Tag: plumbing

How to Clean Underground Gutter Drains

how to clean underground gutter drains

Your home consists of many systems that protect it and keep it in good condition. An example of such a system is your underground gutter drainage system. Your underground drains drive water away from your house to prevent a deteriorated foundation, flooding, and water damage—in other words, they are incredibly useful!  Like any complex system, your gutters and drains need to be maintained and cleaned. However, many homeowners don’t know how they can clean their drains, particularly the hidden ones. To help you out, the pros at MA Williams have prepared a guide on how to clean your home’s underground gutter drains.

First Things First: Don’t Hesitate to Call for Help

If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with underground pipes and drainage, don’t hesitate to call for help. Get in touch with a plumber you trust to either ask for advice or assistance. They will be more than happy to help you out! You might also have to call for professional help if your drains have a more complex issue such as leaks or extreme water damage.

A Step-By-Step Guide on Cleaning Underground Drains

  1. Find Exit Point for Drain

Look for the exit point for your drainage system—you can either find it in your yard or driveway or at a sidewalk close to your home.

  1. Use an Auger

The best way to clean your underground is to check for clogs. A clogged drainage system can lead to water damage, which can be expensive and time-consuming to fix. To check for and remove a clog in your underground drainage system, insert an auger or plumbing snake into the exit point of your drain. Crank the auger handle clockwise—if it becomes hard to turn, that is because the plumbing snake has hit something. Crank the handle counterclockwise to reverse the auger as this will clear the debris from the drain.

  1. Flush Water Through the Drain

Flush water throughout your drain and see if water flows past the exit point—this indicates a cleansed drain.

When to Clean Your Drain?

Different sources have all kinds of recommendations about when you should clean your drain. You can either go bi-monthly or monthly, it is up to you. If you aren’t sure, ask a plumber you trust to make a suggestion. However, don’t wait till you get a clogged drainage system to clean your drains, although this is common for a lot of homeowners. By waiting, you will simply end up stressing yourself out and might have no other choice but to spend some money on hiring a professional.

Still unsure how you can clean your underground water drains? Get in touch with the pros at MA Williams! Our team of expert plumbers will be more than happy to help you out.

Call us today at 804-684-8300 or schedule a service with us on our website. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Plumbing Snaking vs Hydro Jetting

plumbing snaking vs hydro jetting

Most clogs are generally small and can be fixed with either a plunger or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. However, some clogs are stubborn and might require more thorough methods. This is where plumbing snaking and hydro-jetting come in. It might be a little difficult to decide which one is the best option and that is why the pros at MA Williams are here to help you out. For once and for all we are going to settle the plumbing snaking vs hydro jetting debate!

What Is A Plumbing Snake?

A plumbing snake is a metal drain auger that reaches down into pipes to remove clogs and blockages in drains. A plumbing snake is good for clogs that might not easily go away with a plunger or a baking soda and vinegar mixture. Unlike plungers, plumbing snakes require a bit more technique. They need to be used correctly, otherwise it might damage your pipes. Check out this guide on how you can safely use a plumbing snake to remove a clog from your drains.

What is Hydro Jetting?

Hydro jetting is considered a non-invasive procedure. It involves the use of high-pressure water jets to completely clean out clogged or blocked up drains in your plumbing system. Hydro jetting is offered by professional plumbers and used when your plumbing system is clogging up frequently, creating risk of sewage backups.

Which is Better?

This is a bit of a difficult question and the answer is: It depends. Consider what your needs are. Do you notice that your drains are slow draining and need to be unclogged frequently? Do you notice an odd odor around your drains? Do your drains make gurgling noises constantly? If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you might need professional hydro jetting services. Contact your plumber and see if they offer hydro jetting services and if they can inspect your plumbing system to ensure that hydro jetting is the best solution.

If you simply have a stubborn clog that does not budge with a plunger or the use of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water, you might need a plumbing snake. A plumbing snake is a bit more effective than a plunger, but it isn’t as intense as hydro jetting. It’s a good tool to use if you haven’t had any issues with frequent clogging.

So, in short, hydro jetting is a better option for intense, frequent clogs that cause risk of backups. On the other hand, plumbing snakes are better for clogs that require a little more than a simple plunger job.

If you have any more questions about the plumbing snake vs hydro jetting debate, get in touch with the pros at MA Williams! Our team of professionals will be more than happy to answer your questions, assist you with your plumbing issues and troubleshoot any problem you might have efficiently and quickly. Call us today at 804-684-8300 or schedule a service with us on our website!

How Often Should I Replace the Plumbing in My House?

replace the plumbing in your house

Your plumbing is an important component of your house and any problem with it could cause even greater issues in the future. It’s important to keep your plumbing well-maintained and clean to prevent any malfunction. However, it’s also important to consider the age of your pipes and fixtures and whether you need to repair them or replace them entirely. To help you decide, the pros at MA Williams have prepared a guide on whether you should repair or replace the plumbing in your home and how often you should do so.

How Often Should You Replace Your Plumbing?

To find the answer to this question, it’s important to consider the average lifespan of the plumbing components and fixtures in your home.

  1. Supply Pipes
  • Copper pipes can last for 50 + years
  • Brass can last from 40 to 45
  • Cast iron pipes can go from 75 to 100 years
  • PVC supply pipes can last indefinitely


  1. Drain Lines
  • Cast iron drainpipes can last from 80 to 100 years
  • PVC drainpipes can last from 25 to 40 years


  1. Toilet

Your toilet can last from 10 to 15 years while its wax seal can last from 20 to 30 years. Other components like the toilet flapper can last from 4 to 5 years.

  1. Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal can last all the way up to 10 ears with proper maintenance.

  1. Water Heater

Traditional water heaters can last from 10-15 years, but tankless water heaters can go all the way up to 20 years with proper maintenance.

Next, Figure Out How Well-Maintained Your Plumbing Is

However, a long life span does not mean that your plumbing is durable, long-lasting, and far from needing replacing. Other factors to consider are how well-installed your pipes and fixtures are, how much maintenance (both professional and DIY) they have received and whether they are constantly clogging or leaking or not. Maintenance plays a major role in deciding whether it is better to simply repair or replace your plumbing components.

Have You Undergone a Renovation? You Might Want to Replace Plumbing

According to The Spruce, if you have renovated your kitchen, bathroom, or basement, it might be a good idea to replace your plumbing while you are at it. You won’t need to replace any other parts save for exposed piping. However, if the walls have been removed too, it can’t hurt to look for leaks and cracks in the normally hidden plumbing as well.

Signs Your Plumbing Needs Your Attention

Sometimes plumbing problems aren’t as obvious. For example, leaks can be hidden away and clogs might build up over time in the mainline without showing up in your fixtures. So, it is important to keep an eye for these signs that you might have a plumbing problem:

  • Water stains on walls or bubbling paint and wallpaper
  • Increasing water bill
  • Mold or mildew in certain areas of your home like under your kitchen sink or in your basement
  • Your water meter increases even when water is not being used in your home
  • Fittings around your toilet or tub (caulking or sealing) are loose
  • Your yard has odd green or damp spots

Have anymore questions about replacing the plumbing in your home? Contact MA Williams at 804-250-5625 or schedule a service online.




Handy Plumbing Checklist

handy plumbing checklist

Unexpected plumbing problems are frustrating and rather messy to deal with. The best way you can prevent these problems is to keep your plumbing system as well maintained as possible. To help you out, the pros at MA Williams have prepared a handy plumbing checklist to guide you in monthly plumbing maintenance.

1. Check for Leaks

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons lost every year. To prevent excess water loss like this and to save on your water bill, make sure you inspect your home for leaks. Specifically check your sinks and faucets in your kitchen. In your bathroom, make sure you inspect your toilet, sink, showerhead and bathtub. There are various ways to check leaks in your home—follow this guide to learn how!

2. Don’t Flush Anything but Toilet Paper!

Most toilet clogs can easily be prevented by simply avoiding putting foreign objects down the toilet. Only human waste and toilet paper should go into the toilet. Even flushable wipes shouldn’t go in the toilet, because they take longer to break apart, according to Consumer Reports.

3. Be Careful What You Put in Your Garbage Disposal

Just like you should be careful what you put in the toilet, you should be careful what goes in the garbage disposal. Make sure you don’t put these items in your disposal: grease, coffee grounds, pasta, stringy vegetables, large animal bones and eggshells. You can put smaller amounts of small bones, cooked meat, ice and veggie scraps down the disposal. Make sure you clean it often using baking soda, vinegar and some running water.

4. Professional Maintenance

DIY plumbing maintenance is great, but it can only go so far. Ultimately, it is best to have a plumber come in once a year and do a thorough inspection of your plumbing system. This way, you can prevent major plumbing problems and expensive issues in the long run.

5. Inspect Your Drains

Take a moment to look in your bathtub drain and make sure its clean and lacking in buildup. If you notice anything like hair or soap scum, you can either use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and equal parts baking soda to clear it out. If you notice the buildup is near the surface of the drain, you can use a gloved hand to pull it out. To prevent hair from clogging up your drain, you can use a hair-catcher. This object, which resembles a plastic or metal sieve, is to be placed over the opening of the drain. Any hair or even small foreign objects that go into the drain will be caught by this hair catcher.

Do you have any more questions about our plumbing checklist? Get in touch with the pros at MA Williams! Call us today at 804-250-5625 or schedule a service with us on our website! We can help you with a variety of plumbing services such as drain cleaning, faucet repair, water line repair, troubleshooting leaks and much more!

How to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

how to unclog your garbage disposal

A clogged garbage disposal is most likely caused by worn-out drains or food scraps too big for drains. Like any clog, it’s nasty business and needs to be dealt with immediately. While your first thought might be to call a plumber, it’s best you try out some DIY solutions first. To help you out, the pros at MA Williams have prepared a guide on how you can unclog your garbage disposal on your own.

1. Check Inside the Disposal

Turn the disposal off and use a flashlight to take a deeper look inside. Chances are a large scrap of food or utensil might have lodged itself in the disposal. If you notice an object, make sure the disposal is off. Then use a gloved hand to reach inside and remove any object stuck inside.

2. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you want to take the most natural and DIY approach to unclogging not just your disposal, but any drain in your home, use the tried and true baking soda and vinegar mixture. Pour ¼ cup baking soda down the disposal and follow it up with ¼ cup of vinegar. Let the mixture fizz for a few minutes before pouring hot water down the drain. Run the disposal and see if the water drains away. Repeat this process if necessary. If you find that the clog remains after this, it’s time to try another technique.

3. Use A Plunger

If you want to loosen or dislodge the clog, you can try using your handy-dandy plunger. Fill the sink with a few inches of water—this will create proper suction. Then start plunging to remove any loose pieces of food or debris stuck in your disposal.

4. Take the Manual Approach: Use an Allen Key

If you still notice that the disposal is clogged or if you hear a humming sound whenever you turn it on, you will have to take a more manual approach. Turn your disposal off and look at the bottom of your disposal under your sink—you will notice a manual operator with an opening in the center called the hex socket. Take a ¼-inch Allen wrench and insert it into the hex socket. Crank the wrench back and forth and turn the blades manually. Once you feel the wrench loosen a bit, turn your disposal back and check if there is a difference.

Do None of These Methods Work? You Might Have to Call a Plumber.

If you find that no matter what you do, you can’t seem to unclog your garbage disposal, you might have to contact a plumber. If you live in Richmond VA, in the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico or in the Tri-City area, you can reach out to the pros at MA Williams! Our team of professionals will be able to unclog your trusted garbage disposal in no time. Call us today at 804-250-5625 or schedule a service with us on our website!

DIY Plumbing: Dangers of Doing it Yourself

dangers of diy plumbing

While there are a lot of plumbing problems you can handle yourself, there are some that require professional assistance. Certain plumbing issues can be complicated and even dangerous to do on your own, no matter how experienced you are as a DIY plumber. If you’re not fully convinced, check out this post by the pros at MA Williams listing the exact dangers of DIY plumbing.

1. Water Damage

Water damage is a very real threat posed by DIY plumbing. Whether it’s a burst or frozen pipe, a sewer or drain leak, it’s important to leave it to an actual plumber than handle it yourself. If you troubleshoot the problem incorrectly or without the right tools and experience, you might be causing serious damage to your home in the future.

Water damage can lead to a whole plethora of problems such as mold and mildew in your walls, cabinets and ceilings. In addition to that it can lead to corrosion, damage furniture and upholstery and even the structure of your home. It might be tempting to try your hand at plumbing repair after a few tutorials, but it’s best to leave it to the professionals as they will be able to provide efficient repair services without any damage to your home.

2. Expense

Saving money is perhaps the most tempting thing about DIY plumbing (or really anything). However, you’ll quickly find out that by troubleshooting problems with the twist of a screwdriver might provide a short-term solution and will still be costing you money in the long run. While some problems are easily fixed with just a screwdriver, others might require more tools and techniques to troubleshoot.

3. Damaged Fixtures

If you try your hand at DIY plumbing, you might be doing more harm to your plumbing fixtures than good. Improper repairs can cause damage to your fixtures and will hinder their performance. These can lead to frequent repairs over time, leaks, corrosion, burst pipes and cracks in your plumbing fixtures.

4. You Might Hurt Yourself

Performing DIY plumbing without the right safety precautions might not only hurt your plumbing but it might hurt you! In order to tackle some plumbing jobs, you might require complex tools and some safety knowledge, which you might not have. There is a high chance you might hurt yourself or your family if you handle certain plumbing problems on your own. Some physical dangers DIY plumbing poses are dangerous odors, exposure to sewage, flooding and tool mishaps.

Want to Know More About the Dangers of DIY Plumbing? Get in touch with the pros at MA Williams!

If you’re tired of DIY plumbing and are looking for a top-notch plumber in Richmond, VA, contact us at MA Williams! Our technicians and plumbers provide high-quality services whether you’re dealing with a leaky pipe, strange odor, faulty shower or clogged drain. We offer repairs, installations and maintenance services to ensure that every fixture in your home is in good working order. Call us today at 804-250-5625 or schedule a service online!