Manuel Ramos is a licensed plumber / electrician working in the Los Angeles / South Bay area of Southern California who specializes in emergency home and apartment repairs, code compliance, and service upgrades, providing excellent work at fair and reasonable prices.

323-377-5086



LEAKS in water pipes and fixtures, dripping faucets, toilets that don't stop running, water heater leaking, water seeping up through the ground or from under concrete foundation, clogged and rusty galvanized pipes and fixtures, slow-running showers and faucets, gas lines or meters leaking, connecting new applicances, sewer lines clogged or broken.

ELECTRICAL repairs like troubleshooting and repairing faulty circuts and circuit breakers, re-wiring outlets and fixtures, upgrading or replacing electrical panels, adding circuits, adding timers for lighting, outdoor low-voltage lighting and sprinkler control valves, 110 VAC to 220 VAC service upgrades for appliances, tank and tankless water heaters.

HOME REPAIRS like house painting, roof repairs or replacement, drywall repairs, plastering, stucco, hanging doors, replacing / upgrading door hardware and locks, fences, cement work for drives and patios, simple carpentry and window repairs.

A home plumbing system will have different types of piping materials for different types of use such as domestic water supply, waste drainage, appliances, irrigation and so on. Being able to identify the type of piping material you have involved in your plumbing or gas line project/repair is important to us in making a accurate assessment of the cost of the project or repair. These are types of plumbing materials used in piping for waste lines, water supply and natural gas supply:

Waste Line: Cast Iron
Large diameter pipe that looks dull black with mottled surface. High quality sanitary waste drain pipe that is heavy and deadens the sound of flowing waste water very well. This pipe is strong, long lasting but hard to cut, often requiring a special cutting tool. When in the ground for a long time, heavily deteriorated pipe is subject to penetration by tree and shrub roots and will be difficult to make repairs to due to the crumbling nature of the pipe. May require whole sections dug up and removed to be replaced with PVC pipe.

Waste Line: PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)
White rigid plastic PVC is the de-facto standard in home waste line materials. It is a strong, chemical resistant rigid pipe that is heat resistant and easily cut and fit. It is often used to repair sections of broken cast iron waste pipe. PVC pipe is easily cut with a hacksaw or tubing cutter. The sections are joined together mechanically using plastic pressure fittings for later removal or permanently joined using special chemical solvent.

Waste Line: Chromed Brass
Bright shiny chrome finished pipe of larger diameter (+1"), is often used in lieu of PVC for exposed waste line applications such as "P" traps or other drain traps where appearance is important. It's easily cut with a hacksaw and joined with compression fittings. Many parts made of this material are pre-fabricated and available from plumbing supply and do-it-yourself stores.

Water Supply: Copper (rigid and flexible)
Dull copper colored metal pipe comes in two flavors, rigid and flexible. It has proven itself over the decades to be corrosion resistant and very reliable. Copper is a soft metal and so can be easily cut and fabricated. It is also prone to damage, may develop pinholes over time. Rigid copper pipes are used for longer runs of water supply and in some cases also used as waste lines in the home. Flexible copper is used in short runs for water supply. Copper pipe is easily cut with a tubing cutter or hacksaw. Sections are joined together with soldered copper connectors or copper compression fittings. Flexible copper pipe may also be terminated by flaring its end and using brass flare fittings.

Water Supply: CPVC (Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride)
Dull white plastic CPVC is an inexpensive rigid plastic that is designed to withstand high pressure and temperature. CPVC is used for hot and cold water supply piping. The pipe is easily cut with a tubing cutter or hacksaw. CPVC is joined permanently together using plastic fittings and solvent glue or together for future removal using pressure fittings.

Water Supply: PEX (Cross-linked Polyethylene)
Typically blue (cold water) or red (hot water) or white flexible plastic pipe PEX is made of cross-linked HDPE (high density polyethylene) polymer and is an incredible piping material that has been in use since the 1970's. PEX is strong and flexible, withstanding temperatures from below 32 degrees to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. PEX is corrosion resistant and unlike copper pipe, will not develop pinholes. Because PEX uses fewer connections and fittings it is easier and faster to install. The reduced number of required fittings in a PEX system also reduces the possibility of leaks. PEX is typically used for water supply and radiant heating. PEX is cut and fit with specialized fittings and tools.

Gas and Water: Galvanized Iron/Steel
Dull silver grey rigid pipe was a popular method of plumbing water supply in the home but gradually fails due to corrosion and rust. It is no longer commonly used and has been essentially replaced with copper pipe and PEX plastic pipe. Galvanized iron pipe is difficult to cut and join and not easily fabricated on site. Can be cut using a reciprocating saw or hacksaw. Pipe is joined using Teflon tape wrapped pipe threads into galvanized fittings unless the rusting is too severe in which case sections may have to be replaced with new copper or PVC pipe.

Poor electrical safety in the home often contributes to the reason people need the services of an electrician. Here are a few safety tips to help cut down on accidents, injuries and repairs.

Outlets
Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.

Cords
Make sure cords are in good condition-not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.

Extension Cords
Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.

Plugs
Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN'T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs according to the manufacturer's instructions monthly and after major electrical storms to make sure they are working properly.

Light Bulbs
Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you don't know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.

Circuit Breakers/Fuses
Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.

Water and Electricity Don't Mix
Don't leave plugged-in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out-even if it's turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person. If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.

Outdoor Safety
Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. When using ladders, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.

Lightning
During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e., hairdryers, toasters and radios) or telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage; and use surge protectors on electronic devices, appliances, phones, fax machines and modems.

Space Heaters
Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs. Don't use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug when not in use. Do not use space heaters with extension cords; plug directly into an outlet on a relatively unburdened circuit.

Halogen Floor Lamps
Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children's bedrooms or playrooms. Consider using cooler fluorescent floor lamps.

A couple painting tips from Jim Evans...

Before I begin, I ALWAYS fill a mop bucket two-thirds with water and put a scrap washcloth or hand towel in it. I keep this bucket near where I'm painting or caulking. If I get paint or caulk on my hands I dunk them in the bucket and rinse. If I get paint on the wrong thing, I wring out the towel gently and scrub off the booboo. Amazing how well this erases screw-ups. Stop and erase immediately. You may be tempted to finish 'just one thing' before you stop to erase--don't. The paint dries quicker than you think. Erase immediately. A full towel is a little harder to manage, but has lots of clean wet areas to switch to. Just don't swish it into a freshly painted area.

If painting inside you'll probably want to keep the rag squeezed out--you don't want to spill water on the floor while hurrying. So, you may have to re-wet the rag occasionally to keep it ready.

Naturally, this only applies to latex (water soluble) paint and caulk.

If I have to stop painting for a while, I don't want the brush to begin to dry out. I put it in plastic wrap. I have a box of gallon size clear plastic food bags for the purpose. (These are not ziplock bags they are thin plastic, like big sandwich bags, and don't have a closure seal.) I slip the brush into a bottom corner of the bag, then sort of roll it up in the bag, continuing to roll it until the bag is wrapped snugly around the handle. The objective is to wrap it tightly enough no air can get to the paint. I've left brushes like this for several hours and when taken out they're like I never stopped painting. You can also drop a paint filled roller in the bottom and roll it up in the bag. This works with both latex and oil paint, though I've had much more experience with latex.

I hate to clean brushes, so if it's going to be a day or two and I don't need the brush for something else, I wrap it and put in the fridge. If it will be weeks I've had success with putting them in the freezer. I've read that freezing brushes with latex paint will make a gooey mess -- I haven't had that problem. I've read that oil paints must be put in freezer even if it's just a day. When you're ready to paint again, just put bag and brush in a jar of hot water or under the hot faucet for a couple of minutes to warm it up before taking them out to paint again. I don't know if there is any limit to how long they'll keep like this. I've kept them in the freezer for weeks.

I'm sure Saran wrap would work for this too. You'd may have to use it for rollers if they won't fit in the bag.

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