From At Your Service Plumbing

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Homeowners Tips DIY Series

The At Your Service Plumbing team found some homeowners like to do minor plumbing repairs themselves however need a little guidance. So, we created a DIY series of videos showing how you might tackle simple tasks. The tips the plumbers give you will hopefully save you multiple trips to the hardware store and allow you to possibly fix the problem yourself. However, if you don’t want to “do it yourself” – your own Personal Plumbing Professional would be happy to assist you!

Shutting Off Water
Do you know how to turn off the water when there is an emergency?

Changing a Toilet Flapper
Using chlorine tablets in the toilet tank can cause the flapper to deform and water to leak.

Meet Flo
The smartphone device which can notify you of a water leak and prevent damage! Click here for more information about Flo.

Leak in the Water Supply

  • 1. Determine if there is an emergency shut off valve that can be turned off in order to stop the leak; either a shut off at an individual plumbing fixture or one for the entire house. Watch our video on how to turn off water.
  • It may be necessary to turn off the water at the meter if no shut off valve is available. For assistance with shutting off the meter, contact your water company or At Your Service Plumbing 253-448-8168.
  • If your water heater is electric and the water source to it has been shut off, it is advisable to turn off the breaker in your electric panel to the water heater in order to protect the water heater from potential damage.
  • Clean up of the water as soon as possible. It is important to prevent damage. If a significant amount of water has leaked into your home, it may be necessary to contact a professional to remove it and all the moisture to avoid a future challenge with mold.

Water Heater Leak Guide

  • Locate the emergency shut off valve, usually installed above your water heater and turn it off. If there is not a shut valve specifically for your water heater or you cannot locate one, the water to the entire house must be turned off.
  • If your water heater is electric and the water source to it has been shut off, it is advisable to turn off the breaker in your electric panel to the water heater in order to protect the water heater from potential damage.
  • All leaks at your water heater do not indicate, “you must replace your water heater.” However, water heaters older than 15 years are more vulnerable to leaking.
  • If your water heater is leaking, a replacement will likely have more insulation to meet the federal energy code and could be larger in diameter.

Drain System is Plugged or Clogged

  • If the plug appears to be specific to one fixture or plumbing area, stop using that fixture or area. However, if your entire house is not draining, you will need to contact At Your Service Plumbing 253-448-8168 in order to have a Plumbing Professional clear the line.
  • Please do not use chemical drain openers in your plumbing system as they are harmful to you, your family, your plumber and your plumbing system!
  • In order to determine if your entire house is plugged, you need to check where water may be backing up. If it is the lowest plumbing fixture, such as a bathtub or shower, at the lowest point in your home, it is likely your main drain line is clogged.
  • Plugged toilets can sometimes be cleared with a plunger. Remember to only dispose of human waste and toilet paper in the toilet. Items such as q-tips, floss, kleenex, paper towels, etc. are likely to cause the toilet or your plumbing system to clog.

Pierce County Homeowner Tips for Vacations

When you leave for an extended time, it is likely you remember to stop the newspaper and have your mail held or picked up by someone else. But do you ever consider what would happen if you sprung a leak somewhere in your plumbing system? Probably not – unless you have experienced this in the past!

Turn off Water Heaters & Filtration Devices

This will avoid any chance of the element burning out. Elements in an electric water heater must always be covered with water when they are heating. When the water is off, you should always turn the power to your electric water heater off also. If you have a natural gas or propane water heater, you can turn the thermostat down to the “vacation” setting to save on gas and to avoid having to relight the pilot light when you return. If you have an instant hot water machine, unplug the unit from the power outlet. If you have any type of filtration system, you will want to be sure it is turned off also.

Check for Dripping Faucets & Pipe Leaks

Inspect your pipes and faucets for any drips or leaks. These can become major problems while you are away! Instead, if you find a dripping faucet or pipe, call At Your Service Plumbing and we’ll fix it as soon as we can so you can go on vacation with a peaceful mind.

Close Your Valves

Close your main emergency valve by putting it in the off position. If you do not have one or you do not know where yours is located, contact At Your Service Plumbing for assistance. Open up a faucet on the lowest floor in order to drain the water system. This is especially true in the winter where extreme weather and power outages can cause water in the lines to freeze.

Another Hint

Add antifreeze to your toilet bowls to avoid the water freezing and cracking the toilet during a power outage and no heat!

“It is a wise idea to shut down your water system before you leave to prevent costly damage from water if you have a leak. I was lucky the day I had an emergency shut off valve to my dishwasher break – I was home! There was hot water spraying and steaming inside my kitchen cabinet. Fortunately, it was discovered fairly quickly and I was able to shut my water off and drain the water to avoid any more damage. This event could have had an entirely different outcome had we been away on vacation!”

– Kathy Thaut, Owner

We’re Still in Tacoma: You’re Not!

If you have someone watching your home while you are away, and any plumbing service is needed, be sure to leave them the phone number for At Your Service Plumbing. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week for those needing emergency assistance.


When You Return

Step by Step Instructions To Opening Your Water

  • Open the whole house emergency water shut off valve back on to the open position.

  • Open the faucet that is as far away from the main valve as possible and let the water run until all the air is out of the line. If you have a single handle faucet, open it to the cold side and let it run and then move it to the hot side until the water is flowing freely. If you have a two-handle faucet, you can open the hot and cold side at the same time but be sure the air is out of both sides and the water is flowing freely.

  • Turn the power on to your electric water heater. If you have a gas heater turn the thermostat back up to the “normal” setting.

  • Plug in the pump to the recirculating hot water system after you are sure the hot water line is clear of all air.

  • Plug in your instant hot water machine.

  • Turn on your filtration system.

Have a great vacation!

Pierce County Homeowner Tips for Winter


Pierce County Homeowner Tips from At Your Service Plumbing could spare you a headache. As the weather gets colder, it is important to perform preventive measures with your plumbing system in order to avoid major and costly damage due to potential freezing weather.  Here are some tips to prepare you for colder weather:

Garden Hose Faucets
Garden Hose Faucets
Garden hose faucets need to have all hoses removed from the faucet to allow the frost free type to drain and those that are not frost free to be covered with an insulated cover. Garden hose faucets installed on the front of your garage may have a water supply line running through an unheated space. Therefore could have a shut off valve installed that needs to be turned off and the line drained.
Water Pipes Near Foundation Vents
Water Pipes Near Foundation Vents
If you have a crawl space under your home and there is water piping running near the vents, you may want to consider closing off those vents for the winter with a piece of a foam insulator board that is cut to fit your vent. Please note: These covers must be removed in the spring to allow the crawl space area to be vented again.
Lawn Sprinkler Systems
Lawn Sprinkler Systems
Outdoor lawn sprinkler systems need to be drained for the winter as they are typically very shallow under the ground and therefore not protected from freezing.

What happens if my pipes freeze?

Call At Your Service Plumbing and we can assess the damage and work professionally with the freeze – 253-448-8168. And, if you are going away, make sure to follow the above Vacation Tips!


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