In all truth, as often as possible. You should get in the habit of cleaning your shower drains out once a week or more (depending on how many people are using it). This allows you to catch clumps of hair, soap scum, and other debris before it moves further down the pipe. It's not a bad idea to get a plastic drain stick from your local hardware store - especially because they are so cheap and can be used on your sink drains as well.
We caution our customers on the dangers of DIY plumbing - not because we want you to pay us instead, but because there are so many ways that things could go wrong. Maybe you tried patching a leaky pipe yourself, you forget about the issue, and then a few weeks later you realize that the leak has turned into a full blown flood. This can cost you hundreds of dollars more than if you'd had a professional plumber perform the initial repair. While we do recommend having some plumbing tools on hand, we recommend that you leave the bigger repairs to the pros.
No - just don't do it. Liquid drain cleaners are advertised as a fast and easy way to eliminate drain clogs or slow-draining water in your sinks. While yes, it will fix the problem of standing water, it's really only a temporary solution. The chemicals in these products are highly toxic, and they wear down your pipes and rubber gaskets over time. Try using a plastic drain stick or a cheap drain snake first - then call a professional plumber if that doesn't work.
It depends. If your water heater is more than 20 years old, there's a high probability that investing in a new water heater will save you money. If your water heater is 10 years old and it breaks down, it could be that repairs are more cost effective. Talk with your service provider to see what makes the most sense for your needs.
There are a few tell-tale signs of a plumbing leak. Your water bill spiked for no apparent reason. Your water meter's leak detection is going off. You notice damp spots on your flooring or smell mildew. You notice new foundation cracks.
Call a professional plumber in Martinez if you notice any of the above signs. It's important to get your leak detected and repaired right away to avoid further damages.