WINTER PLUMBING MAINTENANCE

When it comes to preparing your plumbing for winter, you don’t want to be left out in the cold. At GAC Plumbing Company, we can help you with all your seasonal plumbing maintenance needs. Below are five quick and easy ways to get your plumbing ready for cold months.

1. Check for Leaks

Now is the time to look for any plumbing leaks around your home. Check faucets and shower heads and take note of any low water pressure. If you see any leaks, call a professional to repair them right away. Even small leaks add up quickly, wasting precious water as well as money.

2. Disconnect Your Outdoor Hose

When the temperature drops, hoses are the first victims. One of the most important plumbing maintenance tasks this time of year is disconnecting and storing any outdoor hoses to prevent freezing. This also helps protect pipes inside your home. Try to do this ahead of time so your hose is safely stores before the first wave of cold temperatures. Also during the freezing temperatures it is a good idea to locate the shutoff valves for outside faucets and turn those off.

3. Have Your Pipes Inspected

If you’ve never inspected your pipes before, a professional can check them to make sure that they are in tiptop shape for the winter months. They can also prevent pipes from bursting by insulating them to protect your home and replacing them if they are faulty. Bursting pipes can be devastating to a homeowner.

4. Keep Your Home Warm

This tip may seem simple, but cool indoor temperatures can be the biggest cause of pipes bursting in the home. Check to see that your thermostat is set and activated, and make sure that the temperature in your home does not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Take Care of Your Sinks

Using a sink as a garbage disposal can be problematic. Particularly during winter, oils and fats poured down the drain can freeze once temperatures drop. This can clog your drains and cause more problems. Be sure to dispose of grease properly to keep your pipes clear and be ready for the big chill.

If you want a hand with your plumbing maintenance tasks this year, the experts at GAC PLUMBING COMPANY are happy to help. Contact the team today to schedule an appointment.

Winter Plumbing Tips

Winter Plumbing Tips

How to prepare your plumbing system to prevent freezing pipes and other common cold weather plumbing problems

When it comes to plumbing, there are certain ‘cold weather’ preventative measures that will help maintain a healthy, efficient water system and avoid excess water loss and excessive bills. In addition to the harsh winter weather, the holiday season adds extra stress to your plumbing system due to increased activity from guests. In fact, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Thankfully, you can prevent many common plumbing problems by being proactive and following GAC Plumbing Companies maintenance tips to help safeguard your system throughout the winter months.

Turn off outside water valves to prevent frozen pipes

When the temperature drops below freezing, water pipes in your home have the potential to rupture, creating an expensive disaster in your home’s basement. The average homeowner’s expense for a pipe rupture is about $15,000, according to State Farm Insurance.

To protect against frozen pipes, turn off all outside water valves and then look for pipes in un-insulated areas of the home, such as those running along the home’s outer walls. These pipes are the most likely to freeze and should be wrapped with foam or towels for the season. In cases of extreme cold, it’s a good idea to let faucets drip slowly in order to encourage water flow.

Know the location of your home’s main water valve

In case of a major incident – such as a pipe bursting – when you might need to immediately shut off all the water in the home, it’s critical to know where the main water valve is located. This valve is usually located next to the water meter and should be kept in good condition. To maintain your home’s main water valve and keep it in working order, open and close it once a year.

Conserve your home’s energy – but don’t go too low!

If at any time during the winter you’ll be away from your home, you may be tempted to turn down the heat to save energy. However, turning the heat too low increases the risk of frozen and ruptured pipes. The damage caused by such an accident will be even greater if the rupture goes unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months.

To best prevent a pipe rupture, the home’s temperature should be set no lower than 45F. This solution offers maximum savings while protecting against frozen pipes.

Conserving energy during the winter months while staying cozy indoors can be tricky, but follow are thermostat recommendations for when you’re home to make sure you stay comfortable and avoid high bills!

Make sure your water heater runs properly

Your water heater is more important now than any other time of the year, so this is the perfect time to make sure it is running optimally. A professional plumber can service the unit by checking the tank’s sacrificial anode rod and making any repairs or replacements necessary due to wear or corrosion.

When it comes time to adjust the heater’s water temperature, don’t set the dial above 125 degrees F. This will prevent scalding water as well as reduce energy waste.

Don’t clog kitchen drains and be careful with the disposal

The holidays inspire some of the largest meals you’ll prepare during the year, so how you dispose of cooking-related messes, leftovers, and table scraps can significantly impact your plumbing system.

For example, fats or oils accumulate while preparing many meals, but these leftovers should NEVER be poured down your drain as they can congeal and clog pipes. Instead, allow grease to congeal in the cooking dish and then scrape it into the trash.

In terms of your garbage disposal, it is best to turn it on first and then add the food debris. After the machine has done its work, shut it off and run plenty of water down the drain to clear the system for the next time you need it.

Prepare outside drainage

Winterizing your lawn can help improve drainage from snow and rain. Removing debris from your yard to ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear before the winter will improve their ability to drain runoff.

Consider installing insulation

Preventing frozen pipes can be as simple as a little planning and installing foam insulation. Insulating foam sheaths are sold at most hardware stores in a variety of sizes and are easy to install. Make sure to insulate the entire length of pipe from the point where your home’s main water line emerges from the ground to the point where it enters the heated space of your home. You should also insulate any pipes that are outside the heated portion of your home, like those in attics, unheated basements and outdoor hose bibbs. If pipe insulation is not a DIY job for your home, call a GAC Company plumber.

Hire right the first time

Your home is typically one of the biggest, most important purchases you can make – the result of a painstaking search that might have taken months or even years. Therefore, when it comes to home maintenance – from  repairs to plumbing maintenance – it only makes sense to hire someone who is qualified and will do the job well. GAC Plumbing and Construction offers competitive pricing coupled with impeccable craftsmanship.

CALL GAC PLUMBING AND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY NOW!

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Tips for Summer Plumbing Success

Three Tips for Summer Plumbing Success

Summer is the season of outdoor fun and entertaining. Unfortunately for your plumbing, summer can also be the season of sewage backup, clogged drains, and cracked hoses. At GAC Plumbing Company, we know one of the best summer tips is taking the time to inspect your system before the season starts to ensure it’s well maintained and ready for action. Here three tips for summer plumbing success.

Inspect Sewer Line Pipes

Thanks in part to summer storms and rainwater, backups in your sewer line are extremely common. Storm water enters sewer pipes through small cracks and creates congestion. Root development from trees can also put strain on a sewer line since they grow toward the water source. The best way to make sure your sewer line pipes are ready for the season is to have them inspected by one of our expert technicians. He or she will look for signs of damage, and repair any potential cause of backup.

Protect the Garbage Disposal

Another part of your plumbing system that is sure to see increased activity in the summer is the kitchen garbage disposal. Barbecues, social gatherings and pool parties are all great reasons to fire up the grill, but don’t go putting all of that corn on the cob down the disposal. Of the three tips for summer plumbing, this one is the simplest to follow. To prevent clogs, do not put cornhusks or other stringy foods down the disposal. Fatty foods can also stick to drain pipes and cause clogs, so don’t put any leftover hamburger meat down the drain.

Change Washing Machine Hoses

Whether it’s you or your kids, someone is bound to have dirty clothes throughout the season. Make sure your washing machine is prepared for the extra work by having the hoses inspected for cracks, leaks, or bulging. It’s also a good idea to change washing machine hoses at least once every three years.

Contact GAC Plumbing Company at 707-538-8000 for more information on these three tips for summer and other plumbing tips.

Sewer Odor Testing

Summer is a good time to smoke test sewers due to low flows and suitable weather.
 

Why do I want to smoke test my sewers? If you are getting complaints from residents about sewer backup into their basements, you already know one of the answers. The other reason is that USEPA (and, hence, state agencies) are increasingly “on the case” when it comes to untreated sanitary sewage overflows. If you haven’t already heard from them, it’s probably just a matter of time.

It’s not unusual for older sanitary sewer systems to have high flow rates during storms due to water entering through cracked pipes and gaps in manhole walls.
There are also all of the homes where, over the years, the owners have quietly connected downspouts and sump pump discharges to the sanitary sewer.
Smoke testing is generally intended to find:
• buildings that have illegal downspout, cellar, yard or foundation drain connections to the sanitary sewer
• illegal sump pump discharges into a sanitary sewer
• points of groundwater or surface water intrusion into sanitary sewers
• any cross connections between sanitary and storm sewers
Give it a try!
If you haven’t already tried smoke testing, Give  GAC Plumbing Company   a  CALL at 707-538-8000 and we can find that smell within your bathroom or Basement or walk-in Freezer.

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Sewer Odor Detection

Sewer Odor Detection: How to Get Rid of Sewer Gas in Your Home

Rotten eggs? No one likes smelling this particular odor walking into their home after a long day. After googling it – you may have poured chemicals down your drain for temporary relief however, you might be putting a Band-Aid fix over a larger problem.

What does it mean when you smell sewer gas in your house?

If you have that sewer gas smell in your house, apartment, or condo there may be several reasons why this is occurring. It could be your P trap in your sewer drain lines. You may be asking yourself, “why do I smell sewer gas in my house?” In sewer systems a P-shaped trap is typically filled with water – the water provides a seal to keep out the sewer gas smell. What causes sewer smells in a house? If that water seal is broken then the sewer gases smell will travel up the drains into your bathroom, kitchen, or the entire home. In older homes, the deterioration of the sewer cast iron pipes can be a reason why sewer gas smells enter into your home.

How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

Since there could be several ways sewer gas smells can enter into your house, an odor detection test is a good place to start. The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball. This traps the smoke inside the plumbing system. If there is a fault in the drains the smoke will flow from the failure point.

Whether you’ve been struggling with on-again-off-again sewer gas smell in your home for years or have just encountered your first sewer gas problem then this situation can be easily solved by a sewer odor detection test.

Slow or Stopped Drains

Five Ways to Fix a Slow Sink Drain

Overflowing bathroom sink

Adam Gault/Getty Images

A slow, sluggish sink drain is a very common plumbing problem. The bathroom sinkis the one most frequently afflicted with this particular problem, and several things can contribute to a slow sink drain. Often the pop-up that is used to stop up the sink can collect a lot of hair and debris because the sink is used on a daily basis. Also, soap and other products that are washed down the drain can slowly collect in the drain pipes. The build-up that naturally collects over time reduces the size of the drain, effectively slowing the progress of draining water. This drainage issue happens naturally over time and usually cannot be avoided. The only solution is to clean the drain periodically to keep it flowing.

There are several ways to address a drainage problem, as outlined here.

Clear Out Debris With a Zip-It Tool

Zip-it tool

Amazon

The first step to getting the sink drain flowing again is to clear out any hair and debris that has collected there. One quite easy way to do this is to use the Zip-it tool, an inexpensive tool that works wonders in just minutes. The Zip-it tool can be put into the drain to catch hair and debris, which can then be pulled out. The Zip-it can be used in a sink drain with or without a pop-up because it is thin enough to fit in the drain even with a pop-up in place.

Remove the Pop-up

Pop-up bathtub drain

Jack Hollingsworth/Getty Images

The shape of the sink pop-up is such that it often collects debris and build-up. If you do not have a Zip-it tool, or if the tool was not able to clear out all debris, another option is to remove the pop-up and clean it out. Most pop-ups are held in place with a nut attached to the drain just under the sink. To remove the pop-up reach behind the drain pipe under the sink to find the pop-up nut. Once the nut is removed, the pop-up can be pulled out of the sink drain, cleaned, and then reinstalled.

Clear the Sink Overflow
Sink with overflow drain circled

 Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

One purpose of the overflow opening is to divert water into the drain if it accidentally rises too high in the sink, of course. But another important purpose is to allow air into the drain when the sink is filled with water. The air that comes into the drain through the overflow helps water in the sink to drain faster. The sink overflow is another place where debris and build-up can collect over time. If a sink is draining slowly and cleaning the drain does not seem to solve the problem, it is a good idea to clean the overflow as well.

Use Homemade Drain Cleaner
Foaming drain cleaner in a sink

Image Source/Getty Images

A mild homemade drain cleaner can be used to clean the drain pipes after the larger debris has been pulled out. The reaction caused by combining two common and inexpensive household products can help to break down the mucky build-up on the inside of the drain pipes. Getting even a little of the build-up out of the drain can help get it flowing freely again. By using homemade drain cleaner, you avoid using harsh chemicals and save money as well.

Use a Plunger
Plunger

 Floortje/Getty Images

A plunger can be used on a slow sink drain; it does not have to be reserved for a complete drain stoppage. A little plunging can help to loosen and dislodge hair and debris that is collected in the pipe. To be sure that the plunger is effective, cover the sink overflow with a rag or some duct tape before plunging. Covering the overflow helps create a seal, which is needed to clear any blocked pipe.

Any Questions Please CALL NOW

GAC PLUMBING COMPANY

707-538-8000

Main Line Trenchless Replacement (Pipe Bursting)

Different Ways to Use Trenchless

Unlike traditional methods that require an extensive amount digging and have a long installation process, trenchless methods generally abide by one main concept: minimal digging!

There are a variety of ways that trenchless methods can be applied, depending on the damaged pipe in question or unique repair needs.

Below are five different ways that trenchless water line replacement can help save both your home and your money.

1.) CIPP

Cured-in-place pipe is used primarily for boosting the strength of pre-existing pipes. This method of trenchless involves simply relining the pipe using a seamless, PVC-infused liner that fills in the existing holes and cracks.

Before the liner is applied, Express uses a process called hydro-jetting to clean the pipe in its entirety. Once the liner is placed, it is sealed using highly pressurized steam. This method is best used for minor pipe damage, because the pipe needs to be durable enough to withstand the lining process.

2.) Pipe Bursting

This trenchless process is best used for replacing an entire water or sewer pipe. It involves using a spear-shaped tool called a “bursting head,” which is attached to the opposite end of a replacement pipe and fed through the deteriorated pipe via cable.

It is called pipe bursting because the cone-shaped head bursts the existing pipe into pieces from within, while laying the new pipe in a single, seamless process. For a more thorough understanding of the pipe bursting process and when it is used, click here.

3.) Pipe Replacement

Like standard pipe lining, this form of trenchless repair utilizes CIPP, as well. The replacement process begins when repair technicians insert a small cable machine into the pipe being replacing. Attached to the machine is a smaller pipe, which is then dragged through the old pipe, sealed in-place and functions within the old pipe.

This method is ideal for extremely old or decayed pipes that are unable to be lined.

4.) Pull-in-Place Lining

This method is similar to pipe bursting, in that it only requires two small holes to be dug. The new liner is pulled through the pipe using a wench and is steam-sealed. Like CIPP, the pipe must be durable enough to withstand this process.

Pull-in-place lining is used to cure small pipe imperfections and add strength; however, it does not replace the pipe’s structure entirely.

5.) Inversion Lining

Another way to add durability and fill in any cracks or spacing in a pipe is using inversion lining. In inversion lining, the liner material is made of a felt tube and put/pulled into place like the previously mentioned trenchless methods.

Should you go Trenchless?

Trenchless repair methods go beyond just repairing and replacing pipes; they can also be used to prevent future pipe damages. Realistically, no one enjoys water invading their homes and damaging their property. Repairing damaged pipes using traditional methods can get pricey and use an extensive amount of resources. Going trenchless is not just affordable – it’s also preventative.

TrenchLess Repiping Pro’s and Con’s

Trenchless Sewer Repair
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Lateral pipe bursting process

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A clogged sewer line can be a emergency situation. It is not recommended that you put off this repair. Any blockage or break will cause drains to back up, foundations to flood, and sewer contamination of a home in the worst-case scenario. A trenchless sewer repair allows you to repair or replace lines which require maintenance quickly.

Traditional pipes age through cracking and blockages, which causes them to disintegrate over time. Tree roots and loss of Slope or grade create impacts on the system which cause a need for repairs too. Modern trenchless sewer repair changes the dynamic for a fix because you no longer dig a trench along the pipe to access the damaged area. Now only a couple of small holes need to be run to complete the task, with micro-video allowing for remote work to create the necessary repairs.

There are several advantages to consider with trenchless sewer repair, but a few disadvantages that sometimes creep up too. That’s why a complete look at these trenchless sewer repair pros and cons is necessary before considering this technique.

List of the Pros of Trenchless Sewer Repair:

1. It saves time when compared to the traditional access methods.
Technicians using the trench technique would spend several hours digging out around the damaged sewer line. Then several more hours to fill the trench back in were required before the repair was complete. That doesn’t include the time necessary to complete the fix in the first place. Not only does the trenchless sewer repair technique take much less time, but it also requires fewer workers to be involved with the project. Companies providing this service get a lot more done with less labor.

2. It reduces consumer inconvenience during the repair process.
When a sewer line is compromised for homeowners, they no longer can use their home’s water system until technicians complete the repair. That means the occupants of the property must either haul all their water supplies in manually, then remove them the same way, or relocate to a different property until the project is finished. Before trenchless sewer repair, that could mean 7-14 days away from home. Now many repairs happen in 24-48 hours because there is such a substantial reduction in prep time.

3. It saves the landscaping of the homeowner.
Sewer line repairs require underground access, which means the landscaping along the pipe must be removed for the work to be done. That could cost homeowners thousands of dollars, depending on what was in the way of the repair technicians. Although a couple of holes must still be dug to access the line when performing trenchless sewer repair, there is much less damage to repair to the lawn, landscaping, or garden after the work is complete. The customer’s property gets back to normal faster and with fewer disruptions.

4. It saves money for the consumer.
The trenchless sewer repair option becomes less expensive than a traditional repair because there are no structural modifications required to complete the task. No digging equipment must be brought in to complete the repair work. Only two small holes are dug, which means the clean-up costs are much lower with this technique compared to other methods. Customers save money because there is less manual labor involved, the sewer line repair goes back in service faster.

Traditional trenching jobs could cost more than $20,000 to finish, depending on the amount of construction involved with the project. Homeowners save at least 30% on the final cost, with some saving upward of 50%, depending on their situation.

5. It reduces damage to the environment and urban infrastructure.
When you’re repairing either the upper or lower connections to the main sewer line, there is a good chance that the structure runs underneath your driveway, yard, or even your street. Because of the trenchless repair technique, technicians can access areas of the sewer line pipes without causing as much damage to the environment or the infrastructure as before. That means there are fewer street repair issues or ecological concerns because the repairs happen through the two access points instead.

 

6. It produces a higher-quality repair.
Trenchless sewer repair uses a polyethylene pipe for the connection. Polyethylene pipe is a better material to use than the older sewer pipes that were installed in most cities. The new products provide lines which are free of joints, reducing the impact of tree root invasions. There are fewer cracks and off-set pipes when compared to older work too.

When you live in a wet climate, like those in the Sonoma County, the trenchless sewer repair materials offer more resistance to corrosion than traditional systems.

7. It offers a system which functions better over a longer time.
Trenchless pipe repairs or replacements use seamless technology that can improve the function of the property’s connection to the main sewer line. These products last longer than traditional systems, with most requiring fewer future repairs, which reduces the long-term cost profile for the average homeowner.Trenchless is even known to improve flow capacity and can increase the size of the system, or add additional capacity to smaller homes.

Most trenchless systems come with a 20-year guarantee, even when used for a septic system instead of as a connection to a sewer line. The traditional methods are often guaranteed for 15 years or less.

8. It uses the current infrastructure to create a better system.
The system installation is a straightforward process with a trenchless sewer repair. A cable gets pulled through the pipe first. Then it connects to a bursting head. You attach the head to the new pipe, which splits the existing pipe, pushing it out of the way when the new pipe is pulled through. The new one is the same inside diameter as the old one, though some installations can increase the diameter of the pipe involved. Little damage occurs to the new pipe, often just scratches, and the work can often be completed in a day.

List of the Cons of Trenchless Sewer Repair:

1. It may not be covered by homeowners’ insurance.
The property damage caused by a broken or clogged sewer line is not usually covered by the standard homeowners’ policy. Repairs required because of tree root penetration are not usually covered either. If you haven’t needed to worry about a sewer line repair yet, then check your policy to see if special insurance requirements, or a rider to your policy, is required for this cost to be covered. Nothing is worse than having an expensive repair to fund straight from your own pocket.

2. It may require work on clogs outside of the property line.
The typical urban sewage system connects the house to the public sewer main through the use of two pipes: the upper lateral and the lower lateral. The lower portion of this connection often falls outside of the property line. Should a clog occur there, many communities require the property owner to maintain and repair the connection. The city would only work on the public sewer main when issues occur there.

You must review all the paperwork included with your mortgage and housing contract with the city to understand who is responsible for what repairs outside of the property line, but still benefits your home. The cost of repairing a lower lateral issue can be upward of $50,000 using traditional repair methods.

3. It can sometimes be more expensive to use a trenchless repair technique.
The trenchless sewer repair technique does not work well when you have a lateral pipe that doesn’t sit below your driveway or expensive landscaping. You might find that older pipes with joints, or a collapsed pipe, could cause the costs of this repair option to be much higher than the traditional service. There is only one way to determine which option is best for your specific situation: through calling GAC Plumbing Company for a evaluation of your problem.

4. Trenchless requires expertise that GAC Plumbing can provide.
Our skilled professionals using the Best Equipment Hammer Head Trenchless System  for the work required. You’re not going to solve this issue with a DIY approach. You must have the branch lines located for your drainage system, then have them exposed and reconnected as part of the process. There are times when a line must be cut, then relocated, to complete some issues. Different soils and pipes carry unique risks which technicians will identify when they come to evaluate your issue.

Image result for trenchless sewer line replacement hammerhead

5. It is not a miracle solution.
There are several problems which a trenchless sewer repair technique handles well, but it cannot solve every potential problem that some homeowners face. There are times when the older sewer pipes were not installed at the proper pitch. The only way to correct that issue is through trenching. Obstructions sometimes must be removed before work is completed. If your pipe burst, there could be damage to other utilities which requires trenching too. Although this technique solves a lot of issues, there are some that still require the traditional method.

If there are issues with this type of installation if water pools in a low spot in the line, especially with an upper lateral pipe with an incomplete pitch. Issues with sag, belly, and deflection pose significant concerns. Sand tends to be more forgiving than shale, but it all depends on local conditions.

6. It requires special permits and property or building codes.
Even though technicians dig just a couple of holes on your property to complete a trenchless sewer repair, there are still construction permits required before the work can start. Your local building codes still apply to the work as well. That means any work under the street or sidewalk requires a municipal inspection before the job is considered complete.

These trenchless sewer repairs pros and cons can help you save a bundle on this unexpected repair. Check your homeowners’ insurance today to see if this issue is covered by your policy. Update it as necessary to protect your finances. If you’re concerned about flooding in your home, then consider a separate flood insurance policy too if needed. With those supports in place, you’ll be able to choose a repair option which isn’t as disruptive to your lifestyle, and you can maintain the savings you’ve built up over time too.

Clearing a Drain

How to Clear a Drain

There are a number of plumbing repairs that require immediate attention. Among these is a clogged drain. Everyone knows the inconvenience and mess that accompany a sluggish drain. Even so, many people wait until the drain stops completely before they take corrective action. Sometimes a clog can be cleared with a simple homemade remedy.

There are two different type of treatments that should be used:

  1. Standard Clog

If you have a moderately clogged drain, try this homemade drain cleaner from gaccompany.com: Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Be careful. The two ingredients interact with foaming and fumes, so replace the drain cover loosely. Let the concoction set for about three hours before running warm water.

2. Grease Clog

If you know the slow drain is from grease, try this treatment: Pour in 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a teakettle of boiling water. Allow to sit overnight.

Routine Maintenance can save time and money if you follow the following tips:

You can keep your drains clog-free and odorless by using the following homemade noncorrosive drain cleaner weekly. Combine 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup table salt, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar. Stir ingredients together thoroughly and pour into a clean, covered jar. Pour 1/4 cup of mixture into drain, and immediately add 1 cup boiling water. Wait 10 seconds, then flush with cold water. Flushing weekly with a generous amount of boiling water also works well.

Good Luck

https://gaccompany.com/ClearingDrains.pdf

GAC Plumbing Company
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