July 6th, 2018 Plumbing Services Newsletter - Unclog Drains

"I sure appreciated how quick and cost effectively you guys took care of my leaking copper pipes under the house this past summer. Highly recommend you to anyone I know who needs plumbing service!"

Andy Krivy, owner of Infinity Signs, Boise, Idaho


How to Unclog a Bathtub Drain

Clooged Bathtub Drain

If you’ve got a tub that’s draining slowly or has standing water in it you already know you have a problem with the drain, but what should you do about it?  The first thing to know is that if you’re standing in ankle deep (or higher) water during your shower you need to address it right away.  Letting a problem with a clogged bathtub drain go untreated can create even larger problems for your home and bathroom.  Standing water is a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes and flies and can cause mold and mildew to form.  All of these can be hazardous to your health and the health of your pets.

In general, it’s recommended that you contact a professional plumber such as All Star Plumbing and Restoration.  If you decide to address the problem on your own here are some tips to get you started.

Start by removing any visible blockage from the drain.  Be sure to wear rubber gloves when working with your clogged drain and then remove anything visibly slowing your drain down. The most common culprit here is a giant hairball.  If the water immediately drains after this item is removed then problem solved. If, however, the water still does not drain then move to step 2 – plunging your bathtub.

Prior to starting the process of plunging the bathtub use a bucket to remove any standing water.  Next remove the overflow cover, typically located just below the faucet, and inspect for any hair or other debris that should be removed.  Use a towel or rag to stick in the overflow opening, shove it in there as tight as possible.  When you begin plunging the air will want to escape through the overflow cover so you’ll need to use your free hand to hold that towel in place.  Plan on this taking some time.  It won’t be the same as plunging a toilet which is typically handled in just a few seconds.  Often, if you’re persistent with plunging the bathtub drain it will result in unclogging.  If water begins to go down the drain then you’ll know you’ve successfully plunged your drain.  Run some water through it for several minutes afterwards to ensure anything left behind has been washed down.

If neither of those two resolves you’re problem you’ll have to move on to using a plumbing snake to try to get the clog out.  This can be tricky if you’ve never used one before.  This is the point at which many people make the call to All Star Plumbing and Restoration.  A professional plumber is really better suited to take over here.  If you chose to move forward then insert the snake into the overflow, which should already be uncovered from your previous attempts.  Keep feeding the snake in until you hit the blockage.  Turn the snake counter clockwise to try to break the clog up.  If it doesn’t break apart you’ll have to try to pull it out through that overflow opening.

It’s strongly recommended that you avoid using chemical pipe cleaners to try to dissolve the clog.  Many customers don’t realize the risk they’re taking when they dump these down the drain, but if you don’t have the right product it can cause substantial damage to your pipes.  Call All Star Plumbing and Restoration if you have any questions or need help with unclogging your bathtub drain.



Fence Repair and Maintenance

Fence Repair Boise

Do you have a beautiful, or formerly beautiful, wooden fence around your yard?  The value of a fence is obvious.  It can keep the pets or kids contained, while keeping unwanted visitors out.  It can also add resale value to your home.  But a fence that’s rotting or falling apart can cause damage to your home’s value, be a hazard to your pet or child, and be unsightly for the entire neighborhood.  All Star Plumbing and Restoration can help you get your yard looking beautiful again by repairing, restoring, or removing your wooden fence. 

The professionals at All Star Plumbing can come out and assess the status of your fence.  We can then make a recommendation on whether it should be removed and replaced, or simply repaired.  In many cases, some basic repairs will get the job done, but if a fence has been left unattended for too many years we can take care of the demolition, removal, and replacement of your wooden fence.  To avoid the need for premature replacement of your fence, consider some basic maintenance steps this summer.

  1. Remove any brush or yard waste that has gathered around the bottom of your fence.  Rake and remove dead leaves and remove any brush.  This will keep it from rotting at the bottom.  If there are bushes or trees growing near the fence be sure to keep them properly trimmed to prevent them from damaging the fence from overgrowth.  If you have a large amount of yard waste to remove All Star Plumbing and Restoration can help with this process as well.
  2. Stain the fence at least every 5 years with a natural, eco-friendly product that protects the wood.  Staining is not a difficult job, but it does require some time.  Apply stain with a brush or roller evenly and allow it to dry to keep your fence looking beautiful and protect it from the elements.
  3. Power-wash the fence a few times a year to remove dirt and stains.  Be careful not to use too much power and cause any damage but a good cleaning will go a long way towards maintaining your fence for the long haul. 
  4. Avoid watering your fence.  Be sure that sprinkles aren’t going to be hitting your fence regularly and causing water to pool around the base of the fence.  Pooled water can certainly cause rotting to occur.
  5. Inspect your fence on a regular basis for posts that have been knocked out of square, cracks, or breaks in the fence line.  If you find any of these items address them right away to prevent further damage to other areas on your fence.  These repairs can also be completed by the team at All Star Plumbing and Restoration.




Conserving Water This Summer

Water ConservationMuch of the state, about 53% of the population, is currently experiencing abnormal dryness or drought conditions which has many people thinking more about their water usage.  What are some ways you and your family could help conserve water this summer, and lessen the potential negative effects of a drought situation?  There are literally hundreds of ways you could make small changes that would add up to big water savings, but here are a few that can be easily implemented.

  1. Turn the water off – you’ve probably heard people tell kids all the time to turn the water off while brushing their teeth or washing their hands, but the majority of adults fail to do this as well.  It takes just a second to turn it off until you need it again, but it can save lots of water.
  2. Use the car wash – many car wash facilities recycle the water that’s used during each car wash and reuse it.  This won’t happen if you use the hose at your house, and much of that water will simply be wasted.
  3. Choose efficient fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom – add an aerator to faucets, purchase low-flow toilets, buy a Water Sense rated washing machine and dishwasher, as well as looking for a water efficient shower head to make a big difference.  If upgrading your toilet isn’t in the budget reduce your usage by sinking a half gallon jug of water in the toilet tank.
  4. Water in the morning – if you water outdoor plants in the morning not only will you reduce the potential for mold growth, you’ll also use less water.  Cooler morning temperatures mean less water lost to evaporation.
  5. Check for leaks – leaks in your plumbing can quickly add up to hundreds of gallons of wasted water.  Inspect your pipes regularly and keep an eye on your water bill.  If you see a sudden spike you may have a leak.  Contact All Star Plumbing and Restoration to resolve the leak.
  6. Use less electricity – you may not be aware but power plants use thousands of gallons of water for cooling.  The less power you draw, the less water they need to use.
  7. Reduce the size of your lawn – add a rock garden with plants or ground cover that does well in drought conditions, and will require very little water.  It will take up some of the space in your yard and reduce the amount of water needed to maintain your lawn.
  8. Run full loads – only run the washer and dishwasher when they’re full.  Running half loads is extremely inefficient and wastes a tremendous amount of water.  Running the dishwasher is still preferred over hand washing, which uses more water per dish, but be sure it’s a full load.  Consider hanging those clothes outside to dry to also reduce your energy consumption.

As more and more of the country is predicted to be in drought conditions on a regular basis and those droughts are expected to last longer it’s going to become critical that we all do our part to help with water conservation.



Building an Adult Slip-‘n-Slide

What can be more fun and more truly an image of summer than a Slip-‘n-Slide?  Want to have a great time at your summer BBQ this year?  Try adding your own adult-sized Slip-‘n-Slide.


Roll of plastic sheeting (10’ x 100’) look for 6 mil thick
Eco-Friendly Soap
Water (generally several garden hoses linked together

To start find a space that will be large enough to unroll your plastic sheeting.  Check it thoroughly for sharp objects that could tear the plastic or cause injury during sliding.  Remove anything that could be a hazard and then roll out your plastic sheeting.  Given the potential for tearing it’s important not to cheap out and get a thin roll of plastic.  If you’re in a sandy area use your shovel to put sand around the entire perimeter of the plastic.  If you’re in a grassy area use tent stakes to hold it in place.  Be sure to drive the stakes ALL THE WAY into the ground to keep anyone from getting hurt on them.

Once your plastic tarp is in place you’re ready to add some lubricant.  Given that this is an outdoor activity, and water run-off will end up everywhere, it’s strongly recommended that you choose an environmentally safe soap.  Spread this generously over the plastic sheet and then add at the top throughout the day.  Run your water supply to your plastic sheeting and sprinkle the entire thing with water.  From there, leave the water supply slowly dripping water on to the top of the Slip-‘n-Slide throughout the day.

Then, Run – Slide – Laugh – Repeat until it gets dark!


Past Plumbing Newsletters

June 19, 2018

June 1, 2018

May 1, 2018

April 5, 2018

March 15, 2018

March 1, 2018

February 15, 2018

February 1, 2018

January 15, 2018

January 1, 2018

December 18, 2017

December 1, 2017

November 20, 2017

November 6, 2017

October 23, 2017

October 9, 2017

September 25, 2017

September 11, 2017

August 31, 2017

July 30, 2017

July 17, 2017

July 3rd, 2017

June 19th, 2017

June 1st, 2017

May 8th, 2017

April 27th, 2017

April 10th, 2017

March 27th, 2017

March 13th, 2017

February 27th, 2017

February 14th, 2017

January 30th, 2017

January 16, 2017

December 19, 2016

December 5, 2016

November 21, 2016

November 7, 2016

October 17, 2016

October 3, 2016

September 12, 2016

August 30, 2016

August 1, 2016

July 13, 2016

June 13, 2016

May 30, 2016

May 2, 2016

April 15, 2016

March 28, 2016

March 2, 2016

February 15, 2016

January 26, 2016

January 12, 2016

December 7, 2015

November 19, 2015

October 29, 2015

October 6, 2015

September 16, 2015

August 31, 2015

August 3, 2015

July 8, 2015

June 22, 2015

June 3, 2015

May 21, 2015

April 16, 2015

March 17, 2015

March 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

January 7, 2015