Plumbing and Air Conditioning Services Blog & Media

RYCO Plumbing likes to connect with you the customer. We want you to be plumbing knowledgeable so you know what we're talking about. An educated consumer is our best customer.

Preventing Plumbing Issues Before They Become Expensive Problems

Drain Cleaning: How you cause your slow drain problems.


No one likes to waste money, but so often, when it comes to household plumbing issues, people do. They pay good money to have professionals unclog pipes and clean up other issues, only to continue to do the things that caused the problems in the first place.

Recurring issues aren’t just annoying; they’re also expensive. After the professionals leave, it’s up to you to maintain the work you hired them to do. Otherwise, you might be seeing them around more often than you’d like.

Here are some of the most common household plumbing issues and how to prevent them.

Baby On Toilet.jpg

Slow-Draining Toilets

If your toilet isn’t draining as quickly as it should, it’s probably because of a partially blocked drain. The best and easiest way to prevent this blockage is to be conscious of what you’re putting into your toilet.

The only materials that should be flushed are human waste and toilet paper. It’s a common misconception that smaller items like floss, hair and medication can be flushed without consequence, but these little things add up.

Here are some other materials you should definitely avoid flushing:



Paper Towel

Backed-Up Shower Drains

It doesn’t take much for a shower drain to get backed up, and it’s always a hassle to take care of. Fortunately, preventing this type of issue is actually pretty easy.

Investing a few dollars to buy a small hair catcher that fits into the opening of your drain is only a small price to pay to keep your drain clean. Yes, it’s a little gross to empty, but that little effort can save you big bucks in the long run.

If your drain is already a little backed up, you can loosen the gunk by flushing your pipes with a gallon of boiling water. After you pour the water into the drain, run regular water for about five minutes afterward. Doing so continues to help push out the buildup.


Clogged Kitchen Sinks

Similar to your toilet, you have to be conscious of what you’re putting down your kitchen sink. Take note of the items mentioned above. If they shouldn’t go down your toilet, they definitely shouldn’t go down your sink. 

Scraps of food and other solid materials tend to accumulate in the elbow pipe. While some food might make its way past the elbow, it’s best not to put anything solid down there.

Using sink traps or sink screens is the best way to keep excess food from going down your drain. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Cleaning an elbow pipe is no quick task. 

Here are some things you should keep from going down the drain:

Coffee grounds

Unforeseen Circumstances

Of course, not every situation is preventable. Keep this in mind. If a storm ruins your pool or if tree roots keep plugging up your sewer line, it’s neither the professional’s fault nor your fault that an issue has arisen. No one is liable—only Mother Nature. 

Serious plumbing problems don’t typically appear over night. They happen gradually, which means you have every opportunity to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Being conscious of what you’re putting into your drain and investing in a few cheap, drain-protecting devices is all you need to prevent common plumbing issues from burning a hole in your wallet.

Why Does Backflow Testing Need To Be Done Every Year

Backflow issues at commercial and residential buildings can be health hazards.

A lethal gas in a building in Mississippi is the latest example of what can happen when there is backflow.

The building owner entered the unoccupied building and noticed a smell. A report was filed with the local fire department and the responding team was able to make the building safe again.

Investigators believe a chemical made its way into the sewer lines creating the toxic gas, which then entered the unoccupied building as a backflow situation through a sink.

Backflow Testing

What Is Backflow?

Toxic gas backing up into a building is one example of potential backflow issues, but backflow can occur in many other ways.

Backflow is generally referred to as the reversal of a liquid or gas in a plumbing system.

Most issues for the public occur with backflow resulting in contaminated drinking water. If you look up backflow issues online you’ll probably find references to “potable” water. That means drinking water.

There have been backflow issues in the past with drinking water. Chemicals, sewage and other contaminants have found their way into drinking water causing health issues for those that count on the fresh water.

What Causes Backflow?

In a residence or commercial building water generally flows one way. This normal flow is usually driven by consistent pressure in the water and waste system.

Anything that changes the normal pressure in the system can lead to backflow.

Fire hydrant use or malfunction can reverse the normal pressure in the system on a city line, but backflow can occur in a number of different ways.

Sometimes backpressure might be caused by someone using a garden hose and submerging the end of the hose in a pool of liquid. If pressure is lost the flow could reverse and contaminants could be released into the drinking water.

Anytime there is a connection between contaminants and the drinking water there is potential for a backflow issue. Sometimes these connections are not immediately obvious like the garden hose connecting to a building’s drinking water supply.

Residential Valve

Backflow Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines and regulations for state and local governments regarding backflow. State and local governments also have their own guidelines and regulations for backflow prevention.

Arizona has its own backflow regulations.

Due to issues with backflow in the past, regulations require backflow preventer devices to be used in nearly all residential and commercial buildings.

A backflow preventer is a device that prevents backflow as cross-connection points where potential backflow issues may occur.

While backflow is not a common occurrence, preventers are in place to make sure there is no contamination should something malfunction or go wrong with a building’s water supply.

Backflow Testing

Arizona and other states require regular backflow testing or backflow preventer testing.

There is a list of steps to follow when checking the system. Because plumbing systems are exposed to normal wear and tear, it’s a good idea to have regular check-ins on your property. Federal, state and local law also requires regular backflow testing.

We work with property managers that like to stay on top of their plumbing systems. They see the potential harm and damage that can happen with backflow issues and they have us come out to test their systems to make sure everything is working.

This testing also ensures the property management company and its properties meet all regulations.

Do you have questions about backflow and backflow testing?

Contact us today and ask about our backflow testing procedure.