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Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (127)

Hi-Tech Bathroom Features That Add Luxury and Convenience

Hi-Tech Bathroom Ideas

As technology makes its way further into our everyday lives, our homes are becoming more connected and hi-tech than ever. The bathroom is just the latest room in the home the take the leap into the future. Here are some of the tech features you can add to your bathroom.

Hi-Tech Showers

Set the perfect mood with LED lighting that changes color with the temperature of the water while rocking out with bluetooth shower heads and sleek, powerful speakers with high-fidelity sound. For a more entertaining shower, include a waterproof TV that's integrated into a mirror a sleek, futuristic look. Forget knobs and levers, today it’s digital LED controls that accurately control temperature, lights and music.

Luxury Toilets

Stylish toilets like the TOTO offer features like motion detection opening and closing lid, auto flush, heated seat, a self-cleaning the bowl, lighting, and more.

Bathroom Privacy Glass

Have a great view from your bathroom that you don't want to block with blinds or drapes when you need privacy? Consider privacy film can be cut to fit any window, and when plugged in it turns the glass transparent or opaque, using an app as the remote control.

Towel Warming Drawer

Keeping towels in a heated drawer not only makes the bathroom neater and more organized, it provides a toasty warm towel for those cool winter days.

How Much Water Could You Be Saving In Your Home?

Water Savings

97 percent of the earth's water is salt water, leaving only 3 percent of the earth's water fit for human consumption. While water is a renewable resource, the best way to ensure there will be enough fresh water in the future is to start conserving water today.

The average U.S. family uses 127,000 gallons of water each year. One of the best ways to reduce water waste is to use low-flow plumbing fixtures and appliances. For example:
  • A normal faucet will use 4,000 gallons a year when run just 4 minutes a day. A low-flow faucet would reduce that amount by a quarter... a savings of 1,000 gallons of water a year.
  • A washing machine that washes 2 loads a week will use 5,000 gallons a year... while a water saving unit will use 3,000... a savings of 2,000 gallons a year.
  • A shower head that is used 15 minutes a day will use 19,000 gallons of water a year... a low-flow shower head would use just 9,000 gallons a year... a savings of 12,000 gallons per year.
  • The largest source of water use in the home is toilets. If a toilet is flushed 15 times per day it will use 33,000 gallons of water per year. By comparison, a water saving or dual-flush toilet would save over 24,000 gallons of water every year.
The total savings for using low-flow, water efficient fixtures and appliances is 40,000 gallons a year, a 30 percent savings on water bill.

5 Plumbing Systems To Check When Buying a Home

Plumbing ChecklistBuying a home is a big investment. Older homes in particular can present risks when it comes to plumbing systems.  By doing your research and ensuring that the plumbing system is functioning correctly, you can avoid making costly mistakes. Here's what to check.

1. Hot Water System

Ask the realtor or homeowner the age of the water heater. A water heater will typically last 10-15 years. Inspect the water heater for leaks, excessive rust and other signs of age and deterioration.

2. Water Leaks

Check taps, pipes, appliances (including dishwashers, clothes washers, ice makers) for signs of leaks. Check for stains or signs of mildew that could indicate a hidden water leak. Because many leaks go undetected and can get worse over time, have a plumer check the system and repair any leaks prior to closing.

3. Check the Sump Pump

A inoperable sump pump can lead to serios water damage. Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. It should turn on and remove the water.

4. Water Saving Toilets

Check toilets to see if they are newer, low-flow models. Toilets manufactured since the last 90's are mandated to use less than 1.6 gallons per flush.

5. Sewer and Drain Lines

Ask about the current age of the sewer line and whether it has been inspected within the last two years. Ensure that all drains empty quickly. A video sewer line inspection is .cheap insurance that will help find potential trouble like tree root intrusion, cracks, blockages and other problems

Need a plumbing inspection before your next home purchase? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help ensure everything is working as it should be.

6 Signs You Should Call a Plumber

Hidden water leak

Some plumbing problems are easy to spot – a dripping faucet, an overflowing toilet, while others can be more subtle. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate a serious plumbing, sewer or drain problem.

1. Water is draining slowly out all sinks, tubs, toilets, dishwasher etc.
This usually indicates a blockage in the main line rather than a localized blockage. A plumber should inspect the main line for blockage.

2. You hear water running but nothing is on.
While a running toilet is a fairly common plumbing noise, if you hear dripping or running water and you can't determine the source, call a plumber to have the cause identified and to ensure there isn't a damaging water leak.

3. You see signs of a leak.
If you see mildew or mold, dark surfaces or puddles of water it could be a sign of a water leak behind the wall.

4.Your water bill has unexpectedly jumped.
This could indicate a hidden water leak. Check your water meter to see that amount of water used.

5. Your Toilet is gurgling or bubbling after flushing.
This could be a sign of a backed up sewer line. A video inspection can find the cause of sewer line stoppages.

6. Water pressure has dropped.
If the water pressure has only dropped for a single source, such as a faucet or shower head. Try cleaning the aerator with vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Ensure that all supply valves are completely open. If the water pressure has dropped throughout the entire home, have a plumber inspect the plumbing.

Have plumbing problems? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help.
Sarasota Florida PlumberFamily gathering and lots of cooking can put a lot of demands on your home's plumbing system. Unfortunately, if you have been having sewer or drain problems, the holidays are the most common time when serious clogs and backups will occur. Here are some tips to prevent drain problems during the holidays.

1. Have your sewer and drain lines inspected. An ounce of inspection is worth a pound of clogged drain debris. A video sewer and drain line inspection will give you the peas of mind that your sewer and drain lines are in top condition and ready to deal with the extra demands of holiday guests this season.

2. Don't put grease down the drain. What do you do with all that oil from the deep fryer are cooking your turkey this year? Never pour the grease down the kitchen drain or even a floor drain. Instead, put it in a sealed container and freeze it. Then put it in the trash can.

3. Put coffee grinds in the garbage.  Coffee grounds should not go in the disposal or down the drain.

4. Use strainers in drains. Make sure your kitchen and bath drains have a grate or screen to prevent debris from entering the drain pipe.

5. Rinse the drains regularly with hot water. This will help prevent oil and grease from accumulating.

6. Use safe drain products. If your drains are prone to clogging, consider a safe, environmentally friendly option for keeping your plumbing system working smoothly. Bio-Clean is a safe blend of bacteria and enzymes. The friendly bacteria actually eat away the build up, leaving behind only water, carbon dioxide and mineral ash. The bacteria continue to multiply, thriving on their natural food source . . . that gunky build up in your pipes and drains, completely cleaning your home’s entire plumbing system.

Have a clogged drain?

First, try physically clearing the drain with a plunger. We recommend avoiding the use of chemical drain cleaning products. They can be hazardous to use and store in the home. If all else fails, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help fix your plumbing problems, so you can keep your holiday guests happy.
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.
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.

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.
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