How to Find a Broken Pipe in Your Your Slab Foundation

When it comes to the plumbing in a home, most people don’t even think about it until there is a problem. In most cases, plumbing leaks are noticeable before they cause extensive damage by leaving water stains, soft spots, and a musty odor behind.  On the other hand, what if there is a broken pipe in the slab foundation of your house?

Signs of a Leaking Pipe in a Slab

In most cases gravity will keep excess water from leaking pipes in your foundation out of sight. This will make it difficult to know if you have a broken pipe until your utility bill shows up. It might be reflected in the water bill alone if the leak is in one of the cold water pipes, but you might also feel some sticker shock on the electric or gas side of the bill if you have a leaking hot water pipe. Some of the signs of a water leak under your slab include:

  • You see that your water meter seems to be spinning at a higher rate than normal, or you notice that the water heater runs more often.
  • You find a warm spot in the floor.
  • You find wet spots on the floor.
  • You can feel a soft spot in the floor as you walk over it.
  • You can hear water running in the pipes, even when you don’t have any water turned on.
  • You’ve noticed ants or other pests more commonly lurking around and in your house.
  • You’ve discovered new cracks in the walls or floor.

It’s important to note, though, that the signs of a broken water pipe may be subtle, if they exist at all.

Finding a Broken Pipe

Finding a Broken Pipe

Locating a leak under the concrete slab of your house is a painstaking procedure. While feeling a soft spot or warm spot in your floor might indicate a leak, it doesn’t necessarily indicate where the leak is located. Water has the ability to travel quite a distance before making an obvious sign.

Locating a leaking pipe under a slab is a two step process.

1. Locate your house’s pipes.

2. Use an electronic leak detector to pinpoint the location of the leak.

Repairing a Slab Leak

Once the broken pipe is isolated, repairs can be made. In most cases, the damaged pipe will need to be cut away and replaced with new pipe. In addition, you may have pipes that have to be rerouted using a form of trenchless technology.

Direct Access

While direct access to the pipes is usually the easiest way to access the under slab plumbing, it is usually not the best approach, since there is a high possibility that other structures will be damaged in the process. However, if the other options are simply not available, you will be required to cut through the concrete to access the broken pipe. To fix the leak, you may need to cut away the damaged pipe and embed the two ends to a copper connector to eliminate damage.

To ensure you a leak does not develop in your pipes again in a couple of months, it’s important to repair the leak correctly. Test the repair by turning on the water and ensuring that there are no leaks. If everything is dry, remove the wet dirt from around the pipe, replace it with dry sand and top it off with concrete. After the concrete dries, the hole can be covered.

Re-routing Pipes

Re-routing Pipes

While it’s a little more labor intensive, rerouting pipes is preferable to direct access, as there is no need to break through the concrete slab. When rerouting pipes, it is important to locate the leaking pipes and figure out a way to run new piping around the trouble spot. Sometimes this involves running new pipes through the walls or attic.

If you have a broken pipe in your slab foundation, it may be covered by your home insurance plan. It is best to call in the professionals to locate and fix the leaking pipe in your Jacksonville home.  Having a professional plumber come in to evaluate your situation will not only save you time and money when compared to repairing the leak yourself, but the work will also come with a guarantee, meaning that if the repair fails, they will fix it again, free of charge. To receive assistance with a leaking pipe in your house, give our team a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers dependable water line repair, installation, and replacement services for homes in areas of Florida such as Jacksonville. From malfunctioning water heaters, gas leaks, to sewer backups, there is no problem too large for our team to handle.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Gas Pipe Leak in Your House

If you’re looking to save money and reduce your environmental impact, natural gas may be the answer. It is a clean, abundant source of heat, allowing you to power your home and appliances while releasing few pollutants. However, as clean as it is, there are still risks associated with the installation of gas pipes in a home. So before you begin using it, make sure to follow these safety tips:

Be Aware of All Appliances That Use Gas

The first step in gas piping safety is to be aware of all natural gas burners on your property. Common gas appliances include:

  • Woodless fireplaces
  • Furnaces
  • Grills
  • Water Heaters
  • Backup Generators
  • Laundry Dryers
  • Outdoor Lights
  • Pool Heaters
  • Space Heaters

Carbon Monoxide Caution

Guarding against carbon monoxide is fundamental to gas piping safety. Although natural gas is generally clean, if its burners are damaged or lack the proper air flow, it can produce carbon monoxide. If a gas pipe leak occurs in your home, this odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas may escape and inhibit your body’s ability to transport oxygen correctly, causing your brain and organs to shut down. Even mild exposure to the gas can render most adults ill within minutes and can be fatal within hours. The following precautions will help you protect yourself and your family from gas piping leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning:

Ways to Protect Your Family From a Gas Piping Leak

Ways to Protect Your Family From a Gas Piping Leak

Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide detectors resembles a smoke detector and is designed to notify you of natural gas pipe leaks that may be releasing carbon monoxide into your house. Once installed, don’t forget to regularly change your detector’s battery and inspect it to make sure it is working properly.

Inspecting the Vents on Your Appliances

Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate in your house and should thus be repaired immediately. Inspect the chimneys, flues, and vents on all appliances that use natural gas, and report any problems to your natural gas provider.

Check the Ventilation of Your Room

If you have a gas oven, don’t use it to heat your house. Likewise, if you use gas space heaters to warm a room, make sure that the room’s ventilation is working properly to avoid a moderate to severe gas piping leak.

Hire a Professional to Check For Leaks in Your Gas Pipes

Schedule to have all of your natural gas-powered appliances inspected at least once per year to test for gas pipe leaks. A licensed plumber will also check the gas piping connections to each of your appliances to ensure they are secure.

Become Familiar With the Symptoms of a Gas Piping Leak

If all else fails, you can still protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas piping leak by watching out for the symptoms and taking immediate action if you or your loved ones experience them. Early symptoms resemble those of the flu: nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, exhaustion, and rapid breathing.

If carbon monoxide builds up in your home from a gas piping issue, evacuate the building immediately; the longer you or your loved ones are exposed to the gas, the higher the chance of permanent brain or organ damage. Once you are safe from the gas, call the fire department or 9-1-1, as well as emergency medical services if anyone shows signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Guarding Against Natural Gas Pipe Leaks

Guarding Against Natural Gas Pipe Leaks

In addition to carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks are a common gas piping safety hazard. If left unattended, leaked natural gas can poison residents or lead to an explosion. Always be on the alert for the following signs of a gas leak:

Visible Signs of a Natural Gas Leak

Gas pipe leaks can cause plants to become discolored and standing water to bubble. They can also produce fog, icy mists, pools of liquid, or freezing along the pipelines where they originate.

Be Aware of the Odor of Sulfurous Gas

Although natural gas is naturally odorless, utilities combine it with a smelly sulfurous gas to make it easier to detect. If you pick up a strong scent of rotten eggs, there’s a good chance you’re near a gas pipe leak.

Become Familiar With the Sounds of a Gas Pipe Leak

Gas leaks produce either a hissing or a roaring sound, depending on the severity of the leak.

As with carbon monoxide, if you believe there to be a gas leak in your home, evacuate the building immediately and call 9-1-1. Also make sure to alert your neighbors, since a gas explosion in your home could threaten theirs. Do not try to locate the source of the leak, and if you do stumble upon it, do not attempt to fix it. Leave that to professionals trained in gas piping safety.

Natural gas leaks also present a danger if they occur outside. If you have reason to believe that an outdoor area has been exposed to leaked natural gas, leave that area immediately without touching your phone or any electrical equipment. Once you’ve reached a safe distance, call 9-1-1 and alert any passersby not to go near the gas.

Do Your Research Prior to Beginning a Home Improvement Project

Even if you only plan to dig a shallow hole on your property, you could end up puncturing an underground pipeline, causing gas leaks and other gas piping safety hazards. Call the local authorities at least two days before you start digging. The authorities will contact local natural gas, electrical, and telephone utilities and will give you a chart marking any hazards in the area where you plan to dig. Once you receive the chart, make sure to follow its instructions to avoid a gas piping leak.

Construction Considerations

If you’re planning a construction project, make sure what you build will not obstruct natural gas pipe lines. Even if your project does not touch the pipe line, it could serve as a barrier to repair teams, preventing them from fixing future gas pipe leaks. All gas pipe lines should be marked by warning signs delineating the pipe lines’ right of way, but just in case, call your local authorities and follow the same procedure that applies to digging. You should also avoid planting any shrubs, trees, or other plants near a natural gas source.

Private Piping

Most homeowners buy their natural gas from pipe lines that supply their cities. If you live in a sparsely-populated area, however, it may not be possible to buy natural gas from a broader source, in which case you’ll have to have your utility build a pipeline directly to your house. If you do this, you’ll be responsible for inspecting and repairing your gas line, as well as for warning your neighbors of its presence. Never buy a customer-owned line unless you’re sure you can keep it safe.

Plumbing Services Near You in Florida

Plumbing Services Near You in Florida

Looking to install, repair, or upgrade natural gas pipes in your home? Give our technicians a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment on our website. In addition to gas lines, our team also offers maintenance and replacement services for water lines behind your walls or in the ground. Our team of licensed plumbers provide fast, affordable, and trustworthy plumbing repair and installation services to homes in Jacksonville and other areas of Florida.

Safe & Reliable Gas Line Repair Services in Jacksonville, Florida

Call Us: (904) 724-2455

Do you have a gas line leak in your home? We offer gas line repair and installation services in Jacksonville, Florida. Book an appointment


How to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil in Your Home

Dealing with a clogged kitchen drain can be a hassle, especially when it springs out of nowhere when you are trying to prepare a meal or, worse, preparing for guests to arrive. Unfortunately, drain clogs are common because people continuously dispose of cooking oil by dumping it down the kitchen drain. This includes rinsing oil and grease from pots and pans.

Rinsing drains with hot water and grease-fighting dish detergent behind the oil won’t prevent clogs; the grease will simply jell further down the pipeline, causing the same clog but in a more difficult location. So, you may be wondering how to dispose of used cooking oil in your home. View our tips to prevent moderate to severe clogs in your kitchen.

What to Do With Used Cooking Oil

While, it can be tempting when you’re rushing around in the kitchen to dispose your used cooking oil by pouring it down the sink, don’t do it! This is the worst way to dispose of it. Instead, allow the used cooking oil to cool down and turn solid. Once solidified, dump it into your trash. If you cannot wait for the cooking oil to solidify, pour it into a disposable container and throw the container away in your trash.

While disposing of your used cooking oil in the trash is better than pouring it down your drain, it’s still not so great for the environment. Choosing to recycle your cooking oil helps reduce waste in landfills and allows the oil to be reused for other purposes. Through the JEA Used Cooking Oil Recycling Program, used cooking oil and grease is turned into biofuel and animal food.

Depending where you live in the Jacksonville, you may be near one or several public drop-off locations that allow you to properly dispose used cooking oil. Numerous fire stations are equipped to collect your used cooking oils and grease and can be located on a map provided by JEA. Some developments and apartment communities may also have their own private collection point for cooking oil and grease.

Fats, Oils, & Grease Are the Leading Cause of Drain Clogs

It is not just your home you need to worry about when disposing of cooking oil. Improperly disposed cooking oil and fats can affect other homes, businesses, and your environment with sewage backups and overflowing sewers. Pouring cooking oil down your drain contributes to sewer clogs from fats, oils and grease. Over time, these substances can build-up and eventually block your home’s sewer lines. If you continuously dispose of your cooking oil improperly, you will eventually have to deal with a widespread blockage in your home’s sewer lines and very costly repair bills.

In severe instances, blockages can be caused in local connecting sewer lines from the combined ingredients accumulated from other homes and businesses in your area. Sewage backups can occur in homes and businesses throughout your area because the capacity to collect wastewater is reduced. Sewers can also overflow onto roadways and properties that will eventually work its way into local waterways and cause contamination. The repairs and cleanup of these backups eventually get passed back to consumers by way of higher water and sewer bills.

Trustworthy Drain & Sewer Cleaning Services

Clogs can happen, even with taking steps to dispose of your used cooking oil properly. And when they do, Bill Fenwick Plumbing is ready to assist you anytime, 24/7. From drain cleaning, repiping, sump pump repair, to water heater installation, our team is able to pinpoint and resolve your emergency plumbing issue. Call us at (904) 724-2455 or contact us online for your emergency or general plumbing needs.

5 Ways to Prevent Mold in Your Bathroom

Mold and mildew are serious problems in any room with lots of moisture – especially bathrooms. Smells, stains, and other hassles that result from mold can take a toll on your home, health, and wallet! So, how do you prevent mold in your home? To help you avoid costly repairs, we have summarized 5 ways to prevent mold in the bathroom or shower of your house.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Shower & Bathroom

1)    Fix Leaks in Your Bathroom, Tub, & Shower

A leaky pipe, faucet, bathtub, or shower may not seem like a big deal. However, small steady leaks can lead to the formation of mold in your bathroom or shower. If your leak is in an enclosed cabinet or shower, you could miss the built-up moisture. Over time, the resulting mold can wreak havoc and cause funky-smelling odors most cleaning products can’t fix.

2)    Update Your Exhaust Fan to Remove Excess Steam

If you’re seeking to prevent mold in your shower, we recommend investing in a new bathroom exhaust fan to keep your bathroom dry. It also gets rid of the steam created from hot showers. If you’re relying only on an open window to vent steam from the bathroom, an exhaust fan is a must-have!

If your existing exhaust fan isn’t performing correctly, it might be time for an upgrade. Installing a new exhaust fan is easy because it doesn’t require many changes to your system. Since the latest energy-efficient exhaust fans are engineered to remove steam and moisture, they will reduce the probability of mold forming in the bathroom of your home.

3)    Reseal the Grout in Your Shower

Grout does more than seal floor and wall tiles, it also keeps moisture out of your walls! As grout ages, it may crack and increase the chances of mold or mildew forming in your shower. Get your grout resealed regularly – at least every 18 months. As an added benefit, refreshed grout will also make cleaning more manageable, and keep your bathroom looking beautiful!

4)    Clean Your Shower Frequently

Invest in a decent shower squeegee to prevent the formation of mold and mildew on the shower stall in your bathroom. Wipe down your shower walls after every shower to eliminate a lot of lingering moisture. By removing post-shower water, you’ll also eliminate mineral deposits and soap scum.

5)    Have a Professional Perform a Annual Bathroom Inspection

One of the best ways to prevent mold in your shower or bathroom is to schedule check-ups with a licensed plumber. Scheduling an annual bathroom inspection will help spot potential issues before they become big, pricey problems. The result is better showers and fewer risks of smelly mold and mildew, plus long-term savings!

Plumbing Inspections & Repair Services

From bathroom inspections, water line repair, sewer line installation, to drain cleaning, our team of licensed plumbers is able to detect and fix your issues. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment on our site to receive help. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers emergency plumbing services to homes in Jacksonville and other areas of Florida.

Reliable Drain Cleaning Services in Jacksonville, Florida

Call Us: (904) 724-2455

Our team of plumbing specialists offers drain cleaning services for homes in Jacksonville, Florida and other areas. If you’re having drainage issues with your kitchen or laundry room sink, schedule a drain cleaning appointment.


How To Lower Your Gas Bills at Home

From excess water usage, insufficient home insulation, to inefficient heating systems, there are a variety of variables that may impact the total cost of your gas bill each month. If you recently noticed a spike in the amount of your gas bills, it may be time to learn about methods that can be used to decrease your reliance on natural gas. We’ve gathered a list of ways to lower your gas bills at home to help you save money.

Use Your Dishwasher 

While you may have been told by your parents that it’s better to do dishes by hand, utilizing a dishwasher to clean your silverware, cups, and plates is an excellent way to lower your gas bill. This is because a large amount of warm water is required to eliminate nasty grease stains on your cookware. To ensure you have enough hot water to wash your dishes, the water heater in your home will consume a large quantity of gas to keep up with the demand. 

The latest energy-efficient dishwashers are engineered to utilize a minimal amount of warm water to clean your dishes, pans, and silverware. This will help minimize the total amount of gas utilized by your water heater to produce hot water. To reduce your gas bill, we recommend filling your dishwasher and running it once a week instead of washing your dishes by hand every night.


Do Your Laundry Less Often

While a water heater may not be the only appliance in your home that uses gas, it likely compromises 10 – 15% of your total natural gas consumption bill. An excellent way to save money on your gas bill is to postpone laundry day until your hamper is full. We understand that you may be accustomed to doing your laundry each Thursday. However, washing partial loads each week will cause you to waste water and natural gas.

Your water heater is required to consume a large quantity of gas to produce enough warm water for a single laundry cycle. To further lower the gas bill, you may want to consider setting the Rinse Cycle mode on your washing machine to the cold water setting. Since your water heater doesn’t use gas to process cold water, this adjustment will move you one step closer to your savings goals.

Switch From Gas to Electric Appliances

Switching to an electric furnace or water heater is another proven method to reduce your gas bill. Consider investing in an efficient heat pump system to regulate the temperature of your house throughout the winter season. On the other hand, we do not recommend switching to all electric appliances because the cost of electricity is usually higher than gas. An excellent way to reduce your gas bill without paying an astronomical amount of money on electricity is to invest in electric and gas appliances. You may decide to purchase an electric water heater while maintaining your current gas furnace.

Replace the Old Insulation in Your Walls

Replace the Old Insulation in Your Walls

If your gas bill is continuously high, it may be due to leaks in your walls or near your windows or doors. Replacing the old insulation in your walls will help keep the heat in your home that is produced by your gas furnace. This will lower your gas bills since your furnace won’t be required to produce as many heating cycles.

Purchase An Energy Efficient Furnace

If your utility bills seem too high each month, it may be caused by an old inefficient gas furnace in your house. The total efficiency of a furnace is measured using a key performance indicator called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE rating of a furnace refers to how fast a gas furnace is able to convert energy from natural gas into hot air. 

For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 is able to convert 90% of the natural gas it uses into warm air. The other 10% of the gas is utilized by the furnace during the standard operational process. If you’re looking for ways to reduce your gas bill, installing an energy-efficient furnace with an AFUE rating of 80 to 90 will help ensure you’re not wasting natural gas.

Purchase a Programmable Thermostat

The latest programmable thermostats for sale on the market allow you to set heating schedules in your house throughout the day. For example, if your wife prefers to set the temperature at a high setting when she’s home throughout the day, you can set your thermostat to automatically decrease the temperature when she’s not home.

Additionally, a programmable thermostat will allow you to set a schedule to keep the furnace off throughout the day at specific times when the house is empty. Since programmable thermostats are able to learn your schedule and adjust the temperature accordingly, they are able to help lower your gas consumption and bills.

Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

A quick way to reduce your gas bills is to convert each of the appliances in your home to electric. Once this is complete, consider installing solar panels to the roof on your home to eliminate your reliance on the electrical grid system. Solar panels are engineered to convert the light from the sun to energy. A lot of homeowners choose to invest in solar power due to rising natural gas and electrical costs.

Why Are My Gas Bills So High?

Variations in the Weather

When the temperatures drop in the winter, the gas furnace in your home is required to work harder to maintain a cozy temperature. To keep up with the demand for hot air, the furnace will consume additional gas to maintain the combustion process. On the other hand, the average individual may use additional warm water during the winter. Since your water heater relies on gas, this increase in usage will cause your gas bills to go up. 

Dryer Usage

Dryer Usage

During the winter season, you are required to wear additional layers of clothing to stay warm while walking the dog, shoveling snow, or walking to the store. This has a direct impact on the usage of the dryer in your home. To keep up with the additional loads of laundry, your dryer will consume additional gas to provide the necessary heat to remove moisture from your clothes.

New Guests at Your House

If you have relatives or friends staying at your house for a couple of days, this will cause your water heater to work harder to ensure there is enough warm water for activities such as showering, cooking, and washing hands. To keep up with the increase in demand for hot water, the heater will consume additional natural gas. 

Plumbing Services Near You

If you have an old gas water heater that is causing your gas bills to go up, our team will help you install an energy-efficient system in your house. Our team of licensed plumbers are familiar with the latest models for sale on the market. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers dependable plumbing services in areas of Florida such as Jacksonville. Our team is able to help you resolve issues such as gas leaks, hard water, sewer line backups, and malfunctioning tankless water heaters. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or schedule an appointment online to receive assistance with a problem or emergency.

Drain Cleaning Plumbing Services in Jacksonville, Florida

Clogged drains and sewer lines are common problems, especially in older homes and commercial buildings. When they happen, they can cause a mess with overflowing water, debris and sewage, and foul odors. Flushing the toilet can back water up into your bathtub or shower. The result is usually an emergency call to a plumber for help.

Are you wondering how to unclog a drain in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room? Although clogged drains and sewer lines create messy problems, they can be unclogged safely and efficiently with the right equipment. From plumbing snakes, baking soda with vinegar, plungers, to hydro jetting, there are a variety of methods that can be applied to unclog a drain. Prior to selecting a method to fix your drain, view our recommendations to become familiar with how and when to use these tools.

Ways to Fix a Clogged Drain

Use a Plumbing Snake

A drain snake is a tool that is engineered to be pushed down a pipe to eliminate drain clogs in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, or basement. A drain or plumbing snake is a flexible metallic cable that features a corkscrew or spring at the end. The opposite side of a drain snake features a handle that is utilized to push the tubing into the clogged drain pipe.

Step 1: Insert the Plumbing Snake Into the Drain Line

The handle on most residential plumbing snakes is rotable and operated by hand. On the other hand, other models may include a crank instead of a traditional handle. To unclog a drain in your kitchen or bathroom, use your fingers to thread the corkscrew down the drain pipe.

To ensure the plumbing snake is able to dislodge the materials from your pipe, we recommend activating the cold water while you snake the pipe. To avoid damage while you’re unclogging your drain, do not force the corkscrew head down the drainage line. The process of inserting the plumbing snake down your pipe should be effortless and natural.

Step 2: Rotate the Handle on the Plumbing Snake

Once the plumbing snake is inserted in the drain line, spin the handle at a moderate pace. Avoid rotating the handle at a fast or slow pace to avoid complications. If it becomes hard to rotate the handle, this is a sign that your drain snake is physically touching the foreign object.

Once you feel pressure while threading the plumbing snake, move the corkscrew head back-and-forth to disassemble the object in your drain pipe. Continue rotating the handle on the drain snake until the pressure in the drain pipe decreases. 

Step 3: Remove the Plumbing Snake From the Drain Pipe

Lastly, pull the plumbing snake out of the pipe and sanitize the corkscrew head. To confirm if this method has unclogged the drain, activate the cold water setting on your drain to confirm satisfactory drainage.

Benefits & Drawbacks of Drain Snakes

Plumbing snakes are an excellent way to unclog a drain because they are gentle on drains and pipes. If you’re home or office has an older plumbing system, a plumbing snake is best. Older pipes are often too weak to withstand the water pressure from a hydro jet.

On the other hand, Plumbing snakes have limited capability to remove clogs. With large clogs, they may not be able to push through the entire blockage to allow full water flow. Some of the clog may be removed, but the drain will likely require more unclogging.

Perform a Pressurized Hydro Jetting Project

Perform a Pressurized Hydro Jetting Project

Hydro jets are more sophisticated plumbing tools than snakes. They consist of a high-pressure hose with special nozzles. The hose connects to a machine that provides pressurized water through the nozzles. The force of the water work in conjunction with the special nozzles to unclog bathroom and kitchen sink drains. The water pressure is so strong, it can blast through clogs caused by hair, grease, oil, mineral buildup, paper, debris, and even tree roots and force them down the pipes. If you plan to use a hydro jet to unclog a drain, it’s best to check your pipes for damage first with a camera operated drain inspection by a professional plumber.

Advantages of Hydro Jetting

Hydro jets are effective on all types of clogs and blockages. The water pressure does all the work, so you don’t need to use chemicals or unclogging agents, which often aren’t very effective anyway. Hydro jets are environmentally friendly tools for homes and businesses.

Disadvantages of Hydro Jetting

Hydro jets are not a safe option for homeowners who want to clear their own drains. The water pressure can harm weak or fragile pipes, causing even more damage. It’s best to hire a professional plumber who can inspect your plumbing lines and ensure a safe job.

If you’re experiencing clogged drains and other plumbing problems, call the professionals at Bill Fenwick Plumbing. We can help you with all of your home and office plumbing needs.

Pour Hot Water Down the Drain

Pour Hot Water Down the Drain

If you’re trying to unclog a bathroom or kitchen sink, there is an easy way to troubleshoot the issue prior to calling a certified plumber. An easy solution is to boil water on the stove and pour it directly into the drain. You may also use a microwave or kettle to heat the water. After the water is boiling, pour it slowly into your kitchen or bathroom drain in different phases. Give the water a couple of seconds to penetrate the clog prior to pouring additional hot water. This is a simple DIY method that can be used to unclog a drain in your home. If this method does not resolve your issue, contact a professional plumber near you.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking Soda & Vinegar

The most common causes of moderate to severe clogs in kitchen sinks are fat, coffee grounds, paper towels, grease, oil, and food scraps. Baking soda is able to dissolve organic food scraps and materials in your drain pipes. Additionally, baking soda shares similarities with common types of disinfectants that allow it to eliminate bad smells and bacteria. 

Step 1: Boil a Pot of Water on the Stove

Unlike many types of harsh chemical drain cleaners that are able to cause damage to your pipes, baking soda is less likely to cause harm. To unclog a drain with baking soda, boil a pot of water on the stove or in the microwave. Next, we recommend pouring a small amount of dish detergent down the drain with the boiling water from the pan to eliminate excess grease in the pipe.

Step 2: Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain Line

Once you have poured hot water down the drain line, pour exactly 1 cup of baking soda into the drain. Next, find a bottle of distilled vinegar in your kitchen. 

Step 3: Discharge Vinegar Into the Drain Pipe

Carefully discharge 1 cup of baking soda into the drain line. The alkaline properties of the baking soda will cause a reaction with the acidic vinegar. This combination will produce a fizzing reaction that will help disassemble the object in the drain.

Step 4: Boil Additional Water & Pour It Down the Drain

Lastly, you should boil additional water using your stove or microwave and pour it down the drain. If the water is able to be flushed down the drain without causing a backup, you have successfully unclogged the drain with vinegar and baking soda. To eliminate a severe clog, you may be required to repeat these steps a couple of times.

Use a Plunger to Remove Objects From Drain

Use a Plunger to Remove Objects From Drain

If the other methods have not restored the flow of water in your pipes, we are going to teach you how to unclog a drain with a plunger. The first step is to navigate to your utility closet or bathroom to find your plunger. If you do not have this tool in your home, it can be easily purchased from your closest local hardware store. Prior to placing the plunger on top of the drain, fill your sink up with a small amount of water.

The moisture from the water will ensure a strong connection is formed between the plunger and the drain in your kitchen or bathroom. We recommend plunging the drain for a couple of minutes to confirm if you’re able to remove the foreign object from the drain line.

Cleaning Detergent

Cleaning Detergent

If you don’t have a wet or dry vacuum, baking soda, or vinegar in your home, a bent wire hanger from your closet can be utilized to unclog a drain. First, find a bendable metal coat hanger that isn’t being used in your closet. Next, use your fingers to bend the hanger into a straight form.

To ensure you’re able to grab the foreign object, use your hands to create a hook at the end of the hanger. This will allow you to easily grab objects such as cotton balls, paper towels, fats, hair, or eggshells out of the drain pipe. Once you’re finished pulling items out of the drain, activate the hot water setting on your sink to successfully flush remaining materials from your plumbing line.

Rely on a Vacuum

Rely on a Vacuum

Are you wondering how to use a wet and dry vacuum to unclog a drain in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen? Place the vacuum directly into the drain pipe and set it to a high setting to ensure it is able to dislodge foreign objects. Once the food scraps or excess hair have been vacuumed, slowly remove the vacuum from your plumbing line to prevent damage.

Remove the Trap Beneath the Sink

Remove the Trap Beneath the Sink

If the methods above didn’t work, we recommend removing the U-shaped plumbing line, also known as the trap, below your sink. In order to remove the trap from the waste line, use a wrench to remove the U-shaped pipe. Use a tooth brush, stick, or pencil to remove excess food and scraps from the trap. We also recommend analyzing the surrounding sewer line to confirm if there are any additional objects that may be preventing proper drainage. Remove all excess hair, food, grease, egg shells, and other objects from the sewer line. After all objects have been eliminated, wash the trap and assemble everything.

Reliable Plumbing Repair Services for Homes

Our team offers reliable drain cleaning services to homes in Jacksonville, Florida and other areas. If you are having trouble with a kitchen or bathroom drain, give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or schedule an appointment online to receive assistance. Bill Fenwick Plumbing also offers other types of plumbing services such as water line repair, water heater installation, and sump pump maintenance. We have been providing reliable plumbing services to Florida since 1969 and have the tools required to resolve your issue.


Reliable Drain Cleaning Services in Jacksonville, Florida

Call Us: (904) 724-2455

Our team of plumbing specialists offers drain cleaning services for homes in Jacksonville, Florida. If you’re having issues with your kitchen sink, shower, or bathtub drain, schedule an appointment with our team.


Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Natural Gas Leak

Natural gas leaks pose a potential threat to vegetation, animals and most importantly our families. When gas leaks occur, hazardous gas can begin filling your home and time is of the essence to stop the leak before harm occurs. Take a minute to learn the most common natural gas leak symptoms and signs to stop a potential hazard in its tracks. 

Signs of a Gas Leak

Not all natural gas leaks are large enough to be immediately noticed. Even a small leak can pose a threat to your family. Homeowners should be aware of common signs of gas leaks to prevent long-lasting damage. If you notice any of the following signs, exit your home immediately and contact a gas line repair technician. 

Rotten Egg Smell

Naturally odorless, gas companies add a gas called mercaptan to natural gas to aid in the detection of natural gas leaks. When a leak occurs, the smell of rotten eggs or sulfur may begin to infiltrate your home. If you notice a pungent odor paired with a hissing sound coming from a pipe, this is a sign of a gas leak in your house.

Brown Grass or Vegetation

Another common natural gas leak symptom is brown and rusty landscaping. During a standard gas leak, carbon monoxide will slowly begin to replace the oxygen plants need to survive. If you notice a sudden change in your landscaping, a gas leak may be the culprit. 

If you signs of a gas leak such as dead plants or vegetables in your garden, give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers dependable gas line repair, installation, and replacement services in areas of Florida such as Jacksonville.

Dead Houseplants

Just like outdoor vegetation, our indoor plants need oxygen to survive. If the plants inside your home have recently turned brown and become dry with no explanation, this may be a sign of a gas leak in your home.

Physical Symptoms of a Natural Gas Leak

Gas poisoning can occur when natural gas is leaking into your home. As natural gas fills the home, the lack of oxygen caused by the natural gas leak will cause your family members to display physical symptoms of gas poisoning. If you or a family member are experiencing any of the following, you may have gas poisoning:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue

If you or a family member are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms of a natural gas leak, leave your home immediately and call 911. Gas poisoning caused by a natural gas leak can be dangerous. 

Gas leaks are not to be messed with. A leaking gas line can create health hazards for you and your family. If you suspect a gas leak, exit your home and call our team by phone at (904) 724-2455. Our technicians will conduct an inspection of your house to determine the location and severity of the natural gas leak.

Emergency Natural Gas Line Leak Repair & Replacement Services

When you’re in need of expert gas line repair services, contact the team at Bill Fenwick Plumbing. Our team of experienced technicians is trained in gas line repair services and available for emergency gas line repair. We are also trained to handle other types of emergencies such as broken water pipes, malfunctioning water heaters, and clogged sewer lines. Give us a call at (904) 724-2455 or schedule an appointment online to receive emergency support. Bill Fenwick Plumbing offers reliable plumbing repair, maintenance, and replacement services in Jacksonville and other areas of Florida.

Gas Line Repair & Installation Services in Florida

Call Us: (904) 724-2455

Does your home smell like rotten eggs? Do you feel sick or have a headache? These are common signs of gas line leaks in homes. Immediately schedule a gas line repair, replacement, or installation appointment with our team of technicians.


There are a large variety of objects and materials that are capable of causing moderate to severe toilet clogs in your bathroom. The toilet and plumbing system in your home are only designed to dispose of waste materials and toilet paper. To avoid a clogged toilet, we recommend tossing all other types of hygiene products in the trash. So, how do you fix a clogged toilet in your house? Follow our tips below to resolve this issue and prevent water damage to your bathroom.

Ways to Fix a Clogged Toilet

Pull the Flapper Valve

Prior to grabbing a plunger from your utility room to fix your clogged toilet, we recommend trying to decrease the amount of water in the bowl. First, we suggest lifting the lid off your toilet and placing it on the floor. Next, pull the flapper valve in an upwards direction to allow additional water into the toilet bowl. If the toilet is operating properly, this should cause the water to be pushed out of the bowl. This tip may not be useful in all types of situations. If this doesn’t resolve the toilet clog, there are a variety of other methods you can utilize to unclog the system.

Grab a Toilet Plunger

If the toilet keeps clogging in your master or guest bathroom, we recommend using a plunger to dislodge the obstruction from your plumbing system. The most useful type of toilet plungers will include an extension flange that is designed to loosen objects that may be stuck in the sewer line. 

With the plunger in your hand, deliver the first plunge using moderate force. The first push will eliminate the excess air in the plunger. Next, forcefully push the plunger upwards and downwards to dislodge the objects and materials from the drain line. The plunger will cause the water in the sewer line to move in a variety of directions. 

This excess motion will forcefully unfasten the object from its position and will fix your clogged toilet. If your toilet remains clogged after 5 – 7 minutes, we recommend contacting a professional plumber to resolve the problem.

Use a Toilet Snake

If you are unsuccessful with the toilet plunger, grab or purchase a toilet snake to fix your toilet clog. A toilet snake is a long cable with a circular head that is engineered to be pushed through your sewer line. To fix a clogged toilet, rotate the toilet snake in a clockwise motion until it reaches the object that is causing the congestion. 

The circular tip of the toilet snake will move towards and through the object to dismantle it. This will restore the flow of water from the toilet to the plumbing system. Toilet snakes are inexpensive and are usually available at local hardware stores.

Disassemble the Toilet

If the toilet plunger and snake failed to fix your clogged toilet, you will be required to disassemble the toilet to get to the source of the clog. To remove the toilet, you will need to unscrew it from the flooring. Once the clog is eliminated, you should assemble the wax ring and screws to ensure the toilet base is installed correctly.

What Can’t You Flush Down the Toilet?

While most types of toilet clogs are easy to fix by using a toilet plunger or snake, other types are may require a professional. To avoid an expensive toilet installation or repair project, please refrain from flushing the following 12 objects and materials down your toilet.

Wet Wipes

Never flush wet disposable wipes down the toilet in your home. Despite what you may believe, wipes do not break apart in water when they are flushed. As a result, wet wipes are a common cause of toilet clogs in residential and commercial settings. 

If you decide to flush wipes down the toilet, you should make sure to use only one or two wipes at a time. Using an excess amount of wet wipes will cause your toilet to clog and overflow. There are special types of wipes that are designed to be more easily flushed and aren’t usually significantly more expensive.. 

Ultimately, it is recommended to dispose of wet wipes in a plastic bag in your trash to avoid a sewer line backup. 

Feminine Hygiene Products

If your toilet is clogged, this may be caused by feminine hygiene products such as pads and tampons. Pads and even liners are not, in any way, meant to go down in a drain. They are meant to be folded up and placed in a waste basket. 

Tampons are a little more complex. There are some forms of tampons that are made to be flushed and others that cannot be. However, even the tampons that can be flushed should be flushed separately rather than with toilet paper. Otherwise, the toilet paper and the tampon could get tangled together and create a clog.


Excess hair is responsible for most toilet and drain problems in the nation. Once hair is pushed down a drain, it becomes stuck on solid materials in your sewer or water pipes. Over a short period of time, this will cause your toilet to clog.

Paper Towels

When cleaning the bathroom, it can become natural to throw paper towels in the toilet rather than the waste basket. If the toilet in your bathroom keeps clogging, it may be due to paper towels. Since paper towels are designed to be tough and resistant to liquids, they won’t break down once they are flushed.

This will cause a toilet clog to form in your home. You should never toss paper towels into your toilet. If your paper towels are soiled, you can instead place them in a plastic bag and then place the plastic bag in your bin or throw it out in a dumpster immediately. For a more environmentally friendly solution, you might even consider using rags or sponges in place of paper towels.

Ear Swabs

Although ear swabs are small, they are responsible for large clogs in residential sewer lines. Since a cotton swab features a straight form factor, it will get fastened in the bends connected to your plumbing lines.

Dental Floss

Once you are finished flossing your teeth twice a day, it is important to dispose of the used floss in a trash container. If this material is flushed down a toilet or sink drain, it may become struck on objects, grease, and materials in your pipes. To save time and money fixing a clogged toilet, we recommend purchasing a cheap trash can to add to each bathroom in your home. 

Fabric Softener Sheets

While fabric softener sheets may be useful while you’re doing laundry, they are capable of causing drastic issues in your pipes. Since these dryer sheets do not disintegrate in water, they may cause a backup of water or clogged toilets. To fix a clogged toilet, use a plunger or snake to dislodge the fabric softener sheet from the drain line.


Never flush used condoms down the toilet in your house. Instead, dispose of them in your garbage can. These products are manufactured with latex and won’t disintegrate for years. Since condoms do not disintegrate in water, they will cause your toilet to clog.

Disposable Diapers 

Despite what the packaging may claim, the toilet in your home is not designed to flush disposable diapers. The proper way to get rid of contaminated diapers is place them in a sealable bag prior to throwing them in the trash. 

Kitty Litter

Since kitty litter is designed to transform into large lumps once it is used by your pet, it will become stuck in your sewer line once it is flushed. We recommend disposing of kitty litter in your trash. To prevent noticeable odors in your garage, we recommend keeping the contaminants in a garbage can on the side of your house or outdoors.

Silt & Dust

Many people, especially those that have traditional mops, will empty out their mop bucket into the toilet rather than anywhere else. This allows them to dispose of soiled water in a sanitary way, but it’s very bad for the toilet. 

When you are emptying out a mop bucket or other dirty water, it’s best that you dispose of it outside rather than putting it in your toilet. Eventually, you could be looking at an expensive project to fix your clogged toilet.

Too Much Toilet Paper

Above all, the most common type of toilet clog is caused by too much toilet paper. Many people get into the habit of using more toilet paper than they truly need. The next time you use the toilet, you should make sure to only use as much toilet paper as is necessary. 

Not only will this allow you to avoid calling for emergency plumbing in your Jacksonville FL home, but it will also help the environment. Once you build up the habit of using only as much toilet paper as you need, you’ll find that it becomes natural.

Dependable Plumbing Repair Services Near You

If you’re unable to fix a clogged toilet, call a professional and licensed plumber at Fenwick Plumbing by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online. We offer toilet repair, installation, and replacement services in areas of Florida such as Jacksonville. From gas leaks, broken water heaters, to malfunctioning sump pumps, our team is able to pinpoint and resolve your plumbing issue.

Is it Safe to Pour Liquid Drain Cleaners Into My Pipes?

You’ve just discovered you have a clogged drain. No big deal, right? You’ll just grab a container of your favorite liquid drain cleaner and have that clog fixed in no time. Or will you? These “quick fix” drain cleaners might clear the clog, but what else are they doing? Could they be causing more problems in your plumbing than they are fixing?

Chemical Drain Cleaners Will Cause Your Pipes to Corrode & Crack

As a general rule, using chemical drain cleaner products, whether it is a powder, a gel, a liquid, or anything else, is never a very good idea. These cleaners will either be a caustic chemical, or an oxidizing agent, which both act to break up and clear clogs to restore free flowing drains. However, these liquid drain cleaners are also acting on your pipes; causing them to corrode and break over time, which is much worse than dealing with a simple clog.

Liquid drain cleaners also release harmful and toxic fumes into your home and the atmosphere, which can be very bad for the environment in general, and your health and safety in particular. In fact, many of the chemicals in these drain cleaners are so harsh as to burn your skin and clothing, damage your lungs, and even cause blindness if you are unfortunate enough to get any in your eyes.

Liquid Drain Cleaners Are Responsible for Septic Tank Problems

Think of the damage going on inside your septic system; these chemicals in drain cleaners, when introduced to your septic tank, will kill the bacteria in there that is helping to keep your system operating properly. Again, this can cause a minor repair to become very expensive when you need to have your tank pumped and the system returned to its optimal operating state.

Even though these cleaners will sometimes work, they won’t do so immediately; you’re going to be dealing with a sink or tub full of these harsh, toxin emitting chemicals. While they are sitting there, working on eating your clog away, they are also eating away at your pipes, seals, tub and sink basins, and everything else they are in contact with. This will eventually cause a failure of your plumbing system that wouldn’t have happened until years later, if at all.

Eliminate Drain Clogs With a Plumbing Snake

Instead of using a liquid drain cleaner, try to use a plumbing snake, a small thin length of metal, or a plunger. An even better bit of advice would be to call an experienced plumber. This may cost a little more than the drain cleaner but by saving the wear and damage to your plumbing, you will save yourself some money, and headaches, in the long run.

Dependable Drain Cleaning Services

Bill Fenwick Plumbing is fully aware of the importance of finding a reliable plumber to call in an emergency, especially when you live in an older home. Our business was founded and built with the mission to provide quality service combined with ethics and better business standards, which changed the plumbing industry in Northeast Florida. Our team provides dependable and safe drain cleaning services to homes in Jacksonville and other areas. We also offer other services such as water heater repair, repiping, and sewer line replacement. Give our staff a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or book an appointment online to receive support.

Signs That it May Be Time to Replace Your Toilet

The bathroom is one of the most frequented areas in any home and it needs to be in good condition at all times. A failing toilet may cause unnecessary stress and inconvenience for your family. To prevent this issue, it’s vital to be aware of common signs that may indicate a need to replace your toilet. This will help you save money on costly and timely repair projects.

Common Indicators of a Failing Toilet

Spending a Lot of Money on Toilet Repairs

Repairs of a toilet can range from replacing the fill valve, replacing the flapper, or replacing the tank handle, among other possible repairs. In case you experience recurring repairs, you might want to consider calling a professional plumber to replace your toilet with an energy-efficient model. At times, the toilet may become so troublesome with constant breakdowns that repairing it frequently will cost much more when compared to a replacement.

It is good for you to weigh all the costs for repairing and the costs incurred to replace the toilet. In the end, you will discover that it will save you quite a fortune to replace a toilet when compared to repairing.

Formation of Cracks on Toilet

Most of the toilets in our homes are old and are original to the property. These toilets have become a constant pain in the neck due to a lot of faults and problems. Due to their age, these toilets leak all the time and the chances of cracking are high. The cracks on the toilet cause leakages that may flood the floor and damage the toilet walls. You realize that the old toilets take a lot of time for the tank to fill and do not flush well. If you have such an old toilet, it is vital for you to call a professional technician to replace your toilet.

High Water & Utility Bills

If you have a high flush toilet, then it is time to engage hire a plumber to replace your toilet. With the increasing costs of living, one should start on looking for ways to save on costs, starting from your water bill. Old toilets use a lot of water when flushing, but the good news is that there are high efficiency toilets in the market that have efficient flushing power.

Investing in a low flush toilet replacement will help you save money on your water bill, as it uses a maximum of two gallows of water on every flush. Saving on water costs is beneficial at a personal level and to the economy as a whole. Saving on water costs saves on utilities and helps to maintain the environment.

Continous Toilet Clogs

If your toilet is clogged and you have tried unclogging it using a plunger without any success, you need to contact professional plumbers. It is so unpleasant to plunge the toilet regularly, and, if this is an aggravation, one needs to consider toilet replacement. You realize that if you persist to plunge it can result to a very serious flood.

Toilet is Running For a Long Period of Time

After flushing the toilet and you find that it is still running for a long time, it shows that some parts of your toilet need to be adjusted. If your toilet produces a lot of noise and takes a long time to fill up, this is an indicator it’s time to replace the toilet in your home.

you need to contact 24 hr plumbers Jacksonville.

Porcelain Cracks and Scratches

In case you notice hairline cracks developing in the bowl or the tank of the toilet, do not assume that it is a normal occurrence. This is because those small cracks can cause a huge flood when you least expect it. You need to contact a certified technician to replace your toilet when you notice water leaking during flushing.

Old toilets that have been scrubbed for a very long time develop scratches. With the presence of these scratches on the toilet porcelain, it becomes hard to clean the toilet and to maintain its cleanliness. When this happens, it becomes better to call a Jacksonville to replace your toilet since it will save you time on extra maintenance.

Toilet Repair & Replacement Services

In conclusion, most homeowners will prefer to replace their toilets themselves rather than using the services of professional plumbers. However, replacing the toilet with a DIY approach may result to more leakages and additional problems because of improper installation. To ensure the job is completed correctly the first time, our team offers toilet repair, installation, and replacement services in Jacksonville, Florida. From sewer line backups, broken sump pumps, hard water, to noisy water heaters, our team will help you resolve your issues. Give us a call by phone at (904) 724-2455 or schedule an appointment online to receive help.

Press to Call