iPhone vs. Toilet

It starts with the natural impulse to use the facilities. You excuse yourself from the conversation and head to the bathroom. Then you find a stall that’s suitable and most think the next step is to situate yourself comfortably. NO! THAT IS NOT CORRECT! The next step is crucial, more crucial than most people know! What’s so important but seemly unknown to so many?

Secure your mobile device!

YES! Put your phone in a safe, secure location. Where is that you ask?

Here are recommendations:

  • Purse
  • Handbag
  • Give it to a friend
  • Slide it under your bra!
  • DO NOT put in your pants pocket!

Here at Baker Plumbing, we see it almost every weekend in Calgary, at your favourite bar, elegant restaurant or high-class hotel. The frantic cry of, “I flushed my phone! Can you save it? Will it still work?” 99% of the time we can retrieve it, unfortunately only 9% of the time the phone still works.

Be careful out there this weekend and secure those phones. If you forget, Baker Plumbing is ready to swoop in and save the day anywhere in Calgary you might be.

If We Can’t Do It, It Can’t Be Done!

Clogged Shower Drains in Calgary

Unclogging a Slow Shower Drain

Clogged Shower Drain Calgary

Everyone has had that moment: standing in the shower, washing your hair, when suddenly, water is up to your ankles. A drain clog! Hopefully not as bad as our picture above. Typically, a buildup of hair, by itself or combined with bath product gunk, is to blame. In this situation, many reach for the Drano. Instead of turning to harsh chemicals that might damage the finish of your tub or eat away at your pipes, try looking to some simpler (and possibly more effective) solutions first.

Before any tools or concoctions make an appearance, try sticking your fingers in the drain. If the hair is up near the top, this might be all it takes to fix the problem. You’d be surprised at how effective fingers can be as a hair removal apparatus. I doubt it if it will be as obvious as below!

Hair Ball Clog

There are two tools you can try if you can’t fix the problem that way, one of which you already own, and one that you can buy at the hardware store for under ten bucks. The first is a plunger. Try using it just as you would on a toilet, and see if the clogging culprit comes to the surface in the drain. The second is called a Drain Claw, and it is essentially a piece of wire with barbs on the end for catching hair. Stick one down the drain, twist it around a few times, and pull it out. Repeat until you stop pulling out hair, and run some water to test whether the clog is gone. You can even try to make your own out of a metal clothes hanger and go do some fishing.

Drain Ring

If the clog persists, it might be time to move on to a homemade clog-busting concoction. Pour one part baking soda down the drain, and follow it with one part vinegar. That’s right- the same as your kid’s model volcano. Wait until the foaming subsides, and follow that with boiling water. This method is effective when bath product gunk, rather than hair, is the problem.

I’ve added some pictures of typical plumbing system so you visualize what’s happening under the floor.

Drain Drawing

Drain Drawing 2

Whatever you do, don’t add nasty chemicals that can potential melt your pipes or destroy appliance finishes.

Draino

After all this, if your shower is still not draining properly, it’s probably time to call in the pros. Baker Plumbing can handle any clog you throw at us, quickly and professionally.

Give us a call at 403-279-7554 or book online.

Plugged Toilet with Poo

Some of the Craziness – Graphic Content

I thought we would compile some pictures of some the crazy, weird, and frankly nastiness we have come across this year. So sit and enjoy, well maybe prepare yourself some of these pictures are not for the faint of heart.

I repeat, some of these pictures are not for the faint of heart.

#10 – The Rip Off

Bad Plumbing

This one is awesome. This poor lady hired a licensed plumber to install this sink for her, she was charged $1700 and the plumber claimed that the inspector approved this installation. Of course she wasn’t home when the inspector supposedly showed up. There is so much wrong with this I can’t even begin to point it all out.

#9 – The Egg

Bird in Roof Top Unit

Yes, that is an egg by the power feed! The request for service was that the roof top unit is making a funny sound. Well, somehow a family of pigeon made their way into the unit and built themselves a little home. All was well until the thermostat turned the unit on.

#8 – Squirrel Cage

This one is of the actual squirrel cage. No explanation needed!

#7 – Greasy Business

Grease Trap Not Working

We’ve shown this one before but it’s a good one. This picture is of a 8′ deep man hole that is now full to the top with all sorts of nastiness.

#6 – The Bong

The Bong Found

Its always amazes me the stuff you find in peoples storage room, mechanical rooms, etc.. All the places the public normally doesn’t go. If my wife would allow it I could take pictures of the thousands of ladies that are plastered all over the walls of these same rooms.

#5 – Bath Time!

Bath Tub Toilet

Anyone feel like taking a bath? Is there really anything nastier than a tub full of poo?? Anyway, look away if you can’t take it.

#4 – Enough Fittings

Too Many Fittings

How many fittings does it take to go around a pipe? By this guy’s math-6-Awesome!

#3 – Explosive Expansion

Blown Expansion Tank

The power of water and cold weather.This little expansion tank was blown to bits and caused quite a little stir when it flooded the restaurant.

#2 – The Classic

Plugged Toilet with Poo

The list wouldn’t be complete without the classic plugged toilet. Although this one shows someone needs more fiber!

#1 – Meow

Cat Dead in Furnace

This one is both nasty and tragic. Poor cat went into the furnace to stay warm and I’m sure enjoying his new found until the furnace motor started. No doubt it ended quickly.

As you can see it was an eventful year! Check this blog often or follow us on Twitter to keep abreast of the wild and wacky world of Baker Plumbing.

Until next time!!

Grease Traps – The Nastiest of all Plumbing Jobs

If you’ve ever been involved with the restaurant industry, hospitality game or sort of maintenance gig then you’ve probably run across the dreaded grease trap. If you have no idea what we’re talking about then stay tuned.

A grease trap is a vital component of your commercial or industrial plumbing system. Designed to protect the common sanitary system of malls, commercial buildings, and even cities. Without diving into the good and bad elements of the North American diet, it goes without saying that most of the most we eat contains various types of fat. In fact, fat or lye type products are a part of everyday life. Whether its cooking, cleaning the dishes or cleaning the floor, fat or fat type products makes it taste better, look awesome, and clean it up better. That fat causes very little problem while it is warm and liquid the trouble begins when it begins to cool down and solidify. Once it does that it can become a menacing problem for the operation of the restaurant, hotel, or whatever industrial operation it effects.

How does it work? In its simplest form a grease slows the water flow down to allow the “grease” products to float to the top of the chamber while allowing the water to flow underneath. That grease accumulates at the top of the grease trap until eventually it is cleaned by removal. I’ve included a picture here of a typically trap that we at Baker Plumbing have installed hundreds of times. While there are many different styles and types of traps. This unit provides a simple look at how it works.

Grease Trap Restaurant Calgary

As with all mechanical devices its important that there are maintained properly. We suggest that your grease trap be cleaned no more than every 3 to 4 months. Doing it more often prevents the trap from doing its job effectively and can potentially cause more harm than it solves.

We thought it would be applicable to add a couple of pics of what can happen if your grease traps are not maintained or heaven forbid not installed at all.

Grease Trap Restaurant Calgary

Above is a picture of a city manhole and Yes! they are typically 6 to 8 feet deep in Calgary. So what you’re looking at is 8 feet of grease. We were able to get this looked after for this client but if the city got involved they would be looking at quite possibly a $20,000 bill.

Grease Trap Restaurant Calgary

This one is of a grease trap inside a restaurant that was actually installed backwards. Long story short the lid blew off and the grease filled the entire pit. Not very nice. We were able to make the necessary repairs and so far neither this location nor the one with the manhole problem has had any further issues.

If you have questions about your grease trap or concerns about its operations. Give us a call at Baker Plumbing and we’d be happy to ensure everything is as it should be. Till next time!

Give us a call at 403-279-7554 or book online.

Unplugging Toilets – Hints

Another thing that is certain in this life—besides death and taxes—is the fact that someday you will need to unclog a toilet. Many items can clog your toilet or the plumbing in your bathroom including hair, toilet paper, and yes, even razors, jewelry, or if you live in my house, toys. You do not need to call a plumber every time your toilet clogs up. In fact, there are some very simple tricks you can use to unclog the toilet yourself. A rule to follow here is never flush the toilet more than once when you see that it is clogged. This can easily cause the toilet to overflow, and if you are not prepared, you will have a huge mess in your bathroom!

HOT WATER AND DISH SOAP
One of the most common and easiest ways to loosen a clog in your toilet is by squirting some dish soap into the toilet drain, followed by a large bucket of hot water. This works by raising the temperature of the water surrounding the clog, and may loosen whatever is clogging your pipes enough to let it go free. The dish soap also gives a bit of lubrication during this process. Once you have done this, and the clog is gone, dump another bucket of hot water down the toilet to remove any excess gunk that might have built up in your pipes.

PLUNGING
Plunging is probably the most common way of unclogging a toilet. I can honestly say that I use this method at least once a day in my household. Unfortunately this does not work if the clog is caused by something hard like a toy, but if you know that the clog is either caused by toilet paper, hair, or something else, reach for the plunger! Make sure there is water covering the ball end of the plunger. If there isn’t enough water in the toilet to do this, you will need to add more water. This will create a better seal and allows for more pressure. Use the plunger firmly and once the water leaves the toilet bowl, you can safely flush the toilet again to make sure the clog is fully removed. After you have plunged the clog away, dump a bucket of hot water down the toilet to release any excess debris that may clog the toilet in the future.

SEWER SNAKE
Another option you can try if neither of the above worked for you is to use a sewer snake. Sewer snakes are coiled wires that can easily move through the pipes of your household plumbing, loosening anything that may be clogging it up. What you need to do is insert one end of the snake into the toilet and work it through until you have reached the clog. When you cannot go any further, twist and push the sewer snake until you break through whatever is clogging the pipe. Once the water begins to drain out you can simply flush the toilet again to remove any excess debris.

If these suggestions don’t work give us a call at 403-279-7554 or book online.