Consider It Done!
PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY
"Matt did a great job for us. Was able to explain problem and options for us. Good work and on time. We'll ask for Matt when we need plumbing help."
– BuzzBox Review
 
"David is a very knowledgeable technician and always does a great job when he has serviced our air conditioner."
– BuzzBox Review
 
"Service was quick and efficient. My service technician Henry Cheely was friendly and professional. He took the time to explain the problem and his recommended solution. I was very happy to have my leak fixed within 3 hours of detection. From the service call to the service every thing was great!"
– Henry C., Google+ Review

Is a Tankless Water Heater the Right Choice For My Home?

Tankless Water Heaters SarasotaWhen it comes time to replace your old water heater, you make be considering the advantages of upgrading to a tankless water heater versus buying another new tank-style water heater. Here are some common questions about tankless water heaters.

How does a tankless water heater work?

A tankless water heater works on demand so it isn’t using any gas until the hot water is turned on from the point of use.  The units ABC installs start working at very low pressures to ensure the unit turns on quickly and then will continue to provide hot water heater for as long as you want to use the shower or faucet, etc. Premium tankless water heaters, also called hybrid water heaters, have a buffer tank installed with a pump,  this eliminates the “cold water sandwich” that is common amongst tankless water heaters,  it also allows the hot water to get to the faucet faster. 

What are the advantages of using a tankless water heater?

The first benefit is endless hot water,  you can literally turn the hot water on at 8am and then shut it off at 9pm and it will still be the same temperature.  They also are more efficient than a typical heater usually this means you save on your gas bill.  Next, all parts of the unit are replaceable unlike a tank type water heater,  which means a much longer life expectancy and better warranties.  Because it doesn't have a large tank of water, it will not flood the basement and takes up no floor space. Another advantage to tankless water heater is space. Because they are mounted to the wall, they don't take up floor space like a conventional tank unit will.

What are the disadvantages?

The main disadvantage of tankless water heaters is cost. They will cost more to purchase and install than a standard tank water heater. However, because of the lower energy consumption and longer expected lifespan, the long term cost can be competitive with conventional water heaters.

Because a tankless water heater takes a few seconds to heat up before the heat is transfered to the water, a small amount of cold water can make it through the heat exchanger without warming up. The result is a "cold water sandwich" can occur. One solution is to install a hybrid water heater. A hybrid water heater works just like a tankless water heater, but employs a small tank of continually heated water that's designed to prevent unheated water from leaving the unit.

Can a tankless water heater be installed in the same place as the old water heater?

Yes,  they can be installed almost anywhere because the manufacturing process is completing at the job site it allows greater flexibility for installation location.

How much does it cost to have a tankless water heater installed?

This depends on various things throughout the installation process and what exactly you looking for. That is why ABC Southwest always sends a licensed technician to the home first, to examine and discuss the options available. We provide you with a guaranteed price in writing before any work begins.
Thursday, 06 September 2018 15:31

The ABCs Air Conditioning - Energy Efficiency Ratings

Written by
Air Conditioner Efficiency Ratings

For most homeowners energy efficiency and lower utility bills are at the top of the list when deciding on a new air conditioner.

When researching cooling systems you're likely to run across a lot of industry alphabet soup. While these acronyms can be bit confusing at first, they're meant to provide a simple scale to compare which systems that offer the highest efficiency and lowest energy costs.

Here are two of the most common measurements of energy efficiency.

SEER Ratings

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of efficiency for air conditioners. A high SEER number means more energy efficiency, and lower cost to operate. All new air conditioners have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. The most efficient systems can achieve SEER ratings over 20.

AFUE Ratings

For gas furnaces, the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating is a common measure of energy use and efficiency. The AFUE rating tells you how much of the fuel used by your furnace is used to actually heat your home and how much is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. For example, a 90% furnace creates heat, 90% of which is used directly by the home with 10% lost, generally as a result of venting. Some newer furnaces have an AFUE rating that exceeds 98%.
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 13:46

How to Know When It's Time For a New Water Heater

Written by
Sarasota Water Heaters

Conventional tank-style water heaters have a lifespan of around 10 years. Depending on the amount of use and whether or not it has been properly maintained, it could last significantly longer, or need replacement much sooner. So how do you know when it's time to replace the water heater or whether you should continue making repairs?

Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks can be the result of a faulty valve or leaking pipe. If this is the case, it may just need a simple repair to keep it operating. If the water heater is leaking because of corrosion, it may be time to replace the unit. Also, consider the age of the unit before making repairs. If it's more than seven years old, it make make sense to invest in a new water heater rather than repairing an old unit. Upgrading to a newer, energy efficient water heater may make more sense.

The Water Heater Is Slow to Heat Water

First, check that the thermostat on the water heater is set high enough. If demand for hot water has increased in the home, you may just need a larger capacity tank installed. If the tank is nit large enough, you can upgrade to a larger tank, or a install a tankless water heater instead. Slow heating can also be caused by a build-up up rust and sediment. Flush the tank to remove the sediment. If the water heater is still not heating fast enough after flushing the unit, it may be time for a new water heater.

Malfunctioning Water Heater

In some cases the water heater may be have broken parts that need replacement. A plumber can check the heating element (electric water heaters) thermostat, gas burner and thermocoupler to make sure they are functioning correctly. Consider the age of the unit against the cost of repairs when deciding whether to repair the unit.

Have questions about water heaters? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
"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

"Great service Technician David Blagg. He diagnosed And repaired the AC in no time flat! Thanks David. God Bless you!"
– David B., Facebook Review
 
"Bill, my tech was the most friendliest, kind and helpful ever! He professionally completed the repair problem and gave some helpful hints to perhaps minimize future issues. Great guy! If I should ABC's services again, I will be sure and call. Your company has a terrific asset in Bill, and its refreshing to see such a young man with such positive motivation!! Thank you!"
– Buzz Box Review

"Matt did a great job for us. Was able to explain problem and options for us. Good work and on time. We'll ask for Matt when we need plumbing help."
– Buzz Box Review
Sarasota PlumberReducing water usage around the home not only helps to conserve and protect our critical water supply, it also saves energy, reducing your utility bill.

Conserving water saves energy by reducing the cost of water treatment, heating water and running appliances that use water. In fact, according to the EPA, if every U.S. home had efficient plumbing fixtures the U.S. would save more than 3 trillion gallons of water, and an estimated $18 billion dollars per year!

Here are some water saving plumbing upgrades to consider.

Water Conserving Toilets

Toilets typically are responsible for most water wasted in the average home, consuming as much as 30 percent of an average home’s (indoor) water. If your toilets were installed prior to 1994, there is a good chance it uses more than 1.6 gallons of water when flushed. Consider replacing older toilets with a current EPA standard 1.28 gallon model. As an alternative for older larger tank toilets, you can conserve water by placing a small water filled bottle into the toilet tank to reduce the displacement.

Low-Flow Shower Heads

Showering accounts for around 20 percent of an average homes indoor water consumption. Today's low flow shower heads can reduce water consumption by as much as 70% will still providing a strong spray of water.

Efficient Faucets

If you have older, inefficient faucets that use more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), consider replacing them with high-efficiency faucets that have a flow rate of less than 1.5 gpm. Alternatively, you can add an aerator or flow restrictor to the faucet to easily reduce its water flow.

Have questions about water conserving plumbing fixtures? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.
If you're noticing changes to the water coming out ouf your tap – such as strange colors, tastes or odors – the cause may be your water heater.

Water heater and water quality problems

To find out if the water heater is the cause, note the following:
  • Does the problem only occur first thing in the morning?
  • Does it happen after the water has not been used for a while?
  • Does the problem clear up after you run the water for a few minutes?
  • Is the problem isolated to the hot rather than cold running faucet?
If any of the above cases is true, it could be caused by your water heater.


Water Heater Odors

Bad smells, such as a sulphur odors, are sometimes caused by bacteria growing in the water heater tank. When the water heater goes unused for long periods of time bacteria, while usually harmless, can cause unpleasant odors. A sulphur, or rotten egg odor, is sometimes caused by a corroded anode rod inside the water heater. The rod should be inspected and replaced if needed.

Hard water can also cause sediment to accumulate at the bottom of the tank, causing odors. Installing a water softener should fix the problem.


Water Discoloration

Brown, red or yellow tinted water can be caused by rust from a corroded water heater tank, or pipes inside the home. The iron present in most water is not a significant health risk, but it can stain clothing and dishes and leave drinking water with a metallic taste. Your plumber can help track down the cause and determine if the water heater is the source of the problem.

White or tan particles in the water are usually a sign of calcium or magnesium. While not generally harmful to ingest, the minerals can clog pipes and drains over time. A water filtration system or water softener can remove the minerals from the water.

Have concerns about water quality in your home? Give ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning a call. We can help identify the cause of the problem and recommend effective solutions for cleaner, better tasting water.
Performing plumbing projects around the home can be a satisfying way to improve your home and save a little money. However, before tackling those plumbing projects it's important to understand the potential pitfalls to stay safe and avoid damaging your home.

DIY Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Chemical Drain Cleaners

When a drain becomes clogged the first thing many homeowners think of are the commercials they have seen for chemical drain cleaning products. While they can be very effective at clearing certain kinds of clogs, they come with important safety warnings.

The same chemicals that quickly dissolve organic matter like hair and grease can cause chemical burns to your skin or even blindness if they come in contact with your eyes. They can also damage metal pipes, plumbing fixtures, and other finishes in the kitchen and bathroom if not used correctly.

A far safer way to clear a clogged drain is with a little elbow grease and a plumbing auger. There are also natural drain cleaning products that use enzymes to break down organic material. Baking soda, vinegar and hot water is another natural method to clean out a drain. These natural methods may take a little longer to do the job, but can just as effective as more caustic drain cleaners.

If none of the above options work for those stubborn clogs, your plumber can solve the toughest clogged drain problems safely and quickly.


2. Not Shutting off the Water Supply

Most plumbing projects require turning off the water. Forget this step and you'll be dealing with gushing pipes and a big mess. If you can't locate the local shut-off valve near a fixture, turn it off at the water main.


3. Not Getting a Permit

You've just had your brand new hot tub delivered and you're all ready to install it in your new sunroom. Before you begin, do you need a permit? Some municipalities allow homeowners to pull their own permits, while others require a contractor. Always check before you begin any remodeling or installation project that you have all the required permits. This will ensure that the project is up to code and installed safely. You'll also avoid the hassle of potential fines or red flags down the road when you try to sell the home.


4. Bad Pipe Connections

In homes with copper pipes, it's important to understand the proper way to connect copper to galvanized pipes. If the two metals are connected directly, they can quickly corrode, leading to water leaks. This type of connection requires a special fitting called a dielectric union, which prevents the two metals from contacting each other.


Ask the Pros!

If you're not sure you have the skills to tackle your next plumbing project, give us a call. We would be happy to explain what's involved in completing the project. After all, there's no replacement for experience.
LWater Saving Toiletooking for ways to reduce your water bill? Toilets are one of the most water-intensive plumbing devices in the home, using as much as 7 gallons of water with each flush. By comparison a low-flow toilet uses just 1.6 gallons. If you aren't ready to replace all your toilets with low-flow toilets quite yet, but want to reduce the amount of water your toilets are using, there are a few easy to install options available that will make your toilets more eco-friendly.

Install an Adjustable Flapper

An adjustable flapper give you control over the amount of water used to refill the tank. It can save up to three gallons of water with each flush and is simple to install. First, check that the flapper is compatible with your toilet model. Once installed, adjust the flapper to get the right amount of water needed to do the job.

Install a Tank Bag

You may know about the old trick of placing a brick to the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water per flush. Unfortunately, a brick can erode over time, leaving damaging grit inside the tank that can wear out rubber and plastic parts. A better solution is to use a tank bag. You simply fill the bag with water and attach it to the toilet tank. By displacing water it will reduce the amount of water needed to refill the tank after each flush. Of course, the amount of water you save is equal to the amount of water you put in the bag, so experiment to find the right amount to effectively flush the toilet.

Install a Fill Cycle Diverter

Because the toilet bowl fills faster than the tank and the fill valve doesn't shut off until the tank is full, excess water is fed into the bowl. A fill cycle diverter can eliminate this waste, saving a half-gallon or more per fill, by diverting water back to the tank when the bowl is full.

TIP: Many utility companies offer water-saving devices to their customers for free, so be sure to check with your local utility company before purchasing a water saving device.
Hot water scalds account for 20% of all burns and every year more that 2,000 U.S. children are treated for scalding. Scalding can also lead to secondary injuries such as heart attacks, falls, and broken bones, particularly among the elderly. Most scalding accidents occur in the kitchen and bathroom, and the vast majority are avoidable.

Hot Water Safety

Because infants, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns when exposed to overly hot water in the bath, one of the most important ways of preventing scalding is to ensure your water heater temperature is set to a safe temperature.

In addition, you should always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub and never leave a child alone or with other young children in the bathtub.

Most water heaters come factory set between 120°F to 140°F - this temperature may be too high for many households. The chart below shows how the scalding risk and time it takes to cause a burn.

Water Heater Thermostat Setting Exposure Time Effects of Exposure to Hot Water at High Temperatures
Water at 100 degF or below - Most water heaters are unlikely to scald an adult
Water at 120 degF 5 minutes 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 130 degF 30 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 140 degF 5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 150 degF 1.5 seconds 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin
Water at 160 degF .5 second 2nd & 3rd degree burns on adult skin

Scald Protection Devices

Scald protection devices are a must in homes with young children, the elderly and physically challenged. In many areas they are required to be installed to meet code requirements. While caution is the first line of defense to scald prevention, scald protection devices can help to maintain safer water temperatures.

Have questions about preventing hot water scalding in your home? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help answer all your questions.
Page 1 of 21

More than a promise, our level of service is guaranteed

  • Live operators - no answering machines
  • Appointments made around your schedule
  • Friendly, uniformed technicians
  • On time arrival
  • We wear shoe covers and use work mats
  • We explain all options in non-technical language
  • Follow up to make sure you're 100% satisfied
  • We stand by everything we do - NO EXCEPTIONS!
About You No Surprises

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
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4