How an Earthquake can Damage Your Plumbing

How an Earthquake can Damage Your Plumbing

Living in Southern California can be a dream. However, that dream comes with a price. They’re called earthquakes. Though Californians are constantly on alert for the big quake, there are things you can do to protect your home before the ground begins to shake. Learn how an earthquake can damage your plumbing and what you can do to protect it.

How An Earthquake Can Affect Your Plumbing

An earthquake literally moves the earth under our feet. This can cause great damage not only to your home, but any underground pipes as well.

Earthquakes can break your main sewer line.

When the ground shifts, it can cause your plumbing pipes to crack or even break. This will cause a lot of damage to your main sewer line, home plumbing system, and even appliances that use water like your sinks, tubs, and washing machines.

Another appliance that can be affected by an earthquake is your water heater. Without proper earthquake straps, you could face the threat of fire, a gas leak, and damaged from a falling water heater.

Making sure the earthquake straps are up to code and ready for any disaster is an easy task that can prevent major damages during and after an earthquake.

After the Quake: Check for Water Leaks

First and foremost, be sure to turn off your main water supply at the first sign of any leaking or flooding water. This simple action can save a lot of time, effort, and money in potential repairs.

One of the signs of broken plumbing is a flood or leak in your home.

There are pipes that run throughout the walls of your home. If your home has no visible damage and you feel safe staying inside, here are a few things to look for:

  • Search for any wet spots on your walls or floor. This is a sign a pipe is burst or broken.
  • Listen for sounds of running or dripping water.
  • A sudden change in water pressure can indicate a broken pipe and a subsequent water leak.

After the Quake: Check for Gas Leaks

Gas leaks should be taken seriously. The have the potential to be harmful, even deadly, to anyone in your home.

Natural gas is made to have a harsh smell so you can know when it's leaking.

To look for a gas leak, start with your nose. Natural gas has no smell, but companies add a strong odor to it, similar to rotten eggs, that can alert you if any gas is leaking in your home.

Another way to look for a gas leak is with your ears. Sometimes a gas leak will sound like a long hiss.

After the Quake: Check Sewer Line for Damage

Your sewer line has an important job. It takes all the waste from your home and transports it to a processing facility. A break in the sewer line is not only gross, but it can also be dangerous.

A damaged main sewer line can result in flooded parts of your lawn.

Sewage waste can lead to major health issues like bacterial infections. The gas can also be incredibly toxic.

The best way to check for any post-earthquake sewer line damage is also with your nose. The distinct odor of waste is almost always a surefire sign there’s a leak or break in the pipe.

Keep an eye out for unusual wet spot in the yard and any sewage or wastewater backup in your sinks or tubs.

How to Minimize the Risk

Your plumbing system is incredibly different from your car, other major appliances, and even your HVAC system. You can’t pop the hood or take off a panel and see what’s going on inside. You need to have the help of professional plumber to even see what’s going on down there.

Despite this, there are some easy things you can do to minimize the ways an earthquake can damage your plumbing. They are:

  • Check any leaks before they become too big
    • Even the smallest leaks can be an indicator of a larger problem. The best way to mitigate risk is to have even small leaks checked by a professional.
  • Know where your water shut-off valve is and how to use it.
    • In the case of a large quake and any visible leaks or flooding, you will need to turn off your water. Locate your shut-off valve and ask a professional how to use it. This could mean the difference between a small fix and a huge case of water damage.
  • Have a plumber come out every year to clear your drains of any potentially damaging debris.
    • Having a plumber inspect your pipes with a camera and clear away any existing clogs or debris is a great way to keep your plumbing system in shape.

Earthquake Safety Tips

It’s more important to make sure you and your family are safe during an earthquake. Though your home is important, the well being of your family should come first. Here are a few of our favorite earthquake safety tips:

Before the quake:

  • Work with your family to put together an earthquake plan. Map out a meeting area and locate any exits in your home. Don’t forget to include your pets in this plan.
  • Put together an emergency supply kit with water, food, emergency phone numbers, medical information, and identification.
  • Make sure your home, and the contents inside of it, are earthquake safe.
  • Download any apps that will give real time updates of happenings in your area.

During the Quake:

  • If you are driving, pull the car over, engage the parking brake, and wait out the quake.
  • Caught in bed? Cover your head and neck with pillows and turn face down.
  • Outside? Stay away from any large buildings. Find an empty spot and wait it out.
  • Inside? Stay there. Don’t try to run outside. Avoid doorways and remember to drop, cover, and hold on.

During an earthquake drop to the ground, cover yourself with a table or desk, hold on to said table or desk.

After the Quake:

  • First, make sure you are not hurt. Then go check on everyone else in your home.
  • Expect at least one aftershock if not more.
  • If there is visible damage to your home, get everyone outside as fast as possible.
  • Use text messages to check in with others. Texts are more reliable than phone calls.

Keep your pipes in tip-top condition with the experts at Service Champions! Schedule an appointment today.

Prepare Your Home for Fall in 7 Steps

Prepare Your Home for Fall in 7 Steps.

Summer is coming to a close. We’re starting to see some gray skies and feel the cooler weather. As the weather changes, there are a few seasonal tasks you need to take care of to ensure your home is well-equipped to handle the colder, and sometimes wetter, months ahead.

Here are our 7 best tips to prepare your home for fall, so you can stay cozy and comfortable this fall and winter.

1.    Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts

Water that isn’t properly diverted can lead to rot, mold, and mildew. This damage will lead to costly repairs.

Our best advice is to try and clean your gutters and downspouts or call someone out to do it for you. If you feel safe doing this, get a stable ladder and wear protective gloves to scoop out any leaves and other waste materials.

Try to clean your gutter at the start of every season. Dried out debris can be a great home for critters, and not mention a fire hazard, during the summer.

2.    Repair and Replace any Missing Shingles or Tiles

Speaking of your roof, when’s the last time you checked on the condition of your shingles or tiles?

During the summer months, the sun causes roof tiles to expand and contract, making them very susceptible to breaking.

Because of this, it’s important to visually inspect your roof before the rainy and chilly seasons.

Check your roof tiles before every season.

3.    Take Care of That Yard Work!

A clean yard is a happy yard. Take the time to clear any leafy debris, trim your bushes, and get around to any yard work done that you’ve been avoiding all summer.

Clear any leaves, cut down any branches that might be at risk for falling during rain and high winds. Additionally, prune overgrown and dead foliage from plants and bushes to avoid the spread of plant diseases and to keep everything looking fresh for the fall.

Make sure to rake all leaves and keep your yard free of debris during the fall season.

4.    Test Your Weatherstripping & Windows

To save on your energy bills, check your windows and doors for any cracks or holes that may be letting in drafts. In fact, up to 35% of heat-treated air can be lost through drafty windows. This is one reason why it’s important to check the seal around your doors and windows for drafts.

Should you find any cracks or holes, it’s time to add some new weatherstripping. Choose the best type of weatherstrip material by taking into consideration friction, temperature, and other factors unique to each location.

5.    Program Your Home’s Thermostat

Depending on the temperature outside, set your programmable thermostat to roughly 68 degrees during the fall.

This temperature setting is cost-efficient and keeps your home’s indoor environment comfortable. Another way to take control of the weather in your home is to reset the thermostat before sleeping and leaving the house. This will help to save on your energy bill in the upcoming months.

Also, dress for the season. Fall and winter means it’s time to pull out the cute joggers and hoodies that are probably now shoved into the back of your closet.

Programming your thermostat for the season can help lower your utility bills.

6.    Clean or Replace Your HVAC Filter

To keep your indoor air quality safe during the upcoming months, be sure to regularly check and change your HVAC air filter. One of the best things you can do for the health of your home and your HVAC system is to replace the air filter whenever it gets full.

This small action has a big impact. Dirty and overfull air filters force your HVAC system to work twice as hard to produce the same amount of treated air.

Regularly replacing the air filter is something that's very important for the health of your HVAC system and your family.

7.    Schedule a Furnace Tune-Up

Last but certainly not least, schedule a furnace tune-up. At Service Champions, we recommend two tune-ups every year. Once before the spring, and once before the fall.

Your furnace is a crucial part of your home’s heating and cooling systems. Since it works all year round, it’s best to tune it up and make sure it’s ready for the season ahead.

Always Be Prepared!

We hope these tips give you a clear path to follow in order to help you prepare your home for the fall. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment to let us know how we can help at any step of the way towards getting your home in the best condition possible for the upcoming months.

How to Prevent a Sewage Back-Up

How to Prevent a Sewage Back-Up

Let’s face it. Clogged and slow-running drains can be extremely frustrating. Even worse, they could be an indicator of a sewage backup. Unfortunately, your favorite drain de-clogging method won’t work for a sewer line. So, what should you do? In this blog post, we’re highlighting the telltale signs of sewer leaks, main causes of said leaks, and how to prevent a sewage back-up from reoccurring in the future.

What is a sewage back up?

A sewage backup occurs when some sort of damage or a backup inhibits the natural outward flow of waste from the source, in this case your home.

When your sewer line is backed up, the waste contents are reversed towards the direction of the original source, also your house. In this case, you know you have a sewage back-up when there’s wastewater in your tubs or sinks.

What causes a sewage backup?


A clog in the main line is a common culprit of sewage backups. When this happens, many homeowners attempt to grab whatever they have on hand to “DIY” the solution. We’re asking you to please not do this.

At Service Champions we’ve seen homeowners use plungers, harsh chemical drain cleaners that can corrode pipes, or even makeshift “tools” like coat hangers to fix a sewer clog.

To prevent the risk of careless drain clogs, simply avoid dumping fats, oils, or melted butter down the kitchen sink. Be sure to not flus menstrual products, thick wipes, paper towels, or diapers down the toilet. And please refrain from washing excess hair, hardened toothpaste, soap fragments, or solid makeup products down the bathroom sink.

We recommend getting your drains cleared and conducting sewage line maintenance every couple of years by contacting a plumbing expert.

During a drain clearing, one of our plumbers can examine the current state of sewage pipes and detect slab leaks, flooding faucets and toilets, pressurized plumbing, tap water, etc. and recommend how to avoid sewage backups from occurring in the future.

Tree Roots

A serious sewage backup can result when the roots and branches of plants or grow into the gaps of cracked sewage pipes. You can easily prevent the overgrowth of tree roots by having them professionally trimmed. Lastly, to take extra precautions, you may want to consider clearing all plants around the sewage line to prevent any further root issues.

Tree roots are a main reason for your Sewage Back-Up.

Heavy Rainfall

Although it does not occur often, heavy rainfalls can break through and crack aging pipes that are already deteriorating. Be sure to check your basement after a downpour and look for any signs of a burst pipe, leak, or flood.

Heavy rainfall can damage pipes.

Damaged Sewer Line

The average age of sewage pipes in America is 30-years-old, according to data from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Over time and with use, pipes can begin to corrode and break down, which will cause a sewage back-up.

All the drains in your home rely on the main sewer line in order to function properly. One way to know you’re having issues with the main sewer line is if two sinks are clogged at the same time.

4 Ways to Tell You Have a Sewage Leak

1.   There’s a Bad Smell Coming from Your Drain

A foul smell is a clear sign you may have a crack and/or leak coming from your main sewer line. It’s best to contact a plumbing professional at the first scent of wastewater. If left unhandled, mold can grow in your home. Also, waste fumes are so toxic they can cause major health concerns.

2.   More than One Drain in your Home is Clogged

As we mentioned above, when more than one drain is clogged, it’s a surefire sign something is wrong with your main sewer line. However, if only one drain is clogged, such as the toilet, the problem is most likely unique to that pipe.

3.   Some Grass Spots are Growing Better than Others

Most homeowners are excited about new growth in their yard; however, this is usually not a good sign. Cracked or broken sewer lines will leak water which will make spots of your grass lusher than others.

Keep an eye out for weakening surrounding soil that may dip from liquid over-saturation. Any stand-out patches of grass or elevation changes around your underground sewer line may be cause to contact a professional for further inspection.

A damaged main sewer line can result in flooded parts of your lawn.

4.   New Mold Growth

Sewer line cracks can lead to wastewater leakages, which if left untreated, can be a great environment for new mold growth. Don’t just walk by leaks near faucets, toilets, walls, ceilings, and drains, investigate them. If you spot mold forming, do not try to clean-up the problem yourself – contact a plumbing repair expert immediately.

5 Benefits of Smart Thermostats

5 Benefits of A Smart Thermostat

Once you’ve had one, you’ll never turn back. Or, at least that’s what most of our Southern California homeowners say after they’ve invested in in a smart thermostat.

In fact, with 33 million North American houses using newer thermostats for temperature control, it’s quickly becoming the latest ‘must-have’ in the home owning space.

While there are many advantages of having a smart thermostat, we’re going to dive into the top 5 benefits of making the switch.

1.  A Smart Thermostat Can Lower Your Energy Bills

Your energy bill can fluctuate throughout the year depending on how you use your HVAC system.  You can now take control of that usage.

One of the best things these thermostats can do is track your energy usage. With this tracking, you can flex the way you use your HVAC system. This change in behavior will show on your next, hopefully lower, energy bill.

With a smart thermostat, you can grab all your detailed energy reports that tell you exactly how much you’ve been using with a tap of your finger.

These reports are created in real-time, meaning you’ll have no out-of-date data.

On average, you could see a saving of  $140 per year on energy bills. Of course, this figure could be higher or lower, depending on how you use your HVAC system. That said, you’ll be in a far better position to adjust your energy habits, as you’ll be given clear access to instant data.

Infographic from

2.  Control Your Home Temperature from Your Smartphone

Having a big, bulky thermostat attached to the wall, losing your handheld thermostat, or running out of batteries and braving a chilly evening are things of the past.

Before, you had to be in the same room to crank up the change the temperature. Now, don’t even have to be in the same building.

You can use your smart thermostat anywhere. Whether you’re turning on the heating for when you arrive home from work, turning on the air conditioning after hitting the beach, or warming the house for your pets while you’re away, you have the freedom to control the temperature from anywhere.

Plus, it’s handy to have temperature control on your smartphone. You can connect it to your voice control via your phone and command it verbally. But, more on that later.

Infographic from

3.  Automatically Adjust Your Home Temperature to The Weather Outside

A smart thermostat will analyze data based on your home heating and cooling habits. It then automatically adjusts its settings to accommodate for the outside weather.

For example, the temperature outside has dropped considerably. Your thermostat will automatically know what temperature your family prefers in the home and makes sure your home stays in that temperature range. No matter what the weather is like outside.

4.  Lower Your Carbon Footprint

We have more and more homeowners asking how they can “go green.” Being environmentally conscious has gone from a trend to a movement.

By using a smart thermostat, your household will consume less energy, which significantly reduces the number of fossil fuels and the demand for electricity from power plants. In short, your carbon footprint will be a whole lot smaller.

5.  Your Smart Thermostat Works with Voice Control

Ease of use is becoming more, and more important. We have voice control on smart phones and now smart thermostats.

You can easily synchronize your smart thermostat with your Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. When your phone battery is low, or you left your device in the kitchen, you can change the temperature with voice control instead.

Another plus is that some smart thermostats even play music and handle calls. This isn’t the case for all of them, but some are genuinely all-singing, all-dancing, and even all-controlling.

Interested in Making the Switch?

Making the switch to a smart thermostat can drastically lower your energy usage, snipping through the figure on your energy bills while simultaneously lightening your family’s carbon footprint. Schedule an appointment to learn more.

Answers to Home Heating Not Working

Answers to Home Heating Not Working

Home Heating Not Working

Before calling your HVAC technician, try a few simple remedies to fix your home heating not working. While your furnace contractor is needed for more serious conditions, a small change might do the trick.

Home Heating Not Working to Clean Air

If your furnace isn't producing clean air, check the air filter.

First, examine the air filter in your furnace. When the air feels unclean, the cause generally lies within filtration. The air filter should be replaced regularly. Once every few months should suffice for most homes.

When the air filter is overused, it creates resistance, blocking air from entering the furnace. In turn, this leads to several other problems. Energy expenditure rises. The system experiences unneeded stress. Home heating and air conditioning quality dips.

To keep your home air clean:

  • Replace the air filter
  • Have the furnace and air conditioner maintained
  • Wipe down registers and vents

These changes should cure home heating not working to clean air.

Home Heating Not Working to Heat Air

If your furnace isn't working, it's best to call an HVAC professional.

When the home heating fails to heat air, the problem lies within a critical part. This may include the fire exchanger, compressor or even gas lines. However, most contractors who find the home heating not working also discover simpler explanations.

To fix your home heating not working to heat air, try:

  • Setting the thermostat five degrees higher than the room temperature.
  • Open all vents and clear furniture away from registers. Clear pathways ensure maximum airflow.
  • Reset the power breaker. Sometimes, kinks in energy routes can cause hiccups.
  • Check that the gas valves are open and functioning.

If none of these solutions fix your home heating not working to heat air, contact your furnace contractor. The issue may be more technical

Home Heating Not Working At All

Wondering why your home heating not working? Call the experts at Service Champions.

When home heating fails to work at all, there is a broad spectrum of what could have gone wrong.

Start with the simplest answers:

  • Has someone touched the thermostat? Check to see if it is set at the desired temperature.
  • Has there been a power outage? When either gas or electricity is unavailable, homeowners find the home heating not working.

For more serious issues, it is possible that:

  • A safety switch has tripped. When the central air system encounters a potential safety hazard, it automatically shuts down to prevent accidents.
  • The fire exchanger has been disabled. If the fire exchanger has been clogged with buildup, it is unable to house a fire, which means no heating.
  • Condenser unit has failed.

A professional should manage these issues for home heating not working. Your HVAC contractor is your best resource for safe operation.

Restore Your Home Heating with Service Champions

Service Champions Heating & Air Conditioning is a Diamond Certified HVAC provider. Each year, we serve thousands of homes in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

As the leading heating technician, we restore all home heating not working. You can rely on our genuine customer service and expert technical care for exceptional heating service.

To fix your home heating, contact one of our friendly representatives in our call center at your convenience.

Coronavirus Update from A-Avis

Here at A-Avis Home Service, we are committed to the safety of both your family and our technicians. Our team has completed thorough training and is prepped and ready to ensure that your heating and air conditioning needs are taken care of. We will be taking precautionary measures when entering clients’ homes which will include using booties, hand washing before and after each different client’s home, wipe down surfaces, gloves, and will wear a mask on request.
Continue reading “Coronavirus Update from A-Avis”