ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning

One of the most common causes of catastrophic water leaks is a burst washing machine hose. If the washer is on the second or first level of the home, it can lead to a major flood and tens of thousands of dollars of damage – an expense that may not be covered by homeowner's insurance.

If the hoses are plain rubber, it's recommended that you replace them with braided stainless hoses for extra strength. There's also a simple device that can provide some peace of mind: a water alarm. A water alarm can detect even the smallest water leak. When water is detected the device sends a signal to shut off the hot and cold water supply valves to the washing machine.

Another place where water alarms can prevent a disaster is with water heaters. When the bottom of the tank ruptures, the amount of water released at once quickly flood a basement. A water alarm is cheap insurance against major water damage.
If you're planning on remodeling your bathroom and plan on updating your shower, tub, vanity and other features, it's important to ensure that your home's plumbing is up to the job and can handle the upgraded fixtures. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Do your supply and drain pipes need to be updated?

When old fixtures are taken out and the floor and walls are ripped open to expose the pipes, take a moment to assess the condition and size of the pipes. It's a good idea to ensure that supply pipes are ¾” in order to have good water flow to several fixtures, such as multiple shower heads or sprayers in the shower.

2. Will there be enough hot water?

Large soaking tubs and showers with multiple spraying heads are a nice luxury, but can also put greater demand on your water heater. Will you need a larger water heater tank to meet additional demand?

3. Water and Energy Conservation

Spa-like bathroom can use a lot of hot water. Thankfully, many new plumbing fixtures are designed with efficiency in mind. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads can save many hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Tankless water heaters, while initially more expensive than conventional water heaters, heat water only when it's needed, conserving energy while providing a virtually endless supply of hot water.

Need help with your bathroom plumbing? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning.
"This is the 2nd time Jonathan has been to service my home. HE IS FANTASTIC! He does a great job, he is very friendly, he offers advice on things that could be improved proactively, but never makes me feel pressured into anything. I appreciate having such wonderful A service."

– Jonathan K.  BBB Review 09/27/17

"When I called for service and explained that I had a drip on my Back Flow Valve and had Culligan coming to install a new Water Softener that morning around 10 a.m. the schedular moved me up to the next tech as soon as one checked out on another job and they (ABC Plumbing and Culligan) arrived at my home within 5 min of each other. Everyone was so courteous and neither techs were in each other's way and completed their work very diligently. All were very neat /polite. A pleasure to do business with, for sure!"

BuzzBox Review 09/21/17

"Had my backflow tested Trenton from ABC Southwest was very courteous and very professional I would highly recommend using this company."
– Trenton S. Facebook Review  09/06/17
Backflow is, as the name implies, a condition where water flows in the opposite direction than it was intended to. It is caused by a change in pressure in the system and it can allow contaminants to taint a home's drinking water.

One of the most common culprits of backflow is garden hoses. When the pressure drops, the contents of the hose and anything it is connected to, like a muddy puddle or bucket of waste water, can potentially flow backwards into the home's plumbing system and contaminate the drinking water.

Thankfully, there is an effective way to prevent this kind of siphoning backflow by using a simple hose-bib vacuum breaker. Check that all taps (faucets, spigots) that a hose may be connected to are fitted with a hose bib vacuum breaker. An even more effective backflow prevention device, called an atmospheric vacuum breaker can also be installed by your plumber.

On a central air conditioner, the evaporator coils are located inside of the home. When the air handler blows warm air over the coils, the refrigerant inside the coils absorbs the the heat, lowering the temperature of the air that is blown through the home's air ducts. In addition to cooling your home, an air conditioner also dehumidifies the air. During the process of dehumidification condensation builds up on and drips off of the evaporator coils. This condensation is normally collected in a pan and drained away. When the condensation on the evaporator coils freezes, it can prevent your home from cooling properly and could lead to system breakdowns. So what causes the evaporator coils to freeze? Here are few possible causes:

1. Airflow Problems. When there is not enough return air blowing over the evaporator coils, the coils won’t have enough heat to absorb and can start to freeze. Airflow can be limited by a clogged air filter, leaking air duct leaks, blocked air registers and other causes.

2. Dirty evaporator coils. A dirty, unmaintained air conditioner will gradually result in reduced efficiency and uneven cooling. As the coils become covered in dirt they can't absorb the heat from the air and the result is frozen coils.

3. Low Refrigerant Levels. When refrigerant levels are too low as a result of a leak, the coils will not be able to absorb heat from the air, which can cause them to freeze up.

Have frozen evaporator coils? First turn the air conditioner off to allow the coil to thaw and prevent damage to the system. Next, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can diagnose the cause and get your air conditioner up and running again quickly.
Do you have bathroom drains that gurgle for a while after use? In older homes, it's not uncommon for water to take longer to drain. The reason is that pipes used in the past were smaller in diameter than they are today. In addition, the home may not a have sufficient numer of vent pipes in the roof to aid in drain flow. When the systen is starved of outside airflow, the result is often gurgling sounds.

A professional plumber should clean out the drains with a drain snake or a high pressure drain cleaning machine. In many cases it's not the floor drain that causes the problem, so be sure to have the upper reaches of the plumbing system inspected, including the vent pipes.

Have plumbing or drain problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help diagnose the problems and offer effective solutions.

Even in the warm climate of Southwest Florida, heating water takes up a big part of the average home's utility bill. One inexpensive way to conserve hot water is to install a water heater blanket. Available at most home improvement stores for $15-$20, water heater blankets are simple to install and can pay for itself in less than a year.

You may be asking, can a blanket help when the tank feels cool to the touch? Yes. Because it takes more energy to heat water than air, so insulation will help. Still not convinced? Once the blanket is installed for a day or so, put your hand under the blanket and you'll notice that it's nice and warm. That's heat that will keep the tank warmer for a longer period of time rather than radiating out.

A word of caution on water heater blankets – some manufacturers advise against them because if they are not installed properly they can block controls and valves. So be sure to cut away around controls and the pressure relief valve.
In Southwest Florida, tropical storms and hurricanes are always a threat during the late summer months. By taking a few simple precautions, and having a plan in place before severe storm season, you will be able to better protect your plumbing system and home from damage.

Before Hurricane Season

  • To prevent water damage to your foundation make sure gutters are clean and firmly attached.
  • Ensure downspouts are properly installed to direct water away from the house.
  • Make sure everyone in home knows the location of the main water shut-off valve.
  • If the home has a sump pump, test it regularly to ensure it is working. Because hurricanes bring power outages, we recommend installing a battery backup sump pump.
  • Have your sewer lines and drains inspected and repaired if needed to reduce the risk of sewer line backups during heavy rains.

During a Hurricane

  • Turn off the main water valve before the storm arrives. This will prevent potential contamination of your plumbing system.
  • Only if it is safe to do so, check the storm drains around your property and clear away any debris or other obstructions to ensure the drains can handle a high volume of water.

After a Hurricane

If you experience problems such as low water pressure, drains that are slow to empty, strange noises or other concerns, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we are here to help.
At ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning we work tirelessly to exceed our customer's expectations every day. So we appreciate it when you take a moment to tell us how we are doing!

Here is what a few of our customers are saying about us on review sites across the web.

"Matt and Tanner were AWESOME! Great customer service! Explained the job scope and completed the project in a timely manner. We had the main waste vent stack replaced."
– Frank Z BuzzBox Review, 08/25/17

"Henry was great! Fast work, very professional ! Going to recommend to others!"
– Facebook Review, 08/06/17

"Dave was a pleasure to have work on our AC unit. Professional approach to his work along with tips and suggestions were welcome."
– David B., Google+ Review, 08/08/17

"Jonathan showed up as scheduled. Was very clean and polite. Found the problem and explained my options. Answered all my questions so that I understood what needed to be done. He Set up my work schedule and explained exactly what the workers will do. This is not the first time I have used ABC and always get good service. Glad I was able to find a reliable company here in SW Florida."
– Jonathan K., Facebook Review, 08/08/17

Read more reviews
Even if your home looks clean and the air smells fresh, there can still be harmful pollutants lurking inside that can be harmful to your health. In fact, the EPA reports that the air inside can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as the air outside. The problem gets worse in newer homes that are well sealed and insulated. Because most of us spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors, it's important to understand the types of indoor pollution that exist in most homes and how to reduce their impact on your health.

Here are some of the most common sources of indoor pollution:

1. Dust Mites - Furniture, carpet and bedding provides an ideal environment for dust mites to thrive. Wash or vacuum carpets and wash bedding weekly in hot water. Change your furnace air filter at least once a month and have your ducts professional cleaned when needed.

2. Mold and Mildew - Damp bathrooms and basements can harbor mold and mildew that can reduce air quality. Ensure that there is good ventilation in bathrooms in the form of windows or vent fans. Aim to keep humidity levels in the home between 30-50%.

3. Carbon Monoxide - Gas appliances can emit odorless, deadly carbon monoxide. Install carbon monoxide detectors near every bedroom and test them regularly.

4. Smoke and Pet Dander – If there are pets or smoking in the home, consider limiting smoking to outside and installing a whole home air cleaner.

5. Radon - Radon a invisible, odorless form of radiation that can enter the home from the ground and increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Purchase a radon detection kit and follow the instructions for testing radon in your home. If problems are found, proper radon mitigation techniques should be performed to reduce exposure to safe levels.
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