Tree root growth

One of the common drain problem homeowner experienced is tree root growth. Most homes sits on a nice grassy yard surrounded by mature trees. It’s beautiful but the problem can get ugly. Tree root may caused a complete main blockage throughout the whole house. What most clients do in this situation, they often request a preventive maintenance to avoid costly repair. Hydro jetting and a combination of snake with expansion blade are the most common method use for cleaning the drain. Hydrojett is a high pressure streams of water that clean out build ups and debris on the sewer line. The snake with expansion blade scours the root growth.

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Shut-off valve remove and replace

Water Isolation Shut-off Valve replacement. Looking at this picture may seem easy to do. What others don’t realize that this process takes some training and skills. Our office often received comments from callers stating: that they have a leaking valve or it’s frozen, and it’s simple and easy. Often callers say it probably should take your plumber a good 15 minutes. That is false. This process is not easy and yet not hard for an experienced plumber. First of all, a few preparation takes place. If this place is a single family dwelling, perfect! However if it’s a multi-unit, there’s preparation involve. First, the management or building managers have to be notified that we will need to turn water off. Note that some buildings require a 48-hours notice, and others 72-hours, so it varies. Plumbers will then drain-out the waterline before replacement take place and able to solder the piping. Also depending on the size of the building or complex the process may take longer. There is also other methods that may be use for less time but costly. Any of this options are both effective.

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Garbage disposal and electrical wiring and outlet connection

"Garbage Disposal Installation"

Garbage disposal installation

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Root Growth

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Installing Cleanout Access

What are clean-outs, and why are they needed? Clean-outs are a means of access to the interior of drainage pipes. They are needed so that blockages in drains may be cleared. Without clean-outs, it is much more difficult to snake a drain. In gen- eral, the more clean-outs you have, the better. Plumbing codes establish mini- mums for the number of clean-outs required and their placement. Let’s look at how these regulations apply to you.

There are many places in a plumbing system where clean-outs are required. Let’s start with sewers. All sewers must have clean-outs. The distances between these

clean-outs vary from region to region. Generally, clean-outs are required where the building drain meets the building sewer. The clean-outs may be installed in- side or outside the foundation. The clean-out opening must extend upward to the finished floor level or the finished grade outside.

Some jurisdictions prefer that the clean-outs at the junction of building drains and sewers be located outside. If the clean-out is installed inside, it may be re- quired to extend above the flood level rim of the fixtures served by the horizontal drain. When this is not feasible, allowances may be made. The requirement for a

junction clean-out may be waived if there is another clean-out with at least a 3- inch diameter within 10 feet of the junction.

An approved two-way clean-out is allowed in locations where a building drain meets a building sewer. This clean-out is approved for both the building drain and the building sewer.

Once the sewer is begun, clean-outs should be installed every 100 feet. Some regions require clean-outs at an interval distance of 75 feet for 4-inch and larger pipe and 50 feet for pipe smaller than 4 inches. Clean-outs are also required in sewers when the pipe changes direction. Clean-outs are usually required every time a sewer turns more than 45 degrees. In some cases, a clean-out is required whenever the change in direction is more than 135 degrees. The general rule for a building sewer is to install a clean-out at intervals that do not exceed 100 feet. This is measured from the upstream entrance of the clean-out. When a building sewer has a diameter of 8 inches or more, the distance between clean-outs can be ex- tended to 200 feet from the junction of the building drain and the building sewer at each change of direction and at intervals not more than 400 feet apart. For these larger sewers, all manholes and manhole covers must be of an approved type.

The clean-outs installed in a sewer must be accessible. This generally means that a stand-pipe will rise from the sewer to just below ground level. At that point, a clean-out fitting and plug are installed on the standpipe. This allows the sewer to be snaked out from ground level, with little to no digging required.

For building drains and horizontal branches, clean-out location will depend upon pipe size, but they are normally required every 50 feet for pipes with diam- eters of 4 inches or less. Larger drains may have their clean-outs spaced at 100- foot intervals. Clean-outs are also required on these pipes at each change in direc- tion in excess of 45 degrees. Clean-outs must be installed at the end of all horizontal drain runs. Some jurisdictions do not require clean-outs at intervals less than 100 feet.

Clean-out openings must not be used for the installation of new fixtures, ex- cept where approved and where another clean-out with equal access and capacity is provided.

As with most rules, there are some exceptions. Some potential exceptions are as follows:

  • If a drain is less than 5 feet long and is not used for sinks or urinals, a clean-out is not required.
  • A change in direction from a vertical drain with a fifth-bend does not require a clean-out.
  • Clean-outs are not required on pipes other than building drains and their hori- zontal branches that are above the first-floor level.P-traps and water closets are often allowed to act as clean-outs. When these devices are approved for clean-out purposes, the normally required clean-out fit- ting and plug at the end of a horizontal pipe run may be eliminated. Not all juris- dictions will accept P-traps and toilets as clean-outs; check your local require- ments before omitting standard clean-outs.Clean-outs must be installed in such a way that the clean-out opening is acces- sible and allows adequate room for drain cleaning. The clean-out must be installed to go with the flow. This means that when the clean-out plug is removed, a drain- cleaning device should be able to enter the fitting and the flow of the drainage pipe without difficulty.

    Clean-outs are frequently required at the base of every stack. This is good pro- cedure at any time, but it is not required by all codes. The height of the clean-out should not exceed 4 feet. Many plumbers install test tees at these locations to plug their stacks for pressure testing. The test tee doubles as a clean-out.

    When the pipes holding clean-outs will be concealed, the clean-out must be made accessible. For example, if a stack will be concealed by a finished wall, pro- visions must be made for access to the clean-out. This access could take the form of an access door, or the clean-out could simply extend past the finished wall cov- ering. If the clean-out is serving a pipe concealed by a floor, the clean-out must be brought up to floor level and made accessible. This ruling applies not only to clean-outs installed beneath concrete floors but also to those installed in crawl- spaces with very little room to work.

    There is still more to learn about clean-outs. Size is one of the lessons to be learned. Clean-outs are required to be the same size as the pipe they are serving unless the pipe is larger than 4 inches. If you are installing a 2-inch pipe, you must install 2-inch clean-outs. However, when a P-trap is allowed as a clean-out, it may be smaller than the drain. An example would be a 1.25-inchtrap on a 1.5-inch drain. Remember, though, that not all code enforcement officers will allow P-traps as clean-outs, and they may require the P-trap to be the same size as the drain. Once the pipe size exceeds 4 inches, the clean-outs used should have a minimum size of 4 inches.

    When a clean-out is installed in a floor, it may be required to have a minimum height clearance of 18 inches and a minimum horizontal clearance of 30 inches. No under-floor clean-out is allowed to be placed more than 20 feet from an access opening.

    Clean-out plugs and caps must be lubricated with water-insoluble, non-hard- ening material or tape. Only listed thread tape or lubricants and sealants specifi- cally intended for use with plastics can be used on plastic threads. Conventional pipe thread compounds, putty, linseed-oil based products, and unknown lubricants and sealants must not be used on plastic threads.

    Clean-out plugs and plates must be easily removed. Access to the interior of the pipe should be available without undue effort or time. Clean-outs can take on many appearances. The “U” bend of a “P” trap can be considered a clean-out, de- pending upon local interpretation. A rubber cap, held onto the pipe by a stainless- steel clamp, can serve as a clean-out. The standard female adapter and plug is a

    fine clean-out. Test tees will work as clean-outs. Special clean-outs, designed to allow the rodding of a drain in either direction, are acceptable.

    Clean-outs with plate-style access covers shall be fitted with corrosion-resist- ing fasteners. Plastic clean-out plugs must conform to code requirements. Plugs used for clean-outs are to be constructed of plastic or brass. Countersunk heads are

    required where raised heads might pose a tripping hazard. Brass clean-out plugs can be used only with metallic drain, waste, and vent piping.

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Check valve installation in Redondo Beach

Check valve installation for grey water system sump pump well in Redondo Beach.

Check valves are flow sensitive and rely on the line fluid to open and close.  The internal disc allows flow to pass forward, which opens the valve.  The disc begins closing the valve as forward flow decreases or is reversed, depending on the design.  Construction is normally simple with only a few components such as the body, seat, disc, and cover.  Depending on design, there may be other items such as a stem, hinge, pin, disc arm, spring, ball, elastomers, and bearings.

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Pressure Temperature Relief Valve for Water Heater

Temperature and Pressure (T&P) relief valves

Temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valves used on residential water heaters are typically designed and manufactured to relieve on pressure at 150 psig and on temperature at 210 degrees F. These ASME, ANSI and CSA (AGA) approved relief valves protect the water heater from excess pressures and temperatures by discharging water.

In normal operation of the water heater and T&P valve, no water should be discharged from the valve. A T&P valve that discharges is an indication of an abnormal condition in the system and by discharging, the T&P valve is meeting its designed safety purpose. The causes of discharge can be thermal expansion, excess system pressure, low temperature relief, too high a setting on the water heater, or something in the water heater causing excess temperatures in the heater.

Thermal Expansion: When water is heated it expands. In a 40 gallon water heater, water being heated to its thermostat setting will end up expanding by approximately 1/2 gallon. The extra volume created by this expansion has to go somewhere or pressure will dramatically increase, such as when water is heated in a closed system.

A good indication of thermal expansion is when the T&P valve releases about one cup of water for each 10 gallons of heater capacity with each heating cycle. The T&P valve is functioning properly when it relieves pressure caused by thermal expansion, but frequent relief can build up natural mineral deposits on the valve seat, rendering the valve inoperative. This condition can be addressed by the installation of a Watts thermal expansion tank or other Watts thermal expansion device to protect your system from overpressure caused by thermal expansion. If there is no discharge from the valve, there is no need to replace the valve.

System Pressure: If installation of a thermal expansion device does not relieve occasional dripping from the T&P valve, then the system pressure should be checked. If system pressure is excessive (typically more than 75 PSI), a Watts pressure regulator should be installed on the incoming water line.

Warning: The discharge from a T&P valve can be very hot. It is very important that all T&P valves be installed properly with a discharge line piped downward to an adequate drain to avoid property damage and to minimize possible human contact. Please read and follow the instructions on the warning tag attached to your T&P valve.

Correct Installation of T&P Relief Valves

Important Instructions: Relief Valves and Automatic Gas Shut-Off Devices Combination temperature and pressure relief valves with extension thermostats must be installed so that the temperature-sensing element is immersed in the water within the top 6″ (152mm) of the water storage tank. They must be installed either in the hot outlet service line or directly in a tank tapping. Combination temperature and pressure relief valves that do not have extension elements must be mounted directly in a tank tapping located within the top 6″ (152mm) of the water storage tank. Valves must be located so as to assure isolation from flue gas heat or other ambient conditions that are not indicative of stored water temperature.

WARNING: To avoid water damage or scalding due to valve operation, discharge line must be connected to valve outlet and run to a safe place of disposal. Discharge line must be as short as possible and be the same size as the valve discharge connection throughout its entire length. Discharge line must pitch downward from the valve and terminate at least 6″ (152mm) above a drain where any discharge will be clearly visible. The discharge line shall terminate plain, not threaded. Discharge line material must conform to local plumbing codes or ASME requirements. Excessive length over 30′ (9.14m), or use of more than four elbows or reducing discharge line size will cause a restriction and reduce the discharge capacity of the valve.

No shut-off valve shall be installed between the relief valve and tank, or in the discharge line. Valve lever must be tripped at least once a year to ensure that waterways are clear. When manually operating lever, water will discharge through discharge line and precautions must be taken to avoid contact with hot water and to avoid water damage. This device is designed for emergency safety relief and shall not be used as an operating control. If discharge occurs, a licensed contractor must evaluate the system and determine the cause for discharge and correct the cause immediately.

To ensure proper operation, this valve must be installed by a qualified service technician or licensed plumbing contractor in accordance with these instructions and the local plumbing codes and standards. Repair or alteration of valve in any way is prohibited by national safety standards/local codes.

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Max Liner Cured-In-Place Pipe

This pipe lining system is a trench less sewer rehabilitation method. The tubular material is impregnated with epoxy resin. The liner is inverted inside out using an air launching system AIU, Air Inversion Unit, forcing the resin to bond and seal with the existing pipe wall. A calibration tube is then inverted inside the liner. The calibration tube which is sealed at the sewer main line is pressurized to secure the liner against the existing hose pipe until the liner is fully cured. The calibration tube is then removed and the liner is ambient cured for a minimum of 3 hours. Once cured, the pipes are inspected and ready for use.

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Pinhole leak repair

Pin-hole leak

Cutting old drain pipe


New drain pipe

Homeowner in Redondo Beach, California noted a leak in the garage.  This is a pinhole leak that is easily detected and easy access for repair.

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Drain cleaning in South Redondo Beach

Clearing clogged drain through the vent from second floor apartment complex.

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