available? There are a few ways to help eliminate the clog without using a plunger using items that you probably have in your home already.

No remedy is a one-size-fits-all all. Sometimes, a simple home remedy is all you need to remove the clog. Some clogs, however, require professionals to remove the clog and get your bathroom back to optimal working order. If you need assistance, call the professionals at DC Family Plumbing to help resolve your clog problem.

How to Unclog A Toilet Without a Plunger

Toilet clogs are not only an inconvenience but can result in damage to your floors and leave you with a smelly mess. Working quickly to minimize damage and get your bathroom back in working condition is important. If there is no plunger, or even if you have tried using a plunger and it has not worked, there are a few other things you might try.

Stop Overflow

Getting the overflow stopped is the most important thing you can do when your toilet clogs. You should bale the water out of the bowl and cut off the supply temporarily if the toilet is continuing to run. If your toilet has overflown onto your floor, clean and dry as soon as possible to minimize damage.

Try Hot Water

Often, hot water will help to dissolve some clogs. Simply get your tap water as warm as possible, or heat it on the stove. Use a substantial amount, such as a kettle or pitcher, and pour into the bowl from a standing position over the bowl. Do not use boiling water, which could damage or crack the porcelain bowl. Standing and pouring amplifies the weight and warmth of the water, but you must use enough, do not pour hot water into the bowl in cupfuls or small amounts, or you will not get the same effect. Pay attention to the water in the bowl. If you begin to see the water level go down, the clog may be loosening.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Mixture

If you find that the hot water did not take care of your toilet clog, you may want to try an old trick from elementary science class. Remove excess water from the bowl and add about a cup of baking soda. Add a cup or two of vinegar and let the mixture sit for thirty minutes or so. This will fizz up, and in most minor cases, clogs will be eliminated. You can add a little more hot water if needed.

When to Call the Professionals

If you have tried these clog-busters to no avail, it may be time to call the professionals. Sometimes, even when you think you have broken the clog, the toilet will continue to have clog and overflow issues, indicating a more serious issue. Sewer line clogs, dense compacted clogs, and many other issues require the expertise and equipment of a professional plumber. Our professional plumbers can diagnose your toilet clog and get your bathroom back in working order in no time.  

The Advantages of Hiring Professionals for Toilet Clogs

When it comes to dealing with a clogged toilet, many people try to tackle the problem on their own. However, attempting to unclog a toilet without the proper tools and experience can often lead to making the problem worse, as well as possibly causing water damage. Hiring professionals for this type of job has several advantages.

Professional plumbers have the expertise and experience to diagnose toilet clogs accurately and make necessary repairs. They can identify the cause of the clog, whether it’s a foreign object, grease, or something else, and safely unclog it. Additionally, they have the necessary tools and equipment to clear any blockage without causing damage to pipes or fixtures.
It is always best to be safe rather than sorry when dealing with a clogged toilet. To avoid any potential damage, it is important to call in the professionals at the first sign of a blockage or if any DIY methods are unsuccessful.

Save Time and Effort by Calling DC Family Plumbing for Your Plumbing Needs

Dealing with a clogged toilet or any other plumbing issue is what we do best. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and our professional technicians are clean and courteous, experienced, and background-checked. We use only our own employees (never subcontractors) who provide reliable service at an affordable price. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs!

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How to Clean Garbage Disposal

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If you have noticed foul odors in your kitchen, the culprit may be your garbage. After all, it is garbage, right? Or maybe your disposal is making a terrible noise or isn’t working the way it used to. Any or all of these symptoms may indicate that your disposal needs a good cleaning. But if you have never cleaned a disposal before, you may be uneasy about taking on the task.

  • You may not know what to do
  • You can’t bring yourself to put your hand down that black hole in your sink

But cleaning your garbage disposal may not be as dangerous or unpleasant as you think, particularly if you clean it regularly to prevent all the buildup of stinky grime causing your problem.

Why Clean Your Garbage Disposal?

There are several reasons to clean your garbage disposal. Of course, you want to rid your kitchen of the foul odors coming from under your sink. But there are other more mechanical reasons for keeping your disposal clean as well. A buildup of grease and food particles can cause your disposal to work inefficiently. This results in food particles that are not broken down, which in turn leads to clogging. If your disposal becomes clogged, it can cause drains to become plugged and sinks to back up.

Clean garbage disposals operate more effectively and efficiently and last longer than those that are not properly maintained. Cleaning your disposal weekly is easy and will leave your kitchen smelling clean and fresh by reducing the amount of bacteria lurking in your drains.

Signs You Should Clean Your Garbage Disposal

One of the first signs that your disposal needs cleaning is an unpleasant odor. If you are smelling garbage, chances are there is a buildup in the disposal that is causing the smell.

If your garbage disposal does not function properly, it is another sign that it needs to be cleaned. If it is clogged or has a grease buildup, it will not operate the way it should and may even make a noise when in use that is not normal.

If your sink is backing up or not draining fully and properly, the disposal may be to blame. Food and grease can clog the garbage disposal and affect its performance.

Useful Tips for Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

Weekly cleaning of your disposal is usually all you need if you use your sink every day. However, if you are using it more frequently than normal, check for the above signs to see if it needs to be cleaned more frequently.

Any easy way to clean your disposal and keep it running optimally is:

  • Turn off the power. Never put your hand into a disposal that can accidentally be powered on. This means unplugging it or disconnecting the breaker. Gather your supplies: scrubber, gloves, baking soda, lemon juice, and/or vinegar.
  • Start by cleaning the flapper (also known as the splash guard or baffle). It is the black rubber shield that keeps the food from splashing back on you. This is where the rubber gloves come in. Pull it back and scrub underneath and around the drain. Some baffles may be removable and can be tossed in the dishwasher.
  • Use the scrubber or a brush to scrub the inside of the disposal to remove as much gunk as possible.
  • Fill your sink with hot, soapy water, pull the plug, and let it drain.
  • While the disposal is still off, put about a cup or two of ice cubes in it. Top with some baking soda and lemon or vinegar. Then, you can turn on your garbage disposal and let it grind the mixture. Baking soda and lemon or vinegar will clean and keep the disposal smelling fresh and clean for up to a week.

Other tips for maintaining your disposal are:

  • Be selective on the waste that goes through your disposal. Avoid foods like eggshells, certain forms of grease, sticky foods, and large bones.
  • Occasionally run some ice cubes through your disposal. Lemon or orange peel will keep it smelling fresh between cleaning.

DC Family Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Garbage Disposal Cleaning Services

DC Family Plumbing is a locally owned business dedicated to serving our local residents with premier plumbing service. If your garbage disposal needs to be repaired or replaced, our master plumbers will discuss your options and work with you to schedule your service. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Buyers Guide: Tankless Water Heater Pros and Cons

Most homes have a traditional water heater installed when built, but these massive tank units don’t last forever. If it is time to replace your water heater, a tankless water heater can be a very tempting option. There are many benefits to consider for switching to a tankless water heater, but also a few logistic matters to review before making your decision.

So, is a tankless water heater the right option for you? We at DC Family Plumbing have put together this list of pros and cons for tankless water heaters. We are ready to help you choose the right water heater for your replacement

Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater

Nobody likes running out of hot water at the most inconvenient time. A tankless water heater heats your water on the go at an average of 5-15 gallons a minute. So, even if you take a long shower or need to wash a ton of dishes, you never run out of hot water and have to make do with the cold. Installing a tankless water heater has plenty of benefits beyond unlimited hot water, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: A traditional water heater fills the tank, then heats the water, so it is hot and ready for the first hot tap. When the water in the tank cools, it heats it again. A tankless water heater only heats your water once as it flows through, which can save you bundles on the electric bill over time and help make your home more energy-efficient.
  • Longer Lifespan: Tankless water heaters last longer than traditional water heaters because they only run when your taps ask for hot water. That means less wear and tear on the elements and pipes over time.
  • Potential Cost Savings: Tankless water heaters are often more affordable per unit, need to be replaced less often, and cost less in monthly power bills.

Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

What are the disadvantages of choosing a tankless water heater? We know it is important to have the whole story before you make a decision. Unlike a traditional water heater, tankless water heaters require annual maintenance for cleaning and servicing. Some of the other downsides to a tankless water heater include the following:

  • A New Installation Plan: Tankless water heaters are very different from your traditional water heater so you will need an all-new installation plan and the help of a professional plumbing team.
  • Seasonal Adaptivity: Tankless water heaters may take a few extra seconds to warm up your water during the middle of winter when water is the coldest coming into the heater.
  • Water Heater Myths: Tankless water heaters are not magic and sometimes don’t measure up to the myth. For example, your hot water will arrive at the tap at the same speed unless you place your tankless water heater closer to the tap, so there is less distance for the hot water to travel.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are not a one-size-fits-all type of appliance. Instead, it is important to consider how much hot water your household will need and whether you plan to run hot water appliances simultaneously. Your plumber can help you choose the right tankless water heater size for your household or place more than one for greater hot water accessibility.

Installation and Maintenance

Tankless water heaters are more advanced than the original design and require support from your local plumber. You will need to rebuild your water heater utility space for installation and maintain annual maintenance to get the best performance from your tankless water heater for the next decade of reliable hot water.

Tankless water heaters also benefit from an in-line water softener to keep the hard water scale from blocking the works.

How to Choose a Tankless Water Heater Plumber You Can Trust

DC Family Plumbing is dedicated to helping every local family achieve the hot water and plumbing performance needed by each household. As a local business, our technicians can help you find the right tankless water heater unit, choose the perfect place to install it and ensure your home is supplied with efficient on-demand hot water for years to come.

To learn more about tankless water heaters or schedule a tankless water heater installation for your home, contact us today.


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Solving Low Water Pressure at Home: Diagnostics & Solutions

When you turn on the taps, the flow of water through the faucet determines a lot about your quality of life. Cleansing showers, effective cleaning, and even filling your cooking pots and water glasses rely on water pressure. Low water pressure in a house isn’t just slow; it can become non-functional. 

Fortunately, once you hunt down the reason for low water pressure, plumbing professionals can help with the situation and return your home to full water pressure access. Here at DC Family Plumbing, we care about your quality of life and your pipes. If you have been having low water pressure problems, we’d like to share the most common causes and solutions to restore your home to its comfortable place.

Common Causes of Low Water Pressure at Home

The best place to start in diagnosing low water pressure at home is to investigate the most common causes. If any of the following are your low water pressure cause, then the solutions are well-known and often practiced by your local pros.

The Main House Shutoff Valve Is Not Fully Open

First, check your home’s main water valve. Everyone should know where this is, but most homeowners do not. Look for your water main and ensure the valve is 100% open. This resolution might be the easiest way to fix low water pressure at home. Twist the handle or securing bolt to the left to discover if there is some give in the open direction.

If you have low water pressure in a specific room or tap, its local water valve may not be fully open. 

The Pressure Regulator is Failing

If your home has a pressure regulator installed (not all need one), its malfunction may result in low water pressure. The water pressure regulator prevents too much pressure from blasting into your home, but if it fails, it may block more water than necessary and result in low water pressure.

The Pipes are Clogged

Clogged pipes are a common cause of low water pressure. How can your inlet pipes get clogged? Good question. Unlike drains which can clog with things sent down them, inlet pipes tend to clog with “scale,” a type of mineral buildup that is medically harmless but structurally very problematic. Scale causes water spots, the white crumbles in the bottom of your dishwasher, and that chalky surface when the water dries on sink ceramic and tub porcelain.

When scale builds up in your pipes, it’s like cholesterol in your arteries: it slowly closes the space until only very little water can get through.

The Pipes are Corroded

Corrosion tends to occur when two different metal types are connected in plumbing, causing a chemical reaction that makes the metal break down into a fluffy oxidized mess. Some pipes, like galvanized steel, also have an expiration date and may start to corrode after that time. If corrosion happens inside your pipes, you get clogs and low pressure. Replacing the corroded pipes and nearby pipes is the best solution for corrosion.

The Pipes are Leaking

If you have a leak in your water supply plumbing, your water pressure is escaping and may not reach your taps, which is a very problematic cause of low water pressure at home. Leaks are terrible for water pressure – and your water bill. If your water pressure drops off suddenly or you can identify taps that have water pressure and those that don’t, this can indicate a leak in your system. Any taps with full water pressure are “before” the leak, while those with low water pressure are “after” in the lines.

Faulty Plumbing Fixtures

The problem could also be with your fixtures. If the base of your faucet leaks and you have poor water pressure, for example, you are likely losing your pressure through a fixture leak. Clogged and corroded faucets can also be a problem. If you have faulty plumbing fixtures, a leaky faucet repair might completely restore your water pressure issues in each affected room.

Why a DIY Fix Isn’t Feasible

Fixing your plumbing isn’t like repairing the handles on your cabinets or changing your light covers. Some DIY projects are safe and productive to handle at home, and some require a professional. When it comes to light fixtures or behind-the-wall plumbing, you need a pro. DIY plumbing repairs are not feasible because it involves going deep into your home – into crawl spaces and even between the walls to complete more extensive repairs. While most homeowners can replace a showerhead, replacing your sink faucet is another matter. 

A professional plumber can guarantee that the work is done right, ensure your wall is rebuilt if further access was required, and that all the seals and joints are 100% leak-free, so your home is safe and water-efficient when the work is done. 

Choose a Plumber You Can Trust

When your home has low water pressure, you need a plumber you can trust to diagnose the problem, enact repairs, and leave your home in better condition than they found it. Whether you have a leak or just old and corroded pipes, DC Family Plumbing is dedicated to keeping your home and plumbing in top condition. Contact us today for the plumbing services your home needs.


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When To Call a Plumber: Signs You Need Plumbing Services

At some point in anyone’s life, you learn to do a few plumbing repairs. Most people can plunge into a toilet or change a shower head when the need arises. However, there are also many plumbing situations where you should or must call a professional plumbing service instead.

These situations often involve clogs or leaks that extend deep into your home’s plumbing system or problems so serious that household methods are ineffective. Knowing when to call your plumber to get your home’s pipes and drains safely back into working order is important.

Why a DIY Fix Isn’t Feasible

There are some things that every resident can DIY and should do when the need arises. Many plumbing issues cannot be reached by household tools or accurately diagnosed without professional training.

Problems with your water access, pipes behind your walls, and connections to city utilities are not feasible DIY projects, no matter how handy a household may be. Calling a professional plumbing service like DC Family Plumbing is the next logical step in these cases and whenever you have reached your troubleshooting abilities.

When to Call a Plumber

Access to fresh water, hot water, and clear drains are all part of your essential quality of life. Some problems are typically easy to solve. But if you see the following signs, know when to call a plumber before it impacts the quality of life in your home.

Slow-Draining Sinks & Showers

A slow-draining sink or shower indicates a clog where they are less common. If you cannot immediately pull up a clump of hair or food debris, the clog may be below the house and too deep for household tools to reach or plunge. Call a professional for drain cleaning services if your sinks or showers are draining at a dysfunctional slow rate that you cannot resolve.

Back-Flowing Drains

Back-flowing drains mean there is a deep clog in your sewer line, or it can result from local flooding due to bad weather. When this happens, no household solutions can solve the problem. The moment your drains start pushing wastewater back up the pipes, call a plumber immediately. Back-flowing drains can be a serious health hazard and should never go untreated.

Constantly Running Toilet

When your toilet is constantly running, there is something wrong with the internal mechanism. The mechanism inside your toilet tank is surprisingly complex. If it is not fixed simply by rattling each piece into position, you may need a professional plumber from DC Family Plumbing to rebuild the tank system.

Hot Water is Not Getting Hot

Hot water is an important part of your quality of life. If your water never gets hot, your water heater must be flushed, descaled, and inspected by one of the professionals at DC Family Plumbing. Flushing and descaling remove debris that can coat the heating coils of your water heater over time. An inspection will reveal if damaged components are reducing your water heater efficiency. 

Your Toilet Keeps Overflowing

A toilet that overflows is a toilet that runs without draining. Some toilet clogs are able to be fixed with a few quick plunges or a few minutes of focused plunging. But if that doesn’t work, you may need professional drain cleaning to remove a deeper clog below the house.

You Smell Sewage

The smell of sewage means that your drains are not working correctly. Your drains should clear, not back up, and there should be a water trap between you and the sewer line. If any of these are inaccurate and you start to smell sewage, your family’s health may be in danger.

Your Faucet is Dripping

A dripping faucet is not just maddening. It also costs money as water drips through your meter. If the drip doesn’t stop, call your plumber for leaky faucet repair to save your sanity and water bill.

Choose a Plumber You Can Trust

You don’t want to end up having leaks when you need your sink, toilet, or shower the most. If you are looking for a family plumber that can handle anything your plumbing can manifest, you can count on DC Family Plumbing. Contact us today for a consultation and fast, skilled household plumbing services.

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To our customers:

These are certainly unprecedented times and our thoughts are with anyone and everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are writing to you now to let you know that we are frequently checking with the CDC and our local health officials regarding updates and safety precautions. We know that plumbing emergencies happen any time, even more so now that so many of us must remain at home and indoors. All of us at DC Family Plumbing want you to know that we are here for you and we are currently taking important safety precautions to continue to provide our services and keep you, your home, and our employees safe.

These safety precautions, as recommended by the CDC and local health officials, include: