Consider It Done!
PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY

Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (141)

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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, 19 July 2018 00:00

Aging In Place - Accessible Plumbing Design

Written by
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

Written by
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
A home's plumbing system is designed to keep odors from building up inside the home. When you smell persistent odors it could be the sign of plumbing system problems. Here are some things to look for.

Bathroom Plumbing Odors

If you have a foul odor when flushing the toilet it could be caused by a worn toilet wax ring. The wax ring is designed to seal the toilet against the floor. Whenever water goes down a drain it pushes the air away. If the wax ring is not fully sealed, it will force the air between the floor and the bottom of the toilet, instead of down the drain pipe.

Air is also released out the main vent through the roof of the house. If the roof vent becomes blocked, the air has no place to escape. To eliminate the bathroom odors, reseal the wax ring on the toilet and ensure the main vent is not obstructed.

Basement Plumbing Odors

Traps are designed to seal out foul odors by sealing the drain with water. When the water evaporates, the seal is broken and odors enter the basement. To eliminiate the odors, simply pour a bucket of water down each trap. In addition, sinks, shower and floor drain that are used infrequently can be refilled with water to prevent smells from entering the house.

Kitchen Plumbing Odors

Foul odors in the kitchen are often caused by a garbage disposal that has a buildup of food debris. To eliminate the odor, turn on the faucet and grind ice cubes and lemon peels in the disposal, followed by a small amount of liquid dish detergent. Finish by rinse the disposal with cold water for 30 seconds.

Have questions about your plumbing system? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
A leaking water heater can range from a small, barely noticeable drip to a full-blown flood. Either way, the damage to your home and property can be expensive; ranging from damage to walls and floors, to unhealthy mold and mildew.

Water heater leaks

If you see water accumulating near your water heater, it may not actually be coming from the water heater. Nearby appliances and condensation on pipes near the water heater can cause moisture to accumulate nearby. Closely inspect the base of the water heater and valves for signs of leaks.

If you determine the water heater is the cause of the leak, the first step is to turn off power to the water heater. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power off from the circuit breaker. A gas water heater can be shut of from the power supply attached to the unit, usually be turning a knob to the off position. Next, turn off the water from the cold water shut-off valve located near the top of the water heater.

Water heater leaks can occur in several locations, including: the cold water inlet and hot water outlet, the pressure relief valve, the drain valve, and the bottom of the tank. Fixing a water heater is not a do-it-yourself project. A qualified plumber should make the repair. Depending on the location and severity of the leak, your plumber will either have to repair the water heater, or recommend replacing it.

Preventing damage from water heater leaks.

For an extra measure of protection from unexpected water heater leaks, specially designed pans can be installed under the water heater to divert water leaks to a nearby floor drain. There are also special water leak alarms that can turn off the water when a leak is detected from the water heater or another source.

Have a leaking water heater or other plumbing problem? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we're here to help.
Page 1 of 11

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