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Plumbing Tips and Advice

Plumbing Tips and Advice (148)

Bathroom Remodeling Ideas
Remodeling your bathroom?  There are many plumbing upgrades to consider that can add value and efficiency to your home, here are just a few:

New Faucets

New faucets are an inexpensive way to bring bathrooms and kitchens up to date. Adding low-flow faucet aerators will also save you money on your water bill. To cut down on germs and add additional convenience, no-touch faucets have motion detectors that turn water on and off by moving your hand in front of the fixture.

New Shower Heads

Shower heads come a wide range of styles and finishes. A new trend is to install multiple shower heads rather than a single wall-mount shower head for a spa-like experience. The shower heads can be adjusted to produce a spray that ranges from fine to coarse and a water pressure that ranges from gentle mist to strong massage.

Top-mount or ceiling-mounted shower heads spray from directly overhead, life rainfall. Some top-mount heads can be installed flush with the ceiling in situations where the ceiling is too low to install a wall-mount head.

Sliding bar shower heads are mounted on a rail system to accommodate a wide range of heights.

Consider installing low-flow shower heads when possible. They use only around 2.5 gpm while maintaining an effective spray of water.

New Toilets

Installing a high efficiency toilets is one of the best plumbing upgrades you can make. If your home is older and has its original plumbing fixtures, you could save up to 3.5 gallons of water per flush!

Comfort height toilets are another popular option for older homeowners or homeowners with disabilities.

For all your bathroom plumbing needs, call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We are here to help.
How Old Is My Water Heater?

Knowing how old your water heater is can be helpful when planning for replacement and knowing when you're better off replacing the unit instead of putting money towards repairs. In most cases, if a water heater is more than 10 years old you should consider replacement. As water heaters enter their second decade the risk of developing leaks increases, which can potentially cause damage to your home.

You can find the age of your water heater by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker near the top of the water heater. The serial number contains the date that the water heater was manufactured. It will not be in a standard date format, but will have a date code such as "G062052658".

G is for the month and G is the seventh letter in the alphabet, so it represents the seventh month, July. Next, the first two digits of the serial number are 06, which represents the year, 2006. So this water heater was made in July 2006. Each manufacturer uses a similar date code, but they may vary – so check the manufacturer’s website to learn more.

Have questions about your home's water heater? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help answer all your plumbing questions.
Tuesday, 08 January 2019 01:09

5 Water Saving Tips

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Being surrounded by water in Southwest Florida it's easy to forget that fresh water is our most precious resource. As fresh water supplies become more strained by growth and saltwater intrusion, it's up to all of us to do our part to conserve water in our homes.

Conserving water in Southwest Florida

While installing water saving toilets and low-flow shower heads are important steps to prevent wasting water, there are other steps you can take. Not only will you help preserve our most important natural resource, you'll save on your water bill as well.

1. Laundry - Use the clothes washer for full loads, or adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses about 5 extra gallons of water per load.

2. Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet - Installing a dual flush toilet can save an average family 15,000 gallons of water each year. Extra water is available when needed, but for most flushes you’ll reduce the amount of water by 70%, saving a significant amount of water. Existing toilets can be upgraded with a dual flush converter that turns a standard toilet into a dual flush toilet.

3. Fix Water Leaks - Leaking toilets, faucets, showers and leaking pipes can add up to a lot of waste. To see if your house has hidden water leaks, read your home's water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

4. Save Cold Water - A lot of water is wasted while waiting for the shower or faucet tap to reach higher temperatures. Instead of letting the water go down the drain, keep a container nearby to collect and save the cold water and use it for watering plants or filling the pet's water bowls.

5. Use the Dishwasher - It turns out that washing dishes by hand uses a lot more water than using the dishwasher. Newer dishwashers are designed to be very efficient. In fact, the EPA estimates an efficient dishwasher uses half as much water, saving close to 5,000 gallons each year!

Bonus tips:

• Clean sidewalks and driveways with a broom instead of a hose
• Cover your swimming pool to reduce evaporation
• Compost food waste instead of using your under sink disposal
Friday, 04 January 2019 19:41

5 Ways to Conserve Water Around the Home

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During the summer month's water use around the home increases with lawn watering, car washing and other water intensive activities. By using water more wisely and ensuring that your home's plumbing system is in good shape, you can help conserve water, while also saving on your water bill.

1. Fix leaking faucets and pipes

That small drip from a leaking faucet washer can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. Leaking outdoor faucets and pipes can waste hundreds of gallons.

2. Don't use the toilet as garbage disposal

Flushing paper waste like facial tissue and other items that could go into a wastebasket can save up to 7 gallons per flush.

3. Repair leaking toilets

To see if your toilets are leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes without flushing, have the toilet fixed.

4. Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators

These inexpensive devices are simple to install and will result in significant water savings with hardly any noticable difference in water pressure.

5. Check for hidden leaks

After you have repaired all detectible water leaks in faucets, toilets, show heads, etc., it's a good idea to check for hidden water leaks. Simply read your water meter then wait for a two-hour period during which no water is being used. If the water meter has changed, you have a leak.
Drain Snake Sarasota

When a kitchen sink, toilet, bathtub drain or main sewer line becomes clogged one of the most popular tools for clearing blockage from a pipe is a drain snake, also called a plumber's snake or pipe snake. A hand drain snake is a thin, flexible auger with a crank handle or motor at one end and a metal wire with a splayed gap between the coils at the other end. The auger is inserted into the drain and turned to physically remove debris that would typically be too stubborn for a plunger to clear.

Other types of drain snakes used by plumbers include drum augers and roto rooters. These are powered augers should be used carefully to avoid damaging the pipe, especially when cleaning out PVC piping.

Snaking a Toilet

When a plunger is not effective at clearing a toilet clog, a toilet auger should be used instead of a standard drain snake. A regular drain snake can damage the toilet by scraping the porcelain bowl. A toilet auger is designed to pass through the toilet trap and is more rigid, which will prevent it from looping back when it hits an obstruction.

Other drains that can be cleared with a drain snake include:
  • Main drain
  • Sewer main line
  • Bathtub drains (usually through the overflow drain)
  • Shower drains
  • Washing machine drains
  • Kitchen drains
  • Bathroom sink drains
Have questions about clearing drains in your home? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning, we can help with all your sewer and drain cleaning needs.

Drain Cleaning Sarasota

Keeping your kitchen drain flowing smoothly is simple if you follow a few simple rules.

1. Keep grease out of drains. Grease and fat are among the worse things you can pour down a drain. You may get away with pouring grease for a while without noticing any problems, but over time grease can accumulate inside the drain and slow the flow of water. grease can also cause food waste to cling to the inside of the drain, making a sticky mess. A safe way to dispose of oil and grease is to pour it into an empty plastic container that can be sealed and thrown into the trash. Thicker grease can be wiped off pans with a paper towel and thrown into the garbage.

2. Don't overload the disposal. While garbage disposals are a great convenience, it's important to to rely too heavily on the disposal to get rid of all your food waste. Scrape food waste into the garbage prior to rinsing dishes into the sink.

3. Starchy foods are bad for drains. Food that become sticky and expand when wet, such as pasta, patatos, rice, etc, can cling to the inside of pipes. and create stubborn clogs. Also avoid putting egg shells and banana peels down the disposal.

4. Maintain your drains. When using your disposal always run plenty of water , and let the water run for 30 seconds after turning off the disposal. You can also keep your drains in good condition by spreading a half a cup of baking soda into the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. After the solution stops fizzing, pour a few cups of boiling water.

If you notice that your drains are emptying slowly, give us a call, we can help clear the toughest clogs.
Tuesday, 20 November 2018 00:54

Troubleshooting Your Garbage Disposal

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Troubleshooting a 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.

Need plumbing help? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help with all of your plumbing and drain needs.
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 22:34

Choosing a New Water Heater For Your Home

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Sarasota Water Heater Installation

When selecting a new water heater for your home there are a number of important things to consider. First, you need to ensure that the water heater will provide enough hot water during peak demand. Second, water heaters are rated for efficiency, which is found on the EnergyStar label. You will want to choose a model that costs less to operate. And finally, there are very different technologies available to heat water. Do you want a conventional tank style water heater? Or do you want an endless supply of hot water from a tankless water heater?

What Size Water Heater Do You Need?

When choosing a water heater the size of the tank is an important consideration. Another consideration is the "First Hour Rating". The First Hour Rating is a calculation that determines the performance capabilities of a water heater within the first hour of use when recovered to the thermostat setting. It's a measure of how efficiently a water heater can maintain a constant temperature. When a plumber installs your new water heater, he will ask questions about the size of the household and hot water usage to match the demand with the size of the unit.

Tankless or Conventional Water Heater?

If your current water heater struggles to provide enough hot water, there are two options. You can upgrade to a larger tank style water heater, or convert to a newer, tankless style water heater.  While tank water heaters have the lowest initial purchase price, they typically have a shorter lifespan and use more energy by having to keep a large volume of water hot continuously. Installing a water heater blanket can reduce heat loss and lower energy use.

Tankless water heaters heat water only when it's needed, meaning less energy is used and there is a continuous supply of hot water. While they are more expensive to install, they typically last more than 20+ years and can save up to 34 percent on energy costs.

Have questions about hot water heaters? Call ABC Southwest. Our hot water experts can answer all your questions.
Thursday, 20 September 2018 19:59

Finding the Cause of Plumbing Noises Around the Home

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Your home's plumbing system will normally make a range of noises as it operates normally. However, you may hear different noises that you have never heard before. By understanding which noises are normal and which could be the sign of a bigger problem you can often prevent expensive plumbing repairs.

Plumbing noises

Whistling Plumbing Sounds

Whistling sounds are often caused by a toilet fill valve that is leaking. You can often stop the sound temporarily by remove the lid of the toilet tank and adjusting the fill valve mechanism until it stops. The fill valve should be replaced to eliminate the leak.

Vibrating sounds

This is another sound often caused by a toilet's fill valve. When the gasket inside the top cap of the fill valve is old and worn, it becomes less flexible. When closed, the poor seal can cause vibrations in wall near the toilet. Check the fill valve by removing the tank lid and activating the fill valve from the arm. If the vibration stops, the fill valve is worn and should be replaced.

Banging Pipe Noises

If you hear banging noises when using faucets in the home it may be caused by improperly secured pipes behind the walls. If the piping is metal the problem may be caused by expansion and contraction when the pipes run through the joists or studs.

Another common cause of banging noises is "water hammer". This occurs when there is high water pressure in your plumbing system. Water flowing in one direction does not want to stop moving. When you turn off a faucet, the water still has considerable force to be absorbed by the pipe. If the pipe is against a stud or joist, it will bang against the wood. Having a water hammer arrestor installed can eliminate the banging noises.

Rumbling Sounds

Rumbling sounds are often heard when a water heater has excessive sediment build up. When water is trapped in this sediment and starts boiling the heat is not transferred out of the flue as efficiently, causing turbulence and noise.

Carefully draining a few gallons of water from the water heater tank using hose attached to the drain valve can remove much of the sediment that has collected at the bottom of the tank.
Over time, pipes inside your home can begin to accumulate limescale, grease and other debris that can gradually slow the flow of waste water, eventually causing drains to empty slowly or backup. While snaking, rodding are effective in many situations, the safest and most effective way to clear out stubborn clogs and thoroughly clean out pipes throughout your home's plumbing system, is to use hydrojetting.

Sarasota Hydrojetting

How Does Hydrojetting Work?

Hydrojetting is a technique that plumbers use to scour the inside surface of pipes with high-pressure water. The process involves inserting a hose to the plumbing system's cleanout, an access point to the inside of a pipe. The hose is connected to a specialized pressure washer that controls the amount of water that is injected into the pipe.

A plumber must know the right water pressure to use depending on the condition of the pipes, so before beginning a small video camera is used to assess the condition of the interior of the pipe and determine the extent of the buildup so the pressure can be adjusted accordingly. The pressure required to do the job may be 5,000 psi or more, or as much as 20 gallons per minute.

One of the reasons hydrojetting is so effective is that it employs gravity to scour the pipe from the bottom up. The combination of the natural downstream gravity flow of the waste and the upstream pressurized blast of water scours the pipe wall, dislodging debris and flushing it down the pipe. After the pipe has been hydrojetted, the inside of the pipe is again inspected with a camera to ensure that the process was effective.

Even if your drains seem to be working fine right now, hydrojetting of sewer and drain lines is a good way to inspect and maintain your home's plumbing system to ensure that the small problems don't become major sewer and drain clogs down the road.

Have questions about hydrojetting? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We can help with all your home sewer and drain maintenance needs.
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