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PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY
"I called Re: problem with a handicapped toilet. Henry Cheely came corrected problem and went out of his way to help me put back behind the toilet cabinet. I had used another plumbing company for years and when I called they said it would not be until next week. I will be using ABC Southwest plumbing from now on."

– Henry C. Google+ Review

"I needed a new A/C unit. It broke unexpectedly and it is obviously hot this time of year in southwest Florida. David was wonderful, explaining my options and showed me the problem with my old unit. Bryon and Trenton were on time and completed the installation completely and in a timely manner. They were professional, answered my questions and worked diligently until the job was done. Thank you for your hard work."

– BuzzBox Review

"Our technician was tanner. he fixed our problem in a speedy manner, and now it works perfectly. this was on a saturday and i called 2 plumbing companies before i tried abe plumbers, and none responded except for abc. i was very happy with abc and tanner."

– BuzzBox Review
Thursday, 19 July 2018 00:00

Aging In Place - Accessible Plumbing Design

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As we age our kitchen and bathrooms can become less convenient and more hazardous. Slippery floors, hard to reach faucets and cabinets, poor lighting – all can create real challenges as we age. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep our homes safe and comfortable with plumbing fixtures that adapt to our needs rather the the other way around.

Aging In Place Plumbing

Here are a few plumbing ideas for aging in place.

Accessible Bathrooms For The Elderly and Disabled

For individuals who must be seated, vanities can be designed with knee clearance under fixtures and faucet handles that are closer in range. Plumbing fixtures are available that are operable with one hand, and don't require a tight grip or turning of the wrist. Careful placement of grab bars in bathtubs and showers can prevent slip and fall accidents.

Permanently fixed shower heads are rarely one-size-fit-all. Newer shower head designs come with a vertical sliding rail system that allows the tallest and shortest members of the household to adjust the shower head to the perfect height.

Comfort Height Toilets

Standard toilets are 14 to 15 inches high from floor to the top of bowl rim. Comfort height toilets have more comfortable heights closer to the height of a chair, from 16 to 17 inches high. The additional height can make it easier with persons having a limited range of motion or back problems.

Slip-resistance is another important consideration for providing safety in bathrooms. Many shower enclosures and bathtubs are now designed with traction surfaces, in both enamel and acrylic finishes.

Finally, good lighting is appreciated by everyone, but is essential for persons with visual impairment. Compact LED fixtures can be placed under cabinets, in showers and bath enclosures to create a well lit space.

Have questions about making your home's plumbing more comfortable and safer? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
Thursday, 12 July 2018 00:00

The Benefits of a Water Heater Expansion Tank

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Hot Water Expansion Tank

Because water expands when heated, excess pressure inside a water heater tank needs to escape. In the past, the pressure would force water in the tank to drain back out into the water supply where it came from.

Today, the water main is designed to prevent the backwards flow of water, known as backflow, by means of a check valve. The check valve prevents waste water from inside the home from returning to the water supply where it could contaminate the supply of fresh water.

How a Water Heater expansion Tank Works

A water heater expansion tank is another small tank that is attached to the water supply pipe of the water heater. The expansion tank is designed to handle the thermal expansion of water as it heats up in the water heater, preventing excessive water pressure.

If water pressure gets to high it can damage valves in plumbing fixtures, joints in supply pipes and the water heater itself. Expanding water from the water heater flows into the expansion tank, relieving water pressure in the system.

What if my water heater doesn't have an expansion tank?

Most homes that have a check valve on the water main do not have an expansion tank, since it wasn't required until recently. This may or may not cause excessive pressure buildup, depending on the specific design of the plumbing in the house.

If you are noticing that washers in plumbing fixtures are deteriorating rapidly, or water is dripping from the relief valve on the water heater, it may be wise to add an expansion tank. It can be low cost insurance against more costly damage to your home's plumbing system.

Have questions about water heater expansion tanks or other plumbing systems? Call ABC Southwest Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we're here to help.1
"Johnathan showed up on time and quickly analyzed my situation and arranged for the needed part to be ordered. He inspected my visible plumbing and discovered a leak onto my water heater caused by a rusted out fitting. After giving me several options, we agreed that he would replace the bad fitting and associated piping. He did this quickly and neatly. I look forward to his return to install the need part for my spa tub"
– Jonathan K., Facebook Review

"Very pleasant first contact when I called. Service was scheduled for the same day! Henry was outstanding! Very professional and knowledgeable! He explained what was wrong and what needed to be done. He did a fantastic job and more than surpassed by expectations! He explained the UAC program which I chose to enroll in. Peace of mind! Thank you Henry and ABC Southwest! Great customer service! I will refer friends and family to you when they need the services you folks provide."
– BuzzBox Review

"Henry Cheely was friendly, knowledgeable and skillful in replacing our water heater.""
– BuzzBox Review
Garbage disposals are a great invention, saving time and keeping our kitchens clean. They will dispose of just about any kind of food waste we put down them. However, they can sometimes break down. Here are some things to check when your under sink disposal is not working correctly.

Garbage Disposal

First, for your safety never place your hand inside the disposal!

It may seem obvious, but first check that the disposal is plugged in. If the disposal is plugged in, check the reset button located on the bottom of the disposal if the button has popped out, push it back in. If these steps do not work, check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped. If the disposal still won't turn on and it is not making a humming sound, then there is an electrical problem with the unit.

Slow Disposal Drain

Slow draining of a garbage disposal can be caused by a number of problems. Assuming you've given the disposal enough time to run and clear the garbage, you probably have a clogged drain line.

We recommend against using chemical drain cleaners in a garbage disposal. You can damage the disposal and aside from being ineffective, most drain cleaners contain toxic chemicals that can cause severe skin irritation and damage to plastic and metal surfaces.

Preventing Disposal Problems

Avoid grinding coffee grounds, potato peels and eggshells. They stick to any waste in the pipe and are likely to create a clog. You can keep your disposal working by occasionally grinding up pieces of lemon peel and ice cubes.

Have questions about your garbage disposal or other plumbing systems in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning anytime. We're here to help.
Sewer lines can fail for many reasons, and the older the line, the greater the risk of damage from tree root intrusion, ground shift, and cracks. Because the connection from the house to the main utility connection in the street is the homeowner's responsibility, and is not covered by most homeowner's insurance policies, it's important to ensure that the line is in good condition.

Sewer and drain line inspections

Video Sewer Line Inspections

To find out if the sewer line is clogged or damaged a sewer line snake with a small video camera is inserted into the line so a technician can see the inside of the pipe on a video screen and determine if there is an obstruction or damage.

If the sewer line is simply clogged, high pressure water jetting can usually clear obstructions in the line. Depending on the severity of damage and whether the pipe is cracked or ruptured it may be possible to repair the pipe without digging.

For your peace of mind, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning to schedule a video sewer line inspection.
Inconsistent cooling in the home is one of the most common reasons homeowners contact us for service. Hot and cold zones around the home are not only an annoyance, they’re a sign that the home's air delivery system is not operating correctly. Many homeowners will simply close or open vents, or adjust the thermostat well above or below where it should be to maintain a comfortable setting. This wastes energy and can shorten the life of your air conditioner.

Air Conditioning

Several factors can contribute to uneven cooling, but, fortunately, they can all be fixed. Here are a few things that you can do to address uneven cooling in your home

Have Your Home's Ductwork Inspected

If airflow to certain parts of the home is imbalanced, you’ll experience uneven cooling in those areas. An airflow imbalance also causes your system to work overtime in order to compensate, which in turn will shorten your system’s life and decrease its efficiency.

In order to create a balanced airflow ABC Southwest will need to inspect and assess the adequacy of your home’s ductwork. If the ducts are not properly sized, it’s important to replace them with correctly sized ones.

Identifying leaks and blockages is also important, as leaks are a major contributor to inefficiency and uneven temperatures. If blockages are identified, they will be removed to restore airflow. Once the underlying causes of the imbalance have been identified, the appropriate repairs or replacement will be made to get your system functioning normally again.

Variable Speed Motors

Variable speed motors provide more even heating and cooling, and allow for more precise control of airflow throughout the home. By moving the air more slowly through the system, variable speed motors can help make a home’s air filtration and moisture control systems more effective. They adjust the system’s output based on the home’s cooling needs. They can also be helpful in situations where uneven cooling is actually desired. If there are rooms in your home that are rarely used, you can save money by keeping them at a slightly higher or lower temperature than the other rooms in your home. This involves “zoning,” which means customizing temperature settings for different areas of the home. In general, variable speed motors are the only systems that allow for zoning within the home.

Ensure Your Air Conditioning System Is Sized Correctly

Just as you’re experiencing discomfort due to uneven temperatures, your system is constantly trying to compensate, which means high utility bills and the potential for costly repairs.

Sometimes, an improperly sized HVAC system may result in uneven cooling. This could be the result of either an incorrect load calculation at the time of the system’s installation or a home’s heating and cooling needs changing over time. For example, it is common that an extra room is added or an area like an attic is converted into living space. If your HVAC system is too small to properly heat or cool your home, uneven temperatures and system failures could result. To determine whether your HVAC system is properly sized, contact ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning for an up-to-date load calculation.
Does your central air conditioner constantly cycle on and off? Or, does it seem to run forever? If so, it could be a symptom of an AC that's too large or too small. When a new central air conditioner is installed in a home one of the most important tasks the HVAC technician performs is matching the size of the unit to the amount of air being conditioned. If the unit is too large or small for the home, problems can occur.

Some of the symptoms of an air conditioning system that is sized too large for the house include the inability of the unit to adequately dehumidify the home and powering on and off too frequently. This occurs because an overly large system will cool the air so quickly that not enough humid air is allowed to flow over the cooling coil to remove the moisture from the air. The thermostat quickly reaches the set temperature and shuts off, leaving too much humidity in the air. The only practical solution is to install a properly sized condensing unit and coils.

Have questions about your air conditioner? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Even if your home has the most efficient central air conditioner available, heat and humidity from inside your home could be reducing its efficiency, resulting in higher cooling bills. The reason is that many of today's, tightly sealed, well insulated homes are great at trapping heat and humidity from appliances and other sources.

Reducing heat and humidity

While simple steps like closing blinds to block the sun, and running ceiling fans to circulate the cool air near the living space can make a big difference, there are many sources of heat and humidity inside the home that can reduce the efficiency of a cooling system. Here are some things to look for:

1. Turn off incandescent bulbs. Because most of the energy from incandescent bulbs goes to generating heat rather than light, turning them off or using a dimmer will reduce heat significantly. Better yet, replace old light bulbs with cooler lighting options like CFL or LED light bulbs. They will convert more of their energy into light, thereby operating much cooler.

2. Install the thermostat away from windows and heat sources like lamps and TVs. With the popularity of wireless, smart thermostats, many homeowners are installing the devices in a less than optimum location. A thermostat should be on an interior wall away from air ducts and electrical appliances that can cause it to read higher than normal temperatures. Interior hallways are usually a good place to mount a thermostat.

3. During hot weather, use an outside grill or cook with a microwave instead of the oven or range. Kitchens are a main source of heat and humidity inside the home.  During hot weather consider skipping the oven and stove and cook outside instead.

4. Ensure that your clothes dryer and bathroom exhaust fans are venting outside and not into the attic. An improperly installed bathroom or dryer vent can lead to excessive heat and humidity, which can also create an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow. If your bathroom or laundry room experience high levels of heat and humidity, ensure that an exhaust fan is installed and is powerful enough to clear the air.

5. Dry clothes outside. Dryers not only generate a lot of heat, but also a lot of humidity. Also ensure that the dryer vent it well connected and not leaking warm air inside the home.

6. Skip the heat dry cycle on your dishwasher. Another common source of hot, humid air inside the home is the dishwasher. The drying cycle of a dishwasher generates a lot of warm, humid air, so allow the dishes to dry at cooler temperature if possible.

7. Use a water heater blanket to reduce heat loss and make your water heater operate more efficiently. While most tanks are well insulated, a blanket will ensure it isn't wasting energy.

8. Turn off the gas supply to fireplaces and heaters. Pilot lights generate heat and waste natural gas.

Have questions about keeping your home cool? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning we're here to help.
If your water heater has a conventional storage tank, it's important to perform regular maintenance to ensure that it operates efficiently and does not wear our prematurely. Most homeowners have a water heater installed and simply forget about it until it stops heating or working altogether and needs replacement. However, with a few simple maintenance steps you can increase the lifespan of the unit while also making it work more efficiently. Annual water heater maintenance will save you money in the long run, extending the like of the unit and ensuring that it operates at peak efficiency.

Water Heater Maintenance

1. Flush the water heater tank annually

Almost all water heater manufacturers recommend flushing the tank annually. Draining the tank removes sediment build up that has collected at the bottom of the tank, allowing the burner to work more efficiently. If your home has hard water, it's especially important to drian the tank to remove mineral deposits like calcium and magnesium that will build up over time, reducing efficiency.

Before draining your water heater tank, check the manufacturer's instructions for the correct procedure for draining your model of water heater. If you're not sure what to do, play it safe and call ABC Southwest for help.

2. Check the anode rod

The anode rod hangs inside the tank to help prevent the interior walls of the tank from rusting out. It should be checked annually when the tank is drained. The anode rod is designed to corrode easily, reducing the amount of corrosion on other parts inside the tank. Replacing a badly corroded rod is far cheaper than replacing the water heater. Without a good anode rod, hot water will rapidly corrode the inside of the tank, shortening its life.

3. Insulate the water heater tank

This is a step you only have to do once. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation can improve it's efficiency up to 40 percent. Even though the tank may feel cool to the touch, after installing the blanket put hand under the blanket. You'll be suprised how warm it is! Before installing a water heater blanket be sure to check your manufacturer's instructions, some manufacturers advise not covering the unit. Also, be sure to cut openings out for all water heater controls, including the thermostat, pressure relief valve and other controls.

4. Inspect the exterior of the water heater for leaks

Look for signs of rust around the base of the water heater. Also check the overflow valve for signs of leaks. Are there water stains on the floor around the tank? If you notice signs of possible water leaks have the unit inspected by a plumber to ensure the tank is not rusted out or in need of maintenance. Note that some moisture around the tank is not unusual, and typically is the result of condensation on cold water pipes during humid weather.

Have questions about your hot water heater or other plumbing systems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
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What Your Neighbors Are Saying About ABC Southwest

  • "ABC Plumbing& A/C is a company I would keep for all time. Had an emergency at night, and they came right away, very little wait time. 2 days later, Henry and Trenton did a very big job and explained in detail what they had to do. Very polite, knowledgeable, and they even cleaned up!!! Which they didn't have to do. Thank you for all your hard work!!" Read More
    – Henry C., Facebook Review
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