America's Neighborhood Plumber

Serving Portions of Nevada & Placer Counties
(530) 273-3714 or (530) 885-1771
815 Idaho Maryland Rd.
Grass Valley, CA 95945


Our Family of Companies

Your Neighborhood Plumber, serving Nevada County

Navo & Sons, Inc
Your Septic & Leachfield experts in Nevada County

All-Sierra Septic
Your Septic & Leachfield experts in Placer County


Plumbing Tips

  Once a week run hot water down the drain to help keep it free flowing.

  Tubs and showers should be fitted with strainers that catch hair and soap chips. Clean the strainers regularly.

  Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Do not flush facial tissue, sanitary products or diapers as they do not dissolve and can clog the lines. Keep a trash container in each bathroom.

  Never put hard-to-grind, stringy or fibrous waste (poultry skins, carrots, celery or banana peels) into the garbage disposer.

  Run cold water down the drain for 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste through the line.

  Don't pour liquid grease down the drain. Wipe congealed grease from pots and pans with a paper towel and dispose of in the trash.

  To prevent sewer gases from backing up into your home through your basement floor drain or other infrequently used drains; periodically pour a bucket of water down the drain to keep the trap seal full.

  Stop annoying water hammer noises by installing shock absorbers that absorb vibrations in water lines.

  NEVER store flammable liquids such as gasoline, adhesives or solvents near the water heater, furnace or other gas-fired appliance as they may ignite.

  Check your washing machine hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace any hose showing signs of weakness.

  Conserve energy and prevent scalding by checking the temperature setting on your water heater. It should not be above 120°F or medium setting on older models.

  Septic tanks should be inspected and pumped every three to five years to help prevent costly replacement of the leach field.

  Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They're inexpensive and you'll notice a lower water bill.

  Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.

  Check dishwasher, washing machine and icemaker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years.

  Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped, and place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.

  Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they would carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.

  If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.

  Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes back up into homes. This device will prevent future backups.

  Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

  Survey the inside of cabinets (with a flashlight) for signs of water damage, warped cabinet bottom or stains. Make sure that traps and supply tubes are not leaking.

  Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.

  Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.

  Check around the base of the toilet for signs of water damage (i.e.; rolled vinyl, black or white stains).To check for a "soft floor," stand straddled over the toilet and rock back and forth on each foot. If the floor feels spongy, it is probably rotting or weakened.

  Check for leaky or loose tiles by pressing on the walls where they come in contact with the bathtub. If the walls are soft, water may have created damage behind the tiles.

  If the home has a basement, check exposed piping for signs of leaking or recent repairs.

  Find the main line cleanout and ensure that it is accessible.

  Standing water is another common problem resulting from leaky or broken pipes. Excess water in a yard may be coming from a damaged sewer line and may contain waste from the home. Standing water is not healthy for children or pets, and is a breeding ground for insects and germs. Inspect the yard for areas that are too wet and with unusual plant or grass growth.

  Clear leaves and debris from outside downspouts to ensure easy drainage when water freezes and thaws throughout the winter season.

  When leaving home for extended periods, shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of the house. Make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55°F. Caution! These tips are intended for homes that will be inhabited throughout the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that will be abandoned or left unattended for weeks or months at a time. Seek professional help for winterizing such properties.





Showerhead Maintenance:  Showerheads develop uneven spray when the holes become clogged with mineral deposits from the water.

To clean:

Unscrew swivel ball nut - you will need adjustable wrench or channeltype pliers. (Hint: to protect the finish from scratches, first wrap the jaws of the tool with masking tape.)

Unscrew collar nut from showerhead.

Gently clean the outlet and inlet holes of the showerhead using a thin wire.

Flush the head with clean water.

You may want to soak the showerhead in vinegar overnight to remove all mineral deposits.

Aerator Maintenance:  Low water pressure from the sprayer or water leaks from the handle are usually caused by lime buildup and sediment blocking the small openings inside the sprayer head. Clean the head using the following steps:

By hand, carefully unscrew the aerator from the faucet turning counterclockwise. If it will not unscrew, wrap the jaws of your pliers with masking tape and loosen the aerator with the pliers. Continue by hand.

Take aerator or spray head apart

Use a small brush dipped in vinegar to remove sediment.

Reassemble the unit and screw back on to the faucet.

Cleaning Your Garbage Disposer: Foul odors can occur from a buildup of food debris within the disposer. Try these steps to eliminate odors:

Grind ice cubes and orange or lemon rinds in the disposer for about 30 seconds

While the disposer is still running, pour a small amount of liquid dish detergent into it.

Rinse any remaining debris away by running cold water for about 30 seconds.

Garbage Disposer Stops Working: Your disposer has an overload protector that senses if the motor is overheating and shuts it off. If your disposer cuts off during operation, it may be this broken electrical connection.

Turn the disposer switch off.

Do not put hands or objects down drain.

Make sure the appliance is plugged in securely at the outlet.

With power switch turned off, press reset switch on front or bottom of the garbage disposer.

Restart disposer by turning on power switch.

Finding Your Water Meter and Main Shutoff Valve: The shutoff valve is usually found right where the main supply pipe enters the house coming up through your basement floor either next to or very close to the water meter.

The main shutoff for the house will be one or two valves near the main water supply pipe that can be turned on and off by hand.

There may also be an additional shutoff outside the house, buried in a cavity that is sometimes referred to as a "carson box." If you have a carson box, it will generally be found in the ground near the street or the edge of your property. The box will often have a cement or metal cover. Pry open the cover and look inside with a flashlight. There will be a valve that you can turn by hand or with a long-handled "key."

If you will need to shut down the system often during the course of a project, find your external shutoff and use it to shut off the water. Don't depend entirely on the inside shutoff (particularly if you have an older home) -- it can break, leak or stop shutting off.


Annual Maintenance for Water Heaters:

Once a year, drain several gallons of water from the tank to flush your water heater. Flushing will remove sediment buildup that can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency.

Test the pressure relief valve by lifting up on the lever and letting it snap back. The valve should allow a burst of water into the drainpipe, if not, call a professional to have a new valve installed.

Check your temperature setting on the thermostat, it should be set to 120°F.

Lowering the temperature setting lowers your energy use, reduces risk of damage to your tank caused by overheating and prevents scalding.